8. A Scholar’s Seemingly Bright Idea to Worm His Way Into His Lover’s House Under Her Guardian’s Nose
Heloise lived in the precincts of Notre Dame under the care of her uncle and guardian, a secular canon named Fulbert. A rarity in an age when few women were afforded an education, she mastered Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and gained renown for her knowledge of classical studies. To get close to her, Abelard cast about for a way to worm his way into Fulbert’s household. He approached Heloise’s uncle, claimed that he could not afford a place of his own, and offered to tutor his niece instead of pay rent. Fulbert agreed, tutor and pupil soon hit it off, and in 1115, Heloise and Abelard began an affair.
It was torrid, and given their circumstance, the duo were too blinded by their passion to pay sufficient heed to the risks involved. Heloise lived in convent, but snuck out, or he snuck in, whenever possible. They got physical and got it on whenever and wherever they could, and made love in gardens at night, in her convent cell, in the convent’s kitchens, and in her uncle and guardian’s bedroom. She eventually got pregnant, so Abelard arranged for her to visit his family in Brittany, where she gave birth to a son.