Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Ivanhoe is easily the best-known Scott novel, probably because it became a celebrated Hollywood epic in 1952. This celebrity reflects Scott’s success in creating a heroic image that remains current. Yet the novel is rich in illuminating detail and is beautifully constructed; and, although research has found it inaccurate, it established the genre of fantasy romance.
The novel portrays the return of the Saxon Wilfred Ivanhoe from the Holy Land to his alienated ancestral estate. It is the early thirteenth century, with King Richard I (or Richard the LionHearted) held captive in Austria. In his absence, his brother John has taken the throne; he uses bribery and extortion to secure his position and intends to suppress the Saxon minority by force.
The first major event is a tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, attended by all the principal nobility. John plans to showcase his power, a propaganda move. Yet events go against him. On the first day, his champions fall in man-to-man combat to a masked warrior, the Disinherited Knight, who awards his winnings to the Saxon lady Rowena. On the second day, in group combat, the Disinherited Knight wins again, though aided by another unknown, The Black Sluggard. Furthermore, a Saxon yeoman archer beats the Prince’s Norman marksmen. At the end of the tournament, Ivanhoe collapses from concealed wounds and is taken for treatment to a rich Jewish merchant, Isaac of York, and his beautiful daughter...
(The entire section is 533 words.)
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Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Night is drawing near when Prior Aymer of Jorvaux and the haughty Templar Brian de Bois-Guilbert overtake a swineherd and a fool by the roadside and ask directions to Rotherwood, the dwelling of Cedric the Saxon. The answers of these serfs so confuse the Templar and the prior that they would have gone far afield were it not for a pilgrim from the Holy Land whom they encounter shortly afterward. The pilgrim is also traveling to Rotherwood, and he brings them safely to Cedric’s hall, where they claim lodging for the night. It is the custom of those rude days to afford hospitality to all travelers, so Cedric gives a grudging welcome to the Norman lords.
There is a feast at Rotherwood that night. On the dais beside Cedric the Saxon sits his ward, the lovely Lady Rowena, descendant of the ancient Saxon princes. It is the old man’s ambition to wed her to Athelstane of Coningsburgh, who comes from the line of King Alfred. Because his son, Wilfred of Ivanhoe, fell in love with Lady Rowena, Cedric banished him, and the young knight went with King Richard to Palestine. None in the banquet hall that night suspects that the pilgrim is Ivanhoe himself.
Another traveler who claims shelter at Rotherwood that night is an aged Jew, Isaac of York. Hearing some orders the Templar mutters to his servants at the feast’s end, Ivanhoe warns the Jew that Bois-Guilbert has designs on his moneybag or his person. Without taking leave of their host the next...
(The entire section is 1247 words.)
Ivanhoe is an excellent example of the historical novel, as developed by Scott and defined in his numerous prefaces and introductions to his Waverley novels. Scott reconstructs the fascinating struggle between the Normans and the Saxons. Into this cultural conflict, Scott presents fictional characters who participate in actual historical events, among actual historical figures. These characters reflect the effect that the historical events had upon individuals in medieval England.
Ivanhoe and the other Waverley novels brought a new perspective to historical writing. No longer would dull chronicles and lifeless collections of fact serve as models for historians; instead, a new kind of history was born that seriously recreated the spirit of the time. Nineteenth- century historians such as Thomas Carlyle and W. H. Prescott recognized that Scott had changed people's very awareness of history.
(The entire section is 134 words.)
Chapter 1 Summary
Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe is set in Yorkshire during the reign of Richard I. The forests in this part of twelfth century England are occupied by outlaws, and the friction between Norman feudal lords and Saxon franklins is exacerbated by the long absence of the king.
Richard has placed the governance of the country in the hands of his ambitious brother John and gone to fight in the Crusades. Political conspiracies are dividing Normans, while the constitutional rights of Saxons crumble.
Cedric the Saxon is a noble with enough power and wealth to maintain his independence for the time being, and the two thralls who sit in the open forest glade are loyal to him. One in rough clothing is looking after Cedric's swine. The other, fantastically dressed and with bells on his cap, is Cedric's jester. Both wear metal collars around their necks to identify them by name and to show that they are slaves who belong to Cedric.
Wamba the jester teases the Gurth the swineherd as Gurth's dog gathers Cedric's hogs for the long walk home. Fangs the dog has been lamed according to a Norman law forbidding Saxons from owning dogs able to hunt—which also makes it hard for the dogs to herd livestock.
Gurth worries that they will be returning late; there are not only outlaws on the road but also Cedric's Norman neighbors, who steal Saxon animals with impunity. Wamba notes that while pigs live they are Saxons and are called by the Saxon word "swine," but when they come to the dinner table, they become Normans and are called by their French name, "pork." Wamba's satiric wordplay signals his role as the fool who knows more than anyone can guess from his clownishness.
When Gurth complains of the villainy of a local lord, Reginald Front-de-Boeuf (meaning "ox face" or "bull head"), Wamba playfully reminds him that such talk about Front-de-Boeuf or his fellow Norman courtier Philip de Malvoisin (meaning "bad neighbor") is treason. Wamba muses that he must indeed be a fool, for only a wise man would turn Gurth in.
As the herd is finally gathered, Gurth and Wamba hear horses on the road. Wamba is for getting a look at the riders to see who they are, but Gurth wishes to avoid trouble and is anxious to get away. He points out to Wamba that there is a storm coming and that it will likely overtake them before they get home. Wamba concedes and joins Gurth and Fangs as they drive the herd back...
(The entire section is 427 words.)
Chapter 2 Summary
Wamba's dawdling slows the progress of the herd, and they are overtaken on the road by the riders they first heard in the forest. There are ten men on horseback, eight of whom seem to be the servants of the leading pair. One is a high-ranking Cistercian monk whose robes somewhat follow the design of a monkish habit but are made of expensive fabrics and luxuriously trimmed. He rides a mule but has an Andalusian horse, a baggage mule, and several servants accompanying him. He is described as well fed, good humored, and able to put a suitable expression on his face as the situation demands.
His fellow traveler is a Templar, permanently sun burnt, scarred in one eye, and wearing a monastic cloak over chain mail. He is followed by his war horse and squires, who carry his weapons, and two exotic slaves acquired in the East.
Gurth recognizes the monk as the Prior of Jorveaulx, who has a reputation inconsistent with the policies of the Cistercian order. Prior Aymer is popular with nobles and common people because of his generosity in both absolving sins and dispensing charity. Nevertheless, he is Norman, and when he asks Gurth and Wamba where he and his companions might find a lord to put them up for the night, they don't immediately answer.
Prior Aymer asks again, in English rather than Norman French, where two humble servants of the church can find hospitality. The irony of the prior's self-description is not lost on Wamba, and the jester suggests that they go to a nearby hermitage. Aymer, however, is looking for more comfortable lodgings and asks for directions to Cedric's hall.
Gurth angers the Templar with his reluctance to tell them the way, but Prior Aymer intervenes when the exchange turns violent and presses Wamba for directions. The jester finally describes for them the road and and an upcoming signpost and which way to turn. Following his directions will take them to a priory some miles away rather than to Cedric's, but Wamba hopes that he and Gurth will be safely home before the trick is discovered.
As they ride, Aymer and the Templar argue about the proper treatment of Saxons. Fresh from the Crusades, the Templar is for meeting all resistance with violence; the Prior points out that they would never have gotten directions, let alone hospitality, by thrashing Cedric's thralls.
Aymer describes Cedric as proud and fierce and capable of contending with his neighbors,...
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Chapter 3 Summary
Cedric sits impatiently on the dais of his hall, his household at the table ready to eat. He scolds the dogs and grumbles to the servants. Rowena is late, and Cedric will wait for her even though he is hungry and fretting over the overdue return of Gurth and the pigs. He prizes Gurth and hopes to promote him someday, and his swine are valuable property.
In his irritation, Cedric begins to mull the likelihood that Gurth and the herd have been carried away by thieving outlaws or thieving barons. Primarily, however, he misses Wamba, who he learns is with Gurth and so must have been carried off too.
Contemplating his revenge aloud, Cedric defies his enemies "old and childless as I am." The declaration leaves Cedric suddenly sad, because in fact, he has disowned his only son Wilfred for being too pro-Norman.
Cedric's reverie is interrupted by the arrival of his Norman guests. Prior Aymer and the knight Brian de Bois-Guilbert are announced and Cedric welcomes them reluctantly, unwilling to violate the ancient rules of hospitality but unhappy about having to entertain his enemies. Orders are issued to set places for them and their retinue. Rooms are made up for them, and the best wine is brought out.
Cedric is aware of the reputations of both guests and sends a message to Rowena that she might want to skip her appearance and eat in her rooms. The maid reminds Cedric that Rowena is unlikely to pass up a chance to hear first-hand news from Palestine, to which Cedric replies with uncharacteristic restraint, although he is angered by the servant's impertinence. The maid belongs to Rowena, and Cedric does not assert any authority over his ward.
Being the last descendant of King Alfred, Rowena is the legitimate heir to the Saxon throne, as far as Cedric is concerned, and his fealty belongs entirely to her. He serves Rowena and provides her his protection, but—even though she grew up in his house—he does not believe he can tell her what to do.
Cedric muses on the bloody absurdity of the Crusades and the storytelling of "dissolute crusaders or hypocritical pilgrims" from that "fatal land." Nevertheless, he also hopes to hear news from Palestine. It is there that Wilfred went to serve the Norman king Richard the Lion Heart.
Cedric angrily resolves not to be any more concerned for Wilfred than for any other crusader. The hall doors open and the guests...
(The entire section is 421 words.)
Chapter 4 Summary
Prior Aymer and Sir Brian have changed out of their riding clothes and into more sumptuous attire. The Palmer's simple, ragged clothes contrast sharply with the other guests, and he enters almost unnoticed. Seeing that the servants' table is overcrowded, the Palmer stands by the chimney, drying himself while Cedric welcomes the others in Saxon English.
Aymer chides Cedric for his stubborn (and provocative) adherence to old ways but is conciliatory, appreciating the opportunity of Cedric's famous hospitality. Sir Brian declares that he speaks only the king's language—French, although he understands English well enough.
Cedric's irritation soon finds a target with the late arrival of Gurth and Wamba. The jester argues that the fault lies with Gurth's dog Fang, who failed to round up the herd in a timely way. When Cedric tells Gurth to get a new dog, Wamba argues that the fault is not Fang's but Malvoisin's for employing the man who lamed the dog. Cedric's anger is thus safely redirected onto a familiar source of annoyance, his noble Norman neighbor, whom he detests.
Rowena is announced just as the feast is served, and Sir Brian concedes his wager with Aymer. Perceiving Sir Brian's fascination, Rowena veils herself, and Cedric reprimands his guest for staring. Sir Brian apologizes, as humbly as his pride will allow him.
Aymer intervenes with some diplomatic flattery and invites Cedric and Rowena to travel with them to the impending tournament as Ashby. He expects that they will also attend this huge annual event. Cedric declines their company, boasting that he is still powerful enough to travel without such an escort.
Rowena deflects Sir Brian's increasingly drunken compliments by asking for news from Palestine, to which he replies that he has nothing important to report except a truce with Saladin.
From his place in the jester's chair among Cedric's many dogs, Wamba remarks that these truces are always supposed to last fifty years, which would make him more than one hundred and fifty years old if he counted all the truces he has seen in his lifetime. Sir Brian predicts that the jester will certainly never enjoy an old age if he goes around giving mischievous directions to travelers, as he had earlier that night. Cedric scolds Wamba for his discourtesy in misdirecting the guests, but Wamba pleads a simple case of confusion between left and right.
(The entire section is 430 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
The porter returns a moment later with the supplemental news, whispered to Cedric, that the stranger is a Jew named Isaac of York. Overhearing, Wabma suggests that Gurth the swineherd usher Isaac in, which causes Prior Aymer to genuflect and Sir Brian to register outrage at the thought of a defender of the Holy Sepulchre being approached by a "dog Jew."
