By Monseigneur De Santilly.
_Of a goldsmith, married to a fair, kind, and gracious lady, and very
amorous withal of a cure, her neighbour, with whom her husband found her
in bed, they being betrayed by one of the goldsmith's servants, who was
jealous, as you will hear._
A hundred years ago, or thereabouts, there happened in a town on the
borders of France a curious incident, wh
ch I will relate, to increase
my number of stories, and also because it deserves to rank with the
In this town there was a man whose wife was fair, kind, and gracious,
and much enamoured of a churchman, her own cure and near neighbour, who
loved her as much as she did him, but to find an opportunity to come
together amorously was difficult, but it was at last found by the
ingenuity of the lady, in the manner I will describe.
Her husband was a goldsmith, and so greedy of gain that he would never
sleep an hour in which he could work.
Every day he would rise an hour or two before dawn, and let his wife
take a long rest till eight or nine o'clock, or as long as she pleased.
This amorous dame seeing how diligent her husband was, and that he rose
early every day to hammer and work, determined to employ with the cure
the time during which she was neglected by her husband, and arranged
that at such and such an hour her lover could visit her without her
husband's knowledge, for the cure's house stood next to hers.
This happy expedient was proposed to the cure, who gladly accepted
it, for it seemed to him that his amour could be carried on easily and
secretly. So as soon as the proposal was made it was executed, and thus
they continued to live for a long time; but fortune--envious perhaps of
their happiness and sweet enjoyment--willed that their amours should be
unfortunately discovered in the manner you will hear.
This goldsmith had an assistant, who was in love with his master's wife,
and very jealous of her, and he perceived the cure often talking to the
lady, and he guessed what was the matter. But he could not imagine how
and when they met, unless it was that the cure came in the morning when
he and his master were in the workshop. These suspicions so ran in his
head that he watched and listened in order that he might find out the
truth, and he watched so well that he learned the facts of the case, for
one morning he saw the cure come, soon after the goldsmith had left the
chamber, and enter and close the door after him.
When he was quite sure that his suspicions were confirmed, he informed
his master of his discovery in these terms.
"Master, I serve you, not only that I may earn your money, eat your
bread, and do your work well and honestly, but also to protect your
honour and preserve it from harm. If I acted otherwise I should not be
worthy to be your servant. I have long had a suspicion that our cure was
doing you a grievous wrong, but I said nothing to you until I was sure
of the facts. That you may not suppose I am trumping up an idle story, I
would beg of you to let us go now to your chamber, for I am sure that we
shall find him there."
When the good man heard this news, he was much inclined to laugh, but he
agreed to go to his chamber along with his assistant--who first made
him promise that he would not kill the cure, or otherwise he would not
accompany him, but consented that the cure should be well punished.
They went up to the chamber, and the door was soon opened. The husband
entered first, and saw his wife in the arms of the cure who was forging
as hard as he could.
The goldsmith cried;
"Die, die, scoundrel! What brings you here?"
The cure was surprised and alarmed, and begged for mercy.
"Silence, rascally priest, or I will kill you on the spot!"
"Oh, neighbour have mercy, for God's sake," said the cure; "do with me
whatever you like."
"By my father's soul! before I let you go I will make you so that you
will never want to hammer on any feminine anvil again. Get up, and let
yourself be bound, unless you wish to die!"
The poor wretch allowed himself to be fastened by his two enemies to a
bench, face upwards, and with his legs hanging down on each side of the
bench. When he was well fastened, so that he could move nothing but
his head, he was carried thus trussed (*) into a little shed behind the
house, which the goldsmith used as a melting-room.
(*) The word in the original is _marescaucie_, which
presumably means,--treated as the soldiers of the
_marechaussee_ treated their prisoners. Bibliophile Jacob
avoided philological pitfalls of this sort by omitting the
When the cure was safely placed in this shed, the goldsmith sent for two
long nails with large heads, and with these he fastened to the bench
the two hammers which had in his absence forged on his wife's anvil,
and after that undid all the ropes which fastened the poor wretch. Then
taking a handful of straw, he set fire to the shed, and leaving the cure
to his fate, rushed into the street, crying "Fire!"
The priest, finding himself surrounded by flames, saw that he must
either lose his genitals or be burned alive, so he jumped up and ran
away, leaving his purse nailed there.
An alarm was soon raised in the street, and the neighbours ran to put
out the fire. But the cure sent them back, saying that he had just come
from the spot, and all the harm that could occur had already been done,
so that they could give no assistance--but he did not say that it was he
who had suffered all the harm.
Thus was the poor cure rewarded for his love, through the false and
treacherous jealousy of the goldsmith's assistant, as you have heard.