A Cure For The Plague

By Monseigneur De Villiers.

_Of a girl who was ill of the plague and caused the death of three men

who lay with her, and how the fourth was saved, and she also._

In the year of the pardons of Rome (*) just past, the plague was

so great and terrible in Dauphine, that the greater part of the

better-class people left the country.

(*) The great Jubilee of 1450.

At that time a fair, young damsel felt herself stricken with the malady,

and at once repaired to a neighbour, a woman of good condition, and

rather old, and related her piteous condition.

The neighbour, who was a wise and prudent woman, was not frightened

at what the told her, and had even sufficient courage and assurance

to comfort her with words, and what little she could do in the way of

medicine. "Alas!" said the young girl who was sick, "my good neighbour,

I greatly grieve that I must now leave the world and all the happinesses

and amusements I have long enjoyed! But, by my oath! and between

ourselves, my greatest sorrow is that I must die before I have known and

tasted the good things of this world; such and such young men have often

solicited me, and I bluntly refused them, for which I am now sorry; and

if I die I shall never have another chance to let a man show me how to

lose my maidenhead. They have told me that it is so pleasant and good,

that I sorrow for my fair and tender body, which must rot without

having had this much desired pleasure. And, to tell the truth, my good

neighbour, it seems to me that if I once tasted this delight before my

death, my end would be easier--I should die more easily, and with less

regret. And, what is more, my heart is so set upon this that it might be

medicine to me, and the cause of my cure."

"Would to God!" said the old woman, "that nothing else were needed; you

would be soon cured it seems to me, for--thank God--our town is not yet

so destitute of of men that we cannot find a good fellow to do this job

for you."

"My good neighbour," said the young girl, "I would beg of you to go

to such an one"--whom she named, who was a fine gentleman, and who had

formerly been in love with her--"and tell him to come here and speak to


The old woman set out, and found the gentleman, whom she sent to the

house. As soon as he came there, the young girl, who, on account of her

disease had a high colour, threw her arms round his neck, and kissed him

twenty times. The young man, more joyful than ever to find her whom he

had so much loved abandon herself to him, seized her without more ado,

and showed her that which she so much desired to know.

She was not ashamed to beg and pray him to continue as he had commenced;

and, in short, she made him begin again so often that he could do no

more. When she saw that, as she had not yet had her fill, she was bold

enough to say;

"My friend you have often beseeched for that which I ask you now. You

have done all that in you is, I know well. Nevertheless, I know that I

have not all I want, and I am sure that I cannot live unless some one

else comes and does to me what you have done, and therefore I beg of

you, if you value my life, to go to such an one and bring him hither."

"It is true, my dear, that I know well he will do what you want."

The gentleman was much astonished at the request; nevertheless, though

he had worked till he could do no more, he went off and found his

companion, and brought him to her, and he soon set to work as the other

had done.

When he was played out as his friend had been, she was not ashamed to

ask him, as she had done the first, to bring to her another gentleman,

and he did so.

This made three with whom she had fought a love battle and defeated them

all; but you must know that the first gentleman felt ill, and stricken

with the plague, as soon as he had sent his friend to take his place; so

he hastened to the priest, and confessed as best he could, and then died

in the priest's arms.

His friend also, the second comer, as soon as he had given up his place

to the third, felt very ill, and asked everywhere after the one who was

already dead. He met the priest, weeping and exhibiting great grief, who

told him of the death of his friend.

"Ah, monsieur le cure, I am stricken as he was; hear my confession."

The cure, in a great fright, made haste to hear his confession, and,

when that was finished, the gentleman, though within two hours of his

end, went to her from whom he and his friend had taken the contagion,

and found with her the man he had fetched, and said to her;

"Cursed woman! you have killed me and my friend also. You ought to be

burned to death! Nevertheless I pardon you, and may God pardon you!

You have the plague, and have given it to my friend, who died in the

priest's arms, and I shall soon follow him." With that he left, and died

an hour later in his own house.

The third gentleman, who had run the same risks as his companions, who

were both dead, did not feel very safe. Nevertheless, he took courage,

and cast aside all fear, and bethought him that he had often been in

perils and dangerous battles before, and went to the father and mother

of the girl who had killed his two companions, and told them that their

daughter was ill, and that they must take care of her. That being done,

he so conducted himself that he escaped the danger of which his two

friends had died.

Now you must know that when this slayer of men was brought back to her

father's house, whilst they were making a bed ready in which she could

repose and sweat, she sent secretly for the son of a shoe-maker, a

neighbour, and had him brought to her father's stable, where she made

him work as she had done the others, but he did not live four hours


She was put to bed, and they made her sweat greatly. And soon there

appeared upon her body four buboes, of which she was afterwards cured.

And I believe that you will find her now amongst the prostitutes at

Avignon, Vienne, Valence, or some other place in Dauphine.

And the doctors said that she had escaped death because she had tasted

the joys of this life; which is a notable and true example to many young

girls to never refuse a good thing when it comes in their way.