'Well, Miss Abbey, respectfully meaning no offence to you, it would be some satisfaction to a man's mind, to understand why the Fellowship Porters is not to be free to such as me, and is to be free to such as Gaffer.'
'YOU are not much,' said Miss Abbey Potterson, knitting her brows again with disdain.
'Then,' suggested Miss Abbey, though with a deeper shade of perplexity than before, 'you criminate yourself.'
Then Little John arose of a sudden from the bench where he sat, and ran to where the brothers of Fountain Abbey were mounting.
At these words a great shout of laughter went up from those on the bench, and the landlord's face grew red as a cherry from smothering his laugh in his stomach; but he kept his merriment down, for he wished not to bring the ill-will of the brothers of Fountain Abbey upon him by unseemly mirth.
While they were in sight of those at the inn, the brothers walked their horses soberly, not caring to make ill matters worse by seeming to run away from Little John, for they could not but think how it would sound in folks' ears when they heard how the brethren of Fountain Abbey scampered away from a strolling friar, like the Ugly One, when the blessed Saint Dunstan loosed his nose from the red-hot tongs where he had held it fast; but when they had crossed the crest of the hill and the inn was lost to sight, quoth the fat Brother to the thin Brother, "Brother Ambrose, had we not better mend our pace?"
The village of Hurley, five minutes' walk from the lock, is as old a little spot as there is on the river, dating, as it does, to quote the quaint phraseology of those dim days, "from the times of King Sebert and King Offa." Just past the weir (going up) is Danes' Field, where the invading Danes once encamped, during their march to Gloucestershire; and a little further still, nestling by a sweet corner of the stream, is what is left of Medmenham Abbey.
The famous Medmenham monks, or "Hell Fire Club," as they were commonly called, and of whom the notorious Wilkes was a member, were a fraternity whose motto was "Do as you please," and that invitation still stands over the ruined doorway of the abbey. Many years before this bogus abbey, with its congregation of irreverent jesters, was founded, there stood upon this same spot a monastery of a sterner kind, whose monks were of a somewhat different type to the revellers that were to follow them, five hundred years afterwards.
The Cistercian monks, whose abbey stood there in the thirteenth century, wore no clothes but rough tunics and cowls, and ate no flesh, nor fish, nor eggs.
Disputable, however, as might be the taste of such a termination, it was in itself a charming walk, and the view which closed it extremely pretty.The considerable slope, at nearly the foot of which the Abbey stood, gradually acquired a steeper form beyond its grounds; and at half a mile distant was a bank of considerable abruptness and grandeur, well clothed with wood; and at the bottom of this bank, favourably placed and sheltered, rose the Abbey Mill Farm, with meadows in front, and the river making a close and handsome curve around it.
There had been a time also when Emma would have been sorry to see Harriet in a spot so favourable for the Abbey Mill Farm; but now she feared it not.
The same pious care which enriched the abbey of St Mary, and left us, orphans, to its holy guardianship, directed that no constraint should be imposed upon our inclinations, but that we should be free to live according to our choice.
A goodly train of knights and ladies lodged one night within the abbey walls, and next day rode away, with two of the fair sisters among them.
The fires of the enemy's general were plainly to be perceived on the other side of the abbey
. But between these fires and the abbey
extended the Tweed, unfolding its luminous scales beneath the thick shade of tall green oaks.
There is the Abbey
of Jumiéges, there is the Cathedral of Reims, there is the Sainte-Croix of Orleans.