Chapters 52-53 Summary
In the late afternoon, the Widow Daventry returns to Crispin’s room. Speaking quickly, she says that she has found a friend who will sneak Crispin out of Great Wexly late tonight, after curfew is in force. When Crispin asks, she adds that Bear is probably already dead. In her view, the best thing Crispin can do now is get himself as far away as possible—perhaps even out of England altogether.
Crispin falls asleep after the widow leaves, and he awakes when the bells ring at the beginning of the citywide curfew. A few minutes later, the widow enters and says that her friend is ready to lead Crispin away. Crispin gathers Bear’s possessions, including all the money left from the juggling and music performances in the villages. When Crispin offers to pay the Widow Daventry for his stay at her hotel, she refuses to accept a penny. She says that he needs money more than she does.
Before Crispin leaves, the Widow Daventry gives him a tight hug. Then her friend, a man in dark clothes who walks with a limp and refuses to meet Crispin’s eyes, leads him out into the streets. As he exits the Green Man, Crispin looks up at the sky and sees a full moon. He wonders briefly if he will live to see the next sunrise.
Crispin follows the limping man through the city. They walk quickly, ducking into the shadows when they hear soldiers approaching. Crispin takes this moment to ask his guide to lead him to the White Stag—the tavern where John Ball is holding a meeting tonight—instead of the gates. When the guide hesitates, Crispin offers a few pennies in payment. The man accepts the money and takes Crispin where he wants to go.
The White Stag appears to be dark, but Crispin knocks on the door anyway. When someone opens it partway, Crispin whispers that Bear has been captured. He is allowed inside, where he finds five men, all wearing hoods to cover their faces. One of these men speaks with John Ball’s voice.
When they hear that Bear has been captured, John Ball and his friends say that he is sure to betray them. Ball questions Crispin’s loyalty as well. This scares Crispin, but he does not let fear overwhelm him. He points out that he warned the men of the soldiers’ approach today, and that Bear got captured because he helped everyone else escape. No matter what Ball says, Crispin insists on going to the palace to try to free Bear. Nobody else is brave enough to join the venture, but one of the hooded men offers to take Crispin to the town square.