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Ivanhoe

Walter Scott
by Walter Scott

Now fitted the halter, now traversed the cart,
And often took leave,----but seemed loath to depart!*

* The motto alludes to the Author returning to the stage repeatedly
* after having taken leave.

Prior.


INTRODUCTION TO IVANHOE.

The Author of the Waverley Novels had hitherto
proceeded in an unabated course of popularity,
and might, in his peculiar district of
literature, have been termed _L'Enfant G<a^>t<e'> of
success. It was plain, however, that frequent
publication must finally wear out the public
favour, unless some mode could be devised to
give an appearance of novelty to subsequent
productions. Scottish manners, Scottish dialect,
and Scottish characters of note, being
those with which the author was most intimately,
and familiarly acquainted, were the
groundwork upon which he had hitherto relied
for giving effect to his narrative. It was,
however, obvious, that this kind of interest
must in the end occasion a degree of sameness
and repetition, if exclusively resorted to, and
that the reader was likely at length to adopt
the language of Edwin, in Parnell's Tale:---

------`` `Reverse the spell,' he cries,
'And let it fairly now suffice,
The gambol has been shown.' ''

Nothing can be more dangerous for the
fame of a professor of the fine arts, than to permit
(if he can possibly prevent it) the character
of a mannerist to be attached to him, or
that he should be supposed capable of success
only in a particular and limited style. The
public are, in general, very ready to adopt the
opinion, that he who has pleased them in one
peculiar mode of composition, is, by means of
that very talent, rendered incapable of venturing
upon other subjects. The effect of this
disinclination, on the part of the public, towards
the artificers of their pleasures, when they attempt
to enlarge their means of amusing, may
be seen in the censures usually passed by vulgar
criticism upon actors or artists who venture
to change the character of their efforts,
that, in so doing, they may enlarge the scale
of their art.

There is some justice in this opinion, as
there always is in such as attain general
currency. It may often happen on the stage,
that an actor, by possessing in a preeminent
degree the external qualities necessary to give
effect to comedy, may be deprived of the right
to aspire to tragic excellence; and in painting
or literary composition, an artist or poet
may be master exclusively of modes of thought,
and powers of expression, which confine him
to a single course of subjects. But much more
frequently the same capacity which carries a
man to popularity in one department will obtain
for him success in another, and that must
be more particularly the case in literary composition,
than either in acting or painting, because
the adventurer in that department is not
impeded in his exertions by any peculiarity of
features, or conformation of person, proper for
particular parts, or, by any peculiar mechanical
habits of using the pencil, limited to a particular
class of subjects.

Whether this reasoning be correct or otherwise,
the present author felt, that, in confining
himself to subjects purely Scottish, he was not
only likely to weary out the indulgence of his
readers, but also greatly to limit his own power
of affording them pleasure. In a highly polished
country, where so much genius is monthly
employed in catering for public amusement,
a fresh topic, such as he had himself had the
happiness to light upon, is the untasted spring
of the desert;---

``Men bless their stars and call it luxury.''

But when men and horses, cattle, camels, and
dromedaries, have poached the spring into
mud, it becomes loathsome to those who at first
drank of it with rapture; and he who had the
merit of discovering it, if he would preserve his
reputation with the tribe, must display his talent
by a fresh discovery of untasted fountains.

If the author, who finds himself limited to a
particular class of subjects, endeavours to sustain
his reputation by striving to add a novelty
of attraction to themes of the same character
which have been formerly successful under
his management, there are manifest reasons
why, after a certain point, he is likely to fail.
If the mine be not wrought out, the strength
and capacity of the miner become necessarily
exhausted. If he closely imitates the narratives
which he has before rendered successful,
he is doomed to ``wonder that they please no
more.'' If he struggles to take a different view
of the same class of subjects, he speedily discovers
that what is obvious, graceful, and
natural, has been exhausted; and, in order to
obtain the indispensable charm of novelty, he
is forced upon caricature, and, to avoid being
trite, must become extravagant.

It is not, perhaps, necessary to enumerate
so many reasons why the author of the Scottish
Novels, as they were then exclusively termed,
should be desirous to make an experiment
on a subject purely English. It was his purpose,
at the same time, to have rendered the
experiment as complete as possible, by bringing
the intended work before the public as the effort
of a new candidate for their favour, in order
that no degree of prejudice, whether favourable
or the reverse, might attach to it, as a new
production of the Author of Waverley; but
this intention was afterwards departed from,
for reasons to be hereafter mentioned.

The period of the narrative adopted was
the reign of Richard I, not only as abounding
with characters whose very names were sure
to attract general attention, but as affording a
striking contrast betwixt the Saxons, by whom
the soil was cultivated, and the Normans, who
still reigned in it as conquerors, reluctant to
mix with the vanquished, or acknowledge
themselves of the same stock. The idea of this
contrast was taken from the ingenious and unfortunate
Logan's tragedy of Runnamede, in
which, about the same period of history, the
author had seen the Saxon and Norman barons
opposed to each other on different sides of the
stage. He does not recollect that there was
any attempt to contrast the two races in their
habits and sentiments; and indeed it was obvious,
that history was violated by introducing
the Saxons still existing as a high-minded and
martial race of nobles.

They did, however, survive as a people, and
some of the ancient Saxon families possessed
wealth and power, although they were exceptions
to the humble condition of the race in
general. It seemed to the author, that the existence
of the two races in the same country,
the vanquished distinguished by their plain,
homely, blunt manners, and the free spirit
infused by their ancient institutions and laws;
the victors, by the high spirit of military fame,
personal adventure, and whatever could distinguish
them as the Flower of Chivalry, might,
intermixed with other characters belonging to
the same time and country, interest the reader
by the contrast, if the author should not
fail on his part.

Scotland, however, had been of late used so
exclusively as the scene of what is called Historical
Romance, that the preliminary letter
of Mr Laurence Templeton became in some
measure necessary. To this, as to an Introduction,
the reader is referred, as expressing
author's purpose and opinions in undertaking
this species of composition, under the
necessary reservation, that he is far from
thinking he has attained the point at which he
aimed.

It is scarcely necessary to add, that there
was no idea or wish to pass off the supposed
Mr Templeton as a real person. But a kind of
continuation of the Tales of my Landlord had
been recently attempted by a stranger, and it
was supposed this Dedicatory Epistle might
pass for some imitation of the same kind, and
thus putting enquirers upon a false scent, induce
them to believe they had before them the
work of some new candidate for their favour.

After a considerable part of the work had
been finished and printed, the Publishers, who
pretended to discern in it a germ of popularity,
remonstrated strenuously against its appearing
as an absolutely anonymous production, and
contended that it should have the advantage of
being announced as by the Author of Waverley.
The author did not make any obstinate opposition,
for he began to be of opinion with Dr
Wheeler, in Miss Edgeworth's excellent tale
of ``Man<oe>uvring,'' that ``Trick upon Trick''
might be too much for the patience of an indulgent
public, and might be reasonably considered
as trifling with their favour.

The book, therefore, appeared as an avowed
continuation of the Waverley Novels; and it
would be ungrateful not to acknowledge, that it
met with the same favourable reception as its
predecessors.

Such annotations as may be useful to assist
the reader in comprehending the characters of
the Jew, the Templar, the Captain of the mercenaries,
or Free Companions, as they were
called, and others proper to the period, are
added, but with a sparing hand, since sufficient
information on these subjects is to be found in
general history.

An incident in the tale, which had the good
fortune to find favour in the eyes of many readers,
is more directly borrowed from the stores
of old romance. I mean the meeting of the
King with Friar Tuck at the cell of that buxom
hermit. The general tone of the story belongs
to all ranks and all countries, which emulate
each other in describing the rambles of a disguised
sovereign, who, going in search of information
or amusement, into the lower ranks
of life, meets with adventures diverting to the
reader or hearer, from the contrast betwixt the
monarch's outward appearance, and his real
character. The Eastern tale-teller has for his
theme the disguised expeditions of Haroun
Alraschid with his faithful attendants, Mesrour
and Giafar, through the midnight streets of
Bagdad; and Scottish tradition dwells upon
the similar exploits of James V, distinguished
during such excursions by the travelling name
of the Goodman of Ballengeigh, as the Commander
of the Faithful, when he desired to be
incognito, was known by that of Il Bondocani.
The French minstrels are not silent on so popular
a theme. There must have been a Norman
original of the Scottish metrical romance of
Rauf Colziar, in which Charlemagne is introduced
as the unknown guest of a charcoal-man.*

* This very curious poem, long a _desideratum_ in Scottish literature,
* and given up as irrecoverably lost, was lately brought
* to light by the researches of Dr Irvine of the Advocates' Library,
* and has been reprinted by Mr David Laing, Edinburgh.

It seems to have been the original of
other poems of the kind.

In merry England there is no end of popular
ballads on this theme. The poem of John
the Reeve, or Steward, mentioned by Bishop
Percy, in the Reliques of English Poetry,* is

* Vol. ii. p. 167.

said to have turned on such an incident; and
we have besides, the King and the Tanner of
Tamworth, the King and the Miller of Mansfield,
and others on the same topic. But the
peculiar tale of this nature to which the author
of Ivanhoe has to acknowledge an obligation,
is more ancient by two centuries than any of
these last mentioned.

It was first communicated to the public in
that curious record of ancient literature, which
has been accumulated by the combined exertions
of Sir Egerton Brydges. and Mr Hazlewood,
in the periodical work entitled the British
Bibliographer. From thence it has been
transferred by the Reverend Charles Henry
Hartsborne, M.A., editor of a very curious volume,
entitled ``Ancient Metrical Tales, printed
chiefly from original sources, 1829.'' Mr
Hartshorne gives no other authority for the
present fragment, except the article in the
Bibliographer, where it is entitled the Kyng
and the Hermite. A short abstract of its
contents will show its similarity to the meeting
of King Richard and Friar Tuck.

King Edward (we are not told which among
the monarchs of that name, but, from his temper
and habits, we may suppose Edward IV.)
sets forth with his court to a gallant hunting-match
in Sherwood Forest, in which, as is not
unusual for princes in romance, he falls in with
a deer of extraordinary size and swiftness, and
pursues it closely, till he has outstripped his
whole retinue, tired out hounds and horse, and
finds himself alone under the gloom of an extensive
forest, upon which night is descending.
Under the apprehensions natural to a situation
so uncomfortable, the king recollects that he
has heard how poor men, when apprehensive of
a bad nights lodging, pray to Saint Julian, who,
in the Romish calendar, stands Quarter-Master-General
to all forlorn travellers that render
him due homage. Edward puts up his orisons
accordingly, and by the guidance, doubtless, of
the good Saint, reaches a small path, conducting
him to a chapel in the forest, having a hermit's
cell in its close vicinity. The King hears
the reverend man, with a companion of his
solitude, telling his beads within, and meekly
requests of him quarters for the night. ``I
have no accommodation for such a lord as ye
be,'' said the Hermit. ``I live here in the wilderness
upon roots and rinds, and may not receive
into my dwelling even the poorest wretch
that lives, unless it were to save his life.'' The
King enquires the way to the next town, and,
understanding it is by a road which he cannot
find without difficulty, even if he had daylight
to befriend him, he declares, that with or without
the Hermits consent, he is determined to
be his guest that night. He is admitted accordingly,
not without a hint from the Recluse,
that were he himself out of his priestly weeds,
he would care little for his threats of using
violence, and that he gives way to him not out
of intimidation, but simply to avoid scandal.

The King is admitted into the cell---two
bundles of straw are shaken down for his accommodation,
and he comforts himself that he
is now under shelter, and that

``A night will soon be gone.''

Other wants, however, arise. The guest
becomes clamorous for supper, observing,

``For certainly, as I you say,
I ne had never so sorry a day,
That I ne had a merry night.''

But this indication of his taste for good
cheer, joined to the annunciation of his being
a follower of the Court, who had lost himself
at the great hunting-match, cannot induce the
niggard Hermit to produce better fare than
bread and cheese, for which his guest showed
little appetite; and ``thin drink,'' which was
even less acceptable. At length the King
presses his host on a point to which he had
more than once alluded, without obtaining a
satisfactory reply:

``Then said the King, `by Godys grace,
Thou wert in a merry place,
To shoot should thou lere
When the foresters go to rest,
Sometyme thou might have of the best,
All of the wild deer;
I wold hold it for no scathe,
Though thou hadst bow and arrows baith,
Althoff thou best a Frere.' ''

The Hermit, in return, expresses his apprehension
that his guest means to drag him into
some confession of offence against the forest
laws, which, being betrayed to the King, might
cost him his life. Edward answers by fresh
assurances of secrecy, and again urges on him
the necessity of procuring some venison. The
Hermit replies, by once more insisting on the
duties incumbent upon him as a churchman,
and continues to affirm himself free from all
such breaches of order:---

``Many day I have here been,
And flesh-meat I eat never,
But milk of the kye;
Warm thee well, and go to sleep,
And I will lap thee with my cope,
Softly to lye.''

It would seem that the manuscript is here
imperfect, for we do not find the reasons which
finally induce the curtal Friar to amend the
King's cheer. But acknowledging his guest
to be such a ``good fellow'' as has seldom
graced his board, the holy man at length produces
the best his cell affords. Two candles
are placed on a table, white bread and baked
pasties are displayed by the light, besides
choice of venison, both salt and fresh, from
which they select collops. ``I might have eaten
my bread dry,'' said the King, ``had I not
pressed thee on the score of archery, but now
have I dined like a prince---if we had but drink
enow.''

This too is afforded by the hospitable anchorite,
who dispatches an assistant to fetch a pot
of four gallons from a secret corner near his
bed, and the whole three set in to serious drinking.
This amusement is superintended by the
Friar, according to the recurrence of certain
fustian words, to be repeated by every compotator
in turn before he drank---a species of
High Jinks, as it were, by which they regulated
their potations, as toasts were given in
latter times. The one toper says _fusty bandias_,
to which the other is obliged to reply, _strike
pantnere_, and the Friar passes many jests on
the King's want of memory, who sometimes
forgets the words of action. The night is spent
in this jolly pastime. Before his departure
in the morning, the King invites his reverend
host to Court, promises, at least, to requite his
hospitality, and expresses himself much pleased
with his entertainment. The jolly Hermit
at length agrees to venture thither, and to
enquire for Jack Fletcher, which is the name
assumed by the King. After the Hermit has
shown Edward some feats of archery, the joyous
pair separate. The King rides home, and
rejoins his retinue. As the romance is imperfect,
we are not acquainted how the discovery
takes place; but it is probably much
in the same manner as in other narratives
turning on the same subject, where the host,
apprehensive of death for having trespassed
on the respect due to his Sovereign, while incognito,
is agreeably surprised by receiving
honours and reward.

In Mr Hartshorne's collection, there is a
romance on the same foundation, called King
Edward and the Shepherd,* which, considered

* Like the Hermit, the Shepherd makes havock amongst the
* King's game; but by means of a sling, not of a bow; like the
* Hermit, too, he has his peculiar phrases of compotation, the
* sign and countersign being Passelodion and Berafriend. One
* can scarce conceive what humour our ancestors found in this
* species of gibberish; but

* ``I warrant it proved an excuse for the glass.''

as illustrating manners, is still more curious
than the King and the Hermit; but it is foreign
to the present purpose. The reader has here
the original legend from which the incident in
the romance is derived; and the identifying
the irregular Eremite with the Friar Tuck of
Robin Hood's story, was an obvious expedient.

The name of Ivanhoe was suggested by an
old rhyme. All novelists have had occasion
at some time or other to wish with Falstaff, that
they knew where a commodity of good names
was to be had. On such an occasion the
author chanced to call to memory a rhyme
recording three names of the manors forfeited
by the ancestor of the celebrated Hampden,
for striking the Black Prince a blow with his
racket, when they quarrelled at tennis;---

``Tring, Wing, and Ivanhoe,
For striking of a blow,
Hampden did forego,
And glad he could escape so.''

The word suited the author's purpose in two
material respects,---for, first, it had an ancient
English sound; and secondly, it conveyed no
indication whatever of the nature of the story.
He presumes to hold this last quality to be of
no small importance. What is called a taking
title, serves the direct interest of the bookseller
or publisher, who by this means sometimes sells
an edition while it is yet passing the press. But
if the author permits an over degree of attention
to be drawn to his work ere it has appeared,
he places himself in the embarrassing condition
of having excited a degree of expectation
which, if he proves unable to satisfy, is an error
fatal to his literary reputation. Besides, when
we meet such a title as the Gunpowder Plot, or
any other connected with general history, each
reader, before he has seen the book, has formed
to himself some particular idea of the sort of
manner in which the story is to be conducted,
and the nature of the amusement which he is
to derive from it. In this he is probably disappointed,
and in that case may be naturally disposed
to visit upon the author or the work, the
unpleasant feelings thus excited. In such a
case the literary adventurer is censured, not
for having missed the mark at which he himself
aimed, but for not having shot off his shaft
in a direction he never thought of.

On the footing of unreserved communication
which the Author has established with the
reader, he may here add the trifling circumstance,
that a roll of Norman warriors, occurring
in the Auchinleck Manuscript, gave him
the formidable name of Front-de-B<oe>uf.

Ivanhoe was highly successful upon its appearance,
and may be said to have procured
for its author the freedom of the Rules, since
he has ever since been permitted to exercise
his powers of fictitious composition in England,
as well as Scotland.

The character of the fair Jewess found so
much favour in the eyes of some fair readers,
that the writer was censured, because, when
arranging the fates of the characters of the
drama, he had not assigned the hand of Wilfred
to Rebecca, rather than the less interesting
Rowena. But, not to mention that the prejudices
of the age rendered such an union almost
impossible, the author may, in passing,
observe, that he thinks a character of a highly
virtuous and lofty stamp, is degraded rather
than exalted by an attempt to reward virtue
with temporal prosperity. Such is not the recompense
which Providence has deemed worthy
of suffering merit, and it is a dangerous
and fatal doctrine to teach young persons, the
most common readers of romance, that rectitude
of conduct and of principle are either naturally
allied with, or adequately rewarded by,
the gratification of our passions, or attainment
of our wishes. In a word, if a virtuous and self-denied
character is dismissed with temporal
wealth, greatness, rank, or the indulgence of
such a rashly formed or ill assorted passion as
that of Rebecca for Ivanhoe, the reader will be
apt to say, verily Virtue has had its reward.
But a glance on the great picture of life will
show, that the duties of self-denial, and the
sacrifice of passion to principle, are seldom thus
remunerated; and that the internal consciousness
of their high-minded discharge of duty,
produces on their own reflections a more adequate
recompense, in the form of that peace
which the world cannot give or take away.

Abbotsford,
1st September, 1830.

DEDICATORY EPISTLE

TO

THE REV. DR DRYASDUST, F.A.S.

Residing in the Castle-Gate, York.


Much esteemed and dear Sir,

It is scarcely necessary to mention the
various and concurring reasons which induce
me to place your name at the head of the following
work. Yet the chief of these reasons
may perhaps be refuted by the imperfections
of the performance. Could I have hoped to
render it worthy of your patronage, the public
would at once have seen the propriety of
inscribing a work designed to illustrate the
domestic antiquities of England, and particularly
of our Saxon forefathers, to the learned
author of the Essays upon the Horn of King
Ulphus, and on the Lands bestowed by him
upon the patrimony of St Peter. I am conscious,
however, that the slight, unsatisfactory,
and trivial manner, in which the result of my
antiquarian researches has been recorded in
the following pages, takes the work from under
that class which bears the proud motto,
_Detur digniori_. On the contrary, I fear I shall
incur the censure of presumption in placing
the venerable name of Dr Jonas Dryasdust at
the head of a publication, which the more
grave antiquary will perhaps class with the
idle novels and romances of the day. I am
anxious to vindicate myself from such a charge;
for although I might trust to your friendship
for an apology in your eyes, yet I would not
willingly stand conviction in those of the public
of so grave a crime, as my fears lead me
to anticipate my being charged with.

I must therefore remind you, that when we
first talked over together that class of productions,
in one of which the private and family
affairs of your learned northern friend, Mr
Oldbuck of Monkbarns, were so unjustifiably
exposed to the public, some discussion occurred
between us concerning the cause of the
popularity these works have attained in this
idle age, which, whatever other merit they
possess, must be admitted to be hastily written,
and in violation of every rule assigned to
the epopeia. It seemed then to be your opinion,
that the charm lay entirely in the art with
which the unknown author had availed himself,
like a second M`Pherson, of the antiquarian
stores which lay scattered around him, supplying
his own indolence or poverty of invention,
by the incidents which had actually taken
place in his country at no distant period, by
introducing real characters, and scarcely suppressing
real names. It was not above sixty
or seventy years, you observed, since the whole
north of Scotland was under a state of government
nearly as simple and as patriarchal
as those of our good allies the Mohawks and
Iroquois. Admitting that the author cannot
himself be supposed to have witnessed those
times, he must have lived, you observed, among
persons who had acted and suffered in them;
and even within these thirty years, such an infinite
change has taken place in the manners
of Scotland, that men look back upon the habits
of society proper to their immediate ancestors,
as we do on those of the reign of Queen
Anne, or even the period of the Revolution.
Having thus materials of every kind lying
strewed around him, there was little, you observed,
to embarrass the author, but the difficulty
of choice. It was no wonder, therefore,
that, having begun to work a mine so plentiful,
he should have derived from his works
fully more credit and profit than the facility
of his labours merited.

Admitting (as I could not deny) the general
truth of these conclusions, I cannot but
think it strange that no attempt has been made
to excite an interest for the traditions and
manners of Old England, similiar to that which
has been obtained in behalf of those of our poorer
and less celebrated neighbours. The Kendal
green, though its date is more ancient,
ought surely to be as dear to our feelings, as
the variegated tartans of the north. The name
of Robin Hood, if duly conjured with, should
raise a spirit as soon as that of Rob Roy; and
the patriots of England deserve no less their
renown in our modern circles, than the Bruces
and Wallaces of Caledonia. If the scenery of
the south be less romantic and sublime than
that of the northern mountains, it must be allowed
to possess in the same proportion superior
softness and beauty; and upon the whole,
we feel ourselves entitled to exclaim with the
patriotic Syrian---``Are not Pharphar and
Abana, rivers of Damascus, better than all the
rivers of Israel?''

Your objections to such an attempt, my dear
Doctor, were, you may remember, two-fold.
You insisted upon the advantages which the
Scotsman possessed, from the very recent existence
of that state of society in which his scene
was to be laid. Many now alive, you remarked,
well remembered persons who had not only
seen the celebrated Roy M`Gregor, but had
feasted, and even fought with him. All those
minute circumstances belonging to private life
and domestic character, all that gives verisimilitude
to a narrative, and individuality to the
persons introduced, is still known and remembered
in Scotland; whereas in England, civilisation
has been so long complete, that our
ideas of our ancestors are only to be gleaned
from musty records and chronicles, the authors
of which seem perversely to have conspired to
suppress in their narratives all interesting details,
in order to find room for flowers of monkish
eloquence, or trite reflections upon morals.
To match an English and a Scottish author in
the rival task of embodying and reviving the
traditions of their respective countries, would
be, you alleged, in the highest degree unequal
and unjust. The Scottish magician, you said,
was, like Lucan's witch, at liberty to walk over
the recent field of battle, and to select for the
subject of resuscitation by his sorceries, a body
whose limbs had recently quivered with existence,
and whose throat had but just uttered
the last note of agony. Such a subject even
the powerful Erictho was compelled to select,
as alone capable of being reanimated even by
_her_ potent magic---

------gelidas leto scrutata medullas,
Pulmonis rigidi stantes sine vulnere fibras
Invenit, et vocem defuncto in corpore qu<ae>rit.

The English author, on the other hand, without
supposing him less of a conjuror than the
Northern Warlock, can, you observed, only
have the liberty of selecting his subject amidst
the dust of antiquity, where nothing was to be
found but dry, sapless, mouldering, and disjointed
bones, such as those which filled the
valley of Jehoshaphat. You expressed, besides,
your apprehension, that the unpatriotic
prejudices of my countrymen would not allow
fair play to such a work as that of which I endeavoured
to demonstrate the probable success.
And this, you said, was not entirely owing to the
more general prejudice in favour of that which
is foreign, but that it rested partly upon improbabilities,
arising out of the circumstances
in which the English reader is placed. If you
describe to him a set of wild manners, and a
state of primitive society existing in the Highlands
of Scotland, he is much disposed to acquiesce
in the truth of what is asserted. And
reason good. If he be of the ordinary class
of readers, he has either never seen those
remote districts at all, or he has wandered
through those desolate regions in the course
of a summer tour, eating bad dinners, sleeping
on truckle beds, stalking from desolation to
desolation, and fully prepared to believe the
strangest things that could be told him of a
people, wild and extravagant enough to be attached
to scenery so extraordinary. But the
same worthy person, when placed in his own
snug parlour, and surrounded by all the comforts
of an Englishman's fireside, is not half
so much disposed to believe that his own ancestors
led a very different life from himself;
that the shattered tower, which now forms a
vista from his window, once held a baron who
would have hung him up at his own door without
any form of trial; that the hinds, by whom
his little pet-farm is managed, a few centuries
ago would have been his slaves; and that
the complete influence of feudal tyranny once
extended over the neighbouring village, where
the attorney is now a man of more importance
than the lord of the manor.

While I own the force of these objections,
I must confess, at the same time, that they do
not appear to me to be altogether insurmountable.
The scantiness of materials is indeed a
formidable difficulty; but no one knows better
than Dr Dryasdust, that to those deeply
read in antiquity, hints concerning the private
life of our ancestors lie scattered through the
pages of our various historians, bearing, indeed,
a slender proportion to the other matters
of which they treat, but still, when collected
together, sufficient to throw considerable light
upon the _vie priv<e'>e_ of our forefathers; indeed,
I am convinced, that however I myself may
fail in the ensuing attempt, yet, with more labour
in collecting, or more skill in using, the
materials within his reach, illustrated as they
have been by the labours of Dr Henry, of the
late Mr Strutt, and, above all, of Mr Sharon
Turner, an abler hand would have been successful;
and therefore I protest, beforehand,
against any argument which may be founded
on the failure of the present experiment.

On the other hand, I have already said, that
if any thing like a true picture of old English
manners could be drawn, I would trust to the
good-nature and good sense of my countrymen
for insuring its favourable reception.

Having thus replied, to the best of my power,
to the first class of your objections, or at least
having shown my resolution to overleap the
barriers which your prudence has raised, I
will be brief in noticing that which is more
peculiar to myself. It seems to be your opinion,
that the very office of an antiquary, employed
in grave, and, as the vulgar will sometimes
allege, in toilsome and minute research,
must be considered as incapacitating him from
successfully compounding a tale of this sort.
But permit me to say, my dear Doctor, that
this objection is rather formal than substantial.
It is true, that such slight compositions
might not suit the severer genius of our friend
Mr Oldbuck. Yet Horace Walpole wrote a
goblin tale which has thrilled through many a
bosom; and George Ellis could transfer all the
playful fascination of a humour, as delightful
as it was uncommon, into his Abridgement of
the Ancient Metrical Romances. So that,
however I may have occasion to rue my present
audacity, I have at least the most respectable
precedents in my favour.

Still the severer antiquary may think, that,
by thus intermingling fiction with truth, I am
polluting the well of history with modern inventions,
and impressing upon the rising generation
false ideas of the age which I describe.
I cannot but in some sense admit the force of
this reasoning, which I yet hope to traverse
by the following considerations.

It is true, that I neither can, nor do pretend,
to the observation of complete accuracy,
even in matters of outward costume, much less
in the more important points of language and
manners. But the same motive which prevents
my writing the dialogue of the piece in
Anglo-Saxon or in Norman-French, and which
prohibits my sending forth to the public this
essay printed with the types of Caxton or Wynken
de Worde, prevents my attempting to confine
myself within the limits of the period in
which my story is laid. It is necessary, for
exciting interest of any kind, that the subject
assumed should be, as it were, translated into
the manners, as well as the language, of the
age we live in. No fascination has ever been
attached to Oriental literature, equal to that
produced by Mr Galland's first translation of
the Arabian Tales; in which, retaining on the
one hand the splendour of Eastern costume,
and on the other the wildness of Eastern fiction,
he mixed these with just so much ordinary
feeling and expression, as rendered them
interesting and intelligible, while he abridged
the long-winded narratives, curtailed the monotonous
reflections, and rejected the endless
repetitions of the Arabian original. The tales,
therefore, though less purely Oriental than in
their first concoction, were eminently better
fitted for the European market, and obtained
an unrivalled degree of public favour, which
they certainly would never have gained had
not the manners and style been in some degree
familiarized to the feelings and habits of
the western reader.

In point of justice, therefore, to the multitudes
who will, I trust, devour this book with
avidity, I have so far explained our ancient
manners in modern language, and so far detailed
the characters and sentiments of my
persons, that the modern reader will not find
himself, I should hope, much trammelled by
the repulsive dryness of mere antiquity. In
this, I respectfully contend, I have in no respect
exceeded the fair license due to the author
of a fictitious composition. The late ingenious
Mr Strutt, in his romance of Queen-Hoo-Hall,*

* The author had revised this posthumous work of Mr Strutt.
* See General Preface to the present edition, Vol I. p. 65.

acted upon another principle; and
in distinguishing between what was ancient
and modern, forgot, as it appears to me, that
extensive neutral ground, the large proportion,
that is, of manners and sentiments which are
common to us and to our ancestors, having
been handed down unaltered from them to us,
or which, arising out of the principles of our
common nature, must have existed alike in
either state of society. In this manner, a man
of talent, and of great antiquarian erudition,
limited the popularity of his work, by excluding
from it every thing which was not sufficiently
obsolete to be altogether forgotten and
unintelligible.

The license which I would here vindicate,
is so necessary to the execution of my plan,
that I will crave your patience while I illustrate
my argument a little farther.

He who first opens Chaucer, or any other
ancient poet, is so much struck with the obsolete
spelling, multiplied consonants, and antiquated
appearance of the language, that he
is apt to lay the work down in despair, as encrusted
too deep with the rust of antiquity, to
permit his judging of its merits or tasting its
beauties. But if some intelligent and accomplished
friend points out to him, that the difficulties
by which he is startled are more in
appearance than reality, if, by reading aloud
to him, or by reducing the ordinary words to
the modern orthography, he satisfies his proselyte
that only about one-tenth part of the
words employed are in fact obsolete, the novice
may be easily persuaded to approach the ``well
of English undefiled,'' with the certainty that
a slender degree of patience will enable him
to enjoy both the humour and the pathos with
which old Geoffrey delighted the age of Cressy
and of Poictiers.

To pursue this a little farther. If our neophyte,
strong in the new-born love of antiquity,
were to undertake to imitate what he had
learnt to admire, it must be allowed he would
act very injudiciously, if he were to select
from the Glossary the obsolete words which it
contains, and employ those exclusively of all
phrases and vocables retained in modern days.
This was the error of the unfortunate Chatterton.
In order to give his language the appearance
of antiquity, he rejected every word
that was modern, and produced a dialect entirely
different from any that had ever been
spoken in Great Britain. He who would imitate
an ancient language with success, must
attend rather to its grammatical character,
turn of expression, and mode of arrangement,
than labour to collect extraordinary and antiquated
terms, which, as I have already averred,
do not in ancient authors approach the number
of words still in use, though perhaps somewhat
altered in sense and spelling, in the proportion
of one to ten.

What I have applied to language, is still
more justly applicable to sentiments and manners.
The passions, the sources from which
these must spring in all their modifications,
are generally the same in all ranks and conditions,
all countries and ages; and it follows, as
a matter of course, that the opinions, habits of
thinking, and actions, however influenced by
the peculiar state of society, must still, upon
the whole, bear a strong resemblance to each
other. Our ancestors were not more distinct
from us, surely, than Jews are from Christians;
they had ``eyes, hands, organs, dimensions,
senses, affections, passions;'' were ``fed
with the same food, hurt with the same weapons,
subject to the same diseases, warmed and
cooled by the same winter and summer,'' as
ourselves. The tenor, therefore, of their affections
and feelings, must have borne the same
general proportion to our own.

It follows, therefore, that of the materials
which an author has to use in a romance, or
fictitious composition, such as I have ventured
to attempt, he will find that a great proportion,
both of language and manners, is as
proper to the present time as to those in which
he has laid his time of action. The freedom
of choice which this allows him, is therefore
much greater, and the difficulty of his task
much more diminished, than at first appears.
To take an illustration from a sister art, the
antiquarian details may be said to represent
the peculiar features of a landscape under delineation
of the pencil. His feudal tower must
arise in due majesty; the figures which he introduces
must have the costume and character
of their age; the piece must represent the peculiar
features of the scene which he has chosen
for his subject, with all its appropriate elevation
of rock, or precipitate descent of cataract.
His general colouring, too, must be copied from
Nature: The sky must be clouded or serene,
according to the climate, and the general tints
must be those which prevail in a natural landscape.
So far the painter is bound down by
the rules of his art, to a precise imitation of
the features of Nature; but it is not required
that he should descend to copy all her more
minute features, or represent with absolute exactness
the very herbs, flowers, and trees, with
which the spot is decorated. These, as well
as all the more minute points of light and shadow,
are attributes proper to scenery in general,
natural to each situation, and subject to
the artist's disposal, as his taste or pleasure
may dictate.

It is true, that this license is confined in
either case within legitimate bounds. The
painter must introduce no ornament inconsistent
with the climate or country of his landscape;
he must not plant cypress trees upon
Inch-Merrin, or Scottish firs among the ruins
of Persepolis; and the author lies under a corresponding
restraint. However far he may
venture in a more full detail of passions and
feelings, than is to be found in the ancient
compositions which he imitates, he must introduce
nothing inconsistent with the manners
of the age; his knights, squires, grooms, and
yeomen, may be more fully drawn than in the
hard, dry delineations of an ancient illuminated
manuscript, but the character and costume of
the age must remain inviolate; they must be
the same figures, drawn by a better pencil, or,
to speak more modestly, executed in an age
when the principles of art were better understood.
His language must not be exclusively
obsolete and unintelligible; but he should admit,
if possible, no word or turn of phraseology
betraying an origin directly modern. It is
one thing to make use of the language and sentiments
which are common to ourselves and
our forefathers, and it is another to invest them
with the sentiments and dialect exclusively
proper to their descendants.

This, my dear friend, I have found the most
difficult part of my task; and, to speak frankly,
I hardly expect to satisfy your less partial
judgment, and more extensive knowledge of
such subjects, since I have hardly been able to
please my own.

I am conscious that I shall be found still
more faulty in the tone of keeping and costume,
by those who may be disposed rigidly to
examine my Tale, with reference to the manners
of the exact period in which my actors
flourished: It may be, that I have introduced
little which can positively be termed modern;
but, on the other hand, it is extremely probable
that I may have confused the manners of
two or three centuries, and introduced, during
the reign of Richard the First, circumstances
appropriated to a period either considerably
earlier, or a good deal later than that era. It
is my comfort, that errors of this kind will
escape the general class of readers, and that
I may share in the ill-deserved applause of
those architects, who, in their modern Gothic,
do not hesitate to introduce, without rule or
method, ornaments proper to different styles
and to different periods of the art. Those
whose extensive researches have given them
the means of judging my backslidings with
more severity, will probably be lenient in proportion
to their knowledge of the difficulty of
my task. My honest and neglected friend,
Ingulphus, has furnished me with many a
valuable hint; but the light afforded by the
Monk of Croydon, and Geoffrey de Vinsauff,
is dimmed by such a conglomeration of uninteresting
and unintelligible matter, that we
gladly fly for relief to the delightful pages of
the gallant Froissart, although he flourished at
a period so much more remote from the date
of my history. If, therefore, my dear friend,
you have generosity enough to pardon the presumptuous
attempt, to frame for myself a minstrel
coronet, partly out of the pearls of pure
antiquity, and partly from the Bristol stones
and paste, with which I have endeavoured to
imitate them, I am convinced your opinion of
the difficulty of the task will reconcile you to
the imperfect manner of its execution.

Of my materials I have but little to say
They may be chiefly found in the singular Anglo-Norman
MS., which Sir Arthur Wardour
preserves with such jealous care in the third
drawer of his oaken cabinet, scarcely allowing
any one to touch it, and being himself not able
to read one syllable of its contents. I should
never have got his consent, on my visit to
Scotland, to read in those precious pages for
so many hours, had I not promised to designate
it by some emphatic mode of printing, as
{The Wardour Manuscript}; giving it, thereby,
an individuality as important as the Bannatyne
MS., the Auchinleck MS., and any other monument
of the patience of a Gothic scrivener.
I have sent, for your private consideration, a
list of the contents of this curious piece, which
I shall perhaps subjoin, with your approbation,
to the third volume of my Tale, in case the
printer's devil should continue impatient for
copy, when the whole of my narrative has been
imposed.

Adieu, my dear friend; I have said enough
to explain, if not to vindicate, the attempt
which I have made, and which, in spite of
your doubts, and my own incapacity, I am
still willing to believe has not been altogether
made in vain.

I hope you are now well recovered from
your spring fit of the gout, and shall be happy
if the advice of your learned physician should
recommend a tour to these parts. Several
curiosities have been lately dug up near the
wall, as well as at the ancient station of Habitancum.
Talking of the latter, I suppose you
have long since heard the news, that a sulky
churlish boor has destroyed the ancient statue,
or rather bas-relief, popularly called Robin of
Redesdale. It seems Robin's fame attracted
more visitants than was consistent with the
growth of the heather, upon a moor worth a
shilling an acre. Reverend as you write yourself,
be revengeful for once, and pray with me
that he may be visited with such a fit of the
stone, as if he had all the fragments of poor
Robin in that region of his viscera where the
disease holds its seat. Tell this not in Gath,
lest the Scots rejoice that they have at length
found a parallel instance among their neighbours,
to that barbarous deed which demolished
Arthur's Oven. But there is no end to
lamentation, when we betake ourselves to such
subjects. My respectful compliments attend
Miss Dryasdust; I endeavoured to match the
spectacles agreeable to her commission, during
my late journey to London, and hope she has
received them safe, and found them satisfactory.
I send this by the blind carrier, so that
probably it may be some time upon its journey.*

* This anticipation proved but too true, as my learned correspondent
* did not receive my letter until a twelvemonth after
* it was written. I mention this circumstance, that a gentleman
* attached to the cause of learning, who now holds the principal
* control of the post-office, may consider whether by some mitigation
* of the present enormous rates, some favour might not be
* shown to the correspondents of the principal Literary and Antiquarian
* Societies. I understand, indeed, that this experiment
* was once tried, but that the mail-coach having broke down under
* the weight of packages addressed to members of the Society
* of Antiquaries, it was relinquished as a hazardous experiment.
* Surely, however it would be possible to build these vehicles in a
* form more substantial, stronger in the perch, and broader in the
* wheels, so as to support the weight of Antiquarian learning;
* when, if they should be found to travel more slowly, they would
* be not the less agreeable to quiet travellers like myself.---L. T.

The last news which I hear from Edinburgh
is, that the gentleman who fills the situation
of Secretary to the Society of Antiquaries
of Scotland,* is the best amateur draftsman

* Mr Skene of Rubislaw is here intimated, to whose taste
* and skill the author is indebted for a series of etchings, exhibiting
* the various localities alluded to in these novels.

in that kingdom, and that much is expected
from his skill and zeal in delineating
those specimens of national antiquity, which
are either mouldering under the slow touch of
time, or swept away by modern taste, with
the same besom of destruction which John
Knox used at the Reformation. Once more adieu;
_vale tandem, non immemor mei_. Believe me to be,

Reverend, and very dear Sir,

Your most faithful humble Servant.

Laurence Templeton.

Toppingwold, near Egremont,
Cumberland, Nov. 17, 1817.


CHAPTER I

Thus communed these; while to their lowly dome,
The full-fed swine return'd with evening home;
Compell'd, reluctant, to the several sties,
With din obstreperous, and ungrateful cries.
Pope's _Odyssey_.

In that pleasant district of merry England which
is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient
times a large forest, covering the greater part
of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between
Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncaster. The
remains of this extensive wood are still to be seen
at the noble seats of Wentworth, of Warncliffe
Park, and around Rotherham. Here haunted of
yore the fabulous Dragon of Wantley; here were
fought many of the most desperate battles during
the Civil Wars of the Roses; and here also flourished
in ancient times those bands of gallant outlaws,
whose deeds have been rendered so popular
in English song.

Such being our chief scene, the date of our story
refers to a period towards the end of the reign of
Richard I, when his return from his long captivity
had become an event rather wished than hoped
for by his despairing subjects, who were in the
meantime subjected to every species of subordinate
oppression. The nobles, whose power had become
exorbitant during the reign of Stephen, and whom
the prudence of Henry the Second had scarce reduced
to some degree of subjection to the crown,
had now resumed their ancient license in its utmost
extent; despising the feeble interference of the
English Council of State, fortifying their castles,
increasing the number of their dependants, reducing
all around them to a state of vassalage, and
striving by every means in their power, to place
themselves each at the head of such forces as might
enable him to make a figure in the national convulsions
which appeared to be impending.

The situation of the inferior gentry, or Franklins,
as they were called, who, by the law and spirit
of the English constitution, were entitled to hold
themselves independent of feudal tyranny, became
now unusually precarious. If, as was most generally
the case, they placed themselves under the
protection of any of the petty kings in their vicinity,
accepted of feudal offices in his household, or
bound themselves by mutual treaties of alliance
and protection, to support him in his enterprises,
they might indeed purchase temporary repose; but
it must be with the sacrifice of that independence
which was so dear to every English bosom, and at
the certain hazard of being involved as a party in
whatever rash expedition the ambition of their protector
might lead him to undertake. On the other
hand, such and so multiplied were the means of
vexation and oppression possessed by the great
Barons, that they never wanted the pretext, and
seldom the will, to harass and pursue, even to the
very edge of destruction, any of their less powerful
neighbours, who attempted to separate themselves
from their authority, and to trust for their protection,
during the dangers of the times, to their own
inoffensive conduct, and to the laws of the land.

A circumstance which greatly tended to enhance
the tyranny of the nobility, and the sufferings of
the inferior classes, arose from the consequences
of the Conquest by Duke William of Normandy.
Four generations had not sufficed to blend the hostile
blood of the Normans and Anglo-Saxons, or to
unite, by common language and mutual interests,
two hostile races, one of which still felt the elation
of triumph, while the other groaned under all the
consequences of defeat. The power bad been completely
placed in the hands of the Norman nobility,
by the event of the battle of Hastings, and it had
been used, as our histories assure us, with no moderate
hand. The whole race of Saxon princes and
nobles had been extirpated or disinherited, with
few or no exceptions; nor were the numbers great
who possessed land in the country of their fathers,
even as proprietors of the second, or of yet inferior
classes. The royal policy had long been to weaken,
by every means, legal or illegal, the strength of a
part of the population which was justly considered
as nourishing the most inveterate antipathy to their
victor. All the monarchs of the Norman race had
shown the most marked predilection for their Norman
subjects; the laws of the chase, and many
others equally unknown to the milder and more
free spirit of the Saxon constitution, had been fixed
upon the necks of the subjugated inhabitants, to add
weight, as it were, to the feudal chains with which
they were loaded. At court, and in the castles of
the great nobles, where the pomp and state of a court
was emulated, Norman-French was the only language
employed; in courts of law, the pleadings
and judgments were delivered in the same tongue.
In short, French was the language of honour, of
chivalry, and even of justice, while the far more
manly and expressive Anglo-Saxon was abandoned
to the use of rustics and hinds, who knew no other.
Still, however, the necessary intercourse between
the lords of the soil, and those oppressed inferior
beings by whom that soil was cultivated, occasioned
the gradual formation of a dialect, compounded
betwixt the French and the Anglo-Saxon, in which
they could render themselves mutually intelligible
to each other; and from this necessity arose by
degrees the structure of our present English language,
in which the speech of the victors and the
vanquished have been so happily blended together;
and which has since been so richly improved by
importations from the classical languages, and from
those spoken by the southern nations of Europe.

This state of things I have thought it necessary
to premise for the information of the general reader,
who might be apt to forget, that, although no great
historical events, such as war or insurrection, mark
the existence of the Anglo-Saxons as a separate
people subsequent to the reign of William the Second;
yet the great national distinctions betwixt
them and their conquerors, the recollection of what
they had formerly been, and to what they were
now reduced, continued down to the reign of Edward
the Third, to keep open the wounds which
the Conquest had inflicted, and to maintain a line
of separation betwixt the descendants of the victor
Normans and the vanquished Saxons.

--

The sun was setting upon one of the rich grassy
glades of that forest, which we have mentioned in
the beginning of the chapter. Hundreds of broad-headed,
short-stemmed, wide-branched oaks, which
had witnessed perhaps the stately march of the Roman
soldiery, flung their gnarled arms over a thick
carpet of the most delicious green sward; in some
places they were intermingled with beeches, hollies,
and copsewood of various descriptions, so closely
as totally to intercept the level beams of the sinking
sun; in others they receded from each other,
forming those long sweeping vistas, in the intricacy
of which the eye delights to lose itself, while imagination
considers them as the paths to yet wilder
scenes of silvan solitude. Here the red rays of
the sun shot a broken and discoloured light, that
partially hung upon the shattered boughs and mossy
trunks of the trees, and there they illuminated in
brilliant patches the portions of turf to which they
made their way. A considerable open space, in the
midst of this glade, seemed formerly to have been
dedicated to the rites of Druidical superstition;
for, on the summit of a hillock, so regular as to
seem artificial, there still remained part of a circle
of rough unhewn stones, of large dimensions. Seven
stood upright; the rest had been dislodged from
their places, probably by the zeal of some convert
to Christianity, and lay, some prostrate near their
former site, and others on the side of the hill. One
large stone only had found its way to the bottom,
and in stopping the course of a small brook, which
glided smoothly round the foot of the eminence,
gave, by its opposition, a feeble voice of murmur
to the placid and elsewhere silent streamlet.

The human figures which completed this landscape,
were in number two, partaking, in their dress
and appearance, of that wild and rustic character,
which belonged to the woodlands of the West-Riding
of Yorkshire at that early period. The
eldest of these men had a stern, savage, and wild
aspect. His garment was of the simplest form
imaginable, being a close jacket with sleeves, composed
of the tanned skin of some animal, on which
the hair had been originally left, but which had
been worn of in so many places, that it would
have been difficult to distinguish from the patches
that remained, to what creature the fur had belonged.
This primeval vestment reached from the
throat to the knees, and served at once all the
usual purposes of body-clothing; there was no wider
opening at the collar, than was necessary to
admit the passage of the head, from which it may
be inferred, that it was put on by slipping it over
the head and shoulders, in the manner of a modern
shirt, or ancient hauberk. Sandals, bound with
thongs made of boars' hide, protected the feet, and
a roll of thin leather was twined artificially round
the legs, and, ascending above the calf, left the
knees bare, like those of a Scottish Highlander.
To make the jacket sit yet more close to the body,
it was gathered at the middle by a broad leathern
belt, secured by a brass buckle; to one side of
which was attached a sort of scrip, and to the other
a ram's horn, accoutred with a mouthpiece, for the
purpose of blowing. In the same belt was stuck
one of those long, broad, sharp-pointed, and two-edged
knives, with a buck's-horn handle, which
were fabricated in the neighbourhood, and bore
even at this early period the name of a Sheffield
whittle. The man had no covering upon his head,
which was only defended by his own thick hair,
matted and twisted together, and scorched by the
influence of the sun into a rusty dark-red colour,
forming a contrast with the overgrown beard upon
his cheeks, which was rather of a yellow or amber
hue. One part of his dress only remains, but it is
too remarkable to be suppressed; it was a brass
ring, resembling a dog's collar, but without any
opening, and soldered fast round his neck, so loose
as to form no impediment to his breathing, yet so
tight as to be incapable of being removed, excepting
by the use of the file. On this singular gorget
was engraved, in Saxon characters, an inscription
of the following purport:---``Gurth, the son of
Beowulph, is the born thrall of Cedric of Rotherwood.''

Beside the swine-herd, for such was Gurth's occupation,
was seated, upon one of the fallen Druidical monuments,
a person about ten years younger in appearance,
and whose dress, though resembling his companion's in form,
was of better materials, and of a more fantastic appearance.
His jacket had been stained of a bright purple hue,
upon which there had been some attempt to paint
grotesque ornaments in different colours.
To the jacket he added a short cloak, which
scarcely reached half way down his thigh;
it was of crimson cloth, though a good deal soiled,
lined with bright yellow; and as he could transfer it
from one shoulder to the other, or at his pleasure draw it
all around him, its width, contrasted with its want of
longitude, formed a fantastic piece of drapery.
He had thin silver bracelets upon his arms, and on his
neck a collar of the same metal bearing the inscription,
``Wamba, the son of Witless, is the thrall of
Cedric of Rotherwood.'' This personage had the
same sort of sandals with his companion, but instead
of the roll of leather thong, his legs were
cased in a sort of gaiters, of which one was red
and the other yellow. He was provided also with
a cap, having around it more than one bell, about
the size of those attached to hawks, which jingled
as he turned his head to one side or other; and as
he seldom remained a minute in the same posture,
the sound might be considered as incessant. Around
the edge of this cap was a stiff bandeau of leather,
cut at the top into open work, resembling a coronet,
while a prolonged bag arose from within it,
and fell down on one shoulder like an old-fashioned
nightcap, or a jelly-bag, or the head-gear of a
modern hussar. It was to this part of the cap that
the bells were attached; which circumstance, as
well as the shape of his head-dress, and his own
half-crazed, half-cunning expression of countenance,
sufficiently pointed him out as belonging to
the race of domestic clowns or jesters, maintained
in the houses of the wealthy, to help away the
tedium of those lingering hours which they were
obliged to spend within doors. He bore, like his
companion, a scrip, attached to his belt, but had
neither horn nor knife, being probably considered
as belonging to a class whom it is esteemed dangerous
to intrust with edge-tools. In place of these,
he was equipped with a sword of lath, resembling
that with which Harlequin operates his wonders
upon the modern stage.

The outward appearance of these two men formed
scarce a stronger contrast than their look and
demeanour. That of the serf, or bondsman, was
sad and sullen; his aspect was bent on the ground
with an appearance of deep dejection, which might
be almost construed into apathy, had not the fire
which occasionally sparkled in his red eye manifested
that there slumbered, under the appearance of
sullen despondency, a sense of oppression, and a disposition
to resistance. The looks of Wamba, on
the other hand, indicated, as usual with his class,
a sort of vacant curiosity, and fidgetty impatience
of any posture of repose, together with the utmost
self-satisfaction respecting his own situation, and
the appearance which he made. The dialogue which
they maintained between them, was carried on in
Anglo-Saxon, which, as we said before, was universally
spoken by the inferior classes, excepting
the Norman soldiers, and the immediate personal
dependants of the great feudal nobles. But to give
their conversation in the original would convey but
little information to the modern reader, for whose
benefit we beg to offer the following translation:

``The curse of St Withold upon these infernal
porkers!'' said the swine-herd, after blowing his
horn obstreperously, to collect together the scattered
herd of swine, which, answering his call with
notes equally melodious, made, however, no haste
to remove themselves from the luxurious banquet
of beech-mast and acorns on which they had fattened,
or to forsake the marshy banks of the rivulet,
where several of them, half plunged in mud,
lay stretched at their ease, altogether regardless of
the voice of their keeper. ``The curse of St Withold
upon them and upon me!'' said Gurth; ``if the two-legged
wolf snap not up some of them ere nightfall,
I am no true man. Here, Fangs! Fangs!'' he
ejaculated at the top of his voice to a ragged wolfish-looking
dog, a sort of lurcher, half mastiff, half
greyhound, which ran limping about as if with the
purpose of seconding his master in collecting the
refractory grunters; but which, in fact, from misapprehension
of the swine-herd's signals, ignorance
of his own duty, or malice prepense, only drove
them hither and thither, and increased the evil which
he seemed to design to remedy. ``A devil draw
the teeth of him,'' said Gurth, ``and the mother of
mischief confound the Ranger of the forest, that cuts
the foreclaws off our dogs, and makes them unfit
for their trade!* Wamba, up and help me an thou

* Note A. The Ranger of the Forest, that cuts the fore-claws
* off our dogs.

beest a man; take a turn round the back o' the
hill to gain the wind on them; and when thous't
got the weather-gage, thou mayst drive them before
thee as gently as so many innocent lambs.''

``Truly,'' said Wamba, without stirring from the
spot, ``I have consulted my legs upon this matter,
and they are altogether of opinion, that to carry
my gay garments through these sloughs, would be
an act of unfriendship to my sovereign person and
royal wardrobe; wherefore, Gurth, I advise thee
to call off Fangs, and leave the herd to their destiny,
which, whether they meet with bands of travelling
soldiers, or of outlaws, or of wandering
pilgrims, can be little else than to be converted into
Normans before morning, to thy no small ease
and comfort.''

``The swine turned Normans to my comfort!''
quoth Gurth; ``expound that to me, Wamba, for
my brain is too dull, and my mind too vexed, to
read riddles.''

``Why, how call you those grunting brutes running
about on their four legs?'' demanded Wamba.

``Swine, fool, swine,'' said the herd, ``every fool knows that.''

``And swine is good Saxon,'' said the Jester;
``but how call you the sow when she is flayed,
and drawn, and quartered, and hung up by the heels,
like a traitor?''

``Pork,'' answered the swine-herd.

``I am very glad every fool knows that too,'' said
Wamba, ``and pork, I think, is good Norman-French;
and so when the brute lives, and is in the charge
of a Saxon slave, she goes by her Saxon name;
but becomes a Norman, and is called pork,
when she is carried to the Castle-hall to feast among
the nobles what dost thou think of this, friend Gurth, ha?''

``It is but too true doctrine, friend Wamba,
however it got into thy fool's pate.''

``Nay, I can tell you more,'' said Wamba, in the
same tone; ``there is old Alderman Ox continues
to hold his Saxon epithet, while he is under the
charge of serfs and bondsmen such as thou, but becomes
Beef, a fiery French gallant, when he arrives
before the worshipful jaws that are destined to
consume him. Mynheer Calf, too, becomes Monsieur
de Veau in the like manner; he is Saxon when
he requires tendance, and takes a Norman name
when he becomes matter of enjoyment.''

``By St Dunstan,'' answered Gurth, ``thou speakest
but sad truths; little is left to us but the air
we breathe, and that appears to have been reserved
with much hesitation, solely for the purpose of
enabling us to endure the tasks they lay upon our
shoulders. The finest and the fattest is for their
board; the loveliest is for their couch; the best
and bravest supply their foreign masters with soldiers,
and whiten distant lands with their bones,
leaving few here who have either will or the power
to protect the unfortunate Saxon. God's blessing
on our master Cedric, he hath done the work of a
man in standing in the gap; but Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf
is coming down to this country in person,
and we shall soon see how little Cedric's trouble
will avail him.---Here, here,'' he exclaimed again,
raising his voice, ``So ho! so ho! well done, Fangs!
thou hast them all before thee now, and bring'st
them on bravely, lad.''

``Gurth,'' said the Jester, ``I know thou thinkest
me a fool, or thou wouldst not be so rash in
putting thy head into my mouth. One word to
Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf, or Philip de Malvoisin,
that thou hast spoken treason against the Norman,
---and thou art but a cast-away swineherd,---thou
wouldst waver on one of these trees as a terror to
all evil speakers against dignities.''

``Dog, thou wouldst not betray me,'' said Gurth,
``after having led me on to speak so much at disadvantage?''

``Betray thee!'' answered the Jester; ``no, that
were the trick of a wise man; a fool cannot half so
well help himself---but soft, whom have we here?''
he said, listening to the trampling of several horses
which became then audible.

``Never mind whom,'' answered Gurth, who had
now got his herd before him, and, with the aid of
Fangs, was driving them down one of the long dim
vistas which we have endeavoured to describe.

``Nay, but I must see the riders,'' answered
Wamba; ``perhaps they are come from Fairy-land
with a message from King Oberon.''

``A murrain take thee,'' rejoined the swine-herd;
``wilt thou talk of such things, while a terrible
storm of thunder and lightning is raging within a
few miles of us? Hark, how the thunder rumbles!
and for summer rain, I never saw such broad downright
flat drops fall out of the clouds; the oaks, too,
notwithstanding the calm weather, sob and creak
with their great boughs as if announcing a tempest.
Thou canst play the rational if thou wilt; credit
me for once, and let us home ere the storm begins
to rage, for the night will be fearful.''

Wamba seemed to feel the force of this appeal,
and accompanied his companion, who began his
journey after catching up a long quarter-staff which
lay upon the grass beside him. This second Eum<ae>us
strode hastily down the forest glade, driving
before him, with the assistance of Fangs,
the whole herd of his inharmonious charge.




CHAPTER II


A Monk there was, a fayre for the maistrie,
An outrider that loved venerie;
A manly man, to be an Abbot able,
Full many a daintie horse had he in stable:
And whan he rode, men might his bridle hear
Gingeling in a whistling wind as clear,
And eke as loud, as doth the chapell bell,
There as this lord was keeper of the cell.
Chaucer.

Notwithstanding the occasional exhortation
and chiding of his companion, the noise of the
horsemen's feet continuing to approach, Wamba
could not be prevented from lingering occasionally
on the road, upon every pretence which occurred;
now catching from the hazel a cluster of half-ripe
nuts, and now turning his head to leer after a cottage
maiden who crossed their path. The horsemen,
therefore, soon overtook them on the road.

Their numbers amounted to ten men, of whom
the two who rode foremost seemed to be persons
of considerable importance, and the others their
attendants. It was not difficult to ascertain the
condition and character of one of these personages.
He was obviously an ecclesiastic of high rank; his
dress was that of a Cistercian Monk, but composed
of materials much finer than those which the
rule of that order admitted. His mantle and hood
were of the best Flanders cloth, and fell in ample,
and not ungraceful folds, around a handsome,
though somewhat corpulent person. His countenance
bore as little the marks of self-denial, as his
habit indicated contempt of worldly splendour. His
features might have been called good, had there not
lurked under the pent-house of his eye, that sly
epicurean twinkle which indicates the cautious voluptuary.
In other respects, his profession and situation
had taught him a ready command over his
countenance, which he could contract at pleasure into
solemnity, although its natural expression was
that of good-humoured social indulgence. In defiance
of conventual rules, and the edicts of popes
and councils, the sleeves of this dignitary were lined
and turned up with rich furs, his mantle secured at
the throat with a golden clasp, and the whole dress
proper to his order as much refined upon and ornamented,
as that of a quaker beauty of the present
day, who, while she retains the garb and costume
of her sect continues to give to its simplicity, by
the choice of materials and the mode of disposing
them, a certain air of coquettish attraction, savouring
but too much of the vanities of the world.

This worthy churchman rode upon a well-fed
ambling mule, whose furniture was highly decorated,
and whose bridle, according to the fashion of
the day, was ornamented with silver bells. In his
seat he had nothing of the awkwardness of the
convent, but displayed the easy and habitual grace
of a well-trained horseman. Indeed, it seemed
that so humble a conveyance as a mule, in however
good case, and however well broken to a pleasant
and accommodating amble, was only used by the
gallant monk for travelling on the road. A lay
brother, one of those who followed in the train,
had, for his use on other occasions, one of the most
handsome Spanish jennets ever bred at Andalusia,
which merchants used at that time to import, with
great trouble and risk, for the use of persons of
wealth and distinction. The saddle and housings
of this superb palfrey were covered by a long foot-cloth,
which reached nearly to the ground, and on
which were richly embroidered, mitres, crosses, and
other ecclesiastical emblems. Another lay brother
led a sumpter mule, loaded probably with his superior's
baggage; and two monks of his own order,
of inferior station, rode together in the rear, laughing
and conversing with each other, without taking
much notice of the other members of the cavalcade.

The companion of the church dignitary was a
man past forty, thin, strong, tall, and muscular; an
athletic figure, which long fatigue and constant
exercise seemed to have left none of the softer part
of the human form, having reduced the whole to
brawn, bones, and sinews, which had sustained a
thousand toils, and were ready to dare a thousand
more. His head was covered with a scarlet cap,
faced with fur---of that kind which the French call
_mortier_, from its resemblance to the shape of an
inverted mortar. His countenance was therefore
fully displayed, and its expression was calculated to
impress a degree of awe, if not of fear, upon strangers.
High features, naturally strong and powerfully
expressive, had been burnt almost into Negro
blackness by constant exposure to the tropical sun,
and might, in their ordinary state, be said to slumber
after the storm of passion had passed away; but the
projection of the veins of the forehead, the readiness
with which the upper lip and its thick black moustaches
quivered upon the slightest emotion, plainly
intimated that the tempest might be again and easily
awakened. His keen, piercing, dark eyes, told
in every glance a history of difficulties subdued,
and dangers dared, and seemed to challenge opposition
to his wishes, for the pleasure of sweeping it
from his road by a determined exertion of courage
and of will; a deep scar on his brow gave additional
sternness to his countenance, and a sinister expression
to one of his eyes, which had been slightly injured
on the same occasion, and of which the vision,
though perfect, was in a slight and partial degree distorted.

The upper dress of this personage resembled
that of his companion in shape, being a long monastic
mantle; but the colour, being scarlet, showed
that he did not belong to any of the four regular
orders of monks. On the right shoulder of the
mantle there was cut, in white cloth, a cross of a
peculiar form. This upper robe concealed what at
first view seemed rather inconsistent with its form,
a shirt, namely, of linked mail, with sleeves and
gloves of the same, curiously plaited and interwoven,
as flexible to the body as those which are now
wrought in the stocking-loom, out of less obdurate
materials. The fore-part of his thighs, where the
folds of his mantle permitted them to be seen, were
also covered with linked mail; the knees and feet
were defended by splints, or thin plates of steel,
ingeniously jointed upon each other; and mail hose,
reaching from the ankle to the knee, effectually protected
the legs, and completed the rider's defensive armour.
In his girdle he wore a long and double-edged dagger,
which was the only offensive weapon about his person.

He rode, not a mule, like his companion, but a strong
hackney for the road, to save his gallant war-horse,
which a squire led behind, fully accoutred for battle,
with a chamfrom or plaited head-piece upon his bead,
having a short spike projecting from the front.
On one side of the saddle hung a short battle-axe,
richly inlaid with Damascene carving;
on the other the rider's plumed head-piece
and hood of mail, with a long two-handed sword,
used by the chivalry of the period. A second squire
held aloft his master's lance, from the extremity
of which fluttered a small banderole, or streamer,
bearing a cross of the same form with that embroidered
upon his cloak. He also carried his small triangular shield,
broad enough at the top to protect the breast,
and from thence diminishing to a point.
It was covered with a scarlet cloth,
which prevented the device from being seen.

These two squires were followed by two attendants,
whose dark visages, white turbans, and the
Oriental form of their garments, showed them to
be natives of some distant Eastern country.*

* Note B. Negro Slaves.

The whole appearance of this warrior and his retinue
was wild and outlandish; the dress of his squires
was gorgeous, and his Eastern attendants wore silver
collars round their throats, and bracelets of the
same metal upon their swarthy arms and legs, of
which the former were naked from the elbow, and
the latter from mid-leg to ankle. Silk and embroidery
distinguished their dresses, and marked the
wealth and importance of their master; forming,
at the same time, a striking contrast with the martial
simplicity of his own attire. They were armed
with crooked sabres, having the hilt and baldric
inlaid with gold, and matched with Turkish daggers
of yet more costly workmanship. Each of
them bore at his saddle-bow a bundle of darts or
javelins, about four feet in length, having sharp
steel heads, a weapon much in use among the Saracens,
and of which the memory is yet preserved
in the martial exercise called _El Jerrid_,
still practised in the Eastern countries.

The steeds of these attendants were in appearance
as foreign as their riders. They were of Saracen
origin, and consequently of Arabian descent;
and their fine slender limbs, small fetlocks, thin
manes, and easy springy motion, formed a marked
contrast with the large-jointed heavy horsastic vows.

Yet so loose were the ideas of the times respecting
the conduct of the clergy, whether secular or
regular, that the Prior Aymer maintained a fair
character in the neighbourhood of his abbey. His
free and jovial temper, and the readiness with which
he granted absolution from all ordinary delinquencies,
rendered him a favourite among the nobility
and principal gentry, to several of whom he was allied
by birth, being of a distinguished Norman family.
The ladies, in particular, were not disposed
to scan too nicely the morals of a man who was a
professed admirer of their sex, and who possessed
many means of dispelling the ennui which was too
apt to intrude upon the halls and bowers of an ancient
feudal castle. The Prior mingled in the sports
of the field with more than due eagerness, and was
allowed to possess the best-trained hawks, and the
fleetest greyhounds in the North Riding; circumstances
which strongly recommended him to the
youthful gentry. With the old, be had another
part to play, which, when needful, he could sustain
with great decorum. His knowledge of books, however
superficial, was sufficient to impress upon their
ignorance respect for his supposed learning; and
the gravity of his deportment and language, with
the high tone which he exerted in setting forth the
authority of the church and of the priesthood, impressed
them no less with an opinion of his sanctity.
Even the common people, the severest critics
of the conduct of their betters, had commiseration
with the follies of Prior Aymer. He was generous;
and charity, as it is well known, covereth a multitude
of sins, in another sense than that in which it
is said to do so in Scripture. The revenues of the
monastery, of which a large part was at his disposal,
while they gave him the means of supplying his
own very considerable expenses, afforded also those
largesses which he bestowed among the peasantry,
and with which he frequently relieved the distresses
of the oppressed. If Prior Aymer rode hard in
the chase, or remained long at the banquet,---if
Prior Aymer was seen, at the early peep of dawn,
to enter the postern of the abbey, as he glided home
from some rendezvous which had occupied the hours
of darkness, men only shrugged up their shoulders,
and reconciled themselves to his irregularities, by
recollecting that the same were practised by many
of his brethren who had no redeeming qualities
whatsoever to atone for them. Prior Aymer, therefore,
and his character, were well known to our
Saxon serfs, who made their rude obeisance, and
received his ``_benedicite, mes filz_," in return.

But the singular appearance of his companion
and his attendants, arrested their attention and excited
their wonder, and they could scarcely attend
to the Prior of Jorvaulx' question, when he demanded
if they knew of any place of harbourage in the
vicinity; so much were they surprised at the half
monastic, half military appearance of the swarthy
stranger, and at the uncouth dress and arms of his
Eastern attendants. It is probable, too, that the
language in which the benediction was conferred,
and the information asked, sounded ungracious,
though not probably unintelligible, in the ears of
the Saxon peasants.

``I asked you, my children,'' said the Prior,
raising his voice, and using the lingua Franca, or
mixed language, in which the Norman and Saxon
races conversed with each other, ``if there be in
this neighbourhood any good man, who, for the love
of God, and devotion to Mother Church, will give
two of her humblest servants, with their train, a
night's hospitality and refreshment?''

This he spoke with a tone of conscious importance,
which formed a strong contrast to the modest
terms which he thought it proper to employ.

``Two of the humblest servants of Mother
Church!'' repeated Wamba to himself,---but, fool
as he was, taking care not to make his observation
audible; ``I should like to see her seneschals, her
chief butlers, and other principal domestics!''

After this internal commentary on the Prior's
speech, he raised his eyes, and replied to the question
which had been put.

``If the reverend fathers,'' he said, ``loved good
cheer and soft lodging, few miles of riding would
carry them to the Priory of Brinxworth, where their
quality could not but secure them the most honourable
reception; or if they preferred spending
a penitential evening, they might turn down yonder
wild glade, which would bring them to the hermitage
of Copmanhurst, where a pious anchoret
would make them sharers for the night of the shelter
of his roof and the benefit of his prayers.''

The Prior shook his head at both proposals.

``Mine honest friend,'' said he, ``if the jangling
of thy bells bad not dizzied thine understanding,
thou mightst know _Clericus clericum non decimat_;
that is to say, we churchmen do not exhaust each
other's hospitality, but rather require that of the
laity, giving them thus an opportunity to serve God
in honouring and relieving his appointed servants.''

``It is true,'' replied Wamba, ``that I, being but
an ass, am, nevertheless, honoured to hear the bells
as well as your reverence's mule; notwithstanding,
I did conceive that the charity of Mother Church
and her servants might be said, with other charity,
to begin at home.''

``A truce to thine insolence, fellow,'' said the
armed rider, breaking in on his prattle with a high
and stern voice, ``and tell us, if thou canst, the road
to---How call'd you your Franklin, Prior Aymer?''

``Cedric,'' answered the Prior; ``Cedric the Saxon.
---Tell me, good fellow, are we near his dwelling,
and can you show us the road?''

``The road will be uneasy to find,'' answered
Gurth, who broke silence for the first time,
``and the family of Cedric retire early to rest.''

``Tush, tell not me, fellow,'' said the military
rider; ``'tis easy for them to arise and supply the
wants of travellers such as we are, who will not
stoop to beg the hospitality which we have a right
to command.''

``I know not,'' said Gurth, sullenly, ``if I should
show the way to my master's house, to those who
demand as a right, the shelter which most are fain
to ask as a favour.''

``Do you dispute with me, slave!'' said the soldier;
and, setting spurs to his horse, he caused him
make a demivolte across the path, raising at the
same time the riding rod which he held in his hand,
with a purpose of chastising what he considered as
the insolence of the peasant.

Gurth darted at him a savage and revengeful
scowl, and with a fierce, yet hesitating motion, laid
his hand on the haft of his knife; but the interference
of Prior Aymer, who pushed his mule betwixt
his companion and the swineherd, prevented
the meditated violence.

``Nay, by St Mary, brother Brian, you must
not think you are now in Palestine, predominating
over heathen Turks and infidel Saracens; we islanders
love not blows, save those of holy Church, who
chasteneth whom she loveth.---Tell me, good fellow,''
said he to Wamba, and seconded his speech
by a small piece of silver coin, ``the way to Cedric
the Saxon's; you cannot be ignorant of it, and it
is your duty to direct the wanderer even when his
character is less sanctified than ours.''

``In truth, venerable father,'' answered the Jester,
``the Saracen head of your right reverend companion
has frightened out of mine the way home---I
am not sure I shall get there to-night myself.''

``Tush,'' said the Abbot, ``thou canst tell us if
thou wilt. This reverend brother has been all his
life engaged in fighting among the Saracens for the
recovery of the Holy Sepulchre; he is of the order
of Knights Templars, whom you may have heard
of; he is half a monk, half a soldier.''

``If he is but half a monk,'' said the Jester, ``he
should not be wholly unreasonable with those whom
he meets upon the road, even if they should be in
no hurry to answer questions that no way concern
them.''

``I forgive thy wit,'' replied the Abbot, ``on
condition thou wilt show me the way to Cedric's
mansion.''

``Well, then,'' answered Wamba, ``your reverences
must hold on this path till you come to a
sunken cross, of which scarce a cubit's length remains
above ground; then take the path to the left,
for there are four which meet at Sunken Cross, and
I trust your reverences will obtain shelter before
the storm comes on.''

The Abbot thanked his sage adviser; and the
cavalcade, setting spurs to their horses, rode on as
men do who wish to reach their inn before the
bursting of a night-storm. As their horses' hoofs
died away, Gurth said to his companion, ``If they
follow thy wise direction, the reverend fathers will
hardly reach Rotherwood this night.''

``No,'' said the Jester, grinning, ``but they may
reach Sheffield if they have good luck, and that is
as fit a place for them. I am not so bad a woodsman
as to show the dog where the deer lies, if I
have no mind he should chase him.''

``Thou art right,'' said Gurth; ``it were ill that
Aymer saw the Lady Rowena; and it were worse,
it may be, for Cedric to quarrel, as is most likely
he would, with this military monk. But, like good
servants let us hear and see, and say nothing.''

We return to the riders, who had soon left the
bondsmen far behind them, and who maintained the
following conversation in the Norman-French language,
usually employed by the superior classes,
with the exception of the few who were still inclined
to boast their Saxon descent.

``What mean these fellows by their capricious
insolence?'' said the Templar to the Benedictine,
``and why did you prevent me from chastising it?''

``Marry, brother Brian,'' replied the Prior,
``touching the one of them, it were hard for me
to render a reason for a fool speaking according
to his folly; and the other churl is of that savage,
fierce, intractable race, some of whom, as I have
often told you, are still to be found among the descendants
of the conquered Saxons, and whose supreme
pleasure it is to testify, by all means in their
power, their aversion to their conquerors.''

``I would soon have beat him into courtesy,''
observed Brian; ``I am accustomed to deal with
such spirits: Our Turkish you shall soon be
judge; and if the purity of her complexion, and
the majestic, yet soft expression of a mild blue eye,
do not chase from your memory the black-tressed
girls of Palestine, ay, or the houris of old Mahound's
paradise, I am an infidel, and no true son
of the church.''

``Should your boasted beauty,'' said the Templar,
``be weighed in the balance and found wanting,
you know our wager?''

``My gold collar,'' answered the Prior, ``against
ten buts of Chian wine;---they are mine as securely
as if they were already in the convent vaults,
under the key of old Dennis the cellarer.''

``And I am myself to be judge,'' said the Templar,
``and am only to be convicted on my own
admission, that I have seen no maiden so beautiful
since Pentecost was a twelvemonth. Ran it not
so?---Prior, your collar is in danger; I will wear
it over my gorget in the lists of Ashby-de-la-Zouche.''
``Win it fairly,'' said the Prior, ``and wear it
as ye will; I will trust your giving true response,
on your word as a knight and as a churchman.
Yet, brother, take my advice, and file your tongue
to a little more courtesy than your habits of predominating
over infidel captives and Eastern bondsmen
have accustomed you. Cedric the Saxon, if
offended,---and he is noway slack in taking offence,
---is a man who, without respect to your knighthood,
my high office, or the sanctity of either,
would clear his house of us, and send us to lodge
with the larks, though the hour were midnight.
And be careful how you look on Rowena, whom
he cherishes with the most jealous care; an he take
the least alarm in that quarter we are but lost men.
It is said he banished his only son from his family
for lifting his eyes in the way of affection towards
this beauty, who may be worshipped, it seems, at
a distance, but is not to be approached with other
thoughts than such as we bring to the shrine of the
Blessed Virgin.''

``Well, you have said enough,'' answered the
Templar; ``I will for a night put on the needful
restraint, and deport me as meekly as a maiden;
but as for the fear of his expelling us by violence,
myself and squires, with Hamet and Abdalla, will
warrant you against that disgrace. Doubt not
that we shall be strong enough to make good our
quarters.''

``We must not let it come so far,'' answered the
Prior; ``but here is the clown's sunken cross, and
the night is so dark that we can hardly see which
of the roads we are to follow. He bid us turn, I
think to the left.''

``To the right,'' said Brian, ``to the best of my
remembrance.''

``To the left, certainly, the left; I remember his
pointing with his wooden sword.''

``Ay, but he held his sword in his left hand,
and so pointed across his body with it,'' said the
Templar.

Each maintained his opinion with sufficient obstinacy,
as is usual in all such cases; the attendants
were appealed to, but they had not been near
enough to hear Wamba's directions. At length
Brian remarked, what had at first escaped him in
the twilight; ``Here is some one either asleep, or
lying dead at the foot of this cross---Hugo, stir him
with the but-end of thy lance.''
This was no sooner done than the figure arose,
exclaiming in good French, ``Whosoever thou art,
it is discourteous in you to disturb my thoughts.''

``We did but wish to ask you,'' said the Prior,
``the road to Rotherwood, the abode of Cedric the
Saxon.''

``I myself am bound thither,'' replied the stranger;
``and if I had a horse, I would be your guide,
for the way is somewhat intricate, though perfectly
well known to me.''

``Thou shalt have both thanks and reward, my
friend,'' said the Prior, ``if thou wilt bring us to
Cedric's in safety.''

And he caused one of his attendants to mount
his own led horse, and give that upon which he had
hitherto ridden to the stranger, who was to serve
for a guide.

Their conductor pursued an opposite road from
that which Wamba had recommended, for the purpose
of misleading them. The path soon led deeper
into the woodland, and crossed more than one brook,
the approach to which was rendered perilous by
the marshes through which it flowed; but the stranger
seemed to know, as if by instinct, the soundest
ground and the safest points of passage; and by
dint of caution and attention, brought the party
safely into a wilder avenue than any they had yet
seen; and, pointing to a large low irregular building
at the upper extremity, he said to the Prior,
``Yonder is Rotherwood, the dwelling of Cedric
the Saxon.''

This was a joyful intimation to Aymer, whose
nerves were none of the strongest, and who had
suffered such agitation and alarm in the course of
passing through the dangerous bogs, that he had
not yet had the curiosity to ask his guide a single
question. Finding himself now at his ease and
near shelter, his curiosity began to awake, and he
demanded of the guide who and what he was.

``A Palmer, just returned from the Holy Land,''
was the answer.

``You had better have tarried there to fight
for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre,'' said the
Templar.

``True, Reverend Sir Knight,'' answered the
Palmer, to whom the appearance of the Templar
seemed perfectly familiar; ``but when those who
are under oath to recover the holy city, are found
travelling at such a distance from the scene of their
duties, can you wonder that a peaceful peasant like
me should decline the task which they have abandoned?''

The Templar would have made an angry reply,
but was interrupted by the Prior, who again expressed
his astonishment, that their guide, after
such long absence, should be so perfectly acquainted
with the passes of the forest.

``I was born a native of these parts,'' answered
their guide, and as he made the reply they stood
before the mansion of Cedric;---a low irregular
building, containing several court-yards or enclosures,
extending over a considerable space of ground,
and which, though its size argued the inhabitant to
be a person of wealth, differed entirely from the
tall, turretted, and castellated buildings in which
the Norman nobility resided, and which had become
the universal style of architecture throughout
England.

Rotherwood was not, however, without defences;
no habitation, in that disturbed period, could have
been so, without the risk of being plundered and
burnt before the next morning. A deep fosse, or
ditch, was drawn round the whole building, and
filled with water from a neighbouring stream. A
double stockade, or palisade, composed of pointed
beams, which the adjacent forest supplied, defended
the outer and inner bank of the trench. There
was an entrance from the west through the outer
stockade, which communicated by a drawbridge,
with a similar opening in the interior defences.
Some precautions had been taken to place those
entrances under the protection of projecting angles,
by which they might be flanked in case of need by
archers or slingers.

Before this entrance the Templar wound his horn
loudly; for the rain, which had long threatened,
began now to descend with great violence.




CHAPTER III


Then (sad relief!) from the bleak coast that hears
The German Ocean roar, deep-blooming, strong,
And yellow hair'd, the blue-eyed Saxon came.

Thomson's _Liberty_.


In a hall, the height of which was greatly disproportioned
to its extreme length and width, a
long oaken table, formed of planks rough-hewn
from the forest, and which had scarcely received
any polish, stood ready prepared for the evening
meal of Cedric the Saxon. The roof, composed of
beams and rafters, had nothing to divide the apartment
from the sky excepting the planking and
thatch; there was a huge fireplace at either end of
the hall, but as the chimneys were constructed in
a very clumsy manner, at least as much of the
smoke found its way into the apartment as escaped
by the proper vent. The constant vapour which
this occasioned, had polished the rafters and beams
of the low-browed hall, by encrusting them with a
black varnish of soot. On the sides of the apartment
hung implements of war and of the chase,
and there were at each corner folding doors, which
gave access to other parts of the extensive building.

The other appointments of the mansion partook
of the rude simplicity of the Saxon period, which
Cedric piqued himself upon maintaining. The
floor was composed of earth mixed with lime, trodden
into a hard substance, such as is often employed
in flooring our modern barns. For about one
quarter of the length of the apartment, the floor
was raised by a step, and this space, which was called
the dais, was occupied only by the principal members
of the family, and visitors of distinction. For
this purpose, a table richly covered with scarlet cloth
was placed transversely across the platform, from
the middle of which ran the longer and lower board,
at which the domestics and inferior persons fed,
down towards the bottom of the hall. The whole
resembled the form of the letter T, or some of those
ancient dinner-tables, which, arranged on the same
principles, may be still seen in the antique Colleges
of Oxford or Cambridge. Massive chairs and settles
of carved oak were placed upon the dais, and
over these seats and the more elevated table was
fastened a canopy of cloth, which served in some
degree to protect the dignitaries who occupied that
distinguished station from the weather, and especially
from the rain, which in some places found its
way through the ill-constructed roof.

The walls of this upper end of the hall, as far as
the dais extended, were covered with hangings or
curtains, and upon the floor there was a carpet, both
of which were adorned with some attempts at tapestry,
or embroidery, executed with brilliant or
rather gaudy colouring. Over the lower range of
table, the roof, as we have noticed, had no covering;
the rough plastered walls were left bare, and
the rude earthen floor was uncarpeted; the board
was uncovered by a cloth, and rude massive benches
supplied the place of chairs.

In the centre of the upper table, were placed two
chairs more elevated than the rest, for the master
and mistress of the family, who presided over the
scene of hospitality, and from doing so derived their
Saxon title of honour, which signifies ``the Dividers
of Bread.''

To each of these chairs was added a footstool,
curiously carved and inlaid with ivory, which mark
of distinction was peculiar to them. One of these
seats was at present occupied by Cedric the Saxon,
who, though but in rank a thane, or, as the Normans
called him, a Franklin, felt, at the delay of
his evening meal, an irritable impatience, which
might have become an alderman, whether of ancient
or of modern times.

It appeared, indeed, from the countenance of this
proprietor, that he was of a frank, but hasty and
choleric temper. He was not above the middle
stature, but broad-shouldered, long-armed, and
powerfully made, like one accustomed to endure
the fatigue of war or of the chase; his face was
broad, with large blue eyes, open and frank features,
fine teeth, and a well formed head, altogether expressive
of that sort of good-humour which often
lodges with a sudden and hasty temper. Pride and
jealousy there was in his eye, for his life had been
spent in asserting rights which were constantly
liable to invasion; and the prompt, fiery, and resolute
disposition of the man, had been kept constantly
upon the alert by the circumstances of his situation.
His long yellow hair was equally divided on
the top of his head and upon his brow, and combed
down on each side to the length of his shoulders;
it had but little tendency to grey, although Cedric
was approaching to his sixtieth year.

His dress was a tunic of forest green, furred at
the throat and cuffs with what was called minever;
a kind of fur inferior in quality to ermine, and
formed, it is believed, of the skin of the grey squirrel.
This doublet hung unbuttoned over a close
dress of scarlet which sate tight to his body; he
had breeches of the same, but they did not reach
below the lower part of the thigh, leaving the knee
exposed. His feet had sandals of the same fashion
with the peasants, but of finer materials, and secured
in the front with golden clasps. He had
bracelets of gold upon his arms, and a broad collar
of the same precious metal around his neck. About
his waist he wore a richly-studded belt, in which
was stuck a short straight two-edged sword, with a
sharp point, so disposed as to hang almost perpendicularly
by his side. Behind his seat was hung a
scarlet cloth cloak lined with fur, and a cap of the
same materials richly embroidered, which completed
the dress of the opulent landholder when he chose
to go forth. A short boar-spear, with a broad and
bright steel head, also reclined against the back of
his chair, which served him, when he walked abroad,
for the purposes of a staff or of a weapon, as chance
might require.

Several domestics, whose dress held various proportions
betwixt the richness of their master's, and
the coarse and simple attire of Gurth the swine-herd,
watched the looks and waited the commands of the
Saxon dignitary. Two or three servants of a superior
order stood behind their master upon the
dais; the rest occupied the lower part of the hall.
Other attendants there were of a different description;
two or three large and shaggy greyhounds,
such as were then employed in hunting the stag
and wolf; as many slow-hounds of a large bony
breed, with thick necks, large beads, and long ears;
and one or two of the smaller dogs, now called terriers,
which waited with impatience the arrival of
the supper; but, with the sagacious knowledge of
physiognomy peculiar to their race, forbore to intrude
upon the moody silence of their master, apprehensive
probably of a small white truncheon
which lay by Cedric's trencher, for the purpose of
repelling the advances of his four-legged dependants.
One grisly old wolf-dog alone, with the liberty
of an indulged favourite, had planted himself
close by the chair of state, and occasionally ventured
to solicit notice by putting his large hairy
head upon his master's knee, or pushing his nose
into his hand. Even he was repelled by the stem
command, ``Down, Balder, down! I am not in the
humour for foolery.''

In fact, Cedric, as we have observed, was in no
very placid state of mind. The Lady Rowena,
who had been absent to attend an evening mass at
a distant church, had but just returned, and was
changing her garments, which had been wetted by
the storm. There were as yet no tidings of Gurth
and his charge, which should long since have been
driven home from the forest and such was the insecurity
of the period, as to render it probable that
the delay might be explained by some depreciation
of the outlaws, with whom the adjacent forest
abounded, or by the violence of some neighbouring
baron, whose consciousness of strength made him
equally negligent of the laws of property. The
matter was of consequence, for great part of the domestic
wealth of the Saxon proprietors consisted in
numerous herds of swine, especially in forest-land,
where those animals easily found their food.

Besides these subjects of anxiety, the Saxon
thane was impatient for the presence of his favourite
clown Wamba, whose jests, such as they were,
served for a sort of seasoning to his evening meal,
and to the deep draughts of ale and wine with which
he was in the habit of accompanying it. Add to all
this, Cedric had fasted since noon, and his usual
supper hour was long past, a cause of irritation
common to country squires, both in ancient and
modern times. His displeasure was expressed in
broken sentences, partly muttered to himself, partly
addressed to the domestics who stood around; and
particularly to his cupbearer, who offered him from
time to time, as a sedative, a silver goblet filled with
wine---``Why tarries the Lady Rowena?''

``She is but changing her head-gear,'' replied a
female attendant, with as much confidence as the
favourite lady's-maid usually answers the master of
a modern family; ``you would not wish her to sit
down to the banquet in her hood and kirtle? and
no lady within the shire can be quicker in arraying
herself than my mistress.''

This undeniable argument produced a sort of acquiescent
umph! on the part of the Saxon, with
the addition, ``I wish her devotion may choose fair
weather for the next visit to St John's Kirk;---
but what, in the name of ten devils,'' continued he,
turning to the cupbearer, and raising his voice as
if happy to have found a channel into which he
might divert his indignation without fear or control---
``what, in the name of ten devils, keeps
Gurth so long afield? I suppose we shall have an
evil account of the herd; he was wont to be a faithful
and cautious drudge, and I had destined him
for something better; perchance I might even have
made him one of my warders.''*

* The original has _Cnichts_, by which the Saxons seem to
* have designated a class of military attendants, sometimes free,
* sometimes bondsmen, but always ranking above an ordinary
* domestic, whether in the royal household or in those of the
* aldermen and thanes. But the term cnicht, now spelt knight,
* having been received into the English language as equivalent
* to the Norman word chevalier, I have avoided using it in its
* more ancient sense, to prevent confusion. L. T.

Oswald the cupbearer modestly suggested, ``that
it was scarce an hour since the tolling of the curfew;''
an ill-chosen apology, since it turned upon
a topic so harsh to Saxon ears.

``The foul fiend,'' exclaimed Cedric, ``take the
curfew-bell, and the tyrannical bastard by whom it
was devised, and the heartless slave who names it
with a Saxon tongue to a Saxon ear! The curfew!''
he added, pausing, ``ay, the curfew; which compels
true men to extinguish their lights, that thieves
and robbers may work their deeds in darkness!---
Ay, the curfew;---Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf and
Philip de Malvoisin know the use of the curfew as
well as William the Bastard himself, or e'er a Norman
adventurer that fought at Hastings. I shall
hear, I guess, that my property has been swept off
to save from starving the hungry banditti, whom
they cannot support but by theft and robbery. My
faithful slave is murdered, and my goods are taken
for a prey---and Wamba---where is Wamba? Said
not some one he had gone forth with Gurth?''

Oswald replied in the affirmative.

`` Ay? why this is better and better! he is carried
off too, the Saxon fool, to serve the Norman
lord. Fools are we all indeed that serve them, and
fitter subjects for their scorn and laughter, than if
we were born with but half our wits. But I will
be avenged,'' he added, starting from his char in
impatience at the supposed injury, and catching
hold of his boar-spear; ``I will go with my complaint
to the great council; I have friends, I have
followers---man to man will I appeal the Norman
to the lists; let him come in his plate and his mail,
and all that can render cowardice bold; I have sent
such a javelin as this through a stronger fence than
three of their war shields!---Haply they think me
old; but they shall find, alone and childless as I
am, the blood of Hereward is in the veins of Cedric.
---Ah, Wilfred, Wilfred!'' he exclaimed in a lower
tone, ``couldst thou have ruled thine unreasonable
passion, thy father had not been left in his age like
the solitary oak that throws out its shattered and
unprotected branches against the full sweep of the
tempest!'' The reflection seemed to conjure into
sadness his irritated feelings. Replacing his javelin,
he resumed his seat, bent his looks downward,
and appeared to be absorbed in melancholy reflection.

From his musing, Cedric was suddenly awakened
by the blast of a born, which was replied to by
the clamorous yells and barking of all the dogs in
the hall, and some twenty or thirty which were
quartered in other parts of the building. It cost
some exercise of the white truncheon, well seconded
by the exertions of the domestics, to silence this
canine clamour.
``To the gate, knaves!'' said the Saxon, hastily,
as soon as the tumult was so much appeased that
the dependants could hear his voice. ``See what
tidings that horn tells us of---to announce, I ween,
some hership* and robbery which has been done

* Pillage.

upon my lands.''

Returning in less than three minutes, a warder
announced ``that the Prior Aymer of Jorvaulx,
and the good knight Brian de Bois-Guilbert, commander
of the valiant and venerable order of Knights
Templars, with a small retinue, requested hospitality
and lodging for the night, being on their way
to a tournament which was to be held not far from
Ashby-de-la-Zouche, on the second day from the
present.''

``Aymer, the Prior Aymer? Brian de Bois-Guilbert?''
---muttered Cedric; ``Normans both;---
but Norman or Saxon, the hospitality of Rotherwood
must not be impeached; they are welcome,
since they have chosen to halt---more welcome
would they have been to have ridden further on
their way---But it were unworthy to murmur for
a night's lodging and a night's food; in the quality
of guests, at least, even Normans must suppress
their insolence.---Go, Hundebert,'' he added, to a
sort of major-domo who stood behind him with a
white wand; ``take six of the attendants, and introduce
the strangers to the guests' lodging. Look
after their horses and mules, and see their train lack
nothing. Let them have change of vestments if
they require it, and fire, and water to wash, and
wine and ale; and bid the cooks add what they
hastily can to our evening meal; and let it be put
on the board when those strangers are ready to
share it. Say to them, Hundebert, that Cedric
would himself bid them welcome, but he is under a
vow never to step more than three steps from the
dais of his own hall to meet any who shares not the
blood of Saxon royalty. Begone! see them carefully
tended; let them not say in their pride, the
Saxon churl has shown at once his poverty and his
avarice.''

The major-domo departed with several attendants,
to execute his master's commands. ``The
Prior Aymer!'' repeated Cedric, looking to Oswald,
``the brother, if I mistake not, of Giles de
Mauleverer, now lord of Middleham?''

Oswald made a respectful sign of assent. ``His
brother sits in the seat, and usurps the patrimony,
of a better race, the race of Ulfgar of Middleham;
but what Norman lord doth not the same? This
Prior is, they say, a free and jovial priest, who
loves the wine-cup and the bugle-horn better than
bell and book: Good; let him come, he shall be
welcome. How named ye the Templar?''

``Brian de Bois-Guilbert.''

``Bois-Guilbert,'' said Cedric, still in the musing,
half-arguing tone, which the habit of living among
dependants had accustomed him to employ, and
which resembled a man who talks to himself rather
than to those around him---``Bois-Guilbert? that
name has been spread wide both for good and evil.
They say he is valiant as the bravest of his order;
but stained with their usual vices, pride, arrogance,
cruelty, and voluptuousness; a hard-hearted
man, who knows neither fear of earth, nor awe
of heaven. So say the few warriors who have returned
from Palestine.---Well; it is but for one
night; he shall be welcome too.---Oswald, broach
the oldest wine-cask; place the best mead, the
mightiest ale, the richest morat, the most sparkling
cider, the most odoriferous pigments, upon the
board; fill the largest horns*---Templars and Abbots

* These were drinks used by the Saxons, as we are informed
* by Mr Turner: Morat was made of honey flavoured with the
* juice of mulberries; Pigment was a sweet and rich liquor, composed
* of wine highly spiced, and sweetened also with honey;
* the other liquors need no explanation. L. T.

love good wines and good measure.---Elgitha,
let thy Lady Rowena, know we shall not this night
expect her in the hall, unless such be her especial
pleasure.''

``But it will be her especial pleasure,'' answered
Elgitha, with great readiness, ``for she is ever desirous
to hear the latest news from Palestine.''

Cedric darted at the forward damsel a glance of
hasty resentment; but Rowena, and whatever belonged
to her, were privileged and secure from his
anger. He only replied, ``Silence, maiden; thy
tongue outruns thy discretion. Say my message
to thy mistress, and let her do her pleasure. Here,
at least, the descendant of Alfred still reigns a
princess.'' Elgitha left the apartment.

``Palestine!'' repeated the Saxon; ``Palestine!
how many ears are turned to the tales which dissolute
crusaders, or hypocritical pilgrims, bring from
that fatal land! I too might ask---I too might enquire---
I too might listen with a beating heart to
fables which the wily strollers devise to cheat us
into hospitality---but no---The son who has disobeyed
me is no longer mine; nor will I concern
myself more for his fate than for that of the most
worthless among the millions that ever shaped the
cross on their shoulder, rushed into excess and
blood-guiltiness, and called it an accomplishment
of the will of God.''

He knit his brows, and fixed his eyes for an instant
on the ground; as he raised them, the folding
doors at the bottom of the hall were cast wide,
and, preceded by the major-domo with his wand,
and four domestics bearing blazing torches, the
guests of the evening entered the apartment.




CHAPTER IV


With sheep and shaggy goats the porkers bled,
And the proud steer was on the marble spread;
With fire prepared, they deal the morsels round,
Wine rosy bright the brimming goblets crown'd.
- - - - - - -
Disposed apart, Ulysses shares the treat;
A trivet table and ignobler seat,
The Prince assigns---
_Odyssey, Book_ 21.


The Prior Aymer had taken the opportunity
afforded him, of changing his riding robe for one
of yet more costly materials, over which he wore a
cope curiously embroidered. Besides the massive
golden signet ring, which marked his ecclesiastical
dignity, his fingers, though contrary to the canon,
were loaded with precious gems; his sandals were
of the finest leather which was imported from
Spain; his beard trimmed to as small dimensions
as his order would possibly permit, and his shaven
crown concealed by a scarlet cap richly embroidered.

The appearance of the Knight Templar was also
changed; and, though less studiously bedecked with
ornament, his dress was as rich, and his appearance
far more commanding, than that of his companion.
He had exchanged his shirt of mail for an under
tunic of dark purple silk, garnished with furs, over
which flowed his long robe of spotless white, in
ample folds. The eight-pointed cross of his order
was cut on the shoulder of his mantle in black velvet.
The high cap no longer invested his brows,
which were only shaded by short and thick curled
hair of a raven blackness, corresponding to his unusually
swart complexion. Nothing could be more
gracefully majestic than his step and manner, had
they not been marked by a predominant air of
haughtiness, easily acquired by the exercise of unresisted
authority.

These two dignified persons were followed by
their respective attendants, and at a more humble
distance by their guide, whose figure had nothing
more remarkable than it derived from the usual
weeds of a pilgrim. A cloak or mantle of coarse
black serge, enveloped his whole body. It was in
shape something like the cloak of a modern hussar,
having similar flaps for covering the arms, and was
called a _Sclaveyn_, or _Sclavonian_. Coarse sandals,
bound with thongs, on his bare feet; a broad and
shadowy hat, with cockle-shells stitched on its brim,
and a long staff shod with iron, to the upper end
of which was attached a branch of palm, completed
the palmer's attire. He followed modestly the last
of the train which entered the hall, and, observing
that the lower table scarce afforded room sufficient
for the domestics of Cedric and the retinue of his
guests, he withdrew to a settle placed beside and
almost under one of the large chimneys, and seemed
to employ himself in drying his garments, until
the retreat of some one should make room at the
board, or the hospitality of the steward should
supply him with refreshments in the place he had
chosen apart.

Cedric rose to receive his guests with an air of
dignified hospitality, and, descending from the dais,
or elevated part of his hall, made three steps towards
them, and then awaited their approach.

``I grieve,'' he said, ``reverend Prior, that my
vow binds me to advance no farther upon this floor
of my fathers, even to receive such guests as you,
and this valiant Knight of the Holy Temple. But
my steward has expounded to you the cause of my
seeming discourtesy. Let me also pray, that you
will excuse my speaking to you in my native language,
and that you will reply in the same if your
knowledge of it permits; if not, I sufficiently understand
Norman to follow your meaning.''

``Vows,'' said the Abbot, ``must be unloosed,
worthy Franklin, or permit me rather to say, worthy
Thane, though the title is antiquated. Vows
are the knots which tie us to Heaven---they are the
cords which bind the sacrifice to the horns of the
altar,---and are therefore,---as I said before,---to be
unloosened and discharged, unless our holy Mother
Church shall pronounce the contrary. And respecting
language, I willingly hold communication in
that spoken by my respected grandmother, Hilda
of Middleham, who died in odour of sanctity, little
short, if we may presume to say so, of her glorious
namesake, the blessed Saint Hilda of Whitby, God
be gracious to her soul!''

When the Prior had ceased what he meant as a
conciliatory harangue, his companion said briefly
and emphatically, ``I speak ever French, the language
of King Richard and his nobles; but I understand
English sufficiently to communicate with
the natives of the country.''

Cedric darted at the speaker one of those hasty
and impatient glances, which comparisons between
the two rival nations seldom failed to call forth;
but, recollecting the duties of hospitality, he suppressed
further show of resentment, and, motioning
with his hand, caused his guests to assume two
seats a little lower than his own, but placed close
beside him, and gave a signal that the evening meal
should be placed upon the board.

While the attendants hastened to obey Cedric's
commands, his eye distinguished Gurth the swineherd,
who, with his companion Wamba, had just
entered the hall. ``Send these loitering knaves up
hither,'' said the Saxon, impatiently. And when
the culprits came before the dais,---``How comes
it, villains! that you have loitered abroad so late
as this? Hast thou brought home thy charge, sirrah
Gurth, or hast thou left them to robbers and
marauders?''

``The herd is safe, so please ye,'' said Gurth.

``But it does not please me, thou knave,'' said
Cedric, ``that I should be made to suppose otherwise
for two hours, and sit here devising vengeance
against my neighbours for wrongs they have not
done me. I tell thee, shackles and the prison-house
shall punish the next offence of this kind.''

Gurth, knowing his master's irritable temper, attempted
no exculpation; but the Jester, who could
presume upon Cedric's tolerance, by virtue of his
privileges as a fool, replied for them both; ``In
troth, uncle Cedric, you are neither wise nor reasonable
to-night.''

``How, sir?'' said his master; ``you shall to the
porter's lodge, and taste of the discipline there, if
you give your foolery such license.''

``First let your wisdom tell me,'' said Wamba,
``is it just and reasonable to punish one person for
the fault of another?''

``Certainly not, fool,'' answered Cedric.

``Then why should you shackle poor Gurth, uncle,
for the fault of his dog Fangs? for I dare be
sworn we lost not a minute by the way, when we
had got our herd together, which Fangs did not
manage until we heard the vesper-bell.''

``Then hang up Fangs,'' said Cedric, turning
hastily towards the swineherd, ``if the fault is his,
and get thee another dog.''

``Under favour, uncle,'' said the Jester, ``that
were still somewhat on the bow-hand of fair justice;
for it was no fault of Fangs that he was lame
and could not gather the herd, but the fault of
those that struck off two of his fore-claws, an operation
for which, if the poor fellow had been consulted,
he would scarce have given his voice.''

``And who dared to lame an animal which belonged
to my bondsman?'' said the Saxon, kindling
in wrath.

``Marry, that did old Hubert,'' said Wamba,
``Sir Philip de Malvoisin's keeper of the chase.
He caught Fangs strolling in the forest, and said he
chased the deer contrary to his master's right, as
warden of the walk.''

