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 us on such a mission, or ourselves to come, we cannot exactly say.” The good bishop, like a wise man, only patting them on the shoulder, said, “Well, well, my friends, it is all right; go home, and say to my dear children of Casentino that I shall always he happy to serve them every way in my power; so much so, that henceforward they need be at no expense in appointing ambassadors to my court; let them only write to me, and I will reply agreeably to their wishes.”
The bishop then taking leave of them, our ambassadors resumed their way, saying as they went, “Let us take care not to fall into the same error on our return.” “But,” said one, “we cannot easily do that; we have got nothing to remember.” “Yet we must have our wits about us,” returned the other; “for they will ask what we said in our oration, and what was the reply.
For if the good people were to suspect that our embassy, like many others, was all a joke, they would never employ us again; and farewell to our occupation—it is gone.” To this the more politic of the two replied, “Oh, leave that to me; we will continue in office, trust me. I will tell them such a story about the embassy, and what passed on both sides, as would deceive wiser heads than theirs. The bishop shall say such polite things of them as shall make them in good humor with themselves for an age to come.