The Gluttonous Monk
By Monseigneur De Vaurin.
_Of a Carmelite monk who came to preach at a village and after his
sermon, he went to dine with a lady, and how he stuffed out his gown, as
you will hear._
It is the custom of all countries for religious mendicants--Jacobins,
Cordeliers, Carmelites, and Augustinians--to go through all the towns
and villages, preaching against vice, and exalting and pra
It happened once that a Carmelite, from the convent of Arras, arrived
one Sunday morning, at Libers, a pretty, little town of Artois, to
preach--which he could do piously and eloquently, for he was a learned
man and a good orator.
Whilst the cure was chanting high Mass, our Carmelite wandered about,
hoping to find some one who wanted a Mass said, whereby the monk could
earn a few pence, but no one came forward.
Seeing this, an old widow lady took compassion on him, allowed him to
say a Mass, and then sent her servant to give him two _patars_, and to
beg him to come to dinner with her that day.
Master monk snapped up the money, and accepted the invitation, and as
soon as he had preached his sermon, and high Mass was finished, he came.
The lady for whom he had said Mass, and who had invited him, left the
church with her maid, and went home to make all ready for the preacher,
who was conducted to the house by one of her servants, and most
courteously received. After he had washed his hands, the lady assigned
him a place by her side, and the varlet and the maid-servant prepared to
serve the repast, and first they brought in leek soup, with a good piece
of bacon, a dish of pig's chitterlings, and an ox tongue, roasted.
God knows that as soon as the monk saw the viands he drew forth from
his girdle a fine, long, large, and very sharp knife, and, as he said
_Benedicite_, he set to work in the leek soup.
Very soon he had finished that and the bacon as well, and drew towards
him the fine, fat chitterlings, and rioted amongst them like a wolf
amongst a flock of sheep; and before his hostess had half finished her
soup there was not the ghost of a chitterling left in the dish. Then he
took the ox tongue, and with his sharp knife cut off so many slices that
not a morsel remained.
The lady, who watched all this without saying a word, often glanced at
the varlet and the servant-maid, and they smiled quietly and glanced at
her. Then they brought a piece of good salt beef, and a capital piece
of mutton, and put them on the table. And the good monk, who had an
appetite like a hungry dog, attacked the beef, and if he had had little
pity for the chitterlings and the ox tongue, still less had he for this
fine piece of larded beef.
His hostess who took great pleasure in seeing him eat--which was more
than the varlet and the maid, did for they cursed him beneath their
breath--always filled his cup as soon as it was empty; and you may guess
that if he did not spare the meat neither did he spare the drink.
He was in such a hurry to line his gown that he would hardly say a word.
When the beef was all finished, and great part of the mutton--of which
his hostess had scarcely eaten a mouthful--she, seeing that her guest
was not yet satisfied, made a sign to the servant-maid to bring a huge
ham which had been cooked the day before for the household.
The maid--cursing the priest for gorging so--obeyed the order of her
mistress, and put the ham on the table. The good monk, without staying
to ask "who goes there", fell upon it tooth and nail, and at the very
first attack he carried off the knuckle, then the thick end, and so
dismembered it that soon there was nothing left but the bone.
The serving man and woman did not laugh much at this, for he had
entirely cleared the larder, and they were half afraid that he would eat
them as well.
To shorten the story--after all these before mentioned dishes, the lady
caused to be placed on the table a fine fat cheese, and a dish well
furnished with tarts, apples, and cheeses, with a good piece of fresh
butter--of all which there was not a scrap left to take away.
The dinner which has been described being thus finished, our preacher,
who was now as round as a tick, pronounced grace, and then said to his
"Damsel, I thank you for your good gifts; you have given me a hearty
welcome, for which I am much obliged to you. I will pray to Him who
fed five thousand men with a few loaves of barley bread and two small
fishes, and after they were all filled there remained over twelve
basketfuls--I will pray to Him to reward you."
"By St. John!" said the maid-servant coming forward, "you may well talk
about that. I believe that if you had been one of that multitude there
would not have been anything left over; for you would have eaten up
everything, and me into the bargain, if I had happened to have been
"No, truly, my dear," replied the monk, who was a jovial fellow with a
ready wit, "I should not have eaten you, but I should have spitted you,
and put you down to roast--that is what I should have done to you."
The lady began to laugh, and so did the varlet and the maid-servant, in
spite of themselves. And our monk, who had his belly well stuffed,
again thanked his hostess for having so well filled him, and went off to
another village to earn his supper--but whether that was as good as his
dinner I cannot say.