Say not my art is fraud---all live by seeming.
The beggar begs with it, and the gay courtier
Gains land and title, rank and rule, by seeming;
The clergy scorn it not, and the bold soldier
Will eke with it his service.---All admit it,
All practise it; and he who is content
With showing what he is, shall have small credit
In church, or camp, or state---So wags the world.
Albert Malvoisin, President, or, in the language of the Order,
Preceptor of the establishment of Templestowe, was brother to
that Philip Malvoisin who has been already occasionally mentioned
in this history, and was, like that baron, in close league with
Brian de Bois-Guilbert.
Amongst dissolute and unprincipled men, of whom the Temple Order
included but too many, Albert of Templestowe might be
distinguished; but with this difference from the audacious
Bois-Guilbert, that he knew how to throw over his vices and his
ambition the veil of hypocrisy, and to assume in his exterior the
fanaticism which he internally despised. Had not the arrival of
the Grand Master been so unexpectedly sudden, he would have seen
nothing at Templestowe which might have appeared to argue any
relaxation of discipline. And, even although surprised, and, to
a certain extent, detected, Albert Malvoisin listened with such
respect and apparent contrition to the rebuke of his Superior,
and made such haste to reform the particulars he censured,
---succeeded, in fine, so well in giving an air of ascetic
devotion to a family which had been lately devoted to license and
pleasure, that Lucas Beaumanoir began to entertain a higher
opinion of the Preceptor's morals, than the first appearance of
the establishment had inclined him to adopt.
But these favourable sentiments on the part of the Grand Master
were greatly shaken by the intelligence that Albert had received
within a house of religion the Jewish captive, and, as was to be
feared, the paramour of a brother of the Order; and when Albert
appeared before him, he was regarded with unwonted sternness.
"There is in this mansion, dedicated to the purposes of the holy
Order of the Temple," said the Grand Master, in a severe tone, "a
Jewish woman, brought hither by a brother of religion, by your
connivance, Sir Preceptor."
Albert Malvoisin was overwhelmed with confusion; for the
unfortunate Rebecca had been confined in a remote and secret part
of the building, and every precaution used to prevent her
residence there from being known. He read in the looks of
Beaumanoir ruin to Bois-Guilbert and to himself, unless he should
be able to avert the impending storm.
"Why are you mute?" continued the Grand Master.
"Is it permitted to me to reply?" answered the Preceptor, in a
tone of the deepest humility, although by the question he only
meant to gain an instant's space for arranging his ideas.
"Speak, you are permitted," said the Grand Master---"speak, and
say, knowest thou the capital of our holy rule,---'De
commilitonibus Templi in sancta civitate, qui cum miserrimis
mulieribus versantur, propter oblectationem carnis?'"*
* The edict which he quotes, is against communion with
women of light character.
"Surely, most reverend father," answered the Preceptor, "I have
not risen to this office in the Order, being ignorant of one of
its most important prohibitions."
"How comes it, then, I demand of thee once more, that thou hast
suffered a brother to bring a paramour, and that paramour a
Jewish sorceress, into this holy place, to the stain and
"A Jewish sorceress!" echoed Albert Malvoisin; "good angels guard
"Ay, brother, a Jewish sorceress!" said the Grand Master,
sternly. "I have said it. Darest thou deny that this Rebecca,
the daughter of that wretched usurer Isaac of York, and the pupil
of the foul witch Miriam, is now---shame to be thought or spoken!
---lodged within this thy Preceptory?"
"Your wisdom, reverend father," answered the Preceptor, "hath
rolled away the darkness from my understanding. Much did I
wonder that so good a knight as Brian de Bois-Guilbert seemed so
fondly besotted on the charms of this female, whom I received
into this house merely to place a bar betwixt their growing
intimacy, which else might have been cemented at the expense of
the fall of our valiant and religious brother."
"Hath nothing, then, as yet passed betwixt them in breach of his
vow?" demanded the Grand Master.
