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beautiful hands? cries Giannet-
Giannetto governed excellent-
one day, as he stood at the win-
the cause of his fudden change.
The time being expired, the Jew had feized Anfaldo, and infifted on having a pound of his Aleth. He entreated him only to wait fome days, that if his dear Giannetto arrived, he might have the pleasure of embracing him: the Jew replied he was willing to wait, but, fays he, I will cut off the pound of flesh, according to the words of the obligation: Anfaldo answered, that he was content.
Several merchants would have jointly paid the money; the Jew would not hearken to the propofal, but infifted that he might have the fatisfaction of fay ing, that he had put to death the greatest of the Chriftian merchants. Giannetto making all poffible hafte to Venice, his lady foon followed him in a lawyer's habit, with two fervants attending her. Giannetto, when he liz
came to Venice, goes to the Jew, and (after embracing Anfaldo) tells him, he is ready to pay the money, and as much more as he fhould demand. The Jew faid, he would take no money, fince it was not paid at the time due; but that he would have the pound of flesh. Every one blamed the Jew but as Venice was a place where juftice was ftrictly adminiftered, and the Jew had his pretentions grounded on publick and received forms, their only refource was entreaty'; and when the merchants of Venice applied to him, he was inflexible. Giannetto offered him twenty thoufand, than thirty thoufand, afterwards forty, fifty, and at luft an hundred thousand ducats The Jew told him, if he would give him as much gold as Venice was worth, he would not accept it; and fays he, you know little of me, if you think I will defift from my demand.
The lady now arrives at Venice, in her lawyer's drefs; and alighting at an inn, the landlord afks of one of the fervants who his mafter was? The fervant anfwered, that he was a young law. yer who had finished his ftudies at Bologna. The landlord upon this fhews his guelt great civility: and when he a tended at dinner, the lawyer inquiring how juftice was adminiftered in that city; he answered, juftice in this place is too fevere, and related the cafe of Anfaldo. Says the lawyer, dis question may be easily anfwered. If you can aufwer it, fays the landlord, and fave this worthy man from death, you will get the love and efteem of all the belt men of this city. The
lawyer caufed a proclamation to be made, that whoever had any law matters to determine, they fhould have recourfe to him: fo it was told to Giannetto, that a famous lawyer was come from Bologna, who could decide all cafes in law. Giannetto propofed to the Jew to apply to this lawyer. With all my heart, fays the Jew; but let who will come, I will fick to my bond. They came to this judge, and faluted him. Giannetto did not remember him: for he had disguised his face with the juice of certain herbs. Giannetto and the Jew, each told the merits of the caufe to the judge; who, when he had taken the bond and read it, said to the Jew, I must have you take the hundred thousand ducats, and release this honeft man, who will always have a grateful fense of the favour done to him. The Jew replied, I will do no fuch thing. The judge answered, it will be better for you. The Jew was pofitive to yield nothing. Upon this they go to the tribunal appointed for fuch judgments: and our judge fays to the Jew, Do you cut a pound of this man's flesh where you chufe. The Jew ordered him to be ftripped naked; and takes in his hand razor, which had been made on purpofe. Giannetto leeing this, turning to the judge, this, fays he, is not the favour 1 aked of you. Be quiet, fays he, the pound of flesh is not yet cut off. As foon as the Jew was going to begin, Take care what you do, fays the judge, if you take more or less than a pound, I will order your head to be firuck off: and befide, if you thed one
drop of blood you shall be put to death. Your paper makes no mention of the thedding of blood; but fays exprefly, that you may take a pound of flesh, neither more nor lefs. He immediately fent for the executioner to bring the block and ax; and now, fays he, if I fee one drop of blood, off goes your head. At length the Jew, after much wrangling, told him, Give me the hundred thousand ducats, and I am content. No, fays the judge, cut off your pound of flesh according to your bond: why did not you take the money when it was offered? The Jew came down to ninety, and then to eighty thoufand; but the judge was ftill refolute, Giannetto told the judge to give what he required, that Anfaldo might have his liberty: but he replied, let me manage him. Then the Jew would have taken fifty thoufand: he faid, I will not give you a penny. Give me at leaft, fays the Jew, my own ten thoufand ducats, and a curfe confound you all. The judge replies, I will give you nothing: if you will have the pound of flesh, take it; if not, I will order your bond to be protefted and annulled. The Jew feeing he could gain nothing, tore in pieces the bond in a great rage. Anfaldo was releafed, and conducted home with great joy by Giannetto, who carried the hundred thousand ducats to the ion to the lawyer. The lawyer faid, I do not want money; carry it back to your lady, that the may not fay, that you have fquandered it away idly. Says Giannetto, my lady is fo kind, that
