November 13, 2020
Parlamente speaks again, this time relating the tale of a good woman who receives an unwanted confession of love—a poem and a diamond ring—from a captain who has promised to take her and her husband on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem as soon as he returns from waging war for the king. Astonished and appalled, the woman writes to his wife, posing as a nun and telling her that her husband confessed prior to his departure his regret at having failed to love her as she deserved and asked the nun to send her the ring as a sign of his devotion. His wife weeps in joy at this news, and the good woman, receiving her grateful reply, takes delight in the reconciliation she has brought about. In the end, the captain dies heroically in battle, survived only by a Turk in his service who returns to tell the tale in France, where he is mourned by the court and by his wife, who is at peace believing he loved her.
This story is set “In the household of the Regent,” Louise de Savoie (1476-1531), Marguerite de Navarre’s mother, who served as regent twice for her son François I. Louise de Savoie is also named explicitly among the mourners at the tale’s end.
Here is portrait of a young Louise de Savoie (from the École de Jean Clouet), at the Fondation Bemberg in Toulouse.