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Title: The Decameron, Volume I

Author: Giovanni Boccaccio

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The Decameron


Giovanni Boccaccio

Faithfully Translated

By J.M. Rigg

with illustrations by Louis Chalon





NOVEL I. - Ser Ciappelletto cheats a holy friar by a false confession, and dies; and, having lived as a verybad man, is, on his death, reputed a saint, and called San Ciappelletto.

NOVEL II. - Abraham, a Jew, at the instance of Jehannot de Chevigny, goes to the court of Rome, and havingmarked the evil life of clergy, returns to Paris, and becomes a Christian.

NOVEL III. - Melchisedech, a Jew, by a story of three rings averts a danger with which he was menaced bySaladin.

NOVEL IV. - A monk lapses into a sin meriting the most severe punishment, justly censures the same fault inhis abbot, and thus evades the penalty.

NOVEL V. - The Marchioness of Monferrato by a banquet of hens seasoned with wit checks the mad passionof the King of France.

NOVEL VI. - A worthy man by an apt saying puts to shame the wicked hypocrisy of the religious.

NOVEL VII. - Bergamino, with a story of Primasso and the Abbot of Cluny, finely censures a sudden accessof avarice in Messer Cane della Scala.

NOVEL VIII. - Guglielmo Borsiere by a neat retort sharply censures avarice in Messer Ermino de' Grimaldi.

NOVEL IX. - The censure of a Gascon lady converts the King of Cyprus from a churlish to an honourabletemper.

NOVEL X. - Master Alberto da Bologna honourably puts to shame a lady who sought occasion to put him toshame in that he was in love with her.


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NOVEL I. - Martellino pretends to be a paralytic, and makes it appear as if he were cured by being placedupon the body of St. Arrigo. His trick is detected; he is beaten and arrested, and is in peril of hanging, butfinally escapes.

NOVEL II. - Rinaldo d'Asti is robbed, arrives at Castel Guglielmo, and is entertained by a widow lady; hisproperty is restored to him, and he returns home safe and sound.

NOVEL III. - Three young men squander their substance and are reduced to poverty. Their nephew, returninghome a desperate man, falls in with an abbot, in whom he discovers the daughter of the King of England. Shemarries him, and he retrieves the losses and re-establishes the fortune of his uncles.

NOVEL IV. - Landolfo Ruffolo is reduced to poverty, turns corsair, is captured by Genoese, is shipwrecked,escapes on a chest full of jewels, and, being cast ashore at Corfu, is hospitably entertained by a woman, andreturns home wealthy.

NOVEL V. - Andreuccio da Perugia comes to Naples to buy horses, meets with three serious adventures inone night, comes safe out of them all, and returns home with a ruby.

NOVEL VI. - Madam Beritola loses two sons, is found with two kids on an island, goes thence to Lunigiana,where one of her sons takes service with her master, and lies with his daughter, for which he is put in prison.Sicily rebels against King Charles, the son is recognized by the mother, marries the master's daughter, and, hisbrother being discovered, is reinstated in great honour.

NOVEL VII. - The Soldan of Babylon sends one of his daughters overseas, designing to marry her to the Kingof Algarve. By divers adventures she comes in the space of four years into the hands of nine men in diversplace. At last she is restored to her father, whom she quits again in the guise of a virgin, and, as was at firstintended, is married to the King of Algarve.

NOVEL VIII. - The Count of Antwerp, labouring under a false accusation, goes into exile. He leaves his twochildren in different places in England, and takes service in Ireland. Returning to England an unknown man,he finds his sons prosperous. He serves as a groom in the army of the King of France; his innocence isestablished, and he is restored to his former honours.

NOVEL IX. - Bernabo of Genoa, deceived by Ambrogiuolo, loses his money and commands his innocentwife to be put to death. She escapes, habits herself as a man, and serves the Soldan. She discovers thedeceiver, and brings Bernabo to Alexandria, where the deceiver is punished. She then resumes the garb of awoman, and with her husband returns wealthy to Genoa.

NOVEL X. - Paganino da Monaco carries off the wife of Messer Ricciardo di Chinzica, who, having learnedwhere she is, goes to Paganino and in a friendly manner asks him to restore her. He consents, provided she bewilling. She refuses to go back with her husband. Messer Ricciardo dies, and she marries Paganino.


NOVEL I. - Masetto da Lamporecchio feigns to be dumb, and obtains a gardener's place at a convent ofwomen, who with one accord make haste to lie with him.

NOVEL II. - A groom lies with the wife of King Agilulf, who learns the fact, keeps his own counsel, finds outthe groom and shears him. The shorn shears all his fellows, and so comes safe out of the scrape.

NOVEL III. - Under cloak of confession and a most spotless conscience, a lady, enamoured of a young man,induces a booby friar unwittingly to provide a means to the entire gratification of her passion.

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NOVEL IV. - Dom Felice instructs Fra Puccio how to attain blessedness by doing a penance. Fra Puccio doesthe penance, and meanwhile Dom Felice has a good time with Fra Puccio's wife.

NOVEL V. - Zima gives a palfrey to Messer Francesco Vergellesi, who in return suffers him to speak with hiswife. She keeping silence, he answers in her stead, and the sequel is in accordance with his answer.

NOVEL VI. - Ricciardo Minutolo loves the wife of Filippello Fighinolfi, and knowing her to be jealous,makes her believe that his own wife is to meet Filippello at a bagnio on the ensuing day; whereby she isinduced to go thither, where, thinking to have been with her husband, she discovers that she has tarried withRicciardo.

NOVEL VII. - Tedaldo, being in disfavour with his lady, departs from Florence. He returns thither after awhile in the guise of a pilgrim, has speech of his lady, and makes her sensible of her fault. Her husband,convicted of slaying him, he delivers from peril of death, reconciles him with his brothers, and thereafterdiscreetly enjoys his lady.

NOVEL VIII. Ÿ Ferondo, having taken a certain powder, is interred for dead; is disinterred by the abbot, whoenjoys his wife; is put in prison and taught to believe that he is in purgatory; is then resuscitated, and rears ashis own a boy begotten by the abbot upon his wife.

NOVEL IX. - Gillette of Narbonne cures the King of France of a fistula, craves for spouse Bertrand deRoussillon, who marries her against his will, and hies him in despite to Florence, where, as he courts a youngwoman, Gillette lies with him in her stead, and has two sons by him; for which cause he afterwards takes herinto favour and entreats her as his wife.

NOVEL X. - Alibech turns hermit, and is taught by Rustico, a monk, how the Devil is put in hell. She isafterwards conveyed thence, and becomes the wife of Neerbale.


NOVEL I. - Tancred, Prince of Salerno, slays his daughter's lover, and sends her his heart in a golden cup: shepours upon it a poisonous distillation, which she drinks and dies.

NOVEL II. - Fra Alberto gives a lady to understand that she is beloved of the Angel Gabriel, in whose shapehe lies with her sundry times; afterward, for fear of her kinsmen, he flings himself forth of her house, andfinds shelter in the house of a poor man, who on the morrow leads him in the guise of a wild man into thepiazza, where, being recognized, he is apprehended by his brethren and imprisoned.

NOVEL III. - Three young men love three sisters, and flee with them to Crete. The eldest of the sisters slaysher lover for jealousy. The second saves the life of the first by yielding herself to the Duke of Crete. Her loverslays her, and makes off with the first: the third sister and her lover are charged with the murder, are arrestedand confess the crime. They escape death by bribing the guards, flee destitute to Rhodes, and there indestitution die.

NOVEL IV. - Gerbino, in breach of the plighted faith of his grandfather, King Guglielmo, attacks a ship of theKing of Tunis to rescue thence his daughter. She being slain by those aboard the ship, he slays them, andafterwards he is beheaded.

NOVEL V. - Lisabetta's brothers slay her lover: he appears to her in a dream, and shews her where he isburied: she privily disinters the head, and sets it in a pot of basil, whereon she daily weeps a great while. Thepot being taken from her by her brothers, she dies not long after.

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NOVEL VI. - Andreuola loves Gabriotto: she tells him a dream that she has had; he tells her a dream of hisown, and dies suddenly in her arms. While she and her maid are carrying his corpse to his house, they aretaken by the Signory. She tells how the matter stands, is threatened with violence by the Podesta, but will notbrook it. Her father hears how she is bested, and, her innocence being established, causes her to be set at large;but she, being minded to tarry no longer in the world, becomes a nun.

NOVEL VII. - Simona loves Pasquino; they are together in a garden, Pasquino rubs a leaf of sage against histeeth, and dies; Simona is arrested, and, with intent to shew the judge how Pasquino died, rubs one of theleaves of the same plant against her teeth, and likewise dies.

NOVEL VIII. - Girolamo loves Salvestra: yielding to his mother's prayers he goes to Paris; he returns to findSalvestra married; he enters her house by stealth, lays himself by her side, and dies; he is borne to the church,where Salvestra lays herself by his side, and dies.

Nova IX. - Sieur Guillaume de Roussillon slays his wife's paramour, Sieur Guillaume de Cabestaing, andgives her his heart to eat. She, coming to wit thereof, throws herself from a high window to the ground, anddies, and is buried with her lover.

NOVEL X. - The wife of a leech, deeming her lover, who has taken an opiate, to be dead, puts him in a chest,which, with him therein, two usurers carry off to their house. He comes to himself, and is taken for a thief;but, the lady's maid giving the Signory to understand that she had put him in the chest which the usurers stole,he escapes the gallows, and the usurers are mulcted in moneys for the theft of the chest.



The lady and the friar (third day, third story) - Frontispiece

The three rings (first day, third story)

The dinner of hens (first day, fifth story)

Rinaldo D'Asti and the widow lady (second day, second story)

Alatiel dancing (second day, seventh story)

The wedding party (fourth day, introduction)

The daughter of the King of Tunis (fourth day, fourth story)

Simona and Pasquino (fourth day, seventh story)


Son of a merchant, Boccaccio di Chellino di Buonaiuto, of Certaldo in Val d'Elsa, a little town about midwaybetween Empoli and Siena, but within the Florentine "contado," Giovanni Boccaccio was born, most probablyat Paris, in the year 1313. His mother, at any rate, was a Frenchwoman, whom his father seduced during asojourn at Paris, and afterwards deserted. So much as this Boccaccio has himself told us, under a transparentveil of allegory, in his Ameto. Of his mother we would fain know more, for his wit has in it a quality,especially noticeable in the Tenth Novel of the Sixth Day of the Decameron, which marks him out as theforerunner of Rabelais, and prompts us to ask how much more his genius may have owed to his French

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ancestry. His father was of sufficient standing in Florence to be chosen Prior in 1321; but this brief term ofoffice--but two months--was his last, as well as his first experience of public life. Of Boccaccio's early yearswe know nothing more than that his first preceptor was the Florentine grammarian, Giovanni da Strada, fatherof the poet Zanobi da Strada, and that, when he was about ten years old, he was bound apprentice to amerchant, with whom he spent the next six years at Paris, whence he returned to Florence with an inveteraterepugnance to commerce. His father then proposed to make a canonist of him; but the study of Gratian provedhardly more congenial than the routine of the counting-house to the lad, who had already evinced a taste forletters; and a sojourn at Naples, where under the regime of the enlightened King Robert there were coteries oflearned men, and even Greek was not altogether unknown, decided his future career. According to FilippoVillani his choice was finally fixed by a visit to the tomb of Vergil on the Via Puteolana, and, though themodern critical spirit is apt to discount such stories, there can be no doubt that such a pilgrimage would be aptto make a deep, and perhaps enduring, impression upon a nature ardent and sensitive, and already consciousof extraordinary powers. His stay at Naples was also in another respect a turning point in his life; for it wasthere that, as we gather from the Filocopo, he first saw the blonde beauty, Maria, natural daughter of KingRobert, whom he has immortalized as Fiammetta. The place was the church of San Lorenzo, the day the 26thof March, 1334. Boccaccio's admiring gaze was observed by the lady, who, though married, proved no Laura,and forthwith returned his love in equal measure. Their liaison lasted several years, during which Boccacciorecorded the various phases of their passion with exemplary assiduity in verse and prose. Besides paying herdue and discreet homage in sonnet and canzone, he associated her in one way or another, not only with theFilocopo (his prose romance of Florio and Biancofiore, which he professes to have written to pleasure her),but with the Ameto, the Amorosa Visione, the Teseide, and the Filostrato; and in L'Amorosa Fiammetta hewove out of their relations a romance in which her lover, who is there called Pamfilo, plays Aeneas to herDido, though with somewhat less tragic consequences. The Proem to the Decameron shews us the after-glowof his passion; the lady herself appears as one of the "honourable company," and her portrait, as in the act ofreceiving the laurel wreath at the close of the Fourth Day, is a masterpiece of tender and delicate delineation.

Boccaccio appears to have been recalled to Florence by his father in 1341; and it was probably in that yearthat he wrote L'Amorosa Fiammetta and the allegorical prose pastoral (with songs interspersed) which heentitled Ameto, and in which Fiammetta masquerades in green as one of the nymphs. The Amorosa Visione,written about the same time, is not only an allegory but an acrostic, the initial letters of its fifteen hundredtriplets composing two sonnets and a ballade in honour of Fiammetta, whom he here for once ventures to callby her true name. Later came the Teseide, or romance of Palamon and Arcite, the first extant rendering of thestory, in twelve books, and the Filostrato, nine books of the loves and woes of Troilus and Cressida. Boththese poems are in ottava rima, a metre which, if Boccaccio did not invent it, he was the first to apply to sucha purpose. Both works were dedicated to Fiammetta. A graceful idyll in the same metre, Ninfale Fiesolano,was written later, probably at Naples in 1345. King Robert was then dead, but Boccaccio enjoyed the favourof Queen Joan, of somewhat doubtful memory, at whose instance he hints in one of his later letters that hewrote the Decameron. Without impugning Boccaccio's veracity we can hardly but think that the Decameronwould have seen the light, though Queen Joan had withheld her encouragement. He had probably been longmeditating it, and gathering materials for it, and we may well suppose that the outbreak of the plague in 1348,by furnishing him with a sombre background to heighten the effect of his motley pageant, had far more to dowith accelerating the composition than aught that Queen Joan may have said.

That Boccaccio was not at Florence during the pestilence is certain; but we need not therefore doubt thesubstantial accuracy of his marvellous description of the state of the stricken city, for the course andconsequences of the terrible visitation must have been much the same in all parts of Italy, and as to Florencein particular, Boccaccio could have no difficulty in obtaining detailed and abundant information from credibleeye-witnesses. The introduction of Fiammetta, who was in all probability at Naples at the time, and in anycase was not a Florentine, shews, however, that he is by no means to be taken literally, and renders itextremely probable that the facetious, irrepressible, and privileged Dioneo is no other than himself. At thesame time we cannot deem it either impossible, or very unlikely, that in the general relaxation of morale,which the plague brought in its train, refuge from care and fear was sought in the diversions which he

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describes by some of those who had country-seats to which to withdraw, and whether the "contado" was thatof Florence or that of Naples is a matter of no considerable importance. (1) It is probable that Boccaccio'sfather was one of the victims of the pestilence; for he was dead in 1350, when his son returned to Florence tolive thenceforth on the modest patrimony which he inherited. It must have been about this time that he formedan intimacy with Petrarch, which, notwithstanding marked diversity of temperament, character and pursuits,was destined to be broken only by death. Despite his complaints of the malevolence of his critics in the Proemto the Fourth Day of the Decameron, he had no lack of appreciation on the part of his fellow-citizens, and wasemployed by the Republic on several missions; to Bologna, probably with the view of averting the submissionof that city to the Visconti in 1350; to Petrarch at Padua in March 1351, with a letter from the Priorsannouncing his restitution to citizenship, and inviting him to return to Florence, and assume the rectorship ofthe newly founded university; to Ludwig of Brandenburg with overtures for an alliance against the Visconti inDecember of the same year; and in the spring of 1354 to Pope Innocent VI. at Avignon in reference to theapproaching visit of the Emperor Charles IV. to Italy. About this time, 1354-5, he threw off, in strikingcontrast to his earlier works, an invective against women, entitled Laberinto d'Amore, otherwise Corbaccio, acoarse performance occasioned by resentment at what he deemed capricious treatment by a lady to whom hehad made advances. To the same period, though the date cannot be precisely fixed, belongs his Life of Dante,a work of but mediocre merit. Somewhat later, it would seem, he began the study of Greek under one LeontiusPilatus, a Calabrian, who possessed some knowledge of that language, and sought to pass himself off as aGreek by birth.

Leontius was of coarse manners and uncertain temper, but Boccaccio was his host and pupil for some years,and eventually procured him the chair of Greek in the university of Florence. How much Greek Boccacciolearned from him, and how far he may have been beholden to him in the compilation of his elaborate Latintreatise De Genealogia Deorum, in which he essayed with very curious results to expound the inner meaningof mythology, it is impossible to say. In 1361 he seems to have had serious thoughts of devoting himself toreligion, being prodigiously impressed by the menaces, monitions and revelations of a dying Carthusian ofSiena. One of the revelations concerned a matter which Boccaccio had supposed to be known only to Petrarchand himself. He accordingly confided his anxiety to Petrarch, who persuaded him to amend his life withoutrenouncing the world. In 1362 he revisited Naples, and in the following year spent three months with Petrarchat Venice. In 1365 he was sent by the Republic of Florence on a mission of conciliation to Pope Urban V. atAvignon. He was employed on a like errand on the Pope's return to Rome in 1367. In 1368 he revisitedVenice, and in 1371 Naples; but in May 1372 he returned to Florence, where on 25th August 1373 he wasappointed lecturer on the Divina Commedia, with a yearly stipend of 100 fiorini d'oro. His lectures, of whichthe first was delivered in the church of San Stefano near the Ponte Vecchio, were discontinued owing to illhealth, doubtless aggravated by the distress which the death of Petrarch (20th July 1374) could not but causehim, when he had got no farther than the seventeenth Canto of the Inferno. His commentary is stilloccasionally quoted. He died, perhaps in the odour of sanctity, for in later life he was a diligent collector ofrelics, at Certaldo on 21st December 1375, and was buried in the parish church. His tomb was desecrated, andhis remains were dispersed, owing, it is said, to a misunderstanding, towards the close of the eighteenthcentury. His library, which by his direction was placed in the Convent of Santo Spirito at Florence, wasdestroyed by fire about a century after his death.

Besides the De Genealogia Deorum Boccaccio wrote other treatises in Latin, which need not here bespecified, and sixteen Eclogues in the same language, of which he was by no means a master. As for his minorworks in the vernacular, the earlier of them shew that he had not as yet wrought himself free from theconventionalism which the polite literature of Italy inherited from the Sicilians. It is therefore inevitable thatthe twentieth century should find the Filocopo, Ameto, and Amorosa Visione tedious reading. The Teseidedetermined the form in which Pulci, Boiardo, Bello, Ariosto, Tasso, and, with a slight modification, our ownSpenser were to write, but its readers are now few, and are not likely ever again to be numerous. Chaucerdrew upon it for the Knight's Tale, but it is at any rate arguable that his retrenchment of its perhaps inordinatelength was judicious, and that what he gave was better than what he borrowed. Still, that it had such a redactoras Chaucer is no small testimony to its merit; nor was it only in the Knight's Tale that he was indebted to it:

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the description of the Temple of Love in the Parlement of Foules is taken almost word for word from it. Evenmore considerable and conspicuous is Chaucer's obligation to Boccaccio in the Troilus and Criseyde, about athird of which is borrowed from the Filostrato. Nor is it a little remarkable that the same man, that in theTeseide and Filostrato founded the chivalrous epic, should also and in the same period of his literary activity,have written the first and not the least powerful and artistic of psychologic romances, for even such isL'Amorosa Fiammetta.

But whatever may be the final verdict of criticism upon these minor works of Boccaccio, it is impossible toimagine an age in which the Decameron will fail of general recognition as, in point alike of invention as ofstyle, one of the most notable creations of human genius. Of few books are the sources so recondite, insomuchthat it seems to be certain that in the main they must have be merely oral tradition, and few have exercised sowide and mighty an influence. The profound, many-sided and intimate knowledge of human nature which itevinces, its vast variety of incident, its wealth of tears and laughter, its copious and felicitous diction,inevitably apt for every occasion, and, notwithstanding the frequent harshness, and occasional obscurity of itsat times tangled, at times laboured periods, its sustained energy and animation of style must ever ensure forthis human comedy unchallenged rank among the literary masterpieces that are truly immortal.

The Decameron was among the earliest of printed books, Venice leading the way with a folio edition in 1471,Mantua following suit in 1472, and Vicenza in 1478. A folio edition, adorned, with most graceful wood-engravings, was published at Venice in 1492. Notwithstanding the freedom with which in divers passagesBoccaccio reflected on the morals of the clergy, the Roman Curia spared the book, which the austereSavonarola condemned to the flames. The tradition that the Decameron was among the pile of "vanities"burned by Savonarola in the Piazza della Signoria on the last day of the Carnival of 1497, little more than ayear before he was himself burned there, is so intrinsically probable--and accords so well with the extremepaucity of early copies of the work--that it would be the very perversity of scepticism to doubt it. It is by nomeans to the credit of our country that, except to scholars, it long remained in England, an almost entirelyclosed book. (2) Indeed the first nominally complete English translation, a sadly mutilated and garbledrendering of the French version by Antoine Le Macon, did not appear till 1620, and though successiveredactions brought it nearer to the original, it remained at the best but a sorry faute de mieux. Such as it was,however, our forefathers were perforce fain to be content with it.

The first Englishman to render the whole Decameron direct from the Italian was Mr. John Payne; but hiswork, printed for the Villon Society in 1886, was only for private circulation, and those least inclined todisparage its merits may deem its style somewhat too archaic and stilted adequately to render the vigour andvivacity of the original. Accordingly in the present version an attempt has been made to hit the mean betweenarchaism and modernism, and to secure as much freedom and spirit as is compatible with substantial accuracy.

(1) As to the palaces in which the scene is laid, Manni (Istoria del Decamerone, Par. ii. cap. ii.) identifies thefirst with a villa near Fiesole, which can be no other than the Villa Palmieri, and the second (ib. cap. lxxvi.)with the Podere della Fonte, or so-called Villa del Boccaccio, near Camerata. Baldelli's theory, adopted byMrs. Janet Ann Ross (Florentine Villas, 1901), that the Villa di Poggio Gherardi was the first, and the VillaPalmieri the second, retreat is not to be reconciled with Boccaccio's descriptions. The Villa Palmieri is notremote enough for the second and more sequestered retreat, nor is it, as that is said to have been, situate on alow hill amid a plain, but on the lower Fiesolean slope. The most rational supposition would seem to be thatBoccaccio, who had seen many a luxurious villa, freely combined his experiences in the description of hispalaces and pleasaunces, and never expected to be taken au pied de la lettre.

(2) Nevertheless Shakespeare derived indirectly the plot of All's Well that Ends Well from the Ninth Novel ofthe Third Day, and an element in the plot of Cymbeline from the Ninth Novel of the Second Day.

-- Beginneth here the book called Decameron, otherwise Prince Galeotto, wherein are contained one hundrednovels told in ten days by seven ladies and three young men. --

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'Tis humane to have compassion on the afflicted and as it shews well in all, so it is especially demanded ofthose who have had need of comfort and have found it in others: among whom, if any had ever need thereof orfound it precious or delectable, I may be numbered; seeing that from my early youth even to the present I wasbeyond measure aflame with a most aspiring and noble love (1) more perhaps than, were I to enlarge upon it,would seem to accord with my lowly condition. Whereby, among people of discernment to whose knowledgeit had come, I had much praise and high esteem, but nevertheless extreme discomfort and suffering not indeedby reason of cruelty on the part of the beloved lady, but through superabundant ardour engendered in the soulby ill-bridled desire; the which, as it allowed me no reasonable period of quiescence, frequently occasionedme an inordinate distress. In which distress so much relief was afforded me by the delectable discourse of afriend and his commendable consolations, that I entertain a very solid conviction that to them I owe it that Iam not dead. But, as it pleased Him, who, being infinite, has assigned by immutable law an end to all thingsmundane, my love, beyond all other fervent, and neither to be broken nor bent by any force of determination,or counsel of prudence, or fear of manifest shame or ensuing danger, did nevertheless in course of time meabate of its own accord, in such wise that it has now left nought of itself in my mind but that pleasure which itis wont to afford to him who does not adventure too far out in navigating its deep seas; so that, whereas it wasused to be grievous, now, all discomfort being done away, I find that which remains to be delightful. But thecessation of the pain has not banished the memory of the kind offices done me by those who shared bysympathy the burden of my griefs; nor will it ever, I believe, pass from me except by death. And as among thevirtues, gratitude is in my judgment most especially to be commended, and ingratitude in equal measure to becensured, therefore, that I show myself not ungrateful, I have resolved, now that I may call myself toendeavour, in return for what I have received, to afford, so far as in me lies, some solace, if not to those whosuccoured and who, perchance, by reason of their good sense or good fortune, need it not, at least to such asmay be apt to receive it.

And though my support or comfort, so to say, may be of little avail to the needy, nevertheless it seems to memeet to offer it most readily where the need is most apparent, because it will there be most serviceable andalso most kindly received. Who will deny, that it should be given, for all that it may be worth, to gentle ladiesmuch rather than to men? Within their soft bosoms, betwixt fear and shame, they harbour secret fires of love,and how much of strength concealment adds to those fires, they know who have proved it. Moreover,restrained by the will, the caprice, the commandment of fathers, mothers, brothers, and husbands, confinedmost part of their time within the narrow compass of their chambers, they live, so to say, a life of vacant ease,and, yearning and renouncing in the same moment, meditate divers matters which cannot all be cheerful. Ifthereby a melancholy bred of amorous desire make entrance into their minds, it is like to tarry there to theirsore distress, unless it be dispelled by a change of ideas. Besides which they have much less power to supportsuch a weight than men. For, when men are enamoured, their case is very different, as we may readilyperceive. They, if they are afflicted by a melancholy and heaviness of mood, have many ways of relief anddiversion; they may go where they will, may hear and see many things, may hawk, hunt, fish, ride, play ortraffic. By which means all are able to compose their minds, either in whole or in part, and repair the ravagewrought by the dumpish mood, at least for some space of time; and shortly after, by one way or another, eithersolace ensues, or the dumps become less grievous. Wherefore, in some measure to compensate the injustice ofFortune, which to those whose strength is least, as we see it to be in the delicate frames of ladies, has beenmost nigg*rd of support, I, for the succour and diversion of such of them as love (for others may findsufficient solace in the needle and the spindle and the reel), do intend to recount one hundred Novels or Fablesor Parables or Stories, as we may please to call them, which were recounted in ten days by an honourablecompany of seven ladies and three young men in the time of the late mortal pestilence, as also some canzonetssung by the said ladies for their delectation. In which pleasant novels will be found some passages of loverudely crossed, with other courses of events of which the issues are felicitous, in times as well modern asancient: from which stories the said ladies, who shall read them, may derive both pleasure from theentertaining matters set forth therein, and also good counsel, in that they may learn what to shun, and likewisewhat to pursue. Which cannot, I believe, come to pass unless the dumps be banished by diversion of mind.

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And if it so happen (as God grant it may) let them give thanks to Love, who, liberating me from his fetters,has given me the power to devote myself to their gratification.

(1) For Fiammetta, i. e. Maria, natural daughter of Robert, King of Naples.

-- Beginneth here the first day of the Decameron, in which, when the author has set forth, how it came to passthat the persons, who appear hereafter met together for interchange of discourse, they, under the rule ofPampinea, discourse of such matters as most commend themselves to each in turn. --

As often, most gracious ladies, as I bethink me, how compassionate you are by nature one and all, I do notdisguise from myself that the present work must seem to you to have but a heavy and distressful prelude, inthat it bears upon its very front what must needs revive the sorrowful memory of the late mortal pestilence, thecourse whereof was grievous not merely to eye- witnesses but to all who in any other wise had cognisance ofit. But I would have you know, that you need not therefore be fearful to read further, as if your reading wereever to be accompanied by sighs and tears. This horrid beginning will be to you even such as to wayfarers is asteep and rugged mountain, beyond which stretches a plain most fair and delectable, which the toil of theascent and descent does but serve to render more agreeable to them; for, as the last degree of joy brings with itsorrow, so misery has ever its sequel of happiness. To this brief exordium of woe--brief, I say, inasmuch as itcan be put within the compass of a few letters--succeed forthwith the sweets and delights which I havepromised you, and which, perhaps, had I not done so, were not to have been expected from it. In truth, had itbeen honestly possible to guide you whither I would bring you by a road less rough than this will be, I wouldgladly have so done. But, because without this review of the past, it would not be in my power to shew howthe matters, of which you will hereafter read, came to pass, I am almost bound of necessity to enter upon it, ifI would write of them at all.

I say, then, that the years of the beatific incarnation of the Son of God had reached the tale of one thousandthree hundred and forty-eight when in the illustrious city of Florence, the fairest of all the cities of Italy, theremade its appearance that deadly pestilence, which, whether disseminated by the influence of the celestialbodies, or sent upon us mortals by God in His just wrath by way of retribution for our iniquities, had had itsorigin some years before in the East, whence, after destroying an innumerable multitude of living beings, ithad propagated itself without respite from place to place, and so, calamitously, had spread into the West.

In Florence, despite all that human wisdom and forethought could devise to avert it, as the cleansing of thecity from many impurities by officials appointed for the purpose, the refusal of entrance to all sick folk, andthe adoption of many precautions for the preservation of health; despite also humble supplications addressedto God, and often repeated both in public procession and otherwise, by the devout; towards the beginning ofthe spring of the said year the doleful effects of the pestilence began to be horribly apparent by symptoms thatshewed as if miraculous.

Not such were they as in the East, where an issue of blood from the nose was a manifest sign of inevitabledeath; but in men and women alike it first betrayed itself by the emergence of certain tumours in the groin orthe armpits, some of which grew as large as a common apple, others as an egg, some more, some less, whichthe common folk called gavoccioli. From the two said parts of the body this deadly gavocciolo soon began topropagate and spread itself in all directions indifferently; after which the form of the malady began to change,black spots or livid making their appearance in many cases on the arm or the thigh or elsewhere, now few andlarge, now minute and numerous. And as the gavocciolo had been and still was an infallible token ofapproaching death, such also were these spots on whomsoever they shewed themselves. Which maladiesseemed to set entirely at naught both the art of the physician and the virtues of physic; indeed, whether it wasthat the disorder was of a nature to defy such treatment, or that the physicians were at fault--besides thequalified there was now a multitude both of men and of women who practised without having received theslightest tincture of medical science--and, being in ignorance of its source, failed to apply the proper remedies;in either case, not merely were those that recovered few, but almost all within three days from the appearance

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of the said symptoms, sooner or later, died, and in most cases without any fever or other attendant malady.

Moreover, the virulence of the pest was the greater by reason that intercourse was apt to convey it from thesick to the whole, just as fire devours things dry or greasy when they are brought close to it. Nay, the evilwent yet further, for not merely by speech or association with the sick was the malady communicated to thehealthy with consequent peril of common death; but any that touched the cloth of the sick or aught else thathad been touched or used by them, seemed thereby to contract the disease.

So marvellous sounds that which I have now to relate, that, had not many, and I among them, observed it withtheir own eyes, I had hardly dared to credit it, much less to set it down in writing, though I had had it from thelips of a credible witness.

I say, then, that such was the energy of the contagion of the said pestilence, that it was not merely propagatedfrom man to man but, what is much more startling, it was frequently observed, that things which had belongedto one sick or dead of the disease, if touched by some other living creature, not of the human species, were theoccasion, not merely of sickening, but of an almost instantaneous death. Whereof my own eyes (as I said alittle before) had cognisance, one day among others, by the following experience. The rags of a poor man whohad died of the disease being strewn about the open street, two hogs came thither, and after, as is their wont,no little trifling with their snouts, took the rags between their teeth and tossed them to and fro about theirchaps; whereupon, almost immediately, they gave a few turns, and fell down dead, as if by poison, upon therags which in an evil hour they had disturbed.

In which circ*mstances, not to speak of many others of a similar or even graver complexion, diversapprehensions and imaginations were engendered in the minds of such as were left alive, inclining almost allof them to the same harsh resolution, to wit, to shun and abhor all contact with the sick and all that belongedto them, thinking thereby to make each his own health secure. Among whom there were those who thoughtthat to live temperately and avoid all excess would count for much as a preservative against seizures of thiskind. Wherefore they banded together, and, dissociating themselves from all others, formed communities inhouses where there were no sick, and lived a separate and secluded life, which they regulated with the utmostcare, avoiding every kind of luxury, but eating and drinking very moderately of the most delicate viands andthe finest wines, holding converse with none but one another, lest tidings of sickness or death should reachthem, and diverting their minds with music and such other delights as they could devise. Others, the bias ofwhose minds was in the opposite direction, maintained, that to drink freely, frequent places of public resort,and take their pleasure with song and revel, sparing to satisfy no appetite, and to laugh and mock at no event,was the sovereign remedy for so great an evil: and that which they affirmed they also put in practice, so far asthey were able, resorting day and night, now to this tavern, now to that, drinking with an entire disregard ofrule or measure, and by preference making the houses of others, as it were, their inns, if they but saw in themaught that was particularly to their taste or liking; which they were readily able to do, because the owners,seeing death imminent, had become as reckless of their property as of their lives; so that most of the houseswere open to all comers, and no distinction was observed between the stranger who presented himself and therightful lord. Thus, adhering ever to their inhuman determination to shun the sick, as far as possible, theyordered their life. In this extremity of our city's suffering and tribulation the venerable authority of laws,human and divine, was abased and all but totally dissolved, for lack of those who should have administeredand enforced them, most of whom, like the rest of the citizens, were either dead or sick, or so hard bested forservants that they were unable to execute any office; whereby every man was free to do what was right in hisown eyes.

Not a few there were who belonged to neither of the two said parties, but kept a middle course between them,neither laying the same restraint upon their diet as the former, nor allowing themselves the same license indrinking and other dissipations as the latter, but living with a degree of freedom sufficient to satisfy theirappetites, and not as recluses. They therefore walked abroad, carrying in their hands flowers or fragrant herbsor divers sorts of spices, which they frequently raised to their noses, deeming it an excellent thing thus to

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comfort the brain with such perfumes, because the air seemed to be everywhere laden and reeking with thestench emitted by the dead and the dying and the odours of drugs.

Some again, the most sound, perhaps, in judgment, as they we also the most harsh in temper, of all, affirmedthat there was no medicine for the disease superior or equal in efficacy to flight; following which prescriptiona multitude of men and women, negligent of all but themselves, deserted their city, their houses, their estate,their kinsfolk, their goods, and went into voluntary exile, or migrated to the country parts, as if God in visitingmen with this pestilence in requital of their iniquities would not pursue them with His wrath, wherever theymight be, but intended the destruction of such alone as remained within the circuit of the walls of the city; ordeeming, perchance, that it was now time for all to flee from it, and that its last hour was come.

Of the adherents of these divers opinions not all died, neither did all escape; but rather there were, of each sortand in every place, many that sickened, and by those who retained their health were treated after the examplewhich they themselves, while whole, had set, being everywhere left to languish in almost total neglect.Tedious were it to recount, how citizen avoided citizen, how among neighbours was scarce found any thatshewed fellow-feeling for another, how kinsfolk held aloof, and never met, or but rarely; enough that this soreaffliction entered so deep into the minds of men and women, that in the horror thereof brother was forsaken bybrother, nephew by uncle, brother by sister, and oftentimes husband by wife; nay, what is more, and scarcelyto be believed, fathers and mothers were found to abandon their own children, untended, unvisited, to theirfate, as if they had been strangers. Wherefore the sick of both sexes, whose number could not be estimated,were left without resource but in the charity of friends (and few such there were), or the interest of servants,who were hardly to be had at high rates and on unseemly terms, and being, moreover, one and all men andwomen of gross understanding, and for the most part unused to such offices, concerned themselves no fartherthan to supply the immediate and expressed wants of the sick, and to watch them die; in which service theythemselves not seldom perished with their gains. In consequence of which dearth of servants and derelictionof the sick by neighbours, kinsfolk and friends, it came to pass--a thing, perhaps, never before heard of that nowoman, however dainty, fair or well-born she might be, shrank, when stricken with the disease, from theministrations of a man, no matter whether he were young or no, or scrupled to expose to him every part of herbody, with no more shame than if he had been a woman, submitting of necessity to that which her maladyrequired; wherefrom, perchance, there resulted in after time some loss of modesty in such as recovered.Besides which many succumbed, who with proper attendance, would, perhaps, have escaped death; so that,what with the virulence of the plague and the lack of due tendance of the sick, the multitude of the deaths, thatdaily and nightly took place in the city, was such that those who heard the tale--not to say witnessed thefact--were struck dumb with amazement. Whereby, practices contrary to the former habits of the citizenscould hardly fail to grow up among the survivors.

It had been, as to-day it still is, the custom for the women that were neighbours and of kin to the deceased togather in his house with the women that were most closely connected with him, to wail with them in common,while on the other hand his male kinsfolk and neighbours, with not a few of the other citizens, and a dueproportion of the clergy according to his quality, assembled without, in front of the house, to receive thecorpse; and so the dead man was borne on the shoulders of his peers, with funeral pomp of taper and dirge, tothe church selected by him before his death. Which rites, as the pestilence waxed in fury, were either in wholeor in great part disused, and gave way to others of a novel order. For not only did no crowd of womensurround the bed of the dying, but many passed from this life unregarded, and few indeed were they to whomwere accorded the lamentations and bitter tears of sorrowing relations; nay, for the most part, their place wastaken by the laugh, the jest, the festal gathering; observances which the women, domestic piety in largemeasure set aside, had adopted with very great advantage to their health. Few also there were whose bodieswere attended to the church by more than ten or twelve of their neighbours, and those not the honourable andrespected citizens; but a sort of corpse-carriers drawn from the baser ranks who called themselves becchini (1)and performed such offices for hire, would shoulder the bier, and with hurried steps carry it, not to the churchof the dead man's choice, but to that which was nearest at hand, with four or six priests in front and a candle ortwo, or, perhaps, none; nor did the priests distress themselves with too long and solemn an office, but with the

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aid of the becchini hastily consigned the corpse to the first tomb which they found untenanted. The conditionof lower, and, perhaps, in great measure of the middle ranks, of the people shewed even worse and moredeplorable; for, deluded by hope or constrained by poverty, they stayed in their quarters, in their houses,where they sickened by thousands a day, and, being without service or help of any kind, were, so to speak,irredeemably devoted to the death which overtook them. Many died daily or nightly in the public streets; ofmany others, who died at home, the departure was hardly observed by their neighbours, until the stench oftheir putrefying bodies carried the tidings; and what with their corpses and the corpses of others who died onevery hand the whole place was a sepulchre.

It was the common practice of most of the neighbours, moved no less by fear of contamination by theputrefying bodies than by charity towards the deceased, to drag the corpses out of the houses with their ownhands, aided, perhaps, by a porter, if a porter was to be had, and to lay them in front of the doors, where anyone who made the round might have seen, especially in the morning, more of them than he could count;afterwards they would have biers brought up, or, in default, planks, whereon they laid them. Nor was it onceor twice only that one and the same bier carried two or three corpses at once; but quite a considerable numberof such cases occurred, one bier sufficing for husband and wife, two or three brothers, father and son, and soforth. And times without number it happened, that, as two priests, bearing the cross, were on their way toperform the last office for some one, three or four biers were brought up by the porters in rear of them, so that,whereas the priests supposed that they had but one corpse to bury, they discovered that there were six or eight,or sometimes more. Nor, for all their number, were their obsequies honoured by either tears or lights orcrowds of mourners; rather, it was come to this, that a dead man was then of no more account than a dead goatwould be to-day. From all which it is abundantly manifest, that that lesson of patient resignation, which thesages were never able to learn from the slight and infrequent mishaps which occur in the natural course ofevents, was now brought home even to the minds of the simple by the magnitude of their disasters, so thatthey became indifferent to them.

As consecrated ground there was not in extent sufficient to provide tombs for the vast multitude of corpseswhich day and night, and almost every hour, were brought in eager haste to the churches for interment, leastof all, if ancient custom were to be observed and a separate resting-place assigned to each, they dug, for eachgraveyard, as soon as it was full, a huge trench, in which they laid the corpses as they arrived by hundreds at atime, piling them up as merchandise is stowed in the hold of a ship, tier upon tier, each covered with a littleearth, until the trench would hold no more. But I spare to rehearse with minute particularity each of the woesthat came upon our city, and say in brief, that, harsh as was the tenor of her fortunes, the surrounding countryknew no mitigation, for there--not to speak of the castles, each, as it were, a little city in itself--in sequesteredvillage, or on the open champaign, by the wayside, on the farm, in the homestead, the poor haplesshusbandmen and their families, forlorn of physicians' care or servants' tendance, perished day and night alike,not as men, but rather as beasts. Wherefore, they too, like the citizens, abandoned all rule of life, all habit ofindustry, all counsel of prudence; nay, one and all, as if expecting each day to be their last, not merely ceasedto aid Nature to yield her fruit in due season of their beasts and their lands and their past labours, but left nomeans unused, which ingenuity could devise, to waste their accumulated store; denying shelter to their oxen,asses, sheep, goats, pigs, fowls, nay, even to their dogs, man's most faithful companions, and driving them outinto the fields to roam at large amid the unsheaved, nay, unreaped corn. Many of which, as if endowed withreason, took their fill during the day, and returned home at night without any guidance of herdsman. Butenough of the country! What need we add, but (reverting to the city) that such and so grievous was theharshness of heaven, and perhaps in some degree of man, that, what with the fury of the pestilence, the panicof those whom it spared, and their consequent neglect or desertion of not a few of the stricken in their need, itis believed without any manner of doubt, that between March and the ensuing July upwards of a hundredthousand human beings lost their lives within the walls of the city of Florence, which before the deadlyvisitation would not have been supposed to contain so many people! How many grand palaces, how manystately homes, how many splendid residences, once full of retainers, of lords, of ladies, were now left desolateof all, even to the meanest servant! How many families of historic fame, of vast ancestral domains, and wealthproverbial, found now no scion to continue the succession! How many brave men, how many fair ladies, how

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many gallant youths, whom any physician, were he Galen, Hippocrates, or Aesculapius himself, would havepronounced in the soundest of health, broke fast with their kinsfolk, comrades and friends in the morning, andwhen evening came, supped with their forefathers in the other world.

Irksome it is to myself to rehearse in detail so sorrowful a history. Wherefore, being minded to pass over somuch thereof as I fairly can, I say, that our city, being thus well-nigh depopulated, it so happened, as Iafterwards learned from one worthy of credit, that on a Tuesday morning after Divine Service the venerablechurch of Santa Maria Novella was almost deserted save for the presence of seven young ladies habited sadlyin keeping with the season. All were connected either by blood or at least as friends or neighbours and fair andof good understanding were they all, as also of noble birth, gentle manners, and a modest sprightliness. In agenone exceeded twenty-eight, or fell short of eighteen years. Their names I would set down in due form, had Inot good reason to with hold them, being solicitous lest the matters which here ensue, as told and heard bythem, should in after time be occasion of reproach to any of them, in view of the ample indulgence which wasthen, for the reasons heretofore set forth, accorded to the lighter hours of persons of much riper years thanthey, but which the manners of to-day have somewhat restricted; nor would I furnish material to detractors,ever ready to bestow their bite where praise is due, to cast by invidious speech the least slur upon the honourof these noble ladies. Wherefore, that what each says may be apprehended without confusion, I intend to givethem names more or less appropriate to the character of each. The first, then, being the eldest of the seven, wewill call Pampinea, the second Fiammetta, the third Filomena, the fourth Emilia, the fifth we will distinguishas Lauretta, the sixth as Neifile, and the last, not without reason, shall be named Elisa.

'Twas not of set purpose but by mere chance that these ladies met in the same part of the church; but at lengthgrouping themselves into a sort of circle, after heaving a few sighs, they gave up saying paternosters, andbegan to converse (among other topics) on the times.

So they continued for awhile, and then Pampinea, the rest listening in silent attention, thus began:--"Dearladies mine, often have I heard it said, and you doubtless as well as I, that wrong is done to none by whoso buthonestly uses his reason. And to fortify, preserve, and defend his life to the utmost of his power is the dictateof natural reason in everyone that is born. Which right is accorded in such measure that in defence thereofmen have been held blameless in taking life. And if this be allowed by the laws, albeit on their stringencydepends the well-being of every mortal, how much more exempt from censure should we, and all other honestfolk, be in taking such means as we may for the preservation of our life? As often as I bethink me how wehave been occupied this morning, and not this morning only, and what has been the tenor of our conversation,I perceive--and you will readily do the like--that each of us is apprehensive on her own account; nor thereat doI marvel, but at this I do marvel greatly, that, though none of us lacks a woman's wit, yet none of us hasrecourse to any means to avert that which we all justly fear. Here we tarry, as if, methinks, for no otherpurpose than to bear witness to the number of the corpses that are brought hither for interment, or to hearkenif the brothers there within, whose number is now almost reduced to nought, chant their offices at thecanonical hours, or, by our weeds of woe, to obtrude on the attention of every one that enters, the nature anddegree of our sufferings.

"And if we quit the church, we see dead or sick folk carried about, or we see those, who for their crimes wereof late condemned to exile by the outraged majesty of the public laws, but who now, in contempt of thoselaws, well knowing that their ministers are a prey to death or disease, have returned, and traverse the city inpacks, making it hideous with their riotous antics; or else we see the refuse of the people, fostered on ourblood, becchini, as they call themselves, who for our torment go prancing about here and there andeverywhere, making mock of our miseries in scurrilous songs. Nor hear we aught but:--Such and such aredead; or, Such and such art dying; and should hear dolorous wailing on every hand, were there but any towail. Or go we home, what see we there? I know not if you are in like case with me; but there, where oncewere servants in plenty, I find none left but my maid, and shudder with terror, and feel the very hairs of myhead to stand on end; and turn or tarry where I may, I encounter the ghosts of the departed, not with theirwonted mien, but with something horrible in their aspect that appals me. For which reasons church and street

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and home are alike distressful to me, and the more so that none, methinks, having means and place ofretirement as we have, abides here save only we; or if any such there be, they are of those, as my senses toooften have borne witness, who make no distinction between things honourable and their opposites, so they butanswer the cravings of appetite, and, alone or in company, do daily and nightly what things soever givepromise of most gratification. Nor are these secular persons alone; but such as live recluse in monasteriesbreak their rule, and give themselves up to carnal pleasures, persuading themselves that they are permissibleto them, and only forbidden to others, and, thereby thinking to escape, are become unchaste and dissolute. Ifsuch be our circ*mstances--and such most manifestly they are--what do we here? what wait we for? whatdream we of? why are we less prompt to provide for our own safety than the rest of the citizens? Is life lessdear to us than to all other women? or think we that the bond, which unites soul and body is stronger in usthan in others, so that there is no blow that may light upon it, of which we need be apprehensive? If so, we err,we are deceived. What insensate folly were it in us so to believe! We have but to call to mind the number andcondition of those, young as we, and of both sexes, who have succumbed to this cruel pestilence, to findtherein conclusive evidence to the contrary. And lest from lethargy or indolence we fall into the vainimagination that by some lucky accident we may in some way or another, when we would, escape--I know notif your opinion accord with mine--I should deem it most wise in us, our case being what it is, if, as manyothers have done before us, and are still doing, we were to quit this place, and, shunning like death the evilexample of others, betake ourselves to the country, and there live as honourable women on one of the estates,of which none of us has any lack, with all cheer of festal gathering and other delights, so long as in noparticular we overstep the bounds of reason. There we shall hear the chant of birds, have sight of verdant hillsand plains, of cornfields undulating like the sea, of trees of a thousand sorts; there also we shall have a largerview of the heavens, which, however harsh to usward yet deny not their eternal beauty; things fairer far foreye to rest on than the desolate walls of our city. Moreover, we shall there breathe a fresher air, find amplerstore of things meet for such as live in these times, have fewer causes of annoy. For, though the husbandmendie there, even as here the citizens, they are dispersed in scattered homesteads, and 'tis thus less painful towitness. Nor, so far as I can see, is there a soul here whom we shall desert; rather we may truly say, that weare ourselves deserted; for, our kinsfolk being either dead or fled in fear of death, no more regardful of us thanif we were strangers, we are left alone in our great affliction. No censure, then, can fall on us if we do as Ipropose; and otherwise grievous suffering, perhaps death, may ensue. Wherefore, if you agree, 'tis my advice,that, attended by our maids with all things needful, we sojourn, now on this, now on the other estate, and insuch way of life continue, until we see--if death should not first overtake us--the end which Heaven reservesfor these events. And I remind you that it will be at least as seemly in us to leave with honour, as in others, ofwhom there are not a few, to stay with dishonour."

The other ladies praised Pampinea's plan, and indeed were so prompt to follow it, that they had already begunto discuss the manner in some detail, as if they were forthwith to rise from their seats and take the road, whenFilomena, whose judgment was excellent, interposed, saying:--"Ladies, though Pampinea has spoken to mostexcellent effect, yet it were not well to be so precipitate as you seem disposed to be. Bethink you that we areall women; nor is there any here so young, but she is of years to understand how women are minded towardsone another, when they are alone together, and how ill they are able to rule themselves without the guidanceof some man. We are sensitive, perverse, suspicious, pusillanimous and timid; wherefore I much misdoubt,that, if we find no other guidance than our own, this company is like to break up sooner, and with less creditto us, than it should. Against which it were well to provide at the outset." Said then Elisa:--"Without doubtman is woman's head, and, without man's governance, it is seldom that aught that we do is brought to acommendable conclusion. But how are we to come by the men? Every one of us here knows that her kinsmenare for the most part dead, and that the survivors are dispersed, one here, one there, we know not where, benteach on escaping the same fate as ourselves; nor were it seemly to seek the aid of strangers; for, as we are inquest of health, we must find some means so to order matters that, wherever we seek diversion or repose,trouble and scandal do not follow us."

While the ladies were thus conversing, there came into the church three young men, young, I say, but not soyoung that the age of the youngest was less than twenty-five years; in whom neither the sinister course of

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events, nor the loss of friends or kinsfolk, nor fear for their own safety, had availed to quench, or even temper,the ardour of their love. The first was called Pamfilo, the second Filostrato, and the third Dioneo. Verydebonair and chivalrous were they all; and in this troublous time they were seeking if haply, to their exceedinggreat solace, they might have sight of their fair friends, all three of whom chanced to be among the said sevenladies, besides some that were of kin to the young men. At one and the same moment they recognised theladies and were recognised by them: wherefore, with a gracious smile, Pampinea thus began:--"Lo, fortune ispropitious to our enterprise, having vouchsafed us the good offices of these young men, who are as gallant asthey are discreet, and will gladly give us their guidance and escort, so we but take them into our service."Whereupon Neifile, crimson from brow to neck with the blush of modesty, being one of those that had a loveramong the young men, said:--"For God's sake, Pampinea, have a care what you say. Well assured am I thatnought but good can be said of any of them, and I deem them fit for office far more onerous than this whichyou propose for them, and their good and honourable company worthy of ladies fairer by far and moretenderly to be cherished than such as we. But 'tis no secret that they love some of us here; wherefore Imisdoubt that, if we take them with us, we may thereby give occasion for scandal and censure merited neitherby us nor by them." "That," said Filomena, "is of no consequence; so I but live honestly, my conscience givesme no disquietude; if others asperse me, God and the truth will take arms in my defence. Now, should they bedisposed to attend us, of a truth we might say with Pampinea, that fortune favours our enterprise." The silencewhich followed betokened consent on the part of the other ladies, who then with one accord resolved to callthe young men, and acquaint them with their purpose, and pray them to be of their company. So withoutfurther parley Pampinea, who had a kinsman among the young men, rose and approached them where theystood intently regarding them; and greeting them gaily, she opened to them their plan, and besought them onthe part of herself and her friends to join their company on terms of honourable and fraternal comradeship. Atfirst the young men thought she did but trifle with them; but when they saw that she was in earnest, theyanswered with alacrity that they were ready, and promptly, even before they left the church, set matters intrain for their departure. So all things meet being first sent forward in due order to their intended place ofsojourn, the ladies with some of their maids, and the three young men, each attended by a man-servant, salliedforth of the city on the morrow, being Wednesday, about daybreak, and took the road; nor had they journeyedmore than two short miles when they arrived at their destination. The estate (2) lay upon a little hill somedistance from the nearest highway, and, embowered in shrubberies of divers hues, and other greenery,afforded the eye a pleasant prospect. On the summit of the hill was a palace with galleries, halls andchambers, disposed around a fair and spacious court, each very fair in itself, and the goodlier to see for thegladsome pictures with which it was adorned; the whole set amidst meads and gardens laid out withmarvellous art, wells of the coolest water, and vaults of the finest wines, things more suited to dainty drinkersthan to sober and honourable women. On their arrival the company, to their no small delight, found their bedsalready made, the rooms well swept and garnished with flowers of every sort that the season could afford, andthe floors carpeted with rushes. When they were seated, Dioneo, a gallant who had not his match for courtesyand wit, spoke thus:--"My ladies, 'tis not our forethought so much as your own mother-wit that has guided ush*ther. How you mean to dispose of your cares I know not; mine I left behind me within the city-gate when Iissued thence with you a brief while ago. Wherefore, I pray you, either address yourselves to make merry, tolaugh and sing with me (so far, I mean, as may consist with your dignity), or give me leave to hie me back tothe stricken city, there to abide with my cares." To whom blithely Pampinea replied, as if she too had cast offall her cares:--"Well sayest thou, Dioneo, excellent well; gaily we mean to live; 'twas a refuge from sorrowthat here we sought, nor had we other cause to come hither. But, as no anarchy can long endure, I whoinitiated the deliberations of which this fair company is the fruit, do now, to the end that our joy may belasting, deem it expedient, that there be one among us in chief authority, honoured and obeyed by us as oursuperior, whose exclusive care it shall be to devise how we may pass our time blithely. And that each in turnmay prove the weight of the care, as well as enjoy the pleasure, of sovereignty, and, no distinction being madeof sex, envy be felt by none by reason of exclusion from the office; I propose, that the weight and honour beborne by each one for a day; and let the first to bear sway be chosen by us all, those that follow to beappointed towards the vesper hour by him or her who shall have had the signory for that day; and let eachholder of the signory be, for the time, sole arbiter of the place and manner in which we are to pass our time."

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Pampinea's speech was received with the utmost applause, and with one accord she was chosen queen for thefirst day. Whereupon Filomena hied her lightly to a bay-tree, having often heard of the great honour in whichits leaves, and such as were deservedly crowned therewith, were worthy to be holden; and having gathered afew sprays, she made thereof a goodly wreath of honour, and set it on Pampinea's head; which wreath wasthenceforth, while their company endured, the visible sign of the wearer's sway and sovereignty.

No sooner was Queen Pampinea crowned than she bade all be silent. She then caused summon to her presencetheir four maids, and the servants of the three young men, and, all keeping silence, said to them:--"That I mayshew you all at once, how, well still giving place to better, our company may flourish and endure, as long as itshall pleasure us, with order meet and assured delight and without reproach, I first of all constitute Dioneo'sman, Parmeno, my seneschal, and entrust him with the care and control of all our household, and all thatbelongs to the service of the hall. Pamfilo's man, Sirisco, I appoint treasurer and chancellor of our exchequer;and be he ever answerable to Parmeno. While Parmeno and Sirisco are too busy about their duties to servetheir masters, let Filostrato's man, Tindaro, have charge of the chambers of all three. My maid, Misia, andFilomena's maid, Licisca, will keep in the kitchen, and with all due diligence prepare such dishes as Parmenoshall bid them. Lauretta's maid, Chimera, and Fiammetta's maid, Stratilia we make answerable for the ladies'chambers, and wherever we may take up our quarters, let them see that all is spotless. And now we enjoinyou, one and all alike, as you value our favour, that none of you, go where you may, return whence you may,hear or see what you may, bring us any tidings but such as be cheerful." These orders thus succinctly givenwere received with universal approval. Whereupon Pampinea rose, and said gaily:--"Here are gardens, meads,and other places delightsome enough, where you may wander at will, and take your pleasure; but on the strokeof tierce, (3) let all be here to breakfast in the shade."

Thus dismissed by their new queen the gay company sauntered gently through a garden, the young mensaying sweet things to the fair ladies, who wove fair garlands of divers sorts of leaves and sang love-songs.

Having thus spent the time allowed them by the queen, they returned to the house, where they found thatParmeno had entered on his office with zeal; for in a hall on the ground-floor they saw tables covered with thewhitest of cloths, and beakers that shone like silver, and sprays of broom scattered everywhere. So, at thebidding of the queen, they washed their hands, and all took their places as marshalled by Parmeno. Dishes,daintily prepared, were served, and the finest wines were at hand; the three serving-men did their officenoiselessly; in a word all was fair and ordered in a seemly manner; whereby the spirits of the company rose,and they seasoned their viands with pleasant jests and sprightly sallies. Breakfast done, the tables wereremoved, and the queen bade fetch instruments of music; for all, ladies and young men alike, knew how totread a measure, and some of them played and sang with great skill: so, at her command, Dioneo having takena lute, and Fiammetta a viol, they struck up a dance in sweet concert; and, the servants being dismissed totheir repast, the queen, attended by the other ladies and the two young men, led off a stately carol; whichended they fell to singing ditties dainty and gay. Thus they diverted themselves until the queen, deeming ittime to retire to rest, dismissed them all for the night. So the three young men and the ladies withdrew to theirseveral quarters, which were in different parts of the palace. There they found the beds well made, andabundance of flowers, as in the hall; and so they undressed, and went to bed.

Shortly after none (4) the queen rose, and roused the rest of the ladies, as also the young men, averring that itwas injurious to health to sleep long in the daytime. They therefore hied them to a meadow, where the grassgrew green and luxuriant, being nowhere scorched by the sun, and a light breeze gently fanned them. So at thequeen's command they all ranged themselves in a circle on the grass, and hearkened while she thus spoke:--

"You mark that the sun is high, the heat intense, and the silence unbroken save by the cicalas among theolive-trees. It were therefore the height of folly to quit this spot at present. Here the air is cool and theprospect fair, and here, observe, are dice and chess. Take, then, your pleasure as you may be severallyminded; but, if you take my advice, you will find pastime for the hot hours before us, not in play, in which theloser must needs be vexed, and neither the winner nor the onlooker much the better pleased, but in telling of

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stories, in which the invention of one may afford solace to all the company of his hearers. You will not eachhave told a story before the sun will be low, and the heat abated, so that we shall be able to go and severallytake our pleasure where it may seem best to each. Wherefore, if my proposal meet with your approval--for inthis I am disposed to consult your pleasure--let us adopt it; if not, divert yourselves as best you may, until thevesper hour."

The queen's proposal being approved by all, ladies and men alike, she added:--"So please you, then, I ordain,that, for this first day, we be free to discourse of such matters as most commend themselves, to each in turn."She then addressed Pamfilo, who sat on her right hand, bidding him with a gracious air to lead off with one ofhis stories. And prompt at the word of command, Pamfilo, while all listened intently, thus began:--

(1) Probably from the name of the pronged or hooked implement with which they dragged the corpses out ofthe houses.

(2) Identified by tradition with the Villa Palmieri (now Crawford) on the slope of Fiesole.

(3) The canonical hour following prime, roughly speaking about 9 a.m.

(4) The canonical hour following sext, i.e. 3 p.m.


-- Ser Ciappelletto cheats a holy friar by a false confession, and dies; and, having lived as a very bad man, is,on his death, reputed a saint, and called San Ciappelletto. --

A seemly thing it is, dearest ladies, that whatever we do, it be begun in the holy and awful name of Him whowas the maker of all. Wherefore, as it falls to me to lead the way in this your enterprise of story telling, Iintend to begin with one of His wondrous works, that, by hearing thereof, our hopes in Him, in whom is nochange, may be established, and His name be by us forever lauded. 'Tis manifest that, as things temporal areall doomed to pass and perish, so within and without they abound with trouble and anguish and travail, andare subject to infinite perils; nor, save for the especial grace of God, should we, whose being is bound up withand forms part of theirs, have either the strength to endure or the wisdom to combat their adverse influences.By which grace we are visited and penetrated (so we must believe) not by reason of any merit of our own, butsolely out of the fulness of God's own goodness, and in answer to the prayers of those who, being mortal likeourselves, did faithfully observe His ordinances during their lives, and are now become blessed for ever withHim in heaven. To whom, as to advocates taught by experience all that belongs to our frailty, we, not daring,perchance, to present our petitions in the presence of so great a judge, make known our requests for suchthings as we deem expedient for us. And of His mercy richly abounding to usward we have further proofherein, that, no keenness of mortal vision being able in any degree to penetrate the secret counsels of theDivine mind, it sometimes, perchance, happens, that, in error of judgment, we make one our advocate beforeHis Majesty, who is banished from His presence in eternal exile, and yet He to whom nothing is hidden,having regard rather to the sincerity of our prayers than to our ignorance or the banishment of the intercessor,hears us no less than if the intercessor were in truth one of the blest who enjoy the light of His countenance.Which the story that I am about to relate may serve to make apparent; apparent, I mean, according to thestandard or the judgment of man, not of God.

The story goes, then, that Musciatto Franzesi, a great and wealthy merchant, being made a knight in France,and being to attend Charles Sansterre, brother of the King of France, when he came into Tuscany at theinstance and with the support of Pope Boniface, found his affairs, as often happens to merchants, to be muchinvolved in divers quarters, and neither easily nor suddenly to be adjusted; wherefore he determined to placethem in the hands of commissioners, and found no difficulty except as to certain credits given to someBurgundians, for the recovery of which he doubted whether he could come by a competent agent; for well he

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knew that the Burgundians were violent men and ill-conditioned and faithless; nor could he call to mind anyman so bad that he could with confidence oppose his guile to theirs. After long pondering the matter, herecollected one Ser Ciapperello da Prato, who much frequented his house in Paris. Who being short of statureand very affected, the French who knew not the meaning of Cepparello, (1) but supposed that it meant thesame as Cappello, i. e. garland, in their vernacular, called him not Cappello, but Ciappelletto by reason of hisdiminutive size; and as Ciappelletto he was known everywhere, whereas few people knew him as Ciapperello.Now Ciappelletto's manner of life was thus. He was by profession a notary, and his pride was to make falsedocuments; he would have made them as often as he was asked, and more readily without fee than another ata great price; few indeed he made that were not false, and, great was his shame when they were discovered.False witness he bore, solicited or unsolicited, with boundless delight; and, as oaths were in those days had invery great respect in France, he, scrupling not to forswear himself, corruptly carried the day in every case inwhich he was summoned faithfully to attest the truth. He took inordinate delight, and bestirred himself withgreat zeal, in fomenting ill-feeling, enmities, dissensions between friends, kinsfolk and all other folk; and themore calamitous were the consequences the better he was pleased. Set him on murder, or any other foul crime,and he never hesitated, but went about it with alacrity; he had been known on more than one occasion toinflict wounds or death by preference with his own hands. He was a profuse blasphemer of God and Hissaints, and that on the most trifling occasions, being of all men the most irascible. He was never seen atChurch, held all the sacraments vile things, and derided them in language of horrible ribaldry. On the otherhand he resorted readily to the tavern and other places of evil repute, and frequented them. He was as fond ofwomen as a dog is of the stick: in the use against nature he had not his match among the most abandoned. Hewould have pilfered and stolen as a matter of conscience, as a holy man would make an oblation. Mostgluttonous he was and inordinately fond of his cups, whereby he sometimes brought upon himself both shameand suffering. He was also a practised gamester and thrower of false dice. But why enlarge so much uponhim? Enough that he was, perhaps, the worst man that ever was born.

The rank and power of Musciatto Franzesi had long been this reprobate's mainstay, serving in many instancesto secure him considerate treatment on the part of the private persons whom he frequently, and the courtwhich he unremittingly, outraged. So Musciatto, having bethought him of this Ser Cepparello, with whoseway of life he was very well acquainted, judged him to be the very sort of person to cope with the guile of theBurgundians. He therefore sent for him, and thus addressed him:--"Ser Ciappelletto, I am, as thou knowest,about to leave this place for good; and among those with whom I have to settle accounts are certainBurgundians, very wily knaves; nor know I the man whom I could more fitly entrust with the recovery of mymoney than thyself. Wherefore, as thou hast nothing to do at present, if thou wilt undertake this business, Iwill procure thee the favour of the court, and give thee a reasonable part of what thou shalt recover." SerCiappelletto, being out of employment, and by no means in easy circ*mstances, and about to lose Musciatto,so long his mainstay and support, without the least demur, for in truth he had hardly any choice, made hismind up and answered that he was ready to go. So the bargain was struck. Armed with the power of attorneyand the royal letters commendatory, Ser Ciappelletto took leave of Messer Musciatto and hied him toBurgundy, where he was hardly known to a soul. He set about the business which had brought him thither, therecovery of the money, in a manner amicable and considerate, foreign to his nature, as if he were minded toreserve his severity to the last. While thus occupied, he was frequently at the house of two Florentine usurers,who treated him with great distinction out of regard for Messer Musciatto; and there it so happened that he fellsick. The two brothers forthwith placed physicians and servants in attendance upon him, and omitted nomeans meet and apt for the restoration of his health. But all remedies proved unavailing; for being now old,and having led, as the physicians reported, a disorderly life, he went daily from bad to worse like one strickenwith a mortal disease. This greatly disconcerted the two brothers; and one day, hard by the room in which SerCiappelletto lay sick, they began to talk about him; saying one to the other:--"What shall we do with this man?We are hard bested indeed on his account. If we turn him out of the house, sick as he is, we shall not onlyincur grave censure, but shall evince a signal want of sense; for folk must know the welcome we gave him inthe first instance, the solicitude with which we have had him treated and tended since his illness, during whichtime he could not possibly do aught to displease us, and yet they would see him suddenly turned out of ourhouse sick unto death. On the other hand he has been so bad a man that he is sure not to confess or receive any

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of the Church's sacraments; and dying thus unconfessed, he will be denied burial in church, but will be castout into some ditch like a dog; nay, 'twill be all one if he do confess, for such and so horrible have been hiscrimes that no friar or priest either will or can absolve him; and so, dying without absolution, he will still becast out into the ditch. In which case the folk of these parts, who reprobate our trade as iniquitous and revile itall day long, and would fain rob us, will seize their opportunity, and raise a tumult, and make a raid upon ourhouses, crying:--'Away with these Lombard whom the Church excludes from her pale;' and will certainly stripus of our goods, and perhaps take our lives also; so that in any case we stand to lose if this man die."

Ser Ciappelletto, who, as we said, lay close at hand while they thus spoke, and whose hearing was sharpened,as is often the case, by his malady, overheard all that they said about him. So he called them to him, and saidto them:--"I would not have you disquiet yourselves in regard of me, or apprehend loss to befall you by mydeath. I have heard what you have said of me and have no doubt that 'twould be as you say, if matters took thecourse you anticipate; but I am minded that it shall be otherwise. I have committed so many offences againstGod in the course of my life, that one more in the hour of my death will make no difference whatever to theaccount. So seek out and bring hither the worthiest and most holy friar you can find, and leave me to settleyour affairs and mine upon a sound and solid basis, with which you may rest satisfied." The two brothers hadnot much hope of the result, but yet they went to a friary and asked for a holy and discreet man to hear theconfession of a Lombard that was sick in their house, and returned with an aged man of just and holy life,very learned in the Scriptures, and venerable and held in very great and especial reverence by all the citizens.As soon as he had entered the room where Ser Ciappelletto was lying, and had taken his place by his side, hebegan gently to comfort him: then he asked him how long it was since he was confessed. Whereto SerCiappelletto, who had never been confessed, answered:--"Father, it is my constant practice to be confessed atleast once a week, and many a week I am confessed more often; but true it is, that, since I have been sick, noweight days, I have made no confession, so sore has been my affliction. "Son," said the friar, "thou hast welldone, and well for thee, if so thou continue to do; as thou dost confess so often, I see that my labour ofhearkening and questioning will be slight." "Nay but, master friar," said Ser Ciappelletto, "I say not so; I havenot confessed so often but that I would fain make a general confession of all my sins that I have committed, sofar as I can recall them, from the day of my birth to the present time; and therefore I pray you, my good father,to question me precisely in every particular just as if I had never been confessed. And spare me not by reasonof my sickness, for I had far rather do despite to my flesh than, sparing it, risk the perdition of my soul, whichmy Saviour redeemed with His precious blood."

The holy man was mightily delighted with these words, which seemed to him to betoken a soul in a state ofgrace. He therefore signified to Ser Ciappelletto his high approval of this practice; and then began by askinghim whether he had ever sinned carnally with a woman. Whereto Ser Ciappelletto answered with a sigh:--"Myfather, I scruple to tell you the truth in this matter, fearing lest I sin in vain-glory." "Nay, but," said the friar,"speak boldly; none ever sinned by telling the truth, either in confession or otherwise." "Then," said SerCiappelletto, "as you bid me speak boldly, I will tell you the truth of this matter. I am virgin even as when Iissued from my mother's womb." "Now God's blessing on thee," said the friar, "well done; and the greater isthy merit in that, hadst thou so willed, thou mightest have done otherwise far more readily than we who areunder constraint of rule." He then proceeded to ask, whether he had offended God by gluttony. Whereto SerCiappelletto, heaving a heavy sigh, answered that he had so offended for, being wont to fast not only in Lentlike other devout persons, but at least thrice days in every week, taking nothing but bread and water, he hadquaffed the water with as good a gusto and as much enjoyment, more particularly when fatigued by devotionor pilgrimage, as great drinkers quaff their wine; and oftentimes he had felt a craving for such dainty dishes ofherbs as ladies make when they go into the country, and now and again he had relished his food more thanseemed to him meet in one who fasted, as he did, for devotion. "Son," said the friar, "these sins are natural andvery trifling; and therefore I would not have thee burden thy conscience too much with them. There is no man,however holy he may be, but must sometimes find it pleasant to eat after a long fast and to drink afterexertion." "O, my father," said Ser Ciappelletto, "say not this to comfort me. You know well that I know, thatthe things which are done in the service of God ought to be done in perfect purity of an unsullied spirit; andwhoever does otherwise sins." The friar, well content, replied:--"Glad I am that thou dost think so, and I am

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mightily pleased with thy pure and good conscience which therein appears; but tell me: hast thou sinned byavarice, coveting more than was reasonable, or withholding more than was right? My father," replied SerCiappelletto, "I would not have you disquiet yourself, because I am in the house of these usurers: no part haveI in their concerns; nay, I did but come here to admonish and reprehend them, and wean them from thisabominable traffic; and so, I believe, I had done, had not God sent me this visitation. But you must know, thatmy father left me a fortune, of which I dedicated the greater part to God; and since then for my own supportand the relief of Christ's poor I have done a little trading, whereof I have desired to make gain; and all that Ihave gotten I have shared with God's poor, reserving one half for my own needs and giving the other half tothem; and so well has my Maker prospered me, that I have ever managed my affairs to better and betteraccount." "Well, done," said the friar, "but how? hast thou often given way to anger?" "Often indeed, I assureyou," said Ser Ciappelletto. "And who could refrain therefrom, seeing men doing frowardly all day long,breaking the commandments of God and recking nought of His judgments? Many a time in the course of asingle day I had rather be dead than alive, to see the young men going after vanity, swearing and forswearingthemselves, haunting taverns, avoiding the churches, and in short walking in the way of the world rather thanin God's way." "My son," said the friar, "this is a righteous wrath; nor could I find occasion therein to lay apenance upon thee. But did anger ever by any chance betray thee into taking human life, or affronting orotherwise wronging any?" "Alas," replied Ser Ciappelletto, "alas, sir, man of God though you seem to me,how come you to speak after this manner? If I had had so much as the least thought of doing any of the thingsof which you speak, should I believe, think you, that I had been thus supported of God? These are the deeds ofrobbers and such like evil men, to whom I have ever said, when any I saw:--'Go, God change your heart.'"Said then the friar:--"Now, my son, as thou hopest to be blest of God, tell me, hast thou never borne falsewitness against any, or spoken evil of another, or taken the goods of another without his leave?" "Yes, masterfriar," answered Ser Ciappelletto, "most true it is that I have spoken evil of another; for I had once a neighbourwho without the least excuse in the world was ever beating his wife, and so great was my pity of the poorcreature, whom, when he was in his cups, he would thrash as God alone knows how, that once I spoke evil ofhim to his wife's kinsfolk." "Well, well," said the friar, "thou tellest me thou hast been a merchant; hast thouever cheated any, as merchants use to do?" "I'faith, yes, master friar," said Ser Ciappelletto; "but I know notwho he was; only that he brought me some money which he owed me for some cloth that I had sold him, and Iput it in a box without counting it, where a month afterwards I found four farthings more than there shouldhave been, which I kept for a year to return to him, but not seeing him again, I bestowed them in alms for thelove of God." "This," said the friar, "was a small matter; and thou didst well to bestow them as thou didst."The holy friar went on to ask him many other questions, to which he made answer in each case in this sort.Then, as the friar was about to give him absolution, Ser Ciappelletto interposed:--"Sir, I have yet a sin toconfess." "What?" asked the friar. "I remember," he said, "that I once caused my servant to sweep my houseon a Saturday after none; and that my observance of Sunday was less devout than it should have been." "O,my son," said the friar, "this is a light matter." "No," said Ser Ciappelletto, "say not a light matter; for Sundayis the more to be had in honour because on that day our Lord rose from the dead." Then said the holyfriar:--"Now is there aught else that thou hast done?" "Yes, master friar," replied Ser Ciappelletto, "once byinadvertence I spat in the church of God." At this the friar began to smile, and said:--"My son, this is not amatter to trouble about; we, who are religious, spit there all day long." "And great impiety it is when you sodo," replied Ser Ciappelletto, "for there is nothing that is so worthy to be kept from all impurity as the holytemple in which sacrifice is offered to God." More he said in the same strain, which I pass over; and then atlast he began to sigh, and by and by to weep bitterly, as he was well able to do when he chose. And the friardemanding:--"My son, why weepest thou?" "Alas, master friar" answered Ser Ciappelletto, "a sin yet remains,which I have never confessed, such shame were it to me to tell it; and as often as I call it to mind, I weep asyou now see me weep, being well assured that God will never forgive me this sin." Then said the holyfriar:--"Come, come, son, what is this that thou sayst? If all the sins of all the men, that ever were or ever shallbe, as long as the world shall endure, were concentrated in one man, so great is the goodness of God that Hewould freely pardon them all, were he but penitent and contrite as I see thou art, and confessed them:wherefore tell me thy sin with a good courage." Then said Ser Ciappelletto, still weeping bitterly:--"Alas, myfather, mine is too great a sin, and scarce can I believe, if your prayers do not co-operate, that God will evergrant me His pardon thereof." "Tell it with a good courage," said the friar; "I promise thee to pray God for

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thee." Ser Ciappelletto, however, continued to weep, and would not speak, for all the friar's encouragement.When he had kept him for a good while in suspense, he heaved a mighty sigh, and said:--"My father, as youpromise me to pray God for me, I will tell it you. Know, then, that once, when I was a little child, I cursed mymother;" and having so said he began again to weep bitterly. "O, my son," said the friar, "does this seem tothee so great a sin? Men curse God all day long, and he pardons them freely, if they repent them of having sodone; and thinkest thou he will not pardon thee this? Weep not, be comforted, for truly, hadst thou been one ofthem that set Him on the Cross, with the contrition that I see in thee, thou wouldst not fail of His pardon.""Alas! my father," rejoined Ser Ciappelletto, "what is this you say? To curse my sweet mother that carried mein her womb for nine months day and night, and afterwards on her shoulder more than a hundred times!Heinous indeed was my offence; 'tis too great a sin; nor will it be pardoned, unless you pray God for me."

