Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница

As the cavalcade left the court of the monastery, an incident happened somewhat alarming to the Saxons, who, of all people of Europe, were most addicted to a superstitious observance of omens, and to whose opinions can be traced most of those notions upon such subjects, still to be found among our popular antiquities. For the Normans being a mixed race, and better informed according to the information of the times, had lost most of the superstitious prejudices which their ancestors had brought from Scandinavia, and piqued themselves upon thinking freely on such topics.

In the present instance, the Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница apprehension of impending evil was inspired by no less respectable a prophet than a large lean black dog, which, sitting upright, howled most piteously as the foremost riders left the gate, and presently afterwards, barking wildly, and jumping to and fro, seemed bent upon attaching itself to the party.

“I like not that music, father Cedric,” said Athelstane; for by this title of respect he was accustomed to address him.

“Nor I either, uncle,” said Wamba; “I greatly fear we shall have to pay the piper.”

“In my mind,” said Athelstane, upon whose memory the Abbot’s good ale (for Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница Burton was already famous for that genial liquor) had made a favourable impression, — “in my mind we had better turn back, and abide with the Abbot until the afternoon. It is unlucky to travel where your path is crossed by a monk, a hare, or a howling dog, until you have eaten your next meal.”

“Away!” said Cedric, impatiently; “the day is already too short for our journey. For the dog, I know it to be the cur of the runaway slave Gurth, a useless fugitive like its master.”

So saying, and rising at the same time in his stirrups Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница, impatient at the interruption of his journey, he launched his javelin at poor Fangs — for Fangs it was, who, having traced his master thus far upon his stolen expedition, had here lost him, and was now, in his uncouth way, rejoicing at his reappearance. The javelin inflicted a wound upon the animal’s shoulder, and narrowly missed pinning him to the earth; and Fangs fled howling from the presence of the enraged thane. Gurth’s heart swelled within him; for he felt this meditated slaughter of his faithful adherent in a degree much deeper than the harsh treatment he had Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница himself received. Having in vain attempted to raise his hand to his eyes, he said to Wamba, who, seeing his master’s ill humour had prudently retreated to the rear, “I pray thee, do me the kindness to wipe my eyes with the skirt of thy mantle; the dust offends me, and these bonds will not let me help myself one way or another.”

Wamba did him the service he required, and they rode side by side for some time, during which Gurth maintained a moody silence. At length he could repress his feelings no longer.

“Friend Wamba,” said Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница he, “of all those who are fools enough to serve Cedric, thou alone hast dexterity enough to make thy folly acceptable to him. Go to him, therefore, and tell him that neither for love nor fear will Gurth serve him longer. He may strike the head from me — he may scourge me — he may load me with irons — but henceforth he shall never compel me either to love or to obey him. Go to him, then, and tell him that Gurth the son of Beowulph renounces his service.”

“Assuredly,” said Wamba, “fool as I am, I Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница shall not do your fool’s errand. Cedric hath another javelin stuck into his girdle, and thou knowest he does not always miss his mark.”

“I care not,” replied Gurth, “how soon he makes a mark of me. Yesterday he left Wilfred, my young master, in his blood. To-day he has striven to kill before my face the only other living creature that ever showed me kindness. By St Edmund, St Dunstan, St Withold, St Edward the Confessor, and every other Saxon saint in the calendar,” (for Cedric never swore by any that was not of Saxon lineage Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница, and all his household had the same limited devotion,) “I will never forgive him!”

“To my thinking now,” said the Jester, who was frequently wont to act as peace-maker in the family, “our master did not propose to hurt Fangs, but only to affright him. For, if you observed, he rose in his stirrups, as thereby meaning to overcast the mark; and so he would have done, but Fangs happening to bound up at the very moment, received a scratch, which I will be bound to heal with a penny’s breadth of tar.”



“If I thought so,” said Gurth — “if Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница I could but think so — but no — I saw the javelin was well aimed — I heard it whizz through the air with all the wrathful malevolence of him who cast it, and it quivered after it had pitched in the ground, as if with regret for having missed its mark. By the hog dear to St Anthony, I renounce him!”

