Retold by Sir Edward Sullivan
At the time when King Richard, of the Lion Heart, was absent from
his country, and a prisoner in the power of the perfidious and
cruel Duke of Austria, there lived in England a highborn Saxon,
named Cedric. He was one of the few native princes who still
continued to occupy the home of his fathers; but, like many more
of the conquered English people, he had felt the tyranny and
oppressive insolence of the haughty Norman barons. He was a man of
great personal strength, possessed of a hasty and choleric temper,
but he had shrewdly refrained from showing any open hostility to
the successors of the Conqueror; and so contrived to maintain his
ancient state in his mansion at Rotherwood, while many others in a
similar situation had been compelled to give up their homes and
properties to the supporters of the Norman invader.
He had an only son, Wilfred by name, with whom he had quarrelled;
and the young man, finding himself disinherited, had adopted the
profession of a champion of the Cross, and sailed away to
Palestine with the army of the Crusaders.
One evening, in the autumn of the year, Cedric was about to sit
down to supper in the old hall at Rotherwood, when the blast of a
horn was heard at his gate. In a few minutes after, a warder
announced that the Prior Aymer, of Jorvaulx, and the good knight
Brian de Bois-Guilbert, commander of the valiant order of Knights
Templars, with a small retinue, requested hospitality and lodging
for the night, being on their way to a tournament which was to be
held not far from Ashby-de-la-Zouche.
"Normans both," muttered Cedric; "but they are welcome to the
hospitality of Rotherwood. Admit them."
The noble guests were ushered in shortly after, accompanied by
their attendants, and Cedric bade them welcome to his hall.
When the repast was about to begin, the steward, suddenly raising
his wand, said aloud: "Forbear! Place for the Lady Rowena." As he
spoke a side-door at the upper end of the hall opened, and Rowena,
the fair and stately ward of Cedric, followed by four female
attendants, entered the apartment. All stood up to receive her,
and replying to their courtesy by a mute gesture of salutation,
she moved gracefully forward to assume her place at the board,
while the eyes of Brian de Bois-Guilbert seemed to be riveted by
the striking beauty of her face.
As the banquet went on, conversation was interrupted by the
entrance of a page, who announced that there was a stranger at the
gate imploring admittance and hospitality.
"Admit him," said Cedric, "be he who or what he may."
The page retired; and returning shortly after, whispered into the
ear of his master:
"It is a Jew, who calls himself Isaac of York."
"St. Mary!" said the abbot, crossing himself, "an unbelieving Jew,
and admitted into this presence!"
"A dog Jew," echoed the Templar, "to approach a defender of the
"Peace, my worthy guests," said Cedric; "my hospitality must not
be bounded by your dislikes. Let him have a board and a morsel
Introduced with little ceremony, and advancing with fear and
hesitation, and many a bow of deep humility, a tall thin old man,
with an aquiline nose and piercing black eyes, approached the
lower end of the board. Cedric nodded coldly in answer to his
repeated salutations, and signed to him to take a place at the
lower end of the table, where, however, no one offered to make
room for him.
A pilgrim, at length, who sat by the chimney, took compassion upon
him, and resigned his seat, saying briefly, "Old man, my garments
are dried, my hunger is appeased, thou art both wet and fasting."
And, so saying, he placed some food before the Jew on the small
table at which he had himself supped, and, without waiting for the
old man's thanks, went to the other side of the hall.
As the feast proceeded, a discussion arose amongst the banqueters
as to which knights had borne them best in Palestine among the
champions of the Cross. De Bois-Guilbert seemed to speak
slightingly of the English warriors, while giving the place of
honour to the Knights of the Temple.
"The English chivalry were second to NONE" said the pilgrim, who
had listened to this conversation with marked impatience. "SECOND
to NONE, I say, who ever drew sword in defence of the Holy Land. I
say, besides, for I saw it, that King Richard himself and five of
his knights held a tournament after the taking of St. John-de-
Acre, as challengers, and proved themselves superior to all
The swarthy countenance of the Templar grew darker with a bitter
scowl of rage as he listened to these words; but his angry
confusion became only more marked as the pilgrim went on to give
the names of the English knights who had so distinguished
themselves. He paused as he came to the name of the sixth.
"His name dwells not in my memory," he said; "but he was a young
knight of lesser renown and lower rank."
"Sir palmer," said Brian de Bois-Guilbert scornfully, "this
assumed forgetfulness, after so much has been remembered, comes
too late to serve your purpose. I will myself tell the name of the
knight before whose lance I fell: it was the Knight of Ivanhoe;
nor was there one of the six that, for his years, had more renown
in arms. Yet this will I say, and loudly, that, were he in
England, I would gladly meet him in this week's tournament,
mounted and armed as I now am."
"If Ivanhoe ever returns from Palestine I will be his surety that
he meets you," replied the palmer.
Not long after, the grace-cup was served round, and the guests,
after making deep obeisance to their landlord and the Lady
Rowena, arose, and retired with their attendants for the night.
As the palmer was being guided to his chamber he was met by the
waiting-maid of Rowena, who informed him that her mistress desired
to speak with him.
A short passage and an ascent of some steps led him to the lady's
As the pilgrim entered she ordered her attendants, excepting only
one, to retire.
"Pilgrim," said the lady, after a moment's pause, during which she
seemed uncertain how to address him, "you this night mentioned a
name—I mean the name of Ivanhoe—I would gladly hear news of him.
Where and in what condition did you leave him?"
"I know little of the Knight of Ivanhoe," answered the palmer with
a troubled voice. "He hath, I believe, surmounted the persecution
of his enemies in Palestine, and is on the eve of returning to
The Lady Rowena sighed deeply.
"Would to God," she then said, "he were here safely arrived, and
able to bear arms in the approaching tourney. Should Athelstane of
Coningsburgh obtain the prize, Ivanhoe is like to hear evil
tidings when he reaches England."
Finding that there was no further information to be obtained about
the knight, in whose fate she seemed to take so deep an interest,
she bade her maidens to offer the sleeping-cup to the holy man,
and having presented him with a piece of gold, wished him good-
As the palmer was being conducted to his room he inquired of his
attendant where Isaac the Jew was sleeping, and learned that he
occupied the room next to his own.
As soon as it was dawn the pilgrim entered the small apartment
where the Jew was still asleep. Stirring him with his pilgrim's
staff, he told him that he should rise without delay, and leave
the mansion. "When the Templar crossed the hall yesternight," he
continued, "I heard him speak to his Mussulman slaves in the
Saracen language, which I well understand, and he charged them to
watch the journey of the Jew, to seize upon him when at a
convenient distance from the mansion, and to conduct him to the
castle of Philip de Malvoisin, or to that of Reginald Front-de-
It is impossible to describe the extremity of terror which seized
upon the Jew at this information. He knew only too well of the
relentless persecution to which his kindred were subjected at this
period, and how, upon the slightest and most unreasonable
pretences, their persons and their property were exposed to every
turn of popular fury.
He rose, accordingly, in haste.
It was not, however, such an easy matter to make their exit from
the mansion. Gurth, the swineherd, a servant of much importance at
that time, when appealed to open the gate, refused to let the
visitors out at such an unseasonable hour.
"Nevertheless," said the pilgrim, "you will not, I think, refuse
me that favour."
So saying, he whispered something in his ear in Saxon. Gurth
started as if electrified, and hastened at once to procure their
mules for the travellers, and to open the postern gate to let them
As the pilgrim mounted, he reached his hand to Gurth, who kissed
it with the utmost possible veneration. The two travellers were
soon lost under the boughs of the forest path.
They continued their journey at great speed; and the Jew noticed
with amazement that the palmer appeared to be familiar with every
path and outlet of the wood. When they had travelled some distance
from Rotherwood, and were approaching the town of Sheffield, the
Jew expressed a wish to recompense the palmer for the interest he
had taken in his affairs.
"I desire no recompense," answered his fellow traveller.
"Yet I can tell thee something thou lackest," said Isaac, "and, it
may be, supply it too. Thy wish even now is for a horse and
The palmer started.
"What fiend prompted that guess?" said he hastily.
"Under that palmer's gown," replied the Jew, "is hidden a knight's
chain and spurs of gold. I saw them as you stooped over my bed
Without waiting to hear his companion's reply, he wrote some words
in Hebrew on a piece of paper, and handed it to the pilgrim,
"In the town of Leicester all men know the rich Jew, Kirjath
Jairam of Lombardy; give him this scroll, and he will give thee
everything that can furnish thee forth for the tournament; when it
is over thou wilt return them safely. But hark thee, good youth,
thrust thyself not too forward in this vain hurly-burly. I speak
not for endangering the steed and coat of armour, but for the sake
of thine own life and limbs."
