The Prioress, who
went by the name of Eglantine,
account of Chaucer's remark, "And French she spake full fair and
properly, After the school of Stratford-atté-Bow, For French
of Paris was
to her unknow."
But our puzzle has
to do less with her character
education than with her dress. "And thereon hung a brooch of gold full
sheen, On which was written first a crownéd A."
It is with
that we are concerned, for when asked to give a puzzle she showed this
jewel to the company and said: "A learned man from Normandy did once
me this brooch as a charm, saying strange and mystic things anent it,
that it hath an affinity for the square, and such other wise words that
were too subtle for me.
But the good Abbot
of Chertsey did once tell me
that the cross may be so cunningly cut into four pieces that they will
join and make a perfect square; though on my faith I know not the
of doing it."
It is recorded that
"the pilgrims did find no
answer to the
the Clerk of Oxenford thought that the Prioress had been deceived in
matter thereof; whereupon the lady was sore vexed, though the gentle
knight did flout and gibe at the poor clerk because of his lack of
understanding over other of the riddles, which did fill him with shame
and make merry the company."