Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK The Deceyte of Women . . . (n.p., 1568) here the actual quote from The Deceyte of Women  is far more nuanced then Ekirch would have us believe. The husband feels for his wife to check that she is there because he is suspicious she may be committing adultery. The wife does actually arrange for her maid to sleep in the bed with her husband so she can indeed be with another man. Although Ekirch implies that this is an example of behaviour following waking at midnight after ‘first sleep’ further on in the book we find that “about .iii, a clocke afore day: the olde knight dyd turne him, and he groped for hys wyfe". Ther was a gentylman yt which was very bold in the feares of warres, and entyerly loued a yerge fayre Lady, and had so oftentymes cōmunycacyō wyth her: that she consented to hym in all thynges that he wolde desyre of her, And whā yt he had done his wyl a certaine time with her: thā went he into spayne with hys lord for to kepe warre and in the meane while yt he was absēt: his louer was maried to an olde knyght the which knew right wel ye other mā, but this olde knyght knew not yt he was hys wyfes paramour, but at last it cā to his knowledge, of yt which he was not wel cō¦tent, And so it fortuned yt in shorte time after, her para∣mour came home againe, & by chaūce in an euenyng cā to ye castel where yt his sweeting was, & the old knight made him good cheere, for he was of his olde acquaintaūce, but it was halfe agaynst his hert. And in ye mene whyle yt•he old knight went about for to make al thynges ••dy for to welcome his gest withal: he sat & talked wt his louer his prety foole yt he was wont for to play wt a•• & desyred of her for to haue the olde freendshypp yt he was went to haue in time paster that she was wedded: she denyed hym & sayd that it was not possyble for to haue place & time suffycient. Than sayd her gest, O my dere beloued os•is, yf it please you ye may doo •esō freendshyp, for your husband shal know nothyng ther of, whā that he is a bed and a stepe that ye come and vy∣sit me in my chāber, or in any other place where that it shal please you, or yf ye please I wyl come to you, then she sayd it may not be so, for my husbande is very soone awake, and I should haue great drede and sorowe, & also he neuer waketh, but he doth fele after me, & whā that he misseth me: than he wyl thinke what there is to doo. Thā he demaūded, what doth he more? More quod she: nothing, but turneth him again, for yf he com ones in a moneth that is muche to hym, for it is but fely for to fable wt you, for yf it came I wolde take it wyth all my harte, Than sayde he, I beseche the my sweete loue make it so that I may ly wyth the to night. Than she answered and sayd, I know a remedy, I haue a seruing mayde to the whych I wyll shew my secrete, and with her I wyll take counsell. And so incontinent she called her and sayd, my beloued mayde, ye must now helpe me in a matter, for I trust you best for to kepe my preuytie, Thā sayd the mayde, what yt shal please you I wil be glad for to doo. Thā sayd her lady to her,. This knight I loue aboue all men, & I wolde be sory that he should departe from hens, except I had spoke preuelye wt hym and it is not possible that I may speke secretely wt hym wtout that ye wil be so good as to kepe my place by my husband in my bed this night, for it is hys custom whā yt he waketh to feele after me, & than he layeth hym to slepe agayne, but I praye what so euerye doo ye maye not speake one worde but suffre all that he doth to you for I knowe of a very certayne that ye shalbe wythout sorow or drede for any thing that my husbond thy mai∣ster wyl doo, Than sayd the yonge lustly mayden to her Lady, your commaundement I wyll be glad to doo it, So soone as they had supte: ther wence all and walked abrode and the lady shewed her paramour how that her maide should kepe her place by her husband for ye night of the which the knight was maruailous glad, And so after that whan they had dronke, they went all to bed and the knyght went into his chāber where yt he shuld lye the which was gorgeously ordeyned, and there the table was beset with suckettes, confectes, & other cost¦ly thinges and of the best wine that might be got, And so incontinently the olde knight and his lady hath both vnclothed them, and went to bed and my lady did put the candell, and the mayde stoode preuely by the bed syde, and whā the candell was out: she went to bed to her mayster, & so lay wyth him, & my lady went incon∣tynent to hym yt abode her commynge, and about .iii, a clocke afore day: the olde knight dyd turne him, and he groped for hys wyfe, & thought yt she had layne by hym & so layde his hand vpon her brestes, & he felt that they were harde and rounde & thā incontinent he knew yt it was not his wyfe, for her brestes were not so roūd nor so hard: Thā he tooke her in his armes & gaue her a kis wt that ye longed therto; Al his busines was harde for hym, for she was a mayde, And so the poore mayde durst not speake one worde for sauinge of her maystres honestie, whan this was done: he begā to call to him that lay by his wife, & sayd how, how, syrknyght of whens be ye? speke once to me: The knyght hearing this: was fore amased, & my lady was whole agast, but they helde theyr pace, Than he called agayne, how my gest where be ye speke to me, Than sayd the knyght what is youre wyl syr, Than sayde he a ha syr I wyll euer be gladde of this exchaunge, the knyght sayd what exchaunge good syr: Mary for an olde hoore, to haue a yōg proper mayd for so haue ye serued me of the whyche I thanke you & so this gest wt his wyfe knew not what to say, And also ye poore mayd was hole ashamed, as wel for the dyshho∣nestie of her lady, as for her owne dishonestie & maydē∣hode, the which she had lost so pyteously, & so departed frō thens, & after had wept bytterly therfore, and the straūge knyght is departed from thence wtout any thā¦kes geuynge to any body, nor sayd not once adewe, but left the lady in great sorowe and drede, & so the straūge knyght came neuer there after that, but howe that the lady byd, and what chaunce she had: of that I had no∣tinges, and therfore & can wryte no more therof. Deposition of Dorothy Rodes, March 18, 1650, in Depositions from the Castle of York, Relating to Offences Committed in the Northern Counties in the Seventeenth Century (London, 1861), 28 here In discussing the case of  Mary Sykes, Ekirch makes a couple of elementary mistakes, 1) Dorothy Rodes is actually Sara’s mother 2) Mary Sykes is the alleged witch, who attacks Sara in the night “XXII. MARY SYKES AND ANOTHER. FOR WITCHCRAFT March 18, 1649-50. Before Henry Tempest, Esq. Dorothy Rodes, of Bolling, widow- saith, thatt, upon Sonday night was a seavennight, she and Sara Rodes, her dawghter, with a litle childe,  lay all in bedd together; and, after theire first sleepe, she heareing the saide Sara quakeing and holding her hands together, she asked her what she ailed, and she answered " A, mother, Sikes wife came in att a hole att the bedd feete, and upon the bedd,  and tooke me by the throate, and wold have put her fingers in my mowth, and wold needs choake me." And, this informant asking her why she did not speake, she answered she cold not speake for thatt the saide Mary Sykes fumbled about her throatc and tooke her left syde thatt she cold not speake.” here   Geoffroy de La Tour-Landry, Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry (London, 1906), fol. 3b here “And thanne he brought her a bedde. And there she laye so longe till the deuell tempted her; for, whanne she "was almost hole, she made the prioure come lye with her ther she laye, euene by her husbonde bi night in the bedde. And the good man douted  hym that there was sum man with his wyff, and made semblaunt that he had slepte *, and routed: and whanne they were doing the foule dede of synne, he hastely toke oute a long kniff and persed hem bothe thoruog into the bedde. And thus he slough hem bothe in doinge this orible synne.” Note that this passage does not mention ‘first sleep’ and is actually a description of infidelity, and has little if anything to do with Ekirch’s point. BACK
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