Part 10 out of 12
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
"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
"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" 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.
of her body as being 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
"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
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
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,*
* "Capul", i.e. horse; in a more limited sense, work-horse.
and I will be at York within as brief space as man and beast
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
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
"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
"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 Coeur-de-Lion, and the tidings that he
hath returned are constant in the land. It may be that he 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
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."
O maid, unrelenting and cold as thou art,
My bosom is proud as thine own.
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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, or there lives
not the knight who hath coped with me in arms on equal issue, or
on terms of vantage, save Richard Coeur-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 has 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 well-nigh 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
"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 something in it more
than is natural.---Fair creature!" he said, approaching near her,
but with great respect,---"so young, so beautiful, so fearless of
death! and yet doomed to die, and with infamy and agony. Who
would not weep for thee?---The tear, that has been a stranger to
these eyelids for twenty years, moistens them as I gaze on thee.
But it must be---nothing may now save thy life. Thou and I are
but the blind instruments of some irresistible fatality, that
hurries us along, like goodly vessels driving before the storm,
which are dashed against each other, and so perish. Forgive me,
then, and let us part, at least, as friends part. I have
assailed thy resolution in vain, and mine own is fixed as the
adamantine decrees of fate."
"Thus," said Rebecca, "do men throw on fate the issue of their
own wild passions. But I do forgive thee, Bois-Guilbert, though
the author of my early death. There are noble things which cross
over thy powerful mind; but it is the garden of the sluggard, and
the weeds have rushed up, and conspired to choke the fair and
"Yes," said the Templar, "I am, Rebecca, as thou hast spoken me,
untaught, untamed---and proud, that, amidst a shoal of empty
fools and crafty bigots, I have retained the preeminent fortitude
that places me above them. I have been a child of battle from my
youth upward, high in my views, steady and inflexible in pursuing
them. Such must I remain---proud, inflexible, and unchanging;
and of this the world shall have proof.---But thou forgivest me,
"As freely as ever victim forgave her executioner."
"Farewell, then," said the Templar, and left the apartment.
The Preceptor Albert waited impatiently in an adjacent chamber
the return of Bois-Guilbert.
"Thou hast tarried long," he said; "I have been as if stretched
on red-hot iron with very impatience. What if the Grand Master,
or his spy Conrade, had come hither? I had paid dear for my
complaisance.---But what ails thee, brother?---Thy step totters,
thy brow is as black as night. Art thou well, Bois-Guilbert?"
"Ay," answered the Templar, "as well as the wretch who is doomed
to die within an hour.---Nay, by the rood, not half so well---for
there be those in such state, who can lay down life like a
cast-off garment. By Heaven, Malvoisin, yonder girl hath
well-nigh unmanned me. I am half resolved to go to the Grand
Master, abjure the Order to his very teeth, and refuse to act the
brutality which his tyranny has imposed on me."
"Thou art mad," answered Malvoisin; "thou mayst thus indeed
utterly ruin thyself, but canst not even find a chance thereby to
save the life of this Jewess, which seems so precious in thine
eyes. Beaumanoir will name another of the Order to defend his
judgment in thy place, and the accused will as assuredly perish
as if thou hadst taken the duty imposed on thee."
"'Tis false---I will myself take arms in her behalf," answered
the Templar, haughtily; "and, should I do so, I think, Malvoisin,
that thou knowest not one of the Order, who will keep his saddle
before the point of my lance."
"Ay, but thou forgettest," said the wily adviser, "thou wilt have
neither leisure nor opportunity to execute this mad project. Go
to Lucas Beaumanoir, and say thou hast renounced thy vow of
obedience, and see how long the despotic old man will leave thee
in personal freedom. The words shall scarce have left thy lips,
ere thou wilt either be an hundred feet under ground, in the
dungeon of the Preceptory, to abide trial as a recreant knight;
or, if his opinion holds concerning thy possession, thou wilt be
enjoying straw, darkness, and chains, in some distant convent
cell, stunned with exorcisms, and drenched with holy water, to
expel the foul fiend which hath obtained dominion over thee.
Thou must to the lists, Brian, or thou art a lost and dishonoured
"I will break forth and fly," said Bois-Guilbert---"fly to some
distant land, to which folly and fanaticism have not yet found
their way. No drop of the blood of this most excellent creature
shall be spilled by my sanction."
"Thou canst not fly," said the Preceptor; "thy ravings have
excited suspicion, and thou wilt not be permitted to leave the
Preceptory. Go and make the essay---present thyself before the
gate, and command the bridge to be lowered, and mark what answer
thou shalt receive.---Thou are surprised and offended; but is it
not the better for thee? Wert thou to fly, what would ensue but
the reversal of thy arms, the dishonour of thine ancestry, the
degradation of thy rank?---Think on it. Where shall thine old
companions in arms hide their heads when Brian de Bois-Guilbert,
the best lance of the Templars, is proclaimed recreant, amid the
hisses of the assembled people? What grief will be at the Court
of France! With what joy will the haughty Richard hear the news,
that the knight that set him hard in Palestine, and well-nigh
darkened his renown, has lost fame and honour for a Jewish girl,
whom he could not even save by so costly a sacrifice!"
"Malvoisin," said the Knight, "I thank thee---thou hast touched
the string at which my heart most readily thrills!---Come of it
what may, recreant shall never be added to the name of
Bois-Guilbert. Would to God, Richard, or any of his vaunting
minions of England, would appear in these lists! But they will
be empty---no one will risk to break a lance for the innocent,
"The better for thee, if it prove so," said the Preceptor; "if no
champion appears, it is not by thy means that this unlucky damsel
shall die, but by the doom of the Grand Master, with whom rests
all the blame, and who will count that blame for praise and
"True," said Bois-Guilbert; "if no champion appears, I am but a
part of the pageant, sitting indeed on horseback in the lists,
but having no part in what is to follow."
"None whatever," said Malvoisin; "no more than the armed image of
Saint George when it makes part of a procession."
"Well, I will resume my resolution," replied the haughty Templar.
"She has despised me---repulsed me---reviled me---And wherefore
should I offer up for her whatever of estimation I have in the
opinion of others? Malvoisin, I will appear in the lists."
He left the apartment hastily as he uttered these words, and the
Preceptor followed, to watch and confirm him in his resolution;
for in Bois-Guilbert's fame he had himself a strong interest,
expecting much advantage from his being one day at the head of
the Order, not to mention the preferment of which Mont-Fitchet
had given him hopes, on condition he would forward the
condemnation of the unfortunate Rebecca. Yet although, in
combating his friend's better feelings, he possessed all the
advantage which a wily, composed, selfish disposition has over a
man agitated by strong and contending passions, it required all
Malvoisin's art to keep Bois-Guilbert steady to the purpose he
had prevailed on him to adopt. He was obliged to watch him
closely to prevent his resuming his purpose of flight, to
intercept his communication with the Grand Master, lest he should
come to an open rupture with his Superior, and to renew, from
time to time, the various arguments by which he endeavoured to
show, that, in appearing as champion on this occasion,
Bois-Guilbert, without either accelerating or ensuring the fate
of Rebecca, would follow the only course by which be could save
himself from degradation and disgrace.
