Ivanhoe (Chapter 10, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 10

Thus, like the sad presaging raven, that tolls
The sick man's passport in her hollow beak,
And in the shadow of the silent night
Doth shake contagion from her sable wings;
Vex'd and tormented, runs poor Barrabas,
With fatal curses towards these Christians.

--Jew of Malta

The Disinherited Knight had no sooner reached his pavilion, than squires
and pages in abundance tendered their services to disarm him, to bring
fresh attire, and to offer him the refreshment of the bath. Their zeal
on this occasion was perhaps sharpened by curiosity, since every one
desired to know who the knight was that had gained so many laurels, yet
had refused, even at the command of Prince John, to lift his visor or
to name his name. But their officious inquisitiveness was not gratified.

The Disinherited Knight refused all other assistance save that of his
own squire, or rather yeoman--a clownish-looking man, who, wrapt in a
cloak of dark-coloured felt, and having his head and face half-buried
in a Norman bonnet made of black fur, seemed to affect the incognito
as much as his master. All others being excluded from the tent, this
attendant relieved his master from the more burdensome parts of his
armour, and placed food and wine before him, which the exertions of the
day rendered very acceptable.

The Knight had scarcely finished a hasty meal, ere his menial announced
to him that five men, each leading a barbed steed, desired to speak with
him. The Disinherited Knight had exchanged his armour for the long robe
usually worn by those of his condition, which, being furnished with a
hood, concealed the features, when such was the pleasure of the
wearer, almost as completely as the visor of the helmet itself, but the
twilight, which was now fast darkening, would of itself have rendered
a disguise unnecessary, unless to persons to whom the face of an
individual chanced to be particularly well known.

The Disinherited Knight, therefore, stept boldly forth to the front of
his tent, and found in attendance the squires of the challengers, whom
he easily knew by their russet and black dresses, each of whom led
his master's charger, loaded with the armour in which he had that day
fought.

"According to the laws of chivalry," said the foremost of these men, "I,
Baldwin de Oyley, squire to the redoubted Knight Brian de Bois-Guilbert,
make offer to you, styling yourself, for the present, the Disinherited
Knight, of the horse and armour used by the said Brian de Bois-Guilbert
in this day's Passage of Arms, leaving it with your nobleness to retain
or to ransom the same, according to your pleasure; for such is the law
of arms."

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