Trust me each state must have its policies:
Kingdoms have edicts, cities have their charters;
Even the wild outlaw, in his forest-walk,
Keeps yet some touch of civil discipline;
For not since Adam wore his verdant apron,
Hath man with man in social union dwelt,
But laws were made to draw that union closer.
The daylight had dawned upon the glades of the oak forest. The
green boughs glittered with all their pearls of dew. The hind
led her fawn from the covert of high fern to the more open walks
of the greenwood, and no huntsman was there to watch or intercept
the stately hart, as he paced at the head of the antler'd herd.
The outlaws were all assembled around the Trysting-tree in the
Harthill-walk, where they had spent the night in refreshing
themselves after the fatigues of the siege, some with wine, some
with slumber, many with hearing and recounting the events of the
day, and computing the heaps of plunder which their success had
placed at the disposal of their Chief.
The spoils were indeed very large; for, notwithstanding that much
was consumed, a great deal of plate, rich armour, and splendid
clothing, had been secured by the exertions of the dauntless
outlaws, who could be appalled by no danger when such rewards
were in view. Yet so strict were the laws of their society, that
no one ventured to appropriate any part of the booty, which was
brought into one common mass, to be at the disposal of their
The place of rendezvous was an aged oak; not however the same to
which Locksley had conducted Gurth and Wamba in the earlier part
of the story, but one which was the centre of a silvan
amphitheatre, within half a mile of the demolished castle of
Torquilstone. Here Locksley assumed his seat---a throne of turf
erected under the twisted branches of the huge oak, and the
silvan followers were gathered around him. He assigned to the
Black Knight a seat at his right hand, and to Cedric a place upon
"Pardon my freedom, noble sirs," he said, "but in these glades I
am monarch---they are my kingdom; and these my wild subjects
would reck but little of my power, were I, within my own
dominions, to yield place to mortal man.---Now, sirs, who hath
seen our chaplain? where is our curtal Friar? A mass amongst
Christian men best begins a busy morning."---No one had seen the
Clerk of Copmanhurst. "Over gods forbode!" said the outlaw
chief, "I trust the jolly priest hath but abidden by the wine-pot
a thought too late. Who saw him since the castle was ta'en?"
"I," quoth the Miller, "marked him busy about the door of a
cellar, swearing by each saint in the calendar he would taste the
smack of Front-de-Boeuf's Gascoigne wine."
"Now, the saints, as many as there be of them," said the Captain,
"forefend, lest he has drunk too deep of the wine-butts, and
perished by the fall of the castle!---Away, Miller!---take with
you enow of men, seek the place where you last saw him---throw
water from the moat on the scorching ruins ---I will have them
removed stone by stone ere I lose my curtal Friar."
The numbers who hastened to execute this duty, considering that
an interesting division of spoil was about to take place, showed
how much the troop had at heart the safety of their spiritual
"Meanwhile, let us proceed," said Locksley; "for when this bold
deed shall be sounded abroad, the bands of De Bracy, of
Malvoisin, and other allies of Front-de-Boeuf, will be in motion
against us, and it were well for our safety that we retreat from
the vicinity.---Noble Cedric," he said, turning to the Saxon,
"that spoil is divided into two portions; do thou make choice of
that which best suits thee, to recompense thy people who were
partakers with us in this adventure."
"Good yeoman," said Cedric, "my heart is oppressed with sadness.
The noble Athelstane of Coningsburgh is no more---the last
sprout of the sainted Confessor! Hopes have perished with him
which can never return!---A sparkle hath been quenched by his
blood, which no human breath can again rekindle! My people, save
the few who are now with me, do but tarry my presence to
transport his honoured remains to their last mansion. The Lady
Rowena is desirous to return to Rotherwood, and must be escorted
by a sufficient force. I should, therefore, ere now, have left
this place; and I waited---not to share the booty, for, so help
me God and Saint Withold! as neither I nor any of mine will touch
the value of a liard,---I waited but to render my thanks to thee
and to thy bold yeomen, for the life and honour ye have saved."
