on the morrow the tenant appears but the demandant does not, and both appear  on the third day, let a balance be made between them, as was said above, and so  always until the fourth day and on the fourth day; beyond that only if the demandant  consents. The tenant, and sometimes, in the same way, the demandant,  may excuse himself up to the fourth day in many ways. The tenant, before he has  appeared in court, if he denies the summons and the default, and the essoins, both of  difficulty in coming and bed-sickness, if they have been cast, as was said above in the  tractate on summonses.1 He may also excuse himself up to the fourth day, and on  the fourth day, [and even after the fourth day,] by reasonable intervening impediments,  if they are proved, if within the fourth day he is lawfully excused by a messenger  who shows the impediment before the justices in court,2 which may be these:
Excuses for one who does not appear.
 If he has been detained by force majeure which he could not resist, as where he has  been captured and kept in prison, provided it was not his own fault. [If he falls  among thieves who bind and rob him and so detain him that he cannot send a messenger  within the fourth day, he will be excused after the fourth day, provided the  impediment is proved.]3 Also by flood waters and storm. Also if a bridge has been  destroyed, or a ship taken away by the defendant's deceit, provided it may not be  objected against him that he could go in another way, or that others crossed without  difficulty or danger on the day he ought to have crossed. It is otherwise if it was  dangerous, for no one need expose himself to dangers and calamities.4 An intervening  impediment may take the form of snow and ice and many others. But if he  does not appear or excuse himself within the fourth day, as said above, whether he  has been impeded or has not, let the thing claimed be seized into the king's hand  for default by the view of lawful men, and let the enrolment be this, the demandant  offering himself for suit: A. offered himself on the fourth day against B. in the plea  that he render to him so much land with the appurtenances in such a vill (or the  advowson of such a church, or common of pasture for so many beasts) which he  claims as his right against him (or as her dower, and so of all other things which  are claimed by this action). And B. does not come and he was summoned etc.  Judgment etc. Let the land (or the thing) be seized into the king's hand and a day  etc. And let him be summoned to appear