Study Guide

Ivanhoe Chapter 26

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Chapter 26

  • The epigraph for this chapter is an "Old Song," probably written by Scott himself. The song is all about opposites, including friars and fools. It foreshadows the topic of the chapter: Wamba, the fool, is going to play the friar.
  • Wamba arrives at Torquilstone.
  • The guard lets him in on special orders from Reginald Front-de-Boeuf.
  • Front-de-Boeuf asks Wamba his business.
  • Wamba claims that he is a traveling friar.
  • He keeps throwing in the words "Pax vobiscum" ("Peace be with you") and phrases of nonsense Latin to convince Front-de-Boeuf of his learning.
  • Bois-Guilbert wants to send the friar with a message to De Bracy's allies so the Normans can get reinforcements.
  • But first the Normans have to convince the friar of their honesty.
  • So Bois-Guilbert suggests allowing the friar to give Cedric his last rites (special prayers administered to a Catholic about to die).
  • Wamba enters Cedric and Athelstane's cell.
  • Wamba announces that he's there to prepare Cedric and Athelstane for death.
  • Cedric is freaked out for a moment, but then he recognizes that this "friar" is, in fact, his jester Wamba.
  • Wamba offers to die in Cedric's place.
  • If Cedric wears Wamba's friar's disguise, he can escape the castle.
  • But Cedric refuses: let Athelstane be rescued instead!
  • Cedric is totally invested in the idea that Athelstane is the future hope of the Saxon people.
  • But Wamba refuses to die for Athelstane. He will only die for Cedric, who he actually cares about.
  • Athelstane insists that Cedric take this opportunity to escape.
  • Cedric agrees to Wamba's plan, but only because there's a chance he can rescue Athelstane, Rowena, and Wamba from the outside, with the help of the band of outlaws.
  • But there's one snag: Cedric only speaks Saxon.
  • Wamba tells him not to worry about it – just keep repeating "Pax vobiscum," and everyone will believe he's a friar.
  • As Cedric is hurrying out of the castle, he passes a female figure.
  • He says "Pax vobiscum," just as Wamba instructed.
  • But the woman responds, in Latin, "And with you, O most reverend master, I beseech you, in your mercy." (At least, that's the translation we got from the Signet Classics edition of <em>Ivanhoe</em> published in 1962.)
  • Cedric says in Saxon that he is deaf.
  • The woman begs Cedric (using Saxon) to go and minister to a wounded man in the castle.
  • Cedric refuses. He is in too much of a hurry.
  • Another woman's voice intrudes.
  • It's Urfried, the cruel old woman who taunted Rebecca in Chapter 24.
  • We find out that Urfried released Rebecca from her cell so she could look after the wounded Ivanhoe.
  • Urfried scolds Rebecca for bothering the nice friar.
  • Urfried promises to show Cedric a secret way out of the castle.
  • Rebecca is disappointed that the "friar" won't help Ivanhoe.

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