Both Well Served
By Monseigneur De Saint Pol.
_Of a knight who, whilst he was waiting for his mistress amused himself
three times with her maid, who had been sent to keep him company that
he might not be dull; and afterwards amused himself three times with
the lady, and how the husband learned it all from the maid, as you will
A noble knight of the Marches of Haynau--rich, powerful, brav
, and a
good fellow--was in love with a fair lady for a long time, and was so
esteemed and secretly loved by her, that whenever he liked he repaired
to a private and remote part of her castle, where she came to visit him,
and they conversed at their leisure of their pleasant mutual love.
Not a soul knew of their pleasant pastime, except a damsel who served
the lady, and who had kept the matter secret for a long time, and had
served the dame so willingly in all her affairs that she was worthy of a
great reward. Moreover, she was such a good girl, that not only had she
gained the affection of her mistress for her services in this and other
matters, but the husband of the lady esteemed her as much as his wife
did, because he found her good, trustworthy, and diligent.
It chanced one day that the lady knew her aforesaid lover to be in
the house, but could not go to him as soon as she wished, because her
husband detained her; at which she was much vexed, and sent the damsel
to tell him that he must yet have patience, and that, as soon as she
could get rid of her husband, she would come to him.
The damsel went to the knight, who was awaiting the lady, and delivered
her message, and he, being a courteous knight, thanked her much for her
message, and made her sit by him; then tenderly kissed her two or
three times. She did not object, which gave the knight encouragement to
proceed to other liberties, which also were not refused him.
This being finished, she returned to her mistress, and told her that her
lover was anxiously awaiting her.
"Alas!" said the lady, "I know full well he is, but my husband will not
go to bed, and there are a lot of people here whom I cannot leave. God
curse them! I would much rather be with him. He is very dull, is he
not--all alone up there?"
"Faith! I believe he is," replied the damsel, "but he comforts himself
as well as he can with the hope of your coming.''
"That I believe, but at any rate he has been all alone, and without a
light, for more than two hours; it must be very lonely. I beg you, my
dear, to go back to him again and make excuses for me, and stay with
him. May the devil take the people who keep me here!"
"I will do what you please, madam, but it seems to me that he loves you
so much you have no need to make excuses; and also, that, if I go, you
will have no woman here, and perhaps monseigneur may ask for me and I
cannot be found."
"Do not trouble about that," said the lady. "I will manage that all
right if he should ask for you. But it vexes me that my friend should be
alone--go and see what he is doing, I beg."
"I will go, since you wish it," she replied.
That she was pleased with her errand need not be said, though to conceal
her willingness she had made excuses to her mistress. She soon came to
the knight, who was still waiting, and said to him;
"Monseigneur, madame has sent me to you again to make her excuses for
keeping you so long waiting, and to tell you how vexed she is."
"You may tell her," said he, "that she may come at her leisure, and not
to hurry on my account, for you can take her place."
With that he kissed and cuddled her, and did not suffer her to depart
till he had tumbled her twice, which was not much trouble to him, for he
was young and vigorous, and fond of that sport.
The damsel bore it all patiently, and would have been glad to often have
the same luck, if she could without prejudice to her mistress.
When she was about to leave, she begged the knight to say nothing to her
"Have no fear," said he.
"I beg of you to be silent," she said.
Then she returned to her mistress, who asked what her friend was doing?
"He is still," the damsel replied, "awaiting you."
"But," said the lady, "is he not vexed and angry?"
"No," said the damsel, "since he had company. He is much obliged to you
for having sent me, and if he often had to wait would like to have me to
talk to him to pass the time,--and, faith! I should like nothing better,
for he is the pleasantest man I ever talked to. God knows that it
was good to hear him curse the folks who detained you--all except
monseigneur; he would say nothing against him."
"St. John! I wish that he and all his company were in the river, so that
I could get away."
In due time monseigneur--thank God--sent away his servants, retired
to his chamber, undressed, and went to bed. Madame, dressed only in
a petticoat, put on her night-dress, took her prayer-book, and
began,--devoutly enough God knows--to say her psalms and paternosters,
but monseigneur, who was as wide awake as a rat, was anxious for a
little conversation, and wished madame to put off saying her prayers
till the morrow, and talk to him.
"Pardon me," she replied, "but I cannot talk to you now--God comes first
you know. Nothing would go right in the house all the week if I did not
give God what little praise I can, and I should expect bad luck if I did
not say my prayers now."
"You sicken me with all this bigotry," said monseigneur. "What is
the use of saying all these prayers? Come on, come on! and leave
that business to the priests. Am I not right, Jehannette?" he added,
addressing the damsel before mentioned.
"Monseigneur," she replied, "I do not know what to say, except that as
madame is accustomed to serve God, let her do so."
"There, there!" said madame to her husband, "I see well that you want
to argue, and I wish to finish my prayers, so we shall not agree. I will
leave Jehannette to talk to you, and will go to my little chamber behind
to petition God."
Monseigneur was satisfied, and madame went off at full gallop to her
friend, the knight, who received her with God knows how great joy, and
the honour that he did her was to bend her knees and lay her down.
But you must know that whilst madame was saying her prayers with her
lover, it happened, I know not how, that her husband begged Jehannette,
who was keeping him company, to grant him her favours.
To cut matters short, by his promises and fine words she was induced to
obey him, but the worst of it was that madame, when she returned from
seeing her lover, who had tumbled her twice before she left, found her
husband and Jehannette, her waiting-woman, engaged in the very same work
which she had been performing, at which she was much astonished; and
still more so were her husband and Jehannette at being thus surprised.
When madame saw that, God knows how she saluted them, though she would
have done better to hold her tongue; and she vented her rage so on poor
Jehannette that it seemed as though she must have a devil in her belly,
or she could not have used such abominable words.
Indeed she did more and worse, for she picked up a big stick and laid
it across the girl's shoulders, on seeing which, monseigneur, who was
already vexed and angry, jumped up and so beat his wife that she could
Having then nothing but her tongue, she used it freely God knows, but
addressed most of her venomous speeches to poor Jehannette, who no
longer able to bear them, told monseigneur of the goings-on of his wife,
and where she had been to say her prayers, and with whom.
The whole company was troubled--monseigneur because he had good cause to
suspect his wife, and madame, who was wild with rage, well beaten, and
accused by her waiting-woman.
How this unfortunate household lived after that, those who know can