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the lady looking on the port from her bed-chamber, and seeing the ship, asked her maid, if she knew the streamers? the maid said, it was the ship of the young man who arrived the last year. You are in the right, answered the lady; he must surely have a great regard for me, for never any one came a second time; the maid said, she had never seen a more agreeable man. He went to the castle, and presented himself to the lady; who, as soon as she saw him, embraced him, and the day was passed in joy and revels. Bed-time being come, the lady entreated him to go to rest: when they were seated in the chamber, the two damsels enter with wine and sweetmeats; and having eat and drank of them, they go to bed, and immediately Giannetto falls asleep; the lady undressed, and lay down by his side ; but he waked not the whole night. In the morning, the lady rises, and gives orders to strip the ship. He has a horse and money given to him, and away he goes, and never stops till he gets to Venice; and at night goes to the same friend, who with astonishment asked him, what was the matter? I am undone, says Giannetto. His friend answered, You are the cause of the ruin of Ansaldo, and your shame ought to be greater than the loss you have suffered. Giannetto lived privately many days. At last he took a resolution of seeing Ansaldo, who rose from his chair, and running to embrace him, told him he was welcome: Giannetto with tears returned his embraces. Ansaldo heard his tale: do not grieve, my dear son, says he, we have still enough: the sea enriches some men, others it ruins.
Poor Giannetto's head was day and night full of the thoughts of his bad success. When Ansaldo enquired what was the matter, he confessed, he could never be contented till he should be in a condition to regain all that he lost. When Ansaldo found him resolved, he began to sell every thing he had, to furnish this other fine ship with merchandize: but, as he wanted still ten thousand ducats, he applied himself to a Jew at Mestri, and borrowed them on condition, that if they were not paid on the feast of St. John in the next month of June, that the Jew might take a pound of flesh from any part of his body he pleased. Ansaldo agreed, and the Jew had an obligation drawn, and witnessed, with all the form and ceremony necessary; and then counted him the ten thousand ducats of gold, with which Ansaldo bought what was still wanting for the vessel. This last ship was finer and better freighted than the other two, and his companions made ready for the voyage, with a design that whatever they gained should be for their friend. When it was time to depart, Ansaldo told Giannetto, that since he well knew of the obligation to the Jew, he entreated, that if any misfortune happened, he would return to Venice, that he might see him before he died; and then he could leave the world with satisfaction: Giannetto promised to do every thing that he conceived might give 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 condemnned. 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 Ansaldo, 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, accorda ing 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