The friar now perceiving that Ser Ciappelletto had nothing more to say, gave him absolution and his blessing,reputing him for a most holy man, fully believing that all that he had said was true. And who would not haveso believed, hearing him so speak at the point of death? Then, when all was done, he said:--"Ser Ciappelletto,if God so will, you will soon be well; but should it so come to pass that God call your blessed soul to Himselfin this state of grace, is it well pleasing to you that your body be buried in our convent?" "Yea, verily, masterfriar," replied Ser Ciappelletto; "there would I be, and nowhere else, since you have promised to pray God forme; besides which I have ever had a special devotion to your order. Wherefore I pray you, that, on your returnto your convent, you cause to be sent me that very Body of Christ, which you consecrate in the morning onthe altar; because (unworthy though I be) I purpose with your leave to take it, and afterwards the holy andextreme unction, that, though I have lived as a sinner, I may die at any rate as a Christian." The holy man saidthat he was greatly delighted, that it was well said of Ser Ciappelletto, and that he would cause the Host to beforthwith brought to him; and so it was.

The two brothers, who much misdoubted Ser Ciappelletto's power to deceive the friar, had taken their standon the other side of a wooden partition which divided the room in which Ser Ciappelletto lay from another,and hearkening there they readily heard and understood what Ser Ciappelletto said to the friar; and at timescould scarce refrain their laughter as they followed his confession; and now and again they said one toanother:--"What manner of man is this, whom neither age nor sickness, nor fear of death, on the threshold ofwhich he now stands, nor yet of God, before whose judgment-seat he must soon appear, has been able to turnfrom his wicked ways, that he die not even as he has lived?" But seeing that his confession had secured theinterment of his body in church, they troubled themselves no further. Ser Ciappelletto soon afterwardscommunicated, and growing immensely worse, received the extreme unction, and died shortly after vesperson the same day on which he had made his good confession. So the two brothers, having from his ownmoneys provided the wherewith to procure him honourable sepulture, and sent word to the friars to come ateven to observe the usual vigil, and in the morning to fetch the corpse, set all things in order accordingly. Theholy friar who had confessed him, hearing that he was dead, had audience of the prior of the friary; a chapterwas convened and the assembled brothers heard from the confessor's own mouth how Ser Ciappelletto hadbeen a holy man, as had appeared by his confession, and were exhorted to receive the body with the utmostveneration and pious care, as one by which there was good hope that God would work many miracles. To thisthe prior and the rest of the credulous confraternity assenting, they went in a body in the evening to the placewhere the corpse of Ser Ciappelletto lay, and kept a great and solemn vigil over it; and in the morning theymade a procession habited in their surplices and copes with books in their hands and crosses in front; andchanting as they went, they fetched the corpse and brought it back to their church with the utmost pomp andsolemnity, being followed by almost all the folk of the city, men and women alike. So it was laid in thechurch, and then the holy friar who had heard the confession got up in the pulpit and began to preachmarvellous things of Ser Ciapelletto's life, his fasts, his virginity, his simplicity and guilelessness andholiness; narrating among the other matters that of which Ser Ciappelletto had made tearful confession as hisgreatest sin, and how he had hardly been able to make him conceive that God would pardon him; from whichhe took occasion to reprove his hearers; saying:--"And you, accursed of God, on the least pretext, blasphemeGod and His Mother, and all the celestial court. And much beside he told of his loyalty and purity; and, inshort, so wrought upon the people by his words, to which they gave entire credence, that they all conceived a

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great veneration for Ser Ciappelletto, and at the close of the office came pressing forward with the utmostvehemence to kiss the feet and the hands of the corpse, from which they tore off the cerements, each thinkinghimself blessed to have but a scrap thereof in his possession; and so it was arranged that it should be keptthere all day long, so as to be visible and accessible to all. At nightfall it was honourably interred in a marbletomb in one of the chapels, where on the morrow, one by one, folk came and lit tapers and prayed and paidtheir vows, setting there the waxen images which they had dedicated. And the fame of Ciappelletto's holinessand the devotion to him grew in such measure that scarce any there was that in any adversity would vow aughtto any saint but he, and they called him and still call him San Ciappelletto affirming that many miracles havebeen and daily are wrought by God through him for such as devoutly crave his intercession.

So lived, so died Ser Cepperello da Prato, and came to be reputed a saint, as you have heard. Nor would Ideny that it is possible that he is of the number of the blessed in the presence of God, seeing that, though hislife was evil and depraved, yet he might in his last moments have made so complete an act of contrition thatperchance God had mercy on him and received him into His kingdom. But, as this is hidden from us, I speakaccording to that which appears, and I say that he ought rather to be in the hands of the devil in hell than inParadise. Which, if so it be, is a manifest token of the superabundance of the goodness of God to usward,inasmuch as he regards not our error but the sincerity of our faith, and hearkens unto us when, mistaking onewho is at enmity with Him for a friend, we have recourse to him, as to one holy indeed, as our intercessor forHis grace. Wherefore, that we of this gay company may by His grace be preserved safe and sound throughoutthis time of adversity, commend we ourselves in our need to Him, whose name we began by invoking, withlauds and reverent devotion and good confidence that we shall be heard.

And so he was silent.

(1) The diminutive of ceppo, stump or log: more commonly written cepperello (cf. p. 32) or ceppatello. Theform ciapperello seems to be found only here.


-- Abraham, a Jew, at the instance of Jehannot de Chevigny, goes to the court of Rome, and having markedthe evil life of the clergy, returns to Paris, and becomes a Christian. --

Pamfilo's story elicited the mirth of some of the ladies and the hearty commendation of all, who listened to itwith close attention until the end. Whereupon the queen bade Neifile, who sat next her, to tell a story, that thecommencement thus made of their diversions might have its sequel. Neifile, whose graces of mind matchedthe beauty of her person, consented with a gladsome goodwill, and thus began:--

Pamfilo has shewn by his story that the goodness of God spares to regard our errors when they result fromunavoidable ignorance, and in mine I mean to shew you how the same goodness, bearing patiently with theshortcomings of those who should be its faithful witness in deed and word, draws from them contrariwiseevidence of His infallible truth; to the end that what we believe we may with more assured conviction follow.

In Paris, gracious ladies, as I have heard tell, there was once a great merchant, a large dealer in drapery, agood man, most loyal and righteous, his name Jehannot de Chevigny, between whom and a Jew, Abraham byname, also a merchant, and a man of great wealth, as also most loyal and righteous, there subsisted a veryclose friendship. Now Jehannot, observing Abraham's loyalty and rectitude, began to be sorely vexed in spiritthat the soul of one so worthy and wise and good should perish for want of faith. Wherefore he began in afriendly manner to plead with him, that he should leave the errors of the Jewish faith and turn to the Christianverity, which, being sound and holy, he might see daily prospering and gaining ground, whereas, on thecontrary, his own religion was dwindling and was almost come to nothing. The Jew replied that he believedthat there was no faith sound and holy except the Jewish faith, in which he was born, and in which he meant tolive and die; nor would anything ever turn him therefrom. Nothing daunted, however, Jehannot some days

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afterwards began again to ply Abraham with similar arguments, explaining to him in such crude fashion asmerchants use the reasons why our faith is better than the Jewish. And though the Jew was a great master inthe Jewish law, yet, whether it was by reason of his friendship for Jehannot, or that the Holy Spirit dictated thewords that the simple merchant used, at any rate the Jew began to be much interested in Jehannot's arguments,though still too staunch in his faith to suffer himself to be converted. But Jehannot was no less assiduous inplying him with argument than he was obstinate in adhering to his law, insomuch that at length the Jew,overcome by such incessant appeals, said:--"Well, well, Jehannot, thou wouldst have me become a Christian,and I am disposed to do so, provided I first go to Rome and there see him whom thou callest God's vicar onearth, and observe what manner of life he leads and his brother cardinals with him; and if such it be thatthereby, in conjunction with thy words, I may understand that thy faith is better than mine, as thou hast soughtto shew me, I will do as I have said: otherwise, I will remain as I am a Jew." When Jehannot heard this, hewas greatly distressed, saying to himself:--"I thought to have converted him; but now I see that the painswhich I took for so excellent a purpose are all in vain; for, if he goes to the court of Rome and sees theiniquitous and foul life which the clergy lead there, so far from turning Christian, had he been convertedalready, he would without doubt relapse into Judaism." Then turning to Abraham he said:- -"Nay, but, myfriend, why wouldst thou be at all this labour and great expense of travelling from here to Rome? to saynothing of the risks both by sea and by land which a rich man like thee must needs run. Thinkest thou not, tofind here one that can give thee baptism? And as for any doubts that thou mayst have touching the faith towhich I point thee, where wilt thou find greater masters and sages therein than here, to resolve thee of anyquestion thou mayst put to them? Wherefore in my opinion this journey of thine is superfluous. Think that theprelates there are such as thou mayst have seen here, nay, as much better as they are nearer to the ChiefPastor. And so, by my advice thou wilt spare thy pains until some time of indulgence, when I, perhaps, maybe able to bear thee company." The Jew replied:--"Jehannot, I doubt not that so it is as thou sayst; but onceand for all I tell thee that I am minded to go there, and will never otherwise do that which thou wouldst haveme and hast so earnestly besought me to do." "Go then," said Jehannot, seeing that his mind was made up,"and good luck go with thee;" and so he gave up the contest because nothing would be lost, though he felt surethat he would never become a Christian after seeing the court of Rome. The Jew took horse, and posted withall possible speed to Rome; where on his arrival he was honourably received by his fellow Jews. He saidnothing to any one of the purpose for which he had come; but began circ*mspectly to acquaint himself withthe ways of the Pope and the cardinals and the other prelates and all the courtiers; and from what he saw forhimself, being a man of great intelligence, or learned from others, he discovered that without distinction ofrank they were all sunk in the most disgraceful lewdness, sinning not only in the way of nature but after themanner of the men of Sodom, without any restraint of remorse or shame, in such sort that, when any greatfavour was to be procured, the influence of the courtesans and boys was of no small moment. Moreover hefound them one and all gluttonous, wine-bibbers, drunkards, and next after lewdness, most addicted to theshameless service of the belly, like brute beasts. And, as he probed the matter still further, he perceived thatthey were all so greedy and avaricious that human, nay Christian blood, and things sacred of what kindsoever, spiritualities no less than temporalities, they bought and sold for money; which traffic was greater andemployed more brokers than the drapery trade and all the other trades of Paris put together; open simony andgluttonous excess being glosed under such specious terms as "arrangement" and "moderate use of creaturecomforts," as if God could not penetrate the thoughts of even the most corrupt hearts, to say nothing of thesignification of words, and would suffer Himself to be misled after the manner of men by the names of things.Which matters, with many others which are not to be mentioned, our modest and sober-minded Jew found byno means to his liking, so that, his curiosity being fully satisfied, he was minded to return to Paris; whichaccordingly he did. There, on his arrival, he was met by Jehannot; and the two made great cheer together.Jehannot expected Abraham's conversion least of all things, and allowed him some days of rest before heasked what he thought of the Holy Father and the cardinals and the other courtiers. To which the Jewforthwith replied:--"I think God owes them all an evil recompense: I tell thee, so far as I was able to carry myinvestigations, holiness, devotion, good works or exemplary living in any kind was nowhere to be found inany clerk; but only lewdness, avarice, gluttony, and the like, and worse, if worse may be, appeared to be heldin such honour of all, that (to my thinking) the place is a centre of diabolical rather than of divine activities.To the best of my judgment, your Pastor, and by consequence all that are about him devote all their zeal and

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ingenuity and subtlety to devise how best and most speedily they may bring the Christian religion to noughtand banish it from the world. And because I see that what they so zealously endeavour does not come to pass,but that on the contrary your religion continually grows, and shines more and more clear, therein I seem todiscern a very evident token that it, rather than any other, as being more true and holy than any other, has theHoly Spirit for its foundation and support. For which cause, whereas I met your exhortations in a harsh andobdurate temper, and would not become a Christian, now I frankly tell you that I would on no account omit tobecome such. Go we then to the church, and there according to the traditional rite of your holy faith let mereceive baptism." Jehannot, who had anticipated a diametrically opposite conclusion, as soon as he heard himso speak, was the best pleased man that ever was in the world. So taking Abraham with him to Notre Dame heprayed the clergy there to baptise him. When they heard that it was his own wish, they forthwith did so, andJehannot raised him from the sacred font, and named him Jean; and afterwards he caused teachers of greateminence thoroughly to instruct him in our faith, which he readily learned, and afterwards practised in a good,a virtuous, nay, a holy life.


-- Melchisedech, a Jew, by a story of three rings averts a great danger with which he was menaced by Saladin.--

When Neifile had brought her story to a close amid the commendations of all the company, Filomena, at thequeen's behest, thus began:--

The story told by Neifile brings to my mind another in which also Jew appears, but this time as the hero of aperilous adventure; and as enough has been said of God and of the truth our faith, it will not now beinopportune if we descend to mundane events and the actions of men. Wherefore I propose to tell you a story,which will perhaps dispose you to be more circ*mspect than you have been wont to be in answering questionsaddressed to you. Well ye know, or should know, loving gossips, that, as it often happens that folk by theirown folly forfeit a happy estate and are plunged in most grievous misery, so good sense will extricate the wisefrom extremity of peril, and establish them in complete and assured peace. Of the change from good to evilfortune, which folly may effect, instances abound; indeed, occurring as they do by the thousand day by day,they are so conspicuous that their recital would be beside our present purpose. But that good sense may be oursuccour in misfortune, I will now, as I promised, make plain to you within the narrow compass of a littlestory.

Saladin, who by his great valour had from small beginnings made himself Soldan of Egypt, and gained manyvictories over kings both Christian and Saracen, having in divers wars and by divers lavish displays ofmagnificence spent all his treasure, and in order to meet a certain emergency being in need of a large sum ofmoney, and being at a loss to raise it with a celerity adequate to his necessity, bethought him of a wealthy Jew,Melchisedech by name, who lent at usance in Alexandria, and who, were he but willing, was, as he believed,able to accommodate him, but was so miserly that he would never do so of his own accord, nor was Saladindisposed to constrain him thereto. So great, however, was his necessity that, after pondering every methodwhereby the Jew might be induced to be compliant, at last he determined to devise a colourably reasonablepretext for extorting the money from him. So he sent for him, received him affably, seated him by his side,and presently said to him:--"My good man, I have heard from many people that thou art very wise, and ofgreat discernment in divine things; wherefore I would gladly know of thee, which of the three laws thoureputest the true law, the law of the Jews, the law of the Saracens, or the law of the Christians?" The Jew, whowas indeed a wise man, saw plainly enough that Saladin meant to entangle him in his speech, that he mighthave occasion to harass him, and bethought him that he could not praise any of the three laws above anotherwithout furnishing Saladin with the pretext which he sought. So, concentrating all the force of his mind toshape such an answer as might avoid the snare, he presently lit on what he sought, saying:--"My lord, a prettyquestion indeed is this which you propound, and fain would I answer it; to which end it is apposite that I tellyou a story, which, if you will hearken, is as follows:--If I mistake not, I remember to have often heard tell of

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a great and rich man of old time, who among other most precious jewels had in his treasury a ring ofextraordinary beauty and value, which by reason of its value and beauty he was minded to leave to his heirsfor ever; for which cause he ordained, that, whichever of his sons was found in possession of the ring as by hisbequest, should thereby be designate his heir, and be entitled to receive from the rest the honour and homagedue to a superior. The son, to whom he bequeathed the ring, left it in like manner to his descendants, makingthe like ordinance as his predecessor. In short the ring passed from hand to hand for many generations; and inthe end came to the hands of one who had three sons, goodly and virtuous all, and very obedient to theirfather, so that he loved them all indifferently. The rule touching the descent of the ring was known to theyoung men, and each aspiring to hold the place of honour among them did all he could to persuade his father,who was now old, to leave the ring to him at his death. The worthy man, who loved them all equally, andknew not how to choose from among them a sole legatee, promised the ring to each in turn, and in order tosatisfy all three, caused a cunning artificer secretly to make two other rings, so like the first, that the makerhimself could hardly tell which was the true ring. So, before he died, he disposed of the rings, giving oneprivily to each of his sons; whereby it came to pass, that after his decease each of the sons claimed theinheritance and the place of honour, and, his claim being disputed by his brothers, produced his ring inwitness of right. And the rings being found so like one to another that it was impossible to distinguish the trueone, the suit to determine the true heir remained pendent, and still so remains. And so, my lord, to yourquestion, touching the three laws given to the three peoples by God the Father, I answer:--Each of thesepeoples deems itself to have the true inheritance, the true law, the true commandments of God; but which ofthem is justified in so believing, is a question which, like that of the rings, remains pendent." The excellentadroitness with which the Jew had contrived to evade the snare which he had laid for his feet was not lostupon Saladin. He therefore determined to let the Jew know his need, and did so, telling him at the same timewhat he had intended to do, in the event of his answering less circ*mspectly than he had done.

Thereupon the Jew gave the Soldan all the accommodation that he required, which the Soldan afterwardsrepaid him in full. He also gave him most munificent gifts with his lifelong amity and a great and honourableposition near his person.


-- A monk lapses into a sin meriting the most severe punishment, justly censures the same fault in his abbot,and thus evades the penalty. --

The silence which followed the conclusion of Filomena's tale was broken by Dioneo, who sate next her, andwithout waiting for the queen's word, for he knew that by the rule laid down at the commencement it was nowhis turn to speak, began on this wise:--Loving ladies, if I have well understood the intention of you all, we arehere to afford entertainment to one another by story-telling; wherefore, provided only nought is done that isrepugnant to this end, I deem it lawful for each (and so said our queen a little while ago) to tell whatever storyseems to him most likely to be amusing. Seeing, then, that we have heard how Abraham saved his soul by thegood counsel of Jehannot de Chevigny, and Melchisedech by his own good sense safe-guarded his wealthagainst the stratagems of Saladin, I hope to escape your censure in narrating a brief story of a monk, who byhis address delivered his body from imminent peril of most severe chastisem*nt.

In the not very remote district of Lunigiana there flourished formerly a community of monks more numerousand holy than is there to be found to-day, among whom was a young brother, whose vigour and lustihoodneither the fasts nor the vigils availed to subdue. One afternoon, while the rest of the confraternity slept, ouryoung monk took a stroll around the church, which lay in a very sequestered spot, and chanced to espy ayoung and very beautiful girl, a daughter, perhaps, of one of the husbandmen of those parts, going through thefields and gathering herbs as she went. No sooner had he seen her than he was sharply assailed by carnalconcupiscence, insomuch that he made up to and accosted her; and (she hearkening) little by little they cameto an understanding, and unobserved by any entered his cell together. Now it so chanced that, while theyfooled it within somewhat recklessly, he being overwrought with passion, the abbot awoke and passing slowly

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by the young monk's cell, heard the noise which they made within, and the better to distinguish the voices,came softly up to the door of the cell, and listening discovered that beyond all doubt there was a womanwithin. His first thought was to force the door open; but, changing his mind, he returned to his chamber andwaited until the monk should come out.

Delightsome beyond measure though the monk found his intercourse with the girl, yet was he not altogetherwithout anxiety. He had heard, as he thought, the sound of footsteps in the dormitory, and having applied hiseye to a convenient aperture had had a good view of the abbot as he stood by the door listening. He was thusfully aware that the abbot might have detected the presence of a woman in the cell. Whereat he wasexceedingly distressed, knowing that he had a severe punishment to expect; but he concealed his vexationfrom the girl while he busily cast about in his mind for some way of escape from his embarrassment. He thush*t on a novel stratagem which was exactly suited to his purpose. With the air of one who had had enough ofthe girl's company he said to her:--"I shall now leave you in order that I may arrange for your departure henceunobserved. Stay here quietly until I return." So out he went, locking the door of the cell, and withdrawing thekey, which he carried straight to the abbot's chamber and handed to him, as was the custom when a monk wasgoing out, saying with a composed air:--"Sir, I was not able this morning to bring in all the fa*ggots which Ihad made ready, so with your leave I will go to the wood and bring them in." The abbot, desiring to havebetter cognisance of the monk's offence, and not dreaming that the monk knew that he had been detected, waspleased with the turn matters had taken, and received the key gladly, at the same time giving the monk thedesired leave. So the monk withdrew, and the abbot began to consider what course it were best for him totake, whether to assemble the brotherhood and open the door in their presence, that, being witnesses of thedelinquency, they might have no cause to murmur against him when he proceeded to punish the delinquent, orwhether it were not better first to learn from the girl's own lips how it had come about. And reflecting that shemight be the wife or daughter of some man who would take it ill that she should be shamed by being exposedto the gaze of all the monks, he determined first of all to find out who she was, and then to make up his mind.So he went softly to the cell, opened the door, and, having entered, closed it behind him. The girl, seeing thather visitor was none other than the abbot, quite lost her presence of mind, and quaking with shame began toweep. Master abbot surveyed her from head to foot, and seeing that she was fresh and comely, fell a prey, oldthough he was, to fleshly cravings no less poignant and sudden than those which the young monk hadexperienced, and began thus to commune with himself:--"Alas! why take I not my pleasure when I may,seeing that I never need lack for occasions of trouble and vexation of spirit? Here is a fair wench, and no onein the world to know. If I can bring her to pleasure me, I know not why I should not do so. Who will know?No one will ever know; and sin that is hidden is half forgiven; this chance may never come again; so,methinks, it were the part of wisdom to take the boon which God bestows." So musing, with an altogetherdifferent purpose from that with which he had come, he drew near the girl, and softly bade her to becomforted, and besought her not to weep; and so little by little he came at last to show her what he would beat. The girl, being made neither of iron nor of adamant, was readily induced to gratify the abbot, who afterbestowing upon her many an embrace and kiss, got upon the monk's bed, where, being sensible, perhaps, ofthe disparity between his reverend portliness and her tender youth, and fearing to injure her by his excessiveweight, he refrained from lying upon her, but laid her upon him, and in that manner disported himself with herfor a long time. The monk, who had only pretended to go to the wood, and had concealed himself in thedormitory, no sooner saw the abbot enter his cell than he was overjoyed to think that his plan would succeed;and when he saw that he had locked the door, he was well assured thereof. So he stole out of his hiding-place,and set his eye to an aperture through which he saw and heard all that the abbot did and said. At length theabbot, having had enough of dalliance with the girl, locked her in the cell and returned to his chamber.Catching sight of the monk soon afterwards, and supposing him to have returned from the wood, hedetermined to give him a sharp reprimand and have him imprisoned, that he might thus secure the prey forhimself alone. He therefore caused him to be summoned, chid him very severely and with a sterncountenance, and ordered him to be put in prison. The monk replied trippingly:--"I Sir, I have not been solong in the order of St. Benedict as to have every particular of the rule by heart; nor did you teach me beforeto-day in what posture it behoves the monk to have intercourse with women, but limited your instruction tosuch matters as fasts and vigils. As, however, you have now given me my lesson, I promise you, if you also

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pardon my offence, that I will never repeat it, but will always follow the example which you have set me."

The abbot, who was a shrewd man, saw at once that the monk was not only more knowing than he, but hadactually seen what he had done; nor, conscience-stricken himself, could he for shame mete out to the monk ameasure which he himself merited. So pardon given, with an injunction to bury what had been seen in silence,they decently conveyed the young girl out of the monastery, whither, it is to be believed, they now and againcaused her to return.


-- The Marchioness of Monferrato by a banquet of hens seasoned with wit checks the mad passion of the Kingof France. --

The story told by Dioneo evoked at first some qualms of shame in the minds of the ladies, as was apparent bythe modest blush that tinged their faces: then exchanging glances, and scarce able to refrain their mirth, theylistened to it with half-suppressed smiles. On its conclusion they bestowed upon Dioneo a few words of gentlereprehension with intent to admonish him that such stories were not to be told among ladies. The queen thenturned to Fiammetta, who was seated on the grass at her side, and bade her follow suit and Fiammetta with agay and gracious mien thus began:--

The line upon which our story-telling proceeds, to wit, to shew the virtue that resides in apt and readyrepartees, pleases me well; and as in affairs of love men and women are in diverse case, for to aspire to thelove of a woman of higher lineage than his own is wisdom in man, whereas a woman's good sense is thenmost conspicuous when she knows how to preserve herself from becoming enamoured of a man, her superiorin rank, I am minded, fair my ladies, to shew you by the story which I am now to tell, how by deed and word agentlewoman both defended herself against attack, and weaned her suitor from his love.

The Marquis of Monferrato, a paladin of distinguished prowess, was gone overseas as gonfalonier of theChurch in a general array of the Christian forces. Whose merits being canvassed at the court of Philippe leBorgne, on the eve of his departure from France on the same service, a knight observed, that there was notunder the stars a couple comparable to the Marquis and his lady; in that, while the Marquis was a paragon ofthe knightly virtues, his lady for beauty, and honour was without a peer among all the other ladies of theworld. These words made so deep an impression on the mind of the King of France that, though he had neverseen the lady, he fell ardently in love with her, and, being to join the armada, resolved that his port ofembarcation should be no other than Genoa, in order that, travelling thither by land, he might find a decentpretext for visiting the Marchioness, with whom in the absence of the Marquis he trusted to have the successwhich he desired; nor did he fail to put his design in execution. Having sent his main army on before, he tookthe road himself with a small company of gentlemen, and, as they approached the territory of the Marquis, hedespatched a courier to the Marchioness, a day in advance, to let her know that he expected to breakfast withher the next morning. The lady, who knew her part and played it well, replied graciously, that he would beindeed welcome, and that his presence would be the greatest of all favours. She then began to commune withherself, what this might import, that so great a king should come to visit her in her husband's absence, nor wasshe so deluded as not to surmise that it was the fame of her beauty that drew him thither. Nevertheless shemade ready to do him honour in a manner befitting her high degree, summoning to her presence such of theretainers as remained in the castle, and giving all needful directions with their advice, except that the order ofthe banquet and the choice of the dishes she reserved entirely to herself. Then, having caused all the hens thatcould be found in the country-side to be brought with all speed into the castle, she bade her cooks furnishforth the royal table with divers dishes made exclusively of such fare. The King arrived on the appointed day,and was received by the lady with great and ceremonious cheer. Fair and noble and gracious seemed she in theeyes of the King beyond all that he had conceived from the knight's words, so that he was lost in admirationand inly extolled her to the skies, his passion being the more inflamed in proportion as he found the ladysurpass the idea which he had formed of her. A suite of rooms furnished with all the appointments befitting

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the reception of so great a king, was placed at his disposal, and after a little rest, breakfast-time being come,he and the Marchioness took their places at the same table, while his suite were honourably entertained atother boards according to their several qualities. Many courses were served with no lack of excellent and rarewines, whereby the King was mightily pleased, as also by the extraordinary beauty of the Marchioness, onwhom his eye from time to time rested. However, as course followed course, the King observed with somesurprise, that, though the dishes were diverse, yet they were all but variations of one and the same fare, to wit,the pullet. Besides which he knew that the domain was one which could not but afford plenty of divers sortsof game, and by forewarning the lady of his approach, he had allowed time for hunting; yet, for all hissurprise, he would not broach the question more directly with her than by a reference to her hens; so, turningto her with a smile, he said:--"Madam, do hens grow in this country without so much as a single co*ck?" TheMarchioness, who perfectly apprehended the drift of the question, saw in it an opportunity, sent her by God,of evincing her virtuous resolution; so casting a haughty glance upon the King she answered thus:--"Sire, no;but the women, though they may differ somewhat from others in dress and rank, are yet of the same naturehere as elsewhere." The significance of the banquet of pullets was made manifest to the King by these words,as also the virtue which they veiled. He perceived that on a lady of such a temper words would be wasted, andthat force was out of the question. Wherefore, yielding to the dictates of prudence and honour, he was now asprompt to quench, as he had been inconsiderate in conceiving, his unfortunate passion for the lady; andfearing her answers, he refrained from further jesting with her, and dismissing his hopes devoted himself tohis breakfast, which done, he disarmed suspicion of the dishonourable purpose of his visit by an earlydeparture, and thanking her for the honour she had conferred upon him, and commending her to God, took theroad to Genoa.


-- A worthy man by an apt saying puts to shame the wicked hypocrisy of the religious. --

When all had commended the virtue of the Marchioness and the spirited reproof which she administered to theKing of France, Emilia, who sate next to Fiammetta, obeyed the queen's behest, and with a good courage thusbegan:--

My story is also of a reproof, but of one administered by a worthy man, who lived the secular life, to a greedyreligious, by a jibe as merry as admirable. Know then, dear ladies, that there was in our city, not long ago, afriar minor, an inquisitor in matters of heresy, who, albeit he strove might and main to pass himself off as aholy man and tenderly solicitous for the integrity of the Christian Faith, as they all do, yet he had as keen ascent for a full purse as for a deficiency of faith. Now it so chanced that his zeal was rewarded by thediscovery of a good man far better furnished with money than with sense, who in an unguarded moment, notfrom defect of faith, but rather, perhaps from excess of hilarity, being heated with wine, had happened to sayto his boon companions, that he had a wine good enough for Christ Himself to drink. Which being reported tothe inquisitor, he, knowing the man to be possessed of large estates and a well-lined purse, set to work in hothaste, "cum gladiis et fustibus," to bring all the rigour of the law to bear upon him, designing thereby not tolighten the load of his victim's misbelief, but to increase the weight of his own purse by the florins, which hemight, as he did, receive from him. So he cited him to his presence, and asked him whether what was allegedagainst him were true. The good man answered in the affirmative, and told him how it had happened. "Then,"said our most holy and devout inquisitor of St. John Goldenbeard, (1) "then hast thou made Christ awine-bibber, and a lover of rare vintages, as if he were a sot, a toper and a tavern-haunter even as one of you.And thinkest thou now by a few words of apology to pass this off as a light matter? It is no such thing as thousupposest. Thou hast deserved the fire; and we should but do our duty, did we inflict it upon thee." With theseand the like words in plenty he upbraided him, bending on him meanwhile a countenance as stern as ifEpicurus had stood before him denying the immortality of the soul. In short he so terrified him that the goodman was fain to employ certain intermediaries to anoint his palms with a liberal allowance of St. JohnGoldenmouth's grease, an excellent remedy for the disease of avarice which spreads like a pestilence amongthe clergy, and notably among the friars minors, who dare not touch a coin, that he might deal gently with

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him. And great being the virtue of this ointment, albeit no mention is made thereof by Galen in any part of hisMedicines, it had so gracious an effect that the threatened fire gave place to a cross, which he was to wear asif he were bound for the emprise over seas; and to make the ensign more handsome the inquisitor ordered thatit should be yellow upon a black ground. Besides which, after pocketing the coin, he kept him dangling abouthim for some days, bidding him by way of penance hear mass every morning at Santa Croce, and afterwardswait upon him at the breakfast-hour, after which he was free to do as he pleased for the rest of the day. Allwhich he most carefully observed; and so it fell out that one of these mornings there were chanted at the massat which he assisted the following words of the Gospel:--You shall receive an hundredfold and shall possesseternal life. With these words deeply graven in his memory, he presented himself, as he was bidden, beforethe inquisitor, where he sate taking his breakfast, and being asked whether he had heard mass that morning, hepromptly answered:--"Yes, sir." And being further asked:--"Heardest thou aught therein, as to which thou artin doubt, or hast thou any question to propound?" the good man responded:--"Nay indeed, doubt have I noneof aught that I heard; but rather assured faith in the verity of all. One thing, however, I heard, which causedme to commiserate you and the rest of you friars very heartily, in regard of the evil plight in which you mustfind yourselves in the other world." "And what," said the inquisitor, "was the passage that so moved thee tocommiserate us?" "Sir," rejoined the good man, "it was that passage in the Gospel which says:--"You shallreceive an hundredfold." "You heard aright," said the inquisitor; "but why did the passage so affect you?""Sir," replied the good man, "I will tell you. Since I have been in attendance here, I have seen a crowd of poorfolk receive a daily dole, now of one, now of two, huge tureens of swill, being the refuse from your table, andthat of the brothers of this convent; whereof if you are to receive an hundredfold in the other world, you willhave so much that it will go hard but you are all drowned therein." This raised a general laugh among thosewho sat at the inquisitor's table, whereat the inquisitor, feeling that their gluttony and hypocrisy had received ahome-thrust, was very wroth, and, but that what he had already done had not escaped censure, would haveinstituted fresh proceedings against him in revenge for the pleasantry with which he had rebuked the basenessof himself and his brother friars; so in impotent wrath he bade him go about his business and shew himselfthere no more.

(1) The fiorino d'oro bore the effigy of St. John.


-- Bergamino, with a story of Primasso and the Abbot of Cluny, finely censures a sudden access of avarice inMesser Cane della Scala. --

Emilia's charming manner and her story drew laughter and commendation from the queen and all thecompany, who were much tickled by her new type of crusader. When the laughter had subsided, and all wereagain silent, Filostrato, on whom the narration now fell, began on this wise:--

A fine thing it is, noble ladies, to hit a fixed mark; but if, on the sudden appearance of some strange object, itbe forthwith hit by the bowman, 'tis little short of a miracle. The corrupt and filthy life of the clergy offers onmany sides a fixed mark of iniquity at which, whoever is so minded, may let fly, with little doubt that theywill reach it, the winged words of reproof and reprehension. Wherefore, though the worthy man did well tocensure in the person of the inquisitor the pretended charity of the friars who give to the poor what they oughtrather to give to the pigs or throw away, higher indeed is the praise which I accord to him, of whom, takingmy cue from the last story, I mean to speak; seeing that by a clever apologue he rebuked a sudden andunwonted access of avarice in Messer Cane della Scala, conveying in a figure what he had at heart to saytouching Messer Cane and himself; which apologue is to follow.

Far and wide, almost to the ends of the earth, is borne the most illustrious renown of Messer Cane della Scala,in many ways the favoured child of fortune, a lord almost without a peer among the notables and magnificoesof Italy since the time of the Emperor Frederic II. Now Messer Cane, being minded to hold high festival atVerona, whereof fame should speak marvellous things, and many folk from divers parts, of whom the greater

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number were jesters of every order, being already arrived, Messer Cane did suddenly (for some cause oranother) abandon his design, and dismissed them with a partial recompense. One only, Bergamino by name, aspeaker ready and polished in a degree credible only to such as heard him, remained, having received norecompense or conge, still cherishing the hope that this omission might yet turn out to his advantage. ButMesser Cane was possessed with the idea that whatever he might give Bergamino would be far morecompletely thrown away than if he had tossed it into the fire; so never a word of the sort said he or sent he tohim. A few days thus passed, and then Bergamino, seeing that he was in no demand or request for aught thatbelonged to his office, and being also at heavy charges at his inn for the keep of his horses and servants, fellinto a sort of melancholy; but still he waited a while, not deeming it expedient to leave. He had brought withhim three rich and goodly robes, given him by other lords, that he might make a brave show at the festival,and when his host began to press for payment he gave him one of the robes; afterwards, there being still muchoutstanding against him, he must needs, if he would tarry longer at the inn, give the host the second robe; afterwhich he began to live on the third, being minded remain there, as long as it would hold out, in expectation ofbetter luck, and then to take his departure. Now, while he was thus living on the third robe, it chanced thatMesser Cane encountered him one day as he sate at breakfast with a very melancholy visage. Which MesserCane observing, said, rather to tease him than expecting to elicit from him any pleasant retort:--"What ailsthee, Bergamino, that thou art still so melancholy? Let me know the reason why." Whereupon Bergamino,without a moment's reflection, told the following story, which could not have fitted his own case more exactlyif it had been long premeditated.

My lord, you must know that Primasso was a grammarian of great eminence, and excellent and quick beyondall others in versifying; whereby he waxed so notable and famous that, albeit he was not everywhere knownby sight, yet there were scarce any that did not at least by name and report know who Primasso was. Now it sohappened that, being once at Paris in straitened circ*mstances, as it was his lot to be most of his time byreason that virtue is little appreciated by the powerful, he heard speak of the Abbot of Cluny, who, except thePope, is supposed to be the richest prelate, in regard of his vast revenues, that the Church of God can shew;and marvellous and magnificent things were told him of the perpetual court which the abbot kept, and how,wherever he was, he denied not to any that came there either meat or drink, so only that he preferred hisrequest while the abbot was at table. Which when Primasso heard, he determined to go and see for himselfwhat magnificent state this abbot kept, for he was one that took great delight in observing the ways ofpowerful and lordly men; wherefore he asked how far from Paris was the abbot then sojourning. He wasinformed that the abbot was then at one of his places distant perhaps six miles; which Primasso concluded hecould reach in time for breakfast, if he started early in the morning. When he had learned the way, he foundthat no one else was travelling by it, and fearing lest by mischance he should lose it, and so find himself whereit would not be easy for him to get food, he determined to obviate so disagreeable a contingency by takingwith him three loaves of bread--as for drink, water, though not much to his taste, was, he supposed, to befound everywhere. So, having disposed the loaves in the fold of his tunic, he took the road and made suchprogress that he reached the abbot's place of sojourn before the breakfast-hour. Having entered, he made thecircuit of the entire place, observing everything, the vast array of tables, and the vast kitchen well-appointedwith all things needful for the preparation and service of the breakfast, and saying to himself:--"In very truththis man is even such a magnifico as he is reported to be." While his attention was thus occupied, the abbot'sseneschal, it being now breakfast-time, gave order to serve water for the hands, which being washen, they satthem all down to breakfast. Now it so happened that Primasso was placed immediately in front of the door bywhich the abbot must pass from his chamber, into the hall, in which, according to rule of his court, neitherwine, nor bread, nor aught else drinkable or eatable was ever set on the tables before he made his appearanceand was seated. The seneschal, therefore, having set the tables, sent word to the abbot, that all was now ready,and they waited only his pleasure. So the abbot gave the word, the door of his chamber was thrown open, andhe took a step or two forward towards the hall, gazing straight in front of him as he went. Thus it fell out thatthe first man on whom he set eyes was Primasso, who was in very sorry trim. The abbot, who knew him notby sight, no sooner saw him, than, surprised by a churlish mood to which he had hitherto been an entirestranger, he said to himself:--"So it is to such as this man that I give my hospitality;" and going back into thechamber he bade lock the door, and asked of his attendants whether the vile fellow that sate at table directly

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opposite the door was known to any of them, who, one and all, answered in the negative. Primasso waited alittle, but he was not used to fast, and his journey had whetted his appetite. So, as the abbot did not return, hedrew out one of the loaves which he had brought with him, and began to eat. The abbot, after a while, badeone of his servants go see whether Primasso were gone. The servant returned with the answer:--"No, sir, and(what is more) he is eating a loaf of bread, which he seems to have brought with him." "Be it so then," said theabbot, who was vexed that he was not gone of his own accord, but was not disposed to turn him out; "let himeat his own bread, if he have any, for he shall have none of ours today." By and by Primasso, having finishedhis first loaf, began, as the abbot did not make his appearance, to eat the second; which was likewise reportedto the abbot, who had again sent to see if he were gone. Finally, as the abbot still delayed his coming,Primasso, having finished the second loaf, began upon the third; whereof, once more, word was carried to theabbot, who now began to commune with himself and say:--"Alas! my soul, what unwonted mood harbourestthou to-day? What avarice? what scorn? and of whom? I have given my hospitality, now for many a year, towhoso craved it, without looking to see whether he were gentle or churl, poor or rich, merchant or cheat, andmine eyes have seen it squandered on vile fellows without number; and nought of that which I feel towardsthis man ever entered my mind. Assuredly it cannot be that he is a man of no consequence, who is theoccasion of this access of avarice in me. Though he seem to me a vile fellow, he must be some great man, thatmy mind is thus obstinately averse to do him honour." Of which musings the upshot was that he sent toinquire who the vile fellow was, and learning that he was Primasso, come to see if what he had heard of hismagnificent state were true, he was stricken with shame, having heard of old Primasso's fame, and knowinghim to be a great man. Wherefore, being zealous to make him the amend, he studied to do him honour inmany ways; and after breakfast, that his garb might accord with his native dignity, he caused him to be noblyarrayed, and setting him upon a palfrey and filling his purse, left it to his own choice, whether to go or to stay.So Primasso, with a full heart, thanked him for his courtesy in terms the amplest that he could command, and,having left Paris afoot, returned thither on horseback."

Messer Cane was shrewd enough to apprehend Bergamino's meaning perfectly well without a gloss, and saidwith a smile:--"Bergamino, thy parable is apt, and declares to me very plainly thy losses, my avarice, andwhat thou desirest of me. And in good sooth this access of avarice, of which thou art the occasion, is the firstthat I have experienced. But I will expel the intruder with the baton which thou thyself hast furnished." So hepaid Bergamino's reckoning, habited him nobly in one of his own robes, gave him money and a palfrey, andleft it for the time at his discretion, whether to go or to stay.


-- Guglielmo Borsiere by a neat retort sharply censures avarice in Messer Ermino de' Grimaldi. --

Next Filostrato was seated Lauretta, who, when the praises bestowed on Bergamino's address had ceased,knowing that it was now her turn to speak, waited not for the word of command, but with a charminggraciousness thus began:--

The last novel, dear gossips, prompts me to relate how a worthy man, likewise a jester, reprehended notwithout success the greed of a very wealthy merchant; and, though the burden of my story is not unlike thelast, yet, perchance, it may not on that account be the less appreciated by you, because it has a happytermination.

Know then that in Genoa there dwelt long ago a gentleman, who was known as Messer Ermino de' Grimaldi,and whose wealth, both in lands and money, was generally supposed to be far in excess of that of any otherburgher then in Italy, and as in wealth he was without a rival in Italy, so in meanness and avarice there wasnot any in the entire world, however richly endowed with those qualities, whom he did not immeasurablysurpass, insomuch that, not only did he keep a tight grip upon his purse when honour was to be done toanother, but in his personal expenditure, even upon things meet and proper, contrary to the general custom ofthe Genoese, whose wont is to array themselves nobly, he was extremely penurious, as also in his outlay upon

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his table. Wherefore, not without just cause, folk had dropped his surname de' Grimaldi, and called himinstead Messer Ermino Avarizia. While thus by thrift his wealth waxed greater and greater, it so chanced thatthere came to Genoa a jester of good parts, a man debonair and ready of speech, his name Guglielmo Borsiere,whose like is not to be found to-day when jesters (to the great reproach be it spoken of those that claim thename and reputation of gentlemen) are rather to be called asses, being without courtly breeding, and formedafter the coarse pattern of the basest of churls. And whereas in the days of which I speak they made it theirbusiness, they spared no pains, to compose quarrels, to allay heart-burnings, between gentlemen, or arrangemarriages, or leagues of amity, ministering meanwhile relief to jaded minds and solace to courts by thesprightly sallies of their wit, and with keen sarcasm, like fathers, censuring churlish manners, being alsosatisfied with very trifling guerdons; nowadays all their care is to spend their time in scandal-mongering, insowing discord, in saying, and (what is worse) in doing in the presence of company things churlish andflagitious, in bringing accusations, true or false, of wicked, shameful or flagitious conduct against oneanother; and in drawing gentlemen into base and nefarious practices by sinister and insidious arts. And bythese wretched and depraved lords he is held most dear and best rewarded whose words and deeds are themost atrocious, to the great reproach and scandal of the world of to-day; whereby it is abundantly manifestthat virtue has departed from the earth, leaving a degenerate generation to wallow in the lowest depths of vice.

But reverting to the point at which I started, wherefrom under stress of just indignation I have deviatedsomewhat further than I intended, I say that the said Guglielmo was had in honour, and was well received byall the gentlemen of Genoa; and tarrying some days in the city, heard much of the meanness and avarice ofMesser Ermino, and was curious to see him. Now Messer Ermino had heard that this Guglielmo Borsiere wasa man of good parts, and, notwithstanding his avarice, having in him some sparks of good breeding, receivedhim with words of hearty greeting and a gladsome mien, and conversed freely with him and of divers matters,and so conversing, took him with other Genoese that were of his company to a new and very beautiful housewhich he had built, and after shewing him over the whole of it, said to him:--"Now, Messer Guglielmo, youhave seen and heard many things; could you suggest to me something, the like of which has not hitherto beenseen, which I might have painted here in the saloon of this house?" To which ill-judged question Guglielmoreplied:--"Sir, it would not, I think, be in my power to suggest anything the like of which has never been seen,unless it were a sneeze or something similar; but if it so please you, I have something to suggest, which, Ithink, you have never seen." "Prithee, what may that be?" said Messer Ermino, not expecting to get the answerwhich he got. For Guglielmo replied forthwith:--"Paint Courtesy here;" which Messer Ermino had no soonerheard, than he was so stricken with shame that his disposition underwent a complete change, and hesaid:--"Messer, Guglielmo, I will see to it that Courtesy is here painted in such wise that neither you nor anyone else shall ever again have reason to tell me that I have not seen or known that virtue." And henceforward(so enduring was the change wrought by Guglielmo's words) there was not in Genoa, while he lived, anygentleman so liberal and so gracious and so lavish of honour both to strangers and to his fellow-citizens asMesser Ermino de' Grimaldi.


-- The censure of a Gascon lady converts the King of Cyprus from a churlish to an honourable temper. --

Except Elisa none now remained to answer the call of the queen, and she without waiting for it, withgladsome alacrity thus began:--

Bethink you, damsels, how often it has happened that men who have been obdurate to censures andchastisem*nts have been reclaimed by some unpremeditated casual word. This is plainly manifest by the storytold by Lauretta; and by mine, which will be of the briefest, I mean further to illustrate it; seeing that, goodstories, being always pleasurable, are worth listening to with attention, no matter by whom they may be told.

'Twas, then, in the time of the first king of Cyprus, after the conquest made of the Holy Land by Godfrey deBouillon, that a lady of Gascony made a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre, and on her way home, having

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landed at Cyprus, met with brutal outrage at the hands of certain ruffians. Broken-hearted and disconsolate shedetermined to make her complaint to the king; but she was told that it would be all in vain, because sospiritless and faineant was he that he not only neglected to avenge affronts put upon others, but endured with areprehensible tameness those which were offered to himself, insomuch that whoso had any ill-humour to vent,took occasion to vex or mortify him. The lady, hearing this report, despaired of redress, and by way ofalleviation of her grief determined to make the king sensible of his baseness. So in tears she presented herselfbefore him and said:--"Sire, it is not to seek redress of the wrong done me that I come here before you: butonly that, so please you, I may learn of you how it is that you suffer patiently the wrongs which, as Iunderstand, are done you; that thus schooled by you in patience I may endure my own, which, God knows, Iwould gladly, were it possible, transfer to you, seeing that you are so well fitted to bear them." These wordsaroused the hitherto sluggish and apathetic king as it were from sleep. He redressed the lady's wrong, andhaving thus made a beginning, thenceforth meted out the most rigorous justice to all that in any wise offendedagainst the majesty of his crown.


-- Master Alberto da Bologna honourably puts to shame a lady who sought occasion to put him to shame inthat he was in love with her. --

After Elisa had done, it only remained for the queen to conclude the day's story-telling, and thus with mannerdebonair did she begin:--

As stars in the serene expanse of heaven, as in spring-time flowers in the green pastures, so, honourabledamsels, in the hour of rare and excellent converse is wit with its bright sallies. Which, being brief, are muchmore proper for ladies than for men, seeing that prolixity of speech, when brevity is possible, is much lessallowable to them; albeit (shame be to us all and all our generation) few ladies or none are left to-day whounderstand aught that is wittily said, or understanding are able to answer it. For the place of those graces ofthe spirit which distinguished the ladies of the past has now been usurped by adornments of the person; andshe whose dress is most richly and variously and curiously dight, accounts herself more worthy to be had inhonour, forgetting, that, were one but so to array him, an ass would carry a far greater load of finery than anyof them, and for all that be not a whit the more deserving of honour. I blush to say this, for in censuring othersI condemn myself. Tricked out, bedecked, bedizened thus, we are either silent and impassive as statues, or, ifwe answer aught that is said to us, much better were it we had held our peace. And we make believe, forsooth,that our failure to acquit ourselves in converse with our equals of either sex does but proceed fromguilelessness; dignifying stupidity by the name of modesty, as if no lady could be modest and converse withother folk than her maid or laundress or bake-house woman; which if Nature had intended, as we feign shedid, she would have set other limits to our garrulousness. True it is that in this, as in other matters, time andplace and person are to be regarded; because it sometimes happens that a lady or gentleman thinking by somesally of wit to put another to shame, has rather been put to shame by that other, having failed duly to estimatetheir relative powers. Wherefore, that you may be on your guard against such error, and, further, that in you benot exemplified the common proverb, to wit, that women do ever and on all occasions choose the worst, I trustthat this last of to-day's stories, which falls to me to tell, may serve you as a lesson; that, as you aredistinguished from others by nobility of nature, so you may also shew yourselves separate from them byexcellence of manners.

There lived not many years ago, perhaps yet lives, in Bologna, a very great physician, so great that the fame ofhis skill was noised abroad throughout almost the entire world.

Now Master Alberto (such was his name) was of so noble a temper that, being now nigh upon seventy yearsof age, and all but devoid of natural heat of body, he was yet receptive of the flames of love; and having at anassembly seen a very beautiful widow lady, Madonna Malgherida de' Ghisolieri, as some say, and beingcharmed with her beyond measure, was, notwithstanding his age, no less ardently enamoured than a young

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man, insomuch that he was not well able to sleep at night, unless during the day he had seen the fair lady'slovely and delicate features. Wherefore he began to frequent the vicinity of her house, passing to and fro infront of it, now on foot now on horseback, as occasion best served. Which she and many other ladiesperceiving, made merry together more than once, to see a man of his years and discretion in love, as if theydeemed that this most delightful passion of love were only fit for empty-headed youths, and could not in menbe either harboured or engendered. Master Alberto thus continuing to haunt the front of the house, it sohappened that one feast-day the lady with other ladies was seated before her door, and Master Alberto'sapproach being thus observed by them for some time before he arrived, they complotted to receive him andshew him honour, and then to rally him on his love; and so they did, rising with one accord to receive him,bidding him welcome, and ushering him into a cool courtyard, where they regaled him with the finest winesand comfits; which done, in a tone of refined and sprightly banter they asked him how it came about that hewas enamoured of this fair lady, seeing that she was beloved of many a fine gentleman of youth and spirit.Master Alberto, being thus courteously assailed, put a blithe face on it, and answered:--"Madam, my love foryou need surprise none that is conversant with such matters, and least of all you that are worthy of it. Andthough old men, of course, have lost the strength which love demands for its full fruition, yet are they nottherefore without the good intent and just appreciation of what beseems the accepted lover, but indeedunderstand it far better than young men, by reason that they have more experience. My hope in thus oldaspiring to love you, who are loved by so many young men, is founded on what I have frequently observed ofladies' ways at lunch, when they trifle with the lupin and the leek. In the leek no part is good, but the head is atany rate not so bad as the rest, and indeed not unpalatable; you, however, for the most part, following adepraved taste, hold it in your hand and munch the leaves, which are not only of no account but actuallydistasteful. How am I to know, madam, that in your selection of lovers, you are not equally eccentric? Inwhich case I should be the man of your choice, and the rest would be cast aside." Whereto the gentle lady,somewhat shame-stricken, as were also her fair friends, thus made answer:--"Master Alberto, our presumptionhas received from you a most just and no less courteous reproof; but your love is dear to me, as should ever bethat of a wise and worthy man. And therefore, saving my honour, I am yours, entirely and devotedly at yourpleasure and command." This speech brought Master Alberto to his feet, and the others also rising, he thankedthe lady for her courtesy, bade her a gay and smiling adieu, and so left the house. Thus the lady, notconsidering on whom she exercised her wit, thinking to conquer was conquered herself--against which mishapyou, if you are discreet, will ever be most strictly on your guard.

As the young ladies and the three young men finished their storytelling the sun was westering and the heat ofthe day in great measure abated. Which their queen observing, debonairly thus she spoke:--"Now, deargossips, my day of sovereignty draws to a close, and nought remains for me to do but to give you a newqueen, by whom on the morrow our common life may be ordered as she may deem best in a course of seemlypleasure; and though there seems to be still some interval between day and night, yet, as whoso does not insome degree anticipate the course of time, cannot well provide for the future; and in order that what the newqueen shall decide to be meet for the morrow may be made ready beforehand, I decree that from this timeforth the days begin at this hour. And so in reverent submission to Him in whom is the life of all beings, forour comfort and solace we commit the governance of our realm for the morrow into the hands of QueenFilomena, most discreet of damsels." So saying she arose, took the laurel wreath from her brow, and with agesture of reverence set it on the brow of Filomena, whom she then, and after her all the other ladies and theyoung men, saluted as queen, doing her due and graceful homage.

Queen Filomena modestly blushed a little to find herself thus invested with the sovereignty; but, being put onher mettle by Pampinea's recent admonitions, she was minded not to seem awkward, and soon recovered hercomposure. She then began by confirming all the appointments made by Pampinea, and making all needfularrangements for the following morning and evening, which they were to pass where they then were.Whereupon she thus spoke:--"Dearest gossips, though, thanks rather to Pampinea's courtesy than to merit ofmine, I am made queen of you all, yet I am not on that account minded to have respect merely to my ownjudgment in the governance of our life, but to unite your wisdom with mine; and that you may understandwhat I think of doing, and by consequence may be able to amplify or curtail it at your pleasure, I will in few

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words make known to you my purpose. The course observed by Pampinea to-day, if I have judged aright,seems to be alike commendable and delectable; wherefore, until by lapse of time, or for some other cause, itgrow tedious, I purpose not to alter it. So when we have arranged for what we have already taken in hand, wewill go hence and enjoy a short walk; at sundown we will sup in the cool; and we will then sing a few songsand otherwise divert ourselves, until it is time to go to sleep. To-morrow we will rise in the cool of themorning, and after enjoying another walk, each at his or her sweet will, we will return, as to-day, and in duetime break our fast, dance, sleep, and having risen, will here resume our story-telling, wherein, methinks,pleasure and profit unite in superabundant measure. True it is that Pampinea, by reason of her late election tothe sovereignty, neglected one matter, which I mean to introduce, to wit, the circ*mscription of the topic ofour story-telling, and its preassignment, that each may be able to premeditate some apt story bearing upon thetheme; and seeing that from the beginning of the world Fortune has made men the sport of divers accidents,and so it will continue until the end, the theme, so please you, shall in each case be the same; to wit, thefortune of such as after divers adventures have at last attained a goal of unexpected felicity.

The ladies and the young men alike commended the rule thus laid down, and agreed to follow it. Dioneo,however, when the rest had done speaking, said:--"Madam, as all the rest have said, so say I, briefly, that therule prescribed by you is commendable and delectable; but of your especial grace I crave a favour, which, Itrust, may be granted and continued to me, so long as our company shall endure; which favour is this: that I benot bound by the assigned theme if I am not so minded, but that I have leave to choose such topic as best shallplease me. And lest any suppose that I crave this grace as one that has not stories ready to hand, I amhenceforth content that mine be always the last." The queen, knowing him to be a merry and facetious fellow,and feeling sure that he only craved this favour in order that, if the company were jaded, he might have anopportunity to recreate them by some amusing story, gladly, with the consent of the rest, granted his petition.She then rose, and attended by the rest sauntered towards a stream, which, issuing clear as crystal from aneighbouring hill, precipitated itself into a valley shaded by trees close set amid living rock and fresh greenherbage. Bare of foot and arm they entered the stream, and roving hither and thither amused themselves indivers ways till in due time they returned to the palace, and gaily supped. Supper ended, the queen sent forinstruments of music, and bade Lauretta lead a dance, while Emilia was to sing a song accompanied byDioneo on the lute.

Accordingly Lauretta led a dance, while Emilia with passion sang the following song:

So fain I am of my own loveliness, I hope, nor think not e'er The weight to feel of other amorousness.

When in the mirror I my face behold, That see I there which doth my mind content, Nor any present hap ormemory old May me deprive of such sweet ravishment. Where else, then, should I find such blandishment Ofsight and sense that e'er My heart should know another amorousness?

Nor need I fear lest the fair thing retreat, When fain I am my solace to renew; Rather, I know, 'twill meadvance to meet, To pleasure me, and shew so sweet a view That speech or thought of none its semblance truePaint or conceive may e'er, Unless he burn with ev'n such amorousness.

Thereon as more intent I gaze, the fire Waxeth within me hourly, more and more, Myself I yield thereto,myself entire, And foretaste have of what it hath in store, And hope of greater joyance than before, Nay, suchas ne'er None knew; for ne'er was felt such amorousness.

This ballade, to which all heartily responded, albeit its words furnished much matter of thought to some, wasfollowed by some other dances, and part of the brief night being thus spent, the queen proclaimed the first dayended, and bade light the torches that all might go to rest until the following morning; and so, seeking theirseveral chambers, to rest they went.

-- Endeth here the first day of the Decameron; beginneth the second, in which, under the rule of Filomena,

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they discourse of the fortunes of such as after divers misadventures have at last attained a goal of unexpectedfelicity. --

The sun was already trailing the new day in his wake of light, and the birds, blithely chanting their lays amongthe green boughs, carried the tidings to the ear, when with one accord all the ladies and the three young menarose, and entered the gardens, where for no little time they found their delight in sauntering about the dewymeads, straying hither and thither, culling flowers, and weaving them into fair garlands. The day passed likeits predecessor; they breakfasted in the shade, and danced and slept until noon, when they rose, and, at theirqueen's behest, assembled in the cool meadow, and sat them down in a circle about her. Fair and verydebonair she shewed, crowned with her laurel wreath, as for a brief space she scanned the company, and thenbade Neifile shew others the way with a story. Neifile made no excuse, and gaily thus began.


-- Martellino pretends to be a paralytic, and makes it appear as if he were cured by being placed upon the bodyof St. Arrigo. His trick is detected; he is beaten and arrested, and is in peril of hanging, but finally escapes. --

Often has it happened, dearest ladies, that one who has studied to raise a laugh at others' expense, especially inregard of things worthy to be had in reverence, has found the laugh turn against himself, and sometimes to hisloss: as, in obedience to the queen's command, and by way of introducing our theme, I am about to shew you,by the narrative of an adventure which befell one of our own citizens, and after a course of evil fortune had anentirely unexpected and very felicitous issue.

Not long ago there was at Treviso a German, named Arrigo, a poor man who got his living as a common hiredporter, but though of so humble a condition, was respected by all, being accounted not only an honest but amost holy man; insomuch that, whether truly or falsely I know not, the Trevisans affirm, that on his deceaseall the bells of the cathedral of Treviso began to toll of their own accord. Which being accounted a miracle,this Arrigo was generally reputed a saint; and all the people of the city gathered before the house where hisbody lay, and bore it, with a saint's honours, into the cathedral, and brought thither the halt and paralytic andblind, and others afflicted with disease or bodily defects, as hoping that by contact with this holy body theywould all be healed. The people thus tumultuously thronging the church, it so chanced that there arrived inTreviso three of our own citizens, of whom one was named Stecchi, another Martellino, and the thirdMarchese; all three being men whose habit it was to frequent the courts of the nobles and afford spectatorsamusem*nt by assuming disguises and personating other men. Being entire strangers to the place, and seeingeverybody running to and fro, they were much astonished, and having learned the why and wherefore, werecurious to go see what was to be seen. So at the inn, where they put up, Marchese began:--"We would fain gosee this saint; but for my part I know not how we are to reach the spot, for I hear the piazza is full of Germansand other armed men, posted there by the Lord who rules here to prevent an uproar, and moreover the church,so far as one may learn, is so full of folk that scarce another soul may enter it." Whereupon Martellino, whowas bent on seeing what was to be seen, said:--"Let not this deter us; I will assuredly find a way of getting tothe saint's body." "How?" rejoined Marchese. "I will tell you," replied Martellino; "I will counterfeit aparalytic, and thou wilt support me on one side and Stecchi on the other, as if I were not able to go alone, andso you will enter the church, making it appear as if you were leading me up to the body of the saint that hemay heal me, and all that see will make way and give us free passage." Marchese and Stecchi approved theplan; so all three forthwith left the inn and repaired to a lonely place, where Martellino distorted his hands, hisfingers, his arms, his legs, and also his mouth and eyes and his entire face in a manner horrible tocontemplate; so that no stranger that saw him could have doubted that he was impotent and paralysed in everypart of his body. In this guise Marchese and Stecchi laid hold of him, and led him towards the church,assuming a most piteous air, and humbly beseeching everybody for God's sake to make way for them. Theirrequest was readily granted; and, in short, observed by all, and crying out at almost every step, "make way,make way," they reached the place where St. Arrigo's body was laid. Whereupon some gentlemen who stoodby, hoisted Martellino on to the saint's body, that thereby he might receive the boon of health. There he lay

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still for a while, the eyes of all in the church being riveted upon him in expectation of the result; then, being avery practised performer, he stretched, first, one of his fingers, next a hand, afterwards an arm, and so forth,making as if he gradually recovered the use of all his natural powers. Which the people observing raised sucha clamour in honour of St. Arrigo that even thunder would have been inaudible. Now it chanced that hard bystood a Florentine, who knew Martellino well, though he had failed to recognise him, when, in such strangeguise, he was led into the church; but now, seeing him resume his natural shape, the Florentine recognisedhim, and at once said with a laugh°"God's curse upon him. Who that saw him come but would have believedthat he was really paralysed?" These words were overheard by some of the Trevisans, who began forthwith toquestion the Florentine. "How?" said they; "was he then not paralysed? No, by God returned the Florentine hehas always been as straight as any of us; he has merely shewn you that he knows better than any man alivehow to play this trick of putting on any counterfeit semblance that he chooses." Thereupon the Trevisans,without further parley, made a rush, clearing the way and crying out as they went:--"Seize this traitor whom*ocks at God and His saints; who, being no paralytic, has come hither in the guise of a paralytic to deride ourpatron saint and us." So saying, they laid hands on him, dragged him down from where he stood, seized himby the hair, tore the clothes from his back, and fell to beating and kicking him, so that it seemed to him as ifall the world were upon him. He cried out:--"Pity, for God's sake," and defended himself as best he could: allin vain, however; the press became thicker and thicker moment by moment. Which Stecchi and Marcheseobserving began to say one to the other that 'twas a bad business; yet, being apprehensive on their ownaccount, they did not venture to come to his assistance, but cried out with the rest that he ought to die, at thesame time, however, casting about how they might find the means to rescue him from the hands of the people,who would certainly have killed him, but for a diversion which Marchese hastily effected. The entire posse ofthe signory being just outside, he ran off at full speed to the Podesta's lieutenant, and said to him:--"Help, forGod's sake; there is a villain here that has cut my purse with full a hundred florins of gold in it; prithee havehim arrested that I may have my own again." Whereupon, twelve sergeants or more ran forthwith to the placewhere hapless Martellino was being carded without a comb, and, forcing their way with the utmost difficultythrough the throng, rescued him all bruised and battered from their hands, and led him to the palace; whitherhe was followed by many who, resenting what he had done, and hearing that he was arrested as a cutpurse,and lacking better pretext for harassing him, began one and all to charge him with having cut their purses. Allwhich the deputy of the Podesta had no sooner heard, than, being a harsh man, he straightway took Martellinoaside and began to examine him. Martellino answered his questions in a bantering tone, making light of thearrest; whereat the deputy, losing patience, had him bound to the strappado, and caused him to receive a fewhints of the cord with intent to extort from him a confession of his guilt, by way of preliminary to hanginghim. Taken down from the strappado, and questioned by the deputy if what his accusers said were true,Martellino, as nothing was to be gained by denial, answered:--"My lord, I am ready to confess the truth; letbut my accusers say, each of them, when and where I cut his purse, and I will tell you what I have and what Ihave not done." "So be it," said the deputy, and caused a few of them to be summoned. WhereuponMartellino, being charged with having cut this, that or the other man's purse eight, six or four days ago, whileothers averred that he had cut their purses that very day, answered thus:-- "My lord, these men lie in thethroat, and for token that I speak true, I tell you that, so far from having been here as long as they make out, itis but very lately that I came into these parts, where I never was before; and no sooner was I come, than, asmy ill-luck would have it, I went to see the body of this saint, and so have been carded as you see; and thatwhat I say is true, his Lordship's intendant of arrivals, and his book, and also my host may certify. Wherefore,if you find that even so it is as I say, hearken not to these wicked men, and spare me the torture and deathwhich they would have you inflict." In this posture of affairs Marchese and Stecchi, learning that the Podesta'sdeputy was dealing rigorously with Martellino, and had already put him to the strappado, grew mightilyalarmed. "We have made a mess of it," they said to themselves; "we have only taken him out of the frying-panto toss him into the fire." So, hurrying hither and thither with the utmost zeal, they made diligent search untilthey found their host, and told him how matters stood. The host had his laugh over the affair, and then broughtthem to one Sandro Agolanti, who dwelt in Treviso and had great interest with the Lord of the place. The hostlaid the whole matter before Sandro, and, backed by Marchese and Stecchi, besought him to undertakeMartellino's cause. Sandro, after many a hearty laugh, hied him to the Lord, who at his instance sent forMartellino. The messengers found Martellino still in his shirt before the deputy, at his wits' end, and all but

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beside himself with fear, because the deputy would hear nothing that he said in his defence. Indeed, thedeputy, having a spite against Florentines, had quite made up his mind to have him hanged; he was thereforein the last degree reluctant to surrender him to the Lord, and only did so upon compulsion. Brought at lengthbefore the Lord, Martellino detailed to him the whole affair, and prayed him as the greatest of favours to lethim depart in peace. The Lord had a hearty laugh over the adventure, and bestowed a tunic on each of thethree. So, congratulating themselves on their unexpected deliverance from so great a peril, they returned homesafe and sound.


-- Rinaldo d'Asti is robbed, arrives at Castel Guglielmo, and is entertained by a widow lady; his property isrestored to him, and he returns home safe and sound. --

The ladies and the young men, especially Filostrato, laughed inordinately at Neifile's narrative of Martellino'smisadventures. Then Filostrato, who sate next Neifile, received the queen's command to follow her, andpromptly thus began:--

Fair ladies, 'tis on my mind to tell you a story in which are mingled things sacred and passages of adversefortune and love, which to hear will perchance be not unprofitable, more especially to travellers in love'streacherous lands; of whom if any fail to say St. Julian's paternoster, it often happens that, though he mayhave a good bed, he is ill lodged.

Know, then, that in the time of the Marquis Azzo da Ferrara, a merchant, Rinaldo d'Asti by name, havingdisposed of certain affairs which had brought him to Bologna, set his face homeward, and having left Ferrarabehind him was on his way to Verona, when he fell in with some men that looked like merchants, but were intruth robbers and men of evil life and condition, whose company he imprudently joined, riding and conversingwith them. They, perceiving that he was a merchant, and judging that he must have money about him,complotted to rob him on the first opportunity; and to obviate suspicion they played the part of worthy andreputable men, their discourse of nought but what was seemly and honourable and leal, their demeanour atonce as respectful and as cordial as they could make it; so that he deemed himself very lucky to have met withthem, being otherwise alone save for a single mounted servant. Journeying thus, they conversed after thedesultory manner of travellers, of divers matters, until at last they fell a talking of the prayers which menaddress to God, and one of the robbers--there were three of them--said to Rinaldo:--"And you, gentle sir, whatis your wonted orison when you are on your travels?" Rinaldo answered:--"Why, to tell the truth, I am a manunskilled, unlearned in such matters, and few prayers have I at my command, being one that lives in the goodold way and lets two soldi count for twenty-four deniers; nevertheless it has always been my custom injourneying to say of a morning, as I leave the inn, a paternoster and an avemaria for the souls of the father andmother of St. Julian, after which I pray God and St. Julian to provide me with a good inn for the night. Andmany a time in the course of my life have I met with great perils by the way, and evading them all have foundcomfortable quarters for the night: whereby my faith is assured, that St. Julian, in whose honour I say mypaternoster, has gotten me this favour of God; nor should I look for a prosperous journey and a safe arrival atnight, if I had not said it in the morning." Then said his interrogator:--"And did you say it this morning?"Whereto Rinaldo answered, "Troth, did I," which caused the other, who by this time knew what coursematters would take, to say to himself:--"'Twill prove to have been said in the nick of time; for if we do notmiscarry, I take it thou wilt have but a sorry lodging." Then turning to Rinaldo he said:--"I also have travelledmuch, and never a prayer have I said though I have heard them much, commended by many, nor has it everbeen my lot to find other than good quarters for the night; it may be that this very evening you will be able todetermine which of us has the better lodging, you that have said the paternoster, or I that have not said it.True, however, it is that in its stead I am accustomed to say the 'Dirupisti,' or the 'Intemerata,' or the 'Deprofundis,' which, if what my grandmother used to say is to be believed, are of the greatest efficacy." So,talking of divers matters, and ever on the look-out for time and place suited to their evil purpose, theycontinued their journey, until towards evening, some distance from Castel Guglielmo, as they were about to

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ford a stream, these three ruffians, profiting by the lateness of the hour, and the loneliness and straitness of theplace, set upon Rinaldo and robbed him, and leaving him afoot and in his shirt, said by way of adieu:--"Gonow, and see if thy St. Julian will provide thee with good lodging to-night; our saint, we doubt not, will do asmuch by us;" and so crossing the stream, they went their way. Rinaldo's servant, coward that he was, didnothing to help his master when he saw him attacked, but turned his horse's head, and was off at a smart pace;nor did he draw rein until he was come to Castel Guglielmo; where, it being now evening, he put up at an innand gave himself no further trouble. Rinaldo, left barefoot, and stripped to his shirt, while the night closed invery cold and snowy, was at his wits' end, and shivering so that his teeth chattered in his head, began to peerabout, if haply he might find some shelter for the night, that so he might not perish with the cold; but, seeingnone (for during a recent war the whole country had been wasted by fire), he set off for Castel Guglielmo,quickening his pace by reason of the cold. Whether his servant had taken refuge in Castel Guglielmo orelsewhere, he knew not, but he thought that, could he but enter the town, God would surely send him somesuccour. However, dark night overtook him while he was still about a mile from the castle; so that on hisarrival he found the gates already locked and the bridges raised, and he could not pass in. Sick at heart,disconsolate and bewailing his evil fortune, he looked about for some place where he might ensconce himself,and at any rate find shelter from the snow. And by good luck he espied a house, built with a balcony a littleabove the castle-wall, under which balcony he purposed to shelter himself until daybreak. Arrived at the spot,he found beneath the balcony a postern, which, however, was locked; and having gathered some bits of strawthat lay about, he placed them in front of the postern, and there in sad and sorrowful plight took up hisquarters, with many a piteous appeal to St. Julian, whom he reproached for not better rewarding the faithwhich he reposed in him. St. Julian, however, had not abandoned him, and in due time provided him with agood lodging.

There was in the castle a widow lady of extraordinary beauty (none fairer) whom Marquis Azzo loved as hisown life, and kept there for his pleasure. She lived in the very same house beneath the balcony of whichRinaldo had posted himself. Now it chanced that that very day the Marquis had come to Castel Guglielmo topass the night with her, and had privily caused a bath to be made ready, and a supper suited to his rank, in thelady's own house. The arrangements were complete; and only the Marquis was stayed for, when a servanthappened to present himself at the castle-gate, bringing tidings for the Marquis which obliged him suddenly totake horse. He therefore sent word to the lady that she must not wait for him, and forthwith took his departure.The lady, somewhat disconsolate, found nothing better to do than to get into the bath which had been intendedfor the Marquis, sup and go to bed: so into the bath she went. The bath was close to the postern on the otherside of which hapless Rinaldo had ensconced himself, and, thus the mournful and quavering music whichRinaldo made as he shuddered in the cold, and which seemed rather to proceed from a stork's beak than fromthe mouth of a human being, was audible to the lady in the bath. She therefore called her maid, and said toher:--"Go up and look out over the wall and down at the postern, and mark who is there, and what he is, andwhat he does there." The maid obeyed, and, the night being fine, had no difficulty in making out Rinaldo as hesate there, barefoot, as I have, said, and in his shirt, and trembling in every limb. So she called out to him, toknow who he was. Rinaldo, who could scarcely articulate for shivering, told as briefly as he could, who hewas, and how and why he came to be there; which done, he began piteously to, beseech her not, if she couldavoid it, to leave him there all night to perish of cold. The maid went back to her mistress full of pity forRinaldo, and told her all she had seen and heard. The lady felt no less pity for Rinaldo; and bethinking her thatshe had the key of the postern by which the Marquis sometimes entered when he paid her a secret visit, shesaid to the maid:--"Go, and let him in softly; here is this supper, and there will be none to eat it; and we canvery well put him up for the night." Cordially commending her mistress's humanity, the maid went and letRinaldo in, and brought him to the lady, who, seeing that he was all but dead with cold, said to him:--"Quick,good man, get into that bath, which is still warm." Gladly he did so, awaiting no second invitation, and was somuch comforted by its warmth that he seemed to have passed from death to life. The lady provided him with asuit of clothes, which had been worn by her husband shortly before his death, and which, when he had themon, looked as if they had been made for him. So he recovered heart, and, while he awaited the lady'scommands, gave thanks to God and St. Julian for delivering him from a woful night and conducting him, as itseemed, to comfortable quarters.

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The lady meanwhile took a little rest, after which she had a roaring fire put in one of her large rooms, whitherpresently she came, and asked her maid how the good man did. The maid replied:--"Madam, he has put on theclothes, in which he shews to advantage, having a handsome person, and seeming to be a worthy man, andwell-bred." "Go, call him then," said the lady, "tell him to come hither to the fire, and we will sup; for I knowthat he has not supped." Rinaldo, on entering the room and seeing the lady, took her to be of no smallconsequence. He therefore made her a low bow, and did his utmost to thank her worthily for the service shehad rendered him. His words pleased her no less than his person, which accorded with what the maid had said:so she made him heartily welcome, installed him at his ease by her side before the fire, and questioned him ofthe adventure which had brought him thither. Rinaldo detailed all the circ*mstances, of which the lady hadheard somewhat when Rinaldo's servant made his appearance at the castle. She therefore gave entire credenceto what he said, and told him what she knew about his servant, and how he might easily find him on themorrow. She then bade set the table, which done, Rinaldo and she washed their hands and sate down togetherto sup. Tall he was and comely of form and feature, debonair and gracious of mien and manner, and in hislusty prime. The lady had eyed him again and again to her no small satisfaction, and, her wantonness beingalready kindled for the Marquis, who was to have come to lie with her, she had let Rinaldo take the vacantplace in her mind. So when supper was done, and they were risen from the table, she conferred with her maid,whether, after the cruel trick played upon her by the Marquis, it were not well to take the good gift whichFortune had sent her. The maid knowing the bent of her mistress's desire, left no word unsaid that mightencourage her to follow it. Wherefore the lady, turning towards Rinaldo, who was standing where she had lefthim by the fire, began thus:--"So! Rinaldo, why still so pensive? Will nothing console you for the loss of ahorse and a few clothes? Take heart, put a blithe face on it, you are at home; nay more, let me tell you that,seeing you in those clothes which my late husband used to wear, and taking you for him, I have felt, not onceor twice, but perhaps a hundred times this evening, a longing to throw my arms round you and kiss you; and,in faith, I had so done, but that I feared it might displease you." Rinaldo, hearing these words, and marking theflame which shot from the lady's eyes, and being no laggard, came forward with open arms, and confrontedher and said:--"Madam, I am not unmindful that I must ever acknowledge that to you I owe my life, in regardof the peril whence you rescued me. If then there be any way in which I may pleasure you, churlish indeedwere I not to devise it. So you may even embrace and kiss me to your heart's content, and I will embrace andkiss you with the best of good wills." There needed no further parley. The lady, all aflame with amorousdesire, forthwith threw herself into his arms, and straining him to her bosom with a thousand passionateembraces, gave and received a thousand kisses before they sought her chamber. There with all speed theywent to bed, nor did day surprise them until again and again and in full measure they had satisfied their desire.With the first streaks of dawn they rose, for the lady was minded that none should surmise aught of the affair.So, having meanly habited Rinaldo, and replenished his purse, she enjoined him to keep the secret, shewedhim the way to the castle, where he was to find his servant, and let him out by the same postern by which hehad entered. When it was broad day the gates were opened, and Rinaldo, passing himself off as a travellerfrom distant parts, entered the castle, and found his servant. Having put on the spare suit which was in hisvalise, he was about to mount the servant's horse, when, as if by miracle, there were brought into the castle thethree gentlemen of the road who had robbed him the evening before, having been taken a little while after foranother offence. Upon their confession Rinaldo's horse was restored to him, as were also his clothes andmoney; so that he lost nothing except a pair of garters, of which the robbers knew not where they hadbestowed them. Wherefore Rinaldo, giving thanks to God and St. Julian, mounted his horse, and returnedhome safe and sound, and on the morrow the three robbers kicked heels in the wind.


