HEPTAMERON, OR THE HISTORY OF THE FORTUNATE LOVERS;

Written by the most Ex­cellent and most Virtuous Prin­cess, Margaret de Valoys, Queen of NAVARRE;

Published in French by the Privi­lege and immediate Appro­bation of the KING;

Now made English by Robert Codrington, Master of Arts.

LONDON, Printed by F. L. for Nath: Ekins, and are to be sold at his Shop at the Gun, by the West-End of St. Pauls. 1654.

To the truly Honourable, the true Lover of all good Lear­ning, Thomas Stanley Esquire, &c.

SIR,

SInce I knew the World, I have constantly professed my self to be a stranger to it, yet there is no place so remote from obser­vation, that is not acquain­ted with your Vertues, which, like the bright Beams of the Sun, do enter in­to, and enlighten the obscurest angles.

The light of this knowledge is a happiness which is most suitable to retired Spirits; for although the gaudy World doth cry up Virtue, and Nobleness, and doth make pretences out­wardly to follow them, yet they will not pay ho­mage to them on their Account, or on the for­mality of their praises, but distinguishing the noise from the effect, will make it their great business to trace them through all Adventures, [Page]and having in their Contemplation enjoyed a full sight, and sense of their perfections, will in their practise thankfully endeavour to be wor­thy of them.

Sir, These Arts did lead me to the know­ledge of you, and my thankfulnesse shall lead you to the knowledge of my self, which presents unto your hand this delightfull History, writ­ten in the Original by an Incomparable Prin­cess, and acceptable to the greatest Potentates in Christendom, who with great applause have entertained the Work.

If the Foundation doth seem but light, and sandy, the height, the soundness, and the Mag­nificence of the superstructure wil be the more admired which hath already lasted so many A­ges, and which (Translated now into the Eng­lish air) will undoubtedly continue longer, if the Honor of your Name, may be seen on the portal thereof, to give life unto the Endeavours of him, who is,

Sir,
Your most humble, and most devoted Servant, Robert Codrington.

The Translator to the Reader.

THose who undertake to render in another Tongue the Concep­tions of great Princesses, ought to be indued with the like Spirit. I will not be too vain to commend, nor too vile to undervalue my self. For the Di­vinity by this great Lady in many places here inserted, it is left to your Candor to interpret of it; But for the Philoso­phy, you shall undoubtedly find, that most wisely she hath sorted her dis­course, in fit persons, to the four Com­plexions of the Natural Body. Besides, you shall every where read most excel­lent Precepts of Moral Philosophy: The Canonists also, and the Casuists, will here have enough, in many passages, on which with admiration to reflect. I am informed that the Queen had fully fini­shed the Tenth days work; but the Fri­ers and Religious Men, who have depri­ved [Page]us of the two last Journals, and of the greatest part of the eighth, would have deprived us also of all the Rest, if possibly they could have prevented it: And this is that of which Gruget doth implicitely complain, in his Epistle to the succeeding Queen of Navarre, which for your further satisfaction I have here inserted. If any thing in the whole Work shall appear too light, you must ballance it with that which shall be found more solid, and impute it to the simplicity of those times, and to the Condition of that Court, where Mars and Venus were for a long time the two culminating Planets.

To the most Illustri­ous and most Virtuous Princesse, Madam Jane De Foix Queen of NAVARR.

Madam,

I Had not presumed to present unto you this Book of the Novels of the late Queen your Mother, if the first Edition had not omitted or concealed her Name, and so changed the whole form of it, that many did not know it; wherefore, to make it worthy of its Au­thor, whenever it was divulged, I gathered together all the original and best written Copies that possibly I could procure, and justifying them by my own, I have reduced the Book to the true order in which she had dressed it. Since by the permission of the King, and your own consent, it hath been committed to the Presse to be published in that primitive integrity in which it ought to be, which doth prompt me to call into my me­mory what Count Balthazar, in the Preface of his Cour­tier doth affirm of Boccace, that his work of Recreati­on, meaning his Decameron, did bring him more honour than all those more serious pieces which he did compose in the Latin or the Italian tongue. In this same manner the Queen of Navarr, the true Ornament of our Age (from whom you nothing do degenerate in the love and knowledge of good Letters) exercising her witty mirth, and playing on the various Acts of human life, hath [Page]left such excellent instructions, that there is no Man but may be taught therby to improv his lif [...] & understanding, and according to the judgement of all, she hath surpas­sed Boccace in the [...]leg [...] discourses which she hath made on every one of her Accounts, for which she deser­veth to be praised not only above all excellent Ladies, but also amongst the most learned Men: For of the three stiles of speaking described by Cicero, she hath made choice of the plain one, like unto that of Terence in La­tin, which appeareth to every one to be easie to imitate, but he who undertaketh it, shall find nothing more difficult. True it is, that this present will not be new, and you will acknowledge it as descended to you by Inheri­tance; Neverthelesse I assure my self, you will with a glad eye observe it in this second impression to be restored to its first condition, for I understand that the first was distastful to you, not that he was an unletterd Man Who took pains in it, and we may easily believe that he would not disguise it without some occasion, but his travel is not found to be acceptable. I therefore Madam do pre­sent it to you, not for any pretences of my own in it, but having only unmasked it, and rendord it in its Na­tive lustre. It belongs to your Royal Greatnesse to favour it, being derived from your Illustrious Family. It car­ryeth also that Mark in the Forehead of it, which will be as a safe conduct to it through all the World, and render it acceptable to all good Companies. For my self, ac­knowledging the Honour you shall do me to receive from my hand this work digested into its first order, I shall be perpetually obliged to do you most humble service.

Claudius Gruget.

The true and lively Pour­traicture of the most Illustrious and most Excellent Princess Margaret of Valois, Daughter to Henry the II. Sister to Henry the III. and Wife to Henry the IV. of France.
Excellently set forth by the inimitable pen of Peter du Ronsard, and by him shadowed in the Person of Pasithea one of the Graces at­tending on the Deity of Venus.
The Poem is call'd by the Author La Cha­rite, and in his Works it is commonly placed next to those Poems which he calleth Les Mascarades.

THe little God and wild one, a Commander,
Who through the Earth, and through the Heavens doth wander,
Viewing the Ladies of the Court one day,
Return'd to Heaven, to whom did Venus say,
Tell me (my Son) as thou abroad dost fly,
Without regard to Faith or Loyalty,
If thou on earth hast any beauty known,
(Thy Eye sees all) which doth surpasse mine own.
Love made reply, Forsooth, be sure there are
On Earth no beauties can with yours compare,
Unlesse one Ladie's, on whose cradle all
Indulgent Graces down from Heaven did fall.
She straight did blush (as Ladies blush for shame,
To have in Beauties an inferiour name)
And to find out the truth of what he said,
'Mongst all her Graces choyce of one she made.
My Heart, my Love, my Soul, my Eyes, my Thought,
Of thee if ever I deserv'd have ought,
Goe down to France, and let me truly know,
If any Beauty mine exceeds or no.
The young, and all divine Pasithea,
The Skies abandon'd her commands t'obey;
The Air gave place unto her, and the Wind
Through the wast Regions buoy'd her up as kind;
She Stoop'd descending in a sudden flight,
Cleaving the Clowds, as in the silent night
Far off there in a shining track is spi'd
A falling Star between two Airs to glide.
Beauty and Vigour, Youth and Curtesie,
Attraction, Sport, Delight and Love did fly
Like Birds about her round, and for her sake,
Did there their chosen habitation make.
Natures Chief wonder her diviner head,
With waving treasures thick was covered
Of curl'd, ring'd, crisped, and of braided hair,
But of complexion rather brown than fair.
A table fair her Forehead seem'd to be
Of Marble white, the seat of Majestie,
Smooth as the Sea, when we behold it may
Lye all becalm'd in a fair Summers day.
The Ebon Arches of her Brow did prove
The Portaict of the Bow o'th' God of Love,
Or Heavens bright Crescent, it resembled, when,
She, three dayes old, begins her month again.
Two several forces in her Eyes there were,
The one was smiling, th'other seem'd severe,
Two Eyes, nay rather two twin-stars o'th' Skies,
That could both Love attract, and Love chastise;
In those black Eyes all Delicacies, Trains,
Hooks, Arrows, Prisons, Services, and Chains,
Whose Arguments even Reason self obey'd
Serv'd as a Convoy for that Heavenly Maid.
In those black Eyes all beauties did abound,
Without them Love no other lodging found,
Near which in an exact ascent her Nose,
A little Hillock 'twixt two Valleys rose.
On her white tender, delicater Ear
A Pretious Ruby hung, and sparkling there,
Playd on her Cheek, and of her Face, before
Which shone a wonder, made the wonder more.
A pure Vermilion on her Cheeks did grow,
Which like a bed of blushing Pinks did show:
Or like the laughing Strawberries, when they
Strow'd on the top of all the Cream do play.
Not all the Flow'rs deriv'd from Princes blood,
Narcissus, Ajax, such complexion shew'd,
As her Vermilion mix'd with Brown, which strook
Mens Souls transported with so sweet a look.
Such is the beauty of the Evenings Air,
With some few blacks imbellishing her fair:
When the first Clouds but thin appear, and Day
Doth by degrees begin to wast away.
Her Mouth a thousand roses did enclose,
As many Pinks, and Lillies, where two rowes
Of Pearl for Teeth did stand, from whence did fly
A rich perfume that did imbalm the skie.
From thence flowd laughter & such sweet discourse,
That Men to Stones she with her words could force
But hearing of her speak, and could agen
Make Stones as gentle and as soft as Men.
All the fair features of this Face were seen
Clos'd in a round, a thick, and dimpled Chin,
Whose soft and dainty swelling did bettay
Another plumpness that beneath it lay.
Her Neck a pillar was of Potphyrie
Streak'd with long azure vains, where you might see,
The Rose, the Lilly, and the Pink conjoyn'd,
Stirr'd with a soft and pleasant Western wind.
Two hills of milk which one wind press'd and repess'd
Without removing quiver'd on her Breast,
Whose swelling Rounds, on which two pinks did grow,
Th' approaching flourish of her youth did show.
The rest I dare not; for how can the rest
Hid from my eyes be by my art exprest?
A sacred sequestration 'tis where Honour,
And Chastness waits as watchfull Guards upon her.
White were her Hands, and slender, soft and long,
Which forth in veins and several branches sprung,
And into five-born twins themselves dividing,
Shew'd on their tops where were five pearls residing.
Of ma [...]ble pure with art most exquisite
Her comlyest Legg was fram'd, small were her Feet,
Such as they say hath Nereus lovely Dame,
Two sure supporters of so brave a frame.
Swift as the darting of the lightnings flame,
This beauteous Nymph to Charls his Palace came,
And suddenly advanc'd her self unseen
Into the Hall where did the mask begin.
Dark was the night, whose danker curtain spread
Had round about the air enveloped,
When the bright Ladies came to dance, and did
Shine all like Stars, when all the Stars were hid.
Robes there with Gold and Silver richly wrought,
Their glistring flames in emulation shot,
Lights in the Air their rising fires threw high,
Which sparkling from the pretious stones did fly.
There my brave King, there you my Lords might see
His Brothers come hung round with Majestie,
Fenc'd with the Laws which their Companions were,
Laws that were far more gentle than severe.
Our ages mirrour, Margaret the fair,
There in her double value did appear,
And now a Pearl, and now a Flow'r did show,
A braver beauty than the Spring could know.
About the Hall a pretious cloud did throw
Its Musk and Amber odours, and did show,
By that sweet wonder, that from Heav'n, to dance,
Came down a Goddesse into th' Court of France.
Into the Chamber as the Sun doth passe
Waving and pointed, yet ne'r cracks the glasse,
But breaks through th'envious object that would stay
The piercing force of his diviner ray;
So this fair lovely Nymph into the Room,
Where danc'd these Princes, unperceiv'd did come,
And drawing neer, shot, like Heav'ns sudden fire,
Her self into our Margaret intire.
So well her Soul was in her Soul inclos'd,
So well her life was in her life repos'd,
So well her blood into her blood was grown,
That of two bodies they were now but one.
Which my King seeing, though to Heav'n he be
As near in judgement as in pedigree,
Was first of all himself deceiv'd, because
He thought that only she his Sister was.
Locking his hand in hers, the King did lead
The Dance, and her who did not seem to tread,
But as she had no feet, she in her pace
Swimm'd as she mov'd with a coelestial Grace.
Man heavy treads, and by his gate doth show
The dull alliance he to earth doth owe:
But Gods do flie, and unconfin'd to pace
Prove their eternal and Spiritual race.
When the Lavolto was of Provence danc'd,
The King with this his Sister Grace advanc'd
In a grave Sweetnesse nimbly following she
With Ayrie motion 'bout the Hall did flee.
So oft in Autumns foggy nights we may
See a swift Meteor on the waters play,
Which now wheels here, and now whirls there his flame,
And no Repose doth grant unto the same.
She in a thousand shapes did change anew
The hearts of all who but her face did veiw,
Flashes of fire from her bright eyes did flow,
And wheresoere she trod did Roses grow.
Virtue and Honour her chief Ushers were,
And joyn'd to them did Majestie appear,
Which kept her beauty safe, as Fame doth bruit
The Dragon sometimes did th' Hesperian fruit
Soon as the noise of Viols did forbear
Their sweet Inchantments on the ravish'd air,
This Nymph return'd unto her Heav'n agen,
Abandoning the Company of Men.
So the thick eye-lid of the night being clos'd,
In slumbers sweet is oftentimes suppos'd
Some Angel seen, who sudden doth display
Himself, and sudden fleets like smoke away.
Adieu fair Grace, Nymph heav'nly born, adieu,
Or mount to Heav'n, or fly where't pleaseth you,
Soon to this Court you shall again return,
And Hymens torches all for you shall burn.
Then a more high, and a devouter fire
My re-inforced Courage shall inspire,
To sound your happy Mariage Joyes, as far
As are the fields of flourishing Navarre.

On the two Margarets.

A Sonnet.
THe famous Phoenix whom the East admires,
One in her kind, rare in her brave attires,
The brightest Ray the new-born Sun displays,
To whom she onely her Devotion pays.
Soon as the Morn from Ti [...]hons bed doth rise,
Her warbling layes she ecchoes round the skies,
And when that envious Age doth life deprive,
Burning her self, she doth her self revive.
How justly France maist thou hereafter vant,
T' have had a Phoenix did so sweetly chant?
That none comes neer her, all the world doth grant,
Unless another Phoenix, who doth own,
As well her Name, as glory, and renown,
Left by her Death, our Margaret alone.
Johan. Passeratus.
Another Sonnet.
TH' Athenian Timon, Mans great Enemy,
Too strict a Judge of our Infirmity,
In horror great against those sins inveigh'd
To melt in tears Heraclitus which made,
His fleering mirth; Democritus did raise,
And, Jester-like, laught at the vain assays
Of Men, whom pleasures and vile lusts controul,
The poison of the Body and the Soul.
His laughter lowd, the Seconds tears as rife
'Gainst human frailty, the Thirds Hate and Strife,
Singly invite us to a vertuous life.
But in this Book, this peerless Queen to us,
Doth, loathing vice, in tears, and smiles discuss,
Timon, Heraclitus, and Democritus
J. Troyen.

The PREFACE

ON the first day of September, in which the Baths of the Pyrenaean moun­tains doe begin to enter into their greatest virtues, there were lodged in the Houses of those that kept the Baths several persons, as well of France & Spain as of other places, Some of them to drink the water, others of them to bath themselves in it, and some again to make use of the very mud thereof, which are so won­derfull in the effects, that the sick who have come thither, being forsaken by their Physicians, have returned all sound & in good health. It is not my intention to declare unto you the situation or virtue of these Baths, but to give you an account of that only which shall concern the sub­ject of what I write. In these Baths the sick do conti­nue three months and more, untill by their amendment they do find that they are in a good condition to return from whence they came. But at that very time there fell such great & wonderfull showrs, that it seemed God had forgot his promise which he made to Noah, to destroy the world no more by water; for all the Cubans and Lodgings of the Hosts, that were toward the Baths, were so fill'd with water, that it was impossible to continue in them. Those who came from the Coast of Spain retur­ned by the Mountains, making what shift they could, and those who knew which were the nearest and most compen­dious ways, were those who escaped best of all: But the Lords and Ladies of France thinking to return as plea­santly as they came forth, did find the small Brooks so greatly encreased, that they could not ford them, and when they came to passe over the River Gane in Bearn, [Page]which was not two foot in depth when they set forth, they found it on their return swolln so impetuous, that they turned another way to find the bridge, which being made of wood only, was carried away by the violence of the waters; and some of them thinking that by the assem­bling together of many men, they should in their passage break the course of the raging stream, they were suddenly born down before it, so that those who were to follow, did lose both the power and the desire to go after them, wherfore as well to find out a new way, as for that they were of several opinions, they did separate themselves; Some of them travelled over the hight of the hills, and passing by Arragon they came into the County of Rousillon, & frō thence to Narbon; Others repaired directly to Bar­celona, where some took shipping, & passed by Sea to Mar­seilles, & others to Aiguemore: But an antient Gentlewo­man, and of great experience, called Oysilla, did determin with her self to forget all the danger of the bad ways to reach unto our Ladies at Serrance, being assured that if she could find means to escape the danger, that the Monks there would give her courteous entertainment, and so much she laboured, that at last she arrived to that place, passing by strange ways, up hill and down hill, so diffi­cult, that for all her age and the weight of her body, she was enforced to goe on foot the greatest part of the way, but the thing most to be pittied was that the greatest part of her Servants and Horses dyed on the unpassable places, so that she arrived at Serrance, attended only with one Man and one Woman, where she was charitably recei­ved by the Abbot. There was also at those Baths amongst the French two Gentlemen, who travelled thither ra­ther to accompany the Ladies whose servants they were, than for any indisposition of their bodies. These Gentle­men observing the company to depart, and that the hus­hands of the Ladies did take them along with them, did resolve with themselves to follow them at some distance, that they might not be discovered by any. One Evening the two married Gentlemen and their Ladies taking up their lodging at the house of one who was rather a Nigh­way-man [Page]than a Peasant, the two young Gentlemen were contented to take their repose for that night in a Cottage not far from them: About midnight they heard a great noise, at the sound whereof they did arise and their Grooms with them, and demanded of the Host of the House what was the occasion of the Tumult, The poor man who did partake with them in the fear, told them that they were naughty boys who came to a Highway-man who kept an Inn close by him to take a part with him in the booty; Whereupon the two Gentlemen with their Grooms did immediatly arm themselves, and made hast to the suc­cour of the Ladies, for whom they esteemed Death to be more happy, than to live after them; And as soon as they came unto the house, they found the first Gate broken open, and the two married Gentlemen gallantly defending them­selves with their servants; but because the Robbers were too numerous, and that they were sorely wounded, they be­gan to retire themselves, having lost a great number of their servants; the two young Gentlemen looking up to the win­dow, beheld the two Ladies weeping and crying out so lowdly, that being transported with love and pity (like two inraged Bears descending from the Mountains) they fell upon the Robbers with so much sury, that having kil­led a great number of them, those that were lest not desi­ring to come under such violent blowes, did fly unto a place of retreat. The young Gentlemen having thus defea­ted those Assassinates, of whom the Host himself was one, did understand that the Hostess was worse than her Hus­hand, and therefore they did send her after him by a thrust of a Rapier, and entring into one of the lower Chambers, they found one of the married Gentlemen giving up the Ghost, the other had received no hurt at all, but onely his cloaths were much slashed, and run through with swords, and his sword was broken, and being very sensible of the re­lief which these two Gentlemen brought unto him, having embraced them, and thanked them, he desired that they would not forsake him, which was a request very easie unto them to grant, wherefore having interred the Gentle­man that was dead, and comforted his Lady in the best [Page]manner that they could, they took their way as God did direct them, without knowing on what hand to go. If you please to understand the names of the three Gentlemen and the Ladies, he that was maried was called Hircan, and his wife Parlament; the other Lady who so lately became a Widdow was called Longeren, the two Gentlemen who so happily came in to their succour, the one of them was named Dagoucin, and the other Saffredant. After they had been all day on horsback, on the Evening they heard a Bell, to which place, but not without pain and travail, they did their utmost endeavour to arrive, and were courteously entertained by the Abbot and the Monks; It was the Abbey of Saint Savin. The Abbot who was of a noble family (having brought them to their Lodgings, which were magnificent) did demand them of their for­tunes; And having understood the truth thereof, he told them, That they were not alone who suffered in that Ruin, for in another Chamber there were two young Ladies who had escaped the like danger, and so much the greater, by how much there is more compassion in Man than in a Beast; for the poor Ladies, half a mile on this side of Pyrchita, had discovered a great Bear comming down the Hill up­on them, from whom they sled with so much speed, that at their entrance into his Gates their horses fell down dead under them, and two of their women who came a long time after them, did inform them, That the Bear had destroyed all their servants; whereupon the two Ladies, and three Gentlemen, did enter into the Chamber where they were, and found them weeping, and knew that one of them was Nomerfide, and the other Emarsuite, who imbracing each other did recount what had happened, and began to comfort themselves, being more incited thereunto by the consolations of the good Abbot, that thus they met together. On the morning they heard Mass with great de­votion, praysing God for their deliverance from their dan­gers. When they were all at Mass, Behold a Man who had nothing on him but his shirt only, did run into the Church, flying as some body had pursued him, and crying aloud for Help. Immediatly Hircan and the other Gen­tlemen [Page]made up to him to see what the business was, and they found two men following him at the heels with their swords drawn, who observing so great a company, would have betaken themselves to flight, but Hircan and those with him did follow them so close that they left their lives on the place. When Hircan had well observed the party that was relieved, and who was in his shirt only, he per­ceived that it was Guebron, who was one of their Com­panions, who did impart unto them, That lodging in a Cottage near unto Pyrchita, there came three men to as­sault him being in bed, who although he was in his shirt, he did wound one of them with his sword in such manner, that immediatly he died, and whiles the other were busie and in debate where to bestow him, he observing that he was naked, and they armed, did conceive that there was no other way to be too hard for them, but by flight only, which he might the better do being not charged with habi­liments; and he thanked God and them, who thus had ex­ecuted vengeance for him on his Enemies. After that they had said Mass and dined, they sent to see if it were possi­ble to passe the River of Gane, and understanding the impossibility of it, they were in a great distresse, although the Abbot had often offered them to continue there, untill such time as the waters were decreased, to which they only accorded for that day. As they were going to bed at night, there arived an old Monk, who every year never failed in September to have recourse unto our Lady at Serrance, who being demanded of the occurrences of his Journey, made answer, That by reason of the high waters he came all along the mountains, and the worst ways that were ever travelled, where he beheld one spectacle of great pity, which was, That he met with a Gentleman cal­led Simontault, who being impatient at the long continu­ance of the over-flowing River, did resolve to force it, trusting in the goodness of his Horse; to effect which, he did place his servants on each side of him, to break the furious eddy of the stream, but when they were in the middle of it, those who were worst of all mounted were carried away by the violence of the River, and never did [Page]return again. The Gentleman seeing himself alone, tur­ned back his horse from whence he came; but his horse for all his force and promptnesse did sink under him: But it pleased God that he was so near the Bank, that being but four foot from it, and having drank much water, he waded forth, and sat down upon two flints, so weak and feeble that he was not able to support himself. It so fell out, that a Shepherd driving homeward his flocks in the Evening, did find him almost covered with mud upon the stones, and no lesse sorrowfull for his people, whom he saw to be carried away by the River, and destroyed before him, than for himself: The Shepherd who understood his ne­cessity, as well by hearing as by seeing him, did take him by the hand, and brought him into his poor House, where with small bushes he dried him as well as the poverty of his Chimney would permit. On that Evening God brought thither this old Monk, who did direct him in the way to our Ladies at Serrance, assuring him, that he should find better Lodging there than in any other place, and should meet with an antient Woman, called Oysilla, who would be his Companion in his Travels. When all the Company heard him speak of the good Lady Oysilla, and the gentle Cavalier Simontault, they were transported with an exi­lience of Joy, praising the Creator, who in contenting him­self with the Servants, had preserved their Masters and their Mistresses, and above all Parlament was the de­voutest in her praises; for a time there was in which she esteemed him for her most affectionat servant. And ha­ving diligently enquired concerning the way to Serrance, although the good old Man did report it to be very diffi­cult, yet they could not forbear to put it to the adventure, and the next morning they did set forth in so good order and equipage, that they wanted for no accommodation: For the Abbot did furnish them with the best horses that were in Lovedoon, and with good riding suits, and great store of provision, and with honest Gentlemen to be their Companions and guides over the Mountains, having tra­velled which, in great labour and sweat, and more on foot than on horsback, they arrived at our Ladies of Serrance. [Page]The Abbot, although he was a man churlish enough, did not dare to refuse to give them intertainment, by reason of the fear he had of Seigneur du Bear, by whom he knew that they were well beloved; he therefore looked upon them with the best Countenance he could, and took them with him to see the good Lady Oysilla, and the Gentleman Simontault. So great was the joy of all this Company, be­ing so miraculously assembled, that the night seemed but short unto them to praise God for the mercy bestowed on them; & on the morning having taken a little rest, they did resort to hear Masse, and to receive the holy Sacrament of Communion, by which all Christians are united into one, beseeching him who had brought them together by his bounty, to put a good end to their travells to his glory. After dinner they sent to know if the waters were any thing diminished, and on the return of the Messenger hearing that they were rather encreased, and that it would be a long time before they could travell with any assurance, they determined with themselves to make a bridge between two Rocks which did stand very near to one another, where yet the planks are to be seen, and are of use to those that travel by foot, and coming from Cleron will not pass by the Gane. The Abbot who was glad that they were at that cost, because the number of Pilgrims, and Country, Travellers did encrease, did provide them with workmen, But his avarice would not permit him to pay one penny towards the work it self, and because the workmen did all affirm that they could not finish the bridge in 10 or 12 days, the whole Company, as well both of the Gentlemen as of the Ladies, began to be much perplexed. But Parlament the wife of Hircan, who was never seen either heavy or melancholy, having asked leave of her husband to speak, did say to the antient Lady Oysilla, Madam, I do much wonder that you who have so great experience, and are in the re­putation of a Mother amongst Women, do not find out some pastime to mitigate the sorrows which we doe bear a­bout us during our long aboad in this place; for if we have no exercise pleasant and virtuous, we shall be in danger to fall sick; The young widdow Longeren did [Page]add unto her words and said, Nay which is worse, we shall grow burthensom to one another, which is a sick­nesse uncurable, for there is not one of us, if he looks upon his loss, who hath not an occasion of excessive sad­nesse. Emarsuite replyed in smiles unto her, Every one hath not lost her husband as you have, and for the losse of our Servants we ought not to despair, for we may recover them time enough; Howsoever I do joyn in o­pinion with you to have some pleasant exercise to passe away the time as delighfull as we can. The Company (saith Nomerfide) hath advised very well; for she said, That if she were but one day without some Pastime, she should be dead on the next. All the Gentlemen did accord to the counsell, and besought Ma­dam Oysilla that she would be pleased to order that which they had to do; who made answer, My Children, you de­mand a task of me which I find very difficult for me to do, which is to shew unto you that Recreation which can divert you from your sorrows, for having through all the travails of my life sought out a Remedy for it, I never could find but one, which is the reading of the Holy Bible, in which is found the true and perfect joy of the Mind, from whence the Repose also and the health of the Body doth proceed; And if you shall demand of me what Re­ceit it is that keeps me so sound and unperplexed in my old age, It is, That as soon as ever I am up, I take into my hands the holy Scripture, and read it, beholding, and with my self contemplating the will of God, who hath sent his Son into the world for us, to declare the good News, by which he doth promise Remission of sins, and satisfaction for all offences, by the gift which he hath given us by his Love, Passion, and his Martyrdom. This Consideration doth administer so much joy unto me, that I take my Psal­ter, and as humbly as possibly I can, I sing with my heart, and pronounce with my voice the blessed Psalms and Hymns, which the Holy Ghost composed in the heart of David, and of other Authors: The Contentment which I re­ceive frō hence, doth do me so much good, that all the sor­rows which the day can bring unto me, do seem to me to [Page]be so many Benedictions, seeing that I have him in my heart by faith who hath born them for me. In the like manner after Supper I retire my self to give some food to my Soul by reading some godly Book, and in the Evening having recollected with my self whatsoever I have done in the time of the day, I demand pardon of God for my faults, and giving him thanks for his mercies, I take my rest in his love, fear, and peace, being a [...]med and assured against all Dangers that can approach me. Behold (my Chil­dren) the Recreation to which for a long time I have de­voted my self, having searched all things, and found no other coutentment for my spirit. I am confident that if e­very morning you would lay forth one hour in reading, and afterwards in the most humble manner exercise your De­votions at the Mass, that even in this wilderness you would find that beauty which it may be you cannot in the greatest Cities: For he who knoweth God beholde h [...]all things that are beautifull, in him, and without him all things are deformed; Wherefore I beseech you to receive my counse [...] if you will live well, and with Comfort. Hircan took the word from her, and said, Madam, Those who have read the holy Bible (as I believe that all of us have) will confess that you speak the truth; but you must regard that we are not yet so mortifyed as to deprive our selves of all Pastime and Corporal Recreation: For if we are in our own houses, we have Dogs to hunt, and Hawks for the flight; which make us to pass over and to forget a thousand foolish thoughts. And the Ladies have their works of House­wifry, and sometimes their dancings, in which they honest­ly do delight themselves, which causeth me (speaking on­ly on the behalf of the men) to desire that you who are the most antient amongst us, would every Morning read the life unto us which our Saviour Jesus Christ did lead, and the great and admirable works which he hath done for us; And after dinner untill Vespers, that you will make choice of some Pastime which may not be prejudiciall to the Soul, and be pleasant to the Body, and so with comfort we shall pass over the ten days. Madam Oysilla made answer to him; That she had so much laboured with her self to [Page]forget all the vanities of the world, that she was afraid, they had made a bad choice of her for such pastimes; how­soever she would submit to the plurality of voices, desiring Hircan to understand what was his opinion first of all. For my part (said he) If I thought the pastime I would choose were as agreeable to any of the Company as to my self, my o­piniö should quickly be known; wherfore for this time I will hold my peace, and will believe that which others shall speak. Parlament began to blush, thinking that [...]e spoke of her, and half in choler, and half in laughter said, Hir­can, It may be that she whom you speak of can find enough to recompense her self if she hath a mind thereunto; but let us leave off this pastime wherein two of us only can bear part, and let us speak of that which ought to be com­mon to us all; whereupon Hircan said to all the Ladies, Since my Wife hath so well understood and expounded, and glossed upon my sense, and allegeth that a particular pa­stime doth not please her, I believe that she will be able better than any other to speak of that in which every one will take pleasure, and from this time I shall be of her opi­nion, as being he who hath no other opinion but her own. To this all the Company did agree. Parlament perceiving that the Lot was fallen upon her, did speak in this man­ner, If I knew my self as sufficient as the Antients who found out the Arts, I would invent some play or pastime to satisfy the charge which you have imposed on me, but be­ing conscious to my self of my knowledge and faculties, which with much trouble can hardly remember things well clone, I shall esteem my self happy to follow close unto those who have already satisfied your demand. Amongst others I do believe that there is not any of you who hath not read over the hundred Novels of John Boccace, newly tran­slated out of Italian into French, which the most Christi­an King Francis the first of that Name, Monseigneur the Daulphin, Madam the Daulphinesse, Madam Margaret have and do so highly esteem, that if Boccace could but hear them in the place where he is, he would be revived at the prayses of such persons. I have heard that the two Ladies above-named, with many others of the Court, have [Page]determined with themselves to make the like work, and on­ly different from Boccace in one particular, which is, not to make mention of any Novell which is not a perfect Hi­story. And first of all the said Ladies and Monseigneur the Daulphin did conclude amongst themselves to make every one of them Ten, and to have a List of Ten persons whom they conceived to be most worthy to give an account of them, those being to be excepted out of that number who were given to their study, and were lettered men; for Monsteur the Daulphin would not that their art should be mingled in these Novells, and was also afraid that the beauty of their Rhetorick should in some part be prejudici­all to the truth of this History. But the great affairs which since have taken up the King, and the Peace betwixt him and the King of England, and the lying down of Madam the Daulphinesse, and many other things worthy to divert the whole Court, have made all that enterprise to be forgot­ten, which now by reason of our long leisure may be brought unto a period, attending till the Bridge be made. And if you please that every day presently after twelve of the clock we shall meet, and continue untill four in yonder Meadow by the River of the Gauve, where the Trees are so leavie, that the Sun can neither prejudice the shade, nor grow so hot as to vex the freshnesse of the air, being there sat at ease, every one ma [...] repeat a story which he hath seen or heard from some Man of Reputation; at the end of ten days we shall have finished the Century. And if God shall please that our labour shall be found worthy of the eyes of the Princes and Ladies above-named, we will give it them at our Return, and I dare assure you that it will be a pre­sent very acceptable to them. Neverthelesse (whatsoever I have said) if any amongst us shall find out a subject that shall be more pleasant, I will accord in opinion with them. All the Company made answer, That it was im­possible to have advised better, and that the time seemed tedious to them, that the next day was not already come to begin the Assembly. In this manner they with delight passed away the travell of that day, rehearsing to one ano­ther that which they had seen in their own times. As soon [Page]as the Morning was come, they resorted to the Chumber of Madam Oysilla, whom they found already at her Devoti­ons, and when for the space of a full hour they had heard her Lecture, and afterward the Masse, about ten of the clock they went to Dinner, and afterwards every one of them did retire into his own Chamber to do that which was to be done, and failed not at twelve of the clock to be in the Meadow, according as it was appointed, which was so pleasant a place that they had need of a Boccace in ear­nest to set it forth to the life, but you may content your selves that the like unto it was never seen. When the As­sembly were all sat down upon the green grass, so soft and delicate, that they needed not either Cushion or Cloath of Arras, Simontault began to speak, Who shall be that Person amongst us that shall have Command over the rest? Hircan made answer, Because you have first made the mo­tion, it is reason you command, for at Game we are all e­qual. I would to God, said Simontault, that I had the power to command all this Company, I would desire no o­ther happinesse in this world. Parlament did well un­derstand what he intended by those words, who began to look red upon it; but Hircan perceived not the colour which mounted into her cheeks, but said unto Simontault, Begin to speak on some good Subject, and we are ready to hear you, who being likewise invited to it by all the Com­pany, did speak in this manner, Ladies, I have been so ill requited for my long services, that to revenge my self on Love, and on her who hath been so cruell to me, I will en­deavour to make a repetition of all the ill offices & the in­juries under which Women do make poor men to suffer, and I will speak nothing but what shall be perfect Truth.

The End of the Preface.

THE NOVELLS Of Queen MARGARET.

A Gentlewoman of Alençon had two friends, the one for her pleasure, and the other for her profit. Of the two, she procured him to be murdered who first detected her, for which she obtained pardon for her self, and her fu­gitive husband, who afterwards to save a little money did resort unto a Negromancer, and their Enterprise was discovered, and punished.
The First Novell.

IN the City of Alençon, in the time of Duke Charles the last, there was a Proctor called St. Aignan who had married a Gentlewoman of that Country more fair than virtuous, who for her beau­ty and delightfullness was much covered by a Prelat of the [Page 2]Church, whose name in reverence to his profession I shall conceal; He, the better to arrive unto his own ends, did so cunningly entertain her husband, that he not only perceivd not any thing of the vice of his wife and of this Prelat, but he had made him also to forget the duty which he always carried to the service of his Masters and Mistress, Insomuch that of a Loyal Ser­vant he became so contrary, that in the end he be­took himself to sorceries to procure the Death of the Dutchesse. Long time did this Prelate live thus with this unhappy womam who was obedient to him more for avarice than for affection; her husband also did sollicit her to entertain him. But there was a young man in the said City of Alençon, the Son of the Lieute­nant General, whom she affected with so much passion that she was almost transported with the violence of it, and often times she would make use of the Prelat to imploy her husband in some Commission abroad, that more opportunely she might be enabled to be with the Son of the Lieutenant of the City. This con­versation of life did continue a long time; she had for her profit the Prelat, and for her pleasure the Son of the Lieutenant, to whom she did swear that all the indearments of affection she professed to the Pre­lat were but only more freely to continue their own, and whatsoever the thing was, the said Prelat had but only a fair word, and he might be assured, that no man in the world should have an interest in any other thing but himself only. One day when her Husband was going to the Prelat, she demanded leave of him to take the air of the fields, alleging that the closenesse of the City was obnoxious to her health. She no sooner arrived at her Country house, but immediatly she did write to the Son of the Lieute­nant, desiring him that he would not fail to come to her about 10 of the clock in that Evening, which the poor young Man did, and being come into the en­trance at the Door, he found there the Chamber­maid who was accustomed to let him in, who said [Page 3]unto him, Sir, You may go some where else, for your place is taken up. The Young man conceiving that her Husband was come home, demanded what was the Business? The Maid taking pity of him, see­ing him so young, so lovely, so ingenious, and with­all to love so well, and so little to be beloved again, declared to him the folly of her Mistresse, conceiving with her self, that when he understood what she was, he would reprove himself for the excesse of his affecti­on. She therefore did inform him, that the Prelat did make his daily visitations to her, and was now in bed with her. This was, howsoever, a meeting which her Mistresse expected not; for the Prelat was not to come untill the next Morning, who having detained her Husband at his own house, did steal away pri­vately by Night to come unto her. Who was almost sunk now into the bottom of Despair? It was the Son of the Lieutenant, who nevertheless could hardly give credit to it, but did hide himself in a house hard by, where he watched untill three of the clock in the Morning, at what hour he saw the Prelat come forth, not so well disguised, but that he knew him better than he desired. In this Discontent he returned to Alençon, whither not long afterwards his unfaithfull Mistresse did arrive, and thinking to abuse him (as she had been accustomed heretofore) she did send to communicate with him: But he made answer, That she was too great a Saint, having been touch­ed with holy things, to confer with such a Sinner as himself, whose repentance howsoever was so great, that he hop'd his offence should suddenly be pardon'd. When she apprehended that her Case was discover'd, and that neither Excuse, Oath, nor Promise could induce him to return unto her, but were all of no ef­fect, she made her complaint unto her Prelat, and ha­ving consulted with him about it, she came unto her Husband and told him, That she durst no longer con­tinue in the City of Alençon, by reason that the Son of the Lieutenant, whom she had placed in the first [Page 4]rank of all her friends, did of late incessantly impor­tune her to the violation of her Honour. She desired him to make his aboad at Argentan to take away all suspition; Her Husband, who in all things suffer'd himself to be govern'd by her, did accord unto it, where they were not long, but this mischievous woman did write unto the Son of the Lieutenant, That he was the most wicked man in the world, and that she sufficiently understood that publickly he had spoken disgracefully of her self, and of the Prelat, for which she would make him to do pennance. This young Man who had never made the least mention of it to any but to her self, and who fear'd to suffer in the bad opinion of the Prelat, did repair to Argen­lan with two of his servants, where he found his Lady at her Evening Devotions in the Jacobins, and having kneeled down close unto her, he said, Lady, I am come hither to protest unto you before God, that I have not spoken to any in the world concerning you, but to your self onely; You have done me so ill an office, that I cannot reckon up unto you one moiety of the Injuries which you deserve: For if there be any Man or Woman who dares affirm that I have ever spoken any thing in the dishonour of you, I am come to prove them lyars before you. She observing that there were many people in the Church, and that he was atten­ded with two servants well appointed, did constrain herself to speak as gently to him as possibly she could, saying, That she made no doubt but that he spake the truth, and that she conceived him to be so much a Gentleman, as not to speak in the prejudice of any Woman in the world, much lesse of her self who had born such respects of friendship to him. But because her Husband had understood that some words had passed, she desir'd him that he would declare himself before him, to give him satisfaction that he had not spoken any thing in this nature, and to take away from him the belief of it. To this most willingly he agreed, and having his hand under her arm to conduct her to [Page 5]her own Lodging, she told him that it would not ap­pear so well if he should go along with her; for her Husband might believe, that of her accord she had brought him to speak these words unto him: She took hold therefore of one of his servants by the sleeve of his garment, and said, Let this man go along with me, and on the first opportunity I will send for you, in the mean time, go take your repose in your own Lodging. He not having the least thought of any de­sign upon him, did return unto his Lodging. She be­stowed a Supper on that servant whom she had detei­ned with her, who oftentimes would ask, when the hour would come that he should go for his Master, she alwayes did make answer, that it would come soon e­nough. When it was Midnight, she privatly sent one of her own servants to the Young-man, who not thinking of the treachery that was prepared, went with confidence to the house of St. Aignan, in which the Gentlewoman deteined one of his servants, so that he had then but one of them with him. When he was at the entrance into the House, the servant that was sent for him told him, that his Mistresse would willingly speak with him alone, before he should come to his Master, for which purpose she did attend him in a private room, where there was none with her but his own servant, and that he should therefore doe well to send back his other servant which was with him, which was done accordingly, and coming up a little pair of stairs which were very dark, Aignan who had placed an Ambuscado below in the Wardrobe, did begin to hear the noise, and demanded, who was there? It was answered, A man who privately would enter into his house. Immediately, one named Tho­mas Guerin, who made it his trade to be a Murcherer, and who to execute this Murder was well rewarded by the Proctor, did give, with other of the Assassinates, this Young-man so many cuts with their swords, that what defence soever he could make, it could not save him from falling down dead upon the stairs. His ser­vant [Page 6]who was in discourse with the Lady, said, I hear my Master talking on the stairs, I will go to him. The Lady with-held him, and said unto him, Take no care, he will come time enough; And not long as­ter hearing that his Master cried out I am a dead Man, I commend my Spirit unto God, he would have made hast to his assistance; but she again restrai­ned him, and said, Let him alone, My Husband doth onely chastise him for some youthfull tricks of his; We will go see how it is; And leaning over the head of the Stair-case, she spake unto her Husband, What! is it done? He made answer, Come and see; I have now revenged you on him who hath procured so much shame unto you: And speaking these words, he with his Poynado gave him ten or twelve thrusts into his Belly being dead, whom living he durst never have assaulted. After this homicide was committed, and the two servants of this murdered Young man were fled to tell this sad News to his poor Father, the said Aignan conceiving that this Murder could not be kept secret, did take care that the servants of the young Gentleman that was slain might not be believed as Witnesses, and finding, besides, that there were none in his house conscious to the fact, but the Murtherers themselves, and an antient Chambermaid, and a young Girl of about fifteen yeers of Age, he would privately have made sure of the old Woman; but she contrived a way to escape out of his hands, and lived in safety in the Jacobins, and was the surest Witnesse that could be of this Murder. The young Chamber­maid continued some days afterwards in the house, but he found a means to suborn her by one of the Murde­rers, and brought her unto Paris, to the publick place there, that her testimony might not be received. And the more to conceal the Murder, he caused the body of the poor dead Man to be burned, and the bones which were not consumed with the fire, he did throw into a Morter, where some new buildings were raising in his house. In great diligence he sent to the Court [Page 7]to obtain his pardon, alleging, That he had often­times forbidden a yong man to come into his house, of whom he had a great suspition to have attempted the dishonor of his Wife, who for all his prohibition, came by night thither into a suspected place to communicat with her, whereupon finding him at the entrance in­to the Chamber, being filled more with Choler, than with reason, he did kill him. But he could not so soon dispatch his Letter to the Chancery, but the Duke and the Dutchesse were by the poor Father of the Dead advertised of the Case, who had sent to the Chancellor to hinder the comming forth of the Par­don. The wretched Proctor (seeing he could not obtain it) did flie into England, and his Wife with him, and some others of his Kinred; But before his departure he told the Murderer (who at his request had given this fatal blow) That he had seen an Ex­presse from the King to apprehend him, and have him put to Death; but because of the service he had done him, he said He would preserve his Life, whereupon he gave him ten Crowns to go out of the Kingdom, which accordingly he did, and was never heard of af­terwards. This Murder was so throughly proved, as well by the servants of the dead Young-man, as by the Chamber-maid retired into the Jacobins, as also by the Bones found in the Mortar, that the Processe was made & perfected in the absence of the said Aignan & his wife, who were both judged for their contumacy, & condemn'd to lose their lives, & to have their goods confiscated to the King, & 1500 Crowns to be awarded to the Father for the charges of the Processe. The said Aignan residing in England, & seeing that by Justice he was but a dead man in France, did so prevail there by his service to many of the Nobility, and by the savour of the Kindred of his Wife, that the K. of England did make a request to the King of France to vouchsafe him a Pardon, and to repossesse him in his Goods and Ho­nors; but the King having understood the villanous and horrid Act, did send the Processe to the King of [Page 8] England, and desired him to consider if such a case deserved pardon or not, adding besides, that the Duke of Alençon had in his Kingdome the only privi­lege to grant pardons for offences committed in his own Dutchy. But for all these excuses the King of England desisted not, but pursued his request with such importunity, that in the end the Proctor obtai­ned a pardon, and teturned to his own house, where to compleat his iniquity he acquainted himself with a Sorcerer whose name was Gallery, hoping by his Art that he should be exempted from paying the fifteen hundred Crowns to the Fa­ther of the young Man that was murthered. To this end he came to Paris, and his wife with him, being both disguised; His Wife observing that every day he locked himself up in a Chamber with the said Gallery, & that he not acquainted her with the reason of it, one morning she watched him, and observed that the said Gallery did shew him five Images of wood, three of them had their hands banging down, and two of them had their hands lifted up, and speaking to the Proctor he said, we are to make in wax such Images as these are, those who have their Arms hanging down shall be those that shall die, and those who do lift up their hands shall be those whose favour and countenance we desire. The Proctor said unto him, This shall be then for the King by whom I desire to be favoured, and this shall be for Monseiur Brinon the Chancellor of Alençon. Gallery said unto him, we must put these Images under the Altar at what time they are hearing Masse, and you shall utter some words which at that instant I will teach you to speak, And proceeding their discourse concerning those Images which held down their hands, the Proctor told him that one of them was for Monseiur Giller du Mestrill the father of the young Man that was killed, for he sufficiently understood, that so long as he lived he would not cease to pursue him; And one of the women who had their hands [Page 9]hanging down was for Madam the Dutchesse of Alen­çon, Sister to the King, because she stood so well affe­cted to her old Servant Du Mestrill; and in many o­ther things had so perfect a knowledge of the wicked­nesse of the Proctor, that if she died not, he could not live. The second woman that had her Arms han­ging down was for his own wife, who was the cause of all his troubles, and who (he was sure enough) would never amend her wicked life. When his wife saw all this through the Crevis of the Door, and un­derstood that he had ranked her amongst the number of the dead, she resolvd with her self that she would be before hand with him, & under pretence of borrowing some moneys of her Uncle who was master of requests to the Duke of Alençon, she repaired to him to give him an account of what she had seen and heard from her Husband. Her Uncle (as became a good old Servant) did addresse himself to the Chancellor of Alençon, and repeated the whole story to him, and be­cause the Duke and the Dutchesse of Alençon were not that day at the Court, the said Chancellor repaired to Madam the Queen Regent the Mother of the King, and to the Dutchesse, to give them an account of it, who immediately sent for the Provost of Paris called Battre, who used such diligence that he appre­hended the Proctor and Gallery the Conjurer, who without rack or constraint did freely confesse the fact, and their Processe was made and brought unto the King. Some of the Court being willing to have their lives saved, pleaded for them, and told the King that in their inchantments they desired only to have his fa­vour. But the King who esteemed his Sisters life as dear unto him as his own, did command that the Sen­tence of Death should be given, as if they had made an attainder upon his own Person. Neverthelesse his Sister the Dutchesse of Alençon did so supplicate to have the life of the Proctor saved, and the sentence of his death to be turned into some other grievous and corporal punishment, that it was at last condiscended [Page 10]to, and he and Gallery were both condemned and sent to Marseilles to serve in the Galleys of Saint Blan­quart, where they finished their days in great captivi­ty, and had the leisure to acknowledge the grievous­nesse of their offences. The wicked woman in the ab­sence of her Husband did continue her transgressions more than ever before, and died lamentably.

Lades, I do besecsh you to observe what evill doth pro­ceed from wicked women; How many sorrows did this one produce? You shall find, that ever since Eve caused Adam to sin, all Women have made it their profession, to torment, to kill, and to damn Men. As for my self, I have such experience of their cruelty, that I think to die no otherwise, but only by the Despair into which one of them has thrown me, and yet I am so foolish, that I must confesse that this Hell is more pleasing to me comming from her hand, than Paradise could be comming from the hand of another. Parlament seeming not to understand that she was the Subject on whom those words reflected, did reply unto him, If Hell be so pleasant as you express it, you need not to fear the Devil who hath put you there. He made an­swer to her in Choler, If my Devil had been as black as scornfull, he would put this Company into as great a fear, as I take pleasure to behold it; But the Fire of Love doth make me to forget that of this Hell; And to speak no more of it, I do give my voice to Madam Oysilla, being assu­red, that if she would but speak of Women what she know­eth, she would favour my opinion. Immediatly the whole Company turned towards her, intreating her that she would be pleased to begin, which she accepted of, and smiling be­gan thus to speak; Ladies, It doth appear to me that he who hath given me his voice hath spoken so much ill of Women, though in the true story of a most wicked one, that I ought to run back over all my old years to find out one whose virtue might give a check to this bad opinion; And because already I have thought of one not worthy to be for­gotten, I will give you an account of her.

The Lamentable and Chast Death of the Wife of one of the Keepers of the Mules of the Queen of Navarre.
The second Novell.

IN the City of Ambois there dwelled a Keeper of Mules who served the Queen of Navarre, Sister to King Francis the First of that Name, who was brought to Bed of a Son at Blois, to which place the Keeper of the Mules repaired to be payed for his Quarters ser­vice. His Wife continued still at Ambois, and lod­ged not far from the Bridge. Her Husband had a ser­vant who for a long time did love her so desperately, that one day he could not contain frō speaking to her, but she who was a most virtuous Woman did reprove him so severely, threatning that her Husband should beat him, and put him away, that after that time he durst not speak to her any more, nor make any coun­tenance of Love, but kept that fire concealed in his heart; Untill that on a time his Master was gon out of Town, and his Mistresse was at the Vespers at St. Florentines, a Church belonging to the Castle of the City, and a great way from her own house. Being alone, it came into his head, to enjoy that by force which by no prayer or service he could obtain; where­upon he did break down a board which was the parti­tion betwixt his Mistresse Chamber and that wherein he lay, but because there was a hanging cloath neer to the Bed of his Master and Mistresse, which did co­ver the walls so well, that the rupture which he made could not be perceived, his malice and treachery was not discovered untill that his Mistresse was in bed with a Girl she kept of about twelve years of age. As the poor woman was in her first sleep, her servant came in his shirt only, into her bed, through the whole made in the wall, and had a sword drawn in his hand; But as soon as she perceived him to draw near unto her, she leaped out of the Bed, and used all tho reasons and [Page 12]perswasions to him as it was possible for a good Wo­man to deliver; but he who was transported with a Bestial desire, and did understand better the lan­guage of Mules, than her honest Remonstrances, did shew himself more brutish than the Beasts with whom so long time he conversed; for observing that she did run round the Table, and that he could not take hold of her, and withall that she was so strong, that twice together she got off from him, growing into a despair ever to enjoy her alive, he gave her with his sword a great blow upon the back, conceiving to himself, if neither fear nor force could make her to yeeld, that pain should effect it. But it proved contrary to his expectation: for as a gallant Soldier seeing his blood is more inflamed to revenge himself on his Enemies, and to purchase honour; so her chast heart did doub­ly inforce her to run, and to flie from the hands of this wicked villain, and oftentimes, at some distance, she would hold him in the best discourse she could, to see if by any means she could reduce him to the acknow­ledgement of his offence; but he was inflam'd with such a furie that there was no place in him to receive good counsell, insomuch that he gave the poor Wo­man many wounds more, which to avoyd, she al­ways ran from him, as long as her leggs were able to carry her, and when by the great effusion of her blood she found that Death approached, joyning her hands together, and lifting her eyes to Heaven she gave thanks unto God, the God of Power, Virtue, Pati­ence, and Chastity, and besought him to accept of her blood, which by his appointment was shed in re­verence and obedience to that of his Sons, in whom she most assuredly did beleeve that all her sins were washed and wiped away from the Memory of his An­ger; And speaking, Lord receive my Soul, which by thy mercy hath been redeemed, shee fell on her face upon the Earth, where the bloody Miscreant did still print more wounds on her body, and when she had lost both her speech and the strength of her body, the [Page 13]Villain seised upon her by force who no longer could defend her self, and having satisfied his reprobate concupiscence, he fled away so hastily, that for all the Hue and Cryes that did follow him, he could never be heard of more. The young Girle who lay with this poor woman, being overcome with fear, did hide her self under the bed, but when she saw that the Man was gone, she came unto her Mistresse, and found her without speech or motion, whereupon she cryed to the neighbors out of the window to come to her assistance. They who did love and as much respect her as any woman in the City did immediatly come to her, and brought with them two Chirurgions, who found that she had on her body five and twenty mortal wounds; they did what they could to keep that little life that was left in her, but it was impossible, Yet she continued languishing away for the Space of a whole hour with­out speaking any word, making signs with her eyes and hands, by which she shewed that she had not lost her understanding. Being asked by a Church-man of the Faith in which she dyed, and of her Salvation, she made answer by signs so evident that her words could not more manifestly declare that her confidence was in the Death of Jesus Christ, whom she hoped to be­hold in his coelestial City; and thus with a joyfull countenance, lifting up her eyes to heaven, she surren­dred her chast Body to the Earth, and her Soul to her Cre [...]tor. Being taken up and a shrowd cast on her, her Body was no sooner brought down to the Door of her house attending the coming of the Com­pany to her burial, but behold her poor Husband did arrive, who first saw the dead Body of his wife at the Door of his house, before he had heard the melancho­ly news of her death; And having understood the occasion of it, he had double reason to lament, which he did in such a manner that he almost had lost his life. Thus this Martyr of Chastity was carried to her burial into the Church of Saint Florencin, where all the good women of the City did not fail in their [Page 14]endeavours to accompany her, and did honour her as much as possibly they could, esteeming themselves most happy to be of that City in which so virtuous a woman lived. The foolish and light Huswives beholding the honour that was done unto her, did resolve with them selves to change their wan­ton lives.

You have heard, Ladies, a true History, which ought to make our hearts more circumspest to guard this honorable Virtue of Chastity. And we that are descended of noble Families ought even to die for shame to find in our hearts that sensuality, to avoid which, a poor Mule-Kee­pers wife did not fear so cruell a Death. Alas! How many are there who esteem themselves good women, and yet never understood what it is to resest unto Bloud? Wherefore we ought to exercise our selves with repentance and humility; for the Graces of God are not given unto us for our nobleness or our riches, but according to the plea­sure of his Bounty, who is no accepter of persons, and who chooseth whom he pleaseth. For those whom he chooseth he doth honour with his virtues, and doth crown them with his glory; and oftentimes he maketh choice of base things, to confound those which the world esteems to be high and honourable. Therefore (as he himself saith) let us not rejoice in our greatness, but in this, that our Names are written in the Book of Life. There was not a Lady in the Company that had not tears in her eyes in com­passion of the lamentable and glorious Death of that poor Woman. Every one resolved with themselves that if the like fortune should befall them, they would imitate the same Martyr. Madam Oysilla observing that the Time did passe away in the many praises of this dead Woman, did say to Saffredant, If you speak not something to make the Company laugh, I do not see any amongst you, who can forget the fault I have committed, which is, to make you weep. Wherefore I give you my voice. Saffredant had a desire to speak some good thing which might be agreeable to the Company, and above all to one of them, how soe­ver some wrong was done, in regard that there were some [Page 15]more antient and more experienced than himself, who should have spoke before him. Nevertheless his lot being such, he had rather dispatch it now, for there were more to come of good speakers, and the longer he stayed, the more his Account would appear lesse pleasing.

A King of Naples abusing the Wife of a Gentleman, did in the end carry the Horn himself.
The Third Novell.

LAdies, said Sassredant, Because I have oftentimes wished my self to be a companion of his Fortune of whom I am now giving you an account, I shall tell you, That in the City of Naples, in the time of King Alphonsus, whose Lust was the Scepter of his Realm, there was a Gentleman so gallant, goodly, and at­tractive, that for his perfections an antient Gentle­man gave him his Daughter in Marriage, which in Beauty and sweetnesse of Disposition was nothing in­feriour to her Husband. The Love between these two was great, untill that wanton time when the King in a Masque did go amongst the Houses of the Great Ones of his Kingdom, where every one did strive to give him the greatest entertainment that they could, and when he came into the house of this Gentleman, he was more magnificently received than in any other place, as well by Collations, as by Songs and Mu­sick, and by the most beautifull Lady that ever he beheld, who at the end of the Feast did bear a part in a Song with her Husband, which she did with so much grace, that it did encrease her beauty. The King beholding two perfections in one body, took not so much pleasure at the mutuall according of the Hus­band [Page 16]and the Wife, as he took care how to dissolve it. He found the difficulty to perform it was in the united affection which he observ'd betwixt them; Therefore he carried in his heart his passion as close­ly as possibly he could, but to comfort it in part he made many Feasts to all the Lords and Ladies of Na­ples, at which this Gentleman and his Wife were ne­ver forgotten. And because that we do willingly be­lieve that which we see, it seemed to him that the fair eyes of this Lady did promise him some Good to come, if the Presence of her Husband did give no hin­derance to it; and to make tryall if this conjecture of his were true or not, he gave her Husband a Com­mission to go to Rome for fifteen dayes, or three weeks, and as soon as he was gon, his Wife who never before was deprived of the sight of him, made many great la­ments, for which she was comforted by the King as of­ten as he could, by his perswasions, and by his pre­sents, Insomuch that at last she was not only comfor­red, but contented also with the absence of her Hus­band, and before the three weeks were expired that her Husband should return, she was so amorous of the King, that she was as much grieved at the return of her Husband as she was at his going from her; And that she might not lose the presence of the King she did conclude with him, that when her Husband did goe unto his Houses in the Country, she would ac­quaint him with it, who then with assurance might come unto her, and so secretly, that no man (whom she feared more than her own Conscience) could have any notice of it. In this hope the Lady remained ve­ry joyfull, and when her Husband was come home she gave him such good entertainment, that although he understood that in his absence the King made very much of her, yet he could not receive it into his be­lief. But in the processe of time, the fire so hard to be concealed did by degrees begin to shew it self, inso­much that her Husband began to have a strong suspi­tion of her, and did keep over her so strict a watch, [Page 17]that he was almost assured of the Truth. But by rea­son of the fear that did invade him, that he who had done him this injury, would do him a greater, if he should make it known, he tesolved with himself to dissemble it, for he believed it to be safer to live, though with some discontent, than to hazard his life for a Woman that had forfeited her love. Neverthe­lesse in this despite he resolved to render the like un­to the King, if it were possible; And knowing that Love doth assail those most of all who have a heart great and honourable, he assumed the boldnesse one day talking with the Queen, to tell her, That he did extremely pity her that she was no better beloved of the King her Husband. The Queen, who had un­derstood of the familiarity of the King and his Wife, made answer, I cannot enjoy Honour and Pleasure together; I know very well that I have the Ho­nour of which another receives the Pleasure, and she that hath the Pleasure cannot enjoy the Honor which I have. He who understood sufficiently upon what account those words were spokē, replied to her, Madam, Honour is born with you, for you are of so high-born an extract, that to be Queen or an Empress doth not augment your nobility, but your beauty, grace, and sweetness doth deserve so much pleasure, as she who hath taken that from you which belongs unto you doth doe more wrong to her self than you; she for a little glory which turns into her shame, doth lose as much pleasure as you or any Lady in the Land can enjoy, and I can tell you Madam, that if the King would but put the Crown from off his head I am con­fident he had no advantage above me in giving con­tent unto a Lady, being sure that to satisfie so gal­lant a personage as your self he ought to change his complexion into mine. The Queen in laughter made answer to him, Although the King be not of so deli­cate a complexion as your self, so it is that the love which he bears to me doth so much content me, that I prefer it above any other thing. The Gentleman [Page 18]said unto her, Madam, If it were so, you should not pitty me, for I know well that the honest love of your heart would give all contentment, if it sound the like love in the heart of the King, but God hath so appointed it, that (not finding in him that which you expected) you should not make to your self any God on earth. I doe confesse unto you said the Queen, that the love I bear him is so great, that the like cannot be found in any other heart but my own. Pardon me Madam, said the Gentleman, you have not yet soun­ded the love of all hearts, for I dare professe unto you, that such a one doth love you, whose affection is so great an insupportable, that yours in compari­son of his would appear nothing at all: And because he finds the love of the King to decrease towards you, and his own most infinitely augmented, if it be agre­able to you, you shall be recompensed for all your sufferings. The Queen as well by his countenance as by his words did begin to understand that what he spake did proceed from the bottom of his heart, and did consider with her self it was long since that he first professed service to her with such affection that he became melancholy therewith, which at first she con­ceived to be occasioned by his wife, but now she firm­ly believed that it was for the love of her. And thus the virtue of Love which can make it self to be per­ceived when it is not counterfit, doth also make it self certain of that which is hid from all the world. And looking on the Gentleman who was more lovely than her own Husband, finding that he was forsaken by his wife, as she was by the King, being possessed with despite and Jealousie of her Husband, and inci­ted by the love of the Gentleman, she began to speak with tears and sighes, O my God! And can venge­ance then force that from me which no Love could ever do? The Gentleman who well understood the sense of her words, made answer, Madam, Sweet is his Vengeance who instead of killing an Enemy, doth give life to a perfect friend. It appears to me, that [Page 19]it is now high time, that Truth, and a just and rea­sonable love, should take from you that sottish love which you bear to him who loves not you. Chase from you that sordid fear which cannot have a Mansi­on in a heart great and noble. Let us lay aside, Ma­dam, the greatnesse of your Estate, and regard that you and my self are the most laugh'd at Man and Wo­man in the world, betrayed by those whom most per­fectly we have loved. Let us revenge our selves, Ma­dam, not so much to render them their deserts, as to satisfie Love, which on my part cannot any longer be sustained without Death: And I beleeve, if you have not a heart more hard than a flint, or diamond, that it is impossible for you not to feel some sparks of that fire, which so much the more increaseth in me, as I endeavour to conceal it; And if that pity on me who die for the love of you, cannot incite you to love me, at least let the pity which you ought to have on your self constrain you to it, who being so absolutely per­fect, do deserve to be the Mistresse of the hearts of all the gallant Men in the world, and are undervalued and forsaken by him for whom you have disdained all others. The Queen hearing these words was so trans­ported, that she was afraid to shew by her countenance the trouble of her spirit, & leaning on the [...]rm of the Gentleman, did go with him into a garden neer unto her Chamber, where a long time she walked without speaking one word to him. The Gentleman seeing her half vanquished, when they were come to the end of an Alley where none could descry them, did by ef­fect declare that love unto her which so long a time he concealed, and thus with delight they both fulfill'd their vengeance, the passion whereof before was so unsupportable to them. They determined there be­tween them both, that as often as he repaired to his Country house, and the King should come from his Palace into the Town to her, that immediately he should come about, and return to the Palace to the Queen: And thus deceiving the deceivers, they were [Page 20]all four partakers in that pleasure which two of them thought to have had alone by themselves. The agree­ment being made, they returned, the Queen to her Chamber in the Palace, and the Gentleman to his house, both of them with such content, that they had forgot all their former distractions. And the fear which before possessed them that the King was with this Gentlemans wife, was now turn'd into a desire to have it so, which was the cause that the Gentleman more often than he was accustomed did repair unto his Village, which was but half a mile from the City, and as soon as the King understood of it, he did not fail to give a visitation to his Wife, and when ever night drew on, the Gentleman did constantly come into the Palace to the Queen to perform the Office of the Kings Lieutenant, but so privatly, that never any did perceive it. This course of life continued a long time, but the King being a publick person could not so well dissemble his love, and many honest men took great pity on the Gentleman; for the naughty boyes would make horns at him behind his back in sign of Mocke­ry, which he understood well enough, but this moc­kery was so pleasing to him, that he as highly estee­med of his Horns, as of the Crown of the King, who one day his Wife being with him, could hardly con­tain themselves from laughing out-right, they both be­holding the head of a Stagg which was nailed up in the House of the Gentleman, the King said the head was very suitable in that place. The Gentleman who had as good a heart as himself, presently after the Kings departure did write upon the head, To porto le corna, chi ascundo vede ma talle porta chi nolo crede. The King not long afterwards returning to his house, did observe the writing on the head of the Stagg, and demanded of the Gentleman the reason of it, who made answer unto him, If the secret of the King be concealed to the Stagg, I see no reason that the se­cret of the Stagg should be declared to the King; But you may content your self he said, that those who car­ry [Page 21]horns do not all show thē beaming forth from their head, for some of thē are so pleasant that they will not unbonnet any Man, and he doth bear them lightest, who thinketh that he hath none at all. The King un­derstood by these words well enough that he knew something of his own affairs, but never suspected the love between the Queen and himself; for the Queen seemed to be the more contented with the life of her Husband; wherefore they lived a long time in fami­liarity both on the one side, and on the other, untill that old age did put a period to it.

Ladies, Behold here a History which I willingly re­present unto you for Examples sake, that when your Hus­bands do give you the Horns of a Goat, you may present them with the Horns of a Stagg. Emarsuite laughing began to speak, I am well assured Saffredant, that if you doe love as much now, as heretofore you have done, you would endure to wear Horns as great as any Oak, to give one where you do fancy, but now since your hairs grow white it is high time to give a respite to your desires. Ma­dam, said Saffredant, Although that all Hope is taken from me by her whom I did love, and the Heat of Love by Age, yet my good will continues still; but because you have reproved me for so unblamable a desire, I give you my voice to speak the fourth Novell, that we may see if you can disprove me by any Example. True it is, that du­ring this discourse one of the Ladies in the Company began to laugh out-right, knowing that she who took up Saffre­dant for these words, was not so well beloved by him, as that for her sake he would suffer either horns, or shame, or damage. And when Saffredant perceived, that she who did so laugh did understand him, he did contain himself, being very well contented, and gave Emarsuite leave to speak, who began in this manner. Ladies, To the end that Saffredant and this fair Company may understand that all Ladies are not like to this Queen of whom he hath spoken, and that the rash and unadvised do not always ar­rive at their own ends, as also to conceal the opinion of a Lady, who judged the Despite to fail in the Enterprise to [Page 22]be worse than Death. I will give you the account of an History, in which I will not name the persons, because it is so fresh in Memory, that I am afraid I shall displease some of her Kinred who are not far from me.

The rash Enterprise of a Gentleman to incounter a Princess of Flanders, and the hurt and shame which he sustained.
The fourth Novell.

IN Flanders there was a Lady of so good a House that the could not be of a better; she was a Widdow, and had had two Husbands, but no children by them li­ving. During her widdo whood she lived privately in her Brothers House, by whom she was very well be­loved, who was a great Lord, and Husband to one of the Daughters of the King. This young Prince was much addicted to his pleasures, hunting, hawking, and other pastimes, and to the Company of Ladies, and such sports as youth is prone unto: He had a very perverse Lady to his Wife, to whom the Pastimes of her Husband were no way pleasing; whereupon he took his Sister to live with him, who was of a merry heart, and the best Company that could be, neverthe­lesse very wise and provident. There was in the house of this Lord a Gentleman, whose Greatness, Bounty, and sweetnesse of Disposition, did surpasse all his Companions. This Gentleman seeing the Sister of his Master to be alwayes merry, and of a lively dispo­sition, did resolve with himself that he would try whe­thor the propositions of an honest Friend would be displeasing to her, or no, which he did accordingly, but received from her an answer quite contrary to her countenance; and although her answer was such as became a Princesse, and a Lady of unquestionable ho­nour, yet seeing him so lovely, and in other things so [Page 23]noble, she easily pardoned his boldnesse, and told him, that she would not be displeased as often as he should speak unto her, but desired him to make no more words concerning such a purpose, which he promised to doe, being afraid to lose the happinesse and the honour to converse with her. Neverthelesse at last, his affection did so encrease, that he forgot the promise which he had made unto her, not that he in­tended to court her any more with words, for he had too often to his experience found the wise and grave answers which she gave him, but he conceived with himself, that if he could get her at a place of ad­vantage, that she who was a Widdow, young, lusty, and of an excellent complexion, might possibly take some pity on him, and on her self also. To arrive to this end, he told his Master that he had neer to his own house a very fair Chace, and if he pleased to re­pair thither to kill three or four Bucks in the month of May, he could not see better sport. The Lord as well for the love he did bear unto the Gentle­man, as for the pleasure of the Chace, did grant him his request, and did go along with him to his house, which was a very fair one, and in good order, he being the richest Gentle­man that was in that Country. He lodged the Lord and his Lady in one body of the house, and, over a­gainst them, her whom he loved better than himself. The Chamber was so well hung with Arras, and so well matted, that it was impossible to perceive the trap-door which he had made betwixt the Bed and the Wall, which descended into that Room where his Mother lay, who was an antient Lady, and troubled with a weaknesse in her eyes, and because she had the cough being afraid to disturb the Lady who lay above her, she changed her chamber for that of her Sons, and every evening that old woma did carry Confects to the Lady for her Collation, in which service this Gent did assist her, who (being much beloved by her Brother, and of his most privat counsels) was not refused to be [Page 24]present every morning at the Princesses and at her rising up, and every night at their lying down, where he saw daily an occasion to augment his affection. In­somuch that one Evening having kept this Lady up so late, that sleep seizing on her eys did force him from her Chamber, he retired to his own, and when he had taken the most gorgeous and perfumed shirt that he had, and a night cap so well accoutred that nothing could be wanting to it, looking in his glass he thought unto himself that there was no Lady in the world who could refuse so lovely, gallant, and so proper a perso­nage. Wherefore promising to himself a happy issue of his Enterprise, he repaired to his bed, where he in­tended to make but a short stay, for the desire and the hope he entertained to possesse a place in one more honourable and pleasant; As soon as he had sent forth all his people, he did arise to shut the door after them, and a long time did listen if in the Chamber of the Lady, which was directly above his own, he could hear any noise, and when he could assure himself that all was quiet, he began his sweet travels, and by de­grees opening the trap-door, which was so fitly made and covered with cloath, that it made not the least crack, he went up into the Ladies Chamber between the bed and the wall, and without any regard to the obligation which he made her, nor to the illustrious family of which she was descended, and without de­manding any leave, or making reverence to her, he lay down close unto her, who sooner found her self in his arms, then perceived his comming. But she being a lusty woman did wrest her self out of his arms, and asking him who he was, began to strike, and bite, and scratch him, insomuch that he was constrai­ned for fear she should cry out, to stop her mouth with the coverlet, which was impossible for him to doe; for when she saw that he spared nothing of all his strength to procure her shame, she spared nothing of her own to defend her self, and as lowd as she could she cal­led for her Lady of Honour, an antient and wise [Page 25]Woman who lay in her Chamber, who presently in her Smock made hast unto her Mistresse; when the Gen­tleman found that he was discovered, he had so great a fear to be known who he was, that as fast as he could he went down the same way he came up, and as great as his hope was before, and desire to be entertained, so great a grief and despair possessed him to find him­self return'd in that sad condition. He found his Glasse and the Candle upon the table, and looking on his face bleeding with the scratches which she had gi­ven him, and the blood dropping on his short, which had discoloured the gold, he began to say, O beau­ty, thou hast now well rewarded me according to my merit, for through thy vain promises I have attemp­ted a thing which is impossible, and which it may be instead of augmenting my contentments may be the doubling of all my sorrows, being assured, that if she should know that against the promise I have made her I have enterprised this folly, I should lose all the re­spect and familiar frequentation, which no man hath with her more than my self. To gain the love of her heart, I should not by force have attempted to have surprized her fair body, but by my service and hum­ble patience have attended, untill that Love became victorious; for without it all the virtue and force of Man have no power at all. In this manner he passed away the night in complaints, tears, and sighs, which cannot be number'd. In the Morning, beholding his face so torn, he counterfeited that he was sick, and not able to endure the light, untill the Princes were gone from his House. The Lady who remained vi­ctorious, being confident that there was not a man in her Brothers Court who durst have attempted so lewd an enterprise, but he only who assumed the boldnesse to declare his love unto her, did assure her self that it was he who endeavoured so much to work her shame, and with her Lady of Honor sought every place and corner of the Chamber to find which way it could be, and when she could not discover any [Page 26]thing she spoke unto her in a great choler; Assure your self, that it can be no other but the Master of the house, and in the morning I will make such a com­plaint to my Brother of him, that his head shall be the witnesse of my Chastity. Her Lady of Honour seeing her in this resolution, spake unto her, Madam, I am very sensible of the Love which you have unto your Honor, to increase which you will not spare the life of one who hath too much hazarded it through the force of that love he bears you, but oftentimes we think to increase that which we diminish; Wherefore I beseech you, Madam, that you would vouchsafe to represent unto me the truth of the fact; and when the Lady had given her an account of it all along, her La­dy of Honor said unto her, You assure me then that he received nothing but blows and scratches from you. The Lady made answer, Nothing else I dare assure you; and if he meet not with a good Chirurgion, I do beleeve that on to morrow the marks will be ap­parent. Madam, since it i [...]slo, said her Lady of Ho­nour, it seems to me that you have more occasion to praise God, than to resolve with you self to be reven­ged of him; for you ought to beleeve, since he hath so great a heart to make such an enterprise, the despite he hath to have failed in it, is more grievous to him than any Death that you can give him. If you desire to be revenged on him, let him alone to Love, and Shame, which know better how to torment him than you, or any Instigations of your Honor. Take heed, Madam, to fall into an Inconvenience, such as is his own; for instead of enjoying the greatest pleasure that possibly he could desire, he hath received the greatest shame that possibly a Gentleman can indure. So you, Madam, thinking to increase your Honour, do go the next way to diminish it. For if you will make a complaint, you will make that publick, which now no Man knows, for you may be sure that for his part he will not reveal it unto any. And whe Monsieur your Brother shall perform that Justice which you demand, [Page 27]and the poor Gentleman shall come to suffer death, the Report will run, that he would have to doe with you according to his pleasure, and the greatest part will say, That it is a strange thing for a Gentleman to make such an enterprise, if the Lady had not gi­ven him some great occasion her self. You are fair and young, and merry in all Company, there is not any in this Court who doth not observe the daily re­spects of Love which you vouchsafe this Gentleman you suspect; who will not judge, that if he hath made such an attempt, it is not without some fault on your side? And your Honour, which untill now hath al­ways gone with an advanced head, shall be disputed of in every place where this story shall be repeated. The Lady understanding the good reasons of her La­dy of Honour, did apprehend that she spake the truth, and that justly she should be blamed, especially by reason of the familiar love that she was pleased to shew unto him: She therefore demanded of her La­dy of Honour, what she should do? who said unto her, Madam, since you are pleased to receive my counsell, and do observe the affection from whence it comes, it seems to me, that you ought to entertain a perfect joy in your heart, that the most handsom and most accomplished Gentleman that I have seen, knew neither by love nor force to dispossesse you of your Chastity. And for this, Madam, you ought to humble your self before God, and to acknowledge that this is not by your virtue; for many great Ladies who have led a life more austere than your self, have been humbled by Men lesse worthy to be loved than himself. And moreover, you ought to take heed to entertain no more discourses of love with him, be­cause there are too many who the second time have fallen into dangers, which they bad avoided the first. Madam, remember that love is blind, and blinds us in such a manner, that when we think the path most sure, it is oftentimes most slippery.

And, Madam, it seems to me, that you ought not [Page 28]to make the least show of what in this case hath hap­pened to you, either to himself or to any other; and if he shall yet speak any thing to you concerning it, do you pretend that you know nothing at all, to avoyd two dangers, the one of the vain glory of the victory you have obtained, the other in taking pleasure in re­membering things so pleasant to the flesh; some the most chaste have enough to do to keep themselves from feeling some heats thereof, although they fly from the temptations as fast as possibly they can. And to the end Madam that he might not think by this hazard, that he hath done something which may be a­greeable to you, I shall advise you, that by degrees you will remove your self and your accustomed familiari­tyes from him, to the end he might understand how much you despise his follies, and how great your goodnesse is, which is contented with the victory which God hath given you, without demanding any venge­ance on him: And, Madam, God give you the grace to continue the honesty which he hath put in your heart, and understanding that all blessings come from him, to love and serve him better than you have been accustomed to do. The Lady intended to put in practice the counsell of her Lady of Honour, and slept with as much comfort, as the Gentleman did keep himself awake with sadness. The next mor­ning the Lord prepared to be gone, and asked for the Gentleman, it was told him, that he was struck with so sudden a sicknesse that he could not endure to see the light, nor any Man to speak to him, where­at the Prince was very sorry, and would have gone to see him, but being informed that he was asleep, he was unwilling to awake him, and without saying A­dieu unto him he departed from his house, taking his Wife and Sister with him, who understanding the excuses of the Gentleman not to see the Prince nor the Company at his departure, did hold her self assu­red, that it was she who had brought this dangerous Indisposition on him; because he duist not shew the [Page 29]marks which she had given him. And although his Master the Prince sent often to him to come to Court, yet he would not return untill he were well healed of all his hurts, but only that which Love & Despite had printed in his heart. When he was returned to Court, and found himself before his victorious Enemy, it was not without blushing on her part, and he who was ac­customed to be the most spiritfull in all the Court, was so amazed, that oftentimes before her he held down his head; wherefore she was fully assured that her former suspition was true, and by little and little she estranged her self from him, though not so close­ly, but he perceived it well enough; but he durst take no notice of it, for fear of suffering worse, and kept afterwards that love of his concealed in his heart with that patience of Restraint as he deserved.

Ladies, Here you may behold what ought to give a great fear to those who presume on that which pertains not to them, and it ought to be an example of incouragement to Ladies to behold the virtue of this young Lady, and the good Counsel of her Lady of honour. If any one of you shall chance to be in the like condition, the remedy is already given. It seems to me, said Hircan, that the Gentleman of whom you have spoken had so faint a heart that he was not worthy of that Lady, for having such an opportunity, he ought not either for young or old to let fall his enter­prise; And I might well say that his Heart was not full of Love, since the fear of death and shame found so much room therein. Nomerfide replyed unto him, what would you have the poor Gentleman do, seeing he had two women against him? Do? said Hircan, why he ought to have killed the old one, and when the young one was with him alone, she had been half overcome.

Kill him? said Nomerfide, would you make a murde­rer of a Lover? If you are of that opinion, one might well fear how he falls into your hands. If I had you so far, said Hircan, I should account my self dishonour'd if I came not to the end of my intentions. Whereupon Gue­bron said, Do you think it such a strange thing that a Prin­cesse [Page 30] [...]rought up in all the ways of Honour should be so difficult to be surprised by one man? you ought then much more to marvel at one poor woman who escaped from the hands of two men. Guebron (said Emarsuite) I give you my voice to speak the fifth Novel. Since you have chosen me said Guebron to be that party, I will tell you a History which I know to be true, for I have made inquisition of it at the place where it was done, and by that you shall understand, that all the wit and virtue of woman is not altogether in the heads and hearts of La­dies, nor all love and artifice in those of whom we do of­tentimes esteem more highly than they are.

A Beat-mans wise escaped from two Friers, who would have forced her, and play'd her part so well that their sin was discovered to all the world.
The fifth Novell.

IN the Port of Couloon, hard by Niort, there was a Boat-mans Wife who night and day did nothing else but ferry over passengers; It fell out that two gray Friers of Niort did passe the River with her a­lone, and because it is one of the longest passages in all France (to keep themselves in action) they cour­ted the woman in the way of Love; she made them such an answer as did become her, but they who were not weary for any long travel they had on the way, nor cold by any dis [...]mper of the water, nor asha­ [...]ed at the denial of the woman, did both determine by [...]mselves to take her by force, and if she made a­ny complaint they threatned to throw her into the River; she being as wise and cunning as they were fool [...]h and malicious, said unto them, I am not so hard hearted as I have made you think, for I pray you only to grant me two things, & you shall then under­stand [Page 31]that I have a greater desire to obey you than you have to entreat me. The Friers did swear unto her by their St. Francis that she should not ask that thing which they would not perform to have that of her which they desired. In the first place I require of you said she, that you swear and promise to me, that neither of you will declare, what shall be done, to any man living, to which most willingly they did swear. Secondly, I require of you, that one of you after another will take his pleasure of me, for I have too much modesty that you should see me both toge­ther, therefore make choice which of you will take me first. They sound this request very just, and the younger of them did consent that he who was the ol­der should begin; and drawing near to a little I­land she said to the younger Frier stay here and say your Orisons until I have carried your Companion into yonder Iland; if at his return he do commend me to you, we will leave him here, and you and I will goe together; whereupon the younger of the Friers leaped into the Iland, where he attended the return of his companion, whom the Ferrywoman did row into another Iland, and when she came to it, she made a pretence as if she would have made fast her boat, and said unto him; My friend, Look in what place we shall be, whereupon the Frier entred upon the Iland to find out some corner that might seem for their pur­pose; as soon as she saw him on land, with one of her feet against a Tree she thrust back the boat, which presently retired into the River, and left the two Fri­ers in the two desarts, and cryed out unto them as loud: she could, My friends, attend until the An­gel of God shall come to comfort you, for this day you are like to have nothing of me that shall do it. The two poor Friers, finding the deceit fell both upon their knees upon the banks of the River, beseeching her that she would not put them to that shame, and assured her that if she would gently waft them to the place where they were to land, they would demand [Page 32]nothing of her. But she rowing on did say unto them, I should be a fool, having escaped your hands, if I should put my self again into them, and returning to the village she called her husband and those who be­longed to the judicature, to come and surprise those inraged wolfs, whose teeth by the grace of God she had escaped, who went along with her so well accom­panied that neither great nor smal would stay behind, but would all partake in the pleasure of this sport. The poor Friers, seeing so great a company comming, did hide themseves in the Ilands, as sometimes Adam did from the face of God. Their shame did set their sins before their eyes, and the fear of being punished did make them greatly to tremble as if they were more than half dead, but that did not save them from being apprehended and led away prisoners, which was not without being mocked and hooted at both by men and women; Some said, these godly fa­thers do preach chastity unto us, and yet would take away our wives from us; Her Husband said, they will not touch silver with a naked hand, but will handle the thighs of our wives which are more dan­gerous; Others said, they are Sepulchers, white without, and within full of rottennesse; and some cryed out, by their fruits you may know what trees they are.

You may believe that all the passages and places which the Scripture urgeth against Hypocrites were alleged against these poor prisoners, who by the means of their Governour were acquited and delive­red; he with great diligence came to demand them, assuring those who belonged to Justice, that they should suffer greater punishment than the Seculars could inflict upon them, and to satisfie the parties, did protest that they should say over so many suffra­ges and prayers as they should charge them with; whereupon the Judge did yeeld to his request, and gave him the prisoners, who were so well chaptered by their Governour who was an honest man, that ne­ver [Page 33]afterwards they passed the River without ma­king the signe of the Crosse, and recommending themselves to God.

Ladies, I beseech you to consider with your selves, That if this Boat-woman had the apprehension to cozen two such malitious men, what ought they to do who have both seen and read such excellent examples? If these who know nothing, who hardly in a whole year do hear two good Sermons, who have not the leisure to think on any other thought but how to get a poor subsistence to maintain life, being so strongly sollicited do yet so carefully keep their Chastity, what ought they to do, who being abundantly provided for, should have no other businesse than to turn over the holy Bible, and to hear Sermons, and to exercise themselves in every act of virtue? It is there where we are to learn virtue and piety, which is to be lively ingraf­ted in the heart; And where the sense and force of Man is found to be the lesse, there the Spirit of God doth the grea­test works, and most unhappy is that Lady, who with all her care doth not guard that Treasure which doth bring her so much honour being well preserved, and so much d [...]shonor on the contrary. Longaren said unto her, Gue­bron, It seems to me to be no great virtue to deny a Frier, nay which is more, it is a thing almost impossible to love them. Guebron made answer, Longaren, those who are not accustomed to have such Servants as you have, will not be ashamed of a Frier; for they be as handsom, as strong men, and more reposed than we who are unpro­vided of their harness; and if they speak like Angels, they are some of them as importunat as Devils; therfore those women who have seen no Robes but what are russet, are truly virtuous if they can escape their hands. Nomerfide spake aloud, By my faith, you may say what you please, but of the two I had rather be thrown into the River than lie with a Frier. Oysilla replyed unto her in laughter, I make no question Lady but you can swim well. Nomer­side began to take exceptions at those words, thinking that Oysilla had not that esteem of her as she deserved, wher­fore she spake unto her in choler, There are some who to [Page 34]my knowledge have refused persons more agreeable than a Frier, and have sounded no Trumpet neither. Oysilla begun to laugh to see her angry, and said unto her, No more do they beat a Tabour for that which they have done, and given their consent unto. Parlament said, I doe w [...]ll perceive that Simontault hath a desire to speak, wherefore I give him my voice; for after two sad stories we should have one told us that should not make us to weep. Mary I thank you for that, said Simontault, for in giving me your voice, I do not desire that you should call me pleasant, which is a Name I do find too distast­full, and therefore to be revenged, I will declare unto you, that there are women which make an appearance of Chastity amongst some, and for such a time, but the end will demonstrate them to be as they are, as you shall find by a true story which I will represent unto you.

The fultilty of a wife who helped her Friend to escape, when her Husband that had but one eye thought to have surprized them.
The sixth Novell.

