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Eigth Day, Novel VIII

[015]The morrow came, and Zeppa and Spinelloccio being together about tierce, Spinelloccio, having promised the lady to come to see her at that hour, said to Zeppa: "I must go breakfast with a friend, whom I had life not keep in waiting; therefore, adieu!" [016] "Nay, but," quoth Zeppa, "'tis not yet breakfast-time." [017] "No matter," returned Spinelloccio, "I have business on which I must speak with him; so I must be in good time." [018] Whereupon Spinelloccio took his leave of Zeppa, and having reached Zeppa's house by a slightly circuitous route, and finding his wife there, was taken by her into the chamber, where they had not been long together when Zeppa returned. Hearing him come, the lady, feigning no small alarm, bundled Spinelloccio into the chest, as her husband had bidden her, and having locked him in, left him there. [019] As Zeppa came upstairs: "Wife," quoth he, "is it breakfast time?" [020] "Ay, husband, 'tis so," replied the lady. [021] Whereupon: "Spinelloccio is gone to breakfast with a friend to-day," quoth Zeppa, "leaving his wife at home: get thee to the window, and call her, and bid her come and breakfast with us." [022] The lady, whose fear for herself made her mighty obedient, did as her husband bade her; and after much pressing Spinelloccio's wife came to breakfast with them, though she was given to understand that her husband would not be of the company. So, she being come, Zeppa received her most affectionately, and taking her familiarly by the hand, bade his wife, in an undertone, get her to the kitchen; he then led Spinelloccio's wife into the chamber, and locked the door. [023] Hearing the key turn in the lock: "Alas!" quoth the lady, "what means this, Zeppa? Is't for this you have brought me here? Is this the love you bear Spinelloccio? Is this your loyalty to him as your friend and comrade?" [024] By the time she had done speaking, Zeppa, still keeping fast hold of her, was beside the chest, in which her husband was locked. Wherefore: "Madam," quoth he, "spare me thy reproaches, until thou hast heard what I have to say to thee. I have loved, I yet love, Spinelloccio as a brother; and yesterday, though he knew it not, I discovered that the trust I reposed in him has for its guerdon that he lies with my wife, as with thee. Now, for that I love him, I purpose not to be avenged upon him save in the sort in which he offended. He has had my wife, and I intend to have thee. [025] So thou wilt not grant me what I crave of thee, be sure I shall not fail to take it; and having no mind to let this affront pass unavenged, will make such play with him that neither thou nor he shall ever be happy again." [026] The lady hearkening, and by dint of his repeated asseverations coming at length to believe him: "Zeppa mine," quoth she, "as this thy vengeance is to light upon me, well content am I; so only thou let not this which we are to do embroil me with thy wife, with whom, notwithstanding the evil turn she has done me, I am minded to remain at peace." [027] "Have no fear on that score," replied Zeppa; "nay, I will give thee into the bargain a jewel so rare and fair that thou hast not the like." Which said, he took her in his arms and fell a kissing her, and having laid her on the chest, in which her husband was safe under lock and key, did there disport himself with her to his heart's content, as she with him.