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How the damosel and Beaumains came to the siege; and came
to a sycamore tree, and there Beaumains blew a horn,
and then the Knight of the Red Launds came to fight with him.

NOW leave we the knight and the dwarf, and speak we of Beaumains,
that all night lay in the hermitage; and upon the morn he and the
damosel Linet heard their mass and brake their fast.  And then
they took their horses and rode throughout a fair forest; and
then they came to a plain, and saw where were many pavilions and
tents, and a fair castle, and there was much smoke and great
noise; and when they came near the siege Sir Beaumains espied
upon great trees, as he rode, how there hung full goodly armed
knights by the neck, and their shields about their necks with
their swords, and gilt spurs upon their heels, and so there hung
nigh a forty knights shamefully with full rich arms.

Then Sir Beaumains abated his countenance and said, What meaneth
this?  Fair sir, said the damosel, abate not your cheer for all
this sight, for ye must courage yourself, or else ye be all
shent, for all these knights came hither to this siege to rescue
my sister Dame Lionesse, and when the Red Knight of the Red
Launds had overcome them, he put them to this shameful death
without mercy and pity.  And in the same wise he will serve you
but if you quit you the better.

Now Jesu defend me, said Beaumains, from such a villainous death
and shenship of arms.  For rather than I should so be faren
withal, I would rather be slain manly in plain battle.  So were
ye better, said the damosel; for trust not, in him is no
courtesy, but all goeth to the death or shameful murder, and that
is pity, for he is a full likely man, well made of body, and a
full noble knight of prowess, and a lord of great lands and
possessions.  Truly, <236>said Beaumains, he may well be a good
knight, but he useth shameful customs, and it is marvel that he
endureth so long that none of the noble knights of my lord
Arthur's have not dealt with him.

And then they rode to the dykes, and saw them double dyked with
full warlike walls; and there were lodged many great lords nigh
the walls; and there was great noise of minstrelsy; and the sea
beat upon the one side of the walls, where were many ships and
mariners' noise with ``hale and how.''  And also there was fast
by a sycamore tree, and there hung an horn, the greatest that
ever they saw, of an elephant's bone; and this Knight of the Red
Launds had hanged it up there, that if there came any errant-
knight, he must blow that horn, and then will he make him ready
and come to him to do battle.  But, sir, I pray you, said the
damosel Linet, blow ye not the horn till it be high noon, for now
it is about prime, and now increaseth his might, that as men say
he hath seven men's strength.  Ah, fie for shame, fair damosel,
say ye never so more to me; for, an he were as good a knight as
ever was, I shall never fail him in his most might, for either I
will win worship worshipfully, or die knightly in the field.  And
therewith he spurred his horse straight to the sycamore tree, and
blew so the horn eagerly that all the siege and the castle rang
thereof.  And then there leapt out knights out of their tents and
pavilions, and they within the castle looked over the walls and
out at windows.

Then the Red Knight of the Red Launds armed him hastily, and two
barons set on his spurs upon his heels, and all was blood red,
his armour, spear and shield.  And an earl buckled his helm upon
his head, and then they brought him a red spear and a red steed,
and so he rode into a little vale under the castle, that all that
were in the castle and at the siege might behold the battle.