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A Convenient Solution

brow as he noticed the idle men. That was the trouble with
paying labourers as they worked – the longer they took to
finish the job, the more they were paid. It practically
amounted to an incentive to be slow! (He neglected to
acknowledge that many of the labourers gave their time
voluntarily in the service of God!)
He turned back into the room with a shake of his
head. Yes, it was indeed necessary – even imperative – for
him to make the most of every financial opportunity that
presented itself. If his detractors could only see that he
didn‘t do it in order to line his own pockets but for the
greater glory of God, they might leave him alone to get on
with the business of the Church. What made him
particularly angry was the fact that King Philippe had
caused this problem himself by recalling the Kingdom‘s
coinage and replacing it with currency of a lesser value.
What kind of idiot would do that? And – as if that wasn‘t
enough - having survived the outrage that followed by
hiding behind the skirts of the Templars (taking refuge in
the Paris Temple), he then proceeded to banish the Italian
bankers! The Jews followed just two years ago - and then
the ultimate proof of his madness. Last year he‘d had all
the Templars arrested, and was now trying to coerce Pope
Clement into dissolving the Order altogether. So much for
gratitude! And it was all very well for the King to confiscate
the Order‘s wealth and property, but what about the impact
on trading towns such as Troyes? The combined effect of
his policies were devastating! The revenues from the Great
Annual Faire alone had been halved in the last three years.
Well, the irony was that those very Templars who had
once protected the King and were themselves betrayed,
now provided the possibility of a financial solution to the
Bishop‘s problems. God knew how to care for His own and
had directed Providence to Troyes. Guichard looked long
and hard at the second document on his desk.
As always, things were made more difficult by the
politics of the day. Even Guichard didn‘t know the Pope‘s
true position in regard to the Templars. Publicly he
condemned the King‘s actions, and the Bishop was sure