Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XIX, Chapters 6 and 7
Shortly afterwards Launcelot and Guenever plan a night-time rendezvous. Lavaine thinks this is a bad idea, what with Sir Meliagrance the Recently Pardoned still hanging around Camelot just looking for an excuse to take Launcelot down a peg. Launcelot ignores him, though.
When Launcelot and Guenever meet, Launcelot’s down in the garden with a ladder and Guenever’s up in a second-story window in the castle infirmary. They whisper some pleasantries back and forth, and then Launcelot announces his intention to climb up to her.
“Careful!” warns Guenever, because a) the castle infirmary is full of sleeping knights, the ones who went with her on her ill-fated field trip, excepting Sir Pellas, and b) the infirmary windows are, for whatever reason, secured with heavy iron bars.
But Launcelot isn’t the kind of guy to let a simple barred window stand in his way! He shimmies up the ladder, puts his hands on the bars, and pulls.
“Now shall I prove my might for your love!” he says, and tugs so hard he rips the iron bars right out of the stone wall. He also tears up his hands pretty badly, throughout to the bone, but he can’t cry out in pain because of the sleeping knights.
Then the two of them go back to her bedroom for the night. The next morning Launcelot sneaks out early and gets his hand bandages up with help from Lavaine, while Guenever sleeps late. Sir Meliagrance just happens to wander into Guenever’s bedroom, to make sure she’s okay since she missed breakfast I guess.
When sees her lying there disheveled and Launcelot’s blood from his cut all over her sheets, Meliagrance immediately concludes that one of the nine wounded knights must be having an affair with Guenever. And is he ever smug about it! Finally he can revenge himself on Guenever’s sneaky not-being-his-prisoner that she did in the last story!
Guenever denies everything, of course. She calls in the wounded knights, all of whom are super huffy about the very idea that any of them would be so gauche as to sleep with Guenever. They suggest that Meliagrance put a pin in his accusations until they’re all healed up, and then he can pick which of them he wants to joust first.
“Away with your proud language!” cries Meliagrance. “You’re all wounded, so of course I can’t joust any of you.”
Launcelot comes in, curious about all the commotion. Meliagrance doesn’t notice his bandaged hand immediately, and instead takes Launcelot for a potential ally, pointing out for him the bloody sheets.
“Dick move,” says Launcelot, “rooting around through a lady’s bed like that. What were you expecting to find?”
Meliagrance turns around and gets all huffy, himself! He doesn’t like Launcelot’s tone!
Launcelot doesn’t like the implication that any of his comrade knights would sleep with Guenever! And he’s willing to joust with Meliagrance over it!
Meliagrance, backed into a corner, agrees to joust Launcelot. And just so there’s no hard feelings, he invites Launcelot back to his castle for the occasion.
Cut to Meliagrance’s castle, where Meliagrance is giving Launcelot a tour. Stables, great hall, kitchens, the dry well sixty feet deep, prison cells, bedrooms, chapel, and so forth. All pretty standard. When they arrive at the dry well (the highlight of the tour), Meliagrance suddenly shoves Launcelot forward from behind! Launcelot falls down the well!
Meliagrance returns to Camelot and steals Sir Lavaine’s horse, then starts promulgating the rumor that Launcelot has ridden off incognito to have strange adventures, like you do.
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XIX, Chapters 6 and 7 — No Comments
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