-- Three young men squander their substance and are reduced to poverty. Their nephew, returning home adesperate man, falls in with an abbot, in whom he discovers the daughter of the King of England. She marrieshim, and he retrieves the losses and reestablishes the fortune of his uncles. --

The ladies marvelled to hear the adventures of Rinaldo d'Asti, praised his devotion, and gave thanks to Godand St. Julian for the succour lent him in his extreme need. Nor, though the verdict was hardly outspoken, was

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the lady deemed unwise to take the boon which God had sent her. So they tittered and talked of her night ofdelight, while Pampinea, being seated by Filostrato, and surmising that her turn would, as it did, come next,was lost in meditation on what she was to say. Roused from her reverie by the word of the queen, she put on acheerful courage, and thus began:--

Noble ladies, discourse as we may of Fortune's handiwork, much still remains to be said if we but scan eventsaright, nor need we marvel thereat, if we but duly consider that all matters, which we foolishly call our own,are in her hands and therefore subject, at her inscrutable will, to every variety of chance and change withoutany order therein by us discernible. Which is indeed signally manifest everywhere and all day long; yet, as 'tisour queen's will that we speak thereof, perhaps 'twill not be unprofitable to you, if, notwithstanding it has beenthe theme of some of the foregoing stories, I add to them another, which, I believe, should give you pleasure.

There was formerly in our city a knight, by name Messer Tedaldo, of the Lamberti, according to some, or, asothers say, of the Agolanti family, perhaps for no better reason than that the occupation of his sons wassimilar to that which always was and is the occupation of the Agolanti. However, without professing todetermine which of the two houses he belonged to, I say, that he was in his day a very wealthy knight, and hadthree sons, the eldest being by name Lamberto, the second Tedaldo, and the third Agolante. Fine, spiritedyoung men were they all, though the eldest was not yet eighteen years old when their father, Messer Tedaldo,died very rich, leaving to them as his lawful heirs the whole of his property both movable and immovable.Finding themselves thus possessed of great wealth, both in money and in lands and chattels, they fell tospending without stint or restraint, indulging their every desire, maintaining a great establishment, and a largeand well-filled stable, besides dogs and hawks, keeping ever open house, scattering largesses, jousting, and,not content with these and the like pastimes proper to their condition, indulging every appetite natural to theiryouth. They had not long followed this course of life before the cash left them by their father was exhausted;and, their rents not sufficing to defray their expenditure, they began to sell and pledge their property, anddisposing of it by degrees, one item to-day and another to-morrow, they hardly perceived that they wereapproaching the verge of ruin, until poverty opened the eyes which wealth had fast sealed. So one dayLamberto called his brothers to him, reminded them of the position of wealth and dignity which had beentheirs and their father's before them, and shewed them the poverty to which their extravagance had reducedthem, and adjured them most earnestly that, before their destitution was yet further manifest, they should allthree sell what little remained to them and depart thence; which accordingly they did. Without leave-taking, orany ceremony, they quitted Florence; nor did they rest until they had arrived in England and establishedthemselves in a small house in London, where, by living with extreme parsimony and lending at exorbitantusances, they prospered so well that in the course of a few years they amassed a fortune; and so, one by one,they returned to Florence, purchased not a few of their former estates besides many others, and married. Themanagement of their affairs in England, where they continued their business of usurers, they left to a youngnephew, Alessandro by name, while, heedless alike of the teaching of experience and of marital and parentalduty, they all three launched out at Florence into more extravagant expenditure than before, and contracteddebts on all hands and to large amounts. This expenditure they were enabled for some years to support by theremittances made by Alessandro, who, to his great profit, had lent money to the barons on the security of theircastles and rents.

While the three brothers thus continued to spend freely, and, when short of money, to borrow it, neverdoubting of help from England, it so happened that, to the surprise of everybody, there broke out in England awar between the King and his son, by which the whole island was divided into two camps; wherebyAlessandro lost all his mortgages, of the baronial castles and every other source of income whatsoever.However, in the daily expectation that peace would be concluded between the King and his son, Alessandro,hoping that in that event all would be restored to him, principal and interest, tarried in the island; and the threebrothers at Florence in no degree retrenched their extravagant expenditure, but went on borrowing from day today. Several years thus passed; and, their hopes being frustrated, the three brothers not only lost credit, but,being pressed for payment by their creditors, were suddenly arrested, and, their property proving deficient,were kept in prison for the balance, while their wives and little children went into the country parts, or

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elsewhere, wretchedly equipped, and with no other prospect than to pass the rest of their days in destitution.Alessandro, meanwhile, seeing that the peace, which he had for several years awaited in England, did notcome, and deeming that he would hazard his life to no purpose by tarrying longer in the country, made up hismind to return to Italy. He travelled at first altogether alone; but it so chanced that he left Bruges at the sametime with an abbot, habited in white, attended by a numerous retinue, and preceded by a goodly baggage-train.Behind the abbot rode two greybeard knights, kinsmen of the King, in whom Alessandro recognisedacquaintances, and, making himself known to them, was readily received into their company. As thus theyjourneyed together, Alessandro softly asked them who the monks were that rode in front with so great a train,and whither they were bound. "The foremost rider," replied one of the knights, "is a young kinsman of ours,the newly-elected abbot of one of the greatest abbeys of England,; and as he is not of legal age for such adignity, we are going with him to Rome to obtain the Holy Father's dispensation and his confirmation in theoffice; but this is not a matter for common talk." Now the new abbot, as lords are wont to do when they travel,was sometimes in front, sometimes in rear of his train; and thus it happened that, as he passed, he set eyes onAlessandro, who was still quite young, and very shapely and well-favoured, and as courteous, gracious anddebonair as e'er another. The abbot was marvellously taken with him at first sight, having never seen aughtthat pleased him so much, called him to his side, addressed him graciously, and asked him who he was,whence he came, and whither he was bound. Alessandro frankly told all about himself, and having thusanswered the abbot's questions, placed himself at his service as far as his small ability might extend. Theabbot was struck by his easy flow of apt speech, and observing his bearing more closely, he made up his mindthat , albeit his occupation was base, he was nevertheless of gentle blood, which added no little to his interestin him; and being moved to compassion by his misfortunes, he gave him friendly consolation, bidding him beof good hope, that if he lived a worthy life, God would yet set him in a place no less or even more exalted thanthat whence Fortune had cast him down, and prayed him to be of his company as far as Tuscany, as both weregoing the same way. Alessandro thanked him for his words of comfort, and professed himself ready to obeyhis every command.

So fared on the abbot, his mind full of new ideas begotten by the sight of Alessandro, until some days laterthey came to a town which was none too well provided with inns; and, as the abbot must needs put up there,Alessandro, who was well acquainted with one of the innkeepers, arranged that the abbot should alight at hishouse, and procured him the least discomfortable quarters which it could afford. He thus became for the noncethe abbot's seneschal, and being very expert for such office, managed excellently, quartering the retinue indivers parts of the town. So the abbot supped, and, the night being far spent, all went to bed exceptAlessandro, who then asked the host where he might find quarters for the night. "In good sooth, I know not,"replied the host; "thou seest that every place is occupied, and that I and my household must lie on the benches.However, in the abbot's chamber there are some corn-sacks. I can shew thee the way thither, and lay a bit of abed upon them, and there, an it like thee, thou mayst pass the night very well." "How sayst thou?" saidAlessandro; "in the abbot's chamber, which thou knowest is small, so that there was not room for any of themonks to sleep there? Had I understood this when the curtains were drawn, I would have quartered his monkson the corn-sacks, and slept myself where the monks sleep." "'Tis even so, however," replied the host, "andthou canst, if thou wilt, find excellent quarters there: the abbot sleeps, the curtains are close drawn; I will go insoftly and lay a small bed there, on which thou canst sleep." Alessandro, satisfied that it might be managedwithout disturbing the abbot, accepted the offer, and made his arrangements for passing the night as quietly ashe could.

The abbot was not asleep; his mind being far too overwrought by certain newly-awakened desires. He hadheard what had passed between Alessandro and the host, he had marked the place where Alessandro had laindown, and in the great gladness of his heart had begun thus to commune with himself:--"God has sent me theopportunity of gratifying my desire; if I let it pass, perchance it will be long before another such opportunityoccurs." So, being minded by no means to let it slip, when all was quiet in the inn, he softly called Alessandro,and bade him lie down by his side. Alessandro made many excuses, but ended by undressing and obeyingwhereupon the abbot laid a hand on Alessandro's breast, and began to caress him just as amorous girls do theirlovers; whereat Alessandro marvelled greatly, doubting the abbot was prompted to such caresses by a

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shameful love. Which the abbot speedily divined, or else surmised from some movement on Alessandro's part,and, laughing, threw off a chemise which she had upon her, and taking Alessandro's hand, laid it on herbosom, saying:--"Alessandro, dismiss thy foolish thought, feel here, and learn what I conceal." Alessandroobeyed, laying a hand upon the abbot's bosom, where he encountered two little teats, round, firm and delicate,as they had been of ivory; whereby he at once knew that 'twas a woman, and without awaiting furtherencouragement forthwith embraced her, and would have kissed her, when she said:--"Before thou art morefamiliar with me hearken to what I have to say to thee. As thou mayst perceive, I am no man, but a woman.Virgin I left my home, and was going to the Pope to obtain his sanction for my marriage, when, as Fortunewilled, whether for thy gain or my loss, no sooner had I seen thee the other day, than I burned for thee withsuch a flame of love as never yet had lady for any man. Wherefore I am minded to have thee for my husbandrather than any other; so, if thou wilt not have me to wife, depart at once, and return to thine own place."Albeit he knew not who she was, Alessandro by the retinue which attended her conjectured that she must benoble and wealthy, and he saw that she was very fair; so it was not long before he answered that, if such wereher pleasure, it was very much to his liking. Whereupon she sate up, set a ring on his finger, and espoused himbefore a tiny picture of our Lord; after which they embraced, and to their no small mutual satisfaction solacedthemselves for the rest of the night. At daybreak Alessandro rose, and by preconcert with the lady, left thechamber as he had entered it, so that none knew where he had passed the night: then, blithe at heart beyondmeasure, he rejoined the abbot and his train, and so, resuming their journey, they after many days arrived atRome. They had not been there more than a few days, when the abbot, attended by the two knights andAlessandro, waited on the Pope, whom, after making the due obeisance, he thus addressed:--"Holy Father, asyou must know better than any other, whoso intends to lead a true and honourable life ought, as far as may be,to shun all occasion of error; for which cause I, having a mind to live honourably, did, the better toaccomplish my purpose, assume the habit in which you see me, and depart by stealth from the court of myfather, the King of England, who was minded to marry me, young as you see me to be, to the aged King ofScotland; and, carrying with me not a little of his treasure, set my face hitherward that your Holiness mightbestow me in marriage. Nor was it the age of the King of Scotland that moved me to flee so much as fear lestthe frailty of my youth should, were I married to him, betray me to commit some breach of divine law, andsully the honour of my father's royal blood. And as in this frame of mind I journeyed, God, who knows bestwhat is meet for every one, did, as I believe, of His mercy shew me him whom He is pleased to appoint me formy husband, even this young man" (pointing to Alessandro) "whom you see by my side, who for nobility ofnature and bearing is a match for any great lady, though the strain of his blood, perhaps, be not of royal purity.Him, therefore, have I chosen. Him will I have, and no other, no matter what my father or any one else maythink. And albeit the main purpose with which I started is fulfilled, yet I have thought good to continue myjourney, that I may visit the holy and venerable places which abound in this city, and your Holiness, and thatso in your presence, and by consequence in the presence of others, I may renew my marriage-vow withAlessandro, whereof God alone was witness. Wherefore I humbly pray you that God's will and mine may bealso yours, and that you pronounce your benison thereon, that therewith, having the more firm assurance ofthe favour of Him, whose vicar you are, we may both live together, and, when the time comes, die to God'sglory and yours."

Alessandro was filled with wonder and secret delight, when he heard that his wife was the daughter of theKing of England; but greater still was the wonder of the two knights, and such their wrath that, had they beenanywhere else than in the Pope's presence, they would not have spared to affront Alessandro, and perhaps thelady too. The Pope, on his part, found matter enough for wonder as well in the lady's habit as in her choice;but, knowing that he could not refuse, he consented to grant her request.

He therefore began by smoothing the ruffled tempers of the knights, and having reconciled them with the ladyand Alessandro, proceeded to put matters in train for the marriage. When the day appointed was come, hegave a great reception, at which were assembled all the cardinals and many other great lords; to whom hepresented the lady royally robed, and looking so fair and so gracious that she won, as she deserved, the praiseof all, and likewise Alessandro, splendidly arrayed, and bearing himself not a whit like the young usurer butrather as one of royal blood, for which cause he received due honour from the knights. There, before the Pope

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himself, the marriage-vows were solemnly renewed; and afterwards the marriage, which was accompanied byevery circ*mstance that could add grace and splendour to the ceremony, received the sanction of hisbenediction. Alessandro and the lady on leaving Rome saw fit to visit Florence, whither fame had alreadywafted the news, so that they were received by the citizens with every token of honour. The lady set the threebrothers at liberty, paying all their creditors, and reinstated them and their wives in their several properties.So, leaving gracious memories behind them, Alessandro and his lady, accompanied by Agolante, quittedFlorence, and arriving at Paris were honourably received by the King. The two knights went before them toEngland, and by their influence induced the King to restore the lady to his favour, and receive her and hisson-in-law with every circ*mstance of joy and honour. Alessandro he soon afterwards knighted withunwonted ceremony, and bestowed on him the earldom of Cornwall. And such was the Earl's consequenceand influence at court that he restored peace between father and son, thereby conferring a great boon on theisland and gaining the love and esteem of all the people. Agolante, whom he knighted, recovered all theoutstanding debts in full, and returned to Florence immensely rich. The Earl passed the rest of his days withhis lady in great renown. Indeed there are those who say, that with the help of his father-in-law he effected byhis policy and valour the conquest of Scotland, and was crowned king of that country.


-- Landolfo Ruffolo is reduced to poverty, turns corsair, is captured by Genoese, is shipwrecked, escapes on achest full of jewels, and, being cast ashore at Corfu, is hospitably entertained by a woman, and returns homewealthy. --

When Pampinea had brought her story to this glorious conclusion, Lauretta, who sate next her, delayed not,but thus began:--

Most gracious ladies, the potency of Fortune is never, methinks, more conspicuous than when she raises one,as in Pampinea's story we have seen her raise Alessandro, from abject misery to regal state. And such beingthe limits which our theme henceforth imposes on our invention, I shall feel no shame to tell a story whereinreverses yet greater are compensated by a sequel somewhat less dazzling. Well I know that my story, beingcompared with its predecessor, will therefore be followed with the less interest; but, failing of necessity, Ishall be excused.

Scarce any part of Italy is reputed so delectable as the sea-coast between Reggio and Gaeta; and in particularthe slope which overlooks the sea by Salerno, and which the dwellers there call the Slope of Amalfi, isstudded with little towns, gardens and fountains, and peopled by men as wealthy and enterprising inmercantile affairs as are anywhere to be found; in one of which towns, to wit, Ravello, rich as its inhabitantsare to-day, there was formerly a merchant, who surpassed them all in wealth, Landolfo Ruffolo by name, whoyet, not content with his wealth, but desiring to double it, came nigh to lose it all and his own life to boot.Know, then, that this man, having made his calculations, as merchants are wont, bought a great ship, which,entirely at his own expense, he loaded with divers sorts of merchandise, and sailed to Cyprus. There he foundseveral other ships, each laden with just such a cargo as his own, and was therefore fain to dispose of hisgoods at a very cheap rate, insomuch that he might almost as well have thrown them away, and was brought tothe verge of ruin. Mortified beyond measure to find himself thus reduced in a short space of time fromopulence to something like poverty, he was at his wits' end, and rather than go home poor, having left homerich, he was minded to retrieve his losses by piracy or die in the attempt. So he sold his great ship, and withthe price and the proceeds of the sale of his merchandise bought a light bark such as corsairs use, and havingexcellently well equipped her with the armament and all things else meet for such service, took to scouring theseas as a rover, preying upon all folk alike, but more particularly upon the Turk.

In this enterprise he was more favoured by Fortune than in his trading adventures. A year had scarce gone bybefore he had taken so many ships from the Turk that not only had he recovered the fortune which he had lostin trade, but was well on the way to doubling it. The bitter memory of his late losses taught him sobriety; he

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estimated his gains and found them ample; and lest he should have a second fall, he schooled himself to restcontent with them, and made up his mind to return home without attempting to add to them. Shy ofadventuring once more in trade, he refrained from investing them in any way, but shaped his course for home,carrying them with him in the very same bark in which he had gotten them. He had already entered theArchipelago when one evening a contrary wind sprang up from the south-east, bringing with it a very heavysea, in which his bark could not well have lived. He therefore steered her into a bay under the lee of one of theislets, and there determined to await better weather. As he lay there two great carracks of Genoa,homeward-bound from Constantinople, found, not without difficulty, shelter from the tempest in the samebay. The masters of the carracks espied the bark, and found out to whom she belonged: the fame of Landolfoand his vast wealth had already reached them, and had excited their natural cupidity and rapacity. Theytherefore determined to capture the bark, which lay without means of escape. Part of their men, well armedwith cross-bows and other weapons, they accordingly sent ashore, so posting them that no one could leave thebark without being exposed to the bolts; the rest took to their boats, and rowed up to the side of Landolfo'slittle craft, which in a little time, with little trouble and no loss or risk, they captured with all aboard her. Theythen cleared the bark of all she contained, allowing Landolfo, whom they set aboard one of the carracks, onlya pitiful doublet, and sunk her. Next day the wind shifted, and the carracks set sail on a westerly course, whichthey kept prosperously enough throughout the day; but towards evening a tempest arose, and the sea becamevery boisterous, so that the two ships were parted one from the other. And such was the fury of the gale thatthe ship, aboard which was poor, hapless Landolfo, was driven with prodigious force upon a shoal off theisland of Cephalonia, and broke up and went to pieces like so much glass dashed against a wall. Whereforethe unfortunate wretches that were aboard her, launched amid the floating merchandise and chests and plankswith which the sea was strewn, did as men commonly do in such a case; and, though the night was of themurkiest and the sea rose and fell in mountainous surges, such as could swim sought to catch hold of whateverchance brought in their way. Among whom hapless Landolfo, who only the day before had again and againprayed for death, rather than he should return home in such poverty, now, seeing death imminent, was afraid;and, like the rest, laid hold of the first plank that came to hand, in the hope that, if he could but avoidimmediate drowning, God would in some way aid his escape. Gripping the beam with his legs as best hemight, while wind and wave tossed him hither and thither, he contrived to keep himself afloat until broad day:when, looking around him, he discerned nothing but clouds and sea and a chest, which, borne by the wave,from time to time drew nigh him to his extreme terror, for he apprehended it might strike against the plank,and do him a mischief; and ever, as it came near him, he pushed it off with all the little force he had in hishand. But, as it happened, a sudden gust of wind swept down upon the sea, and struck the chest with suchforce that it was driven against the plank on which Landolfo was, and upset it, and Landolfo went under thewaves. Swimming with an energy begotten rather of fear than of strength, he rose to the surface only to seethe plank so far from him that, doubting he could not reach it, he made for the chest, which was close at hand;and resting his breast upon the lid, he did what he could to keep it straight with his arms. In this manner,tossed to and fro by the sea, without tasting food, for not a morsel had he with him, and drinking more than hecared for, knowing not where he was, and seeing nothing but the sea, he remained all that day, and thefollowing night. The next day, as the will of God, or the force of the wind so ordered, more like a sponge thanaught else, but still with both hands holding fast by the edges of the chest, as we see those do that clutch aughtto save themselves from drowning, he was at length borne to the coast of the island of Corfu, where by chancea poor woman was just then scrubbing her kitchen-ware with sand and salt-water to make it shine. The womancaught sight of him as he drifted shorewards, but making out only a shapeless mass, was at first startled, andshrieked and drew back. Landolfo was scarce able to see, and uttered no sound, for his power of speech wasgone. However, when the sea brought him close to the shore, she distinguished the shape of the chest, andgazing more intently, she first made out the arms strained over the chest, and then discerned the face anddivined the truth. So, prompted by pity, she went out a little way into the sea, which was then calm, took himby the hair of the head, and drew him to land, chest and all. Then, not without difficulty she disengaged hishands from the chest, which she set on the head of a little girl, her daughter, that was with her, carried himhome like a little child, and set him in a bath, where she chafed and laved him with warm water, until, the vitalheat and some part of the strength which he had lost being restored, she saw fit to take him out and regale himwith some good wine and comfits. Thus for some days she tended him as best she could, until he recovered

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his strength, and knew where he was. Then, in due time, the good woman, who had kept his chest safe, gave itback to him, and bade him try his fortune.

Landolfo could not recall the chest, but took it when she brought it to him, thinking that, however slight itsvalue, it must suffice for a few days' charges. He found it very light, and quite lost hope; but when the goodwoman was out of doors, he opened it to see what was inside, and found there a great number of preciousstones, some set, others unset. Having some knowledge of such matters, he saw at a glance that the stoneswere of great value; wherefore, feeling that he was still not forsaken by God, he praised His name, and quiterecovered heart. But, having in a brief space of time been twice shrewdly hit by the bolts of Fortune, he wasapprehensive of a third blow, and deemed it meet to use much circ*mspection in conveying his treasure home;so he wrapped it up in rags as best he could, telling the good woman that he had no more use for the chest, butshe might keep it if she wished, and give him a sack in exchange. This the good woman readily did; and he,thanking her as heartily as he could for the service she had rendered him, threw his sack over his shoulders,and, taking ship, crossed to Brindisi. Thence he made his way by the coast as far as Trani, where he foundsome of his townsfolk that were drapers, to whom he narrated all his adventures except that of the chest. Theyin charity gave him a suit of clothes, and lent him a horse and their escort as far as Ravello, whither, he said,he was minded to return. There, thanking God for bringing him safe home, he opened his sack, and examiningits contents with more care than before, found the number, and fashion of the stones to be such that the sale ofthem at a moderate price, or even less, would leave him twice as rich as when he left Ravello. So, havingdisposed of his stones, he sent a large sum of money to Corfu in recompense of the service done him by thegood woman who had rescued him from the sea, and also to his friends at Trani who had furnished him withthe clothes; the residue he retained, and, making no more ventures in trade, lived and died in honourableestate.


-- Andreuccio da Perugia comes to Naples to buy horses, meets with three serious adventures in one night,comes safe out of them all, and returns home with a ruby. --

Landolfo's find of stones, began Fiammetta, on whom the narration now fell, has brought to my mind a storyin which there are scarce fewer perilous scapes than in Lauretta's story, but with this difference: that, insteadof a course of perhaps several years, a single night, as you shall hear, sufficed for their occurrence.

In Perugia, by what I once gathered, there lived a young man, Andreuccio di Pietro by name, a horse-dealer,who, having learnt that horses were to be had cheap at Naples, put five hundred florins of gold in his purse,and in company with some other merchants went thither, never having been away from home before. On hisarrival at Naples, which was on a Sunday evening, about vespers, he learnt from his host that the fair would beheld on the following morning. Thither accordingly he then repaired, and looked at many horses whichpleased him much, and cheapening them more and more, and failing to strike a bargain with any one, he fromtime to time, being raw and unwary, drew out his purse of florins in view of all that came and went, to shewthat he meant business.

While he was thus chaffering, and after he had shewn his purse, there chanced to come by a Sicilian girl, fairas fair could be, but ready to pleasure any man for a small consideration. He did not see her, but she saw himand his purse, and forthwith said to herself:--"Who would be in better luck than I if all those florins weremine?" and so she passed on. With the girl was an old woman, also a Sicilian, who, when she sawAndreuccio, dropped behind the girl, and ran towards him, making as if she would tenderly embrace him. Thegirl observing this said nothing, but stopped and waited a little way off for the old woman to rejoin her.Andreuccio turned as the old woman came up, recognised her, and greeted her very cordially; but time andplace not permitting much converse, she left him, promising to visit him at his inn; and he resumed hischaffering, but bought nothing that morning.

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Her old woman's intimate acquaintance with Andreuccio had no more escaped the girl's notice than thecontents of Andreuccio's purse; and with the view of devising, if possible, some way to make the money,either in whole or in part, her own, she began cautiously to ask the old woman, who and whence he was, whathe did there, and how she came to know him. The old woman gave her almost as much and as circ*mstantialinformation touching Andreuccio and his affairs as he might have done himself, for she had lived a greatwhile with his father, first in Sicily, and afterwards at Perugia. She likewise told the girl the name of his inn,and the purpose with which he had come to Naples. Thus fully armed with the names and all else that it wasneedful for her to know touching Andreuccio's kith and kin, the girl founded thereon her hopes of gratifyingher cupidity, and forthwith devised a cunning stratagem to effect her purpose. Home she went, and gave theold woman work enough to occupy her all day, that she might not be able to visit Andreuccio; then,summoning to her aid a little girl whom she had well trained for such services, she sent her about vespers tothe inn where Andreuccio lodged. Arrived there, the little girl asked for Andreuccio of Andreuccio himself,who chanced to be just outside the gate. On his answering that he was the man, she took him aside, andsaid:--"Sir, a lady of this country, so please you, would fain speak with you." Whereto he listened with all hisears, and having a great conceit of his person, made up his mind that the lady was in love with him, as if therewere ne'er another handsome fellow in Naples but himself; so forthwith he replied, that he would wait on thelady, and asked where and when it would be her pleasure to speak with him. "Sir," replied the little girl, "sheexpects you in her own house, if you be pleased to come." "Lead on then, I follow thee," said Andreucciopromptly, vouchsafing never a word to any in the inn. So the little girl guided him to her mistress's house,which was situated in a quarter the character of which may be inferred from its name, Evil Hole. Of this,however, he neither knew nor suspected aught, but, supposing that the quarter was perfectly reputable and thathe was going to see a sweet lady, strode carelessly behind the little girl into the house of her mistress, whomshe summoned by calling out, "Andreuccio is here;" and Andreuccio then saw her advance to the head of thestairs to await his ascent. She was tall, still in the freshness of her youth, very fair of face, and very richly andnobly clad. As Andreuccio approached, she descended three steps to meet him with open arms, and claspedhim round the neck, but for a while stood silent as if from excess of tenderness; then, bursting into a flood oftears, she kissed his brow, and in slightly broken accents said:--"O Andreuccio, welcome, welcome, myAndreuccio." Quite lost in wonder to be the recipient of such caresses, Andreuccio could onlyanswer:--"Madam, well met." Whereupon she took him by the hand, led him up into her saloon, and thencewithout another word into her chamber, which exhaled throughout the blended fragrance of roses,orange-blossoms and other perfumes. He observed a handsome curtained bed, dresses in plenty hanging, as iscustomary in that country, on pegs, and other appointments very fair and sumptuous; which sights, beingstrange to him, confirmed his belief that he was in the house of no other than a great lady. They sate downside by side on a chest at the foot of the bed, and thus she began to speak:--"Andreuccio, I cannot doubt thatthou dost marvel both at the caresses which I bestow upon thee, and at my tears, seeing that thou knowest menot, and, maybe, hast never so much as heard my name; wait but a moment and thou shalt learn what perhapswill cause thee to marvel still, more to wit, that I am thy sister; and I tell thee, that, since of God's especialgrace it is granted me to see one, albeit I would fain see all, of my brothers before I die, I shall not meet death,when the hour comes, without consolation; but thou, perchance, hast never heard aught of this; whereforelisten to what I shall say to thee. Pietro, my father and thine, as I suppose thou mayst have heard, dwelt a longwhile at Palermo, where his good heart and gracious bearing caused him to be (as he still is) much beloved byall that knew him; but by none was he loved so much as by a gentlewoman, afterwards my mother, then awidow, who, casting aside all respect for her father and brothers, ay, and her honour, grew so intimate withhim that a child was born, which child am I thy sister, whom thou seest before thee. Shortly after my birth itso befell that Pietro must needs leave Palermo and return to Perugia, and I, his little daughter, was left behindwith my mother at Palermo; nor, so far as I have been able to learn, did he ever again bestow a thought uponeither of us. Wherefore--to say nothing of the love which he should have borne me, his daughter by no servantor woman of low degree--I should, were he not my father, gravely censure the ingratitude which he shewedtowards my mother, who, prompted by a most loyal love, committed her fortune and herself to his keeping,without so much as knowing who he was. But to what end? The wrongs of long-ago are much more easilycensured than redressed; enough that so it was. He left me a little girl at Palermo, where, when I was grown tobe almost as thou seest me, my mother, who was a rich lady, gave me in marriage to an honest gentleman of

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the Girgenti family, who for love of my mother and myself settled in Palermo, and there, being a staunchGuelf, entered into correspondence with our King Charles;(1) which being discovered by King Frederic (2)before the time was ripe for action, we had perforce to flee from Sicily just when I was expecting to becomethe greatest lady that ever was in the island. So, taking with us such few things as we could, few, I say, incomparison of the abundance which we possessed, we bade adieu to our estates and palaces, and found arefuge in this country, and such favour with King Charles that, in partial compensation for the losses whichwe had sustained on his account, he has granted us estates and houses and an ample pension, which heregularly pays to my husband and thy brother-in-law, as thou mayst yet see. In this manner I live here but thatI am blest with the sight of thee, I ascribe entirely to the mercy of God; and no thanks to thee, my sweetbrother." So saying she embraced him again, and melting anew into tears kissed his brow.

This story, so congruous, so consistent in every detail, came trippingly and without the least hesitancy fromher tongue. Andreuccio remembered that his father had indeed lived at Palermo; he knew by his ownexperience the ways of young folk, how prone they are to love; he saw her melt into tears, he felt herembraces and sisterly kisses; and he took all she said for gospel. So, when she had done, heanswered:--"Madam, it should not surprise you that I marvel, seeing that, in sooth, my father, for whatevercause, said never a word of you and your mother, or, if he did so, it came not to my knowledge, so that I knewno more of you than if you had not been; wherefore, the lonelier I am here, and the less hope I had of suchgood luck, the better pleased I am to have found here my sister. And indeed, I know not any man, howeverexalted his station, who ought not to be well pleased to have such a sister; much more, then, I, who am but apetty merchant; but, I pray you, resolve me of one thing: how came you to know that I was here?" Thenanswered she:--"'Twas told me this morning by a poor woman who is much about the house, because, as shetells me, she was long in the service of our father both at Palermo and at Perugia, and, but that it seemed morefitting that thou shouldst come to see me at home than that I should visit thee at an inn, I had long ago soughtthee out." She then began to inquire particularly after all his kinsfolk by name, and Andreuccio, becomingever more firmly persuaded of that which it was least for his good to believe, answered all her questions.Their conversation being thus prolonged and the heat great, she had Greek wine and sweetmeats brought in,and gave Andreuccio to drink; and when towards supper-time he made as if he would leave, she would in nowise suffer it; but, feigning to be very much vexed, she embraced him, saying:--"Alas! now 'tis plain howlittle thou carest for me: to think that thou art with thy sister, whom thou seest for the first time, and in herown house, where thou shouldst have alighted on thine arrival, and thou wouldst fain depart hence to go sup atan inn! Nay but, for certain, thou shalt sup with me; and albeit, to my great regret, my husband is not here,thou shalt see that I can do a lady's part in shewing thee honour." Andreuccio, not knowing what else to say,replied:--"Sister, I care for you with all a brother's affection; but if I go not, supper will await me all theevening at the inn, and I shall justly be taxed with discourtesy." Then said she:--"Blessed be God, there iseven now in the house one by whom I can send word that they are not to expect thee at the inn, albeit thouwouldst far better discharge the debt of courtesy by sending word to thy friends, that they come here to sup;and then, if go thou must, you might all go in a body." Andreuccio replied, that he would have none of hisfriends that evening, but since she would have him stay, he would even do her the pleasure. She then made ashew of sending word to the inn that they should not expect him at dinner. Much more talk followed; and thenthey sate down to a supper of many courses splendidly served, which she cunningly protracted until nightfall;nor, when they were risen from table, and Andreuccio was about to take his departure, would she by anymeans suffer it, saying that Naples was no place to walk about in after dark, least of all for a stranger, and that,as she had sent word to the inn that they were not to expect him at supper, so she had done the like in regardof his bed. Believing what she said, and being (in his false confidence) overjoyed to be with her, he stayed.After supper there was matter enough for talk both various and prolonged; and, when the night was in ameasure spent, she gave up her own chamber to Andreuccio, leaving him with a small boy to shew him aughtthat he might have need of, while she retired with her women to another chamber.

It was a very hot night , so, no sooner was Andreuccio alone than he stripped himself to his doublet, and drewoff his stockings and laid them on the bed's head; and nature demanding a discharge of the surplus weightwhich he carried within him, he asked the lad where this might be done, and was shewn a door in a corner of

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the room, and told to go in there. Andreuccio, nothing doubting, did so, but, by ill luck, set his foot on a plankwhich was detached from the joist at the further end, whereby down it went, and he with it. By God's grace hetook no hurt by the fall, though it was from some height, beyond sousing himself from head to foot in theordure which filled the whole place, which, that you may the better understand what has been said, and thatwhich is to follow, I will describe to you. A narrow and blind alley, such as we commonly see between twohouses, was spanned by planks supported by joists on either side, and on the planks was the stool; of whichplanks that which fell with Andreuccio was one. Now Andreuccio, finding himself down there in the alley,fell to calling on the lad, who, as soon as he heard him fall, had run off, and promptly let the lady know whathad happened. She hied forthwith to her chamber, and after a hasty search found Andreuccio's clothes and themoney in them, for he foolishly thought to secure himself against risk by carrying it always on his person, andthus being possessed of the prize for which she had played her ruse, passing herself off as the sister of a manof Perugia, whereas she was really of Palermo, she concerned herself no further with Andreuccio except toclose with all speed the door by which he had gone out when he fell. As the lad did not answer, Andreucciobegan to shout more loudly; but all to no purpose. Whereby his suspicions were aroused, and he began at lastto perceive the trick that had been played upon him; so he climbed over a low wall that divided the alley fromthe street, and hied him to the door of the house, which he knew very well. There for a long while he stoodshouting and battering the door till it shook on its hinges; but all again to no purpose. No doubt of hismisadventure now lurking in his mind, he fell to bewailing himself, saying:--"Alas! in how brief a time have Ilost five hundred florins and a sister!" with much more of the like sort. Then he recommenced battering thedoor and shouting, to such a tune that not a few of the neighbours were roused, and finding the nuisanceintolerable, got up; and one of the lady's servant-girls presented herself at the window with a very sleepy air,and said angrily:--"Who knocks below there?" "Oh!" said Andreuccio, "dost not know me? I am Andreuccio,Madam Fiordaliso's brother." "Good man," she rejoined, "if thou hast had too much to drink, go, sleep it off,and come back to-morrow. I know not Andreuccio, nor aught of the fantastic stuff thou pratest; prithee begoneand be so good as to let us sleep in peace." "How?" said Andreuccio, "dost not understand what I say? Forsure thou dost understand; but if Sicilian kinships are of such a sort that folk forget them so soon, at leastreturn me my clothes, which I left within, and right glad shall I be to be off." Half laughing, she rejoined:--"Good man, methinks thou dost dream;" and, so saying, she withdrew and closed the window. Andreuccio bythis time needed no further evidence of his wrongs; his wrath knew no bounds, and mortification well-nighconverted it into frenzy; he was minded to exact by force what he had failed to obtain by entreaties; and so,arming himself with a large stone, he renewed his attack upon the door with fury, dealing much heavier blowsthan at first. Wherefore, not a few of the neighbours, whom he had already roused from their beds, set himdown as an ill-conditioned rogue, and his story as a mere fiction intended to annoy the good woman, (3) andresenting the din which he now made, came to their windows, just as, when a stranger dog makes hisappearance, all the dogs of the quarter will run to bark at him, and called out in chorus:--"'Tis a gross affrontto come at this time of night to the house of the good woman with this silly story. Prithee, good man, let ussleep in peace; begone in God's name; and if thou hast a score to settle with her, come to-morrow, but a truceto thy pestering to-night."

Emboldened, perhaps, by these words, a man who lurked within the house, the good woman's bully, whomAndreuccio had as yet neither seen nor heard, shewed himself at the window, and said in a gruff voice andsavage, menacing tone:--"Who is below there?" Andreuccio looked up in the direction of the voice, and sawstanding at the window, yawning and rubbing his eyes as if he had just been roused from his bed, or at anyrate from deep sleep, a fellow with a black and matted beard, who, as far as Andreuccio's means of judgingwent, bade fair to prove a most redoubtable champion. It was not without fear, therefore, that he replied:--"Iam a brother of the lady who is within." The bully did not wait for him to finish his sentence, but, addressinghim in a much sterner tone than before, called out:--"I know not why I come not down and give thee play withmy cudgel, whilst thou givest me sign of life, ass, tedious driveller that thou must needs be, and drunken sot,thus to disturb our night's rest." Which said, he withdrew, and closed the window. Some of the neighbourswho best knew the bully's quality gave Andreuccio fair words. "For God's sake," said they, "good man, takethyself off, stay not here to be murdered. 'Twere best for thee to go." These counsels, which seemed to bedictated by charity, reinforced the fear which the voice and aspect of the bully had inspired in Andreuccio,

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who, thus despairing of recovering his money and in the deepest of dumps, set his face towards the quarterwhence in the daytime he had blindly followed the little girl, and began to make his way back to the inn. Butso noisome was the stench which he emitted that he resolved to turn aside and take a bath in the sea. So hebore leftward up a street called Ruga Catalana, and was on his way towards the steep of the city, when bychance he saw two men coming towards him, bearing a lantern, and fearing that they might be patrols or othermen who might do him a mischief, he stole away and hid himself in a dismantled house to avoid them. Thehouse, however, was presently entered by the two men, just as if they had been guided thither; and one ofthem having disburdened himself of some iron tools which he carried on his shoulder, they both began toexamine them, passing meanwhile divers comments upon them. While they were thus occupied, "What," saidone, means this? Such a stench as never before did I smell the like. "So saying, he raised the lantern a little;whereby they had a view of hapless Andreuccio, and asked in amazement:--"Who is there?" WhereuponAndreuccio was at first silent, but when they flashed the light close upon him, and asked him what he didthere in such a filthy state, he told them all that had befallen him. Casting about to fix the place where itoccurred, they said one to another:--"Of a surety 'twas in the house of Scarabone Buttafuoco." Then said one,turning to Andreuccio:--"Good man, albeit thou hast lost thy money, thou hast cause enough to praise Godthat thou hadst the luck to fall; for hadst thou not fallen, be sure that, no sooner wert thou asleep, than thouhadst been knocked on the head, and lost not only thy money but thy life. But what boots it now to bewailthee? Thou mightest as soon pluck a star from the firmament as recover a single denier; nay, 'tis as much asthy life is worth if he do but hear that thou breathest a word of the affair."

The two men then held a short consultation, at the close of which they said:--"Lo now; we are sorry for thee,and so we make thee a fair offer. If thou wilt join with us in a little matter which we have in hand, we doubtnot but thy share of the gain will greatly exceed what thou hast lost." Andreuccio, being now desperate,answered that he was ready to join them. Now Messer Filippo Minutolo, Archbishop of Naples, had that daybeen buried with a ruby on his finger, worth over five hundred florins of gold, besides other ornaments ofextreme value. The two men were minded to despoil the Archbishop of his fine trappings, and imparted theirdesign to Andreuccio, who, cupidity getting the better of caution, approved it; and so they all three set forth.But as they were on their way to the cathedral, Andreuccio gave out so rank an odour that one said to theother:--"Can we not contrive that he somehow wash himself a little, that he stink not so shrewdly?" "Whyyes," said the other, "we are now close to a well, which is never without the pulley and a large bucket; 'tis buta step thither, and we will wash him out of hand." Arrived at the well, they found that the rope was still there,but the bucket had been removed; so they determined to attach him to the rope, and lower him into the well,there to wash himself, which done, he was to jerk the rope, and they would draw him up. Loweredaccordingly he was; but just as, now washen, he jerked the rope, it so happened that a company of patrols,being thirsty because 'twas a hot night and some rogue had led them a pretty dance, came to the well to drink.The two men fled, unobserved, as soon as they caught sight of the newcomers, who, parched with thirst, laidaside their bucklers, arms and surcoats, and fell to hauling on the rope, that it bore the bucket, full of water.When, therefore, they saw Andreuccio, as he neared the brink of the well, loose the rope and clutch the brinkwith his hands, they were stricken with a sudden terror, and without uttering a word let go the rope, and tookto flight with all the speed they could make. Whereat Andreuccio marvelled mightily, and had he not kept atight grip on the brink of the well, he would certainly have gone back to the bottom and hardly have escapedgrievous hurt, or death. Still greater was his astonishment, when, fairly landed on terra firma, he found thepatrols' arms lying there, which he knew had not been carried by his comrades. He felt a vague dread, he knewnot why; he bewailed once more his evil fortune; and without venturing to touch the arms, he left the well andwandered he knew not whither. As he went, however, he fell in with his two comrades, now returning to drawhim out of the well; who no sooner saw him than in utter amazement they demanded who had hauled him up.Andreuccio answered that he knew not, and then told them in detail how it had come about, and what he hadfound beside the well. They laughed as they apprehended the circ*mstances, and told him why they had fled,and who they were that had hauled him up. Then without further parley, for it was now midnight, they hiedthem to the cathedral. They had no difficulty in entering and finding the tomb, which was a magnificentstructure of marble, and with their iron implements they raised the lid, albeit it was very heavy, to a heightsufficient to allow a man to enter, and propped it up. This done, a dialogue ensued. "Who shall go in?" said

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one. "Not I," said the other. "Nor I," rejoined his companion; "let Andreuccio go in." "That will not I," saidAndreuccio. Whereupon both turned upon him and said:--"How? thou wilt not go in? By God, if thou goestnot in, we will give thee that over the pate with one of these iron crowbars that thou shalt drop down dead."Terror-stricken, into the tomb Andreuccio went, saying to himself as he did so:--"These men will have me goin, that they may play a trick upon me: when I have handed everything up to them, and am sweating myself toget out of the tomb, they will be off about their business, and I shall be left, with nothing for my pains." So hedetermined to make sure of his own part first; and bethinking him of the precious ring of which he had heardthem speak, as soon as he had completed the descent, he drew the ring off the Archbishop's finger, and put iton his own: he then handed up one by one the crosier, mitre and gloves, and other of the Archbishop'strappings, stripping him to his shirt; which done, he told his comrades that there was nothing more. Theyinsisted that the ring must be there, and bade him search everywhere. This he feigned to do, ejacul*ting fromtime to time that he found it not; and thus he kept them a little while in suspense. But they, who, were in theirway as cunning as he, kept on exhorting him to make a careful search, and, seizing their opportunity,withdrew the prop that supported the lid of the tomb, and took to their heels, leaving him there a closeprisoner. You will readily conceive how Andreuccio behaved when he understood his situation. More thanonce he applied his head and shoulders to the lid and sought with might and main to heave it up; but all hisefforts were fruitless; so that at last, overwhelmed with anguish he fell in a swoon on the corpse of theArchbishop, and whether of the twain were the more lifeless, Andreuccio or the Archbishop, 'twould havepuzzled an observer to determine.

When he came to himself he burst into a torrent of tears, seeing now nothing in store for him but either toperish there of hunger and fetid odours beside the corpse and among the worms, or, should the tomb be earlieropened, to be taken and hanged as a thief. These most lugubrious meditations were interrupted by a sound ofpersons walking and talking in the church. They were evidently a numerous company, and their purpose, asAndreuccio surmised, was the very same with which he and his comrades had come thither: whereby histerror was mightily increased. Presently the folk opened the tomb, and propped up the lid, and then fell todisputing as to who should go in. None was willing, and the contention was protracted; but at length one--'twas a priest--said:--"Of what are ye afeared? Think ye to be eaten by him? Nay, the dead eat not the living. Iwill go in myself." So saying he propped his breast upon the edge of the lid, threw his head back, and thrusthis legs within, that he might go down feet foremost. On sight whereof Andreuccio started to his feet, andseizing hold of one of the priest's legs, made as if he would drag him down; which caused the priest to utter aprodigious yell, and bundle himself out of the tomb with no small celerity. The rest took to flight in a panic, asif a hundred thousand devils were at their heels. The tomb being thus left open, Andreuccio, the ring still onhis finger, spring out. The way by which he had entered the church served him for egress, and roaming atrandom, he arrived towards daybreak at the coast. Diverging thence he came by chance upon his inn, where hefound that his host and his comrades had been anxious about him all night. When he told them all that hadbefallen him, they joined with the host in advising him to leave Naples at once. He accordingly did so, andreturned to Perugia, having invested in a ring the money with which he had intended to buy horses.

(1) Charles II. of Naples, son of Charles of Anjou. (2) Frederic II. of Sicily, younger son of Peter III. ofArragon. (3) I. e. the bawd.


-- Madam Beritola loses two sons, is found with two kids on an island, goes thence to Lunigiana, where one ofher sons takes service with her master, and lies with his daughter, for which he is put in prison. Sicily rebelsagainst King Charles, the son is recognised by the mother, marries the master's daughter, and, his brotherbeing discovered, is reinstated in great honour. --

The ladies and the young men alike had many a hearty laugh over Fiammetta's narrative of Andreuccio'sadventures, which ended, Emilia, at the queen's command, thus began:--

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Grave and grievous are the vicissitudes with which Fortune makes us acquainted, and as discourse of suchmatter serves to awaken our minds, which are so readily lulled to sleep by her flatteries, I deem it worthy ofattentive hearing by all, whether they enjoy her favour or endure her frown, in that it ministers counsel to theone sort and consolation to the other. Wherefore, albeit great matters have preceded it, I mean to tell you astory, not less true than touching, of adventures whereof the issue was indeed felicitous, but the antecedentbitterness so long drawn out that scarce can I believe that it was ever sweetened by ensuing happiness.

Dearest ladies, you must know that after the death of the Emperor Frederic II. the crown of Sicily passed toManfred; whose favour was enjoyed in the highest degree by a gentleman of Naples, Arrighetto Capece byname, who had to wife Madonna Beritola Caracciola, a fair and gracious lady, likewise a Neapolitan. Nowwhen Manfred was conquered and slain by King Charles I. at Benevento, and the whole realm transferred itsallegiance to the conqueror, Arrighetto, who was then governor of Sicily, no sooner received the tidings thanhe prepared for instant flight, knowing that little reliance was to be placed on the fleeting faith of the Sicilians,and not being minded to become a subject of his master's enemy. But the Sicilians having intelligence of hisplans, he and many other friends and servants of King Manfred were surprised, taken prisoners and deliveredover to King Charles, to whom the whole island was soon afterwards surrendered. In this signal reversal of thewonted course of things Madam Beritola, knowing not what was become of Arrighetto, and from the past everauguring future evil, lest she should suffer foul dishonour, abandoned all that she possessed, and with a son of,perhaps, eight years, Giusfredi by name, being also pregnant, fled in a boat to Lipari, where she gave birth toanother male child, whom she named Outcast. Then with her sons and a hired nurse she took ship for Naples,intending there to rejoin her family. Events, however, fell out otherwise than she expected; for by stress ofweather the ship was carried out of her course to the desert island of Ponza, (1) where they put in to a littlebay until such time as they might safely continue their voyage. Madam Beritola landed with the rest on theisland, and, leaving them all, sought out a lonely and secluded spot, and there abandoned herself tomelancholy brooding on the loss of her dear Arrighetto. While thus she spent her days in solitarypreoccupation with her grief it chanced that a galley of corsairs swooped down upon the island, and, beforeeither the mariners or any other folk were aware of their peril, made an easy capture of them all and sailedaway; so that, when Madam Beritola, her wailing for that day ended, returned, as was her wont, to the shore tosolace herself with the sight of her sons, she found none there. At first she was lost in wonder, then with asudden suspicion of the truth she bent her eyes seaward, and there saw the galley still at no great distance,towing the ship in her wake. Thus apprehending beyond all manner of doubt that she had lost her sons as wellas her husband, and that, alone, desolate and destitute, she might not hope, that any of her lost ones wouldever be restored to her, she fell down on the shore in a swoon with the names of her husband and sons uponher lips. None was there to administer cold water or aught else that might recall her truant powers; her animalspirits might even wander whithersoever they would at their sweet will: strength, however, did at last return toher poor exhausted frame, and therewith tears and lamentations, as, plaintively repeating her sons' names, sheroamed in quest of them from cavern to cavern. Long time she sought them thus; but when she saw that herlabour was in vain, and that night was closing in, hope, she knew not why, began to return, and with it somedegree of anxiety on her own account. Wherefore she left the shore and returned to the cavern where she hadbeen wont to indulge her plaintive mood. She passed the night in no small fear and indescribable anguish; thenew day came, and, as she had not supped, she was fain after tierce to appease her hunger, as best she could,by a breakfast of herbs: this done, she wept and began to ruminate on her future way of life. While thusengaged, she observed a she-goat come by and go into an adjacent cavern, and after a while come forth againand go into the wood: thus roused from her reverie she got up, went into the cavern from which the she-goathad issued, and there saw two kids, which might have been born that very day, and seemed to her the sweetestand the most delicious things in the world: and, having, by reason of her recent delivery, milk still within her,she took them up tenderly, and set them to her breast. They, nothing loath, sucked at her teats as if she hadbeen their own dam; and thenceforth made no distinction between her and the dam. Which caused the lady tofeel that she had found company in the desert; and so, living on herbs and water, weeping as often as shebethought her of her husband and sons and her past life, she disposed herself to live and die there, and becameno less familiar with the she-goat than with her young.

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The gentle lady thus leading the life of a wild creature, it chanced that after some months stress of weatherbrought a Pisan ship to the very same bay in which she had landed. The ship lay there for several days, havingon board a gentleman, Currado de' Malespini by name (of the same family as the Marquis), who with hisnoble and most devout lady was returning home from a pilgrimage, having visited all the holy places in therealm of Apulia. To beguile the tedium of the sojourn Currado with his lady, some servants and his dogs, setforth one day upon a tour through the island. As they neared the place where Madam Beritola dwelt, Currado'sdogs on view of the two kids, which, now of a fair size, were grazing, gave chase. The kids, pursued by thedogs, made straight for Madam Beritola's cavern. She, seeing what was toward, started to her feet, caught up astick, and drove the dogs back. Currado and his lady coming up after the dogs, gazed on Madam Beritola, nowtanned and lean and hairy, with wonder, which she more than reciprocated. At her request Currado called offthe dogs; and then he and his lady besought her again and again to say who she was and what she did there. Soshe told them all about herself, her rank, her misfortunes, and the savage life which she was minded to lead.Currado, who had known Arrighetto Capece very well, was moved to tears by compassion, and exhausted allhis eloquence to induce her to change her mind, offering to escort her home, or to take her to live with him inhonourable estate as his sister until God should vouchsafe her kindlier fortune. The lady, declining all hisoffers, Currado left her with his wife, whom he bade see that food was brought thither, and let MadamBeritola, who was all in rags, have one of her own dresses to wear, and do all that she could to persuade her togo with them. So the gentle lady stayed with Madam Beritola, and after condoling with her at large on hermisfortunes had food and clothing brought to her, and with the greatest difficulty in the world prevailed uponher to eat and dress herself. At last, after much beseeching, she induced her to depart from her oft-declaredintention never to go where she might meet any that knew her, and accompany them to Lunigiana, taking withher the two kids and the dam, which latter had in the meantime returned, and to the gentle lady's great surprisehad greeted Madam Beritola with the utmost affection. So with the return of fair weather Madam Beritola,taking with her the dam and the two kids, embarked with Currado and his lady on their ship, being called bythem--for her true name was not to be known of all--Cavriuola; (2) and the wind holding fair, they speedilyreached the mouth of the Magra, (3) and landing hied them to Currado's castle where Madam Beritola abodewith Currado's lady in the quality of her maid, serving her well and faithfully, wearing widow's weeds, andfeeding and tending her kids with assiduous and loving care.

The corsairs, who, not espying Madam Beritola, had left her at Ponza when they took the ship on which shehad come thither, had made a course to Genoa, taking with them all the other folk. On their arrival the ownersof the galley shared the booty, and so it happened that as part thereof Madam Beritola's nurse and her twoboys fell to the lot of one Messer Guasparrino d'Oria, who sent all three to his house, being minded to keepthem there as domestic slaves. The nurse, beside herself with grief at the loss of her mistress and the wofulplight in which she found herself and her two charges, shed many a bitter tear. But, seeing that they wereunavailing, and that she and the boys were slaves together, she, having, for all her low estate, her share of witand good sense, made it her first care to comfort them; then, regardful of the condition to which they werereduced, she bethought her, that, if the lads were recognised, 'twould very likely be injurious to them. So, stillhoping that some time or another Fortune would change her mood, and they be able, if living, to regain theirlost estate, she resolved to let none know who they were, until she saw a fitting occasion; and accordingly,whenever she was questioned thereof by any, she gave them out as her own children. The name of the eldershe changed from Giusfredi to Giannotto di Procida; the name of the younger she did not think it worth whileto change. She spared no pains to make Giusfredi understand the reason why she had changed his name, and,the risk which he might run if he were recognised. This she impressed upon him not once only but manytimes; and the boy, who was apt to learn, followed the instructions of the wise nurse with perfect exactitude.

So the two boys, ill clad and worse shod, continued with the nurse in Messer Guasparrino's house for twoyears, patiently performing all kinds of menial offices. But Giannotto, being now sixteen years old, and of aspirit that consorted ill with servitude, brooked not the baseness of his lot, and dismissed himself from MesserGuasparrino's service by getting aboard a galley bound for Alexandria, and travelled far and wide, and farednever the better. In the course of his wanderings he learned that his father, whom he had supposed to be dead,was still living, but kept in prison under watch and ward by King Charles. He was grown a tall handsome

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young man, when, perhaps three or four years after he had given Messer Guasparrino the slip, weary ofroaming and all but despairing of his fortune, he came to Lunigiana, and by chance took service with CurradoMalespini, who found him handy, and was well-pleased with him. His mother, who was in attendance onCurrado's lady, he seldom saw, and never recognised her, nor she him; so much had time changed both fromtheir former aspect since they last met. While Giannotto was thus in the service of Currado, it fell out by thedeath of Niccolo da Grignano that his widow, Spina, Currado's daughter, returned to her father's house. Veryfair she was and loveable, her age not more than sixteen years, and so it was that she saw Giannotto withfavour, and he her, and both fell ardently in love with one another. Their passion was early gratified; butseveral months elapsed before any detected its existence. Wherefore, growing overbold, they began todispense with the precautions which such an affair demanded. So one day, as they walked with others througha wood, where the trees grew fair and close, the girl and Giannotto left the rest of the company some distancebehind, and, thinking that they were well in advance, found a fair pleasaunce girt in with trees and carpetedwith abundance of grass and flowers, and fell to solacing themselves after the manner of lovers. Long timethey thus dallied, though such was their delight that all too brief it seemed to them, and so it befell that theywere surprised first by the girl's mother and then by Currado. Pained beyond measure by what he had seen,Currado, without assigning any cause, had them both arrested by three of his servants and taken in chains toone of his castles; where in a frenzy of passionate wrath he left them, resolved to put them to an ignominiousdeath. The girl's mother was also very angry, and deemed her daughter's fall deserving of the most rigorouschastisem*nt, but, when by one of Currado's chance words she divined the doom which he destined for theguilty pair, she could not reconcile herself to it, and hasted to intercede with her angry husband, beseechinghim to refrain the impetuous wrath which would hurry him in his old age to murder his daughter and imbruehis hands in the blood of his servant, and vent it in some other way, as by close confinement and duress,whereby the culprits should be brought to repent them of their fault in tears. Thus, and with much more to thelike effect, the devout lady urged her suit, and at length prevailed upon her husband to abandon his murderousdesign. Wherefore, he commanded that the pair should be confined in separate prisons, and closely guarded,and kept short of food and in sore discomfort, until further order; which was accordingly done; and the lifewhich the captives led, their endless tears, their fasts of inordinate duration, may be readily imagined.

Giannotto and Spina had languished in this sorry plight for full a year, entirely ignored by Currado, when inconcert with Messer Gian di Procida, King Peter of Arragon raised a rebellion (4) in the island of Sicily, andwrested it from King Charles, whereat Currado, being a Ghibelline, was overjoyed. Hearing the tidings fromone of his warders, Giannotto heaved a great sigh, and said:--"Alas, fourteen years have I been a wandererupon the face of the earth, looking for no other than this very event; and now, that my hopes of happiness maybe for ever frustrate, it has come to pass only to find me in prison, whence I may never think to issue alive.""How?" said the warder; "what signify to thee these doings of these mighty monarchs? What part hadst thouin Sicily?" Giannotto answered:--"'Tis as if my heart were breaking when I bethink me of my father and whatpart he had in Sicily. I was but a little lad when I fled the island, but yet I remember him as its governor in thetime of King Manfred." "And who then was thy father?" demanded the warder. "His name," rejoinedGiannotto, "I need no longer scruple to disclose, seeing that I find myself in the very strait which I hoped toavoid by concealing it. He was and still is, if he live, Arrighetto Capece; and my name is not Giannotto butGiusfredi; and I doubt not but, were I once free, and back in Sicily, I might yet hold a very honourableposition in the island."

The worthy man asked no more questions, but, as soon as he found opportunity, told what he had learned toCurrado, who, albeit he made light of it in the warder's presence, repaired to Madam Beritola, and asked her ina pleasant manner, whether she had had by Arrighetto a son named Giusfredi. The lady answered, in tears,that, if the elder of her two sons were living, such would be his name, and his age twenty-two years. Thisinclined Currado to think that Giannotto and Giusfredi were indeed one and the same; and it occurred to him,that, if so it were, he might at once shew himself most merciful and blot out his daughter's shame and his ownby giving her to him in marriage; wherefore he sent for Giannotto privily, and questioned him in detailtouching his past life. And finding by indubitable evidence that he was indeed Giusfredi, son of ArrighettoCapece, he said to him:--"Giannotto, thou knowest the wrong which thou hast done me in the person of my

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daughter, what and how great it is, seeing that I used thee well and kindly, and thou shouldst therefore, like agood servant, have shewn thyself jealous of my honour, and zealous in my interest; and many there are who,hadst thou treated them as thou hast treated me, would have caused thee to die an ignominious death; whichmy clemency would not brook. But now, as it is even so as thou sayst, and thou art of gentle blood by both thyparents, I am minded to put an end to thy sufferings as soon as thou wilt, releasing thee from the captivity inwhich thou languishest, and setting thee in a happy place, and reinstating at once thy honour and my own. Thyintimacy with Spina--albeit, shameful to both--was yet prompted by love. Spina, as thou knowest, is a widow,and her dower is ample and secure. What her breeding is, and her father's and her mother's, thou knowest: ofthy present condition I say nought. Wherefore, when thou wilt, I am consenting, that, having been withdishonour thy friend, she become with honour thy wife, and that, so long as it seem good to thee, thou tarryhere with her and me as my son."

Captivity had wasted Giannotto's flesh, but had in no degree impaired the generosity of spirit which hederived from his ancestry, or the whole-hearted love which he bore his lady. So, albeit he ardently desired thatwhich Currado offered, and knew that he was in Currado's power, yet, even as his magnanimity prompted, so,unswervingly, he made answer:-- "Currado, neither ambition nor cupidity nor aught else did ever beguile meto any treacherous machination against either thy person or thy property. Thy daughter I loved, and love andshall ever love, because I deem her worthy of my love, and, if I dealt with her after a fashion which to themechanic mind seems hardly honourable, I did but commit that fault which is ever congenial to youth, whichcan never be eradicated so long as youth continues, and which, if the aged would but remember that they wereonce young and would measure the delinquencies of others by their own and their own by those of others,would not be deemed so grave as thou and many others depict it; and what I did, I did as a friend, not as anenemy. That which thou offerest I have ever desired and should long ago have sought, had I supposed thatthou wouldst grant it, and 'twill be the more grateful to me in proportion to the depth of my despair. But if thyintent be not such, as thy words import, feed me not with vain hopes, but send me back to prison there tosuffer whatever thou mayst be pleased to inflict; nor doubt that even as I love Spina, so for love of her shall Iever love thee, though thou do thy worst, and still hold thee in reverent regard.

Currado marvelled to hear him thus speak, and being assured of his magnanimity and the fervour of his love,held him the more dear; wherefore he rose, embraced and kissed him, and without further delay bade privilybring thither Spina, who left her prison wasted and wan and weak, and so changed that she seemed almostanother woman than of yore, even as Giannotto was scarce his former self. Then and there in Currado'spresence they plighted their troth according to our custom of espousals; and some days afterwards Currado,having in the meantime provided all things meet for their convenience and solace, yet so as that none shouldsurmise what had happened, deemed it now time to gladden their mothers with the news. So he sent for hislady and Cavriuola, and thus, addressing Cavriuola, he spoke:--"What would you say, madam, were I torestore you your elder son as the husband of one of my daughters?" Cavriuola answered:--"I should say, that,were it possible for you to strengthen the bond which attaches me to you, then assuredly you had so done, inthat you restored to me that which I cherish more tenderly than myself, and in such a guise as in somemeasure to renew within me the hope which I had lost: more I could not say." And so, weeping, she wassilent. Then, turning to his lady, Currado said:--"And thou, madam, what wouldst thou think if I were topresent thee with such a son-in-law?" "A son-in-law," she answered, "that was not of gentle blood, but a merechurl, so he pleased you, would well content me." "So!" returned Currado; "I hope within a few days togladden the hearts of both of you."

He waited only until the two young folk had recovered their wonted mien, and were clad in a manner befittingtheir rank. Then, addressing Giusfredi, he said:--"Would it not add to thy joy to see thy mother here?" "I darenot hope," returned Giusfredi," that she has survived calamities and sufferings such as hers; but were it so,great indeed would be my joy, and none the less that by her counsel I might be aided to the recovery (in greatmeasure) of my lost heritage in Sicily." Whereupon Currado caused both the ladies to come thither, andpresented to them the bride. The gladness with which they both greeted her was a wonder to behold, and noless great was their wonder at the benign inspiration that had prompted Currado to unite her in wedlock with

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Giannotto, whom Currado's words caused Madam Beritola to survey with some attention. A hidden spring ofmemory was thus touched; she recognised in the man the lineaments of her boy, and awaiting no furtherevidence she ran with open arms and threw herself upon his neck. No word did she utter, for very excess ofmaternal tenderness and joy; but, every avenue of sense closed, she fell as if bereft of life within her son'sembrace. Giannotto, who had often seen her in the castle and never recognised her, marvelled not a little, butnevertheless it at once flashed upon him that 'twas his mother, and blaming himself for his past inadvertencehe took her in his arms and wept and tenderly kissed her. With gentle solicitude Currado's lady and Spinacame to her aid, and restored her suspended animation with cold water and other remedies. She then withmany tender and endearing words kissed him a thousand times or more, which tokens of her love he receivedwith a look of reverential acknowledgment. Thrice, nay a fourth time were these glad and gracious greetingsexchanged, and joyful indeed were they that witnessed them, and hearkened while mother and son comparedtheir past adventures. Then Currado, who had already announced his new alliance to his friends, and receivedtheir felicitations proceeded to give order for the celebration of the event with all becoming gaiety andsplendour. As he did so, Giusfredi said to him:--"Currado, you have long given my mother honourableentertainment, and on me you have conferred many boons; wherefore, that you may fill up the measure ofyour kindness, 'tis now my prayer that you be pleased to gladden my mother and my marriage feast and mewith the presence of my brother, now in servitude in the house of Messer Guasparrino d'Oria, who, as I havealready told you, made prize of both him and me; and that then you send some one to Sicily, who shall makehimself thoroughly acquainted with the circ*mstances and condition of the country, and find out how it hasfared with my father Arrighetto, whether he be alive or dead, and if alive, in what circ*mstances, and beingthus fully informed, return to us with the tidings." Currado assented, and forthwith sent most trusty agentsboth to Genoa and to Sicily. So in due time an envoy arrived at Genoa, and made instant suit to Guasparrinoon Currado's part for the surrender of Outcast and the nurse, setting forth in detail all that had passed betweenCurrado and Giusfredi and his mother. Whereat Messer Guasparrino was mightily astonished, and said:--"Of asurety there is nought that, being able, I would not do to pleasure Currado; and, true it is that I have had in myhouse for these fourteen years the boy whom thou dost now demand of me, and his mother, and gladly will Isurrender them; but tell Currado from me to beware of excessive credulity, and to put no faith in the idle talesof Giannotto, or Giusfredi, as thou sayst he calls himself, who is by no means so guileless as he supposes."

Then, having provided for the honourable entertainment of the worthy envoy, he sent privily for the nurse, andcautiously sounded her as to the affair. The nurse had heard of the revolt of Sicily, and had learned thatArrighetto was still alive. She therefore banished fear, and told Messer Guasparrino the whole story, andexplained to him the reasons why she had acted as she had done. Finding that what she said accorded verywell with what he had learned from Currado's envoy, he inclined to credit the story, and most astutely probingthe matter in divers ways, and always finding fresh grounds for confidence, he reproached himself for thesorry manner in which he had treated the boy, and by way of amends gave him one of his own daughters, abeautiful girl of eleven years, to wife with a dowry suited to Arrighetto's rank, and celebrated their nuptialswith great festivity, He then brought the boy and girl, Currado's envoy, and the nurse in a well-armed galliotto Lerici, being there met by Currado, who had a castle not far off, where great preparations had been madefor their entertainment: and thither accordingly he went with his whole company. What cheer the mother hadof her son, the brothers of one another, and all the three of the faithful nurse; what cheer Messer Guasparrinoand his daughter had of all, and all of them, and what cheer all had of Currado and his lady and their sons andtheir friends, words may not describe; wherefore, my ladies, I leave it to your imagination. And that their joymight be full, God, who, when He gives, gives most abundantly, added the glad tidings that Arrighetto Capecewas alive and prosperous. For, when in the best of spirits the ladies and gentlemen had sat them down to feast,and they were yet at the first course, the envoy from Sicily arrived, and among other matters reported, that, nosooner had the insurrection broken out in the island than the people hied them in hot haste to the prison whereArrighetto was kept in confinement by King Charles, and despatching the guards, brought him forth, andknowing him to be a capital enemy to King Charles made him their captain, and under his command fell uponand massacred the French. Whereby he had won the highest place in the favour of King Peter, who hadgranted him restitution of all his estates and honours, so that he was now both prosperous and mighty. Theenvoy added that Arrighetto had received him with every token of honour, had manifested the utmost delight

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on hearing of his lady and son, of whom no tidings had reached him since his arrest, and had sent, to bringthem home, a brigantine with some gentlemen aboard, whose arrival might hourly be expected.

The envoy, and the good news which he brought, were heartily welcome; and presently Currado, with some ofhis friends, encountered the gentlemen who came for Madam Beritola and Giusfredi, and saluting themcordially invited them to his feast, which was not yet half done. Joy unheard of was depicted on the faces ofthe lady, of Giusfredi, and of all the rest as they greeted them; nor did they on their part take their places at thetable before, as best they might, they had conveyed to Currado and his lady Arrighetto's greetings and gratefulacknowledgments of the honour which they had conferred upon his lady and his son, and had placedArrighetto, to the uttermost of his power, entirely at their service. Then, turning to Messer Guasparrino, ofwhose kindness Arrighetto surmised nothing, they said that they were very sure that, when he learned theboon which Outcast had received at his hands, he would pay him the like and an even greater tribute ofgratitude. This speech ended, they feasted most joyously with the brides and bridegrooms. So passed the day,the first of many which Currado devoted to honouring his son-in-law and his other intimates, both kinsfolkand friends. The time of festivity ended, Madam Beritola and Giusfredi and the rest felt that they must leave:so, taking Spina with them, they parted, not without many tears, from Currado and his lady and Guasparrino,and went aboard the brigantine, which, wafted by a prosperous wind, soon brought them to Sicily. At Palermothey were met by Arrighetto, who received them all, ladies and sons alike, with such cheer as it were vain toattempt to describe. There it is believed that they all lived long and happily and in amity with God, being notunmindful of the blessings which He had conferred upon them.

(1) The largest, now inhabited, of a group of islets in the Gulf of Gaeta. (2) I.e. she-goat. (3) Between Liguriaand Tuscany. (4) The Sicilian Vespers, Easter, 1282.


-- The Soldan of Babylon sends one of his daughters overseas, designing to marry her to the King of Algarve.By divers adventures she comes in the space of four years into the hands of nine men in divers places. At lastshe is restored to her father, whom she quits again in the guise of a virgin, and, as was at first intended, ismarried to the King of Algarve. --

Had Emilia's story but lasted a little longer, the young ladies would perhaps have been moved to tears, sogreat was the sympathy which they felt for Madam Beritola in her various fortunes. But now that it wasended, the Queen bade Pamfilo follow suit; and he, than whom none was more obedient, thus began:--

Hardly, gracious ladies, is it given to us to know that which makes for our good; insomuch that, as has beenobservable in a multitude of instances, many, deeming that the acquisition of great riches would ensure theman easy and tranquil existence, have not only besought them of God in prayer, but have sought them with suchardour that they have spared no pains and shrunk from no danger in the quest, and have attained their end onlyto lose, at the hands of some one covetous of their vast inheritance, a life with which before the days of theirprosperity they were well content. Others, whose course, perilous with a thousand battles, stained with theblood of their brothers and their friends, has raised them from base to regal estate, have found in place of thefelicity they expected an infinity of cares and fears, and have proved by experience that a chalice may bepoisoned, though it be of gold, and set on the table of a king. Many have most ardently desired beauty andstrength and other advantages of person, and have only been taught their error by the death or dolorous lifewhich these very advantages entailed upon them. And so, not to instance each particular human desire, I say,in sum, that there is none of, them that men may indulge in full confidence as exempt from the chances andchanges of fortune; wherefore, if we would act rightly, we ought to school ourselves to take and be contentwith that which He gives us, who alone knows and can afford us that of which we have need. But, divers asare the aberrations of desire to which men are prone, so, gracious ladies, there is one to which you areespecially liable, in that you are unduly solicitous of beauty, insomuch, that, not content with the charmswhich nature has allotted you, you endeavour to enhance them with wondrous ingenuity of art; wherefore I am

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minded to make you acquainted with the coil of misadventures in which her beauty involved a fair Saracen,who in the course of, perhaps, four years was wedded nine several times.

There was of yore a Soldan of Babylon (1), by name of Beminedab, who in his day had cause enough to bewell content with his luck. Many children male and female had he, and among them a daughter, Alatiel byname, who by common consent of all that saw her was the most beautiful woman then to be found in theworld. Now the Soldan, having been signally aided by the King of Algarve (2) in inflicting a great defeat upona host of Arabs that had attacked him, had at his instance and by way of special favour given Alatiel to theKing to wife; wherefore, with an honourable escort of gentlemen and ladies most nobly and richly equipped,he placed her aboard a well-armed, well-furnished ship, and, commending her to God, sped her on herjourney. The mariners, as soon as the weather was favourable, hoisted sail, and for some days after theirdeparture from Alexandria had a prosperous voyage; but when they had passed Sardinia, and were beginningto think that they were nearing their journey's end, they were caught one day between divers cross winds, eachblowing with extreme fury, whereby the ship laboured so sorely that not only the lady but the seamen fromtime to time gave themselves up for lost. But still, most manfully and skilfully they struggled might and mainwith the tempest, which, ever waxing rather than waning, buffeted them for two days with immenseunintermittent surges; and being not far from the island of Majorca, as the third night began to close in, wraptin clouds and mist and thick darkness, so that they saw neither the sky nor aught else, nor by any nautical skillmight conjecture where they were, they felt the ship's timbers part. Wherefore, seeing no way to save the ship,each thought only how best to save himself, and, a boat being thrown out, the masters first, and then the men,one by one, though the first-comers sought with knives in their hands to bar the passage of the rest, all, ratherthan remain in the leaky ship, crowded into it, and there found the death which they hoped to escape. For theboat, being in such stress of weather, and with such a burden quite unmanageable, went under, and all aboardher perished; whereas the ship, leaky though she was, and all but full of water, yet, driven by the fury of thetempest, was hurled with prodigious velocity upon the shore of the island of Majorca, and struck it with suchforce as to embed herself in the sand, perhaps a stone's throw from terra firma, where she remained all nightbeaten and washed by the sea, but no more to be moved by the utmost violence of the gale. None hadremained aboard her but the lady and her women, whom the malice of the elements and their fears hadbrought to the verge of death. When it was broad day and the storm was somewhat abated, the lady, half dead,raised her head, and in faltering accents began to call first one and then another of her servants. She called invain, however; for those whom she called were too far off to hear. Great indeed was her wonder and fear tofind herself thus without sight of human face or sound of other voice than her own; but, struggling to her feetas best she might, she looked about her, and saw the ladies that were of her escort, and the other women, allprostrate on the deck; so, after calling them one by one, she began at length to touch them, and finding fewthat shewed sign of life, for indeed, between grievous sea-sickness and fear, they had little life left, she grewmore terrified than before. However, being in sore need of counsel, all alone as she was, and withoutknowledge or means of learning where she was, she at last induced such as had life in them to get upon theirfeet, with whom, as none knew where the men were gone, and the ship was now full of water and visiblybreaking up, she abandoned herself to piteous lamentations.

It was already none before they descried any one on the shore or elsewhere to whom they could make appealfor help; but shortly after none it so chanced that a gentleman, Pericone da Visalgo by name, being on hisreturn from one of his estates, passed that way with some mounted servants. Catching sight of the ship, heapprehended the circ*mstances at a glance, and bade one of his servants try to get aboard her, and let himknow the result. The servant with some difficulty succeeded in boarding the vessel, and found the gentle ladywith her few companions ensconced under shelter of the prow, and shrinking timidly from observation. At thefirst sight of him they wept, and again and again implored him to have pity on them; but finding that he didnot understand them, nor they him, they sought by gestures to make him apprehend their forlorn condition.

With these tidings the servant, after making such survey of the ship as he could, returned to Pericone, whoforthwith caused the ladies, and all articles of value which were in the ship and could be removed, to bebrought off her, and took them with him to one of his castles. The ladies' powers were soon in a measure

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restored by food and rest, and by the honour which was paid to Alatiel, and Alatiel alone by all the rest, aswell as by the richness of her dress, Pericone perceived that she must be some great lady. Nor, though she wasstill pale, and her person bore evident marks of the sea's rough usage, did he fail to note that it was cast in amould of extraordinary beauty. Wherefore his mind was soon made up that, if she lacked a husband, he wouldtake her to wife and that, if he could not have her to wife, then he would make her his mistress. So this ardentlover, who was a man of powerful frame and haughty mien, devoted himself for several days to the service ofthe lady with excellent effect, for the lady completely recovered her strength and spirits, so that her beauty farexceeded Pericone's most sanguine conjectures. Great therefore beyond measure was his sorrow that heunderstood not her speech, nor she his, so that neither could know who the other was; but being inordinatelyenamoured of her beauty, he sought by such mute blandishments as he could devise to declare his love, andbring her of her own accord to gratify his desire. All in vain, however; she repulsed his advances point blank;whereby his passion only grew the stronger. So some days passed; and the lady perceiving Pericone'sconstancy, and bethinking her that sooner or later she must yield either to force or to love, and gratify hispassion, and judging by what she observed of the customs of the people that she was amongst Christians, andin a part where, were she able to speak their language, she would gain little by making herself known,determined with a lofty courage to stand firm and immovable in this extremity of her misfortunes. Whereforeshe bade the three women, who were all that were left to her, on no account to let any know who they were,unless they were so circ*mstanced that they might safely count on assistance in effecting their escape: shealso exhorted them most earnestly to preserve their chastity, averring that she was firmly resolved that nonebut her husband should enjoy her. The women heartily assented, and promised that her injunctions should beobeyed to the utmost of their power.

