By Monseigneur De Villiers.
_Of a knight whose mistress married whilst he was on his travels, and on
his return, by chance he came to her house, and she, in order that she
might sleep with him, caused a young damsel, her chamber-maid, to go to
bed with her husband; and of the words that passed between the husband
and the knight his guest, as are more fully recorded hereafter._
gentleman, a knight of this kingdom, a most virtuous man, and of great
renown, a great traveller and a celebrated warrior, fell in love with a
very beautiful damsel, and so advanced in her good graces that nothing
that he demanded was refused him. It happened, I know not how long after
that, this good knight, to acquire honour and merit, left his castle,
in good health and well accompanied, by the permission of his master, to
bear arms elsewhere, and he went to Spain and various places, where he
did such feats that he was received in great triumph at his return.
During this time the lady married an old knight who was courteous and
wise, and who in his time had been a courtier, and--to say truth--was
known as the very mirror of honour. It was a matter for regret that he
did not marry better, but at any rate he had not then discovered his
wife's misconduct, as he did afterwards, as you shall hear.
The first-named knight, returning from the war, as he was travelling
through the country, arrived by chance one night at the castle where his
mistress lived, and God knows what good cheer she and her husband made
for him, for there had been a great friendship between them.
But you must know that whilst the master of the house was doing all
he could to honour his guest, the guest was conversing with his former
lady-love, and was willing to renew with her the intimacy that had
existed before she married. She asked for nothing better, but excused
herself on account of want of opportunity.
"It is not possible to find a chance."
"Ah, madam," he said, "by my oath, if you want to, you will make a
chance. When your husband is in bed and asleep, you can come to my
chamber, or, if you prefer it, I will come to you."
"It cannot be managed so," she replied; "the danger is too great; for
monseigneur is a very light sleeper, and he never wakes but what he
feels for me, and if he did not find me, you may guess what it would
"And when he does find you," he said, "what does he do to you?"
"Nothing else," she replied; "he turns over on the other side."
"Faith!" said he, "he is a very bad bed-fellow; it is very lucky for you
that I came to your aid to perform for you what he cannot."
"So help me God," she said, "when he lies with me once a month it is the
best he can do. I may be difficult to please, but I could take a good
deal more than that.
"That is not to be wondered at," he said; "but let us consider what we
"There is no way that I see," she replied, "that it can be managed."
"What?" he said; "have you no woman in the house to whom you can explain
"Yes, by God! I have one," she said, "in whom I have such confidence
that I would tell her anything in the world I wanted kept secret?
without fearing that she would ever repeat it."
"What more do we want then?" he said. "The rest concerns you and her."
The lady who was anxious to be with her lover, called the damsel, and
"My dear, you must help me to-night to do something which is very dear
to my heart."
"Madam," said the damsel, "I am ready and glad, as I ought to be, to
serve you and obey you in any way possible; command me, and I will
perform your orders."
"I thank you, my dear," said madam, "and be sure that you will lose
nothing by it. This is what is the matter. The knight here is the man
whom I love best in all the world, and I would not that he left here
without my having a few words with him. Now he cannot tell me what is
in his heart unless we be alone together, and you are the only person to
take my place by the side of monseigneur. He is accustomed, as you know,
to turn in the night and touch me, and then he leaves me and goes to
"I will do your pleasure, madam; there is nothing that you can command
that I will not do."
"Well, my dear," she said, "you will go to bed as I do, keeping a good
way off from monseigneur, and take care that if he should speak to you
not to reply, and suffer him to do whatever he may like."
"I will do your pleasure, madam."
Supper-time came. There is no need to describe the meal, suffice it to
say there was good cheer and plenty of it, and after supper, sports, and
the visitor took madam's arm, and the other gentlemen escorted the other
damsels. The host came last, and enquired about the knight's travels
from an old gentleman who had accompanied him.
Madame did not forget to tell her lover that one of her women would take
her place that night, and that she would come to him; at which he was
very joyful, and thanked her much, and wished that the hour had come.
They returned to the reception hall, where monseigneur said good
night to his guest, and his wife did the same. The visitor went to
his chamber, which was large and well-furnished, and there was a fine
sideboard laden with spices and preserves, and good wine of many sorts.
He soon undressed, and drank a cup, and made his attendants drink also,
and then sent them to bed, and remained alone, waiting for the lady, who
was with her husband. Both she and her husband undressed and got into
The damsel was in the _ruelle_, and as soon as my lord was in bed, she
took the place of her mistress, who--as her heart desired--made but one
bound to the chamber of the lover, who was anxiously awaiting her.
Thus were they all lodged--monseigneur with the chambermaid, and his
guest with madame--and you may guess that these two did not pass all the
night in sleeping.
Monseigneur, as was his wont, awoke an hour before day-break, and turned
to the chamber-maid, believing it to be his wife, and to feel her he put
out his hand, which by chance encountered one of her breasts, which were
large and firm, and he knew at once that it was not his wife, for she
was not well furnished in that respect.
"Ha, ha!" he said to himself, "I understand what it is! They are playing
me a trick, and I will play them another."
He turned towards the girl, and with some trouble managed to break a
lance, but she let him do it without uttering a word or half a word.
When he had finished, he began to call as loudly as he could to the man
who was sleeping with his wife.
"Hallo! my lord of such a place! Where are you? Speak to me!"
The other, when he heard himself called, was much astonished, and the
lady quite overwhelmed with shame.
"Alas!" she said, "our deeds are discovered: I am a lost woman!"
Her husband called out,
"Hallo, monseigneur! hallo, my guest! Speak to me."
The other ventured to speak, and said,
"What is it, so please you, monsiegneur?"
"I will make this exchange with you whenever you like."
"What exchange?" he asked.
"An old, worn-out false, treacherous woman, for a good, pretty, and
fresh young girl. That is what I have gained by the exchange and I thank
you for it."
None of the others knew what to reply, even the poor chamber-maid wished
she were dead, both on account of the dishonour to her mistress and the
unfortunate loss of her own virginity.
The visitor left the lady and the castle as soon as could, without
thanking his host, or saying farewell. And never again did he go there,
so he never knew how she settled the matter with her husband afterwards,
so I can tell you no more.