Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions,
senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with
the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the
same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
a Christian is?
Merchant of Venice
Oswald, returning, whispered into the ear of his master, "It is a
Jew, who calls himself Isaac of York; is it fit I should marshall
him into the hall?"
"Let Gurth do thine office, Oswald," said Wamba with his usual
effrontery; "the swineherd will be a fit usher to the Jew."
"St Mary," said the Abbot, crossing himself, "an unbelieving Jew,
and admitted into this presence!"
"A dog Jew," echoed the Templar, "to approach a defender of the
"By my faith," said Wamba, "it would seem the Templars love the
Jews' inheritance better than they do their company."
"Peace, my worthy guests," said Cedric; "my hospitality must not
be bounded by your dislikes. If Heaven bore with the whole
nation of stiff-necked unbelievers for more years than a layman
can number, we may endure the presence of one Jew for a few
hours. But I constrain no man to converse or to feed with him.
---Let him have a board and a morsel apart,---unless," he said
smiling, "these turban'd strangers will admit his society."
"Sir Franklin," answered the Templar, "my Saracen slaves are true
Moslems, and scorn as much as any Christian to hold intercourse
with a Jew."
"Now, in faith," said Wamba, "I cannot see that the worshippers
of Mahound and Termagaunt have so greatly the advantage over the
people once chosen of Heaven."
"He shall sit with thee, Wamba," said Cedric; "the fool and the
knave will be well met."
"The fool," answered Wamba, raising the relics of a gammon of
bacon, "will take care to erect a bulwark against the knave."
"Hush," said Cedric, "for here he comes."
Introduced with little ceremony, and advancing with fear and
hesitation, and many a bow of deep humility, a tall thin old man,
who, however, had lost by the habit of stooping much of his
actual height, approached the lower end of the board. His
features, keen and regular, with an aquiline nose, and piercing
black eyes; his high and wrinkled forehead, and long grey hair
and beard, would have been considered as handsome, had they not
been the marks of a physiognomy peculiar to a race, which, during
those dark ages, was alike detested by the credulous and
prejudiced vulgar, and persecuted by the greedy and rapacious
nobility, and who, perhaps, owing to that very hatred and
persecution, had adopted a national character, in which there was
much, to say the least, mean and unamiable.
The Jew's dress, which appeared to have suffered considerably
from the storm, was a plain russet cloak of many folds, covering
a dark purple tunic. He had large boots lined with fur, and a
belt around his waist, which sustained a small knife, together
with a case for writing materials, but no weapon. He wore a high
square yellow cap of a peculiar fashion, assigned to his nation
to distinguish them from Christians, and which he doffed with
great humility at the door of the hall.
The reception of this person in the hall of Cedric the Saxon, was
such as might have satisfied the most prejudiced enemy of the
tribes of Israel. Cedric himself coldly nodded in answer to the
Jew's repeated salutations, and signed to him to take place at
the lower end of the table, where, however, no one offered to
make room for him. On the contrary, as he passed along the file,
casting a timid supplicating glance, and turning towards each of
those who occupied the lower end of the board, the Saxon
domestics squared their shoulders, and continued to devour their
supper with great perseverance, paying not the least attention to
the wants of the new guest. The attendants of the Abbot crossed
themselves, with looks of pious horror, and the very heathen
Saracens, as Isaac drew near them, curled up their whiskers with
indignation, and laid their hands on their poniards, as if ready
to rid themselves by the most desperate means from the
apprehended contamination of his nearer approach.
Probably the same motives which induced Cedric to open his hall
to this son of a rejected people, would have made him insist on
his attendants receiving Isaac with more courtesy. But the Abbot
had, at this moment, engaged him in a most interesting discussion
on the breed and character of his favourite hounds, which he
would not have interrupted for matters of much greater importance
than that of a Jew going to bed supperless. While Isaac thus
stood an outcast in the present society, like his people among
the nations, looking in vain for welcome or resting place, the
pilgrim who sat by the chimney took compassion upon him, and
resigned his seat, saying briefly, "Old man, my garments are
dried, my hunger is appeased, thou art both wet and fasting."
So saying, he gathered together, and brought to a flame, the
decaying brands which lay scattered on the ample hearth; took
from the larger board a mess of pottage and seethed kid, placed
it upon the small table at which he had himself supped, and,
without waiting the Jew's thanks, went to the other side of the
hall;---whether from unwillingness to hold more close
communication with the object of his benevolence, or from a wish
to draw near to the upper end of the table, seemed uncertain.
