Droll Stories, Complete
Honore de Balzac

Part 6 out of 9

proposition she willingly acceded. Now, although from that night he
felt his bones disjointed and his bowels crushed, he had not yet
experienced, as certain persons say, that who once yielded was free no
more; he went to his fate as lead into the crucible of the alchemist.
Then the said Salomon, to whom we have granted his liberty according
to the safe conduct, in spite of the statement, which proves
abundantly his commerce with the devil, because he had been saved
there where all Christians have succumbed, has admitted to us an
agreement concerning the said demon. To make known that he had made an
offer to the chapter of the cathedral to give for the said semblance
of a woman such a ransom, if she were condemned to be burned alive,
that the highest of the towers of the Church of St. Maurice, at
present in course of construction, could therewith be finished.

The which we have noted to be deliberated upon at an opportune time by
the assembled chapter. And the said Salomon has taken his departure
without being willing to indicate his residence, and has told us that
he can be informed of the deliberation of the chapter by a Jew of the
synagogue of Tours, a name Tobias Nathaneus. The said Jew has before
his departure been shown the African, and has recognised him as the
page of the demon, and has stated the Saracens to have the custom of
mutilating their slaves thus, to commit to them the task of guarding
their women by an ancient usage, as it appears in the profane
histories of Narsez, general of Constantinople, and others.

On the morrow after mass has appeared before us the most noble and
illustrious lady of Croixmare. The same has worn her faith in the holy
Evangelists, and has related to us with tears how she had placed her
eldest son beneath the earth, dead by reason of his extravagant amours
with this female demon. The which noble gentleman was three-and-twenty
years of age; of good complexion, very manly and well bearded like his
defunct sire. Notwithstanding his great vigour, in ninety days he had
little by little withered, ruined by his commerce with the succubus of
the Rue Chaude, according to the statement of the common people; and
her maternal authority over the son had been powerless. Finally in his
latter days he appeared like a poor dried up worm, such as
housekeepers meet with in a corner when they clean out the
dwelling-rooms. And always, so long as he had the strength to go, he
went to shorten his life with this cursed woman; where, also, he
emptied his cash-box. When he was in his bed, and knew his last hour
had come, he swore at, cursed, and threatened and heaped upon all--his
sister, his brother, and upon her his mother--a thousand insults,
rebelled in the face of the chaplain; denied God, and wished to die in
damnation; at which were much afflicted the retainers of the family,
who, to save his soul and pluck it from hell, have founded two annual
masses in the cathedral. And in order to have him buried in consecrated
ground, the house of Croixmare has undertaken to give to the chapter,
during one hundred years, the wax candles for the chapels and the
church, upon the day of the Paschal feast. And, in conclusion, saving
the wicked words heard by the reverend person, Dom Loys Pot, a nun of
Marmoustiers, who came to assist in his last hours the said Baron de
Croixmaire affirms never to have heard any words offered by the
defunct, touching the demon who had undone him.

And therewith has retired the noble and illustrious lady in deep

In the sixth place has appeared before us, after adjournment,
Jacquette, called Vieux-Oing, a kitchen scullion, going to houses to
wash dishes, residing at present in the Fishmarket, who, after having
placed her word to say nothing she did not hold to be true, has
declared as here follows:--Namely, that one day she, being come into
the kitchen of the said demon, of whom she had no fear, because she
was wont to regale herself only upon males, she had the opportunity of
seeing in the garden this female demon, superbly attired, walking in
company with a knight, with whom she was laughing, like a natural
woman. Then she had recognised in this demon that true likeness of the
Moorish woman placed as a nun in the convent of Notre Dame de
l'Egrignolles by the defunct seneschal of Touraine and Poitou, Messire
Bruyn, Count of Roche-Corbon, the which Moorish woman had been left in
the situation and place of the image of our Lady the Virgin, the
mother of our Blessed Saviour, stolen by the Egyptians about eighteen
years since. Of this time, in consequence of the troubles come about
in Touraine, no record has been kept. This girl, aged about twelve
years, was saved from the stake at which she would have been burned by
being baptised; and the said defunct and his wife had then been
godfather and godmother to this child of hell. Being at that time
laundress at the convent, she who bears witness has remembrance of the
flight which the said Egyptian took twenty months after her entry into
the convent, so subtilely that it has never been known how or by what
means she escaped. At that time it was thought by all, that with the
devil's aid she had flown away in the air, seeing that not
withstanding much search, no trace of her flight was found in the
convent, where everything remained in its accustomed order.

The African having been shown to the said scullion, she has declared
not to have seen him before, although she was curious to do so, as he
was commissioned to guard the place in which the Moorish woman
combated with those whom she drained through the spigot.

In the seventh place has been brought before us Hugues de Fou, son of
the Sieur de Bridore, who, aged twenty years, has been placed in the
hands of his father, under caution of his estates, and by him is
represented in this process, whom it concerns if should be duly
attained and convicted of having, assisted by several unknown and bad
young men, laid siege to the jail of the archbishop and of the
chapter, and of having lent himself to disturb the force of
ecclesiastical justice, by causing the escape of the demon now under
consideration. In spite of the evil disposition we have commanded the
said Hugues de Fou to testify truly, touching the things he should
know concerning the said demon, with whom he is vehemently reputed to
have had commerce, pointing out to him that it was a question of his
salvation and of the life of the said demon. He, after having taken
the oath, he said:--

"I swear by my eternal salvation, and by the holy Evangelists here
present under my hand, to hold the woman suspected of being a demon to
be an angel, a perfect woman, and even more so in mind than in body,
living in all honesty, full of the migniard charms and delights of
love, in no way wicked, but most generous, assisting greatly the poor
and suffering. I declare that I have seen her weeping veritable tears
for the death of my friend, the knight of Croixmare. And because on
that day she had made a vow to our Lady the Virgin no more to receive
the love of young noblemen too weak in her service; she has to me
constantly and with great courage denied the enjoyment of her body,
and has only granted to me love, and the possession of her heart, of
which she has made sovereign. Since this gracious gift, in spite of my
increasing flame I have remained alone in her dwelling, where I have
spent the greater part of my days, happy in seeing and in hearing her.
Oh! I would eat near her, partake of the air which entered into her
lungs, of the light which shone in her sweet eyes, and found in this
occupation more joy than have the lords of paradise. Elected by me to
be forever my lady, chosen to be one day my dove, my wife, and only
sweetheart, I, poor fool, have received from her no advances on the
joys of the future, but, on the contrary, a thousand virtuous
admonitions; such as that I should acquire renown as a good knight,
become a strong man and a fine one, fear nothing except God; honour
the ladies, serve but one and love them in memory of that one; that
when I should be strengthened by the work of war, if her heart still
pleased mine, at that time only would she be mine, because she would
be able to wait for me, loving me so much."

So saying the young Sire Hugues wept, and weeping, added:--

"That thinking of this graceful and feeble woman, whose arms seemed
scarcely large enough to sustain the light weight of her golden
chains, he did not know how to contain himself while fancying the
irons which would wound her, and the miseries with which she would
traitorously be loaded, and from this cause came his rebellion. And
that he had licence to express his sorrow before justice, because his
life was so bound up with that of his delicious mistress and
sweetheart that on the day when evil came to her he would surely die."

And the same young man has vociferated a thousand other praises of the
said demon, which bear witness to the vehement sorcery practised upon
him, and prove, moreover, the abominable, unalterable, and incurable
life and the fraudulent witcheries to which he is at present subject,
concerning which our lord the archbishop will judge, in order to save
by exorcisms and penitences this young soul from the snares of hell,
if the devil has not gained too strong a hold of it.

Then we have handed back the said young nobleman into the custody of
the noble lord his father, after that by the said Hugues, the African
has been recognised as the servant of the accused.

In the eighth place, before us, have the footguards of our lord the
archbishop led in great state the MOST HIGH AND REVEREND LADY
under the invocation of Mount Carmel, to whose control has been
submitted by the late seneschal of Touraine, father of Monseigneur the
Count of Roche-Corbon, present advocate of the said convent, the
Egyptian, named at the baptismal font Blanche Bruyn.

To the said abbess we have shortly stated the present cause, in which
is involved the holy church, the glory of God, and the eternal future
of the people of the diocese afflicted with a demon, and also the life
of a creature who it was possible might be quite innocent. Then the
cause elaborated, we have requested the said noble abbess to testify
that which was within her knowledge concerning the magical
disappearance of her daughter in God, Blanche Bruyn, espoused by our
Saviour under the name of Sister Clare.

Then has stated the very high, very noble, and very illustrious lady
abbess as follows:--

"The Sister Clare, of origin to her unknown, but suspected to be of an
heretic father and mother, people inimical to God, has truly been
placed in religion in the convent of which the government had
canonically come to her in spite of her unworthiness; that the said
sister had properly concluded her noviciate, and made her vows
according to the holy rule of the order. That the vows taken, she had
fallen into great sadness, and had much drooped. Interrogated by her,
the abbess, concerning her melancholy malady, the said sister had
replied with tears that she herself did not know the cause. That one
thousand and one tears engendered themselves in her at feeling no more
her splendid hair upon her head; that besides this she thirsted for
air, and could not resist her desire to jump up into the trees, to
climb and tumble about according to her wont during her open air life;
that she passed her nights in tears, dreaming of the forests under the
leaves of which in other days she slept; and in remembrance of this
she abhorred the quality of the air of the cloisters, which troubled
her respiration; that in her inside she was troubled with evil
vapours; that at times she was inwardly diverted in church by thoughts
which made her lose countenance. Then I have repeated over and over
again to the poor creature the holy directions of the church, have
reminded her of the eternal happiness which women without seeing enjoy
in paradise, and how transitory was life here below, and certain the
goodness of God, who for first certain bitter pleasures lost, kept for
us a love without end. Is spite of this wise maternal advice the evil
spirit has persisted in the said sister; and always would she gaze
upon the leaves of the trees and grass of the meadows through the
windows of the church during the offices and times of prayer; and
persisted in becoming as white as linen in order that she might stay
in her bed, and at certain times she would run about the cloisters
like a goat broken loose from its fastening. Finally, she had grown
thin, lost much of the great beauty, and shrunk away to nothing. While
in this condition by us, the abbess her mother, was she placed in the
sick-room, we daily expecting her to die. One winter's morning the
said sister had fled, without leaving any trace of her steps, without
breaking the door, forcing of locks, or opening of windows, nor any
sign whatever of the manner of her passage; a frightful adventure
which was believed to have taken place by the aid of the demon which
has annoyed and tormented her. For the rest it was settled by the
authorities of the metropolitan church that the mission of this
daughter of hell was to divert the nuns from their holy ways, and
blinded by their perfect lives, she had returned through the air on
the wings of the sorcerer, who had left her for mockery of our holy
religion in the place of our Virgin Mary."

The which having said, the lady abbess was, with great honour and
according to the command of our lord the archbishop, accompanied as
far as the convent of Carmel.

