Happy Endings (Part 20)
"Ah!" said Antonio, "I am the unhappy cause of these quarrels."
Portia bid Antonio not to grieve at that, for that he was welcome
notwithstanding; and then Antonio said:
"I once did lend my body for Bassanio's sake; and but for him to
whom your husband gave the ring I should have now been dead. I
dare be bound again, my soul upon the forfeit, your lord will
never more break his faith with you."
"Then you shall be his surety," said Portia. "Give him this ring
and bid him keep it better than the other."
When Bassanio looked at this ring he was strangely surprised to
find it was the same he gave away; and then Portia told him how
she was the young counselor, and Nerissa was her clerk; and
Bassanio found, to his unspeakable wonder and delight, that it
was by the noble courage and wisdom of his wife that Antonio's
life was saved.
And Portia again welcomed Antonio, and gave him letters which by
some chance had fallen into her hands, which contained an account
of Antonio's ships, that were supposed lost, being safely arrived
in the harbor. So these tragical beginnings of this rich
merchant's story were all forgotten in the unexpected good
fortune which ensued; and there was leisure to laugh at the
comical adventure of the rings and the husbands that did not know
their own wives, Gratiano merrily swearing, in a sort of rhyming
While he lived, he'd fear no other thing
So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring.
- The End -
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