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MATEO ALEMAN was a writer of considerable eminence in the reign of Philip II., although the particulars of his life are few. We learn from Nicholas Antonio, that he was a native of Seville, and was employed under the government; but having a distaste for such occupation, he threw up his situation, and crossed the sea to Mexico, in which city he was some time a resident, and published there, in the year 1609, his “Ortografia Castellana;” likewise a life of San Antonio de Padua, with an eulogium on the life of that saint, written in very good Latin. He was also the author of a Latin dialogue called “Prometheus,” in imitation of Lucian.

But the work which has gained for him the title of novelist, and classed him amongst that school, so humorously and happily conceived and brought into popular regard by Mendoza, — is his “Vita del Picaro Guzman d‘Alfarache;” of which that honoured plagiarist, “Le Sage,” knew so well how to 130 avail himself in after times, accommodating his literary larceny to the habits and taste of his own countrymen.

The work has been translated into every European language; and a book well deserves the honour which has, since the year 1599, six years before Cervantes gained immortal renown by his Don Quixote, preserved its national popularity unimpaired, and which pourtrays with the most vivid exactitude, the most pure morality, chastened and correct language, and an easy and natural style, the manners of the Spanish serviles, the wretched and destitute, an important class in a nations so subjected to the privileged orders. He has moreover mixed and contrasted the picture with that of the more exclusive orders which influenced European society at that period.

That corruption of literary taste which originated in excessive refinement, had not then shewn itself; but the work is not free from other defects, which may be attributed to the nature of the composition, and the age in which it was written.

Desirous of pourtraying the actual state of things, the author sometimes represents them worse than they were; and aiming at the familiar and colloquial, he sometimes quits a graceful irony for low satire and buffoonery.

But, with all these defects, it ranks higher than 131 any works of the class which had been previously written; and infinitely superior to that which appeared from the pen of his imitator, Lopez de Ubeda, called “La Picara Justina,” a book richly deserving the contempt with which it is treated by the critical curate who passes judgment on Don Quixote’s library.






WHEN we arrived at Cantillana, our companions, whose conversation had helped to beguile our time on the road, left us to seek their respective places of entertainment: and I then enquired of my friend the carrier, where he intended that we should pass the night? “O,” said he, “never fear; I know a capital inn, where we shall be well treated.” He then took me to a house, which I afterwards found to belong to one of the greatest knaves in the district, where there was as little appearance of good cheer as of amusement; and which, in comparison with the place I had left, was at much about the same rate of exchange as “Leaping from the frying-pan into the fire.”

There is an inviolable law in Andalusia, which forbids the breeding of mules under the heaviest penalties. Now it happened, that our innkeeper had 133 a little mare, which proved to be with foal; a result which had been undutifully effected without the knowledge or consent of her master. When the time arrived, as though bent on her owner’s ruin, the mare brought forth a mule; which circumstance however was fortunately only known to the inn-keeper himself, who had placed her in a stable by herself, and had taken the earliest opportunity of ascertaining the result. Frightened to death at the first sight of the little animal which seemed born to ruin him, he vowed its instant destruction; but like a provident person of his class, he reflected, that if not known the occurrence might yet be turned to his advantage. At night, therefore, when every one was asleep, he arose and slaughtered the little beast; but instead of carefully burying the carcase, he determined on a more advantageous disposal of it; so he cut it up and put it into pickle.

It was at this period we arrived at the inn: the evening was not far advanced; so that our host had plenty of time to arrange our beds and supper. My companion immediately began to count his gains; but I, worn out with fatigue, threw myself at full length on the floor, and was some time before I could stir. My legs and thighs were quite sore, and my feet swollen with riding so far without stirrups; my buttocks were completely scarified; my sides aching with pain; my whole person, in fact was more or 134 less injured, and, to crown all, I was ravenously hungry.

When my companion had finished his calculation, turning to me, “Well, friend,” said he, “what think you of supper?” I replied, “that I thought it quite time we should have it; for that it would be necessary to rise early in the morning if we wished to get to Caculla in good time to make our bargains.” We then called the landlord, and asked him if he had anything for supper?”

“Aye, that I have,” said he, “and of the best too, I’ll warrant ye.” He seemed to be a bustling, sharp, clever sort of person, and moreover such a specious talker, that the knave completely imposed on me. I took what he said in good part, and returned a thousand thanks to Providence, that, after such labour and fatigue, and after all my past affliction, I was at last fixed in a place, where I should at least be sure of good treatment. I am not sure whether I have ever related a story of a certain labouring man whom I knew at Olias, a village near Toledo. I do not repeat it with any irreverent notion, for I believe I am as good a Christian as most people; — but this labourer was playing at a game of cards called primera, with some others of his acquaintance, — “Thanks be to God for this game,” cried the rejoiced bumpkin with whom he was playing, “for he has given me primera.” “You have not so much 135 occasion to thank him this turn,” returned the other, laughing at his own better luck, “for, praised be his holy name, he has given me a flush.” And so it happened with me, as I shall presently recount.

“Pray what have you for supper?” asked my companion, of our host. The rogue replied, “Yesterday I killed a beautiful calf; for now having good pasture for the cow, who was getting out of flesh, I was obliged to kill the calf at eight days’ old. The veal is all ready and untouched, therefore you may choose what part you like best.” On hearing his piece of good fortune we threw up our caps in the air, and, forgetting our fatigue, performed a thousand antic tricks of joy, which having subsided a little, we returned to the subject of the veal, the bare mention of which made my mouth water. We left it to eh host to choose for us, trusting to his good taste for our satisfaction; and presently we saw a clean cloth laid, — some bread, better than I had been accustomed to, — very good wine, and a dish of fresh salad. This, however, was of little moment to a stomach possessing such space as mine, and therefore I reserved my force for the veal; but as appearances often deceived the best judges, there is no great marvel if a hungry man should for once be mistaken.

The Tuscan reasons well, when he warns you never to place confidence in the promises of women, 136 travellers, or innkeepers, and, least of all, those who praise themselves; for the greater part of all those, he says, are but little scrupulous about the truth. After the salad, were brought two small plates, on each of which was placed a small piece of roast meat, I say small piece, for the cunning rogue was aware that abundance would speedily satisfy our appetites, and the with a full belly the cheat would be easily detected. As it was, we eat with relish what was set before us; and finding ourselves still hungry, desired something more. In regard to my companion, it was not to be wonders at, seeing that he was born amongst savages, or parents little better than brutes, and eating every thing, as it were, with a garlic tooth, for these low people have but little taste to distinguish good from bad. There are few of them in whom the senses arrive at any perfection. Although they see; and if they hear, they can never hear rightly. They are like dogs, that devour the meat without tasting; or like the ostrich, that can swallow a red-hot horse-shoe. Indeed, we might go a little further, and say, that a double-soled boot which had seen the service of three winters in Madrid, would not come amiss to them; for I swear to you, that I have actually seen on of these fellows, in a fit of hunger, pluck a cap from the head of a page, and devour it entire!


But even I, brought up amongst genteel and well-bred people, did not discover the cheat, so great was my hunger. This fact must alone plead my excuse, for my appetite was large, too large, for my eyes to see clearly what I was about. The treacherous landlord gave his meat sparingly; it is not surprising, therefore, that with such slender opportunities of judging, the quality of the feast contented me. Have you never heard, that no bread comes amiss to a hungry man? Then I repeat, that I found it delicious, and left it unwillingly. I enquired of the hose whether he had any thing more. He asked whether we should like some of the brains fried in butter; and we no sooner signified our assent, than they were dressed without further loss of time. In the interim we were furnished with a little dish of tripe, which, not appearing to me to smell very savoury, I left to my companion, who dispatched it without further ceremony. I rather rejoiced at the avidity with which my companion devoured the tripe, thinking that I should have a better share of the brains; but in this I deceived myself; it did not in the slightest degree impair his capabilities for further execution, for on their appearance he set to work again with as much good will as though he had not touched a morsel the whole day. When they placed the eggs and brains on the table, at the sight of the omelet my 138 companion burst out into a violent fit of laughter, at which I was not a little amazed, thinking that the intended to spare my appetite by recalling to memory my late adventure. The landlord, who had been watching us both very narrowly, and was doubtless on thorns to hear what he had to say, hearing this exuberance of mirth, which appeared to him so strange and unseasonable, he began to be disturbed, thinking we suspected his cheat. Not giving himself time to consider whether any thing else was capable of provoking our mirth, and as the guilty man is always afraid of his own shadow, supposing every movement is against him, and that the wind will make known his delinquency; so this poor scoundrel, although hardened in roguery, was this time trembling with apprehension.

In fact, rogues of all descriptions are generally cowards; like thieving dogs, if you only look at them, they run away. Our landlord was frightened enough, I can tell you, as it was but natural he should be, in common with all those who live by similar means. He lost his stirrups without knowing how to regain them, saying, “I swear to you it is nothing else but veal; there is no occasion to laugh; I could give you a hundred proofs if necessary.” In saying these words his countenance became as red as fire; the blood seemed ready to start from his cheeks, and sparks to flash from his eyes My 139 friend, the carrier, looking up very coolly at this ebullition of the host — “And pray what is the matter with you, my friend?” said he, “no one asked you howold you were. Is there any law in this inn to prevent any body from laughing without asking your leave? Or is there any thing to pay for such a liberty? Just leave people to laugh or cry as they please, and attend to your own business. For my part, if I could find anything to amuse me at your expense, I am just the sort of man to laugh most heartily. As to these eggs, they remind me of some which my companion at an inn three leagues from this place.” He then recounted the story of my mishap, during which recital, or landlord, relieved from his alarm, did not fail to bless himself heartily, exclaiming against the villany of the world, apostrophizing the sacred name a thousand times, and lifting up his eyes to heaven with a most pious fervour, he exclaimed, “Our lady bless and save us; did any oen every hear the like? Bad luck to those who perform their office badly, say I;” and I believe he verily meant what he said, the malediction in no way applying to him; for although a professed rogue, he was as expert at his office as any one who ever took to the trade. He seemed to be quite uneasy at the recital of such scandalous conduct in an innkeeper, exclaiming with the utmost apparent indignation, “Why is such a vile inn 140 allowed to continue? How can such an infamous woman pass without the chastisement of Providence? A barefaced had, to practice such infamy and the earth not to swallow her up! All innkeeper ought to rise against her, for it is such people that bring an honest calling into disrepute. It always seems strange how rogues can go from day to day, and practice the same iniquity with impunity, or what the Alguazils can be about to permit it; but I suppose that they will not see what is not convenient, as the proverb says, ‘One man may steal a horse, while another may not look over the hedge.’ For my part, I am of opinion, as the proverb says, ‘That every little makes mickle,’ and therefore, would rather lay by an honest penny now and then, trusting to the future for a little competency, than get rich in a hurry by roguery.” 140 I was about to reply to this honest effusion of the host, but he was warm and eloquent on the subject of honesty, and only having stopped to take breath, proceeded: “ ‘Evil to him who acts evilly,’ as the saying is, is my motto. No, my masters, thanks be to the Virgin Mary, that with all my poverty, no one shall be dissatisfied with his treatment in my house. Every thing here is sold for what it really is, — no cat for hare, no old ewe for young mutton. Honesty of conscience is what I desire, and a clear countenance before all the world.” Here his breath 141 failing, eh was obliged to cease, and being tired himself, thought he would give us as little labour as possible, by bringing us, for our dessert after our supper, a few walnuts and olives, about as big as nuts. We desired our host to let us have, in the morning, a little more of the meat for breakfast, which he promised; and looking out for the softest part of the floor, we spread our mattrasses, and composed ourselves to sleep.

When I awoke in the morning, if I had placed myself in the middle of the Square at Seville, or at the door of my own mother, I question whether I should have been recognized, so covered was I with fleas, who appeared to be indemnifying themselves for a year of abstinence, on my unfortunate caress. I arose just as though I had the measles, so completely was my body covered with the marks of these little vermin. But fortune was favourable to me in his particular, for what with the fatigue of my journey the day before, and having drank a little more wine than ordinary, my bed was a perfect paradise, from which I should not have risen, had not my companion roused me, by suggesting the propriety of having early mass, and reminded me that we had seven good leagues to travel to our journey’s end.

It was but just daylight when we were dressed and ready for our breakfast, which was speedily brought us by that paragon of honest innkeepers, our 142 landlord. My companion attacked it with his accustomed appetite; every mouthful seemed to him as tender as the breast of a turkey, and he praised the meat, as though he had never eaten anything so good in his life. For my part I was obliged to take its excellency solely on his word, and falsely transferred the original sin of its parental ass, to my want of good taste. But to speak seriously, it was bad, and told plainly of itself that it was not veal. It tasted hard and unsavoury, and the little I ate at supper, remained still on my stomach. Although with some degree of apprehension and reproval from my comrade, yet I could not avoid complaining to the host. “This meat is so tough, and of such little relish, that I declare I can hardly get my teeth into it,” said I. “Don’t you see,” he replied, “that it is fresh, and has not yet taken the salt?” “It not only wants the salt,” remarked the carrier to the host, “but this gentleman has been reared on sweetmeats and fresh eggs; therefore, all you could brink him he would think hard and unsavoury.” At this reproof I shrugged my shoulders, and held my tongue, although I as but ill satisfied, yet without exactly knowing why. Then I began to recollect the prodigious taking of our host the night before, when he swore the meat was really veal. This seemed strange; and, solely because he swore to the truth of what he avowed, I though he lied; because, in common 143 cases, there is no necessity to swear to the truth. I can hardly say whether I actually suspected evil: but, to say the least, my opinion of our host was now none of the best.