In the ninth place, before us has come, agreeably to the citation
served upon him, Joseph, called Leschalopier, a money-changer, living
on the bridge at the sign of the Besant d'Or, who, after having
pledged his Catholic faith to say no other thing than the truth, and
that known to him, touching the process before the ecclesiastical
tribunal, has testified as follows:--"I am a poor father, much
afflicted by the sacred will of God. Before the coming of the Succubus
of the Rue Chaude, I had, for all good, a son as handsome as a noble,
learned as a clerk, and having made more than a dozen voyages into
foreign lands; for the rest a good Catholic; keeping himself on guard
against the needles of love, because he avoided marriage, knowing
himself to be the support of my old days, the love for my eyes, and
the constant delight of my heart. He was a son of whom the King of
France might have been proud--a good and courageous man, the light on
my commerce, the joy of my roof, and, above all, an inestimable
blessing, seeing that I am alone in the world, having had the
misfortune to lose my wife, and being too old to take another. Now,
monseigneur, this treasure without equal has been taken from me, and
cast into hell by the demon. Yes, my lord judge, directly he beheld
this mischievous jade, this she-devil, in whom it is a whole workshop
of perdition, a conjunction of pleasure and delectation, and whom
nothing can satiate, my poor child stuck himself fast into the gluepot
of love, and afterwards lived only between the columns of Venus, and
there did not live long, because in that place like so great a heat
that nothing can satisfy the thirst of this gulf, not even should you
plunge therein the germs of the entire world. Alas! then, my poor boy
--his fortune, his generative hopes, his eternal future, his entire
self, more than himself, have been engulfed in this sewer, like a
grain of corn in the jaws of a bull. By this means become an old
orphan I, who speak, shall have no greater joy than to see burning,
this demon, nourished with blood and gold. This Arachne who has drawn
out and sucked more marriages, more families in the seed, more hearts,
more Christians then there are lepers in all the lazar houses or
Christendom. Burn, torment this fiend--this vampire who feeds on
souls, this tigerish nature that drinks blood, this amorous lamp in
which burns the venom of all the vipers. Close this abyss, the bottom
of which no man can find.... I offer my deniers to the chapter for the
stake, and my arm to light the fire. Watch well, my lord judge, to
surely guard this devil, seeing that she has a fire more flaming than
all other terrestrial fires; she has all the fire of hell in her, the
strength of Samson in her hair, and the sound of celestial music in
her voice. She charms to kill the body and the soul at one stroke; she
smiles to bite, she kisses to devour; in short, she would wheedle an
angel, and make him deny his God. My son! my son! where is he at this
hour? The flower of my life--a flower cut by this feminine needlecase
as with scissors. Ha, lord! why have I been called? Who will give me
back my son, whose soul has been absorbed by a womb which gives death
to all, and life to none? The devil alone copulates, and engenders
not. This is my evidence, which I pray Master Tournebouche to write
without omitting one iota, and to grant me a schedule, that I may tell
it to God every evening in my prayer, to this end to make the blood of
the innocent cry aloud into His ears, and to obtain from His infinite
mercy the pardon for my son."

Here followed twenty and seven other statements, of which the
transcription in their true objectivity, in all their quality of space
would be over-fastidious, would draw to a great length, and divert the
thread of this curious process--a narrative which, according to
ancient precepts, should go straight to the fact, like a bull to his
principal office. Therefore, here is, in a few words, the substance of
these testimonies.

A great number of good Christians, townsmen and townswomen,
inhabitants of the noble town of Tours, testified the demon to have
held every day wedding feasts and royal festivities, never to have
been seen in any church, to have cursed God, to have mocked the
priests, never to have crossed herself in any place; to have spoken
all the languages of the earth--a gift which has only been granted by
God to the blessed Apostles; to have been many times met in the
fields, mounted upon an unknown animal who went before the clouds; not
to grow old, and to have always a youthful face; to have received the
father and the son on the same day, saying that her door sinned not;
to have visible malign influences which flowed from her, for that a
pastrycook, seated on a bench at her door, having perceived her one
evening, received such a gust of warm love that, going in and getting
to bed, he had with great passion embraced his wife, and was found
dead on the morrow, that the old men of the town went to spend the
remainder of their days and of their money with her, to taste the joys
of the sins of their youth, and that they died like fleas on their
bellies, and that certain of them, while dying, became as black as
Moors; that this demon never allowed herself to be seen neither at
dinner, nor at breakfast, nor at supper, but ate alone, because she
lived upon human brains; that several had seen her during the night go
to the cemeteries, and there embrace the young dead men, because she
was not able to assuage otherwise the devil who worked in her
entrails, and there raged like a tempest, and from that came the
astringent biting, nitrous shooting, precipitant, and diabolical
movements, squeezings, and writhings of love and voluptuousness, from
which several men had emerged bruised, torn, bitten, pinched and
crushed; and that since the coming of our Saviour, who had imprisoned
the master devil in the bellies of the swine, no malignant beast had
ever been seen in any portion of the earth so mischievous, venomous
and so clutching; so much so that if one threw the town of Tours into
this field of Venus, she would there transmute it into the grain of
cities, and this demon would swallow it like a strawberry.

And a thousand other statements, sayings, and depositions, from which
was evident in perfect clearness the infernal generation of this
woman, daughter, sister, niece, spouse, or brother of the devil,
beside abundant proofs of her evil doing, and of the calamity spread
by her in all families. And if it were possible to put them here
conformably with the catalogue preserved by the good man to whom he
accused the discovery, it would seem like a sample of the horrible
cries which the Egyptians gave forth on the day of the seventh plague.
Also this examination has covered with great honour Messire Guillaume
Tournebouche, by whom are quoted all the memoranda. In the tenth
vacation was thus closed this inquest, arriving at a maturity of
proof, furnished with authentic testimony and sufficiently engrossed
with the particulars, plaints, interdicts, contradictions, charges,
assignments, withdrawals, confessions public and private, oaths,
adjournments, appearances and controversies, to which the said demon
must reply. And the townspeople say everywhere if there were really a
she-devil, and furnished with internal horns planted in her nature,
with which she drank the men, and broke them, this woman might swim a
long time in this sea of writing before being landed safe and sound in


_In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen._

In the year of our Lord one thousand two hundred and seventy-one,
before us, Hierome Cornille, grand penitentiary and ecclesiastical
judge to this, canonically appointed, have appeared--

The Sire Philippe d'Idre, bailiff of the town and city of Tours and
province of Touraine, living in his hotel in the Rue de la Rotisserie,
in Chateauneuf; Master Jehan Ribou, provost of the brotherhood and
company of drapers, residing on the Quay de Bretaingne, at the image
of St. Pierre-es-liens; Messire Antoine Jehan, alderman and chief of
the Brotherhood of Changers, residing in the Place du Pont, at the
image of St. Mark-counting-tournoise-pounds; Master Martin
Beaupertuys, captain of the archers of the town residing at the
castle; Jehan Rabelais, a ships' painter and boat maker residing at
the port at the isle of St. Jacques, treasurer of the brotherhood of
the mariners of the Loire; Mark Hierome, called Maschefer, hosier, at
the sign of Saint-Sebastian, president of the trades council; and
Jacques, called de Villedomer, master tavern-keeper and vine dresser,
residing in the High Street, at the Pomme de Pin; to the said Sire
d'Idre, and to the said citizens, we have read the following petition
by them, written, signed, and deliberated upon, to be brought under
the notice of the ecclesiastical tribunal:--


We, the undersigned, all citizens of Tours, are come into the hotel of
his worship the Sire d'Idre, bailiff of Touraine, in the absence of
our mayor, and have requested him to hear our plaints and statements
concerning the following facts, which we intend to bring before the
tribunal of the archbishop, the judge of ecclesiastical crimes, to
whom should be deferred the conduct of the cause which we here

A long time ago there came into this town a wicked demon in the form
of a woman, who lives in the parish of Saint-Etienne, in the house of
the innkeeper Tortebras, situated in the quit-rent of the chapter, and
under the temporal jurisdiction of the archiepiscopal domain. The
which foreigner carries on the business of a gay woman in a prodigal
and abusive manner, and with such increase of infamy that she
threatens to ruin the Catholic faith in this town, because those who
go to her come back again with their souls lost in every way, and
refuse the assistance of the Church with a thousand scandalous

Now considering that a great number of those who yielded to her are
dead, and that arrived in our town with no other wealth than her
beauty, she has, according to public clamour, infinite riches and
right royal treasure, the acquisition of which is vehemently
attributed to sorcery, or at least to robberies committed by the aid
of magical attractions and her supernaturally amorous person.

Considering that it is a question of the honour and security of our
families, and that never before has been seen in this country a woman
wild of body or a daughter of pleasure, carrying on with such mischief
of vocation of light o' love, and menacing so openly and bitterly the
life, the savings, the morals, chastity, religion, and the everything
of the inhabitants of this town;

Considering that there is need of a inquiry into her person, her
wealth and her deportment, in order to verify if these effects of love
are legitimate, and to not proceed, as would seem indicated by her
manners, from a bewitchment of Satan, who often visits Christianity
under the form of a female, as appears in the holy books, in which it
is stated that our blessed Saviour was carried away into a mountain,
from which Lucifer or Astaroth showed him the fertile plains of Judea
and that in many places have been seen succubi or demons, having the
faces of women, who, not wishing to return to hell, and having with
them an insatiable fire, attempt to refresh and sustain themselves by
sucking in souls;

Considering that in the case of the said woman a thousand proofs of
diablerie are met with, of which certain inhabitants speak openly, and
that it is necessary for the repose of the said woman that the matter
be sifted, in order that she shall not be attacked by certain people,
ruined by the result of her wickedness;

For these causes we pray that it will please you to submit to our
spiritual lord, father of this diocese, the most noble and blessed
archbishop Jehan de Monsoreau, the troubles of his afflicted flock, to
the end that he may advise upon them.

By doing so you will fulfil the duties of your office, as we do those
of preservers of the security of this town, each one according to the
things of which he has charge in his locality.

And we have signed the present, in the year of our Lord one thousand
two hundred and seventy-one, of All Saints' Day, after mass.

Master Tournebouche having finished the reading of this petition, by
us, Hierome Cornille, has it been said to the petitioners--

"Gentlemen, do you, at the present time, persist in these statements?
have you proofs other than those come within your own knowledge, and
do you undertake to maintain the truth of this before God, before man,
and before the accused?"

All, with the exception of Master Jehan Rabelais, have persisted in
their belief, and the aforesaid Rabelais has withdrawn from the
process, saying that he considered the said Moorish woman to be a
natural woman and a good wench who had no other fault than that of
keeping up a very high temperature of love.

Then we, the judge appointed, have, after mature deliberation, found
matter upon which to proceed in the petition of the aforesaid
citizens, and have commanded that the woman at present in the jail of
the chapter shall be proceeded against by all legal methods, as
written in the canons and ordinances, _contra demonios_. The said
ordinance, embodied in a writ, shall be published by the town-crier in
all parts, and with the sound of the trumpet, in order to make it
known to all, and that each witness may, according to his knowledge,
be confronted with the said demon, and finally the said accused to be
provided with a defender, according to custom, and the interrogations,
and the process to be congruously conducted.


And, lower-down.


In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

In the year of our Lord one thousand two hundred and seventy-one, the
10th day of February, after mass, by command of us, Hierome Cornille,
ecclesiastical judge, has been brought from the jail of the chapter
and led before us the woman taken in the house of the innkeeper
Tortebras, situated in the domains of the chapter and the cathedral of
St. Maurice, and are subject to the temporal and seigneurial justice
of the Archbishop of Tours; besides which, in consequence of the
nature of the crimes imputed to her, she is liable to the tribunal and
council of ecclesiastical justice, the which we have made known to
her, to the end that she should not ignore it.

And after a serious reading, entirely at will understood by her, in
the first place of the petition of the town, then of the statements,
plaints, accusations, and proceedings which written in twenty-four
quires by Master Tournebouche, and are above related, we have, with
the invocation and assistance of God and the Church, resolved to
ascertain the truth, first by interrogatories made to the said

In the first interrogation we have requested the aforesaid to inform
us in what land or town she had been born. By her who speaks was it
answered: "In Mauritania."

We have then inquired: "If she had a father or mother, or any
relations?" By her who speaks has it been replied: "That she had never
known them." By us requested to declare her name. By her who speaks
has been replied: "Zulma," in Arabian tongue.

By us has it been demanded: "Why she spoke our language?" By her who
speaks has it been said: "Because she had come into this country." By
us has it been asked: "At what time?" By her who speaks has it been
replied: "About twelve years."

By us has it been asked: "What age she then was?" By her who speaks
has it been answered: "Fifteen years or thereabout."

