Seventh Day - Introduction

[Voice: author ]

[ 002 ] Fled was now each star from the eastern sky, save only that which we call Lucifer, which still glowed in the whitening dawn, when uprose the seneschal, and with a goodly baggage-train hied him to the Ladies' Vale, there to make all things ready according to the ordinance and commandment of the king. [ 003 ] Nor was it long after his departure that the king rose, being awaked by the stir and bustle that the servants made in lading the horses, and being risen he likewise roused all the ladies and the other gallants; [ 004 ] and so, when as yet 'twas scarce clear daybreak, they all took the road; nor seemed it to them that the nightingales and the other birds had ever chanted so blithely as that morning. By which choir they were attended to the Ladies' Vale, where they were greeted by other warblers not a few, that seemed rejoiced at their arrival. [ 005 ] Roving about the vale, and surveying its beauties afresh, they rated them higher than on the previous day, as indeed the hour was more apt to shew them forth. [ 006 ] Then with good wine and comfits they broke their fast, and, that they might not lag behind the songsters, they fell a singing, whereto the vale responded, ever echoing their strains; nor did the birds, as minded not to be beaten, fail to swell the chorus with notes of unwonted sweetness. [ 007 ] However, breakfast-time came, and then, the tables being laid under a living canopy of trees, and beside other goodly trees that fringed the little lake, they sat them down in order as to the king seemed meet. So they took their meal, glancing from time to time at the lake, where the fish darted to and fro in multitudinous shoals, which afforded not only delight to their eyes but matter for converse. [ 008 ] Breakfast ended, and the tables removed, they fell a singing again more blithely than before. [ 009 ] After which, there being set, in divers places about the little vale, beds which the discreet seneschal had duly furnished and equipped within and without with store of French coverlets, and other bedgear, all, that were so minded, had leave of the king to go to sleep, and those that cared not to sleep might betake them, as each might choose, to any of their wonted diversions. [ 010 ] But, all at length being risen, and the time for addressing them to the story-telling being come, the king had carpets spread on the sward no great way from the place where they had breakfasted; and, all having sat them down beside the lake, he bade Emilia begin; which, blithe and smiling, Emilia did on this wise.

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