THere was an antient Groom of the Chamber of Charles the last Duke of Alencon, who had lost one Eye, and was married to a wife far younger than him­self: His Master and Mistresse did love him as well as any Man of his rank in all their House, which was the occasion that he could not see his Wife as often as he would, who in his absence did so much forget her honour and her conscience, that she fell in love with a young Gentleman; by reason whereof the re­port at last was so hot and so current, that her Hus­band was advertised of it, who could not believe it, by reason of the great signes of Love which his Wife did shew unto him. Neverthelesse one day he deter­mined with himself to make experience of it, and, if [Page 35]he could, to revenge himself on that person who had brought this shame upon him. To accomplish his design, he pretended to go to a certain place not far from home for three or four dayes. He was no sooner departed, but his Wife sent to her Friend to acquaint him with it, who was not with her above half an hour, but, behold, her Husband was returned, and knocked aloud at the Gate. She who knew him, told her Friend of it, who was so amazed, and put into such a fright, that he could wish himself again in the belly of his Mother, and cursed both her and her love who had brought him into so much danger; but she assured him, that he needed not trouble himself, for she would find a means to get him safe forth un­discovered, and without the least disgrace, and desi­red him to put on his cloaths with what speed he could. In the mean time her Husband continued knocking at the Gate, and called upon his Wife, as loud as he could, but she seemed not to take notice that it was be, and spake aloud to the Groom within, Why do you not rise, and answer those who make such a noise at the Gate? Is this an hour of the night for any one to come into an honest house? If my Husband were at home, he would make you to look a little more about you. The Husband hearing the voice of his Wife, did call unto her as loud as he could, Wise open the door, will you have me stay here un­till morning? when she perceived that her Sweet­heart was quite dressed, and readie to go, she opened the door, and said unto her Husband, My dear Hus­band, how glad am I of your comming? for I was in a marvellous Dream, and was so well pleased, that I never received the like content before; for me thoughts that you had recovered the sight of your o­ther Eye, and in imbracing and kissing him she took him by the head, and putting her hand upon that Eye with which he did see, she asked him, Tell me, doe you not see better far than you were accustomed to doe? and in the mean time, whiles he could not see [Page 36]one, wink, she did let her friend go out of the door, of which her husband immediatly had a doubt, and said unto her, My Wife, By God I will never watch you any more, for in thinking to deceive you, I have the finest trick put upon me by you that I think ever was invented; God amend you, for it is not in the power of any man alive to put a stop to the desires of a woman, unlesse he should kill her out-right. But since the good entertainment I have given you cannot conduce to reclaim you, my neglect and contempt of you for the time to come shall peradventure be some chastise­ment to you; And speaking those words he departed from her, leaving her perplexed and disconsolate e­nough, who by the means of her friends and kinred, and by her tears and excuses was afterwards recon­ciled unto him.

By this you may perceive my Ladies, how prompt and how subtle a woman is to escape a danger, and if her spi­rit can readily find a remedy to cover and conceal a fault, I believe it is not impossible but that one day it may be as fine and forward to perform some good; For the good spirit (as I have often heard) is evermore the strong [...]st. Hir­can made answer to her, you may talk what you will of the subtilty of Women, but I have such an opinion of you that if you had been taken in the same fault, you could not tell which way to conceal it. She made answer, I had rather you should esteem me the veryest fool in the world than to be found in such a conditiō. I do not mean so said Hircan, but I conceive you to be such a one as would be rather a­mazed at the misfortune, than be so cunning to contrive the means to conceal it; You think (said Nomerfide) that every one is like to you, to cover one Error with ano­ther, but there is great danger that in the end the foun­dation to sustain the covertures would be so much over­charged that it would des [...]oy the whole building. But if you conceive that the subtilty of men (with which you all think your selves to be all sufficiently furnished) to be greater than the subtilties of women, I will willingly give you my place to give unto us some account thereof; [Page 37]and if you will propound your self for an example, I do believe that you could shew us instances enough. I am not here said Hircan to make my self worse than I am; al­though I believe here are some that think hardly enough of me. Speaking those words, he did look upon his wife, who incontinently said unto him, Be not afraid to speak the truth for me, for it will be more pleasing to me to bear of your prancks, than to see them acted before me, howsoe­ver there is nothing that can make me to diminish the love I bear unto you. Hircan made answer, I will not here complain of all those false opinions which you have had of me; but because we know one another so well, it will be the occasion of the greater surety for the time to come: However I am not so great a fool to rehearse any History of my self, the truth whereof might compasse any discon­tent unto you, but I will tell you one of a personage who is indeed one of my friends.

A Merchant of Paris deceived the Mother of his Sweet­heart to cover their fault.
The Seventh Novell.

IN the City of Paris there was a Merchant who lo­ved the Daughter of his Neighbour, or to speak more properly, who was a greater Friend to her than she was to her self; for the semblance he did make to love and court her, was only in relation to a love more high and honourable: But she who consented to have her self deceived, did love him so passionatly, that she had forgot the fashion by which Maids are accustomed to deny young men. The Merchant ha­ving a long time taken pains to go and wait upon her, did now make her come where he pleas'd to wait up­on him, of which her Mother had notice, & being a ve­ry virtuous Gentlewoman did command her to speak no more unto the Merchant, for if she found she did, [Page 38]she would put her into a Religious house. But the young girl who loved the Merchant more than she scared her mother, did grow more fond of him than before. It so fell out, that being one day in the war­drop the Merchant came unto her, who finding her in a commodious place began to speak unto her as privatly as possibly he could, but one of her Cham­ber-maids seeing him come in, did run to her mother to acquaint her with it, who in a great choler made hast into the wardrop; when her Daughter did hear her coming, she spake with tear, in her eys unto the Merchant, Alas [...]y dear friend, I shall at this time pay dearly for the love I bear unto you: Behold my Mother is at the Door, who will now well discover that which she hath always feared and doubted; the Merchant was nothing perplexed at it, but immedi­atly did leave her, and did goe unto her Mother, and stretching out his arms he took her into them, and did imbrace her as closely as possibly he could, in the same heat as he began to entertain her Daughter he threw her Mother upon the Couch, who found the manner of it so strange unto her, that she knew not what to say unto him, but only Rise up for Gods sake, what do you make account to do? but for all that he did not forbear to press so close upon her as if she had bin the youngest & the handsom [...]st Lady in the world, & had it not been that she cryed out so loud that her grooms and chamber-maids came to her succour, she had passed the same way her self in which she feared that her Daughter walked; wherefore by fine strength they forced the poor old woman from be­tween the Arms of the Merchant, and neither could she nor ever afterwards did she know the reason why the Merchant so much ruffled her. During this warm entertainment, her Daughter saved her self in a house hard by, where a marriage was solemnized, in which the Merchant and they have since oftentimes made good mirth at it, at the costs of the old woman, who never perceived any thing.

By this Ladies you may see, that the subtilty of a Man both deceived an old Woman, and saved the honour of a young one; but he that should name the persons to you, or set forth in their true colours the Countenance of the Mer­chant, or the Amazement of the Old Woman, must have some great burden of horror upon his Conscience if he could refrain from laughing. I sufficeth me that by this History I prove unto you that the Craft and Ingenuity of Men is as ready and helpfull at need as that of Women, to the end Ladies that you may not be afraid to fall into their hands; for when your spirits shall fail you, theirs shall be ready to protect your honours. Longaren said unto him, Hircan, I must confess that this Account is very pleasant, and the subtilty great, but this is not an Example which either Maids or Wives ought to follow. I do believe that there are some whom you may perswade to think well of it, but you are not such a fool to have your own Wife, or her whose honour above all pleasures you prefer, to play at that game; I do believe that there is not one who would set a more narrow watch, or would better order them than your self. Upon my credit, said Hircan, If she of whom you speak should do the like, and I were not assured of it, I should esteem never the lesse of her. Parlament could not contain her self from saying, It is impossible for a man doing evil himself, not to be suspitious, but thrice happy is he who gives no occasion to be suspected. Longaren said, I have never seen a great fire from whence there pro­ceeded no smoak, but I have often seen a great smoak in which there hath been no fire. A person is suspected to be evil but by such as are evil, and oftentimes we are thought to be such as indeed we are not. Hircan said, Truly Longaren you have spoken so well in maintaining the honour of Ladies unjustly suspected, that I give you my voice, but not to speak so as to make us weep, as Ma­dam Oysilla hath done in her praises of a good Woman. Longaren beginning to laugh out-right, said, Because you have a desire that I should make you laugh, according to my Custom, it shall not be to the prejudice of Women, and so will I speak, that I may represent how easie they are to [Page 40]he deceived, when they set their fancy upon jealousie, with a true estimation of their good Intentions, in their honest attempts to deceive their Husbands.

A certain Man having lain with his Wife, instead of his Chamber-maid, did send his Neighbour to her, who made him a Cuckold, and his Wife perceived nothing at all.
The eighth Novell.

IN the County of Albez there was a man named Borner, who had espoused a virtuous Woman, and of good fortunes, whose honour and reputation he did much cherish, as all men there are most tender of their Wives; and although he would have his Wife to preserve her Loyalty to him, yet he would not that the same law should be equally observed be­twixt them both; for he fell in love with his Cham­bermaid, in the change of whom for his Wife he fea­red nothing but that diversity of Viands would not be agreeable. He had a Neighbor of his own com­plexion, whose name was Saunders, a Drummer, and a Taylor, and so great was the friendship betwixt them, that in all things they did partake with one a­nother, but in their Wives only: Wherfore he decla­red to his friend the design he had upon his Chamber­maid, who not onely did like it well, but with all his endeavours did assist him in the performance, ho­ping to have his share in the booty. The Chamber­maid, who by no means would consent unto him, fin­ding her self oppressed with so many sollicitations, did acquaint her Mist [...]esse with it, and besought her to give her leave to go unto her Kinred; for she said she could live no longer in that torment: Her Mistresse, who loved her Husband most intirely and was a lit­le jealous of him, was very glad that she had gained this advantage on him, and that she justly could de­monstrate [Page 41]that unto hm which she so much doubted of; wherefore she said unto her, Be content good Wench, and by little and little entertain my Hus­band with good words and promises, and afterwards you may assign him the place to be privat with you in my Wardrobe, but do not fail to acquaint me with the night in which he is to come, and have a care that you tell no body of it. The Chamber-maid did accordingly as her Mistresse did command her, of which her Master was so glad, that he repaired to his Companion, to tell him what a Feast he was promi­sed, who intreated him, that when he was gone he might take what he left. This being agreed upon, and the hour come, the Master made all the hast he could to be with his Chambermaid, as he thought, but his Wife, who at that present had renounced the Authority to Command, for the Pleasure to Serve, had placed her self in her room, and received her Husband, not as a marryed woman, but feigned the countenance of a striving and an astonished Girl, and did deport her self so well, that her Husband did not perceive her. I cannot represent unto you which of these two thought themselves the most happy, either the Husband, who thought he had deceived his Wife, or the Wife, who had deceived her Husband; who when he had continued with her, not according to his desire, but according to his power, (for he was an an­tient Married Man) he departed from her, and found his Companion far more young and lusty than him­self, and told him in a great joy, That he had found in the Wardrobe one of the best Robes that ever he did see: His Companion made answer to him, You know the promise made betwixt us? Go then quick­ly said the Master, for fear she may rise of her self, or my Wife having need of her may call her. His Com­panion did repair immediatly to her, and found there the self-same Chambermaid whom the Husband had mistook, who thinking him to be her own Hus­band, did not refuse unto him the thing which he [Page 42]demanded. I understand here to Demand for to Take, for he durst not speak unto her. He continued with her far longer than her Husband, which made the Woman much to marvell, for she was not accustomed to have such night-work; howsoever she had pati­ence, comforting her self with the Lecture which she resolved to read unto her Husband on the day fol­lowing, and at the mocks which he should receive from her. About the break of day the Man did rise from her, and going out of the bed, being frolick with her, he took from her the Ring which she did wear on her Thumb, with which her Husband had espou­sed her; a thing which the Women of that Countrey do preserve with great superstition; and do much honour the Women who keep the said Ring to their Deaths; And on the contrary; if by Misfortune they do lose it, they are dis-esteem'd, as having given their Faith to another besides their Husbands. She was highly contented that he took it from her, suppo­sing to her self; That it would be a most sure witnesse to him of the trick she had put upon him. When the Companion was returned to the Master, he said un­to him, And well! How is it? He made answer to him, That he was of his opinion, and if he had not feared the approach of the day, he had still continued with her; And thus they went afterwards both to­gether to take their rest as patiently as they could. In the morning as they were dressing themselves, the Husband observed the Ring which his Companion had on his finger, as like as could he unto that which on his Mariage he gave unto his Wife: When he understood by him that he had taken it from the fin­ger of his Chambermaid; he was much amazed, and began to beat his head against the walls, and to cry out, O the Virtue of God! I have made a Cuckold of my self, my self knowing nothing at all. To com­fort him, his Companion said unto him, It may be in the Evening your Wife gave it her to lay up for her. The Husband repaired straight to his House, where [Page 43]he found his Wife, more lovely to look on, more gor­geous in her apparell, and more joyfull of heart than she was accustomed to be, as both rejoycing to have saved the conscience of her Chambermaid, and to have made triall to the utmost what her Husband was able to perform, without losing any thing but the sleep of one night. Her Husband seeing her with so glad a Countenance, said to himself, If she knew her good Fortune she would not make me so welcom; and tal­king to her of divers subjects he took her by the hand, and observed that she had not that Ring on her finger, which never before came off it: Where­upon he was like a man altogether transported, and demanded of her in a trembling voice, What have you done with your Ring? She being glad that he had begun the subject on which she desired to con­tinue the Discourse, said unto him, O you most wicked amongst Men! from whom do you think that you had taken, it? You do believe confidently enough that it was from my Chambermaid, for the love of whom you have expended twice as much of your goods, and more than ever you have bestowed on me. The last night on the first time that you came to lie with her, I judged you so greedy and amorous of her that it was impossible to be more, but after that you were gone away & suddenly return'd again, it seem'd to me that you were a very Devil without either or­der or measure. Fond and wicked as you are I think with your self what a blindnesse did possesse you, so much to praise my body and my plumpnesse, with which so many years you have had your sport without making any great esteem of it. It was not the beauty, nor the delicious plumpnesse of your Chambermaid which you found so agreeable to you, but an infamous sin, and a reprobate concupiscence, which did in­flame your heart, and did render your understan­ding so dull, that into that fury in which lust had thrown you in your desire of your Chamber-maid, I doe believe that you would have taken a she goat [Page 44]a coif on her head for a handsome maid. It is now time my Husband to correct your self, and to be con­rented with me, acknowledging me to be yours, and a woman of integrity, and to consider what you have done, thinking that I am a poor well-meaning crea­ture. That which I have done hath been to retire and withdraw you from your misfortunes, that in our age we may live together in love and quiet of Conscience. For if you will continue in your passed course of life, I had rather separate my self from you than from day to day to see before my eyes the ruine of your Soul, your Body, and your Fortunes. But if you please to acknowledge your errors, and resolve with your self to live according to the will of God, and to follow his Commandements, I will forget all your former faults, as I beseech God to forget my Ingratitude that I love him not as I ought to do. Who was now amazed and on the brink of despair? it was the poor husband, to see that his wife, so lovely, chast and courteous, should be forsaken by him for one who did not love him, and which is worse, to be so unfortunate as to make her a sinner without her knowledge, and a­nother to partake of that pleasure which was only for himself; wherfore he bequeathed to himself the Horns of perpetual mockery. But observing that his wife was throughly mov'd at the love which he did bear to his Chamber-maid, he did forbear to acquaint her with the evil turn that he had done her, and asking par­don of her, he did faithfully promise to abandon all-together his idle course of life. This being done, he gave back unto her the Ring which he had taken from his Companion, whom he intreated not to reveal his shame to any. But as all things whispered in the car are preached upon the House-top, so not long afterward the truth was known, and he was called Cuckold, without any disgrace unto his wife.

Ladies, I believe, that if all those who have commit­ted the like offences should endure the same punishment, Hircan and Saffradant would be in a great fear and [Page 45]danger. And why so Longaren, said Saffredant, Are there none married in this Company but only Hircan and my self? There are, (said she) but none that do play at such a Game. When or where have you seen (said Saf­fredant) that we have made Chamber-maids of our Wives? If the Ladies whom it concerneth would speak the truth, said Longaren, there may be found of their Cham­bermaids who have been gon from them before the Quarter day. Truly, said Guebron, Are not you a strange Lady, who instead of making the Company to laugh, according to your promise, do put these two poor Gentlemen into a choler? Tis all one, said Longaren, as long as it proceeds not to the drawing of swords, their choler shall but double our laughter. Let it pass, said Hircan, But if our wives were so rash as to believe his Lady, she would move the most temperate of them unto Jealousie. I know well e­nough before whom I speak, said Longaren; for their La­dies are so discreet, and so intirely do affect them, that although we should make them horns as great as those of a Stagg, yet they would perswade themselves, and the world also, that they were Chaplets of Roses. At that the Company, and they themselves whom most nearly it did concern; did begin to laugh so heartily, that for the present they could not speak a word. Dagoucin, who had yet been silent, could no longer contain himself, and said, That Man is unreasonable, who having wherewith to content himself, will search after other things, for I have often seen, that thinking to fare better, and not to content them­selves with their own sufficiency, Men do fall into the worst of all, when it is too late to complain; for inconstan­cy is always to be disproved. Simontault said unto him. But what think you of those who have not yet found out their half part of love? Do you call it inconstancy to seek for it in every place where it is to be found? Dagou­cin made answer, Because a Man cannot tell what that [...]alf part is, whose union is so equal that the one diffe­reth not from the other, it is requisite that we should stay there where Love constraineth, and (whatsoever the temptation may be) to change neither the heart nor the [Page 46]will, for if she whom you love be so like unto you that she is of the same will, & the same desire with you, It is your self whom you love, rather than her. Hircan replyed, Dagoucin, I will affirm, That if our love be founded upon beauty, complexion, fashion, or the favour of a woman, and the end of that love be for pleasure, honour, or for profit, the love cannot long continue; for if that on which we doe ground our love prove defective, the love will suddenly decay: but I am confident in my Judgement, that he who loveth hath no other end or desire but to be beloved, and will rather lose his life than his love. Upon my faith, said Simontault, I do not believe Dagoucin, that you were ever in love; for if you had known that fire as well as others, you would not here have given us a description of Plato's Commonwealth, which he did write of onely, and had no other experience of it. If I ever did love (said Dagoucin) I do love still, and will love as long as I live; but I have so great a fear that the expression of my love shall not be answerable to the perfection of it, tha [...] I forbear to speak of it, lest she from whom I do desire th [...] like height of love should not understand me according [...] the absolutenesse of it, as indeed it is. And I dare not think my own thoughts, for fear my eyes should reveal something of them; For the more that I keep this fire con­cealed and covered, the more doth the pleasure increase in me to find that I love so perfectly. Shall I not believe then, said Guebron, that you would be glad to be belo­ved? I do not say the contrary, said Dagoucin, but when I shall be so well beloved as I do love, our love shall be so great, that it shall not know how to increase, nor be ca­pable either of extension or diminution: And till I find that love, I shall be carefull how I do reveal it. Parla­ment who suspected whither that fancy tended, said unto him, Take heed, Dagoucin to your self, for I have seen others, who had rather die than confesse their loves. Those (said Dagoucin) do esteem themselves to be thrice hap­py. I (said Saffredant) and worthy to be put in the Chronicle of Innocents, of whom the Church speaketh, Non loquendo sed moriendo confessi sunt. I have heard [Page 47]much Discourse of these extasies of love, but never yet have I seen any one to die for Love: And because I have escaped all the torments that love can afflict, and have seen (as I conceive) the utmost of his tyranny on others, I am of opinion that no man can die for love? Say you so, Saffredant, said Dagoucin, and would you be beloved because none of your opinion do die for love. I can rec­kon a whole Catalogue to you of those who died of no other disease, than of too violent a love. Because you are so well experienced in the stories of them, I will give you my voice, said Longaren, to give us an account of one, which shall make the Ninth of this Journall. To the end (said Dagoucin) that my true History, followed with signs and miracles, should work a faith into you to believe it, I will in this place recite unto you, what to my knowledge did happen about three years ago.

The Lamentable Death of a Gentleman in Love, who too late received comfort of her whom he affected.
The ninth Novell.

BEtween Dauphin and Provence there lived a Gen­tleman more rich in virtue, beauty, and in courte­sie, than in the goods of Fortune, who most intirely loved a young Gentlewoman, whose Name I will not rehearse, in respect unto her Kinred, who are descen­ded of good and great Families, but you may assure your selves that the Story is most true, and because he was not descended of so great a house as she was, he durst not discover his affection to her; for the ex­treme love which he did bear unto her was so abso­lute and perfect, that he did chuse rather to die, than to desire any one thing which might tend to her dis­honor; and seeing himself in so low a condition, in comparison of her, he could not entertain the least hope to espouse her. Wherefore his love was groun­ded [Page 48]on no other end, but only with all his power to love her as perfectly as possibly he could, of which at last she had some Intelligence. And seeing the ho­nest affection which he did bear unto her so full of virtue and civility, she thought her self happy to be beloved by so worthy a personage, and made so much of him, that he who could not have wished for more, was greatly contented at it. But Malice the Enemy to all Quiet could not long suffer the continuance of a life so happy; For some Informers whispered in the Mothers, ear, That they much wondred that this Gen­tleman was of such power in her house, and that they suspected the beauty of her Daughter to be the only occasion of it, with whom they oftentimes observed him to hold discourse. The Mother who no wayes doubted the honesty of the Gentleman, of whom she was as much assured as of any of her own Children, was very forry that there was spread abroad such an uncharitable opinion of him, but fearing that some scandall might arise by the malice of bad tongues, she intreated him at last, that for a certain time he would not come so often to her house as he was ac­customed to do. This was hard of digestion to him, knowing that the civil discourse which he held al­ways with her Daughter, did not deserve that re­straint. Neverthelesse, to stop the report of all ill tongues, he retired for a time, untill that report was silenced, & afterwards returned, as he had been accu­stomed to do. His absence had no ways diminished his affection; Being in the house, he understood that the young Lady was to be married to a Gentleman, who in his opinion was not of that great Estate, but that his own service might be as well entertained, and be as acceptable as his. He therefore began to take heart to imploy his friends to speak on his behalf, sup­posing that if the choice were offered to the young Lady, that she would prefer him unto the other: Neverthelesse the Mother of the Daughter, and her Kinred, did make choice of the other, because he was [Page 49]far more rich; whereat the Gentleman was extreme­ly melancholly, knowing that his Mistresse would lose thereby as much contentment as himself. Where­upon by little and little, without any other Sicknesse, he did begin to consume away, and in a short time was so much changed, that it seemed he had covered the beauty of his countenance with the Mask of Death, to which day succeeding day, and hour fol­lowing hour, he did joyfully repair. So it was, that he could not sometimes forbear from speaking to her whom he loved so intirely. But at last his strength failed him, and he was inforced to keep his Bed, of which he would not advise her whom he loved, be­cause he was unwilling that she should partake in his affliction. And suffering himself to sink into despair, he at last could neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, nor take any rest; insomuch that it was impossible to know him, by reason of his leanenesse, and the strange and sharp countenance which he had. Some there were, who advertised the Mother of his Mistresse of it, who was a Woman full of pity, and loved the Gen­tleman so well, that if all her Kinred and Confidents had been of the same opinion as her self was, and her Daughter, they had preferred his Honesty and fair Deportment, above all the Fortunes of the other; but the Kinred who were on the Fathers side would not understand it: Neverthelesse she resorted with her Daughter to visit the poor Gentleman, whom they found rather dead than alive; And perceiving that the end of his life did approach, he sent for the Priest, and having made his Confession, he received the holy Sacrament, thinking to have died without seeing any one. But being ready to descend unto the sleep of Death, and unexpectedly beholding her who was both his Life and Resurrection, he found himself so fortified, that he did arise up in his Bed, and said unto the old Lady; Some occasion hath brought you hith [...] Madam, to give a visit unto him who hath already one foot in his Grave, and of whose [Page 50]Death you are the occasion. The Lady made answer, How can that be possible, that he whom we do love so well can receive his Death by our neglect? Tell me, I pray you, upon what account of Reason do you speak these words? Madam, said he, Although as much as it was possible for me, I have dissembled the love which I most faithfully have born unto Mada­moiselle your Daughter, so it is, that my friends (spea­king of the Marriage betwixt her and me) have been more hot upon it than I desired, seeing thereby I have received this Misfortune to lose all my hopes; neither doth it so much afflict me for my particular, but for that I am confident she can never be so well intreated by any other, nor will be so well beloved as by me. The observation which I make, that she shall lose the most best, and most affectionate friend and servant that she hath in the world, doth more afflict me than the losse of my own life, which onely for her alone I would preserve; but because I find it cannot be ser­viceable any wayes unto her, it is a gain unto me to lose it. The Mother and the Daughter hearing these words, did do the best they could to comfort him. The Mother said unto him, Take courage my Friend, and I promise you upon my faith, that if God shall restore you unto your health, my Daugh­ter shall have no other Husband but your self. Be­hold she stands here before you, and I command her upon the obligation of her Duty to make the same promise to you. Her Daughter melting into tears, did the best that she could to give him an assurance of that which her Mother had promised: But he ap­prehending, that if he were recovered he should not enjoy his Mistresse, and that the good words that were given him, were onely by degrees to restore him unto his lost health, did say unto them, That if these words had been spoken to him but three Mo­neths agoe, he had been the most healthfull, and the most happy Man in all France, but this Relief came so late unto him, that it could neither be believed, [Page 51]nor hoped. And when he observed that they did in­deavour to inforce a belief into him of what they pro­mised, he said unto them; Since so faithfully you have promised that great happinesse which can never arrive unto me, (though now your selves would have it so) by reason of the great weaknesse in which I am, I shall crave a far lesse favour, which as yet I have not had the boldnesse to demand. Immediatly they did both swear unto him that it should be performed, and desired him with confidence to demand it. Where­upon he said unto the Mother of the young Lady, I do beseech you that you would give her in my arms, whom you do promise shall be my Wife, and that you do command her to embrace and kisse me. The young Lady, who was not accustomed to such famili­arities, did make some difficulty of it, but her Mother expresly did command her, seeing he had lost both the understanding and the force of a living Man. On that Command the Daughter did advance her self upon the bed of the poor sick Gentleman, and said unto him, My old Friend, I pray you to be frolick: The poor Gentleman, sanguishing in his extreme weaknesse, stretched forth his arms, despoyled of flesh and blood, and with all the force of his body embra­ced the Cause of his Death, and kissing her with his pale and cold lips, did hold her close unto him as long as possibly he could, and said unto her, The love which I have born unto you, hath been so great and virtuous, that, Mariage excepted, I never desired of you any other happinesse than what I now enjoy, for the event whereof, and in this possession of it, I with joy shall commend my Spirit unto God, who being himself perfect love and charity, doth know the great­nesse of my love, and the honesty of my desires, be­seeching him, having now my desires in my arms, that he would receive my Spirit into his arms. And spea­king those words he took her again into his arms, and with so much vehemence, that his weak heart could not endure the strength of his love, which was imme­diately [Page 52]immediately abandoned of all the faculties of life, for his Joy was so much dilated, that the seat of the Soul failed, which did fly to her Creator. And although the poor body continued a long time without li [...]e, and therefore could no longer possesse the rich prise it so lately gained, yet the love which the young La­dy had till then concealed, did now so violently declare it self, that the mother of the living, and the servants of the dead had much to do to separate the union, and were at last enforced to pull the li­ving almost dead, from him who was already dead, whom they did honourably interr, but the greatest triumph of his obsequies, were the tears, the sighs, and the complaints of the poor young Lady, who decla [...]ed her self as much after his death, as she con­cealed her self in his l [...]fe, and now as it were satisfied for the injury she had done him. And since (as I have heard it reported) the Husband that was given her (to take off from himself thoughts of melancho­ly) could never be entertained with any true joy or comfort of heart.

You may see here Gentlemen, what before you would not believe, by my words. This Example is sufficient to make you confesse, that a true and perfect love being too long concealed or misprised doth bring us as low as death. There is none of you who know not the friends and kinred both of the one side and the other, wherefore you need not to make any doubt of it, and there is no man who hath made experience of it but will believe. The Ladies hearing it had every one of them tears in their eyes. But Hircan said unto them, This is the veryest fool that ever Thea [...]d speak; for tell me on your own credit, is it likely or reasonable, that we should die for women who are made for us, and that we should be afraid to ask them what God hath enjoyned them to give unto us? I speak not for my self, nor for any man here that is married, for I have enough of a woman, or rather more than will serve my turn, but for those only who are in necessity, who in my opinion are but fools to be in fear of those whom [Page 53]they ought to make afraid. Do you not observe the sorrow which this young Lady suffer'd for her folly? for since she imbraced a dead body (a thing repugnant to Nature) she would not have refused his living body, if he had shew­ed as great boldnesse living, as dying be moved pitty. Neverthelesse said Oysilla, The Gentleman in this made an excellent Remonstrance of the love and civility he did bear her, for which he shall be commended throughout the whole world; for to find chastity in an amorous heart is a thing more divine than belonging unto man. Madam, said Saffredant, to confirm the opinion of Hircan, from whom I differ no [...], I must intreat you to believe me, that Fortune doth assist the bold spirit; and that there is no man, if he be beloved by a Lady, but if he can but wisely, and affectionately follow his sute, will in the end receive all that which he demandeth, or at the least in part. But Ignorance and a faint heart do cause men to [...]ose many brave adventures, and then they ground their losse upon the virtue of their Mistresse whom they never did attempt; for never was there a place that hath been gallantly assaulted, but it hath been taken. I do much worder at you two said Parlament, that you dare maintain this discourse. Surely those whom you have loved, have either not held you long, or the assault bath been made on so advantagious a place, that you think all Women alike. Madam, said Saffredant, As for my self I am so unfor­tunate, that I have no reason to make any boast, but I impute not my misfortune to any virtue of the Ladies, but to my own defects, in having either not wisely begun, o [...] too rashly prosecuted my Design, and I will allege the old Romant of the Rose instead of many Doctors, which saith, we are merry Girls and Boys, no doubt all alike, the Boys for the Girls, and the Girls for the Boys. Where­fore I do believe, that if love be once in the heart of a woman, the man may arrive unto his ends, if he be not sottishly overseen. Parlament said, And if I shall tell you of a Lady, of a gallant personage that did love, and was sollicited and importuned, and neverthelesse depor­ted her self most virtuously, and was victorious over her [Page 52]own body and her friend; will you say that a true thing is impossible? Yes said he. You are hard of Faith, said Parlament if you believe not this example. Dagoucin said unto her, Madam, since I have proved by example the virtuous love of a Gentleman even unto death, I must intreat you, if you do know any like unto it, in the ho­nour of some Lady, that you will be pleased to rehearse it, for the end of this days journey, and you need not fear to be too long, for we have yet time enough to speak of many honest Subjects. Since the last lot falls to my share said Parlament, I will hold you in a long discourse; for my History is so good, so fair, and so true, that it seems long unto me until I make you partakers of it, and that you know it as well as my self. And although I am no eye­witnesse of it, yet it hath been repeated to me by one of my greatest and most entire friends in the world, to the praise and honour of her whom he most affected in the world, who conjur'd me, that if ever I should come to give any others an account of it, that I would change the names of the persons. The story I dare assure you is all true; the Names, the Places, and the Country only ex­cepted.

The Love of Amadour and Florinda, wherein is con­tained many great subtilities and dissimulations, and the admirable chastity of Florinda,
The Tenth Novell.

IN Aragon in the County of Arand, there was a La­dy who although very young was the widdow of the Count of Arand; she had by him one Son, and a Daughter called Florinda. The said Lady did bring up her Children in all virtues, and honourable exercises, which belong to Lords and Ladies; inso­much that her house was accounted to be one of the most honourable in all Spain. She resorted often­times [Page 55]to Toledo, where the King of Spain did keep his Court; and when she came to Saragossa (which was not far from her own house) she stayed long with the Queen, and was as highly esteemed in her Court as any Lady could be. Upon a time, according to her custome, repairing to the King, who was then in Sarragossa in his Castle of Iuissur, this Lady in her way passed by a village which belonged to the Vice­roy of Catalonia, who stirred not from the frontires of Perpignan by reason of the great wars which were then betwixt the King of France and himself; but at that time there was peace, insomuch that the Vice-roy with all his Captains were come to do reverence to the King. The Vice-roy understanding that the Countesse of Arand did passe through the Land of his Jurisdiction, did go to meet her, as well for the an­tient love he did bear unto her, as for the honour of being a Kinswoman of the Kings. The Vice-roy had in his company many gallant Gentlemen, who by the long exercise of their arms had acquired so much Fame and Honour, that those thought themselves happy that could see them, and enjoy their company. Amongst others there was one called Amadour, who although he was not of above eighteen or nineteen years of age, had so assured a grace of Deportment, and so excellent an understanding, that amongst a thousand he was thought most worthy to govern a Kingdome. It is true, that his understanding was ac­companied with so great, and so sweet a beauty, that there was not any ey which conveyd not down to the heart a more than ordinary pleasure to behold him, and so excellent a discourse did accompany his ex­quisite beauty, that it could not be known to which to give most honour, either to the gracefulnesse of his beauty, or the excellency of his elocution. But that which made him most esteemed, was his height of Courage, the fame whereof was increased by his youth, for in many places he made so many gallant demon­strations of it, that not only Spain, but also France [Page 56]and Italy did highly esteem his virtues, for in all the wars wherein ever he was, he was always prodigal of his blood, and proud of danger, and when his own Country was in peace, he did seek out Forein wars, and was beloved and esteemed both by his Friends and Enemies. This Gentleman for the love of his Captain was now in this land, where the Coun­tesse of Arand was arrived; and beholding the beauty and gracefulnesse of her Daughter, (who was not then twelve years of age) he thought with himself that she was the most fair and most accomplished crea­ture that ever he beheld, and if he could but obtain her favour, he should be more satisfied than with all the pleasures and profits that he might receive from any other. After he had a long time looked upon her, he determined with himself to love her, what­soever impossibility there was on the contrary, both in regard of the Illustrious Family from whence she was descended, and the tendernesse of her age, which as yet could not understand his Courtship. Against these fears he fortisied himself with hope, and pro­mised to himself, that at the last, Time and Patience would bring a happy end unto his labours. From that time Gentle love (who without any other occa­sion but freely by his own force had entred into the heart of Amadour) did promise him favour and oppor­tunity to arrive unto the end of his desires; and to provide for the greatest difficulties, which was the distance of the Country where he lived, and the small occasions he had to see Florinda, he determi­ned (but against the first resolution he had taken) to marry one of the Ladies of Barcelona or of Perpignan, amongst whom, by reason of the Wars, he was so con­versant, that he seemed rather to be a Catalonian than a Castilian, although he was born not far from Toledo, and was descended of a rich and honourable family, but because he was but a younger Brother he had no great patrimonies to inherit: So it was that Love and Fortune seeing him abandoned of his Kinred, [Page 57]did determine to make a Master-piece of him, and by the means of his Virtues gave him that which the Laws of his Country did deny him. He was singu­larly experienced in the feats of War, and so well be­loved by all Lords and Princes that he oftentimes re­fused their gifts, which he never took any thought to demand. The Countesse of which I told you did come accordingly unto Sarragossa, and was magnisi­cently entertained by the King, and all the Court. The Governour of Catalonia came oftentimes to visit her, and Amadour never failed to accompany him for the pleasure he received to speak unto Florinda. And that he might better understand himself, and what Company did frequent unto the house, he addressed himself to the daughter of an antient Cavalier, called Avanturade, who was one of the next neighbors. She from her Youth had been brought up with Florinda, insomuch that she knew all which was hidden in her heart. Amadour, as well for the honesty he found in her, as for that she had three thousand Duckets to her portion, did resolve to entertain her, as that per­son whom he would espouse, to which she did lend a willing ear; but because he was but poor, and the Father of the Damfell rich, she thought that he would never agree unto the Marriage, unlesse it were by the means of the Countesse of Arand; Wherupon she ad­dressed her self to Florinda, and said unto her. Ma­dam, You have seen the Castilian Gentleman, who of­tentimes doth here speak to me, I do believe what he doth pretend, which is to take me in Mariage; You know what a father I have, who will never give way unto it, if he be not sollicited to it by Madam the Countesse and your self. Florinda, who loved the Maid as her self, did assure her, that she would take that affair upon her, and lay it as neer her heart as it were her own businesse: And Avanturade so much prevailed, that she presented Amadour unto her, who in [...]issing of her hand had almost swouned away for Joy; and although he was esteemed the best Speaker [Page 58]in all Spain, yet he was struck dumb before Florinda, at which she was much amazed; for although she was but of twelve years of age, yet she well under­stood, That there was not one in all Spain that could speak better, or with a greater grace; and seeing that he said nothing, she began to speak unto him, Ama­dour, the Renown which you have gained throughout all Spain is so great, that it makes you known in this place and company, and administers both a desire and an occasion to those that know you to imploy them­selves to doe you good; wherefore if there be any thing in which I may be beneficial to you, you may imploy me in it. Amadour, who observed the beauty of the Lady, was so ravished with it, that he had much to do to say, I thank you. Although Florinda was astonished to see him without an Answer, she did impute it rather to his bashfulnesse than to any force of Love, and departed from him without speaking any more. Amadour observing the virtue which in such a tendernesse of youth did begin to show it self in Flo­rinda, did say unto her whom he intended to make his Wife, Marvail not at all that I became as a dumb Man before Florinda, for her virtues and wise dis­course hid in so young an age, did so amaze me, that I knew not what to say unto her; But Avanturade, I must beseech you to inform me (for you know the Secrets of the House) what Princes, Lords, and Gentlemen do frequent it; for they that know her, and do not love her, are either Stones or Beasts. A­vanturade, who before did love Amadour better than any one in the world, could conceal nothing from him, and told him, That Madam Florinda was belo­ved of all the world, but because of the custom of the Countrey, there were but few admitted to speak unto her, and that as yet she had not seen any that had made any profession of love unto her, but only two young Princes of Spain, who desired to espouse her, one whereof was of the House, and the Son of the In­fant Fortunate, and the other was the young Duke of [Page 59] Cadouce. I pray you, said Amadour, Tell me which of them do you think that she loveth best; She is so wise, said Avanturade, that she professeth, that she hath no other will but that of her Mothers, but as far as we can judge, she loveth the Son of the Infant For­tunate, far better than the young Duke of Cadouce; And I esteem you to be a man of that Judgement, that on this day if it please you, you may satisfie your self therein, for the Son of the Infant Fortunate is brought up in this Court, and is one of the most lovely, and most absolute young Princes in Christen­dom: And if this Marriage should be according to the opinion & desire of us Maids, he should be sure to have Madam Florinda, that we might see together the most gallant couple in the World. And you ought to un­derstand, that although they are both of them very yong, she not being above twelve, and he fifteen years of age, yet it is three years since first their love began, And above all things, if you would obtain the favour of Florinda, I would advise you to be a Friend and Ser­vant to the Infant Fortunate. Amadour was very glad to understand that Florinda loved any thing, hoping at last that he might gain the place, if not of a Hus­band, yet of her Servant, for he feared nothing in her virtue, but only that she could not be induced to love. After this Amadour did altogether frequent the Lodgings of the Son of the Infant Fortunate, whose favour easily he obtained, for all the Pastimes which the young Prince loved, Amadour knew how to per­form; and above all things he was most expert in the riding of great Horses, and in all kind of weapons, and in other recreations and exercises which a young man ought to know. After this the War began in Languedoc, and Amadour of necessity was to return with the Governor, which was not without great grief, for he had no longer the means nor opportunity to come into that place where he might behold Florinda, for which purpose he did speak unto his Brother, who was the Major Domo in the Court of the Queen of [Page 60] Spain, and told him of the entertainment he found in the House of the Countesse of Arand, and of the Da­mosell Aventurade, desi [...]ing him, that in his absence he would use his utmost endeavour, that the Marriage might suddenly be solemnized, and that he would imploy therein the Reputation of the King and Queen, and of all his friends. The Gentleman who loved his Brother, as well for his virtues, as for the contiguity of blood, did promise to perform the utter­most he was able, which he did accordingly: Inso­much that the old and covetous Father of Avanturade did forget his nature to regard the virtues of Ama­dour, which the Countesse of Arand, and above all the beautifull Florinda did set forth before his eyes: In the same manner also did the young Count of Arand, who as he did grow in age, did grow also in love with gallant and virtuous men. When the Marriage was accorded on, the Major Domo sent to seek out his Brother, whiles the Truce lasted betwixt both the Kings. During this time, the King of Spain retired to Madrid, to avoid the contagion of the bad ait, which was in many places: And by the advice of his Coun­cil, and the request also of the Countesse of Arand, he made the Marriage betwixt the Dutchesse Medina-Coeli, an Heiresse, and the young Count of Arand, as well for the benefit and Union of both Houses, as for the love he did bear to the Countesse of Arand, and he commanded that that this Marriage should be celebrated in the Castle of Madrid. At this Marriage Amadour was present, who followed his own so close­ly, that he espoused her, by whom he was better belo­ved, than he did love; for he onely made this Mar­riage as a Coverture, and a means to frequent the place where his Soul incessantly did abide. After he was Married, he assumed that boldnesse, and was so familiar in the House of the Countesse of Arand, that the Ladies had no more regard of him, than of one of the Gentlewomen of the House: And although he was then but two and twenty years of age, he did [Page 61]deport himself so discreetly, that the Countesse did communicate to him all her affairs, and commanded her Son and her Daughter to make much of him, and to take that counsell which he advised them. Having gained this high Esteem, he did carry himself so wise­ly and so cunningly, that even those whom he loved did not know his affection. But Florinda loved the wife of Amadour more than any other, and was so in­timate with her, that she concealed not from her her most private thoughts, and declared to her all tho love which she did bear to the Son of the Infant For­tunate; and she who did hope to gain him intirely, did speak of him incessantly, and on any Discourse where mention was made of him, she would with delight take hold of it, and a long time entertain it. Amadour after his Marriage with Avanturade, stayed not above one moneth with this Company, but was constrai­ned to return to the War, where he continued above two years without seeing of his Wife, who kept al­wayes with her with whom she was brought up. Du­ring this time Amadour did often write unto her, but the greatest part of his Letter was Commendations to Florinda. Avanturade did not fail to show the Letters to Florinda, who returned him thanks for it, and sometimes with her own hand would signifie as much unto him in the Letters which Avanturade an­swered, which was the occasion that made her Hus­band more carefull to write more often unto her. But in all this Florinda knew nothing, but only that she loved and respected him as her own Brother. This was the Intercourse of Letters betwixt Amadour and Avanturade; and Amadour, who in the space of five years had hardly seen Florinda two whole moneths, yet neverthelesse his Love, in despite of absence, did continually encrease. But now the time was come that he made a voyage to see his Wife, and found the Countesse of Arand a great way from the Court. For the King of Spain was gone to Vandelusia, and had ta­ken with him the young Count of Arand, who alrea­dy [Page 52] [...] [Page 53] [...] [Page 52] [...] [Page 55] [...] [Page 56] [...] [Page 57] [...] [Page 58] [...] [Page 59] [...] [Page 60] [...] [Page 61] [...] [Page 62]did begin to bear arms. His Mother the Countesse was retired to a House of pleasure which she had upon the Frontires of Arragon and Navarre, she was very joyfull to see Amadour returned, who almost for three years together had been absent. He was very wel­com to them all, and the Countesse of Arand com­manded that he should be entertained as her own Son. As long as he was with her, she declared to him the whole state of her affairs, and committed the greatest part of the Government of her House to his discretion. He gained so great an estimation, that in all places thereof wheresoever he came, they ope­ned the doors unto him, believing him to be so able and so wise a personage, that in all things they did put their confidence in him, as if in some Saint or Angel. Florinda, for the love which she did bear to his Wife, and to himself, did give great respect unto him in all the places wheresoever she did see him, not knowing any thing of his Intention, wherefore she minded not what countenance she gave him, for her heart felt not any heat of a violent passion, but onely she received a great contentment when she was near Amadour, and no other thought of love possessed her. Amadour to avoid the Judgement of those who are ex­perienced in the looks of Lovers, in comparison of others, was in a great perplexity: For when Florinda came familiarly to speak unto him (as one who thought no hurt) the fire concealed in his heart did so violently inflame it, that do what he could, his co­lour would rise in his checks, and the sparkles of De­sire would fly from his eyes. And to the end that in their daily conversation it might not be discerned, he pretended to court a very fair Lady, called Paulina, a Lady who in her time was esteemed so beautifull, that few men that ever saw her did escape her bonds. This Paulina understanding how well Amadour had depor­ted himself at Barcelona, and Perpignan, insomuch that he was beloved by all the most beautifull and virtu­ons Ladies of that Country, and above all by the [Page 63]Countesse of Palamons, who in beauty was esteemed the chiefest in all Spain, told him, That she much pi­tyed him, that after so many great fortunes he had married so ill-favoured a woman. Amadour appre­hending by those words that she had a desire to re­medy her own necessity, did entertain her with the best Language that possibly he could, thinking, by making her to beleeve a pretence, that she should serve to be a coverture for the truth; but she being cunning and experienced in love, was not contented with words, but (conceiving to her self that his heart was not satisfyed with her Love) she doubted lest he did not make her serve for a cloak only; whereupon she did so closely observe him, that her eyes were al­ways fastened upon his, but he did so well dissemble it, that she could not make any certain judgment of any thing, but only had an obscure suspition, which was a great torment to this Gentleman. But Florin­da (who was ignorant of all those Jealousies) did speak oftentimes before Paulina so familiarly to Amadour, that he put himself to an extraordinary task, to com­mand his eys against his heart; And to prevent the falling into an Inconvenience, speaking one day to Florinda, and leaning both upon the Window, he said unto her, Madam, I beseech you that you will be pleased to advise me, which is the best, to speak, or to die; Florinda readily made answer to him, I shall alwayes advise my friends, that it is best to speak, and not die; for a few words may be mended, but life be­ing lost, can never be recovered. You shall promise me then, said Amadour; that you shall neither be of­fended, nor be astonished at the words I shall speak, untill you shall understand the end for which I speak them. She replyed to him, Speak what you please, for if you shall astonish me, no man else shall recover me to my senses, I assure you. He then began to speak, Madam, I have not yet expressed unto you the great affection which I bear you, for two Reasons: First, That I intended by my long service to give [Page 64]you an experience of it: and Secondly, because I doubted you would conceive it to be an unpardona­ble arrogance to addresse my self unto you, who, were I a Prince as your self, yet the loyalty of your heart would not suffer any other but he who hath ta­ken possession of it, the Son of the Infant Fortunate, to hold any discourse of Love with you. But Madam, as in great wars Necessity doth constrain us to make a wast of our own goods, and oftentimes to spoil the Corn in the blade, that the Enemy may make no ad­vantage of it; so have I made an adventure to ha­zard the fruit which in time I did hope to gather, that neither your nor my Enemies might make to them­selves any profit by our Damage. Understand Ma­dam, that since you were scarce twelve years of age, I have been so devoted to your service, that I have ne­ver ceased from searching out the means to obtain your favour, and for that occasion, I married her whom I thought that you loved best; And understan­ding the love which you bear to the Son of the In­fant Fortunate, I have endeavoured to serve and honour him, as you have seen. And whatsoever I thought would be pleasing to you, I have sought it with all my power; you see, How I have procured the good opinion of the Countess your Mother, of the Count your Brother, and of all those whom you doe love, in a manner, that in this house I am not taken so much to be a Servant, as a Child, and all the tra­vel that for these five years I have undertaken, hath been to live all the remainder of my life with you. And you must understand, that I am none of those who by this means presume to enjoy any pleasure or profit by you, but what shall be virtuous. I know well e­nough, and am confident, that I can never marry you, and if I could, I would not do the least Injury to the love which you bear to him, whom I desire to see your Husband. To prosecute you with a vicious love, as those, who hope for some recompence for their service, by the dishonor of their Mistresses, I [Page 65]am so far from that, that I had rather see you dead, than to know you lesse worthy to be beloved, or that virtue was abated in you, for any pleasure that could arive to me. For the end and recompence of all my service, I doe desire only but one thing, which is, that you will be so constant a Mistress to me, that you will never remove me from your favours, and continue me in the degree in the which I am, reposing more confidence in me, than in any other; and having this assurance, that if for your honour, or any thing that doth concern you, you shall need the life of a Gentle­man, mine shall be imployed with all my heart for you. In like manner, that all honest and virtuous things that I shall doe, shall be done onely for the love of you: And if for Ladies of a far lower condi­tion than your self, I have performed deeds that have highly been esteemed, be you assured, that for such a Mistresse my enterprizes shall be doubled; so that those things which before I left off, as difficult, and impossible, shall now become easie to me. But if you will not accept me to be altogether yours, I have resolved with my self to leave off the Exercise of Arms, and to bid Adieu to Virtue, that hath not hel­ped me at my need. Wherefore, Madam, I most hum­bly beseech you, that my just sute may be granted to me, which neither your Honor nor your Conscience can deny. The young Lady hearing those words so unusuall to her, did begin to change her colour, and held down her eyes, as a Woman astonished: How­soever being of a ready, and a great understanding, she said unto him, Since it is so, Seignior Amadour, that you demand that of me which you have already, how doth it come about that you have made unto me so long an Oration? I have so great a fear, that un­der your honest words there are some ill Intentions hid to deceive the Ignorance of my youth, that I am in a great perplexity to answer you. For if I should deny that honest love which you offer me, I should do contrary to that which hitherto I have done, who [Page 66]do put more confidence in your self, than in all the Men in the world. Neither my Conscience nor my Ho­nor do contradict your Demand, nor the love which I do bear to the son of the Infant Fortunate; for that love is grounded upon Marriage, to which you can have no pretence. I know nothing that may withhold me from giving you an answer according to your desire, but onely Fear which invades my heart, grounded on the small occasion you have to begin this Discourse: for if you have already that which you demand, what is it doth constrain you to speak so affectionatly? Amadour, who now was not without an answer, said unto her, Madam, you speak most wisely, and do me so much Ho­nour by the Confidence which you say you repose in me, that if I should not content my self with this hap­pinesse, I should be unworthy of any other: But you are to understand Madam, that he who would raise a lasting edifice, ought to regard that he doth lay a sure foundation; therefore I who desire to continue per­petually in your service, do not only look upon the means to keep me near unto you, but also to hinder what I can that the great affection which I bear unto you may not be discovered. For though it be so ho­nest, that the least sin cannot be found in it, yet so it is, that those who know not the hearts of true lovers, do oftentimes judge against the truth; and from hence proceed so many ill reports, the events whereof have been so mischievous. The cause which hath enforced me to speak, and to declare this unto you, is Paulina, who doth so strongly suspect me, perceiving in her own heart that I cannot love her, that in all places where­soever I do come, she is alwayes with a watchfull eye looking stedfastly on my face; and when you come to speak familiarly unto me before her, I have so great a fear to give some sign by which she might ground some bad construction, that I am ready to fall into an Inconvenience, from which I would fain keep my self; so that I have conceived it expedient to beseech you, That before her, and such creatures as she is, you [Page 67]would not be pleased to speak so suddenly unto me, for I had rather by far be out of the world, than any one alive should have the least knowledge of it; And were it not for the love which I owe unto your Ho­nour, I should not have taken this resolution to speak these words unto you; for I am sufficiently happy in the love and confidence you have in me, without de­manding any thing more, but onely your continuati­on of it. At these words Florinda received so great content, that she could not indure a greater, and be­gan to feel in her heart something more, than before she was accustomed to find; and considering the ho­nest reasons he alleged, she told him, That Vir­tue and Honour had made answer for her, and did accord to that which he desired. If Amadour was not joyfull of this assurance, I leave it to those to judge who have been themselves in love. But Florinda be­gan to follow his counsel more than he desired; for she who was fearfull, did not only forbear to speak un­to him before Paulina, but also before all others; and in this discontinuance of Discourse, she began her self to suspect the frequent communication which Ama­dour had with Paulina, who did like it very well, and now did confidently beleeve that Amadour did love her. Florinda to passe away this sorrow, did daily en­tertain Aventurade, who began to be very jealous of her Husband and Paulina, and oftentimes did com­plain of it to Florinda, who did comfort her the best she cold, being one who was infected her self with the same Disease. Amadour quickly perceived by the Countenance of Florinda, that not only she estranged her self from him, according to his Counsel, but also that there was some ill opinion which was an Adjunct to it. One afternoon going with her to hear Vespers in the Monastery, he said unto her, Madam, with what countenance do you look upon me? Florinda made answer, With such a one I think as you would have me. Amadour suspecting what she meant, and the better to find out the Truth, said unto her, Ma­dam, [Page 68]I have prevailed so much by my daily Indea­vours, that Paulina hath no longer any suspition con­cerning you. She replyed to him, You cannot do bet­ter for your self and for me, for in doing a Pleasure to your self, you do Honour to me. By these words Amadour was assured, that she believed that he took a pleasure to be in communication with Paulina, whereat he was so passionate, that he could not con­tain himself, but in a great choler said unto her, Ma­dam, It is well begun to torment your Servant, for I never suffered any trouble that was more afflicting to me, than the constraint to speak unto her whom I love not: And because that which I have done for your service is taken in another sense, I will speak no more unto her, let come what will come; and to the end to dissemble as well my indignation as I have done my contentment, I will retire unto some other place, untill this Fancy of yours be passed over. But I hope I shall receive some news from my Cap­tain to return unto the wars, where I will so long continue, that you shall understand, that not any in the world but your self could have detained me in this place; and in speaking those words (without at­tending any answer) he immediately departed, and she remained alone so sad, and so disconsolate, that it was impossible to be more. Love now being beaten by a contrary wind did begin to shew his overcoming power, insomuch that she acknowledged the Injury, and immediatly did write to Amadour, and besought him that he would be pleased to return, which (some days being expired) when his great choler was aba­ted he did accordingly. I know not in this place how to undertake to give you the least account of the words that passed betwixt them to break this jealou­sie, but he did gain the day, insomuch that she pro­mised him that she would never believe any more that he loved Paulina, and withall that she would remain assured, that it was a Martyrdom insuppor­table to him to speak either to Paulina or to any o­ther, [Page 69]unlesse it were to do her self service. After that love had overcome this present suspition, and the two Lovers did begin to take more delight than ever to converse together, there arrived intelligence that the King of Spain had commanded all his Army into Saulce. He therefore who was accustomed to be the foremost, failed not to be present where honor was to be purchased, but true it is, it was with some grief of heart which he was not accustomed to feel, as well to be deprived of his delight, as for fear that he should find some great change at his return, because that he saw Florinda was courted by great Princes and Lords, and was now arrived to the age of fif­teen years. He considered with himself that if in his absence she should be married, he should have no more occasion to see her, unlesse her mother the Countesse of Arand were pleased so far to honour his wife as to make her her Companion. And he so well ordered this affair among all her friends, that both the Countess & Florinda promised him, that into what­soever Country she was married, his wife Avanturade should go with her: And although the question was, that Florinda should be married into Portugal, it was resolv'd howsoever that his wife should never abandon her. In this assurance, but not without an un­speakable grief, Amadour departed and left his wife with the Countesse. When Florinda after the depar­ture of her Servant did find herself to be alone, she exercised her self in all good and vertuous imploy­ments, hoping thereby to attain the honour of the most absolute Lady in that age, and to be reputed worthy to have such a Servant. Amadour being arri­ved at Barcelona was feasted by the Ladies as he was accustomed heretofore, but they found him so much changed, that they thought that Marriage could ne­ver have such power upon any as it had upon him, for he seemed unwilling to look on those things which heretofore he delighted to behold, and the Countesse of Palamons her self who had so intirely lo­ved [Page 70]him, could not find any means to perswade him to go so far as her own house with her. Ama­dour made as little stay at Barcelona as possibly he could, for the Hours seemed tedious to him until he were in the place where honour might be obtained. Being atrived at Saulce there began a great and cru­cl war betwixt the two Kings, of which I will give you no account in this place, nor of the brave at chiev­ments which Amadour performed, for if I should give you a just account of them it would make a large Volume: But you may understand that he was more renowned than all his Companions. The Duke of Naygueres not long after came to Perpignan, and brought with him two Thousand men, and desired Amadour to be his Licutenant, who with that Bri­gade did so well his Devoir, that in all the skirmishes there were none other cryed up but the Naygueres. It so fell out, that the King of Tunis, who for a long time made War with the Spaniards, understanding that the Kings of France and Spain were in War one with a­nother upon the Frontires of Perpignan and Narbon, conceived, that he never in a better season could do a displeasure to the King of Spain, he therefore sent a great number of Frigots and other Vessels, to pillage and destroy that which they should find to be ill guarded upon the confines of Spain. They of Barce­lona observing a great Fleet to passe by them, did ad­vertise the King of it, who was then at Saulce, and immediatly commanded the Duke of Naygueres to march with all speed to Palamons. When the Turkes understood that the place was so well guarded, they pretented to sail beyond it, but upon the hour of mid­night they returned, and laid so many of the Defen­dants upon the ground, that the Duke of Naygueres being surprised by his Enemies was led away priso­ner. Amadour who was very watchfull, heard the Alarum, and on a sudden did draw into a body as ma­ny of his Souldiers as he could, and defended himself so well, that the whole power of his Enemies could [Page 71]not for a long time be prejudicial to him. But in the end, understanding that the Duke of Naygueres was taken, and that the Turks were resolved to set Palamons on fire, and to burn him in the house where he defended himself against them, he thought it safer to surrender himself, than to be the cause of the de­struction of so many gallant Souldiers who were in his Company, and having payed his ransom, he ho­ped withall, that he should be so happy as to see again Florinda. On this, he yeelded himself prisoner to a Turk called Derlin, Governour of Tunis for the King, who immediately did bring him to his Master, where he was very well received and honoured, and had a stronger guard set on him; for the Turks thought, ha­ving him in their hands, that they had got the Achil­les of the Spaniards. In this condition Amadour con­tinued almost two yeats under the King of Tunis. In the mean time the News of this Captivity was brought into Spain, for which the Kinsmen of the Duke of Naygueres made a great lamentation, but those who loved the honour of their Country, did e­steem the losse of Amadour to be far greater. The re­port of this Defeat was brought unto the House of the Countesse of Arand, at the same time when poor A­vanturade was extremely sick. The Countesse, who had a great doubt her self of the affection which Amadour did bear unto her Daughter, (which she suffered and dissembled, by reason of the great virtues which she saw to shine in him) did call her Daughter to her, and did acquaint her with this melancholly News; Florinda, who knew well enough to dissemble, said unto her, that it was a great losse to all their House, but most of all she pityed his poor Wife, especially considering the great weaknesse she was in; but see­ing her Mother weep so bitterly, she let fall a few tears also to keep her company, to the end that by dissembling too much her dissimulation might not be discovered. After that, her Mother did speak often to her concerning him, but could never collect any [Page 72]thing from her countenance whereby to assure her judgment. I will here forbear to make mentiō of those Pilgrimages, Prayers, Orisons and Fasts, which Flo­rinda ordinarily made for the safety and deliverance of Amadour, who as soon as ever he arrived at Tunis, did not fail to send the News of his Misfortunes to his friends, and by a sure Messenger he advertised Ma­dam Florinda that he was in good health, and in good hope to see her again, which was the only comfort this poor young Lady had to sustain her affliction. And you may be assured that she found the means to write back unto him, which she did so diligently, that Amadour could not complain for any want of comfort in her Letters and Epistles. Some moneths after the Countesse of Arand was commanded to come to Sara­gossa, where the King was arrived, and the young Duke of Cardona with him, who used such importuni­ties with the King and Queen, that they intreated the Countesse to make up the Marriage betwixt him and her Daughter. The Countesse being she who in nothing would disobey them, did consent unto it, be­lieving, that her Daughter being very young had no other desire but what was hers. When all was agreed upon, she told her Daughter, That she had made choice of that party for her who was most necessary. The Daughter knowing that in a thing that was al­ready done there needed not any more counsel, made answer to her, God be praised for all; And seeing her Mother to grow strange unto her, she chose rather to obey her, than to have any pity on herself. And to increase her affliction, she understood, that the Son of the Infant Fortunate was sick unto Death, but be­fore her Mother, or any other, she made not the least appearance of any sorrow, and did contain her self so much, that her tears by force being retired into her heart, did make the blood to spin out of her nose in such abundance, that she was in danger of her life; but her Mother to recover her, did marry her unto him, whom willingly she would have exchanged for [Page 73]her Death. After the celebration of this Marriage, Florinda did repair with her Husband into the Duke­dom of Cardona, and took along with her Avanturade, whom she made partaker of her Complaints, as well of the severity of her Mother, as of the grief she had to have lost the Son of the Infant Fortunate, but of her chief grief, for Amadour, she spake not one word unto her, but only in the way to comfort her. After this, this young Lady did resolve with her self, to have God alwayes and her Honour before her eyes, and so well concealed her afflictions, that not any of her Servants did ever understand that her Husband was unpleasing to her. Thus a long time Florinda continued, and lived a life not much better than Death; of which she failed not to inform her good Servant Amadour, who knowing her great and ho­nest heart, and the love which she did bear to the In­fant Fortunate, did conceive with himself, that it was impossible that she should live long, and did lament her, as one whom he concluded to be worse than dead. This affliction did augment that which he had for himself, for he wished that he might continue all his life a Slave, as he was, so that Florinda had but a Husband according to her desire. Thus he forgat his own sorrow, for that which he perceived his Mi­stresse did endure. And because he understood by a friend, That the King of Tunis had an Intent to send for him to the Court, and put him to death by draw­ing a stake through him, or to make him renounce his Faith, for the desire he had to have him turn Turk, and to keep him with him, he prevailed so much with the Governour that took him Prisoner, that he gave him leave to goe away upon his parole, to procure his Ransom, which was so great, that he thought it was impossible for a Man of his Estate to pay it. And thus without speaking one word to the King, the Governour let him go. Having shewed himself at Court to the King of Spain, he made no long stay there, but made hast to procure his Ran­som [Page 74]amongst his Friends, to which purpose he did di­rect his course to Barcelon, to which City the young D. of Cardona, his Mother, and Florinda were gon, to dis­parch some businesse. Avanturade, as soon as she had heard the good news of the approach of her Husband, made no delay to acquaint Florinda with it, who was very joyfull to hear it, but so carried it, as it were for the love only she did bear to Avanturade. But fea­ring lest the Joy which she had to see him, should make her change her countenance, and that those who did observe it might give a bad construction to it, she stayed at a window to see him afar off, and when ever she did behold him to approach, she went down a pair of winding stairs so obscure, that one could not perceive that she changed her colour; and having embraced him, she brought him first into her own Chamber, and from thence into the Chamber of her Mother-in-Law, who had never seen him. But he had not continued there two dayes, but he so carried himself, that he was as well beloved there, as he was before in the House of the Countesse of Arand. I will leave unto you to imagine what was the discourse which Amadour and Florinda had between themselves, and of the complaints they made of the sorrows they had suffered in the absence of one another. After a floud of tears from Florinda's eyes, for the grief she entertained, as much that she was married against her heart, as that she had lost him whom so intirely she did love, and was out of hope ever to see him alive again, she resolved with her self to take comfort in the love, and the assurance which she had of Amadour, which neverthelesse she durst not declare unto him; but he who debated with himself what to do, did lose neither time nor occasion, to make her understand how great was the love which he did bear unto her. Just on the time as she was almost gained to receive him, not as a servant, but for her best and most assu­red friend, there fell out a wonderfull Accident; For the King on some businesse of great Importance, did [Page 75]immediately send for Amadour, for which his Wife did take so great a grief, that in hearing of the News she swouned away, and falling down the stairs on which she stood, she hurt her self so grievously, that she never did rise up again. Florinda, who in her Death did lose all her comfort, did make so great a Lamentation, as she could do who found her self destitute both of her Friends and Kinred: and Amadour took it as much to heart; for on the one side he lost one of the most honest Women that ever lived; and on the other he lost the means ever to be able to see Florinda again, by reason whereof he fell into so great a sicknesse, that he thought that immediately he should die. The old Dutchesse of Cardona did visit him uncessantly, and alleged to him some Reasons from Philosophy, to cause him with Patience to endure that Death, but nothing would serve; for if Death on the one side did torment him, Love on the other did encrease his Martyrdom. Amadour observing that his wife was interred, and that the Goverour had sent for him, and that it was impossible to pretend an excuse to continue where he was, entertained such a despair in his heart, that he thought he should have lost his life with his understanding. Florinda, who was in a desolation her self, to comfort him, did come unto him one day after dinner to administer unto him the best words of com­fort that she could, hoping thereby to abate the greatnesse of his grief, assuring him, that in what place soever he was, she would find the means to see him, and oftner than he conceived. And because he was to be gone the next morning, and was for the present so weak that he did keep his bed, he did be­seech her that after every one was departed from him, she would be pleased to give him a visit in the Eve­ning, which she accorded to, being ignorant that the extremity of Love doth know no reason, and he who saw no hope left ever to see her again whom for so long a time he had served, and who never had re­ceived [Page 76]any entertainment from her but what you have heard, was so assaulted with his love a long time dissembled, and with despair that did present unto him that it was almost impossible for him to see her again, that he did resolve with himself to play with her either Double, or Quit, either to lose all, or to win all, and in one hour to pay himself with that, which he thought he had so well deserved. For this purpose he commanded that the Curtains should be drawn close about his bed, that those who came into the Chamber might not see him, and complained far more than he was accustomed to do, insomuch that those of the House did think he could not live four and twenty hours longer. In the Evening after e­very one had been with him, Florinda (at the re­quest of her own Husband) did repair unto him, de­liberating with her self (the more to comfort him) to declare unto him her affection, and that she would love him altogether, and none but him as far as her honour would permit; and sitting in a chair near to the tester of Amadours bed, she did begin to comfort him by weeping with him. Amadour seeing her fil­led with lamentation, thought that in that trouble of her mind he could most easily arrive to the end of his intention; and rising up in his bed, Florinda thought that he was in some extasie being too far spent, and with all the eyes of sorrow began to look upon him, who kneeling on his knees did say unto her, And must I for ever lose the sight of you? and speaking those words he did let himself fall into her arms, just like a man that swouned away. Poor Florinda did imbrace him, and held him up a pretty while, doing the uttermost of her desires to comfort him; but this Physick which she gave him to amend his grief, did render his power more strong, for in counterfeiting himself half dead and speachless, he began to search after that which the honour of Wo­men doth forbid to be found: When Florinda percei­ved his ill intention, she could not believe it, and [Page 77]remembring the most civil and vertuous discourse that had always passed betwixt them, she said unto him, What is it you would have? But Amadour fearing to hear her words, which he knew would be no other but chast and honest, returned no answer at all, but pursued his intention with all the force he had; whereat Florinda being amazed, suspected that he was our of his wits, and would rather have conceived any thing of him than that he attempted to dishonor her: Wherefore she spake aloud and called unto a Gentleman whom she knew to be in a Cham­ber hard by; whereat Amadour being throughly ama­zed did throw himself upon the bed, and that so suddenly, that the Gentleman believed that he had been dead. Florinda (who was risen up from the chair) said unto him, Go quickly, and bring hither some good Vinegar, which the Gentleman did, who being departed, Florinda began to say unto him, Amadour, what folly hath possessed your understanding? And what is that which you thought and would have don [...]? Amadour, who by the force of Love had lost all his reason, did say unto her, Doth so long a service as is mine, deserve to be rewarded with such a cruelty? Florinda replyed, And where is now the Honour concerning which so many times you have preached to me? O Madam, said Amadour, It seems to me im­possible to love your Honour more perfectly than I have done; For when you were to marry, I knew so well to master my heart, that you never understood my Desires; but now since you are marryed, and your Honour may be concealed, What wrong do I do unto you, to demand that of you which is my own? for by the force of love I have gained you. He who first had your heart was so cold a Suiter to your body that he deserved to lose both together: He who doth now possesse your body, is not worthy to have your heart; wherfore neither is your Body his, nor can it properly appertain unto him. But I Madam, for the continued space of five or six years, have endured so much love [Page 78]and travel for you, that you cannot be ignorant, that both your heart and your body do pertain to me, for which I have so often hazarded my own. And if you think to defend your self by Conscience, be you assured, that those who have proved the power of Love, will lay all the blame upon you who have so ra­vished my liberty from me, and by your divine per­fections blinded my understanding, that for the time to come not knowing what to do, I am constrained to be gone from you, without any hope of ever seeing you again. Neverthelesse you may be most confi­dent, that in any part of the World wheresoever I shall be, whether it be on the Sea, or on the Land, or in the hands of my most cruel Enemies, you shall have my heart, which shall continue for ever yours: And if before my departure I could have that assu­rance from you which my great love doth merit, I should be made strong to endure with patience the af­fliction of my long absence; And if you please not to grant me my request, you will quickly hear it spoken, that your cruelty hath given me an unhappy Death. Florinda being transported with as much sorrow as amazement to hear these words to proceed from him, of whom she had never the least suspition, did reply in tears unto him, And woe is me now, Amadour, Are these the effects of the virtuous Discourses which from my Youth hither to we have had together? Is this the Honour of Conscience, which so oftentimes you have counselled me rather to die, than to aban­don? Have you forgotten the great Examples you have instanced to me of so many excellent Ladies who have resisted that foolish Love? Have you forgotten the neglect which you your self have had of light and inconstant Ladies? I cannot beleeve, O Amadour, that you should be so far from your self, or that God, your Conscience, and my Honour, should be all dead in you. But if it be accordingly as you speak, I blesse the Divine goodnesse which hath prevented the mischief into which I headlong was falling, by shew­ing [Page 79]me by your words, your heart, of which I was so much ignorant; for having lost the Son of the In­fant Fortunate, not only by being married my self un­to another, but because I found, and sufficiently un­derstood that he loved another Lady, and seeing my self married to one whom I cannot love, and that, let me do what I can, he cannot be agreeable unto me, I considered, and intirely resolved with my self to love you with all my heart and affections, grounding my love upon the Virtue which I have found in you, and which by your means, I have in some measure attain'd my self, which is, to love my Honour and my Consci­ence more than my life. To this rock of Honour I am come, where I was confident I should find a most sure foundation; but in one moment, Amadour, you have shewn me, that in the place of a Rock, sure, as I thought and beautifull, the foundation of the building is upon loose and uncertain Sands, or upon a soft and ruinous Bogg; And although I had already begun a great part of the building where I resolved to have made my perpetual residence, you on the sudden have over­thrown it. Wherefore you ought by degrees to for­sake all hopes which you have promised to your self of me, and to resolve with your self, that in whatsoe­ver place you see me, not to court me at all, either by words or countenance. And be not so vain to hope, that I either can or will ever change my thoughts. I speak them to you with so much sorrow, that it is impossible it should be greater; but if I had procee­ded so far as to have sworn unto you perfect love, I do well perceive my heart to be such, that it would have been dead within me in this rupture, although the amazement that is upon me (to be deceived by you) is so great, that I am confident it will render my life either short or dolorous. And on these words I do bid you Adieu for ever.

I will not here undertake to tell you the grief which entred into the heart of Amadour hearing these words, for it is not only impossible for a pen to expresse it, [Page 80]but for a heart to conceive it, unlesse it be such a heart, who by experience hath found the like. And observing on that [...]el conclusion that she was going away, he did stay her by the arm, knowing very well, that if he should not take from her again that evil opinion of him, which he had caused her to entertain, he should lose her for ever; wherefore he said unto her, with the most dejected countenance that he could put on, Madam, Through the whole travels of my life I have desired to love a virtuous Lady, and because I have found so few, I thought good to make experience to see if by your virtue, you were as wor­thy to be esteemed, as you are to be loved, which now I understand for certain, and I thank God, who hath put it into my heart to love such great per­fection; beseeching you to pardon that foolish and presumptuous enterpise, and the rather, because it turns to your honour, and to my great contentment: Florinda, who by him did begin to understand the subtility of men, (as she was difficult to believe the Evil in which he was, so she was more difficult to be­lieve the Good in which he was not) did say unto him, I would to God that you did speak the truth, but I am not so ignorant, but the estate of Mariage in which I am, doth make me clearly enough to under­stand, that a blind and a violent passion did make you to do that which you have done; for if God had suf­fered me to let loose my hand, I am sure enough that you would have gone away with the bridle. Those, Signior Amadour, who make it their businesse to fol­low virtue, must not tread in that path in which you would go. But it is enough that heretofore I have lightly believed any Good in you, it is now time that I should know the truth which doth deliver me from you. And speaking those words, she departed out of the Chamber, and did weep away that night, finding so great a grief in this change, that her heart had e­nough to do to sustain the assaults of sorrow which love had given her; For although according to her [Page 81]Reason she resolved never to love him more, yet he heart, which now was not subject to the rules of Rea­son, would not consent unto it; wherefore being not able to love him lesse than she was accustomed to do, and knowing that love was the occasion of that defect, she determined with her self to satisfy her love, and to love him with all her heart; but withall, to be no wayes forgetfull of her honour. In the mor­ning Amadour departed sick and sad, as I have told you; neverthelesse his heart, which was so great, that the World could not shew an equal to it, did not suffer him to despair, but did give him a new intention to enjoy the presence of Florinda, and again to be enter­tained in her favour. Wherefore repairing to the King of Spain, who was at Toledo, he made it his way to go by the Countesse of Arands, to whom he came one Evening very late, and found the Countesse ve­ry sick, by reason of the sorrow which she had for the absence of her Daughter Florinda. When she beheld Amadour, she kissed and embraced him as if he had been her own Son, as well for the love she [...] bear unto him, as for the Love which she conceived he did bear unto Florinda, concerning whom she very sollicitously did demand: He informed her the best that possibly he could, but did not acquaint her with all the Truth, and confessed unto her the love be­twixt Florinda and himself, which Florinda had al­ways concealed, desiring her that he might hear from her as often as she could, and that she would be plea­sed to send for her, for the more speedy recovery of her own health. In the morning he departed, and having dispatched his affairs with the Queen, he ad­vanced to the Wars, but so sad, and so changed in his complexion, that the Ladies, Captains, and all those who had been accustomed to his Company, did not know him. He was altogether cloathed in black, and by the outward mourning which he made for his wife, he concealed the inward mourning of his heart. In this manner Amadour lived three or four years with­out [Page 82]returning to the Court. And the Countesse of Arand hearing it spoken, that Florinda was so extreme­ly altered that it would grieve any one to behold her, did send for her, hoping that she would be joyfull to come to her; but it fell out to the contrary: for when Florinda understood that Amadour had declared to her Mother the love that was betwixt them, she was in a wonderfull perplexity; for on the one side she saw her Mother did esteem so highly of him, that if she should acquaint her with the truth, Amadour would receive some great displeasure, which she would rather die than be the occusion of, for she thought her self able enough to punish him for his fol­lies, without any assistance of her friends; On the other side she feared, That in dissembling the evil which she knew, she should be constrained by her Mother, and by her friends, to continue her Discour­ses, and to make much of him, by which she was a­fraid that she should fortifie him in his Presumptions. But seeing that he was far remote, she made an ap­parence of being willing to it, and sometimes did write unto Amadour when the Countesse did com­mand her, but they were such Letters, that it was ea­sie to be perceived, that they did proceed rather from obedience to her Mother, than good will to him. Wherefore Amadour was as much grieved at the rea­ding of them, as he was accustomed to rejoice at those Letters which heretofore were sent him. At the end of two or three years, after so many admirable at­chievments in the Wars, that all the Paper in Spain was not able to contain them, he entertained a strange invention, not to gain the heart of Florinda (for he held that for lost) but to obtain another victory over her. He did cast behind him all the Counsel of Rea­son, and fear of Death it self, to the danger whereof he did so manifestly expose himself. The Debate be­ing discussed and concluded, he prevailed so much upon the Governour, that he was deputed by him to go unto the King concerning some enterprize to be [Page 83]made upon Locat, which he adventured to communi­cate to the Countesse of Arand, before he declared it to the King; to take her counsel therein, he came in Post into the County of Arand, where he knew that then Florinda was, and sent privately a friend of his to the Countesse of Arand, to acquaint her with his comming, beseeching her, That she would be pleased to keep it secret, and that at night he would have some conference with her, without the knowledge of any one besides. The Countesse being very joyfull of his comming, acquainted Florinda with it, and sent to her to prepare her self in the Chamber of her Hus­band, to the end that she might be ready, when she should send for her, and when every one else were withdrawn. Florinda, who yet was not delivered from her first fear, made an apparence to her Mother, to do as she commanded, but betook her self to her Devotions, and did commend her self to God, be­seeching him to preserve her heart from all inordinate affections; and considering with her self, that Ama­dour had often praised her beauty, which was not much diminished, although she had been a long time sick, she determined that it was better to commit an injury upon her beauty, than by her means to suffer that the heart of so brave a Man should burn in so loose a fire: Wherefore she took a great stone which she found in the Chapel, and gave her self so great a blow on the face, that her mouth, her nose, and her eyes were all hurt and bruized with it. And because it might not be suspected that she her self had done it, when the Countesse her Mother sent for her, she fell down at the door of the Chapel upon a great stone, and crying out aloud, the Countesse came her self to her relief, and found her in that pitifull estate; Her face was immediately dressed, which being done, the Countesse did bring her into her own Chamber, and did intreat her to repair into her Cabinet to en­tertain Amadour until such time as she could get cleer of the Company that was with her, which according­ly [Page 84]she did, thinking that there were some of his ser­vants with him, but finding her self all alone, and the Do [...]e shut upon her, she became as sorrowfull as Ama­dour was content, thinking that either by love, or by force, he should now enjoy that which he had much desired. Having entertained her with a short Dis­course, and found her in the same mind as he left her, and that she had rather die than change her opinion, he said unto her, Madam, I vow unto you, the fruit of my labour shall not be taken from me for a scruple, and since that Love, Patience, and humble Prayers can nothing prevail upon you, I will not spare by force to obtain that, which if not had, will procure my Death; when Florinda saw his face and eyes so much changed, and that the best Complexion in the world did grow red as fire, and that most sweet and pleasant look did become so horrible and furious, that the fire seem'd to sparkle forth from his eyes, which burn'd in his heart, And when in that fury, with one of his strong hands he had taken fast hold of both her weak and delicate ones, she seeing that all the defence that she could make did fail her, and that both her hands and her feet were held in such capti­vity, that she could neither fly, nor defend her self, and knew not what remedy to find, unlesse it were to see if any little root of his first love remained, in the honour of which he might forget his cruelty, she said unto him, Amadour, If now you are an Enemy unto me, I must beseech you for the honesty of the love which at other times I have found in your heart, that you will first hear me, before you will torment me. When she perceived that he began to give ear unto her, (following her Discourse) she said unto him, Alas Amadour! What occasion doth transport you to look after a thing, of which, if enjoyed, you can re­ceive no Content, and which will bring unto me the greatest sorrow that possibly I can have. You have had such experience of my good will unto you since the time of my Youth, and of my greatest Beauty, [Page 85](for which your passion might find some excuse) that I do much wonder that in my greater age, and this Deformity into which Misfortune hath now brought me, you have the heart and desire to torment me. I am assured you know that my Will is the same which it hath been accustomed to be, so that you cannot have, unlesse it be by force, that which you do de­mand; And if you observe but how my face is marty­red, (in the forgetting the beauty which you have seen in it) you would no longer have a desire to come neer me; and if there doe as yet remain any relicks of love in you, it is impossible but that your pity should overcome your sury; And to that pity and honesty which I have so often found in you, I do ad­dresse my complaint, and do desire their protection, to the end that according to their better counsels you would permit me to live in peace and honesty, which I have resolved to doe. But if the love which you have born unto me is converted all into hate; and if rather for vengeance than affection you will make me the most wretched woman in the world, I do assure you, that it shall not be so, and that you will inforce me (against my resolution) to declare your cruelty, and inordinate appetite to her, who doth conceive so well of you, and, in that apprehension, you may assure your self that your life will be in danger. Amadour breaking off her Discourse, said unto her, If I must die, I care not, I will be immediately freed of my torment, and the deformity of your face (which I be­lieve was done by your own Will) shall not hinder my will, for if I could have nothing but your bones only, I would keep them alwayes with me. When Florinda saw that neither her prayers, reasons, nor her tears could work any Impression upon him, and that so great a fury did pursue his wicked desires that she no longer could make resistance, she ayded her self with a remedy which she feared as much as the losse of his life, and with a sad and pitifull voice called to her Mother, as lowd as possibly she could, who hearing [Page 86]her daughter to cry unto her in such a manner, had a marvellous great fear of that which was probable e­nough, and did run as fast as her legs could carry her into her Wardrobe. Amadour, who was not so rea­dy to die as he pretended, did let go his Prize in so good a time, that the Lady opening her Cabanet did find him at the door, and Florinda standing a good way from him; The Countesse demanded of him, A­madour, what is the matter, tell me the Truth? He who was never unprovided of an Excuse, with a pale Countenance said unto her, Madam, Into what a Temper is Madam Florinda brought? I was never so amazed as at this present, I thought that I had some part in her affection, but I have nothing lesse. It seems to me, Madam, that since the time she was brought up under you, she was never lesse wise nor virtuous than now she is. She was accustomed to make no conscience to speak, or to look on any, and now I would but only look on her, and she would not permit me, and when I beheld her face (not thinking it was so altered) I demanded to kisse her hand, according to the fashion of the Country, she al­together refused me. Madam, It is true that I have done her wrong, for which I demand pardon of you: It was, that I took her hand by force, and kissed it, demanding no other contentment of her, but she who (as I believe) hath determined my death, cried out unto you, (as you did hear) I cannot tell for what, unlesse she entertains a fear, that I had other desires about me than indeed I have; Neverthelesse, Ma­dam, in whatsoever manner it be, I dow avow the Injury to be mine; for although she ought to love all your good Servants, yet Fortune hath so ordered it, that I alone, and the most affectionate of them all, am turned out of her favour. Neverthelesse I will alwayes continue most faithfull both to you and her. And I must beseech you, Madam, that you will be pleased to continue me in your good opinion, since without any demerit of mine, I have lost hers. The Countesse [Page 87]who in part did believe, and in part did suspect what he alleged, did goe unto her Daughter, and said unto her, Wherefore did you call upon me with so lowd a voice? Florinda made answer, Because I was struck with a sudden fear; and although the Coun­tesse did put many Interrogatories to her concerning Amadour, both at this present, and many times after­wards, yet she never would make any other answer to her; for seeing that she had escaped out of his hands, she thought him sufficiently punished having hindred his enterprize. After that the Countesse had a long time spoken to Amadour, she suffered him before her to speak unto Florinda, to observe what Countenance he carried to her, to whom he spake but little, but only thanked her, because she confessed not the truth unto her mother, and besought her, that since he had lost his place in her affections, that no other might be possessed in it. To the first she made an­swer, That if she had known any other means to de­fend her self from him, but her voice only, her voice should never have been heard, neither by her Mo­ther, nor any other. To the second, she desired him never to fear that she would love any other, for since she had not found in the heart of that Man, whom she esteemed to be the most virtuous in the world, that Good which she expected, she would never be in­duced to beleeve that it can be in any others. This Misfortune, she said, should be a Help unto her, to preserve her self ever in liberty from those passions which Love doth bring. And having spoke these words, she took her leave of him. Her Mother who observed her Countenance, knew not what to judge of it, but after that time she perceived plainly that her Daughter did no more affect Amadour, and con­cluded thereupon, that she was of a crosse disposition, and hated all those things which she loved, and from that hour did carry her self so strangely to her, that she spoke not one word to her in seven years together, unlesse it were to chide her, and all this was at the [Page 88]request of Amadour. During this time Florinda tur­ned the fear which she had to be with her Husband, into a desire to be never from him, only thereby to a­void the rigour of her Mother: But seeing that no­thing would prevail, she resolved with her self to be even with Amadour; and for two or three dayes together looking upon him with a more pleasing coun­tenance, she counselled him to hold discourse of love with a Lady, who, she said, had spoken very liberal­ly of theirs. This Lady was in the Court of the Queen of Spain, and was called Loretta; she was proudly glad to have obtained such a Servant as A­madour, and so great were the familiarities betwixt them, that the report thereof was noised every where, and the Countesse of Arand being at Court did her self perceive it; wherefore afterwards she did not so much torment Florinda as she had been accustomed to do. Florinda one day understood, that the Captain (the Husband of Loretta) was possessed with so great a Jealousie, that he was resolved, by one means or other, to kill Amadour; Florinda, who for all her dis­sembled countenance, could carry no ill will in her heart to Amadour, did immediately advertise him of it; but he who was most easie to be drawn into his first train, did make answer to her, That if she plea­sed to entertain him but three hours in a day, he would never speak to Loretta more, which she would not consent unto, Whereupon Amadour said unto her, Since you will not have me to live, wherefore do you deny me to dye? unlesse you hope to give me more punishments by life than a thousand Deaths can afflict upon me. But although Death doth flie me, I will never leave looking after it, untill I have found it; for in Death onely I shall have Rest. Whiles they were in this Conference, news was received that the King of Granada had begun a most cruel War a­gainst the King of Spain, insomuch that the King had sent thither the Prince his Son, and with him the Constable of Castile, and the Duke of Alba, as two [Page 89]Adjunct, of great trust and experience; Whereupon the Duke of Cardona, and the Earl of Arand would not stay behind, and besought the King to assign them some charge in the Army, which he did accor­ding to their Houses, and appointed Amadour to be their Guide, who during the War was so famous for his atchievments, that they seemed rather to proceed from a desperat rashnesse, than a well-grounded re­solution; and to give you the intention of my ac­count, I must inform you, that his great Courage was approved to his Death: For the Moors pretending that they would give battel to the Army of the Chri­stians, having better observed how it was marshal­led, and how great it was, did make as though they fled, and the Spaniards did follow them in the pursute, but the old Constable, and the Duke of Alba, suspe­cting the Stratagem of the Moors, with much impor­tunity did withhold the Prince of Spain that he pas­sed not the River, which, notwithstanding the Or­ders to the contrary, the Count of Arand, and the Duke of Cardona did, and when the Moors saw that they were followed with so unconsiderable a number, they did return upon them, and with one blow of a Scemiter, did Iay the Duke of Cardona dead upon the place, and so wounded the Count of Arand, that he fell to the Ground. Upon this Defeat Amadour arri­ved, so furious and enraged, that with great slaughter he did break through the Army of the Moors, and commanded the two Bodies of the Duke and of the Count to be taken up, and to be brought into the Princes Camp, who did so much lament their deaths, as they had been his own Brothers. But, in behol­ding their wounds, he found the Count of Arand yet living, who was sent in a Litter to his own house, where he continued a long time sick, and on the other side the body of the young Duke was brought unto Cardona. Amadour having done his endeavour to bring off these two Dukes, did think so little of him­self, that he was suddenly invironed with a great [Page 90]number of the Moors, and he who would no more be taken, having lost his Mistress, falsified not his faith which he made unto God & her; & knowing, That if he should be brought to the King of Granada, that either he should cruelly die, or renounce his Christianity, he did resolve with himself to adde Glory to his Death, and kissing the Crosse on the hilt of his sword, (rendring his Soul and Body to his Creator) he did give himself so mortal a blow, that there needed not a Second to dispatch him. So dyed the poor Ama­dour, and was as much lamented as his Virtues de­served. The News thereof was immediately carried through all Spain; insomuch that Florinda who was at Barcelona, where her Husband was interred, after that she had honourably performed the Funerals, without speaking either to her own Mother, or her Mother-in-Law, or any other, did render her self a Votaress in the Monastery of Jesus, taking him for her Hus­band and her Friend, who had delivered her from a love so vehement as that of Amadour, and from a per­secution so grievous as was the Company of her Hus­band. She imployed all her affections to the love of God, and that so perfectly, that having lived a long time a religious life, she surrendred her Soul to God, with so much joy as the Espoused doth go to behold her Spouse.

