So he went on, and Apollyon met him. Now the Monster was hideous to behold; he was cloathed with scales like a Fish (and they are his pride); he had wings like a Dragon, feet like a Bear, and out of his belly came Fire and Smoke; and his mouth was as the mouth of a Lion. When he was come up to Christian, he beheld him with a disdainful countenance, and thus began to question with him.
APOL. Whence come you? and whither are you bound?
CHR. I am come from the City of Destruction, which is the place of all evil, and am going to the City of Zion.
APOL. By this I perceive thou art one of my Subjects, for all that country is mine, and I am the Prince and God of it. How is it then that thou hast run away from the King? Were it not that I hope thou mayest do me more service, I would strike thee now at one blow to the ground.
CHR. I was born indeed in your dominions, but your service was hard, and your wages such as a man could not live on, for the wages of sin is death; therefore when I was come to years, I did as other considerate persons do, look out, if perhaps I might find something better.
APOL. There is no Prince that will thus lightly lose his Subjects, neither will I as yet lose thee: but since thou complainest of thy service and wages, be content to go back; what our country will afford, I do here promise to give thee.
CHR. But I have let myself to another, even to the King of Princes, and how can I with fairness go back with thee?
APOL. Thou hast done in this, according to the Proverb, changed a bad for a worse; but it is ordinary for those that have professed themselves his Servants, after a while to give him the slip, and return again to me: Do thou so too, and all shall be well.
CHR. I have given him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to him; how then can I go back from this, and not be hanged as a Traitor?
APOL. Thou didst the same to me, and yet I am willing to pass by all, if now thou wilt yet turn again and go back.
CHR. What I promised thee was in my non-age; and besides, I count that the Prince under whose Banner now I stand is able to absolve me; yea, and to pardon also what I did as to my compliance with thee; and besides, O thou destroying Apollyon, to speak truth, I like his Service, his Wages, his Servants, his Government, his Company and Country, better than thine; and therefore leave off to persuade me further; I am his Servant, and I will follow him.
APOL. Consider again when thou art in cool blood, what thou art like to meet with in the way that thou goest. Thou knowest that for the most part, his Servants come to an ill end, because they are transgressors against me and my ways: How many of them have been put to shameful deaths; and besides, thou countest his service better than mine, whereas he never came yet from the place where he is to deliver any that served him out of our hands; but as for me, how many times, as all the World very well knows, have I delivered, either by power or fraud, those that have faithfully served me, from him and his, though taken by them; and so I will deliver thee.
CHR. His forbearing at present to deliver them is on purpose to try their love, whether they will cleave to him to the end; and as for the ill end thou sayest they come to, that is most glorious in their account; for present deliverance, they do not much expect it, for they stay for their Glory, and then they shall have it, when their Prince comes in his and the Glory of the Angels.
APOL. Thou hast already been unfaithful in thy service to him, and how dost thou think to receive wages of him?
CHR. Wherein, O Apollyon, have I been unfaithful to him?
APOL. Thou didst faint at first setting out, when thou wast almost choked in the Gulf of Dispond; thou didst attempt wrong ways to be rid of thy Burden, whereas thou shouldest have stayed till thy Prince had taken it off; thou didst sinfully sleep and lose thy choice thing; thou wast also almost persuaded to go back, at the sight of the Lions; and when thou talkest of thy Journey, and of what thou hast heard and seen, thou art inwardly desirous of vain-glory in all that thou sayest or doest.
CHR. All this is true, and much more which thou hast left out; but the Prince whom I serve and honor is merciful, and ready to forgive; but besides, these infirmities possessed me in thy Country, for there I sucked them in, and I have groaned under them, been sorry for them, and have obtained Pardon of my Prince.
APOL. Then Apollyon broke out into a grievous rage, saying, I am an enemy to this Prince; I hate his Person, his Laws, and People; I am come out on purpose to withstand thee.
CHR. Apollyon, beware what you do, for I am in the King's High-way, the way of Holiness, therefore take heed to yourself.
APOL. Then Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth of the way, and said, I am void of fear in this matter; prepare thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal Den, that thou shalt go no further; here will I spill thy soul.
And with that he threw a flaming Dart at his breast, but Christian had a Shield in his hand, with which he caught it, and so prevented the danger of that.
Then did Christian draw, for he saw 'twas time to bestir him: and Apollyon as fast made at him, throwing Darts as thick as Hail; by the which, notwithstanding all that Christian could do to avoid it, Apollyon wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot: This made Christian give a little back; Apollyon therefore followed his work amain, and Christian again took courage, and resisted as manfully as he could. This sore Combat lasted for above half a day, even till Christian was almost quite spent; for you must know that Christian, by reason of his wounds, must needs grow weaker and weaker.
Then Apollyon espying his opportunity, began to gather up close to Christian, and wrestling with him, gave him a dreadful fall; and with that Christian's Sword flew out of his hand. Then said Apollyon, I am sure of thee now: and with that he had almost pressed him to death, so that Christian began to despair of life: but as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching of his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly stretched out his hand for his Sword, and caught it, saying, Rejoice not against me, O mine Enemy! when I fall I shall arise; and with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back, as one that had received his mortal wound: Christian, perceiving that, made at him again, saying, Nay, in all these things we are more than Conquerors through him that loved us. And with that Apollyon spread forth his Dragon's wings, and sped him away, that Christian for a season saw him no more.
In this Combat no man can imagine, unless he had seen and heard as I did, what yelling and hideous roaring Apollyon made all the time of the fight, he spake like a Dragon; and on the other side, what sighs and groans burst from Christian's heart. I never saw him all the while give so much as one pleasant look, till he perceived he had wounded Apollyon with his two- edged Sword; then indeed he did smile, and look upward; but 'twas the dreadfullest sight that ever I saw.
So when the Battle was over, Christian said, I will here give thanks to him that hath delivered me out of the mouth of the Lion, to him that did help me against Apollyon. And so he did, saying, Great Beelzebub, the Captain of this Fiend, Design'd my ruin; therefore to this end He sent him harness'd out: and he with rage That hellish was, did fiercely me engage: But blessed Michael helped me, and I By dint of Sword did quickly make him fly. Therefore to him let me give lasting praise, And thank and bless his holy name always. Then there came to him a hand, with some of the leaves of the Tree of Life, the which Christian took, and applied to the wounds that he had received in the Battle, and was healed immediately. He also sat down in that place to eat Bread, and to drink of the Bottle that was given him a little before; so being refreshed, he addressed himself to his Journey, with his Sword drawn in his hand; for he said, I know not but some other Enemy may be at hand. But he met with no other affront from Apollyon quite through this Valley.
CHRISTIAN AND HOPEFUL ARE CAPTIVES IN DOUBTING CASTLE
By John Bunyan
I saw then that they went on their way to a pleasant River, which David the King called the River of God, but John, the River of the Water of Life. Now their way lay just upon the bank of the River; here therefore Christian and his Companion walked with great delight; they drank also of the water of the River, which was pleasant and enlivening to their weary spirits; besides, on the banks of this River on either side were green Trees, that bore all manner of Fruit; and the Leaves of the Trees were good for Medicine; with the Fruit of these Trees they were also much delighted; and the Leaves they ate to prevent Surfeits, and other Diseases that are incident to those that heat their blood by Travels. On either side of the River was also a Meadow, curiously beautified with Lilies; and it was green all the year long. In this Meadow they lay down and slept, for here they might lie down safely. When they awoke, they gathered again of the Fruit of the Trees, and drank again of the water of the River, and then lay down again to sleep. Thus they did several days and nights, and when they were disposed to go on they eat and drank, and departed.
Now I beheld in my Dream, that they had not journeyed far, but the River and the way for a time parted; at which they were not a little sorry, yet they durst not go out of the way. Now the way from the River was rough, and their feet tender by reason of their Travels; so the soul of the Pilgrims was much discouraged because of the way. Now a little before them, there was on the left hand of the road a Meadow, and a Stile to go over into it, and that Meadow is called By-path-Meadow. Then said Christian to his fellow, If this Meadow lieth along by our way-side, let's go over into it. Then he went to the Stile to see, and behold a Path lay along by the way on the other side of the fence. 'Tis according to my wish, said Christian, here is the easiest going; come good Hopeful, and let us go over.
HOPE. But how if this Path should lead us out of the way?
CHR. That's not like, said the other; look, doth it not go along by the way-side? So Hopeful, being persuaded by his fellow, went after him over the Stile. When they were gone over, and were got into the Path, they found it very easy for their feet: and withal, they looking before them, espied a man walking as they did, (and his name was Vain-confidence) so they called after him, and asked him whither that way led? He said, To the Coelestial Gate. Look, said Christian, did I not tell you so? by this you may see we are right. So they followed, and he went before them. But behold the night came on, and it grew very dark, so that they that were behind lost the sight of him that went before.
He therefore that went before (Vain-confidence by name) not seeing the way before him, fell into a deep Pit, which was on purpose there made by the Prince of those grounds, to catch vain-glorious fools withal, and was dashed in pieces with his fall.
Now Christian and his fellow heard him fall. So they called to know the matter, but there was none to answer, only they heard a groaning. Then said Hopeful, Where are we now? Then was his fellow silent, as mistrusting that he had led him out of the way; and now it began to rain, and thunder, and lighten in a very dreadful manner, and the water rose amain.