By us has it been said: "Then you acknowledge yourself to be
twenty-seven years of age?" By her who speaks has it been replied:

By us has it been said to her: "That she was then the Moorish child
found in the niche of Madame the Virgin, baptised by the Archbishop,
held at the font by the late Lord of Roche-Corbon and the Lady of
Azay, his wife, afterwards by them placed in religion at the convent
of Mount Carmel, where by her had been made vows of chastity, poverty,
silence, and the love of God, under the divine assistance of St.
Clare?" By her who speaks has been said: "That is true."

By us has it been asked her: "If, then, she allowed to be true the
declarations of the very noble and illustrious lady the abbess of
Mount Carmel, also the statements of Jacquette, called Vieux-Oing,
being kitchen scullion?" By the accused has been answered: "These
words are true in great measure."

Then by us has it been said to her: "Then you are a Christian?" And by
her who speaks has been answered: "Yes, my father."

Then by us has she been requested to make the sign of the cross, and
to take holy water from the brush placed by Master Tournebouche in her
hand; the which having been done, and by us having been witnessed, it
has been admitted as an indisputable fact, that Zulma, the Moorish
woman, called in our country Blanche Bruyn, a nun of the convent under
the invocation of Mount Carmel, there named Sister Clare, and
suspected to be the false appearance of a woman under which is
concealed a demon, has in our presence made act of religion and thus
recognised the justice of the ecclesiastical tribunal.

Then by us have these words been said to her: "My daughter, you are
vehemently suspected to have had recourse to the devil from the manner
in which you left the convent, which was supernatural in every way."
By her who speaks has it been stated, that she at that time gained
naturally the fields by the street door after vespers, enveloped in
the robes of Jehan de Marsilis, visitor of the convent, who had hidden
her, the person speaking, in a little hovel belonging to him, situated
in the Cupidon Lane, near a tower in the town. That there this said
priest had to her then speaking, at great length, and most thoroughly
taught the depths of love, of which she then speaking was before in
all points ignorant, for which delights she had a great taste, finding
them of great use. That the Sire d'Amboise having perceived her then
speaking at the window of this retreat, had been smitten with a great
love for her. That she loved him more heartily than the monk, and fled
from the hovel where she was detained for profit of his pleasure by
Don Marsilis. And then she had gone in great haste to Amboise, the
castle of the said lord, where she had had a thousand pastimes,
hunting, and dancing, and beautiful dresses fit for a queen. One day
the Sire de la Roche-Pozay having been invited by the Sire d'Amboise
to come and feast and enjoy himself, the Baron d'Amboise had allowed
him to see her then speaking, as she came out naked from her bath.
That at this sight the said Sire de la Roche-Pozay having fallen
violently in love with her, had on the morrow discomfited in single
combat the Sire d'Amboise, and by great violence, had, is spite of her
tears, taken her to the Holy Land, where she who was speaking had
lived the life of a woman well beloved, and had been held in great
respect on account of her great beauty. That after numerous
adventures, she who was speaking had returned into this country in
spite of the apprehensions of misfortune, because such was the will of
her lord and master, the Baron de Bueil, who was dying of grief in
Asiatic lands, and desired to return to his patrimonial manor. Now he
had promised her who was speaking to preserve her from peril. Now she
who was speaking had faith and belief in him, the more so as she loved
him very much; but on his arrival in this country, the Sire de Bueil
was seized with an illness, and died deplorably, without taking any
remedies, this spite of the fervent requests which she who was
speaking had addressed to him, but without success, because he hated
physicians, master surgeons, and apothecaries; and that this was the
whole truth.

Then by us has it been said to the accused that she then held to be
true the statements of the good Sire Harduin and of the innkeeper
Tortebras. By her who speaks has it been replied, that she recognised
as evidence the greater part, and also as malicious, calumnious, and
imbecile certain portions.

Then by us has the accused been required to declare if she had had
pleasure and carnal commerce with all the men, nobles, citizens, and
others as set forth in the plaints and declarations of the
inhabitants. To which her who speaks has it been answered with great
effrontery: "Pleasure, yes! Commerce, I do not know."

By us has it been said to her, that all had died by her acts. By her
who speaks has it been said that their deaths could not be the result
of her acts, because she had always refused herself to them, and the
more she fled from them the more they came and embraced her with
infinite passion, and that when she who was speaking was taken by them
she gave herself up to them with all her strength, by the grace of
God, because she had in that more joy than in anything, and has
stated, she who speaks, that she avows her secret sentiments solely
because she had been requested by us to state the whole truth, and
that she the speaker stood in great fear of the torments of the

Then by us has she been requested to answer, under pain of torture, in
what state of mind she was when a young nobleman died in consequence
of his commerce with her. Then by her speaking has it been replied,
that she remained quite melancholy and wished to destroy herself; and
prayed God, the Virgin, and the saints to receive her into Paradise,
because never had she met with any but lovely and good hearts in which
was no guile, and beholding them die she fell into a great sadness,
fancying herself to be an evil creature or subject to an evil fate,
which she communicated like the plague.

Then by us has she been requested to state where she paid her orisons.

By her speaking has it been said that she played in her oratory on her
knees before God, who according to the Evangelists, sees and hears all
things and resides in all places.

Then by us has it been demanded why she never frequented the churches,
the offices, nor the feasts. To this by her speaking has it been
answered, that those who came to love her had elected the feast days
for that purpose, and that she speaking did all things to their

By us has it been remonstrated that, by so doing, she was submissive
to man rather than to the commandments of God.

Then by her speaking has it been stated, that for those who loved her
well she speaking would have thrown herself into a flaming pile, never
having followed in her love any course but that of nature, and that
for the weight of the world in gold she would not have lent her body
or her love to a king who did not love her with his heart, feet, hair,
forehead, and all over. In short and moreover the speaker had never
made an act of harlotry in selling one single grain of love to a man
whom she had not chosen to be hers, and that he who held her in his
arms one hour or kissed her on the mouth a little, possessed her for
the remainder of her days.

Then by us has she been requested to state whence preceded the jewels,
gold plate, silver, precious stones, regal furniture, carpets, et
cetera, worth 200,000 doubloons, according to the inventory found in
her residence and placed in the custody of the treasurer of the
chapter. By the speaker answer has been made, that in us she placed
all her hopes, even as much as in God, but that she dare not reply to
this, because it involved the sweetest things of love upon which she
had always lived. And interpellated anew, the speaker has said that if
the judge knew with what fervour she held him she loved, with what
obedience she followed him in good or evil ways, with what study she
submitted to him, with what happiness she listened to his desires, and
inhaled the sacred words with which his mouth gratified her, in what
adoration she held his person, even we, an old judge, would believe
with her well-beloved, that no sum could pay for this great affection
which all the men ran after. After the speaker has declared never from
any man loved by her, to have solicited any present or gift, and that
she rested perfectly contented to live in their hearts, that she would
there curl herself up with indestructible and ineffable pleasure,
finding herself richer with this heart than with anything, and
thinking of no other thing than to give them more pleasure and
happiness than she received from them. But in spite of the iterated
refusals of the speaker her lovers persisted in graciously rewarding
her. At times one came to her with a necklace of pearls, saying, "This
is to show my darling that the satin of her skin did not falsely
appear to me whiter than pearls" and would put it on the speaker's
neck, kissing her lovingly. The speaker would be angry at these
follies, but could not refuse to keep a jewel that gave them pleasure
to see it there where they placed it. Each one had a different fancy.
At times another liked to tear the precious garments which the speaker
wore to gratify him; another to deck out the speaker with sapphires on
her arms, on her legs, on her neck, and in her hair; another to seat
her on the carpet, clad in silk or black velvet, and to remain for
days together in ecstasy at the perfections of the speaker the whom
the things desired by her lovers gave infinite pleasure, because these
things rendered them quite happy. And the speaker has said, that as we
love nothing so much as our pleasure, and wish that everything should
shine in beauty and harmonise, outside as well as inside the heart, so
they all wished to see the place inhabited by the speaker adorned with
handsome objects, and from this idea all her lovers were pleased as
much as she was in spreading thereabout gold, silks and flowers. Now
seeing that these lovely things spoil nothing, the speaker had no
force or commandment by which to prevent a knight, or even a rich
citizen beloved by her, having his will, and thus found herself
constrained to receive rare perfumes and other satisfaction with which
the speaker was loaded, and that such was the source of the gold,
plate, carpets, and jewels seized at her house by the officers of
justice. This terminates the first interrogation made to the said
Sister Clare, suspected to be a demon, because we the judge and
Guillaume Tournebouche, are greatly fatigued with having the voice of
the aforesaid, in our ears, and finding our understanding in every way

By us the judge has the second interrogatory been appointed, three
days from to-day, in order that the proofs of the possession and
presence of the demon in the body of the aforesaid may be sought, and
the accused, according to the order of the judge, has been taken back
to the jail under the conduct of Master Guillaume Tournebouche.

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

On the thirteenth day following of the said month of the February
before us, Hierome Cornille, et cetera, has been produced the Sister
Clare above-mentioned, in order to be interrogated upon the facts and
deeds to her imputed, and of them to be convicted.

By us, the judge, has it been said to the accused that, looking at the
divers responses by her given to the proceeding interrogatories, it
was certain that it never had been in the power of a simple woman,
even if she were authorised, if such licence were allowed to lead the
life of a loose woman, to give pleasure to all, to cause so many
deaths, and to accomplish sorceries so perfect, without the assistance
of a special demon lodged in her body, and to whom her soul had been
sold by an especial compact. That it had been clearly demonstrated
that under her outward appearance lies and moves a demon, the author
of these evils, and that she was now called upon to declare at what
age she had received the demon, to vow the agreement existing between
herself and him, and to tell the truth concerning their common evil
doings. By the speaker was it replied that she would answer us, man,
as to God, who would be judge of all of us. Then has the speaker
pretended never to have seen the demon, neither to have spoken with
him, nor in any way to desire to see him; never to have led the life
of a courtesan, because she, the speaker, had never practised the
various delights that love invents, other than those furnished by the
pleasure which the Sovereign Creator has put in the thing, and to have
always been incited more from the desire of being sweet and good to
the dear lord loved by her, then by an incessantly raging desire. But
if such had been her inclination, the speaker begged us to bear in
mind that she was a poor African girl, in whom God had placed very hot
blood, and in her brain so easy an understanding of the delights of
love, that if a man only looked at her she felt greatly moved in her
heart. That if from desire of acquaintance an amorous gentleman
touched the speaker her on any portion of the body, there passing his
hand, she was, in spite of everything, under his power, because her
heart failed her instantly. By this touch, the apprehension and
remembrance of all the sweet joys of love woke again in her breast,
and there caused an intense heat, which mounted up, flamed in her
veins, and made her love and joy from head to foot. And since the day
when Don Marsilis had first awakened the understanding of the speaker
concerning these things, she had never had any other thought, and
thenceforth recognised love to be a thing so perfectly concordant with
her nature, that it had since been proved to the speaker that in
default of love and natural relief she would have died, withered at
the said convent. As evidence of which, the speaker affirms as a
certainty, that after her flight from the said convent she had not
passed a single day or one particle of time in melancholy and sadness,
but always was she joyous, and thus followed the sacred will of God,
which she believed to have been diverted during the time lost by her
in the convent.

To this was it objected by us, Hierome Cornille, to the said demon,
that in this response she had openly blasphemed against God, because
we had all been made to his greater glory, and placed in the world to
honour and to serve Him, to have before our eyes His blessed
commandments, and to live in sanctity, in order to gain eternal life,
and not to be always in bed, doing that which even the beasts only do
at a certain time. Then by the said sister, has answer been made, that
she honoured God greatly, that in all countries she had taken care of
the poor and suffering, giving them both money and raiment, and that
at the last judgement-day she hoped to have around her a goodly
company of holy works pleasant to God, which would intercede for her.
That but for her humility, a fear of being reproached and of
displeasing the gentlemen of the chapter, she would with joy have
spent her wealth in finishing the cathedral of St. Maurice, and there
have established foundations for the welfare of her soul--would have
spared therein neither her pleasure nor her person, and that with this
idea she would have taken double pleasure in her nights, because each
one of her amours would have added a stone to the building of this
basilic. Also the more this purpose, and for the eternal welfare of
the speaker, would they have right heartily given their wealth.