``The foul fiend take Malvoisin,'' answered the
Saxon, ``and his keeper both! I will teach them
that the wood was disforested in terms of the great
Forest Charter. But enough of this. Go to, knave,
go to thy place---and thou, Gurth, get thee another
dog, and should the keeper dare to touch it, I will
mar his archery; the curse of a coward on my head,
if I strike not off the forefinger of his right hand!
---he shall draw bowstring no more.---I crave your
pardon, my worthy guests. I am beset here with
neighbours that match your infidels, Sir Knight, in
Holy Land. But your homely fare is before you;
feed, and let welcome make amends for hard fare.''

The feast, however, which was spread upon the
board, needed no apologies from the lord of the
mansion. Swine's flesh, dressed in several modes,
appeared on the lower part of the board, as also
that of fowls, deer, goats, and hares, and various
kinds of fish, together with huge loaves and cakes
of bread, and sundry confections made of fruits and
honey. The smaller sorts of wild-fowl, of which
there was abundance, were not served up in platters,
but brought in upon small wooden spits or
broaches, and offered by the pages and domestics
who bore them, to each guest in succession, who cut
from them such a portion as he pleased. Beside
each person of rank was placed a goblet of silver;
the lower board was accommodated with large
drinking horns.

When the repast was about to commence, the
major-domo, or steward, suddenly raising his wand,
said aloud,---``Forbear!---Place for the Lady
Rowena.'' A side-door at the upper end of the hall
now opened behind the banquet table, and Rowena,
followed by four female attendants, entered the
apartment. Cedric, though surprised, and perhaps
not altogether agreeably so, at his ward appearing
in public on this occasion, hastened to meet her,
and to conduct her, with respectful ceremony, to
the elevated seat at his own right hand, appropriated
to the lady of the mansion. All stood up to
receive her; and, replying to their courtesy by a
mute gesture of salutation, she moved gracefully
forward to assume her place at the board. Ere she
had time to do so, the Templar whispered to the
Prior, ``I shall wear no collar of gold of yours at
the tournament. The Chian wine is your own.''

``Said I not so?'' answered the Prior; ``but
check your raptures, the Franklin observes you.''

Unheeding this remonstrance, and accustomed
only to act upon the immediate impulse of his own
wishes, Brian de Bois-Guilbert kept his eyes riveted
on the Saxon beauty, more striking perhaps to
his imagination, because differing widely from those
of the Eastern sultanas.

Formed in the best proportions of her sex,
Rowena was tall in stature, yet not so much so as
to attract observation on account of superior height.
Her complexion was exquisitely fair, but the noble
cast of her head and features prevented the insipidity
which sometimes attaches to fair beauties. Her
clear blue eye, which sate enshrined beneath a graceful
eyebrow of brown sufficiently marked to give
expression to the forehead, seemed capable to kindle
as well as melt, to command as well as to beseech.
If mildness were the more natural expression
of such a combination of features, it was plain,
that in the present instance, the exercise of habitual
superiority, and the reception of general homage,
had given to the Saxon lady a loftier character,
which mingled with and qualified that bestowed
by nature. Her profuse hair, of a colour betwixt
brown and flaxen, was arranged in a fanciful and
graceful manner in numerous ringlets, to form which
art had probably aided nature. These locks were
braided with gems, and, being worn at full length,
intimated the noble birth and free-born condition
of the maiden. A golden chain, to which was attached
a small reliquary of the same metal, hung
round her neck. She wore bracelets on her arms,
which were bare. Her dress was an under-gown
and kirtle of pale sea-green silk, over which hung
a long loose robe, which reached to the ground,
having very wide sleeves, which came down, however,
very little below the elbow. This robe was
crimson, and manufactured out of the very finest
wool. A veil of silk, interwoven with gold, was
attached to the upper part of it, which could be, at
the wearer's pleasure, either drawn over the face
and bosom after the Spanish fashion, or disposed
as a sort of drapery round the shoulders.

When Rowena perceived the Knight Templar's
eyes bent on her with an ardour, that, compared
with the dark caverns under which they moved,
gave them the effect of lighted charcoal, she drew
with dignity the veil around her face, as an intimation
that the determined freedom of his glance
was disagreeable. Cedric saw the motion and its
cause. ``Sir Templar,'' said he, ``the cheeks of
our Saxon maidens have seen too little of the sun
to enable them to bear the fixed glance of a crusader.''

``If I have offended,'' replied Sir Brian, ``I crave
your pardon,---that is, I crave the Lady Rowena's
pardon,---for my humility will carry me no lower.''

``The Lady Rowena,'' said the Prior, ``has
punished us all, in chastising the boldness of my
friend. Let me hope she will be less cruel to the
splendid train which are to meet at the tournament.''

``Our going thither,'' said Cedric, ``is uncertain.
I love not these vanities, which were unknown to
my fathers when England was free.''

``Let us hope, nevertheless,'' said the Prior, ``our
company may determine you to travel thitherward;
when the roads are so unsafe, the escort of Sir
Brian de Bois-Guilbert is not to be despised.''

``Sir Prior,'' answered the Saxon, ``wheresoever
I have travelled in this land, I have hitherto found
myself, with the assistance of my good sword and
faithful followers, in no respect needful of other
aid. At present, if we indeed journey to Ashby-de-la-Zouche,
we do so with my noble neighbour
and countryman Athelstane of Coningsburgh, and
with such a train as would set outlaws and feudal
enemies at defiance.---I drink to you, Sir Prior,
in this cup of wine, which I trust your taste will
approve, and I thank you for your courtesy. Should
you be so rigid in adhering to monastic rule,'' he
added, ``as to prefer your acid preparation of milk,
I hope you will not strain courtesy to do me reason.''

``Nay,'' said the Priest, laughing, ``it is only in
our abbey that we confine ourselves to the _lac dulce_
or the _lac acidum_ either. Conversing with, the
world, we use the world's fashions, and therefore
I answer your pledge in this honest wine, and leave
the weaker liquor to my lay-brother.''

``And I,'' said the Templar, filling his goblet,
``drink wassail to the fair Rowena; for since her
namesake introduced the word into England, has
never been one more worthy of such a tribute. By
my faith, I could pardon the unhappy Vortigern,
had he half the cause that we now witness, for
making shipwreck of his honour and his kingdom.''

``I will spare your courtesy, Sir Knight,'' said
Rowena with dignity, and without unveiling herself;
``or rather I will tax it so far as to require
of you the latest news from Palestine, a theme
more agreeable to our English ears than the compliments
which your French breeding teaches.''

``I have little of importance to say, lady,'' answered
Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert, ``excepting the
confirmed tidings of a truce with Saladin.''

He was interrupted by Wamba, who had taken
his appropriated seat upon a chair, the back of
which was decorated with two ass's ears, and which
was placed about two steps behind that of his master,
who, from time to time, supplied him with victuals
from his own trencher; a favour, however,
which the Jester shared with the favourite dogs,
of whom, as we have already noticed, there were
several in attendance. Here sat Wamba, with a
small table before him, his heels tucked up against
the bar of the chair, his cheeks sucked up so as to
make his jaws resemble a pair of nut-crackers, and
his eyes half-shut, yet watching with alertness every
opportunity to exercise his licensed foolery.

``These truces with the infidels,'' he exclaimed,
without caring how suddenly he interrupted the
stately Templar, ``make an old man of me!''

``Go to, knave, how so?'' said Cedric, his features
prepared to receive favourably the expected
jest.

``Because,'' answered Wamba, ``I remember
three of them in my day, each of which was to endure
for the course of fifty years; so that, by computation,
I must be at least a hundred and fifty
years old.''

``I will warrant you against dying of old age,
however,'' said the Templar, who now recognised
his friend of the forest; ``I will assure you from
all deaths but a violent one, if you give such directions
to wayfarers, as you did this night to the
Prior and me.''

``How, sirrah!'' said Cedric, ``misdirect travellers?
We must have you whipt; you are at least
as much rogue as fool.''

``I pray thee, uncle,'' answered the Jester, ``let
my folly, for once, protect my roguery. I did but
make a mistake between my right hand and my
left; and he might have pardoned a greater, who
took a fool for his counsellor and guide.''

Conversation was here interrupted by the entrance
of the porter's page, who announced that
there was a stranger at the gate, imploring admittance
and hospitality,

``Admit him,'' said Cedric, ``be he who or what
he may;---a night like that which roars without,
compels even wild animals to herd with tame,
and to seek the protection of man, their mortal foe,
rather than perish by the elements. Let his wants
be ministered to with all care---look to it, Oswald.''

And the steward left the banqueting hall to see
the commands of his patron obeyed.




CHAPTER V


Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer,
as a Christian is?
_Merchant of Venice_.

Oswald, returning, whispered into the ear of
his master, ``It is a Jew, who calls himself Isaac
of York; is it fit I should marshall him into the
hall?''
``Let Gurth do thine office, Oswald,'' said Wamba
with his usual effrontery; ``the swineherd will
be a fit usher to the Jew.''

``St Mary,'' said the Abbot, crossing himself,
``an unbelieving Jew, and admitted into this presence!''

``A dog Jew,'' echoed the Templar, ``to approach
a defender of the Holy Sepulchre?''

``By my faith,'' said Wamba, ``it would seem
the Templars love the Jews' inheritance better than
they do their company.''

``Peace, my worthy guests,'' said Cedric; ``my
hospitality must not be bounded by your dislikes.
If Heaven bore with the whole nation of stiff-necked
unbelievers for more years than a layman can number,
we may endure the presence of one Jew for a
few hours. But I constrain no man to converse or
to feed with him.---Let him have a board and a
morsel apart,---unless,'' he said smiling, ``these
turban'd strangers will admit his society.''

``Sir Franklin,'' answered the Templar, ``my
Saracen slaves are true Moslems, and scorn as much
as any Christian to hold intercourse with a Jew.''

``Now, in faith,'' said Wamba, ``I cannot see
that the worshippers of Mahound and Termagaunt
have so greatly the advantage over the people once
chosen of Heaven.''

``He shall sit with thee, Wamba,'' said Cedric;
``the fool and the knave will be well met.''

``The fool,'' answered Wamba, raising the relics
of a gammon of bacon, ``will take care to erect a
bulwark against the knave.''

``Hush,'' said Cedric, ``for here he comes.''

Introduced with little ceremony, and advancing
with fear and hesitation, and many a bow of deep
humility, a tall thin old man, who, however, had
lost by the habit of stooping much of his actual
height, approached the lower end of the board. His
features, keen and regular, with an aquiline nose,
and piercing black eyes; his high and wrinkled
forehead, and long grey hair and beard, would have
been considered as handsome, had they not been the
marks of a physiognomy peculiar to a race, which,
during those dark ages, was alike detested by the
credulous and prejudiced vulgar, and persecuted by
the greedy and rapacious nobility, and who, perhaps,
owing to that very hatred and persecution,
had adopted a national character, in which there
was much, to say the least, mean and unamiable.

The Jew's dress, which appeared to have suffered
considerably from the storm, was a plain russet
cloak of many folds, covering a dark purple tunic.
He had large boots lined with fur, and a belt around
his waist, which sustained a small knife, together
with a case for writing materials, but no weapon.
He wore a high square yellow cap of a peculiar
fashion, assigned to his nation to distinguish them
from Christians, and which he doffed with great
humility at the door of the hall.

The reception of this person in the ball of Cedric
the Saxon, was such as might have satisfied
the most prejudiced enemy of the tribes of Israel.
Cedric himself coldly nodded in answer to the Jew's
repeated salutations, and signed to him to take
place at the lower end of the table, where, however,
no one offered to make room for him. On the contrary,
as he passed along the file, casting a timid
supplicating glance, and turning towards each of
those who occupied the lower end of the board, the
Saxon domestics squared their shoulders, and continued
to devour their supper with great perseverance,
paying not the least attention to the wants
of the new guest. The attendants of the Abbot
crossed themselves, with looks of pious horror, and
the very heathen Saracens, as Isaac drew near them,
curled up their whiskers with indignation, and laid
their hands on their poniards, as if ready to rid
themselves by the most desperate means from the
apprehended contamination of his nearer approach.

Probably the same motives which induced Cedric
to open his hall to this son of a rejected people,
would have made him insist on his attendants
receiving Isaac with more courtesy. But the Abbot
had, at this moment, engaged him in a most
interesting discussion on the breed and character
of his favourite hounds, which he would not have
interrupted for matters of much greater importance
than that of a Jew going to bed supperless. While
Isaac thus stood an outcast in the present society,
like his people among the nations, looking in vain
for welcome or resting place, the pilgrim who sat
by the chimney took compassion upon him, and resigned
his seat, saying briefly, ``Old man, my garments
are dried, my hunger is appeased, thou art
both wet and fasting.'' So saying, he gathered together,
and brought to a flame, the decaying brands
which lay scattered on the ample hearth; took from
the larger board a mess of pottage and seethed kid,
placed it upon the small table at which he had himself
supped, and, without waiting the Jew's thanks,
went to the other side of the hall;---whether from
unwillingness to hold more close communication
with the object of his benevolence, or from a wish
to draw near to the upper end of the table, seemed
uncertain.

Had there been painters in those days capable
to execute such a subject, the Jew, as he bent his
withered form, and expanded his chilled and trembling
hands over the fire, would have formed no
bad emblematical personification of the Winter season.
Having dispelled the cold, he turned eagerly
to the smoking mess which was placed before him,
and ate with a haste and an apparent relish, that
seemed to betoken long abstinence from food.

Meanwhile the Abbot and Cedric continued their
discourse upon hunting; the Lady Rowena seemed
engaged in conversation with one of her attendant
females; and the haughty Templar, whose eye
wandered from the Jew to the Saxon beauty, revolved
in his mind thoughts which appeared deeply
to interest him.

``I marvel, worthy Cedric,'' said the Abbot, as
their discourse proceeded, ``that, great as your predilection
is for your own manly language, you do
not receive the Norman-French into your favour,
so far at least as the mystery of wood-craft and
hunting is concerned. Surely no tongue is so rich
in the various phrases which the field-sports demand,
or furnishes means to the experienced woodman
so well to express his jovial art.''

`Good Father Aymer,'' said the Saxon, ``be it
known to you, I care not for those over-sea refinements,
without which I can well enough take my
pleasure in the woods. I can wind my horn, though
I call not the blast either a _recheate_ or a _morte_---I
can cheer my dogs on the prey, and I can flay and
quarter the animal when it is brought down, without
using the newfangled jargon of _curee, arbor,
nombles_, and all the babble of the fabulous Sir Tristrem.''*

* There was no language which the Normans more formally
* separated from that of common life than the terms of the chase.
* The objects of their pursuit, whether bird or animal, changed
* their name each year, and there were a hundred conventional
* terms, to be ignorant of which was to be without one of the distinguishing
* marks of a gentleman. The reader may consult Dame
* Juliana Berners' book on the subject. The origin of this science
* was imputed to the celebrated Sir Tristrem, famous for his tragic
* intrigue with the beautiful Ysolte. As the Normans reserved
* the amusement of hunting strictly to themselves, the terms
* of this formal jargon were all taken from the French language.
``The French,'' said the Templar, raising his
voice with the presumptuous and authoritative tone
which he used upon all occasions, ``is not only the
natural language of the chase, but that of love and
of war, in which ladies should be won and enemies
defied.''

``Pledge me in a cup of wine, Sir Templar,''
said Cedric, ``and fill another to the Abbot, while
I look back some thirty years to tell you another
tale. As Cedric the Saxon then was, his plain English
tale needed no garnish from French troubadours,
when it was told in the ear of beauty; and
the field of Northallerton, upon the day of the Holy
Standard, could tell whether the Saxon war-cry was
not heard as far within the ranks of the Scottish host
as the _cri de guerre_ of the boldest Norman baron.
To the memory of the brave who fought there!---
Pledge me, my guests.'' He drank deep, and went
on with increasing warmth. ``Ay, that was a day
of cleaving of shields, when a hundred banners were
bent forwards over the heads of the valiant, and
blood flowed round like water, and death was held
better than flight. A Saxon bard had called it a
feast of the swords---a gathering of the eagles to
the prey---the clashing of bills upon shield and helmet,
the shouting of battle more joyful than the
clamour of a bridal. But our bards are no more,''
he said; ``our deeds are lost in those of another
race---our language---our very name---is hastening
to decay, and none mourns for it save one solitary
old man---Cupbearer! knave, fill the goblets---To
the strong in arms, Sir Templar, be their race or
language what it will, who now bear them best in
Palestine among the champions of the Cross!''

``It becomes not one wearing this badge to answer,''
said Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert; ``yet to
whom, besides the sworn Champions of the Holy
Sepulchre, can the palm be assigned among the
champions of the Cross?''

``To the Knights Hospitallers,'' said the Abbot;
``I have a brother of their order.''

``I impeach not their fame,'' said the Templar;
``nevertheless------''

``I think, friend Cedric,'' said Wamba, interfering,
``that had Richard of the Lion's Heart
been wise enough to have taken a fool's advice, he
might have staid at home with his merry Englishmen,
and left the recovery of Jerusalem to those
same Knights who had most to do with the loss of
it.''
``Were there, then, none in the English army,''
said the Lady Rowena, ``whose names are worthy
to be mentioned with the Knights of the Temple,
and of St John?''

`` Forgive me, lady,'' replied De Bois-Guilbert;
``the English monarch did, indeed, bring to Palestine
a host of gallant warriors, second only to those
whose breasts have been the unceasing bulwark of
that blessed land.''

``Second to =none=,'' said the Pilgrim, who had
stood near enough to hear, and had listened to this
conversation with marked impatience. All turned
toward the spot from whence this unexpected asseveration
was heard. ``I say,'' repeated the Pilgrim
in a firm and strong voice, ``that the English
chivalry were second to =none= who ever drew sword
in defence of the Holy Land. I say besides, for I
saw it, that King Richard himself, and five of his
knights, held a tournament after the taking of St
John-de-Acre, as challengers against all comers. I
say that, on that day, each knight ran three courses,
and cast to the ground three antagonists. I add,
that seven of these assailants were Knights of the
Temple---and Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert well
knows the truth of what I tell you.''

It is impossible for language to describe the
bitter scowl of rage which rendered yet darker the
swarthy countenance of the Templar. In the extremity
of his resentment and confusion, his quivering
fingers griped towards the handle of his
sword, and perhaps only withdrew, from the consciousness
that no act of violence could be safely
executed in that place and presence. Cedric, whose
feelings were all of a right onward and simple kind,
and were seldom occupied by more than one object
at once, omitted, in the joyous glee with which be
heard of the glory of his countrymen, to remark the
angry confusion of his guest; ``I would give thee
this golden bracelet, Pilgrim,'' he said, ``couldst thou
tell me the names of those knights who upheld so
gallantly the renown of merry England.''

``That will I do blithely,'' replied the Pilgrim,
``and without guerdon; my oath, for a time, prohibits
me from touching gold.''

``I will wear the bracelet for you, if you will,
friend Palmer,'' said Wamba.

``The first in honour as in arms, in renown as
in place,'' said the Pilgrim, ``was the brave Richard,
King of England.''
``I forgive him,'' said Cedric; ``I forgive him
his descent from the tyrant Duke William.''

``The Earl of Leicester was the second,'' continued
the Pilgrim; ``Sir Thomas Multon of Gilsland
was the third.''

``Of Saxon descent, he at least,'' said Cedric,
with exultation.

``Sir Foulk Doilly the fourth,'' proceeded the
Pilgrim.

``Saxon also, at least by the mother's side,'' continued
Cedric, who listened with the utmost eagerness,
and forgot, in part at least, his hatred to the
Normans, in the common triumph of the King of
England and his islanders. ``And who was the
fifth?'' he demanded.

``The fifth was Sir Edwin Turneham.''

``Genuine Saxon, by the soul of Hengist!''
shouted Cedric---``And the sixth?'' he continued
with eagerness---``how name you the sixth?''

``The sixth,'' said the Palmer, after a pause, in
which he seemed to recollect himself, ``was a young
knight of lesser renown and lower rank, assumed
into that honourable company, less to aid their enterprise
than to make up their number---his name
dwells not in my memory.''

``Sir Palmer,'' said Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert
scornfully, ``this assumed forgetfulness, after so
much has been remembered, comes too late to serve
your purpose. I will myself tell the name of the
knight before whose lance fortune and my horse's
fault occasioned my falling---it was the Knight of
Ivanhoe; nor was there one of the six that, for his
years, had more renown in arms.---Yet this will I
say, and loudly---that were he in England, and
durst repeat, in this week's tournament, the challenge
of St John-de-Acre, I, mounted and armed as
I now am, would give him every advantage of weapons,
and abide the result.''

``Your challenge would soon be answered,'' replied
the Palmer, ``were your antagonist near you.
As the matter is, disturb not the peaceful hall with
vaunts of the issue of the conflict, which you well
know cannot take place. If Ivanhoe ever returns
from Palestine, I will be his surety that he meets
you.''

``A goodly security!'' said the Knight Templar;
``and what do you proffer as a pledge?''

``This reliquary,'' said the Palmer, taking a small
ivory box from his bosom, and crossing himself,
``containing a portion of the true cross, brought
from the Monastery of Mount Carmel.''

The Prior of Jorvaulx crossed himself and repeated
a pater noster, in which all devoutly joined,
excepting the Jew, the Mahomedans, and the Templar;
the latter of whom, without vailing his bonnet,
or testifying any reverence for the alleged sanctity
of the relic, took from his neck a gold chain,
which he flung on the board, saying---``Let Prior
Aymer hold my pledge and that of this nameless
vagrant, in token that when the Knight of Ivanhoe
comes within the four seas of Britain, he underlies
the challenge of Brian de Bois-Guilbert, which, if
he answer not, I will proclaim him as a coward on
the walls of every Temple Court in Europe.''

``It will not need,'' said the Lady Rowena, breaking
silence; ``My voice shall be heard, if no other
in this hall is raised in behalf of the absent Ivanhoe.
I affirm he will meet fairly every honourable challenge.
Could my weak warrant add security to the
inestimable pledge of this holy pilgrim, I would
pledge name and fame that Ivanhoe gives this proud
knight the meeting he desires.''

A crowd of conflicting emotions seemed to have
occupied Cedric, and kept him silent during this
discussion. Gratified pride, resentment, embarrassment,
chased each other over his broad and open
brow, like the shadow of clouds drifting over a harvest-field;
while his attendants, on whom the name
of the sixth knight seemed to produce an effect
almost electrical, hung in suspense upon their master's
looks. But when Rowena spoke, the sound of
her voice seemed to startle him from his silence.

``Lady,'' said Cedric, ``this beseems not; were
further pledge necessary, I myself, offended, and
justly offended, as I am, would yet gage my honour
for the honour of Ivanhoe. But the wager of battle
is complete, even according to the fantastic fashions
of Norman chivalry---Is it not, Father Aymer?''

``It is,'' replied the Prior; ``and the blessed
relic and rich chain will I bestow safely in the
treasury of our convent, until the decision of this,
warlike challenge.''

Having thus spoken, he crossed himself again and
again, and after many genuflections and muttered
prayers, he delivered the reliquary to Brother Ambrose,
his attendant monk, while he himself swept
up with less ceremony, but perhaps with no less
internal satisfaction, the golden chain, and bestowed
it in a pouch lined with perfumed leather, which
opened under his arm. ``And now, Sir Cedric,'' he
said, ``my ears are chiming vespers with the strength
of your good wine---permit us another pledge to
the welfare of the Lady Rowena, and indulge us
with liberty to pass to our repose.''

``By the rood of Bromholme,'' said the Saxon,
``you do but small credit to your fame, Sir Prior!
Report speaks you a bonny monk, that would hear
the matin chime ere he quitted his bowl; and, old
as I am, I feared to have shame in encountering
you. But, by my faith, a Saxon boy of twelve, in
my time, would not so soon have relinquished his
goblet.''

The Prior had his own reasons, however, for persevering
in the course of temperance which he had
adopted. He was not only a professional peacemaker,
but from practice a hater of all feuds and
brawls. It was not altogether from a love to his
neighbour, or to himself, or from a mixture of both.
On the present occasion, he had an instinctive apprehension
of the fiery temper of the Saxon, and
saw the danger that the reckless and presumptuous
spirit, of which his companion had already given
so many proofs, might at length produce some disagreeable
explosion. He therefore gently insinuated
the incapacity of the native of any other country
to engage in the genial conflict of the bowl with the
hardy and strong-headed Saxons; something he
mentioned, but slightly, about his own holy character,
and ended by pressing his proposal to depart
to repose.

The grace-cup was accordingly served round, and
the guests, after making deep obeisance to their
landlord and to the Lady Rowena, arose and mingled
in the hall, while the heads of the family, by
separate doors, retired with their attendants.

``Unbelieving dog,'' said the Templar to Isaac
the Jew, as he passed him in the throng, ``dost
thou bend thy course to the tournament?''

``I do so propose,'' replied Isaac, bowing in all
humility, ``if it please your reverend valour.''

``Ay,'' said the Knight, ``to gnaw the bowels of
our nobles with usury, and to gull women and boys
with gauds and toys---I warrant thee store of shekels
in thy Jewish scrap.''
``Not a shekel, not a silver penny, not a halfling---
so help me the God of Abraham!'' said the
Jew, clasping his hands; ``I go but to seek the
assistance of some brethren of my tribe to aid me
to pay the fine which the Exchequer of the Jews*

* In those days the Jews were subjected to an Exchequer,
* specially dedicated to that purpose, and which laid them under
* the most exorbitant impositions.---L. T.

have imposed upon me---Father Jacob be my speed!
I am an impoverished wretch---the very gaberdine
I wear is borrowed from Reuben of Tadcaster.''

The Templar smiled sourly as he replied, ``Beshrew
thee for a false-hearted liar!'' and passing
onward, as if disdaining farther conference, he communed
with his Moslem slaves in a language unknown
to the bystanders. The poor Israelite seemed
so staggered by the address of the military monk,
that the Templar had passed on to the extremity of
the hall ere he raised his head from the humble posture
which he had assumed, so far as to be sensible
of his departure. And when he did look around,
it was with the astonished air of one at whose feet
a thunderbolt has just burst, and who hears still
the astounding report ringing in his ears.

The Templar and Prior were shortly after marshalled
to their sleeping apartments by the steward
and the cupbearer, each attended by two torchbearers
and two servants carrying refreshments, while servants
of inferior condition indicated to their retinue
and to the other guests their respective places of repose.




CHAPTER VI


To buy his favour I extend this friendship:
If he will take it, so; if not, adieu;
And, for my love, I pray you wrong me not.
_Merchant of Venice_.

As the Palmer, lighted by a domestic with a torch,
past through the intricate combination of apartments
of this large and irregular mansion, the cupbearer
coming behind him whispered in his ear,
that if he had no objection to a cup of good mead
in his apartment, there were many domestics in
that family who would gladly hear the news he had
brought from the Holy Land, and particularly
that which concerned the Knight of Ivanhoe.
Wamba presently appeared to urge the same request,
observing that a cup after midnight was worth three
after curfew. Without disputing a maxim urged
by such grave authority, the Palmer thanked them
for their courtesy, but observed that he had included
in his religious vow, an obligation never to
speak in the kitchen on matters which were prohibited
in the hall. ``That vow,'' said Wamba to the
cupbearer, ``would scarce suit a serving-man.''

The cupbearer shrugged up his shoulders in displeasure.
``I thought to have lodged him in the solere chamber,''
said he; ``but since he is so unsocial to Christians,
e'en let him take the next stall to Isaac the Jew's.---Anwold,''
said he to the torchbearer, ``carry the Pilgrim to the southern cell.---
I give you good-night,'' he added, ``Sir Palmer,
with small thanks for short courtesy.''

``Good-night, and Our Lady's benison,'' said the
Palmer, with composure; and his guide moved forward.

In a small antechamber, into which several doors
opened, and which was lighted by a small iron lamp,
they met a second interruption from the waiting-maid
of Rowena, who, saying in a tone of authority,
that her mistress desired to speak with the
Palmer, took the torch from the hand of Anwold,
and, bidding him await her return, made a sign to
the Palmer to follow. Apparently he did not think
it proper to decline this invitation as he had done
the former; for, though his gesture indicated some
surprise at the summons, he obeyed it without answer
or remonstrance.

A short passage, and an ascent of seven steps,
each of which was composed of a solid beam of oak,
led him to the apartment of the Lady Rowena, the
rude magnificence of which corresponded to the
respect which was paid to her by the lord of the
mansion. The walls were covered with embroidered
hangings, on which different-coloured silks, interwoven
with gold and silver threads, had been
employed with all the art of which the age was capable,
to represent the sports of hunting and hawking.
The bed was adorned with the same rich
tapestry, and surrounded with curtains dyed with
purple. The seats had also their stained coverings,
and one, which was higher than the rest, was
accommodated with a footstool of ivory, curiously
carved.

No fewer than four silver candelabras, holding
great waxen torches, served to illuminate this apartment.
Yet let not modern beauty envy the magnificence
of a Saxon princess. The walls of the
apartment were so ill finished and so full of crevices,
that the rich hangings shook in the night blast,
and, in despite of a sort of screen intended to protect
them from the wind, the flame of the torches
streamed sideways into the air, like the unfurled
pennon of a chieftain. Magnificence there was,
with some rude attempt at taste; but of comfort
there was little, and, being unknown, it was unmissed.

The Lady Rowena, with three of her attendants
standing at her back, and arranging her hair ere
she lay down to rest, was seated in the sort of throne
already mentioned, and looked as if born to exact
general homage. The Pilgrim acknowledged her
claim to it by a low genuflection.

``Rise, Palmer,'' said she graciously. ``The defender
of the absent has a right to favourable reception
from all who value truth, and honour manhood.''
She then said to her train, ``Retire, excepting
only Elgitha; I would speak with this holy
Pilgrim.''

The maidens, without leaving the apartment,
retired to its further extremity, and sat down on a
small bench against the wall, where they remained
mute as statues, though at such a distance that
their whispers could not have interrupted the conversation
of their mistress.

``Pilgrim,'' said the lady, after a moment's pause,
during which she seemed uncertain how to address
him, ``you this night mentioned a name---I mean,''
she said, with a degree of effort, ``the name of
Ivanhoe, in the halls where by nature and kindred
it should have sounded most acceptably; and yet,
such is the perverse course of fate, that of many
whose hearts must have throbbed at the sound, I,
only, dare ask you where, and in what condition,
you left him of whom you spoke?---We heard,
that, having remained in Palestine, on account of
his impaired health, after the departure of the English
army, he had experienced the persecution of the
French faction, to whom the Templars are known
to be attached.''

``I know little of the Knight of Ivanhoe,'' answered
the Palmer, with a troubled voice. ``I
would I knew him better, since you, lady, are interested
in his fate. He hath, I believe, surmounted
the persecution of his enemies in Palestine, and
is on the eve of returning to England, where you,
lady, must know better than I, what is his chance
of happiness.''

The Lady Rowena sighed deeply, and asked
more particularly when the Knight of Ivanhoe
might be expected in his native country, and whether
he would not be exposed to great dangers by
the road. On the first point, the Palmer professed
ignorance; on the second, he said that the voyage
might be safely made by the way of Venice and
Genoa, and from thence through France to England.
``Ivanhoe,'' he said, ``was so well acquainted
with the language and manners of the French,
that there was no fear of his incurring any hazard
during that part of his travels.''

``Would to God,'' said the Lady Rowena, ``he
were here safely arrived, and able to bear arms in
the approaching tourney, in which the chivalry of
this land are expected to display their address and
valour. Should Athelstane of Coningsburgh obtain
the prize, Ivanhoe is like to hear evil tidings
when he reaches England.---How looked he, stranger,
when you last saw him? Had disease laid her
hand heavy upon his strength and comeliness?''

``He was darker,'' said the Palmer, ``and thinner,
than when he came from Cyprus in the train
of C<oe>ur-de-Lion, and care seemed to sit heavy on
his brow; but I approached not his presence, because
he is unknown to me.''

``He will,'' said the lady, ``I fear, find little in
his native land to clear those clouds from his countenance.
Thanks, good Pilgrim, for your information
concerning the companion of my childhood.
---Maidens,'' she said, ``draw near---offer the sleeping
cup to this holy man, whom I will no longer
detain from repose.''

One of the maidens presented a silver cup, containing
a rich mixture of wine and spice, which
Rowena barely put to her lips. It was then offered
to the Palmer, who, after a low obeisance, tasted
a few drops.

``Accept this alms, friend,'' continued the lady,
offering a piece of gold, ``in acknowledgment of
thy painful travail, and of the shrines thou hast
visited.''

The Palmer received the boon with another low
reverence, and followed Edwina out of the apartment.

In the anteroom he found his attendant Anwold,
who, taking the torch from the hand of the waiting-maid,
conducted him with more haste than ceremony
to an exterior and ignoble part of the building,
where a number of small apartments, or rather
cells, served for sleeping places to the lower order
of domestics, and to strangers of mean degree.

``In which of these sleeps the Jew?'' said the
Pilgrim.

``The unbelieving dog,'' answered Anwold,
kennels in the cell next your holiness.---St Dunstan,
how it must be scraped and cleansed ere it be
again fit for a Christian!''

``And where sleeps Gurth the swineherd?'' said
the stranger.

``Gurth,'' replied the bondsman, ``sleeps in the
cell on your right, as the Jew on that to your left;
you serve to keep the child of circumcision separate
from the abomination of his tribe. You might have
occupied a more honourable place had you accepted
of Oswald's invitation.''

``It is as well as it is,'' said the Palmer; ``the
company, even of a Jew, can hardly spread contamination
through an oaken partition.''

So saying, he entered the cabin allotted to him,
and taking the torch from the domestic's hand,
thanked him, and wished him good-night. Having
shut the door of his cell, he placed the torch in a
candlestick made of wood, and looked around his
sleeping apartment, the furniture of which was of
the most simple kind. It consisted of a rude wooden
stool, and still ruder hutch or bed-frame, stuffed
with clean straw, and accommodated with two or
three sheepskins by way of bed-clothes.

The Palmer, having extinguished his torch, threw
himself, without taking off any part of his clothes,
on this rude couch, and slept, or at least retained
his recumbent posture, till the earliest sunbeams
found their way through the little grated window,
which served at once to admit both air and light
to his uncomfortable cell. He then started up, and
after repeating his matins, and adjusting his dress,
he left it, and entered that of Isaac the Jew, lifting
the latch as gently as he could.

The inmate was lying in troubled slumber upon
a couch similar to that on which the Palmer himself
had passed the night. Such parts of his dress
as the Jew had laid aside on the preceding evening,
were disposed carefully around his person, as
if to prevent the hazard of their being carried off
during his slumbers. There was a trouble on his
brow amounting almost to agony. His hands and
arms moved convulsively, as if struggling with the
nightmare; and besides several ejaculations in Hebrew,
the following were distinctly heard in the
Norman-English, or mixed language of the country:
``For the sake of the God of Abraham, spare
an unhappy old man! I am poor, I am penniless
---should your irons wrench my limbs asunder, I
could not gratify you!''

The Palmer awaited not the end of the Jew's
vision, but stirred him with his pilgrim's staff. The
touch probably associated, as is usual, with some
of the apprehensions excited by his dream; for the
old man started up, his grey hair standing almost
erect upon his head, and huddling some part of his
garments about him, while he held the detached
pieces with the tenacious grasp of a falcon, he fixed
upon the Palmer his keen black eyes, expressive
of wild surprise and of bodily apprehension.

``Fear nothing from me, Isaac,'' said the Palmer,
``I come as your friend.''

``The God of Israel requite you,'' said the Jew,
greatly relieved; ``I dreamed---But Father Abraham
be praised, it was but a dream.'' Then, collecting
himself, he added in his usual tone, ``And
what may it be your pleasure to want at so early
an hour with the poor Jew?''

``It is to tell you,'' said the Palmer, ``that if
you leave not this mansion instantly, and travel
not with some haste, your journey may prove a
dangerous one.''

``Holy father!'' said the Jew, ``whom could it
interest to endanger so poor a wretch as I am?''

``The purpose you can best guess,'' said the Pilgrim;
``but rely on this, that when the Templar
crossed the hall yesternight, he spoke to his Mussulman
slaves in the Saracen language, which I well
understand, and charged them this morning to watch
the journey of the Jew, to seize upon him when at
a convenient distance from the mansion, and to conduct
him to the castle of Philip de Malvoisin, or to
that of Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf.''

It is impossible to describe the extremity of terror
which seized upon the Jew at this information,
and seemed at once to overpower his whole faculties.
His arms fell down to his sides, and his head
drooped on his breast, his knees bent under his
weight, every nerve and muscle of his frame seemed
to collapse and lose its energy, and he sunk at
the foot of the Palmer, not in the fashion of one
who intentionally stoops, kneels, or prostrates himself
to excite compassion, but like a man borne
down on all sides by the pressure of some invisible
force, which crushes him to the earth without the
power of resistance.

``Holy God of Abraham!'' was his first exclamation,
folding and elevating his wrinkled hands,
but without raising his grey head from the pavement;
``Oh, holy Moses! O, blessed Aaron! the
dream is not dreamed for nought, and the vision
cometh not in vain! I feel their irons already tear
my sinews! I feel the rack pass over my body like
the saws, and harrows, and axes of iron over the
men of Rabbah, and of the cities of the children of
Ammon!''

``Stand up, Isaac, and hearken to me,'' said the
Palmer, who viewed the extremity of his distress
with a compassion in which contempt was largely
mingled; ``you have cause for your terror, considering
how your brethren have been used, in order
to extort from them their hoards, both by princes
and nobles; but stand up, I say, and I will point
out to you the means of escape. Leave this mansion
instantly, while its inmates sleep sound after
the last night's revel. I will guide you by the secret
paths of the forest, known as well to me as to
any forester that ranges it, and I will not leave you
till you are under safe conduct of some chief or
baron going to the tournament, whose good-will
you have probably the means of securing.''

As the ears of Isaac received the hopes of escape
which this speech intimated, he began gradually,
and inch by inch, as it were, to raise himself up
from the ground, until he fairly rested upon his
knees, throwing back his long grey hair and beard,
and fixing his keen black eyes upon the Palmer's
face, with a look expressive at once of hope and
fear, not unmingled with suspicion. But when he
heard the concluding part of the sentence, his original
terror appeared to revive in full force, and he
dropt once more on his face, exclaiming, ``_I_ possess
the means of securing good-will! alas! there
is but one road to the favour of a Christian, and
how can the poor Jew find it, whom extortions
have already reduced to the misery of Lazarus?''
Then, as if suspicion had overpowered his other
feelings, he suddenly exclaimed, ``For the love of
God, young man, betray me not---for the sake of
the Great Father who made us all, Jew as well as
Gentile, Israelite and Ishmaelite---do me no treason!
I have not means to secure the good-will of a
Christian beggar, were he rating it at a single penny.''
As he spoke these last words, he raised himself,
and grasped the Palmer's mantle with a look
of the most earnest entreaty. The pilgrim extricated
himself, as if there were contamination in the
touch.

``Wert thou loaded with all the wealth of thy
tribe,'' he said, ``what interest have I to injure
thee?---In this dress I am vowed to poverty, nor
do I change it for aught save a horse and a coat of
mail. Yet think not that I care for thy company,
or propose myself advantage by it; remain here if
thou wilt---Cedric the Saxon may protect thee.''

``Alas!'' said the Jew, ``he will not let me travel
in his train---Saxon or Norman will be equally
ashamed of the poor Israelite; and to travel by
myself through the domains of Philip de Malvoisin
and Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf---Good youth, I
will go with you!---Let us haste---let us gird up
our loins---let us flee!---Here is thy staff, why wilt
thou tarry?''

``I tarry not,'' said the Pilgrim, giving way to
the urgency of his companion; ``but I must secure
the means of leaving this place---follow me.''

He led the way to the adjoining cell, which, as
the reader is apprised, was occupied by Gurth the
swineherd.---``Arise, Gurth,'' said the Pilgrim,
``arise quickly. Undo the postern gate, and let
out the Jew and me.''

Gurth, whose occupation, though now held so
mean, gave him as much consequence in Saxon
England as that of Eumaeus in Ithaca, was offended
at the familiar and commanding tone assumed
by the Palmer. ``The Jew leaving Rotherwood,''
said he, raising himself on his elbow, and looking
superciliously at him without quitting his pallet,
``and travelling in company with the Palmer to
boot---''

``I should as soon have dreamt,'' said Wamba,
who entered the apartment at the instant, ``of his
stealing away with a gammon of bacon.''

``Nevertheless,'' said Gurth, again laying down
his head on the wooden log which served him for
a pillow, ``both Jew and Gentile must be content
to abide the opening of the great gate---we suffer
no visitors to depart by stealth at these unseasonable
hours.''

``Nevertheless,'' said the Pilgrim, in a commanding
tone, ``you will not, I think, refuse me that
favour.''

So saying, he stooped over the bed of the recumbent
swineherd, and whispered something in his
ear in Saxon. Gurth started up as if electrified.
The Pilgrim, raising his finger in an attitude as if
to express caution, added, ``Gurth, beware---thou
are wont to be prudent. I say, undo the postern---
thou shalt know more anon.''

With hasty alacrity Gurth obeyed him, while
and the Jew followed, both wondering at
the sudden change in the swineherd's demeanour.
``My mule, my mule!'' said the Jew, as soon as
they stood without the postern.

``Fetch him his mule,'' said the Pilgrim; ``and,
hearest thou,---let me have another, that I may
bear him company till he is beyond these parts---I
will return it safely to some of Cedric's train at
Ashby. And do thou''---he whispered the rest in
Gurth's ear.

``Willingly, most willingly shall it be done,''
said Gurth, and instantly departed to execute the
commission.

``I wish I knew,'' said Wamba, when his comrade's
back was turned, ``what you Palmers learn
in the Holy Land.''

``To say our orisons, fool,'' answered the Pilgrim,
``to repent our sins, and to mortify ourselves with
fastings, vigils, and long prayers.''

``Something more potent than that,'' answered
the Jester; ``for when would repentance or prayer
make Gurth do a courtesy, or fasting or vigil persuade
him to lend you a mule?---l trow you might
as well have told his favourite black boar of thy
vigils and penance, and wouldst have gotten as civil
an answer.''

``Go to,'' said the Pilgrim, ``thou art but a
Saxon fool.''

``Thou sayst well.'' said the Jester; ``had I
been born a Norman, as I think thou art, I would
have had luck on my side, and been next door to a
wise man.''

At this moment Gurth appeared on the opposite
side of the moat with the mules. The travellers
crossed the ditch upon a drawbridge of only two
planks breadth, the narrowness of which was matched
with the straitness of the postern, and with a
little wicket in the exterior palisade, which gave
access to the forest. No sooner had they reached
the mules, than the Jew, with hasty and trembling
hands, secured behind the saddle a small bag of
blue buckram, which he took from under his cloak,
containing, as be muttered, ``a change of raiment
---only a change of raiment.'' Then getting upon
the animal with more alacrity and haste than could
have been anticipated from his years, he lost no
time in so disposing of the skirts of his gabardine
as to conceal completely from observation the burden
which he had thus deposited _en croupe_.

The Pilgrim mounted with more deliberation,
reaching, as he departed, his hand to Gurth, who
kissed it with the utmost possible veneration. The
swineherd stood gazing after the travellers until
they were lost under the boughs of the forest path,
when he was disturbed from his reverie by the voice
of Wamba.

``Knowest thou,'' said the Jester, ``my good
friend Gurth, that thou art strangely courteous and
most unwontedly pious on this summer morning?
I would I were a black Prior or a barefoot Palmer,
to avail myself of thy unwonted zeal and courtesy
---certes, I would make more out of it than a kiss
of the hand.''

``Thou art no fool thus far, Wamba,'' answered
Gurth, ``though thou arguest from appearances,
and the wisest of us can do no more---But it is time
to look after my charge.''

So saying, he turned back to the mansion, attended
by the Jester.

Meanwhile the travellers continued to press on
their journey with a dispatch which argued the extremity
of the Jew's fears, since persons at his age
are seldom fond of rapid motion, The Palmer, to
whom every path and outlet in the wood appeared
to be familiar, led the way through the most devious
paths, and more than once excited anew the
suspicion of the Israelite, that he intended to betray
him into some ambuscade of his enemies.

His doubts might have been indeed pardoned;
for, except perhaps the flying fish, there was no
race existing on the earth, in the air, or the waters,
who were the object of such an unintermitting, general,
and relentless persecution as the Jews of this
period. Upon the slightest and most unreasonable
pretences, as well as upon accusations the most absurd
and groundless, their persons and property
were exposed to every turn of popular fury; for
Norman, Saxon, Dane, and Briton, however adverse
these races were to each other, contended
which should look with greatest detestation upon a
people, whom it was accounted a point of religion
to hate, to revile, to despise, to plunder, and to persecute.
The kings of the Norman race, and the
independent nobles, who followed their example in
all acts of tyranny, maintained against this devoted
people a persecution of a more regular, calculated,
and self-interested kind. It is a well-known story
of King John, that he confined a wealthy Jew in
one of the royal castles, and daily caused one of his
teeth to be torn out, until, when the jaw of the
unhappy Israelite was half disfurnished, he consented
to pay a large sum, which it was the tyrant's
object to extort from him. The little ready money
which was in the country was chiefly in possession
of this persecuted people, and the nobility hesitated
not to follow the example of their sovereign, in
wringing it from them by every species of oppression,
and even personal torture. Yet the passive
courage inspired by the love of gain, induced the
Jews to dare the various evils to which they were
subjected, in consideration of the immense profits
which they were enabled to realize in a country
naturally so wealthy as England. In spite of every
kind of discouragement, and even of the special
court of taxations already mentioned, called the
Jews' Exchequer, erected for the very purpose of
despoiling and distressing them, the Jews increased,
multiplied, and accumulated huge sums, which they
transferred from one hand to another by means of
bills of exchange---an invention for which commerce
is said to be indebted to them, and which enabled
them to transfer their wealth from land to land,
that when threatened with oppression in one country,
their treasure might be secured in another.

The obstinacy and avarice of the Jews being thus
in a measure placed in opposition to the fanaticism
that tyranny of those under whom they lived, seemed
to increase in proportion to the persecution with
which they were visited; and the immense wealth
they usually acquired in commerce, while it frequently
placed them in danger, was at other times
used to extend their influence, and to secure to
them a certain degree of protection. On these
terms they lived; and their character, influenced
accordingly, was watchful, suspicious, and timid---
yet obstinate, uncomplying, and skilful in evading
the dangers to which they were exposed.

When the travellers had pushed on at a rapid rate
through many devious paths, the Palmer at length
broke silence.

``That large decayed oak,'' he said, ``marks the
boundaries over which Front-de-B<oe>uf claims authority---
we are long since far from those of Malvoisin.
There is now no fear of pursuit.''

``May the wheels of their chariots be taken off,''
said the Jew, ``like those of the host of Pharaoh,
that they may drive heavily!---But leave me not,
good Pilgrim---Think but of that fierce and savage
Templar, with his Saracen slaves---they will regard
neither territory, nor manor, nor lordship.''

``Our road,'' said the Palmer, ``should here separate;
for it beseems not men of my character and
thine to travel together longer than needs must be.
Besides, what succour couldst thou have from me,
a peaceful Pilgrim, against two armed heathens?''

``O good youth,'' answered the Jew, ``thou
canst defend me, and I know thou wouldst. Poor
as I am, I will requite it---not with money, for
money, so help me my Father Abraham, I have
none---but------''

``Money and recompense,'' said the Palmer, interrupting
him, ``I have already said I require not
of thee. Guide thee I can; and, it may be, even
in some sort defend thee; since to protect a Jew
against a Saracen, can scarce be accounted unworthy
of a Christian. Therefore, Jew, I will see thee
safe under some fitting escort. We are now not
far from the town of Sheffield, where thou mayest
easily find many of thy tribe with whom to take
refuge.''

``The blessing of Jacob be upon thee, good
youth!'' said the Jew; ``in Sheffield I can harbour
with my kinsman Zareth, and find some means of
travelling forth with safety.''

``Be it so,'' said the Palmer; ``at Sheffield then
we part, and half-an-hour's riding will bring us in
sight of that town.''

The half hour was spent in perfect silence on
both parts; the Pilgrim perhaps disdaining to address
the Jew, except in case of absolute necessity,
and the Jew not presuming to force a conversation
with a person whose journey to the Holy Sepulchre
gave a sort of sanctity to his character. They
paused on the top of a gently rising bank, and the
Pilgrim, pointing to the town of Sheffield, which
lay beneath them, repeated the words, ``Here, then,
we part.''

``Not till you have had the poor Jew's thanks,''
said Isaac; ``for I presume not to ask you to go
with me to my kinsman Zareth's, who might aid
me with some means of repaying your good offices.''

``I have already said,'' answered the Pilgrim,
``that I desire no recompense. If among the huge
list of thy debtors, thou wilt, for my sake, spare
the gyves and the dungeon to some unhappy Christian
who stands in thy danger, I shall hold this
morning's service to thee well bestowed.''

``Stay, stay,'' said the Jew, laying hold of his
garment; ``something would I do more than this,
something for thyself.---God knows the Jew is poor
---yes, Isaac is the beggar of his tribe---but forgive
me should I guess what thou most lackest at this
moment.''

``If thou wert to guess truly,'' said the Palmer,
``it is what thou canst not supply, wert thou as
wealthy as thou sayst thou art poor.'

``As I say?'' echoed the Jew; ``O! believe it,
I say but the truth; I am a plundered, indebted,
distressed man. Hard hands have wrung from me
my goods, my money, my ships, and all that I possessed---
Yet I can tell thee what thou lackest, and,
it may be, supply it too. Thy wish even now is
for a horse and armour.''

The Palmer started, and turned suddenly towards
the Jew:---``What fiend prompted that
guess?'' said he, hastily.

``No matter,'' said the Jew, smiling, ``so that
it be a true one---and, as I can guess thy want, so
I can supply it.''

``But consider,'' said the Palmer, ``my character,
my dress, my vow.''

``I know you Christians,'' replied the Jew, ``and
that the noblest of you will take the staff and sandal
in superstitious penance, and walk afoot to visit
the graves of dead men.''

``Blaspheme not, Jew,'' said the Pilgrim, sternly.

``Forgive me,'' said the Jew; ``I spoke rashly.
But there dropt words from you last night and this
morning, that, like sparks from flint, showed the
metal within; and in the bosom of that Palmer's
gown, is hidden a knight's chain and spurs of gold.
They glanced as you stooped over my bed in the
morning.''

The Pilgrim could not forbear smiling. ``Were
thy garments searched by as curious an eye, Isaac,''
said he, ``what discoveries might not be made?''

``No more of that,'' said the Jew, changing colour;
and drawing forth his writing materials in
haste, as if to stop the conversation, he began to
write upon a piece of paper which he supported on
the top of his yellow cap, without dismounting from
his mule. When he had finished, he delivered the
scroll, which was in the Hebrew character, to the
Pilgrim, saying, ``In the town of Leicester all men
know the rich Jew, Kirjath Jairam of Lombardy;
give him this scroll---he hath on sale six Milan harnesses,
the worst would suit a crowned head---ten
goodly steeds, the worst might mount a king, were
he to do battle for his throne. Of these he will
give thee thy choice, with every thing else that can
furnish thee forth for the tournament: when it is
over, thou wilt return them safely---unless thou
shouldst have wherewith to pay their value to the
owner.''

``But, Isaac,'' said the Pilgrim, smiling, ``dost
thou know that in these sports, the arms and steed
of the knight who is unhorsed are forfeit to his victor?
Now I may be unfortunate, and so lose what
I cannot replace or repay.''

The Jew looked somewhat astounded at this
possibility; but collecting his courage, he replied
hastily. ``No---no---no---It is impossible---I will
not think so. The blessing of Our Father will be
upon thee. Thy lance will be powerful as the rod
of Moses.''

So saying, he was turning his mule's head away,
when the Palmer, in his turn, took hold of his gaberdine.
``Nay, but Isaac, thou knowest not all
the risk. The steed may be slain, the armour injured---
for I will spare neither horse nor man. Besides,
those of thy tribe give nothing for nothing;
something there must be paid for their use.''

The Jew twisted himself in the saddle, like a
man in a fit of the colic; but his better feelings
predominated over those which were most familiar
to him. ``I care not,'' he said, ``I care not---let
me go. If there is damage, it will cost you nothing---
if there is usage money, Kirjath Jairam
will forgive it for the sake of his kinsman Isaac.
Fare thee well!---Yet hark thee, good youth,'' said
he, turning about, ``thrust thyself not too forward
into this vain hurly-burly---I speak not for endangering
the steed, and coat of armour, but for the
sake of thine own life and limbs.''

``Gramercy for thy caution,'' said the Palmer,
again smiling; ``I will use thy courtesy frankly,
and it will go hard with me but I will requite it.''

They parted, and took different roads for the
town of Sheffield.




CHAPTER VII


Knights, with a long retinue of their squires,
In gaudy liveries march and quaint attires;
One laced the helm, another held the lance,
A third the shining buckler did advance.
The courser paw'd the ground with restless feet,
And snorting foam'd and champ'd the golden bit.
The smiths and armourers on palfreys ride,
Files in their hands, and hammers at their side;
And nails for loosen'd spears, and thongs for shields provide.
The yeomen guard the streets in seemly bands;
And clowns come crowding on, with cudgels in their hands.
_Palamon and Arcite_.


The condition of the English nation was at this
time sufficiently miserable. King Richard was absent
a prisoner, and in the power of the perfidious
and cruel Duke of Austria. Even the very place
of his captivity was uncertain, and his fate but very
imperfectly known to the generality of his subjects,
who were, in the meantime, a prey to every species
of subaltern oppression.

Prince John, in league with Philip of France,
C<oe>ur-de-Lion's mortal enemy, was using every
species of influence with the Duke of Austria, to
prolong the captivity of his brother Richard, to
whom he stood indebted for so many favours. In
the meantime, he was strengthening his own faction
in the kingdom, of which he proposed to dispute
the succession, in case of the King's death,
with the legitimate heir, Arthur Duke of Brittany,
son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, the elder brother of
John. This usurpation, it is well known, he afterwards
effected. His own character being light,
profligate, and perfidious, John easily attached to
his person and faction, not only all who had reason
to dread the resentment of Richard for criminal proceedings
during his absence, but also the numerous
class of ``lawless resolutes,'' whom the crusades had
turned back on their country, accomplished in the
vices of the East, impoverished in substance, and
hardened in character, and who placed their hopes
of harvest in civil commotion.
To these causes of public distress and apprehension,
must be added, the multitude of outlaws, who,
driven to despair by the oppression of the feudal
nobility, and the severe exercise of the forest laws,
banded together in large gangs, and, keeping possession
of the forests and the wastes, set at defiance
the justice and magistracy of the country. The
nobles themselves, each fortified within his own
castle, and playing the petty sovereign over his
own dominions, were the leaders of bands scarce
less lawless and oppressive than those of the avowed
depredators. To maintain these retainers, and
to support the extravagance and magnificence which
their pride induced them to affect, the nobility borrowed
sums of money from the Jews at the most
usurious interest, which gnawed into their estates
like consuming cankers, scarce to be cured unless
when circumstances gave them an opportunity of
getting free, by exercising upon their creditors some
act of unprincipled violence.

Under the various burdens imposed by this unhappy
state of affairs, the people of England suffered
deeply for the present, and had yet more
dreadful cause to fear for the future. To augment
their misery, a contagious disorder of a dangerous
nature spread through the land; and, rendered
more virulent by the uncleanness, the indifferent
food, and the wretched lodging of the lower classes,
swept off many whose fate the survivors were tempted
to envy, as exempting them from the evils which
were to come.

Yet amid these accumulated distresses, the poor
as well as the rich, the vulgar as well as the noble,
in the event of a tournament, which was the grand
spectacle of that age, felt as much interested as the
half-starved citizen of Madrid, who has not a real
left to buy provisions for his family, feels in the
issue of a bull-feast. Neither duty nor infirmity
could keep youth or age from such exhibitions.
The Passage of Arms, as it was called, which was
to take place at Ashby, in the county of Leicester,
as champions of the first renown were to take the
field in the presence of Prince John himself, who
was expected to grace the lists, had attracted universal
attention, and an immense confluence of persons
of all ranks hastened upon the appointed morning
to the place of combat.

The scene was singularly romantic. On the verge
of a wood, which approached to within a mile of
the town of Ashby, was an extensive meadow, of
the finest and most beautiful green turf, surrounded
on one side by the forest, and fringed on the
other by straggling oak-trees, some of which had
grown to an immense size. The ground, as if fashioned
on purpose for the martial display which
was intended, sloped gradually down on all sides
to a level bottom, which was enclosed for the lists
with strong palisades, forming a space of a quarter
of a mile in length, and about half as broad. The
form of the enclosure was an oblong square, save
that the corners were considerably rounded off, in
order to afford more convenience for the spectators.
The openings for the entry of the combatants were
at the northern and southern extremities of the lists,
accessible by strong wooden gates, each wide enough
to admit two horsemen riding abreast. At each of
these portals were stationed two heralds, attended
by six trumpets, as many pursuivants, and a strong
body of men-at-arms for maintaining order, and
ascertaining the quality of the knights who proposed
to engage in this martial game.

On a platform beyond the southern entrance,
formed by a natural elevation of the ground, were
pitched five magnificent pavilions, adorned with
pennons of russet and black, the chosen colours of
the five knights challengers. The cords of the tents
were of the same colour. Before each pavilion was
suspended the shield of the knight by whom it was
occupied, and beside it stood his squire, quaintly
disguised as a salvage or silvan man, or in some
other fantastic dress, according to the taste of his
master, and the character he was pleased to assume
daring the game.* The central pavilion, as the

* This sort of masquerade is supposed to have occasioned the
* introduction of supporters into the science of heraldry.

place of honour, had been assigned to Brian be Bois-Guilbert,
whose renown in all games of chivalry,
no less than his connexions with the knights who
had undertaken this Passage of Arms, had occasioned
him to be eagerly received into the company
of the challengers, and even adopted as their chief
and leader, though he had so recently joined them.
On one side of his tent were pitched those of Reginald
Front-de-B<oe>uf and Richard de Malvoisin,
and on the other was the pavilion of Hugh de
Grantmesnil, a noble baron in the vicinity, whose
ancestor had been Lord High Steward of England
in the time of the Conqueror, and his son William
Rufus. Ralph de Vipont, a knight of St John of
Jerusalem, who had some ancient possessions at a
place called Heather, near Ashby-de-la-Zouche,
occupied the fifth pavilion. From the entrance
into the lists, a gently sloping passage, ten yards
in breadth, led up to the platform on which the
tents were pitched. It was strongly secured by a
palisade on each side, as was the esplanade in front
of the pavilions, and the whole was guarded by men-at-arms.

The northern access to the lists terminated in a
similar entrance of thirty feet in breadth, at the
extremity of which was a large enclosed space for
such knights as might be disposed to enter the lists
with the challengers, behind which were placed
tents containing refreshments of every kind for
their accommodation, with armourers, tarriers, and
other attendants, in readiness to give their services
wherever they might be necessary.

The exterior of the lists was in part occupied by
temporary galleries, spread with tapestry and carpets,
and accommodated with cushions for the convenience
of those ladies and nobles who were expected
to attend the tournament. A narrow space,
betwixt these galleries and the lists, gave accommodation
for yeomanry and spectators of a better
degree than the mere vulgar, and might be compared
to the pit of a theatre. The promiscuous
multitude arranged themselves upon large banks
of turf prepared for the purpose, which, aided by
the natural elevation of the ground, enabled them
to overlook the galleries, and obtain a fair view
into the lists. Besides the accommodation which
these stations afforded, many hundreds had perched
themselves on the branches of the trees which
surrounded the meadow; and even the steeple of
a country church, at some distance, was crowded
with spectators.

It only remains to notice respecting the general
arrangement, that one gallery in the very centre
of the eastern side of the lists, and consequently
exactly opposite to the spot where the shock of the
combat was to take place, was raised higher than
the others, more richly decorated, and graced by a
sort of throne and canopy, on which the royal arms
were emblazoned. Squires, pages, and yeomen in
rich liveries, waited around this place of honour,
which was designed for Prince John and his attendants.
Opposite to this royal gallery was another,
elevated to the same height, on the western
side of the lists; and more gaily, if less sumptuously
decorated, than that destined for the Prince himself.
A train of pages and of young maidens, the
most beautiful who could be selected, gaily dressed
in fancy habits of green and pink, surrounded a
throne decorated in the same colours. Among pennons
and flags bearing wounded hearts, burning
hearts, bleeding hearts, bows and quivers, and all
the commonplace emblems of the triumphs of Cupid,
a blazoned inscription informed the spectators,
that this seat of honour was designed for _La
Royne de la Beault<e'> et des Amours_. But who was
to represent the Queen of Beauty and of Love on
the present occasion no one was prepared to guess.

Meanwhile, spectators of every description thronged
forward to occupy their respective stations, and
not without many quarrels concerning those which
they were entitled to hold. Some of these were settled
by the men-at-arms with brief ceremony; the
shafts of their battle-axes, and pummels of their
swords, being readily employed as arguments to
convince the more refractory. Others, which involved
the rival claims of more elevated persons,
were determined by the heralds, or by the two
marshals of the field, William de Wyvil, and Stephen
de Martival, who, armed at all points, rode
up and down the lists to enforce and preserve good
order among the spectators.

Gradually the galleries became filled with knights
and nobles, in their robes of peace, whose long and
rich-tinted mantles were contrasted with the gayer
and more splendid habits of the ladies, who, in a
greater proportion than even the men themselves,
thronged to witness a sport, which one would have
thought too bloody and dangerous to afford their
sex much pleasure. The lower and interior space
was soon filled by substantial yeomen and burghers,
and such of the lesser gentry, as, from modesty,
poverty, or dubious title, durst not assume any
higher place. It was of course amongst these that
the most frequent disputes for precedence occurred.

``Dog of an unbeliever,'' said an old man, whose
threadbare tunic bore witness to his poverty, as
his sword, and dagger, and golden chain intimated
his pretensions to rank,---``whelp of a she-wolf !
darest thou press upon a Christian, and a Norman
gentleman of the blood of Montdidier ?''

This rough expostulation was addressed to no
other than our acquaintance Isaac, who, richly and
even magnificently dressed in a gaberdine ornamented
with lace and lined with fur, was endeavouring
to make place in the foremost row beneath
the gallery for his daughter, the beautiful Rebecca,
who had joined him at Ashby, and who was now
hanging on her father's arm, not a little terrified
by the popular displeasure which seemed generally
excited by her parent's presumption. But Isaac,
though we have seen him sufficiently timid on other
occasions, knew well that at present he had nothing
to fear. It was not in places of general resort, or
where their equals were assembled, that any avaricious
or malevolent noble durst offer him injury.
At such meetings the Jews were under the protection
of the general law; and if that proved a weak
assurance, it usually happened that there were
among the persons assembled some barons, who, for
their own interested motives, were ready to act as
their protectors. On the present occasion, Isaac
felt more than usually confident, being aware that
Prince John was even then in the very act of negotiating
a large loan from the Jews of York, to be
secured upon certain jewels and lands. Isaac's own
share in this transaction was considerable, and he
well knew that the Prince's eager desire to bring
it to a conclusion would ensure him his protection
in the dilemma in which he stood.

Emboldened by these considerations, the Jew
pursued his point, and jostled the Norman Christian,
without respect either to his descent, quality,
or religion. The complaints of the old man, however,
excited the indignation of the bystanders.
One of these, a stout well-set yeoman, arrayed in
Lincoln green, having twelve arrows stuck in his
belt, with a baldric and badge of silver, and a bow
of six feet length in his hand, turned short round,
and while his countenance, which his constant exposure
to weather had rendered brown as a hazel
nut, grew darker with anger, he advised the Jew
to remember that all the wealth he had acquired
by sucking the blood of his miserable victims had
but swelled him like a bloated spider, which might
be overlooked while he kept in a comer, but would
be crushed if it ventured into the light. This intimation,
delivered in Norman-English with a firm
voice and a stern aspect, made the Jew shrink back;
and he would have probably withdrawn himself altogether
from a vicinity so dangerous, had not the
attention of every one been called to the sudden
entrance of Prince John, who at that moment entered
the lists, attended by a numerous and gay
train, consisting partly of laymen, partly of churchmen,
as light in their dress, and as gay in their demeanour,
as their companions. Among the latter
was the Prior of Jorvaulx, in the most gallant trim
which a dignitary of the church could venture to exhibit.
Fur and gold were not spared in his garments;
and the points of his boots, out-heroding the
preposterous fashion of the time, turned up so very
far, as to be attached, not to his knees merely, but
to his very girdle, and effectually prevented him
from putting his foot into the stirrup. This, however,
was a slight inconvenience to the gallant Abbot,
who, perhaps, even rejoicing in the opportunity
to display his accomplished horsemanship before
so many spectators, especially of the fair sex,
dispensed with the use of these supports to a timid
rider. The rest of Prince John's retinue consisted
of the favourite leaders of his mercenary troops,
some marauding barons and profligate attendants
upon the court, with several Knights Templars and
Knights of St John.

It may be here remarked, that the knights of
these two orders were accounted hostile to King
Richard, having adopted the side of Philip of France
in the long train of disputes which took place in
Palestine betwixt that monarch and the lion-hearted
King of England. It was the well-known consequence
of this discord that Richard's repeated victories
had been rendered fruitless, his romantic attempts
to besiege Jerusalem disappointed, and the
fruit of all the glory which he had acquired had
dwindled into an uncertain truce with the Sultan
Saladin. With the same policy which had dictated
the conduct of their brethren in the Holy Land, the
Templars and Hospitallers in England and Normandy
attached themselves to the faction of Prince
John, having little reason to desire the return of
Richard to England, or the succession of Arthur,
his legitimate heir. For the opposite reason, Prince
John hated and contemned the few Saxon families
of consequence which subsisted in England, and
omitted no opportunity of mortifying and affronting
them; being conscious that his person and pretensions
were disliked by them, as well as by the
greater part of the English commons, who feared
farther innovation upon their rights and liberties,
from a sovereign of John's licentious and tyrannical
disposition.

Attended by this gallant equipage, himself well
mounted, and splendidly dressed in crimson and
in gold, bearing upon his hand a falcon, and having
his head covered by a rich fur bonnet, adorned with
a circle of precious stones, from which his long
curled hair escaped and overspread his shoulders,
Prince John, upon a grey and high-mettled palfrey,
caracoled within the lists at the head of his jovial
party, laughing loud with his train, and eyeing with
all the boldness of royal criticism the beauties who
adorned the lofty galleries.

Those who remarked in the physiognomy of the
Prince a dissolute audacity, mingled with extreme
haughtiness and indifference to, the feelings of
others could not yet deny to his countenance that
sort of comeliness which belongs to an open set of
features, well formed by nature, modelled by art
to the usual rules of courtesy, yet so far frank and
honest, that they seemed as if they disclaimed to
conceal the natural workings of the soul. Such an
expression is often mistaken for manly frankness,
when in truth it arises from the reckless indifference
of a libertine disposition, conscious of superiority
of birth, of wealth, or of some other adventitious
advantage, totally unconnected with personal
merit. To those who did not think so deeply, and
they were the greater number by a hundred to one,
the splendour of Prince John's _rheno_, (_i.e_. fur tippet,)
the richness of his cloak, lined with the most
costly sables, his maroquin boots and golden spurs,
together with the grace with which he managed
his palfrey, were sufficient to merit clamorous applause.

In his joyous caracole round the lists, the attention
of the Prince was called by the commotion,
not yet subsided, which had attended the ambitious
movement of Isaac towards the higher places of
the assembly. The quick eye of Prince John instantly
recognised the Jew, but was much more
agreeably attracted by the beautiful daughter of
Zion, who, terrified by the tumult, clung close to
the arm of her aged father.

The figure of Rebecca might indeed have compared
with the proudest beauties of England, even
though it had been judged by as shrewd a connoisseur
as Prince John. Her form was exquisitely
symmetrical, and was shown to advantage by a sort
of Eastern dress, which she wore according to the
fashion of the females of her nation. Her turban
of yellow silk suited well with the darkness of her
complexion. The brilliancy of her eyes, the superb
arch of her eyebrows, her well-formed aquiline
nose, her teeth as white as pearl, and the profusion
of her sable tresses, which, each arranged in its
own little spiral of twisted curls, fell down upon as
much of a lovely neck and bosom as a simarre of
the richest Persian silk, exhibiting flowers in their
natural colours embossed upon a purple ground,
permitted to be visible---all these constituted a
combination of loveliness, which yielded not to the
most beautiful of the maidens who surrounded her.
It is true, that of the golden and pearl-studded
clasps, which closed her vest from the throat to the
waist, the three uppermost were left unfastened on
account of the heat, which something enlarged the
prospect to which we allude. A diamond necklace,
with pendants of inestimable value, were by this
means also made more conspicuous. The feather
of an ostrich, fastened in her turban by an agraffe
set with brilliants, was another distinction of the
beautiful Jewess, scoffed and sneered at by the
proud dames who sat above her, but secretly envied
by those who affected to deride them.

``By the bald scalp of Abraham,'' said Prince
John, ``yonder Jewess must be the very model of
that perfection, whose charms drove frantic the
wisest king that ever lived ! What sayest thou,
Prior Aymer?---By the Temple of that wise king,
which our wiser brother Richard proved unable to
recover, she is the very Bride of the Canticles !''

``The Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley,''
---answered the Prior, in a sort of snuffling
tone; ``but your Grace must remember she is still
but a Jewess.''

``Ay!'' added Prince John, without heeding
him, ``and there is my Mammon of unrighteousness
too---the Marquis of Marks, the Baron of
Byzants, contesting for place with penniless dogs,
whose threadbare cloaks have not a single cross
in their pouches to keep the devil from dancing
there. By the body of St Mark, my prince of supplies,
with his lovely Jewess, shall have a place in
the gallery!---What is she, Isaac? Thy wife or thy
daughter, that Eastern houri that thou lockest under
thy arm as thou wouldst thy treasure-casket?''

``My daughter Rebecca, so please your Grace,''
answered Isaac, with a low congee, nothing embarrassed
by the Prince's salutation, in which, however,
there was at least as much mockery as courtesy.

``The wiser man thou,'' said John, with a peal
of laughter, in which his gay followers obsequiously
joined. ``But, daughter or wife, she should be
preferred according to her beauty and thy merits.
---Who sits above there?'' he continued, bending
his eye on the gallery. ``Saxon churls, lolling at
their lazy length!---out upon them!---let them sit
close, and make room for my prince of usurers and
his lovely daughter. I'll make the hinds know they
must share the high places of the synagogue with
those whom the synagogue properly belongs to.''

Those who occupied the gallery to whom this
injurious and unpolite speech was addressed, were
the family of Cedric the Saxon, with that of his
ally and kinsman, Athelstane of Coningsburgh, a
personage, who, on account of his descent from the
last Saxon monarchs of England, was held in the
highest respect by all the Saxon natives of the
north of England. But with the blood of this ancient
royal race, many of their infirmities had descended
to Athelstane. He was comely in countenance,
bulky and strong in person, and in the flower
of his age---yet inanimate in expression, dull-eyed,
heavy-browed, inactive and sluggish in all his motions,
and so slow in resolution, that the soubriquet
of one of his ancestors was conferred upon him,
and he was very generally called Athelstane the
Unready. His friends, and he had many, who, as
well as Cedric, were passionately attached to him,
contended that this sluggish temper arose not from
want of courage, but from mere want of decision;
others alleged that his hereditary vice of drunkenness
had obscured his faculties, never of a very
acute order, and that the passive courage and meek
good-nature which remained behind, were merely
the dregs of a character that might have been deserving
of praise, but of which all the valuable parts
had flown off in the progress of a long course of
brutal debauchery.

It was to this person, such as we have described
him, that the Prince addressed his imperious command
to make place for Isaac and Rebecca. Athelstane,
utterly confounded at an order which the
manners and feelings of the times rendered so injuriously
insulting, unwilling to obey, yet undetermined
how to resist, opposed only the _vis inerti<ae>_
to the will of John; and, without stirring or making
any motion whatever of obedience, opened his
large grey eyes, and stared at the Prince with an
astonishment which had in it something extremely
ludicrous. But the impatient John regarded it in
no such light.

``The Saxon porker,'' he said, ``is either asleep
or minds me not---Prick him with your lance, De
Bracy,'' speaking to a knight who rode near him,
the leader of a band of Free Companions, or Condottieri;
that is, of mercenaries belonging to no
particular nation, but attached for the time to any
prince by whom they were paid. There was a murmur
even among the attendants of Prince John;
but De Bracy, whose profession freed him from all
scruples, extended his long lance over the space
which separated the gallery from the lists, and
would have executed the commands of the Prince
before Athelstane the Unready had recovered presence
of mind sufficient even to draw back his person
from the weapon, had not Cedric, as prompt
as his companion was tardy, unsheathed, with the
speed of lightning, the short sword which he wore,
and at a single blow severed the point of the lance
from the handle. The blood rushed into the countenance
of Prince John. He swore one of his deepest
oaths, and was about to utter some threat corresponding
in violence, when he was diverted from
his purpose, partly by his own attendants, who
gathered around him conjuring him to be patient,
partly by a general exclamation of the crowd, uttered
in loud applause of the spirited conduct of
Cedric. The Prince rolled his eyes in indignation,
as if to collect some safe and easy victim; and
chancing to encounter the firm glance of the same
archer whom we have already noticed, and who
seemed to persist in his gesture of applause, in spite
of the frowning aspect which the Prince bent upon
him, he demanded his reason for clamouring thus.

``I always add my hollo,'' said the yeoman,
``when I see a good shot, or a gallant blow.''

``Sayst thou?'' answered the Prince; ``then
thou canst hit the white thyself, I'll warrant.''

``A woodsman's mark, and at woodsman's distance,
I can hit,'' answered the yeoman.

``And Wat Tyrrel's mark, at a hundred yards,''
said a voice from behind, but by whom uttered
could not be discerned.

This allusion to the fate of William Rufus, his
Relative, at once incensed and alarmed Prince
John. He satisfied himself, however, with commanding
the men-at-arms, who surrounded the
lists, to keep an eye on the braggart, pointing to
the yeoman.

``By St Grizzel,'' he added, ``we will try his
own skill, who is so ready to give his voice to the
feats of others!''

``I shall not fly the trial,'' said the yeoman, with
the composure which marked his whole deportment.

``Meanwhile, stand up, ye Saxon churls,'' said
the fiery Prince; ``for, by the light of Heaven,
since I have said it, the Jew shall have his seat
amongst ye!''

``By no means, an it please your Grace!---it is
not fit for such as we to sit with the rulers of the
land,'' said the Jew; whose ambition for precedence
though it had led him to dispute Place with
the extenuated and impoverished descendant of the
line of Montdidier, by no means stimulated him
to an intrusion upon the privileges of the wealthy
Saxons.

``Up, infidel dog when I command you,'' said
Prince John, ``or I will have thy swarthy hide
stript off, and tanned for horse-furniture.''

Thus urged, the Jew began to ascend the steep
and narrow steps which led up to the gallery.

``Let me see,'' said the Prince, ``who dare stop
him,'' fixing his eye on Cedric, whose attitude intimated
his intention to hurl the Jew down headlong.

The catastrophe was prevented by the clown
Wamba, who, springing betwixt his master and
Isaac, and exclaiming, in answer to the Prince's defiance,
``Marry, that will I!'' opposed to the beard
of the Jew a shield of brawn, which he plucked
from beneath his cloak, and with which, doubtless,
he had furnished himself, lest the tournament should
have proved longer than his appetite could endure
abstinence. Finding the abomination of his tribe
opposed to his very nose, while the Jester, at the
same time, flourished his wooden sword above his
head, the Jew recoiled, missed his footing, and rolled
down the steps,---an excellent jest to the spectators,
who set up a loud laughter, in which Prince
John and his attendants heartily joined.

``Deal me the prize, cousin Prince,'' said Wamba;
``I have vanquished my foe in fair fight with
sword and shield,'' he added, brandishing the brawn
in one hand and the wooden sword in the other.

``Who, and what art thou, noble champion?''
said Prince John, still laughing.

``A fool by right of descent,'' answered the
Jester; ``I am Wamba, the son of Witless, who
was the son of Weatherbrain, who was the son of
an Alderman.''

``Make room for the Jew in front of the lower
ring,'' said Prince John, not unwilling perhaps to,
seize an apology to desist from his original purpose;
``to place the vanquished beside the victor
were false heraldry.''

``Knave upon fool were worse,'' answered the
Jester, ``and Jew upon bacon worst of all.''

``Gramercy! good fellow,'' cried Prince John,
``thou pleasest me---Here, Isaac, lend me a handful
of byzants.''

As the Jew, stunned by the request, afraid to
refuse, and unwilling to comply, fumbled in the
furred bag which hung by his girdle, and was perhaps
endeavouring to ascertain how few coins might
pass for a handful, the Prince stooped from his
jennet and settled Isaac's doubts by snatching the
pouch itself from his side; and flinging to Wamba
a couple of the gold pieces which it contained, he
pursued his career round the lists, leaving the Jew
to the derision of those around him, and himself
receiving as much applause from the spectators as
if he had done some honest and honourable action.




CHAPTER VIII


At this the challenger with fierce defy
His trumpet sounds; the challenged makes reply:
With clangour rings the field, resounds the vaulted sky.
Their visors closed, their lances in the rest,
Or at the helmet pointed or the crest,
They vanish from the barrier, speed the race,
And spurring see decrease the middle space.
_ Palamon and Arcite_.

In the midst of Prince John's cavalcade, he suddenly
stopt, and appealing to the Prior of Jorvaulx,
declared the principal business of the day had been
forgotten.

``By my halidom,'' said he, ``we have forgotten,
Sir Prior, to name the fair Sovereign of Love and
of Beauty, by whose white hand the palm is to be
distributed. For my part, I am liberal in my ideas,
and I care not if I give my vote for the black-eyed
Rebecca.''

``Holy Virgin,'' answered the Prior, turning up
his eyes in horror, ``a Jewess!---We should deserve
to be stoned out of the lists; and I am not yet old
enough to be a martyr. Besides, I swear by my
patron saint, that she is far inferior to the lovely
Saxon, Rowena.''

``Saxon or Jew,'' answered the Prince, ``Saxon
or Jew, dog or hog, what matters it? I say, name
Rebecca, were it only to mortify the Saxon churls.''

A murmur arose even among his own immediate
attendants.

``This passes a jest, my lord,'' said De Bracy;
``no knight here will lay lance in rest if such an insult
is attempted.''

``It is the mere wantonness of insult,'' said one
of the oldest and most important of Prince John's
followers, Waldemar Fitzurse, ``and if your Grace
attempt it, cannot but prove ruinous to your projects.''

``I entertained you, sir,'' said John, reining up
his palfrey haughtily, ``for my follower, but not for
my counsellor.''

``Those who follow your Grace in the paths
which you tread,'' said Waldemar, but speaking in
a low voice, ``acquire the right of counsellors; for
your interest and safety are not more deeply gaged
than their own.''

From the tone in which this was spoken, John
saw the necessity of acquiescence ``I did but jest,''
he said; ``and you turn upon me like so many adders!
Name whom you will, in the fiend's name,
and please yourselves.''

``Nay, nay,'' said De Bracy, ``let the fair sovereign's
throne remain unoccupied, until the conqueror
shall be named, and then let him choose the lady
by whom it shall be filled. It will add another grace
to his triumph, and teach fair ladies to prize the love
of valiant knights, who can exalt them to such distinction.''

``If Brian de Bois-Guilbert gain the prize,'' said
the Prior, `` I will gage my rosary that I name the
Sovereign of Love and Beauty.''

``Bois-Guilbert,'' answered De Bracy, ``is a good
lance; but there are others around these lists, Sir
Prior, who will not fear to encounter him.''

``Silence, sirs,'' said Waldemar, ``and let the
Prince assume his seat. The knights and spectators
are alike impatient, the time advances, and
highly fit it is that the sports should commence.''

Prince John, though not yet a monarch, had in
Waldemar Fitzurse all the inconveniences of a favourite
minister, who, in serving his sovereign, must
always do so in his own way. The Prince acquiesced,
however, although his disposition was precisely
of that kind which is apt to be obstinate upon
trifles, and, assuming his throne, and being surrounded
by his followers, gave signal to the heralds
to proclaim the laws of the tournament, which were
briefly as follows:

First, the five challengers were to undertake all
comers.

Secondly, any knight proposing to combat, might,
if he pleased, select a special antagonist from among
the challengers, by touching his shield. If he did
so with the reverse of his lance, the trial of skill
was made with what were called the arms of courtesy,
that is, with lances at whose extremity a piece
of round flat board was fixed, so that no danger
was encountered, save from the shock of the horses
and riders. But if the shield was touched with the
sharp end of the lance, the combat was understood
to be at _outrance_, that is, the knights were to fight
with sharp weapons, as in actual battle.

Thirdly, when the knights present had accomplished
their vow, by each of them breaking five
lances, the Prince was to declare the victor in the
first day's tourney, who should receive as prize a warhorse
of exquisite beauty and matchless strength;
and in addition to this reward of valour, it was now
declared, he should have the peculiar honour of
naming the Queen of Love and Beauty, by whom
the prize should be given on the ensuing day.

Fourthly, it was announced, that, on the second
day, there should be a general tournament, in which
all the knights present, who were desirous to win
praise, might take part; and being divided into two
bands of equal numbers, might fight it out manfully,
until the signal was given by Prince John to
cease the combat. The elected Queen of Love and
Beauty was then to crown the knight whom the
Prince should adjudge to have borne himself best
in this second day, with a coronet composed of thin
gold plate, cut into the shape of a laurel crown. On
this second day the knightly games ceased. But
on that which was to follow, feats of archery, of
bull-baiting, and other popular amusements, were
to be practised, for the more immediate amusement
of the populace. In this manner did Prince John
endeavour to lay the foundation of a popularity,
which he was perpetually throwing down by some
inconsiderate act of wanton aggression upon the
feelings and prejudices of the people.

The lists now presented a most splendid spectacle.
The sloping galleries were crowded with all
that was noble, great, wealthy, and beautiful in the
northern and midland parts of England; and the
contrast of the various dresses of these dignified
spectators, rendered the view as gay as it was rich,
while the interior and lower space, filled with the
substantial burgesses and yeomen of merry England,
formed, in their more plain attire, a dark fringe, or
border, around this circle of brilliant embroidery,
relieving, and, at the same time, setting off its
splendour.

The heralds finished their proclamation with their
usual cry of ``Largesse, largesse, gallant knights!''
and gold and silver pieces were showered on them
from the galleries, it being a high point of chivalry
to exhibit liberality towards those whom the age
accounted at once the secretaries and the historians
of honour. The bounty of the spectators was acknowledged
by the customary shouts of ``Love of
Ladies---Death of Champions---Honour to the Generous---
Glory to the Brave!'' To which the more
humble spectators added their acclamations, and a
numerous band of trumpeters the flourish of their
martial instruments. When these sounds had ceased,
the heralds withdrew from the lists in gay and
glittering procession, and none remained within
them save the marshals of the field, who, armed
cap-a-pie, sat on horseback, motionless as statues,
at the opposite ends of the lists. Meantime, the
enclosed space at the northern extremity of the
lists, large as it was, was now completely crowded
with knights desirous to prove their skill against
the challengers, and, when viewed from the galleries,
presented the appearance of a sea of waving
plumage, intermixed with glistening helmets, and
tall lances, to the extremities of which were, in
many cases, attached small pennons of about a
span's breadth, which, fluttering in the air as the
breeze caught them, joined with the restless motion
of the feathers to add liveliness to the scene.

At length the barriers were opened, and five
knights, chosen by lot, advanced slowly into the
area; a single champion riding in front, and the other
four following in pairs. All were splendidly armed,
and my Saxon authority (in the Wardour Manuscript)
records at great length their devices, their
colours, and the embroidery of their horse trappings.
It is unnecessary to be particular on these subjects.
To borrow lines from a contemporary poet, who has
written but too little---

``The knights are dust,
And their good swords are rust,
Their souls are with the saints, we trust.''*

* These lines are part of an unpublished poem. by Coleridge,
* whose Muse so often tantalizes with fragments which indicate
* her powers, while the manner in which she flings them from
* her betrays her caprice, yet whose unfinished sketches display
* more talent than the laboured masterpieces of others.

Their escutcheons have long mouldered from the
walls of their castles. Their castles themselves are
but green mounds and shattered ruins---the place
that once knew them, knows them no more---nay,
many a race since theirs has died out and been forgotten
in the very land which they occupied, with
all the authority of feudal proprietors and feudal
lords. What, then, would it avail the reader to know
their names, or the evanescent symbols of their
martial rank!

Now, however, no whit anticipating the oblivion
which awaited their names and feats, the champions
advanced through the lists, restraining their
fiery steeds, and compelling them to move slowly,
while, at the same time, they exhibited their paces,
together with the grace and dexterity of the riders.
As the procession entered the lists, the sound of a
wild Barbaric music was heard from behind the
tents of the challengers, where the performers were
concealed. It was of Eastern origin, having been
brought from the Holy Land; and the mixture of
the cymbals and bells seemed to bid welcome at
once, and defiance, to the knights as they advanced.
With the eyes of an immense concourse of spectators
fixed upon them, the five knights advanced up
the platform upon which the tents of the challengers
stood, and there separating themselves, each
touched slightly, and with the reverse of his lance,
the shield of the antagonist to whom he wished to
oppose himself. The lower orders of spectators in
general---nay, many of the higher class, and it is
even said several of the ladies, were rather disappointed
at the champions choosing the arms of courtesy.
For the same sort of persons, who, in the
present day, applaud most highly the deepest tragedies,
were then interested in a tournament exactly
in proportion to the danger incurred by the
champions engaged.

Having intimated their more pacific purpose, the
champions retreated to the extremity of the lists,
where they remained drawn up in a line; while the
challengers, sallying each from his pavilion, mounted
their horses, and, headed by Brian de Bois-Guilbert,
descended from the platform, and opposed
themselves individually to the knights who had
touched their respective shields.

At the flourish of clarions and trumpets, they
started out against each other at full gallop; and
such was the superior dexterity or good fortune of
the challengers, that those opposed to Bois-Guilbert,
Malvoisin, and Front-de-B<oe>uf, rolled on the
ground. The antagonist of Grantmesnil, instead
of bearing his lance-point fair against the crest or
the shield of his enemy, swerved so much from the
direct line as to break the weapon athwart the person
of his opponent---a circumstance which was accounted
more disgraceful than that of being actually
unhorsed; because the latter might happen from
accident, whereas the former evinced awkwardness
and want of management of the weapon and
of the horse. The fifth knight alone maintained
the honour of his party, and parted fairly with the
Knight of St John, both splintering their lances
without advantage on either side.

The shouts of the multitude, together with the
acclamations of the heralds, and the clangour of the
trumpets, announced the triumph of the victors and
the defeat of the vanquished. The former retreated
to their pavilions, and the latter, gathering themselves
up as they could, withdrew from the lists in
disgrace and dejection, to agree with their victors
concerning the redemption of their arms and their
horses, which, according to the laws of the tournament,
they had forfeited. The fifth of their number
alone tarried in the lists long enough to be
greeted by the applauses of the spectators, amongst
whom he retreated, to the aggravation, doubtless,
of his companions' mortification.

A second and a third party of knights took the
field; and although they had various success, yet,
upon the whole, the advantage decidedly remained
with the challengers, not one of whom lost his seat
or swerved from his charge---misfortunes which befell
one or two of their antagonists in each encounter.
The spirits, therefore, of those opposed to
them, seemed to be considerably damped by their
continued success. Three knights only appeared on
the fourth entry, who, avoiding the shields of Bois-Guilbert
and Front-de-B<oe>uf, contented themselves
with touching those of the three other knights, who
had not altogether manifested the same strength
and dexterity. This politic selection did not alter
the fortune of the field, the challengers were still
successful: one of their antagonists was overthrown,
and both the others failed in the _attaint_,* that is,

* This term of chivalry, transferred to the law, gives the
* phrase of being attainted of treason.

in striking the helmet and shield of their antagonist
firmly and strongly, with the lance held in a
direct line, so that the weapon might break unless
the champion was overthrown.

After this fourth encounter, there was a considerable
pause; nor did it appear that any one was
very desirous of renewing the contest The spectators
murmured among themselves; for, among
the challengers, Malvoisin and Front-de-B<oe>uf were
unpopular from their characters, and the others, except
Grantmesnil, were disliked as strangers and
foreigners.

But none shared the general feeling of dissatisfaction
so keenly as Cedric the Saxon, who saw, in
each advantage gained by the Norman challengers,
a repeated triumph over the honour of England.
His own education had taught him no skill in the
games of chivalry, although, with the arms of his
Saxon ancestors, he had manifested himself, on
many occasions, a brave and determined soldier.
He looked anxiously to Athelstane, who had learned
the accomplishments of the age, as if desiring
that he should make some personal effort to recover
the victory which was passing into the hands
of the Templar and his associates. But, though
both stout of heart, and strong of person, Athelstane
had a disposition too inert and unambitious to make
the exertions which Cedric seemed to expect from
him.

``The day is against England, my lord,'' said
Cedric, in a marked tone; ``are you not tempted
to take the lance?''

``I shall tilt to-morrow" answered Athelstane,
``in the _m<e^>l<e'>e_; it is not worth while for me to arm
myself to-day.''

Two things displeased Cedric in this speech. It
contained the Norman word _me<e^>l<e'>e_, (to express the
general conflict,) and it evinced some indifference
to the honour of the country; but it was spoken
by Athelstane, whom he held in such profound
respect, that he would not trust himself to canvass
his motives or his foibles. Moreover, he had no
time to make any remark, for Wamba thrust in his
word, observing, ``It was better, though scarce
easier, to be the best man among a hundred, than
the best man of two.''

Athelstane took the observation as a serious compliment;
but Cedric, who better understood the
Jester's meaning, darted at him a severe and menacing
look; and lucky it was for Wamba, perhaps,
that the time and place prevented his receiving,
notwithstanding his place and service, more
sensible marks of his master's resentment.

The pause in the tournament was still uninterrupted,
excepting by the voices of the heralds exclaiming---
``Love of ladies, splintering of lances!
stand forth gallant knights, fair eyes look upon
your deeds!''

The music also of the challengers breathed from
time to time wild bursts expressive of triumph or
defiance, while the clowns grudged a holiday which
seemed to pass away in inactivity; and old knights
and nobles lamented in whispers the decay of martial
spirit, spoke of the triumphs of their younger
days, but agreed that the land did not now supply
dames of such transcendent beauty as had animated
the jousts of former times. Prince John began to
talk to his attendants about making ready the banquet,
and the necessity of adjudging the prize to
Brian de Bois-Guilbert, who had, with a single
spear, overthrown two knights, and foiled a third.

At length, as the Saracenic music of the challengers
concluded one of those long and high flourishes
with which they had broken the silence of
the lists, it was answered by a solitary trumpet,
which breathed a note of defiance from the northern
extremity. All eyes were turned to see the new
champion which these sounds announced, and no
sooner were the barriers opened than he paced into
the lists. As far as could be judged of a man
sheathed in armour, the new adventurer did not
greatly exceed the middle size, and seemed to be
rather slender than strongly made. His suit of
armour was formed of steel, richly inlaid with gold,
and the device on his shield was a young oak-tree
pulled up by the roots, with the Spanish word Desdichado,
signifying Disinherited. He was mounted
on a gallant black horse, and as he passed through
the lists he gracefully saluted the Prince and the
ladies by lowering his lance. The dexterity with
which he managed his steed, and something of
youthful grace which he displayed in his manner,
won him the favour of the multitude, which some of
the lower classes expressed by calling out, ``Touch
Ralph de Vipont's shield---touch the Hospitallers
shield; he has the least sure seat, he is your cheapest
bargain.''

The champion, moving onward amid these well-meant
hints, ascended the platform by the sloping
alley which led to it from the lists, and, to the astonishment
of all present, riding straight up to the
central pavilion, struck with the sharp end of his
spear the shield of Brian de Bois-Guilbert until it
rung again. All stood astonished at his presumption,
but none more than the redoubted Knight
whom he had thus defied to mortal combat, and
who, little expecting so rude a challenge, was standing
carelessly at the door of the pavilion.

``Have you confessed yourself, brother,'' said the
Templar, ``and have you heard mass this morning,
that you peril your life so frankly?''

``I am fitter to meet death than thou art,'' answered
the Disinherited Knight; for by this name
the stranger had recorded himself in the books of
the tourney.

``Then take your place in the lists,'' said Bois-Guilbert,
``and look your last upon the sun; for
this night thou shalt sleep in paradise.''

``Gramercy for thy courtesy,'' replied the Disinherited
Knight, ``and to requite it, I advise thee
to take a fresh horse and a new lance, for by my
honour you will need both.''

Having expressed himself thus confidently, he
reined his horse backward down the slope which
he had ascended, and compelled him in the same
manner to move backward through the lists, till he
reached the northern extremity, where he remained
stationary, in expectation of his antagonist. This
feat of horsemanship again attracted the applause
of the multitude.

However incensed at his adversary for the precautions
which he recommended, Brian de Bois-Guilbert
did not neglect his advice; for his honour
was too nearly concerned, to permit his neglecting
any means which might ensure victory over his presumptuous
opponent. He changed his horse for a
proved and fresh one of great strength and spirit.
He chose a new and a tough spear, lest the wood
of the former might have been strained in the previous
encounters he had sustained. Lastly, he laid
aside his shield, which had received some little
damage, and received another from his squires. His
first had only borne the general device of his rider,
representing two knights riding upon one horse,
an emblem expressive of the original humility and
poverty of the Templars, qualities which they had
since exchanged for the arrogance and wealth that
finally occasioned their suppression. Bois-Guilbert's
new shield bore a raven in full flight, holding
in its claws a skull, and bearing the motto, _Gare le
Corbeau_.

When the two champions stood opposed to each
other at the two extremities of the lists, the public
expectation was strained to the highest pitch. Few
augured the possibility that the encounter could
terminate well for the Disinherited Knight, yet
his courage and gallantry secured the general good
wishes of the spectators.

The trumpets had no sooner given the signal,
than the champions vanished from their posts with
the speed of lightning, and closed in the centre of
the lists with the shock of a thunderbolt. The
lances burst into shivers up to the very grasp, and
it seemed at the moment that both knights had fallen,
for the shock had made each horse recoil backwards
upon its haunches. The address of the riders
recovered their steeds by use of the bridle and spur;
and having glared on each other for an instant with
eyes which seemed to flash fire through the bars of
their visors, each made a demi-volte, and, retiring
to the extremity of the lists, received a fresh lance
from the attendants.

A loud shout from the spectators, waving of
scarfs and handkerchiefs, and general acclamations,
attested the interest taken by the spectators in this
encounter; the most equal, as well as the best performed,
which had graced the day. But no sooner
had the knights resumed their station, than the clamour
of applause was hushed into a silence, so deep
and so dead, that it seemed the multitude were
afraid even to breathe.

A few minutes pause having been allowed, that
the combatants and their horses might recover
breath, Prince John with his truncheon signed to
the trumpets to sound the onset. The champions
a second time sprung from their stations, and closed
in the centre of the lists, with the same speed, the
same dexterity, the same violence, but not the same
equal fortune as before.

In this second encounter, the Templar aimed at
the centre of his antagonist's shield, and struck it
so fair and forcibly, that his spear went to shivers,
and the Disinherited Knight reeled in his saddle.
On the other hand, that champion had, in the beginning
of his career, directed the point of his lance
towards Bois-Guilbert's shield, but, changing his
aim almost in the moment of encounter, he addressed
it to the helmet, a mark more difficult to hit, but
which, if attained, rendered the shock more irresistible.
Fair and true he hit the Norman on the
visor, where his lance's point kept hold of the bars.
Yet, even at this disadvantage, the Templar sustained
his high reputation; and had not the girths of
his saddle burst, he might not have been unhorsed.
As it chanced, however, saddle, horse, and man,
rolled on the ground under a cloud of dust.

To extricate himself from the stirrups and fallen
steed, was to the Templar scarce the work of a moment;
and, stung with madness, both at his disgrace
and at the acclamations with which it was hailed by
the spectators, he drew his sword and waved it in
defiance of his conqueror. The Disinherited Knight
sprung from his steed, and also unsheathed his
sword. The marshals of the field, however, spurred
their horses between them, and reminded them,
that the laws of the tournament did not, on the present
occasion, permit this species of encounter.

``We shall meet again, I trust,'' said the Templar,
casting a resentful glance at his antagonist;
``and where there are none to separate us.''

``If we do not,'' said the Disinherited Knight,
``the fault shall not be mine. On foot or horseback,
with spear, with axe, or with sword, I am
alike ready to encounter thee.''

More and angrier words would have been exchanged,
but the marshals, crossing their lances betwixt
them, compelled them to separate. The Disinherited
Knight returned to his first station, and
Bois-Guilbert to his tent, where he remained for
the rest of the day in an agony of despair.

Without alighting from his horse, the conqueror
called for a bowl of wine, and opening the beaver,
or lower part of his helmet, announced that he quaffed
it, ``To all true English hearts, and to the confusion
of foreign tyrants.'' He then commanded
his trumpet to sound a defiance to the challengers,
and desired a herald to announce to them, that he
should make no election, but was willing to encounter
them in the order in which they pleased to
advance against him.

The gigantic Front-de-B<oe>uf, armed in sable armour,
was the first who took the field. He bore
on a white shield a black bull's head, half defaced
by the numerous encounters which he had undergone,
and bearing the arrogant motto, _Cave, Adsum_.
Over this champion the Disinherited Knight obtained
a slight but decisive advantage. Both
Knights broke their lances fairly, but Front-de-B<oe>uf,
who lost a stirrup in the encounter, was adjudged
to have the disadvantage.

In the stranger's third encounter with Sir Philip
Malvoisin, he was equally successful; striking that
baron so forcibly on the casque, that the laces of the
helmet broke, and Malvoisin, only saved from falling
by being unhelmeted, was declared vanquished
like his companions.

In his fourth combat with De Grantmesnil, the
Disinherited Knight showed as much courtesy as
he had hitherto evinced courage and dexterity. De
Grantmesnil's horse, which was young and violent,
reared and plunged in the course of the career so
as to disturb the rider's aim, and the stranger, declining
to take the advantage which this accident
afforded him, raised his lance, and passing his antagonist
without touching him, wheeled his horse
and rode back again to his own end of the lists, offering
his antagonist, by a herald, the chance of a
second encounter. This De Grantmesnil declined,
avowing himself vanquished as much by the courtesy
as by the address of his opponent.

Ralph de Vipont summed up the list of the
stranger's triumphs, being hurled to the ground
with such force, that the blood gushed from his nose
and his mouth, and he was borne senseless from the
lists.

The acclamations of thousands applauded the
unanimous award of the Prince and marshals,
announcing that day's honours to the Disinherited Knight.



CHAPTER IX

--------In the midst was seen
A lady of a more majestic mien,
By stature and by beauty mark'd their sovereign Queen.
<*> <*> <*> <*> <*> <*>
And as in beauty she surpass'd the choir,
So nobler than the rest was her attire;
A crown of ruddy gold enclosed her brow,
Plain without pomp, and rich without a show;
A branch of Agnus Castus in her hand,
She bore aloft her symbol of command.
_The Flower and the Leaf_.


William de Wyvil and Stephen de Martival,
the marshals of the field, were the first to offer
their congratulations to the victor, praying him, at
the same time, to suffer his helmet to be unlaced,
or, at least, that he would raise his visor ere they
conducted him to receive the prize of the day's
tourney from the hands of Prince John. The Disinherited
Knight, with all knightly courtesy, declined
their request, alleging, that he could not at
this time suffer his face to be seen, for reasons
which he had assigned to the heralds when he entered
the lists. The marshals were perfectly satisfied
by this reply; for amidst the frequent and capricious
vows by which knights were accustomed
to bind themselves in the days of chivalry,
there were none more common than those by which
they engaged to remain incognito for a certain space,
or until some particular adventure was achieved.
The marshals, therefore, pressed no farther into the
mystery of the Disinherited Knight, but, announcing
to Prince John the conqueror's desire to remain
unknown, they requested permission to bring
him before his Grace, in order that he might receive
the reward of his valour.