Day by day Pericone's passion waxed more ardent, being fomented by the proximity and contrariety of itsobject. Wherefore seeing that blandishment availed nothing, he was minded to have recourse to wiles andstratagems, and in the last resort to force. The lady, debarred by her law from the use of wine, found it,perhaps, on that account all the more palatable, which Pericone observing determined to enlist Bacchus in theservice of Venus. So, ignoring her coyness, he provided one evening a supper, which was ordered with allpossible pomp and beauty, and graced by the presence of the lady. No lack was there of incentives to hilarity;and Pericone directed the servant who waited on Alatiel to ply her with divers sorts of blended wines; whichcommand the man faithfully executed. She, suspecting nothing, and seduced by the delicious flavour of theliquor, drank somewhat more freely than was seemly, and forgetting her past woes, became frolicsome, andincited by some women who trod some measures in the Majorcan style, she shewed the company how theyfooted it in Alexandria. This novel demeanour was by no means lost on Pericone, who saw in it a good omenof his speedy success; so, with profuse relays of food and wine he prolonged the supper far into the night.

When the guests were at length gone, he attended the lady alone to her chamber, where, the heat of the wineoverpowering the cold counsels of modesty, she made no more account of Pericone's presence than if he hadbeen one of her women, and forthwith undressed and went to bed. Pericone was not slow to follow her, and assoon as the light was out lay down by her side, and taking her in his arms, without the least demur on her part,began, to solace himself with her after the manner of lovers; which experience--she knew not till then withwhat horn men butt--caused her to repent that she had not yielded to his blandishments; nor did she thereafterwait to be invited to such nights of delight, but many a time declared her readiness, not by words, for she hadnone to convey her meaning, but by gestures.

But this great felicity which she now shared with Pericone was not to last: for not content with making her,instead of the consort of a king, the mistress of a castellan, Fortune had now in store for her a harsherexperience, though of an amorous character. Pericone had a brother, twenty-five years of age, fair and fresh asa rose, his name Marato. On sight of Alatiel Marato had been mightily taken with her; he inferred from herbearing that he stood high in her good graces; he believed that nothing stood between him and the gratificationof his passion but the jealous vigilance with which Pericone guarded her. So musing, he hit upon a ruthlessexpedient, which had effect in action as hasty as heinous.

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It so chanced that there then lay in the port of the city a ship, commanded by two Genoese, bound with a cargoof merchandise for Klarenza in the Morea: her sails were already hoist; and she tarried only for a favourablebreeze. Marato approached the masters and arranged with them to take himself and the lady aboard on thefollowing night. This done he concerted further action with some of his most trusty friends, who readily lenthim their aid to carry his design into execution. So on the following evening towards nightfall, theconspirators stole unobserved into Pericone's house, which was entirely unguarded, and there hid themselves,as pre-arranged. Then, as the night wore on, Marato shewed them where Pericone and the lady slept, and theyentered the room, and slew Pericone. The lady thus rudely roused wept; but silencing her by menaces of deaththey carried her off with the best part of Pericone's treasure, and hied them unobserved to the coast, whereMarato parted from his companions, and forthwith took the lady aboard the ship. The wind was now fair andfresh, the mariners spread the canvas, and the vessel sped on her course.

This new misadventure, following so hard upon the former, caused the lady no small chagrin; but Marato,with the aid, of the good St. Crescent-in-hand that God has given us, found means to afford her suchconsolation that she was already grown so familiar with him as entirely to forget Pericone, when Fortune, notcontent with her former caprices, added a new dispensation of woe; for what with. the beauty of her person,which, as we have often said, was extra ordinary, and the exquisite charm of her manners the two young men,who commanded the ship, fell so desperately in love with her that they thought of nothing but how they mightbest serve and please her, so only that Marato should not discover the reason of their assiduous attentions.And neither being ignorant of the other's love, they held secret counsel together, and resolved to makeconquest of the lady on joint account: as if love admitted of being held in partnership like merchandise ormoney. Which design being thwarted by the jealousy with which Alatiel was guarded by Marato, they chose aday and hour, when the ship was speeding amain under canvas, and Marato was on the poop looking out overthe sea and quite off his guard; and going stealthily up behind him, they suddenly laid hands on him, andthrew him into the sea, and were already more than a mile on their course before any perceived that Maratowas overboard. Which when the lady learned, and knew that he was irretrievably lost, she relapsed into herformer plaintive mood. But the twain were forthwith by her side with soft speeches and profuse promises,which, however ill she understood them, were not altogether inapt to allay a grief which had in it more ofconcern for her own hapless self than of sorrow for her lost lover. So, in course of time, the lady beginningvisibly to recover heart, they began privily to debate which of them should first take her to bed with him; andneither being willing to give way to the other, and no compromise being discoverable, high words passedbetween them, and the dispute grew so hot, that they both waxed very wroth, drew their knives, and rushedmadly at one another, and before they could be parted by their men, several stabs had been given and receivedon either side, whereby the one fell dead on the spot, and the other was severely wounded in divers parts ofthe body. The lady was much disconcerted to find herself thus alone with none to afford her either succour orcounsel, and was mightily afraid lest the wrath of the kinsfolk and friends of the twain should vent itself uponher. From this mortal peril she was, however, delivered by the intercessions of the wounded man and theirspeedy arrival at Klarenza.

As there she tarried at the same inn with her wounded lover, the fame of her great beauty was speedily bruitedabroad, and reached the ears of the Prince of the Morea, who was then staying there. The Prince was curiousto see her, and having so done, pronounced her even more beautiful than rumour had reported her; nay, he fellin love with her in such a degree that he could think of nought else; and having heard in what guise she hadcome thither, he deemed that he might have her. While he was casting about how to compass his end, thekinsfolk of the wounded man, being apprised of the fact, forthwith sent her to him to the boundless delight, aswell of the lady, who saw therein her deliverance from a great peril, as of the Prince. The royal bearing, whichenhanced the lady's charms, did not escape the Prince, who, being unable to discover her true rank, set herdown as at any rate of noble lineage; wherefore he loved her as much again as before, and shewed her nosmall honour, treating her not as his mistress but as his wife. So the lady, contrasting her present happy estatewith her past woes, was comforted; and, as her gaiety revived, her beauty waxed in such a degree that all theMorea talked of it and of little else: insomuch that the Prince's friend and kinsman, the young, handsome andgallant Duke of Athens, was smitten with a desire to see her, and taking occasion to pay the Prince a visit, as

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he was now and again wont to do, came to Klarenza with a goodly company of honourable gentlemen. ThePrince received him with all distinction and made him heartily welcome, but did not at first shew him thelady. By and by, however, their conversation began to turn upon her and her charms, and the Duke asked ifshe were really so marvellous a creature as folk said. The Prince replied:--"Nay, but even more so; and thereofthou shalt have better assurance than my words, to wit, the witness of thine own eyes." So, without delay, forthe Duke was now all impatience, they waited on the lady, who was prepared for their visit, and received themvery courteously and graciously. They seated her between them, and being debarred from the pleasure ofconversing with her, for of their speech she understood little or nothing, they both, and especially the Duke,who was scarce able to believe that she was of mortal mould, gazed upon her in mute admiration; whereby theDuke, cheating himself with the idea that he was but gratifying his curiosity, drank with his eyes, unawares,deep draughts of the poisoned chalice of love, and, to his own lamentable hurt, fell a prey to a most ardentpassion. His first thought, when they had left her, and he had time for reflection, was that the Prince was theluckiest man in the world to have a creature so fair to solace him; and swayed by his passion, his mind sooninclined to divers other and less honourable meditations, whereof the issue was that, come what might, hewould despoil the Prince of his felicity, and, if possible, make it his own. This resolution was no sooner takenthan, being of a hasty temperament, he cast to the winds all considerations of honour and justice, and studiedonly how to compass his end by craft. So, one day, as the first step towards the accomplishment of his evilpurpose, he arranged with the Prince's most trusted chamberlain, one Ciuriaci, that his horses and all other hispersonal effects should, with the utmost secrecy, be got ready against a possible sudden departure: and then atnightfall, attended by a single comrade (both carrying arms), he was privily admitted by Ciuriaci into thePrince's chamber. It was a hot night, and the Prince had risen without disturbing the lady, and was standingbare to the skin at an open window fronting the sea, to enjoy a light breeze that blew thence. So, by preconcertwith his comrade, the Duke stole up to the window, and in a trice ran the Prince through the body, and caughthim up, and threw him out of the window. The palace was close by the sea, but at a considerable altitudeabove it, and the window, through which the Prince's body was thrown, looked over some houses, which,being sapped by the sea, had become ruinous, and were rarely or never visited by a soul; whereby, as theDuke had foreseen, the fall of the Prince's body passed, as indeed it could not but pass, unobserved.Thereupon the Duke's accomplice whipped out a halter, which he had brought with him for the purpose, and,making as if he were but in play, threw it round Ciuriaci's neck, drew it so tight that he could not utter asound, and then, with the Duke's aid, strangled him, and sent him after his master. All this was accomplished,as the Duke knew full well, without awakening any in the palace, not even the lady, whom he now approachedwith a light, and holding it over the bed gently uncovered her person, as she lay fast asleep, and surveyed herfrom head to foot to his no small satisfaction; for fair as she had seemed to him dressed, he found herunadorned charms incomparably greater. As he gazed, his passion waxed beyond measure, and, reckless of hisrecent crime, and of the blood which still stained his hands, he got forthwith into the bed; and she, being toosound asleep to distinguish between him and the Prince, suffered him to lie with her.

But, boundless as was his delight, it brooked no long continuance, so, rising, he called to him some of hiscomrades, by whom he had the lady secured in such manner that she could utter no sound, and borne out ofthe palace by the same secret door by which he had gained entrance; he then set her on horseback and in deadsilence put his troop in motion, taking the road to Athens. He did not, however, venture to take the lady toAthens, where she would have encountered his duch*ess--for he was married--but lodged her in a verybeautiful villa which he had hard by the city overlooking the sea, where, most forlorn of ladies, she livedsecluded, but with no lack of meet and respectful service.

On the following morning the Prince's courtiers awaited his rising until none, but perceiving no sign of it,opened the doors, which had not been secured, and entered his bedroom. Finding it vacant, they supposed thatthe Prince was gone off privily somewhere to have a few days of unbroken delight with his fair lady; and sothey gave themselves no further trouble. But the next day it so chanced that an idiot, roaming about the ruinswhere lay the corpses of the Prince and Ciuriaci, drew the latter out by the halter and went off dragging it afterhim. The corpse was soon recognised by not a few, who, at first struck dumb with amazement, soon recoveredsense enough to cajole the idiot into retracing his steps and shewing them the spot where he had found it; and

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having thus, to the immeasurable grief of all the citizens, discovered the Prince's body, they buried it with allhonour. Needless to say that no pains were spared to trace the perpetrators of so heinous a crime, and that theabsence and evidently furtive departure of the Duke of Athens caused him to be suspected both of the murderand of the abduction of the lady. So the citizens were instant with one accord that the Prince's brother, whomthey chose as his successor, should exact the debt of vengeance; and he, having satisfied himself by furtherinvestigation that their suspicion was well founded, summoned to his aid his kinsfolk, friends and diversvassals, and speedily gathered a large, powerful and well-equipped army, with intent to make war upon theDuke of Athens. The Duke, being informed of his movements, made ready likewise to defend himself with allhis power; nor had he any lack of allies, among whom the Emperor of Constantinople sent his son,Constantine, and his nephew, Manuel, with a great and goodly force. The two young men were honourablyreceived by the Duke, and still more so by the duch*ess, who was Constantine's sister.

Day by day war grew more imminent, and at last the duch*ess took occasion to call Constantine and Manuelinto her private chamber, and with many tears told them the whole story at large, explaining the casus belli,dilating on the indignity which she suffered at the hands of the Duke if as was believed, he really kept amistress in secret, and beseeching them in most piteous accents to do the best they could to devise someexpedient whereby the Duke's honour might be cleared, and her own peace of mind assured. The young menknew exactly how matters stood; and so, without wearying the duch*ess with many questions, they did theirbest to console her, and succeeded in raising her hopes. Before taking their leave they learned from her wherethe lady was, whose marvellous beauty they had heard lauded so often; and being eager to see her, theybesought the Duke to afford them an opportunity. Forgetful of what a like complaisance had cost the Prince,he consented, and next morning brought them to the villa where the lady lived, and with her and a few of hisboon companions regaled them with a lordly breakfast, which was served in a most lovely garden.Constantine had no sooner seated himself and surveyed the lady, than he was lost in admiration, inly affirmingthat he had never seen so beautiful a creature, and that for such a prize the Duke, or any other man, might wellbe pardoned treachery or any other crime: he scanned her again and again, and ever with more and moreadmiration; where-by it fared with him even as it had fared with the Duke. He went away hotly in love withher, and dismissing all thought of the war, cast about for some method by which, without betraying hispassion to any, he might devise some means of wresting the lady from the Duke.

As he thus burned and brooded, the Prince drew dangerously near the Duke's dominions; wherefore order wasgiven for an advance, and the Duke, with Constantine and the rest, marshalled his forces and led them forthfrom Athens to bar the Prince's passage of the frontier at certain points. Some days thus passed, during whichConstantine, whose mind and soul were entirely absorbed by his passion for the lady, bethought him, that, asthe Duke was no longer in her neighbourhood, he might readily compass his end. He therefore feigned to beseriously unwell, and, having by this pretext obtained the Duke's leave, he ceded his command to Manuel, andreturned to his sister at Athens. He had not been there many days before the duch*ess recurred to the dishonourwhich the Duke did her by keeping the lady; whereupon he said that of that, if she approved, he wouldcertainly relieve her by seeing that the lady was removed from the villa to some distant place. The duch*ess,supposing that Constantine was prompted not by jealousy of the Duke but by jealousy for her honour, gaveher hearty consent to his plan, provided he so contrived that the Duke should never know that she had beenprivy to it; on which point Constantine gave her ample assurance. So, being authorised by the duch*ess to actas he might deem best, he secretly equipped a light bark and manned her with some of his men, to whom heconfided his plan, bidding them lie to off the garden of the lady's villa; and so, having sent the bark forward,he hied him with other of his men to the villa. He gained ready admission of the servants, and was madeheartily welcome by the lady, who, at his desire, attended by some of her servants, walked with him and someof his comrades in the garden. By and by, feigning that he had a message for her from the Duke, he drew heraside towards a gate that led down to the sea, and which one of his confederates had already opened. Aconcerted signal brought the bark alongside, and to seize the lady and set her aboard the bark was but thework of an instant. Her retinue hung back as they heard Constantine menace with death whoso but stirred orspoke, and suffered him, protesting that what he did was done not to wrong the Duke, but solely to vindicatehis sister's honour, to embark with his men. The lady wept, of course, but Constantine was at her side, the

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rowers gave way, and the bark, speeding like a thing of life over the waves, made Egina shortly after dawn.There Constantine and the lady landed, she still lamenting her fatal beauty, and took a little rest and pleasure.Then, re-embarking, they continued their voyage, and in the course of a few days reached Chios, whichConstantine, fearing paternal censure, and that he might be deprived of his fair booty, deemed a safe place ofsojourn. So, after some days of repose the lady ceased to bewail her harsh destiny, and suffering Constantineto console her as his predecessors had done, began once more to enjoy the good gifts which Fortune sent her.

Now while they thus dallied, Osbech, King of the Turks, who was perennially at war with the Emperor, cameby chance to Smyrna; and there learning, that Constantine was wantoning in careless ease at Chios with a ladyof whom he had made prize, he made a descent by night upon the island with an armed flotilla. Landing hismen in dead silence, he made captives of not a few of the Chians whom he surprised in their beds; others, whotook the alarm and rushed to arms, he slew; and having wasted the whole island with fire, he shipped thebooty and the prisoners, and sailed back to Smyrna. As there he overhauled the booty, he lit upon the fair lady,and knew her for the same that had been taken in bed and fast asleep with Constantine: whereat, being ayoung man, he was delighted beyond measure, and made her his wife out of hand with all due form andceremony. And so for several months he enjoyed her.

Now there had been for some time and still was a treaty pending between the Emperor and Basano, King ofCappadocia, whereby Basano with his forces was to fall on Osbech on one side while the Emperor attackedhim on the other. Some demands made by Basano, which the Emperor deemed unreasonable, had so farretarded the conclusion of the treaty; but no sooner had the Emperor learned the fate of his son than,distraught with grief, he forthwith conceded the King of Cappadocia's demands, and was instant with him tofall at once upon Osbech while he made ready to attack him on the other side. Getting wind of the Emperor'sdesign, Osbech collected his forces, and, lest he should be caught and crushed between the convergent armiesof two most mighty potentates, advanced against the King of Cappadocia. The fair lady he left at Smyrna inthe care of a faithful dependant and friend, and after a while joined battle with the King of Cappadocia, inwhich battle he was slain, and his army defeated and dispersed. Wherefore Basano with his victorious hostadvanced, carrying everything before him, upon Smyrna, and receiving everywhere the submission due to aconqueror.

Meanwhile Osbech's dependant, by name Antioco, who had charge of the fair lady, was so smitten with hercharms that, albeit he was somewhat advanced in years, he broke faith with his friend and lord, and allowedhimself to become enamoured of her. He had the advantage of knowing her language, which counted formuch with one who for some years had been, as it were, compelled to live the life of a deaf mute, findingnone whom she could understand or by whom she might be understood; and goaded by passion, he in thecourse of a few days established such a degree of intimacy with her that in no long time it passed fromfriendship into love, so that their lord, far away amid the clash of arms and the tumult of the battle, wasforgotten, and marvellous pleasure had they of one another between the sheets.

However, news came at last of Osbech's defeat and death, and the victorious and unchecked advance ofBasano, whose advent they were by no means minded to await. Wherefore, taking with them the best part ofthe treasure that Osbech had left there, they hied them with all possible secrecy to Rhodes. There they had notalong abode before Antioco fell ill of a mortal disease. He had then with him a Cypriote merchant, an intimateand very dear friend, to whom, as he felt his end approach, he resolved to leave all that he possessed,including his dear lady. So, when he felt death imminent, he called them to him and said:--"'Tis now quiteevident to me that my life is fast ebbing away; and sorely do I regret it, for never had I so much pleasure oflife as now. Well content indeed I am in one respect, in that, as die I must, I at least die in the arms of the twopersons whom I love more than any other in the world, to wit, in thine arms, dearest friend, and those of thislady, whom, since I have known her, I have loved more than myself. But yet 'tis grievous to me to know that Imust leave her here in a strange land with none to afford her either protection or counsel; and but that I leaveher with thee, who, I doubt not, wilt have for my sake no less care of her than thou wouldst have had of me,'twould grieve me still more; wherefore with all my heart and soul I pray thee, that, if I die, thou take her with

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all else that belongs to me into thy charge, and so acquit thyself of thy trust as thou mayst deem conducive tothe peace of my soul. And of thee, dearest lady, I entreat one favour, that I be not forgotten of, thee, after mydeath, so that there whither I go it may still be my boast to be beloved here of the most beautiful lady thatnature ever formed. Let me but die with these two hopes assured, and without doubt I shall depart in peace."

Both the merchant and the lady wept to hear him thus speak, and, when he had done, comforted him, andpromised faithfully, in the event of his death, to do even as he besought them. He died almost immediatelyafterwards, and was honourably buried by them. A few days sufficed the merchant to wind up all his affairs inRhodes and being minded to return to Cyprus aboard a Catalan boat that was there, he asked the fair lady whatshe purposed to do if he went back to Cyprus. The lady answered, that, if it were agreeable to him, she wouldgladly accompany him, hoping that for love of Antioco, he would treat and regard her as his sister. Themerchant replied, that it would afford him all the pleasure in the world; and, to protect her from insult untiltheir arrival in Cyprus, he gave her out as his wife, and, suiting action to word, slept with her on the boat in analcove in a little cabin in the poop. Whereby that happened which on neither side was intended when they leftRhodes, to wit, that the darkness and the comfort and the warmth of the bed, forces of no mean efficacy, didso prevail with them that dead Antioco was forgotten alike as lover and as friend, and by a common impulsethey began to wanton together, insomuch that before they were arrived at Baffa, where the Cypriote resided,they were indeed man and wife. At Baffa the lady tarried with the merchant a good while, during which it sobefell that a gentleman, Antigono by name, a man of ripe age and riper wisdom but no great wealth, being onethat had had vast and various experience of affairs in the service of the King of Cyprus but had found fortuneadverse to him, came to Baffa on business; and passing one day by the house where the fair lady was thenliving by herself, for the Cypriote merchant was gone to Armenia with some of his wares, he chanced to catchsight of the lady at one of the windows, and, being struck by her extraordinary beauty, regarded herattentively, and began to have some vague recollection of having seen her before, but could by no meansremember where. The fair lady, however, so long the sport of Fortune, but now nearing the term of her woes,no sooner saw Antigono than she remembered to have seen him in her father's service, and in no meancapacity, at Alexandria. Wherefore she forthwith sent for him, hoping that by his counsel she might elude hermerchant and be reinstated in her true character and dignity of princess. When he presented himself, she askedhim with some embarrassment whether he were, as she took him to be, Antigono of Famagosta. He answeredin the affirmative, adding:--"And of you, madam, I have a sort of recollection, though I cannot say where Ihave seen you; wherefore so it irk you not, bring, I pray you, yourself to my remembrance." Satisfied that itwas Antigono himself, the lady in a flood of tears threw herself upon him to his no small amazement, andembraced his neck: then, after a little while, she asked him whether he had never see her in Alexandria. Thequestion awakened Antigono's memory; he at once recognised Alatiel, the Soldan's daughter, whom he hadthough to have been drowned at sea, and would have paid her due homage; but she would not suffer it, andbade him be seated with her for a while. Being seated, he respectfully asked her, how, and when and whenceshe had come thither, seeing that all Egypt believed for certain that she had been drowned at sea some yearsbefore. "And would that so it had been," said the lady, "rather than I should have led the life that I have led;and so doubtless will my father say, if he shall ever come to know of it." And so saying, she burst into such aflood of tears that 'twas a wonder to see. Wherefore Antigono said to her:--"Nay but, madam, be not distressedbefore the occasion arises. I pray you, tell me the story of your adventures, and what has been the tenor ofyour life; perchance 'twill prove to be no such matter but, God helping us, we may set it all straight.""Antigono," said the fair lady, "when I saw thee, 'twas as if I saw my father, and 'twas the tender love bywhich I am holden to him that prompted me to make myself known to thee, though I might have kept mysecret; and few indeed there are, whom to have met would have afforded me such pleasure as this which Ihave in meeting and recognising thee before all others; wherefore I will now make known to thee as to myfather that which in my evil fortune I have ever kept close. If, when thou hast heard my story, thou seest anymeans whereby I may be reinstated in my former honour, I pray thee use it. If not, disclose to none that thouhast seen me or heard aught of me."

Then, weeping between every word, she told him her whole story from the day of the shipwreck at Majorca tothat hour. Antigono wept in sympathy, and then said:--"Madam, as throughout this train of misfortunes you

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have happily escaped recognition, I undertake to restore you to your father in such sort that you shall be dearerto him than ever before, and be afterwards married to the King of Algarve. "How?" she asked. Whereupon heexplained to her in detail how he meant to proceed; and, lest delay should give occasion to another tointerfere, he went back at once to Famagosta, and having obtained audience of the King, thus he spoke:--"Sire,so please you, you have it in your power at little cost to yourself to do a thing, which will at once redoundmost signally to your honour and confer a great boon on me, who have grown poor in your service." "How?"asked the King. Then said Antigono:--"At Baffa is of late arrived a fair damsel, daughter of the Soldan, longthought to be drowned, who to preserve her chastity has suffered long and severe hardship. She is nowreduced to poverty, and is desirous of returning to her father. If you should be pleased to send her back to himunder my escort, your honour and my interest would be served in high and equal measure; nor do I think thatsuch a service would ever be forgotten by the Soldan."

With true royal generosity the King forthwith signified his approval, and had Alatiel brought underhonourable escort to Famagosta, where, attended by his Queen, he received her with every circ*mstance offestal pomp and courtly magnificence. Schooled by Antigono, she gave the King and Queen such a version ofher adventures as satisfied their inquiries in every particular. So, after a few days, the King sent her back tothe Soldan under escort of Antigono, attended by a goodly company of honourable men and women; and ofthe cheer which the Soldan made her, and not her only but Antigono and all his company, it boots not to ask.When she was somewhat rested, the Soldan inquired how it was that she was yet alive, and where she hadbeen go long without letting him know how it fared with her. Whereupon the lady, who had got Antigono'slesson by heart, answered thus:--"My father, 'twas perhaps the twentieth night after my departure from youwhen our ship parted her timbers in a terrible storm and went ashore nigh a place called Aguamorta, awaythere in the West: what was the fate of the men that were aboard our ship I know not, nor knew I ever; Iremember only, that, when day came, and I returned, as it were, from death to life, the wreck, having beensighted, was boarded by folk from all the country-side, intent on plunder; and I and two of my women weretaken ashore, where the women were forthwith parted from me by the young men, nor did I ever learn theirfate. Now hear my own. Struggling might and main, I was seized by two young men, who dragged me,weeping bitterly, by the hair of the head, towards a great forest; but, on sight of four men who were thenpassing that way on horseback, they forthwith loosed me and took to flight. Whereupon the four men, whostruck me as persons of great authority, ran up to me; and much they questioned me, and much I said to them;but neither did they understand me, nor I them. So, after long time conferring together, they set me on one oftheir horses and brought me to a house, where dwelt a community of ladies, religious according to their law;and what the men may have said I know not, but there I was kindly received and ever honourably entreated byall; and with them I did afterwards most reverentially pay my devotions to St. Crescent-in-Hollow, who isheld in great honour by the women of that country. When I had been some time with them, and had learnedsomething of their language, they asked me who and whence I was: whereto I, knowing that I was in aconvent, and fearing to be cast out as a foe to their law if I told the truth, answered that I was the daughter of agreat gentleman of Cyprus, who had intended to marry me to a gentleman of Crete; but that on the voyage wehad been driven out of our course and wrecked at Aguamorta. And so I continued, as occasion required,observing their usages with much assiduity, lest worse should befall me; but being one day asked by theirsuperior, whom they call abbess, whether I was minded to go back to Cyprus, I answered that, there wasnought that I desired so much. However, so solicitous for my honour was the abbess, that there was nonegoing to Cyprus to whom she would entrust me, until, two months or so ago, there arrived some worthy menfrom France, of whom one was a kinsman of the abbess, with their wives. They were on their way to visit thesepulchre where He whom they hold to be God was buried after He had suffered death at the hands of theJews; and the abbess, learning their destination, prayed them to take charge of me, and restore me to my fatherin Cyprus. With what cheer, with what honour, these gentlemen and their wives entertained me, 'twere long totell. But, in brief, we embarked, and in the course of a few days arrived at Baffa, where it was so ordered bythe providence of God, who perchance took pity on me, that in the very hour of our disembarkation I, notknowing a soul and being at a loss how to answer the gentlemen, who would fain have discharged the trustlaid upon them by the reverend abbess and restored me to my father, fell in, on the shore, with Antigono,whom I forthwith called, and in our language, that I might be understood neither of the gentlemen nor of their

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wives, bade him acknowledge me as his daughter. He understood my case at once, made much of me, and tothe utmost of his slender power honourably requited the gentlemen. He then brought me to the King ofCyprus, who accorded me welcome there and conduct hither so honourable as words of mine can neverdescribe. If aught remains to tell, you had best learn it from the lips of Antigono, who has often heard mystory."

Then Antigono, addressing the Soldan, said:--"Sire, what she has told you accords with what she has oftentold me, and, with what I have learned from the gentlemen and ladies who accompanied her. One thing,however, she has omitted, because, I suppose, it hardly becomes her to tell it; to wit, all that the gentlemenand ladies, who accompanied her, said of the virtuous and gracious and noble life which she led with thedevout ladies, and of the tears and wailings of both the ladies and the gentlemen, when they parted with her tome. But were I to essay to repeat all that they said to me, the day that now is, and the night that is to follow,were all too short: suffice it to say so much as this, that, by what I gathered from their words and have beenable to see for myself, you may make it your boast, that among all the daughters of all your peers that wear thecrown none can be matched with yours for virtue and true worth."

By all which the Soldan was so overjoyed that 'twas a wonder to see. Again and again he made supplication toGod, that of His grace power might be vouchsafed him adequately to recompense all who had done honour tohis daughter, and most especially the King of Cyprus, for the honourable escort under which he had sent herthither; for Antigono he provided a magnificent guerdon, and some days later gave him his conge to return toCyprus, at the same time by a special ambassage conveying to the King his grateful acknowledgments of themanner in which he had treated his daughter. Then, being minded that his first intent, to wit, that his daughtershould be the bride of the King of Algarve, should not be frustrate, he wrote to the King, telling him all, andadding that, if he were still minded to have her, he might send for her. The King was overjoyed by thesetidings, and having sent for her with great pomp, gave her on her arrival a hearty welcome. So she, who hadlain with eight men, in all, perhaps, ten thousand times, was bedded with him as a virgin, and made himbelieve that a virgin she was, and lived long and happily with him as his queen: wherefore 'twassaid:--"Mouth, for kisses, was never the worse: like as the moon reneweth her course."

(1) I.e. according to medieval usage, Egypt. (2) I.e. Garbo, the coast of Africa opposite Andalusia andGranada.


-- The Count of Antwerp, labouring under a false accusation goes into exile. He leaves his two children indifferent places in England, and takes service in Ireland. Returning to England an unknown man, he finds hissons prosperous. He serves as a groom in the army of the King of France; his innocence is established and heis restored to his former honours. --

The ladies heaved many sighs over the various fortunes of the fair lady: but what prompted those sighs whoshall say? With some, perchance, 'twas as much envy as pity of one to whose lot fell so many nights ofdelight. But, however this may be, when Pamfilo's story was ended, and the laughter which greeted his lastwords had subsided, the queen turned to Elisa, and bade her follow suit with one of her stories. So Elisa with acheerful courage thus began:--

Vast indeed is the field that lies before us, wherein to roam at large; 'twould readily afford each of us not onecourse but ten, so richly has Fortune diversified it with episodes both strange and sombre; wherefore selectingone such from this infinite store, I say:--That, after the transference of the Roman Empire from the Franks tothe Germans, the greatest enmity prevailed between the two nations, with warfare perpetual and relentless:wherefore, deeming that the offensive would be their best defence, the King of France and his son musteredall the forces they could raise from their own dominions and those of their kinsmen and allies, and arrayed agrand army for the subjugation of their enemies. Before they took the field, as they could not leave the realm

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without a governor, they chose for that office Gautier, Count of Antwerp, a true knight and sage counsellor,and their very loyal ally and vassal, choosing him the rather, because, albeit he was a thorough master of theart of war, yet they deemed him less apt to support its hardships than for the conduct of affairs of a delicatenature. Him, therefore, they set in their place as their vicar-general and regent of the whole realm of France,and having so done, they took the field.

Count Gautier ordered his administration wisely and in a regular course, discussing all matters with the queenand her daughter-in-law; whom, albeit they were left under his charge and jurisdiction, he nevertheless treatedas his ladies paramount. The Count was about forty years of age, and the very mould of manly beauty; inbearing as courteous and chivalrous as ever a gentleman might be, and withal so debonair and dainty, so featand trim of person that he had not his peer, among the gallants of that day. His wife was dead, leaving himtwo children and no more, to wit, a boy and a girl, still quite young. Now the King and his son being thusaway at the war, and the Count frequenting the court of the two said ladies, and consulting with them uponaffairs of state, it so befell, that the Prince's lady regarded him with no small favour, being very sensible alikeof the advantages of his person and the nobility of his bearing; whereby she conceived for him a passionwhich was all the more ardent because it was secret. And, as he was without a wife, and she was still in thefreshness of her youth, she saw not why she should not readily be gratified; but supposing that nothing stoodin the way but her own shamefastness, she resolved to be rid of that, and disclose her mind to him without anyreserve. So one day, when she was alone, she seized her opportunity, and sent for him, as if she were desirousto converse with him on indifferent topics. The Count, his mind entirely aloof from the lady's purpose,presented himself forthwith, and at her invitation sate down by her side on a settee. They were quite alone inthe room; but the Count had twice asked her the reason why she had so honoured him, before, overcome bypassion, she broke silence, and crimson from neck with shame, half sobbing, trembling in every limb, and atevery word, she thus spoke:--"Dearest friend and sweet my lord, sagacity such as yours cannot but be apt toperceive how great is the frailty of men and women, and how, for divers reasons, it varies in different personsin such a degree that no just judge would mete out the same measure to each indifferently, though the faultwere apparently the same. Who would not acknowledge that a poor man or woman, fain to earn daily bread bythe sweat of the brow, is far more reprehensible in yielding to the solicitations of love, than a rich lady, whoselife is lapped in ease and unrestricted luxury? Not a soul, I am persuaded, but would so acknowledge!Wherefore I deem that the possession of these boons of fortune should go far indeed to acquit the possessor, ifshe, perchance, indulge an errant love; and, for the rest, that, if she have chosen a wise and worthy lover, sheshould be entirely exonerated. And as I think I may fairly claim the benefit of both these pleas, and of othersbeside, to wit, my youth and my husband's absence, which naturally incline me to love, 'tis meet that I nowurge them in your presence in defence of my passion; and if they have the weight with you which they shouldhave with the wise, I pray you to afford me your help and counsel in the matter wherein I shall demand it. Iavow that in the absence of my husband I have been unable to withstand the promptings of the flesh and thepower of love, forces of such potency that even the strongest men--not to speak of delicate women--have notseldom been, nay daily are, overcome by them; and so, living thus, as you see me, in ease and luxury, I haveallowed the allurements of love to draw me on until at last I find myself a prey to passion. Wherein were Idiscovered, I were, I confess, dishonoured; but discovery being avoided, I count the dishonour all but nought.Moreover, love has been so gracious to me that not only has he spared to blind me in the choice of my lover,but he has even lent me his most effective aid, pointing me to one well worthy of the love of a lady such as I,even to yourself; whom, if I misread not my mind, I deem the most handsome and courteous and debonair,and therewithal the sagest cavalier that the realm of France may shew. And as you are without a wife, so mayI say that I find myself without a husband. Wherefore in return for this great love I bear you, deny me not, Ipray you, yours; but have pity on my youth, which wastes away for you like ice before the fire."

These words were followed by such a flood of tears, that, albeit she had intended yet further to press her suit,speech failed her; her eyes drooped, and, almost swooning with emotion, she let her head fall upon the Count'sbreast. The Count, who was the most loyal of knights, began with all severity to chide her mad passion and tothrust her from him--for she was now making as if she would throw her arms around his neck--and toasseverate with oaths that he would rather be hewn in pieces than either commit, or abet another in

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committing such an offence against the honour of his lord; when the lady, catching his drift, and forgetting allher love in a sudden frenzy of rage, cried out:--"So! unknightly knight, is it thus you flout my love? NowHeaven forbid, but, as you would be the death of me, I either do you to death or drive you from the world!" Sosaying, she dishevelled and tore her hair and rent her garments to shreds about her bosom. Which done, shebegan shrieking at the top of her voice:--"Help! help! The Count of Antwerp threatens to violate me!"Whereupon the Count, who knew that a clear conscience was no protection against the envy of courtiers, anddoubted that his innocence would prove scarce a match for the cunning of the lady, started to his feet, and hiedhim with all speed out of the room, out of the palace, and back to his own house. Counsel of none he sought;but forthwith set his children on horseback, and taking horse himself, departed post haste for Calais. Thelady's cries brought not a few to her aid, who, observing her plight, not only gave entire credence to her story,but improved upon it, alleging that the debonair and accomplished Count had long employed all the arts ofseduction to compass his end. So they rushed in hot haste to the Count's house, with intent to arrest him, andnot finding him, sacked it and razed it to the ground. The news, as glosed and garbled, being carried to theKing and Prince in the field, they were mightily incensed, and offered a great reward for the Count, dead oralive, and condemned him and his posterity to perpetual banishment.

Meanwhile the Count, sorely troubled that by his flight his innocence shewed as guilt, pursued his journey,and concealing his identity, and being recognised by none, arrived with his two children at Calais. Thence heforthwith crossed to England, and, meanly clad, fared on for London, taking care as he went to school hischildren in all that belonged to their new way of life, and especially in two main articles: to wit, that theyshould bear with resignation the poverty to which, by no fault of theirs, but solely by one of Fortune'scaprices, they and he were reduced, and that they should be most sedulously on their guard to betray to none,as they valued their lives, whence they were, or who their father was. The son, Louis by name, was perhapsnine, and the daughter, Violante, perhaps seven years of age. For years so tender they proved apt pupils, andafterwards shewed by their conduct that they had well learned their father's lesson. He deemed it expedient tochange their names, and accordingly called the boy Perrot and the girl Jeannette. So, meanly clad, the Countand his two children arrived at London, and there made shift to get a living by going about soliciting alms inthe guise of French mendicants.

Now, as for this purpose they waited one morning outside a church, it so befell that a great lady, the wife ofone of the marshals of the King of England, observed them, as she left the church, asking alms, and demandedof the Count whence he was, and whether the children were his. He answered that he was from Picardy, thatthe children were his, and that he had been fain to leave Picardy by reason of the misconduct of theirreprobate elder brother. The lady looked at the girl, who being fair, and of gentle and winning mien andmanners, found much favour in her eyes. So the kind-hearted lady said to the Count:--"My good man, if thouart willing to leave thy little daughter with me, I like her looks so well that I will gladly take her; and if shegrow up a good woman, I will see that she is suitably married when the right time comes." The Count wasmuch gratified by the proposal, which he forthwith accepted, and parted with the girl, charging the lady withtears to take every care of her.

Having thus placed the girl with one in whom he felt sure that he might trust, he determined to tarry no longerin London; wherefore, taking Perrot with him and begging as he went, he made his way to Wales, not withoutgreat suffering, being unused to go afoot. Now in Wales another of the King's marshals had his court,maintaining great state and a large number of retainers; to which court, the Count and his son frequentlyrepaired, there to get food; and there Perrot, finding the marshal's son and other gentlemen's sons vying withone another in boyish exercises, as running and leaping, little by little joined their company, and shewedhimself a match or more for them all in all their contests. The marshal's attention being thus drawn to him, hewas well pleased with the boy's mien and bearing, and asked who he was. He was told that he was the son of apoor man who sometimes came there to solicit alms. Whereupon he asked the Count to let him have the boy,and the Count, to whom God could have granted no greater boon, readily consented, albeit he was very loathto part with Perrot.

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Having thus provided for his son and daughter, the Count resolved to quit the island; and did so, making hisway as best he could to Stamford, in Ireland, where he obtained a menial's place in the service of a knight,retainer to one of the earls of that Country, and so abode there a long while, doing all the irksome andwearisome drudgery of a lackey or groom.

Meanwhile under the care of the gentle lady at London Violante or Jeannette increased, as in years and statureso also in beauty, and in such favour with the lady and her husband and every other member of the householdand all who knew her that 'twas a wonder to see; nor was there any that, observing her bearing and manners,would not have said that estate or dignity there was none so high or honourable but she was worthy of it. Sothe lady, who, since she had received her from her father, had been unable to learn aught else about him thanwhat he had himself told, was minded to marry her honourably according to what she deemed to be her rank.But God, who justly apportions reward according to merit, having regard to her noble birth, her innocence,and the load of suffering which the sin of another had laid upon her, ordered otherwise; and in His goodprovidence, lest the young gentlewoman should be mated with a churl, permitted, we must believe, events totake the course they did.

The gentle lady with whom Jeannette lived had an only son, whom she and her husband loved most dearly, aswell because he was a son as for his rare and noble qualities, for in truth there were few that could comparewith him in courtesy and courage and personal beauty. Now the young man marked the extraordinary beautyand grace of Jeannette, who was about six years his junior, and fell so desperately in love with her that he hadno eyes for any other maiden; but, deeming her to be of low degree, he not only hesitated to ask her of hisparents in marriage, but, fearing to incur reproof for indulging a passion for an inferior, he did his utmost toconceal his love. Whereby it gave him far more disquietude than if he had avowed it; insomuch that--soextreme waxed his suffering--he fell ill, and that seriously. Divers physicians were called in, but, for all theirscrutiny of his symptoms, they could not determine the nature of his malady, and one and all gave him up forlost. Nothing could exceed the sorrow and dejection of his father and mother, who again and again piteouslyimplored him to discover to them the cause of his malady, and received no other answer than sighs orcomplaints that he seemed to be wasting away. Now it so happened that one day, Jeannette, who from regardfor his mother was sedulous in waiting upon him, for some reason or another came into the room where helay, while a very young but very skilful physician sate by him and held his pulse. The young man gave her nota word or other sign of recognition; but his passion waxed, his heart smote him, and the acceleration of hispulse at once betrayed his inward commotion to the physician, who, albeit surprised, remained quietlyattentive to see how long it would last, and observing that it ceased when Jeannette left the room, conjecturedthat he was on the way to explain the young man's malady. So, after a while, still holding the young man'spulse, he sent for Jeannette, as if he had something to ask of her. She returned forthwith; the young man'spulse mounted as soon as she entered the room, and fell again as soon as she left it. Wherefore the physicianno longer hesitated, but rose, and taking the young man's father and mother aside, said to them:--"Therestoration of your son's health rests not with medical skill, but solely with Jeannette, whom, as byunmistakable signs I have discovered, he ardently loves, though, so far I can see, she is not aware of it. So youknow what you have to do, if you value his life." The prospect thus afforded of their son's deliverance fromdeath reassured the gentleman and his lady, albeit they were troubled, misdoubting it must be by his marriagewith Jeannette. So, when the physician was gone, they went to the sick lad, and the lady thus spoke:--"Myson, never would I have believed that thou wouldst have concealed from me any desire of thine, least of all ifsuch it were that privation should cause thee to languish; for well assured thou shouldst have been andshouldst be, that I hold thee dear as my very self, and that whatever may be for thy contentment, even thoughit were scarce seemly, I would do it for thee; but, for all thou hast so done, God has shewn Himself moremerciful to theeward than thyself, and, lest thou die of this malady, has given me to know its cause, which isnothing else than the excessive love which thou bearest to a young woman, be she who she may. Which lovein good sooth thou needest not have been ashamed to declare; for it is but natural at thy age; and hadst thounot loved, I should have deemed thee of very little worth. So, my son, be not shy of me, but frankly discoverto me thy whole heart; and away with this gloom and melancholy whereof thy sickness is engendered, and becomforted, and assure thyself that there is nought that thou mayst require of me which I will not do to give

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thee ease, so far as my powers may reach, seeing that thou art dearer to me than my own life. Away with thyshamefastness and fears, and tell me if there is aught wherein I may be helpful to thee in the matter of thylove; and if I bestir not myself and bring it to pass, account me the most harsh mother that ever bore son."

The young man was at first somewhat shamefast to hear his mother thus speak, but, reflecting that none coulddo more for his happiness than she, he took courage, and thus spoke:--"Madam, my sole reason for concealingmy love from you was that I have observed that old people for the most part forget that they once were young;but, as I see that no such unreasonableness is to be apprehended in you, I not only acknowledge the truth ofwhat you say that you have discerned, but I will also disclose to you the object of my passion, on theunderstanding that your promise shall to the best of your power be performed, as it must be, if I am to berestored to you in sound health." Whereupon the lady, making too sure of that which was destined to fall outotherwise than she expected, gave him every encouragement to discover all his heart, and promised to lose notime and spare no pains in endeavouring to compass his gratification. "Madam," said then the young man, "therare beauty and exquisite manners of our Jeannette, my powerlessness to make her understand--I do not saycommiserate--my love, and my reluctance to disclose it to any, have brought me to the condition in which yousee me; and if your promise be not in one way or another performed, be sure that my life will be brief." Thelady, deeming that the occasion called rather for comfort than for admonition, replied with a smile:--"Ah! myson, was this then of all things the secret of thy suffering? Be of good cheer, and leave me to arrange theaffair, when you are recovered." So, animated by a cheerful hope, the young man speedily gave sign of a mostmarked improvement, which the lady observed with great satisfaction, and then began to cast about how shemight keep her promise. So one day she sent for Jeannette, and in a tone of gentle raillery asked her if she hada lover. Jeannette turned very red as she answered:--"Madam, 'twould scarce, nay, 'twould ill become a damselsuch as I, poor, outcast from home, and in the service of another, to occupy herself with thoughts of love."Whereto the lady answered:--"So you have none, we will give you one, who will brighten all your life andgive you more joy of your beauty; for it is not right that so fair a damsel as you remain without a lover.""Madam," rejoined Jeannette, "you found me living in poverty with my father, you adopted me, you havebrought me up as your daughter; wherefore I should, if possible, comply with your every wish; but in thismatter I will render you no compliance, nor do I doubt that I do well. So you will give me a husband, I willlove him, but no other will I love; for, as patrimony I now have none save my honour, that I am minded toguard and preserve while my life shall last." Serious though the obstacle was which these words opposed tothe plan by which the lady had intended to keep her promise to her son, her sound judgment could not butsecretly acknowledge that the spirit which they evinced was much to be commended in the damsel. Whereforeshe said:--"Nay but, Jeannette; suppose that our Lord the King, who is a young knight as thou art a most fairdamsel, craved some indulgence of thy love, wouldst thou deny him?" "The King," returned Jeannette withoutthe least hesitation, "might constrain me, but with my consent he should never have aught of me that was nothonourable." Whereto the lady made no answer, for she now understood the girl's temper; but, being mindedto put her to the proof, she told her son that, as soon as he was recovered, she would arrange that he should becloseted with her in the same room, and be thus able to use all his arts to bring her to his will, saying that it illbecame her to play the part of procuress and urge her son's suit upon her own maid. But as the young man, byno means approving this idea, suddenly grew worse, the lady at length opened her mind to Jeannette, whomshe found in the same frame as before, and indeed even more resolute. Wherefore she told her husband all thatshe had done; and as both preferred that their son should marry beneath him, and live, than that he shouldremain single and die, they resolved, albeit much disconcerted, to give Jeannette to him to wife; and so afterlong debate they did. Whereat Jeannette was overjoyed, and with devout heart gave thanks to God that He hadnot forgotten her; nevertheless she still gave no other account of herself than that she was the daughter of aPicard. So the young man recovered, and blithe at heart as ne'er another, was married, and began to speed thetime gaily with his bride.

Meanwhile Perrot, left in Wales with the marshal of the King of England, had likewise with increase of yearsincrease of favour with his master, and grew up most shapely and well-favoured, and of such prowess that inall the island at tourney or joust or any other passage of arms he had not his peer; being everywhere knownand renowned as Perrot the Picard. And as God had not forgotten Jeannette, so likewise He made manifest by

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what follows that He had not forgotten Perrot. Well-nigh half the population of those parts being swept off bya sudden visitation of deadly pestilence, most of the survivors fled therefrom in a panic, so that the countrywas, to all appearance, entirely deserted. Among those that died of the pest were the marshal, his lady, and hisson, besides brothers and nephews and kinsfolk in great number; whereby of his entire household there wereleft only one of his daughters, now marriageable, and a few servants, among them Perrot. Now Perrot being aman of such notable prowess, the damsel, soon after the pestilence had spent itself, took him, with theapproval and by the advice of the few folk that survived, to be her husband, and made him lord of all that fellto her by inheritance. Nor was it long before the King of England, learning that the marshal was dead, madePerrot the Picard, to whose merit he was no stranger, marshal in the dead man's room. Such, in brief, was thehistory of the two innocent children, with whom the Count of Antwerp had parted, never expecting to seethem again.

'Twas now the eighteenth year since the Count of Antwerp had taken flight from Paris, when, being still inIreland, where he had led a very sorry and suffering sort of life, and feeling that age was now come upon him,he felt a longing to learn, if possible, what was become of his children. The fashion of his outward man wasnow completely changed; for long hardship had (as he well knew) given to his age a vigour which his youth,lapped in ease, had lacked. So he hesitated not to take his leave of the knight with whom he had so longresided, and poor and in sorry trim he crossed to England, and made his way to the place where he had leftPerrot--to find him a great lord and marshal of the King, and in good health, and withal a hardy man and veryhandsome. All which was very grateful to the old man; but yet he would not make himself known to his son,until he had learned the fate of Jeannette. So forth he fared again, nor did he halt until he was come toLondon, where, cautiously questing about for news of the lady with whom he had left his daughter, and how itfared with her, he learned that Jeannette was married to the lady's son. Whereat, in the great gladness of hisheart, he counted all his past adversity but a light matter, since he had found his children alive and prosperous.But sore he yearned to see Jeannette. Wherefore he took to loitering, as poor folk are wont, in theneighbourhood of the house. And so one day Jacques Lamiens--such was the name of Jeannette's husband--saw him and had pity on him, observing that he was poor and aged, and bade one of his servants take himindoors, and for God's sake give him something to eat; and nothing loath the servant did so. Now Jeannettehad borne Jacques several children, the finest and the most winsome children in the world, the eldest no morethan eight years old; who gathered about the Count as he ate, and, as if by instinct divining that he was theirgrandfather, began to make friends with him. He, knowing them for his grandchildren, could not conceal hislove, and repaid them with caresses; insomuch that they would not hearken to their governor when he calledthem, but remained with the Count. Which being reported to Jeannette, she came out of her room, crossed towhere the Count was sitting with the children, and bade them do as their master told them, or she wouldcertainly have them whipped. The children began to cry, and to say that they would rather stay with theworthy man, whom they liked much better than their master; whereat both the lady and the Count laughed insympathy. The Count had risen, with no other intention--for he was not minded to disclose his paternity--thanto pay his daughter the respect due from his poverty to her rank, and the sight of her had thrilled his soul witha wondrous delight. By her he was and remained unrecognised; utterly changed as he was from his formerself; aged, grey-haired, bearded, lean and tanned--in short to all appearance another man than the Count.

However, seeing that the children were unwilling to leave him, but wept when she made as if she wouldconstrain them, she bade the master let them be for a time. So the children remained with the worthy man,until by chance Jacques' father came home, and learned from the master what had happened. Whereupon,having a grudge against Jeannette, he said:--"Let them be; and God give them the ill luck which He owesthem: whence they sprang, thither they must needs return; they descend from a vagabond on the mother's side,and so 'tis no wonder that they consort readily with vagabonds." The Count caught these words and was sorelypained, but, shrugging his shoulders, bore the affront silently as he had borne many another. Jacques, who hadnoted his children's fondness for the worthy man, to wit, the Count, was displeased; but nevertheless, suchwas the love he bore them, that, rather than see them weep, he gave order that, if the worthy man cared to staythere in his service, he should be received. The Count answered that he would gladly do so, but that he was fitfor nothing except to look after horses, to which he had been used all his life. So a horse was assigned him,

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and when he had groomed him, he occupied himself in playing with the children.

While Fortune thus shaped the destinies of the Count of Antwerp and his children, it so befell that after a longseries of truces made with the Germans the King of France died, and his crown passed to his son, whose wifehad been the occasion of the Count's banishment. The new king, as soon as the last truce with the Germanswas run out, renewed hostilities with extraordinary vigour, being aided by his brother of England with a largearmy under the command of his marshal, Perrot, and his other marshal's son, Jacques Lamiens. With themwent the worthy man, that is to say, the Count, who, unrecognised by any, served for a long while in the armyin the capacity of groom, and acquitted himself both in counsel and in arms with a wisdom and valourunwonted in one of his supposed rank. The war was still raging when the Queen of France fell seriously ill,and, as she felt her end approach, made a humble and contrite confession of all her sins to the Archbishop ofRouen, who was universally reputed a good and most holy man. Among her other sins she confessed the greatwrong that she had done to the Count of Antwerp; nor was she satisfied to confide it to the Archbishop, butrecounted the whole affair, as it had passed, to not a few other worthy men, whom she besought to use theirinfluence with the King to procure the restitution of the Count, if he were still alive, and if not, of his children,to honour and estate. And so, dying shortly afterwards, she was honourably buried. The Queen's confessionwrung from the King a sigh or two of compunction for a brave man cruelly wronged; after which he causedproclamation to be made throughout the army and in many other parts, that whoso should bring him tidings ofthe Count of Antwerp, or his children, should receive from him such a guerdon for each of them as shouldjustly be matter of marvel; seeing that he held him acquitted, by confession of the Queen, of the crime forwhich he had been banished, and was therefore now minded to grant him not only restitution but increase ofhonour and estate.

Now the Count, being still with the army in his character of groom, heard the proclamation, which he did notdoubt was made in good faith. Wherefore he hied him forthwith to Jacques, and begged a private interviewwith him and Perrot, that he might discover to them that whereof the King was in quest. So the meeting washad; and Perrot was on the point of declaring himself, when the Count anticipated him:--"Perrot," he said,"Jacques here has thy sister to wife, but never a dowry had he with her. Wherefore that thy sister be notdowerless, 'tis my will that he, and no other, have this great reward which the King offers for thee, son, as heshall certify, of the Count of Antwerp, and for his wife and thy sister, Violante, and for me, Count of Antwerp,thy father." So hearing, Perrot scanned the Count closely, and forthwith recognising him, burst into tears, andthrowing himself at his feet embraced him, saying:--"My father, welcome, welcome indeed art thou."Whereupon, between what he had heard from the Count and what he had witnessed on the part of Perrot,Jacques was so overcome with wonder and delight, that at first he was at a loss to know how to act. However,giving entire credence to what he had heard, and recalling insulting language which he had used towards thequondam groom, the Count, he was sore stricken with shame, and wept, and fell at the Count's feet, andhumbly craved his pardon for all past offences; which the Count, raising him to his feet, most graciouslygranted him. So with many a tear and many a hearty laugh the three men compared their several fortunes;which done, Perrot and Jacques would have arrayed the Count in manner befitting his rank, but he would byno means suffer it, being minded that Jacques, so soon as he was well assured that the guerdon wasforthcoming, should present him to the King in his garb of groom, that thereby the King might be the moreshamed. So Jacques, with the Count and Perrot, went presently to the King and offered to present to him theCount and his children, provided the guerdon were forthcoming according to the proclamation. Jacqueswondered not a little as forthwith at a word from the King a guerdon was produced ample for all three, and hewas bidden take it away with him, so only that he should in very truth produce, as he had promised, the Countand his children in the royal presence. Then, withdrawing a little and causing his quondam groom, now Count,to come forward with Perrot, he said:--"Sire, father and son are before you; the daughter, my wife, is not here,but, God willing, you shall soon see her." So hearing, the King surveyed the Count, whom, notwithstandinghis greatly changed appearance, he at length recognised, and well-nigh moved to tears, he raised him from hisknees to his feet, and kissed and embraced him. He also gave a kindly welcome to Perrot, and bade forthwithfurnish the Count with apparel, servants and horses, suited to his rank; all which was no sooner said thandone. Moreover the King shewed Jacques no little honour, and particularly questioned him of all his past

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As Jacques was about to take the noble guerdons assigned him for the discovery of the Count and his children,the Count said to him:--"Take these tokens of the magnificence of our Lord the King, and forget not to tell thyfather that 'tis from no vagabond that thy children, his and my grandchildren, descend on the mother's side."So Jacques took the guerdons, and sent for his wife and mother to join him at Paris. Thither also came Perrot'swife: and there with all magnificence they were entertained by the Count, to whom the King had not onlyrestored all his former estates and honours, but added thereto others, whereby he was now become a greaterman than he had ever been before. Then with the Count's leave they all returned to their several houses. TheCount himself spent the rest of his days at Paris in greater glory than ever.


-- Bernabo of Genoa, deceived by Ambrogiuolo, loses his money and commands his innocent wife to be put todeath. She escapes, habits herself as a man, and serves the Soldan. She discovers the deceiver, and bringsBernabo to Alexandria, where the deceiver is punished. She then resumes the garb of a woman, and with herhusband returns wealthy to Genoa. --

When Elisa had performed her part, and brought her touching story to a close, Queen Philomena, a damsel noless stately than fair of person, and of a surpassingly sweet and smiling mien, having composed herself tospeak, thus began:--

Our engagements with Dioneo shall be faithfully observed; wherefore, as he and I alone remain to completethe day's narration, I will tell my story first, and he shall have the grace he craved, and be the last to speak.After which prelude she thus began her story:--'Tis a proverb current among the vulgar that the deceived hasthe better of the deceiver; a proverb which, were it not exemplified by events, might hardly in any manner bejustified. Wherefore, while adhering to our theme, I am minded at the same time dearest ladies to shew youthat there is truth in this proverb; the proof whereof should be none the less welcome to you that it may putyou on your guard against deceivers.

Know then that certain very great merchants of Italy, being met, as merchants use, for divers reasons proper toeach, at a hostelry in Paris, and having one evening jovially supped together, fell a talking of divers matters,and so, passing from one topic to another, they came at last to discuss the ladies whom they had left at home,and one jocosely said:--"I cannot answer for my wife; but for myself I own, that, whenever a girl that is to mymind comes in my way, I give the go-by to the love that I bear my wife, and take my pleasure of thenew-comer to the best of my power." "And so do I," said another, "because I know that, whether I suspect heror no, my wife tries her fortune, and so 'tis do as you are done by; the ass and the wall are quits." A thirdadded his testimony to the same effect; and in short all seemed to concur in the opinion that the ladies theyhad left behind them were not likely to neglect their opportunities, when one, a Genoese, Bernabo Lomellinby name, dissociated himself from the rest, affirming that by especial grace of God he was blessed with a wifewho was, perhaps, the most perfect paragon to be found in Italy of all the virtues proper to a lady, ay, and ingreat measure, to a knight or squire; inasmuch as she was fair, still quite young, handy, hardy, and cleverbeyond all other women in embroidery work and all other forms of lady's handicraft. Moreover sowell-mannered, discreet and sensible was she that she was as fit to wait at a lord's table as any squire ormanservant or such like, the best and most adroit that could be found. To which encomium he added that sheknew how to manage a horse, fly a hawk, read, write and cast up accounts better than as if she were amerchant; and after much more in the same strain of commendation he came at length to the topic of theirconversation, asseverating with an oath that 'twas not possible to find a woman more honest, more chaste thanshe: nay, he verily believed that, if he remained from home for ten years, or indeed for the rest of his days, shewould never think of any of these casual amours with any other man.

Among the merchants who thus gossiped was a young man, Ambrogiuolo da Piacenza, by name, who, when

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Bernabo thus concluded his eulogy of his wife, broke out into a mighty laugh, and asked him with a leer,whether he of all men had this privilege by special patent of the Emperor. Bernabo replied, somewhat angrily,that 'twas a boon conferred upon him by God, who was rather more powerful than the Emperor. To whichAmbrogiuolo rejoined:--"I make no doubt, Bernabo, that thou believest that what thou sayst is true; but,methinks, thou hast been but a careless observer of the nature of things; otherwise, I do not take thee to be ofso gross understanding but that thou must have discerned therein reasons for speaking more judiciously of thismatter. And that thou mayst not think that we, who have spoken with much freedom about our wives, deemthem to be of another nature and mould than thine, but mayst know that we have but uttered what commonsense dictates, I am minded to go a little further into this matter with thee. I have always understood, that ofall mortal beings created by God man is the most noble, and next after him woman: man, then, being, as isuniversally believed, and is indeed apparent by his works, more perfect than woman, must without doubt beendowed with more firmness and constancy, women being one and all more mobile, for reasons not a few andfounded in nature, which I might adduce, but mean for the present to pass over. And yet, for all his greaterfirmness, man cannot withstand--I do not say a woman's supplications, but--the mere lust of the eye which sheunwittingly excites, and that in such sort that he will do all that is in his power to induce her to pleasure him,not once, perhaps, in the course of a month, but a thousand times a day. How, then, shouldst thou expect awoman, mobile by nature, to resist the supplications, the flatteries, the gifts, and all the other modes of attackthat an accomplished seducer will employ? Thou thinkest that she may hold out! Nay verily, affirm it as thoumayst, I doubt thou dost not really so think. Thou dost not deny that thy wife is a woman, a creature of fleshand blood like the rest; and if so, she must have the same cravings, the same natural propensities as they, andno more force to withstand them; wherefore 'tis at least possible, that, however honest she be, she will do asothers do; and nought that is possible admits such peremptory denial or affirmation of its contrary as this ofthine."

Whereto Bernabo returned--"I am a merchant and no philosopher, and I will give thee a merchant's answer. Iacknowledge that what thou sayst is true of vain and foolish women who have no modesty, but such as arediscreet are so sensitive in regard of their honour that they become better able to preserve it than men, whohave no such solicitude; and my wife is one of this sort." "Doubtless," observed Ambrogiuolo, "few would befound to indulge in these casual amours, if every time they did so a horn grew out on the brow to attest thefact; but not only does no horn make its appearance but not so much as a trace or vestige of a horn, so onlythey be but prudent; and the shame and dishonour consist only in the discovery: wherefore, if they can do itsecretly, they do it, or are fools to refrain. Hold it for certain that she alone is chaste who either had never suitmade to her, or, suing herself, was repulsed. And albeit I know that for reasons true and founded in nature thismust needs be, yet I should not speak so positively thereof as I do, had I not many a time with many a womanverified it by experience. And I assure thee that, had I but access to this most saintly wife of thine, I shouldconfidently expect very soon to have the same success with her as with others." Then Bernaboangrily:--"'Twere long and tedious to continue this discussion. I should have my say, and thou thine, and inthe end 'twould come to nothing. But, as thou sayst that they are all so compliant, and that thou art soaccomplished a seducer, I give thee this pledge of the honour of my wife: I consent to forfeit my head, if thoushouldst succeed in bringing her to pleasure thee in such a sort; and shouldst thou fail, thou shalt forfeit to meno more than one thousand florins of gold."

Elated by this unexpected offer, Ambrogiuolo replied:--"I know not what I should do with thy blood, Bernabo,if I won the wager; but, if thou wouldst have proof of what I have told thee, lay five thousand florins of gold,which must be worth less to thee than thy head, against a thousand of mine, and, whereas thou makest nostipulation as to time, I will bind myself to go to Genoa, and within three months from my departure hence tohave had my pleasure of thy wife, and in witness thereof to bring back with me, of the things which she prizesmost dearly, evidence of her compliance so weighty and conclusive that thou thyself shalt admit the fact; nordo I require ought of thee but that thou pledge thy faith neither to come to Genoa nor to write word to her ofthis matter during the said three months." Bernabo professed himself well content; and though the rest of thecompany, seeing that the compact might well have very evil consequences, did all that they could to frustrateit, yet the two men were now so heated that, against the will of the others, they set it down fairly in writing,

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and signed it each with his own hand. This done, Ambrogiuolo, leaving Bernabo at Paris, posted with allspeed for Genoa. Arrived there, he set to work with great caution; and having found out the quarter in whichthe lady resided, he learned in the course of a few days enough about her habits of life and her character toknow that what Bernabo had told him was rather less than the truth. So, recognising that his enterprise washopeless, he cast about for some device whereby he might cover his defeat; and having got speech of a poorwoman, who was much in the lady's house, as also in her favour, he bribed her (other means failing) to conveyhim in a chest, which he had had made for the purpose, not only into the house but into the bedroom of thelady, whom the good woman, following Bernabo's instructions, induced to take charge of it for some days,during which, she said, she would be away.

So the lady suffered the chest to remain in the room; and when the night was so far spent that Bernabo thoughtshe must be asleep, he opened it with some tools with which he had provided himself, and stole softly out.There was a light in the room, so that he was able to form an idea of its situation, to take note of the picturesand everything else of consequence that it contained, and to commit the whole to memory. This done, heapproached the bed; and observing that the lady, and a little girl that was with her, were fast asleep, he gentlyuncovered her, and saw that nude she was not a whit less lovely than when dressed: he looked about for somemark that might serve him as evidence that he had seen her in this state, but found nothing except a mole,which she had under the left breast, and which was fringed with a few fair hairs that shone like gold. Sobeautiful was she that he was tempted at the hazard of his life to take his place by her side in the bed; but,remembering what he had heard of her inflexible obduracy in such affairs, he did not venture; but quietlyreplaced the bedclothes; and having passed the best part of the night very much at his ease in her room, hetook from one of the lady's boxes a purse, a gown, a ring and a girdle, and with these tokens returned to thechest, and locked himself in as before. In this manner he passed two nights, nor did the lady in the leastsuspect his presence. On the third day the good woman came by preconcert to fetch her chest, and took it backto the place whence she had brought it. So Ambrogiuolo got out, paid her the stipulated sum, and hied himback with all speed to Paris, where he arrived within the appointed time. Then, in presence of the merchantswho were witnesses of his altercation with Bernabo, and the wager to which it had given occasion, he toldBernabo that he had won the bet, having done what he had boasted that he would do; and in proof thereof hefirst of all described the appearance of the room and the pictures, and then displayed the articles belonging tothe lady which he had brought away with him, averring that she had given them to him. Bernaboacknowledged the accuracy of his description of the room, and that the articles did really belong to his wife,but objected that Ambrogiuolo might have learned characteristic features of the room from one of theservants, and have come by the things in a similar way, and therefore, unless he had something more to say,he could not justly claim to have won the bet. "Verily," rejoined Ambrogiuolo, "this should suffice; but, asthou requirest that I say somewhat further, I will satisfy thee. I say, then, that Madam Zinevra, thy wife, hasunder her left breast a mole of some size, around which are, perhaps, six hairs of a golden hue." As Bernaboheard this, it was as if a knife pierced his heart, so poignant was his suffering; and, though no word escapedhim, the complete alteration of his mien bore unmistakable witness to the truth of Ambrogiuolo's words. Aftera while he said:--"Gentlemen, 'tis even as Ambrogiuolo says; he has won the bet; he has but to come when hewill, and he shall be paid." And so the very next day Ambrogiuolo was paid in full, and Bernabo, intent onwreaking vengeance on his wife, left Paris and set his face towards Genoa. He had no mind, however, to gohome, and accordingly halted at an estate which he had some twenty miles from the city, whither he sentforward a servant, in whom he reposed much trust, with two horses and a letter advising the lady of his return,and bidding her come out to meet him. At the same time he gave the servant secret instructions to choosesome convenient place, and ruthlessly put the lady to death, and so return to him. On his arrival at Genoa theservant delivered his message and the letter to the lady, who received him with great cheer, and next morninggot on horseback and set forth with him for her husband's estate. So they rode on, talking of divers matters,until they came to a deep gorge, very lonely, and shut in by high rocks and trees. The servant, deeming thisjust the place in which he might without risk of discovery fulfil his lord's behest, whipped out a knife, andseizing the lady by the arm, said:--"Madam, commend your soul to God, for here must end at once yourjourney and your life." Terror-stricken by what she saw and heard, the lady cried out:--"Mercy for God's sake;before thou slay me, tell me at least wherein I have wronged thee, that thou art thus minded to put me to

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death." "Madam," said the servant, "me you have in no wise wronged; but your husband--how you may havewronged him I know not--charged me shew you no mercy, but to slay you on this journey, and threatened tohave me hanged by the neck, should I not do so. You know well how bound I am to him, and that I may notdisobey any of his commands: God knows I pity you, but yet I can no otherwise." Whereat the lady burst intotears, saying:--"Mercy for God's sake; make not thyself the murderer of one that has done thee no wrong, atthe behest of another. The all-seeing God knows that I never did aught to merit such requital at my husband'shands. But enough of this for the present: there is a way in which thou canst serve at once God and thy masterand myself, if thou wilt do as I bid thee: take, then, these clothes of mine and give me in exchange just thydoublet and a hood; and carry the clothes with thee to my lord and thine, and tell him that thou hast slain me;and I swear to thee by the life which I shall have received at thy hands, that I will get me gone, and there abidewhence news of me shall never reach either him or thee or these parts." The servant, being loath to put her todeath, soon yielded to pity; and so he took her clothes, allowing her to retain a little money that she had, andgave her one of his worser doublets and a hood; then, praying her to depart the country, he left her afoot in thegorge, and returned to his master, whom he gave to understand that he had not only carried out his orders buthad left the lady's body a prey to wolves. Bernabo after a while returned to Genoa, where, the supposedmurder being bruited abroad, he was severely censured.

Alone and disconsolate, the lady, as night fell, disguised herself as best she could, and hied her to aneighbouring village, where, having procured what was needful from an old woman, she shortened thedoublet and fitted it to her figure, converted her chemise into a pair of breeches, cut her hair close, and, inshort, completely disguised herself as a sailor. She then made her way to the coast, where by chance sheencountered a Catalan gentleman, by name Segner Encararch, who had landed from one of his ships, whichlay in the offing, to recreate himself at Alba, where there was a fountain. So she made overture to him of herservices, was engaged and taken aboard the ship, assuming the name Sicurano da Finale. The gentleman puther in better trim as to clothes, and found her so apt and handy at service that he was exceeding well pleasedwith her.

Not long afterwards the Catalan sailed one of his carracks to Alexandria. He took with him some peregrinefalcons, which he presented to the Soldan, who feasted him once or twice; and noting with approbation thebehaviour of Sicurano, who always attended his master, he craved him of the Catalan, which request theCatalan reluctantly granted. Sicurano proved so apt for his new service that he was soon as high in grace andfavour with the Soldan as he had been with the Catalan. Wherefore, when the time of year came at whichthere was wont to be held at Acre, then under the Soldan's sway, a great fair, much frequented by merchants,Christian and Saracen alike, and to which, for the security of the merchants and their goods, the Soldanalways sent one of his great officers of state with other officers and a guard to attend upon them, hedetermined to send Sicurano, who by this time knew the language very well. So Sicurano was sent to Acre asgovernor and captain of the guard for the protection of the merchants and merchandise. Arrived there, hebestirred himself with great zeal in all matters appertaining to his office; and as he went his rounds ofinspection, he espied among the merchants not a few from Italy, Sicilians, Pisans, Genoese, Venetians, and soforth, with whom he consorted the more readily because they reminded him of his native land. And so it befellthat, alighting once at a shop belonging to some Venetian merchants, he saw there among other trinkets apurse and a girdle, which he forthwith recognised as having once been his own. Concealing his surprise, heblandly asked whose they were, and if they were for sale. He was answered by Ambrogiuolo da Piacenza,who had come thither with much merchandise aboard a Venetian ship, and hearing that the captain of theguard was asking about the ownership of the purse and girdle, came forward, and said with a smile:--"Thethings are mine, Sir, and I am not disposed to sell them, but, if they take your fancy, I will gladly give them toyou." Observing the smile, Sicurano misdoubted that something had escaped him by which Ambrogiuolo hadrecognised him; but he answered with a composed air:--"Thou dost smile, perchance, to see me, a soldier,come asking about this woman's gear?" "Not so, Sir," returned Ambrogiuolo; "I smile to think of the mannerin which I came by it." "And pray," said Sicurano, "if thou hast no reason to conceal it, tell me, in God's name,how thou didst come by the things." " Why, Sir," said Ambrogiuolo, "they were given me by a Genoese lady,with whom I once spent a night, Madam Zinevra by name, wife of Bernabo Lomellin, who prayed me to keep

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them as a token of her love. I smiled just now to think of the folly of Bernabo, who was so mad as to stakefive thousand florins of gold, against my thousand that I could not bring his wife to surrender to me; which Idid. I won the bet; and he, who should rather have been punished for his insensate folly, than she for doingwhat all women do, had her put to death, as I afterwards gathered, on his way back from Paris to Genoa."

Ambrogiuolo had not done speaking before Sicurano had discerned in him the evident cause of her husband'sanimosity against her, and all her woe, and had made up her mind that he should not escape with impunity.She therefore feigned to be much interested by this story, consorted frequently and very familiarly withAmbrogiuolo, and insidiously captured his confidence, insomuch that at her suggestion, when the fair wasdone, he, taking with him all his wares, accompanied her to Alexandria, where she provided him with a shop,and put no little of her own money in his hands; so that he, finding it very profitable, was glad enough to stay.Anxious to make her innocence manifest to Bernabo, Sicurano did not rest until, with the help of some greatGenoese merchants that were in Alexandria, she had devised an expedient to draw him thither. Her plansucceeded; Bernabo arrived; and, as he was now very poor, she privily arranged that he should be entertainedby one of her friends until occasion should serve to carry out her design. She had already inducedAmbrogiuolo to tell his story to the Soldan, and the Soldan to interest himself in the matter. So Bernabo beingcome, and further delay inexpedient, she seized her opportunity, and persuaded the Soldan to citeAmbrogiuolo and Bernabo before him, that in Bernabo's presence Ambrogiuolo might be examined of hisboast touching Bernabo's wife, and the truth hereof, if not to be had from him by gentle means, be elicited bytorture. So the Soldan, having Ambrogiuolo and Bernabo before him, amid a great concourse of his peoplequestioned Ambrogiuolo of the five thousand florins of gold that he had won from Bernabo, and sternly badehim tell the truth. Still more harsh was the aspect of Sicurano, in whom Ambrogiuolo had placed his chiefreliance, but who now threatened him with the direst torments if the truth were not forthcoming. Thus hardbested on this side and on that, and in a manner coerced, Ambrogiuolo, thinking he had but to refund, inpresence of Bernabo and many others accurately recounted the affair as it had happened. When he had done,Sicurano, as minister of the Soldan for the time being, turned to Bernabo and said:--"And thy wife, thusfalsely accused, what treatment did she meet with at thy hands?" "Mortified," said Bernabo, "by the loss of mymoney, and the dishonour which I deemed to have been done me by my wife, I was so overcome by wraththat I had her put to death by one of my servants, who brought me word that her corpse had been instantlydevoured by a pack of wolves."

Albeit the Soldan had heard and understood all that had passed, yet he did not as yet apprehend the object forwhich Sicurano had pursued the investigation. Wherefore Sicurano thus addressed him:--"My lord, what causethis good lady has to boast of her lover and her husband you have now abundant means of judging; seeing thatthe lover at one and the same time despoils her of her honour, blasting her fair fame with slanderousaccusations, and ruins her husband; who, more prompt to trust the falsehood of another than the verity ofwhich his own long experience should have assured him, devotes her to death and the devouring wolves; and,moreover, such is the regard, such the love which both bear her that, though both tarry a long time with her,neither recognises her. However, that you may know full well what chastisem*nts they have severallydeserved, I will now cause her to appear in your presence and theirs, provided you, of your especial grace, bepleased to punish the deceiver and pardon the deceived." The Soldan, being minded in this matter to deferentirely to Sicurano, answered that he was well content, and bade produce the lady. Bernabo, who had firmlybelieved that she was dead, was lost in wonder; likewise Ambrogiuolo, who now divined his evil plight, anddreading something worse than the disbursem*nt of money, knew not whether to expect the lady's advent withfear or with hope. His suspense was not of long duration; for, as soon as the Soldan signified his assent,Sicurano, weeping, threw herself on her knees at his feet, and discarding the tones, as she would fain havedivested herself of the outward semblance, of a man, said:--"My lord, that forlorn, hapless Zinevra am I,falsely and foully slandered by this traitor Ambrogiuolo, and by my cruel and unjust husband delivered overto his servant to slaughter and cast out as a prey to the wolves; for which cause I have now for six years been awanderer on the face of the earth in the guise of a man." Then rending her robes in front and baring her breast,she made it manifest to the Soldan and all others who were present, that she was indeed a woman; thenturning to Ambrogiuolo she haughtily challenged him to say when she had ever lain with him, as he had

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boasted. Ambrogiuolo said never a word, for he now recognised her, and it was as if shame had reft from himthe power of speech. The Soldan, who had never doubted that Sicurano was a man, was so wonder-struck bywhat he saw and heard that at times he thought it must be all a dream. But, as wonder gave place to convictionof the truth, he extolled in the amplest terms the constancy and virtue and seemliness with which Zinevra,erstwhile Sicurano, had ordered her life. He then directed that she should be most nobly arrayed in the garb ofher sex and surrounded by a bevy of ladies. Mindful of her intercession, he granted to Bernabo the life whichhe had forfeited; and she, when Bernabo threw himself at her feet and wept and craved her pardon, raised him,unworthy though he was, to his feet and generously forgave him, and tenderly embraced him as her husband.Ambrogiuolo the Soldan commanded to be bound to a stake, that his bare flesh, anointed with honey, mightbe exposed to the sun on one of the heights of the city, there to remain until it should fall to pieces of its ownaccord: and so 'twas done. He then decreed that the lady should have the traitor's estate, which was worth notless but rather more than ten thousand doubloons; whereto he added, in jewels and vessels of gold and silverand in money, the equivalent of upwards of other ten thousand doubloons, having first entertained her and herhusband with most magnificent and ceremonious cheer, accordant with the lady's worth. Which done, heplaced a ship at their disposal, and gave them leave to return to Genoa at their pleasure. So to Genoa theyreturned very rich and happy, and were received with all honour, especially Madam Zinevra, whom all thecitizens had believed to be dead, and whom thenceforth, so long as she lived, they held of great consequenceand excellency. As for Ambrogiuolo, the very same day that he was bound to the stake, the honey with whichhis body was anointed attracted such swarms of flies, wasps and gadflies, wherewith that country abounds,that not only was his life sucked from him but his very bones were completely denuded of flesh; in whichstate, hanging by the sinews, they remained a long time undisturbed, for a sign and a testimony of hisbaseness to all that passed by. And so the deceived had the better of the deceiver.


