That was what John Hiram meant: you have not read John Hiram's will, and I doubt whether those wicked men who are advising you have done so. I have; I know what his will was; and I tell you that that was his will, and that that was his intention." Not a sound came from the eleven bedesmen, as they sat listening to what, according to the archdeacon, was their intended estate.
Archbishop Chichele founded a fine hospital at Higham Ferrers in Northamptonshire, which saw his lowly birth, together with a school and college, about the year 1475. The building is still in existence and shows a good roof and fine Perpendicular window, but the twelve bedesmen and the one sister, who was to be chosen for her plainness, no longer use the structure.
There was no end to the glorious golden dreams which this leader in The Jupiter produced in the soaring mind of Finney. And the old bedesmen, they also heard of this article, and had a glimmering, indistinct idea of the marvellous advocate which had now taken up their cause.
"Our Father, the abbot, hath chosen thee, my esquire, and a proud mission it is, being assured of thy strength and truth of heart, to be his messenger to our sovereign lord the duke, and to inform him of the dangers of his faithful bedesmen here, and of the arrogance of their foes and his own. To-night thou wilt start on a noble and knightly enterprise."
Glennie used to teach; and that you may see what sort of man Maskew was, I will tell you what happened one day in school between him and the parson. Mr. Glennie taught us in the almshouses; for though there were now no bedesmen, and the houses themselves were fallen to decay, yet the little hall in which the inmates had once dined was still maintained, and served for our schoolroom.
The bedesmen heard a whisper that they were entitled to one hundred pounds a year, and signed a petition, which Abel Handy drew up, to the bishop as visitor, praying his lordship to see justice done to the legal recipients of John Hiram's charity. John Bold was advised to institute formal proceedings against Mr. Harding and Mr. Chadwick.
He had to give notice of his change of residence to the local distributor of pensions; and one or two farewells had to be taken, with more than usual sadness at the necessity; for Philip, under his name of Stephen Freeman, had attached some of the older bedesmen a good deal to him, from his unselfishness, his willingness to read to them, and to render them many little services, and, perhaps, as much as anything, by his habitual silence, which made him a convenient recipient of all their garrulousness.
'In nothing, O king, was the firm response 'I honour the Goth, even as I love my country. 'Spoken like a man. But I hear that you have passed through a long sickness, and your cheek yet lacks something of its native hue. It might be well if you took your ease yet a little with these good bedesmen. 'It is true that I have not yet all my strength, answered Basil.
The bishop left, crossing over to the palace. Thorpe, calling one of the old bedesmen, some of whom had then come up, left him in charge of the gate, and did as he was ordered. He descended the steps, passed through the wide doors, and groped his way in the dark towards the choir. "Jenkins!" There was no answer. "Jenkins!" he called out again.
He, moreover, willed that the precentor of the cathedral should have the option of being also warden of the alms-house, if the bishop approved. From that day to this the charity had gone on and prospered at least, the charity had gone on, and the estates had prospered. The bedesmen received one shilling and fourpence a day and a comfortable lodging. The stipend of the precentor was £80 a year.