Unequal pay?

An account of the French court’s expenses for 1622 gives the sum of 1,800 livres for the jester Maître Guillaume, and 1,200 for his female counterpart, Mathurine la Folle.  There is no explanation for this disparity, and we can only hope it isn’t an early example of unequal pay for equal play. 

A Mathurine, douze cens livres.

A Maître Guillaume, par les mains de Maître Jean Lobeys, son gouverneur, dix-huict cens livres.

Note the mention of Maître Guillaume’s guardian, Jean Lobeys.  It wasn’t uncommon for European fools to be provided with such a person and according to Fournier’s archival delving, the carers themselves could be jesters. 

Source: Nicolas Rémond, Sommaire traicté du revenu et despense des finances de France, ensemble les pensions de nos seigneurs et dames de la Cour, escrit par Nicolas Rémond, secrétaire d’estat (1622), in Variétés historiques et littéraires, Edouard Fournier, ed. (Paris: 1856), vol. VI, p. 77 and p. 257, note 215.


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