But deeds of sorrow, shame, and sin?
Thy deeds are provedthou knowst thy fate;
But come, thy talebeginbegin.
Troubles and sorrows more severe;
Give me to ease my tortured mind,
Lend to my woes a patient ear;
And let me, if I may not find
A friend to helpfind one to hear.
Crabbes Hall of Justice.
When Urfried had with clamours and menaces driven Rebecca back to the apartment from which she had sallied, she proceeded to conduct the unwilling Cedric into a small apartment, the door of which she heedfully secured. Then fetching from a cupboard a stoup of wine and two flagons, she placed them on the table, and said in a tone rather asserting a fact than asking a question, Thou art a Saxon, father.Deny it not, she continued, observing that Cedric hastened not to reply; the sound of my native language are sweet to mine ears, though seldom heard save from the tongues of the wretched and degraded serfs on whom the proud Normans impose the meanest drudgery of this dwelling. Thou art a Saxon, fathera Saxon, and, save as thou art a servant of God, a freeman. Thine accents are sweet in mine ear.
Do not Saxon priests visit this castle, then? replied Cedric; it were, methinks, their duty to comfort the outcast and oppressed children of the soil.
They come notor if they come, they better love to revel at the boards of their conquerors, answered Urfried, than to hear the groans of their countrymenso, at least, report speaks of themof myself I can say little. This castle, for ten years, has opened to no priest save the debauched Norman chaplain who partook the nightly revels of Front-de-Buf, and he has been long gone to render an account of his stewardship.But thou art a Saxona Saxon priest, and I have one question to ask of thee.
I am a Saxon, answered Cedric, but unworthy, surely, of the name of priest. Let me begone on my wayI swear I will return, or send one of our fathers more worthy to hear your confession.
Stay yet a while, said Urfried; the accents of the voice which thou hearest now will soon be choked with the cold earth, and I would not descend to it like the beast I have lived. But wine must give me strength to tell the horrors of my tale. She poured out a cup, and drank it with a frightful avidity, which seemed desirous of draining the last drop in the goblet. It stupefies, she said, looking upwards as she finished her draught, but it cannot cheer.Partake it, father, if you would hear my tale without sinking down upon the pavement. Cedric would have avoided pledging her in this ominous conviviality, but the sign which she made to him expressed impatience and despair. He complied with her request, and answered her challenge in a large wine-cup; she then proceeded with her story, as if appeased by his complaisance.
I was not born, she said, father, the wretch that thou now seest me. I was free, was happy, was honoured, loved, and was beloved. I am now a slave,miserable and degradedthe sport of my master passions while I had yet beautythe object of their contempt, scorn, and hatred since it has passed away. Dost thou wonder, father, that I should hate mankind, and, above all, the race that has wrought this change in me? Can the wrinkled, decrepit hag before thee, whose wrath must vent itself in impotent curses, forget she was once the daughter of the noble Thane of Torquilstone, before whose frown a thousand vassals trembled?
Thou the daughter of Torquil Wolfganger! said Cedric, receding as he spoke; thouthouthe daughter of that noble Saxon, my fathers friend and companion in arms!
Thy fathers friend! echoed Urfried; then Cedric called the Saxon stands before me, for the noble Hereward of Rotherwood had but one son, whose name is well known among his countrymen. But if thou art Cedric of Rotherwood, why this religious dress?hast thou too despaired of saving thy country, and sought refuge from oppression in the shade of the convent?
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