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Title: Droll Stories — Volume 2
Author: Balzac, Honoré de, 1799-1850
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Droll Stories — Volume 2" ***

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                           DROLL STORIES

               COLLECTED FROM THE ABBEYS OF TOURAINE

                             VOLUME II
                        THE SECOND TEN TALES

                                 BY

                          HONORE DE BALZAC



                              CONTENTS

THE SECOND TEN TALES

PROLOGUE
THE THREE CLERKS OF SAINT NICHOLAS
THE CONTINENCE OF KING FRANCIS THE FIRST
THE MERRY TATTLE OF THE NUNS OF POISSY
HOW THE CHATEAU D'AZAY CAME TO BE BUILT
THE FALSE COURTESAN
THE DANGER OF BEING TOO INNOCENT
THE DEAR NIGHT OF LOVE
THE SERMON OF THE MERRY VICAR OF MEUDON
THE SUCCUBUS
DESPAIR IN LOVE
EPILOGUE



                          SECOND TEN TALES



                              PROLOGUE

Certain persons have reproached the Author for knowing no more about
the language of the olden times than hares do of telling stories.
Formerly these people would have been vilified, called cannibals,
churls, and sycophants, and Gomorrah would have been hinted at as
their natal place. But the Author consents to spare them the flowery
epithets of ancient criticism; he contents himself with wishing not to
be in their skin, for he would be disgusted with himself, and esteem
himself the vilest of scribblers thus to calumniate a poor little book
which is not in the style of any spoil-paper of these times. Ah!
ill-natured wretches! you should save your breath to cool your own
porridge! The Author consoles himself for his want of success in not
pleasing everyone by remembering that an old Tourainian, of eternal
memory, had put up with such contumely, that losing all patience, he
declared in one of his prologues, that he would never more put pen to
paper. Another age, but the same manners. Nothing changes, neither God
above nor men below. Thereupon of the Author continues his task with a
light heart, relying upon the future to reward his heavy labours.

And certes, it is a hard task to invent _A Hundred Droll Tales_, since
not only have ruffians and envious men opened fire upon him, but his
friends have imitated their example, and come to him saying "Are you
mad? Do you think it is possible? No man ever had in the depths of his
imagination a hundred such tales. Change the hyperbolic title of your
budget. You will never finish it." These people are neither
misanthropes nor cannibals; whether they are ruffians I know not; but
for certain they are kind, good-natured friends; friends who have the
courage to tell you disagreeable things all your life along, who are
rough and sharp as currycombs, under the pretence that they are yours
to command, in all the mishaps of life, and in the hour of extreme
unction, all their worth will be known. If such people would only keep
these sad kindnesses; but they will not. When their terrors are proved
to have been idle, they exclaimed triumphantly, "Ha! ha! I knew it. I
always said so."

In order not to discourage fine sentiments, intolerable though they
be, the Author leaves to his friends his old shoes, and in order to
make their minds easy, assures them that he has, legally protected and
exempt from seizure, seventy droll stories, in that reservoir of
nature, his brain. By the gods! they are precious yarns, well rigged
out with phrases, carefully furnished with catastrophes, amply clothed
with original humour, rich in diurnal and nocturnal effects, nor
lacking that plot which the human race has woven each minute, each
hour, each week, month, and year of the great ecclesiastical
computation, commenced at a time when the sun could scarcely see, and
the moon waited to be shown her way. These seventy subjects, which he
gives you leave to call bad subjects, full of tricks and impudence,
lust, lies, jokes, jests, and ribaldry, joined to the two portions
here given, are, by the prophet! a small instalment on the aforesaid
hundred.

Were it not a bad time for a bibliopolists, bibliomaniacs,
bibliographers, and bibliotheques which hinder bibliolatry, he would
have given them in a bumper, and not drop by drop as if he were
afflicted with dysury of the brain. He cannot possibly be suspected of
this infirmity, since he often gives good weight, putting several
stories into one, as is clearly demonstrated by several in this
volume. You may rely on it, that he has chosen for the finish, the
best and most ribald of the lot, in order that he may not be accused
of a senile discourse. Put then more likes with your dislikes, and
dislikes with your likes. Forgetting the niggardly behaviour of nature
to story-tellers, of whom there are not more than seven perfect in the
great ocean of human writers, others, although friendly, have been of
opinion that, at a time when everyone went about dressed in black, as
if in mourning for something, it was necessary to concoct works either
wearisomely serious or seriously wearisome; that a writer could only
live henceforward by enshrining his ideas in some vast edifice, and
that those who were unable to construct cathedrals and castles of
which neither stone nor cement could be moved, would die unknown, like
the Pope's slippers. The friends were requested to declare which they
liked best, a pint of good wine, or a tun of cheap rubbish; a diamond
of twenty-two carats, or a flintstone weighing a hundred pounds; the
ring of Hans Carvel, as told by Rabelais, or a modern narrative
pitifully expectorated by a schoolboy. Seeing them dumbfounded and
abashed, it was calmly said to them, "Do you thoroughly understand,
good people? Then go your ways and mind your own businesses."

The following, however, must be added, for the benefit of all of whom
it may concern:--The good man to whom we owe fables and stories of
sempiternal authority only used his tool on them, having taken his
material from others; but the workmanship expended on these little
figures has given them a high value; and although he was, like M.
Louis Ariosto, vituperated for thinking of idle pranks and trifles,
there is a certain insect engraved by him which has since become a
monument of perennity more assured than that of the most solidly built
works. In the especial jurisprudence of wit and wisdom the custom is
to steal more dearly a leaf wrested from the book of Nature and Truth,
than all the indifferent volumes from which, however fine they be, it
is impossible to extract either a laugh or a tear. The author has
licence to say this without any impropriety, since it is not his
intention to stand upon tiptoe in order to obtain an unnatural height,
but because it is a question of the majesty of his art, and not of
himself--a poor clerk of the court, whose business it is to have ink
in his pen, to listen to the gentleman on the bench, and take down the
sayings of each witness in this case. He is responsible for
workmanship, Nature for the rest, since from the Venus of Phidias the
Athenian, down to the little old fellow, Godenot, commonly called the
Sieur Breloque, a character carefully elaborated by one of the most
celebrated authors of the present day, everything is studied from the
eternal model of human imitations which belongs to all. At this honest
business, happy are the robbers that they are not hanged, but esteemed
and beloved. But he is a triple fool, a fool with ten horns on his
head, who struts, boasts, and is puffed up at an advantage due to the
hazard of dispositions, because glory lies only in the cultivation of
the faculties, in patience and courage.

As for the soft-voiced and pretty-mouthed ones, who have whispered
delicately in the author's ear, complaining to him that they have
disarranged their tresses and spoiled their petticoats in certain
places, he would say to them, "Why did you go there?" To these remarks
he is compelled, through the notable slanders of certain people, to
add a notice to the well-disposed, in order that they may use it, and
end the calumnies of the aforesaid scribblers concerning him.

These droll tales are written--according to all authorities--at that
period when Queen Catherine, of the house of Medici, was hard at work;
for, during a great portion of the reign, she was always interfering
with public affairs to the advantage of our holy religion. The which
time has seized many people by the throat, from our defunct Master
Francis, first of that name, to the Assembly at Blois, where fell M.
de Guise. Now, even schoolboys who play at chuck-farthing, know that
at this period of insurrection, pacifications and disturbances, the
language of France was a little disturbed also, on account of the
inventions of the poets, who at that time, as at this, used each to
make a language for himself, besides the strange Greek, Latin,
Italian, German, and Swiss words, foreign phrases, and Spanish jargon,
introduced by foreigners, so that a poor writer has plenty of elbow
room in this Babelish language, which has since been taken in hand by
Messieurs de Balzac, Blaise Pascal, Furetiere, Menage, St. Evremonde,
de Malherbe, and others, who first cleaned out the French language,
sent foreign words to the rightabout, and gave the right of
citizenship to legitimate words used and known by everyone, but of
which the Sieur Ronsard was ashamed.

Having finished, the author returns to his lady-love, wishing every
happiness to those by whom he is beloved; to the others misfortune
according to their deserts. When the swallows fly homeward, he will
come again, not without the third and fourth volume, which he here
promises to the Pantagruelists, merry knaves, and honest wags of all
degrees, who have a wholesome horror of the sadness, sombre meditation
and melancholy of literary croakers.



                  THE THREE CLERKS OF ST. NICHOLAS

The _Inn of the Three Barbels_ was formerly at Tours, the best place
in the town for sumptuous fare; and the landlord, reputed the best of
cooks, went to prepare wedding breakfasts as far as Chatelherault,
Loches, Vendome, and Blois. This said man, an old fox, perfect in his
business, never lighted lamps in the day time, knew how to skin a
flint, charged for wool, leather, and feathers, had an eye to
everything, did not easily let anyone pay with chaff instead of coin,
and for a penny less than his account would have affronted even a
prince. For the rest, he was a good banterer, drinking and laughing
with his regular customers, hat in hand always before the persons
furnished with plenary indulgences entitled _Sit nomen Domini
benedictum_, running them into expense, and proving to them, if need
were, by sound argument, that wines were dear, and that whatever they
might think, nothing was given away in Touraine, everything had to be
bought, and, at the same time, paid for. In short, if he could without
disgrace have done so, he would have reckoned so much for the good
air, and so much for the view of the country. Thus he built up a tidy
fortune with other people's money, became as round as a butt, larded
with fat, and was called Monsieur. At the time of the last fair three
young fellows, who were apprentices in knavery, in whom there was more
of the material that makes thieves than saints, and who knew just how
far it was possible to go without catching their necks in the branches
of trees, made up their minds to amuse themselves, and live well,
condemning certain hawkers or others in all the expenses. Now these
limbs of Satan gave the slip to their masters, under whom they had
been studying the art of parchment scrawling, and came to stay at the
hotel of the Three Barbels, where they demanded the best rooms, turned
the place inside out, turned up their noses at everything, bespoke all
the lampreys in the market, and announced themselves as first-class
merchants, who never carried their goods with them, and travelled only
with their persons. The host bustled about, turned the spits, and
prepared a glorious repast, for these three dodgers, who had already
made noise enough for a hundred crowns, and who most certainly would
not even have given up the copper coins which one of them was jingling
in his pocket. But if they were hard up for money they did not want
for ingenuity, and all three arranged to play their parts like thieves
at a fair. Theirs was a farce in which there was plenty of eating and
drinking, since for five days they so heartily attacked every kind of
provision that a party of German soldiers would have spoiled less than
they obtained by fraud. These three cunning fellows made their way to
the fair after breakfast, well primed, gorged, and big in the belly,
and did as they liked with the greenhorns and others, robbing,
filching, playing, and losing, taking down the writings and signs and
changing them, putting that of the toyman over the jeweller's, and
that of the jeweller's outside the shoe maker's, turning the shops
inside out, making the dogs fight, cutting the ropes of tethered
horses, throwing cats among the crowd, crying, "Stop thief!" And
saying to every one they met, "Are you not Monsieur D'Enterfesse of
Angiers?" Then they hustled everyone, making holes in the sacks of
flour, looking for their handkerchiefs in ladies' pockets, raising
their skirts, crying, looking for a lost jewel and saying to them--

"Ladies, it has fallen into a hole!"

They directed the little children wrongly, slapped the stomachs of
those who were gaping in the air, and prowled about, fleecing and
annoying every one. In short, the devil would have been a gentleman in
comparison with these blackguard students, who would have been hanged
rather than do an honest action; as well have expected charity from
two angry litigants. They left the fair, not fatigued, but tired of
ill-doing, and spent the remainder of their time over dinner until the
evening when they recommenced their pranks by torchlight. After the
peddlers, they commenced operations on the ladies of the town, to
whom, by a thousand dodges, they gave only that which they received,
according to the axiom of Justinian: _Cuiqum jus tribuere_. "To every
one his own juice;" and afterwards jokingly said to the poor wenches--

"We are in the right and you are in the wrong."

At last, at supper-time, having nothing else to do, they began to
knock each other about, and to keep the game alive, complained of the
flies to the landlord, remonstrating with him that elsewhere the
innkeepers had them caught in order that gentleman of position might
not be annoyed by them. However, towards the fifth day, which is the
critical day of fevers, the host not having seen, although he kept his
eyes wide open, the royal surface of a crown, and knowing that if all
that glittered were gold it would be cheaper, began to knit his brows
and go more slowly about that which his high-class merchants required
of him. Fearing that he had made a bad bargain with them, he tried to
sound the depth of their pockets; perceiving which the three clerks
ordered him with the assurance of a Provost hanging his man, to serve
them quickly with a good supper as they had to depart immediately.
Their merry countenances dismissed the host's suspicions. Thinking
that rogues without money would certainly look grave, he prepared a
supper worthy of a canon, wishing even to see them drunk, in order the
more easily to clap them in jail in the event of an accident. Not
knowing how to make their escape from the room, in which they were
about as much at their ease as are fish upon straw, the three
companions ate and drank immoderately, looking at the situation of the
windows, waiting the moment to decamp, but not getting the
opportunity. Cursing their luck, one of them wished to go and undo his
waistcoat, on account of a colic, the other to fetch a doctor to the
third, who did his best to faint. The cursed landlord kept dodging
about from the kitchen into the room, and from the room into the
kitchen, watching the nameless ones, and going a step forward to save
his crowns, and going a step back to save his crown, in case they
should be real gentlemen; and he acted like a brave and prudent host
who likes halfpence and objects to kicks; but under pretence of
properly attending to them, he always had an ear in the room, and a
foot in the court; fancied he was always being called by them, came
every time they laughed, showing them a face with an unsettled look
upon it, and always said, "Gentlemen, what is your pleasure?" This was
an interrogatory in reply to which they would willingly have given him
ten inches of his own spit in his stomach, because he appeared as if
he knew very well what would please them at this juncture, seeing that
to have twenty crowns, full weight, they would each of them have sold
a third of his eternity. You can imagine they sat on their seats as if
they were gridirons, that their feet itched and their posteriors were
rather warm. Already the host had put the pears, the cheese, and the
preserves near their noses, but they, sipping their liquor, and
picking at the dishes, looked at each other to see if either of them
had found a good piece of roguery in his sack, and they all began to
enjoy themselves rather woefully. The most cunning of the three
clerks, who was a Burgundian, smiled and said, seeing the hour of
payment arrived, "This must stand over for a week," as if they had
been at the Palais de Justice. The two others, in spite of the danger,
began to laugh.

"What do we owe?" asked he who had in his belt the heretofore
mentioned twelve sols and he turned them about as though he would make
them breed little ones by this excited movement. He was a native of
Picardy, and very passionate; a man to take offence at anything in
order that he might throw the landlord out the window in all security
of conscience. Now he said these words with the air of a man of
immense wealth.

"Six crowns, gentlemen," replied the host, holding out his hand.

"I cannot permit myself to be entertained by you alone, Viscount,"
said the third student, who was from Anjou, and as artful as a woman
in love.

"Neither can I," said the Burgundian.

"Gentlemen! Gentlemen!" replied the Picardian "you are jesting. I am
yours to command."

"Sambreguoy!" cried he of Anjou. "You will not let us pay three times;
our host would not suffer it."

"Well then," said the Burgundian, "whichever of us shall tell the
worst tale shall justify the landlord."

"Who will be the judge?" asked the Picardian, dropping his twelve sols
to the bottom of his pocket.

"Pardieu! our host. He should be capable, seeing that he is a man of
taste," said he of Anjou. "Come along, great chef, sit you down,
drink, and lend us both your ears. The audience is open."

Thereupon the host sat down, but not until he had poured out a
gobletful of wine.

"My turn first," said the Anjou man. "I commence."

"In our Duchy of Anjou, the country people are very faithful servants
to our Holy of Catholic religion, and none of them will lose his
portion of paradise for lack of doing penance or killing a heretic. If
a professor of heresy passed that way, he quickly found himself under
the grass, without knowing whence his death had proceeded. A good man
of Larze, returning one night from his evening prayer to the wine
flasks of Pomme-de-Pin, where he had left his understanding and
memory, fell into a ditch full of water near his house, and found he
was up to his neck. One of the neighbours finding him shortly
afterwards nearly frozen, for it was winter time, said jokingly to
him--

"'Hulloa! What are you waiting for there?'

"'A thaw', said the tipsy fellow, finding himself held by the ice.

"Then Godenot, like a good Christian, released him from his dilemma,
and opened the door of the house to him, out of respect to the wine,
which is lord of this country. The good man then went and got into the
bed of the maid-servant, who was a young and pretty wench. The old
bungler, bemuddled with wine, went ploughing in the wrong land,
fancying all the time it was his wife by his side, and thanking her
for the youth and freshness she still retained. On hearing her
husband, the wife began to cry out, and by her terrible shrieks the
man was awakened to the fact that he was not in the road to salvation,
which made the poor labourer sorrowful beyond expression.

"'Ah! said he; 'God has punished me for not going to vespers at
Church.'

"And he began to excuse himself as best he could, saying, that the
wine had muddled his understanding, and getting into his own bed he
kept repeating to his good wife, that for his best cow he would not
have had this sin upon his conscience.

"'My dear', said she, 'go and confess the first thing tomorrow
morning, and let us say no more about it.'

"The good man trotted to confessional, and related his case with all
humility to the rector of the parish, who was a good old priest,
capable of being up above, the slipper of the holy foot.

"'An error is not a sin,' said he to the penitent. 'You will fast
tomorrow, and be absolved.'

"'Fast!--with pleasure,' said the good man. 'That does not mean go
without drink.'

"'Oh!' replied the rector, 'you must drink water, and eat nothing but
a quarter of a loaf and an apple.'

"Then the good man, who had no confidence in his memory, went home,
repeating to himself the penance ordered. But having loyally commenced
with a quarter of a loaf and an apple, he arrived at home, saying, a
quarter of apples, and a loaf.

"Then, to purify his soul, he set about accomplishing his fast, and
his good woman having given him a loaf from the safe, and unhooked a
string of apples from the beam, he set sorrowfully to work. As he
heaved a sigh on taking the last mouthful of bread hardly knowing
where to put it, for he was full to the chin, his wife remonstrated
with him, that God did not desire the death of a sinner, and that for
lack of putting a crust of bread in his belly, he would not be
reproached for having put things in their wrong places.

"'Hold your tongue, wife!' said he. 'If it chokes me, I must fast.'"

"I've payed my share, it's your turn, Viscount," added he of Anjou,
giving the Picardian a knowing wink.

"The goblets are empty. Hi, there! More wine."

"Let us drink," cried the Picardian. "Moist stories slip out easier."

At the same time he tossed off a glassful without leaving a drop at
the bottom, and after a preliminary little cough, he related the
following:--

"You must know that the maids of Picardy, before setting up
housekeeping, are accustomed honestly to gain their linen, vessels,
and chests; in short, all the needed household utensils. To accomplish
this, they go into service in Peronne, Abbeville, Amiens, and other
towns, where they are tire-women, wash up glasses, clean plates, fold
linen, and carry up the dinner, or anything that there is to be
carried. They are all married as soon as they possess something else
besides that which they naturally bring to their husbands. These women
are the best housewives, because they understand the business and
everything else thoroughly. One belonging to Azonville, which is the
land of which I am lord by inheritance, having heard speak of Paris,
where the people did not put themselves out of the way for anyone, and
where one could subsist for a whole day by passing the cook's shops,
and smelling the steam, so fattening was it, took it into her head to
go there. She trudged bravely along the road, and arrived with a
pocket full of emptiness. There she fell in, at the Porte St. Denise,
with a company of soldiers, placed there for a time as a vidette, for
the Protestants had assumed a dangerous attitude. The sergeant seeing
this hooded linnet coming, stuck his headpiece on one side,
straightened his feather, twisted his moustache, cleared his throat,
rolled his eyes, put his hand on his hips, and stopped the Picardian
to see if her ears were properly pierced, since it was forbidden to
girls to enter otherwise into Paris. Then he asked her, by way of a
joke, but with a serious face, what brought her there, he pretending
to believe she had come to take the keys of Paris by assault. To which
the poor innocent replied, that she was in search of a good situation,
and had no evil intentions, only desiring to gain something.

"'Very well; I will employ you,' said the wag. 'I am from Picardy, and
will get you taken in here, where you will be treated as a queen would
often like to be, and you will be able to make a good thing of it.'

"Then he led her to the guard-house, where he told her to sweep the
floor, polish the saucepans, stir the fire, and keep a watch on
everything, adding that she should have thirty sols a head from the
men if their service pleased her. Now seeing that the squad was there
for a month, she would be able to gain ten crowns, and at their
departure would find fresh arrivals who would make good arrangements
with her, and by this means she would be able to take back money and
presents to her people. The girl cleaned the room and prepared the
meals so well, singing and humming, that this day the soldiers found
in their den the look of a monk's refectory. Then all being well
content, each of them gave a sol to their handmaiden. Well satisfied,
they put her into the bed of their commandant, who was in town with
his lady, and they petted and caressed her after the manner of
philosophical soldiers, that is, soldiers partial to that which is
good. She was soon comfortably ensconced between the sheets. But to
avoid quarrels and strife, my noble warriors drew lots for their turn,
arranged themselves in single file, playing well at Pique hardie,
saying not a word, but each one taking at least twenty-six sols worth
of the girl's society. Although not accustomed to work for so many,
the poor girl did her best, and by this means never closed her eyes
the whole night. In the morning, seeing the soldiers were fast asleep,
she rose happy at bearing no marks of the sharp skirmish, and although
slightly fatigued, managed to get across the fields into the open
country with her thirty sols. On the route to Picardy, she met one of
her friends, who, like herself, wished to try service in Paris, and
was hurrying thither, and seeing her, asked her what sort of places
they were.

"'Ah! Perrine; do not go. You want to be made of iron, and even if you
were it would soon be worn away,' was the answer.

"Now, big-belly of Burgundy," said he, giving his neighbour a hearty
slap, "spit out your story or pay!"

"By the queen of Antlers!" replied the Burgundian, "by my faith, by
the saints, by God! and by the devil, I know only stories of the Court
of Burgundy, which are only current coin in our own land."

"Eh, ventre Dieu! are we not in the land of Beauffremont?" cried the
other, pointing to the empty goblets.

"I will tell you, then, an adventure well known at Dijon, which
happened at the time I was in command there, and was worth being
written down. There was a sergeant of justice named Franc-Taupin, who
was an old lump of mischief, always grumbling, always fighting; stiff
and starchy, and never comforting those he was leading to the hulks,
with little jokes by the way; and in short, he was just the man to
find lice in bald heads, and bad behaviour in the Almighty. This said
Taupin, spurned by every one, took unto himself a wife, and by chance
he was blessed with one as mild as the peel of an onion, who, noticing
the peculiar humour of her husband, took more pains to bring joy to
his house than would another to bestow horns upon him. But although
she was careful to obey him in all things, and to live at peace would
have tried to excrete gold for him, had God permitted it, this man was
always surly and crabbed, and no more spared his wife blows, than does
a debtor promises to the bailiff's man. This unpleasant treatment
continuing in spite of the carefulness and angelic behaviour of the
poor woman, she being unable to accustom herself to it, was compelled
to inform her relations, who thereupon came to the house. When they
arrived, the husband declared to them that his wife was an idiot, that
she displeased him in every possible way, and made his life almost
unbearable; that she would wake him out of his first sleep, never came
to the door when he knocked, but would leave him out in the rain and
the cold, and that the house was always untidy. His garments were
buttonless, his laces wanted tags. The linen was spoiling, the wine
turning sour, the wood damp, and the bed was always creaking at
unreasonable moments. In short, everything was going wrong. To this
tissue of falsehoods, the wife replied by pointing to the clothes and
things, all in a state of thorough repair. Then the sergeant said that
he was very badly treated, that his dinner was never ready for him, or
if it was, the broth was thin or the soup cold, either the wine or the
glasses were forgotten, the meat was without gravy or parsley, the
mustard had turned, he either found hairs in the dish or the cloth was
dirty and took away his appetite, indeed nothing did she ever get for
him that was to his liking. The wife, astonished, contented herself
with stoutly denying the fault imputed to her. 'Ah,' said he, 'you
dirty hussy! You deny it, do you! Very well then, my friends, you come
and dine here to-day, you shall be witnesses of her misconduct. And if
she can for once serve me properly, I will confess myself wrong in all
I have stated, and will never lift my hand against her again, but will
resign to her my halberd and my breeches, and give her full authority
here.'

"'Oh, well,' said she, joyfully, 'I shall then henceforth be both wife
and mistress!'

"Then the husband, confident of the nature and imperfections of his
wife, desired that the dinner should be served under the vine arbor,
thinking that he would be able to shout at her if she did not hurry
quickly enough from the table to the pantry. The good housewife set to
work with a will. The plates were clean enough to see one's face in,
the mustard was fresh and well made, the dinner beautifully cooked, as
appetising as stolen fruit; the glasses were clear, the wine was cool,
and everything so nice, so clean and white, that the repast would have
done honour to a bishop's chatterbox. Just as she was standing before
the table, casting that last glance which all good housewives like to
give everything, her husband knocked at the door. At that very moment
a cursed hen, who had taken it into her head to get on top of the
arbor to gorge herself with grapes, let fall a large lump of dirt
right in the middle of the cloth. The poor woman was half dead with
fright; so great was her despair, she could think of no other way of
remedying the thoughtlessness of the fowl then by covering the
unseemly patch with a plate in which she put the fine fruits taken at
random from her pocket, losing sight altogether of the symmetry of the
table. Then, in order that no one should notice it, she instantly
fetched the soup, seated every one in his place, and begged them to
enjoy themselves.

"Now, all of them seeing everything so well arranged, uttered
exclamations of pleasure, except the diabolical husband, who remained
moody and sullen, knitting his brows and looking for a straw on which
to hang a quarrel with his wife. Thinking it safe to give him one for
himself, her relations being present, she said to him, 'Here's your
dinner, nice and hot, well served, the cloth is clean, the
salt-cellars full, the plates clean, the wine fresh, the bread well
baked. What is there lacking? What do you require? What do you desire?
What else do you want?'

"'Oh, filth!' said he, in a great rage.

"The good woman instantly lifted the plate, and replied--

"'There you are, my dear!'

"Seeing which, the husband was dumbfounded, thinking that the devil
was in league with his wife. He was immediately gravely reproached by
the relations, who declared him to be in the wrong, abused him, and
made more jokes at his expense than a recorder writes words in a
month. From that time forward the sergeant lived comfortably and
peaceably with his wife, who at the least appearance of temper on his
part, would say to him--

"'Do you want some filth?'"

"Who has told the worst now?" cried the Anjou man, giving the host a
tap on the shoulder.

"He has! He has!" said the two others. Then they began to dispute
among themselves, like the holy fathers in council; seeking, by
creating a confusion, throwing the glasses at each other, and jumping
about, a lucky chance, to make a run of it.

"I'll settle the question," cried the host, seeing that whereas they
had all three been ready with their own accounts, not one of them was
thinking of his.

They stopped terrified.

"I will tell you a better one than all, then you will have to give ten
sols a head."

"Silence for the landlord," said the one from Anjou.

"In our fauborg of Notre-dame la Riche, in which this inn is situated,
there lived a beautiful girl, who besides her natural advantages, had
a good round sum in her keeping. Therefore, as soon as she was old
enough, and strong enough to bear the matrimonial yoke, she had as
many lovers as there are sols in St. Gatien's money-box on the
Paschal-day. The girl chose one who, saving your presence, was as good
a worker, night and day, as any two monks together. They were soon
betrothed, and the marriage was arranged; but the joy of the first
night did not draw nearer without occasioning some slight
apprehensions to the lady, as she was liable, through an infirmity, to
expel vapours, which came out like bombshells. Now, fearing that when
thinking of something else, during the first night, she might give the
reins to her eccentricities, she stated the case to her mother, whose
assistance she invoked. That good lady informed her that this faculty
of engineering wind was inherent in the family; that in her time she
had been greatly embarrassed by it, but only in the earlier period of
her life. God had been kind to her, and since the age of seven, she
had evaporated nothing except on the last occasion when she had
bestowed upon her dead husband a farewell blow. 'But,' said she to her
daughter, 'I have ever a sure specific, left to me by my mother, which
brings these surplus explosions to nothing, and exhales them
noiselessly. By this means these sighs become odourless, and scandal
is avoided.'

"The girl, much pleased, learned how to sail close to the wind,
thanked her mother, and danced away merrily, storing up her flatulence
like an organ-blower waiting for the first note of mass. Entering the
nuptial chamber, she determined to expel it when getting into bed, but
the fantastic element was beyond control. The husband came; I leave
you to imagine how love's conflict sped. In the middle of the night,
the bride arose under a false pretext, and quickly returned again; but
when climbing into her place, the pent up force went off with such a
loud discharge, that you would have thought with me that the curtains
were split.

"'Ha! I've missed my aim!' said she.

"''Sdeath, my dear!' I replied, 'then spare your powder. You would
earn a good living in the army with that artillery.'

"It was my wife."

"Ha! ha! ha!" went the clerks.

And they roared with laughter, holding their sides and complimenting
their host.

"Did you ever hear a better story, Viscount?"

"Ah, what a story!"

"That is a story!"

"A master story!"

"The king of stories!"

"Ha, ha! It beats all the other stories hollow. After that I say there
are no stories like the stories of our host."

"By the faith of a Christian, I never heard a better story in my
life."

"Why, I can hear the report."

"I should like to kiss the orchestra."

"Ah! gentlemen," said the Burgundian, gravely, "we cannot leave
without seeing the hostess, and if we do not ask to kiss this famous
wind-instrument, it is a out of respect for so good a story-teller."

Thereupon they all exalted the host, his story, and his wife's trumpet
so well that the old fellow, believing in these knaves' laughter and
pompous eulogies, called to his wife. But as she did not come, the
clerks said, not without frustrative intention, "Let us go to her."

Thereupon they all went out of the room. The host took the candle and
went upstairs first, to light them and show them the way; but seeing
the street door ajar, the rascals took to their heels, and were off
like shadows, leaving the host to take in settlement of his account
another of his wife's offerings.



              THE CONTINENCE OF KING FRANCIS THE FIRST

Every one knows through what adventure King Francis, the first of that
name, was taken like a silly bird and led into the town of Madrid, in
Spain. There the Emperor Charles V. kept him carefully locked up, like
an article of great value, in one of his castles, in the which our
defunct sire, of immortal memory, soon became listless and weary,
seeing that he loved the open air, and his little comforts, and no
more understood being shut up in a cage than a cat would folding up
lace. He fell into moods of such strange melancholy that his letters
having been read in full council, Madame d'Angouleme, his mother;
Madame Catherine, the Dauphine, Monsieur de Montmorency, and those who
were at the head of affairs in France knowing the great lechery of the
king, determined after mature deliberation, to send Queen Marguerite
to him, from whom he would doubtless receive alleviation of his
sufferings, that good lady being much loved by him, and merry, and
learned in all necessary wisdom. But she, alleging that it would be
dangerous for her soul, because it was impossible for her, without
great danger to be alone with the king in his cell, a sharp secretary,
the Sieur de Fizes, was sent to the Court of Rome, with orders to beg
of the pontiff a papal brief of special indulgences, containing proper
absolutions for the petty sins which, looking at their consanguinity,
the said queen might commit with a view to cure the king's melancholy.

At this time, Adrian VI., the Dutchman, still wore the tiara, who, a
good fellow, for the rest did not forget, in spite of the scholastic
ties which united him to the emperor, that the eldest son of the
Catholic Church was concerned in the affair, and was good enough to
send to Spain an express legate, furnished with full powers, to
attempt the salvation of the queen's soul, and the king's body,
without prejudice to God. This most urgent affair made the gentleman
very uneasy, and caused an itching in the feet of the ladies, who,
from great devotion to the crown, would all have offered to go to
Madrid, but for the dark mistrust of Charles the Fifth, who would not
grant the king's permission to any of his subjects, nor even the
members of his family. It was therefore necessary to negotiate the
departure of the Queen of Navarre. Then, nothing else was spoken about
but this deplorable abstinence, and the lack of amorous exercise so
vexatious to a prince, who was much accustomed to it. In short, from
one thing to another, the women finished by thinking more of the
king's condition, than of the king himself. The queen was the first to
say that she wished she had wings. To this Monseigneur Odet de
Chatillon replied, that she had no need of them to be an angel. One
that was Madame l'Amirale, blamed God that it was not possible to send
by a messenger that which the poor king so much required; and every
one of the ladies would have lent it in her turn.

"God has done very well to fix it," said the Dauphine, quietly; "for
our husbands would leave us rather badly off during their absence."

So much was said and so much thought upon the subject, that at her
departure the Queen of all Marguerites was charged, by these good
Christians, to kiss the captive heartily for all the ladies of the
realm; and if it had been permissible to prepare pleasure like
mustard, the queen would have been laden with enough to sell to the
two Castiles.

While Madame Marguerite was, in spite of the snow, crossing the
mountains, by relays of mule, hurrying on to these consolations as to
a fire, the king found himself harder pressed by unsatisfied desire
than he had ever been before, or would be again. In this reverberation
of nature, he opened his heart to the Emperor Charles, in order that
he might be provided with a merciful specific, urging upon him that it
would be an everlasting disgrace to one king to let another die for
lack of gallantry. The Castilian showed himself to be a generous man.
Thinking that he would be able to recuperate himself for the favour
granted out of his guest's ransom, he hinted quietly to the people
commissioned to guard the prisoner, that they might gratify him in
this respect. Thereupon a certain Don Hiios de Lara y Lopez Barra di
Pinto, a poor captain, whose pockets were empty in spite of his
genealogy, and who had been for some time thinking of seeking his
fortune at the Court of France, fancied that by procuring his majesty
a soft cataplasm of warm flesh, he would open for himself an honestly
fertile door; and indeed, those who know the character of the good
king and his court, can decide if he deceived himself.