"Nay, but," said the chief Outlaw, "we did but half the work at
most---take of the spoil what may reward your own neighbours and
"I am rich enough to reward them from mine own wealth," answered
"And some," said Wamba, "have been wise enough to reward
themselves; they do not march off empty-handed altogether. We do
not all wear motley."
"They are welcome," said Locksley; "our laws bind none but
"But, thou, my poor knave," said Cedric, turning about and
embracing his Jester, "how shall I reward thee, who feared not to
give thy body to chains and death instead of mine!---All forsook
me, when the poor fool was faithful!"
A tear stood in the eye of the rough Thane as he spoke---a mark
of feeling which even the death of Athelstane had not extracted;
but there was something in the half-instinctive attachment of his
clown, that waked his nature more keenly than even grief itself.
"Nay," said the Jester, extricating himself from master's
caress, "if you pay my service with the water of your eye, the
Jester must weep for company, and then what becomes of his
vocation?---But, uncle, if you would indeed pleasure me, I pray
you to pardon my playfellow Gurth, who stole a week from your
service to bestow it on your son."
"Pardon him!" exclaimed Cedric; "I will both pardon and reward
him.---Kneel down, Gurth."---The swineherd was in an instant at
his master's feet---"THEOW and ESNE*
* Thrall and bondsman.
art thou no longer," said Cedric touching him with a wand;
"FOLKFREE and SACLESS*
* A lawful freeman.
art thou in town and from town, in the forest as in the field.
A hide of land I give to thee in my steads of Walbrugham, from me
and mine to thee and thine aye and for ever; and God's malison on
his head who this gainsays!"
No longer a serf, but a freeman and a landholder, Gurth sprung
upon his feet, and twice bounded aloft to almost his own height
from the ground. "A smith and a file," he cried, "to do away the
collar from the neck of a freeman!---Noble master! doubled is my
strength by your gift, and doubly will I fight for you!---There
is a free spirit in my breast---I am a man changed to myself and
all around.---Ha, Fangs!" he continued,---for that faithful cur,
seeing his master thus transported, began to jump upon him, to
express his sympathy,---"knowest thou thy master still?"
"Ay," said Wamba, "Fangs and I still know thee, Gurth, though we
must needs abide by the collar; it is only thou art likely to
forget both us and thyself."
"I shall forget myself indeed ere I forget thee, true comrade,"
said Gurth; "and were freedom fit for thee, Wamba, the master
would not let thee want it."
"Nay," said Wamba, "never think I envy thee, brother Gurth; the
serf sits by the hall-fire when the freeman must forth to the
field of battle---And what saith Oldhelm of Malmsbury---Better a
fool at a feast than a wise man at a fray."
The tramp of horses was now heard, and the Lady Rowena appeared,
surrounded by several riders, and a much stronger party of
footmen, who joyfully shook their pikes and clashed their
brown-bills for joy of her freedom. She herself, richly attired,
and mounted on a dark chestnut palfrey, had recovered all the
dignity of her manner, and only an unwonted degree of paleness
showed the sufferings she had undergone. Her lovely brow, though
sorrowful, bore on it a cast of reviving hope for the future, as
well as of grateful thankfulness for the past deliverance---She
knew that Ivanhoe was safe, and she knew that Athelstane was
dead. The former assurance filled her with the most sincere
delight; and if she did not absolutely rejoice at the latter, she
might be pardoned for feeling the full advantage of being freed
from further persecution on the only subject in which she had
ever been contradicted by her guardian Cedric.
As Rowena bent her steed towards Locksley's seat, that bold
yeoman, with all his followers, rose to receive her, as if by a
general instinct of courtesy. The blood rose to her cheeks, as,
courteously waving her hand, and bending so low that her
beautiful and loose tresses were for an instant mixed with the
flowing mane of her palfrey, she expressed in few but apt words
her obligations and her gratitude to Locksley and her other
deliverers.---"God bless you, brave men," she concluded, "God and
Our Lady bless you and requite you for gallantly perilling
yourselves in the cause of the oppressed!---If any of you should
hunger, remember Rowena has food---if you should thirst, she has
many a butt of wine and brown ale---and if the Normans drive ye
from these walks, Rowena has forests of her own, where her
gallant deliverers may range at full freedom, and never ranger
ask whose arrow hath struck down the deer."