Ladies, I know that this long History doth prove tedi­ous unto you all, but if I should have satisfied him who first of all gave me the account, I should have yet made it longer. I must beseech you Ladies, that in following the Example of the Virtues of Florinda, you would abate a little of her cruelty, and not at the first to believe so much Good of Men, as by the acknowledgment of it, to give them afterwards a cruel Death, and to your selves a sor­rowfull life. After that Parlament had spoke so long, she turning to Hircan said unto him, It appeareth now plainly to you, that this Lady was sollicited and importu­ned to the last, and that most virtuousty she resisted. No, said Hircan, For a woman cannot make the least resistance [Page 91]but by crying out, and if she had been in a place where she could not be heard, I know not what would have become of her; And if Amadour had been more amorous, and lesse fearfull, he had not for so little have left off his en­terprise. And this Example doth not move me at all from the opinion I maintain, that there was never any Man who loved perfectly, or was beloved by a Lady, that ever failed in the event, if he followed his sute as he ought to do. Neverthelesse I must here praise Amadour, that he did some part of his Duty. Duty? what Duty, said Oysilla? Do you call it Duty in a Servant to take his Mistresse by force, to whom he oweth all reverence and obedience? Saffredant took the word, and said unto her, Madam, when our Mistresses do keep their ranks, either in Chambers or in Halls, and do sit at their own ease, an our Judges, we are on knees before them; and when in all humility of observance we lead them forth to dance, and serve them so diligently, that we even prevent their Com­mands, and seem so fearfull to offend them, and so desi­rous to serve them, that those who see us, have pity on us, and esteem us out of our wits, and more sottish tha [...] Beasts, and attribute all the glory to our Ladies, whose countenances are so bold, and whose words so attractive, that they make themselves to be feared, loved, and estee­med by those who look not but only on the out-side: But when we are by our selves, and Love is the only Judge of our countenances, we understand well enough that they are Women, and that we are Men, and then the Name of Mi­stresse is converted into Sweet-heart, and the Name of a Servant into Friend; it is from thence that the Proverb finds its beginning, To serve well, and to be loyal, is from a Servant to become a Master. They have the honour, which Men at their pleasure can give and take from them, and beholding that we patiently do endure, it is reason they conceive, that our sufferance should be recompenced, when their Honour is not wounded. You do not speak of true Honour, said Longaren, which is the only content­ment of this World; for when all the World shall speak me a virtuo us woman, and I am conscious to my self to the [Page 92]contrary, their praise doth increase my shame, and doth ren­der me more confused in my self; and on the other side, when they speak evil of me, and I perceive my Innocence, their blame doth turn into my contentment; for there was never any one that ever did find content, but only in him­self. Because all have spoken now, said Ouebron, it seems to me that Amadour was at gallant & virtuous a Gentle­man as a man can be; and because the Names are feigned, I suppose I did know him; but seeing that Parlament would not give him his right Name, no more will I. And I am most confident, that if he be the same whom I conje­cture, his heart did never entertain any fear, nor was e­ver void of Love and Courage. Oysilla said unto them, It seems to me that this Dayes work is passed away with joy, and that if in this manner we shall continue the rest, we shall make the time seem short, with the variety of our honest Discourse. For see yonder how far the Sun is gone, and you may hear the Bell of the Abbey, which a long time hath called us to the Vespers, of which I have not adver­tised you, for the Devotion to hear the end of this Account, was more great than that to hear Vespers. And in spea­king those words, they did all arise, and comming to the Abbey they found there the religious Men, who had atten­ded for them above an hour. Vespers being heard, they repaired to Supper, and all the Evening they discoursed of stories which they had heard, and examined their Memo­ries, to see if they could make the following Dayes work as delightfull as was the former; and after a thousand sports and courses in the Meadow, they resorted to their Rests, crowning the first Dayes work with a most joyfull period.

The End of the First days Work.

The Second Dayes Work of the Novells of the Queen of NAVARRE.
The Preface.

ON the next morning they did arise with a great desire to return into the place where the day before they had re­ceived such pleasure; and everyone had his Ac­count so ready, that it seem'd long unto them until it was brought unto the light. After they had heard Madam Oysillas Lecture, and, af­ter that, the Mass, where every one recommen­ded himself to God, and besought Elocution and Gra [...]e of him in the continuation of this Assembly, they repaired to Dinner, repeating to one another many histories of things passed.

After Dinner, having reposed themselves a little in their Chambers, they returned upon the appointed hour into the Meadow, where it seemed to them that both the time and the day did favour their enterprise; and being all sat [Page]down upon the natural cushion of the green grass, Parlament said, Because last night I did put an end to the Tenth Novell, it belongs, I conceive, to me, to choose one who shall begin the continuation of yesterdays discourse: And because that Madam Oysilla was the first of all the Women who did speak yesterday, as being the most wise & antient, I will this day give my voice to the most young, I will not say to the most weak in apprehension, being assured, that if we should all but follow her Example, we shall not make them to stay so long for us at Vespers as ye­sterday they did; wherefore Nomerfide, you shall have this day the first place in the dis­course; but I must beseech you that you will not make us to begin our Dayes work with tears. You need not to intreat me, said Nomerfide, for I was before resolved to the contrary, re­membring myself of an account which was told me about a year agoe, by a Burgesse of Tours, who was born in Amboys, and affirmed to me that he was present at the Preachment of the Frier, of which I will now speak unto you.

THE NOVELLS Of Queen MARGARET.

The facetious passages of a Frier in his Sermons.
The First Novell.

NEer unto the City of Blere in Tou­rain, there is a Town called St. Martin le-beau; to which place a Frier of the Covent of Tours was called to preach on the Advents, and in the Lent ensuing. This Frier, more lowd than learned, having not wherewith to inform his Auditors, did deliberate with himself to begin his hour with some account that might give some satisfa­ction to the people of the Village. On Maundy-Thursday, preaching of the Paschal Lamb, when he came to speak that it was to be eaten at night, and [Page 94]beheld so many young and fair Women of Amboys to be present at his Sermon, who were lately arrived to keep there their Easter, and to continue in that place some dayes afterwards, he began to be on a merry pin, and demanded of all the Women that were pre­sent, if they knew not what it was to eat raw flesh at night? (Ladies, I assure you I speak his own words after him) The young Men of Amboys who were pre­sent, and came commonly with their Wives, Sisters, and Kinswomen, and who knew not the humor of the Confessor, began to be offended at him; But after that they had heard him further, they turned their scandal into laughter, especially when he said, That to eat the Paschal Lamb, they must have girded their reins, and their feet on their shooes, and their hands in the staff. The Frier observing them to laugh, and doubting for what it was, did immediately correct himself, and well, well, said he, their shooes then on their feet, and a staff in their hands; A hat white, or a white hat, is it not all one? His auditors did fall all a-laughing at this, and the Ladies them­selves could not contain, to whom he did apply him­self with variety of such vain discourse; and percei­ving that his hour was almost out, he was unwilling that the young Women should depart discontented from him, he said therefore unto them, And now my young Ladies, I am sure, that by and by you will in your prattle, ask the Gossips that are with you, What Mr. Frier is this that delivers himself so confidently this day? Why I will tell you Ladies, he is a good Fellow, and be not you astonished, be not, I say, though he talketh never so lowdly; for I am of Anjou, and at your service, Ladies. And speaking those words, he did make an end of his Preachment, by which he did leave his Auditors more ready to laugh at his foolish discourse, than to weep in the memory of the Passion of our Saviour, the Commemoration whereof was then to be solemnized. His other Ser­mons, during the said Feast of Easter, were of the same [Page 95]efficacy. And, as you know well enough, that these Brothers are very forward in their exhortations to receive their benevolences at Easter, by which they have not onely their Eggs given them, but many other things, as odd Remnants of Linnen, and Flax, Pud­dings, Gammons, or Leggs of Bacon, and Chines of Bacon, and many other such small Collations; Easter Tuesday being come, when he was to make his Re­commendations (of which these people are alwayes li­beral enough) he directing his course again to the Women, said, Ladies, I am bound to give you thanks for your liberality which you have shewed to our poor Covent, but it is requisite that I speak plain unto you, That you have not considered of the Necessities in which we stand; for the greatest part of that which you have given us, are Links and Puddings, and, God be praised, we have no need of them; our Covent is full of good Puddings already, What shall we doe with them then? would you know what? Ladies I shall advise you then, if you would but put your Gam­mons to our Puddings, you would give us a good Alms indeed. In this manner continuing his Ser­mon, he gave a new occasion of offence; and discour­sed very briskly from above, & having instanced some Examples, he did put himself into an Admiration, and said, My good Sirs, and Ladies of St. Martins, I am much astonished at you, that you should make strange at that which is nothing, and speaking of me to one another, should say, This is a strange Frier, I will tell you what; Suppose that a Monk should get the Daughter of his Hostesse with Child, this would be some wonder, that a Monk should get a Girl with Child, but let us come to the point, my Ladies, Sup­pose that this Girl should get the Monk with Child, why there would be your cause of wonder in­deed.

See here, my Ladies, the Viands with which this gen­tle Pastor did nourish the flock of God; And yet he is so impudent, as still to go into the Pulpit, where he ought not [Page 96]to make any discourse at all, which is not wholly for the Instruction of his neighbours, or the glory of God. This was a Master-Frier in earnest, said Saffredant, I should love him as well as I do Frier Annebant, on whose back I would put all the merry Discourse which can be delivered in a whole Parish. Oysilla made answer, I love not to have men laugh at such prophaneness, especially in this Case. Nomerfide replyed, Madam, it is not long ago, if it be not so still, that not only the honest people of the Vil­lages, but also a considerable part in the greatest Towns (who think better of themselves than the rest) had such Preachers in far greater Reverence, than those who purely and sincerely preached the Holy Gospel. In whatsover sort it was, said Hircan, Was it not an Injury to demand the Womens Gammons to be mingled with their Puddings, since there is far more meat in the Gammons? Nay, and if some devout Woman had understood him, according to his fallacy, (as I believe that he himself did mean it) neither he nor his Companions would be in any other conditiō, than the young Girl who had her Sack too full. But you may behold, said Oysilla, what a most impudent Man this was, to corrupt at his pleasure the Text of holy Scrip­ture, thinking to meet with such Beasts as himself, and in doing so, most wickedly to endeavour to supplant poor women, by teaching them how to eat raw flesh at night. You take no notice at all, said Simontault, that he saw before him the young women of Amboys, in whose Troughs he would willingly have washed his Whatch-I-call-it; No: but you understand it well enough; and make them to tast it, not rosted, but hot in a wanton Exercise, to give them greater pleasure. Good, good (Signior Simontault, said Parlament) you do forget your self, or do you keep your accustomed Modesty in Reserve, to be only ready when you have need of it. No Madam, said he, but the dishonesty of the Monk did cause me so far to wander from my self; Therefore to put our selves again into our first course, I desire Nomerfide, who was the occasion of my digression, to give her voice to some one who might make us to forget our common fault. Since you make me to [Page 97]partake of your fault, said Nomerfide, I will address my self to one who will help our present imperfection; it is Dagoucin, who is so grave, that he will rather die than have a foolish word come from him. Dagoucin thanked her for the good opinon she had of him, and began to spoak his History, the effect whereof was to make you under­stand how much Love doth blind the most great, and the most honest hearts, and that a Discourtesie is hard to be overcome by any former benefit, how great soever it be.

The Inconvenience that b [...] fell a Duke, and his im­pudence to arrive to his Intentions, with the just punishment of his ill­laid Designe.
The Second Novell.

SOme time since, in the City of Florence there lived a Duke, who espoused Madam Margaret, daughter to the Emperor Charles the Fifth; and because she was so young, that it was nor yet lawfull for him to lie with her, he entertained her very honourably and lovingly, until she did arrive unto the ripeness of age. For, to forbear her, he became amorous of some other Ladies in the City, whom in the night he went to court when his Wife was asleep. Amongst others, there was a most beautifull and virtuous Lady, who was Sister to a Gentleman whom the Duke loved as himself, and to whom he gave so much authority in his House, that his word was obeyed, and feared, as that of the Dukes, and he had no secret in his heart, which he declared not unto him: Insomuch, that he might well be called his second Self. The Duke observing his Sister to be so accomplished a Lady, and that he had not the means to declare the love which he did bear unto her; having sought all wayes [Page 98]that were possible for the effecting of it, at last addres­sed himself to the Gentleman whom so intirely he did affect, & said unto him, If there were any thing in the world (my Friend) which I would not do for you, I should be affraid to declare unto you my thoughts, and much more to desire you to be ayding to me in them, but I bear you so much good will, that if I had Wife, Mother, or Daughter, that might conduce to save your Life, I would rather imploy them all in it, than to suffer you to die in torment; and I believe that the Love which you bear to me is reciprocal to mine. And if I who am your Master do bear such an affection to you, I presume that you do not bear any lesse to me: Wherefore I will declare one secret to you, the concealment whereof doth keep me in this estate, wherein you see me, of which I can look for no amendment, but onely by Death, or by the service which you may do me. The Gentleman observing the Reasons of his Master, and that his face in earnest was bathed in tears, had so great a compassion of him, that he said unto him, Sir, I am your Creature, all the Fortunes and Honours I enjoy, do proceed from you, you may speak to me as to your friend, being as­sured, That all which lies in my power is in your own hands. Incontinently the Duke began to de­clare unto him the love which he did bear unto his Sister, which was so great and violent, that if by his means he had no redresse, he found he could not live long; for he knew by experience, that neither Let­ters, nor Prayers, nor Presents, could prevail upon her: Wherefore he conjured him, If he loved his life, as deerly as his life was beloved by him, that he would find a means to procure him that benefit, which without him, he concluded, it was impossible to en­joy. The Brother, who loved his Sister, and the honor of his House more than the pleasure of the Duke, did endeavour to make him some Remonstrance to the contrary, beseeching him in all other ways to imploy him, but to excuse him onely in this thing, it [Page 99]being too cruel and too unnatural to him to purchase the dishonor of his own bloud, & that neither his heart nor his Honour could comply with this Command. The Duke enflamed with an anger insupportable, did bite his nails, and made reply unto him in great fu­ry, It is no matter, seeing I find in you no respects of Friendship to me, I know what I have to do. The Gentleman understanding the cruelty of his Master, was struck into a fear, and said unto him, Sir, Be­cause it is your pleasure, I will speak unto her, and I will give you an account of her answer to me. The Duke answered departing from him, As you make much of my life, [...] will I of yours: The Gentleman understood well [...]nough what he did mean by those words, and abs [...]ted himself a day or two from the Duke to consider what he had to do. On one side there was presented to him the Obligation which he owed to his Master, and the benefits, and the Ho­nours which he had received from him. On the other side his thoughts reflected on the Honour of his House, the honesty and chastity of his Sister, and the assurance he had that she would never consent to so foul a Motion, if she were not surprized by deceit, or by force. Wherefore having taken these Premi­ses into his consideration, he concluded, That he would rather die, than be the Author of so ill an Of­fice to his Sister, who was one of the most virtuous Ladies in all Italy. He was rather obliged, he did judge, to deliver his Countrey from such a Tyrant, who by force would stain the Honour of his Family. He was assured, besides, that unlesse the Duke was dead, the life of himself and of his Sister were abso­lutely lost. Wherefore, without so much as speaking one word unto his Sister, he determined with him­self to save his own life, and by the same way to re­venge the shame which was intended to be brought upon her. At the end of two dayes he addressed him­self to the Duke, and told him how he had practised with his Sister, who (but not without great difficul­ty) [Page 100]did consent unto his pleasure, which she hoped should be kept secret, seeing none but himself, who was her own Brother, had any knowledge of it. The Duke, who desired this News, did easily believe it, and imbracing the Messenger, did promise him what­soever he would demand, and desiring him that it might quickly be put in execution, they agreed be­tween themselves upon the day. If the Duke were not high with hopes and Joyes, I will leave it to you to judge. When he saw the night so much desired to approach, in which he promised himself to have the Victory over her, whom he thought invincible, he withdrew himself betimes from his Court, having none in his Company but this Gentleman alone, and forgot not to take along with him a Night-cap, and a shirt perfumed in the best manner as possibly it might be. And taking his opportunity in the Eve­ning, he did go along with this Gentleman to the Lodging of this Lady, where he came into a Chamber very richly prepared. The Gentleman assisted him to put off his cloaths, and helped him into Bed, say­ing to him, Sir, I will now go and setch her my self unto you, who will not enter into this Chamber with­out many blushes, but I hope before the Morning she will be assured of you. In this manner her left the Duke, and did go into his own Chamber, where he found but one of all his Servants, to whom he said, Have you the heart to follow me into a place where I will revenge my self on the greatest Enemy I have in the world? His Man not knowing what he would do, said unto him, Yes Sir, and it were the Duke himself. Immediatly the Gentleman did take him with him, who on the sudden had not the leisure to take any other A [...]ms, but a Ponyard only which he had always about him; When the Duke did hear him comming, conceiving that he had brought her along with him whom he loved so intirely, he opened the Curtain, and his eyes, to behold her, and to receive her into his arms whom so long he expected; but in­stead [Page 101]of beholding her from whom he hoped to have the preservation of his life, he beheld the precipitati­on of his death, which was a drawn sword which the Gentleman had in his hand, with which he struck at the Duke with all his force, who was in his shirt, and being without arms, but not without heart, defended the blow with the Bed-cloaths, and taking hold of the Gentleman about the body, said unto him, Is this the fulfilling of the promise which you made me? And seeing he had no other weapon but his teeth and nails, he did bite the Gentleman on the pulse of his hands, and with the strength of his arms did so long defend himself, that they both fell down between the Wall and the Bed. The Gentleman who began to be overborn by him, called to his servant, who sin­ding the Duke and his Master so tyed together, that he knew not which of them to choose, did dragg them both by the feet into the middle of the Room, and with his Poynard did cut the throat of the Duke, who defended himself until the losse of bloud did render him so feeble, that he could make no more opposition. Then the Gentleman and his Servant did carry him into the bed, where with many blows and thrusts of the Ponyard they did over-act their Murder. After­wards, having drawn close the Curtains, they did both depart, and shut up the dead Body in the Chamber. When the Gentleman saw himself victo­rious over his Enemy, by whose death he thought to procure the Liberty of the Publick, he conceived that his work was imperfect, if he did not as much to five or six more of those who were next in power to the Duke. And to put his hand to the work, he told his Servant, that he should go for them one after ano­ther, and do with them as he had done with the Duke. But his Servant, who was not of any great heart or courage, said unto him; Sir, Methinks you have done well enough already for one time, and that you should rather think of saving your own life, than of taking more lives away from others; for if we should [Page 102]stay to do as much to every one of them, as we have done unto the Duke, the day would discover our en­rerprize, before we should have put any period to it, although we should have found them all without de­fence. The Gentleman, whose evill conscience did render him fearful, did beleeve his Servant, and ta­king him along with him, he addressed himself to the Bishop, in whose Custody were the charge of the Keys of the City, and the Command of the Post-horses. The Gent. said unto him, I have this Evening received News, that my Brother is on the point of Death, I have been to demand leave of the Duke to go unto him, who hath granted it; Wherefore I desire you to command the Posts to let me have two good horses, and the Porter of the City to open the Gates un­to me. The Bishop, who esteemed his intreaty no lesse than the Commandement of the Duke, with whom he knew he was most gracious, did give him incontinently a Ticket, by virtue whereof both the Gates of the City were opened to him, and the Post­horses suddenly provided, accordingly as he desired. And instead of seeing his Brother, he took his way directly to Venice, where he caused the bitings which the Duke had given him, to be healed, and not long after he travelled into Turkey.

In the Morning the Servants of the Duke found it very long before he came forth, and did attend his re­turn; for they suspected that he was gone to see some Lady: But seeing the morning far spent, and they could hear nothing of him, they began to look for him in every place. The poor Dutchesse, who be­gan to affect him most intirely, understanding that they could not hear any News of him, wa [...] in a great perplexity. But when the Gentleman, whom so well he loved, could be heard of no more than himself, they resorted to his house to seek him our, and finding some drops of bloud at his Chamber door, they did enter into his Chamber, and found not any there to give them the least Intelligence; but their suspition [Page 103]increasing, they followed the tracts of the bloud, and came to the Door of the Chamber where the Duke was, which they found locked, and having broken open the Door they found the place full of bloud, and drawing the Curtains, they found the body in the Bed asleep, to wake no more. You may imagine what Lamentation his poor Servants made, who car­ryed his dead body into the Palace, whither the Bi­shop came, and informed them how in the time of night the Gentleman in great diligence departed, un­der pretence to see his Brother. By which it most clearly did appear, that it was hewho did commit that Murther. And it was also proved, That his poor Si­ster did never hear the least word of any thing; who, although she was astonished at the sad news she heard, yet it increased her love unto her Brother, who had delivered her from so cruel a Prince, the Enemy of her Chastity, by the apparent hazard of his own life; And continuing more and more her Progresse in all virtues, although she was poor (for her House and all her goods were confiscated) she found good friends & rich Kinred in Italy, by whom being assisted, she lived a long time in great and good reputation.

Ladies, here you see what may make you fear that little God, who taketh delight to torment Princes, as well as Beggars, and the mighty as well as the feeble, and who doth render them so blind, that they lose God, and their Conscience, and at last their own lives. And Princes, and those who are in authority, may well be afraid how they displease those who are inferiours to them, for there is none so weak, but he can do hurt, when God will take vengeance upon a sinner, nor so great, that can guard him­self from his Enemy, when he is under his power. This History was much listned to by all the Company, but it produced great diversities of Judgement; for some main­tained that the Gentleman had done his duty in saving his own life, and the honour of his Sister, as also in delive­ring his Country from a Tyrant. Others were of another mind, and affirmed, that it was a great Ingratitude in the [Page 104]Gentleman to put him to death, who had bestowed up­on him so many benefits and honours. The Ladies said, that he was a good Brother, and a virtuous Citizen. The Men professed the contrary, and that he was a Traitor, and a wicked Servant.

It would be requisite in this place to allege the reasons on both sides, but the Ladies (according to their Custom) did speak as much by passion as by reason, assirming, that the Duke was worthy of Death, and that happy was the hand that did give the blow; wherefore Dagoucin per­ceiving the great contestation that he had made amongst them, did say unto them, For Gods sake Ladies, Let there be no more a quarrell concerning a thing already passed, but take heed that your own beauties do not com­mi! more cruel Murders than hers of whom I have given you an account. Parlament said, The fair Lady with­out mercy hath taught us to say, That her gracious Malady many did slay. Madam, I would to God said Dagou­cin, that all the Ladies in this Company did know how false that opinion is, I believe they would not own the Name to be without Mercy, nor resemble that incredulous Woman, who did let her Servant die in refusing to give him a gracious answer. You would then (said Parla­ment) to save the life of one who saith be loveth us, that we lose at once both our Honours and our Consciences. That is not that (said Dagoucin) which I do mean; For he who loveth perfectly, will fear how he woundeth the honour of his Mistresse; more than her self: Therfore it seems to me, that a civil and a courteous answer, such as a sair and an honest love requireth, cannot but in­crease Honour, and confirm the Conscience; for he is no true Servant that doth desire the contrary. This alwayes (said Emarsuite) is the end of your reasons, which be­gin with Honour, and end in the contrary: And if those Men who are here present would speak the truth, I should believe them without their Oaths. Hircan did swear, for his part, that he never loved any woman, his wise ex­cepted, with whom he did not desire to be a Sinner. Si­montault said as much, and added, That he had often [Page 105]wished that all wives in the world were pliant, & easie to be gained, his own excepted. Gue bron said unto him, Truly you do well deserve that your own Wife were such as you desire others to be; but for my self, I can justly swear, that I do so truly love one Lady, that I had rather die, than that for me she should suffer such a change, that I should esteem her the lesse afterwards; for my Love is so much groun­ded on her virtues, that for all the good which in this world can arrive unto me, I would not see her in the least sort blemished. Saffredant began to laugh, and did say unto him, I did think Guebron, that the love of your wife, and the good opinion that you have of her, had ex­cused you from being amorous of others, but I perceive it is not so: For you use the very same terms with which we are accustomed to deceive the most subtle, and to be heard by the most wisest Ladies; for who are they will stop their ears when we shall begin with Honour and Vir­tue: But if we did show them our hearts, such as indeed they are, there are many of us (who are bid very welcom amongst Ladies) whom they would make afterwards no account of at all. We cover therefore our Devil with the best Angel that we can find out. And under that cover­ture, before we are discovered, we receive gallant enter­tainment; And by this means we do so draw on the hearts of the Ladies, that they do think they do go in the direct way to virtue, and knowing afterwards the vice of the deceipt, it may be they have neither the means nor the leisure to retreat. Truly said Guebron, I took you for another Man than such as you expresse your self, and that Virtue was more agreeable to you than Pleasure. How, said Saffredant, Is not the greatest virtue to love as God commandeth us? It seemeth to me to be far better done, to love a woman as a woman, than to idolize her, as divers others do. And as for my self, I continue firm in that opinion, That it is better far to use them, than to abuse them. The Ladies were all of Guebrons opinion, and constrained Saffiedant to hold his peace, who said, I am well contented to speak no more; for I have been so scorn­fully used amongst them, that I have no mind to return [Page 106]thither again. Your subtilty, and malice, said Longa­ren, is the cause of our course entertainment of you, for what honest Lady is there who would maintain you for a Servant, after this Discourse you have held with us? Some who do find me not so troublesom (said Saffredant) Will not exchange their honesty for yours. But let us talk no more, that my choler may not be displeasing to my self, or to any one else. Let us observe to whom Dagoucin will give his voice, who said; I give it unto Parlament; for I conceive that she knows better than any other, what is that love which is most true and perfect. Parlament said, Since I am chosen to give you an account, I will declare unto you a History which happened to a Lady who hath been one of my greatest friends, and the thought of whom is alwayes lodged in my memory.

A Captain of a Galley, under the pretence of De­votion, became amorous of a young Lady, and what Fortune he incountred.
The Third Novell.

IN the House of Madam the Regent Mother of King Francis, there was a very devout Gentlewoman, married to a Gentleman, who, as her self, was piously affected. And although her Husband were old, and she was beautifull and young, yet she served and lo­ved him, as if he were the handsomest, and the youn­gest man in the world. And to take away from him all occasion of suspition, she attired her self in the ha­bit of an Old woman, and suitable to the age in which he was, and abandoned all Companies, Fashions, Dances, and Playes, which young Ladies are accusto­med to frequent, and placed all her pleasure and re­creation in the Service of God. Wherefore her Husband did repose so great a love and trust in her, that she governed both his House and himself at her [Page 107]own pleasure. It so fell out, that one day the Gen­tleman told her, that from his Youth he had a great desire to make a voyage to Jerusalem. She who desi­red nothing more than to please him, said unto him, Sweet-heart, Since God hath deprived us of Chil­dren, and bestowed upon us wealth sufficient, I would desire you to set apart some quantity of it for so holy a voyage; for go where you will, thither, or elswhere, I am resolved to go with you, and never to abandon you. The good Man was so glad of it, that he thought he was already upon the Mount of Calvary. During this resolution, there came a Gentleman to the Court, who had been often in the War against the Turks, and besought the assistance of the King of France in an en­terprize upon one of their Cities, by which he said that great profit would redound to all Christendom: The old Gentleman demanded of him his Expediti­on, and after he understood his Resolution, he de­manded of him, If after that voyage he would make another to Jerusalem, whither his Wife and himself had a great desire to go. The Captain being very glad to hear their good desires, did promise them to be a guide unto them in the way, and desired him to keep the affair secret. The good old Gentleman thought the time long till he had found his wife, to give her an account of what he had done, who had as great a desire to undertake the voiage as her Husband. And eftentimes on this occasion, she conferr'd with the Captain, who regarding her beauty more than her words, became so amorous, that speaking to her of the voyages he had made upon the Seas, he would tel her of his imbarking at Marseilles upon the Archipel [...]g [...] and thinking to speak of a Ship, he would tell her a story of a Horse, as a Man transported, and out of his sense. But he found her to be such, that he durst not speak to her, nor make any Countenance of Love; And the concealing of his Love did beget such a fire in his heart, that he oftentimes fell sick, but the Gentlewoman was as carefull of him as of the Crosse [Page 108]it self, & circumspect to guide her course: howsoever she sent many times to visit him, by which he understan­ding that she had some respect unto him, did recover of himself, without any Physick at all. But divers Gentlemen observing this Captain, who had the re­port to be as gallant and brave a Man, as a good Christian, did much wonder to see him so often to accost this Gentlewoman; and seeing that he had changed the condition of his life, and frequented al­together the Churches, Sermons, and Confessions, they suspected it was to obtain the favor of the young Gentlewoman, and could not refrain, but spoke some words unto him concerning that subject. The Cap­tain fearing that it might be brought unto her ear, did absent himself from her company in publick, and told her Husband and her self, That he should sud­denly be dispatched at Court and be gone, and that he had many things to inform them with, but because the Affair should be kept secret, he would neither speak with himself nor his Wife in publick, but desi­red them to send for him when they were in private both together. The Gentleman approved his Coun­sel, and failed not every night to go to bed betimes, and to make his Wife also to put off her cloaths to keep him Company: And when their Servants were departed from them, they sent for the Captain, and consulted on their voyage to Jerusalem, and the good old Man in great devotion talking of it, would often fall asleep with the word Jerusalem in his mouth. The Captain seeing the old Gentleman asleep in his Bed, and himself in the Chair, and neer unto her whom he thought the most beautiful and most accomplished in the world, had his heart so locked up and besie­ged with fear, and a desire to speak, that he often lost his speech. But to the end that she might not per­ceive him, he imployed himself to talk of the holy places in Jerusalem, where still remained the signes of the great love which our Saviour Jesus Christ did bear unto us; And in speaking of that Love he cove­red [Page 109]his own, looking on the young Gentlewoman with tears and sighs, who perceived nothing at all. For observing his demure countenance, she concei­ved him to be a grave and a pious man, and desired him to acquaint her what was the course of life which he had lead, and how he did arrive to this Love of God. He declared unto her that he had been a poor Gentleman, who to purchase Riches and Honor had forgot his Conscience, and espoused a Wife too near allyed unto him, only because she was rich, and whom he could not love, being both old and ill-favoured. But having consumed a great part of her Estate, he went to Sea to seek adventures there, and had thri­ved so well by his endeavours, that he was become Master of a considerable Fortune: But ever since he was so happy to arrive unto the Knowledge of her self, she, by her Godly discourse and good Examples, was the only Cause that he had changed his life, And all that he resolved upon (if God should return him in safety from his enter prize) was to be a Guide to her Husband and to her self unto Jerusalem, to satis­fie in some part for all his sins, to which he had put a period, but only one sin, which was, that as yet he had not given satisfaction to his Wife, to whom he hoped to be shortly reconciled. This discourse did much please the Gentlewoman, but above all she rejoyced that she had drawn such a Man to the love and the fear of God. Till the time of his departure from the Court he had with her every evening these long discourses, and never offered to declare unto her his Intentions, he only presented her with a Cruci­fix, to which was annexed our Lady of Pity, and be­sought her, that in his absence looking on that, she would call himself into her Memory. The hour of his departure being come, having taken his leave of her Husband, who immediately fell asleep, he came to his Wife to give her a Farewell, and seeing tears in her eyes for the honest love she did bear unto him, it did render his passion so insupportable, that not [Page 110]daring to declare it, he did fall down in a swoun, bidding her Farewell in so great an agony and sor­row, that not only his eyes, but all his body did sweat down tears. And without speaking any more words, he departed, at which the Gentlewoman was much amazed, for she never beheld any such sign of Grief before. Neverthelesse she changed not the purpose of her good will towards him, and accompanied him with Prayers and Orisons. At the end of one moneth, as this Gentlewoman one evening returned her to her Lodgings, there met her a Gentleman, who pre­sented her with a Letter from the Captain, desiring her that she would be pleased to read it by her self, and told her that he saw him imbarqued, and resol­ved to go thorough with the enterprise, for the Ho­nour of the King, and the augmentation of the Faith; and for himself, that he was to return to Marseilles to give order for the affairs of the Captain. The Gen­tlewoman retired to a Window by her self, and did read the Letter all along, which contained two sides, and much marvelled at the affection of the Captain, which she never did suspect; And observing that he had presented her with a great and fair Diamond, the Ring wherein it was set being enameld with black, She was in a great perplexity what to do, and having troubled her self all that night concerning it, she was very glad that she had no occasion to write back unto him, or to return him any answer. Nor would she fall out with the Messenger, thinking with her self, that considering the pains he had taken for the service of his Master, he had no need to be rewar­ded with an ill answer; but she resolved to deliver it her self unto him upon his return from his enterprize. Above all, she was much perplexed with the Dia­mond, for she was not accustomed to dresse her self at the expences of any other but her Husband; where­fore being of a good understanding, she deliberated with her self to bring some profit by that Ring to the Conscience of the Captain, and immediatly dispatch­ed [Page 111]one of her servants to the disconsolate wife of the Captain, pretending her self to be a religious woman of Tarasco, and did write unto her in these words, Madam, Monsieur your Husband passed this way a little before he took shipping, and after he had confessed, and re­ceived the Sacrament as a good Christian ought to do, he declared unto me one fault which lay heavy upon his Con­science, which was, the grief that he had not loved you so much as he ought to have done, and prayed and conju­red me at his departure to sead you this Letter with this Diamond, which he desireth you to keep for the Love you bear him; assuring you, That if God shall return him in safety, there was never any woman better used by a Hus­band, than you shall be by him, and this Diamond for the performance of it, shall be a firm pledge unto you of the assurance of his faith. I beseech you to recommend him to God in your prayers, and he shall not want of mine du­ring my life. This Letter, made up, and sealed in the name of one of the Nuns of Tarasco, was sent by the Gentlewoman to the Captains Wife; when the old woman beheld the Letter and the Ring, you need not demand how she wept for joy and grief to be so belo­ved, and esteemed of her Husband, of the sight of whom she saw her self deprived. And kissing the Ring a thousand times she did bedew it with her tears, blessing God that at the end of her Dayes he had restored the love of her Husband to her, which she held to be lost for a long time. She also much than­ked the Nun that was the Cause of her Good; To whom she sent the best answer that she could, which the Messenger reported to his Mistresse, who could neither read nor hear what her servant brought unto her from her, without laughing very heartily, and was well contented to be rid of the Diamond, to procure so great a good, as to establish the Love be­twixt the Husband and the Wife, in doing which she thought to her self she had gained a Kingdom. Not long after there arrived the News of the Defeat, and Death of the poor Captain, and how he was abando­ned [Page 112]by those who ought to succour him, and that his Enterprise was betrayed by the Rhodians, who most of all should have kept it secret, insomuch that himself and those who landed with him, who were about the number of four and twenty, were killed upon the place; amongst whom was a Gentleman called John, and a Turk whom the Gentleman above-specified had answered for at the Fount, both whom she had given to the Captain to attend upon him in his voyage, one whereof died with him, and the Turk being wounded with five arrows, did save himself by swimming to the French ships, by whom alone the Truth of this Defeat was understood: For a Gentleman whom the poor Captain had taken for a Friend and a Companion, and had advanced him into the favour of the King, and the greatest of the Nobility of France, as soon as ever he saw the Captain landed, did retire back with the Ships into the Sea. The Captain seeing his En­terprize discovered, and above Four thousand Turks comming down upon him, would have retreated to the ships, as he ought to have done; but the Gentle­man in whom he did repose his onely Confidence, knowing that in his Death the Charge and Command of the whole Army would be devolved upon himself, did declare unto the Gentlemen and others that were on ship-board, That they ought not to hazard the Vessels of the King, nor so many good Souldiers that were in the ships, to save a few persons only: By this perswasion they who of themselves wanted Cou­rage, did agree in opinion with him. The Captain observing, that the more he called upon them, the more they drew back towards the Main, and removed themselves from his succour, did return towards the Turks, being in Sands up to the knees, where he made such demonstrations of his Valour, and of his know­ledge in Arms, that it seemed that he alone was able to defeat all the numbers of his Enemies; by reason whereof his treacherous Companion entertained a greater fear, than a desire of his Victory. At the last [Page 113](whatsoever defence he could make) he received so many wounds by arrows from those who durst not ap­proach near unto him, that he began to lose much bloud, and the Turks perceiving the weakness of these poor Christians, and scorning their unconsiderable numbers, did fall in upon them, and charged them with their Scemiters, which made deep cuts in their bodies, but as long as God gave them strength and life, they defended themselves, but that failing, the Captain called unto him the Gentleman whose Name was John, whom the Gentlewoman gave unto him, and the Turk, and sticking the point of his Sword on the Sands, falling on his knees, he kissed and kissed again the Crosse upon the hilts thereof, saying, Lord, Take into thy mercy the Soul of him who hath not spared his life to exalt thy name. The Gen­tleman whose name was John, perceiving that his life ended with those words, embraced him, and the Crosse on the hilt of the Sword which he had, thin­king to have assisted him, but a Turk behind him did give him a mortal blow with his Scemiter, who crying aloud, Let us go Captain, Let us go into Paradise to see him for whom we die, he was made the Compani­on of the Death, as he had been of the life of the poor Captain: The Turk seeing he could neither serve or fave either one or the other of them, being hurt him­self with five arrows, did flie to the ships, and deman­ding to be received, although he was the only person that escaped of four and twenty, yet it was refused by the traiterous Companion of the Captain. But he who could swim well enough did throw himself into the Sea, and at last prevailed so far, that he was re­ceived into a small Vessel, and in a few dayes cured of his wounds. And by this poor Stranger the truth of this Act was perfectly known, to the Honour of the Captain, and the Infamy of his Companion, whose offence the King, and all those who ever heard of him, did judge to be so great, both against God and Men, that there was no death so grievous, but they thought [Page 114]he most justly did deserve it. Howsoever at his re­turn to Court, he made so many pretences, and ex­cuses, and gave such great Presents, that he was not only saved from punishment, but had the Command of the Captain conferred on him, whose Groom he was not worthy to be. When this News was first brought unto the Court, Madam the Regent Mother who highly did esteem him, did wonderfully lament him, so did also the King, and all the personages of Honour about the Court: And she whom too well he loved, hearing of his lamentable and Christian death, changed the roughnesse of her language with which she thought to have entertained him at his return, in­to tears and sighes, in which her Husband did keep Company with her, being thus sadly disappointed of his hopes in his Journey to Jerusalem. I cannot here forget, That a Damosel who lived with this Gentle­woman, whose Name was Joan, and loved the Gen­tleman that was given to the Captain better than the loved her self, on the same morning that the Captain and the Gentleman were slain, did come unto her Mistresse and told her, That she had seen him in her sleep last night whom so well she loved, cloathed all in white, who was come unto her to take his Farewell of her, being on that day to go into Paradise with his Captain. But when she found that her Dream was true, she made so great a lamentation, that her Mi­stresse had enough to do to comfort her. Some mo­neths afterwards the Court removed into Normandy, of which Province the Captain was, whose Wife ne­ver failed to come to do Reverence to Madam the Mother Regent; And to be presented to her, she ad­dressed her self to that Gentlewoman whom her Hus­band so much loved; And attending the hour in which they were to go unto the Church to hear Mat­tens, the old woman began to praise and to lament her Husband, and amongst other discourses she said unto her, Madam, My misfortune is greater than ever did befall any woman; for just at the time that [Page 115]he began to love me better than ever he did before, God took him from me. And speaking those words, she shewed her the Ring which she had upon her fin­gers, as the token of his perfect love, which was not without many tears, at which the Lady (though she was sensible enough of the old Womans grief) had so great a desire to laugh, especially since her de­ceit produced this good, that she was unable to pre­sent her to Madam the Regent, but gave her to ano­ther, and retired her self into the Chapel, where ha­ving laughed her fill, she passed away the defire she had to laugh any more.

Ladies, It seems to me, that they unto whom such gifts are presented, should desire to do works that may come to so good an end, as this Gentlewoman did, for they only by ex­perience do find, that good Deeds do redound to the joy of the Doers. And we ought not to accuse this Gentlewoman of Deceit, but to esteem of her good Intentions, who conver­ted that into a Benefit, which of it self is worth nothing. Will you say so (said Nomerfide) Is a fair Diamond of two hundred Crowns price worth nothing? I dare assure you, that if it had fallen into my hands, neither his Wife nor any of his Kinred should ever have seen it again. There is nothing better to any one self than that which is given. The Captain was dead, No man knew any thing of it. Upon my word you have reason for it, said Hircan, for there are some women, who to shew themselves more excellent than others, do some works apparently against their Na­tures; for we all know well enough, that there is nothing more covetous than a woman; and yet their Glory doth oftentimes exceed their Avarice, which doth inforce their hearts to do those things which they would not, And I be­lieve that she who forsook the Diamond was not worthy to wear it. Hola, Hola, said Oysilla, I do suspect I know the Gentlewoman, I do beseech you therfore, not to con­demn her before you see her. Madam, said Hircan, I do not condemn her; but if the Captain were as virtuous as you say he was, she had been honoured to have had such a Servant, and to have worn his Ring: but it may be that [Page 116]one lesse worthy to be beloved, did take so fast hold on her finger that his Ring could not come on. Truly said Gue­bron, she might well have kept it, because there was not one who knew any thing of it. How is that, said Gue­bron, Are all things lawfull to those that love, because no man knows of them? Take my word for it, said Saf­fredant, I never saw any mis-deed punished, but only foo­lishness; for there is neither Murderer, Thief, nor Adulte­rer (but let him be as cunning as he is wicked) that was ever either condemned by Justice, or reproved amongst Men, but oftentimes their subtilty is so great, that it doth blind them, so that they become fools, and (as I have said) only the fools, and not the vicious, are punished. You may speak what you please, (said Oysilla) God on­ly can judge of the heart of that Lady, but as far as I can conjecture, I do find the Deed most honourable, and virtuous. And to debate no more upon it, I pray you Parlament to give your voice to some one. I give it most willingly, said she, to Simontault, for after these two sad Novells, he will give us one, you may be sure of it, that will not make us weep. I thank you (said Simontault,) for in giving me your voice, you do not now (as lately) call me pleasant, which is a word I love not, and to revenge myself on you, I will de­monstrate, that there are women who make a great appearance that they are wondrous chast to some, (and for a time) but the event doth show them to be as they are, as you will find by this Story, which is un­doubtedly true.

The Subtilty of a Lover, who under the pretence of a true Friend, did gather of a Lady of Milan the fruit of his passed labours.
The Fourth Novell.

IN the Dutchie of Milan, in the time when the great Master Ch [...]umont was Governor, there was a Gentleman called Signior de Bonninet, who afterwards for his virtues was made Admiral of France, and was highly esteemed at Milan by the great Master, and by all the world for the rare parts that were in him. He was often invited to the Banquets where the chiefest of the Ladies met, by whom he was better beloved than ever Frenchman was, as well for his Beauty, Gracefulnesse, and Language, as for the great Name he had in Arms, being second therein to none of his Time. One day being in a Mask, he did lead in the Dance one of the most brave, and most beauti­full Ladies that were in that City, and when the Ho­boyes ceased, he did alwayes discourse unto her of Love, which he could better do than any other; but she would make no answer to him, but oftentimes to interrupt him in his Discourse, and to give a stop to his desires, she would assure him, That she neither did, nor ever would love any but her Husband, and would by no means seem to understand him. At this answer this refused Gentleman would not desist, and vigorously prosecuted his sute untill the Middle of Lent. But for all his endeavours he found her firm in her resolutions, neither to love him, nor any else, which he could hardly beleeve, seeing the hard fa­vour, and course deportment of her Husband, and the excellent beauty of her self. He determined therefore with himself, since she used dissimulation, to practise the same art himself, and from that hour did forbear to Court he, and so narrowly enquired after [Page 118]her conversation, that he found at last she loved an Italian Gentleman, who was very young, and wise, and lovely. Signior Bonninet by little and little ac­quainted himself with that Gentleman, with such cun­ning and sweetnesse, that he perceived not the occasi­on, and the Gentleman loved him so intirely, that next unto his Mistresse, who was this Lady, there was not any in the world whom he tendred more affectio­nately. Signior Bonninet, to pluck his secret from his heart, did counterfeit to tell him all his own, and a­mongst other things, told him, That he loved such a Lady, when indeed he scarce ever thought of her, and desired him to keep it private, because that they two had but one heart, and but one thought. The poor Gentleman to shew him a reciprocal Love, did declare unto him all along the affection which he did bear to that Dame, on whose disdain Bonninet would revenge himself; Once a day they met together, to acquaint one another with the fortunes which on that day they incounter'd, which the Gentleman did in Truth, and the other in Dissimulation. The Gen­tleman confessed unto him, That he had loved this Lady three years, without receiving any thing but good words from her, and an assurance to be belo­ved. Bonninet did counsel and instruct him in all the ways that possibly he could, by which he might ar­rive to the fruition of his Desires, which the Gentle­man found so effectual, that in a few dayes she con­sented to all that he desired, there nothing remai­ned but to find out the opportunity, which by the means of Signior Bonninet was brought about. One day a little before Supper, the Gentleman said unto him, I am more obliged to you, than to all the Gen­tlemen in the world; for by your good Directions I hope to enjoy that this night, which so many years I have desired. I pray you, said Bonninet, tell me the manner of your enterprize, to see if there be any deceit or danger in it; that I may assist, and serve you, according to the obligations of our friendship. [Page 119]Whereupon the Gentleman did particularly account unto him, that the Lady had got the opportunity to have the great gate of her House left open, in pre­tence of an Infirmity which one of her Brothers had, by reason whereof every hour in the night they must send into the City, to help him with some remedy in his necessities, she informed him that he might safely come into the Court, but advised him to have a care how he went up the stairs, and that he might more safely passe another way, and on lesse stairs, which were on the right hand; and that being come into the first gallery, where were the chambers of her Father-in-law, and her Brother-in-law, he should come to the third Chamber next to the little stairs, and (knocking at the door gently) if he should find it latched, that then he should be gone, for he might assure himself that her Husband was come home, but if he found the door open, that he should softly come in and latch the door fast, being confident that there was none in the Chamber but her self; and above all things, that he should not forget to come to her with shooes made of Felt, for fear of making a noise; and withall, that he should have a great care that he came not till two of the clock after Midnight, because her Brothers-in-law, who were much given to play, did seldome go to bed till after one. Bonninet said unto him, Go my Friend, God be thy guide, whom I be­seech to guard thee from all Inconveniences, if my Company may do thee any good, I will not spare any thing that lies in my power. The Gentleman did thank him very heartily, and told him, That in that affair he could not be too secure, and that he would go to prepare himself. But Signior Bonninet would not hear on that ear; and seeing it was the only hour to revenge himself on that cruel Lady, he retired to his own Lodging betimes, and caused his beard to be cut after the same length and largenesse as was the Gentlemans; he also commanded in the same manner the hair of his head to be cut, that by her [Page 120]touch she might not find any difference. He did re­member also the shooes of Felt, and did put on such cloaths as were most like unto those which the Gen­tleman was accustomed to wear when he would be most gallant. And because he was very well beloved by the Father-in-law of the Lady, he feared not to go thither before the appointed hour; conceiving with himself, that if he was perceived, he would go direct­ly to his Chamber, with whom he had some businesse. About twelve of the clock he came into the House, where he found many servants, and some others com­ming and going, amongst whom he passed without being known, and came into the gallery. And thru­sting against the two first doors he found them shut, but the third not, having softly knocked at which, he entred into it, and having latched fast the door, he found all the Chamber hung with white Linnen, and the floor and the feeling with the same, and a bed of Needlework excellently wrought all in white, that it was impossible to have it better, and the Lady alone within it, having on a most rich Coyf, and a Smock all covered with pearls and precious stones, which he saw through one corner of the Curtain, being not him­self perceived by her, for there was burning in the Chamber a great Candle of white W [...]x, which made the Chamber as bright as day. And for fear he should be known by her, he first of all put out the light which was burning in the Chamber, afterwards he put off his cloaths, and came into the bed to her, who thinking it was he whom so long she loved, did receive him with all the Love that possibly she could. But he who knew well enough that it was in the Name of another, did not speak one word, and thought on nothing but thoroughly to put his venge­ance into execution, which was to take away from her her honour and her chastity against her will.

But the Lady was so well contented with that ven­geance, that she thought she had recompenced him for his long sufferings. The clock had now struck [Page 121]one, which was the time to bid her Farewel; And speaking to her as softly as he could, he asked her, If she was as well contented with him, as he was with her. She thinking that it was her Friend, made an­swer, That she was not only contented, but also mar­velled at the greatnesse of his Love, which had held him a whole hour without speaking to her. At that he began to laugh outright, and said unto her, Now Madam will you refuse me another time, as you have been accustomed to do, untill this present. She know­ing him too late, both by his laughter and his voice, was strook into an amazement with the shame she had brought upon her self, and called him a thousand times wicked Traytor, and Impostor, and would have thrown her self out of the Bed to look out a knife to have killed her self, because she was so unfortunate to have lost her Honour with one whom she loved not, and who, to be revenged of her, might divulge her shame throughout the world. But he held her in his arms, and by sweet words did assure her, That he loved her more than he did whom she loved, and that he would conceal that which touched her Honour, that she never should receive the least discredit, which the poor Lady believed, and understanding the Invention which he had contrived to obtain her, and the difficulties he went through to accomplish it, she did swear unto him, That she did love him better than the other, who knew not how to conceal a Se­cret: And moreover, whereas there was a false re­port raised on the French, she now knew to the con­trary, and that they were more wise, constant, and discreet, than the Italians, wherefore she would now differ from the opinion of her own Nation, to comply with them. But she did heartily entreat him, that for a time he would forbear to appear at any Feast or Meeting where she was, unlesse it were a Mask only, for she knew well enough that she should have so ma­ny blushes upon her cheeks, that her Countenance would declare it to all the world. This he promised [Page 122]to perform, and also entreated her, That when his Friend should come about two hours hence, that she would make him good cheer, and by little and little withdraw her self from him. Of which she made a great difficulty, but because it was his desire, she at last consented to it. And taking his Farewel of her, he did leave her so satisfied, that she could have been well contented to have had him to have stayed lon­ger with her. After that he rose, and had dressed him­self, he made hast out of the Chamber, and left the door half shut, and half open, as he found it: And because it was almost two a-clock after midnight, he entertained a fear that he should find the Gentleman in the way, he retired himself a little into a private corner on the top of the stairs, where not long after­wards he observed the Gentleman to passe by, and to enter into the Ladies Chamber, whereupon he him­self repaired directly to his own Lodging, to take some repose after his nights travels, which he did, and did not rise untill it was past nine of the clock in the morning, at what time the Gentleman came to him, who never failed to give him an account of his For­tune, which was not now so good as he hoped it would have proved; For he told him, That when he came into the Chamber of the Lady, he found her out of Bed, and in her Night-gown, having a great Fea­ver on her, her pulse beating very violently, her face all on fire, and a great sweat running down her face; wherefore she did immediatly intreat him to return from whence he came, for fear that she should be in­forced to call unto her Maids to come to her assi­stance, so violent was her distemper, insomuch she said, that she had more need to think of Death, than Love, and to talk rather of God, than of Cupid. Howsoever she was very sorry for the hazard into which he had put himself for the love of her, be­cause she had no power to make him in this world any requital for his true love, being ready to be gone in­to another. At this he was so sad, and so astonished, [Page 123]that his Fire and his Joy were converted into Ice and Sorrow, and so immediatly he departed. In the morning, on the break of Day, he sent to be more sure­ly informed of her health, and found for certain, that she was in an extreme Indisposition, and multiplying his complaints for her, he wept so abundantly, that it seemed his Soul was comming out with his tears. Bo­ninet, who had as great a desire to laugh, as the other to weep, did comfort him the best that possibly he could, and told him, That things of a long continu­ance, did alwayes meet with an untoward beginning, and that Love did a little draw back, but to come on with the greater force, and to make the Delight more gratefull. And on these words they departed.

The Lady for a certain time did keep her Bed, and on the recovery of her health, she bid Adieu to her first Servant, and grounded it on the fear which she had of Death, and the Remorse of her Conscience, and continued her familiarities with Signior Boninet, the continuation of whose Love (according to the Custom) was as the Beauty of the Flowers of the Fields.

It seems to me (my Ladies) that the subtilties of this Gentleman did equal the hypocrisie of the Lady, who ha­ving so long counterfeited her self a virtuous woman, did at the last declare her self a Fool. You may speak what you will of women, (said Emarsuite) but that Gentle­man acted a wicked part; for suppose the Lady had a Friend, must another circumvent him by his policy? You may assure your self, said Guebron, that such Merchan­dises can never be better sold, but to those that offer most, and to those Buyers who come last, and give the greatest price: Never believe, that those who in this nature do court Ladies, do endure any great pain for the love of them, No, no, it is only for the love of themselves, and for their own pleasures. On my credit, said Longaren, I do believe you, for to declare the truth unto you, all those Gentlemen which ever yet courted me, began all their Complements on my behalf, pretending to desire my Life, [Page 124]my Good, my Honor, but the end was only for themselves, and for their own pleasure, and their own glory; therefore it is the safest course to take leave of them at the first part of their Sermon, for when we come to the second, it is not so much honour to refuse them, seeing that Vice when it is once known, is refusable of it self. It behooveth then, said Emarsuite, that as soon as ever a Man doth begin to open his mouth, we must refuse him, without knowing what he would say. Parlament answered, My Compa­nions, you must not understand it so, for you know well, that at the first words a Lady should not seem to under­stand any thing, neither after he hath declared himself should she much lesse believe him, but when he comes to swear, and adde oath unto oath, it seems to me that it is the best course for a Lady to forsake him then at his clim­bing of the Hill, before he hath have to come down unto the Valley. Shall we believe [...], said Nomerfide, that they love all for ill? Is it not a sin to judge our Neighbor? You may believe as you will, said Oysilla, but you ought to be in fear, and since you perceive some sparkles, you ought to fly the danger of that fire, which already is bur­ning in one heart that perceives it not. Truly, said Hir­can, your Laws are too severe, and if women (according to your advice) would be rigorous, whose sweetnesse is so powerfull, we would also change our intreaties and com­plements, into subtilties and forcings. The best way which I see, said Simontault, is, that every one should follow his own nature, and without dissimulation should declare, whether he loved, or loved not. I would to God (said Saffredant) that such a Law could bring with it as much honour as it would pleasure. But Dagoucin could not contain himself from laughing, and said, They who had rather die than have their desires known, will never ac­cord to your ordinance. Die? said Hircan, that Cavalier is yet to be born that would die for such a publick thing But let us leave off this discourse of Impossibility, and ob­serve to whom Simontault will give his voice, I wil give it, said Simontault, to Longaren, for I have ob­served her to talk a little to her self, and I believe she [Page 125]is studying to give us some good account, being accustomed out of the goodnesse of her nature to speak the truth, whe­ther the Subject be on Men or Women. Because, said Longaren, you esteem me to be so impartial, I will re [...]at a History to you, which although it be not so much to the praise of Women as I would have it, yet you shall find they have as stout hearts, and as great understandings, and as good as those of Men, and if my Account be something long, you must have patience.

A Lady of the Kings Court perceiving her self disdained by her Husband, who made love to another, did by the like love revenge her self.
The Fifth Novell.

IN the Court of King Francis the first, there was a Gentleman whose name I know so well, that I will not here give it to you. He was but poor, ha­ving hardly five hundred Livres in yearly Rents, but so beloved of the King for the virtues with which he was accomplished, that by his means he espoused so rich a Lady, that a great Lord might well be con­tented with her fortunes. And because she was not yet of age for a husband, he entreated one of the greatest Ladies of the Court to take her to her, which very willingly she accorded to. This Gentle­man was so courteous, and so lovely, that all the Ladies of this Court did very much esteem him, and amongst others, one whom the King loved, who was not so young nor so beautifull as his own wife, and for the great love which he did bear unto this Lady, he did make so small an accompt of his own wife, that he hardly lay with her one night in a whole year; and which was more grievous to her, he would never so much as speak unto her, nor shew her the least sign of love. And although he ranted it with her Estate, he allowed her so small a part out [Page 126]of it, that she was not apparelled as pertained to a Gentlewoman of her birth, nor as she desired: whereupon the Lady with whom she was, did of­tentimes reprove the Gentleman, telling him, your wife is fair, rich, and of a great descent, and you make no reckoning of her, which her infancy and youth hath yet endured, but I am afraid, that when she shall behold her self fair and great, that her glasse, and some one who loves you not, will remon­strate her beauties to her so little esteemed by you, and she may by despight do that, which she durst not doe if she were assured of your love. The Gen­tleman, who had his heart elsewhere, did but laugh at her, and for all her instructions did not forbear to continue that course of life he led. But after the space of two years or thereabouts, his wife began to be one of the most handsome Ladies in all France, insomuch that she was accounted the Non-pareill of the Court; and the more worthy she perceived her self to be beloved, the more she grieved to see her Husband to make no reckoning of her, insomuch that she contracted so great a melancholly, that for all the exhortations of the Lady with whom she lived, she seemed to be a creature given up to despair. And having studied all the means that possibly she could to be complacent to her Husband, she thought with her self, that it was impossible for him to love her, seeing she loved him so entirely, and could not find out any reason to be given for it, unlesse he were in love with some one else, and entertained some other fancy in his apprehension, which she en­quired after with so much subtilty, and dexterity of Circumspection, that she found out the truth, and that every night he was so taken up in courting ano­ther Lady, that he forgot his Conscience, and his Wife: And after she was certain of the life he did lead, she so wholly abandoned her self to grief, that she cloathed her self all in black, and would not resort to any Feasts or Sports, which the Lady per­ceived [Page 127]with whom she lived, and did what she could to withdraw her from her melancholly thoughts, but it was not possible for her, and although her Hus­band was often advertised of it, he was more ready to encrease than to redresse her sorrows. You know Ladies, that Grief foregoeth Joy, and also that Grief by Joy doth come to an end. Wherfore it fell out upon a day, that a great Lord, a near kinsman to the Lady who was as a Guardian to this Gentlewoman, & often did frequent the house, having understood of the strange manner of life of this yong Gentlewoman with her husband, taking pity of her, did endeavor to comfort her, & in discoursing with her, he found her so wise, & lovely, that he desired to have a place in her affection far more than to discourse with her of her husband, unles it were to demonstrate to her the small occasion she had to love him. This young Lady per­ceiving her self forsaken of him who ought to love her, and on the other side to be loved and courted by so great and gallant a Prince, did conceive her self thrice happy to be entertained in his good opini­on; And although she had alwayes a great desire to preserve her honour, yet she took so great a pleasure to discourse with him, and to perceive her self to be beloved by him, that she was noted for it. This love continued a certain time, until the King himself per­ceived it, who esteemed so well of the Gent. that he would not permit that any dishonour should accrew unto him; Wherefore he very earnestly entreated the Prince, to remove his love from her, and told, that if he did still continue it he should be very ill pleased at it. The Pr. who preferred the favor of the. K. to all the beauties of the Ladies of the world, did promise him that in obedience to his commands he would aban­don his enterprise, and on that Evening he would take his leave of her, which he did, when ever he un­derstood she was retir'd into her lodgings, over which were the lodgings of her Husband; and being that eve­ning at the window, he perceived the Prince to enter [Page 128]into the Chamber of his Wife, which was under his own, but the Prince, who observed him well enough, did not desist to go to her, And bidding her Fare­wel, whose love was but on the beginning, he did al­lege unto her all the reasons and commandements of the King; After many tears, and sorrows, which la­sted until an hour after Midnight, the young Lady said unto him in the conclusion, Sir, I give thanks to God, that he hath been pleased that you should for­bear your affection, seeing it is so little and so weak, that you can take it and leave it at the commandment of Men. As for my self, I have not demanded coun­sel either of my Guardian, or of my Husband, or of my Self, to love you; for Love, ayded by the deport­ment of your fair self, and by your civilities, hath had so much power on me, that I have not acknowledged any other God, or King, but him only. And since your heart is not filled with such true Love, but Fear doth find a place within it, you cannot be a perfect Friend, and one that is imperfect shall never be a Friend of mine. For I loved perfectly, as I resolved with my self to love you, and I am constrained to bid Adieu unto you, whole tame fear doth not deserve the height and courage of my love. In this manner the Prince departed weeping, and looking back, observed her Husband still looking out at the window, who did observe both his comming in, and his going out. Wherefore on the next morning he did give him an account of the reason wherefore he did repair to his Wife, and told him the Commandment which the King had laid upon him; with which the Gentleman was much contented, and most humbly thanked the King. But observing that every day his Wife did grow more fair than other, and that he himself became old, and was much altered in his Complexion, he did begin to change his mind, and to leave her for whom he had disdained his Wife, and now to make much of his Wife only; But she, the more she saw him to affect her, the more she fled from him, resolving to [Page 129]return him part of those pangs that she endured, for being so little beloved by him: And to take away the pleasure which Love had begun to possesse him with, she addressed her self to a young Gentleman, so gracefull, lovely, and well-spoken, that he was belo­ved by all the Ladies of the Court; and making her complaints unto him how she had been used by her Husband, she did incite him to take pity on her, so that this young Gentleman omitted nothing that might bring comfort to her, and she to recompence her self for the losse of the Prince, who had forsaken her, did endeavour her self to love this Gentleman so entirely, that she forgot all her past affliction, and thought on nothing, but so to carry on this n [...]w love that it might not be discovered. Which she perfor­med with such dexterity, that her Guardian percei­ved nothing of it; for in her presence she took great care how she did speak unto him: but when she would hold any Conference in private with him, she would pretend to go to give a visit to some Ladies at the Court, amongst whom there was one of whom her Husband would seem to be in love. One night after Supper, when it was very dark, this young Gentle­woman stole away without calling any one to keep her company, and came into the Presence Chamber, where all the Ladies were, where she found him whom she loved far better than she loved her self, and sit­ting close by him, she leaning on a Table did talk un­to him, feigning as if she had read on some book. One whom her Husband had imployed to watch her, did in great hast report unto him where his Wife was, and in whose Company; he who was a knowing man, made all the hast he could unto her, and comming into the Chamber did behold his Wife reading of a Book, and seemed not to see her, but directed his course to the Ladies, to discourse with them who were on the other side of the Chamber. This poor young Lady perceiving that her Husband had found her with him, with whom she never entertained the least [Page 130]discourse before him, was so amazed, that for a little while she lost her sense, and being to go all along by the Bench, she took her course quite crosse the room at the tables-end, and ran away as if her Husband had pursued her with a naked sword; she did run to the Lodgings of her Guardian, whom she found going to bed, and when she had put off her cloaths, she left her, and retired to her own Chamber, whither one of her Maids came unto her, and told her, That her Husband would speak with her. She answered her very resolutely, that she would not go to him, and that he was of so strange, and violent a Temper, that she was afraid he would do her some Injury. At the last, for fear of worse, she did go to him, and her Hus­band did not speak so much as one word to her, untill they were in Bed together. She who could dissemble as well as himself, began very tenderly to weep; and when he demanded of her the occasion of her tears, she told him, That she was afraid that he was angry with her, because he found her reading in a Book with a Gentleman. Immediatly he did assure her, That he never did forbid her to speak to any Man, and that he was not angry that he found her speaking with him, but because she fled away so fast, as if she had done something worthy of Reproof, and that on­ly by that running away he had a suspition that she loved the Gentleman. Wherefore he did now for­bid her to speak with any man in publick or in pri­vate, assuring her, That the first time he should take her speaking to any Man, he would kill her, without consideration or compassion. Which she willingly accepted, being resolved with her self not to be so sottish as to be taken again. But because that in things to which we have a desire, the more we are for­bidden, the more violently we seek them; This poor Lady not long after did forget those threatnings of her Husband; for on the very next Evening, she be­ing returned to lie in another Chamber with other young Ladies, she sent to seek out the Gentleman, [Page 131]and to request him, that he would come and see her that night. But her Husband, who was so tormen­ted with jealous pangs that he could not sleep, did rise in the night, and took one of his Grooms with him, because he heard that somebody else was sent for, and knocked at the Door of his Wives Chamber. She who thought of no man lesse than himself, did rise, being alone, and took her petticoat, and her night-gown, that was next to her hand, and seeing that three or four of her Maids were all asleep, she did go to the Chamber door, and asking who was there? she was answered by his Name whom she had sent for, and whom so passionately she loved, but (to be more assured) she opened the little Wicket, saying, If you are he that you do say you are, give me your hand, I shall readily know it. And when she had taken her Husband by the hand, she immediatly knew him, and shutting suddenly the Wicket, she began to cry out, Ah Monsieur, It is your hand. Her Husband did answer her in a great Rage, It is the same hand which is the pledge of the love and promises betwixt us, wherefore fail not to come when I shall send for you. And speaking those words he departed to his Lodg­ing, and she returned into her Chamber rather dead than alive, and spake aloud unto her Women, Rise my Friends, you have slept too much for me; for in thinking to deceive you, I have been deceived, first of all, my self. And speaking those words she swou­ned away in the middle of the Chamber. The poor women did all rise at her cry, so astonished to see their Mistresse, as dead, and lying on the ground, and to hear those words she did speak, that they knew not what to do, but only to run for Remedies to revive her; And when she had recovered speech, she said unto them, This Hour you see me, my friends, the most unfortunate creature upon the Earth, and repea­ted to them all her fortune, desiring them to be rea­dy to perform their last service to her, for she reckned her life as lost. They indeavouring to comfort her, [Page 132]behold one of the Grooms of her Husbands Chamber, by whom he commanded to acquaint her inconti­nently to repair unto him. She embracing two of her women, began to weep, and to lament, desiring them that that they would not let her go, for she was sure never to return again. But the Groom of the Chamber assured her to the contrary, and that upon the hazard of his own life he would undertake that she should receive no Ill. She seeing that there was no resistance, did put her self into the arms of the Groom, and said unto him, Friend, Since it must be so, carry this unhappy body unto Death, and being overcome with sorrow, she was carried away by the Groom into his Masters Lodging, at whose feet the poor Lady trembled down, saying, Sir, I beseech you to have pity on me, and I will swear unto you by the faith which I owe to God that I will tell you the truth of all. Immediatly he said unto her as a Man transported, And I vow unto you, you shall tell me the truth of all, and on those words commanded all his Servants to be gon. And because he knew his wife to be religious, he believed that she would not for­swear her self, if she did swear upon the Crosse, wherefore he brought her a very fair one which he had borrowed, and there being none present but themselves, he made her swear upon the Crosse, that she should tell him the plain truth of that which he demanded: But she who had already passed over the first apprehensions of Death, took heart, and resolved with her self to conceal nothing from him, seeing she was to die, but so, as not to reveal any thing that might bring any danger to the Gentleman whom she loved. And having heard divers questions which he made unto her, she made answer, Sir, I will not ju­stisie my self, nor make lesse unto you the Love which I have born unto the Gentleman, of whom you have suspition; but I have a desire to acquaint you with the occasion of that Love. Sir, you are to under­stand, that never any Woman did love her Husband [Page 133]with such an entire affection as I have loved you, for since I have been first married to you, there never en­tred into my heart the love of any but of your self a­lone; you know that in my Nonage, my Parents would have married me to a personage of a far nobler Family than your self, but they could never make me give the least consent unto it, from the hour that you first spake unto me; for I stood most firm against their perswasions for you, without regarding your poverty, or the Remonstrances which they made. And you cannot be ignorant of the hard use which ever since I have received from you, and how you have loved and esteemed me, which hath brought so much sor­row and affliction on me, that had it not been for the Lady under whose Government you did put me, I had been sunk into the Bottom of Despair. But in the end, observing my self to grow into Age, and to be esteemed to be beautiful by all the world, but your self, I began so vigorously to feel the Injury which you did me, that the love I did bear unto you was tur­ned into hatred, and the Desire to please you, into vengeance. And in that resolution, a Prince cour­ted me, who, to obey his King more than his Love, did love me on the same time, when I began to feel some comfort and releasment from my torments by the honest love I did bear unto him. And in leaving him, I found this Gentleman, who needed not to be intreated to love me. Howsoever, his Beauty, his sweet Deportment, and his Virtue, did deserve to be sought after, and esteemed by all women of a good understanding. At my request, and not his own, he loved me, and with so much honesty, that never in his life he required any thing of me contrary to honour. And because the little love which I have cause to bear unto you, did give me the occasion to keep neither faith nor loyalty with you, yet the love which I do bear unto God alone, and to my honour, hath hither­to preserved me from doing any thing, for which I should either stand in need of Confession, or of the [Page 134]fear of shame. I will not deny unto you, that as often possibly I could, I have gone to speak with him in a Wardrobe, pretending to go to my Devotions; for I never trusted either Man or Woman for the mana­ging of that affair. I will not moreover deny, but that (being in a place so private, and free from all suspition,) I have kissed him with a better heart than ever I kissed you; but I desire no mercy of God, if there were ever any other familiarities betwixt us, or if ever he sollicited me for other by any hot Importu­nities, or if ever my own heart had any desire there­unto, although I was so glad to see him, that it see­med to me that I could have no greater pleasure nor happinesse in the world. And you Sir, who are the on­ly Cause of my misfortune, will you take vengeance for a Deed, which (for so long a time) you have given me the Example? an Example which hath out-gon me in this, that what you have done hath been without Ho­nour, & without conscience. For you know, & I know well enough, that she whom you do love, will not con­tent her self with that which God and Reason do command. And although the Laws of Men doe give so great a dishonour to Women who do love other Men besides their Husbands, yet the Law of God doth not except the Husbands, who love others be­sides their Wives. And if you will put into the bal­lance your offence, and the offence which I have com­mitted; You are a Man wise, and experienced, and of age to know, and to be able to eschew Evil; I am but young, and without any experience of the force and tyranny of Love. You have a Wife that doth cherish, esteem, and love you better than her own life; and I have a Husband that doth eschew, hate, and disdain me more than a Servant. You love a Woman that is grown into a great age, discomplexio­ned, and nothing so handsom as my self; and I love a Gentleman far younger than your self, and more lovely and delightfull. You love a Woman that per­tains to one of the greatest Friends that you have in [Page 135]the world, transgressing on the one side the love, & on the other side the Reverence which you should carry to them both; and I love a young Gentleman, who is tied in no obligation, but only of his love to me. Now judge Sir, and be impartial in your Judgment, which of us two are most to be punished, either you, or my self; I believe there is no man that is either wise or honest, but will lay all the blame on you, see­ing that I am but young and ignorant, despised and contemned by you, and beloved by the most courte­ous, and the handsomest Gentleman in all France, whom I do love, by a despair only that I shall never be beloved by you.

The Gentleman hearing her words full of truth, and spoken and pronounced with so assured a grace that she shewed that she neither feared nor deserved any punishment, did find himself so surprised with won­der, that he knew not what to reply unto her, but only, that the honour of a Woman, and of a Man, were not alike, but differed in several respects: Ne­verthelesse, because she did swear, That there was no sin committed betwixt her, and the Gentleman whom she loved, he was resolved to make much of her, upon a condition that she would return no more unto him, and that he for his part would abandon her whom he had loved; and that neither he nor she for the time to come should call to mind any thing that had passed betwixt them, which was promised on both sides, and so in good accordance they went to bed together. In the morning one of the young Ladies old Maids, who had a great fear of the life of her Mistresse, did come early to her rising, and said unto her, And well Ma­dam, how goes it with you now? She laughing, made answer, Why my Friend, there is not a better Hus­band in the world than mine, for he believed what I did swear. In this manner she continued five or six dayes, and the Gentleman did keep so close a guard upon her, that she was watched both night and day; but he could not watch her so narrowly, but that she [Page 136]would still in one obscure place or other hold commu­nication with him whom she loved. But she carried her affairs so privately, that neither Man nor Woman could ever discover the truth; and had not one of the Grooms reported, that he had seen a Gentle­man and a Lady together in a Closet, under the Chamber of the Lady that was Guardian to this young Gentlewoman, the suspition had ceased; the doubt whereof did so torment this Gentleman, that he was resolved to be the Death of the yong Gentle­man, and assembled a great number of his Friends and Confidents together to kill him wheresoever they should find him; but the chiefest of his Friends in this confederacy was so much a friend to the young Man whose life was sought after, that instead of sur­prising him, he did advertise him of all things that were contrived against him: And he was so well be­loved at the Court, and so well accompanied, that he feared not all the force of his Enemies, which was the reason that they could never find the opportunity to exercise their vengeance on him. But it so fell out not long after that he did meet in a Church with the Guardian of the young Lady whom he loved, who knew nothing at all of any thing that had passed, for before her self he never durst speak unto her.

The Gentleman made report unto her of the suspi­tion, and the ill will which the Husband did bear un­to him, and although that he was innocent, he was resolved to make a long voyage to take away the Report, which began to increase. This Lady that was Guardian to his Mistresse, was much amazed to hear those words, and did protest unto him, that the Hus­band did commit an unpardonable offence, to suspect a Lady of Honour, in whom she never knew nor saw any thing but Honesty, and Virtue. Neverthelesse by reason of the Authority in which the Husband was, and to stop the current of this false Report, the Princesse advised him to absent himself for a time, and assured him, that she believed not any thing of al [...] [Page 137]these follies and suspitions. The young Gentleman was very glad that he continued in the favour and good opinion of the old Lady, who advised the Gen­tleman, before his departure, to speak unto the Hus­band of the young Gentlewoman, which he did accor­ding to her counsel, and found him in the gallery hard by the Chamber of the King, where with an as­sured countenance he said unto him. Sir, I have had all my life a desire to serve you, and for a recompence for it, I understand that this night you have a design to seek me out to kill me. Sir, I beseech you to con­sider, that although you have more authority and power than my self, yet that I am a Gentleman as well as your self, and it would grieve me to fling a­way my life for nothing. I must beseech you also to consider, that you have a most virtuous Lady to your Wife, and if there be any that will speak to the con­trary, I will tell him, that he lies like a Vilain. And for my self, I thought I had not done any thing to give you an occasion to wish me evil; if you please I will continue your servant; if not, I am a servant of the Kings, for which I have reason enough to content my self. The Gentleman to whom he addressed this Discourse, made answer, That true it was he enter­tained some suspition of him, but he found him so good a Man, that he desired rather to have his friend­ship than his enmity, and bidding him Farewel (with Hat in hand) he embraced him as one of his fastest friends. You may think with your selves what those men thought, who on the Evening before had recei­ved Commission to kill him, when they saw such signs of Honour, and of a familiar Love. In this manner the Gentleman departed, who because he was not so well furnished with Silver, as with gallant qualities, the young Lady gave him a Ring that was worth three thousand Crowns, which he morgaged for fifteen hundred. And not long after his departure, the Gentleman (Husband to the young Lady) came un­to her Guardian, and besought her to give his Wife [Page 138]leave to go for a certain time to a Sister of his to con­tinue with her, which the old Lady thought very strange, and besought him to acquaint her with the occasion of it, part whereof he did impart unto her, but not all. After that the young marryed Lady had taken leave of her Guardian, and of all the Court, without any tears at all, or the least sign of grief, she travelled to that place which her Husband did assign her, and was conducted by a Gentleman, to whom an expresse charge was given to keep a strict watch over her, and above all things, that on the way he should not speak unto her, who was suspected to love her too familiarly. She who understood the Commandment of her Husband, did give them alarms every day, and laughed at them, and at their too officious Care. One day amongst the rest, just at her departure from the Inne, she found a Frier on horseback, and she being mounted on an ambling Nagg, did hold him in Dis­course from Dinner untill Supper, and when she was about a mile from the place where she was to lodge, she said unto him, Good Fa­ther, for the consolations which you have given me this afternoon, behold two Crowns which here I give you, and have put them in this Paper, because I know that you dare not touch them with a bare hand, desi­ring you, that when ever you are gone from me, that you will crosse the way with all the speed you can make. When he was gone a good way from her, the Lady spoke aloud to those that waited on her, Do you think that you are good Servants, and diligent to guard me, since he himself (concerning whom you were bid to have such a care) hath Discoursed with me all this day, and you have permitted him so to do? you do well deserve that your good Master, who doth repose so much trust in you, should reward you with blows of a Cane on your shoulders, instead of the wages you expect. When the Gentleman who had the charge of her heard this, he was so impatient that he could make no answer, but immediately did put [Page 139]spurs to his horse, calling to two others that were in the Company to follow him; they made so great a dis­patch, that they had almost overtaken the Frier, who looking back, and seeing them to make up unto him, did ride away as fast as ever his horse could carry him, they in a full gallop pursued him; and because they were better mounted, the poor Frier was taken, but not knowing wherefore, he did cry them mercy, and putting off his hood, he shewed his bare and shaven crown, and began humbly to beseech them: Whereupon they knew that he was not the Man they looked for, and that the young Lady did but laugh at them; which she yet did more at their return, saying, That such people were fit to be a guard to such Women, who suffer them to speak they know not to whom, and then adding faith to their words, they go to act a mischief on the servants of God; and after all these mocks she came to the place where her Husband appointed she should have her residence, where her two Sister-in-laws, and the Husband of one of them, did keep her in great subjection; And during that time, her Husband un­derstood that his Ring was engaged for fifteen hun­dred Crowns, for which he was sorry. But to save the Reputation of his wife, and to recover the Ring, he sent her word, that she should call for it back of the Merchant, and that he would pay the fifteen hun­dred Crowns. She who had no care of the Ring, be­cause her Friend had the money that was lent upon it, did write unto him, That her Husband was im­portunate with her to Redeem the Ring; And be­cause he might not think that she did it to diminish the good will that was betwixt them, she sent him a Dia­mond which her Guardian gave her at her departure from her, which she loved better than the Ring she had of her Husband. The Gentleman that was her friend did willingly send her back the Merchants Obligation, and was well content with the 1500 Crowns, & to have received a Diamond, the witnes of [Page 140]the Continuation of the affection of the young Lady to him. Howsoever, as long as her Husband lived, he could never arrive to the opportunity to speak un­to her, but only by Letters; And after the Death of her Husband, thinking that she would continue faith­ful, according to her promise, he used all his dili­gence and endeavours to procure her in Marriage, but he found that in his long absence she had provi­ded her self with a Companion that was better belo­ved than himself; for which he was possessed with such a sotrow and indignation of spirit, that flying the com­pany of Ladies, he sought altogether after great ad­ventures, and places of as much danger as honour, where he was as well beloved as it was possible for a young Man to be, and so he finished his days.

See here, my Ladies, that without sparing our own Sex, I have given an Example unto Husbands, to show them that women of a great spirit, are sooner overcome with anger and vengeance, than with Love and Courtship; and although this Lady knew a long time to resist, yet at the last she was vanquished by despite, which a virtuous wo­man ought not be; or in whatsoever sort it be, she ought not to find an Excuse to do evill: And by how much the more great the occasions of the offence are given, by so much the more virtuous ought they to demonstrate themselves, by resisting and overcomming Evil with Good, and not by recompencing Evil with Evil; And oftentimes the Evil which one thinks to render to another, doth fall upon his own head. Thrice happy are they in whom the Graces of God do demonstrate themselves, by the Examples of Cha­stity, Sweetness, Patience, and Longammity. Hircan said unto her, It seems to me, Longaren, that the Lady who was the subject of your Discourse, was led on more by despite, than Love; for if she had loved the Gentleman as well as she made an apparence, she had not abandoned him for another, and by the whole tenour of your discourse she shewed her self to be spitefull, revenge­full, obstinate, and inconstant. You speak at random (said Emarsuite to Hircan) but you know not what a [Page 141]heart-braking it is to love, and not to be beloved again. It is true, said Hircan, I have too lately made experience of it, but let her but continue in that sullen humor, and I shall quickly leave Love and the Lady both together. Now much good do't such Husbands (said Parlament) who love nothing but their own pleasure, but a Woman of Honour will never love her Husband so. Neverthelesse (said Simontault) this Lady of whom the Account hath [...]in made, had, for the present Time, forgotten that she was a woman; for a Man knows not how to exercise a fuller vengeance. She was not wise, said Oysilla, and it is not requisite that others should be accounted such as she was. Such as she was (said Saffredant) why, what was she? He that shall under your Petticoats exa­mine what are the fair and honest accoutrements you car­ry there, shall find you all to be but Women. Nomerfide said unto him, We have enough of this: I would fain hear an Account that should carry some observations of worth in it; Therefore I pray you (Longaren) to give your voice to whom you please. Longaren looked on Gue­bron, and said unto him, If you have any story of some virtuous Lady, I pray you to give us the Narrative of it. Guebron replyed to her, I am to speak what I conceive my self to be expedient; I will therefore account unto you what not long since did happen in the City of Milan.

A Lady of Milan approved the hardiness and con­rage of her Friend, which was the reason that afterwards she loved him with all her heart.
The Sixt Novell.

IN the time of the grand Master de Chaumont, there was in the City of Milan a Lady who was esteemed one of the most virtuous women that lived in that age. She had been married to an Italian Count, whose Relict she was, and lived in the same house with her [Page 142]Brother-in-laws. She could never indure to hear any talk of a second Husband, and did deport her self so discreetly, and devoutly, that there was not either a Frenchman or Italian in the whole Dutchie of Milan, who did not highly esteem her. One day when her Brother-in-laws, and others of her Kinred made a great Feast to the grand Master De Chaumont, this widdow was constrained to be present at it, being never before at such a meeting since her Husbands Death, or in any other publike place. When the Frenchmen beheld her, they did highly extol her beau­ty, and flowing carriage, and above all one Gentle­man whose Name I will conceal, but it shall suffice, that in all Italy there was not a Frenchman more wor­thy to be beloved than himself: For he was accom­plished with all the beauties and the graces that are requisite to a gallant Gentleman. And although he beheld this Lady Dowager in her black attires, seve­red from the youth, and in a corner amongst the old Ladies, yet he whom neither man nor woman could ever subdue unto a Capacity of Distrust, did begin with confidence to court her, and to take off her mask, and forsaking the Dancing did altogether addict himself to the Company of this Lady; And all the evening he stirred not from her, but discoursed with her, and the old Ladies in her Company, amongst whom he found more delight than amongst all the brave and gallant Ladies of the Court; Insomuch that when they were all to depart, he had not the lei­sure, he thought, to hold discourse with any of the rest. And although he talked with her of common subjects fit for such a publick Company, yet she percei­ved well enough that he had a great desire to be ac­quainted with her, and resolved with her self to keep from him as much as possibly she could, insomuch that he could never see her afterwards, neither at any Feasts or Publick assembly, which made him to en­quire the more after her, and he found that she often frequented the Churches and religious places, where [Page 143]he kept so good a watch, that she could not go so pri­vately, but he would be there before her, and would be sure to stay in the Church as long as possibly he could see her, and all the time he was there he would contemplate on her beauties with so devout an affe­ction, that she could not be ignorant of the love which he did bear unto her. To avoid which, she for a cer­tain time resolved with her self to counterfeit her self sick, and to hear Masse in her own House; at which the Gentleman was so sorry, that it was im­possible to be more, for he had no other means to see her, but only in the Church: She believing that in her absence he had discontinued his Custom to fre­quent the religious places, did return to the Church­es as before, which love presently declared to the Gentleman, who betook himself again to his former Devotions; and because she should make no more obstructions in the progresse of his love, and for fear that he should not have that happy leisure again to make known his affections to her, (one morning, when she thought she was safe enough in a little Cha­pel where she heard Masse) he came to the end of the Altar, and seeing but two or three more neer unto her, as the Priest shew'd them Corpus Domini, he turned to her, and said, Madam, Let that be my Damnation whom the Priest now holds in his hands, if you are not the only cause of my Death. For although you have taken from me all the means of speaking to you, yet you cannot be ignorant of my Love, for the Truth doth sufficiently declare it to you by my languishing eyes, and by my pale countenance. The Lady see­ming not to understand him, made answer, That God ought not in that manner to be invoked in vain, al­though the Poets do affirm, that at Lovers perjuries the Gods do laugh, and that women who love their honour ought nor to be credulous or compassionate; And speaking those words, she did arise, and return'd to her Lodging. If the Gentleman were not touch­ed to the heart with this answer, those who by expe­rience [Page 144]have found the like, are able to affirm. But he who wanted not a good heart, had rather go away with that unpromising answer, than to have failed in declaring his good will unto her, which he continued for the space of two or three years, and courted her by Letters and presents, without losing time or tide; But during all that time, he could obtain no other answer, but that she did fly from him, as the Lamb did from the Wolf; yet something was insinuated, that it was not so much for any hatred she did bear him, but for the fear of her honour, and reputation, which he perceived so well, that more vigorously than ever before he pursued his affair. And after many pains, refusals, torments, and despairs, the Lady observing the force and continuance of his love, did take pity on him, and did grant him that which he had so much desired, and so long attended. And when they had agreed upon the means, the French Gentleman failed not to adventure into the House, although his life thereby was in great jeopardy, seeing that a great part of her Kinred did lodge in the same house with her. But she who had no lesse wit than beauty, did direct him so discreetly, that he came into her Cham­ber on the hour she assigned, where he found her ly­ing alone in a very rich Bed, and as he made hast to put off his cloaths to go into the Bed to her, he heard a great noise at the door of people speaking to one a­nother, and of swords clashing against the walls. The Lady with a Countenance half dead, said unto him, At this minute is both your Life and my Honour in the greatest Danger that possibly can be, for too well I understand, that my Brothers are seeking you out to kill you. Wherefore I intreat you to conceal your self under my Bed, for when they cannot find you, I shall have a just occasion to be angry with them, by reason of this alarm, which without Cause they have given. The Gentleman, whose noble heart did always scorn the base effects of Fear, replyed un­to her, And who are your Brothers, that they should [Page 145]make me afraid? If the whole Generation of them were together, I am confident that they would not stand against the point, or the edge of my Sword; wherefore lie still in your Bed, and let me alone to guard your Door. Immediatly he clapped his cloak about his arm, and took his Sword in his hand, and opened the Door to find those Swords more neer him, which made so great a noise; The Door being ope­ned, he beheld two Chambermaids, who with two swords in either hand did occasion the Alarm; they said unto him, Monsieur, Pardon us, for we have re­ceived Commission from our Mistresse to do as we have done; but you shall have no other hinderance or disturbance by us: The Gentleman seeing they were two Maids, did wish all the Devils in Hell take them both, and shutting the Door on the faces of them, he made all the speed he could to the Ladies Bed, whose frights had no ways diminished his love, and forgetting to ask her the reason of that skirmish, he thought on nothing but to satisfie his desires. And perceiving that the Day approached, he intreated her to tell him, wherefore she had done him so ill an of­fice, by holding him so long in delayes, and also what was the meaning of the Enterprise of the two Cham­bermaids the last night. She laughing, made answe [...] to him, My Resolution was never to love again, which from my Widdowhood I had a long time obser­ved, but your civil Deportment from the first hour wherein you spake unto me at the Banket, hath made me to alter my purpose, and I began at that instant to love you as much as you could love me; It is true, that Honour, which in all my actions hath been my guide, would not permit that Love should cause me to do any thing, whereby my Reputation might suffer; but as the Hart wounded to Death doth think by changing of place, to change the malady he beareth along with him, so did I remove from Church to Church, thinking to flie from him whom I carried in my heart, who hath now proved his love to be so per­fect, [Page 146]that the Agreement is made, and Honour doth accord with Love. But, to the end that I might be the more assured to commit my heart & my love to an absolute Man, I was willing to make this last proof by my Chambermaids, assuring you, that if either for fear of your life, or any other regard, I had found you so timorous and so tame, as to have hid your self un­der my Bed, I was resolved with my self to rise, and to withdraw my self into another Chamber, without ever seeing you again. But because I have found you courteous and lovely, and more full of Spirit and courage than it was reported to me, & that fear cannot enter into your heart, nor make cold that love which you bear unto me, I am resolved to continue with you untill the end of my dayes, being confident, that I cannot put my Life and Honour in a surer hand, than in his, who I believe hath not his equal in all Vir­tues: And (as if the Will and Desires of Lovers were immutable) they did promise and swear unto one another to perform that which was not in their power to perform, which was a perpetual Love, which can­not continue in the hearts of Men, as those Women know, who have made trial of it, and how long those Resolutions do endure.