Then Hopeful groaned in himself, saying, Oh that I had kept on my way!
CHR. Who could have thought that this Path should have led us out of the way?
HOPE. I was afraid on't at the very first, and therefore gave you that gentle caution. I would have spoken plainer, but that you are older than I.
CHR. Good Brother be not offended; I am sorry I have brought thee out of the way, and that I have put thee into such imminent danger; pray my Brother forgive me, I did not do it of an evil intent.
HOPE. Be comforted my brother, for I forgive thee; and believe too that this shall be for our good,
CHR. I am glad I have with me a merciful Brother; but we must not stand thus, let's try to go back again.
HOPE. But good Brother let me go before.
CHE. No, if you please, let me go first, that if there be any danger, I may be first therein, because by my means we are both gone out of the way.
HOPE. No, said Hopeful, you shall not go first; for your mind being troubled may lead you out of the way again. Then for their encouragement, they heard the voice of one saying, Let thine heart be towards the High-way, even the way that thou wentest, turn again. But by this time the waters were greatly risen; by reason of which the way of going back was very dangerous. (Then I thought that it is easier going out of the way when we are in, than going in when we are out.) Yet they adventured to go back; but it was so dark, and the flood was so high, that in their going back they had like to have been drowned nine or ten times.
Neither could they, with all the skill they had, get again to the Stile that night. Wherefore at last, lighting under a little shelter, they sat down there till the day brake; but being weary, they fell asleep. Now there was not far from the place where they lay, a Castle called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair, and it was in his grounds they were now sleeping: wherefore he, getting up in the morning early, and walking up and down in his fields, caught Christian and Hopeful asleep in his grounds. Then with a grim and surly voice he bid them awake, and asked them whence they were? and what they did in his grounds? They told him they were Pilgrims, and that they had lost their way. Then said the Giant, You have this night trespassed on me, by trampling in and lying on my grounds, and therefore you must go along with me. So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they. They also had but little to say, for they knew themselves in a fault. The Giant therefore drove them before him, and put them into his Castle, into a very dark Dungeon, nasty and stinking to the spirits of these two men. Here then they lay from Wednesday morning till Saturday night, without one bit of bread, or drop of drink, or light, or any to ask how they did; they were therefore here in evil case, and were far from friends and acquaintance. Now in this place Christian had double sorrow, because 'twas through his unadvised haste that they were brought into this distress.
Now Giant Despair had a Wife, and her name was Diffidence. So when he was gone to bed, he told his Wife what he had done, to wit, that he had taken a couple of Prisoners and cast them into his Dungeon, for trespassing on his grounds. Then he asked her also what he had best do further to them. So she asked him what they were, whence they came, and whither they were bound; and he told her. Then she counselled him that when he arose in the morning he should beat them without any mercy. So when he arose, he getteth him a grievous Crab-tree Cudgel, and goes down into the Dungeon to them, and there first falls to rating of them, as if they were dogs, although they gave him never a word of distaste. Then he falls upon them, and beats them fearfully, in such sort, that they were not able to help themselves, or to turn them upon the floor. This done, he withdraws and leaves them, there to condole their misery, and to mourn under their distress: so all that day they spent the time in nothing but sighs and bitter lamentations. The next night she talking with her Husband about them further, and understanding that they were yet alive, did advise him to counsel them to make away themselves. So when morning was come, he goes to them in a surly manner as before, and perceiving them to be very sore with the stripes that he had given them the day before, he told them, that since they were never like to come out of that place, their only way would be forthwith to make an end of themselves, either with Knife, Halter, or Poison; For why, said he, should you chuse life, seeing it is attended with so much bitterness? But they desired him to let them go. With that he looked ugly upon them, and rushing to them had doubtless made an end of them himself, but that he fell into one of his Fits, (for he sometimes in Sun-shine weather fell into Fits) and lost for a time the use of his hand; wherefore he withdrew, and left them as before, to consider what to do. Then did the Prisoners consult between themselves, whether 'twas best to take his counsel or no; and thus they began to discourse:
CHR. Brother, said Christian, what shall we do? The life that we now live is miserable: for my part I know not whether is best, to live thus, or to die out of hand. My soul chuseth strangling rather than life, and the Grave is more easy for me than this Dungeon. Shall we be ruled by the Giant?
HOPE. Indeed our present condition is dreadful, and death would be far more welcome to me than thus for ever to abide; but yet let us consider, the Lord of the Country to which we are going hath said, Thou shalt do no murder, no not to another man's person; much more then are we forbidden to take his counsel to kill ourselves. And let us consider again, that all the Law is not in the hand of Giant Despair. Others, so far as I can understand, have been taken by him as well as we, and yet have escaped out of his hand. Who knows but that God that made the world may cause that Giant Despair may die? or that at some time or other he may forget to lock us in? or but he may in short time have another of his Fits before us, and may lose the use of his limbs? and if ever that should come to pass again, for my part I am resolved to pluck up the heart of a man, and to try my utmost to get from under his hand. I was a fool that I did not try to do it before; but however, my Brother, let's be patient, and endure a while; the time may come that may give us a happy release; but let us not be our own murderers. With these words Hopeful at present did moderate the mind of his Brother; so they continued together (in the dark) that day, in their sad and doleful condition.
Well, towards evening the Giant goes down into the Dungeon again, to see if his prisoners had taken his counsel; but when he came there he found them alive, and truly, alive was all; for now, what for want of Bread and Water, and by reason of the Wounds they received when he beat them, they could do little but breathe: But, I say, he found them alive; at which he fell into a grievous rage, and told them that seeing they disobeyed his counsel, it should be worse with them than if they had never been born.
At this they trembled greatly, and I think that Christian fell into a Swoon; but coming a little to himself again, they renewed their discourse about the Giant's counsel, and whether yet they had best to take it or no. Now Christian again seemed to be for doing it, but Hopeful made his second reply as followeth:
HOPE. My Brother, said he, rememberest thou not how valiant thou hast been heretofore? Apollyon could not crush thee, nor could all that thou didst hear, or see, or feel in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. What hardship, terror, and amazement hast thou already gone through, and art thou now nothing but fear? Thou seest that I am in the Dungeon with thee, a far weaker man by nature than thou art; also this Giant has wounded me as well as thee, and hath also cut off the Bread and Water from my mouth; and with thee I mourn without the light. But let's exercise a little more patience, remember how thou playedst the man at Vanity Fair, and wast neither afraid of the Chain, nor Cage, nor yet of bloody Death: wherefore let us (at least to avoid the shame that becomes not a Christian to be found in) bear up with patience as well as we can.
Now night being come again, and the Giant and his Wife being in bed, she asked him concerning the Prisoners, and if they had taken his counsel: To which he replied, They are sturdy Rogues, they chuse rather to bear all hardship, than to make away themselves. Then said she, Take them into the Castle-yard to-morrow, and shew them the Bones and Skulls of those that thou hast already dispatch'd, and make them believe, e'er a week comes to an end, thou also wilt tear them in pieces, as thou hast done their fellows before them.
So when the morning was come, the Giant goes to them again, and takes them into the Castle-yard and shews them as his Wife had bidden him. These, said he, were Pilgrims as you are, once, and they trespassed in my grounds, as you have done; and when I thought fit, I tore them in pieces, and so within ten days I will do you. Go get you down to your Den again; and with that he beat them all the way thither. They lay therefore all day on Saturday in a lamentable case, as before. Now when night was come, and when Mrs. Diffidence and her Husband the Giant were got to bed, they began to renew their discourse of their Prisoners; and withal the old Giant wondered, that he could neither by his blows nor counsel bring them to an end. And with that his Wife replied, I fear, said she, that they live in hope that some will come to relieve them, or that they have pick-locks about them, by the means of which they hope to escape. And sayest thou so, my dear? said the Giant, I will therefore search them in the morning.
Well on Saturday about midnight they began to pray, and continued in Prayer till almost break of day.
Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in passionate speech: What a fool, quoth he, am I, thus to lie in a stinking Dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty. I have a Key in my bosom called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any Lock in Doubting Castle. Then said Hopeful, That's good news; good Brother, pluck it out of thy bosom and try.
Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and began to try at the Dungeon door, whose bolt (as he turned the Key) gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he went to the outward door that leads into the Castle-yard, and with his Key opened that door also. After he went to the iron Gate, for that must be opened too, but that Lock went damnable hard, yet the Key did open it. Then they thrust open the Gate to make their escape with speed; but that Gate as it opened made such a creaking, that it waked Giant Despair, who hastily rising to pursue his Prisoners, felt his limbs to fail, for his Fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them. Then they went on, and came to the King's High-way again, and so were safe, because they were out of his jurisdiction.
Now when they were gone over the Stile, they began to contrive with themselves what they should do at that Stile, to prevent those that should come after from falling into the hands of Giant Despair. So they consented to erect there a Pillar, and to engrave upon the side thereof this sentence, Over this Stile is the way to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair, who despiseth the King of the Coelestial Country, and seeks to destroy his holy Pilgrims. Many therefore that followed after read what was written, and escaped the danger. This done, they sang as follows:
Out of the way we went, and then we found What 'twas to tread upon forbidden ground; And let them that come after have a care, Lest heedlessness makes them, as we, to fare. Lest they for trespassing his prisoners are, Whose Castle's Doubting, and whose name's Despair.
