Ivanhoe (Chapter 10, page 3 of 9)


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Chapter 10

Baldwin made a deep obeisance, and retired with his companions; and the
Disinherited Knight entered the pavilion.

"Thus far, Gurth," said he, addressing his attendant, "the reputation of
English chivalry hath not suffered in my hands."

"And I," said Gurth, "for a Saxon swineherd, have not ill played the
personage of a Norman squire-at-arms."

"Yea, but," answered the Disinherited Knight, "thou hast ever kept me in
anxiety lest thy clownish bearing should discover thee."

"Tush!" said Gurth, "I fear discovery from none, saving my playfellow,
Wamba the Jester, of whom I could never discover whether he were most
knave or fool. Yet I could scarce choose but laugh, when my old master
passed so near to me, dreaming all the while that Gurth was keeping his
porkers many a mile off, in the thickets and swamps of Rotherwood. If I
am discovered---"

"Enough," said the Disinherited Knight, "thou knowest my promise."

"Nay, for that matter," said Gurth, "I will never fail my friend for
fear of my skin-cutting. I have a tough hide, that will bear knife or
scourge as well as any boar's hide in my herd."

"Trust me, I will requite the risk you run for my love, Gurth," said the
Knight. "Meanwhile, I pray you to accept these ten pieces of gold."

"I am richer," said Gurth, putting them into his pouch, "than ever was
swineherd or bondsman."

"Take this bag of gold to Ashby," continued his master, "and find out
Isaac the Jew of York, and let him pay himself for the horse and arms
with which his credit supplied me."

"Nay, by St Dunstan," replied Gurth, "that I will not do."

"How, knave," replied his master, "wilt thou not obey my commands?"

"So they be honest, reasonable, and Christian commands," replied Gurth;
"but this is none of these. To suffer the Jew to pay himself would be
dishonest, for it would be cheating my master; and unreasonable, for it
were the part of a fool; and unchristian, since it would be plundering a
believer to enrich an infidel."

"See him contented, however, thou stubborn varlet," said the
Disinherited Knight.

"I will do so," said Gurth, taking the bag under his cloak, and leaving
the apartment; "and it will go hard," he muttered, "but I content him
with one-half of his own asking." So saying, he departed, and left the
Disinherited Knight to his own perplexed ruminations; which, upon more
accounts than it is now possible to communicate to the reader, were of a
nature peculiarly agitating and painful.

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