I called for the account; but my companion insisted on paying it; therefore, not wishing to disoblige him, conceiving it to be an act of pure friendship, I left it to him. I could not help rejoicing inwardly at the good felling of the carrier towards me, paying for every thing on the road, and allowing me to go free, and hoped from my heart that I might continue to meet with such obliging persons, who would have a like consideration for my youth and slender equipment. And because the carrier should not say with respect to me that the infernal abode was choked with ingrates, seeing that he paid for me, I began to think how I could best assist him, and set to work to water his asses, untying them from the manger, that they might finishing their corn while they were loading, and rubbing their ears and heads.

While I was engaged in this employment, I placed my cloak in a recess of the wall, when, in the twinkling of an eye, it disappeared, without my knowing where or by what means. I immediately suspected that the host or my companion had secreted it for a joke; however, it became past a joke when they declared seriously that they knew 144 nothing of it. I was very much astonished; for, on looking towards the door, I saw that if had not been opened, and I knew that the host and our two selves were the only occupants of the place, Thinking that I must have made a mistake and have left it somewhere else, without saying a word more, I began to search the house. As I passed from room to room, I happened to look by chance into small back yard, and there I saw a great quantity of blood on the ground; and, looking further, I beheld the skin of a young mule stretched out, and near it the head, which only wanted the tongue and brains. This point confirmed my doubts; and, while the host was busy, I called my companion, and showed him from what larder we had been indebted for our breakfast and supper.

Now, my friend,” said I, “it appears to me that one does not always feed on sweetmeats and fresh eggs. This is the veal which you praised with so much gravity, and this the inn where you promised such fine entertainment. What do you think of your landlord now? and of the supper and breakfast he has given you? The honest man who never gives cat for hare, or old ewe for young mutton? The worthy whose utmost desire it is to have a clear countenance before the whole world?”

Although I suffered from the discovery, as my easily be imagined by any one who has by chance 145 encountered a similar misfortune, yet I could hardly repress a certain feeling of merriment which the scene excited, and which served in some measure to subdue the unpleasantness of the recollection.

Thinking that, possessing the secret, I could make my host produce my cloak, I took courage and began to call lustily about me. I plainly challenged him with the theft, and he as resolutely denied it. I threatened to bring the justice to his house, though without saying a word of what I had seen; but he, seeing that I was a poor boy, treated me with the utmost contempt, threatened me with the whip, and made use of language peculiar to cowards when they impose on persons weaker than themselves. But as the weakest thing will turn when trodden on, so, with my slender strength, on a repetition of the insult, did I seize on a brick, and hurled it at him with such force, that, had he not avoided the blow, I should have had little occasion for further justice. But he escaped me; and, running quickly into his room, sallied from thence with a naked sword. He came against me; and I, already beginning to quake for my life, took up two large pebble stones with which the floor was paved, and stood on my defence; which, when the rascal saw, his courage seemed to be checked.

During this scene, the uproar became so great, that the people of the place grew alarmed, and the 146 neighbours came rushing towards us, together with the justice and lawyers. Two alcaldes arrived together, for the purpose of accommodating both parties; and the lawyers instantly proceeded to business, by endeavouring all in their power to incense one party against the other.

In answer to their enquiries into the matter, I told them frankly all that had passed with respect to the cloak; but, taking the magistrates aside, I made them acquainted with the circumstance of our finding the mule, and the manner in which we had been treated. These worthies wished first to assure themselves of this fact; but, thinking they had time for all things, commenced by ordering the innkeeper to prison, who, under the supposition that the charge against him related entirely to the cloak, and knowing the little evidence I had respecting it, behaved with the utmost effrontery, making it all a matter of jest, and disputing with the carrier whether I had ever had one.

His vaunting was, however, but of short duration; for, seeing his pickle-tubs brought out by my direction, and, after that, the skin and refuse of the mule, he seemed actually petrified with fear; so much so, that, falling on his knees, he confessed his delinquency, without attempting to conceal a single circumstance; thus proving, as I before said, that the greatest rogues are always the greatest cowards.


Fearful of being put to the torture, he then confessed his numerous villanies, which, it appeared, were not limited to the plunder of passengers at his inn, but occasionally on the highway. I lent an attentive ear to his confession, hoping that some light might have been thrown on the disappearance of my cloak: but in vain — he owed me too much good will to let me be a gainer by his downfall.

Our honest friend was then sent to prison, and we were detained some time to give our evidence against him, after which we were allowed to pursue our journey. We rejoined our companion of the night before, with whom we made merry with our adventure. Coming away so quickly, we forgot to attend mass, which I lamented much, and it struck me then, as I found it afterwards, that a bad beginning has generally an indifferent close.



IN SPITE of the article contained in the tenth statute of the common law promulgated concerning the state of mendicity, I considered it would be imprudent to make open avowal of the secret I had 148 learnt from Corduan for the benefit of all. We nevertheless lived in perfect harmony together. In the earnings we used to assemble, some ten or twelve of us, and amused ourselves with discussing the different kind of new exclamation we has hit upon, to rouse public sympathy in our behalf. Such was the skill of a few, that they had invented forms of benediction from which they derived considerable profit by the sale of them to other less ingenious heads than their own; so great was their novelty and efficacy with all classes.

On every festival we went early in the morning to church, where plenary indulgence was always granted us. We place ourselves in the most convenient stations; we continued there the whole morning; and towards evening we issued forth into the neighbouring villages, calling at the country seats and farm-houses on our road. From these we usually brought away some slices of bacon, bread, cheese, eggs, and sometimes old clothes and other articles; so successfully did we work upon the charity of the good people. Did a person above the common rank happen to make his appearance, we instantly united in setting up a loud lamentation, even at a distance, giving him time to put his hand into his pocket, and vociferating louder and louder the nearer he came, so as to compel him in a manner to be charitable.


If we met a number of good citizens together, and had leisure to prepare to accost them in due form, each played his own part, — one the blind, another the halt, a third the dumb, a fourth the paralytic, a fifth the ididotic, and some with crutches, making altogether a complication of human misery and distortion, which, with the most able at our head, was sure to penetrate into the pockets even of the callous. Could you but have heard the concord of sweet sounds we made at the crisis that decided the balance in our favour. We beseeched the Lord to bless them with lovely children, — to return their bounty a hundred fold — and long to preserve their precious health. Not a party of pleasure could be got up, not a single festival pass but we has some share in it; so that however much others expended we gained by them; and so acute was our scent that we could smell the preparation for them at an enormous distance.

In the same way, the mansions of the cardinals, the bishops, and ambassadors, with all kind of open houses, were successfully besieged and occupied by us. Thus we might truly be said to possess all, levying as we did a tax upon all, though really having nothing. I know not how my comrades felt inclined on receiving charity from the hands of a pretty lady; but, for my part, miserable sinner, when I accosted a young creature, enchanting both in face and figure, I looked her steadily in the face 150 while I asked with my eyes fixed upon hers. If she gave me any thing, I caught her hand, pressed it affectionately, and imprinted upon it a kiss in the fervour of my gratitude, before she had time to withdraw it. Yet so respectfully, or rather, hypocritically was this done, that the lady, not being previously alarmed, took the whole in good part, as a transport of great joy.

What are called the pleasures of life, — erroneously supposed to be monopolized by the great and the wealthy of this best of worlds, — are, in fact the chief property of us mendicants, who fell now drawback, but taste their flavour with a double relish, without a tithe of their anxiety and trouble to obtain them. Had the happy fellows no other privilege than that of asking freely, and receiving without the least touch of shame or pain, it is such a one as the rest of mankind cannot boast; if we only except monarchs and their royal families, who, without a blush, can demand what they please form their good people, while the sole difference between them and other beggars is, that they always wring out silver and gold even from the poorest people, while we require nothing but a mere trifle from the most proud and wealthy. There is no condition, therefore, more happy and respectable than that of the mendicant, but all do not know their own happiness: — “beati si sua bona norint.”


The most part of us, — wholly sunk In the enjoyment of mere animal life; insensible of the true pleasure of living independently, free from strife, from all speculative losses, all intrigues of state, eternal business; in bhsort, form the infernal embarrassment in which the great are involved, — to the day of their death have the folly to envy what they ought to avoid. The first man who embraced our kind of life, must, from his very nature, have been much better than the great — I mean a great philosopher.

I had been led to think that this noble fraternity was safe from the usual shocks of fortune, but the malicious goddess made them occasionally feel the effects of her ire, — throwing little stumbling-blocks in their way, much like the one I broke my shins over, when on a visit at Gaeta, whither I had gone out of curiosity, and in the idea that a man, already able in the profession, would only need to enter the town to feel a revivifying shower of alms poured upon him from all sides. No sooner was I there, than, having assumed a new complexion, I places myself at the entrance into a church. AS luck would have it, the governor of the place was then passing, and after looking at me very earnestly for a few moments, he gave me alms. A number of the natives immediately followed his example, and it acted as a continued benediction for me during more 152than a week; but there is a medium in all things, and I did not observe the golden rule. On the next festival, my complexion appearing no longer ingenious enough, I changed it for a huge ulcer on my leg, and for this purpose, I put in practice one of the choicest secrets given me by Corduan.

After having put my leg into this elegant case, I took an advantageous station at the entrance to a well frequented church. There, setting up a sorrowful howl, caused by the new pain I felt from the ulcer, I caught the eye of almost every one that passed. I thought I excited the compassion of all who looked on me, but unluckily my rubicond complexion, which I had neglected to sicken over with white, seemed to give the lie to my lamentations, and might well excite suspicion; but good people are not over suspicious, and I heard the golden shower dropping sweetly and plentifully, as they went into the house of prayer. In short, I got more than all the rest of my brethren put together, and they wished me at the devil, with my ulcer, that brought the capital into one bank.

As the stars at last would have it, there came the governor to hear mass at this very church, — surely for my sins, — and he recognized my voice in a moment, surveyed me intently from head to foot. Yes, it was my voice, for elsewhere I was impenetrable; my whole person being disguised in the most effectual 153 manner, with a huge napkin round my head, reaching down to my nose. Alas! he was a man of strong natural penetration, and suspicious as the devil; for, as he fixed me with his eyes, he seemed to be saying within himself, “For these several days past, I have heard, I have seen, this odd-looking fish; is it possible he has got so dreadful an ulcer — all at once! Let us examine a little further.” “Friend,” he observed, “you seem in a sad plight; your case truly deserves compassion; come, follow me, I will at least give you a shirt to your back.”

I had the indiscretion to obey, for I suspected nothing. Had I so done, spite of all the people at his heels, I vow I would have given him the slip, and saved my unfortunate carcass. He had no sooner got me safely housed, than he assumed a cold and sever aspect, form which I augured nothing pleasant. He then asked me sharply, if I were not the person he had seen at the door of a church, with a complexion as pale as death? I grew pale enough indeed, at this, and lost all presence of mind; I could not deny it; and when he asked me how I had so speedily cured of my scalded head, and other infirmities, I was still more puzzled than before. “Besides,” he continued, “I cannot comprehend how, with that ruddy complexion of thine, thou hast got such a terrible ulcer in the leg.” “My Lord,” replied I, quite disconcerted, and trembling 154 every limb, “I know not how it is, except that it is the will of God.”

But what was my anxiety, when I heard the governor direct one of his messengers to go and call in a surgeon. I saw what was coming, and would have made an attempt to save myself, had not the doors been already closed upon me. Not a chance was left me; the dreaded surgeon came, he examined my leg; but with all his ability and experience, he would, perhaps, have been deceived, had not the cruel governor privately communicated the reasons he had to believe me an impostor. Of course, he had little merit after that, of probing the thing to the bottom: he unbundled it all anew, and putting on a knowing face; “I verily believe,” he said, “the rogue has nothing amiss with his leg, any more than I have with my eyes; I see through it; bring me some warm water;” which being done, he proceeded to restore it to its natural form and colour. I had not a word to say in my defence, and held my tongue.

The governor then ordered me to be presented with a shirt, as he had promised, and this was nothing but a most sever flagellation, administered by a stout fellow, who laid on at the governor’s special order with right good will on my bare carcase. After thirty lashes he stopped; I was dressed by the same surgeon, and told to take myself off, spite of my 155 smarting, at double quick time, under a more terrible penalty were I again found in the same territories. This advice was quite superfluous. I hastened from the accursed spot, shrugging up my shoulders, and marched as quickly as possible to reach the milder government of the Pope. I uttered a thousand benedictions at the sight of my well-loved Rome once more; I wept for joy as I entered it; and wished that I had arms long enough to embrace it with the devoted love of some returning prodigal son, or happy pilgrim.

I rejoined my comrades, and took care not to say a word of the new marks of honour I had brought back with me: there would have been no end to their raillery, and I should never have heard the last of it. I merely said I had been making a little excursion to the adjacent villages, but, with the exception of Rome, there was no place on which our profession could fairly rely, either for profit or safety. I had, indeed, been a great ass to leave such a city at all. Our plan now was, when we had got some money together, to convert it into gold, which we sewed up in our clothes; and which, old as they were, covered wherewithal to buy many a costly suit. It might fairly be said of us, indeed, that we were edged with gold. A few of the more experienced veterans among us, were like treasure ships, escorted by a convoy of other less valuable but not less 156 formidable vessels, armed well with cudgels instead of guns. The poor are always avaricious and cruel, and they possess these two qualities in a supreme degree. I can give a very singular and satisfactory example in the history of one of the profession whom I knew; it is really altogether too curious to omit. He was of Genoa, named Pantolini Caselleto, married at Florence, and had a son, whom he proposed to provide for without the usual difficulty of labour, or giving the quid pro quo. The villain, knowing the suppleness of an infant’s joints, actually broke and distorted them in a manner to make the perfect object of the poor little wretch; though you will say, perhaps, this is not very extraordinary in a beggar. To be sure, the members of that profession in all nations are subjected to this treatment, for the purpose of exciting compassion; but as a Genoese, our Pantoloon had an ambition to excel all his generation therein; he disfigured his own child in so horrible a way, as to reverse his whole system, if we except his tongue and his arms. He was borne about the streets in a kind of cage, fixed on the back of an ass, which the little hunchback guided well enough with his hands.