-- Paganino da Monaco carries off the wife of Messer Ricciardo di Chinzica, who, having learned where sheis, goes to Paganino and in a friendly manner asks him to restore her. He consents, provided she be willing.She refuses to go back with her husband. Messer Ricciardo dies, and she marries Paganino. --

Their queen's story, by its beauty, elicited hearty commendation from all the honourable company, and mostespecially from Dioneo, with whom it now rested to conclude the day's narration. Again and again he renewedhis eulogy of the queen's story; and then began on this wise:--

Fair ladies, there is that in the queen's story which has caused me to change my purpose, and substituteanother story for that which I had meant to tell: I refer to the insensate folly of Bernabo (well though it waswith him in the end) and of all others who delude themselves, as he seemed to do, with the vain imaginationthat, while they go about the world, taking their pleasure now of this, now of the other woman, their wives,left at home, suffer not their hands to stray from their girdles; as if we who are born of them and bred amongthem, could be ignorant of the bent of their desires. Wherefore, by my story I purpose at one and the sametime to shew you how great is the folly of all such, and how much greater is the folly of those who, deemingthemselves mightier than nature, think by sophistical arguments to bring that to pass which is beyond theirpower, and strive might and main to conform others to their own pattern, however little the nature of the lattermay brook such treatment. Know then that there was in Pisa a judge, better endowed with mental than withphysical vigour, by name Messer Ricciardo di Chinzica, who, being minded to take a wife, and thinking,perhaps, to satisfy her by the same resources which served him for his studies, was to be suited with none thathad not both youth and beauty, qualities which he would rather have eschewed, if he had known how to givehimself as good counsel as he gave to others. However, being very rich, he had his desire. Messer LottoGualandi gave him in marriage one of his daughters, Bartolomea by name, a maid as fair and fit for amorousdalliance as any in Pisa, though few maids be there that do not shew as spotted lizards. The judge brought herhome with all pomp and ceremony, and had a brave and lordly wedding; but in the essay which he made thevery first night to serve her so as to consummate the marriage he made a false move, and drew the game muchto his own disadvantage; for next morning his lean, withered and scarce animate frame was only to be

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re-quickened by draughts of vernaccia,(1) artificial restoratives and the like remedies. So, taking a more soberestimate of his powers than he had been wont, the worthy judge began to give his wife lessons from acalendar, which might have served as a horn-book, and perhaps had been put together at Ravenna(2) inasmuchas, according to his shewing, there was not a day in the year but was sacred, not to one saint only, but tomany; in honour of whom for divers reasons it behoved men and women to abstain from carnal intercourse;whereto he added fast-days, Ember-days, vigils of Apostles and other saints, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, thewhole of Lent, certain lunar mansions, and many other exceptions, arguing perchance, that the practice of menwith women abed should have its times of vacation no less than the administration of the law. In this method,which caused the lady grievous dumps, he long persisted, hardly touching her once a month, and observingher closely, lest another should give her to know working-days, as he had taught her holidays.

Now it so befell that, one hot season, Messer Ricciardo thought he would like to visit a very beautiful estatewhich he had near Monte Nero, there to take the air and recreate himself for some days, and thitheraccordingly he went with his fair lady. While there, to amuse her, he arranged for a day's fishing; and so, he inone boat with the fishermen, and she in another with other ladies, they put out to watch the sport, which theyfound so delightsome, that almost before they knew where they were they were some miles out to sea. Andwhile they were thus engrossed with the sport, a galliot of Paganino da Mare, a very famous corsair of thosedays, hove in sight and bore down upon the boats, and, for all the speed they made, came up with that inwhich were the ladies; and on sight of the fair lady Paganino, regardless of all else, bore her off to his galliotbefore the very eyes of Messer Ricciardo, who was by this time ashore, and forthwith was gone. The chagrinof the judge, who was jealous of the very air, may readily be imagined. But 'twas to no purpose that, both atPisa and elsewhere, he moaned and groaned over the wickedness of the corsairs, for he knew neither by whomhis wife had been abducted, nor whither she had been taken. Paganino, meanwhile, deemed himself lucky tohave gotten so beautiful a prize; and being unmarried, he was minded never to part with her, and addressedhimself by soft words to soothe the sorrow which kept her in a flood of tears. Finding words of little avail, heat night passed--the more readily that the calendar had slipped from his girdle, and all feasts and holidaysfrom his mind--to acts of love, and on this wise administered consolation so effective that before they werecome to Monaco she had completely forgotten the judge and his canons, and had begun to live with Paganinoas merrily as might be. So he brought her to Monaco, where, besides the daily and nightly solace which hegave her, he honourably entreated her as his wife.

Not long afterwards Messer Ricciardo coming to know where his wife was, and being most ardently desirousto have her back, and thinking none but he would understand exactly what to do in the circ*mstances,determined to go and fetch her himself, being prepared to spend any sum of money that might be demandedby way of ransom. So he took ship, and being come to Monaco, he both saw her and was seen by her; whichnews she communicated to Paganino in the evening, and told him how she was minded to behave. Nextmorning Messer Ricciardo, encountering Paganino, made up to him; and soon assumed a very familiar andfriendly air, while Paganino pretended not to know him, being on his guard to see what he would be at. SoMesser Ricciardo, as soon as he deemed the time ripe, as best and most delicately he was able, disclosed toPaganino the business on which he had come, praying him to take whatever in the way of ransom he choseand restore him the lady. Paganino replied cheerily:--"Right glad I am to see you here, Sir; and briefly thus Ianswer you:--True it is that I have here a young woman; whether she be your wife or another man's, I knownot, for you are none of my acquaintance, nor is she, except for the short time that she has been with me. If, asyou say, you are her husband, why, as you seem to me to be a pleasant gentleman, I will even take you to her,and I doubt not she will know you well; if she says that it is even as you say, and is minded to go with you,you shall give me just what you like by way of ransom, so pleasant have I found you; otherwise 'twill bechurlish in you to think of taking her from me, who am a young man, and as fit to keep a woman as another,and moreover never knew any woman so agreeable." "My wife," said Ricciardo, "she is beyond all manner ofdoubt, as thou shalt see; for so soon as thou bringest me to her, she will throw her arms about my neck;wherefore as thou art minded, even so be it; I ask no more." "Go we then," said Paganino; and forthwith theywent into the house, and Paganino sent for the lady while they waited in one of the halls. By and by sheentered from one of the adjoining rooms all trim and tricked out, and advanced to the place where Paganino

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and Messer Ricciardo were standing, but never a word did she vouchsafe to her husband, any more than if hehad been some stranger whom Paganino had brought into the house. Whereat the judge was mightily amazed,having expected to be greeted by her with the heartiest of cheer, and began to ruminate thus:--Perhaps I am sochanged by the melancholy and prolonged heartache, to which I have been a prey since I lost her, that shedoes not recognise me. Wherefore he said:-- "Madam, cause enough have I to rue it that I took thee a fishing,for never yet was known such grief as has been mine since I lost thee; and now it seems as if thou dost notrecognise me, so scant of courtesy is thy greeting. Seest thou not that I am thy Messer Ricciardo, come hitherprepared to pay whatever this gentleman, in whose house we are, may demand, that I may have thee back andtake thee away with me: and he is so good as to surrender thee on my own terms?" The lady turned to himwith a slight smile, and said:--"Is it to me you speak, Sir? Bethink you that you may have mistaken me foranother, for I, for my part, do not remember ever to have seen you." "Nay," said Messer Ricciardo, "butbethink thee what thou sayst; scan me closely; and if thou wilt but search thy memory, thou wilt find that I amthy Ricciardo di Chinzica." "Your pardon, Sir," answered the lady, "'tis not, perhaps, as seemly for me, as youimagine, to gaze long upon you; but I have gazed long enough to know that I never saw you before." MesserRicciardo supposed that she so spoke for fear of Paganino, in whose presence she durst not acknowledge thatshe knew him: so, after a while, he craved as a favour of Paganino that he might speak with her in a roomalone. Which request Paganino granted, so only that he did not kiss her against her will. He then bade the ladygo with Messer Ricciardo into a room apart, and hear what he had to say, and give him such answer as shedeemed meet. So the lady and Messer Ricciardo went together into a room alone, and sate down, and MesserRicciardo began on this wise:--"Ah! dear heart of me, sweet soul of me, hope of me, dost not recognise thyRicciardo that loves thee better than himself? how comes it thus to pass? am I then so changed? Ah! goodlyeye of me, do but look on me a little." Whereat the lady burst into a laugh, and interrupting him, said:--"Restassured that my memory is not so short but that I know you for what you are, my husband, Messer Ricciardodi Chinzica; but far enough you shewed yourself to be, while I was with you, from knowing me for what Iwas, young, lusty, lively; which, had you been the wise man you would fain be reputed, you would not haveignored, nor by consequence that which, besides food and clothing, it behoves men to give young ladies,albeit for shame they demand it not; which in what sort you gave, you know. You should not have taken awife if she was to be less to you than the study of the law, albeit 'twas never as a judge that I regarded you, butrather as a bellman of encaenia and saints' days, so well you knew them all, and fasts and vigils. And I tell youthat, had you imposed the observance of as many saints' days on the labourers that till your lands as onyourself who had but my little plot to till, you would never have harvested a single grain of corn. God in Hismercy, having regard unto my youth, has caused me to fall in with this gentleman, with whom I am muchcloseted in this room, where nought is known of feasts, such feasts, I mean, as you, more devoted to theservice of God than to the service of ladies, were wont to observe in such profusion; nor was this thresholdever crossed by Saturday or Friday or vigil or Ember-days or Lent, that is so long; rather here we are at workday and night, threshing the wool, and well I know how featly it went when the matin bell last sounded.Wherefore with him I mean to stay, and to work while I am young, and postpone the observance of feasts andtimes of indulgence and fasts until I am old: so get you hence, and good luck go with you, but depart withwhat speed you may, and observe as many feasts as you like, so I be not with you."

The pain with which Messer Ricciardo followed this outburst was more than he could bear, and when she haddone, he exclaimed:--"Ah! sweet soul of me, what words are these that thou utterest? Hast thou no care for thyparents' honour and thine own? Wilt thou remain here to be this man's harlot, and to live in mortal sin, ratherthan live with me at Pisa as my wife? Why, when he is tired of thee, he will cast thee out to thy most grievousdishonour. I will ever cherish thee, and ever, will I nill I, thou wilt be the mistress of my house. Wouldst thou,to gratify this unbridled and unseemly passion, part at once with thy honour and with me, who love thee moredearly than my very life? Ah! cherished hope of me, say not so again: make up thy mind to come with me. AsI now know thy bent, I will henceforth constrain myself to pleasure thee: wherefore, sweet my treasure, thinkbetter of it, and come with me, who have never known a happy hour since thou wert reft from me." The ladyanswered:--"I expect not, nor is it possible, that another should be more tender of my honour than I ammyself. Were my parents so, when they gave me to you? I trow not; nor mean I to be more tender of theirhonour now than they were then of mine. And if now I live in mortar sin, I will ever abide there until it be

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pestle sin:(3) concern yourself no further on my account. Moreover, let me tell you, that, whereas at Pisa 'twasas if I were your harlot, seeing that the planets in conjunction according to lunar mansion and geometricsquare intervened between you and me, here with Paganino I deem myself a wife, for he holds me in his armsall night long and hugs and bites me, and how he serves me, God be my witness. Ah! but you say you willconstrain yourself to serve me: to what end? to do it on the third essay, and raise it by stroke of baton? I doubtnot you are become a perfect knight since last I saw you. Begone, and constrain yourself to live; for here,methinks, your tenure is but precarious, so hectic and wasted is your appearance. Nay more; I tell you this,that, should Paganino desert me (which he does not seem disposed to do so long as I am willing to stay withhim), never will I return to your house, where for one while I staid to my most grievous loss and prejudice, butwill seek my commodity elsewhere, than with one from whose whole body I could not wring a single cupfulof sap. So, again, I tell you that here is neither feast nor vigil; wherefore here I mean to abide; and you, getyou gone, in God's name with what speed you may, lest I raise the cry that you threaten to violate me."

Messer Ricciardo felt himself hard bested, but he could not but recognise that, worn out as he was, he hadbeen foolish to take a young wife; so sad and woebegone he quitted the room, and, after expending onPaganino a wealth of words which signified nothing, he at last gave up his bootless enterprise, and leaving thelady to her own devices, returned to Pisa; where for very grief he lapsed into such utter imbecility that, whenhe was met by any with greeting or question in the street, he made no other answer than "the evil hole brooksno holiday," and soon afterwards died. Which when Paganino learned, being well assured of the love the ladybore him, he made her his lawful wife; and so, keeping neither feast nor vigil nor Lent, they worked as hard astheir legs permitted, and had a good time. Wherefore, dear my ladies, I am of opinion that Messer Bernabo inhis altercation with Ambrogiuolo rode the goat downhill.(4)

(1) A strong white wine. (2) The saying went, that owing to the multitude of churches at Ravenna every daywas there a saint's day. (3) A poor jeu de mots, mortaio, mortar, being substituted for mortale. (4) I.e. arguedpreposterously, the goat being the last animal to carry a rider comfortably downhill.

This story provoked so much laughter that the jaws of every one in the company ached; and all the ladies bycommon consent acknowledged that Dioneo was right, and pronounced Bernabo a blockhead. But when thestory was ended and the laughter had subsided, the queen, observing that the hour was now late, and that withthe completion of the day's story-telling the end of her sovereignty was come, followed the example of herpredecessor, and took off her wreath and set it on Neifile's brow, saying with gladsome mien, "Now, deargossip, thine be the sovereignty of this little people;" and so she resumed her seat. Neifile coloured somewhatto receive such honour, shewing of aspect even as the fresh-blown rose of April or May in the radiance of thedawn, her eyes rather downcast, and glowing with love's fire like the morning-star. But when the respectfulmurmur, by which the rest of the company gave blithe token of the favour in which they held their queen, washushed, and her courage revived, she raised herself somewhat more in her seat than she was wont, and thusspoke:--"As so it is that I am your queen, I purpose not to depart from the usage observed by my predecessors,whose rule has commanded not only your obedience but your approbation. I will therefore in few wordsexplain to you the course which, if it commend itself to your wisdom, we will follow. To-morrow, you know,is Friday, and the next day Saturday, days which most folk find somewhat wearisome by reason of the viandswhich are then customary, to say nothing of the reverence in which Friday is meet to be held, seeing that 'twason that day that He who died for us bore His passion; wherefore 'twould be in my judgment both right andvery seemly, if, in honour of God, we then bade story-telling give place to prayer. On Saturday ladies arewont to wash the head, and rid their persons of whatever of dust or other soilure they may have gathered bythe labours of the past week; not a few, likewise, are wont to practise abstinence for devotion to the VirginMother of the Son of God, and to honour the approaching Sunday by an entire surcease from work.Wherefore, as we cannot then completely carry out our plan of life, we shall, I think, do well to intermit ourstory-telling on that day also. We shall then have been here four days; and lest we should be surprised bynew-comers, I deem it expedient that we shift our quarters, and I have already taken thought for our next placeof sojourn. Where, being arrived on Sunday, we will assemble after our sleep; and, whereas to-day ourdiscourse has had an ample field to range in, I propose, both because you will thereby have more time for

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thought, and it will be best to set some limits to the license of our story-telling, that of the many diversities ofFortune's handiwork we make one our theme, whereof I have also made choice, to wit, the luck of such ashave painfully acquired some much-coveted thing, or having lost, have recovered it. Whereon let eachmeditate some matter, which to tell may be profitable or at least delectable to the company, saving alwaysDioneo's privilege." All applauded the queen's speech and plan, to which, therefore, it was decided to giveeffect. Thereupon the queen called her seneschal, told him where to place the tables that evening, and thenexplained to him all that he had to do during the time of her sovereignty. This done, she rose with her train,and gave leave to all to take their pleasure as to each might seem best. So the ladies and the men hied themaway to a little garden, where they diverted themselves a while; then supper-time being come, they suppedwith all gay and festal cheer. When they were risen from the table, Emilia, at the queen's command, led thedance, while Pampinea, the other ladies responding, sang the ensuing song.

Shall any lady sing, if I not sing, I to whom Love did full contentment bring?

Come hither, Love, thou cause of all my joy, Of all my hope, and all its sequel blest, And with me tune thelay, No more to sighs and bitter past annoy, That now but serve to lend thy bliss more zest; But to that fire'sclear ray, Wherewith enwrapt I blithely live and gay, Thee as my God for ever worshipping.

'Twas thou, O Love, didst set before mine eyes, When first thy fire my soul did penetrate, A youth to be myfere, So fair, so fit for deeds of high emprise, That ne'er another shall be found more great, Nay, nor, I ween,his peer: Such flame he kindled that my heart's full cheer I now pour out in chant with thee, my King.

And that wherein I most delight is this, That as I love him, so he loveth me: So thank thee, Love, I must. Forwhatsoe'er this world can yield of bliss Is mine, and in the next at peace to be I hope through that full trust Iplace in him. And thou, O God, that dost It see, wilt grant of joy thy plenishing.

Some other songs and dances followed, to the accompaniment of divers sorts of music; after which, the queendeeming it time to go to rest, all, following in the wake of the torches, sought their several chambers. The nexttwo days they devoted to the duties to which the queen had adverted, looking forward to the Sunday witheager expectancy.

-- Endeth here the second day of the Decameron, beginneth the third, in which, under the rule of Neifile,discourse is had of the fortune of such as have painfully acquired some much-coveted thing, or, having lost,have recovered it. --

The dawn of Sunday was already changing from vermilion to orange, as the sun hasted to the horizon, whenthe queen rose and roused all the company. The seneschal had early sent forward to their next place of sojournample store of things meet with folk to make all things ready, and now seeing the queen on the road, and thedecampment, as it were, begun, he hastily completed the equipment of the baggage-train, and set offtherewith, attended by the rest of the servants, in rear of the ladies and gentlemen. So, to the chant of, perhaps,a score of nightingales and other birds, the queen, her ladies and the three young men trooping beside or afterher, paced leisurely westward by a path little frequented and overgrown with herbage and flowers, which, asthey caught the sunlight, began one and all to unfold their petals. So fared she on with her train, while thequirk and the jest and the laugh passed from mouth to mouth; nor had they completed more than two thousandpaces when, well before half tierce,(1) they arrived at a palace most fair and sumptuous, which stood outsomewhat from the plain, being situate upon a low eminence. On entering, they first traversed its great hallsand dainty chambers furnished throughout with all brave and meet appointments; and finding all mostcommendable, they reputed its lord a magnifico. Then descending, they surveyed its spacious and cheerfulcourt, its vaults of excellent wines and copious springs of most cool water, and found it still morecommendable. After which, being fain of rest, they sat them down in a gallery which commanded the court,and was close imbosked with leafa*ge and such flowers as the season afforded, and thither the discreetseneschal brought comfits and wines most choice and excellent, wherewith they were refreshed. Whereupon

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they hied them to a walled garden adjoining the palace; which, the gate being opened, they entered, andwonder-struck by the beauty of the whole passed on to examine more attentively the several parts. It wasbordered and traversed in many parts by alleys, each very wide and straight as an arrow and roofed in withtrellis of vines, which gave good promise of bearing clusters that year, and, being all in flower, dispersed suchfragrance throughout the garden as blended with that exhaled by many another plant that grew therein madethe garden seem redolent of all the spices that ever grew in the East. The sides of the alleys were all, as itwere, walled in with roses white and red and jasmine; insomuch that there was no part of the garden but onemight walk there not merely in the morning but at high noon in grateful shade and fragrance, completelyscreened from the sun. As for the plants that were in the garden, 'twere long to enumerate them, to specifytheir sorts, to describe the order of their arrangement; enough, in brief, that there was abundance of every rarerspecies that our climate allows. In the middle of the garden, a thing not less but much more to be commendedthan aught else, was a lawn of the finest turf, and so green that it seemed almost black, pranked with flowersof, perhaps, a thousand sorts, and girt about with the richest living verdure of orange-trees and cedars, whichshewed not only flowers but fruits both new and old, and were no less grateful to the smell by their fragrancethan to the eye by their shade. In the middle of the lawn was a basin of whitest marble, graven withmarvellous art; in the centre whereof--whether the spring were natural or artificial I know not--rose a columnsupporting a figure which sent forth a jet of water of such volume and to such an altitude that it fell, notwithout a delicious plash, into the basin in quantity amply sufficient to turn a mill-wheel. The overflow wascarried away from the lawn by a hidden conduit, and then, reemerging, was distributed through tiny channels,very fair and cunningly contrived, in such sort as to flow round the entire lawn, and by similar derivativechannels to penetrate almost every part of the fair garden, until, re-uniting at a certain point, it issued thence,and, clear as crystal, slid down towards the plain, turning by the way two mill-wheels with extreme velocity tothe no small profit of the lord. The aspect of this garden, its fair order, the plants and the fountain and therivulets that flowed from it, so charmed the ladies and the three young men that with one accord they affirmedthat they knew not how it could receive any accession of beauty, or what other form could be given toParadise, if it were to be planted on earth. So, excellently well pleased, they roved about it, plucking spraysfrom the trees, and weaving them into the fairest of garlands, while songsters of, perhaps, a score of differentsorts warbled as if in mutual emulation, when suddenly a sight as fair and delightsome as novel, which,engrossed by the other beauties of the place, they had hitherto overlooked, met their eyes. For the garden, theynow saw, was peopled with a host of living creatures, fair and of, perhaps, a hundred sorts; and they pointedout to one another how here emerged a cony, or there scampered a hare, or couched a goat, or grazed a fawn,or many another harmless, all but domesticated, creature roved carelessly seeking his pleasure at his ownsweet will. All which served immensely to reinforce their already abundant delight. At length, however, theyhad enough of wandering about the garden and observing this thing and that: wherefore they repaired to thebeautiful fountain, around which were ranged the tables, and there, after they had sung half-a-dozen songs andtrod some measures, they sat them down, at the queen's command, to breakfast, which was served with allcelerity and in fair and orderly manner, the viands being both good and delicate; whereby their spirits rose,and up they got, and betook themselves again to music and song and dance, and so sped the hours, until, as theheat increased, the queen deemed it time that whoso was so minded should go to sleep. Some there were thatdid so; others were too charmed by the beauty of the place to think of leaving it; but tarried there, and, whilethe rest slept, amused themselves with reading romances or playing at chess or dice. However, after none,there was a general levee; and, with faces laved and refreshed with cold water, they gathered by the queen'scommand upon the lawn, and, having sat them down in their wonted order by the fountain, waited for thestory-telling to begin upon the theme assigned by the queen. With this duty the queen first charged Filostrato,who began on this wise.

(1) I.e. midway between prime and tierce, about 7:30 a.m.


-- Masetto da Lamporecchio feigns to be dumb, and obtains a gardener's place at a convent of women, whowith one accord make haste to lie with him. --

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Fairest ladies, not a few there are both of men and of women, who are so foolish as blindly to believe that, sosoon as a young woman has been veiled in white and cowled in black, she ceases to be a woman, and is nomore subject to the cravings proper to her sex, than if, in assuming the garb and profession of a nun, she hadput on the nature of a stone: and if, perchance, they hear of aught that is counter to this their faith, they are noless vehement in their censure than if some most heinous and unnatural crime had been committed; neitherbethinking them of themselves, whom unrestricted liberty avails not to satisfy, nor making due allowance forthe prepotent forces of idleness and solitude. And likewise not a few there are that blindly believe that, whatwith the hoe and the spade and coarse fare and hardship, the carnal propensities are utterly eradicated from thetillers of the soil, and therewith all nimbleness of wit and understanding. But how gross is the error of such asso suppose, I, on whom the queen has laid her commands, am minded, without deviating from the themeprescribed by her, to make manifest to you by a little story.

In this very country-side of ours there was and yet is a convent of women of great repute for sanctity--name itI will not, lest I should in some measure diminish its repute--the nuns being at the time of which I speak butnine in number, including the abbess, and all young women. Their very beautiful garden was in charge of afoolish fellow, who, not being content with his wage, squared accounts with their steward and hied him backto Lamporecchio, whence he came. Among others who welcomed him home was a young husbandman,Masetto by name, a stout and hardy fellow, and handsome for a contadino, who asked him where he had beenso long. Nuto, as our good friend was called, told him. Masetto then asked how he had been employed at theconvent, and Nuto answered:--"I kept their large and beautiful garden in good trim, and, besides, I sometimeswent to the wood to fetch the fa*ggots, I drew water, and did some other trifling services; but the ladies gave solittle wage that it scarce kept me in shoes. And moreover they are all young, and, I think, they are one and allpossessed of the devil, for 'tis impossible to do anything to their mind; indeed, when I would be at work in thekitchen-garden, 'put this here,' would say one, 'put that here,' would say another, and a third would snatch thehoe from my hand, and say, 'that is not as it should be'; and so they would worry me until I would give upworking and go out of the garden; so that, what with this thing and that, I was minded to stay there no more,and so I am come hither. The steward asked me before I left to send him any one whom on my return I mightfind fit for the work, and I promised; but God bless his loins, I shall be at no pains to find out and send himany one."

As Nuto thus ran on, Masetto was seized by such a desire to be with these nuns that he quite pined, as hegathered from what Nuto said that his desire might be gratified. And as that could not be, if he said nothing toNuto, he remarked:--"Ah! 'twas well done of thee to come hither. A man to live with women! he might as welllive with so many devils: six times out of seven they know not themselves what they want." There theconversation ended; but Masetto began to cast about how he should proceed to get permission to live withthem. He knew that he was quite competent for the services of which Nuto spoke, and had therefore no fear offailing on that score; but he doubted he should not be received, because he was too young and well-favoured.So, after much pondering, he fell into the following train of thought:--The place is a long way off, and no onethere knows me; if I make believe that I am dumb, doubtless I shall be admitted. Whereupon he made hismind up, laid a hatchet across his shoulder, and saying not a word to any of his destination, set forth,intending to present himself at the convent in the character of a destitute man. Arrived there, he had no soonerentered than he chanced to encounter the steward in the courtyard, and making signs to him as dumb folk do,he let him know that of his charity he craved something to eat, and that, if need were, he would split firewood.The steward promptly gave him to eat, and then set before him some logs which Nuto had not been able tosplit, all which Masetto, who was very strong, split in a very short time. The steward, having occasion to go tothe wood, took him with him, and there set him at work on the lopping; which done he placed the ass in frontof him, and by signs made him understand that he was to take the loppings back to the convent. This he did sowell that the steward kept him for some days to do one or two odd jobs. Whereby it so befell that one day theabbess saw him, and asked the steward who he was. "Madam," replied the steward, "'tis a poor deaf mute thatcame here a day or two ago craving alms, so I have treated him kindly, and have let him make himself usefulin many ways. If he knew how to do the work of the kitchen-garden and would stay with us, I doubt not weshould be well served; for we have need of him, and he is strong, and would be able for whatever he might

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turn his hand to; besides which you would have no cause to be apprehensive lest he should be cracking hisjokes with your young women." "As I trust in God," said the abbess, "thou sayst sooth; find out if he can dothe garden work, and if he can, do all thou canst to keep him with us; give him a pair of shoes, an old hood,and speak him well, make much of him, and let him be well fed." All which the steward promised to do.

Masetto, meanwhile, was close at hand, making as if he were sweeping the courtyard, and heard all thatpassed between the abbess and the steward, whereat he gleefully communed with himself on this wise:--Putme once within there, and you will see that I will do the work of the kitchen-garden as it never was donebefore. So the steward set him to work in the kitchen-garden, and finding that he knew his businessexcellently well, made signs to him to know whether he would stay, and he made answer by signs that he wasready to do whatever the steward wished. The steward then signified that he was engaged, told him to takecharge of the kitchen-garden, and shewed him what he had to do there. Then, having other matters to attendto, he went away, and left him there. Now, as Masetto worked there day by day, the nuns began to tease him,and make him their butt (as it commonly happens that folk serve the dumb) and used bad language to him, theworst they could think of, supposing that he could not understand them, all which passed scarce heeded by theabbess, who perhaps deemed him as destitute of virility as of speech. Now it so befell that after a hard day'swork he was taking a little rest, when two young nuns, who were walking in the garden, approached the spotwhere he lay, and stopped to look at him, while he pretended to be asleep. And so the bolder of the two said tothe other:--"If I thought thou wouldst keep the secret, I would tell thee what I have sometimes meditated, andwhich thou perhaps mightest also find agreeable." The other replied:--"Speak thy mind freely and be sure thatI will never tell a soul." Whereupon the bold one began:--"I know not if thou hast ever considered how closewe are kept here, and that within these precincts dare never enter any man, unless it be the old steward or thismute: and I have often heard from ladies that have come hither, that all the other sweets that the world has tooffer signify not a jot in comparison of the pleasure that a woman has in connexion with a man. Whereof Ihave more than once been minded to make experiment with this mute, no other man being available. Nor,indeed, could one find any man in the whole world so meet therefor; seeing that he could not blab if he would;thou seest that he is but a dull clownish lad, whose size has increased out of all proportion to his sense;wherefore I would fain hear what thou hast to say to it." "Alas!" said the other, "what is't thou sayst? Knowestthou not that we have vowed our virginity to God?" "Oh," rejoined the first, "think but how many vows aremade to Him all day long, and never a one performed: and so, for our vow, let Him find another or others toperform it." "But," said her companion, "suppose that we conceived, how then?" "Nay but," protested the first,"thou goest about to imagine evil before it befalls, thee: time enough to think of that when it comes to pass;there will be a thousand ways to prevent its ever being known, so only we do not publish it ourselves." Thusreassured, the other was now the more eager of the two to test the quality of the male human animal. "Wellthen," she said, "how shall we go about it?" and was answered:--"Thou seest 'tis past none; I make no doubtbut all the sisters are asleep, except ourselves; search we through the kitchen-garden, to see if there be anythere, and if there be none, we have but to take him by the hand and lead him hither to the hut where he takesshelter from the rain; and then one shall mount guard while the other has him with her inside. He is such asimpleton that he will do just whatever we bid him." No word of this conversation escaped Masetto, who,being disposed to obey, hoped for nothing so much as that one of them should take him by the hand. They,meanwhile, looked carefully all about them, and satisfied themselves that they were secure from observation:then she that had broached the subject came close up to Masetto, and shook him; whereupon he started to hisfeet. So she took him by the hand with a blandishing air, to which he replied with some clownish grins. Andthen she led him into the hut, where he needed no pressing to do what she desired of him. Which done, shechanged places with the other, as loyal comradeship required; and Masetto, still keeping up the pretence ofsimplicity, did their pleasure. Wherefore before they left, each must needs make another assay of the mute'spowers of riding; and afterwards, talking the matter over many times, they agreed that it was in truth not lessbut even more delightful than they had been given to understand; and so, as they found convenientopportunity, they continued to go and disport themselves with the mute.

Now it so chanced that one of their gossips, looking out of the window of her cell, saw what they did, andimparted it to two others. The three held counsel together whether they should not denounce the offenders to

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the abbess, but soon changed their mind, and came to an understanding with them, whereby they becamepartners in Masetto. And in course of time by divers chances the remaining three nuns also entered thepartnership. Last of all the abbess, still witting nought of these doings, happened one very hot day, as shewalked by herself through the garden, to find Masetto, who now rode so much by night that he could standvery little fatigue by day, stretched at full length asleep under the shade of an almond-tree, his person quiteexposed in front by reason that the wind had disarranged his clothes. Which the lady observing, and knowingthat she was alone, fell a prey to the same appetite to which her nuns had yielded: she aroused Masetto, andtook him with her to her chamber, where, for some days, though the nuns loudly complained that the gardenerno longer came to work in the kitchen-garden, she kept him, tasting and re-tasting the sweetness of thatindulgence which she was wont to be the first to censure in others. And when at last she had sent him backfrom her chamber to his room, she must needs send for him again and again, and made such exorbitantdemands upon him, that Masetto, not being able to satisfy so many women, bethought him that his part ofmute, should he persist in it, might entail disastrous consequences. So one night, when he was with the abbess,he cut the tongue-string, and thus broke silence:--"Madam, I have understood that a co*ck may very well serveten hens, but that ten men are sorely tasked to satisfy a single woman; and here am I expected to serve nine, aburden quite beyond my power to bear; nay, by what I have already undergone I am now so reduced that mystrength is quite spent; wherefore either bid me Godspeed, or find some means to make matters tolerable."Wonder-struck to hear the supposed mute thus speak, the lady exclaimed:--"What means this? I took thee tobe dumb." "And in sooth, Madam, so was I," said Masetto, "not indeed from my birth, but through an illnesswhich took from me the power of speech, which only this very night have I recovered; and so I praise Godwith all my heart." The lady believed him; and asked him what he meant by saying that he had nine to serve.Masetto told her how things stood; whereby she perceived that of all her nuns there was not any but was muchwiser than she; and lest, if Masetto were sent away, he should give the convent a bad name, she discreetlydetermined to arrange matters with the nuns in such sort that he might remain there. So, the steward havingdied within the last few days, she assembled all the nuns; and their and her own past errors being fullyavowed, they by common consent, and with Masetto's concurrence, resolved that the neighbours should begiven to understand that by their prayers and the merits of their patron saint, Masetto, long mute, hadrecovered the power of speech; after which they made him steward, and so ordered matters among themselvesthat he was able to endure the burden of their service. In the course of which, though he procreated not a fewlittle monastics, yet 'twas all managed so discreetly that no breath of scandal stirred, until after the abbess'sdeath, by which time Masetto was advanced in years and minded to return home with the wealth that he hadgotten; which he was suffered to do, as soon as he made his desire known. And so Masetto, who had leftLamporecchio with a hatchet on his shoulder, returned thither in his old age rich and a father, having by thewisdom with which he employed his youth, spared himself the pains and expense of rearing children, andaverring that such was the measure that Christ meted out to the man that set horns on his cap.


-- A groom lies with the wife of King Agilulf, who learns the fact, keeps his own counsel, finds out the groomand shears him. The shorn shears all his fellows, and so comes safe out of the scrape. --

Filostrato's story, which the ladies had received now with blushes now with laughter, being ended, the queenbade Pampinea follow suit. Which behest Pampinea smilingly obeyed, and thus began:--

Some there are whose indiscretion is such that they must needs evince that they are fully cognizant of thatwhich it were best they should not know, and censuring the covert misdeeds of others, augment beyondmeasure the disgrace which they would fain diminish. The truth whereof, fair ladies, I mean to shew you inthe contrary case, wherein appears the astuteness of one that held, perhaps, an even lower place than wouldhave been Masetto's in the esteem of a doughty king.

Agilulf, King of the Lombards, who like his predecessors made the city of Pavia in Lombardy the seat of hisgovernment, took to wife Theodelinde, the widow of Authari, likewise King of the Lombards, a lady very fair,

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wise and virtuous, but who was unfortunate in her lover. For while the Lombards prospered in peace under thewise and firm rule of King Agilulf, it so befell that one of the Queen's grooms, a man born to very low estate,but in native worth far above his mean office, and moreover not a whit less tall and goodly of person than theKing, became inordinately enamoured of her. And as, for all his base condition he had sense enough torecognize that his love was in the last degree presumptuous, he disclosed it to none, nay, he did not evenventure to tell her the tale by the mute eloquence of his eyes. And albeit he lived without hope that he shouldever be able to win her favour, yet he inwardly gloried that he had fixed his affections in so high a place; andbeing all aflame with passion, he shewed himself zealous beyond any of his comrades to do whatever hethought was likely to please the Queen. Whereby it came about, that, when the Queen had to take horse, shewould mount the palfrey that he groomed rather than any other; and when she did so, he deemed himself mosthighly favoured, and never quitted her stirrup, esteeming himself happy if he might but touch her clothes. Butas 'tis frequently observed that love waxes as hope wanes, so was it with this poor groom, insomuch that theburden of this great hidden passion, alleviated by no hope, was most grievous to bear, and from time to time,not being able to shake it off, he purposed to die. And meditating on the mode, he was minded that it shouldbe of a kind to make it manifest that he died for the love which he had borne and bore to the Queen, and alsoto afford him an opportunity of trying his fortune whether his desire might in whole or in part be gratified. Hehad no thought of speaking to the Queen, nor yet of declaring his love to her by letter, for he knew that'twould be vain either to speak or to write; but he resolved to try to devise some means whereby he might liewith the Queen; which end might in no other way be compassed than by contriving to get access to her in herbedroom; which could only be by passing himself off as the King, who, as he knew, did not always lie withher. Wherefore, that he might observe the carriage and dress of the King as he passed to her room, hecontrived to conceal himself for several nights in a great hall of the King's palace which separated the King'sroom from that of the Queen: and on one of these nights he saw the King issue from his room, wrapped in agreat mantle, with a lighted torch in one hand and a wand in the other, and cross the hall, and, saying nothing,tap the door of the Queen's room with the wand once or twice; whereupon the door was at once opened andthe torch taken from his hand. Having observed the King thus go and return, and being bent on doing likewise,he found means to come by a mantle like that which he had seen the King wear, and also a torch and a wand:he then took a warm bath, and having thoroughly cleansed himself, that the smell of the foul straw might notoffend the lady, or discover to her the deceit, he in this guise concealed himself as he was wont in the greathall. He waited only until all were asleep, and then, deeming the time come to accomplish his purpose, or byhis presumption clear a way to the death which he coveted, he struck a light with the flint and steel which hehad brought with him; and having kindled his torch and wrapped himself close in his mantle, he went to thedoor of the Queen's room, and tapped on it twice with his wand. The door was opened by a very drowsychambermaid, who took the torch and put it out of sight; whereupon without a word he passed within thecurtain, laid aside the mantle, and got into the bed where the Queen lay asleep. Then, taking her in his armsand straining her to him with ardour, making as if he were moody, because he knew that, when the King wasin such a frame, he would never hear aught, in such wise, without word said either on his part or on hers, hehad more than once carnal cognizance of the Queen. Loath indeed was he to leave her, but, fearing lest by toolong tarrying his achieved delight might be converted into woe, he rose, resumed the mantle and the light, andleaving the room without a word, returned with all speed to his bed. He was hardly there when the King gotup and entered the Queen's room; whereat she wondered not a little; but, reassured by the gladsome greetingwhich he gave her as he got into bed, she said:--"My lord, what a surprise is this to-night! 'Twas but now youleft me after an unwonted measure of enjoyment, and do you now return so soon? consider what you do."From these words the King at once inferred that the Queen had been deceived by some one that hadcounterfeited his person and carriage; but, at the same time, bethinking himself that, as neither the Queen norany other had detected the cheat, 'twas best to leave her in ignorance, he wisely kept silence. Which many afool would not have done, but would have said:--"Nay, 'twas not I that was here. Who was it that was here?How came it to pass? Who came hither?" Whereby in the sequel he might have caused the lady needlesschagrin, and given her occasion to desire another such experience as she had had, and so have broughtdisgrace upon himself by uttering that, from which, unuttered, no shame could have resulted. Wherefore,betraying little, either by his mien or by his words, of the disquietude which he felt, the Kingreplied:--"Madam, seem I such to you that you cannot suppose that I should have been with you once, and

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returned to you immediately afterwards?" "Nay, not so, my lord," returned the lady, "but none the less I prayyou to look to your health." Then said the King:--"And I am minded to take your advice; wherefore, withoutgiving you further trouble I will leave you." So, angered and incensed beyond measure by the trick which, hesaw, had been played upon him, he resumed his mantle and quitted the room with the intention of privilydetecting the offender, deeming that he must belong to the palace, and that, whoever he might be, he could nothave quitted it. So, taking with him a small lantern which shewed only a glimmer of light, he went into thedormitory which was over the palace-stables and was of great length, insomuch that well-nigh all themen-servants slept there in divers beds, and arguing that, by whomsoever that of which the Queen spoke wasdone, his heart and pulse could not after such a strain as yet have ceased to throb, he began cautiously withone of the head-grooms, and so went from bed to bed feeling at the heart of each man to see if it wasthumping. All were asleep, save only he that had been with the Queen, who, seeing the King come, andguessing what he sought to discover, began to be mightily afraid, insomuch that to the agitation which his lateexertion had communicated to his heart, terror now added one yet more violent; nor did he doubt that, shouldthe King perceive it, he would kill him. Divers alternatives of action thronged his mind; but at last, observingthat the King was unarmed, he resolved to make as if he were asleep, and wait to see what the King would do.So, having tried many and found none that he deemed the culprit, the King came at last to the culprit himself,and marking the thumping of his heart, said to himself:--This is he. But being minded to afford no clue to hisulterior purpose, he did no more than with a pair of scissors which he had brought with him shear away on oneside of the man's head a portion of his locks, which, as was then the fashion, he wore very long, that by thistoken he might recognize him on the morrow; and having so done, he departed and returned to his room. Thegroom, who was fully sensible of what the King had done, and being a shrewd fellow understood very well towhat end he was so marked, got up without a moment's delay; and, having found a pair of scissors--for, as itchanced, there were several pairs there belonging to the stables for use in grooming the horse-- he wentquietly through the dormitory and in like manner sheared the locks of each of the sleepers just above the ear;which done without disturbing any, he went back to bed.

On the morrow, as soon as the King was risen, and before the gates of the palace were opened, he summonedall his men-servants to his presence, and, as they stood bareheaded before him, scanned them closely to seewhether the one whom he had sheared was there; and observing with surprise that the more part of them wereall sheared in the same manner, said to himself:--Of a surety this fellow, whom I go about to detect, evinces,for all his base condition, a high degree of sense. Then, recognising that he could not compass his end withoutcausing a bruit, and not being minded to brave so great a dishonour in order to be avenged upon so petty anoffender, he was content by a single word of admonition to shew him that his offence had not escaped notice.Wherefore turning to them all, he said:--"He that did it, let him do it no more, and get you hence in God'speace." Another would have put them to the strappado, the question, the torture, and thereby have brought tolight that which one should rather be sedulous to cloak; and having so brought it to light, would, howevercomplete the retribution which he exacted, have not lessened but vastly augmented his disgrace, and sulliedthe fair fame of his lady. Those who heard the King's parting admonition wondered, and made much questionwith one another, what the King might have meant to convey by it; but 'twas understood by none but him towhom it referred: who was discreet enough never to reveal the secret as long as the King lived, or again tostake his life on such a venture.


-- Under cloak of confession and a most spotless conscience, a lady, enamoured of a young man, induces abooby friar unwittingly to provide a means to the entire gratification of her passion. --

When Pampinea had done, and several of the company had commended the hardihood and wariness of thegroom, as also the wisdom of the King, the queen, turning to Filomena, bade her follow suit: wherefore withmanner debonair Filomena thus began:--

The story which I shall tell you is of a trick which was actually played by a fair lady upon a booby religious,

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and which every layman should find the more diverting that these religious, being, for the most part, greatblockheads and men of odd manners and habits, do nevertheless credit themselves with more ability andknowledge in all kinds than fall to the lot of the rest of the world; whereas, in truth, they are far inferior, andso, not being able, like others, to provide their own sustenance, are prompted by sheer baseness to fly thitherfor refuge where they may find provender, like pigs. Which story, sweet my ladies, I shall tell you, not merelythat thereby I may continue the sequence in obedience to the queen's behest, but also to the end that I may letyou see that even the religious, in whom we in our boundless credulity repose exorbitant faith, may be, andsometimes are, made--not to say by men--even by some of us women the sport of their sly wit.

In our city, where wiles do more abound than either love or faith, there dwelt, not many years ago, agentlewoman richly endowed (none more so) by nature with physical charms, as also with gracious manners,high spirit and fine discernment. Her name I know, but will not disclose it, nor yet that of any other whofigures in this story, because there yet live those who might take offence thereat, though after all it might wellbe passed off with a laugh. High-born and married to an artificer of woollen fabrics, she could not rid hermind of the disdain with which, by reason of his occupation, she regarded her husband; for no man, howeverwealthy, so he were of low condition, seemed to her worthy to have a gentlewoman to wife; and seeing thatfor all his wealth he was fit for nothing better than to devise a blend, set up a warp, or higgle about yarn with aspinster, she determined to dispense with his embraces, save so far as she might find it impossible to refusethem; and to find her satisfaction elsewhere with one that seemed to her more meet to afford it than herartificer of woollens. In this frame of mind she became enamoured of a man well worthy of her love and notyet past middle age, insomuch that, if she saw him not in the day, she must needs pass an unquiet night. Thegallant, meanwhile, remained fancy-free, for he knew nought of the lady's case; and she, being apprehensiveof possible perils to ensue, was far too circ*mspect to make it known to him either by writing or by word ofmouth of any of her female friends. Then she learned that he had much to do with a religious, a simple,clownish fellow, but nevertheless, as being a man of most holy life, reputed by almost everybody a mostworthy friar, and decided that she could not find a better intermediary between herself and her lover than thissame friar. So, having matured her plan, she hied her at a convenient time to the convent where the friar abodeand sent for him, saying, that, if he so pleased, she would be confessed by him. The friar, who saw at a glancethat she was a gentlewoman, gladly heard her confession; which done, she said:--"My father, I have yet amatter to confide to you, in which I must crave your aid and counsel. Who my kinsfolk and husband are, I wotyou know, for I have myself told you. My husband loves me more dearly than his life, and being verywealthy, he can well and does forthwith afford me whatever I desire. Wherefore, as he loves me, even so Ilove him more dearly than myself; nor was there ever yet wicked woman that deserved the fire so richly asshould I, were I guilty--I speak not of acts, but of so much as a single thought of crossing his will or tarnishinghis honour. Now a man there is--his name, indeed, I know not, but he seems to me to be a gentleman, and, if Imistake not, he is much with you--a fine man and tall, his garb dun and very decent, who, the bent of my mindbeing, belike, quite unknown to him, would seem to have laid siege to me, insomuch that I cannot shewmyself at door or casem*nt, or quit the house, but forthwith he presents himself before me; indeed I find itpassing strange that he is not here now; whereat I am sorely troubled, because, when men so act, unmeritedreproach will often thereby be cast upon honest women. At times I have been minded to inform my brothersof the matter; but then I have bethought me that men sometimes frame messages in such a way as to evokeuntoward answers, whence follow high words; and so they proceed to rash acts: wherefore, to obviate troubleand scandal, I have kept silence, and by preference have made you my confidant, both because you are thegentleman's friend, and because it befits your office to censure such behaviour not only in friends but instrangers. And so I beseech you for the love of our only Lord God to make him sensible of his fault, and prayhim to offend no more in such sort. Other ladies there are in plenty, who may, perchance, be disposed towelcome such advances, and be flattered to attract his fond and assiduous regard, which to me, who am in nowise inclined to encourage it, is but a most grievous molestation."

Having thus spoken, the lady bowed her head as if she were ready to weep. The holy friar was at no loss toapprehend who it was of whom she spoke; he commended her virtuous frame, firmly believing that what shesaid was true, and promised to take such action that she should not again suffer the like annoyance; nor,

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knowing that she was very wealthy, did he omit to extol works of charity and almsgiving, at the same timeopening to her his own needs. "I make my suit to you," said she, "for the love of God; and if your friendshould deny what I have told you, tell him roundly that 'twas from me you had it, and that I made complaint toyou thereof." So, her confession ended and penance imposed, bethinking her of the hints which the friar haddropped touching almsgiving, she slipped into his hand as many coins as it would hold, praying him to saymasses for the souls of her dead. She then rose and went home.

Not long afterwards the gallant paid one of his wonted visits to the holy friar. They conversed for a while ofdivers topics, and then the friar took him aside, and very courteously reproved him for so haunting andpursuing the lady with his gaze, as from what she had given him to understand, he supposed was his wont.The gallant, who had never regarded her with any attention, and very rarely passed her house, was amazed,and was about to clear himself, when the friar closed his mouth, saying:--"Now away with this pretence ofamazement, and waste not words in denial, for 'twill not avail thee. I have it not from the neighbours; sheherself, bitterly complaining of thy conduct, told it me. I say not how ill this levity beseems thee; but of her Itell thee so much as this, that, if I ever knew woman averse to such idle philandering, she is so; and thereforefor thy honour's sake, and that she be no more vexed, I pray thee refrain therefrom, and let her be in peace."The gallant, having rather more insight than the holy friar, was not slow to penetrate the lady's finesse; hetherefore made as if he were rather shame-stricken, promised to go no further with the matter, and hied himstraight from the friar to the lady's house, where she was always posted at a little casem*nt to see if he werepassing by. As she saw him come, she shewed him so gay and gracious a mien that he could no longerharbour any doubt that he had put the true construction upon what he had heard from the friar; andthenceforth, to his own satisfaction and the immense delight and solace of the lady, he omitted not daily topass that way, being careful to make it appear as if he came upon other business. 'Twas thus not long beforethe lady understood that she met with no less favour in his eyes than he in hers; and being desirous to add fuelto his flame, and to assure him of the love she bore him, as soon as time and occasion served, she returned tothe holy friar, and having sat herself down at his feet in the church, fell a weeping. The friar asked her in asoothing tone what her new trouble might be. Whereto the lady answered:--"My father, 'tis still that accursedfriend of thine, of whom I made complaint to you some days ago, and who would now seem to have beenborn for my most grievous torment, and to cause me to do that by reason whereof I shall never be glad again,nor venture to place myself at your feet." "How?" said the friar; "has he not forborne to annoy thee?" "Not he,indeed," said the lady; "on the contrary, 'tis my belief that, since I complained to you of him, he has, as if indespite, being offended, belike, that I did so, passed my house seven times for once that he did so before. Nay,would to God he were content to pass and fix me with his eyes; but he is waxed so bold and unabashed thatonly yesterday he sent a woman to me at home with his compliments and cajoleries, and, as if I had not pursesand girdles enough, he sent me a purse and a girdle; whereat I was, as I still am, so wroth, that, had notconscience first, and then regard for you, weighed with me, I had flown into a frenzy of rage. However, Irestrained myself, and resolved neither to do nor to say aught without first letting you know it. Nor only so;but, lest the woman who brought the purse and girdle, and to whom I at first returned them, shortly biddingher begone and take them back to the sender, should keep them and tell him that I had accepted them, as Ibelieve they sometimes do, I recalled her and had them back, albeit 'twas in no friendly spirit that I receivedthem from her hand; and I have brought them to you, that you may return them to him and tell him that I standin no need of such gifts from him, because, thanks be to God and my husband, I have purses and girdlesenough to smother him in. And if after this he leave me not alone, I pray you as my father to hold me excusedif, come what may, I tell it to my husband and brothers; for much liefer had I that he suffer indignity, if so itmust be, than that my fair fame should be sullied on his account: that holds good, friar." Weeping bitterly asshe thus ended, she drew from under her robe a purse of very fine and ornate workmanship and a dainty andcostly little girdle, and threw them into the lap of the friar, who, fully believing what she said, manifested theutmost indignation as he took them, and said:--"Daughter, that by these advances thou shouldst be moved toanger, I deem neither strange nor censurable; but I am instant with thee to follow my advice in the matter. Ichid him some days ago, and ill has he kept the promise that he made me; for which cause and this last feat ofhis I will surely make his ears so tingle that he will give thee no more trouble; wherefore, for God's sake, letnot thyself be so overcome by wrath as to tell it to any of thy kinsfolk; which might bring upon him a

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retribution greater than he deserves. Nor fear lest thereby thy fair fame should suffer; for I shall ever be thymost sure witness before God and men that thou art innocent." The lady made a shew of being somewhatcomforted: then, after a pause--for well she knew the greed of him and his likes--she said:--"Of late, Sir, bynight, the spirits of divers of my kinsfolk have appeared to me in my sleep, and methinks they are in mostgrievous torment; alms, alms, they crave, nought else, especially my mother, who seems to be in so woful andabject a plight that 'tis pitiful to see. Methinks 'tis a most grievous torment to her to see the tribulation whichthis enemy of God has brought upon me. I would therefore have you say for their souls the forty masses of St.Gregory and some of your prayers, that God may deliver them from this purging fire." So saying she slipped aflorin into the hand of the holy friar, who took it gleefully, and having with edifying words and manyexamples fortified her in her devotion, gave her his benediction, and suffered her to depart.

The lady gone, the friar, who had still no idea of the trick that had been played upon him, sent for his friend;who was no sooner come than he gathered from the friar's troubled air that he had news of the lady, andwaited to hear what he would say. The friar repeated what he had said before, and then broke out into violentand heated objurgation on the score of the lady's latest imputation. The gallant, who did not as yet apprehendthe friar's drift, gave but a very faint denial to the charge of sending the purse and girdle, in order that hemight not discredit the lady with the friar, if, perchance, she had given him the purse and girdle. Whereuponthe friar exclaimed with great heat:--"How canst thou deny it, thou wicked man? Why, here they are; shebrought them to me in tears with her own hand. Look at them, and say if thou knowest them not." The gallantnow feigned to be much ashamed, and said:--"Why, yes, indeed, I do know them; I confess that I did wrong;and I swear to you that, now I know her character, you shall never hear word more of this matter." Manywords followed; and then the blockheadly friar gave the purse and girdle to his friend, after which he read hima long lecture, besought him to meddle no more with such matters, and on his promising obedience dismissedhim.

Elated beyond measure by the assurance which he now had of the lady's love, and the beautiful present, thegallant, on leaving the friar, hied him straight to a spot whence he stealthily gave the lady to see that he hadboth her gifts: whereat the lady was well content, the more so as her intrigue seemed ever to prosper more andmore. She waited now only for her husband's departure from home to crown her enterprise with success. Norwas it long before occasion required that her husband should go to Genoa. The very morning that he tookhorse and rode away she hied her to the holy friar, and after many a lamentation she said to him betwixt hersobs:--"My father, now at last I tell you out and out that I can bear my suffering no longer. I promised yousome days ago to do nought in this matter without first letting you know it; I am now come to crave releasefrom that promise; and that you may believe that my lamentations and complaints are not groundless, I willtell you how this friend of yours, who should rather be called a devil let loose from hell, treated me only thisvery morning, a little before matins. As ill-luck would have it, he learned, I know not how, that yesterdaymorning my husband went to Genoa, and so this morning at the said hour he came into my garden, and got upby a tree to the window of my bedroom, which looks out over the garden, and had already opened thecasem*nt, and was about to enter the room, when I suddenly awoke, and got up and uttered a cry, and shouldhave continued to cry out, had not he, who was still outside, implored my mercy for God's sake and yours,telling me who he was. So, for love of you I was silent, and naked as I was born, ran and shut the window inhis face, and he--bad luck to him--made off, I suppose, for I saw him no more. Consider now if suchbehaviour be seemly and tolerable: I for my part am minded to put up with no more of it; indeed I haveendured too much already for love of you."

Wroth beyond measure was the friar, as he heard her thus speak, nor knew he what to say, except that heseveral times asked her if she were quite certain that it was no other than he. "Holy name of God!" replied thelady, "as if I did not yet know him from another! He it was, I tell you; and do you give no credence to hisdenial." "Daughter," said then the friar, "there is here nought else to say but that this is a monstrouspresumption and a most heinous offence; and thou didst well to send him away as thou didst. But seeing thatGod has preserved thee from shame, I would implore thee that as thou hast twice followed my advice, thou doso likewise on this occasion, and making no complaint to any of thy kinsfolk, leave it to me to try if I can

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control this devil that has slipt his chain, whom I supposed to be a saint; and if I succeed in weaning him fromthis insensate folly, well and good; and if I fail, thenceforth I give thee leave, with my blessing, to dowhatsoever may commend itself to thy own judgment." "Lo now," answered the lady, "once again I will notvex or disobey you; but be sure that you so order matters that he refrain from further annoyance, as I give youmy word that never will I have recourse to you again touching this matter." Then, without another word, andwith a troubled air, she took leave of him. Scarcely was she out of the church when the gallant came up. Thefriar called him, took him aside, and gave him the affront in such sort as 'twas never before given to any manreviling him as a disloyal and perjured traitor. The gallant, who by his two previous lessons had been taughthow to value the friar's censures, listened attentively, and sought to draw him out by ambiguous answers."Wherefore this wrath, Sir?" he began. "Have I crucified Christ?" "Ay, mark the fellow's effrontery!" retortedthe friar: "list to what he says! He talks, forsooth, as if 'twere a year or so since, and his villanies andlewdnesses were clean gone from his memory for lapse of time. Between matins and now hast thou forgottenthis morning's outrage? Where wast thou this morning shortly before daybreak?" "Where was I?" rejoined thegallant; "that know not I. 'Tis indeed betimes that the news has reached you." "True indeed it is," said the friar,"that the news has reached me: I suppose that, because the husband was not there, thou never doubtedst thatthou wouldst forthwith be received by the lady with open arms. Ah! the gay gallant! the honourablegentleman! he is now turned prowler by night, and breaks into gardens, and climbs trees! Dost thou think bysheer importunity to vanquish the virtue of this lady, that thou escaladest her windows at night by the trees?She dislikes thee of all things in the world, and yet thou must still persist. Well indeed hast thou laid myadmonitions to heart, to say nothing of the many proofs which she has given thee of her disdain! But I haveyet a word for thee: hitherto, not that she bears thee any love, but that she has yielded to my urgent prayers,she has kept silence as to thy misdeeds: she will do so no more: I have given her leave to act as she may thinkfit, if thou givest her any further annoyance. And what wilt thou do if she informs her brothers?" The gallant,now fully apprised of what it imported him to know, was profuse in promises, whereby as best he might hereassured the friar, and so left him. The very next night, as soon as the matin hour was come, he entered thegarden, climbed up the tree, found the window open, entered the chamber, and in a trice was in the embrace ofhis fair lady. Anxiously had she expected him, and blithely did she now greet him, saying:--"All thanks tomaster friar that he so well taught thee the way hither." Then, with many a jest and laugh at the simplicity ofthe asinine friar, and many a flout at distaff-fuls and combs and cards, they solaced themselves with oneanother to their no small delight. Nor did they omit so to arrange matters that they were well able to dispensewith master friar, and yet pass many another night together with no less satisfaction: to which goal I pray thatI, and all other Christian souls that are so minded, may be speedily guided of God in His holy mercy.


-- Dom Felice instructs Fra Puccio how to attain blessedness by doing a penance. Fra Puccio does thepenance, and meanwhile Dom Felice has a good time with Fra Puccio's wife. --

When Filomena, having concluded her story, was silent, and Dioneo had added a few honeyed phrases inpraise of the lady's wit and Filomena's closing prayer, the queen glanced with a smile to Pamfilo, andsaid:--"Now, Pamfilo, give us some pleasant trifle to speed our delight." "That gladly will I," returnedforthwith Pamfilo, and then:--"Madam," he began, "not a few there are that, while they use their bestendeavours to get themselves places in Paradise, do, by inadvertence, send others thither: as did, not long ago,betide a fair neighbour of ours, as you shall hear.

Hard by San Pancrazio there used to live, as I have heard tell, a worthy man and wealthy, Puccio di Rinieri byname, who in later life, under an overpowering sense of religion, became a tertiary of the order of St. Francis,and was thus known as Fra Puccio. In which spiritual life he was the better able to persevere that hishousehold consisted but of a wife and a maid, and having no need to occupy himself with any craft, he spentno small part of his time at church; where, being a simple soul and slow of wit, he said his paternosters, heardsermons, assisted at the mass, never missed lauds (i. e. when chanted by the seculars), fasted and mortified hisflesh; nay--so 'twas whispered--he was of the Flagellants. His wife, Monna Isabetta by name, a woman of

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from twenty-eight to thirty summers, still young for her age, lusty, comely and plump as a casolan(1) apple,had not unfrequently, by reason of her husband's devoutness, if not also of his age, more than she cared for, ofabstinence; and when she was sleepy, or, maybe, riggish, he would repeat to her the life of Christ, and thesermons of Fra Nastagio, or the lament of the Magdalen, or the like. Now, while such was the tenor of her life,there returned from Paris a young monk, by name Dom Felice, of the convent of San Pancrazio, awell-favoured man and keen-witted, and profoundly learned, with whom Fra Puccio became very intimate;and as there was no question which he could put to him but Dom Felice could answer it, and moreover hemade great shew of holiness, for well he knew Fra Puccio's bent, Fra Puccio took to bringing him home andentertaining him at breakfast and supper, as occasion served; and for love of her husband the lady also grewfamiliar with Dom Felice, and was zealous to do him honour. So the monk, being a constant visitor at FraPuccio's house, and seeing the lady so lusty and plump, surmised that of which she must have most lack, andmade up his mind to afford, if he could, at once relief to Fra Puccio and contentment to the lady. Socautiously, now and again, he cast an admiring glance in her direction with such effect that he kindled in herthe same desire with which he burned, and marking his success, took the first opportunity to declare hispassion to her. He found her fully disposed to gratify it; but how this might be, he was at a loss to discover,for she would not trust herself with him in any place whatever except her own house, and there it could not be,because Fra Puccio never travelled; whereby the monk was greatly dejected. Long he pondered the matter,and at length thought of an expedient, whereby he might be with the lady in her own house without incurringsuspicion, notwithstanding that Fra Puccio was there. So, being with Fra Puccio one day, he said to him:--"Reasons many have I to know, Fra Puccio, that all thy desire is to become a saint; but it seems to me thatthou farest by a circuitous route, whereas there is one very direct, which the Pope and the greater prelates thatare about him know and use, but will have it remain a secret, because otherwise the clergy, who for the mostpart live by alms, and could not then expect alms or aught else from the laity, would be speedily ruined.However, as thou art my friend, and hast shewn me much honour, I would teach thee that way, if I wereassured that thou wouldst follow it without letting another soul in the world hear of it." Fra Puccio was nowall agog to hear more of the matter, and began most earnestly entreating Dom Felice to teach him the way,swearing that without Dom Felice's leave none should ever hear of it from him, and averring that, if he foundit practicable, he would certainly follow it. "I am satisfied with thy promises," said the monk, "and I will shewthee the way. Know then that the holy doctors hold that whoso would achieve blessedness must do thepenance of which I shall tell thee; but see thou take me judiciously. I do not say that after the penance thouwilt not be a sinner, as thou art; but the effect will be that the sins which thou hast committed up to the veryhour of the penance will all be purged away and thereby remitted to thee, and the sins which thou shaltcommit thereafter will not be written against thee to thy damnation, but will be quit by holy water, like venialsins. First of all then the penitent must with great exactitude confess his sins when he comes to begin thepenance. Then follows a period of fasting and very strict abstinence which must last for forty days, duringwhich time he is to touch no woman whomsoever, not even his wife. Moreover, thou must have in thy housesome place whence thou mayst see the sky by night, whither thou must resort at compline; and there thoumust have a beam, very broad, and placed in such a way, that, standing, thou canst rest thy nether part upon it,and so, not raising thy feet from the ground, thou must extend thy arms, so as to make a sort of crucifix, and ifthou wouldst have pegs to rest them on thou mayst; and on this manner, thy gaze fixed on the sky, and nevermoving a jot, thou must stand until matins. And wert thou lettered, it were proper for thee to say meanwhilecertain prayers that I would give thee; but as thou art not so, thou must say three hundred paternosters and asmany avemarias in honour of the Trinity; and thus contemplating the sky, be ever mindful that God was thecreator of the heaven and the earth, and being set even as Christ was upon the cross, meditate on His passion.Then, when the matin-bell sounds, thou mayst, if thou please, go to bed--but see that thou undress not--andsleep; but in the morning thou must go to church, and hear at least three masses, and say fifty paternosters andas many avemarias; after which thou mayst with a pure heart do aught that thou hast to do, and breakfast; butat vespers thou must be again at church, and say there certain prayers, which I shall give thee in writing andwhich are indispensable, and after compline thou must repeat thy former exercise. Do this, and I, who havedone it before thee, have good hope that even before thou shalt have reached the end of the penance, thou wilt,if thou shalt do it in a devout spirit, have already a marvellous foretaste of the eternal blessedness." "This,"said Fra Puccio, "is neither a very severe nor a very long penance, and can be very easily managed: wherefore

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in God's name I will begin on Sunday." And so he took his leave of Dom Felice, and went home, and, by DomFelice's permission, informed his wife of every particular of his intended penance.

The lady understood very well what the monk meant by enjoining him not to stir from his post until matins;and deeming it an excellent device, she said that she was well content that he should do this or aught else thathe thought good for his soul; and to the end that his penance might be blest of, she would herself fast withhim, though she would go no further. So they did as they had agreed: when Sunday came Fra Puccio began hispenance, and master monk, by understanding with the lady, came most evenings, at the hour when he wassecure from discovery, to sup with her, always bringing with him abundance both of meat and of drink, andafter slept with her till the matin hour, when he got up and left her, and Fra Puccio went to bed. The placewhich Fra Puccio had chosen for his penance was close to the room in which the lady slept, and onlyseparated from it by the thinnest of partitions; so that, the monk and the lady disporting themselves with oneanother without stint or restraint, Fra Puccio thought he felt the floor of the house shake a little, and pausing athis hundredth paternoster, but without leaving his post, called out to the lady to know what she was about.The lady, who dearly loved a jest, and was just then riding the horse of St. Benedict or St. John Gualbert,answered:--"I'faith, husband, I am as restless as may be." "Restless," said Fra Puccio, "how so? What meansthis restlessness?" Whereto with a hearty laugh, for which she doubtless had good occasion, the bonny ladyreplied:--"What means it? How should you ask such a question? Why, I have heard you say a thousandtimes:--'Who fasting goes to bed, uneasy lies his head.'" Fra Puccio, supposing that her wakefulness andrestlessness abed was due to want of food, said in good faith:--"Wife, I told thee I would have thee not fast;but as thou hast chosen to fast, think not of it, but think how thou mayst compose thyself to sleep; thou tossestabout the bed in such sort that the shaking is felt here." "That need cause thee no alarm," rejoined the lady. "Iknow what I am about; I will manage as well as I can, and do thou likewise." So Fra Puccio said no more toher, but resumed his paternosters; and thenceforth every night, while Fra Puccio's penance lasted, the lady andmaster monk, having had a bed made up for them in another part of the house, did there wanton it mostgamesomely, the monk departing and the lady going back to her bed at one and the same time, being shortlybefore Fra Puccio's return from his nightly vigil. The friar thus persisting in his penance while the lady tookher fill of pleasure with the monk, she would from time to time say jestingly to him:--"Thou layest a penanceupon Fra Puccio whereby we are rewarded with Paradise." So well indeed did she relish the dainties withwhich the monk regaled her, the more so by contrast with the abstemious life to which her husband had longaccustomed her, that, when Fra Puccio's penance was done, she found means to enjoy them elsewhere, andordered her indulgence with such discretion as to ensure its long continuance. Whereby (that my story mayend as it began) it came to pass that Fra Puccio, hoping by his penance to win a place for himself in Paradise,did in fact translate thither the monk who had shewn him the way, and the wife who lived with him in greatdearth of that of which the monk in his charity gave her superabundant largess.

(1) Perhaps from Casoli, near Naples.


-- Zima gives a palfrey to Messer Francesco Vergellesi, who in return suffers him to speak with his wife. Shekeeping silence, he answers in her stead, and the sequel is in accordance with his answer. --

When Pamfilo had brought the story of Fra Puccio to a close amid the laughter of the ladies, the queendebonairly bade Elisa follow suit; and she, whose manner had in it a slight touch of severity, which betokenednot despite, but was habitual to her, thus began:--

Many there are that, being very knowing, think that others are quite the reverse; and so, many a time, thinkingto beguile others, are themselves beguiled; wherefore I deem it the height of folly for any one wantonly tochallenge another to a contest of wit. But, as, perchance, all may not be of the same opinion, I am minded,without deviating from the prescribed order, to acquaint you with that which thereby befell a certain knight ofPistoia. Know then that at Pistoia there lived a knight, Messer Francesco, by name, of the Vergellesi family, a

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man of much wealth and good parts, being both wise and clever, but withal nigg*rdly beyond measure. WhichMesser Francesco, having to go to Milan in the capacity of podesta, had provided himself with all that wasmeet for the honourable support of such a dignity, save only a palfrey handsome enough for him; and notbeing able to come by any such, he felt himself at a loss. Now there was then in Pistoia a young man,Ricciardo by name, of low origin but great wealth, who went always so trim and fine and foppish of person,that folk had bestowed upon him the name of Zima,(1) by which he was generally known. Zima had long andto no purpose burned and yearned for love of Messer Francesco's very fair and no less virtuous wife. Hispassion was matter of common notoriety; and so it befell that some one told Messer Francesco that he had butto ask Zima, who was the possessor of one of the handsomest palfreys in Tuscany, which on that account hegreatly prized, and he would not hesitate to give him the horse for the love which he bore his wife. So ournigg*rdly knight sent for Zima, and offered to buy the horse of him, hoping thereby to get him from Zima as agift. Zima heard the knight gladly, and thus made answer:--"Sell you my horse, Sir, I would not, though yougave me all that you have in the world; but I shall be happy to give him to you, when you will, on thiscondition, that, before he pass into your hands, I may by your leave and in your presence say a few words toyour wife so privately that I may be heard by her alone." Thinking at once to gratify his cupidity and to outwitZima, the knight answered that he was content that it should be even as Zima wished. Then, leaving him in thehall of the palace, he went to his lady's chamber, and told her the easy terms on which he might acquire thepalfrey, bidding her give Zima his audience, but on no account to vouchsafe him a word of reply. This thelady found by no means to her mind, but, as she must needs obey her husband's commands, she promisedcompliance, and followed him into the hall to hear what Zima might have to say. Zima then renewed hiscontract with the knight in due form; whereupon, the lady being seated in a part of the hall where she wasquite by herself, he sate down by her side, and thus began:--"Noble lady, I have too much respect for yourunderstanding to doubt that you have long been well aware of the extremity of passion whereto I have beenbrought by your beauty, which certainly exceeds that of any other lady that I have ever seen, to say nothing ofyour exquisite manners and incomparable virtues, which might well serve to captivate every soaring spirit thatis in the world; wherefore there need no words of mine to assure you that I love you with a love greater andmore ardent than any that man yet bore to woman, and so without doubt I shall do, as long as my woful lifeshall hold this frame together; nay, longer yet, for, if love there be in the next world as in this, I shall love youevermore. And so you may make your mind secure that there is nothing that is yours, be it precious or be itcommon, which you may count as in such and so sure a sort your own as me, for all that I am and have. Andthat thereof you may not lack evidence of infallible cogency, I tell you, that I should deem myself more highlyfavoured, if I might at your command do somewhat to pleasure you, than if at my command the whole worldwere forthwith to yield me obedience. And as 'tis even in such sort that I am yours, 'tis not unworthily that Imake bold to offer my petitions to Your Highness, as being to me the sole, exclusive source of all peace, of allbliss, of all health. Wherefore, as your most lowly vassal, I pray you, dear my bliss, my soul's one hope,wherein she nourishes herself in love's devouring flame, that in your great benignity you deign so far tomitigate the harshness which in the past you have shewn towards me, yours though I am, that, consoled byyour compassion, I may say, that, as 'twas by your beauty that I was smitten with love, so 'tis to your pity thatI owe my life, which, if in your haughtiness you lend not ear unto my prayers, will assuredly fail, so that Ishall die, and, it may be, 'twill be said that you slew me. 'Twould not redound to your honour that I died forlove of you; but let that pass; I cannot but think, however, that you would sometimes feel a touch of remorse,and would grieve that 'twas your doing, and that now and again, relenting, you would say to yourself:--'Ah!how wrong it was of me that I had not pity on my Zima;' by which too late repentance you would but enhanceyour grief. Wherefore, that this come not to pass, repent you while it is in your power to give me ease, andshew pity on me before I die, seeing that with you it rests to make me either the gladdest or the saddest manthat lives. My trust is in your generosity, that 'twill not brook that a love so great and of such a sort as mineshould receive death for guerdon, and that by a gladsome and gracious answer you will repair my shatteredspirits, which are all a-tremble in your presence for very fear." When he had done, he heaved several verydeep sighs, and a few tears started from his eyes, while he awaited the lady's answer.

Long time he had wooed her with his eyes, had tilted in her honour, had greeted her rising with music; andagainst these and all like modes of attack she had been proof; but the heartfelt words of her most ardent lover

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were not without their effect, and she now began to understand what she had never till then understood, to wit,what love really means. So, albeit she obeyed her lord's behest, and kept silence, yet she could not but betrayby a slight sigh that which, if she might have given Zima his answer, she would readily have avowed. Afterwaiting a while, Zima found it strange that no answer was forthcoming; and he then began to perceive thetrick which the knight had played him. However, he kept his eyes fixed on the lady, and observing that hereyes glowed now and again, as they met his, and noting the partially suppressed sighs which escaped her, hegathered a little hope, which gave him courage to try a novel plan of attack. So, while the lady listened, hebegan to make answer for her to himself on this wise:--"Zima mine, true indeed it is that long since Idiscerned that thou didst love me with a love exceeding great and whole-hearted, whereof I have now yetampler assurance by thine own words, and well content I am therewith, as indeed I ought to be. And howeverharsh and cruel I may have seemed to thee, I would by no means have thee believe, that I have been such atheart as I have seemed in aspect; rather, be assured that I have ever loved thee and held thee dear above allother men; the mien which I have worn was but prescribed by fear of another and solicitude for my fair fame.But a time will soon come when I shall be able to give thee plain proof of my love, and to accord the lovewhich thou hast borne and dost bear me its due guerdon. Wherefore be comforted and of good hope; for,Messer Francesco is to go in a few days' time to Milan as podesta, as thou well knowest, seeing that for loveof me thou hast given him thy fine palfrey; and I vow to thee upon my faith, upon the true love which I bearthee, that without fail, within a few days thereafter thou shalt be with me, and we will give our love completeand gladsome consummation. And that I may have no more occasion to speak to thee of this matter, be itunderstood between us that henceforth when thou shalt observe two towels disposed at the window of myroom which overlooks the garden, thou shalt come to me after nightfall of that same day by the garden door(and look well to it that thou be not seen), and thou shalt find me waiting for thee, and we will have our fill ofmutual cheer and solace all night long."