"Thanks, gentle lady," said Locksley; "thanks from my company and
myself. But, to have saved you requites itself. We who walk the
greenwood do many a wild deed, and the Lady Rowena's deliverance
may be received as an atonement."
Again bowing from her palfrey, Rowena turned to depart; but
pausing a moment, while Cedric, who was to attend her, was also
taking his leave, she found herself unexpectedly close by the
prisoner De Bracy. He stood under a tree in deep meditation, his
arms crossed upon his breast, and Rowena was in hopes she might
pass him unobserved. He looked up, however, and, when aware of
her presence, a deep flush of shame suffused his handsome
countenance. He stood a moment most irresolute; then, stepping
forward, took her palfrey by the rein, and bent his knee before
"Will the Lady Rowena deign to cast an eye---on a captive knight
---on a dishonoured soldier?"
"Sir Knight," answered Rowena, "in enterprises such as yours, the
real dishonour lies not in failure, but in success."
"Conquest, lady, should soften the heart," answered De Bracy;
"let me but know that the Lady Rowena forgives the violence
occasioned by an ill-fated passion, and she shall soon learn that
De Bracy knows how to serve her in nobler ways."
"I forgive you, Sir Knight," said Rowena, "as a Christian."
"That means," said Wamba, "that she does not forgive him at all."
"But I can never forgive the misery and desolation your madness
has occasioned," continued Rowena.
"Unloose your hold on the lady's rein," said Cedric, coming up.
"By the bright sun above us, but it were shame, I would pin thee
to the earth with my javelin---but be well assured, thou shalt
smart, Maurice de Bracy, for thy share in this foul deed."
"He threatens safely who threatens a prisoner," said De Bracy;
"but when had a Saxon any touch of courtesy?"
Then retiring two steps backward, he permitted the lady to move
Cedric, ere they departed, expressed his peculiar gratitude to
the Black Champion, and earnestly entreated him to accompany him
"I know," he said, "that ye errant knights desire to carry your
fortunes on the point of your lance, and reck not of land or
goods; but war is a changeful mistress, and a home is sometimes
desirable even to the champion whose trade is wandering. Thou
hast earned one in the halls of Rotherwood, noble knight. Cedric
has wealth enough to repair the injuries of fortune, and all he
has is his deliverer's---Come, therefore, to Rotherwood, not as
a guest, but as a son or brother."
"Cedric has already made me rich," said the Knight,---"he has
taught me the value of Saxon virtue. To Rotherwood will I come,
brave Saxon, and that speedily; but, as now, pressing matters of
moment detain me from your halls. Peradventure when I come
hither, I will ask such a boon as will put even thy generosity to
"It is granted ere spoken out," said Cedric, striking his ready
hand into the gauntleted palm of the Black Knight,---"it is
granted already, were it to affect half my fortune."
"Gage not thy promise so lightly," said the Knight of the
Fetterlock; "yet well I hope to gain the boon I shall ask.
"I have but to say," added the Saxon, "that, during the funeral
rites of the noble Athelstane, I shall be an inhabitant of the
halls of his castle of Coningsburgh---They will be open to all
who choose to partake of the funeral banqueting; and, I speak in
name of the noble Edith, mother of the fallen prince, they will
never be shut against him who laboured so bravely, though
unsuccessfully, to save Athelstane from Norman chains and Norman
"Ay, ay," said Wamba, who had resumed his attendance on his
master, "rare feeding there will be---pity that the noble
Athelstane cannot banquet at his own funeral.---But he,"
continued the Jester, lifting up his eyes gravely, "is supping in
Paradise, and doubtless does honour to the cheer."