Wamba wryly notes that the Templars seem to prefer the Jews' inheritance to their company. Cedric, however, maintains that his hospitality must be extended to all, although Isaac can certainly be accommodated apart from the rest of the diners.
Unable to find a place at the crowded servants' table where he is clearly unwanted, Isaac is at last approached by the Palmer, who relinquishes to him his place by the chimney. After loading a plate of food from the table and delivering it to the drenched and miserable old man, the Palmer moves across the room to a place nearer the dais, where Cedric and the prior are discussing the virtues of Saxon English.
Aymer praises the refinements of Norman French, which Cedric declares he has no use for. Sir Brian is distracted from his admiration of Rowena long enough to assert that French is the language of the hunt and of war.
Cedric recollects his youth on the battlefield of Northallerton, when the Saxon warriors fought victoriously without the Norman crie de guerre. Warming to his role as host, Cedric toasts the crusaders of England regardless of race or language. Wamba suggests that King Richard should have taken "a fool's advice" and stayed home.
Rowena prods Sir Brian into admitting that Saxons were serving bravely under Richard in the Holy Land, although he holds them second to the knights, like himself, who had long professionally defended their holdings in the Palestine. At this the Palmer declares that Richard's English knights were inferior to none and that the point was proven in a friendly challenge between the two parties.
Sir Brian reluctantly admits that he was unhorsed (through the fault of his horse) by the knight of Ivanhoe in that tournament. He issues a new challenge for a rematch with Ivanhoe, should he ever return to England, which the Palmer pledges that Ivanhoe will be sure to meet.
The pledges—a reliquary from the Palmer and a gold chain from the Templar—are put into Aymer's safekeeping. Sensing a new rise in tensions, the prior decides that...
(The entire section is 467 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
The guests will all be spending the stormy night in Cedric's mansion. A servant assigned to show the Palmer to his room is joined by Wamba in his eagerness to know all the Palmer knows of Ivanhoe, for the estranged son of Cedric is called Wilfrid of Ivanhoe.
The Palmer declines to discuss "in the kitchen" what is "prohibited in the Hall," much disappointing the domestic staff. The servant takes his revenge by lodging the Palmer in a tiny room next to Isaac the Jew. Rowena's maid, however, intercepts them, bringing Rowena's summons to the Palmer.
Rowena's rooms are large and elaborately decorated compared to the rest of Cedric's Saxon warrior lodge. Her maids retreat to the other side of the room as she greets the Palmer. She also is interested in hearing news of Ivanhoe, whom they believe to have been wounded and left behind in Palestine, persecuted by Norman knights.
The Palmer pleads ignorance beyond a belief that Ivanhoe is returning soon to England and that Rowena herself has a better idea of his "chance of happiness" on his return. Rowena wishes that he were safe in England and able to participate in the tournament. She worries that Athelstane, a relative of hers, will win. Then she asks if Ivanhoe's appearance has been altered much by disease; the Palmer is unsure. Rowena tips the Palmer for his information and sends him back to find his room.
The Palmer is content to be lodged between Isaac in the room to his left and Gurth in the room to his right. He does not sleep but rises at dawn and goes into Isaac's room. Isaac wakes terrified from a nightmare, and the Palmer warns him to leave the house immediately and travel as quickly as he can. Understanding the eastern language of Sir Brian's attendants, the Palmer has overheard the Templar's order to overtake Isaac on the road once he has left Cedric's land and carry him off to the house of a neighboring baron.
Isaac collapses in terror, fearing the torture he expects will be used to extort a ransom for his life. The Palmer offers to escort Isaac through the forest to avoid Sir Brian's men. Initially grateful, Isaac soon becomes suspicious, believing that the Palmer must have the same end in mind.
Assured by the Palmer, Isaac goes along with his rescuer to Gurth's room. The Palmer orders Gurth to let them out by the postern gate, but Gurth is not willing to leave his bed. Wamba wanders in and is surprised by the Palmer's...
(The entire section is 844 words.)
Chapter 7 Summary
King Richard is in foreign captivity. In the absence of the king, Prince John is consolidating power and attracting to his court the more decadent and vicious of English nobility. The forests are full of outlaws, the economy is in shambles, disease is rampant. A tournament of skilled knights, therefore, provides English people of all classes some much needed entertainment.
The Passage of Arms, held at Ashby in Leicester, is a first-class tournament drawing a massive crowd that includes Prince John himself. The top-ranked contenders are Cedric's kinsman Athelstane and his Norman neighbors Reginald Front-de-Beouf and Philipe de Malvoisin, as well as Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert.
In the place of highest honor is John's seat, and opposite to it is the place reserved for the Queen of Love and Beauty. The galleries are arranged by rank so that disputes among spectators jostling for the best seats are settled by men-at-arms and marshals of the field.
Isaac of York, no longer masquerading as a poor man, is now dressed in luxurious clothes and accompanied by his daughter. He is aiming for an advantageous pair of seats and is challenged by an impoverished Norman gentleman, who is quickly supported by bystanders.
Isaac's position is much different from when he was forced to beg shelter from Cedric, because here he is somewhat protected by many influential people who need access to his money and don't dare alienate him. His daughter Rebecca is also richly dressed and dripping in expensive jewelry. Her beauty attracts the eye of Prince John and the jealousy of women in the crowd, who envy her as much as they despise her.
Prior Aymer reminds the prince that while Rebecca may be beautiful, she is religiously speaking off limits. John brushes off the warning, noting that he has a little problem with greed, too, which is generally overlooked.
John declares that his "Prince of supplies" and Rebecca will have seats among the privileged and calls to Athelstane's party to make room for them. John is obviously well acquainted with Isaac and depends on his good will for funding his ambitions.
Athelstane, called by his friends the Unready because of his tendency toward delayed reaction, simply stares at John, which the prince takes for Saxon impertinence. John orders one of his mercenary attendants to poke Athelstane with a lance, but Cedric lops the lance's point off with his sword. The...
(The entire section is 558 words.)
Chapter 8 Summary
Flush with his success at crowd pleasing, John suggests that Rebecca should be elected Queen of Love and Beauty. The prince's impulsiveness and political deafness are clearly a source of concern for his followers. Prior Aymer is exasperated and Waldemar Fitzurse—an important but sober-minded ally—sternly warns John of the damage such an action would do to his "projects." John backs down and makes light of it, and De Bracy, his mercenary man-at-arms, suggests that the winner of the tournament be allowed to choose.
The first day of the tournament is to feature five knights, chosen by lot, against all comers in individual combat. The winners of the first round would then face the next five challengers and so on until a champion had managed to break five lances—in other words, to defeat five challengers.
The second day would be a general combat open to all knights that would end whenever John should declare a winner. The Queen of Love and Beauty would crown the winner. The third day would include a variety of contests such as archery. The tournament itself is being used as a public relations tool for enhancing John's popularity as he seeks to undermine Richard's support in England.
Five knights (chosen by lot) ride onto the field—or lists—to await their opponents. Among the challengers are Sir Brian, Malvoisin, and Front-de-Boeuf, who easily dismount their antagonists. After several rounds, these three remain undefeated, although they are personally unpopular with the spectators.
Cedric hates to see his Norman neighbors so triumphant and tries to prod Athelstane into joining the lists, but the unready knight is uninterested. The crowd begins to lose its enthusiasm, murmuring nostalgically about how much better chivalry was in the old days, and John starts issuing orders for the banquet, anticipating Sir Brian's certain victory.
Then a new challenger, calling himself the Disinherited Knight, arrives. He seems capable and talented but young and undersized compared to the gigantic Front-de-Boeuf and the imposing Templar. The crowd takes him to their heart, but they are dismayed when he chooses Sir Brian for his opponent and opts for mortal combat. He proves, however, to be a match for Sir Brian, who is unhorsed, and the Templar's humiliation is made especially galling by the crowd's gleeful cheering.
Sir Brian, prevented by the marshals from continuing the combat by...
(The entire section is 430 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
The Disinherited Knight, having won the tournament's first event, declines to remove his helmet to receive his prize. For reasons of his own, he does not wish to reveal his identity.
Prince John is annoyed with the knight for having beaten his favored champions and has no patience with the man's mysterious pretensions. John's friends and advisers cannot guess the identity of the knight, although Fitzurse suggests that it might be one of those straggling home from the Crusade. John panics at the thought that it might be Richard himself until Fitzurse reminds him that Richard is huge.
The knight is awarded a magnificent war horse, which he proceeds to test ride around the field to the delight of the spectators. He is recalled by John and told that he must now choose the Queen of Love and Beauty, pointing out to the knight the perennial queen—the daughter of Fitzurse.
John shrewdly hopes that the knight will choose someone else, thus alienating the powerful Fitzurse from the popular knight while cultivating for himself the good graces of Fitzurse and, especially, his daughter. Politically maladroit as usual, John only succeeds in offending Fitzurse by highlighting the slight to his daughter when the knight bestows the honor on Rowena. John understands the language of flattery but not the language of chivalry.
When John gallops sulkily over to greet the new queen and invite her to the evening's banquet, Cedric replies that he and Rowena speak only Saxon and would not understand the language spoken at the banquet well enough to participate. She will, however, gladly do her part as queen at the next day's event, and Cedric places the ceremonial coronet on her head.
The Disinherited Knight also pleads fatigue and refuses John's invitation. John retorts that he isn't used to having his invitations turned down, but that "we will endeavor to digest our banquet as we may."
Turning away, John notices the boastful archer who had so annoyed him earlier in the day. Returning John's threats with a smile, the archer expresses a determination to stay and see how the local archers perform. John gives a sideways reply by telling his entourage, "Woe betide him unless his skill should prove some apology for his insolence." Waldemar Fitzurse shrugs at the prince's incomprehension of his own insolence and the corrosive effect it has on his popularity, so necessary for John's ambitions.
(The entire section is 471 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
Retiring for the night, the Disinherited Knight is swarmed by squires and pages eager to discover what Prince John could not—his identity. The knight, however, declines their offers of service and relies only on his own attendant, a "clownish" character half smothered in furs that obscure his identity as well.
He has won not only the tournament but also the horses and armor of the knights he defeated. These arrive with the squires of the defeated knights, who wish to know whether he intends to keep the prizes or exercise the option of allowing the knights to random them back.
To four of the squires, the Disinherited Knight declares that the prizes belong with their "valiant masters," and that being truly disinherited, he would much prefer the ransom money. He generously returns half the payment to each of the squires and entrusts them to divide the money among themselves and their fellow attendants.
To the squire of Sir Brian, he replies that he cannot accept the prize or the ransom until they are able to settle their quarrel in mortal combat. The squire objects that Sir Brian would never accept the return of the horse or armor, which would be unchivalrous. The knight therefore declares that if Sir Brian refuses them, the squire may keep them.
When the squires are gone, the knight addresses his attendant, who turns out to be Gurth the swineherd. Gurth is enjoying masquerading as a Norman squire-at-arms and is amused to have been close to Cedric without being recognized, but he fears being discovered. The knight tips him ten gold pieces, and the swineherd suddenly finds himself rich by his own standard. The knight then orders Gurth to take the ransom money to Isaac in the village of Ashby and allow Isaac to reimburse himself for the borrowed horse and armor.
Gurth objects that Isaac will take advantage and that it wouldn't be right to allow a Jew to enrich himself at the expense of a Christian. The knight, however, insists, and Gurth goes on his errand, plotting to outfox his master's creditor.
In Ashby, Rebecca watches her father pace and fret over the humiliation of the day. He is galled at the cruelty of being unable to retaliate. Rebecca advises him not to think about it, and she reminds him that the English are dependent on the Jews, pointing out the irony of the festival having been financed by Jews. Isaac laments that in providing the Disinherited Knight with his...
