« PreviousContinue »
the blessing of all the people in this city." The feigned Judge ordered it to be posted up through Venice, that if any critical and extraordina. ry law.case should occur, that they might come to him and he would make out a. clear case. The news of this being carried to Gianetto, that there had arrived a Judge from Bologna, who would determine any law-question, Gianetto called on the Jew, and said to him, “ Let us go to this said Judge.” “Well,” said the Jew, “ let us go ; but whatever he or any one may say or do, I will abide by the written agreement.” When they cameto the Judge, Gianetto did not recognize him, but she knew him well. Gianetto and the Jew both related their own story ; the Judge, after reading the agreement, said to the Jew, “ I advise you to take the offered hundred thousand ducats, and let this good man free, who will ever feel indebted to you :” to which the Jew answered, “ No, not I; I will do no such thing." " That is the best thing you can do." 66 No! no !” replied the Jews. “ I'll do no such thing." Upon this they all went to the court, where such matters were brought to issue. The feigned Judge taking upon himself the defence of Ansaldo, said, “ Order Ansaldo to come into court ;" which being done, the Judge said, “ Do thou take now one pound of flesh from him where thou wilt, and go thy ways;" upon which the Jew ordered him to be stripped ; took a razor in his hand, which he had brought for the purpose, when Messer Gianetto turned to the judge, and said, “ This, sir, was not what I entreated you would do for me." “ Make yourself easy," said the judge, “ he has not yet cut off the pound of flesh.” In the mean while the Jew was eying Ansal. do all over, to see where he should cut. “ Mind what you are about, said the judge, “ for should you take more or less than one pound, I'll have you hanged. I tell thee, Jew, if thou spillest one single drop of blood thou shalt die, for thy agreement does not mention thou art to shed onę drop of blood; moreover, it states thou art to take one pound of flesh, neither more nor less; therefore, if thou art wise, beware what thou dost;" and he immediately sent for the executioner ; ordered the handcuffs and fetters to be brought to him, saying, “ If I see one single drop of blood fall, thy head shall be severed from thy body." The Jew then began to quake, and Gianetto to leap with joy ; but, after some contention, the Jew said, “ Your worship has outwitted me, therefore let me have the hundred thousand ducats, and I will be satisfied.” “ No," said the Judge; I will have thee take the pound of flesh, as the paper states, for I will not give thee a stiver ; thou shouldst have taken them when they were offered to thee.” The Jew then said, “s ninety thousand ;" then weighty thousand ;" but still the Judge was inflexible. 6. Let us give him what he asks,” said Gianetto, “ provided he let him free.” “Let me alone,” said the Judge. The Jew then said, “ Give me fifty thousand.” " I will not give thee a brass farthing," said the Judge." Well, then,” said the Jew, “ give me my ten thousand ducats, and a curse be with you
6. Hast thou not heard me,” said the Judge, “ I will not give thee a doit ; take thou the pound of flesh, if thou wilt ; if thou wilt not, I'll make thee cancel the writing.” All present were overjoyed, and laughed at the Jew, in seeing the biter so completely bit.
The Jew finding he could not compass his malicious intent, took the papers, and, being desperately enraged, tore them to bits, and threw them on the ground. Thus was Messer Ansaldo liberated and conducted home by Gianetto ; then immediately taking the one hun. dred thousand ducats, went to the Judge, and found him in his room ready to go home again ; upon which Messer Gianetto said to him, “ Sir, you have rendered me the greatest service, and done me the greatest kindness ; therefore I request you to take this money along with you,
for you have well earned it.” 6. I thank you kindly, Messer Gianetto,” said the Judge, “ but I am not the least in want of it; take it back with you, that your wife may not say you have made a hard bargain." " Upon my faith,” said Gianetto, “ if I were to spend four times as much, she is so noble minded, kind, and generous, she would not in the least be displeased, for she wished me to offer more if needful.” • How do you feel towards her ?” said the Judge. 66 There is not a woman on earth I could love so much, she is so chaste, and as beautiful as nature could possibly make her ; and if you will oblige me so far, you will come and see her. You will be charmed with her, and the great politeness she will show you, and you will then judge whether what I say is true or not.” 6 As to coming with you, I cannot, for I have other things to attend to; but since you say she is so benevolent, when you see her, present my best respects to her.” "I will,” said Gianetto ; " but I wish you to take some of this money : and while he was speaking, the Judge perceived a ring on his finger, and said, “ I wish to have that ring, nor will I have any thing else from you."
