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Here is a letter, read it at your leifure;
There you fhall find, that Portia was the Doctor;
You fhall not know by what ftrange accident
Anth. I am dumb.
Baff. Were you the Doctor, and I knew you not? Gra. Were you the clerk, that is to make me cuckold?
Ner. Ay, but the clerk, that never means to do it, Unlefs he live until he be a man.
Beff. Sweet Doctor, you fhall be my bedfellow; When I am abfent, then lie with my wife.
Anth. Sweet lady, you have giv'n me life and living; For here I read for certain, that my fhips
Are fafely come to road.
Por. How now, Lorenzo?
My clerk hath fome good comforts too for you.
From the rich Jew, a special Deed of Gift,
Of starved people.
Por. It is almoft morning,
And yet, I'm fure, you are not fatisfy'd
to Venice to your godfather, whofe name is Anfaldo; he has no child, and has wrote to me often to fend you thither to him. He is the richest merchant amongst the chriftians: if you behave well, you will be cetainly a rich man. The fon anfwered, I am ready to do whatever my dear father fhall command: upon which he gave him his benediction, and in a few days died.
Giannetto went to Anfaldo, and prefented the letter given by the father before his death. Anfaldo reading the letter, cried out, My deareft godfon is welcome to my arms. He then afk'd news of his father. Giannetto replied, He is dead. I am much grieved, replied Anfaldo, to hear of the death of Eindo; but the joy I feel, in fecing you, mitigates my forrow. He conducted him to his houfe, and gave orders to his fervants, that Giannetto fhould be obeyed, and
served with more attention than had been paid to himfelf. He then delivered him the keys of his ready money; and told him, Son, fpend this money, keep a table, and make yourfelf known: remember, that the more you gain the good will of every body, the more you will be dear to me. Giannetto now began to give entertainments. He was more obedient and courteous to Anfaldo, than if he had been an hundred times his father. Every body in Venice was fond of him. Anfaldo could think of nothing but him; fo much was he pleased with his good manners and behaviour.
It happened, that two of his most intimate acquaintance defigned to go with two fhips to Alexandria, and told Giannetto, he would do well to take a voyage and fee the world. I would go willingly, faid he, if my father Anfaldo will give leave. His companions go to Anfaldo, and beg his permiffion for Giannetto, to go in the fpring with them to Alexandria; and defire him to provide him a fhip. Anfaldo immediately procured a very fine hip, loaded it with mercandize, adorned it with streamers, and furnished it with arms; and, as foon as it was ready, he
gave orders to the captain and failors to do every thing that Giannetto commanded. It happened one morning early, that Giannetto faw a gulph, with a fine port, and afked the captain how the port was called? He replied, That place belongs to a widow lady, who has ruined many gentlemen. In what man. ner? fays Giannetto. He an
fwered, This lady is a fine and beautiful woman, and has made a law, that whoever arrives here is obliged to go to bed with her, and if he can have the enjoyment of her, he must take her for his wife, and be lord of all the country; but if he cannot enjoy her, he lofes every thing he has brought with him. Giannetto, after a little reflection, tells the captain to get into the port. He was obeyed; and in an inftant they flide into the port fo eafily, that the other ships perceived nothing.
The lady was foon informed of it, and fent for Giannetto, who waited on her immediately. She, taking him by the hand, afked him who he was? whence he came and if he knew the custom of the country? He anfwered, That the knowledge of that custom was his only reafon for coming. for coming. The lady paid him great honours, and fent for barons, counts, and knights in great number, who were her fubjects, to keep Giannetto company. Thefe nobles were highly delighted with the good breeding and manners of Giannetto; and all would have rejoiced to have him for their lord.
The night being come, the lady faid, it feems to be time to go to bed. Giannetto told the lady, he was entirely devoted to her fervice; and immediately two damfels enter with wine and fweet meats. The lady entreats him to taste the wine; he takes the fweet meats, and drinks fome of the wine, which was prepared with ingredients to caufe fleep. He then goes into the bed, where he inftantly falls afleep.
and never wakes till late in the morning; but the lady rofe with the fun, and gave orders to unload the vellel, which the found full of rich merchandize. After nine o'clock, the women fervants go to the bedfide, order Giannetto to rife and be gone, for he had loft the fhip. The lady gave him a horfe and money, and he leaves the place very melancholy, and goes to Venice. When he arrives, he dares not return home for fhame; but at night goes to the house of a friend, who is furprised to fee him, and inquires of him the caufe of his return? He antwers, his fhip had ftruck on a rock in the night, and was broke in pieces.