Having thus answered for the lady, Zima resumed his own person and thus replied to the lady:--"Dearestmadam, your boon response so overpowers my every faculty that scarce can I frame words to render you duethanks; and, were I able to utter all I feel, time, however long, would fail me fully to thank you as I would fainand as I ought: wherefore I must even leave it to your sage judgment to divine that which I yearn in vain toput in words. Let this one word suffice, that as you bid me, so I shall not fail to do; and then, having,perchance, firmer assurance of the great boon which you have granted me, I will do my best endeavour tothank you in terms the amplest that I may command. For the present there is no more to say; and so, dearestmy lady, I commend you to God; and may He grant you your heart's content of joy and bliss." To all whichthe lady returned never a word: wherefore Zima rose and turned to rejoin the knight, who, seeing him on hisfeet, came towards him, and said with a laugh:--"How sayst thou? Have I faithfully kept my promise to thee?""Not so, Sir," replied Zima; "for by thy word I was to have spoken with thy wife, and by thy deed I havespoken to a statue of marble." Which remark was much relished by the knight, who, well as he had thought ofhis wife, thought now even better of her, and said:--"So thy palfrey, that was, is now mine out and out." "'Tiseven so, Sir," replied Zima; "but had I thought to have gotten such fruit as I have from this favour of yours, Iwould not have craved it, but would have let you have the palfrey as a free gift: and would to God I had doneso, for, as it is, you have bought the palfrey and I have not sold him." This drew a laugh from the knight, whowithin a few days thereafter mounted the palfrey which he had gotten, and took the road for Milan, there toenter on his podestate. The lady, now mistress of herself, bethought her of Zima's words, and the love whichhe bore her, and for which he had parted with his palfrey; and observing that he frequently passed her house,said to herself:--"What am I about? Why throw I my youth away? My husband is gone to Milan, and will notreturn for six months, and when can he ever restore them to me? When I am old! And besides, shall I ever findanother such lover as Zima? I am quite by myself. There is none to fear, I know not why I take not my goodtime while I may: I shall not always have the like opportunity as at present: no one will ever know; and if itshould get known, 'tis better to do and repent than to forbear and repent." Of which meditations the issue wasthat one day she set two towels in the window overlooking the garden, according to Zima's word, and Zimahaving marked them with much exultation, stole at nightfall alone to the door of the lady's garden, and findingit open, crossed to another door that led into the house, where he found the lady awaiting him. On sight of himshe rose to meet him, and gave him the heartiest of welcomes. A hundred thousand times he embraced and

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kissed her, as he followed her upstairs: then without delay they hied them to bed, and knew love's furthestbourne. And so far was the first time from being in this case the last, that, while the knight was at Milan, andindeed after his return, there were seasons not a few at which Zima resorted thither to the immense delight ofboth parties.

(1) From the Low Latin aczima, explained by Du Cange as "tonture de draps," the process of dressing cloth soas to give it an even nap. Zima is thus equivalent to "nitidus." Cf. Vocab. degli Accademici della Crusca,"Azzimare."


-- Ricciardo Minutolo loves the wife of Filippello Fighinolfi, and knowing her to be jealous, makes herbelieve that his own wife is to meet Filippello at a bagnio on the ensuing day; whereby she is induced to gothither, where, thinking to have been with her husband, she discovers that she has tarried with Ricciardo. --

When Elisa had quite done, the queen, after some commendation of Zima's sagacity, bade Fiammetta followwith a story. Whereto Fiammetta, all smiles, responded:--"Madam, with all my heart;" and thus began:--

Richly though our city abounds, as in all things else, so also in instances to suit every topic, yet I am mindedto journey some distance thence, and, like Elisa, to tell you something of what goes on in other parts of theworld: wherefore pass we to Naples, where you shall hear how one of these sanctified that shew themselves soshy of love, was by the subtlety of her lover brought to taste of the fruit before she had known the flowers oflove; whereby at one and the same time you may derive from the past counsel of prudence for the future, andpresent delectation.

In the very ancient city of Naples, which for loveliness has not its superior or perhaps its equal in Italy, thereonce lived a young man, renowned alike for noble blood and the splendour of his vast wealth, his nameRicciardo Minutolo. He was mated with a very fair and loving wife; but nevertheless he became enamoured ofa lady who in the general opinion vastly surpassed in beauty every other lady in Naples. Catella--such was thelady's name--was married to a young man, likewise of gentle blood, Filippello Fighinolfi by name, whom she,most virtuous of ladies, loved and held dear above all else in the world. Being thus enamoured of Catella,Ricciardo Minutolo left none of those means untried whereby a lady's favour and love are wont to be gained,but for all that he made no way towards the attainment of his heart's desire: whereby he fell into a sort ofdespair, and witless and powerless to loose himself from his love, found life scarce tolerable, and yet knewnot how to die. While in this frame he languished, it befell one day that some ladies that were of kin to himcounselled him earnestly to be quit of such a love, whereby he could but fret himself to no purpose, seeingthat Catella cared for nought in the world save Filippello, and lived in such a state of jealousy on his accountthat never a bird flew but she feared lest it should snatch him from her. So soon as Ricciardo heard of Catella'sjealousy, he forthwith began to ponder how he might make it subserve his end. He feigned to have given uphis love for Catella as hopeless, and to have transferred it to another lady, in whose honour he accordinglybegan to tilt and joust and do all that he had been wont to do in honour of Catella. Nor was it long beforewell-nigh all the Neapolitans, including Catella herself, began to think that he had forgotten Catella, and wasto the last degree enamoured of the other lady. In this course he persisted, until the opinion was so firmlyrooted in the minds of all that even Catella laid aside a certain reserve which she had used towards him whileshe deemed him her lover, and, coming and going, greeted him in friendly, neighbourly fashion, like the rest.Now it so befell that during the hot season, when, according to the custom of the Neapolitans, manycompanies of ladies and gentlemen went down to the sea-coast to recreate themselves and breakfast and sup,Ricciardo, knowing that Catella was gone thither with her company, went likewise with his, but, making as ifhe were not minded to stay there, he received several invitations from the ladies of Catella's company beforehe accepted any. When the ladies received him, they all with one accord, including Catella, began to rally himon his new love, and he furnished them with more matter for talk by feigning a most ardent passion. At lengthmost of the ladies being gone off, one hither, another thither, as they do in such places, leaving Catella and a

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few others with Ricciardo, he tossed at Catella a light allusion to a certain love of her husband Filippello,which threw her at once into such a fit of jealousy, that she inly burned with a vehement desire to know whatRicciardo meant. For a while she kept her own counsel; then, brooking no more suspense, she adjuredRicciardo, by the love he bore the lady whom most he loved, to expound to her what he had said touchingFilippello. He answered thus:--"You have adjured me by her to whom I dare not deny aught that you may askof me; my riddle therefore I will presently read you, provided you promise me that neither to him nor to anyone else will you impart aught of what I shall relate to you, until you shall have ocular evidence of its truth;which, so you desire it, I will teach you how you may obtain." The lady accepted his terms, which ratherconfirmed her belief in his veracity, and swore that she would not tell a soul. They then drew a little apart, thatthey might not be overheard by the rest, and Ricciardo thus began:--"Madam, did I love you, as I once did, Ishould not dare to tell you aught that I thought might cause you pain; but, now that that love is past, I shallhave the less hesitation in telling you the truth. Whether Filippello ever resented the love which I bore you, ordeemed that it was returned by you, I know not: whether it were so or no, he certainly never shewed any suchfeeling to me; but so it is that now, having waited, perhaps, until, as he supposes, I am less likely to be on myguard, he shews a disposition to serve me as I doubt he suspects that I served him; that is to say, he would fainhave his pleasure of my wife, whom for some time past he has, as I discover, plied with messages throughmost secret channels. She has told me all, and has answered him according to my instructions: but only thismorning, just before I came hither, I found a woman in close parley with her in the house, whose truecharacter and purpose I forthwith divined; so I called my wife, and asked what the woman wanted. Wheretoshe answered:--''Tis this persecution by Filippello which thou hast brought upon me by the encouraginganswers that thou wouldst have me give him: he now tells me that he is most earnestly desirous to know myintentions, and that, should I be so minded, he would contrive that I should have secret access to a bagnio inthis city, and he is most urgent and instant that I should consent. And hadst thou not, wherefore I know not,bidden me keep the affair afoot, I would have dismissed him in such a sort that my movements would havebeen exempt from his prying observation for ever.' Upon this I saw that the affair was going too far; Idetermined to have no more of it, and to let you know it, that you may understand how he requites yourwhole-hearted faith, which brought me of late to the verge of death. And that you may not suppose that theseare but empty words and idle tales, but may be able, should you so desire, to verify them by sight and touch, Icaused my wife to tell the woman who still waited her answer, that she would be at the bagnio to-morrowabout none, during the siesta: with which answer the woman went away well content. Now you do not, Isuppose, imagine that I would send her thither; but if I were in your place, he should find me there instead ofher whom he thinks to find there; and when I had been some little time with him, I would give him tounderstand with whom he had been, and he should have of me such honour as he deserved. Whereby, I doubtnot, he would be put to such shame as would at one and the same time avenge both the wrong which he hasdone to you and that which he plots against me."

Catella, as is the wont of the jealous, hearkened to Ricciardo's words without so much as giving a thought tothe speaker or his wiles, inclined at once to credit his story, and began to twist certain antecedent matters intoaccord with it; then, suddenly kindling with wrath, she answered that to the bagnio she would certainly go;'twould cause her no great inconvenience, and if he should come, she would so shame him that he shouldnever again set eyes on woman but his ears would tingle. Satisfied by what he heard, that his stratagem waswell conceived, and success sure, Ricciardo added much in corroboration of his story, and having thusconfirmed her belief in it, besought her to keep it always close, whereto she pledged her faith.

Next morning Ricciardo hied him to the good woman that kept the bagnio to which he had directed Catella,told her the enterprise which he had in hand, and prayed her to aid him therein so far as she might be able. Thegood woman, who was much beholden to him, assured him that she would gladly do so, and concerted withhim all that was to be said and done. She had in the bagnio a room which was very dark, being without anywindow to admit the light. This room, by Ricciardo's direction, she set in order, and made up a bed there aswell as she could, into which bed Ricciardo got, as soon as he had breakfasted, and there awaited Catella'scoming.

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Now Catella, still giving more credence to Ricciardo's story than it merited, had gone home in the evening in amost resentful mood, and Filippello, returning home the same evening with a mind greatly preoccupied, wasscarce as familiar with her as he was wont to be. Which she marking, grew yet more suspicious than before,and said to herself:--"Doubtless he is thinking of the lady of whom he expects to take his pleasure to-morrow,as most assuredly he shall not;" and so, musing and meditating what she should say to him after theirrencounter at the bagnio, she spent the best part of the night. But--to shorten my story--upon the stroke ofnone Catella, taking with her a single attendant, but otherwise adhering to her original intention, hied her tothe bagnio which Ricciardo had indicated; and finding the good woman there, asked her whether Filippellohad been there that day. Primed by Ricciardo, the good woman asked her, whether she were the lady that wasto come to speak with him; to which she answered in the affirmative. "Go to him, then," said the good woman.And so Catella, in quest of that which she would gladly not have found, was shewn to the chamber whereRicciardo was, and having entered without uncovering her head, closed the door behind her. Overjoyed to seeher, Ricciardo sprang out of bed, took her in his arms, and said caressingly:--"Welcome, my soul." Catella,dissembling, for she was minded at first to counterfeit another woman, returned his embrace, kissed him, andlavished endearments upon him; saying, the while, not a word, lest her speech should betray her. The darknessof the room, which was profound, was equally welcome to both; nor were they there long enough for theireyes to recover power. Ricciardo helped Catella on to the bed, where, with no word said on either side in avoice that might be recognized, they lay a long while, much more to the solace and satisfaction of the one thanof the other party. Then, Catella, deeming it high time to vent her harboured resentment, burst forth in a blazeof wrath on this wise:--"Alas! how wretched is the lot of women, how misplaced of not a few the love theybear their husbands! Ah, woe is me! for eight years have I loved thee more dearly than my life; and now I findthat thou, base miscreant that thou art, dost nought but burn and languish for love of another woman! Herethou hast been--with whom, thinkest thou? Even with her whom thou hast too long deluded with thy falseblandishments, making pretence to love her while thou art enamoured of another. 'Tis I, Catella, not the wifeof Ricciardo, false traitor that thou art; list if thou knowest my voice; 'tis I indeed! Ah! would we were but inthe light!-- it seems to me a thousand years till then--that I might shame thee as thou deservest, vile, pestilentdog that thou art! Alas! woe is me! such love as I have borne so many years--to whom? To this faithless dog,that, thinking to have a strange woman in his embrace, has in the brief while that I have been with him herelavished upon me more caresses and endearments than during all the forepast time that I have been his! Alively spark indeed art thou to-day, renegade dog, that shewest thyself so limp and enervate and impotent athome! But, God be praised, thou hast tilled thine own plot, and not another's, as thou didst believe. No wonderthat last night thou heldest aloof from me; thou wast thinking of scattering thy seed elsewhere, and wastminded to shew thyself a lusty knight when thou shouldst join battle. But praise be to God and my sagacity,the water has nevertheless taken its proper course. Where is thy answer, culprit? Hast thou nought to say?Have my words struck thee dumb? God's faith I know not why I forbear to pluck thine eyes out with myfingers. Thou thoughtest to perpetrate this treason with no small secrecy; but, by God, one is as knowing asanother; thy plot has failed; I had better hounds on thy trail than thou didst think for." Ricciardo, inlydelighted by her words, made no answer, but embraced and kissed her more than ever, and overwhelmed herwith his endearments. So she continued her reproaches, saying:--"Ay, thou thinkest to cajole me with thyfeigned caresses, wearisome dog that thou art, and so to pacify and mollify me; but thou art mistaken. I shallnever be mollified, until I have covered thee with infamy in the presence of all our kinsfolk and friends andneighbours. Am I not, miscreant, as fair as the wife of Ricciardo Minutolo? Am I not as good a lady as she?Why dost not answer, vile dog? Wherein has she the advantage of me? Away with thee! touch me not; thouhast done feats of arms more than enough for to-day. Well I know that, now that thou knowest who I am, thouwilt wreak thy will on me by force: but by God's grace I will yet disappoint thee. I know not why I forbear tosend for Ricciardo, who loved me more than himself and yet was never able to boast that he had a singleglance from me; nor know I why 'twere wrong to do so. Thou thoughtest to have his wife here, and 'tis nofault of thine that thou hadst her not: so, if I had him, thou couldst not justly blame me."

Enough had now been said: the lady's mortification was extreme; and, as she ended, Ricciardo bethought himthat, if he suffered her, thus deluded, to depart, much evil might ensue. He therefore resolved to make himselfknown, and disabuse her of her error. So, taking her in his arms, and clipping her so close that she could not

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get loose, he said:--"Sweet my soul, be not wroth: that which, while artlessly I loved, I might not have, Lovehas taught me to compass by guile: know that I am thy Ricciardo."

At these words and the voice, which she recognized, Catella started, and would have sprung out of the bed;which being impossible, she essayed a cry; but Ricciardo laid a hand upon her mouth, and closed it,saying:--"Madam, that which is done can never be undone, though you should cry out for the rest of yourdays, and should you in such or any other wise publish this matter to any, two consequences will ensue. In thefirst place (and this is a point which touches you very nearly) your honour and fair fame will be blasted; for,however you may say that I lured you hither by guile, I shall deny it, and affirm, on the contrary, that Iinduced you to come hither by promises of money and gifts, and that 'tis but because you are vexed that what Igave you did not altogether come up to your expectations, that you make such a cry and clamour; and youknow that folk are more prone to believe evil than good, and therefore I am no less likely to be believed thanyou. The further consequence will be mortal enmity between your husband and me, and the event were as liketo be that I killed him as that he killed me: which if I did, you would never more know joy or peace.Wherefore, heart of my body, do not at one and the same time bring dishonour upon yourself and set yourhusband and me at strife and in jeopardy of our lives. You are not the first, nor will you be the last to bebeguiled; nor have I beguiled you to rob you of aught, but for excess of love that I bear, and shall ever bear,you, being your most lowly vassal. And though it is now a great while that I, and what I have and can and amworth, are yours, yet I am minded that so it shall be henceforth more than ever before. Your discretion in othermatters is not unknown to me, and I doubt not 'twill be equally manifest in this."

Ricciardo's admonitions were received by Catella with many a bitter tear; but though she was very wroth andvery sad at heart, yet Ricciardo's true words so far commanded the assent of her reason, that sheacknowledged that 'twas possible they might be verified by the event. Wherefore she madeanswer:Ÿ-"Ricciardo, I know not how God will grant me patience to bear the villainy and knavery which thouhast practised upon me; and though in this place, to which simplicity and excess of jealousy guided my steps,I raise no cry, rest assured that I shall never be happy, until in one way or another I know myself avenged ofthat which thou hast done to me. Wherefore unhand me, let me go: thou hast had thy desire of me, and hasttormented me to thy heart's content: 'tis time to release me; let me go, I pray thee." But Ricciardo, seeing thatshe was still much ruffled in spirit, was resolved not to let her go, until he had made his peace with her. So headdressed himself to soothe her; and by dint of most dulcet phrases and entreaties and adjurations he did atlast prevail with her to give him her pardon; nay, by joint consent, they tarried there a great while to theexceeding great delight of both. Indeed the lady, finding her lover's kisses smack much better than those ofher husband, converted her asperity into sweetness, and from that day forth cherished a most tender love forRicciardo; whereof, using all circ*mspection, they many a time had solace. God grant us solace of ours.


-- Tedaldo, being in disfavour with his lady, departs from Florence. He returns thither after a while in theguise of a pilgrim, has speech of his lady, and makes her sensible of her fault. Her husband, convicted ofslaying him, he delivers from peril of death, reconciles him with his brothers, and thereafter discreetly enjoyshis lady. --

So ceased Fiammetta; and, when all had bestowed on her their meed of praise, the queen--to lose notime--forthwith bade Emilia resume the narration. So thus Emilia began:--

I am minded to return to our city, whence my two last predecessors saw fit to depart, and to shew you howone of our citizens recovered the lady he had lost. Know then that there was in Florence a young noble, hisname Tedaldo Elisei, who being beyond measure enamoured of a lady hight Monna Ermellina, wife of oneAldobrandino Palermini, and by reason of his admirable qualities richly deserving to have his desire, foundFortune nevertheless adverse, as she is wont to be to the prosperous. Inasmuch as, for some reason or another,the lady, having shewn herself gracious towards Tedaldo for a while, completely altered her mien, and not

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only shewed him no further favour, but would not so much as receive a message from him or suffer him to seeher face; whereby he fell a prey to a grievous and distressful melancholy; but so well had he concealed hislove that the cause of his melancholy was surmised by none. He tried hard in divers ways to recover the lovewhich he deemed himself to have lost for no fault of his, and finding all his efforts unavailing, he resolved tobid the world adieu, that he might not afford her who was the cause of his distress the satisfaction of seeinghim languish. So he got together as much money as he might, and secretly, no word said to friend or kinsmanexcept only a familiar gossip, who knew all, he took his departure for Ancona. Arrived there, he assumed thename of Filippo Santodeccio, and having forgathered with a rich merchant, entered his service. The merchanttook him with him to Cyprus aboard one of his ships, and was so well pleased with his bearing and behaviourthat he not only gave him a handsome salary but made him in a sort his companion, and entrusted him withthe management of no small part of his affairs: wherein he proved himself so apt and assiduous, that in thecourse of a few years he was himself established in credit and wealth and great repute as a merchant. Sevenyears thus passed, during which, albeit his thoughts frequently reverted to his cruel mistress, and sorely lovesmote him, and much he yearned to see her again, yet such was his firmness that he came off conqueror, untilone day in Cyprus it so befell that there was sung in his hearing a song that he had himself composed, and ofwhich the theme was the mutual love that was between his lady and him, and the delight that he had of her;which as he heard, he found it incredible that she should have forgotten him, and burned with such a desire tosee her once more, that, being able to hold out no longer, he made up his mind to return to Florence. So,having set all his affairs in order, he betook him, attended only by a single servant, to Ancona; whence he sentall his effects, as they arrived, forward to Florence, consigning them to a friend of his Ancontan partner, andfollowed with his servant in the disguise of a pilgrim returned from the Holy Sepulchre. Arrived at Florence,he put up at a little hostelry kept by two brothers hard by his lady's house, whither he forthwith hied him,hoping that, perchance, he might have sight of her from the street; but, finding all barred and bolted, doors,windows and all else, he doubted much, she must be dead, or have removed thence. So, with a very heavyheart, he returned to the house of the two brothers, and to his great surprise found his own four brothersstanding in front of it, all in black. He knew that he was so changed from his former semblance, both in dressand in person, that he might not readily be recognized, and he had therefore no hesitation in going up to ashoemaker and asking him why these men were all dressed in black. The shoemaker answered:--"'Tis because'tis not fifteen days since a brother of theirs, Tedaldo by name, that had been long abroad, was slain; and Iunderstand that they have proved in court that one Aldobrandino Palermini, who is under arrest, did the deed,because Tedaldo, who loved his wife, was come back to Florence incognito to forgather with her." Tedaldofound it passing strange that there should be any one so like him as to be mistaken for him, and deploredAldobrandino's evil plight. He had learned, however, that the lady was alive and well. So, as 'twas now night,he hied him, much perplexed in mind, into the inn, and supped with his servant. The bedroom assigned himwas almost at the top of the house, and the bed was none of the best. Thoughts many and disquieting hauntedhis mind, and his supper had been but light. Whereby it befell that midnight came and went, and Tedaldo wasstill awake. As thus he watched, he heard shortly after midnight, a noise as of persons descending from theroof into the house, and then through the chinks of the door of his room he caught the flicker of an ascendinglight. Wherefore he stole softly to the door, and peeping through a chink to make out what was afoot, he saw avery fine young woman bearing a light, and three men making towards her, being evidently those that haddescended from the roof. The men exchanged friendly greetings with the young woman, and then one said toher:--"Now, God be praised, we may make our minds easy, for we are well assured that judgment for thedeath of Tedaldo Elisei is gotten by his brothers against Aldobrandino Palermini, and he has confessed, andthe sentence is already drawn up; but still it behoves us to hold our peace; for, should it ever get abroad thatwe were guilty, we shall stand in the like jeopardy as Aldobrandino." So saying, they took leave of thewoman, who seemed much cheered, and went to bed. What he had heard set Tedaldo musing on the numberand variety of the errors to which men are liable: as, first, how his brothers had mourned and interred astranger in his stead, and then charged an innocent man upon false suspicion, and by false witness broughthim into imminent peril of death: from which he passed to ponder the blind severity of laws and magistrates,who from misguided zeal to elicit the truth not unfrequently become ruthless, and, adjudging that which isfalse, forfeit the title which they claim of ministers of God and justice, and do but execute the mandates ofiniquity and the Evil One. And so he came at last to consider the possibility of saving Aldobrandino, and

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formed a plan for the purpose. Accordingly, on the morrow, when he was risen, he left his servant at the inn,and hied him alone, at what he deemed a convenient time, to his lady's house, where, finding, by chance, thedoor open, he entered, and saw his lady sitting, all tears and lamentations, in a little parlour on theground-floor. Whereat he all but wept for sympathy; and drawing near her, he said:--"Madam, be not troubledin spirit: your peace is nigh you." Whereupon the lady raised her head, and said between her sobs:--"Goodman, what dost thou, a pilgrim, if I mistake not, from distant parts, know either of my peace or of myaffliction?" "Madam," returned the pilgrim, "I am of Constantinople, and am but now come hither, at God'sbehest, that I may give you laughter for tears, and deliver your husband from death." "But," said the lady, "ifthou art of Constantinople, and but now arrived, how is't that thou knowest either who my husband is, or whoI am?" Whereupon the pilgrim gave her the whole narrative, from the very beginning, of Aldobrandino'ssufferings; he also told her, who she was, how long she had been married, and much besides that was knownto him of her affairs: whereat the lady was lost in wonder, and, taking him to be a prophet, threw herself onher knees at his feet, and besought him for God's sake, if he were come to save Aldobrandino, to lose no time,for the matter brooked no delay. Thus adjured, the pilgrim assumed an air of great sanctity, as hesaid:--"Arise, Madam, weep not, but hearken diligently to what I shall say to you, and look to it that youimpart it to none. I have it by revelation of God that the tribulation wherein you stand is come upon you inrequital of a sin which you did once commit, of which God is minded that this suffering be a partial purgation,and that you make reparation in full, if you would not find yourself in a far more grievous plight." "Sir,"replied the lady, "many sins have I committed, nor know I how among them all to single out that whereof,more than another, God requires reparation at my hands--wherefore, if you know it, tell it me, and what byway of reparation I may do, that will I do." "Madam," returned the pilgrim, "well wot I what it is, nor shall Iquestion you thereof for my better instruction, but that the rehearsal may give you increase of remorsetherefor. But pass we now to fact. Tell me, mind you ever to have had a lover?" Whereat the lady heaved adeep sigh; then, marvelling not a little, for she had thought 'twas known to none, albeit on the day when theman was slain, who was afterwards buried as Tedaldo, there had been some buzz about it, occasioned by someindiscreet words dropped by Tedaldo's gossip and confidant, she made answer:--"I see that there is nought thatmen keep secret but God reveals it to you; wherefore I shall not endeavour to hide my secrets from you. Trueit is that in my youth I was beyond measure enamoured of the unfortunate young man whose death is imputedto my husband; whom I mourned with grief unfeigned, for, albeit I shewed myself harsh and cruel towardshim before his departure, yet neither thereby, nor by his long absence, nor yet by his calamitous death was myheart estranged from him." Then said the pilgrim:--"'Twas not the unfortunate young man now dead that youdid love, but Tedaldo Elisei. But let that pass; now tell me: wherefore lost he your good graces? Did he everoffend you?" "Nay verily," answered the lady, "he never offended me at all. My harshness was prompted byan accursed friar, to whom I once confessed, and who, when I told him of the love I bore Tedaldo, and myintimacy with him, made my ears so tingle and sing that I still shudder to think of it, warning me that, if I gaveit not up, I should fall into the jaws of the Devil in the abyss of hell, and be cast into the avenging fire.Whereby I was so terrified that I quite made my mind up to discontinue my intimacy with him, and, to trenchthe matter, I would thenceforth have none of his letters or messages; and so, I suppose, he went away indespair, though I doubt not, had he persevered a while longer, I should not have seen him wasting away likesnow in sunshine without relenting of my harsh resolve; for in sooth there was nothing in the world I would sogladly have done." Then said the pilgrim:--"Madam, 'tis this sin, and this only, that has brought upon you yourpresent tribulation. I know positively that Tedaldo did never put force upon you: 'twas of your own free will,and for that he pleased you, that you became enamoured of him, your constant visitor, your intimate friend hebecame, because you yourself would have it so; and in the course of your intimacy you shewed him suchfavour by word and deed that, if he loved you first, you multiplied his love full a thousandfold. And if so itwas, and well I know it was so, what justification had you for thus harshly severing yourself from him? Youshould have considered the whole matter before the die was cast, and not have entered upon it, if you deemedyou might have cause to repent you of it as a sin. As soon as he became yours, you became his. Had he notbeen yours, you might have acted as you had thought fit, at your own unfettered discretion, but, as you werehis, 'twas robbery, 'twas conduct most disgraceful, to sever yourself from him against his will. Now you mustknow that I am a friar; and therefore all the ways of friars are familiar to me; nor does it misbecome me, as itmight another, to speak for your behoof somewhat freely of them; as I am minded to do that you may have

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better understanding of them in the future than you would seem to have had in the past. Time was when thefriars were most holy and worthy men, but those who to-day take the name and claim the reputation of friarshave nought of the friar save only the habit: nay, they have not even that: for, whereas their founders ordainedthat their habits should be strait, of a sorry sort, and of coarse stuff, apt symbols of a soul that in arraying thebody in so mean a garb did despite to all things temporal, our modern friars will have them full, and double,and resplendent, and of the finest stuff, and of a fashion goodly and pontifical, wherein without shame theyflaunt it like peaco*cks in the church, in the piazza, even as do the laity in their robes. And as the fishermancasts his net into the stream with intent to take many fish at one throw: so 'tis the main solicitude and study,art and craft of these friars to embrace and entangle within the ample folds of their vast swelling skirtsbeguines, widows and other foolish women, ay, and men likewise in great number. Wherefore, to speak withmore exactitude, the friars of to-day have nought of the habit of the friar save only the colour thereof. And,whereas the friars of old time sought to win men to their salvation, those of to-day seek to win their womenand their wealth; wherefore they have made it and make it their sole concern by declamation and imagery tostrike terror into the souls of fools, and to make believe that sins are purged by alms and masses; to the endthat they, base wretches that have fled to friarage not to ensue holiness but to escape hardship, may receivefrom this man bread, from that man wine, and from the other man a donation for masses for the souls of hisdead. True indeed it is that sins are purged by almsgiving and prayer; but, did they who give the alms know,did they but understand to whom they give them, they would be more apt to keep them to themselves, orthrow them to so many pigs. And, knowing that the fewer be they that share great riches, the greater theirease, 'tis the study of each how best by declamation and intimidation to oust others from that whereof hewould fain be the sole owner. They censure lust in men, that, they turning therefrom, the sole use of theirwomen may remain to the censors: they condemn usury and unlawful gains, that, being entrusted with therestitution thereof, they may be able to enlarge their habits, and to purchase bishoprics and other greatpreferments with the very money which they have made believe must bring its possessor to perdition. Andwhen they are taxed with these and many other discreditable practices, they deem that there is no censure,however grave, of which they may not be quit by their glib formula:--'Follow our precepts, not our practice:'as if 'twere possible that the sheep should be of a more austere and rigid virtue than the shepherds. And howmany of these, whom they put off with this formula, understand it not in the way in which they enunciate it,not a few of them know. The friars of to-day would have you follow their precepts, that is to say, they wouldhave you fill their purses with coin, confide to them your secrets, practise continence, be longsuffering,forgive those that trespass against you, keep yourselves from evil speaking; all which things are good, seemly,holy. But to what end? To the end that they may be able to do that which, if the laity do it, they will not beable to do. Who knows not that idleness cannot subsist without money? Spend thy money on thy pleasures,and the friar will not be able to live in sloth in his order. Go after women, and there will be no place for thefriar. Be not longsuffering, pardon not the wrong-doer, and the friar will not dare to cross thy threshold tocorrupt thy family. But wherefore pursue I the topic through every detail? They accuse themselves as often asthey so excuse themselves in the hearing of all that have understanding. Why seclude they not themselves, ifthey misdoubt their power to lead continent and holy lives? Or if they must needs not live as recluses, whyfollow they not that other holy text of the Gospel:--Christ began to do and to teach?(1) Let them practise first,and school us with their precepts afterwards. A thousand such have I seen in my day, admirers, lovers,philanderers, not of ladies of the world alone, but of nuns; ay, and they too such as made the most noise in thepulpits. Is it such as they that we are to follow? He that does so, pleases himself; but God knows if he dowisely. But assume that herein we must allow that your censor, the friar, spoke truth, to wit, that none maybreak the marriage-vow without very grave sin. What then? to rob a man, to slay him, to make of him an exileand a wanderer on the face of the earth, are not these yet greater sins? None will deny that so they are. Awoman that indulges herself in the intimate use with a man commits but a sin of nature; but if she rob him, orslay him, or drive him out into exile, her sin proceeds from depravity of spirit. That you did rob Tedaldo, Ihave already shewn you, in that, having of your own free will become his, you reft you from him. I now gofurther and say that, so far as in you lay, you slew him, seeing that, shewing yourself ever more and morecruel, you did your utmost to drive him to take his own life; and in the law's intent he that is the cause thatwrong is done is as culpable as he that does it. Nor is it deniable that you were the cause that for seven yearshe has been an exile and a wanderer upon the face of the earth. Wherefore upon each of the said three articles

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you are found guilty of a greater crime than you committed by your intimacy with him. But consider we thematter more closely: perchance Tedaldo merited such treatment: nay, but assuredly 'twas not so. You haveyourself so confessed: besides which I know that he loves you more dearly than himself. He would laud, hewould extol, he would magnify you above all other ladies so as never was heard the like, wheresoever 'twasseemly for him to speak of you, and it might be done without exciting suspicion. All his bliss, all his honour,all his liberty he avowed was entirely in your disposal. Was he not of noble birth? And for beauty might henot compare with the rest of his townsfolk? Did he not excel in all the exercises and accomplishments properto youth? Was he not beloved, held dear, well seen of all men? You will not deny it. How then could you atthe behest of a paltry friar, silly, brutish and envious, bring yourself to deal with him in any harsh sort? Icannot estimate the error of those ladies who look askance on men and hold them cheap; whereas, bethinkingthem of what they are themselves, and what and how great is the nobility with which God has endowed manabove all the other animals, they ought rather to glory in the love which men give them, and hold them mostdear, and with all zeal study to please them, that so their love may never fail. In what sort you did so,instigated by the chatter of a friar, some broth-guzzling, pastry-gorging knave without a doubt, you know; andperadventure his purpose was but to instal himself in the place whence he sought to oust another. This then isthe sin which the Divine justice, which, ever operative, suffers no perturbation of its even balance, or arrest ofjudgment, has decreed not to leave unpunished: wherefore, as without due cause you devised how you mightdespoil Tedaldo of yourself, so without due cause your husband has been placed and is in jeopardy of his lifeon Tedaldo's account, and to your sore affliction. Wherefrom if you would be delivered, there is that whichyou must promise, ay, and (much more) which you must perform: to wit, that, should it ever betide thatTedaldo return hither from his long exile, you will restore to him your favour, your love, your tender regard,your intimacy, and reinstate him in the position which he held before you foolishly hearkened to thehalfwitted friar."

Thus ended the pilgrim; and the lady, who had followed him with the closest attention, deeming all that headvanced very sound, and doubting not that her tribulation was, as he said, in requital of her sin, spoke thus:--"Friend of God, well I wot that the matters which you discourse are true, and, thanks to your delineation, Inow in great measure know what manner of men are the friars, whom I have hitherto regarded as all alikeholy; nor doubt I that great was my fault in the course which I pursued towards Tedaldo; and gladly, were it inmy power, would I make reparation in the manner which you have indicated. But how is this feasible?Tedaldo can never return to us. He is dead. Wherefore I know not why I must needs give you a promise whichcannot be performed." "Madam," returned the pilgrim, "'tis revealed to me by God that Tedaldo is by nomeans dead, but alive and well and happy, so only he enjoyed your favour." "Nay, but," said the lady, "speakadvisedly; I saw his body done to death by more than one knife-wound; I folded it in these arms, and drenchedthe dead face with many a tear; whereby, perchance, I gave occasion for the bruit that has been made to mydisadvantage." "Say what you may, Madam," rejoined the pilgrim," I assure you that Tedaldo lives, and if youwill but give the promise, then, for its fulfilment, I have good hope that you will soon see him." Whereupon:"I give the promise," said the lady, "and right gladly will I make it good; nor is there aught that might happenthat would yield me such delight as to see my husband free and scatheless, and Tedaldo alive." Tedaldo nowdeemed it wise to make himself known, and establish the lady in a more sure hope of her husband's safety.Wherefore he said:--"Madam, to set your mind at ease in regard of your husband, I must first impart to you asecret, which be mindful to disclose to none so long as you live." Then--for such was the confidence whichthe lady reposed in the pilgrim's apparent sanctity that they were by themselves in a place remote fromobservation--Tedaldo drew forth a ring which he had guarded with the most jealous care, since it had beengiven him by the lady on the last night when they were together, and said, as he shewed it to her:--"Madam,know you this?" The lady recognized it forthwith, and answered:--"I do, Sir; I gave it long ago to Tedaldo."Then the pilgrim, rising and throwing off his sclavine(2) and hat, said with the Florentine accent:--"And knowyou me?" The lady recognizing forthwith the form and semblance of Tedaldo, was struck dumb with wonderand fear as of a corpse that is seen to go about as if alive, and was much rather disposed to turn and flee fromTedaldo returned from the tomb than to come forward and welcome Tedaldo arrived from Cyprus. But whenTedaldo said to her:--"Fear not, Madam, your Tedaldo am I, alive and well, nor was I ever dead, whatever youand my brothers may think," the lady, partly awed, partly reassured by his voice, regarded him with rather

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more attention, and inly affirming that 'twas in very truth Tedaldo, threw herself upon his neck, and wept, andkissed him, saying:--"Sweet my Tedaldo, welcome home." "Madam," replied Tedaldo after he had kissed andembraced her, "time serves not now for greetings more intimate. 'Tis for me to be up and doing, thatAldobrandino may be restored to you safe and sound; touching which matter you will, I trust, beforeto-morrow at even hear tidings that will gladden your heart; indeed I expect to have good news to-night, and,if so, will come and tell it you, when I shall be less straitened than I am at present." He then resumed hissclavine and hat, and having kissed the lady again, and bade her be of good cheer, took his leave, and hiedhim to the prison, where Aldobrandino lay more occupied with apprehension of imminent death than hope ofdeliverance to come. As ministrant of consolation, he gained ready admittance of the warders, and, seatinghimself by Aldobrandino's side, he said:--"Aldobrandino, in me thou seest a friend sent thee by God, who istouched with pity of thee by reason of thy innocence; wherefore, if in reverent submission to Him thou wiltgrant me a slight favour that I shall ask of thee, without fail, before to-morrow at even, thou shalt, in lieu ofthe doom of death that thou awaitest, hear thy acquittal pronounced." "Worthy man," replied Aldobrandino, "Iknow thee not, nor mind I ever to have seen thee; wherefore, as thou shewest thyself solicitous for my safety,my friend indeed thou must needs be, even as thou sayst. And in sooth the crime, for which they say I ought tobe doomed to death, I never committed, though others enough I have committed, which perchance havebrought me to this extremity. However, if so be that God has now pity on me, this I tell thee in reverentsubmission to Him, that, whereas 'tis but a little thing that thou cravest of me, there is nought, however great,but I would not only promise but gladly do it; wherefore, even ask what thou wilt, and, if so be that I escape, Iwill without fail keep my word to the letter." "Nay," returned the pilgrim, "I ask but this of thee, that thoupardon Tedaldo's four brothers, that in the belief that thou wast guilty of their brother's death they broughtthee to this strait, and, so they ask thy forgiveness, account them as thy brothers and friends." "How sweet,"replied Aldobrandino, "is the savour, how ardent the desire, of vengeance, none knows but he that is wronged;but yet, so God may take thought for my deliverance, I will gladly pardon, nay, I do now pardon them, and if Igo hence alive and free, I will thenceforth have them in such regard as shall content thee." Satisfied with thisanswer, the pilgrim, without further parley, heartily exhorted Aldobrandino to be of good cheer; assuring himthat, before the next day was done, he should be certified beyond all manner of doubt of his deliverance; andso he left him.

On quitting the prison the pilgrim hied him forthwith to the signory, and being closeted with a knight that wasin charge, thus spoke:--"My lord, 'tis the duty of all, and most especially of those who hold your place,zealously to bestir themselves that the truth be brought to light, in order as well that those bear not the penaltywho have not committed the crime, as that the guilty be punished. And that this may come to pass to yourhonour and the undoing of the delinquent, I am come hither to you. You wot that you have dealt rigorouslywith Aldobrandino Palermini, and have found, as you think, that 'twas he that slew Tedaldo Elisei, and youare about to condemn him; wherein you are most certainly in error, as I doubt not before midnight to prove toyou, delivering the murderers into your hands." The worthy knight, who was not without pity forAldobrandino, readily gave ear to the pilgrim's words. He conversed at large with him, and availing himself ofhis guidance, made an easy capture of the two brothers that kept the inn and their servant in their first sleep.He was about to put them the torture, to elicit the true state of the case, when, their courage failing, theyconfessed without the least reserve, severally at first, and then jointly, that 'twas they that had slain TedaldoElisei, not knowing who he was. Asked for why, they answered that 'twas because he had sorely harassed thewife of one of them, and would have constrained her to do his pleasure, while they were out of doors.Whereof the pilgrim was no sooner apprised, than by leave of the knight he withdrew, and hied him privily tothe house of Madonna Ermellina, whom (the rest of the household being gone to bed) he found awaiting himalone, and equally anxious for good news of her husband and a complete reconciliation with her Tedaldo. Onentering, he blithely exclaimed:--"Rejoice, dearest my lady, for thou mayst rest assured that to-morrow thoushalt have thy Aldobrandino back here safe and sound;" and to confirm her faith in his words, he told her allthat he had done. Greater joy was never woman's than hers of two such glad surprises; to wit, to have Tedaldowith her alive again, whom she had wailed for verily dead, and to know Aldobrandino, whom she had thoughtin no long time to wail for dead, now out of jeopardy. Wherefore, when she had affectionately embraced andkissed her Tedaldo, they hied them to bed together, and with hearty goodwill made gracious and gladsome

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consummation of their peace by interchange of sweet solace.

With the approach of day Tedaldo rose, and having first apprised the lady of his purpose and enjoined her, asbefore, to keep it most secret, resumed his pilgrim's habit, and sallied forth of her house, to be ready, asoccasion should serve, to act in Aldobrandino's interest. As soon as 'twas day, the signory, deemingthemselves amply conversant with the affair, set Aldobrandino at large; and a few days later they caused themalefactors to be beheaded in the place where they had done the murder.

Great was Aldobrandino's joy to find himself free, not less great was that of his lady and all his friends andkinsfolk; and as 'twas through the pilgrim that it had come about, they brought him to their house, there toreside as long as he cared to tarry in the city; nor could they do him honour and cheer enough, and most of allthe lady, who knew her man. But after awhile, seeing that his brothers were not only become a commonlaughing-stock by reason of Aldobrandino's acquittal, but had armed themselves for very fear, he felt that theirreconciliation with him brooked no delay, and accordingly craved of him performance of his promise.Aldobrandino replied handsomely that it should be had at once. The pilgrim then bade him arrange for thefollowing day a grand banquet, at which he and his kinsfolk and their ladies were to entertain the four brothersand their ladies, adding that he would himself go forthwith as Aldobrandino's envoy, and bid them welcome tohis peace and banquet. All which being approved by Aldobrandino, the pilgrim hied him with all speed to thefour brothers, whom by ample, apt and unanswerable argument he readily induced to reinstate themselves inAldobrandino's friendship by suing for his forgiveness: which done, he bade them and their ladies to breakfastwith Aldobrandino on the morrow, and they, being assured of his good faith, were consenting to come. So, onthe morrow, at the breakfast hour, Tedaldo's four brothers, still wearing their black, came with certain of theirfriends to Aldobrandino's house, where he awaited them; and, in presence of the company that had beenbidden to meet them, laid down their arms, and made surrender to Aldobrandino, asking his pardon of thatwhich they had done against him. Aldobrandino received them compassionately, wept, kissed each on themouth, and let few words suffice to remit each offence. After them came their sisters and their wives, allhabited sadly, and were graciously received by Madonna Ermellina and the other ladies. The guests, men andwomen alike, found all things ordered at the banquet with magnificence, nor aught unmeet for commendationsave the restraint which the yet recent grief, betokened by the sombre garb of Tedaldo's kinsfolk, laid uponspeech (wherein some had found matter to except against the banquet and the pilgrim for devising it, as hewell knew), but, as he had premeditated, in due time, he stood up, the others being occupied with their dessert,and spoke thus:--"Nothing is wanting to complete the gaiety of this banquet except the presence of Tedaldo;whom, as you have been long time with him and have not known him, I will point out to you." So, havingdivested himself of his sclavine and whatever else in his garb denoted the pilgrim, he remained habited in atunic of green taffeta, in which guise, so great was the wonder with which all regarded him that, though theyrecognized him, 'twas long before any dared to believe that 'twas actually Tedaldo. Marking their surprise,Tedaldo told them not a little about themselves, their family connexions, their recent history, and his ownadventures. Whereat his brothers and the rest of the men, all weeping for joy, hasted to embrace him, followedby the women, as well those that were not, as those that were, of kin to him, save only Madonna Ermellina.Which Aldobrandino observing, said:--"What is this, Ermellina? How comes it that, unlike the other ladies,thou alone dost Tedaldo no cheer?" "Cheer," replied the lady in the hearing of all, "would I gladly do himsuch as no other woman has done or could do, seeing that I am more beholden to him than any other woman,in that to him I owe it that I have thee with me again; 'tis but the words spoken to my disadvantage, while wemourned him that we deemed Tedaldo, that give me pause." "Now out upon thee," said Aldobrandino,"thinkest thou that I heed the yelping of these curs? His zeal for my deliverance has abundantly disproved it,besides which I never believed it. Quick, get thee up, and go and embrace him." The lady, who desirednothing better, was in this not slow to obey her husband; she rose forthwith, and embraced Tedaldo as theother ladies had done, and did him gladsome cheer. Tedaldo's brothers and all the company, men and womenalike, heartily approved Aldobrandino's handsomeness; and so whatever of despite the rumour hadengendered in the minds of any was done away. And, now that all had done him cheer, Tedaldo with his ownhands rent his brothers' suits of black upon their backs, as also the sad-hued garments which his sisters andsisters-in-law wore, and bade bring other apparel. Which when they had donned, there was no lack of singing,

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dancing and other sorts of merry-making; whereby the banquet, for all its subdued beginning, had a sonorousclose. Then, just as they were, in the blithest of spirits, they hied them all to Tedaldo's house, where in theevening they supped; and in this manner they held festival for several days.

'Twas some time before the Florentines ceased to look on Tedaldo as a portent, as if he were risen from thedead; and a shadow of doubt whether he were really Tedaldo or no continued to lurk in the minds of not afew, including even his brothers: they had no assured belief; and in that frame had perchance long continued,but for a casual occurrence that shewed them who the murdered man was. It so befell that one day somemen-at-arms from Lunigiana passed by their house, and seeing Tedaldo accosted him, saying:--"Good-morrow to thee, Faziuolo." To whom Tedaldo, in the presence of his brothers, answered:--"You takeme for another." Whereat they were abashed, and asked his pardon, saying:--"Sooth to tell, you are liker thanwe ever knew any man like to another to a comrade of ours, Faziuolo da Pontremoli by name, who camehither a fortnight ago, or perhaps a little more, since when we have not been able to learn what became of him.Most true it is that your dress surprised us, because he, like ourselves, was a soldier." Whereupon Tedaldo'seldest brother came forward, and asked how their comrade had been accoutred. They told him, and 'twasfound to have been exactly as they said: by which and other evidence 'twas established that 'twas Faziuolo thathad been murdered, and not Tedaldo; of whom thenceforth no suspicion lurked in the minds of his brothers orany one else.

So, then, Tedaldo returned home very rich, and remained constant in his love; nor did the lady again treat himharshly; but, using discretion, they long had mutual solace of their love. God grant us solace of ours.

(1) As pointed out by Mr. Payne, these words are not from any of the Gospels, but from the first verse of theActs of the Apostles. Boccaccio doubtless used "Evangelio" in a large sense for the whole of the NewTestament.

(2) Schiavina, Low Lat. sclavina, the long coarse frock worn, among others, by palmers.


-- Ferondo, having taken a certain powder, is interred for dead; is disinterred by the abbot, who enjoys hiswife; is put in prison and taught to believe that he is in purgatory; is then resuscitated, and rears as his own aboy begotten by the abbot upon his wife. --

Ended Emilia's long story, which to none was the less pleasing for its length, but was deemed of all the ladiesbrief in regard of the number and variety of the events therein recounted, a gesture of the queen sufficed toconvey her behest to Lauretta, and cause her thus to begin:--"Dearest ladies, I have it in mind to tell you a truestory, which wears far more of the aspect of a lie than of that which it really was: 'tis brought to myrecollection by that which we have heard of one being bewailed and buried in lieu of another. My story then isof one that, living, was buried for dead, and after believed with many others that he came out of the tomb notas one that had not died but as one risen from the dead; whereby he was venerated as a saint who ought ratherto have been condemned as a criminal."

Know then that there was and still is in Tuscany an abbey, situate, as we see not a few, in a somewhat solitaryspot, wherein the office of abbot was held by a monk, who in all other matters ordered his life with greatsanctity, save only in the commerce with women, and therein knew so well how to cloak his indulgence, thatscarce any there were that so much as suspected--not to say detected it--so holy and just was he reputed in allmatters. Now the abbot consorted much with a very wealthy contadino, Ferondo by name, a man coarse andgross beyond measure, whose friendship the abbot only cared for because of the opportunities which itafforded of deriving amusem*nt from his simplicity; and during their intercourse the abbot discovered thatFerondo had a most beautiful wife of whom he became so hotly enamoured that he could think of nought elseeither by day or by night. But learning that, however simple and inept in all other matters, Ferondo shewed

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excellent good sense in cherishing and watching over this wife of his, he almost despaired. However, beingvery astute, he prevailed so far with Ferondo, that he would sometimes bring his wife with him to take a littlerecreation in the abbey-garden, where he discoursed to them with all lowliness of the blessedness of lifeeternal, and the most pious works of many men and women of times past, insomuch that the lady conceived adesire to confess to him, and craved and had Ferondo's leave therefor. So, to the abbot's boundless delight, thelady came and seated herself at his feet to make her confession, whereto she prefixed the followingexordium:--"If God, Sir, had given me a husband, or had not permitted me to have one, perchance 'twould beeasy for me, under your guidance, to enter the way, of which you have spoken, that leads to life eternal. But,considering what manner of man Ferondo is, and his stupidity, I may call myself a widow, while yet I ammarried in that, so long as he lives, I may have no other husband; and he, fool that he is, is without the leastcause so inordinately jealous of me that 'tis not possible but that my life with him be one of perpetualtribulation and woe. Wherefore before I address myself to make further confession, I in all humility beseechyou to be pleased to give me some counsel of this matter, for here or nowhere is to be found the source of theamelioration of my life, and if it be not found, neither confession nor any other good work will be of anyavail." The abbot was overjoyed to hear her thus speak, deeming that Fortune had opened a way to thefulfilment of his hearts desire. Wherefore he said:--"My daughter, I doubt not that 'tis a great affliction to alady, fair and delicate as you are, to have a fool for a husband, and still more so he should be jealous: and asyour husband is both the one and the other, I readily credit what you say of your tribulation. But, to come tothe point, I see no resource or remedy in this case, save this only, that Ferondo be cured of his jealousy. Themedicine that shall cure him I know very well how to devise, but it behoves you to keep secret what I amabout to tell you." "Doubt not of it, my father," said the lady; "for I had rather suffer death than tell any aughtthat you forbade me to tell. But the medicine, how is it to be devised?" "If we would have him cured," repliedthe abbot, "it can only be by his going to purgatory." "And how may that be?" returned the lady; "can he gothither while he yet lives?" "He must die," answered the abbot; "and so he will go thither; and when he hassuffered pain enough to be cured of his jealousy, we have certain prayers with which we will supplicate Godto restore him to life, and He will do so." "Then," said the lady; "am I to remain a widow?" "Yes," replied theabbot, "for a certain time, during which you must be very careful not to let yourself be married to another,because 'twould offend God, and when Ferondo was restored to life, you would have to go back to him, andhe would be more jealous than ever." "Be it so then," said the lady; "if he be but cured of his jealousy, and so Ibe not doomed to pass the rest of my days in prison, I shall be content: do as you think best." "And so will I,"said the abbot; "but what reward shall I have for such a service?" "My father," said the lady, "what you please;so only it be in my power. But what may the like of me do that may be acceptable to a man such as you?""Madam," replied the abbot, "'tis in your power to do no less for me than I am about to do for you: as thatwhich I am minded to do will ensure your comfort and consolation, so there is that which you may do whichwill be the deliverance and salvation of my life." "If so it be," said the lady, "I shall not be found wanting." "Inthat case," said the abbot, "you will give me your love, and gratify my passion for you, with which I am allafire and wasting away." Whereto the lady, all consternation, replied:-- "Alas! my father, what is this youcrave? I took you for a holy man; now does it beseem holy men to make such overtures to ladies that come tothem for counsel?" "Marvel not, fair my soul," returned the abbot; "hereby is my holiness in no wisediminished, for holiness resides in the soul, and this which I ask of you is but a sin of the flesh. But, howeverit may be, such is the might of your bewitching beauty, that love constrains me thus to act. And, let me tellyou, good cause have you to vaunt you of your beauty more than other women, in that it delights the saints,who are used to contemplate celestial beauties; whereto I may add that, albeit I am an abbot, yet I am a maneven as others, and, as you see, not yet old. Nor need this matter seem formidable to you, but rather to beanticipated with pleasure, for, while Ferondo is in purgatory, I shall be your nightly companion, and will giveyou such solace as he should have given you; nor will it ever be discovered by any, for all think of me even asyou did a while ago, or even more so. Reject not the grace that God accords you; for 'tis in your power tohave, and, if you are wise and follow my advice, you shall have that which women not a few desire in vain tohave. And moreover I have jewels fair and rare, which I am minded shall be yours and none other's.Wherefore, sweet my hope, deny me not due guerdon of the service which I gladly render you."

The lady, her eyes still downcast, knew not how to deny him, and yet scrupled to gratify him: wherefore the

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abbot, seeing that she had hearkened and hesitated to answer, deemed that she was already half won, andfollowing up what he had said with much more to the like effect, did not rest until he had persuaded her thatshe would do well to comply: and so with some confusion she told him that she was ready to obey his everybehest; but it might not be until Ferondo was in purgatory. The abbot, well content, replied:--"And we willsend him thither forthwith: do but arrange that he come hither to stay with me to-morrow or the day after."Which said, he slipped a most beautiful ring on her finger, and dismissed her. Pleased with the gift, andexpecting more to come, the lady rejoined her attendants, with whom she forthwith fell a talking marvellousthings of the abbot's sanctity, and so went home with them.

Some few days after, Ferondo being come to the abbey, the abbot no sooner saw him than he resolved to sendhim to purgatory. So he selected from among his drugs a powder of marvellous virtue, which he had gotten inthe Levant from a great prince, who averred that 'twas wont to be used by the Old Man of the Mountain, whenhe would send any one to or bring him from his paradise, and that, without doing the recipient any harm,'twould induce in him, according to the quantity of the dose, a sleep of such duration and quality that, whilethe efficacy of the powder lasted, none would deem him to be alive.(1) Whereof he took enough to cause athree days' sleep, and gave it to Ferondo in his cell in a beaker that had still some wine in it, so that he drank itunwittingly: after which he took Ferondo to the cloister, and there with some of his monks fell to makingmerry with him and his ineptitudes. In no long time, however, the powder so wrought, that Ferondo wasseized in the head with a fit of somnolence so sudden and violent that he slept as he stood, and sleeping fell tothe ground. The abbot put on an agitated air, caused him to be untrussed, sent for cold water, and had itsprinkled on his face, and applied such other remedies as if he would fain call back life and sense banished byvapours of the stomach, or some other intrusive force; but, as, for all that he and his monks did, Ferondo didnot revive, they, after feeling his pulse and finding there no sign of life, one and all pronounced him certainlydead. Wherefore they sent word to his wife and kinsfolk, who came forthwith, and mourned a while; afterwhich Ferondo in his clothes was by the abbot's order laid in a tomb. The lady went home, saying that nothingshould ever part her from a little son that she had borne Ferondo; and so she occupied herself with the care ofher son and Ferondo's estate. At night the abbot rose noiselessly, and with the help of a Bolognese monk, inwhom he reposed much trust, and who was that very day arrived from Bologna, got Ferondo out of the tomb,and bore him to a vault, which admitted no light, having been made to serve as a prison for delinquent monks;and having stripped him of his clothes, and habited him as a monk, they laid him on a truss of straw, and lefthim there until he should revive. Expecting which event, and instructed by the abbot how he was then to act,the Bolognese monk (none else knowing aught of what was afoot) kept watch by the tomb.

The day after, the abbot with some of his monks paid a pastoral visit to the lady's house, where he found herin mourning weeds and sad at heart; and, after administering a little consolation, he gently asked her toredeem her promise. Free as she now felt herself, and hampered neither by Ferondo nor by any other, the lady,who had noticed another beautiful ring on the abbot's finger, promised immediate compliance, and arrangedwith the abbot that he should visit her the very next night. So, at nightfall, the abbot donned Ferondo's clothes,and, attended by his monk, paid his visit, and lay with her until matins to his immense delight and solace, andso returned to the abbey; and many visits he paid her on the same errand; whereby some that met him, comingor going that way, supposed that 'twas Ferondo perambulating those parts by way of penance; and fables not afew passed from mouth to mouth of the foolish rustics, and sometimes reached the ears of the lady, who wasat no loss to account for them.

As for Ferondo, when he revived, 'twas only to find himself he knew not where, while the Bolognese monkentered the tomb, gibbering horribly, and armed with a rod, wherewith, having laid hold of Ferondo, he gavehim a severe thrashing. Blubbering and bellowing for pain, Ferondo could only ejacul*te:--"Where am I?" "Inpurgatory," replied the monk. "How?" returned Ferondo, "am I dead then?" and the monk assuring him that'twas even so, he fell a bewailing his own and his lady's and his son's fate, after the most ridiculous fashion inthe world. The monk brought him somewhat to eat and drink. Of which when Ferondo caught sight, "Oh!"said he, "dead folk eat then, do they?" "They do," replied the monk, "And this, which I bring thee, is what thelady that was thy wife sent this morning to the church by way of alms for masses for thy soul; and God is

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minded that it be assigned to thee." "Now God grant her a happy year," said Ferondo; "dearly I loved herwhile I yet lived, and would hold her all night long in my arms, and cease not to kiss her, ay, and would do yetmore to her, when I was so minded." Whereupon he fell to eating and drinking with great avidity, and findingthe wine not much to his taste, he said:--"Now God do her a mischief! Why gave she not the priest of the winethat is in the cask by the wall?" When he had done eating, the monk laid hold of him again, and gave himanother sound thrashing with the rod. Ferondo bellowed mightily, and then cried out:-- "Alas! why servestthou me so?" "God," answered the monk, "has decreed that thou be so served twice a day." "For why?" saidFerondo. "Because," returned the monk, "thou wast jealous, notwithstanding thou hadst to wife a woman thathas not her peer in thy countryside." "Alas," said Ferondo, "she was indeed all that thou sayst, ay, and thesweetest creature too,--no comfit so honeyed--but I knew not that God took it amiss that a man should bejealous, or I had not been so." "Of that," replied the monk, "thou shouldst have bethought thee while thou wastthere, and have amended thy ways; and should it fall to thy lot ever to return thither, be sure that thou so lay toheart the lesson that I now give thee, that thou be no more jealous." "Oh!" said Ferondo; "dead folk sometimesreturn to earth, do they?" "They do," replied the monk; "if God so will." "Oh!" said Ferondo; "if I ever return,I will be the best husband in the world; never will I beat her or scold her, save for the wine that she has sentme this morning, and also for sending me never a candle, so that I have had perforce to eat in the dark.""Nay," said the monk, "she sent them, but they were burned at the masses." "Oh!" said Ferondo, "I doubt notyou say true; and, of a surety, if I ever return, I will let her do just as she likes. But tell me, who art thou thatentreatest me thus?" "Late of Sardinia I," answered the monk, "dead too; and, for that I gave my lord muchcountenance in his jealousy, doomed by God for my proper penance to entreat thee thus with food and drinkand thrashings, until such time as He may ordain otherwise touching thee and me." "And are we two the onlyfolk here?" inquired Ferondo. "Nay, there are thousands beside," answered the monk; "but thou canst neithersee nor hear them, nor they thee." "And how far," said Ferondo, "may we be from our country?" "Oh! ho!"returned the monk, "why, 'tis some miles clean out of sh*trange." "I'faith," said Ferondo, "that is far indeed:methinks we must be out of the world."

In such a course, alternately beaten, fed and amused with idle tales, was Ferondo kept for ten months, whilethe abbot, to his great felicity, paid many a visit to the fair lady, and had the jolliest time in the world with her.But, as misfortunes will happen, the lady conceived, which fact, as soon as she was aware of it, she impartedto the abbot; whereupon both agreed that Ferondo must without delay be brought back from purgatory to earthand her, and be given to understand that she was with child of him. So the very next night the abbot went tothe prison, and in a disguised voice pronounced Ferondo's name, and said to him:--"Ferondo, be of goodcheer, for God is minded that thou return to earth; and on thy return thou shalt have a son by thy lady, andthou shalt call him Benedetto; because 'tis in answer to the prayers of thy holy abbot and thy lady, and for loveof St. Benedict, that God accords thee this grace." Whereat Ferondo was overjoyed, and said:- -"It likes mewell. God give a good year to Master Lord God, and the abbot, and St. Benedict, and my cheese-powdered,honey-sweet wife." Then, in the wine that he sent him, the abbot administered enough of the powder to causehim to sleep for four hours; and so, with the aid of the monk, having first habited him in his proper clothes, heprivily conveyed him back to the tomb in which he had been buried. On the morrow at daybreak Ferondorevived, and perceiving through a chink in the tomb a glimmer of light, to which he had been a stranger forfull ten months, he knew that he was alive, and began to bellow:--"Let me out, let me out:" then, setting hishead to the lid of the tomb, he heaved amain; whereby the lid, being insecure, started; and he was alreadythrusting it aside, when the monks, matins being now ended, ran to the spot and recognized Ferondo's voice,and saw him issue from the tomb; by which unwonted event they were all so affrighted that they took toflight, and hied them to the abbot: who, rising as if from prayer, said:--"Sons, be not afraid; take the cross andthe holy water, and follow me, and let us see what sign of His might God will vouchsafe us." And so he ledthe way to the tomb; beside which they found Ferondo, standing, deathly pale by reason of his longestrangement from the light. On sight of the abbot he ran and threw himself at his feet, saying:--"My father, ithas been revealed to me that 'tis to your prayers and those of St. Benedict and my lady that I owe my releasefrom purgatorial pain, and restoration to life; wherefore 'tis my prayer that God give you a good year and goodcalends, to-day and all days." "Laud we the power of God!" said the abbot. "Go then, son, as God has restoredthee to earth, comfort thy wife, who, since thou didst depart this life, has been ever in tears, and mayst thou

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live henceforth in the love and service of God." "Sir," answered Ferondo, "'tis well said; and, for the doing,trust me that, as soon as I find her, I shall kiss her, such is the love I bear her." So saying, he went his way;and the abbot, left alone with his monks, made as if he marvelled greatly at the affair, and caused devoutlychant the Miserere. So Ferondo returned to his hamlet, where all that saw him fleeing, as folk are wont to fleefrom spectacles of horror, he called them back, asseverating that he was risen from the tomb. His wife at firstwas no less timorous: but, as folk began to take heart of grace, perceiving that he was alive, they plied himwith many questions, all which he answered as one that had returned with ripe experience, and gave themtidings of the souls of their kinsfolk, and told of his own invention the prettiest fables of the purgatorial state,and in full folkmoot recounted the revelation vouchsafed him by the mouth of Ragnolo Braghiello(2) beforehis resuscitation.

Thus was Ferondo reinstated in his property and reunited to his wife, who, being pregnant, as he thought, byhimself, chanced by the time of her delivery to countenance the vulgar error that the woman must bear theinfant in the womb for exactly nine months, and gave birth to a male child, who was named BenedettoFerondi. Ferondo's return from purgatory, and the report he brought thence, immeasurably enhanced the fameof the abbot's holiness. So Ferondo, cured of his jealousy by the thrashings which he had gotten for it, verifiedthe abbot's prediction, and never offended the lady again in that sort. Wherefore she lived with him, as before,in all outward seemliness; albeit she failed not, as occasion served, to forgather with the holy abbot, who hadso well and sedulously served her in her especial need.

(1) By the Old Man of the Mountain is meant the head of the confraternity of hashish-eaters (Assassins),whose chief stronghold was at Alamut in Persia (1090-1256). Cf. Marco Polo, ed. Yule, I. cap. xxiii.

(2) Derisively for Agnolo Gabriello (the h having merely the effect of preserving the hardness of the g beforei), i. e. Angel Gabriel.


-- Gillette of Narbonne cures the King of France of a fistula, craves for spouse Bertrand de Roussillon, whomarries her against his will, and hies him in despite to Florence, where, as he courts a young woman, Gillettelies with him in her stead, and has two sons by him; for which cause he afterwards takes her into favour andentreats her as his wife. --

Lauretta's story being ended, and the queen being minded not to break her engagement with Dioneo, 'twasnow her turn to speak. Wherefore without awaiting the call of her subjects, thus with mien most gracious shebegan:-- Now that we have heard Lauretta's story, who shall tell any to compare with it for beauty? Luckyindeed was it that she was not the first; for few that followed would have pleased; and so, I misdoubt me,'twill fare ill with those that remain to complete the day's narration. However, for what it may be worth, I willtell you a story which seems to me germane to our theme.

Know, then, that in the realm of France there was a gentleman, Isnard, Comte de Roussillon, by name, who,being in ill-health, kept ever in attendance on him a physician, one Master Gerard of Narbonne. The saidCount had an only son named Bertrand, a very fine and winsome little lad; with whom were brought up otherchildren of his own age, among them the said physician's little daughter Gillette; who with a love boundlessand ardent out of all keeping with her tender years became enamoured of this Bertrand. And so, when theCount died, and his son, being left a ward of the King, must needs go to Paris, the girl remained beside herselfwith grief, and, her father dying soon after, would gladly have gone to Paris to see Bertrand, might she buthave found a fair excuse; but no decent pretext could she come by, being left a great and sole heiress and veryclosely guarded. So being come of marriageable age, still cherishing Bertrand's memory, she rejected not afew suitors, to whom her kinsfolk would fain have married her, without assigning any reason.

Now her passion waxing ever more ardent for Bertrand, as she learned that he was grown a most goodly

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gallant, tidings reached her that the King of France, in consequence of a tumour which he had had in thebreast, and which had been ill tended, was now troubled with a fistula, which occasioned him extreme distressand suffering; nor had he as yet come by a physician that was able, though many had essayed, to cure him, buthad rather grown worse under their hands; wherefore in despair he was minded no more to have recourse toany for counsel or aid. Whereat the damsel was overjoyed, deeming not only that she might find thereinlawful occasion to go to Paris, but, that, if the disease was what she took it to be, it might well betide that sheshould be wedded to Bertrand. So--for not a little knowledge had she gotten from her father--she prepared apowder from certain herbs serviceable in the treatment of the supposed disease, and straightway took horse,and hied her to Paris. Arrived there she made it her first concern to have sight of Bertrand; and then, havingobtained access to the King, she besought him of his grace to shew her his disease. The King knew not how torefuse so young, fair and winsome a damsel, and let her see the place. Whereupon, no longer doubting that sheshould cure him, she said:--"Sire, so please you, I hope in God to cure you of this malady within eight dayswithout causing you the least distress or discomfort." The King inly scoffed at her words, saying tohimself:--"How should a damsel have come by a knowledge and skill that the greatest physicians in the worlddo not possess?" He therefore graciously acknowledged her good intention, and answered that he had resolvedno more to follow advice of physician. "Sire," said the damsel, "you disdain my art, because I am young and awoman; but I bid you bear in mind that I rely not on my own skill, but on the help of God, and the skill ofMaster Gerard of Narbonne, my father, and a famous physician in his day." Whereupon the King said tohimself:--"Perchance she is sent me by God; why put I not her skill to the proof, seeing that she says that shecan cure me in a short time, and cause me no distress?" And being minded to make the experiment, hesaid:--"Damsel, and if, having caused me to cancel my resolve, you should fail to cure me, what are youcontent should ensue?" "Sire," answered the damsel, "set a guard upon me; and if within eight days I cure younot, have me burned; but if I cure you, what shall be my guerdon?" "You seem," said the King, "to be yetunmarried; if you shall effect the cure, we will marry you well and in high place." "Sire," returned the damsel,"well content indeed am I that you should marry me, so it be to such a husband as I shall ask of you, save thatI may not ask any of your sons or any other member of the royal house." Whereto the King forthwithconsented, and the damsel, thereupon applying her treatment, restored him to health before the periodassigned. Wherefore, as soon as the King knew that he was cured:--"Damsel," said he, "well have you wonyour husband." She, answered:--"In that case, Sire, I have won Bertrand de Roussillon, of whom, while yet achild, I was enamoured, and whom I have ever since most ardently loved." To give her Bertrand seemed to theKing no small matter; but, having pledged his word, he would not break it: so he sent for Bertrand, and said tohim:--"Bertrand, you are now come to man's estate, and fully equipped to enter on it; 'tis therefore our willthat you go back and assume the governance of your county, and that you take with you a damsel, whom wehave given you to wife." "And who is the damsel, Sire?" said Bertrand. "She it is," answered the King, "thathas restored us to health by her physic." Now Bertrand, knowing Gillette, and that her lineage was not such asmatched his nobility, albeit, seeing her, he had found her very fair, was overcome with disdain, andanswered:--"So, Sire, you would fain give me a she-doctor to wife. Now God forbid that I should ever marryany such woman." "Then," said the King, "you would have us fail of the faith which we pledged to thedamsel, who asked you in marriage by way of guerdon for our restoration to health." "Sire," said Bertrand,"you may take from me all that I possess, and give me as your man to whomsoever you may be minded; butrest assured that I shall never be satisfied with such a match." "Nay, but you will," replied the King; "for thedamsel is fair and discreet, and loves you well; wherefore we anticipate that you will live far more happilywith her than with a dame of much higher lineage." Bertrand was silent; and the King made great preparationsfor the celebration of the nuptials. The appointed day came, and Bertrand, albeit reluctantly, neverthelesscomplied, and in the presence of the King was wedded to the damsel, who loved him more dearly than herself.Which done, Bertrand, who had already taken his resolution, said that he was minded to go down to hiscounty, there to consummate the marriage; and so, having craved and had leave of absence of the King, hetook horse, but instead of returning to his county he hied him to Tuscany; where, finding the Florentines atwar with the Sienese, he determined to take service with the Florentines, and being made heartily andhonourably welcome, was appointed to the command of part of their forces, at a liberal stipend, and soremained in their service for a long while. Distressed by this turn of fortune, and hoping by her wisemanagement to bring Bertrand back to his county, the bride hied her to Roussillon, where she was received by

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all the tenants as their liege lady. She found that, during the long absence of the lord, everything had falleninto decay and disorder; which, being a capable woman, she rectified with great and sedulous care, to thegreat joy of the tenants, who held her in great esteem and love, and severely censured the Count, that he wasnot satisfied with her. When the lady had duly ordered all things in the county, she despatched two knights tothe Count with the intelligence, praying him, that, if 'twas on her account that he came not home, he would soinform her; in which case she would gratify him by departing. To whom with all harshness he replied:--"Shemay even please herself in the matter. For my part I will go home and live with her, when she has this ring onher finger and a son gotten of me upon her arm." The ring was one which he greatly prized, and neverremoved from his finger, by reason of a virtue which he had been given to understand that it possessed. Theknights appreciated the harshness of a condition which contained two articles, both of which were all butimpossible; and, seeing that by no words of theirs could they alter his resolve, they returned to the lady, anddelivered his message. Sorely distressed, the lady after long pondering determined to try how and where thetwo conditions might be satisfied, that so her husband might be hers again. Having formed her plan, sheassembled certain of the more considerable and notable men of the county, to whom she gave a consecutiveand most touching narrative of all that she had done for love of the Count, with the result; concluding bysaying that she was not minded to tarry there to the Count's perpetual exile, but to pass the rest of her days inpilgrimages and pious works for the good of her soul: wherefore she prayed them to undertake the defenceand governance of the county, and to inform the Count that she had made entire and absolute cession of it tohim, and was gone away with the intention of never more returning to Roussillon. As she spoke, tears not afew coursed down the cheeks of the honest men, and again and again they besought her to change her mind,and stay. All in vain, however; she commended them to God, and, accompanied only by one of her malecousins and a chambermaid (all three habited as pilgrims and amply provided with money and preciousjewels), she took the road, nor tarried until she was arrived at Florence. There she lodged in a little inn kept bya good woman that was a widow, bearing herself lowly as a poor pilgrim, and eagerly expectant of news ofher lord.

Now it so befell that the very next day she saw Bertrand pass in front of the inn on horseback at the head ofhis company; and though she knew him very well, nevertheless she asked the good woman of the inn who hewas. The hostess replied:--"'Tis a foreign gentleman--Count Bertrand they call him--a very pleasantgentleman, and courteous, and much beloved in this city; and he is in the last degree enamoured of one of ourneighbours here, who is a gentlewoman, but in poor circ*mstances. A very virtuous damsel she is too, and,being as yet unmarried by reason of her poverty, she lives with her mother, who is an excellent and mostdiscreet lady, but for whom, perchance, she would before now have yielded and gratified the Count's desire."No word of this was lost on the lady; she pondered and meditated every detail with the closest attention, andhaving laid it all to heart, took her resolution: she ascertained the names and abode of the lady and herdaughter that the Count loved, and hied her one day privily, wearing her pilgrim's weeds, to their house,where she found the lady and her daughter in very evident poverty, and after greeting them, told the lady that,if it were agreeable to her, she would speak with her. The gentlewoman rose and signified her willingness tolisten to what she had to say; so they went into a room by themselves and sate down, and then the Countessbegan thus:--"Madam, methinks you are, as I am, under Fortune's frown; but perchance you have it in yourpower, if you are so minded, to afford solace to both of us." The lady answered that, so she might honourablyfind it, solace indeed was what she craved most of all things in the world. Whereupon the Countesscontinued:--"I must first be assured of your faith, wherein if I confide and am deceived, the interests of both ofus will suffer." "Have no fear," said the gentlewoman, "speak your whole mind without reserve, for you willfind that there is no deceit in me." So the Countess told who she was, and the whole course of her love affair,from its commencement to that hour, on such wise that the gentlewoman, believing her story the more readilythat she had already heard it in part from others, was touched with compassion for her. The narrative of herwoes complete, the Countess added:--"Now that you have heard my misfortunes, you know the two conditionsthat I must fulfil, if I would come by my husband; nor know I any other person than you, that may enable meto fulfil them; but so you may, if this which I hear is true, to wit, that my husband is in the last degreeenamoured of your daughter." "Madam," replied the gentlewoman, "I know not if the Count loves mydaughter, but true it is that he makes great shew of loving her; but how may this enable me to do aught for you

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in the matter that you have at heart?" "The how, madam," returned the Countess, "I will shortly explain toyou; but you shall first hear what I intend shall ensue, if you serve me. Your daughter, I see, is fair and ofmarriageable age, and, by what I have learned and may well understand, 'tis because you have not thewherewith to marry her that you keep her at home. Now, in recompense of the service that you shall do me, Imean to provide her forthwith from my own moneys with such a dowry as you yourself shall deem adequatefor her marriage." The lady was too needy not to be gratified by the proposal; but, nevertheless, with the truespirit of the gentlewoman, she answered:--"Nay but, madam, tell me that which I may do for you, and if itshall be such as I may honourably do, gladly will I do it, and then you shall do as you may be minded." Saidthen the Countess:--"I require of you, that through some one in whom you trust you send word to the Count,my husband, that your daughter is ready to yield herself entirely to his will, so she may be sure that he lovesher even as he professes; whereof she will never be convinced, until he send her the ring which he wears onhis finger, and which, she understands, he prizes so much: which, being sent, you shall give to me, and shallthen send him word that your daughter is ready to do his pleasure, and, having brought him hither secretly,you shall contrive that I lie by his side instead of your daughter. Perchance, by God's grace I shall conceive,and so, having his ring on my finger, and a son gotten of him on my arm, shall have him for my own again,and live with him even as a wife should live with her husband, and owe it all to you."

The lady felt that 'twas not a little that the Countess craved of her, for she feared lest it should bring reproachupon her daughter: but she reflected that to aid the good lady to recover her husband was an honourableenterprise, and that in undertaking it she would be subserving a like end; and so, trusting in the good andvirtuous disposition of the Countess, she not only promised to do as she was required, but in no long time,proceeding with caution and secrecy, as she had been bidden, she both had the ring from the Count, loaththough he was to part with it, and cunningly contrived that the Countess should lie with him in place of herdaughter. In which first commingling, so ardently sought by the Count, it so pleased God that the lady wasgotten, as in due time her delivery made manifest, with two sons. Nor once only, but many times did the ladygratify the Countess with the embraces of her husband, using such secrecy that no word thereof ever got wind,the Count all the while supposing that he lay, not with his wife, but with her that he loved, and being wont togive her, as he left her in the morning, some fair and rare jewel, which she jealously guarded.

