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Bids And Biddings








By Monseigneur De Launoy.

_Of a number of boon companions making good cheer and drinking at
a tavern, and how one of them had a quarrel with his wife when he
returned home, as you will hear._


A number of good fellows had once assembled to make good cheer at the
tavern and drink as much as they could. And when they had eaten and
drunk to God's praise and _usque ad Hebreos_ (*), and had paid their
reckoning, some of them began to say, "How shall we be received by our
wives when we return home?" "God knows if we shall be excommunicated."
"They will pluck us by the beard." "By Our Lady!" said one, "I am afraid
to go home." "God help me! so am I," said another. "I shall be sure
to hear a sermon for Passion Sunday." "Would to God that my wife were
dumb--I should drink more boldly than I do now."

(*) A pun on the word _ebreos_ (drunken).

So spoke all of them with one exception, and that was a good fellow who
said,

"How now, good sirs? You all seem every miserable, and each has a wife
who forbids him to go to the tavern, and is displeased if you drink.
Thank God my wife is not one of that sort, for if I drink ten--or even
a hundred-times a day that is not enough for her,--in short I never knew
an instance in which she did not wish I had drunk as much again. For,
when I come back from the tavern she always wishes that I had the rest
of the barrel in my belly, and the barrel along with it. Is not that a
sign that I do not drink enough to please her?"

When his companions heard this argument they began to laugh, and all
praised his wife, and then each one went his own way.

The good fellow we have mentioned, went home, where he found his wife
not over friendly, and ready to scold him; and as soon as she saw him
she began the usual lecture, and, as usual, she wished the rest of the
barrel in his belly.

"Thank you, my dear, you are always much kinder than all the other women
in the town for they all get wild if their husbands drink too much, but
you--may God repay you--always wish that I may have a good draught that
would last me all my days."

"I don't know that I wish that," she said, "but I pray to God that you
may drink such a lot some day that you may burst."

Whilst they were conversing thus affectionately, the soup-kettle on the
fire began to boil over, because the fire was too hot, and the good man,
who noticed that his wife did not take it off the fire, said;

"Don't you see, wife, that the pot is boiling over?"

She was still angry and indignant, and replied;

"Yes, master, I see it."

"Well then, take it off, confound you! Do as I bid you."

"I will," she replied, "I will bid twelve pence." (*)

(*) There is a pun in the French on the two meanings of the
verb _hausser_,--"to raise" and to "augment" or "run up."

"Oh, indeed, dame," said he, "is that your reply? Take off that pot, in
God's name!"

"Well!" she said. "I will put it at seven _sous_. Is that high enough?"

"Ha, ha!" he said. "By St. John that shall not pass without three blows
with a good stick."

He picked up a thick stick, and laid it with all his might across her
back, saying as he did so,

"The lot is knocked down to you."

She began to cry, and the neighbours all assembled and asked what was
the matter? The good man told them and they all laughed--except the
woman who had had the lot knocked down to her.


*****





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Previous: A Good Dog



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