"Gramercy for thy caution," said the palmer, smiling; "I will use
thy courtesy frankly—and it will go hard with me but I will
They then parted, and took different roads for the town of
When the morning of the tournament arrived the field of contest at
Ashby-de-la-Zouche presented a brilliant and romantic scene. On
the verge of a wood was an extensive meadow, of the finest and
most beautiful green turf, surrounded on one side by the forest,
and fringed on the other by straggling oak-trees. The ground, as
if fashioned on purpose for the martial display which was
intended, sloped gradually down on all sides to a level bottom,
which was enclosed for the lists with strong palisades. At each
end of the enclosure two heralds were stationed, and a strong body
of men-at-arms, for maintaining order and ascertaining the quality
of the knights who proposed to engage in the contest.
On a platform beyond the southern entrance were pitched five
magnificent pavilions, adorned with pennons of russet and black—
the chosen colours of the five knights challengers. That in the
centre, as the place of honour, had been assigned to Brian de
Bois-Guilbert, whose renown in all games of chivalry had
occasioned him to be adopted as the chief and leader of the
Outside the lists were galleries, spread with tapestry and
carpets, for the convenience of the ladies and nobles who were
expected to attend the tournament. Another gallery raised higher
than the rest, and opposite to the spot where the shock of combat
was to take place, was decorated with much magnificence, and
graced by a sort of throne and canopy, on which the royal arms
were emblazoned. Squires, pages, and yeomen, in rich liveries,
waited around the place of honour, which was designed for Prince
John, the brother of the absent king, and his attendants. Opposite
to this royal gallery was another, even more gaily decorated,
reserved as the seat of honour for the Queen of Beauty and of
Love. But who was to fill the place on the present occasion no one
was prepared to guess.
Gradually the galleries became filled with knights, nobles and
ladies, while the lower space was crowded with yeomen and
Amongst the latter was Isaac the Jew, richly and magnificently
dressed, and accompanied by his daughter, the beautiful Rebecca,
whose exquisite form, shown to advantage by a becoming Eastern
dress, did not escape the quick eye of the prince himself, as he
rode by at the head of his numerous and gaily-dressed train.
As the prince assumed his throne, he gave signal to the heralds to
proclaim the laws of the tournament, which were briefly as
First: The five challengers were to undertake all comers.
Secondly: Any knight might select any antagonist for combat by
touching his shield. If he did so with the reverse of his lance,
the trial of skill was made with what were called the arms of
courtesy, that is, with lances at whose extremity a piece of round
flat board was fixed, so that no danger was encountered, save from
the shock of the horses and riders. But if the shield was touched
with the sharp end of the lance, the knights were to fight as in
Thirdly: The knight whom the prince should declare to be the
victor was to receive as prize a war-horse of exquisite beauty and
matchless strength, and in addition to this reward, he should have
the peculiar honour of naming the Queen of Love and Beauty.
When the proclamation was made the heralds retired, and through
the open barriers five knights advanced slowly into the arena.
Approaching the challengers, each touched slightly, and with the
reverse of his lance, the shield of the antagonist to whom he
wished to oppose himself, and then retreated to the extremity of
the lists, where all remained drawn up in a line.
At the flourish of clarions and trumpets they started out against
each other at full gallop; and such was the superior skill or good
fortune of the challengers, that those opposed to Bois-Guilbert,
Malvoisin, and Front-de-Boeuf rolled on the ground. The antagonist
of Grantmesnil broke his spear; while the fifth knight alone
maintained the honour of his party.
A second and third party of knights took the field, and although
they had various success, yet, upon the whole, the advantage
decidedly remained with the challengers, not one of whom lost his
seat. A fourth combat followed; and here, too, the challengers
came off victorious.
Prince John now began to talk of awarding the prize to Brian de
Bois-Guilbert, who had proved himself to be the best of the Norman
knights; but his attention, and that of the other spectators, was
arrested by the sound of a solitary trumpet, which breathed a note
of defiance from the northern end of the enclosure.
All eyes were turned to see the new champion, and no sooner were
the barriers opened than he paced into the lists. His suit of
armour was formed of steel, richly inlaid with gold, and the
device on his shield was a young oak-tree pulled up by the roots,
with the word "Disinherited" inscribed upon it. Riding straight up
to Brian de Bois-Guilbert, he struck with the sharp end of his
spear the shield of the victorious Norman until it rang again. All
stood astonished at his presumption, but none more than the
redoubted knight whom he had thus defied to mortal combat.
When the two champions stood opposed to each other at the two
extremities of the lists the public expectation was strained to
The trumpets had no sooner given the signal than the combatants
vanished from their posts with the speed of lightning, and closed
in the centre of the lists with the shock of a thunderbolt. The
lances burst into shivers, both the knights being almost unhorsed.
Retiring to the extremity of the lists, each received a fresh
lance from the attendants; and again, amidst a breathless silence,
they sprung from their stations, and closed in the centre of the
open space, with the same speed, the same dexterity, the same
violence, but not the same equal fortune, as before.
The Norman's spear, striking the centre of his antagonist's
shield, went to shivers, and the Disinherited Knight reeled in his
saddle. On the other hand, the unknown champion had aimed his
spear's point at the helmet of his opponent. Fair and true he hit
the Norman on the visor, and saddle, horse, and man rolled on the
ground under a cloud of dust.
"We shall meet again, I trust," said the defeated champion, as he
extricated himself from the stirrups and fallen steed.
"If we do not," said the Disinherited Knight, "the fault will not
be mine. On foot or horseback, with spear, with axe, or with
sword, I am alike ready to encounter thee."
Without alighting from his horse, the conqueror called for a bowl
of wine, and, opening the beaver of his helmet, announced that he
quaffed it "To all true English hearts, and to the confusion of
He then desired a herald to proclaim that he was willing to
encounter the rest of the challengers in the order in which they
pleased to advance against him.
The gigantic Front-de-Boeuf, armed in sable armour, was the first
who took the field. But he was soon defeated.
Sir Philip Malvoisin next advanced; and against him the stranger
was equally successful. De Grantmesnil soon after avowed himself
vanquished; and Ralph de Vipont summed up the list of the
stranger's triumphs, being hurled to the ground with such force
that he was borne senseless from the lists.
The acclamations of thousands applauded the award of the prince,
announcing that day's honours to the Disinherited Knight.
The marshal of the field now approached the victor, praying him to
suffer his helmet to be unlaced, ere they conducted him to receive
the prize of the day's tourney from the hands of Prince John. But
the Disinherited Knight, with all courtesy, declined their
request. The prince himself made many inquiries of those in his
company about the unknown stranger; but none could guess who he
might be. Someone suggested that it might, perhaps, be King
Richard himself; and John turned deadly pale as he heard the
words, for he had been plotting to seize the throne during his
The victorious knight received his prize, speaking not a word in
reply to the complimentary expressions of the prince, which he
only acknowledged with a low bow. Leaping into the saddle of the
richly-accoutred steed which had been presented to him, he rode up
to where the Lady Rowena was seated, and, heedless of the many
Norman beauties who graced the contest with their presence,
gracefully sinking the point of his lance he deposited the coronet
which it supported at the feet of the fair Saxon. The trumpets
instantly sounded, while the heralds proclaimed the Lady Rowena
the Queen of Beauty and of Love for the ensuing day.
Soon after the vast multitude had retired from the deserted field
and lights began to glimmer through the twilight, announcing the
toil of the armourers, which was to continue through the whole
night in order to repair or alter the suits of armour to be used
again on the morrow.
The next day dawned in unclouded splendour, and at ten o'clock the
whole plain was crowded with horsemen, horsewomen, and foot-
passengers, hastening to the tournament; and shortly after a grand
flourish of trumpets announced the arrival of Prince John and his
About the same time arrived Cedric the Saxon with the Lady Rowena.
He had been accompanied on the previous day by another noble
Saxon, Athelstane, Lord of Coningsburgh, a suitor for the hand of
Rowena, and one who considered his union with that lady as a
matter already fixed beyond doubt, by the assent of Cedric and her
other friends. Rowena herself, however, had never given her
consent to such an alliance; and entertained but a poor opinion of
her would-be lover, whose pretensions for her hand she had
received with marked disdain. Her Saxon lover was not one of her
party at the tourney on the second day. He had observed with
displeasure that Rowena was selected by the victor on the
preceding day as the object of that honour which it became his
privilege to confer, and Athelstane, confident of his own strength
and skill, had himself donned his armour with a determination to
make his rival feel the weight of his battle-axe.
The combat on the second day of the tournament was on a much more
extended scale than that of the previous one; and when the signal
for battle was given some fifty knights, at the same moment,
charged wildly at each other in the lists. The champions
encountered each other with the utmost fury, and with alternate
success; the tide of battle seeming to flow now toward the
southern, now toward the northern extremity of the lists as the
one or the other party prevailed. The clang of the blows, and the
shouts of the combatants, mixed fearfully with the sound of the
trumpets, and drowned the groans of those who fell, and lay
rolling beneath the feet of the horses. The splendid armour of the
knights was now defaced with dust and blood, and gave way at every
stroke of the sword and battle-axe; while the gay plumage, shorn
from the crests, drifted upon the breeze like snowflakes.
