Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln - A Short Story of One of the Makers of Mediaeval England
by Charles L. Marson
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Transcriber's note:

Some of the spellings and hyphenations in the original are unusual; they have not been changed. A few obvious typographical errors have been corrected, and they and other possible errors are listed at the end of this e-text.


London : Edward Arnold : 1901




CHARLES L. MARSON Curate of Hambridge Author of "The Psalms at Work," Etc.

Tua me, genitor, tua tristis imago Saepius occurens, haec limina tendere adegit. Stant sale Tyrrheno classes. Da jungere dextram Da, genitor; teque amplexu ne subtrahe nostro.

AEN. VI. 695.

London Edward Arnold 37, Bedford Street, Strand 1901















In a short biography the reader must expect short statements, rather than detailed arguments, and in a popular tale he will not look for embattled lists of authorities. But if he can be stirred up to search further into the matter for himself, he will find a list of authorities ancient and modern come not unacceptable to begin upon.

The author has incurred so many debts of kindness in this work from many friends, and from many who were before not even acquaintances, that he must flatly declare himself bankrupt to his creditors, and rejoice if they will but grant him even a second-class certificate. Among the major creditors he must acknowledge his great obligations to the hospitable Chancellor of Lincoln and Mrs. Crowfoot, to the Rev. A. Curtois, Mr. Haig, and some others, all of whom were willing and even anxious that the story of their saint should be told abroad, even by the halting tongues of far-away messengers. The same kind readiness appeared at Witham: and indeed everybody, who knew already about St. Hugh, has seemed anxious that the knowledge of him should be spread abroad. It has snowed books, pamphlets, articles, views, maps, and guesses; and if much has remained unsaid or been said with incautious brusqueness, rather than with balanced oppressiveness, the reader who carps will always be welcome to such material as the author has by him, for elucidating the truth. If he has been misled by a blind guide, that guide must plead that he has consulted good oculists and worthy spectacle-makers, and has had every good intention of steering clear of the ditch.

Though what a man is counts for more than what he does, yet the services of St. Hugh to England may be briefly summed up. They were (1) Spiritual. He made for personal holiness, uncorruptness of public and private life. He raised the sense of the dignity of spiritual work, which was being rapidly subordinated to civic work and rule. He made people understand that moral obligations were very binding upon all men. (2) Political. He made for peace at home and abroad: at home by restraining the excesses of forestars and tyrants; abroad by opposing the constant war policy against France. (3) Constitutional. He first encountered and checked the overgrown power of the Crown, and laid down limits and principles which resulted in the Church policy of John's reign and the triumph of Magna Carta. (4) Architectural. He fully developed—even if he did not, as some assert, invent—the Early English style. (5) Ecclesiastical. He counterbalanced St. Thomas of Canterbury, and diverted much of that martyr's influence from an irreconcileable Church policy to a more reasonable, if less exalted, notion of liberty. (6) He was a patron of letters, and encouraged learning by supporting schools, libraries, historians, poets, and commentators.

Ancient authorities for his Life are:—(1) The Magna Vita, by Chaplain Adam (Rolls); (2) Metrical Life, Ed. Dimock, Lincoln, 1860; (3) Giraldus Cambrensis, VII. (Rolls); (4) Hoveden's Chronicle (Rolls); (5) Benedicti, Gesta R. Henry II. (Rolls); (6) for trifles, Matthew Paris, I. and II. (Rolls), John de Oxenden (ditto), Ralph de Diceto (ditto), Flores Histor. (ditto), Annales Monastici (ditto); (7) also for collateral information, Capgrave Illustrious Henries (Rolls), William of Newburgh, Richard of Devizes, Gervase's Archbishops of Canterbury, and Robert de Monte, Walter de Mapes' De Nugis (Camden Soc). Of modern authorities, (1) Canon Perry's Life (Murray, 1879) and his article in the Dictionary of National Biography come first; (2) Vie de St. Hughues (Montreuil, 1890); (3) Fr. Thurston's translation and adaptation of this last (Burns and Oates, 1898); (4) St. Hugh's Day at Lincoln, A.D. 1900, Ed. Precentor Bramley (pub. by Clifford Thomas, Lincoln, N.D.); (5) Guides to the Cathedral, by Precentor Venables, and also by Mr. Kendrick; (6) Archaeological matter, Archaeological Institute (1848), Somerset Archaeolog. XXXIV., Somerset Notes and Queries, vol. IV., 1895, Lincoln Topographical Soc., 1841-2; (7) Collateral information—cf. Miss Norgate's "England under Angevin Kings" (Macmillan), Robert Grosseteste, F. E. Stevenson (ditto), Stubbs' "Opera Omnia" of course, Diocesan History of Lincoln, Grande Chartreuse (Burns and Oates), "Court Life under Plantagenets" (Hall), "Highways in Normandy" (Dearmer);(8) of short studies, Mr. Froude's and an article in the Church Quarterly, XXXIII., and Mrs. Charles' "Martyrs and Saints" (S.P.C.K.) are the chief.

Of this last book it is perhaps worth saying that if any man will take the trouble to compare it with John Brady's Clavis Calendaria, of which the third edition came out in 1815, he will see how much the tone of the public has improved, both in courtesy towards and in knowledge of the great and good men of the Christian faith.

St. Hugh's Post-Reformation history is worth noting for the humour of it. He is allowed in the Primer Calendar by unauthorised Marshall, 1535; out in Crumwell and Hilsey's, 1539; out by the authorised Primer of King and Clergy, 1545; still out in the Prayer-books of 1549 and 1552; in again in the authorised Primer of 1553; out of the Prayer-book of 1559; in the Latin one of 1560; still in both the Orarium and the New Calendar of the next year, though out of the Primer 1559; in the Preces Privatas 1564, with a scornful admonitio to say that "the names of saints, as they call them, are left, not because we count them divine, or even reckon some of them good, or, even if they were greatly good, pay them divine honour and worship; but because they are the mark and index of certain matters dependent upon fixed times, to be ignorant of which is most inconvenient to our people"—to wit, fairs and so on. Since which time St. Hugh has not been cast out of the Calendar, but is in for ever.

In the text is no mention of the poor swineherd, God rest him! His stone original lives in Lincoln cloisters, and a reproduction stands on the north pinnacle of the west front (whereas Hugh is on the south pinnacle), put there because he hoarded a peck of silver pennies to help build the House of God. He lives on in stone and in the memories of the people, a little flouted in literature, but, if moral evidence counts, unscathedly genuine: honourable in himself, to the saint who inspired him, and to the men who hailed him as the bishop's mate—no mean builder in the house not made with hands.



St. Hugh is exactly the kind of saint for English folk to study with advantage. Some of us listen with difficulty to tales of heroic virgins, who pluck out their eyes and dish them up, or to the report of antique bishops whose claim to honour rests less upon the nobility of their characters than upon the medicinal effect of their post-mortem humours; but no one can fail to be struck with this brave, clean, smiling face, which looks out upon us from a not impossible past, radiant with sense and wit, with holiness and sanity combined, whom we can all reverence as at once a saint of God and also one of the fine masculine Makers of England. We cherish a good deal of romance about the age in which St. Hugh lived. It is the age of fair Rosamond, of Crusades, of lion-hearted King Richard, and of Robin Hood. It is more soberly an age of builders, of reformers, of scholars, and of poets. If troubadours did not exactly "touch guitars," at least songsters tackled verse-making and helped to refine the table manners of barons and retainers by singing at dinner time. The voice of law too was not silent amid arms. Our constitutional government, already begotten, was being born and swaddled. The races were being blended. Though England was still but a northern province of a kingdom, whose metropolis was Rouen, yet that kingdom was becoming rather top-heavy, and inclined to shift its centre of gravity northwards. So from any point of view the time is interesting. It is essentially an age of monks and of monasteries; perhaps one should say the end of the age of monastic influence. Pope Eugenius III., the great Suger and St. Bernard, all died when Hugh was a young man. The great enthusiasm for founding monasteries was just beginning to ebb. Yet a hundred and fifteen English houses were founded in Stephen's reign, and a hundred and thirteen in the reign of Henry II., and the power of the monastic bodies was still almost paramount in the church. It was to the monasteries that men still looked for learning and peace, and the monasteries were the natural harbours of refuge for valiant men of action, who grew sick of the life of everlasting turmoil in a brutal and anarchic world. Indeed, the very tumults and disorders of the state gave the monasteries their hold over the best of the men of action. As the civil life grew more quiet and ordered, the enthusiasm for the cloister waned, and with it the standard of zeal perceptibly fell to a lower level, not without grand protest and immense effort of holy men to keep the divine fire from sinking.

