Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
The Abbot of Beaulieu was a stern judge, and the charges against Hordle John, the novice, were very severe. John had drunk all the ale from the firkin when he had the first turn; John had held a monk’s head down over the beans in protest against poor fare; worst of all, John had carried a woman across a stream. When she smiled at him, he did not keep his eyes on the ground.
At the trial, huge John seemed out of place in a monastery. He cheerfully admitted the charges and did not even have the grace to be ashamed; but when the monks advanced to punish him, he picked up an altar and threw it at them. Then he dived out of the window and was never seen again in Beaulieu.
The Abbot was greatly disturbed and retired to his study to meditate. There he received another visitor, Alleyne Edricson. It was Alleyne’s twentieth birthday, and according to his father’s will, the boy was to leave the abbey for a year. When he was twenty-one years old, he would choose either a monastic or a secular life. Alleyne had never known any other life than that of the abbey, and he was hesitant about entering a world of sin and lust. The Abbot solemnly warned Alleyne of the perils of the secular life; but true to his promise, he sent the youth forth with his blessing.
Alleyne started on foot for the estate of Minstead, where his older brother was the socman. Alleyne had never seen his brother, but from all reports, he was a rude and sinful man. On...
(The entire section is 1352 words.)
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