On The Blind Side
By Monseigneur Le Duc.
_Of a knight of Picardy who went to Prussia, and, meanwhile his lady
took a lover, and was in bed with him when her husband returned; and how
by a cunning trick she got her lover out of the room without the knight
being aware of it._
In the County of Artois there lived formerly a noble knight, rich and
powerful, and married to a beautiful dame of high family. These two
lived together for long, and passed their days in peace and happiness.
And because the most powerful Duke of Burgundy, Count of Artois, and
their lord, was then at peace with all the great princes of Christendom,
the knight, who was most devout, reflected that he ought to offer to God
the body which had been given him, and which was fair and strong, and as
well-formed as that of any man in that country, save that he had lost
an eye in a battle. To perform the vow he had made,--after he had taken
leave of his wife and relatives, he betook himself to the noble knights
of Prussia,--the true defenders of the holy-Christian church (*); and in
Prussia he fought valiantly and had many adventures--which I pass over
here--and at the end was safe and sound, though he had shown great
prowess, and the reports of his valour had been widely spread about by
those who had seen them and returned to their own country, or by the
letters they had written to many who had heard of his deeds with much
(*) Doubtless there was a confusion In the writer's mind
between Prussia and Hungary, and he alludes to the Crusade
against the Turks which ended disastrously for the Crusaders
in 1396, and in which Jean sans Peur and many Burgundian
knights took part.
Now you must know that his lady, who stayed at home, had bestowed
her affection on a squire who sought her love, and was glad to have a
substitute for her liege lord, who was away fighting the Saracens.
Whilst my lord was fasting and doing penance, my lady made good cheer
with the squire; often did my lord dine and sup on bread and water,
whilst my lady was enjoying all the good things which God had given her
in plenty; my lord,--if he could do no better,--lay upon straw, and my
lady rested in a fine bed with the squire.
To cut matters short, whilst my lord was fighting the Saracens, my lady
was indulging in another sort of combat with the squire, and did so well
thereat, that if my lord had never returned he would not have been much
missed or regretted.
The knight finding that--thanks be to God--the Saracens were no longer
on the offensive; and that it was a long time since he had seen his
home, and his good wife, who much desired and regretted him, as she had
many times told him in her letters, prepared to return, and started
with the few retainers he had. And he fared so well, owing to the great
desire he had to return to his home, and the arms of his wife, that in a
few days he was near there.
Being more anxious than any of his followers, he was always the first to
rise, and the foremost on the journey. In fact, he made such speed
that he often rode alone, a quarter of a league or more ahead of his
One day, it chanced the knight had lodged about six leagues from his
home. He rose early in the morning and mounted his horse, intending to
arrive at his house before his wife, who knew nothing of his coming, was
He set out as he intended, and, when on the road, he said to his
followers, "Come at your leisure; there is no need for you to follow me.
I will ride on fast that I may surprise my wife in bed."
His retainers being weary, and their horses also, did not oppose his
wishes, but travelled along at their ease, though they had some fears
for the knight, who rode thus fast in the dark and alone.
He made such speed that soon he was in the courtyard of his castle,
where he found a serving-man, to whom he gave his horse; then, in his
boots and spurs, he went straight, and without meeting any one, for it
was yet early in the morning, towards the chamber where my lady slept,
and where the squire was doing that which the knight longed to do.
You may guess that the squire and the lady were both astonished when the
knight thundered on the door--which was locked--with his staff.
"Who is there?" asked the lady.
"It is I," replied the knight. "Open the door!"
The lady, who knew her husband's voice, did not feel comfortable;
nevertheless she caused the squire to dress himself which he did as
quickly as he could, wondering how he should escape from his dangerous
position. She meanwhile pretended to be asleep, and not recognise her
husband's voice, and when he knocked at the door a second time, she
asked again, "Who is there?" "It is your husband, wife! Open the door
"My husband?" said she. "Alas, he is far from here! May God soon bring
him back in safety."
"By my soul, wife, I am your husband! Did you not know my voice? I knew
yours as soon as I heard you speak."
"When he does come, I shall know of it long beforehand, that I may
receive him as I ought, and that I may call together his relations
and friends to wish him a hearty welcome. Go away! Go away! and let me
"By St. John I will take care you do not! Open the door! Do you not know
your own husband?" and with that he called her by her name.
She saw that her lover was by that time quite ready, and made him stand
behind the door. Then she said to the knight.
"Is it really you? For God's sake pardon me! And are you in good
"Yes; thank God," said the knight.
"God be praised!" said the lady. "I will come directly and let you in;
but I am not dressed, and must get a candle."
"Take your time!" said the knight.
"Truly," said the lady, "just as you knocked, my lord, I was much
disturbed by a dream I had about you."
"And what was that, my dear?"
"Faith, my lord! I dreamed that you came back, and talked with me, and
that you saw as well with one eye as with the other.
"Would to God it were so," said my lord.
"By our Lady," said his wife, "I believe it is as I say."
"By my word", replied the knight, "you are very foolish. How could it be
"I maintain," said she, "that it is so."
"There is nothing of the kind," said the knight. "You must be mad to
"Ah, my lord," she replied, "you will never make me believe it is not as
I say, and, to set my mind at rest, I ask of you to give me a proof."
Thereupon she opened the door, holding a lighted candle in her hand, and
he, not displeased at her words, permitted her to make trial, and thus
the poor man allowed her to cover up his eye with her one hand, whilst
with the other she held the candle before his blind eye. Then she said;
"My lord! on your oath, can you not see well?"
"I swear I cannot," said my lord.
Whilst this trick was being played, my lord's substitute stole out of
the chamber without being perceived by him.
"Wait a moment, my lord," said she. "_Now_ cannot you see well? Tell me
"No, by God, my dear," replied the knight. "How should I see? You have
stopped up my right eye, and the other I lost more than ten years ago."
"Then," said she, "I see it was but an idle, foolish dream; but, be that
as it may, God be praised and thanked that you are here."
"Amen," said the knight, and with that he kissed and embraced her many
times, and they rejoiced greatly.
And my lord did not forget to tell her how he had left his retainers
behind, and what speed he had made that he might find her in bed.
"Truly," said my lady, "you are a good husband."
And with that there came women and other servants, who took off the
knight's armour, and undressed him. That being done, he got into bed
with the lady, and enjoyed what the squire had left--who, for his part,
meanwhile went his way, happy and joyful to have escaped.
Thus was the knight deceived, as you have heard; nor was he ever
informed of it that I am aware, though it was known to many people.