When the above mentioned captain came in his turn into the chamber of
the French king, he asked him respectfully if it was his good pleasure
to permit him an interrogation on a subject concerning which he was as
curious as about papal indulgences? To which the Prince, casting aside
his hypochondriacal demeanour, and twisting round on the chair in
which he was seated, gave a sign of consent. The captain begged him
not to be offended at the licence of his language, and confessed to
him, that he the king was said to be one of the most amorous men in
France, and he would be glad to learn from him if the ladies of the
court were expert in the adventures of love. The poor king, calling to
mind his many adventures, gave vent to a deep-drawn sigh, and
exclaimed, that no woman of any country, including those of the moon,
knew better than the ladies of France the secrets of this alchemy and
at the remembrance of the savoury, gracious, and vigorous fondling of
one alone, he felt himself the man, were she then within his reach, to
clasp her to his heart, even on a rotten plank a hundred feet above a
precipice.

Say which, this good king, a ribald fellow, if ever there was one,
shot forth so fiercely life and light from his eyes, that the captain,
though a brave man, felt a quaking in his inside so fiercely flamed
the sacred majesty of royal love. But recovering his courage he began
to defend the Spanish ladies, declaring that in Castile alone was love
properly understood, because it was the most religious place in
Christendom, and the more fear the women had of damning themselves by
yielding to a lover, the more their souls were in the affair, because
they knew they must take their pleasure then against eternity. He
further added, that if the Lord King would wager one of the best and
most profitable manors in the kingdom of France, he would give him a
Spanish night of love, in which a casual queen should, unless he took
care, draw his soul from his body.

"Done," said the king, jumping from his chair. "I'll give thee, by
God, the manor of Ville-aux-Dames in my province of Touraine, with
full privilege of chase, of high and low jurisdiction."

Then, the captain, who was acquainted with the Donna of the Cardinal
Archbishop of Toledo requested her to smother the King of France with
kindness, and demonstrate to him the great advantage of the Castilian
imagination over the simple movement of the French. To which the
Marchesa of Amaesguy consented for the honour of Spain, and also for
the pleasure of knowing of what paste God made Kings, a matter in
which she was ignorant, having experience only of the princes of the
Church. Then she became passionate as a lion that has broken out of
his cage, and made the bones of the king crack in a manner that would
have killed any other man. But the above-named lord was so well
furnished, so greedy, and so will bitten, he no longer felt a bite;
and from this terrible duel the Marchesa emerged abashed, believing
she had the devil to confess.

The captain, confident in his agent, came to salute his lord, thinking
to do honour for his fief. Thereupon the king said to him, in a
jocular manner, that the Spanish ladies were of a passable
temperature, and their system a fair one, but that when gentleness was
required they substituted frenzy; that he kept fancying each thrill
was a sneeze, or a case of violence; in short, that the embrace of a
French woman brought back the drinker more thirsty than ever, tiring
him never; and that with the ladies of his court, love was a gentle
pleasure without parallel, and not the labour of a master baker in his
kneading trough.

The poor captain was strongly piqued at his language. In spite of the
nice sense of honour which the king pretended to possess, he fancied
that his majesty wished to bilk him like a student, stealing a slice
of love at a brothel in Paris. Nevertheless, not knowing for the
matter of that, if the Marchesa had not over-spanished the king, he
demanded his revenge from the captive, pledging him his word, that he
should have for certain a veritable fay, and that he would yet gain
the fief. The king was too courteous and gallant a knight to refuse
this request, and even made a pretty and right royal speech,
intimating his desire to lose the wager. Then, after vespers, the
guard passed fresh and warm into the king's chamber, a lady most
dazzlingly white--most delicately wanton, with long tresses and velvet
hands, filling out her dress at the least movement, for she was
gracefully plump, with a laughing mouth, and eyes moist in advance, a
woman to beautify hell, and whose first word had such cordial power
that the king's garment was cracked by it. On the morrow, after the
fair one had slipped out after the king's breakfast, the good captain
came radiant and triumphant into the chamber.

At sight of him the prisoner then exclaimed--

"Baron de la Ville-aux-Dames! God grant you joys like to mine! I like
my jail! By'r lady, I will not judge between the love of our lands,
but pay the wager."

"I was sure of it," said the captain.

"How so?" said the King.

"Sire, it was my wife."

This was the origin of Larray de la Ville-aux-Dames in our country,
since from corruption of the names, that of Lara-y-Lopez, finished by
becoming Larray. It was a good family, delighting in serving the kings
of France, and it multiplied exceedingly. Soon after, the Queen of
Navarre came in due course to the king, who, weary of Spanish customs,
wished to disport himself after the fashion of France; but remainder
is not the subject of this narrative. I reserve to myself the right to
relate elsewhere how the legate managed to sponge the sin of the thing
off the great slate, and the delicate remark of our Queen of
Marguerites, who merits a saint's niche in this collection; she who
first concocted such good stories. The morality of this one is easy to
understand.

In the first place, kings should never let themselves be taken in
battle any more than their archetype in the game of the Grecian chief
Palamedes. But from this, it appears the captivity of its king is a
most calamitous and horrible evil to fall on the populace. If it had
been a queen, or even a princess, what worse fate? But I believe the
thing could not happen again, except with cannibals. Can there ever be
a reason for imprisoning the flower of a realm? I think too well of
Ashtaroth, Lucifer, and others, to imagine that did they reign, they
would hide the joy of all the beneficent light, at which poor
sufferers warm themselves. And it was necessary that the worst of
devils, _id est_, a wicked old heretic woman, should find herself upon
a throne, to keep a prisoner sweet Mary of Scotland, to the shame of
all the knights of Christendom, who should have come without previous
assignation to the foot of Fotheringay, and have left thereof no
single stone.



               THE MERRY TATTLE OF THE NUNS OF POISSY

The Abbey of Poissy has been rendered famous by old authors as a place
of pleasure, where the misconduct of the nuns first began, and whence
proceeded so many good stories calculated to make laymen laugh at the
expense of our holy religion. The said abbey by this means became
fertile in proverbs, which none of the clever folks of our day
understand, although they sift and chew them in order to digest them.

If you ask one of them what the _olives of Poissy_ are, they will
answer you gravely that it is a periphrase relating to truffles, and
that the _way to serve them_, of which one formerly spoke, when joking
with these virtuous maidens, meant a peculiar kind of sauce. That's
the way the scribblers hit on truth once in a hundred times. To return
to these good recluses, it was said--by way of a joke, of course--that
they preferred finding a harlot in their chemises to a good woman.
Certain other jokers reproached them with imitating the lives of the
saints, in their own fashion, and said that all they admired in Mary
of Egypt was her fashion of paying the boatmen. From whence the
raillery: To honour the saints after the fashion of Poissy. There is
still the crucifix of Poissy, which kept the stomachs warm; and the
matins of Poissy, which concluded with a little chorister. Finally, of
a hearty jade well acquainted with the ways of love, it was said--She
is a nun of Poissy. That property of a man which he can only lend, was
The key of the Abbey of Poissy. What the gate of the said abbey was
can easily be guessed. This gate, door, wicket, opening, or road was
always half open, was easier to open than to shut, and cost much in
repairs. In short, at that period, there was no fresh device in love
invented, that had not its origin in the good convent of Poissy. You
may be sure there is a good deal of untruth and hyperbolical emphasis,
in these proverbs, jests, jokes, and idle tales. The nuns of the said
Poissy were good young ladies, who now this way, now that, cheated God
to the profit of the devil, as many others did, which was but natural,
because our nature is weak; and although they were nuns, they had
their little imperfections. They found themselves barren in a certain
particular, hence the evil. But the truth of the matter is, all these
wickednesses were the deeds of an abbess who had fourteen children,
all born alive, since they had been perfected at leisure. The
fantastic amours and the wild conduct of this woman, who was of royal
blood, caused the convent of Poissy to become fashionable; and
thereafter no pleasant adventure happened in the abbeys of France
which was not credited to these poor girls, who would have been well
satisfied with a tenth of them. Then the abbey was reformed, and these
holy sisters were deprived of the little happiness and liberty which
they had enjoyed. In an old cartulary of the abbey of Turpenay, near
Chinon, which in those later troublous times had found a resting place
in the library of Azay, where the custodian was only too glad to
receive it, I met with a fragment under the head of The Hours of
Poissy, which had evidently been put together by a merry abbot of
Turpenay for the diversion of his neighbours of Usee, Azay, Mongaugar,
Sacchez, and other places of this province. I give them under the
authority of the clerical garb, but altered to my own style, because I
have been compelled to turn them from Latin into French. I commence:
--At Poissy the nuns were accustomed to, when Mademoiselle, the king's
daughter, their abbess, had gone to bed..... It was she who first
called it _faire la petite oie_, to stick to the preliminaries of
love, the prologues, prefaces, protocols, warnings, notices,
introductions, summaries, prospectuses, arguments, notices, epigraphs,
titles, false-titles, current titles, scholia, marginal remarks,
frontispieces, observations, gilt edges, bookmarks, reglets,
vignettes, tail pieces, and engravings, without once opening the merry
book to read, re-read, and study to apprehend and comprehend the
contents. And she gathered together in a body all those extra-judicial
little pleasures of that sweet language, which come indeed from the
lips, yet make no noise, and practised them so well, that she died a
virgin and perfect in shape. The gay science was after deeply studied
by the ladies of the court, who took lovers for _la petite oie_,
others for honour, and at times also certain ones who had over them
the right of high and low jurisdiction, and were masters of everything
--a state of things much preferred. But to continue: When this
virtuous princess was naked and shameless between the sheets, the said
girls (those whose cheeks were unwrinkled and their hearts gay) would
steal noiselessly out of their cells, and hide themselves in that of
one of the sisters who was much liked by all of them. There they would
have cosy little chats, enlivened with sweetmeats, pasties, liqueurs,
and girlish quarrels, worry their elders, imitating them grotesquely,
innocently mocking them, telling stories that made them laugh till the
tears came and playing a thousand pranks. At times they would measure
their feet, to see whose were the smallest, compare the white
plumpness of their arms, see whose nose had the infirmity of blushing
after supper, count their freckles, tell each other where their skin
marks were situated, dispute whose complexion was the clearest, whose
hair the prettiest colour, and whose figure the best. You can imagine
that among these figures sanctified to God there were fine ones, stout
ones, lank ones, thin ones, plump ones, supple ones, shrunken ones,
and figures of all kinds. Then they would quarrel amongst themselves
as to who took the least to make a girdle, and she who spanned the
least was pleased without knowing why. At times they would relate
their dreams and what they had seen in them. Often one or two, at
times all of them, had dreamed they had tight hold of the keys of the
abbey. Then they would consult each other about their little ailments.
One had scratched her finger, another had a whitlow; this one had
risen in the morning with the white of her eye bloodshot; that one had
put her finger out, telling her beads. All had some little thing the
matter with them.

"Ah! you have lied to our mother; your nails are marked with white,"
said one to her neighbour.

"You stopped a long time at confession this morning, sister," said
another. "You must have a good many little sins to confess."

As there is nothing resembles a pussy-cat so much as a tom-cat, they
would swear eternal friendship, quarrel, sulk, dispute and make it up
again; would be jealous, laugh and pinch, pinch and laugh, and play
tricks upon the novices.

At times they would say, "Suppose a gendarme came here one rainy day,
where should we put him?"

"With Sister Ovide; her cell is so big he could get into it with his
helmet on."

"What do you mean?" cried Sister Ovide, "are not all our cells alike?"

Thereupon the girls burst out laughing like ripe figs. One evening
they increased their council by a little novice, about seventeen years
of age, who appeared innocent as a new-born babe, and would have had
the host without confession. This maiden's mouth had long watered for
their secret confabulations, little feasts and rejoicings by which the
nuns softened the holy captivity of their bodies, and had wept at not
being admitted to them.

"Well," said Sister Ovide to her, "have you had a good night's rest,
little one?"

"Oh no!" said she, "I have been bitten by fleas."

"Ha! you have fleas in your cell? But you must get rid of them at
once. Do you know how the rules of our order enjoin them to be driven
out, so that never again during her conventional life shall a sister
see so much as the tail of one?"

"No," replied the novice.

"Well then, I will teach you. Do you see any fleas here? Do you notice
any trace of fleas? Do you smell an odour of fleas? Is there any
appearance of fleas in my cell? Look!"

"I can't find any," said the little novice, who was Mademoiselle de
Fiennes, "and smell no odour other than our own."

"Do as I am about to tell you, and be no more bitten. Directly you
feel yourself pricked, you must strip yourself, lift your chemise, and
be careful not to sin while looking all over your body; think only of
the cursed flea, looking for it, in good faith, without paying
attention to other things; trying only to catch the flea, which is a
difficult job, as you may easily be deceived by the little black spots
on your skin, which you were born with. Have you any, little one?"

"Yes," cried she. "I have two dark freckles, one on my shoulder and
one on my back, rather low down, but it is hidden in a fold of the
flesh."

"How did you see it?" asked Sister Perpetue.

"I did not know it. It was Monsieur de Montresor who found it out."

"Ha, ha!" said the sister, "is that all he saw?"

"He saw everything," said she, "I was quite little; he was about nine
years old, and we were playing together...."

The nuns hardly being able to restrain their laughter, Sister Ovide
went on--

"The above-mentioned flea will jump from your legs to your eyes, will
try and hide himself in apertures and crevices, will leap from valley
to mountain, endeavouring to escape you; but the rules of the house
order you courageously to pursue, repeating aves. Ordinarily at the
third ave the beast is taken."

"The flea?" asked the novice.

"Certainly the flea," replied Sister Ovide; "but in order to avoid the
dangers of this chase, you must be careful in whatever spot you put
your finger on the beast, to touch nothing else.... Then without
regarding its cries, plaints, groans, efforts, and writhings, and the
rebellion which frequently it attempts, you will press it under your
thumb or other finger of the hand engaged in holding it, and with the
other hand you will search for a veil to bind the flea's eyes and
prevent it from leaping, as the beast seeing no longer clearly will
not know where to go. Nevertheless, as it will still be able to bite
you, and will be getting terribly enraged, you must gently open its
mouth and delicately insert therein a twig of the blessed brush that
hangs over your pillow. Thus the beast will be compelled to behave
properly. But remember that the discipline of our order allows you to
retain no property, and the beast cannot belong to you. You must take
into consideration that it is one of God's creatures, and strive to
render it more agreeable. Therefore, before all things, it is
necessary to verify three serious things--viz.: If the flea be a male,
if it be female, or if it be a virgin; supposing it to be a virgin,
which is extremely rare, since these beasts have no morals, are all
wild hussies, and yield to the first seducer who comes, you will seize
her hinder feet, and drawing them under her little caparison, you must
bind them with one of your hairs, and carry it to your superior, who
will decide upon its fate after having consulted the chapter. If it be
a male--"

"How can one tell that a flea is a virgin? asked the curious novice.

"First of all," replied Sister Ovide, "she is sad and melancholy, does
not laugh like the others, does not bite so sharp, has her mouth less
wide open, blushes when touched--you know where."

"In that case," replied the novice, "I have been bitten by a male."

At this the sisters burst out laughing so heartily that one of them
sounded a bass note and voided a little water and Sister Ovide
pointing to it on the floor, said--

"You see there's never wind without rain."

The novice laughed herself, thinking that these chuckles were caused
by the sister's exclamation.

"Now," went on Sister Ovide, "if it be a male flea, you take your
scissors, or your lover's dagger, if by chance he has given you one as
a souvenir, previous to your entry into the convent. In short,
furnished with a cutting instrument, you carefully slit open the
flanks of the flea. Expect to hear him howl, cough, spit, beg your
pardon; to see him twist about, sweat, make sheep's eyes, and anything
that may come into his head to put off this operation. But be not
astonished; pluck up your courage when thinking that you are acting
thus to bring a perverted creature into the ways of salvation. Then
you will dextrously take the reins, the liver, the heart, the gizzard,
and noble parts, and dip them all several times into the holy water,
washing and purifying them there, at the same time imploring the Holy
Ghost to sanctify the interior of the beast. Afterwards you will
replace all these intestinal things in the body of the flea, who will
be anxious to get them back again. Being by this means baptised, the
soul of the creature has become Catholic. Immediately you will get a
needle and thread and sew up the belly of the flea with great care,
with such regard and attention as is due to a fellow Christian; you
will even pray for it--a kindness to which you will see it is sensible
by its genuflections and the attentive glances which it will bestow
upon you. In short, it will cry no more, and have no further desire to
kill you; and fleas are often encountered who die from pleasure at
being thus converted to our holy religion. You will do the same to all
you catch; and the others perceiving it, after staring at the convert,
will go away, so perverse are they, and so terrified at the idea of
becoming Christians."

"And they are therefore wicked," said the novice. "Is there any
greater happiness than to be in the bosom of the Church?"

"Certainly!" answered sister Ursula, "here we are sheltered from the
dangers of the world and of love, in which there are so many."

"Is there any other danger than that of having a child at an
unseasonable time?" asked a young sister.

"During the present reign," replied Ursula, raising her head, "love
has inherited leprosy, St Anthony's fire, the Ardennes' sickness, and
the red rash, and has heaped up all the fevers, agonies, drugs and
sufferings of the lot in his pretty mortar, to draw out therefrom a
terrible compound, of which the devil has given the receipt, luckily
for convents, because there are a great number of frightened ladies,
who become virtuous for fear of this love."

Thereupon they huddled up close together, alarmed at these words, but
wishing to know more.

"And is it enough to love, to suffer?" asked a sister.

"Oh, yes!" cried Sister Ovide.

"You love just for one little once a pretty gentleman," replied
Ursula, "and you have the chance of seeing your teeth go one by one,
your hair fall off, your cheeks grow pallid, and your eyebrows drop,
and the disappearance of your prized charms will cost you many a sigh.
There are poor women who have scabs come upon their noses, and others
who have a horrid animal with a hundred claws, which gnaws their
tenderest parts. The Pope has at last been compelled to excommunicate
this kind of love."

"Ah! how lucky I am to have had nothing of that sort," cried the
novice.

Hearing this souvenir of love, the sisters suspected that the little
one had gone astray through the heat of a crucifix of Poissy, and had
been joking with the Sister Ovide, and drawing her out. All
congratulated themselves on having so merry a jade in their company,
and asked her to what adventure they were indebted for that pleasure.

"Ah!" said she, "I let myself be bitten by a big flea, who had already
been baptised."

At this speech, the sister of the bass note could not restrain a
second sign.

"Ah!" said Sister Ovide, "you are bound to give us the third. If you
spoke that language in the choir, the abbess would diet you like
Sister Petronille; so put a sordine in your trumpet."

"Is it true that you knew in her lifetime that Sister Petronille on
whom God bestowed the gift of only going twice a year to the bank of
deposit?" asked Sister Ursula.

"Yes," replied Ovide. "And one evening it happened she had to remain
enthroned until matins, saying, 'I am here by the will of God.' But at
the first verse, she was delivered, in order that she should not miss
the office. Nevertheless, the late abbess would not allow that this
was an especial favour, granted from on high, and said that God did
not look so low. Here are the facts of the case. Our defunct sister,
whose canonisation the order are now endeavouring to obtain at the
court of the Pope, and would have had it if they could have paid the
proper costs of the papal brief; this Petronille, then, had an
ambition to have her name included in the Calendar of Saints, which
was in no way prejudicial to our order. She lived in prayer alone,
would remain in ecstasy before the altar of the virgin, which is on
the side of the fields, and pretend so distinctly to hear the angels
flying in Paradise, that she was able to hum the tunes they were
singing. You all know that she took from them the chant Adoremus, of
which no man could have invented a note. She remained for days with
her eyes fixed like the star, fasting, and putting no more nourishment
into her body that I could into my eye. She had made a vow never to
taste meat, either cooked or raw, and ate only a crust of bread a day;
but on great feast days she would add thereto a morsel of salt fish,
without any sauce. On this diet she became dreadfully thin, yellow and
saffron, and dry as an old bone in a cemetery; for she was of an
ardent disposition, and anyone who had had the happiness of knocking
up against her, would have drawn fire as from a flint. However, little
as she ate, she could not escape an infirmity to which, luckily or
unluckily, we are all more or less subject. If it were otherwise, we
should be very much embarrassed. The affair in question, is the
obligation of expelling after eating, like all the other animals,
matter more or less agreeable, according to constitution. Now Sister
Petronille differed from all others, because she expelled matter such
as is left by a deer, and these are the hardest substances that any
gizzard produces, as you must know, if you have ever put your foot
upon them in the forest glade, and from their hardness they are called
bullets in the language of forestry. This peculiarity of Sister
Petronille's was not unnatural, since long fasts kept her temperament
at a permanent heat. According to the old sisters, her nature was so
burning, that when water touched her, she went frist! like a hot coal.
There are sisters who have accused her of secretly cooking eggs, in
the night, between her toes, in order to support her austerities. But
these were scandals, invented to tarnish this great sanctity of which
all the other nunneries were jealous. Our sister was piloted in the
way of salvation and divine perfection by the Abbot of St.
Germaine-des-Pres de Paris--a holy man, who always finished his
Injunctions with a last one, which was to offer to God all our
troubles, and submit ourselves to His will, since nothing happened
without His express commandment. This doctrine, which appears wise at
first sight, has furnished matter for great controversies, and has
been finally condemned on the statement of the Cardinal of Chatillon,
who declared that then there would be no such thing as sin, which
would considerably diminish the revenues of the Church. But Sister
Petronille lived imbued with this feeling, without knowing the danger
of it. After Lent, and the fasts of the great jubilee, for the first
time for eight months she had need to go to the little room, and to it
she went. There, bravely lifting her dress, she put herself into a
position to do that which we poor sinners do rather oftener. But
Sister Petronille could only manage to expectorate the commencement of
the thing, which kept her puffing without the remainder making up its
mind to follow. In spite of every effort, pursing of the lips and
squeezing of body, her guest preferred to remain in her blessed body,
merely putting his head out of the window, like a frog taking the air,
and felt no inclination to fall into the vale of misery among the
others, alleging that he would not be there in the odour of sanctity.
And his idea was a good one for a simple lump of dirt like himself.
The good saint having used all methods of coercion, having
overstretched her muscles, and tried the nerves of her thin face till
they bulged out, recognised the fact that no suffering in the world
was so great, and her anguish attaining the apogee of sphincterial
terrors, she exclaimed, 'Oh! my God, to Thee I offer it!' At this
orison, the stoney matter broke off short, and fell like a flint
against the wall of the privy, making a croc, croc, crooc, paf! You
can easily understand, my sisters, that she had no need of a
torch-cul, and drew back the remainder."

"Then did she see angels?" asked one.

"Have they a behind?" asked another.

"Certainly not," said Ursula. "Do you not know that one general
meeting day, God having ordered them to be seated, they answered Him
that they had not the wherewithal."

Thereupon they went off to bed, some alone, others nearly alone. They
were good girls, who harmed only themselves.

I cannot leave them without relating an adventure which took place in
their house, when Reform was passing a sponge over it, and making them
all saints, as before stated. At that time, there was in the episcopal
chair of Paris a veritable saint, who did not brag about what he did,
and cared for naught but the poor and suffering, whom the dear old
Bishop lodged in his heart, neglecting his own interests for theirs,
and seeking out misery in order that he might heal it with words, with
help, with attentions, and with money, according to the case: as ready
to solace the rich in their misfortunes as the poor, patching up their
souls and bringing them back to God; and tearing about hither and
thither, watching his troop, the dear shepherd! Now the good man went
about careless of the state of his cassocks, mantles, and breeches, so
that the naked members of the church were covered. He was so
charitable that he would have pawned himself to save an infidel from
distress. His servants were obliged to look after him carefully.
Ofttimes he would scold them when they changed unasked his tattered
vestments for new; and he used to have them darned and patched, as
long as they would hold together. Now this good archbishop knew that
the late Sieur de Poissy had left a daughter, without a sou or a rag,
after having eaten, drunk, and gambled away her inheritance. This poor
young lady lived in a hovel, without fire in winter or cherries in
spring; and did needlework, not wishing either to marry beneath her or
sell her virtue. Awaiting the time when he should be able to find a
young husband for her, the prelate took it into his head to send her
the outside case of one to mend, in the person of his old breeches, a
task which the young lady, in her present position, would be glad to
undertake. One day that the archbishop was thinking to himself that he
must go to the convent of Poissy, to see after the reformed inmates,
he gave to one of his servants, the oldest of his nether garments,
which was sorely in need of stitches, saying, "Take this, Saintot, to
the young ladies of Poissy," meaning to say, "the young lady of
Poissy." Thinking of affairs connected with the cloister, he did not
inform his varlet of the situation of the lady's house; her desperate
condition having been by him discreetly kept a secret. Saintot took
the breeches and went his way towards Poissy, gay as a grasshopper,
stopping to chat with friends he met on the way, slaking his thirst at
the wayside inns, and showing many things to the breeches during the
journey that might hereafter be useful to them. At last he arrived at
the convent, and informed the abbess that his master had sent him to
give her these articles. When the varlet departed, leaving with the
reverend mother, the garment accustomed to model in relief the
archiepiscopal proportions of the continent nature of the good man,
according to the fashion of the period, beside the image of those
things of which the Eternal Father had deprived His angels, and which
in the good prelate did not want for amplitude. Madame the abbess
having informed the sisters of the precious message of the good
archbishop they came in haste, curious and hustling, as ants into
whose republic a chestnut husk has fallen. When they undid the
breeches, which gaped horribly, they shrieked out, covering their eyes
with one hand, in great fear of seeing the devil come out, the abbess
exclaiming, "Hide yourselves my daughters! This is the abode of mortal
sin!"

The mother of the novices, giving a little look between her fingers,
revived the courage of the holy troop, swearing by an Ave that no
living head was domiciled in the breeches. Then they all blushed at
their ease, while examining this habitavit, thinking that perhaps the
desire of the prelate was that they should discover therein some sage
admonition or evangelical parable. Although this sight caused certain
ravages in the hearts of those most virtuous maidens, they paid little
attention to the flutterings of their reins, but sprinkling a little
holy water in the bottom of the abyss, one touched it, another passed
her finger through a hole, and grew bolder looking at it. It has even
been pretended that, their first stir over, the abbess found a voice
sufficiently firm to say, "What is there at the bottom of this? With
what idea has our father sent us that which consummates the ruin of
women?"

"It's fifteen years, dear mother, since I have been permitted to gaze
upon the demon's den."

"Silence, my daughter. You prevent me thinking what is best to be
done."

Then so much were these archiepiscopal breeches turned and twisted
about, admired and re-admired, pulled here, pulled there, and turned
inside out--so much were they talked about, fought about, thought
about, dreamed about, night and day, that on the morrow a little
sister said, after having sung the matins, to which the convent had a
verse and two responses--"Sisters, I have found out the parable of the
archbishop. He has sent us as a mortification his garment to mend, as
a holy warning to avoid idleness, the mother abbess of all the vices."

Thereupon there was a scramble to get hold of the breeches; but the
abbess, using her high authority, reserved to herself the meditation
over this patchwork. She was occupied during ten days, praying, and
sewing the said breeches, lining them with silk, and making double
hems, well sewn, and in all humility. Then the chapter being
assembled, it was arranged that the convent should testify by a pretty
souvenir to the said archbishop their delight that he thought of his
daughters in God. Then all of them, to the very youngest, had to do
some work on these blessed breeches, in order to do honour to the
virtue of the good man.

Meanwhile the prelate had had so much to attend to, that he had
forgotten all about his garment. This is how it came about. He made
the acquaintance of a noble of the court, who, having lost his wife--a
she-fiend and sterile--said to the good priest, that he had a great
ambition to meet with a virtuous woman, confiding in God, with whom he
was not likely to quarrel, and was likely to have pretty children.
Such a one he desired to hold by the hand, and have confidence in.
Then the holy man drew such a picture of Mademoiselle de Poissy, that
this fair one soon became Madame de Genoilhac. The wedding was
celebrated at the archiepiscopal palace, where was a feast of the
first quality and a table bordered with ladies of the highest lineage,
and the fashionable world of the court, among whom the bride appeared
the most beautiful, since it has certain that she was a virgin, the
archbishop guaranteeing her virtue.

When the fruit, conserves, and pastry were with many ornaments
arranged on the cloth, Saintot said to the archbishop, "Monseigneur,
your well-beloved daughters of Poissy send you a fine dish for the
centre."

"Put it there," said the good man, gazing with admiration at an
edifice of velvet and satin, embroidered with fine ribbon, in the
shape of an ancient vase, the lid of which exhaled a thousand
superfine odours.

Immediately the bride, uncovering it, found therein sweetmeats, cakes,
and those delicious confections to which the ladies are so partial.
But of one of them--some curious devotee--seeing a little piece of
silk, pulled it towards her, and exposed to view the habitation of the
human compass, to the great confusion of the prelate, for laughter
rang round the table like a discharge of artillery.

"Well have they made the centre dish," said the bridegroom. "These
young ladies are of good understanding. Therein are all the sweets of
matrimony."

Can there be any better moral than that deduced by Monsieur de
Genoilhac? Then no other is needed.



              HOW THE CHATEAU D'AZAY CAME TO BE BUILT

Jehan, son of Simon Fourniez, called Simonnin, a citizen of Tours
--originally of the village of Moulinot, near to Beaune, whence, in
imitation of certain persons, he took the name when he became steward
to Louis the Eleventh--had to fly one day into Languedoc with his
wife, having fallen into great disgrace, and left his son Jacques
penniless in Touraine. This youth, who possessed nothing in the world
except his good looks, his sword, and spurs, but whom worn-out old men
would have considered very well off, had in his head a firm intention
to save his father, and make his fortune at the court, then holden in
Touraine. At early dawn this good Tourainian left his lodging, and,
enveloped in his mantle, all except his nose, which he left open to
the air, and his stomach empty, walked about the town without any
trouble of digestion. He entered the churches, thought them beautiful,
looked into the chapels, flicked the flies from the pictures, and
counted the columns all after the manner of a man who knew not what to
do with his time or his money. At other times he feigned to recite his
paternosters, but really made mute prayers to the ladies, offered them
holy water when leaving, followed them afar off, and endeavoured by
these little services to encounter some adventure, in which at the
peril of his life he would find for himself a protector or a gracious
mistress. He had in his girdle two doubloons which he spared far more
than his skin, because that would be replaced, but the doubloons
never. Each day he took from his little hoard the price of a roll and
a few apples, with which he sustained life, and drank at his will and
his discretion of the water of the Loire. This wholesome and prudent
diet, besides being good for his doubloons, kept him frisky and light
as a greyhound, gave him a clear understanding and a warm heart for
the water of the Loire is of all syrups the most strengthening,
because having its course afar off it is invigorated by its long run,
through many strands, before it reaches Tours. So you may be sure that
the poor fellow imagined a thousand and one good fortunes and lucky
adventures, and what is more, almost believed them true. Oh! The good
times! One evening Jacques de Beaune (he kept the name although he was
not lord of Beaune) was walking along the embankment, occupied in
cursing his star and everything, for his last doubloon was with scant
respect upon the point of quitting him; when at the corner of a little
street, he nearly ran against a veiled lady, whose sweet odour
gratified his amorous senses. This fair pedestrian was bravely mounted
on pretty pattens, wore a beautiful dress of Italian velvet, with wide
slashed satin sleeves; while as a sign of her great fortune, through
her veil a white diamond of reasonable size shone upon her forehead
like the rays of the setting sun, among her tresses, which were
delicately rolled, built up, and so neat, that they must have taken
her maids quite three hours to arrange. She walked like a lady who was
only accustomed to a litter. One of her pages followed her, well
armed. She was evidently some light o'love belonging to a noble of
high rank or a lady of the court, since she held her dress high off
the ground, and bent her back like a woman of quality. Lady or
courtesan she pleased Jacques de Beaune, who, far from turning up his
nose at her, conceived the wild idea of attaching himself to her for
life. With this in view he determined to follow her in order to
ascertain whither she would lead him--to Paradise or to the limbo of
hell--to a gibbet or to an abode of love. Anything was a glean of hope
to him in the depth of his misery. The lady strolled along the bank of
the Loire towards Plessis inhaling like a fish the fine freshness of
the water, toying, sauntering like a little mouse who wishes to see
and taste everything. When the page perceived that Jacques de Beaune
persistently followed his mistress in all her movements, stopped when
she stopped, and watched her trifling in a bare-faced fashion, as if
he had a right so to do, he turned briskly round with a savage and
threatening face, like that of a dog whose says, "Stand back, sir!"
But the good Tourainian had his wits about him. Believing that if a
cat may look at king, he, a baptised Christian, might certainly look
at a pretty woman, he stepped forward, and feigning to grin at the
page, he strutted now behind and now before the lady. She said
nothing, but looked at the sky, which was putting on its nightcap, the
stars, and everything which could give her pleasure. So things went
on. At last, arrived outside Portillon, she stood still, and in order
to see better, cast her veil back over her shoulder, and in so doing
cast upon the youth the glance of a clever woman who looks round to
see if there is any danger of being robbed. I may tell you that
Jacques de Beaune was a thorough ladies' man, could walk by the side
of a princess without disgracing her, had a brave and resolute air
which please the sex, and if he was a little browned by the sun from
being so much in the open air, his skin would look white enough under
the canopy of a bed. The glance, keen as a needle, which the lady
threw him, appeared to him more animated than that with which she
would have honoured her prayer-book. Upon it he built the hope of a
windfall of love, and resolved to push the adventure to the very edge
of the petticoat, risking to go still further, not only his lips,
which he held of little count, but his two ears and something else
besides. He followed into the town the lady, who returned by the Rue
des Trois-Pucelles, and led the gallant through a labyrinth of little
streets, to the square in which is at the present time situated the
Hotel de la Crouzille. There she stopped at the door of a splendid
mansion, at which the page knocked. A servant opened it, and the lady
went in and closed the door, leaving the Sieur de Beaune open-mouthed,
stupefied, and as foolish as Monseigneur St. Denis when he was trying
to pick up his head. He raised his nose in the air to see if some
token of favour would be thrown to him, and saw nothing except a light
which went up the stairs, through the rooms, and rested before a fine
window, where probably the lady was also. You can believe that the
poor lover remained melancholy and dreaming, and not knowing what to
do. The window gave a sudden creak and broke his reverie. Fancying
that his lady was about to call him, he looked up again, and but for
the friendly shelter of the balcony, which was a helmet to him, he
would have received a stream of water and the utensil which contained
it, since the handle only remained in the grasp of the person who
delivered the deluge. Jacques de Beaune, delighted at this, did not
lose the opportunity, but flung himself against the wall, crying "I am
killed," with a feeble voice. Then stretching himself upon the
fragments of broken china, he lay as if dead, awaiting the issue. The
servants rushed out in a state of alarm, fearing their mistress, to
whom they had confessed their fault, and picked up the wounded man,
who could hardly restrain his laughter at being then carried up the
stairs.

