1. She greeted the Vicar, asking him if she could—in the afternoon, when he had eaten—speak with him for an hour or two of the love of God. He, lifting up his hands and blessing himself, said, “Bless us! How could a woman occupy one or two hours with the love of our Lord? I shan’t eat a thing till I find out what you can say of our Lord God in the space of an hour.”
This is the first meeting that Margery has with the Vicar of St. Stephens, recorded in Book One, section 17 of the Book. Although he sounds dubious here, the Vicar soon becomes one of Margery’s champions. Even from those who are disposed to believe her, such as the Vicar, Margery must contend initially with skepticism and condescension. The Vicar shows both pastoral friendliness and authoritative assertion in his response to Margery’s request for an appointment, just as both humility and self-assertion exist in the request itself. Note that Margery makes it sound as if she will be doing the talking during the hour, not the learned Vicar. The Vicar responds with a challenge, offering Margery a chance to prove herself but expressing his doubt that she will do so. Margery is undaunted, as usual, and she makes the quizzical Vicar into a fast friend.