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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 478 pages of information about The Decameron, Volume II.
world would have made me believe that I saw not you lying there in carnal intercourse with your wife, had I not heard you say that you saw me doing that which most assuredly, so far from doing, I never so much as thought of.”  The lady then started up with a most resentful mien, and burst out with:—­“Foul fall thee, if thou knowest so little of me as to suppose that, if I were minded to do thee such foul dishonour as thou sayst thou didst see me do, I would come hither to do it before thine eyes!  Rest assured that for such a purpose, were it ever mine, I should deem one of our chambers more meet, and it should go hard but I would so order the matter that thou shouldst never know aught of it.”  Nicostratus, having heard both, and deeming that what they both averred must be true, to wit, that they would never have ventured upon such an act in his presence, passed from chiding to talk of the singularity of the thing, and how marvellous it was that the vision should reshape itself for every one that clomb the tree.  The lady, however, made a show of being distressed that Nicostratus should so have thought of her, and:—­“Verily,” quoth she, “no woman, neither I nor another, shall again suffer loss of honour by this pear-tree:  run, Pyrrhus, and bring hither an axe, and at one and the same time vindicate thy honour and mine by felling it, albeit ‘twere better far Nicostratus’ skull should feel the weight of the axe, seeing that in utter heedlessness he so readily suffered the eyes of his mind to be blinded; for, albeit this vision was seen by the bodily eye, yet ought the understanding by no means to have entertained and affirmed it as real.”

So Pyrrhus presently hied him to fetch the axe, and returning therewith felled the pear; whereupon the lady, turning towards Nicostratus:—­“Now that this foe of my honour is fallen,” quoth she, “my wrath is gone from me.”  Nicostratus then craving her pardon, she graciously granted it him, bidding him never again to suffer himself to be betrayed into thinking such a thing of her, who loved him more dearly than herself.  So the poor duped husband went back with her and her lover to the palace, where not seldom in time to come Pyrrhus and Lydia took their pastime together more at ease.  God grant us the like.

NOVEL X.

—­ Two Sienese love a lady, one of them being her gossip:  the gossip dies, having promised his comrade to return to him from the other world; which he does, and tells him what sort of life is led there. —­

None now was left to tell, save the king, who, as soon as the ladies had ceased mourning over the fall of the pear-tree, that had done no wrong, and were silent, began thus:—­Most manifest it is that ’tis the prime duty of a just king to observe the laws that he has made; and, if he do not so, he is to be esteemed no king, but a slave that has merited punishment, into which fault, and under which condemnation,

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