(The entire section is 658 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
Having left the village, Gurth begins his journey back to the knight's lodgings through a dark forest lane. The distant sounds of revelry from Ashby bring to Gurth's mind the large number of attendants, jesters, minstrels, and assorted hucksters—most of whom would be drunk and any of whom might be thieves—who are gathered in the area and might be lying in wait in the forest.
His fears are soon confirmed when four outlaws ambush him and offer to "ease" him" of his burden." Gurth is not willing to give up his and his master's money so easily, but he expresses a wish that he had a weapon to defend himself with. Rather than take his purse, the outlaws drag him along to a clearing deeper in the forest, where they are joined by two more outlaws. The whole gang is masked.
Gurth is interrogated by the thieves, who although rough and intent on taking Gurth's money seem to find amusement in the interview. Gurth admits to carrying thirty zecchins of his own, which the thieves declare must be forfeited since no Saxon with thirty zecchins should leave a village sober. Gurth says that he has saved the money to buy his freedom, to which the thieves say a bit of ale would have been freedom enough. Gurth replies that he is willing to buy his release from the thieves with the money he has saved.
The lead outlaw guesses that the purse holds more than Gurth has admitted and takes the purse, asking Gurth his master's name. The outlaws know about the Disinherited Knight's performance at the tournament and want to know his identity, but Gurth refuses to betray the knight. The outlaw asks where the money came from and how much is in the bag. Gurth answers truthfully, detailing the ransom payments and the knight's refusal to accept the Templar's prize.
When asked why he was in Ashby with his master's money, Gurth describes his errand to Isaac, the price he paid, and Rebecca's restoration of the money. The thieves find the episode too incredible to believe, but after counting the money in the bag they find it tallies with Gurth's story; Rebecca's embroidered purse with Hebrew lettering bolsters his story.
Gurth breaks free and grabs a quarter staff for a weapon, reluctant to leave without the knight's money. He knocks the chief outlaw down but is recaptured. The outlaw, however, argues that the Disinherited Knight has too much in common with the outlaws, including their enemies, and that they must show at...
(The entire section is 540 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
The second day of the tournament begins with the Disinherited Knight leading one side of the general combat and Sir Brian leading the other. To Cedric's surprise, Athelstane chooses to participate on the side of Sir Brian.
Cedric intends Athelstane to marry Rowena as they are the last two descendants of the Saxon king Alfred, and Athelstane considers the betrothal all but official. He is annoyed with the Disinherited Knight's having chosen Rowena to be the Queen of Love and Beauty and hopes to make the knight "feel the weight of his battle axe." Prince John's best knights also have joined on the side of the Templar.
Because the general combat is fought with real weapons and is actually more dangerous than individual combat, a herald reads out a long list of rules intended to prevent the melee from turning into an actual bloodbath. Each side is evenly matched in two rows. At a signal, the front ranks gallop toward each other and crash, lance against shield, followed by the second rank.
As the dust clears, those who have lost their horses and can still walk seek others who are also on foot to fight. Those still mounted drop their splintered lances and continue to fight with swords. The disabled try to stanch their bleeding while avoiding being trampled. The knights' plumes and silks, not to mention the knights themselves, are slashed and bloody, a thrilling sight for the ladies in the crowd who shout encouragement.
The Templar and the Disinherited Knight are repeatedly prevented from meeting on the field by other eager knights hoping to be the one to take out the leader of the opposing party. As the ranks of knights thin, they are finally able to find each other, and their furious fighting excites the crowd with admiration.
Front-de-Boeuf and Athelstane have inflicted extensive damage to the party of the Disinherited Knight, and both decide to come to the assistance of Sir Brian. The war horse he won the day before is in better shape than the others, and for a while the Disinherited Knight is able to fend off all three. The nobles call for John to end the combat, but John enjoys seeing the impudent knight outnumbered and certain to be beaten.
At this point, a large knight in black armor who has failed to distinguish himself so far gallops over and sweeps Front-de-Boeuf from his horse, then grabs Athelstane's battle-axe out of his hand and knocks him on the helmet. Leaving the...
(The entire section is 549 words.)
Chapter 13 Summary
Wilfrid, knight of Ivanhoe, takes his name from the fiefdom, or barony, assigned to him by King Richard, which in his absence has been given to Front-de-Boeuf by Prince John. De Bracy notes that Front-de-Boeuf had better prepare to return Ivanhoe to its previous owner. John's followers are quick to support the prince's right to reassign the properties of the crusaders, but John is uneasy about the return of one of Richard's devoted (and dangerous) minions.
Fitzurse assures John that Ivanhoe is fatally wounded and has been carried off by his friends, presumably by Cedric and Rowena. John asks for information about Rowena, and discovering that she is a wealthy landowner, he offers her to De Bracy—being underage, Rowena does not have the right to refuse if the prince chooses a husband for her.
As John finishes ordering an irresistible invitation to Cedric's party to attend the night's banquet, an urgent message from the king of France is delivered to him. "The Devil is unchained," it states, meaning that Richard has obtained release from his captors and may turn up in England at any time.
John is terrified because his plots are advanced enough to condemn him but not far enough to allow him to supplant Richard on his return. Fitzurse urges that the tournament be cut short and John's allies consolidated in York as soon as possible.
There is still one more day of events, however, and John is still fixated on the insolent archer. The archery events are moved forward to the present afternoon and the rest of the tournament cancelled. John also insists that the evening's banquet go on as planned.
Seeing the archer standing by, John asks him why he has not entered the contest. The archer replies that John might not like it if the prize had to be given a third time to someone out of favor with the prince.
The archer's name is Locksley, and John proposes a wager—he'll add money to the prize (a horn) if Locksley wins, but if the archer loses, he will be stripped and whipped with bowstrings. If he refuses to enter the contest, his gear will be destroyed and he will be expelled as a coward. Locksley notes that it hardly seems fair, especially since the other contestants are the best in the region.
The target is extremely difficult and a yeoman named Hubert is the only one to land his arrows in the inner ring. John gleefully goads Locksley, who proposes that if he can outshoot...
(The entire section is 621 words.)
Chapter 14 Summary
The banquet is lavish, and Prince John has invited influential Danes and Saxons as well as Normans in the hope of winning their support with an unusual show of courtesy. Cedric and Athelstane attend, although Rowena stays away.
John restrains his annoyance and manages for a while to be a good host. The Normans poke fun among themselves at the Saxon's sensible but unfashionable clothes, their unrefined manners, and their reputation for gluttony and drunkenness, but John is following the advice of his killjoy counselor Fitzurse in trying to please the Saxons.
John raises a toast to Wilfrid, but Cedric declares that he will not drink to honor his disobedient son, whom he has disowned for his attachment to Richard. Amused at the rift between father and son and the ironic cause of it, John responds that Cedric won't mind then that the fiefdom of Ivanhoe, which Richard gave to Wilfrid, is given by John to Front-de-Boeuf.
After the initial insult, a flurry of anti-Saxon witticisms from John's followers enrage Cedric, and Fitzurse tries to defuse the situation with a reminder to John. The prince, remembering that he is supposed to be courting the Saxons' favor, dismisses the rude remarks as harmless teasing not intended to offend and replaces his toast to Wilfrid with a toast to Cedric.
Following up with a toast to Athelstane, who is enjoying the abundance of food and doesn't mind an opportunity to quaff another ale, John goads Cedric into raising a toast of his own to some Norman he finds worthy. Fitzurse whispers to Cedric that he should smooth things over by making the toast to John. Cedric raises his cup to Richard the Lion Heart.
John himself waffles between drinking the toast or refusing it. To decline to drink to the king would be impolitic, even for one who is conspiring to seize the throne for himself. The courtiers lift and lower their cups in confusion. The awkward moment passes, and Cedric departs with Athelstane and a number of other offended Saxons.
When Prior Aymer also excuses himself, noting that he must start for home that night, John realizes that the mood is unfavorable and his faction is in danger of breaking up. Fitzurse assures him that he and De Bracy will rally the departing nobles. Out of John's hearing, Fitzurse vents to De Bracy his frustrations in counseling a cowardly and erratic prince who fumbles his part no matter what the occasion.
(The entire section is 410 words.)
Chapter 15 Summary
Waldemar Fitzurse is a masterful political whip, and he promptly and efficiently rounds up John's faltering followers by renewing promises, passing out money, dismissing Richard's return as highly unlikely, and reminding them of all they stand to gain in standing by John. Richard's position, he argues, is so weak in England that he would not be able to counter a coup even if he did return.
Tired but satisfied, Fitzurse heads to his rooms and runs into De Bracy, who is dressed as a yeoman. Fitzurse is not amused, fearing that now this ally is going off to engage in antics that might undo his hard work. De Bracy counters that they both know John will make a terrible king, serving the ambitions of his advisers: Fitzurse craves power and De Bracy pleasure.
The disguised nobleman reveals that he is going to "get me a wife . . . after the tribe of Benjamin." He relates to Fitzurse a badly mangled Old Testament story he has heard from Prior Aymer in which the Pope anachronistically appears and directs a tribe of ancient Israelites to carry off the ladies of their choice from a convenient tournament. He intends to follow their example and kidnap Rowena.
Fitzurse is horrified. To offend Cedric by abducting his daughter is to alienate the majority of the people in the region and would almost certainly ruin all his plans. De Bracy, however, is determined, and he believes his disguise will prevent the blame from falling on him. It would be natural enough for the Saxons to charge the local outlaws with the crime, especially if the criminals are dressed like the outlaws. De Bracy and his men will carry Rowena off as far as a nearby convent, then De Bracy will appear next day as the proverbial knight in shining armor and "rescue" her from the faux outlaws. He will sweep her off to Front-de-Beouf's castle and marry her before her family can find her. He seems to take her cooperation for granted.
Such a plan is far too complex for De Bracy to have invented, and Fitzurse presses him to admit that Sir Brian was the genius behind it. Sir Brian, in fact, is engaged to help by guarding Rowena at the convent while De Bracy goes home to change from his yeoman's costume into his nobleman's clothes.
Fitzurse wonders how De Bracy expects to retrieve the lady once she is under the Templar's "guardianship." Fitzurse doesn't believe that Sir Brian would dare cast aside his honor as a knight of the Temple and injure...
(The entire section is 514 words.)
Chapter 16 Summary
The "sluggard" knight who came to Wilfrid's assistance at the tournament has traveled north through the woods and gotten lost in Yorkshire. Tired and hungry, he cannot tell which path is the most likely to take him back to the road, so he leaves the decision to his horse. Allowed to pick his own way, the weary horse sets off in the direction of a nearby hermitage.
The hermit's hut is made of logs and stands beside a stone fountain and ruined chapel in an isolated forest glade. The Black Knight is relieved because hermits are bound to offer hospitality to travelers in need.
Knocking on the door of the hut, the Black Knight is at first ignored by the hermit and then told to keep going. Surprised and unwilling to be unaccommodated, the knight appeals to the hermit's religious obligations, but the hermit says he has no food or fodder to share.
The knight then asks to be shown the way to the road, but the hermit says he's getting behind in his prayers and can't spare the time. He starts to call out a series of complex directions through dangerous geographical terrain, which prompts the knight to threaten to break the door down if the hermit doesn't open up and give him a place to stay the night. The hermit replies that if he is forced to defend himself, the knight will be sorry. The knight, who is a large and powerful man, kicks the door, which rocks the hut, and the hermit at last admits him.
The hermit has two large dogs, a torch in one hand, and a club in the other. Seeing that his visitor is a formidable knight, however, he welcomes him and claims that he was afraid he might be a robber; the forest is full of outlaws. Silently, each man sums the other up as the most physically powerful looking man he has ever seen.
The Black Knight asks about food and lodging for himself and his horse, and the hermit answers by pointing at two corners of the hut and retrieving a plate of dried peas. When the knight brings in his horse and blankets him with his own cloak, the hermit is moved enough to provide some hay from a hidden stash. Sitting down to their dried peas, the two men remove helmet and hood so they may see each other as they eat.