And the indignant swineherd resumed his sullen silence, which no efforts of the Jester could again induce him to break.

Meanwhile Cedric and Athelstane, the leaders of the troop, conversed together on the state of the land Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница, on the dissensions of the royal family, on the feuds and quarrels among the Norman nobles, and on the chance which there was that the oppressed Saxons might be able to free themselves from the yoke of the Normans, or at least to elevate themselves into national consequence and independence, during the civil convulsions which were likely to ensue. On this subject Cedric was all animation. The restoration of the independence of his race was the idol of his heart, to which he had willingly sacrificed domestic happiness and the interests of his own son. But, in order to Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница achieve this great revolution in favour of the native English, it was necessary that they should be united among themselves, and act under an acknowledged head. The necessity of choosing their chief from the Saxon blood-royal was not only evident in itself, but had been made a solemn condition by those whom Cedric had intrusted with his secret plans and hopes. Athelstane had this quality at least; and though he had few mental accomplishments or talents to recommend him as a leader, he had still a goodly person, was no coward, had been accustomed to martial exercises, and Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница seemed willing to defer to the advice of counsellors more wise than himself. Above all, he was known to be liberal and hospitable, and believed to be good-natured. But whatever pretensions Athelstane had to be considered as head of the Saxon confederacy, many of that nation were disposed to prefer to the title of the Lady Rowena, who drew her descent from Alfred, and whose father having been a chief renowned for wisdom, courage, and generosity, his memory was highly honoured by his oppressed countrymen.

It would have been no difficult thing for Cedric, had he been so Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница disposed, to have placed himself at the head of a third party, as formidable at least as any of the others. To counterbalance their royal descent, he had courage, activity, energy, and, above all, that devoted attachment to the cause which had procured him the epithet of The Saxon, and his birth was inferior to none, excepting only that of Athelstane and his ward. These qualities, however, were unalloyed by the slightest shade of selfishness; and, instead of dividing yet farther his weakened nation by forming a faction of his own, it was a leading part of Cedric’s Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница plan to extinguish that which already existed, by promoting a marriage betwixt Rowena and Athelstane. An obstacle occurred to this his favourite project, in the mutual attachment of his ward and his son and hence the original cause of the banishment of Wilfred from the house of his father.

This stern measure Cedric had adopted, in hopes that, during Wilfred’s absence, Rowena might relinquish her preference, but in this hope he was disappointed; a disappointment which might be attributed in part to the mode in which his ward had been educated. Cedric, to whom the name of Alfred was Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница as that of a deity, had treated the sole remaining scion of that great monarch with a degree of observance, such as, perhaps, was in those days scarce paid to an acknowledged princess. Rowena’s will had been in almost all cases a law to his household; and Cedric himself, as if determined that her sovereignty should be fully acknowledged within that little circle at least, seemed to take a pride in acting as the first of her subjects. Thus trained in the exercise not only of free will, but despotic authority, Rowena was, by her previous Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница education, disposed both to resist and to resent any attempt to control her affections, or dispose of her hand contrary to her inclinations, and to assert her independence in a case in which even those females who have been trained up to obedience and subjection, are not infrequently apt to dispute the authority of guardians and parents. The opinions which she felt strongly, she avowed boldly; and Cedric, who could not free himself from his habitual deference to her opinions, felt totally at a loss how to enforce his authority of guardian.

It was in vain that he attempted to dazzle her Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница with the prospect of a visionary throne. Rowena, who possessed strong sense, neither considered his plan as practicable, nor as desirable, so far as she was concerned, could it have been achieved. Without attempting to conceal her avowed preference of Wilfred of Ivanhoe, she declared that, were that favoured knight out of question, she would rather take refuge in a convent, than share a throne with Athelstane, whom, having always despised, she now began, on account of the trouble she received on his account, thoroughly to detest.

Nevertheless, Cedric, whose opinions of women’s constancy was far from strong Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница, persisted in using every means in his power to bring about the proposed match, in which he conceived he was rendering an important service to the Saxon cause. The sudden and romantic appearance of his son in the lists at Ashby, he had justly regarded as almost a death’s blow to his hopes. His paternal affection, it is true, had for an instant gained the victory over pride and patriotism; but both had returned in full force, and under their joint operation, he was now bent upon making a determined effort for the union of Athelstane Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница and Rowena, together with expediting those other measures which seemed necessary to forward the restoration of Saxon independence.

