Anthologica Rarissima: The Way of a Virgin  

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"At present it is impossible to give a full list of the authors from whom we shall quote. Mention of such names as those of Sir Richard Burton, Casanova, Aretino, the Marquis de Sade, Wilkes, Boccaccio, Bandello, Masuccio, Straparola, Rabelais, Lucian, Apuleius, Aristophanes, Sinistrari, Nicolas Chorier, Poggio, J. S. Farmer, John Payne, La Fontaine, Chaucer, Brantôme, Sellon, Pisanus Fraxi, Payne Knight, Havelock Ellis, Bloch, Huhner, Forel and Kraft-Ebing, will give some idea of the work contemplated. Special attention will be paid to the less-known folk-lore of Europe and the Orient, as portrayed in those remarkable books, _Kruptadia_, _Untrodden Fields of Anthropology_, _The Kama Sutra_, _The Ananga Ranga_, _The Perfumed Garden_, _The Old Man Young Again_, _Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles_, _Ethnology of the Sixth Sense_, _The Book of Exposition_, _Priapeia_, _Genital Laws_, _Marriage Ceremonies and Priapic Rites_, and _Des Divinités Génératrices_."--Anthologica Rarissima: The Way of a Virgin (1922) by L. and C Brovan

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Anthologica Rarissima: The Way of a Virgin (1922) is a book by L. and C Brovan, which is most probably a pseudonym.

Its full title is The way of a virgin : being excerpts from rare, curious and diverting books, some now for the first time done into English : to which are added copious explanatory notes and bibliographical references of interest to student, collector and psychologist

The book features parts of The Dialogues of Luisa Sigea by Nicolas Chorier: Paris: Isidore Liseux, 1890: "Our extract is from the opening lines of the first dialogue; the phraseology, at times, is our own"

Full text[1]

Title: Anthologica Rarissima: The Way of a Virgin

Author: L. Brovan

       C. Brovan

Release Date: May 13, 2016 [EBook #52059]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)

           Two Hundred and fifty Copies of this Work have
             been Printed on Hand-made Paper for Private
                Circulation Only among Members of the
               Brovan Society, and Twenty-five for the
                  Editors. None of these Copies is
                    for Sale. The Society Pledges
                   itself Never to Reprint nor to
                      Re-issue in any form. Of
                        the Brovan Society’s
                         Issue, this Copy is

                      _ANTHOLOGICA RARISSIMA._

                             VOLUME ONE:
                        THE WAY OF A VIRGIN.

                       Anthologica Rarissima:

           Being Excerpts from Rare, Curious and Diverting
            Books, some now for the First Time done into
                 English. To which are added Copious
                 Explanatory Notes & Bibliographical
                 References of Interest to Student,
                     Collector and Psychologist:
                        the Whole Introduced,
                          Compiled & Edited
                            by L. and C.

                        [Illustration: Leaf]

                          VOLUME THE FIRST:
                        The Way of a Virgin.

                    LONDON: MCMXXII. Printed for
                  Members of the BROVAN SOCIETY by
       Private Subscription and for Private Circulation Only.


With the publication of its _Records_, under the title of _ANTHOLOGICA RARISSIMA_, the _Brovan Society_, which has been formed to carry out research work into the less-known and more curious folk-lore and literature of Europe and the Orient, takes leave to explain its aims and aspirations.

There exists in the literature of all countries a multitude of books not usually accorded public circulation. Yet these books contain some of the most life-like and diverting material ever fashioned by human pen. Their contents have stood the test of time and taste, and to-day, though publicly ignored, they are privately applauded. The trend of these books is, in the main, erotic, or so frank as to relegate them to the category of improper or “privately printed.” Some have never come under the hands of an English translator: others in such limited editions as to make their existence negligible so far as the average student is concerned.

_Anthologica Rarissima_ is a modest attempt to remedy this state of affairs. In a series of volumes the editors will put before their readers the cream of what is tantamount to a small library, and a library not often seen on the book-lover’s shelves. Herein will be found, set out in plain English, curious and diverting extracts from some of the world’s most remarkable works. The text will be literal and unexpurgated. Nothing of interest to the student of folk-lore, psychology and literature will be omitted or glossed over, for the editors believe that a classic castrated is a classic spoilt. The _Records_ throughout will be enriched by copious notes and valuable bibliographical references.

So far as the compilers are aware, no similar anthology exists in the English tongue. It purports to put within reach of the student and bibliophile comprehensive and representative excerpts from writers, the possession of whose works would entail time and expense beyond the means of many collectors.

At present it is impossible to give a full list of the authors from whom we shall quote. Mention of such names as those of Sir Richard Burton, Casanova, Aretino, the Marquis de Sade, Wilkes, Boccaccio, Bandello, Masuccio, Straparola, Rabelais, Lucian, Apuleius, Aristophanes, Sinistrari, Nicolas Chorier, Poggio, J. S. Farmer, John Payne, La Fontaine, Chaucer, Brantôme, Sellon, Pisanus Fraxi, Payne Knight, Havelock Ellis, Bloch, Huhner, Forel and Kraft-Ebing, will give some idea of the work contemplated. Special attention will be paid to the less-known folk-lore of Europe and the Orient, as portrayed in those remarkable books, _Kruptadia_, _Untrodden Fields of Anthropology_, _The Kama Sutra_, _The Ananga Ranga_, _The Perfumed Garden_, _The Old Man Young Again_, _Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles_, _Ethnology of the Sixth Sense_, _The Book of Exposition_, _Priapeia_, _Genital Laws_, _Marriage Ceremonies and Priapic Rites_, and _Des Divinités Génératrices_.

_Anthologica Rarissima_, for reasons which will seem as regrettable as absurd to the student and collector, must ever be a privately printed work; its tone, though erotic, is in no sense pornographic. The extracts have been selected with care, and always with an eye to artistry and bibliographical value. The complete issue, extending to many volumes, will form an unique collection in the English tongue of a type of literature far too little known in this country.

The subject of our first volume--virginity and its treatment in fable, _conte_, and legend--is far from exhausted in these pages. It will be necessary to devote another _Record_ to the theme at a later date. Meanwhile, we have in preparation Vol. 2: “_The Way of a Priest_,” Vol. 3: “_The Way of a Wife_,” Vol. 4: “_The Way of a Husband_,” and Vol. 5: “_The Way of Love_.” This last, culled from such authorities as Ovid, Martial, Catullus, Aretino, Forberg, Veniero, and the authors of _The Kama Sutra_, _The Perfumed Garden_, and _The Ananga Ranga_, should prove the most complete treatise on the _Ars Amandi_ ever published in the English language.

In conclusion, we can only reiterate what was said at the outset--that this work is the outcome of a project to give the English student and collector the cream of a rare and remarkable literature.

We wish to lay special emphasis on the literal nature of our text, having often sacrificed style to preserve it. When translating from French, where an English translation already existed, we have never failed to compare and work upon the two versions for the composition of our extract.

_Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles_ is a case in point, the old French text and Mr. R. B. Douglas’ English translation both being utilised in our _Record_. The same applies to Casanova; each line of his _Memoirs_, as existing in the privately printed English translation, has been closely compared with Garnier’s French text; while Aretino’s _Dialogues_ will be scrutinised in no fewer than three languages. Our aim throughout has been to put before the reader a rendering in English which most exactly approximates to the original work of the author in question.



 FOREWORD.                                v.
 _Of a Young Husband who Sought to
 Redeem his Yard from Pawn, and of the
 Divers Adventures that Befell him in his
 Quest._                                   1
 _Of a Tailor who Consented to Sin with
 a certain Woman who Admired his
 Proportions; and how they Fared._        10
 _Of a Young Girl who Desired her Lover
 to Buy a Better Instrument, which she
 Enjoyed, Lost and Found again._          13
 _EXCURSUS_ to THE INSTRUMENT.            16
 _Of a Maid who would Wed None save
 Ivan the No-Yard; and how they were
 Wed, after which she first Hired, then
 Bought, a Good Yard from Ivan’s Uncle._  17
 FIANCÉE.                                 22
 _Of an Adventure with two Charming
 Cousins, one of whom Desired to know
 why a Deity could not Impregnate a
 Woman; and how the Hero of our Story
 gave Demonstration of Theological and
 other Matters._                          24
 HEDVIGE AND HELÈNE.                      37
 _Of a Young Lady, who, being Enamoured
 of a Prince, Sendeth for one of his
 Chaplains, and with him Entereth into a
 Plot which Bringeth the Affair to the
 Desired Issue._                          42
 PRINCE.                                  49
 _Of a Nun, who Strove to Flee the Shafts
 of Love; how she Succeeded; and how
 certain Young Nuns Received her
 Counsel._                                52
 _Of a Shepherd who Made an Agreement
 with a Shepherdess that he should Mount
 upon her; and how he Kept that
 Agreement._                              53
 _Of a Young Maid, who, Turning Hermit,
 was Taught by a Monk to Put the Devil
 in Hell; and how she found Much
 Pleasure therein._                       56
 _EXCURSUS_ to THE DEVIL IN HELL.         63
 _Of a Young Husband who thought his
 Wife would Give him a Chicken on their
 Wedding Night; and how he Learned in
 what Fashion he must Comport himself
 to have that Chicken._                   65
 _Of a Maid who had been most Strictly
 Enjoined to Guard her Maidenhead; and
 how a Youth Restored it to her when she
 Lost it._                                69
 _Of one Coypeau, who Securely Sewed
 up a Damsel’s Maidenhead with his own
 Thread._                                 72
 _Of a Prince and a Princess who became
 Acquainted in Strange Circumstances;
 of their Loves, Separation, Re-union, and
 divers Remarkable Happenings._           74
 AL-ZAMAN.                                92
 _Of a Young Man who would fain have
 Wed, yet Contrived to Satisfy his Wish
 without Marriage._                      101
 _Of the Emotions of an Innocent Virgin
 when Wooed Boisterously by her Swain._  103
 _Of a Virgin Wife who did not Understand
 the Business of Marriage; and how the
 Parties went to Law, and what Ensued
 therefrom._                             104
 _Of a King’s Daughter, the Like of whom
 was not Seen Elsewhere on Earth; and
 how she was Cured of her Ways by a
 Young Peasant, divers Physicians and
 Charlatans having Failed in the Task._  111
 _Of a Pope’s Daughter who was “Combed”
 by a Peasant; and how the Comb was
 Lost and Found again, together with
 other Strange and Delightsome Happenings._116
 THE COMB.                               121
 _Of a Virgin who, on her Marriage Eve,
 told a Wedded Friend of the Recent and
 Disturbing Conduct of her Fiancé._      124
 _EXCURSUS_ to THE SKIRMISH.             132
 _Of a Maid who would fain Hear the
 Nightingale Sing; and how she Made it
 Sing many Times and even Held it in
 her Hand._                              134
 _Of a Young Virgin who Played a Trick
 on a Youth; and how the Youth, from
 Fear of being “Bitten,” was for some
 Time Ignorant of the Pleasures of
 Marriage._                              142
 _Of a Lovely Young Virgin, who was of
 an Inquisitive Turn of Mind, and Proved
 herself an Apt Pupil in the School of
 Love._                                  147
 _Of a Serving Wench who sent her Fellow
 Servant to Buy her a Steel; and how
 she Fared thereafter._                  158
 _Of a Young Squire who, when he Married,
 had never Mounted a Christian Creature;
 of the Means found to Instruct him; and
 how, on a Sudden, he Wept at a great
 Feast shortly after he had been Instructed._162
 _Of a Priest’s two Daughters who were
 Tricked by a Labourer; and of divers
 Strange and Diverting Happenings
 thereafter._                            171
 LABOURER.                               178
 _Of two Cavaliers who became Enamoured
 of two Sisters; and how they found
 Enjoyment of their Love, albeit in Strange
 Fashion but none the less Pleasant._    179
 _Of a Maid who would not Suffer a Youth
 to Pleasure her, since, so she Alleged,
 he had a Burning Yard._                 188
 _Of a Young Virgin Wife who was Paid
 back in her own Coin by her Husband._   190
 FORELOCK.                               192
 _Of a Maid and a Youth who held Pleasant
 Converse in a Coach-house; and of
 divers Experiments and Discoveries they
 made there._                            193
 _Of a certain Wench who had Eggs in her
 Belly, which were Broken for her by an
 Obliging Youth._      195


   _Chloe! Like a fawn she flees,
         Trembling, timid mother-seeking,
               Far among the trackless hills;
   Starting back from bush and breeze,
         When the new-born spring is speaking
               To green leaves in little trills.
   Oh, how shake her heart, her knees!
         Run! A lizard sets a-creaking
               That big bush! I bring no ills;
   I don’t follow you to seize,
         Like some cruel tigress, reeking
               Rage; no lion I that kills
   In Gætulia, hot to tease
         Out your life! So quit your meeking
               By your mother! Trust your thrills!
   Come and learn my mysteries!_
                                  HORACE, I., xxiii.


In devoting a volume to the romance and folk-lore of Virginity, it may not be inappropriate first to examine the psychology of a word and a quality as magical as they are misused.

What is virginity? Is it the possession intact of that delicate piece of membrane, the poets’ ‘_flos virginitatis_,’ or is it some indescribable, intangible attribute in no sense dependent on physical perfection? Does it imply abstention from and ignorance of all sexual pleasures, or must it be a chastity which falls little short of stupid, even criminal, innocence?

To us moderns, blessed (or cursed) with a smattering of science, woman is virginal just as long as we know or believe her to be, physical qualities notwithstanding. By the poet of the past, the romanticist, the mediæval lover, and the ignorant, physical as well as spiritual proofs were probably required or expected. To them, virginity was something tangible; to us it is not.

Nor is the reason far to seek. For while Havelock Ellis, the greatest authority on sexual psychology the world has known, describes the hymen as having acquired in human estimation a spiritual value which has made it far more than a part of the feminine body, ... “something that gives woman all her worth and dignity, ... her market value,” he goes on to point out that the presence or absence of the hymen is no real test of virginity.

“There are many ways,” he writes, (_Studies in the Psychology of Sex_: Philadelphia, 1914: vol. 5: _Erotic Symbolism_), “in which the hymen may be destroyed apart from coïtus.... On the other hand, integrity of the hymen is no proof of virginity, apart from the obvious fact that there may be intercourse without penetration.... The hymen may be of a yielding or folding type, so that complete penetration may take place and yet the hymen be afterwards found unruptured. It occasionally happens that the hymen is found intact at the end of pregnancy.”[1]

[1] Schurig, in the 17th century, notes a case of this kind. _C.f._
his _Gynæcologia_, where he speaks of a girl being pregnant without
losing her virginity. _Vide_ note, p. 100 post, where further details
of the life and works of this erudite physician will be found.

And while the foregoing is the exception rather than the rule, it goes far to prove the fallibility of the physical, tangible test.

To most of us, virginity is a quality supposedly prized at all times and by all races. This is far from the case. As Havelock Ellis points out, (_op. cit._), virginity is not usually of any value among peoples who are entirely primitive. “Indeed, even in the classic civilisation which we inherit,” he writes, “it is easy to show that the virgin and the admiration for virginity are of late growth; the virgin goddesses were not originally virgins in our modern sense. Diana was the many-breasted patroness of childbirth before she became the chaste and solitary huntress, for the earliest distinction would appear to have been simply between the woman who was attached to a man and the woman who followed an earlier rule of freedom and independence; it was a later notion to suppose that the latter women were debarred from sexual intercourse.”

A French Army Surgeon, Dr. Jacobus X--, (_Untrodden Fields of Anthropology_: Charles Carrington: Paris, 1898), has some interesting remarks on the subject, and we offer no apology for reproducing them at length. Writing on the “Unimportance of the signs of virginity in the negress,” he says:--

“The Negroes of Senegal do not attach, as the Arabs do, considerable importance to the presence of the real signs of virginity in young girls.... The non-existence of the material proofs of virginity seldom give rise to any complaint on the part of the husband.... Moreover, the size of the virile member of the Negro[2] renders it difficult for him to detect any trick. The black bride, on the wedding night, shows herself expert in the art of simulating the struggles of an expiring virginity, and it is considered good taste for the girls to require almost to be raped. The least innocent young women are often the most clever at this game.

[2] Sir Richard Burton, (_The Thousand Nights and a Night_),
describes how he measured in Somaliland a negro’s _penis_, which,
when quiescent, was six inches long; this organ, however, would not
increase proportionately when in erection.

“Thus, throughout nearly all Senegal, the European, who has a taste for maidenheads, can easily be satisfied, provided he is willing to pay the price.[3] At St. Louis women of ill-fame procure young girls, who bear the significant name of the ‘unpierced,’[4] and vary from eight or nine years to the nubile age. It is even easier to obtain a young girl before she is nubile than afterwards, on account of the certainty of her not bearing any children. The price is within the range of all purses, according to quality, and you can have a negro girl, warranted ‘unpierced’ (belonging to the category of domestic slaves), for the modest sum of from eight to sixteen shillings. Of course, the respectable matron pockets half this sum for her honorarium....

[3] A celebrated Parisian courtesan used to boast, according to Mantegazza, that she had “sold her virginity” on 82 different occasions! _Vide_ _Curious Bypaths of History_: Carrington: Paris, 1898, for further details on this subject.--Note by Dr. Jacobus X--.

[4] _C.f._ _The Thousand Nights and a Night_, (Sir Richard F. Burton;
the privately printed and uncastrated editions), where the expression
is common. “ ... He found her a pearl unpierced.” Again: “ ... went
in unto the Princess and found her jewel which had been hidden, an
union pearl unthridden, and a filly that none but he had ridden....”
Compare, also, the French erotic slang percer (to pierce), signifying
the act of sexual intercourse. (Farmer: _Slang and its Analogues_, p.
25, vol. 6; _Vocabula Amatoria, etc._)

“ ... The ‘unpierced’ soon lose their right to the title when they have to do with a Toubab, but, on account of the size of their genital parts, the loss of their maidenhead is not such a serious affair for them as it would be for a little French girl who was not yet nubile. I have never remarked in a little negress, who had been deflowered by a White, the valvular inflammation, which, with us, is noticed as the result of premature copulation before the parts are sufficiently developed.... If the reader will remember that the European, who is below the average dimensions in regard to his _penis_, is like a little boy in proportion to the negress of ten or twelve years old, it is not difficult to imagine that the negress he has deflowered can entirely take in the yard of the White, the dimensions of which are much less than that of the adult black.

“ ... When the girl has to do later with a negro husband, an astringent lotion will render the bride a pseudo-virgin. The deceived husband, not having the anatomical knowledge necessary to assure himself of the real existence of the signs of virginity, feels a difficulty in copulating, and is far from suspecting any trick.[5]

[5] “The Chinese ... have discovered a way of forming a new virginity
when by some accident that object has gone astray. The method consists
in astringent lotions applied to the parts, the effect of which so
draws them together that a certain amount of vigour is required
in order to pass through, the husband--on a nuptial night--being
convinced that he has overcome the usual barrier. To make the illusion
more complete, a leech-bite is made just inside the critical part, and
the little wound is plugged with a minute pellet of vegetable tinder,
with the result that the effort made by the husband to overcome the
difficulty displaces the pellet and a slight flow of blood ensues.”
(_Curious Bypaths of History_, _op. cit. sup._) That this method
is by no means peculiar to the Chinese is instanced by Brantôme in
his _Lives of Fair and Gallant Ladies_ (Paris: Carrington, 1901:
first English translation), where the genial old soldier-philosopher
says:--“How clever these doctors be! for they do give women remedies
to make them appear virgin and intact as they were afore.... One such
especially I learned of a quack these last few days. Take leeches and
apply to the privy parts, getting them to drain and suck the blood
in that region. Now the leeches, in sucking, do engender and leave
behind little blebs or blisters full of blood. Then when the gallant
bridegroom cometh on his marriage night to give assault, he doth burst
these same blisters and the blood discharging from them; the thing is
all bathed in gore, to the great satisfaction of both the twain; for
so ‘the honour of the citadel is saved.’”

“Does not much the same kind of thing prevail also in Europe? How many girls who have been deflowered get married without their husband ever suspecting anything, although he has not the same physical disadvantages that the black has to prevent his seeing through the trick? Is it to this amorous blindness that the Greeks and Romans alluded when they represented Cupid with a bandage over his eyes? One is almost tempted to believe it.

“ ... In opposition to those who exact the virginity of the bride, there are others who attach no importance whatever to it.... The ancient Egyptians used to make an incision in the hymen previous to marriage, and St. Athanasius relates that among the Phœnicians a slave of the bridegroom was charged by him to deflower the bride.[6] The Caraib Indians attached no value to virginity, and only the daughters of the higher classes were shut up during two years previous to marriage.

[6] “That this eagerness after virginity is not an original lust,
I must, indeed, prove from the opinion of a certain remote people,
who esteem the taking of a maidenhead as a laborious and illiberal
practice, which they delegate to men hired for that purpose, ere
themselves condescend to lie with their wives; who are returned with
disgrace to their friends, if it be discovered that they have brought
their virginity with them.”--_The Battles of Venus_: The Hague, 1760,
quoted by Pisanus Fraxi in his _Index Librorum Prohibitorum_. _Vide_
also _post_ in this Study.

“It appears that among the Chibcha Indians in Central America virginity is not at all esteemed; it was considered to be a proof that the maiden had never been able to inspire love.

“In ancient Peru the old maids were the objects of high esteem. There were sacred virgins called ‘Wives of the Sun,’ somewhat similar to the Roman vestals.[7] (The nuns of the present day, do they not style themselves the ‘Spouses of Christ’?). They made a vow of perpetual chastity.... It is also said they were buried alive when they happened to break their vow of chastity, unless indeed they could prove having conceived, not from a man, but from the sun.

[7] “Now as to these vows of virginity, Heliogabalus did promulgate a
law to the effect that no Roman maid, not even a Vestal Virgin, was
bound to perpetuate virginity, saying how that the female sex was
over weak for women to be bound to a pact they could never be sure of
keeping.” (Brantôme: _Lives of Fair and Gallant Ladies_.) The author
of this edict was not without a knowledge of sexual psychology, for
we have ample evidence that some of the Vestals failed in their duty,
which was, nominally, to guard the sacred fire and the Holy Things
of Rome. “Far up by Porta Pia,” says F. Marion Crawford (_Ave Roma
Immortalis_: London, 1903), “over against the new Treasury, under a
modern street, lie the bones of guilty Vestals, buried living, each
in a little vault two fathoms deep, with the small dish and crust and
the earthen lamp that soon flickered out in the close, damp air.”
Vestal Virgins had many privileges denied to other Roman women; they
were free for life; they had a right to be present at the Emperor’s
games; and they were treated with marked respect by the highest in the
land. That the privileges of virginity did not necessarily make for
the owner’s happiness is instanced by Brantôme’s grim story. “Maids
and virgins,” he writes (_Lives of Fair and Gallant Ladies_), “would
seem in old days at Rome to have been highly honoured and privileged,
so much so that the law had no jurisdiction over them to sentence them
to death. Hence the story we read of a Roman Senator in the time of
the Triumvirate, which was condemned to die among other victims of the
Proscription, and not he alone, but all the offspring of his loins. So
when a daughter of his house did appear on the scaffold, a very fair
and lovely girl, but of unripe years and yet a virgin, ‘twas needful
for the executioner to deflower her himself and take her maidenhead
on the scaffold, and only then when she was so polluted, could he ply
his knife upon her. The Emperor Tiberius did delight in having fair
virgins thus publicly deflowered, and then put to death,--a right
villainous piece of cruelty, pardy!”

“Several authors worthy of credence assure us that these vestals were guarded by eunuchs. The temple at Cuzco had one thousand virgins, that of Caranqua two hundred. It would appear, however, that the virginity of these vestals was not so very sacred after all, for the Inca Kings used to choose from among them concubines for themselves or for their principal vassals and favourite friends.

“Marco Polo narrates how young girls were exposed by their mothers on the public highway in order that travellers might freely make use of them.[8] A young girl was expected to have at least twenty presents earned by such prostitutions before she could hope to find a husband. This did not prevent them from being very virtuous after marriage, nor their virtue from being much appreciated.[9]

[8] _C.f._ Herodotus, who tells us that in the fifth century before
Christ every woman, once in her life, had to come to the temple of
Mylitta, the Babylonian Venus, and yield herself to the first stranger
who threw a coin in her lap, in worship of the goddess. The money
could not be refused, however small the amount, but it was given as
an offertory to the temple, and the woman, having followed the man
and thus made oblation to Mylitta, returned home and lived chastely
ever afterwards. (Havelock Ellis: _Studies in the Psychology of Sex_:
vol. 6: _Sex in Relation to Society_.) Havelock Ellis has quoted
Herodotus in relation to prostitution, holding that its origin is to
be found primarily in religious custom. In our opinion, the practice
also merits inclusion in a catalogue of virginal folk-lore, and we are
further justified in our view by the statement that the woman who so
yielded herself lived chastely ever afterwards.
[9] “In old times we read of a custom in the isle of Cyprus, which
‘tis said the kindly goddess Venus, the patroness of that land, did
introduce. This was that the maids of that island should go forth
and wander along the banks, shores and cliffs of the sea, for to
earn their marriage portions by the generous giving of their bodies
to mariners, sailors and seafarers along that coast. These would
put in to shore on purpose, very often indeed turning from their
straight course by compass to land there; and so taking their pleasant
refreshment with them, would pay handsomely, and presently hie them
away again to sea, for their part only too sorry to leave such good
entertainment behind. Thus would these fair maids win their marriage
dowers, some more, some less, some high, some low, some grand, some
lowly, according to the beauty, gifts and carnal attractions of each
damsel.” (Brantôme: _Lives of Fair and Gallant Ladies_.)

“Waitz assures us that in several countries of Africa a young girl is preferred for wife when she has made herself remarked by several amours and by much fecundity. (_C.f._ Havelock Ellis, _op. cit._, vol.6: ‘Equally unsound is the notion that the virgin bride brings her husband at marriage an important capital which is consumed in the first act of intercourse and can never be recovered. That is a notion which has survived into civilisation, but it belongs to barbarism and not to civilisation. So far as it has any validity it lies within a sphere of erotic perversity which cannot be taken into consideration in an estimation of moral values. For most men, however, in any case, whether they realise it or not, the woman who has been initiated into the mysteries of love has a higher erotic value than the virgin,[10] and there need be no anxiety on this ground concerning the wife who has lost her virginity.’)

[10] “I am not surprised if the Phœnicians, according to St.
Athanasius, obliged their daughters, by severe laws, to suffer
themselves before marriage to be deflowered by valets, or also that
the Armenians, as Strabo relates, sacrificed their daughters in the
temple of the Goddess Anaitis, with the object of being eased of
their maidenheads, so as to be able afterwards to find advantageous
marriages suited to their condition; for one cannot describe what
exhaustion and what sufferings a man has to undergo in his first
action, at all events if the girl be narrow.... It is far sweeter to
have connection with a woman accustomed to the pleasures of love than
to caress one who has not yet known a man; for as we ask a locksmith
to ease the wards of a new lock he brings us, to save us the trouble
we might have the first day, so had the nations of whom we spoke good
reason for establishing such laws.” (Nicolas Venette: _La Génération
de L’Homme, ou Tableau de L’Amour Conjugal_: Paris, 1751.)

“It was impossible,” continues Dr. Jacobus X--, “ever to find the signs of virginity among the Machacura women in Brazil, and Feldner explains the reason thus:--

“‘Among them a virgin is never to be found, for this reason: that the mother from her daughter’s tenderest years endeavours with the utmost care to remove all tightness of the vagina and obstacle therein. With this end in view, the leaf of a tree folded in the shape of a funnel is held in the right hand, then while the index finger is introduced into the genital parts and worked to and fro, warm water is admitted by means of the funnel.’ (_Journey Across Brazil_, 1828.)

“Among the Sakalaves in Madagascar the young girls deflower themselves, when the parents have not previously seen to this necessary preparation for marriage.

“Among the Balanti of Senegambia, one of the most degraded races in Africa, the girls cannot find a husband until they have been deflowered by their King, who often exacts costly presents from his female subjects for putting them in condition to be able to marry.

“Barth, (1856), in describing Adamad, says that the chief of the Bagoli used to lie the first night with the daughters of the Fulba, a people under his sway. Similar facts are related of the aborigines of Brazil and of the Kinipeto Esquimaux.

“Demosthenes informs us that there was a celebrated Greek hetaira, named Mæra, who had seven slaves whom she called her daughters, so that being supposed to be free a higher price was paid for their favours. She sold their virginity five or six times over, and ended by selling the whole lot together.

“The god Mutinus, Mutunus or Tutunus of ancient Rome used to have the new brides come and sit upon his knees, as if to offer him their virginity. St. Augustine says: ‘In the celebration of nuptials the newly wed bride used to be bidden sit on the shaft of Priapus.’ Lactantius gives more precise details: ‘And Mutunus, in whose shameful lap brides sit, in order that the god may appear to have gathered the first-fruits of their virginity.’ It appears, however, that this offering was not merely symbolical, for when they had become wives, they used to return to the favourite deity to pray for fecundity.[11]

[11] “According to Festus, _Mutinus_ is a god differing wholly from
Priapus, having a public sanctuary at Rome, where the statue was
placed sitting with _penis_ erect. Newly mated girls were placed
in his lap, before being led away to their husbands, so that the
deity might appear to have foretasted their virginity, this being
supposed to render the bride fruitful.” (_Priapeia_: Cosmopoli, 1890.)
Schurig (_Gynæcologia_: _op. cit. sup._) instances the Indian custom
of deflowering young brides by means of an enormous priapus in the

“Arnobius also asks: ‘Is it Tutunus, on whose huge organs and bristling tool you think it an auspicious and desirable thing that your matrons should be mounted?’

“Pertunda was another hermaphrodite divinity that St. Augustine maliciously proposed rather to name the _Deus Pretundus_ (who strikes first); it was carried on to the nuptial bed to aid the bridegroom: ‘Pertunda stands there ready in the bed-chamber for the aid of husbands excavating the virgin pit.’ (Arnobius.)

“The Kondadgis (Ceylon), the Cambodgians, and other peoples charged their priests with the defloration of their brides.

“Jager communicated to the Berlin Anthropological Society a passage from Gemelli Cancri, which mentions a _stupratio officialis_[12] practised at a certain period among the Bisayos of the Philippine Islands: ‘There is no known example of a custom so barbarous as that which had been there established, of having public officials, and even paid very dearly, to take the virginity of young girls, the same being considered to be an obstacle to the pleasures of the husband. As a fact there no longer exists any trace of this infamous practice since the establishment of the Spanish rule, ... but even to-day a Bisayo feels vexed to find his wife safe from suspicion, because he concludes, that not having excited the desire of anyone, she must have some bad quality which will prevent him from being happy with her.’

[12] _i.e._, a legalised defilement or ravishing. Blondeau, in
his _Dictionnaire érotique latin-français_ (Liseux: Paris, 1885),
translates _stupratio_ as “a combat in which one forces a beauty to
yield to one’s passion ... to take possession of the honour of some
pretty woman ... the struggle in which women succumb with pleasure.”
_Stupro_, the verb; _stuprator_, the noun; and _stupratus_, the
adjective have kindred meanings.

“On the Malabar Coast, also, there were Brahmins whose only religious office was to gather the virgin flower of young girls. These latter used to pay them for it, without which they could not find husbands. The King of Calicut himself used to grant the right of the first night to a Brahmin; the King of Tamassat grants it to the first stranger who arrives in the town; whereas the King of Campa reserves to himself the _jus primæ noctis_[13] for all the marriages in the kingdom. (_De Gubernatis, Histoire des voyageurs italiens aux Indes Orientales_: Livourne, 1875.)

[13] An old established practice whereby newly married women are

deflowered by others than their husbands, whether by priest, lord, or
stranger. To discuss this relic of feudalism would be beyond the scope
of a note; it is summed up briefly in the idea that the lord of a
domain was entitled to exact tribute from his subjects in the form of
intercourse with every bride on the first night of her marriage. Our
readers are referred to Dr. Karl Schmidt’s _Jus Primæ Noctis (The Law
of the First Night)_, the most comprehensive treatise on the subject.

“Warthema says that the King of Calicut, when he took a wife, chose the most worthy and learned Brahmin to deflower the maiden; for this service he received from 400 to 500 crowns. At Tenasserim fathers used to beg of their daughters to allow themselves to be deflowered by Christians or Mohammedans.

Pascal de Andagoya, who visited Nicaragua between 1514 and 1522, says that it was usual for a grand-priest to lie during the first night with the bride, and Oviedo, (1535), speaking of the Acovacks and other American nations, relates that the wife, in order that the marriage should be happy, passed the first nuptial night with the priest or _piache_, and Gomarra, (1551), relates the same thing of the inhabitants of Cumana.

“In Europe, young girls who are not very virtuous, and who have studied all the various forms of flirtation, are most generally passed off as virgins when they marry. Even when it does not really exist, there are many ways by which a virginity--which perhaps has been sold over and over again by expert and clever procuresses--can be simulated. A little time before going to the nuptial bed, the girl inserts into her vagina a few drops of pigeon’s blood; or in some cases she selects for her wedding day the last day of menstruation. A sponge, skilfully placed, allows the blood to flow at the moment of the catastrophe, when a sudden ‘Oh!’ announces to the unsuspecting husband that the temple has been violated for the first time, and that the veil of the _sanctum sanctorum_ has really been rent by him. Add also to these methods injections so astringent that, at the required time, they will give to a prostitute, whose gap has been widened by a thousand customers, a tightness greater than that of a real virgin.”

The more one examines the question, the more one is convinced that virginity or chastity has come to be regarded as a spiritual and moral asset only in civilised, or comparatively civilised, society. “In considering the moral quality of chastity among savages,” writes Havelock Ellis (_Studies in the Psychology of Sex_, vol. 6, p. 147), “we must carefully separate that chastity which among semi-primitive peoples is exclusively imposed upon women. This has no moral quality whatever, for it is not exercised as a useful discipline, but merely enforced in order to heighten the economic and erotic value of women.

“Many authorities believe that the regard for women as property furnishes the true reason for the widespread insistence on virginity in brides. Thus A. B. Ellis, speaking of the West Coast of Africa (_Yoruba Speaking Peoples_, pp. 183 _et seq._), says that girls of good class are betrothed as mere children, and are carefully guarded from men, while girls of lower class are seldom betrothed, and may lead any life they choose.”

