his own ambassador ; attended the court of the
Castilian king ; demanded his daughter in marriage ;
and, after surmounting a variety of obstacles, at
length obtained her hand in marriage.
" This comedy will suit us extremely well," said I ;
" and our first care must be to cast the parts, and
deliver copies of them to the respective performers."
" As to the actors," replied he, " I have among
others two who are exactly of the kind you described ;
for, as your main design is to make his Excellency
laugh, they may, as to this purpose, be considered
incomparable originals. The one is Gaspard Moci!-
lero, the cook, and the other Joseph de Magoz, nick-
named in the household, ' El gracioso de la Cozina,'
from the talent of buffoonery, and the thousand ridi-
culous antics he possesses, to create diversion."
" Good," replied I, "they shall perform comic parts ;
two of the characters, therefore, are already filled ;
but where shall we find actresses, particularly one
capable of representing the Princess of Castile?"
"She is already found," replied the major-domo.
" There is among the Duke's pages a tail youth of
a fair complexion and slender form ; and who, even
to the sound of his voice, is so completely effeminate,
that he is distinguished by the appellation of Don
Seraphina Floxo ; and his person is perfectly well
suited to his name."
Transcribing accordingly the several parts of the
drama, and delivering each to the performer whose
talents we conceived it would best suit, we enjoined
our company to perfect themselves as soon as pos-
VANILLO GONZALES. 417
sible ; and, inexperienced as they certainly were in
tasks of this kind, they were able, in about a week,
to recite their several parts with tolerable accuracy.
As the object of this whimsical exhibition was to
elevate and surprise the Duke's mind, I conceived
that our intention ought to be executed with all
possible secrecy ; but my brother manager, appre-
hensive that his Excellency might conceive this
species of entertainment improper under his present
circumstances, differed from me in opinion ; and, as
it was necessary that this point should be settled
before we proceeded further, I repaired immediately
to the Duke's apartment.
The Duke, on my entering the room, addressed me
with a smile. " Gonzales," said he, "tell me candidly,
are you not tired of your confinement to the castle ? "
" No, really, sir," replied I, " I shall never be tired
of it in the company of such a master. And neither
Don Gabriel, your Excellency's major-domo, nor
myself will be to blame if we do not relieve you
from occasional despondency by certain little enter-
tainments which we have been contriving to exhibit.
We are already prepared with one that I think your
Excellency will not disapprove. We propose to act
a play before you."
" Take good care," replied his Grace ; " a troop of
strollers cannot be admitted into the castle without
the permission of the governor, who, not being one
of my friends, will most likely refuse such a request"
" Oh ! " exclaimed I, " we do not require the
assistance of strollers. The piece shall be repre-
sented by actors selected from your own domestics."
" Oh ! that is another thing," replied he ; " an
41 8 THE HISTORY OF
entertainment of that kind I may, I think, readily
admit, without the dread of reproach ; but," added
he, tossing his head with a disdainful air, " I doubt a
little the abilities of your actors."
" Your doubt is groundless, sir," replied I ; " they
are, generally speaking, excellent performers. There
are many in the Theatre Royal who have not more
merit. In short, I am certain the exhibition will
afford you pleasure."
" Upon that assurance," replied the Duke, " I will
no longer oppose your benevolent design."
The Duke, having signified his assent to our
scheme, I returned to my brother manager ; and,
after a long consultation, we agreed to take different
departments in the management of our new theatre.
He consented to take upon him the office of pro-
perty man, and provide, according to his own fancy,
different dresses for the actors; while the more im-
portant task of prompter, to make them recite their
several parts with proper emphasis, was assigned to
me. The rehearsals were well worth hearing ; when
an actor declaimed very badly, or put himself into
ridiculous postures, which was generally the case, he
received my warmest applause. "Bravo!" cried I,
" that is right ; keep to that tone and it will do ;
mind and preserve that fine attitude ; his Excellency
will be delighted with your performances."
The piece itself, saving the respect due to the
memory of the immortal author, was badly written ;
and, in addition, the lines were so wretchedly pro-
nounced, that the voice of the prompter was heard
at the close of every verse.
About aa hour previous to the commencement of
VANILLO GONZALES. 419
the play, the Duchess of Ossuna and her son, Don
Juan, arrived at the castle, accompanied by a few
select friends, whom the Duke, on a persuasion of
its being highly diverting, had invited to behold the
What rendered the scene still more ludicrous was
that Don Gabriel had resorted to- a clothes-shop in
Madrid, and purchased different dresses of the most
fanciful kind, but as unfit for the characters to which
they were respectively appropriated, as they were
for the persons of those who wore them : each actor,
therefore, produced an effect upon the audience the
moment he appeared. Among others, I remember
that Gaspard Mocillero, the cook, who represented
the Majesty of Leon, no sooner appeared on the
stage, than the absurdity of his dress excited a roar
of laughter ; even the Viceroy could no longer con-
tain his gravity. But if his muscles were relaxed
by the oddity of Mocillero's dress, his ridiculous
attitudes afforded a still greater subject of laughter ;
he could no longer resist the impulse ; and the whole
company, perceiving him so well inclined to dispel
his spleen, heartily followed his example.
