— Fra Rinaldo lies with his gossip: her husband finds him in the room with her; and they make him believe that he was curing his godson of worms by a charm. —
Filostrato knew not how so to veil what he said touching the mares of Parthia, but that the keen-witted ladies laughed thereat, making as if ’twas at somewhat else. However, his story being ended, the king called for one from Elisa, who, all obedience, thus began:—Debonair my ladies, we heard from Emilia how the bogey is exorcised, and it brought to my mind a story of another incantation: ’tis not indeed so good a story as hers; but, as no other, germane to our theme, occurs to me at present, I will relate it.
You are to know, then, that there dwelt aforetime at Siena a young man, right gallant and of honourable family, his name Rinaldo; who, being in the last degree enamoured of one of his neighbours, a most beautiful gentlewoman and the wife of a rich man, was not without hopes that, if he could but find means to speak with her privately, he might have of her all that he desired; but seeing no way, and the lady being pregnant, he cast about how he might become her child’s godfather. Wherefore, having ingratiated himself with her husband, he broached the matter to him in as graceful a manner as he might; and ’twas arranged. So Rinaldo, being now godfather to Madonna Agnesa’s child, and having a more colourable pretext for speaking to her, took courage, and told her in words that message of his heart which she had long before read in his eyes; but though ’twas not displeasing to the lady to hear, it availed him but little.
Now not long afterwards it so befell that, whatever may have been his reason, Rinaldo betook him to friarage; and whether it was that he found good pasture therein, or what not, he persevered in that way of life. And though for a while after he was turned friar, he laid aside the love he bore his gossip, and certain other vanities, yet in course of time, without putting off the habit, he resumed them, and began to take a pride in his appearance, and to go dressed in fine