Then by us has it been said to this demon that she could not justify
the fact of her sterility, because in spite of so much commerce, no
child had been born of her, the which proved the presence of a demon
in her. Moreover, Astaroth alone, or an apostle, could speak all
languages, and she spoke after the manner of all countries, the which
proved the presence of the devil in her. Thereupon the speaker has
asked: "In what consisted the said diversity of language?"--that of
Greek she knew nothing but a Kyrie eleison, of which she made great
use; of Latin, nothing, save Amen, which she said to God, wishing
therewith to obtain her liberty. That for the rest the speaker had
felt great sorrow, being without children, and if the good wives had
them, she believed it was because they took so little pleasure in the
business, and she, the speaker, a little too much. But that such was
doubtless the will of God, who thought that from too great happiness,
the world would be in danger of perishing. Taking this into
consideration, and a thousand other reasons, which sufficiently
establish the presence of the devil in the body of the sister, because
the peculiar property of Lucifer is to always find arguments having
the semblance of truth, we have ordered that in our presence the
torture be applied to the said accused, and that she be well tormented
in order to reduce the said demon by suffering to submit to the
authority of the Church, and have requested to render us assistance
one Francois de Hangest, master surgeon and doctor to the chapter,
charging him by a codicil hereunder written to investigate the
qualities of the feminine nature (virtutes vulvae) of the
above-mentioned woman, to enlighten our religion on the methods
employed by this demon to lay hold of souls in that way, and see if
any article was there apparent.

Then the said Moorish women had wept bitterly, tortured in advance,
and in spite of her irons, has knelt down imploring with cries and
clamour the revocation of this order, objecting that her limbs were in
such a feeble state, and her bones so tender, that they would break
like glass; and finally, has offered to purchase her freedom from this
by the gift all her goods to the chapter, and to quit incontinently
the country.

Upon this, by us has she been required to voluntarily declare herself
to be, and to have always been, demon of the nature of the Succubus,
which is a female devil whose business it is to corrupt Christians by
the blandishments and flagitious delights of love. To this the speaker
has replied that the affirmation would be an abominable falsehood,
seeing that she had always felt herself to be a most natural woman.

Then her irons being struck off by the torturer, the aforesaid has
removed her dress, and has maliciously and with evil design bewildered
and attacked our understandings with the sight of her body, the which,
for a fact, exercises upon a man supernatural coercion.

Master Guillaume Tournebouche has, by reason of nature, quitted the
pen at this period, and retired, objecting that he was unable, without
incredible temptations, which worked in his brain, to be a witness of
this torture, because he felt the devil violently gaining his person.

This finishes the second interrogatory; and as the apparitor and
janitor of the chapter have stated Master Francois de Hangest to be in
the country, the torture and interrogations are appointed for
to-morrow at the hour of noon after mass.

This has been written verbally by me, Hierome, in the absence of
Master Guillaume Tournebouche, on whose behalf it is signed.

Grand Penitentiary.


Today, the fourteenth day of the month of February, in the presence of
me, Hierome Cornille, have appeared the said Masters Jehan Ribou,
Antoine Jehan, Martin Beaupertuys, Hierome Maschefer, Jacques de Ville
d'Omer, and the Sire d'Idre, in place of the mayor of the city of
Tours, for the time absent. All plaintiffs designated in the act of
process made at the Town Hall, to whom we have, at the request of
Blanche Bruyn (now confessing herself a nun of the convent of Mount
Carmel, under the name of Sister Clare), declared the appeal made to
the Judgment of God by the said person accused of demonical
possession, and her offer to pass through the ordeal of fire and
water, in presence of the Chapter and of the town of Tours, in order
to prove her reality as a woman and her innocence.

To this request have agreed for their parts, the said accusers, who,
on condition that the town is security for it, have engaged to prepare
a suitable place and a pile, to be approved by the godparents of the

Then by us, the judge, has the first day of the new year been
appointed for the day of the ordeal--which will be next Paschal Day
--and we have indicated the hour of noon, after mass, each of the
parties having acknowledged this delay to be sufficient.

And the present proclamation shall be cited, at the suit of each of
them, in all the towns, boroughs, and castles of Touraine and the land
of France, at their request and at their cost and suit.



This the act of extreme confession made the first day of the month of
March, in the year one thousand two hundred and seventy-one, after the
coming of our blessed Saviour, by Hierome Cornille, priest, canon of
the chapter of the cathedral of St. Maurice, grand penitentiary, of
all acknowledging himself unworthy, who, finding his last hour to be
come, and contrite of his sins, evil doings, forfeits, bad deeds, and
wickednesses, has desired his avowal to be published to serve the
preconisation of the truth, the glory of God, the justice of the
tribunal, and to be an alleviation to him of his punishment, in the
other world. The said Hierome Cornille being on his deathbed, there
had been convoked to hear his declarations, Jehan de la Haye (de
Hago), vicar of the church of St. Maurice; Pietro Guyard, treasurer of
the chapter, appointed by our Lord Jean de Monsoreau, Archbishop, to
write his words; and Dom Louis Pot, a monk of maius MONASTERIUM
(Marmoustier), chosen by him for a spiritual father and confessor; all
three assisted by the great and illustrious Dr Guillaume de Censoris,
Roman Archdeacon, at present sent into the diocese (LEGATUS), by our
Holy Father the Pope; and, finally, in the presence of a great number
of Christians come to be witnesses of the death of the said Hierome
Cornille, upon his known wish to make act of public repentance, seeing
that he was fast sinking, and that his words might open the eyes of
Christians about to fall into hell.

And before him, Hierome, who, by reason of his great weakness could
not speak, has Dom Louis Pot read the following confession to the
great agitation of the said company:--

"My brethren, until the seventy-first year of my age, which is the one
in which I now am, with the exception of the little sins through
which, all holy though he be, a Christian renders himself culpable
before God, but which it is allowed to us to repurchase by penitence,
I believe I led a Christian life, and merited the praise and renown
bestowed upon me in this diocese, where I was raised to the high
office of grand penitentiary, of which I am unworthy. Now, struck with
the knowledge of the infinite glory of God, horrified at the agonies
which await the wicked and prevaricators in hell, I have thought to
lessen the enormity of my sins by the greatest penitence I can show in
the extreme hour at which I am. Thus I have prayed of the Church, whom
I have deceived and betrayed, whose rights and judicial renown I have
sold, to grant me the opportunity of accusing myself publicly in the
manner of ancient Christians. I hoped, in order to show my great
repentance, to have still enough life in me to be reviled at the door
of the cathedral by all my brethren, to remain there an entire day on
my knees, holding a candle, a cord around my neck, and my feet naked,
seeing that I had followed the way of hell with regard to the sacred
instincts of the Church. But in this great shipwreck of my fragile
virtue, which will be to you as a warning to fly from vice and the
snares of the demon, and to take refuge in the Church, where all help
is, I have been so bewitched by Lucifer that our Saviour Jesus Christ
will take, by the intercession of all you whose help and prayers I
request, pity on me, a poor abused Christian, whose eyes now stream
with tears. So would I have another life to spend in works of
penitence. Now then listen and tremble with great fear! Elected by the
assembled Chapter to carry it out, instruct, and complete the process
commenced against a demon, who had appeared in a feminine shape, in
the person of a relapse nun--an abominable person, denying God, and
bearing the name of Zulma in the infidel country whence she comes; the
which devil is known in the diocese under that of Clare, of the
convent of Mount Carmel, and has much afflicted the town by putting
herself under an infinite number of men to gain their souls to Mammon,
Astaroth, and Satan--princes of hell, by making them leave this world
in a state of mortal sin, and causing their death where life has its
source, I have, I the judge, fallen in my latter days into this snare,
and have lost my senses, while acquitting myself traitorously of the
functions committed with great confidence by the Chapter to my cold
senility. Hear how subtle the demon is, and stand firm against her
artifices. While listening to the first response of the aforesaid
Succubus, I saw with horror that the irons placed upon her feet and
hands left no mark there, and was astonished at her hidden strength
and at her apparent weakness. Then my mind was troubled suddenly at
the sight of the natural perfections with which the devil was endowed.
I listened to the music of her voice, which warmed me from head to
foot, and made me desire to be young, to give myself up to this demon,
thinking that for an hour passed in her company my eternal salvation
was but poor payment for the pleasure of love tasted in those slender
arms. Then I lost that firmness with which all judges should be
furnished. This demon by me questioned, reasoned with me in such a
manner that at the second interrogatory I was firmly persuaded I
should be committing a crime in fining and torturing a poor little
creature who cried like an innocent child. Then warned by a voice from
on high to do my duty, and that these golden words, the music of
celestial appearance, were diabolical mummeries, that this body, so
pretty, so infatuating, would transmute itself into a bristly beast
with sharp claws, those eyes so soft into flames of hell, her behind
into a scaly tail, the pretty rosebud mouth and gentle lips into the
jaws of a crocodile, I came back to my intention of having the said
Succubus tortured until she avowed her permission, as this practice
had already been followed in Christianity. Now when this demon showed
herself stripped to me, to be put to the torture, I was suddenly
placed in her power by magical conjurations. I felt my old bones
crack, my brain received a warm light, my heart transhipped young and
boiling blood. I was light in myself, and by virtue of the magic
philter thrown into my eyes the snows on my forehead melted away. I
lost all conscience of my Christian life and found myself a schoolboy,
running about the country, escaped from class and stealing apples. I
had not the power to make the sign of the cross, neither did I
remember the Church, God the Father, nor the sweet Saviour of men. A
prey to this design, I went about the streets thinking over the
delights of that voice, the abominable, pretty body of this demon, and
saying a thousand wicked things to myself. Then pierced and drawn by a
blow of the devil's fork, who had planted himself already in my head
as a serpent in an oak, I was conducted by this sharp prong towards
the jail, in spite of my guardian angel, who from time to time pulled
me by the arm and defended me against these temptations, but in spite
of his holy advice and his assistance I was dragged by a million claws
stuck into my heart, and soon found myself in the jail. As soon as the
door was opened to me I saw no longer any appearance of a prison,
because the Succubus had there, with the assistance of evil genii or
fays, constructed a pavilion of purple and silk, full of perfumes and
flowers, where she was seated, superbly attired with neither irons on
her neck nor chains on her feet. I allowed myself to be stripped of my
ecclesiastical vestments, and was put into a scent bath. Then the
demon covered me with a Saracen robe, entertained me with a repast of
rare viands contained in precious vases, gold cups, Asiatic wines,
songs and marvellous music, and a thousand sweet sounds that tickled
my soul by means of my ears. At my side kept always the said Succubus,
and her sweet, delectable embrace distilled new ardour into my
members. My guardian angel quitted me. Then I lived only by the
terrible light of the Moorish woman's eyes, coveted the warm embraces
of the delicate body, wished always to feel her red lips, that I
believed natural, and had no fear of the bite of those teeth which
drew me to the bottom of hell, I delighted to feel the unequalled
softness of her hands without thinking that they were unnatural claws.
In short, I acted like husband desiring to go to his affianced without
thinking that that spouse was everlasting death. I had no thought for
the things of this world nor the interests of God, dreaming only of
love, of the sweet breasts of this woman, who made me burn, and of the
gate of hell in which I wished to cast myself. Alas! my brethren,
during three days and three nights was I thus constrained to toil
without being able to stop the stream which flowed from my reins, in
which were plunged, like two pikes, the hands of the Succubus, which
communicated to my poor old age and to my dried up bones, I know not
what sweat of love. At first this demon, to draw me to her, caused to
flow in my inside the softness of milk, then came poignant joys which
pricked like a hundred needles my bones, my marrow, my brain, and my
nerves. Then all this gone, all things became inflamed, my head, my
blood, my nerves, my flesh, my bones, and then I burned with the real
fire of hell, which caused me torments in my joints, and an
incredible, intolerable, tearing voluptuousness which loosened the
bonds of my life. The tresses of this demon, which enveloped my poor
body, poured upon me a stream of flame, and I felt each lock like a
bar of red iron. During this mortal delectation I saw the ardent face
of the said Succubus, who laughed and addressed to me a thousand
exciting words; such as that I was her knight, her lord, her lance,
her day, her joy, her hero, her life, her good, her rider, and that
she would like to clasp me even closer, wishing to be in my skin or
have me in hers. Hearing which, under the prick of this tongue which
sucked out my soul, I plunged and precipitated myself finally into
hell without finding the bottom. And then when I had no more a drop of
blood in my veins, when my heart no longer beat in my body, and I was
ruined at all points, the demon, still fresh, white, rubicund,
glowing, and laughing, said to me--

"'Poor fool, to think me a demon! Had I asked thee to sell thy soul
for a kiss, wouldst thou not give it to me with all thy heart?'

