Page images

anon they perceived that it was the maister Cooke, whereof they were greatly abashed. And with that (crying out) they went unto the Priour and shewed him that the maister Cooke had drowned himselfe in a kettell seething upon the fire in the kitchin: for which tydings the Priour was right sorrie. And in the meane season Rush came home, and had conveyed the woman into his maisters chamber. And anon the friers shewed Rush of the great misfortune that was fallen on the maister Cooke in the kitchin, and he made as he had beene sorrie therefore, and had knowne nothing thereof, and he was in great love and favour with the Priour and all the friers, that they mistrusted him nothing for that deede, and so there was no more mention of the maister Cooke. Then the Priour commanded that Rush should be made Cooke, and all the covent was right glad of that, and so he was himselfe also, for he thought his enterprises came well to passe after his minde, and as he would have it. Thus Rush became maister Cooke in the kitchin, and dressed their meate mervailous well: for in the Lent, and in the Advent, both Fridayes and also other dayes, he put bacon into their pottage pot, the which made the pottage to savour well, and he dressed their meate so deliciously, that the Priour and all the friers had great mervaile that he did it so well: in so much that they said he did much better then their other maister Cooke did, and that he was a more cunninger man in his occupation, and could doe much better in his office. Thus Rush continued in that office the space of seaven yeares, and did right well, and every man had him in love and favour. Then it fortuned upon a day the Priour and his brethren were assembled together in a generall counsaile, and as they stood talking together, the Priour remembered Rush, and anon he said unto his brethren: Friends we have here Rush which is our maister Cooke in our kitchin, and he is an olde servant, and much diligent and true service he hath done to us, and he hath continued among us longer then any servant that ever wee had: wherefore me thinke it reason, that hee were promoted into some other office, and made a brother among us. Then all the whole Covent with one voice said they were content it should so be. So the Priour sent for Rush, and when he was come before him and all his brethren, the Priour said, Rush it is so, thou hast beene here a long season, and we have found thee hitherto a true and diligent servant, wherefore wee will that thou be promoted, and take upon thee an habite as we have, and to become a brother among us. Rush answered and said: my Maisters I thanke you all, and then the Priour gave Rush an habite, and put it on his backe, and so Rush became a brother in the place, neverthelesse he kept his office still.

How Frier Rush made Truncheons for the Friers to

light withal 1. When Rush had on the habite of a Frier, and was a brother in the place, he had more vacation dayes then he had before. And as a king or a great prince prepareth ordinances against their warres, in likewise did Frier Rush: for when all his businesse was done in the kitchin, and that he had leysure, he went and sate in the port of the utter gate, and there he was making of good bigge Truncheons of oke. And he made them with hilts over the hand for slipping, of the which the other Friers had great mervaile, and demanded of him wherefore he made those Truncheons. Rush answered and said: Faire Sirs, I make them for this intent: that if there come any theeves hither for to rob us, and to spoile our place, yet shall we have weapons to defend us withall. And therefore I make them. And moreover, when any neede shall be, come to mee and every man shall have one, and they shall be ready at your commandement, and then the Friers thanked him and so departed- Then it fortuned upon a day, that the Priour and Subpriour fell at discord, and were greevously angry, the one with the other, and would have fought together, but onely for shame: neverthelesse, the anger abode still in their hearts, and all was for an harlot: within a while after the noyse spread abroad among the Friers, that the Priour and the Subpriour were fallen at discord, for the which they were angry in their mindes. And they that loved the Priour, tooke his part, and they that loved the Subpriour, tooke his part, and so they murmured among themselves. Then they appointed in their mindes to revenge their quarrels at one time or other, and so to make a more surer way in ful- filling their malicious mindes and angry hearts, every man after other went privately to Frier Rush to lend them staves, in so much that there was not a Frier in the place but he had one, and they never went without their staves under their habite, and the one knew not that the other had any, they kept them so secretly- And when Frier Rush had delivered all his staves, he was right glad in his heart, for he knew right well there should be a great fray among them, either one time or other. Soit fortuned afterward, as it is a common custome among religious people at an high feast, to keepe solemne service, and every man to be at Mattens at midnight, and so upon a good night, all the whole Covent assembled together in the Quier, and were ready to begin Mattens, they taried for nothing but for the comming of the Priour. Then anon the Priour came into the Quier, and sate him downe in his place, and as he looked about him, he espied that the Subpriour was there present, and with that his heart began to grudge of the olde anger that was fallen betweene them two, and he thought in his minde that he could never be revenged in a better time, and sodainly he rose out of his place, and went to the Subpriour, and with his fist he gave him a good buffet, and the Subpriour which was moved with the stroke, started unto the Priour and gave him another buffet, and with that they went freshly together by the eares, and when the other Friers saw that, every man rose out of their places, and drew out their Truncheons, and together they went: who had been there should have seene good buffets given on both parties. And when Frier Rush saw that they were fighting together, anon he blew out all the candles and lamps that were burning in the church, and left no manner of light therein whereby the one might see the other: and when he had so done, he tooke his truncheon in his hand, and went into the Quier among the thickest of the Friers the which were fighting freshly without light, and there he laid so lustily about, that many of them he felled to the ground, and left them there for dead, and when he had so done, he stole his way from them, and as hee went, he found standing in the portall of the Quier, a great olde deske, and anon hee tooke the deske betweene both his hands, and threw it over the portall into the Quier among all the Friers, and hurt many sore, in so much that some had an arme broken, and some a legge, and other some had their noses, cleane pared from their faces, that the bloud ramie in their mouthes, and as for broken heads to the hard scalpe were no dainty, for every man had one, there scaped none free away, who had been there, should have had a goodly pastime to see the Friers creepe about the Quier, and in steede of (Domine labia) they cried out alas and well away. Then when the fray was done, and all the noyse seased, Rush came in among them with a candell light in his hand, and made as he had knowne nothing thereof, and said to them: Fie for shame sirs, how fortuned this discord to fall among your selves? I see well now you regard not your honour, nor the good

« PreviousContinue »