John's curiosity was excited by the mystery observed
by the stranger; and, being already displeased
with the issue of the tournament, in which the
challengers whom he favoured had been successively
defeated by one knight, he answered haughtily
to the marshals, ``By the light of Our Lady's brow,
this same knight hath been disinherited as well of
his courtesy as of his lands, since he desires to appear
before us without uncovering his face.---Wot
ye, my lords,'' be said, turning round to his train,
``who this gallant can be, that bears himself thus
proudly?''

``I cannot guess,'' answered De Bracy, ``nor did
I think there had been within the four seas that
girth Britain a champion that could bear down
these five knights in one day's jousting. By my
faith, I shall never forget the force with which he
shocked De Vipont. The poor Hospitaller was
hurled from his saddle like a stone from a sling.''

``Boast not of that,'' said a Knight of St John,
who was present; ``your Temple champion had no
better luck. I saw your brave lance, Bois-Guilbert,
roll thrice over, grasping his hands full of sand at
every turn.

De Bracy, being attached to the Templars, would
have replied, but was prevented by Prince John.
``Silence, sirs!'' he said; ``what unprofitable debate
have we here?''

``The victor,'' said De Wyvil, ``still waits the
pleasure of your highness.''

``It is our pleasure,'' answered John, ``that he
do so wait until we learn whether there is not some
one who can at least guess at his name and quality.
Should he remain there till night-fall, he has
had work enough to keep him warm.''

``Your Grace,'' said Waldemar Fitzurse, ``will
do less than due honour to the victor, if you compel
him to wait till we tell your highness that which
we cannot know; at least I can form no guess---
unless he be one of the good lances who accompanied
King Richard to Palestine, and who are now
straggling homeward from the Holy Land.''

``It may be the Earl of Salisbury,'' said De Bracy;
``he is about the same pitch.''

``Sir Thomas de Multon, the Knight of Gilsland,
rather,'' said Fitzurse; ``Salisbury is bigger
in the bones.'' A whisper arose among the train,
but by whom first suggested could not be ascertained.
``It might be the King---it might be
Richard C<oe>ur-de-Lion himself!''

``Over God's forbode!'' said Prince John, involuntarily
turning at the same time as pale as death,
and shrinking as if blighted by a flash of lightning;
``Waldemar!---De Bracy! brave knights and gentlemen,
remember your promises, and stand truly
by me!''

``Here is no danger impending,'' said Waldemar
Fitzurse; ``are you so little acquainted with the
gigantic limbs of your father's son, as to think they
can be held within the circumference of yonder suit
of armour?---De Wyvil and Martival, you will best
serve the Prince by bringing forward the victor to
the throne, and ending an error that has conjured
all the blood from his cheeks.---Look at him more
closely,'' he continued, ``your highness will see that
he wants three inches of King Richard's height,
and twice as much of his shoulder-breadth. The
very horse he backs, could not have carried the
ponderous weight of King Richard through a single
course.''

While he was yet speaking, the marshals brought
forward the Disinherited Knight to the foot of a
wooden flight of steps, which formed the ascent
from the lists to Prince John's throne. Still discomposed
with the idea that his brother, so much
injured, and to whom he was so much indebted,
had suddenly arrived in his native kingdom, even
the distinctions pointed out by Fitzurse did not altogether
remove the Prince's apprehensions; and
while, with a short and embarrassed eulogy upon
his valour, he caused to be delivered to him the
war-horse assigned as the prize, he trembled lest
from the barred visor of the mailed form before
him, an answer might be returned, in the deep and
awful accents of Richard the Lion-hearted.

But the Disinherited Knight spoke not a word
in reply to the compliment of the Prince, which
he only acknowledged with a profound obeisance.

The horse was led into the lists by two grooms
richly dressed, the animal itself being fully accoutred
with the richest war-furniture; which, however,
scarcely added to the value of the noble creature
in the eyes of those who were judges. Laying
one hand upon the pommel of the saddle, the Disinherited
Knight vaulted at once upon the back of
the steed without making use of the stirrup, and,
brandishing aloft his lance, rode twice around the
lists, exhibiting the points and paces of the horse
with the skill of a perfect horseman

The appearance of vanity, which might otherwise
have been attributed to this display, was removed
by the propriety shown in exhibiting to the
best advantage the princely reward with which he
had been just honoured, and the Knight was again
greeted by the acclamations of all present.

In the meanwhile, the bustling Prior of Jorvaulx
had reminded Prince John, in a whisper, that the
victor must now display his good judgment, instead
of his valour, by selecting from among the beauties
who graced the galleries a lady, who should fill the
throne of the Queen of Beauty and of Love, and
deliver the prize of the tourney upon the ensuing
day. The Prince accordingly made a sign with
his truncheon, as the Knight passed him in his second
career around the lists. The Knight turned
towards the throne, and, sinking his lance, until the
point was within a foot of the ground, remained
motionless, as if expecting John's commands; while
all admired the sudden dexterity with which he instantly
reduced his fiery steed from a state of violent
emotion and high excitation to the stillness of
an equestrian statue,

``Sir Disinherited Knight,'' said Prince John,
``since that is the only title by which we can address
you, it is now your duty, as well as privilege,
to name the fair lady, who, as Queen of Honour
and of Love, is to preside over next day's festival.
If, as a stranger in our land, you should require
the aid of other judgment to guide your own, we
can only say that Alicia, the daughter of our gallant
knight Waldemar Fitzurse, has at our court
been long held the first in beauty as in place. Nevertheless,
it is your undoubted prerogative to confer
on whom you please this crown, by the delivery
of which to the lady of your choice, the election of
to-morrow's Queen will be formal and complete.---
Raise your lance.''

The Knight obeyed; and Prince John placed
upon its point a coronet of green satin, having
around its edge a circlet of gold, the upper edge of
which was relieved by arrow-points and hearts placed
interchangeably, like the strawberry leaves and
balls upon a ducal crown.

In the broad hint which he dropped respecting
the daughter of Waldemar Fitzurse, John had
more than one motive, each the offspring of a mind,
which was a strange mixture of carelessness and
presumption with low artifice and cunning. He
wished to banish from the minds of the chivalry
around him his own indecent and unacceptable jest
respecting the Jewess Rebecca; he was desirous of
conciliating Alicia's father Waldemar, of whom he
stood in awe, and who had more than once shown
himself dissatisfied during the course of the day's
proceedings. He had also a wish to establish himself
in the good graces of the lady; for John was
at least as licentious in his pleasures as profligate in
his ambition. But besides all these reasons, he
was desirous to raise up against the Disinherited
Knight (towards whom he already entertained a
strong dislike) a powerful enemy in the person of
Waldemar Fitzurse, who was likely, he thought,
highly to resent the injury done to his daughter,
in case, as was not unlikely, the victor should make
another choice.

And so indeed it proved. For the Disinherited
Knight passed the gallery close to that of the
Prince, in which the Lady Alicia was seated in the
full pride of triumphant beauty, and, pacing forwards
as slowly as he had hitherto rode swiftly
around the lists, he seemed to exercise his right of
examining the numerous fair faces which adorned
that splendid circle.

It was worth while to see the different conduct
of the beauties who underwent this examination,
during the time it was proceeding. Some blushed,
some assumed an air of pride and dignity, some
looked straight forward, and essayed to seem utterly
unconscious of what was going on, some drew
back in alarm, which was perhaps affected, some
endeavoured to forbear smiling, and there were two
or three who laughed outright. There were also
some who dropped their veils over their charms;
but, as the Wardour Manuscript says these were
fair ones of ten years standing, it may be supposed
that, having had their full share of such vanities,
they were willing to withdraw their claim, in order
to give a fair chance to the rising beauties of the
age.

At length the champion paused beneath the balcony
in which the Lady Rowena was placed, and
the expectation of the spectators was excited to the
utmost.

It must be owned, that if an interest displayed
in his success could have bribed the Disinherited
Knight, the part of the lists before which he paused
had merited his predilection. Cedric the Saxon,
overjoyed at the discomfiture of the Templar,
and still more so at the, miscarriage of his two malevolent
neighbours, Front-de-B<oe>uf and Malvoisin,
had, with his body half stretched over the balcony,
accompanied the victor in each course, not
with his eyes only, but with his whole heart and
soul. The Lady Rowena had watched the progress
of the day with equal attention, though without
openly betraying the same intense interest. Even
the unmoved Athelstane had shown symptoms of
shaking off his apathy, when, calling for a huge
goblet of muscadine, he quaffed it to the health of
the Disinherited Knight.
Another group, stationed under the gallery occupied
by the Saxons, had shown no less interest
in the fate of the day.

``Father Abraham!'' said Isaac of York, when
the first course was run betwixt the Templar and
the Disinherited Knight, ``how fiercely that Gentile
rides! Ah, the good horse that was brought
all the long way from Barbary, he takes no more
care of him than if he were a wild ass's colt---and
the noble armour, that was worth so many zecchins
to Joseph Pareira, the armourer of Milan, besides
seventy in the hundred of profits, he cares for it as
little as if he had found it in the highways!''

``If he risks his own person and limbs, father,''
said Rebecca, ``in doing such a dreadful battle, he
can scarce be expected to spare his horse and armour.''

``Child!'' replied Isaac, somewhat heated, ``thou
knowest not what thou speakest---His neck and
limbs are his own, but his horse and armour belong
to---Holy Jacob! what was I about to say!---
Nevertheless, it is a good youth---See, Rebecca!
see, he is again about to go up to battle against the
Philistine---Pray, child---pray for the safety of the
good youth,---and of the speedy horse, and the rich
armour.---God of my fathers!'' he again exclaimed,
``he hath conquered, and the uncircumcised Philistine
hath fallen before his lance,---even as Og the
King of Bashan, and Sihon, King of the Amorites,
fell before the sword of our fathers!---Surely he
shall take their gold and their silver, and their war-horses,
and their armour of brass and of steel, for
a prey and for a spoil.''

The same anxiety did the worthy Jew display
during every course that was run, seldom failing to
hazard a hasty calculation concerning the value of
the horse and armour which was forfeited to the
champion upon each new success. There had been
therefore no small interest taken in the success of
the Disinherited Knight, by those who occupied the
part of the lists before which he now paused.

Whether from indecision, or some other motive
of hesitation, the champion of the day remained
stationary for more than a minute, while the eyes
of the silent audience were riveted upon his motions;
and then, gradually and gracefully sinking
the point of his lance, he deposited the coronet
Which it supported at the feet of the fair Rowena.
The trumpets instantly sounded, while the heralds
proclaimed the Lady Rowena the Queen of Beauty
and of Love for the ensuing day, menacing with
suitable penalties those who should be disobedient
to her authority. They then repeated their cry of
Largesse, to which Cedric, in the height of his joy,
replied by an ample donative, and to which Athelstane,
though less promptly, added one equally
large.

There was some murmuring among the damsels
of Norman descent, who were as much unused to
see the preference given to a Saxon beauty, as the
Norman nobles were to sustain defeat in the games
of chivalry which they themselves had introduced.
But these sounds of disaffection were drowned by
the popular shout of ``Long live the Lady Rowena,
the chosen and lawful Queen of Love and of Beauty!''
To which many in the lower area added,
``Long live the Saxon Princess! long live the race
of the immortal Alfred!''

However unacceptable these sounds might be to
Prince John, and to those around him, he saw himself
nevertheless obliged to confirm the nomination
of the victor, and accordingly calling to horse, he
left his throne; and mounting his jennet, accompanied
by his train, he again entered the lists.
The Prince paused a moment beneath the gallery
of the Lady Alicia, to whom he paid his compliments,
observing, at the same time, to those around
him---``By my halidome, sirs! if the Knight's feats
in arms have shown that he hath limbs and sinews,
his choice hath no less proved that his eyes are none
of the clearest.''

It was on this occasion, as during his whole life,
John's misfortune, not perfectly to understand the
characters of those whom he wished to conciliate.
Waldemar Fitzurse was rather offended than pleased
at the Prince stating thus broadly an opinion,
that his daughter had been slighted.

``I know no right of chivalry,'' he said, ``more
precious or inalienable than that of each free knight
to choose his lady-love by his own judgment. My
daughter courts distinction from no one; and in her
own character, and in her own sphere, will never
fail to receive the full proportion of that which is
her due.''

Prince John replied not; but, spurring his horse,
as if to give vent to his vexation, he made the animal
bound forward to the gallery where Rowena
was seated, with the crown still at her feet.

``Assume,'' he said, ``fair lady, the mark of your
sovereignty, to which none vows homage more sincerely
than ourself, John of Anjou; and if it please
you to-day, with your noble sire and friends, to
grace our banquet in the Castle of Ashby, we shall
learn to know the empress to whose service we devote
to-morrow.''

Rowena remained silent, and Cedric answered
for her in his native Saxon.

``The Lady Rowena,'' he said, ``possesses not
the language in which to reply to your courtesy, or
to sustain her part in your festival. I also, and the
noble Athelstane of Coningsburgh, speak only the
language, and practise only the manners, of our
fathers. We therefore decline with thanks your
Highness's courteous invitation to the banquet.
To-morrow, the Lady Rowena will take upon her
the state to which she has been called by the free
election of the victor Knight, confirmed by the acclamations
of the people.''

So saying, he lifted the coronet, and placed it
upon Rowena's head, in token of her acceptance of
the temporary authority assigned to her.

``What says he?'' said Prince John, affecting
not to understand the Saxon language, in which,
however, he was well skilled. The purport of Cedric's
speech was repeated to him in French. ``It
is well,'' he said; ``to-morrow we will ourself conduct
this mute sovereign to her seat of dignity.--
You, at least, Sir Knight,'' he added, turning to the
victor, who had remained near the gallery, ``will
this day share our banquet?''

The Knight, speaking for the first time, in a
low and hurried voice, excused himself by pleading
fatigue, and the necessity of preparing for to-morrow's
encounter.

``It is well,'' said Prince John, haughtily; ``although
unused to such refusals, we will endeavour
to digest our banquet as we may, though ungraced
by the most successful in arms, and his elected
Queen of Beauty.''

So saying, he prepared to leave the lists with his
glittering train, and his turning his steed for that
purpose, was the signal for the breaking up and
dispersion of the spectators.

Yet, with the vindictive memory proper to offended
pride, especially when combined with conscious
want of desert, John had hardly proceeded
three paces, ere again, turning around, he fixed an
eye of stern resentment upon the yeoman who had
displeased him in the early part of the day, and
issued his commands to the men-at-arms who stood
near---``On your life, suffer not that fellow to
escape.''

The yeoman stood the angry glance of the Prince
with the same unvaried steadiness which had marked
his former deportment, saying, with a smile, ``I
have no intention to leave Ashby until the day after
to-morrow---I must see how Staffordshire and
Leicestershire can draw their bows---the forests of
Needwood and Charnwood must rear good archers.''

``l,'' said Prince John to his attendants, but not
in direct reply,---``I will see how he can draw his
own; and woe betide him unless his skill should
prove some apology for his insolence!''

``It is full time,'' said De Bracy, ``that the _outrecuidance_*

* Presumption, insolence.

of these peasants should be restrained by
some striking example.''

Waldemar Fitzurse, who probably thought his
patron was not taking the readiest road to popularity,
shrugged up his shoulders and was silent.
Prince John resumed his retreat from the lists, and
the dispersion of the multitude became general.

In various routes, according to the different quarters
from which they came, and in groups of various
numbers, the spectators were seen retiring over the
plain. By far the most numerous part streamed
towards the town of Ashby, where many of the
distinguished persons were lodged in the castle, and
where others found accommodation in the town
itself. Among these were most of the knights who
had already appeared in the tournament, or who
proposed to fight there the ensuing day, and who,
as they rode slowly along, talking over the events
of the day, were greeted with loud shouts by the
populace. The same acclamations were bestowed
upon Prince John, although he was indebted for
them rather to the splendour of his appearance and
train, than to the popularity of his character.

A more sincere and more general, as well as a
better-merited acclamation, attended the victor of
the day, until, anxious to withdraw himself from
popular notice, he accepted the accommodation of
one of those pavilions pitched at the extremities of
the lists, the use of which was courteously tendered
him by the marshals of the field. On his retiring
to his tent, many who had lingered in the lists, to
look upon and form conjectures concerning him,
also dispersed.

The signs and sounds of a tumultuous concourse
of men lately crowded together in one place, and
agitated by the same passing events, were now exchanged
for the distant hum of voices of different
groups retreating in all directions, and these speedily
died away in silence. No other sounds were
heard save the voices of the menials who stripped
the galleries of their cushions and tapestry, in order
to put them in safety for the night, and wrangled
among themselves for the half-used bottles of
wine and relics of the refreshment which had been
served round to the spectators.

Beyond the precincts of the lists more than one
forge was erected; and these now began to glimmer
through the twilight, announcing the toil of
the armourers, which was to continue through the
whole night, in order to repair or alter the suits of
armour to be used again on the morrow.

A strong guard of men-at-arms, renewed at intervals,
from two hours to two hours, surrounded
the lists, and kept watch during the night.



CHAPTER X


Thus, like the sad presaging raven, that tolls
The sick man's passport in her hollow beak,
And in the shadow of the silent night
Doth shake contagion from her sable wings;
Vex'd and tormented, runs poor Barrabas,
With fatal curses towards these Christians.
_Jew of Malta_.


The Disinherited Knight had no sooner reached
his pavilion, than squires and pages in abundance
tendered their services to disarm him, to bring fresh
attire, and to offer him the refreshment of the bath.
Their zeal on this occasion was perhaps sharpened
by curiosity, since every one desired to know who
the knight was that had gained so many laurels,
yet had refused, even at the command of Prince
John, to lift his visor or to name his name. But
their officious inquisitiveness was not gratified. The
Disinherited Knight refused all other assistance
save that of his own squire, or rather yeoman---a
clownish-looking man, who, wrapt in a cloak of
dark-coloured felt, and having his head and face
half-buried in a Norman bonnet made of black fur,
seemed to affect the incognito as much as his master.
All others being excluded from the tent, this
attendant relieved his master from the more burdensome
parts of his armour, and placed food and
wine before him, which the exertions of the day
rendered very acceptable.

The Knight had scarcely finished a hasty meal,
ere his menial announced to him that five men, each
leading a barbed steed, desired to speak with him.
The Disinherited Knight had exchanged his armour
for the long robe usually worn by those of his condition,
which, being furnished with a hood, concealed
the features, when such was the pleasure of
the wearer, almost as completely as the visor of the
helmet itself, but the twilight, which was now fast
darkening, would of itself have rendered a disguise
unnecessary, unless to persons to whom the face of
an individual chanced to be particularly well known.

The Disinherited Knight, therefore, stept boldly
forth to the front of his tent, and found in attendance
the squires of the challengers, whom he
easily knew by their russet and black dresses, each
of whom led his master's charger, loaded with the
armour in which he had that day fought.

``According to the laws of chivalry,'' said the
foremost of these men, ``I, Baldwin de Oyley,
squire to the redoubted Knight Brian de Bois-Guilbert,
make offer to you, styling yourself, for the
present, the Disinherited Knight, of the horse and
armour used by the said Brian de Bois-Guilbert in
this day's Passage of Arms, leaving it with your
nobleness to retain or to ransom the same, according
to your pleasure; for such is the law of arms.''

The other squires repeated nearly the same formula,
and then stood to await the decision of the
Disinherited Knight.

``To you four, sirs,'' replied the Knight, addressing
those who had last spoken, ``and to your honourable
and valiant masters, I have one common
reply. Commend me to the noble knights, your
masters, and say, I should do ill to deprive them
of steeds and arms which can never be used by
braver cavaliers.---I would I could here end my
message to these gallant knights; but being, as I
term myself, in truth and earnest, the Disinherited,
I must be thus far bound to your masters, that they
will, of their courtesy, be pleased to ransom their
steeds and armour, since that which I wear I can
hardly term mine own.''

``We stand commissioned, each of us,'' answered
the squire of Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``to offer
a hundred zecchins in ransom of these horses and
suits of armour.''

``It is sufficient,'' said the Disinherited Knight.
``Half the sum my present necessities compel me
to accept; of the remaining half, distribute one
moiety among yourselves, sir squires, and divide
the other half betwixt the heralds and the pursuivants,
and minstrels, and attendants.''

The squires, with cap in hand, and low reverences,
expressed their deep sense of a courtesy and
generosity not often practised, at least upon a scale
so extensive. The Disinherited Knight then addressed
his discourse to Baldwin, the squire of Brian
de Bois-Guilbert. ``From your master,'' said he,
``I will accept neither arms nor ransom. Say to
him in my name, that our strife is not ended---no,
not till we have fought as well with swords as with
lances---as well on foot as on horseback. To this
mortal quarrel he has himself defied me, and I shall
not forget the challenge.---Meantime, let him be
assured, that I hold him not as one of his companions,
with whom I can with pleasure exchange
courtesies; but rather as one with whom I stand
upon terms of mortal defiance.''

``My master,'' answered Baldwin, ``knows how
to requite scorn with scorn, and blows with blows,
as well as courtesy with courtesy, Since you disdain
to accept from him any share of the ransom at
which you have rated the arms of the other knights,
I must leave his armour and his horse here, being
well assured that he will never deign to mount the
one nor wear the other.''

``You have spoken well, good squire,'' said the
Disinherited Knight, ``well and boldly, as it beseemeth
him to speak who answers for an absent
master. Leave not, however, the horse and armour
here. Restore them to thy master; or, if he scorns
to accept them, retain them, good friend, for thine
own use. So far as they are mine, I bestow them
upon you freely.''

Baldwin made a deep obeisance, and retired with
his companions; and the Disinherited Knight entered
the pavilion.

``Thus far, Gurth,'' said he, addressing his attendant,
``the reputation of English chivalry hath
not suffered in my hands.''

``And I,'' said Gurth, ``for a Saxon swineherd,
have not ill played the personage of a Norman
squire-at-arms.''

``Yea, but,'' answered the Disinherited Knight,
thou hast ever kept me in anxiety lest thy clownish
bearing should discover thee.''
``Tush!'' said Gurth, ``I fear discovery from
none, saving my playfellow, Wamba the Jester, of
whom I could never discover whether he were most
knave or fool. Yet I could scarce choose but laugh,
when my old master passed so near to me, dreaming
all the while that Gurth was keeping his porkers
many a mile off, in the thickets and swamps of
Rotherwood. If I am discovered------''

``Enough,'' said the Disinherited Knight, ``thou
knowest my promise.''

``Nay, for that matter,'' said Gurth, ``I will
never fail my friend for fear of my skin-cutting. I
have a tough hide, that will bear knife or scourge
as well as any boar's hide in my herd.''

``Trust me, I will requite the risk you run for
my love, Gurth,'' said the Knight. ``Meanwhile,
I pray you to accept these ten pieces of gold.''

``I am richer,'' said Gurth, putting them into his
pouch, ``than ever was swineherd or bondsman.''

``Take this bag of gold to Ashby,'' continued
his master, ``and find out Isaac the Jew of York,
and let him pay himself for the horse and arms with
which his credit supplied me.''

``Nay, by St Dunstan,'' replied Gurth, ``that I
will not do.''

``How, knave,'' replied his master, ``wilt thou
not obey my commands?''

``So they be honest, reasonable, and Christian
commands,'' replied Gurth; ``but this is none of
these. To suffer the Jew to pay himself would be
dishonest, for it would be cheating my master; and
unreasonable, for it were the part of a fool; and unchristian,
since it would be plundering a believer
to enrich an infidel.''

``See him contented, however, thou stubborn
varlet,'' said the Disinherited Knight.

``I will do so,'' said Gurth, taking the bag under
his cloak, and leaving the apartment; ``and it
will go hard,'' he muttered, ``but I content him
with one-half of his own asking.'' So saying, he
departed, and left the Disinherited Knight to his
own perplexed ruminations; which, upon more accounts
than it is now possible to communicate to
the reader, were of a nature peculiarly agitating
and painful.
We must now change the scene to the village of
Ashby, or rather to a country house in its vicinity
belonging to a wealthy Israelite, with whom Isaac,
his daughter, and retinue, had taken up their quarters;
the Jews, it is well known, being as liberal
in exercising the duties of hospitality and charity
among their own people, as they were alleged to
be reluctant and churlish in extending them to those
whom they termed Gentiles, and whose treatment
of them certainly merited little hospitality at their
hand.

In an apartment, small indeed, but richly furnished
with decorations of an Oriental taste, Rebecca
was seated on a heap of embroidered cushions,
which, piled along a low platform that surrounded
the chamber, served, like the estrada of the Spaniards,
instead of chairs and stools. She was watching
the motions of her father with a look of anxious
and filial affection, while he paced the apartment
with a dejected mien and disordered step; sometimes
clasping his hands together---sometimes casting
his eyes to the roof of the apartment, as one
who laboured under great mental tribulation. ``O,
Jacob!'' he exclaimed---``O, all ye twelve Holy
Fathers of our tribe! what a losing venture is this
for one who hath duly kept every jot and tittle of
the law of Moses---Fifty zecchins wrenched from
me at one clutch, and by the talons of a tyrant!''

``But, father,'' said Rebecca, ``you seemed to
give the gold to Prince John willingly.''

``Willingly? the blotch of Egypt upon him!---
Willingly, saidst thou?---Ay, as willingly as when,
in the Gulf of Lyons, I flung over my merchandise
to lighten the ship, while she laboured in the
tempest---robed the seething billows in my choice
silks---perfumed their briny foam with myrrh and
aloes---enriched their caverns with gold and silver
work! And was not that an hour of unutterable
misery, though my own hands made the sacrifice?''

``But it was a sacrifice which Heaven exacted
to save our lives,'' answered Rebecca, ``and the
God of our fathers has since blessed your store and
your gettings.''

``Ay,'' answered Isaac, ``but if the tyrant lays
hold on them as he did to-day, and compels me to
smile while he is robbing me?---O, daughter, disinherited
and wandering as we are, the worst evil
which befalls our race is, that when we are wronged
and plundered, all the world laughs around, and we
are compelled to suppress our sense of injury, and
to smile tamely, when we would revenge bravely.''

``Think not thus of it, my father,'' said Rebecca;
``we also have advantages. These Gentiles, cruel
and oppressive as they are, are in some sort dependent
on the dispersed children of Zion, whom
they despise and persecute. Without the aid of
our wealth, they could neither furnish forth their
hosts in war, nor their triumphs in peace, and the
gold which we lend them returns with increase to
our coffers. We are like the herb which flourisheth
most when it is most trampled on. Even this day's
pageant had not proceeded without the consent of
the despised Jew, who furnished the means.''

``Daughter,'' said Isaac, ``thou hast harped upon
another string of sorrow. The goodly steed and
the rich armour, equal to the full profit of my
adventure with our Kirjath Jairam of Leicester---
there is a dead loss too---ay, a loss which swallows
up the gains of a week; ay, of the space between
two Sabaoths---and yet it may end better than I
now think, for 'tis a good youth.''

``Assuredly,'' said Rebecca, ``you shall not repent
you of requiting the good deed received of the
stranger knight.''

``I trust so, daughter,'' said Isaac, ``and I trust
too in the rebuilding of Zion; but as well do I
hope with my own bodily eyes to see the walls and
battlements of the new Temple, as to see a Christian,
yea, the very best of Christians, repay a debt
to a Jew, unless under the awe of the judge and
jailor.''

So saying, he resumed his discontented walk
through the apartment; and Rebecca, perceiving
that her attempts at consolation only served to
awaken new subjects of complaint, wisely desisted
from her unavailing efforts---a prudential line of
conduct, and we recommend to all who set up for
comforters and advisers, to follow it in the like circumstances.

The evening was now becoming dark, when a
Jewish servant entered the apartment, and placed
upon the table two silver lamps, fed with perfumed
oil; the richest wines, and the most delicate refreshments,
were at the same time displayed by
another Israelitish domestic on a small ebony table,
inlaid with silver; for, in the interior of their
houses, the Jews refused themselves no expensive
indulgences. At the same time the servant informed
Isaac, that a Nazarene (so they termed
Christians, while conversing among themselves)
desired to speak with him. He that would live by
traffic, must hold himself at the disposal of every
one claiming business with him. Isaac at once replaced
on the table the untasted glass of Greek
wine which he had just raised to his lips, and saying
hastily to his daughter, ``Rebecca, veil thyself,''
commanded the stranger to be admitted.

Just as Rebecca had dropped over her fine features
a screen of silver gauze which reached to her
feet, the door opened, and Gurth entered, wrapt in
the ample folds of his Norman mantle. His appearance
was rather suspicious than prepossessing,
especially as, instead of doffing his bonnet, he pulled
it still deeper over his rugged brow.

``Art thou Isaac the Jew of York?'' said Gurth,
in Saxon.

``I am,'' replied Isaac, in the same language,
(for his traffic had rendered every tongue spoken
in Britain familiar to him)---``and who art thou?''

``That is not to the purpose,'' answered Gurth.

``As much as my name is to thee,'' replied Isaac;
``for without knowing thine, how can I hold intercourse
with thee?''

``Easily,'' answered Gurth; ``I, being to pay
money, must know that I deliver it to the right
person; thou, who are to receive it, will not, I
think, care very greatly by whose hands it is delivered.''

``O,'' said the Jew, ``you are come to pay moneys?
---Holy Father Abraham! that altereth our
relation to each other. And from whom dost thou
bring it?''

``From the Disinherited Knight,'' said Gurth,
``victor in this day's tournament. It is the price
of the armour supplied to him by Kirjath Jairam
of Leicester, on thy recommendation. The steed
is restored to thy stable. I desire to know the
amount of the sum which I am to pay for the
armour.''

``I said he was a good youth!'' exclaimed Isaac
with joyful exultation. ``A cup of wine will do
thee no harm,'' he added, filling and handing to the
swineherd a richer drought than Gurth had ever
before tasted. "And how much money,'' continued
Isaac, ``has thou brought with thee?''

``Holy Virgin!'' said Gurth, setting down the
cup, ``what nectar these unbelieving dogs drink,
while true Christians are fain to quaff ale as muddy
and thick as the draff we give to hogs!---What
money have I brought with me?'' continued the
Saxon, when he had finished this uncivil ejaculation,
``even but a small sum; something in hand
the whilst. What, Isaac! thou must bear a conscience,
though it be a Jewish one.''

``Nay, but,'' said Isaac, ``thy master has won
goodly steeds and rich armours with the strength
of his lance, and of his right hand---but 'tis a good
youth---the Jew will take these in present payment,
and render him back the surplus.''

``My master has disposed of them already,'' said
Gurth.

``Ah! that was wrong,'' said the Jew, ``that
was the part of a fool. No Christians here could
buy so many horses and armour---no Jew except
myself would give him half the values. But thou
hast a hundred zecchins with thee in that bag,'' said
Isaac, prying under Gurth's cloak, ``it is a heavy
one.''

``I have heads for cross-bow bolts in it,'' said
Gurth, readily.

``Well, then''---said Isaac, panting and hesitating
between habitual love of gain and a new-born desire
to be liberal in the present instance, ``if I should
say that I would take eighty zecchins for the good
steed and the rich armour, which leaves me not a
guilder's profit, have you money to pay me?''

``Barely,'' said Gurth, though the sum demanded
was more reasonable than he expected, ``and it
will leave my master nigh penniless. Nevertheless,
if such be your least offer, I must be content.''

``Fill thyself another goblet of wine,'' said the
Jew. ``Ah! eighty zecchins is too little. It leaveth
no profit for the usages of the moneys; and, besides,
the good horse may have suffered wrong in
this day's encounter. O, it was a hard and a dangerous
meeting! man and steed rushing on each
other like wild bulls of Bashan! The horse cannot
but have had wrong.''

``And I say,'' replied Gurth, ``he is sound, wind
and limb; and you may see him now, in your stable.
And I say, over and above, that seventy zecchins
is enough for the armour, and I hope a Christian's
word is as good as a Jew's. If you will not take
seventy, I will carry this bag'' (and he shook it till
the contents jingled) ``back to my master.''

``Nay, nay!'' said Isaac; ``lay down the talents
---the shekels---the eighty zecchins, and thou shalt
see I will consider thee liberally.''

Gurth at length complied; and telling out eighty
zecchins upon the table, the Jew delivered out to
him an acquittance for the horse and suit of armour.
The Jew's hand trembled for joy as he wrapped up
the first seventy pieces of gold. The last ten he
told over with much deliberation, pausing, and saying
something as he took each piece from the table,
and dropt it into his purse. It seemed as if his
avarice were struggling with his better nature, and
compelling him to pouch zecchin after zecchin while
his generosity urged him to restore some part at
least to his benefactor, or as a donation to his agent.
His whole speech ran nearly thus:

``Seventy-one---seventy-two; thy master is a
good youth---seventy-three, an excellent youth---
seventy-four---that piece hath been clipt within the
ring---seventy-five---and that looketh light of weight
---seventy-six---when thy master wants money, let
him come to Isaac of York---seventy-seven---that
is, with reasonable security.'' Here he made a considerable
pause, and Gurth had good hope that the
last three pieces might escape the fate of their comrades;
but the enumeration proceeded.---``Seventy-eight---
thou art a good fellow---seventy-nine---
and deservest something for thyself------''

Here the Jew paused again, and looked at the
last zecchin, intending, doubtless, to bestow it upon
Gurth. He weighed it upon the tip of his finger,
and made it ring by dropping it upon the table.
Had it rung too flat, or had it felt a hair's breadth
too light, generosity had carried the day; but, unhappily
for Gurth, the chime was full and true, the
zecchin plump, newly coined, and a grain above
weight. Isaac could not find in his heart to part
with it, so dropt it into his purse as if in absence of
mind, with the words, ``Eighty completes the tale,
and I trust thy master will reward thee handsomely.
---Surely,'' he added, looking earnestly at the bag,
``thou hast more coins in that pouch?''

Gurth grinned, which was his nearest approach
to a laugh, as he replied, ``About the same quantity
which thou hast just told over so carefully.''
He then folded the quittance, and put it under his
cap, adding,---``Peril of thy heard, Jew, see that
this be full and ample!'' He filled himself unbidden,
a third goblet of wine, and left the apartment
without ceremony.

``Rebecca,'' said the Jew, ``that Ishmaelite hath
gone somewhat beyond me. Nevertheless his master
is a good youth---ay, and I am well pleased that
he hath gained shekels of gold and shekels of silver,
even by the speed of his horse and by the strength
of his lance, which, like that of Goliath the Philistine,
might vie with a weaver's beam.''

As he turned to receive Rebecca's answer, he
observed, that during his chattering with Gurth, she
had left the apartment unperceived.

In the meanwhile, Gurth had descended the stair,
and, having reached the dark antechamber or hall,
was puzzling about to discover the entrance, when
a figure in white, shown by a small silver lamp
which she held in her hand, beckoned him into a
side apartment. Gurth had some reluctance to obey
the summons. Rough and impetuous as a wild
boar, where only earthly force was to be apprehended,
he had all the characteristic terrors of a
Saxon respecting fawns, forest-fiends, white women,
and the whole of the superstitions which his ancestors
had brought with them from the wilds of Germany.
He remembered, moreover, that he was in
the house of a Jew, a people who, besides the other
unamiable qualities which popular report ascribed
to them, were supposed to be profound necromancers
and cabalists. Nevertheless, after a moment's
pause, he obeyed the beckoning summons of the
apparition, and followed her into the apartment
which she indicated, where he found to his joyful
surprise that his fair guide was the beautiful Jewess
whom he had seen at the tournament, and a short
time in her father's apartment.

She asked him the particulars of his transaction
with Isaac, which he detailed accurately.

``My father did but jest with thee, good fellow,''
said Rebecca; ``he owes thy master deeper kindness
than these arms and steed could pay, were
their value tenfold. What sum didst thou pay my
father even now?''

``Eighty zecchins,'' said Gurth, surprised at the
question.

``In this purse,'' said Rebecca, ``thou wilt find a
hundred. Restore to thy master that which is his
due, and enrich thyself with the remainder. Haste
---begone---stay not to render thanks! and beware
how you pass through this crowded town, where
thou mayst easily lose both thy burden and thy
life.---Reuben,'' she added, clapping her hands together,
``light forth this stranger, and fail not to
draw lock and bar behind him.''
Reuben, a dark-brow'd and black-bearded Israelite,
obeyed her summons, with a torch in his hand;
undid the outward door of the house, and conducting
Gurth across a paved court, let him out through
a wicket in the entrance-gate, which he closed behind
him with such bolts and chains as would well
have become that of a prison.

``By St Dunstan,'' said Gurth, as he stumbled
up the dark avenue, ``this is no Jewess, but an angel
from heaven! Ten zecchins from my brave young
master---twenty from this pearl of Zion---Oh, happy
day!---Such another, Gurth, will redeem thy
bondage, and make thee a brother as free of thy
guild as the best. And then do I lay down my
swineherd's horn and staff, and take the freeman's
sword and buckler, and follow my young master to
the death, without hiding either my face or my name.''



CHAPTER XI


_1st Outlaw_. Stand, sir, and throw us that you have about you;
If not, we'll make you sit, and rifle you.
_Speed_. Sir, we are undone! these are the villains
That all the travellers do fear so much.
_Val_. My friends,---
_1st Out_. That's not so, sir, we are your enemies.
_2d Out_. Peace! we'll hear him.
_3d Out_. Ay, by my beard, will we;
For he's a proper man.
_Two Gentlemen of Verona_.


The nocturnal adventures of Gurth were not yet
concluded; indeed he himself became partly of that
mind, when, after passing one or two straggling
houses which stood in the outskirts of the village,
he found himself in a deep lane, running between
two banks overgrown with hazel and holly, while
here and there a dwarf oak flung its arms altogether
across the path. The lane was moreover much rutted
and broken up by the carriages which had recently
transported articles of various kinds to the
tournament; and it was dark, for the banks and
bushes intercepted the light of the harvest moon.

From the village were heard the distant sounds
of revelry, mixed occasionally with loud laughter,
sometimes broken by screams, and sometimes by
wild strains of distant music. All these sounds, intimating
the disorderly state of the town, crowded
with military nobles and their dissolute attendants,
gave Gurth some uneasiness. ``The Jewess was
right,'' he said to himself. ``By heaven and St
Dunstan, I would I were safe at my journey's end
with all this treasure! Here are such numbers, I
will not say of arrant thieves, but of errant knights
and errant squires, errant monks and errant minstrels,
errant jugglers and errant jesters, that a
man with a single merk would be in danger, much
more a poor swineherd with a whole bagful of zecchins.
Would I were out of the shade of these infernal
bushes, that I might at least see any of St
Nicholas's clerks before they spring on my shoulders.''

Gurth accordingly hastened his pace, in order to
gain the open common to which the lane led, but
was not so fortunate as to accomplish his object.
Just as he had attained the upper end of the lane,
where the underwood was thickest, four men sprung
upon him, even as his fears anticipated, two from
each side of the road, and seized him so fast, that
resistance, if at first practicable, would have been
now too late.---``Surrender your charge,'' said one
of them; ``we are the deliverers of the commonwealth,
who ease every man of his burden.''

``You should not ease me of mine so lightly,''
muttered Gurth, whose surly honesty could not be
tamed even by the pressure of immediate violence,
---``had I it but in my power to give three strokes
in its defence.''

``We shall see that presently,'' said the robber;
and, speaking to his companions, he added, ``bring
along the knave. I see he would have his head
broken, as well as his purse cut, and so be let blood
in two veins at once.''

Gurth was hurried along agreeably to this mandate,
and having been dragged somewhat roughly
over the bank, on the left-hand side of the lane,
found himself in a straggling thicket, which lay betwixt
it and the open common. He was compelled
to follow his rough conductors into the very depth
of this cover, where they stopt unexpectedly in an
irregular open space, free in a great measure from
trees, and on which, therefore, the beams of the
moon fell without much interruption from boughs
and leaves. Here his captors were joined by two
other persons, apparently belonging to the gang.
They had short swords by their sides, and quarter-staves
in their hands, and Gurth could now observe
that all six wore visors, which rendered their occupation
a matter of no question, even had their former
proceedings left it in doubt.

``What money hast thou, churl?'' said one of
the thieves.

``Thirty zecchins of my own property,'' answered
Gurth, doggedly.

``A forfeit---a forfeit,'' shouted the robbers; ``a
Saxon hath thirty zecchins, and returns sober from
a village! An undeniable and unredeemable forfeit
of all he hath about him.''

``I hoarded it to purchase my freedom,'' said
Gurth.

``Thou art an ass,'' replied one of the thieves
``three quarts of double ale had rendered thee as
free as thy master, ay, and freer too, if he be a
Saxon like thyself.''

``A sad truth,'' replied Gurth; ``but if these
same thirty zecchins will buy my freedom from
you, unloose my hands, and I will pay them to you.''

``Hold,'' said one who seemed to exercise some
authority over the others; ``this bag which thou
bearest, as I can feel through thy cloak, contains
more coin than thou hast told us of.''

``It is the good knight my master's,'' answered
Gurth, ``of which, assuredly, I would not have
spoken a word, had you been satisfied with working
your will upon mine own property.''

``Thou art an honest fellow,'' replied the robber,
``I warrant thee; and we worship not St Nicholas
so devoutly but what thy thirty zecchins may yet
escape, if thou deal uprightly with us. Meantime
render up thy trust for a time.'' So saying, he
took from Gurth's breast the large leathern pouch,
in which the purse given him by Rebecca was enclosed,
as well as the rest of the zecchins, and then
continued his interrogation.---``Who is thy master?''

``The Disinherited Knight,'' said Gurth.

``Whose good lance,'' replied the robber, ``won
the prize in to-day's tourney? What is his name
and lineage?''

``It is his pleasure,'' answered Gurth, ``that they
be concealed; and from me, assuredly, you will
learn nought of them.''

``What is thine own name and lineage?''

``To tell that,'' said Gurth, ``might reveal my
master's.''
``Thou art a saucy groom,'' said the robber, ``but
of that anon. How comes thy master by this gold?
is it of his inheritance, or by what means hath it
accrued to him?''

``By his good lance,'' answered Gurth.---``These
bags contain the ransom of four good horses, and
four good suits of armour.''

``How much is there?'' demanded the robber.

``Two hundred zecchins.''

``Only two hundred zecchins!'' said the bandit;
``your master hath dealt liberally by the vanquished,
and put them to a cheap ransom. Name those
who paid the gold.''

Gurth did so.

``The armour and horse of the Templar Brian
de Bois-Guilbert, at what ransom were they held?
---Thou seest thou canst not deceive me.''

``My master,'' replied Gurth, ``will take nought
from the Templar save his life's-blood. They are
on terms of mortal defiance, and cannot hold courteous
intercourse together.''

``Indeed!''---repeated the robber, and paused
after he had said the word. ``And what wert thou
now doing at Ashby with such a charge in thy custody?''

``I went thither to render to Isaac the Jew of
York,'' replied Gurth, ``the price of a suit of armour
with which he fitted my master for this tournament.''

``And how much didst thou pay to Isaac?---
Methinks, to judge by weight, there is still two
hundred zecchins in this pouch.''

``I paid to Isaac,'' said the Saxon, ``eighty zecchins,
and he restored me a hundred in lieu thereof.''

``How! what!'' exclaimed all the robbers at
once; ``darest thou trifle with us, that thou tellest
such improbable lies?''

``What I tell you,'' said Gurth, ``is as true as
the moon is in heaven. You will find the just sum
in a silken purse within the leathern pouch, and separate
from the rest of the gold.''

``Bethink thee, man,'' said the Captain, ``thou
speakest of a Jew---of an Israelite,---as unapt to
restore gold, as the dry sand of his deserts to return
the cup of water which the pilgrim spills upon
them.''

``There is no more mercy in them,'' said another
of the banditti, ``than in an unbribed sheriffs officer.''

``It is, however, as I say,'' said Gurth.

``Strike a light instantly,'' said the Captain; ``I
will examine this said purse; and if it be as this
fellow says, the Jew's bounty is little less miraculous
than the stream which relieved his fathers in
the wilderness.''

A light was procured accordingly, and the robber
proceeded to examine the purse. The others
crowded around him, and even two who had hold of
Gurth relaxed their grasp while they stretched their
necks to see the issue of the search. Availing himself
of their negligence, by a sudden exertion of
strength and activity, Gurth shook himself free of
their hold, and might have escaped, could he have
resolved to leave his master's property behind him.
But such was no part of his intention. He wrenched
a quarter-staff from one of the fellows, struck
down the Captain, who was altogether unaware of
his purpose, and had wellnigh repossessed himself
of the pouch and treasure. The thieves, however,
were too nimble for him, and again secured both
the bag and the trusty Gurth.

``Knave!'' said the Captain, getting up, ``thou
hast broken my head; and with other men of our
sort thou wouldst fare the worse for thy insolence.
But thou shalt know thy fate instantly. First let
us speak of thy master; the knight's matters must
go before the squire's, according to the due order
of chivalry. Stand thou fast in the meantime---
if thou stir again, thou shalt have that will make
thee quiet for thy life---Comrades!'' he then said,
addressing his gang, ``this purse is embroidered
with Hebrew characters, and I well believe the
yeoman's tale is true. The errant knight, his master,
must needs pass us toll-free. He is too like
ourselves for us to make booty of him, since dogs
should not worry dogs where wolves and foxes are
to be found in abundance.''

``Like us?'' answered one of the gang; ``I
should like to hear how that is made good.''

``Why, thou fool,'' answered the Captain, ``is
he not poor and disinherited as we are?---Doth he
not win his substance at the sword's point as we
do?---Hath he not beaten Front-de-B<oe>uf and
Malvoisin, even as we would beat them if we could?
Is he not the enemy to life and death of Brian de
Bois-Guilbert, whom we have so much reason to
fear? And were all this otherwise, wouldst thou
have us show a worse conscience than an unbeliever,
a Hebrew Jew?''

``Nay, that were a shame,'' muttered the other
fellow; ``and yet, when I served in the band of
stout old Gandelyn, we had no such scruples of
conscience. And this insolent peasant,---he too, I
warrant me, is to be dismissed scatheless?''

``Not if _thou_ canst scathe him,'' replied the Captain.
---``Here, fellow,'' continued he, addressing
Gurth, ``canst thou use the staff, that thou starts
to it so readily?''

``I think,'' said Gurth, ``thou shouldst be best
able to reply to that question.''

``Nay, by my troth, thou gavest me a round
knock,'' replied the Captain; ``do as much for this
fellow, and thou shalt pass scot-free; and if thou
dost not---why, by my faith, as thou art such a
sturdy knave, I think I must pay thy ransom myself.
---Take thy staff, Miller,'' he added, ``and keep
thy head; and do you others let the fellow go, and
give him a staff---there is light enough to lay on
load by.''

The two champions being alike armed with quarter-staves,
stepped forward into the centre of the
open space, in order to have the full benefit of the
moonlight; the thieves in the meantime laughing,
and crying to their comrade, ``Miller! beware thy
toll-dish.'' The Miller, on the other hand, holding
his quarter-staff by the middle, and making it flourish
round his head after the fashion which the
French call _faire le moulinet_, exclaimed boastfully,
``Come on, churl, an thou darest: thou shalt feel
the strength of a miller's thumb!''

``If thou best a miller,'' answered Gurth, undauntedly,
making his weapon play around his head
with equal dexterity, ``thou art doubly a thief,
and I, as a true man, bid thee defiance.''

So saying, the two champions closed together,
and for a few minutes they displayed great equality
in strength, courage, and skill, intercepting and
returning the blows of their adversary with the most
rapid dexterity, while, from the continued clatter
of their weapons, a person at a distance might have
supposed that there were at least six persons engaged
on each side. Less obstinate, and even less
dangerous combats, have been described in good
heroic verse; but that of Gurth and the Miller
must remain unsung, for want of a sacred poet to
do justice to its eventful progress. Yet, though
quarter-staff play be out of date, what we can in
prose we will do for these bold champions.

Long they fought equally, until the Miller began
to lose temper at finding himself so stoutly opposed,
and at hearing the laughter of his companions,
who, as usual in such cases, enjoyed his vexation.
This was not a state of mind favourable to
the noble game of quarter-staff, in which, as in ordinary
cudgel-playing, the utmost coolness is requisite;
and it gave Gurth, whose temper was
steady, though surly, the opportunity of acquiring
a decided advantage, in availing himself of which
he displayed great mastery.

The Miller pressed furiously forward, dealing
blows with either end of his weapon alternately,
and striving to come to half-staff distance, while
Gurth defended himself against the attack, keeping
his hands about a yard asunder, and covering
himself by shifting his weapon with great celerity,
so as to protect his head and body. Thus did he
maintain the defensive, making his eye, foot, and
hand keep true time, until, observing his antagonist
to lose wind, he darted the staff at his face
with his left hand; and, as the Miller endeavoured
to parry the thrust, he slid his right hand down to
his left, and with the full swing of the weapon
struck his opponent on the left side of the head,
who instantly measured his length upon the green
sward.

``Well and yeomanly done!'' shouted the robbers;
``fair play and Old England for ever! The
Saxon hath saved both his purse and his hide, and
the Miller has met his match.''

``Thou mayst go thy ways, my friend,'' said the
Captain, addressing Gurth, in special confirmation
of the general voice, ``and I will cause two of my
comrades to guide thee by the best way to thy master's
pavilion, and to guard thee from night-walkers
that might have less tender consciences than
ours; for there is many one of them upon the amble
in such a night as this. Take heed, however,''
he added sternly; ``remember thou hast refused to
tell thy name---ask not after ours, nor endeavour
to discover who or what we are; for, if thou makest
such an attempt, thou wilt come by worse fortune
than has yet befallen thee.''

Gurth thanked the Captain for his courtesy, and
promised to attend to his recommendation. Two of
the outlaws, taking up their quarter-staves, and desiring
Gurth to follow close in the rear, walked
roundly forward along a by-path, which traversed
the thicket and the broken ground adjacent to it.
On the very verge of the thicket two men spoke to
his conductors, and receiving an answer in a whisper,
withdrew into the wood, and suffered them to pass
unmolested. This circumstance induced Gurth to
believe both that the gang was strong in numbers,
and that they kept regular guards around their place
of rendezvous.

When they arrived on the open heath, where
Gurth might have had some trouble in finding his
road, the thieves guided him straight forward to the
top of a little eminence, whence he could see, spread
beneath him in the moonlight, the palisades of the
lists, the glimmering pavilions pitched at either
end, with the pennons which adorned them fluttering
in the moonbeams, and from which could be heard
the hum of the song with which the sentinels were
beguiling their night-watch.

Here the thieves stopt.

``We go with you no farther,'' said they; ``it
were not safe that we should do so.---Remember
the warning you have received---keep secret what
has this night befallen you, and you will have no
room to repent it---neglect what is now told you,
and the Tower of London shall not protect you
against our revenge.''

``Good night to you, kind sirs,'' said Gurth; ``I
shall remember your orders, and trust that there is
no offence in wishing you a safer and an honester
trade.''

Thus they parted, the outlaws returning in the
direction from whence they had come, and Gurth
proceeding to the tent of his master, to whom, notwithstanding
the injunction he had received, he
communicated the whole adventures of the evening.

The Disinherited Knight was filled with astonishment,
no less at the generosity of Rebecca, by
which, however, he resolved he would not profit,
than that of the robbers, to whose profession such
a quality seemed totally foreign. His course of reflections
upon these singular circumstances was,
however, interrupted by the necessity for taking
repose, which the fatigue of the preceding day, and
the propriety of refreshing himself for the morrow's
encounter, rendered alike indispensable.

The knight, therefore, stretched himself for repose
upon a rich couch with which the tent was
provided; and the faithful Gurth, extending his
hardy limbs upon a bear-skin which formed a sort
of carpet to the pavilion, laid himself across the
opening of the tent, so that no one could enter
without awakening him.




CHAPTER XII


The heralds left their pricking up and down,
Now ringen trumpets loud and clarion.
There is no more to say, but east and west,
In go the speares sadly in the rest,
In goth the sharp spur into the side,
There see men who can just and who can ride;
There shiver shaftes upon shieldes thick,
He feeleth through the heart-spone the prick;
Up springen speares, twenty feet in height,
Out go the swordes to the silver bright;
The helms they to-hewn and to-shred;
Out burst the blood with stern streames red.
Chaucer.

Morning arose in unclouded splendour, and ere
the sun was much above the horizon, the idlest or
the most eager of the spectators appeared on the
common, moving to the lists as to a general centre,
in order to secure a favourable situation for viewing
the continuation of the expected games.

The marshals and their attendants appeared next
on the field, together with the heralds, for the purpose
of receiving the names of the knights who intended
to joust, with the side which each chose to
espouse. This was a necessary precaution, in order
to secure equality betwixt the two bodies who
should be opposed to each other.

According to due formality, the Disinherited
Knight was to be considered as leader of the one
body, while Brian de Bois-Guilbert, who had been
rated as having done second-best in the preceding
day, was named first champion of the other band.
Those who had concurred in the challenge adhered
to his party of course, excepting only Ralph de Vipont,
whom his fall had rendered unfit so soon to
put on his armour. There was no want of distinguished
and noble candidates to fill up the ranks
on either side.

In fact, although the general tournament, in
which all knights fought at once, was more dangerous
than single encounters, they were, nevertheless,
more frequented and practised by the chivalry
of the age. Many knights, who had not sufficient
confidence in their own skill to defy a single
adversary of high reputation, were, nevertheless,
desirous of displaying their valour in the general
combat, where they might meet others with whom
they were more upon an equality. On the present
occasion, about fifty knights were inscribed as desirous
of combating upon each side, when the marshals
declared that no more could be admitted, to
the disappointment of several who were too late in
preferring their claim to be included.

About the hour of ten o'clock, the whole plain
was crowded with horsemen, horsewomen, and foot-passengers,
hastening to the tournament; and shortly
after, a grand flourish of trumpets announced
Prince John and his retinue, attended by many of
those knights who meant to take share in the game,
as well as others who had no such intention.

About the same time arrived Cedric the Saxon,
with the Lady Rowena, unattended, however, by
Athelstane. This Saxon lord had arrayed his tall
and strong person in armour, in order to take his
place among the combatants; and, considerably to
the surprise of Cedric, had chosen to enlist himself
on the part of the Knight Templar. The Saxon,
indeed, had remonstrated strongly with his friend
upon the injudicious choice he had made of his
party; but he had only received that sort of answer
usually given by those who are more obstinate
in following their own course, than strong in justifying
it.

His best, if not his only reason, for adhering to
the party of Brian de Bois-Guilbert, Athelstane
had the prudence to keep to himself. Though his
apathy of disposition prevented his taking any
means to recommend himself to the Lady Rowena,
he was, nevertheless, by no means insensible to her
charms, and considered his union with her as a
matter already fixed beyond doubt, by the assent
of Cedric and her other friends. It had therefore
been with smothered displeasure that the proud
though indolent Lord of Coningsburgh beheld the
victor of the preceding day select Rowena as the
object of that honour which it became his privilege
to confer. In order to punish him for a preference
which seemed to interfere with his own suit, Athelstane,
confident of his strength, and to whom his
flatterers, at least, ascribed great skill in arms, had
determined not only to deprive the Disinherited
Knight of his powerful succour, but, if an opportunity
should occur, to make him feel the weight
of his battle-axe.

De Bracy, and other knights attached to Prince
John, in obedience to a hint from him, had joined
the party of the challengers, John being desirous to
secure, if possible, the victory to that side. On the
other hand, many other knights, both English and
Norman, natives and strangers, took part against
the challengers, the more readily that the opposite
band was to be led by so distinguished a champion
as the Disinherited Knight had approved himself.

As soon as Prince John observed that the destined
Queen of the day had arrived upon the field,
assuming that air of courtesy which sat well upon
him when he was pleased to exhibit it, he rode forward
to meet her, doffed his bonnet, and, alighting
from his horse, assisted the Lady Rowena from her
saddle, while his followers uncovered at the same
time, and one of the most distinguished dismounted
to hold her palfrey.

``It is thus,'' said Prince John, ``that we set the
dutiful example of loyalty to the Queen of Love
and Beauty, and are ourselves her guide to the
throne which she must this day occupy.---Ladies,''
he said, ``attend your Queen, as you wish in your
turn to be distinguished by like honours.''

So saying, the Prince marshalled Rowena to the
seat of honour opposite his own, while the fairest
and most distinguished ladies present crowded after
her to obtain places as near as possible to their
temporary sovereign.

No sooner was Rowena seated, than a burst of
music, half-drowned by the shouts of the multitude,
greeted her new dignity. Meantime, the sun shone
fierce and bright upon the polished arms of the
knights of either side, who crowded the opposite
extremities of the lists, and held eager conference
together concerning the best mode of arranging
their line of battle, and supporting the conflict.

The heralds then proclaimed silence until the
laws of the tourney should be rehearsed. These
were calculated in some degree to abate the dangers
of the day; a precaution the more necessary,
as the conflict was to be maintained with sharp
swords and pointed lances.

The champions were therefore prohibited to
thrust with the sword, and were confined to striking.
A knight, it was announced, might use a
mace or battle-axe at pleasure, but the dagger was
a prohibited weapon. A knight unhorsed might
renew the fight on foot with any other on the opposite
side in the same predicament; but mounted
horsemen were in that case forbidden to assail him.
When any knight could force his antagonist to the
extremity of the lists, so as to touch the palisade
with his person or arms, such opponent was obliged
to yield himself vanquished, and his armour and
horse were placed at the disposal of the conqueror.
A knight thus overcome was not permitted to take
farther share in the combat. If any combatant was
struck down, and unable to recover his feet, his
squire or page might enter the lists, and drag his
master out of the press; but in that case the knight
was adjudged vanquished, and his arms and horse
declared forfeited. The combat was to cease as
soon as Prince John should throw down his leading
staff, or truncheon; another precaution usually taken
to prevent the unnecessary effusion of blood
by the too long endurance of a sport so desperate.
Any knight breaking the rules of the tournament,
or otherwise transgressing the rules of honourable
chivalry, was liable to be stript of his arms, and,
having his shield reversed to be placed in that posture
astride upon the bars of the palisade, and exposed
to public derision, in punishment of his unknightly
conduct. Having announced these precautions,
the heralds concluded with an exhortation
to each good knight to do his duty, and to merit
favour from the Queen of Beauty and of Love.

This proclamation having been made, the heralds
withdrew to their stations. The knights, entering
at either end of the lists in long procession, arranged
themselves in a double file, precisely opposite
to each other, the leader of each party being in the
centre of the foremost rank, a post which he did
not occupy until each had carefully marshalled the
ranks of his party, and stationed every one in his
place.

It was a goodly, and at the same time an anxious,
sight, to behold so many gallant champions, mounted
bravely, and armed richly, stand ready prepared
for an encounter so formidable, seated on their war-saddles
like so many pillars of iron, and awaiting
the signal of encounter with the same ardour as
their generous steeds, which, by neighing and pawing
the ground, gave signal of their impatience.

As yet the knights held their long lances upright,
their bright points glancing to the sun, and
the streamers with which they were decorated fluttering
over the plumage of the helmets. Thus
they remained while the marshals of the field surveyed
their ranks with the utmost exactness, lest
either party had more or fewer than the appointed
number. The tale was found exactly complete.
The marshals then withdrew from the lists,
and William de Wyvil, with a voice of thunder, pronounced
the signal words---_Laissez aller_! The
trumpets sounded as he spoke---the spears of the
champions were at once lowered and placed in the
rests---the spurs were dashed into the flanks of the
horses, and the two foremost ranks of either party
rushed upon each other in full gallop, and met in
the middle of the lists with a shock, the sound of
which was heard at a mile's distance. The rear
rank of each party advanced at a slower pace to
sustain the defeated, and follow up the success of
the victors of their party.

The consequences of the encounter were not instantly
seen, for the dust raised by the trampling
of so many steeds darkened the air, and it was a
minute ere the anxious spectator could see the fate
of the encounter. When the fight became visible,
half the knights on each side were dismounted,
some by the dexterity of their adversary's lance,---
some by the superior weight and strength of opponents,
which had borne down both horse and
man,---some lay stretched on earth as if never more
to rise,---some had already gained their feet, and
were closing hand to hand with those of their antagonists
who were in the same predicament,---and
several on both sides, who had received wounds by
which they were disabled, were stopping their blood
by their scarfs, and endeavouring to extricate themselves
from the tumult. The mounted knights,
whose lances had been almost all broken by the
fury of the encounter, were now closely engaged
with their swords, shouting their war-cries, and exchanging
buffets, as if honour and life depended on
the issue of the combat.

The tumult was presently increased by the advance
of the second rank on either side, which, acting
as a reserve, now rushed on to aid their companions.
The followers of Brian de Bois-Guilbert
shouted ---``_Ha! Beau-seant! Beau-seant!_ * --- For

* _Beau-seant_ was the name of the Templars' banner, which
* was half black, half white, to intimate, it is said, that they were
* candid and fair towards Christians, but black and terrible towards
* infidels.

the Temple---For the Temple!'' The opposite party
shouted in answer---``_Desdichado! Desdichado!_''
---which watch-word they took from the motto
upon their leader's shield.

The champions thus encountering each other
with the utmost fury, and with alternate success,
the tide of battle seemed to flow now toward the
southern, now toward the northern extremity of
the lists, as the one or the other party prevailed.
Meantime the clang of the blows, and the shouts of
the combatants, mixed fearfully with the sound of
the trumpets, and drowned the groans of those who
fell, and lay rolling defenceless beneath the feet of
the horses. The splendid armour of the combatants
was now defaced with dust and blood, and gave way
at every stroke of the sword and battle-axe. The
gay plumage, shorn from the crests, drifted upon
the breeze like snow-flakes. All that was beautiful
and graceful in the martial array had disappeared,
and what was now visible was only calculated
to awake terror or compassion.

Yet such is the force of habit, that not only the
vulgar spectators, who are naturally attracted by
sights of horror, but even the ladies of distinction
who crowded the galleries, saw the conflict with a
thrilling interest certainly, but without a wish to
withdraw their eyes from a sight so terrible. Here
and there, indeed, a fair cheek might turn pale, or
a faint scream might be heard, as a lover, a brother,
or a husband, was struck from his horse. But, in
general, the ladies around encouraged the combatants,
not only by clapping their hands and waving
their veils and kerchiefs, but even by exclaiming,
``Brave lance! Good sword!'' when any successful
thrust or blow took place under their observation.

Such being the interest taken by the fair sex in
this bloody game, that of the men is the more easily
understood. It showed itself in loud acclamations
upon every change of fortune, while all eyes were
so riveted on the lists, that the spectators seemed
as if they themselves had dealt and received the
blows which were there so freely bestowed. And
between every pause was heard the voice of the
heralds, exclaiming, ``Fight on, brave knights!
Man dies, but glory lives!---Fight on---death is
better than defeat!---Fight on, brave knights!---
for bright eyes behold your deeds!''

Amid the varied fortunes of the combat, the eyes
of all endeavoured to discover the leaders of each
band, who, mingling in the thick of the fight, encouraged
their companions both by voice and example.
Both displayed great feats of gallantry, nor
did either Bois-Guilbert or the Disinherited Knight
find in the ranks opposed to them a champion who
could be termed their unquestioned match. They
repeatedly endeavoured to single out each other,
spurred by mutual animosity, and aware that the
fall of either leader might be considered as decisive
of victory. Such, however, was the crowd and confusion,
that, during the earlier part of the conflict,
their efforts to meet were unavailing, and they were
repeatedly separated by the eagerness of their followers,
each of whom was anxious to win honour,
by measuring his strength against the leader of the
opposite party.

But when the field became thin by the numbers
on either side who had yielded themselves vanquished,
had been compelled to the extremity of
the lists, or been otherwise rendered incapable of
continuing the strife, the Templar and the Disinherited
Knight at length encountered hand to
hand, with all the fury that mortal animosity, joined
to rivalry of honour, could inspire. Such was
the address of each in parrying and striking, that
the spectators broke forth into a unanimous and
involuntary shout, expressive of their delight and
admiration.

But at this moment the party of the Disinherited
Knight had the worst; the gigantic arm of
Front-de-B<oe>uf on the one flank, and the ponderous
strength of Athelstane on the other, bearing down
and dispersing those immediately exposed to them.
Finding themselves freed from their immediate antagonists,
it seems to have occurred to both these
knights at the same instant, that they would render
the most decisive advantage to their party, by
aiding the Templar in his contest with his rival.
Turning their horses, therefore, at the same moment,
the Norman spurred against the Disinherited
Knight on the one side, and the Saxon on the
other. It was utterly impossible that the object of
this unequal and unexpected assault could have
sustained it, had he not been warned by a general
cry from the spectators, who could not but take interest
in one exposed to such disadvantage.

``Beware! beware! Sir Disinherited!'' was
shouted so universally, that the knight became
aware of his danger; and, striking a full blow at
the Templar, he reined back his steed in the same
moment, so as to escape the charge of Athelstane
and Front-de-B<oe>uf. These knights, therefore, their
aim being thus eluded, rushed from opposite sides
betwixt the object of their attack and the Templar,
almost running their horses against each other ere
they could stop their career. Recovering their
horses however, and wheeling them round, the
whole three pursued their united purpose of bearing
to the earth the Disinherited Knight.

Nothing could have saved him, except the remarkable
strength and activity of the noble horse
which he had won on the preceding day.

This stood him in the more stead, as the horse
of Bois-Guilbert was wounded, and those of Front-de-B<oe>uf
and Athelstane were both tired with the
weight of their gigantic masters, clad in complete
armour, and with the preceding exertions of the
day. The masterly horsemanship of the Disinherited
Knight, and the activity of the noble animal
which he mounted, enabled him for a few minutes
to keep at sword's point his three antagonists,
turning and wheeling with the agility of a hawk
upon the wing, keeping his enemies as far separate
as he could, and rushing now against the one, now
against the other, dealing sweeping blows with his
sword, without waiting to receive those which were
aimed at him in return.

But although the lists rang with the applauses
of his dexterity, it was evident that he must at last
be overpowered; and the nobles around Prince
John implored him with one voice to throw down
his warder, and to save so brave a knight from the
disgrace of being overcome by odds.

``Not I, by the light of Heaven!'' answered
Prince John; ``this same springal, who conceals
his name, and despises our proffered hospitality,
hath already gained one prize, and may now afford
to let others have their turn.'' As he spoke thus,
an unexpected incident changed the fortune of the
day.

There was among the ranks of the Disinherited
Knight a champion in black armour, mounted on
a black horse, large of size, tall, and to all appearance
powerful and strong, like the rider by whom
he was mounted, This knight, who bore on his
shield no device of any kind, had hitherto evinced
very little interest in the event of the fight, beating
off with seeming case those combatants who
attacked him, but neither pursuing his advantages,
nor himself assailing any one. In short, he had
hitherto acted the part rather of a spectator than
of a party in the tournament, a circumstance which
procured him among the spectators the name of
_Le Noir Faineant_, or the Black Sluggard.

At once this knight seemed to throw aside his
apathy, when he discovered the leader of his party
so hard bestead; for, setting spurs to his horse,
which was quite fresh, he came to his assistance
like a thunderbolt, exclaiming, in a voice like a
trumpet-call, ``_Desdichado_, to the rescue!'' It was
high time; for, while the Disinherited Knight was
pressing upon the Templar, Front-de-B<oe>uf had got
nigh to him with his uplifted sword; but ere the
blow could descend, the Sable Knight dealt a stroke
on his head, which, glancing from the polished helmet,
lighted with violence scarcely abated on the
_chamfron_ of the steed, and Front-de-B<oe>uf rolled
on the ground, both horse and man equally stunned
by the fury of the blow. _Le Noir Faineant_ then
turned his horse upon Athelstane of Coningsburgh;
and his own sword having been broken in his encounter
with Front-de-B<oe>uf, he wrenched from the
hand of the bulky Saxon the battle-axe which he
wielded, and, like one familiar with the use of the
weapon, bestowed him such a blow upon the crest,
that Athelstane also lay senseless on the field. Having
achieved this double feat, for which he was the
more highly applauded that it was totally unexpected
from him, the knight seemed to resume the sluggishness
of his character, returning calmly to the
northern extremity of the lists, leaving his leader
to cope as he best could with Brian de Bois-Guilbert.
This was no longer matter of so much difficulty
as formerly. The Templars horse had bled
much, and gave way under the shock of the Disinherited
Knight's charge. Brian de Bois-Guilbert
rolled on the field, encumbered with the stirrup,
from which he was unable to draw his foot. His
antagonist sprung from horseback, waved his fatal
sword over the head of his adversary, and commanded
him to yield himself; when Prince John,
more moved by the Templars dangerous situation
than he had been by that of his rival, saved him
the mortification of confessing himself vanquished,
by casting down his warder, and putting an end to
the conflict.

It was, indeed, only the relics and embers of the
fight which continued to burn; for of the few
knights who still continued in the lists, the greater
part had, by tacit consent, forborne the conflict for
some time, leaving it to be determined by the strife
of the leaders.

The squires, who had found it a matter of danger
and difficulty to attend their masters during
the engagement, now thronged into the lists to pay
their dutiful attendance to the wounded, who were
removed with the utmost care and attention to the
neighbouring pavilions, or to the quarters prepared
for them in the adjoining village.

Thus ended the memorable field of Ashby-de-la-Zouche,
one of the most gallantly contested tournaments
of that age; for although only four knights,
including one who was smothered by the heat of
his armour, had died upon the field, yet upwards
of thirty were desperately wounded, four or five
of whom never recovered. Several more were disabled
for life; and those who escaped best carried
the marks of the conflict to the grave with them.
Hence it is always mentioned in the old records, as
the Gentle and Joyous Passage of Arms of Ashby.

It being now the duty of Prince John to name
the knight who had done best, he determined that
the honour of the day remained with the knight
whom the popular voice had termed _Le Noir Faineant_.
It was pointed out to the Prince, in impeachment
of this decree, that the victory had been
in fact won by the Disinherited Knight, who, in
the course of the day, had overcome six champions
with his own hand, and who had finally unhorsed
and struck down the leader of the opposite party.
But Prince John adhered to his own opinion, on
the ground that the Disinherited Knight and his
party had lost the day, but for the powerful assistance
of the Knight of the Black Armour, to whom,
therefore, he persisted in awarding the prize.

To the surprise of all present, however, the
knight thus preferred was nowhere to be found.
He had left the lists immediately when the conflict
ceased, and had been observed by some spectators
to move down one of the forest glades with the
same slow pace and listless and indifferent manner
which had procured him the epithet of the Black
Sluggard. After he had been summoned twice by
sound of trumpet, and proclamation of the heralds,
it became necessary to name another to receive the
honours which had been assigned to him. Prince
John had now no further excuse for resisting the
claim of the Disinherited Knight, whom, therefore,
he named the champion of the day.

Through a field slippery with blood, and encumbered
with broken armour and the bodies of slain
and wounded horses, the marshals of the lists again
conducted the victor to the foot of Prince John's
throne.

``Disinherited Knight,'' said Prince John, ``since
by that title only you will consent to be known to
us, we a second time award to you the honours of
this tournament, and announce to you your right
to claim and receive from the hands of the Queen
of Love and Beauty, the Chaplet of Honour which
your valour has justly deserved.'' The Knight
bowed low and gracefully, but returned no answer.

While the trumpets sounded, while the heralds
strained their voices in proclaiming honour to the
brave and glory to the victor---while ladies waved
their silken kerchiefs and embroidered veils, and
while all ranks joined in a clamorous shout of exultation,
the marshals conducted the Disinherited
Knight across the lists to the foot of that throne of
honour which was occupied by the Lady Rowena.

On the lower step of this throne the champion
was made to kneel down. Indeed his whole action
since the fight had ended, seemed rather to have
been upon the impulse of those around him than
from his own free will; and it was observed that
he tottered as they guided him the second time
across the lists. Rowena, descending from her station
with a graceful and dignified step, was about
to place the chaplet which she held in her hand
upon the helmet of the champion, when the marshals
exclaimed with one voice, ``It must not be
thus---his head must be bare.'' The knight muttered
faintly a few words, which were lost in the
hollow of his helmet, but their purport seemed to
be a desire that his casque might not be removed.

Whether from love of form, or from curiosity, the
marshals paid no attention to his expressions of
reluctance, but unhelmed him by cutting the laces
of his casque, and undoing the fastening of his gorget.
When the helmet was removed, the well-formed,
yet sun-burnt features of a young man of
twenty-five were seen, amidst a profusion of short
fair hair. His countenance was as pale as death,
and marked in one or two places with streaks of
blood.

Rowena had no sooner beheld him than she uttered
a faint shriek; but at once summoning up the
energy of her disposition, and compelling herself,
as it were, to proceed, while her frame yet trembled
with the violence of sudden emotion, she placed
upon the drooping head of the victor the splendid
chaplet which was the destined reward of the day,
and pronounced, in a clear and distinct tone, these
words: ``I bestow on thee this chaplet, Sir Knight,
as the meed of valour assigned to this day's victor:''
Here she paused a moment, and then firmly added,
``And upon brows more worthy could a wreath of
chivalry never be placed!''

The knight stooped his head, and kissed the
hand of the lovely Sovereign by whom his valour
had been rewarded; and then, sinking yet farther
forward, lay prostrate at her feet.

There was a general consternation. Cedric, who
had been struck mute by the sudden appearance
of his banished son, now rushed forward, as if to
separate him from Rowena. But this had been
already accomplished by the marshals of the field,
who, guessing the cause of Ivanhoe's swoon,
had hastened to undo his armour, and found that
the head of a lance had penetrated his breastplate,
and inflicted a wound in his side.




CHAPTER XIII


``Heroes, approach!'' Atrides thus aloud,
``Stand forth distinguish'd from the circling crowd,
Ye who by skill or manly force may claim,
Your rivals to surpass and merit fame.
This cow, worth twenty oxen, is decreed,
For him who farthest sends the winged reed.''
_Iliad_.


The name of Ivanhoe was no sooner pronounced
than it flew from mouth to mouth, with all the celerity
with which eagerness could convey and curiosity
receive it. It was not long ere it reached the
circle of the Prince, whose brow darkened as he
heard the news. Looking around him, however,
with an air of scorn, ``My Lords,'' said he, ``and
especially you, Sir Prior, what think ye of the
doctrine the learned tell us, concerning innate attractions
and antipathies? Methinks that I felt
the presence of my brother's minion, even when I
least guessed whom yonder suit of armour enclosed.''

``Front-de-B<oe>uf must prepare to restore his fief
of Ivanhoe,'' said De Bracy, who, having discharged
his part honourably in the tournament, had laid his
shield and helmet aside, and again mingled with
the Prince's retinue.

``Ay,'' answered Waldemar Fitzurse, ``this gallant
is likely to reclaim the castle and manor which
Richard assigned to him, and which your Highness's
generosity has since given to Front-de-B<oe>uf.''

``Front-de-B<oe>uf,'' replied John, ``is a man more
willing to swallow three manors such as Ivanhoe,
than to disgorge one of them. For the rest, sirs, I
hope none here will deny my right to confer the
fiefs of the crown upon the faithful followers who
are around me, and ready to perform the usual military
service, in the room of those who have wandered
to foreign Countries, and can neither render
homage nor service when called upon.''

The audience were too much interested in the
question not to pronounce the Prince's assumed
right altogether indubitable. ``A generous Prince!
---a most noble Lord, who thus takes upon himself
the task of rewarding his faithful followers!''

Such were the words which burst from the train,
expectants all of them of similar grants at the expense
of King Richard's followers and favourites,
if indeed they had not as yet received such. Prior
Aymer also assented to the general proposition,
observing, however, ``That the blessed Jerusalem
could not indeed be termed a foreign country. She
was _communis mater_---the mother of all Christians.
But he saw not,'' he declared, ``how the Knight of
Ivanhoe could plead any advantage from this, since
he'' (the Prior) ``was assured that the crusaders, under
Richard, had never proceeded much farther than
Askalon, which, as all the world knew, was a town
of the Philistines, and entitled to none of the privileges
of the Holy City.''

Waldemar, whose curiosity had led him towards
the place where Ivanhoe had fallen to the ground,
now returned. ``The gallant,'' said he, ``is likely
to give your Highness little disturbance, and to
leave Front-de-B<oe>uf in the quiet possession of his
gains--he is severely wounded.''

``Whatever becomes of him,'' said Prince John,
``he is victor of the day; and were he tenfold our
enemy, or the devoted friend of our brother, which
is perhaps the same, his wounds must be looked to
---our own physician shall attend him.''

A stern smile curled the Prince's lip as he spoke.
Waldemar Fitzurse hastened to reply, that Ivanhoe
was already removed from the lists, and in the custody
of his friends.

``I was somewhat afflicted,'' he said, ``to see the
grief of the Queen of Love and Beauty, whose sovereignty
of a day this event has changed into mourning.
I am not a man to be moved by a woman's
lament for her lover, but this same Lady Rowena
suppressed her sorrow with such dignity of manner,
that it could only be discovered by her folded hands,
and her tearless eye, which trembled as it remained
fixed on the lifeless form before her.''

``Who is this Lady Rowena,'' said Prince John,
``of whom we have heard so much?''

``A Saxon heiress of large possessions,'' replied
the Prior Aymer; ``a rose of loveliness, and a
jewel of wealth; the fairest among a thousand, a
bundle of myrrh, and a cluster of camphire.''

``We shall cheer her sorrows,'' said Prince John,
``and amend her blood, by wedding her to a Norman.
She seems a minor, and must therefore be
at our royal disposal in marriage.---How sayst thou,
De Bracy? What thinkst thou of gaining fair
lands and livings, by wedding a Saxon, after the
fashion of the followers of the Conqueror?''

``If the lands are to my liking, my lord,'' answered
De Bracy, ``it will be hard to displease me with a
bride; and deeply will I hold myself bound to your
highness for a good deed, which will fulfil all promises
made in favour of your servant and vassal.''

``We will not forget it,'' said Prince John;
``and that we may instantly go to work, command
our seneschal presently to order the attendance of
the Lady Rowena and her company---that is, the
rude churl her guardian, and the Saxon ox whom
the Black Knight struck down in the tournament,
upon this evening's banquet.---De Bigot,'' he added
to his seneschal, ``thou wilt word this our second
summons so courteously, as to gratify the pride of
these Saxons, and make it impossible for them again
to refuse; although, by the bones of Becket, courtesy
to them is casting pearls before swine.''

Prince John had proceeded thus far, and was
about to give the signal for retiring from the lists,
when a small billet was put into his hand.

``From whence?'' said Prince John, looking at
the person by whom it was delivered.

``From foreign parts, my lord, but from whence
I know not'' replied his attendant. ``A Frenchman
brought it hither, who said, he had ridden
night and day to put it into the hands of your highness.''

The Prince looked narrowly at the superscription,
and then at the seal, placed so as to secure the
flex-silk with which the billet was surrounded, and
which bore the impression of three fleurs-de-lis.
John then opened the billet with apparent agitation,
which visibly and greatly increased when he
had perused the contents, which were expressed in
these words---

``_Take heed to yourself for the Devil is unchained!_''

The Prince turned as pale as death, looked first
on the earth, and then up to heaven, like a man
who has received news that sentence of execution
has been passed upon him. Recovering from the
first effects of his surprise, he took Waldemar Fitzurse
and De Bracy aside, and put the billet into
their hands successively. ``It means,'' he added,
in a faltering voice, ``that my brother Richard has
obtained his freedom.''

``This may be a false alarm, or a forged letter,''
said De Bracy.

``It is France's own hand and seal,'' replied
Prince John.

``It is time, then,'' said Fitzurse, ``to draw our
party to a head, either at York, or some other centrical
place. A few days later, and it will be indeed
too late. Your highness must break short
this present mummery.''

``The yeomen and commons,'' said De Bracy,
``must not be dismissed discontented, for lack of
their share in the sports.''

``The day,'' said Waldemar, ``is not yet very far
spent---let the archer's shoot a few rounds at the
target, and the prize be adjudged. This will be an
abundant fulfilment of the Prince's promises, so far
as this herd of Saxon serfs is concerned.''

``I thank thee, Waldemar,'' said the Prince;
``thou remindest me, too, that I have a debt to pay
to that insolent peasant who yesterday insulted our
person. Our banquet also shall go forward to-night
as we proposed. Were this my last hour of power,
it should be an hour sacred to revenge and to pleasure---
let new cares come with to-morrow's new
day.''

The sound of the trumpets soon recalled those
spectators who had already begun to leave the field;
and proclamation was made that Prince John, suddenly
called by high and peremptory public duties,
held himself obliged to discontinue the entertainments
of to-morrow's festival: Nevertheless, that,
unwilling so many good yeoman should depart
without a trial of skill, he was pleased to appoint
them, before leaving the ground, presently to execute
the competition of archery intended for the
morrow. To the best archer a prize was to be
awarded, being a bugle-horn, mounted with silver,
and a silken baldric richly ornamented with a medallion
of St Hubert, the patron of silvan sport.

More than thirty yeomen at first presented themselves
as competitors, several of whom were rangers
and under-keepers in the royal forests of Needwood
and Charnwood. When, however, the archers understood
with whom they were to be matched, up
wards of twenty withdrew themselves from the contest,
unwilling to encounter the dishonour of almost
certain defeat. For in those days the skill of each
celebrated marksman was as well known for many
miles round him, as the qualities of a horse trained
at Newmarket are familiar to those who frequent
that well-known meeting.

The diminished list of competitors for silvan
fame still amounted to eight. Prince John stepped
from his royal seat to view more nearly the persons
of these chosen yeomen, several of whom wore the
royal livery. Having satisfied his curiosity by this
investigation, he looked for the object of his resentment,
whom he observed standing on the same
spot, and with the same composed countenance
which he had exhibited upon the preceding day.

``Fellow,'' said Prince John, ``I guessed by thy
insolent babble that thou wert no true lover of the longbow,
and I see thou darest not adventure thy skill
among such merry-men as stand yonder.''

``Under favour, sir,'' replied the yeoman, ``I
have another reason for refraining to shoot, besides
the fearing discomfiture and disgrace.''

``And what is thy other reason?'' said Prince
John, who, for some cause which perhaps he could
not himself have explained, felt a painful curiosity
respecting this individual.

``Because,'' replied the woodsman, ``I know not
if these yeomen and I are used to shoot at the same
marks; and because, moreover, I know not how
your Grace might relish the winning of a third prize
by one who has unwittingly fallen under your displeasure.''

Prince John coloured as he put the question,
``What is thy name, yeoman?''

``Locksley,'' answered the yeoman.

``Then, Locksley,'' said Prince John, ``thou
shalt shoot in thy turn, when these yeomen have
displayed their skill. If thou carriest the prize, I
will add to it twenty nobles; but if thou losest it,
thou shalt be stript of thy Lincoln green, and
scourged out of the lists with bowstrings, for a
wordy and insolent braggart.''

``And how if I refuse to shoot on such a wager?''
said the yeoman.---``Your Grace's power, supported,
as it is, by so many men-at-arms, may indeed easily
strip and scourge me, but cannot compel me to
bend or to draw my bow.''

``If thou refusest my fair proffer,'' said the
Prince, ``the Provost of the lists shall cut thy bowstring,
break thy bow and arrows, and expel thee
from the presence as a faint-hearted craven.''

``This is no fair chance you put on me, proud
Prince,'' said the yeoman, ``to compel me to peril
myself against the best archers of Leicester And
Staffordshire, under the penalty of infamy if they
should overshoot me. Nevertheless, I will obey
your pleasure.''

``Look to him close, men-at-arms,'' said Prince
John, ``his heart is sinking; I am jealous lest he
attempt to escape the trial.---And do you, good
fellows, shoot boldly round; a buck and a butt of
wine are ready for your refreshment in yonder tent,
when the prize is won.''

A target was placed at the upper end of the
southern avenue which led to the lists. The contending
archers took their station in turn, at the
bottom of the southern access, the distance between
that station and the mark allowing full distance for
what was called a shot at rovers. The archers,
having previously determined by lot their order of
precedence, were to shoot each three shafts in succession.
The sports were regulated by an officer of
inferior rank, termed the Provost of the Games;
for the high rank of the marshals of the lists would
have been held degraded, had they condescended
to superintend the sports of the yeomanry.

One by one the archers, stepping forward, delivered
their shafts yeomanlike and bravely. Of
twenty-four arrows, shot in succession, ten were
fixed in the target, and the others ranged so near
it, that, considering the distance of the mark, it was
accounted good archery. Of the ten shafts which
hit the target, two within the inner ring were shot
by Hubert, a forester in the service of Malvoisin,
who was accordingly pronounced victorious.

``Now, Locksley,'' said Prince John to the bold
yeoman, with a bitter smile, ``wilt thou try conclusions
with Hubert, or wilt thou yield up bow,
baldric, and quiver, to the Provost of the sports?''

``Sith it be no better,'' said Locksley, ``I am content
to try my fortune; on condition that when I
have shot two shafts at yonder mark of Hubert's,
he shall be bound to shoot one at that which I shall
propose.''

``That is but fair,'' answered Prince John, ``and
it shall not be refused thee.---If thou dost beat this
braggart, Hubert, I will fill the bugle with silver-pennies
for thee.''

``A man can do but his best,'' answered Hubert;
``but my grandsire drew a good long bow at Hastings,
and I trust not to dishonour his memory.''

The former target was now removed, and a fresh
one of the same size placed in its room. Hubert,
who, as victor in the first trial of skill, had the
right to shoot first, took his aim with great deliberation,
long measuring the distance with his eye,
while he held in his hand his bended bow, with the
arrow placed on the string. At length he made a
step forward, and raising the bow at the full stretch
of his left arm, till the centre or grasping-place was
nigh level with his face, he drew his bowstring to
his ear. The arrow whistled through the air, and
lighted within the inner ring of the target, but not
exactly in the centre.

``You have not allowed for the wind, Hubert,''
said his antagonist, bending his bow, ``or that had
been a better shot.''

So saying, and without showing the least anxiety
to pause upon his aim, Locksley stept to the appointed
station, and shot his arrow as carelessly in
appearance as if he had not even looked at the mark.
He was speaking almost at the instant that the shaft
left the bowstring, yet it alighted in the target two
inches nearer to the white spot which marked the
centre than that of Hubert.

``By the light of heaven!'' said Prince John to
Hubert, ``an thou suffer that runagate knave to
overcome thee, thou art worthy of the gallows!''

Hubert had but one set speech for all occasions.
``An your highness were to hang me,'' he said, `` a
man can but do his best. Nevertheless, my grandsire
drew a good bow---''

``The foul fiend on thy grandsire and all his generation!''
interrupted John , ``shoot, knave, and
shoot thy best, or it shall be the worse for thee!''

Thus exhorted, Hubert resumed his place, and
not neglecting the caution which he had received
from his adversary, he made the necessary allowance
for a very light air of wind, which had just
arisen, and shot so successfully that his arrow alighted
in the very centre of the target.

``A Hubert! a Hubert!'' shouted the populace,
more interested in a known person than in a stranger.
``In the clout!---in the clout!---a Hubert for
ever!''

``Thou canst not mend that shot, Locksley,'' said
the Prince, with an insulting smile.

``I will notch his shaft for him, however,'' replied
Locksley.

And letting fly his arrow with a little more precaution
than before, it lighted right upon that of
his competitor, which it split to shivers. The people
who stood around were so astonished at his wonderful
dexterity, that they could not even give vent
to their surprise in their usual clamour. ``This
must be the devil, and no man of flesh and blood,''
whispered the yeoman to each other; ``such archery
was never seen since a bow was first bent in
Britain.''

``And now,'' said Locksley, ``I will crave your
Grace's permission to plant such a mark as is used
in the North Country; and welcome every brave
yeoman who shall try a shot at it to win a smile
from the bonny lass he loves best.''

He then turned to leave the lists. ``Let your
guards attend me,'' he said, ``if you please---I go
but to cut a rod from the next willow-bush.''

Prince John made a signal that some attendants
should follow him in case of his escape: but the cry
of ``Shame! shame!'' which burst from the multitude,
induced him to alter his ungenerous purpose.

Locksley returned almost instantly with a willow
wand about six feet in length, perfectly straight,
and rather thicker than a man's thumb. He began
to peel this with great composure, observing at the
same time, that to ask a good woodsman to shoot
at a target so broad as had hitherto been used, was
to put shame upon his skill. ``For his own part,''
he said, ``and in the land where he was bred, men
would as soon take for their mark King Arthur's
round-table, which held sixty knights around it. A
child of seven years old,'' he said, `` might hit yonder
target with a headless shaft; but,'' added he,
walking deliberately to the other end of the lists,
and sticking the willow wand upright in the ground,
``he that hits that rod at five-score yards, I call him
an archer fit to bear both bow and quiver before a
king, an it were the stout King Richard himself.''

``My grandsire,'' said Hubert, ``drew a good
bow at the battle of Hastings, and never shot at
such a mark in his life---and neither will I. If this
yeoman can cleave that rod, I give him the bucklers---
or rather, I yield to the devil that is in his
jerkin, and not to any human skill; a man can but
do his best, and I will not shoot where I am sure to
miss. I might as well shoot at the edge of our parson's
whittle, or at a wheat straw, or at a sunbeam,
as at a twinkling white streak which I can hardly
see.''

``Cowardly dog!'' said Prince John.---``Sirrah
Locksley, do thou shoot; but, if thou hittest such
a mark, I will say thou art the first man ever did
so. However it be, thou shalt not crow over us with
a mere show of superior skill.''

``I will do my best, as Hubert says,'' answered
Locksley; ``no man can do more.''

So saying, he again bent his bow, but on the present
occasion looked with attention to his weapon,
and changed the string, which he thought was no
longer truly round, having been a little frayed by
the two former shots. He then took his aim with
some deliberation, and the multitude awaited the
event in breathless silence. The archer vindicated
their opinion of his skill: his arrow split the willow
rod against which it was aimed. A jubilee of
acclamations followed; and even Prince John, in
admiration of Locksley's skill, lost for an instant
his dislike to his person. ``These twenty nobles,''
he said, ``which, with the bugle, thou hast fairly
won, are thine own; we will make them fifty, if
thou wilt take livery and service with us as a yeoman
of our body guard, and be near to our person.
For never did so strong a hand bend a bow, or so
true an eye direct a shaft.''

``Pardon me, noble Prince,'' said Locksley; ``but
I have vowed, that if ever I take service, it should
be with your royal brother King Richard. These
twenty nobles I leave to Hubert, who has this day
drawn as brave a bow as his grandsire did at Hastings.
Had his modesty not refused the trial, he
would have hit the wand as well I.''

Hubert shook his head as he received with reluctance
the bounty of the stranger, and Locksley,
anxious to escape further observation, mixed with
the crowd, and was seen no more.

The victorious archer would not perhaps have
escaped John's attention so easily, had not that
Prince had other subjects of anxious and more important
meditation pressing upon his mind at that
instant. He called upon his chamberlain as he gave
the signal for retiring from the lists, and commanded
him instantly to gallop to Ashby, and seek out
Isaac the Jew. ``Tell the dog,'' he said, ``to send
me, before sun-down, two thousand crowns. He
knows the security; but thou mayst show him this
ring for a token. The rest of the money must be
paid at York within six days. If he neglects, I
will have the unbelieving villain's head. Look that
thou pass him not on the way; for the circumcised
slave was displaying his stolen finery amongst us.''

So saying, the Prince resumed his horse, and returned
to Ashby, the whole crowd breaking up and
dispersing upon his retreat.




CHAPTER XIV


In rough magnificence array'd,
When ancient Chivalry display'd
The pomp of her heroic games,
And crested chiefs and tissued dames
Assembled, at the clarion's call,
In some proud castle's high arch'd hall.

Warton.

Prince John held his high festival in the Castle
of Ashby. This was not the same building of which
the stately ruins still interest the traveller, and
which was erected at a later period by the Lord
Hastings, High Chamberlain of England, one of
the first victims of the tyranny of Richard the Third,
and yet better known as one of Shakspeare's characters
than by his historical fame. The castle and
town of Ashby, at this time, belonged to Roger de
Quincy, Earl of Winchester, who, during the period
of our history, was absent in the Holy Land.
Prince John, in the meanwhile, occupied his castle,
and disposed of his domains without scruple; and
seeking at present to dazzle men's eyes by his hospitality
and magnificence, had given orders for great
preparations, in order to render the banquet as
splendid as possible.

The purveyors of the Prince, who exercised on
this and other occasions the full authority of royalty,
had swept the country of all that could be collected
which was esteemed fit for their master's
table. Guests also were invited in great numbers;
and in the necessity in which he then found
himself of courting popularity, Prince John had
extended his invitation to a few distinguished Saxon
and Danish families, as well as to the Norman nobility
and gentry of the neighbourhood. However
despised and degraded on ordinary occasions, the
great numbers of the Anglo-Saxons must necessarily
render them formidable in the civil commotions
which seemed approaching, and it was an obvious
point of policy to secure popularity with their
leaders.

It was accordingly the Prince's intention, which
he for some time maintained, to treat these unwonted
guests with a courtesy to which they had been
little accustomed. But although no man with less
scruple made his ordinary habits and feelings bend
to his interest, it was the misfortune of this Prince,
that his levity and petulance were perpetually breaking
out, and undoing all that had been gained by
his previous dissimulation.

Of this fickle temper he gave a memorable example
in Ireland, when sent thither by his father,
Henry the Second, with the purpose of buying
golden opinions of the inhabitants of that new and
important acquisition to the English crown. Upon
this occasion the Irish chieftains contended which
should first offer to the young Prince their loyal
homage and the kiss of peace. But, instead of receiving
their salutations with courtesy, John and
his petulant attendants could not resist the temptation
of pulling the long beards of the Irish chieftains;
a conduct which, as might have been expected,
was highly resented by these insulted dignitaries,
and produced fatal consequences to the English
domination in Ireland. It is necessary to keep
these inconsistencies of John's character in view,
that the reader may understand his conduct during
the present evening.

In execution of the resolution which he had formed
during his cooler moments, Prince John received
Cedric and Athelstane with distinguished courtesy,
and expressed his disappointment, without
resentment, when the indisposition of Rowena was
alleged by the former as a reason for her not attending
upon his gracious summons. Cedric and
Athelstane were both dressed in the ancient Saxon
garb, which, although not unhandsome in itself,
and in the present instance composed of costly materials,
was so remote in shape and appearance from
that of the other guests, that Prince John took
great credit to himself with Waldemar Fitzurse
for refraining from laughter at a sight which the
fashion of the day rendered ridiculous. Yet, in the
eye of sober judgment, the short close tunic and
long mantle of the Saxons was a more graceful, as
well as a more convenient dress, than the garb of
the Normans, whose under garment was a long
doublet, so loose as to resemble a shirt or waggoner's
frock, covered by a cloak of scanty dimensions,
neither fit to defend the wearer from cold or from
rain, and the only purpose of which appeared to be
to display as much fur, embroidery, and jewellery
work, as the ingenuity of the tailor could contrive
to lay upon it. The Emperor Charlemagne, in
whose reign they were first introduced, seems to
have been very sensible of the inconveniences arising
from the fashion of this garment. ``In Heaven's
name,'' said he, ``to what purpose serve these
abridged cloaks? If we are in bed they are no
cover, on horseback they are no protection from
the wind and rain, and when seated, they do not
guard our legs from the damp or the frost.''

Nevertheless, spite of this imperial objurgation,
the short cloaks continued in fashion down to the
time of which we treat, and particularly among the
princes of the House of Anjou. They were therefore
in universal use among Prince John's courtiers;
and the long mantle, which formed the upper
garment of the Saxons, was held in proportional
derision.

The guests were seated at a table which groaned
under the quantity of good cheer. The numerous
cooks who attended on the Prince's progress, having
exerted all their art in varying the forms in
which the ordinary provisions were served up, had
succeeded almost as well as the modern professors
of the culinary art in rendering them perfectly unlike
their natural appearance. Besides these dishes
of domestic origin, there were various delicacies
brought from foreign parts, and a quantity of rich
pastry, as well as of the simnel-bread and wastle
cakes, which were only used at the tables of the
highest nobility. The banquet was crowned with
the richest wines, both foreign and domestic.

But, though luxurious, the Norman nobles were
not generally speaking an intemperate race. While
indulging themselves in the pleasures of the table,
they aimed at delicacy, but avoided excess, and were
apt to attribute gluttony and drunkenness to the
vanquished Saxons, as vices peculiar to their inferior
station. Prince John, indeed, and those who
courted his pleasure by imitating his foibles, were
apt to indulge to excess in the pleasures of the
trencher and the goblet; and indeed it is well
known that his death was occasioned by a surfeit
upon peaches and new ale. His conduct, however,
was an exception to the general manners of his
countrymen.

With sly gravity, interrupted only by private
signs to each other, the Norman knights and nobles
beheld the ruder demeanour of Athelstane and
Cedric at a banquet, to the form and fashion of
which they were unaccustomed. And while their
manners were thus the subject of sarcastic observation,
the untaught Saxons unwittingly transgressed
several of the arbitrary rules established for
the regulation of society. Now, it is well known,
that a man may with more impunity be guilty of
an actual breach either of real good breeding or of
good morals, than appear ignorant of the most minute
point of fashionable etiquette. Thus Cedric,
who dried his hands with a towel, instead of suffering
the moisture to exhale by waving them gracefully
in the air, incurred more ridicule than his companion
Athelstane, when he swallowed to his own
single share the whole of a large pasty composed of
the most exquisite foreign delicacies, and termed at
that time a _Karum-Pie_. When, however, it was
discovered, by a serious cross-examination, that the
Thane of Coningsburgh (or Franklin, as the Normans
termed him) had no idea what he had been
devouring, and that he had taken the contents of
the Karum-pie for larks and pigeons, whereas they
were in fact beccaficoes and nightingales, his ignorance
brought him in for an ample share of the ridicule
which would have been more justly bestowed
on his gluttony.

The long feast had at length its end; and, while
the goblet circulated freely, men talked of the feats
of the preceding tournament,---of the unknown victor
in the archery games, of the Black Knight,
whose self-denial had induced him to withdraw
from the honours he had won,---and of the gallant
Ivanhoe, who had so dearly bought the honours of
the day. The topics were treated with military
frankness, and the jest and laugh went round the
hall. The brow of Prince John alone was overclouded
during these discussions; some overpowering
care seemed agitating his mind, and it was only
when he received occasional hints from his attendants,
that he seemed to take interest in what
was passing around him. On such occasions he
would start up, quaff a cup of wine as if to raise
his spirits, and then mingle in the conversation by
some observation made abruptly or at random.

``We drink this beaker,'' said he, ``to the health
of Wilfred of Ivanhoe, champion of this Passage
of Arms, and grieve that his wound renders him
absent from our board---Let all fill to the pledge,
and especially Cedric of Rotherwood, the worthy
father of a son so promising.''

``No, my lord,'' replied Cedric, standing up, and
placing on the table his untasted cup, ``I yield not
the name of son to the disobedient youth, who at
once despises my commands, and relinquishes the
manners and customs of his fathers.''

``'Tis impossible,'' cried Prince John, with well-feigned
astonishment, ``that so gallant a knight
should be an unworthy or disobedient son!''

``Yet, my lord,'' answered Cedric, ``so it is with
this Wilfred. He left my homely dwelling to mingle
with the gay nobility of your brother's court,
where he learned to do those tricks of horsemanship
which you prize so highly. He left it contrary
to my wish and command; and in the days of Alfred
that would have been termed disobedience---
ay, and a crime severely punishable.''

``Alas!'' replied Prince John, with a deep sigh
of affected sympathy, ``since your son was a follower
of my unhappy brother, it need not be enquired
where or from whom he learned the lesson
of filial disobedience.''

Thus spake Prince John, wilfully forgetting, that
of all the sons of Henry the Second, though no one
was free from the charge, he himself had been most
distinguished for rebellion and ingratitude to his
father.

``I think,'' said be, after a moment's pause, ``that
my brother proposed to confer upon his favourite
the rich manor of Ivanhoe.''

``He did endow him with it,'' answered Cedric;
``nor is it my least quarrel with my son, that he
stooped to hold, as a feudal vassal, the very domains
which his fathers possessed in free and independent
right.''

``We shall then have your willing sanction, good
Cedric,'' said Prince John, ``to confer this fief upon
a person whose dignity will not be diminished
by holding land of the British crown.---Sir Reginald
Front-de-B<oe>uf,'' he said, turning towards that
Baron, ``I trust you will so keep the goodly Barony
of Ivanhoe, that Sir Wilfred shall not incur
his father's farther displeasure by again entering
upon that fief.''