CHRISTIAN AND HOPEFUL ARRIVE AT THE CAELESTIAL CITY
By John Bunyan
I saw that as they went on, there met them two men, in Raiment that shone like Gold, also their faces shone as the light.
These men asked the Pilgrims whence they came? and they told them. They also asked them where they had lodged, what difficulties and dangers, what comforts and pleasures they had met in the way? and they told them. Then said the men that met them, You have but two difficulties more to meet with, and then you are in the City.
And I slept, and Dreamed again, and saw the same two Pilgrims going down the Mountains along the High-way towards the City.
Now you must note that the City stood upon a mighty Hill, but the Pilgrims went up that Hill with ease because they had these two men to lead them up by the arms; also they had left their mortal Garments behind them in the River. They therefore went up here with much agility and speed, though the foundation upon which the City was framed was higher than the Clouds. They therefore went up through the Regions of the Air, sweetly talking as they went, being comforted, because they safely got over the River, and had such glorious Companions to attend them.
The talk that they had with the Shining Ones was about the glory of the place, who told them that the beauty and glory of it was inexpressible. There, said they, is the Mount Sion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of Angels, and the Spirits of just men made perfect. You are going now, said they, to the Paradise of God, wherein you shall see the Tree of Life, and eat of the never-fading fruits thereof; and when you come there, you shall have white Robes given you, and your walk and talk shall be every day with the King, even all the days of Eternity. There you shall not see again such things as you saw when you were in the lower Region upon the earth, to wit, sorrow, sickness, affliction, and health, for the former things are passed away. You are now going to Abraham, to Isaac, and Jacob, and to the Prophets, men that God hath taken away from the evil to come, and that are now resting upon their beds, each one walking in his righteousness. The men then asked, What must we do in the holy place? To whom it was answered, You must there receive the comfort of all your toil, and have joy for all your sorrow; you must reap what you have sown, even the fruit of all your Prayers and Tears, and sufferings for the King by the way. In that place you must wear Crowns of Gold, and enjoy the perpetual sight and vision of the Holy One, for there you shall see him as he is. There also you shall serve him continually with praise, with shouting, and thanksgiving, whom you desired to serve in the World, though with much difficulty, because of the infirmity of your flesh. There your eyes shall be delighted with seeing, and your ears with hearing the pleasant voice of the Mighty One. There you shall enjoy your friends again, that are gone thither before you; and there you shall with joy receive even every one that follows into the holy place after you. There also shall you be cloathed with Glory and Majesty, and put into an equipage fit to ride out with the King of Glory. When he shall come with sound of Trumpet in the Clouds, as upon the wings of the Wind, you shall come with him; and when he shall sit upon the Throne of Judgment, you shall sit by him; yea, and when he shall pass sentence upon all the workers of iniquity, let them be Angels or Men, you also shall have a voice in that Judgment, because they were his and your Enemies. Also when he shall again return to the City, you shall go too, with sound of Trumpet, and be ever with him.
Now while they were thus drawing towards the Gate, behold a company of the Heavenly Host came out to meet them; to whom it was said by the other two Shining Ones, These are the men that have loved our Lord when they were in the World, and that have left all for his Holy Name, and he hath sent us to fetch them, and we have brought them thus far on their desired Journey, that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy. Then the Heavenly Host gave a great shout, saying, Blessed are they that are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. There came out also at this time to meet them, several of the King's Trumpeters, cloathed in white and shining Raiment, who with melodious noises and loud, made even the Heavens to echo with their sound. These Trumpeters saluted Christian and his fellow with ten thousand welcomes from the World, and this they did with shouting and sound of Trumpet.
This done, they compassed them round on every side; some went before, some behind, and some on the right hand, some on the left, (as 'twere to guard them through the upper Regions) continually sounding as they went with melodious noise, in notes on high: so that the very sight was to them that could behold it, as if Heaven itself was come down to meet them. Thus therefore they walked on together; and as they walked, ever and anon these Trumpeters, even with joyful sound, would, by mixing their musick with looks and gestures, still signify to Christian and his Brother, how welcome they were into their company, and with what gladness they came to meet them; and now were these two men as 'twere in Heaven before they came at it, being swallowed up with the sight of Angels, and with hearing of their melodious notes. Here also they had the City itself in view, and they thought they heard all the Bells therein ring to welcome them thereto. But above all, the warm and joyful thoughts that they had about their own dwelling there, with such company, and that for ever and ever. Oh, by what tongue or pen can their glorious joy be expressed! And thus they came up to the Gate.
Now when they were come up to the Gate, there was written over it in Letters of Gold, Blessed are they that do his Commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the Gates into the City.
Then I saw in my Dream, that the Shining Men bid them call at the Gate; the which when they did, some from above looked over the Gate, to wit, Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, &c., to whom it was said, These Pilgrims are come from the City of Destruction for the love that they bear to the King of this place; and then the Pilgrims gave in unto them each man his Certificate, which they had received in the beginning; those therefore were carried in to the King, who when he had read them, said, Where are the men? To whom it was answered, They are standing without the Gate. The King then commanded to open the Gate, That the righteous nation, saith he, that keepeth Truth may enter in.
Now I saw in my Dream that these two men went in at the Gate: and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured, and they had Raiment put on that shone like Gold. There was also that met them with Harps and Crowns, and gave them to them, the Harps to praise withal, and the Crowns in token of honour. Then I heard in my Dream that all the Bells in the City rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them, Enter ye into the joy of your Lord. I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice, saying, Blessing, Honour, Glory, and Power, be to him that sitteth upon the Throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.
Now just as the Gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold, the City shone like the Sun; the Streets also were paved with Gold, and in them walked many men, with Crowns on their heads, Palms in their hands, and golden Harps to sing praises withal.
There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without intermission, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord. And after that they shut up the Gates. Which when I had seen, I wished myself among them.
Now while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my head to look back, and saw Ignorance come up to the River-side; but he soon got over, and that without half that difficulty which the other two men met with. For it happened that there was then in that place one Vain-hope a Ferry-man, that with his Boat helped him over; so he, as the other I saw, did ascend the Hill to come up to the Gate, only he came alone; neither did any man meet him with the least encouragement. When he was come up to the Gate, he looked up to the writing that was above, and then began to knock, supposing that entrance should have been quickly administered to him; but he was asked by the men that looked over the top of the Gate, Whence came you? and what would you have? He answered, I have eat and drank in the presence of the King, and he has taught in our Streets. Then they asked him for his Certificate, that they might go in and shew it to the King. So he fumbled in his bosom for one, and found none. Then said they, Have you none? But the man answered never a word. So they told the King, but he would not come down to see him, but commanded the two Shining Ones that conducted Christian and Hopeful to the City, to go out and take Ignorance, and bind him hand and foot, and have him away. Then they took him up, and carried him through the air to the door that I saw in the side of the Hill, and put him in there. Then I saw that there was a way to Hell even from the Gates of Heaven, as well as from the City of Destruction. So I awoke, and behold it was a Dream.
IVANHOE AND GUY MANNERING
_Before we have reached the second page of what Anthony Trollope called "the most favorite novel in the English language," the Commander of the Knights Templars and his followers have reined up their horses outside the old hall of Rotherwood, and a loud blast from the horn convinces us that they won't wait very long for an invitation to enter. And there is Rowena, for whom the Disinherited Knight shall fight against all comers. We hold our breaths as he rides full-tilt at the Norman Knight and strikes him full on the visor of his helmet, throwing horse and rider to the ground. Here are Isaac the Jew and Rebecca his beautiful daughter; and Wamba the jester, disguised as a monk, is rescuing Cedric—
Does any boy or girl need to know more of what Ivanhoe is about?
No one who begins to read Guy Mannering will wish to put it down until he has finished it._
Retold by Sir Edward Sullivan
At the time when King Richard, of the Lion Heart, was absent from his country, and a prisoner in the power of the perfidious and cruel Duke of Austria, there lived in England a highborn Saxon, named Cedric. He was one of the few native princes who still continued to occupy the home of his fathers; but, like many more of the conquered English people, he had felt the tyranny and oppressive insolence of the haughty Norman barons. He was a man of great personal strength, possessed of a hasty and choleric temper, but he had shrewdly refrained from showing any open hostility to the successors of the Conqueror; and so contrived to maintain his ancient state in his mansion at Rotherwood, while many others in a similar situation had been compelled to give up their homes and properties to the supporters of the Norman invader.
He had an only son, Wilfred by name, with whom he had quarrelled; and the young man, finding himself disinherited, had adopted the profession of a champion of the Cross, and sailed away to Palestine with the army of the Crusaders.
One evening, in the autumn of the year, Cedric was about to sit down to supper in the old hall at Rotherwood, when the blast of a horn was heard at his gate. In a few minutes after, a warder announced that the Prior Aymer, of Jorvaulx, and the good knight Brian de Bois-Guilbert, commander of the valiant order of Knights Templars, with a small retinue, requested hospitality and lodging for the night, being on their way to a tournament which was to be held not far from Ashby-de-la-Zouche.
"Normans both," muttered Cedric; "but they are welcome to the hospitality of Rotherwood. Admit them."
The noble guests were ushered in shortly after, accompanied by their attendants, and Cedric bade them welcome to his hall.