Hugh of Avalon was born in Avalon Castle in 1140, a year in which the great tempest of Stephen's misrule was raging. In France, Louis VII. has already succeeded his father, Louis VI.; the Moors are in Spain, and Arnold of Brescia is the centre of controversy. Avalon Castle lies near Pontcharra, which is a small town on the Bredo, which flows into the Isere and thence into the Rhone. It is not to be confused with Avallon of Yonne. The Alpine valleys about Pontcharra are lovely with flowers and waters, and have in them the "foot-prints of lost Paradise." Burgundy here owed some loyalty to the empire rather than to France, and its dukes tried to keep up a semi-independent kingdom by a balanced submission to their more powerful neighbours. The very name Hugh was an old ducal name, and there is little doubt that William de Avalon, Hugh's father, claimed kin with the princes of his land. He was a "flower of knighthood" in battles not now known. He was also by heredity of a pious mind. Hugh's mother, Anna, a lovely and wealthy lady, of what stock does not appear, was herself of saintly make. She "worshipped Christ in His limbs," by constantly washing the feet of lepers, filling these wretched outcasts with hope, reading to them and supplying their wants. She seems to have been a woman of intellectual parts, for though she died before Hugh was ten, he had already learned under her, if not from her, to use language as the sacrament of understanding and understanding as the symbol of truth. He had some grip of grammar and logic, and though he did not brood over "Ovid's leasings or Juvenal's rascalities," rather choosing to ponder upon the two Testaments, yet we may gather that his Latin classics were not neglected. The spiritual life of Grenoble had been nourished by a noble bishop, also Hugh, who had seen the vision of seven stars resting upon a certain plot of ground, which induced him to grant the same to St. Bruno, the founder of the Grande Chartreuse. Here he served himself as a simple monk, laying aside his bishop's robes, not a score of miles from Avalon. This Hugh was a religious and free thinking man, who, though he found evil a great metaphysical stumbling block to faith, yet walked painfully by the latter. He died in 1132 or thereabouts, and his life was most probably the occasion of our Hugh's name, and of much else about him.

The De Avalons had two other boys both older than Hugh: William, who inherited the lands, and Peter, who was settled by his brother Hugh at Histon, in Cambridge, but he does not seem to have made England his home. Hugh had also at least one cousin, William, on his mother's side, who attended upon him at Lincoln, and who (unless there were two of the same name) developed from a knight into an holy Canon after his great relative's decease. These relatives were always ready to lend a hand and a sword if required in the good bishop's quarrels. The last particularly distinguished himself in a brawl in Lincolnshire Holland, when an armed and censured ruffian threatened the bishop with death. The good Burgundian blood rose, and William twisted the sword from the villain's hand, and with difficulty was prevented from driving it into his body.

When the Lady Anna died, her husband, tired of war, power, and governance, distributed his property among his children. Under his armour he had long worn the monk's heart, and now he was able to take the monk's dress, and to "labour for peace after life, as he had already won it in life." So he took Hugh and Hugh's money with him, and went off to the little priory of Villarbenoit (of seven canon power), which bordered upon his own lands, and which he and his forbears had cherished. This little priory was a daughter of Grenoble (St. Hugh of Grenoble being, as we infer, a spiritual splendour to the De Avalons), and, not least in attraction, there was a canon therein, far-famed for heavenly wisdom and for scholarship besides, who kept a school and taught sound theology and classics, under whom sharp young Hugh might climb to heights both of ecclesiastical and also of heavenly preferment. Great was the delight of the canons at their powerful postulant and his son, and great the pains taken over the latter's education. The schoolmaster laid stress upon authors such as Prudentius, Sedulius, and Fulgentius. By these means the boy not only learnt Latin, but he also tackled questions of Predestination and Grace, glosses upon St. Paul, hymns and methods of frustrating the Arian. Above all, he was exercised in the Divine Library, as they called the Bible, taught by St. Jerome. Hugh was of course the favourite of the master, who whipt him with difficulty, and kept him from the rough sports of his fellow scholars, the future soldiers, and "reared him for Christ." The boy had a masterly memory and a good grip of his work, whether it were as scholar, server, or comrade. The Prior assigned to him the special task of waiting upon his old father. That modest, kind-hearted gentleman was getting infirm, and the young fellow was delighted to be told off to lead him, carry him, dress and undress him, tie his shoes, towel him, make his bed, cook for him and feed him, until the time of the old knight's departure arrived.

The dates of St. Hugh's life and ministrations must be taken with a grain of salt. The authorities differ considerably, and it is impossible to clap a date to some of the saint's way-marks without first slapping in the face some venerable chronicler, or some thought-worn modern historian. If we say with the Great Life that Hugh was ordained Levite in his nineteenth year, we upset Giraldus Cambrensis and the metrical biographer, who put it in his fifteenth; and Matthew Paris and the Legend, who write him down as over sixteen. Mr. Dimock would have us count from his entry into the canonry, and so counts him as twenty-four; Canon Perry and Father Thurston say "nineteenth year," or "nineteen." The Canons Regular of Villarbenoit seem to have been rather liberal in their interpretation of church regulations, but it is hardly likely that the bishop of Grenoble would so far stretch a point as to ordain a lad much below the canonical age, even if he were of a great house and great piety. Anyhow it is hardly worth while for the general reader to waste time over these ticklish points. It is enough to say that Hugh was ordained young, that he looked pink and white over his white stole and broidered tunic, and that he soon preached vigorously, warmly, and movingly to the crowd and to his old acquaintances. Sinners heard a very straightforward message, and holy persons were edified by the clever way in which he handled difficult topics, and in him they "blessed the true Joseph, who had placed his own cup in the mouth of his younger brother's sack." Indeed, he must have been a captivating and interesting young man, and since he was so strikingly like Henry II. of England that folks' tongues wagged freely about it, we may picture him as a young man of moderate height, rather large in the brow, with red brown hair, bright grey eyes, large chest, and generally of an athletic build and carriage. He had a face which easily flushed and told both of anger and a lively sense of humour.

He was the delight of his house, and of the people about, who welcomed him with enthusiasm when he came back after nearly forty years' absence. But most of all he was the apple of the eye to his old scholarly father prior, who loved him as his own soul. It is not wonderful that when one of the scanty brotherhood was called upon to take charge of a small country living, the "cell of St. Maximin," the zealous deacon was chosen to administer the same. The tiny benefice could hardly support one, with small household, but Hugh insisted upon having an old priest to share the benefice. A little parcel of glebe and a few vines, tended by honest rustics, were his. They were able by pious frugality to nourish the poor and grace the rich. The parishioners grew in holiness. The congregation swelled from many sources, and the sermons (of life and word) were translated into sound faith and good conversation. This experience of parish work must have been of the greatest value to the future bishop, for the tragedy and comedy of life is just as visible in the smallest village as it is in the largest empire. The cloister-bred lad must have learnt on this small organ to play that good part which he afterwards was called upon to play upon a larger instrument. One instance is recorded of his discipline. A case of open adultery came under his notice. He sent for the man and gave him what he considered to be a suitable admonition. The offender replied with threats and abuse. Hugh, gospel in hand, pursued him first with two and then with three witnesses, offering pardon upon reform and penance. No amendment was promised. Both guilt and scandal continued. Then Hugh waited for a festival, and before a full congregation rebuked him publicly, declared the greatness of his sin, handed him over to Satan for the death of his flesh with fearful denunciations, except he speedily came to his senses. The man was thunderstruck, and brought to his knees at a blow. With groans and tears he confessed, did penance (probably at the point of the deacon's stick), was absolved and received back to the fold; so irresistible was this young administrator who knew St. Augustine's advice that "in reproof, if one loves one's neighbour enough, one can even say anything to him."

But Hugh was ill at ease in his charge, and his heart burned towards the mountains, where the Grande Chartreuse had revived the austerities of ancient monasticism. It seemed so grand to be out of and above the world, in solitary congregation, with hair shirt, hard diet, empty flesh pot, and full library, in the deep silence and keen air of the mountains. Here hands that had gripped the sword and the sceptre were turned to the spade and lifted only in prayer. There were not only the allurements of hardship, but also his parents' faith and his own early lessons tugging at his heart strings. He found means to go with his prior into the awful enclosure, and the austere passion seized him. He told his heart's desire to an old ex-baron, who probably felt some alarm that a young gentleman who had campaigned so slightly in the plains of active life should aspire to dwell upon these stern hills of contemplation. "My dear boy, how dare you think of such a thing?" he answered, and then, looking at the refined young face before him, warned the deacon against the life. The men were harder than stones, pitiless to themselves and to others. The place dreary, the rule most burdensome. The rough robe would rake the skin and flesh from young bones. The harsh discipline would crush the very frame of tender youth.

The other monks were less forbidding. They warmly encouraged the aspiration, and the pair returned to their home, Hugh struggling to hide the new fire from his aged friend. But the old man saw through the artless cloakings and was in despair. He used every entreaty to save Hugh for the good work he was doing, and to keep his darling at his side. Hugh's affectionate heart and ready obedience gave way, and he took a solemn oath not to desert his canonry, and so went back to his parishing.

But then came, as it naturally would come to so charming and vigorous a lad, the strong return of that Dame Nature who had been so long forked forth by his cloistral life. A lady took a liking to this heavenly curate. Other biographers hint at this pathetic little romance, and cover up the story with tales of a wilderness of women; but the metrical biographer is less discreetly vague, and breaks into a tirade against that race of serpents, plunderers, robbers, net weavers, and spiders—the fair sex. Still, he cannot refrain from giving us a graphic picture of the presumptuous she-rascal who fell in love with Hugh, and although most of his copyists excise his thirty-nine graphic lines of Zuleika's portrait, the amused reader is glad to find that all were not of so edifying a mind. Her lovely hair that vied with gold was partly veiled and partly strayed around her ivory neck. Her little ear, a curved shell, bore up the golden mesh. Under the smooth clear white brow she had curved black eyebrows without a criss-cross hair in them, and these disclosed and heightened the clear white of the skin. And her nose, too—not flat nor arched, not long nor snub, but beyond the fineness of geometry, with light, soft breath, and the sweet scent of incense. Such shining eyes too: like emeralds starring her face with light! And the face, blended lilies and roses in a third lovely hue that one could not withdraw one's eyes from beholding. The gentle pout of her red lips seemed to challenge kisses. Shining as glass, white as a bell flower, she had a breast and head joined by a noble poised throat, which baited the very hook of love. Upon her lily finger she wore a red and golden ring. Even her frock was a miracle of millinery. This lovely creature, complete to a nail, much disturbed the mind of Hugh, and played her pretty tricks upon her unexercised pastor: now demure, now smiling, now darting soft glances, now reining in her eyes. But he, good man, was rock or diamond. At last the fair creature actually stroked his arm, and then Hugh was startled into a panic. His experience and training had not been such as to fit him to deal with situations of this sort. He fled. He cut out the skin of the arm where her rosy fingers had rested. He found it impossible to escape from the sight of many fair maids of Burgundy. Zuleika was fascinating enough, but his original Adam within (whom he called Dalilah) was worse. He forsook his post, broke his vow, and bolted to the Grande Chartreuse.