"He is cold," said the page.

"He is covered with blood," said the butler, who while feeling his
pulse had wetted his hand.

"If he revives," said the guilty one, "I will pay for a mass to St.
Gatien."

"Madame takes after her late father, and if she does not have thee
hanged, the least mitigation of thy penalty will be that thou wilt be
kicked out of her house and service," said another. "Certes, he's dead
enough, he is so heavy."

"Ah! I am in the house of a very great lady," thought Jacques.

"Alas! is he really dead?" demanded the author of the calamity. While
with great labour the Tourainian was being carried up the stairs, his
doublet caught on a projection, and the dead man cried, "Ah, my
doublet!"

"He groans," said the culprit, with a sigh of relief. The Regent's
servants (for this was the house of the Regent, the daughter of King
Louis XI. of virtuous memory) brought Jacques de Beaune into a room,
and laid him stiff and stark upon a table, not thinking for a moment
that he could be saved.

"Run and fetch a surgeon," cried Madame de Beaujeu. "Run here, run
there!"

The servants were down the stairs in a trice. The good lady Regent
dispatched her attendants for ointment, for linen to bind the wounds,
for goulard-water, for so many things, that she remained alone. Gazing
upon this splendid and senseless man, she cried aloud, admiring his
presence and his features, handsome even in death. "Ah! God wishes to
punish me. Just for one little time in my life has there been born in
me, and taken possession of me, a naughty idea, and my patron saint is
angry, and deprives me of the sweetest gentleman I have ever seen. By
the rood, and by the soul of my father, I will hang every man who has
had a hand in this!"

"Madame," cried Jacques de Beaune, springing from the table, and
falling at the feet of the Regent, "I will live to serve you, and am
so little bruised that that I promise you this night as many joys as
there are months in the year, in imitation of the Sieur Hercules, a
pagan baron. For the last twenty days," he went on (thinking that
matters would be smoothed by a little lying), "I have met you again
and again. I fell madly in love with you, yet dared not, by reason of
my great respect for your person, make an advance. You can imagine how
intoxicated I must have been with your royal beauties, to have
invented the trick to which I owe the happiness of being at your
feet."

Thereupon he kissed her amorously, and gave her a look that would have
overcome any scruples. The Regent, by means of time, which respects
not queens, was, as everyone knows, in her middle age. In this
critical and autumnal season, women formally virtuous and loveless
desire now here, now there, to enjoy, unknown to the world, certain
hours of love, in order that they may not arrive in the other world
with hands and heart alike empty, through having left the fruit of the
tree of knowledge untasted. The lady of Beaujeu, without appearing to
be astonished while listening to the promises of this young man, since
royal personages ought to be accustomed to having them by dozens, kept
this ambitious speech in the depths of her memory or of her registry
of love, which caught fire at his words. Then she raised the
Tourainian, who still found in his misery the courage to smile at his
mistress, who had the majesty of a full-blown rose, ears like shoes,
and the complexion of a sick cat, but was so well-dressed, so fine in
figure, so royal of foot, and so queenly in carriage, that he might
still find in this affair means to gain his original object.

"Who are you?" said the Regent, putting on the stern look of her
father.

"I am your very faithful subject, Jacques de Beaune, son of your
steward, who has fallen into disgrace in spite of his faithful
services."

"Ah, well!" replied the lady, "lay yourself on the table again. I hear
someone coming; and it is not fit that my people should think me your
accomplice in this farce and mummery."

The good fellow perceived, by the soft sound of her voice, that he was
pardoned the enormity of his love. He lay down upon the table again,
and remembered how certain lords had ridden to court in an old stirrup
--a thought which perfectly reconciled him to his present position.

"Good," said the Regent to her maid-servants, "nothing is needed. This
gentleman is better; thanks to heaven and the Holy Virgin, there will
have been no murder in my house."

Thus saying, she passed her hand through the locks of the lover who
had fallen to her from the skies, and taking a little reviving water
she bathed his temples, undid his doublet, and under pretence of
aiding his recovery, verified better than an expert how soft and young
was the skin on this young fellow and bold promiser of bliss, and all
the bystanders, men and women, were amazed to see the Regent act thus.
But humanity never misbecomes those of royal blood. Jacques stood up,
and appeared to come to his senses, thanked the Regent most humbly,
and dismissed the physicians, master surgeons, and other imps in
black, saying that he had thoroughly recovered. Then he gave his name,
and saluting Madame de Beaujeu, wished to depart, as though afraid of
her on account of his father's disgrace, but no doubt horrified at his
terrible vow.

"I cannot permit it," said she. "Persons who come to my house should
not meet with such treatment as you have encountered. The Sieur de
Beaune will sup here," she added to her major domo. "He who has so
unduly insulted him will be at his mercy if he makes himself known
immediately; otherwise, I will have him found out and hanged by the
provost."

Hearing this, the page who had attended the lady during her promenade
stepped forward.

"Madame," said Jacques, "at my request pray both pardon and reward
him, since to him I owe the felicity of seeing you, the favour of
supping in your company, and perhaps that of getting my father
re-established in the office to which it pleased your glorious
father to appoint him."

"Well said," replied the Regent. "D'Estouteville," said she, turning
towards the page, "I give thee command of a company of archers. But
for the future do not throw things out of the window."

Then she, delighted with de Beaune, offered him her hand, and led him
most gallantly into her room, where they conversed freely together
while supper was being prepared. There the Sieur Jacques did not fail
to exhibit his talents, justify his father, and raise himself in the
estimation of the lady, who, as is well known, was like a father in
disposition, and did everything at random. Jacques de Beaune thought
to himself that it would be rather difficult for him to remain all
night with the Regent. Such matters are not so easily arranged as the
amours of cats, who have always a convenient refuge upon the housetops
for their moments of dalliance. So he rejoiced that he was known to
the Regent without being compelled to fulfil his rash promise, since
for this to be carried out it was necessary that the servants and
others should be out of the way, and her reputation safe.
Nevertheless, suspecting the powers of intrigue of the good lady, at
times he would ask himself if he were equal to the task. But beneath
the surface of conversation, the same thing was in the mind of the
Regent, who had already managed affairs quite as difficult, and she
began most cleverly to arrange the means. She sent for one of her
secretaries, an adept in all arts necessary for the perfect government
of a kingdom, and ordered him to give her secretly a false message
during the supper. Then came the repast, which the lady did not touch,
since her heart had swollen like a sponge, and so diminished her
stomach, for she kept thinking of this handsome and desirable man,
having no appetite save for him. Jacques did not fail to make a good
meal for many reasons. The messenger came, madame began to storm, and
to knit her brows after the manner of the late king, and to say, "Is
there never to be peace in this land? Pasques Dieu! can we not have
one quiet evening?" Then she rose and strode about the room. "Ho
there! My horse! Where is Monsieur de Vieilleville, my squire? Ah, he
is in Picardy. D'Estouteville, you will rejoin me with my household at
the Chateau d'Amboise...." And looking at Jacques, she said, "You
shall be my squire, Sieur de Beaune. You wish to serve the state. The
occasion is a good one. Pasques Dieu! come! There are rebels to
subdue, and faithful knights are needed."

In less time than an old beggar would have taken to say thank you, the
horses were bridled, saddled, and ready. Madame was on her mare, and
the Tourainian at her side, galloping at full speed to her castle at
Amboise, followed by the men-at-arms. To be brief and come to the
facts without further commentary, the De Beaune was lodged not twenty
yards from Madame, far from prying eyes. The courtiers and the
household, much astonished, ran about inquiring from what quarter the
danger might be expected; but our hero, taken at his word, knew well
enough where to find it. The virtue of the Regent, well known in the
kingdom, saved her from suspicion, since she was supposed to be as
impregnable as the Chateau de Peronne. At curfew, when everything was
shut, both ears and eyes, and the castle silent, Madame de Beaujeu
sent away her handmaid, and called for her squire. The squire came.
Then the lady and the adventurer sat side by side upon a velvet couch,
in the shadow of a lofty fireplace, and the curious Regent, with a
tender voice, asked of Jacques "Are you bruised? It was very wrong of
me to make a knight, wounded by one on my servants, ride twelve miles.
I was so anxious about it that I would not go to bed without having
seen you. Do you suffer?"

"I suffer with impatience," said he of the dozen, thinking it would
not do to appear reluctant. "I see well," continued he, "my noble and
beautiful mistress, that your servant has found favour in your sight."

"There, there!" replied she; "did you not tell a story when you
said--"

"What?" said he.

"Why, that you had followed me dozens of times to churches, and other
places to which I went."

"Certainly," said he.

"I am astonished," replied the Regent, "never to have seen until today
a noble youth whose courage is so apparent in his countenance. I am
not ashamed of that which you heard me say when I believed you dead.
You are agreeable to me, you please me, and you wish to do well."

Then the hour of the dreaded sacrifice having struck, Jacques fell at
the knees of the Regent, kissed her feet, her hands, and everything,
it is said; and while kissing her, previous to retirement, proved by
many arguments to the aged virtue of his sovereign, that a lady
bearing the burden of the state had a perfect right to enjoy herself
--a theory which was not directly admitted by the Regent, who
determined to be forced, in order to throw the burden of this sin upon
her lover. This notwithstanding, you may be sure that she had highly
perfumed and elegantly attired herself for the night, and shone with
desire for embraces, for desire lent her a high colour which greatly
improved her complexion; and in spite of her feeble resistance she was,
like a young girl, carried by assault in her royal couch, where the
good lady and her young dozener, embraced each other. Then from play to
quarrel, quarrel to riot, from riot to ribaldry, from thread to needle,
the Regent declared that she believed more in the virginity of the Holy
Mary than in the promised dozen. Now, by chance, Jacques de Beaune did
not find this great lady so very old between the sheets, since
everything is metamorphosed by the light of the lamps of the night.
Many women of fifty by day are twenty at midnight, as others are
twenty at mid-day and a hundred after vespers. Jacques, happier at
this sight than at that of the King on a hanging day, renewed his
undertaking. Madame, herself astonished, promised every assistance on
her part. The manor of Azay-le-Brule, with a good title thereto, she
undertook to confer upon her cavalier, as well as the pardon of his
father, if from this encounter she came forth vanquished, then the
clever fellows said to himself, "This is to save my father from
punishment! this for the fief! this for the letting and selling! this
for the forest of Azay! item for the right of fishing! another for the
Isles of the Indre! this for the meadows! I may as well release from
confiscation our land of La Carte, so dearly bought by my father! Once
more for a place at court!" Arriving without hindrance at this point,
he believed his dignity involved, and fancied that having France under
him, it was a question of the honour of the crown. In short, at the
cost of a vow which he made to his patron, Monsieur St. Jacques, to
build him a chapel at Azay, he presented his liege homage to the
Regent eleven clear, clean, limpid, and genuine periphrases.
Concerning the epilogue of this slow conversation, the Tourainian had
the great self-confidence to wish excellently to regale the Regent,
keeping for her on her waking the salute of an honest man, as it was
necessary for the lord of Azay to thank his sovereign, which was
wisely thought. But when nature is oppressed, she acts like a spirited
horse, lays down, and will die under the whip sooner than move until
it pleases her to rise reinvigorated. Thus, when in the morning the
seignior of the castle of Azay desired to salute the daughter of King
Louis XI., he was constrained, in spite of his courtesy, to make the
salute as royal salutes should be made--with blank cartridge only.
Therefore the Regent, after getting up, and while she was breakfasting
with Jacques, who called himself the legitimate Lord of Azay, seized
the occasion of this insufficiency to contradict her esquire, and
pretend, that as he had not gained his wager, he had not earned the
manor.

"Ventre-Saint-Paterne! I have been near enough," said Jacques. "But my
dear lady and noble sovereign it is not proper for either you or me to
judge in this cause. The case being an allodial case, must be brought
before your council, since the fief of Azay is held from the crown."

"Pasques dieu!" replied the Regent with a forced laugh. "I give you
the place of the Sieur de Vieilleville in my house. Don't trouble
about your father. I will give you Azay, and will place you in a royal
office if you can, without injury to my honour, state the case in full
council; but if one word falls to the damage of my reputation as a
virtuous women, I--"

"May I be hanged," said Jacques, turning the thing into a joke,
because there was a shade of anger in the face of Madame de Beaujeu.

In fact, the daughter of King Louis thought more of her royalty than
of the roguish dozen, which she considered as nothing, since fancying
she had had her night's amusement without loosening her purse-strings,
she preferred the difficult recital of his claim to another dozen
offered her by the Tourainian.

"Then, my lady," replied her good companion, "I shall certainly be
your squire."

The captains, secretaries, and other persons holding office under the
regency, astonished at the sudden departure of Madame de Beaujeu,
learned the cause of her anxiety, and came in haste to the castle of
Amboise to discover whence preceded the rebellion, and were in
readiness to hold a council when her Majesty had arisen. She called
them together, not to be suspected of having deceived them, and gave
them certain falsehoods to consider, which they considered most
wisely. At the close of the sitting, came the new squire to accompany
his mistress. Seeing the councillors rising, the bold Tourainian
begged them to decide a point of law which concerned both himself and
the property of the Crown.

"Listen to him," said the Regent. "He speaks truly."

Then Jacques de Beaune, without being nervous at the sight of this
august court, spoke as follows, or thereabouts:--"Noble Lords, I beg
you, although I am about to speak to you of walnut shells, to give
your attention to this case, and pardon me the trifling nature of my
language. One lord was walking with another in a fruit garden, and
noticed a fine walnut tree, well planted, well grown, worth looking
at, worth keeping, although a little empty; a nut tree always fresh,
sweet-smelling, the tree which you would not leave if you once saw it,
a tree of love which seemed the tree of good and evil, forbidden by
the Lord, through which were banished our mother Eve and the gentleman
her husband. Now, my lords, this said walnut tree was the subject of a
slight dispute between the two, and one of those many wagers which are
occasionally made between friends. The younger boasted that he could
throw twelve times through it a stick which he had in his hand at the
time--as many people have who walk in a garden--and with each flight
of the stick he would send a nut to the ground--"

"That is, I believe the knotty point of the case," said Jacques
turning towards the Regent.

"Yes, gentlemen," replied she, surprised at the craft of her squire.

"The other wagered to the contrary," went on the pleader. "Now the
first named throws his stick with such precision of aim, so gently,
and so well that both derived pleasure therefrom, and by the joyous
protection of the saints, who no doubt were amused spectators, with
each throw there fell a nut; in fact, there fell twelve. But by chance
the last of the fallen nuts was empty, and had no nourishing pulp from
which could have come another nut tree, had the gardener planted it.
Has the man with the stick gained his wager? Judge."

"The thing is clear enough," said Messire Adam Fumee, a Tourainian,
who at that time was the keeper of the seals. "There is only one thing
for the other to do."

"What is that?" said the Regent.

"To pay the wager, Madame."

"He is rather too clever," said she, tapping her squire on the cheek.
"He will be hanged one of these days."

She meant it as a joke, but these words were the real horoscope of the
steward, who mounted the gallows by the ladder of royal favour,
through the vengeance of another old woman, and the notorious treason
of a man of Ballan, his secretary, whose fortune he had made, and
whose name was Prevost, and not Rene Gentil, as certain persons have
wrongly called him. The Ganelon and bad servant gave, it is said, to
Madame d'Angouleme, the receipt for the money which had been given him
by Jacques de Beaune, then become Baron of Samblancay, lord of La
Carte and Azay, and one of the foremost men in the state. Of his two
sons, one was Archbishop of Tours the other Minister of Finance and
Governor of Touraine. But this is not the subject of the present
history.

Now that which concerns the present narrative, is that Madame de
Beaujeu, to whom the pleasure of love had come rather late in the day,
well pleased with the great wisdom and knowledge of public affairs
which her chance lover possessed, made him Lord of the Privy Purse, in
which office he behaved so well, and added so much to the contents of
it, that his great renown procured for him one day the handling of the
revenues which he superintended and controlled most admirably, and
with great profit to himself, which was but fair. The good Regent paid
the bet, and handed over to her squire the manor of Azay-le-Brule, of
which the castle had long before been demolished by the first
bombardiers who came from Touraine, as everyone knows. For this
powdery miracle, but for the intervention of the king, the said
engineers would have been condemned as heretics and abettors of Satan,
by the ecclesiastical tribune of the chapter.

At this time there was being built with great care by Messire Bohier,
Minister of Finance, the Castle of Chenonceaux, which as a curiosity
and novel design, was placed right across the river Cher.

Now the Baron de Samblancay, wishing to oppose the said Bohier,
determined to lay the foundation of this at the bottom of the Indre,
where it still stands, the gem of this fair green valley, so solidly
was it placed upon the piles. It cost Jacques de Beaune thirty
thousand crowns, not counting the work done by his vassals. You may
take it for granted this castle was one of the finest, prettiest, most
exquisite and most elaborate castles of our sweet Touraine, and laves
itself in the Indre like a princely creature, gayly decked with
pavilions and lace curtained windows, with fine weather-beaten
soldiers on her vanes, turning whichever way the wind blows, as all
soldiers do. But Samblancay was hanged before it was finished, and
since that time no one has been found with sufficient money to
complete it. Nevertheless, his master, King Francis the First, was
once his guest, and the royal chamber is still shown there. When the
king was going to bed, Samblancay, whom the king called "old fellow,"
in honour of his white hairs, hearing his royal master, to whom he was
devotedly attached, remark, "Your clock has just struck twelve, old
fellow!" replied, "Ah! sire, to twelve strokes of a hammer, an old one
now, but years ago a good one, at this hour of the clock do I owe my
lands, the money spent on this place, and honour of being in your
service."

The king wished to know what his minister meant by these strange
words; and when his majesty was getting into bed, Jacques de Beaune
narrated to him the history with which you are acquainted. Now Francis
the First, who was partial to these spicy stories, thought the
adventure a very droll one, and was the more amused thereat because at
that time his mother, the Duchess d'Angouleme, in the decline of life,
was pursuing the Constable of Bourbon, in order to obtain of him one
of these dozens. Wicked love of a wicked woman, for therefrom
proceeded the peril of the kingdom, the capture of the king, and the
death--as has been before mentioned--of poor Samblancay.

I have here endeavoured to relate how the Chateau d'Azay came to be
built, because it is certain that thus was commenced the great fortune
of that Samblancay who did so much for his natal town, which he
adorned; and also spent such immense sums upon the completion of the
towers of the cathedral. This lucky adventure has been handed down
from father to son, and lord to lord, in the said place of
Azay-les-Ridel, where the story frisks still under the curtains of the
king, which have been curiously respected down to the present day. It is
therefore the falsest of falsities which attributes the dozen of the
Tourainian to a German knight, who by this deed would have secured the
domains of Austria to the House of Hapsburgh. The author of our days,
who brought this history to light, although a learned man, has allowed
himself to be deceived by certain chroniclers, since the archives of
the Roman Empire make no mention of an acquisition of this kind. I am
angry with him for having believed that a "braguette" nourished with
beer, could have been equal to the alchemical operations of the
Chinonian "braguettes," so much esteemed by Rabelais. And I have for
the advantage of the country, the glory of Azay, the conscience of the
castle, and renown of the House of Beaune, from which sprang the
Sauves and the Noirmoutiers, re-established the facts in all their
veritable, historical, and admirable beauty. Should any ladies pay a
visit to the castle, there are still dozens to be found in the
neighbourhood, but they can only be procured retail.



                        THE FALSE COURTESAN

That which certain people do not know, is a the truth concerning the
decease of the Duke of Orleans, brother of King Charles VI., a death
which proceeded from a great number of causes, one of which will be
the subject of this narrative. This prince was for certain the most
lecherous of all the royal race of Monseigneur St. Louis (who was in
his life time King of France), without even putting on one side some
of the most debauched of this fine family, which was so concordant
with the vices and especial qualities of our brave and
pleasure-seeking nation, that you could more easily imagine Hell
without Satan than France without her valorous, glorious, and jovial
kings. So you can laugh as loudly at those muckworms of philosophy who
go about saying, "Our fathers were better," as at the good,
philanthropical old bunglers who pretend that mankind is on the right
road to perfection. These are old blind bats, who observe neither the
plumage of oysters nor the shells of birds, which change no more than
our ways. Hip, hip, huzzah! then, make merry while you're young. Keep
your throats wet and your eyes dry, since a hundredweight of melancholy
is worth less than an ounce of jollity. The wrong doings of this lord,
lover of Queen Isabella, whom he doted upon, brought about pleasant
adventures, since he was a great wit, of Alcibaidescal nature, and a
chip off the old block. It was he who first conceived the idea of a
relay of sweethearts, so that when he went from Paris to Bordeaux,
every time he unsettled his nag he found ready for him a good meal and
a bed with as much lace inside as out. Happy Prince! who died on
horseback, for he was always across something in-doors and out. Of his
comical jokes our most excellent King Louis the Eleventh has given a
splendid sample in the book of "Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles," written under
his superintendence during his exile, at the Court of Burgundy, where,
during the long evenings, in order to amuse themselves, he and his
cousin Charolois would relate to each other the good tricks and jokes
of the period; and when they were hard up for true stories, each of
the courtiers tried who could invent the best one. But out of respect
for the royal blood, the Dauphin has credited a townsman with that
which happened to the Lady of Cany. It is given under the title of "La
Medaille a revers", in the collection of which it is one of the
brightest jewels, and commences the hundred. But now for mine.

The Duc d'Orleans had in his suite a lord of the province of Picardy,
named Raoul d'Hocquetonville, who had taken for a wife, to the future
trouble of the prince, a young lady related to the house of Burgundy,
and rich in domains. But, an exception to the general run of
heiresses, she was of so dazzling a beauty, that all the ladies of the
court, even the Queen and Madame Valentine, were thrown into the
shade; nevertheless, this was as nothing in the lady of
Hocquetonville, compared with her Burgundian consanguinity, her
inheritances, her prettiness, and gentle nature, because these rare
advantages received a religious lustre from her supreme innocence,
sweet modesty, and chaste education. The Duke had not long gazed upon
this heaven-sent flower before he was seized with the fever of love.
He fell into a state of melancholy, frequented no bad places, and only
with regret now and then did he take a bite at his royal and dainty
German morsel Isabella. He became passionate, and swore either by
sorcery, by force, by trickery, or with her consent, to enjoy the
flavours of this gentle lady, who, by the sight of her sweet body,
forced him to the last extremity, during his now long and weary
nights. At first, he pursued her with honied words, but he soon knew
by her untroubled air that she was determined to remain virtuous, for
without appearing astonished at his proceedings, or getting angry like
certain other ladies, she replied to him, "My lord, I must inform you
that I do not desire to trouble myself with the love of other persons,
not that I despise the joys which are therein to be experienced (as
supreme they must be, since so many ladies cast into the abyss of love
their homes, their honour, their future, and everything), but from the
love I bear my children. Never would I be the cause of a blush upon
their cheeks, for in this idea will I bring up my daughters--that in
virtue alone is happiness to be found. For, my lord, if the days of
our old age are more numerous than those of our youth, of them must we
think. From those who brought me up I learned to properly estimate
this life, and I know that everything therein is transitory, except
the security of the natural affections. Thus I wish for the esteem of
everyone, and above all that of my husband, who is all the world to
me. Therefore do I desire to appear honest in his sight. I have
finished, and I entreat you to allow me unmolested to attend to my
household affairs, otherwise I will unhesitatingly refer the matter to
my lord and master, who will quit your service."

This brave reply rendered the king's brother more amorous than ever,
and he endeavoured to ensnare this noble woman in order to possess
her, dead or alive, and he never doubted a bit that he would have her
in his clutches, relying upon his dexterity at this kind of sport, the
most joyous of all, in which it is necessary to employ the weapons of
all other kinds of sport, seeing that this sweet game is taken
running, by taking aim, by torchlight, by night, by day, in the town,
in the country, in the woods, by the waterside, in nets, with falcons,
with the lance, with the horn, with the gun, with the decoy bird, in
snares, in the toils, with a bird call, by the scent, on the wing,
with the cornet, in slime, with a bait, with the lime-twig--indeed, by
means of all the snares invented since the banishment of Adam. And
gets killed in various different ways, but generally is overridden.

The artful fellow ceased to mention his desires, but had a post of
honour given to the Lady of Hocquetonville, in the queen's household.
Now, one day that the said Isabella went to Vincennes, to visit the
sick King, and left him master of the Hotel St. Paul, he commanded the
chef to have a delicate and royal supper prepared, and to serve it in
the queen's apartments. Then he sent for his obstinate lady by express
command, and by one of the pages of the household. The Countess
d'Hocquetonville, believing that she was desired by Madame Isabella
for some service appertaining to her post, or invited to some sudden
amusement, hastened to the room. In consequence of the precautions
taken by the disloyal lover, no one had been able to inform the noble
dame of the princess's departure, so she hastened to the splendid
chamber, which, in the Hotel St. Paul, led into the queen's
bedchamber; there she found the Duc d'Orleans alone. Suspecting some
treacherous plot, she went quickly into the other room, found no
queen, but heard the Prince give vent to a hearty laugh.

"I am undone!" said she. Then she endeavoured to run away.

But the good lady-killer had posted about devoted attendants, who,
without knowing what was going on, closed the hotel, barricaded the
doors, and in this mansion, so large that it equalled a fourth of
Paris, the Lady d'Hocquetonville was as in a desert, with no other aid
than that of her patron saint and God. Then, suspecting the truth, the
poor lady trembled from head to foot and fell into a chair; and then
the working of this snare, so cleverly conceived, was, with many a
hearty laugh, revealed to her by her lover. Directly the duke made a
movement to approach her this woman rose and exclaimed, arming herself
first with her tongue, and flashing one thousand maledictions from her
eyes--

"You will possess me--but dead! Ha! my lord, do not force me to a
struggle which must become known to certain people. I may yet retire,
and the Sire d'Hocquetonville shall be ignorant of the sorrow with
which you have forever tinged my life. Duke, you look too often in the
ladies' faces to find time to study men's, and you do not therefore
know your man. The Sire d'Hocquetonville would let himself be hacked
to pieces in your service, so devoted is he to you, in memory of your
kindness to him, and also because he is partial to you. But as he
loves so does he hate; and I believe him to be the man to bring his
mace down upon your head, to take his revenge, if you but compel me to
utter one cry. Do you desire both my death and your own? But be
assured that, as an honest woman, whatever happens to me, good or
evil, I shall keep no secret. Now, will you let me go?"

The bad fellow began to whistle. Hearing his whistling, the good woman
went suddenly into the queen's chamber, and took from a place known to
her therein, a sharp stiletto. Then, when the duke followed her to
ascertain what this flight meant, "When you pass that line," cried
she, pointing to a board, "I will kill myself."

My lord, without being in the least terrified, took a chair, placed it
at the very edge of the plank in question, and commenced a glowing
description of certain things, hoping to influence the mind of this
brave woman, and work her to that point that her brain, her heart, and
everything should be at his mercy. Then he commenced to say to her, in
that delicate manner to which princes are accustomed, that, in the
first place, virtuous women pay dearly for their virtue, since in
order to gain the uncertain blessings of the future, they lose all the
sweetest joys of the present, because husbands were compelled, from
motives of conjugal policy, not show them all the jewels in the shrine
of love, since the said jewels would so affect their hearts, was so
rapturously delicious, so titillatingly voluptuous, that a woman would
no longer consent to dwell in the cold regions of domestic life; and
he declared this marital abomination to be a great felony, because the
least thing a man could do in recognition of the virtuous life of a
good woman and her great merits, was to overwork himself, to exert, to
exterminate himself, to please her in every way, with fondlings and
kissings and wrestlings, and all the delicacies and sweet
confectionery of love; and that, if she would taste a little of the
seraphic joys of these little ways to her unknown, she would believe
all the other things of life as not worth a straw; and that, if such
were her wish, he would forever be as silent as the grave, and last no
scandal would besmear her virtue. And the lewd fellow, perceiving that
the lady did not stop her ears, commenced to describe to her, after
the fashion of arabesque pictures, which at that time were much
esteemed, the wanton inventions of debauchery. Then did his eyes shoot
flame, his words burn, and his voice ring, and he himself took great
pleasure in calling to mind the various ways of his ladies, naming
them to Madame d'Hocquetonville, and even revealing to her the tricks,
caresses, and amorous ways of Queen Isabella, and he made use of
expression so gracious and so ardently inciting, that, fancying it
caused the lady to relax her hold upon the stiletto a little, he made
as if to approach her. But she, ashamed to be found buried in thought,
gazed proudly at the diabolical leviathan who tempted her, and said to
him, "Fine sir, I thank you. You have caused me to love my husband all
the more, for from your discourse I learn how much he esteems me by
holding me in such respect that he does not dishonour his couch with
the tricks of street-walkers and bad women. I should think myself
forever disgraced, and should be contaminated to all eternity if I put
my foot in these sloughs where go these shameless hussies. A man's
wife is one thing, and his mistress another."

"I will wager," said the duke, smiling, "that, nevertheless, for the
future you spur the Sire d'Hocquetonville to a little sharper pace."

At this the good woman trembled, and cried, "You are a wicked man. Now
I both despise and abominate you! What! unable to rob me of my honour,
you attempt to poison my mind! Ah, my lord, this night's work will
cost you dear--

    "If I forget it, a yet,
     God will not forget.

"Are not those of verse is yours?"

"Madame," said the duke, turning pale with anger, "I can have you
bound--"

"Oh no! I can free myself," replied she, brandishing the stiletto.

The rapscallion began to laugh.

"Never mind," said he. "I have a means of plunging you into the
sloughs of three brazen hussies, as you call them."

"Never, while I live."

"Head and heels you shall go in--with your two feet, two hands, two
ivory breasts, and two other things, white as snow--your teeth, your
hair, and everything. You will go of your own accord; you shall enter
into it lasciviously, and in a way to crush your cavalier, as a wild
horse does its rider--stamping, leaping, and snorting. I swear it by
Saint Castud!"

Instantly he whistled for one of his pages. And when the page came, he
secretly ordered him to go and seek the Sire d'Hocquetonville,
Savoisy, Tanneguy, Cypierre, and other members of his band, asking
them to these rooms to supper, not without at the same time inviting
to meet his guests a pretty petticoat or two.

Then he came and sat down in his chair again, ten paces from the lady,
off whom he had not taken his eye while giving his commands to the
page in a whisper.

"Raoul is jealous," said he. "Now let me give you a word of advice. In
this place," he added, pointing to a secret door, "are the oils and
superfine perfumes of the queen; in this other little closet she
performs her ablutions and little feminine offices. I know by much
experience that each one of you gentle creatures has her own special
perfume, by which she is smelt and recognised. So if, as you say,
Raoul is overwhelmingly jealous with the worst of all jealousies, you
will use these fast hussies' scents, because your danger approaches
fast."

"Ah, my lord, what do you intend to do?"

"You will know when it is necessary that you should know. I wish you
no harm, and pledge you my honour, as a loyal knight, that I will
almost thoroughly respect you, and be forever silent concerning my
discomfiture. In short, you will know that the Duc d'Orleans has a
good heart, and revenges himself nobly on ladies who treat him with
disdain, by placing in their hands the key of Paradise. Only keep your
ears open to the joyous words that will be handed from mouth to mouth
in the next room, and cough not if you love your children."

Since there was no egress from the royal chamber, and the bars
crossing hardly left room to put one's head through, the good prince
closed the door of the room, certain of keeping the lady a safe
prisoner there, and again impressed upon her the necessity of silence.
Then came the merry blades in great haste, and found a good and
substantial supper smiling at them from the silver plates upon the
table, and the table well arranged and well lighted, loaded with fine
silver cups, and cups full of royal wine. Then said their master to
them--

"Come! Come! to your places my good friends. I was becoming very
weary. Thinking of you, I wished to arrange with you a merry feast
after the ancient method, when the Greeks and Romans said their Pater
noster to Master Priapus, and the learned god called in all countries
Bacchus. The feast will be proper and a right hearty one, since at our
libation there will be present some pretty crows with three beaks, of
which I know from great experience the best one to kiss."