This friend, going one day to make a vifit to Anfaldo, found him very difconfolate. I fear, fays Anfaldo, fo much, that this fon of mine is dead, that I have no reft. His friend told him, that he had been ship-wreckt, and had loft his all, but that he himfelf was fafe. Anfaldo inftantly gets up, and runs to find him. My dear fon, fays he, you need not fear my difpleafure; it is a common accident; trouble your felf no further. He takes him home, all the way telling him to be chearful and easy.
The news was foon known all over Venice, and every one was concerned for Giannetto. Some time after, his companions arriving from Alexandria very rich, demanded what was become of their friend, and having heard the ftory, ran to fee him, and rejoiced with him for his fafety; telling him that next fpring he might gain as much as he had loit the laft. But GiVOL. I.
annetto had no other thoughts than of his return to the lady ; and was refolved to marry her, or die. Anfaldo told him frequently, not to be caft down. Giannetto faid, he fhould never be happy, till he was at liberty to make another voyage. Anfaldo provided another fhip of more value than the firit. He again entered the. port of Belmonte, and the lady looking on the port from her bedchamber, and feeing the ship, asked her maid, if the knew the fireamers? the maid, faid it was the fhip of the young man who arrived the last year. You are in the right, anfwered the lady; he muft furely have a great re gard for me, for never any one came a fecond time: the maid faid, fhe had never feen a more agreeable man. He went to the castle, and prefented himself to the lady: who, as foon as the faw him, embraced him, and the day was paffed in joy and revels. Bed-time being come, the lady entreated him to go to reft: when they were feated in the chamber, the two damfels enter with wine and fweet-meats; and having eat and drank of them, they go to bed, and immediately Giannetto falls afleep, the lady undrefied, and lay down by his fide; but he waked not the whole night. In the morning, the lady rifes, and gives orders to ftrip the fhip. He has a horfe and money given to him, and away he goes, and never ftops till he gets to Venice; and at night goes to the fame friend, who with aftonishment afked him what was the matter? [ am undone, fays Giannetto. His friend anfwered, You are the li.
caufe of the ruin of Anfaldo, and your fhame ought to be greater than the lofs you have fuffered. Giannetto lived privately many days. At laft he took a refolution of leeing Anfaldo, who rofe from his chair, and running to embrace him, told him he was welcome Giannetto with tears returned his embraces. Anfal do heard his tale: Do not grieve, my dear fon, fays he, we have ftill enough; the fea enriches fome men, others it ruins.
Poor Giannetto's head was day and night full of the thoughts of his bad fuccefs. When Anfaldo enquired what was the matter, he confeffed he could never be contented till he should be in a condition to regain all that he loft. When Anfaldo found him refolved, he began to fell every thing he had, to furnish this other fine fhip with merchandize: but, as he wanted ftill ten thousand ducats, he applied himself to a Jew at Meftri, and borrowed them on condition, that if they were not paid on the feaft of St. John in the next month of June, that the Jew might take a pound of flesh from any part of his body he pleated. Anfaldo agreed, and the Jew had an obligation drawn, and witneffed, with all the form and ceremony neceffary: and then counted him the ten thousand ducats of gold; with which anfaldo bought what was ftill wanting for the veffel. This laft fhip was finer and better freighted than the other two, and his companions made ready for the voyage, with a defign that whatever they gained fhould be for their friend. When it was time to de
part, Anfaldo told Giannetto, that fince he well knew of the obligation to the Jew, he entreated, that if any misfortune happened, he would return to Venice, that he might fee him before he died; and then be could leave the world with fatisfaction: Giannetto promifed to do every thing that he conceived might give him pleasure. Anfaldo gave him his bleffing, they took their leave, and the ships fet out.
Giannetto had nothing in his head but to fteal into Belmonte; and he prevailed with one of the failors, in the night to fail the veffel into the port. It was told the lady, that Giannetto was arrived in port. She faw from the window the vessel, and immediately fent for him.
Giannetto goes to the caftle, the day is spent in joy and feafting; and to honour him, a tournament is ordered, and ma ny barons and knights tilted that day. Giannetto did wonders, fo well did he understand the lance, and was fo graceful a figure on horfeback: he pleased fo much, that all were defirous to have him for their lord.
The lady, when it was the ufual time, catching him by the hand, begged him to take his reft. When he paffed the door of the chamber, one of the damfels in a whisper faid to him, Make a pretence to drink the liquor, but touch not one drop. The lady faid, I know you muft be thirsty, I must have you drink before you go to bed: immediately two damfels entered the room, and prefented the wine. Who can refufe wine from fuch