One modern biographer, who is shocked at his perjury to the prior, would no doubt have absolved him if he had married the lass against his canonic vows. Another thinks him most edifyingly liberal in his interpretation of duty. Is there any need to forestall Doomsday in these matters? The poor fellow was in both a fix and a fright. Alas! that duties should ever clash! His own view is given with his own decisiveness. "No! I never had a scruple at all about it. I have always felt great delight of mind when I recall the deed which started me upon so great an undertaking." The brothers of the Charterhouse gladly took him in, the year being about 1160, and his age about twenty, let us say; hardly an age anyhow which would fit him for dealing with pert minxes and escaping the witcheries of the beauty which still makes beautiful old hexameters.



"Ye might write th' doin's iv all th' convents iv th' wurruld on the back of a postage stamp, an' have room to spare," says Mr. Dooley; and we rather expect some hiatus in our history here. Goodbye to beef, butter, and good red wheat; white corn, sad vegetables, cold water, sackcloth take their place, with fasts on bread and water, and festivals mitigated by fish. Goodbye to pillows and bolsters and linen shirts. Welcome horse-hair vests, sacking sheets, and the "bitter bite of the flea,"—sad entertainment for gentlemen! Instead of wise and merry talk, wherein he excelled, solitary confinement in a wooden cell (the brethren now foist off a stone one upon credulous tourists) with willing slavery to stern Prior Basil. The long days of prayer and meditation, the nights short with psalmody, every spare five minutes filled with reading, copying, gardening and the recitation of offices. All these the novice took with gusto, safe hidden from the flash of emerald eyes and the witchery of hypergeometrical noses. But temptation is not to be kept out by the diet of Adam and of Esau, by locked doors, spades, and inkpots. The key had hardly turned upon the poor refugee when he found he had locked in his enemies with him. His austerities redoubled, but as he says he "only beat the air" until He who watches over Israel without slumber or sleep laid His hand upon him and fed him with a hidden manna, so fine and so plentiful that the pleasures of life seemed paltry after the first taste of it. After this experience our Hugh used to be conscious always of a Voice and a Hand, giving him cheer and strength, although the strong appetites of his large nature troubled him to the last. Here Hugh devoured books, too, until the time floated by him all too fleetly.

His great affectionate heart poured itself out upon wild birds and squirrels which came in from the beech and pine woods, and learned to feed from his platter and his fingers. It is difficult to read with patience that his prior, fearing lest he should enjoy these innocent loves too much, and they would "hinder his devotion," banished these pretty dears from the dreary cell. But in charity let us suppose that the prior more than supplied their place, for Hugh was told off to tend a weak old monk, to sing him the offices, and to nurse the invalid. This godly old man, at once his schoolmaster and his patient, sounded him whether he wished to be ordained priest. When he learned that, as far as lay in Hugh he desired nothing more, he was greatly shocked, and reduced his nurse-pupil to tears by scolding him for presumption; but he presently raised him from his knees and prophesied that he would soon be a priest and some day a bishop. Hugh was soon after this ordained priest, and was distinguished for the great fervour of his behaviour in celebrating the Mass "as if he handled a visible Lord Saviour"—a touching devoutness which never left him, and which contrasted strikingly with the perfunctory, careless or bored ways of other priests. He injured his health by over-abstinence, one effect of which was to cause him to grow fat, Nature thus revenging herself by fortifying his frame against such ill-treatment.

In the talk time after Nones, the brothers had much to hear about the storms which raged outside their walls. It is rather hard for us nowadays to see things through Charterhouse spectacles. There is our lord the Pope, Alexander III., slow and yet persistent, wrestling hard with the terrible Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who is often marching away to seiges of Milan, reducing strong rogues and deeply wronging the church (whose forged documents are all purely genuine). Then what a hubbub there is in the church! Monstrous anti-popes, one of whom, Victor, dies, and a satanic bishop Henry of Liege consecrates another, Pascal, and the dismal schism continues. Then our lord Alexander returns to Rome, and the Emperor slaughters the Romans and beseiges their city and enthrones Pascal. There are big imperial plans afoot, unions of East and West, which end in talk: but Sennacherib Frederick is defeated by a divine and opportune pestilence. Then Pascal dies, and the schism flickers, the Emperor crawls to kiss the foot of St. Peter, and finally, in 1179, Alexander reigns again in Rome for a space. Meantime, Louis VII., a pious Crusader, and dutiful son of the Regulars, plays a long, and mostly a losing, game of buffets with Henry of Anjou, lord of Normandy, Maine, Touraine, Poitou, Aquitaine and Gascony, and leader of much else besides, King also of England, and conqueror of Ireland—a terrible man, who had dared to aspire to hang priestly murderers. He has forced some awful Constitutions of Clarendon upon a groaning church, or a church which ought to groan and does not much, but rather talks of the laws and usage of England being with the king. But the noble Thomas has withstood him, and is banished and beggared and his kith and kin with him. The holy man is harboured by our good Cistercian brothers of Pontigny, where he makes hay and reaps and see visions. He is hounded thence. These things ignite wars, and thereout come conferences. Thomas will not compromise, and even Louis fretfully docks his alimony and sends him dish in hand to beg; but he, great soul, is instant in excommunication, whereafter come renewed brawls, fresh (depraved) articles. Even the king's son is crowned by Roger of York, "an execration, not a consecration." At last (woeful day!) Thomas goes home still cursing, and gets his sacred head split open, and thus wins the day, and has immense glory and sympathy, which tames the fierce anti-anarchist king. He, too, kneels to our lord Alexander, and swears to go crusading in three years' time, meanwhile paying Templars to do it for him. All this comes out in driblets after Nones, and brings us to 1171 A.D., brother Hugh being aged about one and thirty. When the old monk died Hugh was given another old man to wait upon—Peter, the Archbishop of Tarentaise, who came there often for retreat and study. This renowned old man had been a friend of St. Bernard, and was a great stickler and miracle worker for Alexander III., and he was a delegate to make peace between Henry and Louis, when he died in 1174. Hugh found his quotations, compiled any catena he wished to make, retrieved saintly instances, washed his feet, walked with him, and sat with him on a seat between two large fir trees, which seat "miraculously grew no higher, as the trees grew." In this manner Hugh knew and was known of the outside world, for Archbishop Peter was a man of large following and acquaintance.

And now Hugh is made, wincingly, the procurator or bursar of the Grande Chartreuse, after he has spent eight years there, and is plunged in a sea of worldly business. The prior makes good use of his tact, business capacity, and honourable nature. He had thought and read to some purpose, for he ruled the lay brothers with diligence, and instructed the monks with great care, stirring up the sluggish and bitting the heady into restfulness. He did his worldly work vigorously, and turned it swiftly to spiritual gain. He had strong wine of doctrine for the chapter-house, milk for the auditorium. The secular people, if they were rich, he taught not to trust in riches; if they were poor, he refreshed them with such rations as the Order allowed. If he had nothing else, he always had a kind and cheery word to give. Among the travellers must have been many noble postmen, who carried letters in their hands and messages in their heads from Henry to Humbert of Maurienne, who held the keys of all the Alpine roads to Italy and Germany and whose infant daughter was betrothed to the boy John Lackland with dowries disputable, whereat Henry junior rebels, and makes uncommon mischief. The procurator was keen and accurate in his work. He never mislaid the books, forgot, fumbled, or made a "loiter," morantia, as they called it, when the office halted or was unpunctual. The lay brethren did not have to cough at any trips in his reading, which was their quaint way of rebuking mistakes.

Henry II. was reconciled in 1172 and his crusade was to begin in 1175; but during these years his dominions were in constant flame. Scotland and France harried him. His sons leagued against him. His nobles rose. He fought hard battles, did humble penances at St. Thomas' tomb, and came out victorious, over his political and ecclesiastical opponents too, and began again the ordering of his unruly realms. What a rough and tumble world the Chronicles reveal as we turn them over! There is a crusade in Asia Minor in 1176. Manuel Commenus relates his success and failure. There are heretics in Toulouse who are Puritans, half Quaker and half Arian, condemned by a Council of Lombers, 1176. Next year Henry seems to have begun his penance, which was commuted from a crusade into three religious foundations, and rather shabbily he did it. Some people try to put Newstead in Selwood in the list, but this was founded in 1174; and Le Liget has been mentioned, a Charterhouse in Touraine founded in 1178. The most probable explanation is this. Henry tried to do the penance (a) by buying out the Secular Canons of Waltham at a price determined by Archbishop Richard. He replaced these by Canons Regular under Walter de Cant. He then endowed them handsomely and had papal authority for this. (b) He found this so expensive that he tried to do the other two more cheaply. A scandal had arisen in Amesbury. He expelled the incontinent nuns, and brought over from Font Evroult a colony of more devout ladies in their room. The chroniclers show that this evasion was severely commented upon, and we may conclude that Le Liget was a tardy substitute—a cheap strip of forest land granted to an order which was celebrated for its dislike of covetousness, and whose rules required manual labour and a desert (and so valueless) land. Le Liget, be it noticed, is founded after the peace of Venice has given more power to the Papal elbow. The Lateran Council is also a little threatening towards King Henry in March, 1179, particularly on the question of the ferocity of mercenaries. Young Philip Augustus is also evidently succeeding his waning father, and generally speaking it is better to be conciliatory and to admit that the Amesbury plan was perhaps insufficient. At any rate, it is well to found another house: Carthusians of course, for they are holy, popular, and inexpensive. Henry, who was generous enough for lepers, hospitals, and active workers, did not usually care very much for contemplative orders, though his mother, the Empress Matilda, affected the Cistercians and founded the De Voto Monastery near Calais, and he inherited something from her. These considerations may have first prompted and then fortified Henry's very slow and reluctant steps in the work of founding Witham, in substance and not in shadow. It is also quite possible that he had not entirely given up the notion of going on a crusade after all.

