The Belles of Canterbury eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 18 pages of information about The Belles of Canterbury.

            To punish her would make my conscience prick.

GRISELDA.  O Madame, be not flattered, think of stick.

PRIORESS.  Alas ’tis true!

EMILY.  Fire up your dying wrath.

            What can you say about the Wife of Bath?

JUNIOR.  I don’t know.  I can’t remember anything.

WIFE. (severely)
            Did you not say my hosen were of red?

JUNIOR.  Well, they are, aren’t they?

WIFE.  And what of that?  Is that a case for scorn? 
            My gear is eke as fine as e’er was worn.

EMILY.  What about me?

JUNIOR. (puzzled) Who are you?  I just can’t remember.

HIPPOLYTA.  Do you not recognize her by her hair?

EMILY.  ’Tis falling out because of grief and care!

JUNIOR.  Then I suppose you’re Emily.  But who is that? (points to GRISELDA)

GRISELDA.  Ignorance!! (she stamps her foot)

ALL.  Griselda!  You impatient!

JUNIOR.  Are you the one they used to call “Patient Griselda”?  I never should have known you.  And who are you? (to HIPPOLYTA)

HIPPOLYTA.  You did not mention me so I excuse
            Your ignorance.  And yet your suit you lose. 
            Come, ladies, come, draw close while we confer,
            The instruments of Justice must not err.

(They draw together and hold a whispered consultation, the JUNIOR vainly trying to pinch herself into reality.)

JUNIOR.  I know it’s all a dream, but I just can’t wake myself up.

HIPPOLYTA.  For her mad crime, she’s judged and in disgrace
            The sentence is to put her in our case.

(They take hold of the JUNIOR and begin pushing her toward the bookcase at the back of the stage.)

JUNIOR.  Why, I thought you were only joking.

PRIORESS.  Chaucer alone it is, with whom we jest. 
            Come, nonnes both, and push her in with zest.

JUNIOR.  Oh, let me stay out.  Don’t make me go into that stuffy bookcase.  There never will be room for me with all those other books.  It will squeeze what little I do know out of me.

(Relentless, they push her behind the curtains into the bookcase.  Her voice grows weaker, finally dying away.)

WIFE.  Life sentence is not much to pay for this.

PRIORESS. (to her NUNS who nod in agreement)
            I think a little mercy not amiss.

EMILY.  She’s quite filled up the space that once was ours.

HIPPOLYTA.  How are we going to pass our leisure hours?

            Perhaps she’ll sing again.

Project Gutenberg
The Belles of Canterbury from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.