Shortly afterwards the Earl of Pace waits until Morgan le Fay isn’t in residence at Castle Prettyview, then burns it to the ground.  He gets help from four hundred of his friends, but hey.  Alisander would burn to death, but doesn’t, because Beatrice tells him to go stand in the garden, which is apparently fireproof.

Afterwards Beatrice and the Earl of Pace high-five, and Alisander announces that he’s going to stay in the ruins of the castle for the rest of the year, like Beatrice told him to.

Then Alice… shoot, Malory forgot he hasn’t mentioned Alice up to now.  He names her, which is kind of a thing.  Alice’s dad is Sir Ansirus, one of Launcelot’s cousins.  So she’s from Benwick.  Ansirus spends all his time on pilgrimages, back and forth between Benwick and Jerusalem, over and over again.  So people call him Duke Ansirus the Pilgrim, which is why Alice is known popularly as Alice the Lovely Pilgrim.  Okay?  We all clear?

Alice goes to Camelot.  In her pilgrimage she’s heard all about Alisander and how he’s loitering in the ruins of Castle Prettyview, and she announces to the knights of the Round Table and everyone that “what knight may overcome that knight that keepeth that piece of earth shall have me and all my lands.”

Alice’s motivation for this is entirely unexplained.  But all the unmarried knights are way into this challenge, because she’s passing fair and of great rents.  Huge tracts of land.  She goes out to the ruins of Castle Prettyview and sets up a pavilion for herself, to watch as Alisander jousts all comers.

First up: Sir Sagramore the Lusty!  This may be why he’s called the Lusty, because he’s first to answer Alice’s call. Long story short, Alisander dehorses him, Alice is impressed, and it occurs to her that maybe — just maybe — Sir Alisander is the one she wants.

“Can I see you without your helmet on?” she asked.

Alisander complies.  Compliance is kind of his thing, after all.

O sweet Jesus,” marvels Alice.  “You’re perfect! Thee must I love and never another.

“Really?  Cool,” says Alisander.  “Although… would you mind letting me see your face, too?”

Malory just assumed we’d all realize that Alice was wearing a wimple, that’s why he didn’t mention it sooner, he didn’t want to insult us.  Anyway, Alice pulls off the wimple, and the two of them stare longingly at one another and breathlessly recount to one another how they’re royalty for various kinds and how pretty each thinks the other is, and so on.

Their conversation keeps getting interrupted, though, by this whole string of knights who show up to challenge Alisander and win Alice.  Alisander quickly defeats them each in turn, but we get some decent knight names out of it: Sir Harsouse of Berbuse, Sir Hewgon, Sir Harvis of the Marches, Sir Vains, and Sir Perin of Montaine.  The last knight to show up is Sir Mordred, whom Malory has decided is no longer a good guy, but rather “the false knight,” which is a little out of left field.  Remember back in Book IX, when Mordred was an expert on chivalry, able to come to the defence of Sir Breunor?  Malory loved him some Mordred back then.

Anyway, Alisander is standing around, swooning over Alice just as she’s leaving for the day, and he’s so enamored of her that he wist not whether he were on horseback or on foot.  Mordred rides up, sees this, figures he can go for an easy win by just grabbing Alisander and dragging him out of the ruins of Castle Prettyview.

And Mordred would get away with it, too, except that Alice (who hasn’t actually left yet apparently) sees this happening, and commits the ultimate lady sacrifice, in Malory’s version of the world, by picking up a sword and actually whacking someone with it!  Specifically she pokes Alisander, which has the effect of knocking him out of this lovesick swoon he’s in, and prompting him to fight back against Mordred.  Mordred runs away, and everyone has a big laugh at his expense.

The next day Alisander jousts more guys, and more the day after that, and so on, so that by the time his year is finally up his joust-count is in the high three figures.

Then he and Alice go off and marry and live happily ever after and they have a son, Sir Bellengerus le Beuse, who grows up and turns out to be the actual guy to kill Mark, after Mark finally murders Tristram and Alisander both.  NB Mark would have to be in his eighties by the time this kid becomes a knight, but whatever.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION:  Google Translate and a little fiddling suggests that “Bellengerus le Beuse” should be read as Bellengerus the Cow-Pie.  Why or why not?


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Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book X, Chapter 39 — No Comments

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