The first attempt was little more than a sketch. 5,497 acres were marked off for the new house, in a wet corner of Selwood forest. But the land was not transferred from William FitzJohn and the villeins were not evicted or otherwise disposed of. The place was worse than a desert, for it contained possessors not dispossessed. The poor monks, few and unprepared, who came over at their own expense, probably expecting a roof and a welcome, found their mud flat was inhabited by indignant Somersetae, whose ways, manners, language, and food were unknown to them. The welcome still customarily given in these parts to strangers was warmer than usual. The foreign English, even if their lands were not pegged out for Charterhouses, were persuaded that the brethren were landsharks of the most omnivorous type. The poor prior quailed, despaired, and hastily bolted, leaving an old and an angry monkish comrade to face the situation with a small company of lay brothers. Another prior arrived, and to the vexation of the king shuffled off his maltreated coil in a very short time. After spending Christmas (1179-80) in Nottingham, the king crossed into Normandy with young Henry before Easter, meaning to avenge the wrongs Philip Augustus did to his relatives. Here most probably it was that a noble of the region of Maurienne (come no doubt upon business of the impending war), chatted with him about the Charterhouse. He paid a warm tribute to Hugh in words of this kind, "My lord king, there is only one sure way of getting free from these straits. There is in the Charterhouse a certain monk, of high birth but far higher moral vigour. His name is Hugh of Avalon. He carries on him all the grace of the virtues; but besides, every one who knows him takes to him and likes him, so that all who see him find their hearts fairly caught. Those who are privileged to hear him talk are delighted to find his speech divinely or angelically inspired. If the new plantation of this most holy order in your lands should deserve to have this man to dress and rule it, you will see it go joyfully forward straight away towards fruiting in every grace. Moreover, as I am certain, the whole English Church will be very greatly beautified by the radiance of his most pure religion and most religious purity. But his people will not easily let him go from their house, and he will never go to live elsewhere unless it be under compulsion and against his will, so your legation must be strong and strenuous: you must struggle to compass the matter even with urgent prayers until you get this man and him only. Then for the future your mind will be released from the anxieties of this care, and this lofty religion will make a noble growth to your excellency's renown. You will discover in this one man, with the whole circle of the other virtues, whatever mortal yet has shown of longsuffering, sweetness, magnanimity, and meekness. No one will dislike him for a neighbour or house-mate; no one will avoid him as a foreigner. No one will hold him other than a fellow politically, socially, and by blood, for he regards the whole race of men as part and parcel of himself, and he takes all men and comforts them in the arms and lap of his unique charity." The king was delighted with this sketch, and sent off post haste Reginald, Bishop of Bath (in whose diocese Witham lay), and an influential embassage to secure the treasure, if it could be done.

But the man who was being sought had just about then been finding the burden of this flesh so extremely heavy that he was more inclined to run riot in the things that do not belong to our peace than to settle comfortably upon a saint's pedestal or to take up a new and disagreeably dull work. The fatal temptations of forty, being usually unexpected, are apt to upset the innocent more surely than are the storms of youth; and poor Hugh was now so badly tried that the long life of discipline must have seemed fruitless. He just escaped, as he told his too-little reticent biographer, from one nearly fatal bout by crying out, "By Thy passion, cross, and life-giving death, deliver me." But neither frequent confession, nor floggings, nor orisons, seemed to bring the clean and quiet heart. He was much comforted by a vision of his old prior Basil, who had some days before migrated to God. This dear old friend and father stood by him radiant in face and robe, and said with a gentle voice, "Dearest son, how is it with thee? Why this face down on the ground? Rise, and please tell thy friend the exact matter." Hugh answered, "Good father, and my most kind nurser, the law of sin and death in my members troubles me even to the death, and except I have thy wonted help, thy lad will even die." "Yes, I will help thee." The visitor took a razor in his hand and cut out an internal inflamed tumour, flung it far away, blessed his patient, and disappeared, leaving no trace of his surgery in heart or flesh. Hugh told this story in his last illness to Adam, his chaplain, and added that though after this the flesh troubled him, its assaults were easy to scorn and to repress, though always obliging him to walk humbly.

The king's messengers took with them the Bishop of Grenoble and unfolded their errand. The Charterhouse was horrified, and the prior most of all. He delayed a reply. The first prior refused the request. The votes varied. Bovo, a monk who afterwards succeeded to Witham, declared strongly that it was a divine call, that the holiness of the order might be advertised to the ends of the earth. Hugh was too large a light to keep under their bushel. He seems better fitted to be a bishop than a monk, he said. Hugh was then bidden to speak. He told them that with all the holy advice and examples about him he had never managed to keep his own soul for one day, so how could any wise person think him fit to rule other folk? Could he set up a new house, if he could not even keep the rules of the old one? This is childishness and waste of time. "Let us for the future leave such matters alone, and since the business is hard and urgent do you only occupy yourselves to see that this king's undertaking be frittered no longer away half done, to the peril of souls and the dishonour of the holy order, and so from among you or from your other houses choose a man fit for this work and send him with these men. Since these are wise, do you too answer them wisely. Grant their desire, not their request. Give them a man not such as they seek under a mistake, but such as they devoutly and discreetly demand. It is not right that men should be heard unadvisedly who mistake the man of their request and who do not really want to be mistaken in the man's qualifications. So, in a word, do not grant their request, but cheer them by bettering it." The prior and Hugh were of one decision. The former declared point blank that he would not say go, and finally he turned to the Carthusian Bishop of Grenoble, "our bishop, father, and brother in one," and bade him decide. The bishop accepted the responsibility, reminded them of the grief which arose when St. Benedict sent forth St. Maur to Western Gaul, and exhorted Hugh that the Son of God had left the deepest recess of His Deity to be manifest for the salvation of many. "You too must pilgrimage for a little time from your dearest, breaking for a while the silence of the quiet you have loved." After much interruption from Hugh, the sentence was given. They all kissed him and sent him away forthwith. The king received him with much graciousness and ordered him to be carried honourably to Witham, and the wretched remnant in the mud flat received him as an angel of God. Well they might do so, for they seemed to have passed a melancholy winter in twig huts, now called "weeps," in a little paled enclosure, not only without the requisites of their order, but with barely bread to their teeth. There was no monastery, not even a plan of one. William FitzJohn and his clayey serfs scowled upon the shivering interlopers, uncertain what injustice might be done to them and to their fathers' homes, in sacrifices to the ghost of St. Thomas.

Witham is a sort of glorified soup-plate, still bearing traces of its old Selwood Forest origin, for the woodlands ring round it. The infant river Avon creeps through its clayey bottom, and there are remains of the old dams which pent it into fish-ponds. Of the convent nothing remains except a few stumps in a field called "Buildings," unless the stout foundations of a room, S.E. of the church, called the reading-room, mark the guest house, as tradition asserts. Much of the superstructure of this cannot go back beyond the early sixteenth century, but the solid walls, the small size (two cottage area), allow of the fancy that here was the site of many colloquies between our Hugh and Henry Fitz-Empress.{1}

The church itself is one of the two erected by St. Hugh, partly with his own hands. It is the lay brothers' church (called since pre-Franciscan days, the Friary). The conventual church has left no wrack behind. The style is entirely Burgundian, a single nave, with Romanesque windows, ending in an apse. The "tortoise" roof, of vaulted stone, is as lovely as it is severe. In 1760 the Tudor oaken bell-turret survived. The horrid story of how a jerry-built tower was added and the old post-Hugonian font built into it, how a new font was after long interval added, does not concern us. The tower was happily removed, the old font found and remounted (as if the text ran, "One faith, two baptisms"), and a stone nozzle built to uphold three bells. The buttresses are copied from St. Hugh's Lincoln work.


{1} The present Vicar is anxious to turn this place, which has been alternately cottages, a lock-up, and a reading-room, into a lecture hall and parish room; but the inhabitants, unworthy of their historical glories, seem rather disposed to let the old building tumble into road metal, to their great shame and reproach.