Then all of them recognising their master in all things, took pleasure
in this discourse, except Raoul d'Hocquetonville, who advanced and
said to the prince--

"My lord, I will aid you willingly in any battle but that of the
petticoats, in that of spear and axe, but not of the wine flasks. My
good companions here present have not wives at home, it is otherwise
with me. I have a sweet wife, to whom I owe my company, and an account
of all my deeds and actions."

"Then, since I am a married man I am to blame?" said the duke.

"Ah! my dear master, you are a prince, and can do as you please."

These brave speeches made, as you can imagine, the heart of the lady
prisoner hot and cold.

"Ah! my Raoul," thought she, "thou art a noble man!"

"You are," said the duke, "a man whom I love, and consider more
faithful and praiseworthy than any of my people. The others," said he,
looking at the three lords, "are wicked men. But, Raoul," he
continued, "sit thee down. When the linnets come--they are linnets of
high degree--you can make your way home. S'death! I had treated thee
as a virtuous man, ignorant of the extra-conjugal joys of love, and
had carefully put for thee in that room the queen of raptures--a fair
demon, in whom is concentrated all feminine inventions. I wished that
once in thy life thou, who has never tasted the essence of love, and
dreamed but of war, should know the secret marvels of the gallant
amusement, since it is shameful that one of my followers should serve
a fair lady badly."

Thereupon the Sire d'Hocquetonville sat down to a table in order to
please his prince as far as he could lawfully do so. Then they all
commenced to laugh, joke, and talk about the ladies; and according to
their custom, they related to each other their good fortunes and their
love adventures, sparing no woman except the queen of the house, and
betraying the little habits of each one, to which followed horrible
little confidences, which increased in treachery and lechery as the
contents of the goblets grew less. The duke, gay as a universal
legatee, drew the guests out, telling lies himself to learn the truth
from them; and his companions ate at a trot, drank at a full gallop,
and their tongues rattled away faster than either.

Now, listening to them, and heating his brain with wine, the Sire
d'Hocquetonville unharnessed himself little by little from the
reluctance. In spite of his virtues, he indulged certain desires, and
became soaked in these impurities like a saint who defiles himself
while saying his prayers. Perceiving which, the prince, on the alert
to satisfy his ire and his bile, began to say to him, joking him--

"By Saint Castud, Raoul, we are all tarred with the same brush, all
discreet away from here. Go; we will say nothing to Madame. By heaven!
man, I wish thee to taste of the joys of paradise. There," said he,
tapping the door of the room in which was Madame d'Hocquetonville, "in
there is a lady of the court and a friend of the queen, but the
greatest priestess of Venus that ever was, and her equal is not to be
found in any courtesan, harlot, dancer, doxy, or hussy. She was
engendered at a moment when paradise was radiant with joy, when nature
was procreating, when the planets were whispering vows of love, when
the beasts were frisking and capering, and everything was aglow with
desire. Although the women make an altar of her bed, she is
nevertheless too great a lady to allow herself to be seen, and too
well known to utter any words but the sounds of love. No light will
you need, for her eyes flash fire, and attempt no conversation, since
she speaks only with movements and twistings more rapid than those of
a deer surprised in the forest. Only, my dear Raoul, but so merry a
nag look to your stirrups, sit light in the saddle, since with one
plunge she would hurl thee to the ceiling, if you are not careful. She
burns always, and is always longing for male society. Our poor dead
friend, the young Sire de Giac, met his death through her; she drained
his marrow in one springtime. God's truth! to know such bliss as that
of which she rings the bells and lights the fires, what man would not
forfeit a third of his future happiness? and he who has known her once
would for a second night forfeit without regret eternity."

"But," said Raoul, "in things which should be so much alike, how is it
that there is so great a difference?"

"Ha! Ha! Ha!"

Thereupon the company burst out laughing, and animated by the wine and
a wink from their master, they all commenced relating droll and quaint
conceits, laughing, shouting, and making a great noise. Now, knowing
not that an innocent scholar was there, these jokers, who had drowned
their sense of shame in the wine-cups, said things to make the figures
on the mantel shake, the walls and the ceilings blush; and the duke
surpassed them all, saying, that the lady who was in bed in the next
room awaiting a gallant should be the empress of these warm
imaginations, because she practised them every night. Upon this the
flagons being empty, the duke pushed Raoul, who let himself be pushed
willingly, into the room, and by this means the prince compelled the
lady to deliberate by which dagger she would live or die. At midnight
the Sire d'Hocquetonville came out gleefully, not without remorse at
having been false to his good wife. Then the Duc d'Orleans led Madame
d'Hocquetonville out by a garden door, so that she gained her
residence before her husband arrived here.

"This," said she, in the prince's ear, as she passed the postern,
"will cost us all dear."

One year afterwards, in the old Rue du Temple, Raoul d'Hocquetonville,
who had quitted the service of the Duke for that of Jehan of Burgundy,
gave the king's brother a blow on the head with a club, and killed
him, as everyone knows. In the same year died the Lady
d'Hocquetonville, having faded like a flower deprived of air and eaten
by a worm. Her good husband had engraved upon her marble tomb, which
is in one of the cloisters of Peronne, the following inscription--


                             HERE LIES
                        BERTHA DE BOURGONGE
                     THE NOBLE AND COMELY WIFE
                                 OF
                   RAOUL, SIRE DE HOCQUETONVILLE.

                    ALAS! PRAY NOT FOR HER SOUL
                                SHE
                    BLOSSOMED AGAIN IN PARADISE
                    THE ELEVENTH DAY OF JANUARY
                IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD MCCCCVIII.,
                IN THE TWENTY-THIRD YEAR OF HER AGE,
                LEAVING TWO SONS AND HER LORD SPOUSE
                            INCONSOLABLE.


This epitaph was written in elegant Latin, but for the convenience of
all it was necessary to translate it, although the word comely is
feeble beside that of formosa, which signifies beautiful in shape. The
Duke of Burgundy, called the Fearless, in whom previous to his death
the Sire d'Hocquetonville confided the troubles cemented with lime and
sand in his heart, used to say, in spite of his hardheartedness in
these matters, that this epitaph plunged him into a state of
melancholy for a month, and that among all the abominations of his
cousin of Orleans, there was one for which he would kill him over
again if the deed had not already been done, because this wicked man
had villianously defaced with vice the most divine virtue in the world
and had prostituted two noble hearts, the one by the other. When
saying this he would think of the lady of Hocquetonville and of his
own, which portrait had been unwarrantably placed in the cabinet where
his cousin placed the likeness of his wenches.

The adventure was so extremely shocking, that when it was related by
the Count de Charolois to the Dauphin, afterwards Louis XI., the
latter would not allow his secretaries to publish it in his
collection, out of respect for his great uncle the Duke d'Orleans, and
for Dunois his old comrade, the son of the same. But the person of the
lady of Hocquetonville is so sublimely virtuous, so exquisitely
melancholy, that in her favour the present publication of this
narrative will be forgiven, in spite of the diabolical invention and
vengeance of Monseigneur d'Orleans. The just death of this rascal
nevertheless caused many serious rebellions, which finally Louis XI.,
losing all patience, put down with fire and sword.

This shows us that there is a woman at the bottom of everything, in
France as elsewhere, and that sooner or later we must pay for our
follies.



                  THE DANGER OF BEING TOO INNOCENT

The Lord of Montcontour was a brave soldier of Tours, who in honour of
the battle gained by the Duke of Anjou, afterwards our right glorious
king, caused to be built at Vouvray the castle thus named, for he had
borne himself most bravely in that affair, where he overcame the
greatest of heretics, and from that was authorised to take the name.
Now this said captain had two sons, good Catholics, of whom the eldest
was in favour at court. After the peace, which was concluded before
the stratagem arranged for St Bartholomew's Day, the good man returned
to his manor, which was not ornamented as it is at the present day.
There he received the sad announcement of the death of his son, slain
in a duel by the lord of Villequier. The poor father was the more cut
up at this, as he had arranged a capital marriage for the said son
with a young lady of the male branch of Amboise. Now, by this death
most piteously inopportune, vanished all the future and advantages of
his family, of which he wished to make a great and noble house. With
this idea, he had put his other son in a monastery, under the guidance
and government of a man renowned for his holiness, who brought him up
in a Christian manner, according to the desire of his father, who
wished from high ambition to make him a cardinal of renown. For this
the good abbot kept the young man in a private house, and had to sleep
by his side in his cell, allowed no evil weeds to grow in his mind,
brought him up in purity of soul and true condition, as all priests
should be. This said clerk, when turned nineteen years, knew no other
love than the love of God, no other nature than that of the angels who
had not our carnal properties, in order that they may live in purity,
seeing that otherwise they would make good use of them. The which the
King on high, who wished to have His pages always proper, was afraid
of. He has done well, because His good little people cannot drink in
dram shops or riot in brothels as ours do. He is divinely served; but
then remember, He is Lord of all. Now in this plight the lord of
Montcontour determined to withdraw his second son from the cloister,
and invest him with the purple of the soldier and courtier, in the
place of the ecclesiastical purple; and determined to give him in
marriage to the maiden, affianced to the dead man, which was wisely
determined because wrapped round with continence and sobriety in all
ways as was the little monk, the bride would be as well used and
happier than she would have been with the elder, already well hauled
over, upset, and spoiled by the ladies of the court. The befrocked,
unfrocked, and very sheepish in his ways, followed the sacred wishes
of his father, and consented to the said marriage without knowing what
a wife, and--what is more curious--what a girl was. By chance, his
journey having been hindered by the troubles and marches of
conflicting parties, this innocent--more innocent than it is lawful
for a man to be innocent--only came to the castle of Montcontour the
evening before the wedding, which was performed with dispensations
bought in by the archbishopric of Tours. It is necessary here to
describe the bride. Her mother, long time a widow, lived in the House
of M. de Braguelongne, civil lieutenant of the Chatelet de Paris,
whose wife lived with lord of Lignieres, to the great scandal of the
period. But everyone then had so many joists in his own eye that he
had no right to notice the rafters in the eyes of others. Now, in all
families people go to perdition, without noticing their neighbours,
some at an amble, others at a gentle trot, many at a gallop, and a
small number walking, seeing that the road is all downhill. Thus in
these times the devil had many a good orgy in all things, since that
misconduct was fashionable. The poor old lady Virtue had retired
trembling, no one knew whither, but now here, now there, lived
miserably in company with honest women.

In the most noble house Amboise there still lived the Dowager of
Chaumont, an old woman of well proved virtue, in whom had retired all
the religion and good conduct of this fine family. The said lady had
taken to her bosom, from the age of ten years, the little maiden who
is concerned in this adventure, and who had never caused Madame
Amboise the least anxiety, but left her free in her movements, and she
came to see her daughter once a year, when the court passed that way.
In spite of this high maternal reserve, Madame Amboise was invited to
her daughter's wedding, and also the lord of Braguelongne, by the good
old soldier, who knew his people. But the dear dowager came not to
Montcontour, because she could not obtain relief from her sciatica,
her cold, nor the state of her legs, which gamboled no longer. Over
this the good woman cried copiously. It hurt her much to let go into
the dangers of the court and of life this gentle maiden, as pretty as
it was possible for a pretty girl to be, but she was obliged to give
her her wings. But it was not without promising her many masses and
orisons every evening for her happiness. And comforted a little, the
good old lady began to think that the staff of her old age was passing
into the hands of a quasi-saint, brought up to do good by the
above-mentioned abbot, with whom she was acquainted, the which had
aided considerably in the prompt exchange of spouses. At length,
embracing her with tears, the virtuous dowager made those last
recommendations to her that ladies make to young brides, as that she
ought to be respectful to his mother, and obey her husband in
everything.

Then the maid arrived with a great noise, conducted by servants,
chamberlains, grooms, gentlemen, and people of the house of Chaumont,
so that you would have imagined her suite to be that of a cardinal
legate. So arrived the two spouses the evening before marriage. Then,
the feasting over, they were married with great pomp on the Lord's
Day, a mass being said at the castle by the Bishop of Blois, who was a
great friend of the lord of Montcontour; in short, the feasting, the
dancing, and the festivities of all sorts lasted till the morning. But
on the stroke of midnight the bridesmaids went to put the bride to
bed, according to the custom of Touraine; and during this time they
kept quarrelling with the innocent husband, to prevent him going to
this innocent wife, who sided with them from ignorance. However, the
good lord of Montcontour interrupted the jokers and the wits, because
it was necessary that his son should occupy himself in well-doing.
Then went the innocent into the chamber of his wife, whom he thought
more beautiful than the Virgin Mary painted in Italian, Flemish, and
other pictures, at whose feet he had said his prayers. But you may be
sure he felt very much embarrassed at having so soon become a husband,
because he knew nothing of his business, and saw that certain forms
had to be gone through concerning which from great and modest reserve,
he had no time to question even his father, who had said sharply to
him--

"You know what you have to do; be valiant therein."

Then he saw the gentle girl who was given him, comfortably tucked up
in the bedclothes, terribly curious, her head buried under, but
hazarding a glance as at the point of a halberd, and saying to
herself--

"I must obey him."

And knowing nothing, she awaited the will of this slightly
ecclesiastical gentleman, to whom, in fact, she belonged. Seeing
which, the Chevalier de Montcontour came close to the bed, scratched
his ear, and knelt down, a thing in which he was expert.

"Have you said your prayers?" said he.

"No," said she; "I have forgotten them. Do wish me to say them?"

Then the young couple commenced the business of a housekeeping by
imploring God, which was not at all out of place. But unfortunately
the devil heard, and at once replied to their requests, God being much
occupied at that time with the new and abominable reformed religion.

"What did they tell you to do?" said the husband.

"To love you," said she, in perfect innocence.

"This has not been told to me; but I love you, I am ashamed to say,
better than I love God."

This speech did not alarm the bride.

"I should like," said the husband, "to repose myself in your bed, if
it will not disturb you."

"I will make room for you willingly because I am to submit myself to
you."

"Well," said he, "don't look at me again. I'm going to take my clothes
off, and come."

At this virtuous speech, the young damsel turned herself towards the
wall in great expectation, seeing that it was for the very first time
that she was about to find herself separated from a man by the
confines of a shirt only. Then came the innocent, gliding into bed,
and thus they found themselves, so to speak, united, but far from what
you can imagine what. Did you ever see a monkey brought from across
the seas, who for the first time is given a nut to crack? This ape,
knowing by high apish imagination how delicious is the food hidden
under the shell, sniffs and twists himself about in a thousand apish
ways, saying, I know not what, between his chattering jaws. Ah! with
what affection he studies it, with what study he examines it, in what
examination he holds it, then throws it, rolls and tosses it about
with passion, and often, when it is an ape of low extraction and
intelligence, leaves the nut. As much did the poor innocent who,
towards the dawn, was obliged to confess to his dear wife that, not
knowing how to perform his office, or what that office was, or where
to obtain the said office, it would be necessary for him to inquire
concerning it, and have help and aid.

"Yes," said she; "since, unhappily, I cannot instruct you."

In fact, in spite of their efforts, essay of all kinds--in spite of a
thousand things which the innocents invent, and which the wise in
matters of love know nothing about--the pair dropped off to sleep,
wretched at having been unable to discover the secret of marriage. But
they wisely agreed to say that they had done so. When the wife got up,
still a maiden, seeing that she had not been crowned, she boasted of
her night, and said she had the king of husbands, and went on with her
chattering and repartee as briskly as those who know nothing of these
things. Then everyone found the maiden a little too sharp, since for a
two-edged joke a lady of Roche-Corbon having incited a young maiden,
de la Bourdaisiere, who knew nothing of such things, to ask the
bride--

"How many loaves did your husband put in the oven?"

"Twenty-four," she replied.

Now, as the bridegroom was roaming sadly about, thereby distressing
his wife, who followed him with her eyes, hoping to see his state of
innocence come to an end, the ladies believed that the joy of that
night had cost him dear, and that the said bride was already
regretting having so quickly ruined him. And at breakfast came the bad
jokes, which at that time were relished as excellent, one said that
the bride had an open expression; another, that there had been some
good strokes of business done that night in the castle; this one, that
the oven had been burned; that one that the two families have lost
something that night that they would never find again. And a thousand
other jokes, stupidities, and double meanings that, unfortunately the
husband did not understand. But on account of the great affluence of
the relations, neighbours, and others, no one had been to bed; all had
danced, rollicked, and frolicked, as is the custom at noble weddings.

At this was quite contented my said Sieur de Braguelongne, upon whom
my lady of Amboise, excited by the thought of the good things which
were happening to her daughter, cast the glances of a falcon in
matters of gallant assignation. The poor Lieutenant civil, learned in
bailiffs' men and sergeants, and who nabbed all the pickpockets and
scamps of Paris, pretended not to see his good fortune, although his
good lady required him to do. You may be sure this great lady's love
weighed heavily upon him, so he only kept to her from a spirit of
justice, because it was not seeming in a lieutenant judiciary to
change his mistresses as often as a man at court, because he had under
his charge morals, the police and religion. This not withstanding his
rebellion must come to an end. On the day after the wedding a great
number of the guests departed; then Madame d'Amboise and Monsieur de
Braguelongne could go to bed, their guests having decamped. Sitting
down to supper, the lieutenant received a half-verbal summons to which
it was not becoming, as in legal matters, to oppose any reasons for
delay.

During supper the said lady d'Amboise made more than a hundred little
signs in order to draw the good Braguelongne from the room where he
was with the bride, but out came instead of the lieutenant the
husband, to walk about in company with the mother of his sweet wife.
Now, in the mind of this innocent there had sprung up like a mushroom
an expedient--namely, to interrogate this good lady, whom he
considered discreet, for remembering the religious precepts of his
abbot, who had told him to inquire concerning all things of old people
expert in the ways of life, he thought of confiding his case to the
said lady d'Amboise. But he made first awkwardly and shyly certain
twists and turns, finding no terms in which to unfold his case. And
the lady was also perfectly silent, since she was outrageously struck
with the blindness, deafness and voluntary paralysis of the lord of
Braguelongne; and said to herself, walking by the side of this
delicate morsel, a young innocent of whom she did not think, little
imagining that this cat so well provided with young bacon could think
of old--

"This Ho, Ho, with a beard of flies' legs, a flimsy, old, grey,
ruined, shaggy beard--beard without comprehension, beard without
shame, without any feminine respect--beard which pretends neither to
feel nor to hear, nor to see, a pared away beard, a beaten down,
disordered, gutted beard. May the Italian sickness deliver me from
this vile joker with a squashed nose, fiery nose, frozen nose, nose
without religion, nose dry as a lute table, pale nose, nose without a
soul, nose which is nothing but a shadow; nose which sees not, nose
wrinkled like the leaf of a vine; nose that I hate, old nose, nose
full of mud--dead nose. Where had my eyes been to attach myself to
truffle nose, to this old hulk that no longer knows his way? I give my
share to the devil of this juiceless beard, of this grey beard, of
this monkey face, of these old tatters, of this old rag of a man, of
this--I know not what; and I'll take a young husband who'll marry me
properly, and . . . and often--every day--and well--"

In this wise train of thought was she when the innocent began his
anthem to this woman, so warmly excited, who at the first paraphrase
took fire in her understanding, like a piece of old touchwood from the
carbine of a soldier; and finding it wise to try her son-in-law, said
to herself--

"Ah! young beard, sweet scented! Ah! pretty new nose--fresh beard
--innocent nose--virgin appeared--nose full of joy it--beard of
springtime, small key of love!"

She kept on talking the round of the garden, which was long, and then
arranged with the Innocent that, night come, he should sally forth
from his room and get into hers, where she engaged to render him more
learned than ever was his father. And the husband was well content,
and thanked Madame d'Amboise, begging her to say nothing of this
arrangement.

During this time the good old Braguelongne had been growling and
saying to himself, "Old ha, ha! old ho, ho! May the plague take thee!
may a cancer eat thee!--worthless old currycomb! old slipper, too big
for the foot! old arquebus! ten year old codfish! old spider that
spins no more! old death with open eyes! old devil's cradle! vile
lantern of an old town-crier too! Old wretch whose look kills! old
moustache of an old theriacler! old wretch to make dead men weep! old
organ-pedal! old sheath with a hundred knives! old church porch, worn
out by the knees! old poor-box in which everyone has dropped. I'll
give all my future to be quit of thee!" As he finished these gentle
thoughts the pretty bride, who was thinking of her young husband's
great sorrow at not knowing the particulars of that essential item of
marriage, and not having the slightest idea what it was, thought to
save him much tribulation, shame, and labour by instructing herself.
And she counted upon much astonishing and rejoicing him the next night
when she should say to him, teaching him his duty, "That's the thing
my love!" Brought up in great respect of old people by her dear
dowager, she thought of inquiring of this good man in her sweetest
manner to distil for her the sweet mysteries of the commerce. Now, the
lord of Braguelongne, ashamed of being lost in sad contemplation of
this evening's work, and of saying nothing to his gay companion, put
this summary interrogation to the fair bride--"If she was not happy
with so good a young husband--"

"He is very good," said she.

"Too good, perhaps," said the lieutenant smiling.

To be brief, matters were so well arranged between them that the Lord
engaged to spare no pains to enlighten the understanding of Madame
d'Amboise's daughter-in-law, who promised to come and study her lesson
in his room. The said lady d'Amboise pretended after supper to play
terrible music in a high key to Monsieur Braguelongne saying that he
had no gratitude for the blessings she had brought him--her position,
her wealth, her fidelity, etc. In fact, she talked for half an hour
without having exhausted a quarter of her ire. From this a hundred
knives were drawn between them, but they kept the sheaths. Meanwhile
the spouses in bed were arranging to themselves how to get away, in
order to please each other. Then the innocent began to say he fell
quite giddy, he knew not from what, and wanted to go into the open
air. And his maiden wife told him to take a stroll in the moonlight.
And then the good fellow began to pity his wife in being left alone a
moment. At her desire, both of them at different times left their
conjugal couch and came to their preceptors, both very impatient, as
you can well believe; and good instruction was given to them. How? I
cannot say, because everyone has his own method and practice, and of
all sciences this is the most variable in principle. You may be sure
that never did scholars receive more gayly the precepts of any
language, grammar, or lessons whatsoever. And the two spouses returned
to their nest, delighted at being able to communicate to each other
the discoveries of their scientific peregrinations.

"Ah, my dear," said the bride, "you already know more than my master."

From these curious tests came their domestic joy and perfect fidelity;
because immediately after their entry into the married state they
found out how much better each of them was adapted for love than
anyone else, their masters included. Thus for the remainder of their
days they kept to the legitimate substance of their own persons; and
the lord of Montcontour said in old age to his friends--

"Do like me, be cuckolds in the blade, and not in the sheath."

Which is the true morality of the conjugal condition.



                       THE DEAR NIGHT OF LOVE

In that winter when commenced that first taking up of arms by those of
the religion, which was called the Riot of Amboise, an advocate, named
Avenelles, lent his house, situated in the Rue des Marmousets for the
interviews and conventions of the Huguenots, being one of them,
without knowing, however, that the Prince of Conde, La Regnaudie, and
others, intended to carry off the king.

The said Avenelles wore a nasty red beard, as shiny as a stick of
liquorice, and was devilishly pale, as are all the rogues who take
refuge in the darkness of the law; in short, the most evil-minded
advocate that has ever lived, laughing at the gallows, selling
everybody, and a true Judas. According to certain authors of a great
experience in subtle rogues he was in this affair, half knave, half
fool, as it is abundantly proved by this narrative. This procureur had
married a very lovely lady of Paris, of whom he was jealous enough to
kill her for a pleat in the sheets, for which she could not account,
which would have been wrong, because honest creases are often met
with. But she folded her clothes very well, so there's the end of the
matter. Be assured that, knowing the murderous and evil nature of this
man, his wife was faithful enough to him, always ready, like a
candlestick, arranged for her duty like a chest which never moves, and
opens to order. Nevertheless, the advocate had placed her under the
guardianship and pursuing eye of an old servant, a duenna as ugly as a
pot without a handle, who had brought up the Sieur Avenelles, and was
very fond of him. His poor wife, for all pleasure in her cold domestic
life, used to go to the Church of St. Jehan, on the Place de Greve,
where, as everyone knows, the fashionable world was accustomed to
meet; and while saying her paternosters to God she feasted her eyes
upon all these gallants, curled, adorned, and starched, young, comely,
and flitting about like true butterflies, and finished by picking out
from among the lot a good gentleman, lover of the queen-mother, and a
handsome Italian, with whom she was smitten because he was in the May
of his age, nobly dressed, a graceful mover, brave in mien, and was
all that a lover should be to bestow a heart full of love upon an
honest married woman too tightly squeezed by the bonds of matrimony,
which torment her, and always excite her to unharness herself from the
conjugal yoke. And you can imagine that the young gentleman grew to
admire Madame, whose silent love spoke secretly to him, without either
the devil or themselves knowing how. Both one and the other had their
correspondence of love. At first, the advocate's wife adorned herself
only to come to church, and always came in some new sumptuosity; and
instead of thinking of God, she made God angry by thinking of her
handsome gentleman, and leaving her prayers, she gave herself up to
the fire which consumed her heart, and moistened her eyes, her lips,
and everything, seeing that this fire always dissolves itself in
water; and often said to herself: "Ha! I would give my life for a
single embrace with this pretty lover who loves me." Often, too, in
place of saying her litanies to Madame the Virgin, she thought in her
heart: "To feel the glorious youth of this gentle lover, to have the
full joys of love, to taste all in one moment, little should I mind
the flames into which the heretics are thrown." Then the gentleman
gazing at the charms of this good wife, and her burning blushes when
he glanced at her, came always close to her stool, and addressed to
her those requests which the ladies understand so well. Then he said
aside to himself: "By the double horn on my father, I swear to have
the woman, though it cost me my life."

And when the duenna turned her head, the two lovers squeezed, pressed,
breathed, ate, devoured, and kissed each other by a look which would
have set light to the match of a musketeer, if the musketeer had been
there. It was certain that a love so far advanced in the heart should
have an end. The gentleman dressed as a scholar of Montaign, began to
regale the clerks of the said Avenelles, and to joke in the company,
in order to learn the habits of the husband, his hours of absence, his
journeys, and everything, watching for an opportunity to stick his
horns on. And this was how, to his injury, the opportunity occurred.
The advocate, obliged to follow the course of this conspiracy, and, in
case of failure, intending to revenge himself upon the Guises,
determined to go to Blois, where the court then was in great danger of
being carried off. Knowing this, the gentleman came first to the town
of Blois, and there arranged a master-trap, into which the Sieur
Avenelles should fall, in spite of his cunning, and not come out until
steeped in a crimson cuckoldom. The said Italian, intoxicated with
love, called together all his pages and vassals, and posted them in
such a manner that on the arrival of the advocate, his wife, and her
duenna, it was stated to them at all the hostelries at which they
wished to put up that the hostelry being full, in consequence of the
sojourn of the court, they must go elsewhere. Then the gentleman made
such an arrangement with the landlord of the Soleil Royal, that he had
the whole of the house, and occupied, without any of the usual
servants of the place remaining there. For greater security, my lord
sent the said master and his people into the country, and put his own
in their places, so that the advocate should know nothing of this
arrangement. Behold my good gentleman who lodges his friends to come
to the court in the hostelry, and for himself keeps a room situated
above those in which he intends to put his lovely mistress, her
advocate, and the duenna, not without first having cut a trap in the
boards. And his steward being charged to play the part of the
innkeeper, his pages dressed like guests, and his female servants like
servants of the inn, he waited for spies to convey to him the dramatis
personae of this farce--viz., wife, husband, and duenna, none of whom
failed to come. Seeing the immense wealth of the great lords,
merchants, warriors, members of the service, and others, brought by
the sojourn of the young king, of two queens, the Guises, and all the
court, no one had a right to be astonished or to talk of the roguish
trap, or of the confusion come to the Soleil Royal. Behold now the
Sieur Avenelles, on his arrival, bundled about, he, his wife and the
duenna from inn to inn, and thinking themselves very fortunate in
being received at the Soleil Royal, where the gallant was getting
warm, and love was burning. The advocate, being lodged, the lover
walked about the courtyard, watching and waiting for a glance from the
lady; and he did not have to wait very long, since the fair Avenelles,
looking soon into the court, after the custom of the ladies, there
recognised not without great throbbing of the heart, her gallant and
well-beloved gentleman. At that she was very happy; and if by a lucky
chance both had been alone together for an ounce of time, that good
gentleman would not have had to wait for his good fortune, so burning
was she from head to foot.

"How warm it is in the rays of this lord," said she, meaning to say
sun, since it was then shining fiercely.

Hearing this, the advocate sprang to the window, and beheld my
gentleman.

"Ha! you want lords, my dear, do you?" said the advocate, dragging her
by the arm, and throwing her like one of his bags on to the bed.
"Remember that if I have a pencase at my side instead of a sword, I
have a penknife in this pencase, and that penknife will go into your
heart on the least suspicion of conjugal impropriety. I believe I have
seen that gentleman somewhere."

The advocate was so terribly spiteful that the lady rose, and said to
him--

"Well, kill me. I am not afraid of deceiving you. Never touch me
again, after having thus menaced me. And from to-day I shall never
think of sleeping save with a lover more gentle than you are."

"There, there, my little one!" said the advocate, surprised. "We have
gone a little too far. Kiss me, chick-a-biddy, and forgive me."

"I will neither kiss nor pardon you," said she "You are a wretch!"

Avenelles, enraged, wished to take by force that which his wife denied
him, and from this resulted a combat, from which the husband emerged
clawed all over. But the worst of it was, that the advocate, covered
with scratches, being expected by the conspirators, who were holding a
council, was obliged to quit his good wife, leaving her to the care of
the old woman.

The knave having departed, the gentleman putting one of his servants
to keep watch at the corner of the street, mounts to his blessed trap,
lifts it noiselessly, and calls the lady by a gentle psit! psit! which
was understood by the heart, which generally understands everything.
The lady lifts her head, and sees her pretty lover four flea jumps
above her. Upon a sign, she takes hold of two cords of black silk, to
which were attached loops, through which she passes her arms, and in
the twinkling of an eye is translated by two pulleys from her bed
through the ceiling into the room above, and the trap closing as it
has opened, left the old duenna in a state of great flabbergastation,
when, turning her head, she neither saw robe nor woman, and perceived
that the women had been robbed. How? by whom? in what way? where?
--Presto! Foro! Magico! As much knew the alchemists at their furnaces
reading Herr Trippa. Only the old woman knew well the crucible, and
the great work--the one was cuckoldom, and the other the private
property of Madame Advocate. She remained dumbfounded, watching for
the Sieur Avenelles--as well say death, for in his rage he would
attack everything, and the poor duenna could not run away, because
with great prudence the jealous man had taken the keys with him. At
first sight, Madame Avenelles found a dainty supper, a good fire in
the grate, but a better in the heart of her lover, who seized her, and
kissed her, with tears of joy, on the eyes first of all, to thank them
for their sweet glances during devotion at the church of St Jehan en
Greve. Nor did the glowing better half of the lawyer refuse her little
mouth to his love, but allowed herself to be properly pressed, adored,
caressed, delighting to be properly pressed, admirably adored, and
calorously caressed after the manner of eager lovers. And both agreed
to be all in all to each other the whole night long, no matter what
the result might be, she counting the future as a fig in comparison
with the joys of this night, he relying upon his cunning and his sword
to obtain many another. In short, both of them caring little for life,
because at one stroke they consummated a thousand lives, enjoyed with
each other a thousand delights, giving to each other the double of
their own--believing, he and she, that they were falling into an
abyss, and wishing to roll there closely clasped, hurling all the love
of their souls with rage in one throw. Therein they loved each other
well. Thus they knew not love, the poor citizens, who live
mechanically with their good wives, since they know not the fierce
beating of the heart, the hot gush of life, and the vigorous clasp as
of two young lovers, closely united and glowing with passion, who
embrace in face of the danger of death. Now the youthful lady and the
gentleman ate little supper, but retired early to rest. Let us leave
them there, since no words, except those of paradise unknown to us,
would describe their delightful agonies, and agonising delights.
Meanwhile, the husband, so well cuckolded that all memory of marriage
had been swept away by love,--the said Avenelles found himself in a
great fix. To the council of the Huguenots came the Prince of Conde,
accompanied by all the chiefs and bigwigs, and there it was resolved
to carry off the queen-mother, the Guises, the young king, the young
queen, and to change the government. This becoming serious, the
advocate seeing his head at stake, did not feel the ornaments being
planted there, and ran to divulge the conspiracy to the cardinal of
Lorraine, who took the rogue to the duke, his brother, and all three
held a consultation, making fine promises to the Sieur Avenelles, whom
with the greatest difficulty they allowed, towards midnight, to
depart, at which hour he issued secretly from the castle. At this
moment the pages of the gentleman and all his people were having a
right jovial supper in honour of the fortuitous wedding of their
master. Now, arriving at the height of the festivities, in the middle
of the intoxication and joyous huzzahs, he was assailed with jeers,
jokes, and laughter that turned him sick when he came into his room.
The poor servant wished to speak, but the advocate promptly planted a
blow in her stomach, and by a gesture commanded her to be silent. Then
he felt in his valise, and took therefrom a good poniard. While he was
opening and shutting it, a frank, naive, joyous, amorous, pretty,
celestial roar of laughter, followed by certain words of easy
comprehension, came down through the trap. The cunning advocate,
blowing out his candle, saw through the cracks in the boards caused by
the shrinking of the door a light, which vaguely explained the mystery
to him, for he recognised the voice of his wife, and that of the
combatant. The husband took the duenna by the arm, and went softly at
the stairs searching for the door of the chamber in which were the
lovers, and did not fail to find it. Fancy! that like a horrid, rude
advocate, he burst open the door, and with one spring was on the bed,
in which he surprised his wife, half dressed, in the arms of the
gentleman.

