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How Sir Gawaine was lodged with the lord of Astolat, and
there had knowledge that it was Sir Launcelot that bare
the red sleeve.

THEN she told him as ye have heard to-fore, and how her
father betook him her brother to do him service, and how
her father lent him her brother's, Sir Tirre's, shield:  And
here with me he left his own shield.  For what cause did
he so? said Sir Gawaine.  For this cause, said the damosel,
for his shield was too well known among many noble
knights.  Ah fair damosel, said Sir Gawaine, please it you
let me have a sight of that shield.  Sir, said she, it is
in my chamber, covered with a case, and if ye will come
with me ye shall see it.  Not so, said Sir Bernard till his
daughter, let send for it.

So when the shield was come, Sir Gawaine took off the
case, and when he beheld that shield he knew anon that it
was Sir Launcelot's shield, and his own arms.  Ah Jesu
mercy, said Sir Gawaine, now is my heart more heavier
than ever it was to-fore.  Why? said Elaine.  For I have
great cause, said Sir Gawaine.  Is that knight that oweth
this shield your love?  Yea truly, said she, my love he is,
God would I were his love.  So God me speed, said Sir
Gawaine, fair damosel ye have right, for an he be your
love ye love the most honourable knight of the world, and
the man of most worship.  So me thought ever, said the
damosel, for never or that time, for no knight that ever
I saw, loved I never none erst.  God grant, said Sir
Gawaine, that either of you may rejoice other, but that
is in a great adventure.  But truly, said Sir Gawaine unto
the damosel, ye may say ye have a fair grace, for why
I have known that noble knight this four-and-twenty year,
and never or that day, I nor none other knight, I dare
make good, saw nor heard say that ever he bare token or
sign of no lady, gentlewoman, ne maiden, at no jousts nor
tournament.  And therefore fair maiden, said Sir Gawaine,
ye are much beholden to him to give him thanks.  But
I dread me, said Sir Gawaine, that ye shall never see him
in this world, and that is great pity that ever was of
earthly knight.  Alas, said she, how may this be, is he
slain?  I say not so, said Sir Gawaine, but wit ye well
he is grievously wounded, by all manner of signs, and by
men's sight more likelier to be dead than to be alive;
and wit ye well he is the noble knight, Sir Launcelot, for
by this shield I know him.  Alas, said the Fair Maiden
of Astolat, how may this be, and what was his hurt?
Truly, said Sir Gawaine, the man in the world that loved
him best hurt him so; and I dare say, said Sir Gawaine,
an that knight that hurt him knew the very certainty that
he had hurt Sir Launcelot, it would be the most sorrow
that ever came to his heart.

Now fair father, said then Elaine, I require you
give me leave to ride and to seek him, or else I wot well
I shall go out of my mind, for I shall never stint till that
I find him and my brother, Sir Lavaine.  Do as it liketh
you, said her father, for me sore repenteth of the hurt of
that noble knight.  Right so the maid made her ready,
and before Sir Gawaine, making great dole.

Then on the morn Sir Gawaine came to King Arthur,
and told him how he had found Sir Launcelot's shield in
the keeping of the Fair Maiden of Astolat.  All that
knew I aforehand, said King Arthur, and that caused me
I would not suffer you to have ado at the great jousts,
for I espied, said King Arthur, when he came in till his
lodging full late in the evening in Astolat.  But marvel
have I, said Arthur, that ever he would bear any sign of
any damosel, for or now I never heard say nor knew that
ever he bare any token of none earthly woman.  By my
head, said Sir Gawaine, the Fair Maiden of Astolat loveth
him marvellously well; what it meaneth I cannot say, and
she is ridden after to seek him.  So the king and all came
to London, and there Sir Gawaine openly disclosed to all
the court that it was Sir Launcelot that jousted best.