Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 715
Richard and Wilfrid are taken up to the tower's third floor, where the more important guests are gathered in a mournful circle. Wilfrid has hidden his face, but Cedric recognizes the Black Knight and rises to meet him. Together they pass through a side room where monks are praying for the soul of Athelstane to another room where Athelstane's mother sits alone.
Lady Edith has willed most of the family estates to the local convent of St. Edmund. After introductions, they pass on to a room where Rowena and other Saxon ladies are singing a funeral dirge. Cedric notes that Rowena's demeanor is caused by her sorrow for her betrothed, although in fact she is wondering what has become of Wilfrid.
Cedric shows Richard and Wilfrid to an apartment for special guests, and Richard reminds his host of the favor he promised to grant him. Cedric thinks the timing is a little inconvenient, but he is willing to grant anything as long as it doesn't interfere with his family.
Richard tells Cedric that he is the king, but Cedric does not kneel. He disputes Richard's claim to the throne, to which Richard replies that there really isn't anybody else with a better claim. Cedric says that he disputes only Richard's claim to the throne, not his de facto occupation of it. Richard then asks his favor, which is that Cedric reconcile with his son.
Cedric forgives Wilfrid, asking only that he not wear the silly Norman fashions that Cedric finds offensive. He adds that Rowena must be in mourning for two years before she can marry or the memory of Athelstane would be dishonored and his ghost rise up and forbid the wedding.
At this moment, Athelstane bursts through the door, dressed as a corpse and looking like the walking dead. Recovering from their initial shock and horror, they hear Athelstane's tale. He survived the Templar's blow but has been living on bread and water for three days.
When Sir Brian's sword sliced through the handle of Athelstane's mace, the blade was turned and only smacked him hard enough to knock him out, but he was not wounded. He awakened in an open coffin in St. Edmund's, alarming the abbot (who is expecting a large inheritance from Athelstane's estates) with his sudden return from the dead.
He was promptly given suspiciously strong wine, which knocked him out again. When he next opened his eyes, he was bound and imprisoned in the sepulcher of the convent. He escaped when the sacristan came to deliver a little of Athelstane's own funeral feast to the prisoner and drunkenly locked the door while it was still ajar.
Athelstane pulled his rusty manacles out of the wall and went to find his jailors. Haggard, shrouded, dragging his chains, and full of rage he burst in on the sacristan (whom he knocked down) and Friar Tuck (who ran).
Cedric is glad to see Athelstane alive and says that their Saxon cause will go on. Athelstane, however, only wants to hang the abbot for starving him. Front-de-Beouf, he says, was burnt alive for less.
Cedric urges him to tell Richard that he will contend for the throne with him, but Athelstane instead gladly throws off the cause and says that he is a wiser man having come out of the tomb than when he went in. He doesn't see the point in thousands of innocent people being slaughtered over so slight an issue. He wants only to hang the abbot.
When reminded that he is betrothed to Rowena, he says that Rowena would rather marry Wilfrid. He offers to hand Rowena over to Wilfrid, but Ivanhoe has vanished. On looking back around, he finds that Rowena has also disappeared.
Athelstane turns to Richard to offer his allegiance, but the king is gone. Athelstane wonders aloud if there is something about the grave clothes he is wearing that makes people disappear. He suggests that they who are left get down to the banquet before anyone else vanishes.
Richard has gone to the courtyard to find the messenger who precipitated Wilfrid's rapid departure. Hearing the Jew's message himself, Richard jumps on his horse and orders the messenger to follow, but Richard rides so fast, Wamba wonders if the poor messenger will survive the race.
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