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by Sir Walter Scott
Ivanhoe Chapter 3 Summary
This chapter opens with a passage from James Thomson's long poem "Liberty," published in 1734. Clearly we are about to meet the book's hero, because Scott quotes this line from Thomson's work: "And the yellow-hair'd, the blue-eyed Saxon came." Cedric's main hall at Rotherwood is a large wooden room with exposed rafters in the traditional Saxon style. Cedric sits at the head of the room, at a table on a raised platform. Cedric is a cheerful, strong-looking man of 60 with a quick temper. He is anxious because his ward, Rowena, has come back late from church. Gurth and Wamba have also not yet returned to Rotherwood. Cedric is hungry and eager to start dinner. Oswald, Cedric's head servant, tries to soothe him by pointing out that it's only an hour after curfew. Cedric fires up: how dare the Normans give us a curfew! And now they've probably murdered Gurth and Wamba! Cedric hears a horn sounding outside. He sends his door-wardens to check the gate. One warder returns to report the arrival of Prior Aymer and Bois-Guilbert. Even though Cedric hates the Normans, it's his duty as a landowner to be a good host, so he invites them in. Hundebert, Cedric's chief servant, confirms to Cedric that Prior Aymer is a jolly monk, but Bois-Guilbert is something else entirely – a brave but hard-hearted man. Cedric sends Rowena's serving-maid Elgitha to encourage her not to come to dinner tonight. Elgitha is sure her lady will come anyway – she is desperate to hear news of the Crusades in Palestine. Cedric admits that he wants to hear the news too, even though he does not want to want to. There are some odd hints about a son named Wilfred who has disobeyed Cedric. Cedric doesn't care what Wilfred is getting up to in Palestine – no, not at all! Cedric's evening guests enter the main hall.
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