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forms, their only resource was entreaty; and when the merchants of Venice applied to him, he was inflexible. Giannetto offered him twenty thousand, then thirty thousand, afterwards forty, fifty, and at last 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, says he, you know little of me, if you think I will defist from my demand.
“ The lady now arrives at Venice, in her lawyer's dress; and alighting at an inn, the landlord asks of one of the servants who his master was? The servant answered, that he was a young lawyer who had finished his studies at Bologna.' The landlord upon this shews his gueft great civility: and when he attended at dinner, the lawyer inquiring how justice was administered in that city, he answered, Justice in this place is too severe, and related the case of Anfaldo. Says the lawyer, this question may be easily answered. If you can answer it, says the landlord, and save this worthy man from death, you will get the love and esteem of all the best men of this city. The lawyer caused a proclamation to be made, that whoever had any law matters to de. termine, they should have recourse to him : fo it was told to Giannetto, that a famous lawyer was come from Bologna, who could decide all cafés in law. Giannetto proposed to the Jew to apply to this lawyer. With all my heart, says the Jew; but let, who will come, I will stick 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 cause 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 releafe this honest man, who will always have a grateful sense of the favour done to him. The Jew replied, will I do no such thing. The judge antwered, it will be better for you. The Jew was positive to yield nothing. Upon this they go to the tribunal appointed for such judgments: and our judge fays to the Jew,
Do Do you cut a pound of this man's flesh where you choose. The Jew ordered him to be stripped naked ; and takes in his hand a razor, which had been made on purpose. Giannetto seeing this, turning to the judge, This, fays he, is not the favour I asked of you. Be quiet, says he, the pound of flesh is not yet cut off. As soon as the Jew was going to begin, Take care what you do, says the judge, if you take more or less than a pound, I will order your head to be struck off: and belide, if you shed one drop of blood, you shall be put to death. Your paper makes no mention of the thedding of blood; but says expressly, that you may take a pound of flesh, neither more nor less. He immediately sent for the executioner to bring the block and axe; and now says he, if I see 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, says the judge, cut off your pound of flesh according to your bond: why did you not take the money when it was offered? The Jew came down to ninety, and then to eighty thou. fand: but the judge was still resolute. Giannetto told the judge to give what he required, that Ansaldo might have his liberty : but he replied, Let me manage him. Then the Jew would have taken fifty thousand: he said, I will not give you a penny. Give me, at least, says the Jew, my own ten thousand 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 protested and annulled. The Jew seeing he could gain nothing, tore in pieces the bond in a great rage. Ansaldo, was releafed, and conducted home with great joy by Giannetto, who carried the hundred thousand ducats to the inn to the lawyer. The lawyer said, I do not want money; carry it back to your lady, that the may not say, that you have squandered it away idly. Says Giannetto, my lady is so kind, that I might ipend four times as much without incurring her displeature. How are you pleased with the lady? says the lawyer. I love her better than any earthly thing, answers Giannetto: nature seems to have done her utmost in forming her. If you will come and see her, you will be surprited at the honour she will shew you. I cannot go with you, says the lawyer; but since you speak so much good of her, I must desire you to present my respects to her. I will not fail, Giannetto answered ; and now let me entreat you to accept of some of the money. While he was speaking, the lawyer observed a ring on his finger, and said, if you will give me this ring, I shall seek no other reward. Willingly, says Giannetto; but as it is a ring given me by my lady to wear for her fake, I have some reluctance to part with it, and she, not seeing it on my finger, will believe that I have given it to a woman. Says the lawyer, he esteems you fufficiently to credit what you tell her, and you may say you made a prefent of it to me; but I rather think you want to give. it to some former mistress here in Venice. So great, says 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 presents it to him. I have still a favour to ask, says the lawyer. It shall be granted, says Giannetto, It is, replied he, that you do not stay any time here, but go as soon as poflible to your lady. It appears to me a thousand years till I fee her, answered Giannetto: and immediately they take leave of each other. The. lawyer embarked, and left Venice. Giannetto took leave of his Venetian friends, and carried Anfaldo with him, and some of his oid acquaintance accompanied them. The lady arrived fome days before ; and having resumed her female habit, uretended to have spent the time at the baths; and new.gave order to have the streets lined with tapestry: and when Giannetto and Arialdo 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 againit Giannetto, though she loved him excessively: yet the feastings, tilts, and diversions, went on as usual, at which all the lords and ladies were present. Giannetto seeing
that his wife did not receive him with her accustomed good countenance, called' her, and would have saluted her. She told him she wanted none of his caresses : I am sure, says she, you have been lavish of them to fome of your former -mistresses. Giannetto began to make excuses. She asked him where was the ring she had given him? It is no more than what I expected, cries Giannetto, and I was in the right to say you would be angry with me; but, I swear, by all that is sacred, and by your dear felf, that I gave the ring to the lawyer who gained our cause. And I can swear, says the lady, with as much folemnity, that you gave the ring to a woman : therefore swear no more. Giannetto protested that what he had told her was true, and that he said 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 mistresses, for I fear they all wept when you came away. Giannetto's tears began to fall, and in great forrow he assured her, that what she supposed could not be true. The lady seeing his tears, which were daggers in her bofom, ran to embrace him, and in a fit of laughter shewed the ring, and told him, that she was herself the lawyer, and how she 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 be
tween 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 Ansaldo for a wife: and they spent the rest of their lives in great felicity and contentment.”
THE THE CHOICE OF THE CASKETS.
RUGGIERI DE FIGIOVANNI took a resolution of going for some time, to the court of Alfonso 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 minutely the behaviour of the king, he observed, that he gave, as he thought, with little discernment, les, and baronies, to such who were unworthy of his favours; and to himself, who might pretend to be of fome estimation, he gave nothing: he therefore thought the fittest thing to be done, was to demand leave of the king to return home.
His request was granted, and the king prefented him with one of the most beautiful and excellent inules that had ever been mounted. One of the king's trusty fervants 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 fovereign, that he should go back to him. The man watching the opportunity, joined Ruggieri when he set out, said 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 compaa nion, that they would do well to put up their mules a little, and as soon as they entered the stable, every beast, except his, began to stale. Riding on further, they came to a river, and watering the beasts, his mule ftaled in the river: you untoward beast, says he, you are like your master, who gave you to me. The fervant remembered this expreslion, and many others as they rode on all day together; but he heard not a fingle word drop froin him, but what was in praise of the king. The next morning Ruggieri was told the order of the king, and instantly turned back. When the king had heard what he said of the mule, he come