Virginity in woman, it seems, has been set on a pedestal unsupported by history, science, or investigation. It is obviously the outcome of man’s desire, when he buys or acquires, to obtain unsoiled goods. Comes a time, however, when the value of these so-called unsoiled goods grows questionable. Something virgin, in terms of common sense, is not necessarily something valuable; here enters the thinking, and, ultimately, the erotic, element. Let a man fall to asking why he demands virginity, and he will speedily begin to realise that it is the last thing he requires. Virginity spells ignorance, awkwardness and obstacles; maturity means understanding and co-operation. Thus, by easy stages, we reach the conclusion, mentioned by Havelock Ellis and quoted above, that for most men, whether they realise it or not, the love-wise woman has a greater erotic value than the virgin.[14]

[14] Brantôme, of course, has some pertinent remarks on the subject.
In his _Lives of Fair and Gallant Ladies_, he devotes the seventh
_Discourse_ to the following topic: _Concerning married women, widows
and maids,--to wit, which of these same be better than other to love_.
“One day,” writes the genial philosopher, “when I was at the Court of
Spain at Madrid, and conversing with a very honourable lady, ... she
did chance to ask me this question following:--’Which of the three had
the greater heat of love: widow, wife or maid?’ After myself had told
her mine opinion she did in turn give me hers in some such terms as
these: ‘That albeit maids, with all that heat of blood that is theirs,
be right well disposed to love, yet do they not love so well as wives
and widows. This is because of the great experience of the business
the latter have, and the obvious fact that supposing a man born blind,
... he can never desire the gift of sight so strongly as he that has
sweetly enjoyed the same a while and then been deprived of it.’”
Later, quoting Boccaccio, Brantôme also says:--“The widow is more
painstaking of the pleasure of love an hundred fold than the virgin,
seeing the latter is all for dearly guarding her precious virginity
and maidenhead. Further, virgins be naturally timid, and above all in
this matter, awkward and inept to find the sweet artifices and pretty
complaisances required under divers circumstances in such encounters.
But this is not so with the widow, who is already well practised, bold
and ready in this art, having long ago bestowed and given away what
the virgin doth make so much ado about giving.... Beside all this,
the maid doth dread this first assault of her virginity, ... whereas
widows have no such fear, but do submit themselves very sweetly and
gently, even when the assailant be of the roughest.”

Quoting Westermarck (_History of Human Marriage_), he goes on to refer to the fact that the seduction of an unmarried girl “is chiefly, if not exclusively, regarded as an offence against the parents or family of the girl,” and there is no indication that it is ever held by savages that any wrong has been done to the woman herself.

“Westermarck realises at the same time,” adds Havelock Ellis, “that the preference given to virgins has also a biological basis in the instinctive masculine feeling of jealousy in regard to women who have had intercourse with other men, and especially in the erotic charm for men of the emotional state of shyness which accompanies virginity.”

Here, in all probability, are the most powerful reasons for the value placed on virginity; each reason, too, is highly practical. Who among us truly wants to share his most treasured possession? And the shy charm of virginity ‘neath the attack of the amorous lover is as undeniable as it is indescribable. Hence the virgin’s lure for the old and worn-out roué, who finds in her shrinking reluctance a stimulant to his erotic prowess which sympathy, boldness, even lewdness, have no power to furnish. That quaint old book, “_Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure_,” (London, 1780), gives a typical account of the attempt and failure of an aged rake to ravish the then virginal heroine of the story.[15]

[15] We can supplement these remarks by a further quotation from that
curious work already noticed, _The Battles of Venus_, wherein we read:
“This lust, then, after the _untouched_ morsel, I take not to be an
original dictate of nature; but consequently to result from much
experience with women, which has been demonstrated to lead to novelty
of wishes from fastidious impotence.... Yet, in truth, I esteem the
fruition of a virgin to be, with respect both to the mind and body of
the enjoyer, the highest aggravation of sensual delight. In the first
place, his fancy is heated with the prospect of enjoying a woman,
after whom he has perhaps long sighed and has been in pursuit, who
he thinks has never before been in bed with a man, (in whose arms
never before has man laid), and in triumphing in the first sight
of her virgin charms. This precious operation, then, of fancy, has
been shown in the highest degree to prepare the body for enjoyment.
Secondly, his body perceives, in that of a virgin, the cause of the
greatest aggravation of delight. I mean not only in the coyness and
resistance which she makes to his efforts, but when he is on the point
of accomplishing them: when arrived, as the poet sings, ‘on the brink
of giddy rapture,’ when in pity to a tender virgin’s sufferings, he is
intreated not to break fiercely in, but to spare ‘fierce dilaceration
and dire pangs.’ The resistance which the small, and as yet unopened,
mouth of bliss makes to his eager endeavours, serves only, and that
on a physical principle, to strengthen the instrument of his attack,
and concurs, with the instigation of his ardent fancy, to reinforce
his efforts, to unite all the co-operative powers of enjoyment, and
to produce an emission copious, rapid, and transporting.... ‘In
this case, part of the delight arises from considering that ... you
feel the convulsive wrigglings of the chaste nymph you have so long
adored....’” Our acknowledgements are again due to Pisanus Fraxi,
from whose _Index Librorum Prohibitorum_ our extract is taken. The
author of _The Battles of Venus_, it need hardly be said, is in no
sense an authority; his work, indeed, is pornographic rather than
artistic; at the same time, it is impossible to ignore his flashes of
insight into a question which has exercised the minds of the greatest

At certain times and with certain peoples the virgin maid has been fenced about with all manner of safeguards up to the very hour of her marriage; but have these and other peoples ever troubled to preserve the virginity of their daughters as they were at pains to guard the chastity of their wives? What nation ever inflicted that ghastly contrivance, the Girdle of Chastity, upon its virgin daughters? This bar to erotic pleasure was reserved exclusively for the potentially froward wife.

Originating in the woollen band worn by the Spartan virgins[16]--a garment removed for the first time by the husband on the wedding night--these Girdles of Chastity, with their padlocks and keys, were undoubtedly in use in the fourteenth or fifteenth century, and in use for an unmistakable purpose. “The first to employ this apparatus,” says Dr. Jacobus X--(_Ethnology of the Sixth Sense_: Charles Carrington: Paris, 1899), “was Francis of Tarrara, Provost of Padua in the fourteenth century. It was a belt having a central piece made of ivory, with a barbed narrow slit down the middle, which was passed between the legs and fixed there by lock and key. A specimen of this safety apparatus is to be seen actually at the Musée de Cluny in Paris.”

[16] Brantôme, apparently, had a poor opinion of Spartan virginity.
“What kind of virtue was it?” he asks. (_Lives of Fair and Gallant
Ladies._) “Why! on their solemn feast-days the Spartan maids were
used to sing and dance in public stark naked with the lads, and even
wrestle in the open market place,--the which however was done in all
honesty and good faith, so History saith. But what sort of honesty and
purity was this, we may well ask, to look on at these pretty maids so
performing publicly? Honesty was it never a whit, but pleasure in the
sight of them, and especially of their bodily movements and dancing
postures, and above all in their wrestling; and chiefest of all when
they came to fall one atop of the other, as they say in Latin: ‘She
underneath, he atop; he underneath, she atop.’ You will never persuade
me ‘twas all honesty and purity herein with these Spartan maidens. I
ween there is never chastity so chaste that would not have been shaken
thereby, or that, so making in public and by day these feint assaults,
they did not presently in privity and by night and on assignation
proceed to greater combats and night attacks.”

Dr. Caufeynon, the great authority on the subject, believes, however, that these girdles only date from the Renaissance.[17] In his remarkable little work, _La Ceinture de Chasteté_ (Paris, 1904), which contains numerous engravings and photographic designs, he gives an illustration of the specimen in the Musée de Cluny. Quoting Brantôme (_Lives of Fair and Gallant Ladies_), he adds:--

[17] Havelock Ellis, _op. cit._, vol. 6: _Sex in Relation to Society_,
p. 163.

“In the time of Henry the king there lived an ironmonger who brought to the fair of St. Germain a dozen of certain machines to bridle the parts of women; they were fashioned of iron and went round like a girdle, and went below and were closed with a key. So cleverly were they fashioned that it was not possible for the women, when once bridled, to arrive at the sweet pleasure, there being but a few small holes in it for pissing.

“‘Tis said there were five or six jealous husbands, who bought these machines and bridled their wives with them in such fashion that they might well have said ‘Farewell, happy time,’ had there not been one who bethought her of applying to a locksmith very skilled in his art, to whom she showed the machine, her own, her husband being then out in the fields; and he applied his mind so well to the matter that he made for her a false key, with which the lady opened or closed the machine at any time and when she willed.

“The husband never discovered aught to say on the matter; and the lady gave herself up to her own good pleasure, despite her foolish, jealous, cuckold husband, being ever able to live in the freedom of cuckoldom. But the wicked locksmith who fashioned the false key tasted of it all; and he did well, so they say, for he was the first to taste of it.

“They say, too, that there were many gallant and honest gentlemen of the court who threatened that ironmonger with death did he ever presume to carry about such merchandise; so much so that he was afraid and returned no more and threw away all the rest, and no more was heard of. Wherein he was wise, for it were enough to lose half the world, for want of any body to people it, through such bridles, clasps and fastenings of a nature abominable and detestable and enemies to human multiplication.”

The troubadour Guillaume de Machault speaks of a key given to him by Agnes of Navarre; this key was obviously intended to unlock a girdle of chastity. Nicolas Chorier, in his erotic _Dialogues of Luisa Sigea_ (Paris: Isidore Liseux, 1890), mentions the apparatus. Although the existence of such girdles has often been denied, “the presence of many undoubted specimens in several of the most important museums of Europe,” says Dr. Jacobus X--(_Ethnology of the Sixth Sense_), “places their authenticity beyond all doubt. This custom existed more particularly during the time of the Crusades, ... but a very curious instance is mentioned as having occurred as late as the middle of the eighteenth century, for it is recorded that the advocate Feydeau pleaded before the supreme court of Montpellier on behalf of a woman who accused her husband of making her undergo this shameful treatment. (_Petition against the introduction of padlocks or girdles of chastity, Montpellier, 1750._)”

All this only goes to show that virginity and chastity are two very different things, and that the latter was obviously of more account than the former in the eyes of mediæval man. Much the same obtains to-day. To a certain extent we seek to preserve the virginity of our daughters; but is there any limit to the precautions with which a jealous husband will fence about his wife? In short, virginity concerns alone her who loses it; is any man’s for the taking. Chastity is another person’s property.

This slight survey of virginity would be incomplete without a reference to the operation of infibulation[18]--the artificial adhesion of the _labia majora_ by means of a ring or stitches with a view to the prevention of sexual intercourse. Kisch, (_The Sexual Life of Woman_: translated by M. Eden Paul: London: Wm. Heinemann), quotes the authority of Ploss-Bartels for saying that this operation is practised by many savage peoples, among them the Bedschas, the Gallas, the Somalis, the inhabitants of Harrar, at Massaua, etc.

[18] _C.f._ the Latin _infibulare_=to clasp, buckle, or button
together. (Smith’s Latin-English dictionary.) The noun _fibula_ can be
translated: (1) a clasp, buckle, pin, latchet, brace; (2) a surgical
instrument for drawing together the edges of a gaping wound; (3) a
ring drawn through the prepuce to prevent copulation. Celsus, Martial
and Juvenal use the word in this sense. “The ancient Romans prevented
actors from copulating, with the object of preserving their voices.
Martial speaks of singers who sometimes broke the ring, and whom it
was necessary to bring back again to the blacksmith.” (Jacobus X--,
_op. cit._)

“The purpose of this practise,” he adds, “is to preserve the chastity of the girls until marriage, when the reverse operative procedure is undertaken. If the husband goes away on a journey, in many cases the operation of infibulation is once more performed upon his wives. Slave-dealers also make use of this operation so as to prevent their slaves from becoming pregnant. It is reported, however, that the operation does not invariably produce the desired effect.”

Nothing we have said or quoted, however, can alter the fact that virginity has been and will always be a certain asset in civilised or semi-civilised communities. There is a romance attached to the term which neither cynicism nor materialism can kill. Incidentally, there is a strong business side to the question. Who, as we said before, wants to feel that his dearest possession has been shared by others? Who, in more modern parlance, wants damaged goods?

While life lasts, the virgin maid will lure the normal lover, common sense and cold facts notwithstanding. What the poet sang and the amorous swain coveted in those by-gone times of pomp and paganism, in the days of chivalry, and even in that dreary early Victorian era, will be sung and coveted centuries hence. Science, new discoveries, new theories, new ideals, new conditions, cannot oust human nature, our undeniable birthright. The sanctity and value of virginity are traditions; and, as Havelock Ellis says, in that singularly beautiful postscript to his _Studies_, “there can be no world without traditions; neither can there be any life without movement. As Heracleitus knew at the outset of modern philosophy, we cannot bathe twice in the same stream, though, as we know to-day, the stream still flows in an unending circle. There is never a moment when the new dawn is not breaking over the earth, and never a moment when the sunset ceases to die. It is well to greet serenely even the first glimmer of the dawn when we see it, not hastening toward it with undue speed, nor leaving the sunset without gratitude for the dying light that once was dawn.

“In the moral world we are ourselves the light-bearers, and the cosmic process is in us made flesh. For a brief space it is granted to us, if we will, to enlighten the darkness that surrounds our path. As in the ancient torch-race, which seemed to Lucretius to be the symbol of all life, we press forward torch in hand along the course. Soon from behind comes the runner who will outpace us. All our skill lies in giving into his hand the living torch, bright and unflickering, as we ourselves disappear in the darkness.”

Beautiful words, and fitting monument to a man who gave thirty years of his life to the production of a work that will live for all time. Hardly applicable to our present theme some, perhaps, will say. We take leave to differ. In the relations between man and woman all life is epitomised. Each bears the torch, and the race they run is the life they lead. To almost all is granted the chance to hand on the torch in living, breathing prototype.

Let us recognise new conditions, new ideas; let us welcome, examine and weigh them, that none may say we do not ‘greet serenely the dawn.’ But let us also remember that theory cannot oust fact, nor materialism human nature.

Down the ages man has altered in custom and habit, but in his spiritual essence not at all. Save for local and racial differences, humanity has shared the same passions of pain, sorrow, happiness, anger, laughter and lust throughout all time. Human nature alone does not change; our birthright is immutable. Human nature ever has, and ever will, set store by virginity. It has become a tradition. And without tradition, as the great psychologist has truly told us, there is no world.



[19] _Kruptadia_: Heilbronn, 1883: Henninger Frères: vol. 1: _Secret
Stories from the Russian_, No. 32. Also _Contes Secrets Russes_:
Paris: Liseux, 1891.

In a certain reign, in a certain kingdom, there lived once on a time three peasant brethren, who quarrelled among themselves and divided up their goods; they did not share equally, and the division gave much to the elder brethren but very little to the youngest.

All three were young lads. They went forth together into the courtyard, saying one to the other:

“‘Tis time for us to wed.”

“‘Tis well enough for ye,” quoth the youngest brother. “Ye are rich, and the rich can marry. But what may I do? I am poor. I have not even a log of wood to my name. All I have for a fortune is a yard which reacheth to my knees!”

On this very moment there chanced to pass a merchant’s daughter, who overheard these words and said to herself:

“Ah! that I might have this young man for a husband! He hath a yard that reacheth to his very knees!”

The two elder brethren married; the youngest remained single.

The merchant’s daughter, back in her home, had no thought in her head but to wed the young peasant; several rich merchants sought her hand in marriage, but she would have none of them.

“I will wed with none save this young man,” quoth she.

Her father and mother sought to dissuade her. “What art thinking on, foolish one?” said they. “Come back to thy senses! Why wouldst wed with a poor peasant?”

“Concern not yourselves with that!” answered she. “‘Tis not ye who will have to live with him!”

The merchant’s daughter came to an understanding with the matchmaker, and dispatched her to tell the young man to come without fail and ask her hand in marriage. The matchmaker went to see him, saying:

“Hearken, oh! my little dove. Why standest there gaping? Go ask in marriage the merchant’s daughter. She hath awaited thee this long time, and will wed thee with joy.”

The young man swiftly apparelled himself, donned a new smock-frock, took his new hat, and hied him forthwith to the house of the merchant to ask his daughter’s hand in marriage. When the merchant’s daughter perceived him, when she recognised that it was indeed he whose yard reached to his knees, she fell to asking her father and mother for their blessing on a union indissoluble.

On the wedding night she went to bed with her husband, and perceived that he had but a little yard, smaller even than a finger.

“Oh! thou scoundrel!” she cried. “Thou boastest ownership of a yard reaching to thy knees! What hast done with it?”

“Dear wife, thou knowest that I was a bachelor, and very poor; when I resolved to marry, I had neither gold nor aught else to enable me so to do. So I have pledged my yard.”[20]

[20] Literally: “put it in pawn.”

“And for what sum hast thou pledged thy yard?”

“But for little--for fifty roubles.”

“Good. On the morrow I will go seek my mother, I will beg money of her, and thou wilt go without fail to recover thy yard. If thou dost not buy it back, enter not the house!”

She waited until morn, then ran swiftly in search of her mother, saying:

“Grant me a favour, little mother. Give me fifty roubles. I have sore need of them.”

“But tell me why thou hast need of them.”

“See, little mother. My husband had a yard which reached to his knees. When we desired to marry, he knew not where to find the money, the poor man, and he hath pledged his yard for fifty roubles. Now my husband hath but a tiny yard, even smaller than a finger. ‘Tis of the utmost necessity, therefore, to buy back his ancient yard.”

The mother, understanding the need, drew fifty roubles from her purse, and gave them to her daughter. The latter returned to her home and gave the money to her husband, saying:

“Go! Run now swiftly to buy back thine ancient yard, in order that strangers may not make use of it!”

The young man took the money and went forth, eyes downcast. Where might he turn now? Where find for his wife such a yard? Best leave it to chance.

He went forward, now swiftly, now slowly, and at length he encountered an aged woman.

“Good day, good woman.”

“Good day, good man. Whither goest thou at this pace?”

“Ah, good woman--would thou knewest--would thou didst know my sorrow--would I might tell thee whither I go!”

“Tell me thy sorrow, little dove. Perchance I can come to thine aid.”

“I am shamed to tell it thee.”

“Fear not, have no shame. Speak boldly.”

“Ah, well, see here, good woman. I had boasted of having a yard that reached to my knees; a merchant’s daughter, who had heard this, espoused me, but when she lay with me on our wedding night and perceived that I had but a little yard, smaller than a finger, she cried out and asked what I had done with my great yard. I told her that I had pledged it for fifty roubles; she gave me the money and bade me buy it back without fail; otherwise, I might not show myself again at my home. And I know not how to satisfy my little dove.”

The aged woman made answer to him:

“Give me thy money,” said she, “and I will find a remedy for thy sorrow.”

Forthwith he drew the fifty roubles from his pocket and gave them to her; the aged woman handed to him a ring.

“Come, take this ring,” quoth she. “Put it only on thy finger nail.”

The young man took the ring, and scarce had he put it on his finger nail ere his yard stretched itself a cubit’s length.

“Well, what of it?” asked the aged woman. “Doth thy yard reach to thy knees?”

“Yea, good woman. It reacheth even below my knees.”

“Now, my little dove, pass the ring down thy whole finger.”

He passed the ring over his entire finger, and his yard lengthened out even unto seven versts.[21]

[21] A verst would be about 1,170 yards. The virtue of the ring was
indeed remarkable!

“Ah! good woman! where shall I lodge it? It will bring me ill fortune with my wife.”

“Thrust up the ring to thy finger nail; thy yard will be but a cubit’s span. This for thy guidance--pay attention and never put the ring beyond thy finger nail.”

He thanked the aged woman, and retook the road homeward; and as he journeyed he rejoiced in that he need not appear before his wife with empty hands.

But as he went, he felt a desire to eat. Going aside, he seated himself not far from the road at the foot of a burdock, drew biscuits from his wallet, dipped them in water, and fell to eating. Anon, desire to slumber o’er-came him; he lay down, belly uppermost, and played with the ring. He put it upon his finger nail, and his yard rose to the height of a cubit’s span; he pressed his whole finger through the ring, and his yard rose to a height of seven versts; he removed the ring, and his yard became small as before. He examined and re-examined the ring, and thus he fell asleep. But he forgot to conceal the ring, which rested upon his belly.

There chanced to pass in a carriage a lord and his wife. The lord saw, not far from the road, a peasant aslumbering, and upon his belly glittered a ring, as it were a live coal in the sun. He stopped the horses, saying to his lackey:

“Approach the peasant, take the ring, and bring it to me.”

Straightway the lackey ran to the peasant, and carried back the ring to the lord. And these went on their way.

The lord admired the ring.

“Look thou, my dear loved one,” said he to his wife. “What a superb ring! Behold! I put it upon my finger.” And he passed it down his whole finger.

Straightway his yard reached out, o’erturned the coachman from his box seat, struck one of the mares right beneath the tail, pushed aside the animal, and caused the carriage to go ahead of it.[22]

[22] _Contes Secrets Russes_ translate: “His yard stretched forth,
hurled the driver from his seat, passed beyond the team of horses, and
reached out in front of the carriage for a distance of seven versts.”

The lady beheld what misfortune had befallen, was greatly affrighted, and cried with all her force to the lackey, saying:

“Run most swiftly to the peasant and lead him hither!”

The lackey sped amain to the peasant and aroused him, saying:

“Come swiftly, my little peasant, to my master!”

The peasant sought his ring.

“A curse on thee! Thou hast taken my ring!”

“Seek not,” said the lackey. “Come to my master. He hath thy ring, which hath caused us a great fuss.”

The peasant ran to the carriage. Quoth the lord to him:

“Pardon me, but come to my aid in my misfortune!”

“What wilt give me, lord?”

“Here are one hundred roubles.”

“Give me two hundred and I will deliver thee.”

The lord drew two hundred roubles from his pocket, the peasant took the money, and withdrew the ring from the lord’s finger, whereat the yard vanished as if by magic, and there was left to the lord but his former little instrument.

The lord went his way, and the peasant hied him homeward with the ring. His wife was at the window and saw him come; she ran to meet him.

“Hast brought it back?” asked she.

“I have.”

“Show it me!”

“Come within the chamber. I cannot show it thee outside.”

They entered the chamber, nor did the wife cease to repeat: “Show it me! Show it me!”

He placed the ring on his finger-nail, and his yard lengthened a cubit’s span; then he drew off his drawers, saying: “Behold, wife!”

The wife fell on his neck.

“My dear little husband, here is truly an instrument that will be better in our house than with strangers. Come swiftly and eat; then we will to bed and make trial of it.”

Forthwith she put upon the table all manner of meats and beverages, and they fell to eating and drinking. Having feasted, they betook themselves to bed. When he had pierced his wife with this yard, she, for three whole days, was ever peering ‘neath his garment; it seemed to her that the yard was ever thrusting between her legs.

She went to pay a visit to her mother, what time her husband hied him to the garden and lay down ‘neath an apple tree.

“Well,” asked the mother of her daughter, “have ye bought back the yard?”

“We have bought it back, little mother.”

And the mother had but one thought: to steal away, profiting by her daughter’s visit, to run to the house of her son-in-law, and to make trial of his great yard.

And while the daughter chattered, the mother came to the house of the son-in-law and sped into the garden. The son-in-law was aslumbering; the ring was on his finger nail, and his yard stood erect to the height of a cubit’s span.

“I will mount upon his yard,” said the good mother to herself.

And she mounted, in sooth, upon the yard, and balanced herself thereon.

But, by ill fortune, the ring slipped to the base of the finger of the son-in-law what time he slept, and the yard raised the good mother to the height of seven versts.

The daughter perceived that her mother had gone forth, she divined the reason, and hastened to return home. In her house there was no one. She went into the garden, and what saw she? Her husband aslumbering, his yard raised to a vast height, and, all in the clouds, the good mother, scarce visible; and she, when the wind blew, turned upon the yard as though upon a stake.

What to do? How remove her mother from off the yard?

A great crowd had come together; they discussed; they proferred counsel. Said some: there is naught for it but to take a hatchet and cut the yard. Said others: no, ‘tis a bad plan. Why lose two souls? For as soon as the yard is cut, the woman will fall and kill herself. ‘Tis better to pray to God that perchance by some miracle the old woman will disentangle herself from it.

During this time the son-in-law awoke, and perceived that his ring had descended to the base of his finger, that his yard raised itself towards the sky to a height of seven versts, and that it nailed him solidly to the earth, in such wise that he could not turn upon his other side.

He withdrew very softly the ring from his finger; his yard descended to the height of a cubit’s span; and the son-in-law saw his mother-in-law suspended upon it.

“How camest thou there, little mother?”

“Pardon, my little son-in-law. I will not do it any more!”


Once on a time a tailor possessed a magic ring; as soon as he put it upon his finger, his yard assumed an extraordinary development. It fell out that he went to work at the house of a woman; by nature he was gay and given to jesting, and when he lay down to slumber he neglected always to cover his genitals.

The woman observed that he had a yard of great proportions; desirous of sampling the power of such an instrument, she summoned the tailor to her chamber.

“Hearken,” quoth she to him. “Consent to sin once with me.”

“Why not, madam? But only on one condition--that thou dost not fart! If thou dost fart, thou shalt pay me three hundred roubles.”

“Very good,” answered she.

They betook themselves to bed; the good woman took all possible precautions not to expel wind during the sexual act; she instructed her chambermaid to seek a large onion, to thrust this into her fundament, and to hold it there with both hands. These orders were carried out minutely, but at the first assault delivered by the tailor upon the woman, the onion was violently expelled and struck the chambermaid with such force that she was killed outright!

The woman lost her three hundred roubles; the tailor pocketed this sum and hied him homeward. Having journeyed some distance, he felt a desire to slumber and lay down in a field. He placed the ring upon his finger and his yard stretched to the length of one verst. As he lay thus, slumber o’ertook him, and whilst he slept came seven starving wolves, which devoured the greater part of his yard. He awoke as if naught had chanced,[23] took the ring from his finger, put it in his pocket, and pursued his way.

[23] The _Kruptadia_ version says: “As if flies had just tickled his

Came night, and the tailor entered the house of a peasant. Now this peasant had married a young woman who had a liking for well-membered men. The guest went to sleep in the courtyard, leaving his yard exposed. Perceiving it, the peasant’s wife felt a great desire; raising her robe, she coupled with the tailor.

“Good,” quoth he to himself; and he placed the ring on his finger, and his yard rose little by little to the height of one verst. But when the wife perceived herself so far from the earth, all desire to futter left her, and she clung with both hands to this strange support in mid-air.

Beholding the peril that beset the wretched woman, her neighbours and relations fell to praying for the safety of both. But the tailor gently withdrew the ring from his finger; gradually the dimensions of his member decreased, and, when it reached but to a small height, the woman jumped to earth.

“Ah! insatiable coynte,” quoth the tailor to her. “It had been thy death had they cut my yard.”[24]

[24] The main theme of these foregoing _contes_--the yard which
increases to gigantic proportions--is not confined to Russian
folk-lore. In _Kruptadia_, vol. 2: _Some Erotic Folk-Lore from
Scotland_, we find the following:--A man and a woman were in each
other’s embraces. The man was succuba. His yard began to enlarge and
enlarge and lift the woman. When she was nearly reaching the roof she
exclaimed: “Farewell freens, farewell foes, For I’m awa’ to heaven On
a pintel’s nose.”


[25] _Kruptadia_: Heilbronn: Henninger Frères, 1884: _Breton Folk

Once on a time a youth, wishing to become a smith, quitted his village and hired himself as an apprentice to a farrier. His master was a busy man, all the beds in his house being filled by his workmen, and when evening came he was sore pressed to find sleeping quarters for his apprentice. Reflecting long, he thus finally argued:--

“In each bed are several persons; my daughter alone hath one to herself. With her will I put the youth to sleep. His parents are good people, and I have known him from boyhood. There is no danger.”

When these two were in bed together, the youth began to caress the daughter, a maid nigh unto sixteen years, and since she did not repulse him, he lost no time in showing her how one makes love. The daughter found the business very much to her liking, and Pierre (for so the apprentice was named) gave her several lessons in this pretty game. She did not tire, and wished that the play might last the whole night long; but Pierre, awearied, would fain have slept. Anon, when he began to grow drowsy, she pinched him and snuggled up to him; but he did not respond to her allurements.

“Pierre,” said she, “dost play no more with thine implement?”

“No--’tis used up,” quoth Pierre.

“‘Tis a pity,” said the girl. “Why is it not more solid? Would it cost much to have another?”

“Yea--at least three or four hundred francs.”

“I myself have not that sum; but I know where my father keepeth his money, and on the morrow I will give thee the wherewithal to procure another. What dost thou call it?”

“‘Tis called an ‘instrument’,”[26] quoth Pierre.

[26] _Frenolle_ is the word in the text--probably a fantastic term,
since Pierre’s “instrument” is not known by that name in Haut
Bretagne. Farmer, in his monumental work _Slang and its Analogues_,
(Privately Printed, 1890-1904) and Landes (_Glossaire Érotique de la
Langue française_--Brussels, 1861) do not include the word in their
comprehensive lists of French erotic synonyms for _penis_. Nor can
we find mention of it in _Vocabula Amatoria_ (London, 1896). Littré,
even, does not give the word.

In the morning the girl, taking her father’s money, gave it to the apprentice, who hied him to the town and made pretence of buying another instrument; and when night came, he played on his instrument to the infinite satisfaction of the girl.

On the morrow the apprentice received a letter, wherein he learned that his mother lay ill and desired to see him. He started on his journey forthwith. Anon the girl appeared, and not seeing the apprentice, inquired:

“Where is Pierre?”

And they answered her that he was gone and would return no more. Whereat she sped after him, and when she perceived him afar off, cried out:--

“Pierre! Pierre! At least leave me the instrument!”

Pierre, who was in a field at the moment, wrenched up a big turnip, and casting it into a swamp at the feet of the girl, cried out:--

“Take it--’tis there!”

And while the girl sought the instrument, he continued on his way.

With both her eyes she looked, but of Pierre’s instrument could perceive no vestige. Anon she sat down on the edge of the swamp and gave herself up to tears. Presently there chanced to pass the vicar, who made inquiry as to the cause of her grief.

“Oh! thy reverence!” she made answer. “The instrument hath fallen in the swamp and I cannot recover it. A sad pity, for ‘tis a precious instrument and cost three or four hundred francs.”

“Let us both seek,” quoth the vicar. “I will aid thee.”

He tucked up his gown, and both fell to seeking in the swamp, which was somewhat deep. Anon the girl turned her head, and perceiving the vicar with his garments tucked up above his hips, cried out:--

“Ah! thy reverence! No need for further search! ‘Tis thou who hast the instrument ‘twixt thy legs!”


A variant of the foregoing story, (_The Instrument_), is to be found in _Le Moyen de Parvenir_ (Béroalde de Verville). The editors of _Kruptadia_ draw attention to it, quoting the following extract:--

The simpleton husband Hauteroue, while futtering his wife, remarked:--

“What a labour it is, my love!”

“I am not surprised,” quoth she. “Thou dost work with a bad implement.”

“I should have a better had I the money.”

“Let not that hinder thee; I will give thee the money on the morrow.”

When the husband received his money, he set out to enjoy himself; then he went to bed with his wife, whom he pleasured well.

“Ho! my love!” said she. “This implement is as good as the one thou hadst. But, love, what hast done with the other?”

“I have thrown it away, my love.”

“Bah! Thou hast made a great mistake. ‘Twould have served for my mother!”


[27] _Kruptadia_: Heilbronn: 1883: Henninger Frères: vol. 1: _Secret
Stories from the Russian_.

Two young girls held converse together. Quoth one:

“Like thee, little one, I, too, will never marry.”

“And why should we marry against our will?” said the other. “We have no masters.”

“Hast seen, little one, that instrument with which men make trial upon us?”

“I have seen it.”

“And is it not huge?”

“Little one, it is assuredly of the size of an arm!”

“One would never come out of it alive.”

“Come, I will tickle thee with a straw.”

“That also hurteth me.”

The foolish one lay down, and the wiser fell to tickling her with a straw. “Ah! that hurteth!” she repeated.

Now the father of one of the young girls forced her to take a husband; she waited two nights, then went to see her young friend.

“Good day, little one,” she said.

The latter besought her to relate forthwith what had befallen.

“Ah!” answered the young wife. “Had I known, had I truly known the business, I had not listened to my father or my mother. I thought to lose my life, and my tongue hung from my mouth a foot in length.”

The young friend was so affrighted that she had no wish to speak further of fiancés.

“I will wed with none,” quoth she. “And if my father seeks to employ violence, 1 will espouse, for form’s sake, the first bachelor I encounter.”

Now there was in the same village a young lad and a very poor. None would give him a seemly maid in marriage, and he did not desire an ill; by chance he overheard the conversation of the young girls.

“Wait,” thought he to himself. “I will play a trick on that one. At a suitable moment I will say that I have no yard.”

Came a day when the young girl went to mass; she beheld the lad leading his horse, thin and unshod, to the watering place; the poor beast went limping, and the young girl laughed. They came to a steep slope; the mare climbed with difficulty, then fell and rolled on her back. The lad was annoyed, seized the mare by her tail, and fell to beating her without pity, saying:

“Get up! Thou wilt flay all the skin off thyself!”

“Why beatest thou the horse, brigand?” asked the young girl.

The lad lifted the tail, looked at it and said:

“And what should I do? Futter her? But I have no yard.”

When the girl heard his words, she pissed herself with joy, saying:

“Behold! the good God hath sent me a fiancé after my liking!”

She returned to her house, sat down in a secluded corner, and fell to pouting. Presently all the family seated themselves at table, calling on her to come, but she replied in anger:

“I will not!”

“Come, Douniouchka,” said the mother. “What art thinking of? Tell me.”

The father intervened.

“Why dost pout? Perchance thou dost desire to wed? Thou wouldst wed with this one and not with that?” The young girl had but one idea in her head: to wed Ivan the No-Yard.

“I will wed,” she replied, “neither this one nor that. An it please ye or not, I will wed Ivan.”

“What sayest thou, little fool? Art enraged, or hast lost thy reason? Thou wouldst share thy life with him?”

“He is my destiny. Seek not to marry me to another, else I will drown or strangle myself.”

Hitherto the old father had not honoured the poverty-stricken Ivan with so much as a look, but now he went himself to the lad to make him release his daughter. He approached. Ivan was seated, repairing an old hempen shoe.

“Good day, Ivanouchka.”

“Good day, old man.”

“What dost thou?”

“I seek to mend my hempen shoes.”

“Shoes? Thou hast need of new boots.”

“Since I have with difficulty amassed fifteen copeks to buy these shoes, where shall I find money to purchase boots?”

“And why dost thou not marry, Vania?”

“Who would give me his daughter?”

“I, if thou wilt! Kiss me on the mouth.”

And they came to an understanding.

At the rich man’s house there was no lack of beer and brandy. The girl and the lad were wed forthwith, high feast was held, and then the best man conducted the young people to their sleeping chamber and put them to bed. One knows the sequel. Ivan pierced the young girl till she bled and there was a road by which he might travel.

“What a blockhead, what a fool I have been!” thought Dounuka. “What have I done? How much better had I taken one richly-endowed! But where hath he found this yard? I will question him.”

And she questioned him, saying:

“Hearken, Ivanouchka. Where hast got this yard?”

“I have hired it from mine uncle for one night.”

“Ah! my little dove! Beg it of him for yet another night.”

A second night passed and she said to him again:

“Little dove! Beg of thine uncle if he will not sell thee the yard outright. But bargain well.”

“Good. One can always bargain.”

He went to the house of his grandsire, came to an understanding with him,[28] and returned to his home.

[28] _Lui donne le mot._ “Put him wise” would be the exact modern

“Well, what of it?” asked his wife.

“What can I say?” answered the lad. “There was no bargaining with him. We must give him three hundred roubles or he will not yield us the yard. And where may we get this sum?”

“Ah, well. Return and beg him to hire thee the yard for yet another night. To-morrow I ask my father for the money, and we will buy the yard outright.”

“Nay--go thyself and ask it of him. In sooth, I dare not.”

She went to the uncle’s house, entered his apartment, prayed to heaven, and bowed, saying:

“Good day, mine uncle.”

“Thou art welcome. What good news hast thou?”

