The Heptameron, by Marguerite de Navarre

Sixth Day.

On the Sixth Day are related the deceits practised by Man on Woman, Woman on Man, or Woman on Woman, through greed, revenge, and wickedness.

Prologue.

In the morning the Lady Oisille went earlier than was her wont to make ready for her reading in the hall, but the company being advised of this, and eager to hearken to her excellent instruction, used such despatch in dressing themselves that she had not long to wait. Perceiving their fervour, she set about reading them the Epistle of St. John the Evangelist, which is full of naught but love, in the same wise as, on the foregoing days, she had expounded to them St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. The company found this fare so much to their taste, that, although they tarried a half-hour longer than on the other days, it seemed to them as if they had not remained there a quarter of an hour altogether. From thence they proceeded to the contemplation of the mass, when one and all commended themselves to the Holy Ghost in order that they might that day be enabled to satisfy their merry audience; and, after they had broken their fast and taken a little rest, they set out to resume their accustomed diversion.

And the Lady Oisille asking who should begin the day, Longarine made answer —

“I give my vote to Madame Oisille; she has this day read to us so beauteous a lesson, that she can but tell us some story apt to crown the glory which she won this morning.”

“I am sorry,” said Oisille, “that I cannot tell you aught so profitable this afternoon as I did in the morning. But at least the purport of my story shall not depart from the teaching of Holy Scripture, where it is written, ‘Trust not in princes, nor in the sons of men, in whom is not our salvation.’ 1 And that this truth may not be forgotten by you for lack of an example, I will tell you a tale which is quite true, and the memory of which is so fresh that the eyes of those that saw the piteous sight are scarcely yet dried.”

1 Psalm cxlv. 1, 2. — M.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 23:09