On this last subject, he was now labouring with Athelstane, not without having reason, every now and then, to lament, like Hotspur, that he should have moved such a dish of skimmed milk to so honourable an action. Athelstane, it is true, was vain enough, and loved to have his ears tickled with tales of his high descent, and of his right by inheritance to homage and sovereignty. But his petty vanity was sufficiently gratified by receiving this homage at the hands Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница of his immediate attendants, and of the Saxons who approached him. If he had the courage to encounter danger, he at least hated the trouble of going to seek it; and while he agreed in the general principles laid down by Cedric concerning the claim of the Saxons to independence, and was still more easily convinced of his own title to reign over them when that independence should be attained, yet when the means of asserting these rights came to be discussed, he was still “Athelstane the Unready,” slow, irresolute, procrastinating, and unenterprising. The warm and impassioned Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница exhortations of Cedric had as little effect upon his impassive temper, as red-hot balls alighting in the water, which produce a little sound and smoke, and are instantly extinguished.

If, leaving this task, which might be compared to spurring a tired jade, or to hammering upon cold iron, Cedric fell back to his ward Rowena, he received little more satisfaction from conferring with her. For, as his presence interrupted the discourse between the lady and her favourite attendant upon the gallantry and fate of Wilfred, Elgitha failed not to revenge both her mistress and herself, by recurring to the overthrow of Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница Athelstane in the lists, the most disagreeable subject which could greet the ears of Cedric. To this sturdy Saxon, therefore, the day’s journey was fraught with all manner of displeasure and discomfort; so that he more than once internally cursed the tournament, and him who had proclaimed it, together with his own folly in ever thinking of going thither.

At noon, upon the motion of Athelstane, the travellers paused in a woodland shade by a fountain, to repose their horses and partake of some provisions, with which the hospitable Abbot had loaded a sumpter mule Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница. Their repast was a pretty long one; and these several interruptions rendered it impossible for them to hope to reach Rotherwood without travelling all night, a conviction which induced them to proceed on their way at a more hasty pace than they had hitherto used.

Chapter 19

A train of armed men, some noble dame

Escorting, (so their scatter’d words discover’d,

As unperceived I hung upon their rear,)

Are close at hand, and mean to pass the night

Within the castle.

Orra, a Tragedy

The travellers had now reached the verge of the wooded country, and were about to plunge into Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница its recesses, held dangerous at that time from the number of outlaws whom oppression and poverty had driven to despair, and who occupied the forests in such large bands as could easily bid defiance to the feeble police of the period. From these rovers, however, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour Cedric and Athelstane accounted themselves secure, as they had in attendance ten servants, besides Wamba and Gurth, whose aid could not be counted upon, the one being a jester and the other a captive. It may be added, that in travelling thus late through the forest, Cedric and Athelstane relied on Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница their descent and character, as well as their courage. The outlaws, whom the severity of the forest laws had reduced to this roving and desperate mode of life, were chiefly peasants and yeomen of Saxon descent, and were generally supposed to respect the persons and property of their countrymen.

As the travellers journeyed on their way, they were alarmed by repeated cries for assistance; and when they rode up to the place from whence they came, they were surprised to find a horse-litter placed upon the ground, beside which sat a young woman, richly dressed in the Jewish Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница fashion, while an old man, whose yellow cap proclaimed him to belong to the same nation, walked up and down with gestures expressive of the deepest despair, and wrung his hands, as if affected by some strange disaster.

