Ivanhoe HTML version

Chapter 18
Away! our journey lies through dell and dingle,
Where the blithe fawn trips by its timid mother,
Where the broad oak, with intercepting boughs,
Chequers the sunbeam in the green-sward alley---
Up and away!---for lovely paths are these
To tread, when the glad Sun is on his throne
Less pleasant, and less safe, when Cynthia's lamp
With doubtful glimmer lights the dreary forest.
Ettrick Forest
When Cedric the Saxon saw his son drop down senseless in the lists at Ashby, his first
impulse was to order him into the custody and care of his own attendants, but the words
choked in his throat. He could not bring himself to acknowledge, in presence of such an
assembly, the son whom he had renounced and disinherited. He ordered, however,
Oswald to keep an eye upon him; and directed that officer, with two of his serfs, to
convey Ivanhoe to Ashby as soon as the crowd had dispersed. Oswald, however, was
anticipated in this good office. The crowd dispersed, indeed, but the knight was
nowhere to be seen.
It was in vain that Cedric's cupbearer looked around for his young master---he saw the
bloody spot on which he had lately sunk down, but himself he saw no longer; it seemed
as if the fairies had conveyed him from the spot. Perhaps Oswald (for the Saxons were
very superstitious) might have adopted some such hypothesis, to account for Ivanhoe's
disappearance, had he not suddenly cast his eye upon a person attired like a squire, in
whom he recognised the features of his fellow-servant Gurth. Anxious concerning his
master's fate, and in despair at his sudden disappearance, the translated swineherd
was searching for him everywhere, and had neglected, in doing so, the concealment on
which his own safety depended. Oswald deemed it his duty to secure Gurth, as a
fugitive of whose fate his master was to judge.
Renewing his enquiries concerning the fate of Ivanhoe, the only information which the
cupbearer could collect from the bystanders was, that the knight had been raised with
care by certain well-attired grooms, and placed in a litter belonging to a lady among the
spectators, which had immediately transported him out of the press. Oswald, on
receiving this intelligence, resolved to return to his master for farther instructions,
carrying along with him Gurth, whom he considered in some sort as a deserter from the
service of Cedric.
The Saxon had been under very intense and agonizing apprehensions concerning his
son; for Nature had asserted her rights, in spite of the patriotic stoicism which laboured
to disown her. But no sooner was he informed that Ivanhoe was in careful, and probably
in friendly hands, than the paternal anxiety which had been excited by the dubiety of his