The epigraph for this chapter is from a play called Count Basil: A Tragedy (1798), by Joanna Baillie. The speaker of these lines, Minister Gaureicie, is technically a servant, but he's really an evil mastermind exploiting his master for his own ambitions. In other words, this passage indicates that we are about to find out more about Waldemar Fitzurse, Prince John's advisor.
Waldemar Fitzurse goes to Prince John's friends to reassure them that Prince John is worth supporting.
Fitzurse admits that Richard is a bold, impressive king. But he has destroyed his own army with his failed Crusade.
He is returning to England a beaten man, as one person against a whole band of Normans.
It is the right of the Norman lords to choose who their leader should be.
Fitzurse meets with de Bracy one evening.
De Bracy is dressed like a Saxon yeoman with a bow and a quiver full of arrows.
Fitzurse is annoyed that de Bracy isn't helping him with his pro-Prince John campaign.
But de Bracy has his own priorities: he's trying to get himself a wife.
Rowena and Cedric are spending the night away from home, at a convent in a nearby town.
De Bracy plans to stage an ambush and steal Rowena away.
Then he will reappear in his usual knight's outfit and rescue her from danger.
He will carry her to Front-de-Boeuf's headquarters at Torquilstone Castle and keep her until she becomes his wife.
De Bracy admits that he didn't come up with this plan: Bois-Guilbert will help him with the ambush.
Fitzurse thinks this plan is deeply stupid, but he doesn't bother to try to stop de Bracy.
De Bracy heads off to carry out his horrible plan.
Fitzurse shakes his head over the stupidity of the people around him – up to and including Prince John.