Then Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine went and saluted them, and asked them why they did that despite to the shield.
"-- and he be such a man of prowess as ye speak of, said Sir Gawaine. Now, what is his name?
Ah, said Sir Gawaine, damsels, methinketh ye are to blame, for it is to suppose he that hung that shield there will not be long therefrom, and then may those knights match him on horseback, and that is more your worship than thus; for I will abide no longer to see a knight's shield dishonored.
"Then Sir Marhaus turned his horse and rode toward Gawaine with his spear.
-- "but Sir Marhaus's spear held; and therewith Sir Gawaine and his horse rushed down to the earth --"
-- "and lightly Sir Gawaine rose upon his feet and pulled out his sword, and dressed him toward Sir Mar- haus on foot, and therewith either came unto other eagerly, and smote together with their swords, that their shields flew in cantels, and they bruised their helms and their hauberks, and wounded either other.
Sir Gawaine's strength feebled and waxed pass- ing faint, that unnethes he might dure any longer, and Sir Marhaus was then bigger and bigger --"
Ah, said Sir Gawaine, gentle knight, ye say the word that I should say.
Well, since I can't go to Eagledale, I'll have a gallop on Rattler to Norburne this morning, and lunch with Gawaine."
If he lunched with Gawaine and lingered chatting, he should not reach the Chase again till nearly five, when Hetty would be safe out of his sight in the housekeeper's room; and when she set out to go home, it would be his lazy time after dinner, so he should keep out of her way altogether.
After this, you will perhaps be surprised to hear that although Gawaine was at home, the hand of the dial in the courtyard had scarcely cleared the last stroke of three when Arthur returned through the entrance-gates, got down from the panting Rattler, and went into the house to take a hasty luncheon.
Then he sang an ancient ballad of the time of good King Arthur, called "The Marriage of Sir Gawaine
," which you may some time read yourself, in stout English of early times; and as he sang, all listened to that noble tale of noble knight and his sacrifice to his king.