Beyond The Mark
By Monseigneur De Lannoy.
_Of a shepherd who made an agreement with a shepherdess that he should
mount upon her "in order that he might see farther," but was not to
penetrate beyond a mark which she herself made with her hand upon the
instrument of the said shepherd--as will more plainly appear hereafter._
Listen, if you please, to what happened, near Lille, to a shepherd and
ung shepherdess who tended their flocks together, or near each other.
Nature had already stirred in them, and they were of an age to know "the
way of the world", so one day an agreement was made between them
that the shepherd should mount on the shepherdess "in order to see
farther",--provided, however, that he should not penetrate beyond a
mark which she made with her hand upon the natural instrument of the
shepherd, and which was about two fingers' breadth below the head; and
the mark was made with a blackberry taken from the hedge.
That being done, they began God's work, and the shepherd pushed in as
though it had cost him no trouble, and without thinking about any mark
or sign, or the promise he had made to the shepherdess, for all that he
had he buried up to the hilt, and if he had had more he would have found
a place to put it.
The pretty shepherdess, who had never had such a wedding, enjoyed
herself so much that she would willingly have done nothing else all her
life. The battle being ended, both went to look after their sheep, which
had meanwhile strayed some distance. They being brought together again,
the shepherd, who was called Hacquin, to pass the time, sat in a swing
set up between two hedges, and there he swung, as happy as a king.
The shepherdess sat by the side of a ditch, and made a wreath of
flowers. She sang a little song, hoping that it would attract the
shepherd, and he would begin the game over again--but that was very far
from his thoughts. When she found he did not come, she began to call,
And he replied, "What do you want?"
"Come here! come here! will you?" she said.
But Hacquin had had a surfeit of pleasure and he replied;
"In God's name leave me alone. I am doing nothing; and enjoying myself."
Then the shepherdess cried;
"Come here, Hacquin; I will let you go in further, without making any
"By St. John," said Hacquin, "I went far beyond the mark, and I do not
want any more."
He would not go to the shepherdess, who was much vexed to have to remain