If his body, however, were deprived of human shape, his intellect seemed proportionably to have grown keener. His wit improved as he grew older. In this way, his hits were so hard and his replies so 157 comical and caustic, that he levied upon every one he met; his humour being seconded by his appearance. This satire upon nature and mankind survived withal to his seventy-second year, at which period he fell sick, and, feeling his latter end approach, he became more serious, sent for a confessor, a clever fellow whom he knew, and, having conversed with him upon his affair, both spiritual and temporal, he made him call a notary, and dictated his will in the following terms: — 1stly, I commit my soul to God who created it — my body to the earth — and wish to be buried in my own parish. 2dly, I order that my ass shall be sold and the proceeds be applied to defray my funeral expenses. AS to my pack-saddle, I leave it, as by right, to my lord, the grand duke, whom I name also for my executor and residuary heir.”

The old mendicant died a few days afterwards, and his will being made public, became the general topic of Florence. Having very generally possessed the reputation of a sarcastic and eccentric genius, it was thought that this last trait of burlesque had been thrown out to make us laugh after he was gone; but the duke thought different: he had heard of his habits, and he suspected there was some mystery hung about the will.

To ascertain this, he ordered the pack-saddle which had been left him to be brought into his palace, and examined in presence of all his court. Not a little 158 to their surprise, there tumbled out a lot of gold pieces, which continued to shower down till they reached the sum of three thousand six hundred crowns, each of the value of four hundred maravedis. It afterwards appeared, that it was by the advice of the confessor that he had thus disposed of his fortune; a gift of which the grand duke made a most pious use, inasmuch as he applied the whole to a charitable foundation — that of saying masses, in perpetuity, for he benefit of the testator’s soul.



HAVING roused myself early one fine morning, according to custom, I went and seated myself at the door of a cardinal, concerning whom I had heard an excellent character, being one of the most charitably disposed in Rome. I had taken the trouble of getting one of my legs swelled, n which, notwithstanding what had passed, was to be seen a new ulcer, one that might set at defiance the most penetrating eye or probe of a surgeon. I had not this time omitted to have my face as pale as death; and thus, filling the air with horrible lamentations while I was asking alms, I moved the souls of the different domestics who came in and out to take pity 159 upon me. They gave me something; but I was yet only beating up for game — it was their master I wanted. He at length made his appearance — I redoubled my cries and groans — I writhed in anguish; — and I then accosted him in these terms: — “Oh! most noble Christian; thou friend of Christ and his afflicted ones! have pity upon me, a poor wretched sinner. Behold me cut down in the flower of my days; — may your Excellency be touched with my extreme misery, for the sake of the sufferings of our dear Redeemer.” The cardinal, who was really a pious man, stopped; and, after looking at me earnestly, turned to his attendants. “In the name of Christ, take this unhappy being, and bear him into my own apartments! let the rages that cover him be exchanged for fine linen; put him into a good bed — nay into my own — and I will go into another room. I will tend on him; for in him do I verily see what must have been the sufferings of our Saviour.” He was obeyed; and, oh charity! how didst thou shame those lordly prelates who think Heaven in debt to them, if they do but look down on some poor wretch; while my good cardinal, not content with what he had done, ordered two surgeons to attend, recommending them to do all in their power to ease my agony, and to examine and cure my leg; after which they should be well recompensed. He then, bidding me be of good cheer, left me, to pursue his affairs; and the surgeons, 160 to make the best of my case. They declared at one that it was useless, and that gangrene had already commenced. So seriously did they pronounce this, that, though I knew the effect was solely produced by staining my leg with a certain herb, I almost felt alarmed for the consequence. They then took out their case of instruments, called for a cauldron of hot water, for some fine linen, and a poultice. While there were in preparation, they questioned me as to the origin of my disease, how long I had it, &c. &c.? — moreover, whether I drank wine, and what was my usual diet? To these, and to a hundred such interrogatories, I replied not a word; so great was my alarm at the terrific processes that appeared to be going on, in order to restore me to my pristine health and soundness. I was infinitely perplexed, not knowing to what saint to have recourse; for I was apprehensive there might not be a single one in heaven inclined to interfere in behalf of so thorough-paced a rascal. I recalled to mind the lesson I had so lately been taught at Gaeta, and had my misgivings that I might not escape even on such good terms as I had done there. The surgeons ranked high in their profession; and, after having curiously turned round my leg about twenty times, retired into another room to discuss the result of their observations. I remained in a state of horror not to be described; for it had got into my head that they would decide upon amputation; 161 to learn which I crept softly towards the door to listen, fully resolved to reveal the imposture in so dreadful an alternative. “Sir,” said one, “we may consult here for ever, to little purport; he has got St. Anthony’s fire.” “No such thing,” replied the other, “he has no more fire in his leg than I have in my hand: we might easily remove it in a couple of days.” “You cannot be serious,” said the first speaker. “By St. Comus, I know something of ulcers; and here, I maintain it, we have a gangrene.” “No, no, friend,” replied the second, “we have no ulcer — we have a rogue to deal with — nothing is the mater with him. I know the whole history of his ulcer, and how it was made. It is by no means very rare; for I know the herbs with which the impostor has prepared it, and the ingenious method in which they have been applied.” The other seemed quite confounded at this assertion; but, ashamed of owning himself a dupe, he persisted in his former opinion: on which a pretty warm colloquy would have ensued, had not the more ingenious of the two had the sense to recommend first to examine the leg, and to end the dispute afterwards. “Look a little deeper into the matter,” said he, “and you will see the fellow’s knavery.” “With all my heart. I will confess you are right, when I see there is no ulcer, or rather gangrene.” “That is not enough,” replied his colleague. “In acknowledging your error, you must also admit I am entitled 162 to at least a third more fees than yourself.” “By no means,” retorted the other. “I have eyes to detect imposture as well as you; and I am of opinion we ought to divide the good cardinal’s fees fairly between us.” The dispute now waxed warm, and, rather than give up his point, each declared that he would make the cardinal acquainted with the whole business.

In this dilemma I did not hesitate a moment, — there was not time to lose, — escape was impossible. I rushed into the presence of the faculty, and threw myself at their feet. With well-dissembled grief I thus addressed them: — “Alas! my dear Sirs, take pity upon an unfortunate fellow-creature. Think, gentlemen, ‘homo sum; nihil humani,’ &c.” I am mortal like yourselves, — you know the hard-heartedness of the great, and how the poor and forlorn are compelled to assume the most horrible shapes in order to soften their hardness; and in doing this what risks and sufferings do we not encounter, and all for so small remuneration. Besides, what advantage will you get by exposing such a poor miserable sinner? You will certainly lose your fees, which you need not do if you will let us understand each other. You may rely on my discretion; the fear of consequences will keep me silent, and we may each benefit in our respective professions.”

Upon this the men of physic again consulted, and 163 at length came to the resolution of pocketing their fees, “secundem artem.” Being all of one mine, we now begged to be ushered into the presence of the cardinal, and the surgeons then ordered me to be placed upon a couch, at the side of which they made an immense display of chirurgical instruments, dressings, &c. — again consulted, and after wrapping my leg in a great number of bandages, they desired that I might be put into a warm bed. His excellency, meanwhile, was full of anxiety to learn the state of my health, and whether there were any hopes of recover? “My Lord,” replied one of the surgeons, “the patient is in a deplorable situation, gangrene has already begun; still, with time and are, there is a chance that he might recover, please God, but it will be a long affair.” “And he is fortunate,” said his coadjutor, “in having fallen into our hands; another day, and he was lost for ever; but no doubt Providence must have directed him to the door of your excellency.”

This account seemed to please the cardinal; it gave him occasion to display the truest Christian charity, and he desired that neither time nor skill might be spared in the endeavour to restore me to health. He also directed that I should be supplied with every thing; and the surgeons on their part pledged themselves to do all that art could effect, and each of them to pay me a visit at least twice in the 164 day; it being necessary to detect the slightest change that might occur in my present condition. They then withdrew, not a little to my consolation; for I could not but regard them while present, in the light of two executioners, who might fall upon me at any moment, or publish my imposition to the world. So far from this, however, they made me keep my apartments for three months, which to me seemed like so many ages, so difficult is ti to give up the habit of gambling — or begging, with the tone of freedom they seem to include. In vain was I daintily lodged and fed, like his excellency himself; the ennue I felt was intolerable. I was incessantly beseeching the doctors to take pity on me, and ring the farce to a close, until they were at length compelled to yield to my importunity.

They left off dressing my leg, and, on its being reduced to its natural size, thy acquainted the good cardinal with the fact, who was in raptures at the performance, under his auspices, of so great a cure. He rewarded them handsomely, and came to congratulate me on the miraculous event; and having acquitted myself well in his frequent visits o me, in regard both to my opinions and my principles, he imbibed a real kindness for me; and to give me a farther proof of it, he gave me the situation of one of his confidential attendants, — a species of honour I was too deeply sensible of to be able to refuse.




BEHOLD me at once in the character assigned me, of favourite page to his eminence, an enormous step in life for me; though from that of rogue to private domestic, with the exception of the livery, there is not so great a distance as might be supposed. But not so great a distance as might be supposed. But to turn me from habits of idleness, and living by my wits, was something like trying to make a fish live out of water, for such was my element. The tavern was my province, — the primum mobile — the centre on which I moved. But here every thing seemed to go by clock-work; order and sobriety were general rules; and I was either employed in showing people up and down stairs, or placed sentinel in an ante-room, standing like a long-necked heron in a fish-pond, upon one melancholy leg. In short, I was at every body’s beck and call; sometimes behind my master’s chair, at others behind his carriage; and always expected to be in twenty different places at once, without any respite from the first of January to the last day of December. “Wretched slave that I am,” I exclaimed, “what boots it to put up with this unhappy life from week to week, and year to year. Alas! it will kill me, I must fly for it; once I was lacquey to all the world, and now my genius pines under a single master. I wear his livery; and what are 166 perquisites but candles’ ends! Here too I ran risk; unhappy Guzman! should I be detected, assuredly I should not escape under fifty lashes!” And in this way I went on bemoaning my unfortunate condition. Besides the candles’ ends, we used occasionally to help ourselves to any of the delicacies of the season; but this required more address than many of my companions could lay claim to; and one day I remember there occurred a disagreeable affair in consequence. A fool of a waiter, happening to be fond of sweets, laid hands upon some fine honeycomb, which he though he had cunningly hidden in his pocket handkerchief. The weather was excessively hot; and the honey was soon running down the white stockings of the thief. As his fate would have it, the cardinal’s eye came in contact with the phenomenon, and, suspecting what was the case, he burst into a violent fit of laughing. “See, my good fellow,” he cried, “the blood is running down your leg, you have wounded yourself, what is it? At this inquiry the attention of the whole company was directed the same way; his fellow-servants stared; and the wretched culprit stood before them will all the evidence of detected guilt glowing on his face. Yet too happy had he got rid of the affair with this exposure, for he paid far more dear for his whistle, so as to make it the bitterest honey he ever tasted.

The greater part of his companions were as little 167 experiences in the light-fingered art as himself, while I, agreeably to my old custom, undertook to instruct them, by laying my hands on every thing belonging to them, that came in my way. His eminence, in an adjoining cabinet, kept a large box of dried sweets, confectionary, and fruit of all kinds, to which he was extremely partial. Among other articles, he had a choice store of Bergamot pears, Genoese plums, Granada melons, Seville lemons, oranges from Placentia, lemons from Murcia, cucumbers from Valencia, love-apples from Toledo, peaches from Aragon, and raisons from Malaga; indeed, every thing most exquisite and alluring were to be found in this fragrant chest. My mouth watered every time I went near it; and much more, when the cardinal ordered me to take the key and bring him a dish, after he had dined. But I longed in vain, for, as if suspecting my object, his eminence took care to be present, while I opened the precious deposit; — a want of confidence which sounded to me like a challenge of skill, and made me resolve, if possible, to outwit him, and taste “the forbidden fruit,” in spite of him. I now thought of nothing but how to accomplish my favourite scheme. The box had a good lock in the middle. Yet to work I went; and first, I took a flat stick, which I introduced in a corner of the chest, and used as a lever. After this, 168 I took more of the same kind, so as gradually to raise the top till I could introduce my little hand, and filch what cam nearest to me; but lest this should appear, I god a little hook to draw the fruit from the other side, so as to make an even surface. By this plan I became master of this sweet little storehouse, without keeping a key.

Unluckily, however, I made such frequent applications to the same treasury, that the deficiency became apparent. The cardinal saw enough to make him think — the dilapidations were terrible — and, one day, taking a fancy to a beautiful lemon which he remarked the evening before, it was found to be no longer in esse>. Greatly astonished, the dignitary called his chief attendants: he wished to know who of all had theimpertinence to open his sweet-box without his permission. He charged his major-domo, a priest of a severe, forbidding countenance, to make minute inquire, and let him know the author of so bold and wicked an attack. The surly priest fixed his eye upon the pages: he commanded us all instantly to appear in the great hall, and to undergo a strict search; but examination and threats were alike useless — he was just as wise as before — the fruit was already eaten.