Gianetto answered, “ I am agreeable to it, yet I give it you somewhat unwillingly, because it is the gift of my wife, and she desired I would always wear it for her sake ; and should she notice [ have it not, she will think I gave it to some woman I am in love with and I love her more than myself.” “ I think,” replied the Judge, " that if she loves you so truly she will readily believe you, when you tell her you gave it to me; but, perhaps, you yourself wish to give it away to some favourite lady in Venice." 66 The love I bear her," said Gianetto, “ is such, that there is not the woman created that I would prefer to her, so good, so beautiful is she;" and so saying, he took the ring from his finger and presented it to the Judge, embracing him. " I entreat you,” said the latter, “ to do me a favour.” « Mention it, I pray you,” said Gianetto. “ Do not stay here, but return soon to your lady.” Indeed,” said Gianetto, 6 it seems to me an age since I have seen her ;" and thereupon they parted. The Judge stept into the gondola, and went in peace. Gianetto treated all his acquaintance, made them presents, and kept open house; then took leave of all his Venetian connexions, taking with him Messer Ansaldo, and many of his former friends, and set off for Belmonte. Most of those of both sexes he left behind, grieved much at his departure, so nobly had he behaved while with them. Now it happened that the lady had arrived several days previous, and had ordered great preparations to be made. The houses were all hung with tapestry ; several companies of armed troops were posted here and there, and when Messer Gianetto and Ansaldo arrived, all the knights, and barons, with the rest of the court, went to meet him, crying out, “ Long live our worthy lord !” and when he reached Belmonte, the lady embraced Ansaldo, and shammed a little coolness towards Gianetto, whom still she loved so dearly. Great rejoicings took place ; tilting, sham-fights, dancing, music, and singing among the ladies and damsels that were present. Gianetto seeing his lady did not look so kindly to him as she was wont to do, went into his own room and sent for her.
66 What is the matter with you ?” said he. 66 There is no occasion for this outward show of tenderness," said the lady, “ for I know you have found out your old favourite lady.” Gianetto began to exculpate himself. The lady said, " where is the ring I gave you ?” Well," said Gianetto, " what I anticipated is come to pass ; I said, I was sure you would be displeased ; but I solemnly swear to you, by all that is sacred, that I gave the ring to the Judge that extricated An. saldo from his difficulties." 66 And I swear,” said she, “ by all which I hold most dear, that thou hast given it to a woman. I know it well, and thou oughtest to be ashamed to perjure thyself thus." 66 May I die this moment,” said Gianetto, “ if I do not tell thee true ; and, besides, I told the Judge how it would turn out.” - Thou might have stayed where thou wert, and have sent Ansaldo here by himself, and enjoyed thyself among thy damsels, for I hear they all wept at thy departure.” Messer Gianetto. began to be greatly distressed, and could not refrain from tears, saying, “ Thou swearest what is not true, and what could not be.” The lady, however, seeing he was in great agitation and quite miserable, it went to her heart, and she ran to embrace him, laughing immediately, and showing him the ring, and repeated to him every thing he had said to the Judge, and how she herself had acted the part of the Judge, and in what manner he had given him the ring. Gianetto marvelled at this account; but seeing it was all true, he began to feel relieved, and extremely pleased, and going out of the room, related the story to some of his friends, and the adventure increased their mutual affection, and thus they lived happily together, surrounded by friends, and not forgetting to pay all kind attention to Ansaldo.
WHEN day is gone, and darknes come,
The toyling tired wight
For rest in quiet night.-
The sea-man set on shore,
Of perils past before.
And light where it delites ;'
PHENIX NEST, 1593.
From 6 Lucubrations of Humphrey Ravelin, Esq."