When the repast was about to begin, the steward, suddenly raising his wand, said aloud: "Forbear! Place for the Lady Rowena." As he spoke a side-door at the upper end of the hall opened, and Rowena, the fair and stately ward of Cedric, followed by four female attendants, entered the apartment. All stood up to receive her, and replying to their courtesy by a mute gesture of salutation, she moved gracefully forward to assume her place at the board, while the eyes of Brian de Bois-Guilbert seemed to be riveted by the striking beauty of her face.
As the banquet went on, conversation was interrupted by the entrance of a page, who announced that there was a stranger at the gate imploring admittance and hospitality.
"Admit him," said Cedric, "be he who or what he may."
The page retired; and returning shortly after, whispered into the ear of his master:
"It is a Jew, who calls himself Isaac of York."
"St. Mary!" said the abbot, crossing himself, "an unbelieving Jew, and admitted into this presence!"
"A dog Jew," echoed the Templar, "to approach a defender of the Holy Sepulchre!"
"Peace, my worthy guests," said Cedric; "my hospitality must not be bounded by your dislikes. Let him have a board and a morsel apart."
Introduced with little ceremony, and advancing with fear and hesitation, and many a bow of deep humility, a tall thin old man, with an aquiline nose and piercing black eyes, approached the lower end of the board. Cedric nodded coldly in answer to his repeated salutations, and signed to him to take a place at the lower end of the table, where, however, no one offered to make room for him.
A pilgrim, at length, who sat by the chimney, took compassion upon him, and resigned his seat, saying briefly, "Old man, my garments are dried, my hunger is appeased, thou art both wet and fasting." And, so saying, he placed some food before the Jew on the small table at which he had himself supped, and, without waiting for the old man's thanks, went to the other side of the hall.
As the feast proceeded, a discussion arose amongst the banqueters as to which knights had borne them best in Palestine among the champions of the Cross. De Bois-Guilbert seemed to speak slightingly of the English warriors, while giving the place of honour to the Knights of the Temple.
"The English chivalry were second to NONE" said the pilgrim, who had listened to this conversation with marked impatience. "SECOND to NONE, I say, who ever drew sword in defence of the Holy Land. I say, besides, for I saw it, that King Richard himself and five of his knights held a tournament after the taking of St. John-de- Acre, as challengers, and proved themselves superior to all comers."
The swarthy countenance of the Templar grew darker with a bitter scowl of rage as he listened to these words; but his angry confusion became only more marked as the pilgrim went on to give the names of the English knights who had so distinguished themselves. He paused as he came to the name of the sixth.
"His name dwells not in my memory," he said; "but he was a young knight of lesser renown and lower rank."
"Sir palmer," said Brian de Bois-Guilbert scornfully, "this assumed forgetfulness, after so much has been remembered, comes too late to serve your purpose. I will myself tell the name of the knight before whose lance I fell: it was the Knight of Ivanhoe; nor was there one of the six that, for his years, had more renown in arms. Yet this will I say, and loudly, that, were he in England, I would gladly meet him in this week's tournament, mounted and armed as I now am."
"If Ivanhoe ever returns from Palestine I will be his surety that he meets you," replied the palmer.
Not long after, the grace-cup was served round, and the guests, after making deep obeisance to their landlord and the Lady Rowena, arose, and retired with their attendants for the night.
As the palmer was being guided to his chamber he was met by the waiting-maid of Rowena, who informed him that her mistress desired to speak with him.
A short passage and an ascent of some steps led him to the lady's apartment.
As the pilgrim entered she ordered her attendants, excepting only one, to retire.
"Pilgrim," said the lady, after a moment's pause, during which she seemed uncertain how to address him, "you this night mentioned a name—I mean the name of Ivanhoe—I would gladly hear news of him. Where and in what condition did you leave him?"
"I know little of the Knight of Ivanhoe," answered the palmer with a troubled voice. "He hath, I believe, surmounted the persecution of his enemies in Palestine, and is on the eve of returning to England."
The Lady Rowena sighed deeply.
"Would to God," she then said, "he were here safely arrived, and able to bear arms in the approaching tourney. Should Athelstane of Coningsburgh obtain the prize, Ivanhoe is like to hear evil tidings when he reaches England."
Finding that there was no further information to be obtained about the knight, in whose fate she seemed to take so deep an interest, she bade her maidens to offer the sleeping-cup to the holy man, and having presented him with a piece of gold, wished him good- night.
As the palmer was being conducted to his room he inquired of his attendant where Isaac the Jew was sleeping, and learned that he occupied the room next to his own.
As soon as it was dawn the pilgrim entered the small apartment where the Jew was still asleep. Stirring him with his pilgrim's staff, he told him that he should rise without delay, and leave the mansion. "When the Templar crossed the hall yesternight," he continued, "I heard him speak to his Mussulman slaves in the Saracen language, which I well understand, and he charged them to watch the journey of the Jew, to seize upon him when at a convenient distance from the mansion, and to conduct him to the castle of Philip de Malvoisin, or to that of Reginald Front-de- Boeuf."
It is impossible to describe the extremity of terror which seized upon the Jew at this information. He knew only too well of the relentless persecution to which his kindred were subjected at this period, and how, upon the slightest and most unreasonable pretences, their persons and their property were exposed to every turn of popular fury.
He rose, accordingly, in haste.
It was not, however, such an easy matter to make their exit from the mansion. Gurth, the swineherd, a servant of much importance at that time, when appealed to open the gate, refused to let the visitors out at such an unseasonable hour.
"Nevertheless," said the pilgrim, "you will not, I think, refuse me that favour."
So saying, he whispered something in his ear in Saxon. Gurth started as if electrified, and hastened at once to procure their mules for the travellers, and to open the postern gate to let them out.
As the pilgrim mounted, he reached his hand to Gurth, who kissed it with the utmost possible veneration. The two travellers were soon lost under the boughs of the forest path.
They continued their journey at great speed; and the Jew noticed with amazement that the palmer appeared to be familiar with every path and outlet of the wood. When they had travelled some distance from Rotherwood, and were approaching the town of Sheffield, the Jew expressed a wish to recompense the palmer for the interest he had taken in his affairs.
"I desire no recompense," answered his fellow traveller.
"Yet I can tell thee something thou lackest," said Isaac, "and, it may be, supply it too. Thy wish even now is for a horse and armour."
The palmer started.
"What fiend prompted that guess?" said he hastily.
"Under that palmer's gown," replied the Jew, "is hidden a knight's chain and spurs of gold. I saw them as you stooped over my bed this morning."
Without waiting to hear his companion's reply, he wrote some words in Hebrew on a piece of paper, and handed it to the pilgrim, saying:
"In the town of Leicester all men know the rich Jew, Kirjath Jairam of Lombardy; give him this scroll, and he will give thee everything that can furnish thee forth for the tournament; when it is over thou wilt return them safely. But hark thee, good youth, thrust thyself not too forward in this vain hurly-burly. I speak not for endangering the steed and coat of armour, but for the sake of thine own life and limbs."
"Gramercy for thy caution," said the palmer, smiling; "I will use thy courtesy frankly—and it will go hard with me but I will requite it."
They then parted, and took different roads for the town of Sheffield.
When the morning of the tournament arrived the field of contest at Ashby-de-la-Zouche presented a brilliant and romantic scene. On the verge of a wood was an extensive meadow, of the finest and most beautiful green turf, surrounded on one side by the forest, and fringed on the other by straggling oak-trees. The ground, as if fashioned on purpose for the martial display which was intended, sloped gradually down on all sides to a level bottom, which was enclosed for the lists with strong palisades. At each end of the enclosure two heralds were stationed, and a strong body of men-at-arms, for maintaining order and ascertaining the quality of the knights who proposed to engage in the contest.
On a platform beyond the southern entrance were pitched five magnificent pavilions, adorned with pennons of russet and black— the chosen colours of the five knights challengers. That in the centre, as the place of honour, had been assigned to Brian de Bois-Guilbert, whose renown in all games of chivalry had occasioned him to be adopted as the chief and leader of the challengers.
Outside the lists were galleries, spread with tapestry and carpets, for the convenience of the ladies and nobles who were expected to attend the tournament. Another gallery raised higher than the rest, and opposite to the spot where the shock of combat was to take place, was decorated with much magnificence, and graced by a sort of throne and canopy, on which the royal arms were emblazoned. Squires, pages, and yeomen, in rich liveries, waited around the place of honour, which was designed for Prince John, the brother of the absent king, and his attendants. Opposite to this royal gallery was another, even more gaily decorated, reserved as the seat of honour for the Queen of Beauty and of Love. But who was to fill the place on the present occasion no one was prepared to guess.
Gradually the galleries became filled with knights, nobles and ladies, while the lower space was crowded with yeomen and burghers.
Amongst the latter was Isaac the Jew, richly and magnificently dressed, and accompanied by his daughter, the beautiful Rebecca, whose exquisite form, shown to advantage by a becoming Eastern dress, did not escape the quick eye of the prince himself, as he rode by at the head of his numerous and gaily-dressed train.
As the prince assumed his throne, he gave signal to the heralds to proclaim the laws of the tournament, which were briefly as follows:
First: The five challengers were to undertake all comers.
