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,

"Hacquin! Hacquin!"

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