The Fifth Story

Guidotto Da Cremona Leaveth To Giacomino Da Pavia A Daughter Of His And Dieth. Giannole Di Severino And Minghino Di Mingole Fall In Love With The Girl At Faenza And Come To Blows On Her Account. Ultimately She Is Proved To Be Giannole's Sister And Is Given To Minghino To Wife

All the ladies, hearkening to the story of the nightingale, had laughed so much that, though Filostrato had made an end of telling, they could not yet give over laughing. But, after they had laughed awhile, the queen said to Filostrato, "Assuredly, if thou afflictedest us ladies yesterday, thou hast so tickled us to-day that none of us can deservedly complain of thee." Then, addressing herself to Neifile, she charged her tell, and she blithely began to speak thus: "Since Filostrato, discoursing, hath entered into Romagna, it pleaseth me on like wise to go ranging awhile therein with mine own story.

I say, then, that there dwelt once in the city of Fano two Lombards, whereof the one was called Guidotto da Cremona and the other Giacomino da Pavia, both men advanced in years, who had in their youth been well nigh always soldiers and engaged in deeds of arms. Guidotto, being at the point of death and having nor son nor other kinsmen nor friend in whom he trusted more than in Giacomino, left him a little daughter he had, of maybe ten years of age, and all that he possessed in the world, and after having bespoken him at length of his affairs, he died. In those days it befell that the city of Faenza, which had been long in war and ill case, was restored to somewhat better estate and permission to sojourn there was freely conceded to all who had a mind to return thither; wherefore Giacomino, who had abidden there otherwhile and had a liking for the place, returned thither with all his good and carried with him the girl left him by Guidotto, whom he loved and entreated as his own child.

The latter grew up and became as fair a damsel as any in the city, ay, and as virtuous and well bred as she was fair; wherefore she began to be courted of many, but especially two very agreeable young men of equal worth and condition vowed her a very great love, insomuch that for jealousy they came to hold each other in hate out of measure. They were called, the one Giannole di Severino and the other Minghino di Mingole; nor was there either of them but would gladly have taken the young lady, who was now fifteen years old, to wife, had it been suffered of his kinsfolk; wherefore, seeing her denied to them on honourable wise, each cast about to get her for himself as best he might. Now Giacomino had in his house an old serving-wench and a serving-man, Crivello by name, a very merry and obliging person, with whom Giannole clapped up a great acquaintance and to whom, whenas himseemed time, he discovered his passion, praying him to be favourable to him in his endeavour to obtain his desire and promising him great things an he did this; whereto quoth Crivello, 'Look you, I can do nought for thee in this matter other than that, when next Giacomino goeth abroad to supper, I will bring thee whereas she may be; for that, an I offered to say a word to her in thy favour, she would never stop to listen to me. If this like thee, I promise it to thee and will do it; and do thou after, an thou know how, that which thou deemest shall best serve thy purpose.' Giannole answered that he desired nothing more and they abode on this understanding. Meanwhile Minghino, on his part, had suborned the maidservant and so wrought with her that she had several times carried messages to the girl and had well night inflamed her with love of him; besides which she had promised him to bring him in company with her, so soon as Giacomino should chance to go abroad of an evening for whatever cause.

Not long after this it chanced that, by Crivello's contrivance, Giacomino went to sup with a friend of his, whereupon Crivello gave Giannole to know thereof and appointed with him that, whenas he made a certain signal, he should come and would find the door open. The maid, on her side, knowing nothing of all this, let Minghino know that Giacomino was to sup abroad and bade him abide near the house, so that, whenas he saw a signal which she should make he might come and enter therein. The evening come, the two lovers, knowing nothing of each other's designs, but each misdoubting of his rival, came, with sundry companions armed, to enter into possession. Minghino, with his troop took up his quarters in the house of a friend of his, a neighbour of the young lady's; whilst Giannole and his friends stationed themselves at a little distance from the house. Meanwhile, Crivello and the maid, Giacomino being gone, studied each to send the other away. Quoth he to her, 'Why dost thou not get thee to bed? Why goest thou still wandering about the house?' 'And thou,' retorted she, 'why goest thou not for thy master? What awaitest thou here, now that thou hast supped?' And so neither could make other avoid the place; but Crivello, seeing the hour come that he had appointed with Giannole said in himself, 'What reck I of her? An she abide not quiet, she is like to smart for it.'

Accordingly, giving the appointed signal, he went to open the door, whereupon Giannole, coming up in haste with two companions, entered and finding the young lady in the saloon, laid hands on her to carry her off. The girl began to struggle and make a great outcry, as likewise did the maid, which Minghino hearing, he ran thither with his companions and seeing the young lady being presently dragged out at the door, they pulled out their swords and cried all, 'Ho, traitors, ye are dead men! The thing shall not go thus. What is this violence?' So saying, they fell to hewing at them, whilst the neighbors, issuing forth at the clamour with lights and arms, began to blame Giannole's behaviour and to second Minghino; wherefore, after long contention, the latter rescued the young lady from his rival and restored her to Giacomino's house. But, before the fray was over, up came the town-captain's officers and arrested many of them; and amongst the rest Minghino and Giannole and Crivello were taken and carried off to prison. After matters were grown quiet again, Giacomino returned home and was sore chagrined at that which had happened; but, enquiring how it had come about and finding that the girl was nowise at fault, he was somewhat appeased and determined in himself to marry her as quickliest he might, so the like should not again betide.

