The Decameron, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 573 pages of information about The Decameron, Volume II.
So the servant came back, and said:—­“Cisti, Messer Geri does, for sure, send me to thee.”  “Son,” answered Cisti, “Messer Geri does, for sure, not send thee to me.”  “To whom then,” said the servant, “does he send me?” “To Arno,” returned Cisti.  Which being reported by the servant to Messer Geri, the eyes of his mind were straightway opened, and:—­“Let me see,” quoth he to the servant, “what flask it is thou takest there.”  And when he had seen it:—­“Cisti says sooth,” he added; and having sharply chidden him, he caused him take with him a suitable flask, which when Cisti saw:—­“Now know I,” quoth he, “that ’tis indeed Messer Geri that sends thee to me,” and blithely filled it.  And having replenished the rundlet that same day with wine of the same quality, he had it carried with due care to Messer Geri’s house, and followed after himself; where finding Messer Geri he said:—­“I would not have you think, Sir, that I was appalled by the great flask your servant brought me this morning; ’twas but that I thought you had forgotten that which by my little beakers I gave you to understand, when you were with me of late; to wit, that this is no table wine; and so wished this morning to refresh your memory.  Now, however, being minded to keep the wine no longer, I have sent you all I have of it, to be henceforth entirely at your disposal.”  Messer Geri set great store by Cisti’s gift, and thanked him accordingly, and ever made much of him and entreated him as his friend.


—­ Monna Nonna de’ Pulci by a ready retort silences the scarce seemly jesting of the Bishop of Florence. —­

Pampinea’s story ended, and praise not a little bestowed on Cisti alike for his apt speech and for his handsome present, the queen was pleased to call forthwith for a story from Lauretta, who blithely thus began:—­

Debonair my ladies, the excellency of wit, and our lack thereof, have been noted with no small truth first by Pampinea and after her by Filomena.  To which topic ’twere bootless to return:  wherefore to that which has been said touching the nature of wit I purpose but to add one word, to remind you that its bite should be as a sheep’s bite and not as a dog’s; for if it bite like a dog, ’tis no longer wit but discourtesy.  With which maxim the words of Madonna Oretta, and the apt reply of Cisti, accorded excellently.  True indeed it is that if ’tis by way of retort, and one that has received a dog’s bite gives the biter a like bite in return, it does not seem to be reprehensible, as otherwise it would have been.  Wherefore one must consider how and when and on whom and likewise where one exercises one’s wit.  By ill observing which matters one of our prelates did once upon a time receive no less shrewd a bite than he gave; as I will shew you in a short story.

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