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he, 'I hire you from this moment.' • What to do?' said I. · Naught crooked, Sir Candor,' says he. "I will feed thee all the way and find thee work; and take half thine earnings, no inore. 'Agreed,' said I, and gave my hand on it.
“Now, servant,' said he, we will dine. But ye need not stand behind my chair, for two reasons: first, I ha' got no chair; and next, good-fellowship likes me better than state.' And out of his wallet he brought flesh, fowl, and pastry, a good dozen of spices lapped in flax-paper, and wine fit for a king. Ne'er feasted I better than out of this beggar's wallet, now my master. When we had well eaten I was for going on. But,' said he, servants should not drive their masters too hard, especially after feeding, for then the body is for repose and the mind turns to contemplation;' and he lay on his back gazing calmly at the sky, and presently wondered whether there were any beggars up there. I told him I knew but of one, called Lazarus. Could he do the cul de jatte better than I ?' said he, and looked quite jealous like. I told him nay; Lazarus was honest, though a beggar, and fed daily of the crumbs fal’n from a rich man's table, and the dogs licked his sores. “Servant,' quo' he, 'I spy a foul fault in thee. Thou liest without discretion; now, the end of lying being to gull, this is no better than fumbling with the divell’s tail. I pray Heaven thou mayst prove to paint better than thou cuttest whids, or I am done out of a dinner. No beggar eats crumbs, but only the fat of the land; and dogs lick not a beggar's sores, being made with spearwort, or ratsbane, or biting acids, — from all which dogs, and even pigs, abhor. My sorcs are made after my proper receipt; but no dog would lick e’en them twice. I have made a scurvy bargain: art a cozening knave, I doubt, as well as a nincompoop.' I deigned no reply to this bundle of lies, which did accuse heavenly truth of falsehood for not being in a tale with him.
“He rose and we took the road; and presently we came to a place where were two little wayside inns, scarce a furlong apart. Halt,' said my master. • Their armories are sore faded all the better. Go thou in; shun the master; board the wife; and flatter her inn sky-high, all but the armories, and offer to color them dirt cheap.' So I went in and told the wife I was a painter, and would revive her armories cheap; but she sent me away with a rebuff. I to my master. He groaned. 'Ye are all fingers and no tongue,' said he: 'I have made a
scurvy bargain. Come and hear me patter and flatter.' Between the two inns was a high hedge. He goes behind it a minute and comes out a decent tradesman. We went on to the other inn, and then I heard him praise it so fulsome as the very wife did blush. “But,' says he, “there is one little, little fault:
: your armories are dull and faded. Say but the word, and for a silver franc my apprentice here, the cunningest e'er I had, shall make them bright as ever.' Whilst she hesitated, the rogue told her he had done it to a little inn hard by, and now the inn's face was like the starry firmament. D'ye hear that, my man?' cries she: "The Three Frogs have been and painted up their armories. Shall The Four Hedgehogs be outshone by them?' So I painted, and my master stood by like a lord, advising me how to do, and winking to me to heed him none, and I got a silver franc. And he took me back to The Three Frogs, and on the way put me on a beard and disguised me, and flattered The Three Frogs, and told them how he had adorned The Four Hedgehogs, and into the net jumped the three poor simple frogs, and I earned another silver franc. Then we went on and he found his crutches, and sent me forward, and showed his cicatrices d'emprunt, as he called them, and all his infirmities, at The Four Hedgehogs, and got both food and money.
• Come, share and share,' quoth he: so I gave him one franc. 'I have made a good bargain,' said he. "Art a master limner, but takest too much time.' So I let him know that in matters of honest craft things could not be done quick and well. “Then do them quick,' quoth he. And he told me my name was Bon Bec; and I might call him Cul de Jatte, because that was his lay at our first meeting. And at the next town my master Cul de Jatte bought me a psaltery, and sat himself up again by the roadside in state like him that erst judged Marsyas and Apollo, piping for vain glory. So I played a strain. Indifferent well, harmonious Bon Bec,' said he haughtily. Now tune thy pipes.' So I did sing a sweet strain the good monks taught me; and singing it reminded poor Bon Bec, Gerard erst, of his young days and home, and brought the water to my e'en. But looking up, my master's visage was as the face of a little boy whipt soundly, or sipping foulest medicine. “Zounds, stop that belly-ache blether,' quoth he: that will ne'er wile a stiver out of peasants' purses; 't will but sour the nurses' milk, and gar the kine jump into
rivers to be out of earshot on’t. What, false knave, did I buy thee a fine new psaltery to be minded o' my latter end withal ? Hearken! these be the songs that glad the heart and fill the minstrel's purse.' And he sung so blasphemous a stave, and eke so obscene, as I drew away from him a space that the lightning might not spoil the new psaltery. However, none came, being winter; and then I said, Master, the Lord is debonair. Held I the thunder, yon ribaldry had been thy last, thou foul-mouthed wretch.'
“Why, Bon Bec, what is to do?' quoth he. I have made an ill bargain. O perverse heart, that turneth from doctrine.' So I bade him keep his breath to cool his broth: ne'er would I shame my folk with singing ribald songs. ...
“Then I to him, "Take now thy psaltery, and part we here; for art a walking prison, a walking hell.' But lo! my master fell on his knees, and begged me for pity's sake not to turn him off. . What would become of him? He did so love honesty.' Thou love honesty ?' said I. Ay,' said he; not to enact it; the saints forbid: but to look on. 'Tis so fair a thing to look on. Alas, good Bon Bec,' said he; ‘hadst starved peradventure but for me. Kick not down thy ladder! Call ye that just ? Nay, calm thy choler! Have pity on me! I must have a pal: and how could I bear one like myself after one so simple as thou? He might cut my throat for the money that is hid in my belt. 'Tis not much; 't is not much. With thee I walk at mine ease; with a sharp I dare not go before in a narrow way. Alas! forgive me. Now I know where in thy bonnet lurks the bee, I will ’ware his sting; I will but pluck the secular goose.' “So be it,' said I. * And example was contagious: he should be a true man by then we reached Nürnberg.
