The Sixth Story

Andrevuola Loveth Gabriotto And Recounteth To Him A Dream She Hath Had, Whereupon He Telleth Her One Of His Own And Presently Dieth Suddenly In Her Arms. What While She And A Waiting Woman Of Hers Bear Him To His Own House, They Are Taken By The Officers Of Justice And Carried Before The Provost, To Whom She Discovereth How The Case Standeth. The Provost Would Fain Force Her, But She Suffereth It Not And Her Father, Coming To Hear Of The Matter, Procureth Her To Be Set At Liberty, She Being Found Innocent; Whereupon, Altogether Refusing To Abide Longer In The World, She Becometh A Nun

Filomela's story was very welcome to the ladies, for that they had many a time heard sing this song, yet could never, for asking, learn the occasion of its making. But the king, having heard the end thereof, charged Pamfilo follow on the ordinance; whereupon quoth he, "The dream in the foregoing story giveth me occasion to recount one wherein is made mention of two dreams, which were of a thing to come, even as the former was of a thing [already] betided, and scarce were they finished telling by those who had dreamt them than the accomplishment followed of both. You must know, then, lovesome ladies, that it is an affection common to all alive to see various things in sleep, whereof,—albeit to the sleeper, what while he sleepeth, they all appear most true and he, awakened, accounteth some true, others probable and yet others out of all likelihood,—many are natheless found to be come to pass. By reason whereof many lend to every dream as much belief as they would to things they should see, waking, and for their proper dreams they sorrow or rejoice, according as by these they hope or fear. And contrariwise, there are those who believe none thereof, save after they find themselves fallen into the peril foreshown. Of these,[245] I approve neither the one nor other, for that dreams are neither always true nor always false. That they are not all true, each one of us must often enough have had occasion to know; and that they are not all false hath been already shown in Filomena her story, and I also purpose, as I said before, to show it in mine. Wherefore I am of opinion that, in the matter of living and doing virtuously, one should have no fear of any dream contrary thereto nor forego good intentions by reason thereof; as for perverse and wicked things, on the other hand, however favourable dreams may appear thereto and how much soever they may hearten him who seeth them with propitious auguries, none of them should be credited, whilst full faith should be accorded unto all that tend to the contrary.[246] But to come to the story.

There was once in the city of Brescia a gentleman called Messer Negro da Ponte Carraro, who amongst sundry other children had a daughter named Andrevuola, young and unmarried and very fair. It chanced she fell in love with a neighbour of hers, Gabriotto by name, a man of mean condition, but full laudable fashions and comely and pleasant of his person, and by the means and with the aid of the serving-maid of the house, she so wrought that not only did Gabriotto know himself beloved of her, but was many and many a time brought, to the delight of both parties, into a goodly garden of her father's. And in order that no cause, other than death, should ever avail to sever those their delightsome loves, they became in secret husband and wife, and so stealthily continuing their foregatherings, it befell that the young lady, being one night asleep, dreamt that she was in her garden with Gabriotto and held him in her arms, to the exceeding pleasure of each; but, as they abode thus, herseemed she saw come forth of his body something dark and frightful, the form whereof she could not discern; the which took Gabriotto and tearing him in her despite with marvellous might from her embrace, made off with him underground, nor ever more might she avail to see either the one or the other.

At this she fell into an inexpressible passion of grief, whereby she awoke, and albeit, awaking, she was rejoiced to find that it was not as she had dreamed, nevertheless fear entered into her by reason of the dream she had seen. Wherefore, Gabriotto presently desiring to visit her that next night, she studied as most she might to prevent his coming; however, seeing his desire and so he might not misdoubt him of otherwhat, she received him in the garden and having gathered great store of roses, white and red (for that it was the season), she went to sit with him at the foot of a very goodly and clear fountain that was there. After they had taken great and long delight together, Gabriotto asked her why she would have forbidden his coming that night; whereupon she told him, recounting to him the dream she had seen the foregoing night and the fear she had gotten therefrom.