It did not require much talent to see that the first requisite of the foundation was a little money, and consequently we find ten white pounds paid from the Exchequer to the Charterhouse brethren, and a note in the Great Life to say that the king was pleased with Hugh's modesty, and granted him what he asked for. Next there was a meeting of all who had a stake of any kind in the place, who would be obliged to be removed lest their noise and movement should break the deep calm of the community. It was put to each to choose whether he would like a place in any royal manor, with cottage and land equal to those they gave up, or else to be entirely free from serfdom, and to go where they chose. It is noteworthy that some chose one alternative, some the other, not finding villeinage intolerable. Next came the question of compensation for houses, crops, and improvements, that the transfer might be made without injustice but with joy on both sides. Here Henry boggled a little. "In truth, my lord," said the prior, "unless every one of them is paid to the last doight for every single thing the place cannot be given to us." So the king was forced to do a little traffic, which he considered to be a dead loss, and acquired some very old cottages with rotten rafters and cracked walls at a handsome price. The salesmen liked this new business; it filled their pockets, and they blessed the new influence. This good merchant had traded so as to gain both justice and mercy, but he tackled the king once more, with twinkling eye. "Well, my lord king, you see I am new and poor, yet I have enriched you in your own land with a number of houses." The king smiled. "I did not covet riches of this nature. They have made me almost a beggar, and I cannot tell of what good such goods may be." Hugh wanted this very answer. "Of course, of course," he rejoined, "I see you do not reck much of your purchase. It would befit your greatness if these dwellings were handed over to me, for I have nowhere to lay my head." The king opened his eyes and stared at his petitioner. "Thou wouldst be a fine landlord. Dost thou think we cannot build thee a new house? What on earth shouldest thou do with these?" "It does not befit royal generosity to ask questions about trifles. This is my first petition to thee, and why, when it is so small, should I be kept waiting about it?" The king merrily answered, "Hear the fellow! Almost using violence too, in a strange land. What would he do if he used force, when he gets so much out of us by words? Lest we should be served worse by him, he must have it so." The cat was soon out of the bag. Each house was presented back to the man who had sold it, either to sell or to remove as he chose, lest in any way Jerusalem should be built with blood.

Then the building began, but no more; for the ten white pounds did not go far, and the workmen angrily and abusively asked for wages. A deputation went off to Henry, who was collecting troops and dismissing them, ordering, codifying, defending, enlarging and strengthening his heterogeneous empire. Now he was on one side of the sea, now on the other. He promised succour, and the brethren brought back—promises. The work stopped, and the Prior endured in grim silence. Another embassage is sent, and again the lean wallets return still flabby. Then the brethren began to turn their anger against the Prior. He was slothful and neglectful for not approaching the king in person (although the man was abroad and busy). Brother Gerard, a white-haired gentleman, "very successful in speaking to the great and to princes," fell upon his superior for glozing with a hard-hearted king and not telling him instantly to complete the buildings under pain of a Carthusian stampede. Not only was the Order wronged, but themselves were made fools of, who had stuck so long there without being able even to finish their mere dolls' houses. Brother Gerard himself would be delighted to din something into the King's ears in the presence of his prior. To this all the brethren said "Aye." Hugh gratefully accepted their counsel, and added, "All the same, Brother Gerard, you will have to see to it that you are as modest as you are free in your discourse. It may well be, that in order to be able to know us well, that sagaciously clever and inscrutable minded prince pretends not to hear us, just to prove our mettle. Doubtless he knows that it belongs to that perfection which we profess to fulfil, that lesson of our Lord which tells us, 'In your patience ye shall possess your souls,' and that too of most blessed Paul, 'In all things let us shew forth ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience.' But much patience is assured in this, if much longsuffering bears with much gentleness much that opposes and thwarts. For patience without longsuffering will not be much, but short; and without gentleness will merely not exist." So said, Hugh Gerard and old Ainard (a man of immense age and curious story) set out to the king. They were all received like angels, with honour, polite speeches, excuses, instant promises, but neither cash nor certain credit. Then Gerard fumed and forgot the advice of his superior, and broke out into a furious declaration that he was off and quit of England, and would go back to his Alpine rocks, and not conflict with a man who thought it lost labour to be saved. "Let him keep the riches he loves so well. He will soon lose them, and leave them to some ungrateful heir or other. Christ ought not to share in them; no, nor any good Christian." These, and harsher words, too, were Gerard's coaxes. Poor Hugh used often, in after life, to remember them with horror. He got red and confused. He told his brother to speak gentlier, to eschew such terms, or even to hold his tongue: but Gerard (of holy life, grey head, and gentle blood) scolded on without bridle. Henry listened in a brown study. Neither by look, nor word, did he appear hit. He let the monk rate, kept silence and self control, and when the man had talked himself out, and an awkward silence reigned, he glanced at Hugh's confused and downcast face. "Well, good man," he said, "and what are you thinking about within yourself? You are not preparing to go off too, and leave our kingdom to us, are you?" The answer came humbly and gently, but with perfect manliness. "I do not despair of you so far, my lord. I am rather sorry for all your hindrances and business, which block the salutary studies of your soul. You are busy, and when God helps, we shall get on well with these health-giving projects." Henry felt the spell at once; flung his arms round Hugh, and said with an oath, "By my soul's salvation, while I live and breathe, thou shalt never depart from my kingdom. With thee I will share my life's plans, and the needful studies of my soul." The money was found at once, and a royal hint given. The demon blood of the Angevins, which frightened most men, and kept Henry in loneliness, had no terrors for Hugh; and Henry could hardly express the pleasure he felt in a rare friendship which began here. He loved and honoured no other man so much, for he had found a man who sympathised with him without slavishness, and whose good opinion was worth having. This close friendship, combined with physical likeness, made it generally believed that Hugh was Henry's own son. Hugh did not always agree with the king, and if he felt strongly that any course was bad for king and kingdom would say so roundly in direct words of reproof, but withal so reasonably and sweetly that he made "the rhinoceros harrow the valleys" after him, as his biographer quaintly puts it, glancing at Job. The counsel was not limited to celestial themes. Hugh checked his temper, softened his sentences, and got him to do good turns to churches and religious places. He unloosed the king's rather tight fist, and made him a good almsgiver. One offence Hugh was instant in rebuking—the habit of keeping bishoprics and abbacies vacant. He used also to point out that unworthy bishops were the grand cause of mischiefs in God's people, which mischiefs they cherished, caused to wax and grow great. Those who dared to promote or favour such were laying up great punishments against the Doomsday. "What is the need, most wise prince, of bringing dreadful death on so many souls just to get the empty favour of some person, and the loss of so many folk redeemed by Christ's death? You invoke God's anger, and you heap up tortures for yourself hereafter." Hugh was for free canonical election, with no more royal interference than was required to prevent jobbery and quicken responsibility.

The two friends visited each other often, and the troubles of Henry's last years were softened for him by his ghostly friend. It is quite possible that Hugh's hand may be traced in the resignation of Geoffrey Plantagenet, the king's dear illegitimate son, who was (while a mere deacon) bishop-elect of Lincoln from 1173 to 1181. From the age of twenty to twenty-eight he enjoyed the revenues of that great see without consecration. The Pope objected to his birth and his youth. Both obstacles could have been surmounted, but Geoffrey resigns his claims in the Epiphany of the latter year, and gets a chancellorship with five hundred marks in England and the same in Normandy. His case is a bold instance of "that divorce of salary from duty" which even in those times was thoroughly understood.

There is a story, one might almost say the usual story, of the storm at sea. The king with a fleet is between Normandy and England, when a midnight storm of super-Virgilian boisterousness burst upon them. After the manner of Erasmus' shipwreck, every one prays, groans, and invokes both he and she saints. The king himself audibly says, "Oh, if only my Charterhouse Hugh were awake and instant at his secret prayers, or if even he were engaged with the brethren in the solemn watch of the divine offices, God would not so long forget me." Then, with a deep groan, he prayed, "God, whom the William Prior serves in truth, by his intervention and merits, take kindly pity upon us, who for our sins are justly set in so sore a strait." Needless to say the storm ceased at once, and Henry felt that he was indeed upon the right tack, both nautically and spiritually. Whatever view we take of this tale (storms being frequent, and fervent prayers of the righteous availing much), the historic peep into King Henry's mind is worth our notice. The simplicity and self-abasement of his ejaculation shew a more religious mind than some would allow to him.

Anyhow, the prior was hard at work. He soon transformed the "weeps" into stone. He built the two houses, the friary for the lay brethren and the monastery for the monks. He prayed, read, meditated and preached. His body slept, but his heart woke, and he repeated "Amens" innumerable in his holy dreams. On feast days, when the brethren dined together, he ate with them, and then he had the meal sauced with reading. If he ate alone, he had a book by his trencher of dry bread rarely garnished with relishes. A water pot served him for both flagon and tureen. He allowed himself one little human enjoyment. A small bird called a burnet made friends with him and lived in his cell, ate from his fingers and his trencher, and only left him at the breeding season, after which it brought its fledged family back with it. This little friend lived for three years with the prior, and to his great grief came no more in the fourth. The learned have exhausted their arts to discover what a burnet can be, and have given up the chase. Some would have him to be a barnacle goose, others a dab-chick or coot—none of which can fairly be classed as aviculae small birds. Burnet is brown or red brown, and rather bright at that. We have it in Chaucer's "Romaunt of the Rose" [4756]:

"For also welle wole love be sette Under ragges as rich rochette, And else as wel be amourettes In mournyng blak, as bright burnettes."

Consequently if the reader likes to guess (in default of knowledge) he might do worse than think of the Robin Redbreast as a likely candidate. He is called in Celtic Broindeag, is a small, friendly, crumb-eating, and burnet bird, and behaves much as these ancient legends describe. The name burnet still survives in Somerset.

