Crispin: The Cross of Lead Chapter 36 Summary


Chapter 36 Summary

The Widow Daventry invites Bear to sit down and chat over a meal. Bear agrees but says that he is first going to take Crispin upstairs. Crispin guesses that they do not want him to hear their conversation. He wishes they would let him stay but decides not to complain in front of the widow.

Bear asks the widow for keys to the “special” room he likes to rent. Then he leads the way to the second floor. As Crispin climbs the stairs, he holds the wall to keep steady. He has never been inside a two-story building before, and he grows dizzy from being indoors and up high at the same time. After a moment’s hesitation, he asks Bear if there is any risk that a building this tall will fall down. Bear laughs and promises that it is safe.

The tavern room is small and stinky, furnished only with a little table and a pallet of moldy hay for a bed, which they will share. Bear shows Crispin what makes the room special: it has a removable panel in the wall, enclosing a space big enough to hide both of them if someone should come looking. He doubts that there will be a need to hide, but Crispin is not so sure.

Eager to understand his current situation, Crispin asks what Bear is really doing in Great Wexly. Bear laughs and comments that Crispin has grown bolder lately. When they first met, Crispin was too timid even to ask Bear’s name. Now he demands to know his master’s business as if it were his own. Bear clearly appreciates this change—but he refuses to answer the question.

Crispin does not want to sit alone in an uncomfortable room when there are so many wonderful sights to see outside. He begs to go out, but Bear says no. He tells Crispin to stay hidden. Then he rushes back to the Widow Daventry.

Annoyed, Crispin eats his lunch, a bowl of stew and bread that the widow has brought. He is dying to get to know the city and to spend the penny he earned performing with Bear. For a while he tries to be good, but eventually he gives in to temptation. He sneaks out, taking Bear’s dagger for protection.

Crispin is afraid he may get caught if he goes out the front door, so he tiptoes through the building and finds a back door. He pokes his head outside and chokes from the stench. The door leads to an alley full of outhouses. He holds his nose and slips out, making his way to the street.