He, hearing this, laughed it to scorn and said that it was great folly to put any faith in dreams, for that they arose of excess of food or lack thereof and were daily seen to be all vain, adding, 'Were I minded to follow after dreams, I had not come hither, not so much on account of this of thine as of one I myself dreamt last night; which was that meseemed I was in a fair and delightsome wood, wherein I went hunting and had taken the fairest and loveliest hind was ever seen; for methought she was whiter than snow and was in brief space become so familiar with me that she never left me a moment. Moreover, meseemed I held her so dear that, so she might not depart from me, I had put a collar of gold about her neck and held her in hand with a golden chain. After this medreamed that, once upon a time, what while this hind lay couched with its head in my bosom,[247] there issued I know not whence a greyhound bitch as black as coal, anhungred and passing gruesome of aspect, and made towards me. Methought I offered it no resistance, wherefore meseemed it thrust its muzzle into my breast on the left side and gnawed thereat till it won to my heart, which methought it tore from me, to carry it away. Therewith I felt such a pain that my sleep was broken and awaking, I straightway clapped my hand to my side, to see if I had aught there; but, finding nothing amiss with me, I made mock of myself for having sought. But, after all, what booteth this dream?[248] I have dreamed many such and far more frightful, nor hath aught in the world befallen me by reason thereof; wherefore let it pass and let us think to give ourselves a good time.'

The young lady, already sore adread for her own dream, hearing this, waxed yet more so, but hid her fear, as most she might, not to be the occasion of any unease to Gabriotto. Nevertheless, what while she solaced herself with him, clipping and kissing him again and again and being of him clipped and kissed, she many a time eyed him in the face more than of her won't, misdoubting she knew not what, and whiles she looked about the garden, and she should see aught of black come anywhence. Presently, as they abode thus, Gabriotto heaved a great sigh and embracing her said, 'Alas, my soul, help me, for I die!' So saying, he fell to the ground upon the grass of the lawn. The young lady, seeing this, drew him up into her lap and said, well nigh weeping, 'Alack, sweet my lord, what aileth thee?' He answered not, but, panting sore and sweating all over, no great while after departed this life.

How grievous, how dolorous was this to the young lady, who loved him more than her life, each one of you may conceive for herself. She bewept him sore and many a time called him in vain; but after she had handled him in every part of his body and found him cold in all, perceiving that he was altogether dead and knowing not what to do or to say, she went, all tearful as she was and full of anguish, to call her maid, who was privy to their loves, and discovered to her misery and her grief. Then, after they had awhile made woeful lamentation over Gabriotto's dead face, the young lady said to the maid, 'Since God hath bereft me of him I love, I purpose to abide no longer on life; but, ere I go about to slay myself, I would fain take fitting means to preserve my honour and the secret of the love that hath been between us twain and that the body, wherefrom the gracious spirit is departed, may be buried.'

'Daughter mine,' answered the maid, 'talk not of seeking to slay thyself, for that, if thou have lost him in this world, by slaying thyself thou wouldst lose him in the world to come also, since thou wouldst go to hell, whither I am assured his soul hath not gone; for he was a virtuous youth. It were better far to comfort thyself and think of succouring his soul with prayers and other good works, so haply he have need thereof for any sin committed. The means of burying him are here at hand in this garden and none will ever know of the matter, for none knoweth that he ever came hither. Or, an thou wilt not have it so, let us put him forth of the garden and leave him be; he will be found to-morrow morning and carried to his house, where his kinsfolk will have him buried.' The young lady, albeit she was full of bitter sorrow and wept without ceasing, yet gave ear to her maid's counsels and consenting not to the first part thereof, made answer to the second, saying, 'God forbid that I should suffer so dear a youth and one so beloved of me and my husband to be buried after the fashion of a dog or left to lie in the street! He hath had my tears and inasmuch as I may, he shall have those of his kinsfolk, and I have already bethought me of that which we have to do to that end.'

Therewith she despatched her maid for a piece of cloth of silk, which she had in a coffer of hers, and spreading it on the earth, laid Gabriotto's body thereon, with his head upon a pillow. Then with many tears she closed his eyes and mouth and weaving him a chaplet of roses, covered him with all they had gathered, he and she; after which she said to the maid, 'It is but a little way hence to his house; wherefore we will carry him thither, thou and I, even as we have arrayed him, and lay him before the door. It will not be long ere it be day and he will be taken up; and although this may be no consolation to his friends, yet to me, in whose arms he died, it will be a pleasure.' So saying, once more with most abundant tears she cast herself upon his face and wept a great while. Then, being urged by her maid to despatch, for that the day was at hand, she rose to her feet and drawing from her finger the ring wherewith Gabriotto had espoused her, she set it on his and said, weeping, 'Dear my lord, if thy soul now seeth my tears or if any sense or cognizance abide in the body, after the departure thereof, benignly receive her last gift, whom, living, thou lovedst so well.' This said, she fell down upon him in a swoon, but, presently coming to herself and rising, she took up, together with her maid, the cloth whereon the body lay and going forth the garden therewith, made for his house.