The knight suspects that the bluff and brawny monk is more used to sirloin than peas and asks for liquor to wash down the meal. The hermit gives him water from the fountain and counters the knight's doubts by claiming that such holy refreshments are...
(The entire section is 554 words.)
Chapter 17 Summary
The hermit and the knight engage in a musical duel. The knight accurately assesses the rather battered condition of the harp, demonstrating his degree of familiarity with the instrument. He then asks the monk whether he would prefer a sirvente, a lai, or a ballad—indicating his ability to sing in a variety of styles and languages.
The hermit declares that he is English through and through, and so was his patron Saint Dunstan; he forbids any song but an English one in his hut. The Black Knight then sings a ballad by a Saxon crusader of his acquaintance to please his Saxon host.
The host is a critic, however. The knight's voice is well trained but naturally gruff and limited in range. The hermit sings along in places to help him out. The song is about the return of a knight from the Crusade who stands beneath his true love's window and calls her to open the gate. The crusader, like all good chivalrous knights, fights for the sake of his lady and bestows on her all the fame of his bloody exploits, yet he feels a chill beneath her window.
The hermit complains the song is too Norman in its melancholy and lack of common sense. "What did he expect," the monk wonders, when the crusader returns only to find his mistress with a rival and his serenade "as little regarded as the caterwauling of a cat in the gutter."
The Clerk of Copmanhurst then sings a lusty ditty about the pleasant life of friars. The comic quatrains relate the cherished consolation of wounded knights' ladies, the choice of destination, the honored place in the best chair, and the most generous hospitality at the supper table. Kings have taken the cowl but never the other way around, and "the goodwife would wish her goodman in the mire" to provide a soft pillow for a barefooted friar. The song concludes that a pleasant and trouble-free existence is possible only to friars.
The knight praises the performance but teases the monk about his "uncannonical pastimes." In a blustery defense bolstered by misapplied Latin phrases, the hermit maintains that he upholds his holy office faithfully and doesn't fear the devil. He confides, however, that he doesn't like to speak of such things until after morning Vespers. Until then, the reader infers, the uncannonical festivities will continue.
Late in the evening, after many songs have been exchanged and flagons emptied, there is a knock at the door.
(The entire section is 415 words.)
Chapter 18 Summary
Cedric's pride restrains him from ordering his own servants to collect Wilfrid's unconscious body from the field, but he orders his cupbearer, Oswald, to look after his son. Wilfrid, however, has disappeared. Seeking the missing knight, Oswald spots Gurth, who is also looking frantically for Wilfrid and has forgotten to hide his face. Gurth is technically a runaway slave, so Oswald collects him and takes him back to Cedric. Cedric is worried about Wilfrid, but that only makes him try to sound even less concerned. He cuts off Rowena's objections and tells her he's going to the banquet. She replies that she will not go, but she cautions him that his pride will make him appear too hard-hearted.
On returning from the banquet, Cedric is in a foul mood. He takes out his anger on Gurth, who is unnecessarily tied up, and orders the homeward departure of his party. The superstitious Saxons receive a bad omen—a black dog howling at the gate—but it turns out to be Fangs, who has run away from Rotherwood and is looking for Gurth. Cedric vents his annoyance by throwing a javelin at the dog, which is grazed and frightened off. Gurth asks Wamba to let Cedric know that he will no longer serve him. Between Cedric's harsh treatment of Wilfrid and his cruelty to Fangs, Gurth has had enough, but Wamba reminds his friend that Cedric has a backup javelin handy for anyone else who irritates him. Besides, Wamba argues, Cedric had obviously tried to shoot past the dog and would have missed if Fangs hadn't jumped up. Gurth remains unforgiving.
Cedric and Athelstane talk of their own Saxon conspiracy, one in which the Saxons unite under a chief and throw off the oppressive Norman monarchy. Both Saxons have adherents of their own, although the primary candidate is Rowena because of her direct descent from Alfred. Athelstane is the exact opposite of Prince John in all but his love of food and drink—he is brave and militarily capable, good-natured, and though a bit dull-witted, wise enough to choose wise counselors and listen to them. In contrast to John's manic ambition, Athelstane's is alive but inert. Cedric's selfless devotion to the Saxon cause is shown in his determination to solidify all factions with the marriage of Athelstane to Rowena. Wilfrid's refusal to break off his own relationship with Rowena to forward Athelstane's suit is the primary cause for Cedric's disowning his son. Cedric had hoped that Rowena would lose interest in Wilfrid...
(The entire section is 498 words.)
Chapter 19 Summary
Athelstane, Cedric, and Rowena are accompanied by ten servants, plus Wamba and Gurth. Aside from being a fairly large party, they are Saxons, as are the outlaws that haunt the forest. The Saxon nobles are not overly concerned by Saxon yeomen, reduced to a life of crime by Norman oppression. Isaac and Rebecca, however, cannot rely on the sympathy of the outlaws for their security, and the escort they hired in Ashby abandons them—and takes the horses with them. As the Saxon party overtakes them on the road, Isaac and Rebecca are encumbered by a stretcher on which a wounded man lies. A large band of outlaws is rumored to be nearby. Athelstane is for leaving them to the robbers, but Cedric suggests lending them a couple of attendants and a horse to get them back to the last village.
Rebecca rises from where she has been sitting with the wounded man and goes to Rowena. She begs for them to be allowed to join the Saxon company, not for her sake or her father's sake but for the wounded man's sake. She does not name him, but she tactfully indicates to Rowena that she would regret not helping the wounded knight. Rowena, who is used to having her wishes followed, orders mules to be harnessed to the litter and horses provided for Isaac and his daughter. Athelstane proposes that the Jews should ride in the rear with Wamba so that he can entertain them with his meat shield. Wamba replies that he has left his shield on the field (as had happened to Athelstane, the reminder of which galls him). Rowena asks Rebecca to ride with her, but Rebecca declines stating that she does not wish to be in the position of disgracing Rowena by her presence.
The servants are nervous about the rumored outlaws and hurry to rearrange the baggage. Gurth slips his rope without much trouble and escapes unnoticed into the forest. By the time his absence is discovered, going back to find him is too difficult, and the party continues on its way. At a narrow place, De Bracy's pseudo outlaws ambush the party. Cedric nails one with his last javelin but is afterward pulled off his horse. Athelstane, as usual, is unready and easily taken. The only member of the cavalcade not captured is Wamba, who snatches a sword from a servant and tries to cut his way to Cedric. Seeing that his attempt is futile, he jumps from his horse and escapes into the forest. At a loss what to do next, Wamba is jumped on by Fangs, who is now happily reunited with Gurth. Wamba describes what...
(The entire section is 581 words.)
Chapter 20 Summary
Locksley has guided Wamba and Gurth three hours through the forest to a place where others of the outlaws' band are gathered. Locksley asks his sentinels the whereabouts of some of his lieutenants and orders the mustering of as many men as can be found while he goes to collect the friar from his hermitage.
It is Locksley, with Wamba and Gurth, who knock on the door of the Clerk of Copmanhurst in the middle of his revels with the Black Knight. Gurth has heard of the clerk, who is said to have digested half the deer in the forest. Before answering the door, the monk advises the knight to put on his helmet and join him in singing the De profundis clamavi to drown out the sound of mugs and plates being hidden away.
On discovering that it is Locksley at the door, the hermit tells the knight that the visitor is a friend—the keeper of the forest. Locksley, however, is not pleased to find the monk, who is a member of his band, drinking with an unknown knight. He worries that the hermit may have been talking too much, but then he recognizes the Black Knight as the Sluggard who came to the aid of the Disinherited Knight. After probing the character of the knight, he asks whether he is a "true-born Englishman." The knight replies that there is no one to whom England and its people are dearer, and Locksley invites him to come along on the mission to save Cedric and his party from a "band of villains." He explains that Saxon nobles, including Rowena, and their attendants have been ambushed by a strong party disguised as outlaws and are being taken to Torquilstone castle. The Black Knight is eager to assist and hopes to know the yeoman better after the rescue is accomplished.
Wamba confidentially expresses his hope to Gurth that the knight will turn out to be what he appears to be, given his allies are a drunken hermit and a poaching keeper. Gurth says he is not particular about who frees Cedric and Rowena, even if it were the devil himself.
The friar changes his hermit's robe for a yeoman's cassock and picks up his quarter staff. Outside, he locks the door and leaves the key under the mat, then guzzles a long drink of cold water from St. Dunstan's fountain. He splashes his face, gives his staff a deft twirl, and declares a profane oath that he is a match for a dozen "false ravishers." The Black Knight admonishes the monk for swearing, but the hermit answers that he will do as he likes when in the...
(The entire section is 562 words.)
Chapter 21 Summary
De Bracy's band of "yeomen" has had a hard time finding their way around in the forest but have finally found the right road to Torquilstone. Sir Brian reminds De Bracy that he must leave the company and get ready for his role as rescuer, but De Bracy has changed his plan. Fitzurse's warning has taken root in De Bracy's mind, and he is no longer willing to leave Rowena with Sir Brian. The Templar takes umbrage with such suspicions and asserts that the vows he has taken as a knight of the Temple order should be assurance enough for De Bracy to trust him. De Bracy scoffs, saying that it is well known how little difficulty the Templars find in getting around their sacred vows. Sir Brian replies that he isn't interested in Rowena anyway and has plans of his own regarding Rebecca, whom he prefers to the Saxon beauty. De Bracy is shocked and not at all mollified.
Cedric has spent his captivity reprimanding his guards, whose disguise he has not seen through. He is mystified and outraged that Saxon yeoman would commit such a crime against their fellow Englishmen, and he accuses them of acting like Normans. It is only when he sees the turrets of Torquilstone that he perceives his error and mentally apologizes to the true outlaws of the forest. Front-de-Beouf's castle is old and rather small, but it has a good moat and some recent additions to its defensive structures. Cedric guesses that Front-de-Beouf's purpose is to kill the Saxons or extort their wealth from them by holding them prisoner. He appeals to his captors to send Rowena home, not yet understanding that she is the chief prize.
In the castle, Rowena and Rebecca are taken to separate apartments, Isaac is led away, and the servants are stowed where they cannot communicate with their masters. Cedric and Athelstane are housed in the old hall of the castle. Cedric recounts an episode from his father's time that had taken place in the very hall in which Cedric is pacing. Athelstane's ancestor King Harold was feasting with his nobles when the ambassador of his rebel brother Tosti came to ask for conditions of peace. Harold offered brotherly love to Tosti but death to his Norwegian ally. Cedric muses that on the day Harold defeated the king of Norway and Tosti in battle, the Normans were already on their way across the channel. Athelstane is moved by Cedric's description of the feasting to observe that he hopes their captors will be sending up refreshments soon.
(The entire section is 622 words.)
Chapter 22 Summary
Isaac is in the dungeon, deep under the castle. The chamber is damp and dark, and he has a skeleton for company. There is a large, rusty fire grill at one end of the room. Isaac's initial terror has subsided and he is considering his situation. He has been in similar peril before and escaped, and he has the pride and courage to resist his tormentors. Isaac contrives a cushion out of his cloak and sits calmly awaiting the next move.
At last, Front-de-Boeuf arrives in the dungeon accompanied by Sir Brian's eastern slaves. The slaves carry bags and a basket and are dressed for hard, messy work, and the noble locks the door. Front-de-Boeuf's face is marked by his vicious nature, and his eyes freeze Isaac with fear. As Isaac shrinks in terror, the noble swells like an eagle that "ruffles up its plumage" before it pounces. From the basket, Front-de-Beouf takes out a scale and some weights. He tells Isaac that for his ransom, he will deliver one thousand silver pounds onto the scale. Isaac prevaricates, pleading that the sum is impossible. Front-de-Beouf tells Isaac that he will roast slowly over the grill until he agrees to the ransom. Sir Brian's slaves appear to be proficient in the practice. Isaac appeals to the noble's humanity, but Front-de-Beouf reminds Isaac that he has seen Christian towns sacked and has no mercy for a single Jew. That the Jews were not a party to the sacking is beside the point. Isaac will be roasted if he doesn't pay.