In the thick of the press and turmoil of the fight Bois-Guilbert
and the Disinherited Knight repeatedly endeavoured to single out
each other, spurred by mutual animosity. Such, however, was the
crowd and confusion that, during the earlier part of the conflict,
their efforts to meet were unavailing. But when the field became
thin, by the numbers on either side who had yielded themselves
vanquished or had been rendered incapable of continuing the
strife, the Templar and the unknown knight at length encountered,
hand to hand, with all the fury that mortal animosity, joined to
rivalry of honour, could inspire. Such was the skill of each in
parrying and striking that the spectators broke forth into a
unanimous and involuntary shout of delight and admiration.
But at this moment the party of the Disinherited Knight had the
worst. Front-de-Boeuf and Athelstane, having defeated those
immediately opposed to them, were now free to come to the aid of
their friend the Templar; and, turning their horses at the same
moment, the two spurred against the Disinherited Knight.
This champion, exposed as he was to the furious assaults of three
opponents each of whom was almost a match for him single-handed,
must now have soon been overpowered when an unexpected incident
changed the fortunes of the day.
Amongst the ranks of the Disinherited Knight was a champion in
black armour, mounted on a black horse, whose shield bore no
device of any kind. He had engaged with some few combatants, and
had easily defeated them during the earlier stages of the contest,
but seemed to take no further interest in the event of the fight,
acting the part rather of a spectator than of a party in the
The moment, however, he saw his leader so hard bestead he seemed
to throw aside his apathy, and setting spurs to his horse he came
to his assistance like a thunderbolt, exclaiming, in a voice like
a trumpet call, "Disinherited to the rescue!"
Under the fury of his first stroke, Front-de-Boeuf, horse and all,
rolled stunned to the ground. He then turned his steed upon
Athelstane, and, wrenching from the hand of the bulky Saxon the
battle-axe which he wielded, bestowed him such a blow upon the
crest, that the Lord of Coningsburgh also lay senseless on the
field. Having achieved this double feat, he returned calmly to the
extremity of the lists, leaving his leader to cope as best he
could with Brian de Bois-Guilbert. This was no longer matter of so
much difficulty as formerly. The Templar's horse had bled much,
and gave way under the shock of the Disinherited Knight's charge.
As Bois-Guilbert rolled on the field, his antagonist sprung from
horseback, and was in the act of commanding his adversary to yield
or die, when Prince John gave the signal that the conflict was at
It being now the duty of the prince to name the knight who had
done best, he determined, although contrary to the advice of those
about him, that the honour of the day remained with the Black
To the surprise of all present, however, the knight thus preferred
was nowhere to be found. He had left the lists immediately when
the conflict ceased, and had been observed by some spectators to
move slowly down one of the forest glades. After he had been
summoned twice by sound of trumpet, it became necessary to name
another; and the Disinherited Knight was for the second time named
champion of the day.
As the victor was led towards the throne of the Lady Rowena, it
was observed that he tottered. Rowena was about to place the
chaplet which she held in her hand upon the helmet of the champion
who kneeled before her, when the marshals exclaimed, "It must not
be thus, his head must be bare;" and at once removed his helmet.
The features which were exposed were those of a young man of
twenty-five; but his countenance was as pale as death, and marked
in one or two places with streaks of blood.
Rowena had no sooner beheld him than she uttered a faint shriek;
but at once summoning up all her energies, she placed upon the
drooping head of the victor the splendid chaplet which was the
destined reward of the day.
The knight bent low, and kissed the hand of the lovely Sovereign
by whom his valour had been rewarded; and then, sinking yet
farther forward, lay prostrate at her feet.
There was a general consternation. Cedric, who had been struck
mute by the sudden appearance of his banished son, now rushed
forward, as if to separate him from Rowena. But this had been
already accomplished by the marshals of the field, who, guessing
the cause of Ivanhoe's swoon, had hastened to undo his armour, and
found that the head of a lance had penetrated his breast-plate and
inflicted a wound in his side.
The name of Ivanhoe was no sooner pronounced than it flew from
mouth to mouth throughout the vast assembly. It was not long ere
it reached the circle of the prince, whose brow darkened as he
heard the news. He knew that Ivanhoe had been a close attendant on
his brother King Richard in the Holy Land; and as such he looked
upon him as his own enemy. He was about to give the signal for
retiring from the lists, when a small billet was put into his
hand. He broke the seal with apparent agitation, and read the
words, "Take heed to yourself, for the devil is unchained."
He turned as pale as death; and taking two of his courtiers aside,
he put the billet into their hands. "It means," he said in a
faltering voice, "that my brother Richard has obtained his
"It is time, then," said Fitzurse, his confidential attendant, "to
draw our party to a head, and prepare our forces to meet him."
In sullen ill-humour the prince left the place of tournament to
hold high festival at the Castle of Ashby; but it was more than
his courtiers could do to rouse him from the overpowering gloom
which seemed to agitate his mind throughout the evening. On the
next day it was settled that the prince and all those who were
ready to support him should attend a meeting at York for the
purpose of making general arrangements for placing the crown upon
the head of the usurper, and ousting King Richard from his
Meanwhile, Cedric the Saxon, when he saw his son drop down
senseless in the lists at Ashby, had given orders, half in pity,
half in anger, to his attendants to convey Ivanhoe to a place
where his wound might be dressed as soon as the crowd had
dispersed. The attendants were, however, anticipated in this good
office. The crowd dispersed, indeed, but the knight was nowhere to
be seen. The only information which could be collected from the
bystanders was, that he had been raised with care by certain well-
attired grooms, and placed in a litter belonging to a lady among
the spectators, in which he had immediately been transported out
of the press.
Cedric and his friends, having seen the last of the tournament and
the festivities which followed it, now set out on their return to
Rotherwood. Their way lay through a thickly-wooded country, which
was at the time held to be dangerous to travellers from the number
of outlaws whom oppression and poverty had driven to despair, and
who occupied the forests in large bands. From these rovers,
however, Cedric and Athelstane accounted themselves secure, as
they had in attendance ten servants. They knew, besides, that the
outlaws were chiefly peasants and yeomen of Saxon descent, and
were generally supposed to respect the persons and property of
As the travellers journeyed on their way, they were alarmed by
repeated cries for assistance; and when they rode up to the place
from whence they came, they were surprised to find a horse-litter
placed upon the ground, beside which sat a young woman, richly
dressed in the Jewish fashion, while an old man, whose yellow cap
proclaimed him to belong to the same nation, walked up and down,
wringing his hands, as if affected by some strange disaster.
It was some time before Isaac of York, for it was he, could
explain the nature of his trouble. When at length he began to come
to himself out of his agony of terror, he said that he had hired a
body-guard of six men at Ashby, together with mules for carrying
the litter of a sick friend; but that they all had fled away from
him, having heard that there was a strong band of outlaws lying
in wait in the woods before them. When he implored permission to
continue his journey under the protection of Cedric and his party,
Athelstane was strongly opposed to allowing the "dog of a Jew," as
he called him, to travel in their company. The Lady Rowena,
however, had at the same time been approached by the old man's
daughter, who, kissing the hem of her garment, implored her to
have compassion on them. "It is not for myself that I pray this
favour," said Rebecca; "nor is it even for that poor old man; but
it is in the name of one dear to many, and dear even to you, that
I beseech you to let this sick person be transported with care and
tenderness under your protection."
So noble and solemn was the air with which Rebecca made this
appeal, that on the intercession of Rowena Cedric readily
consented to allow the Jew and his daughter, together with their
sick friend, to attach themselves to his party.
Twilight was already coming on as the company proceeded on their
journey. The path upon which the party travelled was now so narrow
as not to admit above two riders abreast. They accordingly
quickened their pace, in order to get as rapidly as possible out
of the dangerous neighborhood which they were traversing. They had
just crossed a' brook, whose banks were broken, swampy, and
overgrown with dwarf willows, when they were assailed in front,
flank and rear by a large body of men in the dress of outlaws, and
with an impetuosity to which, in their confused and ill-prepared
condition, it was impossible to offer effectual resistance. Both
the Saxon chiefs were made prisoners at the same moment, while the
attendants, embarrassed with baggage, surprised and terrified at
the fate of their masters, fell an easy prey to the assailants;
and the Lady Rowena, the Jew and his daughter experienced the same
misfortune. Wamba, the jester, alone escaped, showing upon the
occasion much more courage than those who pretended to greater
sense. As he wandered through the forest, a dog, which he
recognised, jumped up and fawned upon him, and Gurth, the
swineherd, shortly after made his appearance. He was horrified to
hear from his fellow-servant of the misfortune which had befallen
their master and his party; and the two were about to hasten away
for the purpose of procuring aid, when a third person suddenly
appeared, and commanded them both to halt. Notwithstanding the
twilight, and although his dress and arms showed him to be an
outlaw, Wamba recognised him to be Locksley, the yeoman, a man who
had carried off the prize for archery at the tournament a day or
"What is the meaning of all this," he said; "or who is it that
rifle and ransom and make prisoners in these forests?"
