The Decameron, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 478 pages of information about The Decameron, Volume II.
much less reprehensible than it were in men; and furthermore the consent of no woman was—­I say not had, but—­so much as asked before ’twas made; for which reasons it justly deserves to be called a bad law.  However, if in scathe of my body and your own soul, you are minded to put it in force, ’tis your affair; but, I pray you, go not on to try this matter in any wise, until you have granted me this trifling grace, to wit, to ask my husband if I ever gainsaid him, but did not rather accord him, when and so often as he craved it, complete enjoyment of myself.”  Whereto Rinaldo, without awaiting the Podesta’s question, forthwith answered, that assuredly the lady had ever granted him all that he had asked of her for his gratification.  “Then,” promptly continued the lady, “if he has ever had of me as much as sufficed for his solace, what was I or am I to do with the surplus?  Am I to cast it to the dogs?  Is it not much better to bestow it on a gentleman that loves me more dearly than himself, than to suffer it to come to nought or worse?” Which jocund question being heard by well-nigh all the folk of Prato, who had flocked thither all agog to see a dame so fair and of such quality on her trial for such an offence, they laughed loud and long, and then all with one accord, and as with one voice, exclaimed that the lady was in the right and said well; nor left they the court until in concert with the Podesta they had so altered the harsh statute as that thenceforth only such women as should wrong their husbands for money should be within its purview.

Wherefore Rinaldo left the court, discomfited of his foolish enterprise; and the lady blithe and free, as if rendered back to life from the burning, went home triumphant.

NOVEL VIII.

—­ Fresco admonishes his niece not to look at herself in the glass, if ’tis, as she says, grievous to her to see nasty folk. —­

’Twas not at first without some flutterings of shame, evinced by the modest blush mantling on their cheeks, that the ladies heard Filostrato’s story; but afterwards, exchanging glances, they could scarce forbear to laugh, and hearkened tittering.  However, when he had done, the queen turning to Emilia bade her follow suit.  Whereupon Emilia, fetching a deep breath as if she were roused from sleep, thus began:—­Loving ladies, brooding thought has kept my spirit for so long time remote from here that perchance I may make a shift to satisfy our queen with a much shorter story than would have been forthcoming but for my absence of mind, wherein I purpose to tell you how a young woman’s folly was corrected by her uncle with a pleasant jest, had she but had the sense to apprehend it.  My story, then, is of one, Fresco da Celatico by name, that had a niece, Ciesca, as she was playfully called, who, being fair of face and person, albeit she had none of those angelical charms that we ofttimes see, had so superlative a

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