Isaac counters that he cannot pay unless he goes to his friends to beg for help in making up the ransom. Front-de-Beouf refuses to let him leave. Isaac asks why he should believe that he will be freed after the ransom is paid. The noble says that Isaac determines the terms of financial transactions in his own house, but in Torquilstone's dungeon, Front-de-Beouf makes the conditions. Isaac asks that his ransom include the Saxons who were taken with him. Again, he is refused. Isaac asks that it at least include the wounded knight, but Front-de-Beouf warns him to stop interfering with other people's business. Finally, Isaac asks that his daughter be given safe conduct to York to arrange for the money to be delivered.
Front-de-Beouf is surprised and admits that he has mistakenly given Rebecca, who he had assumed was Isaac's mistress, to Sir Brian. Isaac howls, throwing off the astonished slaves and falling to the floor. He pitifully begs Front-de-Beouf to spare Rebecca, offering...
(The entire section is 522 words.)
Chapter 23 Summary
Rowena has been placed in the room of Front-de-Beouf's dead wife. Its magnificence is decayed, but the castle has no better room to put her in. De Bracy has changed into his most fashionable clothes and hopes to overcome the bad impression the abduction may have made on her by pleading the violence of his passion for her. Rowena isn't buying it. He tries to court her in the language of chivalry, but she is scathing in her refusals, calling him a churl and a clown. De Bracy admits the wisdom of her words but warns her that she will never leave Torquilstone except as his wife.
De Bracy lists for her the advantages such a marriage would have for her: status, honor, and a nice house instead of the pig farm of Cedric. Rowena says she will never leave her childhood home unless on the arm of someone else. De Bracy understands her meaning and assures her that Richard will never assume the throne of England again and that Wilfrid will never be allowed to marry her. If De Bracy were to tell Front-de-Beouf that Wilfrid is in the castle, all would be over for him. Rowena denies knowing that Wilfrid is the wounded knight in the company of Isaac and is confused why Front-de-Beouf would want anything but ransom from him anyway. De Bracy tells her that women are not the only cause of rivalry among men and that these two are rivals for the barony of Ivanhoe. Front-de-Beouf would not hesitate to put Wilfrid out of the way, but De Bracy promises to protect Wilfrid if Rowena will agree to marry him. Rowena cannot believe the terms of his blackmail, but De Bracy assures her that her love is the price for Wilfrid's life—and Cedric's.
Raised almost as a queen, Rowena is astonished to find that her will is of no consequence and that she is helpless in her captivity. She collapses, weeping and distraught. De Bracy is embarrassed but unwilling to soften his demand or his terms. Wishing himself harder hearted, De Bracy is relieved by the commotion caused by the horn blowing outside the castle.
The narrator, ready to counter the objections of readers who might believe their Norman ancestors incapable of torture and rape, inserts historical testimony to support the plausibility of his story. Torture, he argues, was well documented. Rape was a natural outcome of the Norman conquest. Primarily, he relates the necessity of Matilda's temporarily becoming a nun (at the time, she was not yet the queen). Saxon women of the period, according to...
(The entire section is 455 words.)
Chapter 24 Summary
Rebecca is placed is a small turret room high in one of the castle's towers. A hideous old woman occupies the room already and refuses to be expelled until she finishes her spinning. Front-de-Beouf's servants fear their master but are unwilling to forcibly remove her. They leave her alone with Rebecca, and when they are gone, she proceeds to guess at the game they are playing with the beautiful Jew, who begs to know whether she will be killed. The old woman scoffs at the idea. Instead, she predicts such usage of Rebecca as was "once thought good enough for a noble Saxon maiden."
The name of the old woman is Urfried, and she says that she was once young and "twice as fair" as Rebecca. She says that the castle had been her father's and that he and her seven brothers died defending it from the forces of the father of Front-de-Beouf. Before their blood was dry, the Norman invader had raped her. Rebecca asks if there is no way for her to escape, and Urfried replies that death is the only escape and death comes "very, very late." She adds that is it is a comfort to know that after death, others will suffer the same misery. Rebecca begs her to stay and protect her, but Urfried sneeringly points at the image of the Madonna and declares that the Mother of God herself cannot protect her.
Unlike Rowena, who is unstrung by her predicament, never having been threatened before, Rebecca calms herself: she has been aware her whole life of the precariousness of her existence and is not amazed at her situation now. She surveys the room and finds that the only way out is through the window, but such an exit would mean her death. She resolves to suffer without sinning and rely on heaven to provide a way. When Sir Brian appears, somewhat sheepish and uncertain how to proceed, with his face half hidden under his hat, Rebecca hands over her jewelry and promises him a rich ransom if he will let her and her father go. Sir Brian declines the jewelry but is inspired to compare her teeth to pearls and her eyes to diamonds. He tells her that her father is in the process of having his fortune extracted from him, and no further ransom on her behalf is possible. Rebecca is no longer fooled by his disguise and says that the Norman should be noble in action as well as in birth.
After more courtly compliments from Sir Brian, Rebecca asks him his purpose since he isn't interested in her wealth: they cannot marry because laws forbid mixed...
(The entire section is 763 words.)
Chapter 25 Summary
Sir Brian meets De Bracy in the hall, and they compare their amorous failures. Their intended victims are not cooperating, the Saxon defending herself with floods of tears and the Jew with resolution and pride. The horn is still blowing, but they await Front-de-Boeuf, who they know is negotiating ransom with Isaac. When Front-de-Beouf at last arrives, he brings a note from the besiegers. He thinks the writing is Saxon, but neither he nor De Bracy are literate.
Sir Brian reads the note but is not sure whether it is a joke. He reads the note aloud. It begins, "I, Wamba, the son of Witless," and goes on to include as its coauthor Gurth the swineherd. It declares that these two, allied with the Black Knight and the yeoman Locksley, demand the release of Cedric's party. The penalty for refusal is war, siege, or whatever else is required to obtain their release. The note was written by the Clerk of Copmanhurst in a language that is both comic and courtly. De Bracy and the Templar find it hilarious, but Front-de-Beouf warns that the outlaws are too numerous to take lightly. There are at least two hundred of them outside the castle.
Sir Brian and De Bracy tease Front-de-Beouf for being afraid of a jester and a swineherd, and they argue for sallying out and dispersing the besiegers. Front-de-Beouf argues that their enemies are not defenseless peasants, like they are used to meeting on their campaigns, but are good old English armed yeomen against whom they have no real advantage. Their own forces are at York, where they would also be, Front-de-Beouf reminds De Bracy, if it weren't for his "mad business." Sir Brian writes a return message to the besiegers in which he reprimands the Black Knight for so degrading himself and then requests that a priest be provided to hear the confessions of the prisoners. They will be executed in the morning in retribution for their attempted rescue.
Wamba, Gurth, Locksley, and the Black Knight await the castle's reply, while increasing numbers of both yeoman outlaws and Saxons belonging to Cedric's estates arrive to bolster the ranks of the besiegers. Sir Brian's note is written in French, and the Clerk of Copmanhurst cannot read it. It is passed from hand to hand until it finally reaches the Black Knight, who relates its contents. Gurth and Wamba are alarmed at the threat to execute Cedric, but Locksley declares that the nobles wouldn't dare. The Black Knight suggests that they send the...
(The entire section is 470 words.)
Chapter 26 Summary
Dressed as a friar and armed with a handful of stock Latin liturgical phrases, Wamba gains admittance to the castle. The jester claims to have innocently fallen in with the thieves and says that there are at least five hundred of them. Sir Brian suggests to Front-de-Beouf that the priest be allowed to go through with the sham of confessing the captives so that the besiegers will believe that they really are going to execute them. He also wants to entrust the priest with a message to De Bracy's forces, alerting them to the siege. Wamba is escorted to the hall where Cedric and Athelstane are held.
Wamba at first fools the Saxon nobles with his disguise, warning them that they are to be killed. Cedric is outraged and Athelstane declares that he will go to his death with "as much composure as ever I did to my dinner." Wamba then reveals himself and proposes that he and Cedric switch clothes so that Cedric can escape. Cedric is touched, but he is willing to accept Wamba's sacrifice only if Athelstane is allowed to be the one to take Wamba's disguise. The jester refuses, arguing that his ties are to Cedric's ancestors, not the royal forbears of Athelstane. At last, Athelstane urges Cedric to go and try to save them from outside the castle. Wamba tells Cedric of the five hundred men arrayed against the castle, and with the hope of saving Rowena and Athelstane and even Wamba, Cedric agrees.
Wearing the priest's cassock, Cedric worries that he won't know how to pass for a friar among the Normans. Wamba teaches him the Latin phrase Pax vobiscum (peace be on you) and tells him to limit his speech to just this phrase so that no one will suspect him. Luckily, the castle has been without a priest for so long that no one living there would know what to expect of a real priest. However, he is soon intercepted by Rebecca, who speaks Latin and Saxon very well and might have discovered his identity if she weren't in turn interrupted by Urfried. Rebecca has come to ask him to see a wounded man (and learn what she can about their general circumstances), but Cedric, hoping to get away, says that he is freshly holy and wants to avoid being polluted by a Jewess. Rebecca has offered to nurse the wounded knight in return for being allowed out of the turret. Urfried, angered at Rebecca's taking advantage of the deal to roam the castle, sends Rebecca back into Wilfrid's room and insists on seeing the friar to the front door herself.
(The entire section is 439 words.)
Chapter 27 Summary
Urfried guides Cedric into a small room, locks the door, and makes him admit that he, like she, is a Saxon. She declares that she will soon be dead, and she wants to tell a fellow Saxon the story of her unhappy life. She tells him that she was the daughter of Torquil. Cedric is appalled that the hag was once the girl he knew as Ulrica, and tells her that he is the son of her father's friend Hereward. She wonders why Cedric of Rotherwood is dressed as a priest, and he wonders why she is alive and in her own castle when all the rest of her family were killed. Ulrica confesses that she became the paramour of her father's murderer.
Cedric tells her that she was believed to have died with the rest of her family and that she should have ended her own life rather than live in lawless love with her Norman conqueror. Ulrica replies that the only thing she cannot reproach herself with is loving the Normans. She hates the current Front-de-Beouf and his murdering father and had her revenge in nurturing hatred between father and son until the elder was at last murdered by the younger. She had long lived in hope that Cedric the Saxon would succeed in taking England back from the Normans. Ulrica leaves it to Cedric to infer that she became the mistress of the current Front-de-Beouf, but she has withered and decayed since then and has become an object of abuse for even the menials of the castle.
Cedric is disgusted by her and wants to leave, but Ulrica is desperate for some comforting words from the first decent person she has seen in twenty years. She has made her confession, as if Cedric really were a priest, and she wants absolution, which Cedric is unwilling to give. Ulrica tells him that his lack of compassion has broken the last tie she had with her own people. Cedric softens a little and suggests that now would be the time for her to repent of the horrors of her past life, but Ulrica says that she is like a fiend of hell who can feel remorse but not repentance. She tells Cedric that her death will be worthy of Torquil's daughter and that he should watch for a red flag as he attacks the castle. The flag will be a signal that the defenders have their hands full.
Front-de-Beouf finds Cedric and gives him the letter Sir Brian has written. He tells him to take it to Malvoisin to be forwarded to York. Additionally he asks the false priest to use his wiles to keep the outlaws from leaving before the relieving forces arrive....
(The entire section is 739 words.)
Chapter 28 Summary
The reader is taken back to the tournament at Ashby, as Wilfrid lies in a swoon bleeding to death. Rebecca overcomes her father's well-founded doubts and orders Ivanhoe to be taken up in her own litter and carried to the house where she and Isaac are staying. Rebecca rides a palfrey, over her father's objections, and is therefore exposed to the stares of the crowd. Sir Brian sees Rebecca and admires her beauty so much that when she later becomes De Bracy's captive, he resolves to take her for a prize of his own.