When she perceived that she was with child, the Countess, being minded no more to burden the lady withsuch service, said to her:--"Madam, thanks be to God and to you, I now have that which I desired, andtherefore 'tis time that I make you grateful requital, and take my leave of you." The lady answered that shewas glad if the Countess had gotten aught that gave her joy; but that 'twas not as hoping to have guerdonthereof that she had done her part, but simply because she deemed it meet and her duty so to do. "Well said,madam," returned the Countess, "and in like manner that which you shall ask of me I shall not give you byway of guerdon, but because I deem it meet and my duty to give it." Whereupon the lady, yielding tonecessity, and abashed beyond measure, asked of her a hundred pounds wherewith to marry her daughter. TheCountess, marking her embarrassment, and the modesty of her request, gave her five hundred pounds besidesjewels fair and rare, worth, perhaps, no less; and having thus much more than contented her, and received hersuperabundant thanks, she took leave of her and returned to the inn. The lady, to render purposeless furthervisits or messages on Bertrand's part, withdrew with her daughter to the house of her kinsfolk in the country;nor was it long before Bertrand, on the urgent entreaty of his vassals and intelligence of the departure of hiswife, quitted Florence and returned home. Greatly elated by this intelligence, the Countess tarried awhile inFlorence, and was there delivered of two sons as like as possible to their father, whom she nurtured withsedulous care. But by and by she saw fit to take the road, and being come, unrecognized by any, toMontpellier, rested there a few days; and being on the alert for news of the Count and where he was, shelearned that on All Saints' day he was to hold a great reception of ladies and gentlemen at Roussillon.Whither, retaining her now wonted pilgrim's weeds, she hied her, and finding that the ladies and gentlemenwere all gathered in the Count's palace and on the point of going to table, she tarried not to change her dress,but went up into the hall, bearing her little ones in her arms, and threading her way through the throng to theplace where she saw the Count stand, she threw herself at his feet, and sobbing, said to him:--"My lord, thyhapless bride am I, who to ensure thy homecoming and abidance in peace have long time been a wanderer,

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and now demand of thee observance of the condition whereof word was brought me by the two knights whomI sent to thee. Lo in my arms not one son only but twain, gotten of thee, and on my finger thy ring. 'Tis time,then, that I be received of thee as thy wife according to thy word." Whereat the Count was all dumfounded,recognizing the ring and his own lineaments in the children, so like were they to him; but saying to himselfnevertheless:-- "How can it have come about?" So the Countess, while the Count and all that were presentmarvelled exceedingly, told what had happened, and the manner of it, in precise detail. Wherefore the Count,perceiving that she spoke truth, and having regard to her perseverance and address and her two fine boys, andthe wishes of all his vassals and the ladies, who with one accord besought him to own and honour herthenceforth as his lawful bride, laid aside his harsh obduracy, and raised the Countess to her feet, andembraced and kissed her, and acknowledged her for his lawful wife, and the children for his own. Then,having caused her to be rearrayed in garments befitting her rank, he, to the boundless delight of as many aswere there, and of all other his vassals, gave up that day and some that followed to feasting and merrymaking;and did ever thenceforth honour, love and most tenderly cherish her as his bride and wife.


-- Alibech turns hermit, and is taught by Rustico, a monk, how the Devil is put in hell. She is afterwardsconveyed thence, and becomes the wife of Neerbale. --

Dioneo, observing that the queen's story, which he had followed with the closest attention, was now ended,and that it only remained for him to speak, waited not to be bidden, but smilingly thus began:--

Gracious ladies, perchance you have not yet heard how the Devil is put in hell; wherefore, without deviatingfar from the topic of which you have discoursed throughout the day, I will tell you how 'tis done; it may be thelesson will prove inspiring; besides which, you may learn therefrom that, albeit Love prefers the gay palaceand the dainty chamber to the rude cabin, yet, for all that, he may at times manifest his might in wilds mattedwith forests, rugged with alps, and desolate with caverns: whereby it may be understood that all things aresubject to his sway. But--to come to my story--I say that in the city of Capsa(1) in Barbary there was once avery rich man, who with other children had a fair and dainty little daughter, Alibech by name. Now Alibech,not being a Christian, and hearing many Christians, that were in the city, speak much in praise of the ChristianFaith and the service of God, did one day inquire of one of them after what fashion it were possible to serveGod with as few impediments as might be, and was informed that they served God best who most completelyrenounced the world and its affairs; like those who had fixed their abode in the wilds of the Thebaid desert.Whereupon, actuated by no sober predilection, but by childish impulse, the girl, who was very simple andabout fourteen years of age, said never a word more of the matter, but stole away on the morrow, and quitealone set out to walk to the Thebaid desert; and, by force of resolution, albeit with no small suffering, she aftersome days reached those wilds; where, espying a cabin a great way off, she hied her thither, and found a holyman by the door, who, marvelling to see her there, asked her what she came there to seek. She answered that,guided by the spirit of God, she was come thither, seeking, if haply she might serve Him, and also find someone that might teach her how He ought to be served. Marking her youth and great beauty, the worthy man,fearing lest, if he suffered her to remain with him, he should be ensnared by the Devil, commended her goodintention, set before her a frugal repast of roots of herbs, crab-apples and dates, with a little water to washthem down, and said to her:--"My daughter, there is a holy man not far from here, who is much better able toteach thee that of which thou art in quest than I am; go to him, therefore;" and he shewed her the way. Butwhen she was come whither she was directed, she met with the same answer as before, and so, setting forthagain, she came at length to the cell of a young hermit, a worthy man and very devout-- his nameRustico--whom she interrogated as she had the others. Rustico, being minded to make severe trial of hisconstancy, did not send her away, as the others had done, but kept her with him in his cell, and when nightcame, made her a little bed of palm-leaves; whereon he bade her compose herself to sleep. Hardly had shedone so before the solicitations of the flesh joined battle with the powers of Rustico's spirit, and he, findinghimself left in the lurch by the latter, endured not many assaults before he beat a retreat, and surrendered atdiscretion: wherefore he bade adieu to holy meditation and prayer and discipline, and fell a musing on the

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youth and beauty of his companion, and also how he might so order his conversation with her, that withoutseeming to her to be a libertine he might yet compass that which he craved of her. So, probing her by certainquestions, he discovered that she was as yet entirely without cognizance of man, and as simple as she seemed:wherefore he excogitated a plan for bringing her to pleasure him under colour of serving God. He began bygiving her a long lecture on the great enmity that subsists between God and the Devil; after which he gave herto understand that, God having condemned the Devil to hell, to put him there was of all services the mostacceptable to God. The girl asking him how it might be done, Rustico answered:--"Thou shalt know it in atrice; thou hast but to do that which thou seest me do." Then, having divested himself of his scanty clothing,he threw himself stark naked on his knees, as if he would pray; whereby he caused the girl, who followed hisexample, to confront him in the same posture. Whereupon Rustico, seeing her so fair, felt an accession ofdesire, and therewith came an insurgence of the flesh, which Alibech marking with surprise, said:--"Rustico,what is this, which I see thee have, that so protrudes, and which I have not?" "Oh! my daughter," said Rustico,"'tis the Devil of whom I have told thee: and, seest thou? he is now tormenting me most grievously, insomuchthat I am scarce able to hold out." Then:--"Praise be to God," said the girl, "I see that I am in better case thanthou, for no such Devil have I." "Sooth sayst thou," returned Rustico; "but instead of him thou hast somewhatelse that I have not." "Oh!" said Alibech, "what may that be?" "Hell," answered Rustico: "and I tell thee, that'tis my belief that God has sent thee hither for the salvation of my soul; seeing that, if this Devil shall continueto plague me thus, then, so thou wilt have compassion on me and permit me to put him in hell, thou wilt bothafford me great and exceeding great solace, and render to God an exceeding most acceptable service, if, asthou sayst, thou art come into these parts for such a purpose." In good faith the girl made answer:--"As I havehell to match your Devil, be it, my father, as and when you will." Whereupon:--"Bless thee, my daughter,"said Rustico, "go we then, and put him there, that he leave me henceforth in peace." Which said, he took thegirl to one of the beds and taught her the posture in which she must lie in order to incarcerate this spiritaccursed of God. The girl, having never before put any devil in hell, felt on this first occasion a twinge ofpain: wherefore she said to Rustico:--"Of a surety, my father, he must be a wicked fellow, this devil, and invery truth a foe to God; for there is sorrow even in hell--not to speak of other places--when he is put there.""Daughter," said Rustico, "'twill not be always so." And for better assurance thereof they put him there sixtimes before they quitted the bed; whereby they so thoroughly abased his pride that he was fain to be quiet.However, the proud fit returning upon him from time to time, and the girl addressing herself alwaysobediently to its reduction, it so befell that she began to find the game agreeable, and would say toRustico:--"Now see I plainly that 'twas true, what the worthy men said at Capsa, of the service of God beingso delightful: indeed I cannot remember that in aught that ever I did I had so much pleasure, so much solace,as in putting the Devil in hell; for which cause I deem it insensate folly on the part of any one to have a care toaught else than the service of God." Wherefore many a time she would come to Rustico, and say to him:--"Myfather, 'twas to serve God that I came hither, and not to pass my days in idleness: go we then, and put theDevil in hell." And while they did so, she would now and again say:--"I know not, Rustico, why the Devilshould escape from hell; were he but as ready to stay there as hell is to receive and retain him, he would nevercome out of it." So, the girl thus frequently inviting and exhorting Rustico to the service of God, there came atlength a time when she had so thoroughly lightened his doublet that he shivered when another would havesweated; wherefore he began to instruct her that the Devil was not to be corrected and put in hell, save whenhis head was exalted with pride; adding, "and we by God's grace have brought him to so sober a mind that heprays God he may be left in peace;" by which means he for a time kept the girl quiet. But when she saw thatRustico had no more occasion for her to put the Devil in hell, she said to him one day:--"Rustico, if thy Devilis chastened and gives thee no more trouble, my hell, on the other hand, gives me no peace; wherefore, I withmy hell have holpen thee to abase the pride of thy Devil, so thou wouldst do well to lend me the aid of thyDevil to allay the fervent heat of my hell." Rustico, whose diet was roots of herbs and water, was scarce ableto respond to her demands: he told her that 'twould require not a few devils to allay the heat of hell; but that hewould do what might be in his power; and so now and again he satisfied her; but so seldom that 'twas as if hehad tossed a bean into the jaws of a lion. Whereat the girl, being fain of more of the service of God than shehad, did somewhat repine. However, the case standing thus (deficiency of power against superfluity of desire)between Rustico's Devil and Alibech's hell, it chanced that a fire broke out in Capsa, whereby the house ofAlibech's father was burned, and he and all his sons and the rest of his household perished; so that Alibech

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was left sole heiress of all his estate. And a young gallant, Neerbale by name, who by reckless munificencehad wasted all his substance, having discovered that she was alive, addressed himself to the pursuit of her,and, having found her in time to prevent the confiscation of her father's estate as an escheat for failure ofheirs, took her, much to Rustico's relief and against her own will, back to Capsa, and made her his wife, andshared with her her vast patrimony. But before he had lain with her, she was questioned by the ladies of themanner in which she had served God in the desert; whereto she answered, that she had been wont to serveHim by putting the Devil in hell, and that Neerbale had committed a great sin, when he took her out of suchservice. The ladies being curious to know how the Devil was put in hell, the girl satisfied them, partly bywords, partly by signs. Whereat they laughed exorbitantly (and still laugh) and said to her:--"Be notdown-hearted, daughter; 'tis done here too; Neerbale will know well how to serve God with you in that way."And so the story passing from mouth to mouth throughout the city, it came at last to be a common proverb,that the most acceptable service that can be rendered to God is to put the Devil in hell; which proverb, havingtravelled hither across the sea, is still current. Wherefore, young ladies, you that have need of the grace ofGod, see to it that you learn how to put the Devil in hell, because 'tis mightily pleasing to God, and of greatsolace to both the parties, and much good may thereby be engendered and ensue.

(1) Now Gafsa, in Tunis.

A thousand times or more had Dioneo's story brought the laugh to the lips of the honourable ladies, so quaintand curiously entertaining found they the fashion of it. And now at its close the queen, seeing the term of hersovereignty come, took the laurel wreath from her head, and with mien most debonair, set it on the brow ofFilostrato, saying:--"We shall soon see whether the wolf will know better how to guide the sheep than thesheep have yet succeeded in guiding the wolves." Whereat Filostrato said with a laugh:- -"Had I beenhearkened to, the wolves would have taught the sheep to put the Devil in hell even as Rustico taught Alibech.Wherefore call us not wolves, seeing that you have not shewn yourselves sheep: however, as best I may beable, I will govern the kingdom committed to my charge." Whereupon Neifile took him up: "Hark ye,Filostrato," she said, "while you thought to teach us, you might have learnt a lesson from us, as did Masetto daLamporecchio from the nuns, and have recovered your speech when the bones had learned to whistle withouta master."(1) Filostrato, perceiving that there was a scythe for each of his arrows, gave up jesting, andaddressed himself to the governance of his kingdom. He called the seneschal, and held him strictly to accountin every particular; he then judiciously ordered all matters as he deemed would be best and most to thesatisfaction of the company, while his sovereignty should last; and having so done, he turned to the ladies, andsaid:--"Loving ladies, as my ill luck would have it, since I have had wit to tell good from evil, the charms ofone or other of you have kept me ever a slave to Love: and for all I shewed myself humble and obedient andconformable, so far as I knew how, to all his ways, my fate has been still the same, to be discarded foranother, and go ever from bad to worse; and so, I suppose, 'twill be with me to the hour of my death.Wherefore I am minded that to-morrow our discourse be of no other topic than that which is most germane tomy condition, to wit, of those whose loves had a disastrous close: because mine, I expect, will in the long runbe most disastrous; nor for other cause was the name, by which you address me, given me by one that wellknew its signification." Which said, he arose, and dismissed them all until supper-time.

So fair and delightsome was the garden that none saw fit to quit it, and seek diversion elsewhere. Rather--forthe sun now shone with a tempered radiance that caused no discomfort--some of the ladies gave chase to thekids and conies and other creatures that haunted it, and, scampering to and fro among them as they sate, hadcaused them a hundred times, or so, some slight embarrassment. Dioneo and Fiammetta fell a singing ofMesser Guglielmo and the lady of Vergiu.(2) Filomena and Pamfilo sat them down to a game of chess; and, asthus they pursued each their several diversions, time sped so swiftly that the supper-hour stole upon themalmost unawares: whereupon they ranged the tables round the beautiful fountain, and supped with all glad andfestal cheer.

When the tables were removed, Filostrato, being minded to follow in the footsteps of his fair predecessors insway, bade Lauretta lead a dance and sing a song. She answered:--"My lord, songs of others know I none, nor

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does my memory furnish me with any of mine own that seems meet for so gay a company; but, if you will becontent with what I have, gladly will I give you thereof." "Nought of thine," returned the king, "could be otherthan goodly and delectable. Wherefore give us even what thou hast." So encouraged, Lauretta, with dulcetvoice, but manner somewhat languishing, raised the ensuing strain, to which the other ladies responded:--

What dame disconsolate May so lament as I, That vainly sigh, to Love still dedicate?

He that the heaven and every orb doth move Formed me for His delight Fair, debonair and gracious, apt forlove; That here on earth each soaring spirit might Have foretaste how, above, That beauty shews that standethin His sight. Ah! but dull wit and slight, For that it judgeth ill, Liketh me not, nay, doth me vilely rate.

There was who loved me, and my maiden grace Did fondly clip and strain, As in his arms, so in his soul'sembrace, And from mine eyes Love's fire did drink amain, And time that glides apace In nought but courtingme to spend was fain Whom courteous I did deign Ev'n as my peer to entreat; But am of him bereft! Ah!dolorous fate!

Came to me next a gallant swol'n with pride, Brave, in his own conceit, And no less noble eke. Whom woebetide That he me took, and holds in all unmeet Suspicion, jealous-eyed! And I, who wot that me the worldshould greet As the predestined sweet Of many men, well-nigh Despair, to be to one thus subjugate.

Ah! woe is me! cursed be the luckless day, When, a new gown to wear, I said the fatal ay; for blithe and gayIn that plain gown I lived, no whit less fair; While in this rich array A sad and far less honoured life I bear!Would I had died, or e'er Sounded those notes of joy (Ah! dolorous cheer!) my woe to celebrate!

So list my supplication, lover dear, Of whom such joyance I, As ne'er another, had. Thou that in clear Light ofthe Maker's presence art, deny Not pity to thy fere, Who thee may ne'er forget; but let one sigh Breathe tidingsthat on high Thou burnest still for me; And sue of God that He me there translate.

So ended Lauretta her song, to which all hearkened attentively, though not all interpreted it alike. Some wereinclined to give it a moral after the Milanese fashion, to wit, that a good porker was better than a pretty quean.Others construed it in a higher, better and truer sense, which 'tis not to the present purpose to unfold. Somemore songs followed by command of the king, who caused torches not a few to be lighted and ranged aboutthe flowery mead; and so the night was prolonged until the last star that had risen had begun to set. Then,bethinking him that 'twas time for slumber, the king bade all good-night, and dismissed them to their severalchambers.

(1) I.e. when you were so emaciated that your bones made music like a skeleton in the wind.

(2) Evidently some version of the tragical conte "de la Chastelaine de Vergi, qui mori por laialment amer sonami." See "Fabliaux et Contes," ed. Barbazan, iv. 296: and cf. Bandello, Pt. iv. Nov. v, and Heptameron,Journee vii. Nouvelle lxx.

-- Endeth here the third day of the Decameron, beginneth the fourth, in which, under the rule of Filostrato,discourse is had of those whose loves had a disastrous close. --

Dearest ladies, as well from what I heard in converse with the wise, as from matters that not seldom fellwithin my own observation and reading, I formed the opinion that the vehement and scorching blast of envywas apt to vent itself only upon lofty towers or the highest tree-tops: but therein I find that I misjudged; for,whereas I ever sought and studied how best to elude the buffetings of that furious hurricane, and to that endkept a course not merely on the plain, but, by preference, in the depth of the valley; as should be abundantlyclear to whoso looks at these little stories, written as they are not only in the vulgar Florentine, and in prose,and without dedicatory flourish, but also in as homely and simple a style as may be; nevertheless all this has

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not stood me in such stead but that I have been shrewdly shaken, nay, all but uprooted by the blast, andaltogether lacerated by the bite of this same envy. Whereby I may very well understand that 'tis true, what thesages aver, that only misery is exempt from envy in the present life. Know then, discreet my ladies, that somethere are, who, reading these little stories, have alleged that I am too fond of you, and that 'tis not a seemlything that I should take so much pleasure in ministering to your gratification and solace; and some have foundmore fault with me for praising you as I do. Others, affecting to deliver a more considered judgment, havesaid that it ill befits my time of life to ensue such matters, to wit, the discoursing of women, or endeavouringto pleasure them. And not a few, feigning a mighty tender regard to my fame, aver that I should do morewisely to keep ever with the Muses on Parnassus, than to forgather with you in such vain dalliance. Thoseagain there are, who, evincing less wisdom than despite, have told me that I should shew sounder sense if Ibethought me how to get my daily bread, than, going after these idle toys, to nourish myself upon the wind;while certain others, in disparagement of my work, strive might and main to make it appear that the matterswhich I relate fell out otherwise than as I set them forth. Such then, noble ladies, are the blasts, such the sharpand cruel fangs, by which, while I champion your cause, I am assailed, harassed and well-nigh piercedthrough and through. Which censures I hear and mark, God knows, with equal mind: and, though to youbelongs all my defence, yet I mean not to be nigg*rd of my own powers, but rather, without dealing out tothem the castigation they deserve, to give them such slight answer as may secure my ears some respite of theirclamour; and that without delay; seeing that, if already, though I have not completed the third part of mywork, they are not a few and very presumptuous, I deem it possible, that before I have reached the end, shouldthey receive no check, they may have grown so numerous, that 'twould scarce tax their powers to sink me; andthat your forces, great though they be, would not suffice to withstand them. However I am minded to answernone of them, until I have related in my behoof, not indeed an entire story, for I would not seem to foist mystories in among those of so honourable a company as that with which I have made you acquainted, but a partof one, that its very incompleteness may shew that it is not one of them: wherefore, addressing my assailants, Isay:--That in our city there was in old time a citizen named Filippo Balducci, a man of quite low origin, but ofgood substance and well versed and expert in matters belonging to his condition, who had a wife that he mostdearly loved, as did she him, so that their life passed in peace and concord, nor there was aught they studied somuch as how to please each other perfectly. Now it came to pass, as it does to every one, that the good ladydeparted this life, leaving Filippo nought of hers but an only son, that she had had by him, and who was thenabout two years old. His wife's death left Filippo as disconsolate as ever was any man for the loss of a lovedone: and sorely missing the companionship that was most dear to him, he resolved to have done with theworld, and devote himself and his little son to the service of God. Wherefore, having dedicated all his goodsto charitable uses, he forthwith betook him to the summit of Monte Asinaio, where he installed himself withhis son in a little cell, and living on alms, passed his days in fasting and prayer, being careful above all thingsto say nothing to the boy of any temporal matters, nor to let him see aught of the kind, lest they should distracthis mind from his religious exercises, but discoursing with him continually of the glory of the life eternal andof God and the saints, and teaching him nought else but holy orisons: in which way of life he kept him not afew years, never suffering him to quit the cell or see aught but himself. From time to time the worthy manwould go Florence, where divers of the faithful would afford him relief according to his needs, and so hewould return to his cell. And thus it fell out that one day Filippo, now an aged man, being asked by the boy,who was about eighteen years old, whither he went, told him. Whereupon:--"Father," said the boy, "you arenow old, and scarce able to support fatigue; why take you me not with you for once to Florence, and give meto know devout friends of God and you, so that I, who am young and fitter for such exertion than you, maythereafter go to Florence for our supplies at your pleasure, and you remain here?"

The worthy man, bethinking him that his son was now grown up, and so habituated to the service of God ashardly to be seduced by the things of the world, said to himself:--"He says well." And so, as he must needs goto Florence, he took the boy with him. Where, seeing the palaces, the houses, the churches, and all matterselse with which the city abounds, and of which he had no more recollection than if he had never seen them,the boy found all passing strange, and questioned his father of not a few of them, what they were and howthey were named; his curiosity being no sooner satisfied in one particular than he plied his father with afurther question. And so it befell that, while son and father were thus occupied in asking and answering

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questions, they encountered a bevy of damsels, fair and richly arrayed, being on their return from a wedding;whom the young man no sooner saw, than he asked his father what they might be. "My son," answered thefather, "fix thy gaze on the ground, regard them not at all, for naughty things are they." "Oh!" said the son,"and what is their name?" The father, fearing to awaken some mischievous craving of concupiscence in theyoung man, would not denote them truly, to wit, as women, but said:--"They are called goslings." Whereupon,wonderful to tell! the lad who had never before set eyes on any woman, thought no more of the palaces, theoxen, the horses, the asses, the money, or aught else that he had seen, but exclaimed:--"Prithee, father, let mehave one of those goslings." "Alas, my son," replied the father, "speak not of them; they are naughty things.""Oh!" questioned the son; "but are naughty things made like that?" "Ay," returned the father. Whereupon theson:--"I know not," he said, "what you say, nor why they should be naughty things: for my part I have as yetseen nought that seemed to me so fair and delectable. They are fairer than the painted angels that you have sooften shewn me. Oh! if you love me, do but let us take one of these goslings up there, and I will see that shehave whereon to bill." "Nay," said the father, "that will not I. Thou knowest not whereon they bill;" andstraightway, being ware that nature was more potent than his art, he repented him that he had brought the boyto Florence.

But enough of this story: 'tis time for me to cut it short, and return to those, for whose instruction 'tis told.They say then, some of these my censors, that I am too fond of you, young ladies, and am at too great pains topleasure you. Now that I am fond of you, and am at pains to pleasure you, I do most frankly and fully confess;and I ask them whether, considering only all that it means to have had, and to have continually, before one'seyes your debonair demeanour, your bewitching beauty and exquisite grace, and therewithal your modestwomanliness, not to speak of having known the amorous kisses, the caressing embraces, the voluptuouscomminglings, whereof our intercourse with you, ladies most sweet, not seldom is productive, they do verilymarvel that I am fond of you, seeing that one who was nurtured, reared, and brought up on a savage andsolitary mountain, within the narrow circuit of a cell, without other companion than his father, had no soonerseen you than 'twas you alone that he desired, that he demanded, that he sought with ardour? Will they tear,will they lacerate me with their censures, if I, whose body Heaven fashioned all apt for love, whose soul fromvery boyhood was dedicate to you, am not insensible to the power of the light of your eyes, to the sweetnessof your honeyed words, to the flame that is kindled by your gentle sighs, but am fond of you and sedulous topleasure you; you, again I bid them remember, in whom a hermit, a rude, witless lad, liker to an animal than toa human being, found more to delight him than in aught else that he saw? Of a truth whoso taxes me thus mustbe one that, feeling, knowing nought of the pleasure and power of natural affection, loves you not, nor cravesyour love; and such an one I hold in light esteem. And as for those that go about to find ground of exceptionin my age, they do but shew that they ill understand that the leek, albeit its head is white, has a green tail. Butjesting apart, thus I answer them, that never to the end of my life shall I deem it shameful to me to pleasurethose to whom Guido Cavalcanti and Dante Alighieri in their old age, and Messer Cino da Pistoia in extremeold age, accounted it an honour and found it a delight to minister gratification. And but that 'twere a deviationfrom the use and wont of discourse, I would call history to my aid, and shew it to abound with stories of noblemen of old time, who in their ripest age studied above all things else to pleasure the ladies; whereof if they beignorant, go they and get them to school. To keep with the Muses on Parnassus is counsel I approve; but tarrywith them always we cannot, nor they with us, nor is a man blameworthy, if, when he happen to part fromthem, he find his delight in those that resemble them. The Muses are ladies, and albeit ladies are not the peersof the Muses, yet they have their outward semblance; for which cause, if for no other, 'tis reasonable that Ishould be fond of them. Besides which, ladies have been to me the occasion of composing some thousandverses, but of never a verse that I made were the Muses the occasion. Howbeit 'twas with their aid, 'twas undertheir influence that I composed those thousand verses, and perchance they have sometimes visited me toencourage me in my present task, humble indeed though it be, doing honour and paying, as it were, tribute, tothe likeness which the ladies have to them; wherefore, while I weave these stories, I stray not so far fromMount Parnassus and the Muses as not a few perchance suppose. But what shall we say to those, in whom myhunger excites such commiseration that they bid me get me bread? Verily I know not, save this:-- Supposethat in my need I were to beg bread of them, what would be their answer? I doubt not they would say:--"Goseek it among the fables." And in sooth the poets have found more bread among their fables than many rich

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men among their treasures. And many that have gone after fables have crowned their days with splendour,while, on the other hand, not a few, in the endeavour to get them more bread than they needed, have perishedmiserably. But why waste more words on them? Let them send me packing, when I ask bread of them; notthat, thank God, I have yet need of it, and should I ever come to be in need of it, I know, like the Apostle, howto abound and to be in want, and so am minded to be beholden to none but myself. As for those who say thatthese matters fell out otherwise than as I relate them, I should account it no small favour, if they wouldproduce the originals, and should what I write not accord with them, I would acknowledge the justice of theircensure, and study to amend my ways; but, until better evidence is forthcoming than their words, I shalladhere to my own opinion without seeking to deprive them of theirs, and give them tit for tat. And beingminded that for this while this answer suffice, I say that with God and you, in whom I trust, most gentleladies, to aid and protect me, and patience for my stay, I shall go forward with my work, turning my back onthis tempest, however it may rage; for I see not that I can fare worse than the fine dust, which the blast of thewhirlwind either leaves where it lies, or bears aloft, not seldom over the heads of men, over the crowns ofkings, of emperors, and sometimes suffers to settle on the roofs of lofty palaces, and the summits of the tallesttowers, whence if it fall, it cannot sink lower than the level from which it was raised. And if I ever devotedmyself and all my powers to minister in any wise to your gratification, I am now minded more than ever so todo, because I know that there is nought that any can justly say in regard thereof, but that I, and others wholove you, follow the promptings of nature, whose laws whoso would withstand, has need of powerspre-eminent, and, even so, will oft-times labour not merely in vain but to his own most grievous disadvantage.Such powers I own that I neither have, nor, to such end, desire to have; and had I them, I would rather leavethem to another than use them myself. Wherefore let my detractors hold their peace, and if they cannot getheat, why, let them shiver their life away; and, while they remain addicted to their delights, or rather corrupttastes, let them leave me to follow my own bent during the brief life that is accorded us. But this has been along digression, fair ladies, and 'tis time to retrace our steps to the point where we deviated, and continue inthe course on which we started.

The sun had chased every star from the sky, and lifted the dank murk of night from the earth, when, Filostratobeing risen, and having roused all his company, they hied them to the fair garden, and there fell to disportingthemselves: the time for breakfast being come, they took it where they had supped on the preceding evening,and after they had slept they rose, when the sun was in his zenith, and seated themselves in their wontedmanner by the beautiful fountain; where Fiammetta, being bidden by Filostrato to lead off the story-telling,awaited no second command, but debonairly thus began.


-- Tancred, Prince of Salerno, slays his daughter's lover, and sends her his heart in a golden cup: she poursupon it a poisonous distillation, which she drinks and dies. --

A direful theme has our king allotted us for to-day's discourse seeing that, whereas we are here met for ourcommon delectation, needs must we now tell of others' tears, whereby, whether telling or hearing, we cannotbut be moved to pity. Perchance 'twas to temper in some degree the gaiety of the past days that he so ordained,but, whatever may have been his intent, his will must be to me immutable law; wherefore I will narrate to youa matter that befell piteously, nay woefully, and so as you may well weep thereat.

Tancred, Prince of Salerno, a lord most humane and kind of heart, but that in his old age he imbrued his handsin the blood of a lover, had in the whole course of his life but one daughter; and had he not had her, he hadbeen more fortunate.

Never was daughter more tenderly beloved of father than she of the Prince, who, for that cause not knowinghow to part with her, kept her unmarried for many a year after she had come of marriageable age: then at lasthe gave her to a son of the Duke of Capua, with whom she had lived but a short while, when he died and shereturned to her father. Most lovely was she of form and feature (never woman more so), and young and light

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of heart, and more knowing, perchance, than beseemed a woman. Dwelling thus with her loving father, as agreat lady, in no small luxury, nor failing to see that the Prince, for the great love he bore her, was at no painsto provide her with another husband, and deeming it unseemly on her part to ask one of him, she cast abouthow she might come by a gallant to be her secret lover. And seeing at her father's court not a few men, bothgentle and simple, that resorted thither, as we know men use to frequent courts, and closely scanning theirmien and manners, she preferred before all others the Prince's page, Guiscardo by name, a man of veryhumble origin, but pre-eminent for native worth and noble bearing; of whom, seeing him frequently, shebecame hotly enamoured, hourly extolling his qualities more and more highly. The young man, who for all hisyouth by no means lacked shrewdness, read her heart, and gave her his own on such wise that his love for herengrossed his mind to the exclusion of almost everything else. While thus they burned in secret for oneanother, the lady, desiring of all things a meeting with Guiscardo, but being shy of making any her confidant,hit upon a novel expedient to concert the affair with him. She wrote him a letter containing her commands forthe ensuing day, and thrust it into a cane in the space between two of the knots, which cane she gave toGuiscardo, saying:--"Thou canst let thy servant have it for a bellows to blow thy fire up to night." Guiscardotook it, and feeling sure that 'twas not unadvisedly that she made him such a present, accompanied with suchwords, hied him straight home, where, carefully examining the cane, he observed that it was cleft, and,opening it, found the letter; which he had no sooner read, and learned what he was to do, than, pleased as ne'eranother, he fell to devising how to set all in order that he might not fail to meet the lady on the following day,after the manner she had prescribed.

Now hard by the Prince's palace was a grotto, hewn in days of old in the solid rock, and now long disused, sothat an artificial orifice, by which it received a little light, was all but choked with brambles and plants thatgrew about and overspread it. From one of the ground-floor rooms of the palace, which room was part of thelady's suite, a secret stair led to the grotto, though the entrance was barred by a very strong door. This stair,having been from time immemorial disused, had passed out of mind so completely that there was scarce anythat remembered that it was there: but Love, whose eyes nothing, however secret, may escape, had brought itto the mind of the enamoured lady. For many a day, using all secrecy, that none should discover her, she hadwrought with her tools, until she had succeeded in opening the door; which done, she had gone down into thegrotto alone, and having observed the orifice, had by her letter apprised Guiscardo of its apparent heightabove the floor of the grotto, and bidden him contrive some means of descending thereby. Eager to carry theaffair through, Guiscardo lost no time in rigging up a ladder of ropes, whereby he might ascend and descend;and having put on a suit of leather to protect him from the brambles, he hied him the following night (keepingthe affair close from all) to the orifice, made the ladder fast by one of its ends to a massive trunk that wasrooted in the mouth of the orifice, climbed down the ladder, and awaited the lady. On the morrow, making asif she would fain sleep, the lady dismissed her damsels, and locked herself into her room: she then opened thedoor of the grotto, hied her down, and met Guiscardo, to their marvellous mutual satisfaction. The lovers thenrepaired to her room, where in exceeding great joyance they spent no small part of the day. Nor were theyneglectful of the precautions needful to prevent discovery of their amour; but in due time Guiscardo returnedto the grotto; whereupon the lady locked the door and rejoined her damsels. At nightfall Guiscardo reascendedhis ladder, and, issuing forth of the orifice, hied him home; nor, knowing now the way, did he fail to revisitthe grotto many a time thereafter.

But Fortune, noting with envious eye a happiness of such degree and duration, gave to events a dolorous turn,whereby the joy of the two lovers was converted into bitter lamentation. 'Twas Tancred's custom to comefrom time to time quite alone to his daughter's room, and tarry talking with her a while. Whereby it so befellthat he came down there one day after breakfast, while Ghismonda--such was the lady's name--was in hergarden with her damsels; so that none saw or heard him enter; nor would he call his daughter, for he wasminded that she should not forgo her pleasure. But, finding the windows closed and the bed-curtains drawndown, he seated himself on a divan that stood at one of the corners of the bed, rested his head on the bed, drewthe curtain over him, and thus, hidden as if of set purpose, fell asleep. As he slept Ghismonda, who, as ithappened, had caused Guiscardo to come that day, left her damsels in the garden, softly entered the room, andhaving locked herself in, unwitting that there was another in the room, opened the door to Guiscardo, who was

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in waiting. Straightway they got them to bed, as was their wont; and, while they there solaced and disportedthem together, it so befell that Tancred awoke, and heard and saw what they did: whereat he was troubledbeyond measure, and at first was minded to upbraid them; but on second thoughts he deemed it best to holdhis peace, and avoid discovery, if so he might with greater stealth and less dishonour carry out the designwhich was already in his mind. The two lovers continued long together, as they were wont, all unwitting ofTancred; but at length they saw fit to get out of bed, when Guiscardo went back to the grotto, and the ladyhied her forth of the room. Whereupon Tancred, old though he was, got out at one of the windows, clambereddown into the garden, and, seen by none, returned sorely troubled to his room. By his command two men tookGuiscardo early that same night, as he issued forth of the orifice accoutred in his suit of leather, and broughthim privily to Tancred; who, as he saw him, all but wept, and said:--"Guiscardo, my kindness to thee is illrequited by the outrage and dishonour which thou hast done me in the person of my daughter, as to-day I haveseen with my own eyes." To whom Guiscardo could answer nought but:--"Love is more potent than either,you or I." Tancred then gave order to keep him privily under watch and ward in a room within the palace; andso 'twas done. Next day, while Ghismonda wotted nought of these matters, Tancred, after pondering diversnovel expedients, hied him after breakfast, according to his wont, to his daughter's room, where, having calledher to him and locked himself in with her, he began, not without tears, to speak on this wise:--"Ghismonda,conceiving that I knew thy virtue and honour, never, though it had been reported to me, would I have credited,had I not seen with my own eyes, that thou wouldst so much as in idea, not to say fact, have ever yieldedthyself to any man but thy husband: wherefore, for the brief residue of life that my age has in store for me, thememory of thy fall will ever be grievous to me. And would to God, as thou must needs demean thyself to suchdishonour, thou hadst taken a man that matched thy nobility; but of all the men that frequent my court; thoumust needs choose Guiscardo, a young man of the lowest condition, a fellow whom we brought up in charityfrom his tender years; for whose sake thou hast plunged me into the abyss of mental tribulation, insomuch thatI know not what course to take in regard of thee. As to Guiscardo, whom I caused to be arrested last night ashe issued from the orifice, and keep in durance, my course is already taken, but how I am to deal with thee,God knows, I know not. I am distraught between the love which I have ever borne thee, love such as no fatherever bare to daughter, and the most just indignation evoked in me by thy signal folly; my love prompts me topardon thee, my indignation bids me harden my heart against thee, though I do violence to my nature. Butbefore I decide upon my course, I would fain hear what thou hast to say to this." So saying, he bent his head,and wept as bitterly as any child that had been soundly thrashed.

Her father's words, and the tidings they conveyed that not only was her secret passion discovered, butGuiscardo taken, caused Ghismonda immeasurable grief, which she was again and again on the point ofevincing, as most women do, by cries and tears; but her high spirit triumphed over this weakness; by aprodigious effort she composed her countenance, and taking it for granted that her Guiscardo was no more,she inly devoted herself to death rather than a single prayer for herself should escape her lips. Wherefore, notas a woman stricken with grief or chidden for a fault, but unconcerned and unabashed, with tearless eyes, andfrank and utterly dauntless mien, thus answered she her father:--"Tancred, your accusation I shall not deny,neither will I cry you mercy, for nought should I gain by denial, nor aught would I gain by supplication: naymore; there is nought I will do to conciliate thy humanity and love; my only care is to confess the truth, todefend my honour by words of sound reason, and then by deeds most resolute to give effect to the promptingsof my high soul. True it is that I have loved and love Guiscardo, and during the brief while I have yet to liveshall love him, nor after death, so there be then love, shall I cease to love him; but that I love him, is notimputable to my womanly frailty so much as to the little zeal thou shewedst for my bestowal in marriage, andto Guiscardo's own worth. It should not have escaped thee, Tancred, creature of flesh and blood as thou art,that thy daughter was also a creature of flesh and blood, and not of stone or iron; it was, and is, thy duty tobear in mind (old though thou art) the nature and the might of the laws to which youth is subject; and, thoughthou hast spent part of thy best years in martial exercises, thou shouldst nevertheless have not been ignoranthow potent is the influence even upon the aged--to say nothing of the young--of ease and luxury. And not onlyam I, as being thy daughter, a creature of flesh and blood, but my life is not so far spent but that I am stillyoung, and thus doubly fraught with fleshly appetite, the vehemence whereof is marvellously enhanced byreason that, having been married, I have known the pleasure that ensues upon the satisfaction of such desire.

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Which forces being powerless to withstand, I did but act as was natural in a young woman, when I gave wayto them, and yielded myself to love. Nor in sooth did I fail to the utmost of my power so to order theindulgence of my natural propensity that my sin should bring shame neither upon thee nor upon me. To whichend Love in his pity, and Fortune in a friendly mood, found and discovered to me a secret way, whereby, nonewitting, I attained my desire: this, from whomsoever thou hast learned it, howsoever thou comest to know it, Ideny not. 'Twas not at random, as many women do, that I loved Guiscardo; but by deliberate choice Ipreferred him before all other men, and of determinate forethought I lured him to my love, whereof, throughhis and my discretion and constancy, I have long had joyance. Wherein 'twould seem that thou, followingrather the opinion of the vulgar than the dictates of truth, find cause to chide me more severely than in mysinful love, for, as if thou wouldst not have been vexed, had my choice fallen on a nobleman, thoucomplainest that I have forgathered with a man of low condition; and dost not see that therein thou censurestnot my fault but that of Fortune, which not seldom raises the unworthy to high place and leaves the worthiestin low estate. But leave we this: consider a little the principles of things: thou seest that in regard of our fleshwe are all moulded of the same substance, and that all souls are endowed by one and the same Creator withequal faculties, equal powers, equal virtues. 'Twas merit that made the first distinction between us, born as wewere, nay, as we are, all equal, and those whose merits were and were approved in act the greatest were callednoble, and the rest were not so denoted. Which law, albeit overlaid by the contrary usage of after times, is notyet abrogated, nor so impaired but that it is still traceable in nature and good manners; for which cause whosowith merit acts, does plainly shew himself a gentleman; and if any denote him otherwise, the default is hisown and not his whom he so denotes. Pass in review all thy nobles, weigh their merits, their manners andbearing, and then compare Guiscardo's qualities with theirs: if thou wilt judge without prejudice, thou wiltpronounce him noble in the highest degree, and thy nobles one and all churls. As to Guiscardo's merits andworth I did but trust the verdict which thou thyself didst utter in words, and which mine own eyes confirmed.Of whom had he such commendation as of thee for all those excellences whereby a good man and true meritscommendation? And in sooth thou didst him but justice; for, unless mine eyes have played me false, there wasnought for which thou didst commend him but I had seen him practise it, and that more admirably than wordsof thine might express; and had I been at all deceived in this matter, 'twould have been by thee. Wilt thou saythen that I have forgathered with a man of low condition? If so, thou wilt not say true. Didst thou say with apoor man, the impeachment might be allowed, to thy shame, that thou so ill hast known how to requite a goodman and true that is thy servant; but poverty, though it take away all else, deprives no man of gentilesse.Many kings, many great princes, were once poor, and many a ditcher or herdsman has been and is verywealthy. As for thy last perpended doubt, to wit, how thou shouldst deal with me, banish it utterly from thythoughts. If in thy extreme old age thou art minded to manifest a harshness unwonted in thy youth, wreak thyharshness on me, resolved as I am to cry thee no mercy, prime cause as I am that this sin, if sin it be, has beencommitted; for of this I warrant thee, that as thou mayst have done or shalt do to Guiscardo, if to me thou donot the like, I with my own hands will do it. Now get thee gone to shed thy tears with the women, and whenthy melting mood is over, ruthlessly destroy Guiscardo and me, if such thou deem our merited doom, by oneand the same blow."

The loftiness of his daughter's spirit was not unknown to the Prince; but still he did not credit her with aresolve quite as firmly fixed as her words implied, to carry their purport into effect. So, parting from herwithout the least intention of using harshness towards her in her own person, he determined to quench the heatof her love by wreaking his vengeance on her lover, and bade the two men that had charge of Guiscardo tostrangle him noiselessly that same night, take the heart out of the body, and send it to him. The men did hisbidding: and on the morrow the Prince had a large and beautiful cup of gold brought to him, and having putGuiscardo's heart therein, sent it by the hand of one of his most trusted servants to his daughter, charging theservant to say, as he gave it to her:--"Thy father sends thee this to give thee joy of that which thou lovest best,even as thou hast given him joy of that which he loved best."

Now when her father had left her, Ghismonda, wavering not a jot in her stern resolve, had sent for poisonousherbs and roots, and therefrom had distilled a water, to have it ready for use, if that which she apprehendedshould come to pass. And when the servant appeared with the Prince's present and message, she took the cup

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unblenchingly, and having lifted the lid, and seen the heart, and apprehended the meaning of the words, andthat the heart was beyond a doubt Guiscardo's, she raised her head, and looking straight at the servant,said:--"Sepulture less honourable than of gold had ill befitted heart such as this: herein has my father donewisely." Which said, she raised it to her lips, and kissed it, saying:--"In all things and at all times, even to thislast hour of my life, have I found my father most tender in his love, but now more so than ever before;wherefore I now render him the last thanks which will ever be due from me to him for this goodly present."So she spoke, and straining the cup to her, bowed her head over it, and gazing at the heart, said:--"Ah! sojournmost sweet of all my joys, accursed be he by whose ruthless act I see thee with the bodily eye: 'twas enoughthat to the mind's eye thou wert hourly present. Thou hast run thy course; thou hast closed the span thatFortune allotted thee; thou hast reached the goal of all; thou hast left behind thee the woes and weariness ofthe world; and thy enemy has himself granted thee sepulture accordant with thy deserts. No circ*mstance waswanting to duly celebrate thy obsequies, save the tears of her whom, while thou livedst, thou didst so dearlylove; which that thou shouldst not lack, my remorseless father was prompted of God to send thee to me, and,albeit my resolve was fixed to die with eyes unmoistened and front all unperturbed by fear, yet will I accordthee my tears; which done, my care shall be forthwith by thy means to join my soul to that most precious soulwhich thou didst once enshrine. And is there other company than hers, in which with more of joy and peace Imight fare to the abodes unknown? She is yet here within, I doubt not, contemplating the abodes of her andmy delights, and--for sure I am that she loves me--awaiting my soul that loves her before all else."

Having thus spoken, she bowed herself low over the cup; and, while no womanish cry escaped her, 'twas as ifa fountain of water were unloosed within her head, so wondrous a flood of tears gushed from her eyes, whiletimes without number she kissed the dead heart. Her damsels that stood around her knew not whose the heartmight be or what her words might mean, but melting in sympathy, they all wept, and compassionately, asvainly, enquired the cause of her lamentation, and in many other ways sought to comfort her to the best oftheir understanding and power. When she had wept her fill, she raised her head, and dried her eyes. Then:--"Oheart," said she, "much cherished heart, discharged is my every duty towards thee; nought now remains for meto do but to come and unite my soul with thine." So saying, she sent for the vase that held the water which theday before she had distilled, and emptied it into the cup where lay the heart bathed in her tears; then, nowiseafraid, she set her mouth to the cup, and drained it dry, and so with the cup in her hand she got her upon herbed, and having there disposed her person in guise as seemly as she might, laid her dead lover's heart upon herown, and silently awaited death. Meanwhile the damsels, seeing and hearing what passed, but knowing notwhat the water was that she had drunk, had sent word of each particular to Tancred; who, apprehensive of thatwhich came to pass, came down with all haste to his daughter's room, where he arrived just as she got herupon her bed, and, now too late, addressed himself to comfort her with soft words, and seeing in what plightshe was, burst into a flood of bitter tears. To whom the lady:-- "Reserve thy tears, Tancred, till Fortune sendthee hap less longed for than this: waste them not on me who care not for them. Whoever yet saw any but theebewail the consummation of his desire? But, if of the love thou once didst bear me any spark still lives in thee,be it thy parting grace to me, that, as thou brookedst not that I should live with Guiscardo in privity andseclusion, so wherever thou mayst have caused Guiscardo's body to be cast, mine may be united with it in thecommon view of all." The Prince replied not for excess of grief; and the lady, feeling that her end was come,strained the dead heart to her bosom, saying:--"Fare ye well; I take my leave of you;" and with eyelidsdrooped and every sense evanished departed this life of woe. Such was the lamentable end of the loves ofGuiscardo and Ghismonda; whom Tancred, tardily repentant of his harshness, mourned not a little, as did alsoall the folk of Salerno, and had honourably interred side by side in the same tomb.


-- Fra Alberto gives a lady to understand that she is beloved of the Angel Gabriel, in whose shape he lies withher sundry times; afterward, for fear of her kinsmen, he flings himself forth of her house, and finds shelter inthe house of a poor man, who on the morrow leads him in the guise of a wild man into the piazza, where,being recognized, he is apprehended by his brethren and imprisoned. --

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More than once had Fiammetta's story brought tears to the eyes of her fair companions; but now that it wasended the king said with an austere air:--"I should esteem my life but a paltry price to pay for half the delightthat Ghismonda had with Guiscardo: whereat no lady of you all should marvel, seeing that each hour that Ilive I die a thousand deaths; nor is there so much as a particle of compensating joy allotted me. But a truce tomy own concerns: I ordain that Pampinea do next ensue our direful argument, wherewith the tenor of my lifein part accords, and if she follow in Fiammetta's footsteps, I doubt not I shall presently feel some drops of dewdistill upon my fire." Pampinea received the king's command in a spirit more accordant with what from herown bent she divined to be the wishes of her fair gossips than with the king's words; wherefore, being mindedrather to afford them some diversion, than, save as in duty bound, to satisfy the king, she made choice of astory which, without deviating from the prescribed theme, should move a laugh, and thus began:--

'Tis a proverb current among the vulgar, that:--"Whoso, being wicked, is righteous reputed, May sin as hewill, and 'twill ne'er be imputed." Which proverb furnishes me with abundant matter of discourse, germane toour theme, besides occasion to exhibit the quality and degree of the hypocrisy of the religious, who flaunt it inample flowing robes, and, with faces made pallid by art, with voices low and gentle to beg alms, most loudand haughty to reprove in others their own sins, would make believe that their way of salvation lies in takingfrom us and ours in giving to them; nay, more, as if they had not like us Paradise to win, but were already itslords and masters, assign therein to each that dies a place more or less exalted according to the amount of themoney that he has bequeathed to them; which if they believe, 'tis by dint of self-delusion, and to the effect ofdeluding all that put faith in their words. Of whose guile were it lawful for me to make as full exposure aswere fitting, not a few simple folk should soon be enlightened as to what they cloak within the folds of theirvoluminous habits. But would to God all might have the like reward of their lies as a certain friar minor, nonovice, but one that was reputed among their greatest(1) at Venice; whose story, rather than aught else, I amminded to tell you, if so I may, perchance, by laughter and jollity relieve in some degree your souls that areheavy laden with pity for the death of Ghismonda.

Know then, noble ladies, that there was in Imola a man of evil and corrupt life, Berto della Massa by name,whose pestilent practices came at length to be so well known to the good folk of Imola that 'twas all onewhether he lied or spoke the truth, for there was not a soul in Imola that believed a word he said: wherefore,seeing that his tricks would pass no longer there, he removed, as in despair, to Venice, that common sink of allabominations, thinking there to find other means than he had found elsewhere to the prosecution of hisnefarious designs. And, as if conscience-stricken for his past misdeeds, he assumed an air of the deepesthumility, turned the best Catholic of them all, and went and made himself a friar minor, taking the name ofFra Alberto da Imola. With his habit he put on a shew of austerity, highly commending penitence andabstinence, and eating or drinking no sort of meat or wine but such as was to his taste. And scarce a soul wasthere that wist that the thief, the pimp, the cheat, the assassin, had not been suddenly converted into a greatpreacher without continuing in the practice of the said iniquities, whensoever the same was privily possible.And withal, having got himself made priest, as often as he celebrated at the altar, he would weep over thepassion of our Lord, so there were folk in plenty to see, for tears cost him little enough, when he had a mind toshed them. In short, what with his sermons and his tears, he duped the folk of Venice to such a tune thatscarce a will was there made but he was its executor and depositary; nay, not a few made him trustee of theirmoneys, and most, or well-nigh most, men and women alike, their confessor and counsellor: in short, he hadput off the wolf and put on the shepherd, and the fame of his holiness was such in those parts that St. Francishimself had never the like at Assisi.

Now it so befell that among the ladies that came to confess to this holy friar was one Monna Lisetta of Ca'Quirino, the young, silly, empty-headed wife of a great merchant, who was gone with the galleys to Flanders.Like a Venetian--for unstable are they all--though she placed herself at his feet, she told him but a part of hersins, and when Fra Alberto asked her whether she had a lover, she replied with black looks:--"How now,master friar? have you not eyes in your head? See you no difference between my charms and those of otherwomen? Lovers in plenty might I have, so I would: but charms such as mine must not be cheapened: 'tis notevery man that might presume to love me. How many ladies have you seen whose beauty is comparable to

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mine? I should adorn Paradise itself." Whereto she added so much more in praise of her beauty that the friarcould scarce hear her with patience. Howbeit, discerning at a glance that she was none too well furnished withsense, he deemed the soil meet for his plough, and fell forthwith inordinately in love with her, though hedeferred his blandishments to a more convenient season, and by way of supporting his character for holinessbegan instead to chide her, telling her (among other novelties) that this was vainglory: whereto the ladyretorted that he was a blockhead, and could not distinguish one degree of beauty from another. Wherefore FraAlberto, lest he should occasion her too much chagrin, cut short the confession, and suffered her to departwith the other ladies. Some days after, accompanied by a single trusty friend, he hied him to Monna Lisetta'shouse, and having withdrawn with her alone into a saloon, where they were safe from observation, he fell onhis knees at her feet, and said:--"Madam, for the love of God I crave your pardon of that which I said to youon Sunday, when you spoke to me of your beauty, for so grievously was I chastised therefor that very night,that 'tis but to-day that I have been able to quit my bed." "And by whom," quoth my Lady Battledore, "wereyou so chastised?" "I will tell you," returned Fra Alberto. "That night I was, as is ever my wont, at my orisons,when suddenly a great light shone in my cell, and before I could turn me to see what it was, I saw standingover me a right goodly youth with a stout cudgel in his hand, who seized me by the habit and threw me at hisfeet and belaboured me till I was bruised from head to foot. And when I asked him why he used me thus, heanswered:--''Tis because thou didst to-day presume to speak slightingly of the celestial charms of MonnaLisetta, whom I love next to God Himself.' Whereupon I asked:--'And who are you?' And he made answer thathe was the Angel Gabriel. Then said I:--'O my lord, I pray you pardon me.' Whereto he answered:--'I pardonthee on condition that thou go to her, with what speed thou mayst, and obtain her pardon, which if she accordthee not, I shall come back hither and give thee belabourings enough with my cudgel to make thee a sad manfor the rest of thy days.' What more he said, I dare not tell you, unless you first pardon me." Whereat ourflimsy pumpion-pated Lady Lackbrain was overjoyed, taking all the friar's words for gospel. So after a whileshe said:--"And did I not tell you, Fra Alberto, that my charms were celestial? But, so help me God, I ammoved to pity of you, and forthwith I pardon you, lest worse should befall you, so only you tell me what morethe Angel said." "So will I gladly, Madam," returned Fra Alberto, "now that I have your pardon; this only Ibid you bear in mind, that you have a care that never a soul in the world hear from you a single word of what Ishall say to you, if you would not spoil your good fortune, wherein there is not to-day in the whole world alady that may compare with you. Know then that the Angel Gabriel bade me tell you that you stand so high inhis favour that again and again he would have come to pass the night with you, but that he doubted he shouldaffright you. So now he sends you word through me that he would fain come one night, and stay a while withyou; and seeing that, being an angel, if he should visit you in his angelic shape, he might not be touched byyou, he would, to pleasure you, present himself in human shape; and so he bids you send him word, when youwould have him come, and in whose shape, and he will come; for which cause you may deem yourself moreblessed than any other lady that lives." My Lady Vanity then said that she was highly flattered to be belovedof the Angel Gabriel; whom she herself loved so well that she had never grudged four soldi to burn a candlebefore his picture, wherever she saw it, and that he was welcome to visit her as often as he liked, and wouldalways find her alone in her room; on the understanding, however, that he should not desert her for the VirginMary, whom she had heard he did mightily affect, and indeed 'twould so appear, for, wherever she saw him,he was always on his knees at her feet: for the rest he might even come in what shape he pleased, so that itwas not such as to terrify her. Then said Fra Alberto:--"Madam, 'tis wisely spoken; and I will arrange it allwith him just as you say. But 'tis in your power to do me a great favour, which will cost you nothing; and thisfavour is that you be consenting that he visit you in my shape. Now hear wherein you will confer this favour:thus will it be: he will disembody my soul, and set it in Paradise, entering himself into my body; and, as longas he shall be with you, my soul will be in Paradise." Whereto my Lady Slenderwit:--"So be it," she said; "Iam well pleased that you have this solace to salve the bruises that he gives you on my account." "Good," saidFra Alberto; "then you will see to it that to-night he find, when he comes, your outer door unlatched, that hemay have ingress; for, coming, as he will, in human shape, he will not be able to enter save by the door." "Itshall be done," replied the lady. Whereupon Fra Alberto took his leave, and the lady remained in such a stateof exaltation that her nether end knew not her chemise, and it seemed to her a thousand years until the AngelGabriel should come to visit her. Fra Alberto, bethinking him that 'twas not as an angel, but as a cavalier thathe must acquit himself that night, fell to fortifying himself with comfits and other dainties, that he might not

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lose his saddle for slight cause. Then, leave of absence gotten, he betook him at nightfall, with a singlecompanion, to the house of a woman that was his friend, which house had served on former occasions as hisbase when he went a chasing the fillies; and having there disguised himself, he hied him, when he deemed'twas time, to the house of the lady, where, donning the gewgaws he had brought with him, he transformedhimself into an angel, and going up, entered the lady's chamber. No sooner saw she this dazzling apparitionthan she fell on her knees before the Angel, who gave her his blessing, raised her to her feet, and motioned herto go to bed. She, nothing loath, obeyed forthwith, and the Angel lay down beside his devotee. Now, FraAlberto was a stout, handsome fellow, whose legs bore themselves right bravely; and being bedded withMonna Lisetta, who was lusty and delicate, he covered her after another fashion than her husband had beenwont, and took many a flight that night without wings, so that she heartily cried him content; and not a littletherewithal did he tell her of the glory celestial. Then towards daybreak, all being ready for his return, he hiedhim forth, and repaired, caparisoned as he was, to his friend, whom, lest he should be affrighted, sleepingalone, the good woman of the house had solaced with her company. The lady, so soon as she had breakfasted,betook her to Fra Alberto, and reported the Angel Gabriel's visit, and what he had told her of the glory of thelife eternal, describing his appearance, not without some added marvels of her own invention. Whereto FraAlberto replied:--"Madam, I know not how you fared with him; but this I know, that last night he came to me,and for that I had done his errand with you, he suddenly transported my soul among such a multitude offlowers and roses as was never seen here below, and my soul--what became of my body I know not--tarried inone of the most delightful places that ever was from that hour until matins." "As for your body," said the lady,"do I not tell you whose it was? It lay all night long with the Angel Gabriel in my arms; and if you believe menot, you have but to took under your left pap, where I gave the Angel a mighty kiss, of which the mark willlast for some days." "Why then," said Fra Alberto, "I will even do to-day what 'tis long since I did, to wit,undress, that I may see if you say sooth." So they fooled it a long while, and then the lady went home, whereFra Alberto afterwards paid her many a visit without any let. However, one day it so befell that while MonnaLisetta was with one of her gossips canvassing beauties, she, being minded to exalt her own charms above allothers, and having, as we know, none too much wit in her pumpion-pate, observed:--"Did you but know bywhom my charms are prized, then, for sure, you would have nought to say of the rest." Her gossip, all agog tohear, for well she knew her foible, answered:--"Madam, it may be as you say, but still, while one knows notwho he may be, one cannot alter one's mind so rapidly." Whereupon my Lady Featherbrain:--"Gossip," saidshe, "'tis not for common talk, but he that I wot of is the Angel Gabriel, who loves me more dearly thanhimself, for that I am, so he tells me, the fairest lady in all the world, ay, and in the Maremma to boot."(2)Whereat her gossip would fain have laughed, but held herself in, being minded to hear more from her.Wherefore she said:--"God's faith, Madam, if 'tis the Angel Gabriel, and he tells you so, why, so of course itmust needs be; but I wist not the angels meddled with such matters." "There you erred, gossip," said the lady:"zounds, he does it better than my husband, and he tells me they do it above there too, but, as he rates mycharms above any that are in heaven, he is enamoured of me, and not seldom visits me: so now dost see?" Soaway went the gossip so agog to tell the story, that it seemed to her a thousand years till she was where itmight be done; and being met for recreation with a great company of ladies, she narrated it all in detail:whereby it passed to the ladies' husbands, and to other ladies, and from them to yet other ladies, so that in lessthan two days all Venice was full of it. But among others, whose ears it reached, were Monna Lisetta'sbrothers-in-law, who, keeping their own counsel, resolved to find this angel and make out whether he knewhow to fly; to which end they kept watch for some nights. Whereof no hint, as it happened, reached FraAlberto's ears; and so, one night when he was come to enjoy the lady once more, he was scarce undressedwhen her brothers-in-law, who had seen him come, were at the door of the room and already opening it, whenFra Alberto, hearing the noise and apprehending the danger, started up, and having no other resource, threwopen a window that looked on to the Grand Canal, and plunged into the water. The depth was great, and hewas an expert swimmer; so that he took no hurt, but, having reached the other bank, found a house open, andforthwith entered it, praying the good man that was within, for God's sake to save his life, and trumping up astory to account for his being there at so late an hour, and stripped to the skin. The good man took pity onhim, and having occasion to go out, he put him in his own bed, bidding him stay there until his return; and so,having locked him in, he went about his business.

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Now when the lady's brothers-in-law entered the room, and found that the Angel Gabriel had taken flight,leaving his wings behind him, being baulked of their prey, they roundly rated the lady, and then, leaving herdisconsolate, betook themselves home with the Angel's spoils. Whereby it befell, that, when 'twas broad day,the good man, being on the Rialto, heard tell how the Angel Gabriel had come to pass the night with MonnaLisetta, and, being surprised by her brothers-in-law, had taken fright, and thrown himself into the Canal, andnone knew what was become of him. The good man guessed in a trice that the said Angel was no other thanthe man he had at home, whom on his return he recognized, and, after much chaffering, brought him topromise him fifty ducats that he might not be given up to the lady's brothers-in-law. The bargain struck, FraAlberto signified a desire to be going. Whereupon:--"There is no way," said the good man, "but one, if you areminded to take it. To-day we hold a revel, wherein folk lead others about in various disguises; as, one manwill present a bear, another a wild man, and so forth; and then in the piazza of San Marco there is a hunt,which done, the revel is ended; and then away they hie them, whither they will, each with the man he has ledabout. If you are willing to be led by me in one or another of these disguises, before it can get wind that youare here, I can bring you whither you would go; otherwise I see not how you are to quit this place withoutbeing known; and the lady's brothers-in-law, reckoning that you must be lurking somewhere in this quarter,have set guards all about to take you." Loath indeed was Fra Alberto to go in such a guise, but such was hisfear of the lady's relations that he consented, and told the good man whither he desired to be taken, and that hewas content to leave the choice of the disguise to him. The good man then smeared him all over with honey,and covered him with down, set a chain on his neck and a vizard on his face, gave him a stout cudgel to carryin one hand, and two huge dogs, which he had brought from the shambles, to lead with the other, and sent aman to the Rialto to announce that whoso would see the Angel Gabriel should hie him to the piazza of SanMarco; in all which he acted as a leal Venetian. And so, after a while, he led him forth, and then, making himgo before, held him by the chain behind, and through a great throng that clamoured:--"What manner of thingis this? what manner of thing is this?" he brought him to the piazza, where, what with those that followedthem, and those that had come from the Rialto on hearing the announcement, there were folk without end.Arrived at the piazza, he fastened his wild man to a column in a high and exposed place, making as if he wereminded to wait till the hunt should begin; whereby the flies and gadflies, attracted by the honey with which hewas smeared, caused him most grievous distress. However, the good man waited only until the piazza wasthronged, and then, making as if he would unchain his wild man, he tore the vizard from Fra Alberto's face,saying:--"Gentlemen, as the boar comes not to the hunt, and the hunt does not take place, that it be not fornothing that you are come hither, I am minded to give you a view of the Angel Gabriel, who comes downfrom heaven to earth by night to solace the ladies of Venice." The vizard was no sooner withdrawn than allrecognized Fra Alberto, and greeted him with hootings, rating him in language as offensive and opprobriousas ever rogue was abused withal, and pelting him in the face with every sort of filth that came to hand: inwhich plight they kept him an exceeding great while, until by chance the bruit thereof reached his brethren, ofwhom some six thereupon put themselves in motion, and, arrived at the piazza, clapped a habit on his back,and unchained him, and amid an immense uproar led him off to their convent, where, after languishing awhile in prison, 'tis believed that he died.

So this man, by reason that, being reputed righteous, he did evil, and 'twas not imputed to him, presumed tocounterfeit the Angel Gabriel, and, being transformed into a wild man, was in the end put to shame, as hedeserved, and vainly bewailed his misdeeds. God grant that so it may betide all his likes.

(1) de' maggior cassesi. No such word as cassesi is known to the lexicographers or commentators; and noplausible emendation has yet been suggested.

(2) With this ineptitude cf. the friar's "flowers and roses " on the preceding page.


-- Three young men love three sisters, and flee with them to Crete. The eldest of the sisters slays her lover forjealousy. The second saves the life of the first by yielding herself to the Duke of Crete. Her lover slays her,

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and makes off with the first: the third sister and her lover are charged with the murder, are arrested andconfess the crime. They escape death by bribing the guards, flee destitute to Rhodes, and there in destitutiondie. --

Pampinea's story ended, Filostrato mused a while, and then said to her:--"A little good matter there was thatpleased me at the close of your story, but, before 'twas reached, there was far too much to laugh at, which Icould have wished had not been there." Then, turning to Lauretta, he said:-- "Madam, give us somethingbetter to follow, if so it may be." Lauretta replied with a laugh:--"Harsh beyond measure are you to the lovers,to desire that their end be always evil; but, as in duty bound, I will tell a story of three, who all alike came to abad end, having had little joyance of their loves;" and so saying, she began.

Well may ye wot, young ladies, for 'tis abundantly manifest, that there is no vice but most grievous disastermay ensue thereon to him that practises it, and not seldom to others; and of all the vices that which hurries usinto peril with loosest rein is, methinks, anger; which is nought but a rash and hasty impulse, prompted by afeeling of pain, which banishes reason, shrouds the eyes of the mind in thick darkness, and sets the soul ablazewith a fierce frenzy. Which, though it not seldom befall men, and one rather than another, has neverthelessbeen observed to be fraught in women with more disastrous consequences, inasmuch as in them the flame isboth more readily kindled, and burns more brightly, and with less impediment to its vehemence. Wherein isno cause to marvel, for, if we consider it, we shall see that 'tis of the nature of fire to lay hold more readily ofthings light and delicate than of matters of firmer and more solid substance; and sure it is that we (withoutoffence to the men be it spoken) are more delicate than they, and much more mobile. Wherefore, seeing howprone we are thereto by nature, and considering also our gentleness and tenderness, how soothing andconsolatory they are to the men with whom we consort, and that thus this madness of wrath is fraught withgrievous annoy and peril; therefore, that with stouter heart we may defend ourselves against it, I purpose bymy story to shew you, how the loves of three young men, and as many ladies, as I said before, were by theanger of one of the ladies changed from a happy to a most woeful complexion.

Marseilles, as you know, is situate on the coast of Provence, a city ancient and most famous, and in old timethe seat of many more rich men and great merchants than are to be seen there to-day, among whom was oneNarnald Cluada by name, a man of the lowest origin, but a merchant of unsullied probity and integrity, andboundless wealth in lands and goods and money, who had by his lady several children, three of them beingdaughters, older, each of them, than the other children, who were sons. Two of the daughters, who were twins,were, when my story begins, fifteen years old, and the third was but a year younger, so that in order to theirmarriage their kinsfolk awaited nothing but the return of Narnald from Spain, whither he was gone with hismerchandise. One of the twins was called Ninette, the other Madeleine; the third daughter's name wasBertelle. A young man, Restagnon by name, who, though poor, was of gentle blood, was in the last degreeenamoured of Ninette, and she of him; and so discreetly had they managed the affair, that, never another soulin the world witting aught of it, they had had joyance of their love, and that for a good while, when it so befellthat two young friends of theirs, the one Foulques, the other Hugues by name, whom their fathers, recentlydead, had left very wealthy, fell in love, the one with Madeleine, the other with Bertelle. Whereof Restagnonbeing apprised by Ninette bethought him that in their love he might find a means to the relief of hisnecessities. He accordingly consorted freely and familiarly with them, accompanying, now one, now theother, and sometimes both of them, when they went to visit their ladies and his; and when he judged that hehad made his footing as friendly and familiar as need was, he bade them one day to his house, andsaid:--"Comrades most dear, our friendship, perchance, may not have left you without assurance of the greatlove I bear you, and that for you I would do even as much as for myself: wherefore, loving you thus much, Ipurpose to impart to you that which is in my mind, that in regard thereof, you and I together may then resolvein such sort as to you shall seem the best. You, if I may trust your words, as also what I seem to have gatheredfrom your demeanour by day and by night, burn with an exceeding great love for the two ladies whom youaffect, as I for their sister. For the assuagement whereof, I have good hope that, if you will unite with me, Ishall find means most sweet and delightsome; to wit, on this wise. You possess, as I do not, great wealth: nowif you are willing to make of your wealth a common stock with me as third partner therein, and to choose

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some part of the world where we may live in careless ease upon our substance, without any manner of doubt Itrust so to prevail that the three sisters with great part of their father's substance shall come to live with us,wherever we shall see fit to go; whereby, each with his own lady, we shall live as three brethren, the happiestmen in the world. 'Tis now for you to determine whether you will embrace this proffered solace, or let it slipfrom you." The two young men, whose love was beyond all measure fervent, spared themselves the trouble ofdeliberation: 'twas enough that they heard that they were to have their ladies: wherefore they answered, that,so this should ensue, they were ready to do as he proposed. Having thus their answer, Restagnon a few dayslater was closeted with Ninette, to whom 'twas a matter of no small difficulty for him to get access. Nor hadhe been long with her before he adverted to what had passed between him and the young men, and sought tocommend the project to her for reasons not a few. Little need, however, had he to urge her: for to live their lifeopenly together was the very thing she desired, far more than he: wherefore she frankly answered that shewould have it so, that her sisters would do, more especially in this matter, just as she wished, and that heshould lose no time in making all the needful arrangements. So Restagnon returned to the two young men,who were most urgent that it should be done even as he said, and told them that on the part of the ladies thematter was concluded. And so, having fixed upon Crete for their destination, and sold some estates that theyhad, giving out that they were minded to go a trading with the proceeds, they converted all else that theypossessed into money, and bought a brigantine, which with all secrecy they handsomely equipped, anxiouslyexpecting the time of their departure, while Ninette on her part, knowing well how her sisters were affected,did so by sweet converse foment their desire that, till it should be accomplished, they accounted their life asnought. The night of their embarcation being come, the three sisters opened a great chest that belonged to theirfather, and took out therefrom a vast quantity of money and jewels, with which they all three issued forth ofthe house in dead silence, as they had been charged, and found their three lovers awaiting them; who, havingforthwith brought them aboard the brigantine, bade the rowers give way, and, tarrying nowhere, arrived thenext evening at Genoa, where the new lovers had for the first time joyance and solace of their love.

Having taken what they needed of refreshment, they resumed their course, touching at this port and that, andin less than eight days, speeding without impediment, were come to Crete. There they bought them domainsboth beautiful and broad, whereon, hard by Candia they built them mansions most goodly and delightsome,wherein they lived as barons, keeping a crowd of retainers, with dogs, hawks and horses, and speeding thetime with their ladies in feasting and revelling and merrymaking, none so light-hearted as they. Such being thetenor of their life, it so befell that (as 'tis matter of daily experience that, however delightsome a thing may be,superabundance thereof will breed disgust) Restagnon, much as he had loved Ninette, being now able to havehis joyance of her without stint or restraint, began to weary of her, and by consequence to abate somewhat ofhis love for her. And being mightily pleased with a fair gentlewoman of the country, whom he met at amerrymaking, he set his whole heart upon her, and began to shew himself marvellously courteous and gallanttowards her; which Ninette perceiving grew so jealous that he might not go a step but she knew of it, andresented it to his torment and her own with high words. But as, while superfluity engenders disgust, appetite isbut whetted when fruit is forbidden, so Ninette's wrath added fuel to the flame of Restagnon's new love. Andwhichever was the event, whether in course of time Restagnon had the lady's favour or had it not, Ninette,whoever may have brought her the tidings, firmly believed that he had it; whereby from the depths of distressshe passed into a towering passion, and thus was transported into such a frenzy of rage that all the love shebore to Restagnon was converted into bitter hatred, and, blinded by her wrath, she made up her mind toavenge by Restagnon's death the dishonour which she deemed that he had done her. So she had recourse to anold Greek woman, that was very skilful in compounding poisons, whom by promises and gifts she induced todistill a deadly water, which, keeping her own counsel, she herself gave Restagnon to drink one evening,when he was somewhat heated and quite off his guard: whereby--such was the efficacy of the water--shedespatched Restagnon before matins. On learning his death Foulques and Hugues and their ladies, who knewnot that he had been poisoned, united their bitter with Ninette's feigned lamentations, and gave himhonourable sepulture. But so it befell that, not many days after, the old woman, that had compounded thepoison for Ninette, was taken for another crime; and, being put to the torture, confessed the compounding ofthe poison among other of her misdeeds, and fully declared what had thereby come to pass. Wherefore theDuke of Crete, breathing no word of his intent, came privily by night, and set a guard around Foulques'

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palace, where Ninette then was, and quietly, and quite unopposed, took and carried her off; and withoutputting her to the torture, learned from her in a trice all that he sought to know touching the death ofRestagnon. Foulques and Hugues had learned privily of the Duke, and their ladies of them, for what causeNinette was taken; and, being mightily distressed thereby, bestirred themselves with all zeal to save Ninettefrom the fire, to which they apprehended she would be condemned, as having indeed richly deserved it; but alltheir endeavours seemed to avail nothing, for the Duke was unwaveringly resolved that justice should bedone. Madeleine, Foulques' fair wife, who had long been courted by the Duke, but had never deigned to shewhim the least favour, thinking that by yielding herself to his will she might redeem her sister from the fire,despatched a trusty envoy to him with the intimation that she was entirely at his disposal upon the twofoldcondition, that in the first place her sister should be restored to her free and scatheless, and, in the secondplace, the affair should be kept secret. Albeit gratified by this overture, the Duke was long in doubt whether heshould accept it; in the end, however, he made up his mind to do so, and signified his approval to the envoy.Then with the lady's consent he put Foulques and Hugues under arrest for a night, as if he were minded toexamine them of the affair, and meanwhile quartered himself privily with Madeleine. Ninette, who, he hadmade believe, had been set in a sack, and was to be sunk in the sea that same night, he took with him, andpresented her to her sister in requital of the night's joyance, which, as he parted from her on the morrow, heprayed her might not be the last, as it was the first, fruit of their love, at the same time enjoining her to sendthe guilty lady away that she might not bring reproach upon him, nor he be compelled to deal rigorously withher again. Released the same morning, and told that Ninette had been cast into the sea, Foulques and Hugues,fully believing that so it was, came home, thinking how they should console their ladies for the death of theirsister; but, though Madeleine was at great pains to conceal Ninette, Foulques nevertheless, to his no smallamazement, discovered that she was there; which at once excited his suspicion, for he knew that the Duke hadbeen enamoured of Madeleine; and he asked how it was that Ninette was there. Madeleine made up a longstory by way of explanation, to which his sagacity gave little credit, and in the end after long parley heconstrained her to tell the truth. Whereupon, overcome with grief, and transported with rage, he drew hissword, and, deaf to her appeals for mercy, slew her. Then, fearing the vengeful justice of the Duke, he left thedead body in the room, and hied him to Ninette, and with a counterfeit gladsome mien said to her:--"Go wewithout delay whither thy sister has appointed that I escort thee, that thou fall not again into the hands of theDuke." Ninette believed him, and being fain to go for very fear, she forewent further leave-taking of her sister,more particularly as it was now night, and set out with Foulques, who took with him such little money as hecould lay his hands upon; and so they made their way to the coast, where they got aboard a bark, but noneever knew where their voyage ended.

Madeleine's dead body being discovered next day, certain evil-disposed folk, that bore a grudge to Hugues,forthwith apprised the Duke of the fact; which brought the Duke--for much he loved Madeleine--in hot hasteto the house, where he arrested Hugues and his lady, who as yet knew nothing of the departure of Foulquesand Ninette, and extorted from them a confession that they and Foulques were jointly answerable forMadeleine's death. For which cause being justly apprehensive of death, they with great address corrupted theguards that had charge of them, giving them a sum of money which they kept concealed in their house againstoccasions of need; and together with the guards fled with all speed, leaving all that they possessed behindthem, and took ship by night for Rhodes, where, being arrived, they lived in great poverty and misery no longtime. Such then was the issue, to which Restagnon, by his foolish love, and Ninette by her wrath broughtthemselves and others.


