The Decameron, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 478 pages of information about The Decameron, Volume II.
house.  And as he went, being none too careful of Alessandro, he swung him from time to time against one or other of the angles of certain benches that were by the wayside; and indeed the night was so dark and murky that he could not see where he was going.  And when he was all but on the threshold of the lady’s house (she standing within at a window with her maid, to mark if Rinuccio would bring Alessandro, and being already provided with an excuse for sending them both away), it so befell that the patrol of the Signory, who were posted in the street in dead silence, being on the look-out for a certain bandit, hearing the tramp of Rinuccio’s feet, suddenly shewed a light, the better to know what was toward, and whither to go, and advancing targes and lances, cried out:—­“Who goes there?” Whereupon Rinuccio, having little leisure for deliberation, let Alessandro fall, and took to flight as fast as his legs might carry him.  Alessandro, albeit encumbered by the graveclothes, which were very long, also jumped up and made off.  By the light shewn by the patrol the lady had very plainly perceived Rinuccio, with Alessandro on his back, as also that Alessandro had the grave-clothes upon him; and much did she marvel at the daring of both, but, for all that, she laughed heartily to see Rinuccio drop Alessandro, and Alessandro run away.  Overjoyed at the turn the affair had taken, and praising God that He had rid her of their harass, she withdrew from the window, and betook her to her chamber, averring to her maid that for certain they must both be mightily in love with her, seeing that ’twas plain they had both done her bidding.

Crestfallen and cursing his evil fortune, Rinuccio nevertheless went not home, but, as soon as the street was clear of the patrol, came back to the spot where he had dropped Alessandro, and stooped down and began feeling about, if haply he might find him, and so do his devoir to the lady; but, as he found him not, he supposed the patrol must have borne him thence, and so at last home he went; as did also Alessandro, knowing not what else to do, and deploring his mishap.  On the morrow, Scannadio’s tomb being found open and empty, for Alessandro had thrown the corpse into the vault below, all Pistoia debated of the matter with no small diversity of opinion, the fools believing that Scannadio had been carried off by devils.  Neither of the lovers, however, forbore to make suit to the lady for her favour and love, telling her what he had done, and what had happened, and praying her to have him excused that he had not perfectly carried out her instructions.  But she, feigning to believe neither of them, disposed of each with the same curt answer, to wit, that, as he had not done her bidding, she would never do aught for him.

NOVEL II.

—­ An abbess rises in haste and in the dark, with intent to surprise an accused nun abed with her lover:  thinking to put on her veil, she puts on instead the breeches of a priest that she has with her:  the nun, espying her headgear, and doing her to wit thereof, is acquitted, and thenceforth finds it easier to forgather with her lover. —­

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The Decameron, Volume II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.