But not of the Church, then, I trust, my good brother? said the Prior.
Of Church and lay, said the Friar; and therefore, Sir Prior, facite vobis amicos de Mammone iniquitatismake yourselves friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness, for no other friendship is like to serve your turn.
I love a jolly woodsman at heart, said the Prior, softening his tone; come, ye must not deal too hard with meI can well of woodcraft, and can wind a horn clear and lustily, and hollo till every oak rings again. Come, ye must not deal too hard with me.
Give him a horn, said the Outlaw; we will prove the skill he boasts of.
The Prior Aymer winded a blast accordingly. The Captain shook his head.
Sir Prior, he said, thou blowest a merry note, but it may not ransom theewe cannot afford, as the legend on a good knights shield hath it, to set thee free for a blast. Moreover, I have found theethou art one of those who, with new French graces and Tra-li-ras, disturb the ancient English bugle notes.Prior, that last flourish on the recheat hath added fifty crowns to thy ransom, for corrupting the true old manly blasts of venerie.
Well, friend, said the Abbot peevishly, thou art ill to please with thy woodcraft. I pray thee be more conformable in this matter of my ransom. At a world since I must needs, for once, hold a candle to the devil what ransom am I to pay for walking on Watling Street, without having fifty men at my back?
Were it not well, said the Lieutenant of the gang apart to the Captain, that the Prior should name the Jews ransom, and the Jew name the Priors?
Thou art a mad knave, said the Captain, but thy plan transcends!Here, Jew, step forth.Look at that holy Father Aymer, Prior of the rich Abbey of Jorvaulx, and tell us at what ransom we should hold him?Thou knowest the income of his convent, I warrant thee.
Oh, assuredly, said Isaac. I have trafficked with the good fathers, and bought wheat and barley, and fruits of the earth, and also much wool. Oh, it is a rich abbey-stede, and they do live upon the fat, and drink the sweet wines upon the lees, these good fathers of Jorvaulx. Ah, if an outcast like me had such a home to go to, and such incomings by the year and by the mouth, I would pay much gold and silver to redeem my captivity.
Hound of a Jew! exclaimed the Prior, no one knows better than thy own cursed self, that our holy house of God is indebted for the finishing of our chancel
And for the storing of your cellars in the last season with the due allowance of Gascon wine, interrupted the Jew; but thatthat is small matters.
Hear the infidel dog! said the churchman; he jangles as if our holy community did come under debts for the wines we have a licence to drink, proper necessitatem, et ad frigus depellendum. The circumcised villain blasphemeth the holy Church, and Christian men listen and rebuke him not!
All this helps nothing, said the leader.Isaac, pronounce what he may pay, without flaying both hide and hair.
An six hundred crowns, said Isaac, the good Prior might well pay to your honoured valours, and never sit less soft in his stall.
Six hundred crowns, said the leader gravely; I am contentedthou hast well spoken, Isaacsix hundred crowns.It is a sentence, Sir Prior.
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