Brantome’s discussion of chastity belts is very modern sounding, if you read it while thinking about government demands for “key escrow” in the late 20th century and the resurgence in our current times of impossible arguments for “safe encryption.” Ain’t nobody going to be happy with that but the blacksmith:

In the time of King Henry,” says Brantome, “there was a certain peddler that brought to the fair of Saint-Germain a dozen of certain tools for bridling women’s affairs. They were made of iron and went around the waist like a girdle and branched down to be caught at the bottom and locked. They were framed with so much art, that it was not possible for the woman, once she was bridled with one, ever to be able to avail herself of it for sweet pleasure, having but a few holes to serve for making her water.

They say there were some five or six peevish jealous husbands, who bought some of them and bridled their wives with them in so safe a way that they might well say: Farewell merry time! And so there was one of these women who took it into her head to keep company with a locksmith, who was very subtle in his art, and to whom she showed the said apparatus and her own and everything.

The husband being gone out to the fields, the locksmith bent his mind so closely to the affair, that he forged a false key for it; the lady had the pleasure of fastening and opening it at all hours and when she wished. The husband never found anything amiss with it; so she took her fill of this fine pleasure, in spite of the jealous foppish, cuckold husband, who fancied himself secure from cuckoldom.

But the roguish locksmith, who made the false key, did still better; he was the first to enjoy her and thus made a cuckold of him.

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