> Where the blithe fawn trips by its timid mother,
> Where the broad oak, with intercepting boughs,
> Chequers the sunbeam in the green-sward alley—
> Up and away!—for lovely paths are these
> To tread, when the glad Sun is on his throne
> Less pleasant, and less safe, when Cynthia's lamp
> With doubtful glimmer lights the dreary forest.
> Ettrick Forest
When Cedric the Saxon saw his son drop down senseless in the lists at Ashby,
his first impulse was to order him into the custody and care of his ow_ttendants, but the words choked in his throat. He could not bring himself t_cknowledge, in presence of such an assembly, the son whom he had renounce_nd disinherited. He ordered, however, Oswald to keep an eye upon him; an_irected that officer, with two of his serfs, to convey Ivanhoe to Ashby a_oon as the crowd had dispersed. Oswald, however, was anticipated in this goo_ffice. The crowd dispersed, indeed, but the knight was nowhere to be seen.
It was in vain that Cedric's cupbearer looked around for his young master—h_aw the bloody spot on which he had lately sunk down, but himself he saw n_onger; it seemed as if the fairies had conveyed him from the spot. Perhap_swald (for the Saxons were very superstitious) might have adopted some suc_ypothesis, to account for Ivanhoe's disappearance, had he not suddenly cas_is eye upon a person attired like a squire, in whom he recognised th_eatures of his fellow-servant Gurth. Anxious concerning his master's fate,
and in despair at his sudden disappearance, the translated swineherd wa_earching for him everywhere, and had neglected, in doing so, the concealmen_n which his own safety depended. Oswald deemed it his duty to secure Gurth,
as a fugitive of whose fate his master was to judge.
Renewing his enquiries concerning the fate of Ivanhoe, the only informatio_hich the cupbearer could collect from the bystanders was, that the knight ha_een raised with care by certain well-attired grooms, and placed in a litte_elonging to a lady among the spectators, which had immediately transporte_im out of the press. Oswald, on receiving this intelligence, resolved t_eturn to his master for farther instructions, carrying along with him Gurth,
whom he considered in some sort as a deserter from the service of Cedric.
The Saxon had been under very intense and agonizing apprehensions concernin_is son; for Nature had asserted her rights, in spite of the patrioti_toicism which laboured to disown her. But no sooner was he informed tha_vanhoe was in careful, and probably in friendly hands, than the paterna_nxiety which had been excited by the dubiety of his fate, gave way anew t_he feeling of injured pride and resentment, at what he termed Wilfred'_ilial disobedience.
"Let him wander his way," said he—"let those leech his wounds for whose sak_e encountered them. He is fitter to do the juggling tricks of the Norma_hivalry than to maintain the fame and honour of his English ancestry with th_laive and brown-bill, the good old weapons of his country."
"If to maintain the honour of ancestry," said Rowena, who was present, "it i_ufficient to be wise in council and brave in execution—to be boldest amon_he bold, and gentlest among the gentle, I know no voice, save hi_ather's———"
"Be silent, Lady Rowena!—on this subject only I hear you not. Prepare yoursel_or the Prince's festival: we have been summoned thither with unwonte_ircumstance of honour and of courtesy, such as the haughty Normans hav_arely used to our race since the fatal day of Hastings. Thither will I go,
were it only to show these proud Normans how little the fate of a son, wh_ould defeat their bravest, can affect a Saxon."
"Thither," said Rowena, "do I NOT go; and I pray you to beware, lest what yo_ean for courage and constancy, shall be accounted hardness of heart."
"Remain at home, then, ungrateful lady," answered Cedric; "thine is the har_eart, which can sacrifice the weal of an oppressed people to an idle an_nauthorized attachment. I seek the noble Athelstane, and with him attend th_anquet of John of Anjou."
He went accordingly to the banquet, of which we have already mentioned th_rincipal events. Immediately upon retiring from the castle, the Saxon thanes,
with their attendants, took horse; and it was during the bustle which attende_heir doing so, that Cedric, for the first time, cast his eyes upon th_eserter Gurth. The noble Saxon had returned from the banquet, as we hav_een, in no very placid humour, and wanted but a pretext for wreaking hi_nger upon some one.
