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by Sir Walter Scott
Ivanhoe Chapter 42 Summary
We're back to Scott's "Old Play" for the epigraph of this chapter. The speaker of these lines describes a funeral ceremony. King Richard and Ivanhoe enter Coningsburgh Castle. At Athelstane's funeral there are about a dozen representatives of old Saxon families from the area. When King Richard enters the room, Cedric recognizes him as the Black Knight. Ivanhoe hides his identity from his father. Cedric guides the two men into a chapel, where there is a woman dressed in black. This is Edith, Athelstane's mother. Cedric introduces Edith to "these [...] worthy strangers" (42.9). He especially draws her attention to the Black Knight, as a noble defender of the Saxons. Cedric guides his two guests to another room. There are about twenty Saxon women there. Rowena and three other girls are singing a hymn for Athelstane's soul. Cedric then leads the two men to a room where they can stay for the night. The Black Knight reminds Cedric that he owes him a favor. Then the Black Knight reveals that he is King Richard I. Cedric refuses to bow to a Norman. King Richard promises that he is equally king of the Normans and the Saxons. He is not the <em>rightful </em>King of England, Cedric answers. King Richard asks if there are any other options Cedric has in mind. Cedric is angry that King Richard is mocking him with Athelstane's death, since Athelstane was the last living Saxon royalty. Cedric recognizes that King Richard will stay king no matter what he says. King Richard calls in his favor. He wants Cedric to forgive his son. Cedric then recognizes that his second guest is none other than Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe throws himself at his father's feet. Cedric agrees to forgive his son. But he reminds Ivanhoe that Rowena has to stay in mourning for Athelstane for two years, according to Saxon custom. Just then, out of nowhere, appears... Athelstane! He's alive! He tells his story: Athelstane was not killed by Bois-Guilbert, but only knocked unconscious. He wakes up in an open coffin at the nearby Church of Saint Edmund's. Instead of letting him go, the monks of the church keep Athelstane a prisoner. Since Athelstane has no heir, the monks think <em>they </em>will be able to inherit his fortune. Of course, they can't inherit if Athelstane is still alive, hence the forced imprisonment. Athelstane sits for three days in the basement of the church, chained to the wall with only bread and water to drink. When the monks leave their church to go to Athelstane's funeral, a drunk friar comes down the stairs. He leaves behind some wine and meat for Athelstane, instead of the usual water and bread. Cheered by this better food, Athelstane starts pulling at his chains, and eventually he breaks free. Athelstane sneaks upstairs and finds two men drinking. One of them is the outlaw Friar, who tries to hit Athelstane. Athelstane knocks him out and steals a horse from the stables to make his escape. Now Athelstane wants to kill the monks of the Church of Saint Edmund for revenge. Cedric introduces Athelstane to King Richard. Athelstane immediately swears loyalty to the King. Athelstane's mother and Cedric are both angry that he won't try to get his rightful throne back. But Athelstane wants no part in plots for the kingdom. That's what got him imprisoned by the monks in the first place. All he wants is a comfortable life on his own lands. (Oh, and he also wants to execute the leader of the monks at St. Edmund's.) Athelstane tells Cedric that Rowena is in love with Ivanhoe. When they all look around, they see that Ivanhoe has disappeared. Apparently a Jewish man came by with a message for him. Ivanhoe put on his armor, took Gurth, and left the castle. Rowena is so embarrassed by Athelstane revealing her feelings for Ivanhoe that she leaves the room. King Richard, who finds out where Ivanhoe has gone, also takes off.
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