"What! under this roof?" said the Preceptor, crossing himself;
"Saint Magdalene and the ten thousand virgins forbid!---No! if I
have sinned in receiving her here, it was in the erring thought
that I might thus break off our brother's besotted devotion to
this Jewess, which seemed to me so wild and unnatural, that I
could not but ascribe it to some touch of insanity, more to be
cured by pity than reproof. But since your reverend wisdom hath
discovered this Jewish queen to be a sorceress, perchance it may
account fully for his enamoured folly."
"It doth!---it doth!" said Beaumanoir. "See, brother Conrade,
the peril of yielding to the first devices and blandishments of
Satan! We look upon woman only to gratify the lust of the eye,
and to take pleasure in what men call her beauty; and the Ancient
Enemy, the devouring Lion, obtains power over us, to complete, by
talisman and spell, a work which was begun by idleness and folly.
It may be that our brother Bois-Guilbert does in this matter
deserve rather pity than severe chastisement; rather the support
of the staff, than the strokes of the rod; and that our
admonitions and prayers may turn him from his folly, and restore
him to his brethren."
"It were deep pity," said Conrade Mont-Fitchet, "to lose to the
Order one of its best lances, when the Holy Community most
requires the aid of its sons. Three hundred Saracens hath this
Brian de Bois-Guilbert slain with his own hand."
"The blood of these accursed dogs," said the Grand Master, "shall
be a sweet and acceptable offering to the saints and angels whom
they despise and blaspheme; and with their aid will we counteract
the spells and charms with which our brother is entwined as in a
net. He shall burst the bands of this Delilah, as Sampson burst
the two new cords with which the Philistines had bound him, and
shall slaughter the infidels, even heaps upon heaps. But
concerning this foul witch, who hath flung her enchantments over
a brother of the Holy Temple, assuredly she shall die the death."
"But the laws of England,"---said the Preceptor, who, though
delighted that the Grand Master's resentment, thus fortunately
averted from himself and Bois-Guilbert, had taken another
direction, began now to fear he was carrying it too far.
"The laws of England," interrupted Beaumanoir, "permit and enjoin
each judge to execute justice within his own jurisdiction. The
most petty baron may arrest, try, and condemn a witch found
within his own domain. And shall that power be denied to the
Grand Master of the Temple within a preceptory of his Order?
---No!---we will judge and condemn. The witch shall be taken out
of the land, and the wickedness thereof shall be forgiven.
Prepare the Castle-hall for the trial of the sorceress."
Albert Malvoisin bowed and retired,---not to give directions for
preparing the hall, but to seek out Brian de Bois-Guilbert, and
communicate to him how matters were likely to terminate. It was
not long ere he found him, foaming with indignation at a repulse
he had anew sustained from the fair Jewess. "The unthinking," he
said, "the ungrateful, to scorn him who, amidst blood and flames,
would have saved her life at the risk of his own! By Heaven,
Malvoisin! I abode until roof and rafters crackled and crashed
around me. I was the butt of a hundred arrows; they rattled on
mine armour like hailstones against a latticed casement, and the
only use I made of my shield was for her protection. This did I
endure for her; and now the self-willed girl upbraids me that I
did not leave her to perish, and refuses me not only the
slightest proof of gratitude, but even the most distant hope that
ever she will be brought to grant any. The devil, that possessed
her race with obstinacy, has concentrated its full force in her
"The devil," said the Preceptor, "I think, possessed you both.
How oft have I preached to you caution, if not continence? Did I
not tell you that there were enough willing Christian damsels to
be met with, who would think it sin to refuse so brave a knight
'le don d'amoureux merci', and you must needs anchor your
affection on a wilful, obstinate Jewess! By the mass, I think
old Lucas Beaumanoir guesses right, when he maintains she hath
cast a spell over you."
"Lucas Beaumanoir!"---said Bois-Guilbert reproachfully---"Are
these your precautions, Malvoisin? Hast thou suffered the dotard
to learn that Rebecca is in the Preceptory?"
"How could I help it?" said the Preceptor. "I neglected nothing
that could keep secret your mystery; but it is betrayed, and
whether by the devil or no, the devil only can tell. But I have
turned the matter as I could; you are safe if you renounce
Rebecca. You are pitied---the victim of magical delusion. She
is a sorceress, and must suffer as such."