Had there been painters in those days capable to execute such a
subject, the Jew, as he bent his withered form, and expanded his
chilled and trembling hands over the fire, would have formed no
bad emblematical personification of the Winter season. Having
dispelled the cold, he turned eagerly to the smoking mess which
was placed before him, and ate with a haste and an apparent
relish, that seemed to betoken long abstinence from food.
Meanwhile the Abbot and Cedric continued their discourse upon
hunting; the Lady Rowena seemed engaged in conversation with one
of her attendant females; and the haughty Templar, whose eye
wandered from the Jew to the Saxon beauty, revolved in his mind
thoughts which appeared deeply to interest him.
"I marvel, worthy Cedric," said the Abbot, as their discourse
proceeded, "that, great as your predilection is for your own
manly language, you do not receive the Norman-French into your
favour, so far at least as the mystery of wood-craft and hunting
is concerned. Surely no tongue is so rich in the various phrases
which the field-sports demand, or furnishes means to the
experienced woodman so well to express his jovial art."
"Good Father Aymer," said the Saxon, "be it known to you, I care
not for those over-sea refinements, without which I can well
enough take my pleasure in the woods. I can wind my horn, though
I call not the blast either a 'recheate' or a 'morte'---I can
cheer my dogs on the prey, and I can flay and quarter the animal
when it is brought down, without using the newfangled jargon of
'curee, arbor, nombles', and all the babble of the fabulous Sir
* There was no language which the Normans more formally
separated from that of common life than the terms of the
chase. The objects of their pursuit, whether bird or
animal, changed their name each year, and there were a
hundred conventional terms, to be ignorant of which was to
be without one of the distinguishing marks of a gentleman.
The reader may consult Dame Juliana Berners' book on the
subject. The origin of this science was imputed to the
celebrated Sir Tristrem, famous for his tragic intrigue
with the beautiful Ysolte. As the Normans reserved the
amusement of hunting strictly to themselves, the terms of
this formal jargon were all taken from the French language.
"The French," said the Templar, raising his voice with the
presumptuous and authoritative tone which he used upon all
occasions, "is not only the natural language of the chase, but
that of love and of war, in which ladies should be won and
"Pledge me in a cup of wine, Sir Templar," said Cedric, "and fill
another to the Abbot, while I look back some thirty years to tell
you another tale. As Cedric the Saxon then was, his plain
English tale needed no garnish from French troubadours, when it
was told in the ear of beauty; and the field of Northallerton,
upon the day of the Holy Standard, could tell whether the Saxon
war-cry was not heard as far within the ranks of the Scottish
host as the 'cri de guerre' of the boldest Norman baron. To the
memory of the brave who fought there!---Pledge me, my guests."
He drank deep, and went on with increasing warmth. "Ay, that was
a day of cleaving of shields, when a hundred banners were bent
forwards over the heads of the valiant, and blood flowed round
like water, and death was held better than flight. A Saxon bard
had called it a feast of the swords---a gathering of the eagles
to the prey---the clashing of bills upon shield and helmet, the
shouting of battle more joyful than the clamour of a bridal. But
our bards are no more," he said; "our deeds are lost in those of
another race---our language---our very name---is hastening to
decay, and none mourns for it save one solitary old man
---Cupbearer! knave, fill the goblets---To the strong in arms,
Sir Templar, be their race or language what it will, who now bear
them best in Palestine among the champions of the Cross!"
"It becomes not one wearing this badge to answer," said Sir Brian
de Bois-Guilbert; "yet to whom, besides the sworn Champions of
the Holy Sepulchre, can the palm be assigned among the champions
of the Cross?"
"To the Knights Hospitallers," said the Abbot; "I have a brother
of their order."
"I impeach not their fame," said the Templar; "nevertheless-----"
"I think, friend Cedric," said Wamba, interfering, "that had
Richard of the Lion's Heart been wise enough to have taken a
fool's advice, he might have staid at home with his merry
Englishmen, and left the recovery of Jerusalem to those same
Knights who had most to do with the loss of it."
"Were there, then, none in the English army," said the Lady
Rowena, "whose names are worthy to be mentioned with the Knights
of the Temple, and of St John?"
"Forgive me, lady," replied De Bois-Guilbert; "the English
monarch did, indeed, bring to Palestine a host of gallant
warriors, second only to those whose breasts have been the
unceasing bulwark of that blessed land."