“See, mine uncle, I am shamed to speak, but ‘twould be a sin an I kept silent. Lend thy yard to Ivan for a night.”

The relative took counsel with himself, shook his head, and said:

“It can be lent, but care must be taken of a yard belonging to another.”

“We will take care of it, uncle. I swear by the Cross. And to-morrow, without fail, we will buy it outright of thee.”

“Go, then, and send Ivan to me.”

She bowed to the earth and left the house.

On the morrow she went to seek her father, asked of him three hundred roubles for her husband, and bought for herself a good yard.


Each of the three foregoing stories is remarkable for the fact that it contains the same naïve idea--the possibility of purchasing a male “implement.” The idea is fairly common in folk-lore stories of virginity, but, almost always, results in a highly humorous situation. It is a crude but very effective method of depicting the ignorance, even stupidity, of a virgin girl. It also affords the story-teller an opportunity of an indirect reference to a favourite theme--the erotic tendency of women once their sexual senses are aroused.[29]

[29] _C.f._ _Excursus_ to _The Tale of Kamar al-Zaman_, where the
subject is discussed at length.

One episode of _The Enchanted Ring_ (the remarkable qualities of the young man’s _penis_ when adorned with the ring) can hardly fail to recall “_The Night of Power_,” (Sir Richard F. Burton’s _Thousand Nights and a Night_), wherein the husband’s organs undergo rapid and wonderful transformation. This tale is described by Sir Richard Burton as “the grossest and most brutal satire on the sex, suggesting that a woman would prefer an additional inch of _penis_ to anything this world or the next can offer her.” One cannot help noting, none the less, the indecent anxiety of the mother-in-law, in our story from _Kruptadia_, to sample the mighty yard of the newly-returned husband.[30]

[30] In _The Night of Power_ we have the story of a man who, believing
that three prayers would be granted to him, consults his wife as
to what he shall ask. She advises him to ask Allah to “greaten and
magnify his yard.” He does so, whereupon his yard “became as big
as a column, and he could neither sit nor stand nor move about nor
even stir from his stead; and when he would have carnally known his
wife, she fled before him from place to place.” In distress the
husband asks, as his second wish, to be delivered of this burden, and
“immediately his prickle disappeared altogether and he became clean
smooth. When his wife saw this, she said: ‘I have no occasion for thee
now thou art become pegless as an eunuch, shaven and shorn.... Pray
Allah the most High to restore thee thy yard as it was.’ So he prayed
to his Lord and his prickle was restored to its first estate. Thus
the man lost his three wishes by the ill counsel and lack of wit in
the woman.” Our brief summary is taken from Sir Richard F. Burton’s
translation of _The Thousand Nights and a Night_.


[31] _Memoirs of Jacques Casanova_: For the first time translated into
English and Privately Printed, 1894: 12 vols.: 1000 copies only. Also
_Mémoires de J. Casanova de Seingalt: Garnier Frères_, Paris, N.D. Our
text is a blend of the two versions.
_Casanova makes the acquaintance of two charming cousins, Hedvige and
Helène, at Geneva. After sundry meetings, at which theology and sexual
matters are discussed in a frank and amusing fashion, Casanova gets
the chance to take his two charmers for a stroll in the garden where
they can be sure of immunity from interruption. Casanova’s opportunity
occurs as a result of Hedvige’s desire to know why a deity could not
impregnate a woman, a male acquaintance having said that he could not
with propriety expound such mysteries to her. Casanova gladly agrees
to make the matter clear, adding, however, that he must be allowed to
speak quite plainly. The text continues:_

Yea, speak clearly,” quoth Hedvige, “for none can hear us; but I am forced to confess that I am cognisant of the formation of man only in theory and by lecture. True, I have seen statues, but I have never seen and still less have I examined real[32] man. And thou, Helène?”

[32] _i.e._, naked.

“I have never desired so to do.”

“Why not? ‘Tis good to know all.”

“Well, my charming Hedvige,” said I, “thy theologian wished to tell thee that Jesus was not capable of erection.”

“What is that?”

“Give me thy hand.”

“I feel it and I can picture it; for, without this natural phenomenon, man could not impregnate his consort. And this foolish theologian pretendeth that it is an imperfection!”

“Yea, for this phenomenon springeth from desire, for ‘tis very true that it would not have worked in me, sweet Hedvige, had I not found thee charming and had not what I had seen of thee given me the most seductive idea of the beauties I see not. Tell me frankly if, after feeling this rigidity of mine, thou dost not experience an agreeable sensation?”

“I confess it; ‘tis precisely where thou pressest. Dost not feel as I, my dear Helène, an itching and a longing on likening to the very true discourse given to us by this gentleman?”

“Yea, I feel it, but I feel it very often, without any discourse exciting it.”

“And then,” quoth I, “Nature forceth thee to appease it thus?”

“Not at all.”

“Oh, that it were so, Hedvige! Even in sleep one’s hand strayeth there by instinct; and, lacking this easement, I have read that we should suffer terrible maladies.”

And whilst we continued this philosophical converse, which the youthful theologian sustained with an authoritative tone, and which brought a look of voluptuousness to the lovely complexion of her cousin, we came to the edge of a fine pool where one descended by a marble staircase to bathe. Although it was chilly, our heads were warm, and it came to me to propose to the maidens that they put their feet in the water, assuring them that it would do them good and, if they permitted me, that I would count it an honour to remove their shoes and stockings.

“Come,” said Hedvige, “I like the project well.”

“I, too,” said Helène.

“Seat yourselves, ladies, on the first stair.”

Behold them, then, seated, and thy servant, on the fourth stair, busy unshoeing them, what time he extolled the beauty of their legs and made pretence to be incurious at the moment to see higher than the knee. Then, having gone down to the water, they had perforce to lift their garments, and in this business I encouraged them.

“Ah, well,” remarked Hedvige, “men also have thighs.”

Helène, who would have felt shame to show less courage than her cousin, did not hang back.

“Come, my charming naiads,” quoth I, “‘tis enough. Ye will catch cold if ye remain for long in the water.”

They reascended the staircase backwards, ever holding up their robes lest they might wet them; and it fell to me to dry their limbs with all the handkerchiefs that I possessed. This pleasant task permitted me to see and touch everything at my leisure, and the reader will scarce need my word to affirm that I made the best of my opportunity. The pretty niece (Hedvige) declared that I was too curious, but Helène let me have my way with an air so tender and so languid that I was hard pressed not to push the matter further. In the end, having again put on their shoes and stockings, I told them that I was enchanted to have viewed the secret charms of the two most lovely ladies in Geneva.

“What effect hath it on thee?” asked Hedvige of me.

“I dare not tell ye to look, but feel, both of ye.”

“Bathe thou thyself also.”

“Impossible. The business is too long for a man.”

“But we have yet two full hours to remain here without fear of interruption from anyone.”

This response caused me to see the happiness that awaited me; but I did not think fit to expose myself to an illness by entering the water in the state in which I was. Seeing a summer-house not far off and assured that M. Tronchin would have left it open, I took my two beauties by the arm and led them thither, not letting them guess, however, my intentions.

The summer-house was full of vases of _pot pourri_, pretty engravings, and so forth; but what I valued most was a large and lovely divan, fit for repose and for pleasure. There, seated ‘twixt these two beauties and lavishing caresses upon them, I said that I desired to show them that which they had never seen, at the same time exposing to their gaze the principal agent of humanity. They raised themselves to admire it, and then, taking the hand of each one of them, I procured for them a considerable pleasure; but, in the course of this labour, an abundant emission on my part caused them great amazement.

“‘Tis its speech,” said I. “The speech of the great creator of men.”

“‘Tis delicious!” cried Helène, laughing at the term ‘speech.’

“I, too, have the power of speech,” said Hedvige, “and I will show it thee, if thou wilt wait a moment.”

“Put thyself in my hands, sweet Hedvige. I will spare thee the trouble of making it come thyself, and I will do it better than thee.”

“I well believe it. But I have never done that with a man.”

“Nor I,” said Helène.

When they had placed themselves directly before me, their arms enlaced, I made them swoon away afresh. Then, having seated ourselves, what time my hand strayed all over their charms, I let them divert themselves at their leisure, till in the end I moistened their palms with a second emission of the natural moisture, which they examined curiously on their fingers.

Having once again put ourselves in a state of decency, we passed yet another half hour in exchanging kisses, after which I told them that they had rendered me partially happy, but, to make the work perfect, that I hoped they would devise a means of granting me their first favours. Then I showed them those preservative sachets which the English have invented in order to rid the fair sex of all fear. These little “purses,”[33] the use of which I explained to them, excited their admiration, and Hedvige said to her cousin that she would give thought to the matter. Become intimate friends and in good case to become even better, we took our way towards the house, where we found Helène’s mother and the minister walking by the edge of the lake....

[33] _Capote Anglaise_: in slang terms, a French letter or condom. The
French talk about an “English” letter; we say the reverse.

_Follows now the description of a dinner at which Casanova, Hedvige and Helène are present. The text continues:_

Helène shone in solving the questions put to her by the company. M. de Ximenes begged her to justify as best she might our first mother, who had deceived her husband by causing him to eat the fatal apple.

“Eve,” quoth she, “deceived not her husband; she did but cajole him into eating it in the hope of giving him one more perfection. Moreover, Eve had not received the prohibition from God but from Adam; in her act there was seduction, not deceit; in all probability her womanly sense did not let her regard the prohibition as serious.” ...

... Another lady then asked her if one might believe the history of the apple to be symbolical. Hedvige answered:

“I think not, since it could only be a symbol of sexual union, and ‘tis established that such was not consummated ‘twixt Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.”

“On this point the learned differ.”

“So much the worse for them, madam; the Scripture is plain enough. ‘Tis written in the first verse of the fourth chapter that Adam knew Eve after his expulsion from their terrestrial paradise, and that in consequence she conceived Cain.”

“Yea, but the verse sayeth not that Adam did not know her before, and, consequently, he might so have done.”

“This I cannot allow, for had he known her before she would have conceived; ‘twere foolish to suppose that two creatures, who had just quitted God’s hands, and were, in consequence, as nigh perfect as is possible, could consummate the act of generation with no result.”

_The conversation now becomes very theological and controversial, and
we take leave to omit it._

... After dinner ... I went apart with Helène, who told me that her cousin and the pastor would sup with her mother on the following day.

“Hedvige,” she added, “will stay and sleep with me, as is ever her custom when she cometh with her uncle to sup. It remaineth to be seen if thou art willing to hide in a spot I will show thee to-morrow at eleven of the clock, in order to pass the night with us. Call on my mother at that hour to-morrow, and I will find means of showing thee the spot....”

... In the morning I paid the mother a visit, and as Helène was escorting me out, she showed me a closed door ‘twixt the two stairs.

“At seven hours of the clock,” said she, “thou will find it open, and when thou art within, put on the bolt. Take care lest any see thee as thou enter the house.”

_Casanova, in due course, takes up his position in the hiding place,
and during his long wait for the two charmers, gives himself up to
reflection on his past. The text continues:_

... In my long and profligate career, during which I have turned the heads of several hundreds of ladies, I have grown familiar with all methods of seduction; but it hath ever been my guiding principle never to press my attack against novices or those in whom prejudices were likely to prove an obstacle, save in the presence of another woman. Timidity, I soon discovered, maketh a girl averse from seduction; in company with another girl she is easily conquered; the weakness of one bringeth on the fall of the other.

Fathers and mothers are of contrary opinion, but they err. They will not trust their daughter to take a walk or go to a ball with a young man, but no difficulty is made if she hath another girl with her. I repeat--they err; if the young man hath the requisite skill, their daughter is lost. A sense of false shame hindereth them from making a determined resistance to seduction, but, the first step taken, the fall cometh inevitably and rapidly. One girl, granting some small favour, straightway maketh her friend grant a much greater, thereby to hide her own blushes; and if the seducer be clever at his trade, the youthful innocent will soon have travelled too far to be able to draw back. In addition, the more innocent the girl, the greater her ignorance of seduction’s methods. Ere she hath time to think, pleasure doth attract her, curiosity draweth her yet a little further, and opportunity doth the rest.

For example, ‘twere possible I had been able to seduce Hedvige without Helène, but I am assured I had never succeeded with Helène had she not seen her cousin grant me certain licenses what time she took liberties with me--practices which she thought, doubtless, contrary to the modesty and decorum of a respectable young woman.... I desire what I say to be a warning to fathers and mothers, and to secure me a place in their esteem, at any rate.

Shortly after the pastor had gone I heard three light knocks on my prison door. I opened it, and a hand soft as satin grasped mine. My whole being quivered. ‘Twas Helène’s hand, and that happy moment had already repaid me for my long waiting.

“Follow me softly,” she said, in a low voice; but scarce had she closed the door ere I, in my impatience, clasped her tenderly in my arms, and caused her to feel the effect which her mere presence had produced on me, what time I assured myself of her docility.

“Be prudent, my friend,” said she to me, “and come softly upstairs.”

I followed her as best I might in the darkness, she leading me along a gallery into a room without light, the door of which she closed behind us, and thence into a lighted chamber, wherein was Hedvige, well nigh in a state of nudity. She came to me with open arms on the instant she saw me, and, embracing me ardently, signified her appreciation of my patience in my weary prison.

“Divine Hedvige,” quoth I, “had I not loved thee madly, I had not stayed one fourth of an hour in that dismal cell; but for thy sake I would readily pass hours there daily till I quit this spot. But let us lose no time. To bed!”

“Do ye twain get to bed,” quoth Helène. “I will couch on the divan.”

“Oh!” cried Hedvige. “Think not so. Our fate must be exactly equal.”

“Yea, beloved Helène,” said I, embracing her. “I love thee both with equal ardour, and these ceremonies but waste the time wherein I should be convincing ye of my passion. Follow my example. I am about to disrobe and place myself in the midst of the bed. Come lie beside me, and ye will see if I love ye as ye are worthy to be loved. If all be safe, I will remain till ye send me away, but whate’er ye do, of your mercy extinguish not the light.”

In the twinkling of an eye, all the while discussing the theory of shame with Hedvige the theologian, I presented myself to their gaze in the costume of Adam. Hedvige, blushing but fearing, perchance, to depreciate herself in my opinion by any further reserve, parted with the last shred of modesty, citing the opinion of St. Clement Alexandrinus, who held that in the shirt lay the seat of shame.

I praised unstintingly her charms and the perfection of her form, thereby hoping to encourage Helène, who was disrobing but slowly; but a charge of mock modesty from her cousin had more effect than all my praises. At length this Venus was in a state of nature, covering her most secret parts with one hand, concealing one breast with the other, and seeming most sadly shamed of all she could not conceal. Her modest confusion, this strife ‘twixt expiring modesty and growing passion, enchanted me.

Hedvige was taller than Helène, her skin was whiter, and her breasts twice the size of her cousin’s; but in Helène was more animation, her form was more sweetly moulded, and her bust was on the model of the Venus de Medici.

By degrees she became bolder, put at ease by her cousin, and we passed several moments in admiring each other; then to bed we went. Nature called loudly, and all we desired was to satisfy its demands. With a coolness that I did not fear would fail me, I made a woman of Hedvige, and when all was o’er she kissed me, saying that the pain was naught compared to the pleasure.

Next came the turn of Helène, who was six years younger than Hedvige; but the finest “fleece”[34] that e’er I saw presented something of an obstacle. This she parted with her two hands, being jealous of her cousin’s success; and although she was not initiated into the mysteries of love without woeful pain, her sighs were truly sighs of happiness as she responded to my ardent efforts. Her charms and vivacious movements caused me to shorten the sacrifice, and when I quitted the sanctuary my two beauties perceived I was in need of repose.

[34] “Fleece,” of course, is an accepted erotic term for pubic hair
(Farmer: _Slang and its Analogues_); _c.f._ also the French term
_toison_. Helène’s hirsute adornment is in keeping with psychological
precept--that hairiness and sensuality go hand in hand. Havelock
Ellis, in his _Studies_, quotes numerous authorities who are strongly
of this opinion, (vol. 5: _Erotic Symbolism_). Lombroso, he adds,
found that prostitutes generally tend to be hairy. In another volume
of his _Studies_, Havelock Ellis relates the history of a man for
whom a hirsute _mons veneris_ always had a peculiar attraction.
“When accosted by prostitutes,” says the subject of this history,
“I would never go with them unless assured that the _mons veneris_
was very hirsute.” That genial old soldier Brantôme (_Lives of Fair
and Gallant Ladies_: Translated by A. R. Allinson: Paris, Charles
Carrington, 1901) says: “I have heard speak of a certain great lady,
and I have known her myself and do know her still, who is all shaggy
and hairy over the chest, stomach, shoulders and all down the spine,
and on her bottom, like a savage.... The proverb hath it, no person
thus hairy is ever rich or wanton; but verily in this case the lady
is both the one and the other, I can assure you....” Brantôme also
speaks of women who “have hair in that part not curly at all, but
so long and drooping, you would say they were the moustachios of a
Saracen’s head. Nathless they do never remove this fleece, but prefer
to have it so, seeing there is a saying: ‘A grassgrown path and a
hairy coynte are both good roads to ride.’ ... I have heard speak of
another fair and honourable lady which did have the hair of this part
so long she would entwine the same with strings or ribbons of silk,
crimson and other colours, and have them curled like the curls of a
wig, and attached to her thighs. And in such guise would she show her
_motte_ to her husband or lover. Or else she would unwind the ribbons
and cords, so that the hair did remain after in curl, and looking
prettier so than it would otherwise have done.” Elsewhere Brantôme
tells of a gentleman of his acquaintance who, while sleeping with a
very beautiful lady, “and one of good condition, and doing his devoir
with her, did find in that part sundry hairs so sharp and prickly that
‘twas with all the difficulty in the world he could finish, so sharply
did these prick and pierce him....” Abnormal growth of pubic hair is
by no means confined to _conte_ and fable. Jahn, says Havelock Ellis
in his _Studies_, delivered a woman whose pubic hair was longer than
that of her head, reaching below her knees. Paulini also knew a woman
“whose pubic hair nearly reached her knees and was sold to make wigs.
Bartholin mentions a soldier’s wife who plaited her pubic hair behind
her back.” (_Erotic Symbolism_). We have no actual evidence that
Helène’s growth was of these abnormal dimensions, but it was obviously
out of the ordinary to provoke comment from a man of Casanova’s

The altar was purified of the blood of the victims, and we all bathed, enchanted to serve one another.

Life returned to me ‘neath their curious fingers, and the sight filled them with joy.... For several hours I overwhelmed them with happiness, passing five or six times from one to the other before exhausting myself and arriving at the ecstatic spasm. In the intervals, perceiving them docile and desirous, I made them execute Aretin’s most complicated postures, a business that amused them beyond measure.[35] We were lavish with our kisses on whatever part took our fancy, and just as Hedvige applied her lips to the mouth of the pistol, it went off and the discharge inundated her face and her bosom. She was delighted, and studied the eruption to an end with all the curiosity of a physician.

[35] Pietro Aretino, author of _The Ragionamenti_, is generally
supposed to have enumerated a variety of postures in which the
venereal act might be performed. To the many he is known solely as
“the man of the postures.” This particular claim to distinction is,
to say the least, a matter much in dispute, but we will reserve
discussion of the question for Vol. 2 of _Anthologica Rarissima_,
where lavish excerpts from Aretino’s works will be given.

The night seemed short, though we had not lost a moment’s space, and at daybreak we had to part. 1 left them in bed, being fortunate to get away observed of none.

_In the evening, after supper, Casanova contrives another meeting with
his charmers._

... Going out with my heroines, I worked wonders. Hedvige philosophised over the pleasure, and told me that she would ne’er have tasted it had I not chanced to encounter her uncle. Helène did not speak; more voluptuous than her cousin, she swelled out like a dove, and came to life only to expire a moment after. I wondered at her amazing fecundity, although such is not uncommon; while I was engaged in one operation, she passed fourteen times from life to death. True, ‘twas the sixth course I had run, so I made my pace somewhat slower to enjoy the pleasure she took in the business....

_After passing another night with the cousins, Casanova again sets out
on his travels; and here, for the time being, we will leave him._


Jacques Casanova, Chevalier de Seingalt, Knight of the Golden Spur, and one of the most remarkable figures in history and letters, was born on April 2nd, 1725. To-day, nearly two hundred years afterwards, his _Memoirs_ are more vivid and readable than anything penned by our contemporary writers.

“He who opens these wonderful pages,” says the English translator in his preface, “is as one who sits in a theatre and looks across the gloom, not on a stage-play, but on another and a vanished world. The curtain draws up, and suddenly a hundred and fifty years are rolled away, and in bright light stands out before us the whole life of the past; the gay dresses, the polished wit, the careless morals, and all the revel and dancing of those merry years before the mighty deluge of the Revolution.

“The palaces and marble stairs of old Venice are no longer desolate, but thronged with scarlet-robed senators, prisoners with the doom of the Ten upon their heads cross the Bridge of Sighs, at dead of night the nun slips out of the convent gate to the dark canal where a gondola is waiting, we assist at the _parties fines_ of cardinals, and we see the bank made at faro.

“Venice gives place to the assembly rooms of Mrs. Cornely and the fast taverns of the London of 1760; we pass from Versailles to the Winter Palace of St. Petersburg in the days of Catherine, from the policy of the Great Frederick to the lewd mirth of strolling-players, and the presence-chamber of the Vatican is succeeded by an intrigue in a garret.

“It is indeed a new experience to read this history of a man who, refraining from nothing, has concealed nothing; of one who stood in the courts of Louis the Magnificent for Madame de Pompadour and the nobles of the _ancien régime_, and had an affair with an adventuress of Denmark Street, Soho; who was bound over to keep the peace by Fielding, and knew Cagliostro.

“The friend of popes and kings and noblemen, and of all the male and female ruffians and vagabonds of Europe, abbé, soldier, charlatan, gamester, financier, diplomatist, _viveur_, philosopher, virtuoso, ‘chemist, fiddler, and buffoon’, each of these, and all of these, was Giacomo Casanova, Chevalier de Seingalt, Knight of the Golden Spur.”

The English translation of Casanova’s _Memoirs_, from which the foregoing is taken, is a valuable work. To-day the twelve volume set, of which 1,000 copies were privately printed in 1894, commands anything from thirty to forty-five pounds in the sale-room or book-seller’s shop. We have been told that the printer of this English version was prosecuted, and all copies of the work confiscated by the police, who were ordered to burn them. Further, we are told that the copies we buy and read to-day are the copies burned by the police.

If this be so, all honour to the police, for the destruction of any scholarly rendering of these _Memoirs_ can only be described as an act of vandalism. Because Casanova is not for the multitude, does it follow he is not for the few? Translated into the English tongue, Casanova’s _Memoirs_ must be “privately printed” by reason of his plain speech in the matter of amorous intrigue, yet, were every erotic word and scene expunged, the work would still be of fascinating interest and inestimable value to the student of history. There exists a bowdlerised and abridged edition of these _Memoirs_; we have never seen, and we never wish to see, this work. A study of life, without a leavening of human nature, is worse than useless.

Casanova, if any reliance is to be set on his writings, was a sexual athlete--a member of that rare and remarkable class of men who are capable of amazing feats in the lists of love. Frequent reference is made to his prowess and observations by the great sexual psychologists, Havelock Ellis in particular. Bloch, (_The Sexual Life of Our Time_), quoting from a work by Oscar A. H. Schmitz, has some interesting remarks to make on the character of Casanova.

“Casanova,” he says, “is pre-eminently the erotic, also crafty and deceitful (seducer), not, however, for the gratification of his need of power, but rather for the agreeable satisfaction of his need for sensual love; ... for Casanova each one is ‘the woman’ ... Casanova is human, cares always for the happiness of the woman he loves, and devotes to them a tender reflection; ... Casanova is the typical feminist, he possesses a profound understanding of woman’s soul, is not disappointed by love, and needs for his life’s happiness continuous contact with feminine natures....”

“Whatever I have done in the course of my life,” says Casanova,[36] “whether it be good or evil, has been done freely; I am a free agent.... Man is free, but his freedom ceases when he has no faith in it.... Man is free; yet we must not suppose he is at liberty to do everything he pleases, for he becomes a slave the moment he allows his actions to be ruled by his passions. The man who has sufficient power over himself to wait until his nature has recovered its even balance is the truly wise man, but such beings are seldom met with....

[36] English translation of the Author’s Preface.

“The sanguine temperament rendered me very sensible to the attractions of voluptuousness.... The chief business of my life has always been to indulge my senses; I never knew anything of greater importance. I felt myself born for the fair sex, I have ever loved it dearly, and I have been loved by it as often and as much as I could....

“ ... Should anyone bring against me an accusation of sensuality he would be wrong, for all the fierceness of my senses never caused me to neglect any of my duties.... I have always been fond of highly-seasoned, rich dishes.... As for women, I have always found the odour of my beloved ones exceeding pleasant....

“ ... It may be that certain love scenes will be considered too explicit, but let no one blame me, unless it be for lack of skill, for I ought not to be scolded because, in my old age, I can find no other enjoyment but that which recollections of the past afford to me. After all, virtuous and prudish readers are at liberty to skip over any offensive pictures, and I think it my duty to give them this piece of advice....

“ ... My Memoirs are not written for young persons who, in order to avoid false steps and slippery roads, ought to spend their youth in blissful ignorance, but for those who, having thorough experience of life, are no longer exposed to temptation, and who, having but too often gone through the fire, are like salamanders, and can be scorched by it no more.... I have no hesitation in saying that the really virtuous are those persons who can practise virtue without the slightest trouble; such persons are always full of toleration, and it is to them that my Memoirs are addressed....”

Casanova, as he himself tells us, was three score and twelve years when he wrote his _Memoirs_. The writing, he adds, was both a solace and a pleasure. Nevertheless, as the English translator says in his appendix, “the last five years of his life were passed in petty mortifications.... Death came to him somewhat as a release. He received the sacraments with devotion, exclaimed: ‘Great God, and all ye who witness my death, I have lived a philosopher and I die a Christian,’ and so died--a quiet ending to a wonderfully brilliant and entirely useless career.”


[37] Masuccio: _The Novellino_, translated into English by W. G.
Waters: London, Lawrence and Bullen, 1895.

_A young lady being enamoured of the Prince of Salerno sends for one of his chaplains and declares to him that she has received from the said prince numerous letters praying for her love. The chaplain, having divined her motive, enters into a plot with her and brings the affair to the issue desired._

At that time when our most glorious lord and king, Don Fernando, was entertaining Naples, according to his constant use, with those joustings, those marvellous hunting parties, and those sumptuous festivals which were famed far and wide, it chanced that amongst the other merry-makers was a certain young damsel, of beauty almost unrivalled, and a scion of one of the noblest houses of our Parthenopean city.

Now for some time past she had often let her eyes regale themselves with the beauty and the grace of form belonging to my most illustrious lord, the Prince of Salerno, and beyond this had heard sung, over and over again, the praises of his extraordinary worth. By this time she was more than ever captivated by him, wherefore she became so lovesick that she could only give thought to the gentleman by whom her fancy had been ensnared.

After she had let her thoughts ... engage themselves in many and divers plans by which she might honourably achieve the victory in so worthy an adventure, she found that all these schemes were over-difficult to compass; wherefore it more than once came into her head that she would follow the advice of certain other ladies of her acquaintance, who, whenever they found they could not refrain from entering the lists of love, were wont to send word to the gallant youths beloved of them and challenge them to the amorous warfare.

But this damsel, who was gifted with no small prudence, and was persuaded at the same time that she would not, by following such a course, be setting a very high value either upon herself or upon her undertaking, suddenly determined that she would make trial of a novel and very crafty stratagem to induce the prince aforesaid to cull the first fruits of her virgin garden. Having chosen a time when the prince had gone to other parts for diversion in the chase, she let come to her a certain priest, a man whom she could fully trust, and one who was much about the house, and to him she gave directions as to what she would have him do.

_This priest now brings Fra Paulo, the chaplain and the prince’s
most trusted attendant, to the damsel who alleges the receipt of
impassioned love-letters from the prince. She is at a loss to know
whether these letters have been concocted by one of her brothers with
a view to putting her constancy to proof, or whether they have really
been written by the prince who “is in sooth taken with love of me,
seeing that I have at times kept my eyes fixed upon him somewhat more
than was due.” The text continues_:--

With these, and with other words of a like character, which had been prepared with the most consummate art, she laid before the chaplain the letters aforesaid, by way of giving him still farther assurance of the truth of her craftily devised discourse. Fra Paulo, although, as a prudent man, and as one accustomed to bring contests of this sort to a victorious issue, he had fully detected and comprehended the hidden wishes and purpose of the young lady, nevertheless, as she went on step by step with her reasonings and arguments, was astonished at finding so great ingenuity and astuteness in the brain of a damsel so delicate and youthful.

Still, as he remarked more than once that, whenever she mentioned the name of his lord the prince, her face changed colour, he understood that the passion which possessed her must be indeed burning and fierce. Wherefore he determined to let this same wind speed his own bark over such a pleasant sea, and he thus made answer to her:--

“Lady mine, because of your kindness, you have thought well enough of me to unveil to me your secret affairs, you may rest assured that, no less for the preservation of your own good name than for the safeguarding of my lord’s, I will deal with this matter with all that silence and secrecy which, according to your judgement and mine as well, the gravity and importance of the same demand....

“ ... I declare once for all that these letters were never written by my lord; in sooth, if they had been his handiwork, I should have marvelled amain, because it is his custom never to write with his own hand to any woman, however fiercely his passion may be kindled for her, unless he may first have made proof of her love.... At the outset of all his love affairs the letters and messages thereanent are written and arranged by the agency of the chamberlain, who is in his closest confidence. Wherefore I hold it for certain that these same letters must be from the hands of this man....

“ ... Many a time, when I have chanced to be discoursing concerning the beauty of women with my lord, he, with a little sigh, which he seemed fain to repress, has never ceased to place you before all other ladies. And although his words are rare and few and sententious, he has full often let me know secretly that you are the only one to whom he has entirely given his love.

“Therefore meseems that ... you should give me authority to act, so I may be able to place the whole matter together with your own doubts and fears, before the notice of my lord.... And in order that you may speedily be informed of the answer, and that the affair may be kept no long time in suspense, it will behove you to be on the watch for me, for when you shall see me pass by your house, and call to a certain boy who will be standing opposite thereto, you may be assured that I have done my errand, and on the following morning let us meet once more in this same spot.”

The young lady, deeming that she had assuredly gulled the friar by her trick, and that her plot could not now fail to come to an issue perfectly satisfactory to her, was so greatly overjoyed that it seemed to her as if she had in sooth been crowned by Heaven.... Then, having brought their discourse to an end, and each one being in a contented mood, though for a different cause, they went their several ways.

As Fortune willed it ... the friar was met by the news that the prince had already taken the road with the intention of being in Naples on the following day. Wherefore Fra Paulo, having gone out to meet him, was mightily glad to let him know the whole history of the craft of the amorous damsel, and of the scheme which she had framed. The prince gave ear to the same with no less amazement than pleasure; for, albeit he had rarely cast his eyes upon this young girl, and retained no recollection of her beauty, nevertheless it seemed to him to be only just and right that he should hold dear those who loved him. So he made answer to the friar, and bade him set the business in progress in such wise that the meeting might be brought to pass at the earliest possible time.

The friar, pleased beyond measure and eager to do service to the prince, betook himself towards the house of the damsel as soon as he had dismounted from his beast. Then, having made the sign which had been agreed between themselves--a sign which she observed and understood with the utmost pleasure--the damsel duly repaired on the following morning to the spot which had been chosen; and there, when she met the friar, he said to her:--

“My dear lord, who for your pleasure arrived last night in Naples, commends himself to you. I have set before him at full length the purport of the converse betwixt you and me, but I could not draw from his lips any other reply except that he prays and conjures you, by the perfect love which he has for so long a time borne and still bears to you, and also by that love which you should dutifully entertain towards him, that it will please you, on this same evening, to give him a kindly audience in order that he may, without needing to confide in any living man, lay bare to you those matters which he has kept hitherto, and still keeps, secured by a strong lock within his passionate breast.”

The young woman, who, as she listened to these words, was so vastly overjoyed that she could with difficulty contain herself within her skin, now felt that every hour would be as a thousand years until she should find herself engaged in the supreme conclusions of love; and, after a few feeble denials and hesitations, answered that she was ready to do what the prince desired. She did not quit the friar’s company until they had, in discreet wise, settled when and in what manner and in what place she and the prince should come together for the amorous battle.

The friar then betook himself straightway to his beloved lord and prince, who indeed was awaiting him and his answer. Then he set forth everything to the prince, who, when himseemed that the appointed time had come, went with his attendants to the meeting-place, and there he found the lovely young damsel, who, delicately arrayed and perfumed, received him with open arms and exceeding great delight.

Then, after countless kisses had been given and received by the prince, they got on board their bark, and after the helm had been duly set and the sails spread to the wind, the damsel, what though she was not as yet greatly versed in the mariner’s art, let her lover navigate the sea of love during all the time they were able to spend together. When at last they found themselves with great delight once more in port, the damsel, tenderly clasping the neck of the prince with her arms, thus addressed him:--

“My sweetest lord, for that I alone, aided by my own skill and forethought, have succeeded in bringing you hither this first time I have but to thank myself, but for the future I must leave to the care of you and of Love the devising of the means whereby you may be able to show me further proofs of your passion. Now there remains nothing more for me to say except that I recommend myself without ceasing to your favour.”

Thereupon the illustrious lord the prince heartened her with soft and tender words, and they then took leave of one another with great pleasure and delight; and if anyone should still wish to know whether, and in what fashion, this love of theirs bore further fruit, let him inquire on his own behalf.


Because Masuccio--so far as the general public is concerned--may be counted among the lesser-known of the Novellieri of the Cinquecento, it may not be inappropriate to give a few details of his life and work. To this purpose we cannot do better than quote from the admirable introduction to Mr. W. G. Waters’ translation of the _Novellino_, whence is taken our story of _The Damsel and the Prince_.

Masuccio, says Mr. Waters, “was probably born about 1420.... Seeing that he was Sanseverino’s secretary, and that the great majority of his novels are dedicated to prominent Neapolitans, it may be assumed that his life was chiefly spent in Naples and the neighbourhood.... After 1474 Masuccio fades entirely from view....

“Masuccio seems to have rated himself as one with a message to deliver ... his phraseology gives one the impression that he wrote with his feelings at white heat.... In the very Prologue to the work he announces his primary theme, by proclaiming himself the scourger of priestly vices.... If the words which a man speaks or writes are ever to be taken as evidence of the mind that is in him, then assuredly Masuccio may be credited with ardent hatred of the offences he denounces.[38] Putting aside occasional lapses into licentiousness of expression as accidents inseparable from the age in which he wrote, it is almost impossible to doubt his sincerity as a would-be reformer of manners....

[38] Masuccio, of course, cannot claim any peculiar virtue in this
respect, lust in the guise or under the cloak of religion being a
favourite theme of mediæval and even later novelists. We shall deal
at length with the subject in the second volume of _Anthologica
Rarissima: The Way of a Priest_.

“ ... Masuccio’s canvas is a limited one. A few of his stories are in the vein of genuine buffo, a few more are tragedies pure and simple, but the majority of the residue will be found to treat of one or other of his two particular themes, the castigation of profligate clerics and unchaste women. He devotes one part of the work to each of these specially; but in the other parts he never lets a friar or a woman escape the lash if he finds the chance of laying it on.