"Peace, and move on," said Cedric, his anger at this untimely
jest being checked by the recollection of Wamba's recent
services. Rowena waved a graceful adieu to him of the Fetterlock
---the Saxon bade God speed him, and on they moved through a wide
glade of the forest.
They had scarce departed, ere a sudden procession moved from
under the greenwood branches, swept slowly round the silvan
amphitheatre, and took the same direction with Rowena and her
followers. The priests of a neighbouring convent, in
expectation of the ample donation, or "soul-scat", which Cedric
had propined, attended upon the car in which the body of
Athelstane was laid, and sang hymns as it was sadly and slowly
borne on the shoulders of his vassals to his castle of
Coningsburgh, to be there deposited in the grave of Hengist, from
whom the deceased derived his long descent. Many of his vassals
had assembled at the news of his death, and followed the bier
with all the external marks, at least, of dejection and sorrow.
Again the outlaws arose, and paid the same rude and spontaneous
homage to death, which they had so lately rendered to beauty
---the slow chant and mournful step of the priests brought back
to their remembrance such of their comrades as had fallen in the
yesterday's array. But such recollections dwell not long with
those who lead a life of danger and enterprise, and ere the sound
of the death-hymn had died on the wind, the outlaws were again
busied in the distribution of their spoil.
"Valiant knight," said Locksley to the Black Champion, "without
whose good heart and mighty arm our enterprise must altogether
have failed, will it please you to take from that mass of spoil
whatever may best serve to pleasure you, and to remind you of
this my Trysting-tree?"
"I accept the offer," said the Knight, "as frankly as it is
given; and I ask permission to dispose of Sir Maurice de Bracy at
my own pleasure."
"He is thine already," said Locksley, "and well for him! else the
tyrant had graced the highest bough of this oak, with as many of
his Free-Companions as we could gather, hanging thick as acorns
around him.---But he is thy prisoner, and he is safe, though he
had slain my father."
"De Bracy," said the Knight, "thou art free---depart. He whose
prisoner thou art scorns to take mean revenge for what is past.
But beware of the future, lest a worse thing befall thee.
---Maurice de Bracy, I say BEWARE!"
De Bracy bowed low and in silence, and was about to withdraw,
when the yeomen burst at once into a shout of execration and
derision. The proud knight instantly stopped, turned back,
folded his arms, drew up his form to its full height, and
exclaimed, "Peace, ye yelping curs! who open upon a cry which ye
followed not when the stag was at bay---De Bracy scorns your
censure as he would disdain your applause. To your brakes and
caves, ye outlawed thieves! and be silent when aught knightly or
noble is but spoken within a league of your fox-earths."
This ill-timed defiance might have procured for De Bracy a volley
of arrows, but for the hasty and imperative interference of the
outlaw Chief. Meanwhile the knight caught a horse by the rein,
for several which had been taken in the stables of Front-de-Boeuf
stood accoutred around, and were a valuable part of the booty.
He threw himself upon the saddle, and galloped off through the
When the bustle occasioned by this incident was somewhat
composed, the chief Outlaw took from his neck the rich horn and
baldric which he had recently gained at the strife of archery
"Noble knight." he said to him of the Fetterlock, "if you disdain
not to grace by your acceptance a bugle which an English yeoman
has once worn, this I will pray you to keep as a memorial of your
gallant bearing---and if ye have aught to do, and, as happeneth
oft to a gallant knight, ye chance to be hard bested in any
forest between Trent and Tees, wind three mots*
* The notes upon the bugle were anciently called mots, and
are distinguished in the old treatises on hunting, not by
musical characters, but by written words.
upon the horn thus, 'Wa-sa-hoa!' and it may well chance ye shall
find helpers and rescue."
He then gave breath to the bugle, and winded once and again the
call which be described, until the knight had caught the notes.
"Gramercy for the gift, bold yeoman," said the Knight; "and
better help than thine and thy rangers would I never seek, were
it at my utmost need." And then in his turn he winded the call
till all the greenwood rang.