"The gyves!" he said, "the gyves!—Oswald—Hundibert!—Dogs and villains!—wh_eave ye the knave unfettered?"
Without daring to remonstrate, the companions of Gurth bound him with _alter, as the readiest cord which occurred. He submitted to the operatio_ithout remonstrance, except that, darting a reproachful look at his master,
he said, "This comes of loving your flesh and blood better than mine own."
"To horse, and forward!" said Cedric.
"It is indeed full time," said the noble Athelstane; "for, if we ride not th_aster, the worthy Abbot Waltheoff's preparations for a rere-
supper[](footnotes.xml#footnote_19) will be altogether spoiled." Th_ravellers, however, used such speed as to reach the convent of St Withold'_efore the apprehended evil took place. The Abbot, himself of ancient Saxo_escent, received the noble Saxons with the profuse and exuberant hospitalit_f their nation, wherein they indulged to a late, or rather an early hour; no_id they take leave of their reverend host the next morning until they ha_hared with him a sumptuous refection. As the cavalcade left the court of th_onastery, an incident happened somewhat alarming to the Saxons, who, of al_eople of Europe, were most addicted to a superstitious observance of omens,
and to whose opinions can be traced most of those notions upon such subjects,
still to be found among our popular antiquities. For the Normans being a mixe_ace, and better informed according to the information of the times, had los_ost of the superstitious prejudices which their ancestors had brought fro_candinavia, and piqued themselves upon thinking freely on such topics. In th_resent instance, the apprehension of impending evil was inspired by no les_espectable a prophet than a large lean black dog, which, sitting upright,
howled most piteously as the foremost riders left the gate, and presentl_fterwards, barking wildly, and jumping to and fro, seemed bent upon attachin_tself to the party. "I like not that music, father Cedric," said Athelstane;
for by this title of respect he was accustomed to address him. "Nor I either,
uncle," said Wamba; "I greatly fear we shall have to pay the piper." "In m_ind," said Athelstane, upon whose memory the Abbot's good ale (for Burton wa_lready famous for that genial liquor) had made a favourable impression,—"i_y mind we had better turn back, and abide with the Abbot until the afternoon.
It is unlucky to travel where your path is crossed by a monk, a hare, or _owling dog, until you have eaten your next meal." "Away!" said Cedric,
impatiently; "the day is already too short for our journey. For the dog, _now it to be the cur of the runaway slave Gurth, a useless fugitive like it_aster." So saying, and rising at the same time in his stirrups, impatient a_he interruption of his journey, he launched his javelin at poor Fangs—fo_angs it was, who, having traced his master thus far upon his stole_xpedition, had here lost him, and was now, in his uncouth way, rejoicing a_is reappearance. The javelin inflicted a wound upon the animal's shoulder,
and narrowly missed pinning him to the earth; and Fangs fled howling from th_resence of the enraged thane. Gurth's heart swelled within him; for he fel_his meditated slaughter of his faithful adherent in a degree much deeper tha_he harsh treatment he had himself received. Having in vain attempted to rais_is hand to his eyes, he said to Wamba, who, seeing his master's ill humou_ad prudently retreated to the rear, "I pray thee, do me the kindness to wip_y eyes with the skirt of thy mantle; the dust offends me, and these bond_ill not let me help myself one way or another." Wamba did him the service h_equired, and they rode side by side for some time, during which Gurt_aintained a moody silence. At length he could repress his feelings no longer.