-- Gerbino, in breach of the plighted faith of his grandfather, King Guglielmo, attacks a ship of the King ofTunis to rescue thence his daughter. She being slain by those aboard the ship, he slays them, and afterwards heis beheaded. --

Lauretta, her story ended, kept silence; and the king brooded as in deep thought, while one or another of thecompany deplored the sad fate of this or the other of the lovers, or censured Ninette's wrath, or made some

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other comment. At length, however, the king roused himself, and raising his head, made sign to Elisa that'twas now for her to speak. So, modestly, Elisa thus began:--Gracious ladies, not a few there are that believethat Love looses no shafts save when he is kindled by the eyes, contemning their opinion that hold thatpassion may be engendered by words; whose error will be abundantly manifest in a story which I purpose totell you; wherein you may see how mere rumour not only wrought mutual love in those that had never seenone another, but also brought both to a miserable death.

Guglielmo, the Second,(1) as the Sicilians compute, King of Sicily, had two children, a son named Ruggieri,and a daughter named Gostanza. Ruggieri died before his father, and left a son named Gerbino; who, beingcarefully trained by his grandfather, grew up a most goodly gallant, and of great renown in court and camp,and that not only within the borders of Sicily, but in divers other parts of the world, among them Barbary, thentributary to the King of Sicily. And among others, to whose ears was wafted the bruit of Gerbino'smagnificent prowess and courtesy, was a daughter of the King of Tunis, who, by averment of all that had seenher, was a creature as fair and debonair, and of as great and noble a spirit as Nature ever formed. To hear tellof brave men was her delight, and what she heard, now from one, now from another, of the brave deeds ofGerbino she treasured in her mind so sedulously, and pondered them with such pleasure, rehearsing them toherself in imagination, that she became hotly enamoured of him, and there was none of whom she talked, orheard others talk, so gladly. Nor, on the other hand, had the fame of her incomparable beauty and otherexcellences failed to travel, as to other lands, so also to Sicily, where, falling on Gerbino's ears, it gave him nosmall delight, to such effect that he burned for the lady no less vehemently than she for him. Wherefore, untilsuch time as he might, upon some worthy occasion, have his grandfather's leave to go to Tunis, yearningbeyond measure to see her, he charged every friend of his, that went thither, to give her to know, as best hemight, his great and secret love for her, and to bring him tidings of her. Which office one of the said friendsdischarged with no small address; for, having obtained access to her, after the manner of merchants, bybringing jewels for her to look at, he fully apprised her of Gerbino's passion, and placed him, and all that hepossessed, entirely at her disposal. The lady received both messenger and message with gladsome mien, madeanswer that she loved with equal ardour, and in token thereof sent Gerbino one of her most precious jewels.Gerbino received the jewel with extreme delight, and sent her many a letter and many a most precious gift bythe hand of the same messenger; and 'twas well understood between them that, should Fortune accord himopportunity, he should see and know her.

On this footing the affair remained somewhat longer than was expedient; and so, while Gerbino and the ladyburned with mutual love, it befell that the King of Tunis gave her in marriage to the King of Granada;(2)whereat she was wroth beyond measure, for that she was not only going into a country remote from her lover,but, as she deemed, was severed from him altogether; and so this might not come to pass, gladly, could shebut have seen how, would she have left her father and fled to Gerbino. In like manner, Gerbino, on learning ofthe marriage, was vexed beyond measure, and was oft times minded, could he but find means to win to herhusband by sea, to wrest her from him by force. Some rumour of Gerbino's love and of his intent, reached theKing of Tunis, who, knowing his prowess and power, took alarm, and as the time drew nigh for conveying thelady to Granada, sent word of his purpose to King Guglielmo, and craved his assurance that it might becarried into effect without let or hindrance on the part of Gerbino, or any one else. The old King had heardnothing of Gerbino's love affair, and never dreaming that 'twas on such account that the assurance was craved,granted it without demur, and in pledge thereof sent the King of Tunis his glove. Which received, the Kingmade ready a great and goodly ship in the port of Carthage, and equipped her with all things meet for thosethat were to man her, and with all appointments apt and seemly for the reception of his daughter, and awaitedonly fair weather to send her therein to Granada. All which the young lady seeing and marking, sent one ofher servants privily to Palermo, bidding him greet the illustrious Gerbino on her part, and tell him that a fewdays would see her on her way to Granada; wherefore 'twould now appear whether, or no, he were really asdoughty a man as he was reputed, and loved her as much as he had so often protested. The servant did not failto deliver her message exactly, and returned to Tunis, leaving Gerbino, who knew that his grandfather, KingGuglielmo, had given the King of Tunis the desired assurance, at a loss how to act. But prompted by love, andgoaded by the lady's words and loath to seem a craven, he hied him to Messina; and having there armed two

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light galleys, and manned them with good men and true, he put to sea, and stood for Sardinia, deeming thatthe lady's ship must pass that way. Nor was he far out in his reckoning; for he had not been there many days,when the ship, sped by a light breeze, hove in sight not far from the place where he lay in wait for her.Whereupon Gerbino said to his comrades:--"Gentlemen, if you be as good men and true as I deem you, thereis none of you but must have felt, if he feel not now, the might of love; for without love I deem no mortalcapable of true worth or aught that is good; and if you are or have been in love, 'twill be easy for you tounderstand that which I desire. I love, and 'tis because I love that I have laid this travail upon you; and thatwhich I love is in the ship that you see before you, which is fraught not only with my beloved, but withimmense treasures, which, if you are good men and true, we, so we but play the man in fight, may with littletrouble make our own; nor for my share of the spoils of the victory demand I aught but a lady, whose love it isthat prompts me to take arms: all else I freely cede to you from this very hour. Forward, then; attack we thisship; success should be ours, for God favours our enterprise, nor lends her wind to evade us." Fewer wordsmight have sufficed the illustrious Gerbino; for the rapacious Messinese that were with him were already bentheart and soul upon that to which by his harangue he sought to animate them. So, when he had done, theyraised a mighty shout, so that 'twas as if trumpets did blare, and caught up their arms, and smiting the waterwith their oars, overhauled the ship. The advancing galleys were observed while they were yet a great way offby the ship's crew, who, not being able to avoid the combat, put themselves in a posture of defence. Arrived atclose quarters, the illustrious Gerbino bade send the ship's masters aboard the galleys, unless they wereminded to do battle. Certified of the challenge, and who they were that made it, the Saracens answered that'twas in breach of the faith plighted to them by their assailants' king that they were thus attacked, and in tokenthereof displayed King Guglielmo's glove, averring in set terms that there should be no surrender either ofthemselves or of aught that was aboard the ship without battle. Gerbino, who had observed the lady standingon the ship's poop, and seen that she was far more beautiful than he had imagined, burned with a yet fiercerflame than before, and to the display of the glove made answer, that, as he had no falcons there just then, theglove booted him not; wherefore, so they were not minded to surrender the lady, let them prepare to receivebattle. Whereupon, without further delay, the battle began on both sides with a furious discharge of arrowsand stones; on which wise it was long protracted to their common loss; until at last Gerbino, seeing that hegained little advantage, took a light bark which they had brought from Sardinia, and having fired her, boredown with her, and both the galleys, upon the ship. Whereupon the Saracens, seeing that they must perforcesurrender the ship or die, caused the King's daughter, who lay beneath the deck weeping, to come up on deck,and led her to the prow, and shouting to Gerbino, while the lady shrieked alternately "mercy" and "succour,"opened her veins before his eyes, and cast her into the sea, saying:--"Take her; we give her to thee on suchwise as we can, and as thy faith has merited." Maddened to witness this deed of barbarism, Gerbino, as ifcourting death, recked no more of the arrows and the stones, but drew alongside the ship, and, despite theresistance of her crew, boarded her; and as a famished lion ravens amongst a herd of oxen, and tearing andrending, now one, now another, gluts his wrath before he appeases his hunger, so Gerbino, sword in hand,hacking and hewing on all sides among the Saracens, did ruthlessly slaughter not a few of them; till, as theburning ship began to blaze more fiercely, he bade the seamen take thereout all that they might by way ofguerdon, which done, he quitted her, having gained but a rueful victory over his adversaries. His next care wasto recover from the sea the body of the fair lady, whom long and with many a tear he mourned: and so hereturned to Sicily, and gave the body honourable sepulture in Ustica, an islet that faces, as it were, Trapani,and went home the saddest man alive.

When these tidings reached the King of Tunis, he sent to King Guglielmo ambassadors, habited in black, whomade complaint of the breach of faith and recited the manner of its occurrence. Which caused King Guglielmono small chagrin; and seeing not how he might refuse the justice they demanded, he had Gerbino arrested, andhe himself, none of his barons being able by any entreaty to turn him from his purpose, sentenced him toforfeit his head, and had it severed from his body in his presence, preferring to suffer the loss of his onlygrandson than to gain the reputation of a faithless king. And so, miserably, within the compass of a few briefdays, died the two lovers by woeful deaths, as I have told you, and without having known any joyance of theirlove.

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(1) First, according to the now accepted reckoning. He reigned from 1154 to 1166.

(2) An anachronism; the Moorish kingdom of Granada not having been founded until 1238.


-- Lisabetta's brothers slay her lover: he appears to her in a dream, and shews her where he is buried: sheprivily disinters the head, and sets it in a pot of basil, whereon she daily weeps a great while. The pot beingtaken from her by her brothers, she dies, not long after. --

Elisa's story ended, the king bestowed a few words of praise upon it, and then laid the burden of discourseupon Filomena, who, full of compassion for the woes of Gerbino and his lady, heaved a piteous sigh, and thusbegan:--My story, gracious ladies, will not be of folk of so high a rank as those of whom Elisa has told us, butperchance 'twill not be less touching. 'Tis brought to my mind by the recent mention of Messina, where thematter befell.

Know then that there were at Messina three young men, that were brothers and merchants, who were left veryrich on the death of their father, who was of San Gimignano; and they had a sister, Lisabetta by name, a girlfair enough, and no less debonair, but whom, for some reason or another, they had not as yet bestowed inmarriage. The three brothers had also in their shop a young Pisan, Lorenzo by name, who managed all theiraffairs, and who was so goodly of person and gallant, that Lisabetta bestowed many a glance upon him, andbegan to regard him with extraordinary favour; which Lorenzo marking from time to time, gave up all hisother amours, and in like manner began to affect her, and so, their loves being equal, 'twas not long beforethey took heart of grace, and did that which each most desired. Wherein continuing to their no small mutualsolace and delight, they neglected to order it with due secrecy, whereby one night as Lisabetta was going toLorenzo's room, she, all unwitting, was observed by the eldest of the brothers, who, albeit much distressed bywhat he had learnt, yet, being a young man of discretion, was swayed by considerations more seemly, and,allowing no word to escape him, spent the night in turning the affair over in his mind in divers ways. On themorrow he told his brothers that which, touching Lisabetta and Lorenzo, he had observed in the night, which,that no shame might thence ensue either to them or to their sister, they after long consultation determined topass over in silence, making as if they had seen or heard nought thereof, until such time as they in a safe andconvenient manner might banish this disgrace from their sight before it could go further. Adhering to whichpurpose, they jested and laughed with Lorenzo as they had been wont; and after a while pretending that theywere all three going forth of the city on pleasure, they took Lorenzo with them; and being come to a remoteand very lonely spot, seeing that 'twas apt for their design, they took Lorenzo, who was completely off hisguard, and slew him, and buried him on such wise that none was ware of it. On their return to Messina theygave out that they had sent him away on business; which was readily believed, because 'twas what they hadbeen frequently used to do. But as Lorenzo did not return, and Lisabetta questioned the brothers about himwith great frequency and urgency, being sorely grieved by his long absence, it so befell that one day, whenshe was very pressing in her enquiries, one of the brothers said:--"What means this? What hast thou to do withLorenzo, that thou shouldst ask about him so often? Ask us no more, or we will give thee such answer as thoudeservest." So the girl, sick at heart and sorrowful, fearing she knew not what, asked no questions; but many atime at night she called piteously to him, and besought him to come to her, and bewailed his long tarryingwith many a tear, and ever yearning for his return, languished in total dejection.

But so it was that one night, when, after long weeping that her Lorenzo came not back, she had at last fallenasleep, Lorenzo appeared to her in a dream, wan and in utter disarray, his clothes torn to shreds and sodden;and thus, as she thought, he spoke:--"Lisabetta, thou dost nought but call me, and vex thyself for my longtarrying, and bitterly upbraid me with thy tears; wherefore be it known to thee that return to thee I may not,because the last day that thou didst see me thy brothers slew me." After which, he described the place wherethey had buried him, told her to call and expect him no more, and vanished. The girl then awoke, and doubtingnot that the vision was true, wept bitterly. And when morning came, and she was risen, not daring to say aught

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to her brothers, she resolved to go to the place indicated in the vision, and see if what she had dreamed wereeven as it had appeared to her. So, having leave to go a little way out of the city for recreation in companywith a maid that had at one time lived with them and knew all that she did, she hied her thither with all speed;and having removed the dry leaves that were strewn about the place, she began to dig where the earth seemedleast hard. Nor had she dug long, before she found the body of her hapless lover, whereon as yet there was notrace of corruption or decay; and thus she saw without any manner of doubt that her vision was true. And so,saddest of women, knowing that she might not bewail him there, she would gladly, if she could, have carriedaway the body and given it more honourable sepulture elsewhere; but as she might not so do, she took a knife,and, as best she could, severed the head from the trunk, and wrapped it in a napkin and laid it in the lap of hermaid; and having covered the rest of the corpse with earth, she left the spot, having been seen by none, andwent home. There she shut herself up in her room with the head, and kissed it a thousand times in every part,and wept long and bitterly over it, till she had bathed it in her tears. She then wrapped it in a piece of finecloth, and set it in a large and beautiful pot of the sort in which marjoram or basil is planted, and covered itwith earth, and therein planted some roots of the goodliest basil of Salerno, and drenched them only with hertears, or water perfumed with roses or orange-blossoms. And 'twas her wont ever to sit beside this pot, and, allher soul one yearning, to pore upon it, as that which enshrined her Lorenzo, and when long time she had sodone, she would bend over it, and weep a great while, until the basil was quite bathed in her tears.

Fostered with such constant, unremitting care, and nourished by the richness given to the soil by the decayinghead that lay therein, the basil burgeoned out in exceeding great beauty and fragrance. And, the girlpersevering ever in this way of life, the neighbours from time to time took note of it, and when her brothersmarvelled to see her beauty ruined, and her eyes as it were evanished from her head, they told them of it,saying:--"We have observed that such is her daily wont." Whereupon the brothers, marking her behaviour,chid her therefore once or twice, and as she heeded them not, caused the pot to be taken privily from her.Which, so soon as she missed it, she demanded with the utmost instance and insistence, and, as they gave itnot back to her, ceased not to wail and weep, insomuch that she fell sick; nor in her sickness craved she aughtbut the pot of basil. Whereat the young men, marvelling mightily, resolved to see what the pot might contain;and having removed the earth they espied the cloth, and therein the head, which was not yet so decayed, butthat by the curled locks they knew it for Lorenzo's head. Passing strange they found it, and fearing lest itshould be bruited abroad, they buried the head, and, with as little said as might be, took order for their privydeparture from Messina, and hied them thence to Naples. The girl ceased not to weep and crave her pot, and,so weeping, died. Such was the end of her disastrous love; but not a few in course of time coming to know thetruth of the affair, there was one that made the song that is still sung: to wit:--

A thief he was, I swear, A sorry Christian he, That took my basil of Salerno fair, etc.(1)

(1) This Sicilian folk-song, of which Boccaccio quotes only the first two lines, is given in extenso from MS.Laurent. 38, plut. 42, by Fanfani in his edition of the Decameron (Florence, 1857). The following is a freerendering°

A thief he was, I swear, A sorry Christian he, That took my basil of Salerno fair, That flourished mightily.Planted by mine own hands with loving care What time they revelled free: To spoil another's goods is churlishspite.

To spoil another's goods is churlish spite, Ay, and most heinous sin. A basil had I (alas! luckless wight!), Thefairest plant: within Its shade I slept: 'twas grown to such a height. But some folk for chagrin 'Reft me thereof,ay, and before my door.

'Reft me thereof, ay, and before my door. Ah! dolorous day and drear! Ah! woe is me! Would God I were nomore! My purchase was so dear! Ah! why that day did I to watch give o'er? For him my cherished fere Withmarjoram I bordered it about.

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With marjoram I bordered it about In May-time fresh and fair, And watered it thrice ere each week was out,And marked it grow full yare: But now 'tis stolen. Ah! too well 'tis known!(1)

But now 'tis stolen. Ah! too well 'tis known! That no more may I hide: But had to me a while before beenshewn What then should me betide, At night before my door I had laid me down To watch my plant beside.Yet God Almighty sure me succour might.

Ay, God Almighty sure me succour might, So were it but His will, 'Gainst him that me hath done so fouldespite, That in dire torment still I languish, since the thief reft from my sight My plant that did me thrill, Andto my inmost Soul such comfort lent!

And to my inmost soul such comfort lent! So fresh its fragrance blew, That when, what time the sun uprose, Iwent My watering to do, I'd hear the people all in wonderment Say, whence this perfume new? And I for loveof it of grief shall die.

And I for love of it of grief shall die, Of my fair plant for dole. Would one but shew me how I might it buy!Ah! how 'twould me console! Ounces(2) an hundred of fine gold have I: Him would I give the whole, Ay, anda kiss to boot, so he were fain.

(1) This stanza is defective in the original.

(2) The "oncia" was a Sicilian gold coin worth rather more than a zecchino.


-- Andreuola loves Gabriotto: she tells him a dream that she has had; he tells her a dream of his own, and diessuddenly in her arms. While she and her maid are carrying his corpse to his house, they are taken by theSignory. She tells how the matter stands, is threatened with violence by the Podesta, but will not brook it. Herfather hears how she is bested; and, her innocence being established, causes her to be set at large; but she,being minded to tarry no longer in the world, becomes a nun. --

Glad indeed were the ladies to have heard Filomena's story, for that, often though they had heard the songsung, they had never yet, for all their enquiries, been able to learn the occasion upon which it was made.When 'twas ended, Pamfilo received the king's command to follow suit, and thus spoke:--By the dream told inthe foregoing story I am prompted to relate one in which two dreams are told, dreams of that which was tocome, as Lisabetta's was of that which had been, and which were both fulfilled almost as soon as they weretold by those that had dreamed them. Wherefore, loving ladies, you must know that 'tis the commonexperience of mankind to have divers visions during sleep; and albeit the sleeper, while he sleeps, deems allalike most true, but, being awake, judges some of them to be true, others to be probable, and others again to bequite devoid of truth, yet not a few are found to have come to pass. For which cause many are as sure of everydream as of aught that they see in their waking hours, and so, as their dreams engender in them fear or hope,are sorrowful or joyous. And on the other hand there are those that credit no dream, until they see themselvesfallen into the very peril whereof they were forewarned. Of whom I approve neither sort, for in sooth neitherare all dreams true, nor all alike false. That they are not all true, there is none of us but may many a time haveproved; and that they are not all alike false has already been shewn in Filomena's story, and shall also, as Isaid before, be shewn in mine. Wherefore I deem that in a virtuous course of life and conduct there is no needto fear aught by reason of any dream that is contrary thereto, or on that account to give up any just design; andas for crooked and sinister enterprises, however dreams may seem to favour them, and flatter the hopes of thedreamer with auspicious omens, none should trust them: rather should all give full credence to such as runcounter thereto. But come we to the story.

In the city of Brescia there lived of yore a gentleman named Messer Negro da Ponte Carraro, who with other

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children had a very fair daughter, Andreuola by name, who, being unmarried, chanced to fall in love with aneighbour, one Gabriotto, a man of low degree, but goodly of person and debonair, and endowed with alladmirable qualities; and aided and abetted by the housemaid, the girl not only brought it to pass that Gabriottoknew that he was beloved of her, but that many a time to their mutual delight he came to see her in a fairgarden belonging to her father. And that nought but death might avail to sever them from this their gladsomelove, they became privily man and wife; and, while thus they continued their clandestine intercourse, ithappened that one night, while the girl slept, she saw herself in a dream in her garden with Gabriotto, who tothe exceeding great delight of both held her in his arms; and while thus they lay, she saw issue from his bodysomewhat dark and frightful, the shape whereof she might not discern; which, as she thought, laid hold ofGabriotto, and in her despite with prodigious force reft him from her embrace, and bore him with itunderground, so that both were lost to her sight for evermore: whereby stricken with sore and inexpressiblegrief, she awoke; and albeit she was overjoyed to find that 'twas not as she had dreamed, yet a haunting dreadof what she had seen in her vision entered her soul. Wherefore, Gabriotto being minded to visit her on theensuing night, she did her best endeavour to dissuade him from coming; but seeing that he was bent upon it,lest he should suspect somewhat, she received him in her garden, where, having culled roses many, white andred--for 'twas summer--she sat herself down with him at the base of a most fair and lucent fountain. Therelong and joyously they dallied, and then Gabriotto asked her wherefore she had that day forbade his coming.Whereupon the lady told him her dream of the night before, and the doubt and fear which it had engendered inher mind. Whereat Gabriotto laughed, and said that 'twas the height of folly to put any faith in dreams, for thatthey were occasioned by too much or too little food, and were daily seen to be, one and all, things of nought,adding:--"Were I minded to give heed to dreams, I should not be here now, for I, too, had a dream last night,which was on this wise:--Methought I was in a fair and pleasant wood, and there, a hunting, caught a she-goatas beautiful and loveable as any that ever was seen, and, as it seemed to me, whiter than snow, which in a littlewhile grew so tame and friendly that she never stirred from my side. All the same so jealous was I lest sheshould leave me, that, meseemed, I had set a collar of gold around her neck, and held her by a golden chain.And presently meseemed that, while the she-goat lay at rest with her head in my lap, there came forth, I knewnot whence, a greyhound bitch, black as coal, famished, and most fearsome to look upon; which made straightfor me, and for, meseemed, I offered no resistance, set her muzzle to my breast on the left side and gnawedthrough to the heart, which, meseemed, she tore out to carry away with her. Whereupon ensued so sore a painthat it brake my sleep, and as I awoke I laid my hand to my side to feel if aught were amiss there; but findingnothing I laughed at myself that I had searched. But what signifies it all? Visions of the like sort, ay, and farmore appalling, have I had in plenty, and nought whatever, great or small, has come of any of them. So let itpass, and think we how we may speed the time merrily."

What she heard immensely enhanced the already great dread which her own dream had inspired in the girl;but, not to vex Gabriotto, she dissembled her terror as best she might. But, though she made great cheer,embracing and kissing him, and receiving his embraces and kisses, yet she felt a doubt, she knew not why,and many a time, more than her wont, she would gaze upon his face, and ever and anon her glance wouldstray through the garden to see if any black creature were coming from any quarter. While thus they passedthe time, of a sudden Gabriotto heaved a great sigh, and embracing her, said:--"Alas! my soul, thy succour!for I die." And so saying, he fell down upon the grassy mead. Whereupon the girl drew him to her, and laidhim on her lap, and all but wept, and said:--"O sweet my lord, what is't that ails thee?" But Gabriotto wassilent, and gasping sore for breath, and bathed in sweat, in no long time departed this life.

How grievous was the distress of the girl, who loved him more than herself, you, my ladies, may wellimagine. With many a tear she mourned him, and many times she vainly called him by his name; but when,having felt his body all over, and found it cold in every part, she could no longer doubt that he was dead,knowing not what to say or do, she went, tearful and woebegone, to call the maid, to whom she had confidedher love, and shewed her the woeful calamity that had befallen her. Piteously a while they wept together overthe dead face of Gabriotto, and then the girl said to the maid:--"Now that God has reft him from me, I have nomind to linger in this life; but before I slay myself, I would we might find apt means to preserve my honour,and the secret of our love, and to bury the body from which the sweet soul has fled." "My daughter," said the

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maid, "speak not of slaying thyself, for so wouldst thou lose in the other world, also, him that thou hast losthere; seeing that thou wouldst go to hell, whither, sure I am, his soul is not gone, for a good youth he was; farbetter were it to put on a cheerful courage, and bethink thee to succour his soul with thy prayers or piousworks, if perchance he have need thereof by reason of any sin that he may have committed. We can bury himreadily enough in this garden, nor will any one ever know; for none knows that he ever came hither; and ifthou wilt not have it so, we can bear him forth of the garden, and leave him there; and on the morrow he willbe found, and carried home, and buried by his kinsfolk." The girl, heavy-laden though she was with anguish,and still weeping, yet gave ear to the counsels of her maid, and rejecting the former alternative, made answerto the latter on this wise:--"Now God forbid that a youth so dear, whom I have so loved and made myhusband, should with my consent be buried like a dog, or left out there in the street. He has had my tears, andso far as I may avail, he shall have the tears of his kinsfolk, and already wot I what we must do." Andforthwith she sent the maid for a piece of silken cloth, which she had in one of her boxes; and when the maidreturned with it, they spread it on the ground, and laid Gabriotto's body thereon, resting the head upon apillow. She then closed the eyes and mouth, shedding the while many a tear, wove for him a wreath of roses,and strewed upon him all the roses that he and she had gathered; which done, she said to the maid:--"'Tis but ashort way hence to the door of his house; so thither we will bear him, thou and I, thus as we have dight him,and will lay him at the door. Day will soon dawn, and they will take him up; and, though 'twill be noconsolation to them, I, in whose arms he died, shall be glad of it." So saying, she burst once more into atorrent of tears, and fell with her face upon the face of the dead, and so long time she wept. Then, yielding atlast to the urgency of her maid, for day was drawing nigh, she arose, drew from her finger the ring with whichshe had been wedded to Gabriotto, and set it on his finger, saying with tears:--"Dear my lord, if thy soul bewitness of my tears, or if, when the spirit is fled, aught of intelligence or sense still lurk in the body,graciously receive the last gift of her whom in life thou didst so dearly love." Which said, she swooned, andfell upon the corpse; but, coming after a while to herself, she arose; and then she and her maid took the clothwhereon the body lay, and so bearing it, quitted the garden, and bent their steps towards the dead man's house.As thus they went, it chanced that certain of the Podesta's guard, that for some reason or another were abroadat that hour, met them, and arrested them with the corpse. Andreuola, to whom death was more welcome thanlife, no sooner knew them for the officers of the Signory than she frankly said:--"I know you, who you are,and that flight would avail me nothing: I am ready to come with you before the Signory, and to tell all there isto tell; but let none of you presume to touch me, so long as I obey you, or to take away aught that is on thisbody, if he would not that I accuse him." And so, none venturing to lay hand upon either her person or thecorpse, she entered the palace.

So soon as the Podesta was apprised of the affair, he arose, had her brought into his room, and there madehimself conversant with the circ*mstances: and certain physicians being charged to inquire whether the goodman had met his death by poison or otherwise, all with one accord averred that 'twas not by poison, but that hewas choked by the bursting of an imposthume near the heart. Which when the Podesta heard, perceiving thatthe girl's guilt could but be slight, he sought to make a pretence of giving what it was not lawful for him to sellher, and told her that he would set her at liberty, so she were consenting to pleasure him; but finding that hedid but waste his words he cast aside all decency, and would have used force. Whereupon Andreuola, kindlingwith scorn, waxed exceeding brave, and defended herself with a virile energy, and with high andcontumelious words drove him from her.

When 'twas broad day, the affair reached the ears of Messer Negro, who, half dead with grief, hied him withnot a few of his friends to the palace; where, having heard all that the Podesta had to say, he required himperemptorily to give him back his daughter. The Podesta, being minded rather to be his own accuser, than thathe should be accused by the girl of the violence that he had meditated towards her, began by praising her andher constancy, and in proof thereof went on to tell what he had done; he ended by saying, that, marking heradmirable firmness, he had fallen mightily in love with her, and so, notwithstanding she had been wedded to aman of low degree, he would, if 'twere agreeable to her and to her father, Messer Negro, gladly make her hiswife. While they thus spoke, Andreuola made her appearance, and, weeping, threw herself at her father's feet,saying:--"My father, I wot I need not tell you the story of my presumption, and the calamity that has befallen

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me, for sure I am that you have heard it and know it; wherefore, with all possible humility I crave your pardonof my fault, to wit, that without your knowledge I took for my husband him that pleased me best. And this Icrave, not that my life may be spared, but that I may die as your daughter and not as your enemy;" and so,weeping, she fell at his feet. Messer Negro, now an old man, and naturally kindly and affectionate, heard hernot without tears, and weeping raised her tenderly to her feet, saying:--"Daughter mine, I had much liefer hadit that thou hadst had a husband that I deemed a match for thee; and in that thou hadst taken one that pleasedthee I too had been pleased; but thy concealing thy choice from me is grievous to me by reason of thy distrustof me, and yet more so, seeing that thou hast lost him before I have known him. But as 'tis even so, to hisremains be paid the honour which, while he lived for thy contentment, I had gladly done him as myson-in-law." Then, turning to his sons and kinsmen, he bade them order Gabriotto's obsequies with all pompand honourable circ*mstance.

Meanwhile the young man's kinsmen and kinswomen, having heard the news, had flocked thither, bringingwith them almost all the rest of the folk, men and women alike, that were in the city. And so his body, restingon Andreuola's cloth, and covered with her roses, was laid out in the middle of the courtyard, and there wasmourned not by her and his kinsfolk alone, but publicly by well-nigh all the women of the city, and not a fewmen; and shouldered by some of the noblest of the citizens, as it had been the remains of no plebeian but of anoble, was borne from the public courtyard to the tomb with exceeding great pomp.

Some days afterwards, as the Podesta continued to urge his suit, Messer Negro would have discussed thematter with his daughter; but, as she would hear none of it, and he was minded in this matter to defer to herwishes, she and her maid entered a religious house of great repute for sanctity, where in just esteem they livedlong time thereafter.


-- Simona loves Pasquino; they are together in a garden; Pasquino rubs a leaf of sage against his teeth, anddies; Simona is arrested, and, with intent to shew the judge how Pasquino died, rubs one of the leaves of thesame plant against her teeth, and likewise dies. --

When Pamfilo had done with his story, the king, betraying no compassion for Andreuola, glancing at Emilia,signified to her his desire that she should now continue the sequence of narration. Emilia made no demur, andthus began:--

Dear gossips, Pamfilo's story puts me upon telling you another in no wise like thereto, save in this, that asAndreuola lost her lover in a garden, so also did she of whom I am to speak, and, being arrested likeAndreuola, did also deliver herself from the court, albeit 'twas not by any vigour or firmness of mind, but by asudden death. And, as 'twas said among us a while ago, albeit Love affects the mansions of the noble, he doesnot, therefore, disdain the dominion of the dwellings of the poor, nay, does there at times give proof of hismight no less signal than when he makes him feared of the wealthiest as a most potent lord. Which, thoughnot fully, will in some degree appear in my story, wherewith I am minded to return to our city, from whichto-day's discourse, roving from matter to matter, and one part of the world to another, has carried us so far.

Know then that no great while ago there dwelt in Florence a maid most fair, and, for her rank, debonair--shewas but a poor man's daughter--whose name was Simona; and though she must needs win with her own handsthe bread she ate, and maintain herself by spinning wool; yet was she not, therefore, of so poor a spirit, butthat she dared to give harbourage in her mind to Love, who for some time had sought to gain entrance there bymeans of the gracious deeds and words of a young man of her own order that went about distributing wool tospin for his master, a wool-monger. Love being thus, with the pleasant image of her beloved Pasquino,admitted into her soul, mightily did she yearn, albeit she hazarded no advance, and heaved a thousand sighsfiercer than fire with every skein of yarn that she wound upon her spindle, while she called to mind who hewas that had given her that wool to spin. Pasquino on his part became, meanwhile, very anxious that his

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master's wool should be well spun, and most particularly about that which Simona span, as if, indeed, it and italone was to furnish forth the whole of the cloth. And so, what with the anxiety which the one evinced, andthe gratification that it afforded to the other, it befell that, the one waxing unusually bold, and the other castingoff not a little of her wonted shyness and reserve, they came to an understanding for their mutual solace;which proved so delightful to both, that neither waited to be bidden by the other, but 'twas rather which shouldbe the first to make the overture.

While thus they sped their days in an even tenor of delight, and ever grew more ardently enamoured of oneanother, Pasquino chanced to say to Simona that he wished of all things she would contrive how she mightbetake her to a garden, whither he would bring her, that there they might be more at their ease, and in greatersecurity. Simona said that she was agreeable; and, having given her father to understand that she was mindedto go to San Gallo for the pardoning, she hied her with one of her gossips, Lagina by name, to the garden ofwhich Pasquino had told her. Here she found Pasquino awaiting her with a friend, one Puccino, otherwiseStramba; and Stramba and Lagina falling at once to love-making, Pasquino and Simona left a part of thegarden to them, and withdrew to another part for their own solace.

Now there was in their part of the garden a very fine and lovely sage-bush, at foot of which they sat themdown and made merry together a great while, and talked much of a junketing they meant to have in the gardenquite at their ease. By and by Pasquino, turning to the great sage-bush, plucked therefrom a leaf, and fell torubbing his teeth and gums therewith, saying that sage was an excellent detergent of aught that remained uponthem after a meal. Having done so, he returned to the topic of the junketing of which he had spoken before.But he had not pursued it far before his countenance entirely changed, and forthwith he lost sight and speech,and shortly after died. Whereupon Simona fell a weeping and shrieking and calling Stramba and Lagina; who,notwithstanding they came up with all speed, found Pasquino not only dead but already swollen from head tofoot, and covered with black spots both on the face and on the body; whereupon Stramba broke forth with:--"Ah! wicked woman! thou hast poisoned him;" and made such a din that 'twas heard by not a few that dwelthard by the garden; who also hasted to the spot, and seeing Pasquino dead and swollen, and hearing Strambabewail himself and accuse Simona of having maliciously poisoned him, while she, all but beside herself forgrief to be thus suddenly bereft of her lover, knew not how to defend herself, did all with one accord surmisethat 'twas even as Stramba said. Wherefore they laid hands on her, and brought her, still weeping bitterly, tothe palace of the Podesta: where at the instant suit of Stramba, backed by Atticciato and Malagevole, twoother newly-arrived friends of Pasquino, a judge forthwith addressed himself to question her of the matter;and being unable to discover that she had used any wicked practice, or was guilty, he resolved to take her withhim and go see the corpse, and the place, and the manner of the death, as she had recounted it to him; for byher words he could not well understand it. So, taking care that there should be no disturbance, he had herbrought to the place where Pasquino's corpse lay swollen like a tun, whither he himself presently came, andmarvelling as he examined the corpse, asked her how the death had come about. Whereupon, standing by thesagebush, she told him all that had happened, and that he might perfectly apprehend the occasion of the death,she did as Pasquino had done, plucked one of the leaves from the bush, and rubbed her teeth with it.Whereupon Stramba and Atticciato, and the rest of the friends and comrades of Pasquino, making in thepresence of the judge open mock of what she did, as an idle and vain thing, and being more than ever instantto affirm her guilt, and to demand the fire as the sole condign penalty, the poor creature, that, between grieffor her lost lover and dread of the doom demanded by Stramba, stood mute and helpless, was stricken no lesssuddenly, and in the same manner, and for the same cause (to wit, that she had rubbed her teeth with the sageleaf) as Pasquino, to the no small amazement of all that were present.

Oh! happy souls for whom one and the same day was the term of ardent love and earthly life! Happier still, ifto the same bourn ye fared! Ay, and even yet more happy, if love there be in the other world, and there, evenas here, ye love! But happiest above all Simona, so far as we, whom she has left behind, may judge, in thatFortune brooked not that the witness of Stramba, Atticciato and Malagevole, carders, perchance, or yet vilerfellows, should bear down her innocence, but found a more seemly issue, and, appointing her a like lot withher lover, gave her at once to clear herself from their foul accusation, and to follow whither the soul, that she

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so loved, of her Pasquino had preceded her!

The judge, and all else that witnessed the event, remained long time in a sort of stupefaction, knowing notwhat to say of it; but at length recovering his wits, the judge said:--"'Twould seem that this sage is poisonous,which the sage is not used to be. Let it be cut down to the roots and burned, lest another suffer by it in likesort." Which the gardener proceeding to do in the judge's presence, no sooner had he brought the great bushdown, than the cause of the deaths of the two lovers plainly appeared: for underneath it was a toad ofprodigious dimensions, from whose venomous breath, as they conjectured, the whole of the bush hadcontracted a poisonous quality. Around which toad, none venturing to approach it, they set a stout ring-fenceof fa*ggots, and burned it together with the sage. So ended Master judge's inquest on the death of haplessPasquino, who with his Simona, swollen as they were, were buried by Stramba, Atticciato, Guccio Imbratta,and Malagevole in the church of San Paolo, of which, as it so happened, they were parishioners.


-- Girolamo loves Salvestra: yielding to his mother's prayers he goes to Paris; he returns to find Salvestramarried; he enters her house by stealth, lays himself by her side, and dies; he is borne to the church, whereSalvestra lays herself by his side, and dies. --

When Emilia's story was done, Neifile at a word from the king thus began:--Some there are, noble ladies,who, methinks, deem themselves to be wiser than the rest of the world, and are in fact less so; and byconsequence presume to measure their wit against not only the counsels of men but the nature of things;which presumption has from time to time been the occasion of most grievous mishaps; but nought of goodwas ever seen to betide thereof. And as there is nought in nature that brooks to be schooled or thwarted so illas love, the quality of which is such that it is more likely to die out of its own accord than to be done away ofset purpose, I am minded to tell you a story of a lady, who, while she sought to be more wise than became her,and than she was, and indeed than the nature of the matter, wherein she studied to shew her wisdom, allowed,thinking to unseat Love from the heart that he had occupied, and wherein perchance the stars had establishedhim, did in the end banish at one and the same time Love and life from the frame of her son.

Know, then, that, as 'tis related by them of old time, there was once in our city a very great and wealthymerchant, Leonardo Sighieri by name, who had by his lady a son named Girolamo, after whose birth hedeparted this life, leaving his affairs in meet and due order; and well and faithfully were they afterwardsadministered in the interest of the boy by his mother and guardians. As he grew up, consorting morefrequently with the neighbours' children than any others of the quarter, he made friends with a girl of his ownage that was the daughter of a tailor; and in course of time this friendship ripened into a love so great andvehement, that Girolamo was ever ill at ease when he saw her not; nor was her love for him a whit less strongthan his for her. Which his mother perceiving would not seldom chide him therefor and chastise him. And asGirolamo could not give it up, she confided her distress to his guardians, speaking--for by reason of her boy'sgreat wealth she thought to make, as it were, an orange-tree out of a bramble--on this wise:--"This boy ofours, who is now scarce fourteen years old, is so in love with a daughter of one of our neighbours, a tailor--Salvestra is the girl's name--that, if we part them not, he will, peradventure, none else witting, take her to wifesome day, and I shall never be happy again; or, if he see her married to another, he will pine away; to preventwhich, methinks, you would do well to send him away to distant parts on the affairs of the shop; for so, beingout of sight she will come at length to be out of mind, and then we can give him some well-born girl to wife."Whereto the guardians answered, that 'twas well said, and that it should be so done to the best of their power:so they called the boy into the shop, and one of them began talking to him very affectionately on thiswise:--"My son, thou art now almost grown up; 'twere well thou shouldst now begin to learn something forthyself of thy own affairs: wherefore we should be very well pleased if thou wert to go stay at Paris a while,where thou wilt see how we trade with not a little of thy wealth, besides which thou wilt there become a muchbetter, finer, and more complete gentleman than thou couldst here, and when thou hast seen the lords andbarons and seigneurs that are there in plenty, and hast acquired their manners, thou canst return hither." The

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boy listened attentively, and then answered shortly that he would have none of it, for he supposed he mightremain at Florence as well as another. Whereupon the worthy men plied him with fresh argument, but wereunable to elicit other answer from him, and told his mother so. Whereat she was mightily incensed, and gavehim a great scolding, not for his refusing to go to Paris, but for his love; which done, she plied him with soft,wheedling words, and endearing expressions and gentle entreaties that he would be pleased to do as hisguardians would have him; whereby at length she prevailed so far, that he consented to go to Paris for a yearand no more; and so 'twas arranged. To Paris accordingly our ardent lover went, and there under one pretextor another was kept for two years. He returned more in love than ever, to find his Salvestra married to a goodyouth that was a tent-maker; whereat his mortification knew no bounds. But, seeing that what must be mustbe, he sought to compose his mind; and, having got to know where she lived, he took to crossing her path,according to the wont of young men in love, thinking that she could no more have forgotten him than he her.'Twas otherwise, however; she remembered him no more than if she had never seen him; or, if she had anyrecollection of him, she dissembled it: whereof the young man was very soon ware, to his extreme sorrow.Nevertheless he did all that he could to recall himself to her mind; but, as thereby he seemed to be nothingadvantaged, he made up his mind, though he should die for it, to speak to her himself. So, being instructed asto her house by a neighbour, he entered it privily one evening when she and her husband were gone to spendthe earlier hours with some neighbours, and hid himself in her room behind some tent-cloths that werestretched there, and waited till they were come back, and gone to bed, and he knew the husband to be asleep.Whereupon he got him to the place where he had seen Salvestra lie down, and said as he gently laid his handupon her bosom:--"O my soul, art thou yet asleep?" The girl was awake, and was on the point of uttering acry, when he forestalled her, saying:--"Hush! for God's sake. I am thy Girolamo." Whereupon she, tremblingin every limb:--"Nay, but for God's sake, Girolamo, begone: 'tis past, the time of our childhood, when our lovewas excusable. Thou seest I am married; wherefore 'tis no longer seemly that I should care for any other manthan my husband, and so by the one God, I pray thee, begone; for, if my husband were to know that thou arthere, the least evil that could ensue would be that I should never more be able to live with him in peace orcomfort, whereas, having his love, I now pass my days with him in tranquil happiness." Which speech causedthe young man grievous distress; but 'twas in vain that he reminded her of the past, and of his love thatdistance had not impaired, and therewith mingled many a prayer and the mightiest protestations. Wherefore,yearning for death, he besought her at last that she would suffer him to lie a while beside her till he got someheat, for he was chilled through and through, waiting for her, and promised her that he would say never aword to her, nor touch her, and that as soon as he was a little warmed he would go away. On which termsSalvestra, being not without pity for him, granted his request. So the young man lay down beside her, andtouched her not; but, gathering up into one thought the love he had so long borne her, the harshness withwhich she now requited it, and his ruined hopes, resolved to live no longer, and in a convulsion, without aword, and with fists clenched, expired by her side.

After a while the girl, marvelling at his continence, and fearing lest her husband should awake, broke silence,saying:--"Nay, but, Girolamo, why goest thou not?" But, receiving no answer, she supposed that he slept.Wherefore, reaching forth her hand to arouse him, she touched him and found him to her great surprise cold asice; and touching him again and again somewhat rudely, and still finding that he did not stir, she knew that hewas dead. Her grief was boundless, and 'twas long before she could bethink her how to act. But at last sheresolved to sound her husband's mind as to what should be done in such a case without disclosing that 'twashis own. So she awakened him, and told him how he was then bested, as if it were the affair of another, andthen asked him, if such a thing happened to her, what course he would take. The good man answered that heshould deem it best to take the dead man privily home, and there leave him, bearing no grudge against thelady, who seemed to have done no wrong. "And even so," said his wife, "it is for us to do;" and taking hishand, she laid it on the corpse. Whereat he started up in consternation, and struck a light, and with out furtherparley with his wife, clapped the dead man's clothes upon him, and forthwith (confident in his own innocence)raised him on his shoulders, and bore him to the door of his house, where he set him down and left him.

Day came, and the dead man being found before his own door, there was a great stir made, particularly by hismother; the body was examined with all care from head to foot, and, no wound or trace of violence being

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found on it, the physicians were on the whole of opinion that, as the fact was, the man had died of grief. Sothe corpse was borne to a church, and thither came the sorrowing mother and other ladies, her kinswomen andneighbours, and began to wail and mourn over it without restraint after our Florentine fashion. And when thewailing had reached its height, the good man, in whose house the death had occurred, said to Salvestra:--"Gowrap a mantle about thy head, and hie thee to the church, whither Girolamo has been taken, and go aboutamong the women and list what they say of this matter, and I will do the like among the men, that we mayhear if aught be said to our disadvantage." The girl assented, for with tardy tenderness she now yearned tolook on him dead, whom living she would not solace with a single kiss, and so to the church she went. Ah!how marvellous to whoso ponders it, is the might of Love, and how unsearchable his ways! That heart, which,while Fortune smiled on Girolamo, had remained sealed to him, opened to him now that he was fordone, and,kindling anew with all its old flame, melted with such compassion that no sooner saw she his dead face, asthere she stood wrapped in her mantle, than, edging her way forward through the crowd of women, she stayednot till she was beside the corpse; and there, uttering a piercing shriek, she threw herself upon the dead youth,and as her face met his, and before she might drench it with her tears, grief that had reft life from him hadeven so reft it from her.

The women strove to comfort her, and bade her raise herself a little, for as yet they knew her not; then, as shedid not arise, they would have helped her, but found her stiff and stark, and so, raising her up, they in one andthe same moment saw her to be Salvestra and dead. Whereat all the women that were there, overborne by aredoubled pity, broke forth in wailing new and louder far than before. From the church the bruit spread itselfamong the men, and reached the ears of Salvestra's husband, who, deaf to all that offered comfort orconsolation, wept a long while; after which he told to not a few that were there what had passed in the nightbetween the youth and his wife; and so 'twas known of all how they came to die, to the common sorrow of all.So they took the dead girl, and arrayed her as they are wont to array the dead, and laid her on the same bedbeside the youth, and long time they mourned her: then were they both buried in the same tomb, and thusthose, whom love had not been able to wed in life, were wedded by death in indissoluble union.


-- Sieur Guillaume de Roussillon slays his wife's paramour, Sieur Guillaume de Cabestaing, and gives her hisheart to eat. She, coming to wit thereof, throws herself from a high window to the ground, and dies, and isburied with her lover. --

Neifile's story, which had not failed to move her gossips to no little pity, being ended, none now remained tospeak but the king and Dioneo, whose privilege the king was minded not to infringe: wherefore he thusbegan:--I propose, compassionate my ladies, to tell you a story, which, seeing that you so commiserateill-starred loves, may claim no less a share of your pity than the last, inasmuch as they were greater folk ofwhom I shall speak, and that which befell them was more direful.

You are to know, then, that, as the Provencals relate, there were once in Provence two noble knights, eachhaving castles and vassals under him, the one yclept Sieur Guillaume de Roussillon, and the other SieurGuillaume de Cabestaing;(1) and being both most doughty warriors, they were as brothers, and went evertogether, and bearing the same device, to tournament or joust, or other passage of arms. And, albeit each dweltin his own castle, and the castles were ten good miles apart, it nevertheless came to pass that, Sieur Guillaumede Roussillon having a most lovely lady, and amorous withal, to wife, Sieur Guillaume de Cabestaing, for allthey were such friends and comrades, became inordinately enamoured of the lady, who, by this, that, and theother sign that he gave, discovered his passion, and knowing him for a most complete knight, was flattered,and returned it, insomuch that she yearned and burned for him above all else in the world, and waited only tillhe should make his suit to her, as before long he did; and so they met from time to time, and great was theirlove. Which intercourse they ordered with so little discretion that 'twas discovered by the husband, who wasvery wroth, insomuch that the great love which he bore to Cabestaing was changed into mortal enmity; and,dissembling it better than the lovers their love, he made his mind up to kill Cabestaing. Now it came to pass

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that, while Roussillon was in this frame, a great tourney was proclaimed in France, whereof Roussillonforthwith sent word to Cabestaing, and bade him to his castle, so he were minded to come, that there theymight discuss whether (or no) to go to the tourney, and how. Cabestaing was overjoyed, and made answer thathe would come to sup with him next day without fail. Which message being delivered, Roussillon wist thatthe time was come to slay Cabestaing. So next day he armed himself, and, attended by a few servants, tookhorse, and about a mile from his castle lay in ambush in a wood through which Cabestaing must needs pass.He waited some time, and then he saw Cabestaing approach unarmed with two servants behind, also unarmed,for he was without thought of peril on Roussillon's part. So Cabestaing came on to the place of Roussillon'schoice, and then, fell and vengeful, Roussillon leapt forth lance in hand, and fell upon him,exclaiming:--"Thou art a dead man!" and the words were no sooner spoken than the lance was throughCabestaing's breast. Powerless either to defend himself or even utter a cry, Cabestaing fell to the ground, andsoon expired. His servants waited not to see who had done the deed, but turned their horses' heads and fledwith all speed to their lord's castle. Roussillon dismounted, opened Cabestaing's breast with a knife, and tookout the heart with his own hands, wrapped it up in a banderole, and gave it to one of his servants to carry: hethen bade none make bold to breathe a word of the affair, mounted his horse and rode back--'twas nownight--to his castle. The lady, who had been told that Cabestaing was to come to supper that evening, and wasall impatience till he should come, was greatly surprised to see her husband arrive without him.Wherefore:--"How is this, my lord?" said she. "Why tarries Cabestaing?" "Madam," answered her husband, "Ihave tidings from him that he cannot be here until to-morrow:" whereat the lady was somewhat disconcerted.

Having dismounted, Roussillon called the cook, and said to him:--"Here is a boar's heart; take it, and makethereof the daintiest and most delicious dish thou canst, and when I am set at table serve it in a silverporringer." So the cook took the heart, and expended all his skill and pains upon it, mincing it and mixing withit plenty of good seasoning, and made thereof an excellent ragout; and in due time Sieur Guillaume and hislady sat them down to table. The meat was served, but Sieur Guillaume, his mind engrossed with his crime,ate but little. The cook set the ragout before him, but he, feigning that he cared to eat no more that evening,had it passed on to the lady, and highly commended it. The lady, nothing loath, took some of it, and found itso good that she ended by eating the whole. Whereupon:--"Madam," quoth the knight, "how liked you thisdish?" "In good faith, my lord," replied the lady, "not a little." "So help me, God," returned the knight, "I darebe sworn you did; 'tis no wonder that you should enjoy that dead, which living you enjoyed more than aughtelse in the world." For a while the lady was silent; then:--"How say you?" said she; "what is this you havecaused me to eat?" "That which you have eaten," replied the knight, "was in good sooth the heart of SieurGuillaume de Cabestaing, whom you, disloyal woman that you are, did so much love: for assurance whereof Itell you that but a short while before I came back, I plucked it from his breast with my own hands." It bootsnot to ask if the lady was sorrow-stricken to receive such tidings of her best beloved. But after a while shesaid:--"'Twas the deed of a disloyal and recreant knight; for if I, unconstrained by him, made him lord of mylove, and thereby did you wrong, 'twas I, not he, should have borne the penalty. But God forbid that fare ofsuch high excellence as the heart of a knight so true and courteous as Sieur Guillaume de Cabestaing befollowed by aught else." So saying she started to her feet, and stepping back to a window that was behind her,without a moment's hesitation let herself drop backwards therefrom. The window was at a great height fromthe ground, so that the lady was not only killed by the fall, but almost reduced to atoms. Stunned andconscience-stricken by the spectacle, and fearing the vengeance of the country folk, and the Count ofProvence, Sieur Guillaume had his horses saddled and rode away. On the morrow the whole countryside knewhow the affair had come about; wherefore folk from both of the castles took the two bodies, and bore themwith grief and lamentation exceeding great to the church in the lady's castle, and laid them in the same tomb,and caused verses to be inscribed thereon signifying who they were that were there interred, and the mannerand occasion of their death.

(1) Boccaccio writes Guardastagno, but the troubadour, Cabestaing, or Cabestany, is the hero of the story.


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-- The wife of a leech, deeming her lover, who has taken an opiate, to be dead, puts him in a chest, which,with him therein, two usurers carry off to their house. He comes to himself, and is taken for a thief; but, thelady's maid giving the Signory to understand that she had put him in the chest which the usurers stole, heescapes the gallows, and the usurers are mulcted in moneys for the theft of the chest. --

Now that the king had told his tale, it only remained for Dioneo to do his part, which he witting, and beingthereto bidden by the king, thus began:-- Sore have I--to say nought of you, my ladies--been of eyne and heartto hear the woeful histories of ill-starred love, insomuch that I have desired of all things that they might havean end. Wherefore, now that, thank God, ended they are, unless indeed I were minded, which God forbid, toadd to such pernicious stuff a supplement of the like evil quality, no such dolorous theme do I purpose toensue, but to make a fresh start with somewhat of a better and more cheerful sort, which perchance may serveto suggest to-morrow's argument.

You are to know, then, fairest my damsels, that 'tis not long since there dwelt at Salerno a leech most eminentin surgery, his name, Master Mazzeo della Montagna, who in his extreme old age took to wife a fair damsel ofthe same city, whom he kept in nobler and richer array of dresses and jewels, and all other finery that the sexaffects, than any other lady in Salerno. Howbeit, she was none too warm most of her time, being ill coveredabed by the doctor; who gave her to understand--even as Messer Ricciardo di Chinzica, of whom we spoke awhile since, taught his lady the feasts--that for once that a man lay with a woman he needed I know not howmany days to recover, and the like nonsense: whereby she lived as ill content as might be; and, lacking neithersense nor spirit, she determined to economize at home, and taking to the street, to live at others' expense. So,having passed in review divers young men, she at last found one that was to her mind, on whom she set all herheart and hopes of happiness. Which the gallant perceiving was mightily flattered, and in like manner gaveher all his love. Ruggieri da Jeroli--such was the gallant's name--was of noble birth, but of life, andconversation so evil and reprehensible that kinsman or friend he had none left that wished him well, or caredto see him; and all Salerno knew him for a common thief and rogue of the vilest character. Whereof the ladytook little heed, having a mind to him for another reason; and so with the help of her maid she arranged ameeting with him. But after they had solaced themselves a while, the lady began to censure his past life, andto implore him for love of her to depart from such evil ways; and to afford him the means thereto, she fromtime to time furnished him with money. While thus with all discretion they continued their intercourse, itchanced that a man halt of one of his legs was placed under the leech's care. The leech saw what was amisswith him, and told his kinsfolk, that, unless a gangrened bone that he had in his leg were taken out, he mustdie, or have the whole leg amputated; that if the bone were removed he might recover; but that otherwise hewould not answer for his life: whereupon the relatives assented that the bone should be removed, and left thepatient in the hands of the leech; who, deeming that by reason of the pain 'twas not possible for him to endurethe treatment without an opiate, caused to be distilled in the morning a certain water of his own concoction,whereby the patient, drinking it, might be ensured sleep during such time as he deemed the operation, whichhe meant to perform about vespers, would occupy. In the meantime he had the water brought into his house,and set it in the window of his room, telling no one what it was. But when the vesper hour was come, and theleech was about to visit his patient, a messenger arrived from some very great friends of his at Amalfi, bearingtidings of a great riot there had been there, in which not a few had been wounded, and bidding him on noaccount omit to hie him thither forthwith. Wherefore the leech put off the treatment of the leg to the morrow,and took boat to Amalfi; and the lady, knowing that he would not return home that night, did as she was wontin such a case, to wit, brought Ruggieri in privily, and locked him in her chamber until certain other folk thatwere in the house were gone to sleep. Ruggieri, then, being thus in the chamber, awaiting the lady, andhaving-- whether it were that he had had a fatiguing day, or eaten something salt, or, perchance, that 'twas hishabit of body--a mighty thirst, glancing at the window, caught sight of the bottle containing the water whichthe leech had prepared for the patient, and taking it to be drinking water, set it to his lips and drank it all, andin no long time fell into a deep sleep.

So soon as she was able the lady hied her to the room, and there finding Ruggieri asleep, touched him andsoftly told him to get up: to no purpose, however; he neither answered nor stirred a limb. Wherefore the lady,

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rather losing patience, applied somewhat more force, and gave him a push, saying:-- "Get up, sleepy-head; ifthou hadst a mind to sleep, thou shouldst have gone home, and not have come hither." Thus pushed Ruggierifell down from a box on which he lay, and, falling, shewed no more sign of animation than if he had been acorpse. The lady, now somewhat alarmed, essayed to lift him, and shook him roughly, and took him by thenose, and pulled him by the beard; again to no purpose: he had tethered his ass to a stout pin. So the ladybegan to fear he must be dead: however, she went on to pinch him shrewdly, and singe him with the flame ofa candle; but when these methods also failed she, being, for all she was a leech's wife, no leech herself,believed for sure that he was dead; and as there was nought in the world that she loved so much, it boots not toask if she was sore distressed; wherefore silently, for she dared not lament aloud, she began to weep over himand bewail such a misadventure. But, after a while, fearing lest her loss should not be without a sequel ofshame, she bethought her that she must contrive without delay to get the body out of the house; and standingin need of another's advice, she quietly summoned her maid, shewed her the mishap that had befallen her, andcraved her counsel. Whereat the maid marvelled not a little; and she too fell to pulling Ruggieri this way andthat, and pinching him, and, as she found no sign of life in him, concurred with her mistress that he was verilydead, and advised her to remove him from the house. "And where," said the lady, "shall we put him, thatto-morrow, when he is discovered, it be not suspected that 'twas hence he was carried?" "Madam," answeredthe maid, "late last evening I marked in front of our neighbour the carpenter's shop a chest, not too large,which, if he have not put it back in the house, will come in very handy for our purpose, for we will put himinside, and give him two or three cuts with a knife, and so leave him. When he is found, I know not why itshould be thought that 'twas from this house rather than from any other that he was put there; nay, as he wasan evil- liver, 'twill more likely be supposed, that, as he hied him on some evil errand, some enemy slew him,and then put him in the chest." The lady said there was nought in the world she might so ill brook as thatRuggieri should receive any wound; but with that exception she approved her maid's proposal, and sent her tosee if the chest were still where she had seen it. The maid, returning, reported that there it was, and, beingyoung and strong, got Ruggieri, with the lady's help, upon her shoulders; and so the lady, going before to espyif any folk came that way, and the maid following, they came to the chest, and having laid Ruggieri therein,closed it and left him there.

Now a few days before, two young men, that were usurers, had taken up their quarters in a house a littlefurther on: they had seen the chest during the day, and being short of furniture, and having a mind to makegreat gain with little expenditure, they had resolved that, if it were still there at night, they would take it homewith them. So at midnight forth they hied them, and finding the chest, were at no pains to examine it closely,but forthwith, though it seemed somewhat heavy, bore it off to their house, and set it down beside a room inwhich their women slept; and without being at pains to adjust it too securely they left it there for the time, andwent to bed.

Towards matins Ruggieri, having had a long sleep and digested the draught and exhausted its efficacy, awoke,but albeit his slumber was broken, and his senses had recovered their powers, yet his brain remained in a sortof torpor which kept him bemused for some days; and when he opened his eyes and saw nothing, andstretched his hands hither and thither and found himself in the chest, it was with difficulty that he collected histhoughts. "How is this?" he said to himself. "Where am I? Do I sleep or wake? I remember coming thisevening to my lady's chamber; and now it seems I am in a chest. What means it? Can the leech have returned,or somewhat else have happened that caused the lady, while I slept, to hide me here? That was it, I suppose.Without a doubt it must have been so." And having come to this conclusion, he composed himself to listen, ifhaply he might hear something, and being somewhat ill at ease in the chest, which was none too large, and theside on which he lay paining him, he must needs turn over to the other, and did so with such adroitness that,bringing his loins smartly against one of the sides of the chest, which was set on an uneven floor, he caused itto tilt and then fall; and such was the noise that it made as it fell that the women that slept there awoke, albeitfor fear they kept silence. Ruggieri was not a little disconcerted by the fall, but, finding that thereby the chestwas come open, he judged that, happen what might, he would be better out of it than in it; and not knowingwhere he was, and being otherwise at his wits' end, he began to grope about the house, if haply he might find astair or door whereby he might take himself off. Hearing him thus groping his way, the alarmed women gave

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tongue with:--"Who is there?" Ruggieri, not knowing the voice, made no answer: wherefore the women fell tocalling the two young men, who, having had a long day, were fast asleep, and heard nought of what went on.Which served to increase the fright of the women, who rose and got them to divers windows, and raised thecry:--"Take thief, take thief!" At which summons there came running from divers quarters not a few of theneighbours, who got into the house by the roof or otherwise as each best might: likewise the young men,aroused by the din, got up; and, Ruggieri being now all but beside himself for sheer amazement, and knowingnot whither to turn him to escape them, they took him and delivered him to the officers of the Governor of thecity, who, hearing the uproar, had hasted to the spot. And so he was brought before the Governor, who,knowing him to be held of all a most arrant evil-doer, put him forthwith to the torture, and, upon hisconfessing that he had entered the house of the usurers with intent to rob, was minded to make short work ofit, and have him hanged by the neck.

In the morning 'twas bruited throughout all Salerno that Ruggieri had been taken a thieving in the house of theusurers. Whereat the lady and her maid were all amazement and bewilderment, insomuch that they werewithin an ace of persuading themselves that what they had done the night before they had not done, but hadonly dreamed it; besides which, the peril in which Ruggieri stood caused the lady such anxiety as brought herto the verge of madness. Shortly after half tierce the leech, being returned from Amalfi, and minded now totreat his patient, called for his water, and finding the bottle empty made a great commotion, protesting thatnought in his house could be let alone. The lady, having other cause of annoy, lost temper, and said:--"Whatwould you say, Master, of an important matter, when you raise such a din because a bottle of water has beenupset? Is there never another to be found in the world?" "Madam," replied the leech, "thou takest this to havebeen mere water. 'Twas no such thing, but an artificial water of a soporiferous virtue;" and he told her forwhat purpose he had made it. Which the lady no sooner heard, than, guessing that Ruggieri had drunk it, andso had seemed to them to be dead, she said:--"Master, we knew it not; wherefore make you another." And sothe leech, seeing that there was no help for it, had another made. Not long after, the maid, who by the lady'scommand had gone to find out what folk said of Ruggieri, returned, saying:--"Madam, of Ruggieri they saynought but evil, nor, by what I have been able to discover, has he friend or kinsman that has or will come tohis aid; and 'tis held for certain that to-morrow the Stadic(1) will have him hanged. Besides which, I have thatto tell you which will surprise you; for, methinks, I have found out how he came into the usurers' house. List,then, how it was: you know the carpenter in front of whose shop stood the chest we put Ruggieri into: he hadto-day the most violent altercation in the world with one to whom it would seem the chest belongs, by whomhe was required to make good the value of the chest, to which he made answer that he had not sold it, but thatit had been stolen from him in the night. 'Not so,' said the other; 'thou soldst it to the two young usurers, asthey themselves told me last night, when I saw it in their house at the time Ruggieri was taken.' 'They lie,'replied the carpenter. 'I never sold it them, but they must have stolen it from me last night; go we to them.' Sowith one accord off they went to the usurers' house, and I came back here. And so, you see, I make out that'twas on such wise that Ruggieri was brought where he was found; but how he came to life again, I am at aloss to conjecture." The lady now understood exactly how things were, and accordingly told the maid whatshe had learned from the leech, and besought her to aid her to get Ruggieri off, for so she might, if she would,and at the same time preserve her honour. "Madam," said the maid, "do but shew me how; and glad shall I beto do just as you wish." Whereupon the lady, to whom necessity taught invention, formed her plan on the spurof the moment, and expounded it in detail to the maid; who (as the first step) hied her to the leech, and,weeping, thus addressed him:--"Sir, it behoves me to ask your pardon of a great wrong that I have done you.""And what may that be?" inquired the leech. "Sir," said the maid, who ceased not to weep, "you know whatmanner of man is Ruggieri da Jeroli. Now he took a fancy to me, and partly for fear, partly for love, I this yearagreed to be his mistress; and knowing yestereve that you were from home, he coaxed me into bringing himinto your house to sleep with me in my room. Now he was athirst, and I, having no mind to be seen by yourlady, who was in the hall, and knowing not whither I might sooner betake me for wine or water, bethought methat I had seen a bottle of water in your room, and ran and fetched it, and gave it him to drink, and then put thebottle back in the place whence I had taken it; touching which I find that you have made a great stir in thehouse. Verily I confess that I did wrong; but who is there that does not wrong sometimes? Sorry indeed am Ito have so done, but 'tis not for such a cause and that which ensued thereon that Ruggieri should lose his life.

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Wherefore, I do most earnestly beseech you, pardon me, and suffer me to go help him as best I may be able."Wroth though he was at what he heard, the leech replied in a bantering tone:--"Thy pardon thou hast by thineown deed; for, whereas thou didst last night think to have with thee a gallant that would thoroughly dust thypelisse for thee, he was but a sleepy head; wherefore get thee gone, and do what thou mayst for thedeliverance of thy lover, and for the future look thou bring him not into the house; else I will pay thee for thatturn and this to boot." The maid, deeming that she had come off well in the first brush, hied her with all speedto the prison where Ruggieri lay, and by her cajoleries prevailed upon the warders to let her speak with him;and having told him how he must answer the Stadic if he would get off, she succeeded in obtainingpreaudience of the Stadic; who, seeing that the baggage was lusty and mettlesome, was minded before heheard her to grapple her with the hook, to which she was by no means averse, knowing that such a preliminarywould secure her a better hearing. When she had undergone the operation and was risen:--"Sir," said she, "youhave here Ruggieri da Jeroli, apprehended on a charge of theft; which charge is false." Whereupon she toldhim the whole story from beginning to end, how she, being Ruggieri's mistress, had brought him into theleech's house and had given him the opiate, not knowing it for such, and taking him to be dead, had put him inthe chest; and then recounting what she had heard pass between the carpenter and the owner of the chest, sheshewed him how Ruggieri came into the house of the usurers. Seeing that 'twas easy enough to find outwhether the story were true, the Stadic began by questioning the leech as to the water, and found that 'twas asshe had said: he then summoned the carpenter, the owner of the chest and the usurers, and after much furtherparley ascertained that the usurers had stolen the chest during the night, and brought it into their house: finallyhe sent for Ruggieri, and asked him where he had lodged that night, to which Ruggieri answered that where hehad lodged he knew not, but he well remembered going to pass the night with Master Mazzeo's maid, inwhose room he had drunk some water by reason of a great thirst that he had; but what happened to himafterwards, except that, when he awoke, he found himself in a chest in the house of the usurers, he knew not.All which matters the Stadic heard with great interest, and caused the maid and Ruggieri and the carpenter andthe usurers to rehearse them several times. In the end, seeing that Ruggieri was innocent, he released him, andmulcted the usurers in fifteen ounces for the theft of the chest. How glad Ruggieri was thus to escape, it bootsnot to ask; and glad beyond measure was his lady. And so, many a time did they laugh and make merrytogether over the affair, she and he and the dear maid that had proposed to give him a taste of the knife; andremaining constant in their love, they had ever better and better solace thereof. The like whereof befall me,sans the being put in the chest.

(1) The Neapolitan term for the chief of police.

Heartsore as the gentle ladies had been made by the preceding stories, this last of Dioneo provoked them tosuch merriment, more especially the passage about the Stadic and the hook, that they lacked not relief of thepiteous mood engendered by the others. But the king observing that the sun was now taking a yellowish tinge,and that the end of his sovereignty was come, in terms most courtly made his excuse to the fair ladies, that hehad made so direful a theme as lovers' infelicity the topic of their discourse; after which, he rose, took thelaurel wreath from his head, and, while the ladies watched to see to whom he would give it, set it graciouslyupon the blond head of Fiammetta, saying:--"Herewith I crown thee, as deeming that thou, better than anyother, wilt know how to make to-morrow console our fair companions for the rude trials of to-day."Fiammetta, whose wavy tresses fell in a flood of gold over her white and delicate shoulders, whose softlyrounded face was all radiant with the very tints of the white lily blended with the red of the rose, who carriedtwo eyes in her head that matched those of a peregrine falcon, while her tiny sweet mouth shewed a pair oflips that shone as rubies, replied with a smile:--"And gladly take I the wreath, Filostrato, and that thou maystmore truly understand what thou hast done, 'tis my present will and pleasure that each make ready to discourseto-morrow of good fortune befalling lovers after divers direful or disastrous adventures." The themepropounded was approved by all; whereupon the queen called the seneschal, and having made with him allmeet arrangements, rose and gaily dismissed all the company until the supper hour; wherefore, some strayingabout the garden, the beauties of which were not such as soon to pall, others bending their steps towards themills that were grinding without, each, as and where it seemed best, they took meanwhile their severalpleasures. The supper hour come, they all gathered, in their wonted order, by the fair fountain, and in the

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gayest of spirits and well served they supped. Then rising they addressed them, as was their wont, to danceand song, and while Filomena led the dance:--"Filostrato," said the queen, "being minded to follow in thefootsteps of our predecessors, and that, as by their, so by our command a song be sung; and well witting thatthy songs are even as thy stories, to the end that no day but this be vexed with thy misfortunes, we ordain thatthou give us one of them, whichever thou mayst prefer." Filostrato answered that he would gladly do so; andwithout delay began to sing on this wise:--

Full well my tears attest, O traitor Love, with what just cause the heart, With which thou once hast brokenfaith, doth smart.

Love, when thou first didst in my heart enshrine Her for whom still I sigh, alas! in vain, Nor any hope doknow, A damsel so complete thou didst me shew, That light as air I counted every pain, Wherewith behest ofthine Condemned my soul to pine. Ah! but I gravely erred; the which to know Too late, alas! doth but enhancemy woe.

The cheat I knew not ere she did me leave, She, she, in whom alone my hopes were placed: For 'twas when Idid most Flatter myself with hope, and proudly boast Myself her vassal lowliest and most graced, Nor thoughtLove might bereave, Nor dreamed he e'er might grieve, 'Twas then I found that she another's worth Into herheart had ta'en and me cast forth.

A plant of pain, alas! my heart did bear, What time my hapless self cast forth I knew; And there it dothremain; And day and hour I curse and curse again, When first that front of love shone on my view That frontso queenly fair, And bright beyond compare! Wherefore at once my faith, my hope, my fire My soul dothimprecate, ere she expire.

My lord, thou knowest how comfortless my woe, Thou, Love, my lord, whom thus I supplicate With many apiteous moan, Telling thee how in anguish sore I groan, Yearning for death my pain to mitigate. Come death,and with one blow Cut short my span, and so With my curst life me of my frenzy ease; For wheresoe'er I go,'twill sure decrease.

Save death no way of comfort doth remain: No anodyne beside for this sore smart. The boon, then, Lovebestow; And presently by death annul my woe, And from this abject life release my heart. Since from me joyis ta'en, And every solace, deign My prayer to grant, and let my death the cheer Complete, that she now hathof her new fere.

Song, it may be that no one shall thee learn: Nor do I care; for none I wot, so well As I may chant thee; so,This one behest I lay upon thee, go Hie thee to Love, and him in secret tell, How I my life do spurn, My bitterlife, and yearn, That to a better harbourage he bring Me, of all might and grace that own him king.

Full well my tears attest, etc.

Filostrato's mood and its cause were made abundantly manifest by the words of this song; and perchance theyhad been made still more so by the looks of a lady that was among the dancers, had not the shades of night,which had now overtaken them, concealed the blush that suffused her face. Other songs followed until thehour for slumber arrived: whereupon at the behest of the queen all the ladies sought their several chambers.


End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Decameron, Volume I by Giovanni Boccaccio

Decameron, vol. 1, The

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What type of document is the Decameron? ›

Boccaccio's introduction to the Decameron is a frame-story - a narrative that frames another story or a collection of stories. This form became a popular literary model for enveloping collections of short stories that blend oral storytelling and literature.

What was the main point of Boccaccio's Decameron? ›

The three major themes of The Decameron involve love, fortune, and intelligence, with the overriding theme being the power of love. In the Preface, Boccaccio describes how love motivates him to write and explains why women need his love stories (for entertainment and useful advice).

How many pages is Decameron? ›

Product information
Publisher‎Penguin Classics; 2nd edition (February 1, 1996)
Mass Market Paperback1072 pages
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What is the best translation of the Decameron? ›

I strongly recommend Rebhorn's 2013 translation of the Decameron for use in the high school and university classroom. Works Cited: Allen, Esther and Susan Bernofsky. In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What It Means.

Why was Decameron banned? ›

Answer and Explanation: Since its original publication during the 1370s, Giovanni Boccaccio epic has been constantly rewritten by outside forces in order to cut down on its so-called obscene subject matter. The Decameron was especially controversial for its frank discussions of sexuality and eroticism.

Why is Decameron controversial? ›

The many tales that depict explicit sexual situations and satirize the Church became the subject of much controversy, and they were indeed the same that were ultimately censored.

What is the moral lesson of the story Decameron? ›

The moral is that people can be happy, prosperous and creative even in the worst of times: nothing quenches the life force.

Why was The Decameron so popular? ›

The work is regarded as a masterpiece of classical Italian prose. While romantic in tone and form, it breaks from medieval sensibility in its insistence on the human ability to overcome, even exploit, fortune. The Decameron comprises a group of stories united by a frame story.

What is the message of The Decameron? ›

The overall theme of The Decameron is the power of love to survive changes in fortune and to override human intelligence. By love, Boccaccio usually means romantic passion, including lust. He portrays love as a natural force that overcomes individual will.

Should you read Decameron? ›

In addition to its literary value and widespread influence (for example on Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales), it provides a document of life at the time. Written in the vernacular of the Florentine language, it is considered a masterpiece of classical early Italian prose.

Is Decameron Renaissance or Medieval? ›

A masterpiece written on the cusp of the Italian Renaissance, The Decameron, composed between 1349 and 1351, presents 100 novellas by 10 storytellers who had taken refuge from the Black Plague sweeping through Florence.

What does the title Decameron mean? ›

The book's primary title exemplifies Boccaccio's fondness for Greek philology: Decameron combines Greek δέκα, déka ("ten") and ἡμέρα, hēméra ("day") to mean "ten-day [event]", referring to the period in which the characters of the frame story tell their tales.

What is the most famous story in The Decameron? ›

Fifth tale (IV, 5)

She disinters the head and sets it in a pot of basil, whereon she daily weeps a great while. Her brothers take the pot from her and she dies shortly after. Filomena tells this story, one of the most famous in the Decameron, and the basis of John Keats' narrative poem Isabella, or the Pot of Basil.

What is Boccaccio's purpose in writing The Decameron? ›

In the prologue of the Decameron, Boccaccio explains that his purpose of writing is to comfort and entertain his readers, specifically his friends and family who were there for him during difficult times. Earlier in his life, he was scorned by love, and his loved ones were there to comfort him.

What are the famous lines of The Decameron? ›

The Decameron | Quotes
  • This pestilence was so powerful that it was transmitted to the healthy by contact with the sick. ...
  • I saw ... ...
  • The deceiver is at the mercy of the one he deceives. ...
  • I have heard ... ...
  • Therefore, I can easily attest to what wise men say is true: only misery is without envy in this world. ...
  • She ...
Nov 29, 2017

What type of writing is The Decameron? ›

The work is regarded as a masterpiece of classical Italian prose. While romantic in tone and form, it breaks from medieval sensibility in its insistence on the human ability to overcome, even exploit, fortune. The Decameron comprises a group of stories united by a frame story.

In which category does Decameron belong? ›

The Decameron
Illustration from a ca. 1492 edition of Il Decameron published in Venice
AuthorGiovanni Boccaccio
LanguageItalian (Florentine)
GenreFrame story, short story
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Is The Decameron a primary source? ›

The tales told by characters in the story are likely fictional, yet Boccaccio likely incorporated factual events he personally witnessed, making part of the Decameron a primary source if one can discern which details are autobiographical of the author.

How do you reference The Decameron? ›

How to cite “The Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio
  1. APA. Boccaccio, G. (2003). The Decameron (G. H. McWilliam, Trans.). Penguin Classics.
  2. Chicago. Boccaccio, Giovanni. 2003. The Decameron. Translated by G. H. McWilliam. ...
  3. MLA. Boccaccio, Giovanni. The Decameron. Translated by G. H. McWilliam, Penguin Classics, 2003.


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