By Monseigneur De Fiennes.

_Of a Count who would ravish by force a fair, young girl who was one of

his subjects, and how she escaped from him by means of his leggings,

and how he overlooked her conduct and helped her to a husband, as is

hereafter related._

I know that in many of the stories already related the names of the

persons concerned are not stated, but I desire to give,
in my little

history, the name of Comte Valerien, who was in his time Count of St.

Pol, and was called "the handsome Count". Amongst his other lordships,

he was lord of a village in the district of Lille, called Vrelenchem,

about a league distant from Lille.

This gentle Count, though of a good and kind nature, was very amorous.

He learned by report from one of his retainers, who served him in these

matters, that at the said Vrelenchem there resided a very pretty girl

of good condition. He was not idle in these matters, and soon after he

heard the news, he was in that village, and with his own eyes confirmed

the report that his faithful servants had given him concerning the said


"The next thing to be done," said the noble Count, "is that I must speak

to her alone, no matter what it may cost me."

One of his followers, who was a doctor by profession, said, "My lord,

for your honour and that of the maiden also, it seems to me better that

I should make known to her your will, and you can frame your conduct

according to the reply that I receive."

He did as he said, and went to the fair maiden and saluted her

courteously, and she, who was as wise as she was fair and good, politely

returned his salute.

To cut matters short, after a few ordinary phrases, the worthy messenger

preached much about the possessions and the honours of his master, and

told her that if she liked she would be the means of enriching all her


The fair damsel knew what o'clock it was. (*) Her reply was like

herself--fair and good--for it was that she would obey, fear, and serve

the Count in anything that did not concern her honour, but that she held

as dear as her life.

(*) A literal translation. La bonne fille entendit tantost

quelle heure il estoit.

The one who was astonished and vexed at this reply was our go-between,

who returned disappointed to his master, his embassy having failed. It

need not be said that the Count was not best pleased at hearing of this

proud and harsh reply made by the woman he loved better than anyone in

the world, and whose person he wished to enjoy. But he said, "Let us

leave her alone for the present. I shall devise some plan when she

thinks I have forgotten her."

He left there soon afterwards, and did not return until six weeks had

passed, and, when he did return it was very quietly, and he kept himself

private, and his presence unknown.

He learned from his spies one day that the fair maiden was cutting grass

at the edge of a wood, and aloof from all company; at which he was very

joyful, and, all booted as he was, set out for the place in company with

his spies. And when he came near to her whom he sought, he sent away his

company, and stole close to her before she was aware of his presence.

She was astonished and confused, and no wonder, to see the Count so

close to her, and she turned pale and could not speak, for she knew by

report that he was a bold and dangerous man to women.

"Ha, fair damsel," said the Count, "you are wondrous proud! One is

obliged to lay siege to you. Now defend yourself as best you can, for

there will be a battle between us, and, before I leave, you shall suffer

by my will and desire, all the pains that I have suffered and endured

for love of you."

"Alas, my lord!" said the young girl, who was frightened and surprised.

"I ask your mercy! If I have said or done anything that may displease

you, I ask your pardon; though I do not think I have said or done

anything for which you should owe me a grudge. I do not know what report

was made of me. Dishonourable proposals were made to me in your name,

but I did not believe them, for I deem you so virtuous that on no

account would you dishonour one of your poor, humble subjects like me,

but on the contrary protect her."

"Drop this talk!" said my lord, "and be sure that you shall not escape

me. I told you why I sent to you, and of the good I intended to do you,"

and without another word, he seized her in his arms, and threw her down

on a heap of grass which was there, and pressed her closely, and quickly

made all preparations to accomplish his desire.

The young girl, who saw that she was on the point of losing that which

she held most precious, bethought her of a trick, and said,

"Ah, my lord, I surrender! I will do whatever you like, and without

refusal or contradiction, but it would be better that you should do with

me whatever you will by my free consent, than by force and against my

will accomplish your intent."

"At any rate," said my lord, "you shall not escape me! What is it you


"I would beg of you," said she, "to do me the honour not to dirty me

with your leggings, which are greasy and dirty, and which you do not


"What can I do with them?" asked my lord.

"I will take them off nicely for you," said she, "if you please; for

by my word, I have neither heart nor courage to welcome you if you wear

those mucky leggings."

"The leggings do not make much difference," said my lord, "nevertheless

if you wish it, they shall be taken off."

Then he let go of her, and seated himself on the grass, and stretched

out his legs, and the fair damsel took off his spurs, and then tugged

at one of his leggings, which were very tight. And when with much

difficulty she had got it half off, she ran away as fast as her legs

could carry her with her will assisting, and left the noble Count, and

never ceased running until she was in her father's house.

The worthy lord who was thus deceived was in as great a rage as he could

be. With much trouble he got on his feet, thinking that if he stepped

on his legging he could pull it off, but it was no good, it was too

tight, and there was nothing for him to do but return to his servants.

He did not go very far before he found his retainers waiting for him by

the side of a ditch; they did not know what to think when they saw him

in that disarray. He related his story, and they put his boots on for

him, and if you had heard him you would have thought that she who thus

deceived him was not long for this world, he so cursed and threatened


But angry as he was for a time, his anger soon cooled, and was converted

into sincere respect. Indeed he afterwards provided for her, and married

her at his own cost and expense to a rich and good husband, on account

of her frankness and loyalty.