Rejected thus on all sides, the poor unfortunate withdrew to a home in which she was fated to meet with better treatment from her husband than she had deserved.
“You see, ladies, why I say that if the poor husband had been more watchful over his wife, he would not thus have lost her. A thing that is well guarded is difficult to lose, but heedlessness makes the thief.”
“’Tis a strange thing,” said Hircan, “how strong love is just where it seems most unreasonable.”
“I have heard,” said Simontault, “that it were easier to break two marriages than to sunder the love of a priest and his serving-maid.”
“I believe it,” said Ennasuite; “for those who bind others together in marriage, are so well able to tie the knot that nought but death can destroy it. Theologians, moreover, hold that spiritual language is of more effect than any other, and in consequence spiritual love surpasses any other kind.”
“It is a thing that I cannot forgive in ladies,” said Dagoucin, “when they forsake an honourable husband or a lover for a priest, however handsome and worthy the latter may be.”
“I pray you, Dagoucin,” said Hircan, “intermeddle not with our Holy Mother Church. Be assured that ’tis a great delight for timorous and secret-loving women to sin with those who can absolve them; for there are some who are more ashamed to confess a thing than to do it.”
“You speak,” said Oisille, “of those who have no knowledge of God, and who think not that secret matters are one day revealed in presence of the Company of Heaven. But I think that it is not for confession’s sake that they go after confessors; for the Enemy has so blinded them that they are more concerned to attach themselves where they think there is most concealment and security, than anxious to obtain absolution for the wickedness of which they do not repent.”
“Repent, say you?” said Saffredent. “Nay, they deem themselves holier than other women. I am sure that there are some who deem it honourable in themselves that they are constant in such love.”
“You speak in such a manner,” said Oisille to Saffredent, “that I think you know of some one of that kind. I pray you, therefore, begin the Day tomorrow by telling us what you know. But now the last bell for vespers is already ringing; for our friends the monks went off as soon as they had heard the tenth tale, and left us to finish our discussions among ourselves.”
At these words they all rose and came to the church, where they found the monks awaiting them. Then, after hearing vespers, they all supped together, talking the while of many excellent stories. After supper they went, according to their wont, to disport themselves somewhat in the meadow, and then retired to rest, in order that their memories might be the sounder on the morrow.
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