"'Yes,' said I.

"'And if always to act thus it were necessary for thee to nourish
thyself with the blood of new-born children in order always to have
new life to spend in my arms, would you not imbibe it willingly?'

"'Yes,' said I.

"'And to be always my gallant horseman, gay as a man in his prime,
feeling life, drinking pleasure, plunging to the depths of joy as a
swimmer into the Loire, wouldst thou not deny God, wouldst thou not
spit in the face of Jesus?'

"'Yes,' said I.

"Then I felt a hundred sharp claws which tore my diaphragm as if the
beaks of a thousand birds there took their bellyfuls, shrieking. Then
I was lifted suddenly above the earth upon the said Succubus, who had
spread her wings, and cried to me--

"'Ride, ride, my gallant rider! Hold yourself firmly on the back of
thy mule, by her mane, by her neck; and ride, ride, my gallant rider
--everything rides!' And then I saw, as a thick fog, the cities of the
earth, where by a special gift I perceived each one coupled with a
female demon, and tossing about, and engendering in great
concupiscence, all shrieking a thousand words of love and exclamations
of all kinds, and all toiling away with ecstasy. Then my horse with
the Moorish head pointed out to me, still flying and galloping beyond
the clouds, the earth coupled with the sun in a conjunction, from
which proceeded a germ of stars, and there each female world was
embracing a male world; but in place of the words used by creatures,
the worlds were giving forth the howls of tempests, throwing up
lightnings and crying thunders. Then still rising, I saw overhead the
female nature of all things in love with the Prince of Movement. Now,
by way of mockery, the Succubus placed me in the centre of this
horrible and perpetual conflict, where I was lost as a grain of sand
in the sea. Then still cried my white mare to me, 'Ride, ride my
gallant rider--all things ride!' Now, thinking how little was a priest
in this torment of the seed of worlds, nature always clasped together,
and metals, stones, waters, airs, thunders, fish, plants, animals,
men, spirits, worlds and planets, all embracing with rage, I denied
the Catholic faith. Then the Succubus, pointing out to me the great
patch of stars seen in heavens, said to me, 'That way is a drop of
celestial seed escaped from great flow of the worlds in conjunction.'
Thereupon I instantly clasped the Succubus with passion by the light
of a thousand million of stars, and I wished in clasping her to feel
the nature of those thousand million creatures. Then by this great
effort of love I fell impotent in every way, and heard a great
infernal laugh. Then I found myself in my bed, surrounded by my
servitors, who had had the courage to struggle with the demon,
throwing into the bed where I was stretched a basin full of holy
water, and saying fervent prayers to God. Then had I to sustain, in
spite of this assistance, a horrible combat with the said Succubus,
whose claws still clutched my heart, causing me infinite pains; still,
while reanimated by the voice of my servitors, relations, and friends,
I tried to make the sacred sign of the cross; the Succubus perched on
my bed, on the bolster, at the foot, everywhere, occupying herself in
distracting my nerves, laughing, grimacing, putting before my eyes a
thousand obscene images, and causing me a thousand wicked desires.
Nevertheless, taking pity on me, my lord the Archbishop caused the
relics of St. Gatien to be brought, and the moment the shrine had
touched my bed the said Succubus was obliged to depart, leaving an
odour of sulphur and of hell, which made the throats of my servants,
friends, and others sore for a whole day. Then the celestial light of
God having enlightened my soul, I knew I was, through my sins and my
combat with the evil spirit, in great danger of dying. Then did I
implore the especial mercy, to live just a little time to render glory
to God and his Church, objecting the infinite merits of Jesus dead
upon the cross for the salvation of the Christians. By this prayer I
obtained the favour of recovering sufficient strength to accuse myself
of my sins, and to beg of the members of the Church of St. Maurice
their aid and assistance to deliver me from purgatory, where I am
about to atone for my faults by infinite agonies. Finally, I declare
that my proclamation, wherein the said demon appeals the judgment of
God by the ordeals of holy water and a fire, is a subterfuge due to an
evil design suggested by the said demon, who would thus have had the
power to escape the justice of the tribunal of the Archbishop and of
the Chapter, seeing that she secretly confessed to me, to be able to
make another demon accustomed to the ordeal appear in her place. And,
in conclusion, I give and bequeath to the Chapter of the Church of St.
Maurice my property of all kinds, to found a chapter in the said
church, to build it and adorn it and put it under the invocation of
St. Hierome and St. Gatien, of whom one is my patron and the other the
saviour of my soul."

This, heard by all the company, has been brought to the notice of the
ecclesiastical tribunal by Jehan to la Haye (Johannes de Haga).

We, Jehan de la Haye (Johannes de Haga), elected grand penitentiary of
St. Maurice by the general assembly of the Chapter, according to the
usage and custom of that church, and appointed to pursue afresh the
trial of the demon Succubus, at present in the jail of the Chapter,
have ordered a new inquest, at which will be heard all those of this
diocese having cognisance of the facts relative thereto. We declared
void the other proceedings, interrogations, and decrees, and annul
them in the name of the members of the Church in general, and
sovereign Chapter assembled, and declare that the appeal to God,
traitorously made by the demon, shall not take place, in consequence
of the notorious treachery of the devil in this affair. And the said
judgment shall be cried by sound of trumpet in all parts of the
diocese in which have been published the false edicts of the preceding
month, all notoriously due to the instigation of the demon, according
to the confession of the late Hierome Cornille.

Let all good Christians be of assistance to our Holy Church, and to
her commandments.



This was written in the month of May, of the year 1360, after the
manner of a testament.

"My very dear and well-beloved son, when it shall be lawful for thee
to read this I shall be, I thy father, reposing in the tomb, imploring
thy prayers, and supplicating thee to conduct thyself in life as it
will be commanded thee in this rescript, bequeathed for the good
government of thy family, thy future, and safety; for I have done this
at a period when I had my senses and understanding, still recently
affected by the sovereign injustice of men. In my virile age I had a
great ambition to raise myself in the Church, and therein to obtain
the highest dignities, because no life appeared to me more splendid.
Now with this earnest idea, I learned to read and write, and with
great trouble became in a fit condition to enter the clergy. But
because I had no protection, or good advice to superintend my training
I had an idea of becoming the writer, tabellion, and rubrican of the
Chapter of St. Maurice, in which were the highest and richest
personages of Christendom, since the King of France is only therein a
simple canon. Now there I should be able better than anywhere else to
find services to render to certain lords, and thus to find a master or
gain patronage, and by this assistance enter into religion, and be
mitred and esconced in an archiepiscopal chair, somewhere or other.
But this first vision was over credulous, and a little too ambitious,
the which God caused me clearly to perceive by the sequel. In fact,
Messire Jepan de Villedomer, who afterwards became cardinal, was given
this appointment, and I was rejected, discomfited. Now in this unhappy
hour I received an alleviation of my troubles, by the advice of the
good old Hierome Cornille, of whom I have often spoken to you. This
dear man induced me, by his kindness, to become penman to the Chapter
of St. Maurice and the Archbishop of Tours, the which offer I accepted
with joy, since I was reputed a scrivener. At the time I was about to
enter into the presbytery commenced the famous process against the
devil of the Rue Chaude, of which the old folk still talk, and which
in its time, has been recounted in every home in France. Now,
believing that it would be of great advantage to my ambition, and that
for this assistance the Chapter would raise me to some dignity, my
good master had me appointed for the purpose of writing all of that
should be in this grave cause, subject to writing. At the very outset
Monseigneur Hierome Cornille, a man approaching eighty years, of great
sense, justice, and sound understanding, suspected some spitefulness
in this cause, although he was not partial to immodest girls, and had
never been involved with a woman in his life, and was holy and
venerable, with a sanctity which had caused him to be selected as a
judge, all this not withstanding. As soon as the depositions were
completed, and the poor wench heard, it remained clear that although
this merry doxy had broken her religious vows, she was innocent of all
devilry, and that her great wealth was coveted by her enemies, and
other persons, whom I must not name to thee for reasons of prudence.
At this time every one believed her to be so well furnished with
silver and gold that she could have bought the whole county of
Touraine, if so it had pleased her. A thousand falsehoods and
calumnious words concerning the girl, envied by all the honest women,
were circulated and believed in as gospel. At this period Master
Hierome Cornille, having ascertained that no demon other than that of
love was in the girl, made her consent to remain in a convent for the
remainder of her days. And having ascertained certain noble knights
brave in war and rich in domains, that they would do everything to
save her, he invited her secretly to demand of her accusers the
judgment of God, at the same time giving her goods to the chapter, in
order to silence mischievous tongues. By this means would be saved
from the stake the most delicate flower that ever heaven has allowed
to fall upon our earth; the which flower yielded only from excessive
tenderness and amiability to the malady of love, cast by her eyes into
the hearts of all her pursuers. But the real devil, under the form of
a monk, mixed himself up in this affair; in this wise: great enemy of
the virtue, wisdom, and sanctity of Monsignor Hierome Cornille, named
Jehan de la Haye, having learned that in the jail, the poor girl was
treated like a queen, wickedly accused the grand penitentiary of
connivance with her and of being her servitor, because, said this
wicked priest, she makes him young, amorous, and happy, from which the
poor old man died of grief in one day, knowing by this that Jehan de
la Haye had worn his ruin and coveted his dignities. In fact, our lord
the archbishop visited the jail, and found the Moorish woman in a
pleasant place, reposing comfortably, and without irons, because,
having placed a diamond in a place when none could have believed she
could have held it, she had purchased the clemency of her jailer. At
the time certain persons said that this jailer was smitten with her,
and that from love, or perhaps in great fear of the young barons,
lovers of this woman, he had planned her escape. The good man Cornille
being at the point of death, through the treachery of Jehan de la
Haye, the Chapter thinking it necessary to make null and void the
proceedings taken by the penitentiary, and also his decrees, the said
Jehan de la Haye, at that time a simple vicar of the cathedral,
pointed out that to do this it would be sufficient to obtain a public
confession from the good man on his death-bed. Then was the moribund
tortured and tormented by the gentleman of the Chapter, those of Saint
Martin, those of Marmoustiers, by the archbishop and also by the
Pope's legate, in order that he might recant to the advantage of the
Church, to which the good man would not consent. But after a thousand
ills, the public confession was prepared, at which the most noteworthy
people of the town assisted, and the which spread more horror and
consternation than I can describe. The churches of the diocese held
public prayers for this calamity, and every one expected to see the
devil tumble into his house by the chimney. But the truth of it is
that the good Master Hierome had a fever, and saw cows in his room,
and then was this recantation obtained of him. The access passed, the
poor saint wept copiously on learning this trick from me. In fact, he
died in my arms, assisted by his physicians, heartbroken at this
mummery, telling us that he was going to the feet of God to pray to
prevent the consummation of this deplorable iniquity. The poor Moorish
woman had touched him much by her tears and repentance, seing that
before making her demand for the judgment of God he had minutely
confessed her, and by that means had disentangled the soul divine
which was in the body, and of which he spoke as of a diamond worthy of
adorning the holy crown of God, when she should have departed this
life, after repenting her sins. Then, my dear son, knowing by the
statements made in the town, and by the naive responses of this
unhappy wretch, all the trickery of this affair, I determined by the
advice of Master Francois de Hangest, physician of the chapter, to
feign an illness and quit the service of the Church of St. Maurice and
of the archbishopric, in order not to dip my hands in the innocent
blood, which still cries and will continue to cry aloud unto God until
the day of the last judgment. Then was the jailer dismissed, and in
his place was put the second son of the torturer, who threw the
Moorish woman into a dungeon, and inhumanly put upon her hands and
feet chains weighing fifty pounds, besides a wooden waistband; and the
jail were watched by the crossbowmen of the town and the people of the
archbishop. The wench was tormented and tortured, and her bones were
broken; conquered by sorrow, she made an avowal according to the
wishes of Jehan de la Haye, and was instantly condemned to be burned
in the enclosure of St. Etienne, having been previously placed in the
portals of the church, attired in a chemise of sulphur, and her goods
given over to the Chapter, et cetera. This order was the cause of
great disturbances and fighting in the town, because three young
knights of Touraine swore to die in the service of the poor girl, and
to deliver her in all possible ways. Then they came into the town,
accompanied by thousands of sufferers, labouring people, old soldiers,
warriors, courtesans, and others, whom the said girls had succoured,
saved from misfortune, from hunger and misery, and searched all the
poor dwellings of the town where lay those to whom she had done good.
Thus all were stirred up and called together to the plain of
Mount-Louis under the protection of the soldiers of the said lords;
they had for companions all the scape-graces of the said twenty
leagues around, and came one morning to lay siege to the prison of the
archbishop, demanding that the Moorish woman should be given up to
them as though they would put her to death, but in fact to set her
free, and to place her secretly upon a swift horse, that she might
gain the open country, seeing that she rode like a groom. Then in this
frightful tempest of men have we seen between the battlements of the
archiepiscopal palace and the bridges, more than ten thousand men
swarming, besides those who were perched upon the roofs of the houses
and climbing on all the balconies to see the sedition; in short it was
easy to hear the horrible cries of the Christians, who were terribly in
earnest, and of those who surrounded the jail with the intention of
setting the poor girl free, across the Loire, the other side of Saint
Symphorien. The suffocation and squeezing of bodies was so great in
this immense crowd, bloodthirsty for the poor creature at whose knees
they would have fallen had they had the opportunity of seeing her, that
seven children, eleven women, and eight citizens were crushed and
smashed beyond all recognition, since they were like splodges of mud;
in short, so wide open was the great mouth of this popular leviathan,
this horrible monster, that the clamour was heard at
Montils-les-Tours. All cried 'Death to the Succubus! Throw out the
demon! Ha! I'd like a quarter! I'll have her skin! The foot for me, the
mane for thee! The head for me! The something for me! Is it red? Shall
we see? Will it be grilled? Death to her! death!' Each one had his say.
But the cry, 'Largesse to God! Death to the Succubus!' was yelled at
the same time by the crowd so hoarsely and so cruelly that one's ears
and heart bled therefrom; and the other cries were scarcely heard in
the houses. The archbishop decided, in order to calm this storm which
threatened to overthrow everything, to come out with great pomp from
the church, bearing the host, which would deliver the Chapter from
ruin, since the wicked young men and the lords had sworn to destroy
and burn the cloisters and all the canons. Now by this stratagem the
crowd was obliged to break up, and from lack of provisions return to
their houses. Then the monks of Touraine, the lords, and the citizens,
in great apprehension of pillage on the morrow, held a nocturnal
council, and accepted the advice of the Chapter. By their efforts the
men-at-arms, archers, knights, and citizens, in a large number, kept
watch, and killed a party of shepherds, road menders, and vagrants,
who, knowing the disturbed state of Tours, came to swell the ranks of
the malcontents. The Sire Harduin de Maille, an old nobleman, reasoned
with the young knights, who were the champions of the Moorish woman,
and argued sagely with them, asking them if for so small a woman they
wished to put Touraine to fire and sword; that even if they were
victorious they would be masters of the bad characters brought
together by them; that these said freebooters, after having sacked the
castles of their enemies, would turn to those of their chiefs. That
the rebellion commenced had had no success in the first attack,
because up to that time the place was untouched, could they have any
over the church, which would invoke the aid of the king? And a
thousand other arguments. To these reasons the young knights replied,
that it was easy for the Chapter to aid the girl's escape in the
night, and that thus the cause of the sedition would be removed. To
this humane and wise requests replied Monseigneur de Censoris, the
Pope's legate, that it was necessary that strength should remain with
the religion of the Church. And thereupon the poor wench payed for
all, since it was agreed that no inquiry should be made concerning
this sedition.

