What does the following quote from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales mean?: "He used to watch the market most precisely and got in first and so he did quite nicely."

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charsteph88 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Medieval times, there were people called Manciples, whose specific job it was to buy and store food for different types of institutions, including schools, monasteries, and Inns. In Chaucer's "Tales," the character of the Manciple works for over 30 lawyers at the Inn of Court. It is his job to keep people alive through the winter, plan events, take charge of general housekeeping duties, and develop safety and health regulations; in other words, he has a very important job. In this quote, Chaucer seeks to draw attention to the character of the Manciple with regards to the consideration that he takes when making trips to the market for his masters. Because he took such care in his position, he was the first to arrive at the market, get the choicest ingredients and freshest foods, and so he did not let down the people who employed him. Not only was he organized, but he took great pride in presenting his masters with the highest quality food possible. 

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The Canterbury Tales

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