``By St Anthony!'' answered the black-brow'd
giant, ``I will consent that your highness shall hold
me a Saxon, if either Cedric or Wilfred, or the best
that ever bore English blood, shall wrench from me
the gift with which your highness has graced me.''

``Whoever shall call thee Saxon, Sir Baron,'' replied
Cedric, offended at a mode of expression by
which the Normans frequently expressed their habitual
contempt of the English, ``will do thee an
honour as great as it is undeserved.''

Front-de-B<oe>uf would have replied, but Prince
John's petulance and levity got the start.

``Assuredly,'' said be, ``my lords, the noble Cedric
speaks truth; and his race may claim precedence
over us as much in the length of their pedigrees
as in the longitude of their cloaks.''

``They go before us indeed in the field---as deer
before dogs,'' said Malvoisin.

``And with good right may they go before us---
forget not,'' said the Prior Aymer, ``the superior
decency and decorum of their manners.''

``Their singular abstemiousness and temperance,''
said De Bracy, forgetting the plan which promised
him a Saxon bride.

``Together with the courage and conduct,'' said
Brian de Bois-Guilbert, ``by which they distinguished
themselves at Hastings and elsewhere.''

While, with smooth and smiling cheek, the courtiers,
each in turn, followed their Prince's example,
and aimed a shaft of ridicule at Cedric, the face of
the Saxon became inflamed with passion, and he
glanced his eyes fiercely from one to another, as if
the quick succession of so many injuries had prevented
his replying to them in turn; or, like a baited
bull, who, surrounded by his tormentors, is at
a loss to choose from among them the immediate
object of his revenge. At length he spoke, in a
voice half choked with passion; and, addressing
himself to Prince John as the head and front of the
offence which he had received, ``Whatever,'' he said,
``have been the follies and vices of our race, a Saxon
would have been held _nidering_,'' * (the most emphatic

* There was nothing accounted so ignominious among the
* Saxons as to merit this disgraceful epithet. Even William the
* Conqueror, hated as he was by them, continued to draw a considerable
* army of Anglo-Saxons to his standard, by threatening
* to stigmatize those who staid at home, as nidering. Bartholinus,
* I think, mentions a similar phrase which had like influence on
* the Danes. L. T.

term for abject worthlessness,) ``who should
in his own hall, and while his own wine-cup passed,
have treated, or suffered to be treated, an unoffending
guest as your highness has this day beheld me
used; and whatever was the misfortune of our fathers
on the field of Hastings, those may at least
be silent,'' here he looked at Front-de-B<oe>uf and the
Templar, ``who have within these few hours once
and again lost saddle and stirrup before the lance of
a Saxon.''

``By my faith, a biting jest!'' said Prince John.
``How like you it, sirs?---Our Saxon subjects rise
in spirit and courage; become shrewd in wit, and
bold in bearing, in these unsettled times---What say
ye, my lords?---By this good light, I hold it best to
take our galleys, and return to Normandy in time.''

``For fear of the Saxons?'' said De Bracy, laughing;
``we should need no weapon but our hunting
spears to bring these boars to bay.''

``A truce with your raillery, Sir Knights,'' said
Fitzurse;---``and it were well,'' he added, addressing
the Prince, ``that your highness should assure
the worthy Cedric there is no insult intended him
by jests, which must sound but harshly in the ear
of a stranger.''

``Insult?'' answered Prince John, resuming his
courtesy of demeanour; ``I trust it will not be
thought that I could mean, or permit any, to be offered
in my presence. Here! I fill my cup to Cedric
himself, since he refuses to pledge his son's health.''

The cup went round amid the well-dissembled
applause of the courtiers, which, however, failed to
make the impression on the mind of the Saxon that
had been designed. He was not naturally acute of
perception, but those too much undervalued his understanding
who deemed that this flattering compliment
would obliterate the sense of the prior insult.
He was silent, however, when the royal pledge
again passed round, ``To Sir Athelstane of Coningsburgh.''

The knight made his obeisance, and showed his
sense of the honour by draining a huge goblet in
answer to it.

``And now, sirs,'' said Prince John, who began
to be warmed with the wine which he had drank,
``having done justice to our Saxon guests, we will
pray of them some requital to our courtesy.---Worthy
Thane,'' he continued, addressing Cedric, ``may
we pray you to name to us some Norman whose
mention may least sully your mouth, and to wash
down with a goblet of wine all bitterness which the
sound may leave behind it?''

Fitzurse arose while Prince John spoke, and
gliding behind the seat of the Saxon, whispered to
him not to omit the opportunity of putting an end
to unkindness betwixt the two races, by naming
Prince John. The Saxon replied not to this politic
insinuation, but, rising up, and filling his cup to the
brim, be addressed Prince John in these words:
``Your highness has required that I should name a
Norman deserving to be remembered at our banquet.
This, perchance, is a hard task, since it calls
on the slave to sing the praises of the master---
upon the vanquished, while pressed by all the evils
of conquest, to sing the praises of the conqueror.
Yet I will name a Norman---the first in arms and
in place---the best and the noblest of his race. And
the lips that shall refuse to pledge me to his well-earned
fame, I term false and dishonoured, and will
so maintain them with my life.---I quaff this goblet
to the health of Richard the Lion-hearted!''

Prince John, who had expected that his own
name would have closed the Saxon's speech, started
when that of his injured brother was so unexpectedly
introduced. He raised mechanically the wine-cup
to his lips, then instantly set it down, to view
the demeanour of the company at this unexpected
proposal, which many of them felt it as unsafe to
oppose as to comply with. Some of them, ancient
and experienced courtiers, closely imitated the example
of the Prince himself, raising the goblet to
their lips, and again replacing it before them. There
were many who, with a more generous feeling, exclaimed,
``Long live King Richard! and may he
be speedily restored to us!'' And some few, among
whom were Front-de-B<oe>uf and the Templar, in
sullen disdain suffered their goblets to stand untasted
before them. But no man ventured directly
to gainsay a pledge filled to the health of the reigning
monarch.

Having enjoyed his triumph for about a minute,
Cedric said to his companion, ``Up, noble Athelstane!
we have remained here long enough, since
we have requited the hospitable courtesy of Prince
John's banquet. Those who wish to know further
of our rude Saxon manners must henceforth seek
us in the homes of our fathers, since we have seen
enough of royal banquets, and enough of Norman
courtesy.''

So saying, he arose and left the banqueting room,
followed by Athelstane, and by several other guests,
who, partaking of the Saxon lineage, held themselves
insulted by the sarcasms of Prince John and
his courtiers.

``By the bones of St Thomas,'' said Prince John,
as they retreated, ``the Saxon churls have borne
off the best of the day, and have retreated with triumph!''

``_Conclamatum est, poculatum est_,'' said Prior
Aymer; ``we have drunk and we have shouted,---
it were time we left our wine flagons.''

``The monk hath some fair penitent to shrive
to-night, that he is in such a hurry to depart,'' said
De Bracy.

``Not so, Sir Knight,'' replied the Abbot; ``but
I must move several miles forward this evening
upon my homeward journey.''

``They are breaking up,'' said the Prince in a
whisper to Fitzurse; ``their fears anticipate the
event, and this coward Prior is the first to shrink
from me.''

``Fear not, my lord,'' said Waldemar; ``I will
show him such reasons as shall induce him to join
us when we hold our meeting at York.---Sir Prior,''
he said, ``I must speak with you in private, before
you mount your palfrey.''

The other guests were now fast dispersing, with
the exception of those immediately attached to,
Prince John's faction, and his retinue.

``This, then, is the result of your advice,'' said
the Prince, turning an angry countenance upon
Fitzurse; ``that I should be bearded at my own
board by a drunken Saxon churl, and that, on the
mere sound of my brother's name, men should fall
off from me as if I had the leprosy?''

``Have patience, sir,'' replied his counsellor; ``I
might retort your accusation, and blame the inconsiderate
levity which foiled my design, and misled
your own better judgment. But this is no time
for recrimination. De Bracy and I will instantly
go among these shuffling cowards, and convince
them they have gone too far to recede.''

``It will be in vain,'' said Prince John, pacing
the apartment with disordered steps, and expressing
himself with an agitation to which the wine he
had drank partly contributed---``It will be in vain
--they have seen the handwriting on the wall---
they have marked the paw of the lion in the sand
---they have heard his approaching roar shake the
wood---nothing will reanimate their courage.''

``Would to God,'' said Fitzurse to De Bracy,
``that aught could reanimate his own! His brother's
very name is an ague to him. Unhappy are
the counsellors of a Prince, who wants fortitude
and perseverance alike in good and in evil!''




CHAPTER XV


And yet he thinks,---ha, ha, ha, ha,---he thinks
I am the tool and servant of his will.
Well, let it be; through all the maze of trouble
His plots and base oppression must create,
I'll shape myself a way to higher things,
And who will say 'tis wrong?
_Basil, a Tragedy_.


No spider ever took more pains to repair the
shattered meshes of his web, than did Waldemar
Fitzurse to reunite and combine the scattered members
of Prince John's cabal. Few of these were
attached to him from inclination, and none from
personal regard. It was therefore necessary, that
Fitzurse should open to them new prospects of advantage,
and remind them of those which they at
present enjoyed. To the young and wild nobles,
he held out the prospect of unpunished license and
uncontrolled revelry; to the ambitious, that of
power, and to the covetous, that of increased wealth
and extended domains. The leaders of the mercenaries
received a donation in gold; an argument
the most persuasive to their minds, and without
which all others would have proved in vain. Promises
were still more liberally distributed than money
by this active agent; and, in fine, nothing was
left undone that could determine the wavering, or
animate the disheartened. The return of King
Richard he spoke of as an event altogether beyond
the reach of probability; yet, when he observed,
from the doubtful looks and uncertain answers
which he received, that this was the apprehension
by which the minds of his accomplices were most
haunted, he boldly treated that event, should it
really take place, as one which ought not to alter
their political calculations.

``If Richard returns,'' said Fitzurse, ``he returns
to enrich his needy and impoverished crusaders at
the expense of those who did not follow him to the
Holy Land. He returns to call to a fearful reckoning,
those who, during his absence, have done
aught that can be construed offence or encroachment
upon either the laws of the land or the privileges
of the crown. He returns to avenge upon
the Orders of the Temple and the Hospital, the
preference which they showed to Philip of France
during the wars in the Holy Land. He returns,
in fine, to punish as a rebel every adherent of his
brother Prince John. Are ye afraid of his power?''
continued the artful confident of that Prince, ``we
acknowledge him a strong and valiant knight; but
these are not the days of King Arthur, when a
champion could encounter an army. If Richard
indeed comes back, it must be alone,---unfollowed
---unfriended. The bones of his gallant army have
whitened the sands of Palestine. The few of his
followers who have returned have straggled hither
like this Wilfred of Ivanhoe, beggared and broken
men.---And what talk ye of Richard's right of
birth?'' he proceeded, in answer to those who objected
scruples on that head. ``Is Richard's title
of primogeniture more decidedly certain than that
of Duke Robert of Normandy, the Conqueror's
eldest son? And yet William the Red, and Henry,
his second and third brothers, were successively
preferred to him by the voice of the nation, Robert
had every merit which can be pleaded for Richard;
he was a bold knight, a good leader, generous to
his friends and to the church, and, to crown the
whole, a crusader and a conqueror of the Holy Sepulchre;
and yet he died a blind and miserable
prisoner in the Castle of Cardiff, because he opposed
himself to the will of the people, who chose that
he should not rule over them. It is our right,'' he
said, `` to choose from the blood royal the prince
who is best qualified to hold the supreme power---
that is,'' said he, correcting himself, ``him whose
election will best promote the interests of the nobility.
In personal qualifications,'' he added, ``it was
possible that Prince John might be inferior to his
brother Richard; but when it was considered that
the latter returned with the sword of vengeance in
his hand, while the former held out rewards, immunities,
privileges, wealth, and honours, it could
not be doubted which was the king whom in wisdom
the nobility were called on to support.''

These, and many more arguments, some adapted
to the peculiar circumstances of those whom he addressed,
had the expected weight with the nobles
of Prince John's faction. Most of them consented
to attend the proposed meeting at York, for the
purpose of making general arrangements for placing
the crown upon the head of Prince John.

It was late at night, when, worn out and exhausted
with his various exertions, however gratified
with the result, Fitzurse, returning to the
Castle of Ashby, met with De Bracy, who had exchanged
his banqueting garments for a short green
kittle, with hose of the same cloth and colour, a
leathern cap or head-piece, a short sword, a horn
slung over his shoulder, a long bow in his hand,
and a bundle of arrows stuck in his belt. Had
Fitzurse met this figure in an outer apartment, he
would have passed him without notice, as one of
the yeomen of the guard; but finding him in the
inner hall, he looked at him with more attention,
and recognised the Norman knight in the dress of
an English yeoman.

``What mummery is this, De Bracy?'' said Fitzurse,
somewhat angrily; ``is this a time for Christmas
gambols and quaint maskings, when the fate of
our master, Prince John, is on the very verge of decision?
Why hast thou not been, like me, among
these heartless cravens, whom the very name of King
Richard terrifies, as it is said to do the children of
the Saracens?'

``I have been attending to mine own business,''
answered De Bracy calmly, ``as you, Fitzurse, have
been minding yours.''

``I minding mine own business!'' echoed Waldemar;
``I have been engaged in that of Prince
John, our joint patron.''

``As if thou hadst any other reason for that,
Waldemar,'' said De Bracy, ``than the promotion
of thine own individual interest? Come, Fitzurse,
we know each other---ambition is thy pursuit, pleasure
is mine, and they become our different ages.
Of Prince John thou thinkest as I do; that he is
too weak to be a determined monarch, too tyrannical
to be an easy monarch, too insolent and presumptuous
to be a popular monarch, and too fickle
and timid to be long a monarch of any kind. But
he is a monarch by whom Fitzurse and De Bracy
hope to rise and thrive; and therefore you aid him
with your policy, and I with the lances of my Free
Companions.''

``A hopeful auxiliary,'' said Fitzurse impatiently;
``playing the fool in the very moment of utter
necessity.---What on earth dost thou purpose by
this absurd disguise at a moment so urgent?''

``To get me a wife,'' answered De Bracy coolly,
``after the manner of the tribe of Benjamin.''

``The tribe of Benjamin?'' said Fitzurse; ``I
comprehend thee not.''

``Wert thou not in presence yester-even,'' said
De Bracy, ``when we heard the Prior Aymer tell
us a tale in reply to the romance which was sung
by the Minstrel?---He told how, long since in Palestine,
a deadly feud arose between the tribe of
Benjamin and the rest of the Israelitish nation;
and how they cut to pieces wellnigh all the chivalry
of that tribe; and how they swore by our blessed
Lady, that they would not permit those who remained
to marry in their lineage; and how they
became grieved for their vow, and sent to consult
his holiness the Pope how they might be absolved
from it; and how, by the advice of the Holy Father,
the youth of the tribe of Benjamin carried off
from a superb tournament all the ladies who were
there present, and thus won them wives without
the consent either of their brides or their brides'
families.''

``I have heard the story,'' said Fitzurse, ``though
either the Prior or thou has made some singular
alterations in date and circumstances.''

``I tell thee,'' said De Bracy, ``that I mean to
purvey me a wife after the fashion of the tribe of
Benjamin; which is as much as to say, that in this
same equipment I will fall upon that herd of Saxon
bullocks, who have this night left the castle, and
carry off from them the lovely Rowena.''

``Art thou mad, De Bracy?'' said Fitzurse. ``Bethink
thee that, though the men be Saxons, they
are rich and powerful, and regarded with the more
respect by their countrymen, that wealth and honour
are but the lot of few of Saxon descent.''

``And should belong to none,'' said De Bracy;
``the work of the Conquest should be completed.''

``This is no time for it at least,'' said Fitzurse
``the approaching crisis renders the favour of the
multitude indispensable, and Prince John cannot
refuse justice to any one who injures their favourites.''

``Let him grant it, if he dare,'' said De Bracy;
``he will soon see the difference betwixt the support
of such a lusty lot of spears as mine, and that
of a heartless mob of Saxon churls. Yet I mean
no immediate discovery of myself. Seem I not in
this garb as bold a forester as ever blew horn? The
blame of the violence shall rest with the outlaws of
the Yorkshire forests. I have sure spies on the
Saxon's motions---To-night they sleep in the convent
of Saint Wittol, or Withold, or whatever they
call that churl of a Saxon Saint at Burton-on-Trent.
Next day's march brings them within our reach,
and, falcon-ways, we swoop on them at once. Presently
after I will appear in mine own shape, play
the courteous knight, rescue the unfortunate and
afflicted fair one from the hands of the rude ravishers,
conduct her to Front-de-B<oe>uf's Castle, or to
Normandy, if it should be necessary, and produce
her not again to her kindred until she be the bride
and dame of Maurice de Bracy.''

``A marvellously sage plan,'' said Fitzurse, ``and,
as I think, not entirely of thine own device.---Come,
be frank, De Bracy, who aided thee in the invention?
and who is to assist in the execution? for,
as I think, thine own band lies as far of as York.''

``Marry, if thou must needs know,'' said De
Bracy, ``it was the Templar Brian de Bois-Guilbert
that shaped out the enterprise, which the adventure
of the men of Benjamin suggested to me.
He is to aid me in the onslaught, and he and his
followers will personate the outlaws, from whom
my valorous arm is, after changing my garb, to
rescue the lady.''

``By my halidome,'' said Fitzurse, ``the plan
was worthy of your united wisdom! and thy prudence,
De Bracy, is most especially manifested in
the project of leaving the lady in the hands of thy
worthy confederate. Thou mayst, I think, succeed
in taking her from her Saxon friends, but how thou
wilt rescue her afterwards from the clutches of
Bois-Guilbert seems considerably more doubtful
---He is a falcon well accustomed to pounce on a
partridge, and to hold his prey fast.''

``He is a Templar,'' said De Bracy, ``and cannot
therefore rival me in my plan of wedding this
heiress;---and to attempt aught dishonourable
against the intended bride of De Bracy---By Heaven!
were he a whole Chapter of his Order in his
single person, he dared not do me such an injury!''

``Then since nought that I can say,'' said Fitzurse,
``will put this folly from thy imagination,
(for well I know the obstinacy of thy disposition,)
at least waste as little time as possible---let not thy
folly be lasting as well as untimely.''

``I tell thee,'' answered De Bracy, ``that it will
be the work of a few hours, and I shall be at York---
at the head of my daring and valorous fellows, as
ready to support any bold design as thy policy can
be to form one.---But I hear my comrades assembling,
and the steeds stamping and neighing in the
outer court.---Farewell.---I go, like a true knight,
to win the smiles of beauty.''

``Like a true knight?'' repeated Fitzurse, looking
after him; ``like a fool, I should say, or like
a child, who will leave the most serious and needful
occupation, to chase the down of the thistle that
drives past him.---But it is with such tools that I
must work;---and for whose advantage?---For that
of a Prince as unwise as he is profligate, and as
likely to be an ungrateful master as he has already
proved a rebellious son and an unnatural brother.
---But he---he, too, is but one of the tools with
which I labour; and, proud as he is, should he presume
to separate his interest from mine, this is a
secret which he shall soon learn.''

The meditations of the statesman were here interrupted
by the voice of the Prince from an interior
apartment, calling out, ``Noble Waldemar
Fitzurse!'' and, with bonnet doffed, the future
Chancellor (for to such high preferment did the
wily Norman aspire) hastened to receive the orders
of the future sovereign.




CHAPTER XVI


Far in a wild, unknown to public view,
From youth to age a reverend hermit grew;
The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell,
His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well
Remote from man, with God he pass'd his days,
Prayer all his business---all his pleasure praise.
_Parnell._


The reader cannot have forgotten that the event
of the tournament was decided by the exertions of
an unknown knight, whom, on account of the passive
and indifferent conduct which he had manifested
on the former part of the day, the spectators
had entitled, _Le Noir Faineant_. This knight had
left the field abruptly when the victory was achieved;
and when he was called upon to receive the
reward of his valour, he was nowhere to be found.
In the meantime, while summoned by heralds and
by trumpets, the knight was holding his course
northward, avoiding all frequented paths, and taking
the shortest road through the woodlands. He
paused for the night at a small hostelry lying out
of the ordinary route, where, however, he obtained
from a wandering minstrel news of the event of the
tourney.

On the next morning the knight departed early,
with the intention of making a long journey; the
condition of his horse, which he had carefully spared
during the preceding morning, being such as enabled
him to travel far without the necessity of much
repose. Yet his purpose was baffled by the devious
paths through which he rode, so that when evening
closed upon him, he only found himself on the
frontiers of the West Riding of Yorkshire. By
this time both horse and man required refreshment,
and it became necessary, moreover, to look out for
some place in which they might spend the night,
which was now fast approaching.

The place where the traveller found himself
seemed unpropitious for obtaining either shelter or
refreshment, and he was likely to be reduced to the
usual expedient of knights-errant, who, on such occasions,
turned their horses to graze, and laid themselves
down to meditate on their lady-mistress, with
an oak-tree for a canopy. But the Black Knight
either had no mistress to meditate upon, or, being
as indifferent in love as he seemed to be in war,
was not sufficiently occupied by passionate reflections
upon her beauty and cruelty, to be able to
parry the effects of fatigue and hunger, and suffer
love to act as a substitute for the solid comforts of
a bed and supper. He felt dissatisfied, therefore,
when, looking around, he found himself deeply involved
in woods, through which indeed there were
many open glades, and some paths, but such as
seemed only formed by the numerous herds of cattle
which grazed in the forest, or by the animals of
chase, and the hunters who made prey of them.

The sun, by which the knight had chiefly directed
his course, had now sunk behind the Derbyshire
hills on his left, and every effort which he
might make to pursue his journey was as likely to
lead him out of his road as to advance him on his
route. After having in vain endeavoured to select
the most beaten path, in hopes it might lead to the
cottage of some herdsman, or the silvan lodge of
a forester, and having repeatedly found himself
totally unable to determine on a choice, the knight
resolved to trust to the sagacity of his horse; experience
having, on former occasions, made him
acquainted with the wonderful talent possessed by
these animals for extricating themselves and their
riders on such emergencies.

The good steed, grievously fatigued with so long
a day's journey under a rider cased in mail, had no
sooner found, by the slackened reins, that he was
abandoned to his own guidance, than he seemed to
assume new strength and spirit; and whereas, formerly
he had scarce replied to the spur, otherwise
than by a groan, he now, as if proud of the confidence
reposed in him, pricked up his ears, and assumed,
of his own accord, a more lively motion.
The path which the animal adopted rather turned
off from the course pursued by the knight during
the day; but as the horse seemed confident in his
choice, the rider abandoned himself to his discretion.

He was justified by the event; for the footpath
soon after appeared a little wider and more worn,
and the tinkle of a small bell gave the knight to understand
that he was in the vicinity of some chapel or hermitage.

Accordingly, he soon reached an open plat of
turf, on the opposite side of which, a rock, rising
abruptly from a gently sloping plain, offered its
grey and weatherbeaten front to the traveller. Ivy
mantled its sides in some places, and in others oaks
and holly bushes, whose roots found nourishment in
the cliffs of the crag, waved over the precipices below,
like the plumage of the warrior over his steel
helmet, giving grace to that whose chief expression
was terror. At the bottom of the rock, and leaning,
as it were, against it, was constructed a rude
hut, built chiefly of the trunks of trees felled in the
neighbouring forest, and secured against the weather
by having its crevices stuffed with moss mingled
with clay. The stem of a young fir-tree lopped
of its branches, with a piece of wood tied across
near the top, was planted upright by the door, as
a rude emblem of the holy cross. At a little distance
on the right hand, a fountain of the purest
water trickled out of the rock, and was received in
a hollow stone, which labour had formed into a
rustic basin. Escaping from thence, the stream
murmured down the descent by a channel which
its course had long worn, and so wandered through
the little plain to lose itself in the neighbouring wood.

Beside this fountain were the ruins of a very
small chapel, of which the roof had partly fallen in.
The building, when entire, had never been above
sixteen feet long by twelve feet in breadth, and the
roof, low in proportion, rested upon four concentric
arches which sprung from the four corners of the
building, each supported upon a short and heavy
pillar. The ribs of two of these arches remained,
though the roof had fallen down betwixt them;
over the others it remained entire. The entrance
to this ancient place of devotion was under a very
low round arch, ornamented by several courses of
that zig-zag moulding, resembling shark's teeth,
which appears so often in the more ancient Saxon
architecture. A belfry rose above the porch on
four small pillars, within which hung the green and
weatherbeaten bell, the feeble sounds of which had
been some time before heard by the Black Knight.

The whole peaceful and quiet scene lay glimmering
in twilight before the eyes of the traveller,
giving him good assurance of lodging for the night;
since it was a special duty of those hermits who
dwelt in the woods, to exercise hospitality towards
benighted or bewildered passengers.

Accordingly, the knight took no time to consider
minutely the particulars which we have detailed,
but thanking Saint Julian (the patron of travellers)
who had sent him good harbourage, he leaped
from his horse and assailed the door of the hermitage
with the butt of his lance, in order to arouse attention
and gain admittance.

It was some time before he obtained any answer,
and the reply, when made, was unpropitious.

``Pass on, whosoever thou art,'' was the answer
given by a deep hoarse voice from within the hut,
``and disturb not the servant of God and St Dunstan
in his evening devotions.''

``Worthy father,'' answered the knight,
``here is a poor wanderer bewildered in these woods,
who gives thee the opportunity of exercising
thy charity and hospitality.''

``Good brother,'' replied the inhabitant of the
hermitage, ``it has pleased Our Lady and St Dunstan
to destine me for the object of those virtues,
instead of the exercise thereof. I have no provisions
here which even a dog would share with me,
and a horse of any tenderness of nurture would despise
my couch---pass therefore on thy way, and God speed thee.''

``But how,'' replied the knight, ``is it possible for
me to find my way through such a wood as this,
when darkness is coming on? I pray you, reverend
father as you are a Christian, to undo your door,
and at least point out to me my road.''

``And I pray you, good Christian brother,'' replied
the anchorite, ``to disturb me no more. You
have already interrupted one _pater_, two _aves_, and a
_credo_, which I, miserable sinner that I am, should,
according to my vow, have said before moonrise.''

``The road---the road!'' vociferated the knight,
``give me directions for the road, if I am to expect
no more from thee.''

``The road,'' replied the hermit, ``is easy to hit.
The path from the wood leads to a morass, and
from thence to a ford, which, as the rains have abated,
may now be passable. When thou hast crossed
the ford, thou wilt take care of thy footing up
the left bank, as it is somewhat precipitous; and
the path, which hangs over the river, has lately, as
I learn, (for I seldom leave the duties of my chapel,)
given way in sundry places. Thou wilt then
keep straight forward''

``A broken path---a precipice---a ford, and a
morass!'' said the knight interrupting him,---``Sir
Hermit, if you were the holiest that ever wore
beard or told bead, you shall scarce prevail on me
to hold this road to-night. I tell thee, that thou,
who livest by the charity of the country---ill deserved,
as I doubt it is---hast no right to refuse
shelter to the wayfarer when in distress.
Either open the door quickly, or, by the rood,
I will beat it down and make entry for myself.''

``Friend wayfarer,'' replied the hermit, ``be not
importunate; if thou puttest me to use the carnal
weapon in mine own defence, it will be e'en the
worse for you.''

At this moment a distant noise of barking and
growling, which the traveller had for some time
heard, became extremely loud and furious, and
made the knight suppose that the hermit, alarmed
by his threat of making forcible entry, had called
the dogs who made this clamour to aid him in his
defence, out of some inner recess in which they had
been kennelled. Incensed at this preparation on
the hermit's part for making good his inhospitable
purpose, the knight struck the door so furiously
with his foot, that posts as well as staples shook
with violence.

The anchorite, not caring again to expose his
door to a similar shock, now called out aloud,
``Patience, patience---spare thy strength, good traveller,
and I will presently undo the door, though, it may
be, my doing so will be little to thy pleasure.''

The door accordingly was opened; and the hermit,
a large, strong-built man, in his sackcloth
gown and hood, girt with a rope of rushes, stood
before the knight. He had in one hand a lighted
torch, or link, and in the other a baton of crab-tree,
so thick and heavy, that it might well be termed
a club. Two large shaggy dogs, half greyhound
half mastiff, stood ready to rush upon the traveller
as soon as the door should be opened. But when
the torch glanced upon the lofty crest and golden
spurs of the knight, who stood without, the hermit,
altering probably his original intentions, repressed
the rage of his auxiliaries, and, changing his tone
to a sort of churlish courtesy, invited the knight to
enter his hut, making excuse for his unwillingness
to open his lodge after sunset, by alleging the
multitude of robbers and outlaws who were abroad,
and who gave no honour to Our Lady or St Dunstan,
nor to those holy men who spent life in their service.

``The poverty of your cell, good father,'' said the
knight, looking around him, and seeing nothing
but a bed of leaves, a crucifix rudely carved in oak,
a missal, with a rough-hewn table and two stools,
and one or two clumsy articles of furniture---``the
poverty of your cell should seem a sufficient defence
against any risk of thieves, not to mention
the aid of two trusty dogs, large and strong enough,
I think, to pull down a stag, and of course, to
match with most men.''

``The good keeper of the forest,'' said the hermit,
``hath allowed me the use of these animals,
to protect my solitude until the times shall mend.''

Having said this, he fixed his torch in a twisted
branch of iron which served for a candlestick; and,
placing the oaken trivet before the embers of the
fire, which he refreshed with some dry wood, he
placed a stool upon one side of the table, and beckoned
to the knight to do the same upon the other.

They sat down, and gazed with great gravity at
each other, each thinking in his heart that he had
seldom seen a stronger or more athletic figure than
was placed opposite to him.

``Reverend hermit,'' said the knight, after looking
long and fixedly at his host, ``were it not to
interrupt your devout meditations, I would pray
to know three things of your holiness; first, where
I am to put my horse?---secondly, what I can have
for supper?---thirdly, where I am to take up my
couch for the night?''

``I will reply to you,'' said the hermit, ``with
my finger, it being against my rule to speak by
words where signs can answer the purpose.'' So
saying, he pointed successively to two corners of
the hut. ``Your stable,'' said he, ``is there---your
bed there; and,'' reaching down a platter with two
handfuls of parched pease upon it from the neighbouring
shelf, and placing it upon the table, he added,
``your supper is here.''

The knight shrugged his shoulders, and leaving
the hut, brought in his horse, (which in the interim
he had fastened to a tree,) unsaddled him with
much attention, and spread upon the steed's weary
back his own mantle.

The hermit was apparently somewhat moved to
compassion by the anxiety as well as address which
the stranger displayed in tending his horse; for,
muttering something about provender left for the
keeper's palfrey, he dragged out of a recess a bundle
of forage, which he spread before the knight's
charger, and immediately afterwards shook down a
quantity of dried fern in the corner which he had
assigned for the rider's couch. The knight returned
him thanks for his courtesy; and, this duty done,
both resumed their seats by the table, whereon
stood the trencher of pease placed between them.
The hermit, after a long grace, which had once been
Latin, but of which original language few traces remained,
excepting here and there the long rolling
termination of some word or phrase, set example
to his guest, by modestly putting into a very large
mouth, furnished with teeth which might have
ranked with those of a boar both in sharpness and
whiteness, some three or four dried pease, a miserable
grist as it seemed for so large and able a mill.

The knight, in order to follow so laudable an example,
laid aside his helmet, his corslet, and the
greater part of his armour, and showed to the hermit
a head thick-curled with yellow hair, high features,
blue eyes, remarkably bright and sparkling,
a mouth well formed, having an upper lip clothed
with mustachoes darker than his hair, and bearing
altogether the look of a bold, daring, and enterprising
man, with which his strong form well corresponded.

The hermit, as if wishing to answer to the confidence
of his guest, threw back his cowl, and showed
a round bullet head belonging to a man in the prime
of life. His close-shaven crown, surrounded by a
circle of stiff curled black hair, had something the
appearance of a parish pinfold begirt by its high
hedge. The features expressed nothing of monastic
austerity, or of ascetic privations; on the contrary,
it was a bold bluff countenance, with broad black
eyebrows, a well-turned forehead, and cheeks as
round and vermilion as those of a trumpeter, from
which descended a long and curly black beard. Such.
a visage, joined to the brawny form of the holy man,
spoke rather of sirloins and haunches, than of pease
and pulse. This incongruity did not escape the guest.
After he had with great difficulty accomplished
the mastication of a mouthful of the dried
pease, he found it absolutely necessary to request
his pious entertainer to furnish him with some liquor;
who replied to his request by placing before
him a large can of the purest water from the fountain.

``It is from the well of St Dunstan,'' said he,
``in which, betwixt sun and sun, he baptized five
hundred heathen Danes and Britons---blessed be
his name!'' And applying his black beard to the
pitcher, he took a draught much more moderate in
quantity than his encomium seemed to warrant.

``It seems to me, reverend father,'' said the
knight, ``that the small morsels which you eat, together
with this holy, but somewhat thin beverage,
have thriven with you marvellously. You appear
a man more fit to win the ram at a wrestling match,
or the ring at a bout at quarter-staff, or the bucklers
at a sword-play, than to linger out your time
in this desolate wilderness, saying masses, and living
upon parched pease and cold water.''

``Sir Knight,'' answered the hermit, ``your
thoughts, like those of the ignorant laity, are according
to the flesh. It has pleased Our Lady and
my patron saint to bless the pittance to which I restrain
myself, even as the pulse and water was blessed
to the children Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego,
who drank the same rather than defile themselves
with the wine and meats which were appointed
them by the King of the Saracens.''

``Holy father,'' said the knight, ``upon whose
countenance it hath pleased Heaven to work such
a miracle, permit a sinful layman to crave thy
name?''

``Thou mayst call me,'' answered the hermit,
``the Clerk of Copmanhurst, for so I am termed in
these parts---They add, it is true, the epithet holy,
but I stand not upon that, as being unworthy of
such addition.---And now, valiant knight, may I
pray ye for the name of my honourable guest?''

``Truly,'' said the knight, ``Holy Clerk of Copmanhurst,
men call me in these parts the Black
Knight,---many, sir, add to it the epithet of Sluggard,
whereby I am no way ambitious to be distinguished.''

The hermit could scarcely forbear from smiling
at his guest's reply.

``I see,'' said he, ``Sir Sluggish Knight, that
thou art a man of prudence and of counsel; and
moreover, I see that my poor monastic fare likes
thee not, accustomed, perhaps, as thou hast been,
to the license of courts and of camps, and the luxuries
of cities; and now I bethink me, Sir Sluggard,
that when the charitable keeper of this forest-walk
left those dogs for my protection, and also those
bundles of forage, he left me also some food, which,
being unfit for my use, the very recollection of it
had escaped me amid my more weighty meditations.''

``I dare be sworn he did so,'' said the knight; ``I
was convinced that there was better food in the cell,
Holy Clerk, since you first doffed your cowl.---Your
keeper is ever a jovial fellow; and none who beheld
thy grinders contending with these pease, and
thy throat flooded with this ungenial element, could
see thee doomed to such horse-provender and horse-beverage,''
(pointing to the provisions upon the
table,) `` and refrain from mending thy cheer. Let
us see the keeper's bounty, therefore, without delay.''

The hermit cast a wistful look upon the knight,
in which there was a sort of comic expression of
hesitation, as if uncertain how far be should act prudently
in trusting his guest. There was, however,
as much of bold frankness in the knight's countenance
as was possible to be expressed by features.
His smile, too, had something in it irresistibly comic,
and gave an assurance of faith and loyalty, with
which his host could not refrain from sympathizing.

After exchanging a mute glance or two, the hermit
went to the further side of the hut, and opened
a hutch, which was concealed with great care
and some ingenuity. Out of the recesses of a dark
closet, into which this aperture gave admittance, he
brought a large pasty, baked in a pewter platter of
unusual dimensions. This mighty dish he placed
before his guest, who, using his poniard to cut it
open, lost no time in making himself acquainted
with its contents.

``How long is it since the good keeper has been
here?'' said the knight to his host, after having
swallowed several hasty morsels of this reinforcement
to the hermit's good cheer.

``About two months,'' answered the father hastily.

``By the true Lord,'' answered the knight,
``every thing in your hermitage is miraculous,
Holy Clerk! for I would have been sworn that the
fat buck which furnished this venison had been running
on foot within the week.''

The hermit was somewhat discountenanced by
this observation; and, moreover, he made but a
poor figure while gazing on the diminution of the
pasty, on which his guest was making desperate inroads;
a warfare in which his previous profession
of abstinence left him no pretext for joining.

``I have been in Palestine, Sir Clerk,'' said the
knight, stopping short of a sudden, ``and I bethink
me it is a custom there that every host who entertains
a guest shall assure him of the wholesomeness
of his food, by partaking of it along with him. Far
be it from me to suspect so holy a man of aught
inhospitable; nevertheless I will be highly bound
to you would you comply with this Eastern custom.''

``To ease your unnecessary scruples, Sir Knight,
I will for once depart from my rule,'' replied the
hermit. And as there were no forks in those days,
his clutches were instantly in the bowels of the
pasty.

The ice of ceremony being once broken, it seemed
matter of rivalry between the guest and the entertainer
which should display the best appetite;
and although the former had probably fasted longest,
yet the hermit fairly surpassed him.

``Holy Clerk,'' said the knight, when his hunger
was appeased, ``I would gage my good horse yonder
against a zecchin, that that same honest keeper
to whom we are obliged for the venison has left
thee a stoup of wine, or a reinlet of canary, or some
such trifle, by way of ally to this noble pasty. This
would be a circumstance, doubtless, totally unworthy
to dwell in the memory of so rigid an anchorite;
yet, I think, were you to search yonder crypt once
more, you would find that I am right in my conjecture.''

The hermit only replied by a grin; and returning
to the hutch, he produced a leathern bottle,
which might contain about four quarts. He also
brought forth two large drinking cups, made out of
the horn of the urus, and hooped with silver. Having
made this goodly provision for washing down
the supper, he seemed to think no farther ceremonious
scruple necessary on his part; but filling
both cups, and saying, in the Saxon fashion, ``_Waes
hael_, Sir Sluggish Knight!'' he emptied his own at
a draught.

``_Drink hael_, Holy Clerk of Copmanhurst!''
answered the warrior, and did his host reason in a
similar brimmer.

``Holy Clerk,'' said the stranger, after the first
cup was thus swallowed, ``I cannot but marvel that
a man possessed of such thews and sinews as thine,
and who therewithal shows the talent of so goodly
a trencher-man, should think of abiding by himself
in this wilderness. In my judgment, you are fitter
to keep a castle or a fort, eating of the fat and drinking
of the strong, than to live here upon pulse and
water, or even upon the charity of the keeper. At
least, were I as thou, I should find myself both disport
and plenty out of the king's deer. There is
many a goodly herd in these forests, and a buck
will never be missed that goes to the use of Saint
Dunstan's chaplain.''

``Sir Sluggish Knight,'' replied the Clerk, ``these
are dangerous words, and I pray you to forbear
them. I am true hermit to the king and law, and
were I to spoil my liege's game, I should be sure
of the prison, and, an my gown saved me not, were
in some peril of hanging.''

``Nevertheless, were I as thou,'' said the knight,
``I would take my walk by moonlight, when foresters
and keepers were warm in bed, and ever and
anon,---as I pattered my prayers,---I would let fly
a shaft among the herds of dun deer that feed in the
glades---Resolve me, Holy Clerk, hast thou never
practised such a pastime?''

``Friend Sluggard,'' answered the hermit, ``thou
hast seen all that can concern thee of my housekeeping,
and something more than he deserves who
takes up his quarters by violence. Credit me, it is
better to enjoy the good which God sends thee,
than to be impertinently curious how it comes.
Fill thy cup, and welcome; and do not, I pray thee,
by further impertinent enquiries, put me to show
that thou couldst hardly have made good thy lodging
had I been earnest to oppose thee.''

``By my faith,'' said the knight, ``thou makest
me more curious than ever! Thou art the most
mysterious hermit I ever met; and I will know
more of thee ere we part. As for thy threats,
know, holy man, thou speakest to one whose trade
it is to find out danger wherever it is to be met
with.''

`Sir Sluggish Knight, I drink to thee,'' said the
hermit; ``respecting thy valour much, but deeming
wondrous slightly of thy discretion. If thou wilt
take equal arms with me, I will give thee, in all
friendship and brotherly love, such sufficing penance
and complete absolution, that thou shalt not for the
next twelve months sin the sin of excess of curiosity.''

The knight pledged him, and desired him to
name his weapons.

``There is none,'' replied the hermit, ``from the
scissors of Delilah, and the tenpenny nail of Jael,
to the scimitar of Goliath, at which I am not a
match for thee---But, if I am to make the election,
what sayst thou, good friend, to these trinkets?''

Thus speaking, he opened another hutch, and
took out from it a couple of broadswords and bucklers,
such as were used by the yeomanry of the
period. The knight, who watched his motions, observed
that this second place of concealment was
furnished with two or three good long-bows, a cross-bow,
a bundle of bolts for the latter, and half-a-dozen
sheaves of arrows for the former. A harp, and
other matters of a very uncanonical appearance,
were also visible when this dark recess was opened.

``I promise thee, brother Clerk,'' said he, ``I
will ask thee no more offensive questions. The contents
of that cupboard are an answer to all my enquiries;
and I see a weapon there'' (here be stooped
and took out the harp) ``on which I would more
gladly prove my skill with thee, than at the sword
and buckler.''

``I hope, Sir Knight,'' said the hermit, ``thou
hast given no good reason for thy surname of the
Sluggard. I do promise thee I suspect thee grievously.
Nevertheless, thou art my guest, and I will
not put thy manhood to the proof without thine
own free will. Sit thee down, then, and fill thy
cup; let us drink, sing, and be merry. If thou
knowest ever a good lay, thou shalt be welcome to
a nook of pasty at Copmanhurst so long as I serve
the chapel of St. Dunstan, which, please God, shall
be till I change my grey covering for one of green
turf. But come, fill a flagon, for it will crave some
time to tune the harp; and nought pitches the
voice and sharpens the ear like a cup of wine. For
my part, I love to feel the grape at my very finger-ends
before they make the harp-strings tinkle.''*

* The Jolly Hermit.---All readers, however slightly acquainted
* with black letter, must recognise in the Clerk of Copmanhurst,
* Friar Tuck, the buxom Confessor of Robin Hood's
* gang, the Curtal Friar of Fountain's Abbey.




CHAPTER XVII


At eve, within yon studious nook,
I ope my brass-embossed book,
Portray'd with many a holy deed
Of martyrs crown'd with heavenly meed;
Then, as my taper waxes dim,
Chant, ere I sleep, my measured hymn.
<*> <*> <*> <*>
Who but would cast his pomp away,
To take my staff and amice grey,
And to the world's tumultuous stage,
Prefer the peaceful Hermitage?
Warton


Notwithstanding the prescription of the genial
hermit, with which his guest willingly complied,
he found it no easy matter to bring the harp
to harmony.

``Methinks, holy father,'' said he, ``the instrument
wants one string, and the rest have been somewhat
misused.''

``Ay, mark'st thou that?'' replied the hermit;
``that shows thee a master of the craft. Wine and
wassail,'' he added, gravely casting up his eyes---
``all the fault of wine and wassail!---I told Allan
a-Dale, the northern minstrel, that he would damage
the harp if he touched it after the seventh cup,
but he would not be controlled---Friend, I drink to
thy successful performance.''

So saying, he took off his cup with much gravity,
at the same time shaking his head at the intemperance
of the Scottish harper.

The knight in the meantime, had brought the
strings into some order, and after a short prelude,
asked his host whether he would choose a _sirvente_
in the language of _oc_, or a _lai_ in the language of
_oui_, or a _virelai_, or a ballad in the vulgar English.*

* Note C. Minstrelsy.

``A ballad, a ballad,'' said the hermit, ``against
all the _ocs_ and _ouis_ of France. Downright English
am I, Sir Knight, and downright English was
my patron St Dunstan, and scorned _oc_ and _oui_, as
he would have scorned the parings of the devil's
hoof---downright English alone shall be sung in
this cell.''

``I will assay, then,'' said the knight, ``a ballad
composed by a Saxon glee-man, whom I knew in
Holy Land.''

It speedily appeared, that if the knight was not
a complete master of the minstrel art, his taste for
it had at least been cultivated under the best instructors.
Art had taught him to soften the faults
of a voice which had little compass, and was naturally
rough rather than mellow, and, in short, had
done all that culture can do in supplying natural deficiencies.
His performance, therefore, might have
been termed very respectable by abler judges than
the hermit, especially as the knight threw into the
notes now a degree of spirit, and now of plaintive
enthusiasm, which gave force and energy to the
verses which he sung.

THE CRUSADER'S RETURN.

1.

High deeds achieved of knightly fame,
From Palestine the champion came;
The cross upon his shoulders borne,
Battle and blast had dimm'd and torn.
Each dint upon his batter'd shield
Was token of a foughten field;
And thus, beneath his lady's bower,
He sung as fell the twilight hour:---

2.

``Joy to the fair!---thy knight behold,
Return'd from yonder land of gold;
No wealth he brings, nor wealth can need,
Save his good arms and battle-steed
His spurs, to dash against a foe,
His lance and sword to lay him low;
Such all the trophies of his toil,
Such---and the hope of Tekla's smile!

3.

``Joy to the fair! whose constant knight
Her favour fired to feats of might;
Unnoted shall she not remain,
Where meet the bright and noble train;
Minstrel shall sing and herald tell---
`Mark yonder maid of beauty well,
'Tis she for whose bright eyes were won
The listed field at Askalon!

4.

`` `Note well her smile!---it edged the blade
Which fifty wives to widows made,
When, vain his strength and Mahound's spell,
Iconium's turban'd Soldan fell.
Seest thou her locks, whose sunny glow
Half shows, half shades, her neck of snow?
Twines not of them one golden thread,
But for its sake a Paynim bled.'
5.

``Joy to the fair!---my name unknown,
Each deed, and all its praise thine own
Then, oh! unbar this churlish gate,
The night dew falls, the hour is late.
Inured to Syria's glowing breath,
I feel the north breeze chill as death;
Let grateful love quell maiden shame,
And grant him bliss who brings thee fame.''

During this performance, the hermit demeaned
himself much like a first-rate critic of the present
day at a new opera. He reclined back upon his
seat, with his eyes half shut; now, folding his
hands and twisting his thumbs, he seemed absorbed
in attention, and anon, balancing his expanded
palms, he gently flourished them in time to the
music. At one or two favourite cadences, he threw
in a little assistance of his own, where the knight's
voice seemed unable to carry the air so high as his
worshipful taste approved. When the song was
ended, the anchorite emphatically declared it a good
one, and well sung.

``And yet,'' said he, ``I think my Saxon countrymen
had herded long enough with the Normans,
to fall into the tone of their melancholy ditties.
What took the honest knight from home? or what
could he expect but to find his mistress agreeably
engaged with a rival on his return, and his serenade,
as they call it, as little regarded as the caterwauling
of a cat in the gutter? Nevertheless, Sir Knight,
I drink this cup to thee, to the success of all true
lovers---I fear you are none,'' he added, on observing
that the knight (whose brain began to be heated
with these repeated draughts) qualified his flagon
from the water pitcher.

``Why,'' said the knight, ``did you not tell me
that this water was from the well of your blessed
patron, St Dunstan?''

``Ay, truly,'' said the hermit, ``and many a hundred
of pagans did he baptize there, but I never
heard that he drank any of it. Every thing should
be put to its proper use in this world. St Dunstan
knew, as well as any one, the prerogatives of a jovial
friar.''

And so saying, he reached the harp, and entertained
his guest with the following characteristic
song, to a sort of derry-down chorus, appropriate
to an old English ditty.*

* It may be proper to remind the reader, that the chorus of
* ``derry down'' is supposed to be as ancient, not only as the times
* of the Heptarchy, but as those of the Druids, and to have furnished
* the chorus to the hymns of those venerable persons when
* they went to the wood to gather mistletoe.


THE BAREFOOTED FRIAR.

1.

I'll give thee, good fellow, a twelvemonth or twain,
To search Europe through, from Byzantium to Spain;
But ne'er shall you find, should you search till you tire,
So happy a man as the Barefooted Friar.

2.

Your knight for his lady pricks forth in career,
And is brought home at even-song prick'd through with a spear;
I confess him in haste---for his lady desires
No comfort on earth save the Barefooted Friar's.

3.

Your monarch?---Pshaw! many a prince has been known
To barter his robes for our cowl and our gown,
But which of us e'er felt the idle desire
To exchange for a crown the grey hood of a Friar!

4.

The Friar has walk'd out, and where'er he has gone,
The land and its fatness is mark'd for his own;
He can roam where he lists, he can stop when he tires,
For every man's house is the Barefooted Friar's.

5.

He's expected at noon, and no wight till he comes
May profane the great chair, or the porridge of plums
For the best of the cheer, and the seat by the fire,
Is the undenied right of the Barefooted Friar.

6.

He's expected at night, and the pasty's made hot,
They broach the brown ale, and they fill the black pot,
And the goodwife would wish the goodman in the mire,
Ere he lack'd a soft pillow, the Barefooted Friar.

7.

Long flourish the sandal, the cord, and the cope,
The dread of the devil and trust of the Pope;
For to gather life's roses, unscathed by the briar,
Is granted alone to the Barefooted Friar.


``By my troth,'' said the knight, ``thou hast
sung well and lustily, and in high praise of thine
order. And, talking of the devil, Holy Clerk, are
you not afraid that he may pay you a visit daring
some of your uncanonical pastimes?''

``I uncanonical!'' answered the hermit; ``I
scorn the charge---I scorn it with my heels!---I
serve the duty of my chapel duly and truly---Two
masses daily, morning and evening, primes, noons,
and vespers, _aves, credos, paters_------''

``Excepting moonlight nights, when the venison
is in season,'' said his guest.

``_Exceptis excipiendis_,'' replied the hermit, ``as
our old abbot taught me to say, when impertinent
laymen should ask me if I kept every punctilio of
mine order.''

``True, holy father,'' said the knight; ``but the
devil is apt to keep an eye on such exceptions; he
goes about, thou knowest, like a roaring lion.''

``Let him roar here if he dares,'' said the friar;
``a touch of my cord will make him roar as loud
as the tongs of St Dunstan himself did. I never
feared man, and I as little fear the devil and his
imps. Saint Dunstan, Saint Dubric, Saint Winibald,
Saint Winifred, Saint Swibert, Saint Willick,
not forgetting Saint Thomas a Kent, and my own
poor merits to speed, I defy every devil of them,
come cut and long tail.---But to let you into a secret,
I never speak upon such subjects, my friend,
until after morning vespers.''

He changed the conversation; fast and furious
grew the mirth of the parties, and many a song
was exchanged betwixt them, when their revels
were interrupted by a loud knocking at the door
of the hermitage.

The occasion of this interruption we can only
explain by resuming the adventures of another set
of our characters; for, like old Ariosto, we do not
pique ourselves upon continuing uniformly to keep
company with any one personage of our drama.




CHAPTER XVIII


Away! our journey lies through dell and dingle,
Where the blithe fawn trips by its timid mother,
Where the broad oak, with intercepting boughs,
Chequers the sunbeam in the green-sward alley---
Up and away!---for lovely paths are these
To tread, when the glad Sun is on his throne
Less pleasant, and less safe, when Cynthia's lamp
With doubtful glimmer lights the dreary forest.
_Ettrick Forest._

When Cedric the Saxon saw his son drop down
senseless in the lists at Ashby, his first impulse
was to order him into the custody and care of his
own attendants, but the words choked in his throat.
He could not bring himself to acknowledge, in presence
of such an assembly, the son whom he had
renounced and disinherited. He ordered, however,
Oswald to keep an eye upon him; and directed
that officer, with two of his serfs, to convey Ivanhoe
to Ashby as soon as the crowd had dispersed.
Oswald, however, was anticipated in this good office.
The crowd dispersed, indeed, but the knight
was nowhere to be seen.

It was in vain that Cedric's cupbearer looked
around for his young master---he saw the bloody
spot on which he had lately sunk down, but himself
he saw no longer; it seemed as if the fairies
had conveyed him from the spot. Perhaps Oswald
(for the Saxons were very superstitious) might have
adopted some such hypothesis, to account for Ivanhoe's
disappearance, had he not suddenly cast his
eye upon a person attired like a squire, in whom he
recognised the features of his fellow-servant Gurth.
Anxious concerning his master's fate, and in despair
at his sudden disappearance, the translated swineherd
was searching for him everywhere, and had
neglected, in doing so, the concealment on which his
own safety depended. Oswald deemed it his duty
to secure Gurth, as a fugitive of whose fate his master
was to judge.

Renewing his enquiries concerning the fate of
Ivanhoe, the only information which the cupbearer
could collect from the bystanders was, that the
knight had been raised with care by certain well-attired
grooms, and placed in a litter belonging to
a lady among the spectators, which had immediately
transported him out of the press. Oswald, on
receiving this intelligence, resolved to return to his
master for farther instructions, carrying along with
him Gurth, whom he considered in some sort as a
deserter from the service of Cedric.

The Saxon had been under very intense and
agonizing apprehensions concerning his son; for Nature
had asserted her rights, in spite of the patriotic
stoicism which laboured to disown her. But no
sooner was he informed that Ivanhoe was in careful,
and probably in friendly hands, than the paternal
anxiety which had been excited by the dubiety
of his fate, gave way anew to the feeling of injured
pride and resentment, at what he termed
Wilfred's filial disobedience. ``Let him wander
his way,'' said he---``let those leech his wounds for
whose sake he encountered them. He is fitter to
do the juggling tricks of the Norman chivalry than
to maintain the fame and honour of his English ancestry
with the glaive and brown-bill, the good old
weapons of his country.''

``If to maintain the honour of ancestry,'' said
Rowena, who was present, ``it is sufficient to be
wise in council and brave in execution---to be boldest
among the bold, and gentlest among the gentle,
I know no voice, save his father's------''

``Be silent, Lady Rowena!---on this subject only
I hear you not. Prepare yourself for the Prince's
festival: we have been summoned thither with unwonted
circumstance of honour and of courtesy,
such as the haughty Normans have rarely used to
our race since the fatal day of Hastings. Thither
will I go, were it only to show these proud Normans
how little the fate of a son, who could defeat
their bravest, can affect a Saxon.''

``Thither,'' said Rowena, ``do I =not= go; and
I pray you to beware, lest what you mean for courage
and constancy, shall be accounted hardness of
heart.''

``Remain at home, then, ungrateful lady,'' answered
Cedric; ``thine is the hard heart, which
can sacrifice the weal of an oppressed people to an
idle and unauthorized attachment. I seek the noble
Athelstane, and with him attend the banquet of
John of Anjou.''

He went accordingly to the banquet, of which
we have already mentioned the principal events.
Immediately upon retiring from the castle, the
Saxon thanes, with their attendants, took horse;
and it was during the bustle which attended their
doing so, that Cedric, for the first time, cast his
eyes upon the deserter Gurth. The noble Saxon
had returned from the banquet, as we have seen,
in no very placid humour, and wanted but a pretext
for wreaking his anger upon some one. ``The
gyves!'' he said, ``the gyves!---Oswald---Hundibert!---
Dogs and villains!---why leave ye the knave
unfettered?''
Without daring to remonstrate, the companions
of Gurth bound him with a halter, as the readiest
cord which occurred. He submitted to the operation
without remonstrance, except that, darting a
reproachful look at his master, he said, ``This
comes of loving your flesh and blood better than
mine own.''

``To horse, and forward!'' said Cedric.

``It is indeed full time,'' said the noble Athelstane;
``for, if we ride not the faster, the worthy
Abbot Waltheoff's preparations for a rere-supper*

* A rere-supper was a night-meal, and sometimes signified a
* collation, which was given at a late hour, after the regular supper
* had made its appearance. L. T.

will be altogether spoiled.''

The travellers, however, used such speed as to
reach the convent of St Withold's before the apprehended
evil took place. The Abbot, himself of
ancient Saxon descent, received the noble Saxons
with the profuse and exuberant hospitality of their
nation, wherein they indulged to a late, or rather
an early hour; nor did they take leave of their
reverend host the next morning until they had
shared with him a sumptuous refection.

As the cavalcade left the court of the monastery,
an incident happened somewhat alarming to,
the Saxons, who, of all people of Europe, were most
addicted to a superstitious observance of omens,
and to whose opinions can be traced most of those
notions upon such subjects, still to be found among
our popular antiquities. For the Normans being
a mixed race, and better informed according to the
information of the times, had lost most of the superstitious
prejudices which their ancestors had brought
from Scandinavia, and piqued themselves upon
thinking freely on such topics.

In the present instance, the apprehension of impending
evil was inspired by no less respectable a
prophet than a large lean black dog, which, sitting
upright, howled most piteously as the foremost
riders left the gate, and presently afterwards, barking
wildly, and jumping to and fro, seemed bent
upon attaching itself to the party.

``I like not that music, father Cedric,'' said Athelstane;
for by this title of respect he was accustomed
to address him.

``Nor I either, uncle,'' said Wamba; ``I greatly
fear we shall have to pay the piper.''

``In my mind,'' said Athelstane, upon whose
memory the Abbot's good ale (for Burton was already
famous for that genial liquor) had made a
favourable impression,---``in my mind we had better
turn back, and abide with the Abbot until the afternoon.
It is unlucky to travel where your path
is crossed by a monk, a hare, or a howling dog,
until you have eaten your next meal.''

``Away!'' said Cedric, impatiently; ``the day
is already too short for our journey. For the dog,
I know it to be the cur of the runaway slave Gurth,
a useless fugitive like its master.''

So saying, and rising at the same time in his
stirrups, impatient at the interruption of his journey,
he launched his javelin at poor Fangs---for
Fangs it was, who, having traced his master thus
far upon his stolen expedition, had here lost him,
and was now, in his uncouth way, rejoicing at his
reappearance. The javelin inflicted a wound upon
the animal's shoulder, and narrowly missed pinning
him to the earth; and Fangs fled howling from
the presence of the enraged thane. Gurth's heart
swelled within him; for he felt this meditated
slaughter of his faithful adherent in a degree much
deeper than the harsh treatment he had himself
received. Having in vain attempted to raise his
hand to his eyes, he said to Wamba, who, seeing
his master's ill humour had prudently retreated to
the rear, ``I pray thee, do me the kindness to wipe
my eyes with the skirt of thy mantle; the dust
offends me, and these bonds will not let me help
myself one way or another.''

Wamba did him the service he required, and
they rode side by side for some time, during which
Gurth maintained a moody silence. At length he
could repress his feelings no longer.

``Friend Wamba,'' said he, ``of all those who
are fools enough to serve Cedric, thou alone hast
dexterity enough to make thy folly acceptable to
him. Go to him, therefore, and tell him that neither
for love nor fear will Gurth serve him longer.
He may strike the head from me---he may scourge
me---he may load me with irons---but henceforth
he shall never compel me either to love or to obey
him. Go to him, then, and tell him that Gurth the
son of Beowulph renounces his service.''

``Assuredly,'' said Wamba, ``fool as I am, I
shall not do your fool's errand. Cedric hath another
javelin stuck into his girdle, and thou knowest he
does not always miss his mark.''

``I care not,'' replied Gurth, ``how soon he makes
a mark of me. Yesterday he left Wilfred, my young
master, in his blood. To-day he has striven to kill
before my face the only other living creature that
ever showed me kindness. By St Edmund, St
Dunstan, St Withold, St Edward the Confessor,
and every other Saxon saint in the calendar,'' (for
Cedric never swore by any that was not of Saxon
lineage, and all his household had the same limited
devotion,) ``I will never forgive him!''

``To my thinking now,'' said the Jester, who
was frequently wont to act as peace-maker in the
family, ``our master did not propose to hurt Fangs,
but only to affright him. For, if you observed, he
rose in his stirrups, as thereby meaning to overcast
the mark; and so he would have done, but Fangs
happening to bound up at the very moment, received
a scratch, which I will be bound to heal with
a penny's breadth of tar.''

``If I thought so,'' said Gurth---``if I could but
think so---but no---I saw the javelin was well aimed---
I heard it whizz through the air with all the
wrathful malevolence of him who cast it, and it
quivered after it had pitched in the ground, as if
with regret for having missed its mark. By the
hog dear to St Anthony, I renounce him!''

And the indignant swineherd resumed his sullen
silence, which no efforts of the Jester could again
induce him to break.

Meanwhile Cedric and Athelstane, the leaders
of the troop, conversed together on the state of the
land, on the dissensions of the royal family, on the
feuds and quarrels among the Norman nobles, and
on the chance which there was that the oppressed
Saxons might be able to free themselves from the
yoke of the Normans, or at least to elevate themselves
into national consequence and independence,
during the civil convulsions which were likely to
ensue. On this subject Cedric was all animation.
The restoration of the independence of his race was
the idol of his heart, to which he had willingly sacrificed
domestic happiness and the interests of his
own son. But, in order to achieve this great revolution
in favour of the native English, it was necessary
that they should be united among themselves,
and act under an acknowledged head. The
necessity of choosing their chief from the Saxon
blood-royal was not only evident in itself, but had
been made a solemn condition by those whom
Cedric had intrusted with his secret plans and
hopes. Athelstane had this quality at least; and
though he had few mental accomplishments or talents
to recommend him as a leader, he had still a
goodly person, was no coward, had been accustomed
to martial exercises, and seemed willing to defer
to the advice of counsellors more wise than himself.
Above all, he was known to be liberal and hospitable,
and believed to be good-natured. But whatever
pretensions Athelstane had to be considered
as head of the Saxon confederacy, many of that
nation were disposed to prefer to his the title of the
Lady Rowena, who drew her descent from Alfred,
and whose father having been a chief renowned for
wisdom, courage, and generosity, his memory was
highly honoured by his oppressed countrymen.

It would have been no difficult thing for Cedric,
had he been so disposed, to have placed himself at
the head of a third party, as formidable at least as
any of the others. To counterbalance their royal
descent, he had courage, activity, energy, and,
above all, that devoted attachment to the cause
which had procured him the epithet of The Saxon,
and his birth was inferior to none, excepting
only that of Athelstane and his ward. These qualities,
however, were unalloyed by the slightest
shade of selfishness; and, instead of dividing yet
farther his weakened nation by forming a faction
of his own, it was a leading part of Cedric's plan
to extinguish that which already existed, by promoting
a marriage betwixt Rowena and Athelstane.
An obstacle occurred to this his favourite project,
in the mutual attachment of his ward and his son
and hence the original cause of the banishment of
Wilfred from the house of his father.

This stern measure Cedric had adopted, in hopes
that, during Wilfred's absence, Rowena might relinquish
her preference, but in this hope he was
disappointed; a disappointment which might be
attributed in part to the mode in which his ward
had been educated. Cedric, to whom the name of
Alfred was as that of a deity, had treated the sole
remaining scion of that great monarch with a degree
of observance, such as, perhaps, was in those
days scarce paid to an acknowledged princess.
Rowena's will had been in almost all cases a law
to his household; and Cedric himself, as if determined
that her sovereignty should be fully acknowledged
within that little circle at least, seemed to
take a pride in acting as the first of her subjects.
Thus trained in the exercise not only of free will,
but despotic authority, Rowena was, by her previous
education, disposed both to resist and to resent
any attempt to control her affections, or dispose
of her hand contrary to her inclinations, and to assert
her independence in a case in which even those
females who have been trained up to obedience and
subjection, are not infrequently apt to dispute the
authority of guardians and parents. The opinions
which she felt strongly, she avowed boldly; and
Cedric, who could not free himself from his habitual
deference to her opinions, felt totally at a loss
how to enforce his authority of guardian.

It was in vain that he attempted to dazzle her
with the prospect of a visionary throne. Rowena,
who possessed strong sense, neither considered his
plan as practicable, nor as desirable, so far as she
was concerned, could it have been achieved. Without
attempting to conceal her avowed preference of
Wilfred of Ivanhoe, she declared that, were that
favoured knight out of question, she would rather
take refuge in a convent, than share a throne with
Athelstane, whom, having always despised, she
now began, on account of the trouble she received
on his account, thoroughly to detest.

Nevertheless, Cedric, whose opinions of women's
constancy was far from strong, persisted in using
every means in his power to bring about the proposed
match, in which he conceived he was rendering
an important service to the Saxon cause. The
sudden and romantic appearance of his son in the
lists at Ashby, he had justly regarded as almost a
death's blow to his hopes. His paternal affection,
it is true, had for an instant gained the victory over
pride and patriotism; but both had returned in full
force, and under their joint operation, he was now
bent upon making a determined effort for the
union of Athelstane and Rowena, together with
expediting those other measures which seemed necessary
to forward the restoration of Saxon independence.

On this last subject, he was now labouring with
Athelstane, not without having reason, every now
and then, to lament, like Hotspur, that he should
have moved such a dish of skimmed milk to so honourable
an action. Athelstane, it is true, was vain
enough, and loved to have his ears tickled with
tales of his high descent, and of his right by inheritance
to homage and sovereignty. But his petty
vanity was sufficiently gratified by receiving this
homage at the hands of his immediate attendants,
and of the Saxons who approached him. If he had
the courage to encounter danger, he at least hated
the trouble of going to seek it; and while he agreed
in the general principles laid down by Cedric concerning
the claim of the Saxons to independence,
and was still more easily convinced of his own title
to reign over them when that independence should
be attained, yet when the means of asserting these
rights came to be discussed, he was still ``Athelstane
the Unready,'' slow, irresolute, procrastinating,
and unenterprising. The warm and impassioned
exhortations of Cedric had as little effect upon
his impassive temper, as red-hot balls alighting in
the water, which produce a little sound and smoke,
and are instantly extinguished.

If, leaving this task, which might be compared
to spurring a tired jade, or to hammering upon cold
iron, Cedric fell back to his ward Rowena, he received
little more satisfaction from conferring with
her. For, as his presence interrupted the discourse
between the lady and her favourite attendant upon
the gallantry and fate of Wilfred, Elgitha, failed not
to revenge both her mistress and herself, by recurring
to the overthrow of Athelstane in the lists, the
most disagreeable subject which could greet the ears
of Cedric. To this sturdy Saxon, therefore, the
day's journey was fraught with all manner of displeasure
and discomfort; so that he more than once
internally cursed the tournament, and him who had
proclaimed it, together with his own folly in ever
thinking of going thither.

At noon, upon the motion of Athelstane, the
travellers paused in a woodland shade by a fountain,
to repose their horses and partake of some
provisions, with which the hospitable Abbot had
loaded a sumpter mule. Their repast was a pretty
long one; and these several interruptions rendered
it impossible for them to hope to reach Rotherwood
without travelling all night, a conviction
which induced them to proceed on their way at a
more hasty pace than they had hitherto used.




CHAPTER XIX


A train of armed men, some noble dame
Escorting, (so their scatter'd words discover'd,
As unperceived I hung upon their rear,)
Are close at hand, and mean to pass the night
Within the castle.
_Orra, a Tragedy._


The travellers had now reached the verge of the
wooded country, and were about to plunge into its
recesses, held dangerous at that time from the number
of outlaws whom oppression and poverty had
driven to despair, and who occupied the forests in
such large bands as could easily bid defiance to the
feeble police of the period. From these rovers,
however, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour
Cedric and Athelstane accounted themselves secure,
as they had in attendance ten servants, besides
Wamba and Gurth, whose aid could not be
counted upon, the one being a jester and the other
a captive. It may be added, that in travelling thus
late through the forest, Cedric and Athelstane relied
on their descent and character, as well as their
courage. The outlaws, whom the severity of the
forest laws had reduced to this roving and desperate
mode of life, were chiefly peasants and yeomen
of Saxon descent, and were generally supposed to
respect the persons and property of their countrymen.

As the travellers journeyed on their way, they
were alarmed by repeated cries for assistance; and
when they rode up to the place from whence they
came, they were surprised to find a horse-litter
placed upon the ground, beside which sat a young
woman, richly dressed in the Jewish fashion, while
an old man, whose yellow cap proclaimed him to
belong to the same nation, walked up and down
with gestures expressive of the deepest despair,
and wrung his hands, as if affected by some strange
disaster.

To the enquiries of Athelstane and Cedric, the
old Jew could for some time only answer by invoking
the protection of all the patriarchs of the Old
Testament successively against the sons of Ishmael,
who were coming to smite them, hip and thigh,
with the edge of the sword. When he began to
come to himself out of this agony of terror, Isaac
of York (for it was our old friend) was at length
able to explain, that he had hired a body-guard of
six men at Ashby, together with mules for carrying
the litter of a sick friend. This party had undertaken
to escort him as far as Doncaster. They
had come thus far in safety; but having received
information from a wood-cutter that there was a
strong band of outlaws lying in wait in the woods
before them, Isaac's mercenaries had not only taken
flight, but had carried off with them the horses
which bore the litter and left the Jew and his daughter
without the means either of defence or of retreat,
to be plundered, and probably murdered, by
the banditti, who they expected every moment
would bring down upon them. ``Would it but please
your valours,'' added Isaac, in a tone of deep humiliation,
``to permit the poor Jews to travel under
your safeguard, I swear by the tables of our law,
that never has favour been conferred upon a child
of Israel since the days of our captivity, which shall
be more gratefully acknowledged.''
``Dog of a Jew!'' said Athelstane, whose memory
was of that petty kind which stores up trifles
of all kinds, but particularly trifling offences, ``dost
not remember how thou didst beard us in the gallery
at the tilt-yard? Fight or flee, or compound
with the outlaws as thou dost list, ask neither aid
nor company from us; and if they rob only such as
thee, who rob all the world, I, for mine own share,
shall hold them right honest folk.''

Cedric did not assent to the severe proposal of
his companion. ``We shall do better,'' said be, ``to
leave them two of our attendants and two horses to
convey them back to the next village. It will diminish
our strength but little; and with your good
sword, noble Athelstane, and the aid of those who
remain, it will be light work for us to face twenty
of those runagates.''

Rowena, somewhat alarmed by the mention of
outlaws in force, and so near them, strongly seconded
the proposal of her guardian. But Rebecca
suddenly quitting her dejected posture, and making
her way through the attendants to the palfrey of
the Saxon lady, knelt down, and, after the Oriental
fashion in addressing superiors, kissed the hem
of Rowena's garment. Then rising, and throwing
back her veil, she implored her in the great name
of the God whom they both worshipped, and by
that revelation of the Law upon Mount Sinai, in
which they both believed, that she would have compassion
upon them, and suffer them to go forward
under their safeguard. ``It is not for myself that
I pray this favour,'' said Rebecca; ``nor is it even
for that poor old man. I know, that to wrong and
to spoil our nation is a light fault, if not a merit,
with the Christians; and what is it to us whether
it be done in the city, in the desert, or in the field?
But it is in the name of one dear to many, and dear
even to you, that I beseech you to let this sick person
be transported with care and tenderness under
your protection. For, if evil chance him, the last
moment of your life would be embittered with regret
for denying that which I ask of you.''

The noble and solemn air with which Rebecca
made this appeal, gave it double weight with the
fair Saxon.

``The man is old and feeble,'' she said to her
guardian, ``the maiden young and beautiful, their
friend sick and in peril of his life---Jews though
they be, we cannot as Christians leave them in this
extremity. Let them unload two of the sumpter-mules,
and put the baggage behind two of the serfs.
The mules may transport the litter, and we have
led horses for the old man and his daughter.''

Cedric readily assented to what she proposed,
and Athelstane only added the condition, ``that
they should travel in the rear of the whole party,
where Wamba,'' he said, ``might attend them with
his shield of boar's brawn.''

``I have left my shield in the tilt-yard,'' answered
the Jester, ``as has been the fate of many a better
knight than myself.''

Athelstane coloured deeply, for such had been
his own fate on the last day of the tournament;
while Rowena, who was pleased in the same proportion,
as if to make amends for the brutal jest of
her unfeeling suitor, requested Rebecca to ride by
her side.

``It were not fit I should do so,'' answered Rebecca,
with proud humility, ``where my society
might be held a disgrace to my protectress.''

By this time the change of baggage was hastily
achieved; for the single word ``outlaws'' rendered
every one sufficiently alert, and the approach of
twilight made the sound yet more impressive.
Amid the bustle, Gurth was taken from horseback,
in the course of which removal he prevailed upon
the Jester to slack the cord with which his arms
were bound. It was so negligently refastened, perhaps
intentionally, on the part of Wamba, that
Gurth found no difficulty in freeing his arms altogether
from bondage, and then, gliding into the
thicket, he made his escape from the party.

The bustle had been considerable, and it was
some time before Gurth was missed; for, as he was
to be placed for the rest of the journey behind a
servant, every one supposed that some other of his
companions had him under his custody, and when
it began to be whispered among them that Gurth
had actually disappeared, they were under such immediate
expectation of an attack from the outlaws,
that it was not held convenient to pay much attention
to the circumstance.

The path upon which the party travelled was
now so narrow, as not to admit, with any sort of
convenience, above two riders abreast, and began
to descend into a dingle, traversed by a brook whose
banks were broken, swampy, and overgrown with
dwarf willows. Cedric and Athelstane, who were
at the head of their retinue, saw the risk of being
attacked at this pass; but neither of them having
had much practice in war, no better mode of preventing
the danger occurred to them than that they
should hasten through the defile as fast as possible.
Advancing, therefore, without much order, they
had just crossed the brook with a part of their followers,
when they were assailed in front, flank, and
rear at once, with an impetuosity to which, in their
confused and ill-prepared condition, it was impossible
to offer effectual resistance. The shout of ``A
white dragon!---a white dragon!---Saint George
for merry England!'' war-cries adopted by the assailants,
as belonging to their assumed character of
Saxon outlaws, was heard on every side, and on
every side enemies appeared with a rapidity of advance
and attack which seemed to multiply their
numbers.

Both the Saxon chiefs were made prisoners at
the same moment, and each under circumstances
expressive of his character. Cedric, the instant that
an enemy appeared, launched at him his remaining
javelin, which, taking better effect than that which
he had hurled at Fangs, nailed the man against an
oak-tree that happened to be close behind him.
Thus far successful, Cedric spurred his horse against
a second, drawing his sword at the same time, and
striking with such inconsiderate fury, that his weapon
encountered a thick branch which hung over
him, and he was disarmed by the violence of his
own blow. He was instantly made prisoner, and
pulled from his horse by two or three of the banditti
who crowded around him. Athelstane shared
his captivity, his bridle having been seized, and he
himself forcibly dismounted, long before he could
draw his weapon, or assume any posture of effectual
defence.

The attendants, embarrassed with baggage, surprised
and terrified at the fate of their masters, fell
an easy prey to the assailants; while the Lady
Rowena, in the centre of the cavalcade, and the
Jew and his daughter in the rear, experienced the
same misfortune.

Of all the train none escaped except Wamba,
who showed upon the occasion much more courage
than those who pretended to greater sense. He
possessed himself of a sword belonging to one of
the domestics, who was just drawing it with a tardy
and irresolute hand, laid it about him like a lion,
drove back several who approached him, and made
a brave though ineffectual attempt to succour his
master. Finding himself overpowered, the Jester
at length threw himself from his horse, plunged
into the thicket, and, favoured by the general confusion,
escaped from the scene of action.
Yet the valiant Jester, as soon as he found himself
safe, hesitated more than once whether he
should not turn back and share the captivity of a
master to whom he was sincerely attached.

``I have heard men talk of the blessings of freedom,''
he said to himself, ``but I wish any wise man
would teach me what use to make of it now that I
have it.''

As he pronounced these words aloud, a voice
very near him called out in a low and cautious tone,
``Wamba!'' and, at the same time, a dog, which
be recognised to be Fangs, jumped up and fawned
upon him. ``Gurth!'' answered Wamba, with the
same caution, and the swineherd immediately stood
before him.

``What is the matter?'' said he eagerly; ``what
mean these cries, and that clashing of swords?''

``Only a trick of the times,'' said Wamba; ``they
are all prisoners.''

``Who are prisoners?'' exclaimed Gurth, impatiently.

``My lord, and my lady, and Athelstane, and
Hundibert, and Oswald.''

``In the name of God!'' said Gurth, ``how came
they prisoners?---and to whom?''

``Our master was too ready to fight,'' said the
Jester; ``and Athelstane was not ready enough,
and no other person was ready at all. And they
are prisoners to green cassocks, and black visors.
And they lie all tumbled about on the green, like
the crab-apples that you shake down to your swine.
And I would laugh at it,'' said the honest Jester,
``if I could for weeping.'' And he shed tears of
unfeigned sorrow.

Gurth's countenance kindled---``Wamba,'' he
said, ``thou hast a weapon, and thy heart was ever
stronger than thy brain,---we are only two---but a
sudden attack from men of resolution will do much
---follow me!''

``Whither?---and for what purpose?'' said the
Jester.

``To rescue Cedric.''

``But you have renounced his service but now,''
said Wamba.
``That,'' said Gurth, ``was but while he was fortunate---
follow me!''

As the Jester was about to obey, a third person
suddenly made his appearance, and commanded
them both to halt. From his dress and arms,
Wamba would have conjectured him to be one of
those outlaws who had just assailed his master; but,
besides that he wore no mask, the glittering baldric
across his shoulder, with the rich bugle-horn which
it supported, as well as the calm and commanding
expression of his voice and manner, made him, notwithstanding
the twilight, recognise Locksley the
yeoman, who had been victorious, under such disadvantageous
circumstances, in the contest for the
prize of archery.

``What is the meaning of all this,'' said he, ``or
who is it that rifle, and ransom, and make prisoners,
in these forests?''

``You may look at their cassocks close by,'' said
Wamba, ``and see whether they be thy children's
coats or no---for they are as like thine own, as one
green pea-cod is to another.''

``I will learn that presently,'' answered Locksley;
``and I charge ye, on peril of your lives, not
to stir from the place where ye stand, until I have
returned. Obey me, and it shall be the better for
you and your masters.---Yet stay, I must render
myself as like these men as possible.''

So saying he unbuckled his baldric with the
bugle, took a feather from his cap, and gave them
to Wamba; then drew a vizard from his pouch,
and, repeating his charges to them to stand fast,
went to execute his purposes of reconnoitring.

``Shall we stand fast, Gurth?'' said Wamba;
``or shall we e'en give him leg-bail? In my foolish
mind, he had all the equipage of a thief too much
in readiness, to be himself a true man.''

``Let him be the devil,'' said Gurth, ``an he will.
We can be no worse of waiting his return. If he
belong to that party, he must already have given
them the alarm, and it will avail nothing either to
fight or fly. Besides, I have late experience, that
errant thieves are not the worst men in the world
to have to deal with.''

The yeoman returned in the course of a few
minutes.

``Friend Gurth,'' he said, ``I have mingled
among yon men, and have learnt to whom they belong,
and whither they are bound. There is, I think,
no chance that they will proceed to any actual
violence against their prisoners. For three men to
attempt them at this moment, were little else than
madness; for they are good men of war, and have,
as such, placed sentinels to give the alarm when
any one approaches. But I trust soon to gather
such a force, as may act in defiance of all their precautions;
you are both servants, and, as I think,
faithful servants, of Cedric the Saxon, the friend
of the rights of Englishmen. He shall not want
English hands to help him in this extremity. Come
then with me, until I gather more aid.''

So saying, he walked through the wood at a
great pace, followed by the jester and the swineherd.
It was not consistent with Wamba's humour
to travel long in silence.

``I think,'' said he, looking at the baldric and
bugle which he still carried, ``that I saw the arrow
shot which won this gay prize, and that not so long
since as Christmas.''

``And I,'' said Gurth, ``could take it on my
halidome, that I have heard the voice of the good
yeoman who won it, by night as well as by day,
and that the moon is not three days older since I
did so.''

``Mine honest friends,'' replied the yeoman,
``who, or what I am, is little to the present purpose;
should I free your master, you will have reason
to think me the best friend you have ever had
in your lives. And whether I am known by one
name or another---or whether I can draw a bow as
well or better than a cow-keeper, or whether it is
my pleasure to walk in sunshine or by moonlight,
are matters, which, as they do not concern you, so
neither need ye busy yourselves respecting them.''

``Our heads are in the lion's mouth,'' said Wamba,
in a whisper to Gurth, ``get them out how we
can.''

``Hush---be silent,'' said Gurth. ``Offend him not
by thy folly, and I trust sincerely that all will go well.''



CHAPTER XX


When autumn nights were long and drear,
And forest walks were dark and dim,
How sweetly on the pilgrim's ear
Was wont to steal the hermit's hymn

Devotion borrows Music's tone,
And Music took Devotion's wing;
And, like the bird that hails the sun,
They soar to heaven, and soaring sing.
_The Hermit of St Clement's Well._

It was after three hours' good walking that the
servants of Cedric, with their mysterious guide, arrived
at a small opening in the forest, in the centre
of which grew an oak-tree of enormous magnitude,
throwing its twisted branches in every direction.
Beneath this tree four or five yeomen lay
stretched on the ground, while another, as sentinel,
walked to and fro in the moonlight shade.

Upon hearing the sound of feet approaching,
the watch instantly gave the alarm, and the sleepers
as suddenly started up and bent their bows.
Six arrows placed on the string were pointed towards
the quarter from which the travellers approached,
when their guide, being recognised, was
welcomed with every token of respect and attachment,
and all signs and fears of a rough reception
at once subsided.

``Where is the Miller?'' was his first question.

``On the road towards Rotherham.''

``With how many?'' demanded the leader, for
such he seemed to be.

``With six men, and good hope of booty, if it
please St. Nicholas.''

``Devoutly spoken,'' said Locksley; ``and where
is Allan-a-dale ?''

``Walked up towards the Watling-street, to
watch for the Prior of Jorvaulx.''

``That is well thought on also,'' replied the Captain;---
``and where is the Friar ?''

``In his cell.''

``Thither will I go,'' said Locksley. ``Disperse
and seek your companions. Collect what force you
can, for there's game afoot that must be hunted
hard, and will turn to bay. Meet me here by daybreak.
---And stay,'' he added, ``I have forgotten
what is most necessary of the whole---Two of you
take the road quickly towards Torquilstone, the
Castle of Front-de-B<oe>uf. A set of gallants, who
have been masquerading in such guise as our own,
are carrying a band of prisoners thither---Watch
them closely, for even if they reach the castle before
we collect our force, our honour is concerned
to punish them, and we will find means to do so.
Keep a close watch on them therefore; and dispatch
one of your comrades, the lightest of foot, to
bring the news of the yeomen thereabout.''

They promised implicit obedience, and departed
with alacrity on their different errands. In the
meanwhile, their leader and his two companions,
who now looked upon him with great respect, as
well as some fear, pursued their way to the Chapel
of Copmanhurst.

When they had reached the little moonlight
glade, having in front the reverend, though ruinous
chapel, and the rude hermitage, so well suited
to ascetic devotion, Wamba whispered to Gurth,
``If this be the habitation of a thief, it makes
good the old proverb, The nearer the church the
farther from God.---And by my cockscomb,'' he
added, ``I think it be even so---Hearken but to
the black sanctus which they are singing in the
hermitage!''

In fact the anchorite and his guest were performing,
at the full extent of their very powerful
lungs, an old drinking song, of which this was the
burden:---

``Come, trowl the brown bowl to me,
Bully boy, bully boy,
Come, trowl the brown bowl to me:
Ho! jolly Jenkin, I spy a knave in drinking,
Come, trowl the brown bowl to me.''

``Now, that is not ill sung,'' said Wamba, who
had thrown in a few of his own flourishes to help
out the chorus. ``But who, in the saint's name,
ever expected to have heard such a jolly chant
come from out a hermit's cell at midnight!''

``Marry, that should I,'' said Gurth, ``for the
jolly Clerk of Copmanhurst is a known man, and
kills half the deer that are stolen in this walk. Men
say that the keeper has complained to his official,
and that he will be stripped of his cowl and cope
altogether, if he keeps not better order.''

While they were thus speaking, Locksley's loud
and repeated knocks had at length disturbed the
anchorite and his guest. ``By my beads,'' said the
hermit, stopping short in a grand flourish, ``here
come more benighted guests. I would not for my
cowl that they found us in this goodly exercise.
All men have their enemies, good Sir Sluggard;
and there be those malignant enough to construe
the hospitable refreshment which I have been offering
to you, a weary traveller, for the matter of
three short hours, into sheer drunkenness and debauchery,
vices alike alien to my profession and my
disposition.''

``Base calumniators!'' replied the knight; ``I
would I had the chastising of them. Nevertheless,
Holy Clerk, it is true that all have their enemies;
and there be those in this very land whom I would
rather speak to through the bars of my helmet than
barefaced.''

``Get thine iron pot on thy head then, friend
Sluggard, as quickly as thy nature will permit,''
said the hermit, ``while I remove these pewter
flagons, whose late contents run strangely in mine
own pate; and to drown the clatter---for, in faith,
I feel somewhat unsteady---strike into the tune
which thou hearest me sing; it is no matter for the
words---I scarce know them myself.''

So saying, he struck up a thundering _De profundis
clamavi_, under cover of which he removed
the apparatus of their banquet: while the knight,
laughing heartily, and arming himself all the while,
assisted his host with his voice from time to time
as his mirth permitted.

``What devil's matins are you after at this
hour?'' said a voice from without.

``Heaven forgive you, Sir Traveller!'' said the
hermit, whose own noise, and perhaps his nocturnal
potations, prevented from recognising accents which
were tolerably familiar to him---``Wend on your
way, in the name of God and Saint Dunstan,
and disturb not the devotions of me and my holy
brother.''

``Mad priest,'' answered the voice from without,
``open to Locksley!''

``All's safe---all's right,'' said the hermit to his
companion.

``But who is he?'' said the Black Knight; ``it
imports me much to know.''

``Who is he?'' answered the hermit; ``I tell
thee he is a friend.''
``But what friend?'' answered the knight; ``for
he may be friend to thee and none of mine?''

``What friend?'' replied the hermit; ``that,
now, is one of the questions that is more easily
asked than answered. What friend?---why, he is,
now that I bethink me a little, the very same honest
keeper I told thee of a while since.''

``Ay, as honest a keeper as thou art a pious
hermit,'' replied the knight, ``I doubt it not.
But undo the door to him before he beat it from
its hinges.''

The dogs, in the meantime, which had made a
dreadful baying at the commencement of the disturbance,
seemed now to recognise the voice of
him who stood without; for, totally changing their
manner, they scratched and whined at the door,
as if interceding for his admission. The hermit
speedily unbolted his portal, and admitted Locksley,
with his two companions.

``Why, hermit,'' was the yeoman's first question
as soon as he beheld the knight, ``what boon companion
hast thou here ?''

``A brother of our order,'' replied the friar, shaking
his head; ``we have been at our orisons all
night.''

``He is a monk of the church militant, I think,''
answered Locksley; ``and there be more of them
abroad. I tell thee, friar, thou must lay down the
rosary and take up the quarter-staff; we shall need
every one of our merry men, whether clerk or layman.
---But,'' he added, taking him a step aside,
``art thou mad? to give admittance to a knight
thou dost not know? Hast thou forgot our articles?''

``Not know him!'' replied the friar, boldly, ``I
know him as well as the beggar knows his dish.''

``And what is his name, then?'' demanded
Locksley.

``His name,'' said the hermit---``his name is Sir
Anthony of Scrabelstone---as if I would drink with
a man, and did not know his name!''

``Thou hast been drinking more than enough,
friar,'' said the woodsman, ``and, I fear, prating
more than enough too.''

``Good yeoman,'' said the knight, coming forward,
``be not wroth with my merry host. He did
but afford me the hospitality which I would have
compelled from him if he had refused it.''

``Thou compel!'' said the friar; ``wait but till
have changed this grey gown for a green cassock,
and if I make not a quarter-staff ring twelve upon
thy pate, I am neither true clerk nor good woodsman.''

While he spoke thus, he stript off his gown, and
appeared in a close black buckram doublet and
drawers, over which he speedily did on a cassock
of green, and hose of the same colour. ``I pray
thee truss my points,'' said he to Wamba, ``and
thou shalt have a cup of sack for thy labour.''

``Gramercy for thy sack,'' said Wamba; ``but
think'st thou it is lawful for me to aid you to
transmew thyself from a holy hermit into a sinful
forester?''

``Never fear,'' said the hermit; ``I will but confess
the sins of my green cloak to my greyfriar's
frock, and all shall be well again.''

``Amen!'' answered the Jester; ``a broadcloth
penitent should have a sackcloth confessor, and
your frock may absolve my motley doublet into
the bargain.''

So saying, he accommodated the friar with his
assistance in tying the endless number of points,
as the laces which attached the hose to the doublet
were then termed.

While they were thus employed, Locksley led
the knight a little apart, and addressed him thus:---

``Deny it not, Sir Knight---you are he who decided
the victory to the advantage of the English
against the strangers on the second day of the
tournament at Ashby.''

``And what follows if you guess truly, good
yeoman?'' replied the knight.

``I should in that case hold you,'' replied the
yeoman, ``a friend to the weaker party.''

``Such is the duty of a true knight at least,'' replied
the Black Champion; ``and I would not willingly
that there were reason to think otherwise of
me.''

``But for my purpose,'' said the yeoman, ``thou
shouldst be as well a good Englishman as a good
knight; for that, which I have to speak of, concerns,
indeed, the duty of every honest man, but
is more especially that of a true-born native of
England.''

``You can speak to no one,'' replied the knight,
``to whom England, and the life of every Englishman,
can be dearer than to me.''

``I would willingly believe so,'' said the woodsman,
``for never had this country such need to be
supported by those who love her. Hear me, and I
will tell thee of an enterprise, in which, if thou best
really that which thou seemest, thou mayst take
an honourable part. A band of villains, in the disguise
of better men than themselves, have made
themselves master of the person of a noble Englishman,
called Cedric the Saxon, together with his
ward, and his friend Athelstane of Coningsburgh,
and have transported them to a castle in this forest,
called Torquilstone. I ask of thee, as a good knight
and a good Englishman, wilt thou aid in their rescue?''

``I am bound by my vow to do so,'' replied the
knight; ``but I would willingly know who you are,
who request my assistance in their behalf ?''

``I am,'' said the forester, ``a nameless man;
but I am the friend of my country, and of my
country's friends---With this account of me you
must for the present remain satisfied, the more
especially since you yourself desire to continue unknown.
Believe, however, that my word, when
pledged, is as inviolate as if I wore golden spurs.''

``I willingly believe it,'' said the knight; ``I
have been accustomed to study men's countenances,
and I can read in thine honesty and resolution. I
will, therefore, ask thee no further questions, but
aid thee in setting at freedom these oppressed captives;
which done, I trust we shall part better acquainted,
and well satisfied with each other.''

``So,'' said Wamba to Gurth,---for the friar
being now fully equipped, the Jester, having approached
to the other side of the hut, had heard
the conclusion of the conversation,---``So we have
got a new ally ?---l trust the valour of the knight
will be truer metal than the religion of the hermit,
or the honesty of the yeoman; for this Locksley
looks like a born deer-stealer, and the priest like a
lusty hypocrite.''

``Hold thy peace, Wamba,'' said Gurth; ``it
may all be as thou dost guess; but were the horned
devil to rise and proffer me his assistance to set at
liberty Cedric and the Lady Rowena, I fear I
should hardly have religion enough to refuse the
foul fiend's offer, and bid him get behind me.''

The friar was now completely accoutred as a
yeoman, with sword and buckler, bow, and quiver,
and a strong partisan over his shoulder. He left
his cell at the head of the party, and, having carefully
locked the door, deposited the key under the
threshold.

``Art thou in condition to do good service, friar,''
said Locksley, ``or does the brown bowl still run
in thy head ?''

``Not more than a drought of St Dunstan's
fountain will allay,'' answered the priest; ``something
there is of a whizzing in my brain, and of instability
in my legs, but you shall presently see both
pass away.''

So saying, he stepped to the stone basin, in
which the waters of the fountain as they fell formed
bubbles which danced in the white moonlight, and
took so long a drought as if he had meant to exhaust
the spring.

``When didst thou drink as deep a drought of
water before, Holy Clerk of Copmanhurst?'' said
the Black Knight.

``Never since my wine-but leaked, and let out
its liquor by an illegal vent,'' replied the friar, ``and
so left me nothing to drink but my patron's bounty
here.''

Then plunging his hands and head into the fountain,
he washed from them all marks of the midnight
revel.

Thus refreshed and sobered, the jolly priest
twirled his heavy partisan round his head with
three fingers, as if he had been balancing a reed,
exclaiming at the same time, ``Where be those
false ravishers, who carry off wenches against their
will? May the foul fiend fly off with me, if I am
not man enough for a dozen of them.''

``Swearest thou, Holy Clerk?'' said the Black
Knight.

``Clerk me no Clerks,'' replied the transformed
priest; ``by Saint George and the Dragon, I am
no longer a shaveling than while my frock is on my
back---When I am cased in my green cassock, I
will drink, swear, and woo a lass, with any blithe
forester in the West Riding.''

``Come on, Jack Priest,'' said Locksley, ``and
be silent; thou art as noisy as a whole convent on
a holy eve, when the Father Abbot has gone to bed.
---Come on you, too, my masters, tarry not to talk
of it---I say, come on, we must collect all our forces,
and few enough we shall have, if we are to storm
the Castle of Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf.''

``What! is it Front-de-B<oe>uf,'' said the Black
Knight, ``who has stopt on the king's highway the
king's liege subjects?---Is he turned thief and oppressor?''

``Oppressor he ever was,'' said Locksley.

``And for thief,'' said the priest, ``I doubt if
ever he were even half so honest a man as many a
thief of my acquaintance.''

``Move on, priest, and be silent,'' said the yeoman;
``it were better you led the way to the place
of rendezvous, than say what should be left unsaid,
both in decency and prudence.''



CHAPTER XXI


Alas, how many hours and years have past,
Since human forms have round this table sate,
Or lamp, or taper, on its surface gleam'd!
Methinks, I hear the sound of time long pass'd
Still murmuring o'er us, in the lofty void
Of these dark arches, like the ling'ring voices
Of those who long within their graves have slept.

_Orra, a Tragedy._

While these measures were taking in behalf of
Cedric and his companions, the armed men by whom
the latter had been seized, hurried their captives
along towards the place of security, where they intended
to imprison them. But darkness came on
fast, and the paths of the wood seemed but imperfectly
known to the marauders. They were compelled
to make several long halts, and once or twice
to return on their road to resume the direction
which they wished to pursue. The summer morn
had dawned upon them ere they could travel in full
assurance that they held the right path. But confidence
returned with light, and the cavalcade now
moved rapidly forward. Meanwhile, the following
dialogue took place between the two leaders of the
banditti.
``It is time thou shouldst leave us, Sir Maurice,''
said the Templar to De Bracy, ``in order to prepare
the second part of thy mystery. Thou art next,
thou knowest, to act the Knight Deliverer.''

``I have thought better of it,'' said De Bracy; ``I
will not leave thee till the prize is fairly deposited
in Front-de-B<oe>uf's castle. There will I appear before
the Lady Rowena in mine own shape, and trust
that she will set down to the vehemence of my
passion the violence of which I have been guilty.''

``And what has made thee change thy plan, De
Bracy?'' replied the Knight Templar.

``That concerns thee nothing,'' answered his
companion.

``I would hope, however, Sir Knight,'' said the
Templar, ``that this alteration of measures arises
from no suspicion of my honourable meaning, such
as Fitzurse endeavoured to instil into thee?''

``My thoughts are my own,'' answered De Bracy;
``the fiend laughs, they say, when one thief robs
another; and we know, that were he to spit fire
and brimstone instead, it would never prevent a
Templar from following his bent.''

``Or the leader of a Free Company,'' answered
the Templar, ``from dreading at the hands of a
comrade and friend, the injustice he does to all
mankind.''

``This is unprofitable and perilous recrimination,''
answered De Bracy; ``suffice it to say, I
know the morals of the Temple-Order, and I will
not give thee the power of cheating me out of the
fair prey for which I have run such risks.''

``Psha,'' replied the Templar, ``what hast thou
to fear?---Thou knowest the vows of our order.''

``Right well,'' said De Bracy, ``and also how
they are kept. Come, Sir Templar, the laws of
gallantry have a liberal interpretation in Palestine,
and this is a case in which I will trust nothing to
your conscience.''

``Hear the truth, then,'' said the Templar; ``I
care not for your blue-eyed beauty. There is in
that train one who will make me a better mate.''

``What! wouldst thou stoop to the waiting damsel?''
said De Bracy.
``No, Sir Knight,'' said the Templar, haughtily.
``To the waiting-woman will I not stoop. I have a
prize among the captives as lovely as thine own.''

``By the mass, thou meanest the fair Jewess!''
said De Bracy.

``And if I do,'' said Bois-Guilbert, ``who shall
gainsay me?''

``No one that I know,'' said De Bracy, ``unless
it be your vow of celibacy, or a cheek of conscience
for an intrigue with a Jewess.''

``For my vow,'' said the Templar, ``our Grand
Master hath granted me a dispensation. And for
my conscience, a man that has slain three hundred
Saracens, need not reckon up every little failing,
like a village girl at her first confession upon Good
Friday eve.''

``Thou knowest best thine own privileges,'' said
De Bracy. ``Yet, I would have sworn thy thought
had been more on the old usurer's money bags, than
on the black eyes of the daughter.''

``I can admire both,'' answered the Templar;
``besides, the old Jew is but half-prize. I must
share his spoils with Front-de-B<oe>uf, who will not
lend us the use of his castle for nothing. I must
have something that I can term exclusively my own
by this foray of ours, and I have fixed on the lovely
Jewess as my peculiar prize. But, now thou
knowest my drift, thou wilt resume thine own original
plan, wilt thou not?---Thou hast nothing,
thou seest, to fear from my interference.''

``No,'' replied De Bracy, ``I will remain beside
my prize. What thou sayst is passing true, but
I like not the privileges acquired by the dispensation
of the Grand Master, and the merit acquired
by the slaughter of three hundred Saracens. You
have too good a right to a free pardon, to render
you very scrupulous about peccadilloes.''

While this dialogue was proceeding, Cedric was
endeavouring to wring out of those who guarded
him an avowal of their character and purpose.
``You should be Englishmen,'' said he; ``and yet,
sacred Heaven! you prey upon your countrymen as
if you were very Normans. You should be my
neighbours, and, if so, my friends; for which of my
English neighbours have reason to be otherwise?
I tell ye, yeomen, that even those among ye who
have been branded with outlawry have had from
me protection; for I have pitied their miseries, and
curst the oppression of their tyrannic nobles. What,
then, would you have of me? or in what can this
violence serve ye?---Ye are worse than brute beasts
in your actions, and will you imitate them in their
very dumbness?''

It was in vain that Cedric expostulated with his
guards, who had too many good reasons for their
silence to be induced to break it either by his wrath
or his expostulations. They continued to hurry him
along, travelling at a very rapid rate, until, at the
end of an avenue of huge trees, arose Torquilstone,
now the hoary and ancient castle of Reginald
Front-de-B<oe>uf. It was a fortress of no great size,
consisting of a donjon, or large and high square
tower, surrounded by buildings of inferior height,
which were encircled by an inner court-yard.
Around the exterior wall was a deep moat, supplied
with water from a neighbouring rivulet.
Front-de-B<oe>uf, whose character placed him often
at feud with his enemies, had made considerable
additions to the strength of his castle, by building
towers upon the outward wall, so as to flank it at
every angle. The access, as usual in castles of the
period, lay through an arched barbican, or outwork,
which was terminated and defended by a small turret
at each corner.

Cedric no sooner saw the turrets of Front-de-B<oe>uf's
castle raise their grey and moss-grown battlements,
glimmering in the morning sun above the
wood by which they were surrounded, than he instantly
augured more truly concerning the cause of
his misfortune.

``I did injustice,'' he said, ``to the thieves and
outlaws of these woods, when I supposed such banditti
to belong to their bands; I might as justly
have confounded the foxes of these brakes with the
ravening wolves of France. Tell me, dogs---is it
my life or my wealth that your master aims at? Is
it too much that two Saxons, myself and the noble
Athelstane, should hold land in the country which
was once the patrimony of our race?---Put us then
to death, and complete your tyranny by taking our
lives, as you began with our liberties. If the Saxon
Cedric cannot rescue England, he is willing to die
for her. Tell your tyrannical master, I do only
beseech him to dismiss the Lady Rowena in honour
and safety. She is a woman, and he need not
dread her; and with us will die all who dare fight
in her cause.''