Shadows avaunt!---Richard's himself again.
When the Black Knight---for it becomes necessary to resume the
train of his adventures---left the Trysting-tree of the generous
Outlaw, he held his way straight to a neighbouring religious
house, of small extent and revenue, called the Priory of Saint
Botolph, to which the wounded Ivanhoe had been removed when the
castle was taken, under the guidance of the faithful Gurth, and
the magnanimous Wamba. It is unnecessary at present to mention
what took place in the interim betwixt Wilfred and his deliverer;
suffice it to say, that after long and grave communication,
messengers were dispatched by the Prior in several directions,
and that on the succeeding morning the Black Knight was about to
set forth on his journey, accompanied by the jester Wamba, who
attended as his guide.
"We will meet," he said to Ivanhoe, "at Coningsburgh, the castle
of the deceased Athelstane, since there thy father Cedric holds
the funeral feast for his noble relation. I would see your
Saxon kindred together, Sir Wilfred, and become better acquainted
with them than heretofore. Thou also wilt meet me; and it shall
be my task to reconcile thee to thy father."
So saying, he took an affectionate farewell of Ivanhoe, who
expressed an anxious desire to attend upon his deliverer. But
the Black Knight would not listen to the proposal.
"Rest this day; thou wilt have scarce strength enough to travel
on the next. I will have no guide with me but honest Wamba, who
can play priest or fool as I shall be most in the humour."
"And I," said Wamba, "will attend you with all my heart. I would
fain see the feasting at the funeral of Athelstane; for, if it be
not full and frequent, he will rise from the dead to rebuke cook,
sewer, and cupbearer; and that were a sight worth seeing.
Always, Sir Knight, I will trust your valour with making my
excuse to my master Cedric, in case mine own wit should fail."
"And how should my poor valour succeed, Sir Jester, when thy
ight wit halts?---resolve me that."
"Wit, Sir Knight," replied the Jester, "may do much. He is a
quick, apprehensive knave, who sees his neighbours blind side,
and knows how to keep the lee-gage when his passions are blowing
high. But valour is a sturdy fellow, that makes all split. He
rows against both wind and tide, and makes way notwithstanding;
and, therefore, good Sir Knight, while I take advantage of the
fair weather in our noble master's temper, I will expect you to
bestir yourself when it grows rough."
"Sir Knight of the Fetterlock, since it is your pleasure so to be
distinguished," said Ivanhoe, "I fear me you have chosen a
talkative and a troublesome fool to be your guide. But he knows
every path and alley in the woods as well as e'er a hunter who
frequents them; and the poor knave, as thou hast partly seen, is
as faithful as steel."
"Nay," said the Knight, "an he have the gift of showing my road,
I shall not grumble with him that he desires to make it pleasant.
---Fare thee well, kind Wilfred---I charge thee not to attempt to
travel till to-morrow at earliest."
So saying, he extended his hand to Ivanhoe, who pressed it to his
lips, took leave of the Prior, mounted his horse, and departed,
with Wamba for his companion. Ivanhoe followed them with his
eyes, until they were lost in the shades of the surrounding
forest, and then returned into the convent.
But shortly after matin-song, he requested to see the Prior. The
old man came in haste, and enquired anxiously after the state of
"It is better," he said, "than my fondest hope could have
anticipated; either my wound has been slighter than the effusion
of blood led me to suppose, or this balsam hath wrought a
wonderful cure upon it. I feel already as if I could bear my
corslet; and so much the better, for thoughts pass in my mind
which render me unwilling to remain here longer in inactivity."
"Now, the saints forbid," said the Prior, "that the son of the
Saxon Cedric should leave our convent ere his wounds were healed!
It were shame to our profession were we to suffer it."
"Nor would I desire to leave your hospitable roof, venerable
father," said Ivanhoe, "did I not feel myself able to endure the
journey, and compelled to undertake it."
"And what can have urged you to so sudden a departure?" said the
"Have you never, holy father," answered the Knight, "felt an
apprehension of approaching evil, for which you in vain attempted
to assign a cause?---Have you never found your mind darkened,
like the sunny landscape, by the sudden cloud, which augurs a
coming tempest?---And thinkest thou not that such impulses are
deserving of attention, as being the hints of our guardian
spirits, that danger is impending?"
"I may not deny," said the Prior, crossing himself, "that such
things have been, and have been of Heaven; but then such
communications have had a visibly useful scope and tendency. But
thou, wounded as thou art, what avails it thou shouldst follow
the steps of him whom thou couldst not aid, were he to be
"Prior," said Ivanhoe, "thou dost mistake---I am stout enough to
exchange buffets with any who will challenge me to such a traffic
---But were it otherwise, may I not aid him were he in danger, by
other means than by force of arms? It is but too well known that
the Saxons love not the Norman race, and who knows what may be
the issue, if he break in upon them when their hearts are
irritated by the death of Athelstane, and their heads heated by
the carousal in which they will indulge themselves? I hold his
entrance among them at such a moment most perilous, and I am
resolved to share or avert the danger; which, that I may the
better do, I would crave of thee the use of some palfrey whose
pace may be softer than that of my 'destrier'."*
"Surely," said the worthy churchman; "you shall have mine own
ambling jennet, and I would it ambled as easy for your sake as
that of the Abbot of Saint Albans. Yet this will I say for
Malkin, for so I call her, that unless you were to borrow a ride
on the juggler's steed that paces a hornpipe amongst the eggs,
you could not go a journey on a creature so gentle and
smooth-paced. I have composed many a homily on her back, to the
edification of my brethren of the convent, and many poor
"I pray you, reverend father," said Ivanhoe, "let Malkin be got
ready instantly, and bid Gurth attend me with mine arms."
"Nay, but fair sir," said the Prior, "I pray you to remember that
Malkin hath as little skill in arms as her master, and that I
warrant not her enduring the sight or weight of your full
panoply. O, Malkin, I promise you, is a beast of judgment, and
will contend against any undue weight---I did but borrow the
'Fructus Temporum' from the priest of Saint Bees, and I promise
you she would not stir from the gate until I had exchanged the
huge volume for my little breviary."
"Trust me, holy father," said Ivanhoe, "I will not distress her
with too much weight; and if she calls a combat with me, it is
odds but she has the worst."