"Second to NONE," said the Pilgrim, who had stood near enough to
hear, and had listened to this conversation with marked
impatience. All turned toward the spot from whence this
unexpected asseveration was heard.
"I say," repeated the Pilgrim in a firm and strong voice, "that
the English chivalry were second to NONE who ever drew sword in
defence of the Holy Land. I say besides, for I saw it, that King
Richard himself, and five of his knights, held a tournament after
the taking of St John-de-Acre, as challengers against all comers.
I say that, on that day, each knight ran three courses, and cast
to the ground three antagonists. I add, that seven of these
assailants were Knights of the Temple---and Sir Brian de
Bois-Guilbert well knows the truth of what I tell you."
It is impossible for language to describe the bitter scowl of
rage which rendered yet darker the swarthy countenance of the
Templar. In the extremity of his resentment and confusion, his
quivering fingers griped towards the handle of his sword, and
perhaps only withdrew, from the consciousness that no act of
violence could be safely executed in that place and presence.
Cedric, whose feelings were all of a right onward and simple
kind, and were seldom occupied by more than one object at once,
omitted, in the joyous glee with which he heard of the glory of
his countrymen, to remark the angry confusion of his guest; "I
would give thee this golden bracelet, Pilgrim," he said, "couldst
thou tell me the names of those knights who upheld so gallantly
the renown of merry England."
"That will I do blithely," replied the Pilgrim, "and without
guerdon; my oath, for a time, prohibits me from touching gold."
"I will wear the bracelet for you, if you will, friend Palmer,"
"The first in honour as in arms, in renown as in place," said the
Pilgrim, "was the brave Richard, King of England."
"I forgive him," said Cedric; "I forgive him his descent from the
tyrant Duke William."
"The Earl of Leicester was the second," continued the Pilgrim;
"Sir Thomas Multon of Gilsland was the third."
"Of Saxon descent, he at least," said Cedric, with exultation.
"Sir Foulk Doilly the fourth," proceeded the Pilgrim.
"Saxon also, at least by the mother's side," continued Cedric,
who listened with the utmost eagerness, and forgot, in part at
least, his hatred to the Normans, in the common triumph of the
King of England and his islanders. "And who was the fifth?" he
"The fifth was Sir Edwin Turneham."
"Genuine Saxon, by the soul of Hengist!" shouted Cedric---"And
the sixth?" he continued with eagerness---"how name you the
"The sixth," said the Palmer, after a pause, in which he seemed
to recollect himself, "was a young knight of lesser renown and
lower rank, assumed into that honourable company, less to aid
their enterprise than to make up their number---his name dwells
not in my memory."
"Sir Palmer," said Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert scornfully, "this
assumed forgetfulness, after so much has been remembered, comes
too late to serve your purpose. I will myself tell the name of
the knight before whose lance fortune and my horse's fault
occasioned my falling---it was the Knight of Ivanhoe; nor was
there one of the six that, for his years, had more renown in
arms.---Yet this will I say, and loudly---that were he in
England, and durst repeat, in this week's tournament, the
challenge of St John-de-Acre, I, mounted and armed as I now am,
would give him every advantage of weapons, and abide the result."
"Your challenge would soon be answered," replied the Palmer,
"were your antagonist near you. As the matter is, disturb not
the peaceful hall with vaunts of the issue of the conflict, which
you well know cannot take place. If Ivanhoe ever returns from
Palestine, I will be his surety that he meets you."
"A goodly security!" said the Knight Templar; "and what do you
proffer as a pledge?"
"This reliquary," said the Palmer, taking a small ivory box from
his bosom, and crossing himself, "containing a portion of the
true cross, brought from the Monastery of Mount Carmel."
The Prior of Jorvaulx crossed himself and repeated a pater
noster, in which all devoutly joined, excepting the Jew, the
Mahomedans, and the Templar; the latter of whom, without vailing
his bonnet, or testifying any reverence for the alleged sanctity
of the relic, took from his neck a gold chain, which he flung on
the board, saying---"Let Prior Aymer hold my pledge and that of
this nameless vagrant, in token that when the Knight of Ivanhoe
comes within the four seas of Britain, he underlies the challenge
of Brian de Bois-Guilbert, which, if he answer not, I will
proclaim him as a coward on the walls of every Temple Court in
"It will not need," said the Lady Rowena, breaking silence; "My
voice shall be heard, if no other in this hall is raised in
behalf of the absent Ivanhoe. I affirm he will meet fairly every
honourable challenge. Could my weak warrant add security to the
inestimable pledge of this holy pilgrim, I would pledge name and
fame that Ivanhoe gives this proud knight the meeting he
A crowd of conflicting emotions seemed to have occupied Cedric,
and kept him silent during this discussion. Gratified pride,
resentment, embarrassment, chased each other over his broad and
open brow, like the shadow of clouds drifting over a
harvest-field; while his attendants, on whom the name of the
sixth knight seemed to produce an effect almost electrical, hung
in suspense upon their master's looks. But when Rowena spoke,
the sound of her voice seemed to startle him from his silence.