Rebecca is a practitioner of the medieval healing arts, some of which are specialties of the Jews. She is an especially talented doctor and was mentored by a famous woman who passed on to Rebecca her own proprietary medicines. Wilfrid is in the best possible hands, and Rebecca plans to take the knight along with them when they leave for York the next day. Isaac objects, but Rebecca argues that leaving Wilfrid would mean leaving his medicine also, and it would be foolish to forfeit the valuable secret recipe to another physician. Even more important, the knight is a favorite of King Richard, who may otherwise punish Isaac, who has provided funds for John's plots against his brother.
In the evening, Wilfrid wakens and finds himself in a magnificent room with eastern furnishings. When Rebecca and her assistant come in to tend his wound, he speaks to her in Arabic. She assures him that he is in England and that she is the daughter of Isaac of York. Rebecca is attracted to Wilfrid and senses that he is also attracted to her, and part of her intention in identifying herself by her lineage is to throw cold water on the mutual interest. Wilfrid is instantly cooled, but Rebecca remains wistful. When Wilfrid suggests that he go to the home of a nearby Saxon, Rebecca tells him that she can have him back in the saddle in eight days—three weeks faster than any Saxon doctor. That is argument enough for him to stay.
Rebecca tells him all she knows of Prince John's rush to York and the rumor that he is planning to usurp the crown. Of Cedric, she knows that he and Athelstane left the banquet in anger and that Gurth has been arrested by Cedric as a fugitive. Wilfrid is distressed by all the news and believes that he has made trouble for both Rowena and Gurth with Cedric, but Rebecca calms him, reminding him that he must come to Richard's defense and to do that, he must first recuperate.
They are, of course,...
(The entire section is 572 words.)
Chapter 29 Summary
Rebecca is pleased to find herself once again beside Wilfrid, but she knows that her feelings cannot be indulged in or returned—in fact, she quickly finds that Wilfrid's feelings for her are far from romantic. She confirms his guess that they are the captives of Front-de-Beouf, and he declares that he must do something to save Rowena and his father—not, Rebecca notes to herself, his Jewish companions. On being told that there is a priest in the castle, Wilfrid begs Rebecca to go and bring him so that they can gather some news about the forces outside the castle.
As the noise of the defenders going to their posts on the battlements thrills Rebecca, Wilfrid becomes anxious to engage in the battle himself, though he is still weak and weaponless. Ignoring Wilfrid's warning about the danger of becoming a mark, Rebecca goes to the window so that she can describe the action for him. He insists that she at least guard herself with a shield as she looks out.
Rebecca identifies the point where the castle is most likely to be attacked and tells how the woods are bristling with archers. Wilfrid is perplexed that there is no banner displayed, but Rebecca describes the knight who seems to be directing things. Wilfrid recognizes the Black Knight from her description but can make no sense of what force the knight leads. As the assault begins, Rebecca recoils from the window in horror, but Wilfrid can't bear not knowing what is going on. He asks Rebecca to look again and find the Black Knight. Arrows are flying, but Rebecca risks getting a better look. She reports that the knight is leading an attack on the barbican and pulling down the barriers. As the knight's forces meet the castle's defenders hand to hand, Rebecca turns her head, but Wilfrid begs her to look again. She describes the hand-to-hand combat between the Black Knight and Front-de-Beouf, and rejoices as Front-de-Beouf falls. He is dragged back inside the castle by Sir Brian, but the besiegers are now at work trying to take the outer walls.
Rebecca, although hopeful of rescue, is horrified by the site of battle. Wilfrid is impatient with the prayers and pious lamentations she mingles with her narrative of events. The yeomen are repelled from the walls, but the Black Knight, ignoring the stones that rain down from the defenders, single-handedly hammers the postern gate to splinters with his battle-axe. Wilfrid is amazed, because he had not believed there were two...
(The entire section is 639 words.)
Chapter 30 Summary
During the respite between assaults, while Front-de-Beouf lies dying, De Bracy and Sir Brian consult with each other on how to proceed. Sir Brian scoffs at De Bracy's belief that Front-de-Beouf is being punished for his crass impiety. De Bracy retorts that the Temple order is well known for its contingent of heretics—Sir Brian among them—but the Templar shrugs off De Bracy's reproach and suggests they think about defending the castle. De Bracy's defense on the other side of the castle has gone better than the main defense of the postern gate, but the sheer numbers of archers shooting at the defenders makes any show of force on their side impossible. The nobles do not have enough soldiers to defend every vulnerable point. De Bracy proposes the more practical solution of sending out the captives, but Sir Brian is not willing to become a laughingstock by capitulating to a rabble led by jesters and swineherds. De Bracy airily agrees. He notes that Front-de-Beouf's men are so hated for their treatment of the locals that they will fight the harder, knowing they will get no mercy if the castle falls.
Sir Brian takes a small force with him to patrol the castle and respond as necessary to points of entry by the besiegers. De Bracy takes charge of the gate. Without the barbican, the defenders cannot monitor the movements of the enemy on the other side of the inner wall. The moat remains an obstacle, but De Bracy must try to use too few men to cover too many likely points of assault. The soldiers are losing heart.
Front-de-Beouf in life considered religious observance too expensive; he prefers to risk hell than pay the likes of Prior Aymer for his absolution. From his deathbed, however, the abyss yawns, and Front-de-Beouf grumpily complains that there are no priests around to administer the rites he requires before he dies. He briefly considers employing Sir Brian, who is nominally at least a priest, but he quickly dismisses the idea of saying confession to the Templar. Ulrica, out of sight and calling herself his evil angel, recites aloud for him his catalog of sins—murder, rape, parricide. He tells his evil angel to go haunt Ulrica, who he blames for tempting him and assisting him to kill his father. Ulrica reveals herself and tells Front-de-Beouf that they are each other's evil angels and that they will go together to the "same dark coast." He calls for help, but she gloats over him, telling him to listen to the sounds of the...
(The entire section is 474 words.)
Chapter 31 Summary
Cedric has told Locksley and the Black Knight about Ulrica's signal. They use their time awaiting the red flag constructing a floating bridge with which to cross the moat, but once the bridge is complete, the Black Knight is unwilling to wait longer to continue the assault. Locksley directs his archers to create a diversion on the far side of the castle while the Black Knight leads those who will follow him across the bridge to take the gate. Cedric, although he has no armor to protect him, insists on following the Black Knight. The two of them are left chopping at the gate while the rest of their men are driven back to the shelter of the barbican. De Bracy tells his soldiers to stop throwing rocks at them and to loosen a large chunk of masonry that will do much more damage when it falls.
Locksley sees the red flag and calls on the men sheltering in the barbican to rush the gate and help the Black Knight and Cedric. Locksley himself shoots the men loosening the pinnacle, but when De Bracy takes the lever and continues the work, Locksley's arrows are unable to pierce his armor. The yeomen again retreat, but the Black Knight and Cedric are unable to hear the warnings of Locksley. Gurth leaps onto the bridge to take the warning to Cedric, but De Bracy is suddenly halted in his work by the Templar. Sir Brian coolly informs De Bracy that the castle is burning and that they must go down, open the gate, knock the two men before it into the moat, and sally forth.
Throwing open the gate, De Bracy discovers that knocking the Black Knight into the moat is beyond the ability of his men, and he goes forward to meet the knight himself. De Bracy, however, is knocked flat by the Black Knight's battle-axe. Forced to yield or die, he refuses to yield to an unknown knight, so the Black Knight whispers his name in De Bracy's ear. De Bracy yields sullenly, but he volunteers the news that Ivanhoe lies wounded in the burning castle and will perish unless rescued soon. He submissively offers to guide the knight to Wilfrid's room, but he is stingingly rebuffed when the Black Knight tells him, "I trust thee not." The victorious knight charges into the castle, while De Bracy removes his helmet and gives his sword to Locksley.
Rebecca declines to leave Wilfrid as smoke begins to fill his room. Sir Brian arrives to save her, and she asks him to save Wilfrid and her father as well. He picks her up and runs off. Wilfrid calls futilely after...
(The entire section is 844 words.)
Chapter 32 Summary
In the morning, the victorious besiegers meet under an ancient oak where a "throne" of fern has been constructed for Locksley. The Black Knight and Cedric are seated to either side of him as he explains that he is monarch of the forest and cannot show deference to any man in front of his outlaw subjects. Being outlaws, they have managed to carry off a staggering amount of loot from the burning castle. Locksley asks for the friar, but he has not been seen since mounting his own assault on Front-de-Beouf's wine cellar. Worried that the Clerk of Copmanhurst may have been too drunk to withdraw in time, Locksley sends a large rescue party in search of him.
Locksley is anxious to divide the spoil and get away before any hostile forces show up from Malvoisin or elsewhere. He offers Cedric first choice, but Cedric is too saddened by the fall of Athelstane and wants nothing from Torquilstone. He wishes only to extend his thanks and go. He says that he will reward his people from his own treasury (Wamba adding that many of them have already rewarded themselves). Cedric embraces Wamba with tearful gratitude, which Wamba says is reward enough for him, but he asks that Cedric pardon Gurth for the week he spent with Wilfrid. Instead, Cedric declares Gurth a free man.
Rowena arrives on her palfrey. She is happy that Wilfrid is safe and relieved that Athelstane is out of the way. She thanks Locksley and tells him that his yeoman will never go hungry while she has food in her hall or deer in her forests. De Bracy steps forward and asks her pardon, which she gives with reservation "as a Christian" (which Wamba remarks means "not at all"). Cedric says he'd like to pin him with his javelin, and De Bracy steps back from Rowena's horse, muttering that Saxons never did have any manners. Cedric invites the Black Knight to come as a son or brother to Rotherwood, but the knight says that he has some pressing business first. When he comes, he says, he will have a favor to ask, which Cedric grants without knowing what it is.
Cedric announces that he will be at Coningsburgh helping Athelstane's mother with the funeral. He invites everyone to come to the feast, and Wamba remarks that it is too bad Athelstane can't be there for his own funeral banquet although he is no doubt feasting with gusto in Paradise. Cedric's party rides away with Athelstane's body.
Locksley asks what the Black Knight would like to have, and the knight...
(The entire section is 753 words.)
Chapter 33 Summary
Locksley's lieutenant Allan-a-Dale has missed the action at Torquilstone, having been away on an ambush of Prior Aymer. The terrified abbot is outraged at having been abducted, pointing out that his fancy cut lace has been torn. He has been robbed of his portable property, and Allan-a-Dale demands a ransom in addition. Locksley expresses astonishment that Allan-a-Dale would mistreat a man of the church, but he advises that he pay the ransom or else the priory will need a new prior. Aymer fails to claim a degree of safety as a priest, so he appeals to Locksley as a lusty woodsman by demonstrating his proficiency on a hunting horn. Locksley adds to his ransom as a penalty for blowing like a Norman.
One of the outlaws then suggests that Aymer set the ransom for Isaac and Isaac set the ransom for Aymer. Locksley asks Isaac if he is familiar with the financial health of the priory, and Isaac is more than happy to divulge the waste, fraud, and abuse to which he is privy and which the prior argues was all legitimate. Isaac sets Aymer's ransom at six hundred crowns. The prior wheedles and pleads inability to pay such an exorbitant amount. Isaac offers to arrange the ransom himself if Aymer will sign for it, which Locksley agrees to. In his turn, Isaac objects that he is a poor man who will be ruined by a ransom. When Aymer claims that Isaac has an undeserved fortune, Isaac rails that all these people who kick and spit on him suddenly become flattering friends when they need a loan. Locksley tells Aymer that Isaac has been fair with him, but Aymer sets Isaac's ransom at one thousand crowns. Isaac cries out against having both his child and his livelihood taken from him.