And therefore (Ladies) you should take heed of us, as the Buck (if he had understanding) would of the Hun­ter; For our Glory, Felicity, and Indeavour, is to see you surprized, and to take that from you which is more dear unto you than life it self. How now! said Hircan unto Guebron, How long ago is it, since you have been a Prea­cher, I have known the time that you have maintained another Doctrine. It is true, said Guebron, I do speak now against that which I have practised heretofore all the whole Course of my life, but because I have teeth so weak that I cannot eat Venison my self, I would adver­tise the poor Does to beware of the Hunters to make some recompence in my old age for the sins I have committed in my youth. We thank you Guebron (said Nomerfide) for that which you have counselled us to our profit, but [Page 147]we do now perceive our selves to be a great deal too young for you, for it appears that in your Youth you gave not the same exhortations to her whom you loved, which is a sign that now in your age you do neither love us, nor your self, neither would you willingly suffer us to be loved by any other; Howsoever we think our selves to be as wise and virtuous as she, whom so long you followed and cour­ted in your Youth: But it is alwayes the Glory of the gray beard, and those that walk with a staff, to think themselves more wise than those who do come after them. Nomerfide (said Guebron) it is very well, when the Deceit of some of your Servants shall by experience teach you to understand the subtilty of Men, you will then believe what now I have spoken to be truth. Oysilla said to Guebron, It seems to me, that the Gentleman whom you so much commend for Courage, ought to be praised more for the violence of his love, which is a Power so strong, that it will make the greatest Cowards in the world to en­terprise that, which the most valiant would think and think of again before they would undertake it. Saffre­dant said unto him, Madam, It seems to me that if this French Gentleman esteemed not the Italians to excell more in their words than in their deeds, he might have some great occasion for fear. He had so indeed (said Oy­silla) were it not for that fire in his heart which consu­med his fear. If you find not his Courage commendable enough (said Hircan) give us an account of some one else, who is more worthy of praise. To speak the Truth (said Oysilla) the Gentleman was to be praised; but I can give you an instance of One in the same nature who is to be admired. I pray you, if it be so (said Guebron) will you take my place, and give us some agreeable ac­count, and worthy of a gallant Man, accordingly as you have promised. Gentlemen (said Oysilla) if a Man for the life and honour of his Lady hath shew'd such a con­fidence amongst the Inhabitants of Milan, and hath been esteemd so valiant, how ought he to be extolled, who with­out any Necessity at all, by the meer Instigation of Valour, did perform this Exploit, as I shall tell you?

King Francis shewed his Generosity to Count William, who would have been the Author of his Death.

IN the City of Dijon in the Dutchy of Burgundy, there came to the service of King Francis, a German Count called William, of the House of Saxony, to which that of Savoy is so neer allyed, that heretofore they were but one Family. This Gentleman being esteemed to be as gallant, and as brave a Man, as any was in Germany, was so well entertained by the King, that he not only received him into his service, but preferred him to a place of Honour neer unto him, and made him Gentleman of his Chumber. One day the Go­vernour of Burgundy, Lord of Tremoville, an antient Cavalier, and a loyal servant of the Kings, being cau­tious, and suspecting the damage of his Master, did al­wayes keep Spies upon his Enemies, to observe what they did do, and carried himself so discreetly, that few things were concealed from him. Amongst o­ther advertisements, it was written to him by one of his Friends, that Count William had received a cer­tain Sum of Money, and a promise to have the Sum doubled, to procure the Kings Death, upon any at­tempt whatsoever. The Lord of Tremoville, who was also Governour of Burgundy, did not fail to come in his own person to acquaint the King with it, and con­cealed it not from his Mother Madam de Louise of Savoy, who forgat all the Alliance she had to that German Count, and besought the King to remove him from his service with what speed he could. The King required them to make no more words of it, for it was impossible, he said, that so honest a Gentleman, and of so fair a Fame, should enterprise so foul a sin. At the end of a few Moneths there arrived another ad­vertisement, in confirmation of the former; where­upon the Governour, inflamed with the zeal which he did bear to his Masters safety, demanded leave of [Page 149]him either to put him away, or to give him order to apprehend him; but the King expresly charged him to make not the least appearance of any discontent, and assured him, that he intended to find out the truth himself some other way. One day when he repaired to the Chace, he took with him the best Sword that was in all his Armory, and desired Count William to go along with him, and to be the foremost and the next Man unto him. The King having some houres hunted the Buck, did observe, that all his people were far behind him, but Count William only; where­upon he turned out of the Road-way, and riding with Count William into the bottom of the Forrest, he drew his Sword, and asked Count William If it were not a good one. The Count taking it into his hand, told him, That he never saw a better. You have reason so to say, said the King, and me-thinks if a Gentleman had resolved to kill me, and knew the Goodness of my heart, and the force of my hand ar­med with this sword, he should think to assault me twice, before he undertook it once, howsoever I shall account him but a Coward, if he & I being alone, with­out any witnesse at all, he shall not dare to execute what he hath not been ashamed to undertake. Count William with an amazed countenance did answer him, Sir, The wickednesse of the Enterprise should be great enough, and the folly to put it in Execution would be greater. The King laughing, did put his Sword into the scabbard again, and understanding by the noise of the Hounds, and the Hollas of the Hunters, that the Game was neer him, did put spurs to his Horse, and galloped up towards them as fast as ever he could. Being amongst them, he spake not the least word to any of that affair, and assured him­self that Count William, although he was as able in height and Courage, and as well disposed in his limbs, as any man in his Kingdom, yet he was not the Man that would adventure on so bold an enter­prise. But Count William being vexed to be suspect­ed, [Page 150]came one morning very early to Robertet, Socre­tary of the Treasury, and told him, That he had con­sidered of the benefits and promises that the King had either bestowed or made unto him, to continue with him, which were not of a competency to maintain him above one half of the year; and if the King plea­sed not to double his allowance, he must be constrai­ned to retire into his own Countrey: he therefore besought Robertet, that as soon as possibly he could he might understand the pleasure of the King, who told him, that he could advance his Exhibitions no higher, and if he would he might depart immediatly; which Commission he very willingly accepted; for he had seen the advertisements of the Governour of Burgundy. And as soon as the King was awake, there being present the Governour of Tremoville, and Ad­miral Boninet, (who were both altogether ignorant what the King had done in the Forrest) he said unto them, You have a desire to drive away Count Willi­am, and Count William hath a desire to go away of himself; Wherefore you may tell him, That if he will not be contented with the Pension which hither­to he hath accepted in my service, and which divers Gentlemen of Honourable Families do think them­selves happy to receive, it is reason that he should seek out better Fortunes in some other place: And as for my self, I will no ways hinder him, but shall be very glad to hear that he hath found a Fortune, such as with content he may live upon, and suitable to his merits. Robertet was as diligent to carry this answer to the Count, as he was willing to carry his Request unto the King. The Count replyed, That with the Kings leave he was then resolved to be gone; And, as one whom Fear constrained to depart, he knew not how to carry it four and twenty hours: But as the King was set at the Table at dinner, he took his leave of him, pretending a great grief that his Necessities were such, that they inforced him to lose his presence. He also addressed himself to the Mother of the King, [Page 151]to take his leave of her, who gave him leave to depart as willingly as she received him joyfully, being both a Kinsman and a Friend. And in this discontent he departed to his Countrey. The King observing his Mother and his Servants in Extraordinary to be asto­nished at his sudden departure, did inform them of the Alarm which he had given him, saying, That al­though he believed he was innocent of that which was laid to his charge, yet he found that he was possessed with a great fear, which brought forth a desire to be gone from that Master whose complexion he as yet not understood.

For my own part, Ladies, I can find no other thing that could move the heart of the King to hazard himself alone against so brave a Man at Arms, and leaving all the Com­pany, and the place and Majesty due unto a King, to de­mand the Combat of his Inferiour, but only that he would render himself equal to that admirable Prince who doubt­ed of his Enemy, and to content himself, did give him the Experience of the Noblenesse and Courage of his own heart. And without contradiction (said Parlament) he had reason for it; for the praises of all the Men in the world cannot so much satisfie a good heart, as the knowledge and the experience that it hath of the Virtues wherewith God hath endued it. It is many hundred years since (said Guebron) that the Poets and others have informed us, that to come to the Temple of Renown, we must first passe through the Temple of Virtue. And for my self, who knew very well the two Personages who were the Subjects of this Account, I am most assured, that the King was absolutely one of the most valiant men that were in his Kingdom. Upon my faith (said Hir­can) from the hour that Count William came first from Germany into France, I did more stand in fear of his Sword, than of all theirs who were esteemed to be the most stout Italians in the Court. You know well (said E­marsuite) that the King was so highly reputed for his valour, that our praises cannot reach his Deserts, and that this Dayes work will be finished, before every one of us [Page 152]shall have given a due character of him. Wherefore, Ma­dam, Give your voice to some one else, who hath yet something to say of the Goodnesse of Men, if there be any Goodnesse at all in them. Oysilla turning to Hir­can, said unto him, you have been so much accustomed to speak ill of Women, that it seems to me it will be easie to you to give us some ready account of the praise of Men; Wherefore I give you my voice. It will be a thing easie to me to do, said Hircan, for it is not long since, that one did give me an account of the praises of a Gentleman, whose Love, Patience, and Perseverance is so commen­dable, that I cannot lose the Memory of it.

A fair young Lady made trial of the Faith of a young Scholar her Friend, before she would permit him to intrench too far upon her Honour.
The Eighth Novell.

IN one of the good Cities of France, there was a Lord of a great Family, who was at the University, desi­ring to attain unto the knowledge by what means vir­tue and honour ought to be acquired amongst virtu­ous Men. And although he was so knowing, that, being but eighteen years of age, he seemed to be a Document, and an Example unto others, yet Love made him to sing after his Lesson; And to be the bet­ter understood and received, Love hid himself under the Damask complexion, and in the eyes of the most beautiful young Lady that was in all that Countrey, who for the following of a Sute she had in Law, was come to that City. But before Love had assayed to overcome the Gentleman by the beauties of this La­dy, he had gained the heart of her, by observing the perfections that were in him; for in Beauty, Grace, good Sense, and gallant Elocution, there was not [Page 153]any, of whatsoever condition he was, that could sur­passe him. You (who do apprehend the ready and uncontrolled way which this Fire doth make, when it hath taken hold of one of the corners of the heart, and of the Fancy) will easily judge, that in two so perfect Subjects Love made no long delay, but had them both at his Commandement, and filled them both with so clear a light, that all their thoughts, will, and discourse, were but the flames of that Love, which (with their youth, which begot a fear in them) did make him to purchase and compleat his Affairs with the greatest sweetnesse that possibly could be. But she who at first was overcome by Love, needed no force. Neverthelesse, by reason of the shame which accompanieth young Ladies, to the uttermost of her power she did stand upon her guard, and did forbear to shew her good will, untill that at the last, the Fortresse of her heart, which is the Seat of Ho­nour, was so ruined, that the poor Lady did agree to that, to which she could not be disagreeing: How­soever, to make trial of the patience, assurance, and love of her Servant, she did grant him that which he demanded, but upon too hard conditions, assuring him, That if he should observe them, she would al­wayes love him most intirely, and if he failed in the performance, he should never enjoy her whilest he lived. The Condition was, That she was content to Discourse with him in Bed together, having no­thing on him but the Linen next unto their Bodies; but so, that he must not demand any thing at all of her, but only a Complement, and a Kisse. He, who thought there was no Joy that was worthy to be compared to this, did easily accord unto it.

The Evening being come, the promise was ac­complished, where for all the good entertainment she gave him, and his and her striving desires, he would not violat his oath; And although he conceived that his torment was not lesse than that of Purgato­ry, yet his love was so great, and his hope so strong [Page 154](being sure of the perpetual continuance of her love which with so long reluctation he had purchased) that his patience overcame, and in the morning he did rise from her without doing her the least disho­nor. The young Lady (as I believe) being more astonished than contented with it, did immediately begin to suspect with her self, that his love was not so great as she conceived, or that he found not in her so much delight as at first he propounded to him­self; she had not the least thought of the greatnesse of his honesty, nor of his patience, or fidelity, and his care to keep his oath: Wherfore she resolved with herself to make one proof more of his Love, and in­treated him to Court a Gentlewoman in her compa­ny, that was younger than her self, and almost as handsom, that those who observed him so often to come unto her lodgings, might conceive that his love was to her Companion, and not unto herself. The young Lord, who assured himself to be beloved by her, as long as he was a faithfull Servant to her, did obey her command, and inforced himself by the love he did vow to her, to make love to this young Gentlewoman, who seeing him so lovely, and so well spoken, did believe his pretence as it had been a truth, and loved him, as if altogether she had been beloved by him. When the Mistresse perceived that it did go on so forward, and that neverthelesse, the young Lord did not cease to put her in mind of her promise, she concluded with him, that he should come unto her one hour after Midnight, and be­cause she had such experience of the greatnesse of his love and obedience to her, it was reason, she said, that he should be recompenced for his patience. We make no doubt of the great Joy which this affectio­nate Servant received to hear this promise, who fai­led not to come at the time appointed. But the Lady to make a further trial of the force of his love, did speak unto her young Companion, I under­stand the love very well which such a young Lord [Page 155]doth bear unto you, and I believe your passion is e­qual unto his. I have such a tender regard unto you both, that I am resolved to give place unto you, and leasure to discourse together at your own case as long as you will. The young Gentlewoman was transported with so great a Joy that she could not dissemble her affections to her, but assured her, that she would not fail to be obedient to her counsels; Whereupon she did put off her cloaths, and all a­lone did go into a fair bed in one of the next cham­bers; The Lady left the door open, and caused a great wax candle to be lighted in it, that the beauty of this young Gentlewoman might be the more ap­parent; And counterfeiting to go to her own lod­gings, she did hide herself behind the hangings so closely that she could not be perceived. Her poor Servant thinking to find her (accordingly as she had promised him) did not fail to come into the chamber on the appointed hour as softly as possibly he could, and after he had shut the door, and put off his Gown & his Breeches, he leapt into the bed, where he thought to have found her whom he so much desi­red, & no sooner did he stretch forth his arms to im­brace her, whom he conceived to be his Lady, but the poor young Gentlewoman who thought she had him sure enough, had her own arms about his neck, and did deliver to him such affectionate words, and with so sweet a countenance, that there is no Her­mit so holy but would have forgot his Pater-nosters. But when he discoverd who she was, both by his eye and by his ear; Love, who with so great a speed brought him to bed, made him to rise from it with a greater; And with an indignation as much a­gainst the Lady as the young Gentlewoman, he re­paired to the Lady (who betrayed herself by her laughter) and said unto her, The folly as much of your self as of the Damsel, whom with so much sub­tilty you have put in yonder bed, shall make me no other than I am; but doe your endeavour to be a [Page 156]good woman, for by no occasion of mine you shall lose your good Name. And speaking those words, being as full of Despite as it was impossible to be more, he departed out of the chamber, and for a long time came not into any place where this Lady was. Neverthelesse Love, who is never without hope, did assure her that the more firm his love was, and known to be more great by so long experience, the more happy and gratefull would the fruition prove. And having considered on the passages of the young Lord her servant, and her companion, she was so well contented and amazed to perceive the greatnesse and strength of his love, that it see­med long unto her until she found some occasion to seek him out to crave pardon of him for the many in­tricate sorrows which she had brought upon him, and as soon as ever she had the much desired happi­nesse to speak unto him, she not failed to give him so many couteous and good assurances, that he not on­ly did passe over his former torments, but judged them most happy, since they were all turned into the glory and perfection of his love, of which ever afterwards he had the fruition without any hin­derance, or wearinesse, even to the height of his desires.

Ladies, I beseech you, find me out one woman so con­stant, so patient, and so loyal in love as this man hath been. Those who have made tryal of them by such inten­tions do find them to be such whom we find painted at St. Anthonies, very little and rare, but of a great price: and to speak the truth, few men themselves are of this mans temper; for he who can be chast with the beauty and the love of women, and patient at the time and the leisures of women, is virtuous enough to overcome all the Devils in Hell. It is pity (said Oy­silla) that he did not addresse himself unto a Gentlewe­man as virtuous as himself, for it would have been the most honest and most absolute love that had been ever re­hearsed. But tell me I pray (said Guebron) which task [Page 157]of his two do you conceive most difficult? It seems to me the last, (said Parlament) for Despite above all is the most violent temptation. Longaren was of opinion that the first was the greatest; for it was necessary, she said, to fulfill his promise, that he should overcome both Love and himself. You speak at random, said Simon­tault, but we who know well enough what things are, ought to speak what we know: And for my self, in per­forming his first command I think he was a Fool, and in the second a Sot: For I believe, that in performing his promise to his Lady, she had as much or more trouble than himself. She had not caused him to take that Oath, but only because she counterfeited her self to be a far better woman than she was; for she knew it was sure enough, That a strong Love cannot be bound, either by Command­ment, or by Oath, or by any thing that is in the world. But she did dissemble her vice to be so virtuous, that it could not be obtained but by Heroick Virtues. And in the second place he shewed himself a Sot, to forsake her who loved him, and was more worthy than she to whom he had made his Oath, and had so good an Excuse, by reason of the Despite which at that time possessed him. Dagoucin reproved him, saying, that he was of a contrary opinion; And that at the first time he shewed himself to be firm, patient, and true; and at the second, loyal, and entire in his love: And what know we, said Saffredant, if he were not one of those who are treated of, in the Chapter De Frigidis & Maleficiatis? But if Hircan would ac­complish his praises, he ought to account us, what a gentle Companion he was, after that he had enjoyed that which be desired: And for the present, how can we judge, whe­ther it were a Virtue, or a Weaknesse, that made him so tame? You may be sure, said Hircan, that if I had been informed of it, I would have concealed it no more than the rest; but if you did look upon his person, or knew his com­plexion, you would say after me, that he was guided ra­ther by the force of Love, than any weaknesse or frigidity. If he were such a one then (as you speak him) said Simon­tault, he should have broken his Oath, and if she had [Page 158]been angry for so little, she might have quickly been appea­sed. But it may be (said Emarsuite) that at that time she was not willing. What and if she were not, said Saf­fredant, had she not been easie to have been forced, ha­ving already given unto him the possession of the Camp. Saint Mary (said Nomerfide) How wide you draw? Is that the way to obtain the favour of a Lady whom you esteem wise and honest. It seems to me, said Saffredant, that we cannot do more honour to a woman, of whom we desire such a favour, than to take it by force: for the poo­rest Baggage in the world doth desire to be a long time in­treated; and some there are who must be presented with great gifts, before they can be obtained; and others are so foolish, who neither by presents nor by Complements can be obtained, to whom we must make use of other means. And when we have to do with one so wise, that she will not be deceived, and so good, that she will not be gained either by great gifts, or good words, is it not reason to use all the means that possibly we can to obtain the Victory? And when at any time you hear it spoken, that a Man hath ta­ken a woman by force, believe it, that the Woman had de­prived him of all hope of any other means; and think not the worse of the Man, who hath put his life in jeopardy to give place unto his Love. Guebron began to laugh, and said, I have seen in my days places besieged, and taken by force, because it was not possible to bring those unto a Parley who did keep them, either by money, or by threatnings, for they say, That a Parlying Town is half gained. I believe (said Emarsuite) that all the Loves of the World are grounded upon these Follies; howsoever there are some to my know­ledge, who have loved, and honourably continued in their love, without being subject to any such loose Intention. If you know of any such, said Hircan, I give you my voice, and the Speakers place; I know it to be true, (said Emarsuite) and therefore I will willingly give you an account thereof.

Of two Lovers, who despairing to be married the one unto the other, did betake themselves to two places of Religion, the one to a Covent of St. Francis, and the other to S. Anne of Clare.
The Ninth Novell.

IN the time of the Marquesse of Mantua who was es­poused to the Sister of the Duke of Ferrara, there lived in the House of the Dutchesse a Damsel named Paulina, who was so well beloved by a Gentleman who was a Servant to the Marquesse, that the great­nesse of his affection was admired by all the world; And because he was but poor, and a gentile Compa­nion, his Master, in the love he did bear unto him, did advise him to look out some wife that was rich, and able to maintain him; but he thought that all the Treasure in the world was in Paulina, which, in marrying her, he should possesse. The Marchionesse also desiring, That Paulina might have a richer Hus­band, or none, did distast the proceedings of the Marriage as much as possibly might be, and often­times would not suffer them to hold any Discourse with one another, and did demonstrate to them, that if the said Marriage should go on, they would be two of the poorest, & most miserable creatures in all Italy. But this reason could not enter into the understan­ding of the Gentleman. Paulina (as well as she could) did for her part dissemble her love she did bear unto the Gentleman, howsoever her heart was entire unto him. This love continued a long time, and was attended with a hope, that at last they should meet with some Fortunes that were answerable to their desires. Some few years afterwards this Gen­tleman in a great Battel was taken prisoner with a Frenchman, who was as deep in love with a Gentle­woman [Page 160]in France, as he was with one in Italy. And when they found themselves Companions of one for­tune, they began more familiarly to discover the se­crets of their hearts the one unto the other. The Frenchman confessed that his heart was a prisoner as well as his, but would not name him the person or the place. But being both in the service of the Mar­quesse of Mantua, the Frenchman knew well enough that his companion loved Paulina, and for the love which he did bear to his profit and advantage he did advise him to remove his affections from her, which the Italian Gentleman did swear was not in his own power, and that if the Marquesse of Mantua, in re­compence of his imprisonment, and the good service he had done for him, would still refuse to let him have his Sweet-heart, he would turn Grey Friar, and never serve any other Master but God; which the French­man could not believe, for he saw not in him any sign of religion at all, but only the devotion he had unto Paulina.

At the end of three months the French Gentleman was delivered from prison, and prevailed so much by his diligence, that not long afterwards he procured the liberty of his Companion, and u­sed his utmost endeavour both with the Marquesse and Marchionesse, that they would give their con­sent to his Marriage with Paulina; but he could not perswade them to it, for they represented to him the poverty in which they should both live, and that on both sides their Parents and Kinred were much dis­contented at it, and they forbade him to speak unto them any more of it, to the end that their love at last might passe away by absence and impossibility. When the Italian Gentleman perceived that he was constrained to obey the command of the Mar­quesse, he demanded leave of the Marchio­nesse to take his leave of Paulina, seeing he should never speak unto her again, which was agreed unto, and immediately in these words [Page 163]he spake unto her. Since it is so Paulina, that Hea­ven and Earth are against us, not only to hinder us in our Marriage, but (which is worse) to take from us for ever the sight of one another, and that upon command I must not speak any more to you, nor you to me; This command is rigorous indeed; our Master and Mistresse may well boast that with one word they have wounded two hearts whose bodies needs must languish, and they have proved that nei­ther love nor pity did ever enter into their breasts. I do know that their aim is to marry us richly to some others, but they are ignorant that the truest riches do consist in a contented mind, and hereby they have done me so great an injury that it is impossible I should ever do them service again. I do believe, that if I had never spoken to them of this marriage, they had not been so scrupulous as not to have suffered us to discourse together, and I do assure you that I had rather dye than change my affection into worse, ha­ving loved you with so honest and so virtuous a love, and purchased that of you which during my life I ought to defend; And because that in seeing you I cannot endure that hard patience as not to speak un­to you, and because in not seeing you, my heart (which never can be empty) will be filled with de­spair which will make my end unfortunate, I am resolved, and have a long time been, to put my self in a religious house, not, but that I know very well that in all Estates a man may be saved, but to have the more leisure to contemplate the divine bounty, which I do hope will have pity on the faults of my youth, and will work a change in my heart to love spiritual things as well as temporal; and if God shall give me the grace to arrive to the knowledge of the Religion, my devotions shall incessantly be im­ployed to pray unto God for you, beseeching you by that love so firm and loyal which hath been betwixt us two, to remember me in your prayers, and to be­seech our Lord to give me as much patience in not [Page 162]seeing you, as he hath given me content in seeing you. And because I hoped all my life to have en­joyed you in marriage, which honour and conscience do permit, I am contented that I had that hope, although I must now lose it; and because I cannot receive the entertainment from you which belongs unto a Husband, yet at the least, in bidding farewell unto you, vouchsafe me the entertainment of a Bro­ther, and give me leave to kisse you. Poor Paulina who had been always too severe unto him, under­standing the extremity of his grief, and the honesty of his request, that in so great a despair he would con­tent himself with a thing so reasonable, without gi­ving any answer to him, did throw her arms about his neck, and weeped with so much bitternesse and fainting of heart, that her words, her understanding, and her force failed her, and she swouned away be­tween his arms, and the pity thereof accompanied with his love and sorrow, did cause him to do the like, Insomuch that one of her companions seeing her to fall down on the one side, and him on the other, did call out for help, and by force of remedies did revive them. Paulina who was desired to dissemble her affe­ction was ashamed that she had shewed her love to be so violent; Neverthelesse, the pity she had on the poor Gentleman did serve her for an excuse, & being not able to endure the word that did bid her farewell for ever, she did go away presently, her teeth as shut up as her heart, & entring into her chamber as a dead body without a Soul, she fell down upon her bed, and passed away that night in such complaints and la­mentations, that her servants believed she at once had lost her parents, and all her kinred, and friends, and whatsoever was of comfort to her upon Earth. In the morning she in her prayers recom­mended to our Saviour the Gentleman that was her friend, who after he had distributed amongst his Ser­vants the poor fortunes he was master of, and taken with him a certain sum of silver, he did forbid any of [Page 163]his people to follow him, and repaired all alone to a Religious house to demand the habit, being resolved with himself never to put on any other. The War­den of the Covent, who had seen him before, did think at first that it was but a Fable or Mockery; for in all the Countrey there was not a Gentleman that shewed lesse respect unto a Grey Frier, than himself; for he had in him all the knowing virtues and graces that could belong unto a Gentleman. But after he had understood his words, and observed his tears falling like Rivers from his eyes, being not ignorant from whence the source proceeded, he courteously did re­ceive him; and not long afterwards seeing his per­severance, he gave him the habit of a Frier, which he did put on with great Content.

The Marquesse and the Marchionesse being adver­tised of it, did find it so strange, that not without great difficulty they could believe it. Paulina, to shew her self not subject unto the tyranny of Love, did dissem­ble it as well as possibly she could; insomuch, that e­very one told her, That she quickly had forgot the great affection of her loyal Servant: She continued thus five or six moneths without making any other Remonstrance; during which time, there was shewed unto her a Song by one of the Religious Men, which her Servant had composed presently after he had put on his religious habit, the Song is in Italian, and common enough; Which when she had perused, and read it all over, going into the Chapel by her self, she wept so abundantly, that she dewed all the paper with her tears; and were it not for a fear she enter­tained, that she should shew her self more affectionate than became her, she had immediatly gone into some Hermitage, with a resolution never to see again any creature in the world: but the Discretion which she had, did constrain her for a short time to dissemble it. And although she had taken a resolution altogether to renounce the world, she pretended the contrary, and kept her countenance so reserved, that being in [Page 164]Company there appeared nothing of that Melanchol­ly to which she had abandoned her self. She carried this Resolution covered in her heart five or six mo­neths, shewing her self more joyful than she was ac­customed to be; But one day waiting upon her Mi­stresse to hear the High Masse, after that the Priest was come out of the Vestry to go unto the great Al­tar, her poor Servant, who was yet in the year of his Probationership, did serve at the Eucharist, and car­rying two little bottles covered with white Silk in ei­ther hand, was the first that presented himself, having his eyes fixed on the Ground. When Paulina saw him in that habiliment, in which his Gracefulnesse and Beauty was rather increased, than diminished, she was so troubled and astonished, that to cover the blushes which took possession of her cheeks, she began to cough; Her poor Servant, who did better under­stand that sound, than the Bel of the Monastery, durst not turn aside his head, but passing along by her, he could not govern his eyes from beholding that Ob­ject to which so long they had been accustomed, and looking on Paulina, he was so inflamed anew with the fire which he thought had been almost extinguished, that beyond his ability endeavouring to conceal it, he fell down all along before her. And the fear which he had that the Cause of his Misfortune should be dis­covered, he made an Excuse, that the Pavement of the Church, which was broken just in that place, was the occasion of his fall. When Paulina understood that the change of his habit had not changed his heart, and that it was so long since he took that Or­der upon him, that every one thought she had forgot­ten him, she resolved with her self to put her Design in Execution, which was, to render their loves alike, in habit, form, and in condition of life, as it was when they lived in one house, under one Master and Mistresse; And because that fourteen Months before, she had given order for all things that were necessary for her to enter into a Religious house, she one mor­ning [Page 165]demanded leave of the Marchionesse to goe to hear Masse at the Covent of St. Clare, which she gran­ted (being ignorant wherefore she did ask it) and pas­sing by the Grey Friers, she intreated the Warden of the Covent to give her leave to see one of the Friers, whom she called her Kinsman. When she saw him in the Chapel by himself, she said unto him, If my Ho­nour had permitted me to put my self into a Religious House, as soon as you did, I would not have attended untill this time, but having by my patience broken through the opinions of those, who are more apt to judge Evil, than Good, I have determined with my self to take upon me the same Condition, Robe, and Life, which I see you have done, without inquiring what it is: for if you find any Good, I shall have my part therein; and if you find any thing that is grie­vous, I will not be exempt from it; for by what way you go into Paradise, in the same I will follow you; being assured, that he who is the true, perfect, and the most worthy to be called LOVE, hath drawn us to his service, by a chast, and virtuous love, which by his holy Spirit he will convert to our advantage, beseeching him, That my self, as well as you, may forget the Body that perisheth, and the tincture of the old Adam, to receive and put on him who is our Spouse, Jesus Christ. Her religious Servant, the Fri­er, was so well contented, and so glad to hear her ho­ly Resolution, that with weeping tears of Joy, he for­tified her in her opinion as much as possibly he could, saying, Since he could have nothing of her in this world but words only, and was hardly permitted to have those also, that he thought himself very happy to have now the means daily to see her, and that she was of the same mind with him, that neither the one, nor the other, did care which of them were the hap­piest, living in one estate of Love, of one heart, and of one spirit, being perswaded and conducted by the bounty of God, whom he besought to keep them both in his hand, where none could take them from him; [Page 166]And speaking those words, and weeping with tears of love and joy, he kissed her hands, and she stooped her down unto his hand, and in true charity did give it the holy kisse of Dilection.

And thus in a great content Paulina departed, and entred into the Covent, where she was received, and veiled. Which afterwards she sent word of to Madam the Marchionesse who hardly could be induced to be­lieve it: Wherefore the next morning she repaired to the Monastery to see her, and to disswade her from her resolution, and if words would not prevail to add force unto her words; but Paulina did assure her, that if she had the power to take from her a Husband of flesh (a man whom she loved best in this world) she ought to content her self, without attempting to di­vorce her from him who is immortal and invisible, for he was not in her power, nor under any power in the world. The Marchionesse observing her resolu­tion, did kisse her, and full of sorrow did take her leave of her. After that time Paulina and her servant did live so holily, and so devoutly in their places of observance, that we ought not to doubt, but that he, the end of whose Law is charity, did in the end of their lives say unto them as unto Mary Magdalen, that their sins were all pardoned because they had loved much, and that in peace he brought them to a place where their recompence doth surpasse all the merits of men, and their good deeds are crown'd with an in­comprehensible reward.

Ladies, you cannot be ignorant, that never any man did shew a greater love, or which so perfectly was returned to him by her whom he loved that I could wish that all those in their condition of love were as well recompenced. There would be then (said Hircan) more he-Fools and she-Fools than were ever yet seen in the world, Do you call it folly (said Oysilla) to love honestly in our youth, and afterwards to convert all that love unto the love of God? Hircan laughing made answer to her, if melancholy and despair be virtues, I will confesse that Paulina and her [Page 167]servant are most worthy to be praised. So it is (said Gue­bron) that God hath many means to draw us to him, the beginnings whereof may seem to be unpleasant, but their end is good. I am of opinion (said Parlament) that a man can never love God perfectly, until first he hath per­fectly loved some Creature in this World. What do you call it to love perfectly (said Saffredant) Do you esteem those to be perfect lovers who are in a rapsody at the sight of their Mistresse, and kneel down before them at a great distance, without daring to declare their affections to them? Parlament made answer, I call those perfect lovers, who do seek for some perfection in those they love, whether it be goodnesse, beauty, or gracefulnesse, or what­soever it be that is always tending unto virtue, and who have a heart so high, and honest, that they will rather by their deaths put an end to all corrupt desires, than that their honours or their consciences should suffer. For the Soul which is not created but to return unto its soveraign good, hath (as long as it is even in this Body) a desire to arrive unto it; But by reason that the understanding, by which it should learn the way, is obscure and carnal, by the sin of our first Father, it cannot represent any thing unto it but things visible, and which only do approach unto perfection, after which the Soul doth run, thinking to find in a visible grace, and in moral vir­tues, the Soveraign beauty, and the Soveraign Grace, and Virtue. But when she hath examined and proved them, and found that it is not that which perfectly she lo­veth, she throws them by, & goes on further, like an infant who in its first infancy loveth apples, and pears, and pup­pets, and the fairest things that can be presented to the eye, and doth esteem it great riches to heap small stones to­gether; afterwards, growing into age, it loveth living crea­tures, and to amasse those precious stones and treasures which are necessary for the life of man. But when by grave experience it knoweth that in transitory things there is no perfection nor felicity, it desireth to search after true hap­pinesse, and the Giver, who is the Fountain of it. Ne­verthelesse, if God should not open unto us the ey of Faith, [Page 168]we are in danger from being Ignorants, to become unbelie­ving Philosophers. For Faith only doth represent unto us, &. causeth us to receive that Good, which a carnal man can­not apprehend. See you not (said Longaren) that the Ground not husbanded doth produce many herbs and trees, although they are unprofitable? which sheweth unto us the good desire of it, and the promise it doth make, that it will bring forth good fruits, when it shall be sowed and weeded: So the heart of Man, which hath no other under­standing but by things visible, will never arrive unto the love of God, but only by the sowings of his holy word in the heart; for the Ground of the heart is of it self barren, and cold, and almost lost to all hope. And this is the Cause (said Saffredant) that the greatest part of Men are deceived, who look not but only on exterior things, and despise that which is most pretious, and is lodged within. If I could speak Latin well, said Simontault, I would allege unto you what St. John saith, That He who lo­veth not his Brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen? for by things visi­ble we are drawn to the love of things invisible. Shew us the Man (said Emarsuite) that is so perfect in that love, Et laudabimus eum. There are some, said Dagou­cin, who love so purely, and so perfectly, that they had rather die, than to think one thought against the Honours or the Consciences of their Mistresses, and would so carry it, that neither their Mistresses themselves, nor any other, should perceive it. They (said Saffredant) are of the Nature of the Cameleon, who lives on the Air. For I am of a belief, that there is not a Man in the world who doth not desire to declare his Love, and to be assured that he is beloved; and there is no Feaver of Love so violent, but suddenly will slack, when we come to know the con­trary. I will speak it of my self, I have seen such Mira­cles made evident. I beseech you (said Emarsuite) to take my place, and to give us an account of some one who hath been raised from Death to Life, by finding his Mistress to act contrary to that which he desired. I am so afraid (said Saffredant) to displease Ladies, to whom I have [Page 169]been, and ever shall be a Servant, that without their ex­presse Command, I durst not give any account unto them of their Imperfections, but to shew my obedience I will not conceal the truth.

A Gentleman unexpectedly is recovered of the malady of Love, finding his Mistresse, too severe unto him, in the Arms of her Horse-Keeper.
The Tenth Novell.

IN the Country of Dauphine, was a Gentleman called Signior de Ryant, who belonged to the House of King Francis the first of that Name, and was as honest and as fine a Gentleman, as could be looked on. He was a long time servant to a Lady that was a Widdow, whom he so much loved and reverenced, that for the fear he had to lose her favour, he durst not importune her for that which he so much desired, And being handsom himself, and worthy to be belo­ved, he firmly believed that which she had often sworn unto him, which was, that she loved him better than all the Gentlemen in the world, and if she were put to it to do a Gentleman a courtesie, it should be for him onely, as being the most accomplished Man that she knew, and did entreat him to rest himself conten­ted with it, without transgressing that honest love, assuring him, That if she knew that he pretended to any thing more, and would not be contented with reason, that he should lose her Love, and all. The poor Gentleman not onely contented himself with it, but conceived himself to be a happy Man to have gained the heart of that Lady, whom he believed to be so virtuous. It will appear tedious unto you to repeat the discourse of their love, and the long fre­quentation which he had with her, and the voyages [Page 168] [...] [Page 169] [...] [Page 170]which he made to see her. But in the conclusion, this poor Martyr being in so pleasant a Fire, that the more he burn'd, the more he would burn, did search after all means to augment his Martyrdom; One morning, a fancy did possesse him to take Post to see her whom he loved better than himself, and esteemed above all the Women in the world. Being arrived, he entred into the Court, and demanded where she was, answer was made, That she was but just come from Vespers, and was gon into the Garden to com­pleat her Devotions; whereupon he alighted from his Horse, and took his course directly to the Garden where it was told him that she was. In the way he did meet with some other of her servants, who infor­med him, That she was walking all alone in a long Al­lee in the Garden; wherupon he began more than ever to hope that he should meet with some happy For­tune, and as leisurely as possibly he could he pursu­ed his design, thinking to find her in most private Re­tirements. And being come to a long Arbor of plashed Trees, it being the most pleasant, and most delightful place, that Art or Nature ever did contrive, he sudden­ly entred in, as one who thought long till he had seen her whom he loved. At his first Entrance he found her in the Arms of the Horse-keeper of the House, as loathsom, and as nasty a fellow, as she her self was fair and lovely. I will not in this place undertake to declare unto you the Indignation that poffessed him, which was so great, that in one moment it had power to quench the fire which so long had burned. And being filled with as much despite, as he was be­fore with love, he said unto her, Madam, Much good do't you, This day, for your discovered Incontinence, I am recovered, and delivered from a perpetual per­plexity, occasioned by the rare Honesty which I con­ceived to be in you. And without any other Fare­well he departed from her, with greater speed than he came. The poor Woman made no other answer to him, but only covered her face with her hands [Page 171]It was fit indeed that because she could not cover her shame, she should cover her eyes, that she might not see him, who saw her now too clearly, notwithstanding her long dissimulation.

Wherefore I beseech you, Ladies, if you have not a de­sire to love perfectly, do not dissemble with an honest man, nor seek to displease him for your own glory; for Hypo­crites are payed in their own Coin, and God doth favour those who do love intirely. It is well (said Oysilla) you have given us a good one, for the conclusion of this dayes work; And were it not, that we have sworn to speak the Truth, I could not believe that a woman of Estate, as she was, could be so wicked, as to forsake an honest Gentleman for such an ugly Varlet. Alas Madam (said Hircan) If you knew the difference betwixt a Gentleman who all his life-time hath born arms on his back, and followed the War, and a strong chined, and a well-fed Groom, who never stirred out of doore, you would easily excuse this poor widdow. Hircan (said Oysilla) I cannot believe that whatsoever you can al­lege, will make any Excuse for her. I have often heard it spoken (said Simontault) that there are women, who keep Men on purpose to preach unto the world their Vir­tue and their Chastity, and do give them the best entertain­ment, and the most private, that possibly they can, assuring them, that if their Honours and Consciences might not suffer in it, they would comply with them in all their de­sires; And those silly Creatures, when they speak of them in company, will swear, That they have put their fingers in the fire without burning them, to prove that they are Ladies of Honour and Virtue, because they have had ex­perience of their Goodness, even to their singers end. And thus those women do hear themselves to be commea­ded by such dishonest Man, and shew themselves such as they are to those of their own Complexion, and choose such to be their Servants, who amongst Men of worth have not the considence to speak, or if they do speak, by reason of their sordid and vile condition, they have not the credit to be believed. This is the same opinion, said Longa­ren, [Page 172] which in another sense I have heard spoken of jealous, and suspitious men. But this is to pourtray a Chimaera; for although it may fall out to be true in one unfortunate woman, it ought not to be suspected in another.

Before we proceed further in this discourse (said Par­lament) and the Gentlemen here present exercise their wits on our expence, let us rise, and repair to the Vespers, that we may not make the religious men to attend us so long as yesterday they did. The Company were all of her opinion, and being on their way to the Chapel, Oysilla said unto them, If any of us were too blame for having not this day spoken the truth in those histories which we have delivered, Saffredant ought to demand pardon for ha­ving made so vile a commemoration to the dishonour of our Sex. Upon the credit of my oath, said Saffredant, I be­lieve my account to be true enough, yet I must confess that I only heard it speken, but I know so much of women that should I speak all what I knew of them, I should make as many or more signs of the Cross than they do at the conse­cratiō of a Church. Parlament replyed, He is far enough from Repentance whose confessiō doth aggravat his sin. But because you have such a bad opinion of women, they ought to deprive you of all entertainment and familiarity with them. He made answer, some of them, in my behalf, have so used the Counsel that you now give them, in denying me things just and honest, that if I could either speak, or do worse unto them, I would not forbear it, to revenge my self on her who doth detain me in so great a thraldom: And speaking those words, Parlament began to sneeze as she entred with the other Ladies into the Church, where al­though the Saints bell had rung, yet there were none of the Monks to say service, because they understood, that this gallant Company were assembled in the Meadow to dis­course of those pleasant Subjects, and being such who pre­ferred the vanity of their delight above their Devotions, they hid themselves in the bottom of a ditch behind a thick hedge lying with their Bellies on the Earth, where they listned so attentively to their agreeable accounts, that they could not hear the Bell of the Monastery. Which did [Page 173]easily appear, for they arrived in so much hast, that their breath failed them to begin Vespers. And the service being ended, they confessed to those who demanded the reason why they came so late, and chanted so disorderly, that it was to listen to these Histories in the Meadow; wherefore seeing their good will, it was permitted to them, that, sitting at their ease, they should every afternoon be be­hind the hedge. Supper being ended, they began the con­tinuation of the discourse to which they had not put a pe­riod in the Meadow. Oysilla at the last entreated them that she might retire herself, to have her spirits more chear­full against the next morning: And after many passages full of variety and delight, Oysilla affirming that one hour before midnight was worth three afterwards, this gnllant Company parted, putting an end to their discourse and the recital of their Histories for the second day.

The end of the second Book.

The Third Dayes Work of the Novells of the Queen of NAVARRE.
The Preface.

ON the morning the Company could not come so soon into the Hall, but Ma­dam Oysilla was there half an hour before them, having before hand studied the Lecture which she was to read. And if they were content with the foregoing Discourse, they were no less taken with this second; and had it not been that one of the Monks had come to call them to the Mass, their contemplation had hin­dred them from hearing the Bell. Mass being heard, and a short Dinner ended, that their me­mories might not be prejudiced by the abun­dance of too much Viands, they all began in their orders to acquit themselves as well as they could, and retiring to their Chambers, to read over again their Accounts, they attended the accustomed hour to go into the Meadow, which being come, they sailed not to commence their [Page]happy voyage. Those who had determined with themselves to discourse on some merry Subject, had already such joyfull countenances, that the rest did promise to themselves a just occasion of laughter to come. When they were sat down, they demanded of Saffredant, to whom he would give his voice? Since (said he) the fault which yesterday I committed is so great, that you sup­pose there can be no Account given that is worthy enough to make amends for it, I give my voice to Parlament, who by her good dis­course doth know so well to please, and to com­mend the Ladies, that she will make them to forget the truth which I have spoken. I take not upon me (said Parlament) to mend your faults, but to take heed to my self that I do not follow them; wherefore I am determined (gi­ving you an account of the Truth, as we are sworn to do) to demonstrate to you by Exam­ple, that there are Ladies who in their loves have sought for no other end but honesty: And because she, of whom I shall now speak unto you, was of a great house, I will change nothing in her History, but the Name only, desiring you, Madams, to understand, that Love hath not the power to change a chast heart, as you shall find by this History which I shall recite unto you.

THE NOVELLS Of Queen MARGARET.

The honest and wonderfull Love betwixt a young Lady of an honourable Descent, and a Bastard, and the Ob­structions which the Queen made in their mar­riage, with the wise Answer of the young Lady to the Queen.
The First Novell.

THere was in France a Queen, who in her Court brought up many young Ladies of great and good Houses. Amongst others, there was one called Rolandine, who was her neer Kinswoman: But the Queen, by reason of some displeasure she did bear unto the Father, did not entertain her with that respect as she [Page 175]deserved; and although this young Gentlewoman, was neither one of the fairest, nor yet one of the fou­lest, yet she was so wife and so gracefull, that many great Lords and Personages did demand her in Mar­riage, of whom they all received but a cold answer. For her Father did love his money so well, that he forgot the advancement of his Daughter, and the Queen her Mistresse (as I have said) did bear her so little favour, that she was not courted at all by those whom the Queen respected; so that by the negligence of the Father, and the disdain of her Mistresse, the poor young Lady did continue a long time unmarri­ed. And thus afflicting her self, not so much for the desire she had to be married, as for the shame that she was unmarried, she at last altogether retired [...]her self to her Devotions; and abandoning all the flant and vanities of the Court, she made it all her Recrea­tion to pray unto God, or to perform some curious workmanship with her Needle.

In this solitary life she passed away her youth, li­ving a life so retired, and so holy, that she became as well the Wonder as the Discourse of all that knew her. When she approached unto thirty years of age, there came unto the Court a Bastard, descended of an Illustrious Family, as couragious a Man, and as gentile a Companion as any in those times, but For­tune had altogether abandoned him, and he was so little beholding to Nature, that no Lady, whatsoe­ver she was, would ever have chosen him for her plea­sure. This poor Gentleman was a Batchelor, and as often it comes to passe, that one unfortunate Crea­ture is acquainted with another, he courted this poor young Gentlewoman Rolandine in the way of Mariage; for their compsexions, fortunes, and conditions were alike, and finding themselves both to be the Compa­nions of Misfortune, they did seek in all places to comfort one another, and by the long society of dis­course, did hold a perfect Correspondence. Those who had observed Rolandine so retired before, that [Page 176]she would not speak with any Man, perceiving her every hour to entertain the Bastard, did take an of­fence thereat, and acquainted her Governesse with it, saying, It was unseemly they should be permitted to hold such long Discourse together. The Gover­nesse was no sooner informed of it, but she presently did declare it unto Rolandine, assuring her, that eve­ [...]y one did take exceptions that she was alwayes spea­king to a Man who was not rich enough to marry her, nor handsom enough to be beloved by her. Rolan­dine, who had more often been reproved for her me­lancholy, than her affability, did make answer to her Governesse, Alas my Mother! you see that I cannot have a Husband according to the honour of the Family from whence I am derived, and that I have always kept company with those who are young and beautifull, and would avoid those Inconvenien­ces which I have seen others to fall into. And ha­ving found now this Gentleman to be wise and vir­tuous, (as you cannot deny) what hurt have I done to you, or to those who brought this informati­on to you, to comfort my self in my afflictions? The poor old Woman, who loved her better than her self, did reply unto her, Madamoiselle, I must confess that you speak the Truth, and that you are otherwise u­sed by the Queen, and by your Father, than you do deserve; but so it is, That since they speak so prodi­gally of your honour, you ought to abstain from spea­king to him, if he were your own Brother. Rolan­dine weeping, did say unto her, Mother, since you counsel me, I will obey you; but it seems strange to me, to be allowed no Comfort in this World. The Bastard (according to his Custom) did not long af­terwards wait upon her, to whom all along she told the Discourse that she had with her Governesse, and weeping, did intreat him, That for a time he would content himself until the Rumor were passed over, to which, though to his grief, he condescended. But in this discontinuance of his Company, both the one [Page 177]and the other being deprived of all comfort, she be­gan to feel so great an anxity of mind, that for her part she had never endured the like before. She cea­sed not continually to pray unto God, to goe in pil­grimages, and to observe days of Abstinence. For love as yet unknown unto her did give her so much disquier, that it would not grant her the respite of one hour. And on the other side, The Bastard was, possessed with no lesse affection, but he who had al­ready concluded in his heart to love her, and to use all the means that lay in the compasse of his power to marry her, reguarding with his love the honour he should have to enjoy her, did conceive it his best way to declare his good will unto the Governesse, and to gain her consent; which he did by remonistrating unto her the great misery in which his poor Mistresse was detain'd, frō whom they would take away all com­fort. The old woman weeping, did thank him for the honest affection which he did bear unto her Mistresse, and did consult with him of the means by which without being discovered they might talk to one a­nother, which was, that Rolandine should counterfeit herself to be sick of a contagious disease, and when her Companions were all gone from her they two might remain alone, and he might have the oppor­tunity to speak unto her. The Bastard was very joy­full at it, and did altogether govern himself by the counsel of her Governesse, insomuch that he spake unto Rolandine as often as he pleased; But this con­tentment did not long continue, for the Queen, who never did much care for her, did demand, what wa [...] the reason that Rolandine did keep her chamber, some of the young Ladies made answer that it was by reason of her sicknesse; But one of them, who had too good a memory, told her, that the joy which Rolan­dine had to entertain the Bastard was the great occa­sion of her ficknesse. The Queen who feared that venial sins in her might by degrees prove to be mor­tal ones, did send to see how she did, and did forbid [Page 178]her to speak any more to the Bastard, unlesse it were openly in her chamber of presence, or in the Hall. The young Lady made not the least appearance of dis­content, but made answer, that if she had thought that either he or any other had been displeasing to her, she would never have spoken the least word unto them. Nevertheless she debated with herself to find out some other means which the Queen should not under­stand, & it was that on Wednsdays, F [...]ydays, & Saturdays, she would fast, and continue in her chamber with her Governesse, where all the time her Companions were at dinner and supper she had the leisure to speak un­to him whom so intirely she affected, and by how much their time by constraint was made more short, by so much their words did come from them with a more great affection, for they did steal time to main­tain their discourse; as a thief doth steal a pretious creasure. But this meeting could nor be kept so se­cret, but one of the Grooms did observe the Bastard constantly to enter into the chamber upon the days when Rolandine did keep her fasts, and at last it was known to all, and to the Queen herself, who was thereupon so passionate, that the Bastard after that check durst never to enter again into the chamber of the Maids: Neverthelesse, not to lose the happinesse to converse with her whom so much he loved, he often pretended to take a journey out of Town, and on the Evening would return to the Church or to the Chapel at the Court in the habit of a Friar or a Monk, so well disguised, that it was impossible for any one to know him, and to the same Church or Chapel Rolandine, with her Governess, did not fail to come to entertain him. He observing the great love which she did bear unto him, was not afraid to speak unto her. Madam, you know the danger into which I do put my self for your service, and the Queens prohi­bitions, that you should speak no more unto me. You know also too well, what a Father you have, who ca­reth not to whom he shall espouse you, you have re­fused [Page 179]so many good matches. I must confesse I am but a poor man, and that you may marry a Gentle­man with a fortune far greater than my own; but if love and good will be to be esteemed a treasure, I ought to be accounted the richest man in the world. God hath indued you with a great estate, and you are in a possibility to have yet a far greater, if I could be so happy, as that you would vonchsafe to choose me for your Husband, I would all my life be both a Husband, a Friend, and a Servant to you; and if you should take one equal to your self (which is very hard to do) he would become your master, and would more regard your goods than your person, and alto­gether making it his imployment to be conversant in your estate, a [...]d to receive the Rents and profits thereof, he would not be observant to your self, as you do desire. The desire I have to give you this con­tentment, and the fear which doth surprise me that you cannot enjoy it with any other, doth cause me to beseech you, that at once you will make me happy, and your self the most satisfied woman that ever was. Rolandine hearing these words which she had resolved with her self to speak unto him, with an assured coun­tenance did make answer to him. I am very glad that you have begun this disscourse which a long time I had thought to have propounded my self unto you. Those two last years, since I had more perfect knowledge of you, I have thought and thought again, and examined within my self all the reasons which I could invent, either for you, or against you. And at the last, resolving with my self that I would take upon me the estate of Marriage, it was time, I conceived, that I should begin to make choice of him with whom I be­lieved I should live best, & with most peace of mind; I cannot find any one, be he never so handsom, so rich, or so great, that my heart & my spirit do so well accord with as your self. I know that in marrying you I shall not offend God, but do that which he commandeth; And as for Monsieur my Father, he [Page 180]hath so little sought after my Good, nay he hath so much refused it, that the Law will give leave that I may marry without him, although it lies in his pow­er to dis-inherit me; Yet let me have but that which belongs unto me, in marrying such a Husband as you are, I shall esteem my self to be the richest Wo­man in the world. As for the Queen my Mistresse, I ought not to make it a point of Conscience to dis­please her, to obey God; for she did not forbear to hinder me of that comfort in my youth which I should have enjoyed. But that you may understand that the love which I do bear unto you is founded upon Virtue and Honour, you shall promise faithfully unto me, (that although I do accord unto this marriag) that you shall not undertake the consummation of it until my Father be dead, or until I have found a means to procure his consent unto it. To this the Bastard most willingly did ingage himself, & on these promises they did give to one another a ring in the obligation of marriage, and kissed each other in the Church be­fore the Face of God whom they took to be the wit­nesse of their promises, and afterwards, during the society of their loves, there was no other familiarity betwixt them but a kisse only.

This little contentment gave great satisfaction to the hearts of those two perfect lovers, and they lived a long time in this assurance without being discove­red by any; And there was no place where Honour might be gained to which with great contentment this Bastard did not goe, being confident that he could never be poor or miscrable being blessed by God in so happy and so rich a Wise, who in his ab­sence did so well preserve her perfect love, that she took not the least delight in any man in the world; And although that diverse did demand her afterwards in marriage, she made no other answer to them, but that having stayed so long without a Husband, she was now resolved never to marry. This answer was given and understood by so many, that it came at last [Page 181]to the ear of the Queen, who demanded of her what was the reason of it. Rolandine made answer, That it was to obey her; for she understood well enough that she never desired that she should be married to any, who should not honourably provide for her, and to her own content, and that Age and Patience had instructed her to content her self with the Estate in which she was. And evermore when they discoursed with her concerning Marriage, she did return the like answers.

When the Wars were ended, and the Bastard en­tertained again at the Court, she never had any con­ference with him before any, but repaired alwayes to the Church to hold Discourse with him there, under the colour of Confession; for the Queen had forbid both him and her to talk together, upon pain of Death: unlesse it were in some great Company. But the Honesty of Love, which knows no prohibition, was more ready to find means to bring them to speak together, than all their Enemies were prepared to prevent them, and under the habit of all the religious Orders they could devise, they entertained their ho­nest love, untill the time that the King made a pro­gresse to one of his Houses of pleasure, which was not so near to any Church, as to go on foot to it; so that the Ladies were inforced to repair in their Devotions to the Chapel of the Castle, which was so inconveni­ently builded, that there was no place to conceal ones self at the time of Confeilion, and the Confes­sor himself must apparently be seen; Neverthe­lesse, although on the one side Opportunity failed them, Love on the other side did provide them with a more gratefull Expedient. For there arrived a Lady at the Court who was a neer Kinswoman of the Bastards. This Lady, with the young Prince her Son, were lodged in the House of the King, and the Lodgings of the young Prince advanced themselves all along beyond that part of the House where the King lodged; so that the Bastard might see and speak [Page 182]with Rolandine out of the Princes window, for the windows did butt forth one against another at the Corner of the House. And in that Chamber which was above the Hall of the King, were lodged all the young Ladies of the Nobility who were the Compa­nions of Rolandine; who oftentimes observing the young Prince to look out of the window, did by her Governesse advertise the Bastard of it, who having taken a full notice of the place, did pretend to take great pleasure in reading the Book of the Knights of the Round Table, which was in the Chamber of the Prince: And when they were all gone to Dinner, he desired the Groom of the Chamber to lock him in it, that he might read it over, assuring him, that during his abode in the Chamber nothing should be lost, or displaced. The Groom knowing him to be a Kins­man of his Masters, and an honest Gentleman, did give him leave to read as long as he pleased. On the other side, Rolandine came to the window of the Maids, and (for no other occasion but to continue there some hours together) did counterfeit to have an infirmity in one of her leggs, and dined and sup­ped by her self so early, that she did not go to the Ordinary of the young Ladies. She had begun to make a Bed with Crimson Silk, and did fasten the woof to the window, where she would abide alone; and when she saw that there was none in the Room, she entertained her Husband at the window, and when any approached, she would cough, and make a sign, by which on the other side the Bastard might draw back from being seen. Those who were im­ployed to watch them, did believe for certain that their Love was passed over, for she never stirred out of her Chamber, where they were sure the Ba­stard durst not come, because he was expresly forbid­den it by the Queen.

One day, the Mother of the young Prince being in the Chamber of her Son, did go to the window where the great Book was, and staid there not long, [Page 183]but one of the Companions of Rolandine, (who was of her own Chamber) seeing the Queen at the win­dow over against her, did assume the civil boldnesse to salute her, and to speak unto her. The Queen did ask her how Rolandine did, she made answer to her, That she should see her if she pleased, and cau­sed her to come to the window, having a Night-kercher on her head, and having spoken some few words to her concerning her Malady, they did both withdraw. The Queen looking on the great Book of the Round-Table, did speak unto the Groom of her Sons Chamber, I do wonder that young peo­ple can spend their time in reading such follies as these. The Groom of the Chamber made answer to her, That he more wondred that Gentlemen of Age and Understanding should take greater delight to read it, than those of younger years; and to give an Instance for his wonder, he assured her, That the Bastard her Cozen would stay there four or five hours together, to look on that goodly Book. The Occasion wherefore it was, did suddenly touch the apprehension and the heart of the Queen, and she gave a charge to the Groom of the Chamber to hide himself in some place, to observe what the passages were, which he did accordingly, and found that the Book which he did read in the window, was Rolan­d [...]ne, who came to hold Conference with him, and understood many words of desire and love be­twixt them, which they thought they had kept se­cret.

In the morning he acquainted the Mother of the young Prince with it, who sent for her Cozen the Bastard, and after many Reasons and Remonstrances did expresly forbid him to be seen there any more. In the evening she did speak with Rolandine, threatning, That if she continued any longer in that foolish love, she would inform the Queen of it, and of all the t [...]ains they had made. Rolandine, who was nothing [...] at it, did protest unto her, That since the [Page 184]Injunction of the Qu. to the contrary, she never spake any word unto him, whatsoever she might allege to the contrary, and (if she pleased) she might be sa­tisfied with the truth thereof by her Companions, and her Servants; and as concerning the window she did talk of, she understood not what she meant by it, and for her part she did never speak to the Ba­stard out of it: But the Bastard fearing that the af­fair was revealed, did remove himself from the Dan­ger, and returned not a long time afterwards to the Court: Neverthelesse he did write to Rolandine, and so finely contrived a way for the delivery of his Let­ters, that for all the strict watches of the Queen, there passed not a week, but twice at least she had Intelli­gence of him. And when the Means under a Reli­gious habit, by which they oftentimes assisted them­selves, did fail, he sent a little Page, sometimes in one Livery, sometimes in another, who stayed at the door where all the Ladies were to passe, and privately in the crowd would deliver his letters unto Rolandine. Upon a day when the Queen was gone into the Fields, one of the Spies suspecting the Page, having a charge narrowly to watch him concerning that af­fair, did run after him, but the Page who was as cun­ning as himself (doubting that he would examine & search him) did run into the house of a poor woman who was making her pot to boyl on the sire, into which fire he immediatly did thrust the Letters. The Gentleman who did follow him did strip him naked, and examined his clouths all over, but finding no­thing, he did let him go.

When the boy was departed, the old woman de­manded of him, wherefore so rudely he did handle the poor boy. He made answer, that it was to find some Letters which he thought he had about him. You came not soon enough said (the old woman) to find them, for he did hide them where you could not easily find them. I pray you (said the Gentleman) tell me where, flattering himself with a great hope to [Page 185]recover them. But when he understood that he had hid them in the fire, which had consumed them, he understood that the boy was too hard for him, and im­mediately did acquaint the Queen with it.

The Bastard after this time did never imploy [...]his little Page any more, but sent an old Servant which he had, who forgetting the fear of death threatned by the Queen to any, whosoever they were, that should be taken in that affair, did promise his Master, that for all those threatnings he would deliver his Letters un­to Rolandine. And when he was come into the Ca­stle where she was, he addressed himself to a Door at the foot of the stairs where all the Ladies were to passe, but one of the Grooms who had seen him else­where did presently know him, and acquainted one of the Officers of the Queen with it, who immediat­ly came to apprehend him. The old Servant of the Bastard being wise and advised, observing that a far off they looked upon him, did turn himself toward the wall, as if he would make water, and did tear the Letter into as small pieces as possibly he could, and threw them behind the door. Immediately he was apprehended and searched all over, and when they could find nothing about him, they did put him to Interrogatories upon his oath, if he brought not any Letters, using all rigors and perswasions that possibly they could to make him to confesse the Truth, but neither by premises nor by threatnings could they draw any confession from him. The Report thereof was made unto the Queen, and some of the Compa­ny did give advise that it were necessary to look be­hind the door, neer unto which he was taken, which was done accordingly, and the pieces of the Letters were found for which they sought. Immediatly the Confessor of the King was sent for, who having put the pieces in order upon the Table, did read the Let­ter all along, in which the truth of the marriage, so long dissembled, was perfectly understoood, for the Bastard in many places of it did call her his Wife, [Page 186]The Queen who deliberated not with her self to co­ver the fault of her kinswoman as she ought to doe, did raise a great noise, and commanded that by all means the poor man should be enforced to confesse the truth of the Letter, alleging to him that he could not deny it; but all the perswasions they could use, and the remonstrances they could make, could pre­vail nothing with him, nor change him from his first resolution.

Those who had the charge of him did bring him to the Bank of a River, and did put him into a sack, say­ing, that he had lyed against God and the Queen, and against the proved truth: But he who had ra­ther lose his life, than accuse his Master, did desire that he might be allowed a Confessor, and having satisfied his Conscience as well as he could, he said unto them, Sirs, Tell my Master the Bastard, that I commend unto his care the lives of my Wife, and of my Children, for with a good heart I lay down my own for his service; And do with me now what you please, for you shall never force one word from me, that shall be against my Master.

Immediatly to put him into a greater fear they did throw him being in the Sack into the water, crying out unto him, If thou wilt speak the Truth thou shalt be saved, but seeing that he would confesse nothing, they did draw him out, and made a Re­port of his Constancy to the Queen, who immediatly replyed, That neither the King her Husband, nor her self were so happy in a Servant, as was this Ba­stard, who had not wherewith to recompence him, and did what she could to disswade him from his ser­vice, but he would never, he said, be inforced to abandon his Master. Neverthelesse, It being his Masters desire, he was afterwards admitted into the service of the King, where he lived well and happi­ly. The Queen, after she understood the Truth of the Marriage by the Letter of the Bastard, did send to seek out Rolandine, and with an angry counte­nance [Page 187]did oftentimes, instead of Cozen, call her wicked and unfortunate Creature. She shewed her the Dishonour that she had done her Fathers house, and to all her Kinred, and to her self also, to be mar­ried without her knowledge and consent. Rolandine who a long time did know the little affection which the Queen did bear unto her, resolved to answer her with the like; and because the Queen was wanting in her love, she was resolved there should be no place in her own heart for fear; for she knew that this Re­buke given to her before so many Personages, did not proceed from any love, but only to procure her shame, as being one whom she took more pleasure to reproach, than grief to see her to transgresse; She therefore, with a countenance as joyfull and assured, as the Queen had shewed an angry and a troubled one, did say unto her, Madam, If you know not your own heart to be such as it is, I will represent unto you the ill will which along time you have born unto Mounsier my Father, and to my self, but you know it so well, that it cannot be strange unto you, though all the world should doubt it; and for my self (Ma­dam) I have a long time perceived it to my great prejudice. For if it had pleased you to grace me as much with your favour, as you have done those who are not so near unto you as my self, I had been marri­ed to your honour and my own; but you have left me as one forgotten in your good opinion, insomuch that all the good Matches which I might have had, are passed from me by the negligence of my Father, and by the little esteem which you have had of me, by reason whereof I do find my self so forlorn, that if my health had permitted me to take upon me the con­dition of a Nun, I had most willingly put on that re­ligious habit, to free my self from those continuall afflictions, which your rigour hath imposed upon me. In this despair, it was my fortune to find out him who was of as good and as great a Family as my self. He hath a long time loved and courted me; but you [Page 188]Madam (who never pardoned me for the least fault, nor commended me for the greatest good) although by experience you do know, that I am not accusto­med to maintain any discourse of love, or of the vani­ties of this world, and that I was altogether retired from it, being resolved to lead that life which was most religious, doe now find it strange, that I should speak unto a Gentleman as unfortunate as my self, in whose love I neither desired nor sought for any thing, but only some relaxation of my spirit. Of which when altogether I beheld my self to be frustra­ted, I did enter into such a despair, that I had as great a resolution to procure some case unto my self, as you had a desire to take it from me; And not long after, we entred into a discourse of marriage, which was consummated by mutual promises, and by the Ceremony of a Ring. Wherefore Madam, it seems to me that you do me a great wrong to call me wic­ked, seeing that in so great and perfect a love I could find occasion if I would, to doe evil, which I do for­bear, for there hath been never betwixt him and my self any other privacy but to kisse only, hoping that God would so blesse my undertakings, that before the publick celebration of my marriage, I should gain the heart of my Father to consent unto it. I have nei­ther offended God nor my Conscience; For I have attended unto the age of thirty years to see what you and Monsieur my Father would doe for me, having preserved my youth in so much chastity, that no man living can in the least manner reproach me. And by the counsel of that reason which God hath given me, seeing my self growing into age, I determined with my self to espouse one according to my own heart, nor to satisfie the concupiscence of my eyes (for you know he is not handsom) nor the desires of the flesh (for I doe hope he is not carnally given) nor to sa­tisfie my ambition, or the pride of this life (for he is but poor and unadvanced) but I look purely and sincerely upon the Virtue, the Honesty, and the Gra­ces [Page 189]that are in him, for which all the world com­mends him, and on the great love which he bears unto me, which doth cause me to hope that I shall find comfort and good use with him; and having well considered with my self all the good, and all the e­vils that could arrive unto me by him, I have taken that part which did seem to be the best unto me, and which I have looked up in my heart these two years and more, which is, to lay out all the remainder of my life in his company. And I am determined to hold this resolution so firm, that all the torments I can endure, be it death it self, shall never cause me to startle from this resolution: Wherefore Madam, Be pleased to excuse that in me, which is most excu­sable, as your self no doubt doe well understand, and give me leave to live in that peace which I doe hope to enjoy with him.

The Queen beholding her countenance so con­stant, and finding her words so true, could not an­swer her according unto reason, but continuing her chole [...]ick and reproachful words, did begin to weep, and said unto her, Wicked and stubborn as you are, who instead of humbling your self before me, and of repenting of so great a fault, doe assume the bold­nesse to speak so peremptorily in the justification of it without so much as one tear in your eye, whereby you shew the obstinacy, and the insensiblenesse of your heart. But if h [...] King and your Father would take my counsel, they should send you into another place, where you should be constrained to speak words of another sense. Madam, (said Rolandine) because you accuse me of speaking too boldly, I am resolved to hold my peace, if that you are not pleased to give me leave to speak, and answer you. When she had received commandment to speak, she said un­to her; Madam, Far be it from me to speak boldly, and without reverence to you, who are my Mistresse, and the greatest Princesse in Christendom, I have not the least thought so to doe; but because I have no Advocate to plead for me, but the truth only [Page 190]which I my self do know, I am bound to declare it without fear, hoping that when it is well understood by you, you will not esteem me to be such as you call me. I fear not, that any mortal creature under­standing how I have carried my self in the affair I am charged with, should condemn me for it, for I know that God and my Honor are not offended in it. And but be pleased to consider what it is that makes me to speak without fear; It is an assurance that he who sees my heart is with me, and since I have so great and so just a Judge for me, I should offend if I should fear those who are subject to his Judgement; And wherefore then, Madam, ought I to weep, since neither my conscience nor my honour do any ways reprove me for this fact, and that I am so far from re­pentance, that [...] I were to begin it again, I would do no otherwise than what I have done. But you (Madam) have a great occasion to weep, as well for the many great injuries which you have done me from my first youth hitherto, as for that which you do me at this present, in rebuking me for a fault before all the world, which ought more to be impu­ted to you than to my self. If I had offended God, the King, you, my Parents, or my Conscience, I should appear very obstinate, if I should not melt in repentance for so great a fault; But for a good cause, which is just and holy, and which alwayes carried with it an honourable report (unlesse you have too much undervalued it, and made it an offence, which sheweth the desire you have to deprave me to be greater than your endeavour to preserve or advance the honour of your house and kinred) I have no reason to weep at all. But, Madam, since it doth please you, I will not contradict it; For albeit that you inflict upon me what punishment you please, I shall take no lesse pleasure without reason to suffer it, than you shall take without reason to command it. Wherefore, Madam, doe you and my Eather give or­der what shall be the torment I am to endure, for I know he will not be wanting to you, and I shall be [Page 191]glad at least, that for my punishment only he doth altogether follow your will, and having been negli­gent for my good, yet (it being your desire) that he is ready for my evil, to be obedient to you, But I have a Father in Heaven, who I am confident will give me as much patience, as I see there are afflictions prepared by you for me, and in him alone I have per­fect confidence.

The Queen being full of anger and in dignation to hear those words to proceed from her, did com­mand that she should be taken away from before her, and put in a chamber by her self, where not any should be permitted to speak unto her, but they took not her Governesse from her, by the means whereof she acquainted the Bastard with the whole progresse of her fortunes, and desired to be informed of him what she ought to doe; who conceiving that his Im­ployments in the Kings service were of some value to render him acceptable unto him, did with all dili­gence repair unto the Court, and finding the King in the fields, he acquainted him with the truth of the fact, and besought him that he would doe him (being a poor Gentleman) so great a pleasure as to appease the Queen, and be a means that the marriage might publickly be solemnized. The King made no other answer to him, but only demanded; Do you assure me that you have married her? yes, Sir, said the Ba­stard, but by words and a contract only; and if you please the full period will be put unto it. The King did hold down his head, and without speaking any word returned directly unto the Castle, and when he came neer unto it he called the Captain of the Guard, and commanded him to take the Bastard pri­soner. Immediatly one of his friends, who observed the countenance of the King, did advise the Bastard to absent himself, and to withdraw into a house of his not far from thence, and if the King commanded him to be sought out (as he suspected he would) that immediatly he should have notice of it that he might [Page 192]provide for his own safety by his slight out of the Kingdom, but if the King seemed not to be displea­sed, he would send him word to return to the Court. The Bastard did believe him, and his diligence made such dispatch that the Captain of the Guard could not find him. The King and the Queen did take counsel together what they should do with Ro­landine, who had the honour to be their Kinswoman, and by the counsel of the Queen it was concluded, that she should be sent unto her Father, to whom the whole truth of the businesse was to be declared. But before she did goe, it was ordered, that diverse of the Kings Counsel, and some also of the Church should represent unto her, that as yet there had passed no­thing in her marriage but her word only, and that she might easily recall herself, if both one of them and the other would alter their opinions, and their loves, and disclaiming all interests, make the con­tract of no effect.

This the King desired that she would do, to pre­serve the honout of the house of which she was, but she made answer, that in all other things she was both obliged and ready to obey the King, but in this only which so nearly concern'd her conscience she desired to be excused, alleging, that those whom God had put together ought not to be separated by men, and desired that she might not be tempted to so unreaso­nable a thing; for if love and good will grounded on the fear of God is the true and sure tye of Marriage, she was tyed so fast, that neither Steel, nor Fire, nor Water could either break or consume that bond, but death only, to whom alone, and to none else she was resolved to surrender her oath and her ring, besee­ching them not to urge her to the contrary, for she was so firm in her resolution, that she had rather pe­rish keeping her saith, than live having infringed it. Those who were deputed by the King made the re­port unto him of her constancy, and when they saw they could provide no remedy to cause her to re­nounce [Page 193]her husband, they carried her to her Father, in that pitiful manner, that wheresoever she passed they did all fall on weeping to behold her; and al­though she had her failings in this contract, yet so great was her punishment, and so strong her con­stancy, that she made her fault to be esteemed a vir­tue. Her Father, hearing this unwelcom news, would not see her, but sent her to a Castle of his in a For­rest, which he had builded for another occasion, wor­thy to be declared after this Novel. He kept her there a long time in prison, and sent her word often­times, that if she would forsake her Husband he would account her for his daughter, and set her at liberty; Neverthelesse she always did hold firm in her deter­mination, & loved better the place of her prison, and the miseries she endured for her Husband, than all the liberty of the world without him; and it seemed to those who did behold her, that all her punishments were but pleasant recreations, because she suffered them for him whom so intirely she affected. What shall I say, in this place, of men? The Bastard, who (as you have heard) was so much obliged to her, did fly into Germany, where he had many friends, and shewed by his Inconstancy, that not Truth and per­fect Love, but Avarice and Ambition did perswade him to the marriage of Rolandine; Insomuch that in a short time after, he grew so amorous of a German La­dy, that by his Letters he did forget to visit her, who sustained so many tribulations for him; For Fortune (as rigorous as she was unto them) did never take from them the means to write to one another: but the heart of Rolandine had (of its self) the first apprehen­sion of the foolish love into which the Bastard was fall'n, so that she could not take any rest, for she ob­served that the language in his Letters was so cold, and so much altered, that they nothing resembled those hearty expressions which she was accustomed to receive from him, she therefore truly did suspect that some new love had diverted her Husband from [Page 194]her, and when all the punishments and the tor­ments she endured could nor work the least change in her at all; and because her perfect love would not allow that she should ground her judgement up­on a suspition, she did contrive a way to send privat­ly a servant of hers in whom she trusted (not to speak unto him, or bring any Letters from him) but strictly to observe him, and to relate the truth. He being returned from his Journey told her, that for certain he found the Bastard passionatly amorous of a German Lady, and the report was, that he did court her in way of marriage, for she was very rich.

This news did convey so extreme a grief to the heart of poor Rolandine, that being unable to endure it, she fell grievously sick. Those who understood the occasion did acquaint her, that since she percei­ved the great inconstancy of the Bastard, she might now justly abandon him, and did the uttermost they could to perswade her to it; but notwithstanding she was thus tormented, to the last they could find no means to make her change her resolution: And in this last temptation, to the great commendation of her virtue, she did manifest the absolute love which she did bear him. For as love did diminish on his side, so it did increase on hers, and did continue firm, when he had no intire nor perfect love, for love which failed on his side did turn on her side, and when she knew that the love was intire in her alone, which before was divided betwixt them both, she re­solved to preserve it to her death, both for him and her self. Wherefore the Divine bounty, who is perfect charity and true love, had pity on her griefs, and did regard her patience, insomuch that after a few days the Bastard dyed in pursute of another woman; she being well advertised of his death by those who saw him laid in the earth, did send unto her Father to beseech him that he would be pleased to come un­to her, who having not spoken to her since the time of [Page 195]her imprisonment, did immediatly repair unto her, and having all along understood her just reasons, in­stead of reproving her, and killing her (as often­times he threatned in his words) he took her in his Arms, and weeping abundantly, said unto her; My daughter, you are more righteous than my self, for if there were any fault in you, I was the principal cause: But since God hath so ordained it, I will give you satisfaction with advantage for the time to come; and having brought her into his house, he did use her as his only child.

She was at last demanded in marriage by a Gen­tleman of her Fathers own name, and who gave with him the same Coat of arms, who was a wise and a virtuous man, and so highly esteemed Rolandine, that he praised her for that, for which other men did blame her, knowing that the end did only tend unto virtue. The marriage was agreeable both to the Fa­ther and Rolandine, and was immediatly concluded. True it is, that a Brother which she had, who was the only heir of the house, would not agree that she should have any part in the Estate, objecting against her that she had been disobedient to her Father, and after the death of the good Man, he did deport him­self so churlishly unto her, that her Husband, (who was but a younger brother) and her self had enough to do to live, for which God provided, for the Bro­ther who would needs have all, by a sudden death did leave unto her all the Fortunes which he had of hers, and of his own with it. And thus was she the Heiresse of a very great Estate, and lived honourably and holily in her husbands love; And after she had brought up two children which God had given her, she rendred with joy her Soul to him, of whom for a long time she had such perfect knowledge.

Now my Ladies, I would desire that those men who do declare us to be so inconstant, would come hither, and shew me as good a Husband, as this was a wife, and such a faith and perseverance; I am confident it would be so [Page 196]difficult unto them, that I had rather acquit them than put them to such an endlesse task; But I must beseech you La­dies, by the lustre of this example to continue your glory, & not to love at all, or as perfectly as this Lady did, and to have a care that your honours be not scandaliz'd, since by her firmnesse and constancy, she is an occasion to in­crease yours. In good earnest Parlament (said Oysilla) you have reported to us the story of a Lady, who had a great and an honest heart, and who gained as much glory by her constancy, as her Husband contracted shame by his disloyalty, who did leave her for another. I be­lieve (said Longaren) that this affliction was too grie­vous to be endured; for there is no burthen so heavy, but the love of two persons well united may sweetly undergoe it; but when one of them doth fail, and lays all the charge upon the other, the weight is insupportable. You ought then (said Guebron) to have compassion on us who carry all the love, and doe not deign of your selves so much as to put one finger forth to assist us. Ah Guebron (said Parlament) the burthens of the Hus­band and the Wife doe often differ much; For the love of the Wife being well grounded, and depending upon God, and on her Honour, is so just and reasonable, that he who parts himself from that love ought to be esteemed an in­ordinate man, and guilty before God, and all honest men: But the love of the most part of men is grounded only up­on pleasure, and ignorant Women are oftentimes too prone to serve their loose desires; but when God doth instruct them to understand the wickednesse of the hearts of those men whom they esteemed to be good, they will leave them with honour and reputation. The knowledge of the sin doth leave a greater guilt upon the Conscience. Hircan replyed, A goodly reason indeed! grounded on a fancy that honest women may honestly leave the love of their Husbands, and not honest men the love of their Wives, because forsooth their hearts you say are different; but sup­pose they are, and that they doe differ as much as the countenances and the habits of men do differ from those of women, yet I believe their affections and wills are [Page 197]both alike; unlesse they differ in this, that their follies be­ing more covered are alwayes the worse. Parlament in a little choler said unto him, I understand well enough that you esteem those to be least evil, whose intentions are most discovered.

But let us leave off this discourse, said Simontault, for to draw a conclusion from the hearts of men or wo­men, the best of them is worth nothing; Let us know to whom Parlament will give her voice, that we may hear some new account. I do give it said she to Gue­bron. Before I doe begin (said he) to speak of the Grey Fryers, I must not forget those of the order of Saint Be­nedict, and what befell unto two of them in my time; Howsoever, in giving you an account of a man wickedly religious, It is not my intent to alter your good opinion, which you ought to have to those of them, who are reli­gious indeed. But since the Psalmist says, that every man is a lyar; And in another place, that there are none that do good, no not one, It seems to me that we cannot erre in esteeming Man to be such as be is; For if there be any thing good in him, we ought to attribute it to him who is the original of all good, and not unto the Creature, in giving too much praise and glory to it, or in esteeming better of men than indeed they are, the greatest part of men are deceived and deceivers: And to the end that you may see, it is not impossible under an extreme se­verity to find an extreme concupiscence, understand what not long since happened in the time of King Francis the first of that name.

A Prior, a great Reformer of the times, under the shaddow of Hypocrisie, did by all means attempt to seduce a re­ligious Virgin, whose wickednesse at last was discovered.
The Second Novell.

IN the City of Paris there was a Prior of St. Mar­tins in the Fields, whose name I will conceal for the love which I have born unto him. His life un­til he was fifty years of age was so austere, that the re­port of his holinesse was spread over all the Kingdom of France, insomuch that there was neither Prince nor Princesse but entertained him with all honour and reverence when he came to see them; And there was no Reformation of Religion but it passed first through his hand, for he was call'd, the Father of true religion. He was chosen Visitor of the great reli­gion of the Ladies of Frontenaux, who stood in such fear of him, that when he came into any of their Mo­nasteries, all the religious women did tremble for fear, and to appease him in taking off the great ri­gours which he did impose upon them, they did en­tertain him when he made his Visitations as if he had the King himself, which at first he refused, but at last arriving to five and fifty years of age he began to like very well of, and esteeming himself to be the pub­lick assertor of all religion, he desired to preserve his health better than he had been accustomed to doe; And although his Rule prescribed him never to eat flesh, yet he dispensed with himself, which he would not do with any other, saying, that upon him alone lay all the burden of religion, wherefore he feasted himself so much, that of a lean Monk he became a fat Prior, and the change of his heart did follow the change of his life, insomuch that now he began to look upon beautifull faces, of which before he made a great conscience; and observing the beauties of the [Page 199]Nuns, whose veils made them more desirable, he be­gun to be very covetous of them, and to satisfie his salt and wanton appetite he studied so many artifi­ces, that instead of doing the office of a Pa­stor, he became a wolf, insomuch that in diverse Religious houses if there were any one found more weak than another, he never failed to deceive her. And having for certain years continued this wicked course of life, the Divine goodnesse which had com­passion on the poor misguided sheep would no longer indure the ravening of this treacherous Fox; For one day going to visit a Covent not far from Paris called Gif, it fell out, that in confessing all the holy Nuns he took an especial notice of one Sister called Mary He­rouet, whose language was so pleasant & agreeable, to him, that it promised her face and her heart would be the same; Wherefore but to hear her speak only, he was struck with such a feaver of love, that it sur­passed all passions which he ever had for any other of these religious women, and speaking to her, he held down his head very low, that the better he might observe her, and perceiving her lip to be plump and red, he could not forbear to lift up her vail to see if her eyes were the Companions of those beauties that were about them; which he found to be true; whereupon his heart was filled with so vi­olent a heat, that he forgot to eat and drink, and suddenly lost his complexion, although he dissem­bled the occasion of it. Being returned to his Prio­ry he could take no rest; wherefore in great per­plexity he passed away the days and nights, sear­ching out the means by which he might arrive to his desires, and make of her as he had made of diverse others; this he found difficult to be performed, be­cause he found her wise in all her answers, and of a subtil spirit, and on the other side being above threescore years of age, he found himself so old and so wrizled, that he resolved with himself not to speak to her at all, but to make an attempt to gain [Page 200]her by fear. Wherefore, not long afterwards, he re­turned to the said Monastery of Gif, in which place he shewed himself more severe than ever before he was accustomed to do: he grew angry with all the Religious Women, reproving one for not wearing her veil low enough, another, for holding up her head too high, a third, for not making her Cour­tesie with that Reverence as she ought to do, and in these small trifles he shewed himself so severe, that they stood in the greatest fear of him that could be.