Joseph de Magoz, the Gracioso de la Cozina,
played the part of the king's confidant ; and, like
his master, afforded his audience great entertain-
ment. The very sight of his person, indeed, pro-
voked risibility; he was a species of dwarf, strangely
shaped, and his entree greatly increased the mirth
of the company; but it is impossible to describe
the high entertainment which the natural primness
and affected airs of the tall page, who personated
the Princess of Castile, produced. Self-love pre-
420 THE HISTORY OF
vented him from discovering his absurdities. The
company, however, severely censured his ridiculous
vanity by applauding him with that humiliating
clap of hands, which is sometimes practised at the
royal theatres, when the audience mean to disapprove
of the acting of the players, or the composition of
the author; and the piece concluded just in time
to prevent the company being fatigued with their
" I must acknowledge, my lord," said the Duchess
to her husband, " that you appear to have been much
" Madam," replied he, " I owe my entertainment to
Gonzales, who sagaciously conceived that a play
represented by such actors could not fail of diver-
" I am happy," replied Donna Catherina, " to find
that Gonzales possesses the talent of contriving
these amusements for you ; and I request that he
will redouble his endeavours to banish from your
mind the sorrowful ideas by which it is frequently
" The commencement of his endeavours is excel-
lent," said the Duke ; " and though he has been with
me so short a time, I find that he is capable of con-
siderably alleviating, if he cannot entirely subdue,
The Viceroy, by these words, greatly strengthened
my interest with the Duchess and Don Juan, who,
from the new testimonies of friendship they afforded
me, confirmed the hope I entertained of being amply
VANILLO GONZALES. 421
THE DUKE, NOTWITHSTANDING ALL THE CAKE OF
VANILLO, FALLS INTO A DESPONDENCY WHICH NO-
THING COULD DISSIPATE THE UNHAPPY EVENT
WHICH SOON FOLLOWED IT.
DURING the course of three weeks I was enabled,
with the assistance of the principal domestics, to
amuse his Excellency. We exerted ourselves in
every possible way to dispel the melancholy that
preyed upon his mind, and we had every reason to
rejoice in our success. Our congratulations, how-
ever, upon this subject were of short duration.
The gout, with which he was occasionally afflicted,
attacked him so violently that, instead of attending
to our amusements, he abandoned his mind to the
sorrows his situation inspired ; and all that we could
either say or do, to alleviate his chagrin, produced no
Observing that our efforts were vain, " Sir," said I,
" we arc at a loss whose assistance to implore to
relieve your Excellency from the languor into which
you appear to have lately fallen. Do not suffer
your fortitude to be vanquished on the very eve,
perhaps, of your emancipation. Revive your de-
jected spirits. Recollect how much it tarnishes a
great and heroic character, not to endure misfortune
with magnanimity. If you fall under the frowns of
fortune, you will only add to the felicity of your
422 THE HISTORY OF
enemies. Do not afford this triumph to their male-
" What would you have me do ? " replied the Duke.
" While any hope of being released from these walls
remained, I patiently endured my sufferings ; but
.hope is now no more, and I perceive that my ene-
mies intend to detain me in prison for the remainder
rof my life."
" No, no, sir ! " replied I ; "do not permit such an
idea to disturb your mind. Heaven will, I hope,
prevent so unmerited a fate."
While I was proceeding to display the most con-
solatory observations my zeal and eloquence could
furnish me with, Don Juan Telles entered the room.
" Oh ! my lord," cried I, " you could not have come
more opportunely. Aid me to banish the vain fears
which have suddenly seized the mind of my beloved
On hearing these words, which I pronounced with
the tenderest .emotion (for I really felt a warm
.attachment for the Viceroy), Don Juan asked me
the cause of his father's fears.
" He fears," said I, " that he is deprived for ever
of his liberty."
The young lord, addressing himself to the Duke,
" Do not, my dear father," said he, " listen to the vain
fears which agitate your mind. The news of this
day ought to remove every apprehension. At the
King's levee this morning, the Count declared his
.surprise at your being detained a prisoner, after the
answers you had given to the interrogatories ; acknow-
ledging that they afforded incontestible proofs, both
VANILLO GONZALES. 423
of your innocence and of the important services you
have rendered to the crown of Spain."
"This was the observation of an invidious enemy,"
interrupted the Duke precipitately; "this minister
still hates me, or why does he not espouse my cause,
since he says I am unjustly detained a prisoner? No,
no, my dear son, judge more correctly of this states-
man's character, by believing, that while he seems
to lament my situation, the traitor only regrets that
I was not condemned to die. I am convinced of his
animosity towards me. Ties of the closest nature
have connected me with the house of Sandoval, and
a man who has been once favoured by the Duke of
Lerma can never expect the friendship of the Count
An attempt to remove any opinion which the
Viceroy had once deliberately adopted, was like
beating the air. Don Juan, therefore, who knew
his character, forbore to contradict him, and only
observed, that the minister, being now conscious
that his power was established beyond the danger
of opposition, might perhaps be softened in his
" Excuse me," replied the Duke ; " he has fre-
quently, in the presence of the King, darted sarcasms
at me, which I have answered by such severe replies
as he will never forget."