This reply was made while Gurth was buckling on the Knight's
heels a pair of large gilded spurs, capable of convincing any
restive horse that his best safety lay in being conformable to
the will of his rider.
The deep and sharp rowels with which Ivanhoe's heels were now
armed, began to make the worthy Prior repent of his courtesy, and
ejaculate,---"Nay, but fair sir, now I bethink me, my Malkin
abideth not the spur---Better it were that you tarry for the mare
of our manciple down at the Grange, which may be had in little
more than an hour, and cannot but be tractable, in respect that
she draweth much of our winter fire-wood, and eateth no corn."
"I thank you, reverend father, but will abide by your first
offer, as I see Malkin is already led forth to the gate. Gurth
shall carry mine armour; and for the rest, rely on it, that as I
will not overload Malkin's back, she shall not overcome my
patience. And now, farewell!"
Ivanhoe now descended the stairs more hastily and easily than his
wound promised, and threw himself upon the jennet, eager to
escape the importunity of the Prior, who stuck as closely to his
side as his age and fatness would permit, now singing the praises
of Malkin, now recommending cautionto the Knight in managing her.
"She is at the most dangerous period for maidens as well as
mares," said the old man, laughing at his own jest, "being barely
in her fifteenth year."
Ivanhoe, who had other web to weave than to stand canvassing a
palfrey's paces with its owner, lent but a deaf ear to the
Prior's grave advices and facetious jests, and having leapt on
his mare, and commanded his squire (for such Gurth now called
himself) to keep close by his side, he followed the track of the
Black Knight into the forest, while the Prior stood at the gate
of the convent looking after him, and ejaculating,---"Saint Mary!
how prompt and fiery be these men of war! I would I had not
trusted Malkin to his keeping, for, crippled as I am with the
cold rheum, I am undone if aught but good befalls her. And yet,"
said he, recollecting himself, "as I would not spare my own old
and disabled limbs in the good cause of Old England, so Malkin
must e'en run her hazard on the same venture; and it may be they
will think our poor house worthy of some munificent guerdon---or,
it may be, they will send the old Prior a pacing nag. And if
they do none of these, as great men will forget little men's
service, truly I shall hold me well repaid in having done that
which is right. And it is now well-nigh the fitting time to
summon the brethren to breakfast in the refectory---Ah! I doubt
they obey that call more cheerily than the bells for primes and
So the Prior of Saint Botolph's hobbled back again into the
refectory, to preside over the stockfish and ale, which was just
serving out for the friars' breakfast. Pursy and important, he
sat him down at the table, and many a dark word he threw out, of
benefits to be expected to the convent, and high deeds of service
done by himself, which, at another season, would have attracted
observation. But as the stockfish was highly salted, and the ale
reasonably powerful, the jaws of the brethren were too anxiously
employed to admit of their making much use of their ears; nor do
we read of any of the fraternity, who was tempted to speculate
upon the mysterious hints of their Superior, except Father
Diggory, who was severely afflicted by the toothache, so that he
could only eat on one side of his jaws.
In the meantime, the Black Champion and his guide were pacing at
their leisure through the recesses of the forest; the good Knight
whiles humming to himself the lay of some enamoured troubadour,
sometimes encouraging by questions the prating disposition of his
attendant, so that their dialogue formed a whimsical mixture of
song and jest, of which we would fain give our readers some idea.
You are then to imagine this Knight, such as we have already
described him, strong of person, tall, broad-shouldered, and
large of bone, mounted on his mighty black charger, which seemed
made on purpose to bear his weight, so easily he paced forward
under it, having the visor of his helmet raised, in order to
admit freedom of breath, yet keeping the beaver, or under part,
closed, so that his features could be but imperfectly
distinguished. But his ruddy embrowned cheek-bones could be
plainly seen, and the large and bright blue eyes, that flashed
from under the dark shade of the raised visor; and the whole
gesture and look of the champion expressed careless gaiety and
fearless confidence---a mind which was unapt to apprehend danger,
and prompt to defy it when most imminent---yet with whom danger
was a familiar thought, as with one whose trade was war and
The Jester wore his usual fantastic habit, but late accidents had
led him to adopt a good cutting falchion, instead of his wooden
sword, with a targe to match it; of both which weapons he had,
notwithstanding his profession, shown himself a skilful master
during the storming of Torquilstone. Indeed, the infirmity of
Wamba's brain consisted chiefly in a kind of impatient
irritability, which suffered him not long to remain quiet in any
posture, or adhere to any certain train of ideas, although he was
for a few minutes alert enough in performing any immediate task,
or in apprehending any immediate topic. On horseback, therefore,
he was perpetually swinging himself backwards and forwards, now
on the horse's ears, then anon on the very rump of the animal,
---now hanging both his legs on one side, and now sitting with
his face to the tail, moping, mowing, and making a thousand apish
gestures, until his palfrey took his freaks so much to heart, as
fairly to lay him at his length on the green grass---an incident
which greatly amused the Knight, but compelled his companion to
ride more steadily thereafter.
At the point of their journey at which we take them up, this
joyous pair were engaged in singing a virelai, as it was called,
in which the clown bore a mellow burden, to the better instructed
Knight of the Fetterlock. And thus run the ditty:---
Anna-Marie, love, up is the sun,
Anna-Marie, love, morn is begun,
Mists are dispersing, love, birds singing free,
Up in the morning, love, Anna-Marie.
Anna-Marie, love, up in the morn,
The hunter is winding blithe sounds on his horn,
The echo rings merry from rock and from tree,
'Tis time to arouse thee, love, Anna-Marie.
O Tybalt, love, Tybalt, awake me not yet,
Around my soft pillow while softer dreams flit,
For what are the joys that in waking we prove,
Compared with these visions, O, Tybalt, my love?
Let the birds to the rise of the mist carol shrill,
Let the hunter blow out his loud horn on the hill,
Softer sounds, softer pleasures, in slumber I prove,---
But think not I dreamt of thee, Tybalt, my love.
"A dainty song," said Wamba, when they had finished their carol,
"and I swear by my bauble, a pretty moral!---I used to sing it
with Gurth, once my playfellow, and now, by the grace of God and
his master, no less than a freemen; and we once came by the
cudgel for being so entranced by the melody, that we lay in bed
two hours after sunrise, singing the ditty betwixt sleeping and
waking---my bones ache at thinking of the tune ever since.
Nevertheless, I have played the part of Anna-Marie, to please
you, fair sir."
The Jester next struck into another carol, a sort of comic ditty,
to which the Knight, catching up the tune, replied in the like
Knight and Wamba.
There came three merry men from south, west, and north,
Ever more sing the roundelay;
To win the Widow of Wycombe forth,
And where was the widow might say them nay?
