Chapter 39 Notes from Ivanhoe

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Ivanhoe Chapter 39

It is the day of the contest for Rebecca's freedom. A knock disturbs her prayer. She finishes, then asks who it is. Brian de Bois-Guilbert comes in, promising to do her no harm. They argue--she blames him and his passion for her troubles, and he claims he would never do anything to hurt her. But she disagrees, for it is he who will take up arms against her champion. To her, he has done nothing to help, but much against her. He fights back, and tells her that he hoped to be her (masked) champion in the combat, but that the Grand Master thwarted his plan. Now, if he does not fight he will lose all his power, all his hopes for the future. This selfishness is little comfort for Rebecca. Bois-Guilbert insists that if he fights, he will win. None but King Richard or Ivanhoe could beat him. But, he is willing to give up all his ambition, if she will just take him as her lover! She asks for his help in another form, but he is set on his plan. He wants to escape with her to another country, far from Europe. But she refuses--a man who would betray his faith for his carnal passion is not worth such a sacrifice, she tells him. She asks him to go to the King, but he says no: "I may forsake the order; I never will degrade or betray it." Chapter 39, pg. 368

Topic Tracking: Bravery 13

Bois-Guilbert still thinks she will come around to his offer. But he does not know the extent of the woman's courage:

"I tell thee, proud Templar, that not in thy fiercest battles hast thou displayed more of thy vaunted courage than has been shown by woman when called upon to suffer by affection or duty." Chapter 39, pg. 369

Bois-Guilbert wishes she were Christian, so they could be together. She chides him, saying that it is he and his people who have made her so awful and hated. He asks for her forgiveness, and she gives it. She feels he is noble, but slow to act, his virtue diluted.

Topic Tracing: Prejudice 15

Bois-Guilbert leaves, and meets Albert. He feels he has changed his mind now, and does not want to fight for the Templars against Rebecca; rather, he wants to fight on her behalf. But Albert warns him that is futile, for the Grand Master would lock him up as soon as he told him of the change in plans. He suggests flight, but Albert strokes Bois-Guilbert's honor and ambition, and he agrees to stay and fight. Albert has much to gain from Bois-Guilbert's future, such as a high appointment in the order. So Albert sticks close by, reinforcing the reasons why Bois-Guilbert must stay and fight.

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