Secondly: Any knight might select any antagonist for combat by touching his shield. If he did so with the reverse of his lance, the trial of skill was made with what were called the arms of courtesy, that is, with lances at whose extremity a piece of round flat board was fixed, so that no danger was encountered, save from the shock of the horses and riders. But if the shield was touched with the sharp end of the lance, the knights were to fight as in actual battle.
Thirdly: The knight whom the prince should declare to be the victor was to receive as prize a war-horse of exquisite beauty and matchless strength, and in addition to this reward, he should have the peculiar honour of naming the Queen of Love and Beauty.
When the proclamation was made the heralds retired, and through the open barriers five knights advanced slowly into the arena. Approaching the challengers, each touched slightly, and with the reverse of his lance, the shield of the antagonist to whom he wished to oppose himself, and then retreated to the extremity of the lists, where all remained drawn up in a line.
At the flourish of clarions and trumpets they started out against each other at full gallop; and such was the superior skill or good fortune of the challengers, that those opposed to Bois-Guilbert, Malvoisin, and Front-de-Boeuf rolled on the ground. The antagonist of Grantmesnil broke his spear; while the fifth knight alone maintained the honour of his party.
A second and third party of knights took the field, and although they had various success, yet, upon the whole, the advantage decidedly remained with the challengers, not one of whom lost his seat. A fourth combat followed; and here, too, the challengers came off victorious.
Prince John now began to talk of awarding the prize to Brian de Bois-Guilbert, who had proved himself to be the best of the Norman knights; but his attention, and that of the other spectators, was arrested by the sound of a solitary trumpet, which breathed a note of defiance from the northern end of the enclosure.
All eyes were turned to see the new champion, and no sooner were the barriers opened than he paced into the lists. His suit of armour was formed of steel, richly inlaid with gold, and the device on his shield was a young oak-tree pulled up by the roots, with the word "Disinherited" inscribed upon it. Riding straight up to Brian de Bois-Guilbert, he struck with the sharp end of his spear the shield of the victorious Norman until it rang again. All stood astonished at his presumption, but none more than the redoubted knight whom he had thus defied to mortal combat.
When the two champions stood opposed to each other at the two extremities of the lists the public expectation was strained to highest pitch.
The trumpets had no sooner given the signal than the combatants vanished from their posts with the speed of lightning, and closed in the centre of the lists with the shock of a thunderbolt. The lances burst into shivers, both the knights being almost unhorsed. Retiring to the extremity of the lists, each received a fresh lance from the attendants; and again, amidst a breathless silence, they sprung from their stations, and closed in the centre of the open space, with the same speed, the same dexterity, the same violence, but not the same equal fortune, as before.
The Norman's spear, striking the centre of his antagonist's shield, went to shivers, and the Disinherited Knight reeled in his saddle. On the other hand, the unknown champion had aimed his spear's point at the helmet of his opponent. Fair and true he hit the Norman on the visor, and saddle, horse, and man rolled on the ground under a cloud of dust.
"We shall meet again, I trust," said the defeated champion, as he extricated himself from the stirrups and fallen steed.
"If we do not," said the Disinherited Knight, "the fault will not be mine. On foot or horseback, with spear, with axe, or with sword, I am alike ready to encounter thee."
Without alighting from his horse, the conqueror called for a bowl of wine, and, opening the beaver of his helmet, announced that he quaffed it "To all true English hearts, and to the confusion of foreign tyrants."
He then desired a herald to proclaim that he was willing to encounter the rest of the challengers in the order in which they pleased to advance against him.
The gigantic Front-de-Boeuf, armed in sable armour, was the first who took the field. But he was soon defeated.
Sir Philip Malvoisin next advanced; and against him the stranger was equally successful. De Grantmesnil soon after avowed himself vanquished; and Ralph de Vipont summed up the list of the stranger's triumphs, being hurled to the ground with such force that he was borne senseless from the lists.
The acclamations of thousands applauded the award of the prince, announcing that day's honours to the Disinherited Knight.
The marshal of the field now approached the victor, praying him to suffer his helmet to be unlaced, ere they conducted him to receive the prize of the day's tourney from the hands of Prince John. But the Disinherited Knight, with all courtesy, declined their request. The prince himself made many inquiries of those in his company about the unknown stranger; but none could guess who he might be. Someone suggested that it might, perhaps, be King Richard himself; and John turned deadly pale as he heard the words, for he had been plotting to seize the throne during his brother's absence.
The victorious knight received his prize, speaking not a word in reply to the complimentary expressions of the prince, which he only acknowledged with a low bow. Leaping into the saddle of the richly-accoutred steed which had been presented to him, he rode up to where the Lady Rowena was seated, and, heedless of the many Norman beauties who graced the contest with their presence, gracefully sinking the point of his lance he deposited the coronet which it supported at the feet of the fair Saxon. The trumpets instantly sounded, while the heralds proclaimed the Lady Rowena the Queen of Beauty and of Love for the ensuing day.
Soon after the vast multitude had retired from the deserted field and lights began to glimmer through the twilight, announcing the toil of the armourers, which was to continue through the whole night in order to repair or alter the suits of armour to be used again on the morrow.
The next day dawned in unclouded splendour, and at ten o'clock the whole plain was crowded with horsemen, horsewomen, and foot- passengers, hastening to the tournament; and shortly after a grand flourish of trumpets announced the arrival of Prince John and his gorgeous retinue.
About the same time arrived Cedric the Saxon with the Lady Rowena. He had been accompanied on the previous day by another noble Saxon, Athelstane, Lord of Coningsburgh, a suitor for the hand of Rowena, and one who considered his union with that lady as a matter already fixed beyond doubt, by the assent of Cedric and her other friends. Rowena herself, however, had never given her consent to such an alliance; and entertained but a poor opinion of her would-be lover, whose pretensions for her hand she had received with marked disdain. Her Saxon lover was not one of her party at the tourney on the second day. He had observed with displeasure that Rowena was selected by the victor on the preceding day as the object of that honour which it became his privilege to confer, and Athelstane, confident of his own strength and skill, had himself donned his armour with a determination to make his rival feel the weight of his battle-axe.
The combat on the second day of the tournament was on a much more extended scale than that of the previous one; and when the signal for battle was given some fifty knights, at the same moment, charged wildly at each other in the lists. The champions encountered each other with the utmost fury, and with alternate success; the tide of battle seeming to flow now toward the southern, now toward the northern extremity of the lists as the one or the other party prevailed. The clang of the blows, and the shouts of the combatants, mixed fearfully with the sound of the trumpets, and drowned the groans of those who fell, and lay rolling beneath the feet of the horses. The splendid armour of the knights was now defaced with dust and blood, and gave way at every stroke of the sword and battle-axe; while the gay plumage, shorn from the crests, drifted upon the breeze like snowflakes.
In the thick of the press and turmoil of the fight Bois-Guilbert and the Disinherited Knight repeatedly endeavoured to single out each other, spurred by mutual animosity. Such, however, was the crowd and confusion that, during the earlier part of the conflict, their efforts to meet were unavailing. But when the field became thin, by the numbers on either side who had yielded themselves vanquished or had been rendered incapable of continuing the strife, the Templar and the unknown knight at length encountered, hand to hand, with all the fury that mortal animosity, joined to rivalry of honour, could inspire. Such was the skill of each in parrying and striking that the spectators broke forth into a unanimous and involuntary shout of delight and admiration.
But at this moment the party of the Disinherited Knight had the worst. Front-de-Boeuf and Athelstane, having defeated those immediately opposed to them, were now free to come to the aid of their friend the Templar; and, turning their horses at the same moment, the two spurred against the Disinherited Knight.
This champion, exposed as he was to the furious assaults of three opponents each of whom was almost a match for him single-handed, must now have soon been overpowered when an unexpected incident changed the fortunes of the day.
Amongst the ranks of the Disinherited Knight was a champion in black armour, mounted on a black horse, whose shield bore no device of any kind. He had engaged with some few combatants, and had easily defeated them during the earlier stages of the contest, but seemed to take no further interest in the event of the fight, acting the part rather of a spectator than of a party in the tournament.
The moment, however, he saw his leader so hard bestead he seemed to throw aside his apathy, and setting spurs to his horse he came to his assistance like a thunderbolt, exclaiming, in a voice like a trumpet call, "Disinherited to the rescue!"
Under the fury of his first stroke, Front-de-Boeuf, horse and all, rolled stunned to the ground. He then turned his steed upon Athelstane, and, wrenching from the hand of the bulky Saxon the battle-axe which he wielded, bestowed him such a blow upon the crest, that the Lord of Coningsburgh also lay senseless on the field. Having achieved this double feat, he returned calmly to the extremity of the lists, leaving his leader to cope as best he could with Brian de Bois-Guilbert. This was no longer matter of so much difficulty as formerly. The Templar's horse had bled much, and gave way under the shock of the Disinherited Knight's charge. As Bois-Guilbert rolled on the field, his antagonist sprung from horseback, and was in the act of commanding his adversary to yield or die, when Prince John gave the signal that the conflict was at an end.
It being now the duty of the prince to name the knight who had done best, he determined, although contrary to the advice of those about him, that the honour of the day remained with the Black Knight.