"Ah!" said she.

The lover having avoided the blow, tried to snatch the poniard from
the hands of the knave, who held it firmly.

Now, in this struggle of life and death, the husband finding himself
hindered by his lieutenant, who clutched him tightly with his fingers
of iron, and bitten by his wife, who tore away at him with a will,
gnawing him as a dog gnaws a bone, he thought instantly of a better
way to gratify his rage. Then the devil, newly horned, maliciously
ordered, in his patois, the servants to tie the lovers with the silken
cords of the trap, and throwing the poniard away, he helped the duenna
to make them fast. And the thing thus done in a moment, he rammed some
linen into their mouths to stop their cries, and ran to his good
poniard without saying a word. At this moment there entered several
officers of the Duke of Guise, whom during the struggle no one had
heard turning the house upside down, looking for the Sieur Avenelles.
These soldiers, suddenly warned by the cries of the pages of the lord,
bound, gagged and half killed, threw themselves between the man with
the poniard and the lovers, disarmed him, and accomplished their
mission by arresting him, and marching him off to the castle prison,
he, his wife, and the duenna. At the same time the people of the
Guises, recognising one of their master's friends, with whom at this
moment the queen was most anxious to consult, and whom they were
enjoined to summon to the council, invited him to come with them. Then
the gentleman soon untied, dressing himself, said aside to the chief
of the escort, that on his account, for the love for him, he should be
careful to keep the husband away from his wife, promising him his
favour, good advancement, and even a few deniers, if he were careful
to obey him on this point. And for greater surety he explained to him
the why and the wherefore of the affair, adding that if the husband
found himself within reach of this fair lady he would give her for
certain a blow in the belly from which she would never recover.
Finally he ordered him to place the lady in the jail of the castle, in
a pleasant place level with gardens, and the advocate in a safe
dungeon, not without chaining him hand and foot. The which the said
office promised, and arranged matters according to the wish of the
gentleman, who accompanied the lady as far as the courtyard of the
castle, assuring her that this business would make her a widow, and
that he would perhaps espouse her in legitimate marriage. In fact, the
Sieur Avenelles was thrown into a damp dungeon, without air, and his
pretty wife placed in a room above him, out of consideration for her
lover, who was the Sieur Scipion Sardini, a noble of Lucca,
exceedingly rich, and, as has been before stated, a friend of Queen
Catherine de Medici, who at that time did everything in concert with
the Guises. Then he went up quickly to the queen's apartments, where a
great secret council was then being held, and there the Italian
learned what was going on, and the danger of the court. Monseigneur
Sardini found the privy counsellors much embarrassed and surprised at
this dilemma, but he made them all agree, telling them to turn it to
their own advantage; and to his advice was due the clever idea of
lodging the king in the castle of Amboise, in order to catch the
heretics there like foxes in a bag, and there to slay them all.
Indeed, everyone knows how the queen-mother and Guises dissimulated,
and how the Riot of Amboise terminated. This is not, however, the
subject of the present narrative. When in the morning everyone had
quitted the chamber of the queen-mother, where everything had been
arranged, Monseigneur Sardini, in no way oblivious of his love for the
fair Avenelles, although he was at the time deeply smitten with the
lovely Limeuil, a girl belonging to the queen-mother, and her relation
by the house of La Tour de Turenne, asked why the good Judas had been
caged. Then the Cardinal of Lorraine told him his intention was not in
any way to harm the rogue, but that fearing his repentance, and for
greater security of his silence until the end of the affair, he put
him out of the way, and would liberate him at the proper time.

"Liberate him!" said the Luccanese. "Never! Put him in a sack, and
throw the old black gown into the Loire. In the first place I know
him; he is not the man to forgive you his imprisonment, and will
return to the Protestant Church. Thus this will be a work pleasant to
God, to rid him of a heretic. Then no one will know your secrets, and
not one of his adherents will think of asking you what has become of
him, because he is a traitor. Let me procure the escape of his wife
and arrange the rest; I will take it off your hands."

"Ha, ha!" said the cardinal; "you give good council. Now I will,
before distilling your advice, have them both more securely guarded.
Hi, there!"

Came an officer of police, who was ordered to let no person whoever he
might be, communicate with the two prisoners. Then the cardinal begged
Sardini to say at his hotel that the said advocate had departed from
Blois to return to his causes in Paris. The men charged with the
arrest of the advocate had received a verbal order to treat him as a
man of importance, so they neither stripped nor robbed him. Now the
advocate had kept thirty gold crowns in his purse, and resolved to
lose them all to assure his vengeance, and proved by good arguments to
the jailers that it was allowable for him to see his wife, on whom he
doted, and whose legitimate embrace he desired. Monseigneur Sardini,
fearing for his mistress the danger of the proximity of this red
learned rogue, and for her having great fear of certain evils,
determined to carry her off in the night, and put her in a place of
safety. Then he hired some boatmen and also their boat, placing them
near the bridge, and ordered three of his most active servants to file
the bars of the cell, seize the lady, and conduct her to the wall of
the gardens where he would await her.

These preparations being made, and good files bought, he obtained an
interview in the morning with the queen-mother, whose apartments were
situated above the stronghold in which lay the said advocate and his
wife, believing that the queen would willingly lend herself to this
flight. Presently he was received by her, and begged her not to think
it wrong that, at the instigation of the cardinal and of the Duke of
Guise, he should deliver this lady; and besides this, urged her very
strongly to tell the cardinal to throw the man into the water. To
which the queen said "Amen." Then the lover sent quickly to his lady a
letter in a plate of cucumbers, to advise her of her approaching
widowhood, and the hour of flight, with all of which was the fair
citizen well content. Then at dusk the soldiers of the watch being got
out of the way by the queen, who sent them to look at a ray of the
moon, which frightened her, behold the servants raised the grating,
and caught the lady, who came quickly enough, and was led through the
house to Monseigneur Sardini.

But the postern closed, and the Italian outside with the lady, behold
the lady throw aside her mantle, see the lady change into an advocate,
and see my said advocate seize his cuckolder by the collar, and half
strangle him, dragging him towards the water to throw him to the
bottom of the Loire; and Sardini began to defend himself, to shout,
and to struggle, without being able, in spite of his dagger, to shake
off this devil in long robes. Then he was quiet, falling into a slough
under the feet of the advocate, whom he recognised through the mists
of this diabolical combat, and by the light of the moon, his face
splashed with the blood of his wife. The enraged advocate quitted the
Italian, believing him to be dead, and also because servants armed
with torches, came running up. But he had to jump into the boat and
push off in great haste.

Thus poor Madame Avenelles died alone, since Monseigneur Sardini,
badly strangled, was found, and revived from this murder; and later,
as everyone knows, married the fair Limeuil after this sweet girl had
been brought to bed in the queen's cabinet--a great scandal, which
from friendship the queen-mother wished to conceal, and which from
great love Sardini, to whom Catherine gave the splendid estate of
Chaumont-sur-Loire, and also the castle, covered with marriage.

But he had been so brutally used by the husband, that he did not make
old bones, and the fair Limeuil was left a widow in her springtime. In
spite of his misdeeds the advocate was not searched after. He was
cunning enough eventually to get included in the number of those
conspirators who were not prosecuted, and returned to the Huguenots,
for whom he worked hard in Germany.

Poor Madame Avenelles, pray for her soul! for she was hurled no one
knew where, and had neither the prayers of the Church nor Christian
burial. Alas! shed a tear for her, ye ladies lucky in your loves.



              THE SERMON OF THE MERRY VICAR OF MEUDON

When, for the last time, came Master Francis Rabelais, to the court of
King Henry the Second of the name, it was in that winter when the will
of nature compelled him to quit for ever his fleshly garb, and live
forever in his writings resplendent with that good philosophy to which
we shall always be obliged to return. The good man had, at that time,
counted as nearly as possible seventy flights of the swallow. His
Homeric head was but scantily ornamented with hair, but his beard was
still perfect in its flowing majesty; there was still an air of
spring-time in his quiet smile, and wisdom on his ample brow. He was a
fine old man according to the statement of those who had the happiness
to gaze upon his face, to which Socrates and Aristophanes, formerly
enemies, but then become friends, contributed their features. Hearing
his last hours tinkling in his ears he determined to go and pay his
respects to the king of France, because he was having just at that
time arrived in his castle of Tournelles, the good man's house being
situated in the gardens of St Paul, was not a stone's throw distant
from the court. He soon found himself in the presence of Queen
Catherine, Madame Diana, whom she received from motives of policy, the
king, the constable, the cardinals of Lorraine and Bellay, Messieurs
de Guise, the Sieur de Birague, and other Italians, who at that time
stood well at court in consequence of the king's protection; the
admiral, Montgomery, the officers of the household, and certain poets,
such as Melin de St. Gelays, Philibert de l'Orme, and the Sieur
Brantome.

Perceiving the good man, the king, who knew his wit, said to him, with
a smile, after a short conversation--

"Hast thou ever delivered a sermon to thy parishioners of Meudon?"

Master Rabelais, thinking that the king was joking, since he had never
troubled himself further about his post than to collect the revenues
accruing from it, replied--

"Sire, my listeners are in every place, and my sermon heard throughout
Christendom."

Then glancing at all the courtiers, who, with the exception of
Messieurs du Bellay and Chatillon, considered him to be nothing but a
learned merry-andrew, while he was really the king of all wits, and a
far better king than he whose crown only the courtiers venerate, there
came into the good man's head the malicious idea to philosophically
pump over their heads, just as it pleased Gargantua to give the
Parisians a bath from the turrets of Notre Dame, so he added--

"If you are in a good humour, sire, I can regale you with a capital
little sermon, always appropriate, and which I have kept under the
tympanum of my left ear in order to deliver it in a fit place, by way
of an aulic parable."

"Gentlemen," said the king, "Master Francis Rabelais has the floor of
the court, and our salvation is concerned in his speech. Be silent, I
pray you, and give heed; he is fruitful in evangelical drolleries."

"Sire," said the good vicar, "I commence."

All the courtiers became silent, and arranged themselves into a
circle, pliant as osiers before the father of Pantagruel who unfolded
to them the following tale, in words the illustrious eloquence of
which it is impossible to equal. But since this tale has only been
verbally handed down to us, the author will be pardoned if he write
after his own fashion.

"In his old age Gargantua took to strange habits, which greatly
astonished his household, but the which he was forgiven since he was
seven hundred and four years old, in spite of the statement of St.
Clement of Alexandra in his Stromates, which makes out that at this
time he was a quarter of a day less, which matters little to us. Now
this paternal master, seeing that everything was going wrong in his
house, and that every one was fleecing him, conceived a great fear
that he would in his last moments be stripped of everything, and
resolved to invent a more perfect system of management in his domains,
and he did well. In a cellar of Gargantuan abode he hid away a fine
heap of red wheat, beside twenty jars of mustard and several
delicacies, such as plums and Tourainian rolls, articles of a dessert,
Olivet cheese, goat cheese, and others, well known between Langeais
and Loches, pots of butter, hare pasties, preserved ducks, pigs'
trotters in bran, boatloads and pots full of crushed peas, pretty
little pots of Orleans quince preserve, hogsheads of lampreys,
measures of green sauce, river game, such as francolins, teal,
sheldrake, heron, and flamingo, all preserved in sea-salt, dried
raisins, tongues smoked in the manner invented by Happe-Mousche, his
celebrated ancestor, and sweetstuff for Garga-melle on feast days; and
a thousand other things which are detailed in the records of the
Ripuary laws and in certain folios of the Capitularies, Pragmatics,
royal establishments, ordinances and institutions of the period. To be
brief, the good man, putting his spectacles on his nose or his nose in
his spectacles, looked about for a fine flying dragon or unicorn to
whom the guard of this precious treasure could be committed. With this
thought in his head he strolled about the gardens. He did not desire a
Coquecigrue, because the Egyptians were afraid of them, as it appeared
in the Hieroglyphics. He dismissed the idea of engaging the legions of
Caucquemarres, because emperors disliked them and also the Romans
according to that sulky fellow Tacitus. He rejected the Pechrocholiers
in council assembled, the Magi, the Druids, the legion or Papimania,
and the Massorets, who grew like quelch-grass and over-ran all the
land, as he had been told by his son, Pantagruel, on his return from
his journey. The good man calling to mind old stories, had no
confidence in any race, and if it had been permissible would have
implored the Creator for a new one, but not daring to trouble Him
about such trifles, did not know whom to choose, and was thinking that
his wealth would be a great trouble to him, when he met in his path a
pretty little shrew-mouse of the noble race of shrew-mice, who bear
all gules on an azure ground. By the gods! be sure that it was a
splendid animal, with the finest tail of the whole family, and was
strutting about in the sun like a brave shrew-mouse. It was proud of
having been in this world since the Deluge, according to
letters-patent of indisputable nobility, registered by the parliament
of the universe, since it appears from the Ecumenical Inquiry a
shrew-mouse was in Noah's Ark." Here Master Alcofribas raised his cap
slightly, and said, reverently, "It was Noah, my lords, who planted
the vine, and first had the honour of getting drunk upon the juice of
its fruit."

"For it is certain," he continued, "that a shrew-mouse was in the
vessel from which we all came; but the men have made bad marriages;
not so the mice, because they are more jealous of their coat of arms
than any other animals, and would not receive a field-mouse among
them, even though he had the especial gift of being able to convert
grains of sand to fine fresh hazelnuts. This fine gentlemanly
character so pleased the good Gargantua, that he decided to give the
post of watching his granaries to the shrew-mouse, with the most ample
of powers--of justice, comittimus, missi dominici, clergy,
men-at-arms, and all. The shrew-mouse promised faithfully to
accomplish his task, and to do his duty as a loyal beast, on condition
that he lived on a heap of grain, which Gargantua thought perfectly
fair. The shrew-mouse began to caper about in his domain as happy as a
prince who is happy, reconnoitering his immense empire of mustard,
countries of sugar, provinces of ham, duchies of raisins, counties of
chitterlings, and baronies of all sorts, scrambling on to the heap of
grain and frisking his tail against everything. To be brief, everywhere
was the shrew-mouse received with honour by the pots, which kept a
respectful silence, except two golden tankards, which knocked against
each other like the bells of a church ringing a tocsin, at which he was
much pleased, and thanked them, right and left, by a nod of the head,
while promenading in the rays of the sun, which were illuminating his
domain. Therein so splendidly did the brown colour of his hair shine
forth, that one would have thought him a northern king in his sable
furs. After his twists, turns, jumps and capers, he munched two grains
of corn, sat upon the heap like a king in full court, and fancied
himself the most illustrious of shrew-mice. At this moment they came
from their accustomed holes the gentlemen of the night-prowling court,
who scamper with their little feet across the floors; these gentlemen
being the rats, mice, and other gnawing, thieving, and crafty animals,
of whom the citizens and housewives complain. When they saw the
shrew-mouse they took fright, and all remained shyly at the threshold
of their dens. Among these common people, in spite of the danger, one
old infidel of the trotting, nibbling race of mice, advanced a little,
and putting his nose in the air, had the courage to stare my lord
shrew-mouse full in the face, although the latter was proudly squatted
upon his rump, with his tail in the air; and he came to the conclusion
that he was a devil, from whom nothing but scratches were to be gained.
And from these facts, Gargantua, in order that the high authority of
his lieutenant might be universally known by all of the shrew-mice,
cats, weasels, martins, field-mice, mice, rats, and other bad characters
of the same kidney, had lightly dipped his muzzle, pointed as a larding
pin, in oil of musk, which all shrew-mice have since inherited,
because this one, is spite of the sage advice of Gargantua, rubbed
himself against others of his breed. From this sprang the troubles in
the Muzaraignia of which I will give you a good account in an
historical book when I get an opportunity.

"Then an old mouse, or rat--the rabbis of Talmud have not yet agreed
concerning the species--perceiving by this perfume that this
shrew-mouse was appointed to guard the grain of Gargantua, and had
been sprinkled with virtues, invested with full powers, and armed at
all points, was alarmed lest he should no longer be able to live,
according to the custom of mice, upon the meats, morsels, crusts,
crumbs, leavings, bits, atoms, and fragments of this Canaan of rats.
In this dilemma the good mouse, artful as an old courtier who had
lived under two regencies and three kings, resolved to try the mettle
of the shrew-mouse, and devote himself to the salvation of the jaws of
his race. This would have been a laudable thing in a man, but it was
far more so in a mouse, belonging to a tribe who live for themselves
alone, barefacedly and shamelessly, and in order to gratify themselves
would defile a consecrated wafer, gnaw a priest's stole without shame,
and would drink out of a Communion cup, caring nothing for God. The
mouse advanced with many a bow and scrape, and the shrew-mouse let him
advance rather near--for, to tell the truth, these animals are
naturally short-sighted. Then this Curtius of nibblers made his little
speech, not the jargon of common mice, but in the polite language of
shrew-mice:--'My lord, I have heard with much concern of your glorious
family, of which I am one of the most devoted slaves. I know the
legend of your ancestors, who were thought much of by the ancient
Egyptians, who held them in great veneration, and adored them like
other sacred birds. Nevertheless, your fur robe is so royally
perfumed, and its colour is so splendiferously tanned, that I am
doubtful if I recognise you as belonging to this race, since I have
never seen any of them so gloriously attired. However you have
swallowed the grain after the antique fashion. Your proboscis is a
proboscis of sapience; you have kicked like a learned shrew-mouse; but
if you are a true shrew-mouse, you should have in I know not what part
of your ear--I know not what special auditorial channel, which I know
not, what wonderful door, closes I know not how, and I know not with
what movements, by your secret commands to give you, I know not why,
licence not to listen to I know not what things, which would be
displeasing to you, on account of the special and peculiar perfection
of your faculty of hearing everything, which would often pain you."

"'True,' said the shrew-mouse, 'the door has just fallen. I hear
nothing!'

"'Ah, I see,' said the old rogue.

"And he made for the pile of corn, from which he commenced to take his
store for the winter.

"'Did you hear anything?' asked he.

"'I hear the pit-a-pat of my heart.'

"'Kouick!' cried all the mice; 'we shall be able to hoodwink him.'

"The shrew-mouse, fancying that he had met with a faithful vassal,
opened the trap of his musical orifice, and heard the noise of the
grain going towards the hole. Then, without having recourse to
forfeiture, the justice of commissaries, he sprang upon the old mouse
and squeezed him to death. Glorious death! for the hero died in the
thick of the grain, and was canonised as a martyr. The shrew-mouse
took him by the ears and placed him on the door the granary, after the
fashion of the Ottoman Porte, where my good Panurge was within an ace
of being spitted. At the cries of the dying wretch the rats, mice, and
others made for their holes in great haste. When the night had fallen
they came to the cellar, convoked for the purpose of holding a council
to consider public affairs; to which meeting, in virtue of the
Papyrian and other laws, their lawful wives were admitted. The rats
wished to pass before the mice, and serious quarrels about precedence
nearly spoiled everything; but a big rat gave his arm to a mouse, and
the gaffer rats and gammer mice being paired off in the same way, all
were soon seated on their rumps, tails in air, muzzles stretched,
whiskers stiff, and their eyes brilliant as those of a falcon. Then
commenced a deliberation, which finished up with insults and a
confusion worthy of an ecumenical council of holy fathers. One said
this and another said that, and a cat passing by took fright and ran
away, hearing these strange noises: 'Bou, bou, grou, ou, ou, houic,
houic, briff, briffnac, nac, nac, fouix, fouix, trr, trr, trr, trr,
za, za, zaaa, brr, brr, raaa, ra, ra, ra, fouix!' so well blended
together in a babel of sound, that a council at the Hotel de Ville
could not have made a greater hubbub. During this tempest a little
mouse, who was not old enough to enter parliament, thrust through a
chink her inquiring snout, the hair on which was as downy as that of
all mice, too downy to be caught. As the tumult increased, by degrees
her body followed her nose, until she came to the hoop of a cask,
against which she so dextrously squatted that she might have been
mistaken for a work of art carved in antique bas-relief. Lifting his
eyes to heaven to implore a remedy for the misfortunes of the state,
an old rat perceived this pretty mouse, so gentle and shapely, and
declared that the State might be saved by her. All the muzzles turned
to this Lady of Good Help, became silent, and agreed to let her loose
upon the shrew-mouse, and in spite of the anger of certain envious
mice, she was triumphantly marched around the cellar, where, seeing
her walk mincingly, mechanically move her tail, shake her cunning
little head, twitch her diaphanous ears, and lick with her little red
tongue the hairs just sprouting on her cheeks, the old rats fell in
love with her and wagged their wrinkled, white-whiskered jaws with
delight at the sight of her, as did formerly the old men of Troy,
admiring the lovely Helen, returning from her bath. Then the maiden
was conducted to the granary, with instructions to make a conquest of
the shrew-mouse's heart, and save the fine red grain, as did formerly
the fair Hebrew, Esther, for the chosen people, with the Emperor
Ahasuerus, as is written in the master-book, for Bible comes from the
Greek word biblos, as if to say the only book. The mouse promised to
deliver the granaries, for by a lucky chance she was the queen of
mice, a fair, plump, pretty little mouse, the most delicate little
lady that ever scampered merrily across the floors, scratched between
the walls, and gave utterance to little cries of joy at finding nuts,
meal, and crumbs of bread in her path; a true fay, pretty and playful,
with an eye clear as crystal, a little head, sleek skin, amorous body,
rosy feet, and velvet tail--a high born mouse and a polished speaker
with a natural love of bed and idleness--a merry mouse, more cunning
than an old Doctor of Sorbonne fed on parchment, lively, white
bellied, streaked on the back, with sweet moulded breasts, pearl-white
teeth, and of a frank open nature--in fact, a true king's morsel."

This portraiture was so bold--the mouse appearing to have been the
living image of Madame Diana, then present--that the courtiers stood
aghast. Queen Catherine smiled, but the king was in no laughing
humour. But Rabelais went on without paying any attention to the winks
of the Cardinal Bellay and de Chatillon, who were terrified for the
good man.

"The pretty mouse," said he, continuing, "did not beat long about the
bush, and from the first moment that she trotted before the
shrew-mouse, she had enslaved him for ever by her coquetries,
affectations, friskings, provocations, little refusals, piercing
glances, and wiles of a maiden who desires yet dares not, amorous
oglings, little caresses, preparatory tricks, pride of a mouse who
knows her value, laughings and squeakings, triflings and other
endearments, feminine, treacherous and captivating ways, all traps
which are abundantly used by the females of all nations. When, after
many wrigglings, smacks in the face, nose lickings, gallantries of
amorous shrew-mice, frowns, sighs, serenades, titbits, suppers and
dinners on the pile of corn, and other attentions, the superintendent
overcame the scruples of his beautiful mistress, he became the slave
of this incestuous and illicit love, and the mouse, leading her lord
by the snout, became queen of everything, nibbled his cheese, ate the
sweets, and foraged everywhere. This the shrew-mouse permitted to the
empress of his heart, although he was ill at ease, having broken his
oath made to Gargantua, and betrayed the confidence placed in him.
Pursuing her advantage with the pertinacity of a woman, one night they
were joking together, the mouse remembered the dear old fellow her
father, and desiring that he should make his meals off the grain, she
threatened to leave her lover cold and lonely in his domain if he did
not allow her to indulge her filial piety. In the twinkling of a
mouse's eye he had granted letters patent, sealed with a green seal,
with tags of crimson silk, to his wench's father, so that the
Gargantuan palace was open to him at all hours, and he was at liberty
see his good, virtuous daughter, kiss her on the forehead, and eat his
fill, but always in a corner. Then there arrived a venerable old rat,
weighing about twenty-five ounces, with a white tail, marching like the
president of a Court of Justice, wagging his head, and followed by
fifteen or twenty nephews, all with teeth as sharp as saws, who
demonstrated to the shrew-mouse by little speeches and questions of all
kinds that they, his relations, would soon be loyally attached to him,
and would help him to count the things committed to his charge, arrange
and ticket them, in order that when Gargantua came to visit them he
would find everything in perfect order. There was an air of truth about
these promises. The poor shrew-mouse was, however, in spite of this
speech, troubled by ideas from on high, and serious pricking of
shrew-mousian conscience. Seeing that he turned up his nose at
everything, went about slowly and with a careworn face, one morning the
mouse who was pregnant by him, conceived the idea of calming his doubts
and easing his mind by a Sorbonnical consultation, and sent for the
doctors of his tribe. During the day she introduced to him one, Sieur
Evegault, who had just stepped out of a cheese where he lived in perfect
abstinence, an old confessor of high degree, a merry fellow of good
appearance, with a fine black skin, firm as a rock, and slightly
tonsured on the head by the pat of a cat's claw. He was a grave rat,
with a monastical paunch, having much studied scientific authorities
by nibbling at their works in parchments, papers, books and volumes of
which certain fragments had remained upon his grey beard. In honour of
and great reverence for his great virtue and wisdom, and his modest
life, he was accompanied by a black troop of black rats, all bringing
with them pretty little mice, their sweethearts, for not having
adopted the canons of the council of Chesil, it was lawful for them to
have respectable women for concubines. These beneficed rats, being
arranged in two lines, you might have fancied them a procession of the
university authorities going to Lendit. And they all began to sniff
the victuals.

"When the ceremony of placing them all was complete, the old cardinal
of the rats lifted up his voice, and in a good rat-latin oration
pointed out to the guardian of the grain that no one but God was
superior to him; and that to God alone he owed obedience, and he
entertained him with many fine phrases, stuffed with evangelical
quotations, to disturb the principal and fog his flock; in fact, fine
argument interlarded with much sound sense. The discourse finished
with a peroration full of high sounding words in honour of shrew-mice,
among whom his hearer was the most illustrious and best beneath the
sun; and this oration considerably bewildered the keeper of the
granary.

"This good gentleman's head was thoroughly turned, and he installed
this fine speaking rat and his tribe in his manor, where night and day
his praises and little songs in his honour were sung, not forgetting
his lady, whose little paw was kissed and little tail was sniffed at
by all. Finally, the mistress, knowing that certain young rats were
still fasting, determined to finish her work. Then she kissed her lord
tenderly, loading him with love, and performing those little endearing
antics of which one alone was sufficient to send a beast to perdition;
and said to the shrew-mouse that he wasted the precious time due to
their love by travelling about, that he was always going here or
there, and that she never had her proper share of him; that when she
wanted his society, he was on the leads chasing the cats, and that she
wished him always to be ready to her hand like a lance, and kind as a
bird. Then in her great grief she tore out a grey hair, declaring
herself, weepingly, to be the most wretched little mouse in the world.
The shrew-mouse pointed out to her that she was the mistress of
everything, and wished to resist, but after the lady had shed a
torrent of tears he implored a truce and considered her request. Then
instantly drying her tears, and giving him her paw to kiss, she
advised him to arm some soldiers, trusty and tried rats, old warriors,
who would go the rounds to keep watch. Everything was thus wisely
arranged. The shrew-mouse had the rest of the day to dance, play, and
amuse himself, listen to the roundelays and ballads which the poets
composed in his honour, play the lute and the mandore, make acrostics,
eat, drink and be merry. One day his mistress having just risen from
her confinement, after having given birth to the sweetest little
mouse-sorex or sorex-mouse, I know not what name was given to this
mongrel food of love, whom you may be sure, the gentlemen in the long
robe would manage to legitimise" (the constable of Montmorency, who
had married his son to a legitimised bastard of the king's, here put
his hand to his sword and clutched the handle fiercely), "a grand
feast was given in the granaries, to which no court festival or gala
could be compared, not even that of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In
every corner mice were making merry. Everywhere there were dances,
concerts, banquets, sarabands, music, joyous songs, and epithalamia.
The rats had broken open the pots, and uncovered the jars, lapped the
gallipots, and unpacked the stores. The mustard was strewn over the
place, the hams were mangled and the corn scattered. Everything was
rolling, tumbling, and falling about the floor, and the little rats
dabbled in puddles of green sauce, the mice navigated oceans of
sweetmeats, and the old folks carried off the pasties. There were mice
astride salt tongues. Field-mice were swimming in the pots, and the
most cunning of them were carrying the corn into their private holes,
profiting by the confusion to make ample provision for themselves. No
one passed the quince confection of Orleans without saluting it with
one nibble, and oftener with two. It was like a Roman carnival. In
short, anyone with a sharp ear might have heard the frizzling
frying-pans, the cries and clamours of the kitchens, the crackling of
their furnaces, the noise of the turnspits, the creaking of baskets,
the haste of the confectioners, the click of the meat-jacks, and the
noise of the little feet scampering thick as hail over the floor. It
was a bustling wedding-feast, where people come and go, footmen,
stablemen, cooks, musicians, buffoons, where everyone pays compliments
and makes a noise. In short, so great was the delight that they kept
up a general wagging of the head to celebrate this eventful night. But
suddenly there was heard the horrible foot-fall of Gargantua, who was
ascending the stairs of his house to visit the granaries, and made the
planks, the beams, and everything else tremble. Certain old rats asked
each other what might mean this seignorial footstep, with which they
were unacquainted, and some of them decamped, and they did well, for
the lord and master entered suddenly. Perceiving the confusion these
gentleman had made, seeing his preserves eaten, his mustard unpacked,
and everything dirtied and scratched about, he put his feet upon these
lively vermin without giving them time to squeak, and thus spoiled
their best clothes, satins, pearls, velvets, and rubbish, and upset
the feast."

"And what became of the shrew-mouse?" said the king, waking from his
reverie.

"Ah, sire!" replied Rabelais, "herein we see the injustice of the
Gargantuan tribe. He was put to death, but being a gentleman he was
beheaded. That was ill done, for he had been betrayed."

"You go rather far, my good man," said the king.

"No sire," replied Rabelais, "but rather high. Have you not sunk the
crown beneath the pulpit? You asked me for a sermon; I have given you
one which is gospel."

"My fine vicar," said Madame Diana, in his ear, "suppose I were
spiteful?"

"Madame," said Rabelais, "was it not well then of me to warn the king,
your master, against the queen's Italians, who are as plentiful here
as cockchafers?"

"Poor preacher," said Cardinal Odet, in his ear, "go to another
country."

"Ah! monsieur," replied the old fellow, "ere long I shall be in
another land."

"God's truth! Mr. Scribbler," said the constable (whose son, as
everyone knows, had treacherously deserted Mademoiselle de Piennes, to
whom he was betrothed, to espouse Diana of France, daughter of the
mistress of certain high personages and of the king), "who made thee
so bold as to slander persons of quality? Ah, wretched poet, you like
to raise yourself high; well then, I promise to put you in a good high
place."

"We shall all go there, my lord constable," replied the old man: "but
if you are friendly to the state and to the king you will thank me for
having warned him against the hordes of Lorraine, who are evils that
will devour everything."

"My good man," whispered Cardinal Charles of Lorraine, "if you need a
few gold crowns to publish your fifth book of Pantagruel you can come
to me for them, because you have put the case clearly to the enemy,
who has bewitched the king, and also to her pack."

"Well, gentlemen," said the king, "what do you think of the sermon?"

"Sire," said Mellin de Saint-Gelais, seeing that all were well
pleased, "I had never heard a better Pantagruelian prognostication.
Much do we owe to him who made these leonine verses in the Abbey of
Theleme:--


  '"Cy vous entrez, qui le saint Evangile
    En sens agile annoncez, quoy qu'on gronde,
    Ceans aurez une refuge et bastile,
    Contre l'hostile erreur qui tant postille
    Par son faux style empoisonner le monde.'"

 ['"Should ye who enter here profess in jubilation
    Our gospel of elation, then suffer dolts to curse!
    Here refuge shall ye find, and sure circumvallation
    Against the protestation of those whose delectation
    Brings false abomination to blight the universe.'"]


All the courtiers having applauded their companion, each one
complimented Rabelais, who took his departure accompanied with great
honour by the king's pages, who, by express command held torches
before him.

Some persons have charged Francis Rabelais, the imperial honour of our
land, with spiteful tricks and apish pranks, unworthy of his Homeric
philosophy, of this prince of wisdom of this fatherly centre, from
which have issued since the rising of his subterranean light a good
number of marvellous works. Out upon those who would defile this
divine head! All their life long may they find grit between their
teeth, those who have ignored his good and moderate nourishment.

Dear drinker of pure water, faithful servant or monachal abstinence,
wisest of wise men, how would thy sides ache with laughter, how
wouldst thou chuckle, if thou couldst come again for a little while to
Chinon, and read the idiotic mouthings, and the maniacal babble of the
fools who have interpreted, commentated, torn, disgraced,
misunderstood, betrayed, defiled, adulterated and meddled with thy
peerless book. As many dogs as Panurge found busy with his lady's robe
at church, so many two-legged academic puppies have busied themselves
with befouling the high marble pyramid in which is cemented for ever
the seed of all fantastic and comic inventions, besides magnificent
instruction in all things. Although rare are the pilgrims who have the
breath to follow thy bark in its sublime peregrination through the
ocean of ideas, methods, varieties, religions, wisdom, and human
trickeries, at least their worship is unalloyed, pure, and
unadulterated, and thine omnipotence, omniscience, and omni-language
are by them bravely recognised. Therefore has a poor son of our merry
Touraine here been anxious, however unworthily, to do thee homage by
magnifying thine image, and glorifying the works of eternal memory, so
cherished by those who love the concentrative works wherein the
universal moral is contained, wherein are found, pressed like sardines
in their boxes, philosophical ideas on every subject, science, art and
eloquence, as well as theatrical mummeries.



