Nailed! [85]

By Monseigneur De Santilly.

_Of a goldsmith, married to a fair, kind, and gracious lady, and very

amorous withal of a cure, her neighbour, with whom her husband found her

in bed, they being betrayed by one of the goldsmith's servants, who was

jealous, as you will hear._

A hundred years ago, or thereabouts, there happened in a town on the

borders of France a curious incident, wh
ch I will relate, to increase

my number of stories, and also because it deserves to rank with the


In this town there was a man whose wife was fair, kind, and gracious,

and much enamoured of a churchman, her own cure and near neighbour, who

loved her as much as she did him, but to find an opportunity to come

together amorously was difficult, but it was at last found by the

ingenuity of the lady, in the manner I will describe.

Her husband was a goldsmith, and so greedy of gain that he would never

sleep an hour in which he could work.

Every day he would rise an hour or two before dawn, and let his wife

take a long rest till eight or nine o'clock, or as long as she pleased.

This amorous dame seeing how diligent her husband was, and that he rose

early every day to hammer and work, determined to employ with the cure

the time during which she was neglected by her husband, and arranged

that at such and such an hour her lover could visit her without her

husband's knowledge, for the cure's house stood next to hers.

This happy expedient was proposed to the cure, who gladly accepted

it, for it seemed to him that his amour could be carried on easily and

secretly. So as soon as the proposal was made it was executed, and thus

they continued to live for a long time; but fortune--envious perhaps of

their happiness and sweet enjoyment--willed that their amours should be

unfortunately discovered in the manner you will hear.

This goldsmith had an assistant, who was in love with his master's wife,

and very jealous of her, and he perceived the cure often talking to the

lady, and he guessed what was the matter. But he could not imagine how

and when they met, unless it was that the cure came in the morning when

he and his master were in the workshop. These suspicions so ran in his

head that he watched and listened in order that he might find out the

truth, and he watched so well that he learned the facts of the case, for

one morning he saw the cure come, soon after the goldsmith had left the

chamber, and enter and close the door after him.

When he was quite sure that his suspicions were confirmed, he informed

his master of his discovery in these terms.

"Master, I serve you, not only that I may earn your money, eat your

bread, and do your work well and honestly, but also to protect your

honour and preserve it from harm. If I acted otherwise I should not be

worthy to be your servant. I have long had a suspicion that our cure was

doing you a grievous wrong, but I said nothing to you until I was sure

of the facts. That you may not suppose I am trumping up an idle story, I

would beg of you to let us go now to your chamber, for I am sure that we

shall find him there."

When the good man heard this news, he was much inclined to laugh, but he

agreed to go to his chamber along with his assistant--who first made

him promise that he would not kill the cure, or otherwise he would not

accompany him, but consented that the cure should be well punished.

They went up to the chamber, and the door was soon opened. The husband

entered first, and saw his wife in the arms of the cure who was forging

as hard as he could.

The goldsmith cried;

"Die, die, scoundrel! What brings you here?"

The cure was surprised and alarmed, and begged for mercy.

"Silence, rascally priest, or I will kill you on the spot!"

"Oh, neighbour have mercy, for God's sake," said the cure; "do with me

whatever you like."

"By my father's soul! before I let you go I will make you so that you

will never want to hammer on any feminine anvil again. Get up, and let

yourself be bound, unless you wish to die!"

The poor wretch allowed himself to be fastened by his two enemies to a

bench, face upwards, and with his legs hanging down on each side of the

bench. When he was well fastened, so that he could move nothing but

his head, he was carried thus trussed (*) into a little shed behind the

house, which the goldsmith used as a melting-room.

(*) The word in the original is _marescaucie_, which

presumably means,--treated as the soldiers of the

_marechaussee_ treated their prisoners. Bibliophile Jacob

avoided philological pitfalls of this sort by omitting the

phrase altogether.

When the cure was safely placed in this shed, the goldsmith sent for two

long nails with large heads, and with these he fastened to the bench

the two hammers which had in his absence forged on his wife's anvil,

and after that undid all the ropes which fastened the poor wretch. Then

taking a handful of straw, he set fire to the shed, and leaving the cure

to his fate, rushed into the street, crying "Fire!"

The priest, finding himself surrounded by flames, saw that he must

either lose his genitals or be burned alive, so he jumped up and ran

away, leaving his purse nailed there.

An alarm was soon raised in the street, and the neighbours ran to put

out the fire. But the cure sent them back, saying that he had just come

from the spot, and all the harm that could occur had already been done,

so that they could give no assistance--but he did not say that it was he

who had suffered all the harm.

Thus was the poor cure rewarded for his love, through the false and

treacherous jealousy of the goldsmith's assistant, as you have heard.