I might spend four times as much, without incurring her difpleasure. How are you pleased with the lady? fays the lawyer. I love her better than any earthly thing, anfwers Giannetto: Nature feems to have done her utmost in forming her. If you will come and fee her, you will be surprised at the honours fhe will fhew you. I cannot go with you, says the lawyer; but fince you speak fo much good of her, I muft defire you to prefent my respects to her. I will not fail, Giannetto anfwered; and now, let me entreat you to accept of fome of the money. While he was fpeaking, the lawyer obferved a ring on his finger, and faid, if you will give me this ring, I fhall feek no other reward. Willingly, fays Giannetto; but as it is a ring given me by my lady, to wear for her fake, I have fome reluctance to part with it, and fhe, not feeing it on my finger, will believe, that I have given it to a woman. Says the lawyer, the efleems you fufficiently to credit what you tell her, and you may fay you made a pretent of it to me; but I rather think you want to give it to fome former miftrefs here in Venice. So great, fays Giannetto, is the love and reverence I bear to her, that I would not change her for any woman. in the world. After this he takes the ring from his finger, and prefents it to him. I have ftill a favour to afk, fays the lawyer. It fhall be granted, fays Giannetto. It is, replied he, that you do not ftay any time here, but go as foon as poffible to your lady. It appears to me a thoufand years till I fee her, anfwered Giannetto;
and immediately they take leave
The lady arrived fome days before; and having refumed her female habit, pretended to have spent the time at the baths; and now gave orders to have the streets lined with tapeftry: and when Giannetto and Anfaldo were landed, all the court went out to meet them. When they arrived at the palace, the lady ran to embrace Anfaldo, but feigned anger against Giannetto, tho' the loved him exceffively; yet the fealtings, tilts and diverfions went on as ufual, at which all the lords and ladies were prefent. Giannetto feeing that his wife did not receive him with her accuftomed good countenance, called her, and would have faluted her. She told him, fhe wanted not his careffes: I am fure, fays
he faid all this to the lawyer, when he asked for the ring. The lady replied, you would have done much better to stay at Venice with your miftreffes, for I fear they all wept when you came away. Giannetto's tears began to fall, and in great forrow he affured her, that what the fuppofed could not be true. The lady feeing his tears, which were daggers in her bosom, ran to embrace him, and in a fit of laughter fhewed the ring, and told him, that she was herself the lawyer, and how the obtained the ring. Giannetto was greatly astonished, finding it all true, and told the story to the nobles and to his companions; and this heightened greatly the love between him and his lady. He then called the damfel who had given him the good advice in the evening not to drink the liquor, and gave her to Anfaldo for a wife: and they spent the rest of their lives in great felicity and contentment.
the, you have been lavish of threr R took a refolution of going
fes. Giannetto began to make
for fome time, to the court of Alfonfo king of Spain. He was graciously received, and living there fome time in great magnificence, and giving remarkable proofs of his courage, was greatly esteemed. Having frequent opportunities of examining minately the behaviour of the king, he obferved, that he gave, as he thought, with little difcernment, caftles, and baronies, to fuch who were unworthy of his favours; and to himfelf, who might pretend to be of fome estimation, he gave nothing: he therefore thought
thought the fittest thing to be done, was to demand leave of the king to return home.
His requeft was granted, and the king prefented him with one of the most beautiful and excellent mules, that had ever been mounted. One of the king's truftyfervants was commanded to accompany Ruggieri, and riding along with him, to pick up, and recollect every word he faid of the king, and then mention that it was the order of his Sovereign, that he fhould go back to him. The man watching the opportu-, nity, joined Ruggieri when he fet out, faid he was going towards Italy, and would be glad to ride in company with him. Ruggieri jogging on with his mule, and talking of one thing or other, it being near nine o' clock, told his companion, that they would do well to put up their mules a little, and as foon as they entered the stable, every beaft, except his, began to ftale. Riding on further they came to a river, and watering the beafts, his mule ftaled in the river: You untoward beaft, fays he, you are like your mafter, who gave you to me. The fervant remembered this expreffion, and many others as they rode on all day together; but he heard not a fingle word drop from him, but what was in praise of the king. The next morning Ruggieri was told the order of the king, and inftantly turned back. When the king had heard what he had faid of the mule, he commanded him into his prefence, and with a mile, afked him, for what reafon he had compared
the mule to him. Ruggieri anfwered, My reafon is plain, you give where you ought not to give, and where you ought to give, you give nothing; in the fame manner the mule would not ftale where fhe ought, and where fhe ought not, there the ftaled. The king faid upon this, If I have not rewarded you as I have many, do not entertain a thought that I was infenfible to your great merit; it is Fortune who hindered me; fhe is to blame, and not I; and I will fhew you manifeftly that I fpeak truth. My difcontent, Sir, proceeds not, anfwered Ruggieri, from a defire of being enriched, but from your not having given the smallest teftimony to my deferts in your fervice: nevertheless your excufe is valid, and I am ready to fee the proof you mention, though I can eafily believe you without it. The king conducted him to a hall, where he had already commanded two large caskets, fhut clofe, to be placed; and before a large company told Ruggieri, that in one of them was contained his crown, fcepter, and all his jewels, and that the other was full of earth; choose which of them you like beft, and then you will fee that it is not I, but your fortune that has been ungrateful. Ruggieri chose one. It was found to be the casket full of earth. The king faid to him with a fmile, Now you may fee, Ruggieri, that what I told you of fortune is true; but for your fake I will oppofe her with all my strength. You have no intention, I am certain, to live in Spain; therefore I will offer you