To the enquiries of Athelstane and Cedric, the old Jew could for some time only answer by invoking the protection of all the patriarchs of the Old Testament successively against the sons of Ishmael, who were coming to smite them, hip and thigh, with the edge of the sword. When he began to come to himself out of this agony of Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница terror, Isaac of York (for it was our old friend) was at length able to explain, that he had hired a body-guard of six men at Ashby, together with mules for carrying the litter of a sick friend. This party had undertaken to escort him as far as Doncaster. They had come thus far in safety; but having received information from a wood-cutter that there was a strong band of outlaws lying in wait in the woods before them, Isaac’s mercenaries had not only taken flight, but had carried off with them the horses which Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница bore the litter and left the Jew and his daughter without the means either of defence or of retreat, to be plundered, and probably murdered, by the banditti, who they expected every moment would bring down upon them. “Would it but please your valours,” added Isaac, in a tone of deep humiliation, “to permit the poor Jews to travel under your safeguard, I swear by the tables of our law, that never has favour been conferred upon a child of Israel since the days of our captivity, which shall be more gratefully acknowledged.”

“Dog of a Jew!” said Athelstane, whose Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница memory was of that petty kind which stores up trifles of all kinds, but particularly trifling offences, “dost not remember how thou didst beard us in the gallery at the tilt-yard? Fight or flee, or compound with the outlaws as thou dost list, ask neither aid nor company from us; and if they rob only such as thee, who rob all the world, I, for mine own share, shall hold them right honest folk.”

Cedric did not assent to the severe proposal of his companion. “We shall do better,” said he, “to leave them two Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница of our attendants and two horses to convey them back to the next village. It will diminish our strength but little; and with your good sword, noble Athelstane, and the aid of those who remain, it will be light work for us to face twenty of those runagates.”

Rowena, somewhat alarmed by the mention of outlaws in force, and so near them, strongly seconded the proposal of her guardian. But Rebecca suddenly quitting her dejected posture, and making her way through the attendants to the palfrey of the Saxon lady, knelt down, and, after the Oriental fashion in addressing superiors, kissed Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница the hem of Rowena’s garment. Then rising, and throwing back her veil, she implored her in the great name of the God whom they both worshipped, and by that revelation of the Law upon Mount Sinai, in which they both believed, that she would have compassion upon them, and suffer them to go forward under their safeguard. “It is not for myself that I pray this favour,” said Rebecca; “nor is it even for that poor old man. I know that to wrong and to spoil our nation is a light fault, if not a merit Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница, with the Christians; and what is it to us whether it be done in the city, in the desert, or in the field? But it is in the name of one dear to many, and dear even to you, that I beseech you to let this sick person be transported with care and tenderness under your protection. For, if evil chance him, the last moment of your life would be embittered with regret for denying that which I ask of you.”

The noble and solemn air with which Rebecca made this appeal, gave it double weight with the fair Saxon Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница.

“The man is old and feeble,” she said to her guardian, “the maiden young and beautiful, their friend sick and in peril of his life — Jews though they be, we cannot as Christians leave them in this extremity. Let them unload two of the sumpter-mules, and put the baggage behind two of the serfs. The mules may transport the litter, and we have led horses for the old man and his daughter.”

Cedric readily assented to what she proposed, and Athelstane only added the condition, “that they should travel in the rear of the whole party, where Wamba,” he said Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница, “might attend them with his shield of boar’s brawn.”

“I have left my shield in the tilt-yard,” answered the Jester, “as has been the fate of many a better knight than myself.”

Athelstane coloured deeply, for such had been his own fate on the last day of the tournament; while Rowena, who was pleased in the same proportion, as if to make amends for the brutal jest of her unfeeling suitor, requested Rebecca to ride by her side.

“It were not fit I should do so,” answered Rebecca, with proud humility, “where my society might be held Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница a disgrace to my protectress.”

By this time the change of baggage was hastily achieved; for the single word “outlaws” rendered every one sufficiently alert, and the approach of twilight made the sound yet more impressive. Amid the bustle, Gurth was taken from horseback, in the course of which removal he prevailed upon the Jester to slack the cord with which his arms were bound. It was so negligently refastened, perhaps intentionally, on the part of Wamba, that Gurth found no difficulty in freeing his arms altogether from bondage, and then, gliding into the thicket, he made his escape Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница from the party.

The bustle had been considerable, and it was some time before Gurth was missed; for, as he was to be placed for the rest of the journey behind a servant, every one supposed that some other of his companions had him under his custody, and when it began to be whispered among them that Gurth had actually disappeared, they were under such immediate expectation of an attack from the outlaws, that it was not held convenient to pay much attention to the circumstance.

