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CHAPTER LV.

Of the clothes and shoes of the Brethren.

Let clothing be given to the Brethren suitable to the place where they live, and to the temperature of the air; because in cold countries more is needed, and in warm, less. The arrangement of all this shall be left to the discretion of the Abbot. Nevertheless we believe that for temperate places, it will be sufficient for each Monk to have a cowl and tunic: the cowl in winter to be of thicker stuff, but in summer finer and worn thin; also a scapular for work, and shoes and stockings to cover their feet. Let not the Monks find fault with the colour or coarseness of things; they shall be such as can be procured in the country where they live, or bought at the cheapest rate.

Let the Abbot take care of their dimensions, that they be not too short, but of a size suitable to those who wear them. On receiving new clothes, let them always give up the old ones at once, to be laid by in the wardrobe for the poor. For it is sufficient for a Monk to have two tunics and two cowls, as well for change at nights, as for the convenience of washing. Anything beyond this is superfluous and must be cut off. Also, they shall give back their shoes, and whatever is worn out, when they receive anything new. When sent on a journey, they shall receive drawers from the wardrobe, and on their return shall restore them washed clean. Let their cowls and tunics on such occasions be somewhat better than those they ordinarily use. They shall receive them on setting out, and restore them to the wardrobe on their return.

Let a straw mattress, a blanket, coverlet and pillow, suffice for their bedding. This the Abbot shall frequently examine, to prevent the vice of proprietorship; and if any one be discovered to possess anything which he hath not received from the Abbot, let him be subjected to the severest correction. To root out this vice, let all things be given them by the Abbot which shall be necessary, that is, a cowl, a tunic, shoes, and stockings, a girdle, a knife, a pen, a needle, a handkerchief, and tablets, that all pretence of necessity may be taken away. However let the Abbot always bear in mind that sentence from the Acts of the Apostles: “And distribution was made to every one according as he had need.”189189Acts. iv. 35. Let him, therefore, consider the infirmities of such as are in need, and pay no regard to the ill-will of the envious. In all his ordinances let him always think on the retribution of God.


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