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The Canterbury Pilgrims eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 112 pages of information about The Canterbury Pilgrims.

Straightway he went to his brother and unfolded his plan.  Up rose Aurelius in all haste from his bed, and together they set off for Orleans.  When they were still about a quarter of a mile from the town they met a young scholar wandering by himself.  He greeted them in Latin and then told them that he already knew of their coming.  They went with him to his house, where they were received with wonderful entertainment.  First they saw a park full of deer and hunters killing the beasts.  Then they saw men out hawking, and knights jousting on a plain, and last Aurelius saw his lady at a dance and he himself with her, holding her hand.  Yet all the while they three sat alone in the scholar’s study among his books and none came in to them.

After this they feasted and received good entertainment, nor were they long in coming to an agreement.  The student promised that for a thousand pounds he would make all the rocks disappear.  Aurelius would have given the whole world if he might have had hope of his lady’s love, so he willingly promised to pay this fee.  Back they all three journeyed together to Brittany.  It fell out that they came in the cold frosty days of December when the sun grows tired and weak amid the frosts and sleet and rain.  Forthwith the scholar began his magic with centres and arguments and proportionals and other such paraphernalia of astrology about which I know nothing.  At last all was ready and duly calculated, when lo! the rocks all disappeared, not one was to be seen.

As soon as Aurelius saw this miracle he went at once and sought till he found his mistress in Diana’s temple, and falling before her on his knees, said, “Lady, I love you now as well as ever, and would be your true love or die of longing.  For your honour’s sake do you have pity on me, for as you desired so have I done, and every rock has gone from this coast.”  Aghast was Dorigen at this news and pale she stood as she were like to faint, for never had she thought to be caught in such a trap as this.  Home she went, and for long it seemed that all she could do would be to die by her own hand, for never would she give her love to any man but her husband.  For two days thus she made her moan, purposing to die, and none knew of her sad plight, her husband being away from the town, as it chanced, on his knightly business.

On the third day Averagus came to his home and found his wife pale with weeping.  “What ails you, wife,” he said, “that you weep thus?” At his question her tears fell faster than ever.  “Alas!” she said, “that ever I was born.  I have given my word and have promised a thing which is like to ruin us both”—­and then she told him all the tale I have told you.

Her husband looked very sad, but at the last he said, “If your promise be given, wife, and your troth plighted, then must you be his love.  Grieved as I am, I would rather lose you than that, for my sake, you should break your oath.”  At this he called a squire and bade him escort Dorigen to a certain place, but he told him not the reason of her going.

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