The affair blew over; nothing more was said, but his eminence had not forgotten it. On my side, too, I was on my guard: for three days I did not so much 169 as look at the box, though I felt such forbearance extremely painful to me. I was only reserving my ingenuity for an occasion of indulging it with a greater degree of impunity. It presented itself, I thought, one day after dinner, when my master was engaged in play with some other dignitaries. While thus occupied, I concluded I should have full leisure to return to the charge. I glided, with my genius all on the alert, into the secret cabinet; no one had seen me; I was already in the act of drawing forth some precious specimens, when I heard a foot approaching quickly; in my hurry to get my hand out, one of my levers gave way, the lid closed, and I remained fairly caught, like a rat in a trap; when, on looking round, I beheld the cardinal at the door, with an expression of malicious triumph in his countenance. “Ah, ah, my friend Guzman,” he exclaimed, “it is you, it it, to whom I am indebted for the loss of my sweetest fruit?” I could not reply; but the horrible grimaces I made, and my excessive vexation at being thus surprised, gave me so ludicrous an appearance, that his eminence could not avoid laughing. He then called his visitors to enjoy the sight, pointing me out as the little delinquent he had long been in search of; and the whole of them appeared to be infinitely amused at my expense, the cardinal declaring, that, as it would be long ere I appeared in a similar situation, he must make the best of a bad example. He next 170 called his steward, the man with the hard, gloomy countenance, and, pointing me out, ordered me to receive five and twenty lashes of the sharpest and severest he could give. The cardinal’s guests upon this ventured to interfere in my behalf; but all they could do was to get the sentence commuted for half the number of lashes, which they agreed I had well merited. What was worse, Domine Niccolo, my mortal enemy, was the arm fixed upon to inflict the horrible stripes, in his own apartments, and acquitted himself so well of the charge intrusted to him, that I felt the effects of it from more than a month afterwards.

But, if he here indulged his ill-will, I was determined not t be behind-hand with him, and I accomplished my vengeance in the following manner. It was then the season for gnats, which could bite as well as Master Niccolo, and shewed as little respect to his stewardship as to other people. He complained bitterly of their disturbing his rest. “Sir,” said I, “you may be rid of them whenever you please; in Spain we have an admirable secret for keeping them at a distance, and I will communicate it to you if you wish it.” “You will de me a favour,” returned the major-domo, “if you can tell me how to keep these vile beasts away.” “Then you have only to hang at the head of your bed a large bunch of parsley well steeped in vinegar; the gnats will no 171 sooner smell it, than they will all settle upon it, and, the next moment, fall down dead. This has always succeeded.” He believed me, and was resolved to try the experiment even on the ensuing night; but he never repeated it; for, instead of killing the vicious little devils, it made them ten timer more vigorous and alert, and they assaulted the unfortunate Messer Niccolo more cruelly than ever; they nearly bit his eyes out, and his nose swelled to the size of a pumpkin. In his attempts to keep them off, he smote himself as many blows, and almost as hard as he had hit upon my rear quarters; so that, considering the much greater time and torture to which he was subjected, I found that I had been well avenged. In the morning I went early to his bed; his eyes were closed and swelled, his face, hands, and neck so well peppered with bites and red blotches, that few of his best acquaintance could have recognized him. He assured me in a hoarse voice, for his throat seemed sore also, that my receipt was of no value whatever. “Then that was owing,” I replied, “to your not steeping the parsley long enough in vinegar, or perhaps the vinegar was not good; for it is a fact, that I have tried the same means these many nights, and never once knew it to fail.” The simple steward thought this was all gospel, and prepared fresh bunches, which he allowed to steep in new vinegar for upwards of six hours. 172 The next night he strewed his whole chamber as well as his bed with the preparation; the consequence of which was, that the gnats of al the vicinity swarmed into the apartment, and he was nearly eaten up alive.

The ensuing day he looked more like a leper than a human being; and such were his sufferings and his rage, that he would have assuredly have immolated me to the manes of his departed peace had he encountered me alone.

I was, in fact, compelled to throw myself upon the consideration of the cardinal, who called us both into his presence, and after giving me a severe rebuke, cautioned Messer Niccolo, with a smile, against proceeding to extremities; and insisted, like an excellent christian, upon our keeping the peace. “Yet why, Guzman,” he concluded, “have you played off such a wicked trick upon this good man; what demon instigated you?” “The demon of twelve lashes, my Lord,” replied I, “and not only of twelve, as he had orders from you to do, but of more than twenty, which he gave me out of his own goodwill. I have only returned him what he lent with interest.” In this way did the affair blow over. However, I was no longer a page of the chamber; I was degraded from my rank, and driven to serve among the menials of the establishment. Still I did not despair: the chamberlain was 173 a man of honour, and could see to reward merit, though a little over scrupulous, and even visionary in his notions. He had some poor relatives, whom he used to assist with at least half of his salary: and sometimes he went to dine or sup with them; a circumstance which afforded the old major-domo a subject of mirth and raillery before the other officers of the household, and even in the presence of his eminence.

One evening, the chamberlain, having returned from a visit to his relations, rather indisposed, went to repose himself in his own room. The cardinal, seeing him absent at supper, made inquiries respecting him; in answer to which, he was informed that the good chamberlain was indisposed. “What is the matter with him? go instantly and bring me back word,” said the cardinal; “he must not be neglected.” The messenger soon returned with an answer, that the patient’s complaint was so trivial as only to require a little rest to restore him to health. All was so far well, had it not been for the malice borne the poor man by Messer Niccolo, who, having learnt the next morning that he found himself much better, yet failed to make his appearance, was resolved to rouse him. With this view he disguised on of the pages, who was in his confidence, in women’s clothes, and directed him to conceal himself in a recess of the chamberlain’s apartments; in which he 174 succeeded without the occupant’s knowledge. Meanwhile, the cardinal inquired after the health of his chamberlain, to which Messer Niccolo replied, “My Lord, I am informed that he has had but a poor night, but that he is now better.” The cardinal, who was truly attached to all who surrounded him, said he would go and make a visit to the patient, and the major-domo forthwith ordered him to be awakened, and made acquainted with the honour which his excellency had in store for him.

The cardinal accordingly entered the chamber, and took his station by the side of the patient’s bed; but in the same moment, what was his surprise, to behold a lady issue from her place of concealment, and, with evident marks of embarrassment, run across the room, as if eager to avoid the dignitary’s presence. “I am lost! I am ruined!” she exclaimed, as she made her escape. “What will his excellency think of me?” Not in the least prepared for such a scene, and believing his chamberlain to be little worse than a saint, the good cardinal was at a loss to express his horror and astonishment; while the patient, as if he had set eyes on some terrific vision, cried out to all the saints to protect him, for that the great devil, as in the case of St. Antony, had assuredly cast out his snare for him. Such was his agitation, that he had nearly leaped out of bed in presence of the good cardinal, in order to effect his escape from the polluted 175 spot. The rest of the domestics had, by this time, gathered round, and being in possession of the secret, could not conceal their extreme mirth on the occasion, which led to the discovery of the plot; for his excellency, taking compassion on the unhappy man, charged the parties with an attempt to bring him into disrepute; and assuring him that he saw through the whole scheme, bade him good cheer; and with a smile he could not conceal, took his leave of us.

This occurred just at the moment I was returning from the discharge of a commission, with which I had been entrusted early in the morning. I found the good chamberlain still looking dejected and unhappy, on which I entreated him to acquaint me with the cause of his trouble. He told me all; at the same time more than insinuating his conjecture of the author — no other than Messer Niccolo himself. “It is so, my dear Guzman,” he replied, to my condolence; “and I would give either my last eye, or my tooth, to bring it home to him, and avenge myself on his extreme duplicity and baseness. To do this, I am in need of your advice: a master of the art, like you, will enable me, after what you have done, to give him a good Roland for his Oliver.” “Why truly,” replied I, “if I were in your place, I would not sit down quietly under the insult; he should never get absolution for such a piece of 176 indecent wickedness as that; no, he should do penance for it to the last day he had to live. He is my superior, I know; and I have no business to meddle in the affairs of those above me. To be sure, I was pardoned for taking vengeance on the same gentleman, because it is natural for even the least animals to turn and sting the foot that tramples on them; and he had, moreover, treated me in the most brutal and shocking manner. But here I dare not interfere.”

It was in vain, however, I represented my inability and disinclination to enter into the question; his repeated intreaties, and the friendship I felt for him, added to my dislike of Messer Niccolo, to say nothing of my natural love of mischief, had too powerful a hold upon me; and I gave him my hand. “Rely upon me,” I observed; “I will put my best foot foremost in this affair, and redeem the good opinion you seem to entertain of me. But you must be most cautious not to let him suspect any thing; be on the same friendly footing with him as before, — he must not know we are acquainted with the author of the bitter jest, for that would spoil all.” He promised compliance; and, in fact, played his part so well, that not a single soul of the establishment imagined what was going forward. Every body thought, from his easy manner, that he had ceased even to remember the occurrence at all.


Meanwhile, the scheme I had in view was secretly approaching to maturity. I bought the ingredients I wanted; namely, powdered rosin, mastic, and incense. I mixed it all together, and put it, wrapped in a paper, in my pocket, to be ready at any moment. Nor was it long before an opportunity offered. One day, as the post was on the point of setting out for Spain, and the Cardinal’s head man mightily engaged, I entered early in the morning into his quarters, and found his valet waiting in his dressing room. “Friend Giacomo,” I observed, “I am going to breakfast; I have got a nice ham, bread, honey, &c., all I want to add is a bottle of wine; if you can provide one and come and partake, well; if not, I must seek one who will.” “Go no farther,” replied my friend, “you have found your man, — I will get a bottle of excellent wine, — stop where you are; I will be with you in a moment.” He went; and looking about for what I wanted, — being left master of the wardrobe, — I saw a pair of inexpressibles, in which he was accustomed to wait on state occasions. Turning them inside out, I gave them a good sprinkling with the powder I had brought with me, after which I carefully replaced them in the same spot. Giacomo returned with the wine; but we had hardly begun breakfast, when his master called him to dress, and kept him so long in assisting him, that I was obliged to empty the whole bottle 178 by myself, in patient expectation, at the same time, of hearing something of the operation of my powder.

It produced its effect during a dinner, to which a great number of guests has been invited. It was in the middle of summer; the heat was frightful, and Messer Niccolo was busy in the hall superintending the other domestics. I observed by his gestures that he was far from being quite at his ease, though for the life of him he dare not give expression to the extreme irritation he suffered. He knew not how to move, or how to look; and, as fate would have it, the more he stirred the greater became his torment.

The tenacious powder, coming to still closer contact, like some wretch under a severe bastinado of nettle-rods, or whips tipped with the points of needles. Nor was this all; the cardinal beckoned him, and speaking to him softly in the ear, he all at once caught a whiff of the fragrant power, which made him put his hand to his nose, and enquire what kind of new incense he bore about him. The major-domo’s face grew all colours, and he took himself to a greater distance, while a long smothered laugh among the rest of the domestics, led all to direct their eyes towards the unhappy Niccolo, and then with a look of suspicion upon me. I stood close to him, enjoying my triumph, but with a serious countenance, listening to all his ejaculations, and secret 179 complaints. “Guzman, my friend,” he observed, what means the tittering of yon idle rogues?” “It is all,” I replied aloud, “because our worthy major-domo has thought proper to take a dose of Spanish flies, to produce a gentle motion.” The cardinal burst into a loud laugh, and the whole of his guests followed his example. Niccolo saw at once he had been made the martyr of some mad freak, and unable to stand out against the redoubled peals that resounded on every side, he fairly ran for it, followed by the inhuman jeers of us all. He was no sooner gone, than his excellency, addressing himself to the chamberlain, enquired into the merits of the case, and was informed of every thing relative to it. This put the seal to my character, both as a very deep and a very dangerous man to have any business with, except upon an amicable footing.

In short, ere two months, I was restored to my situation of page, and resumed my usual functions. I conducted myself just as if nothing derogatory to me had occurred; having once lost the sense of shame, my self-possession and presumption were really extraordinary. If ever, I was only ashamed of being taken in the fact. Such indeed, was my predilection for mischief, that to serve some roguish end, I believe I should have taken a leap from the top of St. Angelo, to seize on my prey.

The good cardinal being extremely fond also of 180 preserves, he was never without some jars brought from the choicest places in the world. As the jars were emptied, they became the property of the first valet who laid hands on them. I had got one in this way, in which I preserved my cards, dice and silk handkerchiefs, with similar kind of property belonging to a poor page. His excellency was one day told that twelve little barrels were just arrived at a merchant’s for him; and the major-dome was forthwith dispatched to procure them. I said to myself, “it will be strange if I cannot get possession of a single barrel;” and I retired to my chamber, to think over the best means of obtaining my object. At last I hit upon this plan: — I emptied the little barrel of my perquisites, and then, having filled it with earth and straw, closed it carefully up, so as to make it appear newly arrived. After this I went to wait the arrival of the others that were about to appear under the escort of our major-domo, who commanded us to carry them forthwith into the cardinal’s private cabinet appropriated for the purpose.

Each of my fellow servants took one; I modestly pretended to be the last, for which I had my own reasons, for we all passed by my chamber, and following the others, I had a good opportunity of slipping in without being perceived, and, quickly exchanging the boxes, I carried that filled with earth and boldly laid it down along with the rest in the presence of 181 the cardinal himself. Being all safely deposited in a row, the cardinal, with an air of complacency, addressed me as I came in last: “Well, Guzman! what think you of these? methinks it would be difficult to get a hand in here, or to force open the lids.” “There are many ways, please your excellency,” I replied, “for arriving at the same end.” “But here I defy you, friend Guzman; all is made fast here.” “May I request of your excellency not to say too much,” said I, with an appealing look, “for the devil is very busy, and he might suggest something to deceive you.” “He is very welcome, then, boy; let him help you to steal from one of these boxes if he can; I give you a full week to prepare your plans. If you succeed, I will not only give you what you catch, but more; it being always understood, that, in case of failure, you pay the penalty in person; for your ingenuity, I suspect, will be no match here for the difficulty of the enterprize.” “That is but fair,” replied I; “and with your excellency’s permission I will gladly venture on the stake. What is more, I will submit to as many lashes as Master Niccolo in his wisdom may thing proper to inflict, if I fail to effect in the next twenty-four hours the little object for which you have given me a full week; and you may judge, after what has passed between Master Niccolo and myself, whether I am impartial or not in selecting him for 182 my judge.” The good cardinal smiled, and it was finally arranged between us, that the ensuing day should witness either my triumph or my most painful disgrace.