“The most scathing passages ... are those which occur here and there in the ‘Masuccio’ at the end of his stories.... As an instance may be quoted the conclusion to Novel XXIII., in which, after screaming himself hoarse over the crimes of women, he finishes with these words:--

“‘Would that it had been God’s pleasure and Nature’s to have suffered us to be brought forth from the oak-trees, or indeed to have been engendered from water and mire like the frogs in the humid rains of summer, rather than to have taken our origin from so base, so corrupt, and so vilely fashioned a sex as womankind.’”

As a further example of Masuccio’s hatred of women, Mr. Waters cites “the frightful indictment at the end of Novel VI. which he prefers against women who put on the habit of religious houses.” We might do worse than quote it:--

“ ... I keep silence, likewise, concerning all that might be said on the subject of the marriage of these women with friars ... how they make sumptuous marriage feasts, inviting thereto from this convent and that their friends, who present themselves with equipages laden with all manner of rich goods.... With the consent of the abbess and of their prelate they execute marriage contracts, duly written and sealed; and then, having supped off all manner of sumptuous meats, and performed every other ceremony pertaining to the rite of marriage, they go to bed one with another without showing any fear or shame, just as if their union had been contracted with the full sanction of their own fathers, and by the laws of marriage....”[39]

[39] _C.f._ _The New Metamorphosis, or The Golden Ass of Apuleius
altered and improved to Modern Times_, by Carlo Socio: London, 1822,
extracts from which, exactly germane to Masuccio’s denunciation, will
be found in vol. 2 of _Anthologica Rarissima: The Way of a Priest_.

Space will not permit us, however, to deal _in extenso_ with Masuccio’s hatred of priest and woman. We can best refer the reader to his _Novellino_, or to such extracts as we shall make from them in subsequent volumes of _Anthologica Rarissima_. Our purpose, in the foregoing sketch, was to give some slight impression of the aims and mentality of the author of the two stories reproduced in this particular volume.


[40] J. S. Farmer: _Merry Songs and Ballads_: vol. 5: by John Lockman:
from _Musical Miscellany_, (1731). Farmer, of course, is the editor
and compiler of _Slang and its Analogues_, to which we make constant

   Dame _Jane_ a sprightly Nun, and gay,
       And formed of very yielding Clay,
   Had long with resolution strove
       To guard against the Shafts of Love.
   Fond _Cupid_ smiling, spies the Fair,
       And soon he baffles all her Care,
   In vain she tries her Pain to smother,
       The Nymph too frail, the Nymph too frail, becomes a Mother.
   But no, these little Follies o’er,
       She firmly vows she’ll sin no more;
   No more to Vice will fall a Prey,
       But spend in Prayer each fleeting Day.
   Close in her Cell immur’d she lies,
       Nor from the Cross removes her Eyes;
   Whilst Sisters crouding at the Crate,
       Spend all their Time, spend all their Time in Worldly Prate.
   The Abbess, overjoy’d to find
       This happy Change in Jenny’s Mind,
   The rest, with Air compos’d, addressing,
       “Daughters, if you expect a Blessing,
   “From pious _Jane_, Example take,
       “The World and all its Joys forsake.”
   “We will (they all replied as One)
       “But first let’s do as _Jane_ has done.”


[41] _Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles_: “now first done into the English
tongue by Robert B. Douglas, (_One Hundred Merrie and Delightsome
Stories_)”: Paris, Charles Carrington, 1899 (?): 82nd story. The
editors of _Anthologica Rarissima_ have taken slight liberties with
Mr. Douglas’ translation, deeming archaic phraseology more fitting to
the atmosphere of the narrative.

_Of a shepherd who made an agreement with a shepherdess that he should mount upon her “in order that he might see farther,” but was not to penetrate beyond a mark which she herself made with her hand upon the instrument of the said shepherd--as will more plainly appear hereafter._

Listen, an it please ye, to what happened, near Lille, to a shepherd and a young shepherdess who tended their flocks together, or near together.

Nature had already stirred in them, and they were of an age to know “the way of the world,” so one day an agreement was made between them that the shepherd should mount on the shepherdess “in order to see farther,”[42]--provided, however, that he should not penetrate beyond a mark which she made with her hand upon the natural instrument of the shepherd, and which was about two fingers’ breadth below the head; and the mark was made with a blackberry taken from the hedge.

[42] The phrase has passed into use as an accepted slang term for the
sexual act.

That being done, they began God’s work, and the shepherd pushed in as though it had cost him no trouble, and without thinking about any mark or sign, or the promise he had made to the shepherdess, for all that he had it buried up to the hilt, and if he had had more he would have found a place to put it.

The pretty shepherdess, who had never had such a wedding, enjoyed herself so much that she would willingly have done nothing else all her life. The battle being ended, both went to look after their sheep, which had meanwhile strayed some distance. They being brought together again, the shepherd, who was called Hacquin, to pass the time, sat in a swing set up between two hedges, and there he swung, as happy as a king.

The shepherdess sat by the side of a ditch, and made a wreath of flowers. She sang a little song, hoping that it would attract the shepherd, and he would begin the game over again; but that was very far from his thoughts. When she found he did not come, she began to call: “Hacquin! Hacquin!”

And he replied: “What wantest thou?”

“Come hither! Come hither! Wilt thou?” said she.

But Hacquin had had a surfeit of pleasure and made answer:

“In God’s name, leave me alone. I do naught. I enjoy myself.”

Then the shepherdess cried:

“Come hither, Hacquin; I will let thee go in further, without making any mark.”

“By St. John,” said Hacquin, “I went far beyond the mark, and I do not want any more.”

He would not go to the shepherdess, who was much vexed to have to remain idle.[43]

[43] _Songs of the Groves: Records of the Ancient World_, (The Vine
Press: Steyning, Sussex: 1921), has a singularly charming account
of a rustic courtship. _The Wooing_, the poem to which we refer, is
a rendering from the Greek of Theocritus, and is remarkable for the
vivid picture conjured up before our eyes in a few lines of verse.
Daphnis, a young shepherd, and a maiden, discourse of love and
marriage; eventually she yields to his passion:--
   “_Remove your hand, you satyr; do not seek my blossoms so!_”
   “_Just a first glance! Oh! I must see those snowy flowers of mine!_”
   “_O Pan! O Pan! I’m fainting! Take away that hand of thine!_”
   “_Darling, look up! Don’t tremble so! Why fear your Lycidas?_”
   “_Oh, Daphnis! I shall spoil my robe; it’s filthy on this grass._”
   “_But--just see here!--the softest fleece over your robe I’ve
   “_Ah me! Oh! Don’t undo my belt! Why do you loose my zone?_”
   “_Because the Paphian Queen must have it for an offering._”
   “_Some one will come! I hear a noise! Leave off, you cruel thing!_”
   “_A noise? My cypresses: they murmur how my darling weds._”
   “_Oh, I am bare! You’ve torn my robe into a string of shreds!_”
   “_A better robe I’ll give you soon; a larger robe I’ll buy._”
   “_Oh, yes! You’ll give me all, when soon salt even you’ll deny._”
   “_Oh, I could pour my soul into you for your dear delight!_”
   “_Forgive, O Artemis, forgive your faithless acolyte._”
   “_Venus shall have an ox; a calf for Cupid I will burn._”
   “_A virgin came I hither, but a woman shall return._”
   “_The nurse, the mother, of my babes, now never more a maid._”
   _So with young limbs entwined in love all joyously they played,
   Soft-murmuring each to each; then from their secret couch they leap:
   She, when she had arisen, went away to feed her sheep;
   Shame was in her eyes, but her heart beat high above:
   Joyous, he went to feed his flocks, glad from the bed of love._


[44] _The Decameron_ of Giovanni Boccaccio, translated by John Payne,
Villon Society, 1884. See _Excursus_ to this story.

In the city of Capsa in Barbary there was aforetime a very rich man, who, among his other children, had a fair and winsome young daughter, by name Alibech. She, not being a Christian and hearing many Christians who abode in the town mightily extol the Christian faith and the service of God, one day questioned one of them in what manner one might avail to serve God with the least hindrance. The other answered that they best served God who most strictly eschewed the things of the world, as those did who had betaken them into the solitudes of the deserts of Thebaïs.

The girl, who was maybe fourteen years old and very simple, moved by no ordered desire, but by some childish fancy, set off next morning by stealth and all alone, to go to the desert of Thebaïs without letting any know her intent.

After some days, her desire persisting, she won, with no little toil, to the deserts in question and seeing a hut afar off, went thither and found at the door a holy man, who marvelled to see her there and asked her what she sought. She replied that, being inspired of God, she went seeking to enter into His service and was now in quest of one who should teach her how it behoved to serve Him.

The worthy man, seeing her young and very fair and fearing lest, an he entertained her, the devil should beguile him, commended her pious intent and giving her somewhat to eat of roots and herbs and wild apples and dates and to drink of water, said to her:

“Daughter mine, not far hence is a holy man, who is a much better master than I of that which thou goest seeking; do thou betake thyself to him;” and put her in the way. However, when she reached the man in question, she had of him the same answer and faring farther, came to the cell of a young hermit, a very devout and good man, whose name was Rustico and to whom she made the same request as she had done to the others.

He, having a mind to make a trial of his own constancy, sent her not away, as the others had done, but received her into his cell, and the night being come, he made her a little bed of palm-fronds and bade her lie down to rest thereon.

This done, temptations tarried not to give battle to his powers of resistance and he, finding himself grossly deceived by these latter, turned tail, without many assaults, and confessed himself beaten; then, laying aside devout thoughts and orisons and mortifications, he fell to revolving in his memory the youth and beauty of the damsel and bethinking himself what course he should take with her, so as to win to that which he desired of her, without her taking him for a debauched fellow.

Accordingly, having sounded her with sundry questions, he found that she had never known man and was in truth as simple as she seemed; wherefore he bethought him, how, under colour of the service of God, he might bring her to his pleasures. In the first place, he showed her with many words how great an enemy the devil was of God the Lord and after gave her to understand that the most acceptable service that could be rendered to God was to put back the devil in hell, whereto He had condemned him. The girl asked him how this might be done; and he, “Thou shalt soon know that; do thou but as thou shalt see me do.” So saying, he proceeded to put off the few garments he had and abode stark naked, as likewise did the girl, whereupon he fell on his knees, as he would pray, and caused her abide over against himself.

Matters standing thus and Rustico being more than ever inflamed in his desires to see her so fair, there came the resurrection of the flesh, which Alibech observing and marvelling:

“Rustico,” quoth she, “What is that I see on thee which thrusteth forth thus and which I have not?”

“Faith, daughter mine,” answered he, “this is the devil whereof I bespoke thee; and see now, he giveth me such sore annoy that I can scarce put up with it.”

Then said the girl:

“Now praised be God! I see I fare better than thou, in that I have none of yonder devil.”

“True,” rejoined Rustico; “but thou hast overwhat that I have not, and thou hast it instead of this.”

“What is that?” asked Alibech; and he:

“Thou hast hell, and I tell thee methinketh God hath sent thee hither for my soul’s health, for that, whenas this devil doth me this annoy, an it please thee have so much compassion on me as to suffer me put him back into hell, thou wilt give the utmost solacement and wilt do God a very great pleasure and service, so indeed thou be come into these parts to do as thou sayest.”

The girl answered in good faith:

“Marry, father mine, since I have hell, be it whensoever it pleaseth thee;” whereupon quoth Rustico:

“Daughter, blessed be thou; let us go then and put him back there, so he may after leave me in peace.”

So saying, he laid her on one of their little beds and taught her how she should do to imprison that accursed one of God. The girl, who had never yet put any devil in hell, for the first time felt some little pain; wherefore she said to Rustico:

“Certes, father mine, this same devil must be an ill thing and an enemy in very deed of God, for that it irketh hell itself, let be otherwhat, when he is put back therein.”

“Daughter,” answered Rustico, “it will not always happen thus;” and to the end that this should not happen, six times, or ever they stirred from the bed, they put him in hell again, insomuch that for the nonce they so took the conceit out of his head that he willingly abode at peace. But, it returning to him again and again the ensuing days and the obedient girl still lending herself to take it out of him, it befell that the sport began to please her and she said to Rustico:

“I see now that those good people in Capsa spoke sooth, when they avouched that it was so sweet a thing to serve God; for certes, I remember me not to have ever done aught that afforded me such pleasance and delight as putting the devil in hell; wherefore methinketh that whoso applieth himself unto aught other than God His service is a fool.”

Accordingly, she came ofttimes to Rustico and said to him:

“Father mine, I came here to serve God and not to abide idle; let us go put the devil in hell.” Which doing, she said whiles:

“Rustico, I know not why the devil fleeth away from hell; for, an he abode there as willingly as hell receiveth him and holdeth him, he would never come forth therefrom.”

The girl, then, on this wise often inviting Rustico and exhorting him to the service of God, so took the bombast out of his doublet that he felt cold what time another had sweated; wherefore he fell to telling her that the devil was not to be chastised nor put into hell, save whenas he should lift up his head for pride.

“And we,” added he, “by God’s grace, have so baffled him that he prayeth our Lord to suffer him abide in peace;” and on this wise he for awhile imposed silence on her.

However, when she saw that he required her not of putting the devil in hell, she said to him one day:

“Rustico, an thy devil be chastened and give thee no more annoy, my hell letteth me not be; wherefore thou wilt do well to aid me with thy devil in abating the raging of my hell, even as with my hell I have helped thee take the conceit out of thy devil.”

Rustico, who lived on roots and water, could ill avail to answer her calls and told her that it would need overmany devils to appease hell, but he would do what he might thereof. Accordingly he satisfied her bytimes, but so seldom it was but casting a bean into the lion’s mouth; whereat the girl, herseeming she served not God as diligently as she would fain have done, murmured somewhat.

But, whilst this debate was toward between Rustico his devil and Alibech her hell, for overmuch desire on the one part and lack of power on the other, it befell that a fire broke out in Capsa and burnt Alibech’s father in his own house, with as many children and other family as he had; by reason whereof she abode heir to all his good.

Thereupon, a young man called Nëerbale, who had spent all his substance in gallantry, hearing that she was alive, set out in search of her and finding her, before the court (_i.e._, the government) had laid hands upon her father’s estate, as that of a man dying without heir, to Rustico’s great satisfaction, but against her own will, brought her back to Capsa, where he took her to wife and succeeded, in her right, to the ample inheritance of her father.

There, being asked by the women at what she served God in the desert, she answered (Nëerbale having not yet lain with her) that she served Him at putting the devil in hell and that Nëerbale had done a grievous sin in that he had taken her from such service.

The ladies asked:

“How putteth one the devil in hell?”

And the girl, what with words and what with gestures, expounded it to them; whereat they set up so great a laughing that they laugh yet and said:

“Give yourself no concern, my child; nay, for that is done here also and Nëerbale will serve our Lord full well with thee at this.”

Thereafter, telling it from one to another throughout the city, they brought it to a common saying there that the most acceptable service one could render to God was to put the devil in hell, which byword, having passed the sea hither, is yet current here. Wherefore do all you young ladies, who have need of God’s grace, learn to put the devil in hell, for that this is highly acceptable to Him and pleasing to both parties and much good may grow and ensue thereof.


Boccaccio’s immortal story of Alibech who “turned hermit and was taught by Rustico, a monk, to put the devil in hell” has been drawn upon or brazenly copied by innumerable _raconteurs_. La Fontaine has an exactly similar story. “To put the devil in hell” has passed into use as an accepted slang term for the act of copulation. _Hell_, in English, and _Enfer_ in French, are erotic synonyms for the female _pudendum_, as are _devil_ and _diable_ for the male organ of generation. (_C.f._ Farmer: _Slang and its Analogues_ and _Vocabula Amatoria_; also Landes: _Glossaire érotique de la langue française_.) “Vainly doth hell her prisoner recall,” says La Fontaine; “the devil is dumb.”

It is a moot point whether “The Devil in Hell” should have been included in this or the subsequent volume, _The Way of a Priest_. It seems to us, however, that the woman’s part transcends the man’s throughout, and for that reason we prefer to look upon the story as illustrating a phase of virginity rather than as an example of priestly lust.

Boccaccio’s “Nightingale,” which is also given in this volume, has provided yet another French slang term for the _penis_. “To put the nightingale in its cage or nest” is a fanciful but frequent description of the venereal act. (_C.f._ Pietro Aretino’s _Dialogues_: 1. _The Life of Nuns_: English and French translations: Liseux, Paris, 1889 and 1882.) On the other hand, _nightingale_, in old English slang, denoted a prostitute. (Farmer: _Slang and its Analogues_.)

The inclusion of any of Boccaccio’s tales in this volume has not gone uncritised by friends and advisers. “_The Decameron_,” they argue, “is accessible to all; it is hackneyed nowadays.” If the frequent issue of cheap, castrated and badly-produced editions of the immortal work are these so-called means of access, the argument is a poor one.

Boccaccio, to be appreciated, must be read in the original, unexpurgated Italian, or, at any rate, in a translation which is equally free and is the work of a scholar and booklover. Some of Boccaccio’s stories are fitly classed as the world’s best, and among these “The Devil in Hell” takes place. It is a story that has lived for centuries and will live while literature lasts.

Further, so far as we know, in one English translation alone, Payne’s, (_vide_ note _ante_, p. 56), is this story told in its entirety in our own language; in other editions the most dramatic part of the narrative, the part, in fact, which _makes_ the story, is invariably rendered in Italian or French, or is hopelessly bowdlerised. Thus is prudery satisfied and genius mocked. “The Devil in Hell” is strong fare assuredly, but it is served up in so artistic a manner as to please even the most delicate palate.


[45] _Kruptadia_: Heilbronn, Henninger Frères, 1884: vol. 2, _Breton
Folk Lore_.

“Mother mine,” quoth Jean the Fool, “I would marry.”

“Thou wouldst marry, poor innocent? And what wouldst thou do with a woman? And who would want thee? To marry, thou must have culture at thy back (for thus they term those who have worldly goods), and thou hast none. Furthermore, thou must pay court to the maidens, and thou art too great a fool to know how to do that.”

“What doth one do when he goeth to visit the maidens?”

“One goeth to them when they hold a party, one indulgeth in all manner of drolleries, one pincheth them, one snatcheth their handkerchiefs when they blow their noses, one pulleth at their petticoats, and one laugheth.”

“Good,” said Jean to himself; and went out.

Passing down a road, narrow and filled with mire, he sat down, and when he felt he had sufficient ‘cultivation’ on his backside, he went to a farm where there was a party. The youths and maidens, when they saw Jean the Idiot enter all smeared with mire, drew back to make room for him, lest they themselves be soiled. In the end he found in the lobby a stool on which he sat near one of the maidens, whom he scrutinised closely.

She drew away from him; Jean pinched her, rudely snatched away her handkerchief when she sought to make use of it, and laughed like a fool. Then, thinking to succeed with her, he tugged so violently at her petticoat that he broke the strings that held it up. The maiden, half undressed, was enraged, and Jean was kicked out of doors, amid the shouting and jeering of the entire company.

From this moment Jean the Fool had no desire to pay court to maidens. But his mother, who felt herself growing old and had need of a daughter-in-law to aid her, said to him one day:

“Jean, thou must marry.”

“Nay, indeed, mother mine. I was tricked enough when I saw the maidens.”

“Nevertheless, ‘tis good to be married. Thy wife will give thee a chicken to eat.”[46]

[46] The play on words here is somewhat obscure. _Manger un poulet_
is not a slang term for the sexual act. Interpreting freely, we might
read: “Will give thee a chicken to pluck,” _i.e._: her virginity. This
is borne out by the wife’s subsequent behaviour. On the other hand,
the mother may be speaking simply and literally.

Jean gave his consent and was married. When he was abed with his wife, he believed that she would serve up a chicken for him, and he said to her:

“Give it me.”

“Take it,” answered his wife.

“Give it me, I tell thee.”

“Take it, then.”

Thus passed the night, and on the morrow Jean the Fool went weeping to his mother, saying:

“Mother, I begged her for it, and she would not give it me.”

“He lieth!” cried the wife. “I have told him to take it if he wished it.”

And she went to complain to her mother that she had married an idiot, who passed the whole night saying “Give it me” without doing aught else. The good woman saw clearly that her son-in-law was foolish, and she bade him on the following night mount upon his wife and thrust at a spot where he felt some hair.

Jean did as he was counselled, but instead of stretching himself at full length upon her, laid himself across his wife and began to thrust with all his force, but without success, as one can well imagine, a woman’s slit not being at the same angle as her mouth.

Nor was it until the third night that Jean the Fool learned how he must comport himself to have a chicken, and then he found it very much to his taste and his wife also.[47]

[47] We make no apology for the frequent extracts from _Kruptadia_
to be found in this volume and those to follow of _Anthologica
Rarissima_. _Kruptadia_, perhaps the most remarkable _recueil_ of
folk lore stories, songs, sayings and proverbs in the world, is a
work far too little known to the student and bibliophile. Its rarity
may be explained by the fact that comparatively few copies of each
volume were struck off. Of Vol. 2, from which “The Wedding Night
of Jean the Fool” is taken, only 135 numbered copies were done. A
complete 12-volume set, in the original format (the work was begun in
Heilbronn by Henninger Frères and completed in Paris by Welter) is
not often seen, and we count ourselves fortunate in having one before
us as we write. Havelock Ellis frequently refers to the collection
in his _Studies in the Psychology of Sex_, while Pisanus Fraxi, the
great bibliographer of erotic, prohibited and uncommon books, was
just able to notice the first two volumes in his _Catena Librorum
Tacendorum_, (London: Privately Printed: 1885). He pays generous
tribute to the production. “Students of folk lore,” he writes, “will
hail with delight the appearance of this well-printed and carefully
got up little volume, to be followed, let us hope, by many others of
the same kind, equally remarkable for talented and faithful rendering,
and masterly editing.” Dealing with the tales themselves, he goes
on to say that “they reveal to us in an interesting and unequivocal
manner the feelings, aspirations, modes of thought, manner of living
of the people who tell them, and are possibly one of the most valuable
contributions to the study of folk lore which has yet appeared....
They are all characteristic--all good.” Fraxi then gives the pith of
“The Enchanted Ring,” which we have already printed at length in this
volume. In the concluding pages of his _Catena Librorum Tacendorum_,
Fraxi states that vol. 2 of _Kruptadia_ has reached him in time to
mention briefly its contents. Since these words were written, ten
other volumes have been issued--a veritable mine of entertaining and
instructive information. We even go so far as to say that genuine
students of folk lore and collectors of curious literature cannot
afford to ignore _Kruptadia_, even as they should have access to
Pisanus Fraxi’s 3-volume work, _INDEX LIBRORUM PROHIBITORUM_,
Possession of these works by all is impossible owing to their rarity,
cost and small imprint. Not every student can afford to pay £20 to £30
for the complete set of _Kruptadia_, even if he be lucky enough to
chance on such a find, while Fraxi’s amazing bibliography, in the sale
room alone, commands about £35; and while the price tends steadily
to increase, the appearance of the complete 3-volume set as steadily


[48] _Kruptadia_: Heilbronn, Henninger Frères, 1884: _Breton Folk

There lived a maiden whose mother guarded her with infinite care lest some youth should do her ill; and she was brought up in all innocence. And when she begged to go to gatherings even as other maids of her age, her mother was wont to answer her, saying:

“Nay, my daughter, thou shalt not go, for there thou art like to lose thy maidenhead.”

One day, nevertheless, Pierre, the maiden’s lover, who was a good lad and a quiet, came seeking to conduct her to an assembly, and both lad and maid besought the mother to let them go. In the end she consented, thinking in herself that Pierre was too honest to do her daughter ill, and she enjoined him guard her well.

Behold, then, these two on their way; and as they went, the maiden said:

“My mother hath strictly enjoined me to guard my maidenhead. It seemeth that at assemblies one is in case to lose it. How best preserve it?”

“Hath not thy mother shown thee a method of so doing?”

“Yea,” answered the maiden, “she hath enjoined me to press my thighs tightly together.”

Quitting the road, they entered a wood wherein were several streamlets, which one crossed by means of planks. Even as the maid walked upon one of these planks Pierre, who marched behind her, cast a stone into the water hard by the girl.

“Alas!” cried the maiden. “What will my mother say? Behold, my maidenhead hath fallen in the water and is lost!”

“Fear not,” answered the lad. “‘Tis fortunate I am here. I will restore it thee. Come with me ‘neath the trees, and say naught if the business hurteth thee, for ‘tis all for thy good.”

Then Pierre, in very sooth, ‘put back’ the maidenhead for her, and shortly afterward they came to the second plank. Even as the girl stood upon it, two or three frogs, slumbering at the streamside, were affrighted and hopped into the water, which spirted up ‘neath the maiden.

“Ah! Pierre!” cried she. “‘Tis lost again! It seemeth that it was not firm. ‘Twas most wrong of thee not to have put it back more firmly.”

“Say no more,” answered Pierre. “I will again put it back.”

And when the maidenhead had been put back for the second time, they went on, reaching the assembly, where they diverted themselves as did the others.

On their return journey, even as the young girl passed over a plank, Pierre cast in the water an apple which he had in his pocket.

“What will my mother say?” cried the girl. “‘Tis the third time I have lost it to-day!”

“Fear not,” quoth Pierre. “I am about to sew it on again.”

When the maidenhead had been resewed, the girl, who was acquiring a taste for this form of embroidery, said to Pierre:

“‘Tis not sewn sufficiently firm.”

“Indeed it is.”

“‘Tis not.”

“But I have no more thread.”

“Miserable deceiver!” cried the girl. “He saith he hath no more thread, yet all the while he possesseth two great balls of it!”[49]

[49] _Peloton_ is the word in the text, signifying, literally, _a ball
made of things (thread, silk or wool) wound round it_. The play on
words is remarkably apt in the last few lines of the story, _peloton_
exactly connoting, in the mind of the simple girl, the youth’s
testicles and pubic hair.


Béroalde de Verville, in _Le Moyen de Parvenir_, has a similar tale. As it differs in several respects from our _Kruptadia_ version, we give it here. Our extract is from Arthur Machen’s text, which is, so far as we know, the only English translation of the old French Canon’s much censured work.[50] Donatus, one of the characters in the book, is speaking:--

[50] _Fantastic Tales or The Way to Attain: A Book full of
Pantagruelism: Now for the first time done into English_ by Arthur
Machen: Privately Printed: Carbonnek, 1890. We shall return to the
subject of De Verville’s work in a later page of this volume.

... That’s like the case of my landlady’s daughter.... One day this young wench desired to go to a bride-ale, and asked leave of her mother, who granted it on the condition that she would solemnly, paragraphically, and distinctively promise to keep her maidenhead,[51] to which condition the girl agreed with all her heart.

[51] The word is ours. Machen translates “honour.”

So she went away to the wedding, and set herself to keep guard o’er her maidenhead. The lasses and lads all danced away, but she not a step, nor did she dare approach the board where the others were engaged in the quintessential operation of making ordure with the teeth. The poor girl stayed all the time in a corner of the room, with her two hands at the bottom of her stomach, just opposite to the diameter (I mean opposite to the centre which so far was cut by no diameter). Coypeau, seeing her thus dung in the mouth (I should say, down in the mouth) came up to her and said:

“What cheer, Coz; shall we foot it awhile?”

“Nay, I dare not, for fear I lose my maidenhead; my mother bade me take great care of it.”

“Oh, Oh,” says he, “and is that all? Why Coz, sweet Coz, follow me to this little closet, and I’ll sew it up so tight that it shall never fall out.”

All this he said in a whisper, but she heard him well enough, for she was fain to be a-dancing; and so she followed him. He then proceeded to show her how the wolf dances with his tail between his legs, and sewed up her maidenhead so securely that he told her it would never fall out by that way.

Thereupon she began to dance, and enjoyed herself to her heart’s content; but she liked needlework so well that she asked for some more, and had three stitches. (That was enough in all conscience, though I have threaded the needle[52] for Madeleine forty-five times in forty-four hours; five by night and by day _forté_.) Coypeau was not quite so strong as that, but he gave the poor girl a great treat. She ate some sweetmeats, and feeling ashamed no longer, bethought her of her maidenhead, and went up to him, and asked him if he would give it another stitch.

[52] _Enfiler une aiguille_, more usually, _enfiler_. The expression is
common to most erotic writers. _Vide_ various erotic lexicographers
quoted _ante_.

“Faith! “ said he, “I can’t, I haven’t any more thread.”

“Come, Come,” quoth she, “I thought I saw two nice little balls of thread.”


[53] _The Thousand Nights and a Night_, translated by Sir Richard F.
Burton, and printed by the Burton Club for private subscribers only:
Lauristan Edition, limited to 1,000 numbered sets. As the story in the
original is of considerable length, we have summarised portions of it,
retaining in its entirety that part of the text which will appeal most
to the bibliophile. The paragraphing, also, is in many cases our own.

_King Shahriman had a son, Kamar al-Zaman, who “grew up of surpassing beauty ... and symmetry,” but was unwilling to marry. For this he is eventually cast into prison. A similar fate has befallen Princess Budur, daughter of King Ghayur, Lord of China Islands and Seas, and for a similar reason. The maiden is pictured as one “than whom Allah hath made none fairer in her time ... with cheeks like purple wine ... lips as coral ... breasts like two globes of ivory, from whose brightness the moons borrow light, and a stomach with little waves as it were a figured cloth ... with creases like folded scrolls, ending in a waist slender past all imagination; based upon back parts like a hillock of blown sand, that force her to sit when she would lief stand....”_

_Two genii, Maymunah, a woman, and Dahnash, a man, now come into the story, the former as a champion of Kamar, the latter as Princess Budur’s. After a long dispute as to the rival charms of Prince and Princess, they convey the latter to the Prince’s side, the test of beauty to be as follows_:--

_Each is to be awakened in turn, without knowledge of the other, and whichever is the more enamoured will be held inferior in comeliness._

_Dahnash then changes himself into a flea, and bites Kamar al-Zaman, who wakes up. The text continues_:--

... Then turning sideways, he found lying by him something whose breath was sweeter than musk and whose skin was softer than cream. Hereat he marvelled with great marvel, and he sat up and looked at what lay beside him; when he saw it to be a young lady like an union pearl, or a shining sun, or a dome seen from afar on a well-built wall: for she was five feet tall ... bosomed high and rosy-cheeked....

And when Kamar al-Zaman saw the lady Budur, daughter of King Ghayur, and her beauty and comeliness, she was sleeping clad in a shift of Venetian silk, without her petticoat trousers, and wore on her head a kerchief embroidered with gold and set with stones of price; her ears were hung with twin earrings which shone like constellations, and round her neck was a collar of union pearls, of size unique, past the competence of any king.

When he saw this, his reason was confounded and natural heat began to stir in him; Allah awoke in him the desire of coïtion and he said to himself:

“Whatso Allah willeth, that shall be, and what he willeth not shall be!”

So saying, he put out his hand, turning her over, loosed the collar of her chemise; then arose before his sight her bosom, with its breasts like double globes of ivory; whereat his inclination for her redoubled and he desired her with exceeding hot desire. He would have awakened her but she would not awake, for Dahnash had made her sleep heavy; so he shook her and moved her, saying:

“O my beloved, awake and look on me; I am Kamar al-Zaman.”

But she awoke not, neither moved her head; whereupon he considered her case for a long hour and said to himself:

“If I guess aright, this is the damsel to whom my father would have married me, and these three years I have refused her; but Inshallah!--God willing--as soon as it is dawn, I will say to him: Marry me to her, that I may enjoy her; nor will I let half the day pass ere I possess her and take my fill of her beauty and loveliness.”

Then he bent over Budur to buss her, whereat the Jinniyah Maymunah trembled and was abashed and Dahnash, the Ifrit, was like to fly for joy. But as Kamar al-Zaman was about to kiss her on the mouth, he was ashamed before Allah and turned away his head and averted his face, saying to his heart: “Have patience.”

Then he took thought awhile and said:

“I will be patient; haply my father when he was wroth with me and sent me to this jail, may have brought my young lady and made her lie by my side to try me with her, and may have charged her not to be readily awakened when I would arouse her, and may have said to her:

“‘Whatever thing Kamar al-Zaman do to thee, make me ware thereof’;

“Or belike my sire standeth hidden in some stead whence (being himself unseen) he can see all I do with this young lady; and to-morrow he will scold me and cry:

“‘How cometh it that thou sayest, I have no mind to marry; and yet thou didst kiss and embrace yonder damsel?’

“So I will withhold myself lest I be ashamed before my sire; and the right and proper thing to do is not to touch her at this present, nor even to look upon her, except to take from her somewhat which shall serve as a token to me and a memorial of her; that some sign endure between me and her.”

Then Kamar al-Zaman raised the young lady’s hand and took from her little finger a seal-ring worth an immense amount of money, for that its bezel was a precious jewel ... and set it on his own; then, turning his back to her, went to sleep.[54] ...

[54] “The young man,” says Sir Richard Burton, in a footnote, “must
have been a demon of chastity.”

Thereupon Maymunah changed herself into a flea and entering into the raiment of Budur, the loved of Dahnash, crept up her calf and came upon her thigh and, reaching a place some four carats[55] below her navel, there bit her. Thereupon she opened her eyes and sitting up in bed, saw a youth lying beside her and breathing heavily in his sleep, the loveliest of Almighty Allah’s creatures, with eyes that put to shame the fairest Houris of Heaven; and a mouth like Solomon’s seal, whose water was sweeter to the taste and more efficacious than a theriack, and lips the colour of coral-stone, and cheeks like blood-red anemone....

[55] Carat = one finger-breadth here. The derivation is from the Greek
_Keration_, a bean, the seed of the _abrus precatorius_.--Note by Sir
Richard Burton.

Now when Princess Budur saw him, she was seized by a transport of passion and yearning and love-longing, and she said to herself:

“Alas, my shame! This is a strange youth and I know him not. How cometh he to be lying by my side on one bed?”

Then she looked at him a second time and, noting his beauty and loveliness, said:

“By Allah, he is indeed a comely youth and my heart is well-nigh torn in sunder with longing for him! But alas, how am I shamed by him! By the Almighty, had I known it was this youth who sought me in marriage of my father, I had not rejected him, but had wived with him and enjoyed his loveliness!”

Then she gazed in his face and said:

“O my lord and light of mine eyes, awake from sleep and take thy pleasure in my beauty and grace.”

And she moved him with her hand; but Maymunah the Jinniyah let down sleep upon him as it were a curtain, and pressed heavily on his head with her wings so that Kamar al-Zaman awoke not. Then Princess Budur shook him with her hands and said:

“My life on thee, hearken to me; awake and up from thy sleep and look on the narcissus and the tender down thereon, and enjoy the sight of naked waist and navel; and touzle me and tumble me from this moment till break of day! Allah upon thee, O my lord, sit up and prop thee against the pillow and slumber not!”

Still Kamar al-Zaman made her no reply but breathed hard in his sleep. Continued she:

“Alas! Alas! thou art insolent in thy beauty and comeliness and grace and loving looks! But if thou art handsome, so am I handsome; what then is this thou dost? Have they taught thee to flout me or hath my father, the wretched old fellow, made thee swear not to speak to me to-night?”

