Page:Lives of Fair and Gallant Ladies Volume II.djvu/146

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LIVES OF FAIR AND GALLANT LADIES

known by the name of "big Méray," was for taking up the cudgels for her companion. The only reply Matha did vouchsafe her was this: "Go to! I'm not attacking you, Méray; you're a great war-horse, and should be barded!" [2] For insooth she was the very biggest woman, maid or wife, I have ever seen. She did make complaint of the speech to the Queen, saying the other had called her a mare and a great war-horse to be barded. The Queen was so sore angered that Matha had to quit the Court for some days, spite of all the favour he had with his kinswoman Madame de Valentinois; and for a month after his return durst not set foot in the apartment of the Queen and her maids of honour.

The Sieur de Gersay did a much worse thing toward one of the Queen's maids of honour, to whom he was ill-disposed, for to avenge him upon her, albeit he was never at a loss for ready words; for indeed he was as good as most at saying a witty thing or telling a good story, and above all when spreading a scandal, of which art and mystery he was a past master; only scandal-mongering was at that time strongly forbidden. One day when he was present at the after dinner assembly of the Queen along with the other ladies and gentlemen of her Court, the custom then being that the company should not sit except on the floor when the Queen was present, de Gersay having taken from the pages and lackeys a ram's pizzle they were playing with in the Office Court of the Palace, sitting down beside her he did slip the same into the girl's frock, and this so softly as that she did never notice it,—that is not until the Queen did proceed to rise from her chair to retire to her private apartment. The girl, whose name I had better not give, did straight spring up, and as

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