The yeoman then left, bidding Gurth and Wamba, on the peril of
their lives, not to stir until he returned.
He was not long away, and on returning said that he had found out
who the attacking party were and whither they were bound.
"Cedric the Saxon," he said, "the friend of the rights of
Englishmen, shall not want English hands to help him in this
extremity. Come, then, with me, until I gather more aid."
So saying, he walked through the wood at a great pace, followed by
the jester and the swineherd.
It was after three hours' good walking that the servants of
Cedric, with their mysterious guide, arrived at a small opening in
the forest. Beneath an enormous oak-tree several yeomen lay
stretched on the ground, while another, as sentinel, walked to and
fro in the moonlight shade. Locksley, on being recognised, was
welcomed with every token of respect and attachment; and he at
once gave orders to collect what force they could.
"A set of gallants," he said, "who have been masquerading in such
guise as our own, are carrying a band of prisoners to Torquilstone,
the castle of Front-de-Boeuf. Our honour is concerned to punish
them, and we will find means to do so."
In the meantime Cedric and the other prisoners had been hurried
along by Bois-Guilbert and De Bracy, and safely lodged in the
strong and ancient castle of Reginald Front-de-Boeuf. Once within
the castle, the prisoners were separated. Cedric and Athelstane
were confined in one apartment, the Lady Rowena in another, while
the poor Jew was hastily thrust into a dungeon-vault, the floor of
which was deep beneath the level of the ground, and his daughter
Rebecca was locked into a cell in a distant and sequestered
The dungeon occupied by Isaac of York was dark and damp. Chains
and shackles, which had been the portion of former captives, hung
rusted on the gloomy walls, and in the rings of one of those sets
of fetters there remained the mouldering bones of some unhappy
prisoner who had been left to perish there in other days. At one
end of this ghastly apartment was a large fire-grate, over the top
of which were stretched some transverse bars of iron, half
devoured with rust.
For nearly three hours the wretched Jew remained sitting in a
corner of his dungeon, when steps were heard on the stair by which
it was approached. The bolts were withdrawn, the hinges creaked as
the wicket opened, and Reginald Front-de-Boeuf, followed by two
Saracen slaves of the Templar, entered the prison.
"Most cursed dog of an accursed race!" he said to Isaac, "see'st
thou these scales? In these shalt thou weigh me out a thousand
"Holy Abraham!" returned the Jew, "heard man ever such a demand?
Not within the walls of York, ransack my house and that of all my
tribe, wilt thou find the tithe of that huge sum of silver."
"Prepare, then," said the Norman, "for a long and lingering
And he ordered the slave to make ready the fire.
"See'st thou, Isaac," he said, "the range of bars above that
glowing charcoal? On that warm couch shalt thou lie, stripped of
thy clothes. One of these slaves shall maintain the fire beneath
thee, while another shall anoint thy wretched limbs with oil, lest
the roast should burn. Now, choose between such a scorching bed
and the payment of a thousand pounds of silver; for, by the head
of my father, thou hast no other option."
"So may Abraham, Jacob, and all the fathers of our people assist
me," said Isaac; "I cannot make the choice, because I have not the
means of satisfying your exorbitant demand."
"Seize him, and strip him, slaves!" said the knight, "and let the
fathers of his race assist him if they can."
The assistants stepped forward, and laying hands on the
unfortunate man, waited the hardhearted baron's further signal.
The unhappy Jew eyed their savage countenances and that of Front-
de-Boeuf, in hope of discovering some symptoms of relenting; and
as he looked again at the glowing furnace his resolution at length
"I will pay!" he said. "That is," he added, after a moment's
pause, "I will pay it with the help of my brethren. Let my
daughter Rebecca go forth to York, and she will bring the treasure
"Thy daughter!" said Front-de-Boeuf, as if surprised. "By heavens!
Isaac, I would I had known of this; I gave the black-browed girl
to be a handmaiden to Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert, to do as it
might please him with her. My word is passed to my comrade in
arms; nor would I break it for ten Jews and Jewesses to boot."
The yell which Isaac raised at this unfeeling communication made
the vault ring.
"Robber and villain!" he exclaimed, "I will pay thee nothing—not
one silver penny will I pay thee—unless my daughter is delivered
to me in safety and honour. Do thy worst. Take my life if thou
wilt, and say the Jew, amidst his tortures, knew how to disappoint
"Strip him, slaves! and chain him down upon the bars," said Front-
The Saracens, in obedience to this savage order, had already torn
from the feeble and struggling old man his upper garment, and were
proceeding totally to disrobe him, when the sound of a bugle,
twice winded without the castle, penetrated even to the recesses
of the dungeon; and immediately after, loud voices were heard
calling for Sir Reginald Front-de-Boeuf. Unwilling to be found
engaged in his hellish occupation, the savage baron gave the
slaves a signal to restore Isaac's garment, and hastily quitted
the dungeon with his attendants.
During the time the unhappy Jew was undergoing his terrible ordeal
in the gloomy dungeon, his daughter Rebecca, in her lonely turret,
had been exposed to attentions no less unpleasant.
On being left in the secluded cell, she found herself in the
presence of an old hag, who kept murmuring to herself a Saxon
rhyme, as if to beat time to the spindle at which she was engaged.
As soon as they were alone the old woman addressed the Jewess,
telling her that she was once as young and fair as herself, when
Front-de-Boeuf, the father of the man who now lorded it in the
castle, attacked the place and slew her father and his seven sons,
and she became the prey and scorn of the conqueror.
"Is there no help? Are there no means of escape?" said Rebecca.
"Richly, richly would I requite thine aid."
"Think not of it," said the hag, "from hence there is no escape
but through the gates of death; and it is late, late," she added
shaking her gray head, "ere these open to us. Fare thee well,
Jewess!—thou hast to do with them that have neither scruple nor
pity." And so saying she left the room, locking the door behind
Before long a step was heard on the stair, and the door of the
turret-chamber slowly opened, and Brian de Bois-Guilbert entered
the room. He commenced to address the Jewess with flattering
speeches, saying that he loved her, and that she must now be his.
But Rebecca rejected his proffered love with scorn, protesting
that she would proclaim his villainy from one end of Europe to the
other. "At least," she said, "those who tremble not at thy crime
will hold thee accursed for having so far dishonoured the cross
thou wearest as to follow a daughter of my people."
"Thou art keen-witted, Jewess," replied the Templar, well aware of
the truth of what she spoke; "but loud must be thy voice of
complaint, if it is heard beyond the iron walls of this castle.
One thing only can save thee, Rebecca. Submit to thy fate, embrace
our religion, and thou shalt go forth in such state that many a
Norman lady shall envy thee thy lot."
"Submit to my fate!" said Rebecca, "and, sacred Heaven! to what
fate? Embrace thy religion, and what religion can it be that
harbours such a villain? Craven knight! forsworn priest! I spit at
thee and I defy thee. The God of Abraham's promise hath opened an
escape to His daughter, even from this abyss of infamy!"
As she spoke she threw open the latticed window, and in an instant
after stood on the very verge of the parapet outside, with not the
slightest screen between her and the tremendous depth below.
Unprepared for such a desperate effort, Bois-Guilbert had time
neither to intercept nor to stop her. As he offered to advance,
she exclaimed, "Remain where thou art, proud Templar, or at thy
choice advance! One foot nearer, and I plunge myself from the
precipice; my body shall be crushed out of the very form of
humanity upon the stones below ere it become the victim of thy
The Templar hesitated, and a resolution which would have never
yielded to pity or distress gave way to his admiration for her
fortitude. "Come down," he said, "rash girl! I swear by earth, and
sea, and sky, I will offer thee no offence. Many a law, many a
commandment have I broken, but my word never."
"Thus far," said Rebecca, "I will trust thee;" and she descended
from the verge of the battlement, but remained standing close by
one of the embrasures. "Here," she said, "I take my stand. If thou
shalt attempt to diminish by one step the distance now between us,
thou shalt see that the Jewish maiden will rather trust her soul
with God than her honour to the Templar."
As she spoke, the bugle was heard to sound, announcing that the
presence of the knight was required in another part of the castle;
and as he instantly obeyed the summons, Rebecca found herself once
When the Templar reached the hall of the castle, he found De Bracy
there already. They were soon after joined by Front-de-Boeuf.
"Let us see the cause of this cursed clamour," said Front-de-
Boeuf. "Here is a letter, and if I mistake not, it is in Saxon."
The Templar took the paper from his hand and read it. It was a
demand to surrender the prisoners within one hour, failing which
the castle would be instantly besieged; and it was signed at the
end by Wamba and Gurth, by the Black Knight and Locksley.
The answer which was returned from the castle to this missive
announced that the prisoners would not be given up; but that
permission would be given to a man of religion to come to receive
their dying confession, as it had been determined to execute them
When this reply was brought back to the party of the Black Knight,
a hurried consultation was held as to what they should do. There
being no churchman amongst them, and as no one else seemed willing
to undertake the risk of trusting himself within the castle,
Wamba, the jester, was selected for the office. He was soon
muffled in his religious disguise; and imitating the solemn and
stately deportment of a friar, he departed to execute his mission.