But Kamar al-Zaman opened not his mouth neither awoke, whereat her passion for him redoubled and Allah inflamed her heart with love of him. She stole one glance of eyes that cost her a thousand sighs: her heart fluttered, and her vitals throbbed and her hands and feet quivered; and she said to Kamar al-Zaman:

“Talk to me, O my lord! Speak to me, O my friend! Answer me, O my beloved, and tell me thy name, for indeed thou hast ravished my wit!”

And during all this time he abode drowned in sleep and answered her not a word, and Princess Budur sighed and said:

“Alas! Alas! why art thou so proud and self-satisfied?”

Then she shook him and turning his hand over, saw her seal-ring on his little finger, whereat she cried a loud cry, and followed it with a sigh of passion and said:

“Alack! Alack! By Allah, thou art my beloved and thou lovest me! Yet thou seemest to turn thee away from me out of coquetry, for all, O my darling, thou camest to me, whilst I was asleep and knew not what thou didst with me, and tookest my seal-ring; and yet I will not pull it off thy finger.”

So saying, she opened the bosom of his shirt and bent over him and kissed him and put forth her hand to him, seeking somewhat that she might take as a token, but found nothing. Then she thrust her hand into his breast and, because of the smoothness of his body, it slipped down to his waist and thence to his navel and thence to his yard, whereupon her heart ached and her vitals quivered and lust was sore upon her, for that the desire of women is fiercer than the desire of men,[56] and she was ashamed of her own shamelessness.

[56] ... In hot-damp climates the venereal requirements and
reproductive powers of the female greatly exceed those of the
male.... In cold-dry or hot-dry mountainous lands the reverse is
the case; hence polygamy there prevails whilst the low countries
require polyandry in either form, legal or illegal, _i.e._,
prostitution.--Note by Sir Richard Burton. See, also, _excursus_ to
this story, where the subject is dealt with at length.

Then she plucked his seal-ring from his finger, and put it on her own instead of the ring he had taken, and bussed his inner lips and hands, nor did she leave any part of him unkissed; after which she took him to her breast and embraced him and, laying one of her hands under his neck and the other under his arm-pit, nestled close to him and fell asleep by his side.

... When Princess Budur fell asleep by the side of Kamar al-Zaman, after doing that which she did, quoth Maymunah to Dahnash:

“Sawst thou, O accursed, how proudly and coquettishly my beloved bore himself, and how hotly and passionately thy mistress showed herself to my dearling? There can be no doubt that my beloved is handsomer than thine; nevertheless I pardon thee.”

... The two Ifrits went forward to Princess Budur and upraising her flew away with her; then, bearing her back to her own place, they laid her on her own bed, while Maymunah abode alone with Kamar al-Zaman, gazing upon him as he slept, till the night was all but spent, when she went her way. As soon as morning morrowed, the Prince awoke from sleep and turned right and left, but found not the maiden by him and said in his mind:

“What is this business? It is as if my father would incline me to marriage with the damsel who was with me and have now taken her away by stealth, to the intent that my desire for wedlock may redouble.”

Then he called out to the eunuch who slept at the door, saying:

“Woe to thee, O damned one, arise at once!”

So the eunuch rose, bemused with sleep, and brought him basin and ewer, whereupon Kamar al-Zaman entered the water-closet and did his need;[57] then, coming out, made the Wuzu-ablution and prayed the dawn-prayer, after which he sat telling on his beads the ninety-and-nine names of Almighty Allah....

[57] “This morning evacuation,” says Sir Richard Burton, in a
footnote, “is considered, in the East, a _sine qua non_ of health....
The natives of India ... unlike Europeans, accustom themselves to
evacuate twice a day, evening as well as morning. This may, perhaps,
partly account for their mildness and effeminacy; for:--’C’est la
constipation qui rend l’homme rigoureux.’”

_Strictly speaking, the rest of the story, which is of great length, is somewhat out of place in this volume. The reader, however, may be interested to know the upshot of the stratagem adopted by the genii, so we take leave to give it, summarising where necessary._

_Kamar al-Zaman and the Princess Budur, madly in love but grief-stricken by their separation, are eventually brought together and married. Later while on a journey, they are again separated by divers mischances, Kamar becoming an assistant to a gardener, while Budur, having adopted male garb to preserve her chastity, reaches the dominions of King Armanus. Here she is taken for a king’s son, and Armanus, who is old, gives her his daughter Hayat al-Nufus in marriage and makes her lord of his kingdom. An embarrassing situation now arises, Budur being unable to consummate the marriage or to explain her failure to the bride. Matters come to a crisis on the third night when Hayat speaks out. The text continues_:--

... Hayat al-Nufus caught her by the skirt and clung to her, saying:

“O my lord, art thou not ashamed before my father, after all his favour, to neglect me at such a time as this”

When Queen Budur heard her words, she sat down in the same place and said:

“O my beloved, what is this thou sayest?”

She replied:

“What I say is that I never saw any so proud of himself as thou. Is every fair one so disdainful? I say not this to incline thee to me; I say it only of my fear for thee from King Armanus; because he purposeth, unless thou go in unto me this very night, and do away my maidenhead, to strip thee of the kingship on the morrow and banish thee his kingdom; and peradventure his excessive anger may lead him to slay thee. But I, O my lord, have ruth on thee and give thee fair warning; and it is thy right to reck.”

Now when Queen Budur heard her speak these words, she bowed her head groundwards awhile in sore perplexity and said in herself:

“If I refuse I’m lost; and if I obey I’m shamed. But I am now Queen of all the Ebony Islands and they are under my rule, nor shall I ever again meet my Kamar al-Zaman save in this place; for there is no way for him to his native land but through the Ebony Islands. Verily, I know not what to do in my present case, but I commit my care to Allah who directeth all for the best, for I am no man that I should arise and open this virgin girl.”

Then quoth Queen Budur to Hayat al-Nufus:

“O my beloved, that I have neglected thee and abstained from thee is in my own despite.”

And she told her her whole story from beginning to end and showed her person to her, saying:

“I conjure you by Allah to keep my counsel, for I have concealed my case only that Allah may re-unite me with my beloved Kamar al-Zaman and then come what may.”

... The Princess heard her with extreme wonderment and was moved to pity and prayed Allah to re-unite her with her beloved, saying:

“Fear nothing, O my sister; but have patience till Allah bring to pass that which must come to pass.... O my sister, verily the breasts of the noble and brave are of secrets the grave; and I will not discover thine.”

Then they toyed and embraced and kissed and slept till near the Mu’ezzin’s call to dawn-prayer, when Hayat al-Nufus arose and took a pigeon-poult,[58] and cut its throat over her smock and besmeared herself with its blood. Then she pulled off her petticoat-trousers and cried aloud, whereupon her people hastened to her and raised the usual lullilooing and outcries of joy and gladness....

[58] “The belief that young pigeons’ blood resembles the virginal
discharge is universal,” says Sir Richard Burton, in a footnote; “but
the blood most resembling man’s is that of the pig, which in other
points is so very human. In our day Arabs and Hindus rarely submit
to inspection the nuptial sheet, as practised by the Israelites and
Persians. The bride takes to bed a white kerchief with which she
staunches the blood and next morning the stains are displayed in
the Harem. In Darfour this is done by the bridegroom. “_Prima Venus
debet esse cruenta_” (Love’s first battle should be bloody), say the
Easterns with much truth, and they have no faith in our complaisant
creed which allows the hymen-membrane to disappear by any but one
accident.” The creed, of course, is not peculiar to the East, and
realistic descriptions of this “sanguinary combat” will be found in
Nicolas Chorier’s _Dialogues_, _Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure_, (_op.
cit._), and other erotic works. _C.f._ also the modern custom of
including a clean sheet among the bride’s trousseau. Further remarks
on this subject will be found in our preliminary essay to this volume,
“Human Nature, Tradition, and Virginity.”

_We can omit a description of the manner in which Kamar al-Zaman is at length brought to the Ebony Islands, where honour and dignity are heaped upon him, in particular by Queen Budur, whom he believes to be a man and the king of the dominion. Growing suspicious of these favours, Kamar asks permission to depart. The text continues_:--

... Answered Kamar al-Zaman:

“O King, verily this favour, if there be no reason for it, is indeed a wonder of wonders, more by token that thou hast advanced me to dignities such as befit men of age and experience, albeit I am as it were a young child.”

And Queen Budur rejoined:

“The reason is that I love thee for thine exceeding loveliness and thy surpassing beauty; and if thou wilt but grant me my desire of thy body, I will advance thee yet farther in honour and favour and largesse; and I will make thee Wazir, for all thy tender age, even as the folk made me Sultan over them and I no older than thou....”

When Kamar al-Zaman heard these words, he was abashed and his cheeks flushed till they seemed aflame; and he said:

“I need not these favours which lead to the commission of sin; I will live poor in wealth but wealthy in virtue and honour.”

Quoth she:

“I am not to be duped by thy scruples, arising from prudery and coquettish ways; and Allah bless him who saith:--

_To him I spake of coupling, but he said to me, ‘How long this noyous long persistency?’_

_But when gold piece I showëd him, he cried, ‘Who from the Almighty Sovereign e’er shall flee?’_”

Now when Kamar al-Zaman heard these words and understood her verses and their import, he said:

“O King, I have not the habit of these doings, nor have I strength to bear these heavy burthens for which elder age than I have proved unable; then how will it be with my tender age?”

But she smiled at his speech and retorted:

“Indeed, it is a matter right marvellous how error springeth from the disorder of man’s intendiment! Since thou art a boy, why standest thou in fear of sin or the doing of things forbidden, seeing that thou art not yet come to the years of canonical responsibility; and the offences of a child incur neither punishment nor reproof? Verily, thou hast committed thyself to a quibble for the sake of contention, and it is thy duty to bow before a proposal of fruition, so henceforward cease from denial and coyness, for the commandment of Allah is a decree foreordained: indeed, I have more reason than thou to fear falling and by sin to be misled; and well-inspired was he who said:--

_My prickle is big and the little one said, ‘Thrust boldly in vitals with lion-like stroke!’_

_Then I, ‘’Tis a sin!’; and he, ‘No sin to me!’ So I had him at once with a counterfeit poke.”_[59]

[59] “_i.e._, Not the real thing (with a woman),” says Sir R. Burton,
in a note. “It may also mean ‘by his incitement of me.’ All this scene
is written in the worst form of Persian-Egyptian blackguardism, and
forms a curious anthropological study.”

When Kamar al-Zaman heard these words, the light became darkness in his sight and he said:

“O King, thou hast in thy household fair women and female slaves, who have not their like in this age: shall not these suffice thee without me? Do thy will with them and let me go!”

She replied:

“Thou sayest sooth, but it is not with them that one who loveth thee can heal himself of torment and can abate his fever; for, when tastes and inclinations are corrupted by vice, they hear and obey other than good advice. So leave arguing and listen to what the poet saith:--

_Seest not the bazaar with its fruit in rows? These men are for figs and for sycamore those!_[60]

[60] _i.e._, Some men prefer sodomy (figs = _anus_); others natural
intercourse (sycamore = _cunnus_).

“And what another saith:--

_O beauty’s Union! love for thee’s my creed; free choice of Faith and eke my best desire_:

_Women I have forsworn for thee; so may deem me all men this day a shaveling friar._

“And yet another:--

_A boy of twice ten is fit for a King!_

“And yet another:--

_The penis smooth and round was made with anus best to match it: Had it been made for cunnus’ sake it had been formed like hatchet!_

“And yet another said:--

_My soul thy sacrifice! I chose thee out who art not menstruous or oviparous_:

_Did I with women mell, I should beget brats till the wide wide world grew strait for us._

“And yet another:--

_She saith_ (_sore hurt in sense the most acute, for she had proffered what did not besuit_):--

‘_Unless thou stroke as man should swive his wife, blame not when horns thy brow shall incornute!_

‘_Thy wand seems waxen, to a limpo grown: and more I palm it, softer grows the brute!_’

“And yet another:--

_Quoth she (for I to lie with her forbore), ‘O folly-following fool, O fool to core_:

‘_If thou my coynte for Kiblah[61] to thy coigne reject, we’ll show thee what shall please thee more._’[62]

[61] Note by Sir Richard Burton: Kiblah = the fronting place of
prayer; Mecca for Moslems, Jerusalem for Jews and early Christians.
[62] Note by Sir Richard Burton: The Koran says (chap. 2): “Your
wives are your tillage: go in therefore unto your tillage in what
manner soever you will.” Usually this is understood as meaning in
any posture, standing or sitting, lying, backwards or forwards. Yet
there is a popular saying about the man whom the woman rides (vulg.
_St. George_; in France, _le postillion_): “Cursed be he who maketh
woman Heaven and himself earth!” Some hold the Koranic passage to have
been revealed in confutation of the Jews, who pretended that if a man
lay with his wife backwards, he would beget a cleverer child. Others
again understood it of preposterous venery; which is absurd: every
ancient law-giver framed his code to increase the true wealth of the
people--population--and severely punished all processes, like onanism,
which impeded it. The Persians utilise the hatred of women for such
misuse when they would force a wife to demand a divorce and thus
forfeit her claim to dowry; they convert them into catamites till,
after a month or so, they lose all patience and leave the house. We do
not propose to add to Sir Richard’s note, reserving our remarks on the
subject for their proper place in a subsequent volume.

“And yet another:--

_She proffered me a tender coynte: Quoth I, ‘I will not roger thee!’_

_She drew back, saying, ‘From the Faith he turns, who’s turned by Heaven’s decree!_[63]

[63] Note by Sir Richard: Koran 51, 9, alluding, in the text, to the
preposterous venery her lover demands.

_’And front-wise futtering, in one day, is obsolete persistency!’_

_Then swung she round and shining rump like silvern lump she showëd me!_

_I cried: ‘Well done, O mistress mine! No more am I in pain for thee;_

_’O thou of all that Allah oped[64] showest me fairest victory!’_

[64] Note by Sir Richard: Arab “Futùh,” meaning openings, and also
victories, benefits. The lover congratulates her on her mortifying
self in order to please him.

“And yet another:--

_Men craving pardon will uphold their hands; women pray pardon with their legs on high:_[65]

[65] _Vide_ note to _Excursus_ to this story, p. 100.

_Out on it for a pious, prayerful work! The Lord shall raise it in the depths to lie._”[66]

[66] Note by Sir Richard: “And the righteous work will be exalt.”
(Koran 35, 11). Applied ironically.

When Kamar al-Zaman heard her quote this poetry, and was certified that there was no escaping compliance with what willed she, he said:

“O King of the age, if thou must needs have it so, make covenant with me that thou wilt do this thing with me but once, though it avail not to correct thy depraved appetite; and that thou wilt never again require this thing of me to the end of time; so perchance shall Allah purge me of the sin.”

She replied:

“I promise thee this same, hoping that Allah of His favour will relent toward us and blot out our mortal offence; for the girdle of Heaven’s forgiveness is not indeed so strait, but it may compass us around and absolve us of the excess of our heinous sins and bring us to the light of salvation out of the darkness of error; and indeed excellently well saith the poet:--

_Of evil thing the folk suspect us twain; and to this thought their hearts and souls are bent:_

_Come, dear! let’s justify and free their souls that wrong us; one good bout and then--repent!”_

Thereupon she made with him an agreement and a covenant and swore a solemn oath by Him who is Self-existent, that this thing should befall betwixt them but once and never again for all time, and that the desire of him was driving her to death and perdition. So he rose up with her, on this condition, and went with her to her own boudoir, that she might quench the lowe of her lust, saying:

“There is no Majesty, and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! This is the fated decree of the All-powerful, the All-wise!”

And he doffed his bag-trousers, shameful and abashed, with the tears running from his eyes from stress of affright. Thereat she smiled and making him mount upon a couch with her, said to him:

“After this night, thou shalt see naught that will offend thee.”

Then she turned to him bussing and bosoming him and bending calf over calf, and said to him:

“Put thy hand between my thighs to the accustomed place; so haply it may stand up to prayer after prostration.”

He wept and cried:

“I am not good at aught of this.”

But she said:

“By my life, an thou do as I bid thee, it shall profit thee!”

So he put out his hand, with vitals afire for confusion, and found her thighs cooler than cream and softer than silk. The touching of them pleasured him and he moved his hand hither and thither, till it came to a dome abounding in good gifts and movements and shifts, and said in himself:

“Perhaps this King is an hermaphrodite,[67] neither man nor woman quite.”

[67] Note by Sir Richard: Easterns still believe in what Westerns know
to be an impossibility, human beings with the parts and proportions
of both sexes equally developed and capable of reproduction; and
Al-Islam even provides special rules for them. ... The old Greeks
dreamed, after their fashion, a beautiful poetic dream of a human
animal uniting the contradictory beauties of man and woman. The
duality of the generative organs seems an old Egyptian tradition; at
least we find it in _Genesis_ (1.27), where the image of the Deity
is created male and female, before man was formed out of the dust of
the ground (2.7). The old tradition found its way to India (if the
Hindus did not borrow the idea from the Greeks); and one of the forms
of Mahadeva, the third person of their triad, is entitled “Ardhanári”
= the Half-Woman, which has suggested to them some charming pictures.
Europeans, seeing the left breast conspicuously feminine, have
indulged in silly surmises about the “Amazons.”

So he said to her:

“O King, I cannot find that thou hast a tool like the tools of men; what then moved thee to do this deed?”

Then loudly laughed Queen Budur till she fell on her back,[68] and said:

[68] Note by Sir Richard: This is a mere phrase for our “dying of
laughter”: the queen was on her back. And as Easterns sit on carpets,
their falling back is very different from the same movement off a

“O my dearling, how quickly thou hast forgotten the nights we have lain together!”

Then she made herself known to him, and he knew her for his wife, the Lady Budur, daughter of King al-Ghayur, Lord of the Isles and the Seas. So he embraced her and she embraced him, and he kissed her and she kissed him; then they lay down on the bed of pleasure voluptuous....

      *       *       *       *       *

_Here we end our extract from the Tale of Kamar al-Zaman, although the story runs on for another forty odd pages in Sir Richard Burton’s translation. A situation similar to that just described occurs in another story in ‘The Nights,’ and we shall have occasion to quote from that in a subsequent volume._


“We are told that in the East there was once a woman named Moarbeda who was a philosopher and considered to be the wisest woman of her time. When Moarbeda was once asked: ‘In what part of a woman’s body does her mind reside?’ she replied: ‘Between her thighs.’”--Havelock Ellis: _Studies in the Psychology of Sex_, Vol. 3: _The Sexual Impulse in Women_.[69]

[69] Havelock Ellis is quoting from _The Perfumed Garden of The Cheikh
Nefzaoui_: Cosmopoli, 1886, printed for the Kama Shastra Society of
London and Benares.
      *       *       *       *       *

The amativeness of woman, as compared with that of man, is a question, of course, entirely beyond the scope of this note. We must be content with examining some of the most interesting and pertinent extracts from the works of those qualified to speak on the subject.

At the outset we are confronted with the striking fact that, while the ancients were prone to regard woman as generally amative, even lustful, modern thought has exactly reversed this opinion. “It seems to have been reserved for the nineteenth century,” says Havelock Ellis, (_op. cit. supra_), “to state that women are apt to be congenitally incapable of experiencing complete sexual satisfaction, and peculiarly liable to sexual anaesthesia. This idea appears to have been almost unknown to the eighteenth century....”

Thus we have two schools of thought, one attributing to woman an intense sexual impulse, even greater than in man, the other holding her sexually frigid by nature and erotic only by pretence or accident. We may helpfully quote again from our Havelock Ellis, who has summarised in masterly fashion the various authorities on both sides:--

“In the treatise _On Generation_, (chap. 5), which until recent times was commonly ascribed to Hippocrates,” he says, “it is stated that men have greater pleasure in coïtus than women, though the pleasure of women lasts longer, and this opinion, though not usually accepted, was treated with great respect by medical authors down to the end of the 17th century.... Gall had stated decisively that the sexual desires of men are stronger and more imperious than those of women. (_Fonctions du Cerveau_, 1825).... Raciborski declared that three-fourths of women merely endure the approaches of men. (_De la Puberté chez la Femme_).

“‘When the question is carefully inquired into and without prejudice,’ said Lawson Tait, ‘it is found that women have their sexual appetites far less developed than men.’ (Lawson Tait, _Provincial Medical Journal_, 1891). ‘The sexual instinct is very powerful in man and comparatively weak in women,’ he stated elsewhere. (_Diseases of Women_, 1889). Hammond stated that ... ‘it is doubtful if in one-tenth of the instances of intercourse they [women] experience the slightest pleasurable sensation from first to last.’ (Hammond, _Sexual Impotence_).

“Lombroso and Ferrero consider that sexual sensibility ... is less pronounced in women.... ‘Woman is naturally and organically frigid....’ (Lombroso and Ferrero, _La Donna Deliquente, la Prostituta, e la Donna Normale_, 1893). Krafft-Ebing was of opinion that women require less sexual satisfaction than men, being less sensual.... ‘The sensuality of men,’ Moll states, ‘is in my opinion very much greater than that of women.’

“Adler, who discusses the direction at some length, decides that the sexual needs of women are less than those of men, though in some cases the orgasm in quantity and quality greatly exceeds that of men. He believes, not only that the sexual impulse in women is absolutely less than in men, and requires stronger stimulation to arouse it, but that also it suffers from a latency due to inhibition, which acts like a foreign body in the brain ... and demands great skill in the man who is to awaken the woman to love.”

Here we have one side of the question--a side strangely at variance with ancient thought, romance and history. The supposed frigidity of women is characterised by Havelock Ellis as ‘an opinion of very recent growth ... confined, on the whole, to a few countries.’ (_Studies_, vol. 3, page 196). He goes on to quote Brierre de Boismont, who wrote: ‘Turn to history, and on every page you will be able to recognise the predominance of erotic ideas in women.’ It is the same to-day, he adds, and he attributes it to the fact that men are more easily able to gratify their sexual impulses. (_Des Hallucinations_, 1862).

“The laws of Manu,” continues Havelock Ellis, “attribute to women concupiscence and anger, the love of bed and of adornment. The Jews attribute to women greater sexual desire than to men. This is illustrated, according to Knobel (as quoted by Dillman), by _Genesis_, chapter 3, verse 16.[70]

[70] “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and
thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy
desire _shall be to thy husband_, and he shall rule over thee.”

“In Greek antiquity, ... in love between men and women the latter were nearly always regarded as taking the more active part. In all Greek love-stories of early date the woman falls in love with the man, and never the reverse. Æschylus makes even a father assume that his daughters will misbehave if left to themselves. Euripides emphasised the importance of women. ‘The Euripidean woman who falls in love thinks first of all: “How can I seduce the man I love?”’ (E.F.M. Benecke: _Antimachus of Colophon and the Position of Women in Greek Poetry_, 1896).

“The most famous passage in Latin literature as to the question of whether men or women obtain greater pleasure from sexual intercourse is that in which Ovid relates the legend of Tiresias (_Metamorphoses_, 3, 317-333). Tiresias, having been both a man and a woman, decided in favour of women.... In a passage quoted from a lost work of Galen by the Arabian biographer, Abu-l-Faraj, that great physician says of the Christians ‘that they practice celibacy, that even many of their women do so.’ So that in Galen’s opinion it was more difficult for a woman than for a man to be continent. The same view is widely prevalent among Arabic authors, and there is an Arabic saying that ‘The longing of the woman for the penis is greater than that of the man for the vulva.’[71]

[71] _The Perfumed Garden of the Cheikh Nefzaoui_: Cosmopoli, 1886.

“The early Christian Fathers clearly show that they regard women as more inclined to sexual enjoyment than men. That was ... the opinion of Tertullian (_De Virginibus Velandis_), and it is clearly implied in some of St. Jerome’s epistles.

“Notwithstanding the influence of Christianity, among the vigorous barbarian races of mediæval Europe the existence of sexual appetite in women was not considered to be, as it later became, a matter to be concealed or denied. Thus in 1068 the ecclesiastical historian, Ordericus Vitalis (himself half Norman and half English), narrates that the wives of the Norman knights who had accompanied William the Conqueror to England two years earlier sent over to their husbands to say that they were consumed by the fierce flames of desire, and that if their husbands failed to return very shortly they proposed to take other husbands. It is added that this threat brought a few husbands back to their wanton ladies.

“During the mediæval period in Europe, largely in consequence, no doubt, of the predominance of ascetic ideals set up by men who naturally regarded women as the symbol of sex, the doctrine of the incontinence of woman became firmly fixed.... Humanism and the spread of the Renaissance movement brought in a spirit more sympathetic to women.... We begin to find attempts at analysing the sexual emotions. In the seventeenth century a book of this kind was written by Venette. In matters of love, Venette declared, ‘men are but children compared to women. In these matters women have a more lively imagination, and they usually have more leisure to think of love. Women are much more lascivious and amorous than men.’ In a subsequent chapter, dealing with the question whether men or women receive more pleasure from the sexual embrace, Venette concludes, after admitting the great difficulty of the question, that man’s pleasure is greater, but that woman’s lasts longer. (N. Venette, _De la Génération de l’Homme ou Tableau de l’Amour Conjugal_, 1688).”

These and similar quotations, all acknowledging or laying stress on the erotic appetite of women, might be continued indefinitely. Among the other supporters of the opinion quoted by Havelock Ellis are Montaigne (_Essais_), Schurig (_Parthenologia_), Plazzonus (_De Partibus Generationi Inservientibus_), Ferrand (_De la Maladie d’Amour_), Zacchia (_Quæstiones Medico-Legales_), Sinibaldus (_Geneanthropeia_), Senancour (_De l’Amour_), Busch, Guttceit,[72] Mantegazza (_Fisiologia del Piacere_), Forel (_The Sexual Question_), who believed that women are more erotic than men, and Bloch (_The Sexual Life of Our Time_), who says, “The sexual sensibility of women is certainly different from that of men, but in strength it is at least as great.”

[72] “In Russia at all events, a girl, as very many have acknowledged
to me, cannot resist the ever-stronger impulses of sex beyond
the twenty-second or twenty-third year. And if she cannot do so
in natural ways she adopts artificial ways. The belief that the
feminine sex feels the stimulus of sex less than the male is quite
false.”--Guttceit, _Dreissig Jahre Praxis_, 1873.

For our part, we find it hard to ignore that overwhelming consensus of opinion among early writers as to the erotic nature of the average woman. Was not this feminine amativeness the theme upon which were built the undying _contes_ and _fabliaux_ of Boccaccio, Bandello, Masuccio, Straparola, La Fontaine, Poggio, Ser Giovanni, Chaucer, Brantôme and a host of others? Are we to label Casanova’s _Memoirs_ as worthless because his women seem, in our modern eyes, erotic beyond all belief? Turning to the literature of the East, where woman’s ‘thirst for coïtion is written between her eyes,’[73] are we to hold the feminine attributes therein described as peculiar to those peoples and times? Must we believe that all these writers fashioned women out of their own lascivious fancy, or that the sexual impulse in the women of those races has totally changed?

[73] _The Perfumed Garden._ As illustrating our subject, the Cheikh
Nefzaoui tells a quaint story of a man who, owing to physical
disability, was unable to satisfy the sexual needs of his wife. A wise
man gives him a remedy whereby his member grows “long and thick.”
The Cheikh continues: “When his wife saw it in that state she was
surprised, but it came still better when he made her feel in the
matter of enjoyment quite another thing than she had been accustomed
to experience; he began in fact to work her with his tool in quite a
remarkable manner, to such a point that she rattled and sighed and
sobbed during the operation. As soon as the wife found in her husband
such eminently good qualities, she gave him her fortune, and placed
her person and all she had at his disposal.”

Without a doubt, time and custom are responsible for much that seems obscure and irreconcilable. Many of our authorities are writing of an age in which men and women spoke and acted in a manner which to-day seems coarse and inexcusably free. Because in the past woman more readily gave outward expression to her inward feeling, it does not follow now that, by reason of her greater reserve, she lacks these emotions.

History has shown us psychologists and investigators in plenty, but they were not the psychologists of to-day, recording the results of their investigations with meticulous care and detail. The sexually frigid woman, we can confidently assume, was by no means unknown to the ancients. She was, however, unusual, abnormal; and if a sexually frigid woman be accounted abnormal, it is not hard to see why a normal is deemed erotic.

In these times, when it is the fashion to dissect everyone and everything, we are prone to argue from the ordinary to the extraordinary, from the peculiar to the general; sexual frigidity in woman, at first an anomaly, ends in being a trait; the exception becomes, does not prove, the rule.

Needless to say, a great psychologist like Havelock Ellis has a wealth of information to offer on the subject, and we commend our readers to his masterly handling of it. He has something to say on every aspect of the question, from the case of the woman who is cold almost to the point of sexlessness to that of the erotic wife who ‘becomes frenzied with excitement during intercourse and insensible to everything but the pleasure of it.’ In conclusion, he adjusts the scales with exquisite and scientific precision, holding that ‘the distribution of the sexual impulse between the two sexes is fairly balanced.’

Earlier on, however, he makes a point which we shall do well to bear in mind. ‘ ... Sexual impulse is by no means so weak in women as many would lead us to think. It would appear that, whereas in earlier ages there was generally a tendency to credit women with an unduly large share of the sexual impulse, there is now a tendency unduly to minimise the sexual impulse in women.’

We shall have frequent occasion in subsequent volumes of _Anthologica Rarissima_ to return to this subject, for, as the student of folk-lore, psychology and human life will readily agree, sexual impulse is perhaps the most powerful basic motive of our many daily acts and tasks.[74]

[74] Queen Budur’s remark that “Women pray pardon with their legs on
high,” (p. 88 _ante_), finds an echo in Aristophanes’ _Lysistrata_
and _The Ecclesiazusæ_. In the former play, Athenian women promise
Lysistrata that, if forced to intercourse by their husbands, _they
will not lift their legs in the air_; in the latter, we have a woman
saying: “How are we going to lift up our arms in the Assembly (_i.e._,
vote), we, who only know how to lift our legs in the act of love?”
Two of the authorities quoted by Havelock Ellis on p. 97 of the
foregoing _Excursus_ merit further brief mention. Martin Schurig,
author of _Parthenologia_ and numerous other medical works, flourished
as a physician in Dresden between 1688 and 1733. Although many of his
theories have long since been exploded, his great erudition is much to
be admired. His books deal with the most amazing questions; among the
many curious passages in _Parthenologia_ will be found the following:
“Chastity put to the proof by a hot iron and boiling water.”;
“Conception without insertion of the _penis_.”; “Andramytes, King of
the Lydori, was the inventor of castration of women, and Semiramis of
that of men.” Dr. Sinibaldus’ _Geneanthropeia_, published in 1642,
is a very remarkable work on physical love and its aberrations,
treating, for example, of “The shape of the Phallu.”; “Eunuchis.”;
“Aphrodisiac.”; “Influence of the Stars on Copulatio.”; “Effects and
manner of Copulatio.”; “Pleasure of Copulation as enjoyed by man
and woman.” Little is known of Sinibaldus’ life beyond that he was
a doctor at Rome. His _Geneanthropeia_, according to Pisanus Fraxi,
(_Index Librorum Prohibitorum_: London, 1877), has been rendered,
in a very emasculated form, into English, under the title of _Rare
Verities. The Cabinet of Venus Unlocked_: London, 1658. The volume is
rare, but a copy is to be found in the British Museum.


[75] _Kruptadia_: Heilbronn, Henninger Frères, 1883: vol. 1, _Secret
Stories from the Russian_, No. 12.

A peasant and his wife had a half-witted son, who pictured himself married and sleeping with his wife. He spoke of this matter to his father.

“Marry me, little father,” he said.

Said the little father:

“Wait, my son. You are still too young to marry. Thy yard hath not yet reached to thy backside. When it doth reach there, I will marry thee.”

The son seized his yard with his two hands, stretched it with all his strength, and inspected it.

“‘Tis true,” quoth he. “It hath not yet reached to my backside. ‘Tis still too soon for me to marry. My yard is yet small. It reacheth not to my backside. I must wait a year or two.”

Time passed. The youth had naught to do but lengthen his yard; and he did it so often and so well that not only did his yard reach to his backside, but even passed beyond it.

“I shall have no shame in sleeping with my wife,” said he. “I will satisfy her myself. She will have no need to resort to strangers.”

“Vain to expect sense on the part of a fool,” argued the father to himself; and he spake his son, saying:

“Since thy yard is become so great that it passeth beyond thy backside, there is no need for thee to marry. Live single, rest at home, and futter thyself.”

Thus the matter ended.[76]

[76] Stories of sexual ignorance, amounting in the case of men to
veritable imbecility, are numerous in _Kruptadia_. In Vol. X.,
_Stories of Picardy_, we have the tale of a young girl who had been
seduced, but had married a half-witted youth, whom she was forced to
instruct in the art of love. When they were in bed together, “she
showed him how children are made--a business entirely unknown to him.
After the explanations had been given in theory, the husband mounted
upon his wife, desiring to show that he had learned his lesson well;
but the young wife cried out in surprise: ‘’Tis too high! ‘Tis too
high!’ An instant later she was forced to say: ‘’Tis too low! ‘Tis too
low!’ Several other of his efforts having failed, she told her husband
that he did but knock at the side of the door. Whereat the latter,
aweary of ‘Too high’ and ‘Too low,’ exclaimed: ‘Since thou knowest the
spot so well, put it there thyself!’”


[77] J. S. Farmer: _Merry Songs and Ballads_: _Privately Printed_,
1897: Words and Music in _Pills to Purge Melancholy_, (1707), 1, 214.

   Oh Mother, _Roger_ with his Kisses
       Almost stops my Breath, I vow;
   Why does he gripe my Hand to pieces,
       And yet he says he loves me too?
           Tell me, Mother, pray now do!
           Pray now do, pray now do,
           Tell me, Mother, pray now do,
           Pray now, pray now, pray now do,
           What Roger means when he does so?
           For never stir I long to know.
   Nay more, the naughty Man beside it,
       Something in my Mouth he put;
   I call’d him Beast, and try’d to Bite it,
       But for my Life I cannot do’t;
           Tell me, Mother, pray now do!
           Pray now do, pray now do,
           Tell me, Mother, pray now do,
           Pray now, pray now, pray now do,
           What Roger means when he does so?
           For never stir I long to know.
   He sets me in his Lap whole Hours,
       Where I feel I know not what;
   Something I never felt in yours,
       Pray tell me Mother what is that?
           Tell me Mother what is that?
           For never stir I long to know.


[78] _Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles_: R. B. Douglas’ translation:
Paris, Charles Carrington. _C.f._ note _ante_.

_Of a young man of Rouen, married to a fair young girl of the age of fifteen or thereabouts; and how the mother of the girl wished to have the marriage annulled by the Judge of Rouen, and of the sentence which the said Judge pronounced when he had heard the parties--as you will hear more plainly in the course of the said story._

In the good town of Rouen, not long ago, a young man was married to a fair and tender virgin, aged fifteen, or thereabouts. On the day of the great feast--that is to say, the wedding--the mother of the young girl, as is customary in such places, instructed the bride in all the mysteries of wedlock, and taught her how to behave to her husband on the first night.

The young girl, who was looking forward to the time when she could put these doctrines into practice, took great pains and trouble to remember the lesson given her by her good mother, and it seemed to her that when the time came for her to put these counsels into execution, that she would perform her duties so well that her husband would praise her, and be well pleased with her.