"Then the Chapter had full licence to proceed to the penance of the
girl, to which act and ecclesiastical ceremony the people came from
twelve leagues around. So that on the day when, after divine
satisfaction, the Succubus was to be delivered up to secular justice,
in order to be publicly burnt at a stake, not for a gold pound would a
lord or even an abbott have been found lodging in the town of Tours.
The night before many camped outside the town in tents, or slept upon
straw. Provisions were lacking, and many who came with their bellies
full, returned with their bellies empty, having seen nothing but the
reflection of the fire in the distance. And the bad characters did
good strokes of business by the way.

"The poor courtesan was half dead; her hair had whitened. She was, to
tell the truth, nothing but a skeleton, scarcely covered with flesh,
and her chains weighed more than she did. If she had had joy in her
life, she paid dearly for it at this moment. Those who saw her pass
say that she wept and shrieked in a way that should have earned the
pity of her hardest pursuers; and in the church there were compelled
to put a piece of wood in her mouth, which she bit as a lizard bites a
stick. Then the executioner tied her to a stake to sustain her, since
she let herself roll at times and fell for want of strength. Then she
suddenly recovered a vigorous handful, because, this notwithstanding,
she was able, it is said to break her cords and escape into the
church, where in remembrance of her old vocation, she climbed quickly
into galleries above, flying like a bird along the little columns and
small friezes. She was about to escape on to the roof when a soldier
perceived her, and thrust his spear in the sole of her foot. In spite
of her foot half cut through, the poor girl still ran along the church
without noticing it, going along with her bones broken and her blood
gushing out, so great fear had she of the flames of the stake. At last
she was taken and bound, thrown into a tumbrel and led to the stake,
without being afterwards heard to utter a cry. The account of her
flight in the church assisted in making the common people believe that
she was the devil, and some of them said that she had flown in the
air. As soon as the executioner of the town threw her into the flames,
she made two or three horrible leaps and fell down into the bottom of
the pile, which burned day and night. On the following evening I went
to see if anything remained of this gentle girl, so sweet, so loving,
but I found nothing but a fragment of the 'os stomachal,' in which, is
spite of this, there still remained some moisture, and which some say
still trembled like a woman does in the same place. It is impossible
to tell, my dear son, the sadnesses, without number and without equal,
which for about ten years weighed upon me; always was I thinking of
this angel burnt by wicked men, and always I beheld her with her eyes
full of love. In short the supernatural gifts of this artless child
were shining day and night before me, and I prayed for her in the
church, where she had been martyred. At length I had neither the
strength nor the courage to look without trembling upon the grand
penitentiary Jehan de la Haye, who died eaten up by lice. Leprosy was
his punishment. Fire burned his house and his wife; and all those who
had a hand in the burning had their own hands singed.

"This, my well-beloved son, was the cause of a thousand ideas, which I
have here put into writing to be forever the rule of conduct in our

"I quitted the service of the church, and espoused your mother, from
whom I received infinite blessings, and with whom I shared my life, my
goods, my soul, and all. And she agreed with me in following precepts
--Firstly, that to live happily, it is necessary to keep far away from
church people, to honour them much without giving them leave to enter
your house, any more than to those who by right, just or unjust, are
supposed to be superior to us. Secondly, to take a modest condition,
and to keep oneself in it without wishing to appear in any way rich.
To have a care to excite no envy, nor strike any onesoever in any
manner, because it is needful to be as strong as an oak, which kills
the plants at its feet, to crush envious heads, and even then would
one succumb, since human oaks are especially rare and that no
Tournebouche should flatter himself that he is one, granting that he
be a Tournebouche. Thirdly, never to spend more than one quarter of
one's income, conceal one's wealth, hide one's goods and chattels, to
undertake no office, to go to church like other people, and always
keep one's thoughts to oneself, seeing that they belong to you and not
to others, who twist them about, turn them after their own fashion,
and make calumnies therefrom. Fourthly, always to remain in the
condition of the Tournebouches, who are now and forever drapers. To
marry your daughters to good drapers, send your sons to be drapers in
other towns of France furnished with these wise precepts, and to bring
them up to the honour of drapery, and without leaving any dream of
ambition in their minds. A draper like a Tournebouche should be their
glory, their arms, their name, their motto, their life. Thus by being
always drapers, they will be always Tournebouches, and rub on like the
good little insects, who, once lodged in the beam, made their dens,
and go on with security to the end of their ball of thread. Fifthly
never to speak any other language than that of drapery, and never to
dispute concerning religion or government. And even though the
government of the state, the province, religion, and God turn about,
or have a fancy to go to the right or to the left, always in your
quality of Tournebouche, stick to your cloth. Thus unnoticed by the
others of the town, the Tournebouches will live in peace with their
little Tournebouches--paying the tithes and taxes, and all that they
are required by force to give, be it to God, or to the king, to the
town of to the parish, with all of whom it is unwise to struggle. Also
it is necessary to keep the patrimonial treasure, to have peace and to
buy peace, never to owe anything, to have corn in the house, and enjoy
yourselves with the doors and windows shut.

"By this means none will take from the Tournebouches, neither the
state, nor the Church, nor the Lords, to whom should the case be that
force is employed, you will lend a few crowns without cherishing the
idea of ever seeing him again--I mean the crowns.

"Thus, in all seasons people will love the Tournebouches, will mock
the Tournebouches as poor people--as the slow Tournebouches, as
Tournebouches of no understanding. Let the know-nothings say on. The
Tournebouches will neither be burned nor hanged, to the advantage of
King or Church, or other people; and the wise Tournebouches will have
secretly money in their pockets, and joy in their houses, hidden from

"Now, my dear son, follow this the counsel of a modest and
middle-class life. Maintain this in thy family as a county charter;
and when you die, let your successor maintain it as the sacred gospel
of the Tournebouches, until God wills it that there be no longer
Tournebouches in this world."

This letter has been found at the time of the inventory made in the
house of Francois Tournebouche, lord of Veretz, chancellor to
Monseigneur the Dauphin, and condemned at the time of the rebellion of
the said lord against the King to lose his head, and have all his
goods confiscated by order of the Parliament of Paris. The said letter
has been handed to the Governor of Touraine as an historical
curiosity, and joined to the pieces of the process in the
archbishopric of Tours, by me, Pierre Gaultier, Sheriff, President of
the Trades Council.

The author having finished the transcription and deciphering of these
parchments, translating them from their strange language into French,
the donor of them declared that the Rue Chaude at Tours was so called,
according to certain people, because the sun remained there longer
than in all other parts. But in spite of this version, people of lofty
understanding will find, in the warm way of the said Succubus, the
real origin of the said name. In which acquiesces the author. This
teaches us not to abuse our body, but use it wisely in view of our


At the time when King Charles the Eighth took it into his head to
decorate the castle of Amboise, they came with him certain workmen,
master sculptors, good painters, and masons, or architects, who
ornamented the galleries with splendid works, which, through neglect,
have since been much spoiled.

