Chapter 48 Summary
Gathering his courage, Crispin tiptoes downstairs. All of the tavern’s chairs and tables are smashed. Cups are strewn on the floor, many of them broken. In the center of the mess, the Widow Daventry lies collapsed on the floor, crying, her body bruised and her clothing torn. When she hears Crispin approach, the widow starts in fear—and then relaxes when she realizes who it is. She wipes blood from her face and forces herself to stop crying.
Crispin asks the widow what happened, and she says that soldiers came looking for him. He asks if they will come back, and she replies—with an air of tired resignation—that they might. He asks what they will do if they find him. “Kill you,” she says simply. Hesitantly, Crispin asks why, and she tells him to ask Bear.
Crispin explains that Bear has been captured by soldiers. He tells her all about the meeting and the attack. When his story is over, the widow takes out her rosary and begins to pray—but her prayer is mixed with angry curse words. Crispin asks what will happen, and the widow says that the best they can hope for is “a speedy death” for their friend. This idea makes her cry again.
Determined to understand what is happening, Crispin tells the widow everything he knows. He mentions that John Ball said he had been betrayed, and the widow scoffs. She says that the soldiers probably know nothing about Ball. “It’s you they want,” she says.
With nowhere else to turn, Crispin asks the Widow Daventry what he should do next. She says that Crispin is not safe at the Green Man. Bear would not willingly reveal Crispin’s whereabouts, “but even the strongest can be broken by torture.” Crispin is shocked at the very idea of torture, but the Widow Daventry seems to think of it as inevitable.
The widow tells Crispin to wait until curfew tonight and then sneak out of town. Bear is lost, and Crispin has no choice but to save himself. She orders him to go up to his room and hide in the secret panel in the wall—and not to show his face in her tavern again.
Crispin goes upstairs and sits in his dark hiding place, thinking. He is full of misery as he considers all the terrible things that have happened because of him. Bear has been captured and tortured, and the widow has been attacked. They would both be better off if they had never met Crispin at all.