The first was a knight, and from Tynedale he came,
Ever more sing the roundelay;
And his fathers, God save us, were men of great faine,
And where was the widow might say him nay?
Of his father the laird, of his uncle the squire,
He boasted in rhyme and in roundelay;
She bade him go bask by his sea-coal fire,
For she was the widow would say him nay.
The next that came forth, swore by blood and by nails,
Merrily sing the roundelay;
Hur's a gentleman, God wot, and hur's lineage was of Wales,
And where was the widow might say him nay?
Sir David ap Morgan ap Griffith ap Hugh
Ap Tudor ap Rhice, quoth his roundelay
She said that one widow for so many was too few,
And she bade the Welshman wend his way.
But then next came a yeoman, a yeoman of Kent,
Jollily singing his roundelay;
He spoke to the widow of living and rent,
And where was the widow could say him nay?
So the knight and the squire were both left in the mire,
There for to sing their roundelay;
For a yeoman of Kent, with his yearly rent,
There never was a widow could say him nay.
"I would, Wamba," said the knight, "that our host of the
Trysting-tree, or the jolly Friar, his chaplain, heard this thy
ditty in praise of our bluff yeoman."
"So would not I," said Wamba---"but for the horn that hangs at
"Ay," said the Knight,---"this is a pledge of Locksley's
goodwill, though I am not like to need it. Three mots on this
bugle will, I am assured, bring round, at our need, a jolly band
of yonder honest yeomen."
"I would say, Heaven forefend," said the Jester, "were it not
that that fair gift is a pledge they would let us pass
"Why, what meanest thou?" said the Knight; "thinkest thou that
but for this pledge of fellowship they would assault us?"
"Nay, for me I say nothing," said Wamba; "for green trees have
ears as well as stone walls. But canst thou construe me this,
Sir Knight---When is thy wine-pitcher and thy purse better empty
"Why, never, I think," replied the Knight.
"Thou never deservest to have a full one in thy hand, for so
simple an answer! Thou hadst best empty thy pitcher ere thou
pass it to a Saxon, and leave thy money at home ere thou walk in
"You hold our friends for robbers, then?" said the Knight of the
"You hear me not say so, fair sir," said Wamba; "it may relieve a
man's steed to take of his mail when he hath a long journey to
make; and, certes, it may do good to the rider's soul to ease him
of that which is the root of evil; therefore will I give no hard
names to those who do such services. Only I would wish my mail
at home, and my purse in my chamber, when I meet with these good
fellows, because it might save them some trouble."
"WE are bound to pray for them, my friend, notwithstanding the
fair character thou dost afford them."
"Pray for them with all my heart," said Wamba; "but in the town,
not in the greenwood, like the Abbot of Saint Bees, whom they
caused to say mass with an old hollow oak-tree for his stall."
"Say as thou list, Wamba," replied the Knight, "these yeomen did
thy master Cedric yeomanly service at Torquilstone."
"Ay, truly," answered Wamba; "but that was in the fashion of
their trade with Heaven."
"Their trade, Wamba! how mean you by that?" replied his
"Marry, thus," said the Jester. "They make up a balanced account
with Heaven, as our old cellarer used to call his ciphering, as
fair as Isaac the Jew keeps with his debtors, and, like him, give
out a very little, and take large credit for doing so; reckoning,
doubtless, on their own behalf the seven-fold usury which the
blessed text hath promised to charitable loans."
"Give me an example of your meaning, Wamba,---I know nothing of
ciphers or rates of usage," answered the Knight.
"Why," said Wamba, "an your valour be so dull, you will please to
learn that those honest fellows balance a good deed with one not
quite so laudable; as a crown given to a begging friar with an
hundred byzants taken from a fat abbot, or a wench kissed in the
greenwood with the relief of a poor widow."
"Which of these was the good deed, which was the felony?"
interrupted the Knight.
"A good gibe! a good gibe!" said Wamba; "keeping witty company
sharpeneth the apprehension. You said nothing so well, Sir
Knight, I will be sworn, when you held drunken vespers with the
bluff Hermit.---But to go on. The merry-men of the forest set
off the building of a cottage with the burning of a castle,---the
thatching of a choir against the robbing of a church,---the
setting free a poor prisoner against the murder of a proud
sheriff; or, to come nearer to our point, the deliverance of a
Saxon franklin against the burning alive of a Norman baron.
Gentle thieves they are, in short, and courteous robbers; but it
is ever the luckiest to meet with them when they are at the
"How so, Wamba?" said the Knight.
"Why, then they have some compunction, and are for making up
matters with Heaven. But when they have struck an even balance,
Heaven help them with whom they next open the account! The
travellers who first met them after their good service at
Torquilstone would have a woful flaying.---And yet," said Wamba,
coming close up to the Knight's side, "there be companions who
are far more dangerous for travellers to meet than yonder
"And who may they be, for you have neither bears nor wolves, I
trow?" said the Knight.
"Marry, sir, but we have Malvoisin's men-at-arms," said Wamba;
"and let me tell you, that, in time of civil war, a halfscore of
these is worth a band of wolves at any time. They are now
expecting their harvest, and are reinforced with the soldiers
that escaped from Torquilstone. So that, should we meet with a
band of them, we are like to pay for our feats of arms.---Now, I
pray you, Sir Knight, what would you do if we met two of them?"
"Pin the villains to the earth with my lance, Wamba, if they
offered us any impediment."
"But what if there were four of them?"
"They should drink of the same cup," answered the Knight.
"What if six," continued Wamba, "and we as we now are, barely two
---would you not remember Locksley's horn?"
"What! sound for aid," exclaimed the Knight, "against a score of
such 'rascaille' as these, whom one good knight could drive
before him, as the wind drives the withered leaves?"
"Nay, then," said Wamba, "I will pray you for a close sight of
that same horn that hath so powerful a breath."
The Knight undid the clasp of the baldric, and indulged his
fellow-traveller, who immediately hung the bugle round his own
"Tra-lira-la," said he, whistling the notes; "nay, I know my
gamut as well as another."
"How mean you, knave?" said the Knight; "restore me the bugle."
"Content you, Sir Knight, it is in safe keeping. When Valour and
Folly travel, Folly should bear the horn, because she can blow
"Nay but, rogue," said the Black Knight, "this exceedeth thy
license---Beware ye tamper not with my patience."
"Urge me not with violence, Sir Knight," said the Jester, keeping
at a distance from the impatient champion, "or Folly will show a
clean pair of heels, and leave Valour to find out his way through
the wood as best he may."
"Nay, thou hast hit me there," said the Knight; "and, sooth to
say, I have little time to jangle with thee. Keep the horn an
thou wilt, but let us proceed on our journey."
"You will not harm me, then?" said Wamba.
"I tell thee no, thou knave!"
