Story 43

December 13, 2020

Today’s story is about a young lady named Jambique (Camelle in some manuscript versions of the Heptameron) who feigns unwavering virtue and denounces illicit love affairs to the princess she serves, but who secretly loves a gentleman who is also in the princess’s service. Unable to bear “the fire of passion,” she arranges secret meetings with him, concealing her identity with a mask (a touret de nez) over her eyes and a cap (a cornette) over her face, and promising to be his mistress as long as he never asks who she is. Eventually, curiosity overcomes him and he brings to their meeting a piece of chalk with which he marks her back while they embrace so that he is able to identify her easily when he sees her in public later. When he confronts her with his knowledge, she denies it, denounces him, and, as promised, never sees him again.

Our storytellers debate whether or not pleasure and folly are constitutive of women’s nature. In his illustration for this story, Freudenberger shows the haughty—unmasked—Jambique refusing to recognize her lover.

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