Having don this, he travelled to visit the other pla­ces of Regulation, and about the hour of Vespers he came again to the Dormitory where these Nuns were. The Abbesse said unto him, Reverend Father, It is time to go to Vespers. To whom he answered, Go Mother, go, for I am so weary that I will stay here, not so much to rest my self, as to speak to Sister Ma­ry, of whom I have heard a very bad Report, for I am told, That she goes up and down and prattles, as if she were one of the wide world. The Abbesse who was neer of Kin to her Mother, did desire him to school her well for it, and left her alone with him, save only a little Girl, who being very young was newly entred into the Religion, and stood at the furthest door. When he found himself all alone with Sister Mary, he did begin to take off, her veil, and commanded her to look upon him; She made answer, that her Rule did forbid her to look on any Man. It is true my Child (said the Prior) but you ought not to think, that we who are men of Religi­on are to be comprehended in that Rule. Whereup­on Sister Mary, fearing to commit a fault by disobe­dience, did look in the face of him, which she saw so extremely warped and ill-favoured, that she thought with her self, she did rather Penance, than commit a Sin to behold him. The Prior having held her in a long discourse of the Love he did bear unto her, did offer to put his hand upon her Brests, but she did [Page 201]thrust it back as she ought to do, and grew so impa­tient, that he said unto her, What? And will not the Nuns be known that they have Brests? She made answer to him, I know I have; and am resol­ved with my self; that neither you, nor any one else shall touch them; for I am not so young nor igno­rant, but I understand well enough what is sin, and what is not. When he found he could not gain her that way, he attempted another, and said unto her, Alas! (my Daughter) I am put to that distresse, that I must declare unto you my Necessity, which is, that I have an infirmity which the Physicians do all of them find to be incurable, unlesse I do delight my self, and play with a Woman whom I love very well; For my self, I had rather die than commit any mor­tal sin, but if I must venture so far, I know that For­nication and the sins of Lust are no wayes to be com­pared to the sin of Man-slaughter: Wherefore if you love my life, you may both save it, and save your Conscience also from the stain of cruelty. She de­manded of him, What kind of play it was that he did mean? He told her, That it was to put his Consci­ence upon hers, and that she should do nothing, in which he would not joyn with her in the accomplish­ment thereof: And to shew her the beginning of the Pastime which he demanded, he did imbrace her, and endeavoured to throw her on one of the Beds in the Dormitory. She perceiving his wicked Intention, did so well defend her self by the softnes of her words, and the strength of her Arms, that he could touch nothing of her but her cloaths. The Prior, when he beheld all his designes, and the force he u­sed, to be frustrated, like a man possessed with a fu­ry, and as much besides his Reason as his Consci­ence, did put his hands under her Coates, and whatsoever he could touch with his fingers, he scrat­ched with his nails, with so much violence, that the poor Girl crying out as loud as ever she could, did fall down from the height where she was, and lay as [Page 202]one quite dead upon the ground. The Abbesse, hea­ring her to shriek, immediatly entred into the Dor­mitory where she was, and being then at Vespers, she remember'd that she had left her alone with her Confessor, and having thereupon a scruple in her Conscience, she made all the hast she could to the Door of the Dormitory, to listen what they were do­ing, but hearing the voice and complaints of her Niece, she knocked at the Door where the young Nun her Companion stayed, and when she was en­entred in, the Prior beholding the Abbesse, did shew her her Kinswoman lying on the ground, and said unto her, Mother, Without all doubt you are very much to blame, that you did not acquaint me with the conditions of Sister Mary, for being ignorant of her weakness, I had her in confession before me, and in chaptering her, she hath swouned away as you see: They quickly brought her to her self again with Vi­negar and other Remedies, and found that in her fall she had extremely hurt her head. When she was recovered again to life, the Prior fearing that she would confesse unto her Aunt the occasion of her E­vil, did call her aside, and spoke unto her by her self, My Daughter, I command you upon the pain of disobedience and eternal Damnation, that you neither now, nor ever hereafter, do speak the least word unto the Abbesse of what I have said or done unto you, for you are to understand that the Extre­mity of Love did force me to it, and because I see you will not consent unto me, I will never speak any more unto you; howsoever I assure you, That if you will love me, I will procure that you shall be made an Abbesse in one of the best Abbeys of the Kingdom. She made answer to him, That she had rather die in perpetual Durance, than to have any other friend but him only who dyed on the Crosse for her, with whom she had rather suffer all the torments that the world could inflict upon her, than without him to en­joy all the pleasures it could bestow, and desired him [Page 203]to make no more any such loose motions to her, for if he did, she would acquaint her Mother the Abbesse with it, but if he would desist, she would hold her peace concerning what had passed.

In this manner this ungracious Pastor did depart, who to shew himself to be another Man than he was, and to enjoy the pleasure a little longer of seeing her whom he so much loved, did turn to the Abbesse, and said unto her, Mother, I pray you to command all your Daughters to sing one Salve Regina in the honour of that Virgin in whom I have all my hope. This was done accordingly, during which time this Fox did nothing else but weep, with no other Devo­tion, but for a wicked grief only that he could not have his desires on that Virgin whom he accounted to have made his own. The Nuns observing his Tears, supposed that it was in love to the Virgin Mary, and esteemed him to be a most holy Man. But Sister Mary, who knew his ill intentions, did pray to God in heart to confound him, who so much would dishonour, and did despise Virginity.

The Hymn being ended, this Hypocrite returned to St. Martins, in which place the unruly fire which he had in his heart, did burn day and night, and where he studied all the wayes that possibly he could, to arrive to his Designes. And because above all things he feared the Abbesse, who was a very virtuous woman, he contrived a way to remove her from that Monastery, and repaired to Madam de Vendosm, who was then at La Fere, where she founded and builded a Covent for the Order of St. Benedict, called Mount Olivet; And as one who was the Soveragin Reformer of all things in Religion, he did give her to understand, that the Abbesse of Mount Olivet was not fit to govern so great a place. The good Lady desired him to name another who was more worthy of the office. He, who desired nothing more, did advise her to take the Abbesse of Giff, who was the most able Governesse in all France. Madam de Ven­dosm [Page 204]did immediatly send for her, and gave her the charge of the Monastery of Mount Olivet. The Pri­or of St. Martins who had in his power the prefer­ment of most of the religious places for women about Paris, did procure that a Governesse at his own de­votion should be chosen for the Abbey of Gif. After this election he did repair to Gif to try once more, if either by humility of intreaties, or by the flattery of fair words he could gain unto him the heart of Si­ster Mary Herouet, and finding her as refractory to him as ever, he returned in great despair to his Prio­ry of St. Martins, in which place, the better to come to his ends, as also to revenge himself on her who was so cruel to him, and for fear also that his incon­tinence should be divulged, he plotted with himself that the reliques of the Saints of Gif should privately be taken away by stealth, and that a Confessor be­longing to that house, a very antient and an honest man, should be accused to have been the man that had stoll'n them, for which cause he was brought prisoner to St. Martins; during which time he stirred up two witnesses, who ignorantly signed to that which the Prior of St. Martins did command them, which was, that in the garden they had seen the Con­fessor with Sister Mary, and taken them in the wan­ton and dishonest act of lust, which they did avow to the old religious man; But he who knew all the faults of the Prior, did beseech him to bring him to the Chapiter, and that there before the whole order he would speak the truth of all what he did know. The Prior fearing that the Justication of the Frier would be his own condemnation, would not under­stand that request, but finding him intractable to his design, he did use him very cruelly in prison, where some affirm that he dyed, others, that he con­strained him to abandon his religious habit, and to depart the Kingdom of France; howsoever it was, he was never seen afterwards.

The Prior with confidence believed now that he [Page 205]might make a Prize of Sister Mary, and repaired to the Covent, the Abbesse whereof being of his own Complexion, and put in by his request, would not contradict him in any thing. Here he began to exer­cise his authority of Visitation, and made all the Nuns to come to him into the Chamber one after a­nother, to Visit, and to hear them apart, after the manner of Confession, and Visitation. And when it came to the turn of Sister Mary, (who had lost her good Aunt the former Governesse,) he begun to say unto her, Sister Mary, you know of what Crime you are accused, and that the dissimulation you have used to be so chast, hath served you in no stead; for it is known wel enough that you lead a life clean contra­ry. Sister Mary with an assured countenance made answer to him, Procure that my accusers may be brought before me, and you shall see if they dare to justifie before my face, what you object unto me. He made answer to her, There needs no other proof, for the Confessor himself hath been convinced. Si­ster Mary replyed, I conceive him to be so honest a Man, that he will not confesse such a notorious falshood; but if it be so, I pray let us be brought face to face, and I will prove that what he saith to be contrary to the Truth. The Prior observing that she would no way be daunted, did say unto her, I am your Father, and for that cause have a desire to save your honour, I will therefore remit the Truth to your own Conscience, and will adde my belief unto it. But I do command you, and conjure you, upon the pain of Mortal sin, to tell me the Truth, which is, If you were a Virgin when you first came into this House. She made answer to him, My Fa­ther, The Age but of Six years, at which I then was, shall be a Witnesse with me of my Virginity. He replyed, You say well, my Daughter, but since that time have you not lost that fair flower? She did swear unto him, that she had not, nor had ever the least sollicitation by any one, but by himself only. [Page 206]To which he said, That he could not believe it, and that it lay in the proof. She replyed, What proof are you pleased to make of it? The Prior said, The same proof which I make of others; for as I am a Visitor of Souls, so am I also a Visitor of Bodies; your Abbesses, and Prioresses, do passe all under the Visi­tation of my hand, you need not to fear that I desire your Virginity. Wherefore, that I may be assured of it, make no more to do, but lie down upon the Bed, and pull up your cloaths over your face? Si­ster Mary in choler made answer to him, You have held me so long in a vain discourse with the foolish love you bear me, that I am afraid you will rather take away my Virginity, than visit it; Wherefore un­derstand, that in this I will never consent unto you. He then assured her that she should be Excommuni­cated, for refusing obedience to the Religion; and that if she consented not, he would dishonour her in a full Chapiter, or Assembly of the Religious, being met together for that purpose, and would moreover reveal the shame which he knew betwixt her & her Confes­sor. But she with a Countenance without fear, made answer, He who knoweth the heart of his Servants will give me as much honour before him, as you will render me shame before Men: And since your Ma­lice is gon so far, I had rather that it should go tho­rough with its cruelty towards me, than that it should have a desire still to do me mischief, for I know that God is a just Judge. Immediatly he departed to gather all the Chapiter together, who being assembled, he forced Sister Mary to fall on her knees before them, to whom in a great spight and choler he said, Sister Mary, It doth greatly displease me, that the good admonitions which I have often given you have been unprofitable, and that you are brought to such an Inconvenience, that I am constrained to enjoyn you Penance against my Custom, which is, that having examined your Confessor of what was laid to his charge, he hath confessed to me, That he [Page 207]hath abused your body, in the place where the Wit­nesses do affirm that they did see him. Wherefore, as you have been advanced into an honorable estate, and made Mistress of the Novices, I ordain, That you shall not only be made the lowest of them all, but that sitting on the Ground before all the Sisters, you shall feed on bread and water, until I shall find, that your Contrition is sufficient to obtain favour and absolution.

Sister Mary being advertised by one of her Com­panions, who understood all the businesse, that if she answered any thing which displeased the Prior, he would put her in pace, that is to say, in perpetual im­prisonment, did endure that heavy Sentence, lifting up her eyes to Heaven, and beseeching him who gave her resistance, to give her patience also in this great tribulation. Moreover, this venerable Prior did give order (if her Mother, or any of her Kinred came to see her) that they should suffer none of them to speak with her for the space of three years, and that she should not be permitted to send any Letters to them, but what were written before Company, and first perused by them. And thus this wicked Frier departed from her, without returning any more, and the poor Girl remained in a long tribula­tion, as you have heard.

But her Mother, who loved her better than any child she had, seeing that she could hear nothing of her, did greatly wonder at the cause of it, and told one of her Sons (who was an honest and a knowing Gentleman) That she believed her Daughter was dead, and that the Abbesse, and those in the Covent did dissemble it, because they would still receive her annual Pension; she therefore desired him to use one means or other, whatsoever it were, to see his Sister. He immediatly tepaired to the Covent of Gif, where they made him the accustomed excuse, which was, That it was above three years and more since she stirred out of her Bed: But this did not [Page 208]content him, who did swear unto them, That if he could not be allowed to see her, he would make his way over the walls, and force the Monastery. At which they were so amazed, that they brought his Sister to the Grate to him, but the Abbesse stood so near unto her, that she could not speak the least word to her Brother, which she did not plainly un­derstand; but she who was wise enough, did give him what she had prepared in writing, which was a Narrative of all that which above I have rehearsed, with a thousand other Inventions which the Prior had put in practise to deceive her, which I forbear to repeat. But yet I cannot forget, that during the time when her Aunt was Abbesse, he conceiving with himself that she did refuse him by reason of the deformity and the crookednesse of his Age, did cause her to be tempted by a handsom young Frier, think­ing, that if she yeelded to the Frier for Love, she should yeeld obedience unto him for Fear; But she from the Garden (where the Frier courted her, and used such uncivil gestures, that I am ashamed to re­peat them) did run to the Abbesse, who was talking unto the Prior, and said unto her, Mother, Those who come to visit us, are Devils in the stead of Saints, whereupon the Prior being afraid to be dis­covered, did speak in laughter to her, Mother, with­out all doubt, Sister Mary hath good reason for it, and taking her by the hand, he said before the Ab­besse, I understood by divers, that Sister Mary de­livered her mind in such prompt words, and with such a gracefull flourish, as if she had received her Education rather at the Court, than at a Covent, and for this occasion I was constrained, against my Na­ture, to discourse with her in the idse way, as Men of the World do ordinarily with Women, and as I [...]ind it written in their Books (for in my own experi­ence I am as ignorant as the Day in which I was born) and because I conceived that my Age and [...]eformity were the occasions, that she entertained [Page 209]me always with such a virtuous discourse, I comman­ded a religious young Man to hold such conference with her, as I thought was most suitable to her, and you see she hath very virtuously resisted the Tempta­tion, by reason whereof I do esteem her to be so wise, that it is my pleasure, that for the time to come she shall be next unto you, and Mistresse of the Novices, to the end that she may daily advance her self in her good endeavours, and increase more and more in virtue.

This Prank, and many others like unto it, this good Prior did play for the space of three years to­gether, when he was amorous of her, who (as I have said) did give unto her Brother in a Paper through the Grate, all the discourse of her dolefull History; Her Brother immediatly brought it to his Mother, who, overcome with the indignity of it, did come to Paris, where she found the Queen of Navarre, the on­ly Sister of the King, to whom she represented the Truth of this pitifull Story, and said unto her, Ma­dam, For the time to come trust no more to such Hypocrites, I thought I had my Daughter in the High-way to Heaven, and the Suburbs of Paradise, and I have put her into Hell, and into the Hands of the worst Devils that ever were; for the Devils do not tempt us but to what we our selves have an In­clination to, but these will have us by force, whether Love will or no. The Queen of Navarre was in a great perplexity; for she reposed a more than ordi­nary confidence in the Prior of St. Martins, having bestowed upon him the charge of the Abbeys of the Mountrevillyes, and some other places. But the Crime being so odious, did strike such a horror into her, and did give her such a desire to revenge the Innocence of the poor Virgin, that she did communi­cate it to the Chancellor of the King, (then Legat in France) and sent for the Prior, who could make no other Excuse, but that he was threescore and ten years of age; he Petitioned to the Queen of Navarre, [Page 210]that (if she would ever vouchsafe any favour to him in recompence of all his services) she would be plea­sed to be a means that the Processe should proceed no further, and that he would acknowledge Sister Mary Herouet to be the Pearl of Honour, and of Virginity. The Queen hearing him, was so amazed, that she knew not what answer to return unto him, but left him on the place, & the poor Man being confounded in himself, did retire into his Priory, where he would not permit any one to see him, and lived not above one year afterwards. And Sister Mary Herouet being esteemed as highly as she did deserve to be, for the great virtues with which God had indued her, was removed from the Abby of Gif, where she indured so much tribulation, and made Abbesse (by the Gift of the King) of the fair Abbey called Gien, not far from Montargis, which place she reformed, and lived full of the Spirit of God, praising him throughout the whole course of her life, that he at once had bestow­ed upon her both Rest, and Honours.

Ladies, Oserve here a History which may serve to de­clare the truth of that which the Gospel maketh mention of, and St. Paul to the Corinthians, That God by weak things doth confound the mighty, and by things contemptible to the eys of Men, he dazles the glory of those who believed themselves to be something, and are indeed lesse than nothing. And, believe it, Ladies, that without the Grace of God there is not any Man from whom we may expect the least Goodness; nor is there so strong a temptation, but by his Grace we may over­come it, as you may perceive by the Confusion of this Pri­or, who was accounted a just Man, & by the exaltation of the other whom he would have made a sinner. And in that is verified the saying of our Saviour, Who doth exalt himself shall be humbled, and who doth humble himself shall be exalted. Alas, (said Oysilla) How much hath this Prior deceived the expectations of honest minds? for I find by him, that he relyed more on himself, than on God, and (what is much to be lamented) many are so [Page 211]misguided, that they repose more confidence in their Priests than on any Authority either in Heaven or Earth. So will not I, said Nomerfide, for I desire no more conver­sation with Priests, than what of necessity cannot be avoi­ded. No doubt (said Oysilla) but there are amongst them many excellent Men; and therefore because some of them are wicked, they must not all be judged; and you shall find, that those who are the best of them, doe not frequent either the Houses of Secular Men, or the Com­pany of Women. You say well (said Emarsuite) for the lesse we see them, the lesse we do know of them, and the more we esteem them: for it is our daily frequenta­tion with the others that doth shew them what they are. But let us leave them as we found them (said Nomer­fide) and let us see to whom Guebron will give his voice. It shall be (said he) to Madam Oysilla, for I know she will rehearse unto us something in the honour of these Religious Brothers. We have sworn so deeply (said Oysilla) to speak the Truth, that I know not how to maintain any other Subject. And in delivering this last Account, you have renewed in my memory a very sad Hi­story, which at this time I shall exhibit to you, because I am a Neighbour to the Countrey, where in my time this following History did fall out: And Ladies, to the end that the Hypocrisie of those who esteem themselves to be more religious than others, may not inchant your under­standing, and divert your Faith out of the right way, to find salvation in any other, but in him alone, who will have no Companion in our Creation and Redemption, who is Almighty of himself to save us in the life eternal, and to comfort us in the life temporal, and to deliver us from all our tribulations; and because that Satan himself can transform himself into an Angel of Light; that therefore the exterior eye, being blinded with the appa­rence of Sanctity and Devotion, may not fix it self on those objects which it ought to fly, it seems good unto me to give an Account unto you of this memorable History which happened in our times.

Three Murders committed in one House, that is to say, of the Gentleman who was Master of it, of his Wife, and his Child, oc­casioned by the wickednesse of a Frier.
The Third Novell.

IN the County of Perigord there was a Gentleman who had such a Devotion to St. Francis, that it see­med to him that all those who did wear that habit ought to be like unto that good Saint. In the ho­nour of whom he had caused to be made in his house a Chamber on purpose, and a Wardrobe to entertain them, and after their counsel he mana­ged all his affairs, even almost to the Government of his menial Servants, conceiving with himself, that both he and they walked surely in treading in the paths of their counsels. It so fell out, that the Wife of this Gentleman, who was fair, and no lesse wise than virtuous, was brought to Bed of a Son, where­by the love which her Husband did bear unto her was doubly augmented: And a Feast being prepared, the Brother-in-law was sent for. The Hour of Sup­per being come, there arrived a Frier, whose Name I will conceal for the honour I bear unto Religion. The Gentleman was very glad to see his spiritual Father there, from whom he did conceal no secret. And after much discourse betwixt his Brother-in-law, his Wife, and himself, they did sit down to Supper; during which time the young Gentleman looking on his Wife, who had a great gracefulnesse with her, and beauty enough to render her desirable, did speak a­loud unto the Frier, and propounded the Question to him; Father, Is it true, that a Man sins mortally to lye with his Wife during the moneth that she ly­eth in? The Frier, who had a Countenance and a Tongue contrary to his heart, did make answer to [Page 213]him, Sir, without all controversy it is one of the great­est sins that can be committed in Marriage: And this may appear by the Example of the blessed Virgin Mary, who would not come into the Temple until af­ter the day of her Purification, although she had no need of being purified: As much ought you to ab­stain from a little pleasure, seeing (to obey the Law) the blessed Virgin abstained to enter into the Tem­ple, where was all her Consolation; Moreover, the Doctors of Physick do affirm, that there is great dan­ger of the Issue that may ensue thereby. When the Gentleman heard those words, he was much trou­bled, for he well hoped that his Confessor would have been so far indulgent to him, but giving ear unto his counsel, he did speak no more unto him.

The Confessor during this Discourse (having drunk a little deeper than was expedient for him) and beheld the young Gentlewoman, he debated, and concluded with himself, that if he were her Husband he would not ask the advice of any one, whosoever he were, when he should lie with his own Wife. And, as the Fire, by little and little doth kindle, and en­crease its flames, until at the last it doth set the whole house on fire; so this poor Frier did begin to burn in such a Concupiscence, that incontinently he re­solved with himself to arrive to the end of that De­sire, which, for above three years together, he had carried covered, and glowing in his heart.

After the Table-cloath was taken away, he took the Gentleman by the hand, and leading him near unto the Bed of his Wife, he said unto him before her. Sir, Because I am assured of the great love that is betwixt you and this young Lady your Wife, which (together with the heat and lustinesse of your youth) doth so much sollicit you, I must confesse, I have great compassion of you, and therefore I will acquaint you with a secret of our Theology, which is, that the Law (how rigorous soever is be, by reason of the abuse of indiscreet Husbands) will not permit, [Page 214]that those who are of a good Conscience, as your self, should be frustrated of their honest Desires: Wherefore, Sir, in the presence of your People, I have laid down before you the Ordinance and seve­verity of the Law, but from you who are a virtuous Man, I will not conceal the sweetnesse of it; For know (my Son) as there are Women and Women, so there are Men and Men. In the first place there­fore you must demand of the young Lady your Wife, that seeing there are but three weeks since she was brought to bed, If her flux of blood be yet ceased? to which the young Lady made answer, That for cer­tain it was, and that she was clean: Why then, said the Frier, My Son, I give you leave to lie with her, without any scruple; but you must first promise me two things, which the Gentleman did most willing­ly consent unto: The First is, (said the Confessor) That you must not speak the least word, but come with all privacie unto her: the other is, That you approach not to her untill two hours after Midnight, that the Digestion of the young Lady be not trou­bled by your Familiarities. The Gentleman did pro­mise to observe this, and did swear unto it so solemn­ly, that he who knew him to be a greater Fool than a Lyar, was assured in himself that he would keep his word. After much variety of Discourse, the Frier retired himself into his Chamber, bidding them both Good-night, and giving them a great Benedi­ction.

The Gentleman withdrawing himself, his Wife took him by the hand, and said unto him, Without doubt then you will come, and will not make your poor Wife to wake any longer. The Gentleman kissing her, said unto her, Sweet-heart, Leave your door open, which words the Frier heard very well, and so they all retired into their own chambers. The Frier, as soon as he was come into his, did take no thought either for sleep or rest, but as soon as ever he heard all things quiet in the house (it being [Page 215]much about the hour in which he was accustomed to go to Mattens,) repaired directly and softly to the Chamber, where the Gentleman was expected, and having found the door half open, he finely and sud­denly did put out the Candle, and lay as close unto his Wife as possibly he could, without speaking any word. The young Lady, thinking it was her Hus­band, did say unto him, Sweet-heart, you have kept your promise but ill which last night you made unto our Confessor, which was, that you would not come unto me till two of the clock. But the Frier being more intentive to the life that was active, than con­templative, and withall being afraid that he should be discovered, did think more to satisfie his desires, which for a long time had impoysoned his heart, than to make any answer to her. The young Lady was much astonied at it, and the Frier finding the hour to approach in which her Husband was to come, he did rise from the young Lady, and returned sudden­ly into his own Chamber; and as the Fury of his Concupiscence had before taken away all sleep from him, so now the guilt of his Fear, which always fol­loweth wickednesse, would not permit him to take any Rest, but he directed his Course to the Porter of the House, and said unto him, Friend, Mo [...]ensieur your Master hath commanded me to go immediatly to our Covent to make some prayers, it being now the second hour of Devotion; wherefore, I pray you, give me my Packet of Papers, and open the Door, but do it so softly that no body may hear it; for my businesse is necessary and secret. The Porter know­ing very well, that to obey the Frier was a service ve­ry agreeable to his Master, did open the Door very softly for him, and did let him forth.

The Gentleman at that instant did awake, and fin­ding that the hour did approach which was admitted to him by his Confessor to give a visit to his Wife, he did arise from his bed, and having put on his Night-Gown, he made hast thither, whither he [Page 216]lawfully might come by the Ordinance of God with­out any permission of Man. When his Wife did hear him speak unto her, (being ignorant of her miscar­riage) she was possessed with such an amazement, that she said unto him, Is this your promise, Sir, which you have made to the Confessor, to have such a care both of your Soul and mine? was it not enough to come to me once before your hour, but do you now return again? The Gentleman was so troubled to hear this Interrogatory, that he could not dissemble his affliction, but said unto her, What mean these words which you speak unto me? I know for a truth that these three weeks I have not lain with you, and do you reprove me for comming so often to you? If you continue in this discourse you will make me to believe that my Company is hatefull to you, and (a­gainst my custom, and desire) you will constrain me to look for that pleasure from others, which by the Law of God I am to receive from you. The young Lady, who thought that he had mocked her, said un­to him, Sir, I beseech you, that in imagining me to be a deceiver, you do not deceive your self; for though you did not speak unto me, about an hour ago, when you were with me, yet I am satisfied with­in my self, that it was you. The Gentleman imme­diatly understood, that they were both deceived, and added Oaths to his Protestations, that he did not come unto her: whereupon the Lady took so great a grief, that with tears she besought him to make a diligent scrutiny to find who it was, for none, that night, lay in her house, but her Brother and the Fri­er. The Gentleman being surprised with a Jealou­sie that it was the Frier, did in all hast repair unto the Chamber where he lay, and found him not there. And the better to be assured what was become of him, in an angry and a trembling speed, he did go unto the Porter, and demanded of him if he knew what was become of him? who (according to what the Frier told him) did give him a full Relation of the [Page 217]Truth. The Gentleman being fully assured that it was he who did commit this wickednesse, did present­ly return to the Chamber of his Wise, and said unto her, Without all doubt, Sweet-heart, the Man who lay with you, and did ring so well his Mattens Bell, was our Father the Confessor. The young Lady, who all her life had loved her Honour as her Consci­ence, did enter into such a Despair, that forgetting all humanity, and the nature of a woman, she did on her knees beseech him to revenge that great Injury. Wherefore on a sudden, without any delay, the Gentleman took horse, and pursued the Frier.

The poor young Lady being alone in her Bed, and as much without counsel as without comfort, save on­ly in her little Infant but newly born, considered with her self the marvellous and horrible mischance that had befalln her, and without excusing her own Ig­norance, did repute her self the most guilty, and the most unfortunate Woman in the world, and found her self so overcome in this assault of her Despair, grounded on the enormity and greatnesse of her sin, and the love of her Husband to her, and on the ho­nour of both their Families, that she esteemed Death far more happy than Life, and was suddenly trans­ported with so violent a Melancholy, that she fell in­to such a Despair, that she not only lost that hope which every Christian ought to have in God, but was quite estranged from common sense, and forgat her own Nature. Insomuch, that being as far from all knowledge of God, as from all knowledge of her self, as a Woman quite bereft of sense and reason, she took the cord of her Bed; and with her own hands strangled her self, and which is worse, being in the agony of this cruel Death, her body, which combated against it, did re­move it self in such a sort, that with her foot she struck against the poor Infant, whose Innocence could not preserve it, from following by her own Death her most afflicted and dolorous Mother: But [Page 218]dying she made so great a noise, that one of her Maids in the next Chamber being amazed at it, did rise in great hast to light the Candle, and on her Re­turn having beheld her Mistresse hanging, and stran­gled with the cord of the bed, and her Infant dead, and lying at her feet, she afrighted did run into the Chamber where her Mistresses Brother did lye, whom she took along with her to behold this lamentable spectacle.

The Brother crying out Woe, and Alas, and ma­king so great a lamentation as such a Brother ought to do who loved his Sister with all his heart, did de­mand of the Chambermaid, Who it was that had committed so great a villany? She made answer, that she knew not who, and that none but her Master came into the Chamber, who was not long since gone out of it. The Brother entring into the Chamber of the Gentleman, and finding him not there, did assu­redly believe that it was he who was guilty of this hor­rible Murder, and taking his horse, without deman­ding any further, did gallop after him, and met him in the way returning from the pursute of the Frier, being sad that he could not overtake him. When ever his Brother-in-law did behold him, he did cry out unto him, Wicked and Wretched as thou art, defend thy self, for this day I doubt not but with this sword God will revenge me. The Gentleman, who would have excused himself, did see the sword of his Brother-in-law so near unto his throat, that he found he had more need to defend himself, than to make any pause to demand the Cause of the Debate, and drawing upon him, they gave one another so many cuts and slashes, that the effusion of their blood, and their wearinesse together, did constrain them to sit down upon the Ground, both on the one side and on the other, to take breath: The Gentleman said unto him, What occasion is it (my Brother) that hath con­verted the great love that hath been always between us, into so cruel a Fight? The Brother-in-law made [Page 219]answer to him, What was the occasion that moved you to put my poor Sister, who was one of the most virtuous women that ever lived, to so ignominious a death, and so barbarously to act your Murder, as un­der the prerence of lying with her, to strangle her with the Cord of the Bed. The Gentleman un­derstanding these words, being more dead than a­live, did say unto him, Is it possible? Have you seen your Sister in that Estate as you inform me? When the other Brother did assure him of it, he proceeded and said, But what was the Reason that did cause you to forsake your House? Whereupon he told him what the wicked Frier had done, at which his Bro­ther was much amazed, and being sorry at the heart that against all reason he had assaulted him, he de­manded pardon of him. The Gentleman replyed unto him, Although you have done the Injury, it is I who have the punishment, for I am so sorely woun­ded that I believe I shall not escape with life. His Brother-in-law did endeavour the best that possibly he could to help him upon his Horse, which being done, he did bring him gently to his house, where the next morning he died. His Brother-in-law con­fessed before all his Friends and Kinsmen, that he was the only occasion of his Death. And to satisfie Justice, he was counselled to addresse himself to King. Francis the first of that Name, to demand pardon of him. Wherefore, having honourably interred the Husband, Wife, and Infant, he repaired on Good Friday to the Court, to purchase his Remission, and obtained it, by the sollicitation of Mr. Francis Oliver, who was then Chancellor of Alençon, and since for his great Virtues, chosen by the King to be Chancel­lor of France.

Ladies, I believe, that understanding this most true History, there is not any of you here, but will beware, and beware again, how you lodge such people in your houses, and be assured, that there is no poyson more dangerous than that which is most concealed. Do you not think [Page 220](said Hircan) that this Husband was a very Fool, to bring such a gallant to Supper, and to sit near to such a fair and virtuous Lady? I have known in my time, (said Guebron) that there was not a House in our Country in which there was not a Chamber set apart for these Friers, but now they are so well known, that they do fear them more than before they loved them.

It seems to me, said Parlament, that a Woman being in bed (unlesse it were in case of necessity to administer the Sacrament unto her) there ought not to come either Fri­er or Priest into her Chamber; and when I send for any of them, you may well judge me to be in a very dange­rous condition. If all the world were as severe as you (said Emarsuite) the poor Priests would be worse than Excommunicated, being to be deprived of the sight of Wo­men. Take no care for that, (said Saffredant) for it will never come to passe. No, (said Simontault) It is they who by marriage do tie us unto Women, and by their wickednsse do attempt again to untie the knot, and tempt us to break the Oath which we have made unto them. It is great pity (said Oysilla) that they to whom are committed the Administration of the Sacraments should play thus fast and loose, they deserve to be burned alive. But let us proceed, and see who shall have the voice of Oysilla. I give it (said she) and the Speakers place with it, to Dagoucin, for I perceive him to enter into a Contemplation, which (as it seems to me) doth pro­mise to give us some good account. Although I neither can, nor dare speak (said Dagoucin) what I think, I will nevertheless give you the Account of One, to whom Cru­elty first brought loss, and afterwards advantage. For although Love doth esteem himself so great and mighty, that he will go stark naked, and it is a thing at the first troublesom unto him, and afterwards insupportable to be covered, yet it so falls out, that they who oftentimes to obey his counsel have advanced too soon to discover them­selves, have been found to be but bad Merchants, as it happened [...]o a Gentleman of Castile, whose History I will give unto you.

The fine Invention of a Gentleman to declare his love unto a Queen, and what be­came of it.
The Fourth Novell.

IN the Court of the King and Queen of Castile (whose Names shall not be expressed) there was a Gentleman, so exquisit in his Complexion, and proportion of Body, and the sweetnesse of Con­dition, that in all Spain there was not an Equal to him. Every one had his Virtues in admiration, but admired more the strange Conditions of him, for it was never known that he loved or served any La­dy; and although there were in the Court so great and so fair a number of them, that they were able to melt the very Ice it self, yet not any of them had the power to captivat the heart of this Gentleman, whose Name was Elisor. The Queen, who was a Lady of great Virtue, but not altogether exempt from the Flame, which, the lesse it is known, the more it bur­neth, observing this Gentleman who courted not any one of all the Ladies in her Court, did much wonder at him, and one day demanded of him, If it were possible that he did love so little as he did make the world to believe. He made answer to her, that if she could see his Heart as well as his Countenance, she would not propound that question to him. She desiring to know what it was that he would confesse, did presse him so much, that he acknowledged to her, that he did indeed love a Lady, and the most virtu­ous one in all Christendom. She used all her power by Intreaties and Commands to understand who it was, but she could not learn it of him. Whereupon, seeming to be angry with him, she did swear, That she would never speak vnto him more, if he would not give her the Name of that Lady whom so much he loved; at which he was so much perplexed that he was constrained to professe unto her, That he had ra­ther [Page 222]die than confesse unto her who it was, but see­ing that he should be deprived of her respects and fa­vour, if he should not acknowledge the Truth unto her, which was so honest, that it could not be taken in ill part by any, he said unto her, in a great fear, Ma­dam, I have neither the force nor the boldnesse to de­clare it to you, but the first time that you go a hun­ting, I will shew you her, & be you assured, that you will believe her to be the fairest, & the most accom­plished Lady in the world. This answer being made, the Q [...]. did go a hunting sooner than she was accusto­med, and Elisor being advertised of it, did prepare himself to wait upon her, and had caused to be made a great Mirror of Christal in the fashion of a Corslet, and having buckled it to his Brest, he did cover it with a Coat of black Frize, richly imbroydered with Gold and Silver purle. He was mounted on a black Horse, richly trapped with all the gallant furniture that belonged to a Horse. The trappings were all covered with Gold, and with a Morresk work ena­mell'd with black. His Cloak was of black Silk, on the shoulder thereof was a badge most curiously wrought, and adorned with precious stones, where he had for a Devise Love covered by force; His sword and his poynado were no lesse beautifull, and set forth with as rich devices. To be short, he was compleat cap a pei'd, and most remarkable when he was on horsback, and knew so well to manage his Horse, that all those who did observe him, neglected the recreation of hunting, to observe the Courses and Corvettoes which he made. Having in those Courses brought the Queen unto the place where the Nets were pitched, he alighted from his Horse, and came to assist the Queen as she was alighting, who stretching forth her arms unto him, he opened his Coat, and taking her in his arms, did shew her his Corslet where the Mirror was, and said unto her, Madam, I beseech you to behold your self in it, and without attending any answer, he did set her softly [Page 223]on the Ground. The Hunting being ended, the Queen returned to the Castle, without speaking one word to Elisor, but after Supper she sent for him, and told him, That he was the greatest Lyar that she ever knew, for he had promised her faithfully to shew that Lady in the Chace unto her whom he most loved, which he had not performed, wherefore she resolved with her self not to esteem him any more. Elisor fea­ring that the Queen had not understood what he had said unto her, did make answer, That he had per­formed what he promised; for he had not only shewed her the woman, but that part of her which he loved best. The Queen pretending not to under­stand him, did reply unto him, That she did not re­member that he had shewed any one of her Ladies to her. It is true, said Elisor, But what did I show un­to you, as you were alighting from your Horse? No­thing, said the Queen, but only a fair Glass upon your Brest: And what did you behold in that Mir­ror, said Elisor? I saw nothing but my own face, said the Qu. Elisor said unto her, then Madam, in obedi­ence to your Commandment, I have fulfilled my pro­mise, for there shall be never any other representation in my heart, but that which you saw upon my Brest, & it is that only whom I love & reverence, & adore, not as a Woman, but as a Goddesse upon Earth, into whose hands I do put both my Life and Death; be­seeching you, that my most entire and absolute affe­ction (which was all my Life, as long as I concealed it) may not prove my Death by my discovering it: And if I am not worthy to be regarded, and accepted as your Servant, at least permit, that I may live (as I have been accustomed to do) upon the Content­ment I have to behold you, my heart having been so bold to chuse so high, so perfect, and so Majestick a place for the foundation of its love, of which I can have no other satisfaction, but to know, that my love is so great and absolute, that I am contented only to love although I am not be beloved again; And if it [Page 224]doth not please you by the knowledge of my great love to have me more agreeable to you, and to affect me more than heretofore, at the least take not my life from me, which consisteth in the happinesse I have to see you, as I have been accustomed to do. If you please to look upon me with more rigor, you will have one servant lesse, and lose the most affectionate one which you ever had, or ever can have.

The Qu. whether to shew her self what she was not, or else all along to make more trial of the love which he did bear unto her, or whether she loved some other Servant, whom she would not leave for him, or else to reserve him untill he whom she had loved had done some fault, and then, afterwards to receive him into his place, did speak unto him with a coun­tenance neither angry, nor yet contented, Elisor, Being ignorant of the authority of Love, I do not de­mand of you what folly did betray you into so great, so high, and so dangerous a humor, as to be in love with me; for I know that the heart of Man is so lit­tle at Mans Commandement, that he cannot make it either to hate or to love, as he himself would. But because you have so well declared your mind, I de­sire to know how long it is since you first did begin to love me. Elisor observing her to smile upon him, and that she inquired after his Malady, did well hope that she would vouchsafe some remedy unto him, but beholding on a sudden her countenance to change a­gain, he was struck with a fear, thinking himself to be before a severe Judge, who was ready to pronounce sentence upon him. Howsoever, he took the confi­dence to assure her, that his love had taken a deep root in his heart ever since his childhood, but it did not burn within him to make him feel the pain thereof, but the last seven years, and he said he could not properly call it a pain, but rather a Malady, which gave such a contentment, that the recovery from it was Death. Since it is so, said the Queen, that you have laboured in so great a trial, I ought to [Page 225]be no more light to believe it, than you have been to expresse it; wherefore, if it be as you say, I will make such a proof of it, that afterwards I shall have no reason to doubt it, and this proof being made, I shall esteem you to be such unto me, as you your self do swear you are, and I knowing you to be such, as you say, you shall find me to be such, as you desire. Elisor besought her to make what proof of him she pleased, for there was nothing so difficult that should not be very easie to him, to obtain that great happi­nesse, that she might know, and be assured of the af­fection which he did bear unto her, and besought her to command him that which she would have don. She said unto him, Elisor, If you do love me as much as you affirm, I am assured that to enjoy my favour nothing can be too hard for you. Wherefore I com­mand you, by all your desires to have it, and your fears to lose it, that without seeing me any more, you do depart the Court to morrow, and retire into some place where you may not hear from me, nor I have any tidings of you, for seven following years. You who have already passed seven years in this love, do know in your self that you love me. When I have had the like expecience of it for seven other years, I shall know and believe that, which your words cannot make me to understand, much lesse to believe. Elisor hearing this cruell Com­mandment, doubted on the one side, that if he should stay, she would remove him from her presence; and on the other side, hoping that the Event would speak better for him than her words, he did accept the Command, and said unto her, Since I have li­ved seven years without any hope at all, having con­cealed this fire, now it is known unto you, I shall bear and passe away these seven years to come with more patience. But Madam, in obeying your Com­mandment, by which I am deprived of all the happi­nesse I have in the world, what hope will you give me at the end of seven years, when you have found [Page 226]me to be your faithful and your loyal Servant? The Queen taking a ring from off her finger, did say unto him, Behold this Ring which I do give you, Break it in the middle, and you shall keep one half thereof, and I the other; to the end, that if the length of time shall take away from my memory the knowledg of your face, I may know it by that half part of the Ring which you shall keep. Elisor did take the Ring and did break it in two pieces, and gave one part thereof to the Queen, and kept the other him­self; and taking his leave of her, more dead than those who have render'd up their souls, he departed to his Lodgings, to take order for his journey, which he performed in such a manner, that he sent all his train from the Court to his own House, and did tra­vel himself attended but with one servant, into a place so solitary, that not any of his Kinred or his Friends for the space of seven long years, did know where he was, or heard the least tidings of him. The life he did lead during that time, and the afflictions he endured by reason of his absence, cannot be known; howsoever those that perfectly do sove, cannot but in some measure be acquainted with them.

At the full end of seven years, just as the Queen was going to hear Masse, a Hermit with a great beard came unto her, who kissing her hand, did present her with a Petition, which on the sudden she did not take the pains to look on, although she was accusto­med with her own hands to take all the Petitions that were presented to her, how poor soever they were that did present them. When the Masse was half said, she opened the Petition, and in the fust place found inclosed in it, that part of the Ring which she had given unto Elisor, whereat she was transported with as much Joy as Amazement, and having read what was contained in the Petition, she suddenly commanded her Almoner to bring the Hermit to her who had presented that Petition. The Almoner did [Page 227]seek him every where, but he could hear no tidings of him, but only that he was seen to take horse, but which way he did go it was impossible to be known.

The Queen did read the Petition over, and over, attending the answer of her Almoner, and found also a Letter inclosed in it most excellently penned, the substance whereof was to shew the strange effects which time had produced, in renewing and resining the affections, and changing a Love Temporal into a Love Spiritual, and Eternal.

This Epistle was not read without many tears, and a great amazement, accompanyed with a grief in­comparable: For she thought that the losse she recei­ved in a servant full of so perfect love, ought to be esteemed so great, that neither all her Exchequer, nor the Kingdom it self, could take from her the title of being the most poor and most miserable Lady in the world, because she had lost that which no treasure could redeem; And having heard Masse, she retur­ned unto her Chamber, and by her self alone, did make so great a lamentation as her Cruelty did de­serve. And there was neither Mountain, Rock, or Fortest whither she did not send, to find out this Hermit; but he who had taken him from her hands, did preserve him from falling into them again, and did receive him into Paradise, so that in this world she could hear no more tidings of him.

By this Example no Servant ought to confesse that which can do him no good, and may assuredly hurt him: And much lesse (Ladies) ought you, by reason of your In­credulity, to demand a proof so dissicult, that in having it you may lose the life of your Servant. Truly Dagoucin (said Guebron) I have heard that Lady highly com­mended as the most virtuous Princesse in the world who imposed this task upon her servant, as a proof of his Fi­delity, but now I shall believe her to be the most foolis [...] and the most cruel that ever was. Neverthelesse, in my opinion (said Parlament) she did him no great wrong [Page 228]to make a proof of him for seven years, if he loved so much as he professed, for men are so accustomed to dis­semble, that before we trust them (if at all we must trust them) we cannot make too long a proof of them. La­dies (said Hircan) are now a great deal more wise than heretofore they were, for in seven dayes proof they have now as much assurance of a Servant, as they had hereto­fore in seven years; And yet there are some in this Com­pany (said Longaren) who seven years together have been courted, and have endured all the proofs of the Harqu [...]buse, and yet their love could never be obtained. They ought then (said Simontault) to be number'd in the rank of the sormer times, for in these dayes they are not to be received. Howsoever it was (said Oysilla) the Gentleman was much obliged to the Lady, by whose means he was reclamed from the vanity of Terrestrial love, and wholly devoted his heart to God. He met with an extraordinary happinesse (said Saffredant) to sind God on the Highways; for seeing the affliction he had on him, I do much wonder that he did not give himself to the Devil. Why then, when you are ill intreated of the Ladie you do love (said Emarsuite) do you wish the Devil take you? A thousand and a thousand times (said Saffredant) but the Devil seeing that all the forments in Hell cannot make me more miserable, than the tor­ments wherewith she afflicts me, will not vouchsafe to take me, knowing well enough that there is no Devil so insupportable, as a Lady that is loved, and will not love again. If you are of that opinion (said Parlament to Saffredant) if I were as you, I would never have any thing to do with any Woman. My assection to the Sex hath been always such (saith Saffredant) and my Error so great, that I hold my self thrice happy to serve there, where my service is most undervalued; For the treachery and cruelty of Women, cannot overcome the love which I bear unto them. But I pray tell me in your Conscience, Do you commend that Lady for her so great rigor? Yes (said Oyfilla) for I believe that she would neither love, nor yet be loved. If she had that resolution (said [Page 229]Simontault) wherefore did she give him such a promise to entertain him after the seven years were passed? I am of your opinion, (said Longaren) for those who for love will not return love again, will give no occasion of love to those that bear love unto them. It may be (said No­merfide) that she loved another, who was in deserts far inserior to this honest Gentlemen, and that she left the better for the worse. Upon my credit (said Saffredant) I conceive that hereby she made good provision for her self to take him in an hour when she had left off the other, whom peradventure at that present she loved better. I see very well (said Oysilla) that the more we examine and debate upon this Subject, the more those who will have all things go on their side, will take occasion to speak the worst of us that possibly they can, wherefore Dagoucin, I request you to give your voice to some one. I do give it (said he) to Longaren, being assured that she will acquaint us with some grateful novelty, and will not, to speak the Truth, forbear either Man or woman. Since you do esteem me to be so impartial (said Longa­ren) I will assume the hardinesse to acquaint you with the Fortune which happened to a very great Prince, who in virtue surpassed all others of his time. Understand withall, that the thing which we ought least to use, but in the case only of extreme Necessity, is Dissimulation: It is a Vice both vile and infamous, especially amongst Po­tencates and Princes, in the mouths and countenances of whom Truth is far more becomming, than in any other person. But there is no Frince so great, although he hath all the honours and the riches that he can desire, who is not subject unto the Empire, and the Tyranny of Love; insomuch, that the more noble the Prince is, and of grea­ter spirit, the more Love delighteth to make him to stoop under his powerful hand, for that wanton and glorious little God doth take no care of small or common things, and his Majesty doth make it his exercise every day to do wonders, as to make weak the strong, and to make strong the weak, to give understanding to the ignorant, and to take it away from the wise, to savour passions, and [Page 230]to destroy reason, and all his delight is in such changes. And because Princes are not exempt from love, no more are they from the extremity into which the servitude of Love doth throw them. And therfore by force they may be permitted to use Dissimulation, hypocrifie, and fiction, which are the means to overcome their Enemies, accor­ding to the Doctrine of Master Iohn de-Moon. And since in such an act the Condition of a Prince is pardona­ble, which in no other act is to be allowed, because it layes them open to Disrepute, I will in this place give an ac­count unto you of the Inventions of a young Prince, by which he deceived those who are accustomed to deceive all the world.

The subtilty which a great Prince used to delight himself in the Company of the Wife of an Advocate of Paris.
The Fifth Novell.

IN the City of Paris there was an Advocate more esteemed than nine Men of his profession, and by reason of his great sufficiency being sought after by all, he was the richest man of all those of his Robe: who finding that he had no children by his first Wife, did hope to have issue by his second; And although his Body was old and dryed up, yet his heart and his hope were not dead; wherefore he did choose to wife a young Geutlewoman of the City, of about eighteen or nineteen years of Age, very fair, and of a delicat complexion, whom he loved and tendred as much as possibly he could, but she had no more Children by him, than he had by the former, which at the last did much trouble her. Wherefore her youth, which was not suitable to Melancholy, did cause her to seek out recreations in other places than in her own house, and she repaired oftentimes to Feasts and Dancings, [Page 231]but she always deported her self so civilly, that her Husband could not entertain any bad opinion of her. For she was alwayes in the company of those in whom he had great confidence. Being one day invited to a Marriage, there was present a great Prince, who in rehersing the account, did for bid me to use his name. But I may well say unto you, that he was so brave a Prince, and of such a Grace, that the like was never seen before in France, nor ever (I do believe) will af­ter him be seen again. This Prince beholding this young Gentlewoman, whose eys and whose Counte­nance did incite him to affect her, did come unto her, and did court her with such fine language, that she her self was much taken with him and it, and did not conceal from him, that for a long time she had that love in her heart, for which he did intreat her, and that he should not take pains to perswade her to that, to which at the first sight Love had made her to consent. The young Prince, by the courage of Love, having obtained that happinesse, the purchase whereof did well deserve a longer time, he thanked the blind little God, who so much favoured him. And after that hour he so well followed his affair, that they did both agree upon the means, how they might come together, without the observation of any.

The place and time being agreed upon, the young Prince did not fail to come, and to preserve the honour of the Gentlewoman, he did come disguized, but by reason of the dissolute boyes, who did run up and down the streets in the night, by whom he would not be known, he took some Gentlemen with him to attend him. And in the entrance into the street where she lived, he did dismisse them, saying to them, If you hear no noise at all within this quarter of an hour, you may retire into your own lodgings, and about three or four hours hence fail not to ex­pect me in this place again. This they did accor­dingly, and hearing not any noise they withdrew [Page 232]themselves into their own Chambers. The young Prince did directly take his Course to the House of his Advocate, and found the Door open as it was promised him. But going up the stairs he did meet with her Husband, by reason whereof he was more seen than he desired; Neverthelesse Love, which gi­veth understanding and boldnesse in the greatest ne­cessities, did so dispose it, that the young Prince came directly to him, and said, Monsieur the Advocate, You know the confidence which I and all those of my House do repose in you, and that I do esteem you to be one of the best, and most faithfull Servants that I have, I was willing to come privatly to you to visit you, as well to recommend my affairs unto you, as to desire a Cup of your wine, for I stand in need of it, and not to acquaint any whomsoever that I am here, for from this place I must immediatly go into an other, where I would not be known.

The good Man the Advocate was so glad of tho Honour which the Prince had done him to come so privatly unto his house, that he brought him to his Chamber, and gave a charge to his Wife with all speed to make ready a Collation of the best fruits and Confects that she had. This most willingly she did, and brought him the best banquet that in so short a time she possibly could provide. And although her Night habit in which she was drest did render her most lovely and desirable, yet the young Prince did make a semblance before her Husband nor to regard her at all, but did speak to him altogether concer­ning his affairs, as having alwayes managed them for him. And as the Gentlewoman on her knees did hold the Confects to the Prince, and her Husband did go to the Cupbord to fetch him some Wine, she whispered to him, that at his going our of the cham­ber he should not fail to go into the Wardrobe on the right hand, where, as soon as possibly she could, she would come to him. When ever he had drank [Page 233]he rose up, and thanked the Advocate, who was very importunate with him to attend him to the door of his House; but he would not give way unto it, assu­ring him, that whither he was going, he had no need of his Company: and turning to the Advocates Wife, he said unto her, Neither will I do you so much wrong as to take away your good Husband from you, who is one of my most antient servants; you are so happy in him, that you have occasion to thank God for him, and to serve him, and obey him, and if you shall do otherwise, you will be too blame.

The young Prince speaking these words did de­part, and shutting the door after him, that he might not be followed to the stairs, did enter into the war­drobe, where, after her Husband was asleep, the fair Wife came, and did lead him into a Cabinet the best accommodated that possibly could be, although the two best pictures (whatsoever habiliments they had on them) were her and himself there. I make no doubt but she performed all the promises which she had made unto him, from whence, about the hour in which his Gentlemen were commanded to attend him, he retired, and found them waiting for him in the same place, accordingly as he had enjoyned them. And because this life continued a long time, the young Prince did find out a neerer way to goe unto her, which was to passe through a Monastery, having prevailed with the Prior that every night a­bout midnight, the Porter should open the door unto him, and likewise when he returned; And because the House whither he did go was contiguous to the Monastery, he took not any with him to attend him. And although he did lead this life as I have told you, yet this Prince (for all that) did fear and love God; and though he never made any stay when he did go through the Monastery, yet on his return he never failed to continue in the Church a long time in the exercise of prayers, which gave a great occasion to the religious Men, (who going in, [Page 234]and comming forth from their Mattens, did see him alwayes upon his knees) to esteem him to be the most holy Young man in the world. This Prince had a Sister who did much frequent this Religious place, and loving her Brother more than all the creatures in the world, did commend him to the prayers of all the religious personages she did know: And one day most affectionately commending him to the Prior of the said Monastery, he said unto her, Alas Madam! what is that which you command me? you talk to me of your Brother, as of a man of the world, in whose prayers I have more need to have my self recommended; for if he be not holy and re­ligious, and sure to go to heaven, (repeating that place of Scripture, that Happy is he who can do evil, and will not) I have no hope to be there at all. His Sister, who had a labouring desire to understand what knowledge this Prior had of the goodnes of her Brother, did press upon him with such importunities, that under the veil of Confession he acknowledged the Secret, & moreover said her, Is it not indeed wonder­full to behold so lovely, & so yong a Prince to aban­don his pleasures and his rest, to come so constant­ly to hear our Mattens; for, not as a Prince seeking the honour of this world, but as one sincerely Reli­gious, he comes every morning one hour after mid­night by himself into one of our Chapels. Without all question that piety of his doth render my self and my Brethren so confounded, that in comparison of him, we ought not to be esteemed by any, nor indeed are worthy to be called Religious. His Si­ster, who understood these words, could not but be­lieve it; for, notwithstanding that her Brother had no relation to Orders Ecclesiastical, yet she knew that he had a good Conscience, and a great faith and love in God, but that he did repair to the Church so constantly, and in such an hour, she had not the least imagination of it. Wherefore she came unto him, and telling him of the good opinion that [Page 235]the religious Men had of him, he could not forbear from laughing outright, and with such a counte­nance, that she who knew him as well as her own heart, did know that there was some mystery in that Devotion, and did never leave him, till he acknow­ledged the truth unto her; which is such as I have here put down in writing, and which he did me the honour to account unto me.

By this, Ladies, you may know, that neither the crast of the Lawyer, nor the cunning of the Divine, can privi­lege them, but Love (in the case of Necessity) can deceive them; and since Love can deceive the deceivers, we poor ignorant creatures ought well to stand in fear of it. And me-thinks (said Guebron) if I may speak what I think, that he is to be commended in that thing: for we find but sew of those great personages, who have any care at all to save the benour of women, or to desend them or themselves from publick soandal; nay, oftentimes they are the cause that we think worse of Ladies, than indeed there is reason for. Truly (said Oysilla) I could wish that all young Lords and Princes would take example by him, for oftentimes the scandal is more than the sin. Do you think (said Nomerfide) that the prayers which he made in the Monastery thorough which he passed, were well grounded? You ought not to be a Judge (said Par­lament) for it may be that on his Return, his Repentance was such that his sin was forgiven him. It is a hard task (said Hircan) to repent of so pleasant a sin. As for my self, I have often confessed, but repented but a lit­tle. It were better (said Oysilla) not to confess at all, unless you had a true repentance. O Madam (said Hir­can) the sin indeed hath much displeased me, and I have been sorry that I have offended God, but the pleasure hath pleased me. You, and such as are like unto you, (said Parlament) would have neither God, nor Laws, but such only as your affections do prescribe unto you. I must confesse (said Hircan) I could wish with all my he [...]rt that God took as great pleasure in my pleasures, as I my self do. You must not make to your self any new God [Page 236](said Guebron) but be careful to obey him whom you have: but let us leave this disputation to the Divines, and let Longaren give her voice to some one else; I do give it (she said) to Saffredant, but I must intreat him to give us the best account that he can call to mind of Women, and that he would not regard so much to speak evil of them, as to conceal the truth when good is to be spoken of them. Yruly (said Saffredant) I do consent unto you, for I have in my hand an example of a wise Woman and a foolish one, you may take that ex­ample which shall most please you, and you shall under­stand, that as in the hearts of the wicked love doth work wickedness's, so in an honest he art it doth produce things worthy of pr [...]ise. For love of it self is good, and it is the iniquity of the subject that oftentimes doth make it take the sirname of foolish, light, cruel, or outragious: Neverthelesse by this History which I shall account unto you, it will easily appear, that love doth not change the heart at all, but doth shew it such as it is, foolish unto the fools, and wise unto the wise.

The pleasant discourse of a great Signior, and the fine in­vention which he used to delight himself with a Lady of Pampelone
The sixth Novel.

IN the reign of Lewis the twelfth, there was a young Signior called Monsieur D' Avanes, the Son of Monsieur Alebret, brother to King Iohn of Na­varre, with whom the said Signior D' Avanes had his ordinary residence. This young Signior was about fifteen years of age, so lovely and graceful, that it seems he was not made, but to be loved and ho­noured, which he was by all those whoever saw him, and above all by a Gentlewoman living in the City of Pampelone in Navarre, who was married there to a very rich man, with whom she lived in a [Page 237]good and a great repute; and although she was not above three and twenty years of age, yet because her Husband was above fifty, she did attire her self so modestly, that she seemed by her dresse to be rather a Widdow than a young married Woman; and never did any one see her go to Wedding or Feast without her Husband, whose virtue and good­nesse she did so much esteem, that she preferred it to the youth and lovelinesse of all others. Her Hus­band finding her so discreet, had such a confidence in her, that he committed to her care and charge all the affairs of his house. One day this rich man with his Wife was invited to the marriage of one of his kinted: in which (the more to honour the Nuptials) there was the young Signior of Avanes who naturally loved dancings, in which exercise of delight there was none that could surpasse him. After dinner, when the Mask began, the rich man desi­red Signior D' Avanes to dancent the Signior de­manded of him what Lady he should lead; who made answer to him, Sir, if there were any here more lovely, or more at my commandment than my own wife, I would present her to you, and I be­seech you that you would do me the honour as to lead my Wife in the dance, which the young Prince did; but his youth at that time was so unexperien­ced, that he took more pleasure to vault and cut capers, than to regard the beauty of the Ladies: And on the contrary, she whom he did lead, did more reguard the beauty and gracefulnesse of the said Signior, than the dance in which she was, al­though her discretion was such, that she made not the least appearance of it. The hour of Supper be­ing come, Signior D' Avanes did bid adieu to the company, and returned to the Castle, to which place the rich man did accompany him being moun­ted on his Mule; and in the way he said unto him, Sir, you have this day done so great an honour to my self and to my kinred, that in me it would be in­gratitude, [Page 238]if with all my fortunes I should not of­fer my self to do you service: Sir, I know very well that such young Lords as you, who hard and cove­tous Fathers, have oftentimes more need of money than we, who keeping but a poor train, and an or­dinary house, do think more of the heaping of it up, than which way to lay it forth; Sir, so is is, that God having given me a Wife according to my own desire, hath not only in this World given me my Paradise, being frustrated of those hopes and joys which Parents have of their Children. Sir I know that it is too much honour to me to adopt you as my child, but if you please to receive me for a Servant, and declare unto me what your occasions are, I will not fail to be ayding to you in your ne­cessities, as far as one hundred thousand Crowns will stretch; Monsieur Avanes was very joyful of this of­fer, for he had such a Father as the rich man had character'd; and having heartlly thanked him, he called him Father by alliance.

From the same hour the rich man did take such affection to Signior D' Avanes, that Evening and Morning he did not fail to send unto him to hnow if he stood in need of any thing; And he concealed not from his Wife the Devotion he had to Signior D' Avanes, which made her doubly to love him, and after that hour the Signior had of him whatsoever he desired: He oftentimes would repair to the rich mans house to eat and drink with him, and when he was not at home his Wise would give unto him whatsoever with reason he desired, and moreover would speak so discreetly to him, admonishing him to be virtuous, that he stood in fear of her, and did love her more than all the Women in the World.

She who had God and her Honour before her eyes, was contented with his sight, and to heat him speak unto her, in which consists the satisfaction of honesty and true love, insomuch that she never gave him any sign whereby he might conceive or judge, [Page 239]that she did bear any other affection to him, but what was pious and fraternal. During this covered Love, Monsieur D' Avanes, having received the large sup­plies above-spoken, was very gorgeous in his cloaths, and maintained a gallant Equipage; and being a­bout eighteen years of Age, he began to court La­dies, and to seek after them more than he was ac­customed to do: And although he had rather make love to this wise young Gentlewoman, than to any other, yet the fear he had to lose her love, if she should understand his Intents, did cause him to hold his peace, and to think where to place his affe­ctions somewhere elfe.

In this resolution he did address himself to a young Lady not far from Pampelone, who had a house also in that City, and was newly married to a young man, who above all things did love horses, and doggs, and hawks. For the love of her Signior D' Avanes be­gan to make a thousand pastimes, as Turnaments, Horse-races, Masks, Feasts, and other sports, at all which this young Lady would be alwayes present. But because her Husband was very phantastical, her Father and Mother, being jealous of her honour, be­cause they knew her to be beautiful, and of a frolick disposition, did keep her so close, that Signior D' Avanes could have nothing of her, but now and then some few words when they danced together; although in a small time he did easily perceive that to the compleating of their loves there was nothing wanting but Time and place: Wherefore he came to his good Father the rich Man, and told him, that he had a great Devotion to go visit our Lady of Mont-serral, desiring him till his return to take in­to his House all his servants, because he had a desire to travel alone; to which the Gentleman consen­ted. But his Wife, who had in her heart that great Prophet called Love, did incontinently suspect the truth of the voyage, and could not contain her self from speaking to him, and said, Monsieur, the Lady [Page 240]which you are going to adore, is not out of the walls of this City; wherefore, above all things, I do be­seech you to have a care of your health, especially of the health of your soul. He who did both fear and love her, did blush so much to hear those words, that without speaking any thing, his cheeks did con­fesse the truth thereof unto her, and upon that he departed; and having bought two gallant Spanish Jennets he disguized himself in the habite of a Hors­keeper, and so discoloured his face, that none could know him. The Gentleman who was Husband to this foolish Lady, who above all things loved Hor­ses, having beheld those two which Signior D' Ava­nes had brought with him, did incontinently buy them, and having well looked upon the Horsekeeper that did bring them, he demanded of him, if he had a mind to serve him? Signior D' Avanes made answer, Yes, and told him, That he was a poor young Man that had no other way to live, but only by dressing and looking to Horses, in which he could so well ac­quit himself, that he was most consident that he would rest content. The Gentleman being very glad of it, did give him the charge of all his Horses, and entring into his house, he told his Wife, That being to go unto the Castle, he did recommend his Horses and his Horsman to her.

The young Lady, as well to please her Husband, as having no other recreation, did go unto the Sta­ble, and looked upon the Horses, and observed the new Horsekeeper, who seemed to her to be a very handsome young Man, but she had not the least knowledge of him. He, when he perceived that he was not known by her, did approach to make his reverence to her after the manner of Spain, and ha­ving taken her by the hand, he kissed it, and kissing of it, did lock her hand so fast in his, that presently she knew him; for in dancing with her heretofore he oftentimes would use the same; From that time the young Lady ceased not to seek out some place [Page 241]where she might discourse with him by her self; which she did the very same Evening; for being invited forth to a Feast whither her Husband would have her to go with him, she feigned that she was sick, and not able to go. Her Husband, who would, not dis­appoint his friends, did say unto her, Sweet-heart, Since you are not pleased to go with me, I pray have a care of my Dogs, and my Horses, and see that they want nothing.

The young Lady found this Commission very a­greeable unto her, and without making any other apparence, she said unto him, That seeing he would not imploy her in any better business, she would make him understand in the meanest services how much she desired to be complacent to him. Her Hus­band was no sooner out of the Gate, but she came down into the Stable, where she found divers faults, and to redresse them she imployed all her Grooms on so many errands, that she remained alone with the Master Horsekeeper; And for fear that any one should interrupt her, she said unto him, Go into the Garden, and stay a little in the Cabinet which is at the end of the Allee. Which he so readily per­formed, that he had not the leisure to thank her; and after she had given orders to all the Grooms of the Stables, she did go to see the Doggs, taking the like care that they might want nothing sitting for Doggs to have, insomuch, that of a Mistresse she was become a servant-maid. Returning to her Chamber, she sound her self so weary, that immedi­ately she did go to bed, saying that she would take a little rest, and all her women left her, excepring one whom she trusted, to whom she said, Go into the Garden, and bring him hither to me whom you shall find at the end of the Allee. The Chamber­maid did go thither, where she found the Master Horse-keeper, whom she brought immediately to the Lady, who commanded the Maid to go forth, and watch when her Husband did come.

Signior D' Avanes seeing himself alone with the Lady did despoil himself of the habiliments of a Horse-keeper, he took off his false Nose and his false beard, and not as a fearful Horse-keeper, but as a gallant young Signior, without demanding any leave of the Lady, he did leap boldly into the bed to her, where he was received as the bravest young man that was in those days, by the most wanton of all the Ladies of that Country, and he continued with her until such time as her Husband did return; of which having timely notice he did put on his dis­guises, and forsook the pleasures which by subtilty he usurped. The Gentleman coming into the Court did understand the diligence which his Wife had used to obey him, and gave her many thanks for it. Sweet-heart (said the Lady) I have but only done my duty, but it is true, that if a nar­row eye be not had over those naughty boys, you will not have a Horse but will be lean, nor a Dog but will be mangy; But since I understand their sloth and your good will, they shall be better look'd unto, than they were ever heretofore.

The Gentleman who thought he had got the best Horse-keeper in the World, demanded of her what she thought of him: I assure you Sir (said she) that he understands himself as well as any Servant you could have chosen, but he had need to be followed and rouzed up, for he is one of the most drouzy Knaves that ever I saw. And thus the Husband and the Lady did continue in greater Love than heretofore, and forgat all the suspition and jealou­sie which he had of her; for before she loved Feasts, dancings, and the keeping of company, and now she did keep altogether at home, and was conten­ted oftentimes to wear nothing but a loose Gown next unto her smock, when before she was at least four hours in dressing her head: For this she was beloved by her Husband and by all the World: and thus under the veil of Hypocrisie and the repu­tation [Page 243]of being virtuous, this yong Lady lived in such pleasure, that neither Reason, Conscience, Order, or Measure had any more place in her, which the young and delicate complexion of Signior D' Ava­nes could not long indure, for he became so pale and lean, that without wearing a disguise one might well be deceived in the knowledge of his countenance, neverthelesse the fond love which he did bear unto the Woman did rendet his sen ses so stupid and lost, that he still presumed on his strength, which by this excesse would have failed him, al­though he had a body as strong as was the body of Hercules. And being at the last constrained by his weaknesse, and advised to it by the Lady, who did not love him so well being weak and sickly, as when he was lusty and in health, he demanded leave of his Master to go unto his friends, which to his great grief he condescended to, and Signior D' Avanes saithfully promised him, that when ever he was re­covered he would return again to his service.

In this manner he did goe away on foot, for he had to travel but the length of one street, and as soon as he was arrived at the house of the rich man, he found none at home but his Wife, whose virtu­ous love which she did bear unto him was nothing diminished by his voyage: but when she beheld him so lean and so discoloured she could not forbear from speaking to him; Monsieur, I know not how it goes with your Conscience, but your Body is not a­ny thing the better for your pilgrimage, and I doe much fear that the way in which you have travelled by night hath been more hurtful to you, and hath wearied you more, than all your travells by day, for if you had gone on foot to Jerusalem, you might have returned more comforted in your self, but not more lean and feeble in your Body; therefore with whomsoever you have been, account her but an I­doll, and serve no more such Images, who instead of raising from the dead, do make the living look as if [Page 244]they were in the number of the dead. I should speak more unto you, but if your Body hath transgressed, I do find it to be somuch punished, that I have pity to add any new affliction to you. When Signior Avanes had understood those words, he was no less sorrowful tha [...] ashamed, and said unto her, Madam, I have else­where heard it spoken, That Repentance doth fol­low sin so close, that it even treads on the heels of it; and I have now proved it by my own expence, and I must beseech you to excuse my youth, which could not otherwise be instruct, but by making tryal of that Evil which it did not believe.

The Lady, changing her Discourse, did bring him to a very rich bed, and did perswade him to repose himself in it, where he continued for the space of fif­teen dayes, and fed on nothing but Restoratives, and was so attended both by her Husband and her self, that one of them were always with him; and although against the will and counsel of the wise young Lady he had committed the follies which you have heard, yet she never diminished that virtuous Love which she did bear unto him. For she hoped, that having passed away his first dayes in vanities, he would re­tire himself to the conversation of an honest love, by which means she should have him altogether with her. And during the fifteen dayes which he conti­nued in her House, she did give him such good In­structions tending to the love of Virtue, that he be­gan to entertain a horror and an indignation against the follies he had committed; And looking on this Lady, who in beauty surpassed the other, and obser­ving more and more the graces, and the Virtues which were in her, he could not chuse one day, al­though obscurely enough, to chace all fear from him, and to speak unto her, Madam, I find no o­ther means to be so virtuous as you demonstrate to me, and desire me to be, than to frame my heart to be altogether amorous of virtue; And I must beseech you, Madam, to inform me, if therein you will not [Page 245]give me all the aid and advice that possibly you can. The Lady being very joyful to hear him enter into such discourse, did say unto him, Sir, I do promise and assure you, That if you will be in love with vir­tue, (as it belongeth to so great a Lord as you are) I will serve you to attain unto it with all the facul­ties and the power which God hath given me. Well Madam, (said Signior D' Avanes) remember your promise, and understand that God, unknown to Christians but by Faith only, hath vouchsafed to as­sume unto him flesh, like unto the flesh of a sinner, to the end, that taking our flesh upon him by the love of his Humanity, he might also draw our Souls unto him by the love of his Divinity, and is willing to serve himself with things visible, to cause us by Faith to love things invisible. In the like manner, This Virtue, which all my life I do desire to love, is a thing invisible, and lodged within us, is not to be known, but only by her effects: wherefore it is necessary that she assumes some body, to be known a­mongst Men, which she hath done, and hath inve­sted her self in your body, it being the most pure, and the most accomplished that she could find; whereupon I do acknowledge and confesse you not not only virtuous, but Virtue her self; and I who do observe her to shine in the veil of the most perfect body that ever was, which is yours, will serve her and honour her all my life, abandoning all other love that is vain and vicious.

The Lady no lesse contented than amazed to hear these words to proceed from him, did so well dis­semble her Joy, that she said unto him, Sir, I will not take upon me to answer your Theology, but as she who is more fearing the Evil, than believing the Good, I must beseech you, that on my behalf you will for bear this Discourse. I know very well that I am a Woman, and not only as all others are, but so imperfect also, that Virtue should do a greater Act to transform me into Her, than to assume my [Page 246]form, unlesse she would be altogether unknown in this world; for under such a Body as is mine, Virtue cannot be known to be such as she is. Sir, so it is, that according to my imperfection I will not cease to bear you that affection which shall become a Wo­man fearing God and her own Honour, but this af­fection can never be fully made known unto you, un­til your Heart be capable of the patience which a vir­tuous Love doth command; And for the present Sir, I do know what Language I am to hold with you; Howsoever you may assure your self that you love not so well your own Good, Person, or Honour, as I do love it. Signior Avanes being daunted, did make a little pause, and taking new Courage, he did humbly beseech her, That to give him an assu­rance of what she spake, she would be pleased to kiss him. But she refused it, affirming, that for so vain a thing she would not break the Custom of her Coun­trey.

As they were in this Debate her Husband did come in, to whom Signior D' Avanes said, My Father, I do perceive my self to be so much obliged to you, & to your good Wife, that I must beseech you that for ever you will repute me to be your Son, which the good Man most willingly did consent unto; And in the assurance of this love, I do intreat you (said Signior D' Avanes) that I might kisse you; Imme­diately the good Man kissed him, and Signior Ava­nes said unto him, If it were not for fear to offend the Law and Custome of the Country, I would do as much to my Mother your Wife. The Husband, hearing that, did command his Wife to kisse him, which she did, without making any appearance to be either willing, or unwilling, because her Husband did command her. Immediatly the fire (which her words before did begin to kindle in the heart of the poor Signior) did vehemently increase by her kisse, so much desired, and at first so cruelly refused. This being done, Signior D' Avanes repaired to the King [Page 247]his Brother in the Castle, where he told many fine stories of his Voyage to Montserrat, and understood that the King his Brother was preparing to go to Olly, and Tassares; and considering with himself that the Journey would be long, he was surprized with a great sadnesse, which constrained him to resolve before his departure to make an essay, whe­ther this virtuous Lady did bear him more good will than she seemed to do; wherupon he took up his lodgings in a house of the City, and in the same street where she lived. The house being old, & ruinous, and made of Wood, about midnight he did set it on fire, whereupon the Cry was so great throughout the City that it came to the house of the rich man, who comming to the window demanded what the businesse was, it was answered to him, that there was a great fire at the House of Signior D' Avanes. He immediatly repaired thither with all his people, and found the young Signior in the middle of the street in his shirt, having pity on him, he took him in his Armes, and covered him with his Gown, and conveying him to his house with all the speed that possibly he could, he said to his Wife who was in bed, Sweetheart, I give you here this pri­soner to keep, use him as you would use my self: And as soon as ever he was departed, Signior D' Avanes who would willingly be intreated by her as if he were her Husband, did lightly leap into the bed, hoping that the occasion and the place would aler the resolution of that virtuous Woman; but he found it otherwise, for as soon that on one fide he leapt into the bed, she made hast out of it on the other, and throwing her night Gown on her, she came up to the head of the bed, and said un­to him; How now Monsieur, do you believe that a­ny opportunities can alter a chast heart? You may assure your self, that as Gold is proved in the fur­nace, so is a chast heart in the midest of all tempta­tions, by which oftentimes it is proved to be more [Page 248]strong and virtuous, and doth grow more cold by being assaulted by the most violent hears: Where­fore rest your self assured, that if I had any other will than what I have represented to you, I could not fail to find means to make you know the injury you would doe me, which not desiring to use, I doe account them nothing. But I must desire you, if you would have me to continue the affection which I do bear unto you, that you would remove far from you, not only the will, but also the very thought to find me otherwise than I am. During this Discourse her Maids came in, to whom she gave a command to bring her a Collation of all manner of Confects. But he at that time was sensible neither of hunger or thirst, with such a desperation was he pos­sessed that he had failed in his enterprise, & he was afraid that the demonstration which he had made un­to her of his passionate love might be an occasion to deprive him of all familiarities with her for the time to come.

Her Husband having given order for the extin­guishing of the Fire, was now returned, and intreated Monsieur D' Avanes that he would stay in his House for that night, which he consented to. But the night was passed away in such a manner, that his Eyes were more exercised in weeping than in sleep­ing. And early in the morning he came to their bedside, to bid them Farewell, and kissing the Lady, he readily found, that she had more pity of him, than ill will towards him for his offence; and this was a new coal, which over and above was added to the fire of his Love. After Dinner he did set forth with the King to Trassares, but before he took Horse, he did once more repair to the House of his Father and Mother to bid them Adieu, who after the first Commandement of her Husband, did make no more difficulty to kisse him, than if he had been her own Son. But you may be sure, that the more that Virtue did forbid her to reveal her hidden [Page 249]flame by her eyes, and by her countenance, the more it did increase and become insupportable, insomuch that (being no longer able to endure the War which Love and Honour had made in her Heart, which neverthelesse she had determined with her self never to demonstrate) having lost the comfort both of seeing and hearing him for whom she lived, she was surprized by so violent a Feaver, occasioned by a continual melancholly, that the outward parts of her body became cold, although she bur­ned incessantly within. The Physicians, in whose hands the health of men doe always depend, did be­gin to doubt of her recovery, by reason of her great oppilation, which did render her so melancholy, and counselled her Husband to advise her to make her peace with the Physician of her Soul.

The poor Husband, who most intirely loved his Wife, was oppressed with so extream a sorrow by rea­son of those words, that to comfort himself, he did write to Signior D' Avanes, beseeching him to take the pains to come and see him, hoping also that his sight would conduce something to the health of his Wife; Signior D' Avanes, having received the Let­ter, did make no delay at all, and came in Post to the House of his Father: At the entrance into the house he found the Men servants and the Maid ser­vants making so great a lamentation as the losse of so good a Mistresse did deserve, whereat the Sig­nior was so amazed, that he stayed at the door like a man in a trance; the good old man his Father see­ing him did make hast to imbrace him, and began to weep so abundantly, that he was not able to speak one word. He brought him into the Chamber where his Wife was, who turning her languishing eyes towards him, did give him her hand, and draw­ing him with it towards her, with all the strength she had, she imbraced him, and kissing him again and again did make a marvellous complaint, and said unto him, O Sir, the hour is now come that all [Page 250]dissimulation must cease, and that I must confesse the truth which I have so much indeavoured to con­ceal from you. It is, that if you for your part have born any love to me, you may believe that my love hath been altogether as great as yours: but my affliction hath surpassed yours, because I have taken such pains to conceal it against my own heart. For Sir, you are to under­stand, that God and my Honour did not permit me to declare it to you, fearing that I should add that unto you which I had a desire to diminish. But know Sir, that the word of Denyal which I have so often spoke unto you, hath done me so much prejudice to pronounce it, that it is the occasion of my death, with which I am well contented, since God hath made me so happy, that neither the vio­lence, nor the excesse of my love hath blemished at all my conscience or reputation: For with a far lesse Fire than is mine, there hath been far greater, and more noble structures ruined. But now I shall de­part contented, that before I die I shall declare my affection to you to be equal unto yours, nothing ex­cepted, but that the honour of men and women are not alike. I shall desire you Sir for the time to come that you will enforce your self to make no ad­dresses but to the most noble and most virtuous La­dies, for in their hearts do dwell the strongest pas­sions, and are alwayes most wisely managed; and the Grace, Beauty, and Civility which is in you will not permit that you shall be fruitlesse; And I be­seech you so to remember me, and to think of my constancy, as that you will not impute that unto cruelty which is to be attributed to Honour, Con­science, and Virtue, which ought a thousand times to be more dear unto us than life it self. Now Sir, I shall bid you farewell, and commend you to the good man whom you vouchsafe to call Father, and who is my Husband, to whom I must beseech you [Page 251]to declare the truth what you know of me, that he might throughly understand how much I have lo­ved God and himself, and I must beseech you to forbear to come any more before my eyes, for the few hours I have to live I will altogether imploy them in the meditation of the promises which God hath made unto me before the Creation of the World, and speaking these words she gave him the last kisse, and imbraced him with all the force of her feeble arms.

Signior D' Avanes who had his heart within him as surprized with compassion as was hers with the Agony of Death, being not able to speak one word unto her, did withdraw himself from before her, and threw himself upon a Bed which was in the next Chamber, where oftentimes he swouned away. Not long after the Lady called for her Husband, and having made many honest remonstrances unto him, she did recommend unto him the care of Signior D' Avanes, assuring him that next unto himself he was the person whom she best loved in the World; And kissing her Husband she did bid him adiew. Imme­diatly afterwards she commanded that the Sacra­ment of the Altar should be brought unto her, and after that the Unction, which she received with great joy, as being assured of her Salvation: And finding that her eyes began to grow dim, and all her strength to fail her, she did speak aloud her In manus. At that Cry Signior D' Avanes did rise from the bed, and looking compassionatly on her, he came in a sweet sigh to render his Soul unto her, as she was rendring her Soul unto God, to whom she was going; and when he perceived that she was dead, he did run to the dead body (to which being alive he durst not approach but in fear) and imbra­ced it, and kissed it in such a manner that with much difficulty they did take her from between his Arms; her Husband was much astonied at it, for he never [Page 252]perceived that he did bear such an affection to her, and saying to him, Sir It is too much, they both re­tired from her; And having made a long lamenta­tion, the one for the Death of his Wife, the other for the Death of his Friend, Monsieur D' Avanes did give him an account at large of the whole course of his Love, and that to her Death she never made any signe unto him, but what did expresse Severity, and an obstinate Chastnesse; whereat her Husband being more contented than ever, did double his grief for the losse of her, and continued all his life afterwards in doing good services to Signior D' Ava­nes, who was then not above eighteen years of Age. After this he departed to the Court, where he con­tinued divers years without seeing or speaking to a­ny Woman in the world, and he did wear mourning apparel two years together for her.

Ladies, you may here observe the difference betwixt a wise woman and a foolish, who do shew distinctly by themselves the different effects of love; by which one of them received a death commendable and glorious, and the other did lead a life loose and infamous: For as the Death of a holy Man or Woman is pretious before God, so the Death of a Sinner is as displeasing. Truly Saffredant (said Oysilla) you have rehearsed to us as pleasant a History as I have ever heard; and he who knew the persons as well as my self, would find it yet more pleasant, for I have never seen a braver Gentleman, nor of a greater Gracefulness, than the said Signior D' Avanes. Do you think (said Saffredant) that a wise and a young Woman (to dissemble her love, which the counsel of Nature doth admit that she should bear to so desireable a Gentleman) should ever suffer her self to dy, for denying her self that pleasure of which so violently she desired the content, covertly, and he openly? If she had such a desire (said Parlament) she had place and occasion enough to declare it to him; but her Virtue was so great, that she would not suffer her desires to go be­yond her reason. You may paint it forth unto us (said [Page 253]Hircan) as you please, but I know, that the worse De­vil always doth turn out the other, and that Pride and Hypocrisie did turn from her away her pleasure; for La­dies robes are so long, and so woven with dissimulation, that we cannot know what they carry within them; for if they were not more nice of their honour than we are, we should find that Nature had forgot her self no more in them, than in Men: And by reason of the fear they have not to dare to take the pleasure they do desire, they have changed that vice into a greater, which they con­ceive to be more honest, and that is into a Glory and a Cruelty, by which they hope to purchase themselves an Immortality; and thus they boast they can resist the vice of the Law of Nature. If our Nature be vicious, what is theirs? who not only make themselves like unto Beasts, which are inhumane and cruel, but also like un­to Devils, from whom they receive their Pride and Dis­simulation. It is pity (said Nomerfide) that you have so virtuous a Lady to your wife, seeing you do not only undervalue Virtue in another, but would prove all Wo­men to be vitious. I am happy (said Hircan) to have a Wife who is not scandalized, and I would not have her to be so; but as for that Chastity of Heart you speak of, I believe that she and I are both of us the Children of Adam and Eve; wherefore in beholding our selves we should not only cover our nakednesse with leaves, but also confesse our frailty. I know (said Parlament) that we do all stand in need of the Grace of God, be­cause we are inclined unto Sin; but our Temptations are not like unto yours, and if we do sin through Pride, there is no second prejudiced by it, neither are our hands soyled, or our bodies defiled. But your pleasure doth consist in the dishonouring of Women, and it is your Ho­nour to kill men in Wars, which are two positions direct­ly contrary to the Law of God. I do confesse unto you (said Guebron) that you speak the Truth; but God having said, That whosoever looketh with Concupiscence is already an Adulteress in his heart, and that whosoe­ver hateth his neighbour is an homicide; satisfie me, I [Page 254]pray you, Are Women exempted more than Men? God who judgeth the heart (said Longaren) will give sen­tence: But it is too much that Men should be our Accu­sers; for the goodnesse of God is so great, that he knows and pardons the frailties of our hearts. But let us leave off this Dispute (said Saffredant) for it doth savour more of a Preachment, than of a pleasant Account.

Wherefore (said he) I give my voice to Emarsuite, desiring her, that she will not forget to make us to laugh. Truly (said she) I shall take care not to fail you, being determined to give a brief account of two servants of a Princesse, so pleasant, that it doth make me to forget the melancholy of another History which I had an intent to exhibit unto you, and to put some mirth upon my face to make it appear more agreeable unto you.

The rashnesse of a foolish Secretary, who sollicited the Wife of his Companion, by the means whereof he received great shame.
The seventh Novell.

IN the City of Ambois there dwelled the Servant of a Princesse, who was Groom of her Chamber, an honest Man, and who gave good entertainment to all that came unto his House, but above all to his Companions. It is not long since, that one of the Secretaries of his Mistresse did come thither to lodge, where he stayed ten or twelve dayes. This Secretary was so deformed, that he seemed rather to be King of the Canibals, than a Christian. And although his Host, who was also his Companion, did intreat him as his Brother, or his dearest friend, and with all the honour that possibly he could, yet he did go about such an Enterprise, that it did seem he had not only fogot all honesty, but had never entertained any in his heart, which was in a disho­nest [Page 255]and an unlawful way to sollicit the Wife of his Companion, who had nothing in her that might in­cite him to love, although she was indeed as virtuous a Woman as any was in the City where she lived; she perceiving the lustfull desires of the Secretary, thinking it better by dissimulation for a time, to dis­cover his Vice at last, than to cover it by a sudden refusal, did counterfeit to approve and like his mo­tion. Therefore he, who thought that he should gain her to his will, without regarding her age, which was above fifty, and that she was none of the handsomest; and without considering the good re­port she had to be a very honest Woman, and to love her Husband most intirely, did incessantly im­portune her. One day amongst the rest her Hus­band being imployed about some great businesse at home, and they two being together in the Hall, she pretended that she only deferred him, to find out a [...]ure place to be alone with him, accordingly as he desired; To whom immediatly he replyed, That he would go up into the Cockloft. She suddenly did rise, and did desire him to go before, and said, she would follow after him. He laughing for joy, with a sweetnesse of face much like unto a great Baboon when it is about to feed, did very lightly go up the stairs, and with a labouring Expectation attending that which he so much did desire, burning not with a cleer five, but as a great Coal in the forge, did li­sten if she were comming up after him; but instead of hearing her feet, he did hear her voice speaking unto him, Master Secretary, Stay there a little, I am going to my Husband to know of him, If he be pleased that I shall come up unto you. You may imagin with your selves what a face he made when he wept, who did look so ugly when he laughed. He immediatly came down with tears in his eyes, and for the love of God did beseech her to be silent, and nor by her words to break the love which was be­tween her Husband and himself. She made an­swer [Page 256]to him, that she was sure he loved her Husband so well that he would not speak of any thing to her which he would not have him to understand, where­fore (said she) I goe to acquaint him with it; which she did, whatsoever intreaties he made, or con­straints he could use to the contrary; whereupon he took himself to his heels and did run away out of the doors, and was as much ashamed as her Hus­band was glad to understand the honest deceit which his Wife had used, and her virtue so much pleased him, that he made no account of the vice of his Companion, who was sufficiently punished to carry on him his own shame which he would have brought upon that house.

Ladies it doth appeart to me that personages of worth ought to learn by this account not to entertain those whose Consciences, hearts, and understandings are ignorant of God, and true love and Honour. Although your account be but short (said Oysilla) yet it is as pleasant as may be, and conduceth much to the honour of the good Wo­man. In sober sadness (said Simontault) it is no great honour to an honest woman to refuse so deformed a Creature as you have expressed this Secretary to be, but if he had been lovely and debonair, then had she shew­ed her Virtue. And because I peradventure do conceive who this Secretary was, if it were now my turn I could rehearse another account unto you as pleasant altogether as this; you shall not he wanting for that (said Emar­suite) for I give you my voice; whereupon he did im­mediatly begin. Those who are accustomed to have their residence at the Court, or in some great Cities, doe esteem so highly of their own knowledge, that they think all others are but fools and clowns in the compa­rison of them; but it is not so, for in all Countreys, and amongst all conditions of men there have been found some as witty always and as subtle as the others possible can be, neverthelesse by reason of the Pride of those who think themselves most cunning, the mockery of them (when they are over-matched) is always more remarka­ble [Page 257]as I shall shew you by this true Account which hap­pened not many years agoe.

A certain Secretary was resolved to be too hard for a Merchant who was too hard for him, and what befell him thereupon.
The eighth Novel.