As he approached the castle gate, he was at once admitted, and
shortly after was ushered into the apartment where Cedric and
Athelstane were confined; and the three were left alone. It was
not long before Cedric recognised the voice of his jester. The
faithful servant at once suggested that his master should change
garments with him, and so make his escape. But it required the
strong pressure of both Wamba and Athelstane before Cedric would
consent. At length he yielded, and the exchange of dress was
accomplished. He left the apartment saying that he would rescue
his friends, or return and die along with them.
In a low-arched and dusky passage by which Cedric endeavoured to
work his way to the hall, he was met by Urfried, the old crone of
"Come this way, father," she said to him; "thou art a stranger,
and canst not leave the castle without a guide. Come hither, for I
would speak with thee."
So saying, she proceeded to conduct the unwilling Cedric into a
small apartment, the door of which she heedfully secured. "Thou
art a Saxon, father," she said to him; "the sounds of my native
language are sweet to mine ears, though seldom heard for many
She then told him the story of her unhappy and degraded life, and
how she was once the daughter of the noble thane of Torquilstone.
"Thou the daughter of Torquil Wolfganger!" said Cedric; "thou—
thou, the daughter of my father's friend and companion in arms!"
"Thy father's friend!" echoed Urfried; "then Cedric, called the
Saxon, stands before me. But why this religious dress?"
"It matters not who I am," said Cedric; "proceed, unhappy woman,
unhappy Ulrica, I should say, for thou canst be none other, with
thy tale of horror and guilt. Wretched woman!" he exclaimed, as
she concluded her miserable history, "so thou hast lived, when all
believed thee murdered; hast lived to merit our hate and
execration; lived to unite thyself with the vile tyrant who slew
thy nearest and dearest!"
"I hated him with all my soul," replied Ulrica; "I also have had
my hours of vengeance; I have fomented the quarrels of our foes; I
have seen their blood flow, and heard their dying groans; I have
seen my oppressor fall at his own board by the hand of his own
son. Yet here I dwelt, till age, premature age, has stamped its
ghastly features on my countenance, scorned and insulted where I
was once obeyed. Thou art the first I have seen for twenty years
by whom God was feared or man regarded; and dost thou bid me
"I bid thee repent," said Cedric; "but I cannot, I will not,
longer abide with thee."
"Stay yet a moment!" said Ulrica. "Revenge henceforth shall
possess me wholly, and thou thyself shalt say that, whatever was
the life of Ulrica, her death well became the daughter of the
noble Torquil. Hasten to lead your forces to the attack, and when
thou shalt see a red flag wave from the eastern turret, press the
Normans hard; they will have enough to do within. Begone, I pray
thee; follow thine own fate, and leave me to mine."
As she spoke she vanished through a private door, and Front-de-
Boeuf entered the apartment.
"Thy penitents, father," he said, "have made a long shrift; but
come, follow me through this passage, that I may dismiss thee by
As Cedric was leaving the castle, the Norman gave him a note to
carry to Philip de Malvoisin, begging him to send assistance with
all the speed he could. He promised the friar a large reward for
doing the errand, and as they parted at the postern door he thrust
into Cedric's reluctant hand a piece of gold, adding, "Remember, I
will flay off thy cowl and skin if thou failest in thy purpose."
When Front-de-Boeuf rejoined his friends and found out the trick
which had been played upon him, and that Cedric had escaped, his
rage was unbounded, and it was only on De Bracy interceding for
him that he consented to spare the life of the poor jester.
Before long the inmates of the castle had other things to occupy
them. The enemy was announced to be under their very walls; and
each knight repaired hastily to his post, and at the head of the
few followers whom they were able to muster they awaited with calm
determination the threatened assault.
When at length the attack upon the castle was commenced all was at
once bustle and clamour within its gloomy walls. The heavy step of
men-at-arms traversed the battlements, or resounded on the narrow
and winding passages and the stairs which led to the various
bartizans and points of defence. The voices of the knights were
heard animating their followers, or directing means of defence;
while their commands were often drowned in the clashing of armour
or the clamourous shouts of those whom they addressed. The shrill
bugle without was answered by a flourish of Norman trumpets from
the battlements, while the cries of both parties augmented the
fearful din. Showers of well-directed arrows came pouring against
each embrasure and opening in the parapets, as well as every
window where a defender might be suspected to be stationed; and
these were answered by a furious discharge of whizzing shafts and
missiles from the walls.
And so for some time the fight went on; many combatants falling on
either side. But soon the conflict became even more desperate when
the Black Knight, at the head of a body of his followers, led an
attack upon the outer barrier of the barbican. Down came the piles
and palisades before their irresistible onslaught; but their
headlong rush through the broken barriers was met by Front-de-
Boeuf himself and a number of the defenders.
The two leaders came face to face, and fought hand to hand on the
breach amid the roar of their followers who watched the progress
of the strife. Hot and fierce was the combat that ensued between
them; but ere many minutes had passed the giant form of Front-de-
Boeuf tottered like an oak under the steel of the woodman, and
dropped to the ground.
His followers rushed forward to where he lay, and their united
force compelling the Black Knight to pause, they dragged their
wounded leader within the walls.
An interval of quiet now succeeded, the besiegers remaining in
possession of the outer defences of the castle, and the besieged
retiring for the time within the walls of the fortress.
During the confusion which reigned amongst the followers of Front-
de-Boeuf when the attack had commenced, Rebecca had been allowed
to take the place of the old crone, Ulrica, who was in close
attendance on the wounded man who had been brought into the castle
in company with Isaac of York and the other captives. The sufferer
was Ivanhoe himself, who had so mysteriously disappeared on the
conclusion of the tournament, when his father, Cedric, had sent
his servants to attend him to a place of safety. The gallant young
warrior, who, as he fell fainting to the ground, seemed to be
abandoned by all the world, had been transported from the lists at
the entreaty of Rebecca, to the house at Ashby then occupied by
Isaac of York, where his wounds were dressed and tended by the
Jewish maiden herself. So great was her skill and knowledge of
medicine, that she undertook to restore the injured knight to
health in eight days' time; but she informed him of the necessity
they were under of removing to York, and of her father's
resolution to transport him thither, and tend him in his own house
until his wound should be healed. It was on their journey to that
town that they were overtaken on the road by Cedric and his party,
in whose company they were afterwards carried captive to the
Castle of Torquilstone.
But to return to the assault. When Front-de-Boeuf, deeply wounded,
was rescued by his followers from the fury of the Black Knight, he
was conveyed to his chamber. As he lay upon his bed, racked with
pain and mental agony, and filled with the fear of rapidly
approaching death, he heard a voice address him.
"Think on thy sins," it said, "Reginald Front-de-Boeuf; on
rebellion, on rapine, on murder."
"Who is there? What art thou?" he exclaimed in terror. "Depart,
and haunt my couch no more; let me die in peace."
"In peace thou shalt NOT die," repeated the voice; "even in death
shalt thou think on the groans which this castle has echoed, on
the blood that is engrained in its floors."
"Go, leave me, fiend!" replied the wounded Norman. "Leave me and
seek the Saxon witch, Ulrica, who was my temptress; let her, as
well as I, taste the tortures which anticipate hell."
"She already tastes them," said Ulrica, stepping before the couch
of Front-de-Boeuf; "she hath long drunken of this cup, and its
bitterness is now sweetened to see that thou dost partake it."
"Detestable fury!" exclaimed the Norman. "Ho! Giles, Clement,
Eustace, seize this witch, and hurl her from the battlements; she
has betrayed us to the Saxon."
"Call on them again, valiant baron," said the hag, with a smile of
grisly mockery; "but know, mighty chief, thou shalt have neither
answer nor aid. Listen to these horrid sounds," for the din of the
recommenced assault and defence now rung fearfully loud from the
battlements of the castle; "in that war-cry is the downfall of thy
house. And know, too, even now, the doom which all thy power and
strength is unable to avoid, though it is prepared for thee by
this feeble hand. Markest thou the smouldering and suffocating
vapour which already eddies in sable folds through the chamber?
Rememberest thou the magazine of fuel that is stored beneath these
"Woman!" exclaimed the wounded man with fury, "thou hast not set
fire to it? By heaven thou hast, and the castle is in flames!"
"They are fast rising, at least," said Ulrica; "and a signal shall
soon wave to warn the besiegers to press hard upon those who would
extinguish them. Farewell, Front-de-Boeuf; farewell for ever."
So saying, she left the apartment; and Front-de-Boeuf could hear
the crash of the ponderous key, as she locked and double-locked
the door behind her.
