Sunday, April 23, 2006

Day 11 - 23rd April 1483

"On the 23rd, being the feast of St. George, knight and martyr, the lords begged me in the morning to celebrate the Mass of St. George for them, for all noblemen regard St. George with special devotion. There was only one chapel in the village, with no priest, and I had great difficulty in prevailing upon the sacrist of the church to open this chapel and to bring out the things necessary for the celebration of Mass. When I was dressed in my priestly vestments, and my noble lords and the other people of the village had been brought together by the sound of the bell, and I, as is usual, wanted to prepare the chalice before the Confiteor, I found that there was no bread or wafer in the pyx in the ambry, nor was there any in all the village, so I turned myself round to the people and told them that the Host was lacking. However, that we might not go away altogether empty, I read from the altar the service alone, and all the prayers of the Mass, leaving out the canon, just as is done in ships at sea. These Masses are called 'torrid,' or 'crude,' or 'dry,' or 'empty' Masses. After this service I turned to the people and gave them a short sermon upon St. George, and an exhortation. While I was doing and saying this, the people of the village stood by and viewed me with wonderment and surprise, for they were Italians and perhaps had never heard a sermon preached in their church in German except by me. When this was over we returned to our inn for our morning meal. After we had eaten it began to rain, but nevertheless we mounted our horses and left the village. The rain grew heavier and heavier, and we were wetted to the skin, and so we were wet through when we arrived at the city of Feltre. As it was raining in torrents, we entered an inn there, meaning to wait for an hour or two, until it left off. Howbeit, the rain grew worse and worse, and so we were forced to remain there for the day, which was disagreeable, for the inn was small and was full of Italian country people, and the landlord and landlady and all the household spoke Italian only. Besides this, they were not accustomed to serve the nobility, nor had they the materials for serving them with proper respect. However, they were good, simple people, and did all that they could, which I took into consideration; but their lordships' servants were discontented with them."

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