V. page 5
 Se votre ami qui bien vous sert
En jouant vous changeoit les Dez,
Auroit-il pas _Chapeau de vert_.
LOUIS XI.--Brantome says that Louis XI., who seems not to have
had a special secretary, being one day desirous of getting
something written, perceived an ecclesiastic who had an inkstand
hanging at his side; and the latter having opened it at the
king's request, a set of dice fell out. `What kind of _SUGAR-
PLUMS_ are these?' asked his Majesty. `Sire,' replied the
priest, `they are a remedy for the Plague.' `Well said,'
exclaimed the king, `you are a fine _Paillard_ (a word he often
used); `_YOU ARE THE MAN FOR ME_,' and took him into his
service; for this king was fond of bon-mots and sharp wits, and
did not even object to thieves, provided they were original and
provocative of humour, as the following very funny anecdote will
show. `A certain French baron who had lost everything at play,
even to his clothes, happening to be in the king's chamber,
quietly laid hands on a small clock, ornamented with massive
gold, and concealed it in his sleeve. Very soon after, whilst he
was among the troop of lords and gentlemen, the clock began to
strike the hour. We can well imagine the consternation of the
baron at this contretemps. Of course he blushed red-hot, and
tightened his arm to try and stifle the implacable sound of
detection manifest--the _flagrans delictum_--still the clock went
on striking the long hour, so that at each stroke the bystanders
looked at each other from head to foot in utter bewilderment.
`The king, who, as it chanced, had detected the theft, burst out
laughing, not only at the astonishment of the gentlemen present,
who were at a loss to account for the sound, but also at the
originality of the stunning event. At length Monsieur le Baron,
by his own blushes half-convicted of larceny, fell on his knees
before the king, humbly saying:--"Sire, the pricks of gaming are
so powerful that they have driven me to commit a dishonest
action, for which I beg your mercy." And as he was going on in
this strain, the king cut short his words, exclaiming:--"The
_PASTIME_ which you have contrived for us so far surpasses the
injury you have done me that the clock is yours: I give it you
with all my heart." '
 Duverdier, _Diverses Lecons_.