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by Sir Walter Scott

Ivanhoe Chapter 21 Summary

  • We have another passage from Joanna Baillie, this one from Act III, Scene I1 of Orra: A Tragedy (1812). Orra, the speaker of the passage, is mourning the past and people long dead. Hmm. Sounds like we're in for some memories of the past from Cedric.
  • While the outlaws are organizing the rescue of Cedric and Rowena, the Normans are lost in the forest.
  • Bois-Guilbert tells De Bracy it's time for him to leave.
  • It's now De Bracy's job to pretend to rescue Cedric and Rowena.
  • De Bracy won't leave Bois-Guilbert until his captives are safely at Torquilstone Castle with Reginald Front-de-Boeuf.
  • De Bracy doesn't trust Bois-Guilbert – he thinks he's double-cross him.
  • But Bois-Guilbert doesn't care about Rowena. He has his eyes set on Rebecca.
  • De Bracy asks whether it's Rebecca or her father's money that Bois-Guilbert finds so attractive.
  • Bois-Guilbert likes both, but he has to share Isaac's money with Reginald Front-de-Boeuf. He wants Rebecca all to himself (ick!).
  • Cedric yells at the guards: they are English, he is English, how can they be fighting against each other?
  • When Cedric sees that they've arrived at Torquilstone Castle, he's shocked to realize that he has fallen into Norman hands.
  • Cedric offers the guards Athelstane's and his own life if they can save the honor of Rowena.
  • None of the "outlaws" answer him.
  • At the castle, Rowena and Rebecca are taken into separate rooms.
  • Isaac and the Saxon servants get taken off to other parts of the castle.
  • Cedric and Athelstane wind up together.
  • Cedric starts getting sentimental about the old days of England.
  • He recalls that it was in this very hall of Torquilstone (which is fictional, by the way) that King Harold II met with messengers from his rebel brother, Tosti.
  • King Harold II was the last King of England before the Normans invaded Britain in 1066.
  • Just before the Norman invasion, Tosti rebelled against his brother, King Harold, with the help of the Norwegian King Hardrada.
  • Messengers from Tosti asked what King Harold would give his brother if Tosti surrendered.
  • King Harold promised to give him the Earldom of Northumberland (in the northeast of England, not far from Yorkshire).
  • But for Hardrada, King Harold promised "seven feet of English ground" (21.37), or maybe a bit more, since he is supposed to be very tall.
  • In other words, King Harold offered Hardrada enough land for an English grave.
  • When Tosti, Hardrada, and King Harold fought it out, Tosti and Hardrada were both killed, along with their bravest men.
  • Little did the English know, fresh from their victory over the Norwegians, that the Normans were about to invade from France.
  • Throughout all of Cedric's ranting about the past, Athelstane keeps wondering if and when they are going to eat.
  • The longer Cedric spends in Athelstane's company, the more tired he gets of his laziness and obsession with food.
  • Wearing masks to cover their faces, several Norman servants come in with food for Cedric and Athelstane.
  • The Saxons hear three horn blasts coming from the gate.
  • There is bustle in the halls: something is happening!

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