The attendants remained as mute to this address
as to the former, and they now stood before the
gate of the castle. De Bracy winded his horn three
times, and the archers and cross-bow men, who had
manned the wall upon seeing their approach, hastened
to lower the drawbridge, and admit them.
The prisoners were compelled by their guards to
alight, and were conducted to an apartment where
a hasty repast was offered them, of which none but
Athelstane felt any inclination to partake. Neither
had the descendant of the Confessor much time to
do justice to the good cheer placed before them, for
their guards gave him and Cedric to understand
that they were to be imprisoned in a chamber apart
from Rowena. Resistance was vain; and they
were compelled to follow to a large room, which,
rising on clumsy Saxon pillars, resembled those refectories
and chapter-houses which may be still seen
in the most ancient parts of our most ancient monasteries.

The Lady Rowena was next separated from her
train, and conducted, with courtesy, indeed, but
still without consulting her inclination, to a distant
apartment. The same alarming distinction was
conferred on Rebecca, in spite of her father's entreaties,
who offered even money, in this extremity
of distress, that she might be permitted to abide
with him. ``Base unbeliever,'' answered one of his
guards, ``when thou hast seen thy lair, thou wilt
not wish thy daughter to partake it.'' And, without
farther discussion, the old Jew was forcibly dragged
off in a different direction from the other prisoners.
The domestics, after being carefully searched
and disarmed, were confined in another part of
the castle; and Rowena was refused even the comfort
she might have derived from the attendance of
her handmaiden Elgitha.

The apartment in which the Saxon chiefs were
confined, for to them we turn our first attention,
although at present used as a sort of guard-room,
had formerly been the great hall of the castle. It
was now abandoned to meaner purposes, because
the present lord, among other additions to the convenience,
security, and beauty of his baronial residence,
had erected a new and noble hall, whose
vaulted roof was supported by lighter and more
elegant pillars, and fitted up with that higher degree
of ornament, which the Normans had already
introduced into architecture.

Cedric paced the apartment, filled with indignant
reflections on the past and on the present, while the
apathy of his companion served, instead of patience
and philosophy, to defend him against every thing
save the inconvenience of the present moment; and
so little did he feel even this last, that he was only
from time to time roused to a reply by Cedric's
animated and impassioned appeal to him.

``Yes,'' said Cedric, half speaking to himself,
and half addressing himself to Athelstane, ``it was
in this very hall that my father feasted with Torquil
Wolfganger, when he entertained the valiant and
unfortunate Harold, then advancing against the
Norwegians, who had united themselves to the
rebel Tosti. It was in this hall that Harold returned
the magnanimous answer to the ambassador
of his rebel brother. Oft have I heard my father
kindle as he told the tale. The envoy of Tosti
was admitted, when this ample room could scarce
contain the crowd of noble Saxon leaders, who
were quaffing the blood-red wine around their monarch.''

``I hope,'' said Athelstane, somewhat moved by
this part of his friend's discourse, ``they will not
forget to send us some wine and refactions at noon
---we had scarce a breathing-space allowed to break
our fast, and I never have the benefit of my food
when I eat immediately after dismounting from
horseback, though the leeches recommend that
practice.''

Cedric went on with his story without noticing
this interjectional observation of his friend.

``The envoy of Tosti,'' he said, ``moved up the
hall, undismayed by the frowning countenances of
all around him, until he made his obeisance before
the throne of King Harold.

`` `What terms,' he said, `Lord King, hath thy
brother Tosti to hope, if he should lay down his
arms, and crave peace at thy hands?'

`` `A brother's love,' cried the generous Harold,
`and the fair earldom of Northumberland.'

`` `But should Tosti accept these terms,' continued
the envoy, ` what lands shall be assigned to his faithful
ally, Hardrada, King of Norway?'

`` `Seven feet of English ground,' answered Harold,
fiercely, 'or, as Hardrada is said to be a giant,
perhaps we may allow him twelve inches more.'

``The hall rung with acclamations, and cup and
horn was filled to the Norwegian, who should be
speedily in possession of his English territory.''

``I could have pledged him with all my soul,''
said Athelstane, ``for my tongue cleaves to my
palate.''

``The baffled envoy,'' continued Cedric, pursuing
with animation his tale, though it interested not
the listener, ``retreated, to carry to Tosti and his
ally the ominous answer of his injured brother. It
was then that the distant towers of York, and the
bloody streams of the Derwent,* beheld that direful

* Note D. Battle of Stamford.

conflict, in which, after displaying the most undaunted
valour, the King of Norway, and Tosti,
both fell, with ten thousand of their bravest followers.
Who would have thought that upon the proud
day when this battle was won, the very gale which
waved the Saxon banners in triumph, was filling
the Norman sails, and impelling them to the fatal
shores of Sussex?---Who would have thought that
Harold, within a few brief days, would himself possess
no more of his kingdom, than the share which
he allotted in his wrath to the Norwegian invader?
---Who would have thought that you, noble Athelstane---
that you, descended of Harold's blood, and
that I, whose father was not the worst defender of
the Saxon crown, should be prisoners to a vile Norman,
in the very hall in which our ancestors held
such high festival?''

``It is sad enough,'' replied Athelstane; ``but
I trust they will hold us to a moderate ransom---
At any rate it cannot be their purpose to starve us
outright; and yet, although it is high noon, I see
no preparations for serving dinner. Look up at the
window, noble Cedric, and judge by the sunbeams
if it is not on the verge of noon.''

``It may be so,'' answered Cedric; ``but I cannot
look on that stained lattice without its awakening
other reflections than those which concern the
passing moment, or its privations. When that window
was wrought, my noble friend, our hardy fathers
knew not the art of making glass, or of staining
it---The pride of Wolfganger's father brought
an artist from Normandy to adorn his hall with this
new species of emblazonment, that breaks the golden
light of God's blessed day into so many fantastic
hues. The foreigner came here poor, beggarly,
cringing, and subservient, ready to doff his cap to
the meanest native of the household. He returned
pampered and proud, to tell his rapacious countrymen
of the wealth and the simplicity of the Saxon
nobles---a folly, oh, Athelstane, foreboded of old, as
well as foreseen, by those descendants of Hengist
and his hardy tribes, who retained the simplicity
of their manners. We made these strangers our
bosom friends, our confidential servants; we borrowed
their artists and their arts, and despised the
honest simplicity and hardihood with which our
brave ancestors supported themselves, and we became
enervated by Norman arts long ere we fell
under Norman arms. Far better was our homely
diet, eaten in peace and liberty, than the luxurious
dainties, the love of which hath delivered us as
bondsmen to the foreign conqueror!''

``I should,'' replied Athelstane, ``hold very humble
diet a luxury at present; and it astonishes me,
noble Cedric, that you can bear so truly in mind
the memory of past deeds, when it appeareth you
forget the very hour of dinner.''

``It is time lost,'' muttered Cedric apart and impatiently,
``to speak to him of aught else but that
which concerns his appetite! The soul of Hardicanute
hath taken possession of him, and he hath no
pleasure save to fill, to swill, and to call for more.
---Alas!'' said he, looking at Athelstane with compassion,
``that so dull a spirit should be lodged in
so goodly a form! Alas! that such an enterprise
as the regeneration of England should turn on a
hinge so imperfect! Wedded to Rowena, indeed,
her nobler and more generous soul may yet awake
the better nature which is torpid within him. Yet
how should this be, while Rowena, Athelstane, and
I myself, remain the prisoners of this brutal marauder
and have been made so perhaps from a sense
of the dangers which our liberty might bring to the
usurped power of his nation?''

While the Saxon was plunged in these painful
reflections, the door of their prison opened, and gave
entrance to a sewer, holding his white rod of office.
This important person advanced into the chamber
with a grave pace, followed by four attendants,
bearing in a table covered with dishes, the sight
and smell of which seemed to be an instant compensation
to Athelstane for all the inconvenience
he had undergone. The persons who attended on
the feast were masked and cloaked.

``What mummery is this?'' said Cedric; ``think
you that we are ignorant whose prisoners we are,
when we are in the castle of your master? Tell
him,'' he continued, willing to use this opportunity
to open a negotiation for his freedom,---``Tell your
master, Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf, that we know
no reason he can have for withholding our liberty,
excepting his unlawful desire to enrich himself at
our expense. Tell him that we yield to his rapacity,
as in similar circumstances we should do to
that of a literal robber. Let him name the ransom
at which he rates our liberty, and it shall be paid,
providing the exaction is suited to our means.''
The sewer made no answer, but bowed his head.

``And tell Sir Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf,'' said
Athelstane, ``that I send him my mortal defiance,
and challenge him to combat with me, on foot or
horseback, at any secure place, within eight days
after our liberation; which, if he be a true knight,
he will not, under these circumstances, venture to
refuse or to delay.''

``I shall deliver to the knight your defiance,''
answered the sewer; ``meanwhile I leave you to
your food.''

The challenge of Athelstane was delivered with
no good grace; for a large mouthful, which required
the exercise of both jaws at once, added to
a natural hesitation, considerably damped the effect
of the bold defiance it contained. Still, however,
his speech was hailed by Cedric as an incontestible
token of reviving spirit in his companion,
whose previous indifference had begun, notwithstanding
his respect for Athelstane's descent, to
wear out his patience. But he now cordially shook
hands with him in token of his approbation, and
was somewhat grieved when Athelstane observed,
``that he would fight a dozen such men as Front-de-B<oe>uf,
if, by so doing, he could hasten his departure
from a dungeon where they put so much
garlic into their pottage.'' Notwithstanding this
intimation of a relapse into the apathy of sensuality,
Cedric placed himself opposite to Athelstane, and
soon showed, that if the distresses of his country
could banish the recollection of food while the table
was uncovered, yet no sooner were the victuals put
there, than he proved that the appetite of his Saxon
ancestors had descended to him along with their
other qualities.

The captives had not long enjoyed their refreshment,
however, ere their attention was disturbed
even from this most serious occupation by the blast
of a horn winded before the gate. It was repeated
three times, with as much violence as if it had been
blown before an enchanted castle by the destined
knight, at whose summons halls and towers, barbican
and battlement, were to roll off like a morning
vapour. The Saxons started from the table, and
hastened to the window. But their curiosity was
disappointed; for these outlets only looked upon
the court of the castle, and the sound came from beyond
its precincts. The summons, however, seemed
of importance, for a considerable degree of bustle
instantly took place in the castle.



CHAPTER XXII


My daughter---O my ducats---O my daughter!
------------O my Christian ducats!
Justice---the Law---my ducats, and my daughter!
_Merchant of Venice._

Leaving the Saxon chiefs to return to their banquet
as soon as their ungratified curiosity should
permit them to attend to the calls of their half-satiated
appetite, we have to look in upon the yet
more severe imprisonment of Isaac of York. The
poor Jew had been hastily thrust into a dungeon-vault
of the castle, the floor of which was deep beneath
the level of the ground, and very damp, being
lower than even the moat itself. The only light
was received through one or two loop-holes far
above the reach of the captive's hand. These apertures
admitted, even at mid-day, only a dim and
uncertain light, which was changed for utter darkness
long before the rest of the castle had lost the
blessing of day. Chains and shackles, which had
been the portion of former captives, from whom
active exertions to escape had been apprehended,
hung rusted and empty on the walls of the prison,
and in the rings of one of those sets of fetters there
remained two mouldering bones, which seemed to
have been once those of the human leg, as if some
prisoner had been left not only to perish there, but
to be consumed to a skeleton.

At one end of this ghastly apartment was a large
fire-grate, over the top of which were stretched
some transverse iron bars, half devoured with rust.

The whole appearance of the dungeon might
have appalled a stouter heart than that of Isaac,
who, nevertheless, was more composed under the
imminent pressure of danger, than he had seemed
to be while affected by terrors, of which the cause
was as yet remote and contingent. The lovers of the
chase say that the hare feels more agony during the
pursuit of the greyhounds, than when she is struggling
in their fangs.* And thus it is probable, that

* _Nota Bene._---We by no means warrant the accuracy of this
* piece of natural history, which we give on the authority of the
* Wardour MS. L. T.

the Jews, by the very frequency of their fear on all
occasions, had their minds in some degree prepared
for every effort of tyranny which could be practised
upon them; so that no aggression, when it had taken
place, could bring with it that surprise which
is the most disabling quality of terror. Neither was
it the first time that Isaac had been placed in circumstances
so dangerous. He had therefore experience
to guide him, as well as hope, that he might
again, as formerly, be delivered as a prey from the
fowler. Above all, he had upon his side the unyielding
obstinacy of his nation, and that unbending
resolution, with which Israelites have been
frequently known to submit to the uttermost evils
which power and violence can inflict upon them,
rather than gratify their oppressors by granting
their demands.

In this humour of passive resistance, and with
his garment collected beneath him to keep his limbs
from the wet pavement, Isaac sat in a corner of his
dungeon, where his folded hands, his dishevelled
hair and beard, his furred cloak and high cap, seen
by the wiry and broken light, would have afforded
a study for Rembrandt, had that celebrated painter
existed at the period. The Jew remained, without
altering his position, for nearly three hours, at the
expiry of which steps were heard on the dungeon
stair. The bolts screamed as they were withdrawn
---the hinges creaked as the wicket opened, and
Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf, followed by the two Saracen
slaves of the Templar, entered the prison.

Front-de-B<oe>uf, a tall and strong man, whose
life had been spent in public war or in private feuds
and broils, and who had hesitated at no means of
extending his feudal power, had features corresponding
to his character, and which strongly expressed
the fiercer and more malignant passions of
the mind. The scars with which his visage was
seamed, would, on features of a different cast, have
excited the sympathy and veneration due to the
marks of honourable valour; but, in the peculiar
case of Front-de-B<oe>uf, they only added to the ferocity
of his countenance, and to the dread which
his presence inspired. This formidable baron was
clad in a leathern doublet, fitted close to his body,
which was frayed and soiled with the stains of his
armour. He had no weapon, excepting a poniard
at his belt, which served to counterbalance the
weight of the bunch of rusty keys that hung at his
right side.

The black slaves who attended Front-de-B<oe>uf
were stripped of their gorgeous apparel, and attired
in jerkins and trowsers of coarse linen, their sleeves
being tucked up above the elbow, like those of
butchers when about to exercise their function in
the slaughter-house. Each had in his hand a small
pannier; and, when they entered the dungeon, they
stopt at the door until Front-de-B<oe>uf himself carefully
locked and double-locked it. Having taken
this precaution, he advanced slowly up the apartment
towards the Jew, upon whom he kept his eye
fixed, as if he wished to paralyze him with his
glance, as some animals are said to fascinate their
prey. It seemed indeed as if the sullen and malignant
eye of Front-de-B<oe>uf possessed some portion
of that supposed power over his unfortunate prisoner.
The Jew sate with his mouth a-gape, and
his eyes fixed on the savage baron with such earnestness
of terror, that his frame seemed literally
to shrink together, and to diminish in size while
encountering the fierce Norman's fixed and baleful
gaze. The unhappy Isaac was deprived not only
of the power of rising to make the obeisance which
his terror dictated, but he could not even doff his
cap, or utter any word of supplication; so strongly
was he agitated by the conviction that tortures and
death were impending over him.

On the other hand, the stately form of the Norman
appeared to dilate in magnitude, like that of
the eagle, which ruffles up its plumage when about
to pounce on its defenceless prey. He paused within
three steps of the corner in which the unfortunate
Jew had now, as it were, coiled himself up into
the smallest possible space, and made a sign for one
of the slaves to approach. The black satellite came
forward accordingly, and, producing from his basket
a large pair of scales and several weights, he
laid them at the feet of Front-de-B<oe>uf, and again
retired to the respectful distance, at which his companion
had already taken his station.

The motions of these men were slow and solemn,
as if there impended over their souls some preconception
of horror and of cruelty. Front-de-B<oe>uf
himself opened the scene by thus addressing his ill-fated
captive.

``Most accursed dog of an accursed race,'' he
said, awaking with his deep and sullen voice the
sullen echoes of his dungeon vault, ``seest thou
these scales?''

The unhappy Jew returned a feeble affirmative.

``In these very scales shalt thou weigh me out,''
said the relentless Baron, ``a thousand silver pounds,
after the just measure and weight of the Tower of
London.''

``Holy Abraham!'' returned the Jew, finding
voice through the very extremity of his danger,
``heard man ever such a demand?---Who ever
heard, even in a minstrel's tale, of such a sum as a
thousand pounds of silver?---What human sight was
ever blessed with the vision of such a mass of treasure?
---Not within the walls of York, ransack my
house and that of all my tribe, wilt thou find the
tithe of that huge sum of silver that thou speakest
of.''

``I am reasonable,'' answered Front-de-B<oe>uf,
``and if silver be scant, I refuse not gold. At the
rate of a mark of gold for each six pounds of silver,
thou shalt free thy unbelieving carcass from such
punishment as thy heart has never even conceived.''

``Have mercy on me, noble knight!'' exclaimed
Isaac; ``I am old, and poor, and helpless. It were
unworthy to triumph over me---It is a poor deed
to crush a worm.''

``Old thou mayst be,'' replied the knight; ``more
shame to their folly who have suffered thee to grow
grey in usury and knavery---Feeble thou mayst be,
for when had a Jew either heart or hand---But rich
it is well known thou art.''

``I swear to you, noble knight,'' said the Jew
``by all which I believe, and by all which we believe
in common------''

``Perjure not thyself,'' said the Norman, interrupting
him, ``and let not thine obstinacy seal thy
doom, until thou hast seen and well considered the
fate that awaits thee. Think not I speak to thee
only to excite thy terror, and practise on the base
cowardice thou hast derived from thy tribe. I swear
to thee by that which thou dost =not= believe, by the
gospel which our church teaches, and by the keys
which are given her to bind and to loose, that my
purpose is deep and peremptory. This dungeon is
no place for trifling. Prisoners ten thousand times
more distinguished than thou have died within these
walls, and their fate hath never been known! But
for thee is reserved a long and lingering death, to
which theirs were luxury.''

He again made a signal for the slaves to approach,
and spoke to them apart, in their own language;
for he also had been in Palestine, where perhaps,
he had learnt his lesson of cruelty. The Saracens
produced from their baskets a quantity of charcoal,
a pair of bellows, and a flask of oil. While the one
struck a light with a flint and steel, the other disposed
the charcoal in the large rusty grate which
we have already mentioned, and exercised the bellows
until the fuel came to a red glow.

``Seest thou, Isaac,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``the
range of iron bars above the glowing charcoal?*---

* Note E. The range of iron bars above that glowing
* charcoal.

on that warm couch thou shalt lie, stripped of thy
clothes as if thou wert to rest on a bed of down.
One of these slaves shall maintain the fire beneath
thee, while the other shall anoint thy wretched
limbs with oil, lest the roast should burn.---Now,
choose betwixt such a scorching bed and the payment
of a thousand pounds of silver; for, by the
head of my father, thou hast no other option.''

``It is impossible,'' exclaimed the miserable Jew
---``it is impossible that your purpose can be real!
The good God of nature never made a heart capable
of exercising such cruelty!''

``Trust not to that, Isaac,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf,
``it were a fatal error. Dost thou think that I, who
have seen a town sacked, in which thousands of my
Christian countrymen perished by sword, by flood,
and by fire, will blench from my purpose for the
outcries or screams of one single wretched Jew?---
or thinkest thou that these swarthy slaves, who
have neither law, country, nor conscience, but their
master's will---who use the poison, or the stake, or
the poniard, or the cord, at his slightest wink---
thinkest thou that _they_ will have mercy, who do
not even understand the language in which it is
asked?---Be wise, old man; discharge thyself of a
portion of thy superfluous wealth; repay to the
hands of a Christian a part of what thou hast acquired
by the usury thou hast practised on those
of his religion. Thy cunning may soon swell out
once more thy shrivelled purse, but neither leech
nor medicine can restore thy scorched hide and flesh
wert thou once stretched on these bars. Tell down
thy ransom, I say, and rejoice that at such rate thou
canst redeem thee from a dungeon, the secrets of
which few have returned to tell. I waste no more
words with thee---choose between thy dross and
thy flesh and blood, and as thou choosest, so shall
it be.''

``So may Abraham, Jacob, and all the fathers
of our people assist me,'' said Isaac, ``I cannot make
the choice, because I have not the means of satisfying
your exorbitant demand!''

``Seize him and strip him, slaves,'' said the
knight, ``and let the fathers of his race assist him
if they can.''

The assistants, taking their directions more from
the Baron's eye and his hand than his tongue, once
more stepped forward, laid hands on the unfortunate
Isaac, plucked him up from the ground, and,
holding him between them, waited the hard-hearted
Baron's farther signal. The unhappy Jew eyed
their countenances and that of Front-de-B<oe>uf, in
hope of discovering some symptoms of relenting;
but that of the Baron exhibited the same cold, half-sullen,
half-sarcastic smile which had been the prelude
to his cruelty; and the savage eyes of the Saracens,
rolling gloomily under their dark brows, acquiring
a yet more sinister expression by the whiteness
of the circle which surrounds the pupil, evinced
rather the secret pleasure which they expected from
the approaching scene, than any reluctance to be its
directors or agents. The Jew then looked at the
glowing furnace, over which he was presently to be
stretched, and seeing no chance of his tormentor's
relenting, his resolution gave way.

``I will pay,'' he said, ``the thousand pounds of
silver---That is,'' he added, after a moment's pause,
``I will pay it with the help of my brethren; for
I must beg as a mendicant at the door of our synagogue
ere I make up so unheard-of a sum.---When
and where must it be delivered?''

``Here,'' replied Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``here it must
be delivered---weighed it must be---weighed and
told down on this very dungeon floor.---Thinkest
thou I will part with thee until thy ransom is secure?''

``And what is to be my surety,'' said the Jew,
``that I shall be at liberty after this ransom is
paid?''

``The word of a Norman noble, thou pawn-broking
slave,'' answered Front-de-B<oe>uf; ``the faith
of a Norman nobleman, more pure than the gold
and silver of thee and all thy tribe.''

``I crave pardon, noble lord,'' said Isaac timidly,
``but wherefore should I rely wholly on the
word of one who will trust nothing to mine?''

``Because thou canst not help it, Jew,'' said the
knight, sternly. ``Wert thou now in thy treasure-chamber
at York, and were I craving a loan of thy
shekels, it would be thine to dictate the time of
payment, and the pledge of security. This is _my_
treasure-chamber. Here I have thee at advantage,
nor will I again deign to repeat the terms on which
I grant thee liberty.''

The Jew groaned deeply.---``Grant me,'' he said,
``at least with my own liberty, that of the companions
with whom I travel. They scorned me as a
Jew, yet they pitied my desolation, and because
they tarried to aid me by the way, a share of my
evil hath come upon them; moreover, they may
contribute in some sort to my ransom.''

``If thou meanest yonder Saxon churls,'' said
Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``their ransom will depend upon
other terms than thine. Mind thine own concerns,
Jew, I warn thee, and meddle not with those of
others.''

``I am, then,'' said Isaac, ``only to be set at liberty,
together with mine wounded friend?''

``Shall I twice recommend it,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf,
``to a son of Israel, to meddle with his own
concerns, and leave those of others alone?---Since
thou hast made thy choice, it remains but that
thou payest down thy ransom, and that at a short
day.''

``Yet hear me,'' said the Jew---``for the sake
of that very wealth which thou wouldst obtain at
the expense of thy------'' Here he stopt short, afraid
of irritating the savage Norman. But Front-de-B<oe>uf
only laughed, and himself filled up the blank
at which the Jew had hesitated. ``At the expense
of my conscience, thou wouldst say, Isaac; speak it
out---I tell thee, I am reasonable. I can bear the
reproaches of a loser, even when that loser is a Jew.
Thou wert not so patient, Isaac, when thou didst
invoke justice against Jacques Fitzdotterel, for
calling thee a usurious blood-sucker, when thy exactions
had devoured his patrimony.''

``I swear by the Talmud,'' said the Jew, ``that
your valour has been misled in that matter. Fitzdotterel
drew his poniard upon me in mine own
chamber, because I craved him for mine own silver.
The term of payment was due at the Passover.''

``I care not what he did,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf;
``the question is, when shall I have mine own?---
when shall I have the shekels, Isaac?''

``Let my daughter Rebecca go forth to York,''
answered Isaac, ``with your safe conduct, noble
knight, and so soon as man and horse can return,
the treasure------'' Here he groaned deeply, but added,
after the pause of a few seconds,---``The treasure
shall be told down on this very floor.''

``Thy daughter!'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf, as if
surprised,---``By heavens, Isaac, I would I had
known of this. I deemed that yonder black-browed
girl had been thy concubine, and I gave her to
be a handmaiden to Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert,
after the fashion of patriarchs and heroes of the
days of old, who set us in these matters a wholesome
example.''

The yell which Isaac raised at this unfeeling
communication made the very vault to ring, and
astounded the two Saracens so much that they let
go their hold of the Jew. He availed himself of
his enlargement to throw himself on the pavement,
and clasp the knees of Front-de-B<oe>uf.

``Take all that you have asked,'' said he, ``Sir
Knight---take ten times more---reduce me to ruin
and to beggary, if thou wilt,---nay, pierce me with
thy poniard, broil me on that furnace, but spare
my daughter, deliver her in safety and honour!---
As thou art born of woman, spare the honour of a
helpless maiden---She is the image of my deceased
Rachel, she is the last of six pledges of her love
---Will you deprive a widowed husband of his sole
remaining comfort?---Will you reduce a father to
wish that his only living child were laid beside her
dead mother, in the tomb of our fathers?''

``I would,'' said the Norman, somewhat relenting,
``that I had known of this before. I thought
your race had loved nothing save their moneybags.''

``Think not so vilely of us, Jews though we be,''
said Isaac, eager to improve the moment of apparent
sympathy; ``the hunted fox, the tortured wildcat
loves its young---the despised and persecuted
race of Abraham love their children!''

``Be it so,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf; ``I will believe
it in future, Isaac, for thy very sake---but it
aids us not now, I cannot help what has happened,
or what is to follow; my word is passed to my comrade
in arms, nor would I break it for ten Jews and
Jewesses to boot. Besides, why shouldst thou think
evil is to come to the girl, even if she became Bois-Guilbert's
booty?''

``There will, there must!'' exclaimed Isaac,
wringing his hands in agony; ``when did Templars
breathe aught but cruelty to men, and dishonour
to women!''

``Dog of an infidel,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf, with
sparkling eyes, and not sorry, perhaps, to seize a
pretext for working himself into a passion, ``blaspheme
not the Holy Order of the Temple of Zion,
but take thought instead to pay me the ransom thou
hast promised, or woe betide thy Jewish throat!''

``Robber and villain!'' said the Jew, retorting
the insults of his oppressor with passion, which,
however impotent, he now found it impossible to
bridle, ``I will pay thee nothing---not one silver
penny will I pay thee, unless my daughter is delivered
to me in safety and honour?''

``Art thou in thy senses, Israelite?'' said the
Norman, sternly---``has thy flesh and blood a charm
against heated iron and scalding oil?''

``I care not!'' said the Jew, rendered desperate
by paternal affection; ``do thy worst. My daughter
is my flesh and blood, dearer to me a thousand
times than those limbs which thy cruelty threatens.
No silver will I give thee, unless I were to pour it
molten down thy avaricious throat---no, not a silver
penny will I give thee, Nazarene, were it to
save thee from the deep damnation thy whole life
has merited! Take my life if thou wilt, and say,
the Jew, amidst his tortures, knew how to disappoint
the Christian.''

``We shall see that,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf; ``for
by the blessed rood, which is the abomination of
thy accursed tribe, thou shalt feel the extremities
of fire and steel!---Strip him, slaves, and chain him
down upon the bars.''

In spite of the feeble struggles of the old man,
the Saracens had already torn from him his upper
garment, and were proceeding totally to disrobe
him, when the sound of a bugle, twice winded without
the castle, penetrated even to the recesses of the
dungeon, and immediately after loud voices were
heard calling for Sir Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf.
Unwilling to be found engaged in his hellish occupation,
the savage Baron gave the slaves a signal to restore
Isaac's garment, and, quitting the dungeon with his attendants,
he left the Jew to thank God for his own deliverance,
or to lament over his daughter's captivity, and probable fate,
as his personal or parental feelings might prove strongest.



CHAPTER XXIII


Nay, if the gentle spirit of moving words
Can no way change you to a milder form,
I'll woo you, like a soldier, at arms' end,
And love you 'gainst the nature of love, force you.
_Two Gentlemen of Verona._

The apartment to which the Lady Rowena had
been introduced was fitted up with some rude attempts
at ornament and magnificence, and her being
placed there might be considered as a peculiar
mark of respect not offered to the other prisoners.
But the wife of Front-de-B<oe>uf, for whom it had
been originally furnished, was long dead, and decay
and neglect had impaired the few ornaments
with which her taste had adorned it. The tapestry
hung down from the walls in many places, and in
others was tarnished and faded under the effects of
the sun, or tattered and decayed by age. Desolate,
however, as it was, this was the apartment of the
castle which had been judged most fitting for the
accommodation of the Saxon heiress; and here she
was left to meditate upon her fate, until the actors
in this nefarious drama had arranged the several
parts which each of them was to perform. This had
been settled in a council held by Front-de-B<oe>uf,
De Bracy, and the Templar, in which, after a long
and warm debate concerning the several advantages
which each insisted upon deriving from his peculiar
share in this audacious enterprise, they had at
length determined the fate of their unhappy prisoners.

It was about the hour of noon, therefore, when
De Bracy, for whose advantage the expedition had
been first planned, appeared to prosecute his views
upon the hand and possessions of the Lady Rowena.

The interval had not entirely been bestowed in
holding council with his confederates, for De Bracy
had found leisure to decorate his person with all
the foppery of the times. His green cassock and
vizard were now flung aside. His long luxuriant
hair was trained to flow in quaint tresses down his
richly furred cloak. His beard was closely shaved,
his doublet reached to the middle of his leg, and
the girdle which secured it, and at the same time
supported his ponderous sword, was embroidered
and embossed with gold work. We have already
noticed the extravagant fashion of the shoes at this
period, and the points of Maurice de Bracy's might
have challenged the prize of extravagance with the
gayest, being turned up and twisted like the horns
of a ram. Such was the dress of a gallant of the
period; and, in the present instance, that effect was
aided by the handsome person and good demeanour
of the wearer, whose manners partook alike of
the grace of a courtier, and the frankness of a soldier.

He saluted Rowena by doffing his velvet bonnet,
garnished with a golden broach, representing St
Michael trampling down the Prince of Evil. With
this, he gently motioned the lady to a seat; and, as
she still retained her standing posture, the knight
ungloved his right hand, and motioned to conduct
her thither. But Rowena declined, by her gesture,
the proffered compliment, and replied, ``If I be in
the presence of my jailor, Sir Knight---nor will
circumstances allow me to think otherwise---it best
becomes his prisoner to remain standing till she
learns her doom.''

``Alas! fair Rowena,'' returned De Bracy, ``you
are in presence of your captive, not your jailor;
and it is from your fair eyes that De Bracy must
receive that doom which you fondly expect from
him.''

``I know you not, sir,'' said the lady, drawing
herself up with all the pride of offended rank and
beauty; ``I know you not---and the insolent familiarity
with which you apply to me the jargon
of a troubadour, forms no apology for the violence
of a robber.''

``To thyself, fair maid,'' answered De Bracy, in
his former tone---``to thine own charms be ascribed
whate'er I have done which passed the respect
due to her, whom I have chosen queen of my heart,
and loadstar of my eyes.''

``I repeat to you, Sir Knight, that I know you
not, and that no man wearing chain and spurs
ought thus to intrude himself upon the presence of
an unprotected lady.''

``That I am unknown to you,'' said De Bracy,
``is indeed my misfortune; yet let me hope that
De Bracy's name has not been always unspoken,
when minstrels or heralds have praised deeds of
chivalry, whether in the lists or in the battle-field.''

``To heralds and to minstrels, then, leave thy
praise, Sir Knight,'' replied Rowena, ``more suiting
for their mouths than for thine own; and tell
me which of them shall record in song, or in book
of tourney, the memorable conquest of this night,
a conquest obtained over an old man, followed by
a few timid hinds; and its booty, an unfortunate
maiden, transported against her will to the castle
of a robber?''

``You are unjust, Lady Rowena,'' said the knight,
biting his lips in some confusion, and speaking in
a tone more natural to him than that of affected
gallantry, which he had at first adopted; ``yourself
free from passion, you can allow no excuse for
the frenzy of another, although caused by your own
beauty.''

``I pray you, Sir Knight,'' said Rowena, ``to
cease a language so commonly used by strolling
minstrels, that it becomes not the mouth of knights
or nobles. Certes, you constrain me to sit down,
since you enter upon such commonplace terms, of
which each vile crowder hath a stock that might
last from hence to Christmas.''

``Proud damsel,'' said De Bracy, incensed at
finding his gallant style procured him nothing but
contempt---``proud damsel, thou shalt be as proudly
encountered. Know then, that I have supported
my pretensions to your hand in the way that
best suited thy character. It is meeter for thy humour
to be wooed with bow and bill, than in set
terms, and in courtly language.''

``Courtesy of tongue,'' said Rowena, ``when it
is used to veil churlishness of deed, is but a knight's
girdle around the breast of a base clown. I wonder
not that the restraint appears to gall you---
more it were for your honour to have retained the
dress and language of an outlaw, than to veil the
deeds of one under an affectation of gentle language
and demeanour.''

``You counsel well, lady,'' said the Norman;
``and in the bold language which best justifies bold
action I tell thee, thou shalt never leave this castle,
or thou shalt leave it as Maurice de Bracy's wife.
I am not wont to be baffled in my enterprises, nor
needs a Norman noble scrupulously to vindicate his
conduct to the Saxon maiden whom be distinguishes
by the offer of his hand. Thou art proud,
Rowena, and thou art the fitter to be my wife. By
what other means couldst thou be raised to high
honour and to princely place, saving by my alliance?
How else wouldst thou escape from the mean
precincts of a country grange, where Saxons herd
with the swine which form their wealth, to take thy
seat, honoured as thou shouldst be, and shalt be,
amid all in England that is distinguished by beauty,
or dignified by power?''

``Sir Knight,'' replied Rowena, ``the grange
which you contemn hath been my shelter from infancy;
and, trust me, when I leave it---should that
day ever arrive---it shall be with one who has not
learnt to despise the dwelling and manners in which
I have been brought up.''

``I guess your meaning, lady,'' said De Bracy,
``though you may think it lies too obscure for my
apprehension. But dream not, that Richard C<oe>ur
de Lion will ever resume his throne, far less that
Wilfred of Ivanhoe, his minion, will ever lead thee
to his footstool, to be there welcomed as the bride
of a favourite. Another suitor might feel jealousy
while he touched this string; but my firm purpose
cannot be changed by a passion so childish and so
hopeless. Know, lady, that this rival is in my
power, and that it rests but with me to betray the
secret of his being within the castle to Front-de-B<oe>uf,
whose jealousy will be more fatal than mine.''

``Wilfred here?'' said Rowena, in disdain; ``that
is as true as that Front-de-B<oe>uf is his rival.''

De Bracy looked at her steadily for an instant.

``Wert thou really ignorant of this?'' said he;
``didst thou not know that Wilfred of Ivanhoe travelled
in the litter of the Jew?---a meet conveyance
for the crusader, whose doughty arm was to reconquer
the Holy Sepulchre!'' And he laughed scornfully.

``And if he is here,'' said Rowena, compelling
herself to a tone of indifference, though trembling
with an agony of apprehension which she could
not suppress, ``in what is he the rival of Front-de-B<oe>uf?
or what has he to fear beyond a short imprisonment,
and an honourable ransom, according
to the use of chivalry?''

``Rowena,'' said De Bracy, ``art thou, too, deceived
by the common error of thy sex, who think
there can be no rivalry but that respecting their
own charms? Knowest thou not there is a jealousy
of ambition and of wealth, as well as of love; and
that this our host, Front-de-B<oe>uf, will push from
his road him who opposes his claim to the fair barony
of Ivanhoe, as readily, eagerly, and unscrupulously,
as if he were preferred to him by some blue-eyed
damsel? But smile on my suit, lady, and the
wounded champion shall have nothing to fear from
Front-de-B<oe>uf, whom else thou mayst mourn for,
as in the hands of one who has never shown compassion.''

``Save him, for the love of Heaven!'' said Rowena,
her firmness giving way under terror for her
lover's impending fate.

``I can---I will---it is my purpose,'' said De
Bracy; `for, when Rowena consents to be the
bride of De Bracy, who is it shall dare to put forth
a violent hand upon her kinsman---the son of her
guardian---the companion of her youth? But it is
thy love must buy his protection. I am not romantic
fool enough to further the fortune, or avert
the fate, of one who is likely to be a successful obstacle
between me and my wishes. Use thine influence
with me in his behalf, and he is safe,---refuse
to employ it, Wilfred dies, and thou thyself
art not the nearer to freedom.''

``Thy language,'' answered Rowena, ``hath in
its indifferent bluntness something which cannot be
reconciled with the horrors it seems to express. I
believe not that thy purpose is so wicked, or thy
power so great.''

``Flatter thyself, then, with that belief,'' said De
Bracy, ``until time shall prove it false. Thy lover
lies wounded in this castle---thy preferred lover. He
is a bar betwixt Front-de-B<oe>uf and that which
Front-de-B<oe>uf loves better than either ambition
or beauty. What will it cost beyond the blow of a
poniard, or the thrust of a javelin, to silence his
opposition for ever? Nay, were Front-de-B<oe>uf
afraid to justify a deed so open, let the leech but
give his patient a wrong draught---let the chamberlain,
or the nurse who tends him, but pluck the
pillow from his head, and Wilfred in his present
condition, is sped without the effusion of blood.
Cedric also---''

``And Cedric also,'' said Rowena, repeating his
words; ``my noble---my generous guardian! I deserved
the evil I have encountered, for forgetting
his fate even in that of his son!''

``Cedric's fate also depends upon thy determination,''
said De Bracy; ``and I leave thee to
form it.''

Hitherto, Rowena had sustained her part in this
trying scene with undismayed courage, but it was
because she had not considered the danger as serious
and imminent. Her disposition was naturally
that which physiognomists consider as proper to
fair complexions, mild, timid, and gentle; but it
had been tempered, and, as it were, hardened, by
the circumstances of her education. Accustomed
to see the will of all, even of Cedric himself, (sufficiently
arbitrary with others,) give way before her
wishes, she had acquired that sort of courage and
self-confidence which arises from the habitual and
constant deference of the circle in which we move.
She could scarce conceive the possibility of her
will being opposed, far less that of its being treated
with total disregard.

Her haughtiness and habit of domination was,
therefore, a fictitious character, induced over that
which was natural to her, and it deserted her when
her eyes were opened to the extent of her own danger,
as well as that of her lover and her guardian;
and when she found her will, the slightest expression
of which was wont to command respect and
attention, now placed in opposition to that of a
man of a strong, fierce, and determined mind, who
possessed the advantage over her, and was resolved
to use it, she quailed before him.

After casting her eyes around, as if to look for
the aid which was nowhere to be found, and after
a few broken interjections, she raised her hands to
heaven, and burst into a passion of uncontrolled
vexation and sorrow. It was impossible to see so
beautiful a creature in such extremity without feeling
for her, and De Bracy was not unmoved, though
he was yet more embarrassed than touched. He
had, in truth, gone too far to recede; and yet, in
Rowena's present condition, she could not be acted
on either by argument or threats. He paced the
apartment to and fro, now vainly exhorting the
terrified maiden to compose herself, now hesitating
concerning his own line of conduct.

If, thought he, I should be moved by the tears
and sorrow of this disconsolate damsel, what should
I reap but the loss of these fair hopes for which I
have encountered so much risk, and the ridicule of
Prince John and his jovial comrades? ``And yet,''
he said to himself, ``I feel myself ill framed for
the part which I am playing. I cannot look on so
fair a face while it is disturbed with agony, or on
those eyes when they are drowned in tears. I would
she had retained her original haughtiness of disposition,
or that I had a larger share of Front-de-B<oe>uf's
thrice-tempered hardness of heart!''

Agitated by these thoughts, he could only bid
the unfortunate Rowena be comforted, and assure
her, that as yet she had no reason for the excess of
despair to which she was now giving way. But in
this task of consolation De Bracy was interrupted
by the horn, ``hoarse-winded blowing far and keen,''
which had at the same time alarmed the other inmates
of the castle, and interrupted their several
plans of avarice and of license. Of them all, perhaps,
De Bracy least regretted the interruption;
for his conference with the Lady Rowena had arrived
at a point, where he found it equally difficult
to prosecute or to resign his enterprise.

And here we cannot but think it necessary to
offer some better proof than the incidents of an idle
tale, to vindicate the melancholy representation of
manners which has been just laid before the reader.
It is grievous to think that those valiant barons, to
whose stand against the crown the liberties of England
were indebted for their existence, should themselves
have been such dreadful oppressors, and capable
of excesses contrary not only to the laws of
England, but to those of nature and humanity.
But, alas! we have only to extract from the industrious
Henry one of those numerous passages which
he has collected from contemporary historians, to
prove that fiction itself can hardly reach the dark
reality of the horrors of the period.

The description given by the author of the Saxon
Chronicle of the cruelties exercised in the reign of
King Stephen by the great barons and lords of castles,
who were all Normans, affords a strong proof
of the excesses of which they were capable when
their passions were inflamed. ``They grievously
oppressed the poor people by building castles; and
when they were built, they filled them with wicked
men, or rather devils, who seized both men and
women who they imagined had any money, threw
them into prison, and put them to more cruel tortures
than the martyrs ever endured. They suffocated
some in mud, and suspended others by the
feet, or the head, or the thumbs, kindling fires below
them. They squeezed the heads of some with
knotted cords till they pierced their brains, while
they threw others into dungeons swarming with
serpents, snakes, and toads.'' But it would be cruel
to put the reader to the pain of perusing the remainder
of this description.*

* Henry's Hist. edit. 1805, vol. vii. p. .146.

As another instance of these bitter fruits of conquest,
and perhaps the strongest that can be quoted,
we may mention, that the Princess Matilda, though
a daughter of the King of Scotland, and afterwards
both Queen of England, niece to Edgar Atheling,
and mother to the Empress of Germany, the daughter,
the wife, and the mother of monarchs, was obliged,
during her early residence for education in England,
to assume the veil of a nun, as the only means
of escaping the licentious pursuit of the Norman
nobles. This excuse she stated before a great council
of the clergy of England, as the sole reason for her
having taken the religious habit. The assembled
clergy admitted the validity of the plea, and the notoriety
of the circumstances upon which it was founded;
giving thus an indubitable and most remarkable
testimony to the existence of that disgraceful license
by which that age was stained. It was a matter of
public knowledge, they said, that after the conquest
of King William, his Norman followers, elated by
so great a victory, acknowledged no law but their
own wicked pleasure, and not only despoiled the
conquered Saxons of their lands and their goods,
but invaded the honour of their wives and of their
daughters with the most unbridled license; and
hence it was then common for matrons and maidens
of noble families to assume the veil, and take shelter
in convents, not as called thither by the vocation of
God, but solely to preserve their honour from the
unbridled wickedness of man.

Such and so licentious were the times, as announced
by the public declaration of the assembled
clergy, recorded by Eadmer; and we need add nothing
more to vindicate the probability of the scenes
which we have detailed, and are about to detail,
upon the more apocryphal authority of the Wardour MS.



CHAPTER XXIV


I'll woo her as the lion woos his bride.
_Douglas._

While the scenes we have described were passing
in other parts of the castle, the Jewess Rebecca
awaited her fate in a distant and sequestered turret.
Hither she had been led by two of her disguised
ravishers, and on being thrust into the little
cell, she found herself in the presence of an old
sibyl, who kept murmuring to herself a Saxon
rhyme, as if to beat time to the revolving dance
which her spindle was performing upon the floor.
The hag raised her head as Rebecca entered, and
scowled at the fair Jewess with the malignant
envy with which old age and ugliness, when united
with evil conditions, are apt to look upon youth
and beauty.

``Thou must up and away, old house-cricket,''
said one of the men; ``our noble master commands
it---Thou must e'en leave this chamber to a fairer
guest.''

``Ay,'' grumbled the hag, ``even thus is service
requited. I have known when my bare word
would have cast the best man-at-arms among ye
out of saddle and out of service; and now must I
up and away at the command of every groom such
as thou.''

``Good Dame Urfried,'' said the other man,
``stand not to reason on it, but up and away.
Lords' hests must be listened to with a quick ear.
Thou hast had thy day, old dame, but thy sun has
long been set. Thou art now the very emblem of
an old war-horse turned out on the barren heath---
thou hast had thy paces in thy time, but now a
broken amble is the best of them---Come, amble off
with thee.''

``Ill omens dog ye both!'' said the old woman;
``and a kennel be your burying-place! May the
evil demon Zernebock tear me limb from limb, if I
leave my own cell ere I have spun out the hemp
on my distaff!''

``Answer it to our lord, then, old housefiend,''
said the man, and retired; leaving Rebecca in company
with the old woman, upon whose presence
she had been thus unwillingly forced.

``What devil's deed have they now in the wind?''
said the old hag, murmuring to herself, yet from
time to time casting a sidelong and malignant
glance at Rebecca; ``but it is easy to guess---
Bright eyes, black locks, and a skin like paper, ere
the priest stains it with his black unguent---Ay, it
is easy to guess why they send her to this lone
turret, whence a shriek could no more be heard
than at the depth of five hundred fathoms beneath
the earth.---Thou wilt have owls for thy neighbours,
fair one; and their screams will be heard as far,
and as much regarded, as thine own. Outlandish,
too,'' she said, marking the dress and turban of
Rebecca---``What country art thou of?---a Saracen?
or an Egyptian?---Why dost not answer?---
thou canst weep, canst thou not speak?''

``Be not angry, good mother,'' said Rebecca.

``Thou needst say no more,'' replied Urfried
``men know a fox by the train, and a Jewess by
her tongue.''

``For the sake of mercy,'' said Rebecca, ``tell
me what I am to expect as the conclusion of the
violence which hath dragged me hither! Is it my
life they seek, to atone for my religion? I will lay
it down cheerfully.''

``Thy life, minion?'' answered the sibyl; ``what
would taking thy life pleasure them?---Trust me,
thy life is in no peril. Such usage shalt thou have
as was once thought good enough for a noble Saxon
maiden. And shall a Jewess, like thee, repine because
she hath no better? Look at me---I was as
young and twice as fair as thou, when Front-de-B<oe>uf,
father of this Reginald, and his Normans,
stormed this castle. My father and his seven sons
defended their inheritance from story to story, from
chamber to chamber---There was not a room, not
a step of the stair, that was not slippery with their
blood. They died---they died every man; and ere
their bodies were cold, and ere their blood was
dried, I had become the prey and the scorn of the
conqueror!''

``Is there no help?---Are there no means of
escape?'' said Rebecca---``Richly, richly would I
requite thine aid.''

``Think not of it,'' said the hag; ``from hence
there is no escape but through the gates of death;
and it is late, late,'' she added, shaking her grey
head, ``ere these open to us---Yet it is comfort to
think that we leave behind us on earth those who
shall be wretched as ourselves. Fare thee well,
Jewess!---Jew or Gentile, thy fate would be the
same; for thou hast to do with them that have
neither scruple nor pity. Fare thee well, I say.
My thread is spun out---thy task is yet to begin.''

``Stay! stay! for Heaven's sake!'' said Rebecca;
``stay, though it be to curse and to revile me
---thy presence is yet some protection.''

``The presence of the mother of God were no
protection,'' answered the old woman. ``There
she stands,'' pointing to a rude image of the Virgin
Mary, ``see if she can avert the fate that awaits
thee.''

She left the room as she spoke, her features
writhed into a sort of sneering laugh, which made
them seem even more hideous than their habitual
frown. She locked the door behind her, and Rebecca
might hear her curse every step for its steepness,
as slowly and with difficulty she descended
the turret-stair.

Rebecca was now to expect a fate even more
dreadful than that of Rowena; for what probability
was there that either softness or ceremony
would be used towards one of her oppressed race,
whatever shadow of these might be preserved towards
a Saxon heiress? Yet had the Jewess this
advantage, that she was better prepared by habits
of thought, and by natural strength of mind, to
encounter the dangers to which she was exposed.
Of a strong and observing character, even from her
earliest years, the pomp and wealth which her father
displayed within his walls, or which she witnessed in
the houses of other wealthy Hebrews, had not been
able to blind her to the precarious circumstances under
which they were enjoyed. Like Damocles at
his celebrated banquet, Rebecca perpetually beheld,
amid that gorgeous display, the sword which was
suspended over the heads of her people by a single
hair. These reflections had tamed and brought down
to a pitch of sounder judgment a temper, which, under
other circumstances, might have waxed haughty,
supercilious, and obstinate.

From her father's example and injunctions, Rebecca
had learnt to bear herself courteously towards
all who approached her. She could not indeed
imitate his excess of subservience, because she was
a stranger to the meanness of mind, and to the constant
state of timid apprehension, by which it was
dictated; but she bore herself with a proud humility,
as if submitting to the evil circumstances in
which she was placed as the daughter of a despised
race, while she felt in her mind the consciousness
that she was entitled to hold a higher rank from
her merit, than the arbitrary despotism of religious
prejudice permitted her to aspire to.

Thus prepared to expect adverse circumstances,
she had acquired the firmness necessary for acting
under them. Her present situation required all
her presence of mind, and she summoned it up
accordingly.

Her first care was to inspect the apartment; but
it afforded few hopes either of escape or protection.
It contained neither secret passage nor trap-door,
and unless where the door by which she had entered
joined the main building, seemed to be circumscribed
by the round exterior wall of the turret.
The door had no inside bolt or bar. The single
window opened upon an embattled space surmounting
the turret, which gave Rebecca, at first sight,
some hopes of escaping; but she soon found it had
no communication with any other part of the battlements,
being an isolated bartisan, or balcony, secured,
as usual, by a parapet, with embrasures, at
which a few archers might be stationed for defending
the turret, and flanking with their shot the wall
of the castle on that side.

There was therefore no hope but in passive fortitude,
and in that strong reliance on Heaven natural
to great and generous characters. Rebecca,
however erroneously taught to interpret the promises
of Scripture to the chosen people of Heaven,
did not err in supposing the present to be their
hour of trial, or in trusting that the children of
Zion would be one day called in with the fulness
of the Gentiles. In the meanwhile, all around her
showed that their present state was that of punishment
and probation, and that it was their especial
duty to suffer without sinning. Thus prepared to
consider herself as the victim of misfortune, Rebecca
had early reflected upon her own state, and
schooled her mind to meet the dangers which she
had probably to encounter.

The prisoner trembled, however, and changed
colour, when a step was heard on the stair, and the
door of the turret-chamber slowly opened, and a
tall man, dressed as one of those banditti to whom
they owed their misfortune, slowly entered, and
shut the door behind him; his cap, pulled down
upon his brows, concealed the upper part of his
face, and he held his mantle in such a manner as to
muffle the rest. In this guise, as if prepared for
the execution of some deed, at the thought of which
he was himself ashamed, he stood before the affrighted
prisoner; yet, ruffian as his dress bespoke him,
he seemed at a loss to express what purpose had
brought him thither, so that Rebecca, making an
effort upon herself, had time to anticipate his explanation.
She had already unclasped two costly
bracelets and a collar, which she hastened to proffer
to the supposed outlaw, concluding naturally
that to gratify his avarice was to bespeak his favour.

``Take these,'' she said, ``good friend, and for
God's sake be merciful to me and my aged father!
These ornaments are of value, yet are they trifling
to what he would bestow to obtain our dismissal
from this castle, free and uninjured.''

``Fair flower of Palestine,'' replied the outlaw,
``these pearls are orient, but they yield in whiteness
to your teeth; the diamonds are brilliant, but
they cannot match your eyes; and ever since I have
taken up this wild trade, I have made a vow to prefer
beauty to wealth.''

``Do not do yourself such wrong,'' said Rebecca;
``take ransom, and have mercy!---Gold will
purchase you pleasure,---to misuse us, could only
bring thee remorse. My father will willingly satiate
thy utmost wishes; and if thou wilt act wisely,
thou mayst purchase with our spoils thy restoration
to civil society---mayst obtain pardon for
past errors, and be placed beyond the necessity of
committing more.''

``It is well spoken,'' replied the outlaw in French,
finding it difficult probably to sustain, in Saxon, a
conversation which Rebecca had opened in that
language; ``but know, bright lily of the vale of
Baca! that thy father is already in the hands of
a powerful alchemist, who knows how to convert
into gold and silver even the rusty bars of a dungeon
grate. The venerable Isaac is subjected to an
alembic, which will distil from him all he holds
dear, without any assistance from my requests or
thy entreaty. The ransom must be paid by love
and beauty, and in no other coin will I accept it.''

``Thou art no outlaw,'' said Rebecca, in the
same language in which he addressed her; ``no
outlaw had refused such offers. No outlaw in this
land uses the dialect in which thou hast spoken.
Thou art no outlaw, but a Norman---a Norman,
noble perhaps in birth---O, be so in thy actions,
and cast off this fearful mask of outrage and violence!''

``And thou, who canst guess so truly,'' said Brian
de Bois-Guilbert, dropping the mantle from his
face, ``art no true daughter of Israel, but in all,
save youth and beauty, a very witch of Endor. I
am not an outlaw, then, fair rose of Sharon. And
I am one who will be more prompt to hang thy
neck and arms with pearls and diamonds, which so
well become them, than to deprive thee of these
ornaments.''

``What wouldst thou have of me,'' said Rebecca,
``if not my wealth?---We can have nought in
common between us---you are a Christian---I am
a Jewess.---Our union were contrary to the laws,
alike of the church and the synagogue.''

``It were so, indeed,'' replied the Templar, laughing;
``wed with a Jewess? _Despardieux!_---Not
if she were the Queen of Sheba! And know, besides,
sweet daughter of Zion, that were the most
Christian king to offer me his most Christian
daughter, with Languedoc for a dowery, I could not
wed her. It is against my vow to love any maiden,
otherwise than _par amours_, as I will love thee. I
am a Templar. Behold the cross of my Holy Order.''

``Darest thou appeal to it,'' said Rebecca, ``on
an occasion like the present?''

``And if I do so,'' said the Templar, ``it concerns
not thee, who art no believer in the blessed
sign of our salvation.''

``I believe as my fathers taught,'' said Rebecca;
``and may God forgive my belief if erroneous! But
you, Sir Knight, what is yours, when you appeal
without scruple to that which you deem most holy,
even while you are about to transgress the most
solemn of your vows as a knight, and as a man of
religion?''

``It is gravely and well preached, O daughter
of Sirach!'' answered the Templar; ``but, gentle
Ecclesiastics, thy narrow Jewish prejudices make
thee blind to our high privilege. Marriage were
an enduring crime on the part of a Templar; but
what lesser folly I may practise, I shall speedily be
absolved from at the next Perceptory of our Order.
Not the wisest of monarchs, not his father, whose
examples you must needs allow are weighty, claimed
wider privileges than we poor soldiers of the
Temple of Zion have won by our zeal in its defence.
The protectors of Solomon's Temple may claim
license by the example of Solomon.''

``If thou readest the Scripture,'' said the Jewess,
``and the lives of the saints, only to justify thine
own license and profligacy, thy crime is like that
of him who extracts poison from the most healthful
and necessary herbs.''

The eyes of the Templar flashed fire at this reproof---
``Hearken,'' he said, ``Rebecca; I have
hitherto spoken mildly to thee, but now my language
shall be that of a conqueror. Thou art the
captive of my bow and spear---subject to my will
by the laws of all nations; nor will I abate an inch
of my right, or abstain from taking by violence
what thou refusest to entreaty or necessity.''

``Stand back,'' said Rebecca---``stand back, and
hear me ere thou offerest to commit a sin so deadly!
My strength thou mayst indeed overpower for
God made women weak, and trusted their defence
to man's generosity. But I will proclaim thy villainy,
Templar, from one end of Europe to the
other. I will owe to the superstition of thy brethren
what their compassion might refuse me,
Each Preceptory---each Chapter of thy Order, shall
learn, that, like a heretic, thou hast sinned with a
Jewess. Those who tremble not at thy crime, will
hold thee accursed for having so far dishonoured
the cross thou wearest, as to follow a daughter of
my people.''

``Thou art keen-witted, Jewess,'' replied the
Templar, well aware of the truth of what she spoke,
and that the rules of his Order condemned in the
most positive manner, and under high penalties,
such intrigues as he now prosecuted, and that, in
some instances, even degradation had followed upon
it---``thou art sharp-witted,'' he said; ``but loud
must be thy voice of complaint, if it is heard beyond
the iron walls of this castle; within these,
murmurs, laments, appeals to justice, and screams
for help, die alike silent away. One thing only can
save thee, Rebecca. Submit to thy fate---embrace
our religion, and thou shalt go forth in such state,
that many a Norman lady shall yield as well in
pomp as in beauty to the favourite of the best lance
among the defenders of the Temple.''
``Submit to my fate!'' said Rebecca---``and,
sacred Heaven! to what fate?---embrace thy religion!
and what religion can it be that harbours
such a villain?---_thou_ the best lance of the Templars!
---Craven knight!---forsworn priest! I spit
at thee, and I defy thee.---The God of Abraham's
promise hath opened an escape to his daughter---
even from this abyss of infamy!''

As she spoke, she threw open the latticed window
which led to the bartisan, and in an instant
after, stood on the very verge of the parapet, with
not the slightest screen between her and the tremendous
depth below. Unprepared for such a desperate
effort, for she had hitherto stood perfectly
motionless, Bois-Guilbert had neither time to intercept
nor to stop her. As he offered to advance,
she exclaimed, ``Remain where thou art, proud
Templar, or at thy choice advance!---one foot nearer,
and I plunge myself from the precipice; my
body shall be crushed out of the very form of humanity
upon the stones of that court-yard, ere it
become the victim of thy brutality!''

As she spoke this, she clasped her hands and
extended them towards heaven, as if imploring
mercy on her soul before she made the final plunge.
The Templar hesitated, and a resolution which had
never yielded to pity or distress, gave way to his
admiration of her fortitude. ``Come down,'' he
said, ``rash girl!---I swear by earth, and sea, and
sky, I will offer thee no offence.''

``I will not trust thee, Templar,'' said Rebecca;
thou hast taught me better how to estimate the
virtues of thine Order. The next Preceptory would
grant thee absolution for an oath, the keeping of
which concerned nought but the honour or the dishonour
of a miserable Jewish maiden.''

``You do me injustice,'' exclaimed the Templar
fervently; ``I swear to you by the name which I
bear---by the cross on my bosom---by the sword on
my side---by the ancient crest of my fathers do I
swear, I will do thee no injury whatsoever! If not
for thyself, yet for thy father's sake forbear! I
will be his friend, and in this castle he will need a
powerful one.''

``Alas!'' said Rebecca, ``I know it but too well
---dare I trust thee?''

``May my arms be reversed, and my name dishonoured,''
said Brian de Bois-Guilbert, ``if thou
shalt have reason to complain of me! Many a law,
many a commandment have I broken, but my word
never.''

``I will then trust thee,'' said Rebecca, ``thus
far;'' and she descended from the verge of the battlement,
but remained standing close by one of the
embrasures, or _machicolles_, as they were then called.
---``Here,'' she said, ``I take my stand. Remain
where thou art, and if thou shalt attempt to
diminish by one step the distance now between us,
thou shalt see that the Jewish maiden will rather
trust her soul with God, than her honour to the
Templar!''

While Rebecca spoke thus, her high and firm
resolve, which corresponded so well with the expressive
beauty of her countenance, gave to her
looks, air, and manner, a dignity that seemed more
than mortal. Her glance quailed not, her cheek
blanched not, for the fear of a fate so instant and
so horrible; on the contrary, the thought that she
had her fate at her command, and could escape at
will from infamy to death, gave a yet deeper colour
of carnation to her complexion, and a yet more
brilliant fire to her eye. Bois-Guilbert, proud himself
and high-spirited, thought he had never beheld
beauty so animated and so commanding.

``Let there be peace between us, Rebecca,'' he
said.

``Peace, if thou wilt,'' answered Rebecca---``Peace
---but with this space between.''

``Thou needst no longer fear me,'' said Bois-Guilbert.

``I fear thee not,'' replied she; ``thanks to him
that reared this dizzy tower so high, that nought
could fall from it and live---thanks to him, and to
the God of Israel!---I fear thee not.''

``Thou dost me injustice,'' said the Templar;
``by earth, sea, and sky, thou dost me injustice! I
am not naturally that which you have seen me, hard,
selfish, and relentless. It was woman that taught
me cruelty, and on woman therefore I have exercised
it; but not upon such as thou. Hear me,
Rebecca---Never did knight take lance in his hand
with a heart more devoted to the lady of his love
than Brian de Bois-Guilbert. She, the daughter of
a petty baron, who boasted for all his domains but
a ruinous tower, and an unproductive vineyard, and
some few leagues of the barren Landes of Bourdeaux,
her name was known wherever deeds of
arms were done, known wider than that of many a
lady's that had a county for a dowery.---Yes,'' he
continued, pacing up and down the little platform,
with an animation in which he seemed to lose all
consciousness of Rebecca's presence---``Yes, my
deeds, my danger, my blood, made the name of Adelaide
de Montemare known from the court of Castile
to that of Byzantium. And how was I requited?
---When I returned with my dear-bought honours,
purchased by toil and blood, I found her wedded
to a Gascon squire, whose name was never heard
beyond the limits of his own paltry domain! Truly
did I love her, and bitterly did I revenge me of her
broken faith! But my vengeance has recoiled on
myself. Since that day I have separated myself
from life and its ties---My manhood must know no
domestic home---must be soothed by no affectionate
wife---My age must know no kindly hearth---
My grave must be solitary, and no offspring must
outlive me, to bear the ancient name of Bois-Guilbert.
At the feet of my Superior I have laid down
the right of self-action---the privilege of independence.
The Templar, a serf in all but the name,
can possess neither lands nor goods, and lives,
moves, and breathes, but at the will and pleasure
of another.''

``Alas!'' said Rebecca, ``what advantages could
compensate for such an absolute sacrifice?''

``The power of vengeance, Rebecca,'' replied the
Templar, ``and the prospects of ambition.''

``An evil recompense,'' said Rebecca, ``for the
surrender of the rights which are dearest to humanity.''

``Say not so, maiden,'' answered the Templar;
``revenge is a feast for the gods! And if they have
reserved it, as priests tell us, to themselves, it is because
they hold it an enjoyment too precious for the
possession of mere mortals.---And ambition? it is
a temptation which could disturb even the bliss of
heaven itself.''---He paused a moment, and then
added, ``Rebecca! she who could prefer death to
dishonour, must have a proud and a powerful soul.
Mine thou must be!---Nay, start not,'' he added,
``it must be with thine own consent, and on thine
own terms. Thou must consent to share with me
hopes more extended than can be viewed from the
throne of a monarch!---Hear me ere you answer and
judge ere you refuse.---The Templar loses, as thou
hast said, his social rights, his power of free agency,
but he becomes a member and a limb of a mighty
body, before which thrones already tremble,---even
as the single drop of rain which mixes with the sea
becomes an individual part of that resistless ocean,
which undermines rocks and ingulfs royal armadas.
Such a swelling flood is that powerful league.
Of this mighty Order I am no mean member, but
already one of the Chief Commanders, and may
well aspire one day to hold the batoon of Grand
Master. The poor soldiers of the Temple will not
alone place their foot upon the necks of kings---a
hemp-sandall'd monk can do that. Our mailed
step shall ascend their throne---our gauntlet shall
wrench the sceptre from their gripe. Not the reign
of your vainly-expected Messiah offers such power
to your dispersed tribes as my ambition may aim
at. I have sought but a kindred spirit to share it,
and I have found such in thee.''

``Sayest thou this to one of my people?'' answered
Rebecca. ``Bethink thee---''

``Answer me not,'' said the Templar, ``by urging
the difference of our creeds; within our secret
conclaves we hold these nursery tales in derision.
Think not we long remained blind to the idiotical
folly of our founders, who forswore every delight
of life for the pleasure of dying martyrs by hunger,
by thirst, and by pestilence, and by the swords of
savages, while they vainly strove to defend a barren
desert, valuable only in the eyes of superstition.
Our Order soon adopted bolder and wider views,
and found out a better indemnification for our sacrifices.
Our immense possessions in every kingdom
of Europe, our high military fame, which
brings within our circle the flower of chivalry from
every Christian clime---these are dedicated to ends
of which our pious founders little dreamed, and
which are equally concealed from such weak spirits
as embrace our Order on the ancient principles, and
whose superstition makes them our passive tools.
But I will not further withdraw the veil of our
mysteries. That bugle-sound announces something
which may require my presence. Think on what I
have said.---Farewell!---I do not say forgive me
the violence I have threatened, for it was necessary
to the display of thy character. Gold can be only
known by the application of the touchstone. I
will soon return, and hold further conference with
thee.''

He re-entered the turret-chamber, and descended
the stair, leaving Rebecca scarcely more terrified
at the prospect of the death to which she had been
so lately exposed, than at the furious ambition of
the bold bad man in whose power she found herself
so unhappily placed. When she entered the
turret-chamber, her first duty was to return thanks
to the God of Jacob for the protection which he had
afforded her, and to implore its continuance for her
and for her father. Another name glided into her
petition---it was that of the wounded Christian,
whom fate had placed in the hands of bloodthirsty
men, his avowed enemies. Her heart indeed checked
her, as if, even in communing with the Deity
in prayer, she mingled in her devotions the recollection
of one with whose fate hers could have no
alliance---a Nazarene, and an enemy to her faith.
But the petition was already breathed, nor could
all the narrow prejudices of her sect induce Rebecca
to wish it recalled.


-----@@@@-----



CHAPTER XXV


A damn'd cramp piece of penmanship as ever I saw in my life!
_She Stoops to Conquer_.

When the Templar reached the hall of the castle,
he found De Bracy already there. ``Your love-suit,''
said De Bracy, ``hath, I suppose, been disturbed,
like mine, by this obstreperous summons.
But you have come later and more reluctantly,
and therefore I presume your interview has proved
more agreeable than mine.''

``Has your suit, then, been unsuccessfully paid
to the Saxon heiress?'' said the Templar.

``By the bones of Thomas a Becket,'' answered
De Bracy, ``the Lady Rowena must have heard
that I cannot endure the sight of women's tears.''

``Away!'' said the Templar; ``thou a leader of
a Free Company, and regard a woman's tears! A
few drops sprinkled on the torch of love, make the
flame blaze the brighter.''

``Gramercy for the few drops of thy sprinkling,''
replied De Bracy; ``but this damsel hath wept
enough to extinguish a beacon-light. Never was
such wringing of hands and such overflowing of
eyes, since the days of St Niobe, of whom Prior
Aymer told us.* A water-fiend hath possessed the

* I wish the Prior had also informed them when Niobe was
* sainted. Probably during that enlightened period when
*
* ``Pan to Moses lent his pagan horn.''
* L. T.

fair Saxon.''
``A legion of fiends have occupied the bosom of
the Jewess,'' replied the Templar; ``for, I think
no single one, not even Apollyon himself, could
have inspired such indomitable pride and resolution.
---But where is Front-de-B<oe>uf? That horn
is sounded more and more clamorously.''

``He is negotiating with the Jew, I suppose,''
replied De Bracy, coolly; ``probably the howls of
Isaac have drowned the blast of the bugle. Thou
mayst know, by experience, Sir Brian, that a Jew
parting with his treasures on such terms as our
friend Front-de-B<oe>uf is like to offer, will raise a
clamour loud enough to be heard over twenty horns
and trumpets to boot. But we will make the vassals
call him.''

They were soon after joined by Front-de-B<oe>uf,
who had been disturbed in his tyrannic cruelty in
the manner with which the reader is acquainted,
and had only tarried to give some necessary directions.

``Let us see the cause of this cursed clamour,''
said Front-de-B<oe>uf---``here is a letter, and, if I
mistake not, it is in Saxon.''

He looked at it, turning it round and round as
if he had had really some hopes of coming at the
meaning by inverting the position of the paper, and
then handed it to De Bracy.

``It may be magic spells for aught I know,'' said
De Bracy, who possessed his full proportion of the
ignorance which characterised the chivalry of the
period. ``Our chaplain attempted to teach me to
write,'' he said, ``but all my letters were formed
like spear-heads and sword-blades, and so the old
shaveling gave up the task.''

``Give it me,'' said the Templar. ``We have
that of the priestly character, that we have some
knowledge to enlighten our valour.''

``Let us profit by your most reverend knowledge,
then,'' said De Bracy; ``what says the scroll?''

``It is a formal letter of defiance,'' answered the
Templar; ``but, by our Lady of Bethlehem, if it
be not a foolish jest, it is the most extraordinary
cartel that ever was sent across the drawbridge of
a baronial castle.''

``Jest!'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``I would gladly
know who dares jest with me in such a matter!---
Read it, Sir Brian.''
The Templar accordingly read it as follows:---

``I, Wamba, the son of Witless, Jester to a noble
and free-born man, Cedric of Rotherwood, called
the Saxon,---And I, Gurth, the son of Beowulph,
the swineherd------''

``Thou art mad,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf, interrupting
the reader.

``By St Luke, it is so set down,'' answered the
Templar. Then resuming his task, he went on,---
``I, Gurth, the son of Beowulph, swineherd unto
the said Cedric, with the assistance of our allies and
confederates, who make common cause with us in
this our feud, namely, the good knight, called for
the present _Le Noir Faineant_, and the stout yeoman,
Robert Locksley, called Cleave-the-wand, Do
you, Reginald Front de-B<oe>uf, and your allies and
accomplices whomsoever, to wit, that whereas you
have, without cause given or feud declared, wrongfully
and by mastery seized upon the person of our
lord and master the said Cedric; also upon the person
of a noble and freeborn damsel, the Lady Rowena
of Hargottstandstede; also upon the person of
a noble and freeborn man, Athelstane of Coningsburgh;
also upon the persons of certain freeborn
men, their _cnichts_; also upon certain serfs, their
born bondsmen; also upon a certain Jew, named
Isaac of York, together with his daughter, a Jewess,
and certain horses and mules: Which noble persons,
with their _cnichts_ and slaves, and also with
the horses and mules, Jew and Jewess beforesaid,
were all in peace with his majesty, and travelling
as liege subjects upon the king's highway; therefore
we require and demand that the said noble
persons, namely, Cedric of Rotherwood, Rowena of
Hargottstandstede, Athelstane of Coningsburgh,
with their servants, _cnichts_, and followers, also the
horses and mules, Jew and Jewess aforesaid, together
with all goods and chattels to them pertaining,
be, within an hour after the delivery hereof, delivered
to us, or to those whom we shall appoint
to receive the same, and that untouched and unharmed
in body and goods. Failing of which, we
do pronounce to you, that we hold ye as robbers
and traitors, and will wager our bodies against ye
in battle, siege, or otherwise, and do our utmost to
your annoyance and destruction. Wherefore may
God have you in his keeping.---Signed by us upon
the eve of St Withold's day, under the great trysting
oak in the Hart-hill Walk, the above being
written by a holy man, Clerk to God, our Lady,
and St Dunstan, in the Chapel of Copmanhurst.''

At the bottom of this document was scrawled,
in the first place, a rude sketch of a cock's head
and comb, with a legend expressing this hieroglyphic
to be the sign-manual of Wamba, son of Witless.
Under this respectable emblem stood a cross,
stated to be the mark of Gurth, the son of Beowulph.
Then was written, in rough bold characters, the
words, _Le Noir Faineant_. And, to conclude the
whole, an arrow, neatly enough drawn, was described
as the mark of the yeoman Locksley.

The knights heard this uncommon document
read from end to end, and then gazed upon each
other in silent amazement, as being utterly at a
loss to know what it could portend. De Bracy was
the first to break silence by an uncontrollable fit
of laughter, wherein he was joined, though with
more moderation, by the Templar. Front-de-B<oe>uf,
on the contrary, seemed impatient of their ill-timed
jocularity.

``I give you plain warning,'' he said, ``fair sirs,
that you had better consult how to bear yourselves
under these circumstances, than give way to such
misplaced merriment.''

``Front-de-B<oe>uf has not recovered his temper
since his late overthrow,'' said De Bracy to the
Templar; ``he is cowed at the very idea of a cartel,
though it come but from a fool and a swineherd.''

``By St Michael,'' answered Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``I
would thou couldst stand the whole brunt of this
adventure thyself, De Bracy. These fellows dared
not have acted with such inconceivable impudence,
had they not been supported by some strong bands.
There are enough of outlaws in this forest to resent
my protecting the deer. I did but tie one
fellow, who was taken redhanded and in the fact,
to the horns of a wild stag, which gored him to
death in five minutes, and I had as many arrows
shot at me as there were launched against yonder
target at Ashby.---Here, fellow,'' he added, to one
of his attendants, ``hast thou sent out to see by
what force this precious challenge is to be supported?''

``There are at least two hundred men assembled
in the woods,'' answered a squire who was in
attendance.

``Here is a proper matter!'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf,
``this comes of lending you the use of my castle,
that cannot manage your undertaking quietly, but
you must bring this nest of hornets about my ears!''

``Of hornets?'' said De Bracy; ``of stingless
drones rather; a band of lazy knaves, who take to
the wood, and destroy the venison rather than labour
for their maintenance.''

``Stingless!'' replied Front-de-B<oe>uf; ``fork-headed
shafts of a cloth-yard in length, and these
shot within the breadth of a French crown, are
sting enough.''

``For shame, Sir Knight!'' said the Templar.
``Let us summon our people, and sally forth upon
them. One knight---ay, one man-at-arms, were
enough for twenty such peasants.''

``Enough, and too much,'' said De Bracy; ``I
should only be ashamed to couch lance against
them.''

``True,'' answered Front-de-B<oe>uf; ``were they
black Turks or Moors, Sir Templar, or the craven
peasants of France, most valiant De Bracy; but
these are English yeomen, over whom we shall
have no advantage, save what we may derive from
our arms and horses, which will avail us little in
the glades of the forest. Sally, saidst thou? we
have scarce men enough to defend the castle. The
best of mine are at York; so is all your band, De
Bracy; and we have scarcely twenty, besides the
handful that were engaged in this mad business.''

``Thou dost not fear,'' said the Templar, ``that
they can assemble in force sufficient to attempt the
castle?''

``Not so, Sir Brian,'' answered Front-de-B<oe>uf.
``These outlaws have indeed a daring captain; but
without machines, scaling ladders, and experienced
leaders, my castle may defy them.''

``Send to thy neighbours,'' said the Templar,
``let them assemble their people, and come to the
rescue of three knights, besieged by a jester and a
swineherd in the baronial castle of Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf!''

``You jest, Sir Knight,'' answered the baron;
``but to whom should I send?---Malvoisin is by
this time at York with his retainers, and so are
my other allies; and so should I have been, but for
this infernal enterprise.''

``Then send to York, and recall our people,''
said De Bracy. ``If they abide the shaking of my
standard, or the sight of my Free Companions, I
will give them credit for the boldest outlaws ever
bent bow in green-wood.''

``And who shall bear such a message?'' said
Front-de-B<oe>uf; ``they will beset every path, and
rip the errand out of his bosom.---I have it,'' he
added, after pausing for a moment---``Sir Templar,
thou canst write as well as read, and if we can but
find the writing materials of my chaplain, who died
a twelvemonth since in the midst of his Christmas
carousals---''

``So please ye,'' said the squire, who was still in
attendance, ``I think old Urfried has them somewhere
in keeping, for love of the confessor. He
was the last man, I have heard her tell, who ever
said aught to her, which man ought in courtesy to
address to maid or matron.''

``Go, search them out, Engelred,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf;
``and then, Sir Templar, thou shalt return
an answer to this bold challenge.''

``I would rather do it at the sword's point than
at that of the pen,'' said Bois-Guilbert; ``but be
it as you will.''

He sat down accordingly, and indited, in the
French language, an epistle of the following tenor:---

``Sir Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf, with his noble
and knightly allies and confederates, receive no
defiances at the bands of slaves, bondsmen, or fugitives.
If the person calling himself the Black
Knight have indeed a claim to the honours of chivalry,
he ought to know that he stands degraded
by his present association, and has no right to ask
reckoning at the hands of good men of noble blood.
Touching the prisoners we have made, we do in
Christian charity require you to send a man of
religion, to receive their confession, and reconcile
them with God; since it is our fixed intention to
execute them this morning before noon, so that
their heads being placed on the battlements, shall
show to all men how lightly we esteem those who
have bestirred themselves in their rescue. Wherefore,
as above, we require you to send a priest to
reconcile them to God, in doing which you shall
render them the last earthly service.''

This letter being folded, was delivered to the
squire, and by him to the messenger who waited
without, as the answer to that which be had
brought.

The yeoman having thus accomplished his mission,
returned to the head-quarters of the allies,
which were for the present established under a venerable
oak-tree, about three arrow-flights distant
from the castle. Here Wamba and Gurth, with
their allies the Black Knight and Locksley, and
the jovial hermit, awaited with impatience an answer
to their summons. Around, and at a distance
from them, were seen many a bold yeoman, whose
silvan dress and weatherbeaten countenances showed
the ordinary nature of their occupation. More
than two hundred had already assembled, and others
were fast coming in. Those whom they obeyed as
leaders were only distinguished from the others by
a feather in the cap, their dress, arms, and equipments
being in all other respects the same.

Besides these bands, a less orderly and a worse
armed force, consisting of the Saxon inhabitants of
the neighbouring township, as well as many bondsmen
and servants from Cedric's extensive estate,
had already arrived, for the purpose of assisting in
his rescue. Few of these were armed otherwise
than with such rustic weapons as necessity sometimes
converts to military purposes. Boar-spears,
scythes, flails, and the like, were their chief arms;
for the Normans, with the usual policy of conquerors,
were jealous of permitting to the vanquished
Saxons the possession or the use of swords and
spears. These circumstances rendered the assistance
of the Saxons far from being so formidable to
the besieged, as the strength of the men themselves,
their superior numbers, and the animation inspired
by a just cause, might otherwise well have made
them. It was to the leaders of this motley army
that the letter of the Templar was now delivered.

Reference was at first made to the chaplain for
an exposition of its contents.

``By the crook of St Dunstan,'' said that worthy
ecclesiastic, ``which hath brought more sheep within
the sheepfold than the crook of e'er another saint
in Paradise, I swear that I cannot expound unto
you this jargon, which, whether it be French or
Arabic, is beyond my guess.''

He then gave the letter to Gurth, who shook
his head gruffly, and passed it to Wamba. The
Jester looked at each of the four corners of the
paper with such a grin of affected intelligence as
a monkey is apt to assume upon similar occasions,
then cut a caper, and gave the letter to Locksley.

``If the long letters were bows, and the short
letters broad arrows, I might know something of
the matter,'' said the brave yeoman; ``but as the
matter stands, the meaning is as safe, for me, as the
stag that's at twelve miles distance.''

``I must be clerk, then,'' said the Black Knight;
and taking the letter from Locksley, he first read
it over to himself, and then explained the meaning
in Saxon to his confederates.

``Execute the noble Cedric!'' exclaimed Wamba;
``by the rood, thou must be mistaken, Sir
Knight.''

``Not I, my worthy friend,'' replied the knight,
``I have explained the words as they are here set
down.''

``Then, by St Thomas of Canterbury,'' replied
Gurth, ``we will have the castle, should we tear it
down with our hands!''

``We have nothing else to tear it with,'' replied
Wamba; ``but mine are scarce fit to make mammocks
of freestone and mortar.''

``'Tis but a contrivance to gain time,'' said
Locksley; ``they dare not do a deed for which I
could exact a fearful penalty.''

``I would,'' said the Black Knight, ``there were
some one among us who could obtain admission
into the castle, and discover how the case stands
with the besieged. Methinks, as they require a
confessor to be sent, this holy hermit might at once
exercise his pious vocation, and procure us the information
we desire.''

``A plague on thee, and thy advice!'' said the
pious hermit; ``I tell thee, Sir Slothful Knight,
that when I doff my friar's frock, my priesthood,
my sanctity, my very Latin, are put off along with
it; and when in my green jerkin, I can better kill
twenty deer than confess one Christian.''

``I fear,'' said the Black Knight, ``I fear greatly,
there is no one here that is qualified to take
upon him, for the nonce, this same character of
father confessor?''

All looked on each other, and were silent.

``I see,'' said Wamba, after a short pause, ``that
the fool must be still the fool, and put his neck in
the venture which wise men shrink from. You
must know, my dear cousins and countrymen, that
I more russet before I wore motley, and was bred
to be a friar, until a brain-fever came upon me and
left me just wit enough to be a fool. I trust, with
the assistance of the good hermit's frock, together
with the priesthood, sanctity, and learning which
are stitched into the cowl of it, I shall be found
qualified to administer both worldly and ghostly
comfort to our worthy master Cedric, and his companions
in adversity.''

``Hath he sense enough, thinkst thou?'' said the
Black Knight, addressing Gurth.

``I know not,'' said Gurth; ``but if he hath not,
it will be the first time he hath wanted wit to turn
his folly to account.''

``On with the frock, then, good fellow,'' quoth
the Knight, ``and let thy master send us an account
of their situation within the castle. Their
numbers must be few, and it is five to one they may
be accessible by a sudden and bold attack. Time
wears---away with thee.''

``And, in the meantime,'' said Locksley, ``we
will beset the place so closely, that not so much as
a fly shall carry news from thence. So that, my
good friend,'' he continued, addressing Wamba,
``thou mayst assure these tyrants, that whatever
violence they exercise on the persons of their prisoners,
shall be most severely repaid upon their own.''

``_Pax vobiscum_,'' said Wamba, who was now
muffled in his religious disguise.

And so saying he imitated the solemn and stately deportment
of a friar, and departed to execute his mission.



CHAPTER XXVI


The hottest horse will oft be cool,
The dullest will show fire;
The friar will often play the fool,
The fool will play the friar.
_Old Song_.

When the Jester, arrayed in the cowl and frock
of the hermit, and having his knotted cord twisted
round his middle, stood before the portal of the
castle of Front-de-B<oe>uf, the warder demanded of
him his name and errand.

``_Pax vobiscum_,'' answered the Jester, ``I am a
poor brother of the Order of St Francis, who come
hither to do my office to certain unhappy prisoners
now secured within this castle.''
``Thou art a bold friar,'' said the warder, ``to
come hither, where, saving our own drunken confessor,
a cock of thy feather hath not crowed these
twenty years.''

``Yet I pray thee, do mine errand to the lord of
the castle,'' answered the pretended friar; ``trust
me it will find good acceptance with him, and the
cock shall crow, that the whole castle shall hear
him.''

``Gramercy,'' said the warder; ``but if I come
to shame for leaving my post upon thine errand, I
will try whether a friar's grey gown be proof against
a grey-goose shaft.''

With this threat he left his turret, and carried
to the hall of the castle his unwonted intelligence,
that a holy friar stood before the gate and demanded
instant admission. With no small wonder
he received his master's commands to admit the holy
man immediately; and, having previously manned
the entrance to guard against surprise, he obeyed,
without further scruple, the commands which he
had received. The harebrained self-conceit which
had emboldened Wamba to undertake this dangerous
office, was scarce sufficient to support him when
he found himself in the presence of a man so dreadful,
and so much dreaded, as Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf,
and he brought out his _pax vobiscum_, to which
he, in a good measure, trusted for supporting his
character, with more anxiety and hesitation than
had hitherto accompanied it. But Front-de-B<oe>uf
was accustomed to see men of all ranks tremble in
his presence, so that the timidity of the supposed
father did not give him any cause of suspicion.

``Who and whence art thou, priest?'' said he.

``_Pax vobiscum_,'' reiterated the Jester, ``I am a
poor servant of St Francis, who, travelling through
this wilderness, have fallen among thieves, (as Scripture
hath it,) _quidam viator incidit in latrones_, which
thieves have sent me unto this castle in order to do
my ghostly office on two persons condemned by
your honourable justice.''

``Ay, right,'' answered Front-de-B<oe>uf; ``and
canst thou tell me, holy father, the number of those
banditti?''

``Gallant sir,'' answered the Jester, ``_nomen illis
legio_, their name is legion.''

``Tell me in plain terms what numbers there are,
or, priest, thy cloak and cord will ill protect thee.''

``Alas!'' said the supposed friar, ``_cor meum
eructavit_, that is to say, I was like to burst with
fear! but I conceive they may be---what of yeomen
---what of commons, at least five hundred men.''

``What!'' said the Templar, who came into the
hall that moment, ``muster the wasps so thick here?
it is time to stifle such a mischievous brood.'' Then
taking Front-de-B<oe>uf aside ``Knowest thou the
priest?''

``He is a stranger from a distant convent,'' I said
Front-de-B<oe>uf; ``I know him not.''

``Then trust him not with thy purpose in words,''
answered the Templar. ``Let him carry a written
order to De Bracy's company of Free Companions, to
repair instantly to their master's aid. In the meantime,
and that the shaveling may suspect nothing,
permit him to go freely about his task of preparing
these Saxon hogs for the slaughter-house.''

``It shall be so,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf. And he
forthwith appointed a domestic to conduct Wamba
to the apartment where Cedric and Athelstane were
confined.

The impatience of Cedric had been rather enhanced
than diminished by his confinement. He
walked from one end of the hall to the other, with
the attitude of one who advances to charge an enemy,
or to storm the breach of a beleaguered place,
sometimes ejaculating to himself, sometimes addressing
Athelstane, who stoutly and stoically
awaited the issue of the adventure, digesting, in
the meantime, with great composure, the liberal
meal which he had made at noon, and not greatly
interesting himself about the duration of his captivity,
which he concluded, would, like all earthly
evils, find an end in Heaven's good time.

``_Pax vobiscum_,'' said the Jester, entering the
apartment; ``the blessing of St Dunstan, St Dennis,
St Duthoc, and all other saints whatsoever, be
upon ye and about ye.''

``Enter freely,'' answered Cedric to the supposed
friar; ``with what intent art thou come hither?''

``To bid you prepare yourselves for death,'' answered
the Jester.

``It is impossible!'' replied Cedric, starting.
``Fearless and wicked as they are, they dare not
attempt such open and gratuitous cruelty!''

``Alas!'' said the Jester, ``to restrain them by
their sense of humanity, is the same as to stop a
runaway horse with a bridle of silk thread. Bethink
thee, therefore, noble Cedric, and you also,
gallant Athelstane, what crimes you have committed
in the flesh; for this very day will ye be called
to answer at a higher tribunal.''

``Hearest thou this, Athelstane?'' said Cedric;
``we must rouse up our hearts to this last action,
since better it is we should die like men, than live
like slaves.''

``I am ready,'' answered Athelstane, ``to stand
the worst of their malice, and shall walk to my death
with as much composure as ever I did to my dinner.''

``Let us then unto our holy gear, father,'' said
Cedric.

``Wait yet a moment, good uncle,'' said the
Jester, in his natural tone; ``better look long before
you leap in the dark.''

``By my faith,'' said Cedric, ``I should know
that voice!''

``It is that of your trusty slave and jester,'' answered
Wamba, throwing back his cowl. ``Had
you taken a fool's advice formerly, you would not
have been here at all. Take a fool's advice now,
and you will not be here long.''

``How mean'st thou, knave?'' answered the Saxon.

``Even thus,'' replied Wamba; ``take thou this
frock and cord, which are all the orders I ever had,
and march quietly out of the castle, leaving me
your cloak and girdle to take the long leap in thy
stead.''

``Leave thee in my stead!'' said Cedric, astonished
at the proposal; ``why, they would hang
thee, my poor knave.''

``E'en let them do as they are permitted,'' said
Wamba; ``I trust---no disparagement to your birth
---that the son of Witless may hang in a chain with
as much gravity as the chain hung upon his ancestor
the alderman.''

``Well, Wamba,'' answered Cedric, ``for one
thing will I grant thy request. And that is, if thou
wilt make the exchange of garments with Lord
Athelstane instead of me.''

``No, by St Dunstan,'' answered Wamba; ``there
were little reason in that. Good right there is, that
the son of Witless should suffer to save the son of
Hereward; but little wisdom there were in his
dying for the benefit of one whose fathers were
strangers to his.''

``Villain,'' said Cedric, ``the fathers of Athelstane
were monarchs of England!''

``They might be whomsoever they pleased,'' replied
Wamba; ``but my neck stands too straight
upon my shoulders to have it twisted for their sake.
Wherefore, good my master, either take my proffer
yourself, or suffer me to leave this dungeon as
free as I entered.''

``Let the old tree wither,'' continued Cedric, ``so
the stately hope of the forest be preserved. Save
the noble Athelstane, my trusty Wamba! it is the
duty of each who has Saxon blood in his veins.
Thou and I will abide together the utmost rage of
our injurious oppressors, while he, free and safe,
shall arouse the awakened spirits of our countrymen
to avenge us.''

``Not so, father Cedric,'' said Athelstane, grasping
his hand,---for, when roused to think or act, his
deeds and sentiments were not unbecoming his high
race---``Not so,'' he continued; ``I would rather
remain in this hall a week without food save the
prisoner's stinted loaf, or drink save the prisoner's
measure of water, than embrace the opportunity to
escape which the slave's untaught kindness has purveyed
for his master.''

``You are called wise men, sirs,'' said the Jester,
``and I a crazed fool; but, uncle Cedric, and cousin
Athelstane, the fool shall decide this controversy
for ye, and save ye the trouble of straining courtesies
any farther. I am like John-a-Duck's mare,
that will let no man mount her but John-a-Duck.
I came to save my master, and if he will not consent---
basta---I can but go away home again. Kind
service cannot be chucked from hand to hand like
a shuttlecock or stool-ball. I'll hang for no man
but my own born master.''

``Go, then, noble Cedric,'' said Athelstane, ``neglect
not this opportunity. Your presence without
may encourage friends to our rescue---your remaining
here would ruin us all.''

``And is there any prospect, then, of rescue from
without?'' said Cedric, looking to the Jester.

``Prospect, indeed!'' echoed Wamba; ``let me
tell you, when you fill my cloak, you are wrapped
in a general's cassock. Five hundred men are there
without, and I was this morning one of the chief
leaders. My fool's cap was a casque, and my bauble
a truncheon. Well, we shall see what good they
will make by exchanging a fool for a wise man.
Truly, I fear they will lose in valour what they
may gain in discretion. And so farewell, master,
and be kind to poor Gurth and his dog Fangs; and
let my cockscomb hang in the hall at Rotherwood,
in memory that I flung away my life for my master,
like a faithful------fool.''

The last word came out with a sort of double expression,
betwixt jest and earnest. The tears stood
in Cedric's eyes.

``Thy memory shall be preserved,'' he said,
``while fidelity and affection have honour upon
earth! But that I trust I shall find the means of
saving Rowena, and thee, Athelstane, and thee, also,
my poor Wamba, thou shouldst not overbear me
in this matter.''

The exchange of dress was now accomplished,
when a sudden doubt struck Cedric.

``I know no language,'' he said, ``but my own,
and a few words of their mincing Norman. How
shall I bear myself like a reverend brother?''

``The spell lies in two words,'' replied Wamba---
``_Pax vobiscum_ will answer all queries. If you
go or come, eat or drink, bless or ban, _Pax vobiscum_
carries you through it all. It is as useful to a friar
as a broomstick to a witch, or a wand to a conjurer.
Speak it but thus, in a deep grave tone,---_Pax
vobiscum!_---it is irresistible---Watch and ward,
knight and squire, foot and horse, it acts as a charm
upon them all. I think, if they bring me out to be
hanged to-morrow, as is much to be doubted they
may, I will try its weight upon the finisher of the
sentence.''

``If such prove the case,'' said the master, ``my
religious orders are soon taken---_Pax vobiscum_. I
trust I shall remember the pass-word.---Noble
Athelstane, farewell; and farewell, my poor boy,
whose heart might make amends for a weaker head
---I will save you, or return and die with you. The
royal blood of our Saxon kings shall not be spilt
while mine beats in my veins; nor shall one hair
fall from the head of the kind knave who risked
himself for his master, if Cedric's peril can prevent
it.---Farewell.''

``Farewell, noble Cedric,'' said Athelstane; ``remember
it is the true part of a friar to accept refreshment,
if you are offered any.''

``Farewell, uncle,'' added Wamba; ``and remember
_Pax vobiscum_.''

Thus exhorted, Cedric sallied forth upon his expedition;
and it was not long ere he had occasion
to try the force of that spell which his Jester had
recommended as omnipotent. In a low-arched and
dusky passage, by which he endeavoured to work
his way to the hall of the castle, he was interrupted
by a female form.

``_Pax vobiscum!_'' said the pseudo friar, and was
endeavouring to hurry past, when a soft voice replied,
``_Et vobis---quaso, domine reverendissime,
pro misericordia vestra_.''

``I am somewhat deaf,'' replied Cedric, in good
Saxon, and at the same time muttered to himself,
``A curse on the fool and his _Pax vobiscum!_ I
have lost my javelin at the first cast.''

It was, however, no unusual thing for a priest of
those days to be deaf of his Latin ear, and this the
person who now addressed Cedric knew full well.

``I pray you of dear love, reverend father,'' she
replied in his own language, ``that you will deign
to visit with your ghostly comfort a wounded prisoner
of this castle, and have such compassion upon
him and us as thy holy office teaches---Never shall
good deed so highly advantage thy convent.''

``Daughter,'' answered Cedric, much embarrassed,
``my time in this castle will not permit me to
exercise the duties of mine office---I must presently
forth---there is life and death upon my speed.''

``Yet, father, let me entreat you by the vow you
have taken on you,'' replied the suppliant, ``not to
leave the oppressed and endangered without counsel
or succour.''

``May the fiend fly away with me, and leave me
in Ifrin with the souls of Odin and of Thor!'' answered
Cedric impatiently, and would probably
have proceeded in the same tone of total departure
from his spiritual character, when the colloquy was
interrupted by the harsh voice of Urfried, the old
crone of the turret.
``How, minion,'' said she to the female speaker,
``is this the manner in which you requite the kindness
which permitted thee to leave thy prison-cell
yonder?---Puttest thou the reverend man to use
ungracious language to free himself from the importunities
of a Jewess?''

``A Jewess!'' said Cedric, availing himself of
the information to get clear of their interruption,---
``Let me pass, woman! stop me not at your peril.
I am fresh from my holy office, and would avoid
pollution.''

``Come this way, father,'' said the old hag, ``thou
art a stranger in this castle, and canst not leave it
without a guide. Come hither, for I would speak
with thee.---And you, daughter of an accursed race,
go to the sick man's chamber, and tend him until
my return; and woe betide you if you again quit
it without my permission!''

Rebecca retreated. Her importunities had prevailed
upon Urfried to suffer her to quit the turret,
and Urfried had employed her services where
she herself would most gladly have paid them, by
the bedside of the wounded Ivanhoe. With an
understanding awake to their dangerous situation,
and prompt to avail herself of each means of safety
which occurred, Rebecca had hoped something from
the presence of a man of religion, who, she learned
from Urfried, had penetrated into this godless castle.
She watched the return of the supposed ecclesiastic,
with the purpose of addressing him, and
interesting him in favour of the prisoners; with
what imperfect success the reader has been just
acquainted.



CHAPTER XXVII


Fond wretch! and what canst thou relate,
But deeds of sorrow, shame, and sin?
Thy deeds are proved---thou know'st thy fate;
But come, thy tale---begin---begin.
- - - - - - -
But I have griefs of other kind,
Troubles and sorrows more severe;
Give me to ease my tortured mind,
Lend to my woes a patient ear;
And let me, if I may not find
A friend to help---find one to hear.
_Crabbe's Hall of Justice._

When Urfried had with clamours and menaces
driven Rebecca back to the apartment from which
she had sallied, she proceeded to conduct the unwilling
Cedric into a small apartment, the door of
which she heedfully secured. Then fetching from
a cupboard a stoup of wine and two flagons, she
placed them on the table, and said in a tone rather
asserting a fact than asking a question, ``Thou art
Saxon, father---Deny it not,'' she continued, observing
that Cedric hastened not to reply; ``the
sounds of my native language are sweet to mine
ears, though seldom heard save from the tongues
of the wretched and degraded serfs on whom the
proud Normans impose the meanest drudgery of
this dwelling. Thou art a Saxon, father---a Saxon,
and, save as thou art a servant of God, a freeman.
---Thine accents are sweet in mine ear.''

``Do not Saxon priests visit this castle, then?''
replied Cedric; ``it were, methinks, their duty to
comfort the outcast and oppressed children of the
soil.''

``They come not---or if they come, they better
love to revel at the boards of their conquerors,''
answered Urfried, ``than to hear the groans of their
countrymen---so, at least, report speaks of them---
of myself I can say little. This castle, for ten
years, has opened to no priest save the debauched
Norman chaplain who partook the nightly revels of
Front-de-B<oe>uf, and he has been long gone to render
an account of his stewardship.---But thou art a
Saxon---a Saxon priest, and I have one question to
ask of thee.''

``I am a Saxon,'' answered Cedric, ``but unworthy,
surely, of the name of priest. Let me begone
on my way---I swear I will return, or send
one of our fathers more worthy to hear your confession.''

``Stay yet a while,'' said Urfried; ``the accents
of the voice which thou hearest now will soon be
choked with the cold earth, and I would not descend
to it like the beast I have lived. But wine
must give me strength to tell the horrors of my
tale.'' She poured out a cup, and drank it with a
frightful avidity, which seemed desirous of draining
the last drop in the goblet. ``It stupifies,'' she
said, looking upwards as she finished her drought,
``but it cannot cheer---Partake it, father, if you
would hear my tale without sinking down upon the
pavement.'' Cedric would have avoided pledging
her in this ominous conviviality, but the sign which
she made to him expressed impatience and despair.
He complied with her request, and answered her
challenge in a large wine-cup; she then proceeded
with her story, as if appeased by his complaisance.

``I was not born,'' she said, ``father, the wretch
that thou now seest me. I was free, was happy,
was honoured, loved, and was beloved. I am now
a slave, miserable and degraded---the sport of my
masters' passions while I had yet beauty---the object
of their contempt, scorn, and hatred, since it
has passed away. Dost thou wonder, father, that
I should hate mankind, and, above all, the race that
has wrought this change in me? Can the wrinkled
decrepit hag before thee, whose wrath must vent
itself in impotent curses, forget she was once the
daughter of the noble Thane of Torquilstone, before
whose frown a thousand vassals trembled?''

``Thou the daughter of Torquil Wolfganger!''
said Cedric, receding as he spoke; ``thou---thou---
the daughter of that noble Saxon, my father's friend
and companion in arms!''

``Thy father's friend!'' echoed Urfried; ``then
Cedric called the Saxon stands before me, for the
noble Hereward of Rotherwood had but one son,
whose name is well known among his countrymen.
But if thou art Cedric of Rotherwood, why this
religious dress?---hast thou too despaired of saving
thy country, and sought refuge from oppression in
the shade of the convent?''

``It matters not who I am,'' said Cedric; ``proceed,
unhappy woman, with thy tale of horror and
guilt!---Guilt there must be---there is guilt even
in thy living to tell it.''

``There is---there is,'' answered the wretched
woman, ``deep, black, damning guilt,---guilt, that
lies like a load at my breast---guilt, that all the
penitential fires of hereafter cannot cleanse.---Yes,
in these halls, stained with the noble and pure
blood of my father and my brethren---in these very
halls, to have lived the paramour of their murderer,
the slave at once and the partaker of his pleasures,
was to render every breath which I drew of vital
air, a crime and a curse.''

``Wretched woman!'' exclaimed Cedric. ``And
while the friends of thy father---while each true
Saxon heart, as it breathed a requiem for his soul,
and those of his valiant sons, forgot not in their
prayers the murdered Ulrica---while all mourned
and honoured the dead, thou hast lived to merit
our hate and execration---lived to unite thyself
with the vile tyrant who murdered thy nearest and
dearest---who shed the blood of infancy, rather than
a male of the noble house of Torquil Wolfganger
should survive---with him hast thou lived to unite
thyself, and in the hands of lawless love!''