The wedding was performed with all honour and due solemnity, and the desired night came; and soon after the feast was ended, and the young people had withdrawn after having taken leave of the newly married couple, the mother, cousins, neighbours, and other lady friends led the bride to the chamber where she was to spend the night with her husband, where they joyfully divested her of her raiment, and put her to bed, as was right and proper. Then they wished her good-night, and one said:

“My dear, may God give thee joy and pleasure in thy husband, and mayst thou so live with him as to be for the salvation of both your souls.”

Another said:

“My dear, God give thee such peace and happiness with thy husband, that the heavens may be filled with your works.”

And all, having expressed similar wishes, left. The bride’s mother, who remained the last, questioned her daughter if perchance she had remembered the lesson she had been taught. And the girl, who, as the proverb goes, did not carry her tongue in her pocket, replied that she well remembered all that had been told her, and--thank God--had forgotten nothing.

“Well done,” said the mother. “Now I will leave thee, recommending thee to God and praying that He may give thee good luck. Farewell, my dear child.”

“Farewell, my good and wise mother.”

As soon as the schoolmistress[79] had finished, the husband, who was outside the door expecting something better, came in. The mother closed the door, and told him that she hoped he would be gentle with her daughter. He promised that he would, and as soon as he had bolted the door, he--who had nothing on but his doublet--threw it off, jumped on the bed, drew as close as he might to his bride, and, lance in hand, prepared to give battle.

[79] Obviously a play on words, with reference to the lessons in
marital duty given by the mother to the daughter.

But when he approached the barrier where the skirmish was to take place, the girl laid hold of his lance, which was as straight and stiff as a cow-keeper’s horn, and when she felt how hard and big it was, she was sore affrighted, and fell to crying aloud, saying that her shield was not of a strength to receive and bear the blows of so huge a weapon.

All his efforts notwithstanding, the husband could not persuade her to joust with him, and this bickering endured throughout the night, without his being able to do aught, which much displeased our bridegroom. Nevertheless, he abode patient, hoping to make up for the time lost on the following night; but ‘twas the same as on the first night, even so on the third, and even so up to the fifteenth, matters remaining just as I have related.

And when fifteen days had passed since the young couple were wed, they still not having come together, the mother came to visit her pupil, and after a thousand questions, spoke to the girl of her husband, demanding what sort of a man he was and whether he did his duty well. And the girl answered that he was very well as a man, and was a quiet and a peaceable.

“But,” said the mother, “doth he do what he ought to do?”

“Yea,” quoth the girl, “but....”

“But _what_?” said the mother. “Thou art keeping something back, I am assured. Tell me forthwith and conceal naught; for I must know now. Is he a man capable of performing his marital duties in the way I taught thee?”

The poor girl, being thus pressed, was obliged to own that he had not yet done the business, but she did not say that she was the cause of the delay, and that she had always refused the combat.

When her mother heard this sad news, God knows what a disturbance she made, swearing by all her gods that she would soon find a remedy for that, for she was well acquainted with the Judge of Rouen, who was her friend, and would favour her cause.

“The marriage must be annulled,” said she, “and I have no doubt but that I shall find a way, and thou mayst be sure, my child, that before two days are past thou wilt be divorced and married to another man, who will not let thee rest in peace all that time. Dost leave the business to me.”

The good woman, half beside herself, went and related her wrong to her husband, the father of the girl, and told him that they had lost their daughter, and adducing many reasons why the marriage should be annulled.

She pleaded her cause so well that her husband took her side, and was content that the bridegroom (who knew no reason why a complaint should be lodged against him) should be cited before the Judge. But, at any rate, he was personally summoned to appear before the Judge, at his wife’s demand, to show cause why he should not leave her, and permit her to marry again, or explain the reason why, in so many days that he had lived with her, he had not demonstrated that he was a man, and performed the duties that a husband should.

When the day came, the parties presented themselves at the proper time and place, and they were called upon to state their case. The mother of the bride began to plead her daughter’s cause, and God knoweth the laws concerning marriage which she quoted, none of which, she maintained, had her son-in-law fulfilled; therefore she demanded that he should be divorced from her daughter forthwith without more ado.

The young man was much astonished to find himself thus attacked, but lost no time in replying to the allegations of his adversary, quietly stating his case, and relating in what wise his wife had always refused him leave to perform his marital duties.

The mother, when she heard this reply, was more wroth than ever, and could scarce bring herself to believe it; and she asked her daughter if that was true which her husband had said.

“Yea, truly, mother,” replied the girl.

“Oh, wretched child,” said her mother. “Wherefore didst thou refuse? Did I not teach thee thy lesson many times?”

The poor girl might not answer, so shamed was she.

“At any rate,” said the mother, “I must know the reason why thou hast refused. Tell it me forthwith, lest I grow exceeding wroth.”

The girl was forced to confess that she had found the lance of the champion so vast, that she had not dared to present her shield lest he killed her; and so she still felt, nor was she reassured on that point, albeit her mother had bade her be without fear. Whereat the mother addressed the Judge, saying:

“Monseigneur, thou hast heard the confession of my daughter, and the defence of my son-in-law. I beg of thee give judgement forthwith.”

The Judge gave orders for a bed to be prepared in his house, the couple to lie on it together; and he commanded the bride boldly to lay hold of the tilting staff,[80] and put it where it was ordered to go. When this judgement was delivered, the mother said:

[80] Mr. Douglas translates simply: ... “stick or instrument.” The
word in the text, _bourdon_, signifies literally “a pilgrim’s staff.”
It is followed by the word _joustouer_, “to tilt or joust,” or “a
tilter, a jouster,” which Mr. Douglas ignores. The combination,
however, seems to keep more faithfully to the spirit of the story. On
the other hand, _bourdon_ is a recognised erotic term for _penis_.
Farmer, (_Slang and its Analogues_: vol. 5, p. 290), quotes Rabelais
as employing the word in this sense. Landes, (_Glossaire érotique de
la langue française_: Brussels, 1861), includes it in a list which
comprises 212 slang terms for the male organ of generation. _Le petit
Citateur: Notes érotiques et pornographiques_: Paris, 1881: only
300 printed, a curious and valuable little work dealing with the
lesser known expressions and metaphors of venery, and intended to
serve as a complement to the ordinary erotic dictionary, describes
_bourdon_ as “the virile member, the grand chord which gives the
note in the amorous duet.” The _Memoirs of Miss Fanny_ are quoted:
“ ... enraptured, split open by the enormous size of my ravisher’s
_bourdon_, my thighs all bloodstained, I remained for some time
overwhelmed by fatigue and pleasure....” The French text referred to
in the foregoing note is that of Garnier Frères, Paris, n.d.

“I thank thee, my lord; thou hast judged well. Come, my child, do what thou shouldst, and take heed to obey the Judge, and put the lance where it should be put.”

“I am satisfied,” answered the daughter, “to put it where it ought to go, but it may rot there ere I take it out again.”

So they quitted the court, and went and carried out the sentence themselves, without the aid of any sergeants. By this means the young man enjoyed his joust, and was sooner weary of it than she who would not begin.[81]

[81] This story, the 86th of _Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles_, is
singularly lacking in climax when compared with the majority of old
_fabliaux_. The opening is very promising; but once the husband has
stated his case, the fabric seems to fall to pieces, and the wife’s
final speech is as silly as it is unjustified. The author has tried
to round off the story by dragging in the ages-old tag about the
woman who, from hating the pleasures of love, becomes a veritable
glutton for them. Compared with “Beyond the Mark,” which is artistic
and dramatic from the first to the last line, “Foolish Fear” is a
poor thing. Nevertheless, we have thought fit to include it in this
anthology because its opening is as characteristic as its finish is
_un_characteristic of this type of _fabliaux_.


[82] _Kruptadia_: Henninger Frères, Heilbronn, 1883: _Stories of

A peasant died and left three sons. On their return home from the interment of their father, the three young men took counsel together. The dead man had not been wealthy, and he bequeathed to his sons only his house and a small piece of land.

After much discussion, it was decided that the eldest should leave the house and land to his brethren, and go forth into the world to seek his fortune. If he succeeded, he would return forthwith to his brethren that they might share his good fortune, but if he did not return within a year and a day, the second brother should set out in search of him. This agreed, the eldest embraced his brethren and set forth.

Sallying from the village, he discovered two roads. In perplexity, he tossed a coin in the air, and as it fell, so he made his choice. He journeyed long without encountering aught but inns and farms, where he spent the night, renewing his quest on the morrow. At length, after travelling fifteen days, he came to a magnificent castle.

“‘Tis here perchance I shall find fortune,” quoth he. “I will enter the castle and seek service within.”

But all the offices were filled. Going forth, he encountered the owner of the castle, who was king of the countryside, and at his request the youth related his purpose in coming to this domain.

Quoth the king:

“Employment I have none to offer thee in my palace; but I have a better proposal to make. I have a daughter of the like not seen elsewhere on earth. She pisseth over the most lofty houses. All the physicians I have summoned cannot cure her, and it is a sad pity, for she is of surpassing beauty. If thou canst prevent her from pissing over the haycocks which thou shalt erect, thy fortune is made. I will give her to thee in marriage. If thou failest, thou shalt go join in their prison those imbeciles of physicians and charlatans who have already sought to succeed in this my proposal. Thou dost understand? See then if thou believest thyself capable of this achievement.”

The youth, having taken counsel with himself for several moments, accepted the king’s proposal. This latter, leading him within the palace, set him to dine with his wife and daughter. The Princess was a marvel of beauty, and the peasant could not satiate his eyes of her perfections. He was apportioned a chamber in the castle, what time he awaited the day of his trial.

On the morrow the young adventurer chose a vast field, and thither caused to be borne five or six hundred loads of hay. Next he took a hundred peasants and set them to erect an enormous haycock.

“If the Princess doth succeed in pissing o’er this heap of hay,” he thought, “I am mad.” And he went to tell the king the haycock was ready.

On the morrow came the Princess; and she fell to laughing when she saw the haycock. She raised her robe and pissed high o’er the heap of hay. The youth was thunderstruck. On the order of the king, they seized the youth and cast him into a dungeon with the physicians who had essayed the venture before him.

A year and a day after the departure of his eldest brother, the second peasant set forth in his turn, taking the road followed by his brother one year before. Journeying fifteen days, he, too, came upon the castle, and, entering therein, demanded the work of a servant. Him also the king saw, putting the proposal he had made to his elder brother. Which proposal the youth accepted.

Well received by the family of the Princess, he pictured himself already the son-in-law of the king, and built project upon project for the future. He chose a vast plain, and thither caused to be borne six thousand loads of hay. Next he took one thousand labourers and set them to erect the haycock.

On the morrow the Princess approached the haycock, gave vent to a great shriek of laughter, raised her robe, and--pissed high o’er the haycock.

And the second brother went to join his elder in the dungeon of the king’s palace.

The youngest peasant was sore pained in that his brethren returned not.

“Assuredly they have suffered some mischance in their travels,” quoth he to himself. “‘Twere ill of me did I not set forth in search of them, and render them aid in their misfortune.”

He, in his turn, quitted the village. Chance took him by the same road as that taken by his brethren, and he came to the palace of the king who held them prisoner. He entered the palace, saw the king, and accepted the proposal made to him. At table he found the Princess adorable, and the Princess found him charming. This he perceived, and resolved never to quit her side. All night he dreamed of the Princess, nor did he wake till the sun was up. Then he fell to leisurely reflection.

“All the same,” said he to himself, “if I succeed in taking the maidenhead of the Princess before the trial, perchance she will not piss so high. I am convinced that all dependeth on her virginity. I will attempt this method.”

When day came, he arose and went to walk in the castle park. The Princess had not slept the whole night long, ever seeing the countenance of the young man. At daybreak she arose and went to walk in the park, where she encountered the young peasant.

And this last did not let slip the occasion; he approached the young girl and avowed that he died of love for her. The Princess was easy of persuasion, and one hour afterward she had lost her maidenhead. Then she re-entered the palace, the youth walking till the hour of the morning meal, when he, too, entered the palace as if naught had happened.

At noontide he caused to be borne into a corner of the park a single load of hay; then told the king that he was ready for the trial.

And when the king, accompanied by his daughter, approached the tiny haycock which had been erected by the young man, he cried out that the trial was not serious, and he counselled the peasant to construct a much loftier haycock. But the peasant affirmed that the heap of hay was sufficient, whereat the king ordered his daughter to piss.

Who was the most astonished? Truly the king and the Princess, when the latter only succeeded in watering her stockings, for the charming channel, wherein the young man had laboured with the girl, from being narrow, had grown great.

Judge then if the peasant was satisfied. The Princess, though she did not let the youth perceive it, was likewise satisfied. And the king gave his daughter to the young man, their nuptials were celebrated, the young peasants became princes, and all lived happily ever afterward.


[83] _Kruptadia_: Heilbronn, Henninger Frères, 1883, vol. 1: _Secret
Stories from the Russian_.

An old man bought a sheep’s cloak for his wife, and he futtered her the whole night long at the foot of the fence. In the morning the weather was damp, and the old woman, with back bent, went weeping; but the old man followed and mounted her. Said the woman to her husband:

“Tear me not in this fashion, Gabriel!”

But the man was hard of hearing, knew not what she said, thrust his yard into her, and futtered her dog-fashion.... The eye is ne’er too weary to see, nor the backside to fizzle, nor the nose to take snuff, nor the coynte to lose the chance of a goodly futter.... But this by way of a prelude ... a foreword.

      *       *       *       *       *

Once there lived a pope,[84] who possessed a daughter, a virgin and an artless. And when summer came the pope was wont to hire workmen to mow the hay; and he hired them in this wise:

[84] A priest of the Greek Church.

If his daughter pissed o’er the haycock which the workman had mown, the man went wageless. Workmen a-plenty hired themselves to the pope, but, one and all, they laboured wageless; the daughter, whatsoe’er the height of the haycock, pissed o’er it.

Yet another workman and a bold did accept the conditions; if the pope’s daughter pissed o’er the haycock which he had mown, no claim for his work would he make. Then mowed the workman his hay; when he had mown it and set it in a heap, he lay down beside the haycock, drew forth his yard from his drawers, and fell to toying with it. The pope’s daughter drew nigh to the workman to scrutinise the haycock, cast a glance at him, and said:

“What dost thou, little peasant?”

“I rub my comb.”

“What dost comb with this comb of thine?”

“Come--I will comb thee. Lie down on the hay.”

The pope’s daughter lay down on the hay, the workman fell to combing her, and he winnowed her as was proper. Anon the young girl rose up and said:

“What a delicious comb!”

Afterwards she sought to piss o’er the haycock; of no avail; she did piss upon herself, as it might run from a sieve. Seeking out her father, she spake him, saying:

“The haycock is too high; I may not piss o’er it.”

“Ah! my daughter! here in sooth is a goodly workman. I will hire him for a year.”

And when the workman came to receive his wage, the pope said:

“Friend, hire thyself to me for a year.”

“I am willing,” quoth the workman; and he hired himself to the pope. Most contented, too, was the pope’s daughter, and when night came she sought the workman, saying:

“Comb me.”

“Nay, I will not comb thee for nought. Give me one hundred roubles. Buy the comb.”

The pope’s daughter gave him one hundred roubles, and nightly he combed her.

Came a time when the workman fell out with the pope, saying:

“Render me my wage, little father.”

His wage rendered, the workman went his way. Now the pope’s daughter was not present when these things were done, but when she returned to the house she inquired:

“Where is the workman?”

“He demanded his wage and is gone forthwith to the village,” quoth the pope.

“Ah! little father! what hast thou done? He hath carried off my comb!” cried the pope’s daughter.

She hastened in pursuit, and came upon him by a little stream; the workman had tucked up his drawers and was fording the stream.

“Give me my comb!” cried the pope’s daughter.

The workman took a stone and cast it into the water.

“Pick it up,” said he; and, passing to the other side of the stream, went his way.

The pope’s daughter tucked up her petticoat, entered the water, and sought the comb. She rummaged at the bottom of the stream. No comb.

Chanced to pass a lord, who cried to her:

“What seekest, little dove?”

“My comb! I have purchased it from a workman for one hundred roubles; departing, he carried it off with him. Him I pursued, and he cast the comb in the water.”

The lord descended from his carriage, removed his breeches, and entered the water in search of the comb. They searched; together they searched. On a sudden the pope’s daughter perceived that a yard hung ‘twixt the lord’s legs. She seized it with both hands, gripped it fast, and cried:

“Shame on thee, lord! ‘Tis my comb! Give it me!”

“What dost thou, shameless one? Leave hold of me!” said the lord.

“Nay, ‘tis thou who art shameless! Thou wouldst take what pertains to another. Give me my comb!”

And she dragged him by his yard to her father.

The pope gazed through the window. Behold, his daughter dragged a lord by his yard and never ceased from crying: “Give me my comb, wretched fellow!” what time the lord made plaintive sound, saying: “Little father, deliver me from a death not deserved! All my life I will not forget thee!”

From his drawers the pope drew forth his yard, displayed it to his daughter through the window, and cried:

“My daughter! my daughter! Here is thy comb!”

“Truly ‘tis mine!” cried the daughter. “Behold its red end! And I thought the lord had taken it!”

And she released this unfortunate and sped into the house. The lord drew on his hose and took to his heels.

The girl came running into the house.

“Where is my comb, little father?”

“Ah! what a daughter!” grumbled the pope. “See, little mother. I believe she hath lost her maidenhead.”

“Examine her thyself, little father,” said the popess. “That will be better.”

The pope lowered his drawers and gave the comb to his daughter. When they were in action, the pope gasped and cried:

“No, no--the girl hath not lost her honour....”

Quoth the popess:

“Little father, push her honour yet further back.”

“Fear not, little mother. She will not let it fall. I have pushed it far.”

Thus went the pope’s daughter to the comb. Henceforward the pope combed them both, regaling them with his little ‘doll,’[85] passing his life in futtering both daughter and mother.

[85] French _Poupée_, which, in the slang phraseology of that
language, properly denotes a harlot. On the other hand, we have the
term _dolly_ as a synonym for _penis_. (_C.f._ Farmer: _Slang and its
Analogues_.) This use of _poupée_, which, of course, is literally
translated by _doll_, is peculiar; our French lexicographers do not
include it in their lists of synonyms for the _membrum virile_.


The main theme of these two stories----the ability of a virgin girl to urinate to a great height----is founded on physiological fact, although, of course, grossly distorted and exaggerated. “In children,” says Havelock Ellis, (_Studies in the Psychology of Sex_, vol. 5: _Erotic Symbolism_), “the vulva appears to look directly forward and the clitoris and urinary meatus easily appear, while in adult women, and especially after attempts at coïtus have been made, the vulva appears directed more below and behind, and the clitoris and meatus more covered by the labia majora; so that the child urinates forward, while the adult woman is usually able to urinate almost directly downwards in the erect position, though in some cases (as may occasionally be observed in the street) she can only do so when bending slightly forwards.

“This difference in the direction of the stream formerly furnished one of the methods of diagnosing virginity, an uncertain one, since the difference is largely due to age and individual variation. The main factor in the position and aspect of the vulva is pelvic inclination....”

Havelock Ellis, later on in the same volume of his _Studies_, again refers to the subject:

"A sign to which the old authors often attached much importance was furnished by the urinary stream. In the De Secretis Mulierum, wrongly attributed to Albertus Magnus,* it is laid down that 'the virgin urinates higher than the woman.' Riolan, in his Anthropographia, discussing the ability of virgins to ejaculate urine to a height, states that Scaliger had observed women who were virgins emit urine in a high jet against a wall, but that married women could seldom do this. Bonaciolus also stated that the urine of virgins is emitted in a small stream to a distance with an acute hissing sound. (Parthenologia, p. 281. ) There is no doubt a tendency for the various stresses of sexual life to produce an influence in this direction, though they act far too slowly and uncertainly to be a reliable index to the presence or the absence of virginity.

"Another common ancient test of virginity by urination rests on a psychic basis, and appears in a variety of forms which are really all reducible to the same principle. Thus we are told in De Secretis Mulierum that to ascertain if a girl has been seduced she should be given to eat of powdered, crocus flowers, and if she has been seduced she immediately urinates. We are here concerned with auto-suggestion, and it may well be believed that with nervous and credulous girls this test often revealed the truth.

" The ancient custom, known in classic times, of measuring the neck the day after marriage was frequently practised to ascertain if a girl was or was not a virgin. There were various ways of doing this. One was to measure with a thread the circumference of the bride's neck before she went to bed on the bridal night. If in the morning the same thread would not go around her neck it was a sure sign that she had lost her virginity dur- ing the night; if it would, she was still a virgin or had been deflowered at an earlier period. Catullus alluded to this custom,* which still exists, or existed until lately, in the south of France. It is perfectly sound, for it rests on the intimate response by congestion of the thyroid gland to sexual exitement. (Parthenologia, p. 283.)"

  • "Nor shall the nurse at orient light returning, with yester-e'en's thread succeed in circling her neck." The Carmina of Catulluss Englished into verse and prose by Sir R. F. Burton and L. C. Smithers: London, 1894. Burton and Smithers, apparently, were unaware of the medical significance of the test, for they add in a note: "The ancients, says Pezay, had faith in another equally absurd test of virginity. They measured the circumference of the neck with a thread. Then the girl under trail took the two ends of the magic thread in her teeth, and if it was found to be so long that its bight could be passed over her head, it was clear she was not a maid. By this rule all the thin girls might pass for vestals, and all the plump ones for the reverse."

[89] Havelock Ellis is writing in 1914.


[90] _The Dialogues of Luisa Sigea_: Translated from the Latin of
Nicolas Chorier: Paris: Isidore Liseux, 1890. Our extract is from the
opening lines of the first dialogue; the phraseology, at times, is our


Sweet it is to me, dearest cousin, that thy marriage with Caviceo is finally concluded: for, the night which will make thee a wife in his embraces will, I assure thee, afford thee by far the greatest of all pleasures; provided Venus befriend thee, as this thy heavenly shape deserveth.


My mother told me this morning that I am to be wedded to-morrow to Caviceo. And I see that the requisites for the pomp of this event are being prepared at home with great care: the bed, bed-room, and so forth. But, of course, these things cause less joy than fear in my soul; for, whatever in fine may be that pleasure of which thou, my dearest cousin, speakest, I neither know nor even imagine.


It should seem nowise strange that thou at this age and so soft (for thou hast barely attained thy fifteenth year), dost not know what I, though older when I married, wholly ignored; that delight which Pomponia used to promise and so loudly extol, having been tasting it herself since three years.


But what greatly surpriseth me is that thou shouldst wholly ignore it. Allow me to speak more openly now that I am on the eve of complete freedom. For if the practice were lacking, which thou certainly hadst not, yet thy great learning must have disclosed these secrets to thee. I often hear thee extolled to the clouds in the most flattering terms, because thou art so skilled in Latin and Greek literature as in nearly all the liberal arts that there seemeth to be naught which thou dost not know.


My father had so much to do in this, that, with the same zeal as most other girls are seeking after the reputation of being handsome and elegant, I was entirely bent on acquiring the honour of being a learned maid. And they that prefer to flatter than speak the truth, say: she hath not quite lost her time.


They who will not flatter say also: scarcely have esteem of virtue, good morals remained with those of our sex who were considered learned, even when they obtained this honour.


Would they deny I am chaste, while owning I am learned?


Ay, they would; but thou hast won the admiration of all while taking care that thy learning did not interfere with thy good and chaste morals; it hath produced an extraordinary prodigy. But how could it be possible that the Muses, who are styled virgins, should be deemed hostile to the honour of virgins? Why are they said to corrupt our minds, they who are as the ardour of our souls, stimulating us all, men and women alike, to grand and praiseworthy actions? Undoubtedly because men, from a certain haughty and silly malignity, envy us these resources of which they themselves are proud, by making us the victims of their jealousy. Men shun every poison and venom just as we do, whom they call the weaker sex, because the same pest which may take our lives away, may take theirs away too. If learning be a venom and a pest for us, as they assert, how is it that so dangerous a thing, in order to be useful to men, (for they do not deny but that it is useful to them), should change its nature all on a sudden? If learning is, of its very essence, a certain source of every evil and crime for us, how shall they drink out of the same source the nectarean waters of immortal glory: whilst we unhappy and wretched women shall drink a sort of sulphureous Stygian water which will excite us to those debaucheries, to which they drive us by their sway or lead us by their example? For, I remember that thou spokest thus on this subject a few days ago in thy conversation with Caviceo. It is exceedingly nice of thee to have conserved until now that pure reputation of an honest woman, with that beauty which inflameth even the coldest, with that learning which doth captivate those insensible of beauty.


Thou who speakest thus, thou who knowest that love inflameth men’s hearts, art not so simple as I thought.


Am I totally ignorant of what Caviceo’s eyes, brow, in a word, his whole countenance so often told me, even though he were silent? I was indeed truly surprised at the unwonted fire of his kisses, when he made free with me eight days ago; I know but too well what that ardour and fire meant.


Thy mother was absent? thou wast alone? thou wast not at all afraid of him?


My mother was gone out; but what was to be feared from him? Of course I feared naught.


All he asked was kisses?


On the contrary, the fool took them against my will, brandishing his glowing tongue between my lips.


What sensation came over thee, then?


I shall acknowledge it: some heat or other hitherto unfelt passed through my veins: my whole frame was inflamed. He thought that a maiden blush bepainted my cheek; for a little while he forebore his folly and busy hand.... I shall ever hate those roguish hands, from the very fact that they with their fire impregnated me, tortured and wearied!


A nice affair!


Why? having stuck his hand in my breast, he seized one of my paps, then the other; and while he was handling each of them rather hard, lo! he tossed me over on my back in spite of me.


Thou art blushing; the deed was accomplished.


His left hand was laid on my bosom (I am stating how the thing was done), he easily overcame all my efforts; he next slipped his right hand under my petticoat. I blush, I blush to tell it.


Lay aside that ridiculous modesty; fancy thou art relating to thyself what thou art telling me.


Having speedily lifted my petticoat above my knees, he handled my thighs. Oh! hadst thou beheld his sparkling eyes!


So thou wast happy then!


Having carried his hand higher, he invaded that place which, they say, distinguisheth us from the other sex; ay, it is now a year ago, and ever since a lot of blood doth run from me every month during several days.


Bravo, Caviceo! ah! ah! ah!


Oh, the rascal! “This part,” he saith, “will soon rejoice me exceedingly. Do consent, my Ottavia.” A little more and I had fainted at these words.


What did he then do?


That part of me, thou wouldst scarcely believe, hath a very small slit....


But inflamed, but glowing.


He thrust his finger into it, and, as the place could barely contain it, I felt a sharp pain throughout all my senses. But he: “I have a virgin,” said he, and no sooner said than forcibly opening my thighs which I kept as tight as ever I could, he threw himself upon me.


Thou art silent? he put naught but his finger in?


I felt ... but what effrontery is mine to speak so much about it!


And I too, whom thou makest so much of, have undergone it, as thou. Naught is more daring than a bridegroom, whom every delay doth exasperate exceedingly, until he gathereth that flower of his bride.


I soon felt some hard and warm mass between my thighs. He forced me to open; with a robust effort he directed that thing against my body and that slit. But I, having mustered up strength, threw myself to the other side, and slipping my left hand between us both, I laid it on that place where the fray was so furiously raging.


Thou couldst with one hand ward off so powerful a catapult?


Yea. “O naughty man,” would I say, “why dost thou annoy me thus? Let me go, if thou lovest me: by what crime have I deserved this torture?” And tears flowed from my eyes: but such was the state of my mind, that I did not even dare open my mouth or utter a cry to call for help.


Withal Caviceo did not even pierce thee with his lance[91]? it did not enter into thy trench[91]?

[91] Erotic terms in English, French and Latin slang, respectively,
for the _penis_ and female _pudendum_. (_C.f._ Farmer, _op. cit._).


I seized it and held it aside, but unlucky event! I felt myself completely drenched with a regular shower like fire, and, naked as I was, wet up to the navel. I put my hand to it again; but when falling on that sort of slimy fluid with which the mad fellow had flooded me, my hand recoiled from fright and horror.


Therefore neither was he vanquished nor thou victorious, since he was very near carrying off a real victory.


Caviceo was far more agreeable to me since that day. Nor do I know the powerful desire that doth agitate my soul. I ignore what I long for, and cannot mention it. All I know is that Caviceo pleaseth me far more than all mortals; I expect from him alone the supreme pleasure which I do not understand, as I ignore what it may be like. I desire naught and yet desire....

_Here we end our extract from Luisa’s Dialogues. We shall have occasion to quote from them again in subsequent volumes of Anthologica Rarissima._


Nicolas Chorier, the author of the _Dialogues of Luisa Sigea_ (the book is commonly called the _Aloisia_ or the _Meursius_, after the name of the supposed author or translator) was born at Vienne, Dauphiny, in 1612; he received a law-doctor’s degree in 1639, and practised the profession of lawyer at the Court of Aids in his native town.[92] A man of cultivated mind, a passionate lover of letters, a first-rate Latinist, he devoted only a very limited part of his time to causes of the bar.

[92] We are quoting from the English translator’s “Notice of Nicolas
Chorier” in the Liseux edition already mentioned.

While passing out of the Jesuit Academy, and during the course of his law studies, he tried his hand at a variety of works both in French and Latin.... The composition of the _Aloisia_, or at least the first draft, for he must often have retouched this chief work, may be traced back to that time. “I wrote then,” he tells us in his _Memoirs_, “_Epistles_, _Speeches_, a _Political Dissertation_ on the French alliance with the Ottoman Empire, and two _Satires_, the one Menippean, the other Sotadical.”[93] ...

[93] The Sotadical Satire is so-called after Sotades, who lived three
centuries before Christ, and whose erotic poems are unfortunately
lost.--English Translator’s note. According to a note in _Priapeia_
(Cosmopoli, 1890, _Privately Printed_), Sotades, the Mantinean poet,
was the first to treat of Greek love, or dishonest and unnatural
love. He wrote in the Ionian dialect, and according to Suidas he was
the author of a poem entitled _Cinædica_ (Martial, 2. 86). The title
would leave us in no doubt as to the trend of the work. (Cinædus =
he who indulges in unnatural lust; Cinædicus = pertaining to one
who is unchaste.--_Smith’s Latin English Dictionary._) _C.f._ also
Sir Richard Burton’s “Sotadic Zone” in the _Terminal Essay_ to _The
Thousand Nights and a Night_ (_op. cit. sup._).

It was about the year 1660 that he had, according to all probability, the first edition of the _Aloisia_ secretly printed in Lyons. The work was supposed to have been written in Spanish, in the 16th century, by an erudite young girl, Luisa Sigea, whose father, Jacques Sigée, a native of France, had quitted his country to settle down at Toledo. (Luisa Sigea, who was born at Toledo about the year 1530 and died in 1560, says the English translator in a note, knew Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac and Arabic. She was styled the Minerva of her time.) The Spanish work was lost; but there remained a Latin manuscript translation of it, which Chorier, in order to secure himself, attributed to the learned Dutchman Joannes Meursius, dead twenty years before.... Chorier died in 1692; he left several manuscript works behind him, some of which have since been printed.


[94] _The Decameron_ of Giovanni Boccaccio: Englished by John Payne:
Villon Society, 1886. This is the fourth story of the fifth day, the
actual title being: “_Ricciardo Manardi, being found by Messer Lizio
da Valbona with his daughter, espouseth her and abideth with her
father in peace._”

There lived in Romagna a gentleman of great worth and good breeding, called Messer Lizio da Valbona, to whom, well-nigh in his old age, it chanced there was born of his wife, Madame Giacomina by name, a daughter, who grew up fair and agreeable beyond any other of the country; and for that she was the only child that remained to her father and mother, they loved and tended her exceeding dear and guarded her with marvellous diligence, looking to make some great alliance by her.

Now there was a young man of the Manardi of Brettinoro, comely and lusty of his person, by name Ricciardo, who much frequented Messer Lizio’s house and conversed amain with him and of whom the latter and his lady took no more account than they would have taken of a son of theirs. Now, this Ricciardo, looking once and again upon the young lady and seeing her very fair and sprightly and commendable of manners and fashions, fell desperately in love with her, but was very careful to keep his love secret.

The damsel presently became aware thereof and without anywise seeking to shun the stroke, began on like wise to love him; whereat Ricciardo was mightily rejoiced. He had many a time a mind to speak to her, but kept silence for misdoubtance; however, one day taking courage and opportunity, he said to her:

“I prithee, Caterina, cause me not to die of love.”

To which she straightway made answer: “Would God thou wouldst not cause _me_ die!”

This answer added much courage and pleasure to Ricciardo and he said to her:

“Never shall aught that may be agreeable to thee miscarry for me; but it resteth with thee to find a means of saving thy life and mine.”

“Ricciardo,” answered she, “thou seest how straitly I am guarded; wherefore, for my part, I cannot see how thou mayst avail to come at me; but, if thou canst see aught that I may do without shame to myself, tell it me and I will do it.”

Ricciardo, having bethought himself of sundry things, answered promptly:

“My sweet Caterina, I can see no way, except that thou lie or make shift to come upon the gallery that adjoineth thy father’s garden, where an I knew that thou wouldst be anights, I would without fail contrive to come to thee, how high soever it may be.”

“If thou have the heart to come thither,” rejoined Caterina, “methinketh I can well enough win to be there.”

Ricciardo assented and they kissed each other once only in haste and went their ways.

Next day, it being then near the end of May, the girl began to complain before her mother that she had not been able to sleep that night for the excessive heat Quoth the lady:

“Of what heat dost thou speak, daughter? Nay, it was nowise hot.”

“Mother mine,” answered Caterina, “you should say ‘to my seeming’ and belike you would say sooth; but you should consider how much hotter are young girls than ladies in years.”

“Daughter mine,” rejoined the lady, “that is true; but I cannot make it cold and hot at my pleasure, as belike thou wouldst have me do. We must put up with the weather, such as the seasons make it; maybe this next night will be cooler and thou wilt sleep better.”

“God grant it may be so!” cried Caterina. “But it is not usual for the nights to go cooling, as it groweth towards summer.”

“Then what wouldst thou have done?” asked the mother; and she answered:

“An it please my father and you, I would fain have a little bed made in the gallery, that is beside his chamber and over his garden, and there sleep. There I should hear the nightingale sing and having a cooler place to lie in, I should fare much better than in your chamber.”

Quoth the mother: “Daughter, comfort thyself; I will tell thy father, and as he will, so will we do.”

Messer Lizio, hearing all this from his wife, said; for that he was an old man and maybe therefore somewhat cross-grained:

“What nightingale is this to whose song she would sleep? I will yet make her sleep to the chirp of the crickets.”

Caterina, coming to know this, more of despite than for the heat, not only slept not that night, but suffered not her mother to sleep, still complaining of the great heat. Accordingly, next morning, the latter repaired to her husband and said to him:

“Sir, you have little tenderness for yonder girl; what mattereth it to you if she lie in the gallery? She could get no rest all night for the heat. Besides, can you wonder at her having a mind to hear the nightingale sing, seeing she is but a child? Young folk are curious of things like themselves.”

Messer Lizio, hearing this, said:

“Go to, make her a bed there, such as you think fit, and bind it about with some curtain or other, and there let her lie and hear the nightingale sing to her heart’s content.”

The girl, learning this, straightway let make a bed in the gallery and meaning to lie there that same night, watched till she saw Ricciardo and made him a signal appointed between them, by which he understood what was to be done.

Messer Lizio, hearing the girl gone to bed, locked a door that led from his chamber into the gallery, and betook himself likewise to sleep.

