The Gluttonous Monk

By Monseigneur De Vaurin.

_Of a Carmelite monk who came to preach at a village and after his

sermon, he went to dine with a lady, and how he stuffed out his gown, as

you will hear._

It is the custom of all countries for religious mendicants--Jacobins,

Cordeliers, Carmelites, and Augustinians--to go through all the towns

and villages, preaching against vice, and exalting and pra
sing virtue.

It happened once that a Carmelite, from the convent of Arras, arrived

one Sunday morning, at Libers, a pretty, little town of Artois, to

preach--which he could do piously and eloquently, for he was a learned

man and a good orator.

Whilst the cure was chanting high Mass, our Carmelite wandered about,

hoping to find some one who wanted a Mass said, whereby the monk could

earn a few pence, but no one came forward.

Seeing this, an old widow lady took compassion on him, allowed him to

say a Mass, and then sent her servant to give him two _patars_, and to

beg him to come to dinner with her that day.

Master monk snapped up the money, and accepted the invitation, and as

soon as he had preached his sermon, and high Mass was finished, he came.

The lady for whom he had said Mass, and who had invited him, left the

church with her maid, and went home to make all ready for the preacher,

who was conducted to the house by one of her servants, and most

courteously received. After he had washed his hands, the lady assigned

him a place by her side, and the varlet and the maid-servant prepared to

serve the repast, and first they brought in leek soup, with a good piece

of bacon, a dish of pig's chitterlings, and an ox tongue, roasted.

God knows that as soon as the monk saw the viands he drew forth from

his girdle a fine, long, large, and very sharp knife, and, as he said

_Benedicite_, he set to work in the leek soup.

Very soon he had finished that and the bacon as well, and drew towards

him the fine, fat chitterlings, and rioted amongst them like a wolf

amongst a flock of sheep; and before his hostess had half finished her

soup there was not the ghost of a chitterling left in the dish. Then he

took the ox tongue, and with his sharp knife cut off so many slices that

not a morsel remained.

The lady, who watched all this without saying a word, often glanced at

the varlet and the servant-maid, and they smiled quietly and glanced at

her. Then they brought a piece of good salt beef, and a capital piece

of mutton, and put them on the table. And the good monk, who had an

appetite like a hungry dog, attacked the beef, and if he had had little

pity for the chitterlings and the ox tongue, still less had he for this

fine piece of larded beef.

His hostess who took great pleasure in seeing him eat--which was more

than the varlet and the maid, did for they cursed him beneath their

breath--always filled his cup as soon as it was empty; and you may guess

that if he did not spare the meat neither did he spare the drink.

He was in such a hurry to line his gown that he would hardly say a word.

When the beef was all finished, and great part of the mutton--of which

his hostess had scarcely eaten a mouthful--she, seeing that her guest

was not yet satisfied, made a sign to the servant-maid to bring a huge

ham which had been cooked the day before for the household.

The maid--cursing the priest for gorging so--obeyed the order of her

mistress, and put the ham on the table. The good monk, without staying

to ask "who goes there", fell upon it tooth and nail, and at the very

first attack he carried off the knuckle, then the thick end, and so

dismembered it that soon there was nothing left but the bone.

The serving man and woman did not laugh much at this, for he had

entirely cleared the larder, and they were half afraid that he would eat

them as well.

To shorten the story--after all these before mentioned dishes, the lady

caused to be placed on the table a fine fat cheese, and a dish well

furnished with tarts, apples, and cheeses, with a good piece of fresh

butter--of all which there was not a scrap left to take away.

The dinner which has been described being thus finished, our preacher,

who was now as round as a tick, pronounced grace, and then said to his


"Damsel, I thank you for your good gifts; you have given me a hearty

welcome, for which I am much obliged to you. I will pray to Him who

fed five thousand men with a few loaves of barley bread and two small

fishes, and after they were all filled there remained over twelve

basketfuls--I will pray to Him to reward you."

"By St. John!" said the maid-servant coming forward, "you may well talk

about that. I believe that if you had been one of that multitude there

would not have been anything left over; for you would have eaten up

everything, and me into the bargain, if I had happened to have been


"No, truly, my dear," replied the monk, who was a jovial fellow with a

ready wit, "I should not have eaten you, but I should have spitted you,

and put you down to roast--that is what I should have done to you."

The lady began to laugh, and so did the varlet and the maid-servant, in

spite of themselves. And our monk, who had his belly well stuffed,

again thanked his hostess for having so well filled him, and went off to

another village to earn his supper--but whether that was as good as his

dinner I cannot say.