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by Sir Walter Scott

Ivanhoe Chapter 4 Summary

  • 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.

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