Jus d’andouille (sausage juice)

In 1640, in his French Curiosities, the royal interpreter, Antoine Oudin, helpfully defines an old expression, ‘jus d’andouille’ (sausage juice) as ‘sperm’. In our more innocent times, should you search for ‘jus d’andouille’ on google you will find that it’s the name of an aperitif or even a by-product used as a substitute for petrol. Here Dominic Hills re-animates the old meaning. Anyone interested in pursuing the role of pork products in French Renaissance literature should of course consult Rabelais’s Fourth Book (1552), in which Friar John leads a regiment of cooks to battle fiendish female sausages, led by their queen, Niphleseth (‘Penis’ in Hebrew).

Pescher des estrons au clair de la lune (To fish for turds in the moonlight)

Pescher des estrons

In a speech on the creation of women by Bruscambille, various characters, including a fool and a midget, put forward different versions of the origin of the fairer sex. The midget claims that the first woman was created from a cart. At the request of the man driving the cart, it was turned into something nicer, namely a woman, its shafts becoming her thighs, which is why women are still so keen to be shafted. Yet the others reject the midget’s version of events and send him off to Montmartre to fish for turds in the moonlight (‘pescher des estrons au clair de la lune’). A sign perhaps that Montmartre, then a village outside of Paris, was a place where men would go to … fish for turds in the moonlight.