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(*) There is no author's name to this story in any of the
_Of a cure who wore a short gown, like a gallant about to be married,
for which cause he was summoned before the Ordinary, and of the sentence
which was passed, and the defence he made, and the other tricks he
played afterwards--as you will plainly hear._
In Picardy, in the diocese of Therouenne, there liv
d about a year and
a half ago, in one of the large towns, a cure who aped the fashionable
youth of the time. He wore a short gown, and high boots, as was the
fashion at Court, and, in short, was as great a gallant as you would
see,--which gave no small offence to all good Churchmen.
The Ordinary of Therouenne--who is generally known as the "big devil"
--was informed of the behaviour of this cure, and cited him to appear to
be punished, and ordered to change his method of dressing.
He appeared in his short gown, as though he cared little for the
Ordinary, or thinking, perhaps, that he was going to be let off for his
good looks, but this did not happen, for when he was before the judge,
the "promoter" related the case at full length, and demanded that these
clothes and other vanities should be forbidden him, and that he should
be condemned to pay certain fines.
The judge, seeing at a glance what sort of man our cure was, forbade
him, by all the penalties of canon law, to disguise himself in the way
he had done, and ordered that he was to wear long gowns and long hair,
and moreover, to pay a good sum of money.
The cure promised that he would do so, and never again be summoned for a
similar offence. He left the Court and returned to his cure, and as soon
as he came there, he called the draper and the tailor, and he had a gown
made which trailed three quarters of an ell on the ground; for he
told the tailor how he had been reproved for wearing a short gown, and
ordered to wear a long one.
He put on this long robe, and allowed his beard and hair to grow, and in
this habit performed his parochial duties, sang Mass, and did everything
that a priest has to do.
The promoter was soon informed that the cure behaved in a way not
compatible with good morals, whereupon a fresh summons was issued, and
the priest appeared in his long gown.
"What is this?" asked the judge when the cure appeared before him. "It
seems that you make fun of the statutes and ordinances of the Church!
Why do you not dress like the other priests? If it were not for some of
your friends I should send you to prison."
"What, monseigneur!" said the cure. "Did you not order me to wear a long
gown, and long hair? Have I not done as I was commanded? Is not my gown
long enough? Is not my hair long? What do you wish me to do?"
"I wish," said the judge, "and I command that your gown and hair should
be half long, neither too much nor too little, and for this great fault
that you have committed, I condemn you to pay a fine of ten pounds to
the Prosecutor, twenty pounds to the Chapter, and as much to the Bishop
of Therouenne for his charities."
Our cure was much astonished, but there was nothing for it but
to comply. He took leave of the judge, and returned to his house,
considering how he should attire himself in order to obey the judge's
sentence. He sent for the tailor, whom he ordered to make a gown as long
on one side as that we have mentioned, and, as short as the first one
on the other side, then he had himself shaved on one side only--that on
which the gown was short--and in this guise went about the streets, and
performed his sacred duties; and although he was told this was not right
of him, he paid no attention.
The Prosecutor was again informed, and cited him to appear a third
time. When he appeared, God knows how angry the judge was--he was almost
beside himself, and, could scarcely sit on the Bench when he saw the
cure dressed like a mummer. If the priest had been mulcted before he was
still more so this time, and was condemned to pay very heavy fines.
Then the cure, finding himself thus amerced in fines and amends, said to
"With all due respect, it seems to me that I have obeyed your orders.
Hear what I have to say, and I will prove it."
Then he covered his long beard with his hand, and said;
"If you like, I have no beard." Then, covering the shaved side of his
face, he said, "If you like, I have a long beard. Is not that what you
The judge, seeing that he had to do with a joker, who was making fun of
him, sent for a barber and a tailor, and before all the public, had
the cure's hair and beard dressed, and his gown cut to a proper and
reasonable length; then he sent him back to his cure where he conducted
himself properly--having learned the right manner at the expense of his