"Ay, but pledge me your knightly word for it," continued Wamba,
as he approached with great caution.
"My knightly word I pledge; only come on with thy foolish self."
"Nay, then, Valour and Folly are once more boon companions," said
the Jester, coming up frankly to the Knight's side; "but, in
truth, I love not such buffets as that you bestowed on the burly
Friar, when his holiness rolled on the green like a king of the
nine-pins. And now that Folly wears the horn, let Valour rouse
himself, and shake his mane; for, if I mistake not, there are
company in yonder brake that are on the look-out for us."
"What makes thee judge so?" said the Knight.
"Because I have twice or thrice noticed the glance of a motion
from amongst the green leaves. Had they been honest men, they
had kept the path. But yonder thicket is a choice chapel for the
Clerks of Saint Nicholas."
"By my faith," said the Knight, closing his visor, "I think thou
best in the right on't."
And in good time did he close it, for three arrows, flew at the
same instant from the suspected spot against his head and breast,
one of which would have penetrated to the brain, had it not been
turned aside by the steel visor. The other two were averted by
the gorget, and by the shield which hung around his neck.
"Thanks, trusty armourers," said the Knight.---"Wamba, let us
close with them,"---and he rode straight to the thicket. He was
met by six or seven men-at-arms, who ran against him with their
lances at full career. Three of the weapons struck against him,
and splintered with as little effect as if they had been driven
against a tower of steel. The Black Knight's eyes seemed to
flash fire even through the aperture of his visor. He raised
himself in his stirrups with an air of inexpressible dignity, and
exclaimed, "What means this, my masters!"---The men made no other
reply than by drawing their swords and attacking him on every
side, crying, "Die, tyrant!"
"Ha! Saint Edward! Ha! Saint George!" said the Black Knight,
striking down a man at every invocation; "have we traitors here?"
His opponents, desperate as they were, bore back from an arm
which carried death in every blow, and it seemed as if the terror
of his single strength was about to gain the battle against such
odds, when a knight, in blue armour, who had hitherto kept
himself behind the other assailants, spurred forward with his
lance, and taking aim, not at the rider but at the steed, wounded
the noble animal mortally.
"That was a felon stroke!" exclaimed the Black Knight, as the
steed fell to the earth, bearing his rider along with him.
And at this moment, Wamba winded the bugle, for the whole had
passed so speedily, that he had not time to do so sooner. The
sudden sound made the murderers bear back once more, and Wamba,
though so imperfectly weaponed, did not hesitate to rush in and
assist the Black Knight to rise.
"Shame on ye, false cowards!" exclaimed he in the blue harness,
who seemed to lead the assailants, "do ye fly from the empty
blast of a horn blown by a Jester?"
Animated by his words, they attacked the Black Knight anew, whose
best refuge was now to place his back against an oak, and defend
himself with his sword. The felon knight, who had taken another
spear, watching the moment when his formidable antagonist was
most closely pressed, galloped against him in hopes to nail him
with his lance against the tree, when his purpose was again
intercepted by Wamba. The Jester, making up by agility the want
of strength, and little noticed by the men-at-arms, who were
busied in their more important object, hovered on the skirts of
the fight, and effectually checked the fatal career of the Blue
Knight, by hamstringing his horse with a stroke of his sword.
Horse and man went to the ground; yet the situation of the Knight
of the Fetterlock continued very precarious, as he was pressed
close by several men completely armed, and began to be fatigued
by the violent exertions necessary to defend himself on so many
points at nearly the same moment, when a grey-goose shaft
suddenly stretched on the earth one of the most formidable of
his assailants, and a band of yeomen broke forth from the glade,
headed by Locksley and the jovial Friar, who, taking ready and
effectual part in the fray, soon disposed of the ruffians, all
of whom lay on the spot dead or mortally wounded. The Black
Knight thanked his deliverers with a dignity they had not
observed in his former bearing, which hitherto had seemed rather
that of a blunt bold soldier, than of a person of exalted rank.
"It concerns me much," he said, "even before I express my full
gratitude to my ready friends, to discover, if I may, who have
been my unprovoked enemies.---Open the visor of that Blue Knight,
Wamba, who seems the chief of these villains."
The Jester instantly made up to the leader of the assassins, who,
bruised by his fall, and entangled under the wounded steed, lay
incapable either of flight or resistance.
"Come, valiant sir," said Wamba, "I must be your armourer as well
as your equerry---I have dismounted you, and now I will unhelm
So saying, with no very gentle hand he undid the helmet of the
Blue Knight, which, rolling to a distance on the grass, displayed
to the Knight of the Fetterlock grizzled locks, and a countenance
he did not expect to have seen under such circumstances.
"Waldemar Fitzurse!" he said in astonishment; "what could urge
one of thy rank and seeming worth to so foul an undertaking? "
"Richard," said the captive Knight, looking up to him, "thou
knowest little of mankind, if thou knowest not to what ambition
and revenge can lead every child of Adam."
"Revenge?" answered the Black Knight; "I never wronged thee---On
me thou hast nought to revenge."
"My daughter, Richard, whose alliance thou didst scorn---was that
no injury to a Norman, whose blood is noble as thine own?"
"Thy daughter?" replied the Black Knight; "a proper cause of
enmity, and followed up to a bloody issue!---Stand back, my
masters, I would speak to him alone.---And now, Waldemar
Fitzurse, say me the truth---confess who set thee on this
"Thy father's son," answered Waldemar, "who, in so doing, did but
avenge on thee thy disobedience to thy father."
Richard's eyes sparkled with indignation, but his better nature
overcame it. He pressed his hand against his brow, and remained
an instant gazing on the face of the humbled baron, in whose
features pride was contending with shame.
"Thou dost not ask thy life, Waldemar," said the King.
"He that is in the lion's clutch," answered Fitzurse, "knows it
"Take it, then, unasked," said Richard; "the lion preys not on
prostrate carcasses.---Take thy life, but with this condition,
that in three days thou shalt leave England, and go to hide thine
infamy in thy Norman castle, and that thou wilt never mention the
name of John of Anjou as connected with thy felony. If thou art
found on English ground after the space I have allotted thee,
thou diest---or if thou breathest aught that can attaint the
honour of my house, by Saint George! not the altar itself shall
be a sanctuary. I will hang thee out to feed the ravens, from
the very pinnacle of thine own castle.---Let this knight have a
steed, Locksley, for I see your yeomen have caught those which
were running loose, and let him depart unharmed."
"But that I judge I listen to a voice whose behests must not be
disputed," answered the yeoman, "I would send a shaft after the
skulking villain that should spare him the labour of a long
"Thou bearest an English heart, Locksley," said the Black Knight,
"and well dost judge thou art the more bound to obey my behest
---I am Richard of England!"