Not only the burnet bird felt the fascination of the prior, but monks drew towards Witham and men of letters also. Men of the world would come to be taught the vanity of their wisdom; clergy whose dry times afflicted them found a rich meal of Witham doctrine well worth the spare diet of the place. The prior by no means courted his public, and the Order itself was not opened at every knuckle tap. Even those who were admitted did not always find quite what they wanted. We read of one man, a Prior of Bath, who left the Charterhouse because he "thought it better to save many souls than one," and returned to what we should call parish work. Alexander of Lewes, a regular Canon, well versed in the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy), found the solitude intolerable to his objective wits. He was not convinced of the higher spirituality of co-operative hermitages. He found it too heavy to believe that there was no Christendom outside the Charterhouse plot, and no way of salvation except for a handful of mannikins. Alexander, with stinging and satiric terms, left in a huff, followed by acrimonious epithets from his late brethren. He became a monk at Reading, and filled a larger part upon a more spacious stage, and yet would have most gladly returned; but the strait cell was shut to him relentlessly and for ever. Andrew, erst sacristan of Muchelney, was another who left the Order for his first love, but his dislike of the life was less cogently put. It was not exactly that the prior could not brook opposition: but he hated a man who did not know his own mind, and nothing would induce him to allow an inmate who eddied about.

The Charterhouse now had ecclesiastical independence. The bishop's power ended outside its pale. Bruton Convent could tithe the land no more, nor feed their swine or cattle there, nor cut fuel, instead of which the rectory of South Petherton, and its four daughter chapelries, was handed over to this bereaved convent. This was in April, 1181. This transaction was some gain to the game-loving king, for the Withamites ate neither pork nor beef, and so the stags had freer space and more fodder.

But nevertheless the monks' poverty was almost ludicrous. Hugh wanted even a complete and accurate copy of the scriptures, which he used to say were the solitary's delight and riches in peace, his darts and arms in war, his food in famine and his medicine in sickness. Henry asked why his scribes did not make copies. The answer was that there was no parchment. "How much money do you want?" asked the king. "One silver mark," was the ungrasping request. Henry laughed and ordered ten marks to be counted out and promised a complete "divine library" besides. The Winchester monks had just completed a lovely copy (still in existence). King Henry heard from a student of this fine work and promptly sent for the prior. With fair words and fine promises he asked for the Bible. The embarrassed monk could not well say no, and the book was soon in Hugh's hands. This Prior Robert shortly after visited Witham and politely hoped the copy was satisfactory. If not, a better one could be made, for great pains had been taken by St. Swithun's brethren to make this one agreeably to their own use and custom. Hugh was astonished. "And so the king has beguiled your Church thus of your needful labour? Believe me, my very dear brother, the Library shall be restored to you instantly. And I beg most earnestly through you that your whole fraternity will deign to grant pardon to our humility because we have ignorantly been the occasion of this loss of their codex." The prior was in a fright, as well he might be, at the shadow of the king's wrath. He assured Hugh that his monks were all delighted at the incident. "To make their delight continue, we must all keep quiet about the honest restoration of your precious work. If you do not agree to take it back secretly, I shall restore it to him who sent it hither; but if you only carry it off with you, we shall give him no inkling of the matter." So the Winchester monks got back their Bible, and Witham got the said Prior Robert as one of its pupils instead, fairly captured by the electric personality of the Carthusian.

Though Hugh's influence was very great, we must not quite suppose that the king became an ideal character even under his direction. There is an interregnum not only in Lincoln but in Exeter Diocese between Bishop Bartholomew and John the Chaunter, 1184-1186; one in Worcester between the translation of Baldwin and William de Northale, 1184-1186; and a bad one in York after the death of Roger, 1181, before King Richard appointed his half-brother Geoffrey aforementioned, who was not consecrated until August, 1191. But Hugh's chief work at Witham was in his building, his spiritual and intellectual influence upon the men he came to know, in the direction of personal and social holiness: and, above all, he was mastering the ways and works of England so sympathetically that he was able to take a place afterwards as no longer a Burgundian but a thorough son of the nation and the church. One instance may be given of his teaching and its wholesome outlook. He lived in an age of miracles, when these things were demanded with an insatiable appetite and supplied in a competitive plenty which seems equally inexhaustible, almost as bewildering to our age as our deep thirst for bad sermons and quack medicines will be to generations which have outgrown our superstitions. St. Hugh had drunk so deeply and utterly and with all his mind of the gravity and the humility which was traditional from the holy authors of the Carthusian Order, that "there was nothing he seemed to wonder at or to wish to copy less than the marvels of miracles. Still, when these were read or known in connection with holy men, he would speak of them gently and very highly respect them. He would speak of them, I say, as commending of those who showed them forth, and giving proof to those who marvelled at such things, for to him the great miracle of the saints was their sanctity, and this by itself was enough for guidance. The heartfelt sense of his Creator, which never failed him, and the overwhelming and fathomless number of His mighty works, were for him the one and all-pervading miracle." If we remember that Adam, his biographer, wrote these words not for us, but for his miracle-mongering contemporaries, they will seem very strong indeed. He goes on to say that all the same, whether Hugh knew it or not, God worked many miracles through him, as none of his intimates could doubt, and we could rather have wished that he had left the saint's opinion intact, for it breathes a lofty atmosphere of bright piety, and is above the controversies of our lower plane.

The time was now coming when Witham had to lose its prior. Geoffrey (son, not of fair Rosamond, but of Hickenay) had resigned in January, 1182. After sixteen months' hiatus, Walter de Coutances, a courtier, was elected, ordained, and consecrated, and enthroned December, 1183; but in fifteen months he was translated to the then central See of Rouen and the wretched diocese had another fifteen months without a bishop, during which time (April 15, 1185, on holy Monday) an earthquake cracked the cathedral from top to bottom.{2}

In May, 1186, an eight-day council was held at Eynsham, and the king attended each sitting from his palace at Woodstock. Among other business done was the election, not very free election, to certain bishoprics and abbeys. Among the people who served or sauntered about the Court were the canons of Lincoln, great men of affairs, learned, and so wealthy that their incomes overtopped any bishop's rent-roll, and indeed they affected rather to despise bishoprics—until one offered. The See of Lincoln had been vacant (with one short exception) for nearly eighteen years. It contained ten of the shires of England—Lincoln, Leicester, Rutland, Northampton, Huntingdon, Cambridge, Bedford, Buckingham, Oxford, and Hertford. The canons chose three men, all courtiers, all rich, and all well beneficed, viz., their dean, Richard Fitz Neal, a bishop's bastard, who had bought himself into the treasurership; Godfrey de Lucy, one of their number, an extravagant son of Richard the chief justice; and thirdly another of themselves, Herbert le Poor, Archdeacon of Canterbury, a young man of better stuff. But the king declared that this time he would choose not by favour, blood, counsel, prayer, or price; but considering the dreadful abuses of the neglected diocese he wished for a really good bishop, and since the canons could not agree he pressed home to them the Prior of Witham, the best man and the best-loved one. With shouts of laughter the canons heard the jest and mentioned his worship, his habit, and his talk, as detestable; but the king's eye soon changed their note, and after a little foolishness they all voted for the royal favourite. The king approves, the nobles and bishops applaud, my lord of Canterbury confirms, and all seems settled. The canons rode off to Witham to explain the honours they have condescended to bestow upon its prior. He heard their tale, read their letters. Then he astonished their complacency by telling them that he could understand the king's mind in the matter and that of Archbishop Baldwin, himself a Cistercian; but that they, the canons, had not acted freely. They ought to choose a ruler whose yoke and ways they could abide, and, moreover, they ought not to hold their election in the Court or the pontifical council, but in their own chapter. "And so, to tell you my small opinion, you must know that I hold all election made in this way to be absolutely vain and void." He then bade them go home and ask for God's blessing, and choose solely by the blessing and help of the Holy Ghost, looking not to king's, bishop's, nor any man's approval. "That is the only answer to return from my littleness. So go, and God's good angel be with you." They begged him to reconsider it, to see the king or the archbishop; but the prior was inflexible, and they left the Guest House in wonder not unmixed with delight. The king's man was not the pet boor they had taken him for, but single-eyed, a gentleman, a clever fellow, and a good churchman. The very men who had cried out that they had been tricked now elected him soon and with one consent; and off they post again to Witham.

This time he read the letters first, and then heard their tale and expressed his wonder that men so wise and mannerly should take such pains to court an ignoramus and recluse, to undertake such unwonted and uncongenial cares, but they must be well aware that he was a monk and under authority. He had to deal not with the primate and chief of the English Church in this matter, but with his superior overseas, and so they must either give up the plan altogether or undertake a toilsome journey to the Charterhouse; for none but his own prior could load his shoulders with such a burden. In vain they argued. A strong embassy had to be sent, and sent it was without delay, and the Chartreuse Chapter made no bones about it, but charged brother Hugh to transfer his obedience to Canterbury; and thus the burden of this splendid unhappy See was forced upon the shoulders which were most able to bear the weight of it.

One would be glad to know what Henry thought of it all, and whether he liked the tutoring his courtiers got and were about to get. The humour, shrewdness, tact, and piety combined must have appealed to his many-sided mind and now saddened heart. He had lost his heir and was tossed upon stormy seas, so perhaps he had small leisure to spare for the next act of the drama.


{2} The king crossed to Normandy the very next day, and it is possible that this was the date of the sea scene mentioned above.