Meanwhile, the Black Knight had led his forces again to the
attack; and so vigorous was their assault, that before long the
gate of the castle alone separated them from those within. At this
moment the besiegers caught sight of the red flag upon the tower
which Ulrica had described to Cedric; and, as she had bade them
do, the assailants at once redoubled their efforts to break in the
The defenders, finding the castle to be on fire, now determined to
sell their lives as dearly as they could; and, headed by De Bracy,
they threw open the gate, and were at once involved in a terrific
conflict with those outside. The Black Knight, with portentous
strength, forced his way inward in despite of De Bracy and his
followers. Two of the foremost instantly fell, and the rest gave
way, notwithstanding all their leaders' efforts to stop them. The
Black Knight was soon engaged in desperate combat with the Norman
chief, and the vaulted roof of the hall rung with their furious
blows. At length De Bracy fell.
"Yield thee, De Bracy," said the Black Champion, stooping over
him, and holding against the bars of his helmet the fatal poniard
with which the knights despatched their enemies. "Yield thee,
rescue or no rescue, or thou art but a dead man."
"I will not yield," replied the Norman faintly, "to an unknown
conqueror. Tell me thy name, or work thy pleasure on me."
The Black Knight whispered something into the ear of the
"I yield me to be true prisoner, rescue or no rescue," then
answered De Bracy, in a tone of sullen submission.
"Go to the barbican," said the victor in a tone of authority, "and
wait there my further orders."
"Yet first let me say," said De Bracy, "what it imports thee to
know. Wilfred of Ivanhoe is wounded and a prisoner, and will
perish in the burning castle without present help."
"Wilfred of Ivanhoe!" exclaimed the Black Knight—"prisoner, and
perish! The life of every man in the castle shall answer it if a
hair of his head be singed. Show me his chamber!"
When the Black Knight reached the room, Ivanhoe was alone.
Rebecca, who had remained with him until a few moments before, had
just been carried off forcibly by Bois-Guilbert. Raising the
wounded man with ease, the Black Knight rushed with him to the
postern gate, and having there delivered his burden to the care of
two yeomen, he again entered the castle to assist in the rescue of
the other prisoners.
One turret was now in bright flames, which flashed out furiously
from window and shot-hole. But in other parts the besiegers
pursued the defenders of the castle from chamber to chamber, and
satiated in their blood the vengeance which had long animated them
against the soldiers of the tyrant, Front-de Boeuf. Most of the
garrison resisted to the uttermost; few of them asked quarter,
none received it.
As the fire commenced to spread rapidly through all parts of the
castle, Ulrica appeared on one of the turrets. Her long
dishevelled gray hair flew back from her uncovered head, while the
delight of gratified vengeance contended in her eyes with the fire
of insanity. Before long the towering flames had surmounted every
obstruction, and rose to the evening skies one huge and burning
beacon, seen far and wide through the adjacent country; tower
after tower crashed down, with blazing roof and rafter. The
vanquished, of whom very few remained, scattered and escaped into
the neighbouring wood. The maniac figure of Ulrica was for a long
time visible on the lofty stand she had chosen, tossing her arms
abroad with wild exultation. At length, with a terrific crash, the
whole turret gave way, and she perished in the flames which had
consumed her tyrant.
When day dawned the outlaws and their rescued prisoners assembled
around the trysting-tree in the oak forest, beside the now ruined
castle. Two only of Front-de-Boeuf's captives were missing:
Athelstane and the Jewish maiden, the former being reported as
amongst the slain, and Rebecca having been carried off by Bois-
Guilbert before her friends could effect her rescue.
When the outlaws had divided the spoils which they had taken from
the Castle of Torquilstone, Cedric prepared to take his departure.
He left the gallant band of foresters sorrowing deeply for his
lost friend, the Lord of Coningsburgh; and he and his followers
had scarce departed, when a procession moved slowly from under the
greenwood branches in the direction which he had taken, in the
centre of which was the car in which the body of Athelstane was
When the funeral train had passed out of sight, Locksley addressed
the Black Knight, and asked him if he had any request to make, as
his reward for the gallantry he had displayed.
"I accept the offer," said the knight; "and I ask permission to
dispose of Sir Maurice de Bracy at my own pleasure."
"He is already thine," said Locksley, "and well for him!"
"De Bracy," said the knight, "thou art free; depart. He whose
prisoner thou art scorns to take mean revenge for what is past.
But beware of the future, lest a worse thing befall thee. Maurice
de Bracy, I say, BEWARE!" De Bracy bowed low and in silence, threw
himself upon a horse, and galloped off through the wood.
"Noble knight," then said Locksley, "I would fain beg your
acceptance of another gift. Here is a bugle, which an English
yeoman has once worn; I pray you to keep it as a memorial of your
gallant bearing. If ye should chance to be hard bestead in any
forest between Trent and Tees, wind three notes upon it, and ye
shall find helpers and rescue."
"Gramercy for the gift, bold yeoman," said the knight; "and better
help than thine and thy rangers would I never seek, were it at my
So saying, he mounted his strong war-horse, and rode off through
During all this time Isaac of York sat mournfully apart, grieving
for the loss of his dearly-loved daughter Rebecca. He was assured
that she was still alive, but that there was no hope of rescuing
her from the clutches of Bois-Guilbert, except by the payment of a
ransom of six hundred crowns. On consenting to pay this amount to
the Prior of Jorvaulx, who had just then joined the party in the
wood, the Jew was given a letter, written by the prior himself,
directed to Bois-Guilbert at the Preceptory of Templestowe,
whither the maiden had been carried off, commanding that Rebecca
should be set at liberty. And with this epistle the unhappy old
man set out to procure his daughter's liberation.
Meanwhile there was brave feasting in the Castle of York to which
Prince John had invited those nobles, prelates, and leaders by
whose assistance he hoped to carry through his ambitious projects
upon his brother's throne. Deep was the prince's disappointment
when he learnt of the fall of Torquilstone, and the defeat of the
knights who failed to defend it, and on whose support he strongly
relied. The rumoured intelligence had scarcely reached him, when
De Bracy was ushered into his presence, his armour still bearing
the marks of the late fray, and covered with clay and dust from
crest to spur.
"The Templar is fled," said De Bracy, in answer to the prince's
eager questions; "Front-de-Boeuf you will never see more; and," he
added in a low and emphatic tone, "Richard is in England; I have
seen him and spoken with him."
Prince John turned pale, tottered, and caught at the back of an
oaken bench to support himself.
On awakening from the stupor into which he had been thrown by the
unexpected intelligence, he determined to endeavour to seize his
brother, and hold him a prisoner. He appealed to De Bracy to
assist him in this project, and became at once deeply suspicious
of the knight's loyalty towards him when he declined to lift hand
against the man who had spared his own life.
Driven almost to desperation, and with bitter complaints against
those who had promised to support him, John now treacherously
directed Waldemar Fitzurse, one of his most intimate attendants,
to depart at once, with a chosen band of followers, for the
purpose of overtaking King Richard, and, if possible, securing him
as a prisoner.
In the meantime, Isaac of York, though suffering much from the
ill-treatment he had received at Torquilstone, made his way to the
Preceptory of Templestowe, for the purpose of negotiating his
daughter's redemption. Before reaching his destination he was told
that Lucas de Beaumanoir, the Grand Master of the Order of the
Templars, was then on visit to the preceptory. He had come, the
Jew was informed, for the purpose of correcting and punishing many
of the members of the body whose conduct had of late been open to
severe censure; and he was recognised, besides, as the most
tyrannical oppressor of the Jewish people.
In spite of this ominous intelligence, Isaac pursued his way, and
on arriving at Templestowe was at once shown into the presence of
the Grand Master himself. With fear and trembling he produced the
letter of the Prior of Jorvaulx to Bois-Guilbert. Beaumanoir tore
open the seal and perused the letter in haste, with an expression
of surprise and horror. He had not until then been informed of the
presence of the Jewish maiden in the abode of the Templars, and
great was his fury and indignation on learning that she was
amongst them. He denounced Rebecca as a witch, by whose
enchantment Bois-Guilbert had been led to offend against the rules
of the Holy Order, and in tones of passion and scorn he refused to
listen to Isaac's protestations of her innocence.
"Spurn this Jew from the gate," he said to one of his attendants,
"and shoot him dead if he oppose or turn again. With his daughter
we will deal as the Christian law and our own high office
Poor Isaac was hurried off accordingly, and expelled from the
preceptory, all his entreaties, and even his offers, unheard and
disregarded. He had hitherto feared for his daughter's honour; he
was now to tremble for her life.
Orders were at once given by the Grand Master to prepare the great
hall of the preceptory for the trial of Rebecca as a sorceress;
and even the president of the establishment did not hesitate to
aid in procuring false evidence against the unfortunate Jewess,
for the purpose of ingratiating himself with Beaumanoir, from whom
he had kept secret the presence of Rebecca in the holy precincts.
