We start out with the ancient Greek epic Odyssey again. This passage is from Book XX, in which long-lost Odysseus returns home in disguise to confront the horrible suitors for his wife Penelope's hand in marriage. The epigraph quotation describes an evening meal.
Prior Aymer and Bois-Guilbert enter the hall for dinner, followed by their attendants and the Palmer.
The Palmer is dressed in humble clothing, with a large hat on his head.
Cedric, the Prior, and Bois-Guilbert immediately get into a (fairly) polite squabble over which language to use, French or English.
Luckily Cedric notices Gurth before things can get too heated.
Cedric scolds Gurth for making him wait for dinner.
Wamba jumps in to try to soothe Cedric's terrible temper.
Finally they sit down to a fine feast.
Rowena arrives at the table.
Cedric looks annoyed that she has come down to dinner with these Normans, but she takes her place at table as the lady of the mansion.
Bois-Guilbert cannot take his eyes off Rowena.
Rowena asks him to stop staring at her.
He apologizes (kind of), but when Prior Aymer and Cedric raise their glasses in a toast, Bois-Guilbert insists on drinking to "the fair Rowena" (4.35).
Rowena wants to hear news about the Crusades.
Bois-Guilbert reports that the English are making a truce with Saladin, the Muslim leader in Jerusalem.
Wamba chimes in that these truces have happened before but the war is still going on.
Bois-Guilbert scolds Wamba for giving them such poor directions to Cedric's house.
Cedric reproaches Wamba for treating their guests so poorly.
A page comes into the hall to announce the arrival of a new guest.
Cedric bids his steward (his main servant) Oswald to let the guest in.