"She shall not, by Heaven!" said Bois-Guilbert.
"By Heaven, she must and will!" said Malvoisin. "Neither you nor
any one else can save her. Lucas Beaumanoir hath settled that
the death of a Jewess will be a sin-offering sufficient to atone
for all the amorous indulgences of the Knights Templars; and thou
knowest he hath both the power and will to execute so reasonable
and pious a purpose."
"Will future ages believe that such stupid bigotry ever existed!"
said Bois-Guilbert, striding up and down the apartment.
"What they may believe, I know not," said Malvoisin, calmly; "but
I know well, that in this our day, clergy and laymen, take
ninety-nine to the hundred, will cry 'amen' to the Grand Master's
"I have it," said Bois-Guilbert. "Albert, thou art my friend.
Thou must connive at her escape, Malvoisin, and I will transport
her to some place of greater security and secrecy."
"I cannot, if I would," replied the Preceptor; "the mansion is
filled with the attendants of the Grand Master, and others who
are devoted to him. And, to be frank with you, brother, I would
not embark with you in this matter, even if I could hope to bring
my bark to haven. I have risked enough already for your sake. I
have no mind to encounter a sentence of degradation, or even to
lose my Preceptory, for the sake of a painted piece of Jewish
flesh and blood. And you, if you will be guided by my counsel,
will give up this wild-goose chase, and fly your hawk at some
other game. Think, Bois-Guilbert,---thy present rank, thy future
honours, all depend on thy place in the Order. Shouldst thou
adhere perversely to thy passion for this Rebecca, thou wilt give
Beaumanoir the power of expelling thee, and he will not neglect
it. He is jealous of the truncheon which he holds in his
trembling gripe, and he knows thou stretchest thy bold hand
towards it. Doubt not he will ruin thee, if thou affordest him a
pretext so fair as thy protection of a Jewish sorceress. Give
him his scope in this matter, for thou canst not control him.
When the staff is in thine own firm grasp, thou mayest caress the
daughters of Judah, or burn them, as may best suit thine own
"Malvoisin," said Bois-Guilbert, "thou art a cold-blooded---"
"Friend," said the Preceptor, hastening to fill up the blank, in
which Bois-Guilbert would probably have placed a worse word,
---"a cold-blooded friend I am, and therefore more fit to give
thee advice. I tell thee once more, that thou canst not save
Rebecca. I tell thee once more, thou canst but perish with her.
Go hie thee to the Grand Master---throw thyself at his feet and
"Not at his feet, by Heaven! but to the dotard's very beard will
"Say to him, then, to his beard," continued Malvoisin, coolly,
"that you love this captive Jewess to distraction; and the more
thou dost enlarge on thy passion, the greater will be his haste
to end it by the death of the fair enchantress; while thou, taken
in flagrant delict by the avowal of a crime contrary to thine
oath, canst hope no aid of thy brethren, and must exchange all
thy brilliant visions of ambition and power, to lift perhaps a
mercenary spear in some of the petty quarrels between Flanders
"Thou speakest the truth, Malvoisin," said Brian de
Bois-Guilbert, after a moment's reflection. "I will give the
hoary bigot no advantage over me; and for Rebecca, she hath not
merited at my hand that I should expose rank and honour for her
sake. I will cast her off---yes, I will leave her to her fate,
"Qualify not thy wise and necessary resolution," said Malvoisin;
"women are but the toys which amuse our lighter hours---ambition
is the serious business of life. Perish a thousand such frail
baubles as this Jewess, before thy manly step pause in the
brilliant career that lies stretched before thee! For the
present we part, nor must we be seen to hold close conversation
---I must order the hall for his judgment-seat."
"What!" said Bois-Guilbert, "so soon?"
"Ay," replied the Preceptor, "trial moves rapidly on when the
judge has determined the sentence beforehand."
"Rebecca," said Bois-Guilbert, when he was left alone, "thou art
like to cost me dear---Why cannot I abandon thee to thy fate, as
this calm hypocrite recommends?---One effort will I make to save
thee---but beware of ingratitude! for if I am again repulsed, my
vengeance shall equal my love. The life and honour of
Bois-Guilbert must not be hazarded, where contempt and reproaches
are his only reward."