At these words, pronounced in a tone of majesty suited to the
high rank, and no less distinguished character of Coeur-de-Lion,
the yeomen at once kneeled down before him, and at the same time
tendered their allegiance, and implored pardon for their
"Rise, my friends," said Richard, in a gracious tone, looking on
them with a countenance in which his habitual good-humour had
already conquered the blaze of hasty resentment, and whose
features retained no mark of the late desperate conflict,
excepting the flush arising from exertion,---"Arise," he said,
"my friends!---Your misdemeanours, whether in forest or field,
have been atoned by the loyal services you rendered my distressed
subjects before the walls of Torquilstone, and the rescue you
have this day afforded to your sovereign. Arise, my liegemen,
and be good subjects in future.---And thou, brave Locksley---"
"Call me no longer Locksley, my Liege, but know me under the
name, which, I fear, fame hath blown too widely not to have
reached even your royal ears---I am Robin Hood of Sherwood
* From the ballads of Robin Hood, we learn that this
* celebrated outlaw, when in disguise, sometimes assumed
* the name of Locksley, from a village where he was born,
* but where situated we are not distinctly told.
"King of Outlaws, and Prince of good fellows!" said the King,
"who hath not heard a name that has been borne as far as
Palestine? But be assured, brave Outlaw, that no deed done in
our absence, and in the turbulent times to which it hath given
rise, shall be remembered to thy disadvantage."
"True says the proverb," said Wamba, interposing his word, but
with some abatement of his usual petulance,---
"'When the cat is away,
The mice will play.'"
"What, Wamba, art thou there?" said Richard; "I have been so long
of hearing thy voice, I thought thou hadst taken flight."
"I take flight!" said Wamba; "when do you ever find Folly
separated from Valour? There lies the trophy of my sword, that
good grey gelding, whom I heartily wish upon his legs again,
conditioning his master lay there houghed in his place. It is
true, I gave a little ground at first, for a motley jacket does
not brook lance-heads, as a steel doublet will. But if I fought
not at sword's point, you will grant me that I sounded the
"And to good purpose, honest Wamba," replied the King. "Thy good
service shall not be forgotten."
"'Confiteor! Confiteor!'"---exclaimed, in a submissive tone, a
voice near the King's side---"my Latin will carry me no farther
---but I confess my deadly treason, and pray leave to have
absolution before I am led to execution!"
Richard looked around, and beheld the jovial Friar on his knees,
telling his rosary, while his quarter-staff, which had not been
idle during the skirmish, lay on the grass beside him. His
countenance was gathered so as be thought might best express the
most profound contrition, his eyes being turned up, and the
corners of his mouth drawn down, as Wamba expressed it, like the
tassels at the mouth of a purse. Yet this demure affectation of
extreme penitence was whimsically belied by a ludicrous meaning
which lurked in his huge features, and seemed to pronounce his
fear and repentance alike hypocritical.
"For what art thou cast down, mad Priest?" said Richard; "art
thou afraid thy diocesan should learn how truly thou dost serve
Our Lady and Saint Dunstan?---Tush, man! fear it not; Richard of
England betrays no secrets that pass over the flagon."
"Nay, most gracious sovereign," answered the Hermit, (well known
to the curious in penny-histories of Robin Hood, by the name of
Friar Tuck,) "it is not the crosier I fear, but the sceptre.
---Alas! that my sacrilegious fist should ever have been applied
to the ear of the Lord's anointed!"
"Ha! ha!" said Richard, "sits the wind there?---In truth I had
forgotten the buffet, though mine ear sung after it for a whole
day. But if the cuff was fairly given, I will be judged by the
good men around, if it was not as well repaid---or, if thou
thinkest I still owe thee aught, and will stand forth for another
"By no means," replied Friar Tuck, "I had mine own returned, and
with usury---may your Majesty ever pay your debts as fully!"
"If I could do so with cuffs," said the King, "my creditors
should have little reason to complain of an empty exchequer."
"And yet," said the Friar, resuming his demure hypocritical
countenance, "I know not what penance I ought to perform for that
most sacrilegious blow!------"
"Speak no more of it, brother," said the King; "after having
stood so many cuffs from Paynims and misbelievers, I were void of
reason to quarrel with the buffet of a clerk so holy as he of
Copmanhurst. Yet, mine honest Friar, I think it would be best
both for the church and thyself, that I should procure a license
to unfrock thee, and retain thee as a yeoman of our guard,
serving in care of our person, as formerly in attendance upon the
altar of Saint Dunstan."
"My Liege," said the Friar, "I humbly crave your pardon; and you
would readily grant my excuse, did you but know how the sin of
laziness has beset me. Saint Dunstan---may he be gracious to us!
---stands quiet in his niche, though I should forget my orisons
in killing a fat buck---I stay out of my cell sometimes a night,
doing I wot not what---Saint Dunstan never complains---a quiet
master he is, and a peaceful, as ever was made of wood.---But to
be a yeoman in attendance on my sovereign the King---the honour
is great, doubtless---yet, if I were but to step aside to comfort
a widow in one corner, or to kill a deer in another, it would be,
'where is the dog Priest?' says one. 'Who has seen the accursed
Tuck?' says another. 'The unfrocked villain destroys more
venison than half the country besides,' says one keeper; 'And is
hunting after every shy doe in the country!' quoth a second.
---In fine, good my Liege, I pray you to leave me as you found
me; or, if in aught you desire to extend your benevolence to me,
that I may be considered as the poor Clerk of Saint Dunstan's
cell in Copmanhurst, to whom any small donation will be most
"I understand thee," said the King, "and the Holy Clerk shall
have a grant of vert and venison in my woods of Warncliffe.
Mark, however, I will but assign thee three bucks every season;
but if that do not prove an apology for thy slaying thirty, I am
no Christian knight nor true king."
"Your Grace may be well assured," said the Friar, "that, with the
grace of Saint Dunstan, I shall find the way of multiplying your
most bounteous gift."
"I nothing doubt it, good brother," said the King; "and as
venison is but dry food, our cellarer shall have orders to
deliver to thee a butt of sack, a runlet of Malvoisie, and three
hogsheads of ale of the first strike, yearly---If that will not
quench thy thirst, thou must come to court, and become acquainted
with my butler."
"But for Saint Dunstan?" said the Friar---
"A cope, a stole, and an altar-cloth shalt thou also have,"
continued the King, crossing himself---"But we may not turn our
game into earnest, lest God punish us for thinking more on our
follies than on his honour and worship."
"I will answer for my patron," said the Priest, joyously.
"Answer for thyself, Friar," said King Richard, something
sternly; but immediately stretching out his hand to the Hermit,
the latter, somewhat abashed, bent his knee, and saluted it.