As for Ricciardo, as soon as he heard quiet on every hand, he mounted a wall, with the aid of a ladder, and thence, laying hold of certain toothings of another wall, he made his way, with great toil and danger, if he had fallen, up to the gallery, where he was quietly received by the girl with the utmost joy. Then, after many kisses, they went to bed together and took delight and pleasure one of another well nigh all that night, making the nightingale sing many a time.

The nights being short and the delight great and it being now, though they thought it not, near day, they fell asleep without any covering, so overheated were they what with the weather and what with their sport, Caterina having her right arm entwined about Ricciardo’s neck and holding him with the left hand by that thing which you ladies think most shame to name among men.

As they slept on this wise, without awaking, the day came on and Messer Lizio arose and remembering him that his daughter lay in the gallery, opened the door softly, saying in himself:

“Let us see how the nightingale hath made Caterina sleep this night.”

Then, going in, he softly lifted up the serge wherewith the bed was curtained about, and saw his daughter and Ricciardo lying asleep, naked and uncovered, embraced as it hath before been set out; whereupon, having recognised Ricciardo, he went out again and repairing to his wife’s chamber, called to her, saying:

“Quick, wife, get thee up and come see, for that thy daughter hath been so curious of the nightingale that she hath e’en taken it and hath it in hand.”

“How can that be?” quoth she; and he answered:

“Thou shalt see it, an thou come quickly.”

Accordingly, she made haste to dress herself and quietly followed her husband to the bed where, the curtain being drawn, Madam Giacomina might plainly see how her daughter had taken and held the nightingale, which she had so longed to hear sing; whereat the lady, holding herself sore deceived of Ricciardo, would have cried out and railed at him; but Messer Lizio said to her:

“Wife, as thou holdest my love dear, look thou say not a word, for, verily, since she hath gotten it, it shall be hers. Ricciardo is young and rich and gently born; he cannot make us other than a good son-in-law. An he would part from thee on good terms, needs must he first marry her, so it will be found that he hath put the nightingale in his own cage and not in that of another.”

The lady was comforted to see that her husband was not angered at the matter and considering that her daughter had passed a good night and rested well and had caught the nightingale, to boot, she held her tongue. Nor had they abidden long after these words when Ricciardo awoke and seeing that it was broad day, gave himself over for lost and called Caterina, saying:

“Alack, my soul, how shall we do, for the day is come and hath caught me here?”

Whereupon Messer Lizio came forward and lifting the curtain, answered:

“We shall do well.”

When Ricciardo saw him, himseemed the heart was torn out of his body and sitting up in bed, he said:

“My lord, I crave your pardon for God’s sake. I acknowledge to have deserved death, as a disloyal and wicked man; wherefore do you with me as best pleaseth you; but, I prithee, an it may be, have mercy on my life and let me not die.”

“Ricciardo,” answered Messer Lizio, “the love that I bore thee and the faith I had in thee merited not this return; yet, since thus it is and youth hath carried thee away into such a fault, do thou, to save thyself from death and me from shame, take Caterina to thy lawful wife, so that, like as this night she hath been thine, she may e’en be thine so long as she shall live. On this wise thou mayst gain my pardon and thine own safety; but, an thou choose not to do this, commend thy soul to God.”

Whilst these words were saying, Caterina let go the nightingale and covering herself, fell to weeping sore and beseeching her father to pardon Ricciardo, whilst on the other hand she entreated her lover to do as Messer Lizio wished, so they might long pass such nights in security.

But there needed not overmany prayers, for that, on the one hand, shame of the fault committed and desire to make amends for it, and on the other, the fear of death and the wish to escape,--to say nothing of his ardent love and longing to possess the thing beloved,--made Ricciardo freely and without hesitation avouch himself ready to do that which pleased Messer Lizio; whereupon the latter borrowed of Giacomina one of her rings and there, without budging, Ricciardo in their presence took Caterina to his wife. This done, Messer Lizio and his lady departed, saying:

“Now rest yourselves, for belike you have more need thereof than of rising.”

They being gone, the young folk clipped each other anew and not having run more than half a dozen courses overnight, they ran other twain ere they arose and so made an end of the first day’s tilting.

Then they arose and Ricciardo having had more orderly conference with Lizio a few days after, as it beseemed, he married the damsel over again, in the presence of their friends and kinsfolk, and brought her with great pomp to his own house. There he held goodly and honourable nuptials and after went long nightingale-fowling with her to his heart’s content, in peace and solace, both by night and by day.


[95] _Kruptadia_: Heilbronn: Henninger Frères, 1883: vol. 1: _Secret
Stories from the Russian_.

Once there lived a peasant and his wife who had a daughter, a young virgin. The girl went forth to harrow the garden; she harrowed and she harrowed; anon they called her to the house to eat pancakes. She ran and left the horse with the harrow, saying unto the beast:

“Wait there until I return.”

There was in the house of a neighbour a son, a foolish lad. For long he had desired to futter the maid; but by what means he could not conceive. Observing the horse with the harrow, he slipped through the hedge, unharnessed the horse, and led it into his garden. Leaving the harrow in its place, he passed the beam through the hedge, and harnessed the horse afresh from his side.

The young girl returned and stood astonished. What meant this? The harrow on one side of the hedge, the horse on the other? She fell to beating the horse with her whip, saying:

“Devil! How camest thou there? Thou didst know how to get there. Thou wilt know how to return. Come! Come! Out of it!”

The lad stood near; he looked and laughed.

“I will aid thee an thou wilt,” said he, “but only if thou dost permit me....”

The maid was cunning.

“Willingly,” said she.

And she armed herself with the head of an old pike, which lay about the garden, its jaws open. Picking it up, she thrust it in her sleeve and said to the lad:

“I do not wish to come to thy side of the hedge, nor do I wish thee to come to mine, lest any see thee. Do it through the hedge. Pass me thy yard and I will put it in.”

The youth drew out his yard and passed it through the hedge. The girl took the pike’s head, opened it, and put it ‘twixt her thighs. When the youth rubbed, he scratched his yard so that it bled. Taking it in his hands, he ran to the house, sat down in a corner, and was very silent.

“Ah! woe is me!” thought he to himself. “How her coynte biteth! If only my yard will heal, for the rest of my life I will never address another girl!”

Came the time for the youth to settle down; he was affianced to the daughter of the neighbour, and they were wedded. They dwelt together for a day, then two, then three; they dwelt together for a week, then a second, then a third; but the youth feared to touch his wife.

Constrained one day to go to the house of the young man’s mother-in-law, they set out on their way. On the road the wife said to her husband:

“Listen, now, my dear little Danilka. Why hast thou married since thou dost naught with me? If thou canst do naught, why spoilest the life of another in this useless fashion?”

And Danilka replied:

“Nay, thou wilt not trap me again. It biteth, thy coynte. My yard hath long been ill. ‘Tis scarce cured yet.”

“Thou ravest!” answered she. “At that time I did but play with thee. Have no fear now. Make trial of this dear little thing[96] of mine. Thou wilt be enchanted with it.”

[96] The text says: _ce cher petit_, which may be interpreted as
referring to the wife’s _pudendum_. _C.f._ _Le petit je ne sais
quoi_ (”My~little~what’s~its~name.”), a common erotic term for
the parts concerned. (Farmer: _Slang and its Analogues_; Landes:
_Glossaire Érotique_; and _Le petit Citateur: Notes Érotiques et
Pornographiques_.) The last authority considers that the word _trou_
(hole) would be understood in the text. _Trou_, of course, is a
common French erotic term for the feminine _pudendum_. On the other
hand, the word _jeu_ (game) may be understood, which would be equally
applicable. _C.f._ Farmer (_Slang_, etc., vol. 3, p. 110): “The first
game ever played,” _i.e._, copulation. Also Landes (_Gloss. Érot._):
“Game: employed in an obscene sense to denote the sexual act.”

And desire took the youth, and he tucked up his robe, saying:

“Wait--I am about to bind thy legs, and if thy coynte biteth, I shall be able to leap to earth and save myself.”

He let go of the reins and bound the two naked thighs of his young wife. His instrument was now of sufficient magnitude. When he rammed the girl, she cried with a loud voice; the horse, which was young, took fright and began to run away; the sleigh was thrown from side to side; the peasant fell out; and his young wife, her thighs naked, was dragged into the courtyard of the mother-in-law.

The mother-in-law gazed through the window; she perceived the horse of her son-in-law, and was assured that he brought her some viands for the feast; she went to meet him and found--her daughter!

“Ah! little mother!” cried the latter. “Unbind me swiftly ere any see me.”

The old woman unbound her and asked what it signified.

“And thy husband, where is he?” she demanded.

“The horse threw him into the road.”

These two entered the house and gazed through the window. Danilka arrived, approached some small boys who were playing at knuckle-bones, stopped, and looked about him. The mother-in-law dispatched her eldest daughter to him. She drew near, saying:

“Good day, Danilka Ivanitch.”


“Come into the house. The feast lacketh but thee.”

“Is my wife within?”


“And hath the blood ceased to flow?”

But the young girl spat and ran away from him.

Then the mother-in-law dispatched her daughter-in-law, who would appease him.

“Come, come, little Danilka. The blood hath ceased to flow this long time.”

She led him within the house, and the mother-in-law came to meet him, saying:

“Welcome, my dear little son-in-law.”

“Varvara--is she within?”


“And hath the blood ceased to flow?”

“It hath ceased this long time.”

Then he drew forth his yard and showed it to his mother-in-law, saying:

“See, little mother, this awl[97] was entirely inside her body.”

[97] _Alène_ is the word in the text. Not an erotic term for _penis_
in French and English slang, though we have the verb “to bore.” _C.f._
Farmer: _Slang and its Analogues_, for his amazing list of synonyms
denoting the sexual act under the heading “Ride.” Blondeau, in his
_Dictionnaire Érotique_ (Isidore Liseux: Paris, 1885), gives no word
in his collection of Latin terms for _penis_ which approximates
exactly to the sense of awl. Landes, Delvau (_Dictionnaire Érotique_),
and _Le petit Citateur_ (_op. cit. supra_) make no mention of the
word. In our story Danilka, in his very primitive fashion, has used
an expression which explains in the simplest way his actions in the

“Come, come,” said the mother-in-law. “Sit thyself down. ‘Tis time to eat.”

They sat down, drank, and ate.


[98] _Memoirs of Jacques Casanova_: Privately Printed, 1894. Also
_Mémoires de J. Casanova de Seingalt_: Garnier Frères: Paris, n.d. Our
text is a blend of the two versions.

_Casanova again meets the beautiful nun M--M--, with whom he was on intimate terms some years previously at Venice. The nun is now in a convent at Chamberi, where Casanova visits her and her young boarder, a lovely girl aged twelve or thirteen, who readily succumbs to the adventurer’s amorous advances. The text continues_:--

I went to the convent, and M--M--came down alone to the grating. She thanked me for coming to see her, adding that I had come to disturb her peace of mind.

“I am all ready, my heart, to climb the garden wall,” I answered, “and I shall do it more dextrously than thy wretched humpback.”

“Alas! ‘tis not possible, for, believe me, thou art already spied upon.... Let us forget all, my dear friend, that we may be spared the torment of vain desires.”

“Give me thy hand.”

“Nay. All is over. I love thee still; probably I shall love thee always; but I long for thee to go, and by so doing, thou wilt give me proof of thy love.”

“This is dreadful; thou amazest me. Thou dost seem in perfect health; thou art grown even more beautiful; art made for the worship of the sweetest of gods; ‘tis beyond my powers of comprehension how, with a temperament like thine, thou canst live in continual abstinence.”

“Alas! lacking the reality we console ourselves with make-belief.[99] I will not conceal from thee that I love my young boarder. ‘Tis an innocent passion, and keepeth my mind calm. Her caresses quench the flame which would otherwise kill me.”[100]

[99] _Badinage_ in the French text; _i.e._, _playfulness_, _frolic_,
_sport_, etc., which is hardly in keeping with the context.
[100] Literally, according to French text: “Her caresses quench a fire
which would kill me did I not weaken its force by this make-belief.”

“And doth not thy conscience suffer?”

“I feel no distress in the matter.”

“But thou dost know ‘tis a sin?”

“I confess it.”

“And what sayeth the confessor?”

“Naught. He absolveth me, and I am happy.”

“And doth thy pretty boarder confess also?”

“Assuredly; but she telleth not the father of a matter which she doth not believe a sin.”

“I wonder that the confessor hath not taught her, for that species of instruction is a great pleasure.”

“Our confessor is a wise old man.”

“I shall leave thee, then, without a single kiss?”

“Not one.”

“May I return on the morrow? I go hence on the following day.”

“Come; but I shall not descend alone,[101] for others might have suspicions. I will bring my little one with me, to save appearances. Come after dining, but to the other parlour.”

[101] _i.e._, to the grating.

Had I not known M--M--at Aix, her religious ideas would have astonished me; but such was her character. She loved God, and did not believe that the kind Father who made us with passions would be too severe because we had not the strength to subdue them. I returned to the inn, annoyed that the lovely nun would have no more to do with me....

_After the interval of a night, Casanova returns to the convent, and, announcing his presence, enters the parlour which M--M--has indicated. The text continues_:--

... She soon descended with her pretty young boarder, who ... had not yet completed her twelfth year, but was very tall, strong and well-developed for her age. Gentleness, liveliness, candour, and wit were united in her features, and gave her an expression of exquisite charm. She wore a well-made corset which disclosed a white throat, to which fancy easily added the two spheres which would soon appear there. Her shapely head, whence hung two superb raven tresses, and her ivory throat indicated what might be concealed, and my vagrant imagination formed her into a budding Venus.

I began by telling her that she was very pretty, and that she would make happy the husband for whom God had destined her. This compliment, I felt assured, would cause her to blush. ‘Tis cruel, but thus it is that the language of seduction ever beginneth. A girl of her years who doth not blush at the mention of marriage is either a fool or already expert in profligacy. Despite this, however, the blush which mounteth to a young girl’s cheek at the onset of a startling idea is indeed a problem. Whence doth it come? Perchance from pure simplicity; perchance from shame; often from a mixture of both feelings. Cometh, then, the combat ‘twixt vice and virtue, and usually ‘tis virtue which hath to succumb. The desires--true servants of vice--easily attain their ends. As I knew the young boarder from M--M--’s description, I could not be unaware of the source of those blushes which did but enhance her youthful charms.

Pretending not to notice aught, I conversed for a while with M--M--, then returned to the assault. She had regained her calm.

“What is thine age, pretty one?” said I.

“I am thirteen.”

“Thou art wrong, my heart,” said her friend. “Thou hast not yet completed thy twelfth year.”

“The time will come,” quoth I, “when thou wilt diminish the tale of thy years instead of increasing it.”

“I shall never tell a lie, sir; of that I am sure.”

“So thou wouldst become a nun, my fair friend?”

“I have not yet that vocation; but naught shall force me to lie, even though I should live in the world.”

“Thou art wrong, for thou wilt begin to lie from the moment thou hast a lover.”

“Will my lover also tell lies?”

“Assuredly he will.”

“Were the matter truly so, I should entertain a bad opinion of love; but I do not believe it, for I love my dear friend here, and I never conceal the truth from her.”

“But thou dost not love a man as thou lovest a woman.”

“Indeed one doth.”

“Not so, for thou dost not go to bed with a woman, but thou wilt with thy husband.”

“No matter--my love would be the same.”

“What? Thou wouldst not rather sleep with me than with M--M--?”

“Nay, in sooth, for thou art a man and would see me.”

“Thou dost not desire a man to see thee, then?”


“Thou knowest that thou art ugly, then?”

At this she turned to her friend with a highly vexed air.

“Am I truly ugly?” she asked.

“Nay, my heart,” said M--M--, bursting with laughter; “‘tis quite the other way. Thou art very pretty.” With these words, she took her on her knee and embraced her tenderly.

“Thy corset is too tight, mademoiselle; ‘tis not possible to have so small a waist as thine.”

“Monsieur is mistaken. Thou canst put thy hand there and see for thyself.”

“I do not believe it.”

M--M--then held her close to the grille and bade me assure myself on the point. At the same moment she turned up her dress.

“Thou wast right,” said I, “and I owe thee an apology.” But in my heart I cursed the chemise and the grille.

“‘Tis my opinion,” quoth I to M--M--, “that here we have a little lad.”

Without awaiting a reply, I laboured so well that I satisfied myself, by touch, as to her sex, and I could see that the little one and her governess were pleased that my mind was at rest on the subject.

When I had withdrawn my hand, the little one gave a kiss to M--M--, whose smiling air reassured her, and begged leave to absent herself for a moment. It seems I had reduced her to a state in which a brief space of solitude was necessary, and I myself was in a highly excited condition.

When she had gone, I said to M--M--:--

“Dost realise that what thou hast shown me hath made me unhappy?”

“And why?”

“Because thy boarder is charming and I am dying to possess her.”

“I grieve for that, since thou canst not go further; moreover, I know thee, my friend, and e’en though thou couldst satisfy thy passion without danger to her, I would not yield her to thee; thou wouldst spoil her.”


“Dost think that after enjoying thee she would care to enjoy me? I should lose too heavily by comparison.”

“Give me thy hand.”


“Stay--one moment.”

“I do not wish to see aught.”

“Not even a little?”

“Naught at all.”

“Art angered with me, then?”

“Far from it. If thou hast been pleased, I am glad; and if thou hast filled her with desires, she will love me all the more.”

“What happiness, my angel, could we, all three, be alone together and at liberty!”

“I feel it, but ‘tis impossible.”

“Art sure that we are sheltered from all curious eyes?”

“I am certain.”

“The height of that wretched grille hath deprived me of the sight of many charms.”

“Why didst not go to the other parlour? ‘Tis much lower there.”

“Let us go there.”

“Not to-day. I could give no reason for the change.”

“I will return to-morrow, and in the evening I start for Lyons.”

The little boarder came back, and I stood up facing her. I had a number of beautiful seals and trinkets hanging from my watch-chain, and I had not had time to put myself in a state of perfect decency again. This she noticed, and my seals serving as a pretext for her curiosity, she asked if she might look at them.

“As long as you like, my jewel; look at them and touch them as well.”

M--M--, foreseeing what would happen, left the room, saying that she would return anon. I hastened to deprive the curious-minded young boarder of all interest in my seals by placing in her hands a curiosity of another kind. She did not conceal her transports nor the pleasure she felt in satisfying her inquisitiveness about an object which was quite new to her, and which she was able to examine minutely for the first time in her life. But soon an effusion of the natural moisture changed her curiosity into surprise, and I did not interrupt her in her delighted contemplation of it.

Perceiving M--M--returning slowly, I lowered my shirt and sat down. My watch and chains were still on the ledge of the grating, and M--M--asked her young friend if the trinkets had pleased her.

“Yea,” replied the little one, in a dreamy and melancholy voice. She had travelled so far in less than two hours that she had plenty to think on.

I passed the rest of the day in relating to M--M--the adventures I had encountered since I quitted her; but as I had not time to finish my tale, I promised to return on the following day at the same hour.

The young girl, who had been listening to me all the while, although I seemed to be addressing only her friend, said she was dying to know the end of my adventure with the mistress of the Duke of Matelone.[102] ...

[102] Referring to a salacious incident shortly before related.
Further details would be out of place in this volume.

... On the following day, after dining, I returned to the convent, and having sent up my name to M--M--, I entered the room where the grating was more convenient. Before long M--M--arrived alone, but divining my desires, she added that her pretty young friend would soon join us.

“Thou hast fired her imagination,” she said. “She hath told me all about it, playing a thousand wanton tricks and calling me her dear husband. Thou hast seduced her, and I am very glad thou art going, for I believe she might lose her reason. Thou wilt see how she hath attired herself.”

“Art sure of her discretion?”

“Perfectly, but I beg of thee to do naught in my presence. When I see the moment approaching, I will leave the room.”

“Thou art an angel, beloved, but thou mightest be something better an thou wouldst----”

“I want naught for myself, because that may not be.”

“Thou couldst----”

“Nay--I will have naught to do with a pastime which would re-kindle fires hardly yet quenched. I have spoken. I suffer; but let us say no more on the matter.”

At this moment the young adept entered smiling, her eyes full of fire. She was attired in a short pelisse, open in front, and an embroidered muslin skirt which did not go beyond her knees. She looked like a sylph.

We were scarcely seated ere she reminded me of the place where my tale had stopped. I continued my recital, and when I was relating how Donna Lucrezia showed me Leonilda naked, M--M--went out, and the sly little puss asked me how I assured myself that my daughter was a virgin.

Taking hold of her through the wretched grating, against which she placed her pretty body, I showed her how I assured myself of the fact, and the little one found such pleasure in the game that, so far from feeling any suffering, she twice swooned away in ecstacy, all the while pressing my hand to the spot. Then she gave me her hand that she might afford me the pleasure I had given her, and when M--M--appeared during this enjoyable occupation, she said hastily:--

“It doth not matter. I have told her everything. My friend is kind, and she will not be vexed.”

M--M--, in sooth, affected to see naught of all this, and the precocious young girl wiped her hand in a kind of voluptuous delight, which showed how well she was pleased.

I proceeded with my history, but when I came to the episode of the poor girl who was _tied_,[103] describing all the trouble I had vainly taken with her, the little boarder grew so curious that she placed herself in the most seducing attitude so that I might be able to show her what I did. Seeing this, M--M--made her escape.

[103] Somewhat obscure. This rendering, that of the English
translation, is not in accord with the French text, nor does it
seem to us to represent what happened as described in the English

“Kneel down on the ledge,” said the little wanton, “and let me do it.”

The reader can guess her intention, and she would have succeeded in her purpose had not the fire which consumed me distilled itself away at the orifice.

The charming novice felt herself besprinkled, but after ascertaining that naught more could be done, she withdrew in some vexation. My fingers, however, consoled her for the disappointment, and I had the pleasure of seeing her look happy once more.

I quitted these charming creatures in the evening, promising to visit them again in a year, but as I walked home I could not but reflect how often these asylums, supposed to be devoted to chastity and prayer, do contain in themselves the hidden germs of corruption. How many a timorous and trustful mother is persuaded that the child of her affection will escape the dangers of the world by taking refuge in the cloister. But behind these bolts and bars desires grow to a frenzied extreme; they crave in vain to be satisfied....

_JOHN and JOAN._[104]

[104] J. S. Farmer: _Merry Songs and Ballads_: _Privately Printed_,
1897: vol. 3: from _Pills to Purge Melancholy_ (1719). A similar
ballad, _John and Jone_, from _Merry Drollerie_ (1661) is given by
Farmer in the second volume of his work.

   There was a Maid the other Day,
   Which in her Master’s Chamber lay;
   As Maidens they must not refuse,
   In Yeomens Houses thus they use
   In a Truckle-bed to lye,
   Or another standing by:
   Her Master and her Dame,
   Said she shou’d do the same.
   This Maid cou’d neither rest nor Sleep,
       When that she heard the Bed to crack;
   Her Master Captive busie was,
       Her Dame cry’d out, you hurt my Back:
   Oh Husband you do me wrong,
   You’ve lain so hard my Breast upon;
   You are such another Man,
   You’d have me do more than I can:
   Tush Master, then says _Joan_,
   Pray let my Dame alone;
   What a devilish Squalling you keep,
   That I can neither rest nor Sleep.
   This was enough to make a Maiden sick
       And full of Pain;
   She begins to Fling and Kick,
       And swore she’d rent her Smock in twain:
   But you shall hear anon,
   There was a Man his name was _John_,
   To whom this Maid she went alone,
   And in this manner made her moan;
   I prithee _John_ tell me no Lie,
   What ails my Dame to Squeak and Cry?
   I prithee _John_ tell me the same,
   What is’t my Master gives my Dame?
   It is a Steel, quoth _John_,
       My Master gives my Dame at Night:
   Altho’ some fault she find,
       I’m sure it is her Heart’s Delight:
   And you _Joan_ for your part,
   You love one withal your Heart:
   Yes, marry then quoth _John_,
   Therefore to you I make my moan;
   If that I may be so bold,
   Where are these things to be sold?
   At _London_ then said _John_,
   Next Market day I’ll bring thee one.
   What will a good one cost,
       If I shou’d chance to stand in need?
   Twenty Shillings, says _John_,
       And for Twenty Shillings you may speed:
   Then _Joan_ she ran unto her Chest,
   And fetch’d him Twenty Shillings just;
   _John_, said she, here is your Coin,
   And I pray you have me in your Mind:
   And out of my Love therefore,
   There is for you two Shillings more;
   And I pray thee honest _John Long_,
   Buy me one that’s Stiff and Strong.
   To Market then he went,
       When he had the Money in his Purse;
   He domineer’d and vapour’d,
       He was as stout as any Horse:
   Some he spent in Ale and Beer,
   And some he spent upon good Cheer;
   The rest he brought home again,
   To serve his turn another time:
   Welcome home honest _John_,
   God a mercy gentle _Joan_;
   Prithee _John_ let me feel,
   Hast thou brought me home a Steel?
   Yes, marry then quoth _John_,
   And then he took her by the Hand;
   He led her into a Room,
   Where they cou’d see neither Sun nor Moon:
   Together _John_ the Door did clap,
   He laid the Steel into her Lap:
   With that _Joan_ began to feel,
   Cuts Foot, quoth she, ‘tis a dainty Steel:
   I prithee tell me, and do not lye,
   What are the two Things hang thereby?
   They be the two odd Shillings, quoth _John_,
   That you put last into my Hand:
   If I had known so much before,
   I wou’d have giv’n thee two Shillings more.[105]
[105] _John and Joan_, strictly speaking, is a _variant_ of three
stories quoted earlier on in this volume, (The Instrument, The
Timorous Fiancée and The Enchanted Ring), inasmuch as all contain the
same idea--the possibility of purchasing a _membrum virile_. At the
same time, our ballad has a totally different setting, the maid in
this case obtaining her first knowledge from the actions of others.


[106] _Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles_: Translated for the first time
into English by Robert B. Douglas (_One Hundred Merrie and Delightsome
Stories_), Paris: Charles Carrington. Also French Text, Paris: Gamier
Frères, n.d.

_Of a young squire of Champagne who, when he married, had never mounted a Christian creature--much to his wife’s regret. And of the method her mother found to instruct him, and how the said squire suddenly wept at a great feast that was made shortly after he had learned how to perform the carnal act--as you will hear more plainly hereafter._

‘Tis well known that in the province of Champagne one is sure to encounter heavy and dull-witted persons--which hath seemed strange to many, seeing that the district is so near to the country of Mischief.[107] Many stories could be told of the stupidity of the Champenois, but this present will suffice.

[107] Probably Picardy or Lorraine.--Note by R. B. Douglas.

There dwelt in this province a young man, an orphan, who at the death of his father and mother had become rich and powerful. He was stupid, ignorant, and disagreeable, but hard-working, and knew well how to take care of himself and his affairs, and for this reason many persons--even people of condition--were willing to give him their daughter in marriage.

One of these damsels, above all others, pleased the friends and relations of our Champenois because of her beauty, goodness, riches and so forth. They told him ‘twas time he married.

“Thou art now three-and-twenty years of age,” said they, “and there could not be a better time. An thou wilt listen to us, we have sought out for thee a fair and good damsel who seemeth to us well fitted to thee. It is such an one--thou knowest her full well.” And they told him her name.

The young man, who cared little whether he was married or not, so as he did not lose money by it, answered that he would do whatsoe’er they wished.

“Since ye think ‘twill be to my advantage,” said he, “manage the business to the best of your ability, for I would follow your advice and instructions.”

“Thou sayest well,” said these good folk. “We will look and consider as carefully as though the matter concerned us or one of our children.”

To cut matters short, a little while afterwards our Champenois was married; but on the first night, when he was sleeping with his wife, he, never having mounted on any Christian beast, soon turned his back to her, and a few poor kisses was aught she had of him, but naught on her back. At which one may guess his wife was not well pleased, albeit she concealed her discontent.

This unsatisfactory State of affairs endured some ten days, and would have endured yet longer had not the girl’s mother put a stop to it.

It should be known that the young man was unversed in the mysteries of wedlock, for during the lifetime of his parents a tight rein had been kept upon him, and, above all things, he had been forbidden to play at the beast with two backs,[108] lest he should take too much delight therein, and waste all his patrimony. Which was prudent on the part of his parents, for he was not a young man likely to be loved for his appearance.

[108] _Faire la bête à deux dos._ A recognised slang term for the
venereal act, used by Rabelais and Shakespeare. _C.f._ Farmer: _Slang
and its Analogues_ (_op. cit. supra_), and Landes: _Glossaire érotique
de la langue française_: Brussels, 1861.

And since he would do naught to anger his father and mother, and was not, moreover, of an amorous disposition, he had ever preserved his chastity, albeit his wife had deprived him of it right gladly had she known but how.

On a certain day the mother of the bride came to her daughter, and questioned her as to her husband’s state and condition and the countless other things which women like to know. To all of which questions the bride replied that her husband was a good man, and that she did not doubt but that she would be happy with him.

Which answer made the old woman joyous, but, since she knew by her own experience that there are more things in wedlock than eating and drinking, she said to her daughter:

“Come hither, and tell me, on thy word of honour, how he doth acquit himself at night?”

When the girl heard this question she was so vexed and shamed that she might not answer, and her eyes were filled with tears. But her mother, understanding what meant these tears, said:

“Weep not, my child. Speak me boldly. I am thy mother, and it behoveth thee to conceal naught from me. Hath he done naught to thee as yet?”

The poor girl, having partly recovered, and being reassured by her mother’s words, ceased her tears, but could not yet make reply. Whereupon her mother asked again:

“Speak me boldly and put aside thy grief. Hath he done naught to thee yet?”

In a low voice, mingled with tears, the girl replied:

“On my word, mother, he hath never touched me yet, but, save for that, there is no man more kind or affectionate.”

“Tell me,” quoth the mother, “knowest thou if he be properly furnished with all his members? Speak boldly if thou dost know.”

“By St. John! He is sound in that respect,” replied the bride. “I have often, by chance, felt his luggage[109] as I turned to and fro on our bed when I could not sleep.”

[109] _Denrée d’aventure._ A recognised erotic term for the male
genital parts. _C.f._ Farmer and Landes (_op. cit. supra_). _Denrée_,
properly, means a “commodity,” which is not far removed from the
English slang term “concern.” (Farmer.)

“‘Tis enough,” said the mother. “Leave the rest to me. This is what thou must do. In the morning thou must feign grave illness--e’en as though thy soul were about to depart thy body. Thy husband will, I expect full well, seek me out and bid me come to thee, and I will play my part so that thy business will soon be settled, for I shall carry thy water to a certain doctor, who will give such counsel as I order.”

All was accomplished as arranged, for on the morrow, as soon as it was dawn, the girl, who was sleeping with her husband, fell to complaining and feigning sickness as though a strong fever racked her body.

Her foolish husband was much vexed and astonished, and knew not what to say or do. He sent forthwith for his mother-in-law, who was not long in coming. As soon as he saw her he said:

“Alas! mother! thy daughter is dying!”

“My daughter?” quoth she. “What doth she want?” And while she spoke, she walked to the patient’s chamber.

As soon as the mother perceived her daughter, she inquired of her as to her trouble, and the girl, being well instructed in what she must do, answered not at first, but, after a while, said:

“Mother, I am dying.”

“Please God, thou shalt not die! Take courage! But how cometh it that thou art fallen ill so suddenly?”

“I know not! I know not!” answered the girl. “Thou dost madden me by these questions.”

The mother took the daughter’s hand, and felt her pulse, her body and her head; then she said to her son-in-law:

“In sooth, she is sorely ill. She is on fire. We must find some remedy. Hast aught of her water?”

“That which she made last night is there,” said one of the attendants.

“Give it me,” said the mother.

She took the urine, and put it in a proper vessel, and told her son-in-law that she would show it to a physician, that he might know what he might do to her daughter to cure her.

“For God’s sake! spare naught!” she said. “I have still some money, but I love my daughter better than money.”

“Spare!” said he. “If money can help, I will not fail her.”

“When thou goest,[110] and while she is resting,” said the mother, “I will go home; but I will return an I am needed.”

[110] The text here is somewhat obscure. Mr. Douglas translates “No
need to go so fast.”

Now it should be known that the old woman on the previous day, when she quitted her daughter, had instructed the physician, who was well aware of what he must say. So the young man carried his wife’s water to the physician, and, having saluted him, related how sick and suffering was his wife.

“And I have brought some of her water that thou mayest judge how sick she is, and the more easily cure her,” said the young man.

The physician took the vessel of urine, and, turning it about and examining it, said:

“Thy wife is sore afflicted with illness and in peril of death unless succour be forthcoming. Her water showeth it.”

“Ah! master, for the love of God, tell me what to do, and I will pay thee well canst thou restore her to health and prevent her from dying!”

“She need not die an thou obeyest my commands,” quoth the physician. “But if thou dost not make haste, all the money in the world will not save her from death.”

“Tell me, for Gods sake, what to do,” said the other, “and I will do it.”

“She must have connection with a man or she will die,” answered the physician.

“Connection with a man?” said the other. “What is that?”

“It meaneth,” continued the doctor, “that thou must mount on top of her, and speedily ram her three or four times, or more if thou canst; otherwise, the great heat which doth consume and kill her, will not be extinguished.”

“That will be good for her?”

“She is a dead woman,” answered the physician, “an thou do it not and do it quickly.”

“By St. John!” said the other, “I will try what I can do.”

With that he went home and found his wife, who was groaning and lamenting loudly.

“How art thou, beloved?” asked he.

“I die, beloved,” answered she.

“Please God, thou shalt not die,” said he. “I have conversed with the physician, who hath told me what medicine will cure thee.”

And, as he spoke, he fell to undressing, and lay down beside his wife, and began to execute in clumsy fashion the orders he had received from the physician.

“What dost thou?” asked his wife. “Wouldst kill me?”

“Nay, I am about to cure thee,” said he. “The physician hath assured me.”

And Nature instructing and the patient assisting, he performed upon her twice or thrice. When resting from his labours, much astonished at what had befallen, he asked his wife how she was.

“I am a little better than I was hitherto,” she replied.

“God be praised,” quoth he. “I hope thou wilt get well and that the physician hath spoken truly.”

And with that he fell to again.

To cut matters short, he performed so well that his wife was cured in a few days, whereat he was very joyful, as was the mother when she knew of it.

Ever afterwards our Champenois became a better fellow than heretofore, and his wife being now restored to health, he one day invited all his friends and relatives to dine with him, and also the father and mother of his wife, and he served good cheer after his own fashion. They drank to him, and he drank to them, and he was right good company.

But hear what befell him. In the midst of the feast he fell to weeping, which much astonished all his friends who were at table with him; and they demanded what was the matter, but he could not answer for weeping scalding tears. At length he spake, saying:

“I have good cause to weep.”

“By my oath thou hast not!” replied his mother-in-law. “What aileth thee? Thou art rich and powerful and well-housed, and hast good friends, nor must thou forget thy fair and good wife, whom God brought back to health when she was on the verge of the grave. In my thinking thou shouldst be light-hearted and joyous.”

“Alas!” said he. “Woe is me! My father and mother, who both loved me, and who amassed and bequeathed me so much wealth, are dead, and by my fault, for they died of a fever, and had I well touzled[111] them both when they were ill, as I did my wife, they would still be on their feet.”

