Study Guide

Decameron Seventh Day, Seventh Story

By Giovanni Boccaccio

Seventh Day, Seventh Story

Lodovico and Beatrice

  • Storyteller: Filomena
  • Lodovico is the only child of a Florentine nobleman-turned-merchant. He was sent to the French royal household to be brought up among other young noblemen.
  • One day, Lodovico was hanging around with the lads, debating the beauty of women from different countries when some knights returned from crusade told them of the beauty of one Madonna Beatrice.
  • Beatrice was from Bologna and, unfortunately for them, was married to Egano de' Galluzzi.
  • Young Lodovico's very taken by all this talk about Beatrice and decides to go to Bologna to catch a glimpse of her.
  • He tells his father that he wants to go visit the Holy Sepulcher, takes on the name Anichino, and makes his way to Bologna.
  • Anichino sees Beatrice and realizes that her description was totally accurate and then some. And now he's seriously determined to win her affection.
  • He decides the best way to do this is to be Egano's servant.
  • So he sells his horses, asks his own servants to pretend not to know him and moves into his new job at Egano and Beatrice's house.
  • Pretty soon, Egano completely relies on Anichino.
  • One day, Beatrice invites Anichino to play chess with her. Her husband's away from home.
  • He lets her win. After the "defeat," he reveals himself to her. She takes a shine to him immediately and kisses him.
  • She invites him to her room the next night, saying that she'll leave the door open and making sure he knew which side of the bed was hers.
  • So the next night, he slips into bed with her. Egano's there, too.
  • Then Beatrice does something that makes Anichino's heart stop: she wakes up her husband.
  • She asks Egano who his most trusted servant is (she knows it's Anichino).
  • Beatrice tells him that his trust is misplaced. Beatrice makes him believe that Anichino is down in the garden at that very moment, waiting for her.
  • If Egano wants proof, all he has to do is put on a dress, pretend to be Beatrice and go into the garden.
  • Of course, Egano goes. Beatrice bolts the door behind him and has Anichino all to herself.
  • When they've finished up with each other, Beatrice tells him to get a big stick and go into the garden.
  • She tells him to say that he was putting Beatrice to the test and then to go ahead and beat up her husband—pretending the whole time that he doesn't know it isn't Beatrice.
  • So Anichino does just this, cursing "Beatrice" out for being a brazen hussy who dared accuse him of betraying his master.
  • When Egano returns to Beatrice, he's covered in bruises, but he's kind of happy. Anichino really is a good guy and deserves a reward.
  • And Egano's convinced that he has the best servant and most faithful wife.
  • Beatrice and Egano carry on as long as Anichino works for her husband.