What The Eye Does Not See

By Monsieur Le Voyer.

_Of a gentle knight who was enamoured of a young and beautiful girl,

and how he caught a malady in one of his eyes, and therefore sent for a

doctor, who likewise fell in love with the same girl, as you will

hear; and of the words which passed between the knight and the doctor

concerning the plaster which the doctor had put on the knight's good


br /> In the pleasant and fertile land of Holland, not a hundred years ago, a

noble knight lodged in a fair and good inn, where there was a young and

very pretty chamber-maid, with whom he was greatly enamoured, and for

love of her had arranged with the Duke of Burgundy's quartermaster that

he should be lodged in this inn, in order that he might better carry out

his intentions with regard to this girl.

After he had been at this inn five or six days, there happened to him a

misfortune, for he had a disease in one of his eyes so that he could not

keep it open, so sharp was the pain. And as he much feared to lose it,

and it was an organ that required much care and attention, he sent for

the Duke's surgeon, who was at that time in the the town. And you must

know that the said surgeon was a good fellow, and much esteemed and

spoken about throughout all the country.

As soon as the surgeon saw this eye, he declared that it could not be

saved, which is what they customarily say, so that if they do cure the

disease they may gain more praise and profit.

The good knight was greatly vexed at this news, and asked if there were

no means of cure, and the other replied that it would be very difficult,

nevertheless he might, with God's aid, cure it, if the knight would obey

all his instructions.

"If you can cure me and save my eye," said the knight, "I will pay you


The bargain was made, and the surgeon undertook with God's aid to cure

the bad eye, and arranged at what hour he would come every day to apply

the dressings.

You must know that every time the surgeon came to see his patient, the

pretty chambermaid accompanied him, to hold his box or basin, or help to

move the poor patient, who forgot half his pain in the presence of his


If the good knight had been struck by the beauty of the chambermaid,

so also was the surgeon; who, each time that he paid a visit, could not

help casting sheep's eyes at the fair face of the chambermaid, and at

last passionately declared his love, which was well received, for she

immediately granted his requests, but it was not easy to find means to

carry out their ardent desires.

At last, after some trouble, a plan was hit on by the prudent and

cunning surgeon, and it was this:

"I will tell my patient," he said, "that his eye cannot be cured unless

his other eye is bandaged, for by throwing all the work on the sound

eye he prevents the other from getting well. If he will allow it to be

bandaged up, we shall have a capital means of taking our pleasure, even

in his chamber, without his having any suspicion of it."

The girl, whose desires were quite as warm as those of the surgeon, was

quite agreeable, provided the plan could be carried out.

"We will try," said the surgeon.

He came at the usual hour to see the bad eye, and when he had uncovered

it, pretended to be much surprised.

"What!" he cried. "I never saw such a disease; the eye is worse than it

was fifteen days ago. You must have patience, monsieur."

"In what way?" said the knight.

"Your good eye must be bandaged and concealed, so that no light can

reach it, for an hour or so after I have applied this plaster and

ordered another--for, no doubt, it prevents the other from healing.

Ask," he said, "this pretty girl, who sees it every day, how it is

getting on."

The girl said that it looked worse than before.

"Well," said the knight, "I leave myself in your hands; do with me

whatever you please. I am content to be blindfolded as much as you like,

provided I am cured in the long run."

The two lovers were very joyful when they saw that the knight allowed

his eyes to be bandaged. When all the arrangements had been made, and

the knight had his eyes bandaged, master surgeon pretended to leave as

usual, promising to come back soon to take off the bandage.

He did not go very far, for he threw the girl on a couch not far from

the patient, and with quite a different instrument to that which he had

employed on the knight, visited the secret cloisters of the chambermaid.

Three, four, five, six times did he perform on the pretty girl without

the knight noticing it, for though he heard the storm he did not know

what it was; but as it still continued, his suspicions were aroused,

and this time, when he heard the noise of the combat, he tore off

the bandages and plasters and threw them away, and saw the two lovers

struggling together, and seeming as though they would eat each other, so

closely united were their mouths.

"What is this, master surgeon?" cried he. "Have you blindfolded me in

order to do me this wrong. Is my eye to be cured by this means? Tell

me--did you prepare this trick for me? By St. John, I suspect I was more

often visited for love of my chambermaid than for my eyes. Well! well!

I am in your hands now, sir, and cannot yet revenge myself, but the day

will come when I will make you remember me."

The surgeon, who was a thoroughly good fellow, began to laugh, and made

his peace with the knight, and I believe that, after the eye was cured,

they agreed to divide the work between them.