Crispin: The Cross of Lead Chapters 42-43 Summary


Chapters 42-43 Summary

Crispin wakes up to the sound of many church bells ringing all at once. He remembers that today is a religious holiday called the Feast of John the Baptist. Bear, who was up late last night, snores through the racket. Crispin decides to stay quiet until Bear wakes on his own. To amuse himself, Crispin squishes a few of the fleas that live in the straw he and Bear are using for a bed.

When he cannot remain still any longer, Crispin gets up and tiptoes partway down the stairs. The tavern room is full of people breakfasting on bread dipped in wine. The Widow Daventry laughs and jokes with them, serving food and collecting money. Crispin watches the scene curiously, amazed at how nonchalantly everyone accepts all the action around them. People take no particular notice even when a pig wanders in and eats the crumbs at their feet.

Eventually Crispin sees a one-eyed young man come to the doorway and just stand there, surveying the room. Crispin recognizes this man from the first village where he and Bear performed. Afraid, Crispin retreats to his room. Bear is still there, still snoring.

Once again, Crispin decides against waking his friend. He goes back to his post on the stairs, and soon the Widow Daventry notices him and says it is not safe for him to be seen. She tells him to hide in her kitchen until the breakfast crowd leaves, and she asks him to watch over the pies she is baking. Crispin waits by the oven, looking around at the herbs and meats hanging on hooks from the ceiling. When the pies are brown, he takes them out, but he accidentally drops one on the floor. It breaks, and he panics. To destroy the evidence of his mistake, he eats it. It is rich and meaty—the best food he has ever had.

When the Widow Daventry returns, she notices immediately that Crispin has eaten one of the pies. She does not seem too angry, but she tells him not to eat anything else. When the dining room empties, she makes him help her clean up. They gather the cups and bowls, dump their contents on the floor, and wipe them out with a rag.

As he works, Crispin has the feeling that the Widow Daventry is upset. Eventually she speaks up and says that it is bad for Bear to be mixed up with people who “cause trouble.” She suggests that Crispin keep Bear interested in singing and juggling; otherwise the man may get too wrapped up in the dangers of rebellion.