THROUGHOUT this world of business and of care, the sun shines not upon so idle a being as the retired soldier. His whole life has been but as one long campaign : at its opening, the same bright hopes, the same restless fire and impetuous activity; in its progress, the same fruitless toil and baffled ambition; at its close, the same exhaustion, contentment, and repose. He has, then, literally nothing left on earth to perform, and holds his tenure of existence upon the easy conditions of eating, drinking, and sleeping in the comfortable rotation of every fourand-twenty hours. If it suit his mood to wile away the intervals between these interesting avocations, in the reveries of a solitary ramble, the excitement of conversation, or the quiet enjoyment of a book, he is free to indulge in the favourite propensity, but no one would dream of requiring exertion at his hands ; he is chartered in indolence, and useless by prescription.
I must own, that I revel in the luxuries of such a state, and wanton in the freedom with which I can range over the country surrounding my habitation, chained to no formal observance of hours, chilled by no recollections of neglected duty, and satisfied with the conviction that, while my pursuits are innocent towards others, they need be no inore than amusing to myself. Mounted on the phlegmatic poney which has borne my weight since the day whereon I suffered my old charger Marlbro' to withdraw like his master from the service, and dismissed him to slumber out the remnant of life in the undisturbed possession of his paddock, I have long ago explored every green lane and by-road, within a day's march of my quarters; am become familiar with the countenance of every carter who drives a team in the neighbourhood ; and am well known to every village urchin that begs a penny of the passing stranger. But there are haunts among which my honest quadruped Fag, is unable to transport me ; and through these am I reduced to wander by the aid of my legs alone. Many a day, therefore, do I leave him to his stable, and to the society of Havresack, with whom, next to Marlbro' and myself, he is a principal favourite ; while I saunter along dingle and meadow, by wood and streamlet,
wherever the fancy of the hour, and the attraction of the scenery may guide my path. No wonder, then, that I have searched out every secluded nook, and pried into every retired spot in the vicinity ; that each pendant birch and majestic elm are in the number of my acquaintance, and the curling smoke of every humble roof, the landmark of my rambles.
It was in one of such pedestrian excursions, about three years ago, and nearly as long after I had settled in the country, that in following a path which I had not before chosen, as it appeared to lead to nothing but a mere farm-house, I stood unexpectedly before one of the neatest cottages that I had ever beheld. The agreeable surprise of discovering such a termination to a tract which I had frequently passed without curiosity, enhanced not a little the interest of the place; but it scarcely suffered from a more deliberate inspection. In its first state, it had evidently possessed no other characteristic than that of the common dwelling of an English farmer. Its tiled open porch, rough-cast walls, huge rafters, low ground story, and over-hanging upper windows set into the roof, all preserved the warrant of its primeval purpose ; but the light finger of taste had strayed over its rude proportions, and blended the rugged projections of its outline into harmony and softness. The clematis and tender jasmine clung about the porch, the China rose and honeysuckle flaunted round its pillars ; here a spreading vine covered the bare walls of the house and clothed them in verdure; there, thick ivy concealed the harsh nakedness of a gable. Every point about the building told of refinement and elegance ; yet in nothing was there a violation of the simple style of the farm house. The windows were still latticed, but they were curtained, and at every breeze admitted the fragrance of the mignionette which grew in boxes beneath them. The paling which encircled the little gree before the house, was apparently the same that had originally stood there, but then it was carefully painted, and maintained in the highest order, while a hedge of sweetbriar and roses had been trained to grow up behind it. The green itself was too small to admit of much embellishment, but the turf was closely shorn, and lay like a carpet before the little flower borders, which enjoyed all the shelter of the walls of the building, and threw up their offering of mingled sweets and brilliant colouring.
I was so chained to the spot by its loveliness, that I remained for some time unconscious of having posted myself just before the gate of the little lawn, on which I leant to examine the scene before me. I was reminded of the rudeness of my intrusion, by the appearance of a fine chubby boy, who had seemingly escaped from the side of his nurse, and came running out upon the green. "He was followed by a lady, who overtook the little truant, and laughingly led him by the hand back into the house. I had but a glimpse of her countenance and form ; for I hastened to withdraw on recollecting the impropriety of my keeping the station where I had unthinkingly lingered ; but I saw enough to observe that her air was light and elegant, and that the hand of time had made no ravages on a beautiful person. I will not attempt to deny, that my inclination had been earnestly awakened to learn something of the inhabitants of an abode which bespoke so