The clerk made off with the cloak and did her message to the priest, who said, laughing, 'Tell her, when thou seest her, that, an she will not lend me her mortar, I will not lend her my pestle; and so we shall be quits. Bentivegna concluded that his wife had said this, because he had chidden her, and took no heed thereof; but Belcolore bore the priest a grudge and held him at arm's length till vintage-time; when, he having threatened to cause her go into the mouth of Lucifer the great devil, for very fear she made her peace with him over must and roast chestnuts and they after made merry together time and again.

She sent it to him and towards dinner-time, the priest, having spied out when Bentivegna and his wife were at meat together, called his clerk and said to him, 'Carry this mortar back to Belcolore and say to her, 'His reverence biddeth you gramercy and prayeth you send him back the cloak that the boy left you by way of token. The clerk accordingly repaired to her house and there, finding her at table with Bentivegna, set down the mortar and did the priest's errand.

It chanced one day that as he sauntered about the quarter on the stroke of noon, he encountered Bentivegna del Mazzo, driving an ass laden with gear, and accosting him, asked whither he went.

Now it chanced that, among other his she-parishioners who were most to his liking, one pleased him over all, by name Mistress Belcolore, the wife of a husbandman who styled himself Bentivegna del Mazzo, a jolly, buxom country wench, brown-favoured and tight-made, as apt at turning the mill as any woman alive.

'Faith, sir, answered the husbandman, 'to tell you the truth, I am going to town about a business of mine and am carrying these things to Squire Bonaccorri da Ginestreto, so he may help me in I know not what whereof the police-court judge hath summoned me by his proctor for a peremptory attendance. The priest was rejoiced to hear this and said, 'Thou dost well, my son; go now with my benison and return speedily; and shouldst thou chance to see Lapuccio or Naldino, forget not to bid them bring me those straps they wot of for my flails. Bentivegna answered that it should be done and went his way towards Florence, whereupon the priest bethought himself that now was his time to go try his luck with Belcolore.

But yet he made shift to do on such wise that neither Bentivegna nor any of his neighbours suspected aught; and the better to gain Mistress Belcolore's goodwill, he made her presents from time to time, sending her whiles a clove of garlic, which he had the finest of all the countryside in a garden he tilled with his own hands, and otherwhiles a punnet of peascods or a bunch of chives or scallions, and whenas he saw his opportunity, he would ogle her askance and cast a friendly gibe at her; but she, putting on the prude, made a show of not observing it and passed on with a demure air; wherefore my lord priest could not come by his will of her.