The Preceptor had hardly given the necessary orders, when he was
joined by Conrade Mont-Fitchet, who acquainted him with the Grand
Master's resolution to bring the Jewess to instant trial for
"It is surely a dream," said the Preceptor; "we have many Jewish
physicians, and we call them not wizards though they work
"The Grand Master thinks otherwise," said Mont-Fitchet; "and,
Albert, I will be upright with thee---wizard or not, it were
better that this miserable damsel die, than that Brian de
Bois-Guilbert should be lost to the Order, or the Order divided
by internal dissension. Thou knowest his high rank, his fame in
arms---thou knowest the zeal with which many of our brethren
regard him---but all this will not avail him with our Grand
Master, should he consider Brian as the accomplice, not the
victim, of this Jewess. Were the souls of the twelve tribes in
her single body, it were better she suffered alone, than that
Bois-Guilbert were partner in her destruction."
"I have been working him even now to abandon her," said
Malvoisin; "but still, are there grounds enough to condemn this
Rebecca for sorcery?---Will not the Grand Master change his mind
when he sees that the proofs are so weak?"
"They must be strengthened, Albert," replied Mont-Fitchet, "they
must be strengthened. Dost thou understand me?"
"I do," said the Preceptor, "nor do I scruple to do aught for
advancement of the Order---but there is little time to find
"Malvoisin, they MUST be found," said Conrade; "well will it
advantage both the Order and thee. This Templestowe is a poor
Preceptory---that of Maison-Dieu is worth double its value
---thou knowest my interest with our old Chief---find those
who can carry this matter through, and thou art Preceptor of
Maison-Dieu in the fertile Kent---How sayst thou?"
"There is," replied Malvoisin, "among those who came hither with
Bois-Guilbert, two fellows whom I well know; servants they were
to my brother Philip de Malvoisin, and passed from his service to
that of Front-de-Boeuf---It may be they know something of the
witcheries of this woman."
"Away, seek them out instantly---and hark thee, if a byzant or
two will sharpen their memory, let them not be wanting."
"They would swear the mother that bore them a sorceress for a
zecchin," said the Preceptor.
"Away, then," said Mont-Fitchet; "at noon the affair will
proceed. I have not seen our senior in such earnest preparation
since he condemned to the stake Hamet Alfagi, a convert who
relapsed to the Moslem faith."
The ponderous castle-bell had tolled the point of noon, when
Rebecca heard a trampling of feet upon the private stair which
led to her place of confinement. The noise announced the arrival
of several persons, and the circumstance rather gave her joy; for
she was more afraid of the solitary visits of the fierce and
passionate Bois-Guilbert than of any evil that could befall her
besides. The door of the chamber was unlocked, and Conrade and
the Preceptor Malvoisin entered, attended by four warders clothed
in black, and bearing halberds.
"Daughter of an accursed race!" said the Preceptor, "arise and
"Whither," said Rebecca, "and for what purpose?"
"Damsel," answered Conrade, "it is not for thee to question, but
to obey. Nevertheless, be it known to thee, that thou art to be
brought before the tribunal of the Grand Master of our holy
Order, there to answer for thine offences."
"May the God of Abraham be praised!" said Rebecca, folding her
hands devoutly; "the name of a judge, though an enemy to my
people, is to me as the name of a protector. Most willingly do I
follow thee---permit me only to wrap my veil around my head."
They descended the stair with slow and solemn step, traversed a
long gallery, and, by a pair of folding doors placed at the end,
entered the great hall in which the Grand Master had for the time
established his court of justice.
The lower part of this ample apartment was filled with squires
and yeomen, who made way not without some difficulty for
Rebecca, attended by the Preceptor and Mont-Fitchet, and followed
by the guard of halberdiers, to move forward to the seat
appointed for her. As she passed through the crowd, her arms
folded and her head depressed, 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 the scene, which we
shall endeavour to describe in the next chapter.