To the surprise of all present, however, the knight thus preferred was nowhere to be found. He had left the lists immediately when the conflict ceased, and had been observed by some spectators to move slowly down one of the forest glades. After he had been summoned twice by sound of trumpet, it became necessary to name another; and the Disinherited Knight was for the second time named champion of the day.
As the victor was led towards the throne of the Lady Rowena, it was observed that he tottered. Rowena was about to place the chaplet which she held in her hand upon the helmet of the champion who kneeled before her, when the marshals exclaimed, "It must not be thus, his head must be bare;" and at once removed his helmet. The features which were exposed were those of a young man of twenty-five; but his countenance was as pale as death, and marked in one or two places with streaks of blood.
Rowena had no sooner beheld him than she uttered a faint shriek; but at once summoning up all her energies, she placed upon the drooping head of the victor the splendid chaplet which was the destined reward of the day.
The knight bent low, and kissed the hand of the lovely Sovereign by whom his valour had been rewarded; and then, sinking yet farther forward, lay prostrate at her feet.
There was a general consternation. Cedric, who had been struck mute by the sudden appearance of his banished son, now rushed forward, as if to separate him from Rowena. But this had been already accomplished by the marshals of the field, who, guessing the cause of Ivanhoe's swoon, had hastened to undo his armour, and found that the head of a lance had penetrated his breast-plate and inflicted a wound in his side.
The name of Ivanhoe was no sooner pronounced than it flew from mouth to mouth throughout the vast assembly. It was not long ere it reached the circle of the prince, whose brow darkened as he heard the news. He knew that Ivanhoe had been a close attendant on his brother King Richard in the Holy Land; and as such he looked upon him as his own enemy. He was about to give the signal for retiring from the lists, when a small billet was put into his hand. He broke the seal with apparent agitation, and read the words, "Take heed to yourself, for the devil is unchained."
He turned as pale as death; and taking two of his courtiers aside, he put the billet into their hands. "It means," he said in a faltering voice, "that my brother Richard has obtained his freedom."
"It is time, then," said Fitzurse, his confidential attendant, "to draw our party to a head, and prepare our forces to meet him."
In sullen ill-humour the prince left the place of tournament to hold high festival at the Castle of Ashby; but it was more than his courtiers could do to rouse him from the overpowering gloom which seemed to agitate his mind throughout the evening. On the next day it was settled that the prince and all those who were ready to support him should attend a meeting at York for the purpose of making general arrangements for placing the crown upon the head of the usurper, and ousting King Richard from his sovereign rights.
Meanwhile, Cedric the Saxon, when he saw his son drop down senseless in the lists at Ashby, had given orders, half in pity, half in anger, to his attendants to convey Ivanhoe to a place where his wound might be dressed as soon as the crowd had dispersed. The attendants were, however, anticipated in this good office. The crowd dispersed, indeed, but the knight was nowhere to be seen. The only information which could be collected from the bystanders was, that he had been raised with care by certain well- attired grooms, and placed in a litter belonging to a lady among the spectators, in which he had immediately been transported out of the press.
Cedric and his friends, having seen the last of the tournament and the festivities which followed it, now set out on their return to Rotherwood. Their way lay through a thickly-wooded country, which was at the time held to be dangerous to travellers from the number of outlaws whom oppression and poverty had driven to despair, and who occupied the forests in large bands. From these rovers, however, Cedric and Athelstane accounted themselves secure, as they had in attendance ten servants. They knew, besides, that the outlaws were chiefly peasants and yeomen of Saxon descent, and were generally supposed to respect the persons and property of 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 fashion, while an old man, whose yellow cap proclaimed him to belong to the same nation, walked up and down, wringing his hands, as if affected by some strange disaster.
It was some time before Isaac of York, for it was he, could explain the nature of his trouble. When at length he began to come to himself out of his agony of terror, he said that he had hired a body-guard of six men at Ashby, together with mules for carrying the litter of a sick friend; but that they all had fled away from him, having heard that there was a strong band of outlaws lying in wait in the woods before them. When he implored permission to continue his journey under the protection of Cedric and his party, Athelstane was strongly opposed to allowing the "dog of a Jew," as he called him, to travel in their company. The Lady Rowena, however, had at the same time been approached by the old man's daughter, who, kissing the hem of her garment, implored her to have compassion on them. "It is not for myself that I pray this favour," said Rebecca; "nor is it even for that poor old man; but it is in the name of one dear to many, and dear even to you, that I beseech you to let this sick person be transported with care and tenderness under your protection."
So noble and solemn was the air with which Rebecca made this appeal, that on the intercession of Rowena Cedric readily consented to allow the Jew and his daughter, together with their sick friend, to attach themselves to his party.
Twilight was already coming on as the company proceeded on their journey. The path upon which the party travelled was now so narrow as not to admit above two riders abreast. They accordingly quickened their pace, in order to get as rapidly as possible out of the dangerous neighborhood which they were traversing. They had just crossed a' brook, whose banks were broken, swampy, and overgrown with dwarf willows, when they were assailed in front, flank and rear by a large body of men in the dress of outlaws, and with an impetuosity to which, in their confused and ill-prepared condition, it was impossible to offer effectual resistance. Both the Saxon chiefs were made prisoners at the same moment, while the attendants, embarrassed with baggage, surprised and terrified at the fate of their masters, fell an easy prey to the assailants; and the Lady Rowena, the Jew and his daughter experienced the same misfortune. Wamba, the jester, alone escaped, showing upon the occasion much more courage than those who pretended to greater sense. As he wandered through the forest, a dog, which he recognised, jumped up and fawned upon him, and Gurth, the swineherd, shortly after made his appearance. He was horrified to hear from his fellow-servant of the misfortune which had befallen their master and his party; and the two were about to hasten away for the purpose of procuring aid, when a third person suddenly appeared, and commanded them both to halt. Notwithstanding the twilight, and although his dress and arms showed him to be an outlaw, Wamba recognised him to be Locksley, the yeoman, a man who had carried off the prize for archery at the tournament a day or two before.
"What is the meaning of all this," he said; "or who is it that rifle and ransom and make prisoners in these forests?"
The yeoman then left, bidding Gurth and Wamba, on the peril of their lives, not to stir until he returned.
He was not long away, and on returning said that he had found out who the attacking party were and whither they were bound.
"Cedric the Saxon," he said, "the friend of the rights of Englishmen, shall not want English hands to help him in this extremity. Come, then, with me, until I gather more aid."
So saying, he walked through the wood at a great pace, followed by the jester and the swineherd.
It was after three hours' good walking that the servants of Cedric, with their mysterious guide, arrived at a small opening in the forest. Beneath an enormous oak-tree several yeomen lay stretched on the ground, while another, as sentinel, walked to and fro in the moonlight shade. Locksley, on being recognised, was welcomed with every token of respect and attachment; and he at once gave orders to collect what force they could.
"A set of gallants," he said, "who have been masquerading in such guise as our own, are carrying a band of prisoners to Torquilstone, the castle of Front-de-Boeuf. Our honour is concerned to punish them, and we will find means to do so."
In the meantime Cedric and the other prisoners had been hurried along by Bois-Guilbert and De Bracy, and safely lodged in the strong and ancient castle of Reginald Front-de-Boeuf. Once within the castle, the prisoners were separated. Cedric and Athelstane were confined in one apartment, the Lady Rowena in another, while the poor Jew was hastily thrust into a dungeon-vault, the floor of which was deep beneath the level of the ground, and his daughter Rebecca was locked into a cell in a distant and sequestered turret.
The dungeon occupied by Isaac of York was dark and damp. Chains and shackles, which had been the portion of former captives, hung rusted on the gloomy walls, and in the rings of one of those sets of fetters there remained the mouldering bones of some unhappy prisoner who had been left to perish there in other days. At one end of this ghastly apartment was a large fire-grate, over the top of which were stretched some transverse bars of iron, half devoured with rust.
For nearly three hours the wretched Jew remained sitting in a corner of his dungeon, when steps were heard on the stair by which it was approached. The bolts were withdrawn, the hinges creaked as the wicket opened, and Reginald Front-de-Boeuf, followed by two Saracen slaves of the Templar, entered the prison.
"Most cursed dog of an accursed race!" he said to Isaac, "see'st thou these scales? In these shalt thou weigh me out a thousand silver pounds."
"Holy Abraham!" returned the Jew, "heard man ever such a demand? Not within the walls of York, ransack my house and that of all my tribe, wilt thou find the tithe of that huge sum of silver."
"Prepare, then," said the Norman, "for a long and lingering death."
And he ordered the slave to make ready the fire.
"See'st thou, Isaac," he said, "the range of bars above that glowing charcoal? On that warm couch shalt thou lie, stripped of thy clothes. One of these slaves shall maintain the fire beneath thee, while another shall anoint thy wretched limbs with oil, lest the roast should burn. Now, choose between such a scorching bed and the payment of a thousand pounds of silver; for, by the head of my father, thou hast no other option."
"So may Abraham, Jacob, and all the fathers of our people assist me," said Isaac; "I cannot make the choice, because I have not the means of satisfying your exorbitant demand."
"Seize him, and strip him, slaves!" said the knight, "and let the fathers of his race assist him if they can."
The assistants stepped forward, and laying hands on the unfortunate man, waited the hardhearted baron's further signal.
The unhappy Jew eyed their savage countenances and that of Front- de-Boeuf, in hope of discovering some symptoms of relenting; and as he looked again at the glowing furnace his resolution at length gave way.
