Chapters 31-32 Summary
Crispin and Bear leave the village of Lodgecot just as they entered it, playing the flute and dancing. For a while, the children of the village follow them up the road. Only after the kids turn back, when Crispin and Bear know they are alone, do they discuss what they heard from Lodgecot’s priest. Bear seems unperturbed by the fact that Aycliffe is accusing Crispin of murder. Crispin criticizes Bear for sharing their travel plans, and the man admits this was not the best choice.
Changing the subject, Bear praises Crispin for his performance in the village. This makes Crispin proud. They look into Bear’s hat and see several small coins and six loaves of bread. To Crispin, this seems a fortune—but Bear thinks it is a relatively small day’s pay. Even so, he gives Crispin a penny for helping. Crispin at first protests that a servant should not be paid, but Bear insists, and Crispin accepts the money.
For three weeks, Crispin and Bear crisscross the countryside, repeating their performance in many villages. Bear is careful not to go in one predictable direction, just in case anyone is trying to follow them. As Crispin learns new tunes and earns more money, he feels freer and happier than he has his whole life.
One day, Bear asks Crispin if he knows how to defend himself. Surprised, Crispin says no. Bear suggests learning to fight, and Crispin reluctantly agrees. He does not like weapons, nor the idea that he might have to use them someday, but he practices hard all the same.
Thus begins an intense period of learning for Crispin. One night when he sees Bear patching clothing, Crispin asks for sewing lessons. He also learns to catch small animals with snares. As time passes, he begins learning to look people boldly in the eye instead of staring down at the ground in a servile manner.
One evening, Bear announces that they will go to Great Wexly tomorrow. Instantly, Crispin grows worried. Tentatively, he asks if Bear is planning to betray him. This offends Bear, who says that he likes Crispin and does not want anything bad to happen to him. After a moment’s thought, he asks Crispin to become his apprentice instead of his servant. Crispin agrees.
However, when Bear falls asleep, Crispin’s unsettled feeling remains. He has not trusted many people in his life, and it is difficult for him to believe Bear’s promise of loyalty. Crispin gets out his lead cross and begins to ask God whether it is safe to feel trust now. But then he stops, thinking:
I had already asked God for much, and he had given in abundance. Perhaps it was time for me to make the decision for myself.
Crispin resolves to believe in Bear but to stay alert for problems. With that decision made, he lies down and waits for sleep to come.