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Cedric is in his home, Rotherwood, impatiently waiting for his servants to come home. He is also displeased that his ward Rowena is late for supper. His thoughts are interrupted by the blast of a horn. Then the gatekeeper announces that Prior Aymer of the Abbey of Jorvaulx, Brian de Bois-Guilbert, and a small party of men are on their way to the royal tournament at Ashby-de-la- Zouche and want to lodge at Rotherwood for the night. Cedric does not want to entertain these Normans, but his Saxon pride demands that they be offered hospitality; however, he clings to his dignity by refusing to go out to welcome them. Only when they come to him in his hall does Cedric reluctantly welcome them.
Cedric counsels Rowena against appearing before the guests. He does not trust the Knight Templar and does not want anything to interfere with his plans to marry Rowena off to the right gentleman. She, however, is keen to hear the latest news from the Holy Land from the Palmer, since she is in love with Ivanhoe, whom she thinks is still fighting in the Crusades.
This chapter develops the character of Cedric, with his strong personality and opinions. It is apparent that he is strict and stern, since he has disinherited his own son; he is also determined, wanting to make certain that Rowena marries the appropriate gentleman that he selects for her. It is also obvious from his mansion and the furnishings in his house that Cedric has had a past position of wealth and power and that he still clings to his Saxon way of life. Cedric's contempt for the Normans is clearly evident in the chapter. He refuses to go out and greet the Norman guests, who come to his house and demand lodging. He only greets them when they come in to his hall. He also shows his boldness and contempt when he refers to William the Conqueror as "William the Bastard" in front of his guests.