The matter, quoth the Prior, is of a mixed condition; for, if I do a good deal on the one hand, yet, on the other, it goeth to the vantage of a Jew, and in so much is against my conscience. Yet, if the Israelite will advantage the Church by giving me somewhat over to the building of our dortour,3 I will take it on my conscience to aid him in the matter of his daughter.
For a score of marks to the dortour, said the OutlawBe still, I say, Isaac!or for a brace of silver candlesticks to the altar, we will not stand with you.
Nay, but, good Diccon Bend-the-Bowsaid Isaac, endeavouring to interpose.
Good Jewgood beastgood earthworm! said the yeoman, losing patience; an thou dost go on to put thy filthy lucre in the balance with thy daughters life and honour, by Heaven, I will strip thee of every maravedi thou hast in the world, before three days are out!
Isaac shrunk together, and was silent.
And what pledge am I to have for all this? said the Prior.
When Isaac returns successful through your mediation, said the Outlaw l swear by St. Hubert, I will see that he pays thee the money in good silver, or I will reckon with him for it in such sort, he had better have paid twenty such sums.
Well, then. Jew, said Aymer, since I must needs meddle in this matter, let me have the use of thy writing-tabletsthough, holdrather than use thy pen, I would fast for twenty-four hours, and where shall I find one?
If your holy scruples can dispense with using the Jews tablets, for the pen I can find a remedy, said the yeoman; and, bending his bow, he aimed his shaft at a wild-goose which was soaring over their heads, the advanced-guard of a phalanx of his tribe, which were winging their way to the distant and solitary lens of Holderness. The bird came fluttering down, transfixed with the arrow.
There, Prior, said the Captain, are quills enow to supply all the monks of Jorvaulx for the next hundred years, an they take not to writing chronicles.
The Prior sat down, and at great leisure indited an epistle to Brian de Bois-Guilbert, and having carefully sealed up the tablets, delivered them to the Jew, saying, This will be thy safe conduct to the Preceptory of Templestowe, and, as I think, is most likely to accomplish the delivery of thy daughter, if it be well backed with proffers of advantage and commodity at thine own hand; for, trust me well, the good Knight Bois-Guilbert is of their confraternity that do nought for nought.
Well, Prior, said the Outlaw, I will detain thee no longer here than to give the Jew a quittance for the six hundred crowns at which thy ransom is fixedI accept of him for my pay-master; and if I hear that ye boggle at allowing him in his accompts the sum so paid by him, St. Mary refuse me, an I burn not the abbey over thine head, though I hang ten years the sooner!
With a much worse grace than that wherewith he had penned the letter to Bois-Guilbert, the Prior wrote an acquittance, discharging Isaac of York of six hundred crowns, advanced to him in his need for acquittal of his ransom, and faithfully promising to hold true compt with him for that sum.
And now, said Prior Aymer, I will pray you of restitution of my mules and palfreys, and the freedom of the reverend brethren attending upon me, and also of the gymmal rings, jewels, and fair vestures, of which I have been despoiled, having now satisfied you for my ransom as a true prisoner.
Touching your brethren, Sir Prior, said Locksley, they shall have present freedom, it were unjust to detain them; touching your horses and mules, they shall also be restored, with such spending-money as may enable you to reach York, for it were cruel to deprive you of the means of journeying.But,
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|