The path upon which the party travelled was now so narrow Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница, as not to admit, with any sort of convenience, above two riders abreast, and began to descend into a dingle, traversed by a brook whose banks were broken, swampy, and overgrown with dwarf willows. Cedric and Athelstane, who were at the head of their retinue, saw the risk of being attacked at this pass; but neither of them having had much practice in war, no better mode of preventing the danger occurred to them than that they should hasten through the defile as fast as possible. Advancing, therefore, without much order, they had just crossed the brook with a part Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница of their followers, when they were assailed in front, flank, and rear at once, with an impetuosity to which, in their confused and ill-prepared condition, it was impossible to offer effectual resistance. The shout of “A white dragon! — a white dragon! — Saint George for merry England!” war-cries adopted by the assailants, as belonging to their assumed character of Saxon outlaws, was heard on every side, and on every side enemies appeared with a rapidity of advance and attack which seemed to multiply their numbers.

Both the Saxon chiefs were made prisoners at the same moment, and Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница each under circumstances expressive of his character. Cedric, the instant that an enemy appeared, launched at him his remaining javelin, which, taking better effect than that which he had hurled at Fangs, nailed the man against an oak-tree that happened to be close behind him. Thus far successful, Cedric spurred his horse against a second, drawing his sword at the same time, and striking with such inconsiderate fury, that his weapon encountered a thick branch which hung over him, and he was disarmed by the violence of his own blow. He was instantly made prisoner, and pulled from his Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница horse by two or three of the banditti who crowded around him. Athelstane shared his captivity, his bridle having been seized, and he himself forcibly dismounted, long before he could draw his weapon, or assume any posture of effectual defence.

The attendants, embarrassed with baggage, surprised and terrified at the fate of their masters, fell an easy prey to the assailants; while the Lady Rowena, in the centre of the cavalcade, and the Jew and his daughter in the rear, experienced the same misfortune.

Of all the train none escaped except Wamba, who showed upon the occasion much more courage Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница than those who pretended to greater sense. He possessed himself of a sword belonging to one of the domestics, who was just drawing it with a tardy and irresolute hand, laid it about him like a lion, drove back several who approached him, and made a brave though ineffectual attempt to succour his master. Finding himself overpowered, the Jester at length threw himself from his horse, plunged into the thicket, and, favoured by the general confusion, escaped from the scene of action. Yet the valiant Jester, as soon as he found himself safe, hesitated more than once whether Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница he should not turn back and share the captivity of a master to whom he was sincerely attached.

“I have heard men talk of the blessings of freedom,” he said to himself, “but I wish any wise man would teach me what use to make of it now that I have it.”

As he pronounced these words aloud, a voice very near him called out in a low and cautious tone, “Wamba!” and, at the same time, a dog, which he recognised to be Fangs, jumped up and fawned upon him. “Gurth!” answered Wamba, with the same Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница caution, and the swineherd immediately stood before him.

“What is the matter?” said he eagerly; “what mean these cries, and that clashing of swords?”

“Only a trick of the times,” said Wamba; “they are all prisoners.”

“Who are prisoners?” exclaimed Gurth, impatiently.

“My lord, and my lady, and Athelstane, and Hundibert, and Oswald.”

“In the name of God!” said Gurth, “how came they prisoners? — and to whom?”

“Our master was too ready to fight,” said the Jester; “and Athelstane was not ready enough, and no other person was ready at all. And they are prisoners to green cassocks, and black Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница visors. And they lie all tumbled about on the green, like the crab-apples that you shake down to your swine. And I would laugh at it,” said the honest Jester, “if I could for weeping.” And he shed tears of unfeigned sorrow.

Gurth’s countenance kindled — “Wamba,” he said, “thou hast a weapon, and thy heart was ever stronger than thy brain, — we are only two — but a sudden attack from men of resolution will do much — follow me!”

“Whither? — and for what purpose?” said the Jester.

“To rescue Cedric.”

“But you have renounced his service but now,” said Wamba Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница.

“That,” said Gurth, “was but while he was fortunate — follow me!”