What a variety of precautions did not the excellent prelate put into practice to keep my fingers from coming into contact with his precious sweets! Not relying only in the power of key and lock, he placed sentinels at the entrance, selected from among those domestics in whom he had the greatest confidence; with what success we shall shew.

The next day at dinner, observing me somewhat thoughtful, my excellent master addressed me with a good natured smile: “Guzman, my poor boy, I guess well the subject of your reverie; you seem already to fell the heavy hand of Master Niccolo applied, as it soon will be, to the patience and fortitude of your disposition.” “I am thinking very little about that,” retorted I, “inasmuch as I have the sweetmeat’s already safe in my hands.”

Aware that no one could possibly have penetrated through so many precautions as he had adopted, the good prelate seemed perfectly astounded at the impudent confidence of my reply. He rallied me more than before on the severity of the discipline he said I was about to receive, and on the satisfaction he should derive from the exhibition — so justly my due. I let him run on this strain, but when the 183 dessert appeared, I stole quietly out of the room, and betook myself to my own chamber. There I took from my own stock a quantity of the finest fruit, with which I covered a splendid plate I had brought with me, and returning, placed it with a most respectful air before his excellency, who could hardly believe the evidence of his senses. Beckoning to his chamberlain, he gave him the keys, and bade him go examine, and bring an account of the number of barrels in his cabinet, as it was too evident there must be one or other missing. He did as he was ordered, and soon returned to say, that the whole were there in perfect safety.

“Ah,” exclaimed the prelate, “I see through your trick, Maser Guzman; not being able to reach my fruit, you have purchased some at a high price as like mine as possible. No, no; this will not do; you must contrive to overreach me, or submit to be flagellated at Master Niccolo’s good pleasure. Seize him, and give it him smartly, as long as you please.” “I am ready,” returned I, “if you will only first let me show you one of the twelve barrels which came yesterday, and which I have now safe in my room.” “Take care what you say, young sir,” observed the chamberlain in a grave voice; for I have just counted twelve in his excellency’s cabinet.” “That is very probable,” I replied, “but did you never see a sheep-skin without the sheep?” The 184 prelate laughed, declaring he would respite me till a full examination had been made; and with that view he invited his noble guests to go along with him, to see, he said, that we had both fair play. To judge by the confident air I had assumed, few there conceived that the thing could possibly fall out to my discomfiture and pain. The good cardinal himself examined the barrels, each separately, and finding them all right in number, he enquired what I had to say. “They are all there, my Lord,” returned I, “but does it follow that they are all full of what you thing?” Losing all patience, he was about to turn them inside out, when I declared that I would spare him the trouble; at the same time taking the one which I had filled with earth and straw, and strewing the contents upon the floor. After doing this, I ran to my own chamber, and brought back with me the real box, about half emptied of its contents, and gave a true account as to how it had fallen into my hands. Every one present began to applaud my ingenuity, though at the expense of my character, and laughed heartily indeed at the adventure. His excellency, in fulfilment of the promise given, ordered me to be presented with one of the barrels, which I generously gave up to my less distinguished fellow-pages, as if to show that what I had performed was done simply for the diversion of my good master. At length, however, his excellency, 185 not quite satisfied with other proofs of my dexterity, and the general example held up to his household, would assuredly have rid himself of my services, had not his humanity been aware that it would be exposing me to run my neck straight into a halter, such being my inveterate love of living by my wits.

For this reason he still retained me near him, spite of all the little specks in my character, in order that I might, thus well situated, have no motive for committing any great or grievous crimes.




IN the celebrated city of Seville, the capital of Andalusia, resided a foreign merchant named Micer Jacobo. He was of an excellent family, possessed of considerable wealth, and highly respected in his profession. He had been married in early life to a lady of a noble family in Seville, who died a few years after their marriage, leaving him the parent of three children. The two elder were boys, and were educated with all the care which became their rank in life; the youngest, being a girl, was brought up in a convent of nuns, where she was taught every thing 186 that was deemed in those days necessary to form an accomplished female.

The favours of fortune are held by a most uncertain tenure; and no class of persons experience her mutability more than merchants, whose possessions are estimated by the size of their purses, and the nature of the times, and who seldom know the medium between abundance and poverty.

It happened that the two sons of the merchant, who had been on a voyage to the Indies, were on their return with the produce of their negotiation, amounting to a large sum in gold and silver. They were already within sight of the bar of San Lucar; almost, as it were, in the threshold of their home, when a violent tempest arose, which drove them from the port; and the vessel, becoming unmanageable, foundered upon a reef of rocks, and every body on board perished.

The unfortunate father, overwhelmed with afflicting intelligence of the death of his children, and the total wreck of his fortunes, was not able to bear up against the calamity, and survived his misfortunes but a few days, leaving his orphan child destitute on the world.

At the period of this terrible bereavement, Dorothea (such was her name) was still under the maternal protection of the nuns. she found herself in so short a space of time deprived of friends and fortune; 187 and was doomed thus early in life to experience all the vicissitudes attendant on affluence and poverty. Seeing herself so utterly destitute, the first idea that suggested itself to her was, to embrace a religious life. Those employments which has hitherto been followed as amusement, were now to be considered as necessary occupation; and the little elegancies which she had fabricated as presents, were in future to be the only means by which she could gain an honourable subsistence.

The good nuns with whom she had so long resided, conceiving a great regard for her, and pitying her forlorn condition, were anxious that she should still continue with thm; but as their will was regulated by their Superior, it was ordered otherwise; for in a few days the poor girl received intimation, that she must either pay a certain sum to be admitted amongst the sisterhood, or quit the convent. Not having the means of complying with the former, she took the latter course, and in company with some young persons of respectability, though almost in an equally destitute condition with herself, she engaged some humble apartment, with the resolution of gaining a subsistence by labour. She was dextrous with her needle, and her talent was so excellent in embroidery, that her work had already gained her some reputation in the city.

Her extreme beauty and misfortunes — her virtue 188 and amiability, were likewise so well known, that there was but little doubt of her finding sufficient employment. Her patience under misfortune, and the cheerfulness with which she passed from a life of ease to that of labour, were considered as a rare example to all young persons of her time.

The Archbishop, having occasion to order some work in embroidery, and finding that none could do it so well as Dorothea, employed here, and promised that she should be well recompensed. it was necessary, in consequence of the extreme fineness of the work, that the gold of which it was partly constructed, should be of better quality than any she possessed; she was therefore obliged to go among the shops in the city, though accompanied by some of her companions, to choose some for her purpose.

They were recommended to the shop of a young man who had not long been in business, but who had already contrived, by the fairness of his dealings and the quality of his merchandise, to establish a good reputation. Dorothea wished to purchase enough to finish the work, to save time and the inconvenience of going from home, but finding that the money paid to her in advance would not be sufficient to pay for the gold she required, she intimated to the dealer her intention of returning for the remainder when her work should be in a state of forwardness.


The young man, however, struck with the beauty and manner of his fair customer, and seeing that want of money alone prevented her from completing the purchase, would on no account allow her to be disappointed by any such consideration. “My dear young lady,” he said, “if the gold is such as suits your purpose, I beg you will take as much as is necessary without troubling your self about immediate payment: I am in the habit of giving credit for sums of much greater consequence, and without half the satisfaction that this would afford me.” They were all charmed with such unexpected courtesy; and Dorothea, taking the quantity she originally intended, paid what money she had brought, and left her name and address with the young man as security for the remainder.

Dorothea, in taking away the young man’s gold, had, though without the slightest design on her part, likewise deprived him of his heart; and after the departure of his fair customer, poor Bonifacio discovered, to his cost, that the return of his merchandise would hardly repay his loss. His mind was so engrossed by the charming image he had beheld, that he could think of nothing else; and considering from what he could judge of her circumstances, that an offer of marriage from a respectable man would not be treated lightly, he determined to make enquiries respecting her.


He found no difficulty in making himself acquainted with all the particulars of her misfortune and of her present situation, with which he remained exceedingly afflicted, seeing, as he thought, an insurmountable objection in the inferiority of his own condition in life. It was true that she was poor; but she might, nevertheless, be imbued with all the prejudices of birth, and consider an alliance with him, although in superior circumstances to herself, to be incompatible with her former ideas of situation and rank. When he thought of her beauty, her good qualities, and the reputation she enjoyed throughout he city, he could not but consider her as a treasure too far removed from him to hope to gain; and he despaired, when reflecting on his own unworthiness and slender pretensions, of creating a sufficiently favourable impression to counterbalance his deficiencies.

But, as true love is not easily disheartened by difficulties, Bonifacio, relying on the correctness of his intentions, determined to neglect no means which opportunity might afford him of acquiring the esteem of his mistress. he found no difficulty, from the pretexts which his business afforded him, of introducing himself to the little coterie of which Dorothea was a member; and as his conversation was always marked by cheerfulness and good humour, he soon became a welcome visitor. He proceeded with great 191 caution; and by a variety of little attentions, without bearing the appearance of officiousness, he ingratiate himself into the good opinion of all.

Amongst the companions of Dorothea was one, who, from her greater age and experience, was entrusted with the direction of their little establishment, and she was treated by them with the greatest respect. It was to her that Bonifacio more particularly directed his attentions; and having gradually and with great prudence made known to her his intentions, he solicited her assistance in his behalf. The good old lady, having a high opinion of Bonifacio, readily promised to assist his views with her young friend; and choosing a favourable opportunity, communicated to her the young man’s proposal, respecting which she now urged her favourable consideration.

Her companion, likewise, with who Bonifacio was a great favourite, praised his good qualities, and did all in their power to forward his suit. Dorothea listened to the reasons by which the old lady supported her opinion, and in the end committed herself entirely to her guidance. Great was the joy of Bonifacio when he heard of the successful commencement of his hopes; and in fine, to cut matters short, the marriage was celebrated amidst the general congratulation of their friends. They lived happy and contented in their new condition, to which they were still more endeared by the affectionate regard 192 they entertained for each other, founded on their mutual virtues and good qualities.

The evil one, though he sometimes closes his eyes, never sleeps, and is more especially on the watch to interrupt the peace and harmony which is generally expected from the union of well-regulated minds. He invokes every power of which he is master to his aid; and uses so much more secrecy and diligence in the accomplishment of this evil intention than is ever employed in good purposes, that he not unfrequently succeeds. This poor young lady, therefore, did not escape his treacherous wiles; and even though her virtue seemed proof against his machinations, he did not on that account relax in his endeavours. He assailed her when visiting her friends, at church, and during the most solemn ordinances; even at the communion, he caused her inquietude by presenting her continually with the most nefarious instruments of his wickedness, disguised under the appearance of young men, handsome, noble, generous, and gallant; who, whenever she made her appearance, never failed to testify their admiration and solicit her regard.

But little advantage did they gain from these importunities; the virtue and good conduct of Dorothea was proof against such ineffectual attacks; and she determined in future to expose herself as little as possible to such inconvenience by remaining more closely at home. When this resolution became 193 known by her continued absence, the street in which she lived became a favourite resort, each seeking by any means an opportunity of seeing her, though without effect.

Amongst the gallants who sought to attract her attention, and who were all of the principal families of the city, was the Lieutenant thereof, a young man, unmarried and wealthy. He lived in the house opposite to that of Dorothea, in the upper and principal stories, so that he could at any time overlook the more humble habitation of his neighbours, from his windows and balconies; indeed, in so complete a manner, that Dorothea and her husband could hardly retire at night, or rise in the morning, without being observed.

With this advantage, the Lieutenant made his advances with great facility, though without having any result to boast over his more fortunate rivals, — Dorothea still remained without reproach, and even without suspicion.

Amongst the number who composed this goodly brotherhood, thus seeking to undermined the virtue of an humble, but innocent female, was a cavalier of Burgos, who was remarkable for his handsome appearance, was of good family, and possessed a handsome estate; qualifications which, favoured by a certain frankness and liberality of disposition, were 194 considered sufficient to make an impression of the most obdurate heart.

But the virtuous resolution of Dorothea was so well grounded, that she might have laughed at all the little contrivances made use of to win her from her duty, had not the wary fowler, seeing the inefficacy of common art, resorted to the most subtle deceit, though in the most innocent guise, to entrap the simple dove.

This cavalier, who was called Claudio, had in his possession a white female slave, who, though born in Spain, was of Moorish parentage. She was remarkably graceful in her person, and was moreover exceedingly clever, and of good address. Claudio sent for her one day, and having told her how he was situated with regard to Dorothea, asked her advice how he should proceed. The slave, having made herself acquainted with all the circumstances, replied to her master, laughing all the while, “What, my dear Señor — what mountain do you wish to remove, what sea to agitate, or what dead person to re-animate, that you should thus afflict yourself, and make so little of me.

“The difficulties which seem to discourage you, do not dishearten me — with a little trouble and patience I will conquer them. Do not despond, therefore, and trust me, that within a few days I will deliver the pretty bird into your hands, or my name is not 195 Sabina.” From that moment she took the negotiation in hand, and commenced her play with as much circumspection and ability, as one who begins a game of chess with the determination to give check-mate. She collected a quantity of the choicest flowers that could be procured, and weaving them with great care and ability into a chain garland, she went to Bonifacio’s shop, where she stated herself to be the servant to a lady abbess of a convent of nuns, who, having occasion for some gold of a superior quality to finish some ornament for the day of Saint John, and hearing the good repute of the article manufactured by Bonifacio, requested two pounds of the very best he could procure, and sent him the nosegay as a present. She likewise hinted to the trader, that she took the present quantity merely to prove it, and that she should return every week for a supply, if the quality answered their purpose.