Hugh knew well enough what the Chartreuse Chapter would say if the English meant to have him, and so he began his preparations at once. Other men fussed about fine copes, chasubles, and mitres, and dogged the clerical tailors, or pottered about in goldsmiths' shops to get a grand equipment of goblets. To him the approaching dignity was like a black cloud to a sailor, or a forest of charging lances to the soldier under arms. He fell hard to prayer and repentance, to meditation upon the spiritual needs of his new duties, lest he should have holy oil on his head and a dry and dirty conscience. He gave no time to the menu of the banquet, to the delicacies, the authorities, and the lacquey-smoothed amenities of the new life. He was racked with misery at the bare imagination of the fruitless trouble of palace business exchanged for the fruitful quiet of his cell. He feared that psalms would give way to tussles, holy reading to cackle, inward meditation to ugly shadows, inward purity to outer nothingness. His words to the brethren took a higher and a humbler tone, which surprised them, for even they were used to see bishoprics looked upon as plums, and sought with every device of dodgery. Yet here was a man who could keep his soul unhurt and cure the hurts of others, yet whose cry was, "In my house is neither bread nor clothing; make me not a ruler of the people." St. Augustine's fierce words upon the Good Shepherd and the hireling were in his mind. "The soul's lawful husband is God. Whoso seeks aught but God from God is no chaste bride of God. See, brothers, if the wife loves her husband because he is rich she is not chaste. She loves, not her husband, but her husband's gold. For if she loves her husband she loves him bare, she loves him beggared." So Hugh prepared his soul as for a bridal with the coming bridegroom.

When the inevitable command came, more than three months after his first election, he meekly set out for his duties at "the mount of the Lord, not Lebanon,{3} but Lincoln." He was white in dress, white in face, but radiant white within. He sat a horse without trappings, but with a roll of fleece and clothes, his day and night gear. Around him pricked his clergy upon their gold-buttoned saddles. They tried various devices to get his bundle away to carry it upon their own cruppers, but neither jest nor earnest could unstrap that homely pack. The truth was that he would not allow himself to change his old simple habits one jot, lest he should develop the carnal mind. So they drew across Salisbury Plain and on to Marlborough. Here was the Court and a great throng, and this public disgrace of the pack was too much for the Lincoln exquisites. They cut the straps of the objectionable bundle and impounded it. From Marlborough the cavalcade rode into London, and Hugh was consecrated on Sunday, September 21 (Feast of St. Matthew, the converted capitalist), 1186. King Henry was in fine feather, and, forgetting his rather near habits, produced some fine gold plate, a large service of silver, a substantial set of pots and pans, and a good sum of ready money to meet the expenses of the festive occasion. Without some such help a penniless Carthusian could hardly have climbed up that Lebanon at all, unless by the sore scandal of a suit to the Lincoln Jewry. This handsome present was made at Marlborough. William de Northalle was consecrated Bishop of Worcester on the same day, of whom nothing else transpires than that he died not long after, and is supposed to have been an old and toothless bishop promoted for his ready fees. The place of consecration was Westminster Abbey, in its prae-Edwardian state, and so no longer extant.

Hugh would undoubtedly sleep in the house in which he afterwards died. This lay at the back of Staple Inn, where the new bursar, whom the king had given him, bestowed the royal pots and crocks. Consecration like necessity brings strange bedfellows, and plain, cheap-habited Hugh, by gaudily trimmed William in his jewelled mitre, must have raised a few smiles that Sunday morning.

Hugh's delays had ended with his prior's order, and he saw nothing now to stay his journey northwards. With him rode Gilbert de Glanville, Bishop of Rochester, a malleus monachorum, a great hammerer of monks, and perhaps told off for the duty of enthroning the new bishop to silence those who had a distaste for all monkery. Herbert le Poor, late rival candidate for the See, also pranced alongside with all the importance of a great functionary, whose archidiaconal duty it was to enthrone all bishops of the Province of Canterbury. For this duty he used to have the bishop's horse and trappings and much besides; but alas! the new man slept at St. Catherine's Priory on Michaelmas Eve and walked upon his bare toes to the cracked cathedral next morning. When he was fairly and ceremonially seated the archdeacon held out his practised palm for the customary fee (archdeacons are still fee-extracting creatures). He was astonished to hear the radical retort, "What I gave for my mitre" (it was a very cheap one) "that and no more will I give for my throne." Both Herbert and with him Simon Magus fell backward breathless at this blow.{4} But Hugh had a short way of demolishing his enemies, and the archdeacon appears hereafter as his stout follower knocked, no doubt, into a friend. All who were present at this ceremony had their penances remitted for thirteen days. Two other incidents are recorded of this time. One is that the bursar asked how many small fallow deer from the bishop's park should be killed for the inauguration feast. "Let three hundred be taken, and if you find more wanted do not stickle to add to this number." In this answer the reader must not see the witless, bad arithmetic of a vegetarian unskilled in catering, but a fine determination, first to feed all the poor folk of his metropolis with the monopolies of princes; and secondly, to sever himself wholly and dramatically from the accursed oppression of the game and forest laws. When Hugh told the story at Court it served as a merry jest, often broken, no doubt, against game (but not soul) preserving prelates, but, as the sequel shows, there was method in it. The other incident is that in the convent after Matins, on the morning of his enthronement, he slept and heard a voice which comforted his doubtful heart, too fearful lest this step should not be for the people's health or his own. "Thou hast entered for the waxing of thy people, for the waxing of salvation to be taken with thy Christ."

The new bishop lived at his manor at Stowe (of which part of the moat and a farmhouse are now to be seen by the curious), a place parked and ponded deliciously. Almost as soon as he was installed a new swan came upon the waters, huge and flat-beaked, with yellow fleshings to his mandibles. This large wild bird dwarfed the tame swans into geese by comparison, and no doubt tame swans and geese were small things in those days compared to our selected fatlings. This bird drove off and killed the other swans, all but one female, with whom he companied but did not breed. The servants easily caught him and brought him to the bishop's room as a wonder. The beast-loving man, instead of sending him to the spit, offered him some bread, which he ate, and immediately struck up an enthusiastic friendship with his master, caring nothing for any throngs about him. After a time he would nestle his long neck far up into the bishop's wide sleeve, toying with him and asking him for things with pretty little clatterings. The bird seemed to know some days before he was due that he was coming, for it flapped about the lake and made cries. It would leave the water and stalk through the house walking wide in the legs. It would neither notice nor brook any other man, but rather seemed jealous, and would hiss and flap away the rest of the company. If the bishop slept or watched, the swan would keep dogs and other animals at bay. With true spiritual instinct it would peck hard at the calves of chaplains. If the bishop was abed no one was allowed near him without a most distressing scene, and there was no cajoling this zealous watchman. When the bishop went away the bird would retire to the middle of its pool, and merely condescend to take rations from the steward; but if its friend returned it would have none of servants. Even two years' interval made no difference to the faithful swan. It prophetically proclaimed his unexpected arrival. When the carts and forerunners arrived (with the household stuffs) the swan would push boldly in among the crowd and cry aloud with delight when at last it caught the sound of its master's voice, and it would go with him through the cloister to his room, upstairs and all, and could not be got out without force. Hugh fed it with fingers of bread he sliced with his own hand. This went on for nearly all Hugh's episcopate. But in his last Easter the swan seemed ill and sullen, and kept to his pond. After some chase they caught him in the sedge, and brought him in, the picture of unhappiness, with drooping head and trailing wing, before the bishop. The poor bird was to lose its friend six months after, and seemed to resent the cruel severance of coming death, though it was itself to live for many a day after its master had gone home to his rest. There, floating conspicuous on the lake, it reminded orphaned hearts of their innocent, kind, and pure friend who had lived patiently and fearlessly, and taken death with a song—the new song of the Redeemed.

The first act of the new bishop was naturally to enlist captains for the severe campaign, and he ran his keen eye over England and beyond it for wise, learned, and godly men who could help a stranger. He wrote a touchingly humble letter to Archbishop Baldwin to help him to find worthy right-hand men, "for you are bred among them, you have long been a leader, and you know them 'inside and under the skin,' as the saying goes." Baldwin, an Exeter labourer by birth, by turns a schoolmaster, archdeacon, Cistercian abbot, Bishop of Worcester, and primate—a silent, dark, strong man, gentle, studious, and unworldly—was delighted at the request. He sent off Robert of Bedford, an ardent reformer and brilliant scholar, and Roger Roldeston, another distinguished scholar, who afterwards was Dean of Lincoln. These, like Aaron and Hur, upheld the lawgiver's hands, and they, with others of a like kidney, soon changed the face of affairs. Robert died early, but Roger was made Archdeacon of Leicester, confessor, and at the end executor to the bishop. After gathering captains the next thing was an eight-fold lash for abuses—decrees (1) against bribes; (2) against vicars who would not sing Mass save for extra pay; (3) against swaggering archdeacons who suspended churches, and persons beyond their beat. These gentlemen, in the absence of a bishop, seem to have grown into popes at the least. (4) Mass not to be laid as a penance upon any non-priestly person. This was a nimble way by which confessors fined penitents to their own profit. (5) Annual and other customary masses to be said without temporal gain. (6) Priestly administration only to be undertaken by those who are proved to be duly ordained by the archbishop or one of his suffragans: forged orders being plentiful. (7) Incumbents to be tonsured, and clergy to wear "the crown" instead of love-locks. (8) Clergy not to sue clergy in ecclesiastical cases before civil justices, Erastian knaves being active, even then.