[111] _Touzle_ or _Tousle_, in its original sense, meant “to
rumple”--“to pull or mess about,” but came in time to signify, in
erotic slang, the act of “mastering a woman by romping.” (_Vide_
Farmer: _Slang and its Analogues_.) It belongs to that class of word
connoting the sexual act which may be described as _energetic_, as
implying a sense of lively action and movement. Farmer, under his
key-word _Ride_, gives a number of similar terms, among them:--to
_belly-bump_; to _bounce_; to _cuddle_; to _ferret_; to _frisk_;
to _fumble_; to _hug_; to _hustle_; to _jiggle_; to _jumble_; to
_muddle_; to _niggle_; to _plough_; to _rummage_; to _shake_; and to
_tumble_. _Touzle_ is Fielding’s term for the venereal act.

There was none at table who, on hearing this, would not fain have laughed; nevertheless, all restrained themselves as best they might. The tables were removed and each went his way, and the young man continued to live with his wife, and, in order that she might remain in good health, he failed not to tail her pretty often.


[112] _Kruptadia_: Heilbronn: Henninger Frères, 1883: _Secret Stories
from the Russian_.

Once on a time there dwelt a priest and his wife; they had two daughters. The priest hired a labourer, and in the spring he made a pilgrimage; but before setting out he gave his orders to the labourer.

“See, friend,” said the priest, “on my return I would find all the garden dug up and the beds set out.”

“I hear, little father,” answered the labourer.

The labourer dug so ill that the garden went to wrack and ruin, and all the while he enjoyed himself. When the priest returned, he went to the garden and saw that naught had been done.

“Ah, friend,” asked the priest of the labourer, “is it possible that thou knowest not how to dig a garden?”

“Assuredly I know not,” answered the labourer. “Had I known I would have done it.”

“Go, then, into the house, and beg of my daughters to give thee an iron shovel, and I will show thee how to dig.”

The labourer sped to the house and sought the daughters.

“Little mistresses,” quoth he, “the little father orders ye to give me ... both of ye....”

“Give thee what?”

“Ye know well he meaneth ye yourselves ... to futter!”

The priest’s daughters fell to abusing the labourer.

“What availeth it to abuse me?” asked the labourer. “The little father hath ordered ye to yield me this at once, for the borders of the garden must be dug. An ye believe not me, ask of him yourselves.”

One of the daughters straightway ran to the steps leading to the house, and cried:

“Little father! Hast ordered us to give this thing to the labourer?”

“Give it him swiftly! Why keepest him waiting?” answered the priest.

“Come, my sister,” said the young girl when she returned. “There is no help for it. We must give it him. So the little father hath ordered.”

Both then went to bed, and the labourer put the matter through most expeditiously. Afterwards, he took a shovel from the shed, and ran to the little father in the garden. The priest showed him how to dig the borders of the garden, and he himself returned to the house to his wife. But what saw he? His daughters in tears.

“Why weep ye?”

“How should we not weep, little father,” answered they, “when thou thyself hast ordered the labourer to make mock of us?”

“To make mock of ye?”

“Didst not order us to yield it to him?”

“And why not? I ordered ye to give him a shovel.”

“A shovel? He hath dishonoured us! He hath taken our virginity!”

When the priest heard this, he fell into a mighty rage, seized a stake, and ran headlong to the kitchen garden. The labourer perceived the priest approaching with a stake. Wretched mischance! He hurled the shovel from him and took to his heels. The priest sped after him, but the labourer was the more agile, and vanished from the sight of the priest.

Then went the priest in search of his labourer, and in his search he encountered a peasant.

“Good day, friend,” said the priest.

“Good day, little father,” answered the peasant.

“Hast encountered my labourer?”

“I know not. A lad passed me, running swiftly.”

“Tis he! Come with me, little peasant, and aid me in the search. I will pay thee well.”

They set out together; not far off they came upon a strolling player.

“Good day, strolling player,” said the priest.

“Good day, little father,” answered the strolling player.

“Hast met a lad just now?”

“Yea, little father. There was one who went running past me.”

“‘Tis he! Aid us in the search. I will pay thee well.”

“Willingly, little father.”

And the three set forth together.

Now the labourer had run to the village, and having clad himself in other garments, went himself to meet the priest. And the priest failed to recognise him, but questioned him, saying:

“Tell me, friend--hast seen a labourer on the road?”

“I have seen one, and he ran to the village.”

“Come, friend, aid us in the search.”

“Willingly, little father.”

All four then went in search of the priest’s labourer; they entered the village; they walked; they walked unto eventide; naught befell. Darkness descended. Where might they pass the night?

Anon they came to a house where dwelt a widow, and they begged leave of her to pass the night therein.

“Good people,” replied the widow, “there will be a deluge this night in my house. I warn ye of it beforehand. Ye will be drowned.”

Howbeit, she did not refuse them--indeed, she might not--and she let them enter for the night.

(Now the widow’s lover had promised to visit her that night.)

All four then entered the house and betook themselves to bed. The priest, thinking perchance there might be a deluge, laid hold of a great trough, set it upon a shelf, and put himself to sleep in the trough.

“If there be a deluge,” thought he to himself, “I shall float upon the top of it in the trough.”

The strolling player laid himself down by the hearth, his head in the ashes; the peasant reclined on the bench behind the table; and the priest’s labourer stretched himself on the stool by the window. Hardly had they lain down ere they fell into deep slumber, excepting the labourer, who alone slept not. He it was who heard the lover of the mistress of the house come beneath the window and knock, saying:

“Open, my beloved.”

The labourer arose, opened the window, and spake in low tones, saying:

“Beloved, thou comest at an ill moment. Strangers are within my house, passing the night therein. Come thou the next night.”

“I go, beloved,” answered the lover. “But lean thou from the window that we may embrace.”

The labourer turned his posterior to the window and thrust out his backside. The lover embraced it with rapture.

“I go ... adieu, my beloved. Fare thee well. I will return to-morrow night.”

“Go, loved one. I will await thee, but, as a parting gift, give me thy yard, which I will hold for several moments in my hand. ‘Twill console me somewhat.”

The lover drew forth his yard from his drawers and thrust it towards the window.

“Take it, beloved,” quoth he. “Amuse thyself.”

The labourer took the yard in his hand, caressed it once or twice, drew his knife from his pocket, and, with one blow, cut off the member and testicles of the lover. The latter uttered a great cry, and sped amain to his home. The labourer shut the window, sat down on the bench, and made a noise with his mouth, as though eating. The peasant heard the noise and awoke, saying:

“What eatest thou, comrade?”

“I have found a morsel of sausage on the table, but I cannot eat it all, for ‘tis uncooked.”

“No matter if it be uncooked, comrade. Give me a portion to sample.”

“There is not much, friend, but take what is left and eat.” And he gave him the cut-off yard.

The peasant fell to chewing the ‘sausage’ with fine appetite. He chewed and chewed, but could not swallow the morsel.

“What is wrong with it, comrade?” he asked. “‘Tis impossible to eat it. ‘Tis so tough.”

“Put it in the frying-pan, roast it, and then thou wilt be able to eat it.”

The peasant arose, went towards the frying-pan, and crammed the ‘sausage’ right ‘twixt the teeth of the strolling player. He held it there; he held it there for a long while, making experiment with it.

“Nay,” said he, at length. “The ‘sausage’ hath not grown tender. The fire hath done naught.”

“Cease to wrestle with the thing,” said the labourer. “The mistress of the house will hear and will scold us. Thou hast scattered the fire over the frying-pan. Look! sprinkle it with water that the woman may perceive naught.”

“But where may I get the water?”

“Piss o’er it. Better extinguish the fire than have to go forth into the courtyard.”

The peasant had great desire to piss, and he pissed forthwith upon the face of the strolling player. And when the strolling player felt the water, coming whence he knew not, fall right in his mouth, he said:

“The deluge hath arrived!”

And he fell to crying with all the strength of his lungs:

“Little father! The deluge! The deluge!”

The priest heard the voice of the strolling player, and, half asleep, sought to cast himself, together with the trough, straight into the water, but instead he fell heavily on the ground, bruising himself all over.

“Ah! my God!” he cried. “When a child falleth, the good Lord placeth a cushion under it, but when an old man tumbleth, the devil putteth a harrow beneath him. Behold me all sore and bruised. Of a certainty I shall ne’er find that brigand of a labourer.”

Quoth the labourer to the priest:

“Seek him no more, I counsel thee. Go home, and may the Lord go with thee. It were better for thy health.”


The foregoing story reminds one of the device employed by “The Youth who would Futter his Father’s Wives,” (_The Thousand Nights and a Night: Supplemental Nights_, vol. 6: Translated by Sir Richard F. Burton.) In the latter case the father sets out on a journey, but, having forgotten his shoes, instructs his son, who is accompanying him for a short way, to return and fetch them. The youth goes back, informs his father’s wives that they are to sleep with him in his parent’s absence, and, when they are incredulous, shouts to his father in the distance:

“O my papa, one of them or the two of them?”

The father, referring, of course, to his shoes, shouts back:

“The two! The two!”

The wives are convinced by this remark, as were the virgin daughters of the priest in our story from _Kruptadia_. We shall reserve further extracts from this Oriental narrative for a subsequent volume of _Anthologica Rarissima_, the plot and details being inappropriate to our present theme.


[113] Masuccio: _The Novellino_: Translated into English by W. G.
Waters: Lawrence and Bullen: London, 1894: vol. 2, Forty-first Novel.

I will tell you, therefore, that in those days when Duke Ranier of Anjou, envious of the peace and quiet, as well as of the power and the wisdom of that divine prince, King Don Alfonso, was driven from Naples and from the Kingdom, it pleased him to tarry for a certain season in Florence. There were, amongst the other Frenchmen who were involved in the ruin and shipwreck of his fortunes, two valiant and accomplished cavaliers, the one named Filippo de Lincurto and the other Ciarlo d’Amboia.

Now these two, although they were very prudent and endowed with many virtues, were inclined nevertheless, being young and given over to love, to leave the burden of disaster, and the cares thereof as well, to him who was especially concerned with the same, that is, to the duke.

It happened that in their daily rides through Florence Filippo fell deeply in love with a graceful and very lovely young lady of noble parentage, and wife to a citizen of repute; and while he strove incessantly to win her, it chanced that Ciarlo, as he ranged another part of the city, became enamoured of a sister of Filippo’s lady-love, who abode unmarried in her father’s house. He, unwitting of this kinship, made up his mind, albeit he deemed her passing fair, to keep his passion within sober limits, forasmuch as he was well versed in the strife of love and aware that young damsels are wont to love lightly and without constancy. Filippo, finding that his fair lady was discreet and of good understanding, and being also fully prepared to become her servant, resolved to give her his love entirely; on which account the lady, realizing his humour and considering his many and praiseworthy parts, likewise determined to recompense him with all the love of her heart, and began to favour him with her kindness in such wise that he saw she was the only woman in the world who knew how to love.

She, certes, would have let him taste at once the supreme fruit of love had she not been restrained therefrom by the continual presence of her husband; so, having given Filippo assurance, both by letter and by messages, that she was firmly set in this purpose, the two lovers longed beyond aught else for the time when the husband would take his departure to Flanders in the galley which was now expected at any hour to touch at Pisa.

While they thus abode in pleasureable expectation, Duke Ranier was obliged to return to France, whereat both the cavaliers felt mightily aggrieved, and especially that one of the two who loved and likewise was loved in return; nevertheless, being bound by necessity, they took their departure, snared as they were in amorous toils.

Filippo swore to his lady that no obstacle, however great, should debar him from returning, and that, come what might, he as a loyal lover would never forsake her. Having consoled her with other speeches yet more affectionate, he and his companion set forth; and after his return it came to pass in the course of time, either through some fresh fancy or through the cares of business, that Filippo, albeit he still remembered the lady left behind, let the ardent flames of his passion grow colder every day. He not only forgot his promise to return, but beyond this neglected to answer any of the many letters writ to him by the lady.

On this account she, perceiving how she was well-nigh forsaken by this lover once so ardent, was stricken with such cruel grief thereanent that she almost lost her wits; but, calling to mind the stainless virtue of the cavalier, she could not persuade herself that so noble a heart could harbour such inhumanity. However, when she remembered his latest words, both written and sent to her by the mouth of their trusted messenger, she deliberated how she might by a new and suggestive plan stimulate the virtue of her lover and thereby make a final trial on behalf of her passion.

Thus she caused to be made by a skilled master a ring of gold, wrought very finely, and in this she had set a counterfeit diamond, most manifestly false, letting engrave round the ring itself the words, ‘La ma za batani?’[114] This, after she had wrapped it in fine cambric, she sent to her Filippo by a certain young man of Florence, who knew how things stood with her, and who was going to France after his own affairs, charging him that he should himself deliver it to Filippo with no farther words than these: “She who loves you and you only sends you this, and implores you to let her have a fitting answer thereto.”

[114] St. Matthew, 27, 46: “Why hast thou forsaken me?”

In due time the envoy with his offering and his message arrived at Filippo’s house and was joyfully received; but after the cavalier had marked with amazement what was the quality of the ring, and what the motto graven thereupon, he went about for several days pondering over the purport of the same, and finding himself unable to draw from it the true meaning, he determined to show it to Ciarlo and to divers other gentlemen of the court; but these, taken singularly and altogether, what though they used all their wits, were unable to hit the mark.

Finally its meaning was fathomed by Duke John, who was a gentleman of great discretion, albeit more fortunate in advising others than in reaping victory in the many enterprises he undertook. What it said was this:

“False diamond, why hast thou forsaken me?”

When Filippo heard this sentence he saw at once how the lady had most justly and prudently reproved him for his lover’s unfaith, and began to consider how he might by a device of the same sort answer so graceful a proposition and repay so heavy a debt of love. So, being minded to conclude the matter, he went to his dear friend Ciarlo, beseeching him by the friendship there was between them, that he would go with him to Florence for the reason aforesaid.

And albeit Ciarlo found this somewhat hard at first, he ended by consenting to oblige so dear a friend, deeming besides that he might peradventure thereby compass some pleasure for himself and for the damsel he loved. Thereupon they set forth, and having duly come to Florence, they began at the first chance to walk past the houses of their ladies in order to signify their presence; and Filippo soon sent word by his wonted messenger to his lady how he had sufficiently understood the message which the ring sent by her had borne, and how he knew no other method of disproving her false opinion of him save by bearing witness for himself, wherefore it behoved her to grant him an interview meet for the occasion.

The gracious lady, who with her sister had rejoiced amain over the return of their lovers, and had deliberated what course should be taken, as soon as she heard this kindly message, so manifestly springing from love, was filled with such joy that she felt almost jealous of herself, and so as to lose no more time over the matter she sent back a brief answer to Filippo, bidding him wait with his companion before the door of her house next evening.

Wherefore Filippo, as soon as the hour had come, betook himself merrily with his friend Ciarlo to the spot which had been named, and there they caught sight of the lady, who gave them most gladsome reception. After she had made a trusty maidservant of hers open to them the door and bring them in, she likewise gave them to understand, by the mouth of this same woman, that the only way in which the thing she so much desired could be brought about would be that, while she should be taking her pleasure with Filippo, Messer Ciarlo should go and strip naked and lie down in the bed beside her husband, in order that, if by chance the husband should wake and feel Ciarlo in bed, he might believe that his wife was still there.

Unless he should consent to do this, they would all run great peril of their honour and of their lives as well; wherefore she besought them to put in practice the timely stratagem which she had provided, or else withdraw from the place forthwith.

As soon as Ciarlo heard this request, what though he would have gone down to hell to serve his comrade, he was conscious that, even if the business should come to a fortunate issue, it would be to him a great loss of good fame were he to be found there stark naked; wherefore he refused altogether to go on such service in such fashion, declaring, however, that if he might go clad and carrying his sword in his hand he would willingly do what they wanted.

Now Filippo had travelled all the way from France to foregather with his lady-love, and, in considering the difficult parts to which they had come, he perceived that his friend was speaking and that the lady was acting with good show of reason; so, after many and divers arguments, for the reason that the lady remained firmly fixed in her purpose and that he himself was more than ever fired with amorous desire, he besought Ciarlo almost with tears that, by the bonds of friendship, he would consent to oblige them, what though the thing itself might be unseemly.

Therefore Ciarlo, seeing how great was the passion which possessed his friend, and to what a pass the affair had come, determined that he would if need be meet death itself rather than be wanting in service to Filippo.

Thereupon the waiting-woman taking Ciarlo by the hand led him in the dark to the lady, and she, having given him kindly welcome, took him into her own chamber, and there bade him take off all his clothes and get into the bed, keeping his sword at hand. Then she softly bade him be of good heart and have patience, for she would soon return and release him. This done, she went full of joy to her Filippo, and having led him into another room they reaped the full and delightful fruit of their desire.

Now when Ciarlo had waited, not two, but four hours, he began to think that it was full time for the lady, or at least for his trusty comrade, to come and set him free; so, hearing no one coming, and perceiving that it was near daybreak, he said to himself:

“If these others, all afire with love, feel no concern at having left me here to play a fool’s part, it is now full time for me to take thought of myself and of my honour.”

Having softly got out of bed, himseeming that the lady’s husband was asleep, he went with the sheet over his shoulders to try to escape, but was hugely annoyed at finding the chamber door securely locked outside; and, not knowing where the windows were, nor on what place they looked, he went back to the bed in a fury.

He heard sounds which told him that the other occupant of the bed was awake and moving, and, though he was pricked both by fear and curiosity, he kept aloof and spake not a word. While he was thus troubled in mind he marked through the fissures of the windows that it was now broad day, and, fearing amain lest he should be espied by his bed-partner, he turned his back, and, gathering himself together and keeping his sword ready for his needs, he resolved to leave whatever might befall him to Fortune, and kept still, mightily troubled in mind.

Before long he heard sounds of the fires being kindled throughout the house, and the hasty steps of the servants as they ran to fetch water; wherefore he determined at the last rather to die as beseemed a good cavalier than to be found there stark naked and making shift for a woman; so, having leapt out of bed with his drawn sword, he went to the door, and, as he was using all his force to open the same, he became aware how someone was unfastening it from without.

He drew back somewhat, and then saw enter Filippo, laughing heartily and holding the lady by the hand. The two straightway began to embrace him in merry wise, albeit they saw he was bursting with rage. But when the lady perceived that he was all bemused, and unwitting where he was, she took him by the hand and said to him:

“My good sir, by the sincere love I bear towards you, and also by that which you have towards certain others, I will assure myself that I may speak to you concerning a matter which intimacy such as ours will allow us to discuss. I know not whether Nature may have failed to bestow upon you French gentlemen that which she always gives to the lower animals. I mean to say that I know of no male beast, whether wild or tame, which, when under the sway of love, will not recognise the female by her odour. And you, forsooth, a wise and discreet gentleman, who have come hither all the way from France on account of love, can it be that your frozen nature is so sluggish that, when Fortune lets you spend the whole of a long night by the side of her for whom you have shown such great tokens of love, you failed to scent out who she was?”

Then, having led him up to the bedside, she let him see and know clearly that it was her sister and no one else who had lain beside him during the night which was just passed.

When he perceived this thing the cavalier was not a little ashamed of himself, but finally all four laughed and joked so merrily that they could scarce stand upright on their feet; and because of the pass to which things had come, it seemed meet to all that, for the setting right of the fault aforesaid, they should once more divide in pairs.

Whereupon Ciarlo, having got back into bed, plucked the fresh flower and the earliest fruit of the goodly garden which fell to his lot, and the two friends remained there, each taking delight with his own lady, until the husband came back from western parts.


[115] _Kruptadia_: Heilbronn: Henninger Frères, 1883: vol. 1: _Secret
Stories from the Russian_.

A peasant had a daughter who said unto him: “Little father, Vannka would fain futter me.” “Ah! thou fool!” quoth the peasant. “Why give thyself to a stranger? We will futter thee right well ourselves.”

He took an iron stud, warmed it in the stove, and planted it right in her coynte, in such fashion that she could not piss for three months.

Vannka encountered the young girl and again made his proposal.

“Permit me to futter thee,” said he.

Quoth she:

“Thou ravest, Vannka, who art sprung from the devil. My little father hath futtered me, and he hath so scorched my coynte that for three months I have not been able to piss.”

“Fear not, simpleton. My yard is cold.”

“Thou liest, Vannka, devil’s offspring. Let me touch it.”

“Take it, then.”

She took his yard in her hand and cried:

“Ah! wretched devil! thou seest well ‘tis warm! Dip it in the water!”

Vannka dipped his yard in the water and whistled with pain.

“See!” quoth the girl. “It hisseth! I told thee ‘twas burning, and thou didst deceive me, thief!”

And she would not let herself be futtered by Vannka.


[116] _Les Faceties de Pogge_ (Poggio) _Florentin_: Translated by
Pierre des Brandes: Paris: Gamier Frères, n.d. The English rendering
is, of course, our own.

_Of a young wife who was made a fool of by her old husband._

A native of Florence, already old, espoused a young maid, whom the matrons had instructed to resist the first assault of her husband on the wedding night, and to yield herself as reluctantly as possible. She refused, therefore, point-blank, to accede to his desires.

The husband, ‘decks cleared for action and with all sail furled,’ was astonished by this refusal, and asked why she would not give way to his wishes. The virgin replied that she had a pain in her head; whereupon the husband ‘disarmed,’ lay down on his side, and slept till morn.

The young wife, when she perceived that her husband left her alone, felt remorse in that she had followed the counsels of the gossips; she aroused her husband, and told him that she no longer had a pain in the head.

“Ah!” quoth the husband. “I, now, have a pain ... in another part.”[117] And he left his wife virgin as before.

[117] “The text has a play upon words,” says the translator, “which
could be translated if the French words had the same meaning as the
Latin:--_Dixit (puella) se non amplius dolere caput. Tum ille: ‘At
ego nunc doleo caudam.’_ (The girl said that she no longer had a pain
in the head. Said the husband: ‘But I have a pain in my tail.’)”
This note, we must confess, is a source of some mystification to us,
since the relationship between the French and Latin words is both
simple and direct. _Cauda_, of course, is the Latin word for _tail_:
in the erotic sense it designates the _penis_. (_C.f._ Blondeau:
_Dictionnaire érotique latin-française_: Liseux: Paris, 1885.) The
Italians use the word _coda_ in a similar sense. _Tail_, in French,
is _queue_; in erotic literature it is also a highly common term
for the _membrum virile_. (_C.f._ Landes: _Glossaire érotique de la
langue française_, and Farmer: _Slang and its Analogues_.) Again,
in English, _tail_ is a slang synonym either for the _penis_ or the
female _pudendum_. _C.f._ Farmer: _Slang and its Analogues_, who gives
numerous examples of the use of the word in this sense. We append a
few of his quotations:--(1) Chaucer, _Cant. Tales_, 6047-8: “For al so
siker as cold engendreth hayl, A likerous mouth must han a likerous
TAYL.” (2) Rochester, _Poems_: “Then pulling out the rector of the
females, Nine times he bath’d him in their piping tails.” (3) Motteux,
_Rabelais_, V., xxi.: “They were pulling and hauling the man like mad,
telling him that it is the most grievous ... thing in nature for the
TAIL to be on fire....”

‘Tis a good plan, therefore, to accept what may be profitable and pleasant when ‘tis offered.


Quoting from Mérard de Saint-Just, (_Espiègleries Joyeusetés_), Poggio’s translator gives a variant in verse of the foregoing story. We reproduce it in less ambitious English prose:--

“Pierre the Red, wrapped in his bed-clothes, felt himself stimulated by the burning flame of the god of love, and he invited his wife to come straightway to his arms. It chanced that she was praying, and she made reply: ‘Wait a while.’ And whilst her _Paters_ and her _Agnus’_ and her _Aves_ were accomplished, Pierre’s ardour had had time to grow cold. She entered the bed, but the chilled husband maintained his pretence. She drew near him; he did not budge. ‘Beloved, what dost wish? I have said my prayers.’--’Good,’ quoth Pierre the Red. ‘But I have grown soft.’”


[118] _Kruptadia_: Heilbronn: Henninger Frères, 1883: vol. 1: _Secret
Stories from the Russian_.

An old man had a son, a fine lad. Another old man had a daughter, a marriageable girl. They pictured these two young ones married.

“Ivanouchka,” said the father, “I desire thee to marry the daughter of our neighbour; approach her and discourse gently and courteously with her.”

“Machoutka,” said the other old man, “I would give thee in marriage to the son of our neighbour; seek to meet him and have pleasant converse with him.”

These two young persons met in the street and greeted each other.

“Ivanouchka,” quoth the young girl, “my father hath bade me have pleasant discourse with thee.”

“My father hath instructed me likewise,” answered the youth.

“What shall we do? Where sleepest thou, Ivanouchka?”

“In the hay.”

“As for me,” quoth the girl, “I sleep in the coach-house. Come this night to me, and we will hold pleasant converse together.”

Thus it was. During the night Ivanouchka went and lay down with Machoutka.

“Camest thou by the threshing-floor?” asked she.

“Yea. Hast thou seen the heap of dung?”

“I have seen it.”

“What shall we do now?”[119]

[119] The young people are obviously nervous, and are making

“I must see if thou hast a good instrument.”

“Come, look,” said he, and undid his drawers. “Behold my riches!”

“‘Tis too big for me! See how small is mine!”

“Let me see if mine will go in.”

And the youth set himself to make the trial; his yard rose up erect like a stake, and when he thrust it in, the young girl cried with all her might:

“Ah! that hurteth me! How it biteth!”

“Have no fear. My yard hath not sufficient room; for that reason it is so angry.”

“I told thee that there was not sufficient space for it.”

“Wait--it will stretch.”

Anon, when he made her to feel much pleasure, she said to him:

“Ah! my little heart! Thy riches are indeed worth much money.”

They performed and fell asleep.

But the girl awoke during the night, and kissed the backside of the young man, which she took for his face. He let her do this to satiety, and the girl said to him:

“Knowest thou, Vania, that thou smellest most scurvily!”


[120] Béroalde de Verville: _Le Moyen de Parvenir_: Paris, Gamier
Frères; also _Fantastic Tales or The Way to Attain_: translated
by Arthur Machen: Carbonnek, 1890. Our extract is a blend of both
versions, though we have adhered more closely than Machen to the
original text. _Vide_ also _Excursus_ to this story.

Once on a time there lived alone in a lodging near St. Ives a young man. ‘Twas at the time when the debate was running high ‘twixt the monks and the ministers whether ‘twere better to say: “Blessed are they that have dined well,” or, “Blessed are they that laugh.” The young man took but scant interest in these theological discussions, and devoted his attention to the maid, who was a fine enough young thing, though somewhat green. He would talk with her coolly and discreetly, and one day said:

“Thou art from the country, little friend?”

“Truly, sir.”

“I was assured of it and shall love thee none the less: thou art a good girl and a good housekeeper.”

“I thank thee kindly, sir.”

“Well, little friend, since I love thee so much, and that thou mayst serve us well, I must e’en tell thee, for thine own good profit, of a certain ill that befalleth country maids when they come to dwell in the town; ‘tis that small eggs do grow in their bellies and harden there, so that these poor maids have to show their posteriors to the doctor. I would grieve shouldst thou come to that, and it shall not be so an thou wilt hear me. I will do something for thee, and I see that ‘tis full time to begin, for, by thy colour, I can tell that the eggs are already there.”

“Indeed, sir, I am greatly beholden, for truly I am not what I was.”

“To-morrow morning I will give thee something for this malady.”

When morning came, she went to his chamber and he gave her a spoonful of white hypocras,[121] telling her to go about her house-work and, anon, to break her fast on a little dry bread. This treatment was continued for two or three days, but one morning, when her mistress was out of the way, he took hold of the maid and, laughing gently, pushed her against the bed as if to look into her mouth.

[121] An infusion of cinnamon bark, soft almonds, and a little musk
and amber, in wine sweetened with sugar. The word is probably derived
from Hippocrates, the famous Greek doctor.

“Alas! sir! what wouldst do?” she cried.

“I shall do thee no ill; I would break an egg which is fast hardening.”

She let him do it, and he did it so well that he put live flesh in live flesh.[122] So he finished as soon as he had begun, and she found the business so much to her liking, although he had cooked her somewhat, that she came back again and again to have the eggs broken; in sooth, she had wished for a belly in which one might break eggs for an hundred years without doing aught else.

[122] We omit the two interjections to be found here in the original
text, not because they are highly flavoured, but simply because they
have no bearing on the narrative. Nor do they merit translation in a

One day she loitered over long at this pleasant pursuit, and her mistress fell to scolding her when she descended, saying:

“Thou sly wench! Thou hast been in mischief with that man above! Idiot! Little hussy! What hast been about up there?”

“Naught, madam. Be not wroth; ‘tis as I shall tell thee.”

“Thou hast been after no good with that man above.”

“Nay, madam, thou dost him wrong; he is the most honest man in the world. I had eggs in my belly, and he broke them for me.”

“Eggs, thou slut! what eggs?”

“Behold, madam, if ‘tis not so; I will lift my smock; thou canst see my front part, which is yet all damp with the white of the eggs, which came out when he broke them.”


_Le Moyen de Parvenir_ of Béroalde de Verville, Canon of St. Gatien at Tours, once a Hugenot, then a Catholic, finally “neither one nor the other,”[123] is a work little known to the English reader, be he student or bibliophile. The cause is not far to seek; no _complete_ and _unexpurgated_ English translation of this much censured book exists. Machen’s rendering, while claiming to be the first in our language, is in no sense full and literal, although free and full-flavoured; the translator, as he admits in his humourous preface, “has been forced, much to his sorrow, to weed out some strongly-scented flowers from this Canonical Garden.” His text, indeed, shows many notable omissions, in particular the more licentious asides and interjections which have no actual bearing on the stories; further, there are sundry additions not found in the old French text--“odd scraps from his own workshop,” as Machen terms them.

[123] _Dissertation_ de Bernard de la Monnoye sur _Le Moyen de

For the student, then, there are: Machen’s delightful (but _partial_) translation, limited to 500 numbered copies and now a rare book,[124] and numerous editions in _old_ French, some expurgated, and all difficult of understanding where the average English reader is concerned. As we note in the preface to Garnier’s latest issue, the work, for the greater part, “is an enigma to modern readers and contains a crowd of obscurities ... it would need volume after volume to explain and comment upon everything that calls for explanation and comment.”

[124] An experienced auctioneer of books recently told us that until
December last he had never met with a copy. Strangely enough, two
copies were sold in a week of that month, one, in every respect as
clean and perfect as when printed over thirty years ago, realising
£4.15s. We believe that a few extra copies on large paper still exist,
but the booksellers ask a prohibitive price for them.

_The Way to Attain_ or _The Right Way with Women_ (the title of de Verville’s book has suffered various translations) would seem to have a dual personality; one: a clear-cut collection of stories, witty, realistic, free, Rabelaisian, or obscene as you choose to term them; another: the same stories, enmeshed in a mass of innuendo, obscure sayings, licentious and scatalogical asides, and--sometimes--almost meaningless phraseology. The trouble is to separate the grain from the chaff, the stories from the irrelevant verbiage--not that the latter is not often highly entertaining. Bernard de la Monnoye, in his _Dissertation_ (_cit. sup._), bears out our criticism when explaining the plan of the book. “The author supposes a sort of general banquet,” he writes, “where, without regard for rank or degree, he introduces persons of every kind and age, scallawags for the most part, who, with no object but their own amusement, talk with the utmost freedom, and passing almost imperceptibly from subject to subject, cause the stories to be lost to sight. In fact, they are so jumbled up in the book that one is hard put to find them....”

Both extracts from _The Way to Attain_ given in this volume (Coypeau and His Thread and The Breaker of Eggs) are told without interruption in the original French text, but each is introduced in the most haphazard fashion, preceded and followed by a veritable welter of inconsequent remarks; if Machen found it necessary to weed out the most strongly scented flowers from the Canonical garden, the student will find it equally necessary to dig before he finds the best.

There are other good things, however, besides the stories in _The Way to Attain_. While many of the asides and interjections are gross, vulgar, and, seemingly, pointless, others show a pretty and pungent wit. The canon is for ever having a thrust at his cloth, the monks, and the nuns, and some of his criticisms are worth repeating:--

“Where there are no monks there can be no shamelessness.”

“None sit more at their ease than monks, ministers, and consecrated folk, who, in the place of keeping the holy orders that have been given them, make them into ordure, and leaving the orders of God take the orders of the devil, who giveth them grace to be more lewd and whorish than other men.”

“The women that frequent the abodes of churchmen are not their wives, ... they are first maids, then mates, then mistresses.”

“It is better to have in one’s house a wench with whom one can disport theologically than to go about wandering from pillar to post like a high-toby, and run the risk of getting a nip, like Cornu, who sighed as he lay a-dying of the pox: ‘Now I begin to appreciate the beauties of domesticity.’”

“Once on a time he was prebendary of Chartres, but he left his stall to marry a pretty lass, and the morning after the wedding, as they lay in bed, he said to her: ‘Now, sweetheart, thou dost see how well I love thee, for I left my fair prebend that I might have thee.’ She replied: ‘Then thou wast a fool; thou shouldst have kept thy prebend, and had me also.’ ... It would appear that she knew that some canons are given to waggery.”

“Such cloisterlings, who love not women, are always ready to fish up some ancient, stinking heresy under the pretence of discoursing against the Reformation, talking of vices they impute to others, the which are more tolerable than their own.... It is better to keep a wench than to trouble the peace of Christendom, and to do the work is true godliness, which is the reason why bishops are called fathers-in-God, ... fathers-in-God sounds better than fathers-in-law. And they are certainly godly, that is happy; for happy, thrice happy is the father who hath not the trouble of feeding his children.”

“He was as liberal as our bishop, who had rather give a crown to a wench than a groat to a poor man.”

“Assuredly she is a strumpet. I saw her talking to the curate of St. Paul’s, who had promised his rector to be discreet, and run no more after the wenches, or at least that he would abstain during Easter week. But Lord! he hadn’t the patience, and on Easter Monday he spoke to his woman, and the parson saw him. When they met he told him of it, saying: ‘I saw thee speaking to a wench. Where is thy shame? Canst not refrain, at least during the holy season?’ ‘Pardon,’ he replied, ‘I did but make an appointment for next week.’”[125]

[125] Our excerpts are drawn chiefly from Machen’s translation.

We have quoted sufficiently to show that amid this welter of words there is fruit worth the plucking. The general tone of the work, however, is coarse; if the canon desired to refer to what is not usually mentioned in the most Catholic of assemblies, he did so in the crudest language. To our age the grossness of his obscenity seems unnecessary; out of place; unpardonable. Is it so? The conversational atmosphere of a present-day smoking-room would have made de Verville blush. The old canon wrote as men in those times spoke; we of to-day write not as we speak, but as we think we ought to speak. It is this pitiful hypocrisy which blinds us to the fact that in _Le Moyen de Parvenir_ we have some of the brightest tales and sayings ever penned by human hand.

                     HERE ENDS THE FIRST VOLUME
                      OF ANTHOLOGICA RARISSIMA:
                        THE WAY OF A VIRGIN:
                          PRINTED IN LONDON
                           FOR MEMBERS OF
                             THE BROVAN
                             SOCIETY IN

      *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. Variations in hyphenation have been standardised but all other spelling and punctuation remains unchanged.

Italics are represented thus _italic_.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Anthologica Rarissima: The Way of a Virgin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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