Bonifacio was delighted with such a liberal customer, and was no less pleased with her present, fromteh choice flowers with which it was composed, and the taste with which it was fabricated.

Immediately when the girl was gone with the gold, Bonifacio flew to his wife with the beautiful nosegay, which was received by her with as much delight as was evinced by her husband in presenting it. When she was informed, too, whence it came, it gave her still greater pleasure; for she recollected 196 the happy days of her childhood, when her time was employed in occupations of a similar nature, amongst those of the same class, whom she still loved and respected. She requested of her husband, that when the servant should again visit his shop, he would invite her within, as she had a great desire to converse with her of the convent.

On the following week, Sabina again visited the trader, and said that the gold was so good that she required the same quantity as before, and had brought another present form her lady to him, together with a little image and the virgin and a rosary, so exquisitely worked, that it was quite a curiosity. When Bonifacio saw it, he declared that his wife would not accept it, unless presented by the bearer; to which Sabina gladly consented, and congratulated herself that her plot had succeeded so well, ad the same time feigning extreme surprise to find that he was a married man.

“Ah! you wag,” she cried, “you are joking: it was but the other day that my lady was saying, that she knew a young person that would just suit you for a wife; very handsome and rich.” “Many thanks,” returned Bonifacio; “but if you will do me the favour to go up stairs, you will find that my wife is both handsome and rich; and, moreover, that we live as happily as possible.”

“If I thought you were not deceiving me,” said Sabina, “I would go.”


“Of that you may rest perfectly assured,” replied Bonifacio; “come, let me lead the way.”

Sabina, pretending no longer to doubt his assertion, followed him to his wife’s apartments, where she no sooner beheld her, than, changing her surprise into admiration, she praised her beauty with such grace, and offered her services and friendship so warmly, that any one who heard might have supposed her language to be dictated by the most sincere and kindly feeling. The embroidery, and the different works with which Dorothea was employed, excited her attention, and elicited her praise. “Oh! how beautiful are these works,” she exclaimed: ‘how sorry I am that my mistress is not here to admire them; I foresee that it would require but little to make you friends: when I relate to her what I have seen, how she will envy me! I declare it will be quite a sin not to make you acquainted. However, now I know you, I shall come and see you very often.” With these words, and other expressions of good will, she took leave of Dorothea, and, praying Bonifacio for his gold, she departed.

From that time forth she continued every day to repeat her visits: sometimes she called for gold, and at others saying to Bonifacio, that it would be a sin to pass his door without calling to see his beautiful wife. Occasionally she called with some present, and artfully endeavoured to excite in Dorothea a wish to visit the convent of her assumed mistress.


When, at length, it appeared to Sabina that the time had arrived when she might venture to realize her plans, she arose early one morning, and taking two small baskets, she filled one with sweetmeats, and the other with fruit of the earliest and choicest description she could procure. With these she repaired to the house of Bonifacio, and resenting them to Dorothea, told her they were the earliest gathered fruits of the season, and that the Abbess, her mistress, thought they could not be more worthily offered than to her.

After receiving the thanks of Dorothea, she added that her mistress was desirous that should oblige her in two things, — “the first and principal was, that the following Monday, eight days from that time, was the feast of the blessed St. John the Baptist, and that on the Sunday evening, his holy vesper, she should go to the convent and do penance, and pass a day or two with the nuns, who would, on that occasion, amuse themselves in a variety of ways, which could not fail to be agreeable to her.

She further informed the wife of Bonifacio, “That several female relations of the nuns were about to visit the convent at the same time, to join their innocent festivities; and that they would call for her and conduct her thither in their company.” The second request was merely “That she should give, as an offering to the saint, two pounds of gold thread to work on an ornament for the altar.”


“As to the gold,” replied Dorothea, “I will give it with all my heart; and, indeed, I should be happy to comply with the wish of my lady the Abbess, if I were my own mistress. You know, Sabina, that there is another whose will must be consulted before I can pronounce, YES, or NO.”

“And I promise him,” returned Sabina playfully, “that it will be an unlucky word if he should say NO; I would not stir hence for these eight days that are wanting to the feast, without taking you with me. Indeed, my mistress will take no refusal; and it would be hard to deny her first request, particularly when her expectation has been so much raised by the accounts I have given of your beauty and understanding.”

“Nonsense, Sabina,” said Dorothea, “how could you say so much of an elderly dame like me?”

“Old, do you say,” said Sabina laughing; “you had better tell me that spring is the end of the year, of that May is December; I should be just as likely to believe you. Ah! you wicked thing, you have not lost your vanity yet, I see.” Bonifacio and his wife both laughed at her pleasantry; and the good-natures husband, without suspecting there was a snake in the grass, immediately gave his consent.

“On my life, Sabina,” said he, “you have pleaded irresistibly; and as our lady the Abbess has done 200 us the honour to request my wife’s company, I cannot think of refusing her. Should the ladies of whom you spoke pass this way, and will call for her, they can go to the convent together.”

Sabina was almost beside herself with joy at these words, as much from the secret pleasure she took in mischief, as from the gratification of having successfully achieved her undertaking. She lost no time in returning home, and hastily throwing off her mantle, ran to inform her master of the success of her negotiation. Claudio was obliged to guess at the meaning of her incoherent declarations; for so rejoiced was she, that her exclamations were more those of an insane person than of one celebrated for acuteness of understanding. Claudio was no less delighted to think that the stratagem had succeeded, and for the whole week could only speak of his anticipations; while his confidant, Sabina, was never weary of discussing an affair which redounded so much to the credit of her own talent and dexterity.

Sunday at last arrived, the day on which they had appointed to put their notable scheme into execution.

Sabina had engaged a few females subservient to her master’s interest to assist her in the plot, and dressing some as married women, and others as duennas, she set off for Bonifacio’s house. On their arrival, he answered the door himself, and seeing 201such an apparently respectable company, after paying his compliments, called down his wife, who was already waiting for them. She came gaily down to meet them, quite delighted at the anticipation of the amusement promised her, and at the pleasure of making so many amiable acquaintances.

After accosting them with much good nature and affability, she took leave of her husband, and, encircled by her new friends, departed for the convent.

When they were at some distance from the house, proceeding, as Dorothea supposed, to visit the worthy Abbess, and amusing themselves by the way with lively and innocent conversation, one of the ladies suddenly stopped, and exclaimed with evident chagrin, “Mercy on me, how come we to forge Doña Beatrice, whom we invited, and who, I dare say, is now waiting at home expecting us!”

“God bless me,” cried another, with well affected surprise, “how could we be so negligent! I vow by the bones of my mother, that I no more recollected her than I do the first dress in which I ever appeared. However, we cannot go without her, and so, if we turn down this street, we shall not lose much time in calling for her.”

With that, one of the ladies who was the most in advance, and who, with amply folded petticoats, and a rosary of a most portentous appearance suspended from her neck, seemed the most devout and matronlike 202 of the party, immediately led the way directed, and was followed by the rest.

As it may be supposed, the house of Doña Beatrice was no other than that of Claudio, at the door of which they knocked for admittance. The summons was answered by a servant, who, opening a window, demanded their business, and whom they wanted. The elderly and respectable matron immediately replied, “Go and tell thy mistress that she must hasten and descend quickly, for her friends are waiting.” The servant retired, as though to give the message, and shortly returning, opened the door and said, “My mistress hopes you will excuse her for detaining you a little longer; but requests you will take seats in the parlour, and she will be with you as quickly as possible.”

The ladies then entered a very elegant room, and seated themselves to await the arrival of Doña Beatrice, but the two who accompanied Dorothea, passed with her into an adjoining apartment. It was very splendidly furnished; the hangings were of blue and silver; and in a recess was an elegant bed, very richly ornamented. There was a smaller chamber or boudoir adjoining, in which the three ladies seated themselves; and Dorothea was sufficiently amused with the objects of art and costly workmanship which surrounded her, not to notice any strangeness In the proceedings.


They had been there but a short time, when one of the ladies rising, exclaimed, “This is more than mortal patience can endure. I’d bet a trifle Doña Beatrice is not yet out of bed; let us go and see what she is about, sister,” and taking her feigned sister by the arm, the pair hurried out of the apartments, leaving Dorothea alone.

The wife of Bonifacio having satisfied her curiosity, and finding herself alone, and in a house of which she did not even know the owner, began to feel rather uneasy; but her fear increased with her astonishment, when, on the door opening, she saw Claudio enter, to whose person and pretensions she was by no means a stranger. He advanced towards her with an easy air, and smiling demeanour, and saluted her respectfully, yet not without a certain air of tenderness and confidence, that spoke a certainty to her heart, that her fears were far from groundless. Claudio, thinking it useless to conceal what he intended so soon to make her understand, at once told her of his love, and pleaded forgiveness for the daring measures he had taken to secure an interview with the object of his adoration.

It would be vain to describe the scene that followed; the protestations on one side; the prayers and reproaches on the other. Suffice it to say, that Claudio, after exhausting all the eloquence of which he was so perfect a master, left his fair captive an 204 opportunity of revolving in her own mind the circumstances of her untoward situation. From the female slave who attended she could gain nothing but praises of her master’s generosity, and every other source of information or escape was denied her.

In this manner the day passed, and the hour of supper arrived. The twilight of a beautiful day was succeeded by as calm and delicious an evening as every graced the happy climate of Andalusia. The window of the apartment opened on a terrace overlooking a garden, from which the odour of the orange, plum, and jessamine, was wafted on the cool, refreshing air of evening, and the plash of the streaming fountains was heard, as the waters fell into their marble basins with a tinkling, silvery sound. Claudio drew a chair for Dorothea on the terrace, and taking his guitar, sang one of those tender and pathetic sequidillas which never fail to rouse the emotions of the heart. Every thing around reminded Dorothea of the elegance of her former life; and the air she had just heard was one of those to which she had formerly listened, when among the number of the noble and the gay. But never before had she heard it so exquisitely sung — never, even in her father’s costly home, had she seen greater elegance and refinement of taste than were conspicuous in the mansion of which she was then a tenant. The whole delight of her former life, her lost family and happy home, rushed 205 back on her memory, and she burst into tears. Claudio did not let the moment pass unimproved: he knew the chord which was awakened in her heart, and, before supper was announced, his tender and endearing consolation had almost reconciled her to his deceit.

The room in which their meal was served was illumined with a splendour which left the light of day little to be regretted; yet the glare of the lamps was exhausted by glasses of a pale rose colour, which, without detracting from the brilliancy, cast a subdued and voluptuous tinge on every object around. The supper consisted of the most delicate viands, and the wines and liquors of the choicest and most costly description; the coronetted plate glittered upon her eyes as gorgeous and costly as in her early days of magnificemce; why then shall we blame her, if comparisons unwittingly forced themselves on her imagination, between her present humble lot, and the time when such a display as she now beheld she could herself command? Let us not be too harsh on poor Dorothea, is, as her recollection glanced at the utter hopelessness of her present situation with regard to Claudio, — in a house surrounded by his own people, of whom indeed none knew her predicament besides Sabina and the attendant, — she should contemplate her own feeble means of resistance, — a resistance which, if sufficiently successful 206 to raise an alarm, of which however she saw no probability, could only end in the certain ruin of her reputation. Her husband was reconciled to her absence for two days, after which time she could return without suspicion; in compassion therefore to his feelings, she was inclined to be silent in the affair; and if we add to these reflections the scene around her, the impassioned love of the most handsome and accomplished noblemen in Seville, the feeling still lingering in her heart for the elegancies of nobility and wealth, the early associations of which her short time of probation could not wholly subdue, — why shall we wonder that Claudio was spared the sin of increasing his already flagrant transgression.

By this time the brilliancy of Claudio’s mansion waxed fainter and fainter; the individuals of his household had caroused to their satisfaction, and it was not long before everything seemed to be hushed in repose. But it so happened that their rest this night was destined to be but of short duration, for under no circumstance does the devil ever give a feast without devouring the greater part himself, and in this instance he did not depart from his universal rule.

It is a very common custom with him to construct a sort of tent or pavilion, wherein he invites a number of his particular friends. Here, by means 207 of opportunity, temptation, and specious suggestion, which he is never at a loss to invent, he succeeds in throwing them completely off their guard; and having lulled them into complete security, he suddenly draws aside the covering, and exhibits them to the public gaze in all the deformity of the vicious career into which they have been seduced. Not satisfied with this partial exposure, he takes his drum and trumpet, and raises such a disturbance, that every body, far and near, be they never so little gifted with curiosity, immediately repair to the scene to ascertain the cause of such an outcry.

It just happened thus to those of whom we have related this little history — and yet, who could have foreseen that any disastrous consequences could have terminated a scheme so well laid, and apparently so well secured? — but who ought to feel surprise when we recollect who it was planned the entertainment and who paid the cost?

During that day, as my be supposed, very little order was kept in Claudio’s house. The servants, while the master was so completely entranced, felt they had a right to act as they pleased, and were restrained by no consideration; so that when night came, Claudio’s cellars had been so thoroughly searched, that very few were in a condition to assist themselves. The consequence was, the fires were badly extinguished, and some combustible matter 208 lying in the kitchen, was kindles by a spark from the chimney, which, extending to some pieces of furniture, shortly spread with uncontrolled and alarming fury, to other parts of the building. The fire continued to gain ground in the inner part of the house, without any one being aware of the danger; for, overcome by the wine they had drunk, they were quite insensible to the peril that awaited them.