When the ponderous castle bell had tolled the point of noon, the
Jewess was led from her secluded chamber into the great hall in
which the Grand Master had for the time established his court of
justice. As she passed through the crowd of squires and yeomen,
who already filled the lower end of the vast apartment, a scrap of
paper was thrust into her hand, which she received almost
unconsciously, and continued to hold without examining its
contents. The assurance that she possessed some friend in this
awful assembly gave her courage to look around, and to mark into
whose presence she had been conducted. She gazed accordingly upon
a scene which might well have struck terror into a bolder heart
On an elevated seat at the upper end of the great hall, directly
before the accused, sat the Grand Master of the Temple, in full
and ample robes of flowing white, holding in his hand the mystic
staff, which bore the symbol of the Order. At his feet was placed
a table, occupied by two scribes, whose duty it was to record the
proceedings of the day. Their chairs were black and formed a
marked contrast to the warlike appearance of the knights who
attended the solemn gathering. The preceptors, of whom there were
four present, occupied seats behind their superiors; and behind
them stood the esquires of the Order, robed in white.
The whole assembly wore an aspect of the most profound gravity—
the reflection, as it were, of the sombre countenance of the
austere and relentless Grand Master. The lower part of the hall
was filled with guards and others whom curiosity had drawn
together to witness the important and impressive ceremony.
The Grand Master himself, in a short speech, announced the charge
against the Jewess; and, on its conclusion, several witnesses were
called to prove the risks to which Bois-Guilbert exposed himself
in endeavouring to save Rebecca from the blazing castle; while
other witnesses testified to the apparent madness of the Templar
in bringing the Jewess to the preceptory. A poor Saxon peasant was
next dragged forward to the bar, who had been cured of a palsy by
the accused. Most unwilling was his testimony, and given with many
tears; but he admitted that two years since he had been unable to
stir from his bed until the remedies applied by Rebecca's
directions had in some degree restored the use of his limbs. With
a trembling hand he produced from his bosom a small box of
ointment, bearing some Hebrew characters upon the lid, which was,
with most of the audience, a sure proof that the devil had stood
Witnesses skilled in medicine were then brought forward to prove
that they knew nothing of the materials of which the unguent was
compounded, and who suggested that it must have been manufactured
by means both unlawful and magical. Other witnesses came forward
to prove that Rebecca's cures were accomplished by means of
mutterings in an unknown tongue, and songs of a sweet, strange
sound, which made the ears of the hearer tingle and his heart
throb, adding that her garments were of a strange and mystic form,
and that she had rings impressed with cabalistic devices, all
which were, in those ignorant and superstitious times, easily
credited as proofs of guilt.
On the conclusion of this weighty evidence the Grand Master in a
solemn tone demanded of Rebecca what she had to say against the
sentence of condemnation which he was about to pronounce.
"To invoke your pity," said the lovely Jewess, with a voice
somewhat tremulous with emotion, "would, I am aware, be as useless
as I should hold it mean. To state that to relieve the sick and
wounded of another religion cannot be displeasing to God were also
unavailing; to plead that many things which these men (whom may
Heaven pardon!) have spoken against me are impossible would avail
me but little, since you believe in their possibility, and still
less would it advantage me to explain that the peculiarities of my
dress, language, and manners are those of my people. I am
friendless, defenceless, and the prisoner of my accuser there. He
is of your own faith; his lightest word would weigh down the most
solemn protestations of the distressed Jewess, and yet to himself,
yes, Brian de Bois-Guilbert, to thyself I appeal, whether these
accusations are not false?"
There was a pause; all eyes turned to the Templar. He was silent.
"Speak," she said, "if thou art a man; if thou art a Christian,
speak! I conjure thee, by the habit which thou dost wear, by the
name thou dost inherit, by the honour of thy mother, I conjure
thee to say, are these things true?"
"Answer her, brother," said the Grand Master.
"The scroll, the scroll!" was all that Bois-Guilbert uttered in
reply, looking to Rebecca.
The Jewess instantly remembered the slip of paper which she
continued to hold in her hand, and, looking at it without being
observed, she read the words, "Demand a champion!"
"Rebecca," said the Grand Master, who believed the words of Bois-
Guilbert had reference to some other writing, "hast thou aught
else to say?"
"There is yet one chance of life left to me," said the Jewess,
"even by your own fierce laws. I deny this charge; I maintain my
innocence. I challenge the privilege of trial by combat, and will
appear by my champion. There lies my gage."
She took her embroidered glove from her hand and flung it down
before the Grand Master, with an air of mingled simplicity and
dignity which excited universal surprise and admiration.
A short consultation then took place between Beaumanoir and the
preceptors, in which it was decided that Brian de Bois-Guilbert
was the fittest knight to do battle for the Holy Order. To him,
accordingly, the glove of Rebecca was handed; and the Jewess was
commanded to find a champion by the third day following. It was
further intimated to her that should she fail to do so, or if her
champion should be discomfited, she should die the death of a
sorceress, according to doom.
Being granted permission to communicate with her father, she
hastily wrote a few lines in Hebrew to him, imploring him to seek
out Wilfred, the son of Cedric, and let him know that she was in
sore need of a champion. As it fortuned, the messenger who did her
errand had not far to go before he met Isaac of York.
The poor old man, on learning his daughter's terrible condition,
was quite overcome; but, cheered in some measure by the kindly
words of a rabbi who was with him, he determined, weak and
feverish though he was, to make a last effort for the child he
loved so dearly. And having said farewell the two Jews parted,
Isaac to seek out Ivanhoe, and the rabbi to go to York to look for
In the twilight of the day of her trial, if it could be called
such, a low knock was heard at the door of Rebecca's prison-
chamber; and shortly after Brian de Bois-Guilbert entered the
She drew back in terror at the sight of the man who had been the
cause of all her misfortunes; but he bade her not to be afraid. He
had come, he said, to tell her that he was prepared to refuse to
do battle for the Templars against her and sacrifice his name and
honour as a member of the Holy Order, and that he would leave the
preceptory, appear in three days in disguise, and himself be her
champion against any knight who should confront him, on one
condition: that she should accept him as a lover.
Rebecca listened to his words, and then with scorn refused his
"So be it then, proud damsel," said Bois-Guilbert; "thou hast
thyself decided thine own fate. I shall appear in the lists
against thy champion, and know that there lives not the knight who
may cope with me alone save Richard Coeur-de-Lion and his minion
Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe, as thou well knowest, is unable to bear his
corslet, and Richard is in a foreign prison. Farewell." And so
saying the Templar left the apartment.
Pending this time, so full of terror and anxiety for poor Rebecca,
the Black Knight, having left the company of the generous outlaw,
held his way to a neighbouring religious house to which the
wounded Ivanhoe had been removed when the castle was taken. Here
he remained for the night; and the following day he set out for
Coningsburgh to attend the obsequies of the deceased Athelstane,
Wamba alone being his companion.
They had ridden together for some distance when the quick eye of
the jester caught sight of some men in armour concealed in a brake
not far from where they were.
Almost immediately after three arrows were discharged from the
suspected spot, one of which glanced off the visor of the Black
"Let us close with them," said the knight, 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 attacking party then drew their swords and assailed him on
every side. But many as they were to one they had met their
match; and a man reeled and fell at every blow delivered by the
Black Knight. His opponents, desperate as they were, now bore
back from his deadly blows, 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 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
"That was a felon stroke!" exclaimed the Black Knight, as the
horse fell to the earth bearing his rider along with him.
At this moment Wamba winded the outlaw's bugle, which he had been
given to carry. The sudden sound made the murderers bear back once
more, and Wamba did not hesitate to rush in and assist his knight
"Shame on ye, false cowards!" exclaimed he in the blue harness;
"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; but Wamba, springing forward in good
time, checked the fatal career of the Blue Knight, by hamstringing
his horse with a stroke of his sword; and horse and man went
heavily to the ground. Almost immediately after, a band of yeomen,
headed by Locksley, broke forth from the glade, who, joining
manfully in the fray, soon disposed of the ruffians, all of whom
lay on the spot dead, or mortally wounded.
The visor of the Blue Knight, who still lay entangled under his
wounded steed, was now opened, and the features of Waldemar
Fitzurse were disclosed.
"Stand back, my masters," said the Black Knight to those about
him; "I would speak with this man alone. And now, Waldemar
Fitzurse, say me the truth: confess who set thee on this
"Richard," answered the fallen knight, "it was thy father's son."
Richard's eyes sparkled with indignation, but his better nature
overcame it. "Take thy life unasked," he said; "but, on this
condition, that in three days thou shalt leave England, and that
thou wilt never mention the name of John of Anjou as connected
with thy felony." Then, turning to where the yeomen stood apart,
he said, "Let this knight have a steed, Locksley, and let him
depart unharmed. Thou bearest an English heart, and must needs
obey me. I am Richard of England!"
At these words the yeomen kneeled down before him, tendering their
allegiance, while they implored pardon for their offences.
"Rise, my friends," said Richard. "Your misdemeanours 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 your sovereign. Arise, my liegemen, and be good
subjects in future. And thou, brave Locksley—"
"Call me no longer Locksley, my liege," said the outlaw; "I am
Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest."
Before many more minutes had gone a sylvan repast was hastily
prepared beneath a huge oak-tree for the King of England. Amongst
those who partook of the forest hospitality of the outlaws were
Ivanhoe and Gurth, who just then came on the scene, the former now
all but cured of his wound, thanks to the healing balsam with
which he had been provided by Rebecca the Jewess.