"I will pay!" he said. "That is," he added, after a moment's pause, "I will pay it with the help of my brethren. Let my daughter Rebecca go forth to York, and she will bring the treasure here."
"Thy daughter!" said Front-de-Boeuf, as if surprised. "By heavens! Isaac, I would I had known of this; I gave the black-browed girl to be a handmaiden to Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert, to do as it might please him with her. My word is passed to my comrade in arms; nor would I break it for ten Jews and Jewesses to boot."
The yell which Isaac raised at this unfeeling communication made the vault ring.
"Robber and villain!" he exclaimed, "I will pay thee nothing—not one silver penny will I pay thee—unless my daughter is delivered to me in safety and honour. Do thy worst. Take my life if thou wilt, and say the Jew, amidst his tortures, knew how to disappoint the Christian."
"Strip him, slaves! and chain him down upon the bars," said Front- de-Boeuf.
The Saracens, in obedience to this savage order, had already torn from the feeble and struggling old man his upper garment, and were proceeding totally to disrobe him, when the sound of a bugle, twice winded without the castle, penetrated even to the recesses of the dungeon; and immediately after, loud voices were heard calling for Sir Reginald Front-de-Boeuf. Unwilling to be found engaged in his hellish occupation, the savage baron gave the slaves a signal to restore Isaac's garment, and hastily quitted the dungeon with his attendants.
During the time the unhappy Jew was undergoing his terrible ordeal in the gloomy dungeon, his daughter Rebecca, in her lonely turret, had been exposed to attentions no less unpleasant.
On being left in the secluded cell, she found herself in the presence of an old hag, who kept murmuring to herself a Saxon rhyme, as if to beat time to the spindle at which she was engaged. As soon as they were alone the old woman addressed the Jewess, telling her that she was once as young and fair as herself, when Front-de-Boeuf, the father of the man who now lorded it in the castle, attacked the place and slew her father and his seven sons, and she became the prey and scorn of the conqueror.
"Is there no help? Are there no means of escape?" said Rebecca. "Richly, richly would I requite thine aid."
"Think not of it," said the hag, "from hence there is no escape but through the gates of death; and it is late, late," she added shaking her gray head, "ere these open to us. Fare thee well, Jewess!—thou hast to do with them that have neither scruple nor pity." And so saying she left the room, locking the door behind her.
Before long a step was heard on the stair, and the door of the turret-chamber slowly opened, and Brian de Bois-Guilbert entered the room. He commenced to address the Jewess with flattering speeches, saying that he loved her, and that she must now be his. But Rebecca rejected his proffered love with scorn, protesting that she would proclaim his villainy from one end of Europe to the other. "At least," she said, "those who tremble not at thy crime will hold thee accursed for having so far dishonoured the cross thou wearest as to follow a daughter of my people."
"Thou art keen-witted, Jewess," replied the Templar, well aware of the truth of what she spoke; "but loud must be thy voice of complaint, if it is heard beyond the iron walls of this castle. One thing only can save thee, Rebecca. Submit to thy fate, embrace our religion, and thou shalt go forth in such state that many a Norman lady shall envy thee thy lot."
"Submit to my fate!" said Rebecca, "and, sacred Heaven! to what fate? Embrace thy religion, and what religion can it be that harbours such a villain? Craven knight! forsworn priest! I spit at thee and I defy thee. The God of Abraham's promise hath opened an escape to His daughter, even from this abyss of infamy!"
As she spoke she threw open the latticed window, and in an instant after stood on the very verge of the parapet outside, with not the slightest screen between her and the tremendous depth below. Unprepared for such a desperate effort, Bois-Guilbert had time neither to intercept nor to stop her. As he offered to advance, she exclaimed, "Remain where thou art, proud Templar, or at thy choice advance! One foot nearer, and I plunge myself from the precipice; my body shall be crushed out of the very form of humanity upon the stones below ere it become the victim of thy brutality!"
The Templar hesitated, and a resolution which would have never yielded to pity or distress gave way to his admiration for her fortitude. "Come down," he said, "rash girl! I swear by earth, and sea, and sky, I will offer thee no offence. Many a law, many a commandment have I broken, but my word never."
"Thus far," said Rebecca, "I will trust thee;" and she descended from the verge of the battlement, but remained standing close by one of the embrasures. "Here," she said, "I take my stand. If thou shalt attempt to diminish by one step the distance now between us, thou shalt see that the Jewish maiden will rather trust her soul with God than her honour to the Templar."
As she spoke, the bugle was heard to sound, announcing that the presence of the knight was required in another part of the castle; and as he instantly obeyed the summons, Rebecca found herself once more alone.
When the Templar reached the hall of the castle, he found De Bracy there already. They were soon after joined by Front-de-Boeuf.
"Let us see the cause of this cursed clamour," said Front-de- Boeuf. "Here is a letter, and if I mistake not, it is in Saxon."
The Templar took the paper from his hand and read it. It was a demand to surrender the prisoners within one hour, failing which the castle would be instantly besieged; and it was signed at the end by Wamba and Gurth, by the Black Knight and Locksley.
The answer which was returned from the castle to this missive announced that the prisoners would not be given up; but that permission would be given to a man of religion to come to receive their dying confession, as it had been determined to execute them before noon.
When this reply was brought back to the party of the Black Knight, a hurried consultation was held as to what they should do. There being no churchman amongst them, and as no one else seemed willing to undertake the risk of trusting himself within the castle, Wamba, the jester, was selected for the office. He was soon muffled in his religious disguise; and imitating the solemn and stately deportment of a friar, he departed to execute his mission.
As he approached the castle gate, he was at once admitted, and shortly after was ushered into the apartment where Cedric and Athelstane were confined; and the three were left alone. It was not long before Cedric recognised the voice of his jester. The faithful servant at once suggested that his master should change garments with him, and so make his escape. But it required the strong pressure of both Wamba and Athelstane before Cedric would consent. At length he yielded, and the exchange of dress was accomplished. He left the apartment saying that he would rescue his friends, or return and die along with them.
In a low-arched and dusky passage by which Cedric endeavoured to work his way to the hall, he was met by Urfried, the old crone of the tower.
"Come this way, father," she said to him; "thou art a stranger, and canst not leave the castle without a guide. Come hither, for I would speak with thee."
So saying, she proceeded to conduct the unwilling Cedric into a small apartment, the door of which she heedfully secured. "Thou art a Saxon, father," she said to him; "the sounds of my native language are sweet to mine ears, though seldom heard for many years."
She then told him the story of her unhappy and degraded life, and how she was once the daughter of the noble thane of Torquilstone.
"Thou the daughter of Torquil Wolfganger!" said Cedric; "thou— thou, the daughter of my father's friend and companion in arms!"
"Thy father's friend!" echoed Urfried; "then Cedric, called the Saxon, stands before me. But why this religious dress?"
"It matters not who I am," said Cedric; "proceed, unhappy woman, unhappy Ulrica, I should say, for thou canst be none other, with thy tale of horror and guilt. Wretched woman!" he exclaimed, as she concluded her miserable history, "so thou hast lived, when all believed thee murdered; hast lived to merit our hate and execration; lived to unite thyself with the vile tyrant who slew thy nearest and dearest!"
"I hated him with all my soul," replied Ulrica; "I also have had my hours of vengeance; I have fomented the quarrels of our foes; I have seen their blood flow, and heard their dying groans; I have seen my oppressor fall at his own board by the hand of his own son. Yet here I dwelt, till age, premature age, has stamped its ghastly features on my countenance, scorned and insulted where I was once obeyed. Thou art the first I have seen for twenty years by whom God was feared or man regarded; and dost thou bid me despair?"
"I bid thee repent," said Cedric; "but I cannot, I will not, longer abide with thee."
"Stay yet a moment!" said Ulrica. "Revenge henceforth shall possess me wholly, and thou thyself shalt say that, whatever was the life of Ulrica, her death well became the daughter of the noble Torquil. Hasten to lead your forces to the attack, and when thou shalt see a red flag wave from the eastern turret, press the Normans hard; they will have enough to do within. Begone, I pray thee; follow thine own fate, and leave me to mine."
As she spoke she vanished through a private door, and Front-de- Boeuf entered the apartment.
"Thy penitents, father," he said, "have made a long shrift; but come, follow me through this passage, that I may dismiss thee by the postern."
As Cedric was leaving the castle, the Norman gave him a note to carry to Philip de Malvoisin, begging him to send assistance with all the speed he could. He promised the friar a large reward for doing the errand, and as they parted at the postern door he thrust into Cedric's reluctant hand a piece of gold, adding, "Remember, I will flay off thy cowl and skin if thou failest in thy purpose."
When Front-de-Boeuf rejoined his friends and found out the trick which had been played upon him, and that Cedric had escaped, his rage was unbounded, and it was only on De Bracy interceding for him that he consented to spare the life of the poor jester.
Before long the inmates of the castle had other things to occupy them. The enemy was announced to be under their very walls; and each knight repaired hastily to his post, and at the head of the few followers whom they were able to muster they awaited with calm determination the threatened assault.