The flames had now forced their way through the casements, and it so happened that the Lieutenant of the city, of whom we had heretofore occasion to speak, was making his circuit of the place, and seeing an unusual glare at a distance, instantly rode to the spot, and found Claudio’s house in flames. The alarm was instantly given — crowds of the police and neighbours rushed to the spot; no answer being returned to their thundering salutations, the gate was forced, and a confused mob rushed in, some to save the inhabitants, others to assist in extinguished the fire, and not a few to appropriate to themselves what little the flames would relinquish.

Claudio and Dorothea, who were at some distance from the household, received the first intimation of their danger by hearing the doors of the ante-chamber force open, and the confused sound of voices approaching. Claudio, suspecting the house was beset by thieves, instantly threw a cloak round him, seizing his rapier, started forth to meet the aggressors, 209 and Dorothea, alarmed beyond measure, hastily threw some garments over her; but before either could reach the door, it was thrown open, and the Lieutenant himself entered, bearing a blazing torch, and followed by a crowd of soldiery.

To paint the horror of Dorothea and the astonishment of the Lieutenant is impossible; surprise and fear prevented her from using any caution in concealing her countenance until it was too late. The Lieutenant’s surprise, however, was quickly changed into the most violent anger; to think that his long suit had been treated with contempt and indifference, and that one of such late pretensions should have succeeded as his rival, apparently with her own consent, and doubtless with the knowledge of her husband, was more than he could endure; and without heeding the consequences to himself, in the anticipation of revenge, he ordered them both to prison, that a public exposure might ensue on the morrow.

In vain Claudio threatened the direst retribution — in vain he pleaded his nobility, and protested against this outrage; the Lieutenant was inexorable; and the soldiers, not knowing the person of either, obeyed the command of their officer.

Covered with cloaks to avoid the recognition of eh crown, Claudio and the terrified Dorothea wer conducted by the guard through the burning house, and conveyed to prison. The fire was with difficulty 210 extinguished; the Lieutenant retired to his house, not to sleep, but to think of his revenge on the exposure which the morning would not fail to produce. He even endeavoured to contrive some manner of implicating Bonifacio, who he did not doubt had consented to the absence of his wife, for some consideration.

However, leaving the worthy officer to gratify his motive by anticipation, we must return to our friends, whom we left in a pitiable plight on their way to prison. Sabina, who slept in an adjoining apartment to that of her master, seeing how matters went, immediately invented a plan to defeat the intentions of the Lieutenant, who, she was well aware, intended nothing less than the destruction of Dorothea’s reputation. It is said, and very justly, that the ready wit of women is more available in critical junctures, than all the wisdom and foresight of the wisest. Without further hesitation, therefore, she provided herself with the remains of a roasted capon, some nice ham, and a flask of wine; then taking a small mattrass and coverlid on her head, and a few reals in her purse, she betook herself to the guard house, where her master and Dorothea were detained. She told the porter, that a servant of her master had been sent there by the Lieutenant, for not being sufficiently prompt in supplying the necessary vessels to obtain water to check the fire, and that with his leave she had brought her a bed and supper.


The trifling nature of the fault, and the efficacious nature of a few reals, quickly opened the door; and Dorothea, who was more dead than alive, quickly exchanged her garments for those of Sabina, whose face being concealed by the mattrass, was not known to the porter. Immediately this was effected, Dorothea called to the functionary, and told him that her friend refused to have any supper, and begged his acceptance of it, for which the man seemed very grateful, and accompanied her to the door with every mark of respect, leaving Sabina in her place with Claudio.

Dorothea, following the instruction of Sabina, flew to the house of one of Claudio’s relations, who had been an actor in the scene of the day previous, and relating the circumstance to her, remained there the rest of the night; and early on the following morning, accompanied by her and another female, returned to her husband, saying, that as she did not feel quite well, the Abbess advised her to go home.

Bonifacio was much pleased to find his wife return earlier than he expected, and was profuse in his acknowledgments to the ladies who had done him and his wife so much honour. Meanwhile the Lieutenant, delighting in the prospect before him, dispatched on of his assistants to his friend the mayor, giving him an account of the cast, and begging that he would repair to the council chamber as quickly 212 possible, with as many friends as he could collect, in order that the case might be made as public as possible.

He then went over to Bonifacio for the purpose of upbraiding him, and commanding his attendance at the council chamber. Dorothea, who expected some visit of the king, no sooner heard the voice of the Lieutenant, and speaking of herself in the most opprobrious terms, than she ran down stairs in the morning dress she usually wore, and confronted he gallant officer before he could enter into particulars. her appearance was like the effect of an apparition on the lieutenant, who seemed utterly confounded, as though doubting the evidence of his senses. His evident confusion aroused the wrath of Bonifacio, who thinking that what he had said proceeded from an ill feeling, the cause of which he conjecture, and which the appearance of his wife had caused him to be ashamed of — forgetting the respect due to his superior, and only alive to his insulted honour, with the assistance of his mane, he thrust the gallant officer with his myrmidons out of doors. He then returned, happy and delighted, to his wife, to whom he repeatedly expressed his pleasure at her returning even earlier than he had expected.





I MUST not here omit to give you an account of a singular and appalling event, which took place at Rome, on the eve of my departure from that city, although in no way connected with my own adventures. The ambassador had just finished supper, when a Neapolitan gentleman, who often came to that hotel, suddenly entered our room. He had all the appearance of a man who had met with some unpleasant occurrence, and addressing his excellency — “I am some, my Lord, to acquaint you with a very extraordinary incident, which I have only just heard, and which, as you may see, has really affected me not a little.” “I am anxious to hear what it can be,” replied my master, “hand the gentleman a chair, Guzman:” and the Neapolitan, being seated, began the narrative that follows: —

A gentleman, a native of this city, — as high-born and accomplished as he is brave and handsome, and of whom, I dare say, you have heard, — named Dorido, fell in love with a lady, the fair Clorinia, not more than sixteen or seventeen — beautiful, virtuous, and also of good family. She received an excellent education, and her charms, both of person and of 214 mind, shone with redoubled lustre, by the extreme care and polish bestowed upon her manners and her attainments of every kind. Her surpassing beauty, which none could gaze on with impunity, made her parents cautious how they permitted her to appear in public, lest some quarrel might arise among those eager to win her regard; for which reason either her father or brother was seldom seen absent from her side.

Already, for some months, had young Dorido seen and loved her; and such was the passion he entertained for her, as wholly to absorb his mind, and lead him, by seeking every occasion for looks and signs — all by which he was permitted to address her — to convince her of its reality. These soft and voiceless witnesses of his lover were not always fortunate enough to be regarded; but when they were, they seemed to produce a favourable effect upon the object of them. Clorinia took pleasure in secretly observing him — far more than she let it appear that she did; but soon, without knowing exactly why, she felt equally interested in attracting his regard, till, by degrees returning his silent advances, she caught the sweet contagion she had before communicated to him, and, for the first time, felt the young emotions of love and jealousy, as he had done.

It was impossible Dorido could be long ignorant of the conquest he had meditated, and for a period 215 he gave himself up to the delighted assurance of being beloved. But soon sighing for more substantial proofs of his success, he sought for the means; he contracted an acquaintance with her brother, Valerio, and so far won his confidence as seldom to be seen out of his company. They continually visited each other, and Dorido had now ample opportunity to contemplate the charms he so much admired, an even to speak to and to hear her speak. Still he could not declare his feelings; and their eyes were the sole interpreters of their secret wishes.

Things, however, did not long remain in this position. Clorinia could not conceal her lover from her favourite maid, a girl of some experience, and one who wished to shew her devotion to her young mistress. With this view she went of her own accord to find the lover, and said to him: “Señor Dorido, you are very handsome, and it would be foolish in me to conceal what it would be still more foolish in you to conceal from me. I see into your heart; you are in love with Clorinia, and you are not the only one that loves. You are both dying to be left alone together, and I truly pity your case. I shall have no rest till I invent some expedient to give you this happiness. The lover, enraptured to hear these words, thanked the kind creature form the bottom of his heart, declaring, that if she succeeded in what she promised, she would find him 216 any thing but ungrateful for the boon. He then sat down, wrote an impassioned letter, full of love and gratitude, which he conjured her to deliver safe into the hands of her fair mistress.

Scintilla returned home, and holding the billet in her hand, told her lady the object of her embassy; for which, though she received a sharp chiding, she was soon with no great difficulty pardoned. How and where the lovers were to meet became the next question. The young lady, declaring it to be impossible, wished to give up the idea; but her ingenious maid hit upon a method which she could not but agree was extremely deserving of a trial. Scintilla was in the habit of occupying a little low apartment, adjoining another set apart chiefly for the lumber of the house, and which received light only through a small grated window, through which a person was barely able to insert his hand. It opened upon a very lonely unfrequented quarter, which seemed to have been made expressly for the rendezvous of two lovers on some quiet night.

When the duenna found her young lady inclined to put her new theory into practice by means of this little grated window, she went and acquainted the gentle lover, who, that very same evening, about eleven o’clock, found himself close to the place. He saw the window, he saw the good duenna, and she preached patience to him — at least till the rest of 217 the domestics should have retired. Yet he did not sigh there long; the delightful moment was at hand; Clorinia appeared in all her beauty, though trembling in every accent and in every nerve. Her lover, too, could not utter a word. They came to tell their love, and the excess of their joy prevented it; but love has more than one language; the lady’s hand was extended through the envious bars, was grasped, and instantly covered with a thousand kisses.

By degrees they recovered the power of speech; they gave full vent to the emotions by which they were governed — the delight of hearing each other speak, and being together. The morning would thus have found, without interrupting them, had not the watchful guardian of their love informed them of the lapse of time. Before bidding adeiu, Dorido conjured his mistress to permit him to return on the ensuing evening, at the same hour, to the same spot; and this she had not either the courage or inclination to refuse him.

Both were equally enraptured with their meeting, and sighed with equal ardour to repeat it. Dorido was in a state of impatience and agitation which would not permit him a moment’s repose; and he counted each minute until the promised one arrived that was to restore his Clorinia to his sight. The lady was equally true to it, and this night, with less timidity and alarm, their mutual joy seemed to be 218 more intense. A lively conversation ensued; in which each, as eager to display the superior charm of a well adorned and accomplished mind, as well as of person, exerted themselves to the utmost, an not a few were the sprightly and happy allusions, and more delicate compliments they made and returned each other. The interview continued more than three hours, and you may suppose was not unmingled with vows and innocent caresses. Such was the charm of this meeting, as to render it again imperative on the prudent attendant to remind them of the hour; and it was some time before she succeeded in rousing them to a sense of their danger, and tearing them from each other’s sight.

The only other person acquainted with Dorido’s passion was a Roman gentleman, named Horazio, who, unknown to his friend, was extremely attached to the same lady. Perceiving, however, that he made no progress in her affections, he conjectured that there was somewhere a rival, perhaps more fortunate than himself; and it was not long before his suspicions were directed towards Dorido, from the circumstance of his being seen so frequently in the company of the brother. To ascertain at once how far he was correct in his supposition, Horazio went directly to Dorido, with whom he was in daily habit of intercourse, and addressed him in these terms: — “I am come, my dear friend, to ask you a particular 219 favour, such as I trust you will not refuse; for my peace of mind depends upon it. I see you continually with Valerio, — and I suspect that you are smitten with the beauty of his lovely sister. Let me appeal to your candour and kindness, — if it be as I think, reveal the fact, for you are too worthy and noble for me to dispute with you the affections of this enchanting and accomplished girl.”

“You are then yourself in love with Clorinia?” enquired Dorido, with an anxious air.

“I am most certainly charmed with her,” replied Horazio; “but I am just and sensible enough to allow that you better deserve to obtain her regard.”

“In that I should feel myself especially honoured,” said Dorido; “but, all flattery apart, I will tell you candidly that it is not my intention to solicit th hand of the fair Clorinia.”

“Is that possible!” exclaimed Horazio, quickly; “is it not your object to become the husband of Valerio’s sister? Ah, my friend, how different do we feel then, — how I long to unite my fate for ever with hers! And, indeed, if such are your ideas, I think you ought to resign any other views or intentions you may have formed, in favour of my more lasting — more honourable claims. As my friend, you will do as much, I know.: “And as the friend of your Clorinia’s family, you might have 220 added,” rejoined Dorido, “in that point of view I assuredly ought. Yes, I will leave the field open to you; and if Valerio’s sister consent to bestow her hand upon you, I, for one, will not oppose your success. Nay, I will do more, I will speak to her in your favour, and as far as it may depend on me, my embassy shall not be a bootless one.”

So delighted was Horazio with this friend and generous conduct on the part of his friend, that he was at a loss for words to express his gratitude; not reflecting that the promise given was conditional, and made to depend upon the lady’s own choice. In short, such was the illusion of his joy, that he repeatedly pressed his friend to urge his cause as if it were his own; and with so much earnestness, and tenderness of manner, as really to interest the feelings and pique the generosity of his more favoured rival. He felt the power of virtuous love; and, doing justice to the purer motives of his friend, Dorido resolved to sacrifice his more licentious passion, to accomplish the lasting happiness not only of Horazio, but of the lady’s family and of herself.

In pursuance of this object, on their next interview, Dorido thus addressed the lady to whom he had before made so many professions of unalterable love: — “You are doubtless not ignorant, Madam, that you rank in your long list of conquests, a gentleman named Horazio; but I am very doubtful 221 if you are aware to what an extreme degree he is captivated with you. He actually idolises you, and the bare idea of ever becoming your husband is the sole an sweetest dream of his existence; without which, he declares that life has for him no charm.”

“I am delighted at what you tell me,” replied Clorinia, “for now I shall have an opportunity of shewing you what little regard I pay to the adoration of all the lovers in the world — except — except one.”

