Ivanhoe: chapter36-39

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Chapter XXXVI
The Grand Master rebukes Albert Malvoisin, the Preceptor of the Order, for allowing Rebecca, whom he calls a Jewess sorceress, to stay at their establishment. Malvoisin claims that he admitted her only so he might be able to break De Bois-Guilbert’s infatuation for her. The Grand Master says that the knight deserves pity more than punishment. He orders the hall to be prepared for Rebecca’s trial. Malvoisin goes straight to De Bois-Guilbert to inform him of the situation. He tells De Bois-Guilbert that he must give up Rebecca, but the knight is unwilling to do so. He resolves to make one final effort to save her, but says that if she continues to reject him, she will have to face his vengeance. Meanwhile, the Grand Master’s assistant, the Preceptor Conrade Mont-Fitchet, aware that any evidence against Rebecca will be weak, tells Malvoisin to use whatever means necessary to strengthen it. Rebecca is then taken to the great hall for the trial.
Chapter XXXVII
The Grand Master makes a speech in which he explains that if De Bois-Guilbert had deliberately broken the laws of the Order regarding his association with Rebecca, he would merit serious punishment. But if he had been bewitched, then he had fallen into Satan’s hands, and needed only penance to purify himself. The punishment should fall instead on the person who had put the spell on him. Accounts are then given by various witnesses of the extent of De Bois-Guilbert’s devotion to Rebecca. Then a man named Higg is called. He is a peasant who was cured of the palsy by Rebecca. He produces a small box which contains the balsam she gave him, and which he continues to use. On the dubious testimony of two Christian healing practitioners, the ointment is declared to be magical, and therefore unlawful to a Christian. The Grand Master confiscates the ointment and dismisses Higg. Two men-at-arms, persuaded by Malvoisin, then give blatantly false testimony against Rebecca. Invited to respond, Rebecca calls on De Bois-Guilbert to confirm that the allegations against her are false. He gives an answer which no one understands, but which directs Rebecca to look at a scroll that someone thrust into her hands as she was being led to the hall. The scroll (which was written by De Bois-Guilbert) tells her to demand a champion. She acts on this message, declaring her innocence and demanding trial by combat, with a champion fighting on her behalf.
The Grand Master assigns De Bois-Guilbert to be the champion who defends the Order. He gives Rebecca three days to find a champion for herself. Rebecca is allowed to send a message to Isaac, and she declares that a champion will emerge who will vindicate her. Higg, the messenger, meets Isaac and his companion Samuel only a quarter of a mile away. Samuel reads Isaac the message Rebecca has sent. She explains her situation, and asks that Isaac contact Ivanhoe. Even though Ivanhoe will not yet have recovered from his wounds, he may be able to find someone else who will act as her champion.
Chapter XXXIX
In the evening, De Bois-Guilbert visits Rebecca in the apartment where she is being held. He tries to reason with her, saying that he is not responsible for her predicament, since he did not know that the Grand Master would be at the Preceptory. Rebecca does not accept his argument, saying that he concurred in her condemnation and is set to be the champion who asserts her guilt. De Bois-Guilbert replies that it was he who gave her the scroll that told her to demand a champion. She says that was merely a brief respite from instant death. De Bois-Guilbert responds that he had in fact intended to disguise himself and emerge as her champion. He says he would have had little difficulty in showing her innocence by defeating any opponent. Rebecca is skeptical. De Bois-Guilbert goes on to say that unless he appears as her accuser he will lose all chance of attaining the position he desires within the Order, that of Grand Master. His ambitions will be in ruins. But he says he will accept this if she will accept him. They will flee to Palestine where he will win fame and glory and she will be his queen. Rebecca wants no part of this scheme. De Bois-Guilbert says that nothing can save her, but he wants them to part as friends. She forgives him for his part in her death. He leaves her apartment. Outside, he tells Malvoisin that he is inclined to go to the Grand Master and refuse the task that has fallen to him. Malvoisin advises him not to do so, since he will be imprisoned or put on trial. Malvoisin also advises him not to flee. De Bois-Guilbert hopes that no champion emerges for Rebecca; then he will not have to fight and will not be responsible for her death.

The anti-Semitism noticeable in the presentation of Isaac is entirely absent from the portrayal of Rebecca. Indeed, like Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice, Scott now turns his guns on the Christians, who are seen, in the characters of the Grand Master and Malvoisin, to be intolerant, dishonest, vengeful, and lacking in all sense of decency. The perjury of the witnesses who testify against Rebecca with fantastic tales echo the way Jews were persecuted in medieval Europe. Rebecca, on the other hand, is a shining example of courage and dignity when under severe duress.

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