An outlaw tells Isaac that a dark-haired woman was carried off by the Templar. Isaac is crushed by the news, believing Rebecca better off dead than in the hands of Sir Brian. Moved by Isaac's grief, Locksley sets his ransom at four hundred crowns, so that he will have something left with which to ransom his daughter from Sir Brian. Isaac falls to his knees in gratitude and tries to kiss the outlaw's hem, but Locksley recoils and tells Isaac to kneel to God rather than poor sinners. Aymer chimes in, suggesting himself as a representation of God who would be well placed, in return for repentance and appropriate gift giving, to intervene for him with God and the Templar.
Locksley takes Isaac aside and advises him to take advantage of the prior's offer. He...
(The entire section is 638 words.)
Chapter 34 Summary
Prince John is feasting in the castle of York with his followers, but he is missing a number of his key conspirators. Fitzurse is doing his best to encourage and hold together those who have answered John's call, but Front-de-Beouf, De Bracy, and Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert have not come, and Isaac—John's primary source of funding—has not returned to York either. Fitzurse tells John of the little escapade against Cedric that seems to have resulted in an unfortunate delay, and John ironically rails that if he were king of England, he would hang such unprincipled marauders. Fitzurse reconciles the prince to his marauding knights by suggesting that Saxons such as Cedric would see real advantages in such hangings.
While Fitzurse counsels John, De Bracy arrives with news of the death of Front-de-Beouf and the flight of the Templar. Worse yet, he announces that Richard is in England. De Bracy assures them that he has only a few outlaws behind him and keeps his identity unknown to them. Fitzurse finds this quixotic behavior reason enough to believe it is Richard, who always preferred to be the knight errant than the responsible monarch. De Bracy says that he offered to serve Richard but was refused and that he will move to Flanders. He urges Fitzurse and/or his beautiful daughter to come with him, but Fitzurse has already made other plans. Prince John laughs and reminds them of the obstacles that make their plans impractical. Instead, John proposes that they waylay Richard as he travels alone and send him off to a foreign prison. De Bracy refuses, and Fitzurse believes that John's throne will not be secure while Richard lives.
Fitzurse is unable to convince De Bracy to participate in Richard's assassination, and John begins to whine that his father only had to say that he was "plagued by a factious priest" and his followers couldn't assassinate Thomas Becket fast enough. Taking the hint, Fitzurse takes on the project himself. When he is gone, Prince John disingenuously remarks that he was very clear in his orders to Fitzurse to arrest Richard, and that if the king is harmed, Fitzurse will pay for it. More quietly, he confides to De Bracy that a regicide would never do as a chancellor and that De Bracy might be the right man for the job. When the knight is gone, Prince John calls his spymaster and double-checks to make sure Fitzurse's escort is strong and capable. He tells him to watch De Bracy carefully. He does not trust the...
(The entire section is 426 words.)
Chapter 35 Summary
Isaac proceeds through the forest as quickly as he can manage and dismisses his outlaw guides as soon as he reaches the edge of it, but he is still miles from Templestowe. He is exhausted by all he has endured and stumbles to the home of a physician friend he has in the next town. Nathan Ben Israel is sympathetic, but he tells Isaac that the notorious Lucas de Beaumanoir is now installed as grand master at Templestowe. Beaumanoir is a zealot and an anti-Semite—standing out even in that day for his hatred of the Jews. This is bad news for Sir Brian, who is precisely the kind of secular priest that Beaumanoir is purging from the order, and for Rebecca.
Isaac is undeterred, however, because Rebecca has no chance at all if he does not go. He hopes that at least the morally austere Beaumanoir may prevent the rape of Rebecca. He arrives at Templestowe to find that asceticism has replaced licentiousness, but he is not sure that it is an improvement.
In the garden, Beaumanoir laments to his attendant Conrade that nowhere can he find a Templar who embraces the vows of the order. They are too rich and too vain; there are even heretics among them who study the magic of the Saracens and the Jews. He complains that the garden is too full of exotic plants. He tells Conrade of a vision he had of the founders telling him that soldiers of the Cross are living in sin with heathen women—he must awake and kill them all. He takes this as a sign that reform is needed and he has made it his mission. A squire appears and informs the grand master that Isaac of York is asking to see Brian de Bois-Guilbert. Sir Brian's reputation is well known to Beaumanoir.
When Isaac is ushered in, Beaumanoir asks him what business he has with Sir Brian. Isaac is afraid to say anything about Rebecca, but he says that he carries a letter from Prior Aymer. The grand master notes that they live in evil times when a Cistercian sends a letter to a Templar by way of a Jew. He demands the letter from Isaac and breaks the seal. He reads it and then hands it to Conrade. The letter begins by wishing Sir Brian the "bounties of King Bacchus and of my Lady Venus" and gets worse from there. He counsels Sir Brian to exchange the "second Witch of Endor" for enough ransom to buy fifty damsels. Conrade understands what "witch of Endor" means in the language of chivalry, but Beaumanoir takes the phrase literally. The grand master triumphantly expels Isaac from the...
(The entire section is 458 words.)
Chapter 36 Summary
The preceptor of Templestowe is the brother of Cedric's neighbor Philip de Malvoisin. Unlike Sir Brian, Preceptor Malvoisin has the gift of veiling his hypocrisy behind a face expressing sincere fanaticism. When Beaumanoir confronts him with his knowledge of Rebecca's presence in the mansion, Malvoisin is at first speechless. Rebecca had been so well hidden he did not think she would be discovered, but now he needed a quick and plausible response to save the careers of himself and Sir Brian. When pressed for an answer, Malvoisin expresses horror that the maiden—whom he had put in residence there to supervise and prevent a growing intimacy between her and Sir Brian—should turn out to be a Jewish sorceress. Suddenly, he says, it all makes sense: the good knight's wild and unexplainable attachment is clearly caused by enchantment.
The grand master is so enthusiastic about freeing Sir Brian from Rebecca's influence and executing a witch that the preceptor begins to worry that Beaumanoir may be carrying things too far. When the grand master orders the hall to be prepared for a trial, Malvoisin hurries off to warn Sir Brian.
Rebuffed again by Rebecca, Sir Brian is in a foul mood, but on hearing that Rebecca is to be executed, he swears that she will not be. "Will future ages believe that such stupid bigotry ever existed!" he says with supreme irony. Sir Brian asks Malvoisin to arrange Rebecca's escape, but the preceptor tells him that he will not risk ruining himself. He urges Sir Brian to give up his passion and play along. The elderly grand master will die eventually and Sir Brian will likely take his place—but not if he defies Beaumanoir for the sake of a Jewish paramour. Nearly convinced, Sir Brian resolves to try once more with Rebecca, and if he is refused, he will abandon her as revenge.
Conrade joins Malvoisin as arrangements are going forward for the trial. He notes that Sir Brian is too valuable to the order to be expelled. Malvoisin remarks that he thinks the evidence against Rebecca is rather weak. Conrade agrees, but he says that the evidence must be strengthened, that it is in Sir Brian's interest—and the order's—that Rebecca be convicted of putting a spell on him. Otherwise, the grand master may use the opportunity to rid himself of a formidable rival as well. Conrade bribes Malvoisin with the promise of promotion to a much richer preceptory if he can arrange for adequate evidence in the...
(The entire section is 548 words.)
Chapter 37 Summary
On the dais of the hall sits the grand master, and behind him are arranged the knights and squires of Templestowe. Sir Brian anxiously carves lines in the floor with the point of his sword; Beaumanoir interprets the scratches as cabalistic symbols. Rebecca stands before the grand master, and filling the rest of the hall are interested spectators.
The proceedings begin with the grand master's ominous declaration that if Sir Brian is guilty of bringing a woman—a Jewish woman—into the preceptory for the purpose of trying to kiss her, he will be "cut off and cast out" for his "heinous and multiplied guilt." This pronouncement makes the notoriously lecherous members of the order nervous. But, Beaumanoir continues, if the knight couldn't help himself because he was bewitched, then they must first try the witch and afterward see if there is anything left to charge Sir Brian with.
It is easily proved by real witnesses that Sir Brian, in escaping from the conflagration of Torquilstone, protected Rebecca at the risk of his own life. The narratives are grossly exaggerated and cast doubt on Sir Brian's having been in his right mind at the time. Next, Malvoisin contritely testifies to admitting Rebecca—with the best of motives. He notes that Sir Brian was so enamored of Rebecca that he seemed to operate under some "alienation of mind." The preceptor submissively accepts the terms of his penance, although it seems unlikely they will be carried out any more than can be avoided.
Sir Brian is called upon to express his current understanding of his relationship with Rebecca. The knight does not have a talent for dissembling and wordlessly struggles to stifle his scorn and anger. He is declared to be made mute by a demon, which is immediately cast out to no effect. The grand master proceeds, nevertheless, and calls for witnesses from the audience.
A terrified peasant testifies that Rebecca treated him for a sudden disease from which he recovered though retains a limp. He doesn't think she meant any harm in curing him. The grand master derides the peasant as the kind of person the devil would give a disease to just so he could cure it. He asks to see the magic ointment used to cure him and remarks that the scripture on the lid has been used for blasphemy. The two medical men present cannot identify the ointment, and it is judged to be a magical potion. The peasant asks for it back, but the judge admonishes him to...
(The entire section is 742 words.)
Chapter 38 Summary
The grand master has some stirrings of pity for Rebecca and offers her the opportunity to confess to witchcraft, convert to Christianity, and spend her life in an ascetic convent. Rebecca begins to dispute the grand master in matters of doctrine, but when he asks the chaplain to take over his end of the argument, Rebecca returns the conversation back to her challenge.
Beaumanoir compares Rebecca's silk glove to a Templar's gauntlet, but Rebecca asserts that with her innocence in the scales, the glove outweighs the gauntlet. He turns to the knights and says that it wouldn't be fitting for a military order to refuse a challenge, but who will fight her champion? Sir Brian is proposed as being most closely interested in the outcome, but the grand master argues that it might be a problem if Sir Brian is in fact under a spell. But the concept of trial by combat is that God controls the result, so spell or no spell, the outcome would be God's justice. Sir Brian is selected to face Rebecca's champion, and she is given three days to find one.
While Rebecca argues for more time, Malvoisin and Sir Brian have a heated, whispered conversation. The order for the combat is arranged and read out by one of the chaplains. Rebecca asks if she might send a message to her own people so that they can help her find a champion, but at first no one will volunteer to be her messenger. They are all afraid. Finally, the lame peasant—Higg, son of Snell—who had testified on her behalf steps forward. She writes a quick note and gives him money, then tells him to find Isaac of York.
Luckily, Higg doesn't have to go all the way to York. He finds Isaac with his friend Nathan not far from the preceptory. Isaac reads the note and faints. Reviving, he gives the note to Nathan, who reads Rebecca's summary and her direction to send word to Ivanhoe. She believes Wilfrid will come if only he is recovered enough. Nathan comforts Isaac by reminding him that Ivanhoe is a favorite of Richard and that Richard himself is rumored to be in England. If Ivanhoe cannot fight, perhaps Richard will stop the proceedings anyway as a favor to him. Additionally, he will go himself to York and see if he can purchase the services of a knight, in case Ivanhoe doesn't come. Knights worship gold, he says, and will do anything for money.
Isaac and Nathan take their different roads and leave Higg, son of Snell, bitterly regretting having risked his life to...
(The entire section is 479 words.)
Chapter 39 Summary
Rebecca is in the middle of her devotions when Sir Brian visits her. He tells her that she has nothing to fear from him because there are guards outside her door that he does not control. He remarks that they both would choose death over disgrace. Rebecca replies that she would not abandon principles founded on the Rock of Ages and her disgrace would be real, while his principles are without substance and his disgrace is in standing by them instead of doing the right thing. He might not have anticipated the situation she was now in, but it was still entirely his fault. He might have spoken up for her during the trial, but instead he went along with Beaumanoir to avoid trouble for himself.
