The Decameron, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 573 pages of information about The Decameron, Volume II.
conceit of herself, that she had contracted a habit of disparaging both men and women and all that she saw, entirely regardless of her own defects, though for odiousness, tiresomeness, and petulance she had not her match among women, insomuch that there was nought that could be done to her mind:  besides which, such was her pride that had she been of the blood royal of France, ’twould have been inordinate.  And when she walked abroad, so fastidious was her humour, she was ever averting her head, as if there was never a soul she saw or met but reeked with a foul smell.  Now one day—­not to speak of other odious and tiresome ways that she had—­it so befell that being come home, where Fresco was, she sat herself down beside him with a most languishing air, and did nought but fume and chafe.  Whereupon:—­“Ciesca,” quoth he, “what means this, that, though ’tis a feast-day, yet thou art come back so soon?” She, all but dissolved with her vapourish humours, made answer:—­“Why, the truth is, that I am come back early because never, I believe, were there such odious and tiresome men and women in this city as there are to-day.  I cannot pass a soul in the street that I loathe not like ill-luck; and I believe there is not a woman in the world that is so distressed by the sight of odious people as I am; and so I am come home thus soon to avoid the sight of them.”  Whereupon Fresco, to, whom his niece’s bad manners were distasteful in the extreme:—­“Daughter,” quoth he, “if thou loathe odious folk as much as thou sayest, thou wert best, so thou wouldst live happy, never to look at thyself in the glass.”  But she, empty as a reed, albeit in her own conceit a match for Solomon in wisdom, was as far as any sheep from apprehending the true sense of her uncle’s jest; but answered that on the contrary she was minded to look at herself in the glass like other women.  And so she remained, and yet remains, hidebound in her folly.


—­ Guido Cavalcanti by a quip meetly rebukes certain Florentine gentlemen who had taken him at a disadvantage. —­

The queen, perceiving that Emilia had finished her story, and that none but she, and he who had the privilege of speaking last, now remained to tell, began on this wise:—­Albeit, debonair my ladies, you have forestalled me to-day of more than two of the stories, of which I had thought to tell one, yet one is still left me to recount, which carries at the close of it a quip of such a sort, that perhaps we have as yet heard nought so pregnant.

You are to know, then, that in former times there obtained in our city customs excellent and commendable not a few, whereof today not one is left to us, thanks to the greed which, growing with the wealth of our folk, has banished them all from among us.  One of which customs was that in divers quarters of Florence the gentlemen that there resided would assemble together in companies of a limited number, taking care to include

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