As the Jester was about to obey, a third person suddenly made his appearance, and commanded them both to halt. From his dress and arms, Wamba would have conjectured him to be one of those outlaws who had just assailed his master; but, besides that he wore no mask, the glittering baldric across his shoulder, with the rich bugle-horn which it supported, as well as the calm and commanding expression of his voice and manner, made him, notwithstanding the twilight, recognise Locksley the yeoman Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница, who had been victorious, under such disadvantageous circumstances, in the contest for the prize of archery.

“What is the meaning of all this,” said he, “or who is it that rifle, and ransom, and make prisoners, in these forests?”

“You may look at their cassocks close by,” said Wamba, “and see whether they be thy children’s coats or no — for they are as like thine own, as one green pea-cod is to another.”

“I will learn that presently,” answered Locksley; “and I charge ye, on peril of your lives, not to stir from the place where ye stand, until I Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница have returned. Obey me, and it shall be the better for you and your masters. — Yet stay, I must render myself as like these men as possible.”

So saying he unbuckled his baldric with the bugle, took a feather from his cap, and gave them to Wamba; then drew a vizard from his pouch, and, repeating his charges to them to stand fast, went to execute his purposes of reconnoitring.

“Shall we stand fast, Gurth?” said Wamba; “or shall we e’en give him leg-bail? In my foolish mind, he had all the equipage of Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница a thief too much in readiness, to be himself a true man.”

“Let him be the devil,” said Gurth, “an he will. We can be no worse of waiting his return. If he belong to that party, he must already have given them the alarm, and it will avail nothing either to fight or fly. Besides, I have late experience, that errant thieves are not the worst men in the world to have to deal with.”

The yeoman returned in the course of a few minutes.

“Friend Gurth,” he said, “I have mingled among yon men, and have learnt Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница to whom they belong, and whither they are bound. There is, I think, no chance that they will proceed to any actual violence against their prisoners. For three men to attempt them at this moment, were little else than madness; for they are good men of war, and have, as such, placed sentinels to give the alarm when any one approaches. But I trust soon to gather such a force, as may act in defiance of all their precautions; you are both servants, and, as I think, faithful servants, of Cedric the Saxon, the friend of the rights of Englishmen. He Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница shall not want English hands to help him in this extremity. Come then with me, until I gather more aid.”

So saying, he walked through the wood at a great pace, followed by the jester and the swineherd. It was not consistent with Wamba’s humour to travel long in silence.

“I think,” said he, looking at the baldric and bugle which he still carried, “that I saw the arrow shot which won this gay prize, and that not so long since as Christmas.”

“And I,” said Gurth, “could take it on my halidome, that I have heard the voice Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница of the good yeoman who won it, by night as well as by day, and that the moon is not three days older since I did so.”

“Mine honest friends,” replied the yeoman, “who, or what I am, is little to the present purpose; should I free your master, you will have reason to think me the best friend you have ever had in your lives. And whether I am known by one name or another — or whether I can draw a bow as well or better than a cow-keeper, or whether it is my pleasure to Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница walk in sunshine or by moonlight, are matters, which, as they do not concern you, so neither need ye busy yourselves respecting them.”

“Our heads are in the lion’s mouth,” said Wamba, in a whisper to Gurth, “get them out how we can.”

“Hush — be silent,” said Gurth. “Offend him not by thy folly, and I trust sincerely that all will go well.”

Chapter 20

When autumn nights were long and drear,

And forest walks were dark and dim,

How sweetly on the pilgrim’s ear

Was wont to steal the hermit’s hymn

Devotion borrows Music’s tone,

And Music Introduction to Ivanhoe. 15 страница took Devotion’s wing;

And, like the bird that hails the sun,

They soar to heaven, and soaring sing.

The Hermit of St Clement’s Well

It was after three hours’ good walking that the servants of Cedric, with their mysterious guide, arrived at a small opening in the forest, in the centre of which grew an oak-tree of enormous magnitude, throwing its twisted branches in every direction. Beneath this tree four or five yeomen lay stretched on the ground, while another, as sentinel, walked to and fro in the moonlight shade.

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