December 23, 2020
In today’s tale, Ennasuite introduces us to the Prince de Belhoste, a man so fine and upstanding that he tells his wife whenever he falls in love with another woman! After entering into “rather too intimate a friendship” with Madame de Neufchâtel, a widow, he becomes jealous of her attentions to the Seigneur de Chariots and confronts her. She does not reveal to him that she has agreed to marry the Seigneur de Chariots, and so the prince, catching the seigneur climbing out of Madame de Neufchâtel’s window one night, has his valet give him a good scare, sends him running for his life, and steals the wolf-skin cloak he has dropped. He tells his wife what has happened, and the two have a good laugh, then sleep “sweetly and restfully,” while Madame de Neufchâtel and the Seigneur de Chariots spend their night “in toil and turmoil.” Thus, says Ennasuite, by concealing her marriage plans from her princely admirer, Madame de Neufchâtel brought even more shame upon herself.
This story is set during François I’s stay “at a certain fine château.” During his reign, François I built or renovated eleven castles, including the those of Chambord, Fontainebleau, Amboise, Blois, and Villers-Cotterêts.
Here is a view of the Château de Villers-Cotterêts, begun around 1530 and slated to become the Cité internationale de la langue française in 2022.