The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book I Chapter 25

The Infante, being fifteen years of age, went wandering, as his way was, through corridors, staircases, and chambers about the castle. But most of all he was seen prowling about the ladies’ apartments, in order to brawl with the pages who like himself were like cats in ambush in the corridors. Others planting themselves in the court, would be singing some tender ditty with their noses turned aloft.

The Infante, hearing them, would show himself at a window, and so terrify the poor pages that beheld this pallid muzzle instead of the soft eyes of their fair ones.

Among the court ladies there was a charming Flemish woman from Dudzeele hard by Damme, plump, a handsome ripe fruit and marvellously lovely, for she had green eyes and red crimped hair, shining like gold. Of a gay humour and ardent temperament, she never hid from any one her inclination for the lucky lord to whom she accorded the divine right of way of love over her goodly pleasaunce. There was one at this moment, handsome and high spirited, whom she loved. Every day at a certain hour she went to meet him, and this Philip discovered.

Taking his seat upon a bench set close up against a window, he watched for her and when she was passing in front of him, her eye alight, her lips parted, amiable, fresh from the bath, and rustling about her all her array of yellow brocade, she caught sight of the Infante who said to her, without getting up from his seat:

“Madame, could you not stay a moment?”

Impatient as a filly held back in her career, at the moment when she is hurrying to the splendid stallion neighing in the meadow, she answered:

“Highness, everyone here must obey your princely will.”

“Sit down beside me,” said he.

Then looking at her luxuriously, stonily, and warily, he said:

“Repeat the Pater to me in Flemish; they have taught it to me, but I have forgotten it.”

The poor lady then must begin to say a Pater and he must needs bid her say it slower.

And in this way he forced the poor thing to say as many as ten Paters, she that thought the hour had come to go through other orisons.

Then covering her with praises and flatteries, he spoke of her lovely hair, her bright colour, her shining eyes, but did not venture to say a word to her either of her plump shoulders or her smooth round breast or any other thing.

When she thought she could get away and was already looking out into the court where her lord was waiting for her, he asked her if she knew truly what are the womanly virtues.

As she made no answer for fear of saying the wrong thing, he spoke for her and preaching at her, he said:

“The womanly virtues, these be chastity, watchfulness over honour, and sober living.”

He counselled her also to array herself decently and to hide closely all that pertained to her.

She made sign of assent with her head saying:

That for His Hyperborean Highness she would much sooner cover herself with ten bearskins than with an ell of muslin.

Having put him in ill humour with this retort, she fled away rejoicing.

However, the fire of youth was lit up in the Infante’s bosom, but it was not that hot burning flame that incites strong souls to high deeds, but a dark, sinister flame come out of hell where Satan had without doubt kindled it. And it shone in his gray eyes like the wintry moon upon a charnel-house, and it burned him cruelly.