Next morning, the kinsfolk of the two young men, hearing the truth of the case and knowing the ill that might ensue thereof for the imprisoned youths, should Giacomino choose to do that which he reasonably might, repaired to him and prayed him with soft words to have regard, not so much to the affront which he had suffered from the little sense of the young men as to the love and goodwill which they believed he bore to themselves who thus besought him, submitting themselves and the young men who had done the mischief to any amends it should please him take. Giacomino, who had in his time seen many things and was a man of sense, answered briefly, 'Gentlemen, were I in mine own country, as I am in yours, I hold myself so much your friend that neither in this nor in otherwhat would I do aught save insomuch as it should please you; besides, I am the more bounden to comply with your wishes in this matter, inasmuch as you have therein offended against yourselves, for that the girl in question is not, as belike many suppose, of Cremona nor of Pavia; nay, she is a Faentine,[277] albeit neither I nor she nor he of whom I had her might ever learn whose daughter she was; wherefore, concerning that whereof you pray me, so much shall be done by me as you yourselves shall enjoin me.'

The gentlemen, hearing this, marvelled and returning thanks to Giacomino for his gracious answer, prayed him that it would please him tell them how she came to his hands and how he knew her to be a Faentine; whereto quoth he, 'Guidotto da Cremona, who was my friend and comrade, told me, on his deathbed, that, when this city was taken by the Emperor Frederick and everything given up to pillage, he entered with his companions into a house and found it full of booty, but deserted by its inhabitants, save only this girl, who was then some two years old or thereabouts and who, seeing him mount the stairs, called him "father"; whereupon, taking compassion upon her, he carried her off with him to Fano, together with all that was in the house, and dying there, left her to me with what he had, charging me marry her in due time and give her to her dowry that which had been hers. Since she hath come to marriageable age, I have not yet found an occasion of marrying her to my liking, though I would gladly do it, rather than that another mischance like that of yesternight should betide me on her account.'

Now among the others there was a certain Guiglielmino da Medicina, who had been with Guidotto in that affair[278] and knew very well whose house it was that he had plundered, and he, seeing the person in question[279] there among the rest, accosted him, saying, 'Bernabuccio, hearest thou what Giacomino saith?' 'Ay do I,' answered Bernabuccio, 'and I was presently in thought thereof, more by token that I mind me to have lost a little daughter of the age whereof Giacomino speaketh in those very troubles.' Quoth Guiglielmino, 'This is she for certain, for that I was once in company with Guidotto, when I heard him tell where he had done the plundering and knew it to be thy house that he had sacked; wherefore do thou bethink thee if thou mayst credibly recognize her by any token and let make search therefor; for thou wilt assuredly find that she is thy daughter.'

Accordingly, Bernabuccio bethought himself and remembered that she should have a little cross-shaped scar over her left ear, proceeding from a tumour, which he had caused cut for her no great while before that occurrence; whereupon, without further delay, he accosted Giacomino, who was still there, and besought him to carry him to his house and let him see the damsel. To this he readily consented and carrying him thither, let bring the girl before him. When Bernabuccio set eyes on her, himseemed he saw the very face of her mother, who was yet a handsome lady; nevertheless, not contenting himself with this, he told Giacomino that he would fain of his favour have leave to raise her hair a little above her left ear, to which the other consented. Accordingly, going up to the girl, who stood shamefast, he lifted up her hair with his right hand and found the cross; whereupon, knowing her to be indeed his daughter, he fell to weeping tenderly and embracing her, notwithstanding her resistance; then, turning to Giacomino, 'Brother mine,' quoth he, 'this is my daughter; it was my house Guidotto plundered and this girl was, in the sudden alarm, forgotten there of my wife and her mother; and until now we believed that she had perished with the house, which was burned me that same day.'

The girl, hearing this, and seeing him to be a man in years, gave credence to his words and submitting herself to his embraces, as moved by some occult instinct, fell a-weeping tenderly with him. Bernabuccio presently sent for her mother and other her kinswomen and for her sisters and brothers and presented her to them all, recounting the matter to them; then, after a thousand embraces, he carried her home to his house with the utmost rejoicing, to the great satisfaction of Giacomino. The town-captain, who was a man of worth, learning this and knowing that Giannole, whom he had in prison, was Bernabuccio's son and therefore the lady's own brother, determined indulgently to overpass the offence committed by him and released with him Minghino and Crivello and the others who were implicated in the affair. Moreover, he interceded with Bernabuccio and Giacomino concerning these matters and making peace between the two young men, gave the girl, whose name was Agnesa, to Minghino to wife, to the great contentment of all their kinsfolk; whereupon Minghino, mightily rejoiced, made a great and goodly wedding and carrying her home, lived with her many years after in peace and weal."

Footnotes

[277] i.e. a native of Faenza (Faentina).

[278] A questo fatto, i.e. at the storm of Faenza.

[279] i.e. the owner of the plundered house.
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