"Thou dost less honour to my extended palm than to my clenched
fist," said the Monarch; "thou didst only kneel to the one, and
to the other didst prostrate thyself."
But the Friar, afraid perhaps of again giving offence by
continuing the conversation in too jocose a style---a false step
to be particularly guarded against by those who converse with
monarchs--- bowed profoundly, and fell into the rear.
At the same time, two additional personages appeared on the
All hail to the lordlings of high degree,
Who live not more happy, though greater than we!
Our pastimes to see,
Under every green tree,
In all the gay woodland, right welcome ye be.
The new comers were Wilfred of Ivanhoe, on the Prior of Botolph's
palfrey, and Gurth, who attended him, on the Knight's own
war-horse. The astonishment of Ivanhoe was beyond bounds, when
he saw his master besprinkled with blood, and six or seven dead
bodies lying around in the little glade in which the battle had
taken place. Nor was he less surprised to see Richard
surrounded by so many silvan attendants, the outlaws, as they
seemed to be, of the forest, and a perilous retinue therefore for
a prince. He hesitated whether to address the King as the Black
Knight-errant, or in what other manner to demean himself towards
him. Richard saw his embarrassment.
"Fear not, Wilfred," he said, "to address Richard Plantagenet as
himself, since thou seest him in the company of true English
hearts, although it may be they have been urged a few steps aside
by warm English blood."
"Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe," said the gallant Outlaw, stepping
forward, "my assurances can add nothing to those of our
sovereign; yet, let me say somewhat proudly, that of men who have
suffered much, he hath not truer subjects than those who now
stand around him."
"I cannot doubt it, brave man," said Wilfred, "since thou art of
the number---But what mean these marks of death and danger? these
slain men, and the bloody armour of my Prince?"
"Treason hath been with us, Ivanhoe," said the King; "but,
thanks to these brave men, treason hath met its meed---But, now I
bethink me, thou too art a traitor," said Richard, smiling; "a
most disobedient traitor; for were not our orders positive, that
thou shouldst repose thyself at Saint Botolph's until thy wound
"It is healed," said Ivanhoe; "it is not of more consequence than
the scratch of a bodkin. But why, oh why, noble Prince, will you
thus vex the hearts of your faithful servants, and expose your
life by lonely journeys and rash adventures, as if it were of no
more value than that of a mere knight-errant, who has no interest
on earth but what lance and sword may procure him?"
"And Richard Plantagenet," said the King, "desires no more fame
than his good lance and sword may acquire him---and Richard
Plantagenet is prouder of achieving an adventure, with only his
good sword, and his good arm to speed, than if he led to battle
a host of an hundred thousand armed men."
"But your kingdom, my Liege," said Ivanhoe, "your kingdom is
threatened with dissolution and civil war---your subjects menaced
with every species of evil, if deprived of their sovereign in
some of those dangers which it is your daily pleasure to incur,
and from which you have but this moment narrowly escaped."
"Ho! ho! my kingdom and my subjects?" answered Richard,
impatiently; "I tell thee, Sir Wilfred, the best of them are most
willing to repay my follies in kind---For example, my very
faithful servant, Wilfred of Ivanhoe, will not obey my positive
commands, and yet reads his king a homily, because he does not
walk exactly by his advice. Which of us has most reason to
upbraid the other?---Yet forgive me, my faithful Wilfred. The
time I have spent, and am yet to spend in concealment, is, as I
explained to thee at Saint Botolph's, necessary to give my
friends and faithful nobles time to assemble their forces, that
when Richard's return is announced, he should be at the head of
such a force as enemies shall tremble to face, and thus subdue
the meditated treason, without even unsheathing a sword.
Estoteville and Bohun will not be strong enough to move forward
to York for twenty-four hours. I must have news of Salisbury
from the south; and of Beauchamp, in Warwickshire; and of Multon
and Percy in the north. The Chancellor must make sure of London.
Too sudden an appearance would subject me to dangers, other than
my lance and sword, though backed by the bow of bold Robin, or
the quarter-staff of Friar Tuck, and the horn of the sage Wamba,
may be able to rescue me from."
Wilfred bowed in submission, well knowing how vain it was to
contend with the wild spirit of chivalry which so often impelled
his master upon dangers which he might easily have avoided, or
rather, which it was unpardonable in him to have sought out. The
young knight sighed, therefore, and held his peace; while
Richard, rejoiced at having silenced his counsellor, though his
heart acknowledged the justice of the charge he had brought
against him, went on in conversation with Robin Hood.---"King of
Outlaws," he said, "have you no refreshment to offer to your
brother sovereign? for these dead knaves have found me both in
exercise and appetite."
"In troth," replied the Outlaw, "for I scorn to lie to your
Grace, our larder is chiefly supplied with---" He stopped, and
was somewhat embarrassed.
"With venison, I suppose?" said Richard, gaily; "better food at
need there can be none---and truly, if a king will not remain at
home and slay his own game, methinks he should not brawl too loud
if he finds it killed to his hand."
"If your Grace, then," said Robin, "will again honour with your
presence one of Robin Hood's places of rendezvous, the venison
shall not be lacking; and a stoup of ale, and it may be a cup of
reasonably good wine, to relish it withal."
The Outlaw accordingly led the way, followed by the buxom
Monarch, more happy, probably, in this chance meeting with Robin
Hood and his foresters, than he would have been in again assuming
his royal state, and presiding over a splendid circle of peers
and nobles. Novelty in society and adventure were the zest of
life to Richard Coeur-de-Lion, and it had its highest relish when
enhanced by dangers encountered and surmounted. In the
lion-hearted King, the brilliant, but useless character, of a
knight of romance, was in a great measure realized and revived;
and the personal glory which he acquired by his own deeds of
arms, was far more dear to his excited imagination, than that
which a course of policy and wisdom would have spread around his
government. Accordingly, his reign was like the course of a
brilliant and rapid meteor, which shoots along the face of
Heaven, shedding around an unnecessary and portentous light,
which is instantly swallowed up by universal darkness; his feats
of chivalry furnishing themes for bards and minstrels, but
affording none of those solid benefits to his country on which
history loves to pause, and hold up as an example to posterity.
But in his present company Richard showed to the greatest
imaginable advantage. He was gay, good-humoured, and fond of
manhood in every rank of life.
