Chapter 35 Summary
Isaac proceeds through the forest as quickly as he can manage and dismisses his outlaw guides as soon as he reaches the edge of it, but he is still miles from Templestowe. He is exhausted by all he has endured and stumbles to the home of a physician friend he has in the next town. Nathan Ben Israel is sympathetic, but he tells Isaac that the notorious Lucas de Beaumanoir is now installed as grand master at Templestowe. Beaumanoir is a zealot and an anti-Semite—standing out even in that day for his hatred of the Jews. This is bad news for Sir Brian, who is precisely the kind of secular priest that Beaumanoir is purging from the order, and for Rebecca.
Isaac is undeterred, however, because Rebecca has no chance at all if he does not go. He hopes that at least the morally austere Beaumanoir may prevent the rape of Rebecca. He arrives at Templestowe to find that asceticism has replaced licentiousness, but he is not sure that it is an improvement.
In the garden, Beaumanoir laments to his attendant Conrade that nowhere can he find a Templar who embraces the vows of the order. They are too rich and too vain; there are even heretics among them who study the magic of the Saracens and the Jews. He complains that the garden is too full of exotic plants. He tells Conrade of a vision he had of the founders telling him that soldiers of the Cross are living in sin with heathen women—he must awake and kill them all. He takes this as a sign that reform is needed and he has made it his mission. A squire appears and informs the grand master that Isaac of York is asking to see Brian de Bois-Guilbert. Sir Brian's reputation is well known to Beaumanoir.
When Isaac is ushered in, Beaumanoir asks him what business he has with Sir Brian. Isaac is afraid to say anything about Rebecca, but he says that he carries a letter from Prior Aymer. The grand master notes that they live in evil times when a Cistercian sends a letter to a Templar by way of a Jew. He demands the letter from Isaac and breaks the seal. He reads it and then hands it to Conrade. The letter begins by wishing Sir Brian the "bounties of King Bacchus and of my Lady Venus" and gets worse from there. He counsels Sir Brian to exchange the "second Witch of Endor" for enough ransom to buy fifty damsels. Conrade understands what "witch of Endor" means in the language of chivalry, but Beaumanoir takes the phrase literally. The grand master triumphantly expels Isaac from the grounds and calls for the preceptor of Templestowe.