Chapters 50-51 Summary
When the widow leaves, Crispin returns to his hiding place and lies down to think. Suddenly his whole life makes more sense to him than it ever has before. He understands why his mother gave him a noble name but hid it from him, and why she knew how to read and write but never taught him. He understands why she was so bitter, and why the people of the town shunned both him and her as though they were different. And finally, he understands why Aycliffe—a relative of Lady Furnival’s—acted so hatefully. He saw Crispin as a threat to his kinswoman’s power.
Remembering that night with Aycliffe in the forest, Crispin realizes that the men had already decided to try to kill him even before they noticed him listening. Silently, Crispin thinks:
[Aycliffe] sought to kill me because of who I was. No, not who I was, but who my father and mother were.
Thinking it over, Crispin realized that Father Quinel must have known the truth, and that this caused his death. Bear, too, has been captured merely because of the “poison” that runs through Crispin’s veins. Clearly Aycliffe thinks of Bear only as bait for catching Crispin.
As Crispin sits in the darkness, he reflects that he feels different than he used to feel. Instead of being nobody, he is himself. And he is Lord Furnival’s son. His mother, his father, and his priest have all died, and people have been chasing him and trying to kill him. And somehow, in spite of all of that death, Crispin feels like he wants to live.
Crispin knows that some people would consider it lucky to have noble blood. However, he agrees with the Widow Daventry that his blood is the worst kind it is possible to have. Lords like Furnival force people to live in bondage. Crispin has lived in that bondage himself, and he has seen how others do the same.
From all he has seen, Crispin has come to respect freedom. He has no desire to become a lord and rule over others. Not only that, but he has no feeling for Lord Furnival as a father. Bear has acted far more like a father to Crispin. Bear also gave Crispin freedom to replace the life of bondage he suffered under Lord Furnival’s power. It is to Bear that Crispin owes his loyalty—and his life. Silently, Crispin resolves to free Bear, no matter what the cost.