When the feast was concluded, the king, attended by Ivanhoe,
Wamba, and Gurth, proceeded on his way to Coningsburgh. As the
travellers approached the ancient Saxon fortress, they could see
the huge black banner floating from the top of the tower, which
announced that the obsequies of the late owner were still in the
act of being solemnized. All around the castle was a scene of busy
commotion, the whole countryside being gathered from far and near
to partake of the funeral banquet. Cooks and mendicants,
strolling soldiers from Palestine, pedlars, mechanics, wandering
palmers, hedge-priests, Saxon minstrels and Welsh bards, together
with jesters and jugglers, formed a motley and hungry gathering,
such as could only be seen on the occasion which now brought them
together; and through this riotous crowd Richard and his followers
with difficulty made their way.
As they entered the apartment where Cedric sat, Ivanhoe muffled
his face in his mantle. Upon the entrance of Richard, the Saxon
arose gravely to bid him welcome. Having greeted him and his
friends with the mournful ceremony suited to the occasion, Cedric
led his knightly guest to another apartment, where he was about to
leave him, when the Black Knight took his hand.
"I crave to remind you, noble thane," he said, "that when we last
parted you promised to grant me a boon."
"It is granted ere named, noble knight," said Cedric, still
unaware that he was speaking to the king.
"Know me, then, from henceforth," said the Black Knight, "as
Richard Plantagenet; the boon I crave is that thou wilt forgive
and receive to thy paternal affection this good knight here,
Wilfred of Ivanhoe."
"And this is Wilfred!" said Cedric, pointing to his son.
"My father! my father!" said Ivanhoe, prostrating himself at
Cedric's feet, "grant me thy forgiveness!"
"Thou hast it, my son," said Cedric, raising him up. But he had
scarce uttered the words when the door flew open, and Athelstane,
arrayed in the garments of the grave, stood before them, pale,
haggard, and like something arisen from the dead.
The effect of this apparition on the persons present was utterly
appalling. Cedric started back in amazement. Ivanhoe crossed
himself, repeating prayers in Saxon, Latin, and Norman-French,
while Richard alternately said "Benedicite" and swore,
"Mort de ma vie!"
"In the name of God," said Cedric, starting back, "if thou art
mortal, speak! Living or dead, noble Athelstane, speak to Cedric!"
"I will," said the spectre, "when I have collected breath. Alive,
saidst thou? I am as much alive as he can be who has fed on bread
and water for three days. I went down under the Templar's sword,
stunned, indeed, but unwounded, for the blade struck me flatlings,
being averted by the good mace with which I warded the blow.
Others, of both sides, were beaten down and slaughtered above me,
so that I never recovered my senses until I found myself in a
coffin—an open one, by good luck—placed before the altar in
Having concluded his story, still breathless with excitement, he
looked about him. He had caught a glimpse of Ivanhoe as he first
came into the apartment, but had lost sight of him owing to the
crowd of eager listeners by which the room was now thronged.
Filled with a spirit of generosity to his rival, he took the hand
of Rowena, who stood beside him, and was about to place it in that
of Ivanhoe, when it was found that Wilfred had vanished from the
It was at length discovered that a Jew had been to seek the
knight, and that, after a very brief conference, he had called for
Gurth and his armour, and had left the castle. King Richard was
also gone, and no one knew whither.
Meanwhile, the tiltyard of the Preceptory of Templestowe was
prepared for the combat which should decide the life or death of
Rebecca. As the hour approached which was to determine the fate of
the unfortunate Jewess, a vast multitude had gathered to witness a
spectacle even in that age but seldom seen.
At one end of the lists arose the throne of the Grand Master,
surrounded with seats for the preceptors and the knights of the
Order, over which floated the sacred standard of the Templars.
At the opposite end was a pile of faggots, so arranged around a
stake, deeply fixed in the ground, as to leave a space for the
victim whom they were destined to consume. Close by stood four
black slaves, whose colour and African features, then so little
known in England, appalled the multitude, who gazed on them as
Soon the slow and sullen sounds of the great church bell chilled
with awe the hearts of the assembled crowd; and before long the
Grand Master, preceded by a stately retinue, approached his
throne. Behind him came Brian de Bois-Guilbert, armed cap-a-pie in
bright armour, but looking ghastly pale. A long procession
followed, and next a guard of warders on foot, in sable livery,
amidst whom might be seen the pale form of the accused maiden. All
her ornaments had been removed, and a coarse white dress, of the
simplest form, had been substituted for her Oriental garments; yet
there was such an exquisite mixture of courage and resignation in
her look that even in this garb, and with no other ornament than
her long black tresses, each eye wept that looked upon her.
The unfortunate Jewess was conducted to a black chair placed
near the pile; and soon after a loud and long flourish of trumpets
announced that the court were seated for judgment.
There was a dead pause of many minutes.
"No champion appears for the appellant," said the Grand Master.
Another pause succeeded; and then the knights whispered to each
other that it was time to declare the pledge of Rebecca forfeited.
At this instant a knight, urging his horse to speed, appeared on
the plain advancing towards the lists. A hundred voices exclaimed,
"A champion! A champion!" and amidst a ringing cheer the knight
rode into the tilt-yard, although his horse appeared to reel from
To the summons of the herald, who demanded his rank, his name, and
purpose, the stranger answered, raising his helmet as he spoke, "I
am Wilfred of Ivanhoe."
"I will not fight with thee at present," said Bois-Guilbert. "Get
thy wounds healed."
"Ha! proud Templar," said Ivanhoe, "hast thou forgotten that twice
didst thou fall before this lance? I will proclaim thee a coward
in every court in Europe unless thou do battle without farther
"Dog of a Saxon!" said the Templar, "take thy lance, and prepare
for the death thou hast drawn upon thee!"
At once each champion took his place, the trumpets sounded, and
the knights charged each other in full career. The wearied horse
of Ivanhoe, and its no less exhausted rider, went down, as all
had expected, before the well-aimed lance and vigorous steed of
the Templar. But although the spear of Ivanhoe did but touch the
shield of Bois-Guilbert, that champion, to the astonishment of all
who beheld it, reeled in his saddle, lost his stirrups, and fell
in the lists.
Ivanhoe was soon on foot, hastening to mend his fortune with his
sword; but his antagonist arose not. Wilfred, placing his foot on
his breast, and the sword's point to his throat, commanded him to
yield him, or die on the spot. Bois-Guilbert returned no answer.
"Slay him not, sir knight," cried the Grand Master. "We allow him
He descended into the lists, and commanded them to unhelm the
conquered champion. His eyes were closed; the dark red flush was
still on his brow. As they looked on him in astonishment the eyes
opened, but they were fixed and glazed. The flush passed from his
brow, and gave way to the pallid hue of death.
Unscathed by the lance of his enemy, he had died a victim to the
violence of his own contending passions.
"This is indeed the judgment of God," said the Grand Master,
looking upwards; "Thy will be done!"
Turning then to Wilfred of Ivanhoe, he said, "I pronounce the
maiden free and guiltless. The arms and the body of the deceased
knight are at the will of the victor."
His further speech was interrupted by a clattering of horses'
feet, and the Black Knight, followed by a numerous band of men-
at-arms, galloped into the lists.
At a glance he saw how matters stood. "Bohun," he said, addressing
one of his attendant knights, "do thine office."
The officer stepped forward, and, laying his hand on the shoulder
of Albert de Malvoisin, said, "I arrest thee of high treason."
"Who dares to arrest a Knight of the Temple in my presence?" said
the Grand Master; "and by whose authority is this bold outrage
"By my authority," said the king, raising his visor, "and by the
order of Richard Plantagenet who stands before you."
While he spoke the royal standard of England was seen to float
over the towers of the preceptory instead of the Temple banner;
and before long the followers of the king were in complete
possession of the entire castle.
Meanwhile Rebecca, giddy and almost senseless at the rapid change
of circumstances, was locked in the arms of her aged father; and
shortly after the two retreated hurriedly from the lists.
Not many days passed before the nuptials of Wilfred and the fair
Rowena were celebrated in the noble minster of York, attended by
the king in person.
On the second morning after this happy bridal Rebecca was shown
into the apartment of the Lady of Ivanhoe. She had come, she said,
to pay the debt of gratitude which she owed to Wilfred, and to ask
his wife to transmit to him her grateful farewell. She prayed that
God might bless their union, and, as she rose to leave, she
handed Rowena a casket filled with most precious jewels. "Accept
them, lady," she said; "to me they are valueless; I will never
wear jewels more. My father and I, we are going to a far country
where at least we shall dwell in liberty. He to whom I dedicate my
future life will be my Comforter if I do His will. Say this to thy
lord should he chance to inquire after the fate of her whose life
he saved." She then hastened to bid Rowena adieu, and glided from
Wilfred lived long and happily with his bride, for they were
attached to each other by the bonds of early affection, and they
loved each other the more from the recollection of the obstacles
which had so long impeded their union.