Chapter 5 Summary
The porter returns a moment later with the supplemental news, whispered to Cedric, that the stranger is a Jew named Isaac of York. Overhearing, Wabma suggests that Gurth the swineherd usher Isaac in, which causes Prior Aymer to genuflect and Sir Brian to register outrage at the thought of a defender of the Holy Sepulchre being approached by a "dog Jew."
Wamba wryly notes that the Templars seem to prefer the Jews' inheritance to their company. Cedric, however, maintains that his hospitality must be extended to all, although Isaac can certainly be accommodated apart from the rest of the diners.
Unable to find a place at the crowded servants' table where he is clearly unwanted, Isaac is at last approached by the Palmer, who relinquishes to him his place by the chimney. After loading a plate of food from the table and delivering it to the drenched and miserable old man, the Palmer moves across the room to a place nearer the dais, where Cedric and the prior are discussing the virtues of Saxon English.
Aymer praises the refinements of Norman French, which Cedric declares he has no use for. Sir Brian is distracted from his admiration of Rowena long enough to assert that French is the language of the hunt and of war.
Cedric recollects his youth on the battlefield of Northallerton, when the Saxon warriors fought victoriously without the Norman crie de guerre. Warming to his role as host, Cedric toasts the crusaders of England regardless of race or language. Wamba suggests that King Richard should have taken "a fool's advice" and stayed home.
Rowena prods Sir Brian into admitting that Saxons were serving bravely under Richard in the Holy Land, although he holds them second to the knights, like himself, who had long professionally defended their holdings in the Palestine. At this the...
(The entire section is 467 words.)