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The Unfortunate Lovers
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By Monseigneur De La Roche.
_Of a squire who saw his mistress, whom he greatly loved, between
two other gentlemern, and did not notice that she had hold of both of
them till another knight informed him of the matter as you will hear._
A kind and noble gentleman, who wished to spend his time in the service
of the Court of Love, devoted himself, heart, body, and goods, to a fair
and honest damsel who well deserved it, and who was specially suited to
do what she liked with men; and his amour with her lasted long. And he
thought that he stood high in her good graces, though to say the truth,
he was no more a favourite than the others, of whom there were many.
It happened one day that this worthy gentleman found his lady, by
chance, in the embrasure of a window, between a knight and a squire, to
whom she was talking. Sometimes she would speak to one apart and not let
the other hear, another time she did the same to the other, to please
both of them, but the poor lover was greatly vexed and jealous, and did
not dare to approach the group.
The only thing to do was to walk away from her, although he desired her
presence more than anything else in the world. His heart told him that
this conversation would not tend to his advantage, in which he was not
far wrong. For, if his eyes had not been blinded by affection, he could
easily have seen what another, who was not concerned, quickly perceived,
and showed him, in this wise.
When he saw and knew for certain that the lady had neither leisure nor
inclination to talk to him, he retired to a couch and lay down, but he
could not sleep.
Whilst he was thus sulking, there came a gentleman, who saluted all the
company, and seeing that the damsel was engaged, withdrew to the recess
where the squire was lying sleepless upon the couch; and amongst other
conversation the squire said,
"By my faith, monseigneur, look towards the window; there are some
people who are making themselves comfortable. Do you not see how
pleasantly they are talking."
"By St. John, I see them," said the knight, "and see that they are doing
something more than talking."
"What else?" said the other.
"What else? Do you not see that she has got hold of both of them?"
"Got hold of them!"
"Truly yes, poor fellow! Where are your eyes? But there is a great
difference between the two, for the one she holds in her left hand is
neither so big nor so long as that which she holds in her right hand."
"Ha!" said the squire, "you say right. May St. Anthony burn the wanton;"
and you may guess that he was not well pleased.
"Take no heed," said the knight, "and bear your wrong as patiently
as you can. It is not here that you have to show your courage: make a
virtue of necessity."
Having thus spoken, the worthy knight approached the window where the
three were standing, and noticed by chance that the knight on the left,
hand, was standing on tip-toe, attending to what the fair damsel and the
squire were saying and doing.
Giving him a slight tap on his hat, the knight said,
"Mind your own business in the devil's name, and don't trouble about
The other withdrew, and began to laugh, but the damsel, who was not the
sort of woman to care about trifles, scarcely showed any concern, but
quietly let go her hold without brushing or changing colour, though she
was sorry in her heart to let out of her hand what she could have well
used in another place.
As you may guess, both before and after that time, either of those two
would most willingly have done her a service, and the poor, sick lover
was obliged to be a witness of the greatest misfortune which could
happen to him, and his poor heart would have driven him to despair,
if reason had not come to his help, and caused him to abandon his love
affairs, out of which he had never derived any benefit.
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