How the death of the Asse, and the Gentlewoman was stayed.
After supper they began to talke, and declare unto him the going away of the Gentlewoman, and how I bare her upon my backe, and what death was ordained for us two. Then he desired to see her, whereupon the Gentlewoman was brought forth fast bound, whom as soone as he beheld, he turned himselfe wringing his nose, and blamed them saying: I am not so much a beast, or so rash a fellow to drive you quite from your purpose, but my conscience will not suffer me to conceale any thing that toucheth your profit, since I am as carefull for you, howbeit if my counsell doe displease you, you may at your liberty proceed in your enterprise. I doubt not but all theeves, and such as have a good judgement, will preferre their owne lucre and gain above all things in the world, and above their vengeance, which purchaseth damage to divers persons. Therefore if you put this virgin in the Asses belly, you shall but execute your indignation against her, without all manner of profit; But I would advise you to carry the virgin to some towne and to sell her: and such a brave girle as she is, may be sold for a great quantity of money. And I my selfe know certaine bawdy Marchants, amongst whom peradventure one will give us summes of gold for her. This is my opinion touching this affaire: but advise you what you intend to do, for you may rule me in this case. In this manner the good theefe pleaded and defended our cause, being a good Patron to the silly virgin, and to me poore Asse. But they staied hereupon a good space, with long deliberation, which made my heart (God wot) and spirit greatly to quaile. Howbeit in the end they consented to his opinion, and by and by the Maiden was unloosed of her bonds, who seeing the young man, and hearing the name of brothels and bawdy Merchants, began to wax joyfull, and smiled with herself. Then began I to deeme evill of the generation of women, when as I saw the Maiden (who was appointed to be married to a young Gentleman, and who so greatly desired the same) was now delighted with the talke of a wicked brothel house, and other things dishonest. In this sort the consent and manners of women depended in the judgement of an Asse.
How all the Theeves were brought asleepe by their new companion.
Then the young man spake againe, saying, Masters, why goe wee not about to make our prayers unto Mars, touching this selling of the Maiden, and to seeke for other companions. But as farre as I see, here is no other manner of beast to make sacrifice withall, nor wine sufficient for us to drinke. Let me have (quoth hee) tenne more with me, and wee will goe to the next Castle, to provide for meat and other things necessary. So he and tenne more with him, went their way: In the meane season, the residue