At that time the court was staying in this beautiful locality, and, as
everyone knows, the king took great pleasure in watching his people
work out their ideas. Among these foreign gentlemen was an Italian,
named Angelo Cappara, a most worthy young man, and, in spite of his
age, a better sculptor and engraver than any of them; and it
astonished many to see one in the April of his life so clever. Indeed,
there had scarcely sprouted upon his visage the hair which imprints
upon a man virile majesty. To this Angelo the ladies took a great
fancy because he was charming as a dream, and as melancholy as a dove
left solitary in its nest by the death of its mate. And this was the
reason thereof: this sculptor knew the curse of poverty, which mars
and troubles all the actions of life; he lived miserably, eating
little, ashamed of his pennilessness, and made use of his talents only
through great despair, wishing by any means to win that idle life
which is the best all for those whose minds are occupied. The
Florentine, out of bravado, came to the court gallantly attired, and
from the timidity of youth and misfortune dared not ask his money from
the king, who, seeing him thus dressed, believed him well with
everything. The courtiers and the ladies used all to admire his
beautiful works, and also their author; but of money he got none. All,
and the ladies above all, finding him rich by nature, esteemed him
well off with his youth, his long black hair, and bright eyes, and did
not give a thought to lucre, while thinking of these things and the
rest. Indeed they were quite right, since these advantages gave to
many a rascal of the court, lands, money and all. In spite of his
youthful appearance, Master Angelo was twenty years of age, and no
fool, had a large heart, a head full of poetry; and more than that,
was a man of lofty imaginings. But although he had little confidence
in himself, like all poor and unfortunate people, he was astonished at
the success of the ignorant. He fancied that he was ill-fashioned,
either in body or mind, and kept his thoughts to himself. I am wrong,
for he told them in the clear starlight nights to the shadows, to God,
to the devil, and everything about him. At such times he would lament
his fate in having a heart so warm, that doubtless the ladies avoided
him as they would a red-hot iron; then he would say to himself how he
would worship a beautiful mistress, how all his life long he would
honour her, and with what fidelity he would attach himself to her,
with what affection serve her, how studiously obey her commands, with
what sports he would dispel the light clouds of her melancholy sadness
on the days when the skies should be overcast. Fashioning himself one
out of his imagination, he would throw himself at her feet, kiss,
fondle, caress, bite, and clasp her with as much reality as a prisoner
scampers over the grass when he sees the green fields through the bars
of his cell. Thus he would appeal to her mercy; overcome with his
feelings, would stop her breath with his embraces, would become daring
in spite of his respect, and passionately bite the clothes of his bed,
seeking this celestial lady, full of courage when by himself, but
abashed on the morrow if he passed one by. Nevertheless, inflamed by
these amorous advances, he would hammer way anew at his marble
figures, would carve beautiful breasts, to bring the water into one's
mouth at the sight of those sweet fruits of love, without counting the
other things that he raised, carved, and caressed with the chisels,
smoothed down with his file, and fashioned in a manner that would make
their use intelligible to the mind of a greenhorn, and stain his
verdure in a single day. The ladies would criticise these beauties,
and all of them were smitten with the youthful Cappara. And the
youthful Cappara would eye them up and down, swearing that the day one
of them gave him her little finger to kiss, he would have his desire.

Among these high-born ladies there came one day one by herself to the
young Florentine, asking him why he was so shy, and if none of the
court ladies could make him sociable. Then she graciously invited him
to come to her house that evening.

Master Angelo perfumes himself, purchases a velvet mantle with a
double fringe of satin, borrows from a friend a cloak with wide
sleeves, a slashed doublet, and silken hose, arrives at the house, and
ascends the stairs with hasty feet, hope beaming from his eyes,
knowing not what to do with his heart, which leaped and bounded like a
goat; and, to sum up, so much over head and ears in love, that the
perspiration trickled down his back.

You may be sure the lady was a beautiful, and Master Cappara was the
more aware of it, since in his profession he had studied the mouldings
of the arms, the lines of the body, the secret surroundings of the
sex, and other mysteries. Now this lady satisfied the especial rules
of art; and besides being fair and slender, she had a voice to disturb
life in its source, to stir fire of a heart, brain, and everything; in
short, she put into one's imagination delicious images of love without
thinking of it, which is the characteristic of these cursed women.

The sculptor found her seated by the fire in a high chair, and the
lady immediately commenced to converse at her ease, although Angelo
could find no other replies than "Yes" and "No," could get no other
words from his throat nor idea in his brain, and would have beaten his
head against the fireplace but for the happiness of gazing at and
listening to his lovely mistress, who was playing there like a young
fly in the sunshine. Because, which this mute admiration, both
remained until the middle of the night, wandering slowly down the
flowery path of love, the good sculptor went away radiant with
happiness. On the road, he concluded in his own mind, that if a noble
lady kept him rather close to her skirts during four hours of the
night, it would not matter a straw if she kept him there the
remainder. Drawing from these premises certain corollaries, he
resolved to ask her favours as a simple woman. Then he determined to
kill everybody--the husband, the wife, or himself--rather than lose
the distaff whereon to spin one hour of joy. Indeed, he was so mad
with love, that he believed life to be but a small stake in the game
of love, since one single day of it was worth a thousand lives.

The Florentine chiselled away at his statues, thinking of his evening,
and thus spoiled many a nose thinking of something else. Noticing
this, he left his work, perfumed himself, and went to listen to the
sweet words of his lady, with the hope of turning them into deeds; but
when he was in the presence of his sovereign, her feminine majesty
made itself felt, and poor Cappara, such a lion in street, looked
sheepish when gazing at his victim. This notwithstanding, towards the
hour when desire becomes heated, he was almost in the lady's lap and
held her tightly clasped. He had obtained a kiss, had taken it, much
to his delight; for, when they give it, the ladies retain the right of
refusal, but when they left it to be taken, the lover may take a
thousand. This is the reason why all of them are accustomed to let it
be taken. The Florentine has stolen a great number, and things were
going on admirably, when the lady, who had been thrifty with her
favours, cried, "My husband!"

And, in fact, my lord had just returned from playing tennis, and the
sculptor had to leave the place, but not without receiving a warm
glance from the lady interrupted in her pleasure. This was all his
substance, pittance and enjoyment during a whole month, since on the
brink of his joy always came the said husband, and he always arrived
wisely between a point-blank refusal and those little sweet caresses
with which women always season their refusals--little things which
reanimate love and render it all the stronger. And when the sculptor,
out of patience, commenced, immediately upon his arrival, the skirmish
of the skirt, in order that victory might arrive before the husband,
to whom, no doubt, these disturbances were not without profit, his
fine lady, seeing desire written in the eyes of her sculptor,
commenced endless quarrels and altercations; at first she pretended to
be jealous in order to rail against love; then appeased the anger of
the little one with the moisture of a kiss, then kept the conversation
to herself, and kept on saying that her lover should be good, obedient
to her will, otherwise she would not yield to him her life and soul;
that a desire was a small thing to offer a mistress; that she was more
courageous, because loving more she sacrificed more, and to his
propositions she would exclaim, "Silence, sir!" with the air of a
queen, and at times she would put on an angry look, to reply to the
reproachs of Cappara: "If you are not as I wish you to be, I will no
longer love you."

The poor Italian saw, when it was too late, that this was not a noble
love, one of those which does not mete out joy as a miser his crowns;
and that this lady took delight in letting him jump about outside the
hedge and be master of everything, provided he touched not the garden
of love. At this business Cappara became a savage enough to kill
anyone, and took with him trusty companions, his friends, to whom he
gave the task of attacking the husband while walking home to bed after
his game of tennis with the king. He came to his lady at the
accustomed hour when the sweet sports of love were in full swing,
which sports were long, lasting kisses, hair twisted and untwisted,
hand bitten with passion, ears as well; indeed, the whole business,
with the exception of that especial thing which good authors rightly
find abominable. The Florentine exclaims between two hearty kisses--

"Sweet one, do you love me more than anything?"

"Yes," said she, because words never cost anything.

"Well then," replied the lover, "be mine in deed as in word."

"But," said she, "my husband will be here directly."

"Is that the only reason?" said he.


"I have friends who will cross him, and will not let him go unless I
show a torch at this window. If he complain to the king, my friends
will say, they thought they were playing a joke on one of their own

"Ah, my dear," said she, "let me see if everyone in the house is gone
to bed."

She rose, and held the light to the window. Seeing which Cappara blew
out the candle, seized his sword, and placing himself in front of the
woman, whose scorn and evil mind he recognised.

"I will not kill you, madame," said he, "but I will mark your face in
such a manner you will never again coquette with young lovers whose
lives you waste. You have deceived me shamefully, and are not a
respectable woman. You must know that a kiss will never sustain life
in a true lover, and that a kissed mouth needs the rest. Your have
made my life forever dull and wretched; now I will make you remember
forever my death, which you have caused. You shall never again behold
yourself in a glass without seeing there my face also." Then he raised
his arm, and held the sword ready to cut off a good slice of the fresh
fair cheek, where still all the traces of his kiss remained. And the
lady exclaimed, "You wretch!"

"Hold your tongue," said he; "you told me that you loved me better
than anything. Now you say otherwise; each evening have you raised me
a little nearer to heaven; with one blow you cast me into hell, and
you think that your petticoat can save you from a lover's wrath--No!"

"Ah, my Angelo! I am thine," said she, marvelling at this man glaring
with rage.

But he, stepping three paces back, replied, "Ah, woman of the court
and wicked heart, thou lovest, then, thy face better than thy lover."

She turned pale, and humbly held up her face, for she understood that
at this moment her past perfidy wronged her present love. With a
single blow Angelo slashed her face, then left her house, and quitted
the country. The husband not having been stopped by reason of that
light which was seen by the Florentines, found his wife minus her left
cheek. But she spoke not a word in spite of her agony; she loved her
Cappara more than life itself. Nevertheless, the husband wished to
know whence preceded this wound. No one having been there except the
Florentine, he complained to the king, who had his workman hastily
pursued, and ordered him to be hanged at Blois. On the day of
execution a noble lady was seized with a desire to save this
courageous man, whom she believed to be a lover of the right sort. She
begged the king to give him to her, which he did willingly. But
Cappara declaring that he belonged entirely to his lady, the memory of
whom he could not banish entirely, entered the Church, became a
cardinal and a great savant, and used to say in his old age that he
had existed upon the remembrance of the joys tasted in those poor
hours of anguish; in which he was, at the same time, both very well
and very badly treated by his lady. There are authors saying
afterwards he succeeded better with his old sweetheart, whose cheek
healed; but I cannot believe this, because he was a man of heart, who
had a high opinion of the holy joys of love.

This teaches us nothing worth knowing, unless it be that there are
unlucky meetings in life, since this tale is in every way true. If in
other places the author has overshot the truth, this one will gain for
him the indulgence of the conclave or lovers.