'Twas a long way to Nürnberg.' Seeing him so humble, I said, Well, doff rags, and make thyself decent: 't will help me forget what thou art.' And he did so; and we sat down to our nonemete.
“ Presently came by a reverend palmer with hat stuck round with cockle-shells from Holy Land, and great rosary of beads like eggs of teal, and sandals for shoes. And he leaned aweary on his long staff, and offered us a shell apiece. My master would none.
But I, to set him a better example, took one, and for it gave the poor pilgrim two batzen, and had his blessing. And he was scarce gone when we heard savage cries, and came a sorry sight, one leading a wild woman in a chain, all rags,
and howling like a wolf. And when they came nigh us, she fell to tearing her rags to threads. The man sought an alms of us, and told us his hard case. ’T was his wife stark raving mad; and he could not work in the fields, and leave her in his house to fire it, nor cure her could he without the saintys help, and had vowed six pounds of wax to St. Anthony to heal her, and so was fain beg of charitable folk for the money. And now she espied us, and flew at me with her long nails, and I was cold with fear, so devilish showed her face and rolling eyes and nails like birdys talons. But he with the chain checked her sudden, and with his whip did cruelly lash her for it, that I cried, “Forbear! forbear! She knoweth not what she doth;' and gave him a batz.
“And being gone, said I, Master, of those twain I know not which is the more pitiable.' And he laughed in my face. “Behold thy justice, Bon Bec,' said he. Thou railest on thy poor, good, within-an-ace-of-honest master, and bestowest alms on a
• Vopper !' said I: "what is a vopper?' Why, a trull that feigns madness. That was one of us, that sham maniac, and wow but she did it clumsily. I blushed for her and thee. Also gavest two batzen for a shell from Holy Land, that came no farther than Normandy. I have culled them myself on that coast by scores, and sold them to pilgrims true and pilgrims false, to gull flats like thee withal.' What!' said I: • that reverend man?' •One of us !' cried Cul de Jatte; one of us! In France we call them “Coquillarts,” but here “ Calmierers.” Railest on me for selling a false relic now and then, and wastest thy earnings on such as sell naught else. I tell thee, Bon Bec,' said he, there is not one true relic on earth's face. The saints died a thousand years agone, and their bones mixed with the dust: but the trade in relics, it is of yesterday ; and there are forty thousand tramps in Europe live by it, selling relics of forty or fifty bodies: oh, threadbare lie! And of the true Cross enow to build Cologne Minster. Why then may not poor Cul de Jatte turn his penny with the crowd? Art but a scurvy tyrannical servant to let thy poor master from his share of the swag with your whoreson pilgrims, palmers, and friars, black, gray, and crutched; for all these are of our brotherhood and of our art, — only masters they, and we but poor apprentices, in guild. For his tongue was an ell and a half.
“. A truce to thy irreverend sophistries,' said I,' and say what company is this a-coming.' Bohemians,' cried he. “Ay, ay,
this shall be the rest of the band. With that came along so motley a crew as never your eyes beheld, dear Margaret. Marched at their head one with a banner on a steel-pointed lance, and girded with a great long sword, and in velvet doublet and leathern jerkin, the which stuffs ne'er saw I wedded afore on mortal flesh, and a gay feather in his lordly cap, and a couple of dead fowls at his back, - the which an the spark had come by honestly, I am much mistook. Him followed wives and babes on two lean horses, whose flanks still rattled like parchment drum, being beaten by kettles and caldrons. Next an armed man a-riding of a horse, which drew a cart full of females and children: and in it, sitting backwards, a lusty, lazy knave, lance in hand, with his luxurious feet raised on a holy-water pail that lay along; and therein a cat, new kittened, sat glowing o'er her brood, and sparks for eyes. And the cart-horse cavalier had on his shoulders a round bundle; and thereon did perch a cock and crowed with zeal, poor ruffler, proud of his brave feathers as the rest, — and haply with more reason, being his own.
And on an ass another wife and new-born child; and one poor quean afoot scarce dragged herself along, so near her time was she, yet held two little ones by the hand, and helplessly helped them on the road. And the little folk were just a farce: some rode sticks with horses' heads between their legs, which pranced and caracoled, and soon wearied the riders so sore they stood stock-still and wept, which cavaliers were presently taken into cart and cuffed. And one, more grave, lost in a man's hat and feather, walked in Egyptian darkness, handed by a girl ; another had the great saucepan on his back, and a tremendous three-footed clay pot sat on his head and shoulders, swallowing him so as he too went darkling, led by his sweetheart three foot high. When they were gone by, and we had both laughed lustily, said I, Natheless, master, my bowels they yearn for one of that tawdry band ; even for the poor wife so near the down-lying, scarce able to drag herself, yet still, poor soul, helping the weaker on the
CATHERINE. “Nay, nay, Margaret. Why, wench, pluck up heart. Certes thou art no Bohemian."
KATE. “Nay, mother, 't is not that, I trow, but her father. And, dear heart, why take notice to put her to the blush ?”
RICHART. “So I say.”
“ And he derided me. Why, that is a “ biltreger," said he, and you waste your bowels on a pillow, or so forth. I told