"Well blown and clearly," said the yeoman; "beshrew me an thou
knowest not as much of woodcraft as of war!---thou hast been a
striker of deer in thy day, I warrant.---Comrades, mark these
three mots---it is the call of the Knight of the Fetterlock; and
he who hears it, and hastens not to serve him at his need, I will
have him scourged out of our band with his own bowstring."
"Long live our leader!" shouted the yeomen, "and long live the
Black Knight of the Fetterlock!---May he soon use our service, to
prove how readily it will be paid."
Locksley now proceeded to the distribution of the spoil, which he
performed with the most laudable impartiality. A tenth part of
the whole was set apart for the church, and for pious uses; a
portion was next allotted to a sort of public treasury; a part
was assigned to the widows and children of those who had fallen,
or to be expended in masses for the souls of such as had left no
surviving family. The rest was divided amongst the outlaws,
according to their rank and merit, and the judgment of the Chief,
on all such doubtful questions as occurred, was delivered with
great shrewdness, and received with absolute submission. The
Black Knight was not a little surprised to find that men, in a
state so lawless, were nevertheless among themselves so regularly
and equitably governed, and all that he observed added to his
opinion of the justice and judgment of their leader.
When each had taken his own proportion of the booty, and while
the treasurer, accompanied by four tall yeomen, was transporting
that belonging to the state to some place of concealment or of
security, the portion devoted to the church still remained
"I would," said the leader, "we could hear tidings of our joyous
chaplain---he was never wont to be absent when meat was to be
blessed, or spoil to be parted; and it is his duty to take care
of these the tithes of our successful enterprise. It may be the
office has helped to cover some of his canonical irregularities.
Also, I have a holy brother of his a prisoner at no great
distance, and I would fain have the Friar to help me to deal with
him in due sort---I greatly misdoubt the safety of the bluff
"I were right sorry for that," said the Knight of the Fetterlock,
"for I stand indebted to him for the joyous hospitality of a
merry night in his cell. Let us to the ruins of the castle; it
may be we shall there learn some tidings of him."
While they thus spoke, a loud shout among the yeomen announced
the arrival of him for whom they feared, as they learned from
the stentorian voice of the Friar himself, long before they saw
his burly person.
"Make room, my merry-men!" he exclaimed; "room for your godly
father and his prisoner---Cry welcome once more.---I come, noble
leader, like an eagle with my prey in my clutch."---And making
his way through the ring, amidst the laughter of all around, he
appeared in majestic triumph, his huge partisan in one hand, and
in the other a halter, one end of which was fastened to the neck
of the unfortunate Isaac of York, who, bent down by sorrow and
terror, was dragged on by the victorious priest, who shouted
aloud, "Where is Allan-a-Dale, to chronicle me in a ballad, or if
it were but a lay?---By Saint Hermangild, the jingling crowder is
ever out of the way where there is an apt theme for exalting
"Curtal Priest," said the Captain, "thou hast been at a wet mass
this morning, as early as it is. In the name of Saint Nicholas,
whom hast thou got here?"
"A captive to my sword and to my lance, noble Captain," replied
the Clerk of Copmanhurst; "to my bow and to my halberd, I should
rather say; and yet I have redeemed him by my divinity from a
worse captivity. Speak, Jew---have I not ransomed thee from
Sathanas?---have I not taught thee thy 'credo', thy 'pater', and
thine 'Ave Maria'?---Did I not spend the whole night in drinking
to thee, and in expounding of mysteries?"
"For the love of God!" ejaculated the poor Jew, "will no one take
me out of the keeping of this mad---I mean this holy man?"
"How's this, Jew?" said the Friar, with a menacing aspect; "dost
thou recant, Jew?---Bethink thee, if thou dost relapse into thine
infidelity, though thou are not so tender as a suckling pig---I
would I had one to break my fast upon---thou art not too tough to
be roasted! Be conformable, Isaac, and repeat the words after
me. 'Ave Maria'!---"
"Nay, we will have no profanation, mad Priest," said Locksley;
"let us rather hear where you found this prisoner of thine."
