“Look at the building”. That is how the British man started his long winded way to unravel a mystery to the rest of us. He had organized a walking tour of the city and several of us expatriates joined the tour. He was pointing at an old building. We couldn’t figure what was different about the building. So, he asked us to look at the names displayed in front of the building. The name had lot of French in it along with two names - Héloïse and Abélard.
According to him, these are legendary lovers like Romeo and Juliet. But there is a difference. There arenot a work of fiction but real living persons a few centuries ago. He narrated the story. I have forgotten why the building was named after them. Was Héloïse living there? But I remember their story. Anyways, the detailed story is available on the internet. So, I will give you a summary.
Héloïse is an intelligent girl. Her uncle searches for an excellent tutor and finds a suitable match in Abélard. Abélard not only teaches Héloïse but also falls in love with her. They marry each other secretly and sires a son. Then, Héloïse’s uncle knows about this relation and castrates Abélard. Abélard becomes a monk.
Thankfully, he doesn’t die! Nor is Bobbit the first man to be “bobbitt”ed!
Yes, it is not a perfect love story. But I came to know about a new word while listening to this story. Canon. It is neither cannon with a double n nor the camera company. It is another way to denote a priest. Héloïse’s uncle was a canon. The opposite of canon is canoness which happens to be a street in Paris.