Friday, July 20, 2012

A Nasty Adventure

Marguerite de Navarre, Heptameron, 2nd Day, Novel XI (A Nasty Adventure which befel Madam De Roncex at the Franciscan Monastery of Thouars), translated by Walter K. Kelly:
In the household of Madame de La Tremouille there was a lady named Roncex, who one day when her mistress had gone to the Cordeliers, had a pressing need to go to the place to which she could not send her waiting-woman. She took with her a girl named La Mothe to keep her company, but from bashfulness and desire of secrecy, left her in the chamber, and entered alone into a very dark privy, which was common to all the Cordeliers; and they had rendered such good account there of all their victuals, that the whole place, the seat and the floor, were covered with must of Bacchus and Ceres, passed through the bellies of the Cordeliers. The poor woman, who was so hard pressed that she had scarcely time to tuck up her skirts to sit down, unluckily seated herself on the filthiest spot in the whole place, and there she stuck as if she had been glued to it, and her poor buttocks, garments, and feet were so bewrayed, that she durst not step or turn any way for fear of making herself still worse. Thereupon she began to cry out, as loud as she could, "La Mothe, my dear, I am undone and dishonored!" The poor girl, who had heard sundry tales of the wickedness of the Cordeliers, suspecting that some of them were hid there, and wanted to violate the lady, ran as fast as she could, saying to every one she met, "Come and help Madame de Roncex; the Cordeliers want to ravish her in that privy." They ran to the place with all speed, and found the poor dame De Roncex crying for help, desiring to have some woman who could clean her, and with her hinder parts all uncovered, for she was afraid to touch them with her garments lest she should befoul them. Rushing in at her cries, the gentlemen beheld that fine spectacle, and found no Cordelier molesting her, but only the ordure with which all her posteriors were glued. This did not pass without laughter on their part or great shame on hers; for instead of having women to clean her, she was waited on by men, who saw her naked in the worst condition in which a woman could show herself. Thereupon she dropped her clothes, and so dirtied what was still clean, forgetting the filth she was in for the shame she felt at seeing men. When she was out of that nasty place, it was necessary to strip her stark naked, and change all her clothes before she left the monastery. She was very much disposed to resent the help which La Mothe had brought her, but understanding that the poor girl believed her case was still worse, she forgot her anger and laughed like the rest.