"By Saint Dunstan," said the Friar, "I found him where I sought
for better ware! I did step into the cellarage to see what might
be rescued there; for though a cup of burnt wine, with spice, be
an evening's drought for an emperor, it were waste, methought, to
let so much good liquor be mulled at once; and I had caught up
one runlet of sack, and was coming to call more aid among these
lazy knaves, who are ever to seek when a good deed is to be done,
when I was avised of a strong door---Aha! thought I, here is the
choicest juice of all in this secret crypt; and the knave butler,
being disturbed in his vocation, hath left the key in the door
---In therefore I went, and found just nought besides a commodity
of rusted chains and this dog of a Jew, who presently rendered
himself my prisoner, rescue or no rescue. I did but refresh
myself after the fatigue of the action, with the unbeliever, with
one humming cup of sack, and was proceeding to lead forth my
captive, when, crash after crash, as with wild thunder-dint and
levin-fire, down toppled the masonry of an outer tower, (marry
beshrew their hands that built it not the firmer!) and blocked up
the passage. The roar of one falling tower followed another---I
gave up thought of life; and deeming it a dishonour to one of my
profession to pass out of this world in company with a Jew, I
heaved up my halberd to beat his brains out; but I took pity on
his grey hairs, and judged it better to lay down the partisan,
and take up my spiritual weapon for his conversion. And truly,
by the blessing of Saint Dunstan, the seed has been sown in good
soil; only that, with speaking to him of mysteries through the
whole night, and being in a manner fasting, (for the few
droughts of sack which I sharpened my wits with were not worth
marking,) my head is well-nigh dizzied, I trow.---But I was clean
exhausted.---Gilbert and Wibbald know in what state they found me
---quite and clean exhausted."
"We can bear witness," said Gilbert; "for when we had cleared
away the ruin, and by Saint Dunstan's help lighted upon the
dungeon stair, we found the runlet of sack half empty, the Jew
half dead, and the Friar more than half---exhausted, as he calls
"Ye be knaves! ye lie!" retorted the offended Friar; "it was you
and your gormandizing companions that drank up the sack, and
called it your morning draught---I am a pagan, an I kept it not
for the Captain's own throat. But what recks it? The Jew is
converted, and understands all I have told him, very nearly, if
not altogether, as well as myself."
"Jew," said the Captain, "is this true? hast thou renounced thine
"May I so find mercy in your eyes," said the Jew, "as I know not
one word which the reverend prelate spake to me all this fearful
night. Alas! I was so distraught with agony, and fear, and
grief, that had our holy father Abraham come to preach to me, he
had found but a deaf listener."
"Thou liest, Jew, and thou knowest thou dost." said the Friar; "I
will remind thee of but one word of our conference---thou didst
promise to give all thy substance to our holy Order."
"So help me the Promise, fair sirs," said Isaac, even more
alarmed than before, "as no such sounds ever crossed my lips!
Alas! I am an aged beggar'd man---I fear me a childless---have
ruth on me, and let me go!"
"Nay," said the Friar, "if thou dost retract vows made in favour
of holy Church, thou must do penance."
Accordingly, he raised his halberd, and would have laid the staff
of it lustily on the Jew's shoulders, had not the Black Knight
stopped the blow, and thereby transferred the Holy Clerk's
resentment to himself.
"By Saint Thomas of Kent," said he, "an I buckle to my gear, I
will teach thee, sir lazy lover, to mell with thine own matters,
maugre thine iron case there!"
"Nay, be not wroth with me," said the Knight; "thou knowest I am
thy sworn friend and comrade."
"I know no such thing," answered the Friar; "and defy thee for a
"Nay, but," said the Knight, who seemed to take a pleasure in
provoking his quondam host, "hast thou forgotten how, that for my
sake (for I say nothing of the temptation of the flagon and the
pasty) thou didst break thy vow of fast and vigil?"
"Truly, friend," said the Friar, clenching his huge fist, "I will
bestow a buffet on thee."