“I feel,” replied Dorido, “all the value so such an acknowledgment, every way so noble; but at the same time, I should be undeserving of this exceeding goodness, were I not in a manner to take up arms against myself, in defence of one of the best, and most amiable and generous of friends. Horazio’s merit is great, and when you come to appreciate it rightly, you would probably not much regret it if your parents were desirous of bestowing you upon so excellent a man!”

“How then,” exclaimed the beauty, with a look of extreme surprise, and even terror, “do you wish to yield — to destroy me? Can you be in earnest that you wish me to return Horazio’s passion?”

“No, truly,” replied Dorido, “that is not my idea; I only wished you to understand, that if you bore him any affection, and your parents had resolved to give him your hand, it would have been bootless 222 in me to complain; I would then make a sacrifice to the happiness of my rival, n order to show how truly devoted I am to all your wishes; — do you comprehend me?”

“Do I?” replied the lady bitterly; “I know that I would not fall a victim so submissively as you appear to think; or, or your attachment has lost much of the fidelity — the ardour which I believed it to possess. But,” she continued, “I wish not to put you to this proof. Dorido has been the first, and will be the last of the lovers I wish to have; — on that at least you may depend. Let Horazio persist or not, as he feels disposed in his pursuit of me — he will not gain any more in my esteem; and I wish you to understand that as my fixed determination. I was before aware of his views; and I have ever since conceived an aversion for him, amounting to absolute horror; and for which I can hardly account.”

Dorido no longer ventured to say a word in his friend’s favour; he saw that it was worse than useless to press the subject upon her attention. He changed the conversation, which took an interest of another kind, exhausting itself in the msot tender and passionate exclamations on the side of Clorinia, which renewed all Dorido’s ardour, and no few protestations on his. On the ensuing morning, Horazio called upon his friend: “You have seen 223 Clorinia?” he exclaimed, “and spoken in my favour; and how did she receive it?” was the breathless inquiry he made.

“In very ill part, indeed,” replied the other, “and you must not continue to flatter yourself with the least hope. I said all I could to raise your merit in her eyes; your person, your wealth, family — but all in vain. I described to her the excess of your attachment, greater, most likely, than it is; but the cruel creature stopped my mouth, vowing, that though you loved till the day of doom, you should never be united in marriage hands with her.”

On hearing these words, Horazio grew deadly pale, and seemed lost in profound thought; while, struck with the extreme pain he appeared to suffer, Dorido, softening his tone, beseeched him to summon more resolution, and desist from a vain and fruitless pursuit; adding, that in Rome there were many as lovely girls as Clorinia, who would not require to be compelled to return his love. “Besides, my dear Horazio,” he continued, “I am sure you have not the slightest cause to complain of me; I would have yielded her to you, I swear, had I seen the least probability of her indulging an inclination for you. I would have made this noble sacrifice to our friendship; and will you, on your part, refuse to relinquish an anxious, painful undertaking, and which, in the remote case of succeeding, must be at the expense of your best friend.”


It was now for the first time Horazio broke silence, and fixing his eyes on his friend, — “I am very far,” he said, “from reproaching you. You have rendered me a sad and useless service; you have spoken for me, and I thank you for it. It is only just, I agree, that I should renounce the pursuit of what I cannot obtain: her heart is yours, — and so let it be. Farewell! and I will try to attend to your advice about attaching myself to some other more attainable object.”

With these words he left his friend Dorido in the persuasion, that, struck with the justice of what he had said, he would leave nothing untried to banish the thought of Clorinia from his mind. It was not so; he had set down his friend Dorido as a traitor, a false, malicious, selfish hypocrite, who had betrayed him; drawn a hateful portrait of him before the lady he adored; and he now resolved to take the matter into his own hands. “By heavens!” he exclaimed, “I will ask her; I will have her in marriage from her father; he will plead for me better than a rival.” He proceeded forthwith to act upon this suggestion; he declared his wishes, and they were accepted and approved. He also obtained his own father’s consent, and the two old gentlemen soon sat in council upon the business, the result of which was, that the marriage should take place, provided the inclination of the lady could be brought to accord with their own views.


On the first mention, however, of the affair, such was the extreme repugnance and even horror manifested by the beautiful Clorinia, that the design was as quickly abandoned as it had been formed, as a thing wholly impossible.

How lamentable the folly and weakness of man! to let a single passion obtain mastery over his mind, until he becomes no longer the same being; and, yielding up the helm of reason, is borne, like a lost vessel, upon the rocks. Horazio imagined he saw his passion treated with scorn, — his rival happy and triumphant; and in an instant, the love which before animated his soul became changed into bitter hatred. He now regarded Clorinia as an object of horror, and brooded over thoughts of revenge. He next began to study the means, and how he could strike most surely and deeply at the hearts of both, — and at a single blow. He set a vigilant guard upon their proceedings, a wretch hired to dog their steps whithersoever they went; and having thus discovered the place of their stolen interview, with every circumstance attending them, there remained little else requisite to supply him with the most strange, cruel, and heartless method of revenge that ever entered into the human breast. Actuated by his infernal hatred, he one night, anticipating the arrival of Dorido, hastened to the place where they met, and approached the little window, at which he 226 already beheld looking forth, the object in pursuit of which he had come. In the obscurity of the evening he knew that the sister of Valerio would easily mistake him for her lover; and, in fact, she addressed him in the most affectionate language — in words that made Horazio’s blood boil within him, and impelled him in deep revenge.

In perfect silence the treacherous friend approached: he stretched out his hand, he clasped that of the lady eagerly meeting his, and holding it with a ferocious and gigantic grasp, he had the heart, with a sharp instrument prepared for the purpose, to separate the lovely limb from its arm. The act was momentary; vain were her shrieks; the villain had fled. He already sat in the gloom of his secret chamber, and in the deeper gloom of his soul madly exulting in the though of his triumphant revenge.

But what were the horror-struck feelings of the family and friends of that fair girl, when, roused by her cries, they found her deprived of consciousness, aned bathed in her blood. her faithful attendant hung over her, still filling the house with her shrieks. On beholding the deed, her parents both fell unconscious at her side; while the unhappy brother and the servants were busily endeavouring to staunch the bleeding wound. It was no time to doubt, to inquire, or to accuse; the most eminent surgeons were summoned to the spot, to attempt, if possible, 227 to arrest the unhappy lady’s fleeting breath. The aged father, being meanwhile recovered, besought his domestics, for the ends of justice, to reveal nothing without orders; while he sighed over the lost honour and happiness of his house. Her brother, Valerio, having armed himself, now issued into the street, attended by his valets; and what was his grief, at being enabled for some distance to track the murderous villain by the drops of his dear sister’s blood; for the wretch had borne along with him the bleeding hand as a trophy of his secret crime. while thus employed, he met his friend Dorido, who was hastening to his accustomed interview with an air of visible joy. In faltering accents Valerio called to him, “Alas! my dear friend, whither are you going? Help us, for God’s sake help to find the murderer; for I see by your looks you know nothing of the horrid deed. Our poor Clorinia — my sister” — but words failed him, and he could not go on. “Gracious God!” cried Dorido, “what has happened — quick — answer me — what of Clorinia?” “That,” replied Valerio, in a voice of solemn anguish, “that we ought to conceal from every human ear and eye, but to you it shall be told, because I know as my friend that you will unite with me in hunting down, whithersoever he flee, the cruel assassin of my poor sister.”

Pierced to the heart by these words, Dorido nearly 228 sunk under sudden terror and surprise. Then, trembling and faint, he begged Valerio to explain every thing; which he did; and Valerio would then have conducted him to the surgeon, had he not resolutely resisted, exclaiming, “it is no time now for aught but revenge. She will be lost to me! but I will drag forth the unheard-of villain to light — monster as he is!” “Leave me to deal with him, for I feel this visitation as bitterly as you can. It is impossible to think of it without shuddering: but, heavens! with what delight shall I inflict upon him a punishment, as near as may be commensurate with his fatal crime.”

The two friends then separated, Dorido returning to his own house, in the resolution of taking some immediate step to avenge his outraged love, and full of indignation against Horazio, whom he more than suspected to have committed the atrocious deed. He first shut himself up in his room, where he gave free vent to his feelings on so sever a loss; for he had now become more deeply attached to the fair Clorinia than before. “My lost, my beauteous one!” he exclaimed, “my envious, hated rival hath indeed succeeded! hath snatched thee from my arms for ever! Alas! you mistook him for your Dorido; and I — I am the sad cause of the calamity that has befallen you. But for me, you had been happy and beautiful as ever! — in all thy sweet innocence and 229 tranquillity of soul. Yes, it is I who have been thy assassin! Yet will I not long survive thee, — when once I shall have immolated thy wretched destroyer to thy dear and sacred shade! Would only that thou mightest survive, to enjoy the only consolation left us now — to hear of the memorable doom to be inflicted by this right hand upon the body of the traitor!”

The next morning found him still absorbed in grief and tears; but then, rousing himself, he hastened to the house of Clorinia’s father, where sorrow and consternation sat on every countenance. The father and the brother seemed to feel fresh grief on his appearance. The old man, as he welcomed him, observed, “Alas! Dorido, my friend, my sweet girl is even now in the agonies of death. She has lost so much blood, that alone it is enough to forbid every hope. Was there ever a more unfortunate father! What can have been the motive, think you, for the commission of so accursed a deed. It was no man — it was a horrid monster — and what punishment can be imagined adequate to reach it?”

“Sir,” replied Dorido, “try to assuage your grief; and feel quite at rest on that head, — to avenge her is the object of us all. I have undertaken to chastise him; — he will perish. But ere that, give me a legal title to become her avenger; I love Clorinia as my own soul; unite our hands ere she breathe her last 230 sigh. Thus, too, will her reputation not suffer; and you will not owe to a stranger that satisfaction to which you are entitled.

Without hesitation, the father as well as the son accepted the proposal; they extolled his honourable feeling, and expressed gratitude for the noble manner in which he had stepped forward to obviate all unpleasant remarks that might affect the poor girl’s reputation. The old man, weeping, took his way to his daughter’s bedside; and a delightful smile played over her countenance when she heard what was requested. She signified her assent amidst tears of mingled bitterness and joy. She declared that she should die contented as the wife of Dorido; she inquired eagerly if he were at the house, and if she might be permitted to see and speak to him. This, as the fever appeared to have left her, it was conceived might not prove injurious to her; he approached; but so great was the sudden joy she experience on beholding him, that she fell into a swoon, from which it was some time before she recovered. The surgeon upon this, gave strict injunctions that he lovers should not be permitted to speak to each other; but their looks sufficiently told what they felt and suffered. Observing that his presence appeared to afford her relief, he did not leave her during the remainder of the day. In the evening, a priest and a notary were called in, and the marriage 231 ceremony was performed before the assembled and weeping family.

For the two ensuing days, feeble hopes were entertained of her life. She seemed to rally, and even the surgeon no longer despaired; but all were disappointed. On the third day, a fresh access of fever, of a more rapid and violent character, seized on the patient, and left not the remotest chance. As her last hour drew night, Dorido, perceiving that the event must occur, secretly withdrew, and set about the means of his premeditated revenge. He sought Horazio in every spot; and at length meeting with him, he took him cordially by the hand, and as if quite unsuspicious of any crime attaching to him, he carelessly asked if he would come and sup with him that evening, to which Horazio consented, conceiving that as he had heard no public notice made of the atrocious deed, the lady was either recovering, or his friend unacquainted with her misfortune. At the appointed hour, Horazio went, as he had been accustomed, to join his friend — and both were soon seated opposite each other at the table. Dorido had however taken care that the wine should be well drugged; and such was its potent effect, that in a very little time Horazio found himself overpowered, and fell into a deep slumber.

It was now that Dorido, assisted by his two valets, wholly devoted to his interest, bound the sleeper 232 both hand and foot; they next slipped a cord round his neck, and with this and another passed round his body they fastened hip up to a pillar which stood in the apartment. Having before closed all the doors in the house, they now proceeded to administer antidotes to his lethargy, which speedily recalled the unhappy wretch to a sense of his situation.

The moment he found himself awake did the dreadful truth flash conviction and horror to the soul of the assassin, — he knew in a moment wherefore he was there, and what he had to expect. He did more — he confessed his heinous crime, while he implored compassion and mercy in accents of bitter sincerity, such as only the love of life even in a convict can inspire. But here they were all in vain; steeled to the heart’s core, the lover and the husband, — bereaved so barbarously of his charming mistress, — listened to his prayers and cries with mockery; his imagination being still haunted with the picture of his dying wife. Bent upon inflicting retributive justice, he proceeded to sever with an axe the hands of the wretched Horazio; and while still in all the agonies of approaching dissolution, he commanded his valets to strangle him with the rope that bound him to the fatal pillar. Then having hung the two dissevered members round the neck of the corpse, he directed them to bear it to the exact spot where the fatal deed had been committed, and 233 on the same fearful night, unable to support the idea of life in a place connected with so many horrors, he took his departure from Rome. Pursuit was vain, — it is not even known what route he took, to what country he has flown; but I have been assured that the unfortunate Clorinia breathed her last about three hours after he disappeared.

Here the Neapolitan gentleman paused; — no one spoke. A story altogether of so tragic a nature seemed to have made a deep impression upon the ambassador, no less than upon all present who had listened to it, and who most unfeignedly deplored the fate of the unhappy lady. They also blamed Dorido in no measured terms; while the whole agreed, on reflecting further on the subject, that in the conduct of both these Spanish cavaliers there appeared a spirit of revenge, and a reckless daring, — a savage love of blood, in no way compatible with the character of the true knight, or of the true Christian.



*  From the The Spanish Novelists: A Series of Tales, Vol. I; by Thomas Roscoe; Richard Bentley; London; 1832; pp. 129-233.

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