Ha, ha, ha! quoth Carpalin, laughing; this is a remedy yet more apt and proper than Hans Carvel’s ring. The devil take me if I do not believe it! The humour, inclination, and nature of women is like the thunder, whose force in its bolt or otherwise burneth, bruiseth, and breaketh only hard, massive, and resisting objects, without staying or stopping at soft, empty, and yielding matters. For it pasheth into pieces the steel sword without doing any hurt to the velvet scabbard which ensheatheth it. It chrusheth also and consumeth the bones without wounding or endamaging the flesh wherewith they are veiled and covered. Just so it is that women for the greater part never bend the contention, subtlety, and contradictory disposition of their spirits unless it be to do what is prohibited and forbidden.
Verily, quoth Hippothadee, some of our doctors aver for a truth that the first woman of the world, whom the Hebrews call Eve, had hardly been induced or allured into the temptation of eating of the fruit of the Tree of Life if it had not been forbidden her so to do. And that you may give the more credit to the validity of this opinion, consider how the cautelous and wily tempter did commemorate unto her, for an antecedent to his enthymeme, the prohibition which was made to taste it, as being desirous to infer from thence, It is forbidden thee; therefore thou shouldst eat of it, else thou canst not be a woman.
How women ordinarily have the greatest longing after things prohibited.
When I was, quoth Carpalin, a whoremaster at Orleans, the whole art of rhetoric, in all its tropes and figures, was not able to afford unto me a colour or flourish of greater force and value, nor could I by any other form or manner of elocution pitch upon a more persuasive argument for bringing young beautiful married ladies into the snares of adultery, through alluring and enticing them to taste with me of amorous delights, than with a lively sprightfulness to tell them in downright terms, and to remonstrate to them with a great show of detestation of a crime so horrid, how their husbands were jealous. This was none of my invention. It is written, and we have laws, examples, reasons, and daily experiences confirmative of the same. If this belief once enter into their noddles, their husbands will infallibly be cuckolds; yea, by God, will they, without swearing, although they should do like Semiramis, Pasiphae, Egesta, the women of the Isle Mandez in Egypt, and other such-like queanish flirting harlots mentioned in the writings of Herodotus, Strabo, and such-like puppies.