FRancis the first of that name being in the City of Paris, and his Sister the Queen of Navar in his company, she had a Secretary who was none of those who would let any thing fall down on the ground and refuse to take it up again; insomuch there was neither President nor Counsellor, which he did not know, nor Merchant or rich man whose house he did not frequent, and hold intelligence with them. There came into the said City of Paris a Merchant of Bayons named Bernard du Ha, who as well for the discharge of his affaires, as for that the Lieutenant Civil was of his Country, did ad­dresse himself unto him for his Counsel and Assi­stance.

This Secretary of the Queen of Navar did often­times repair to visit the Lieutenant, who was a good Servant of his Master and of his Mistresse; and go­ing to him upon a Holy-day he found neither him nor his Wife at home, but heard Bernard du Ha within as busie as might be with a Viol or some other Instrument, teaching the Maid-Servants to dance the Morice of Gascogny. When the Secretary be­held him he would have made him believe that he did very ill, and assured him that if the Lieutenant or his Wife should know of it, they would be high­ly displeased with him: And having sufficiently laid forth the inconvenience of what he had done, and the danger that might ensue thereon, Bernard du Ha did beseech the Secretary not to speak unto the [Page 258]Lieutenant of it, who said unto him what will you give me, and I will hold my peace? Bernard du Ha who entertained not so great a fear as he made a shew for, observing that the Secretary would ca­jole him to a forfeit, did promise him to give him a Pasty of the best Hanch of Gascony Venison that he did ever ear. The Secretary being well contented with it, did desire him that he might have his Pasty on Sunday after Dinner, which Bernard du Ha did promise, and assured him that he should not fail of it; Whereupon the Secretary repaired to a Gentle­woman in Paris whom above all Creatures he desi­red to espouse, and said unto her, Madam, If you please, I will come on Sunday next to sup with you, but you are to take care for nothing but only good bread and good Wine, for I have over-reached so hansomly a Merchant of Bayons, that all the rest shall be at his expence, and by my fine circumventi­on of him, you shall eat of the bravest Hanch of Ve­nison that ever was brought from Gascogny to Paris. The Gentlewoman who did believe him did send for three or four of the most considerable of her Neighbours, and did assure them of something which was very dainty, and which they never ta­sted of before.

When Sunday was come, the Secretary was fain to look after the Merchant, and finding him upon the bridge he graciously saluting him said unto him, The Devills take you all of them, what a trouble have you put me to to find you out? Bernard du Ha replyed unto him, many men have taken more pains than you, who have not been recompensed with such a present, And speaking those words un­to him, he shewed him the Pasty which he had un­derneath his cloak, and was big enough to feed a whole Camp, at which the Secretary was so over­joyed, that having made up his wide mouth he ha­stily took it, and leaving the Merchant in the street without inviting him to cat of his own Veni­son, [Page 259]he brought his Present to the young Gentle­woman, who had a great desire to know, If the Vi­ands of Guyen were as good as the Dainties of Paris. The hour of Supper being come, as they were ear­ing their pottage, the Secretary said unto them, Let us leave off this watry Diet, and tast of this Flagon of Wine; and speaking those words he uncovered the Pasty, and thinking to cut up the Hanch, he did find it so extremely hard, that he could not put his knife into it; wherefore he used the utmost of his strength, and found that it was a broad piece, or Sabot of wood, of which their shooes are made in Gascoigny, to which, on each side, he had placed two great brands taken out of the Chimney, and strowed on the tops thereof the Dusts of rusty Iron, mingled with foot, which could not but render a gratefull smell. Who was perplexed now? It was the Secretary, as much that he was deceived by him whom he thought to deceive himself, as also that he had deceived her to whom he thought that he had spoken the Truth. And on the other side, he was no wise pleased to content himself only with pottage for his Supper; The women, who were altogether as sorry as himself, had accused him for his Impo­sture, but that they perceived by his Counte­nance, that he did partake with them in the a­buse.

Having thus contrary to his expectation made but a light Supper, he departed in a great choler. And see­ing that Bernard du Ha had failed in his promise, he resolved with himself to break his own; and ad­dressing himself to the Lieutenant, he did speak the worst words that possibly he could of Bernard. But he could not come so soon, but Bernard du Ha had been with him before, and revealed unto him all the mystery: The Lieutenant therefore did passe his sentence on the Secretary, and said, that at his own expence he had now learned to circumvent a Gascoign, and must therefore return with no o­ther [Page 260]comfort, but the divulgation of his own shame.

The like doth happen unto many, who thinking to be too cunning, do forget themselves in their own subtilties; wherefore it is the only wisdom, Not to do that unto any, which we would not have done unto our selves. I do assure you (said Guebron) that oftentimes I do see the like things come to passe, and those who are accounted to be the fools of the Town, do often over-reach the finest wits; for there is no man a veryer fool, than be who thinks himself to be wise, nor any more wise, than he who knows that he knows not any thing. Howsoever (said Par­lament) he knows somthing, who knows that he knows nothing. Well, (said Simontault) for fear that time will be wanting to us, I give my voice to Nomerfide; for I know that her Rhetorick cannot be tedious. Let it be so then, (said Nomerfide) I will give you such an Account as shall answer the Discourse we have had. And I do not wonder, Ladies, that Love doth give to Princes, and to personages brought up in places of Honor, the means how to decline all danger, for they have their education amongst so many knowing persons that I should wonder far more if they were ignorant of any thing. But the Artifice of Love doth shew it self by so much the more cleerly, by how much it finds lesse apprehension and capacity in the Subjects it doth work upon. And to manifest this, I will account unto you what a Priest did do, being only instructed by Love; for he was so igno­rant in all other things, that he could hardly say his Masse.

An honest Labourer in the Village, who did suffer himself to he easily deceived by his Wife, who was amorous of the Curat.
The ninth Novell.

IN the County of Mayn, in a Village called Arcel­les, there was a rich Man a labourer, who in his old Age married a handsom young Woman, who had no Children by him, but for that losse she did comfort her self with many Friends; and when Gen­tlemen of apparence, and her Friends did fail, she did go to the last Recourse, which was the Church, and took him to be the Companion in her Sin, who ought to absolve it. This was the Curat, who good man, came very often to visit this tender Lamb. Her Husband being of a heavy and lumpish spirit had not the least suspition of her, but because he was of a churlish constitution, and very strong she managed the affair as secretly as possibly she could; fearing if he should perceive her, that he would un­doubtedsy kill her. One day when he was abroad, his Wife not thinking that he would return so soon, did send to seek out Monsieur the Curat to confesse her; And as they were making good cheer together, her Husband did arrive so unexpectedly, that he had not the leisure to retire into his own house, but loo­king up and down where to hide himself, by the counsel of the Woman he did climb up into the Granary, and covered the trap-door with a Bol­ter.

The Husband came into the house, and she (that he might entertain no suspition) did feast him so well at Dinner, that she spared for no Meat or Wine, of which he did drink so great a quantity, that with the wearinesse of his labour in the fields, he had af­ter Dinner a great desire to sleep, being seated in a Chair before the fire. The Curate, who was impa­tient [Page 262]to be so long in the Granary, hearing no noise in the Chamber, did open the trap-door, and stret­ching forth his neck, as far as ever he could, he ob­served that the good Man was asleep, And looking down upon him, he not minding of it, did lean so hard upon the Bolter with all his weight, that both Bolter and Man did fall down close to the good Man where he was asleep, who awaked at the great noise. The nimble Curat, who had got up upon his leggs before the other had thoroughly opened his eyes, did say unto him, My good Friend, behold your Bolter, and many thanks; and having said those words, he did go away with all the hast he could make.

The poor Labourer being much amazed, deman­ded of his Wife what was the businesse? who made answer to him, Sweet-heart, It is that Bolter of yours which is made in fashion of a Boat, which the Curat having borrowed, hath brought it back again unto you. Her Husband grumbling at it, said unto her, He hath returned clownishly enough that which he borrowed; for I thought the whole house was falling down upon my head. By this means the Curat did save himself, and the good Man found nothing amisse at all, but onely the rudenesse which he used in bringing back his Bolter.

Ladies, the Master whom he served did save him at that time, that he might take the greater possession of him, and tormont him afterwards the longer. Do not imagin (said Guebron) that poor people are more exempt from Excuses than our selves? nay they have a great deal more: For if you look upon Thieves, Murderers, Sorcerers, Coyners of false money, and all such kind of people whose spirits are never at rest, you shall find them all to be poor people, and Mechanicks. It is not strange at all to me (said Parlament) that subtilty should reign more amongst them, than others; For I have heard that Love doth torment them amongst all their labours, [Page 263]neither is there a heart so tough, but this gentle passion doth possesse it. Madam (said Saffredant) you are not ignorant what Mr. John De Moon saith, That Lo­vers are as common in the Cottages of Beggers, as in the Palaces of Kings; And the Love (of which this Account speaketh) is not that love which makes us to bear arms in the field; For although poor Men have not our wealth nor honours, yet they have other commodities, more for their comfort then we have; Their viands are not so dainty, but they have a better appetite, and they are bet­ter nourished with brown bread, than we are with Re­storatives; They have not beds so rich, nor so well made as ours, but they do rest better in straw, and do sleep sounder; They have no Ladies painted, nor so gorgeously set forth as those whom we do Idolize, but they have their pleasures more often than we have, and fear no o­ther eyes, but the Birds and the Beasts that do behold them. Briefly, in that which we have they do want, and in that which we want, they do abound.

I pray you (said Nomerfide) let us leave off this dis­course of peasants, and before that Vespers do begin let Hircan put a period to this third days Journal. Truly (said Hircan) I will deliver to you as sad and as strange a story as ever you have heard; and although it is most unpleasing to me to speak evil of any Lady, know­ing that men are so full of malice, that dayly out of the consequence of the fault but of one Womon alone, they will lay the blame upon the whole Sex, yet this account being so strange doth make me to forget all fear, and it may be that Folly being discovered will make others more wise.

A marvellous Example of humane frailty in a Lady who to have her Honour concealed did fall from bad into worse.
The tenth Novel

IN the time of King Lewis the twelfth, one of the house of Amboys named George, being then Le­gat in Avignon, and Nephew to the Legat of France, had a Lady in the County of Languedock, whose name I will conceal for the Love I doe bear unto her Family, she had yearly about four thou­sand Crowns in Rent, and was a Widdow in a very young age, being the Mother but of one Son; And for the grief for the losse of her Husband, and for the love she did bear unto her Infant, she resolved with her self never to marry again, and to avoid all occasions enducing thereunto, she refused to keep company with any, but only with people of Devo­tion, thinking with her self that it is opportunity that makes sinners. This young Lady Dowager did altogether addict her self to the reading of Godly books, and did eschew all companies that had re­lation to the World; Insomuch that she made Con­science to assist at any marriage, or to hear the Or­gans to play in the Church. When her Son arri­ved at the age of seven years, she took a Man of a holy conversation to bring him up at School, by whom he might be indoctrinated in all virtues, mo­ral and divine. When her Son was of fifteen years of age, Nature who is the most secret School-Ma­ster finding him high fed, and living a life as slothful as luxurious, did teach him another Lesson than ever the Doctor did, for he began to behold and to de­sire those things which were beautiful, and amongst others a young Maid who did lie in his Mothers Chamber, of which not any had the least suspition, for the Woman took no more regard of him than if [Page 265]he had been still an Infant, and because that all the house over there was no other talk but of God only. This young man began privatly to court this Maid, who could not be quiet for him, insomuch that she came to her Mistresse and did acquaint her with it, who did so much love and esteem her Son, that she conceived with her self that the Maid had made this report unto her of him only to cause her to hate him; But she so often did presse her Mistresse concerning it, that she said unto her, I will know if it be true or noe, and if I find it to be true accordingly as you report it, I will chastise him; but if it shall ap­pear to be otherwise, and the report shall be found to be false, be sure that you shall endure punish­ment; And to make tryal of it, she did command her to appoint her Son a set time to come at mid­night to lye with her, in her chamber, in the bed hard by the door where the said Damoisel was ac­customed to lie alone. The Damsel obeyed her Mi­stresse, and when the night came, the Lady did put her self into the Maids bed, being resolved that if it were true as the Maid reported, she would chastise him so well for it, that she would make him to re­member whiles he lived how he lay with a woman a­gain. Being in this determination and choler, her Son did come at the set hour to lie with her. She, who for all she saw him come into the Bed to her, did believe that he would not commit the dishonest act it self, and deferred to speak unto him, till she knew some evident sign of his hot will, believing that his desires would content themselves with some small pleasures, and not proceed unto the Act it self. But her patience was so strong, and her Na­ture so frail, that forgetting the Name of a Mother, she converted her choler into an abhominable plea­sure; And as the water by force retained, doth run with a greater impetuousnesse when way is made for it, than when it runneth in its ordinary course, so this poor Lady did forfeit her glory by the restraint [Page 266]which she did give unto her self: For when she be­gan to descend from the first degree of her honesty, she found herself suddenly transported to the last, and she herself was great with child by him whom she watched to keep another from running into the same enormity with him.

This Sin being committed, the remorse of Con­science did bring unto her so great a torment, that her repentance did not leave her during her life. Rising from her Son, who alwayes afterwards thought it had been the Maid, she entred into her Cabinet, where calling to mind her good resoluti­tion, and her bad execution of it, she passed away all that night in tears and lamentations hy her self. But instead of humbling her self as she ought to doe, and acknowledging an impossibility in her self, and the perversenesse of her flesh, which without the grace of God can do nothing else but fin, thinking of her self, and by her own tears to give fatisfaction for what was passed, and by her own prudence to eschew all evil to come, excusing her sin by the occasion, and not imputing it to her own weaknesse, for which there is no remedy but only the grace of God, she resolved with her self that she would doe a thing whereby she would never fall into the like inconve­nience again: And as if there were but one kind of sin to condemn her only, she indeavoured with her self for the time to come to avoid that sin. But the root of Pride did increase continually in her heart, insomuch that eschewing one evil she committed di­vers others; for the next morning as soon as it was day, she sent for the Governour of her Son, and said unto him, My Son begins to grow up, it is time to send him to travel, I have a Kinsman that is on the other side of the Hills with Monsieur the Grand-Master Chaumont, who will be very glad to give him entertainment, I would desire you pre­sently to goe along with him, and that I may take no grief at his departure, let it be your care that he [Page 267]comes not to me, not so much as to crave my bles­sing; and speaking those words, she did give him so much money as was necessary for the Journey. On that morning the Young-man departed, who was very glad of it; for he desired nothing more, than after his Pleasure with his Sweet-heart to travel to the Wars.

The Lady continued a long time in a great me lancholy, and were it not that she had the fear of God before her eyes, she had oftentimes made an end of that unhappy fruit with which her womb was pregnant; wherefore she for many moneths preten­ded her self to be sick, that her Night-Gown might cover her Imperfection; And when she was ready to lye down, finding there was none in the world in whom she had so much considence, as in her Ba­stard Brother whom she had endued with great pos­sessions, she sent to seek him, and did acquaint him with her misfortune (but she did not confesse unto him who was the Father of the Fault) and did be­seech him to be carefull to preserve her Honour, which accordingly he did: Some few dayes before she was brought to bed, he counselled her to change the air, and to make use of his House, where she might better recover her health, than in her own. She repaired thither with a very small Retinue, and found a Midwife prepared for her, who was sent for under a pretence to come unto her Brothers Wife; this Midwife, one night, without knowing who was the Mother of it, did receive the Infant, which was a very pretty Girl. The Gentleman did deliver it to a Nurse, and caused her to bring it up, as if it had been his own child. The Lady having conti­nued there the space of one moneth, did return in­to her own house, where she lived more austerely than before, observing dayes of abstinence, and all manner of religious discipline. But when her Son came unto age, and found that at present there was no warre in Italy, he sent to his Mother, to beseech [Page 268]her that he might return to her House. She fearing to sall again into her former Evil, would not permit him; but in the end he so far importuned her, that in reason she could not refuse him. Neverthelesse she commanded him, That he should not come be­fore her, unlesse he were married to some Gentle­woman whom he loved very well; and sent him word withall, that she did not look after any great Fortune, but if she were a Gentlewoman of good Education it was sufficient.

During this time, her Brother the Bastard seeing the Girl of which he had the charge to grow into years, and to be accomplished with perfections, he determined with himself to send her to a House at some distance from him, where she should be un­known; and by the Counsel of her own Mother, he did give her unto the Queen of Navarre. This Girl, whose name was Katherine, was then thirteen years of age, and had her beauties accompanied with such a gracefulnesse, that the Queen of Navarre did love her very well, and had a great desire to marry her to some personage of Honour; but because she had no portion that was considerable, she had many ser­vants, but no Husband.

It fell out one day, that the Gentleman, who was her Father unknown, returning into this side of the Alpes, did addresse himself unto the Court of the Queen of Navar, where whenever he observed this young Maid, he was very amorous of her; and be­cause he had leave of his Mother to marry whom he pleased, he only inquired, If she were a Gentle­woman? and understanding that she was, he desired the Queen, that she would be pleased to give her in marriage to him, who most willingly did consent un­to it, for she knew well enough that the Gentleman was very rich, and, with his riches, that he was handsom and honest.

This Marriage being consummated, the Gentle­man did write unto his Mother, imparting, That [Page 269]for the time to come she ought not to shut her door any more against him, because he had brought with him as accomplished a young Gentlewoman as could possibly be desired. The Lady his Mother, who in­quired to what allyance he was married, did find, that it was the Daughter of her own Son, and of her self; by reason whereof she entered into so great a sorrow, that she thought she should forthwith have dyed, finding, that the more checks and hinderan­ces she did endeavour to give to her Misfortune, the more she was the meanes whereby it was increa­sed.

Not knowing what to do, she repaired to the Le­gat of Avignon, to whom she confessed the enormity of her Sin, demanding his Counsel how she should demean her self. The Legat, to satisfie her Con­science, did send for divers Doctors of Divinity, to whom he did communicate the affair, without naming the persons, and their Counsel was, That the Lady should never speak any thing of it before her Children, who, by reason of their Ignorance, were to be excused from the sin, but she ought to repent of it during the whole Course of her life, and be carefull to commit the same folly no more; And so the poor Lady returned to her own house, where not long afterwards her Son and her fair Daughter did arrive, who loved one another with such an intire affection, that it was never seen that Man or Wife did better agree together; for she was his Daughter, his Sister, and his Wife, and he was her Father, her Brother, and her Husband. In this love they flourished and continued all the days of their lives, and the poor Lady did continue in her penitence; for she never saw them to make much of one another, but it was an Occasion of Grief unto her.

Ladies, Here you may observe, how they may be decei­ved, who think, by the force of their Virtues, to over­come both Love and Nature, with all the powers where­with [Page 270]with God hath armed them. It is be [...]ter by slight to o­vercome these Enemies, than by Invasion, and to say with the Psalmist, Make thou, O Lord, an answer for me. It is not possible (said Oysilla) to hear the account of a stranger story, and it appears to me, that every Man and Woman ought to stoop, and to submit themselves unto the will and the fear of God, seeing that under a presumption to do well, so many Evils did fall out. We may understand also (said Parlament) that every step that a Man advanceth forward in the Confi­dence of himself, he doth go as many backwards from the Confidence which he ought to have in God. He is wise (said Guebron) who knoweth that he hath no greater Enemies than himself, and who, whatsoever appea­rance of goodnesse or of holinesse there be in him, doth alwayes suspect his own will, and counsels; There can be no apparence so great of Good to ensue thereby (said Longaren) as ought to make a wise Woman to venture to lie with a Man, be he never so near of blood: for the fire once stopped, will break forth with the greater vio­lence. Without all doubt (said Emarsuite) she is some glorious fool, who doth think her self so holy that she cannot sin, as some will perswade, and make the Igno­rant to believe, that we can do good, and refrain from Evil of our selves, which is a great Error. Is it possi­ble (said Oyfilla) that there are such fools as to believe that opinion? They do a great deal worse (said Longaren) for they say they can habituate themselves to the virtue of Chastity; & to prove their strength, they discourse with the most handsom creatures that can be found, & whom they love the best in the world, and with kisses and touchings of their hands, they make tryal if their flesh be mortified, or no; And when by such pleasure they find any carnal motions, they separat themselves from one another, & fast, and disciplin themselves with the greatest severity; And when they have brought their flesh to such a temper, that neither words nor kisses can heat them to any Insurrectiō, they come to assay the strongest and the last temptation, which is to ly together, & to imbrace one another without [Page 271]Concupiscence. But not one of a thousand have attained to this perfection, and from hence there have arised so many inconveniences, that the Archbishop of Milan, when this Religion was first exercised, was advised to se­peparate them for altogether, and to put the Women in the Covents of the Men, and the Men in the Covents of the Women. Truly (said Guebron) it is the extremi­ty and height of Folly, to believe that we cannot sin, and so violently to seek out all the occasions of sin. There are some (said Saffredant) who altogether do clean contrary to those fools; for although as much as possibly they can they do avoid all occasions of sin, yet their Concupiscence still doth follow them, and the good Saint Hierom after he had chastised himself, and had retired himself into the Desart, did confesse that he could not there escape the fire that did burn within him: Wherefore we must recommend our selves to God, for if by his Power, Virtue, and Goodnesse, he doth not restrain us, we are so weak and wicked of our selves, that we shall take pleasure to fall. You do not observe that which I take notice of (said Hircan) that whiles we are here relating our Histories, the Monks behind yonder hedge did not hear the Bell ring to their Vespers, and now when we begin to speak of God they are all gone, and be­cause the Bell doth ring the second time, we shall do well to follow them (said Oysilla) and praise God that we have passed away this day so joyfully, and speaking those words they did all rise up and repaired to the Church, where they heard Vespers very de coutly, which being ended they departed from thence to Supper, and communed amongst themselves of the Discourses which had that day passed, and called into their memory divers other things which had happened in their times, to under­stand which of them were worthy to be the next day reci­ted: And having with great content passed a way the Evening, they repaired all unto their Refts, hoping the next day not to fail to continue their Convention; which was so agreeable unto them; And there was an end put unto the third days Journal.

The end of the third days Account.

The Fourth Days Account of the Novells of the Queen of NAVARRE.
The Preface.

MAdam Oysilla according to her good Custome did rise far more early than any of the rest, and meditating on her Book of the Holy Scriptures she attended the comming of the Company, who by little and little did begin to assemble themselves; but the slothfull did excuse themselves, saying; I have a Wife and cannot come: And Hircan and Parlament his wife did perceive that the Lecture was begun a great while before they came; but Oysilla knew very well to find out those places where the Scripture re­proveth those who are negligent; And she not only did read the Text, but moreover did make so many good expositions and ex­hortations, that it was impossible to be weary to hear her. The Lecture being ended, Parla­ment [Page]said unto her, I am sorry I have been so neglegent to appear in this place, but since my fault hath been the occasion that you have spoke so well, my sloth hath soundly profited, for I have had with advantage the repose of my Body having slept so soundly, and have now the repast of my Soul, having heard you to speak so soundly to me. For penance (said Oysilla to her) let us goe to Masse, and be­seech the Lord to give us both the will and the means to execute his Commandements, and let him then command us what he pleaseth. And speaking these words they entred into the Church where they heard Masse very de­voutly: And afterwards they sate down at the table to dinner, where Hircan did not forget to make merry with that mornings slothfulnesse of his Wife. After dinner they did all separate themselves to study their ac­counts, and when the hour came they repai­red to the accustomed place. Oysilla demam­ded of Hircan to whom he would give his voice; If my Wife (said he) had not begun yesterday, I had now given her my voice, for although I always thought that she loved me more than all the men in the World, yet this morning she hath made it manifest, that [Page]she loveth me better than she loveth God or his Word, in being absent from your good Lecture to keep me company; I would wil­lingly therefore have bestowed this honour on her: But since I cannot give it to the wisest Woman in the Company, I will give it to the wisest Man, which is Guebron, and will intreat him that he will not forhear the, Monks: Guebron replied, you had not need to entreat me, I have them recommended to me; For it is not very long, since I heard an Account delivered to me by Monsieur of Saint Vincent who was then Ambassadour to the Emperour, which is worthy not to be buried in oblivion.

THE NOVELLS Of Queen MARGARET.

The Execrable cruelty of a Frier to obtain his de­testable Desires, and the punishment which he endured.
The first Novell of the Fourth Book.

IN the Lands subject to the Emperor Maximilian of Austria, there was a Covent of Friers in high Estimati­on, neer unto which a Gentleman had his house, and did bear so great a love to the Religious people that were within it, that he gave them a part in all his Goods, to have a part himself in their Abstinences and Prayers. Amongst others, there was amongst them a handsom lusty Frier, whom the Gentleman loved above the rest, and made him his [Page 273]Confessor, who had as great a command and power in the Gentlemans House as he himself. This Fri­er observing the Wife of this Gentleman to be so wise and beautiful, that it was impossible to be more, did become so amorous of her, that he forgat to eat, and to drink, and began to lose the light of his rea­son. Resolving with himself one day to execute his Enterprise, he alone repaired to the house of the Gentleman; and not finding him within, he de­manded of his Wife, whither he was gone? She made answer to him, That he was gone to some Lands of his about twenty miles from thence, where he intended to stay two or three dayes; but if he had any businesse to him, she would send a man on purpose to inform him of it. He replyed, No, and began to walk up and down the room, as if he had in his mind some businesse of great importance; And when he was gon out of the Chamber, she said to one of her Maids, (having at that time but two about her) Go to the Confessor, and ask of him, What it is he would have? For I do find by him, that he hath the Countenance of a discontented Man. The Chambermaid did go down into the Court, and demanded of him, If he would have any thing? He answered, Yes, and taking her aside to one of the Corners of the House, he drew forth his Poy­nado, which he carried in his sleeve, and did thrust it into her throat.

As soon as he had performed this horrible act, there arrived in the same Court a Servant of the Gentle­mans, who was on Horseback, who had brought him Rent from a Farm he had; As soon as ever he alighted, he saluted the Frier, who imbracing him, thrust his poynado with all his force into his neck behind him, and did make fast the out-doors of the Castle. The Gentlewoman perceiving that the Chambermaid did not return, did much wonder what was the businesse that she stayed so long with the Frier, and said unto her other Chambermaid, [Page 274]Go down, and see what is the reason that your Com­panion doth not return. The Chambermaid did as her Mistresse did command her, and was no soo­ner down the stairs, but the Frier came unto her, and inticed her to the same corner of the house where he killed the other Maid, and did by her, as he did by the other. When he beheld himself to be alone in the house, he repaired to the Gentlewo­man, and told her, That it was a long time since he was deeply in love with her, and the hour was now come in which she must be obedient to him. She, who had never the least suspition of him, did say unto him, My Ghostly Father, I do believe that if I should entertain so wicked a Desire, you would be the first that would stone me. The Reli­gious man said unto her, Come down into the Court, and you shall see what I have done; When she beheld her two Chambermaids and her Groom killed, she was so transported with fear, that she stood like a Statue without speaking one word. Im­mediately this wicked man, who would not delight himself with her only for one hour, nor take her by force, did say unto her, Lady, be not afraid, You are in the hands of him who doth love you the best in the world; And speaking these words he did put off his long habit, and did shew unto her ano­ther lesse religious habit which he carried under his arm, and did present it to the Gentlewoman, and withall did threaten her, that if shee would not put it on, he would put her also a­mongst the number of those whom she saw dead before her eyes.

The Gentlewoman, more dead, than alive, did de­termine with her self to put on a face to be obedi­ent to him, as well to save her life, as to gain some time, in which she hoped her Husband might return. And according to the Commandment of the Frier, she began to put off her Colf, and was as long about it as possibly she could; when she was in her hair [Page 275]flowing down to her middle, the Frier seemed not to regard the beauty of it, he did cut it off as ha­stily as he could, which being done he made her to strip her self into her smock, and to put on that lit­tle habit which he had brought, and reinvesting himself with his own which he was accustomed to wear, he made all the hast he could out of the doors, taking with him that little pretty Frier, whom for a long time he so much desired.

But God who hath pity on his Children in their tribulation, did regard tho tears of this innocent. Lady; so that her Husband having dispatched his affairs sooner than he expected, did return to his house the same way in which his Wife did goe with the Frier. When the Frier beheld him at some di­stance, he said unto the disguised Lady his Wife, behold your Husband who is comming yonder, I know if you do look upon him with such a fixed Eye that he may discover you, he will take you out of my hands, wherfore go before me, and see by no means you turn your head on that side that he doth come, for if you make the least sign, be sure I will have my Poynado in your tbroat before he shall be able to deliver you from me. As he did speak these words the Gentleman approached, and demanded of him from whence he did come, He made answer, from your house, where I have lest the Gentlewoman your Wife in good health, who doth attend your coming. The Gentleman did ride on without perceiving his Wife, but his Servant that was with him, who was always accustomed to entertain the Companion of the Frier, called Frier Iohn, did speak unto his Mistresse, thinking she had been Frier Iohn. The poor Woman, who durst not turn her head on that side towards her Husband, did not answer one word, which made the Groom (fearing that he had mistook) to ride crosse the way the better to observe her; and without speaking one word unto him, the Gentlewoman made a sign unto him with her Eyes, [Page 276]which he found to be full of tears. The Groom did ride up unto his Master, and said unto him, Sir, In riding on the other side of the way, I have ob­served the Companion of the Frier, and I doe find it not to be Frier John, but one who doth much resemble my Mistresse your Wife, who with eyes full of tears did look most sorrowfully upon me. The Gentleman told him that he did speak at ran­dome, and did not well enough observe who it was, and made no account of what he said; But the Groom persisting in it, he did beseech his Master to give him leave to goe back, and to come more near unto them, and be pleased to stay himself in the way to be satisfied in the event of the doubt. The Gentleman did consent unto it, and stood still to observe what was the news which his Groom would bring back unto him: But when the Frier heard him riding after him, and that he called Frier John, Frier John, suspecting that the Gentlewoman was discoverd, he came up unto him, and having in his hand a great Staff, and armed with Iron at the end thereof, he did give the Groom so great a blow upon his Ribs, that he did fall off from his horse unto the ground, and the Frier leaping on him did immedi­ately cut his throat. The Gentleman who at a di­stance did behold the Groom to fall, thinking it was occasioned by the fright, or the stumbling of his horse, did gallop up to his assistance. As soon as the Frier did behold him to be within the reach of his Staff, he gave him a blow with it in the same manner as he gave his Servant, at the violence whereof the Gentleman being dismounted, the Fri­er began to drag him and throw him upon his Ser­vant: but the Gentleman who had a stout heart, and an able body, held the Frier close to him, with so much force, that he took from him the power to doe him any further mischief, and made the Poy­nado to drop from his hand, which his Wife imme­diately did take hold on, and did give it to her [Page 277]Husband, and with all her force held the Frier by his Cowl, whilst her Husband did give him many wounds with the poynado, so that the Frier desired pardon, and confessed the Truth of all his wicked­nesse. The Gentleman (although he might) would not kill him, but intreated his Wife to go home to his House, and bring some of his servants to him, and to bring a little Wagon with them to convey himself to his House with more ease, which she did.

The Frier being despoyled of his habit, which he had polluted with so much blood and lust, did run in his shirt, and his shorn head towards his own Co­vent; But the servants of the Gentleman did over­take him, as they were going to their Master to as­sist him to bring away the Wolf which he had taken, and did dragg him to his house, who did cause him to be brought before the Justice of the Emperor in Flanders, before which Court he confessed his villa­ny; and it being found by his Confession (and proof made by the Commissaries there present) that a great number of Gentlewomen, and beautifull Maids had been brought into that Monastery by the same Art, as this Frier would have brought this Gentlewoman, It was ordered, That the said Mo­nastery should be examined, and despoyled of those beautiful Larcenies, and that in the perpetual me­mory of this Crime, the Monks should be all shut up, and be burned with the Monastery. By this it may appear, that there is nothing more cruel than Love, when it is grounded upon Vice, as there is no­thing again more commen dable than Love, when it doth dwell in a virtuous heart.

Ladies, I am very sorry that the truth of these Ac­counts doth not lead us as much to the commendations of Friers, as it doth unto their prejudice; for it would be a great pleasure to me, in the respect of the love which I do bear unto their Order, to know any one of them who would give me a just cause to praise them. But we have sworn so much to speak the truth, that, after the report [Page 278]of Men so worthy to be believed, I am constrained not to conceal it: assuring you, that when the Friers of these times shall do any act worthy of memory, I will en­deavour to set it forth far better to their Glory, than I have given you the account of this Truth unto their In­famy. In good carnest Guebron (said Oysilla) Behold here a Love which ought to be called Cruelty. I doe wonder (said Simon [...]ault) how this Frier had the pa­tience, seeing this Gentlewoman in her smock, and in a place where he himself was Master, that he did not take her by force. He had not so sudden a stomack, (said Saffredant) but was a true Gormandizer; for through the desire which he had to be-glut him self with her all day long, he would not make any stay [...]ow, to take a tast of her. It is not so (said Parlament) for you are to understand that every Man who is furious, is also timo­rous, and the fear which surprized him that his prey should be taken from him, did cause him to take away that Lamb (as a Wolf doth a sheep) to seed upon it with more appetite, at his own leisure. I cannot believe (said Dagou [...]in) that he did bear any love unto her, or that Love could ever inhabit in a heart so barbarous. How­ever it was (said Oysilla) I do beseech God, that as he was punished, so the like enterprizes may alwayes meet with the like chastisement. But to whom will you give your voice? To you (Lady) said Guebron; for you will be sure to give us some good Account. Since it comes to my turn (said Oysilla) I will give you a me­morable account which happened in our times, and of which she her self was an ey-witnesse, who did acquaint me with it. I am sure that you are not ignorant that Death is the end of all our Miseries; and therfore putting an end unto our miseries, it may be called our Felicity, and sure Repose; for the greatest misery that a man can have is to desire Death, and to be deprived of it, and of the means to enjoy it. The greatest punishment which can be given to a Malefactor, is not Death, but to afflict him with a perpetual torment, so great, it makes him to desire it, and so little, that he cannot obtain it: just [Page 279]as a Husband did deal by his Wife, as you shall hear by this following story.

The punishment more rigorous than Death, which a Husband inflicted on his Wife, having taken her in Adultery.
The second Novell.

KIng Charls the Eighth of that Name did send into Germany a Gentleman called Bernage, Lord of Cyure neer unto Ambois, whose dili­gence was so remarkable in his Masters service, that he travelled both day and night. One evening he arrived very late at the Castle of a Gentleman, where he demanded lodging, which with great diffi­culty was at last granted. Neverthelesse, when the Gentleman understood that he was the Servant of so great a King, he did go forth to meet him, and did beseech him not to be discontented at the rudenesse of his people; for by reason of some kinred of his Wives who intended ill unto him, he was enforced to keep his Gate shut. Immediately Bernage ac­quainted him with the occasion of his Legation, in which the Gentleman did offer him all service that possibly he could in the behalf of the King his Ma­ster, and brought him into his House, where he did lodge him, and gave him honourable entertainment. The hour of Supper being come, the Gentleman did lead him into a Parlor hung round with very rich tapestry, where, as soon as the meat was upon the Table, he did behold a Lady of a most excellent beauty to come forth from behind the Arras; her head was shaven all over, and the rest of her body cloathed with Blacks of Almaign. After the Gentle­man had washed with Monsieur Bernage, water was brought to the said Lady, who having washed her [Page 280]hands, did sit down at the end of the Table, and spake not to any one, nor any one to her. Signior Bernage did often look upon her, and she seemed to him to be the most beautiful Lady that ever he be­held, but only that she looked pale, and withall, was very sad; After she had eaten a little, she deman­ded Drink, which a Servant did bring her in a wonderful vessel, for it was the scull of a dead Man, the edge whereof was round about tipped with sil­ver: The Lady did drink twice or thrice in it, and after she had supped, and washed her hands, she made a low Reverence [...]o the Master of the House, and returned again from whence she came, without speaking any word. Bernage was so amazed to see a thing so strange, that he became very sad, and pen­sive. The Gentleman perceived it, and said unto him, I observe very well, that you are astonished at what you have seen at this Table; but because of the civility which I have found in you, I will not conceal from you the occasion of it, that if in me there be any cruelty at all, you may perceive I have a just cause for it; That Lady which you be­held, is my Wife, whom I loved better than it is possible for any other to love his Wife; insomuch, that to marry her I did forget all fear, and brought her hither in spight of all her Kinred. She also did expresse unto me such signes of love, that I would have hazarded ten thousand lives to have her always with me, to her own content and mine. Having married her, we lived a long time in such a mutual assurance of one anothers love, that I conceived my self to be the most happy Gentleman in Christendom. But in a Voyage which I made, (to which my Honour did engage me) she so much forgat her own Honour, and her Conscience, and the Love which she had in to me, that she became a­morous of a young Gentleman whom I brought up in this House, which, a [...] my retu [...]n, I thought not to have found. So it is, that the love which I did bear [Page 281]unto her was so great, that I could not harbour the least mistrust of her, untill Experience opened my eyes, and I beheld that which I feared more than Death; wherefore my Love was converted into fu­ry and despair, and I did watch her so narrowly, that one day pretending to go abroad, I did hide my self in that Chamber where now she resideth, into which, not long after my departure she retired, and caused the young Gentleman to come to her, whom I saw to deport himself with that familiarity, that it did belong to none, but to my self only: when I be­held him to lye down upon the Bed by her, I came forth, and taking him in her arms, I did kill him; And because the guilt of my Wife did appear to be so great, that such a Death was not enough, where­with to punish her, I contrived a punishment for her, which I believe was more unpleasing to her than Death it self. I locked her up in that chamber to which she was accustomed to retire to receive her greatest delights, and in his company whom she lo­ved better than mine, into which place I sent her, inclosed in an armory, all the bones of her friend, hanging as some precious Jewels in a Cabinet: and to conclude, (when she eateth and drinketh at the Table before me) that she might not forget the me­mory of him, I cause her to be served, instead of a cup, with the scull of that fond Young-man, to the end that she may both see him alive, whom by her fault she hath made her Mortal Enemy, and see him dead for the love of her, whose friendship she preferred above my own. And thus constantly at Dinner and Supper she beholds two objects which ought most to displease her, her Enemy li­ving, and her Friend dead, and all by her own de­fault. For the rest, I do use her as I do use my self, only she doth go without any hair at all; for the or­nament of hair doth not belong to an Adulteresse, nor a veil to one that is unchast, wherefore she doth go without a veil, and without hair, to show that [Page 282]she hath lost her honour and her chastity. If you please to take the pains to see her once more, I will conduct you to her, to which Bernage seemed very willing, and descended with him into a low place, where he found her in a very fair Chamber fitting alone before the fire. The Gentleman opened a curtain which was before a great Armory where he did see hanging all the bones of a dead man.

Bernage being touched with compassion had a great desire to speak unto her, but durst not for fear of her Husband. The Gentleman perceived it, and said unto him, If you please to speak any thing un­to her, you shall observe what words and language she hath; Whereupon Bernage immediately said un­to her, Madam, if your patience be equal to your torment, I doe esteem you to be the happiest Lady in the World. The Lady having tears in her eyes, did answer him with a most gracefull hudblenes: I doe confesse my fault to be so great, that all the E­vils which the Signior of this place (whom I am not worthy to name Husband) can bring upon me, are nothing in comparison of my deserts, and the grief I have so much to have offended him: And speak­ing those words she did weep abundantly, which the Gentleman observing took Bernage by the hand and did lead him forth.

The morning being come Beruage departed to put his charge in execution which the King had given him, and taking his farewell of the Gentleman, he could not forbear to say unto him, Monsieur, the love which I do bear unto you, and the honour and the privacy which you have shewed to me in your house do constram me to declare unto you, that it seems to me (seeing the great repentance of your poor Wife) that you ought to look upon her, and to use her with compassion, and since you are but young, and have no children, it will be a great losse that so noble a House should fall for want of Heirs, & [Page 283]that those who love you not peradventure will suc­ceed you. The Gentleman who determined with himself never more to speak unto his Wife, did con­sider with himself of this discourse and Counsel of Bernage, and acknowledged that he had given him good advice, and did promise him that if she perse­vered in this humility he would look with some pi­ty on her.

In this manner Bernage departed to the perfor­mance of his Commission; and when he was retur­ned to the King his Master he gave him all along the Account of what he had done in his behalf, which the King found to be as he expressed, and amongst other things Bernage having spoken of the beauty of that Lady, the King sent his own Painter named John de Paris to limn that Lady to the life, and bring her picture to him, which (having the con­sent of her Husband in it) he performed? And some weeks afterwards the Husband after the long penance of his Wife, as well in the desire to have Children by her, as in the compassion of her, did take her again into his bed, and had by her many lovely children.

Ladies if all those who have committed the like fault should drink in the like vessels, I am shrewdly afraid that many gilded cups should be converted into Dead mens Skulls. Now God take us into his keeping, for if his Grace doth not restrain us, there is not one here a­mongst us but is prone to doe as much; but having our confidence in him, he will preserve those who confesse they are not able to preserve themselves; and those La­dies who doe most of all confide in their own strength and virtue, are in greatest danger to be tempted to acknow­ledg their own infirmity, and be you assured that there are very many whom Pride hath made to fall in such a case, whiles humility hath saved others who were esteemed lesse virtuous. The old Proverb doth therefore truly af­firm, that those whom God keeps are well kept. In my opinion (said Parlament) the punishment is but [Page 284]reasonable, and as just as moy be, for as the offence was worse than death, so was the punishment worse than death. I am not of your opinion (said Emarsuite) for I had rather all my life time behold the bones of dead Servants in my Cabinet, than indure to die for them, there is no crime so great which cannot be amended, but after death there is no amendment at all. How is that (said Longaren) can you amend your Honour? you know (I am sure) that after such a misfortune, whatsoever a Woman can doe, she can never recover her honour. Tell me I pray you (said Emarsuite) if Ma­ry Magdalen hath not more honour now amongst men, than her Sister who was a Virgin. I must confesse (said Longarine) that we do praise her more, but it is for the great love which she did bear our Saviour, and for her repentance; for if you doe observe it, the title of a Sinner doth continue with her still. I care not (said E­marsuite) what name men give unto me, for if God doth pardon me, and my Husband to boot, there is no­thing that I know of, for which I would die. Al­though that Gentlewoman did not love her Husband as she ought (said Dagoucin) yet I doe wonder that she did not die for grief to behold the bones of him whose death she occasioned by her own offence: Say you so Da­goucin (said Simontault) are you yet to understand that Women are capable neither of grief nor love. Yes (said he) and that is the reason that I never dare to tempt their loves, for fear I should find lesse than I de­sire. You live then (said Nomerfide) like a Plover of the Wind, upon Faith and Hope, we may seed you at a cheap rate. I am contented (said he) with the love which I doe find in my self, and the hope I have in the heart of one Lady, which if I know to be such as I hope it is, the extream content thereof would so transport me that I should not endure it without death. Nay be wise (said Guebron) and take heed of that Plague, for it is a dangerous malady I dare assure you: But I would know to whom Madam Oysilla will give her voice. I doe give it (said she) to Simontault, who [Page 285]I do know will not spare any. You praise me so highly (said Simontault) that you doe almost call me a De­tractor; Howsoever I will not forbear to represent un­to you, that those whom they call Detractors have spo­ken the truth; And Ladies I am confident ye are not so foolish to believe, that in all these Novells which have been spoken (whatsoever appearance they may have of truth) yet if they were brought to the triall, the proof is not so great but they may be a sufficient Subject for the Sceptick; nay oftentimes we find, a great abuse under the pretence of a miracle, and therefore I have a desire io give you an account of one, which will be no lesse to the honour of a faithfull Prince than to the Dishonour of a wicked Minister of the Church.

The abhomination of an incestuous Priest whose Si­ster under the pretence of a holy life was great with child by him, and of the pu­nishment that did follow there­upon.
The third Novell.

COunt Charles of Angoulesm, Father to King Fran­cis the first of that name, a virtuous Prince and fearing God, being at Coignac intelligence was brought unto him, that in a Village not far from thence, called Chernes, there was a Vigin lived so austere a life that it was admirable, yet neverthe­lesse she was great with Child, which she no ways dissembled, but was proud of it, and assured all the people that came to behold her that she never knew man, and that she could not conceive which way she conceived it, if it were not by the adumbra­tion of the Holy Ghost, which the people easily be­lieved, and did repute her to be a second Virgin Mary. Every one that knew her did affirm, that [Page 286]from her Infancy she was so precise, that there ne­ver appeared the least sign of any worldlinesse in her: She fasted not only the Fasts commanded by the Church, but many days in the week she made Fast-days for her private Devotion, and as song as any service was said in the Church she never stir­red from it; wherefore her life was so much estee­med by all the people, that every one did come on purpose to look upon her as a wonder, and happy was he who could but touch her garment.

The Curat of the Parish was her Brother, a man of about fifty years of age, and of a very austere life, and accounted by his Parishioners to be a very holy Man, who to outward appearance did intreat his Sister so roughly, that he did in a House keep her shut up as in a prison, at which the people were very much displeased; and the report of this miracle was so great, that the news thereof was brought to the Ears of the Count, who perceiving the abuse with which all the world was possest did desire to take it away; wherefore he sent the Master of the Requests and his Almoner (two very accom­plished personages) to understand the truth there­of, who repaired to the place, and to be informed as diligently as possibly they could, they did ad­dresse themselves to the Curat, who seemed to be much amazed at the affair, and besought them both to assist him in the attestation of it, which he said he hoped would give satisfaction to the World.

The next morning the said Curat did sing Masse in the Church, at which his Sister did assist him on her knees being very big with Child, At the end of the Masse the Curat did take into his hand Corpus Domini, and in the presence of all the Assembly did speak unto his Sister, Wicked and Blasphemous as thou art accused to be, Behold here him who hath suffered death, and who was crucified for thee, be­fore whom I demand, if thou art a Virgin, as thou hast always assured me; She boldly, and without [Page 287]the least Impression of fear, made answer to him, Yes. And how then is it possible (said he) that thou shoul­dest be great with Child, and yet remain a Virgin? She answered, I can give no other cause thereof, but that it is only by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, who doth in me that which he pleaseth. Howsoever, I ought not to deny the grace which God hath vouch­safed to me, which is to preserve my Virginity; for I had never the least desire to a Husband. Her Brother then said unto her, I give thee here the precious Body of Jesus Christ, which thou shalt re­ceive to thy own Damnation, if it be otherwise than thou allegest, of which these Honourable personages who are sent hither from the Count, shall be the Witnesses; whereupon his Sister, who was about thirty years of age, did take this following Oath, I take the Body of my Lord here present to my Damnati­on, before you Gentlemen, and before you my Brother, that never any Man hath touched me any more than you. And speaking those words she received the Body of our Lord.

The Master of the Request, and the Almoner, hea­ring those words, departed with great Amazement, believing, that amongst such Protestations no Dissi­mulation could have place, and made report thereof unto the King, perswading him to believe that which they believed, But he who was wise, having tho­roughly considered of it, did cause them to repeat again unto him the words of the Oath; and having well weighed them, he said unto them, She hath taken her Oath upon the Sacrament, that never any Man hath touched her any more than her own Brother; And I do believe it for a Truth, that she is big with child by her Brother, and would cover her sin with that dissimulation; for we who believe in Jesus Christ, already come, ought not to expect any other: wherefore they shall both suffer, and be burned for their most horrible and blasphemous at­tempts: And doe you but put the Curat in Prison, I [Page 288]am confident that he will confesse the Truth.

This was performed according to his Commande­ment, but not without the great offence of the People, that so holy a man should so unjustly suffer. The Priest had not been long under custody, but he confessed his wickednesse, and that he had coun­felled his Sister to speak those words, and to carry her self in so confident a posture as she did, to cover the life which they did lead together, not only by a light Excuse, but also by a blasphemous one, that they might be honoured by all the world. And when it was objected to him, how he could be so prophane, as to take the body of the Lord to inforce her to swear upon it? He made answer, That he was not so bold, and that the bread which he gave her was not consecrated. The Report hereof was made unto the Count of Angoulesin, who comman­ded that Justice should be executed on the Frier, ac­cordingly as belonged to such a blasphemous Impo­ster. A little respite whereof there was, untill his Sister was brought to bed, who in the space of a few weeks was delivered of a lusty Boy, and not long after they were both burned; whereat the peo­ple were wonderfully amazed, having under a reli­gious mantle, seen so horrible a Monster, and un­der a life so holy, and so commendable, so detestable a Vice to reign.

Ladies, You may here behold, that the faith of this good Count was not overcome by signs, nor exterior mi­racles, knowing well enough that we have but one Savi­our, who in saying, Consummatum est, hath shewed, that he left no place for any other to be his Successor in the work of our Salvation. I promise you (said Oysil­la) it was a great presumption, under an extreme hy­pocrisie to cover so enormous a sin with the mantle of Religion, and pretendings to the Holy Spirit. I have heard (said Hircan) that those who under the Colour of the Kings Commission do exercise cruelties, and tyran­nies, are doubly punished, because they cover their In­justice [Page 289]with the Royal Justice; So you may see that hy­pocrites, although they prosper for a while under the co­vert of Religion, yet so it is, that when God shall take off that mantle, he doth discover, and set them open stark naked to all the world, and then their nakednesse and enormities are found as loathsom, as their Coverture was honourable. There is nothing more pleasant (said Nomerfide) than to speak truly what the heart doth think. It is the way indeed to grow fat (said Longa­ren) and I believe that you speak your opinion, accor­ding to your Condition. Why, I will tell you (said No­merfide) I do observe that Fools (unlesse you kill them) do live longer than those who are wise; and I can find no other reason for it, but because they do not dissemble their passions: if they are angry, they do strike, if they are joyful, they do laugh; when those who do believe themselves to be wise, do dissemble their Imperfections, with the poyson whereof their heart is all over infected. I do believe (said Guebron) that you speak the truth, and that Hypocrisie, whether it be towards God, to­wards Men, or towards Nature, is the Cause of all the Evils which we suffer. It would be a brave thing (said Parlament) if our hearts were so filled with Faith, as to believe on him who is all Virtue, and all Joy, and that we might all, and altogether enjoy him, and freely communicate that Joy to one another. That will be in the hour (said Hircan) when there shall be no more flesh on the Bones of Men. So it is, (said Oy­silla) that the Spirit of God, which is stronger than Death, can mortifie our hearts, without any change of our body. Madam (said Saffredant) you speak of the gift of God, which is not common to Men. It is to those only who have Faith (said Oysilla) But because this can­not be understood by those who are carnal, let us know to whom Simontault will give his voice. I do give it, said he, to Nomerfide; for because she hath a merry beart, her discourse cannot be melancholy. In good troth (said Nomerfide) because you have a desire to laugh, I will give you the occasion; And to shew you [Page 290]how much Fear and Ignorance are prejudicial to us; and that the want of a good understanding, is often­times the occasion of great trouble, I will acquaint you with what happened to two Friers of Niort, who, by their ill understanding of the language of a Butcher, had almost killed themselves, by the only violence of their fear.

Two Friers too curious to listen to what did not belong unto them, were so well recompenced for their vain curiosity, that they thought they both should have dyed.
The fourth Novell.

THere is a Village betwixt Niort and Fors called Grip, which belongeth to the Signiory of Fors. One day it fell out, that two Friers comming from Niort, did atrive very late in this vil­lage of Grip, and lodged in the house of a Butcher; and because betwixt their Chamber and their Hosts, there was but a thin board ill nayled, they had a great desire to listen to what the Husband did speak unto his Wife, being in Bed together, and they came up so close unto them, that they both laid their ears directly against the Bedstead where their Host and his Wife lay; who not suspecting the vigilance of his Guests, did talk in private to his Wife of what belonged to his profession, and said unto her, Sweet-heart, to morrow I must rise be­times to see my two Grey Friers, whom I intend to kill, and to sell them in the Market to make my profit of them. And although by those words he did mean his two Hoggs, whom he called Grey Fri­ers, so it was, that the two poor Friers who heard that resolution, did interpret that it was meant by them, and in great fear and trembling they [Page 291]attended the break of the Day. One of these Fri­ers is very fat, and the other lean enough. The fat one would have confessed himself to his Com­panion, and told him, That the Butcher, not having the fear of God before his eyes, did make no more account to cut his throat, than if he had been an Oxe, or any other Beast: And because they were locked up in their cham­ber, and had no other way down, but must passe thorough the Chamber of their Host, they both did collect unto themselves that they were sure enough to be killed, and did both of them recommend their Souls unto God; But the younger of them, who was not alltogether so overcome with fear as his Companion, did say unto him, That since the Door was locked up, they must assay to escape out of the Window, and come what will, there could come nothing to them worse than Death.

To this the fat Frier did consent. The youn­ger of them opened the Window, and obser­ving it was not very high from the ground, he did leap lightly down, and ran away as fast, and as far as ever he could; He being gone, and not staying for his Companion, the corpu­lent Frier did attempt the danger, but the weight of his body did constrain him to lye where he fell; for instead of leaping, he fell down so hea­vily, that he much bruised his Legg. When he beheld himself forsaken of his Companion, and that he was disabled to follow him, he looked round about him to find where he might hide himself, but he could discover no place but a Piggs­sty only, to which he did creep as well as he could; and opening the door to go into it, two Hoggs did run out, and escaping, grunted their gratitude to him. The poor Frier did possesse himself of their place, and intended, when ever he heard the noise of any Travellers that passed that [Page 292]way, to call unto them, and crave their assistance.

But as soon as day appeared the Butcher took in­to his hand his two great knives, and desired of his Wife to keep him company to kill his two fat hoggs. When they came unto the Stie where the Frier did hide himself, he opened the door, and cried aloud, come forth my gray Fiers, come forth, this day I shall both eat and sell of your Puddings. The Fri­er being startled, and not able to stand on one legge did hop out of the Stie the length of four feet with the other, and cryed out, Mercy, Mercy, as loud as ever he could: And if the Frier was surprized with a great fear, much more was the Butcher and his Wife, for they verily believed St. Francis was an­gry with them because they gave the name of a Fri­er unto a Hogg, they therefore kneeled down be­fore the poor Frier, and demanded pardon of Saint Francis and his Religion, so that on hoth sides, the Frier cried and called for mercy of the Butcher, and the Butcher and his Wife on the other side cried as loud for mercy to the Frier, insomuch that they were above a quarter of an hour in this agony of fear before they could understand one another. At last the Frier perceiving that the Butcher did in­tend no harm, did declare unto him the cause wherefore he did hide himself in the Hoggs-Stie; whereupon their fear was immediatly dissolved into an abundant Argument of laughter, which had been greater but the poor Frier who had his Legg sorely hruised (by reason of his great pain) could not goe along with them in their mirth, the Butcher there­fore did lead him to his house where he continued until he was well recovered. His Companion who did forsake him in his greatest need, did run all night long, and in the morning came unto the house of Signior de Fors where he complained of this Butcher, who (as he verily believed) had kil­led his Companion, because he found he did not follow him. Signior de Fors did immediately send [Page 293]to the Village of Grip to understand the truth, which being known, he found there was no argument of grief, and immediatly he made an Account therof to his Mistresse, Madam the Dutchesse of Angoulesm Mo­ther to King Francis the first of that name.

Ladies you may from hence observe, that it is not good to listen to a secret, to which we are not called, or give a false interpretation to the words which another man doth speak. Did not I know well enough (said Simontault) that Nomerfide would not make us weep, but heartily to laugh, in which I find that every one of us have had their share. And how comes it about (said Oysilla) that we are inclined to laugh at folly, and not so much as to smile at any thing that is well and wisely done? The reason is (said Hircan) because it is more agreeable unto us, and neer of kin unto our Na­ture, which of it self is never wise, and every one af­fects that which is like unto it self, and this makes the Fools to be addicted unto Folly, and the Wise unto wis­dom. But I believe there is neither wiseman nor Fool that can restrain from laughter at the hearing of this Ac­count. There are some (said Guebron) who have their hearts so addicted to the Love of Wisdom, that say or doe what you will you can never make them langh, for they have so moderate a Joy and Contentment in their hearts that no accident can move them. who be they (said Hircan?) Guebron made answer, The Phi­losophers of former times; whose joyes and sorrows were never perceived, so great a virtue they esteemed it to o­vercome themselves and their own passions; I doe ap­prove of it as well as they to overcome a vicious passion (said Saffredant) but to strive against a natural pro­perty, which doth no hurt to any, it seems to me to be impertinent. Howsoever you judge it (said Gue­bron) others did esteem it a great virtue. It is not so much because they were wise men (said Saffredant) but because they had no occasion to testifie their grief or joy, and therefore it was rather an apparence than an effect of Virtue. Howsoever you shall [Page 294]find (said Guebron) that they reproved all Vices, and so Diogenes himself trampled with his feet on Pla­toes bed, because it was adorned with more than ordina­ry accoutrements, and (to shew how much he despised the vain-glory and the avarice of Plato) he said, thus doe I tread upon the pride of Plato. But you doe not speak all (said Saffredant) for Plato suddenly replied unto him, It was true that he did tread upon it, but with far greater pride than his own; for Diogenes un­dervalued and despised all neatnesse in a vain and dog­ged affectation of Simplicity. To speak the truth (said Parlement) it is impossible that the victory of our selves should be obtained merely by our selves, nor can we goe about it without a marvellous presumption, which is the Vice that every one ought to hate, for from it death first proceeded, and is the ruine of all Virtues.

Did I not read this morning to you (said Oysilla) that they who thought themselves more wise than other men, and by the light of Reason attained to some knowledge of the Creator, yet attributing this glory to themselves, and not to him from whence it was derived, thinking that by their own labour they had gained this knowledge, have becom not only more ignorant and unrea­sonable than other men, but more se sual than beasts; For erring in their minds, they have attributed that unto themselves which belongeth unto God alone, and have manifested their errors by the abuse of their bodies, per­verting the order of their Sin, as St. Paul doth write unto the Romans. There is none of us (said Parla­ment) but by that Epistle may confesse, that all actual and outward sins are the fruits of the inward infidelity, which the more covered it is with gifts and miracles, it is so much the more dangerous to pluck away. Of both Sexes (said Hircan) we men are more near unto Salvation than you Women; for not dissembling our fruits, you may easily know the root, but you who dare not put forth your fruits to the open view, and doe make so many gal­lant appearances, cannot without much difficulty discover [Page 295]the root of your arrogance and presumption which doth grow up under your fair coverture. I must confesse (said Longaren) if the word of God had not by the ap­plication of our faith shewed us the infidelity hidden in our hearts, we should be all prone to fall into some visi­ble offence; And thrice happy are they whom Faith hath so humbled, that they have no need to prove thei [...] na­tural corruptions by exterior effects.

But let us see (said Simontault) from whence we have digressed; for in discoursing first of great follies, we fell into Philosophy, and from thence into Divinity. Let us leave these Disputations to those who can better argue them; and let us know to whom Nomerfide will give her place, and voice. I do give it (said she) to Hircan, but I shall intreat him to be favourable to the honour of Ladies. You could never intreat me (said Hircan) in a better time; for the History which I have prepared is framed on purpose, in obedience to your de­sires. By this you shall confesse, that the Na­ture of Men and women is of it self inclined to all Vice, if it be not preserved by the bounty of him, to whom the honour of all Victory is to be imputed. And to abate the confidence you have, when you do speak of your own Honours, I will shew you an undoubted President.

The Endeavour and Success of a wise Husband to divert the Love which his Wife did bear unto a Preacher.
The fifth Novell.

IN the City of Pampelona there lived a Lady, who was esteemed to be as virtuous as she was fair, and to be the most chast, and the most devout Woman in all that Country. She intirely loved her Husband, and was so obedient to him, that he reposed all his [Page 296]confidence in her. This Lady did incessantly fol­low the Divine Service, and the Sermons. She per­swaded her Husband and her Children to hold that resolution as well as her self, who was then about 30 years of age, at which time women are accustomed to leave off the Name of fair, to be reputed Grave. On Ash-Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent, this Lady did repair to the Church to hear something for the tribulation of the Flesh, where she heard a Sermon preached by a Frier, who was esteemed by all the world to be an honest Man, by reason of his great austerity, and abstinence of life, which did render him both pale and lean, but not so altoge­ther, but for all that he was handsom enough, and a good Companion. This Lady in great Devotion did hearken to the Sermon, having her eyes fast­ned in contemplation of this venerable person, and her ear, and all the faculties of her undestan­ding, were taken up altogether in attention to him; wherefore the sweetnesse of his words did enter in­to her ears, and dived down into her heart, and the beauty and grace of his countenance did so surprize her eyes, and so depserately did invade her Spirit, that she was like a transported Creature. The Ser­mon being ended, she diligently attended where he was to say Masse, at which she assisted, and took the ashes from his hand, which was as slender as her own, and white as the ashes themselves. The devout Lady did more regard his hand, than the ashes he did give her, & did most assuredly believe that such a spiritual love, whatsoever pleasure she apprehended in it, could never hurt her conscience; she never failed a day to repair unto the Sermon, & did take her Hus­band along with her, & both the one & the other did give so great a Commendation to the Preacher, that both at bed and at board they had almost no other Discourse but of him only. And thus the fire, un­der the title of spiritual, did become so carnal, that being lodged and burning in her heart, it did set [Page 297]all the body of this poor Lady into a flame. And as she was but slow to perceive it, so she was prone to be inflamed, and first found the contentment she received in that passion, before she knew that she was subjected to it. And thus being in every part sur­prized by her grand Enemy Love, she no longer re­sisted any one of his Commandements; but the greatest trouble was, that her Physician who was to cure her was ignorant of her disease; wherfore, having put away all fear, (which she ought to have enter­rained) to shew her folly before so wise a Man, and her imperfections before so absolute and so virtuous a Preacher, she undertook by writing to discover the love which she did bear unto him, which at the first she did as gently as she could, and delivered the Letter to a little page, with Instructions how to behave himself in this service, and, above all, she did give him a special commandement that he should be most carefull that her Husband did not see him, as he did passe unto the Friers.

The Page going on directly in his way, did passe through a street where his Master by chance was sit­ting in a shop, The Gentleman seeing him, did step forth out of the shop to see which way he did go, and the Page perceiving him (being amazed at it) did hide himself in a house; His Master being startled thereat, did follow him, and taking hold of him by his arm, he demanded of him, whither he was going? and perceiving that the Excuses he did make were to no purpose, and that he had an af­frighted countenance, he threatned to beat him foundly, if he did not tell him whither he was go­ing. The poor Page said unto him, Wo is me, Sir, If I shall tell you, my Mistresse will kill me. The Gentleman suspecting that his Wife had made a Market without his knowledge of it, did assure the Page that he should receive no harm, if he would confesse the truth, but be well rewarded; and with­ [...], that if he told him a ly, he would keep him in [Page 298]prison during his life. The poor Page, to receive good and to escape punishment, did shew him the Letters which his Mistcesse had wrote unto the Preacher, whereat her Husband was as much asto­nished and grieved, as he was before assured of her loyalty, having never before received the least dis­content from her. But he who was wise did dissem­ble his choler, and (to know the farther intentions of his Wife) did return an answer by writing to her Letter, as if the Preacher had thanked her for her good will, and declared to her that he for his own part did bear as much true affection unto her. The Page having sworn unto his Master to carry on this businesse with all silence and discretion, did return unto his Mistresse, to whom he delived that counter­feit Letter, whereat she was surprized with so much joy, that her Husband did easily perceive it by the change of her countenance, for instead of contrition and making her self lean with abstinence, she did look more fresh, more fair, and more lovely, than before that Lent did begin.

It was now middle-lent, yet this Lady neither for the holiness of the season, nor the approach of the Passion did alter her accustomed manner, but con­tinued by Letters to declare unto the Preacher her furious fantasie; and it seemed to her (poor Lady) that when he turned his eyes on that side where she sat, it was only to look on her, and as often as he did speak of the love of God, she did apply it to her­self, and thought in her interpretation of it, that it was spoken altogether for the love of her, and as much as her eyes could shew what she thought, she spared not to return in glances to him: her Hus­band in his Letter failed not to send her like an­swers. After Easter was passed, he did write unto her in the name of the Preacher, and did intreat her to instruct him what means he should use to come unto her. She, who thought every hour a year until she had returned an answer to that Let­ter, [Page 299]did counsell her Husband to take a journey in­to the Country to survay some lands which he had there, which he promised her to doe, and concea­led himself in the house of one of his friends. The Lady failed not to write unto the Preacher on what hour he might have his opportunity to come and see her, for her Husband was gone forth. The Gen­tleman desiring to make trial of the love of his Wife even to the last, did repair unto the Preacher, and (for the honour of God) desired him that he would be pleased to lend him his habit: The Preacher, who was a very righteous man, did assure him, that it was against the Rules of their order, and that he would not for any thing lend it to have it brought upon the Stage. The Gentleman did protest unto him, that he would only use it for his own pleasure, and in a businesse that was necessary for the good both of Soul and Body. The Frier knowing him to be an honest man, and fearing God, did lend it to him; and with this habit (which covered the greatest part of his face, insomuch that she could not see his eyes) he took a false beard, and a false nose, and near in resemblance to the Preachers, and he did put a Rise into his shooes that he might be just of his height. Thus habited he did come in the E­vening, into the Chamber of his Wife, who did attend him with great devotion, and (poor Gentlewoman) could not forbeat till he came to her, but as a Woman out of her senses she did run to meet him, and embraced him: He who held his head down into his bosome for fear of being discovered, did begin to make the sign of the crosse, and to fly from her, and to cry out aloud, Temptation, Temp­tation. The Lady said unto him, alas my dear Father, you have reason for it, for there is no more violent temptation than that which doth pro­ceed from Love, to which you have promised to give me a remedy, beseeching you, that now ha­ving time and leisure you will have pity on me, and [Page 300]speaking those words she did enforce her self to em­brace him, but he running from her round about the Chamber, and making many and great signs of the Crosse, did continually cry out Temptation, Temptation; but perceiving that she came up close unto him, and to examine some where about him too familiarly, he took a good cudgel which he did carry under his mantle, and did give her so many, and such effectuall blowes, that he made her to for­sake and forget the Temptation, and being not dis­covered by her, he repaired immediately to the Preacher, and restored him his habit, assuring him that he had received an especial favour by it. The next morning, pretending that he had returned from a long Journey, he came into his house, where he found his Wife sick in bed, and as if he was ig­norant of what had passed, he enquired of her the cause of her disease: She made answer, that it was a cold she had taken, which was so violent upon her, that she could not stir either hand or foot. Her Husband (who had a good desire to laugh) did pretend to be extremely sorry, and (to administer some comfort to her) did acquaint her, that on that Evening he had invited the holy man the Preacher unto Supper. She immediately made answer, far be it from you (Sweet-heart) to invite any of that Tribe, for they do bring ill luck with them in­to all the houses wheresoever they doe come. How (my dear Sweet-heart) said her Husband, have you so much praised this man unto me, and doe you make no more reckoning of him? As for my own part, I doe verily believe, that if there be a holy man in the world, it is verily he. His Wife made answer to him, they are good in the Church, and in their Pulpits, but in our houses they are very Anti-christs; I must beseech you Sir (if he doth come) that I may not see him, for it will be enough (with the sicknesse that already I have on me) to kill me outright. Her Husband said unto her, because you [Page 301]have no mind unto it, you shall not see him, and therefore he shall sup with me in the Parlor. She made answer to him, doe what you please, but I pray let not me see him, for in my own house I doe hate such people as I hate the Devil. Her Husband, after he had supped with his Ghostly Father, did say unto him. My Father, I doe esteem you to be so beloved of God, that he will deny you no just Petition. I do beseech you therefore to have pity on my poor Wife, who (for these eight days) hath been possessed with an evil spirit, insomuch that she biteth and scratcheth all the World; there is neither crossing nor holy-water of which she ma­keth any reckoning at all; I do believe, that if you shall but put your hand upon her, that the Devil will leave her, and in this I must beseech you to do as much for me as lies in your power. The Confes­sor did reply unto him, my Son, All things are possible to the true believer; And doe you assured­ly believe, that the goodnesse of God refuseth not a­ny who in faith demandeth mercy of him? My Father, I doe verily believe it, said the Gentleman. Assure your self also my Son said the Frier, that he both can doe it, and he will doe it, and that he is no lesse powerful than merciful. Let us therefore goe in the power of Faith to resist that roaring Lion, and pluck from him the prey which is redeemed by the bloud of his Son Jesus Christ.

The Confessor having spoken these words, the Gentleman did bring him into the Chamber where his Wife was laid upon a Truckle-bed, who was so much amazed to see him, verily believing that it was he who had beaten her, that she did grow into a wonderfull Rage, as might appear by her counte­nance, but by reason of the presence of her Husband she did look down with her eyes, and did not speak one word. Her Husband said unto the Holy man, As long as I am with her, the Devil doth not torment her, but as soon as ever I am departed from her, do you [Page 302]sprinkle holy-water on her, and you shall quickly see how the evil spirit will play his pranks. Having spoken those words, he did leave the Preacher a­lone with his Wife, and stayed himself behind the Arras to observe their Countenances. When she beheld that there was no man with her but the Con­fessor, she did begin to cry out as a woman inraged, and out of her sense, and called him Villain, Mur­deret, and Impostor; The Frier (for certain) be­lieving that she was possessed with an evil Spirit, did attempt to take her by the Head, to say his Orai­sons over it, but she did so scratch him, and so bite him, that she enforced him to stand further off, who perpetually sprinkling her with his holy-water, did number Oraisons upon Oraisons.

When her Husband perceived that he had done his Duty, he came into the Chamber, and gave him many thanks for the pains that he had taken; as soon as ever she perceived her Husband, she held both her hands and her tongue, and did forbear all Injuries and Maledictions, and standing in aw of him, she gently did kisse the Crosse: But the Holy Man (who before did see her so much transported) did firmly believe, that at his prayer, our Saviour had cast the Devil out of her, and departed praising God for so great a Miracle. The Husband seeing his Wife well chastised for so foolish a phantasie, did conceive it not to be sit to declare unto her what he had done, for he contented himself to have over­come her violent affection by his wisdom, and that he had put her into such a condition, that she now detested her own folly, and mortally hated that, which before so indiscreetly she had loved. And af­ter this (having abandoned all Precisenesse) she de­voted her self altogether to her Husband, and fol­lowed her businesse better at home, than she did ever before in all her life.

Ladies, by this you may understand the Discretion of a good Husband, and the Frailty of a Woman, that was [Page 303]esteemed of a devout and honourable life: I do believe that when you do behold your selves in this Mirror, in­stead of trusting in your own strength, you will learn to return to him in whose hand all Honour is enclosed. I am very glad, said Parlament, that you are become a Preacher to Ladies, and should be yet more glad, if you would but continue in this good discourse unto all those with whom you hold communication. As often, said Hircan, as you please to give ear unto me, I am consi­dent that I shall not speak otherwise. It is as much as to say, said Simontault, that when these Ladies are not present, you will speak in another sense. That shall be, said Parlament, as he himself pleaseth; but for my own content, I shall believe that he will never speak o­therwise: Nevertheless the Example he hath alleged, will serve to convince those, who believe that a love spiritual cannot be dangerous, which appears to me to be the most dangerous of all others. It is true, said Oy­silla, that to love an honest Man, and one fearing God, ought not to be a thing we should despise, for we should love none but such. Madam, said Parlament, I must beseech you to believe, that there is nothing more foolish, nor more easie to be deceived, than a woman who hath never been in love; For Love, of it self, is a passion which taketh possession of the heart before we are advised of it, and this passion is so pleasant, that if it can be so far assisted by Virtue, as to put on her cloak, it will not, without much difficulty, be discovered, untill some In­convenience shall ensue thereby. What Inconvenience can arise, said Oysilla, to love a Man of worth and Ho­nour? Madam, answered Parlament, There are many Men esteemed Men of Honour towards Ladies, but to be so much a Man of Worth towards God that a Lady may love him, and reserve both her Honour and her Conscience, I do believe is near unto a wonder, and ve­ry rare to find. And those who are confident there are such; and that there are many of them, will find them­selves at the last to be deceived; and they have entred into a Love under the Notion of God, the events where­of [Page 304]doth lead them to the Devil; for I have seen too ma­ny, who, under the Colour of Piety, have entertained a Love, from whence, in the end, they would have wil­lingly retired, but could not, because the honest Cover­ture of it did keep them in a fond subjection. For a vi­tious Love doth of it self defeat it self, and cannot be lodged in a virtuous heart; but a virtuous Love is that which carryeth with it nets of silk, so finely woven, that we are innocently taken in them, before we do perceive them. If it be as you speak, said Emarsuite, there would never any Woman love a Man [...]; but your Law is too severe to be observed by any. I know it very well, said Parlament, but for all that I will not leave off to desire every Woman to be contented with her own Hus­band, as I am with mine. Emarsuite, who by that word did believe that she her self was understood, chan­ging her colour, did say unto her, You ought to judge that every one hath as good a heart as you your self, and not to believe that you are more perfect than all others. Well, well, said Parlament, that we may enter no fur­ther into this Discourse, Let us know unto whom Hir­can will give his voice. I do give it, said he, to E­marsuite, that she may be reconciled to my Wife. Since then, it comes to my turn, said Emarsuite, to make all equal, I will spare neither Man nor Woman; and I will make trial, if I cannot overcome your heart once more to acknowledge the Virtue and the Goodness of Men, which causeth me to follow the trace of the last account, by giving you a History that hath relation to it.

A President of Grenoble being adverised of the inordinate affection of his Wife, did so well ma­nage the business, that his honour was not interested in it, and he himself was thoroughly revenged.
The sixth Novel.

IN the City of Grenoble there was a President, whose Name I will conceal (howsoever he was no French man) he had a very handsom Wife, and lived in great peace with her. This Woman observing that her Husband was grown old, did fall in love with a Clerk of his, a lovely young fellow, and comming on. Every morning when her Husband repaired to the Palace, the Clerk entred into his Chamber, and possessed his place. One of the servants of the President did perceive it, who having served him a­bove thirty years, and being loyal to his Master, could not contein himself from giving him notice of it. The President who was a wise man would not lightly give any credence to it, but told him, that he had a desire to plant Division betwixt his Wife & himself; And to prove the truth, he commanded him to shew her to him in the manner of it. Which if he could not do, he would believe, he said, that he had contrived that slander to make a separation betwixt them. His Groom assured him, that what he had spoken, he would cause him to see with his own eyes, and accordingly one morning as soon as the President was gone unto the Palace, and the Clerk was entred into the Chamber of his Wife, The Servant sent one of his fellows to acquaint his Master, that he might come at that instant and take them together, and stayed at the Chamber door himself to watch that the Clerk should not come forth. The President had no sooner this news brought unto him by his Servant, but feigning [Page 306]himself to be sick on the sudden, and that a great qualm came over his stomack, he returned in great hast to his own house, where he found his old Ser­vant at the door of his Chamber, who assured him for certain that his Clerk was within, and that he had not been very long there. His Master said un­to him, stir not from this door, for thou knowest well enough that there is no other entry nor door but only this, saving only a Cabinet within, of which I always take the Key with me. Having spoke these words, the President entred into his Chamber, and found his Wife and the Clerk both in bed toge­ther. The Clerk seeing him, did in his shirt throw himself down at his feet, and craved pardon of him, and his Wife on the other side did begin to weep. The President said unto them, Although the inju­ry which you have done me is such, as you your selves may well conceive to be unpardonable, yet I doe tender you so much, that I will not have my house to be dishonoured, nor my children which I had by you to be disgraced; wherefore said he to his Wife, do not weep, but observe what I will doe, and doe you Nicholas (for so his Clerk was named) with­draw and conceal your self in my Cabinet, and make not the least noise: When he had so don, he ope­ned the door, and calling in his old Servant he said unto him, Didst not thou assure me that thou wouldst shew me my Clerk lying in bed with my Wife? and on thy word am I come hither, and had taken a full resolution to kill my Wife; I have not found any thing of what thou hast said unto me, and yet have thorowly searched the Chamber, as I will shew unto you; and speaking those words, he commanded his Groom to look under the Bed, and in every corner of the Chamber. When the Groom could not discover him, he said to his Master in a great amazement; The Devil sure must carry him away, for I will take my oath that I saw him goe in, and which way he is gone out, God knows, but out [Page 307]at this door he is not gone. His Master replyed unto him, Thou art a wicked Knave to attempt to make any difference between me and my Wife; wherefore I do charge thee to be gone out of my house, and for the Services which thou hast done me, I will pay thee what I owe thee, and more than what I owe thee; but get thee out of my doors, and be sure that thou art not in this City fout and twen­ty hours: And having thus rebuked him, he liberal­ly paid him his wages, and gave him a reward for 5 or 6 years service to come, and knowing that he had been a dutiful Servant, he told him, that for all the discharging his house of him, he might be yet more beneficial to him. The Servant being dismissed and gone, the President commanded the Clerk to come out of the Cabinet, and having (as he thought good) reproved him and his Wife for their irregular ex­cess of love, he did forbid them to make any appearance of it to any man, and desired his Wife to attire her self more gorgeously than she was accu­stomed to doe, and gave her leave freely to goe to all Companies and Feasts. He also did look upon the Clerk with a more friendly eye than he was ac­customed, and whispering him in his ear he bid him to goe into the City, and take his pleasure there for three or four hours. This being done, the Presi­dent repaired to the Palace without making the least appearance of any thing, and for fifteen days to­gether (quite contrary to his former custom) he did nothing but Feast his Friends and Neighbours, and after the Banquet he had Musick to invite the Ladies to dance.

One day observing that his Wife was melancholy, and did refuse to dance, he commanded his Clerk to lead her forth into the dance: The Clerk belie­ving that he had forgotten all former faults, did with great joy take her by the hand, and used many frolicks with her in the dance, but the dance being ended, the President pretending he had some busi­nesse [Page 308]with him, did whisper him in the ear, and said unto him, Now get thee gone for good and all, and be sure that thou dost come no more into my house. The Clerk was very sorrowful to forsake the Gen­woman his Mistresse, but as glad on the other side that he had saved his own life.

After that the President by this good entertain­ment of them had given assurances to all the kinred and friends of his Wife, and to all the Country, how much he did affect her, He retired in his Gar­den on a Sun-shine day to gather a Sallad of herbs for her, which his Wife had no sooner tasted of, but she died within four and twenty hours, for whom he made so great a funeral, and so much lamenration, that not any one could suspect he was the occasion of her death, and by this means he revenged him­self of his Enemy, and saved the Honour of his House.

Ladies, I have no inclination to praise the conscience of the President for this, but only to shew the lightnesse of a Woman, and the prudence and great patience of a Man, and I must [...]eat you not to be offended at the Truth, which speaketh sometimes as much against you as it doth against men, for Women doe partake of the same Vices and Virtues with them. If all those Women said Parlament who loved their Grooms were constrai­ned to eat of such Sallads, I doe believe they would not love their Gardens half so well as they doe, but would root out all the berbs, that they might avoid those which give honour to the Family by the death of the Mother of it. Hircan who did well foresee to what end she did speak those words, did answer her in choler, A virtu­ous woman ought never to judge another concerning that which she never will doe her self. Parlament did re­ply, Knowledge is not judgement upon conjecture, and sure it is this poor Gentlewoman did endure the punish­ment which divers have deserved; and I doe believe that her Husband, since he would be revenged on her, did govern himself with wonderfull wisdom and pati­ence; [Page 309]and also with as much malice, said Longaren, and cruel Vengeance, which sufficiently doth witness, that he had neither God nor his Conscience before his eys. And what would you have had him to have don, said Hircan, to revenge himself of the greatest injury that a Woman can do unto a Man? I would, said she, that he had killed her in his choler; for the Casuists say that such a sin is pardonable, for the first motions of Wrath are so violent in themselves, that they are not in the power of a Man to give a stop unto them, and there­fore he is in some capacity of pardon.

No, said Guebron, for although his Children and all his posterity had born the infamy of the Mothers fault, he ought not to have killed her, for after that his first and greatest choler was passed over, we find that he li­ved with her as if she had never given any occasion of offence, and as if that all thought thereof was quite blot­ted out of his Memory. Do you believe, said Saffre­dant, that he was pacified, because he did dissemble his choler? For my self I do believe, that on the last day wherein he made that salad, he was the same Man as he was in the first, when he found her in incontinency, although there are some, the first motions of whose choler have no respite at all, until they have put their passion into act. And you do me a great pleasure, to affirm that the Divines do hold such sins are easie to be pardoned, for I am of the same opinion with them. We ought to take good heed, said Parlament, what we do speak be­fore such dangerous persons as you are; that which I have said, is to be understood when the passion is so strong, that it suddenly doth so seize upon the sense, that there is no place left for Reason. So, so, said Saffre­dant, I rest my self well satisfied with what you say, and will conclude by it, That a man violently amorous doth more easily deserve pardon, than any other who doth sin being not in love; for if Love doth lay him bound in chains, Reason cannot easily command him, and, if We will confess the truth, there is not here present any [...]e of us, who at one time or other hath not had experi­ence [Page 310]of his furious folly, and which of us doth not now expect to have pardon for it? For true love is a degree to mount to the love of God, to which none can easily ascend, who hath not first climbed up the Ladder of tri­als, and who doth not love his Neighbour, and wish him as much happiness as to himself, which is a great step unto perfection; for St. John saith, How can you love God whom you have not seen, if you love not your Neighbour whom you have seen?

There is no place nor passage in the Scripture, said Oysilla, that is so direct, but you can turn it to your own purpose; but take heed that you do not like the Spider, which converteth all wholesom food into poyson, and you ought to be advised how dang roas it is to al­lege the Holy Scripture without Necessity. What do you call it, said Saffredant, to allege the Scripture without Necessity? You will say, that in speaking to such incre­dulous Creatures as your self, and appealing to God to be our witness, we do take his Name in vain; but if it be a Sin, you Women your selves ought altogether to en­dure the punishment, for your incredulities do enforce us to seek out all the Protestations, and make all the Oaths we can devise, and yet for all that we cannot kindle a­ny fire at all in your hearts of Ice. It is a sign, said Longaren, that you are great dissemblers, for if there were any truth in your words, the truth would be so strong, that it would enforce us to believe you, but it is to be feared, that the Daughters of Eve do too much believe the Serpent that doth tempt them. I understand well enough, said Saffredant, that Women are invinci­ble, wherefore I will hold my peace, and attend to whom Emarsuite will give her voice. I do give it, said she, to Dagoucin, for I believe that he will not speak any thing in the derogation of Ladies. I would to God, said he, that they would carry a correspondence with me, and be as favourable to me, as I am ready to speak in the praise of them; and to manifest unto you, that I do make it my business to honour the virtuous, in labouring to find out their good works, I will give you a History of one, of [Page 311]them that shall be remarkable enough. Ladies, I will not deny, but that the patience of the Gentleman of Pam­pelona, and of the President of Grenoble, hath been very great, but the vengeance they have taken hath been as great as was their patience. When we do praise a virtuous Man, we ought not to give all the glory to one single Virtue, which he makes to serve only as a cloak to cover as great a Vice. He is to be commended, who for the love of Virtue only doth do a virtuous work, as, I hope, I shall make apparent to you by the patience, and the virtue of a young Lady, who in her good work sought after nothing but the honour only of God, and the salvation of her Husband.

The Discretion of a Lady to retire her Husband from a fond love, which did too much torment him.
The seventh Novell.

THere was a Lady of an Illustrious Family in this Kingdom of France, whose Name I will conceal, so wise she was, and virtuous, that she was beloved and honoured of all her Neighbors. Her Husband, as he ought to do, did trust her with all his affairs, which so wisely she did manage, that by her means, her House became one of the richest, and most accommodated with the best moveables that was in all the Countrey of Anjou or Tourain. Having lived a long time with her Husband, by whom she had many goodly Children, her happiness (after which a contray doth always follow) did be­gin to diminish; wherefore her Husband, being weary with his case, and great contentment, did seek out both his travel and his torment, and made it his custom, as soon as ever his Wife was asleep, to rise from her, and to return no more unto her, un­til [Page 312]it was near unto the morning. His Wife did take this manner of life of his so much to heart, that en­tring into a great jeasousie, (although she would make no apparence of it) she did neglect all her houshold affairs, as also her self, and her children, being one who believed she had lost all the fruit of her labours, when she had lost the love of her Hus­band, to continue which love, there was no labour which she would not willingly endure. But ha­ving lost that, she was so carelesse of all the rest, that she soon perceived the great losse which her Negli­gence had occasioned; For on the one side, [...]er Husband did carry himself without order, and on the other side, she looked no more to the affairs of the house: insomuch that the whole House was so disordered, that all things did run confusedly into Ruine.

Some of her Kinred, who undrstood her Disease, did represent unto her the fault she did commit, and did advertise her, If the love to her Husband could not perswade her to look unto the profit of her House, at least the regard of her Children should enforce her. The Compassion which she had on them, did at the last cause her to pluck up her spi­rits, and by all means to attempt to regain the love of her Husband. On the night following she wat­ched when he did rise from her, and immediatly af­ter her was gone, she rose also, and putting on her Night-Gown, she caused her Bed to be made, and reading her Houres she attended the return of her Husband; when her Husband was come into the Chamber, she did go directly to him to kisse him, and brought him a Bason of water to wash his hands. He being amazed at this unaccustomed complement, did assure her, that he came only from casting up some accounts, and for that, there was no need that he should wash at all. She made answer to him, That although it was no great matter of Necessity, yet it was Civility to wash his hands when he came [Page 313]from a filthy and polluted place; Belike, desiring by this to prompt him to understand and to hate his wicked life: But he did not reform himself, al­though his Wife for a whole year did continue this Custome.

When she perceived that it was uneffectual, one morning attending the return of her Husband, who stayed longer than he was accustomed, she had a great desire to seek him out, and did goe so long from Chamber to Chamber, that she found him at last asleep in the hindermost Wardope with one of the most unsightly and deformed Maids that was in all the house; whereupon she resolved to teach him what it was to forsake an honest woman for so soul a slut. In this humour she took straw, and did set it on fire in the middle of the Chamber, and when she perceived that the smoak had almost killed her Hus­band, and enforced him to awake, she took him by the arm and cryed out, Fier, Fier: If her Hus­band were amazed and ashamed to be taken by his fair Wife with so foul and so nasty a Creature, he had good reason for it. His Wife said unto him, Sir, I have endeavoured one whole year to withdraw you from this loose life with gentlenesse and patience, and to shew you, that by washing without, you ought to purge what was unclean within, But when I perceived that whatsoever I could doe did prevail nothing, I attempted to assist my self with that E­lement which commonly doth put an end to all things, assuring you Sir, that if this at this present should not correct you, I know not, if I shall be so patient the second time to pluck you from this danger, as I now have done. I must beseech you to consider that there is no greater dispair than what proceeds from love, and if I had not God be­fore my eyes, I had not known that patience which I have used. Her Husband being very glad that he was escaped so well, did faithfully promise to give her no more occasion to torment her self, which [Page 314]the Lady very willingly believed, and by the con­sent of her Husband did immediately turn out of doors that party which did discontent her. And af­ter that hour they did live together in great love, insomuch that the faults committed and passed, in regard of the comfortable life which they now en­joyed, was an augmentation of their content.

