Summary and Analysis
Rebecca, like Rowena, is being wooed by a man she dislikes, Brian de Bois-Guilbert. Unlike De Bracy, however he does not propose marriage. When she repulses his advances, threatening to jump from the tower, he is moved to admiration. When the trumpet sounds, he, too, is forced to heed its summons.
A letter from the Black Knight and Locksley, bearing the signatures of Gurth and Wamba, demands the release of the imprisoned party. In reply to the missive Front-de-Beouf asks that a man of religion be sent to hear the confessions of the doomed captives. Wamba, in the Friar's robes, enters the castle and finds his way to Cedric. The two exchange outer garments.
In these chapters a new character, the ancient Saxon crone, Urfried (Ulrica), is introduced. Cedric, in the guise of a priest, converses with her and learns of her sordid past.
Front-de-Boeuf gives Cedric a message to be carried to Philip Malvoisin and a gold byzant in payment. Cedric throws the money toward the donor and joins the besiegers.
Wamba's disguise and Cedric's escape are discovered by Front-de-Boeuf and De Bracy. When the terms of the ransom are rejected by the prisoners, the storming of Torquilstone becomes imminent.
Rebecca, usually docile and submissive, is aroused to noble defiance by the threat of the Templar. There is probably the beginning of a genuine regard for her as he says admiringly, "I do not say forgive me the violence I have threatened for it was necessary to the display of thy character. Gold can be only known by the application of the touchstone."
The courage of Rebecca, who would have thrown herself over the parapet before submitting to the proposal of the Knight Templar, is in sharp contrast with the earlier behavior of Ulrica, who had accepted dishonor rather than death. Note a later reference to the parapet scene, in which superstition gives a distorted view.
Through the Templar, Scott makes a statement about prejudice between Jew and Gentile which is significant in light of the general hostility toward the Jews, when Bois-Guilbert says in reply to Rebecca, "Answer me not by urging the difference in our creeds; within our secret conclaves we hold these nursery tales in derision."
As De Bracy and Bois-Guilbert discuss their unsuccessful suits, De Bracy compares Rowena's tears to those of "St. Niobe, of whom Prior Aymer told us." Niobe was not a saint but a pagan of Greek legend.
The letter, supposedly written by a fool and a swineherd is itself an affront and a joke of the Jolly Friar's.
The rescue team is, interestingly, composed of all those wronged by the Normans: the Saxons, the robber band, and the Black Knight.
The comic irony of the words, "Pax vobiscum" (Peace be with you) used by Wamba to gain entrance into the castle, is apparent because they are incongruous to the battle about to begin. Wamba makes the most of it when he instructs Cedric in their use.
The confession of Ulrica serves two purposes. It reveals her own guilt and the depravity of Front-de-Boeuf and his ancestors.
Sibyl prophetess; fortune-teller
unguent a salve for sores, burns, or the like ointment
alembic an apparatus formerly used in distillation
Despardieux! By God!
par amours illicitly, unlawfully
ecclesiastica woman devoted to religion, or to the church
embrasure a recess of door or window (machicolles)
cnichts according to Saxon usage a class of military attendants ranking above the ordinary domestic; now spelled "knight" and ranking with Norman chevalier
Pax vobiscum. Peace be with you.
Et vobis; quoeso, Reverendissime, pro misericordia vestra And with you; Omost reverend master, beseech you, in your mercy.
Odin Norse god of war; of those slain in battle; and of wisdom, and of poetry
Thor Norse god of thunder, god of strength, and helper in war
complaisance disposition to please or oblige
sallyport a rear gate, or an underground passage
surquedy insolence, or presumption
biggin child's cap
witenagemotes the Anglo-Saxon great council or parliament
Deus vobiscum God be with you; a priest
si quis, suadente diabolo If anyone at the persuasion of the devil
mantelets temporary and movable defenses formed of planks
pavisses species of large shields covering the whole person