But above all the rest, Nicoluccio Caccianimico could never besatisfied with beholding her; and, enflamed with earnest desire, toknow what she was, could not refraine (seeing the Knight was goneout of the roome) but demaunded of her, whether she were of Bologna,or a stranger? when the Lady heard her selfe to be thus questioned,and by her Husband, it seemed painefull to her, to containe fromanswering: Neverthelesse, to perfect the Knights intended purpose, shesate silent. Others demaunded of her, whether the sweet Boy were hers,or no; and some questioned, if she were Gentiles Wife, or no, orelse his Kinsewoman; to all which demaunds, she returned not anyanswere. But when the Knight came to them againe, some of them said tohim. Sir, this woman is a goodly creature, but she appeareth to bedumbe, which were great pitty, if it should be so. Gentlemen (quothhe) it is no small argument of her vertue, to sit still and silentat this instant. Tell us then (said they) of whence, and what sheis. Therein (quoth he) I will quickely resolve you, upon yourconditionall promise: that none of you do remove from his place,whatsoever shall be said or done, untill I have fully delivered myminde. Every one bound himselfe by solemne promise, to perform what hehad appointed, and the Tables being voided, as also the Carpetslaid; then the Knight (sitting downe by the Lady) thus began.
Gerbino needed not to have spoken so much, in perswading them toseize so rich a booty, because the men of Messina were naturallyaddicted to spoile and rapine: and before the Prince began hisOration, they had concluded to make the ship their purchase.Wherefore, giving a lowde shout, according to their Country manner,and commanding their Trumpets to sound chearfully, they rowed on amaine with their Oares, and (in meere despight) set upon the ship. Butbefore the Gallies could come neere her, they that had the chargeand managing of her, perceyving with what speede they made towardsthem, and no likely meanes of escaping from them, resolvedly theystood upon their best defence, for now it was no time to be slothfull.The Prince being come neere to the Ship, commanded that the Patronesshould come to him, except they would adventure the fight. When theSarazines were thereof advertised, and understood also what hedemanded, they returned answer: That their motion and proceeding inthis manner, was both against Law and plighted faith, which waspromised by the King of Sicilie, for their safe passage through theSea by no meanes to be mollested or assailed. In testimony whereof,they shewed his Glove, avouching moreover, that neither by force (orotherwise) they would yeelde, or deliver him any thing which theyhad aboorde their Ship.