Raoul de Cambrai’s Seneschal Rebukes Him for His Crimes

November 21, 2019

Amongst all the members of the baron’s household there reigned the most complete and charming familiarity, tempered with fear and respect. The servitors spoke to their master with a liberty which required no rebuke. From this point of view I know nothing more striking, nothing more beautiful than the remonstrance addressed by the Seneschal of Raoul de Cambrai to his brutal master after he had destroyed the convent of Origni, and burned the nuns alive. The wretch did not appear to have any remorse for his acts, and he seated himself at table delighted with the prospect of the dinner which he expected to enjoy. Now this of all days was Good Friday, the most solemn fast day.

Entry of the village Origny(-sur-Seine). Photo by Michel FOUCHER.

“Bring me roast peacocks,” he cried, “swans, au poivre, and venison in plenty!”

Then the Seneschal, utterly scandalized, boldly cried out, “What are you thinking of? Is it thus that you deny Christianity and your baptism? This is Good Friday, a day on which all sinners worship. Miserable wretches that we are; we have sinned deeply, terribly; we have burned the nuns, and violated the convent. We shall never be reconciled to God! His pity cannot excuse our cruelty.”


León Gautier, Chivalry, trans. Henry Frith (London: George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., 1891), 408–9.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 701


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