even though the two seem entirely unsuited to one another. As Cedric and his party return home, they encounter Isaac and Rebecca, accompanying an ill man. Disguised as yeoman outlaws, De Bracy and his followers capture Cedric, Isaac, Rebecca and their band, although Wamba escapes. They are taken to Front-de-Boeuf’s castle. Meanwhile Wamba and Locksley raise a group to help free the prisoners, persuading the still-drunk Friar and the Black Knight to join them.

Isaac is threatened with torture unless he delivers a large sum of money to Front-de-Boeuf. Scott seems rather perversely knowledgeable about the various types of torture practised in the Dark Ages, and quotes many historical examples of implements used to extract information or services from prisoners. Rebecca has been taken up by Brian de Bois-Guilbert and De Bracy asks Rowena to marry him. Fearing that Ivanhoe, who is also being held in the castle, will be tortured if she refuses, she breaks down in tears. Her sobbing raises compassion even in the usually stern De Bracy. Simultaneously, Brian de Bois-Guilbert is trying to woo Rebecca, although with a somewhat less honourable aim. After she threatens to jump from a tower, he begins to respect her courage.

Wamba enters the castle dressed as a monk come to minister to the condemned men and swaps clothes with Cedric, who escapes and joins the Black Knight and Locksley. The troops gather outside the castle, ready to storm it. Rebecca, who is blessed with healing powers, is tending to Ivanhoe. She falls deeply in love with Ivanhoe. As the battle between Cedric and his troops and the Normans rages outside, she gives a running commentary to Ivanhoe. It is notable that Scott is uncomfortable with the tender feelings Rebecca has for Ivanhoe and quickly cuts to the battle rather than dwell on the scene. Front-de-Boeuf is wounded and dies. Ulrica, the witch, for many years subjugated by Front-de-Boeuf, sets fire to the castle. The Black Knight saves Ivanhoe from the flames and takes De Bracy captive. The prisoners are freed, except for Rebecca, who is carried off by Brian de Bois-Guilbert. Aethelstane is struck by Brian and falls down as if dead.

The group gathers at Locksley’s camp and Cedric and Rowena thank the outlaw for his help. They prepare to bury Aethelstane. Prince John discovers from the recently freed De Bracy that King Richard has escaped and he hatches a plot to recapture his brother. Rebecca’s healing powers are discovered by Lucas Beaumanoir, leader of the Templars, and he dissuades Bois-Guilbert from courting Rebecca as it harming his chances of promotion in court to be chasing a Jewess. Rebecca is bought to trial as a witch. Rebecca demands a champion to represent her in trial, but Bois-Guilbert tries to persuade her to run away with him.

Meanwhile, the Black Knight (revealed to be Richard in disguise) and Wamba are attacked by Fitzurse. Locksley comes to the rescue and the band is destroyed and Fitzurse exiled. Aethelstane miraculously revives to the surprise of all, who presumed he was dead. Ivanhoe is summoned to defend Rebecca. He meets Bois-Guilbert in battle and, although unseated, Bois-Guilbert dies "a victim to the violence of his own contending passions". Rowena and Ivanhoe marry and Isaac and Rebecca set off for a new life in Grenada. The ending is typical in its portrayal of life ‘happily ever after’:

"There was an involuntary tremor in Rebecca’s voice, and a tenderness of accent, which perhaps betrayed more than she would willingly have expressed. She hastened to bid Rowena adieu.

‘Farewell,’ she said. ‘May He, who made both Jew and Christian, shower down on you His choicest blessings! The bark that wafts us hence will be under weigh ere we can reach the port.’

She glided from the apartment, leaving Rowena surprised as if a vision had passed before her. The fair Saxon related the singular conference to her husband, on whose mind it made a deep impression. He lived long and happily with Rowena, for they were attached to each other by the bonds of early affection, and they loved each other the more, from the recollection of the obstacles which had impeded their union. Yet it would be inquiring too curiously to ask, whether the recollection of Rebecca’s beauty and magnanimity did not recur to his mind more frequently than the fair descendant of Alfred might altogether have approved."


Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.