"Friend Wamba," said he, "of all those who are fools enough to serve Cedric,
thou alone hast dexterity enough to make thy folly acceptable to him. Go t_im, therefore, and tell him that neither for love nor fear will Gurth serv_im longer. He may strike the head from me—he may scourge me—he may load m_ith irons—but henceforth he shall never compel me either to love or to obe_im. Go to him, then, and tell him that Gurth the son of Beowulph renounce_is service." "Assuredly," said Wamba, "fool as I am, I shall not do you_ool's errand. Cedric hath another javelin stuck into his girdle, and tho_nowest he does not always miss his mark." "I care not," replied Gurth, "ho_oon he makes a mark of me. Yesterday he left Wilfred, my young master, in hi_lood. To-day he has striven to kill before my face the only other livin_reature that ever showed me kindness. By St Edmund, St Dunstan, St Withold,
St Edward the Confessor, and every other Saxon saint in the calendar," (fo_edric never swore by any that was not of Saxon lineage, and all his househol_ad the same limited devotion,) "I will never forgive him!" "To my thinkin_ow," said the Jester, who was frequently wont to act as peace-maker in th_amily, "our master did not propose to hurt Fangs, but only to affright him.
For, if you observed, he rose in his stirrups, as thereby meaning to overcas_he mark; and so he would have done, but Fangs happening to bound up at th_ery moment, received a scratch, which I will be bound to heal with a penny'_readth of tar." "If I thought so," said Gurth—"if I could but think so—bu_o—I saw the javelin was well aimed—I heard it whizz through the air with al_he wrathful malevolence of him who cast it, and it quivered after it ha_itched in the ground, as if with regret for having missed its mark. By th_og dear to St Anthony, I renounce him!" And the indignant swineherd resume_is sullen silence, which no efforts of the Jester could again induce him t_reak. Meanwhile Cedric and Athelstane, the leaders of the troop, converse_ogether on the state of the land, on the dissensions of the royal family, o_he feuds and quarrels among the Norman nobles, and on the chance which ther_as that the oppressed Saxons might be able to free themselves from the yok_f the Normans, or at least to elevate themselves into national consequenc_nd independence, during the civil convulsions which were likely to ensue. O_his subject Cedric was all animation. The restoration of the independence o_is race was the idol of his heart, to which he had willingly sacrifice_omestic happiness and the interests of his own son. But, in order to achiev_his great revolution in favour of the native English, it was necessary tha_hey should be united among themselves, and act under an acknowledged head.
The necessity of choosing their chief from the Saxon blood-royal was not onl_vident in itself, but had been made a solemn condition by those whom Cedri_ad intrusted with his secret plans and hopes. Athelstane had this quality a_east; and though he had few mental accomplishments or talents to recommen_im as a leader, he had still a goodly person, was no coward, had bee_ccustomed to martial exercises, and seemed willing to defer to the advice o_ounsellors more wise than himself. Above all, he was known to be liberal an_ospitable, and believed to be good-natured. But whatever pretension_thelstane had to be considered as head of the Saxon confederacy, many of tha_ation were disposed to prefer to the title of the Lady Rowena, who drew he_escent from Alfred, and whose father having been a chief renowned for wisdom,
courage, and generosity, his memory was highly honoured by his oppresse_ountrymen. It would have been no difficult thing for Cedric, had he been s_isposed, to have placed himself at the head of a third party, as formidabl_t least as any of the others. To counterbalance their royal descent, he ha_ourage, activity, energy, and, above all, that devoted attachment to th_ause which had procured him the epithet of The Saxon, and his birth wa_nferior to none, excepting only that of Athelstane and his ward. Thes_ualities, however, were unalloyed by the slightest shade of selfishness; and,
instead of dividing yet farther his weakened nation by forming a faction o_is own, it was a leading part of Cedric's plan to extinguish that whic_lready existed, by promoting a marriage betwixt Rowena and Athelstane. A_bstacle occurred to this his favourite project, in the mutual attachment o_is ward and his son and hence the original cause of the banishment of Wilfre_rom the house of his father. This stern measure Cedric had adopted, in hope_hat, during Wilfred's absence, Rowena might relinquish her preference, but i_his hope he was disappointed; a disappointment which might be attributed i_art to the mode in which his ward had been educated. Cedric, to whom the nam_f Alfred was as that of a deity, had treated the sole remaining scion of tha_reat monarch with a degree of observance, such as, perhaps, was in those day_carce paid to an acknowledged princess. Rowena's will had been in almost al_ases a law to his household; and Cedric himself, as if determined that he_overeignty should be fully acknowledged within that little circle at least,
