So at last I got to the end of Ivanhoe, slower than planned as life in general got in the way, mainly in the shape of looking for a new home, not as easy as I thought it would be, maybe I’m too fussy.
Poor Rebecca has been carried off by Brian de Bois Guilbert who is very much enamoured of her. Malvoisin his superior is disgusted by this as Rebecca is a Jew and he has decided that Rebecca must have used witchcraft on de Bois Guilbert, all trumped up nonsense of course, which would end up with Rebecca being burnt at the stake. She is being accused of having unnatural power of healing!
If Rebecca can find a champion to take her side and fight for her against de Bois Guilbert and win then she’ll be saved. Guilbert tries to get her to run off with him but Rebecca decides that she would rather be dead than be tied to him for life, sensible woman!
Eventually after a skirmish in the forest involving Robin Hood and King John’s supporters, the Black Knight (Richard) and Ivanhoe make their way to Torquilstone where Rebecca is being held.
When they get there Rebecca doesn’t want Ivanhoe to fight for her as he is so weak but in the end de Bois Guilbert falls over after one blow, he is dead, presumably having had some sort of brain seizure brought on by his passions.
Rebecca and her father decide that they must leave the country and try their luck in Granada where they hope that they won’t meet with the same sort of bigotry they have had to deal with in England.
I did enjoy Ivanhoe although I think that Scott uses too many words – that reminds me that someone said of Mozart that he used too many notes! I think we’ve just got used to more succinct story telling nowadays, maybe in Scott’s days they didn’t feel that they were getting their money’s worth if books were shorter.
Scott was hugely popular in his day, below is a photo which I took a while ago in Edinburgh and the large gothic, pointy building on the left hand side is the Scott monument in Princes Street.
Sir Walter Scott was quite a character himself, he was obviously very fair-minded and in Ivanhoe he was doing his best against anti-semitism which was quite common at the time, although not so much in the UK as elsewhere in Europe, essentially he was trying to get Jews the vote, but even Roman Catholics didn’t have the vote at the time that Ivanhoe was published. The Templars who feature in Ivanhoe would of course all have been RCs.
Scott played a big part in King George IV’s visit to Scotland, we have Scott to blame for all the highland dress frippery which is on view at just about any wedding that you go to. No Highlander would have worn a kilt as we know it, they had a length of tartan fabric which they wrapped around their body and it doubled as a blanket too. I believe that George IV was thrilled to bits with his Highland costume, he added the pink tights himself I think! You can see what Georgie Porgie looked like here.
The most amazing fact about Scott is that he was given the task of finding the Scottish crown jewels and found them! They had been put away somewhere in Edinburgh Castle for safe keeping after King James VI went down to England when he succeeded to the throne on the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England. Scott found the jewels in a padlocked chest in the castle, just imagine what it must have been like when he got it opened and found them all in there.
You can see images of them here.