Sir Brian tells her that it was he who passed her the note to give her a chance to save herself. Rebecca reminds him that he himself is to fight her champion. The knight objects and says that his plan went wrong when he was proposed as Champion Defender—a role that should have fallen on an inferior knight. He had intended to show up on the day of the combat as her champion, defeat the defender, and rely on her gratitude to win her affections. Now, he must choose between beating her champion or not showing up for the combat. If he wins (which he must because no one can beat him), she will die; if he forfeits, he will be drummed out of the Temple order and be thoroughly disgraced, but she will live. She must make the choice, because the price for her life is to become his mistress.
Rebecca suggests that he go to the Queen Mother and Prince John and ask them to intervene instead, but Sir Brian doesn't see any attraction in that option. Rather, he proposes that they leave Europe and go to Palestine, where he has friends without Beaumanoir's scruples. He can join the forces of Saladin and defend Jerusalem against the crusaders. He will make her a queen. Rebecca tells him he is dreaming and that it would be better to find Richard, who will listen to her appeal. The mind of Sir Brian, however, has gone wild, and he wants only to make her choose between death and running away with him. She refuses.
Rejoining Malvoisin, Sir Brian is weak and exhausted by his encounter with Rebecca, who has inspired so much shame and self-loathing in the knight that he is tempted to go tell the grand master what he thinks of him. Malvoisin calms him down and points out to him that if he renounces his vows and refuses to fight in the lists, Beaumanoir...
(The entire section is 554 words.)
Chapter 40 Summary
The Black Knight, now revealed to be King Richard, goes to the priory of St. Botolph, where he has sent Wilfrid with Gurth and Wamba. Richard arranges to meet Wilfrid at Athelstane's castle. Wilfrid must rest another day before taking the journey to Coningsburgh, but Richard sets out right away with Wamba for his guide. He is intrigued by his Saxon subjects and wants to see more of them. After Richard leaves, Wilfrid becomes restless and tells the prior he is well enough to travel and wishes to go. He has a presentiment of danger and worries that if Richard strolls into a large party of heavily drinking Saxon funeral attendees, something bad might happen. The prior reluctantly lends Wilfrid his own elderly palfrey, which has a smooth gait and will not give the wounded knight too bumpy a ride.
As Richard and Wamba make their way through the forest, they trade comic songs. Richard wishes the friar or Locksley were with them, and Wamba says that he would prefer not to meet the outlaws without Richard and his bugle. He explains his theory that the outlaws do good deeds, such as rescuing Cedric, to balance their account with heaven against their primary occupation of robbery. Worse still are the men-at-arms belonging to Philip de Malvoisin. Richard boasts that he would pin the rascals to the ground like a good knight rather than call for help with Locksley's bugle. Wamba asks for a better look at the bugle and then puts its strap safely around his own neck. Richard must promise not to knock Wamba down for taking the horn before the jester will ride at his side again. Glad to be in possession of the bugle, Wamba points out that there is an ambush ahead.
Richard plunges into the thicket where the assassins are hiding. By their cry of "Die, tyrant," he knows that his identity is known and that there is treason afoot. Richard's horse is killed, bringing Richard down. Wamba blows the horn and rushes to assist the king. Locksley and the friar arrive and soon the assassins are all killed or wounded. Wamba removes the helmet of the chief assassin, who is trapped under his horse, and Richard is surprised to see that it is Fitzurse. When Fitzurse tells Richard that he was acting on the orders of Prince John, Richard releases the nobleman on the condition that he take his family to live in Normandy and never say a word about John's part in the attempt on his life. He gives Fitzurse a fresh horse and sends him away.
(The entire section is 540 words.)
Chapter 41 Summary
Wilfrid and Gurth arrive on the scene of the ambush to find a pile of bodies, Richard spattered with blood, and a gathering of outlaws in jovial conversation with the king. Wilfrid does not know how to address Richard or what to make of the scene.
Richard greets Wilfrid, announcing that he is no longer hiding his identity from these "true English hearts." He explains the pile of bodies and then scolds Wilfrid for not resting at St. Botolph's. Wilfrid in turn scolds Richard for riding about as a knight errant while his absence from the throne results in instability and disorder, as evidenced by the pile of dead assassins.
Richard explains that he must remain incognito until his own followers in England, such as the Earl of Essex, have gathered their forces and moved into place. One more day, and Richard will be able to enter York with overwhelming force, thus preventing John from making any move against him. Wilfrid knows this, but he refrains from pointing out that the king could easily avoid riding around the countryside looking for danger.
Richard invites himself to lunch with Robin Hood and his outlaws, although Robin must sheepishly admit that lunch is venison—the king's own deer. Richard the Lion Heart is far happier in the company of daring outlaws or battling men hand-to-hand with his own strong arm than sitting at home and running a government.
The reader is told that the reign of Richard I was like a meteor "shedding an unnecessary and portentous light, which is instantly swallowed up by universal darkness." But for the moment, he is in his element and enjoying himself so much that Wilfrid and Robin Hood confer on how to break up the party.
An outlaw is sent into the woods to blow a Norman horn. Believing it to be the horn of Malvoisin, the outlaws break camp and disappear. Richard is ready for another bout of mortal combat, but Robin Hood confesses the ruse. Richard complains that if he had Wilfrid and Robin for counselors, he would have no room at all to move, but he concedes that it is time to go.
Wilfrid, Richard, Gurth, and Wamba ride to Coningsburgh. The funeral feast for Athelstane is well under way, and the crowd is huge and various. Seeing the knights and thinking them vaguely familiar, the steward escorts them through the throng to the tower. Gurth and Wamba find friends in the courtyard and join the party.
(The entire section is 415 words.)
Chapter 42 Summary
Richard and Wilfrid are taken up to the tower's third floor, where the more important guests are gathered in a mournful circle. Wilfrid has hidden his face, but Cedric recognizes the Black Knight and rises to meet him. Together they pass through a side room where monks are praying for the soul of Athelstane to another room where Athelstane's mother sits alone.
Lady Edith has willed most of the family estates to the local convent of St. Edmund. After introductions, they pass on to a room where Rowena and other Saxon ladies are singing a funeral dirge. Cedric notes that Rowena's demeanor is caused by her sorrow for her betrothed, although in fact she is wondering what has become of Wilfrid.
Cedric shows Richard and Wilfrid to an apartment for special guests, and Richard reminds his host of the favor he promised to grant him. Cedric thinks the timing is a little inconvenient, but he is willing to grant anything as long as it doesn't interfere with his family.
Richard tells Cedric that he is the king, but Cedric does not kneel. He disputes Richard's claim to the throne, to which Richard replies that there really isn't anybody else with a better claim. Cedric says that he disputes only Richard's claim to the throne, not his de facto occupation of it. Richard then asks his favor, which is that Cedric reconcile with his son.
Cedric forgives Wilfrid, asking only that he not wear the silly Norman fashions that Cedric finds offensive. He adds that Rowena must be in mourning for two years before she can marry or the memory of Athelstane would be dishonored and his ghost rise up and forbid the wedding.
At this moment, Athelstane bursts through the door, dressed as a corpse and looking like the walking dead. Recovering from their initial shock and horror, they hear Athelstane's tale. He survived the Templar's blow but has been living on bread and water for three days.
When Sir Brian's sword sliced through the handle of Athelstane's mace, the blade was turned and only smacked him hard enough to knock him out, but he was not wounded. He awakened in an open coffin in St. Edmund's, alarming the abbot (who is expecting a large inheritance from Athelstane's estates) with his sudden return from the dead.
He was promptly given suspiciously strong wine, which knocked him out again. When he next opened his eyes, he was bound and imprisoned in the sepulcher of the convent. He escaped when...
(The entire section is 715 words.)
Chapter 43 Summary
The tiltyard at Templestowe is prepared for mortal combat, with a stake set up for the execution to follow. Among the crowd is a minstrel and a friar, who stop to hear the latest gossip. It is rumored that Athelstane of Coningsburgh was raised from the dead after being buried for several weeks.
The minstrel encourages the storyteller, but he and the friar deny every point of the story: Athelstane was at Ashby, so he can't have been dead so long; his body was carried to Coningsburgh, not St. Edmunds; the sacristan's visitor was a sober cleric, not a drunken friar.
It soon becomes clear to the minstrel, who is Allan-a-Dale, that the friar knows more than he has told. Friar Tuck tells him how his quarter staff passed right through the specter of Athelstane. He tells Allan-a-Dale that he has come to help with the combat or witch burning, whatever the case may be, as atonement.
The Templars enter the field in a procession, with Sir Brian sandwiched between Malvoisin and Conrade. Rebecca is seated beside the stake. She prays a moment, then studies the stake and the pile of wood surrounding it before looking away.
The grand master asks Sir Brian to undergo the formality of swearing that his cause against Rebecca is just, but Malvoisin tells him that he already took the oath with Conrade—a lie to avoid a potential reversal from Sir Brian.
No knight has appeared to be Rebecca's champion, so the grand master tells the herald to ask Rebecca if she's expecting anybody. Sir Brian turns his horse and follows the herald to Rebecca's chair. Rebecca requests more time, and while the herald is relaying her message to the grand master, Sir Brian urges her to jump on his horse, who he is sure will carry them safely away. She rejects him once again, and Malvoisin interrupts to bring Sir Brian away.
After two hours of waiting, the crowd grows restless, but Wilfrid arrives in time. He and his horse are reeling from exhaustion, and it doesn't seem that he will be able to fight. Sir Brian at first refuses to fight him in such a condition, but Wilfrid reminds the Templar of their oaths at Rotherwood that they would fight the next time they met. Sir Brian then agrees and they take their places.
In the charge, Ivanhoe is easily knocked down, but his lance lightly touches Sir Brian's shield. Sir Brian tumbles. When Wilfrid asks whether the Templar yields, there is no answer. Sir Brian opens...
(The entire section is 447 words.)
Chapter 44 Summary
The grand master declares Rebecca innocent and awards Sir Brian's body and gear to Ivanhoe. Wilfrid again refuses to accept Sir Brian's horse, armor, and weapons, but he orders his burial to be private—as a man who died "in an unjust quarrel."
Richard arrives with a force of knights. He reproaches Wilfrid for not letting him be the one to fight the Templar. Richard then orders the arrest of Preceptor Malvoisin for treason. When the grand master protests, Richard points out that the banner of the Templars has been replaced with the flag of England. He tells Beaumanoir to dissolve the Templestowe chapter and take his Templars to another preceptory that has not engaged in conspiracy.
The grand master proudly gathers his knights to depart, but there is tension between the ranks of Templars and the knights of the Earl of Essex, who support Richard. Richard, unable to resist, challenges the Templars, but the grand master declares that his knight will not fight over idle quarrels. He will take his complaint to the pope, and Richard will see what the princes of Europe have to say about it. As they ride off, Richard wistfully regrets that such valiant knights are so untrustworthy.
Rebecca is embraced by her father, who wants them both to go to Ivanhoe and throw themselves at his feet. Rebecca cannot bear to see Wilfrid, however, and begs to flee. Isaac objects that they will seem ungrateful, but Rebecca says they will show their gratitude later. She gives as her reason the presence of King Richard, and Isaac considers that he has lent money to John to operate his conspiracy against Richard. They hastily depart.
Ivanhoe remarks to Essex that it was fortunate that Richard brought an escort, but the earl shakes his head. He was riding with his knights to York to disrupt Prince John's preparations when he met Richard galloping along the road with the intention of making himself Rebecca's champion. They followed him, but barely with his consent.
Wilfrid asks for news from York, and Essex assures him that John's followers are dispersed. John himself bumped into them on the road. Richard received his brother warmly and recommended that he go stay with their mother until things cooled down.
In the aftermath of Richard's return, the Malvoisins are executed, and De Bracy and Fitzurse are exiled. Cedric is unable to revive Athelstane's interest in either Rowena or the Saxon cause—he is...
(The entire section is 689 words.)