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him pleasure. Ansaldo gave him his blessing, they took their leave, and the ships set out.
Giannetto had nothing in his head but to steal into Belmonte; and he prevailed with one of the sailors in the night to sail the vessel into the port. It was told the lady, that Giannetto was arrived in port. She saw from the window the vessel, and immediately sent for him.
Giannetto goes to the castle, the day is spent in joy and feasting; and to honour him, a tournament is ordered, and many barons and knights tilted that day. Giannetto did wonders, so well did he understand the lance, and was so graceful a figure on horseback: he pleased so much, that all were desirous to have him for their lord.
The lady, when it was the usual time, catching him by the hand, begged him to take his rest. When he passed the door of the chamber, one of the damsels in a whisper said to him, Make a pretence to drink the liquor, but touch not one drop. The lady said, I know you must be thirsty, I must have you drink before you go to bed: immediately two damsels entered the room, and presented the wine. Who can refuse wine from such beautiful hands ? cries Giannetto: at which the lady smiled. Giannetto takes the cup, and making as if he drank, pours the wine into his bosom. The lady thinking he had drank, says aside to herself with great joy, You must go, young man, and bring another ship, for this is condemned. Giannetto went to bed, and began to snore as if he slept soundly. The lady perceiving this, laid herself down by his side. Giannetto loses no time, but turning to the lady, embraces her, saying, Now am I in possession of my utmost wishes. When Giannetto came out of his chamber, he was knighted, and placed in the chair of state, had the sceptre put into his hand, and was proclaimed sovereign of the country, with great pomp and splendor; and when the lords and ladies were come to the castle, he married the lady in great ceremony.
Giannetto governed excellently, and caused justice to be administered impartially. He continued some time in this happy state, and never entertained a thought of poor Ansaldo, who had given his bond to the Jew for ten thousand ducats. But one day, as he stood at the window of the palace with his bride, he saw a number of people pass along the piazza, with lighted torches in their hands. What is the meaning of this, says he. The lady answered, They are artificers, going to make their offerings at the church of St. John, this day being his festival. Giannetto instantly recollected Ansaldo, gave a great sigh, and turned pale. His lady enquired the cause of his sudden change. He said, he felt nothing. She continued to press with great earnestness, till he was obliged to confess the cause of his uneasiness, that Ansaldo was engaged for the money, that the term was expired; and the grief he was in was lest his father should lose his life for him: that if the ten thousand ducats were not paid that day, he must lose
a pound of his flesh. The lady told him to mount on horseback, and go by land the nearest way, to take some attendants, and an hundred thousand ducats; and not to stop till he arrived at Venice; and if he was not dead, to endeavour to bring Ansaldo to her. Giannetto takes horse with twenty attendants, and makes the best of his way to Venice.
The time being expired, the Jew had seized An. saldo, and insisted on having a pound of his flesh. He entreated him only to wait some days, that if his dear Giannetto arrived, he might have the pleasure of embracing him: the Jew replied he was willing to wait; but, says he, I will cut off the pound of flesh, according to the words of the obligation. Ansaldo answered, that he was content.
Several merchants would have jointly paid the money; the Jew would not hearken to the proposal, but insisted that he might have the satisfaction of saying, that he had put to death the greatest of the Christian merchants. Giannetto making all possible haste to Venice, his lady soon followed him in a lawyer's habit, with two servants attending her. Giannetto, when he came to Venice; goes to the Jew, and (after embracing Ansaldo) tells him, he is ready to pay the money, and as much more as he should demand. The Jew said, he would take no money, since 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 justice was strictly administered, and the Jew had his pretensions grounded
on public and received 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 desist 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 guest great civility: and when he attended at dinner, the lawyer enquiring how justice was administered in that city, he answered, justice in this place is too severe, and related the case of Ansaldo. 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 determine, they should have recourse to him: so it was told to Giannetto, that a famous lawyer was come from Bologna, who could decide all cases 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 saluted 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 release this honest man, who will always have a grateful sense of the favour done to him. The Jew replied, I will do no such thing. The judge answered, 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 says to the Jew, Do you cut a pound of this man's filesh 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, says 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 beside, if you shed one drop of blood, you shall be put to death. Your paper makes no mention of the shedding of blood; but says e pressly, that you may take a pound of flesh, neither more nor less. He immediately sent for the executioner to bring the block and ax; 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 du