This second series comes in the merry month of June, when all is green
and gay, because the poor muse, whose slave the author is, has been
more capricious then the love of a queen, and has mysteriously wished
to bring forth her fruit in the time of flowers. No one can boast
himself master of this fay. At times, when grave thoughts occupy the
mind and grieve the brain, comes the jade whispering her merry tales
in the author's ear, tickling her lips with her feathers, dancing
sarabands, and making the house echo with her laughter. If by chance
the writer, abandoning science for pleasure, says to her, "Wait a
moment, little one, till I come," and runs in great haste to play with
the madcap, she has disappeared. She has gone into her hole, hides
herself there, rolls herself up, and retires. Take the poker, take a
staff, a cudgel, a cane, raise them, strike the wench, and rave at
her, she moans; strap her, she moans; caress her, fondle her, she
moans; kiss her, say to her, "Here, little one," she moans. Now she's
cold, now she is going to die; adieu to love, adieu to laughter, adieu
to merriment, adieu to good stories. Wear mourning for her, weep and
fancy her dead, groan. Then she raises her head, her merry laugh rings
out again; she spreads her white wings, flies one knows not wither,
turns in the air, capers, shows her impish tail, her woman's breasts,
her strong loins, and her angelic face, shakes her perfumed tresses,
gambols in the rays of the sun, shines forth in all her beauty,
changes her colours like the breast of a dove, laughs until she cries,
cast the tears of her eyes into the sea, where the fishermen find them
transmuted into pretty pearls, which are gathered to adorn the
foreheads of queens. She twists about like a colt broken loose,
exposing her virgin charms, and a thousand things so fair that a pope
would peril his salvation for her at the mere sight of them. During
these wild pranks of the ungovernable beast you meet fools and
friends, who say to the poor poet, "Where are your tales? Where are
your new volumes? You are a pagan prognosticator. Oh yes, you are
known. You go to fetes and feasts, and do nothing between your meals.
Where's your work?"

Although I am by nature partial to kindness, I should like to see one
of these people impaled in the Turkish fashion, and thus equipped,
sent on the Love Chase. Here endeth the second series; make the devil
give it a lift with his horns, and it will be well received by a
smiling Christendom.





Certain persons have interrogated the author as to why there was such
a demand for these tales that no year passes without his giving an
instalment of them, and why he has lately taken to writing commas
mixed up with bad syllables, at which the ladies publicly knit their
brows, and have put to him other questions of a like character.

The author declares that these treacherous words, cast like pebbles in
his path, have touched him in the very depths of his heart, and he is
sufficiently cognisant of his duty not to fail to give to his special
audience in this prologue certain reasons other than the preceding
ones, because it is always necessary to reason with children until
they are grown up, understand things, and hold their tongues; and
because he perceives many mischievous fellows among the crowd of noisy
people, who ignore at pleasure the real object of these volumes.

In the first place know, that if certain virtuous ladies--I say
virtuous because common and low class women do not read these stories,
preferring those that are never published; on the contrary, other
citizens' wives and ladies, of high respectability and godliness,
although doubtless disgusted with the subject-matter, read them
piously to satisfy an evil spirit, and thus keep themselves virtuous.
Do you understand, my good reapers of horns? It is better to be
deceived by the tale of a book than cuckolded through the story of a
gentleman. You are saved the damage by this, poor fools! besides
which, often your lady becomes enamoured, is seized with fecund
agitations to your advantage, raised in her by the present book.
Therefore do these volumes assist to populate the land and maintain it
in mirth, honour and health. I say mirth, because much is to be
derived from these tales. I say honour, because you save your nest
from the claws of that youthful demon named cuckoldom in the language
of the Celts. I say health, because this book incites that which was
prescribed by the Church of Salerno, for the avoidance of cerebral
plethora. Can you derive a like proof in any other typographically
blackened portfolios? Ha! ha! where are the books that make children?
Think! Nowhere. But you will find a glut of children making books
which beget nothing but weariness.

But to continue. Now be it known that when ladies, of a virtuous
nature and a talkative turn of mind, converse publicly on the subject
of these volumes, a great number of them, far from reprimanding the
author, confess that they like him very much, esteem him a valiant
man, worthy to be a monk in the Abbey of Theleme. For as many reasons
as there are stars in the heavens, he does not drop the style which he
has adopted in these said tales, but lets himself be vituperated, and
keeps steadily on his way, because noble France is a woman who refuses
to yield, crying, twisting about, and saying,

"No, no, never! Oh, sir, what are you going to do? I won't let you;
you'd rumple me."

And when the volume is done and finished, all smiles, she exclaims,

"Oh, master, are there any more to come?"

You may take it for granted that the author is a merry fellow, who
troubles himself little about the cries, tears and tricks of the lady
you call glory, fashion, or public favour, for he knows her to be a
wanton who would put up with any violence. He knows that in France her
war-cry is _Mount Joy_! A fine cry indeed, but one which certain
writers have disfigured, and which signifies, "Joy it is not of the
earth, it is there; seize it, otherwise good-bye." The author has this
interpretation from Rabelais, who told it to him. If you search
history, has France ever breathed a word when she was joyous mounted,
bravely mounted, passionately mounted, mounted and out of breath? She
goes furiously at everything, and likes this exercise better than
drinking. Now, do you not see that these volumes are French, joyfully
French, wildly French, French before, French behind, French to the
backbone. Back then, curs! strike up the music; silence, bigots!
advance my merry wags, my little pages, put your soft hands into the
ladies' hands and tickle them in the middle--of the hand of course.
Ha! ha! these are high sounding and peripatetic reasons, or the author
knows nothing of sound and the philosophy of Aristotle. He has on his
side the crown of France and the oriflamme of the king and Monsieur
St. Denis, who, having lost his head, said "Mount-my-Joy!" Do you mean
to say, you quadrupeds, that the word is wrong? No. It was certainly
heard by a great many people at the time; but in these days of deep
wretchedness you believe nothing concerning the good old saints.

The author has not finished yet. Know all ye who read these tales with
eye and hand, feel them in the head alone, and love them for the joy
they bring you, and which goes to your heart, know that the author
having in an evil hour let his ideas, _id est_, his inheritance, go
astray, and being unable to get them together again, found himself in
a state of mental nudity. Then he cried like the woodcutter in the
prologue of the book of his dear master Rabelais, in order to make
himself heard by the gentleman on high, Lord Paramount of all things,
and obtain from Him fresh ideas. This said Most High, still busy with
the congress of the time, threw to him through Mercury an inkstand
with two cups, on which was engraved, after the manner of a motto,
these three letters, _Ave_. Then the poor fellow, perceiving no other
help, took great care to turn over this said inkstand to find out the
hidden meaning of it, thinking over the mysterious words and trying to
find a key to them. First, he saw that God was polite, like the great
Lord as He is, because the world is His, and He holds the title of it
from no one. But since, in thinking over the days of his youth, he
remembered no great service rendered to God, the author was in doubt
concerning this hollow civility, and pondered long without finding out
the real substance of the celestial utensil. By reason of turning it
and twisting it about, studying it, looking at it, feeling it,
emptying it, knocking it in an interrogatory manner, smacking it down,
standing it up straight, standing it on one side, and turning it
upside down, he read backwards _Eva_. Who is _Eva_, if not all women
in one? Therefore by the Voice Divine was it said to the author:

Think of women; woman will heal thy wound, stop the waste-hole in thy
bag of tricks. Woman is thy wealth; have but one woman, dress,
undress, and fondle that women, make use of the woman--woman is
everything--woman has an inkstand of her own; dip thy pen in that
bottomless inkpot. Women like love; make love to her with the pen
only, tickle her phantasies, and sketch merrily for her a thousand
pictures of love in a thousand pretty ways. Woman is generous, and all
for one, or one for all, must pay the painter, and furnish the hairs
of the brush. Now, muse upon that which is written here. _Ave_, Hail,
_Eva_, woman; or _Eva_, woman, _Ave_, Hail. Yes, she makes and
unmakes. Heigh, then, for the inkstand! What does woman like best?
What does she desire? All the special things of love; and woman is
right. To have children, to produce an imitation, of nature, which is
always in labour. Come to me, then, woman!--come to me, Eva!

With this the author began to dip into that fertile inkpot, where
there was a brain-fluid, concocted by virtues from on high in a
talismanic fashion. From one cup there came serious things, which
wrote themselves in brown ink; and from the other trifling things,
which merely gave a roseate hue to the pages of the manuscript. The
poor author has often, from carelessness, mixed the inks, now here,
now there; but as soon as the heavy sentences, difficult to smooth,
polish, and brighten up, of some work suitable to the taste of the day
are finished, the author, eager to amuse himself, in spite of the
small amount of merry ink remaining in the left cup, steals and bears
eagerly therefrom a few penfuls with great delight. These said penfuls
are, indeed, these same Droll Tales, the authority on which is above
suspicion, because it flows from a divine source, as is shown in this
the author's naive confession.

Certain evil-disposed people will still cry out at this; but can you
find a man perfectly contented on this lump of mud? Is it not a shame?
In this the author has wisely comported himself in imitation of a
higher power; and he proves it by _atqui_. Listen. Is it not most
clearly demonstrated to the learned that the sovereign Lord of worlds
has made an infinite number of heavy, weighty, and serious machines
with great wheels, large chains, terrible notches, and frightfully
complicated screws and weights like the roasting jack, but also has
amused Himself with little trifles and grotesque things light as
zephyrs, and has made also naive and pleasant creations, at which you
laugh directly you see them? Is it not so? Then in all eccentric
works, such as the very spacious edifice undertaken by the author, in
order to model himself upon the laws of the above-named Lord, it is
necessary to fashion certain delicate flowers, pleasant insects, fine
dragons well twisted, imbricated, and coloured--nay, even gilt,
although he is often short of gold--and throw them at the feet of his
snow-clad mountains, piles of rocks, and other cloud-capped
philosophers, long and terrible works, marble columns, real thoughts
carved in porphyry.

Ah! unclean beasts, who despise and repudiate the figures, phantasies,
harmonies, and roulades of the fair muse of drollery, will you not
pare your claws, so that you may never again scratch her white skin,
all azure with veins, her amorous reins, her flanks of surpassing
elegance, her feet that stay modestly in bed, her satin face, her
lustrous features, her heart devoid of bitterness? Ah! wooden-heads,
what will you say when you find that this merry lass springs from the
heart of France, agrees with all that is womanly in nature, has been
saluted with a polite _Ave_! by the angels in the person of their
spokesman, Mercury, and finally, is the clearest quintessence of Art.
In this work are to be met with necessity, virtue, whim, the desire of
a woman, the votive offering of a stout Pantagruelist, all are here.
Hold your peace, then, drink to the author, and let his inkstand with
the double cup endow the Gay Science with a hundred glorious Droll

Stand back then, curs; strike up the music! Silence, bigots; out of
the way, dunces! step forward my merry wags!--my little pages! give
your soft hand to the ladies, and tickle theirs in the centre in a
pretty manner, saying to them, "Read to laugh." Afterwards you can
tell them some mere jest to make them roar, since when they are
laughing their lips are apart, and they make but a faint resistance to


During the first years of the thirteenth century after the coming of
our Divine Saviour there happened in the City of Paris an amorous
adventure, through the deed of a man of Tours, of which the town and
even the king's court was never tired of speaking. As to the clergy,
you will see by that which is related the part they played in this
history, the testimony of which was by them preserved. This said man,
called the Touranian by the common people, because he had been born in
our merry Touraine, had for his true name that of Anseau. In his
latter days the good man returned into his own country and was mayor
of St. Martin, according to the chronicles of the abbey of that town;
but at Paris he was a great silversmith.

But now in his prime, by his great honesty, his labours, and so forth,
he became a citizen of Paris and subject of the king, whose protection
he bought, according to the custom of the period. He had a house built
for him free of all quit-rent, close the Church of St. Leu, in the Rue
St. Denis, where his forge was well-known by those in want of fine
jewels. Although he was a Touranian, and had plenty of spirit and
animation, he kept himself virtuous as a true saint, in spite of the
blandishments of the city, and had passed the days of his green season
without once dragging his good name through the mire. Many will say
this passes the bounds of that faculty of belief which God has placed
in us to aid that faith due to the mysteries of our holy religion; so
it is needful to demonstrate abundantly the secret cause of this
silversmith's chastity. And, first remember that he came into the town
on foot, poor as Job, according to the old saying; and unlike all the
inhabitants of our part of the country, who have but one passion, he
had a character of iron, and persevered in the path he had chosen as
steadily as a monk in vengeance. As a workman, he laboured from morn
to night; become a master, he laboured still, always learning new
secrets, seeking new receipts, and in seeking, meeting with inventions
of all kinds. Late idlers, watchmen, and vagrants saw always a modest


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