Ivanhoe (Chapter 6, page 2 of 12)


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Chapter 6

No fewer than four silver candelabras, holding great waxen torches,
served to illuminate this apartment. Yet let not modern beauty envy the
magnificence of a Saxon princess. The walls of the apartment were so ill
finished and so full of crevices, that the rich hangings shook in the
night blast, and, in despite of a sort of screen intended to protect
them from the wind, the flame of the torches streamed sideways into the
air, like the unfurled pennon of a chieftain. Magnificence there was,
with some rude attempt at taste; but of comfort there was little, and,
being unknown, it was unmissed.

The Lady Rowena, with three of her attendants standing at her back, and
arranging her hair ere she lay down to rest, was seated in the sort of
throne already mentioned, and looked as if born to exact general homage.
The Pilgrim acknowledged her claim to it by a low genuflection.

"Rise, Palmer," said she graciously. "The defender of the absent has
a right to favourable reception from all who value truth, and honour
manhood." She then said to her train, "Retire, excepting only Elgitha; I
would speak with this holy Pilgrim."

The maidens, without leaving the apartment, retired to its further
extremity, and sat down on a small bench against the wall, where they
remained mute as statues, though at such a distance that their whispers
could not have interrupted the conversation of their mistress.

"Pilgrim," said the lady, after a moment's pause, during which she
seemed uncertain how to address him, "you this night mentioned a name--I
mean," she said, with a degree of effort, "the name of Ivanhoe, in
the halls where by nature and kindred it should have sounded most
acceptably; and yet, such is the perverse course of fate, that of many
whose hearts must have throbbed at the sound, I, only, dare ask you
where, and in what condition, you left him of whom you spoke?--We heard,
that, having remained in Palestine, on account of his impaired health,
after the departure of the English army, he had experienced the
persecution of the French faction, to whom the Templars are known to be
attached."

"I know little of the Knight of Ivanhoe," answered the Palmer, with
a troubled voice. "I would I knew him better, since you, lady, are
interested in his fate. He hath, I believe, surmounted the persecution
of his enemies in Palestine, and is on the eve of returning to England,
where you, lady, must know better than I, what is his chance of
happiness."

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