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whose self-denial had induced him to withdraw from the honours he had won,—and of the gallant Ivanhoe, who had so dearly bought the honours of the day. The topics were treated with military frankness, and the jest and laugh went round the hall. The brow of Prince John alone was overclouded during these discussions ; some overpowering.care seemed agitating his mind, and it was only when he received occasional hints from his attendants, that he seemed to take interest in what was passing around him. On such occasions he would start up, quaff off a cup of wine as if to raise his spirits, and then mingle in the conversation by some observation made abruptly or at random.
“ We drink this beaker,” said he,“ to the health of Wilfred of Ivanhoe, champion of this Passage of Arms, and grieve that his wound renders him absent from our board-Let all fill to the pledge, and especially Cedric of Rotherwood, the worthy father of a son so promising.”
No, my lord,” replied Cedric, standing up, and placing on the table his untasted cup, “ I yield not the name of son to the disobedient youth, who at once despises my commands, and relinquishes the manners and customs of his fathers.”
“ 'Tis impossible,” cried Prince John, with wellfeigned astonishment, “ that so gallant a knight should be an unworthy or disobedient son.”
“ Yet, my lord,” answered Ceilric, “ so it is with this Wilfred. He left my homely dwelling to mingle with the gay nobility of your brother's court, where he learned to do those tricks of horsemanship which you prize so highly. He left it contrary to my wish and command ; and in the days of Alfred that would have been termed disobedience -ay, and a crime severely punishable.”
“ Alas!" replied Prince John, with a deep sigh of affected sympathy, “ since your son was a follower of my unhappy brother, it need not be inquired where or from whom he learned the lesson of filial disobedience.”
Thus spake Prince John, wilfully forgetting, that of all the sons of Henry the Second, though no one was free from the charge, he himself had been most distinguished for rebellion and ingratitude to his father.
“I think,” said he, after a moment's pause,“ that my brother proposed to confer upon his favourite the rich manor of Ivanhoe.”
“ He did endow him with it,” answered Cedric; “nor is it my least quarrel against my son, that he stooped to hold, as a feudal vassal, the very domains which his fathers possessed in free and independent right.”
“We shall then have your willing sanction, good Cedric,” said Prince John, “ to confer this fief up
on a person whose dignity will not be diminished by holding land of the British crown.—Sir Reginald Front-de-Bæuf,” he said, turning towards that Baron, “ I trust you will so keep the goodly Barony of Ivanhoe, that Sir Wilfred shall not incur his father's farther displeasure by again entering upon
By St Anthony !" answered the black-brow'd giant, “ I will consent that your highness shall hold me a Saxon, if either Cedric or Wilfred, or the best that ever bore English blood, shall wrench from me the gift with which your highness has graced me."
“ Whoever shall call thee Saxon, Sir Baron,” replied Cedric, offended at a mode of expression by which the Normans frequently expressed their habitual contempt of the English,“ will do thee an honour as great as it is undeserved.”
Front-de-Bauf would have replied, but Prince John's petulance and levity got the start.
Assuredly,” said he, “my lords, the noble Cedric speaks truth; and his race may claim
precedence over us as much in the length of their pedigrees as in the longitude of their cloaks.”
They go before us indeed in the field-as deer before dogs,” said Malvoisin.
“ And with good right may they go before usforget not,” said the Prior Aymer, “ the superior decency and decorum of their manners.”
“ Their singular abstemiousness and temperance,” said Bracy, forgetting the plan which promised him a Saxon bride.
" Together with the courage and conduct,” said Brian de Bois-Guilbert, “ by which they distinguished themselves at Hastings and elsewhere.”
While, with smooth and smiling cheek, the courtiers, each in turn, followed their Prince's example, and aimed a shaft of ridicule at Cedric, the face of the Saxon became inflamed with passion, and he glanced his eyes fiercely from one to another, as if the quick succession of so many injuries had prevented his replying to them in turn; or, like a baited bull, who, surrounded by his tormentors, is at a loss to choose from among them the immediate object of his revenge. At length he spoke, with a voice half choked with passion; and, addressing himself to Prince John as the head and front of the offence which he had received, “ Whatever," he said, “ have been the follies and vices of our raçe, a Saxon would have been held nidering, * (the
* There was nothing accounted so ignominious among the Saxons as to merit this disgraceful epithet. Even William the Conqueror, hated as he was by them, continued to draw a considerable army of Anglo-Saxons to his standard, by threatening to stigmatize those who staid at home as nidering. Bartholinus, I think, mentions a similar phrase which had like influence on the Danes.
most emphatic term for abject worthlessness,) who should in his own hall, and while his own wine-cup passed, have treated an unoffending guest as your highness has this day beheld me used ; and whatever was the misfortune of our fathers on the field of Hastings, those may at least be silent,” here he looked at Front-de-Bouf and the Templar, have within these few hours once and again lost saddle and stirrup before the lance of a Saxon.”
By my faith, a biting jest,” said Prince John. " How like you it, sirs ?-_Our Saxon subjects rise in spirit and courage ; become shrewd in wit, and bold in bearing, in these unsettled times—What say ye, my lords ?-By this good light, I hold it best to take our galleys, and return to Normandy in time.”
“ For fear of the Saxons ?” said Bracy, laughing; "we should need no weapon but our hunting spears to bring these boars to bay.”
“ A truce with your raillery, Sir Knights,” said Fitzurse ; " and it were well,” he added, addressing the Prince, “ that your highness should assure the worthy Cedric there is no insult intended him by jests, which must sound but harshly in the ear of a stranger.”
“ Insult ?" answered Prince John, resuming his courtesy of demeanour; “ I trust it will not be thought that I could mean, or permit any, to be offered in my presence. Here! I fill my cup to