"Lady," said Cedric, "this beseems not; were further pledge
necessary, I myself, offended, and justly offended, as I am,
would yet gage my honour for the honour of Ivanhoe. But the
wager of battle is complete, even according to the fantastic
fashions of Norman chivalry---Is it not, Father Aymer?"
"It is," replied the Prior; "and the blessed relic and rich chain
will I bestow safely in the treasury of our convent, until the
decision of this warlike challenge."
Having thus spoken, he crossed himself again and again, and after
many genuflections and muttered prayers, he delivered the
reliquary to Brother Ambrose, his attendant monk, while he
himself swept up with less ceremony, but perhaps with no less
internal satisfaction, the golden chain, and bestowed it in a
pouch lined with perfumed leather, which opened under his arm.
"And now, Sir Cedric," he said, "my ears are chiming vespers with
the strength of your good wine---permit us another pledge to the
welfare of the Lady Rowena, and indulge us with liberty to pass
to our repose."
"By the rood of Bromholme," said the Saxon, "you do but small
credit to your fame, Sir Prior! Report speaks you a bonny monk,
that would hear the matin chime ere he quitted his bowl; and, old
as I am, I feared to have shame in encountering you. But, by my
faith, a Saxon boy of twelve, in my time, would not so soon have
relinquished his goblet."
The Prior had his own reasons, however, for persevering in the
course of temperance which he had adopted. He was not only a
professional peacemaker, but from practice a hater of all feuds
and brawls. It was not altogether from a love to his neighbour,
or to himself, or from a mixture of both. On the present
occasion, he had an instinctive apprehension of the fiery temper
of the Saxon, and saw the danger that the reckless and
presumptuous spirit, of which his companion had already given so
many proofs, might at length produce some disagreeable explosion.
He therefore gently insinuated the incapacity of the native of
any other country to engage in the genial conflict of the bowl
with the hardy and strong-headed Saxons; something he mentioned,
but slightly, about his own holy character, and ended by pressing
his proposal to depart to repose.
The grace-cup was accordingly served round, and the guests, after
making deep obeisance to their landlord and to the Lady Rowena,
arose and mingled in the hall, while the heads of the family, by
separate doors, retired with their attendants.
"Unbelieving dog," said the Templar to Isaac the Jew, as he
passed him in the throng, "dost thou bend thy course to the
"I do so propose," replied Isaac, bowing in all humility, "if it
please your reverend valour."
"Ay," said the Knight, "to gnaw the bowels of our nobles with
usury, and to gull women and boys with gauds and toys---I warrant
thee store of shekels in thy Jewish scrip."
"Not a shekel, not a silver penny, not a halfling---so help me
the God of Abraham!" said the Jew, clasping his hands; "I go but
to seek the assistance of some brethren of my tribe to aid me to
pay the fine which the Exchequer of the Jews have imposed upon
me---Father Jacob be my speed! I am an impoverished wretch---the
very gaberdine I wear is borrowed from Reuben of Tadcaster."
* In those days the Jews were subjected to an Exchequer,
specially dedicated to that purpose, and which laid them
under the most exorbitant impositions.---L. T.
The Templar smiled sourly as he replied, "Beshrew thee for a
false-hearted liar!" and passing onward, as if disdaining farther
conference, he communed with his Moslem slaves in a language
unknown to the bystanders. The poor Israelite seemed so
staggered by the address of the military monk, that the Templar
had passed on to the extremity of the hall ere he raised his
head from the humble posture which he had assumed, so far as to
be sensible of his departure. And when he did look around, it
was with the astonished air of one at whose feet a thunderbolt
has just burst, and who hears still the astounding report ringing
in his ears.
The Templar and Prior were shortly after marshalled to their
sleeping apartments by the steward and the cupbearer, each
attended by two torchbearers and two servants carrying
refreshments, while servants of inferior condition indicated to
their retinue and to the other guests their respective places of