The Two Ambassadors part 4

I will tell them of the letter, and how he thinks himself highly honored by their alliance.” “That is well thought,” said the other; “and let us spur along a little, that we may get in time for dinner at the same inn—you know where.” “That is well thought,” echoed the other; and mending their pace at the idea of the Frontignac, they soon dismounted, all in a heat, and without waiting for dinner, called out for some of the same wine. “Good sirs,” replied the waiter, “we have some better than ever;” and the ambassadors kept him pretty sharply employed in drawing the bottles, until the wine began to get low, and their politic heads somewhat too elevated.

Success of the embassy

Grieved to hear this, these patterns of diplomacy were compelled to mount again, and the next stage or two brought them into the presence of their employers, where, finding it easier to recollect their own lies than the truths which had been reposed in them, they my

The Two Ambassadors part 3

Upon this the bishop with great dignity approached them, and taking them by the hand, said, “You are welcome, gentlemen; what tidings of import may you bring?” Each of the am-bassadors now looked at the other, and bowing, said, “Do you speak!” “No, sir,” was the reply; “do you speak, sir; I cannot think of it;” till at length the boldest of the two, addressing the bishop, observed: “We come, my lord, as ambassadors from your poor servants of Casentino, and I can assure your Grace that both those who send us and we who are sent are equally devoted to you; but, please your Grace, we are all of us men of fact, but of few words: our mission was intrusted to us in haste; and whatever may be the occasion of it, either our assembly must have informed us wrong, or we have in some way misunderstood them.

Grace’s good offices

Nevertheless, we humbly recommend both them and ourselves to your Grace’s good offices; though what possessed them to send

The Two Ambassadors part 2

Having taken their seats at table, they luckily found the wine good; and so it was that they were more pleased with this circumstance than sorry for the mission they had forgotten. Indeed it was so excellent, that they repeatedly emptied their glasses, toasting all their friends in town until they became half stupefied, so that, far from recollecting their embassy after dinner, they were in no condition even to talk about it, and hardly knowing where they were,, they both dropped asleep.

On rousing themselves once more, one of them inquired of the other whether he had yet succeeded. “I know not,” was the reply; “but I know that our host’s is the best wine I ever drank: the truth is, I have never thought about it since dinner, and now I hardly know where I am.” “And I declare it has been the same with me,” answered his friend; “the Lord only knows what we shall do!

However, we will stay here to-day and to-night, for the night is always favorable t

The Two Ambassadors part 1

Franco Sacchetti (1335 – 1400)

Another of the Fourteenth Century writers who fell under the influence of Boccaccio is Franco Sacchetti. Sacchetti, though he was prominent in Florentine political affairs, was essentially a writer and poet. His collection of stories, the Novelliero, contains some three hundred tales, the best of which are racy anecdotes of contemporary life, related with wit and humour. They constitute an invaluable picture of the life of the lower classes of the day.

The Two Ambassadors falls into the category of the joke story, so cleverly elaborated more than five hundred years later by O. Henry. But, unlike many of its kind, it is intrinsically interesting because of the multiplicity of human touches with which the writer has been able to make his characters live.

The present version is translated by Thomas Roscoe and reprinted from his Italian Novelists, London, no date. The story has no title in the original.

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