``In lawless hands, indeed, but not in those of
love!'' answered the hag; ``love will sooner visit
the regions of eternal doom, than those unhallowed
vaults.---No, with that at least I cannot reproach
myself---hatred to Front-de-B<oe>uf and his race governed
my soul most deeply, even in the hour of
his guilty endearments.''

``You hated him, and yet you lived,'' replied
Cedric; ``wretch! was there no poniard---no knife
---no bodkin!---Well was it for thee, since thou
didst prize such an existence, that the secrets of a
Norman castle are like those of the grave. For had
I but dreamed of the daughter of Torquil living in
foul communion with the murderer of her father,
the sword of a true Saxon had found thee out even
in the arms of thy paramour!''

``Wouldst thou indeed have done this justice to
the name of Torquil?'' said Ulrica, for we may now
lay aside her assumed name of Urfried; ``thou art
then the true Saxon report speaks thee! for even
within these accursed walls, where, as thou well
sayest, guilt shrouds itself in inscrutable mystery,
even there has the name of Cedric been sounded---
and I, wretched and degraded, have rejoiced to
think that there yet breathed an avenger of our
unhappy nation.---I also have had my hours of vengeance---
I have fomented the quarrels of our foes,
and heated drunken revelry into murderous broil
---I have seen their blood flow---I have heard their
dying groans!---Look on me, Cedric---are there not
still left on this foul and faded face some traces of
the features of Torquil?''

``Ask me not of them, Ulrica,'' replied Cedric,
in a tone of grief mixed with abhorrence; ``these
traces form such a resemblance as arises from the
graves of the dead, when a fiend has animated the
lifeless corpse.''

``Be it so,'' answered Ulrica; ``yet wore these
fiendish features the mask of a spirit of light when
they were able to set at variance the elder Front-de-B<oe>uf
and his son Reginald! The darkness of
hell should hide what followed, but revenge must
lift the veil, and darkly intimate what it would raise
the dead to speak aloud. Long had the smouldering
fire of discord glowed between the tyrant father
and his savage son---long had I nursed, in secret,
the unnatural hatred---it blazed forth in an hour of
drunken wassail, and at his own board fell my oppressor
by the hand of his own son---such are the
secrets these vaults conceal!---Rend asunder, ye
accursed arches,'' she added, looking up towards
the roof, ``and bury in your fall all who are conscious
of the hideous mystery!''

``And thou, creature of guilt and misery,'' said
Cedric, ``what became thy lot on the death of thy
ravisher?''

``Guess it, but ask it not.---Here---here I dwelt,
till age, premature age, has stamped its ghastly
features on my countenance---scorned and insulted
where I was once obeyed, and compelled to bound
the revenge which had once such ample scope, to
the efforts of petty malice of a discontented menial,
or the vain or unheeded curses of an impotent
hag---condemned to hear from my lonely turret the
sounds of revelry in which I once partook, or the
shrieks and groans of new victims of oppression.''

``Ulrica,'' said Cedric, ``with a heart which still,
I fear, regrets the lost reward of thy crimes, as
much as the deeds by which thou didst acquire that
meed, how didst thou dare to address thee to one
who wears this robe? Consider, unhappy woman,
what could the sainted Edward himself do for thee,
were he here in bodily presence? The royal Confessor
was endowed by heaven with power to cleanse
the ulcers of the body, but only God himself can
cure the leprosy of the soul.''

``Yet, turn not from me, stern prophet of wrath,''
she exclaimed, ``but tell me, if thou canst, in what
shall terminate these new and awful feelings that
burst on my solitude---Why do deeds, long since
done, rise before me in new and irresistible horrors?
What fate is prepared beyond the grave for her, to
whom God has assigned on earth a lot of such
unspeakable wretchedness? Better had I turn to
Woden, Hertha, and Zernebock---to Mista, and
to Skogula, the gods of our yet unbaptized ancestors,
than endure the dreadful anticipations which
have of late haunted my waking and my sleeping
hours!''

``I am no priest,'' said Cedric, turning with disgust
from this miserable picture of guilt, wretchedness,
and despair; ``I am no priest, though I wear
a priest's garment.''

``Priest or layman,'' answered Ulrica, ``thou art
the first I have seen for twenty years, by whom God
was feared or man regarded; and dost thou bid me
despair?''

``I bid thee repent,'' said Cedric. ``Seek to
prayer and penance, and mayest thou find acceptance!
But I cannot, I will not, longer abide with
thee.''

``Stay yet a moment!'' said Ulrica; ``leave me
not now, son of my father's friend, lest the demon
who has governed my life should tempt me to
avenge myself of thy hard-hearted scorn---Thinkest
thou, if Front-de-B<oe>uf found Cedric the Saxon in
his castle, in such a disguise, that thy life would be
a long one?---Already his eye has been upon thee
like a falcon on his prey.''

``And be it so,'' said Cedric; ``and let him tear
me with beak and talons, ere my tongue say one
word which my heart doth not warrant. I will die
a Saxon---true in word, open in deed---I bid thee
avaunt!---touch me not, stay me not!---The sight
of Front-de-B<oe>uf himself is less odious to me than
thou, degraded and degenerate as thou art.''

``Be it so,'' said Ulrica, no longer interrupting
him; ``go thy way, and forget, in the insolence of
thy superority, that the wretch before thee is the
daughter of thy father's friend.---Go thy way---if
I am separated from mankind by my sufferings---
separated from those whose aid I might most justly
expect---not less will I be separated from them in
my revenge!---No man shall aid me, but the ears
of all men shall tingle to hear of the deed which I
shall dare to do!---Farewell!---thy scorn has burst
the last tie which seemed yet to unite me to my
kind---a thought that my woes might claim the
compassion of my people.''

``Ulrica,'' said Cedric, softened by this appeal,
``hast thou borne up and endured to live through
so much guilt and so much misery, and wilt thou
now yield to despair when thine eyes are opened to
thy crimes, and when repentance were thy fitter
occupation?''

``Cedric,'' answered Ulrica, ``thou little knowest
the human heart. To act as I have acted, to
think as I have thought, requires the maddening
love of pleasure, mingled with the keen appetite of
revenge, the proud consciousness of power; droughts
too intoxicating for the human heart to bear, and
yet retain the power to prevent. Their force has
long passed away---Age has no pleasures, wrinkles
have no influence, revenge itself dies away in impotent
curses. Then comes remorse, with all its
vipers, mixed with vain regrets for the past, and
despair for the future!---Then, when all other
strong impulses have ceased, we become like the
fiends in hell, who may feel remorse, but never repentance.
---But thy words have awakened a new
soul within me---Well hast thou said, all is possible
for those who dare to die!---Thou hast shown
me the means of revenge, and be assured I will
embrace them. It has hitherto shared this wasted
bosom with other and with rival passions---henceforward
it shall possess me wholly, and thou thyself
shalt say, that, whatever was the life of Ulrica,
her death well became the daughter of the noble
Torquil. There is a force without beleaguering
this accursed castle---hasten to lead them to the attack,
and when thou shalt see a red flag wave from
the turret on the eastern angle of the donjon, press
the Normans hard---they will then have enough to
do within, and you may win the wall in spite both
of bow and mangonel.---Begone, I pray thee---follow
thine own fate, and leave me to mine.''

Cedric would have enquired farther into the purpose
which she thus darkly announced, but the stern
voice of Front-de-B<oe>uf was heard, exclaiming,
``Where tarries this loitering priest? By the scallop-shell
of Compostella, I will make a martyr of
him, if he loiters here to hatch treason among my
domestics!''

``What a true prophet,'' said Ulrica, ``is an evil
conscience! But heed him not---out and to thy
people---Cry your Saxon onslaught, and let them
sing their war-song of Rollo, if they will; vengeance
shall bear a burden to it.''

As she thus spoke, she vanished through a private
door, and Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf entered
the apartment. Cedric, with some difficulty, compelled
himself to make obeisance to the haughty
Baron, who returned his courtesy with a slight inclination
of the head.

``Thy penitents, father, have made a long shrift
---it is the better for them, since it is the last they
shall ever make. Hast thou prepared them for
death?''

``I found them,'' said Cedric, in such French as
he could command, ``expecting the worst, from the
moment they knew into whose power they had
fallen.''

``How now, Sir Friar,'' replied Front-de-B<oe>uf,
``thy speech, methinks, smacks of a Saxon tongue?''

``I was bred in the convent of St Withold of
Burton,'' answered Cedric.

``Ay?'' said the Baron; ``it had been better for
thee to have been a Norman, and better for my
purpose too; but need has no choice of messengers.
That St Withold's of Burton is a howlet's nest
worth the harrying. The day will soon come that
the frock shall protect the Saxon as little as the
mail-coat.''

``God's will be done,'' said Cedric, in a voice
tremulous with passion, which Front-de-B<oe>uf imputed
to fear.

``I see,'' said he, ``thou dreamest already that
our men-at-arms are in thy refectory and thy ale-vaults.
But do me one cast of thy holy office, and,
come what list of others, thou shalt sleep as safe in
thy cell as a snail within his shell of proof.''

``Speak your commands,'' said Cedric, with suppressed
emotion.

``Follow me through this passage, then, that I
may dismiss thee by the postern.''

And as he strode on his way before the supposed
friar, Front-de-B<oe>uf thus schooled him in the part
which he desired he should act.

``Thou seest, Sir Friar, yon herd of Saxon swine,
who have dared to environ this castle of Torquilstone---
Tell them whatever thou hast a mind of the
weakness of this fortalice, or aught else that can detain
them before it for twenty-four hours. Meantime
bear thou this scroll---But soft---canst read,
Sir Priest?''

``Not a jot I,'' answered Cedric, ``save on my
breviary; and then I know the characters, because
I have the holy service by heart, praised be Our
Lady and St Withold!''

``The fitter messenger for my purpose.---Carry
thou this scroll to the castle of Philip de Malvoisin;
say it cometh from me, and is written by the
Templar Brian de Bois-Guilbert, and that I pray
him to send it to York with all the speed man and
horse can make. Meanwhile, tell him to doubt
nothing, he shall find us whole and sound behind
our battlement---Shame on it, that we should be
compelled to hide thus by a pack of runagates, who
are wont to fly even at the flash of our pennons and
the tramp of our horses! I say to thee, priest, contrive
some cast of thine art to keep the knaves
where they are, until our friends bring up their
lances. My vengeance is awake, and she is a falcon
that slumbers not till she has been gorged.''

``By my patron saint,'' said Cedric, with deeper
energy than became his character, ``and by every
saint who has lived and died in England, your commands
shall be obeyed! Not a Saxon shall stir from
before these walls, if I have art and influence to detain
them there.''

``Ha!'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``thou changest thy
tone, Sir Priest, and speakest brief and bold, as if
thy heart were in the slaughter of the Saxon herd;
and yet thou art thyself of kindred to the swine?''

Cedric was no ready practiser of the art of dissimulation,
and would at this moment have been
much the better of a hint from Wamba's more
fertile brain. But necessity, according to the ancient
proverb, sharpens invention, and he muttered
something under his cowl concerning the men in
question being excommunicated outlaws both to
church and to kingdom.

``_Despardieux_,'' answered Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``thou
hast spoken the very truth---I forgot that the knaves
can strip a fat abbot, as well as if they had been
born south of yonder salt channel. Was it not he
of St Ives whom they tied to an oak-tree, and compelled
to sing a mass while they were rifling his
mails and his wallets?---No, by our Lady---that
jest was played by Gualtier of Middleton, one of
our own companions-at-arms. But they were
Saxons who robbed the chapel at St Bees of cup,
candlestick and chalice, were they not?''

``They were godless men,'' answered Cedric.

``Ay, and they drank out all the good wine and
ale that lay in store for many a secret carousal,
when ye pretend ye are but busied with vigils and
primes!---Priest, thou art bound to revenge such
sacrilege.''

``I am indeed bound to vengeance,'' murmured
Cedric; ``Saint Withold knows my heart.''

Front-de-B<oe>uf, in the meanwhile, led the way
to a postern, where, passing the moat on a single
plank, they reached a small barbican, or exterior
defence, which communicated with the open field
by a well-fortified sallyport.

``Begone, then; and if thou wilt do mine errand,
and if thou return hither when it is done, thou
shalt see Saxon flesh cheap as ever was hog's in the
shambles of Sheffield. And, hark thee, thou seemest
to be a jolly confessor---come hither after the
onslaught, and thou shalt have as much Malvoisie
as would drench thy whole convent.''

``Assuredly we shall meet again,'' answered Cedric.

``Something in hand the whilst,'' continued the
Norman; and, as they parted at the postern door,
he thrust into Cedric's reluctant hand a gold byzant,
adding, ``Remember, I will fly off both cowl
and skin, if thou failest in thy purpose.''

``And full leave will I give thee to do both,''
answered Cedric, leaving the postern, and striding
forth over the free field with a joyful step, ``if,
when we meet next, I deserve not better at thine
hand.''---Turning then back towards the castle, he
threw the piece of gold towards the donor, exclaiming
at the same time, ``False Norman, thy money
perish with thee!''

Front-de-B<oe>uf heard the words imperfectly, but
the action was suspicious---``Archers,'' he called to
the warders on the outward battlements, ``send me
an arrow through yon monk's frock!---yet stay,'' he
said, as his retainers were bending their bows, ``it
avails not--we must thus far trust him since we
have no better shift. I think he dares not betray
me---at the worst I can but treat with these Saxon
dogs whom I have safe in kennel.---Ho! Giles
jailor, let them bring Cedric of Rotherwood before
me, and the other churl, his companion---him I
mean of Coningsburgh---Athelstane there, or what
call they him? Their very names are an encumbrance
to a Norman knight's mouth, and have, as
it were, a flavour of bacon---Give me a stoup of
wine, as jolly Prince John said, that I may wash
away the relish---place it in the armoury, and thither
lead the prisoners.''

His commands were obeyed; and, upon entering
that Gothic apartment, hung with many spoils
won by his own valour and that of his father, he
found a flagon of wine on the massive oaken table,
and the two Saxon captives under the guard of
four of his dependants. Front-de-B<oe>uf took a long
drought of wine, and then addressed his prisoners;
---for the manner in which Wamba drew the cap
over his face, the change of dress, the gloomy and
broken light, and the Baron's imperfect acquaintance
with the features of Cedric, (who avoided his
Norman neighbours, and seldom stirred beyond
his own domains,) prevented him from discovering
that the most important of his captives had made
his escape.

``Gallants of England,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf,
``how relish ye your entertainment at Torquilstone?
---Are ye yet aware what your _surquedy_ and
_outrecuidance_* merit, for scoffing at the entertainment

* _Surquedy_ and _outrecuidance_---insolence and presumption.

of a prince of the House of Anjou?---Have
ye forgotten how ye requited the unmerited hospitality
of the royal John? By God and St Dennis,
an ye pay not the richer ransom, I will hang
ye up by the feet from the iron bars of these windows,
till the kites and hooded crows have made
skeletons of you!---Speak out, ye Saxon dogs---
what bid ye for your worthless lives?---How say
you, you of Rotherwood?

``Not a doit I,'' answered poor Wamba---``and
for hanging up by the feet, my brain has been topsy-turvy,
they say, ever since the biggin was bound
first round my head; so turning me upside down
may peradventure restore it again.''

``Saint Genevieve!'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``what
have we got here?''

And with the back of his hand he struck Cedric's
cap from the head of the Jester, and throwing open
his collar, discovered the fatal badge of servitude,
the silver collar round his neck.

``Giles---Clement---dogs and varlets!'' exclaimed
the furious Norman, ``what have you brought
me here?''

``I think I can tell you,'' said De Bracy, who
just entered the apartment. ``This is Cedric's
clown, who fought so manful a skirmish with Isaac
of York about a question of precedence.''

``I shall settle it for them both,'' replied Front-de-B<oe>uf;
``they shall hang on the same gallows,
unless his master and this boar of Coningsburgh will
pay well for their lives. Their wealth is the least
they can surrender; they must also carry off with
them the swarms that are besetting the castle, subscribe
a surrender of their pretended immunities,
and live under us as serfs and vassals; too happy
if, in the new world that is about to begin, we leave
them the breath of their nostrils.---Go,'' said he to
two of his attendants, ``fetch me the right Cedric
hither, and I pardon your error for once; the rather
that you but mistook a fool for a Saxon franklin.''

``Ay, but,'' said Wamba, ``your chivalrous excellency
will find there are more fools than franklins
among us.''

``What means the knave?'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf,
looking towards his followers, who, lingering and
loath, faltered forth their belief, that if this were
not Cedric who was there in presence, they knew
not what was become of him.

``Saints of Heaven!'' exclaimed De Bracy, ``he
must have escaped in the monk's garments!''

``Fiends of hell!'' echoed Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``it
was then the boar of Rotherwood whom I ushered
to the postern, and dismissed with my own hands!
---And thou,'' he said to Wamba, ``whose folly
could overreach the wisdom of idiots yet more gross
than thyself---I will give thee holy orders---I will
shave thy crown for thee!---Here, let them tear the
scalp from his head, and then pitch him headlong
from the battlements---Thy trade is to jest, canst
thou jest now?''

``You deal with me better than your word, noble
knight,'' whimpered forth poor Wamba, whose
habits of buffoonery were not to be overcome even
by the immediate prospect of death; ``if you give
me the red cap you propose, out of a simple monk
you will make a cardinal.''

``The poor wretch,'' said De Bracy, ``is resolved
to die in his vocation.---Front-de-B<oe>uf, you shall
not slay him. Give him to me to make sport for my
Free Companions.---How sayst thou, knave? Wilt
thou take heart of grace, and go to the wars with
me?''

``Ay, with my master's leave,'' said Wamba;
``for, look you, I must not slip collar'' (and he
touched that which he wore) ``without his permission.''

``Oh, a Norman saw will soon cut a Saxon collar.''
said De Bracy.

``Ay, noble sir,'' said Wamba, ``and thence
goes the proverb---

`Norman saw on English oak,
On English neck a Norman yoke;
Norman spoon in English dish,
And England ruled as Normans wish;
Blithe world to England never will be more,
Till England's rid of all the four.' ''

``Thou dost well, De Bracy,' said Front-de-B<oe>uf,
``to stand there listening to a fool's jargon,
when destruction is gaping for us! Seest thou not
we are overreached, and that our proposed mode
of communicating with our friends without has
been disconcerted by this same motley gentleman
thou art so fond to brother? What views have we
to expect but instant storm?''

``To the battlements then,'' said De Bracy;
``when didst thou ever see me the graver for the
thoughts of battle? Call the Templar yonder, and
let him fight but half so well for his life as he has
done for his Order---Make thou to the walls thyself
with thy huge body---Let me do my poor endeavour
in my own way, and I tell thee the Saxon
outlaws may as well attempt to scale the clouds, as
the castle of Torquilstone; or, if you will treat
with the banditti, why not employ the mediation of
this worthy franklin, who seems in such deep contemplation
of the wine-flagon?---Here, Saxon,''
he continued, addressing Athelstane, and handing
the cup to him, ``rinse thy throat with that noble
liquor, and rouse up thy soul to say what thou wilt
do for thy liberty.''

``What a man of mould may,'' answered Athelstane,
``providing it be what a man of manhood
ought.---Dismiss me free, with my companions, and
I will pay a ransom of a thousand marks.''

``And wilt moreover assure us the retreat of that
scum of mankind who are swarming around the castle,
contrary to God's peace and the king's?'' said
Front-de-B<oe>uf.

``In so far as I can,'' answered Athelstane, ``I
will withdraw them; and I fear not but that my
father Cedric will do his best to assist me.''

``We are agreed then,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf---
``thou and they are to be set at freedom, and peace
is to be on both sides, for payment of a thousand
marks. It is a trifling ransom, Saxon, and thou
wilt owe gratitude to the moderation which accepts
of it in exchange of your persons. But mark, this
extends not to the Jew Isaac.''

``Nor to the Jew Isaac's daughter,'' said the
Templar, who had now joined them

``Neither,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``belong to this
Saxon's company.''

``I were unworthy to be called Christian, if they
did,'' replied Athelstane: ``deal with the unbelievers
as ye list.''

``Neither does the ransom include the Lady
Rowena,'' said De Bracy. ``It shall never be said
I was scared out of a fair prize without striking a
blow for it.''

``Neither,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``does our treaty
refer to this wretched Jester, whom I retain,
that I may make him an example to every knave
who turns jest into earnest.''

``The Lady Rowena,'' answered Athelstane,
with the most steady countenance, ``is my affianced
bride. I will be drawn by wild horses before I consent
to part with her. The slave Wamba has this
day saved the life of my father Cedric---I will lose
mine ere a hair of his head be injured.''

``Thy affianced bride?---The Lady Rowena the
affianced bride of a vassal like thee?'' said De
Bracy; ``Saxon, thou dreamest that the days of
thy seven kingdoms are returned again. I tell thee,
the Princes of the House of Anjou confer not their
wards on men of such lineage as thine.''

``My lineage, proud Norman,'' replied Athelstane,
``is drawn from a source more pure and ancient
than that of a beggarly Frenchman, whose
living is won by selling the blood of the thieves
whom he assembles under his paltry standard.
Kings were my ancestors, strong in war and wise
in council, who every day feasted in their hall more
hundreds than thou canst number individual followers;
whose names have been sung by minstrels,
and their laws recorded by Wittenagemotes; whose
bones were interred amid the prayers of saints, and
over whose tombs minsters have been builded.''

``Thou hast it, De Bracy,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf,
well pleased with the rebuff which his companion
had received; ``the Saxon hath hit thee fairly.''

``As fairly as a captive can strike,'' said De
Bracy, with apparent carelessness; ``for he whose
hands are tied should have his tongue at freedom.
---But thy glibness of reply, comrade,'' rejoined he,
speaking to Athelstane, ``will not win the freedom
of the Lady Rowena.''

To this Athelstane, who had already made a
longer speech than was his custom to do on any
topic, however interesting, returned no answer.
The conversation was interrupted by the arrival of
a menial, who announced that a monk demanded
admittance at the postern gate.

``In the name of Saint Bennet, the prince of
these bull-beggars,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf, ``have we
a real monk this time, or another impostor? Search
him, slaves---for an ye suffer a second impostor to
be palmed upon you, I will have your eyes torn
out, and hot coals put into the sockets.''

``Let me endure the extremity of your anger,
my lord,'' said Giles, ``if this be not a real shaveling.
Your squire Jocelyn knows him well, and
will vouch him to be brother Ambrose, a monk in
attendance upon the Prior of Jorvaulx.''

``Admit him,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf; ``most likely
he brings us news from his jovial master. Surely
the devil keeps holiday, and the priests are relieved
from duty, that they are strolling thus wildly
through the country. Remove these prisoners;
and, Saxon, think on what thou hast heard.''

``I claim,'' said Athelstane, ``an honourable imprisonment,
with due care of my board and of my
couch, as becomes my rank, and as is due to one
who is in treaty for ransom. Moreover, I hold
him that deems himself the best of you, bound to
answer to me with his body for this aggression on
my freedom. This defiance hath already been sent
to thee by thy sewer; thou underliest it, and art
bound to answer me---There lies my glove.''

``I answer not the challenge of my prisoner,''
said Front-de-B<oe>uf; ``nor shalt thou, Maurice de
Bracy.---Giles,'' he continued, ``hang the franklin's
glove upon the tine of yonder branched antlers:
there shall it remain until he is a free man. Should
he then presume to demand it, or to affirm he was
unlawfully made my prisoner, by the belt of Saint
Christopher, he will speak to one who hath never
refused to meet a foe on foot or on horseback, alone
or with his vassals at his back!''

The Saxon prisoners were accordingly removed,
just as they introduced the monk Ambrose, who
appeared to be in great perturbation.

``This is the real _Deus vobiscum_,'' said Wamba,
as he passed the reverend brother; ``the others
were but counterfeits.''

``Holy Mother,'' said the monk, as he addressed
the assembled knights, ``I am at last safe and
in Christian keeping!''

``Safe thou art,'' replied De Bracy; ``and for
Christianity, here is the stout Baron Reginald
Front-de-B<oe>uf, whose utter abomination is a Jew;
and the good Knight Templar, Brian de Bois-Guilbert,
whose trade is to slay Saracens---If these are
not good marks of Christianity, I know no other
which they bear about them.''
``Ye are friends and allies of our reverend father
in God, Aymer, Prior of Jorvaulx,'' said the monk,
without noticing the tone of De Bracy's reply; ``ye
owe him aid both by knightly faith and holy charity;
for what saith the blessed Saint Augustin,
in his treatise _De Civitate Dei_------''

``What saith the devil!'' interrupted Front-de-B<oe>uf;
``or rather what dost thou say, Sir Priest?
We have little time to hear texts from the holy
fathers.''

``_Sancta Maria!_'' ejaculated Father Ambrose,
``how prompt to ire are these unhallowed laymen!
---But be it known to you, brave knights, that certain
murderous caitiffs, casting behind them fear
of God, and reverence of his church, and not regarding
the bull of the holy see, _Si quis, suadende
Diabolo_------''

``Brother priest,'' said the Templar, ``all this
we know or guess at---tell us plainly, is thy master,
the Prior, made prisoner, and to whom?''

``Surely,'' said Ambrose, ``he is in the hands
of the men of Belial, infesters of these woods, and
contemners of the holy text, `Touch not mine
anointed, and do my prophets naught of evil.' ''

``Here is a new argument for our swords, sirs,''
said Front-de-B<oe>uf, turning to his companions;
``and so, instead of reaching us any assistance, the
Prior of Jorvaulx requests aid at our hands? a man
is well helped of these lazy churchmen when he
hath most to do!---But speak out, priest, and say
at once, what doth thy master expect from us?''

``So please you,'' said Ambrose, ``violent hands
having been imposed on my reverend superior,
contrary to the holy ordinance which I did already
quote, and the men of Belial having rifled his mails
and budgets, and stripped him of two hundred
marks of pure refined gold, they do yet demand of
him a large sum beside, ere they will suffer him to
depart from their uncircumcised hands. Wherefore
the reverend father in God prays you, as his dear
friends, to rescue him, either by paying down the
ransom at which they hold him, or by force of arms,
at your best discretion.''

``The foul fiend quell the Prior!'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf;
``his morning's drought has been a deep
one. When did thy master hear of a Norman baron
unbuckling his purse to relieve a churchman,
whose bags are ten times as weighty as ours?---
And how can we do aught by valour to free him,
that are cooped up here by ten times our number,
and expect an assault every moment?''

``And that was what I was about to tell you,''
said the monk, ``had your hastiness allowed me
time. But, God help me, I am old, and these foul
onslaughts distract an aged man's brain. Nevertheless,
it is of verity that they assemble a camp,
and raise a bank against the walls of this castle.''

``To the battlements!'' cried De Bracy, ``and
let us mark what these knaves do without;'' and
so saying, he opened a latticed window which led
to a sort of bartisan or projecting balcony, and immediately
called from thence to those in the apartment---
``Saint Dennis, but the old monk hath
brought true tidings!---They bring forward mantelets
and pavisses,* and the archers muster on the

* Mantelets were temporary and movable defences formed
* of planks, under cover of which the assailants advanced to the
* attack of fortified places of old. Pavisses were a species of large
* shields covering the whole person, employed on the same occasions.

skirts of the wood like a dark cloud before a hailstorm.''

Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf also looked out upon
the field, and immediately snatched his bugle; and,
after winding a long and loud blast, commanded
his men to their posts on the walls.

``De Bracy, look to the eastern side, where the
walls are lowest---Noble Bois-Guilbert, thy trade
hath well taught thee how to attack and defend,
look thou to the western side---I myself will take
post at the barbican. Yet, do not confine your
exertions to any one spot, noble friends!---we must
this day be everywhere, and multiply ourselves,
were it possible, so as to carry by our presence
succour and relief wherever the attack is hottest.
Our numbers are few, but activity and courage may
supply that defect, since we have only to do with
rascal clowns.''

``But, noble knights,'' exclaimed Father Ambrose,
amidst the bustle and confusion occasioned
by the preparations for defence, ``will none of ye
hear the message of the reverend father in God
Aymer, Prior of Jorvaulx?---I beseech thee to hear
me, noble Sir Reginald!''

``Go patter thy petitions to heaven,'' said the
fierce Norman, ``for we on earth have no time to
listen to them.---Ho! there, Anselm I see that seething
pitch and oil are ready to pour on the heads of
these audacious traitors---Look that the cross-bowmen
lack not bolts.*---Fling abroad my banner with

* The bolt was the arrow peculiarly fitted to the cross-bow,
* as that of the long-bow was called a shaft. Hence the English
* proverb---``I will either make a shaft or bolt of it,'' signifying a
* determination to make one use or other of the thing spoken of.

the old bull's head---the knaves shall soon find with
whom they have to do this day!''

``But, noble sir,'' continued the monk, persevering
in his endeavours to draw attention, ``consider
my vow of obedience, and let me discharge myself
of my Superior's errand.''

``Away with this prating dotard,'' said Front-de B<oe>uf,
``lock him up in the chapel, to tell his
beads till the broil be over. It will be a new thing
to the saints in Torquilstone to hear aves and paters;
they have not been so honoured, I trow, since
they were cut out of stone.''

``Blaspheme not the holy saints, Sir Reginald,''
said De Bracy, ``we shall have need of their aid
to-day before yon rascal rout disband.''

``I expect little aid from their hand,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf,
``unless we were to hurl them from the
battlements on the heads of the villains. There is
a huge lumbering Saint Christopher yonder, sufficient
to bear a whole company to the earth.''

The Templar had in the meantime been looking
out on the proceedings of the besiegers, with rather
more attention than the brutal Front-de-B<oe>uf or
his giddy companion.

``By the faith of mine order,'' he said, ``these
men approach with more touch of discipline than
could have been judged, however they come by it.
See ye how dexterously they avail themselves of
every cover which a tree or bush affords, and shun
exposing themselves to the shot of our cross-bows?
I spy neither banner nor pennon among them, and
yet will I gage my golden chain, that they are led
on by some noble knight or gentleman, skilful in
the practice of wars.''

``I espy him,'' said De Bracy; ``I see the waving
of a knight's crest, and the gleam of his armour.
See yon tall man in the black mail, who is
busied marshalling the farther troop of the rascaille
yeomen---by Saint Dennis, I hold him to be the
same whom we called _Le Noir Faineant_, who overthrew
thee, Front-de-B<oe>uf, in the lists at Ashby.''
``So much the better,'' said Front-de-B<oe>uf,
``that he comes here to give me my revenge. Some
hilding fellow he must be, who dared not stay to
assert his claim to the tourney prize which chance
had assigned him. I should in vain have sought
for him where knights and nobles seek their foes,
and right glad am I he hath here shown himself
among yon villain yeomanry.''

The demonstrations of the enemy's immediate
approach cut off all farther discourse. Each knight
repaired to his post, and at the head of the few followers
whom they were able to muster, and who
were in numbers inadequate to defend the whole
extent of the walls, they awaited with calm determination
the threatened assault.



CHAPTER XXVIII


This wandering race, sever'd from other men,
Boast yet their intercourse with human arts;
The seas, the woods, the deserts, which they haunt,
Find them acquainted with their secret treasures:
And unregarded herbs, and flowers, and blossoms,
Display undreamt-of powers when gather'd by them.
_The Jew._

Our history must needs retrograde for the space
of a few pages, to inform the reader of certain passages
material to his understanding the rest of this
important narrative. His own intelligence may
indeed have easily anticipated that, when Ivanhoe
sunk down, and seemed abandoned by all the world,
it was the importunity of Rebecca which prevailed
on her father to have the gallant young warrior
transported from the lists to the house which for
the time the Jews inhabited in the suburbs of
Ashby.

It would not have been difficult to have persuaded
Isaac to this step in any other circumstances,
for his disposition was kind and grateful. But he
had also the prejudices and scrupulous timidity
of his persecuted people, and those were to be
conquered.

``Holy Abraham!'' he exclaimed, ``he is a good
youth, and my heart bleeds to see the gore trickle
down his rich embroidered hacqueton, and his corslet
of goodly price---but to carry him to our house!
---damsel, hast thou well considered?---he is a
Christian, and by our law we may not deal with
the stranger and Gentile, save for the advantage
of our commerce.''

``Speak not so, my dear father,'' replied Rebecca;
``we may not indeed mix with them in banquet
and in jollity; but in wounds and in misery,
the Gentile becometh the Jew's brother.''

``I would I knew what the Rabbi Jacob Ben
Tudela would opine on it,'' replied Isaac;---``nevertheless,
the good youth must not bleed to death.
Let Seth and Reuben bear him to Ashby.''

``Nay, let them place him in my litter,'' said
Rebecca; ``I will mount one of the palfreys.''

``That were to expose thee to the gaze of those
dogs of Ishmael and of Edom,'' whispered Isaac,
with a suspicious glance towards the crowd of
knights and squires. But Rebecca was already busied
in carrying her charitable purpose into effect,
and listed not what he said, until Isaac, seizing the
sleeve of her mantle, again exclaimed, in a hurried
voice---``Beard of Aaron!---what if the youth perish!
---if he die in our custody, shall we not be
held guilty of his blood, and be torn to pieces by
the multitude?''

``He will not die, my father,'' said Rebecca,
gently extricating herself from the grasp of Isaac
``he will not die unless we abandon him; and if
so, we are indeed answerable for his blood to God
and to man.''

``Nay,'' said Isaac, releasing his hold, ``it grieveth
me as much to see the drops of his blood, as
if they were so many golden byzants from mine
own purse; and I well know, that the lessons of
Miriam, daughter of the Rabbi Manasses of Byzantium
whose soul is in Paradise, have made thee
skilful in the art of healing, and that thou knowest
the craft of herbs, and the force of elixirs. Therefore,
do as thy mind giveth thee---thou art a good
damsel, a blessing, and a crown, and a song of rejoicing
unto me and unto my house, and unto the
people of my fathers.''

The apprehensions of Isaac, however, were not
ill founded; and the generous and grateful benevolence
of his daughter exposed her, on her return
to Ashby, to the unhallowed gaze of Brian de Bois-Guilbert.
The Templar twice passed and repassed
them on the road, fixing his bold and ardent look on
the beautiful Jewess; and we have already seen the
consequences of the admiration which her charms
excited when accident threw her into the power of
that unprincipled voluptuary.

Rebecca lost no time in causing the patient to
be transported to their temporary dwelling, and
proceeded with her own hands to examine and to
bind up his wounds. The youngest reader of romances
and romantic ballads, must recollect how
often the females, during the dark ages, as they
are called, were initiated into the mysteries of surgery,
and how frequently the gallant knight submitted
the wounds of his person to her cure, whose
eyes had yet more deeply penetrated his heart.

But the Jews, both male and female, possessed
and practised the medical science in all its branches,
and the monarchs and powerful barons of the time
frequently committed themselves to the charge of
some experienced sage among this despised people,
when wounded or in sickness. The aid of the Jewish
physicians was not the less eagerly sought after,
though a general belief prevailed among the
Christians, that the Jewish Rabbins were deeply
acquainted with the occult sciences, and particularly
with the cabalistical art, which had its name
and origin in the studies of the sages of Israel.
Neither did the Rabbins disown such acquaintance
with supernatural arts, which added nothing (for
what could add aught?) to the hatred with which
their nation was regarded, while it diminished the
contempt with which that malevolence was mingled.
A Jewish magician might be the subject of equal
abhorrence with a Jewish usurer, but he could not
be equally despised. It is besides probable, considering
the wonderful cures they are said to have
performed, that the Jews possessed some secrets of
the healing art peculiar to themselves, and which,
with the exclusive spirit arising out of their condition,
they took great care to conceal from the Christians
amongst whom they dwelt.

The beautiful Rebecca had been heedfully brought
up in all the knowledge proper to her nation, which
her apt and powerful mind had retained, arranged,
and enlarged, in the course of a progress beyond
her years, her sex, and even the age in which she
lived. Her knowledge of medicine and of the healing
art had been acquired under an aged Jewess,
the daughter of one of their most celebrated doctors,
who loved Rebecca as her own child, and was
believed to have communicated to her secrets, which
had been left to herself by her sage father at the
same time, and under the same circumstances. The
fate of Miriam had indeed been to fall a sacrifice
to the fanaticism of the times; but her secrets had
survived in her apt pupil.

Rebecca, thus endowed with knowledge as with
beauty, was universally revered and admired by her
own tribe, who almost regarded her as one of those
gifted women mentioned in the sacred history. Her
father himself, out of reverence for her talents,
which involuntarily mingled itself with his unbounded
affection, permitted the maiden a greater
liberty than was usually indulged to those of her
sex by the habits of her people, and was, as we
have just seen, frequently guided by her opinion,
even in preference to his own.

When Ivanhoe reached the habitation of Isaac,
he was still in a state of unconsciousness, owing to
the profuse loss of blood which had taken place during
his exertions in the lists. Rebecca examined
the wound, and having applied to it such vulnerary
remedies as her art prescribed, informed her father
that if fever could be averted, of which the great
bleeding rendered her little apprehensive, and if
the healing balsam of Miriam retained its virtue,
there was nothing to fear for his guest's life, and
that he might with safety travel to York with them
on the ensuing day. Isaac looked a little blank at
this annunciation. His charity would willingly have
stopped short at Ashby, or at most would have left
the wounded Christian to be tended in the house
where he was residing at present, with an assurance
to the Hebrew to whom it belonged, that all expenses
should be duly discharged. To this, however,
Rebecca opposed many reasons, of which we
shall only mention two that had peculiar weight
with Isaac. The one was, that she would on no
account put the phial of precious balsam into the
hands of another physician even of her own tribe,
lest that valuable mystery should be discovered;
the other, that this wounded knight, Wilfred of
Ivanhoe, was an intimate favourite of Richard
C<oe>ur-de-Lion, and that, in case the monarch should
return, Isaac, who had supplied his brother John
with treasure to prosecute his rebellious purposes,
would stand in no small need of a powerful protector
who enjoyed Richard's favour.

``Thou art speaking but sooth, Rebecca,'' said
Isaac, giving way to these weighty arguments---``it
were an offending of Heaven to betray the secrets
of the blessed Miriam; for the good which Heaven
giveth, is not rashly to be squandered upon
others, whether it be talents of gold and shekels of
silver, or whether it be the secret mysteries of a wise
physician---assuredly they should be preserved to
those to whom Providence hath vouchsafed them.
And him whom the Nazarenes of England call the
Lion's Heart, assuredly it were better for me to
fall into the hands of a strong lion of Idumea than
into his, if he shall have got assurance of my dealing
with his brother. Wherefore I will lend ear
to thy counsel, and this youth shall journey with
us unto York, and our house shall be as a home to
him until his wounds shall be healed. And if he of
the Lion Heart shall return to the land, as is now
noised abroad, then shall this Wilfred of Ivanhoe
be unto me as a wall of defence, when the king's
displeasure shall burn high against thy father. And
if he doth not return, this Wilfred may natheless
repay us our charges when he shall gain treasure
by the strength of his spear and of his sword, even
as he did yesterday and this day also. For the
youth is a good youth, and keepeth the day which
he appointeth, and restoreth that which he borroweth,
and succoureth the Israelite, even the child of
my father's house, when he is encompassed by
strong thieves and sons of Belial.''

It was not until evening was nearly closed that
Ivanhoe was restored to consciousness of his situation.
He awoke from a broken slumber, under the
confused impressions which are naturally attendant
on the recovery from a state of insensibility. He
was unable for some time to recall exactly to memory
the circumstances which had preceded his fall
in the lists, or to make out any connected chain of
the events in which he had been engaged upon the
yesterday. A sense of wounds and injury, joined
to great weakness and exhaustion, was mingled
with the recollection of blows dealt and received,
of steeds rushing upon each other, overthrowing
and overthrown---of shouts and clashing of arms,
and all the heady tumult of a confused fight. An
effort to draw aside the curtain of his conch was in
some degree successful, although rendered difficult
by the pain of his wound.

To his great surprise he found himself in a room
magnificently furnished, but having cushions instead
of chairs to rest upon, and in other respects
partaking so much of Oriental costume, that he
began to doubt whether he had not, during his
sleep, been transported back again to the land of
Palestine. The impression was increased, when,
the tapestry being drawn aside, a female form,
dressed in a rich habit, which partook more of the
Eastern taste than that of Europe, glided through
the door which it concealed, and was followed by
a swarthy domestic.

As the wounded knight was about to address
this fair apparition, she imposed silence by placing
her slender finger upon her ruby lips, while the
attendant, approaching him, proceeded to uncover
Ivanhoe's side, and the lovely Jewess satisfied herself
that the bandage was in its place, and the
wound doing well. She performed her task with
a graceful and dignified simplicity and modesty,
which might, even in more civilized days, have
served to redeem it from whatever might seem repugnant
to female delicacy. The idea of so young
and beautiful a person engaged in attendance on a
sick-bed, or in dressing the wound of one of a different
sex, was melted away and lost in that of a
beneficent being contributing her effectual aid to
relieve pain, and to avert the stroke of death. Rebecca's
few and brief directions were given in the
Hebrew language to the old domestic; and he, who
had been frequently her assistant in similar cases,
obeyed them without reply.

The accents of an unknown tongue, however
harsh they might have sounded when uttered by
another, had, coming from the beautiful Rebecca,
the romantic and pleasing effect which fancy ascribes
to the charms pronounced by some beneficent
fairy, unintelligible, indeed, to the ear, but, from
the sweetness of utterance, and benignity of aspect,
which accompanied them, touching and affecting to
the heart. Without making an attempt at further
question, Ivanhoe suffered them in silence to take
the measures they thought most proper for his recovery;
and it was not until those were completed,
and this kind physician about to retire. that his curiosity
could no longer be suppressed.---``Gentle
maiden,'' be began in the Arabian tongue, with
which his Eastern travels had rendered him familiar,
and which he thought most likely to be understood
by the turban'd and caftan'd damsel who stood before
him---``I pray you, gentle maiden, of your
courtesy------''

But here he was interrupted by his fair physician,
a smile which she could scarce suppress dimpling
for an instant a face, whose general expression
was that of contemplative melancholy. ``I am of
England, Sir Knight, and speak the English tongue,
although my dress and my lineage belong to another
climate.''

``Noble damsel,''---again the Knight of Ivanhoe
began; and again Rebecca hastened to interrupt
him.

``Bestow not on me, Sir Knight,'' she said, ``the
epithet of noble. It is well you should speedily
know that your handmaiden is a poor Jewess, the
daughter of that Isaac of York, to whom you were
so lately a good and kind lord. It well becomes
him, and those of his household, to render to you
such careful tendance as your present state necessarily
demands.''

I know not whether the fair Rowena would have
been altogether satisfied with the species of emotion
with which her devoted knight had hitherto
gazed on the beautiful features, and fair form, and
lustrous eyes, of the lovely Rebecca; eyes whose
brilliancy was shaded, and, as it were, mellowed, by
the fringe of her long silken eyelashes, and which
a minstrel would have compared to the evening
star darting its rays through a bower of jessamine.
But Ivanhoe was too good a Catholic to retain the
same class of feelings towards a Jewess. This
Rebecca had foreseen, and for this very purpose she
had hastened to mention her father's name and lineage;
yet---for the fair and wise daughter of Isaac
was not without a touch of female weakness---she
could not but sigh internally when the glance of
respectful admiration, not altogether unmixed with
tenderness, with which Ivanhoe had hitherto regarded
his unknown benefactress, was exchanged
at once for a manner cold, composed, and collected,
and fraught with no deeper feeling than that which
expressed a grateful sense of courtesy received from
an unexpected quarter, and from one of an inferior
race. It was not that Ivanhoe's former carriage expressed
more than that general devotional homage
which youth always pays to beauty; yet it was
mortifying that one word should operate as a spell
to remove poor Rebecca, who could not be supposed
altogether ignorant of her title to such homage,
into a degraded class, to whom it could not be honourably
rendered.

But the gentleness and candour of Rebecca's
nature imputed no fault to Ivanhoe for sharing in
the universal prejudices of his age and religion. On
the contrary the fair Jewess, though sensible her
patient now regarded her as one of a race of reprobation,
with whom it was disgraceful to hold any
beyond the most necessary intercourse, ceased not
to pay the same patient and devoted attention to
his safety and convalescence. She informed him of
the necessity they were under of removing to York,
and of her father's resolution to transport him thither,
and tend him in his own house until his health
should be restored. Ivanhoe expressed great repugnance
to this plan, which he grounded on unwillingness
to give farther trouble to his benefactors.

``Was there not,'' he said, ``in Ashby, or near
it, some Saxon franklin, or even some wealthy peasant,
who would endure the burden of a wounded
countryman's residence with him until he should
be again able to bear his armour?---Was there no
convent of Saxon endowment, where he could be
received?---Or could he not be transported as far as
Burton, where he was sure to find hospitality with
Waltheoff, the Abbot of St Withold's, to whom
he was related?''

``Any, the worst of these harbourages,'' said
Rebecca, with a melancholy smile, ``would unquestionably
be more fitting for your residence than the
abode of a despised Jew; yet, Sir Knight, unless
you would dismiss your physician, you cannot
change your lodging. Our nation, as you well
know, can cure wounds, though we deal not in inflicting
them; and in our own family, in particular,
are secrets which have been handed down since the
days of Solomon, and of which you have already
experienced the advantages. No Nazarene---I
crave your forgiveness, Sir Knight---no Christian
leech, within the four seas of Britain, could enable
you to bear your corslet within a month.''

``And how soon wilt thou enable me to brook
it?'' said Ivanhoe, impatiently.

``Within eight days, if thou wilt be patient and
conformable to my directions,'' replied Rebecca.

``By Our Blessed Lady,'' said Wilfred, ``if it
be not a sin to name her here, it is no time for me
or any true knight to be bedridden; and if thou
accomplish thy promise, maiden, I will pay thee
with my casque full of crowns, come by them as I
may.''

``I will accomplish my promise,'' said Rebecca,
and thou shalt bear thine armour on the eighth
day from hence, if thou will grant me but one boon
in the stead of the silver thou dost promise me.''

`If it be within my power, and such as a true
Christian knight may yield to one of thy people,''
replied Ivanhoe, ``I will grant thy boon blithely
and thankfully.''

``Nay,'' answered Rebecca, ``I will but pray of
thee to believe henceforward that a Jew may do
good service to a Christian, without desiring other
guerdon than the blessing of the Great Father who
made both Jew and Gentile.''

``It were sin to doubt it, maiden,'' replied Ivanhoe;
``and I repose myself on thy skill without
further scruple or question, well trusting you will
enable me to bear my corslet on the eighth day.
And now, my kind leech, let me enquire of the news
abroad. What of the noble Saxon Cedric and his
household?---what of the lovely Lady---'' He
stopt, as if unwilling to speak Rowena's name in
the house of a Jew---``Of her, I mean, who was
named Queen of the tournament?''

``And who was selected by you, Sir Knight, to
hold that dignity, with judgment which was admired
as much as your valour,'' replied Rebecca.

The blood which Ivanhoe had lost did not prevent
a flush from crossing his cheek, feeling that
he had incautiously betrayed a deep interest in
Rowena by the awkward attempt he had made to
conceal it.''

``It was less of her I would speak,'' said he,
``than of Prince John; and I would fain know
somewhat of a faithful squire, and why he now attends
me not?''

``Let me use my authority as a leech,'' answered
Rebecca, ``and enjoin you to keep silence, and
avoid agitating reflections, whilst I apprize you of
what you desire to know. Prince John hath broken
off the tournament, and set forward in all haste towards
York, with the nobles, knights, and churchmen
of his party, after collecting such sums as they
could wring, by fair means or foul, from those who
are esteemed the wealthy of the land. It is said be
designs to assume his brother's crown.''

``Not without a blow struck in its defence,''
said Ivanhoe, raising himself upon the couch, ``if
there were but one true subject in England I will
fight for Richard's title with the best of them---
ay, one or two, in his just quarrel!''

``But that you may be able to do so,'' said Rebecca
touching his shoulder with her hand, ``you
must now observe my directions, and remain quiet.''

``True, maiden,'' said Ivanhoe, ``as quiet as
these disquieted times will permit---And of Cedric
and his household?''

``His steward came but brief while since,'' said
the Jewess, ``panting with haste, to ask my father
for certain monies, the price of wool the growth of
Cedric's flocks, and from him I learned that Cedric
and Athelstane of Coningsburgh had left Prince
John's lodging in high displeasure, and were about
to set forth on their return homeward.''

``Went any lady with them to the banquet?''
said Wilfred.

``The Lady Rowena,'' said Rebecca, answering
the question with more precision than it had been
asked---``The Lady Rowena went not to the
Prince's feast, and, as the steward reported to us,
she is now on her journey back to Rotherwood,
with her guardian Cedric. And touching your
faithful squire Gurth------''

``Ha!'' exclaimed the knight, ``knowest thou
his name?---But thou dost,'' he immediately added,
``and well thou mayst, for it was from thy
hand, and, as I am now convinced, from thine own
generosity of spirit, that he received but yesterday
a hundred zecchins.''

``Speak not of that,'' said Rebecca, blushing
deeply; ``I see how easy it is for the tongue to
betray what the heart would gladly conceal.''

``But this sum of gold,'' said Ivanhoe, gravely,
``my honour is concerned in repaying it to your
father.''

``Let it be as thou wilt,'' said Rebecca, ``when
eight days have passed away; but think not, and
speak not now, of aught that may retard thy recovery.''

``Be it so, kind maiden,'' said Ivanhoe; ``I were
most ungrateful to dispute thy commands. But
one word of the fate of poor Gurth, and I have done
with questioning thee.''

``I grieve to tell thee, Sir Knight,'' answered
the Jewess, `` that he is in custody by the order of
Cedric.''---And then observing the distress which
her communication gave to Wilfred, she instantly
added, ``But the steward Oswald said, that if nothing
occurred to renew his master's displeasure
against him, he was sure that Cedric would pardon
Gurth, a faithful serf, and one who stood high
in favour, and who had but committed this error
out of the love which he bore to Cedric's son. And
he said, moreover, that he and his comrades, and
especially Wamba the Jester, were resolved to
warn Gurth to make his escape by the way, in case
Cedric's ire against him could not be mitigated.''

``Would to God they may keep their purpose!''
said Ivanhoe; ``but it seems as if I were destined
to bring ruin on whomsoever hath shown kindness
to me. My king, by whom I was honoured and
distinguished, thou seest that the brother most
indebted to him is raising his arms to grasp his
crown;---my regard hath brought restraint and
trouble on the fairest of her sex;---and now my
father in his mood may slay this poor bondsman
but for his love and loyal service to me!---Thou
seest, maiden, what an ill-fated wretch thou dost
labour to assist; be wise, and let me go, ere the
misfortunes which track my footsteps like slot-hounds,
shall involve thee also in their pursuit.''

``Nay,'' said Rebecca, ``thy weakness and thy
grief, Sir Knight, make thee miscalculate the purposes
of Heaven. Thou hast been restored to thy
country when it most needed the assistance of a
strong hand and a true heart, and thou hast humbled
the pride of thine enemies and those of thy
king, when their horn was most highly exalted .
and for the evil which thou hast sustained, seest
thou not that Heaven has raised thee a helper and
a physician, even among the most despised of the
land?---Therefore, be of good courage, and trust
that thou art preserved for some marvel which thine
arm shall work before this people. Adieu---and
having taken the medicine which I shall send thee
by the hand of Reuben, compose thyself again to
rest, that thou mayest be the more able to endure
the journey on the succeeding day.''

Ivanhoe was convinced by the reasoning, and
obeyed the directions, of Rebecca. The drought
which Reuben administered was of a sedative and
narcotic quality, and secured the patient sound and
undisturbed slumbers. In the morning his kind
physician found him entirely free from feverish
symptoms, and fit to undergo the fatigue of a
journey.

He was deposited in the horse-litter which had
brought him from the lists, and every precaution
taken for his travelling with ease. In one circumstance
only even the entreaties of Rebecca were
unable to secure sufficient attention to the accommodation
of the wounded knight. Isaac, like the
enriched traveller of Juvenal's tenth satire, had
ever the fear of robbery before his eyes, conscious
that he would be alike accounted fair game by the
marauding Norman noble, and by the Saxon outlaw.
He therefore journeyed at a great rate, and
made short halts, and shorter repasts, so that he
passed by Cedric and Athelstane who had several
hours the start of him, but who had been delayed
by their protracted feasting at the convent of Saint
Withold's. Yet such was the virtue of Miriam's
balsam, or such the strength of Ivanhoe's constitution,
that he did not sustain from the hurried journey
that inconvenience which his kind physician
had apprehended.

In another point of view, however, the Jew's
haste proved somewhat more than good speed. The
rapidity with which he insisted on travelling, bred
several disputes between him and the party whom
he had hired to attend him as a guard. These men
were Saxons, and not free by any means from the
national love of ease and good living which the
Normans stigmatized as laziness and gluttony. Reversing
Shylock's position, they had accepted the
employment in hopes of feeding upon the wealthy
Jew, and were very much displeased when they
found themselves disappointed, by the rapidity with
which he insisted on their proceeding. They remonstrated
also upon the risk of damage to their
horses by these forced marches. Finally, there arose
betwixt Isaac and his satellites a deadly feud, concerning
the quantity of wine and ale to be allowed
for consumption at each meal. And thus it happened,
that when the alarm of danger approached,
and that which Isaac feared was likely to come upon
him, he was deserted by the discontented mercenaries
on whose protection he had relied, without
using the means necessary to secure their attachment.

In this deplorable condition the Jew, with his
daughter and her wounded patient, were found by
Cedric, as has already been noticed, and soon afterwards
fell into the power of De Bracy and his confederates.
Little notice was at first taken of the
horse-litter, and it might have remained behind but
for the curiosity of De Bracy, who looked into it
under the impression that it might contain the object
of his enterprise, for Rowena had not unveiled
herself. But De Bracy's astonishment was considerable,
when he discovered that the litter contained
a wounded man, who, conceiving himself to have
fallen into the power of Saxon outlaws, with whom
his name might be a protection for himself and his
friends, frankly avowed himself to be Wilfred of
Ivanhoe.

The ideas of chivalrous honour, which, amidst his
wildness and levity, never utterly abandoned De
Bracy, prohibited him from doing the knight any
injury in his defenceless condition, and equally interdicted
his betraying him to Front-de-B<oe>uf, who
would have had no scruples to put to death, under
any circumstances, the rival claimant of the fief of
Ivanhoe. On the other hand, to liberate a suitor
preferred by the Lady Rowena, as the events of the
tournament, and indeed Wilfred's previous banishment
from his father's house, had made matter of
notoriety, was a pitch far above the flight of De
Bracy's generosity. A middle course betwixt good
and evil was all which he found himself capable of
adopting, and he commanded two of his own squires
to keep close by the litter, and to suffer no one to
approach it. If questioned, they were directed by
their master to say, that the empty litter of the
Lady Rowena was employed to transport one of
their comrades who had been wounded in the scuffle.
On arriving at Torquilstone, while the Knight Templar
and the lord of that castle were each intent
upon their own schemes, the one on the Jew's treasure,
and the other on his daughter, De Bracy's
squires conveyed Ivanhoe, still under the name of
a wounded comrade, to a distant apartment. This
explanation was accordingly returned by these men
to Front-de-B<oe>uf, when he questioned them why
they did not make for the battlements upon the
alarm.

``A wounded companion!'' he replied in great
wrath and astonishment. ``No wonder that churls
and yeomen wax so presumptuous as even to lay
leaguer before castles, and that clowns and swineherds
send defiances to nobles, since men-at-arms
have turned sick men's nurses, and Free Companions
are grown keepers of dying folk's curtains,
when the castle is about to be assailed.---To the
battlements, ye loitering villains!'' he exclaimed,
raising his stentorian voice till the arches around
rung again, ``to the battlements, or I will splinter
your bones with this truncheon!''

The men sulkily replied, ``that they desired
nothing better than to go to the battlements, providing
Front-de-B<oe>uf would bear them out with
their master, who had commanded them to tend
the dying man.''

``The dying man, knaves!'' rejoined the Baron;
``I promise thee we shall all be dying men an we
stand not to it the more stoutly. But I will relieve
the guard upon this caitiff companion of yours.---
Here, Urfried---hag---fiend of a Saxon witch---
hearest me not?---tend me this bedridden fellow
since he must needs be tended, whilst these knaves
use their weapons.---Here be two arblasts, comrades,
with windlaces and quarrells*---to the barbican with

* The arblast was a cross-bow, the windlace the machine
* used in bending that weapon, and the quarrell, so called from
* its square or diamond-shaped head, was the bolt adapted to it.

you, and see you drive each bolt through a Saxon
brain.''

The men, who, like most of their description,
were fond of enterprise and detested inaction, went
joyfully to the scene of danger as they were commanded,
and thus the charge of Ivanhoe was transferred
to Urfried, or Ulrica. But she, whose brain
was burning with remembrance of injuries and with
hopes of vengeance, was readily induced to devolve
upon Rebecca the care of her patient.



CHAPTER XXIX


Ascend the watch-tower yonder, valiant soldier,
Look on the field, and say how goes the battle.
Schiller's _Maid of Orleans_.

A moment of peril is often also a moment of open-hearted
kindness and affection. We are thrown
off our guard by the general agitation of our feelings,
and betray the intensity of those, which, at
more tranquil periods, our prudence at least conceals,
if it cannot altogether suppress them. In
finding herself once more by the side of Ivanhoe,
Rebecca was astonished at the keen sensation of
pleasure which she experienced, even at a time
when all around them both was danger, if not despair.
As she felt his pulse, and enquired after his
health, there was a softness in her touch and in her
accents implying a kinder interest than she would
herself have been pleased to have voluntarily expressed.
Her voice faltered and her hand trembled,
and it was only the cold question of Ivanhoe, ``Is
it you, gentle maiden?'' which recalled her to herself,
and reminded her the sensations which she felt
were not and could not be mutual. A sigh escaped,
but it was scarce audible; and the questions which
she asked the knight concerning his state of health
were put in the tone of calm friendship. Ivanhoe
answered her hastily that he was, in point of health,
as well, and better than he could have expected---
``Thanks,'' he said, ``dear Rebecca, to thy helpful
skill.''

``He calls me _dear_ Rebecca,'' said the maiden
to herself, ``but it is in the cold and careless tone
which ill suits the word. His war-horse---his hunting
hound, are dearer to him than the despised
Jewess!''

``My mind, gentle maiden,'' continued Ivanhoe,
``is more disturbed by anxiety, than my body with
pain. From the speeches of those men who were
my warders just now, I learn that I am a prisoner,
and, if I judge aright of the loud hoarse voice which
even now dispatched them hence on some military
duty, I am in the castle of Front-de-B<oe>uf---If so,
how will this end, or how can I protect Rowena
and my father?''

``He names not the Jew or Jewess,'' said Rebecca
internally; ``yet what is our portion in him,
and how justly am I punished by Heaven for letting
my thoughts dwell upon him!'' She hastened
after this brief self-accusation to give Ivanhoe what
information she could; but it amounted only to
this, that the Templar Bois-Guilbert, and the Baron
Front-de-B<oe>uf, were commanders within the
castle; that it was beleaguered from without, but
by whom she knew not. She added, that there was
a Christian priest within the castle who might be
possessed of more information.

``A Christian priest!'' said the knight, joyfully;
``fetch him hither, Rebecca, if thou canst---say a
sick man desires his ghostly counsel---say what thou
wilt, but bring him---something I must do or attempt,
but how can I determine until I know how
matters stand without?''

Rebecca in compliance with the wishes of Ivanhoe,
made that attempt to bring Cedric into the
wounded Knight's chamber, which was defeated as
we have already seen by the interference of Urfried,
who had also been on the watch to intercept the
supposed monk. Rebecca retired to communicate
to Ivanhoe the result of her errand.

They had not much leisure to regret the failure
of this source of intelligence, or to contrive by what
means it might be supplied; for the noise within
the castle, occasioned by the defensive preparations
which had been considerable for some time, now
increased into tenfold bustle and clamour. The
heavy, yet hasty step of the men-at-arms, traversed
the battlements or resounded on the narrow and
winding passages and stairs which led to the various
bartisans and points of defence. The voices of the
knights were heard, animating their followers, or
directing means of defence, while their commands
were often drowned in the clashing of armour, or
the clamorous shouts of those whom they addressed.
Tremendous as these sounds were, and yet more
terrible from the awful event which they presaged,
there was a sublimity mixed with them, which
Rebecca's high-toned mind could feel even in that
moment of terror. Her eye kindled, although the
blood fled from her cheeks; and there was a strong
mixture of fear, and of a thrilling sense of the sublime,
as she repeated, half whispering to herself,
half speaking to her companion, the sacred text,---
``The quiver rattleth---the glittering spear and the
shield---the noise of the captains and the shouting!''

But Ivanhoe was like the war-horse of that sublime
passage, glowing with impatience at his inactivity,
and with his ardent desire to mingle in the
affray of which these sounds were the introduction.
``If I could but drag myself,'' he said, ``to yonder
window, that I might see how this brave game is
like to go---If I had but bow to shoot a shaft, or
battle-axe to strike were it but a single blow for our
deliverance!---It is in vain---it is in vain---I am
alike nerveless and weaponless!''

``Fret not thyself, noble knight,'' answered Rebecca,
``the sounds have ceased of a sudden---it may
be they join not battle.''

``Thou knowest nought of it,'' said Wilfred,
impatiently; ``this dead pause only shows that the
men are at their posts on the walls, and expecting
an instant attack; what we have heard was but
the instant muttering of the storm---it will burst
anon in all its fury.---Could I but reach yonder
window!''

``Thou wilt but injure thyself by the attempt,
noble knight,'' replied his attendant. Observing
his extreme solicitude, she firmly added, ``I myself
will stand at the lattice, and describe to you as I
can what passes without.''

``You must not---you shall not!'' exclaimed
Ivanhoe; ``each lattice, each aperture, will be soon
a mark for the archers; some random shaft---''

``It shall be welcome!'' murmured Rebecca, as
with firm pace she ascended two or three steps,
which led to the window of which they spoke.

``Rebecca, dear Rebecca!'' exclaimed Ivanhoe,
``this is no maiden's pastime---do not expose thyself
to wounds and death, and render me for ever
miserable for having given the occasion; at least,
cover thyself with yonder ancient buckler, and show
as little of your person at the lattice as may be.''

Following with wonderful promptitude the directions
of Ivanhoe, and availing herself of the protection
of the large ancient shield, which she placed
against the lower part of the window, Rebecca,
with tolerable security to herself, could witness part
of what was passing without the castle, and report
to Ivanhoe the preparations which the assailants
were making for the storm. Indeed the situation
which she thus obtained was peculiarly favourable
for this purpose, because, being placed on an angle
of the main building, Rebecca could not only see
what passed beyond the precincts of the castle, but
also commanded a view of the outwork likely to
be the first object of the meditated assault. It
was an exterior fortification of no great height or
strength, intended to protect the postern-gate,
through which Cedric had been recently dismissed
by Front-de-B<oe>uf. The castle moat divided this
species of barbican from the rest of the fortress, so
that, in case of its being taken, it was easy to cut
off the communication with the main building, by
withdrawing the temporary bridge. In the outwork
was a sallyport corresponding to the postern
of the castle, and the whole was surrounded by a
strong palisade. Rebecca could observe, from the
number of men placed for the defence of this post,
that the besieged entertained apprehensions for its
safety; and from the mustering of the assailants in
a direction nearly opposite to the outwork, it seemed
no less plain that it had been selected as a vulnerable
point of attack.

These appearances she hastily communicated to
Ivanhoe, and added, ``The skirts of the wood seem
lined with archers, although only a few are advanced
from its dark shadow.''

``Under what banner?'' asked Ivanhoe.

``Under no ensign of war which I can observe,''
answered Rebecca.

``A singular novelty,'' muttered the knight, ``to
advance to storm such a castle without pennon or
banner displayed!---Seest thou who they be that
act as leaders?''

``A knight, clad in sable armour, is the most
conspicuous,'' said the Jewess; ``he alone is armed
from head to heel, and seems to assume the direction
of all around him.''

``What device does he bear on his shield?'' replied
Ivanhoe.

``Something resembling a bar of iron, and a padlock
painted blue on the black shield.''*

* The author has been here upbraided with false heraldry, as
* having charged metal upon metal. It should be remembered,
* however, that heraldry had only its first rude origin during the
* crusades, and that all the minuti<ae> of its fantastic science were
* the work of time, and introduced at a much later period. Those
* who think otherwise must suppose that the Goddess of _Armoirers_,
* like the Goddess of Arms, sprung into the world completely
* equipped in all the gaudy trappings of the department she
* presides over.


``A fetterlock and shacklebolt azure,'' said Ivanhoe;
``I know not who may bear the device, but
well I ween it might now be mine own. Canst thou
not see the motto?''

``Scarce the device itself at this distance,'' replied
Rebecca; ``but when the sun glances fair upon his
shield, it shows as I tell you.''

``Seem there no other leaders?'' exclaimed the
anxious enquirer.

``None of mark and distinction that I can behold
from this station,'' said Rebecca; ``but, doubtless,
the other side of the castle is also assailed. They
appear even now preparing to advance---God of
Zion, protect us!---What a dreadful sight!---Those
who advance first bear huge shields and defences
made of plank; the others follow, bending their
bows as they come on.---They raise their bows!---
God of Moses, forgive the creatures thou hast
made!''

Her description was here suddenly interrupted
by the signal for assault, which was given by the
blast of a shrill bugle, and at once answered by a
flourish of the Norman trumpets from the battlements,
which, mingled with the deep and hollow
clang of the nakers, (a species of kettle-drum,) retorted
in notes of defiance the challenge of the enemy.
The shouts of both parties augmented the
fearful din, the assailants crying, ``Saint George
for merry England!'' and the Normans answering
them with loud cries of ``_En avant De Bracy!
---Beau-seant! Beau-seant!---Front-de-B<oe>uf <a`> la
rescousse!'' according to the war-cries of their different
commanders.

It was not, however, by clamour that the contest
was to be decided, and the desperate efforts of the
assailants were met by an equally vigorous defence
on the part of the besieged. The archers, trained
by their woodland pastimes to the most effective
use of the long-bow, shot, to use the appropriate
phrase of the time, so ``wholly together,'' that no
point at which a defender could show the least part
of his person, escaped their cloth-yard shafts. By
this heavy discharge, which continued as thick and
sharp as hail, while, notwithstanding, every arrow
had its individual aim, and flew by scores together
against each embrasure and opening in the parapets,
as well as at every window where a defender either
occasionally had post, or might be suspected to be
stationed,---by this sustained discharge, two or three
of the garrison were slain, and several others wounded.
But, confident in their armour of proof, and in
the cover which their situation afforded, the followers
of Front-de-B<oe>uf, and his allies, showed an obstinacy
in defence proportioned to the fury of the
attack and replied with the discharge of their large
cross-bows, as well as with their long-bows, slings,
and other missile weapons, to the close and continued
shower of arrows; and, as the assailants were
necessarily but indifferently protected, did considerably
more damage than they received at their hand.
The whizzing of shafts and of missiles, on both
sides, was only interrupted by the shouts which
arose when either side inflicted or sustained some
notable loss.

``And I must lie here like a bedridden monk,''
exclaimed Ivanhoe, ``while the game that gives me
freedom or death is played out by the hand of
others!---Look from the window once again, kind
maiden, but beware that you are not marked by
the archers beneath---Look out once more, and tell
me if they yet advance to the storm.''

With patient courage, strengthened by the interval
which she had employed in mental devotion,
Rebecca again took post at the lattice, sheltering
herself, however, so as not to be visible from beneath.

``What dost thou see, Rebecca?'' again demanded
the wounded knight.

``Nothing but the cloud of arrows flying so thick
as to dazzle mine eyes, and to hide the bowmen
who shoot them.''

``That cannot endure,'' said Ivanhoe; ``if they
press not right on to carry the castle by pure force
of arms, the archery may avail but little against
stone walls and bulwarks. Look for the Knight
of the Fetterlock, fair Rebecca, and see how he
bears himself; for as the leader is, so will his followers
be.''

``I see him not,'' said Rebecca.

``Foul craven!'' exclaimed Ivanhoe; ``does he
blench from the helm when the wind blows highest?''

``He blenches not! he blenches not!'' said Rebecca,
``I see him now; he leads a body of men
close under the outer barrier of the barbican.*---

* Every Gothic castle and city had, beyond the outer-walls,
* a fortification composed of palisades, called the barriers, which
* were often the scene of severe skirmishes, as these must necessarily
* be carried before the walls themselves could be approached.
* Many of those valiant feats of arms which adorn the chivalrous
* pages of Froissart took place at the barriers of besieged
* places.

They pull down the piles and palisades; they hew
down the barriers with axes.---His high black plume
floats abroad over the throng, like a raven over the
field of the slain.---They have made a breach in the
barriers---they rush in---they are thrust back!---
Front-de-B<oe>uf heads the defenders; I see his gigantic
form above the press. They throng again to
the breach, and the pass is disputed hand to hand,
and man to man. God of Jacob! it is the meeting
of two fierce tides---the conflict of two oceans moved
by adverse winds!''

She turned her head from the lattice, as if unable
longer to endure a sight so terrible.

``Look forth again, Rebecca,'' said Ivanhoe,
mistaking the cause of her retiring; ``the archery
must in some degree have ceased, since they are
now fighting hand to hand.---Look again, there is
now less danger.''

Rebecca again looked forth, and almost immediately
exclaimed, ``Holy prophets of the law!
Front-de-B<oe>uf and the Black Knight fight hand to
hand on the breach, amid the roar of their followers,
who watch the progress of the strife---Heaven
strike with the cause of the oppressed and of the
captive!'' She then uttered a loud shriek, and exclaimed,
``He is down!---he is down!''

``Who is down?'' cried Ivanhoe; ``for our dear
Lady's sake, tell me which has fallen?''

``The Black Knight,'' answered Rebecca, faintly;
then instantly again shouted with joyful eagerness---
``But no---but no!---the name of the Lord
of Hosts be blessed!---he is on foot again, and
fights as if there were twenty men's strength in his
single arm---His sword is broken---he snatches an
axe from a yeoman---he presses Front-de-B<oe>uf
with blow on blow---The giant stoops and totters
like an oak under the steel of the woodman---he
falls---he falls!''

``Front-de-B<oe>uf?'' exclaimed Ivanhoe.

``Front-de-B<oe>uf!'' answered the Jewess; ``his
men rush to the rescue, headed by the haughty
Templar---their united force compels the champion
to pause---They drag Front-de-B<oe>uf within the
walls.''

``The assailants have won the barriers, have they
not?'' said Ivanhoe.

``They have---they have!'' exclaimed Rebecca---
``and they press the besieged hard upon the outer
wall; some plant ladders, some swarm like bees,
and endeavour to ascend upon the shoulders of each
other---down go stones, beams, and trunks of trees
upon their heads, and as fast as they bear the
wounded to the rear, fresh men supply their places
in the assault---Great God! hast thou given men
thine own image, that it should be thus cruelly defaced
by the hands of their brethren!''

``Think not of that,'' said Ivanhoe; ``this is no
time for such thoughts---Who yield?---who push
their way?''

``The ladders are thrown down,'' replied Rebecca,
shuddering; ``the soldiers lie grovelling under
them like crushed reptiles---The besieged have the
better.''

``Saint George strike for us!'' exclaimed the
knight; ``do the false yeomen give way?''

``No!'' exclaimed Rebecca, ``they bear themselves
right yeomanly---the Black Knight approaches
the postern with his huge axe---the thundering
blows which he deals, you may hear them
above all the din and shouts of the battle---Stones
and beams are hailed down on the bold champion---
he regards them no more than if they were thistle-down
or feathers!''

``By Saint John of Acre,'' said Ivanhoe, raising
himself joyfully on his couch, ``methought there
was but one man in England that might do such a
deed!''

``The postern gate shakes,'' continued Rebecca;
``it crashes---it is splintered by his blows---they
rush in---the outwork is won---Oh, God!---they
hurl the defenders from the battlements---they
throw them into the moat---O men, if ye be indeed
men, spare them that can resist no longer!''

``The bridge---the bridge which communicates
with the castle---have they won that pass?'' exclaimed
Ivanhoe.

``No,'' replied Rebecca, ``The Templar has destroyed
the plank on which they crossed---few of
the defenders escaped with him into the castle---
the shrieks and cries which you hear tell the fate
of the others---Alas!---I see it is still more difficult
to look upon victory than upon battle.''

``What do they now, maiden?'' said Ivanhoe;
``look forth yet again---this is no time to faint at
bloodshed.''

``It is over for the time,'' answered Rebecca; ``our
friends strengthen themselves within the outwork
which they have mastered, and it affords them so
good a shelter from the foemen's shot, that the garrison
only bestow a few bolts on it from interval to
interval, as if rather to disquiet than effectually to
injure them.''

``Our friends,'' said Wilfred, ``will surely not
abandon an enterprise so gloriously begun and so
happily attained.---O no! I will put my faith in the
good knight whose axe hath rent heart-of-oak and
bars of iron.---Singular,'' he again muttered to himself,
``if there be two who can do a deed of such
_derring-do!_*---a fetterlock, and a shacklebolt on

* _Derring-do_---desperate courage.

a field sable---what may that mean?---seest thou
nought else, Rebecca, by which the Black Knight
may be distinguished?''

``Nothing,'' said the Jewess; ``all about him is
black as the wing of the night raven. Nothing can
I spy that can mark him further---but having once
seen him put forth his strength in battle, methinks
I could know him again among a thousand warriors.
He rushes to the fray as if he were summoned to
a banquet. There is more than mere strength,
there seems as if the whole soul and spirit of the
champion were given to every blow which he deals
upon his enemies. God assoilzie him of the sin of
bloodshed!---it is fearful, yet magnificent, to behold
bow the arm and heart of one man can triumph
over hundreds.''

``Rebecca,'' said Ivanhoe, ``thou hast painted a
hero; surely they rest but to refresh their force, or
to provide the means of crossing the moat---Under
such a leader as thou hast spoken this knight to be,
there are no craven fears, no cold-blooded delays,
no yielding up a gallant emprize; since the difficulties
which render it arduous render it also glorious.
I swear by the honour of my house---I vow by the
name of my bright lady-love, I would endure ten
years' captivity to fight one day by that good
knight's side in such a quarrel as this!''

``Alas,'' said Rebecca, leaving her station at the
window, and approaching the couch of the wounded
knight, ``this impatient yearning after action---
this struggling with and repining at your present
weakness, will not fail to injure your returning
health---How couldst thou hope to inflict wounds
on others, ere that be healed which thou thyself
hast received?''

``Rebecca,'' he replied, ``thou knowest not how
impossible it is for one trained to actions of chivalry
to remain passive as a priest, or a woman,
when they are acting deeds of honour around him.
The love of battle is the food upon which we live
---the dust of the _m<e^>l<e'>e_ is the breath of our nostrils!
We live not---we wish not to live---longer
than while we are victorious and renowned---Such,
maiden, are the laws of chivalry to which we are
sworn, and to which we offer all that we hold dear.''

``Alas!'' said the fair Jewess, ``and what is it,
valiant knight, save an offering of sacrifice to a demon
of vain glory, and a passing through the fire
to Moloch?---What remains to you as the prize of
all the blood you have spilled---of all the travail
and pain you have endured---of all the tears which
your deeds have caused, when death hath broken
the strong man's spear, and overtaken the speed of
his war-horse?''

``What remains?'' cried Ivanhoe; ``Glory,
maiden, glory! which gilds our sepulchre and embalms
our name.''

``Glory?'' continued Rebecca; ``alas, is the
rusted mail which hangs as a hatchment over the
champion's dim and mouldering tomb---is the defaced
sculpture of the inscription which the ignorant
monk can hardly read to the enquiring pilgrim
---are these sufficient rewards for the sacrifice of
every kindly affection, for a life spent miserably
that ye may make others miserable? Or is there
such virtue in the rude rhymes of a wandering bard,
that domestic love, kindly affection, peace and happiness,
are so wildly bartered, to become the hero
of those ballads which vagabond minstrels sing to
drunken churls over their evening ale?''

``By the soul of Hereward?'' replied the knight
impatiently, ``thou speakest, maiden, of thou knowest
not what. Thou wouldst quench the pure light
of chivalry, which alone distinguishes the noble
from the base, the gentle knight from the churl and
the savage; which rates our life far, far beneath
the pitch of our honour; raises us victorious over
pain, toil, and suffering, and teaches us to fear no,
evil but disgrace. Thou art no Christian, Rebecca;
and to thee are unknown those high feelings which
swell the bosom of a noble maiden when her lover
hath done some deed of emprize which sanctions
his flame. Chivalry!---why, maiden, she is the nurse
of pure and high affection---the stay of the oppressed,
the redresser of grievances, the curb of the
power of the tyrant---Nobility were but an empty
name without her, and liberty finds the best protection
in her lance and her sword.''

``I am, indeed,'' said Rebecca, ``sprung from a
race whose courage was distinguished in the defence
of their own land, but who warred not, even while
yet a nation, save at the command of the Deity, or
in defending their country from oppression. The
sound of the trumpet wakes Judah no longer, and
her despised children are now but the unresisting
victims of hostile and military oppression. Well
hast thou spoken, Sir Knight,---until the God of
Jacob shall raise up for his chosen people a second
Gideon, or a new Maccabeus, it ill beseemeth the
Jewish damsel to speak of battle or of war.''

The high-minded maiden concluded the argument
in a tone of sorrow, which deeply expressed
her sense of the degradation of her people, embittered
perhaps by the idea that Ivanhoe considered
her as one not entitled to interfere in a case of
honour, and incapable of entertaining or expressing
sentiments of honour and generosity.

``How little he knows this bosom,'' she said, ``to
imagine that cowardice or meanness of soul must
needs be its guests, because I have censured the
fantastic chivalry of the Nazarenes! Would to
heaven that the shedding of mine own blood, drop
by drop, could redeem the captivity of Judah! Nay,
would to God it could avail to set free my father,
and this his benefactor, from the chains of the oppressor!
The proud Christian should then see whether
the daughter of God's chosen people dared not
to die as bravely as the vainest Nazarene maiden,
that boasts her descent from some petty chieftain
of the rude and frozen north!''

She then looked towards the couch of the wounded
knight.

``He sleeps,'' she said; ``nature exhausted by
sufferance and the waste of spirits, his wearied
frame embraces the first moment of temporary relaxation
to sink into slumber. Alas! is it a crime
that I should look upon him, when it may be for
the last time?---When yet but a short space, and
those fair features will be no longer animated by
the bold and buoyant spirit which forsakes them not
even in sleep!---When the nostril shall be distended,
the mouth agape, the eyes fixed and bloodshot;
and when the proud and noble knight may be trodden
on by the lowest caitiff of this accursed castle,
yet stir not when the heel is lifted up against him!
---And my father!---oh, my father! evil is it with
his daughter, when his grey hairs are not remembered
because of the golden locks of youth!---
What know I but that these evils are the messengers
of Jehovah's wrath to the unnatural child, who
thinks of a stranger's captivity before a parent's?
who forgets the desolation of Judah, and looks upon
the comeliness of a Gentile and a stranger?---
But I will tear this folly from my heart, though
every fibre bleed as I rend it away!''

She wrapped herself closely in her veil, and sat
down at a distance from the couch of the wounded
knight, with her back turned towards it, fortifying,
or endeavouring to fortify her mind, not only against
the impending evils from without, but also against
those treacherous feelings which assailed her from
within.


Addition to Note attached to page **.

In corroboration of what is above stated in Note at page **, it
may be observed, that the arms, which were assumed by Godfrey
of Boulogne himself, after the conquest of Jerusalem, was
a cross counter patent cantoned with four little crosses or, upon
a field azure, displaying thus metal upon metal. The heralds
have tried to explain this undeniable fact in different modes---
but Ferne gallantly contends, that a prince of Godfrey's qualities
should not be bound by the ordinary rules. The Scottish
Nisbet, and the same Ferne, insist that the chiefs of the Crusade
must have assigned to Godfrey this extraordinary and unwonted
coat-of-arms, in order to induce those who should behold them
to make enquiries; and hence give them the name of _arma inquirenda_.
But with reverence to these grave authorities, it
seems unlikely that the assembled princes of Europe should
have adjudged to Godfrey a coat armorial so much contrary to
the general rule, if such rule had then existed; at any rate, it
proves that metal upon metal, now accounted a solecism in heraldry,
was admitted in other cases similar to that in the text.
See Ferne's _Blazon of Gentrie_, p. 238. Edition 1586. Nisbet's
_Heraldry_, vol. i. p. 113. Second Edition.



CHAPTER XXX


Approach the chamber, look upon his bed.
His is the passing of no peaceful ghost,
Which, as the lark arises to the sky,
'Mid morning's sweetest breeze and softest dew,
Is wing'd to heaven by good men's sighs and tears!---
Anselm parts otherwise.
_Old Play._

During the interval of quiet which followed the
first success of the besiegers, while the one party
was preparing to pursue their advantage, and the
other to strengthen their means of defence, the
Templar and De Bracy held brief council together
in the hall of the castle.

``Where is Front-de-B<oe>uf?'' said the latter,
who had superintended the defence of the fortress
on the other side; ``men say he hath been slain.''

``He lives,'' said the Templar, coolly, ``lives as
yet; but had he worn the bull's head of which he
bears the name, and ten plates of iron to fence it
withal, he must have gone down before yonder fatal
axe. Yet a few hours, and Front-de-B<oe>uf is with
his fathers---a powerful limb lopped off Prince
John's enterprise.''

``And a brave addition to the kingdom of Satan,''
said De Bracy; ``this comes of reviling saints and
angels, and ordering images of holy things and holy
men to be flung down on the heads of these rascaille
yeomen.''

``Go to---thou art a fool,'' said the Templar;
``thy superstition is upon a level with Front-de-B<oe>uf's
want of faith; neither of you can render a
reason for your belief or unbelief.''

``Benedicite, Sir Templar,'' replied De Bracy,
``pray you to keep better rule with your tongue
when I am the theme of it. By the Mother of
Heaven, I am a better Christian man than thou and
thy fellowship; for the _bruit_ goeth shrewdly out,
that the most holy Order of the Temple of Zion
nurseth not a few heretics within its bosom, and
that Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert is of the number.''

``Care not thou for such reports,'' said the Templar;
``but let us think of making good the castle.
---How fought these villain yeomen on thy side?''

``Like fiends incarnate,'' said De Bracy. ``They
swanned close up to the walls, headed, as I think,
by the knave who won the prize at the archery, for
I knew his horn and baldric. And this is old
Fitzurse's boasted policy, encouraging these malapert
knaves to rebel against us! Had I not been
armed in proof, the villain had marked me down
seven times with as little remorse as if I had been
a buck in season. He told every rivet on my armour
with a cloth-yard shaft, that rapped against
my ribs with as little compunction as if my bones
had been of iron---But that I wore a shirt of Spanish
mail under my plate-coat, I had been fairly
sped.''

``But you maintained your post?'' said the Templar.
``We lost the outwork on our part.''

``That is a shrewd loss,'' said De Bracy; ``the
knaves will find cover there to assault the castle
more closely, and may, if not well watched, gain
some unguarded corner of a tower, or some forgotten
window, and so break in upon us. Our numbers
are too few for the defence of every point, and
the men complain that they can nowhere show
themselves, but they are the mark for as many arrows
as a parish-butt on a holyday even. Front-de-B<oe>uf
is dying too, so we shall receive no more
aid from his bull's head and brutal strength. How
think you, Sir Brian, were we not better make a
virtue of necessity, and compound with the rogues
by delivering up our prisoners?''

``How?'' exclaimed the Templar; ``deliver up
our prisoners, and stand an object alike of ridicule
and execration, as the doughty warriors who dared
by a night-attack to possess themselves of the persons
of a party of defenceless travellers, yet could
not make good a strong castle against a vagabond
troop of outlaws, led by swineherds, jesters, and
the very refuse of mankind?---Shame on thy counsel,
Maurice de Bracy!---The ruins of this castle
shall bury both my body and my shame, ere I consent
to such base and dishonourable composition.''

``Let us to the walls, then,'' said De Bracy, carelessly;
``that man never breathed, be he Turk or
Templar, who held life at lighter rate than I do.
But I trust there is no dishonour in wishing I had
here some two scores of my gallant troop of Free
Companions?---Oh, my brave lances! if ye knew
but how hard your captain were this day bested,
how soon should I see my banner at the head of
your clump of spears! And how short while would
these rabble villains stand to endure your encounter!''

``Wish for whom thou wilt,'' said the Templar,
``but let us make what defence we can with the
soldiers who remain---They are chiefly Front-de-B<oe>uf's
followers, hated by the English for a thousand
acts of insolence and oppression.''

``The better,'' said De Bracy; ``the rugged
slaves will defend themselves to the last drop of
their blood, ere they encounter the revenge of the
peasants without. Let us up and be doing, then,
Brian de Bois-Guilbert; and, live or die, thou shalt
see Maurice de Bracy bear himself this day as a
gentleman of blood and lineage.''
``To the walls!'' answered the Templar; and
they both ascended the battlements to do all that
skill could dictate, and manhood accomplish, in defence
of the place. They readily agreed that the
point of greatest danger was that opposite to the
outwork of which the assailants had possessed
themselves. The castle, indeed, was divided from
that barbican by the moat, and it was impossible
that the besiegers could assail the postern-door,
with which the outwork corresponded, without surmounting
that obstacle; but it was the opinion both
of the Templar and De Bracy, that the besiegers,
if governed by the same policy their leader had already
displayed, would endeavour, by a formidable
assault, to draw the chief part of the defenders'
observation to this point, and take measures to avail
themselves of every negligence which might take
place in the defence elsewhere. To guard against
such an evil, their numbers only permitted the
knights to place sentinels from space to space along
the walls in communication with each other, who
might give the alarm whenever danger was threatened.
Meanwhile, they agreed that De Bracy should
command the defence at the postern, and the Templar
should keep with him a score of men or thereabouts
as a body of reserve, ready to hasten to any
other point which might be suddenly threatened.
The loss of the barbican had also this unfortunate
effect, that, notwithstanding the superior height of
the castle walls, the besieged could not see from
them, with the same precision as before, the operations
of the enemy; for some straggling underwood
approached so near the sallyport of the outwork,
that the assailants might introduce into it
whatever force they thought proper, not only under
cover, but even without the knowledge of the
defenders. Utterly uncertain, therefore, upon what
point the storm was to burst, De Bracy and his
companion were under the necessity of providing
against every possible contingency, and their followers,
however brave, experienced the anxious
dejection of mind incident to men enclosed by enemies,
who possessed the power of choosing their
time and mode of attack.

Meanwhile, the lord of the beleaguered and endangered
castle lay upon a bed of bodily pain and
mental agony. He had not the usual resource of
bigots in that superstitious period, most of whom
were wont to atone for the crimes they were guilty
of by liberality to the church, stupefying by this
means their terrors by the idea of atonement and
forgiveness; and although the refuge which success
thus purchased, was no more like to the peace
of mind which follows on sincere repentance, than
the turbid stupefaction procured by opium resembles
healthy and natural slumbers, it was still a
state of mind preferable to the agonies of awakened
remorse. But among the vices of Front-de-B<oe>uf,
a hard and griping man, avarice was predominant;
and he preferred setting church and
churchmen at defiance, to purchasing from them
pardon and absolution at the price of treasure and
of manors. Nor did the Templar, an infidel of another
stamp, justly characterise his associate, when
he said Front-de-B<oe>uf could assign no cause for
his unbelief and contempt for the established faith;
for the Baron would have alleged that the Church
sold her wares too dear, that the spiritual freedom
which she put up to sale was only to be bought like
that of the chief captain of Jerusalem, ``with a great
sum,'' and Front-de-B<oe>uf preferred denying the
virtue of the medicine, to paying the expense of the
physician.

But the moment had now arrived when earth and
all his treasures were gliding from before his eyes,
and when the savage Baron's heart, though hard as
a nether millstone, became appalled as he gazed
forward into the waste darkness of futurity. The
fever of his body aided the impatience and agony
of his mind, and his death-bed exhibited a mixture
of the newly awakened feelings of horror, combating
with the fixed and inveterate obstinacy of his disposition;
---a fearful state of mind, only to be equalled
in those tremendous regions, where there are
complaints without hope, remorse without repentance,
a dreadful sense of present agony, and a presentiment
that it cannot cease or be diminished!

``Where be these dog-priests now,'' growled the
Baron, ``who set such price on their ghostly mummery?
---where be all those unshod Carmelites, for
whom old Front-de-B<oe>uf founded the convent of
St Anne, robbing his heir of many a fair rood of
meadow, and many a fat field and close---where be
the greedy hounds now?---Swilling, I warrant me,
at the ale, or playing their juggling tricks at the
bedside of some miserly churl.---Me, the heir of
their founder---me, whom their foundation binds
them to pray for---me---ungrateful villains as they
are!---they suffer to die like the houseless dog on
yonder common, unshriven and tinhouseled!---Tell
the Templar to come hither---he is a priest, and
may do something---But no!---as well confess myself
to the devil as to Brian de Bois-Guilbert, who
recks neither of heaven nor of hell.---I have heard
old men talk of prayer---prayer by their own voice
---Such need not to court or to bribe the false priest
---But I---I dare not!''

``Lives Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf,'' said a broken
and shrill voice close by his bedside, ``to say there
is that which he dares not!''

The evil conscience and the shaken nerves of
Front-de-B<oe>uf heard, in this strange interruption
to his soliloquy, the voice of one of those demons,
who, as the superstition of the times believed, beset
the beds of dying men to distract their thoughts,
and turn them from the meditations which concerned
their eternal welfare. He shuddered and
drew himself together; but, instantly summoning
up his wonted resolution, he exclaimed, ``Who is
there?---what art thou, that darest to echo my
words in a tone like that of the night-raven?---
Come before my couch that I may see thee.''

``I am thine evil angel, Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf,''
replied the voice.

``Let me behold thee then in thy bodily shape,
if thou best indeed a fiend,'' replied the dying
knight; ``think not that I will blench from thee.
---By the eternal dungeon, could I but grapple
with these horrors that hover round me, as I have
done with mortal dangers, heaven or hell should
never say that I shrunk from the conflict!''

``Think on thy sins, Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf,''
said the almost unearthly voice, ``on rebellion, on
rapine, on murder!---Who stirred up the licentious
John to war against his grey-headed father---against
his generous brother?''

``Be thou fiend, priest, or devil,'' replied Front-de-B<oe>uf,
``thou liest in thy throat!---Not I stirred
John to rebellion---not I alone---there were
fifty knights and barons, the flower of the midland
counties---better men never laid lance in rest---And
must I answer for the fault done by fifty?---False
fiend, I defy thee! Depart, and haunt my couch
no more---let me die in peace if thou be mortal---
if thou be a demon, thy time is not yet come.''

``In peace thou shalt =not= die,'' repeated the
voice; ``even in death shalt thou think on thy murders
---on the groans which this castle has echoed---
on the blood that is engrained in its floors!''

``Thou canst not shake me by thy petty malice,''
answered Front-de-B<oe>uf, with a ghastly and constrained
laugh. ``The infidel Jew---it was merit
with heaven to deal with him as I did, else wherefore
are men canonized who dip their hands in the
blood of Saracens?---The Saxon porkers, whom I
have slain, they were the foes of my country, and
of my lineage, and of my liege lord.---Ho! ho!
thou seest there is no crevice in my coat of plate---
Art thou fled?---art thou silenced?''

``No, foul parricide!'' replied the voice; ``think
of thy father!---think of his death!---think of his
banquet-room flooded with his gore, and that poured
forth by the hand of a son!''

``Ha!'' answered the Baron, after a long pause,
``an thou knowest that, thou art indeed the author
of evil, and as omniscient as the monks call thee!
---That secret I deemed locked in my own breast,
and in that of one besides---the temptress, the partaker
of my guilt.---Go, leave me, fiend! and seek
the Saxon witch Ulrica, who alone could tell thee
what she and I alone witnessed.---Go, I say, to her,
who washed the wounds, and straighted the corpse,
and gave to the slain man the outward show of one
parted in time and in the course of nature---Go to
her, she was my temptress, the foul provoker, the
more foul rewarder, of the deed---let her, as well as
I, taste of the tortures which anticipate hell!''

``She already tastes them,'' said Ulrica, stepping
before the couch of Front-de-B<oe>uf; ``she hath
long drunken of this cup, and its bitterness is now
sweetened to see that thou dost partake it.---Grind
not thy teeth, Front-de-B<oe>uf---roll not thine eyes
---clench not thine hand, nor shake it at me with that
gesture of menace!---The hand which, like that of
thy renowned ancestor who gained thy name, could
have broken with one stroke the skull of a mountain-bull,
is now unnerved and powerless as mine
own!''

``Vile murderous hag!'' replied Front-de-B<oe>uf;
``detestable screech-owl! it is then thou who art
come to exult over the ruins thou hast assisted to
lay low?''

``Ay, Reginald Front-de-B<oe>uf,'' answered she,
``it is Ulrica!---it is the daughter of the murdered
Torquil Wolfganger!---it is the sister of his
slaughtered sons!---it is she who demands of thee,
and of thy father's house, father and kindred, name
and fame---all that she has lost by the name of
Front-de-B<oe>uf!---Think of my wrongs, Front-de-B<oe>uf,
and answer me if I speak not truth. Thou
hast been my evil angel, and I will be thine---I will
dog thee till the very instant of dissolution!''

``Detestable fury!'' exclaimed Front-de-B<oe>uf,
``that moment shalt thou never witness---Ho!
Giles, Clement, and Eustace! Saint Maur, and
Stephen! seize this damned witch, and hurl her
from the battlements headlong---she has betrayed
us to the Saxon!---Ho! Saint Maur! Clement!
false-hearted, knaves, where tarry ye?''

``Call on them again, valiant Baron,'' said the
hag, with a smile of grisly mockery; ``summon thy
vassals around thee, doom them that loiter to the
scourge and the dungeon---But know, mighty chief,''
she continued, suddenly changing her tone, ``thou
shalt have neither answer, nor aid, nor obedience
at their hands.---Listen to these horrid sounds,''
for the din of the recommenced assault and defence
now rung fearfully loud from the battlements of
the castle; ``in that war-cry is the downfall of thy
house---The blood-cemented fabric of Front-de-B<oe>uf's
power totters to the foundation, and before
the foes he most despised!---The Saxon, Reginald!
---the scorned Saxon assails thy walls!---Why liest
thou here, like a worn-out hind, when the Saxon
storms thy place of strength?''

``Gods and fiends!'' exclaimed the wounded
knight; ``O, for one moment's strength, to drag
myself to the _m<e^>l<e'>e_, and perish as becomes my
name!''

``Think not of it, valiant warrior!'' replied she;
``thou shalt die no soldier's death, but perish like
the fox in his den, when the peasants have set fire
to the cover around it.''

``Hateful hag! thou liest!'' exclaimed Front-de-B<oe>uf;
``my followers bear them bravely---my
walls are strong and high---my comrades in arms
fear not a whole host of Saxons, were they headed
by Hengist and Horsa!---The war-cry of the Templar
and of the Free Companions rises high over
the conflict! And by mine honour, when we kindle
the blazing beacon, for joy of our defence, it shall
consume thee, body and bones; and I shall live to
hear thou art gone from earthly fires to those of
that hell, which never sent forth an incarnate fiend
more utterly diabolical!''

``Hold thy belief,'' replied Ulrica, ``till the
proof reach thee---But, no!'' she said, interrupting
herself, ``thou shalt know, even now, the doom,
which all thy power, strength, and courage, is unable
to avoid, though it is prepared for thee by this
feeble band. Markest thou the smouldering and
suffocating vapour which already eddies in sable
folds through the chamber?---Didst thou think it
was but the darkening of thy bursting eyes---the
difficulty of thy cumbered breathing?---No! Front-de-B<oe>uf,
there is another cause---Rememberest
thou the magazine of fuel that is stored beneath
these apartments?''

``Woman!'' he exclaimed with fury, ``thou hast
not set fire to it?---By heaven, thou hast, and the
castle is in flames!''

``They are fast rising at least,'' said Ulrica, with
frightful composure; ``and a signal shall soon wave
to warn the besiegers to press hard upon those
who would extinguish them.---Farewell, Front-de-B<oe>uf!
---May Mista, Skogula, and Zernebock,
gods of the ancient Saxons---fiends, as the priests
now call them---supply the place of comforters at
your dying bed, which Ulrica now relinquishes!---
But know, if it will give thee comfort to know it,
that Ulrica is bound to the same dark coast with
thyself, the companion of thy punishment as the
companion of thy guilt.---And now, parricide, farewell
for ever!---May each stone of this vaulted roof
find a tongue to echo that title into thine ear!''

So saying, she left the apartment; and Front-de-B<oe>uf
could hear the crash of the ponderous key,
as she locked and double-locked the door behind
her, thus cutting off the most slender chance of
escape. In the extremity of agony he shouted upon
his servants and allies--``Stephen and Saint Maur!
---Clement and Giles!---I burn here unaided!---
To the rescue---to the rescue, brave Bois-Guilbert,
valiant De Bracy!---It is Front-de-B<oe>uf who calls!
---It is your master, ye traitor squires!---Your ally
---your brother in arms, ye perjured and faithless
knights!---all the curses due to traitors upon your
recreant heads, do you abandon me to perish thus
miserably!---They hear me not---they cannot hear
me---my voice is lost in the din of battle.---The
smoke rolls thicker and thicker---the fire has caught
upon the floor below---O, for one drought of the
air of heaven, were it to be purchased by instant
annihilation!'' And in the mad frenzy of despair,
the wretch now shouted with the shouts of the
fighters, now muttered curses on himself, on mankind,
and on Heaven itself.---``The red fire flashes
through the thick smoke!'' he exclaimed; ``the
demon marches against me under the banner of his
own element---Foul spirit, avoid!---I go not with
thee without my comrades---all, all are thine, that
garrison these walls---Thinkest thou Front-de-B<oe>uf
will be singled out to go alone?---No---the
infidel Templar---the licentious De Bracy---Ulrica,
the foul murdering strumpet---the men who
aided my enterprises---the dog Saxons and accursed
Jews, who are my prisoners---all, all shall attend
me---a goodly fellowship as ever took the
downward road---Ha, ha, ha!'' and he laughed in
his frenzy till the vaulted roof rang again. ``Who
laughed there?'' exclaimed Front-de-B<oe>uf, in altered
mood, for the noise of the conflict did not
prevent the echoes of his own mad laughter from
returning upon his ear---``who laughed there?---
Ulrica, was it thou?---Speak, witch, and I forgive
thee---for, only thou or the fiend of hell himself
could have laughed at such a moment. Avaunt---avaunt!------''

But it were impious to trace any farther the
picture of the blasphemer and parricide's deathbed.



CHAPTER XXXI


Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or, close the wall up with our English dead.
--------------- And you, good yeomen,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture---let us swear
That you are worth your breeding.
_King Henry V._

Cedric, although not greatly confident in Ulrica's
message, omitted not to communicate her
promise to the Black Knight and Locksley. They
were well pleased to find they had a friend within
the place, who might, in the moment of need, be
able to facilitate their entrance, and readily agreed
with the Saxon that a storm, under whatever disadvantages,
ought to be attempted, as the only means
of liberating the prisoners now in the hands of the
cruel Front-de-B<oe>uf.

``The royal blood of Alfred is endangered,'' said
Cedric.

``The honour of a noble lady is in peril,'' said
the Black Knight.

``And, by the Saint Christopher at my baldric,''
said the good yeoman, ``were there no other cause
than the safety of that poor faithful knave, Wamba,
I would jeopard a joint ere a hair of his head were
hurt.''

``And so would I,'' said the Friar; ``what, sirs!
I trust well that a fool---I mean, d'ye see me, sirs,
a fool that is free of his guild and master of his
craft, and can give as much relish and flavour to a
cup of wine as ever a flitch of bacon can---I say,
brethren, such a fool shall never want a wise clerk
to pray for or fight for him at a strait, while I can
say a mass or flourish a partisan.''
And with that he made his heavy halberd to play
around his head as a shepherd boy flourishes his
light crook.