                            THE SUCCUBUS


Prologue

A number of persons of the noble country of Touraine, considerably
edified by the warm search which the author is making into the
antiquities, adventures, good jokes, and pretty tales of that blessed
land, and believing for certain that he should know everything, have
asked him (after drinking with him of course understood), if he had
discovered the etymological reason, concerning which all the ladies of
the town are so curious, and from which a certain street in Tours is
called the Rue Chaude. By him it was replied, that he was much
astonished to see that the ancient inhabitants had forgotten the great
number of convents situated in this street, where the severe
continence of the monks and nuns might have caused the walls to be
made so hot that some woman of position should increase in size from
walking too slowly along them to vespers. A troublesome fellow,
wishing to appear learned, declared that formerly all the
scandalmongers of the neighbourhood were wont to meet in this place.
Another entangled himself in the minute suffrages of science, and
poured forth golden words without being understood, qualifying words,
harmonising the melodies of the ancient and modern, congregating
customs, distilling verbs, alchemising all languages since the Deluge,
of the Hebrew, Chaldeans, Egyptians, Greeks, Latins, and of Turnus,
the ancient founder of Tours; and the good man finished by declaring
that chaude or chaulde with the exception of the H and the L, came
from Cauda, and that there was a tail in the affair, but the ladies
only understood the end of it. An old man observed that in this same
place was formerly a source of thermal water, of which his great great
grandfather had drunk. In short, in less time than it takes a fly to
embrace its sweetheart, there had been a pocketful of etymologies, in
which the truth of the matter had been less easily found than a louse
in the filthy beard of a Capuchin friar. But a man well learned and
well informed, through having left his footprint in many monasteries,
consumed much midnight oil, and manured his brain with many a volume
--himself more encumbered with pieces, dyptic fragments, boxes,
charters, and registers concerning the history of Touraine than is a
gleaner with stalks of straw in the month of August--this man, old,
infirm, and gouty, who had been drinking in his corner without saying
a word, smiled the smile of a wise man and knitted his brows, the said
smile finally resolving itself into a pish! well articulated, which
the Author heard and understood it to be big with an adventure
historically good, the delights of which he would be able to unfold in
this sweet collection.

To be brief, on the morrow this gouty old fellow said to him, "By your
poem, which is called 'The Venial Sin,' you have forever gained my
esteem, because everything therein is true from head to foot--which I
believe to be a precious superabundance in such matters. But doubtless
you do not know what became of the Moor placed in religion by the said
knight, Bruyn de la Roche-Corbon. I know very well. Now if this
etymology of the street harass you, and also the Egyptian nun, I will
lend you a curious and antique parchment, found by me in the Olim of
the episcopal palace, of which the libraries were a little knocked
about at a period when none of us knew if he would have the pleasure
of his head's society on the morrow. Now will not this yield you a
perfect contentment?"

"Good!" said the author.

Then this worthy collector of truths gave certain rare and dusty
parchments to the author, the which he has, not without great labour,
translated into French, and which were fragments of a most ancient
ecclesiastical process. He has believed that nothing would be more
amusing than the actual resurrection of this antique affair, wherein
shines forth the illiterate simplicity of the good old times. Now,
then, give ear. This is the order in which were the manuscripts, of
which the author has made use in his own fashion, because the language
was devilishly difficult.


I
WHAT THE SUCCUBUS WAS.

_In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen._

In the year of our Lord, one thousand two hundred and seventy-one,
before me, Hierome Cornille, grand inquisitor and ecclesiastical judge
(thereto commissioned by the members of the chapter of Saint Maurice,
the cathedral of Tours, having of this deliberated in the presence of
our Lord Jean de Montsoreau, archbishop--namely, the grievances and
complaints of the inhabitants of the said town, whose request is here
subjoined), have appeared certain noblemen, citizens, and inhabitants
of the diocese, who have stated the following facts concerning a demon
suspected of having taken the features of a woman, who has much
afflicted the minds of the diocese, and is at present a prisoner in
the jail of the chapter; and in order to arrive at the truth of the
said charge we have opened the present court, this Monday, the
eleventh day of December, after mass, to communicate the evidence of
each witness to the said demon, to interrogate her upon the said
crimes to her imputed, and to judge her according to the laws enforced
_contra demonios_.

In this inquiry has assisted me to write the evidence therein given,
Guillaume Tournebouche, rubrican of the chapter, a learned man.


Firstly has come before us one Jehan, surnamed Tortebras, a citizen of
Tours, keeping by licence the hostelry of La Cigoyne, situated on the
Place du Pont, and who has sworn by the salvation of his soul, his
hand upon the holy Evangelists, to state no other thing than that
which by himself hath been seen and heard.

He hath stated as here followeth:--

"I declare that about two years before the feast of St. Jehan, upon
which are the grand illuminations, a gentleman, at first unknown to
me, but belonging without doubt to our lord the King, and at that time
returned to our country from the Holy Land, came to me with the
proposition that I should let to him at rental a certain country-house
by me built, in the quit rent of the chapter over against the place
called of St. Etienne, and the which I let to him for nine years, for
the consideration of three besans of fine gold. In the said house was
placed by the said knight a fair wench having the appearance of a
woman, dressed in the strange fashion of the Saracens Mohammedans,
whom he would allow by none to be seen or to be approached within a
bow-shot, but whom I have seen with mine own eyes, weird feathers upon
her head, and eyes so flaming that I cannot adequately describe them,
and from which gleamed forth a fire of hell. The defunct knight having
threatened with death whoever should appear to spy about the said
house, I have by reason of great fear left the said house, and I have
until this day secretly kept to my mind certain presumptions and
doubts concerning the bad appearance of the said foreigner, who was
more strange than any woman, her equal not having as yet by me been
seen.

"Many persons of all conditions having at the time believed the said
knight to be dead, but kept upon his feet by virtue of the said
charms, philters, spells, and diabolical sorceries of this seeming
woman, who wished to settle in our country, I declare that I have
always seen the said knight so ghastly pale that I can only compare
his face to the wax of a Paschal candle, and to the knowledge of all
the people of the hostelry of La Cigoyne, this knight was interred
nine days after his first coming. According to the statement of his
groom, the defunct had been chalorously coupled with the said Moorish
woman during seven whole days shut up in my house, without coming out
from her, the which I heard him horribly avow upon his deathbed.
Certain persons at the present time have accused this she-devil of
holding the said gentleman in her clutches by her long hair, the which
was furnished with certain warm properties by means of which are
communicated to Christians the flames of hell in the form of love,
which work in them until their souls are by this means drawn from
their bodies and possessed by Satan. But I declare that I have seen
nothing of this excepting the said dead knight, bowelless, emaciated,
wishing, in spite of his confessor, still to go to this wench; and
then he has been recognised as the lord de Bueil, who was a crusader,
and who was, according to certain persons of the town, under the spell
of a demon whom he had met in the Asiatic country of Damascus or
elsewhere.

"Afterwards I have let my house to the said unknown lady, according to
the clauses of the deed of lease. The said lord of Bueil, being
defunct, I had nevertheless been into my house in order to learn from
the said foreign woman if she wished to remain in my dwelling, and
after great trouble was led before her by a strange, half-naked black
man, whose eyes were white.

"Then I have seen the said Moorish woman in a little room, shining
with gold and jewels, lighted with strange lights, upon an Asiatic
carpet, where she was seated, lightly attired, with another gentleman,
who was there imperiling his soul; and I had not the heart bold enough
to look upon her, seeing that her eyes would have incited me
immediately to yield myself up to her, for already her voice thrilled
into my very belly, filled my brain, and debauched my mind. Finding
this, from the fear of God, and also of hell, I have departed with
swift feet, leaving my house to her as long as she liked to retain it,
so dangerous was it to behold that Moorish complexion from which
radiated diabolical heats, besides a foot smaller than it was lawful
in a real woman to possess; and to hear her voice, which pierced into
one's heart! And from that day I have lacked the courage to enter my
house from great fear of falling into hell. I have said my say."

To the said Tortebras we have then shown an Abyssinian, Nubian or
Ethiopian, who, black from head to foot, had been found wanting in
certain virile properties with which all good Christians are usually
furnished, who, having persevered in his silence, after having been
tormented and tortured many times, not without much moaning, has
persisted in being unable to speak the language of our country. And
the said Tortebras has recognised the said Abyss heretic as having
been in his house in company with the said demoniacal spirit, and is
suspected of having lent his aid to her sorcery.

And the said Tortebras has confessed his great faith in the Catholic
religion, and declared no other things to be within his knowledge save
certain rumours which were known to every one, of which he had been in
no way a witness except in the hearing of them.


In obedience to the citations served upon him, has appeared then,
Matthew, surname Cognefestu, a day-labourer of St. Etienne, whom,
after having sworn by the holy Evangelists to speak the truth, has
confessed to us always to have seen a bright light in the dwelling of
the said foreign woman, and heard much wild and diabolical laughter on
the days and nights of feasts and fasts, notably during the days of
the holy and Christmas weeks, as if a great number of people were in
the house. And he has sworn to have seen by the windows of the said
dwellings, green buds of all kinds in the winter, growing as if by
magic, especially roses in a time of frost, and other things for which
there was a need of a great heat; but of this he was in no way
astonished, seeing that the said foreigner threw out so much heat that
when she walked in the evening by the side of his wall he found on the
morrow his salad grown; and on certain occasions she had by the
touching of her petticoats, caused the trees to put forth leaves and
hasten the buds. Finally, the said, Cognefestu has declared to us to
know no more, because he worked from early morning, and went to bed at
the same hour as the fowls.

Afterwards the wife of the aforesaid Cognefestu has by us been
required to state also upon oath the things come to her cognisance in
this process, and has avowed naught save praises of the said
foreigner, because since her coming her man had treated her better in
consequence of the neighbourhood of this good lady, who filled the air
with love, as the sun did light, and other incongruous nonsense, which
we have not committed to writing.

To the said Cognefestu and to his wife we have shown the said unknown
African, who has been seen by them in the gardens of the house, and is
stated by them for certain to belong to the said demon. In the third
place, has advanced Harduin V., lord of Maille, who being by us
reverentially begged to enlighten the religion of the church, has
expressed his willingness so to do, and has, moreover, engaged his
word, as a gallant knight, to say no other thing than that which he
has seen. Then he has testified to have known in the army of the
Crusades the demon in question, and in the town of Damascus to have
seen the knight of Bueil, since defunct, fight at close quarters to be
her sole possessor. The above-mentioned wench, or demon, belonged at
that time to the knight Geoffroy IV., Lord of Roche-Pozay, by whom she
was said to have been brought from Touraine, although she was a
Saracen; concerning which the knights of France marvelled much, as
well as at her beauty, which made a great noise and a thousand
scandalous ravages in the camp. During the voyage this wench was the
cause of many deaths, seeing that Roche-Pozay had already discomfited
certain Crusaders, who wished to keep her to themselves, because she
shed, according to certain knights petted by her in secret, joys
around her comparable to none others. But in the end the knight of
Bueil, having killed Geoffroy de la Roche-Pozay, became lord and
master of this young murderess, and placed her in a convent, or harem,
according to the Saracen custom. About this time one used to see her
and hear her chattering as entertainment many foreign dialects, such
as the Greek or the Latin empire, Moorish, and, above all, French
better than any of those who knew the language of France best in the
Christian host, from which sprang the belief that she was demoniacal.

The said knight Harduin has confessed to us not to have tilted for her
in the Holy Land, not from fear, coldness or other cause, so much as
that he believed the time had arrived for him to bear away a portion
of the true cross, and also he had belonging to him a noble lady of
the Greek country, who saved him from this danger in denuding him of
love, morning and night, seeing that she took all of it substantially
from him, leaving him none in his heart or elsewhere for others.

And the said knight has assured us that the woman living in the
country house of Tortebras, was really the said Saracen woman, come
into the country from Syria, because he had been invited to a midnight
feast at her house by the young Lord of Croixmare, who expired the
seventh day afterwards, according to the statement of the Dame de
Croixmare, his mother, ruined all points by the said wench, whose
commerce with him had consumed his vital spirit, and whose strange
phantasies had squandered his fortune.

Afterwards questioned in his quality of a man full of prudence, wisdom
and authority in this country, upon the ideas entertained concerning
the said woman, and summoned by us to open his conscience, seeing that
it was a question of a most abominable case of Christian faith and
divine justice, answer has been made by the said knight:--

That by certain of the host of Crusaders it has been stated to him
that always this she-devil was a maid to him who embraced her, and
that Mammon was for certain occupied in her, making for her a new
virtue for each of her lovers, and a thousand other foolish sayings of
drunken men, which were not of a nature to form a fifth gospel. But
for a fact, he, an old knight on that turn of life, and knowing
nothing more of the aforesaid, felt himself again a young man in that
last supper with which he had been regaled by the lord of Croixmare;
then the voice of this demon went straight to his heart before flowing
into his ears, and had awakened so great a love in his body that his
life was ebbing from the place whence it should flow, and that
eventually, but for the assistance of Cyprus wine, which he had drunk
to blind his sight, and his getting under the table in order no longer
to gaze upon the fiery eyes of his diabolical hostess, and not to rend
his heart from her, without doubt he would have fought the young
Croixmare, in order to enjoy for a single moment this supernatural
woman. Since then he had had absolution from his confessor for the
wicked thought. Then, by advice from on high, he had carried back to
his house his portion of the true Cross, and had remained in his own
manor, where, in spite of his Christian precautions, the said voice
still at certain times tickled his brain, and in the morning often had
he in remembrance this demon, warm as brimstone; and because the look
of this wench was so warm that it made him burn like a young man, be
half dead, and because it cost him then many transshipments of the
vital spirit, the said knight has requested us not to confront him
with the empress of love to whom, if it were not the devil, God the
Father had granted strange liberties with the minds of men.
Afterwards, he retired, after reading over his statement, not without
having first recognised the above-mentioned African to be the servant
and page of the lady.


In the fourth place, upon the faith pledged in us in the name of the
Chapter and of our Lord Archbishop, that he should not be tormented,
tortured, nor harassed in any manner, nor further cited after his
statement, in consequence of his commercial journeys, and upon the
assurance that he should retire in perfect freedom, has come before us
a Jew, Salomon al Rastchid, who, in spite of the infamy of his person
and his Judaism, has been heard by us to this one end, to know
everything concerning the conduct of the aforesaid demon. Thus he has
not been required to take any oath this Salomon, seeing that he is
beyond the pale of the Church, separated from us by the blood of our
saviour (trucidatus Salvatore inter nos). Interrogated by us as to why
he appeared without the green cap upon his head, and the yellow wheel
in the apparent locality of the heart in his garment, according to the
ecclesiastical and royal ordinances, the said de Rastchid has
exhibited to us letters patent of the seneschal of Touraine and
Poitou. Then the said Jew has declared to us to have done a large
business for the lady dwelling in the house of the innkeeper
Tortebras, to have sold to her golden chandeliers, with many branches,
minutely engraved, plates of red silver, cups enriched with stones,
emeralds and rubies; to have brought for her from the Levant a number
of rare stuffs, Persian carpets, silks, and fine linen; in fact,
things so magnificent that no queen in Christendom could say she was
so well furnished with jewels and household goods; and that he had for
his part received from her three hundred thousand pounds for the
rarity of the purchases in which he had been employed, such as Indian
flowers, poppingjays, birds' feathers, spices, Greek wines, and
diamonds. Requested by us, the judge, to say if he had furnished
certain ingredients of magical conjuration, the blood of new-born
children, conjuring books, and things generally and whatsoever made
use of by sorcerers, giving him licence to state his case without that
thereupon he should be the subject to any further inquest or inquiry,
the said al Rastchid has sworn by his Hebrew faith never to have had
any such commerce; and has stated that he was involved in too high
interests to give himself to such miseries, seeing that he was the
agent of certain most powerful lords, such as the Marquis de
Montferrat, the King of England, the King of Cyprus and Jerusalem, the
Court of Provence, lords of Venice, and many German gentleman; to have
belonging to him merchant galleys of all kinds, going into Egypt with
the permission of the Sultan, and he trafficking in precious articles
of silver and of gold, which took him often into the exchange of
Tours. Moreover, he has declared that he considered the said lady, the
subject of inquiry, to be a right royal and natural woman, with the
sweetest limbs, and the smallest he has ever seen. That in consequence
of her renown for a diabolical spirit, pushed by a wild imagination,
and also because that he was smitten with her, he had heard once that
she was husbandless, proposed to her to be her gallant, to which
proposition she willingly acceded. Now, although from that night he
felt his bones disjointed and his bowels crushed, he had not yet
experienced, as certain persons say, that who once yielded was free no
more; he went to his fate as lead into the crucible of the alchemist.
Then the said Salomon, to whom we have granted his liberty according
to the safe conduct, in spite of the statement, which proves
abundantly his commerce with the devil, because he had been saved
there where all Christians have succumbed, has admitted to us an
agreement concerning the said demon. To make known that he had made an
offer to the chapter of the cathedral to give for the said semblance
of a woman such a ransom, if she were condemned to be burned alive,
that the highest of the towers of the Church of St. Maurice, at
present in course of construction, could therewith be finished.

The which we have noted to be deliberated upon at an opportune time by
the assembled chapter. And the said Salomon has taken his departure
without being willing to indicate his residence, and has told us that
he can be informed of the deliberation of the chapter by a Jew of the
synagogue of Tours, a name Tobias Nathaneus. The said Jew has before
his departure been shown the African, and has recognised him as the
page of the demon, and has stated the Saracens to have the custom of
mutilating their slaves thus, to commit to them the task of guarding
their women by an ancient usage, as it appears in the profane
histories of Narsez, general of Constantinople, and others.

On the morrow after mass has appeared before us the most noble and
illustrious lady of Croixmare. The same has worn her faith in the holy
Evangelists, and has related to us with tears how she had placed her
eldest son beneath the earth, dead by reason of his extravagant amours
with this female demon. The which noble gentleman was three-and-twenty
years of age; of good complexion, very manly and well bearded like his
defunct sire. Notwithstanding his great vigour, in ninety days he had
little by little withered, ruined by his commerce with the succubus of
the Rue Chaude, according to the statement of the common people; and
her maternal authority over the son had been powerless. Finally in his
latter days he appeared like a poor dried up worm, such as
housekeepers meet with in a corner when they clean out the
dwelling-rooms. And always, so long as he had the strength to go, he
went to shorten his life with this cursed woman; where, also, he
emptied his cash-box. When he was in his bed, and knew his last hour
had come, he swore at, cursed, and threatened and heaped upon all--his
sister, his brother, and upon her his mother--a thousand insults,
rebelled in the face of the chaplain; denied God, and wished to die in
damnation; at which were much afflicted the retainers of the family,
who, to save his soul and pluck it from hell, have founded two annual
masses in the cathedral. And in order to have him buried in consecrated
ground, the house of Croixmare has undertaken to give to the chapter,
during one hundred years, the wax candles for the chapels and the
church, upon the day of the Paschal feast. And, in conclusion, saving
the wicked words heard by the reverend person, Dom Loys Pot, a nun of
Marmoustiers, who came to assist in his last hours the said Baron de
Croixmaire affirms never to have heard any words offered by the
defunct, touching the demon who had undone him.

And therewith has retired the noble and illustrious lady in deep
mourning.


In the sixth place has appeared before us, after adjournment,
Jacquette, called Vieux-Oing, a kitchen scullion, going to houses to
wash dishes, residing at present in the Fishmarket, who, after having
placed her word to say nothing she did not hold to be true, has
declared as here follows:--Namely, that one day she, being come into
the kitchen of the said demon, of whom she had no fear, because she
was wont to regale herself only upon males, she had the opportunity of
seeing in the garden this female demon, superbly attired, walking in
company with a knight, with whom she was laughing, like a natural
woman. Then she had recognised in this demon that true likeness of the
Moorish woman placed as a nun in the convent of Notre Dame de
l'Egrignolles by the defunct seneschal of Touraine and Poitou, Messire
Bruyn, Count of Roche-Corbon, the which Moorish woman had been left in
the situation and place of the image of our Lady the Virgin, the
mother of our Blessed Saviour, stolen by the Egyptians about eighteen
years since. Of this time, in consequence of the troubles come about
in Touraine, no record has been kept. This girl, aged about twelve
years, was saved from the stake at which she would have been burned by
being baptised; and the said defunct and his wife had then been
godfather and godmother to this child of hell. Being at that time
laundress at the convent, she who bears witness has remembrance of the
flight which the said Egyptian took twenty months after her entry into
the convent, so subtilely that it has never been known how or by what
means she escaped. At that time it was thought by all, that with the
devil's aid she had flown away in the air, seeing that not
withstanding much search, no trace of her flight was found in the
convent, where everything remained in its accustomed order.

The African having been shown to the said scullion, she has declared
not to have seen him before, although she was curious to do so, as he
was commissioned to guard the place in which the Moorish woman
combated with those whom she drained through the spigot.


In the seventh place has been brought before us Hugues de Fou, son of
the Sieur de Bridore, who, aged twenty years, has been placed in the
hands of his father, under caution of his estates, and by him is
represented in this process, whom it concerns if should be duly
attained and convicted of having, assisted by several unknown and bad
young men, laid siege to the jail of the archbishop and of the
chapter, and of having lent himself to disturb the force of
ecclesiastical justice, by causing the escape of the demon now under
consideration. In spite of the evil disposition we have commanded the
said Hugues de Fou to testify truly, touching the things he should
know concerning the said demon, with whom he is vehemently reputed to
have had commerce, pointing out to him that it was a question of his
salvation and of the life of the said demon. He, after having taken
the oath, he said:--

"I swear by my eternal salvation, and by the holy Evangelists here
present under my hand, to hold the woman suspected of being a demon to
be an angel, a perfect woman, and even more so in mind than in body,
living in all honesty, full of the migniard charms and delights of
love, in no way wicked, but most generous, assisting greatly the poor
and suffering. I declare that I have seen her weeping veritable tears
for the death of my friend, the knight of Croixmare. And because on
that day she had made a vow to our Lady the Virgin no more to receive
the love of young noblemen too weak in her service; she has to me
constantly and with great courage denied the enjoyment of her body,
and has only granted to me love, and the possession of her heart, of
which she has made sovereign. Since this gracious gift, in spite of my
increasing flame I have remained alone in her dwelling, where I have
spent the greater part of my days, happy in seeing and in hearing her.
Oh! I would eat near her, partake of the air which entered into her
lungs, of the light which shone in her sweet eyes, and found in this
occupation more joy than have the lords of paradise. Elected by me to
be forever my lady, chosen to be one day my dove, my wife, and only
sweetheart, I, poor fool, have received from her no advances on the
joys of the future, but, on the contrary, a thousand virtuous
admonitions; such as that I should acquire renown as a good knight,
become a strong man and a fine one, fear nothing except God; honour
the ladies, serve but one and love them in memory of that one; that
when I should be strengthened by the work of war, if her heart still
pleased mine, at that time only would she be mine, because she would
be able to wait for me, loving me so much."

So saying the young Sire Hugues wept, and weeping, added:--

"That thinking of this graceful and feeble woman, whose arms seemed
scarcely large enough to sustain the light weight of her golden
chains, he did not know how to contain himself while fancying the
irons which would wound her, and the miseries with which she would
traitorously be loaded, and from this cause came his rebellion. And
that he had licence to express his sorrow before justice, because his
life was so bound up with that of his delicious mistress and
sweetheart that on the day when evil came to her he would surely die."

And the same young man has vociferated a thousand other praises of the
said demon, which bear witness to the vehement sorcery practised upon
him, and prove, moreover, the abominable, unalterable, and incurable
life and the fraudulent witcheries to which he is at present subject,
concerning which our lord the archbishop will judge, in order to save
by exorcisms and penitences this young soul from the snares of hell,
if the devil has not gained too strong a hold of it.

Then we have handed back the said young nobleman into the custody of
the noble lord his father, after that by the said Hugues, the African
has been recognised as the servant of the accused.


In the eighth place, before us, have the footguards of our lord the
archbishop led in great state the MOST HIGH AND REVEREND LADY
JACQUELINE DE CHAMPCHEVRIER, ABBESS OF THE CONVENT OF NOTRE-DAME,
under the invocation of Mount Carmel, to whose control has been
submitted by the late seneschal of Touraine, father of Monseigneur the
Count of Roche-Corbon, present advocate of the said convent, the
Egyptian, named at the baptismal font Blanche Bruyn.

To the said abbess we have shortly stated the present cause, in which
is involved the holy church, the glory of God, and the eternal future
of the people of the diocese afflicted with a demon, and also the life
of a creature who it was possible might be quite innocent. Then the
cause elaborated, we have requested the said noble abbess to testify
that which was within her knowledge concerning the magical
disappearance of her daughter in God, Blanche Bruyn, espoused by our
Saviour under the name of Sister Clare.

Then has stated the very high, very noble, and very illustrious lady
abbess as follows:--

"The Sister Clare, of origin to her unknown, but suspected to be of an
heretic father and mother, people inimical to God, has truly been
placed in religion in the convent of which the government had
canonically come to her in spite of her unworthiness; that the said
sister had properly concluded her noviciate, and made her vows
according to the holy rule of the order. That the vows taken, she had
fallen into great sadness, and had much drooped. Interrogated by her,
the abbess, concerning her melancholy malady, the said sister had
replied with tears that she herself did not know the cause. That one
thousand and one tears engendered themselves in her at feeling no more
her splendid hair upon her head; that besides this she thirsted for
air, and could not resist her desire to jump up into the trees, to
climb and tumble about according to her wont during her open air life;
that she passed her nights in tears, dreaming of the forests under the
leaves of which in other days she slept; and in remembrance of this
she abhorred the quality of the air of the cloisters, which troubled
her respiration; that in her inside she was troubled with evil
vapours; that at times she was inwardly diverted in church by thoughts
which made her lose countenance. Then I have repeated over and over
again to the poor creature the holy directions of the church, have
reminded her of the eternal happiness which women without seeing enjoy
in paradise, and how transitory was life here below, and certain the
goodness of God, who for first certain bitter pleasures lost, kept for
us a love without end. Is spite of this wise maternal advice the evil
spirit has persisted in the said sister; and always would she gaze
upon the leaves of the trees and grass of the meadows through the
windows of the church during the offices and times of prayer; and
persisted in becoming as white as linen in order that she might stay
in her bed, and at certain times she would run about the cloisters
like a goat broken loose from its fastening. Finally, she had grown
thin, lost much of the great beauty, and shrunk away to nothing. While
in this condition by us, the abbess her mother, was she placed in the
sick-room, we daily expecting her to die. One winter's morning the
said sister had fled, without leaving any trace of her steps, without
breaking the door, forcing of locks, or opening of windows, nor any
sign whatever of the manner of her passage; a frightful adventure
which was believed to have taken place by the aid of the demon which
has annoyed and tormented her. For the rest it was settled by the
authorities of the metropolitan church that the mission of this
daughter of hell was to divert the nuns from their holy ways, and
blinded by their perfect lives, she had returned through the air on
the wings of the sorcerer, who had left her for mockery of our holy
religion in the place of our Virgin Mary."

The which having said, the lady abbess was, with great honour and
according to the command of our lord the archbishop, accompanied as
far as the convent of Carmel.


In the ninth place, before us has come, agreeably to the citation
served upon him, Joseph, called Leschalopier, a money-changer, living
on the bridge at the sign of the Besant d'Or, who, after having
pledged his Catholic faith to say no other thing than the truth, and
that known to him, touching the process before the ecclesiastical
tribunal, has testified as follows:--"I am a poor father, much
afflicted by the sacred will of God. Before the coming of the Succubus
of the Rue Chaude, I had, for all good, a son as handsome as a noble,
learned as a clerk, and having made more than a dozen voyages into
foreign lands; for the rest a good Catholic; keeping himself on guard
against the needles of love, because he avoided marriage, knowing
himself to be the support of my old days, the love for my eyes, and
the constant delight of my heart. He was a son of whom the King of
France might have been proud--a good and courageous man, the light on
my commerce, the joy of my roof, and, above all, an inestimable
blessing, seeing that I am alone in the world, having had the
misfortune to lose my wife, and being too old to take another. Now,
monseigneur, this treasure without equal has been taken from me, and
cast into hell by the demon. Yes, my lord judge, directly he beheld
this mischievous jade, this she-devil, in whom it is a whole workshop
of perdition, a conjunction of pleasure and delectation, and whom
nothing can satiate, my poor child stuck himself fast into the gluepot
of love, and afterwards lived only between the columns of Venus, and
there did not live long, because in that place like so great a heat
that nothing can satisfy the thirst of this gulf, not even should you
plunge therein the germs of the entire world. Alas! then, my poor boy
--his fortune, his generative hopes, his eternal future, his entire
self, more than himself, have been engulfed in this sewer, like a
grain of corn in the jaws of a bull. By this means become an old
orphan I, who speak, shall have no greater joy than to see burning,
this demon, nourished with blood and gold. This Arachne who has drawn
out and sucked more marriages, more families in the seed, more hearts,
more Christians then there are lepers in all the lazar houses or
Christendom. Burn, torment this fiend--this vampire who feeds on
souls, this tigerish nature that drinks blood, this amorous lamp in
which burns the venom of all the vipers. Close this abyss, the bottom
of which no man can find.... I offer my deniers to the chapter for the
stake, and my arm to light the fire. Watch well, my lord judge, to
surely guard this devil, seeing that she has a fire more flaming than
all other terrestrial fires; she has all the fire of hell in her, the
strength of Samson in her hair, and the sound of celestial music in
her voice. She charms to kill the body and the soul at one stroke; she
smiles to bite, she kisses to devour; in short, she would wheedle an
angel, and make him deny his God. My son! my son! where is he at this
hour? The flower of my life--a flower cut by this feminine needlecase
as with scissors. Ha, lord! why have I been called? Who will give me
back my son, whose soul has been absorbed by a womb which gives death
to all, and life to none? The devil alone copulates, and engenders
not. This is my evidence, which I pray Master Tournebouche to write
without omitting one iota, and to grant me a schedule, that I may tell
it to God every evening in my prayer, to this end to make the blood of
the innocent cry aloud into His ears, and to obtain from His infinite
mercy the pardon for my son."


Here followed twenty and seven other statements, of which the
transcription in their true objectivity, in all their quality of space
would be over-fastidious, would draw to a great length, and divert the
thread of this curious process--a narrative which, according to
ancient precepts, should go straight to the fact, like a bull to his
principal office. Therefore, here is, in a few words, the substance of
these testimonies.

A great number of good Christians, townsmen and townswomen,
inhabitants of the noble town of Tours, testified the demon to have
held every day wedding feasts and royal festivities, never to have
been seen in any church, to have cursed God, to have mocked the
priests, never to have crossed herself in any place; to have spoken
all the languages of the earth--a gift which has only been granted by
God to the blessed Apostles; to have been many times met in the
fields, mounted upon an unknown animal who went before the clouds; not
to grow old, and to have always a youthful face; to have received the
father and the son on the same day, saying that her door sinned not;
to have visible malign influences which flowed from her, for that a
pastrycook, seated on a bench at her door, having perceived her one
evening, received such a gust of warm love that, going in and getting
to bed, he had with great passion embraced his wife, and was found
dead on the morrow, that the old men of the town went to spend the
remainder of their days and of their money with her, to taste the joys
of the sins of their youth, and that they died like fleas on their
bellies, and that certain of them, while dying, became as black as
Moors; that this demon never allowed herself to be seen neither at
dinner, nor at breakfast, nor at supper, but ate alone, because she
lived upon human brains; that several had seen her during the night go
to the cemeteries, and there embrace the young dead men, because she
was not able to assuage otherwise the devil who worked in her
entrails, and there raged like a tempest, and from that came the
astringent biting, nitrous shooting, precipitant, and diabolical
movements, squeezings, and writhings of love and voluptuousness, from
which several men had emerged bruised, torn, bitten, pinched and
crushed; and that since the coming of our Saviour, who had imprisoned
the master devil in the bellies of the swine, no malignant beast had
ever been seen in any portion of the earth so mischievous, venomous
and so clutching; so much so that if one threw the town of Tours into
this field of Venus, she would there transmute it into the grain of
cities, and this demon would swallow it like a strawberry.

And a thousand other statements, sayings, and depositions, from which
was evident in perfect clearness the infernal generation of this
woman, daughter, sister, niece, spouse, or brother of the devil,
beside abundant proofs of her evil doing, and of the calamity spread
by her in all families. And if it were possible to put them here
conformably with the catalogue preserved by the good man to whom he
accused the discovery, it would seem like a sample of the horrible
cries which the Egyptians gave forth on the day of the seventh plague.
Also this examination has covered with great honour Messire Guillaume
Tournebouche, by whom are quoted all the memoranda. In the tenth
vacation was thus closed this inquest, arriving at a maturity of
proof, furnished with authentic testimony and sufficiently engrossed
with the particulars, plaints, interdicts, contradictions, charges,
assignments, withdrawals, confessions public and private, oaths,
adjournments, appearances and controversies, to which the said demon
must reply. And the townspeople say everywhere if there were really a
she-devil, and furnished with internal horns planted in her nature,
with which she drank the men, and broke them, this woman might swim a
long time in this sea of writing before being landed safe and sound in
hell.


II
THE PROCEEDINGS TAKEN RELATIVE TO THIS FEMALE VAMPIRE.

