From Belly To Back

By Monseigneur De La Roche.

_Of a gentleman of Burgundy who paid a chambermaid ten crowns to sleep

with her, but before he left her room, had his ten crowns back, and

made her carry him on her shoulders through the host's chamber. And in

passing by the said chamber he let wind so loudly that all was known, as

you will hear in the story which follows._

A gentleman of Burgundy went on some bus
ness to Paris, and lodged at a

good inn, for it was his custom always to seek out the best lodgings. He

knew a thing or two, and he noticed that the chambermaid did not look a

sort of woman who was afraid of a man. So, without much ado, or making

two bites at a cherry, he asked if he could sleep with her?

But she set her back up at once. "How dare you make such a proposal

to me," she said. "I would have you to know that I am not one of those

girls who bring scandal upon the houses in which they live." And in

short, for all he could say she refused to have anything to do with him

"for any money."

The gentleman who knew well what all these protestations were worth,

said to her;

"My dear, if fitting time and place were given me, I would tell you

something you would be glad to learn; but as, perhaps, it might hurt

your reputation if you were seen conversing with me, talk to my valet,

and he will arrange matters on my behalf."

"I have nothing to say either to him or to you," she replied, and with

that she walked away, and the gentleman called his valet, who was a

clever rogue, and ordered him to follow her and win her over at any


The valet, who was well trained, promised that he would perform his

task, and, as soon as he found her, set to work to employ honied

phrases, and if she had not been of Paris, and not the least cunning of

the women of that city, his soft speeches and the promises he made on

behalf of his master, would soon have gained her heart.

But as it was, after much talk between them, she cut matters short by


"I know well what your master wants, but he shall not touch me unless I

have ten crowns."

The servant reported this to his master, who was not so generous, or

at least not in such a case, as to give ten crowns to enjoy a kitchen


"Be that as it may," replied the valet, "she will not budge from that;

and even then you must use precautions in going to her chamber, for you

must pass through that of the host. What do you intend to do?"

"By my oath!" said his master, "I regret sorely having to pay ten

crowns, but I am so smitten with the wench that I cannot give her up. To

the devil with avarice! she shall have the money."

"Shall I tell her then you will give her the money?"

"Yes, in the devil's name! Yes!"

The valet found the girl, and told her she should have the money, and

perhaps something more.

"Very good," she replied.

To cut matters short, a time was arranged for the gentleman to come to

her, but, before she would show him the way to her room, she insisted on

the ten crowns being paid down.

The Burgundian was not over-pleased, and as he was on the way to her

chamber, it struck him that he was paying dearly for his amusement, and

he resolved that he would play her a trick.

He stole into her room so quietly that neither the host nor his wife

awaked. There he undressed, and said to himself that he would at least

have his money's worth. He did marvels, and got as good as he sent.

What with jesting and other matters, the hours passed quickly, and dawn

was near. He was then more willing to sleep than to do anything else,

but the fair chambermaid said to him;

"Sir, I have heard and seen so much of your nobleness, honour, and

courtesy that I have consented to allow you to take that which I hold

dearest in all the world. I now beg and request of you that you will

at once dress and hasten away, for it is now day, and if by chance my

master or mistress should come here, as is often their custom in the

morning, and should find you here, I should be dishonoured, nor would it

do you any good."

"I care not," quoth he, "what good or evil may happen, but here I will

remain, and sleep at my ease and leisure before I leave. I am entitled

to that for my money. Do you think you have so easily earned my ten

crowns? You took them quickly enough. By St. George! I have no fear; but

I will stay here and you shall bear me company, if you please."

"Oh, sir," she replied, "by my soul I cannot do this. You must leave. It

will be full day directly, and if you are found here what will become of

me? I would rather die than that should happen; and if you do not make

haste I much fear some one will come."

"Let them come," said the gentleman. "I care not, but, I tell you

plainly, that until you give me back my ten crowns, I will not leave

here, happen what may."

"Your ten crowns?" she answered. "Are you a man of that sort, and so

devoid of any courtesy or grace as to take back from me in that fashion,

that which you have given? By my faith that is not the way to prove

yourself a gentleman."

"Whatever I am," said he, "I will not leave here, or shall you either,

until you have given me back my ten crowns; you gained them too easily."

"May God help me," she replied, "though you speak thus I do not believe

you would be so ungrateful, after the pleasure I have given you, or so

discorteous, as not to aid me to preserve my honour, and therefore I beg

of you to grant my request, and leave here."

The gentleman said that he would do nothing of the sort, and in the

end the poor girl was forced--though God knows with what regret--to

hand-over the ten crowns in order to make him go. When the money had

returned to the hand that gave it, the girl was very angry, but the man

was in great glee.

"Now," said the girl, angrily, "that you have thus tricked and deceived

me, at least make haste. Let it suffice that you have made a fool of me,

and do not by delay bring dishonour upon me by being seen here."

"I have nothing to do with your honour," said he. "Keep it as much as

like, but you brought me here and you must take me back to the place

from whence I came, for I do not intend to have the double trouble of

coming and returning."

The chambermaid, seeing that she only made him more obstinate, and that

day was breaking fast, took the gentleman on her back, and though sick

at heart with fear and anger, began to carry him. And as she was picking

her way carefully and noiselessly, this courteous gentleman, who after

having ridden on her belly was now riding on her back, broke wind so

loudly that the host awoke, and called out in his fright;

"Who is there?"

"It is your chambermaid," said the gentleman, "who is taking me back to

the place from whence she brought me."

At these words the poor girl's heart and strength failed her. She could

no longer bear her unpleasant burden, and she fell on the floor and

rolled one way, whilst the squire went rolling the other.

The host, who knew what was the matter, spoke sharply to the girl, who

soon afterwards left his house; and the gentleman returned to Burgundy,

where he often gleefully related to his gallant companions the above

written adventure.