``True, Holy Clerk,'' said the Black Knight,
``true as if Saint Dunstan himself had said it.---
And now, good Locksley, were it not well that
noble Cedric should assume the direction of this
assault?''

``Not a jot I,'' returned Cedric; ``I have never
been wont to study either how to take or how to
hold out those abodes of tyrannic power, which the
Normans have erected in this groaning land. I will
fight among the foremost; but my honest neighbours
well know I am not a trained soldier in the
discipline of wars, or the attack of strongholds.''

``Since it stands thus with noble Cedric,'' said
Locksley, ``I am most willing to take on me the
direction of the archery; and ye shall hang me up
on my own Trysting-tree, an the defenders be permitted
to show themselves over the walls without
being stuck with as many shafts as there are cloves
in a gammon of bacon at Christmas.''

``Well said, stout yeoman,'' answered the Black
Knight; ``and if I be thought worthy to have a
charge in these matters, and can find among these
brave men as many as are willing to follow a true
English knight, for so I may surely call myself, I
am ready, with such skill as my experience has
taught me, to lead them to the attack of these walls.''

The parts being thus distributed to the leaders,
they commenced the first assault, of which the
reader has already heard the issue.

When the barbican was carried, the Sable Knight
sent notice of the happy event to Locksley, requesting
him at the same time, to keep such a strict
observation on the castle as might prevent the defenders
from combining their force for a sudden
sally, and recovering the outwork which they had
lost. This the knight was chiefly desirous of avoiding,
conscious that the men whom he led, being
hasty and untrained volunteers, imperfectly armed
and unaccustomed to discipline, must, upon any sudden
attack, fight at great disadvantage with the
veteran soldiers of the Norman knights, who were
well provided with arms both defensive and offensive;
and who, to match the zeal and high spirit
of the besiegers, had all the confidence which arises
from perfect discipline and the habitual use of weapons.

The knight employed the interval in causing to
be constructed a sort of floating bridge, or long raft,
by means of which he hoped to cross the moat in
despite of the resistance of the enemy. This was
a work of some time, which the leaders the less regretted,
as it gave Ulrica leisure to execute her plan
of diversion in their favour, whatever that might be.

When the raft was completed, the Black Knight
addressed the besiegers:---``It avails not waiting
here longer, my friends; the sun is descending to
the west---and I have that upon my hands which
will not permit me to tarry with you another day.
Besides, it will be a marvel if the horsemen come
not upon us from York, unless we speedily accomplish
our purpose. Wherefore, one of ye go to
Locksley, and bid him commence a discharge of
arrows on the opposite side of the castle, and move
forward as if about to assault it; and you, true
English hearts, stand by me, and be ready to thrust
the raft endlong over the moat whenever the postern
on our side is thrown open. Follow me boldly
across, and aid me to burst yon sallyport in the
main wall of the castle. As many of you as like
not this service, or are but ill armed to meet it, do
you man the top of the outwork, draw your bow-strings
to your ears, and mind you quell with your
shot whatever shall appear to man the rampart---
Noble Cedric, wilt thou take the direction of those
which remain?''

``Not so, by the soul of Hereward!'' said the
Saxon; ``lead I cannot; but may posterity curse
me in my grave, if I follow not with the foremost
wherever thou shalt point the way---The quarrel is
mine, and well it becomes me to be in the van of
the battle.''

``Yet, bethink thee, noble Saxon,'' said the
knight, ``thou hast neither hauberk, nor corslet, nor
aught but that light helmet, target, and sword.''

``The better!'' answered Cedric; ``I shall be
the lighter to climb these walls. And,---forgive the
boast, Sir Knight,---thou shalt this day see the
naked breast of a Saxon as boldly presented to the
battle as ever ye beheld the steel corslet of a Norman.''

``In the name of God, then,'' said the knight,
``fling open the door, and launch the floating bridge.''

The portal, which led from the inner-wall of the
barbican to the moat, and which corresponded with
a sallyport in the main wall of the castle, was now
suddenly opened; the temporary bridge was then
thrust forward, and soon flashed in the waters, extending
its length between the castle and outwork,
and forming a slippery and precarious passage for
two men abreast to cross the moat. Well aware of
the importance of taking the foe by surprise, the
Black Knight, closely followed by Cedric, threw
himself upon the bridge, and reached the opposite
side. Here he began to thunder with his axe upon
the gate of the castle, protected in part from the
shot and stones cast by the defenders by the ruins
of the former drawbridge, which the Templar had
demolished in his retreat from the barbican, leaving
the counterpoise still attached to the upper part
of the portal. The followers of the knight had no
such shelter; two were instantly shot with cross-bow
bolts, and two more fell into the moat; the
others retreated back into the barbican.

The situation of Cedric and of the Black Knight
was now truly dangerous, and would have been still
more so, but for the constancy of the archers in the
barbican, who ceased not to shower their arrows
upon the battlements, distracting the attention of
those by whom they were manned, and thus affording
a respite to their two chiefs from the storm of
missiles which must otherwise have overwhelmed
them. But their situation was eminently perilous,
and was becoming more so with every moment.

``Shame on ye all!'' cried De Bracy to the soldiers
around him; ``do ye call yourselves cross-bowmen,
and let these two dogs keep their station
under the walls of the castle?---Heave over the
coping stones from the battlements, an better may
not be---Get pick-axe and levers, and down with
that huge pinnacle!'' pointing to a heavy piece of
stone carved-work that projected from the parapet.

At this moment the besiegers caught sight of the
red flag upon the angle of the tower which Ulrica
had described to Cedric. The stout yeoman Locksley
was the first who was aware of it, as he was
hasting to the outwork, impatient to see the progress
of the assault.

``Saint George!'' he cried, ``Merry Saint George
for England!---To the charge, bold yeomen!---why
leave ye the good knight and noble Cedric to storm
the pass alone?---make in, mad priest, show thou
canst fight for thy rosary,---make in, brave yeomen!
---the castle is ours, we have friends within---See
yonder flag, it is the appointed signal---Torquilstone
is ours!---Think of honour, think of spoil---One
effort, and the place is ours!''

With that he bent his good bow, and sent a shaft
right through the breast of one of the men-at-arms,
who, under De Bracy's direction, was loosening a
fragment from one of the battlements to precipitate
on the heads of Cedric and the Black Knight. A
second soldier caught from the hands of the dying
man the iron crow, with which he heaved at and
had loosened the stone pinnacle, when, receiving an
arrow through his head-piece, he dropped from the
battlements into the moat a dead man. The men-at-arms
were daunted, for no armour seemed proof
against the shot of this tremendous archer.

``Do you give ground, base knaves!'' said De
Bracy; ``_Mount joye Saint Dennis!_---Give me the
lever!''

And, snatching it up, he again assailed the
loosened pinnacle, which was of weight enough, if
thrown down, not only to have destroyed the remnant
of the drawbridge, which sheltered the two
foremost assailants, but also to have sunk the rude
float of planks over which they had crossed. All
saw the danger, and the boldest, even the stout
Friar himself, avoided setting foot on the raft.
Thrice did Locksley bend his shaft against De
Bracy, and thrice did his arrow bound back from
the knight's armour of proof.

``Curse on thy Spanish steel-coat!'' said Locksley,
``had English smith forged it, these arrows
had gone through, an as if it had been silk or sendal.''
He then began to call out, ``Comrades!
friends! noble Cedric! bear back, and let the ruin
fall.''

His warning voice was unheard, for the din
which the knight himself occasioned by his strokes
upon the postern would have drowned twenty war-trumpets.
The faithful Gurth indeed sprung forward
on the planked bridge, to warn Cedric of his
impending fate, or to share it with him. But his
warning would have come too late; the massive
pinnacle already tottered, and De Bracy, who still
heaved at his task, would have accomplished it, had
not the voice of the Templar sounded close in his
ears:---

``All is lost, De Bracy, the castle burns.''

``Thou art mad to say so!'' replied the knight.

``It is all in a light flame on the western side.
I have striven in vain to extinguish it.''

With the stern coolness which formed the basis
of his character, Brian de Bois-Guilbert communicated
this hideous intelligence, which was not so
calmly received by his astonished comrade.

``Saints of Paradise!'' said De Bracy; ``what is
to be done? I vow to Saint Nicholas of Limoges
a candlestick of pure gold---''

``Spare thy vow,'' said the Templar, ``and mark
me. Lead thy men down, as if to a sally; throw
the postern-gate open---There are but two men who
occupy the float, fling them into the moat, and push
across for the barbican. I will charge from the main
gate, and attack the barbican on the outside; and
if we can regain that post, be assured we shall defend
ourselves until we are relieved, or at least till
they grant us fair quarter.''

``It is well thought upon,'' said De Bracy; ``I
will play my part---Templar, thou wilt not fail
me?''

``Hand and glove, I will not!'' said Bois-Guilbert.
``But haste thee, in the name of God!''

De Bracy hastily drew his men together, and
rushed down to the postern-gate, which he caused
instantly to be thrown open. But scarce was this
done ere the portentous strength of the Black
Knight forced his way inward in despite of De
Bracy and his followers. Two of the foremost instantly
fell, and the rest gave way notwithstanding
all their leader's efforts to stop them.

``Dogs!'' said De Bracy, ``will ye let _two_ men
win our only pass for safety?''

``He is the devil!'' said a veteran man-at-arms,
bearing back from the blows of their sable antagonist.

``And if he be the devil,'' replied De Bracy,
``would you fly from him into the mouth of hell?
---the castle burns behind us, villains!---let despair
give you courage, or let me forward! I will cope
with this champion myself''

And well and chivalrous did De Bracy that day
maintain the fame he had acquired in the civil wars
of that dreadful period. The vaulted passage to
which the postern gave entrance, and in which these
two redoubted champions were now fighting hand
to hand, rung with the furious blows which they
dealt each other, De Bracy with his sword, the
Black Knight with his ponderous axe. At length
the Norman received a blow, which, though its
force was partly parried by his shield, for otherwise
never more would De Bracy have again moved
limb, descended yet with such violence on his crest,
that he measured his length on the paved floor.

``Yield thee, De Bracy,'' said the Black Champion,
stooping over him, and holding against the
bars of his helmet the fatal poniard with which the
knights dispatched their enemies, (and which was
called the dagger of mercy,)---``yield thee, Maurice
de Bracy, rescue or no rescue, or thou art but a
dead man.''

``I will not yield,'' replied De Bracy faintly, ``to
an unknown conqueror. Tell me thy name, or
work thy pleasure on me---it shall never be said
that Maurice de Bracy was prisoner to a nameless
churl.''

The Black Knight whispered something into the
ear of the vanquished.

``I yield me to be true prisoner, rescue or no
rescue,'' answered the Norman, exchanging his tone
of stern and determined obstinacy for one of deep
though sullen submission.

``Go to the barbican,'' said the victor, in a tone
of authority, ``and there wait my further orders.''

``Yet first, let me say,'' said De Bracy, ``what
it imports thee to know. Wilfred of Ivanhoe is
wounded and a prisoner, and will perish in the
burning castle without present help.''

``Wilfred of Ivanhoe!'' exclaimed the Black
Knight---``prisoner, and perish!---The life of every
man in the castle shall answer it if a hair of his
head be singed---Show me his chamber!''

``Ascend yonder winding stair,'' said De Bracy;
``it leads to his apartment---Wilt thou not accept
my guidance?'' he added, in a submissive voice.

``No. To the barbican, and there wait my orders.
I trust thee not, De Bracy.''

During this combat and the brief conversation
which ensued, Cedric, at the head of a body of men,
among whom the Friar was conspicuous, had pushed
across the bridge as soon as they saw the postern
open, and drove back the dispirited and despairing
followers of De Bracy, of whom some asked
quarter, some offered vain resistance, and the
greater part fled towards the court-yard. De Bracy
himself arose from the ground, and cast a sorrowful
glance after his conqueror. ``He trusts me
not!'' he repeated; ``but have I deserved his trust?''
He then lifted his sword from the floor, took off his
helmet in token of submission, and, going to the
barbican, gave up his sword to Locksley, whom he
met by the way.

As the fire augmented, symptoms of it became
soon apparent in the chamber, where Ivanhoe was
watched and tended by the Jewess Rebecca. He
had been awakened from his brief slumber by the
noise of the battle; and his attendant, who had,
at his anxious desire, again placed herself at the
window to watch and report to him the fate of the
attack, was for some time prevented from observing
either, by the increase of the smouldering and
stifling vapour. At length the volumes of smoke
which rolled into the apartment---the cries for water,
which were heard even above the din of the
battle made them sensible of the progress of this
new danger.

``The castle burns,'' said Rebecca; ``it burns!
---What can we do to save ourselves?''

``Fly, Rebecca, and save thine own life,'' said
Ivanhoe, ``for no human aid can avail me.''

``I will not fly,'' answered Rebecca; ``we will
be saved or perish together---And yet, great God!
---my father, my father---what will be his fate!''

At this moment the door of the apartment flew
open, and the Templar presented himself,---a ghastly
figure, for his gilded armour was broken and
bloody, and the plume was partly shorn away,
partly burnt from his casque. ``I have found
thee,'' said he to Rebecca; ``thou shalt prove I
will keep my word to share weal and woe with
thee---There is but one path to safety, I have cut
my way through fifty dangers to point it to thee
---up, and instantly follow me!''*

* The author has some idea that this passage is imitated from
* the appearance of Philidaspes, before the divine Mandane, when
* the city of Babylon is on fire, and he proposes to carry her from
* the flames. But the theft, if there be one, would be rather too
* severely punished by the penance of searching for the original
* passage through the interminable volumes of the Grand Cyrus.


``Alone,'' answered Rebecca, ``I will not follow
thee. If thou wert born of woman---if thou hast
but a touch of human charity in thee---if thy heart
be not hard as thy breastplate---save my aged father
---save this wounded knight!''

``A knight,'' answered the Templar, with his
characteristic calmness, ``a knight, Rebecca, must
encounter his fate, whether it meet him in the shape
of sword or flame---and who recks how or where
a Jew meets with his?''

``Savage warrior,'' said Rebecca, ``rather will I
perish in the flames than accept safety from thee!''

``Thou shalt not choose, Rebecca---once didst
thou foil me, but never mortal did so twice.''

So saying, he seized on the terrified maiden,
who filled the air with her shrieks, and bore her
out of the room in his arms in spite of her cries,
and without regarding the menaces and defiance
which Ivanhoe thundered against him. ``Hound
of the Temple---stain to thine Order---set free the
damsel! Traitor of Bois-Guilbert, it is Ivanhoe
commands thee!---Villain, I will have thy heart's
blood!''

``I had not found thee, Wilfred,'' said the Black
Knight, who at that instant entered the apartment,
``but for thy shouts.''

``If thou best true knight,'' said Wilfred, ``think
not of me---pursue yon ravisher---save the Lady
Rowena---look to the noble Cedric!''

``In their turn,'' answered he of the Fetterlock,
``but thine is first.''

And seizing upon Ivanhoe, he bore him off with
as much ease as the Templar had carried off Rebecca,
rushed with him to the postern, and having
there delivered his burden to the care of two yeomen,
he again entered the castle to assist in the
rescue of the other prisoners.

One turret was now in bright flames, which
flashed out furiously from window and shot-hole.
But in other parts, the great thickness of the walls
and the vaulted roofs of the apartments, resisted
the progress of the flames, and there the rage of
man still triumphed, as the scarce more dreadful
element held mastery elsewhere; for the besiegers
pursued the defenders of the castle from chamber
to chamber, and satiated in their blood the vengeance
which had long animated them against the
soldiers of the tyrant Front-de-B<oe>uf. Most of
the garrison resisted to the uttermost---few of them
asked quarter---none received it. The air was filled
with groans and clashing of arms---the floors
were slippery with the blood of despairing and expiring
wretches.

Through this scene of confusion, Cedric rushed
in quest of Rowena, while the faithful Gurth, following
him closely through the _me<e^>l<e'>e_, neglected
his own safety while he strove to avert the blows
that were aimed at his master. The noble Saxon
was so fortunate as to reach his ward's apartment
just as she had abandoned all hope of safety, and,
with a crucifix clasped in agony to her bosom, sat
in expectation of instant death. He committed
her to the charge of Gurth, to be conducted in
safety to the barbican, the road to which was now
cleared of the enemy, and not yet interrupted by
the flames. This accomplished, the loyal Cedric
hastened in quest of his friend Athelstane, determined,
at every risk to himself, to save that last
scion of Saxon royalty. But ere Cedric penetrated
as far as the old hall in which he had himself been
a prisoner, the inventive genius of Wamba had
procured liberation for himself and his companion
in adversity.

When the noise of the conflict announced that
it was at the hottest, the Jester began to shout,
with the utmost power of his lungs, ``Saint George
and the dragon!---Bonny Saint George for merry
England!---The castle is won!'' And these sounds
he rendered yet more fearful, by banging against
each other two or three pieces of rusty armour
which lay scattered around the hall.

A guard, which had been stationed in the outer,
or anteroom, and whose spirits were already in a
state of alarm, took fright at Wamba's clamour,
and, leaving the door open behind them, ran to tell
the Templar that foemen had entered the old hall.
Meantime the prisoners found no difficulty in making
their escape into the anteroom, and from
thence into the court of the castle, which was now
the last scene of contest. Here sat the fierce Templar,
mounted on horseback, surrounded by several
of the garrison both on horse and foot, who had
united their strength to that of this renowned leader,
in order to secure the last chance of safety and
retreat which remained to them. The drawbridge
had been lowered by his orders, but the passage
was beset; for the archers, who had hitherto only
annoyed the castle on that side by their missiles,
no sooner saw the flames breaking out, and the
bridge lowered, than they thronged to the entrance,
as well to prevent the escape of the garrison, as to
secure their own share of booty ere the castle should
be burnt down. On the other hand, a party of the
besiegers who had entered by the postern were now
issuing out into the court-yard, and attacking with
fury the remnant of the defenders who were thus
assaulted on both sides at once.

Animated, however, by despair, and supported
by the example of their indomitable leader, the remaining
soldiers of the castle fought with the utmost
valour; and, being well-armed, succeeded more
than once in driving back the assailants, though
much inferior in numbers. Rebecca, placed on
horseback before one of the Templar's Saracen
slaves, was in the midst of the little party; and
Bois-Guilbert, notwithstanding the confusion of
the bloody fray, showed every attention to her
safety. Repeatedly he was by her side, and, neglecting
his own defence, held before her the fence
of his triangular steel-plated shield; and anon starting
from his position by her, he cried his war-cry,
dashed forward, struck to earth the most forward
of the assailants, and was on the same instant once
more at her bridle rein.

Athelstane, who, as the reader knows, was slothful,
but not cowardly, beheld the female form whom
the Templar protected thus sedulously, and doubted
not that it was Rowena whom the knight was
carrying off, in despite of all resistance which could
be offered.

``By the soul of Saint Edward,'' he said, ``I will
rescue her from yonder over-proud knight, and he
shall die by my hand!''

``Think what you do!'' cried Wamba; ``hasty
hand catches frog for fish---by my bauble, yonder
is none of my Lady Rowena---see but her long
dark locks!---Nay, an ye will not know black from
white, ye may be leader, but I will be no follower
---no bones of mine shall be broken unless I know
for whom.---And you without armour too!---Bethink
you, silk bonnet never kept out steel blade.
---Nay, then, if wilful will to water, wilful must
drench.---_Deus vobiscum_, most doughty Athelstane!''
---he concluded, loosening the hold which he had
hitherto kept upon the Saxon's tunic.

To snatch a mace from the pavement, on which
it lay beside one whose dying grasp had just relinquished
it---to rush on the Templar's band, and
to strike in quick succession to the right and left,
levelling a warrior at each blow, was, for Athelstane's
great strength, now animated with unusual
fury, but the work of a single moment; he was
soon within two yards of Bois-Guilbert, whom he
defied in his loudest tone.

``Turn, false-hearted Templar! let go her
whom thou art unworthy to touch---turn, limb of
a hand of murdering and hypocritical robbers!''

``Dog!'' said the Templar, grinding his teeth,
``I will teach thee to blaspheme the holy Order of
the Temple of Zion;'' and with these words, half-wheeling
his steed, he made a demi-courbette towards
the Saxon, and rising in the stirrups, so as to
take full advantage of the descent of the horse, he
discharged a fearful blow upon the head of Athelstane.

Well said Wamba, that silken bonnet keeps out
no steel blade. So trenchant was the Templar's
weapon, that it shore asunder, as it had been a willow
twig, the tough and plaited handle of the mace,
which the ill-fated Saxon reared to parry the blow,
and, descending on his head, levelled him with the
earth.

``_Ha! Beau-seant!_'' exclaimed Bois-Guilbert,
``thus be it to the maligners of the Temple-knights!''
Taking advantage of the dismay which
was spread by the fall of Athelstane, and calling
aloud, ``Those who would save themselves, follow
me!'' he pushed across the drawbridge, dispersing
the archers who would have intercepted them. He
was followed by his Saracens, and some five or six
men-at-arms, who had mounted their horses. The
Templar's retreat was rendered perilous by the
numbers of arrows shot off at him and his party;
but this did not prevent him from galloping round
to the barbican, of which, according to his previous
plan, he supposed it possible De Bracy might have
been in possession.

``De Bracy! De Bracy!'' he shouted, ``art thou
there?''

``I am here,'' replied De Bracy, ``but I am a
prisoner.''

``Can I rescue thee?'' cried Bois-Guilbert.

``No,'' replied De Bracy; ``I have rendered me,
rescue or no rescue. I will be true prisoner. Save
thyself---there are hawks abroad---put the seas betwixt
you and England---I dare not say more.''

``Well,'' answered the Templar, ``an thou wilt
tarry there, remember I have redeemed word and
glove. Be the hawks where they will, methinks
the walls of the Preceptory of Templestowe will be
cover sufficient, and thither will I, like heron to
her haunt.''

Having thus spoken, he galloped off with his followers.

Those of the castle who had not gotten to horse,
still continued to fight desperately with the besiegers,
after the departure of the Templar, but
rather in despair of quarter than that they entertained
any hope of escape. The fire was spreading
rapidly through all parts of the castle, when Ulrica,
who had first kindled it, appeared on a turret, in
the guise of one of the ancient furies, yelling forth
a war-song, such as was of yore raised on the field
of battle by the scalds of the yet heathen Saxons.
Her long dishevelled grey hair flew back from her
uncovered head; the inebriating delight of gratified
vengeance contended in her eyes with the fire
of insanity; and she brandished the distaff which
she held in her hand, as if she had been one of the
Fatal Sisters, who spin and abridge the thread of
human life. Tradition has preserved some wild
strophes of the barbarous hymn which she chanted
wildly amid that scene of fire and of slaughter:---

1.

Whet the bright steel,
Sons of the White Dragon!
Kindle the torch,
Daughter of Hengist!
The steel glimmers not for the carving of the banquet,
It is hard, broad, and sharply pointed;
The torch goeth not to the bridal chamber,
It steams and glitters blue with sulphur.
Whet the steel, the raven croaks!
Light the torch, Zernebock is yelling!
Whet the steel, sons of the Dragon!
Kindle the torch, daughter of Hengist!

2.

The black cloud is low over the thane's castle
The eagle screams--he rides on its bosom.
Scream not, grey rider of the sable cloud,
Thy banquet is prepared!
The maidens of Valhalla look forth,
The race of Hengist will send them guests.
Shake your black tresses, maidens of Valhalla!
And strike your loud timbrels for joy!
Many a haughty step bends to your halls,
Many a helmed head.

3.

Dark sits the evening upon the thanes castle,
The black clouds gather round;
Soon shall they be red as the blood of the valiant!
The destroyer of forests shall shake his red crest against them.
He, the bright consumer of palaces,
Broad waves he his blazing banner,
Red, wide and dusky,
Over the strife of the valiant:
His joy is in the clashing swords and broken bucklers;
He loves to lick the hissing blood as it bursts warm from the wound!

4.

All must perish!
The sword cleaveth the helmet;
The strong armour is pierced by the lance;
Fire devoureth the dwelling of princes,
Engines break down the fences of the battle.
All must perish!
The race of Hengist is gone---
The name of Horsa is no more!
Shrink not then from your doom, sons of the sword!
Let your blades drink blood like wine;
Feast ye in the banquet of slaughter,
By the light of the blazing halls!
Strong be your swords while your blood is warm,
And spare neither for pity nor fear,
For vengeance hath but an hour;
Strong hate itself shall expire
I also must perish! *

* Note F. Ulrica's Death Song

The towering flames had now surmounted every
obstruction, and rose to the evening skies one huge
and burning beacon, seen far and wide through the
adjacent country. Tower after tower crashed down,
with blazing roof and rafter; and the combatants
were driven from the court-yard. The vanquished,
of whom very few remained, scattered and escaped
into the neighbouring wood. The victors, assembling
in large bands, gazed with wonder, not unmixed
with fear, upon the flames, in which their own
ranks and arms glanced dusky red. The maniac
figure of the Saxon Ulrica was for a long time visible
on the lofty stand she had chosen, tossing her
arms abroad with wild exultation, as if she reined
empress of the conflagration which she had raised.
At length, with a terrific crash, the whole turret
gave way, and she perished in the flames which had
consumed her tyrant. An awful pause of horror
silenced each murmur of the armed spectators, who,
for the space of several minutes, stirred not a finger,
save to sign the cross. The voice of Locksley
was then heard, ``Shout, yeomen!---the den of
tyrants is no more! Let each bring his spoil to our
chosen place of rendezvous at the Trysting-tree in
the Harthill-walk; for there at break of day will
we make just partition among our own bands, together
with our worthy allies in this great deed of
vengeance.''


CHAPTER XXXII.
Trust me each state must have its policies:
Kingdoms have edicts, cities have their charters;
Even the wild outlaw, in his forest-walk,
Keeps yet some touch of civil discipline;
For not since Adam wore his verdant apron,
Hath man with man in social union dwelt,
But laws were made to draw that union closer.
_Old Play._


The daylight had dawned upon the glades of
the oak forest. The green boughs glittered with
all their pearls of dew. The hind led her fawn
from the covert of high fern to the more open walks
of the greenwood, and no huntsman was there to
watch or intercept the stately hart, as he paced at
the head of the antler'd herd.

The outlaws were all assembled around the
Trysting-tree in the Harthill-walk, where they had
spent the night in refreshing themselves after the
fatigues of the siege, some with wine, some with
slumber, many with hearing and recounting the
events of the day, and computing the heaps of plunder
which their success had placed at the disposal
of their Chief.

The spoils were indeed very large; for, notwithstanding
that much was consumed, a great deal of
plate, rich armour, and splendid clothing, had been
secured by the exertions of the dauntless outlaws,
who could be appalled by no danger when such
rewards were in view. Yet so strict were the laws
of their society, that no one ventured to appropriate
any part of the booty, which was brought into
one common mass, to be at the disposal of their
leader.

The place of rendezvous was an aged oak; not
however the same to which Locksley had conducted
Gurth and Wamba in the earlier part of the
story, but one which was the centre of a silvan
amphitheatre, within half a mile of the demolished
castle of Torquilstone. Here Locksley assumed his
seat---a throne of turf erected under the twisted
branches of the huge oak, and the silvan followers
were gathered around him. He assigned to the
Black Knight a seat at his right hand, and to Cedric
a place upon his left.

``Pardon my freedom, noble sirs,'' he said, ``but
in these glades I am monarch---they are my kingdom;
and these my wild subjects would reck but
little of my power, were I, within my own dominions,
to yield place to mortal man.---Now, sirs,
who hath seen our chaplain? where is our curtal
Friar? A mass amongst Christian men best begins
a busy morning.''---No one had seen the Clerk of
Copmanhurst. ``Over gods forbode!'' said the
outlaw chief, ``I trust the jolly priest hath but
abidden by the wine-pot a thought too late. Who
saw him since the castle was ta'en?''

``I,'' quoth the Miller, ``marked him busy about
the door of a cellar, swearing by each saint in the
calendar he would taste the smack of Front-de-B<oe>uf's
Gascoigne wine.''

``Now, the saints, as many as there be of them,''
said the Captain, ``forefend, lest he has drunk too
deep of the wine-butts, and perished by the fall of
the castle!---Away, Miller!---take with you enow
of men, seek the place where you last saw him---
throw water from the moat on the scorching ruins
---I will have them removed stone by stone ere I
lose my curtal Friar.''

The numbers who hastened to execute this duty,
considering that an interesting division of spoil was
about to take place, showed how much the troop
had at heart the safety of their spiritual father.

``Meanwhile, let us proceed,'' said Locksley;
``for when this bold deed shall be sounded abroad,
the bands of De Bracy, of Malvoisin, and other
allies of Front-de-B<oe>uf, will be in motion against
us, and it were well for our safety that we retreat
from the vicinity.---Noble Cedric,'' he said, turning
to the Saxon, ``that spoil is divided into two portions;
do thou make choice of that which best suits
thee, to recompense thy people who were partakers
with us in this adventure.''

``Good yeoman,'' said Cedric, ``my heart is
oppressed with sadness. The noble Athelstane of
Coningsburgh is no more---the last sprout of the
sainted Confessor! Hopes have perished with him
which can never return!---A sparkle hath been
quenched by his blood, which no human breath can
again rekindle! My people, save the few who are
now with me, do but tarry my presence to transport
his honoured remains to their last mansion.
The Lady Rowena is desirous to return to Rotherwood,
and must be escorted by a sufficient force. I
should, therefore, ere now, have left this place; and
I waited---not to share the booty, for, so help me
God and Saint Withold! as neither I nor any of
mine will touch the value of a liard,---I waited but
to render my thanks to thee and to thy bold yeomen,
for the life and honour ye have saved.''

``Nay, but,'' said the chief Outlaw, ``we did but
half the work at most---take of the spoil what may
reward your own neighbours and followers.''

``I am rich enough to reward them from mine
own wealth,'' answered Cedric.

``And some,'' said Wamba, ``have been wise
enough to reward themselves; they do not march
off empty-handed altogether. We do not all wear
motley.''

``They are welcome,'' said Locksley; ``our laws
bind none but ourselves.''

``But, thou, my poor knave,'' said Cedric, turning
about and embracing his Jester, ``how shall I
reward thee, who feared not to give thy body to
chains and death instead of mine!---All forsook
me, when the poor fool was faithful!''

A tear stood in the eye of the rough Thane as
he spoke---a mark of feeling which even the death
of Athelstane had not extracted; but there was
something in the half-instinctive attachment of his
clown, that waked his nature more keenly than even
grief itself.

``Nay,'' said the Jester, extricating himself from
master's caress, ``if you pay my service with
the water of your eye, the Jester must weep for
company, and then what becomes of his vocation?
---But, uncle, if you would indeed pleasure me, I
pray you to pardon my playfellow Gurth, who stole
a week from your service to bestow it on your son.''

``Pardon him!'' exclaimed Cedric; ``I will both
pardon and reward him.---Kneel down, Gurth.''---
The swineherd was in an instant at his master's
feet---``=Theow= and =Esne=* art thou no longer,''

* Thrall and bondsman.

said Cedric touching him with a wand; ``=Folkfree=
and =Sacless=* art thou in town and from

* A lawful freeman.

town, in the forest as in the field. A hide of land
I give to thee in my steads of Walbrugham, from
me and mine to thee and thine aye and for ever;
and God's malison on his head who this gainsays!''

No longer a serf, but a freeman and a landholder,
Gurth sprung upon his feet, and twice bounded
aloft to almost his own height from the ground.
``A smith and a file,'' he cried, ``to do away the
collar from the neck of a freeman!---Noble master!
doubled is my strength by your gift, and doubly
will I fight for you!---There is a free spirit in my
breast---I am a man changed to myself and all
around.---Ha, Fangs!'' he continued,---for that
faithful cur, seeing his master thus transported, began
to jump upon him, to express his sympathy,---
``knowest thou thy master still?''

``Ay,'' said Wamba, ``Fangs and I still know
thee, Gurth, though we must needs abide by the
collar; it is only thou art likely to forget both us
and thyself.''

``I shall forget myself indeed ere I forget thee,
true comrade,'' said Gurth; ``and were freedom
fit for thee, Wamba, the master would not let thee
want it.''

``Nay,'' said Wamba, ``never think I envy thee,
brother Gurth; the serf sits by the hall-fire when
the freeman must forth to the field of battle---And
what saith Oldhelm of Malmsbury---Better a fool
at a feast than a wise man at a fray.''

The tramp of horses was now heard, and the
Lady Rowena appeared, surrounded by several riders,
and a much stronger party of footmen, who
joyfully shook their pikes and clashed their brown-bills
for joy of her freedom. She herself, richly attired,
and mounted on a dark chestnut palfrey, had
recovered all the dignity of her manner, and only
an unwonted degree of paleness showed the sufferings
she had undergone. Her lovely brow, though
sorrowful, bore on it a cast of reviving hope for
the future, as well as of grateful thankfulness for
the past deliverance---She knew that Ivanhoe was
safe, and she knew that Athelstane was dead. The
former assurance filled her with the most sincere
delight; and if she did not absolutely rejoice at the
latter, she might be pardoned for feeling the full
advantage of being freed from further persecution
on the only subject in which she had ever been contradicted
by her guardian Cedric.

As Rowena bent her steed towards Locksley's
seat, that bold yeoman, with all his followers, rose
to receive her, as if by a general instinct of courtesy.
The blood rose to her cheeks, as, courteously
waving her hand, and bending so low that her
beautiful and loose tresses were for an instant mixed
with the flowing mane of her palfrey, she expressed
in few but apt words her obligations and
her gratitude to Locksley and her other deliverers.
---``God bless you, brave men,'' she concluded,
``God and Our Lady bless you and requite you
for gallantly perilling yourselves in the cause of the
oppressed!---If any of you should hunger, remember
Rowena has food---if you should thirst, she has
many a butt of wine and brown ale---and if the
Normans drive ye from these walks, Rowena has
forests of her own, where her gallant deliverers
may range at full freedom, and never ranger ask
whose arrow hath struck down the deer.''

``Thanks, gentle lady,'' said Locksley; ``thanks
from my company and myself. But, to have saved
you requites itself. We who walk the greenwood
do many a wild deed, and the Lady Rowena's deliverance
may be received as an atonement.''

Again bowing from her palfrey, Rowena turned
to depart; but pausing a moment, while Cedric,
who was to attend her, was also taking his leave,
she found herself unexpectedly close by the prisoner
De Bracy. He stood under a tree in deep
meditation, his arms crossed upon his breast, and
Rowena was in hopes she might pass him unobserved.
He looked up, however, and, when aware
of her presence, a deep flush of shame suffused his
handsome countenance. He stood a moment most
irresolute; then, stepping forward, took her palfrey
by the rein, and bent his knee before her.

``Will the Lady Rowena deign to cast an eye
---on a captive knight---on a dishonoured soldier?''

``Sir Knight,'' answered Rowena, ``in enterprises
such as yours, the real dishonour lies not in
failure, but in success.''

``Conquest, lady, should soften the heart,'' answered
De Bracy; ``let me but know that the
Lady Rowena forgives the violence occasioned by
an ill-fated passion, and she shall soon learn that
De Bracy knows how to serve her in nobler ways.''

``I forgive you, Sir Knight,'' said Rowena, ``as
a Christian.''

``That means,'' said Wamba, ``that she does not
forgive him at all.''

``But I can never forgive the misery and desolation
your madness has occasioned,'' continued
Rowena.

``Unloose your hold on the lady's rein,'' said
Cedric, coming up. ``By the bright sun above us,
but it were shame, I would pin thee to the earth
with my javelin---but be well assured, thou shalt
smart, Maurice de Bracy, for thy share in this foul
deed.''

``He threatens safely who threatens a prisoner,''
said De Bracy; ``but when had a Saxon any touch
of courtesy?''

Then retiring two steps backward, he permitted
the lady to move on.

Cedric, ere they departed, expressed his peculiar
gratitude to the Black Champion, and earnestly
entreated him to accompany him to Rotherwood.

``I know,'' he said, ``that ye errant knights desire
to carry your fortunes on the point of your
lance, and reck not of land or goods; but war is a
changeful mistress, and a home is sometimes desirable
even to the champion whose trade is wandering.
Thou hast earned one in the halls of Rotherwood,
noble knight. Cedric has wealth enough to
repair the injuries of fortune, and all he has is his
deliverer's---Come, therefore, to Rotherwood, not
as a guest, but as a son or brother.''

``Cedric has already made me rich,'' said the
Knight,---``he has taught me the value of Saxon
virtue. To Rotherwood will I come, brave Saxon,
and that speedily; but, as now, pressing matters
of moment detain me from your halls. Peradventure
when I come hither, I will ask such a boon as
will put even thy generosity to the test.''

``It is granted ere spoken out,'' said Cedric,
striking his ready hand into the gauntleted palm
of the Black Knight,---``it is granted already, were
it to affect half my fortune.''

``Gage not thy promise so lightly,'' said the
Knight of the Fetterlock; ``yet well I hope to
gain the boon I shall ask. Meanwhile, adieu.''

``I have but to say,'' added the Saxon, ``that,
during the funeral rites of the noble Athelstane, I
shall be an inhabitant of the halls of his castle of
Coningsburgh---They will be open to all who choose
to partake of the funeral banqueting; and, I speak
in name of the noble Edith, mother of the fallen
prince, they will never be shut against him who
laboured so bravely, though unsuccessfully, to save
Athelstane from Norman chains and Norman steel.''

``Ay, ay,'' said Wamba, who had resumed his
attendance on his master, ``rare feeding there will
be---pity that the noble Athelstane cannot banquet
at his own funeral.---But he,'' continued the Jester,
lifting up his eyes gravely, ``is supping in Paradise,
and doubtless does honour to the cheer.''

``Peace, and move on,'' said Cedric, his anger at
this untimely jest being checked by the recollection
of Wamba's recent services. Rowena waved
a graceful adieu to him of the Fetterlock---the
Saxon bade God speed him, and on they moved
through a wide glade of the forest.

They had scarce departed, ere a sudden procession
moved from under the greenwood branches,
swept slowly round the silvan amphitheatre, and
took the same direction with Rowena and her followers.
The priests of a neighbouring convent, in
expectation of the ample donation, or _soul-scat_,
which Cedric had propined, attended upon the car
in which the body of Athelstane was laid, and sang
hymns as it was sadly and slowly borne on the
shoulders of his vassals to his castle of Coningsburgh,
to be there deposited in the grave of Hengist,
from whom the deceased derived his long descent.
Many of his vassals had assembled at the
news of his death, and followed the bier with all
the external marks, at least, of dejection and sorrow.
Again the outlaws arose, and paid the same
rude and spontaneous homage to death, which they
had so lately rendered to beauty---the slow chant
and mournful step of the priests brought back to
their remembrance such of their comrades as had
fallen in the yesterday's array. But such recollections
dwell not long with those who lead a life of
danger and enterprise, and ere the sound of the
death-hymn had died on the wind, the outlaws
were again busied in the distribution of their spoil.

``Valiant knight,'' said Locksley to the Black
Champion, ``without whose good heart and mighty
arm our enterprise must altogether have failed, will
it please you to take from that mass of spoil whatever
may best serve to pleasure you, and to remind
you of this my Trysting-tree?''

``I accept the offer,'' said the Knight, ``as frankly
as it is given; and I ask permission to dispose
of Sir Maurice de Bracy at my own pleasure.''

``He is thine already,'' said Locksley, ``and well
for him! else the tyrant had graced the highest
bough of this oak, with as many of his Free-Companions
as we could gather, hanging thick as acorns
around him.---But he is thy prisoner, and he is safe,
though he had slain my father.''

``De Bracy,'' said the Knight, ``thou art free---
depart. He whose prisoner thou art scorns to take
mean revenge for what is past. But beware of the
future, lest a worse thing befall thee.---Maurice de
Bracy, I say =beware=!''

De Bracy bowed low and in silence, and was
about to withdraw, when the yeomen burst at once
into a shout of execration and derision. The proud
knight instantly stopped, turned back, folded his
arms, drew up his form to its full height, and exclaimed,
``Peace, ye yelping curs! who open upon
a cry which ye followed not when the stag was at
bay---De Bracy scorns your censure as he would
disdain your applause. To your brakes and caves,
ye outlawed thieves! and be silent when aught
knightly or noble is but spoken within a league of
your fox-earths.''

This ill-timed defiance might have procured for
De Bracy a volley of arrows, but for the hasty and
imperative interference of the outlaw Chief. Meanwhile
the knight caught a horse by the rein, for
several which had been taken in the stables of
Front-de-B<oe>uf stood accoutred around, and were a
valuable part of the booty. He threw himself upon
the saddle, and galloped off through the wood.

When the bustle occasioned by this incident was
somewhat composed, the chief Outlaw took from
his neck the rich horn and baldric which he had recently
gained at the strife of archery near Ashby.

``Noble knight.'' he said to him of the Fetterlock,
``if you disdain not to grace by your acceptance
a bugle which an English yeoman has once
worn, this I will pray you to keep as a memorial of
your gallant bearing---and if ye have aught to do,
and, as happeneth oft to a gallant knight, ye chance
to be hard bested in any forest between Trent and
Tees, wind three mots* upon the horn thus, _Wa-sa-hoa!_

* The notes upon the bugle were anciently called mots, and
* are distinguished in the old treatises on hunting, not by musical
* characters, but by written words.

and it may well chance ye shall find helpers
and rescue.''

He then gave breath to the bugle, and winded
once and again the call which be described, until the
knight had caught the notes.

``Gramercy for the gift, bold yeoman,'' said the
Knight; ``and better help than thine and thy rangers
would I never seek, were it at my utmost need.''
And then in his turn he winded the call till all the
greenwood rang.

``Well blown and clearly,'' said the yeoman;
``beshrew me an thou knowest not as much of
woodcraft as of war!---thou hast been a striker of
deer in thy day, I warrant.---Comrades, mark these
three mots---it is the call of the Knight of the Fetterlock;
and he who hears it, and hastens not to
serve him at his need, I will have him scourged out
of our band with his own bowstring.''

``Long live our leader!'' shouted the yeomen,
``and long live the Black Knight of the Fetterlock!---
May he soon use our service, to prove how
readily it will be paid.''

Locksley now proceeded to the distribution of
the spoil, which he performed with the most laudable
impartiality. A tenth part of the whole was
set apart for the church, and for pious uses; a portion
was next allotted to a sort of public treasury;
a part was assigned to the widows and children of
those who had fallen, or to be expended in masses
for the souls of such as had left no surviving family.
The rest was divided amongst the outlaws, according
to their rank and merit, and the judgment of
the Chief, on all such doubtful questions as occurred,
was delivered with great shrewdness, and received
with absolute submission. The Black Knight
was not a little surprised to find that men, in a
state so lawless, were nevertheless among themselves
so regularly and equitably governed, and all
that he observed added to his opinion of the justice
and judgment of their leader.

When each had taken his own proportion of the
booty, and while the treasurer, accompanied by four
tall yeomen, was transporting that belonging to the
state to some place of concealment or of security,
the portion devoted to the church still remained
unappropriated.

``I would,'' said the leader, ``we could hear tidings
of our joyous chaplain---he was never wont
to be absent when meat was to be blessed, or spoil
to be parted; and it is his duty to take care of these
the tithes of our successful enterprise. It may be
the office has helped to cover some of his canonical
irregularities. Also, I have a holy brother of his
a prisoner at no great distance, and I would fain
have the Friar to help me to deal with him in due
sort---I greatly misdoubt the safety of the bluff
priest.''

``I were right sorry for that,'' said the Knight
of the Fetterlock, ``for I stand indebted to him for
the joyous hospitality of a merry night in his cell.
Let us to the ruins of the castle; it may be we shall
there learn some tidings of him.''

While they thus spoke, a loud shout among the
yeomen announced the arrival of him for whom they
feared, as they learned from the stentorian voice of
the Friar himself, long before they saw his burly
person.

``Make room, my merry-men!'' he exclaimed;
``room for your godly father and his prisoner---
Cry welcome once more.---I come, noble leader,
like an eagle with my prey in my clutch.''---And
making his way through the ring, amidst the laughter
of all around, he appeared in majestic triumph,
his huge partisan in one hand, and in the other a
halter, one end of which was fastened to the neck
of the unfortunate Isaac of York, who, bent down
by sorrow and terror, was dragged on by the victorious
priest, who shouted aloud, ``Where is
Allan-a-Dale, to chronicle me in a ballad, or if it
were but a lay?---By Saint Hermangild, the jingling
crowder is ever out of the way where there is
an apt theme for exalting valour!''

``Curtal Priest,'' said the Captain, ``thou hast
been at a wet mass this morning, as early as it is.
In the name of Saint Nicholas, whom hast thou got
here?''

``A captive to my sword and to my lance, noble
Captain,'' replied the Clerk of Copmanhurst; ``to
my bow and to my halberd, I should rather say;
and yet I have redeemed him by my divinity from
a worse captivity. Speak, Jew---have I not ransomed
thee from Sathanas?---have I not taught
thee thy _credo_, thy _pater_, and thine _Ave Maria_?
---Did I not spend the whole night in drinking to
thee, and in expounding of mysteries?''

``For the love of God!'' ejaculated the poor Jew,
``will no one take me out of the keeping of this
mad---I mean this holy man?''

``How's this, Jew?'' said the Friar, with a menacing
aspect; ``dost thou recant, Jew?---Bethink
thee, if thou dost relapse into thine infidelity,
though thou are not so tender as a suckling pig---
I would I had one to break my fast upon---thou
art not too tough to be roasted! Be conformable,
Isaac, and repeat the words after me. _Ave Maria_!---''

``Nay, we will have no profanation, mad Priest,''
said Locksley; ``let us rather hear where you found
this prisoner of thine.''
``By Saint Dunstan,'' said the Friar, ``I found
him where I sought for better ware! I did step into
the cellarage to see what might be rescued there;
for though a cup of burnt wine, with spice, be an
evening's drought for an emperor, it were waste,
methought, to let so much good liquor be mulled
at once; and I had caught up one runlet of sack,
and was coming to call more aid among these lazy
knaves, who are ever to seek when a good deed is
to be done, when I was avised of a strong door---
Aha! thought I, here is the choicest juice of all in
this secret crypt; and the knave butler, being disturbed
in his vocation, hath left the key in the door
---In therefore I went, and found just nought besides
a commodity of rusted chains and this dog of
a Jew, who presently rendered himself my prisoner,
rescue or no rescue. I did but refresh myself after
the fatigue of the action, with the unbeliever, with
one humming cup of sack, and was proceeding to
lead forth my captive, when, crash after crash, as
with wild thunder-dint and levin-fire, down toppled
the masonry of an outer tower, (marry beshrew
their hands that built it not the firmer!) and blocked
up the passage. The roar of one falling tower
followed another---I gave up thought of life; and
deeming it a dishonour to one of my profession to
pass out of this world in company with a Jew, I
heaved up my halberd to beat his brains out; but
I took pity on his grey hairs, and judged it better
to lay down the partisan, and take up my spiritual
weapon for his conversion. And truly, by the blessing
of Saint Dunstan, the seed has been sown in
good soil; only that, with speaking to him of mysteries
through the whole night, and being in a
manner fasting, (for the few droughts of sack which
I sharpened my wits with were not worth marking,)
my head is wellnigh dizzied, I trow.---But I was
clean exhausted.---Gilbert and Wibbald know in
what state they found me---quite and clean exhausted.''

``We can bear witness,'' said Gilbert; ``for
when we had cleared away the ruin, and by Saint
Dunstan's help lighted upon the dungeon stair, we
found the runlet of sack half empty, the Jew half
dead, and the Friar more than half---exhausted, as
he calls it.''

``Ye be knaves! ye lie!'' retorted the offended
Friar; ``it was you and your gormandizing companions
that drank up the sack, and called it your
morning draught---I am a pagan, an I kept it not
for the Captain's own throat. But what recks it?
The Jew is converted, and understands all I have
told him, very nearly, if not altogether, as well as
myself.''
``Jew,'' said the Captain, ``is this true? hast
thou renounced thine unbelief?''

``May I so find mercy in your eyes,'' said the
Jew, ``as I know not one word which the reverend
prelate spake to me all this fearful night. Alas! I
was so distraught with agony, and fear, and grief,
that had our holy father Abraham come to preach
to me, he had found but a deaf listener.''

``Thou liest, Jew, and thou knowest thou dost.''
said the Friar; ``I will remind thee of but one
word of our conference---thou didst promise to give
all thy substance to our holy Order.''

``So help me the Promise, fair sirs,'' said Isaac,
even more alarmed than before, ``as no such sounds
ever crossed my lips! Alas! I am an aged beggar'd
man---I fear me a childless---have ruth on
me, and let me go!''

``Nay,'' said the Friar, ``if thou dost retract
vows made in favour of holy Church, thou must do
penance.''

Accordingly, he raised his halberd, and would
have laid the staff of it lustily on the Jew's shoulders,
had not the Black Knight stopped the blow,
and thereby transferred the Holy Clerk's resentment
to himself.

``By Saint Thomas of Kent,'' said he, ``an I
buckle to my gear, I will teach thee, sir lazy lover,
to mell with thine own matters, maugre thine iron
case there!''

``Nay, be not wroth with me,'' said the Knight;
``thou knowest I am thy sworn friend and comrade.''

``I know no such thing,'' answered the Friar;
``and defy thee for a meddling coxcomb!''

``Nay, but,'' said the Knight, who seemed to
take a pleasure in provoking his quondam host,
``hast thou forgotten how, that for my sake (for I
say nothing of the temptation of the flagon and
the pasty) thou didst break thy vow of fast and
vigil?''

``Truly, friend,'' said the Friar, clenching his
huge fist, ``I will bestow a buffet on thee.''

``I accept of no such presents,'' said the Knight;
``I am content to take thy cuff* as a loan, but I will

* Note G. Richard C<oe>ur-de-Lion.

repay thee with usury as deep as ever thy prisoner
there exacted in his traffic.''

``I will prove that presently,'' said the Friar.

``Hola!'' cried the Captain, ``what art thou
after, mad Friar? brawling beneath our Trysting-tree?''

``No brawling,'' said the Knight, ``it is but a
friendly interchange of courtesy.---Friar, strike an
thou darest---I will stand thy blow, if thou wilt
stand mine.''

``Thou hast the advantage with that iron pot
on thy head,'' said the churchman; ``but have at
thee---Down thou goest, an thou wert Goliath of
Gath in his brazen helmet.''

The Friar bared his brawny arm up to the elbow,
and putting his full strength to the blow, gave the
Knight a buffet that might have felled an ox. But
his adversary stood firm as a rock. A loud shout
was uttered by all the yeomen around; for the Clerk's
cuff was proverbial amongst them, and there were
few who, in jest or earnest, had not had the occasion
to know its vigour.

``Now, Priest,'' said, the Knight, pulling off his
gauntlet, ``if I had vantage on my head, I will have
none on my hand---stand fast as a true man.''

``_Genam meam dedi vapulatori_---I have given my
cheek to the smiter,'' said the Priest; ``an thou
canst stir me from the spot, fellow, I will freely bestow
on thee the Jew's ransom.''

So spoke the burly Priest, assuming, on his part,
high defiance. But who may resist his fate? The
buffet of the Knight was given with such strength
and good-will, that the Friar rolled head over heels
upon the plain, to the great amazement of all the
spectators. But he arose neither angry nor crestfallen.

``Brother,'' said he to the Knight, ``thou shouldst
have used thy strength with more discretion. I had
mumbled but a lame mass an thou hadst broken
my jaw, for the piper plays ill that wants the nether
chops. Nevertheless, there is my hand, in friendly
witness, that I will exchange no more cuffs with
thee, having been a loser by the barter. End now
all unkindness. Let us put the Jew to ransom,
since the leopard will not change his spots, and a
Jew he will continue to be.''

``The Priest,'' said Clement, ``is not have so confident
of the Jew's conversion, since he received
that buffet on the ear.''

``Go to, knave, what pratest thou of conversions?
---what, is there no respect?---all masters and no
men?---I tell thee, fellow, I was somewhat totty
when I received the good knight's blow, or I had
kept my ground under it. But an thou gibest more
of it, thou shalt learn I can give as well as take.''

``Peace all!'' said the Captain. ``And thou, Jew,
think of thy ransom; thou needest not to be told
that thy race are held to be accursed in all Christian
communities, and trust me that we cannot endure
thy presence among us. Think, therefore,
of an offer, while I examine a prisoner of another
cast.''

``Were many of Front-de-B<oe>uf's men taken?''
demanded the Black Knight.

``None of note enough to be put to ransom,'' answered
the Captain; ``a set of hilding fellows there
were, whom we dismissed to find them a new master---
enough had been done for revenge and profit;
the bunch of them were not worth a cardecu. The
prisoner I speak of is better booty---a jolly monk
riding to visit his leman, an I may judge by his
horse-gear and wearing apparel.---Here cometh the
worthy prelate, as pert as a pyet.'' And, between
two yeomen, was brought before the silvan throne
of the outlaw Chief, our old friend, Prior Aymer
of Jorvaulx.



CHAPTER XXXIII


---Flower of warriors,
How is't with Titus Lartius?
_Marcius_. As with a man busied about decrees,
Condemning some to death and some to exile,
Ransoming him or pitying, threatening the other.
_Coriolanus_

The captive Abbot's features and manners exhibited
a whimsical mixture of offended pride, and
deranged foppery and bodily terror.

``Why, how now, my masters?'' said he, with
a voice in which all three emotions were blended.
``What order is this among ye? Be ye Turks or
Christians, that handle a churchman?---Know ye
what it is, _manus imponere in servos Domini_? Ye
have plundered my mails---torn my cope of curious
cut lace, which might have served a cardinal!---
Another in my place would have been at his _excommunicabo
vos_; but I am placible, and if ye order
forth my palfreys, release my brethren, and restore
my mails, tell down with all speed an hundred
crowns to be expended in masses at the high altar
of Jorvaulx Abbey, and make your vow to eat no
venison until next Pentecost, it may be you shall
hear little more of this mad frolic.''

``Holy Father,'' said the chief Outlaw, ``it
grieves me to think that you have met with such
usage from any of my followers, as calls for your
fatherly reprehension.''

``Usage!'' echoed the priest, encouraged by the
mild tone of the silvan leader; ``it were usage fit
for no hound of good race---much less for a Christian
---far less for a priest---and least of all for the
Prior of the holy community of Jorvaulx. Here is
a profane and drunken minstrel, called Allan-a-Dale
---_nebulo quidam_---who has menaced me with
corporal punishment---nay, with death itself, an I
pay not down four hundred crowns of ransom, to
the boot of all the treasure he hath already robbed
me of---gold chains and gymmal rings to an unknown
value; besides what is broken and spoiled
among their rude hands, such as my pouncer-box
and silver crisping-tongs.''

``It is impossible that Allan-a-Dale can have thus
treated a man of your reverend bearing,'' replied
the Captain.

``It is true as the gospel of Saint Nicodemus,''
said the Prior; ``he swore, with many a cruel north-country
oath, that he would hang me up on the
highest tree in the greenwood.''

``Did he so in very deed? Nay, then, reverend
father, I think you had better comply with his demands
---for Allan-a-Dale is the very man to abide
by his word when he has so pledged it.'' *

* A commissary is said to have received similar consolation
* from a certain Commander-in-chief, to whom he complained
* that a general officer had used some such threat towards him as
* that in the text.

``You do but jest with me,'' said the astounded
Prior, with a forced laugh; ``and I love a good jest
with all my heart. But, ha! ha! ha! when the
mirth has lasted the livelong night, it is time to be
grave in the morning.''

``And I am as grave as a father confessor,'' replied
the Outlaw; ``you must pay a round ransom,
Sir Prior, or your convent is likely to be called to
a new election; for your place will know you no
more.''

``Are ye Christians,'' said the Prior, ``and hold
this language to a churchman?''

``Christians! ay, marry are we, and have divinity
among us to boot,'' answered the Outlaw.
``Let our buxom chaplain stand forth, and expound
to this reverend father the texts which concern this
matter.''

The Friar, half-drunk, half-sober, had huddled
a friar's frock over his green cassock, and now summoning
together whatever scraps of learning he had
acquired by rote in former days, ``Holy father,'' said
he, ``_Deus faciat salvam benignitatem vestram_---
You are welcome to the greenwood.''

``What profane mummery is this?'' said the
Prior. ``Friend, if thou best indeed of the church,
it were a better deed to show me how I may escape
from these men's hands, than to stand ducking and
grinning here like a morris-dancer.''

``Truly, reverend father,'' said the Friar, ``I
know but one mode in which thou mayst escape.
This is Saint Andrew's day with us, we are taking
our tithes.''

``But not of the church, then, I trust, my good
brother?'' said the Prior.

``Of church and lay,'' said the Friar; ``and
therefore, Sir Prior _facite vobis amicos de Mammone
iniquitatis_---make yourselves friends of the
Mammon of unrighteousness, for no other friendship
is like to serve your turn.''

``I love a jolly woodsman at heart,'' said the
Prior, softening his tone; ``come, ye must not deal
too hard with me---I can well of woodcraft, and can
wind a horn clear and lustily, and hollo till every
oak rings again---Come, ye must not deal too hard
with me.''

``Give him a horn,'' said the Outlaw; ``we will
prove the skill he boasts of.''

The Prior Aymer winded a blast accordingly.
The Captain shook his head.

``Sir Prior,'' he said, ``thou blowest a merry
note, but it may not ransom thee---we cannot afford,
as the legend on a good knight's shield hath it, to
set thee free for a blast. Moreover, I have found
thee---thou art one of those, who, with new French
graces and Tra-li-ras, disturb the ancient English
bugle notes.---Prior, that last flourish on the recheat
hath added fifty crowns to thy ransom, for
corrupting the true old manly blasts of venerie.''

``Well, friend,'' said the Abbot, peevishly, ``thou
art ill to please with thy woodcraft. I pray thee
be more conformable in this matter of my ransom.
At a word---since I must needs, for once, hold a
candle to the devil---what ransom am I to pay for
walking on Watling-street, without having fifty
men at my back?''

``Were it not well,'' said the Lieutenant of the
gang apart to the Captain, ``that the Prior should
name the Jew's ransom, and the Jew name the
Prior's?''

``Thou art a mad knave,'' said the Captain, ``but
thy plan transcends!---Here, Jew, step forth---
Look at that holy Father Aymer, Prior of the rich
Abbey of Jorvaulx, and tell us at what ransom we
should hold him?---Thou knowest the income of
his convent, I warrant thee.''

``O, assuredly,'' said Isaac. ``I have trafficked
with the good fathers, and bought wheat and barley,
and fruits of the earth, and also much wool.
O, it is a rich abbey-stede, and they do live upon
the fat, and drink the sweet wines upon the lees,
these good fathers of Jorvaulx. Ah, if an outcast
like me had such a home to go to, and such incomings
by the year and by the month, I would pay
much gold and silver to redeem my captivity.''

``Hound of a Jew!'' exclaimed the Prior, ``no
one knows better than thy own cursed self, that
our holy house of God is indebted for the finishing
of our chancel---''

``And for the storing of your cellars in the last
season with the due allowance of Gascon wine,'' interrupted
the Jew; ``but that---that is small matters.''

``Hear the infidel dog!'' said the churchman;
he jangles as if our holy community did come under
debts for the wines we have a license to drink,
_propter necessitatem, et ad frigus depellendum_. The
circumcised villain blasphemeth the holy church,
and Christian men listen and rebuke him not!''

``All this helps nothing,'' said the leader.
---``Isaac, pronounce what be may pay, without flaying
both hide and hair.''

``An six hundred crowns,'' said Isaac, ``the good
Prior might well pay to your honoured valours,
and never sit less soft in his stall.''

``Six hundred crowns,'' said the leader, gravely;
``I am contented---thou hast well spoken, Isaac---
six hundred crowns.---It is a sentence, Sir Prior.''

``A sentence!---a sentence!'' exclaimed the band;
``Solomon had not done it better.''

``Thou hearest thy doom, Prior,'' said the leader.

``Ye are mad, my masters,'' said the Prior;
``where am I to find such a sum? If I sell the
very pyx and candlesticks on the altar at Jorvaulx,
I shall scarce raise the half; and it will be necessary
for that purpose that I go to Jorvaulx myself;
ye may retain as borrows* my two priests.''

* Borghs, or borrows, signifies pledges. Hence our word to
* borrow, because we pledge ourselves to restore what is lent.


``That will be but blind trust,'' said the Outlaw;
``we will retain thee, Prior, and send them to fetch
thy ransom. Thou shalt not want a cup of wine
and a collop of venison the while; and if thou lovest
woodcraft, thou shalt see such as your north country
never witnessed.''

``Or, if so please you,'' said Isaac, willing to
curry favour with the outlaws, ``I can send to York
for the six hundred crowns, out of certain monies
in my hands, if so be that the most reverend Prior
present will grant me a quittance.''

``He shall grant thee whatever thou dost list,
Isaac,'' said the Captain; ``and thou shalt lay down
the redemption money for Prior Aymer as well as
for thyself.''

``For myself! ah, courageous sirs,'' said the Jew,
``I am a broken and impoverished man; a beggar's
staff must be my portion through life, supposing
I were to pay you fifty crowns.''

``The Prior shall judge of that matter,'' replied
the Captain.---``How say you, Father Aymer?
Can the Jew afford a good ransom?''

``Can he afford a ransom?'' answered the Prior
``Is he not Isaac of York, rich enough to redeem
the captivity of the ten tribes of Israel, who were
led into Assyrian bondage?---I have seen but little
of him myself, but our cellarer and treasurer have
dealt largely with him, and report says that his
house at York is so full of gold and silver as is a
shame in any Christian land. Marvel it is to all
living Christian hearts that such gnawing adders
should be suffered to eat into the bowels of the
state, and even of the holy church herself, with
foul usuries and extortions.''

``Hold, father,'' said the Jew, ``mitigate and
assuage your choler. I pray of your reverence to
remember that I force my monies upon no one.
But when churchman and layman, prince and prior,
knight and priest, come knocking to Isaac's door,
they borrow not his shekels with these uncivil
terms. It is then, Friend Isaac, will you pleasure
us in this matter, and our day shall be truly kept,
so God sa' me?---and Kind Isaac, if ever you served
man, show yourself a friend in this need! And
when the day comes, and I ask my own, then what
hear I but Damned Jew, and The curse of Egypt on
your tribe, and all that may stir up the rude and
uncivil populace against poor strangers! ''

``Prior,'' said the Captain, ``Jew though he be,
he hath in this spoken well. Do thou, therefore,
name his ransom, as he named thine, without farther
rude terms.''

``None but _latro famosus_---the interpretation
whereof,'' said the Prior, ``will I give at some other
time and tide---would place a Christian prelate and
an unbaptized Jew upon the same bench. But since
ye require me to put a price upon this caitiff, I tell
you openly that ye will wrong yourselves if you
take from him a penny under a thousand crowns.''

``A sentence!---a sentence!'' exclaimed the chief
Outlaw.

``A sentence!---a sentence!'' shouted his assessors;
``the Christian has shown his good nurture,
and dealt with us more generously than the Jew.''

``The God of my fathers help me!'' said the
Jew; ``will ye bear to the ground an impoverished
creature?---I am this day childless, and will ye
deprive me of the means of livelihood?''

``Thou wilt have the less to provide for, Jew,
if thou art childless,'' said Aymer.

``Alas! my lord,'' said Isaac, ``your law permits
you not to know how the child of our bosom is entwined
with the strings of our heart---O Rebecca!
laughter of my beloved Rachel! were each leaf on
that tree a zecchin, and each zecchin mine own, all
that mass of wealth would I give to know whether
thou art alive, and escaped the hands of the Nazarene!''

``Was not thy daughter dark-haired?'' said one
of the outlaws; ``and wore she not a veil of twisted
sendal, broidered with silver?''

``She did!---she did!'' said the old man, trembling
with eagerness, as formerly with fear. ``The
blessing of Jacob be upon thee! canst thou tell me
aught of her safety?''

``It was she, then,'' said the yeoman, ``who was
carried off by the proud Templar, when he broke
through our ranks on yester-even. I had drawn
my bow to send a shaft after him, but spared him
even for the sake of the damsel, who I feared might
take harm from the arrow.''

``Oh!'' answered the Jew, ``I would to God
thou hadst shot, though the arrow had pierced her
bosom!---Better the tomb of her fathers than the
dishonourable couch of the licentious and savage
Templar. Ichabod! Ichabod! the glory hath departed
from my house!''

``Friends,'' said the Chief, looking round, ``the
old man is but a Jew, natheless his grief touches
me.---Deal uprightly with us, Isaac---will paying
this ransom of a thousand crowns leave thee altogether
penniless?''

Isaac, recalled to think of his worldly goods, the
love of which, by dint of inveterate habit, contended
even with his parental affection, grew pale, stammered,
and could not deny there might be some
small surplus.

``Well---go to---what though there be,'' said the
Outlaw, ``we will not reckon with thee too closely.
Without treasure thou mayst as well hope to
redeem thy child from the clutches of Sir Brian de
Bois-Guilbert, as to shoot a stag-royal with a headless
shaft.---We will take thee at the same ransom
with Prior Aymer, or rather at one hundred crowns
lower, which hundred crowns shall be mine own
peculiar loss, and not light upon this worshipful
community; and so we shall avoid the heinous offence
of rating a Jew merchant as high as a Christian
prelate, and thou wilt have six hundred crowns
remaining to treat for thy daughter's ransom. Templars
love the glitter of silver shekels as well as the
sparkle of black eyes.---Hasten to make thy crowns
chink in the ear of De Bois-Guilbert, ere worse
comes of it. Thou wilt find him, as our scouts have
brought notice, at the next Preceptory house of
his Order.---Said I well, my merry mates?''

The yeomen expressed their wonted acquiescence
in their leader's opinion; and Isaac, relieved of
one half of his apprehensions, by learning that his
daughter lived, and might possibly be ransomed,
threw himself at the feet of the generous Outlaw,
and, rubbing his beard against his buskins, sought
to kiss the hem of his green cassock. The Captain
drew himself back, and extricated himself from
the Jew's grasp, not without some marks of contempt.

``Nay, beshrew thee, man, up with thee! I am
English born, and love no such Eastern prostrations
---Kneel to God, and not to a poor sinner, like me.''

``Ay, Jew,'' said Prior Aymer; ``kneel to God,
as represented in the servant of his altar, and who
knows, with thy sincere repentance and due gifts to
the shrine of Saint Robert, what grace thou mayst
acquire for thyself and thy daughter Rebecca? I
grieve for the maiden, for she is of fair and comely
countenance,---I beheld her in the lists of Ashby.
Also Brian de Bois-Guilbert is one with whom I
may do much---bethink thee how thou mayst deserve
my good word with him.''

``Alas! alas!'' said the Jew, ``on every hand the
spoilers arise against me---I am given as a prey unto
the Assyrian, and a prey unto him of Egypt.''

``And what else should be the lot of thy accursed
race?'' answered the Prior; ``for what saith
holy writ, _verbum Dominii projecterunt, et sapientia
est nulla in eis_---they have cast forth the word of
the Lord, and there is no wisdom in them; _propterea
dabo mulieres eorum exteris_---I will give their
women to strangers, that is to the Templar, as in
the present matter; _et thesauros eorum h<ae>redibus
alienis_, and their treasures to others---as in the
present case to these honest gentlemen.''

Isaac groaned deeply, and began to wring his
hands, and to relapse into his state of desolation
and despair. But the leader of the yeomen led him
aside.

``Advise thee well, Isaac,'' said Locksley, ``what
thou wilt do in this matter; my counsel to thee is
to make a friend of this churchman. He is vain,
Isaac, and he is covetous; at least he needs money
to supply his profusion. Thou canst easily gratify
his greed; for think not that I am blinded by thy
pretexts of poverty. I am intimately acquainted,
Isaac, with the very iron chest in which thou dost
keep thy money-bags---What! know I not the
great stone beneath the apple-tree, that leads into
the vaulted chamber under thy garden at York?''
The Jew grew as pale as death---``But fear nothing
from me,'' continued the yeoman, ``for we
are of old acquainted. Dost thou not remember
the sick yeoman whom thy fair daughter Rebecca
redeemed from the gyves at York, and kept him in
thy house till his health was restored, when thou
didst dismiss him recovered, and with a piece of
money?---Usurer as thou art, thou didst never place
coin at better interest than that poor silver mark,
for it has this day saved thee five hundred crowns.''

``And thou art he whom we called Diccon Bend-the-Bow?''
said Isaac; ``I thought ever I knew
the accent of thy voice.''

``I am Bend-the-Bow,'' said the Captain, ``and
Locksley, and have a good name besides all these.''

``But thou art mistaken, good Bend-the-Bow,
concerning that same vaulted apartment. So help
me Heaven, as there is nought in it but some merchandises
which I will gladly part with to you---
one hundred yards of Lincoln green to make doublets
to thy men, and a hundred staves of Spanish
yew to make bows, and a hundred silken bowstrings,
tough, round, and sound---these will I send
thee for thy good-will, honest Diccon, an thou wilt
keep silence about the vault, my good Diccon.''

``Silent as a dormouse,'' said the Outlaw; ``and
never trust me but I am grieved for thy daughter.
But I may not help it---The Templars lances are
too strong for my archery in the open field---they
would scatter us like dust. Had I but known it
was Rebecca when she was borne off, something
might have been done; but now thou must needs
proceed by policy. Come, shall I treat for thee
with the Prior?''

``In God's name, Diccon, an thou canst, aid me
to recover the child of my bosom!''

``Do not thou interrupt me with thine ill-timed
avarice,'' said the Outlaw, ``and I will deal with
him in thy behalf.''

He then turned from the Jew, who followed him,
however, as closely as his shadow.

``Prior Aymer,'' said the Captain, ``come apart
with me under this tree. Men say thou dost love
wine, and a lady's smile, better than beseems thy
Order, Sir Priest; but with that I have nought to
do. I have heard, too, thou dost love a brace of good
dogs and a fleet horse, and it may well be that,
loving things which are costly to come by, thou
hatest not a purse of gold. But I have never heard
that thou didst love oppression or cruelty.---Now,
here is Isaac willing to give thee the means of pleasure
and pastime in a bag containing one hundred
marks of silver, if thy intercession with thine ally
the Templar shall avail to procure the freedom of
his daughter.''

``In safety and honour, as when taken from me,''
said the Jew, ``otherwise it is no bargain.''

``Peace, Isaac,'' said the Outlaw, ``or I give up
thine interest.---What say you to this my purpose,
Prior Aymer?''

``The matter,'' quoth the Prior, ``is of a mixed
condition; for, if I do a good deal on the one hand,
yet, on the other, it goeth to the vantage of a Jew,
and in so much is against my conscience. Yet, if
the Israelite will advantage the Church by giving
me somewhat over to the building of our dortour,*

* _Dortour_, or dormitory.

I will take it on my conscience to aid him in the
matter of his daughter.''

``For a score of marks to the dortour,'' said the
Outlaw,---``Be still, I say, Isaac!---or for a brace
of silver candlesticks to the altar, we will not stand
with you.''

``Nay, but, good Diccon Bend-the-Bow''---said
Isaac, endeavouring to interpose.

``Good Jew---good beast---good earthworm!''
said the yeoman, losing patience; ``an thou dost go
on to put thy filthy lucre in the balance with thy
daughter's life and honour, by Heaven, I will strip
thee of every maravedi thou hast in the world, before
three days are out!''

Isaac shrunk together, and was silent.

``And what pledge am I to have for all this?''
said the Prior.

``When Isaac returns successful through your
mediation,'' said the Outlaw, ``I swear by Saint
Hubert, I will see that he pays thee the money in
good silver, or I will reckon with him for it in such
sort, he had better have paid twenty such sums.''

``Well then, Jew,'' said Aymer, ``since I must
needs meddle in this matter, let me have the use
of thy writing-tablets---though, hold---rather than
use thy pen, I would fast for twenty-four hours,
and where shall I find one?''

``If your holy scruples can dispense with using
the Jew's tablets, for the pen I can find a remedy,''
said the yeoman; and, bending his bow, he aimed
his shaft at a wild-goose which was soaring over
their heads, the advanced-guard of a phalanx of his
tribe, which were winging their way to the distant
and solitary fens of Holderness. The bird came
fluttering down, transfixed with the arrow.

``There, Prior,'' said the Captain, ``are quills
enow to supply all the monks of Jorvaulx for the
next hundred years, an they take not to writing
chronicles.''

The Prior sat down, and at great leisure indited
an epistle to Brian de Bois-Guilbert, and having
carefully sealed up the tablets, delivered them to
the Jew, saying, ``This will be thy safe-conduct
to the Preceptory of Templestowe, and, as I think,
is most likely to accomplish the delivery of thy
daughter, if it be well backed with proffers of advantage
and commodity at thine own hand; for,
trust me well, the good Knight Bois-Guilbert is of
their confraternity that do nought for nought.''

``Well, Prior,'' said the Outlaw, ``I will detain
thee no longer here than to give the Jew a quittance
for the six hundred crowns at which thy ransom
is fixed---I accept of him for my pay-master;
and if I hear that ye boggle at allowing him in his
accompts the sum so paid by him, Saint Mary refuse
me, an I burn not the abbey over thine head,
though I hang ten years the sooner!''

With a much worse grace than that wherewith
he had penned the letter to Bois-Guilbert, the Prior
wrote an acquittance, discharging Isaac of York of
six hundred crowns, advanced to him in his need
for acquittal of his ransom, and faithfully promising
to hold true compt with him for that sum.

``And now,'' said Prior Aymer, ``I will pray
you of restitution of my mules and palfreys, and
the freedom of the reverend brethren attending upon
me, and also of the gymmal rings, jewels, and
fair vestures, of which I have been despoiled, having
now satisfied you for my ransom as a true prisoner.''

``Touching your brethren, Sir Prior,'' said Locksley,
``they shall have present freedom, it were unjust
to detain them; touching your horses and
mules, they shall also be restored, with such spending-money
as may enable you to reach York, for
it were cruel to deprive you of the means of journeying.
---But as concerning rings, jewels, chains,
and what else, you must understand that we are
men of tender consciences, and will not yield to a
venerable man like yourself, who should be dead
to the vanities of this life, the strong temptation to
break the rule of his foundation, by wearing rings,
chains, or other vain gauds.''

``Think what you do, my masters,'' said the Prior,
``ere you put your hand on the Church's patrimony
---These things are _inter res sacras_, and I wot not
what judgment might ensue were they to be handled
by laical hands.''

``I will take care of that, reverend Prior,'' said
the Hermit of Copmanhurst; ``for I will wear
them myself.''

``Friend, or brother,'' said the Prior, in answer
to this solution of his doubts, ``if thou hast really
taken religious orders, I pray thee to look how
thou wilt answer to thine official for the share thou
hast taken in this day's work.''

``Friend Prior,'' returned the Hermit, ``you are
to know that I belong to a little diocese, where I
am my own diocesan, and care as little for the Bishop
of York as I do for the Abbot of Jorvaulx,
the Prior, and all the convent.''

``Thou art utterly irregular,'' said the Prior;
``one of those disorderly men, who, taking on them
the sacred character without due cause, profane
the holy rites, and endanger the souls of those who
take counsel at their hands; _lapides pro pane condonantes
iis_, giving them stones instead of bread
as the Vulgate hath it.''

``Nay,'' said the Friar, ``an my brain-pan could
have been broken by Latin, it had not held so long
together.---I say, that easing a world of such misproud
priests as thou art of their jewels and their
gimcracks, is a lawful spoiling of the Egyptians.''

``Thou be'st a hedge-priest,''* said the Prior, in

* Note H. Hedge-Priests.

great wrath, ``_excommuicabo vos_.''

``Thou best thyself more like a thief and a heretic,''
said the Friar, equally indignant; ``I will
pouch up no such affront before my parishioners,
as thou thinkest it not shame to put upon me, although
I be a reverend brother to thee. _Ossa enis
perfringam_, I will break your bones, as the Vulgate
hath it.''

``Hola!'' cried the Captain, ``come the reverend
brethren to such terms?---Keep thine assurance of
peace, Friar.---Prior, an thou hast not made thy
peace perfect with God, provoke the Friar no further.
---Hermit, let the reverend father depart in
peace, as a ransomed man.''

The yeomen separated the incensed priests, who
continued to raise their voices, vituperating each
other in bad Latin, which the Prior delivered the
more fluently, and the Hermit with the greater
vehemence. The Prior at length recollected himself
sufficiently to be aware that he was compromising
his dignity, by squabbling with such a hedge-priest
as the Outlaw's chaplain, and being joined
by his attendants, rode off with considerably less
pomp, and in a much more apostolical condition,
so far as worldly matters were concerned, than he
had exhibited before this rencounter.

It remained that the Jew should produce some
security for the ransom which he was to pay on the
Prior's account, as well as upon his own. He gave,
accordingly, an order sealed with his signet, to a
brother of his tribe at York, requiring him to pay
to the bearer the sum of a thousand crowns, and to
deliver certain merchandises specified in the note.

``My brother Sheva,'' he said, groaning deeply,
``hath the key of my warehouses.''

``And of the vaulted chamber,'' whispered Locksley.

``No, no---may Heaven forefend!'' said Isaac;
``evil is the hour that let any one whomsoever into
that secret!''

``It is safe with me,'' said the Outlaw, ``so be
that this thy scroll produce the sum therein nominated
and set down.---But what now, Isaac?
art dead? art stupefied? hath the payment of a
thousand crowns put thy daughter's peril out of
thy mind?''

The Jew started to his feet---``No, Diccon, no
---I will presently set forth.---Farewell, thou whom
I may not call good, and dare not and will not call
evil.''
Yet ere Isaac departed, the Outlaw Chief bestowed
on him this parting advice:---``Be liberal
of thine offers, Isaac, and spare not thy purse for
thy daughter's safety. Credit me, that the gold
thou shalt spare in her cause, will hereafter give
thee as much agony as if it were poured molten
down thy throat.''

Isaac acquiesced with a deep groan, and set forth
on his journey, accompanied by two tall foresters,
who were to be his guides, and at the same time
his guards, through the wood.

The Black Knight, who had seen with no small
interest these various proceedings, now took his
leave of the Outlaw in turn; nor could he avoid
expressing his surprise at having witnessed so much
of civil policy amongst persons cast out from all the
ordinary protection and influence of the laws.

``Good fruit, Sir Knight,'' said the yeoman,
``will sometimes grow on a sorry tree; and evil
times are not always productive of evil alone and
unmixed. Amongst those who are drawn into this
lawless state, there are, doubtless, numbers who
wish to exercise its license with some moderation,
and some who regret, it may be, that they are
obliged to follow such a trade at all.''

``And to one of those,'' said the Knight, ``I am
now, I presume, speaking?''

``Sir Knight,'' said the Outlaw, ``we have each
our secret. You are welcome to form your judgment
of me, and I may use my conjectures touching
you, though neither of our shafts may hit the
mark they are shot at. But as I do not pray to be
admitted into your mystery, be not offended that I
preserve my own.''

``I crave pardon, brave Outlaw,'' said the Knight,
``your reproof is just. But it may be we shall meet
hereafter with less of concealment on either side.---
Meanwhile we part friends, do we not?''

``There is my hand upon it,'' said Locksley;
``and I will call it the hand of a true Englishman,
though an outlaw for the present.''

``And there is mine in return,'' said the Knight,
``and I hold it honoured by being clasped with
yours. For he that does good, having the unlimited
power to do evil, deserves praise not only for
the good which he performs, but for the evil which
he forbears. Fare thee well, gallant Outlaw!''
Thus parted that fair fellowship; and He of the
Fetterlock, mounting upon his strong war-horse,
rode off through the forest.




CHAPTER XXXIV


_King John_. I'll tell thee what, my friend,
He is a very serpent in my way;
And wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth tread,
He lies before me.---Dost thou understand me?
_King John._

There was brave feasting in the Castle of York,
to which Prince John had invited those nobles, prelates,
and leaders, by whose assistance he hoped to carry through
his ambitious projects upon his brother's throne.
Waldemar Fitzurse, his able and politic agent,
was at secret work among them, tempering
all to that pitch of courage which was necessary
in making an open declaration of their purpose.
But their enterprise was delayed by the
absence of more than one main limb of the confederacy.
The stubborn and daring, though brutal
courage of Front-de-B<oe>uf; the buoyant spirits and
bold bearing of De Bracy; the sagacity, martial
experience, and renowned valour of Brian de Bois-Guilbert,
were important to the success of their
conspiracy; and, while cursing in secret their unnecessary
and unmeaning absence, neither John nor
his adviser dared to proceed without them.
Isaac the Jew also seemed to have vanished,
and with him the hope of certain sums of money,
making up the subsidy for which Prince John had contracted
with that Israelite and his brethren. This deficiency
was likely to prove perilous in an emergency so critical.

It was on the morning after the fall of Torquilstone,
that a confused report began to spread abroad
in the city of York, that De Bracy and Bois-Guilbert,
with their confederate Front-de-B<oe>uf, had
been taken or slain. Waldemar brought the rumour
to Prince John, announcing, that he feared
its truth the more that they had set out with a
small attendance, for the purpose of committing an
assault on the Saxon Cedric and his attendants.
At another time the Prince would have treated this
deed of violence as a good jest; but now, that it
interfered with and impeded his own plans, he exclaimed
against the perpetrators, and spoke of the
broken laws, and the infringement of public order
and of private property, in a tone which might have
become King Alfred.

``The unprincipled marauders,'' he said---``were
I ever to become monarch of England, I would
hang such transgressors over the drawbridges of
their own castles.''

``But to become monarch of England,'' said his
Ahithophel coolly, ``it is necessary not only that your
Grace should endure the transgressions of these
unprincipled marauders, but that you should afford
them your protection, notwithstanding your laudable
zeal for the laws they are in the habit of infringing.
We shall be finely helped, if the churl
Saxons should have realized your Grace's vision, of
converting feudal drawbridges into gibbets; and
yonder bold-spirited Cedric seemeth one to whom
such an imagination might occur. Your Grace is
well aware, it will be dangerous to stir without
Front-de-B<oe>uf, De Bracy, and the Templar; and
yet we have gone too far to recede with safety.''

Prince John struck his forehead with impatience,
and then began to stride up and down the apartment.

``The villains,'' he said, ``the base treacherous
villains, to desert me at this pinch!''

``Nay, say rather the feather-pated giddy madmen,''
said Waldemar, ``who must be toying with
follies when such business was in hand.''

``What is to be done?'' said the Prince, stopping
short before Waldemar.

``I know nothing which can be done,'' answered
his counsellor, ``save that which I have already
taken order for.---I came not to bewail this evil
chance with your Grace, until I had done my best
to remedy it.''

``Thou art ever my better angel, Waldemar,''
said the Prince; ``and when I have such a chancellor
to advise withal, the reign of John will be
renowned in our annals.---What hast thou commanded?''

``I have ordered Louis Winkelbrand, De Bracy's
lieutenant, to cause his trumpet sound to horse, and
to display his banner, and to set presently forth towards
the castle of Front-de-B<oe>uf, to do what yet
may be done for the succour of our friends.''

Prince John's face flushed with the pride of a
spoilt child, who has undergone what it conceives
to be an insult.
``By the face of God!'' he said, ``Waldemar
Fitzurse, much hast thou taken upon thee! and
over malapert thou wert to cause trumpet to blow,
or banner to be raised, in a town where ourselves
were in presence, without our express command.''

``I crave your Grace's pardon,'' said Fitzurse,
internally cursing the idle vanity of his patron;
``but when time pressed, and even the loss of minutes
might be fatal, I judged it best to take this
much burden upon me, in a matter of such importance
to your Grace's interest.''

``Thou art pardoned, Fitzurse,'' said the prince,
gravely; ``thy purpose hath atoned for thy hasty
rashness.---But whom have we here?---De Bracy
himself, by the rood!---and in strange guise doth
he come before us.''

It was indeed De Bracy---``bloody with spurring,
fiery red with speed.'' His armour bore all
the marks of the late obstinate fray, being broken,
defaced, and stained with blood in many places,
and covered with clay and dust from the crest to
the spur. Undoing his helmet, he placed it on the
table, and stood a moment as if to collect himself
before be told his news.

``De Bracy,'' said Prince John, ``what means
this?---Speak, I charge thee!---Are the Saxons in
rebellion?''

``Speak, De Bracy,'' said Fitzurse, almost in the
same moment with his master, ``thou wert wont to
be a man---Where is the Templar?---where Front-de-B<oe>uf?''

``The Templar is fled,'' said De Bracy; ``Front-de-B<oe>uf
you will never see more. He has found
a red grave among the blazing rafters of his own
castle and I alone am escaped to tell you.''

``Cold news,'' said Waldemar, ``to us, though
you speak of fire and conflagration.''

``The worst news is not yet said,'' answered De
Bracy; and, coming up to Prince John, he uttered
in a low and emphatic tone---``Richard is in
England---I have seen and spoken with him.''

Prince John turned pale, tottered, and caught
at the back of an oaken bench to support himself
---much like to a man who receives an arrow in his
bosom.

``Thou ravest, De Bracy,'' said Fitzurse, ``it
cannot be.''

``It is as true as truth itself,'' said De Bracy;
``I was his prisoner, and spoke with him.''

``With Richard Plantagenet, sayest thou?'' continued
Fitzurse.

``With Richard Plantagenet,'' replied De Bracy,
with Richard C<oe>ur-de-Lion---with Richard
of England.''

``And thou wert his prisoner?'' said Waldemar;
``he is then at the head of a power?''

``No---only a few outlawed yeomen were around
him, and to these his person is unknown. I heard
him say he was about to depart from them. He
joined them only to assist at the storming of Torquilstone.''

``Ay,'' said Fitzurse, ``such is indeed the fashion
of Richard---a true knight-errant he, and will wander
in wild adventure, trusting the prowess of his
single arm, like any Sir Guy or Sir Bevis, while
the weighty affairs of his kingdom slumber, and his
own safety is endangered.---What dost thou propose
to do De Bracy?''

``I?---I offered Richard the service of my Free
Lances, and he refused them---I will lead them to
Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders;
thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will
always find employment. And thou, Waldemar,
wilt thou take lance and shield, and lay down thy
policies, and wend along with me, and share the
fate which God sends us?''

``I am too old, Maurice, and I have a daughter,''
answered Waldemar.

``Give her to me, Fitzurse, and I will maintain
her as fits her rank, with the help of lance and stirrup,''
said De Bracy.

``Not so,'' answered Fitzurse; ``I will take
sanctuary in this church of Saint Peter---the
Archbishop is my sworn brother.'

During this discourse, Prince John had gradually
awakened from the stupor into which he had
been thrown by the unexpected intelligence, and
had been attentive to the conversation which passed
betwixt his followers. ``They fall off from me,''
he said to himself, ``they hold no more by me than
a withered leaf by the bough when a breeze blows
on it?---Hell and fiends! can I shape no means for
myself when I am deserted by these cravens?''---
He paused, and there was an expression of diabolical
passion in the constrained laugh with which
he at length broke in on their conversation.

``Ha, ha, ha! my good lords, by the light of
Our Lady's brow, I held ye sage men, bold men,
ready-witted men; yet ye throw down wealth, honour,
pleasure, all that our noble game promised
you, at the moment it might be won by one bold
cast!''

``I understand you not,'' said De Bracy. ``As
soon as Richard's return is blown abroad, he will be
at the head of an army, and all is then over with us.
I would counsel you, my lord, either to fly to France
or take the protection of the Queen Mother.''

``I seek no safety for myself,'' said Prince John,
haughtily; ``that I could secure by a word spoken
to my brother. But although you, De Bracy, and
you, Waldemar Fitzurse, are so ready to abandon
me, I should not greatly delight to see your heads
blackening on Clifford's gate yonder. Thinkest
thou, Waldemar, that the wily Archbishop will not
suffer thee to be taken from the very horns of the
altar, would it make his peace with King Richard?
And forgettest thou, De Bracy, that Robert Estoteville
lies betwixt thee and Hull with all his forces,
and that the Earl of Essex is gathering his followers?
If we had reason to fear these levies even
before Richard's return, trowest thou there is any
doubt now which party their leaders will take?
Trust me, Estoteville alone has strength enough
to drive all thy Free Lances into the Humber.---''
Waldemar Fitzurse and De Bracy looked in each
other's faces with blank dismay.---``There is but
one road to safety,'' continued the Prince, and his
brow grew black as midnight; ``this object of our
terror journeys alone---He must be met withal.''

``Not by me,'' said De Bracy, hastily; ``I was
his prisoner, and he took me to mercy. I will not
harm a feather in his crest.''

``Who spoke of harming him?'' said Prince
John, with a hardened laugh; ``the knave will
say next that I meant he should slay him!---No---
a prison were better; and whether in Britain or
Austria, what matters it?---Things will be but as
they were when we commenced our enterprise---
It was founded on the hope that Richard would
remain a captive in Germany---Our uncle Robert
lived and died in the castle of Cardiffe.''

``Ay, but,'' said Waldemar, ``your sire Henry
sate more firm in his seat than your Grace can. I
say the best prison is that which is made by the
sexton---no dungeon like a church-vault! I have
said my say.''

``Prison or tomb,'' said De Bracy, ``I wash my
hands of the whole matter.''

``Villain!'' said Prince John, ``thou wouldst not
bewray our counsel?''

``Counsel was never bewrayed by me,'' said De
Bracy, haughtily, ``nor must the name of villain
be coupled with mine!''

``Peace, Sir Knight!'' said Waldemar; ``and
you, good my lord, forgive the scruples of valiant
De Bracy; I trust I shall soon remove them.''

``That passes your eloquence, Fitzurse,'' replied
the Knight.

``Why, good Sir Maurice,'' rejoined the wily
politician, ``start not aside like a scared steed, without,
at least, considering the object of your terror.
---This Richard---but a day since, and it would
have been thy dearest wish to have met him hand
to hand in the ranks of battle---a hundred times I
have heard thee wish it.''

``Ay,'' said De Bracy, ``but that was as thou
sayest, hand to hand, and in the ranks of battle!
Thou never heardest me breathe a thought of assaulting
him alone, and in a forest.''

``Thou art no good knight if thou dost scruple
at it,'' said Waldemar. ``Was it in battle that
Lancelot de Lac and Sir Tristram won renown?
or was it not by encountering gigantic knights under
the shade of deep and unknown forests?''

``Ay, but I promise you,'' said De Bracy, ``that
neither Tristram nor Lancelot would have been
match, hand to hand, for Richard Plantagenet, and
I think it was not their wont to take odds against
a single man.''

``Thou art mad, De Bracy---what is it we propose
to thee, a hired and retained captain of Free
Companions, whose swords are purchased for Prince
John's service? Thou art apprized of our enemy,
and then thou scruplest, though thy patron's fortunes,
those of thy comrades, thine own, and the
life and honour of every one amongst us, be at
stake!''

``I tell you,'' said De Bracy, sullenly, ``that he
gave me my life. True, he sent me from his presence,
and refused my homage---so far I owe him
neither favour nor allegiance---but I will not lift
hand against him.''

``It needs not---send Louis Winkelbrand and a
score of thy lances.''

``Ye have sufficient ruffians of your own,'' said
De Bracy; ``not one of mine shall budge on such
an errand.''

``Art thou so obstinate, De Bracy?'' said Prince
John; ``and wilt thou forsake me, after so many
protestations of zeal for my service?''

``I mean it not,'' said De Bracy; ``I will abide
by you in aught that becomes a knight, whether in
the lists or in the camp; but this highway practice
comes not within my vow.''

``Come hither, Waldemar,'' said Prince John.
``An unhappy prince am I. My father, King
Henry, had faithful servants---He had but to say
that he was plagued with a factious priest, and the
blood of Thomas-a-Becket, saint though he was,
stained the steps of his own altar.---Tracy, Morville,
Brito * loyal and daring subjects, your names, your

* Reginald Fitzurse, William de Tracy, Hugh de Morville,
* and Richard Brito, were the gentlemen of Henry the Second's
* household, who, instigated by some passionate expressions of
* their sovereign, slew the celebrated Thomas-a-Becket.

spirit, are extinct! and although Reginald Fitzurse
hath left a son, he hath fallen off from his father's
fidelity and courage.''

``He has fallen off from neither,'' said Waldemar
Fitzurse; ``and since it may not better be, I
will take on me the conduct of this perilous enterprise.
Dearly, however, did my father purchase the
praise of a zealous friend; and yet did his proof of
loyalty to Henry fall far short of what I am about
to afford; for rather would I assail a whole calendar
of saints, than put spear in rest against C<oe>ur-de-Lion.
---De Bracy, to thee I must trust to keep
up the spirits of the doubtful, and to guard Prince
John's person. If you receive such news as I trust
to send you, our enterprise will no longer wear a
doubtful aspect.---Page,'' he said, ``hie to my lodgings,
and tell my armourer to be there in readiness;
and bid Stephen Wetheral, Broad Thoresby, and
the Three Spears of Spyinghow, come to me instantly;
and let the scout-master, Hugh Bardon,
attend me also.---Adieu, my Prince, till better
times.'' Thus speaking, he left the apartment.
``He goes to make my brother prisoner,'' said
Prince John to De Bracy, ``with as little touch of
compunction, as if it but concerned the liberty of a
Saxon franklin. I trust he will observe our orders,
and use our dear Richard's person with all due
respect.''

De Bracy only answered by a smile.

``By the light of Our Lady's brow,'' said Prince
John, ``our orders to him were most precise---
though it may be you heard them not, as we stood
together in the oriel window---Most clear and positive
was our charge that Richard's safety should
be cared for, and woe to Waldemar's head if he
transgress it!''

``I had better pass to his lodgings,'' said De
Bracy, ``and make him fully aware of your Grace's
pleasure; for, as it quite escaped my ear, it may
not perchance have reached that of Waldemar.''

``Nay, nay,'' said Prince John, impatiently, ``I
promise thee he heard me; and, besides, I have
farther occupation for thee. Maurice, come hither;
let me lean on thy shoulder.''

They walked a turn through the hall in this familiar
posture, and Prince John, with an air of
the most confidential intimacy, proceeded to say,
``What thinkest thou of this Waldemar Fitzurse,
my De Bracy?---He trusts to be our Chancellor.
Surely we will pause ere we give an office so high
to one who shows evidently how little he reverences
our blood, by his so readily undertaking this enterprise
against Richard. Thou dost think, I warrant,
that thou hast lost somewhat of our regard, by thy
boldly declining this unpleasing task---But no,
Maurice! I rather honour thee for thy virtuous
constancy. There are things most necessary to be
done, the perpetrator of which we neither love nor
honour; and there may be refusals to serve us,
which shall rather exalt in our estimation those
who deny our request. The arrest of my unfortunate
brother forms no such good title to the high
office of Chancellor, as thy chivalrous and courageous
denial establishes in thee to the truncheon of
High Marshal. Think of this, De Bracy, and begone
to thy charge.''

``Fickle tyrant!'' muttered De Bracy, as he left
the presence of the Prince; ``evil luck have they
who trust thee. Thy Chancellor, indeed!---He
who hath the keeping of thy conscience shall have
an easy charge, I trow. But High Marshal of
England! that,'' he said, extending his arm, as if
to grasp the baton of office, and assuming a loftier
stride along the antechamber, ``that is indeed a
prize worth playing for!''

De Bracy had no sooner left the apartment than
Prince John summoned an attendant.

``Bid Hugh Bardon, our scout-master, come
hither, as soon as he shall have spoken with Waldemar
Fitzurse.''

The scout-master arrived after a brief delay,
during which John traversed the apartment with,
unequal and disordered steps.

``Bardon,'' said he, ``what did Waldemar desire
of thee?''

``Two resolute men, well acquainted with these
northern wilds, and skilful in tracking the tread of
man and horse.''

``And thou hast fitted him?''

``Let your grace never trust me else,'' answered
the master of the spies. ``One is from Hexamshire;
he is wont to trace the Tynedale and Teviotdale
thieves, as a bloodhound follows the slot of a
hurt deer. The other is Yorkshire bred, and has
twanged his bowstring right oft in merry Sherwood;
he knows each glade and dingle, copse and
high-wood, betwixt this and Richmond.''

``'Tis well,'' said the Prince.---``Goes Waldemar
forth with them?''

``Instantly,'' said Bardon.

``With what attendance?'' asked John, carelessly.

``Broad Thoresby goes with him, and Wetheral,
whom they call, for his cruelty, Stephen Steel-heart;
and three northern men-at-arms that belonged to
Ralph Middleton's gang---they are called the Spears
of Spyinghow.''

``'Tis well,'' said Prince John; then added, after
a moment's pause, ``Bardon, it imports our service
that thou keep a strict watch on Maurice De Bracy
---so that he shall not observe it, however---And
let us know of his motions from time to time---
with whom he converses, what he proposeth. Fail
not in this, as thou wilt be answerable.''

Hugh Bardon bowed, and retired.

``If Maurice betrays me,'' said Prince John---
``if he betrays me, as his bearing leads me to fear,
I will have his head, were Richard thundering at
the gates of York.''




CHAPTER XXXV


Arouse the tiger of Hyrcanian deserts,
Strive with the half-starved lion for his prey;
Lesser the risk, than rouse the slumbering fire
Of wild Fanaticism.
_Anonymus_.


Our tale now returns to Isaac of York.---Mounted
upon a mule, the gift of the Outlaw, with two
tall yeomen to act as his guard and guides, the Jew
had set out for the Preceptory of Templestowe, for
the purpose of negotiating his daughter's redemption.
The Preceptory was but a day's journey from
the demolished castle of Torquilstone, and the Jew
had hoped to reach it before nightfall; accordingly,
having dismissed his guides at the verge of the forest,
and rewarded them with a piece of silver, he
began to press on with such speed as his weariness
permitted him to exert. But his strength failed
him totally ere he had reached within four miles
of the Temple-Court; racking pains shot along his
back and through his limbs, and the excessive anguish
which he felt at heart being now augmented
by bodily suffering, he was rendered altogether incapable
of proceeding farther than a small market-town,
were dwelt a Jewish Rabbi of his tribe,
eminent in the medical profession, and to whom
Isaac was well known. Nathan Ben Israel received
his suffering countryman with that kindness which
the law prescribed, and which the Jews practised
to each other. He insisted on his betaking himself
to repose, and used such remedies as were then in
most repute to check the progress of the fever,
which terror, fatigue, ill usage, and sorrow, had
brought upon the poor old Jew.

On the morrow, when Isaac proposed to arise and
pursue his journey, Nathan remonstrated against
his purpose, both as his host and as his physician.
It might cost him, he said, his life. But Isaac replied,
that more than life and death depended upon
his going that morning to Templestowe.

``To Templestowe!'' said his host with surprise
again felt his pulse, and then muttered to himself,
``His fever is abated, yet seems his mind somewhat
alienated and disturbed.''

``And why not to Templestowe?'' answered his
patient. ``I grant thee, Nathan, that it is a dwelling
of those to whom the despised Children of the
Promise are a stumbling-block and an abomination;
yet thou knowest that pressing affairs of traffic
sometimes carry us among these bloodthirsty Nazarene
soldiers, and that we visit the Preceptories
of the Templars, as well as the Commanderies of
the Knights Hospitallers, as they are called.'' *

* The establishments of the Knight Templars were called
* Preceptories, and the title of those who presided in the Order
* was Preceptor; as the principal Knights of Saint John were
* termed Commanders, and their houses Commanderies. But
* these terms were sometimes, it would seem, used indiscriminately.


``I know it well,'' said Nathan; ``but wottest
thou that Lucas de Beaumanoir, the chief of their
Order, and whom they term Grand Master, is now
himself at Templestowe?''

``I know it not,'' said Isaac; ``our last letters
from our brethren at Paris advised us that he was
at that city, beseeching Philip for aid against the
Sultan Saladine.''

``He hath since come to England, unexpected
by his brethren,'' said Ben Israel; ``and he cometh
among them with a strong and outstretched arm to
correct and to punish. His countenance is kindled
in anger against those who have departed from the
vow which they have made, and great is the fear
of those sons of Belial. Thou must have heard of
his name?''

``It is well known unto me,'' said Isaac; ``the
Gentiles deliver this Lucas Beaumanoir as a man
zealous to slaying for every point of the Nazarene
law; and our brethren have termed him a fierce
destroyer of the Saracens, and a cruel tyrant to the
Children of the Promise.''