When at length the attack upon the castle was commenced all was at once bustle and clamour within its gloomy walls. The heavy step of men-at-arms traversed the battlements, or resounded on the narrow and winding passages and the stairs which led to the various bartizans and points of defence. The voices of the knights were heard animating their followers, or directing means of defence; while their commands were often drowned in the clashing of armour or the clamourous shouts of those whom they addressed. The shrill bugle without was answered by a flourish of Norman trumpets from the battlements, while the cries of both parties augmented the fearful din. Showers of well-directed arrows came pouring against each embrasure and opening in the parapets, as well as every window where a defender might be suspected to be stationed; and these were answered by a furious discharge of whizzing shafts and missiles from the walls.
And so for some time the fight went on; many combatants falling on either side. But soon the conflict became even more desperate when the Black Knight, at the head of a body of his followers, led an attack upon the outer barrier of the barbican. Down came the piles and palisades before their irresistible onslaught; but their headlong rush through the broken barriers was met by Front-de- Boeuf himself and a number of the defenders.
The two leaders came face to face, and fought hand to hand on the breach amid the roar of their followers who watched the progress of the strife. Hot and fierce was the combat that ensued between them; but ere many minutes had passed the giant form of Front-de- Boeuf tottered like an oak under the steel of the woodman, and dropped to the ground.
His followers rushed forward to where he lay, and their united force compelling the Black Knight to pause, they dragged their wounded leader within the walls.
An interval of quiet now succeeded, the besiegers remaining in possession of the outer defences of the castle, and the besieged retiring for the time within the walls of the fortress.
During the confusion which reigned amongst the followers of Front- de-Boeuf when the attack had commenced, Rebecca had been allowed to take the place of the old crone, Ulrica, who was in close attendance on the wounded man who had been brought into the castle in company with Isaac of York and the other captives. The sufferer was Ivanhoe himself, who had so mysteriously disappeared on the conclusion of the tournament, when his father, Cedric, had sent his servants to attend him to a place of safety. The gallant young warrior, who, as he fell fainting to the ground, seemed to be abandoned by all the world, had been transported from the lists at the entreaty of Rebecca, to the house at Ashby then occupied by Isaac of York, where his wounds were dressed and tended by the Jewish maiden herself. So great was her skill and knowledge of medicine, that she undertook to restore the injured knight to health in eight days' time; but she informed him of the necessity they were under of removing to York, and of her father's resolution to transport him thither, and tend him in his own house until his wound should be healed. It was on their journey to that town that they were overtaken on the road by Cedric and his party, in whose company they were afterwards carried captive to the Castle of Torquilstone.
But to return to the assault. When Front-de-Boeuf, deeply wounded, was rescued by his followers from the fury of the Black Knight, he was conveyed to his chamber. As he lay upon his bed, racked with pain and mental agony, and filled with the fear of rapidly approaching death, he heard a voice address him.
"Think on thy sins," it said, "Reginald Front-de-Boeuf; on rebellion, on rapine, on murder."
"Who is there? What art thou?" he exclaimed in terror. "Depart, and haunt my couch no more; let me die in peace."
"In peace thou shalt NOT die," repeated the voice; "even in death shalt thou think on the groans which this castle has echoed, on the blood that is engrained in its floors."
"Go, leave me, fiend!" replied the wounded Norman. "Leave me and seek the Saxon witch, Ulrica, who was my temptress; let her, as well as I, taste the tortures which anticipate hell."
"She already tastes them," said Ulrica, stepping before the couch of Front-de-Boeuf; "she hath long drunken of this cup, and its bitterness is now sweetened to see that thou dost partake it."
"Detestable fury!" exclaimed the Norman. "Ho! Giles, Clement, Eustace, seize this witch, and hurl her from the battlements; she has betrayed us to the Saxon."
"Call on them again, valiant baron," said the hag, with a smile of grisly mockery; "but know, mighty chief, thou shalt have neither answer nor aid. Listen to these horrid sounds," for the din of the recommenced assault and defence now rung fearfully loud from the battlements of the castle; "in that war-cry is the downfall of thy house. And know, too, even now, the doom which all thy power and strength is unable to avoid, though it is prepared for thee by this feeble hand. Markest thou the smouldering and suffocating vapour which already eddies in sable folds through the chamber? Rememberest thou the magazine of fuel that is stored beneath these apartments?"
"Woman!" exclaimed the wounded man with fury, "thou hast not set fire to it? By heaven thou hast, and the castle is in flames!"
"They are fast rising, at least," said Ulrica; "and a signal shall soon wave to warn the besiegers to press hard upon those who would extinguish them. Farewell, Front-de-Boeuf; farewell for ever."
So saying, she left the apartment; and Front-de-Boeuf could hear the crash of the ponderous key, as she locked and double-locked the door behind her.
Meanwhile, the Black Knight had led his forces again to the attack; and so vigorous was their assault, that before long the gate of the castle alone separated them from those within. At this moment the besiegers caught sight of the red flag upon the tower which Ulrica had described to Cedric; and, as she had bade them do, the assailants at once redoubled their efforts to break in the postern gate.
The defenders, finding the castle to be on fire, now determined to sell their lives as dearly as they could; and, headed by De Bracy, they threw open the gate, and were at once involved in a terrific conflict with those outside. The Black Knight, with portentous strength, forced his way inward in despite of De Bracy and his followers. Two of the foremost instantly fell, and the rest gave way, notwithstanding all their leaders' efforts to stop them. The Black Knight was soon engaged in desperate combat with the Norman chief, and the vaulted roof of the hall rung with their furious blows. At length De Bracy fell.
"Yield thee, De Bracy," said the Black Champion, stooping over him, and holding against the bars of his helmet the fatal poniard with which the knights despatched their enemies. "Yield thee, rescue or no rescue, or thou art but a dead man."
"I will not yield," replied the Norman faintly, "to an unknown conqueror. Tell me thy name, or work thy pleasure on me."
The Black Knight whispered something into the ear of the vanquished.
"I yield me to be true prisoner, rescue or no rescue," then answered De Bracy, in a tone of sullen submission.
"Go to the barbican," said the victor in a tone of authority, "and wait there my further orders."
"Yet first let me say," said De Bracy, "what it imports thee to know. Wilfred of Ivanhoe is wounded and a prisoner, and will perish in the burning castle without present help."
"Wilfred of Ivanhoe!" exclaimed the Black Knight—"prisoner, and perish! The life of every man in the castle shall answer it if a hair of his head be singed. Show me his chamber!"
When the Black Knight reached the room, Ivanhoe was alone. Rebecca, who had remained with him until a few moments before, had just been carried off forcibly by Bois-Guilbert. Raising the wounded man with ease, the Black Knight rushed with him to the postern gate, and having there delivered his burden to the care of two yeomen, he again entered the castle to assist in the rescue of the other prisoners.
One turret was now in bright flames, which flashed out furiously from window and shot-hole. But in other parts the besiegers pursued the defenders of the castle from chamber to chamber, and satiated in their blood the vengeance which had long animated them against the soldiers of the tyrant, Front-de Boeuf. Most of the garrison resisted to the uttermost; few of them asked quarter, none received it.
As the fire commenced to spread rapidly through all parts of the castle, Ulrica appeared on one of the turrets. Her long dishevelled gray hair flew back from her uncovered head, while the delight of gratified vengeance contended in her eyes with the fire of insanity. Before long the towering flames had surmounted every obstruction, and rose to the evening skies one huge and burning beacon, seen far and wide through the adjacent country; tower after tower crashed down, with blazing roof and rafter. The vanquished, of whom very few remained, scattered and escaped into the neighbouring wood. The maniac figure of Ulrica was for a long time visible on the lofty stand she had chosen, tossing her arms abroad with wild exultation. At length, with a terrific crash, the whole turret gave way, and she perished in the flames which had consumed her tyrant.
When day dawned the outlaws and their rescued prisoners assembled around the trysting-tree in the oak forest, beside the now ruined castle. Two only of Front-de-Boeuf's captives were missing: Athelstane and the Jewish maiden, the former being reported as amongst the slain, and Rebecca having been carried off by Bois- Guilbert before her friends could effect her rescue.
When the outlaws had divided the spoils which they had taken from the Castle of Torquilstone, Cedric prepared to take his departure. He left the gallant band of foresters sorrowing deeply for his lost friend, the Lord of Coningsburgh; and he and his followers had scarce departed, when a procession moved slowly from under the greenwood branches in the direction which he had taken, in the centre of which was the car in which the body of Athelstane was laid.
When the funeral train had passed out of sight, Locksley addressed the Black Knight, and asked him if he had any request to make, as his reward for the gallantry he had displayed.
"I accept the offer," said the knight; "and I ask permission to dispose of Sir Maurice de Bracy at my own pleasure."
"He is already thine," said Locksley, "and well for him!"
"De Bracy," said the knight, "thou art free; depart. He whose prisoner thou art scorns to take mean revenge for what is past. But beware of the future, lest a worse thing befall thee. Maurice de Bracy, I say, BEWARE!" De Bracy bowed low and in silence, threw himself upon a horse, and galloped off through the wood.
"Noble knight," then said Locksley, "I would fain beg your acceptance of another gift. Here is a bugle, which an English yeoman has once worn; I pray you to keep it as a memorial of your gallant bearing. If ye should chance to be hard bestead in any forest between Trent and Tees, wind three notes upon it, and ye shall find helpers and rescue."