Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

Literature and Art. 
houlehold in no favourable point of view. The majority of thefe tell 
loofe ilzories of huibands deceived by their fair fpoufes, or of tricks played 
upon unfufpetiting damfels. In fome inftances the treatment of the 
hufband is perhaps what may be called of a lefs objectionable character, 
as in the fabliau of La Vilain Mire (the clown doctor), printed in 
Barbazan (iii. 1), which was the origin of Moliere's well-known comedy 
of " Le Medecin malgre lui." A rich peafant married the daughter of a 
poor knight; it was of courfe a marriage of ambition on his part, and of 
intereft on hers-one of thofe ill-forted match es which, according to feudal 
ientiments, could never be happy, and in which the wife was confidered 
as privileged to treat her hulband with all pofhble contempti In this 
inllzance the lady hit upon an ingenious mode of punilhing her huiband 
for his want of fubmilhon to her ill-treatment. Meffengers from the 
king paffed that way, feeking a fkilful doctor to cure the king's daughter 
of a dangerous malady. The lady fecretly informed thefe meffengers 
that her hufband was a phyfician of extraordinary talent, but of an 
eccentric temper, for he would never acknowledge or exercife his art 
until firlt fubjected to a fevere beating. The huiband is feized, bound, 
and carried by force to the king's court, where, of courfe, he denies all 
knowledge of the healing art, but a fevere beating obliges him to com- 
pliance, and he is fuccefsful by a combination of impudence and chance. 
This is only the beginning of the poor man's miferies. Inliead of being 
allowed to go home, his fame has become fo great that he is retained at 
court for the public good, and, with a rapid fucceliion of patients, fearful 
of the refults of his confcious ignorance, he refufes them all, and is 
fubjected in every cafe to the fame ill-treatment to force his compliance. 
The examples in which the hutband, on the other hand, outwits the wife 
are few. A fabliau by a poet who gives himfelf the name of Cortebarbe, 
printed alfo by Barbazan (iii. 398), relates how three blind beggars were 
deceived by a clerc, or fcholar, of Paris, who met them on the road near 
Compiegne. The clerk pretended to give the three beggars a bezant, 
which was then a good fum of money, and they haftened joyfully to the 
next tavern, where they ordered a plentiful fupper, and feaited to their 
hearts' content. But, in fa6t, the clerk had not given them a bezant at 
G. all,


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