Beneath a huge oak-tree the silvan repast was hastily prepared
for the King of England, surrounded by men outlaws to his
government, but who now formed his court and his guard. As the
flagon went round, the rough foresters soon lost their awe for
the presence of Majesty. The song and the jest were exchanged
---the stories of former deeds were told with advantage; and at
length, and while boasting of their successful infraction of the
laws, no one recollected they were speaking in presence of their
natural guardian. The merry King, nothing heeding his dignity
any more than his company, laughed, quaffed, and jested among the
jolly band. The natural and rough sense of Robin Hood led him to
be desirous that the scene should be closed ere any thing should
occur to disturb its harmony, the more especially that he
observed Ivanhoe's brow clouded with anxiety. "We are honoured,"
he said to Ivanhoe, apart, "by the presence of our gallant
Sovereign; yet I would not that he dallied with time, which the
circumstances of his kingdom may render precious."
"It is well and wisely spoken, brave Robin Hood," said Wilfred,
apart; "and know, moreover, that they who jest with Majesty even
in its gayest mood are but toying with the lion's whelp, which,
on slight provocation, uses both fangs and claws."
"You have touched the very cause of my fear," said the Outlaw;
"my men are rough by practice and nature, the King is hasty as
well as good-humoured; nor know I how soon cause of offence may
arise, or how warmly it may be received---it is time this revel
were broken off."
"It must be by your management then, gallant yeoman," said
Ivanhoe; "for each hint I have essayed to give him serves only to
induce him to prolong it."
"Must I so soon risk the pardon and favour of my Sovereign?" said
Robin Hood, pausing for all instant; "but by Saint Christopher,
it shall be so. I were undeserving his grace did I not peril it
for his good.---Here, Scathlock, get thee behind yonder thicket,
and wind me a Norman blast on thy bugle, and without an instant's
delay on peril of your life."
Scathlock obeyed his captain, and in less than five minutes the
revellers were startled by the sound of his horn.
"It is the bugle of Malvoisin," said the Miller, starting to his
feet, and seizing his bow. The Friar dropped the flagon, and
grasped his quarter-staff. Wamba stopt short in the midst of a
jest, and betook himself to sword and target. All the others
stood to their weapons.
Men of their precarious course of life change readily from the
banquet to the battle; and, to Richard, the exchange seemed but a
succession of pleasure. He called for his helmet and the most
cumbrous parts of his armour, which he had laid aside; and while
Gurth was putting them on, he laid his strict injunctions on
Wilfred, under pain of his highest displeasure, not to engage in
the skirmish which he supposed was approaching.
"Thou hast fought for me an hundred times, Wilfred,---and I have
seen it. Thou shalt this day look on, and see how Richard will
fight for his friend and liegeman."
In the meantime, Robin Hood had sent off several of his followers
in different directions, as if to reconnoitre the enemy; and when
he saw the company effectually broken up, he approached Richard,
who was now completely armed, and, kneeling down on one knee,
craved pardon of his Sovereign.
"For what, good yeoman?" said Richard, somewhat impatiently.
"Have we not already granted thee a full pardon for all
transgressions? Thinkest thou our word is a feather, to be blown
backward and forward between us? Thou canst not have had time to
commit any new offence since that time?"
"Ay, but I have though," answered the yeoman, "if it be an
offence to deceive my prince for his own advantage. The bugle
you have heard was none of Malvoisin's, but blown by my
direction, to break off the banquet, lest it trenched upon hours
of dearer import than to be thus dallied with."
He then rose from his knee, folded his arm on his bosom, and in a
manner rather respectful than submissive, awaited the answer of
the King,---like one who is conscious he may have given offence,
yet is confident in the rectitude of his motive. The blood
rushed in anger to the countenance of Richard; but it was the
first transient emotion, and his sense of justice instantly
"The King of Sherwood," he said, "grudges his venison and his
wine-flask to the King of England? It is well, bold Robin!---but
when you come to see me in merry London, I trust to be a less
niggard host. Thou art right, however, good fellow. Let us
therefore to horse and away---Wilfred has been impatient this
hour. Tell me, bold Robin, hast thou never a friend in thy band,
who, not content with advising, will needs direct thy motions,
and look miserable when thou dost presume to act for thyself?"
"Such a one," said Robin, "is my Lieutenant, Little John, who is
even now absent on an expedition as far as the borders of
Scotland; and I will own to your Majesty, that I am sometimes
displeased by the freedom of his councils---but, when I think
twice, I cannot be long angry with one who can have no motive for
his anxiety save zeal for his master's service."
"Thou art right, good yeoman," answered Richard; "and if I had
Ivanhoe, on the one hand, to give grave advice, and recommend it
by the sad gravity of his brow, and thee, on the other, to trick
me into what thou thinkest my own good, I should have as little
the freedom of mine own will as any king in Christendom or
Heathenesse.---But come, sirs, let us merrily on to Coningsburgh,
and think no more on't."
Robin Hood assured them that he had detached a party in the
direction of the road they were to pass, who would not fail to
discover and apprize them of any secret ambuscade; and that he
had little doubt they would find the ways secure, or, if
otherwise, would receive such timely notice of the danger as
would enable them to fall back on a strong troop of archers, with
which he himself proposed to follow on the same route.
The wise and attentive precautions adopted for his safety touched
Richard's feelings, and removed any slight grudge which he might
retain on account of the deception the Outlaw Captain had
practised upon him. He once more extended his hand to Robin
Hood, assured him of his full pardon and future favour, as well
as his firm resolution to restrain the tyrannical exercise of the
forest rights and other oppressive laws, by which so many English
yeomen were driven into a state of rebellion. But Richard's good
intentions towards the bold Outlaw were frustrated by the King's
untimely death; and the Charter of the Forest was extorted from
the unwilling hands of King John when he succeeded to his heroic
brother. As for the rest of Robin Hood's career, as well as the
tale of his treacherous death, they are to be found in those
black-letter garlands, once sold at the low and easy rate of one
"Now cheaply purchased at their weight in gold."
The Outlaw's opinion proved true; and the King, attended by
Ivanhoe, Gurth, and Wamba, arrived, without any interruption,
within view of the Castle of Coningsburgh, while the sun was yet
in the horizon.
There are few more beautiful or striking scenes in England, than
are presented by the vicinity of this ancient Saxon fortress.
The soft and gentle river Don sweeps through an amphitheatre, in
which cultivation is richly blended with woodland, and on a
mount, ascending from the river, well defended by walls and
ditches, rises this ancient edifice, which, as its Saxon name
implies, was, previous to the Conquest, a royal residence of the
kings of England. The outer walls have probably been added by the
Normans, but the inner keep bears token of very great antiquity.
It is situated on a mount at one angle of the inner court, and
forms a complete circle of perhaps twenty-five feet in diameter.
The wall is of immense thickness, and is propped or defended by
six huge external buttresses which project from the circle, and
rise up against the sides of the tower is if to strengthen or to
support it. These massive buttresses are solid when they arise
from the foundation, and a good way higher up; but are hollowed
out towards the top, and terminate in a sort of turrets
communicating with the interior of the keep itself. The distant
appearance of this huge building, with these singular