Boast yet their intercourse with human arts;
The seas, the woods, the deserts which they haunt,
Find them acquainted with their secret treasures:
And unregarded herbs, and flowers, and blossoms,
Display undreamt-of powers when gatherd by them.
Our history must needs retrograde for the space of a few pages, to inform the reader of certain passages material to his understanding the rest of this important narrative. His own intelligence may indeed have easily anticipated that, when Ivanhoe sunk down, and seemed abandoned by all the world, it was the importunity of Rebecca which prevailed on her father to have the gallant young warrior transported from the lists to the house which for the time the Jews inhabited in the suburbs of Ashby.
It would not have been difficult to have persuaded Isaac to this step in any other circumstances, for his disposition was kind and grateful. But he had also the prejudices and scrupulous timidity of his persecuted people, and those were to be conquered.
Holy Abraham! he exclaimed, he is a good youth, and my heart bleeds to see the gore trickle down his rich embroidered hacqueton, and his corslet of goodly pricebut to carry him to our house!damsel, hast thou well considered?he is a Christian, and by our law we may not deal with the stranger and Gentile, save for the advantage of our commerce.
Speak not so, my dear father, replied Rebecca; we may not indeed mix with them in banquet and in jollity; but in wounds and in misery, the Gentile becometh the Jews brother.
I would I knew what the Rabbi Jacob Ben Tudela would opine on it, replied Isaac; nevertheless, the good youth must not bleed to death. Let Seth and Reuben bear him to Ashby.
Nay, let them place him in my litter, said Rebecca; I will mount one of the palfreys.
That were to expose thee to the gaze of those dogs of Ishmael and of Edom, whispered Isaac, with a suspicious glance towards the crowd of knights and squires. But Rebecca was already busied in carrying her charitable purpose into effect, and listed not what he said, until Isaac, seizing the sleeve of her mantle, again exclaimed, in a hurried voiceBeard of Aaron! what if the youth perish! if he die in our custody, shall we not be held guilty of his blood, and be torn to pieces by the multitude?
He will not die, my father, said Rebecca, gently extricating herself from the grasp of Isaache will not die unless we abandon him; and if so, we are indeed answerable for his blood to God and to man.
Nay, said Isaac, releasing his hold, it grieveth me as much to see the drops of his blood, as if they were so many gold byzants from mine own purse; and I well know, that the lessons of Miriam, daughter of the Rabbi Manasses of Byzantium, whose soul is in Paradise, have made thee skilful in the art of healing, and that thou knowest the craft of herbs, and the force of elixirs. Therefore, do as thy mind giveth theethou art a good damsel, a blessing, and a crown, and a song of rejoicing unto me and unto my house, and unto the people of my fathers.
The apprehensions of Isaac, however, were not ill founded; and the generous and grateful benevolence of his daughter exposed her, on her return to Ashby, to the unhallowed gaze of Brain de Bois-Guilbert. The Templar twice passed and repassed them on the road, fixing his bold and ardent look on the beautiful Jewess; and we have already seen the consequences of the admiration which her charms excited, when accident threw her into the power of that unprincipled voluptuary.
Rebecca lost no time in causing the patient to be transported to their temporary dwelling, and proceeded with her own hands to examine and to bind up his wounds. The youngest reader of romances and romantic ballads must recollect how often the females, during the dark ages, as they are called, were initiated into the mysteries of surgery, and how frequently the gallant knight submitted the wounds of his person to her cure, whose eyes had yet more deeply penetrated his heart.
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