As they went, they were discovered and taken with the dead body by the officers of the provostry, who chanced to be abroad at that hour about some other matter. Andrevuola, more desirous of death than of life, recognizing the officers, said frankly, 'I know who you are and that it would avail me nothing to seek to flee; I am ready to go with you before the Seignory and there declare how the case standeth; but let none of you dare to touch me, provided I am obedient to you, or to remove aught from this body, an he would not be accused of me.' Accordingly, without being touched of any, she repaired, with Gabriotto's body, to the palace, where the Provost, hearing what was to do, arose and sending for her into his chamber, proceeded to enquire of this that had happened. To this end he caused divers physicians look if the dead man had been done to death with poison or otherwise, who all affirmed that it was not so, but that some imposthume had burst near the heart, the which had suffocated him. The magistrate hearing this and feeling her to be guilty in [but] a small matter, studied to make a show of giving her that which he could not sell her and told her that, an she would consent to his pleasures, he would release her; but, these words availing not, he offered, out of all seemliness, to use force. However, Andrevuola, fired with disdain and waxed strong [for indignation], defended herself manfully, rebutting him with proud and scornful words.

Meanwhile, broad day come and these things being recounted to Messer Negro, he betook himself, sorrowful unto death, to the palace, in company with many of his friends, and being there acquainted by the Provost with the whole matter, demanded resentfully[249] that his daughter should be restored to him. The Provost, choosing rather to accuse himself of the violence he would have done her than to be accused of her, first extolled the damsel and her constancy and in proof thereof, proceeded to tell that which he had done; by reason whereof, seeing her of so excellent a firmness, he had vowed her an exceeding love and would gladly, an it were agreeable to him, who was her father, and to herself, espouse her for his lady, notwithstanding she had had a husband of mean condition. Whilst they yet talked, Andrevuola presented herself and weeping, cast herself before her father and said, 'Father mine, methinketh there is no need that I recount to you the story of my boldness and my illhap, for I am assured that you have heard and know it; wherefore, as most I may, I humbly ask pardon of you for my default, to wit, the having without your knowledge taken him who most pleased me to husband. And this boon I ask of you, not for that my life may be spared me, but to die your daughter and not your enemy.' So saying, she fell weeping at his feet.

Messer Negro, who was an old man and kindly and affectionate of his nature, hearing these words, began to weep and with tears in his eyes raised his daughter tenderly to her feet and said, 'Daughter mine, it had better pleased me that thou shouldst have had such a husband as, according to my thinking, behoved unto thee; and that thou shouldst have taken such an one as was pleasing unto thee had also been pleasing to me; but that thou shouldst have concealed him, of thy little confidence in me, grieveth me, and so much the more as I see thee to have lost him, ere I knew it. However, since the case is so, that which had he lived, I had gladly done him, to content thee, to wit, honour, as to my son-in-law, be it done him, now he is dead.' Then, turning to his sons and his kinsfolk, he commanded that great and honourable obsequies should be prepared for Gabriotto.

Meanwhile, the kinsmen and kinswomen of the young man, hearing the news, had flocked thither, and with them well nigh all the men and women in the city. Therewith, the body, being laid out amiddleward the courtyard upon Andrevuola's silken cloth and strewn, with all her roses, was there not only bewept by her and his kinsfolk, but publicly mourned by well nigh all the ladies of the city and by many men, and being brought forth of the courtyard of the Seignory, not as that of a plebeian, but as that of a nobleman, it was with the utmost honour borne to the sepulchre upon the shoulders of the most noble citizens. Some days thereafterward, the Provost ensuing that which he had demanded, Messer Negro propounded it to his daughter, who would hear nought thereof, but, her father being willing to comply with her in this, she and her maid made themselves nuns in a convent very famous for sanctity and there lived honourably a great while after."

Footnotes

[245] i.e. these two classes of folk.

[246] i.e. to the encouragement of good and virtuous actions and purposes.

[247] Or "lap" (seno).

[248] Lit. what meaneth this? (che vuol dire questo?)

[249] Lit. complaining, making complaint (dolendosi).
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