``And truly have they termed him,'' said Nathan
the physician. ``Other Templars may be
moved from the purpose of their heart by pleasure,
or bribed by promise of gold and silver; but Beaumanoir
is of a different stamp---hating sensuality,
despising treasure, and pressing forward to that
which they call the crown of martyrdom---The
God of Jacob speedily send it unto him, and unto
them all! Specially hath this proud man extended
his glove over the children of Judah, as holy David
over Edom, holding the murder of a Jew to be all
offering of as sweet savour as the death of a Saracen.
Impious and false things has he said even of
the virtues of our medicines, as if they were the
devices of Satan---The Lord rebuke him!''

``Nevertheless,'' said Isaac, ``I must present
myself at Templestowe, though he hath made his
face like unto a fiery furnace seven times heated.''

He then explained to Nathan the pressing cause
of his journey. The Rabbi listened with interest,
and testified his sympathy after the fashion of his
people, rending his clothes, and saying, ``Ah, my
daughter!---ah, my daughter!---Alas! for the beauty
of Zion!---Alas! for the captivity of Israel!''

``Thou seest,'' said Isaac, ``how it stands with
me, and that I may not tarry. Peradventure, the
presence of this Lucas Beaumanoir, being the chief
man over them, may turn Brian de Bois-Guilbert
from the ill which he doth meditate, and that he
may deliver to me my beloved daughter Rebecca.''

``Go thou,'' said Nathan Ben Israel, ``and be
wise, for wisdom availed Daniel in the den of lions
into which he was cast; and may it go well with
thee, even as thine heart wisheth. Yet, if thou canst,
keep thee from the presence of the Grand Master,
for to do foul scorn to our people is his morning
and evening delight. It may be if thou couldst
speak with Bois-Guilbert in private, thou shalt the
better prevail with him; for men say that these
accursed Nazarenes are not of one mind in the Preceptory---
May their counsels be confounded and
brought to shame! But do thou, brother, return
to me as if it were to the house of thy father, and
bring me word how it has sped with thee; and well
do I hope thou wilt bring with thee Rebecca, even
the scholar of the wise Miriam, whose cures the
Gentiles slandered as if they had been wrought by
necromancy.''

Isaac accordingly bade his friend farewell, and
about an hour's riding brought him before the Preceptory
of Templestowe.

This establishment of the Templars was seated
amidst fair meadows and pastures, which the devotion
of the former Preceptor had bestowed upon
their Order. It was strong and well fortified, a
point never neglected by these knights, and which
the disordered state of England rendered peculiarly
necessary. Two halberdiers, clad in black, guarded
the drawbridge, and others, in the same sad livery,
glided to and fro upon the walls with a funereal
pace, resembling spectres more than soldiers. The
inferior officers of the Order were thus dressed, ever
since their use of white garments, similar to those
of the knights and esquires, had given rise to a
combination of certain false brethren in the mountains
of Palestine, terming themselves Templars,
and bringing great dishonour on the Order. A
knight was now and then seen to cross the court in
his long white cloak, his head depressed on his
breast, and his arms folded. They passed each
other, if they chanced to meet, with a slow, solemn,
and mute greeting; for such was the rule of their
Order, quoting thereupon the holy texts, ``In many
words thou shalt not avoid sin,'' and ``Life and
death are in the power of the tongue.'' In a word,
the stern ascetic rigour of the Temple discipline,
which had been so long exchanged for prodigal and
licentious indulgence, seemed at once to have revived
at Templestowe under the severe eye of Lucas
Beaumanoir.

Isaac paused at the gate, to consider how he
might seek entrance in the manner most likely to
bespeak favour; for he was well aware, that to his
unhappy race the reviving fanaticism of the Order
was not less dangerous than their unprincipled licentiousness;
and that his religion would be the
object of hate and persecution in the one case, as
his wealth would have exposed him in the other to
the extortions of unrelenting oppression.

Meantime Lucas Beaumanoir walked in a small
garden belonging to the Preceptory, included within
the precincts of its exterior fortification, and held
sad and confidential communication with a brother
of his Order, who had come in his company from
Palestine.

The Grand Master was a man advanced in age,
as was testified by his long grey beard, and the
shaggy grey eyebrows overhanging eyes, of which,
however, years had been unable to quench the fire.
A formidable warrior, his thin and severe features
retained the soldier's fierceness of expression; an
ascetic bigot, they were no less marked by the emaciation
of abstinence, and the spiritual pride of the
self-satisfied devotee. Yet with these severer traits
of physiognomy, there was mixed somewhat striking
and noble, arising, doubtless, from the great
part which his high office called upon him to act
among monarchs and princes, and from the habitual
exercise of supreme authority over the valiant and
high-born knights, who were united by the rules of
the Order. His stature was tall, and his gait, undepressed
by age and toil, was erect and stately.
His white mantle was shaped with severe regularity,
according to the rule of Saint Bernard himself,
being composed of what was then called Burrel
cloth, exactly fitted to the size of the wearer, and
bearing on the left shoulder the octangular cross
peculiar to the Order, formed of red cloth. No vair
or ermine decked this garment; but in respect of
his age, the Grand Master, as permitted by the
rules, wore his doublet lined and trimmed with the
softest lambskin, dressed with the wool outwards,
which was the nearest approach he could regularly
make to the use of fur, then the greatest luxury of
dress. In his hand he bore that singular _abacus_,
or staff of office, with which Templars are usually
represented, having at the upper end a round plate,
on which was engraved the cross of the Order, inscribed
within a circle or orle, as heralds term it.
His companion, who attended on this great personage,
had nearly the same dress in all respects, but
his extreme deference towards his Superior showed
that no other equality subsisted between them. The
Preceptor, for such he was in rank, walked not in
a line with the Grand Master, but just so far behind
that Beaumanoir could speak to him without
turning round his head.

``Conrade,'' said the Grand Master, ``dear companion
of my battles and my toils, to thy faithful
bosom alone I can confide my sorrows. To thee
alone can I tell how oft, since I came to this kingdom,
I have desired to be dissolved and to be with
the just. Not one object in England hath met mine
eye which it could rest upon with pleasure, save
the tombs of our brethren, beneath the massive roof
of our Temple Church in yonder proud capital. O,
valiant Robert de Ros! did I exclaim internally,
as I gazed upon these good soldiers of the cross,
where they lie sculptured on their sepulchres,---O,
worthy William de Mareschal! open your marble
cells, and take to your repose a weary brother, who
would rather strive with a hundred thousand pagans
than witness the decay of our Holy Order!''

``It is but true,'' answered Conrade Mont-Fitchet;
``it is but too true; and the irregularities of
our brethren in England are even more gross than
those in France.''

``Because they are more wealthy,'' answered the
Grand Master. ``Bear with me, brother, although
I should something vaunt myself. Thou knowest
the life I have led, keeping each point of my Order,
striving with devils embodied and disembodied,
striking down the roaring lion, who goeth about
seeking whom be may devour, like a good knight
and devout priest, wheresoever I met with him---
even as blessed Saint Bernard hath prescribed to us
in the forty-fifth capital of our rule, _Ut Leo semper
feriatur_.* But by the Holy Temple! the zeal

* In the ordinances of the Knights of the Temple, this phrase
* is repeated in a variety of forms, and occurs in almost every
* chapter, as if it were the signal-word of the Order; which may
* account for its being so frequently put in the Grand Master's
* month.

which hath devoured my substance and my life, yea,
the very nerves and marrow of my bones; by that
very Holy Temple I swear to thee, that save thyself
and some few that still retain the ancient severity
of our Order, I look upon no brethren whom
I can bring my soul to embrace under that holy
name. What say our statutes, and how do our brethren
observe them? They should wear no vain or
worldly ornament, no crest upon their helmet, no
gold upon stirrup or bridle-bit; yet who now go
pranked out so proudly and so gaily as the poor
soldiers of the Temple? They are forbidden by
our statutes to take one bird by means of another,
to shoot beasts with bow or arblast, to halloo to a
hunting-horn, or to spur the horse after game. But
now, at hunting and hawking, and each idle sport
of wood and river, who so prompt as the Templars
in all these fond vanities? They are forbidden to
read, save what their Superior permitted, or listen
to what is read, save such holy things as may be
recited aloud during the hours of refaction; but lo!
their ears are at the command of idle minstrels, and
their eyes study empty romaunts. They were commanded
to extirpate magic and heresy. Lo! they
are charged with studying the accursed cabalistical
secrets of the Jews, and the magic of the Paynim
Saracens. Simpleness of diet was prescribed to
them, roots, pottage, gruels, eating flesh but thrice
a-week, because the accustomed feeding on flesh is
a dishonourable corruption of the body; and behold,
their tables groan under delicate fare! Their
drink was to be water, and now, to drink like a
Templar, is the boast of each jolly boon companion!
This very garden, filled as it is with curious herbs
and trees sent from the Eastern climes, better becomes
the harem of an unbelieving Emir, than the
plot which Christian Monks should devote to raise
their homely pot-herbs.---And O, Conrade! well it
were that the relaxation of discipline stopped even
here!---Well thou knowest that we were forbidden
to receive those devout women, who at the beginning
were associated as sisters of our Order, because,
saith the forty-sixth chapter, the Ancient
Enemy hath, by female society, withdrawn many
from the right path to paradise. Nay, in the last
capital, being, as it were, the cope-stone which our
blessed founder placed on the pure and undefiled
doctrine which he had enjoined, we are prohibited
from offering, even to our sisters and our mothers,
the kiss of affection--_-ut omnium mulierum fugiantur
oscula_.---I shame to speak---I shame to think---
of the corruptions which have rushed in upon us
even like a flood. The souls of our pure founders,
the spirits of Hugh de Payen and Godfrey de Saint
Omer, and of the blessed Seven who first joined in
dedicating their lives to the service of the Temple,
are disturbed even in the enjoyment of paradise
itself. I have seen them, Conrade, in the visions
of the night---their sainted eyes shed tears for the
sins and follies of their brethren, and for the foul
and shameful luxury in which they wallow. Beaumanoir,
they say, thou slumberest---awake! There
is a stain in the fabric of the Temple, deep and foul
as that left by the streaks of leprosy on the walls
of the infected houses of old.* The soldiers of the

* See the 13th chapter of Leviticus.

Cross, who should shun the glance of a woman as
the eye of a basilisk, live in open sin, not with the
females of their own race only, but with the daughters
of the accursed heathen, and more accursed
Jew. Beaumanoir, thou sleepest; up, and avenge
our cause!---Slay the sinners, male and female!---
Take to thee the brand of Phineas!---The vision
fled, Conrade, but as I awaked I could still hear
the clank of their mail, and see the waving of their
white mantles.---And I will do according to their
word, I =will= purify the fabric of the Temple! and
the unclean stones in which the plague is, I will
remove and cast out of the building.''

``Yet bethink thee, reverend father,'' said Mont-Fitchet,
``the stain hath become engrained by time
and consuetude; let thy reformation be cautious,
as it is just and wise.''

``No, Mont-Fitchet,'' answered the stern old
man---``it must be sharp and sudden---the Order is
on the crisis of its fate. The sobriety, self-devotion,
and piety of our predecessors, made us powerful
friends---our presumption, our wealth, our luxury,
have raised up against us mighty enemies.---We
must cast away these riches, which are a temptation
to princes---we must lay down that presumption,
which is an offence to them---we must reform that
license of manners, which is a scandal to the whole
Christian world! Or---mark my words---the Order
of the Temple will be utterly demolished---and the
Place thereof shall no more be known among the
nations.''
``Now may God avert such a calamity!'' said the
Preceptor.

``Amen,'' said the Grand Master, with solemnity,
``but we must deserve his aid. I tell thee,
Conrade, that neither the powers in Heaven, nor
the powers on earth, will longer endure the wickedness
of this generation---My intelligence is sure
---the ground on which our fabric is reared is already
undermined, and each addition we make to
the structure of our greatness will only sink it the
sooner in the abyss. We must retrace our steps,
and show ourselves the faithful Champions of the
Cross, sacrificing to our calling, not alone our blood
and our lives---not alone our lusts and our vices---
but our ease, our comforts, and our natural affections,
and act as men convinced that many a pleasure
which may be lawful to others, is forbidden to
the vowed soldier of the Temple.''

At this moment a squire, clothed in a threadbare
vestment, (for the aspirants after this holy Order
wore during their noviciate the cast-off garments of
the knights,) entered the garden, and, bowing profoundly
before the Grand Master, stood silent,
awaiting his permission ere he presumed to tell his
errand.

``Is it not more seemly,'' said the Grand Master,
``to see this Damian, clothed in the garments of
Christian humility, thus appear with reverend silence
before his Superior, than but two days since,
when the fond fool was decked in a painted coat,
and jangling as pert and as proud as any popinjay?
---Speak, Damian, we permit thee---What is thine
errand?''

``A Jew stands without the gate, noble and reverend
father,'' said the Squire, ``who prays to
speak with brother Brian de Bois-Guilbert.''

``Thou wert right to give me knowledge of it,''
said the Grand Master; ``in our presence a Preceptor
is but as a common compeer of our Order,
who may not walk according to his own will, but
to that of his Master---even according to the text,
`In the hearing of the ear he hath obeyed me.'---
It imports us especially to know of this Bois-Guilbert's
proceedings,'' said he, turning to his companion.

``Report speaks him brave and valiant,'' said
Conrade.

``And truly is he so spoken of,'' said the Grand
Master; ``in our valour only we are not degenerated
from our predecessors, the heroes of the Cross.
But brother Brian came into our Order a moody
and disappointed man, stirred, I doubt me, to take
our vows and to renounce the world, not in sincerity
of soul, but as one whom some touch of light
discontent had driven into penitence. Since then,
he hath become an active and earnest agitator, a
murmurer, and a machinator, and a leader amongst
those who impugn our authority; not considering
that the rule is given to the Master even by the
symbol of the staff and the rod---the staff to support
the infirmities of the weak---the rod to correct
the faults of delinquents.---Damian,'' he continued,
``lead the Jew to our presence.''

The squire departed with a profound reverence,
and in a few minutes returned, marshalling in Isaac
of York. No naked slave, ushered into the presence
of some mighty prince, could approach his
judgment-seat with more profound reverence and
terror than that with which the Jew drew near to
the presence of the Grand Master. When he had
approached within the distance of three yards, Beaumanoir
made a sign with his staff that he should
come no farther. The Jew kneeled down on the
earth which he kissed in token of reverence; then
rising, stood before the Templars, his hands folded
on his bosom, his head bowed on his breast, in all
the submission of Oriental slavery.

``Damian,'' said the Grand Master, ``retire, and
have a guard ready to await our sudden call; and
suffer no one to enter the garden until we shall leave
it.''---The squire bowed and retreated.---``Jew,''
continued the haughty old man, ``mark me. It
suits not our condition to hold with thee long communication,
nor do we waste words or time upon
any one. Wherefore be brief in thy answers to
what questions I shall ask thee, and let thy words
be of truth; for if thy tongue doubles with me, I
will have it torn from thy misbelieving jaws.''

The Jew was about to reply, but the Grand
Master went on.

``Peace, unbeliever!---not a word in our presence,
save in answer to our questions.---What is
thy business with our brother Brian de Bois-Guilbert?''

Isaac gasped with terror and uncertainty. To tell
his tale might be interpreted into scandalizing the
Order; yet, unless he told it, what hope could he
have of achieving his daughter's deliverance? Beaumanoir
saw his mortal apprehension, and condescended
to give him some assurance.

``Fear nothing,'' he said, ``for thy wretched person,
Jew, so thou dealest uprightly in this matter.
I demand again to know from thee thy business
with Brian de Bois-Guilbert?''

``I am bearer of a letter,'' stammered out the Jew,
``so please your reverend valour, to that good
knight, from Prior Aymer of the Abbey of Jorvaulx.''

``Said I not these were evil times, Conrade?''
said the Master. ``A Cistertian Prior sends a letter
to a soldier of the Temple, and can find no more
fitting messenger than an unbelieving Jew.---Give
me the letter.''

The Jew, with trembling hands, undid the folds
of his Armenian cap, in which he had deposited
the Prior's tablets for the greater security, and was
about to approach, with hand extended and body
crouched, to place it within the reach of his grim
interrogator.

``Back, dog!'' said the Grand Master; ``I touch
not misbelievers, save with the sword.---Conrade,
take thou the letter from the Jew, and give it to
me.''

Beaumanoir, being thus possessed of the tablets,
inspected the outside carefully, and then proceeded
to undo the packthread which secured its folds.
``Reverend father,'' said Conrade, interposing,
though with much deference, ``wilt thou break the
seal?''

``And will I not?'' said Beaumanoir, with a
frown. ``Is it not written in the forty-second capital,
_De Lectione Literarum_, that a Templar shall
not receive a letter, no not from his father, without
communicating the same to the Grand Master, and
reading it in his presence?''

He then perused the letter in haste, with an expression
of surprise and horror; read it over again
more slowly; then holding it out to Conrade with
one hand, and slightly striking it with the other,
exclaimed---``Here is goodly stuff for one Christian
man to write to another, and both members,
and no inconsiderable members, of religious professions!
When,'' said he solemnly, and looking upward,
``wilt thou come with thy fanners to purge
the thrashing-floor?''

Mont-Fitchet took the letter from his Superior,
and was about to peruse it. ``Read it aloud, Conrade,''
said the Grand Master,---``and do thou'' (to
Isaac) ``attend to the purport of it, for we will question
thee concerning it.''

Conrade read the letter, which was in these
words: ``Aymer, by divine grace, Prior of the
Cistertian house of Saint Mary's of Jorvaulx, to
Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert, a Knight of the holy
Order of the Temple, wisheth health, with the
bounties of King Bacchus and of my Lady Venus.
Touching our present condition, dear Brother, we
are a captive in the hands of certain lawless and
godless men, who have not feared to detain our
person, and put us to ransom; whereby we have
also learned of Front-de-B<oe>uf's misfortune, and
that thou hast escaped with that fair Jewish sorceress,
whose black eyes have bewitched thee. We
are heartily rejoiced of thy safety; nevertheless, we
pray thee to be on thy guard in the matter of this
second Witch of Endor; for we are privately assured
that your Great Master, who careth not a
bean for cherry cheeks and black eyes, comes from
Normandy to diminish your mirth, and amend your
misdoings. Wherefore we pray you heartily to
beware, and to be found watching, even as the
Holy Text hath it, _Invenientur vigilantes_. And the
wealthy Jew her father, Isaac of York, having prayed
of me letters in his behalf, I gave him these,
earnestly advising, and in a sort entreating, that
you do hold the damsel to ransom, seeing he will
pay you from his bags as much as may find fifty
damsels upon safer terms, whereof I trust to have
my part when we make merry together, as true
brothers, not forgetting the wine-cup. For what
saith the text, _Vinum l<ae>tificat cor hominis_; and
again, _Rex delectabitur pulchritudine tua_.

``Till which merry meeting, we wish you farewell.
Given from this den of thieves, about the
hour of matins,

``Aymer Pr. S. M. Jorvolciencis.


``_Postscriptum_. Truly your golden chain hath not
long abidden with me, and will now sustain, around
the neck of an outlaw deer-stealer, the whistle
wherewith he calleth on his hounds.''

``What sayest thou to this, Conrade?'' said the
Grand Master---``Den of thieves! and a fit residence
is a den of thieves for such a Prior. No wonder
that the hand of God is upon us, and that in
the Holy Land we lose place by place, foot by foot,
before the infidels, when we have such churchmen
as this Aymer.---And what meaneth he, I trow,
by this second Witch of Endor?'' said he to his
confident, something apart.
Conrade was better acquainted (perhaps by practice)
with the jargon of gallantry, than was his Superior;
and he expounded the passage which embarrassed
the Grand Master, to be a sort of language
used by worldly men towards those whom
they loved _par amours_; but the explanation did
not satisfy the bigoted Beaumanoir.

``There is more in it than thou dost guess,
Conrade; thy simplicity is no match for this deep
abyss of wickedness. This Rebecca of York was
a pupil of that Miriam of whom thou hast heard.
Thou shalt hear the Jew own it even now.'' Then
turning to Isaac, he said aloud, ``Thy daughter,
then, is prisoner with Brian de Bois-Guilbert?''

``Ay, reverend valorous sir,'' stammered poor
Isaac, ``and whatsoever ransom a poor man may
pay for her deliverance------''

``Peace!'' said the Grand Master. ``This thy
daughter hath practised the art of healing, hath she
not?''

``Ay, gracious sir,'' answered the Jew, with more
confidence; ``and knight and yeoman, squire and
vassal, may bless the goodly gift which Heaven
hath assigned to her. Many a one can testify that
she hath recovered them by her art, when every
other human aid hath proved vain; but the blessing
of the God of Jacob was upon her.''

Beaumanoir turned to Mont-Fitchet with a grim
smile. ``See, brother,'' he said, ``the deceptions
of the devouring Enemy! Behold the baits with
which he fishes for souls, giving a poor space of
earthly life in exchange for eternal happiness hereafter.
Well said our blessed rule, __Semper percutiatur leo vorans_.
---Up on the lion! Down with the
destroyer!'' said he, shaking aloft his mystic abacus,
as if in defiance of the powers of darkness---
``Thy daughter worketh the cures, I doubt not,''
thus he went on to address the Jew, ``by words
and sighs, and periapts, and other cabalistical mysteries.''

``Nay, reverend and brave Knight,'' answered
Isaac, ``but in chief measure by a balsam of marvellous
virtue.''

``Where had she that secret?'' said Beaumanoir.

``It was delivered to her,'' answered Isaac, reluctantly,
``by Miriam, a sage matron of our tribe.''

``Ah, false Jew!'' said the Grand Master; ``was
it not from that same witch Miriam, the abomination
of whose enchantments have been heard of
throughout every Christian land?'' exclaimed the
Grand Master, crossing himself. ``Her body was
burnt at a stake, and her ashes were scattered to
the four winds; and so be it with me and mine
Order, if I do not as much to her pupil, and more
also! I will teach her to throw spell and incantation
over the soldiers of the blessed Temple.---
There, Damian, spurn this Jew from the gate---
shoot him dead if he oppose or turn again. With
his daughter we will deal as the Christian law and
our own high office warrant.''

Poor Isaac was hurried off accordingly, and expelled
from the preceptory; all his entreaties, and
even his offers, unheard and disregarded. He could
do not better than return to the house of the Rabbi,
and endeavour, through his means, to learn how his
daughter was to be disposed of. He had hitherto
feared for her honour, he was now to tremble for
her life. Meanwhile, the Grand Master ordered
to his presence the Preceptor of Templestowe.




CHAPTER XXXVI


Say not my art is fraud---all live by seeming.
The beggar begs with it, and the gay courtier
Gains land and title, rank and rule, by seeming;
The clergy scorn it not, and the bold soldier
Will eke with it his service.---All admit it,
All practise it; and he who is content
With showing what he is, shall have small credit
In church, or camp, or state---So wags the world.
_Old Play_.

Albert Malvoisin, President, or, in the language
of the Order, Preceptor of the establishment
of Templestowe, was brother to that Philip Malvoisin
who has been already occasionally mentioned
in this history, and was, like that baron, in close
league with Brian de Bois-Guilbert.

Amongst dissolute and unprincipled men, of
whom the Temple Order included but too many,
Albert of Templestowe might be distinguished;
but with this difference from the audacious Bois-Guilbert,
that he knew how to throw over his vices
and his ambition the veil of hypocrisy, and to assume
in his exterior the fanaticism which be internally
despised. Had not the arrival of the Grand
Master been so unexpectedly sudden, he would
have seen nothing at Templestowe which might
have appeared to argue any relaxation of discipline.
And, even although surprised, and, to a certain extent,
detected, Albert Malvoisin listened with such
respect and apparent contrition to the rebuke of
his Superior, and made such haste to reform the
particulars he censured,---succeeded, in fine, so well
in giving an air of ascetic devotion to a family
which had been lately devoted to license and pleasure,
that Lucas Beaumanoir began to entertain a
higher opinion of the Preceptor's morals, than the
first appearance of the establishment had inclined
him to adopt.

But these favourable sentiments on the part of
the Grand Master were greatly shaken by the intelligence
that Albert had received within a house
of religion the Jewish captive, and, as was to be
feared, the paramour of a brother of the Order;
and when Albert appeared before him, be was regarded
with unwonted sternness.

``There is in this mansion, dedicated to the purposes
of the holy Order of the Temple,'' said the
Grand Master, in a severe tone, ``a Jewish woman,
brought hither by a brother of religion, by your
connivance, Sir Preceptor.''

Albert Malvoisin was overwhelmed with confusion;
for the unfortunate Rebecca had been confined
in a remote and secret part of the building,
and every precaution used to prevent her residence
there from being known. He read in the looks of
Beaumanoir ruin to Bois-Guilbert and to himself,
unless he should be able to avert the impending
storm.

``Why are you mute?'' continued the Grand
Master.

``Is it permitted to me to reply?'' answered the
Preceptor, in a tone of the deepest humility, although
by the question he only meant to gain an instant's
space for arranging his ideas.

``Speak, you are permitted,'' said the Grand
Master---``speak, and say, knowest thou the capital
of our holy rule,---_De commilitonibus Templi in
sancta civitate, qui cun miserrimis mulieribus versantur,
propter oblectationem carnis?''*

* The edict which he quotes, is against communion with
* women of light character.

``Surely, most reverend father,'' answered the
Preceptor, ``I have not risen to this office in the
Order, being ignorant of one of its most important
prohibitions.''

``How comes it, then, I demand of thee once
more, that thou hast suffered a brother to bring
a paramour, and that paramour a Jewish sorceress,
into this holy place, to the stain and pollution
thereof?''

``A Jewish sorceress!'' echoed Albert Malvoisin;
``good angels guard us!''

``Ay, brother, a Jewish sorceress!'' said the
Grand Master, sternly. ``I have said it. Darest
thou deny that this Rebecca, the daughter of that
wretched usurer Isaac of York, and the pupil of
the foul witch Miriam, is now---shame to be thought
or spoken!---lodged within this thy Preceptory?''

``Your wisdom, reverend father,'' answered the
Preceptor, ``hath rolled away the darkness from
my understanding. Much did I wonder that so
good a knight as Brian de Bois-Guilbert seemed so
fondly besotted on the charms of this female, whom
I received into this house merely to place a bar
betwixt their growing intimacy, which else might
have been cemented at the expense of the fall of
our valiant and religious brother.''

``Hath nothing, then, as yet passed betwixt
them in breach of his vow?'' demanded the Grand
Master.

``What! under this roof?'' said the Preceptor,
crossing himself; ``Saint Magdalene and the ten
thousand virgins forbid!---No! if I have sinned in
receiving her here, it was in the erring thought that
I might thus break off our brother's besotted devotion
to this Jewess, which seemed to me so wild
and unnatural, that I could not but ascribe it to
some touch of insanity, more to be cured by pity
than reproof. But since your reverend wisdom
hath discovered this Jewish quean to be a sorceress,
perchance it may account fully for his enamoured
folly.''

``It doth!---it doth!'' said Beaumanoir. ``See,
brother Conrade, the peril of yielding to the first
devices and blandishments of Satan! We look
upon woman only to gratify the lust of the eye,
and to take pleasure in what men call her beauty;
and the Ancient Enemy, the devouring Lion, obtains
power over us, to complete, by talisman and spell,
a work which was begun by idleness and folly. It
may be that our brother Bois-Guilbert does in this
matter deserve rather pity than severe chastisement;
rather the support of the staff, than the
strokes of the rod; and that our admonitions and
prayers may turn him from his folly, and restore
him to his brethren.''

``It were deep pity,'' said Conrade Mont-Fitchet,
to lose to the Order one of its best lances, when
the Holy Community most requires the aid of its
sons. Three hundred Saracens hath this Brian de
Bois-Guilbert slain with his own hand.''

``The blood of these accursed dogs,'' said the
Grand Master, ``shall be a sweet and acceptable
offering to the saints and angels whom they despise
and blaspheme; and with their aid will we
counteract the spells and charms with which our
brother is entwined as in a net. He shall burst the
bands of this Delilah, as Sampson burst the two
new cords with which the Philistines had bound
him, and shall slaughter the infidels, even heaps
upon heaps. But concerning this foul witch, who
hath flung her enchantments over a brother of the
Holy Temple, assuredly she shall die the death.''

``But the laws of England,''---said the Preceptor,
who, though delighted that the Grand Master's
resentment, thus fortunately averted from himself
and Bois-Guilbert, had taken another direction, began
now to fear he was carrying it too far.

``The laws of England,'' interrupted Beaumanoir,
``permit and enjoin each judge to execute justice
within his own jurisdiction. The most petty baron
may arrest, try, and condemn a witch found within
his own domain. And shall that power be denied
to the Grand Master of the Temple within a preceptory
of his Order?---No!---we will judge and
condemn. The witch shall be taken out of the land,
and the wickedness thereof shall be forgiven. Prepare
the Castle-hall for the trial of the sorceress.''

Albert Malvoisin bowed and retired,---not to
give directions for preparing the hall, but to seek
out Brian de Bois-Guilbert, and communicate to
him how matters were likely to terminate. It was
not long ere he found him, foaming with indignation
at a repulse he had anew sustained from the
fair Jewess. ``The unthinking,'' he said, ``the ungrateful,
to scorn him who, amidst blood and flames,
would have saved her life at the risk of his own!
By Heaven, Malvoisin! I abode until roof and
rafters crackled and crashed around me. I was the
butt of a hundred arrows; they rattled on mine
armour like hailstones against a latticed casement,
and the only use I made of my shield was for her
protection. This did I endure for her; and now
the self-willed girl upbraids me that I did not
leave her to perish, and refuses me not only the
slightest proof of gratitude, but even the most distant
hope that ever she will be brought to grant
any. The devil, that possessed her race with obstinacy,
has concentrated its full force in her single
person!''

``The devil,'' said the Preceptor, ``I think, possessed
you both. How oft have I preached to you
caution, if not continence? Did I not tell you that
there were enough willing Christian damsels to be
met with, who would think it sin to refuse so brave
a knight _le don d'amoureux merci_, and you must
needs anchor your affection on a wilful, obstinate
Jewess! By the mass, I think old Lucas Beaumanoir
guesses right, when he maintains she hath
cast a spell over you.''

``Lucas Beaumanoir!''---said Bois-Guilbert reproachfully
---``Are these your precautions, Malvoisin?
Hast thou suffered the dotard to learn that
Rebecca is in the Preceptory?''

``How could I help it?'' said the Preceptor. ``I
neglected nothing that could keep secret your mystery;
but it is betrayed, and whether by the devil
or no, the devil only can tell. But I have turned
the matter as I could; you are safe if you renounce
Rebecca. You are pitied---the victim of magical
delusion. She is a sorceress, and must suffer as
such.''

``She shall not, by Heaven!'' said Bois-Guilbert.

``By Heaven, she must and will!'' said Malvoisin.
``Neither you nor any one else can save her.
Lucas Beaumanoir hath settled that the death of a
Jewess will be a sin-offering sufficient to atone for
all the amorous indulgences of the Knights Templars;
and thou knowest he hath both the power
and will to execute so reasonable and pious a purpose.''

``Will future ages believe that such stupid bigotry
ever existed!'' said Bois-Guilbert, striding up
and down the apartment.

``What they may believe, I know not,'' said
Malvoisin, calmly; ``but I know well, that in this
our day, clergy and laymen, take ninety-nine to the
hundred, will cry _amen_ to the Grand Master's sentence.''

``I have it,'' said Bois-Guilbert. ``Albert, thou
art my friend. Thou must connive at her escape,
Malvoisin, and I will transport her to some place
of greater security and secrecy.''
``I cannot, if I would,'' replied the Preceptor;
``the mansion is filled with the attendants of the
Grand Master, and others who are devoted to him.
And, to be frank with you, brother, I would not
embark with you in this matter, even if I could
hope to bring my bark to haven. I have risked
enough already for your sake. I have no mind to
encounter a sentence of degradation, or even to lose
my Preceptory, for the sake of a painted piece of
Jewish flesh and blood. And you, if you will be
guided by my counsel, will give up this wild-goose
chase, and fly your hawk at some other game.
Think, Bois-Guilbert,---thy present rank, thy future
honours, all depend on thy place in the Order.
Shouldst thou adhere perversely to thy passion for
this Rebecca, thou wilt give Beaumanoir the power
of expelling thee, and he will not neglect it. He
is jealous of the truncheon which he holds in his
trembling gripe, and he knows thou stretchest thy
bold hand towards it. Doubt not he will ruin thee,
if thou affordest him a pretext so fair as thy protection
of a Jewish sorceress. Give him his scope
in this matter, for thou canst not control him.
When the staff is in thine own firm grasp, thou
mayest caress the daughters of Judah, or burn
them, as may best suit thine own humour.''

``Malvoisin,'' said Bois-Guilbert, ``thou art a
cold-blooded---''

``Friend,'' said the Preceptor, hastening to fill
up the blank, in which Bois-Guilbert would probably
have placed a worse word,---``a cold-blooded
friend I am, and therefore more fit to give thee advice.
I tell thee once more, that thou canst not
save Rebecca. I tell thee once more, thou canst but
perish with her. Go hie thee to the Grand Master
---throw thyself It his feet and tell him---''

``Not at his feet, by Heaven! but to the dotard's
very beard will I say---''

``Say to him, then, to his beard,'' continued Malvoisin,
coolly, ``that you love this captive Jewess
to distraction; and the more thou dost enlarge on
thy passion, the greater will be his haste to end it
by the death of the fair enchantress; while thou,
taken in flagrant delict by the avowal of a crime
contrary to thine oath, canst hope no aid of thy
brethren, and must exchange all thy brilliant visions
of ambition and power, to lift perhaps a mercenary
spear in some of the petty quarrels between
Flanders and Burgundy.''

``Thou speakest the truth, Malvoisin,'' said Brian
de Bois-Guilbert, after a moment's reflection. ``I
will give the hoary bigot no advantage over me;
and for Rebecca, she hath not merited at my hand
that I should expose rank and honour for her sake.
I will cast her off---yes, I will leave her to her fate,
unless---''

``Qualify not thy wise and necessary resolution,''
said Malvoisin; ``women are but the toys which
amuse our lighter hours---ambition is the serious
business of life. Perish a thousand such frail baubles
as this Jewess, before thy manly step pause in
the brilliant career that lies stretched before thee!
For the present we part, nor must we be seen to
hold close conversation---I must order the hall for
his judgment-seat.''

``What!'' said Bois-Guilbert, ``so soon?''

``Ay,'' replied the Preceptor, ``trial moves rapidly
on when the judge has determined the sentence
beforehand.''

``Rebecca,'' said Bois-Guilbert, when he was left
alone, ``thou art like to cost me dear---Why cannot
I abandon thee to thy fate, as this calm hypocrite
recommends?---One effort will I make to save
thee---but beware of ingratitude! for if I am again
repulsed, my vengeance shall equal my love. The
life and honour of Bois-Guilbert must not be hazarded,
where contempt and reproaches are his only
reward.''

The Preceptor had hardly given the necessary
orders, when he was joined by Conrade Mont-Fitchet,
who acquainted him with the Grand Master's
resolution to bring the Jewess to instant trial for
sorcery.

``It is surely a dream,'' said the Preceptor; ``we
have many Jewish physicians, and we call them not
wizards though they work wonderful cures.''

``The Grand Master thinks otherwise,'' said
Mont-Fitchet; ``and, Albert, I will be upright
with thee---wizard or not, it were better that this
miserable damsel die, than that Brian de Bois-Guilbert
should be lost to the Order, or the Order
divided by internal dissension. Thou knowest his
high rank, his fame in arms---thou knowest the
zeal with which many of our brethren regard him
---but all this will not avail him with our Grand
Master, should he consider Brian as the accomplice,
not the victim, of this Jewess. Were the souls of
the twelve tribes in her single body, it were better
she suffered alone, than that Bois-Guilbert were
partner in her destruction.''

``I have been working him even now to abandon
her,'' said Malvoisin; ``but still, are there grounds
enough to condemn this Rebecca for sorcery?---
Will not the Grand Master change his mind when
he sees that the proofs are so weak?''

``They must be strengthened, Albert,'' replied
Mont-Fitchet, ``they must be strengthened. Dost
thou understand me?''

``I do,'' said the Preceptor, ``nor do I scruple to
do aught for advancement of the Order---but there
is little time to find engines fitting.''


``Malvoisin, they _must_ be found,'' said Conrade;
``well will it advantage both the Order and thee.
This Templestowe is a poor Preceptory---that of
Maison-Dieu is worth double its value---thou
knowest my interest with our old Chief---find those
who can carry this matter through, and thou art
Preceptor of Maison-Dieu in the fertile Kent---
How sayst thou?''

``There is,'' replied Malvoisin, ``among those
who came hither with Bois-Guilbert, two fellows
whom I well know; servants they were to my
brother Philip de Malvoisin, and passed from his
service to that of Front-de-B<oe>uf---It may be they
know something of the witcheries of this woman.''

``Away, seek them out instantly---and hark thee,
if a byzant or two will sharpen their memory, let
them not be wanting.''

``They would swear the mother that bore them
a sorceress for a zecchin,'' said the Preceptor.

``Away, then,'' said Mont-Fitchet; ``at noon the
affair will proceed. I have not seen our senior in
such earnest preparation since he condemned to the
stake Hamet Alfagi, a convert who relapsed to the
Moslem faith.''

The ponderous castle-bell had tolled the point of
noon, when Rebecca heard a trampling of feet upon
the private stair which led to her place of confinement.
The noise announced the arrival of several
persons, and the circumstance rather gave her joy;
for she was more afraid of the solitary visits of the
fierce and passionate Bois-Guilbert than of any evil
that could befall her besides. The door of the
chamber was unlocked, and Conrade and the Preceptor
Malvoisin entered, attended by four warders
clothed in black, and bearing halberds.

``Daughter of an accursed race!'' said the Preceptor,
``arise and follow us.''

``Whither,'' said Rebecca, ``and for what purpose?''

``Damsel,'' answered Conrade, ``it is not for
thee to question, but to obey. Nevertheless, be it
known to thee, that thou art to be brought before
the tribunal of the Grand Master of our holy Order,
there to answer for thine offences.''

``May the God of Abraham be praised!'' said
Rebecca, folding her hands devoutly; ``the name
of a judge, though an enemy to my people, is to me
as the name of a protector. Most willingly do I
follow thee---permit me only to wrap my veil around
my head.''

They descended the stair with slow and solemn
step, traversed a long gallery, and, by a pair of
folding doors placed at the end, entered the great
hall in which the Grand Master had for the time
established his court of justice.

The lower part of this ample apartment was
filled with squires and yeomen, who made way not
without some difficulty for Rebecca, attended by
the Preceptor and Mont-Fitchet, and followed by
the guard of halberdiers, to move forward to the
seat appointed for her. As she passed through the
crowd, her arms folded and her head depressed, a
scrap of paper was thrust into her hand, which she
received almost unconsciously, and continued to
hold without examining its contents. The assurance
that she possessed some friend in this awful
assembly gave her courage to look around, and to
mark into whose presence she had been conducted.
She gazed, accordingly, upon the scene, which we
shall endeavour to describe in the next chapter.




CHAPTER XXXVII


Stern was the law which bade its vot'ries leave
At human woes with human hearts to grieve;
Stern was the law, which at the winning wile
Of frank and harmless mirth forbade to smile;
But sterner still, when high the iron-rod
Of tyrant power she shook, and call'd that power of God.
_The Middle Ages._

The Tribunal, erected for the trial of the innocent
and unhappy Rebecca, occupied the dais or elevated part
of the upper end of the great hall---a platform,
which we have already described as the place of honour,
destined to be occupied by the most distinguished inhabitants
or guests of an ancient mansion.

On an elevated seat, directly before the accused,
sat the Grand Master of the Temple, in full and
ample robes of flowing white, holding in his hand
the mystic staff, which bore the symbol of the Order.
At his feet was placed a table, occupied by
two scribes, chaplains of the Order, whose duty it
was to reduce to formal record the proceedings of
the day. The black dresses, bare scalps, and demure
looks of these church-men, formed a strong contrast
to the warlike appearance of the knights who attended,
either as residing in the Preceptory, or as
come thither to attend upon their Grand Master.
The Preceptors, of whom there were four present,
occupied seats lower in height, and somewhat drawn
back behind that of their superior; and the knights,
who enjoyed no such rank in the Order, were placed
on benches still lower, and preserving the same distance
from the Preceptors as these from the Grand
Master. Behind them, but still upon the dais or
elevated portion of the hall, stood the esquires of
the Order, in white dresses of an inferior quality.

The whole assembly wore an aspect of the most
profound gravity; and in the faces of the knights
might be perceived traces of military daring, united
with the solemn carriage becoming men of a religious
profession, and which, in the presence of
their Grand Master, failed not to sit upon every
brow.

The remaining and lower part of the hall was
filled with guards, holding partisans, and with other
attendants whom curiosity had drawn thither, to
see at once a Grand Master and a Jewish sorceress.
By far the greater part of those inferior persons
were, in one rank or other, connected with the Order,
and were accordingly distinguished by their
black dresses. But peasants from the neighbouring
country were not refused admittance; for it was
the pride of Beaumanoir to render the edifying
spectacle of the justice which he administered as
public as possible. His large blue eyes seemed to
expand as be gazed around the assembly, and his
countenance appeared elated by the conscious dignity,
and imaginary merit, of the part which he
was about to perform. A psalm, which he himself
accompanied with a deep mellow voice, which age
had not deprived of its powers, commenced the proceedings
of the day; and the solemn sounds, _Venite
exultemus Domino_, so often sung by the Templars
before engaging with earthly adversaries, was
judged by Lucas most appropriate to introduce the
approaching triumph, for such he deemed it, over
the powers of darkness. The deep prolonged notes,
raised by a hundred masculine voices accustomed
to combine in the choral chant, arose to the vaulted
roof of the hill, and rolled on amongst its arches
with the pleasing yet solemn sound of the rushing
of mighty waters.

When the sounds ceased, the Grand Master
glanced his eye slowly around the circle, and observed
that the seat of one of the Preceptors was vacant.
Brian de Bois-Guilbert, by whom it had been
occupied, had left his place, and was now standing
near the extreme corner of one of the benches occupied
by the Knights Companions of the Temple,
one hand extending his long mantle, so as in some
degree to hide his face; while the other held his
cross-handled sword, with the point of which, sheathed
as it was, he was slowly drawing lines upon the
oaken floor.

``Unhappy man!'' said the Grand Master, after
favouring him with a glance of compassion. ``Thou
seest, Conrade, how this holy work distresses him.
To this can the light look of woman, aided by the
Prince of the Powers of this world, bring a valiant
and worthy knight!---Seest thou he cannot look
upon us; he cannot look upon her; and who knows
by what impulse from his tormentor his hand forms
these cabalistic lines upon the floor?---It may be
our life and safety are thus aimed at; but we spit
at and defy the foul enemy. _Semper Leo percutiatur!''

This was communicated apart to his confidential
follower, Conrade Mont-Fitchet. The Grand Master
then raised his voice, and addressed the assembly.

``Reverend and valiant men, Knights, Preceptors,
and Companions of this Holy Order, my brethren
and my children!---you also, well-born and
pious Esquires, who aspire to wear this holy Cross!
---and you also, Christian brethren, of every degree!
---Be it known to you, that it is not defect
of power in us which hath occasioned the assembling
of this congregation; for, however unworthy
in our person, yet to us is committed, with this
batoon, full power to judge and to try all that regards
the weal of this our Holy Order. Holy
Saint Bernard, in the rule of our knightly and religious
profession, hath said, in the fifty-ninth capital,*

* The reader is again referred to the Rules of the Poor Military
* Brotherhood of the Temple, which occur in the Works of
* St Bernard.---L. T.

that he would not that brethren be called
together in council, save at the will and command
of the Master; leaving it free to us, as to those
more worthy fathers who have preceded us in this
our office, to judge, as well of the occasion as of the
time and place in which a chapter of the whole
Order, or of any part thereof, may be convoked.
Also, in all such chapters, it is our duty to hear
the advice of our brethren, and to proceed according
to our own pleasure. But when the raging
wolf hath made an inroad upon the flock, and carried
off one member thereof, it is the duty of the
kind shepherd to call his comrades together, that
with bows and slings they may quell the invader,
according to our well-known rule, that the lion is
ever to be beaten down. We have therefore summoned
to our presence a Jewish woman, by name
Rebecca, daughter of Isaac of York---a woman infamous
for sortileges and for witcheries; whereby
she hath maddened the blood, and besotted the
brain, not of a churl, but of a Knight---not of a
secular Knight, but of one devoted to the service
of the Holy Temple---not of a Knight Companion,
but of a Preceptor of our Order, first in honour as
in place. Our brother, Brian de Bois-Guilbert, is
well known to ourselves, and to all degrees who
now hear me, as a true and zealous champion of
the Cross, by whose arm many deeds of valour have
been wrought in the Holy Land, and the holy
places purified from pollution by the blood of those
infidels who defiled them. Neither have our brother's
sagacity and prudence been less in repute
among his brethren than his valour and discipline;
in so much, that knights, both in eastern and western
lands, have named De Bois-Guilbert as one
who may well be put in nomination as successor to
this batoon, when it shall please Heaven to release
us from the toil of bearing it. If we were told
that such a man, so honoured, and so honourable,
suddenly casting away regard for his character, his
vows, his brethren, and his prospects, had associated
to himself a Jewish damsel, wandered in this
lewd company, through solitary places, defended her
person in preference to his own, and, finally, was so
utterly blinded and besotted by his folly, as to
bring her even to one of our own Preceptories, what
should we say but that the noble knight was possessed
by some evil demon, or influenced by some
wicked spell?---If we could suppose it otherwise,
think not rank, valour, high repute, or any earthly
consideration, should prevent us from visiting him
with punishment, that the evil thing might be removed,
even according to the text, _Auferte malum
ex vobis_. For various and heinous are the acts of
transgression against the rule of our blessed Order
in this lamentable history.---1st, He hath walked
according to his proper will, contrary to capital 33,
_Quod nullus juxta propriam voluntatem incedat_.
---2d, He hath held communication with an excommunicated
person, capital 57, _Ut fratres non participent
cum excommunicatis_, and therefore hath a
portion in _Anathema Maranatha_.---3d, He hath conversed
with strange women, contrary to the capital,
_Ut fratres non conversantur cum extraneis mulieribus.
---4th, He hath not avoided, nay, he hath, it is
to be feared, solicited the kiss of woman; by
which, saith the last rule of our renowned Order,
_Ut fugiantur oscula_, the soldiers of the Cross are
brought into a snare. For which heinous and multiplied
guilt, Brian de Bois-Guilbert should be cut
off and cast out from our congregation, were he the
right hand and right eye thereof.''

He paused. A low murmur went through the
assembly. Some of the younger part, who had been
inclined to smile at the statute _De osculis fugiendis_,
became now grave enough, and anxiously waited
what the Grand Master was next to propose.

``Such,'' he said, ``and so great should indeed
be the punishment of a Knight Templar, who wilfully
offended against the rules of his Order in such
weighty points. But if, by means of charms and
of spells, Satan had obtained dominion over the
Knight, perchance because he cast his eyes too
lightly upon a damsel's beauty, we are then rather
to lament than chastise his backsliding; and, imposing
on him only such penance as may purify him
from his iniquity, we are to turn the full edge of
our indignation upon the accursed instrument, which
had so wellnigh occasioned his utter falling away.
---Stand forth, therefore, and bear witness, ye who
have witnessed these unhappy doings, that we may
judge of the sum and bearing thereof; and judge
whether our justice may be satisfied with the punishment
of this infidel woman, or if we must go
on, with a bleeding heart, to the further proceeding
against our brother.''

Several witnesses were called upon to prove the
risks to which Bois-Guilbert exposed himself in
endeavouring to save Rebecca from the blazing
castle, and his neglect of his personal defence in
attending to her safety. The men gave these details
with the exaggerations common to vulgar minds
which have been strongly excited by any remarkable
event, and their natural disposition to the marvellous
was greatly increased by the satisfaction
which their evidence seemed to afford to the eminent
person for whose information it had been delivered.
Thus the dangers which Bois-Guilbert
surmounted, in themselves sufficiently great, became
portentous in their narrative. The devotion
of the Knight to Rebecca's defence was exaggerated
beyond the bounds, not only of discretion, but
even of the most frantic excess of chivalrous zeal;
and his deference to what she said, even although
her language was often severe and upbraiding, was
painted as carried to an excess, which, in a man of
his haughty temper, seemed almost preternatural.

The Preceptor of Templestowe was then called
on to describe the manner in which Bois-Guilbert
and the Jewess arrived at the Preceptory. The
evidence of Malvoisin was skilfully guarded. But
while he apparently studied to spare the feelings
of Bois-Guilbert, he threw in, from time to time,
such hints, as seemed to infer that he laboured under
some temporary alienation of mind, so deeply
did he appear to be enamoured of the damsel whom
he brought along with him. With sighs of penitence,
the Preceptor avowed his own contrition for
having admitted Rebecca and her lover within the
walls of the Preceptory---``But my defence,'' he
concluded, ``has been made in my confession to our
most reverend father the Grand Master; he knows
my motives were not evil, though my conduct may
have been irregular. Joyfully will I submit to any
penance he shall assign me.''

``Thou hast spoken well, Brother Albert,'' said
Beaumanoir; ``thy motives were good, since thou
didst judge it right to arrest thine erring brother in
his career of precipitate folly. But thy conduct was
wrong; as he that would stop a runaway steed,
and seizing by the stirrup instead of the bridle, receiveth
injury himself, instead of accomplishing his
purpose. Thirteen paternosters are assigned by
our pious founder for matins, and nine for vespers;
be those services doubled by thee. Thrice a-week
are Templars permitted the use of flesh; but do
thou keep fast for all the seven days. This do for six
weeks to come, and thy penance is accomplished.''

With a hypocritical look of the deepest submission,
the Preceptor of Templestowe bowed to the
ground before his Superior, and resumed his seat.

``Were it not well, brethren,'' said the Grand
Master, ``that we examine something into the former
life and conversation of this woman, specially
that we may discover whether she be one likely to
use magical charms and spells, since the truths
which we have heard may well incline us to suppose,
that in this unhappy course our erring brother
has been acted upon by some infernal enticement
and delusion?''

Herman of Goodalricke was the Fourth Preceptor
present; the other three were Conrade, Malvoisin,
and Bois-Guilbert himself. Herman was an
ancient warrior, whose face was marked with sears
inflicted by the sabre of the Moslemah, and had
great rank and consideration among his brethren.
He arose and bowed to the Grand Master, who instantly
granted him license of speech. ``I would
crave to know, most Reverend Father, of our valiant
brother, Brian de Bois-Guilbert, what he says
to these wondrous accusations, and with what eye
he himself now regards his unhappy intercourse
with this Jewish maiden?''

``Brian de Bois-Guilbert,'' said the Grand Master,
``thou hearest the question which our Brother
of Goodalricke desirest thou shouldst answer. I
command thee to reply to him.''

Bois-Guilbert turned his head towards the Grand
Master when thus addressed, and remained silent.

``He is possessed by a dumb devil,'' said the
Grand Master. ``Avoid thee, Sathanus!---Speak,
Brian de Bois-Guilbert, I conjure thee, by this
symbol of our Holy Order.''

Bois-Guilbert made an effort to suppress his rising
scorn and indignation, the expression of which,
he was well aware, would have little availed him.
``Brian de Bois-Guilbert,'' he answered, ``replies
not, most Reverend Father, to such wild and vague
charges. If his honour be impeached, he will defend
it with his body, and with that sword which
has often fought for Christendom.''

``We forgive thee, Brother Brian,'' said the
Grand Master; ``though that thou hast boasted thy
warlike achievements before us, is a glorifying of
thine own deeds, and cometh of the Enemy, who
tempteth us to exalt our own worship. But thou
hast our pardon, judging thou speakest less of thine
own suggestion than from the impulse of him whom
by Heaven's leave, we will quell and drive forth
from our assembly.'' A glance of disdain flashed
from the dark fierce eyes of Bois-Guilbert, but he
made no reply.---``And now,'' pursued the Grand
Master, ``since our Brother of Goodalricke's question
has been thus imperfectly answered, pursue we
our quest, brethren, and with our patron's assistance,
we will search to the bottom this mystery of
iniquity.---Let those who have aught to witness of
the life and conversation of this Jewish woman,
stand forth before us.'' There was a bustle in the
lower part of the hall, and when the Grand Master
enquired the reason, it was replied, there was
in the crowd a bedridden man, whom the prisoner
had restored to the perfect use of his limbs, by a
miraculous balsam.

The poor peasant, a Saxon by birth, was dragged
forward to the bar, terrified at the penal consequences
which he might have incurred by the
guilt of having been cured of the palsy by a Jewish
damsel. Perfectly cured be certainly was not, for
he supported himself forward on crutches to give
evidence. Most unwilling was his testimony, and
given with many tears; but he admitted that two
years since, when residing at York, he was suddenly
afflicted with a sore disease, while labouring for
Isaac the rich Jew, in his vocation of a joiner; that
he had been unable to stir from his bed until the
remedies applied by Rebecca's directions, and especially
a warming and spicy-smelling balsam, had in
some degree restored him to the use of his limbs.
Moreover, he said, she had given him a pot of that
precious ointment, and furnished him with a piece
of money withal, to return to the house of his father,
near to Templestowe. ``And may it please
your gracious Reverence,'' said the man, ``I cannot
think the damsel meant harm by me, though
she hath the ill hap to be a Jewess; for even when
I used her remedy, I said the Pater and the Creed,
and it never operated a whit less kindly---''

``Peace, slave,'' said the Grand Master, ``and
begone! It well suits brutes like thee to be tampering
and trinketing with hellish cures, and to
be giving your labour to the sons of mischief. I
tell thee, the fiend can impose diseases for the very
purpose of removing them, in order to bring into
credit some diabolical fashion of cure. Hast thou
that unguent of which thou speakest?''

The peasant, fumbling in his bosom with a trembling
hand, produced a small box, bearing some
Hebrew characters on the lid, which was, with
most of the audience, a sure proof that the devil
had stood apothecary. Beaumanoir, after crossing
himself, took the box into his hand, and, learned in
most of the Eastern tongues, read with ease the
motto on the lid,---_The Lion of the tribe of Judah
hath conquered_. ``Strange powers of Sathanas.''
said he, ``which can convert Scripture into blasphemy,
mingling poison with our necessary food!---Is
there no leech here who can tell us the ingredients
of this mystic unguent?''

Two mediciners, as they called themselves, the
one a monk, the other a barber, appeared, and
avouched they knew nothing of the materials, excepting
that they savoured of myrrh and camphire,
which they took to be Oriental herbs. But with the
true professional hatred to a successful practitioner
of their art, they insinuated that, since the medicine
was beyond their own knowledge, it must necessarily
have been compounded from an unlawful
and magical pharmacopeia; since they themselves,
though no conjurors, fully understood every branch
of their art, so far as it might be exercised with the
good faith of a Christian. When this medical research
was ended, the Saxon peasant desired humbly
to have back the medicine which he had found
so salutary; but the Grand Master frowned severely
at the request. ``What is thy name, fellow?''
said he to the cripple.

``Higg, the son of Snell,'' answered the peasant.

``Then Higg, son of Snell,'' said the Grand
Master, ``I tell thee it is better to be bedridden,
than to accept the benefit of unbelievers' medicine
that thou mayest arise and walk; better to despoil
infidels of their treasure by the strong hand, than
to accept of them benevolent gifts, or do them service
for wages. Go thou, and do as I have said.''

``Alack,'' said the peasant, ``an it shall not displease
your Reverence, the lesson comes too late
for me, for I am but a maimed man; but I will tell
my two brethren, who serve the rich Rabbi Nathan
Ben Samuel, that your mastership says it is more
lawful to rob him than to render him faithful service.''

``Out with the prating villain!'' said Beaumanoir,
who was not prepared to refute this practical
application of his general maxim.

Higg, the son of Snell, withdrew into the crowd,
but, interested in the fate of his benefactress, lingered
until he should learn her doom, even at the
risk of again encountering the frown of that severe
judge, the terror of which withered his very heart
within him.

At this period of the trial, the Grand Master
commanded Rebecca to unveil herself. Opening
her lips for the first time, she replied patiently, but
with dignity,---``That it was not the wont of the
daughters of her people to uncover their faces when
alone in an assembly of strangers.'' The sweet tones.
of her voice, and the softness of her reply, impressed
on the audience a sentiment of pity and sympathy.
But Beaumanoir, in whose mind the suppression
of each feeling of humanity which could
interfere with his imagined duty, was a virtue of
itself, repeated his commands that his victim should
be unveiled. The guards were about to remove her
veil accordingly, when she stood up before the
Grand Master and said, ``Nay, but for the love of
your own daughters---Alas,'' she said, recollecting
herself, ``ye have no daughters!---yet for the remembrance
of your mothers---for the love of your
sisters, and of female decency, let me not be thus
handled in your presence; it suits not a maiden to
be disrobed by such rude grooms. I will obey you,''
she added, with an expression of patient sorrow in
her voice, which had almost melted the heart of
Beaumanoir himself; ``ye are elders among your
people, and at your command I will show the features
of an ill-fated maiden.''

She withdrew her veil, and looked on them with
a countenance in which bashfulness contended with
dignity. Her exceeding beauty excited a murmur
of surprise, and the younger knights told each other
with their eyes, in silent correspondence, that Brian's
best apology was in the power of her real charms,
rather than of her imaginary witchcraft. But Higg,
the son of Snell, felt most deeply the effect produced
by the sight of the countenance of his benefactress.
``Let me go forth,'' he said to the warders
at the door of the hall,---``let me go forth!---To
look at her again will kill me, for I have had a share
in murdering her.''

``Peace, poor man,'' said Rebecca, when she
heard his exclamation; ``thou hast done me no
harm by speaking the truth---thou canst not aid me
by thy complaints or lamentations. Peace, I pray
thee---go home and save thyself.''

Higg was about to be thrust out by the compassion
of the warders, who were apprehensive lest
his clamorous grief should draw upon them reprehension,
and upon himself punishment. But he promised
to be silent, and was permitted to remain.
The two men-at-arms, with whom Albert Malvoisin
had not failed to communicate upon the import of
their testimony, were now called forward. Though
both were hardened and inflexible villains, the sight
of the captive maiden, as well as her excelling
beauty, at first appeared to stagger them; but an
expressive glance from the Preceptor of Templestowe
restored them to their dogged composure;
and they delivered, with a precision which would
have seemed suspicious to more impartial judges,
circumstances either altogether fictitious or trivial,
and natural in themselves, but rendered pregnant
with suspicion by the exaggerated manner in which
they were told, and the sinister commentary which
the witnesses added to the facts. The circumstances
of their evidence would have been, in modern days,
divided into two classes---those which were immaterial,
and those which were actually and physically
impossible. But both were, in those ignorant
and superstitions times, easily credited as proofs of
guilt.---The first class set forth, that Rebecca was
heard to mutter to herself in an unknown tongue
---that the songs she sung by fits were of a strangely
sweet sound, which made the ears of the hearer
tingle, and his heart throb---that she spoke at times
to herself, and seemed to look upward for a reply
---that her garments were of a strange and mystic
form, unlike those of women of good repute---that
she had rings impressed with cabalistical devices,
and that strange characters were broidered on her
veil.

All these circumstances, so natural and so trivial,
were gravely listened to as proofs, or, at least,
as affording strong suspicions that Rebecca had unlawful
correspondence with mystical powers.

But there was less equivocal testimony, which
the credulity of the assembly, or of the greater part,
greedily swallowed, however incredible. One of
the soldiers had seen her work a cure upon a wounded
man, brought with them to the castle of Torquilstone.
She did, he said, make certain signs
upon the wound, and repeated certain mysterious
words, which he blessed God he understood not,
when the iron head of a square cross-bow bolt disengaged
itself from the wound, the bleeding was
stanched, the wound was closed, and the dying
man was, within a quarter of an hour, walking
upon the ramparts, and assisting the witness in
managing a mangonel, or machine for hurling
stones. This legend was probably founded upon
the fact, that Rebecca had attended on the wounded
Ivanhoe when in the castle of Torquilstone.
But it was the more difficult to dispute the accuracy
of the witness, as, in order to produce real
evidence in support of his verbal testimony, he drew
from his pouch the very bolt-head, which, according
to his story, had been miraculously extracted
from the wound; and as the iron weighed a full
ounce, it completely confirmed the tale, however
marvellous.

His comrade had been a witness from a neighbouring
battlement of the scene betwixt Rebecca
and Bois-Guilbert, when she was upon the point of
precipitating herself from the top of the tower.
Not to be behind his companion, this fellow stated,
that he had seen Rebecca perch herself upon the
parapet of the turret, and there take the form of a
milk-white swan, under which appearance she flitted
three times round the castle of Torquilstone;
then again settle on the turret, and once more assume
the female form.

Less than one half of this weighty evidence
would have been sufficient to convict any old woman,
poor and ugly, even though she had not been
a Jewess. United with that fatal circumstance, the
body of proof was too weighty for Rebecca's youth,
though combined with the most exquisite beauty.

The Grand Master had collected the suffrages,
and now in a solemn tone demanded of Rebecca
what she had to say against the sentence of condemnation,
which he was about to pronounce.

``To invoke your pity,'' said the lovely Jewess,
with a voice somewhat tremulous with emotion,
``would, I am aware, be as useless as I should hold
it mean. To state that to relieve the sick and
wounded of another religion, cannot be displeasing
to the acknowledged Founder of both our faiths,
were also unavailing; to plead that many things
which these men (whom may Heaven pardon!)
have spoken against me are impossible, would avail
me but little, since you believe in their possibility;
and still less would it advantage me to explain, that
the peculiarities of my dress, language, and manners,
are those of my people---I had wellnigh said
of my country, but alas! we have no country. Nor
will I even vindicate myself at the expense of my
oppressor, who stands there listening to the fictions
and surmises which seem to convert the tyrant into
the victim.---God be judge between him and
me! but rather would I submit to ten such deaths
as your pleasure may denounce against me, than
listen to the suit which that man of Belial has urged
upon me---friendless, defenceless, and his prisoner.
But he is of your own faith, and his lightest
affirmance would weigh down the most solemn protestations
of the distressed Jewess. I will not therefore
return to himself the charge brought against
me---but to himself---Yes, Brian de Bois-Guilbert,
to thyself I appeal, whether these accusations are
not false? as monstrous and calumnious as they are
deadly?''

There was a pause; all eyes turned to Brain de
Bois-Guilbert. He was silent.

``Speak,'' she said, ``if thou art a man---if thou
art a Christian, speak!---I conjure thee, by the
habit which thou dost wear, by the name thou dost
inherit---by the knighthood thou dost vaunt---by
the honour of thy mother---by the tomb and the
bones of thy father---I conjure thee to say, are these
things true?''

``Answer her, brother,'' said the Grand Master,
``if the Enemy with whom thou dost wrestle will
give thee power.''

In fact, Bois-Guilbert seemed agitated by contending
passions, which almost convulsed his features,
and it was with a constrained voice that at
last he replied, looking to Rebecca,---``The scroll!
---the scroll!''

``Ay,'' said Beaumanoir, ``this is indeed testimony!
The victim of her witcheries can only name
the fatal scroll, the spell inscribed on which is,
doubtless, the cause of his silence.''

But Rebecca put another interpretation on the
words extorted as it were from Bois-Guilbert, and
glancing her eye upon the slip of parchment which
she continued to hold in her hand, she read written
thereupon in the Arabian character, _Demand a
Champion!_ The murmuring commentary which
ran through the assembly at the strange reply of
Bois-Guilbert, gave Rebecca leisure to examine and
instantly to destroy the scroll unobserved. When
the whisper had ceased, the Grand Master spoke.

``Rebecca, thou canst derive no benefit from the
evidence of this unhappy knight, for whom, as we
well perceive, the Enemy is yet too powerful. Hast
thou aught else to say?''

``There is yet one chance of life left to me,'' said
Rebecca, ``even by your own fierce laws. Life has
been miserable---miserable, at least, of late---but I
will not cast away the gift of God, while he affords
me the means of defending it. I deny this charge
---I maintain my innocence, and I declare the falsehood
of this accusation---I challenge the privilege
of trial by combat, and will appear by my champion.''

``And who, Rebecca,'' replied the Grand Master,
``will lay lance in rest for a sorceress? who will
be the champion of a Jewess?''

``God will raise me up a champion,'' said Rebecca---
``It cannot be that in merry England---the
hospitable, the generous, the free, where so many
are ready to peril their lives for honour, there will
not be found one to fight for justice. But it is
enough that I challenge the trial by combat---there
lies my gage.''

She took her embroidered glove from her hand,
and flung it down before the Grand Master with
an air of mingled simplicity and dignity, which excited
universal surprise and admiration.




CHAPTER XXXVIII


------There I throw my gage,
To prove it on thee to the extremest point
Of martial daring.
_Richard II._

Even Lucas Beaumanoir himself was affected
by the mien and appearance of Rebecca. He was
not originally a cruel or even a severe man; but
with passions by nature cold, and with a high,
though mistaken, sense of duty, his heart had been
gradually hardened by the ascetic life which he
pursued, the supreme power which he enjoyed, and
the supposed necessity of subduing infidelity and
eradicating heresy, which he conceived peculiarly
incumbent on him. His features relaxed in their
usual severity as he gazed upon the beautiful creature
before him, alone, unfriended, and defending
herself with so much spirit and courage. He crossed
himself twice, as doubting whence arose the unwonted
softening of a heart, which on such occasions
used to resemble in hardness the steel of his
sword. At length he spoke.

``Damsel,'' he said, ``if the pity I feel for thee
arise from any practice thine evil arts have made
on me, great is thy guilt. But I rather judge it
the kinder feelings of nature, which grieves that so
goodly a form should be a vessel of perdition. Repent,
my daughter---confess thy witchcrafts---turn
thee from thine evil faith---embrace this holy emblem,
and all shall yet be well with thee here and
hereafter. In some sisterhood of the strictest order,
shalt thou have time for prayer and fitting penance,
and that repentance not to be repented of. This do
and live---what has the law of Moses done for thee
that thou shouldest die for it?''

``It was the law of my fathers,'' said Rebecca;
``it was delivered in thunders and in storms upon
the mountain of Sinai, in cloud and in fire. This,
if ye are Christians, ye believe---it is, you say, recalled;
but so my teachers have not taught me.''

``Let our chaplain,'' said Beaumanoir, ``stand
forth, and tell this obstinate infidel---''

``Forgive the interruption,'' said Rebecca, meekly;
``I am a maiden, unskilled to dispute for my
religion, but I can die for it, if it be God's will.---
Let me pray your answer to my demand of a champion.''

``Give me her glove,'' said Beaumanoir. ``This
is indeed,'' he continued, as he looked at the flimsy
texture and slender fingers, ``a slight and frail gage
for a purpose so deadly!---Seest thou, Rebecca, as
this thin and light glove of thine is to one of our
heavy steel gauntlets, so is thy cause to that of
the Temple, for it is our Order which thou hast
defied.''

``Cast my innocence into the scale,'' answered
Rebecca, ``and the glove of silk shall outweigh the
glove of iron.''

``Then thou dost persist in thy refusal to confess
thy guilt, and in that bold challenge which
thou hast made?''

``I do persist, noble sir,'' answered Rebecca.

``So be it then, in the name of Heaven,'' said
the Grand Master; ``and may God show the
right!''

``Amen,'' replied the Preceptors around him,
and the word was deeply echoed by the whole assembly.

``Brethren,'' said Beaumanoir, ``you are aware
that we might well have refused to this woman the
benefit of the trial by combat---but though a Jewess
and an unbeliever, she is also a stranger and defenceless,
and God forbid that she should ask the
benefit of our mild laws, and that it should be refused
to her. Moreover, we are knights and soldiers
as well as men of religion, and shame it were to us
upon any pretence, to refuse proffered combat.
Thus, therefore, stands the case. Rebecca, the
daughter of Isaac of York, is, by many frequent
and suspicious circumstances, defamed of sorcery
practised on the person of a noble knight of our
holy Order, and hath challenged the combat in
proof of her innocence. To whom, reverend brethren,
is it your opinion that we should deliver the
gage of battle, naming him, at the same time, to
be our champion on the field?''

``To Brian de Bois-Guilbert, whom it chiefly
concerns,'' said the Preceptor of Goodalricke, ``and
who, moreover, best knows how the truth stands
in this matter.''

``But if,'' said the Grand Master, ``our brother
Brian be under the influence of a charm or a spell
---we speak but for the sake of precaution, for to
the arm of none of our holy Order would we more
willingly confide this or a more weighty cause.''

``Reverend father,'' answered the Preceptor of
Goodalricke, ``no spell can effect the champion who
comes forward to fight for the judgment of God.''

``Thou sayest right, brother,'' said the Grand
Master. ``Albert Malvoisin, give this gage of battle
to Brian de Bois-Guilbert.---It is our charge to
thee, brother,'' he continued, addressing himself to
Bois-Guilbert, ``that thou do thy battle manfully,
nothing doubting that the good cause shall triumph.
---And do thou, Rebecca, attend, that we assign
thee the third day from the present to find a champion.''

``That is but brief space,'' answered Rebecca,
``for a stranger, who is also of another faith, to find
one who will do battle, wagering life and honour
for her cause, against a knight who is called an approved
soldier.''

``We may not extend it,'' answered the Grand
Master; ``the field must be foughten in our own
presence, and divers weighty causes call us on the
fourth day from hence.''

``God's will be done!'' said Rebecca; ``I put
my trust in Him, to whom an instant is as effectual
to save as a whole age.''

``Thou hast spoken well, damsel,'' said the Grand
Master; ``but well know we who can array himself
like an angel of light. It remains but to name a
fitting place of combat, and, if it so hap, also of execution.
---Where is the Preceptor of this house?''

Albert Malvoisin, still holding Rebecca's glove
in his hand, was speaking to Bois-Guilbert very
earnestly, but in a low voice.

``How!'' said the Grand Master, ``will he not
receive the gage?''

``He will---he doth, most Reverend Father,''
said Malvoisin, slipping the glove under his own
mantle. ``And for the place of combat, I hold the
fittest to be the lists of Saint George belonging to
this Preceptory, and used by us for military exercise.''

``It is well,'' said the Grand Master.---``Rebecca,
in those lists shalt thou produce thy champion; and
if thou failest to do so, or if thy champion shall be
discomfited by the judgment of God, thou shalt
then die the death of a sorceress, according to
doom.---Let this our judgment be recorded, and the
record read aloud, that no one may pretend ignorance.''

One of the chaplains, who acted as clerks to the
chapter, immediately engrossed the order in a huge
volume, which contained the proceedings of the
Templar Knights when solemnly assembled on such
occasions; and when he had finished writing, the
other read aloud the sentence of the Grand Master,
which, when translated from the Norman-French
in which it was couched, was expressed as follows.---

``Rebecca, a Jewess, daughter of Isaac of York,
being attainted of sorcery, seduction, and other damnable
practices, practised on a Knight of the most
Holy Order of the Temple of Zion, doth deny
the same; and saith, that the testimony delivered
against her this day is false, wicked, and disloyal;
and that by lawful _essoine_* of her body as being

* _Essoine_ signifies excuse, and here relates to the appellant's
* privilege of appearing by her champion, in excuse of her own
* person on account of her sex.

unable to combat in her own behalf, she doth offer,
by a champion instead thereof, to avouch her case,
he performing his loyal _devoir_ in all knightly sort,
with such arms as to gage of battle do fully appertain,
and that at her peril and cost. And therewith
she proffered her gage. And the gage having been
delivered to the noble Lord and Knight, Brian de
Bois-Guilbert, of the Holy Order of the Temple of
Zion, he was appointed to do this battle, in behalf
of his Order and himself, as injured and impaired
by the practices of the appellant. Wherefore the
most reverend Father and puissant Lord, Lucas
Marquis of Beaumanoir, did allow of the said challenge,
and of the said _essoine_ of the appellant's body,
and assigned the third day for the said combat, the
place being the enclosure called the lists of Saint
George, near to the Preceptory of Templestowe.
And the Grand Master appoints the appellant to
appear there by her champion, on pain of doom, as
a person convicted of sorcery or seduction; and
also the defendant so to appear, under the penalty
of being held and adjudged recreant in case of default;
and the noble Lord and most reverend Father
aforesaid appointed the battle to be done in
his own presence, and according to all that is commendable
and profitable in such a case. And may
God aid the just cause!''

``Amen!'' said the Grand Master; and the word
was echoed by all around. Rebecca spoke not, but
she looked up to heaven, and, folding her hands,
remained for a minute without change of attitude.
She then modestly reminded the Grand Master,
that she ought to be permitted some opportunity
of free communication with her friends, for the purpose
of making her condition known to them, and
procuring, if possible, some champion to fight in
her behalf.

``It is just and lawful,'' said the Grand Master;
``choose what messenger thou shalt trust, and he
shall have free communication with thee in thy
prison-chamber.''

``Is there,'' said Rebecca, ``any one here, who,
either for love of a good cause, or for ample hire,
will do the errand of a distressed being?''

All were silent; for none thought it safe, in the
presence of the Grand Master, to avow any interest
in the calumniated prisoner, lest he should be suspected
of leaning towards Judaism. Not even the
prospect of reward, far less any feelings of compassion
alone, could surmount this apprehension.

Rebecca stood for a few moments in indescribable
anxiety, and then exclaimed, ``Is it really thus?
---And, in English land, am I to be deprived of
the poor chance of safety which remains to me, for
want of an act of charity which would not be refused
to the worst criminal?''

Higg, the son of Snell, at length replied, ``I am
but a maimed man, but that I can at all stir or move
was owing to her charitable assistance.---I will do
thine errand,'' he added, addressing Rebecca, ``as
well as a crippled object can, and happy were my
limbs fleet enough to repair the mischief done by
my tongue. Alas! when I boasted of thy charity,
I little thought I was leading thee into danger!''

``God,'' said Rebecca, ``is the disposer of all.
He can turn back the captivity of Judah, even by
the weakest instrument. To execute his message
the snail is as sure a messenger as the falcon. Seek
out Isaac of York---here is that will pay for horse
and man---let him have this scroll.---I know not if
it be of Heaven the spirit which inspires me, but
most truly do I judge that I am not to die this
death, and that a champion will be raised up for
me. Farewell!---Life and death are in thy haste.''

The peasant took the scroll, which contained only
a few lines in Hebrew. Many of the crowd would
have dissuaded him from touching a document so
suspicious; but Higg was resolute in the service
of his benefactress. She had saved his body, he
said, and he was confident she did not mean to peril
his soul.

``I will get me,'' he said, ``my neighbour Buthan's
good capul,* and I will be at York within as

* _Capul_, i.e. horse; in a more limited sense, work-horse.

brief space as man and beast may.''

But as it fortuned, he had no occasion to go so
far, for within a quarter of a mile from the gate of
the Preceptory he met with two riders, whom, by
their dress and their huge yellow caps, he knew to
be Jews; and, on approaching more nearly, discovered
that one of them was his ancient employer,
Isaac of York. The other was the Rabbi Ben Samuel;
and both had approached as near to the Preceptory
as they dared, on hearing that the Grand
Master had summoned a chapter for the trial of a
sorceress.

``Brother Ben Samuel,'' said Isaac, ``my soul
is disquieted, and I wot not why. This charge of
necromancy is right often used for cloaking evil
practices on our people.''

``Be of good comfort, brother,'' said the physician;
``thou canst deal with the Nazarenes as one
possessing the mammon of unrighteousness, and
canst therefore purchase immunity at their hands
---it rules the savage minds of those ungodly men,
even as the signet of the mighty Solomon was said
to command the evil genii.---But what poor wretch
comes hither upon his crutches, desiring, as I think,
some speech of me?---Friend,'' continued the physician,
addressing Higg, the son of Snell, ``I refuse
thee not the aid of mine art, but I relieve not
with one asper those who beg for alms upon the
highway. Out upon thee!---Hast thou the palsy
in thy legs? then let thy hands work for thy livelihood;
for, albeit thou best unfit for a speedy post,
or for a careful shepherd, or for the warfare, or for
the service of a hasty master, yet there be occupations
---How now, brother?'' said he, interrupting
his harangue to look towards Isaac, who had but
glanced at the scroll which Higg offered, when,
uttering a deep groan, he fell from his mule like a
dying man, and lay for a minute insensible.

The Rabbi now dismounted in great alarm, and
hastily applied the remedies which his art suggested
for the recovery of his companion. He had even
taken from his pocket a cupping apparatus, and was
about to proceed to phlebotomy, when the object
of his anxious solicitude suddenly revived; but it
was to dash his cap from his head, and to throw
dust on his grey hairs. The physician was at first
inclined to ascribe this sudden and violent emotion
to the effects of insanity; and, adhering to his original
purpose, began once again to handle his implements.
But Isaac soon convinced him of his
error.

``Child of my sorrow,'' he said, ``well shouldst
thou be called Benoni, instead of Rebecca! Why
should thy death bring down my grey hairs to the
grave, till, in the bitterness of my heart, I curse
God and die!''

``Brother,'' said the Rabbi, in great surprise,
``art thou a father in Israel, and dost thou utter
words like unto these?---I trust that the child of
thy house yet liveth?''

``She liveth,'' answered Isaac; ``but it is as
Daniel, who was called Beltheshazzar, even when
within the den of the lions. She is captive unto
those men of Belial, and they will wreak their
cruelty upon her, sparing neither for her youth nor
her comely favour. O! she was as a crown of green
palms to my grey locks; and she must wither in a
night, like the gourd of Jonah!---Child of my love!
---child of my old age!---oh, Rebecca, daughter of
Rachel! the darkness of the shadow of death hath
encompassed thee.''

``Yet read the scroll,'' said the Rabbi; ``peradventure
it may be that we may yet find out a way
of deliverance.''

``Do thou read, brother,'' answered Isaac, ``for
mine eyes are as a fountain of water.''

The physician read, but in their native language,
the following words:---

``To Isaac, the son of Adonikam, whom the
Gentiles call Isaac of York, peace and the blessing
of the promise be multiplied unto thee!---My
father, I am as one doomed to die for that which
my soul knoweth not---even for the crime of witchcraft.
My father, if a strong man can be found to
do battle for my cause with sword and spear, according
to the custom of the Nazarenes, and that
within the lists of Templestowe, on the third day
from this time, peradventure our fathers' God will
give him strength to defend the innocent, and her
who hath none to help her. But if this may not be,
let the virgins of our people mourn for me as for
one cast off, and for the hart that is stricken by the
hunter, and for the flower which is cut down by
the scythe of the mower. Wherefore look now
what thou doest, and whether there be any rescue.
One Nazarene warrior might indeed bear arms in
my behalf, even Wilfred, son of Cedric, whom the
Gentiles call Ivanhoe. But he may not yet endure
the weight of his armour. Nevertheless, send the
tidings unto him, my father; for he hath favour
among the strong men of his people, and as he was
our companion in the house of bondage, he may find
some one to do battle for my sake. And say unto
him, even unto him, even unto Wilfred, the son of
Cedric, that if Rebecca live, or if Rebecca die, she
liveth or dieth wholly free of the guilt she is charged
withal. And if it be the will of God that thou
shalt be deprived of thy daughter, do not thou tarry,
old man, in this land of bloodshed and cruelty;
but betake thyself to Cordova, where thy brother
liveth in safety, under the shadow of the throne,
even of the throne of Boabdil the Saracen; for
less cruel are the cruelties of the Moors unto the
race of Jacob, than the cruelties of the Nazarenes
of England.''

Isaac listened with tolerable composure while
Ben Samuel read the letter, and then again resumed
the gestures and exclamations of Oriental sorrow,
tearing his garments, besprinkling his head with
dust, and ejaculating, ``My daughter! my daughter!
flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bone!''

``Yet,'' said the Rabbi, ``take courage, for this
grief availeth nothing. Gird up thy loins, and seek
out this Wilfred, the son of Cedric. It may be he
will help thee with counsel or with strength; for
the youth hath favour in the eyes of Richard, called
of the Nazarenes C<oe>ur-de-Lion, and the tidings
that he hath returned are constant in the land. It
may be that be may obtain his letter, and his signet,
commanding these men of blood, who take
their name from the Temple to the dishonour
thereof, that they proceed not in their purposed
wickedness.''

``I will seek him out,'' said Isaac, ``for he is a
good youth, and hath compassion for the exile of
Jacob. But he cannot bear his armour, and what
other Christian shall do battle for the oppressed of
Zion?''

``Nay, but,'' said the Rabbi, ``thou speakest as
one that knoweth not the Gentiles. With gold
shalt thou buy their valour, even as with gold thou
buyest thine own safety. Be of good courage, and
do thou set forward to find out this Wilfred of
Ivanhoe. I will also up and be doing, for great sin
it were to leave thee in thy calamity. I will hie
me to the city of York, where many warriors and
strong men are assembled, and doubt not I will
find among them some one who will do battle for
thy daughter; for gold is their god, and for riches
will they pawn their lives as well as their lands.---
Thou wilt fulfil, my brother, such promise as I may
make unto them in thy name?''

``Assuredly, brother,'' said Isaac, ``and Heaven
be praised that raised me up a comforter in my misery.
Howbeit, grant them not their full demand
at once, for thou shalt find it the quality of this
accursed people that they will ask pounds, and peradventure
accept of ounces---Nevertheless, be it as
thou willest, for I am distracted in this thing, and
what would my gold avail me if the child of my
love should perish!''

``Farewell,'' said the physician, ``and may it be
to thee as thy heart desireth.''

They embraced accordingly, and departed on
their several roads. The crippled peasant remained
for some time looking after them.

``These dog-Jews!'' said he; ``to take no more
notice of a free guild-brother, than if I were a bond
slave or a Turk, or a circumcised Hebrew like themselves!
They might have flung me a mancus or
two, however. I was not obliged to bring their unhallowed
scrawls, and run the risk of being bewitched,
as more folks than one told me. And
what care I for the bit of gold that the wench gave
me, if I am to come to harm from the priest next
Easter at confession, and be obliged to give him
twice as much to make it up with him, and be called
the Jew's flying post all my life, as it may hap,
into the bargain? I think I was bewitched in earnest
when I was beside that girl!---But it was always
so with Jew or Gentile, whosoever came
near her---none could stay when she had an errand
to go---and still, whenever I think of her, I would
give shop and tools to save her life.''



CHAPTER XXXIX


O maid, unrelenting and cold as thou art,
My bosom is proud as thine own.
_Seward_.

It was in the twilight of the day when her trial,
if it could be called such, had taken place, that a
low knock was heard at the door of Rebecca's prison-chamber.
It disturbed not the inmate, who was
then engaged in the evening prayer recommended
by her religion, and which concluded with a hymn
we have ventured thus to translate into English.

When Israel, of the Lord beloved,
Out of the land of bondage came,
Her father's God before her moved,
An awful guide, in smoke and flame.
By day, along the astonish'd lands
The cloudy pillar glided slow;
By night, Arabia's crimson'd sands
Return'd the fiery column's glow.

There rose the choral hymn of praise,
And trump and timbrel answer'd keen,
And Zion's daughters pour'd their lays,
With priest's and warrior's voice between.
No portents now our foes amaze,
Forsaken Israel wanders lone;
Our fathers would not know =Thy= ways,
And =Thou= hast left them to their own.

But, present still, though now unseen;
When brightly shines the prosperous day,
Be thoughts of =Thee= a cloudy screen
To temper the deceitful ray.
And oh, when stoops on Judah's path
In shade and storm the frequent night,
Be =Thou=, long-suffering, slow to wrath,
A burning, and a shining light!

Our harps we left by Babel's streams,
The tyrant's jest, the Gentile's scorn;
No censer round our altar beams,
And mute our timbrel, trump, and horn.
But =Thou= hast said, the blood of goat,
The flesh of rams, I will not prize;
A contrite heart, and humble thought,
Are mine accepted sacrifice.

When the sounds of Rebecca's devotional hymn
had died away in silence, the low knock at the door
was again renewed. ``Enter,'' she said, ``if thou
art a friend; and if a foe, I have not the means of
refusing thy entrance.''

``I am,'' said Brian de Bois-Guilbert, entering
the apartment, ``friend or foe, Rebecca, as the event
of this interview shall make me.''

Alarmed at the sight of this man, whose licentious
passion she considered as the root of her misfortunes,
Rebecca drew backward with a cautious
and alarmed, yet not a timorous demeanour, into
the farthest corner of the apartment, as if determined
to retreat as far as she could, but to stand
her ground when retreat became no longer possible.
She drew herself into an attitude not of defiance,
but of resolution, as one that would avoid provoking
assault, yet was resolute to repel it, being offered,
to the utmost of her power.

``You have no reason to fear me, Rebecca,'' said
the Templar; ``Or if I must so qualify my speech,
you have at least _now_ no reason to fear me.''

``I fear you not, Sir Knight,'' replied Rebecca,
although her short-drawn breath seemed to belie
the heroism of her accents my trust is strong,
and I fear thee not.''

``You have no cause,'' answered Bois-Guilbert,
gravely; ``my former frantic attempts you have
not now to dread. Within your call are guards,
over whom I have no authority. They are designed
to conduct you to death, Rebecca, yet would
not suffer you to be insulted by any one, even by
me, were my frenzy---for frenzy it is---to urge me
so far.''

``May Heaven be praised!'' said the Jewess;
``death is the least of my apprehensions in this
den of evil.''

``Ay,'' replied the Templar, ``the idea of death
is easily received by the courageous mind, when
the road to it is sudden and open. A thrust with
a lance, a stroke with a sword, were to me little---
To you, a spring from a dizzy battlement, a stroke
with a sharp poniard, has no terrors, compared
with what either thinks disgrace. Mark me---I
say this---perhaps mine own sentiments of honour
are not less fantastic, Rebecca, than thine are; but
we know alike how to die for them.''

``Unhappy man,'' said the Jewess; ``and art
thou condemned to expose thy life for principles,
of which thy sober judgment does not acknowledge
the solidity? Surely this is a parting with your
treasure for that which is not bread---but deem not
so of me. Thy resolution may fluctuate on the
wild and changeful billows of human opinion, but
mine is anchored on the Rock of Ages.''

``Silence, maiden,'' answered the Templar;
``such discourse now avails but little. Thou art
condemned to die not a sudden and easy death,
such as misery chooses, and despair welcomes, but
a slow, wretched, protracted course of torture, suited
to what the diabolical bigotry of these men calls
thy crime.''

``And to whom---if such my fate---to whom do
I owe this?'' said Rebecca ``surely only to him,
who, for a most selfish and brutal cause, dragged
me hither, and who now, for some unknown purpose
of his own, strives to exaggerate the wretched
fate to which he exposed me.''

``Think not,'' said the Templar, ``that I have
so exposed thee; I would have bucklered thee
against such danger with my own bosom, as freely
as ever I exposed it to the shafts which had otherwise
reached thy life.''

``Had thy purpose been the honourable protection
of the innocent,'' said Rebecca, ``I had thanked
thee for thy care---as it is, thou hast claimed
merit for it so often, that I tell thee life is worth
nothing to me, preserved at the price which thou
wouldst exact for it.''

``Truce with thine upbraidings, Rebecca,'' said
the Templar; ``I have my own cause of grief, and
brook not that thy reproaches should add to it.''

``What is thy purpose, then, Sir Knight?'' said
the Jewess; ``speak it briefly.---If thou hast aught
to do, save to witness the misery thou hast caused,
let me know it; and then, if so it please you, leave
me to myself---the step between time and eternity
is short but terrible, and I have few moments to
prepare for it.''

``I perceive, Rebecca,'' said Bois-Guilbert, ``that
thou dost continue to burden me with the charge
of distresses, which most fain would I have prevented.''

``Sir Knight,'' said Rebecca, ``I would avoid
reproaches---But what is more certain than that I
owe my death to thine unbridled passion?''

``You err---you err,''---said the Templar, hastily,
``if you impute what I could neither foresee
nor prevent to my purpose or agency.---Could I
guess the unexpected arrival of yon dotard, whom
some flashes of frantic valour, and the praises yielded
by fools to the stupid self-torments of an ascetic,
have raised for the present above his own merits,
above common sense, above me, and above the hundreds
of our Order, who think and feel as men free
from such silly and fantastic prejudices as are the
grounds of his opinions and actions?''

``Yet,'' said Rebecca, ``you sate a judge upon
me, innocent---most innocent---as you knew me to
be---you concurred in my condemnation, and, if I
aright understood, are yourself to appear in arms
to assert my guilt, and assure my punishment.''

``Thy patience, maiden,'' replied the Templar.
``No race knows so well as thine own tribes how
to submit to the time, and so to trim their bark as
to make advantage even of an adverse wind.''

``Lamented be the hour,'' said Rebecca, ``that
has taught such art to the House of Israel! but
adversity bends the heart as fire bends the stubborn
steel, and those who are no longer their own
governors, and the denizens of their own free independent
state, must crouch before strangers. It is
our curse, Sir Knight, deserved, doubtless, by our
own misdeeds and those of our fathers; but you---
you who boast your freedom as your birthright,
how much deeper is your disgrace when you stoop
to soothe the prejudices of others, and that against
your own conviction?''

``Your words are bitter, Rebecca,'' said Bois-Guilbert,
pacing the apartment with impatience,
``but I came not hither to bandy reproaches with
you.---Know that Bois-Guilbert yields not to created
man, although circumstances may for a time
induce him to alter his plan. His will is the mountain
stream, which may indeed be turned for a little
space aside by the rock, but fails not to find its
course to the ocean. That scroll which warned thee
to demand a champion, from whom couldst thou
think it came, if not from Bois-Guilbert? In whom
else couldst thou have excited such interest?''

``A brief respite from instant death,'' said Rebecca,
``which will little avail me---was this all thou
couldst do for one, on whose head thou hast heaped
sorrow, and whom thou hast brought near even
to the verge of the tomb?''

``No maiden,'' said Bois-Guilbert, ``this was _not_
all that I purposed. Had it not been for the accursed
interference of yon fanatical dotard, and the
fool of Goodalricke, who, being a Templar, affects
to think and judge according to the ordinary rules
of humanity, the office of the Champion Defender
had devolved, not on a Preceptor, but on a Companion
of the Order. Then I myself---such was
my purpose---had, on the sounding of the trumpet,
appeared in the lists as thy champion, disguised
indeed in the fashion of a roving knight, who seeks
adventures to prove his shield and spear; and then,
let Beaumanoir have chosen not one, but two or three
of the brethren here assembled, I had not doubted
to cast them out of the saddle with my single lance.
Thus, Rebecca, should thine innocence have been
avouched, and to thine own gratitude would I have
trusted for the reward of my victory.''

``This, Sir Knight,'' said Rebecca, ``is but idle
boasting---a brag of what you would have done
had you not found it convenient to do otherwise.
You received my glove, and my champion, if a
creature so desolate can find one, must encounter
your lance in the lists---yet you would assume the
air of my friend and protector!''

``Thy friend and protector,'' said the Templar,
gravely, ``I will yet be---but mark at what risk, or
rather at what certainty, of dishonour; and then
blame me not if I make my stipulations, before I
offer up all that I have hitherto held dear, to save
the life of a Jewish maiden.''

``Speak,'' said Rebecca; ``I understand thee not.''

``Well, then,'' said Bois-Guilbert, ``I will speak
as freely as ever did doting penitent to his ghostly
father, when placed in the tricky confessional.---
Rebecca, if I appear not in these lists I lose fame
and rank---lose that which is the breath of my nostrils,
the esteem, I mean, in which I am held by my
brethren, and the hopes I have of succeeding to that
mighty authority, which is now wielded by the bigoted
dotard Lucas de Beaumanoir, but of which
I should make a different use. Such is my certain
doom, except I appear in arms against thy
cause. Accursed be he of Goodalricke, who baited
this trap for me! and doubly accursed Albert de
Malvoisin, who withheld me from the resolution I
had formed, of hurling back the glove at the face
of the superstitious and superannuated fool, who
listened to a charge so absurd, and against a creature
so high in mind, and so lovely in form as thou
art!''

``And what now avails rant or flattery?'' answered
Rebecca. ``Thou hast made thy choice between
causing to be shed the blood of an innocent woman,
or of endangering thine own earthly state and earthly
hopes---What avails it to reckon together?---thy
choice is made.''

``No, Rebecca,'' said the knight, in a softer tone,
and drawing nearer towards her; ``my choice is
=not= made---nay, mark, it is thine to make the election.
If I appear in the lists, I must maintain my
name in arms; and if I do so, championed or unchampioned,
thou diest by the stake and faggot,
for there lives not the knight who hath coped with
me in arms on equal issue, or on terms of vantage,
save Richard C<oe>ur-de-Lion, and his minion of
Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe, as thou well knowest, is unable
to bear his corslet, and Richard is in a foreign
prison. If I appear, then thou diest, even although
thy charms should instigate some hot-headed youth
to enter the lists in thy defence.''

``And what avails repeating this so often?'' said
Rebecca.

``Much,'' replied the Templar; ``for thou must
learn to look at thy fate on every side.''

``Well, then, turn the tapestry,'' said the Jewess,
``and let me see the other side.''

``If I appear,'' said Bois-Guilbert, ``in the fatal
lists, thou diest by a slow and cruel death, in pain
such as they say is destined to the guilty hereafter.
But if I appear not, then am I a degraded and dishonoured
knight, accused of witchcraft and of communion
with infidels---the illustrious name which
bas grown yet more so under my wearing, becomes
a hissing and a reproach. I lose fame, I lose honour,
I lose the prospect of such greatness as scarce
emperors attain to---I sacrifice mighty ambition, I
destroy schemes built as high as the mountains
with which heathens say their heaven was once
nearly scaled---and yet, Rebecca,'' he added, throwing
himself at her feet, ``this greatness will I sacrifice,
this fame will I renounce, this power will I
forego, even now when it is half within my grasp,
if thou wilt say, Bois-Guilbert, I receive thee for
my lover.''

``Think not of such foolishness, Sir Knight,''
answered Rebecca, ``but hasten to the Regent, the
Queen Mother, and to Prince John---they cannot,
in honour to the English crown, allow of the proceedings
of your Grand Master. So shall you give
me protection without sacrifice on your part, or the
pretext of requiring any requital from me.''

``With these I deal not,'' he continued, holding
the train of her robe---``it is thee only I address;
and what can counterbalance thy choice? Bethink
thee, were I a fiend, yet death is a worse, and it is
death who is my rival.''

``I weigh not these evils,'' said Rebecca, afraid
to provoke the wild knight, yet equally determined
neither to endure his passion, nor even feign to endure
it. ``Be a man, be a Christian! If indeed
thy faith recommends that mercy which rather
your tongues than your actions pretend, save me
from this dreadful death, without seeking a requital
which would change thy magnanimity into base
barter.''

``No, damsel!'' said the proud Templar, springing
up, ``thou shalt not thus impose on me---if I
renounce present fame and future ambition, I renounce
it for thy sake, and we will escape in company.
Listen to me, Rebecca,'' he said, again
softening his tone; ``England,---Europe,---is not
the world. There are spheres in which we may act,
ample enough even for my ambition. We will go
to Palestine, where Conrade, Marquis of Montserrat,
is my friend---a friend free as myself from
the doting scruples which fetter our free-born reason
----rather with Saladin will we league ourselves,
than endure the scorn of the bigots whom we contemn.
---I will form new paths to greatness,'' he continued,
again traversing the room with hasty strides
---``Europe shall hear the loud step of him she
has driven from her sons!---Not the millions whom
her crusaders send to slaughter, can do so much to
defend Palestine---not the sabres of the thousands
and ten thousands of Saracens can hew their way
so deep into that land for which nations are striving,
as the strength and policy of me and those
brethren, who, in despite of yonder old bigot, will
adhere to me in good and evil. Thou shalt be a
queen, Rebecca---on Mount Carmel shall we pitch
the throne which my valour will gain for you, and
I will exchange my long-desired batoon for a sceptre!''

``A dream,'' said Rebecca; ``an empty vision
of the night, which, were it a waking reality, affects
me not. Enough, that the power which thou mightest
acquire, I will never share; nor hold I so light
of country or religious faith, as to esteem him who
is willing to barter these ties, and cast away the
bonds of the Order of which he is a sworn member,
in order to gratify an unruly passion for the
daughter of another people.---Put not a price on my
deliverance, Sir Knight---sell not a deed of generosity
---protect the oppressed for the sake of charity,
and not for a selfish advantage---Go to the
throne of England; Richard will listen to my appeal
from these cruel men.''

``Never, Rebecca!'' said the Templar, fiercely.
``If I renounce my Order, for thee alone will I renounce
it---Ambition shall remain mine, if thou
refuse my love; I will not be fooled on all hands.
---Stoop my crest to Richard?---ask a boon of that
heart of pride?---Never, Rebecca, will I place the
Order of the Temple at his feet in my person. I
may forsake the Order, I never will degrade or betray
it.''

``Now God be gracious to me,'' said Rebecca,
``for the succour of man is wellnigh hopeless!''

``It is indeed,'' said the Templar; ``for, proud
as thou art, thou hast in me found thy match. If
I enter the lists with my spear in rest, think not
any human consideration shall prevent my putting
forth my strength; and think then upon thine own
fate---to die the dreadful death of the worst of criminals
---to be consumed upon a blazing pile---dispersed
to the elements of which our strange forms
are so mystically composed---not a relic left of
that graceful frame, from which we could say this
lived and moved!---Rebecca, it is not in woman to
sustain this prospect---thou wilt yield to my suit.''

``Bois-Guilbert,'' answered the Jewess, ``thou
knowest not the heart of woman, or hast only conversed
with those who are lost to her best feelings.
I tell thee, proud Templar, that not in thy fiercest
battles hast thou displayed more of thy vaunted
courage, than has been shown by woman when called
upon to suffer by affection or duty. I am myself
a woman, tenderly nurtured, naturally fearful
of danger, and impatient of pain---yet, when we
enter those fatal lists, thou to fight and I to suffer,
I feel the strong assurance within me, that my
courage shall mount higher than thine. Farewell
---I waste no more words on thee; the time that remains
on earth to the daughter of Jacob must be
otherwise spent---she must seek the Comforter,
who may hide his face from his people, but who
ever opens his ear to the cry of those who seek him
in sincerity and in truth.''

``We part then thus?'' said the Templar, after a
short pause; ``would to Heaven that we had never
met, or that thou hadst been noble in birth and
Christian in faith!---Nay, by Heaven! when I
gaze on thee, and think when and how we are next
to meet, I could even wish myself one of thine own
degraded nation; my hand conversant with ingots
and shekels, instead of spear and shield; my head
bent down before each petty noble, and my look
only terrible to the shivering and bankrupt debtor
---this could I wish, Rebecca, to be near to thee in
life, and to escape the fearful share I must have in
thy death.''

``Thou hast spoken the Jew,'' said Rebecca, ``as
the persecution of such as thou art has made him.
Heaven in ire has driven him from his country, but
industry has opened to him the only road to power
and to influence, which oppression has left unbarred.
Read the ancient history of the people of God,
and tell me if those, by whom Jehovah wrought
such marvels among the nations, were then a people
of misers and of usurers!---And know, proud
knight, we number names amongst us to which
your boasted northern nobility is as the gourd compared
with the cedar---names that ascend far back
to those high times when the Divine Presence
shook the mercy-seat between the cherubim, and
which derive their splendour from no earthly prince,
but from the awful Voice, which bade their fathers
be nearest of the congregation to the Vision---Such
were the princes of the House of Jacob.''

Rebecca's colour rose as she boasted the ancient
glories of her race, but faded as she added, with at
sigh, ``Such _were_ the princes of Judah, now such
no more!---They are trampled down like the shorn
grass, and mixed with the mire of the ways. Yet
are there those among them who shame not such
high descent, and of such shall be the daughter of
Isaac the son of Adonikam! Farewell!---I envy
not thy blood-won honours---I envy not thy barbarous
descent from northern heathens---I envy thee
not thy faith, which is ever in thy mouth, but never
in thy heart nor in thy practice.''

``There is a spell on me, by Heaven!'' said Bois-Guilbert.
``I almost think yon besotted skeleton
spoke truth, and that the reluctance with which
I part from thee hath