The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story
How we cite our quotes:
For whether that he payde, or took by taille,
Algate he wayted so in his achat
That he was ay biforn and in good stat.
(General Prologue 570 – 572)
There's something a little strange about the way the Manciple manages to always come out ahead on his accounts despite the fact that he sometimes takes "by tail," or on credit. It's possible that the Manciple is cheating someone in order to do this.
Of maistres hadde he mo than thryes ten
Worthy to ben stiwardes of rente and lond
Of any lord that is in Engelond,
To make him live by his propre good
In honour, detelees, but he were wood.
(General Prologue 576, 579 – 582)
The mark of a good steward, or keeper of financial accounts and properties, is someone who can keep the lord living within his means. This way the lord can avoid debt, which was seen as a moral failing at this time period.
His lord wel coude he plesen subtilly,
To yeve and lene him of his owne good,
And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
(General Prologue 610- 612)
Although the Reeve appears very deceitful by loaning to his lord from the property he has stolen from him, there's also a subtle condemnation of the lord in question here. By leaving his affairs wholly to his serf and not bothering to look into them in detail, the lord shows himself to be lazy or negligent.