The moment the latter had turned his back, our poor lover began to upbraid himself bitterly for not availing himself of the invitation, exclaiming, ‘What a wretch am I not to accept such an offer as this! I should at least have seen her—her whom from my soul I cannot help loving beyond all else in the world.’
“As he thus went, meditating upon the same subject along his solitary way, it chanced that he sprung a large jay, on which he instantly gave his hawk the wing, which pursuing its quarry into Messer Stricca’s gardens and there striking true, the ensuing struggle took place. Hearing the hawk’s cry, both he and his lady ran towards the garden balcony, in time to see, and were surprised at the skill and boldness of the bird in seizing and bringing down its game. Not in the least aware of the truth, the lady inquired of her husband to whom the bird belonged.
‘Mark the hawk,’ replied Messer Stricca; ‘it does its work well; it resembles its master, who is one of the handsomest and most accomplished young men in Siena, and a very excellent young fellow, too; —yes, it does well.’ ‘And who may that be?’ said his wife, with a careless- air. ‘Who,’ returned he, ‘but the noble Galgano—the same, love, who just now passed by. I wish he had come in to sup with us, but he would not. He is certainly one of the finest and best-tempered men I ever saw.’ And so saying, he rose from the window, and they went to supper. Galgano, in the meanwhile, having given his hawk the call, quietly pursued his way; but the praises lavished upon him by her husband made an impression upon the lady’s mind such as the whole of his previous solicitations had failed to produce.
However strange, she dwelt upon them long and tenderly. It happened that about this very time, Messer Stricca was chosen ambassador from the Sienese to the people of Perugia, and setting out in all haste, he was compelled to take a sudden leave of his lady. I am sorry to have to observe that the moment the cavalcade was gone by, recalling the idea of her noble lover, the lady likewise’ despatched an embassy to our young friend, entreating him, after the example of her husband, to favor her with his company in the evening.