"I accept of no such presents," said the Knight; "I am content to
take thy cuff*
* Note H. Richard Coeur-de-Lion.
as a loan, but I will repay thee with usury as deep as ever thy
prisoner there exacted in his traffic."
"I will prove that presently," said the Friar.
"Hola!" cried the Captain, "what art thou after, mad Friar?
brawling beneath our Trysting-tree?"
"No brawling," said the Knight, "it is but a friendly interchange
of courtesy.---Friar, strike an thou darest---I will stand thy
blow, if thou wilt stand mine."
"Thou hast the advantage with that iron pot on thy head," said
the churchman; "but have at thee---Down thou goest, an thou wert
Goliath of Gath in his brazen helmet."
The Friar bared his brawny arm up to the elbow, and putting his
full strength to the blow, gave the Knight a buffet that might
have felled an ox. But his adversary stood firm as a rock. A
loud shout was uttered by all the yeomen around; for the Clerk's
cuff was proverbial amongst them, and there were few who, in jest
or earnest, had not had the occasion to know its vigour.
"Now, Priest," said, the Knight, pulling off his gauntlet, "if I
had vantage on my head, I will have none on my hand---stand fast
as a true man."
"'Genam meam dedi vapulatori'---I have given my cheek to the
smiter," said the Priest; "an thou canst stir me from the spot,
fellow, I will freely bestow on thee the Jew's ransom."
So spoke the burly Priest, assuming, on his part, high defiance.
But who may resist his fate? The buffet of the Knight was given
with such strength and good-will, that the Friar rolled head over
heels upon the plain, to the great amazement of all the
spectators. But he arose neither angry nor crestfallen.
"Brother," said he to the Knight, "thou shouldst have used thy
strength with more discretion. I had mumbled but a lame mass an
thou hadst broken my jaw, for the piper plays ill that wants the
nether chops. Nevertheless, there is my hand, in friendly
witness, that I will exchange no more cuffs with thee, having
been a loser by the barter. End now all unkindness. Let us put
the Jew to ransom, since the leopard will not change his spots,
and a Jew he will continue to be."
"The Priest," said Clement, "is not half so confident of the
Jew's conversion, since he received that buffet on the ear."
"Go to, knave, what pratest thou of conversions?---what, is there
no respect?---all masters and no men?---I tell thee, fellow, I
was somewhat totty when I received the good knight's blow, or I
had kept my ground under it. But an thou gibest more of it, thou
shalt learn I can give as well as take."
"Peace all!" said the Captain. "And thou, Jew, think of thy
ransom; thou needest not to be told that thy race are held to be
accursed in all Christian communities, and trust me that we
cannot endure thy presence among us. Think, therefore, of an
offer, while I examine a prisoner of another cast."
"Were many of Front-de-Boeuf's men taken?" demanded the Black
"None of note enough to be put to ransom," answered the Captain;
"a set of hilding fellows there were, whom we dismissed to find
them a new master---enough had been done for revenge and profit;
the bunch of them were not worth a cardecu. The prisoner I speak
of is better booty---a jolly monk riding to visit his leman, an I
may judge by his horse-gear and wearing apparel.---Here cometh
the worthy prelate, as pert as a pyet." And, between two yeomen,
was brought before the silvan throne of the outlaw Chief, our old
friend, Prior Aymer of Jorvaulx.
NOTE TO CHAPTER XXXII
Note H.---Richard Coeur-de-Lion.
The interchange of a cuff with the jolly priest is not entirely
out of character with Richard I., if romances read him aright.
In the very curious romance on the subject of his adventures in
the Holy Land, and his return from thence, it is recorded how he
exchanged a pugilistic favour of this nature, while a prisoner in
Germany. His opponent was the son of his principal warder, and
was so imprudent as to give the challenge to this barter of
buffets. The King stood forth like a true man, and received a
blow which staggered him. In requital, having previously waxed
his hand, a practice unknown, I believe, to the gentlemen of the
modern fancy, he returned the box on the ear with such interest
as to kill his antagonist on the spot.
---See, in Ellis's Specimens of English Romance, that of