_In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen._


In the year of our Lord one thousand two hundred and seventy-one,
before us, Hierome Cornille, grand penitentiary and ecclesiastical
judge to this, canonically appointed, have appeared--

The Sire Philippe d'Idre, bailiff of the town and city of Tours and
province of Touraine, living in his hotel in the Rue de la Rotisserie,
in Chateauneuf; Master Jehan Ribou, provost of the brotherhood and
company of drapers, residing on the Quay de Bretaingne, at the image
of St. Pierre-es-liens; Messire Antoine Jehan, alderman and chief of
the Brotherhood of Changers, residing in the Place du Pont, at the
image of St. Mark-counting-tournoise-pounds; Master Martin
Beaupertuys, captain of the archers of the town residing at the
castle; Jehan Rabelais, a ships' painter and boat maker residing at
the port at the isle of St. Jacques, treasurer of the brotherhood of
the mariners of the Loire; Mark Hierome, called Maschefer, hosier, at
the sign of Saint-Sebastian, president of the trades council; and
Jacques, called de Villedomer, master tavern-keeper and vine dresser,
residing in the High Street, at the Pomme de Pin; to the said Sire
d'Idre, and to the said citizens, we have read the following petition
by them, written, signed, and deliberated upon, to be brought under
the notice of the ecclesiastical tribunal:--


PETITION

We, the undersigned, all citizens of Tours, are come into the hotel of
his worship the Sire d'Idre, bailiff of Touraine, in the absence of
our mayor, and have requested him to hear our plaints and statements
concerning the following facts, which we intend to bring before the
tribunal of the archbishop, the judge of ecclesiastical crimes, to
whom should be deferred the conduct of the cause which we here
expose:--

A long time ago there came into this town a wicked demon in the form
of a woman, who lives in the parish of Saint-Etienne, in the house of
the innkeeper Tortebras, situated in the quit-rent of the chapter, and
under the temporal jurisdiction of the archiepiscopal domain. The
which foreigner carries on the business of a gay woman in a prodigal
and abusive manner, and with such increase of infamy that she
threatens to ruin the Catholic faith in this town, because those who
go to her come back again with their souls lost in every way, and
refuse the assistance of the Church with a thousand scandalous
discourses.

Now considering that a great number of those who yielded to her are
dead, and that arrived in our town with no other wealth than her
beauty, she has, according to public clamour, infinite riches and
right royal treasure, the acquisition of which is vehemently
attributed to sorcery, or at least to robberies committed by the aid
of magical attractions and her supernaturally amorous person.

Considering that it is a question of the honour and security of our
families, and that never before has been seen in this country a woman
wild of body or a daughter of pleasure, carrying on with such mischief
of vocation of light o' love, and menacing so openly and bitterly the
life, the savings, the morals, chastity, religion, and the everything
of the inhabitants of this town;

Considering that there is need of a inquiry into her person, her
wealth and her deportment, in order to verify if these effects of love
are legitimate, and to not proceed, as would seem indicated by her
manners, from a bewitchment of Satan, who often visits Christianity
under the form of a female, as appears in the holy books, in which it
is stated that our blessed Saviour was carried away into a mountain,
from which Lucifer or Astaroth showed him the fertile plains of Judea
and that in many places have been seen succubi or demons, having the
faces of women, who, not wishing to return to hell, and having with
them an insatiable fire, attempt to refresh and sustain themselves by
sucking in souls;

Considering that in the case of the said woman a thousand proofs of
diablerie are met with, of which certain inhabitants speak openly, and
that it is necessary for the repose of the said woman that the matter
be sifted, in order that she shall not be attacked by certain people,
ruined by the result of her wickedness;

For these causes we pray that it will please you to submit to our
spiritual lord, father of this diocese, the most noble and blessed
archbishop Jehan de Monsoreau, the troubles of his afflicted flock, to
the end that he may advise upon them.

By doing so you will fulfil the duties of your office, as we do those
of preservers of the security of this town, each one according to the
things of which he has charge in his locality.

And we have signed the present, in the year of our Lord one thousand
two hundred and seventy-one, of All Saints' Day, after mass.

Master Tournebouche having finished the reading of this petition, by
us, Hierome Cornille, has it been said to the petitioners--

"Gentlemen, do you, at the present time, persist in these statements?
have you proofs other than those come within your own knowledge, and
do you undertake to maintain the truth of this before God, before man,
and before the accused?"

All, with the exception of Master Jehan Rabelais, have persisted in
their belief, and the aforesaid Rabelais has withdrawn from the
process, saying that he considered the said Moorish woman to be a
natural woman and a good wench who had no other fault than that of
keeping up a very high temperature of love.

Then we, the judge appointed, have, after mature deliberation, found
matter upon which to proceed in the petition of the aforesaid
citizens, and have commanded that the woman at present in the jail of
the chapter shall be proceeded against by all legal methods, as
written in the canons and ordinances, _contra demonios_. The said
ordinance, embodied in a writ, shall be published by the town-crier in
all parts, and with the sound of the trumpet, in order to make it
known to all, and that each witness may, according to his knowledge,
be confronted with the said demon, and finally the said accused to be
provided with a defender, according to custom, and the interrogations,
and the process to be congruously conducted.

(Signed) HIEROME CORNILLE.

And, lower-down.

TOURNEBOUCHE.


In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.


In the year of our Lord one thousand two hundred and seventy-one, the
10th day of February, after mass, by command of us, Hierome Cornille,
ecclesiastical judge, has been brought from the jail of the chapter
and led before us the woman taken in the house of the innkeeper
Tortebras, situated in the domains of the chapter and the cathedral of
St. Maurice, and are subject to the temporal and seigneurial justice
of the Archbishop of Tours; besides which, in consequence of the
nature of the crimes imputed to her, she is liable to the tribunal and
council of ecclesiastical justice, the which we have made known to
her, to the end that she should not ignore it.

And after a serious reading, entirely at will understood by her, in
the first place of the petition of the town, then of the statements,
plaints, accusations, and proceedings which written in twenty-four
quires by Master Tournebouche, and are above related, we have, with
the invocation and assistance of God and the Church, resolved to
ascertain the truth, first by interrogatories made to the said
accused.

In the first interrogation we have requested the aforesaid to inform
us in what land or town she had been born. By her who speaks was it
answered: "In Mauritania."

We have then inquired: "If she had a father or mother, or any
relations?" By her who speaks has it been replied: "That she had never
known them." By us requested to declare her name. By her who speaks
has been replied: "Zulma," in Arabian tongue.

By us has it been demanded: "Why she spoke our language?" By her who
speaks has it been said: "Because she had come into this country." By
us has it been asked: "At what time?" By her who speaks has it been
replied: "About twelve years."

By us has it been asked: "What age she then was?" By her who speaks
has it been answered: "Fifteen years or thereabout."

By us has it been said: "Then you acknowledge yourself to be
twenty-seven years of age?" By her who speaks has it been replied:
"Yes."

By us has it been said to her: "That she was then the Moorish child
found in the niche of Madame the Virgin, baptised by the Archbishop,
held at the font by the late Lord of Roche-Corbon and the Lady of
Azay, his wife, afterwards by them placed in religion at the convent
of Mount Carmel, where by her had been made vows of chastity, poverty,
silence, and the love of God, under the divine assistance of St.
Clare?" By her who speaks has been said: "That is true."

By us has it been asked her: "If, then, she allowed to be true the
declarations of the very noble and illustrious lady the abbess of
Mount Carmel, also the statements of Jacquette, called Vieux-Oing,
being kitchen scullion?" By the accused has been answered: "These
words are true in great measure."

Then by us has it been said to her: "Then you are a Christian?" And by
her who speaks has been answered: "Yes, my father."

Then by us has she been requested to make the sign of the cross, and
to take holy water from the brush placed by Master Tournebouche in her
hand; the which having been done, and by us having been witnessed, it
has been admitted as an indisputable fact, that Zulma, the Moorish
woman, called in our country Blanche Bruyn, a nun of the convent under
the invocation of Mount Carmel, there named Sister Clare, and
suspected to be the false appearance of a woman under which is
concealed a demon, has in our presence made act of religion and thus
recognised the justice of the ecclesiastical tribunal.

Then by us have these words been said to her: "My daughter, you are
vehemently suspected to have had recourse to the devil from the manner
in which you left the convent, which was supernatural in every way."
By her who speaks has it been stated, that she at that time gained
naturally the fields by the street door after vespers, enveloped in
the robes of Jehan de Marsilis, visitor of the convent, who had hidden
her, the person speaking, in a little hovel belonging to him, situated
in the Cupidon Lane, near a tower in the town. That there this said
priest had to her then speaking, at great length, and most thoroughly
taught the depths of love, of which she then speaking was before in
all points ignorant, for which delights she had a great taste, finding
them of great use. That the Sire d'Amboise having perceived her then
speaking at the window of this retreat, had been smitten with a great
love for her. That she loved him more heartily than the monk, and fled
from the hovel where she was detained for profit of his pleasure by
Don Marsilis. And then she had gone in great haste to Amboise, the
castle of the said lord, where she had had a thousand pastimes,
hunting, and dancing, and beautiful dresses fit for a queen. One day
the Sire de la Roche-Pozay having been invited by the Sire d'Amboise
to come and feast and enjoy himself, the Baron d'Amboise had allowed
him to see her then speaking, as she came out naked from her bath.
That at this sight the said Sire de la Roche-Pozay having fallen
violently in love with her, had on the morrow discomfited in single
combat the Sire d'Amboise, and by great violence, had, is spite of her
tears, taken her to the Holy Land, where she who was speaking had
lived the life of a woman well beloved, and had been held in great
respect on account of her great beauty. That after numerous
adventures, she who was speaking had returned into this country in
spite of the apprehensions of misfortune, because such was the will of
her lord and master, the Baron de Bueil, who was dying of grief in
Asiatic lands, and desired to return to his patrimonial manor. Now he
had promised her who was speaking to preserve her from peril. Now she
who was speaking had faith and belief in him, the more so as she loved
him very much; but on his arrival in this country, the Sire de Bueil
was seized with an illness, and died deplorably, without taking any
remedies, this spite of the fervent requests which she who was
speaking had addressed to him, but without success, because he hated
physicians, master surgeons, and apothecaries; and that this was the
whole truth.

Then by us has it been said to the accused that she then held to be
true the statements of the good Sire Harduin and of the innkeeper
Tortebras. By her who speaks has it been replied, that she recognised
as evidence the greater part, and also as malicious, calumnious, and
imbecile certain portions.

Then by us has the accused been required to declare if she had had
pleasure and carnal commerce with all the men, nobles, citizens, and
others as set forth in the plaints and declarations of the
inhabitants. To which her who speaks has it been answered with great
effrontery: "Pleasure, yes! Commerce, I do not know."

By us has it been said to her, that all had died by her acts. By her
who speaks has it been said that their deaths could not be the result
of her acts, because she had always refused herself to them, and the
more she fled from them the more they came and embraced her with
infinite passion, and that when she who was speaking was taken by them
she gave herself up to them with all her strength, by the grace of
God, because she had in that more joy than in anything, and has
stated, she who speaks, that she avows her secret sentiments solely
because she had been requested by us to state the whole truth, and
that she the speaker stood in great fear of the torments of the
torturers.

Then by us has she been requested to answer, under pain of torture, in
what state of mind she was when a young nobleman died in consequence
of his commerce with her. Then by her speaking has it been replied,
that she remained quite melancholy and wished to destroy herself; and
prayed God, the Virgin, and the saints to receive her into Paradise,
because never had she met with any but lovely and good hearts in which
was no guile, and beholding them die she fell into a great sadness,
fancying herself to be an evil creature or subject to an evil fate,
which she communicated like the plague.

Then by us has she been requested to state where she paid her orisons.

By her speaking has it been said that she played in her oratory on her
knees before God, who according to the Evangelists, sees and hears all
things and resides in all places.

Then by us has it been demanded why she never frequented the churches,
the offices, nor the feasts. To this by her speaking has it been
answered, that those who came to love her had elected the feast days
for that purpose, and that she speaking did all things to their
liking.

By us has it been remonstrated that, by so doing, she was submissive
to man rather than to the commandments of God.

Then by her speaking has it been stated, that for those who loved her
well she speaking would have thrown herself into a flaming pile, never
having followed in her love any course but that of nature, and that
for the weight of the world in gold she would not have lent her body
or her love to a king who did not love her with his heart, feet, hair,
forehead, and all over. In short and moreover the speaker had never
made an act of harlotry in selling one single grain of love to a man
whom she had not chosen to be hers, and that he who held her in his
arms one hour or kissed her on the mouth a little, possessed her for
the remainder of her days.

Then by us has she been requested to state whence preceded the jewels,
gold plate, silver, precious stones, regal furniture, carpets, et
cetera, worth 200,000 doubloons, according to the inventory found in
her residence and placed in the custody of the treasurer of the
chapter. By the speaker answer has been made, that in us she placed
all her hopes, even as much as in God, but that she dare not reply to
this, because it involved the sweetest things of love upon which she
had always lived. And interpellated anew, the speaker has said that if
the judge knew with what fervour she held him she loved, with what
obedience she followed him in good or evil ways, with what study she
submitted to him, with what happiness she listened to his desires, and
inhaled the sacred words with which his mouth gratified her, in what
adoration she held his person, even we, an old judge, would believe
with her well-beloved, that no sum could pay for this great affection
which all the men ran after. After the speaker has declared never from
any man loved by her, to have solicited any present or gift, and that
she rested perfectly contented to live in their hearts, that she would
there curl herself up with indestructible and ineffable pleasure,
finding herself richer with this heart than with anything, and
thinking of no other thing than to give them more pleasure and
happiness than she received from them. But in spite of the iterated
refusals of the speaker her lovers persisted in graciously rewarding
her. At times one came to her with a necklace of pearls, saying, "This
is to show my darling that the satin of her skin did not falsely
appear to me whiter than pearls" and would put it on the speaker's
neck, kissing her lovingly. The speaker would be angry at these
follies, but could not refuse to keep a jewel that gave them pleasure
to see it there where they placed it. Each one had a different fancy.
At times another liked to tear the precious garments which the speaker
wore to gratify him; another to deck out the speaker with sapphires on
her arms, on her legs, on her neck, and in her hair; another to seat
her on the carpet, clad in silk or black velvet, and to remain for
days together in ecstasy at the perfections of the speaker the whom
the things desired by her lovers gave infinite pleasure, because these
things rendered them quite happy. And the speaker has said, that as we
love nothing so much as our pleasure, and wish that everything should
shine in beauty and harmonise, outside as well as inside the heart, so
they all wished to see the place inhabited by the speaker adorned with
handsome objects, and from this idea all her lovers were pleased as
much as she was in spreading thereabout gold, silks and flowers. Now
seeing that these lovely things spoil nothing, the speaker had no
force or commandment by which to prevent a knight, or even a rich
citizen beloved by her, having his will, and thus found herself
constrained to receive rare perfumes and other satisfaction with which
the speaker was loaded, and that such was the source of the gold,
plate, carpets, and jewels seized at her house by the officers of
justice. This terminates the first interrogation made to the said
Sister Clare, suspected to be a demon, because we the judge and
Guillaume Tournebouche, are greatly fatigued with having the voice of
the aforesaid, in our ears, and finding our understanding in every way
muddled.

By us the judge has the second interrogatory been appointed, three
days from to-day, in order that the proofs of the possession and
presence of the demon in the body of the aforesaid may be sought, and
the accused, according to the order of the judge, has been taken back
to the jail under the conduct of Master Guillaume Tournebouche.


In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.


On the thirteenth day following of the said month of the February
before us, Hierome Cornille, et cetera, has been produced the Sister
Clare above-mentioned, in order to be interrogated upon the facts and
deeds to her imputed, and of them to be convicted.

By us, the judge, has it been said to the accused that, looking at the
divers responses by her given to the proceeding interrogatories, it
was certain that it never had been in the power of a simple woman,
even if she were authorised, if such licence were allowed to lead the
life of a loose woman, to give pleasure to all, to cause so many
deaths, and to accomplish sorceries so perfect, without the assistance
of a special demon lodged in her body, and to whom her soul had been
sold by an especial compact. That it had been clearly demonstrated
that under her outward appearance lies and moves a demon, the author
of these evils, and that she was now called upon to declare at what
age she had received the demon, to vow the agreement existing between
herself and him, and to tell the truth concerning their common evil
doings. By the speaker was it replied that she would answer us, man,
as to God, who would be judge of all of us. Then has the speaker
pretended never to have seen the demon, neither to have spoken with
him, nor in any way to desire to see him; never to have led the life
of a courtesan, because she, the speaker, had never practised the
various delights that love invents, other than those furnished by the
pleasure which the Sovereign Creator has put in the thing, and to have
always been incited more from the desire of being sweet and good to
the dear lord loved by her, then by an incessantly raging desire. But
if such had been her inclination, the speaker begged us to bear in
mind that she was a poor African girl, in whom God had placed very hot
blood, and in her brain so easy an understanding of the delights of
love, that if a man only looked at her she felt greatly moved in her
heart. That if from desire of acquaintance an amorous gentleman
touched the speaker her on any portion of the body, there passing his
hand, she was, in spite of everything, under his power, because her
heart failed her instantly. By this touch, the apprehension and
remembrance of all the sweet joys of love woke again in her breast,
and there caused an intense heat, which mounted up, flamed in her
veins, and made her love and joy from head to foot. And since the day
when Don Marsilis had first awakened the understanding of the speaker
concerning these things, she had never had any other thought, and
thenceforth recognised love to be a thing so perfectly concordant with
her nature, that it had since been proved to the speaker that in
default of love and natural relief she would have died, withered at
the said convent. As evidence of which, the speaker affirms as a
certainty, that after her flight from the said convent she had not
passed a single day or one particle of time in melancholy and sadness,
but always was she joyous, and thus followed the sacred will of God,
which she believed to have been diverted during the time lost by her
in the convent.

To this was it objected by us, Hierome Cornille, to the said demon,
that in this response she had openly blasphemed against God, because
we had all been made to his greater glory, and placed in the world to
honour and to serve Him, to have before our eyes His blessed
commandments, and to live in sanctity, in order to gain eternal life,
and not to be always in bed, doing that which even the beasts only do
at a certain time. Then by the said sister, has answer been made, that
she honoured God greatly, that in all countries she had taken care of
the poor and suffering, giving them both money and raiment, and that
at the last judgement-day she hoped to have around her a goodly
company of holy works pleasant to God, which would intercede for her.
That but for her humility, a fear of being reproached and of
displeasing the gentlemen of the chapter, she would with joy have
spent her wealth in finishing the cathedral of St. Maurice, and there
have established foundations for the welfare of her soul--would have
spared therein neither her pleasure nor her person, and that with this
idea she would have taken double pleasure in her nights, because each
one of her amours would have added a stone to the building of this
basilic. Also the more this purpose, and for the eternal welfare of
the speaker, would they have right heartily given their wealth.

Then by us has it been said to this demon that she could not justify
the fact of her sterility, because in spite of so much commerce, no
child had been born of her, the which proved the presence of a demon
in her. Moreover, Astaroth alone, or an apostle, could speak all
languages, and she spoke after the manner of all countries, the which
proved the presence of the devil in her. Thereupon the speaker has
asked: "In what consisted the said diversity of language?"--that of
Greek she knew nothing but a Kyrie eleison, of which she made great
use; of Latin, nothing, save Amen, which she said to God, wishing
therewith to obtain her liberty. That for the rest the speaker had
felt great sorrow, being without children, and if the good wives had
them, she believed it was because they took so little pleasure in the
business, and she, the speaker, a little too much. But that such was
doubtless the will of God, who thought that from too great happiness,
the world would be in danger of perishing. Taking this into
consideration, and a thousand other reasons, which sufficiently
establish the presence of the devil in the body of the sister, because
the peculiar property of Lucifer is to always find arguments having
the semblance of truth, we have ordered that in our presence the
torture be applied to the said accused, and that she be well tormented
in order to reduce the said demon by suffering to submit to the
authority of the Church, and have requested to render us assistance
one Francois de Hangest, master surgeon and doctor to the chapter,
charging him by a codicil hereunder written to investigate the
qualities of the feminine nature (virtutes vulvae) of the
above-mentioned woman, to enlighten our religion on the methods
employed by this demon to lay hold of souls in that way, and see if
any article was there apparent.

Then the said Moorish women had wept bitterly, tortured in advance,
and in spite of her irons, has knelt down imploring with cries and
clamour the revocation of this order, objecting that her limbs were in
such a feeble state, and her bones so tender, that they would break
like glass; and finally, has offered to purchase her freedom from this
by the gift all her goods to the chapter, and to quit incontinently
the country.

Upon this, by us has she been required to voluntarily declare herself
to be, and to have always been, demon of the nature of the Succubus,
which is a female devil whose business it is to corrupt Christians by
the blandishments and flagitious delights of love. To this the speaker
has replied that the affirmation would be an abominable falsehood,
seeing that she had always felt herself to be a most natural woman.

Then her irons being struck off by the torturer, the aforesaid has
removed her dress, and has maliciously and with evil design bewildered
and attacked our understandings with the sight of her body, the which,
for a fact, exercises upon a man supernatural coercion.

Master Guillaume Tournebouche has, by reason of nature, quitted the
pen at this period, and retired, objecting that he was unable, without
incredible temptations, which worked in his brain, to be a witness of
this torture, because he felt the devil violently gaining his person.

This finishes the second interrogatory; and as the apparitor and
janitor of the chapter have stated Master Francois de Hangest to be in
the country, the torture and interrogations are appointed for
to-morrow at the hour of noon after mass.

This has been written verbally by me, Hierome, in the absence of
Master Guillaume Tournebouche, on whose behalf it is signed.

HIEROME CORNILLE
Grand Penitentiary.


PETITION

Today, the fourteenth day of the month of February, in the presence of
me, Hierome Cornille, have appeared the said Masters Jehan Ribou,
Antoine Jehan, Martin Beaupertuys, Hierome Maschefer, Jacques de Ville
d'Omer, and the Sire d'Idre, in place of the mayor of the city of
Tours, for the time absent. All plaintiffs designated in the act of
process made at the Town Hall, to whom we have, at the request of
Blanche Bruyn (now confessing herself a nun of the convent of Mount
Carmel, under the name of Sister Clare), declared the appeal made to
the Judgment of God by the said person accused of demonical
possession, and her offer to pass through the ordeal of fire and
water, in presence of the Chapter and of the town of Tours, in order
to prove her reality as a woman and her innocence.

To this request have agreed for their parts, the said accusers, who,
on condition that the town is security for it, have engaged to prepare
a suitable place and a pile, to be approved by the godparents of the
accused.

Then by us, the judge, has the first day of the new year been
appointed for the day of the ordeal--which will be next Paschal Day
--and we have indicated the hour of noon, after mass, each of the
parties having acknowledged this delay to be sufficient.

And the present proclamation shall be cited, at the suit of each of
them, in all the towns, boroughs, and castles of Touraine and the land
of France, at their request and at their cost and suit.

HIEROME CORNILLE.


III
WHAT THE SUCCUBUS DID TO SUCK OUT THE SOUL OF THE OLD JUDGE, AND
WHAT CAME OF THE DIABOLICAL DELECTATION.

This the act of extreme confession made the first day of the month of
March, in the year one thousand two hundred and seventy-one, after the
coming of our blessed Saviour, by Hierome Cornille, priest, canon of
the chapter of the cathedral of St. Maurice, grand penitentiary, of
all acknowledging himself unworthy, who, finding his last hour to be
come, and contrite of his sins, evil doings, forfeits, bad deeds, and
wickednesses, has desired his avowal to be published to serve the
preconisation of the truth, the glory of God, the justice of the
tribunal, and to be an alleviation to him of his punishment, in the
other world. The said Hierome Cornille being on his deathbed, there
had been convoked to hear his declarations, Jehan de la Haye (de
Hago), vicar of the church of St. Maurice; Pietro Guyard, treasurer of
the chapter, appointed by our Lord Jean de Monsoreau, Archbishop, to
write his words; and Dom Louis Pot, a monk of maius MONASTERIUM
(Marmoustier), chosen by him for a spiritual father and confessor; all
three assisted by the great and illustrious Dr Guillaume de Censoris,
Roman Archdeacon, at present sent into the diocese (LEGATUS), by our
Holy Father the Pope; and, finally, in the presence of a great number
of Christians come to be witnesses of the death of the said Hierome
Cornille, upon his known wish to make act of public repentance, seeing
that he was fast sinking, and that his words might open the eyes of
Christians about to fall into hell.

And before him, Hierome, who, by reason of his great weakness could
not speak, has Dom Louis Pot read the following confession to the
great agitation of the said company:--

"My brethren, until the seventy-first year of my age, which is the one
in which I now am, with the exception of the little sins through
which, all holy though he be, a Christian renders himself culpable
before God, but which it is allowed to us to repurchase by penitence,
I believe I led a Christian life, and merited the praise and renown
bestowed upon me in this diocese, where I was raised to the high
office of grand penitentiary, of which I am unworthy. Now, struck with
the knowledge of the infinite glory of God, horrified at the agonies
which await the wicked and prevaricators in hell, I have thought to
lessen the enormity of my sins by the greatest penitence I can show in
the extreme hour at which I am. Thus I have prayed of the Church, whom
I have deceived and betrayed, whose rights and judicial renown I have
sold, to grant me the opportunity of accusing myself publicly in the
manner of ancient Christians. I hoped, in order to show my great
repentance, to have still enough life in me to be reviled at the door
of the cathedral by all my brethren, to remain there an entire day on
my knees, holding a candle, a cord around my neck, and my feet naked,
seeing that I had followed the way of hell with regard to the sacred
instincts of the Church. But in this great shipwreck of my fragile
virtue, which will be to you as a warning to fly from vice and the
snares of the demon, and to take refuge in the Church, where all help
is, I have been so bewitched by Lucifer that our Saviour Jesus Christ
will take, by the intercession of all you whose help and prayers I
request, pity on me, a poor abused Christian, whose eyes now stream
with tears. So would I have another life to spend in works of
penitence. Now then listen and tremble with great fear! Elected by the
assembled Chapter to carry it out, instruct, and complete the process
commenced against a demon, who had appeared in a feminine shape, in
the person of a relapse nun--an abominable person, denying God, and
bearing the name of Zulma in the infidel country whence she comes; the
which devil is known in the diocese under that of Clare, of the
convent of Mount Carmel, and has much afflicted the town by putting
herself under an infinite number of men to gain their souls to Mammon,
Astaroth, and Satan--princes of hell, by making them leave this world
in a state of mortal sin, and causing their death where life has its
source, I have, I the judge, fallen in my latter days into this snare,
and have lost my senses, while acquitting myself traitorously of the
functions committed with great confidence by the Chapter to my cold
senility. Hear how subtle the demon is, and stand firm against her
artifices. While listening to the first response of the aforesaid
Succubus, I saw with horror that the irons placed upon her feet and
hands left no mark there, and was astonished at her hidden strength
and at her apparent weakness. Then my mind was troubled suddenly at
the sight of the natural perfections with which the devil was endowed.
I listened to the music of her voice, which warmed me from head to
foot, and made me desire to be young, to give myself up to this demon,
thinking that for an hour passed in her company my eternal salvation
was but poor payment for the pleasure of love tasted in those slender
arms. Then I lost that firmness with which all judges should be
furnished. This demon by me questioned, reasoned with me in such a
manner that at the second interrogatory I was firmly persuaded I
should be committing a crime in fining and torturing a poor little
creature who cried like an innocent child. Then warned by a voice from
on high to do my duty, and that these golden words, the music of
celestial appearance, were diabolical mummeries, that this body, so
pretty, so infatuating, would transmute itself into a bristly beast
with sharp claws, those eyes so soft into flames of hell, her behind
into a scaly tail, the pretty rosebud mouth and gentle lips into the
jaws of a crocodile, I came back to my intention of having the said
Succubus tortured until she avowed her permission, as this practice
had already been followed in Christianity. Now when this demon showed
herself stripped to me, to be put to the torture, I was suddenly
placed in her power by magical conjurations. I felt my old bones
crack, my brain received a warm light, my heart transhipped young and
boiling blood. I was light in myself, and by virtue of the magic
philter thrown into my eyes the snows on my forehead melted away. I
lost all conscience of my Christian life and found myself a schoolboy,
running about the country, escaped from class and stealing apples. I
had not the power to make the sign of the cross, neither did I
remember the Church, God the Father, nor the sweet Saviour of men. A
prey to this design, I went about the streets thinking over the
delights of that voice, the abominable, pretty body of this demon, and
saying a thousand wicked things to myself. Then pierced and drawn by a
blow of the devil's fork, who had planted himself already in my head
as a serpent in an oak, I was conducted by this sharp prong towards
the jail, in spite of my guardian angel, who from time to time pulled
me by the arm and defended me against these temptations, but in spite
of his holy advice and his assistance I was dragged by a million claws
stuck into my heart, and soon found myself in the jail. As soon as the
door was opened to me I saw no longer any appearance of a prison,
because the Succubus had there, with the assistance of evil genii or
fays, constructed a pavilion of purple and silk, full of perfumes and
flowers, where she was seated, superbly attired with neither irons on
her neck nor chains on her feet. I allowed myself to be stripped of my
ecclesiastical vestments, and was put into a scent bath. Then the
demon covered me with a Saracen robe, entertained me with a repast of
rare viands contained in precious vases, gold cups, Asiatic wines,
songs and marvellous music, and a thousand sweet sounds that tickled
my soul by means of my ears. At my side kept always the said Succubus,
and her sweet, delectable embrace distilled new ardour into my
members. My guardian angel quitted me. Then I lived only by the
terrible light of the Moorish woman's eyes, coveted the warm embraces
of the delicate body, wished always to feel her red lips, that I
believed natural, and had no fear of the bite of those teeth which
drew me to the bottom of hell, I delighted to feel the unequalled
softness of her hands without thinking that they were unnatural claws.
In short, I acted like husband desiring to go to his affianced without
thinking that that spouse was everlasting death. I had no thought for
the things of this world nor the interests of God, dreaming only of
love, of the sweet breasts of this woman, who made me burn, and of the
gate of hell in which I wished to cast myself. Alas! my brethren,
during three days and three nights was I thus constrained to toil
without being able to stop the stream which flowed from my reins, in
which were plunged, like two pikes, the hands of the Succubus, which
communicated to my poor old age and to my dried up bones, I know not
what sweat of love. At first this demon, to draw me to her, caused to
flow in my inside the softness of milk, then came poignant joys which
pricked like a hundred needles my bones, my marrow, my brain, and my
nerves. Then all this gone, all things became inflamed, my head, my
blood, my nerves, my flesh, my bones, and then I burned with the real
fire of hell, which caused me torments in my joints, and an
incredible, intolerable, tearing voluptuousness which loosened the
bonds of my life. The tresses of this demon, which enveloped my poor
body, poured upon me a stream of flame, and I felt each lock like a
bar of red iron. During this mortal delectation I saw the ardent face
of the said Succubus, who laughed and addressed to me a thousand
exciting words; such as that I was her knight, her lord, her lance,
her day, her joy, her hero, her life, her good, her rider, and that
she would like to clasp me even closer, wishing to be in my skin or
have me in hers. Hearing which, under the prick of this tongue which
sucked out my soul, I plunged and precipitated myself finally into
hell without finding the bottom. And then when I had no more a drop of
blood in my veins, when my heart no longer beat in my body, and I was
ruined at all points, the demon, still fresh, white, rubicund,
glowing, and laughing, said to me--

"'Poor fool, to think me a demon! Had I asked thee to sell thy soul
for a kiss, wouldst thou not give it to me with all thy heart?'

"'Yes,' said I.

"'And if always to act thus it were necessary for thee to nourish
thyself with the blood of new-born children in order always to have
new life to spend in my arms, would you not imbibe it willingly?'

"'Yes,' said I.

"'And to be always my gallant horseman, gay as a man in his prime,
feeling life, drinking pleasure, plunging to the depths of joy as a
swimmer into the Loire, wouldst thou not deny God, wouldst thou not
spit in the face of Jesus?'

"'Yes,' said I.

