5.4 In which a euphemism is learned!
Caterina is the late in life surprise baby of a wealthy couple. Her father, Lizio, was indulgent and doted on his daughter! He kept a close eye on her, because she was beautiful- a temptation to one and all. But not THAT close, as the toothsome son of a family friend, Ricciardo, was a welcome guest in their home.
Nature takes its course, as it is wont to do, and Caterina and Ricciardo become enamored of one another. But how to arrange a tryst? Ricciardo suggests that Caterina find a pretext to sleep out on the balcony, where he can climb up to “spend the night” and yes, while that is a euphemism, it’s not THE euphemism to which the title refers.
Caterina concocts a story that that her room is TOO HOT!!! and can she please sleep out on the balcony??? This is considered an outlandish request, as young women of quality don’t do anything resembling camping. But Caterina wails and moans the whole night long! It’s too hot, let me rest outside where I can let the nightingale sing me to sleep!
She is an indulged only child, and her caterwauling is bothersome, so at last her mother relents. Caterina and Ricciardo meet and “spend the night” so well that they fall sound asleep well into the next morning, naked as the day, with Caterina’s hand covering Ricciardo’s manly parts.
Lizio comes across them, and instead of outrage, laughs! He tells his wife that Caterina has not only had the (euphemism alert!) “nightingale” sing her to sleep, she caught it in her hand. As Ricciardo is wealthy and socially acceptable, Lizio figures, why not! and Caterina and Ricciardo are married on the spot. As they say: un uccello in mano