Next year brought a much more fighting foe, Godfrey the chief forestar. There was a Forest Assize only three years back, and a great outbreak of game preserving, dog licensing, bow confiscating, fines, imprisonment and slaughter, new rights for old tyrants, boys of twelve and clergy to be sworn to the hunting peace, mangling of mastiffs, banishment of tanners and parchmenters from woodlands—and if this was within the law, what could not be done without the law by these far away and favoured gamekeepers? The country groaned. Robbers and wolves could easily demolish those whom the foresters did not choose to protect, and the forest men went through the land like a scourge. Some flagrant injustice to one of Hugh's men brought down an excommunication upon Godfrey, who sent off to the king in fury and astonishment; and Henry was in a fine fit of anger at the news, for the Conqueror long ago had forbidden unauthorised anathemas against his men. Certain courtiers, thinking to put Hugh in the way of obliging the king, suggested that a vacant prebend at Lincoln should be given to one of themselves. The king sent a letter to that effect, which he did with some curiosity, suggesting this tit for tat. The messengers jingled through Oxford from Woodstock and found the bishop at Dorchester touring round his weedy diocese, who addressed the expectant prebendary and his friends with these words: "Benefices are not for courtiers but for ecclesiastics. Their holders should not minister to the palace, revenue, or treasury, but as Scripture teachers to the altar. The lord king has wherewith to reward those who serve him in his business, wherewith to recompense soldiers' work in temporals with temporals. It is good for him to allow the soldiers of the highest King to enjoy what is set aside for their future necessities and not to agree to deprive them of their due stipends." With these words he unhesitatingly sent the courtiers empty and packing. The fat was in the fire, and the angry courtiers took care that the chimney should draw. A man galloped off to say "Come to the king at once," and when the bishop was nearing Rosamond's bower, the king and his nobles rode off to the park, and sat down in a ring. The bishop followed at once. No one replied to his salute, or took the least notice of him. He laid hands upon a great officer next the king and moved him and sat down, in the circle of black looks. Then the king called for a needle. He had hurt one of his left fingers, and he sewed a stall upon it. The bishop was practised in silence, and was not put out by it. At last he said gently, "You are very like your relatives in Falaise." Henry threw himself back and laughed in a healthy roar. The courtiers who understood the sarcasm were aghast at its audacity. They could not but smile, but waited for the king, who, when he had had his laugh out, explained the allusion to the Conqueror's leather dressing and gloving lineage. "All the same, my good man, you must say why you chose, without our leave, to put our chief forester under the ban, why moreover you so flouted our little request that you neither came in person to explain your repulse nor sent a polite message by our messengers." Hugh answered simply that he knew the king had taken great trouble about his election, so it was his business to keep the king from spiritual dangers, to coerce the oppressor and to dismiss the covetous nonsuited. It would be useless and stupid to come to court for either matter, for the king's discretion was prompt to notice proper action and quick to approve the right. Hugh was irresistible. The king embraced him, asked for his prayers, gave the forester to his mercy. Godfrey and his accomplices were all publicly flogged and absolved, and the enemy, as usual, became his faithful friend and supporter. The courtiers ceased to act like kites and never troubled him again. On the contrary, some of them helped him so heartily that, if they had not been tied by the court, he would have loved to have beneficed them in the diocese. But non-residence was one of the scandals of the age and Hugh was inflexible in this matter. Salary and service at the altar were never to be parted. Even the Rector of the University of Paris, who once said how much he would like to be associated with Lincoln by accepting a canonry, heard that this would also be a great pleasure to the bishop, "if only you are willing to reside there, and if, too, your morals will keep pace with your learning." The gentleman was stricter in scholarship than in life, but no one had ever taken the liberty to tell him of it, and he is said to have taken the hint. Herein Hugh was quite consistent. He would not take any amount of quadrivium as a substitute for honest living, and next after honest living he valued a peaceable, meek, conformist spirit, which was not always agape for division and the sowing of discords. He took some pains to compose quarrels elsewhere, as for instance, between Archbishop Baldwin and the monks of Canterbury. The archbishop wished to found a house of secular canons at Hackington in honour of SS. Stephen and Thomas of Canterbury. The monks were furious; the quarrel grew. Hugh thought and advised, when asked, that the question of division outweighed the use of the new church, and that it would be better to stop at the onset than to have to give up the finished work. But, objected Baldwin, holy Thomas himself wanted to build this church. "Let it suffice that you are like the martyr in proposing the same. Hear my simplicity and go no further." He preached union with constant fervour, and used to say that the knowledge that his spiritual sons were all at his back made him fear neither king nor any mortal, "neither do I lose the inward freedom from care, which is the earnest of, and the practice for, the eternal calm. Nor do my masters (so he called his canons) break and destroy a quiet that knows no dissent, for they think me gentle and mild. I am really tarter and more stinging than pepper, so that even when I am presiding over them at the chapter, the smallest thing fires me with anger. But they, as they ought, know their man of their choice and bear with him. They turn necessity into virtue and give place to me. I am deeply grateful to them. They have never opposed a single word of mine since I first came to live among them. When they all go out and the chapter is over, not one of them, I think, but knows I love him, nor do I believe I am unloved by a single one of them." This fact and temper of mind it was which made it possible to work the large diocese, for, of course, the bishop did not act in any public matter without his clergy. But personally his work was much helped by his self-denial and simplicity of his life. He never touched flesh but often used fish. He would drink a little wine, not only for health, but for company's sake. He was a merry and jest-loving table companion, though he never was undignified or unseemly. He would allow tumblers and musicians to perform at banquets, but he then appeared detached and abstracted rather than interested; but he was most attentive when meals were accompanied by readings about martyrs' passions, or saints' lives, and he had the scriptures (except the four gospels, which were treated apart) read at dinner and at the nightly office. He found the work of a bishop obliged him to treat that baggage animal, the body, better than of yore. His earlier austerities were avenged by constant pains in the bowels and stomach troubles, but in dedications of churches, ordinations, and other offices he would out-tire and knock up every one else, as he went from work to work. He rose before dawn and often times did not break his fast till after midday. In hot summer weather, he would oblige his ministers (deacon, sub-deacon, acolytes, &c.) to take a little bread and wine lest they should faint at the solemn Mass. When they hesitated, he upbraided them with want of faith and of sense, because they could not obey orders or see the force of them. When he journeyed and crowds came to be confirmed themselves or to present their little ones, he would get off his horse at a suitable spot and perform that rite. Neither tiredness, weakness, haste, rough ground, nor rain would induce him to confirm from the saddle. A young bishop afterwards, with no possible excuse, would order the frightened children up among restive horses. They came weeping and whipped by insolent attendants at no small risk—but his lordship cared nothing for their woe and danger. Not so dear Father Hugh. He took the babes gently and in due order, and if he caught any lay assistants troubling them would reproach them terribly, sometimes even thrashing the rascals with his own heavy hand. Then he would bless the audience, pray for the sick, and go on with his journey.

He was passionately fond of children, not only because they were innocent, but because they were young: and he loved to romp with them—anticipating by nearly seven centuries the simple discovery of their charm, and he would coax half words of wondrous wit from their little stammering lips. They made close friends with him at once, just as did the mesenges or blue tits who used to come from woods and orchards of Thornholm, in Lindsey, and perch upon him, to get or to ask for food.{5}

There is a story of a six months' old infant which jumped in its mother's arms to see him, waved its armlets, wagged its head, and made mysterious wrigglings (hitherto unobserved by bachelor monks) to greet him. It dragged his hand with its plump palm to its mouth as if to kiss it, although truth compels biographer Adam to acknowledge the kiss was but a suck. "These things are marvellous and to be deeply astonished at," he says. Hugh gave the boy apples or other small apposites (let us hope it was not apples, or the consequences of such gross ignorance would be equally marvellous), but the child was too interested in the bishop to notice the gifts. The bishop would tell how while he was still Prior he once went abroad to the Carthusian Chapter and stopped with brother William at Avalon. There his nephew, a child who could not even speak, was laid down upon his bed and (above the force of nature) chuckled at him—actually chuckled. Adam expected these two to grow up into prodigies and heard good of the latter, but the former he lost sight of—a little low-born boy in Newark Castle. Hugh used to put his baby friends to school when they grew older. Benedict of Caen was one of these, and he slipped off Roger de Roldeston's horse into a rushing stream, but was miraculously not drowned: and Robert of Noyon was another whom he picked up at Lambeth in the archbishop's train and put to school with the nuns at Elstow.

These tender passages are to be contrasted with quite other sides to the man. Once an old rustic arrived late for a roadside confirmation. The bishop was in the saddle and trotting off to another place near, when the old fellow bawled after him that he, too, wished to be bishopped. Hugh more than once bade him hurry with the rest to the next place, but the man sat plump on the ground and said it was the bishop's fault and not his if he missed that Grace. The prelate looked back, and at last pulled up, turned his horse, rode back, and was off saddle again, and had the rite administered swiftly; but having laid holy hands upon him, he laid also a disciplinary one, for he boxed the old fellow's ears pretty smartly, which spanking some would have us to believe was a technical act of ritual, a sort of accolade in fact. The same has been suggested about the flogging of forester Godfrey; for the mere resonance of these blows it seems, is too much for the tender nerves of our generation. Another bumpkin with his son once ran after the bishop's horse. The holy man descended, opened his chrism box, and donned his stole, but the boy had been confirmed already. The father wanted to change the boy's name; it would bring him luck. The bishop, horrified at such paganism, asked the boy's name. When he heard that it was John he was furious. "John, a Hebrew name for God's Grace. How dare you ask for a better one? Do you want him called 'hoe' or 'fork'? For your foolish request, take a year's penance, Wednesday's Lenten diet and Friday's bread and water."{6}

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