Then the Lady Belle Isoult smiled very wonderfully upon Sir Tristram so that her face appeared to shine with a great illumination of love. And she said: “Tristram, I will go with thee whithersoever thou wilt. Yea, I would go with thee even to the grave, for I believe that I should be happy even there, so that thou wert lying beside me.”
Then Sir Tristram groaned in spirit and he said: “Isoult, what have I done, that I should always bring unhappiness upon thee?” But the Lady Belle Isoult spake very steadily, saying: “Never unhappiness, Tristram, but always happiness; for I have thy love for aye, and thou hast mine in the same measure, and in that is happiness, even in tears and sorrow, and never unhappiness.”
With that Sir Tristram kissed Belle Isoult upon the forehead, and then he lifted her up and carried her in his arms down the stairs of the tower and sat her upon her horse. And Bragwaine followed after, and Gouvernail lifted her up upon her horse.
[Sidenote: Sir Tristram taketh Belle Isoult away from Tintagel] Now all they of that castle were amazed beyond measure to find all those knights armed and prepared for battle so suddenly in their midst. And most of all were they filled with terror to find Sir Tristram at the head of these knights. Wherefore when Sir Tristram made demand that they should open the portcullis of the castle and let fall the drawbridge, the porters thereof dared not refuse him, but did as he said.
So Sir Tristram and his knights rode forth with the Lady Belle Isoult and Bragwaine and no one stayed them. And they rode into the forest, betaking their way toward a certain castle of Sir Tristram’s, which they reached in the clear dawning of the daytime.
And so Sir Tristram brought the Lady Belle Isoult away from Tintagel and into safety.
[Illustration: King Mark broods mischief]
How Sir Tristram and the Lady Belle Isoult returned to Cornwall and how they ended their days together.
And now remaineth to be told the rest of these adventures of Sir Tristram as briefly as may be.
For indeed I thought not, when I began this history, to tell you as much concerning him as I have done. But as I have entered into this history I have come so strongly to perceive how noble and true and loyal was the knighthood of Sir Tristram, that I could not forbear telling you of many things that I had not purposed to speak of.
Yet, as I have said before this, there are a great many adventures that I have not spoken of in this book. For I have told only those things that were necessary for to make you understand how it fared with him in his life.
So now shall be told those last things that concerned him.