Michelant: Part 7

Still shocked by the murder committed on Escanor’s person, the Knights of the Round Table beg the king to resume his ordinary way of life; to respond to their wishes, he proposes to hold a great tournament at the next Pentecostal celebrations and he communicates his intentions to the queen who, according to custom, summons all the women and young ladies of the realm. The seneschal of Bamburgh, seeing everything arranged accordingly, no longer doubts their success; the friends of the princess present themselves before her and press Ayglin to marry her to Kay; but he refuses to do so under the pretext that this man is his mortal enemy; alleging that his niece had been entrusted her to him by his dying brother to marry her in the most honourable way, he manages in this way to remove all her supporters from her and he takes her to a neighbouring castle where he holds her captive, after having summoned a count of the land to come marry her straight away. Yonnet then has the men of the town assemble in a number of three thousand, to prevent this union bringing prejudice and ruin down on the country. This decision is only just taken when a young lady sent by Andrivete arrives, announcing that the count should come [xiv] the next day to marry her, but that she would rather die and begs her men to come save her. The seneschal then suggests Ayglin should leave, so that he can go to battle in the campaign; indeed she benefits from Ayglin’s departure on the hunt, and goes to the rendezvous when her escort runs away into the woods at the sight of a group who come to save her, while she flees, only in the company of two young ladies, towards the town whose people receive her with the greatest joy and promise to defend her. Her uncle vows to be revenged, in learning that she has taken refuge at Bamburgh with the seneschal, who has joined together all the citizens of the region to protect her and assure her rights through marriage with a powerful knight; he sends a messenger to his niece with the injunction to return with him and threatens the seneschal with his wrath, if he thinks of resisting; but he experiences a humiliating refusal. Angered, Ayglin assembles an army and comes to lay siege to Bamburgh where the inhabitants resist, vigorously supported by the men of the campaign. Kay, notified of these events, informs the king, who promises to go help the besieged people. Ayglin, seeing that he will fail in his enterprise, then employs tactics. He has a seal made with the arms of the seneschal and sends a false letter to Kay, so as to warn him that Andrivete has forgotten him and that she has avoided him to marry a man of base extraction, without their knowledge. Kay is upset at this news and curses the inconstancy of women; he intends to send a messenger to Bamburgh to have the most recent news, and during this time the damsel stations herself on the way secretly in order to get herself to the court of Arthur. On the way she meets a courteous knight, Espinogre, who goes to Carlion to take part in the festivities that are going to take place; she tells him that is not the place to which she is making her way and they reluctantly separate when she meets another knight, Dinadan, who professes the greatest indifference and a profound mistrust of the fair sex; she addresses him with sharp reproofs; Dinadan, to defend himself, replies that she has an equally disagreeable character as Kay, and that they would get on perfectly together and should meet since Kay has just been deserted by his Northumberland beloved.

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Filed under introduction, language, Michelant, nineteenth-century French, scholarship, summaries, translation

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