Ladies, I must intreat you, if God should give you such Husbands, that you would not despair of them, until you have a long time assayed all the means that pos­sibly you can to reduce them; for there are four and twenty hours in the day, in the which a man might change his opinion, and a woman ought to conceive her self more happy to have gained her Husband by her own patience and expectation, than if Fortune or her friends had offered her a more ready way. Behold here an example, said Oyfilla, which ought to be of great use to all married women. Let her take the example who hath a mind to it, said Parlament, it is impossible for me to have so much patience, for though in all estates patience he a great virtue, yet I am of opinion, that in marriage it doth lead unto Enmity; for in suffering an in jury from an equal, we are thereby constrained to separate our selves from him as far as possibly we can, and in this separation there proceedeth an undervaluing of the fault of being disloyal, and in that undervaluing by little and little love doth diminish, for so long we doe love a thing, as we do esteem the value of it. But it is much to be feared, said Emarsuite, that an im­patient wife may find a surious Husband, who instead of patience may give her sorrow. And what can a Hus­band doe said Parlament more than this of whom you have had an account in this last History? What, said Emarsuite? why he may beat her soundly, until her bones ratile again in her skin, and make her lie in the Truckle bed, and her whom he loved in the High bed. I doe believe, said Parlament that a Woman of worth will not take it so ill to be beaten by her Husband in cho­ler, as to be undervalued by him for one who is not to [Page 315]be compared to her, and having endured the punishment of the separation of his love, the Husband cannot doe any thing which can put his wife to a greater sorrow, or can make him to care lesse for him, for so saith the Ac­count, that the pains she took to recall him, was for the love only which she did hear unto her Children, and I doe believe it. And doe you find any great patience in this woman, said Nomerfide, to put fire under the bed where her Husband was afleep? Yes, said Longa­ren, for when ever she saw the smoak about him, she awaked him, and peradventure it was in that only that she committed the greatest fault, for to such Husbands Fire and Cinders are the best admonitions. Longaren, you are too cruel, said Oysilla, you have not so lived with your Husband. No, said Longaren, for God be praised, I had no such occasion, but instead of com­plaining of him, I shall grieve all the remnant of my life that I have lost him. But if you had such a Husband, said Nomerfide? what would you have done with him? I doe believe, said Longaren, that I should not have loved him so well, but that I should have killed him first, and afterwards my self, for to die after such a vengeance had been a thing more agreeable unto me, than to live loyal with one that is disloyal. For ought that I can see, said Hircan, you only love your Husbands for your selves, if they are good according to your desire you doe love them, but if they commit the least fault in the world, they have lost the labour of all their week for one Saturday; And this is the reason that you will be Mistresses, but for my part, I am resolved, and if all Husbands would be but of my mind — It is reason, said Parlament, that the man should goveru us as our Head, but not that he should forsake us, or intreat us [...]udely. God, said Oysilla, hath given so good an order [...]oth to the man, and to the Wife, that (if it be not abu­ [...]d) I doc believe marriage to be the most delightful, [...]nd the most sure estate that is in this world, and I am [...]nfident that all those who hear me (whatsoever they [...]etend to the contrary) doe think my thoughts, and (per­adventure) [Page 316]more than my self; and by how much the man is said to he more wise than the woman, he shall by so much be the more grievously punished, if the fault doth proceed from him. But having discoursed enough let us see to whom Dagoucin will give his voice. I doe give it, said he, to Longaren. You have done me, said she, a great pleasure therein, for I have an account that is worthy to follow yours; and because we are now upon the praise of the virtuous patience of Ladies, I will shew you one examrle more commendable than any that hath been yet recited, and so much the more to be estee­med, in that she was only the Wife of an ordinary Citi­zen, who for the most part are not b [...]ed up so virtuously as those of the Gentry, or in the Court are.

The memorable Charity of a Woman of Tours towards her Husband who was a whoremaster.
The eighth Novel:

IN the City of Tours ther was the wife of a Burgess, a fair and an honest woman, who was not only be­loved for her Virtues, but highly esteemed by her own Husband; who following the frailty of men (that are weary to feed always on good bread) did be­come amorous of a Dairy maid he had, and often­times would travel into the Country to see how his Dairy thrived, where he would constantly stay two or three days, and when he returned to Tours he would be so full of the Morphy, that his poor Wife, and all the Doctors of that City had enough to doe to recover him; and as soon as ever he was on his leggs, and well again, he failed not to re­turn to his Dairy, where for a short pleasure he did forget all his former weaknesses. His Wife who above all things did love the life and the health of [Page 317]her Husband, observing him ordinarily to return in this weak Estate, did repair her self unto the Dairy, where she found the young Woman whom her Husband loved, to whom (with an unclowded, and most pleasant Countenance) without the least shew of discontent, or choler, she said, That she knew very well her Husband came oftentimes to see her, and that nothing troubled her, but that she did not use him well; for he alwayes returned unto her full of f [...]intnesse, and a discoloured Infirmity. The young Wench (as well for the reverence she did bear unto her Dame, as constrained unto it by the force of the Truth) did not deny the fact, but requi­red pardon of her.

Her Dame desired to see the Bed and the Chamber in which her Husband, being there, was accustomed to lodge, which she found, so cold, so dampish, and so musty, that she had great Compassion on him; wherefore immediately she did send for a good Bed, and Curtains and Valance correspondent to it, as also for pillows, sheets, and coverlets. She also caused the chamber to be hung with Tapestry, and sent in fair bowles, and good dishes, in which her Husband might eat and drink; she sent in also a pipe of good Wine, and Confects, and other Re­storatives, and desired the Dairy-maid, that she would not send back her Husband any more unto her, so full of his former Morphy.

Her Husband being all this while at Tours, and not knowing what his Wife had done, thought long to return unto his Dairy (as he had been accustomed to do) whither being come, he much wondred to see all things there in so good order, and much mote when the Maid did give him Wine to drink in a great Bowl of Silver. He demanded of her, How she came by those Goods? The poor Maid melting into tears, told him, That his Wife had sent them, who taking compassion of her ill usage of him when he was there, had sent in all those moveables [Page 318]into the house, and desired her at her departure to have a great Care of his health. The Husband ob­serving the great Goodnesse of his Wife, and that she had returned him so many good offices, for all the bad ones which he had performed to her, estee­ming his Fault as great as was her Virtue; did give a sum of money to the Dairy-maid, and desired her for the time to come to live in the reputation of an honest Servant; and returning to his Wife, he con­fessed his trespasse unto her; as also, that without that incomparable goodnesse and sweetnesse of her disposition, it was impossible for him to forsake the life he lived. After this they lived together in great peace, and he altogether abandoned his former In­continence.

Believe me, Ladies, that there are few Husbands, whom the Patience and the Love of their Wives cannot gain at the last, unlesse they have hearts more hard than a stone, which the water maketh soft and hollow by the length of time. Behold, said Parlament, a Woman without a heart, and without wit! what would you have her do, said Longaren, she hath put that in pra­ctise which God hath commanded; to do good unto those who do evil. I do believe, said Hircan, that she was in love with some Frier, who in penance did com­mand her to send those moveables to emertain her Hus­band in the Country, that during his residence there, he himself might have the oportunity to be as well entertai­ned by her in the City. Go too, said Oysilla, you shew too much the malice of your heart, to judge ill of a good act. I do rather believe that she was so mortified in the love of God, that she look care for nothing more than for the health and safely of her Husband. It seems to me, said Simontault, that be had more occasion to return unto his wife, when be was cold in his Country house, than when he was so well provided fo [...]. For ought that I see, said Saffredant, you are not of the opinion (Ma­dam) of the rich Man of Paris, who would not put off his cloaths when he lay with his Wife, son fear of getting [Page 318]the Morphey, but when in a cold winters day he did go to see his Maid in the fields, without shoes on his feet, or his Bonact on his head, he was never sick at all; although his Wife was a handsom woman, and his Maid but an ill-favoured, and a dirty slut. Have you not heard, said Guebron, that God is always savourable to Lovers, Fools, and Drunkards? It may be that this Burgess alone was all three of them himself. By that you would conclude, said Parlament, that God doth not favour the chast, the sober, nor the wise. They who can aid themselves, said Guebron, do not need to be aided by any other. For he who hath said that he is come to cure the sick, and not those who are sound, is come by the law of his Mercy to help our insirmities, and to break the arrests of the rigor of his Justice, and he who doth think himself wise, is a fool before the face of God. But to end our Sermon, to whom will Longeren give her voice. I doe give it, said he, to Saffredant. I hope then, said Saffredant, to shew you by example, that God doth not favour Lovers; For (Ladies) al­though it hath been heretofore affirmed, that the Vice of Love is common both to Women and to men, yet the in­vention and the artifice is always more ready in a wo­man than in a man, as I shall demonstrate to you by this example.

A good invention to drive away an evill Spirit
The ninth Novel

A Lord of Grignaux who was a Cavalier of Honour to Anne Queen of France, and Dutchesse of Brit­tany, returning to his house, from whence he had been absent two years and more, did find his Wife removed to another place, and not in the Castle where he left her, and enquiring of the occasion, it was told him, that the Castle was haunted with a [Page 320]Spirit which did so torment them that none could endure to stay in it. Monsieur de Grignaux who was not afraid of Hobgoblins made answer, that if it was the Devil himself he was resolved to see what it was, and took his Wife with him. All the night he burned great Candles to discover the Spirit more plainly, and having kept himself a long time awake and heard nothing at all, he fell asleep.

But immediately he was awaked by a great blow that was given him on his cheek, and he heard a voice crying Revigne, Revigne, which was the name of his Grand-mother. He therefore called to his Wife who was in bed with him to light more Can­dles, for the others were all burned out, but she durst not rise. Not long after Signior Grignaux did plainly perceive that something was drawing a­way the Coverlet from him, and he heard a great noise of Tables, and Trenchers, and Dishes that did fall down in the Chamber, which did continue until the break of day. The Signior was more trou­bled that he had lost his Rest, than surprized with any fear of the Spirit. On the night following he did resolve with himself to take hold of the Spirit, and not long after he was in bed he counterfeited as if he had suorted extremely, & did keep his hand open close unto his face. Having in this manner attended the Spirit, he at last perceived something to come near him. wherefore he did begin to snort as loudly as he did before; and the Spirit growing too saucy with him, did give him a good sound blow on the face. Signior Grignaux having his hand prepared, did immediatly take fast hold on the hand that struck him, and cryed out to his Wife, I have the Spirit by the hand, who imme­diarely did rise, and bringing the Candle more near unto him, they did find that it was their Chamber-maid who did lie in their own Chamber, who trembling down upon her knees did demand pardon, and promised to confesse the truth unto [Page 321]them, which was, that the Love which she had born for a long time to one of his Servants in the Castle, did tempt her to undertake this goodly mystery to drive both Master and Mistresse from thence, to the end that they two (to whom the whole charge of the House was committed) might have the oppor­tunity to make better chear, which they did when they were alone by themselves. Monsieur de Grig­naux, who was a blunt and a rough man, did command that they should both be punished with stripes, and be taught to remember the ill Spirit as long as they lived, which being done accordingly, they were both discharged the Castle, and by this means the House was deliverd from all trouble of those evil Spirits, which before (for two years together) had played their pranks in it.

Ladies, It is a strange thing to consider of the won­derful effects of the puissant God of Love, who taking all fear from women, doth prompt them to endure all tryals to arrive to the end of their own Desires. And as this Invention in the Chambermaid was to be blamed, so the good understanding of her Master is to be commended, who knew very well, that a Spirit goes forth, and re­turns no more. Truly, said Guebron, Love at this time did not favour the Groom, not the Chambermaid, but seems to confesse, that the good Understanding of the Master was more effectual. Howsoever, said Emarfu­ite, the Chambermaid by this Invention did live a long time wholly at her own pleasure. Wicked is that Plea­sure, and most Unhappy, said Oysilla, which is groun­ded upon Sin, and doth end in shame and punishment. It is true, Madam, said Emarsuite, but many people take pains and grief enough to live uprightly, and in all their lives have not so much sense of pleasure, as these two in this Account. I am of that opinion, said Oy­silla, that without peace of Conscience, it is impossible to have any perfect pleasure. Say you so, said Simontault, the Italian hath a Proverb, That the greater the sin is, it is always the more pleasant. Truly, said Oysilla, [Page 322] they who do affirm that Tenent, are Devils them­selves. Wherefore let us leave off this Dispute, and know to whom Saffredant will give his voice. To whom should I give it, said he, since every one hath spoken their History, but to Parlament only? but if they had not, I should have given it her before any other, be­cause from her we do always learn something that is both gratefull, and remarkable. Since I must put an end to the discourse of this Afternoon, said Parlament, and that I promised yesterday to give you the reason wherefore the Father of Rolandine did build that Ca­stle in the Forest, where so long a time he did keep her a prisoner, I will in this place give you an Account thereof.

The Excellent Relation of a Lord who caused his Brother-in-law to be put to death, not knowing the nearness of the Allyance.
The tenth Novell.

THe Lord who was the Father of Rolandine, had many Sisters, some whereof were married ve­ry richly, others of them were Religious Vota­ries, and one of them who lived in his own house was beyond comparison more beautifull than the rest. Her Brother did love her so intirely, that he preferred her above his Wife and Children. She was demanded in Marriage by many gallant per­sonages, but because he would not have her remo­ved from him, or, peradventure, because he loved his wealth too well, he would not seem to under­stand it, which was the Cause that she lived the greatest part of her age unmarried, leading a most virtuous life in her Brothers House; in which there was bred up with her a gallant young Gentleman, who as he increased in age, so he increased in beau­ty, [Page 323]and was so esteemed for his virtue, that he go­verned all things in his Masters house, insomuch that when he desired his Sister to doe any thing, he imployed this Gentleman to deliver his mind unto her. This authority was the occasion of a great fa­miliarity, which by sending him both early and late unto her, was by their dayly frequentation much increased. But the young Lady fearing her Honour, and the Gentleman his life, if he should offend his Master, they received no other pleasure by their love, but only the content to converse to­gether.

At the last her Brother told her how much he was obliged to this young Guntleman, who was in the same house with her, and that he never saw any man whom he desired more to his Brother in law than this Gentleman. He so often expressed these words unto her, that she having communicated them to this Gentleman, they presumed, that if they should marry, he would give them an easie pardon: And Love which willingly believeth that which it desi­reth, did prompt them to conceive, that if they should marry, nothing but good would come of it. In this assurance therefore they did conclude and accomplish their marriage, there being no man that knew of it but the Priest only, and some few Wo­men. And having lived certain years in that pleasure which a married man and woman ought mutually to enjoy, as being the most accomplished couple at that time, and the truest Lovers that were in Cri­stendom, Fortune envying to behold two persons to live in so great a happinesse, would not vouchsafe to grant a continuance to it, but stirred up an E­nemy to them, who observing this Lady did take notice of her great happinesse, not knowing of her marriage; Whereupon she came unto her Brother, and informed him, that this Gentleman in whom he reposed so great a trust had recourse too often to his Sister in her Chamber, and in such hours [Page 324]when entrance ought not to be admitted.

This report was not believed the first time (so much he trusted to his Sister and this Gentleman) but the woman brought in against them so many in­formations, pretending that it was for the honour she did bear unto his house, that he so narowly did watch them, that these two parties thinking no ill, were sur­prized fast asleep in one anothers Arms. Her Brother having one Evening received advertisement that the Gentleman was gone into his Sisters Chamber, he im­mediatly repaired thither, and found them both blin­ded with love, and asleep together. The indignati­on which possessed him at the sight thereof, did take away the utterance of his words, and drawing his sword he did run after the Gentleman to kill him, but he being very nimble of body did fly a­way in his shirt, and being not able to escape out of the door did leap out of the window into the Gar­den. The poor Lady his Sister being in her smock did on both her knees kneel down to her Brother, and said unto him, Sir, Save the life of my Husband, for I am espoused to him, and if he hath offended, punish me only, for what he hath done hath been at my request. Her Brother being outragious made no answer at all, but only said; And if he were your Husband a hundred thousand times, yet will I punish him as an unfaithfull Servant, who hath both deceived and disgraced me; And speaking those words he did put his head out of the Window, and commanded aloud, that they should kill him without mercy, which was suddenly put in execu­tion before his own eyes and his Sisters, who be­holding this lamentable spectacle, which no pray­ers of hers could remedy, did talk unto her Bro­ther as a woman out of her senses.

Brother (said she) I have neither Father nor Mother alive, and I am at that age, that I may marry whom I will at my own pleasure, I have chosen that Gentleman concerning whom you your [Page 325]self have oftentimes spoke unto me, and assured me that it was your desire that I should marry him, and for my obedience to your Counsel, (although for what I have done, I could justifie my self by Law without you) you have killed that Man, whom you your self loved the best in all the world. Since it is so that my prayers could not preserve him from Death, I do beseech you by all the love that you have born unto me, that at this present you will make me the Companion of his Death, as I have been in the fortunes of his Life. Doing this, you shall both satisfie your cruel, and most unjust choler, and give rest unto her Soul and Body, who neither can, nor will live without him.

Her Brother, notwithstanding he was so transpor­ted, that he had even lost all Reason, yet he was touched with such a compassion at his Sisters words, that, without granting or denying her Request, he did leave her alone to her self; and having conside­red what he had done, and understood in earnest that the Gentleman had married his Sister, he wished with all his heart that he had never commit­ted so rash a deed, and he was possessed with so strong a fear, that his Sister would demand either Justice or Vengeance, that he caused a great Castle to be builded in the midst of a Forest, into which he did put her, and did forbid that any one should speak unto her. Some years afterwards, to satis­fie his Conscience, he did assay to gain her, and did imploy some persons of trust to commune with her concerning a second Marriage; but she sent him word, That he had given her already so bad a Din­ner, that she would have no Supper of such Viands again; and that she resolved to live in such a man­ner, that he should not be the Butcher of her second Husband: for she could hardly be induced to be­lieve, that he would pardon another, having shew­ed himself so mercilesse to him, whom he loved best in the world. And although she was but weak, and [Page 326]unable to revenge her own Cause, yet her Hope was in HIM, who is the true Judge, and who will suffer no Sin to passe unpunished, to whose only love she would devote her self, during her life in that Her­mitage, which she did accordingly, for she never de­parted thence until the day of her Death, untill her Soul departed from her Body, living with such patience and austerity, that after her Death every one did run thither, as to the Seat of a Saint; and so great a Ruine did fall upon her Brothers House, that of six Sons which he had, not one remained a­live, but all of them dyed most miserably, and in the end the Inheritance was devolved (as you heard in my other Account) upon his Daughter Rol [...]n­dine, who succeeded in the Prison which was made for her Aunt.

Ladies, I pray to God, that this Example may be pre­fitable to you, that none of you may have a desire to mar­ry for your own pleasure, without the consent of those [...]o whom you do ow obedience; for Marriage is an Estate of so long a Continuance, that it ought not lightly to be undertaken, nor without the Consent of our best Friends and Kinred. And it cannot at the best be so well mana­ged, but it will undoubtedly bring with i [...] as much pain as pleasure. In good faith, said Oysilla, if there were neither God, nor Law, to teach fools to be wise, this Example is sufficient enough to instruct them to bear more reverence to their Parents, and Kinred, than to marry at their own pleasure. Madam, It is so, said Nomerfide, that she who hath one good day in a year, is not unfortunate throughout all her life. She had a long time the pleasure to see, and to discourse with him whom she loved better than she loved her self, and after that, she had the delight of the Marriage-bed, without any trouble, or remorse of Conscience. And I esteem that Contentment to be so great, that, it seems to me, it doth exceed the sorrow it brought with it. You will say then, said Saffredant, that Women do receive more pleasures to ly with their Husbands, than they do receive grief to [Page 327]to see them killed before their eyes. That is not my in tention (said Nomerfide) for I should then speak against the Experience which I have of married Women, but I conceive that so great and extraordinary a pleasure as to marry that man whom we love best in the world, is more greatly to be esteemed, than to lose him by death which is a common calamity. So it is, said Guebron, if it were by a natural death, but this here spoken of was too cruel, for it is very strange to me, seeing this Sig­nior was neither her Father, nor her Husband, but her Brother only, and moreover that she was of full age, and that the Laws doe permit the Daughters to marry whom they please, how he durst execute such a cruelty. I do find it not strange at all, said Hircan, for he kil­led not his Sister whom so perfectly he did love, but the young Gentleman whom he cherished and brought up as his own Son, and loved as his own Brother, and ha­ving preferred him, and inriched him in his Service, the Gentleman ought to have been content, and not to have sought his Sister in marriage, which nothing at all did per­tain unto him. The Honour and pleasure, said Nomerfide, is not usual for a Gentleman who is but a Servant to mar­ry a Lady of so great a Family; And if the death be strange, the pleasure must be new also, and so much the greater that it hath the opinion of all wise men to affirm it, and the contentment of a heart full of love to aid it, and the repose of the Soul to attend it, which is a quiet Consci­ence, seeing God is not offended with it. And as for that death which you say was cruel, it seems to me, that it being inevitable, the speediest death is the best, for we all know that of necessity we must passe through Nature to eternity: And I esteem them most happy who stay not any long time in the Suburbs; and from the fe­licity (which only in this world can be so called) do in an instaet fly unto that which is eternal. What do you call the Suburbs of death, said Simontault? Those, said Nomerfide who have had many tribulations in Spi­rit, those who have been a long time sick, those who by the extremity of corporal or Spiritual griefs are come [Page 328]so far as to despise death, and to complain that their last hour comes too slowly: These are they who have al­ready passed through the Suburbs of Death, and have lodged in those Inns in which there is more noise than rest. It was impossible but that this Lady must lose her Husband by death, but in losing him by the choler of her Brother, being exempted from seeing him sick, or bedrid, and exchanging the joy she had to be with him, into the love and the service of God, she might well call her self happy. Do you make no reckoning, said Longa­ren, of the disgrace which she received, and of her tedious imprisonment? I do believe, said Nomerfide, that a Man or Woman who absolutely doe love according to the Commandment of God, do know neither shame nor dishonour, but when they alter or diminish from the perfection of their love, for the glory to love truly doth not know, nor is it capable of disgrace; And as for the imprisonment of the Body, I do believe this Lady had such an inlargement of her Soul, which was united to God, and to her Husband, that she was hardly sensi­ble where she was, but esteemed her solitude to be the greatest liberty; for they who cannot behold that which they love, have no other happinesse but incessantly to think upon i [...]; And that confinement is never streight where the Soul is free, and the thoughts can exercise themselves at their own preasure. There is nothing more true, said Simontault, than that which Nomer­fide doth declare, but he who by his fury made that separation may truly be called guilty and unhappy, for he at one and the same time offended both God, and Love, and Honour. In good earnest, said Guebron, I do much wonder at the different loves of women, and do well observe that those who have the most love, have the most virtue, and that those who have the least do indeavour by dissimulation to counterfeit themselves to be virtuous. It is true, said Parlament, that a Heart honest to God and Men doth love more sincerely than that which is vicious, for it feareth not that we may sound the depth of its intention. I have often heard [Page 329]it affirmed, said Simontault, that Men ought not to be reproved when they purchase the love of Women; for God hath planted in the hearts of Men, Love, and Boldness to demand them, and in the hearts of Women, Fear, and Chastity to refuse them. If Man should be punished for using the faculties which are given to him, he should suffer wrong.

But this seemeth strange to me, said Longaren, that he had so often praised him to his Sister; for it would appear great folly or cruelty in any one who keeps a foun­tain, to praise the clearness of the water to one that looks upon it, and is languishing for thirst, and then to kill him if he offers to take any of it to drink. Without all doubt, said Parlament, the fire was the occasion that did kindle the fire by the temptation of his words, which he ought not to have extinguished with the edge of his sword. And why should it so heinously be rendred, said Saffredant, that an ordinary Gentleman, using no other force, but service, should come to marry a Lady of so great a Family, seeing the Philosophers do affirm, That the least, and most inconsiderable man in the world, is worth more than the greatest, and the most virtuous Wo­man? The reason is, said Dagoucin, That to establish the Publique peace, the Degrees of Families, the Ages of persons, and the Ordinances of Laws, are altogether loo­ked upon, without weighing the Love, and the Virtues of Men, that so there may be no confusion in the State; and from hence it doth proceed, that the Marriages which are made amongst equals, and according to the Judge­ment and Consent of Friends and Kinred, do differ oftentimes so much in heart, complexion, and condition, that instead of entring into a state that leads unto Safety, they are brought into the Suburbs of Hell. And it is as much to be observed, said Guebron, that those who marry only for pure love, having hearts, conditions, and complexions alike, without any reflection at all on the differences of Houses and Descents, are not left without repentance; for this great and indiscreet Love, doth of­tentimes turn it self into Jealouste and Fury. In my o­pinion, [Page 330]said Parlament, neither the one nor the other is commendable, but those only are to be praised who submit themselves to the will of God, and look not either upon Glory, Avarice, or Pleasure, but only upon a virtuous love, and by a mutual Consent do desire to live in the state of Marriage, as God and Nature have ordained. And although there is no Estate without some tribulati­on, yet I have seen these to live without Repentance, and we are not all so unhappy in this Company, but some of us who are married, are in this number. Thereupon, Hircan, Saffredant, Guebron, and Simontault, did all swear that they were married in the like resolutions, and that they never repented of their Marriages. But whatsoever the Truth herein was, they whom this Dis­course concerned were so much contented, that it is im­possible they should hear any thing that was more agreea­ble to them, they did all rise from Ground to give praise and thanks unto God, and found the Monks ready to begin Vespers. The Service being ended, they did re­pair to Supper, the whole Subject of their Discourse being concerning their Marriages, which continued all that Evening, repeating the Fortunes they incountered during the time of their wooing, and the Joys of their Bridal Days; but because one interrupted the Discourse of the other, I cannot give you a particular Account of it, which was no lesse pleasant to describe than was their Discour­ses in the Meadow: but sure enough it is that they did take great delight therein, and had no other Conference til the hour was come in which they were accustomed to go to bed, which did steal upon them sooner than they per­ceived. But Madam Oysilla finding that it was high time to retire her self, did give occasion to the whole Company to do the like, every one being much joyed in his own particular, but especially the marryed, who that night did not sleep at all, but having spent the first part thereof in the Accounts of their past love, they imployed the remainder in the Demonstration of their present; And thus pleasantly this Night did pass away until the Mor­ning.

The End of the Fourth Days Work.

The Fifth Days Account of the Novells of the Queen of NAVARRE.
The Preface.

VVHen the Morning was come, Madam Oysilla did prepare for them their spiritual Breakfast, which was of so transcen­dent a rellish, that it was able to fortifie both the Body and the Soul, and the whole Compa­ny was so much pleased, that it seemed to them they never heard a Sermon which did profit more. And when they heard the Bell to tole unto the Masse, they resorted all together to it, exercising their contemplations in the way on the holy Instructions which they had received. Masse being heard, having walked a little af­ter it, they did sit down to dinner, promi­sing to themselves that the Account of that present day should be as pleasant as were the Discourses of the dayes before. Saffredant said unto them, he could wish that the bridge might be a whole moneth in building, so great was the pleasure he received in this gallant [Page]Company. But the Abbot within caused all possible diligence to be made, because it was not for his advantage to have so many honou­rable personages in his Abby, whose presence detained his accustomed Pilgrims from going so often as before to visit the holy places. Ha­ving reposed themselves a little after dinner, they returned to their pastime in the Meadow, and every one of them having taken their seat, they demanded of Parlament to whom she would give her voice. It appears to me, said she, that Saffredant should do well to be­gin this Journal, for I doe already perceive by him, that he hath not a countenance that would make us weep. Ladies, said Saffredant, you may think what you please, but beshrew me you will shew your selves cruel enough if you should not take pity on the poor Frier whose History I shal account unto you, and although his Design was prevented by the virtue of a chast Lady, such as are amongst us, yet you may imagine what doth become of those poor maids whom the desire of the Act hath made without fear to be­gin the Enterprise. To shew therefore unto you that the blindness of concupiscence doth take away all fear and prudent consideration, I will in this place give you an account of a Frier in Flanders.

THE NOVELLS Of Queen MARGARET.

The strange, and wild penitence, imposed by a Frier Confessor on a young Lady.
The first Novell.

IN that year when Madam Margaret of Austria did come unto Cambray, on the behalf of her Nephew the Emperor, to treat of a Peace be­twixt him and the most Christian King, there was the Countesse of Aiguemont in the Company of Ma­dam Margaret of Austria, which Countesse of Aigue­mont did carry the Fame to be the most beautifull, and bravest personage amongst all the Ladies of Flanders. On the departure of this great Assembly, this Countesse of Aiguemont did return to her own [Page 332]House, and the time of Advent being come, she sent to the Covent of Friers to demand a good Prea­cher, and a Man of a godly Conversation, as well to preach, as to confesse her self, and all her Com­pany. The Warden of the Friers did make choice of the most worthy in his Covent to perform this of­fice, in regard of the great benefits he had received from the House of Aiguemont, and that of Pienne, of which this Lady was; and being more desirous than all others to gain the good Esteem and the Love of great Houses, he did send the most remarkable Preacher which he had in the whole Covent, who the Advent did his duty very well, and gave the Countesse great Content. The time being come, in which the Countesse would receive her Creator, she did send for her Confessor, and was confessed in her Chapel, the door being locked, that the Confession might be the more private; which being ended, she resign'd her place to her Dame of Honor, who being confessed, did send her Daughter to passe under the hand [...] of this goodly Confessor, who after she had confessed to him all that she knew, he found something as well by her Complexion, as Confession, which gave him the desire & the boldnesse to impose upon her a penance which was not usual; He there­fore said unto her, My Daughter, your Sins are so great, that to give satisfaction for them, I impose this penance on you, to wear my Cord on your na­ked Body. The young Gentlewoman, who would not be disobedient to him, did reply, Give it me my Ghostly Father, and I will not fail to wear it. N [...], my good Child, (said the Frier) you must not put it on with your own Hands. It is necessa­ry that my hands must first of all tye it about you, and after wards absolve you [...] all your sins. The young Gentlewoman beginning to weep, did tell him, T [...] she did not know what to think of that penance. Say you so, (said the P [...]eacher) Are you a Heretick, that you refuse the penance which God [Page 333]and our holy Mother the Church doth ordain? I do use Confession (said the young Gentlewoman) as the Church doth command me, and would willing­ly doe penance, and receive absolution, but I would not that you should put your hands upon my naked body, for in that manner I shall refuse your penance. Then (said the Confessor) I can never give you absolution. On these words the Damosel did rise from her knees, having her Conscience much troubled, for she was so young, that she was afraid she had sinned in refusing to doe what her Confessor had enjoyned her.

The Countesse of Aiguemont having received Cor­pus Domini, her Dame of Honour desiring to be made partaker of it after her, did demand of her Daugh­ter if she were ready; her Daughter weeping made answer, No, for she was not yet confessed; and what did you so long then with the Preacher, said the Mother? her Daughter made answer, nothing at all, for refusing the penance which he imposed upon me, he refused also to give me absolution. Her Mother so discretly enquired of her what penance it was, that at the last she understood the whole manner of it, and causing her to confesse unto another they re­ceived the Eucharist both together.

As soon as the Countesse was returned from the Church, her Dame of Honour did complain unto her of the Preacher, at which she was possessed with equal sorrow and amazement, having before enter­tained a very good opinion of him. The novelty of the penance did turn her anger into laughter, but her laughter did put on that authority as to com­mand the Frier to be taken and beaten in her kitchin, where by the force of Rods he confessed the Truth, and being tyed hand and foot, she sent him afterwards to the Warden of the Covent, desiring him that for the time to come he would send more honest men to preach unto her the Word of God.

Ladies, Consider with your selves, if in so honourable [Page 334]a house as this they were not afraid to declare their fol­lies, what do they do in poor places, where they ordi­narily do make their requ [...]sts, and where the opportuni­ties are so easily presen [...]ed to them, that it is a miracle young women do escape without a scandal? And this (Ladies) doth occasion me to intreat you, that you would turn your bad Esteem of them into Compassion, and to ponder with your selves, that he who can thus blind the heart of Friers, will not spa [...]e the hearts of Ladies, when he shall make them his subjects. We may here see, said Oysilla, a good wicked Frier, to be religious, a Prtest, and a Preacher, and yet to use such villany on so great a F [...]st [...]val, and in the Church, under the pretence of Confession, which are all Circumstances that do ag­gravate the Sin. And what of all this, said Hircan, Do you think that Friers are not men, and to be excused as well as we, especially this Frier, who in the Night­time saw himself all alone with so fair a young Gentle­woman? Certainly, said Parlament, if he had thought on the Nativity of Jesus Christ, which was at that time represented, he could not have had so wicked a de­sire. You do not observe his method, said Saffredant, for he would begin with the Incarnation, before he did come to the Nativity. Neverthelesse he was faulty e­nough, seeing upon so high a day, and on so fair a Crea­ture, he would have committed so foul a sin. In my opinion, said Oysilla, the Countesse did give him such a punishment, that his Companions may take Example by it. But it is worth your observation, said Nomerfi­de, if she did well, to bring a Scandal upon him, and if it had not been better that she had privatly reproved him, than thus openly to have divulged his fault.

I do believe, said Guebron, it had been indeed the best Course, for we are commanded to reprove our Neighbour in private, before we do declare his faults to any, or to the Church it self; for when a Man is become once shame­less, he is not, without great difficulty, brought to amend­ment: and I am of opinion, that it is Shame, as much as Conscience, that retireth many Men from Sin. We [Page 335]must therefore, said Parlament, practise that Counsel of the Gospel to one another, but not to those who preach one thing, and who do another, for we ought not to be afraid to scandalize those who do scandalize others. And it seems to me to be a meritorious work, to make them to understand themselves to be such as they are, that we may take heed of their seducings, and teach young Maids to do so too, who are not alwayes so well advised. But to whom will Hircan give his voice? Because you do ask me, I will give it to your self, said Hircan. Since you give it unto me, said Parlament, I will give you an Account of one, concerning whom I my self may serve for Witnesse, and I have often heard it affirmed, that how much the more that Virtue in a weak and seeble sub­ject is assaul [...]ed by a strong and powerful Contrary, by so much she is the more admirable, and doth shew her self more clearly to be such as indeed she is; for it is no wonder at all that the strong Man doth defend himself from the strong; but that the feeble hath the Victory, is the greatest glory in the world. To understand aright the persons of whom I am to speak, I shall, peradventure, do some little wrong to the truth, as also that I shall cloath their story in so poor a Dresse, that none will re­gard it; Howsoever the Accomplishments of the young Maid, by whom such worthy things were done, do in­force me to declare them.

The Continence of a young Maid, against the obsti­nate and amorous Sute of one of the greatest Lords of France, and the happy Successe which the Damsell did obtain.
The second Novel.

IN one of the greatest Towns of Tourain there did dwell a Lord of a great and honourable house, who [Page 336]had there his education from his Infancy. I will make no mention in this place, of the perfections, the grace, and beauty, and the great virtues of this young Prince, I shall only exhibite to you, that France had not his equal. Being at fifteen years of age, he took more pleasure to ride and to hunt, than to behold the beauties of Ladies. One day when he was at Church he fixed his eyes upon a young Maid, who in her Infancy had been brought up in the Ca­stle where he lived, and after the death of her Mo­ther, her Father did remove to another place, where­upon she did goe to Poictou with her Brother. This Maid whose name was Frances, had a Bastard Sister whom her Father loved very well, and married her to the chief Butler of this young Prince, who did esteem as well of her as of any in his House. The Fa­ther died and left unto Frances for her portion all the demeans and houses which he had in this great Town. Wherefore after her Fathers death she removed from Poictou unto this place where her Estate was, and be­cause she was but 16 years of age, & unmarried, she would not live alone in her own house, but agreed for her bord with her Sister who was the Butlers Wife. The young Prince observing this Maid to be very lovely, being of a brown hair, but of a clear complexion, and having a carriage that did tran­scend her Estate, for she seemed rather a Princesse than the Daughter of a Citizen, he a long time with a stedfast eye did look upon her, and being ne­ver in love before, did find in his heart an unac­customed heat, and retiring into his Chamber he did enquire after her whom he saw in the Church, and remembred that it was she, who in her infancy was accustomed to come unto the Castle to play with his Sister, and acquainted his Sister with it. His Sister did send for her, and made her very wel­com, desiring her, that she would take the pains to come often to her, which she did, as often as there were any Marriages, or publick Meetings, where the [Page 337]young Prince would behold her with such a greedy eye, that he did begin to love her intirely, and because he knew shew was but of mean parentage, he hoped easily to obtain that which he desired, but having not the means to speak unto her, he sent unto her a Gentleman of his Chamber, to sollicite her for him. But she, who was as wife as she was young, and feared God, did allege unto him that she could not believe that his Master, who was so gallant and so accomplished a Prince, would so un­dervalue himself as to look upon a Creature so im­perfect as her self, especially seeing in the Castle where he had his residence there were so many great and beautiful Ladies, she therefore conceived, that what he did speak was from himself, and not from the commandment of his Master. When the young Prince had understood this answer, Love which always doth grow more strong where it finds most resistance, did make him more hotly to pursue his enterprise, Whereupon he did write a Letter to her, desiring her that she would believe that whatsoever this Messenger did say unto her did proceed from himself. She who very well could both read & write, did read the Letter all over, to which (whatsoever en­treaty the Gentleman did make) she would return no answer at all, affirming that it did not belong to a Person of so base a condition as her self to write unto such a Prince as he was, but did beseech him not to suppose her so weak, as to believe that he had so good an opinion of her, as to bear any love unto her; and if he thought by reason of her poor estate to have her at hs pleasure, he did much deceive himself, for she had as honest a heart as the greatest Princesse in Christendom, and esteemed no treasure in the World comparable to her Honour and her Consci­ence. She humbly besought him that he would not hinder her to preserve that treasure, for should she die, she would never alter her resolution.

The young Prince did not find this answer to be [Page 338]agreeable unto him, neverthelesse he continued passionately to love her, and failed not every day to be present at the Masse in that Church to which she repaired, and all the while that Masse was say­ing he perpetually addressed the Devotion of his eyes to that fair image, which when she perceived, she changed her place, and repaired to another Church, not to avoid the sight of him (for she had not been a reasonable creature if she had not taken pleasure to look upon him) but she was afraid to be seen by him, for since she conceived her self not worthy to be beloved by him in the way of Honour and Marriage, she would not that it should be by the way of folly and of pleasure; and whenever she saw any place in the Church where she might seat her self, the Prince would fit as close by her as pos­sibly he could, which made her to goe from Church to Church to hear Masse dayly, and to the furthest Churches that possibly she could; and when any great marriages were solemnized at the Castle, she did forbear to be present at them, and although the Sister of the Prince did invite her, she would al­ways excuse her self by some indisposition or other.

The Prince perceiving that he could not have that accesse (nor speak unto her) as he desired, did aid himself by his Butler, and promised him many great rewards, if he would assist him in this affair. The Butler did promise to doe the utmost of his in­deavour, as well to please his Master, as for the profit which he hoped to receive from him, and e­very day he did give an account unto the Prince of what she both said and did, and that above all things to the utmost of her power she did fly all temptations to behold him.

At the sast, the great Desire which he had to ex­presse his love unto her, did prompt him to an Ex­pedient for the accomplishment thereof, which was to ride on his great Horse, (he being most experi­enced in that Art) in a publique place of the City [Page 339]before the house of his Butler, where Frances lived; and having made his Horse to tread many Rings, and to rise aloft into many dangerous Corvetts, where Frances might behold him, he did premedi­tately fall from his Horse into a deep Mire, and so easily, that he received no hurt at all; howsoever he complained much, and demanded if there were no lodgings thereabouts, that he might change his habiliments? Every one was ready at his Door to present their service to him; but some that stood by, did assure him, that his own Butlers house was the next, and the best, of which he made choice a­bove all others.

He found there a Chamber richly accommodated, and stripped himself into his shirt, for his cloaths were all corered with Mud: When he was in Bed, and observed that his Servants were gone from him, to provide him with new habiliments, he cal­led for his Host, and Hostesse, and demanded of them where Frances was? They had much to do to find her, for as soon as she perceived the Prince did enter into the house, she did hide her self in the most obscure and unfrequented place thereof. Neverthelesse her Sister found her out, who did in­treat her not to be afraid to hold Discourse with such a Civil, and so Virtuous a Prince. How my Sister, (said Frances) Do you, whom I reverence as my Mother, advise me to Discourse with a young Lord, whose Desires, you can witnesse with me, I do know too well? Her Sister made her so many Remonstrances, and Promises, that she would not leave her alone with him, that at the last she did go along with her, but with a countenance so discoloured, so wan, and spiritlesse, that it would rather beget Pity, than Concupiscence. When the Prince beheld her near unto his Bed, he did take her by her hand, which was cold and trembling, and said unto her, Frances, Do you esteem me to be so cruel a man, so barbarous and devouring, that I [Page 340]ear up Women when I doe look upon them? Wherefore have you so great a fear of him, who re­gardeth nothing more than your honour and advan­tage? You know that in all places that it was pos­sible for me to find you, I have sought you out, only to see you, and to speak unto you, and to do me the greatest spite in the world, you have forsaken all those places where I was accustomed to see you at Masse, that I might receive no contentment at all, either by seeing you, or by speaking to you; But all this hath served you to no purpose, for I have not ceased to follow you, and am come hither by the means which you have seen, having endanger'd to break my neck by falling willfully from my Horse, to receive the Contentment onely but to speak to you; Wherefore I intreat you, Frances, be­cause I have put my self into Danger with so much inconvenience, that it may not be unprofita­ble to me, and that with my great love I may pur­chase yours. When a long time he attended her answer, and beheld that she had tears in her eyes, which were fixed on the ground, drawing her un­to him as close as possibly he could, he thought to have kissed, and embraced her; but she said unto him, No, Sir, No, That which you search after must not be had; for although I am but a Worm of the Earth in comparison of you, my honour is so dear unto me, that I had rather dye, than have it diminished for the greatest pleasure in the world, and the fear which I have that those who have seen you come into this House, do suspect me to be the cause of it, is the occasion of that great trembling which is upon me, And because it hath pleased you to do me so great an Honour as to speak unto me, you must pardon me, if I make an answer to you according as my Honour doth command me; I am not so blind (my Lord) either in my under­standing, or my eys, that I do not perfectly see the great Beauty and the Graces with which God hath [Page 341]indued you, and I do believe that Lady shall be the most happy Woman in the world, who shall pos­sesse the Body and the Love of so accomplished a Prince; But to what purpose is all this, seeing it is not for me to enjoy, nor any Maid of my low con­dition, insomuch, that but onely the desire of it should be in me a perfect folly? What may I con­ceive to be the Reason which doth cause you to ad­dresse your self to me, but onely that the Ladies of your Court (whom you cannot chuse but love, if Beauty, and all her Graces are to be loved by you) are so virtuous, that you dare not demand that of them, which the smallnesse of my Estate doth prompt you unto a hope to receive from me? And I am confident, that when you shall enjoy that which you do desire of such a silly Maid as my self, it will serve as a subject only to you to entertain discourse with your Mistresse, for two long hours and more, in accounting to her your great Victories, to the prejudice and overthrow of a weak and credulous Virgin. But (my Lord) I must beseech you to consider with your self, that I am not of that Con­dition; I have been brought up in a House where I have learned what it is to love: My Father and my Mother were your faithfull Servants, wherefore I must beseech you, since God hath not made me a Princesse, to be espoused to you, nor of Estate to be accounted your Mistresse, or your Sweet-heart, that you would not make me your Prostitute; for I do highly esteem of your Virtues, and do desire that you may be the most happy of all the Princes in Christendom. And if, for your Recreation, you will have Women of my Estate, you may find enough in this City, and (beyond all comparison) far more handsom than my self, who will not put you to so much trouble to intreat them. Addresse your self therefore unto those, the purchase of whose honour may be pleasing to you, and let her alone, who doth love you better than her self; for if it should so fall [Page 342]out, that either your life or my own should this day be required of God, I should esteem my self most happy to sacrifise my own for the preservation of yours. It is not for want of love that I doe fly from your Company; but something else is lodged in my Conscience, for my Honour is more dear unto me than my life. If it please you (my Lord) I will doe the uttermost of my indeavour to continue in your good opinion, and through all my life will pray unto God for your health and happinesse. It is true that the Honour you have done me will make me the more to be esteemed amongst People of my condition, but what Man is there (after I have seen you) that I shall take care to look upon? And by this means my heart shall be in a perpetual liber­ty, but only for the obligation with which it al­ways shall be charged, to pray to God for you, for there is no other service which I can doe you.

The young Prince observing this honest answer (although it was not according to his desire) did not esteem lesse of her than he did before, and used the utmost of all his art and eloquence to perswade her to a belief, that he would never love any other Woman but her self, but she was so discret, that so unreasonable a thing could never enter into her understanding. During this discourse (although it was often represented to him, that his Cloaths were brought from the Castle) yet he took such a delight to hear her, that he caused it to be reported that he was asleep, until the hour of Supper was come, at which he durst not but be present by reason of his Mother who was one of the wisest Ladies in the world. And thus this young Prince departed from the house of his Butler, and mote high­ly than ever esteemed of the honesty of this Maid. He oftentimes discoursed of her to the Gen­tleman that did lie in his Chamber, who conceiting that money would prevail more than love, did coun­sell him to offer her a round sum of money to con­descend [Page 343]unto his will: But the young Prince whose Mother was his Treasuresse, had no large allow­ances for such petty pleasures, howsoever he did take up all he could borrow, and made up a sum of five hundred Crowns, which he did send unto her by his Gentleman, desiring her to alter her resolu­tion. But she, when ever she did behold the pre­sent, did say unto the Gentleman, I pray Sir, tell your Master, that I have a heart so upright and honest, that if I must obey him in that which he commands me, the beauties and the graces that are in him had already overcome me to it, but if they have not prevailed upon my honour, all the money in the world can never corrupt me to it; wherefore I pray you to return it back unto him, for I pre­ferr an honest poverty above all the Goods that can be desired.

The Gentleman seeing her obstinatenesse, had re­course unto thoughts of Cruelty, and did proceed so far, that he did threaten her with the power, and the Authority of his Master. But she smiling, did reply unto him, Make those afraid with that who do not understand it; for I know well enough that he is so wise, and so virtuous, that such words can­not proceed from him; and I am most confident that he will disavow them, when you shall repeat them to him: But if it should be as you say, there is nei­ther Torment, nor Death so cruel, that shall make me to alter my resolution; for (as I have told you) since Love cannot turn my heart, not all the Good, nor all the Evil that in this world can arrive unto me, shall ever be able to divert me from the fastness of my Counsels. The Gentleman, who had made a Promise to his Master that he would gain her for him, did with a marvellous despite bring back this answer to him, and did perswade him to use all means possible to obtain his Desires of her; telling him, that it was not for his Honour to be denyed by a Maid of her Condition. But the young Prince, [Page 344]who would use no other means but what Honesty did command, fearing also the report that might en­sue thereon, if it were brought to his Mothers ear, who being a very austere Lady, would be very an­gry with him, did not dare to undertake it. But his Gentleman at last contrived a way so easie for him, that he did think he had her already in his Arms; and to put it in execution, he did speak un­to the Butler, who, resolving with himself to serve his Master in any way, whatsoever it were, did one dey desire his Wife and his Sister-in-law, to go with him to a House which he had near unto a Forest, to see his Vineyard there, which they both promised to do. When the Day was come, he did acquaint the young Prince with it, who determined with himself to go thither, without any Companion at all, but his Gentleman who lodged in his Chamber, and gave order to have his Mule in readinesse on the appointed hour. But God so pleased, that on that day his Mother did accouter a marvelous rich Ca­binet which she had made, and to assist her in it, she had all her Children with her, where, amongst the rest, the young Prince was busied until the ap­pointed hour was passed; Being with-held by his Mother, the young Prince could not keep his word with his Butler, who had taken his Sister-in-law on horseback behind him, and advised his Wife to counterfeit her self sick; so that when they were ready to set forth, there came one to tell him, that she was fallen ill on the sudden, and could not go with them.

When the Butler was at his Farm in the Country, and saw that the hour was passed in which he ex­pected the young Prince, he said unto his Sister-in-law, It is in vain to stay any longer, we will return from whence we came. His Sister asked him who it was he stayed for? I did expect the young Prince here, (said the Butler) who did promise to give me a meeting. When his Sister-in-law did understand [Page 345]that wickednesse, she said unto him, Make no stay at all (my Brother) for his occasions at the Court are so importunate, that on this day I doe know he cannot come. Her Brother did believe her, and did ride back to the City with her. When she was come back, she told her Brother in the height of her choler, that he was the Varlet of the Devil, and did more than he was commanded by the Prince, for she was assured that this design of carrying her abroad was an invention of his own, and of the Gen­tlemans, and not of the Princes, whose money he had rather gain to encourage him in his follies, than perform the office of a good Servant; and because she had found him to be such a man, she would stay no longer in his house, and immediately she depar­ted from her Sister, and did goe to her own inhe­ritance.

The chief Butler having failed in his enterprise, did repair unto the Castle to understand the reason why the Prince did not come according to his pro­mise, and in the way he found him on his Mule, and none with him but the Gentleman in whom so much he trusted. The Prince said unto him, what now, is she there? The Butler declared every thing to him according as it fell out. The young Prince was heartily sorry that he performed not his promise, and the rather because he conceived with himself, that it was the only and last expedient he could use. And seeing there was no remedy, he did seek her out so diligently, that at the last he did find her in a company and place where she could not avoid him, and he did chide her much for her harsh and rigorous usage of him, and for her leaving of her Brorhers house. She made answer to him, That she knew no place more dangerous than that, and that he was much beholding to his Butler, who ser­ved him not only with his Body and his Goods, but with his Soul also, and his Conscience. The Prince perceiving, there was no remedy, resolved with [Page 346]himself to force his passion, and to importune her no more, neverthelesse all his life afterwards he had her in high esteem. A Servant of the said Prince, observing the honesty of this Maid, did court her in the way of marriage, to which she would not consent without the leave and commandment of the Prince, to whom she had given up all her affection, which the Prince was acquainted with, and with his good will the marriage was concluded, in which she li­ved all her life afterwards with great reputation, and the young Prince did inrich her with dayly benefits.

Ladies, what shall we say to this? have we hearts so low as to make our Servants our Masters? Seeing this Virgin could not be overcome neither by love nor impor­tunities, I must beseech you that by her Example we may become victorious over our selves, for it is the most no­ble victory that we can obtain. I doe lament, said Oy­silla, that such virtuous acts were not in the time of the old Historiographers, for they who so much extolled their Lucretia, would let their pens sall from their hands, and have altered their Subjest, to have descri­bed all along the Virtues of this Virgin, which I do find to be so great, that I should bardly have believed them, were it not for the solemn Oath which doth ob­lige us to speak the truth. I find not her virtues to be such, said Hircan, as you declare them, for oftentimes we have seen sick men, whose Palats are out of tast, to refuse good and whotsom Diet, and to feed on that which is naught and hurtfull: And so it may be that this Maid was in love with some one else which made her to despise Nobility. Parlament made answer, Her life and her death did sufficiently manifest that she never (during the whole course of her life) had a better opi­nion of any man living than of him whom she loved more than her life, but not more than her Honour. Re­move from your fancy that fond humour, said Saffredant, and understand from whence that word Honour is de­rived, so far as it belongeth unto Women: For it may be that those Who speak so much of it doe not know the [Page 347]Intention of the word; Know then, that in the begin­ning, before Dissimulation was too common amongst Men, and Women, love was so full of life and strength, that Hypocrisie had no place, and they were most praised, who most truly lo [...]ed; But when Decript and Avarice had seized upon their hearts, they did drive both God and Love out of them, and in their place entertained the love of themselves, Hypocrisie, and Dissembling. And Women perceiving that they had not in their hearts the virtue of true Love, and that the Name of Hypocrisie was so odious amongst Men, they did give it the sirname of Honour, so that those who had not in them that true and honourable Love, did pretend that their Honour did forbid them to do this, or that, and have made thereby so cruel a law, that even some Women who would love perfectly, do Dissemble, esteeming Virtue to be Vice; But they who are of a good understanding, and of a sound Judgement, do never fall into such errours; for they do know the difference betwixt light and darknesse, and that true love consisteth in this, to show the chastity of the heart, which cannot live but by true love, and will not seek for false Honour from the vice of Dissimulation. Ne­vertheless, I have heard (said Dagoucin) that the most private Love is the most commendable. Private (said Simontault) and concealed from the eys of those that judge not aright, but which is clear, and known e­nough unto those two at least, whom it doth concern. I so understand, said Dagoucin, and I believe that this Virgin did love more violently, because she did not de­clare it unto any.

Whatsoever she did, said Longaren, we ought to look upon her Virtue, which to overcome her own heart, was the greatest of all virtues, and the occasions and tempta­tions which she had, being consider'd, I do s [...]y that she ought to be accounted a most excellent Virgin. If you esteem, said Saffredant, the greatnesse of Virtue, by the mortification of our selves, the young Lord was more commendable than she, whether you look upon the great­nesse of the love which he did bear unto her, or his pow­er, [Page 348]and the opportunities, and the means he might have had; yet neverthelesse he would not offend the rule of true love, which makes the Prince and the Poorest Crea­ture to be equal, and doth use no other means, but what Honesty doth permit. There are many, said Hircan, who would not have done so. Indeed he was highly to be e­steemed, said Longaren, having overcome the common Imperfection of Men; for he who can do evil, and doth it not, is a happy Man. To this purpose, said Gue­bron, you cause me to think of one, who had a greater fear to offend the eyes of Men, than God, his Honour, or his Love. I pray you, said Parlament, will you be pleasid to rehearse that Account unto us, for the perfor­mance whereof I do give you my voice. There are di­vers, said Guebron, who believe that there is no God, or, if there be a God, they do conceive him to be so far from them, that he can neither see, nor understand the works they do, and although he doth see them, they do think he is so tame, or so unmindfull of them, that he will not punish them, and that he takes no Care of the things that are done on Earth. And of this opinion was a Lady, whose Name (for the honour I do bear unto her Family) I will change, and I will call her Camilla. She was often heard to say, that He or She who had nothing to do but with God only, were happy, if in the mean time they could preserve the reputation of their Ho­nour entire from the eyes of the world; but you shall per­ceive, that neither her Wisdom, nor her Hypocrisie, could guard her, but the mystery of her Lust was revealed, as you shall find by this History, the truth whereof, I will give you all along, excepting the Names of the Per­sons and the places, both which shall be chan­ged.

The Hypocrisie of a Lady of the Court was discovered by the misdemeanours of her Loves which she thought cunningly to have concealed.
The Third Novel.

IN a fair Castle there lived a great Princesse, and of a great Authority, who entertained in her Company a young Lady called Camilla, a Gen­tlewoman of a bold spirit, by whom her Mistresse was so governed that she did nothing but by her Counsel, esteeming her to be one of the wisest and the most virtuous Damosells that lived in that Age. This Camilla did so much inveigh against all fond love, that if at any time she knew a Gentleman to be amorous of one of her Companions, she would most sharply reprehend them, and would be sure to make so bad a report of it unto her Mistresse, that severely she would check them for it, wherefore she was far more feared than beloved by her Compani­ons, and if at any time she did speak to any Man, it would be so loud, and with so great a confidence, that she had the same to be a mortal Enemy to all love, although it was altogether contrary to her heart, for there was a Gentleman in the Service of her Mistresse, with whom she was so much taken, that it was impossible to be more: But the love she did bear to her Glory and reputation did make her to dissemble her affection. And having endured this passion a whole year, refusing (as others) to comfort her self by discourse and looks, her heart so violently was inflamed, that she was inforced to seek out the last remedy, and in the conclusion de­termined with her self, that her only course was to satisfie her Desires, and wherein none but God [Page 350]should know her heart, without making any Man partaker of it, who at one time or other would re­veal it.

This resolution being taken, looking one day down upon the Terrasse from the Window in her Mistresses Chamber, she observed him to be walking there whom so passionately she loved, and having observed him until the setting of the Sun had taken away the full sight of him, she called to a little Page whom she had, and shewing the Gentleman to him, she said unto him, Do you see yonder Gentle­man in that rich Cloak and Crimson Satten Dou­blet, goe to him, and tell him that there is one of his friends who would speak a word with him within in the Garden Gallery; and when the Boy was gone she passed by the wardrope belonging to her Mistresses Chamber, and came into the Gallery, having so muffled herself with her Scarses that she could not be discovered. The Gentleman being come where she was, she did goe immediately to shut the Doors of the Gallery, that no man unex­pectedly might enter in upon them, and without taking off her Masques and her Scarses she imbra­ced him with all the strength she had, and spake unto him as softly as possibly she could, It is a long time (my friend) since the love which I have born unto you hath made me to seek out both the place and the occasion to enjoy your company, but the fear of my Honour hath been so strong upon me, that it hath constrained me to dissemble my passion. But at last the force of love hath overcome all fear, and in the knowledge which I have of your good­nesse, if you will promise to love me, and never to acquaint any one with it, and not to enquire who I am, I dare assure you for my part, that I will be to you a loyal and a faithfull friend, and that I will never love any one but your self, but I had rather die than you should know who I am.

The Gentleman did promise what she deman­ded [Page 351]which made her the more ready to render him the like, which was to refuse nothing which he did desire to take. It was about five or six of the clock in the Winter, so that it was impossible for him to perceive who she was, but touching of her cloaths, he did find they were of Velvet, which in those times was not worn on every day, but only by La­dies of the noblest Families, and of great Authority; And concerning that which was underneath, he without light could make judgement good enough with his hand, and he found nothing but what was plump, lusty, and in good liking. If he on his part did his uttermost endeavour to give her the best en­tertainment he could, she did no lesse on hers, and the Gentleman perceived well enough that she was a married woman. She incontinently would return from whence she came, but the Gentleman said un­to her, I do most highly esteem this favour, which without my merit you have conferred on me, but I shall more esteem of that which at my request I shall receive of you: I hold my self so honoured with this courtesie, that I must beseech you to tel me, if I ought not to hope to enjoy it again, and in what time or place you will please to command me; for since I must not know you, I know not of my self how to procure it. Take no care for that (said the Lady) but assure your self, that every Evening before my Mistresses Supper is served in, I will not fail to send for you, but be you sure to be upon the Terrasse where you were this afternoon; I will send you word only to remember what you promi­sed, by that word you may understand that I do attend you in the Gallery: But if you hear talk of going immediatly to Supper, you may for that Evening either retire home, or come into the Cham­ber of my Mistresse: But above all things, I must desire you (if you will have the continuance of my Love) that you will not seek after my name, nor endeavour to know who I am.

This assurance being made, the Damosel and the Gentleman did return into their several places, and did a long time continue this course of life, and he could never perceive who it was, whereupon he en­tred into a great perplexity of mind, doubting much within himself what it should be, for he was confi­dent there was no Woman in the word, who would not be seen, and be beloved, wherefore he suspe­cted with himself that it was some evil Spirit, and the rather, because he had heard a foolish Preacher say, That if we could but see the Devil in the face, we should never be in love with him. In this sus­pition he determined with himself to know who it was who came alwayes so muffled to him. And on the next night in which they were to meet, he car­ried with him a piece of chalk, and in his imbraces of her, he did give her a long mark with it on the shoulder behind, which she perceived not, and as soon as ever they departed one from the other, the Gentleman immediately repaired into the Chamber of her Mistresse, and stood so near unto the Door, to observe behind the shoulders of all those Ladies who did enter into the Chamber; And, amongst o­thers, he beheld the young Lady Camilla to enter in with so severe a boldnesse, that he was almost a­fraid to look on her, as he did upon the others, hol­ding himself most assured that it could not be she, but when ever she turned her back unto him, he observed plainly the white stroak of Chalk upon her shoulder, whereat he was so amazed, that he could hardly believe what he did see with his own eyes, and having a long time observed her height, and the symmetry of her body, which in all particulars resembled her whom he had in his arms, and marked well the fashion of her countenance, which he could not so perfectly discover as he would, he knew for certain that it was she, for which he was very glad, that a young Lady who never before was know to have a servant, but did refuse the love of [Page 53]many gallant Gentlemen, should be surprized by him alone.

Love who is never constant to one estate, could not endure that he should live long in this safe hap­pinesse, but did transport him into such a glory and vain hope, that he resolved with himself to make his love known unto her, thinking that when she found that it was discovered, it would be a means to his advantage to make her to encrease it. One day when the great Lady her Mistresse did delight her self in the Garden, Camilla did walk by her self in one of the Alleys of the Garden. The Gentle­man seeing her alone, did advance himself to enter­tain her, and counterfeiting that he had never seen her in any other place, he did say unto her, Lady, A long time it is since in my heart I have carryed a great affection to you, and for fear to displease you, I have not dared to reveal it unto you, which hath rendred me so weak, that without death I can no longer endure this torment, for I am confident that never any one did know or feel so much of love as my self. The young Lady Camilla would not per­mit him to finish his discourse, but said unto him in a great choler, Did you ever hear in your life that I entertained either friend or Servant? I am sure you have not; And I doe much wonder from whence this boldnesse should proceed, that you should presume to hold this discourse with one of so known and unblemished a reputation as my self, for by my Carriage and Demeanour in this Court, you might easily understand that I never loved any but my Husband only, and for this cause take heed how you continue this discourse. The Gentleman observing her great dissimulation could not contain himself from laughter, and said unto her, Madam, you have not been so rigorous unto me as you are at this present.

To what end doth it serve you to use such dissimu­lation to me, were it not far better to have a love per­fect [Page 354]than imperfect? Camilla made answer to him, I bear no more love unto you, either perfect, or im­perfect, than I do unto any other of the Servants of my Mistress: But if you continue in the discourse you have begun, you shall find that I do bear such a hate unto you, that you may have the leisure to re­pent it. The Gentleman, for all that, did pursue his Discourse, and said unto her, And where is now the good entertainment you were accustomed to give me, when I must not see you? why do you deprive me of the happiness that the Day may not shew me your beauties, attended with so many Graces? Ca­milla making a great sign of the Cross, did say unto him, You have either lost your understanding, or are one of the greatest lyars in the world; For ne­ver in my life (as I do know of) did I either give you better or worse entertainment, than at this pre­sent; and I pray let me understand what you doe mean by it. The poor Gentleman thinking to as­sure her to him, did name unto her the place whi­ther she sent for him, and the mark which he made with the Chalk upon her shoulder, to gain a more perfect knowledge of her: whereat she was so trans­ported with Choler, that she told him, that he was the most wicked man in the world, and that he con­trived so scandalous a lie against her, that she would make him to repent it whilst he [...]ved. The Gen­tleman, who knew in what credit she was with her Mistress, did endeavour to appease her, but it was impossible. For, leaving him in the Alley, she did repair to her Mistresse in a most violent Rage, who loving her as her self, and seeing her so transpor­ted, did forsake all the Company, to enquire of her the occasion of her choler, which Camilla did not conceal, but word for word did acquaint her all a­long with the Discourse which passed betwixt the Gentleman and her self, and so much to the disad­vantage of the poor Gentleman, that on that very Evening his Mistress did command him immediatly [Page 355]to depart her Court, and without speaking any thing to any body, to retire himself to his own house, and to stay there until she sent for him. This Com­mand of his Mistress was disagreeable unto him, but he did suddenly perform it, for fear of worse; and as long as Camilla lived with her Mistress, the Gen­tleman came not any more to the Court, nor ever received any News from her concerning that which she had so often promised, and which he had lost on that hour when hee had discovered who she was.

Ladies, by this you may perceive how she, who above her Conscience preferred the glory of this world, did lose both the one and the other, for that was discovered to the eys of all men, which she would have concealed from her Husband and her Servant, and seeking to a­void the mockery of them, she fell into the scandal of all; And she cannot be excused by the simplicity of a power­full Love, on which every one ought to have Compassion, but she is doubly to be condemned, to have shaddowed her Deceit under the mantle of Honour and of Glory, and to make her self before God and Men to be better than she was; But he who giveth not his Glory unto another, in drawing open the Curtain did reveal her to her dou­ble Infamy.

We may here see, said Oysilla, an inexcusable sin, for who can speak for her, when God, her Honour, and Love himself do accuse her? Who, said Hircan? Plea­sure, and Folly, who are the two great Advocats for Ladies. If we have no other Advocats, said Parla­ment, but those two amongst you men, our Cause would be very ill maintained. But those who suffer themselves to be overcome with pleasure, ought not any more to be called Women, but Men, whose Fury and Concupiscence do augment their honour; For a man who doth revenge himself upon his Enemy, and doth kill him onely for the Lie, is esteemed to be the bravest Gentleman, and so is he who is in love with a dozen more besides his Wife. But the honour of Women is grounded on another Bot­tom, [Page 357]which is Mildness, Patience, and Chastity. You talk only of some few Women who are wise, said Hir­can. I do, said Parlament, because I do know no o­thers. If there were none of us fools, said Nomerfide, those who would be believed in whatsoever they do say, or do, to supplant our female simplicity, would find themselves a great way off from their Hope. I pray you Nomerfide, said Guebron, let me give you my voice, that we may hear from you some Account to that purpose. I will rehearse unto you one, said Nomerfide, as much to the commendation of true Lovers, as yours have been to the dispraise of foolish Women.

Of two Lovers who subtilly did enjoy their Loves, and of the happy issue thereof.
The fourth Novell.

IN the City of Paris there were two Citizens of a considerable Estate, the one a Lawyer, the other a Mercer, who for a long time did bear a great affe­ction to one another; by the means whereof the Son of the Lawyer, called James, a young Man, and a fine Companion, did oftentimes frequent the Mer­cers house in pretence of the Love that was shewed to his Father, but it was indeed, in love to the fair Daughter of the Mercer, whose Name was Frances; And James did make his addresses so effectual to her, that he knew he was no less beloved than he did love. But in the time of this Courtship the War began in Provence, by reason of the Invasion of Charls of Austria, and James was enforced to follow the War, to serve according to the Estate in which he was.

In the beginning of these Wars his Father dyed, the News whereof did convey a double affliction to him, the one was for the loss of his Father, the o­ther [Page 357]was for the inconvenience which that losse brought with it, which was, that on his return he should be deprived of the opportunity of seeing his Sweet-heart so often as he hoped to have done: Neverthelesse in a short process of time the one was forgotten, and the other increased; for as Death is a thing natural, and more natural to the Father than to the Children, so grief by little and little of it self doth wear away: But Love, instead of con­veying death unto us, doth bring us life by the pro­pagation of Children who doe render us immortal, which is one of the most principal motives to in­crease our desires.

James being returned to Paris had no other thought or care than to put himself again into the train, and the vulgar frequentation of the Mercers house, where, under the umbrage of his former love, he might traffick with his dearest merchandise. On the other side, during his absence, Frances was sollicited and courted by diverse, as well for her beauty as for her wit and understanding, and al­so because she was fully marriageable, although her Father was not forward to seek out a Husband for her, whether it were through covetousnesse, or a provident desire to have her richly placed she be­ing his only Daughter.

And this conduced nothing at all unto her Ho­nour, for tongues now a days are pro [...]e to slander and detraction when no occasion is administred, and especially if it be upon any thing which concerns the Chastity of Maid or Woman. This her Father un­derstood, who was neither blind nor deaf to the vul­gar chat, nor would he be like those Fathers, who, instead of censuring Vice in their Wives or Chil­dren, do provoke them to it; for he did keep her so short, that even those who came unto her as Su­ters only, could hardly be admitted to see her, al­though she was always in h [...]r Mothers Company. I need not to ask you if this were not very grievous to [Page 358] James to endure, being not able in his understan­ding to resolve himself what was the reason that she was guarded with so much severity, and fin­ding no occasion for it, he could not tell what certainly to conclude upon, but did waver betwixt Love and Jealousie. At the last he was re­solved with himself, come what would of it, he would know the reason. But first of all to under­stand if she were of the same affection as she was be­fore, he did so often goe, and come where she used to resort, that one Morning hearing Masse in the Church, and being very near unto her, he percei­ved by her countenance that she was no lesse glad to see him than he was to see her, and knowing also that her Mother was not so strict over her as her Fa­ther, he took one day the boldnesse (as it were un­expectedly seeing them goe from their House unto the Church) to accost them with a familiar and vul­gar complement, and not too expressely to declare himself, that he might better arrive to the end of his Design.

The end of the year approaching in which his Fa­ther died, he determined with himself to leave off his mourning, and to put himself into such a habit as might become the honour of his Ancestors, and acquainted his Mother with it, who did like it very well, desiring with all her heart to see him well married, because she had no more Sons, and but one Daughter, who was already married and very richly, and moreover she did inure her heart to the Love of virtue by the infinite Examples of other young Gentlewomen of her age, who either did advance themselves, or at least shewed themselves worthy of the Family from whence they were de­scended. There was nothing more to doe, but to consider in what shop they might best provide them­selves. His Mother said unto him, James, I think it most expedient to goe to my Husbands Compeeire, Master Peters (who was the Father of Frances) for [Page 359](said she) he it one of our Friends, and will not deceive us. That word much pleased her Son, and he greedily swallowed it, neverthelesse he said un­to his Mother, we will buy it there, where we can find our best Market, but because he was an ac­quaintance of my Fathers I am content to goe thi­ther in the first place.

The Agreement was made, and one morning the Mother and the Son did go to Mr. Peters house, who received them with many expressions of respect, as you know few Shop-keepers are unprovided in that kind. A great variety of whole pieces of Silks were laid open upon the board, and they might chuse what they pleased, but they could not agree upon the price, which James did on purpose, because he could not see the Mother of his Sweet-heart, and at last they were going without buying any thing at all, to try what they could do in another place. But James did like nothing so well, as what he cheap­ned at his Sweet-hearts Fathers house, whither some hours afterwards they returned. They found then her Mother within, who did give them the best welcom in the world, and after the words of course which are accustomed in such shops, the Wife of the Mercer being more hard to deal with than the Mer­cer himself, James said unto her, You are grown Lady very hard, see what it is to lose a good Father, Now we cannot be known here, and with that he made an apparence as if he wept, and wiped his eys in the remembrance of the dear Father which he lost; but this was only to play his own cards the better. The good Woman the Widdow, who was James his Mother, being present, did comply with him, and said, I in good troth, since his Death we are no more visited than if we had never seen one another, and this is all the reckoning that is made of poor Widdows. Hereupon they did grow into new Indearments, and the Mercers Wife did pro­mise to visit her more often than ever. And as they [Page 360]were speaking those words, there came in other Cu­stomers, whom the Master did lead into another Shop; And the young Man taking his opportunity, said unto his Mother, I would (forsooth) that she would be pleased to come to us upon some Festival days to visit the holy places which are about us, and especially the Religious; if she would vouchsafe sometimes (as she passeth by) to take a Cup of wine, it would be a great pleasure, and an honour to us.

The Mercers Wife, who thought no evill, made answer to them, that a fortnight ago she had deter­mined with her self to walk abroad to see her friends, and that if the Sunday following was a fair day, she would take her pleasure then, and as she passed by, she would give a visit to her. This being agreed upon, the agreement followed for the price of the pieces of silk; for James thought it was not requi­site for the value of a litttle silver to lose so fair an opportunity. The plot being laid, and the Merchan­dise carryed away, James perceiving that he alone was not able to carry on the enterprize, was con­strained to declare himself unto a faithfull Friend, and they both did lay their heads so well together, that there wanted nothing but the performance. On the Sunday following the Mercers Wife and her Daughter on their return from their Devotions did not fail to call at the Widdows house, where they found her with a good Woman, a Neighbour of hers, talking together in the gallery belonging to the Garden, there was also the Daughter of the Wid­dow, James his Sister, who was walking up and down the Allees of the Garden with her Brother, and Oliver. James, when he beheld his Sweet-heart, did so compose his countenance, that he did not re­veal the least sign of Joy, and in that grave garb did address himself both to the Mother and the Daugh­ter; And as it is ordinary, that the Old do always keep company with the Old, the three Women did [Page 361]sit upon a Bank, which was so made, that they were inforced to turn their backs towards the Garden, in­to which, by degrees, the two lovers entred, and walked untill they came unto the place where Oli­ver and his Sister were, where some Salutations and Complements being passed, they did walk again in the Allees of the Garden, where the young Man did so well declare his intire affection to Frances, that she could not but have compassion on him, and did not altogether refuse that which her friend deman­ded, so that he perceived that she was comming on, and according to his expectation.

But you are to understand, that during the time they were in this Communication, they oftentimes walked up and down by the Bank where the good Women sate, to take away suspition from them, talking sometimes aloud of vulgar and familiar Sub­jects, and sometimes making an apparence, as if they were in a great Contestation. And in this manner they passed up and down not far from the good Women for the space of half an hour, at which time James made a sign to Oliver, who played his part also vell [...]ry we with the other Maid whom he discour­sed with, insomuch that it could not be perceived when the two Lovers entred into a green plat sha­dowed with Cherry trees, and enclosed with Goos­berry Bushes and Roses, where they pretended to goe to beat down Almonds in one corner thereof, but it was indeed to gather Plumbs. Here James in­stead of giving his Sweet-heart a Green Gown did give her a Red one, for her blood did flush into her cheeks to find her self surprised before she was aware. They had so readily gathered their plumbs, because they were ripe, that Oliver could not be­lieve it, were it not that he beheld the Maid to hold her head down towards the ground, as if she had been ashamed, which gave unto him a token of the Truth, for before as she walked she did hold up her head, without any fear that the vein in her [Page 362]eye which ought to be red, should be seen to have taken the Azure colour, which James perceiving with Remonstrances necessary to that purpose, did endeavour to restore it to its first complexion; and walking afterwards three or four turns in the Gar­den, it was. [...] without tears and sighs, Frances saying oftentimes unto him, Wo is me! Was it for this that you did love me? Good God, And if I had but thought on it! What shall I doe? you have undone me for ever; In what Fame shall I now live? What shall become of me? I assure my self that you will make no more reckoning of me, espe­cially if you are in the number of those who do only love for pleasure. Alas the time that ever I was born, or being born that I had not died before I fell into this error. These words were not uttered without abundance of tears; But James did so com­fort her with so many solemn Promises and Oaths, that after they had walked three or four turns in the Garden more, and he had made a sign to his Companion, they ented again into the Grasseplat by another way, where James did not behave him­self so unmanly, but she received far more pleasure at the giving of the second Green Gown than at the first, and moreover did like so well of it, that they entred into a consultation how they might see one another more often, and more to their delight. In which a young Woman, a Neigbour of the Mer­chants, and one of James his Kinswomen, and one who was a very good Friend to Frances, did very much assist them: In this condition of life (for ought that I can understand) they continued with­out scandal until the consummation of their marri­age, which was a very rich one for the Daughter of a Mercer, in regard she was the only child he had. True enough it is, that James a long time stayed for the death of the Father, who was so locked up to himself, that it seemed to him, what he held fast in one hand, the other would steal from it.

Ladies, you may here behold, a Love well begun, well continued, and best of all concluded; for although it is a common thing with you Men, to disdain a Maid or Woman, who hath been too liberal to you of that which you most seek of her; so it is, that this Gentleman being possessed with a true and sincere Love, and having known that in his Sweet-heart which every Husband desireth in her whom he hath espoused, and finding her also wise, and well descended, would not forsake her, he himself being the occasion of the fault that was com­mitted; neither would he be the Cause that she should be unfortunately married to another, but with much pati­ence attended the happy hour to espouse her himself, in which he is much to be commended.

To speak the truth, said Oysilla, they were both of them worthy of blame, and the Third also who was their Go-between, and an Adjunct in this Violation of Cha­stity. Do you call that a Violation, said Saffredant, when two parties are so well accorded? Can there be a better Marriage than that which is celebrated by Lovers? This is the occasion of the Proverb, that Marriages are made in Heaven; And it is not to be understood of forced Marriages, not of those which are made for the lucre of money, and which have been approved, because the Fa­ther and the Mother have given their Consent unto them. You may speak what you please, said Oysilla, but it is necessary that in this we must acknowledge an obe­dience to our Parents, and in the defect of Father and Mother, we ought to have Recourse to our next Kinred: For otherwise, if it were permitted to all to marry them­selves according to their own pleasure, How many cornu­ted Marriages would there be? Do you believe that a young Man, or a Girl of twelve or fifteen years of Age being married together, do understand what doth belong unto them? He who with a stedfast [...]ey shall look upon the occasion of the Contempt of all Marriages, shall find that there are at least as many of those whose Events are unfortunate, that have passionately been begun by Lo­vers, as of those which have been carried on by force; [Page 364]Wherefore let young people, who know not what doth be­long unto themselves, first examine, and prove, what without Consideration they have begun, and by little and little they will discover those errours, which will occa­sion them to enter into a greater emazement. On the o­ther side, the most part of those Marriages which are made by compulsion, do proceed from the experience of those, who have more sight and judgement than those whom most nearly it doth concern: insomuch, that when they come to the years of discretion, to be sensible of the Good which they did not understand, they will then both acknowledge it, and imbrace it with a more distinct ac­ceptance, and with a far greater affection. But Madam, said Hircan, you make no mention at all that the Maid was of a good Age, and marriageable, and understood well enough the Iniquity of her Father, who would not have the Maidenhead of his Daughter to be lost, because he would have his Crowns to be saved; And do you not know, that Nature of her self is the most provident Hus­wife? This Maid loved, she was beloved, she knew of her self what she had to do, and was old enough to re­member the Proverb, Those who refuse, do afterwards repent. All these things put together, with the prompt execution of the Wooer, did not give her the leisure to withstand him. You have heard also in this Account, that presently afterwards it was to be discovered by her face, that there was some remarkable change, which, peradventure, was occasioned by the sorrow which she entertained, that she had no more leisure to judge whe­ther the thing that was done was good, or evil; for she did not with any great unwillingnesse, draw back from giving consent to the second Assault. For my part, said Longaren, I cannot excuse her, but must approve of the faith of the young Man, who governing himself by the Laws of Honesty, would not abandon her, especially since he had made her such as she was. In which he seems to me to be worthy of the highest Commendation; especially if we consider the depraved Corruption of Youth in these present times: Howsoever, for all this [Page 365]I cannot so excuse him for the first fault, but if I look up­on the Maid I must accuse him of a Rape, and if I look upon her Mother, I must accuse him of subornation. No, no, said Dagoucin, Here is no place at all, either for Rape, or Subornation, It was done on all sides with pure consent, as well on the Mothers side who did not hinder it, as on the Daugh [...]ers who did like so well of it that she did not complain. All this proceeded, said Parlament, out of the great good Nature and Sim­plicity of her Mother, who under the title of good neighbourhood, without so much as thinking of it, did bring her Daughter to the Butchery. Not to the Butche­ry, but to her marriage, said Simontault, insomuch that this simplicity was profitable to the Maid. If you have any Account in readinesse, said Nomerfide, I do give you my voice to recite it to us. I will not fail, said Si­montault, but upon condition that the Ladies shall pro­mise me not to weep. And (Ladies) they who will af­firm that your subtility doth exceed that of Men, will have enough to do to produce such an Example to prove it, as I now am going about to account unto you, to prove the contrary, in which I intend not only to declare unto you the great cunning and dissimulation of a Hus­band, but withal the greater Simplicity and Goodnesse of his Wife.

A Husband chastising his Chambermaid did deceive the Simplicity of his Wife.
The fifth Novel.

IN the City of Tours there lived a man of a subtle and a sharp understanding, who was the maker of the Tapistry for the late Duke of Orleans, Son to King Francis the first; and although by the injury of sickness he became deaf, yet he had nothing at all diminished in his understanding, for he was the most [Page 366]experienced man alive in his profession, and in o­ther things you shall hear how ready he was to assist himself. He was married to a good Woman & of good fortunes, with whom he lived in great peace and comfort. He was afraid to displease her, and her endeavour was to obey and please him in all things, but for all the good love he did bear unto her, he was withall so charitable, that oftentimes he gave that unto his neighbours which did belong unto his Wife, although he carried it as secretly as possibly he could. He had in his house a Chambermaid, a Wench of a delicate complexion, of whom he was very amorous, and neverthelesse fearing that his Wife should take notice of it, he often made an ap­parence to his Wife to rebuke and chide her, tel­ling her Mistresse that she was the laziest Slut that ever he saw, and that he did much wonder that she did not beat her; And speaking one day of whip­ping and chastising little Children, he said unto his Wife, it would be a good Almes to give such stripes to your lazy Girl whom you keep, but then it must not be with your hand, for your hand is too weak, and your heart too pittiful; I doe believe if she should feel the weight of my hand, we should be far better served by her than we are.

The poor Woman who thought no hurt at all, de­sired him that he would put in execution what he said, confessing that she had neither the heart nor the strength to beat her. Her Husband who wil­lingly accepted of this Commission, did put on the Face of a cruel Beadle, and provided himself with Rods of the smallest twigs that possibly he could find, and to manifest the great desire he had to shew no mercy, he did put them into urine, so that the poor Woman took more pity of her Chambermaid, than she had suspition of her Husband.

The Day of Innocents being come, her Husband did rise yery early in the morning, and did go up in­to the Garret where the Chambermaid was all a­lone, [Page 367]and there he did chastise her, but in anot [...] manner than he told his Wife. The Chamber­maid began to weep abundantly, but it would not serve her turn; Neverthelesse, for fear his Wife should surprize him, he took the Rods, and did so lay on with them upon the posts of the Bed, that he did break and split them to pieces, and so brought them to his Wife, saying, Sweet-heart, I do believe she will remember Innocents day as long as she doth live, and going upon some occasion out of doors, the Chambermaid observing that her Master was gone forth, she did come unto her Mistresse, and knee­ling down with both knees, she told her, That her Husband had done her the greatest wrong that ever was done to a poor Chambermaid. Her Mistresse believing that it was by reason of the Rods, and the stripes which she thought her Husband had given her, did not permit her to end her Complaints, but said unto her, My Husband hath done well in it, for I have been with him every day this Moneth and more to intreat him to it, and if he hath made you to endure that which you would not, I am very glad of it, you ought to take it as it comes from my self, and to believe, that he hath not taken half so much pains with you, as he ought to have done.

The Chambermaid perceiving that her Mistresse did approve what was done, did believe that it was not so great a Sin, as she did perswade her self to be, and the rather, because that she, who was esteemed to be so good a Woman, was the occasion of it; wherefore she durst not talk to her any more concer­ning it: And her Master observing his Wife to be as well contented to be deceived, as he was to deceive her, did determine with himself to content her in this kind more often, and gained so much the heart of his Chambermaid, that she would weep no more at any such chastisements. This life he continued a long time, and his Wife perceived nothing at all. At last the great Snows came, and her Master, as he [Page 368]often before had given his Maid chastisement upon the green grass, so he would now give it her upon the Snow also. One morning before any one else in his House was stirring, he took her with him, ha­ving nothing on her but her smock only, and lay­ing her down, he stretched forth her hands and her leggs, to make a Crucifix upon the Snow, and af­terwards exercising themselves with flinging Snow­balls on one another, he forgot not the sport of chastisement, which a good Woman, one of his Neighbors, observed, looking out at a Window whose prospect was directly into that his Garden, Her In­tent was only to see what Weather it was; but dis­covering so hot an Exercise in so cold a Morning, she was so angry at it, that she resolved with her self to acquaint her Neighbor with it, to the end she might be no more abused by so bad a Husband, nor so un­toward a Maid. Her Husband having performed all his Recreations, looked up to see if no body did observe him, and perceived his Neighbours Wife looking out of the window, for which he was very sorry; but he, whose profession it was to give a good Colour to any work, did contrive with himself which way so well to shaddow this, that his Neigh­bour might be as well deceived as his Wife: and going to Bed again, he was no sooner warm, but immediately he caused his Wife to rise, and in her smock did lead her into the same Garden into which he had brought his Maid, and plaid with her along time in the Snow, and at the last did give her the same Chastisement as he gave his Chamber­maid, and afterwards they did both go to Bed a­gain.

Some three hours afterwards when this good Wo­man did go to Masse, her Neigbour being a good friend of hers, did not fail to be there also, and out of the great zeal which she had to her, she desired her that she would put away her Chambermaid without asking her any further for what cause, for [Page 369]it was enough that she knew her to be a naughty and a dangerous baggage. The good Woman refused to doe it, unlesse she were informed upon what grounds her neighbour had entertained so bad an o­pinion of her, who in the end did account unto her all what she had seen that morning in the Garden be­twixt her and her Husband.

The good Woman could not forbear from laugh­ter, and said unto her, Alack a day my good friend, it was my self. Say you so? replied her neighbour, She had nothing on her but her Smock only, and it was about five or six a clock in the morning. The good Woman made answer, in good troth (Gossipp) it was my self. The other not willing to be contra­dicted proceeded in her observations: First, said she, I did see them to throw Snow, and to play to­gether with one another, afterwards he did put his hand to her Brest, and after that to another place as closely as possibly could be. The good Woman laughing out right did assure her that it was none but her self. Say not so (said the other) I did see him upon the Snow to doe such and such a thing, which in my opinion is not fair nor honest. Why Neighbour (said the good Woman) will you not believe me, I have told you often enough already, and must tell you again, that it was my self and none else, I did all this as you speak of with my Husband, I pray you to take no offence at it, for you know we are bound to please our Husbands.

Her Neighbour seeing she could not prevail upon her to believe it, did return to her own house more desirous to have such a Husband than to make any more complaints against him. Her Husband being returned, his Wife did acquaint him Word for Word with what her Neighbour told her. He said unto her, You may see by this (Sweet-heart) if you were not a good Woman, and of a good understan­ding, we had long agoe been separated from one another, but God (I hope) will preserve us in [Page 370]our Love, to his Glory and our Contentment: A­men (Sweet-heart) said the good Woman, I do hope that on my part you shall find no fault.

