Short summary - Heptaméron - Margaret of Valois-Angoulême - Marguerite de Navarre

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Heptaméron
Margaret of Valois-Angoulême - Marguerite de Navarre

Ten noble gentlemen and ladies who went to the waters got stuck on their way back because of the autumn thaw and the attacks of robbers. They find shelter in a monastery and wait for the workers to build a bridge across the flooded river, which should take ten to twelve days. Thinking about how to while away the time, friends turn to Madame Oiseille, the oldest and most respectable lady in their company, for advice. She advises to read the Holy Scriptures. Everyone asks Madame Oiseille to read the Scriptures to them in the morning aloud, while the rest of the time they decide, following the example of the heroes of Boccaccio, to tell different stories in turn and discuss them. Not long before this, the Dauphin, his wife and Queen Margaret, along with several courtiers, wanted to write a book similar to The Decameron, but not include a single novel in it that would not be based on a true incident. Since more important matters distracted the august persons from this intention, the cheerful company decides to carry out their plan and present the resulting collection of truthful stories to the august persons.
Novella eighth. A young man named Borne from County Allais wanted to cheat on his virtuous wife with a maid. The maid told the mistress about Bourne's harassment, and she decided to teach the lascivious husband a lesson. She told the servant to make an appointment with him in the dressing room, where it was dark, and came instead of her herself. But Borne informed his friend about his plans for the maid, and he wanted to visit the maid after him. Borne could not refuse his friend and, after staying with the imaginary servant for some time, gave him his place. A friend had fun with an imaginary servant, confident that her husband had returned to her, until the morning and at parting took off her wedding ring from her finger. Imagine Bourne's surprise when the next day he saw his wife's wedding ring on his friend's finger and realized what a trap he had set up for himself! And his wife, whom he, hoping for some kind of salutary misunderstanding, asked where she was the ring, scolded him for lust, which would have forced him even "a goat in a cap to take for the most beautiful girl in the world." Having finally made sure that he had instructed himself the horns, Borne did not begin to tell his wife that it was not he who came to her the second time and she involuntarily committed a sin. He also asked his friend to be silent, but the secret always becomes clear, and Borne earned the nickname cuckold, although the reputation of his wife was not affected by this.
Novella ten. The noble youth Amadur fell in love with the daughter of the Countess of Aranda Florida, who was only twelve years old. She was a very noble family, and he had no hope of marrying her, but he could not stop loving her. To be able to see Florida more often, he married her friend Avanturada and, thanks to his intelligence and courtesy, became his man in the house of the Countess of Arand. He learned that Florida loves the son of Enrique of Aragon. To spend more time with her, he spent hours listening to her stories about the son of the Duke of Aragon, diligently melting his feelings for her. And then one day, unable to restrain himself any longer, he confessed his love to Florida. He did not demand any reward for his loyalty and dedication, he just wanted to maintain the friendship of Florida and serve her all his life. Florida wondered: why should Amadur ask for what he already has? But Amadour explained to her that he was afraid to betray himself with a careless look or word and give rise to gossip, from which the reputation of Florida could suffer. Amadur's arguments convinced Florida of his noble intentions, and she calmed down. To divert his eyes, Amadur began courting the beautiful Polina, and at first Avanturada, and then Florida, began to be jealous of him for her. Amadur went to war, and his wife stayed with Florida, who promised not to be separated from her.
Amadour was taken prisoner, where his only consolation were letters from Florida. The mother decided to marry Florida for the Duke of Cardon, and Florida dutifully married the unloved one. The son of Enrique of Aragon died, and Florida was very unhappy. Returning from captivity, Amadur settled in the house of the Duke of Cardon, but soon Avanturada died, and Amadur felt embarrassed to live there. With grief, he fell ill, and Florida came to visit him. Deciding that many years of loyalty deserved a reward, Amadur tried to take possession of Florida, but he failed. Virtuous Florida, offended by Amadur's encroachment on her honor, was disappointed in him and did not want to see him again. Amadour left, but could not come to terms with the idea that he would never see Florida again. He tried to win over to his side her mother, the Countess of Aranda, who favored him.
Amadur went to war again and performed many feats. Three years later, he made another attempt to conquer Florida - he came to the Countess of Aranda, with whom she was staying at that time, but Florida rejected him again. Taking advantage of the nobility of Florida, who did not tell his mother about Amadur's unworthy behavior, he quarreled between mother and daughter, and the Countess of Aranda did not speak to Florida for seven years. The war between Grenada and Spain began. Florida's husband, her brother, and Amadur fought bravely against their enemies and died a glorious death. After burying her husband, Florida cut her hair as a nun, "choosing as her wife the one who saved her from the overly passionate love of Amadur and from the melancholy that did not leave her in marriage."
