“When she was come into York, she went to an anchoress who had loved her well ere she went to Jerusalem, to have knowledge of her ghostly increase, also desiring, for more ghostly communication, to eat with the anchoress that day nothing else but bread and water, for it was on Our Lady’s Eve.
And the anchoress would not receive her, because she had heard so much evil told of her, so she went forth to other strange folk, and they made her right good cheer for Our Lord’s love.
On a day, as she sat in a church in York, Our Lord Jesus Christ said to her soul: “Daughter, there is much tribulation thee-ward.” She was somewhat gloomy and abashed there-of, and therefore she, sitting still, answered not. Then said Our Blessed Lord again: “What! Daughter, art thou evil paid to suffer more tribulation for My love? If thou wilt suffer no more, I shall take it away from thee.” Then she answered: “Nay, Good Lord, let me be at thy will, and make me mighty and strong to suffer all that ever thou wilt that I suffer, and grant me meekness and patience there-with.”
So, from that time forward, as she knew that it was Our Lord’s will that she should suffer more tribulation, she received it goodly when Our Lord would send it, and thanked Him highly There-of, being right glad and merry the day that she suffered any discomfort. And in process of time, that day on which she suffered no tribulation, she was not merry nor glad as the day on which she suffered tribulation.
Afterwards, as she was in the Minster of York aforesaid, a clerk came to her, saying: “Damsel, how long will ye abide here?” – “Sir, I propose to abide these fourteen days.” And so she did.
In that time many good men and women prayed her to meat, and made her right good cheer, and were right glad to hear her dalliance, having great marvel of her speech, for it was fruitful.
Also she had many enemies who slandered her, scorned her, and despised her, of whom one man came to her while she was in the said Minster, and taking her by the collar of her gown, said to her: “Thou wolf! What is this cloth that thou hast on?” She stood still and would not answer in her own cause. Children of the monastery going beside, said to the man: “Sir, it is wool.” The man was annoyed because she would not answer, and began to swear many great oaths.
Then she began to speak for God’s cause; she was not afraid. She said: “Sir, ye should keep the commandments of God and not swear as negligently as ye do.” The man asked her who kept the commandments. She said: “Sir, they that keep them.” Then said he: “Keepest thou them?” She answered: “Sir, it is my will to keep them, for I am bound there-to, and so are ye, and every man that will be saved at the last.” When he had long jangled with her, he went away privily ere she was aware, so that she knew not where he went.”
– The Book of Margery Kempe (modernised text 1936)