How, like Master Francis Villon, the Lord of Basche commended his servants.
The catchpole being packed off on blind Sorrel—so he called his one-eyed mare—Basche sent for his lady, her women, and all his servants, into the arbour of his garden; had wine brought, attended with good store of pasties, hams, fruit, and other table-ammunition, for a nunchion; drank with them joyfully, and then told them this story:
Master Francis Villon in his old age retired to St. Maxent in Poitou, under the patronage of a good honest abbot of the place. There to make sport for the mob, he undertook to get the Passion acted, after the way, and in the dialect of the country. The parts being distributed, the play having been rehearsed, and the stage prepared, he told the mayor and aldermen that the mystery might be ready after Niort fair, and that there only wanted properties and necessaries, but chiefly clothes fit for the parts; so the mayor and his brethren took care to get them.
Villon, to dress an old clownish father greybeard, who was to represent God the father, begged of Friar Stephen Tickletoby, sacristan to the Franciscan friars of the place, to lend him a cope and a stole. Tickletoby refused him, alleging that by their provincial statutes it was rigorously forbidden to give or lend anything to players. Villon replied that the statute reached no farther than farces, drolls, antics, loose and dissolute games, and that he asked no more than what he had seen allowed at Brussels and other places. Tickletoby notwithstanding peremptorily bid him provide himself elsewhere if he would, and not to hope for anything out of his monastical wardrobe. Villon gave an account of this to the players, as of a most abominable action; adding, that God would shortly revenge himself, and make an example of Tickletoby.
The Saturday following he had notice given him that Tickletoby, upon the filly of the convent—so they call a young mare that was never leaped yet —was gone a-mumping to St. Ligarius, and would be back about two in the afternoon. Knowing this, he made a cavalcade of his devils of the Passion through the town. They were all rigged with wolves’, calves’, and rams’ skins, laced and trimmed with sheep’s heads, bull’s feathers, and large kitchen tenterhooks, girt with broad leathern girdles, whereat hanged dangling huge cow-bells and