seemed to take a pride in acting as the first of her subjects. Thus trained i_he exercise not only of free will, but despotic authority, Rowena was, by he_revious education, disposed both to resist and to resent any attempt t_ontrol her affections, or dispose of her hand contrary to her inclinations,
and to assert her independence in a case in which even those females who hav_een trained up to obedience and subjection, are not infrequently apt t_ispute the authority of guardians and parents. The opinions which she fel_trongly, she avowed boldly; and Cedric, who could not free himself from hi_abitual deference to her opinions, felt totally at a loss how to enforce hi_uthority of guardian. It was in vain that he attempted to dazzle her with th_rospect of a visionary throne. Rowena, who possessed strong sense, neithe_onsidered his plan as practicable, nor as desirable, so far as she wa_oncerned, could it have been achieved. Without attempting to conceal he_vowed preference of Wilfred of Ivanhoe, she declared that, were that favoure_night out of question, she would rather take refuge in a convent, than shar_ throne with Athelstane, whom, having always despised, she now began, o_ccount of the trouble she received on his account, thoroughly to detest.
Nevertheless, Cedric, whose opinions of women's constancy was far from strong,
persisted in using every means in his power to bring about the proposed match,
in which he conceived he was rendering an important service to the Saxo_ause. The sudden and romantic appearance of his son in the lists at Ashby, h_ad justly regarded as almost a death's blow to his hopes. His paterna_ffection, it is true, had for an instant gained the victory over pride an_atriotism; but both had returned in full force, and under their join_peration, he was now bent upon making a determined effort for the union o_thelstane and Rowena, together with expediting those other measures whic_eemed necessary to forward the restoration of Saxon independence. On thi_ast subject, he was now labouring with Athelstane, not without having reason,
every now and then, to lament, like Hotspur, that he should have moved such _ish of skimmed milk to so honourable an action. Athelstane, it is true, wa_ain enough, and loved to have his ears tickled with tales of his hig_escent, and of his right by inheritance to homage and sovereignty. But hi_etty vanity was sufficiently gratified by receiving this homage at the hand_f his immediate attendants, and of the Saxons who approached him. If he ha_he courage to encounter danger, he at least hated the trouble of going t_eek it; and while he agreed in the general principles laid down by Cedri_oncerning the claim of the Saxons to independence, and was still more easil_onvinced of his own title to reign over them when that independence should b_ttained, yet when the means of asserting these rights came to be discussed,
he was still "Athelstane the Unready," slow, irresolute, procrastinating, an_nenterprising. The warm and impassioned exhortations of Cedric had as littl_ffect upon his impassive temper, as red-hot balls alighting in the water,
which produce a little sound and smoke, and are instantly extinguished. If,
leaving this task, which might be compared to spurring a tired jade, or t_ammering upon cold iron, Cedric fell back to his ward Rowena, he receive_ittle more satisfaction from conferring with her. For, as his presenc_nterrupted the discourse between the lady and her favourite attendant upo_he gallantry and fate of Wilfred, Elgitha, failed not to revenge both he_istress and herself, by recurring to the overthrow of Athelstane in th_ists, the most disagreeable subject which could greet the ears of Cedric. T_his sturdy Saxon, therefore, the day's journey was fraught with all manner o_ispleasure and discomfort; so that he more than once internally cursed th_ournament, and him who had proclaimed it, together with his own folly in eve_hinking of going thither. At noon, upon the motion of Athelstane, th_ravellers paused in a woodland shade by a fountain, to repose their horse_nd partake of some provisions, with which the hospitable Abbot had loaded _umpter mule. Their repast was a pretty long one; and these severa_nterruptions rendered it impossible for them to hope to reach Rotherwoo_ithout travelling all night, a conviction which induced them to proceed o_heir way at a more hasty pace than they had hitherto used.