Novella thirty-third. Count Charles of Angoulême was informed that a very pious girl lived in one of the villages near Cognac, who, oddly enough, became pregnant. She assured everyone that she had never known a man and could not understand how it happened. According to her, only the holy spirit could do this. People believed her and venerated her as a saint.
The priest in this parish was her brother, a stern and middle-aged man, who after this incident began to keep his sister locked up. The count suspected that there was some kind of deception, and ordered the chaplain and the judicial officer to investigate. On their instructions, the priest after mass publicly asked his sister how she could become pregnant and at the same time remain a virgin. She replied that she did not know, and swore under fear of eternal damnation that no man came closer to her than her brother. Everyone believed her and calmed down, but when the chaplain and the judicial officer reported this to the count, he, on reflection, assumed that her brother was her seducer, because “Christ had already come to us on earth and we should not wait for the second Christ”. When the priest was imprisoned, he confessed everything, and after his sister was relieved of the burden, they were both burned at the stake.
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Novella forty-fifth. The upholsterer from Tours was very fond of his wife, but this did not prevent him from courting other women. And now he was captivated by the servant, however, so that his wife would not guess about this, he often scolded the girl out loud for laziness. Before the Day of Beating the Babies, he told his wife that it was necessary to teach the sloth a lesson, but, since his wife was too weak and compassionate, he undertook to whip the maid himself. The wife did not mind, and the husband bought the rods and dipped them in brine. When the Day of the beating of babies came, the upholsterer got up early, went up to the maid and really gave her a “beating”, but not at all what his wife had thought about. Then he went down to his wife and told her that the wretch would remember for a long time how he taught her a lesson. The maid complained to the hostess that her husband had done wrong to her, but the upholsterer's wife thought that the maid meant whipping, and said that the upholsterer did it with her knowledge and consent. The maid, seeing that the hostess approved of her husband's behavior, decided that, apparently, it was not such a sin, since it was being done at the instigation of someone whom she considered a model of virtue. She no longer resisted the master's harassment and no longer cried after the “beating of babies”.
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And then one winter the upholsterer took the maid out into the garden in the same shirt in the morning and began to make love to her. A neighbor saw them through the window and decided to tell her deceived wife about everything. But the upholsterer noticed in time that the neighbor was watching them, and decided to outwit her. He entered the house, woke up his wife and took her out into the garden in one shirt, just as he had taken the maid out before. Having had a lot of fun with his wife right in the snow, he returned to the house and fell asleep. In the morning in the church, a neighbor told the upholsterer's wife what scene she had watched from the window, and advised her to fire the shameless maid. In response, the upholsterer's wife began to assure her that it was she, and not the servant, who was having fun with her husband in the garden: husbands must be humored - so she did not refuse her husband such an innocent request. At home, the upholsterer's wife conveyed to her husband all her conversation with her neighbor and, not for a moment suspecting her husband of treason, continued to live with him in peace and harmony.
Novella sixty-second. One lady wanted to entertain another with an amusing story and began to tell her own love adventure, pretending that it was not about her, but about some unknown lady. She told how one young nobleman fell in love with his neighbor's wife and for several years sought her reciprocity, but to no avail, for although his neighbor was old and his wife was young, she was virtuous and remained faithful to her husband. Desperate to persuade the young woman to treason, the nobleman decided to seize her by force. Once, when the lady's husband was away, he entered her house at dawn and rushed to her bed dressed, without even taking off his boots with spurs. Waking up, the lady was terribly frightened, but no matter how she tried to reason with him, he did not want to listen to anything and seized her power, threatening that if she told anyone about this, he would announce publicly that she herself had sent for him. The lady was in such fear that she did not even dare to call for help. After a while, hearing that the maids were coming, the young man jumped out of bed to flee, but in a hurry he caught a spur on the blanket and pulled it to the floor, leaving the lady lying completely naked. And although the narrator allegedly spoke of another lady, she could not resist and exclaimed: "You will not believe how surprised I was when I saw that I was lying completely naked." The listener burst out laughing and said: "Well, as I see, you know how to tell entertaining stories!" The unlucky storyteller tried to justify herself and defend her honor, but this honor was no longer in sight.
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Novella seventy-first. The saddler from Amboise, seeing that his beloved wife was dying, so grieved that the compassionate maid began to console him, so successfully that he knocked her down on the bed right in front of his dying wife and began to caress her. Unable to bear such lewdness, the saddler's wife, who had not been able to utter a word for two days, cried out: “No! Not! Not! I'm not dead yet! " - and burst into desperate abuse. Anger cleared her throat, and she began to recover, "and not once since then has she had to reproach her husband for loving her little."
At the beginning of the eighth day, the story ends.