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The Considerate Cuckold








By Monseigneur Le Duc.

_Of a knight of Picardy, who lodged at an inn in the town of St. Omer,
and fell in love with the hostess, with whom he was amusing himself--you
know how--when her husband discovered them; and how he behaved--as you
will shortly hear._


At Saint Omer, not long ago, there happened an amusing incident, which
is as true as the Gospel, and is known to many notable people worthy of
faith and belief. In short, the story is as follows.

A noble knight of Picardy, who was lively and lusty, and a man of great
authority and high position, came to an inn where the quartermaster of
Duke Philip of Burgundy had appointed him to lodge. (*)

(*) The _fourrier_--which, for want of a better word, I have
translated as "quartermaster,"--was an officer of the
household of a prince or great lord. One of his duties was
to provide lodgings for all the retinue whenever his master
was travelling.

As soon as he had jumped off his horse, and put foot to the ground,
his hostess--as is the custom in that part of the country--came forward
smiling most affably, and received him most honourably, and, as he
was the most kind and courteous of men, he embraced her and kissed
her gently, for she was pretty and nice, healthy-looking and nattily
dressed--in fact very tempting to kiss and cuddle--and at first sight
each took a strong liking to the other.

The knight wondered by what means he could manage to enjoy the person
of his hostess, and confided in one of his servants, who in a very short
time so managed the affair that the two were brought together.

When the noble knight saw his hostess ready to listen to whatever he
had to say, you may fancy that he was joyful beyond measure; and in his
great haste and ardent desire to discuss the question he wanted to argue
with her, forgot to shut the door of the room, which his servant, when
he departed after bringing the woman in, had left half open.

The knight, without troubling about preludes, began an oration in
dumb-show; and the hostess, who was not sorry to hear him, replied to
his arguments in such a manner that they soon agreed well together, and
never was music sweeter, or instruments in better tune, than it was for
those two, by God's mercy.

But it happened, by I know not what chance, that the host of the inn,
the husband of the woman, was seeking his wife to tell her something,
and passing by chance by the chamber where his wife and the knight were
playing the cymbals, heard the sound. He turned towards the spot where
this pleasant pastime was going on, and pushing open the door, saw the
knight and his wife harnessed together, at which he was by far the most
astonished of the three, and drew back quickly, fearing to prevent and
disturb the said work which they were performing. But all that he did
by way of menace or remonstrance was to call out from behind the door;
"Morbleu! you are not only wicked but thoughtless. Have you not the
sense, when you want to do anything of that sort, to shut the door
behind you? Just fancy what it would have been if anyone else had
found you! By God, you would have been ruined and dishonoured, and your
misdeeds discovered and known to all the town! In the devil's name, be
more careful another time!" and without another word, he closed the
door and went away; and the honest couple re-tuned their bagpipes, and
finished the tune they had begun.

And when this was finished, each went his or her own way as
unconcernedly as though nothing had happened; and the circumstance would
I believe have never been known--or at least not so publicly as to come
to your ears, and the ears of so many other people,--had it not been
that the husband vexed himself so little about the matter that he
thought less of being cuckolded than he did of finding the door
unbolted.


*****




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