“Nonsense, my child! They are great ladies. I don’t mind telling you in confidence; they are great ladies in every respect.”
“Well,” said she, “am I nicer?”
“Ah,” said he, “in a great measure. Yes!”
“They have, then, great happiness,” said she, sighing, “when I have so much with so little beauty.”
Thereupon the provost tried a better argument to argue with his good wife, and argued so well that she finished by allowing herself to be convinced that Heaven has ordained that much pleasure may be obtained from small things.
This shows us that nothing here below can prevail against the Church of Cuckolds.
ABOUT THE MONK AMADOR, WHO WAS A GLORIOUS ABBOT OF TURPENAY
One day that it was drizzling with rain—a time when the ladies remain gleefully at home, because they love the damp, and can have at their apron strings the men who are not disagreeable to them—the queen was in her chamber, at the castle of Amboise, against the window curtains. There, seated in her chair, she was working at a piece of tapestry to amuse herself, but was using her needle heedlessly, watching the rain fall into the Loire, and was lost in thought, where her ladies were following her example. The king was arguing with those of his court who had accompanied him from the chapel—for it was a question of returning to dominical vespers. His arguments, statements, and reasonings finished, he looked at the queen, saw that she was melancholy, saw that the ladies were melancholy also, and noted the fact that they were all acquainted with the mysteries of matrimony.
“Did I not see the Abbot of Turpenay here just now?” said he.
Hearing these words, there advanced towards the king the monk, who, by his constant petitions, rendered himself so obnoxious to Louis the Eleventh, that that monarch seriously commanded his provost-royal to remove him from his sight; and it has been related in the first volume of these Tales, how the monk was saved through the mistake of Sieur Tristan. The monk was at this time a man whose qualities had grown rapidly, so much so that his wit had communicated a jovial hue to his face. He was a great favourite with the ladies, who crammed him with wine, confectioneries, and dainty dishes at the dinners, suppers, and merry-makings, to which they invited him, because every host likes those cheerful guests of God with nimble jaws, who say as many words as they put away tit-bits. This abbot was a pernicious fellow, who would relate to the ladies many a merry tale, at which they were only offended when they had heard them; since, to judge them, things must be heard.
“My reverend father,” said the king, “behold the twilight hour, in which ears feminine may be regaled with certain pleasant stories, for the ladies can laugh without blushing, or blush without laughing, as it suits them best. Give us a good story—a regular monk’s story. I shall listen to it, i’faith, with pleasure, because I want to be amused, and so do the ladies.”