"Then I felt a hundred sharp claws which tore my diaphragm as if the
beaks of a thousand birds there took their bellyfuls, shrieking. Then
I was lifted suddenly above the earth upon the said Succubus, who had
spread her wings, and cried to me--

"'Ride, ride, my gallant rider! Hold yourself firmly on the back of
thy mule, by her mane, by her neck; and ride, ride, my gallant rider
--everything rides!' And then I saw, as a thick fog, the cities of the
earth, where by a special gift I perceived each one coupled with a
female demon, and tossing about, and engendering in great
concupiscence, all shrieking a thousand words of love and exclamations
of all kinds, and all toiling away with ecstasy. Then my horse with
the Moorish head pointed out to me, still flying and galloping beyond
the clouds, the earth coupled with the sun in a conjunction, from
which proceeded a germ of stars, and there each female world was
embracing a male world; but in place of the words used by creatures,
the worlds were giving forth the howls of tempests, throwing up
lightnings and crying thunders. Then still rising, I saw overhead the
female nature of all things in love with the Prince of Movement. Now,
by way of mockery, the Succubus placed me in the centre of this
horrible and perpetual conflict, where I was lost as a grain of sand
in the sea. Then still cried my white mare to me, 'Ride, ride my
gallant rider--all things ride!' Now, thinking how little was a priest
in this torment of the seed of worlds, nature always clasped together,
and metals, stones, waters, airs, thunders, fish, plants, animals,
men, spirits, worlds and planets, all embracing with rage, I denied
the Catholic faith. Then the Succubus, pointing out to me the great
patch of stars seen in heavens, said to me, 'That way is a drop of
celestial seed escaped from great flow of the worlds in conjunction.'
Thereupon I instantly clasped the Succubus with passion by the light
of a thousand million of stars, and I wished in clasping her to feel
the nature of those thousand million creatures. Then by this great
effort of love I fell impotent in every way, and heard a great
infernal laugh. Then I found myself in my bed, surrounded by my
servitors, who had had the courage to struggle with the demon,
throwing into the bed where I was stretched a basin full of holy
water, and saying fervent prayers to God. Then had I to sustain, in
spite of this assistance, a horrible combat with the said Succubus,
whose claws still clutched my heart, causing me infinite pains; still,
while reanimated by the voice of my servitors, relations, and friends,
I tried to make the sacred sign of the cross; the Succubus perched on
my bed, on the bolster, at the foot, everywhere, occupying herself in
distracting my nerves, laughing, grimacing, putting before my eyes a
thousand obscene images, and causing me a thousand wicked desires.
Nevertheless, taking pity on me, my lord the Archbishop caused the
relics of St. Gatien to be brought, and the moment the shrine had
touched my bed the said Succubus was obliged to depart, leaving an
odour of sulphur and of hell, which made the throats of my servants,
friends, and others sore for a whole day. Then the celestial light of
God having enlightened my soul, I knew I was, through my sins and my
combat with the evil spirit, in great danger of dying. Then did I
implore the especial mercy, to live just a little time to render glory
to God and his Church, objecting the infinite merits of Jesus dead
upon the cross for the salvation of the Christians. By this prayer I
obtained the favour of recovering sufficient strength to accuse myself
of my sins, and to beg of the members of the Church of St. Maurice
their aid and assistance to deliver me from purgatory, where I am
about to atone for my faults by infinite agonies. Finally, I declare
that my proclamation, wherein the said demon appeals the judgment of
God by the ordeals of holy water and a fire, is a subterfuge due to an
evil design suggested by the said demon, who would thus have had the
power to escape the justice of the tribunal of the Archbishop and of
the Chapter, seeing that she secretly confessed to me, to be able to
make another demon accustomed to the ordeal appear in her place. And,
in conclusion, I give and bequeath to the Chapter of the Church of St.
Maurice my property of all kinds, to found a chapter in the said
church, to build it and adorn it and put it under the invocation of
St. Hierome and St. Gatien, of whom one is my patron and the other the
saviour of my soul."

This, heard by all the company, has been brought to the notice of the
ecclesiastical tribunal by Jehan to la Haye (Johannes de Haga).


We, Jehan de la Haye (Johannes de Haga), elected grand penitentiary of
St. Maurice by the general assembly of the Chapter, according to the
usage and custom of that church, and appointed to pursue afresh the
trial of the demon Succubus, at present in the jail of the Chapter,
have ordered a new inquest, at which will be heard all those of this
diocese having cognisance of the facts relative thereto. We declared
void the other proceedings, interrogations, and decrees, and annul
them in the name of the members of the Church in general, and
sovereign Chapter assembled, and declare that the appeal to God,
traitorously made by the demon, shall not take place, in consequence
of the notorious treachery of the devil in this affair. And the said
judgment shall be cried by sound of trumpet in all parts of the
diocese in which have been published the false edicts of the preceding
month, all notoriously due to the instigation of the demon, according
to the confession of the late Hierome Cornille.

Let all good Christians be of assistance to our Holy Church, and to
her commandments.

JEHAN  DE  LA HAYE.


IV
HOW THE MOORISH WOMAN OF THE RUE CHAUDE TWISTED ABOUT SO BRISKLY
THAT WITH GREAT DIFFICULTY WAS SHE BURNED AND COOKED ALIVE, TO
THE GREAT LOSS OF THE INFERNAL REGIONS.

This was written in the month of May, of the year 1360, after the
manner of a testament.


"My very dear and well-beloved son, when it shall be lawful for thee
to read this I shall be, I thy father, reposing in the tomb, imploring
thy prayers, and supplicating thee to conduct thyself in life as it
will be commanded thee in this rescript, bequeathed for the good
government of thy family, thy future, and safety; for I have done this
at a period when I had my senses and understanding, still recently
affected by the sovereign injustice of men. In my virile age I had a
great ambition to raise myself in the Church, and therein to obtain
the highest dignities, because no life appeared to me more splendid.
Now with this earnest idea, I learned to read and write, and with
great trouble became in a fit condition to enter the clergy. But
because I had no protection, or good advice to superintend my training
I had an idea of becoming the writer, tabellion, and rubrican of the
Chapter of St. Maurice, in which were the highest and richest
personages of Christendom, since the King of France is only therein a
simple canon. Now there I should be able better than anywhere else to
find services to render to certain lords, and thus to find a master or
gain patronage, and by this assistance enter into religion, and be
mitred and esconced in an archiepiscopal chair, somewhere or other.
But this first vision was over credulous, and a little too ambitious,
the which God caused me clearly to perceive by the sequel. In fact,
Messire Jepan de Villedomer, who afterwards became cardinal, was given
this appointment, and I was rejected, discomfited. Now in this unhappy
hour I received an alleviation of my troubles, by the advice of the
good old Hierome Cornille, of whom I have often spoken to you. This
dear man induced me, by his kindness, to become penman to the Chapter
of St. Maurice and the Archbishop of Tours, the which offer I accepted
with joy, since I was reputed a scrivener. At the time I was about to
enter into the presbytery commenced the famous process against the
devil of the Rue Chaude, of which the old folk still talk, and which
in its time, has been recounted in every home in France. Now,
believing that it would be of great advantage to my ambition, and that
for this assistance the Chapter would raise me to some dignity, my
good master had me appointed for the purpose of writing all of that
should be in this grave cause, subject to writing. At the very outset
Monseigneur Hierome Cornille, a man approaching eighty years, of great
sense, justice, and sound understanding, suspected some spitefulness
in this cause, although he was not partial to immodest girls, and had
never been involved with a woman in his life, and was holy and
venerable, with a sanctity which had caused him to be selected as a
judge, all this not withstanding. As soon as the depositions were
completed, and the poor wench heard, it remained clear that although
this merry doxy had broken her religious vows, she was innocent of all
devilry, and that her great wealth was coveted by her enemies, and
other persons, whom I must not name to thee for reasons of prudence.
At this time every one believed her to be so well furnished with
silver and gold that she could have bought the whole county of
Touraine, if so it had pleased her. A thousand falsehoods and
calumnious words concerning the girl, envied by all the honest women,
were circulated and believed in as gospel. At this period Master
Hierome Cornille, having ascertained that no demon other than that of
love was in the girl, made her consent to remain in a convent for the
remainder of her days. And having ascertained certain noble knights
brave in war and rich in domains, that they would do everything to
save her, he invited her secretly to demand of her accusers the
judgment of God, at the same time giving her goods to the chapter, in
order to silence mischievous tongues. By this means would be saved
from the stake the most delicate flower that ever heaven has allowed
to fall upon our earth; the which flower yielded only from excessive
tenderness and amiability to the malady of love, cast by her eyes into
the hearts of all her pursuers. But the real devil, under the form of
a monk, mixed himself up in this affair; in this wise: great enemy of
the virtue, wisdom, and sanctity of Monsignor Hierome Cornille, named
Jehan de la Haye, having learned that in the jail, the poor girl was
treated like a queen, wickedly accused the grand penitentiary of
connivance with her and of being her servitor, because, said this
wicked priest, she makes him young, amorous, and happy, from which the
poor old man died of grief in one day, knowing by this that Jehan de
la Haye had worn his ruin and coveted his dignities. In fact, our lord
the archbishop visited the jail, and found the Moorish woman in a
pleasant place, reposing comfortably, and without irons, because,
having placed a diamond in a place when none could have believed she
could have held it, she had purchased the clemency of her jailer. At
the time certain persons said that this jailer was smitten with her,
and that from love, or perhaps in great fear of the young barons,
lovers of this woman, he had planned her escape. The good man Cornille
being at the point of death, through the treachery of Jehan de la
Haye, the Chapter thinking it necessary to make null and void the
proceedings taken by the penitentiary, and also his decrees, the said
Jehan de la Haye, at that time a simple vicar of the cathedral,
pointed out that to do this it would be sufficient to obtain a public
confession from the good man on his death-bed. Then was the moribund
tortured and tormented by the gentleman of the Chapter, those of Saint
Martin, those of Marmoustiers, by the archbishop and also by the
Pope's legate, in order that he might recant to the advantage of the
Church, to which the good man would not consent. But after a thousand
ills, the public confession was prepared, at which the most noteworthy
people of the town assisted, and the which spread more horror and
consternation than I can describe. The churches of the diocese held
public prayers for this calamity, and every one expected to see the
devil tumble into his house by the chimney. But the truth of it is
that the good Master Hierome had a fever, and saw cows in his room,
and then was this recantation obtained of him. The access passed, the
poor saint wept copiously on learning this trick from me. In fact, he
died in my arms, assisted by his physicians, heartbroken at this
mummery, telling us that he was going to the feet of God to pray to
prevent the consummation of this deplorable iniquity. The poor Moorish
woman had touched him much by her tears and repentance, seing that
before making her demand for the judgment of God he had minutely
confessed her, and by that means had disentangled the soul divine
which was in the body, and of which he spoke as of a diamond worthy of
adorning the holy crown of God, when she should have departed this
life, after repenting her sins. Then, my dear son, knowing by the
statements made in the town, and by the naive responses of this
unhappy wretch, all the trickery of this affair, I determined by the
advice of Master Francois de Hangest, physician of the chapter, to
feign an illness and quit the service of the Church of St. Maurice and
of the archbishopric, in order not to dip my hands in the innocent
blood, which still cries and will continue to cry aloud unto God until
the day of the last judgment. Then was the jailer dismissed, and in
his place was put the second son of the torturer, who threw the
Moorish woman into a dungeon, and inhumanly put upon her hands and
feet chains weighing fifty pounds, besides a wooden waistband; and the
jail were watched by the crossbowmen of the town and the people of the
archbishop. The wench was tormented and tortured, and her bones were
broken; conquered by sorrow, she made an avowal according to the
wishes of Jehan de la Haye, and was instantly condemned to be burned
in the enclosure of St. Etienne, having been previously placed in the
portals of the church, attired in a chemise of sulphur, and her goods
given over to the Chapter, et cetera. This order was the cause of
great disturbances and fighting in the town, because three young
knights of Touraine swore to die in the service of the poor girl, and
to deliver her in all possible ways. Then they came into the town,
accompanied by thousands of sufferers, labouring people, old soldiers,
warriors, courtesans, and others, whom the said girls had succoured,
saved from misfortune, from hunger and misery, and searched all the
poor dwellings of the town where lay those to whom she had done good.
Thus all were stirred up and called together to the plain of
Mount-Louis under the protection of the soldiers of the said lords;
they had for companions all the scape-graces of the said twenty
leagues around, and came one morning to lay siege to the prison of the
archbishop, demanding that the Moorish woman should be given up to
them as though they would put her to death, but in fact to set her
free, and to place her secretly upon a swift horse, that she might
gain the open country, seeing that she rode like a groom. Then in this
frightful tempest of men have we seen between the battlements of the
archiepiscopal palace and the bridges, more than ten thousand men
swarming, besides those who were perched upon the roofs of the houses
and climbing on all the balconies to see the sedition; in short it was
easy to hear the horrible cries of the Christians, who were terribly in
earnest, and of those who surrounded the jail with the intention of
setting the poor girl free, across the Loire, the other side of Saint
Symphorien. The suffocation and squeezing of bodies was so great in
this immense crowd, bloodthirsty for the poor creature at whose knees
they would have fallen had they had the opportunity of seeing her, that
seven children, eleven women, and eight citizens were crushed and
smashed beyond all recognition, since they were like splodges of mud;
in short, so wide open was the great mouth of this popular leviathan,
this horrible monster, that the clamour was heard at
Montils-les-Tours. All cried 'Death to the Succubus! Throw out the
demon! Ha! I'd like a quarter! I'll have her skin! The foot for me, the
mane for thee! The head for me! The something for me! Is it red? Shall
we see? Will it be grilled? Death to her! death!' Each one had his say.
But the cry, 'Largesse to God! Death to the Succubus!' was yelled at
the same time by the crowd so hoarsely and so cruelly that one's ears
and heart bled therefrom; and the other cries were scarcely heard in
the houses. The archbishop decided, in order to calm this storm which
threatened to overthrow everything, to come out with great pomp from
the church, bearing the host, which would deliver the Chapter from
ruin, since the wicked young men and the lords had sworn to destroy
and burn the cloisters and all the canons. Now by this stratagem the
crowd was obliged to break up, and from lack of provisions return to
their houses. Then the monks of Touraine, the lords, and the citizens,
in great apprehension of pillage on the morrow, held a nocturnal
council, and accepted the advice of the Chapter. By their efforts the
men-at-arms, archers, knights, and citizens, in a large number, kept
watch, and killed a party of shepherds, road menders, and vagrants,
who, knowing the disturbed state of Tours, came to swell the ranks of
the malcontents. The Sire Harduin de Maille, an old nobleman, reasoned
with the young knights, who were the champions of the Moorish woman,
and argued sagely with them, asking them if for so small a woman they
wished to put Touraine to fire and sword; that even if they were
victorious they would be masters of the bad characters brought
together by them; that these said freebooters, after having sacked the
castles of their enemies, would turn to those of their chiefs. That
the rebellion commenced had had no success in the first attack,
because up to that time the place was untouched, could they have any
over the church, which would invoke the aid of the king? And a
thousand other arguments. To these reasons the young knights replied,
that it was easy for the Chapter to aid the girl's escape in the
night, and that thus the cause of the sedition would be removed. To
this humane and wise requests replied Monseigneur de Censoris, the
Pope's legate, that it was necessary that strength should remain with
the religion of the Church. And thereupon the poor wench payed for
all, since it was agreed that no inquiry should be made concerning
this sedition.

"Then the Chapter had full licence to proceed to the penance of the
girl, to which act and ecclesiastical ceremony the people came from
twelve leagues around. So that on the day when, after divine
satisfaction, the Succubus was to be delivered up to secular justice,
in order to be publicly burnt at a stake, not for a gold pound would a
lord or even an abbott have been found lodging in the town of Tours.
The night before many camped outside the town in tents, or slept upon
straw. Provisions were lacking, and many who came with their bellies
full, returned with their bellies empty, having seen nothing but the
reflection of the fire in the distance. And the bad characters did
good strokes of business by the way.

"The poor courtesan was half dead; her hair had whitened. She was, to
tell the truth, nothing but a skeleton, scarcely covered with flesh,
and her chains weighed more than she did. If she had had joy in her
life, she paid dearly for it at this moment. Those who saw her pass
say that she wept and shrieked in a way that should have earned the
pity of her hardest pursuers; and in the church there were compelled
to put a piece of wood in her mouth, which she bit as a lizard bites a
stick. Then the executioner tied her to a stake to sustain her, since
she let herself roll at times and fell for want of strength. Then she
suddenly recovered a vigorous handful, because, this notwithstanding,
she was able, it is said to break her cords and escape into the
church, where in remembrance of her old vocation, she climbed quickly
into galleries above, flying like a bird along the little columns and
small friezes. She was about to escape on to the roof when a soldier
perceived her, and thrust his spear in the sole of her foot. In spite
of her foot half cut through, the poor girl still ran along the church
without noticing it, going along with her bones broken and her blood
gushing out, so great fear had she of the flames of the stake. At last
she was taken and bound, thrown into a tumbrel and led to the stake,
without being afterwards heard to utter a cry. The account of her
flight in the church assisted in making the common people believe that
she was the devil, and some of them said that she had flown in the
air. As soon as the executioner of the town threw her into the flames,
she made two or three horrible leaps and fell down into the bottom of
the pile, which burned day and night. On the following evening I went
to see if anything remained of this gentle girl, so sweet, so loving,
but I found nothing but a fragment of the 'os stomachal,' in which, is
spite of this, there still remained some moisture, and which some say
still trembled like a woman does in the same place. It is impossible
to tell, my dear son, the sadnesses, without number and without equal,
which for about ten years weighed upon me; always was I thinking of
this angel burnt by wicked men, and always I beheld her with her eyes
full of love. In short the supernatural gifts of this artless child
were shining day and night before me, and I prayed for her in the
church, where she had been martyred. At length I had neither the
strength nor the courage to look without trembling upon the grand
penitentiary Jehan de la Haye, who died eaten up by lice. Leprosy was
his punishment. Fire burned his house and his wife; and all those who
had a hand in the burning had their own hands singed.

"This, my well-beloved son, was the cause of a thousand ideas, which I
have here put into writing to be forever the rule of conduct in our
family.

"I quitted the service of the church, and espoused your mother, from
whom I received infinite blessings, and with whom I shared my life, my
goods, my soul, and all. And she agreed with me in following precepts
--Firstly, that to live happily, it is necessary to keep far away from
church people, to honour them much without giving them leave to enter
your house, any more than to those who by right, just or unjust, are
supposed to be superior to us. Secondly, to take a modest condition,
and to keep oneself in it without wishing to appear in any way rich.
To have a care to excite no envy, nor strike any onesoever in any
manner, because it is needful to be as strong as an oak, which kills
the plants at its feet, to crush envious heads, and even then would
one succumb, since human oaks are especially rare and that no
Tournebouche should flatter himself that he is one, granting that he
be a Tournebouche. Thirdly, never to spend more than one quarter of
one's income, conceal one's wealth, hide one's goods and chattels, to
undertake no office, to go to church like other people, and always
keep one's thoughts to oneself, seeing that they belong to you and not
to others, who twist them about, turn them after their own fashion,
and make calumnies therefrom. Fourthly, always to remain in the
condition of the Tournebouches, who are now and forever drapers. To
marry your daughters to good drapers, send your sons to be drapers in
other towns of France furnished with these wise precepts, and to bring
them up to the honour of drapery, and without leaving any dream of
ambition in their minds. A draper like a Tournebouche should be their
glory, their arms, their name, their motto, their life. Thus by being
always drapers, they will be always Tournebouches, and rub on like the
good little insects, who, once lodged in the beam, made their dens,
and go on with security to the end of their ball of thread. Fifthly
never to speak any other language than that of drapery, and never to
dispute concerning religion or government. And even though the
government of the state, the province, religion, and God turn about,
or have a fancy to go to the right or to the left, always in your
quality of Tournebouche, stick to your cloth. Thus unnoticed by the
others of the town, the Tournebouches will live in peace with their
little Tournebouches--paying the tithes and taxes, and all that they
are required by force to give, be it to God, or to the king, to the
town of to the parish, with all of whom it is unwise to struggle. Also
it is necessary to keep the patrimonial treasure, to have peace and to
buy peace, never to owe anything, to have corn in the house, and enjoy
yourselves with the doors and windows shut.

"By this means none will take from the Tournebouches, neither the
state, nor the Church, nor the Lords, to whom should the case be that
force is employed, you will lend a few crowns without cherishing the
idea of ever seeing him again--I mean the crowns.

"Thus, in all seasons people will love the Tournebouches, will mock
the Tournebouches as poor people--as the slow Tournebouches, as
Tournebouches of no understanding. Let the know-nothings say on. The
Tournebouches will neither be burned nor hanged, to the advantage of
King or Church, or other people; and the wise Tournebouches will have
secretly money in their pockets, and joy in their houses, hidden from
all.

"Now, my dear son, follow this the counsel of a modest and
middle-class life. Maintain this in thy family as a county charter;
and when you die, let your successor maintain it as the sacred gospel
of the Tournebouches, until God wills it that there be no longer
Tournebouches in this world."

This letter has been found at the time of the inventory made in the
house of Francois Tournebouche, lord of Veretz, chancellor to
Monseigneur the Dauphin, and condemned at the time of the rebellion of
the said lord against the King to lose his head, and have all his
goods confiscated by order of the Parliament of Paris. The said letter
has been handed to the Governor of Touraine as an historical
curiosity, and joined to the pieces of the process in the
archbishopric of Tours, by me, Pierre Gaultier, Sheriff, President of
the Trades Council.

The author having finished the transcription and deciphering of these
parchments, translating them from their strange language into French,
the donor of them declared that the Rue Chaude at Tours was so called,
according to certain people, because the sun remained there longer
than in all other parts. But in spite of this version, people of lofty
understanding will find, in the warm way of the said Succubus, the
real origin of the said name. In which acquiesces the author. This
teaches us not to abuse our body, but use it wisely in view of our
salvation.



                          DESPAIR IN LOVE

At the time when King Charles the Eighth took it into his head to
decorate the castle of Amboise, they came with him certain workmen,
master sculptors, good painters, and masons, or architects, who
ornamented the galleries with splendid works, which, through neglect,
have since been much spoiled.

At that time the court was staying in this beautiful locality, and, as
everyone knows, the king took great pleasure in watching his people
work out their ideas. Among these foreign gentlemen was an Italian,
named Angelo Cappara, a most worthy young man, and, in spite of his
age, a better sculptor and engraver than any of them; and it
astonished many to see one in the April of his life so clever. Indeed,
there had scarcely sprouted upon his visage the hair which imprints
upon a man virile majesty. To this Angelo the ladies took a great
fancy because he was charming as a dream, and as melancholy as a dove
left solitary in its nest by the death of its mate. And this was the
reason thereof: this sculptor knew the curse of poverty, which mars
and troubles all the actions of life; he lived miserably, eating
little, ashamed of his pennilessness, and made use of his talents only
through great despair, wishing by any means to win that idle life
which is the best all for those whose minds are occupied. The
Florentine, out of bravado, came to the court gallantly attired, and
from the timidity of youth and misfortune dared not ask his money from
the king, who, seeing him thus dressed, believed him well with
everything. The courtiers and the ladies used all to admire his
beautiful works, and also their author; but of money he got none. All,
and the ladies above all, finding him rich by nature, esteemed him
well off with his youth, his long black hair, and bright eyes, and did
not give a thought to lucre, while thinking of these things and the
rest. Indeed they were quite right, since these advantages gave to
many a rascal of the court, lands, money and all. In spite of his
youthful appearance, Master Angelo was twenty years of age, and no
fool, had a large heart, a head full of poetry; and more than that,
was a man of lofty imaginings. But although he had little confidence
in himself, like all poor and unfortunate people, he was astonished at
the success of the ignorant. He fancied that he was ill-fashioned,
either in body or mind, and kept his thoughts to himself. I am wrong,
for he told them in the clear starlight nights to the shadows, to God,
to the devil, and everything about him. At such times he would lament
his fate in having a heart so warm, that doubtless the ladies avoided
him as they would a red-hot iron; then he would say to himself how he
would worship a beautiful mistress, how all his life long he would
honour her, and with what fidelity he would attach himself to her,
with what affection serve her, how studiously obey her commands, with
what sports he would dispel the light clouds of her melancholy sadness
on the days when the skies should be overcast. Fashioning himself one
out of his imagination, he would throw himself at her feet, kiss,
fondle, caress, bite, and clasp her with as much reality as a prisoner
scampers over the grass when he sees the green fields through the bars
of his cell. Thus he would appeal to her mercy; overcome with his
feelings, would stop her breath with his embraces, would become daring
in spite of his respect, and passionately bite the clothes of his bed,
seeking this celestial lady, full of courage when by himself, but
abashed on the morrow if he passed one by. Nevertheless, inflamed by
these amorous advances, he would hammer way anew at his marble
figures, would carve beautiful breasts, to bring the water into one's
mouth at the sight of those sweet fruits of love, without counting the
other things that he raised, carved, and caressed with the chisels,
smoothed down with his file, and fashioned in a manner that would make
their use intelligible to the mind of a greenhorn, and stain his
verdure in a single day. The ladies would criticise these beauties,
and all of them were smitten with the youthful Cappara. And the
youthful Cappara would eye them up and down, swearing that the day one
of them gave him her little finger to kiss, he would have his desire.

Among these high-born ladies there came one day one by herself to the
young Florentine, asking him why he was so shy, and if none of the
court ladies could make him sociable. Then she graciously invited him
to come to her house that evening.

Master Angelo perfumes himself, purchases a velvet mantle with a
double fringe of satin, borrows from a friend a cloak with wide
sleeves, a slashed doublet, and silken hose, arrives at the house, and
ascends the stairs with hasty feet, hope beaming from his eyes,
knowing not what to do with his heart, which leaped and bounded like a
goat; and, to sum up, so much over head and ears in love, that the
perspiration trickled down his back.

You may be sure the lady was a beautiful, and Master Cappara was the
more aware of it, since in his profession he had studied the mouldings
of the arms, the lines of the body, the secret surroundings of the
sex, and other mysteries. Now this lady satisfied the especial rules
of art; and besides being fair and slender, she had a voice to disturb
life in its source, to stir fire of a heart, brain, and everything; in
short, she put into one's imagination delicious images of love without
thinking of it, which is the characteristic of these cursed women.

The sculptor found her seated by the fire in a high chair, and the
lady immediately commenced to converse at her ease, although Angelo
could find no other replies than "Yes" and "No," could get no other
words from his throat nor idea in his brain, and would have beaten his
head against the fireplace but for the happiness of gazing at and
listening to his lovely mistress, who was playing there like a young
fly in the sunshine. Because, which this mute admiration, both
remained until the middle of the night, wandering slowly down the
flowery path of love, the good sculptor went away radiant with
happiness. On the road, he concluded in his own mind, that if a noble
lady kept him rather close to her skirts during four hours of the
night, it would not matter a straw if she kept him there the
remainder. Drawing from these premises certain corollaries, he
resolved to ask her favours as a simple woman. Then he determined to
kill everybody--the husband, the wife, or himself--rather than lose
the distaff whereon to spin one hour of joy. Indeed, he was so mad
with love, that he believed life to be but a small stake in the game
of love, since one single day of it was worth a thousand lives.

The Florentine chiselled away at his statues, thinking of his evening,
and thus spoiled many a nose thinking of something else. Noticing
this, he left his work, perfumed himself, and went to listen to the
sweet words of his lady, with the hope of turning them into deeds; but
when he was in the presence of his sovereign, her feminine majesty
made itself felt, and poor Cappara, such a lion in street, looked
sheepish when gazing at his victim. This notwithstanding, towards the
hour when desire becomes heated, he was almost in the lady's lap and
held her tightly clasped. He had obtained a kiss, had taken it, much
to his delight; for, when they give it, the ladies retain the right of
refusal, but when they left it to be taken, the lover may take a
thousand. This is the reason why all of them are accustomed to let it
be taken. The Florentine has stolen a great number, and things were
going on admirably, when the lady, who had been thrifty with her
favours, cried, "My husband!"

And, in fact, my lord had just returned from playing tennis, and the
sculptor had to leave the place, but not without receiving a warm
glance from the lady interrupted in her pleasure. This was all his
substance, pittance and enjoyment during a whole month, since on the
brink of his joy always came the said husband, and he always arrived
wisely between a point-blank refusal and those little sweet caresses
with which women always season their refusals--little things which
reanimate love and render it all the stronger. And when the sculptor,
out of patience, commenced, immediately upon his arrival, the skirmish
of the skirt, in order that victory might arrive before the husband,
to whom, no doubt, these disturbances were not without profit, his
fine lady, seeing desire written in the eyes of her sculptor,
commenced endless quarrels and altercations; at first she pretended to
be jealous in order to rail against love; then appeased the anger of
the little one with the moisture of a kiss, then kept the conversation
to herself, and kept on saying that her lover should be good, obedient
to her will, otherwise she would not yield to him her life and soul;
that a desire was a small thing to offer a mistress; that she was more
courageous, because loving more she sacrificed more, and to his
propositions she would exclaim, "Silence, sir!" with the air of a
queen, and at times she would put on an angry look, to reply to the
reproachs of Cappara: "If you are not as I wish you to be, I will no
longer love you."

The poor Italian saw, when it was too late, that this was not a noble
love, one of those which does not mete out joy as a miser his crowns;
and that this lady took delight in letting him jump about outside the
hedge and be master of everything, provided he touched not the garden
of love. At this business Cappara became a savage enough to kill
anyone, and took with him trusty companions, his friends, to whom he
gave the task of attacking the husband while walking home to bed after
his game of tennis with the king. He came to his lady at the
accustomed hour when the sweet sports of love were in full swing,
which sports were long, lasting kisses, hair twisted and untwisted,
hand bitten with passion, ears as well; indeed, the whole business,
with the exception of that especial thing which good authors rightly
find abominable. The Florentine exclaims between two hearty kisses--

"Sweet one, do you love me more than anything?"

"Yes," said she, because words never cost anything.

"Well then," replied the lover, "be mine in deed as in word."

"But," said she, "my husband will be here directly."

"Is that the only reason?" said he.

"Yes."

"I have friends who will cross him, and will not let him go unless I
show a torch at this window. If he complain to the king, my friends
will say, they thought they were playing a joke on one of their own
set."

"Ah, my dear," said she, "let me see if everyone in the house is gone
to bed."

She rose, and held the light to the window. Seeing which Cappara blew
out the candle, seized his sword, and placing himself in front of the
woman, whose scorn and evil mind he recognised.

"I will not kill you, madame," said he, "but I will mark your face in
such a manner you will never again coquette with young lovers whose
lives you waste. You have deceived me shamefully, and are not a
respectable woman. You must know that a kiss will never sustain life
in a true lover, and that a kissed mouth needs the rest. Your have
made my life forever dull and wretched; now I will make you remember
forever my death, which you have caused. You shall never again behold
yourself in a glass without seeing there my face also." Then he raised
his arm, and held the sword ready to cut off a good slice of the fresh
fair cheek, where still all the traces of his kiss remained. And the
lady exclaimed, "You wretch!"

"Hold your tongue," said he; "you told me that you loved me better
than anything. Now you say otherwise; each evening have you raised me
a little nearer to heaven; with one blow you cast me into hell, and
you think that your petticoat can save you from a lover's wrath--No!"

"Ah, my Angelo! I am thine," said she, marvelling at this man glaring
with rage.

But he, stepping three paces back, replied, "Ah, woman of the court
and wicked heart, thou lovest, then, thy face better than thy lover."

She turned pale, and humbly held up her face, for she understood that
at this moment her past perfidy wronged her present love. With a
single blow Angelo slashed her face, then left her house, and quitted
the country. The husband not having been stopped by reason of that
light which was seen by the Florentines, found his wife minus her left
cheek. But she spoke not a word in spite of her agony; she loved her
Cappara more than life itself. Nevertheless, the husband wished to
know whence preceded this wound. No one having been there except the
Florentine, he complained to the king, who had his workman hastily
pursued, and ordered him to be hanged at Blois. On the day of
execution a noble lady was seized with a desire to save this
courageous man, whom she believed to be a lover of the right sort. She
begged the king to give him to her, which he did willingly. But
Cappara declaring that he belonged entirely to his lady, the memory of
whom he could not banish entirely, entered the Church, became a
cardinal and a great savant, and used to say in his old age that he
had existed upon the remembrance of the joys tasted in those poor
hours of anguish; in which he was, at the same time, both very well
and very badly treated by his lady. There are authors saying
afterwards he succeeded better with his old sweetheart, whose cheek
healed; but I cannot believe this, because he was a man of heart, who
had a high opinion of the holy joys of love.

This teaches us nothing worth knowing, unless it be that there are
unlucky meetings in life, since this tale is in every way true. If in
other places the author has overshot the truth, this one will gain for
him the indulgence of the conclave or lovers.



                              EPILOGUE

This second series comes in the merry month of June, when all is green
and gay, because the poor muse, whose slave the author is, has been
more capricious then the love of a queen, and has mysteriously wished
to bring forth her fruit in the time of flowers. No one can boast
himself master of this fay. At times, when grave thoughts occupy the
mind and grieve the brain, comes the jade whispering her merry tales
in the author's ear, tickling her lips with her feathers, dancing
sarabands, and making the house echo with her laughter. If by chance
the writer, abandoning science for pleasure, says to her, "Wait a
moment, little one, till I come," and runs in great haste to play with
the madcap, she has disappeared. She has gone into her hole, hides
herself there, rolls herself up, and retires. Take the poker, take a
staff, a cudgel, a cane, raise them, strike the wench, and rave at
her, she moans; strap her, she moans; caress her, fondle her, she
moans; kiss her, say to her, "Here, little one," she moans. Now she's
cold, now she is going to die; adieu to love, adieu to laughter, adieu
to merriment, adieu to good stories. Wear mourning for her, weep and
fancy her dead, groan. Then she raises her head, her merry laugh rings
out again; she spreads her white wings, flies one knows not wither,
turns in the air, capers, shows her impish tail, her woman's breasts,
her strong loins, and her angelic face, shakes her perfumed tresses,
gambols in the rays of the sun, shines forth in all her beauty,
changes her colours like the breast of a dove, laughs until she cries,
cast the tears of her eyes into the sea, where the fishermen find them
transmuted into pretty pearls, which are gathered to adorn the
foreheads of queens. She twists about like a colt broken loose,
exposing her virgin charms, and a thousand things so fair that a pope
would peril his salvation for her at the mere sight of them. During
these wild pranks of the ungovernable beast you meet fools and
friends, who say to the poor poet, "Where are your tales? Where are
your new volumes? You are a pagan prognosticator. Oh yes, you are
known. You go to fetes and feasts, and do nothing between your meals.
Where's your work?"

Although I am by nature partial to kindness, I should like to see one
of these people impaled in the Turkish fashion, and thus equipped,
sent on the Love Chase. Here endeth the second series; make the devil
give it a lift with his horns, and it will be well received by a
smiling Christendom.





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