Ladies, He will hardly be believed, who after this History will affirm that there is such a subtilty in Women as in Men, nevertheless, without doing wrong to either sex, I may be allowed to speak the truth both of Men and women, and to affirm that there is nothing good at all ei­ther in the one or the other. But this Man, said Parlament, was marvellously deceitfull; for on the one side he couse­ned his Maid, and on the other side his Wife. You do not well understand the story I perceive, said Hircan, for that saith, that he did content them both on one mor­ning, and not deceive them, which I look upon as a great Act of Virtue, both of body, and of mind, as well by deeds as by words to give content unto two divers persons. In that, said Parlament, he is doubly to be blamed, in satisfying the simplicity of the one by Dissimulation, and and the longings of the other by Lust; but I understand well enough, that such Sins as these being brought before such a Judge as you, will find an easie pardon. You may assure your self, said Hircan, to please two at once is no easie task, and for my own part I will never un­dertake so great and difficult an enterprise. I have gi­ven you my Account already, and think herein I have not ill imployed my days work. If a mutual Love, said Parlament, cannot content the heart, I know no other thing in the world that can give content unto it. To speak the truth, said Simontault, I do believe that there is not a greater punishment in the world, than to love, and not to be beloved again. I do believe you, said Oy­silla, and to that purpose I do remember a Story, which indeed doth not deserve to be numbred on the file of good ones, but because it is for the present purpose, I am con­tent to declare it to you.

Of a Frier, whose Custom it was to bring his complaints to several Husbands, which was the occasion that they did beat their Wives.
The sixth Novell.

IN the City of Angoulesm, where Count Charls the Father of King Francis had oftentimes his resi­dence, there was a Frier called De Valles, a very knowing Man, and so great a Preacher, that upon all Sundays in the Advents he preached in the City before the Count, by means whereof his Reputation was much increased. It so fell out, that during the Advent a lusty young fellow of the City having married a handsom young Wench, did not desist for all that to ramble up and down, and to live as dis­solutely, if not more, than those who were unmar­ried; of which the young Woman being advertised, could not hold her peace, so that following him up and down, and exclaiming on him, she received such tokens from him as she would not willingly have, and neverthelesse for all that she did not forbear to continue her exclamations, and oftentimes would speak very high words, and most passionately rail a­gainst him. The young Man being much incited at it, did begin to lay about him, and to leave on her shoulders the marks of his displeasure; whereat she began to cry out far louder than before, and her Neighbours also that knew the occasion of it, would inveigh against him, and making a great noise in the streets, would cry out, Now fie on all such Hus­bands, Let them go all to the Devil. The Frier De Valles passing by that way, and understanding the noise, and the occasion of it, did determine with himself to speak one word of it in his next dayes Sermon, which accordingly he did; for speaking of marriage, and of the love which ought to be be­twixt [Page 372]the Husband and the Wife, he did highly praise it, and blamed those that did go about to vi­olate it; and making a comparison betwixt conju­gal and paternal Love, he said, amongst other things, That it was a greater danger, and a more grievous punishment for a Husband to beat his Wife, than to beat his Father, or his Mother; for (said he) if you beat your Father, or your Mother, you are sent to Rome to do penance, but if you beat your Wife, both she and all her Neighbours will fall a cursing of you, and send you immediately to the Devil, that is to say, to Hell. You are to observe now (said he) what a difference there is betwixt these two penances, for from Rome they do ordinarily come back again, but from Hell-Oh- There is no tetur­ning, Nulla est redemptio.

Not long after that Sermon, he was advertised that Women made their boasts of that which he preached, and that their Husbands could live in no quiet for them, for which in his next Sermon he did resolve to prescribe an Order for the redresse of that inconvenience: And in some part of it, he compared Women unto Devils, and said, that they two were the greatest Enemies that Man had, for they did always tempt Man without any intermissi­on, and he could never get rid of them, especially of the Woman; for the Devils (he said) will fly a­way, if they be but shewed the Crosse, but Women, clean contrary to them, will cleave the faster to them, being the greatest cross themselves that can be to their Husbands, And this doth make them so to run, and to go, and doth throw them into such an infinity of passions: But good people, be ruled by me, and I will tell you what you shall do; When you do find that your Wives do torment you in this manner without cease, as (I have said) they are accustomed to do, take off the handle from your cru­cisix, and with that handle drive them as far from you as you can. Do as I bid you, and vigorously [Page 373]make experience of it three or four times, and you shall find the good that will come of it; you shall find that in the same manner that you doe chase a­way the Devil by the virtue of the Crosse, you shall also chase away and make your Wives to hold their peace by the Virtue of the handle of the Crosse, and they will no more presume to come too near un­to you.

Loe here some part of the Preachments of that venera­ble de Valles of whose life I will make here no larger a recital, but I can tell you (whatsoever appearance he made to the contrary, for I knew the man very well) yet in his heart he took the Womens parts more than the Mens. Madem, said Parlament, he did not shew it in that last Sermon, in which he gave instructions unto Men to beat their Wives. You do not understand his drift in it, said Hircan; had you been exercized in the discipline and the Stratagems of War, you would have found that one of the greatest policies that is required, is to make a Civil sedition in the Camp of the Enemy, because it is then most easie to overcom [...] him. In the like manner this Monk, the Master of his Arts, did under­stand well enough, that the Anger and the Hatred be­twixt the Husband and the Wife is the Cause oftentimes that makes the Wife to let loose the reigns of her honesty, which being governed no more by virtue, doth fall into the hands of Woo [...]ss, and that almost before she can per­ceive that she is gone astray. Howsoever it is, said Par­lament, I should never love that man who would make so great a separation betwixt my Husband and my self, as to make him beat me; for blowes make love to sly a­way. Yet neverthelesse (as I have heard) so cunning­ly these Impostures do carry themselves, when they would have a poor Woman at advantage, that I do be­lieve it is more danger to give ear unto them privatly, than publickly to receive blowes from their Husband, who, if it were not for such busie pretenders, would be good enough. To speak the truth, said Dagoucin, the trains they have laid are on every side so many, that it [Page 374]is not without cause to fear them, although in my opi­nion that Person who is not fearful or suspitious is wor­thy of praise. Neverthelesse, said Oysilla, we ought to suspect the evil which we would avoid, for it is bet­ter to suspect the Evil which is not, than foolishly by not believing it to fall into the Evil which is. For my part, I never saw a Woman deceived in being slow to give credence to the words of Men, but I have heard of many that have been ruined by giving too ready a be­lief to their false protestations; wherefore I affirm, that the Evil which can arrive cannot be too much suspected by those who have the charge both of Men and Women, and Cities, and Estates; for be the watch never so stri­ctly observed, and be there never so many eyes imploy­ed, yet Forgeries and Treasons will abound: The Shep­heard that is not vigilant is every way deceived by the subtilty of the Fox and the cruelty of the Wolf. And yet so it is, said Dagoucin, that a person that is suspitious can never entertain any absolute friendship, and love hath been oftentimes estranged, if not separated, by suspi­tion only. If you can render us any Example of it, said Oysilla, I will give you my voice. I know one, and so true a one, said Dagoucin, that you will take Delight to hear it. Ladies, I will tell you what it is that doth most easily break true Love; It is when the assurance of Love doth b [...]gin to give place unto suspition; for as to believe a friend is the greatest honour can be done unto him, so to doubt of him is the greatest dishonour can be­fall him; by that suspition we begin to esteem him other­wise than we would he should be, which is the cause that many great friendships are dissolved, and Friends made Enemies, as you shall find by this Account which I have now in hand to exhibite to you.

A Gentleman of Percha unjustly suspecting the love of his Friend, did provoke him un­willingly to put in practise the Cause of his Suspition.
The seventh Novell.

IN the Country of Percha there were two Gentle­men, who from the time of their first Infancy did continue in so great and an entire a love, that be­twixt them there was but one heart, one house, one bed, and one table. They along time did live in this perfect Amity, enjoying one thought, and one will; you might see indeed a distinction of persons, but they lived together not only as two Brothers, but as if that both of them had made but one entire Man. The one of them was married, yet did not discontinue for all that to maintain his old Love, and daily to live with his Companion as he had been accustomed to do; And if at any time in their Travels they wanted a second Bed, his friend did lie in the same Bed with himself and his Wife; It is true enough that at that time he himself did always lie in the middle. Their Goods were also in com­mon. It was not Marriage that could hinder the establishment of their love. Nevertheless in the progress of time the felicity of the world, which is subject to mutability, could not any longer conti­nue in this House, which was indeed too happy, and in too permanent a condition; for the Husband for­getting the assurance which he had in his Friend, without any occasion at all, did entertain a great jealousie of his Wife and him: He did not dissem­ble it to his Wife, and did acquaint her with the un­pleasing tydings; whereat she was much astonished, for he had commanded her in all things, but in one, to make as much of his Companion as of himself, and now he expresly did forbid her to speak unto [Page 376]him, unless she were in some publick Company. She took the opportunity to acquaint the Compa­nion of her Husband with it, who did not believe it; knowing well enough that he never thought, nor did any thing, whereat his Companion should be afflicted: And being accustomed to conceal nothing from him, he did acquaint him with what he under­stood, desiring him that he would not conceal the truth from him; for he would not, either in that, or any other thing, give him an occasion to break that love with so long they had entertained.

The Gentleman that was marryed did assure him, that he had never any such thought, and that they who brought this Information to him were most wicked lyars. His Companion told him, I know well enough that Jealousie is a passion as insupporta­ble as Love, and if you should be surprized with it, yet I would do you no Injury at all; for I know it is a passion that grows so upon a Man, that he can­not help it. But of one thing which lies in your power to help, I find I have just reason to complain, which is, that you conceal this passion from me, see­ing heretofore there was not that thing which you would conceal from me. I will say as much of my self, If I were amorous of your Wife, you ought not to impute it unto me as any great Iniquity; for it is a fire which I hold not in my hand to do with it ac­cording to my own pleasure; but if I should conceal it from you, and endeavour to make your Wife ac­quainted with it, I should be one of the wickedest Companions that ever was. For my part I do as­sure you, that albeit she is an honest and a virtuous Gentlewoman, yet, were she not your Wife, I do not know any Woman that I have a less Fancy to. But, although there be no occasion for it, I desire you, if you but harbour the least scruple of suspition that possibly may be, that you would acquaint me with it, to the end I may give such Order, that our love, which hath so long continued, may not be [Page 376]dissolved for a Woman, for if I loved her above all Creatures in the World, yet I would never speak any more unto hrr, because I doe prefer your love above all others. His Companion did swear unto him by the greatest Oaths that could possibly be i­magined, that he never had any such thought, and desired him to make use of his house as he was accu­stomed to doe. His Friend made answer to him; be­cause it is your desire I will doe it, but I must en­treat you, that if for the time to come you shall en­tertain any such opinion of me, that you will not dissemble it, and that you will not think ill of it, if I shall never again keep company with you. At the end of some Moneths, after they had lived together in their accustomed familiarities, the married Gen­tleman did enter again into his former Jealousie more than ever, and commanded his Wife to look no more upon him with that Countenance which she had been accustomed to doe, which she again im­parted to the Companion of her Husband, beseech­ing him, of her self, that he would be pleased to for­bear to speak any more unto her, for she had recei­ved for her own part an expresse Commandment to that purpose from her Husband.

The Gentleman understood by these words of hers, and by the Countenance which he observed that she did make unto her Husband, that he had not kept his promise with him, wherefore he said unto him in a great Cholet, If you are jealous my Companion, it is a thing natural, but after so ma­ny Oaths which you have made unto me, I am for­ry to find that which you labour so much to conceal from me; For I always thought that there had been no Medium, nor Obstacle betwixt your heart and mine, but to my great grief, and without the least occasion I doe find the contrary, because you are not only foolishly jealous of your Wife and of my self, but you doe indeavour to cover it, that the disease may increase so long upon you, that it may [Page 377]turn all into hatred, and as our love hath been the greatest of any that hath been known in our age, so the enmity may prove as mortal.

I have hated that which you suspect, and have done what I could to avoid the inconvenience, but because you do suspect me to be so wicked, and to be contrary to that which I have always been unto you, I doe swear unto you, and doe promise you upon my faith, that now I will be such as you esteem me to be, and I will never cease until I have had that of your Wife which you think I have obtai­ned already, and for the time to come look to it, for since that Jealousie hath separated you from the love of me, Despite shall sever me from the love of men. Although his Companion did indeavour to perswade him to the contrary, yet he would not take any no­tice of it, but took his part of those goods and movables, which before were in common betwixt them, and they were as much divided in their affe­ctions as they were before united, and the Gentle­man that was not married was as good as his word, for he did never leave to court the suspected Lady until he had cornuted his Companion, as he promi­sed him that he would.

Here Ladies they may learn, and grow wise, who unjust­ly doe suspect their Wives, for many are the cause that they are such as they suspect themselves to be, for a Woman of spirit and understanding is more overcome by Despite than by all the pleasures in the World. If any one shall affirm that jealousie is love, I shall deny it, but it doth proceed from it indeed, as the sparks from the fire, and is as destructive. I do believe, said Hircan, that there neither is nor can be a greater displeasure to Man or Woman, than to be suspected when there is no cause for it, and for my self, there is nothing that so much doth make me to break off the Company of my Friends than this suspition. It is not, said Oysilla, a reasonable excuse for a Woman to revenge the jealousie of her Hus­band, by bringing a shame and a dishonour upon her self. [Page 379]It is to do like that weak man, who not being able to kill his Enemy, doth wound himself with a sword; or that weak woman, who because she cannot come to scratch her Enemy, doth bite off her own nails for anger: But she had done more wisely not to have spoken to him, but only to have represented unto her Husband the wrong which he had done her by his unjust jealousie; for time might have made them friends again. If this, said Emarsuite, was the Resolution of a Wife, and that other Wives should do the like, there are many Hus­bands who would not be so arrogant and outragious as they are. Whatsoever it were, said Longaren, it is patience that doth render a Woman at the last victorious, It is chastity that doth render her commendable, and it behoveth us to stay there. Neverthelesse, said Emarsu­ite, a Woman may well be not chast without sin.

How understand you that, said Oysilla? When she mistakes another for her Husband, replyed Emarsuite; or is so sottish, said Parlament, that she knows not the difference between her Husband and another, in whatsoever habiliments he shall disguise himself. There have been, and are still of those Women, said Emarsuite, who have been deceived by others, and yet themselves have remained innocent, and inculpable of Sin. If you know any such, said Dagoucin, I do give you my voice, that we may receive from you an account of her; for it seemeth strange to me that Innocence and Sin can lodge together. Then listen to me, said Emarsuite; And Ladies, if by the foregoing stories you are not suffi­ciently advertised how dangerous it is to lodge those in your houses who call us worldly things, and do esteem themselves to be holy, and far more worthy than our selves, I will yet adde one Example more, to shew unto you that they are but Men, as others are, and altoge­ther as subtle and sinful as they, as it shall appear unto you by this History.

Of Two Grey-Friers who on the Wedding-Night did one after the other usurp the place of the Bridegroom, for which they were severely punished.
The eighth Novell.

IN a village in the Country of Perigard, there was kept in an Inn the Marriage of the Daughter of the Host, where her Parents, and all her Friends did inforce themselves to make the best chear that possibly they could. On the Wedding-day there ar­rived two Friers, who had their Supper sent them up into their Chamber, because it was not lawfull for such mortified Men to be present at Weddings; But the Elder of them, who had more Authority and Knavery than the other, did resolve with him­self, that although he could not be present at the Table with the Bride, yet he would partake with the Bridegroom in his Bed, and that he would now play a game, in which he would shew his Master­piece.

When the Night came, and the Dancing began, the Frier did look a long time out of the Window upon the Bride, and observed her to be fair and lovely, and according to his own mind; and enqui­ring of the Governour of the Chamberlains where she was to lie, he found that the Brides Chamber was next unto his own, at which he was very glad, and so strictly did watch her, that he saw the Bride undressed by the old women, who (according to the Custom) did bring her to her Chamber: And be­cause it was a day of mirth, and his friends were round about him, the Bridegroom would not forsake the Dance, but was so much affected to it, that it seemed he had forgot his Wife. But the Frier had not forgot her, for as soon as he perceived that she was in bed, and left alone, he did put off his grey [Page 381]mantle, and took the place of the married man, but for fear of being discovered he made but a short stay there, and made hast to the place where he found his companion, who watched for him; Putting on his grey mantle he stood now Centinul for the other Frier, who to satisfie his wicked concupiscence did goe to the Brides bed as the other did before him, where he stayed till his Companion made a sign that it was time to come away. The Bridegroom after­wards came to the bed, and the Bride who had been so much tormented by the Friers, that she defi­red rather rest than pleasure, could not forbear from saying to him, What? doe you not make account to sleep this night? will you never let me alone?

The poor Bridegroom who was but just come to her, was amazed to hear these words, and deman­ded of her, what trouble was it he had put her to? seeing that he was but now come from the Dance; Dance (said she) why you have danced to some tune, for this is the third time that you have come unto me to dance the shaking of the Sheets, me thinks that it should becom you better now to sleep. Her Husband hearing those words was much asto­nished, and forgot all other things that he had to do, to understand the truth of this Mystery; and when she had given him an account of it, he immediately suspected that it was the Friers who were lodged the very next door to him; wherefore rising from his Bed he presently did goe unto their Chamber, and finding them not there, he called out so loud for help, that all his friends assembled themselves, who having understood the fact did assist him with Can­dles, and Lanthorns, and all the dogs of the Vil­lage to find out the Friers; And when he perceived them not in the dwelling house, nor the out-houses, their diligence made such a dispatch that they did apprehend them amongst the Vines, and did use them as they had deserved, for having soundly bea­ten them, they did cut their Leggs and their Arms, [Page 382]and did leave them in the Vines to the protection of Bacchus and Venus to whom they were better Disci­ples than to Saint Francis.

Do not wonder (Ladies) if these Religious people se­parated from our common fashion and manner of living doe act those things which other Men are ashamed to perform. You may wonder that they do no worse, when God doth draw back his hand from them, for the habit doth not make a Monk, but oftentimes doth undo him through pride and arrogance. Good God, said Oysilla, can we find no other Subjects for these Accounts but Monks and Friers only. Emarsuite said, if in these Histories we spare not Ladies, Princes, and Gentlemen, me thinks that the Monks should not be displeased that we make them our Subjects, for the greatest part of them is so unprofitable, that if they did not some evil by which they might be remembred, there is neither Man nor woman that would make the least mention of them. It is vulgarly spoken, that it is better to do ill than to do nothing at all; and this Packet of our Accounts will seem more delightful, the more it is filled with different Subjects. If you will promise not to be angry with me, said Hircan, I will give you an Account of two Persons so burning in the flames of love, that you will excuse the poor Friers, and say that they did but take their ne­cessity where they could find it, but this Lady who had enough to seed on, did too fondly seek after fresh Diet. As we have sworn all to speak the truth, said Oysilla, so we are sworn also to give ear unto it. Wherefore (f [...]r ought I know, you may speak at freedom, for the evil which we speak of Men or Women is not for the particular shame of those to whom the Account is related, but to take away all presumption and confidence from creatures, in shewing the miseries to which they are subject, to the end that our hope may rest it self by leaning and relying altogether on him who is only perfect, and without whom there is nothing but imperfection, wherefore without a­ny more suspence I will declare my History to you.

The Subtilty of a Countess, privatly to have her pleasure of Men; And how she was discovered.
The ninth Novell.

IN the Court of a King of France, named Charles, I will not tell you what Charles, for the honour of the Lady of whom I speak, neither will I name her to you by her own Name, but she was a Countesse of a great house, but not a French-woman by her birth; And as all new things do please, this Lady at her first comming to the Court, as well for the Novelty and Fashion of her Garments, as for her wealth, with which she abounded, was much looked upon by eve­ry one: And although she was none of the most beautifull, yet she had so great a grace and confi­dence, that it was impossible to have more. Such was her language, and her gravity, that there was not a Man in the Court who was not afraid to speak unto her, unless it were the King, who loved her intirely. And to express himself more privatly un­to her, he gave her Husband a Commission, and im­ployed him in the affairs of state, where he continued a long time, and during his absence the King made very much of his Wife. Many Courtiers and Gen­tlemen of Honour, who perceived that the King their Master was gallantly entertained by her, did assume the boldnesse to speak unto her, and amongst others, one named Astillon, who was a Gentleman of her own temper, and of a great grace and bold­nesse; but she checked him with so great a gravity, threatning him that she would acquaint the King his Master with it, that he began to be afraid, but being a Souldier, and not accustomed to fear, he did so assure her of his affection, and did follow her so closely, that she consented to speak unto him a­lone, and instructed him in what manner he should [Page 384]come unto her Chamber, which he did not fail to put in execution. And that the King might have no suspition of it, he demanded leave of the King to go into the Country, and so he departed from the Court. On the first dayes Journey he left all his followers behind him, and came at night to receive the fruit of those promises which the Countesse had made unto him, and found her as good as her word; wherewith he was so satisfied, that he was constrai­ned to stay there seven or eight dayes, shut up in a Wardrobe, and during that time he never did go forth of it, living only upon Restoratives.

During those eight days in which there he stayed, there came another Courtier, one of his Compani­ons, to make love unto the Countess, whose Name was Duraceir. At the first she entertained him with the same words, as she did young Astillon, and was rather more rough in her language, but at the last she looked on him every day more smilingly than other: And when the Day came that she did give leave to her first prisoner to depart, she did put the second into his place; and during the time that he was there, another of their Companions, called Valcebron, did court her in the same manner as the two former, and after him there came two or three others, who all did partake in that sweet prison.

This life continued a long time, and was so finely carried, that they understood nothing of one ano­thers adventures: And although they knew well e­nough the love which one another did bear unto her, yet every one thought, that none of them all had a­ny Interest in her, but himself alone, and every one flouted his Companion for being disappointed in his great expectation. One day when the Gentle­men above-named were at Dinner, where they were all very merry, they did begin to discourse of their fortunes, and of the prisons they had been in during the wars; but Valcebron, who was unable [Page 385]for any time to conceal so good a fortune as that which they had all enjoyed, did say unto his Com­panions, I know not what prisons you have been in, but as for my self, for the love of a prison in which I have been, I will speak the praises of it during my life above all others, For I doe believe there is no pleasure in this World that can be compared to that where I have been Prisoner.

Astillon, who was the first Prisoner, did suspect what Prison it was he meant, and said unto him, Valcebron, Under what Jaolor, or Jaoloresse were you so well u­sed, that you so much extol your Prison? Valcebron made answer to him, Whosoever was the Jaolor, the Prison was so agreeable unto me, that I doe wish with all my heart that it had continued longer, for I was never better used, nor more contented. Duraceir who was a man but of few words, did un­derstand well enough that they discoursed of that Prison in which he had his share as well as they, and said unto Valcebron, With what Viands were you nourished in that Prison which so highly you com­mend? The King, said Valcebron did not feed on better nor more nourishing. Neverthelesse it were requisite, said Duraceir, I should know, if the Person whosoever it were that kept you Prisoner did not make you earn your bread. Valcebron, who doubted he was understood, could not contain himself, but said, Ha! Is it so? O Wit and grave discretion, I find now that I have Companions, where I thought I had been alone. Astillon observing the Debate, and knowing that he had a part in the prison as well as the rest, could not forbear from laughing, and said, We all follow one Master, and are the Friends and Companions of his youth. If we have been Companions together in any bad fortune, we have occasion to laugh at it, but to know whether that be true or no which I suggest unto my self, I must beseech you to give me leave to put an inter­rogatory or two unto you, and that you will be [Page 386]pleased to confesse the Truth unto me, for if that is befallen us as I doe conjecture, it will be one of the most pleasant adventures that ever in any place was heard of.

They all did swear to speak the truth, since it was so that they must not deny it. He said unto them, I will tell you my fortune, and you shall all answer me, I, or no, if yours be not like unto mine. They did all accord unto him, and imme­diately he began. In the first place I demanded leave of the King to take a Journey into the Coun­try. They all answered, And so did all we. When I was two miles from the Court, I left all my follow­ers behind me, and did goe to render my self Priso­ner. They all made answer, We did all the like. I stayed, said Astillon, seven or eight days locked up in a Wardrope, where I did feed on nothing but Restoratives, and the most pleasant Viands which ever I tasted, and at the end of eight days, they who kept me prisoner did let me goe, but far more feeble than when I came. They did all swear, The very same was all their fortunes. My imprisonment, said Astillon, did end on such a day; And then did mine begin, said Duraceir, it was on the very same day in which yours did end, and it continued eight days. Valcebron lost all patience, and did begin to swear s'Blood! For ought that I can see I am the third, who thought my self to be the first and only man, but I came in on such a day, and did goe forth on such a day. The other three who were at table, did swear, that one after another they all ob­served the same order. Since it is so, said Astillon, I will inform you with the condition of my Jaolo­resse. She is a married Woman, and her Husband is far off imployed in the Kings service. They all made answer, It is the very same woman. Well then, said Astillon, to put our selves out of all doubt, I who was the first of all inrolled will first of all name her, it is Madam the Countesse, who is so [Page 387]full of state, forsooth, that in gaining her love, I thought I had overcom Caesar. May all the Devils take the Slut who hath put us all to so much trou­ble, and made us to think our selves so happy in having a place in her affection. There was never any like unto her, for when she had one in her Cage, she was looking about, and dealing for another, to keep her self always in exercise. I had rather be dead, than let her go so without any pu­nishment at all.

They demanded of Duraceir what he thought of it, and what punishment she ought to have, protesting they would be all ready to inflict it on her. In my opinion (said he) we ought to acquaint the King our Master with it, who doth reverence her like a God­desse. We will not do so, (said Astillon) we have means enough in our own hands to be revenged on her, without appealing to our Master: We shall find her to morrow morning when she goes to Mass, at what time we will all be ready to attend her, eve­ry one with a little hoop, or collar of Iron about his neck; and when she enters into the Church, we will all together present our selves at once before her, and salute her as we shall think sitting. This Counsel was approved by all the Company, and every one provided himself with a Collar of I­ron.

The morning being come, they being all cloathed in black, and every one with a Hoop of Iron about his neck in the fashion of a Collar, they came to at­tend the Countesse as she was going to Church, who when she beheld them so strangely accoutred, began to laugh, and said unto them, From whence come these dolorous people? Madam (said Astillon) We your poor slaves and prisoners are come to do you service. The Countess making a semblance as if she knew nothing at all, did say unto them, You are not my prisoners, neither can I understand what oc­casion you have to do service to me, more than to [Page 388]any other: whereupon Valtebron advanced himself more near unto her, and said, Since we have fed so long on your Bread, we should be ungratefull, Ma­dam, if we should not do you service. She did put so good a countenance upon it, pretending to un­derstand nothing at all, that she thought with her bold dissimulation to have amazed them; but they followed their process so closely, that she perceived that the businesse was discovered. Wherefore incon­tinently she did find an expedient to deceive them; for she who had lost her honour and her Conscience, would not receive the shame which they thought to have brought upon her, who, but as one who pre­ferred her pleasure above all the honour of the world, did make nothing of what they said, and did not alter her Countenance at all, at which they were all astonished, seeing that they had brought upon themselves that shame which they thought to have done to her.

Ladies, If you find not this History able enough to make you understand that there are Women as subtle, and as wicked as Men, I will look out some others for you. Howsoever, it seems to me to be sufficient to demonstrate to you, that a Woman having lost her shame, is a hundred times more bold, and more ready to do evil, than a Man. There was not a Woman in all the Company who heard this History, but made as many signes of the Cross, as if at that present before their eyes they had seen all their Enemies in Hell.

But Oysilla said, Ladies, Let us humble our selves, when we do hear of such horrible things; for a Woman forsaken by God, doth render her self like unto him with whom she joyneth. For, as they who do adhere to God, have his Spirit with them; So they who adhere unto the Devil, have always with them the temptations of the Prince of Darkness. And there is nothing so Bestial, as a Woman destitute of the Spirit of God. Why? what had this poor Lady done, said Emarsuite? I can find nothing, I only hear a story of Men who vaunted of [Page 389]their prison. I am of opinion, said Longaren, that it is no lesse pain and trouble for a man in this kind to con­ceal his good fortune, than it is for them to obtain it; for there is no hunter but sounds his horn at the fall of the Game, nor Lover but doth glory having gained the Vi­ctory over his Mistresse. Loe here an opinion, said Si­montault, which before the inquisition it self, I will maintain to be heretical; for there are more men by far than Women that can keep Secrecies, and I do know very well that there may be some found, who had ra­ther have no good cheer at all, than that any body should understand it. And the Church as a good Mother hath ordained Priests who are men to be Confessors, and not Women, because they can conceal no secrets.

It is not for that occasion, said Oysilla, but because Women are so great Enemies to Vice, that they would not so easily give absolution as Men, and would be far more austere in their injunctions of penance. If they would be as severe in their penances, said Dagoucin, as they are in their answers, they would make Sinners rather to despair than they would lead them to Salvation; Where­fore the Church hath provived well in all things. How­soever, I cannot excuse those Gentlemen who did boast so much of their Prison, for there was never any Man that received honour by speaking ill of Women. Because the Act was common amongst them all, said Hircan, in my opinion they did well to comfort one another.

But they ought not to have confessed it, said Guebron, for their own honour; for the Books of the Round Table do teach us, that it is no point of honour in Chivallry to beat one who is not worth any thing. I do much won­der, said Longaren, that this poor Lady did not die for shame before these Prisoners. Those who have once lost it, said Oysilla, do hardly or never recover it again; unlesse it be those whom a violent Love hath made to forget it, and I have seen many of those to recover their lost shame. I believe, said Hircan, that you have seen those to return who have never set foot forward, for an entire love in a VVoman is very hard to find. I am not [Page 390]of your opinion, said Longaren, for I know there have been some who have loved until death. I have such a desire to hear that Novelty, said Hircan, that I doe give you my voice, to find that Love in Women which I thought had never been. But when you have heard it, said Longaren, you will believe it, and con­fesse that there is no passion so violent as that of Love; And as it makes us to undertake things almost impossible, to purchase a little contentment in this life, so (more than any other passion) it inforceth Him or Her who have lost the hope of their desire, as it will appear unto you by this History.

One in love having been let blood received the gift of Mercy by which he died, and his Sweet­heart killed her self for the losse of him.
The tenth Novel.

IT is not yet a full year, since there was a Gentle­man in the City of Cremona, named Monsieur John Peter, who a long time had loved a Lady who lived near unto his house, but in the purchase which he made, did not receive the Answer he desired, al­though she did love him with all her heart: At which the poor Gentleman was so perplexed, that he retired into his own Chamber, and determined with himself no more in vain to seek after that, the pursuit whereof did consume his life, and indea­vouring to divert his fancy and affection, he did keep within some dayes without seeing the Lady whom he loved, by reason whereof he did fall into so extreme a melancholy that it quite altered his Complexion. His Kinsman caused the Physicians to come unto him, who finding his complexion to be turned yellow, did judge it to be an opilation [Page 391]of the Liver, and did prescribe him Medicines for his Recovery. The Lady who had been so rigorous unto him, knowing well enough that his Disease came only by her denials, did send unto him an old Woman in whom she trusted, and did command her to acquaint him from her, that since she found by experience, that his love was true, and not coun­terfeit, she was resolved to accord unto him in all those things which for so long a time she had refu­sed. She had found a way to goe out of her own house into a place where privatly she might see him.

The Gentleman who on that morning had been let blood in the arm, finding himself to be better re­covered by that Message, than he could be by Phy­sick, or all the receits that could be given him, did teturn word, that he would not fail to come at the hour she appointed, and that she had wrought an apparent Miracle; for by one word she had cured a Man of a Disease, for whom all the Physicians could find no Redresse.

The Evening being come which he so much lon­ged for, the Gentleman repaired to the place which was appointed, with so great a Contentment, that it could not be increased. He attended not long, but she, whom he loved better than his own soul, did come to find him. He did not study to make any long Oration, for the fire which did burn within him, did make him hastily to possesse himself of that, which he could hardly perswade himself that he had in his own power; and being drunk with Love and Pleasure, whiles he sought to provide a remedy for his life more than was requisite, he found the ad­vancement of his Death; for in the love to his Sweet­heart, having forgot himself, he perceived not his Arm, from which (the Vein opening again.) the blood did come forth so abundantly, that the poor Gentleman was almost bathed in it: But he belie­ving that his faintnesse did proceed from his Excess [Page 392]of pleasure, did think with himself to return to his own Lodging. But Love, who had too much uni­ted them together, did so dispose of it, that in de­parting from his friend, his soul did depart from him­self, and by the great effusion of blood he had lost he fell down dead at her feet, who was so amazd, both in the consideration of the loss which she had of so entire a friend, of whose Death she was the only Cause, as also of the shame that would fall upon her if the dead body were found in her house, that not know­ing what to do, she and one of her Chambermaids in whom she altogether trusted, did carry the body into the Street, where she would not leave it alone, but taking the sword of her dead friend, she resol­ved to partake of his fortune, and perish by the effu­sion of blood also, in punishing that heart which was the cause of all this Evil, and forcing the sword quite through her, she fell down upon the Body of her Friend.

The Father and the Mother of this young Gen­tlewoman comming forth out of their house on the next morning, did behold this pittiful spectacle; And making as great a lamentation as the Case deserved, they did bury them both together.

By this Ladies you may see what mischiefs do attend the extremity of love. This is that which doth please me well, said Simontault; when Love is so equal, that the one dying the other cannot live, and if God had made me so blest as to have found such a one, I do ve­rily perswade my self, that no man had ever loved so perfectly as I should have done. But I am of opinion, said Parlament, that love would not have so much blinded you, but you would have remembred to have kept your Arm better than that Gentleman did, for those days are passed, that Men do forget their lives for their Ladies. But those days are not passed, said Simontault, that Ladies for their pleasure do forget the lives of their Ser­vants. I am of opinion, said Emarsuite, that there is no Woman in the World that taketh pleasure in the [Page 393]death of a Man although he were her Enemy. Never­thelesse if Men will kill themselves, Ladies cannot help their willfulnesse. So it is, said Saffredant, that she who refuseth a piece of bread to a poor men dying for hunger is esteemed to be a Murderesse. If your requests, said Oysilla, were as reasonable as the poor Mans beg­ging for his necessity, Ladies should be too cruel to refuse you: But God be praised, the malady of love doth kill no man but only those who wold die of themselves that year. I know not Madam, said Saffredant, what is the grea­test necessity, but only that which doth make us to forget all others: For when Love is violent we mind neither bread nor any other delicates whatsoever, but only the looks and words of those we love. They who would suf­fer you to fest, said Oysilla, without giving you any o­ther Viands, would quickly make you change your thoughts of Love. I must confesse, said Saffredant that the Body would fail, but the Heart and the good will would still remain. Then, said Parlament, God hath given you a great grace, that you should addresse your self to one where you find so little Contentment, that you must com­fort up your self with eating and drinking, with which me thinks you may acquit your self so well, that you ought to praise God for that friendly cruelty. I am so nourished in affliction, said Saffredant, that I do begin to solace my self in those torments of which others do complain. It may be, said Longaren, that your love doth so withdraw you from all Company, that no other contentment can be welcom to you, for there is nothing more troublesom, than an importunate Lover. Nothing, said Simontault, unlesse it be a cruel Lady. I do per­ceive, said Oysilla, that if we should attend to hear an end of the Reasons of Simontault, that we should bear no Vespers this Evening. Wherefore let us rise and praise God that this Days work is so well accomplished. She did begin first of all to rise her self, and all the rest did follow her, but Simontault and Longaren did con­tinue all the way to discusse the Argument, and so gently, that without drawing of his Sword Simontault did [Page 394]get the better, shewing that the strongest passion was the greatest necessity. And speaking those words they did en­ter into the Church where the Monks did attend them. Vespers being ended, they did go to Supper, where they entertained one another with as much discourse as Diet, for the Dispute continued all the time of Supper, and all the Evening afterwards, until Oysilla told them that it was high time to goe to rest, and that five days Journeys were adorned with such delightfull Histo­ries that she was afraid that the sixth day would not be like unto it, for it was not possible to invent better Ac­counts, than what were here delivered, and which were not Fictions but Truths. But Guebron said that as long as the world endured there would something fall out every day which would be new and worthy to be re­membred, for the depravednesse of bad men, and their corruptions, will be always such as heretofore they have been, and in the same way will be the Goodnesse of Good men; And as long as Grace and Corruption do reign upon the Earth, they will always fill it with one Novelty or another, although it be written, That there is nothing new under the Sun; But we who have not been called to the privy Counsel of God, being ignorant of the first Causes, do find all things new, and so much the more admirable, as we have the lesse desire or ability to perform them: Wherefore fear not but that the Days Works that are to come will be altogether as pleasing, and as full of variety, as those which are passed, only do you on your parts use your best indeavours. Oysilla said that she did recommend her self unto God, in whose name she did bid them Goodnight; with that all the Company withdrew, putting a period to the fifth Days Work

The End of the fifth Days Work

The Sixth Days VVork of the Novells of the Queen of NAVARRE.
The Preface.

IN the Morning more early than ordinary Madam Oysilla was in the Hall ready to begin her Lecture, of which when of all those her Company were advertised (for the desire they had to pertake in her good instruction) they did make themselves ready with so much dili­gence, that she stayed not long for them. She knowing their hearts did read unto them the Epistle of Saint John the Evangelist, which is full of Love. The Company found those Viands to be so sweet, that although they stayed there above half an hour longer than on other dayes they were accustomed, yet it did not seem to them to be half a quarter of an hour; depar­ting from thence they repaired to Masse, where every one of them did commend himself to the holy Spirit, that on that day they might satisfie [Page]the pleasant audience. After they had dined and taken a little repose in their chambers, they resorted to the Meadow to continue there their accustomed Recreations. Madam Oy­silla demanded, who should begin that days Journey. Longaren made answer, Madam, I do give you my voice, for this day you have read unto us so excellent a Lecture, that it is impossible but you should rehearse unto us some history that may deserve to accomplish the glo­ry which this morning you have merited. It doth much grieve me (said Oysilla) that I cannot rehearse unto you this afternoon some­thing which may be as profitable to you as what I did speak in the morning. Neverthelesse the intention of my History shall not stray much from the Doctrine of the Word of God, where it is written, Put not your Confi­dence in Princes, nor in the Sons of Man, for of them cometh not your Salvation. And that (for want of an Example) you may not bury that truth in oblivion, I will recite unto you a sad Legend, the memory whereof is so fresh, that the tears are yet scarce wiped from their eyes who beheld the pitiful spectacle.

THE NOVELLS Of Queen MARGARET.

The perfidiousnesse and cruelty of an Italian.
The first Novel.

A Duke of Italy, whose name I will conceal, had a Son of eight and twenty years of age, who was much in love with a young Maid of a good and honest Family, and because he could not have the li­berty to speak unto her as he would according to the custom of the Country, he assisted himself by a Gentleman who was his Servant, who was amorous also on a hand­some young Maid a Servant to his Mother, by whom he caused the great affection which he did bear unto his Sweetheart to be discovered. The poor Maid [Page 396]thought no hurt of it, but did take pleasure to doe him service, conceiving his desires to be so just and honest that he had no other intention but she might well doe the message with honour and a good Con­science. But the Duke who had more regard to the advancement of his House than to honest Love, had so great a fear that these Loves might proceed to marriage, that he did set a very strict watch over them, and he was informed that the poor Girl was imployed to carry Letters from his Son to her whom he loved, at which he was so incensed, that he re­solved to give an order to prevent it. But he could not so well dissemble his choler but the Damosel was advertised of it, who knowing the cruelty of the Prince, which was as great as his Conscience was little, she was in a marvellous fear, and addressed her self unto the Dutchesse, beseeching her to give her leave to withdraw her self into some place out of his sight, until his choler was passed over; But her Mistresse made answer to her, that she would know her Husbands pleasure before she would give her leave.

Not long afterwards she understood the evil reso­lution of the Duke, and knowing his complexion too well, she not only did give the Maid leave to depart, but advised her to retire her self into a Mo­nastery until the Tempest was blown over, which accordingly she did, and as privately as possibly she could, howsoever the Duke by his Spies was adverti­sed of it, & with a countenance pretending Joy, he de­manded of his Wife where the Maid was, who thinking that he already knew the truth, did confesse unto him where she was, for which he seemed to be sorry, and told her, that she needed not to put on so sad a Countenance, for he on his part did mean no hurt unto her, wherefore he advised her to send for her back again, for (he said) the report of such a thing would not be good. The Dutchesse said unto him, if the poor Girl were so unfortunate as to be [Page 397]deprived of his favour, it were better that for a cer­tain time she should not appear in his presence. But he would not receive nor allow her reasons, and did command her that she should send for her again. The Dutchesse did not fail to declare unto the Maid the pleasure and good will of the Duke, of which she could not assure her self, but besought her that she might not tempt her fortunes, for she knew well enough the conditions of the Duke, and what­soever pretence he made, it was most difficult un­to his Nature to forgive. The Dutchesse assured her that she should receive no prejudice at all, and by her Messenger made protestations to her of it upon her life and honour. The Maid who knew well e­nough that her Mistresse loved her, and would not for any thing circumvent her, did take a confidence in her promise, believing that the Duke would ne­ver violate that security in which the honour of his Wife was ingaged, and thereupon returned to the Dutchesse.

The Duke when ever he understood thereof did come into his Wives Chamber, and having seen the Maid, he said unto his Wife, look yonder who is returned? and turning himself towards the Gen­tlemen that followed him, he commanded them to take hold of her, and to carry her to prison. The poor Dutchesse, who upon the honour of her Word had tempted her out of the place of her protection, was so astonished at it, that she kneeled down be­fore him, and besought him most importunately for his own honour, and for the honour of his House, that he would not commit such an Act, seeing that to obey him she had taken her from the place of se­curity where she was; but whatsoever prayer she could make, or reasons she could allege, nothing would mollifie his heart, nor overcome the heady resolution he had taken with himself to be revenged on her, for without answering his Wife one Word he withdrew himself from her as fast as he could, [Page 398]and forgetting God, and the honour of his House, without any form of Justice he most cruelly caused the Maid to be apprehended. I will not in this place undertake to describe unto you the perplexity of the Dutchesse, which was such that a Lady of Honour and of a good spirit ought to have, who on the obligation of her faith did see her to die whom she desired to preserve. But much lesse may the la­mentations of the poor Gentleman be represented, who was his Servant, and failed not to use the ut­of his endeavour as much as it was possible for him to doe, to save the life of the Maid, offering to lose his own life for her, but it would not be accepted, and no pity could touch the heart of the Duke, who knew no other felicity, but to revenge himself of those whom he hated. In this manner was the in­nocent Maid put to death by this cruel Duke, a­gainst all Law of honesty, to the great grief of all those who knew her.

See here Ladies what are the effects of malice when power is joyned unto it. I have heard it spoken, said Longaren, that the greatest part of the Italians (I say the greatest part; for no doubt there are some honest men amongst them, as in all other Nations) are subject to their Vices, in which none do exceed them, but I though that Vengeance and Cruelty had not been so pre­dominant, as upon every small occasion to give so cru­el a death. Saffredant smiling did say unto her, Lon­garen, you have given us a true Account of one of the three Vices, I would fain know what are the other two. If you do not know them already, said Longaren, I will tell them you, but I am confident you are not to learn what they are. By your words, said Saffredant you would make me a very vicious Man. Not by deeds, said Longaren, but in knowing the filthinesse of Vice, you can better than another know how to avoid it. Won­der not, said Simontault at their cruelty, for those who have travelled into Italy will tell you such incre­dible things of them, that this in the comparison will [Page 399]appear but a little Sin or no Sin at all. Believe me, said Guebron, when Rivoli was taken by the French, there was an Italian Captain who was esteemed to be a Gentleman, who seeing one dead who was not his E­nemy in particular, but only took part against the Gi­belins, did tear his heart out of his belly, and rosting it upon the Coals did greedily devour it, and some pre­sent demanding of him what tast it had, he made answer that he never did eat a sweeter or a more volup­tuous morsel; And not content with this goodly Act, he killed the Wife of the Dead Man, and tearing her young child out of her belly, being almost ready to be de­livered, did dash it into pieces against the walls, and afterwards filled the two Bodys of the Husband and Wise with Oats, and threw them to his Horses to seed on. How do you think he would have used this Girl whom he had suspected to have done him a displeasure. It might well be affirmed, said Emarsuite, that the Duke was very much afraid that his Son should have married poorly, and that was the reason that he would not suf­fer him to have a Wife according to his own mind. You are not to doubt, said Simontault, that the Nature of them is to love that more than Nature which was only created for the use of Nature. Behold, said Longaren, the second Sin which I would have represented to you, for we all know well enough, that to love money be­yond the use of it for which it serves, which is only to aid us in our necessities, is to make an Idol of it. Par­lament added that Saint Paul had not forgot their Vi­ces, nor the vices of those men who think they do sur­passe and excell all others in wisdom and humane rea­son in which they do confound themselves, because they render not to God the glory which is due unto him. There­fore God who is jealous of his Honour hath renderd them more insensible than Beasts, who believed they had more sense than all other men, and by their lusts against Nature they do show that they are delivered up to a reprobate sense. Longaren interupted her in her dis­course and said, this is the third Sin to which the grea­test [Page 400]part of the Italians are subject. In good earnest, said Nomerfide, I take an extraordinary delight to hear this discourse, for since those Spirits which we esteem to be the most subtle, and the greatest Discoverers, do en­dure such a punishment as to be more sencelesse than beasts: We ought to conclude, that those who are hum­ble and dejected in their beauty, as I my self am, shall be filled with the wisdom of Angels, and with the grace of God. I assure you, answered Oysilla, I am not far from your opinion; for no man is more ignorant than he who thinks he knows something. I never, said Gue­bron, saw a mocker but he was mocked, nor a deceiver but he was deceived, nor a vain glorious person but he was humbled. You do make me to remember an Im­posture, said Simontault, which if it had been an ho­nest one I would willingly have recited. It is no great matter, said Oysilla, for since we are met here to speak the truth (be it of what quality it will) I do give you my voice to speak it. Since the place is given to me, said Simontault, I must take it, and will give you an Account thereof.

The Slovenly Breakfast prepared by an Apotheca­ries man for an Advocate and a Gen­tleman.
The second Novel.

IN the City of Alençon, in the time of Charles the last, there was an Advocate named Anthony Bachet, an honest man, and a great Lover of a good Breakfast in a Winters, morning. One day sitting very early at his door he observed a Gentleman to passe by, who was called Monsieur de Tyrelier, who by reason of the great Frost which was that morning was come a foot from his own house into the City to dispatch some businesse, and he had put on a [Page 401]long Coat furred with Fox-skins. When he beheld the Advocate, who was of his own complexion, he told him that he had been in the Town almost two hours, and already done all his businesse, and that nothing remained but to goe to some place of resort to find out a good Breakfast, The Advocate made answer to him, that the Breakfast was easily to be found, but then he must pay for it, And taking him by the Arm, he said unto him, Let us goe (my Companion) we may possibly find one fool or ano­ther who will pay the shot for us both.

By fortune there was behind them an Apotheca­ries Boy, a close and a cunning knave, and one to whom the Advocate did bear a long time a splean, and by no means could endure him. The Boy thought with himself that he had now found a good opportunity to revenge himself, and going aside not above ten paces he found behind a house a great Excrement frozen all over, which he did put into a paper, and did wrap it up so artificially that it see­med to be a piece of Naple bisket. He observed where the two Companions were, and passing in great hast before them he entred into a house, and at the door did as it were by negligence let fall his Naple-bisket which was so handsomly made up. The Advocate took it up with great Joy, and said unto his Companion, Monsieur de la Tyrelier this cunning knave shall this day pay for our Breakfast, but let us make hast lest the knave should find us in our larceny. And entring into a Tavern he said unto the Maid, make us a good fire, and give us good Bread, and good Wine, and some good salt bit to relish our Mouths this Morning, we have e­nough wherewith to discharge the house.

The Maid did serve them according to their de­fire, but the Advocate having eat and drunk, and sufficiently warmed himself before the fire, the su­ger'd bread which the Advocate had put into his Brest did begin to melt, and the smell thereof was [Page 402]so strong, that not thinking from what place it came, he said unto the Maid, you have brought us into the filthiest and most stinking room that ever I did come into, I doe believe that you doe let your Children doe their businesse upon the place. The Signior de la Tyrelier who had his part of the perfume was of the same opinion with the Advocate. But the Maid be­ing angry that they should lay so foul an imputation to her charge, did reply unto them in a great cho­ler, By Saint Peter, Gentlemen, the house is an ho­nest house, and the room so clean, that there is nothing stinking in it, unlesse you have brought it with you.

The two Companions did rise from the table, and did goe again unto the fire to warm them, and the Advocate taking his handkerchief out of his Brest, he found it to be full of the Sirrop of the melted Su­ger, which being a bit preserved to sweeten their mouths, he did at the last bring forth to light. You may well imagine how the Maid of the Tavern that did attend upon them did mock them, who was be­fore upbraided by them, and what a shame it was to the Advocat to see himself over-reached by an A­pothecaries boy in the same trade of deceit in which he himself had all his life been conversant. But the Maid of the Tavern had not the least compassion on them, but made them pay their shot to a Denier, telling them, that they could not chuse but be drunk, having received such a fragrancy as well into their Noses as their Mouths.

The poor Gentlemen departed with as much shame as cost, and were no sooner come into the street, but they saw the Apothecaries boy, asking every one who passed by, if they had not taken up a quantity of Suger'd bread, made up in a white paper, and they could not so readily turn aside from him, but he cryed out to the Advocate, Sir if you have my bread made with Suger, I beseech you that you will restore it, for such losses are not pro­fitable [Page 403]to such a poor Servant as I am. At that word the people stood still in the street, and others came out of their houses to understand the debate; And the Act was so apparently justified, that the Apothecaries boy was as glad that he had been rob­bed of his Suger'd bread, as the Advocate was sor­ry being guilty of the larceny that he had took it up, but hoping to be even with him another time, he for the present did content himself.

Ladies, we commonly observe, that oftentimes they are cajoled themselves who make it their profession to cajole others. If this Gentleman would not have eaten at the expence of another, his Nose had not drank so strong a perfume. It is true, my Account is none of the sweetest, but you did give me leave to speak the truth, which I have acquainted you with, to represent unto you, that when a Deceiver is deceived there is no man that is sorry. It is proverbially spoken, said Hircan, that words in themselves are never unsavoury, but those things by which they are spoken cannot be so easily ac­quitted but they may smell strong enough. It is true, said Oysilla, that such words stinck not, but there are other words which we call filthy words, that are of so bad a smell, that the Soul is as much troubled to hear them, as the Body was with the evil smell of the Sugar Bread of which you have spoken. Tell me, I pray you, said Hircan, what words are those which be so unclean, that they leave such a filthy favour behind them in the heart of an honest Woman? Would it be good do you think, said Oysilla, that I should tel you that which as yet I have not asked counsel of any Woman whether I should speak or no? By that word, said Saffredant, I understand what terms they are by which Women would be reputed to be wise in the concealing of them. But I ask in earnest of all the Ladies that are present, wherfor it is, that since they dare not speak such words, that they do laugh so readily when they are spoken before them, for 'tis not in my under­standing to believe that a thing which is so greatly dis­pleasing to them should make them laugh. We doe not [Page 404]laugh, said Parlament, because we do hear such wanton or filthy words spoken, but there is a na­tural inclination in every one to laugh, as when we see a man to stumble, or when a word is spoke out of season, or to no purpose, as it often falleth out that the tongue doth trip, and one word is spoken commonly for another by the wisest and the best speakers. But when you men in your sensualness do on set purpose utter un­clean words, I know no Woman of worth, who doth not abhor them, and who will not only forbear to lend an ear unto you, but will avoid your Company. It is true, said Guebron, I have seen diverse Women make the sign of the Crosse having heard such words spoken, but they have taken a delight immediatly afterwards to have heard them repeated again. Nay, said Simontault, how often have they pulled down their Masks, that they might laugh in earnest with the greater liberty? which shews their displeasure was but feigned. And it were better by far to do so, said Parlament, than to give you to understand that such a discourse was pleasing to us. You praise then, said Dagoucin, as much the Hypocrisie as the virtue of Women. It would be better, said Lon­garen, to praise their virtue, but when that is wan­ting we must borrow something of Hypocrifie, just as we do when we wear Pantofles to make us appear a little higher than we are; and doth it not do well howsoever that we can find a way to cover our imperfections? To tell you what I think, said Hircan, it were better some­times to shew some imperfection, than peremptorily to cover it with the mantle of Virtue. It is true indeed, said Emarsuite, that a Garment borrowed doth as much dishonour him who is enforced to return it, as it did him credit when he did wear it; And there hath been that Lady to my knowledge alive who to cover a small fault hath fallen into a greater. I do suspect, said Hircan, who it is you speak of, wherefore at the least doe not name her. And why so, said Gue­bron, I do give you my voice, but upon a condition that after you have recited your Account, you will declare [Page 405]the Name, and we will all swear unto you never to make any reiteration of it. I do promise you that I will, said Emarsuite, for there is nothing but may be spoken of with Honour.

The personal diligence of a Prince to remove an importunate Lover.
The third Novel.

KIng Francis the first of that name, having reti­red himself into a most pleasant Castle, with a small Retinue, as well to solace himself with the pleasure of hunting the Buck, as to repose himself from the troubles & the noise of the City, had in his Com­pany a Pr. as wise, as virtuous, & as gallant a man as any in the Kings Court: He had espoused a Lady who had none of the greatest beauties, but he did love her as well, as a Husband could love a Wife, And repo­sed so great a trust in her, that if by chance he did take an affection to any other, he did not conceal it from her, knowing that she had no other desire but what was his. The Prince did fall in love with a Lady that was a Widdow, who had the reputation to be one of the fairest Ladies that could be looked upon, and if the Prince loved her well, his Wife did love her no lesse than he, and did oftentimes invite her to eat and to drink with her, finding her so wise and so honest, that instead of being sorry that her Husband loved her, she was glad with all her heart to see him to addresse himself to so fair a Creature filled with Honour and Virtue.

This love continued long, insomuch that the Prince imployed himself in his own person in all the affairs of this Lady, as if she had been his own Wife, and the Princesse his Wife did do no lesse. But be­cause she was so exceeding beautiful, many great [Page 406]Lords and Gentlemen did court her, and were im­portunately sollicitous to obtain her favour, some for love only, and some for gifts, for besides her beauty she was very rich. Amongst others there was a young Gentleman who did follow her so close, that he failed not to be in her Chamber every mor­ning when she made her self ready, and every eve­ning when she undressed her self to goe to bed, and as long as possibly he could he stayed with her all the day, which pleased not the Prince, for he thought that a Man of so poor a condition, and of so rude a deport, did not deserve that civil and gratious en­tertainment, of which in private he often made Re­monstrances to the Lady. But she who was the Daughter of a Duke did excuse it, saying, That she without distinction did speak to all the World, by reason whereof her love was the more concealed, seeing that she did speak as much to one as to ano­ther.

At the end of half a year this Gentleman did court her in the way of marriage, and did follow his sute with so much diligence, that more for importunity than for any love, she did promise him that she would accept him for her Husband, intreating him that he would not declare it until her Daughters were all married. After this promise, the Gentle­man without any fear of Conscience did goe at all hours into her Chamber when he pleased, and there was but one Gentlewoman belonging to her Cham­ber, and but one Gentleman that did know of the Contract they had made. The Prince observing that the Gentleman did grow more and more fami­liar in the house of her whom so much he loved, did take it so ill, that he could not forbear thus to im­part his jealous heart unto the Lady. I have always loved your Honour as if you were my own Sister, and you doe know the honest discourses with which I did always entertain you, and the contentment which I received to love a Lady so wise and so vir­tuous [Page 407]as your self, but I doe find that another who doth not deserve it hath by his importunity gained that, which against your approbation I would not desire; and this is an affliction not to be endured by me, and will prove no lesse dishonourable to your self. I doe acquaint you with it, because you are young and beautiful, and until now have lived in the height of reputation, which every day will sink lower & lower, and being lost will not be easie to be regai­ned; And although he is no ways to be compared to you in Birth or Fortunes, and much lesse in Au­thority, Knowledge, or Gracefulnesse, it would be better far that you should marry him, than to make all the world to suspect you; Wherefore I beseech you to tell me truly, if you are determined to love him, for I will not have him to be my Companion, and am resolved to leave you to him for altogether, and I will by degrees withdraw my self from that familiar love which I have born unto you.

The poor Lady did begin to weep, fearing to lose his love, and did swear unto him that she had rather die than espouse that Gentleman of whom he did speak, but she said that he was so importunate, that she could not hinder him from comming into her Chamber on the hour when all the rest were accusto­med to enter. Of those hours (said the Prince) I doe not speak at all, for I can then come in as well as he; and every one may see what you doe. But I am Informed that he finds admission into your Chamber after you are in bed, a thing which I do find so strange, and which comes so quite crosse un­to me, that I must tell you, that if you continue that life, and you doe not declare him for your Husband, you will be one of the most dishonoured Women that ever was. She made unto him all the Oaths that possible she could, that she did not esteem him ei­ther for a Husband or a Friend, but for an importu­nate Man as he was. Well (said the Prince) since it is so, that he is so much troublesome unto you, [Page 408]I will take a course to prevent it. How? (said she) will you cause him to be put to death: No, no, (said the Prince) but I will give him to understand, that he is not in such a place, or in such a House, as is this which is the Kings, to procure dishonour unto a Lady, and I doe protest unto you upon the faith of a friend, that after I have spoken to him if he doth not refrain, I will so chastise him, that others shall take example by him.

Having spoke those words he departed, and go­ing out of the Chamber it was his fortune to meet with that Gentleman who had been the Subject of their discourse, to whom he repeated all the words which had passed betwixt the Lady and himself, and assured him, that the first time he found him in her Chamber, unlesse it were in the prescribed hours when Gentlemen are accustomed to goe to their La­dies Chambers, he would put him into such a fear that he should remember it whilst he lived, and she her self should repent for playing fast and loose with him. The Gentleman assured him that he never came into her Chamber but at the accustomed hours with others, and if at any time he should find or hear that he was there at any other hour, he would give him leave to doe the worst that he could. Some days afterwards when the Gentleman thought that the Princes words and threatnings were forgotten by him, he addressed himself one Evening to visite this Lady, and stayed with her very late. The Prince that Evening said unto his Wife, that the Lady whom she knew he loved, was fallen sick of a great Rheume, wherefore the good Princesse his Wife did intreat him to goe unto her, and to visit her for them both, and also to excuse her that she could not come her self, for she had some businesse of importance to dispatch in her own Chamber. The Prince attended until the King his Brother-in-law was in bed, and afterwards he repaired to the Chamber of the Lady whom he loved, to bid her [Page 409]Good night, and thinking to goe up the stairs he found the Groom of the Chamber coming down, of whom he demanded how his Mistresse did, who did swear unto him that she was in bed, and fast asleep; Whereupon the Prince did go down the stairs again, but suspecting that he told him a lye, he looked be­hind him, and observed the Groom to goe back to his Mistresses Chamber with all the speed he could, he therefore walked in the Court before the door to see if the Groom did return again. About a quar­ter of and hour afterwards, he saw the same Groom to come down the stairs, and to look round about him on all sides to desery who were in the Court. The Prince then conceived with himself, that the Gentleman was in the Ladies Chamber, and that he durst not come down for fear of him, which made him to walk up and down a good while longer, and observing in the Ladies Chamber that there was a Window which was not very high that looked down into a little Garden, he remembred the old Proverb, which saith, He that cannot come out of the Door, must leap out of the Window, wherefore he said unto the Gentleman that waited on him, doe you goe into yonder Garden, and if you shall see a Gentleman to come out at the Window, when ever he shall set foot on ground, draw your Sword, and clashing it against the wall, cry out, Kill him, Kill him! but be sure you doe not touch him, the Gen­tleman did accordingly as his Master had comman­ded, and the Prince walked in the Court until it was three hours after Midnight.

When the Gentleman who was in the Ladies Chamber did understand that the Prince was still in the Court, he determined with himself to go out of the window, and having first of all thrown down his Cloak, with the help of his good friends he leaped out of the Window into the Garden. As soon as the Gentleman who belonged to the Prince did ob­serve him, he failed not to make a great noise with his [Page 410]sword against the Wall, and cryed out, Kill him, Kill him. The poor Gentleman thinking it had been the Prince his Master, was possessed with so great a fear, that without advising to take his cloake he did run away us fast as his Leggs could carry him, and met with the Yeomen of the Kings Guard, who watched that night, who were much amazed to see him make such hast, but he said nothing to them, but only intreated them to open the Gate for him, or give him leave to stay in the lodge with them untill the next morning, which they did, for on that night they had not the keys. Immediatly afterwards the Prince retired to his own lodgings to goe to bed, and finding the Princesse his Wife asleep, he did wake her, and said unto her, Doe you sleep Sweet­heart, what a clock is it? She made answer to him, Since I have been in bed, I have not heard the clock strike. He said unto her, It is three a clock in the morning. Jesus, Sir, said she, where have you been so long? I am much afraid that your Health may be prejudiced by it.

Sweetheart (said the Prince) I shall never be sick with waking, when I keep those from sleeping who indeavour to deceive me, and speaking those words he did begin to laugh heartily; The Prin­cesse did earnestly desire him, that he would be pleased to acquaint her with the cause of his laugh­ter, which he did all along, and shewed her the Skin of the Wolf, which the Gentleman that wai­ted on him had brought unto him; And having passed away a little time in making mirth at what had befallen the Gentleman and the Lady, they did fall both asleep, and did rest as sweetly as the o­ther two did travel in fear and shame that their loves were discovered.

Neverthelesse the Gentleman understanding well enough that he could no longer dissemble it before the Prince, did come on the next morning very early to attend him at his [...]ifing, and most humbly [Page 411]besought him that he would be pleased not to reveal him, and restore his Cloak unto him. The Prince made a semblance to understand nothing at all of it, and did hold his countenance so well, that the poor Gentleman did not know what was become of it. But at the last he had another lesson than he thought to have heard. For the Prince assured him that if ever he did come into that Ladies Chamber again, he would acquaint the King with it, and cause him to be banished the Court.

Ladies, I do beseech you to judge, if it were not better for that poor Lady to have spoken freely to the Prince, who did her the honour so much to love her and esteem her, than by dissimulation to put him to a proof which reflected so much on her own disgrace. She knew well enough, said Guebron, that if she had confessed the truth; she should for ever have lost his favour, which she would not lose for any thing. Me thinks, said Longa­ren, since she had chosen a Husband to her own fancy, she ought not to have feared the losse of the love of any other.

I do believe, said Parlament, that if she durst have revealed her marriage, she would have been well con­tented with her Husband, but because she would not have it known until her Daughters were married, she was inforced to make use of so private a love. It was not so, said Saffredant, but the desires and ambition of women are so great that they can never be contented with one alone. Nay I have been informed that those who are accounted the wisest of all their Sex, have willingly entertained three at one time; One for their Honour, a­nother for their Prosit, and a third for their pleasure, and every one of the three did conceive himself to be the best beloved, but the two first did serve the last. You speak of those, said Oysilla, who knew neither Love nor Honour.

Madam, said Saffredant, there are some of that condition whom you do esteem to be as honest Ladies as any in the Country where they live. You may assure your [Page 412]selves, said Hircan, that a woman who hath a good wit will know how to live when all others do starve for hun­ger; it may be so, said Longaren, but when their cun­ning is discovered they had better to be dead and out of the world.

Nay it is all their life, said Simontault, for they e­steem it no little glory to be reputed more wise than their Companions, and this Title of being more wise, which they have learned to their own expence, doth more pow­erfully draw their Servants to their obedience, than doth their beauty, for amongst those that love it is one of the greatest pleasures finely to manage their love. You speak, said Emarsuite, of a wanton and inordinate love; for an Honest love never need to be covered. Ha, said Da­goucin, I beseech you trouble not your head with such a fancy, for the more pretious the Drugg is, it is al­ways the lesse vented by reason of the indiscretion of those who look upon the cheaper and more common Receipts which to an unknowing man are all one.

Wherefore when our love is virtuous we ought the more to conceal it, than if it were vicious and imperfect, because we would not fall into the ill judgement of those, who cannot believe, that a Man can love a Lady for Honor, but that they do love as much for pleasure, and so they do conceive and conclude every to one be like them­selves.

But if they were all in good earnest, neither the word nor the countenance should carry the least dissimulation, especially amongst those who had rather die than think a­ny Evil of love. I do assure you Dagoucin, said Hir­can, You are upon a point of such high Philosophy, that no Man here doth understand you, for you would make them to believe, that Men are either Angels, or Stones, or Devils. I know well enough, said Dagoucin, that Men are Men, and subject to all passions, but there are those to my knowledge who had rather die than that for their pleasure their Mistresses should do any thing a­gainst their Consciences

It is too much to die, said Guebron, I will not be­lieve [Page 413]that word should it proceed from the Mouth of the most austere and the most religious man that is. But I doe believe, said Hitcan, there are many who do desire as much, but they are like to those who do not love Grapes because they do grow so high that they cannot ga­ther them. Howsoever I doe believe, that the wise of that Prince was very joyful that her Husband had lear­ned to understand what such women are. I will assure you, no, said Einarsuite, she was very sorry for it by reason of the great love that she did bear unto him. I should rather love her, said Saffredant, who always did fall a laughing when her Husband did kisse her Chamber-maid. Truly, said Emarsuite, you shall give us the Account of it, I do give you my place. Although it be but short, said Saffredant, I will recite it to you, for I had rather make you laugh than affict you with a tedious discourse.

A Gentle woman of so good a disposition, that seeing her Husband to kisse her Chambermaid, did nothing but laugh at it, and being demanded the reason of it, she made an­swer, that she only laugh­ed at his shadow.
The fourth Novel.

BEtween the Pyrenaean Mountains and the Alpes, there lived a Gentleman called Thogas, who had a handsome Wife, Sweet Children, a stately house, and such abundance of riches and pleasures, that he had a just occasion to live most contentedly, neverthelesse he was subject to a great pain under the roots of his hair, for which the Physicians did advise him not to lie with his Wife; to which she willingly consented, reguarding nothing more than the life and the health of her Husband. She caused [Page 414]her bed to be placed in another corner of the Chamber over against her Husbands, and in so di­rect a line, that they could not put their heads out of their beds without seeing one another.

This Gentlewoman did keep in the house two Chambermaids, and whenever their Master and their Mistresse were in bed, they did either of them take some merry book in which they did read for their recreation, and their Chambermaids did all the while stand by and hold the Candle, the youn­gest of the Maids held the Candle to her Master, and the eldest to her Mistresse. The Gentleman obser­ving his Chambermaid to be more young and hand­some than his Wife, did take a great delight to look upon her, and oftentimes would interrrupt his rea­ding to entertain her. His Wife did very well ob­serve it, and did well approve that both her Maid­servants, and the Men-servants, were so officious to please their Master, presuming that he loved none but her self.

One Evening having read a great deal longer than they were accustomed to doe, his Wife did put her head out of the bed, and looked towards her Husband, where she saw her young Chambermaid who held the Candle, but she turning her face to­wards her Master as she waited on him, his Wife could not see her face but her back only, and the Maid standing directly before her Master, she could not see him at all; but on the white wall over against them, where the light of the Candle did cast a sha­dow, she could observe him, and knew very well by their shadowes, which was the Maid & which was her Husband, and could easily perceive when they met together, and when they did draw back from one another, and when they laughed, and all the postures of them.

The Gentleman who never thought of being dis­covered, being assured that his Wife could not see him, did kisse the Chambermaid, at which for the [Page 415]first time his Wife was very patient without speak­ing a word, but when she saw that the shadowes did often meet together, and did oftentimes return unto that union, fearing they would proceed to worse, she begun to laugh as loud as possibly she could, insomuch that the shadowes were afraid of her laughter, and did separate themselves. The Gentleman demanded of her wherefore she did laugh so, and desired her that she would make him a partaker of her joy. She made answer to him, Sweet-heart, I am such a fool that I laugh at my own shade, and for all the intreaties he could make or use, he could never get any other answer from her. This is that story which you did cause me to remem­ber, when you made mention of that great Lady who loved the Sweet-heart of her Husband.

In good troth, said Emarsuite, If my Chambermaid should have served me so, I would have rose, and stung the Candle in her face. You speak too terribly, said Hir­can, but what would you think, if your Husband and the Chambermaid should have set themselves against you, and should have beaten you soundly, for you should make no reckoning of a kisse? Howsoever his wife might have done better to have made no noise at all, but have let them take their recreation together, It might peradven­ture have cured him of his Malady. No, said Parla­ment, she was afraid that the end of that Recreation would have made him more weak than he was before.

She was none of those, said Oysilla, of whom our Sa­viour speaks, We have made our lamentation unto you, but you have not weeped; We have sung, but you have not danced; for when her Husband was sick she wept, and when he was joyful she laughed.

And so all women of worth and honour ought to par­take both of the Good and of the Evil, and the joys and the sorrows of their Husbands, and to love, obey, and serve them as the Church doth Jesus Christ. It were requisite then, said Parlament, that our Husbands were to us as Jesus Christ is towards his Church. So we are, [Page 416]said Saffredant, and if it were possible we would endure as much, for Jesus Christ died but once for his Church, and we die every day for our Wives. Die? said Longa­ren, In my opinion, you and the other good Husbands who are here do not look as if you were such dying men. I can give you a reason for that, said Saffredant, It is because our Valour is tryed, which our shoulders do feel having so often born the Corslet. If you were put to it, said Emarsuite, to wear arms but one moneth, and to lie on the cold and the hard Ground, you would have a good desire to return to the beds of your own wives, and to make much of that of which you do now complain. But I have heard it spoken, that all things can be endu­red but ease, and we know not what Repose is until we have lost it. The good Woman, said Oysilla, who laughed when her Husband was joyous, had much to do I warrant her to go thorough with it. I do believe, said Longaren, that she loved her own ease better than she loved her Husband, for it seemeth she took not any thing to heart whatsoever he did. No, for with a good heart she took that, said Parlament, which might have been prejudicial to the health and the Conscience of her Hus­band. When you speak in this place of Conscience, said Simontault, you do make me laugh, for he would not have done what he did if he thought his wife would have taken it to heart, and I do not see which way the Conscience can be much prejudiced for a kisse. It would not be amisse, said Nomerfide, that you had such a wife as he had, who, after her Husbands death, did manifest that she loved his Money better than her Conscience. I do desire you, said Saffredant, that you would rehearse unto us that Novel, for which I do give you my voice. I did not determine, said Nomerfide, to account unto you so short a History, but because it hath relation to the subject on which we have discoursed, I will recite it to you.

The Subtilty of a Spanish woman to defraud the Friers of the last Testament of her Husband.
The fifth Novel.

IN the City of Saragossa there lived a Merchant, who seeing his death to approach, and that he could no longer keep the Goods which he had gotten, it may be, with a bad Conscience, he thought to satisfie his sin, by giving away all to the poor, without any regard that after his decease his Wife and his Children should die with hunger, and when he had ordered all things in his House, he said, it was his last Will, that a good Spanish Jennet which he had (and was indeed all his goods that were worth any thing) should be sold at the greatest rate that could be, and that the Money should be distri­buted unto the begging Friers, desiring his Wife that when ever the breath were out of his Body, she would not fail to sell the Horse, and distribute the Money according to his Will.

The burial being past, and the first tears wept, his Wife, who was no more a fool than the Spaniards are accustomed to be, did repair unto her Servant, who as well as her self did understand the last Will of her Husband, and said unto him, It seems to me, that I have lost too much already, in losing my Hushand whom so much I loved, without losing any more of my goods; but so it is that I would not be disobedient to his charge, but doe the best I can to satisfie his will according to his intention. For the poor Man who in his life as you know well enough would not so much as spare one Crown for the grea­test necessity, hath after his death given a round sum to the poor Friers, thinking it to be a Sacri­fice that will be acceptable to God; wherefore I am advised to doe that which at his death he did be­queath, [Page 418]and which is more than he could give him­self if he had lived but fifteen days longer, and by so doing, I will provide for the necessities of my Chil­dren.

But I must so carry it, that none in the World shall know any thing of it; And when her Servant had faithfully promised to keep secret what was to be done, she said unto him, You must go sell his Horse, and if any shall ask you what is the price of it, you shall say one Ducket, but I have a good Cat, an ex­cellent Mouser, which you shall sell—let me see — I — for ninety nine Duckets, and so the Cat and the Horse shall make in all just one hundred Duckets, at which price my Husband would have sold the Horse alone. The Servant did readily ac­complish the commands of his Mistresse, and wal­ked the Horse up and down the Market, holding the demure Cat under his arms. A Gentleman who had seen the Horse before, and had a great mind to buy him, passing that way, demanded of the Ser­vant at one word to give him the price of him. The Servant made answer, one Ducket. Do not mock me (honest friend) said the Gentleman. I assure you, Sir, said the Servant, you shall give me for it one Ducket and no more; But Sir, I must tell you, that you must buy the Cat with it, for which I will have ninety and nine Duckets. The Gentleman thought it was but reasonable, and in ready money laid down one Ducket for the Horse, and ninety nine for the Cat, accordingly as he demanded, and took away with him his Merchandise. The Servant on the other side brought home the money to his Mi­stresse, who was so joyfull at it, that she fayled not to give the Ducket, at which price the Horse was sold, to the begging Friers, as her Husband had or­dained, and reserved the rest to provide for her self and her Children.

Give me your advice now, was she not more wise than her Husband, and had as great a care of her own Con­science, [Page 419]as of the profit of her Children? I do believe said Parlament, that she loved her Husband well, for seeing that on his death-bed he had but ill considered of his own affairs, she who did know his intentions, did know also to give the best interpretation of it for the ad­vancement of his Children, for which I do commend her for her wisdom. [...]ow, said Guebron, do you not esteem it a great fault to fail to perform the Will of the dead? So I should, said Parlament, provided the Te­stator were in good sense. Do you think, said Guebron, that he was not in perfect memory to bestow his goods on the Church, and on religious men? I do not think it to be an error, said Parlament, when a man doth di­stribute to Beggers what God hath given into his hands; but for a married man to give away all that he hath at his death, and to leave his Family not long afterwards to perish for hunger, I do not approve it, and in my o­pimon it would be more acreptable to God, if he had ta­ken more care of the poor Orphans whom he loft behind him, who having nothing wherewith to feed themselves, and being oppressed with poverty, would oftentimes curse the memory of their Father, instead of blessing him, when they shall find themselves to pine away for hunger; for God who knoweth the hearts of Men cannot be de­ceived, and will not only judge according to works, but according unto Faith and Charity who do de­rive themselves from him. Wherefore is it then, said Guebron, that covetousnesse at this day is so rooted in all estates of the World, that the greatest part of Men have not the leasure to think of the distributing of their Goods, untill they do find themselves to be assayl­ed by death, and that they must give up their accounts to God? I do believe that they do so settle all their affecti­ons upon their riches, that if they could carry them a­way with them, they would most willingly do it, but there is an hour, in which our Saviour will make them more grievously to feel their punishment, than in the hour of death; for then whatsoever they have done all the time of their lives, be it good or evil, shall in an instant [Page 420]be represented before their eys; it is the hour in which the Books of our Consciences shall be opened, and where every one shall see the Good and [...]vil which he hath done, for the wicked Spirits will omit nothing, which they will [...] represent unto a sinner, either to tempt him to a presumption that he hath lived well and holily, or to throw him into a desperation of the Mercies of God, to the end that he may turn aside out of the right way. If you know any History, said Nomerfide, that is to this purpose, I intreat you Hircan, if you think us worthy of it, that you would rehearse it to us, I will with all my heart, said Hircan, and although it will be [...]plea­sing to [...] to repeat a story to you to the disadvantage of any man, yet seeing we have not [...] either Kings, or Dukes, or Earls, or Barons, there ought no [...] offence to he taken if we put any others into the rank amongst so many noble personages; for we do know that there are good men in all Estates, and that the good ought not to be prejudiced by the bad. Let us [...]ave off therefore this discourse, and give a beginning to our History.

One Frier fraudulently did marry another Frier who was one of his Companions to a fair young Gentlewo­man, for which they were both after­wards severely punished
The sixth Novel

A French Lady so journing in Padua, it was there [...]old her that there was a Frier in the Bishops Prison, and demanding the occasion of it, because she sound that every one did talk of it in mockery, she was informed that this Frier an antient Man, was a Confessor to a very noble and a devout Lady, who was a W [...]ddow, and had but one Daughter, whom she loved so entirely, that she thought it no trouble not pains at all to heap up wealth to provide a [Page 421]round sum for her portion; And finding that she did begin to grow into age, she was in a continual care to look out a good Huband for her, who might live with her in peace and quiet, that is to say, who was a Man of as good a Conscience as she was estee­med to be. And because she heard a foolish Monk preach, that it were better to doe ill by the Counsel of the Doctors of the Church, than to doe well a­gainst the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, she ad­dressed her self to a Frier who was a Confessor, an antient Man, and a Doctor in Divinity, being esteemed to be a good liver throughout all the City, who assured her that if his Counsels or his prayers could prevail, he would not fail to provide for the comfort of her self, and of her Daughter. And when she had often and earnestly intreated him to choose a Husband for her Daughter, and such a one whom a Virgin loving God and her Honour ought to wish for; He made answer to her, that first of all by fasting and prayers he would implore the Holy Spi­rit, that God would be pleased to conduct him in what he had to do, and he then doubted not to find such a Husband for her Daughter as she desired; and having put her into this comfort, the Frier depar­ted, and considered by himself what he had to do; and because he understood by the Lady that she had gathered together two thousand Duckets, which she had in a readinesse to give unto him who should be her Daughters Husband, and that she would take upon herself the care and charge of them both, fur­nishing them with house, moveables, and all ac­commodations; he considered with himself that he had a young companion, a handsome and a likely man, on whom he would bestow the young Gentle­woman, and a house with all the furniture, and an assured maintenance during his life, and resolved to keep the two thousand Duckets for himself, to sa­tisfie his ardent avarice.

After that he had spoken with his Companion a­bout [Page 422]it, they both immediatly accorded, and he re­turned to the old Lady, and said to her, I doe un­doubtedly believe, that God did send unto me his Angel Raphael as he did to Toby to procure an accomplished Husband for your Daughter, for I dare assure you that I have now in hand one of the most honest young Gentlemen in all Italy, who hath somewhere seen your Daughter, and is so much taken with her, that this day being in Prayer, God did send him to me, and of his own accord he de­clared unto me the passionate desire he had unto this marriage. I who doe well know his Family and his Kinred, and what is the conversation of his own life, did promise him to acquaint you with it. True it is, there is one inconvenience in it, and it is all which I doe know, that ingaging himself to assist one of his friends whom another would have killed, he did draw his Sword thinking to part them, but it so fell out that his friend did kill his Enemy, wherefore he, although he did strike no blow at all, was constrained to fly out of the Town, because he was present at the Man-slaughter, and by the counsel of his Parents he is come to this Town in the Habit of a Scholar, where he doth live unknown until his Parents doe give satisfaction un­to Justice, which he hopeth will be in a very few days. For this cause the marriage ought to be as pri­vate as possibly you can, and you must be content to have him goe every day to the publick Lectures, and every night he may come home to Supper, and lie in your house. The Lady being over-joyed did say unto him, Sir, in that which you speak I doe find a great advantage, for by this means I shall have him near unto me, and every night in my house, which I desire above any thing in the world. To accomplish this, the Frier brought him to her in a very good Habit, having on a Crimzen Satten doublet, at which she was very glad.

After he was come, the preparations for the Wed­ding [Page 422]immediatly began, and when ever the mid­night was passed, Masse was said, and the young couple were married, and afterwards did goe to bed together. About the break of day, the Bridegroom said unto the Bride, that because he must not be mis­sing at the Lecture, he was constrained to goe unto the College, and having put on his doublet of Crimson Satten, and his Scholars Gown, not for­getting his square Cap, he came to bid his Bride good morrow, who was in bed, and assured her that in the Evening he would come to Supper to her, but at dinner he desired her that she would not ex­pect him, and so having kissed her he took his leave of his Wife, who thought her self to be the happiest Woman in the World having got so good a Hus­band. And the young married Frier returned to his old Father to whom he brought the two thousand Duckets accordingly as they had covenanted be­tween themselves at the agreement of the mariage, and at Evening he failed not to return to Supper unto her, who did believe he was her Husband, who preserved himself so well in hers and her M [...]thers love, that they would not have changed him for the greatest Prince in the World.

This life continued a certain time, but as God hath pity on those who out of the simplicity of a good intent are deceived, it so fell out, that one morning this young Gentlewoman and her Mother had a great Devotion to hear Masse, at the Covent of St Francis, and to give a visit to their Father the Confessor by whose means they were so well provi­ded, the one with a Son-in-law, and the other with an Husband, and by fortune not finding their Confessor nor any other of their acquaintance, they were resolved to hear high Masse which was then beginning, expecting the coming of their Confessor. The young Gentlewoman being attentive to the Di­vine Service, and the Mysteries therein con­tained, (when the Priest turned towards the com­mon [Page 424]people to say Dominus Vobiscum) was struck with a sudden amazement, for she thought with her self that it was her Husband, or one very like him, but she would not speak one word, but attended until he turned once more towards them, when she looked upon him more advisedly, with the sharpest discretion of her eye, and she did then assure her self that it was he; wherefore she took her Mother by the Arm who was in a great contemplation, and said unto her, Woe is me, Madam, Who is that whom I see yonder? Her Mother being startled at it, said, Who? She replyed unto her, it is my own Husband who says Masse, it is impossible that any one in the world should so much resemble him. Her Mother who had not well observed him did say unto her, Daughter, I pray you suffer not such a thought to invade your fancy, for it is a thing abso­lutely impossible, that those who are religious and holy men should be guilty of such a trompery; you doe greatly Sin against God to believe such an opi­nion. Neverthelesse her Mother did more stedfast­ly fasten her eyes upon him: And when he turned again to say Ite, Missa est, she confessed, that truly, never two Brothers that came out of one Belly were more like; for all this she was so innocent, that lifting up her eyes she said, My God assist me that I may not believe what I see; but because it so much concerned her Daughter, she determined to exa­min the businesse further, and to be resolved in her self of the truth thereof.

When the Evening came, her Husband who did not see them at Masse did return according to his Custom, and the Mother coming to the Daughter said unto her. We may now know the truth if you will, whether he who said Masse be your Husband, or no; For as soon as he shall be in bed, I will come to you, and he not thinking of it, you shall pluck his Cap from off his head, and we shall both see if he hath such a Crown as he had who said Masse this [Page 425]day. This resolution being taken was accordingly put in execution, for as soon as the ungracious Husband was in bed, the old Woman came into the Cham­her, and taking him by both his hands as it were in sport, her Daugher pulled off his Cap, and be­held his shaven Crown, whereat they were so much astonished, that it is impossible to be more. And immediatly they called their Servants who did take him, and bind him until it were morning, the many excuses and the fair words he made being all in vain.

The morning appearing, the Lady sent to seek her Confessor, pretending that she had a great Secret to impart to him, who immediatly did come unto her, and she caused him to be taken and bound as was the younger Frier, reproaching them for the hor­rible abuse they had committed: And presently af­terwards she delivered them unto Justice into whose hands she did commit them both, where you may judge, if any of understanding be present to judge, that they did not goe unpunished.

Here Ladies, by demonstration you may find, that all those who do vow poverty are not exempt from being tempted with avarice, which is the occasion of so many Evils. Nay rather of so much goods, said Saffre­dant, for the two thousand Duckets which the old Wo­man gave the Friers out of her Treasury, were goods e­nough to make them merry. And the poor Girl her Daughter who had so long stayed for one Husband, might now by this means have two, and be better enabled to dispute the truth of all Complexions. You entertain always the worst thoughts that may be, said Oy­silla; for in your own opinion, all women are of your own temper. Madam, by your leave, said Saffredant, I did not care if they were, provided they were as easie to be contented as we Men are. You speak against the Truth, said Oysilla, for I am consident, there is not a woman here amongst us but knows the contrary, and moreover you speak directly against the sense of the Ac­count [Page 426]just now rehearsed, which was to shew the ignorance of poor woman, and the subtilty and the sin of those whom we do commonly believe to be better Men than all others; for you shall find, that neither the good Woman nor her Daughter did any thing of their own heads, but submitted their desires unto the Counsel of their Confessor. Howsoever there are some women so difficult to please, said Longaren, that in their own opini­ons they do deserve to have Angels for their Husbands; and that is the reason, said Simontault, that so often­times they do find Devils, especially those Women, who not relying on the Grace of God, do trust altogether to their own apprehensions, or are slattered to a conceit by o­thers, to find in this world that felicity which is not given, nor can come from any but from God only. How now Simontault? said Oysilla, I thought you had not known so much. Madam, said Simontault, I am sorry that you conceive me to be no better experienced, for through my defect of knowledge, I perceive that you en­tertain a bad opinion of me, but for all that (by your leave) why may not I perform the office of a Frier, since a Frier hath performed the office of such a Man as I am, Fy, fy, Do you call it an office, said Parlament, to de­ceive Women? in doing so, out of your own mouth you judg your self. If I should deceive a hundred thousand of them, said Simontault, I should not be reveng'd for the torments which but from one of them I have received. I know well enough, said Parlament, that oftentimes you do make your complaint against Ladies, yet neverthelesse we see you jocund, and in so good liking, that we cannot believe you suffer so much as you say you do. But the Author of the fair Lady doth affirm that from bad promi­ses no good can be expected to ensue. You do allege a notable Doctor, said Simontault, who is not only stubborn and churlish himself, but also makes them all to be so who do read and follow his Doctrine. So it is, said Parlament, that his Doctrine is more profitable to young Women than any Doctrine that I know. But, said Si­montault, If Ladies were without mercy, we might [Page 427]set up our Horses in our Stables, and let our Armor rust upon our walls, and think on nothing but our Country affairs. I pray tell me, if it be for the ho­nour of a Lady to have the Name to be without pity, with­out Charity, without Mercy? Without Love and Charity, said Parlament, she must not be; but the word of Mer­cy doth sound so strangely in the ears of Ladies, that they cannot use it without some offence unto their Honours; for Mercy properly, is to grant that favour which is de­manded, and we know well enough what is the favour which Men do desire: Be not displeased Madam (said Simontault) there are some Men so reasonable, that they desire only but good words. You cause me now, said Parlament, to remember him, who did content himself with a Glove. I would fain know, said Hircan, who was that gracious Servant? and for that cause I do give you my voice. It will be a pleasure to me, said Parla­ment, to repeat it to you, for the story is full of Ho­nesty.

A ridiculous account of a Lord of England, who on his Habiliments did wear the Glove of a Lady.
The Seventh Nove