"Well," replied Don Juan, "however it may be,
let me implore you, my dear father, not to despair.
Banish dejection ; abandon this fatal melancholy ;
reassume your spirits ; the interests and affections
of your family exact from you this exertion."
These exhortations, pronounced in the most
424 THE HISTORY OF
pathetic manner by an affectionate child, appeared
to make great impression on the mind of a tender
parent; but the idea of never regaining his power
at Court recurred, and plunged him into a deep
despair, at the very moment when he seemed to re-
assume his courage.
The ensuing day, his Excellency, so far from hav-
ing tranquillised his mind by philosophic reflections,
appeared more disturbed and agitated than ever.
The gout, also, to increase his calamities, returned
with double violence. During a period of three
weeks he continued to languish; and one evening,
as he was walking across the room, leaning one
arm on me, and supporting himself on the other
side with a crutch, he was seized with an apoplexy.
Calling for help, I conveyed him, with the assistance
of two of his domestics, to his bed, where he lay
three hours entirely senseless. Another servant,
while he was in this distressful situation, went with
all possible despatch to Madrid, to announce the sad
tidings to his wife and son, who came immediately
to the castle, accompanied by two physicians ; but
they attended rather to be witnesses of his death
than to use endeavours to save his life. Pretensions
of assistance, however, were made, and some medi-
cines even were administered ; but they only served
to precipitate his end ; for two days afterwards he
resigned his life, in the arms of his wife, and in the
embraces of his son.
VANILLO GONZALES. 425
THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DUKE OF OSSUNA^S DEATH,
AND THE CONSOLATION WHICH THE KING AFFORDED
TO HIS WIFE AND SON VANILLO ENTERS INTO THE
SERVICE OF DON JUAN TELLES.
THE governor of the castle no sooner heard of the
death of his prisoner than he conveyed information
of it to the Prime Minister, who went immediately
and announced it to the King. The Sovereign, as
well as his Prime Minister, were, it is said, affected
by the event ; but I do not advance this as an
unquestionable fact. The King, however, certainly
despatched a nobleman of the first distinction to the
Duchess, to offer to her from him his compliments
of condolence, with orders to assure her that her
son Don Juan Telles should be appointed to the
Viceroyalty of Sicily, as an acknowledgment to
him of his father's services. This mark of contri-
tion, if it did not entirely console the mother and
the son, moderated in some degree the excess of
The interment of the Duke was performed with-
out pomp, and in the manner he had frequently
desired. I mean to be understood that he was
buried under the habit of an Augustine father.
His grave was plentifully bedewed with tears: the
grief of his numerous domestics was loud and bitter;
for they had heard that he had died intestate. Even
426 THE HISTORY OF
I, though I shed some unfeigned tears in friendship
for so kind a master, could not sometimes avoid
regretting the hours I had lost in voluntarily con-
fining myself with him in the prison of Almeda;
nor forget the magnificent promises I had received,
which were now worth nothing. In short, while we
were all of us waiting in sorrowful expectation of
receiving no more than our salaries, a rumour pre-
vailed that the Duke, about a month before he died,
had made a codicil, as if by presentiment that he
was doomed to expire within the walls of the castle ;
and that, so far from forgetting any of his attendants,
he had left to all of them very handsome legacies,
proportioned to the nature of the offices they respec-
tively held in his household : and indeed, a few days
after his obsequies were performed, Donna Catherina
called us together, and having ordered her secretary
to read the codicil, said, " Whenever any of you
choose to receive your legacy, my banker shall pay
it. But this is not all," added she ; " if you choose to
return to Sicily with the new Viceroy, you shall each
of you receive your former salary."
The Duchess had scarcely finished these words
before the greater part of the assembly testified
their inclination to accompany Don Juan ; the others,
preferring their own country to Italy, took measures
for their continuance in Spain.
Donna Catherina appeared surprised to find that
I was among those who had testified no inclination
to revisit Palermo. " Vanillo," said she, " I have
been flattering myself that you would not withhold
from my son the same attachment you professed
to his father ; but you appear to have alienated
VANILLO GONZALES. 427
your mind from the family, and show no inclination
to accompany us to Sicily."
" Madam," replied I, " Sicily is a country which,
when I consider the mortifications I felt there,
cannot be very pleasing to me ; but whatever occa-
sion I may have had to hate it, I should very will-
ingly return, if I were persuaded that my services
would be as acceptable to the present Viceroy as
they were to his predecessor."
" You will have no reason to doubt that," replied
Donna Catherina ; " my son is extremely partial to
you ; he considers you as adopted by the family,
and you will be, among his principal agents, the
one who will possess his entire confidence."
The Duchess had no occasion to say anything
more to induce me to engage in the service of her
son ; and Don Juan, who came in at this conjuncture,
learning the subject of our conversation, confirmed
all his mother had said; he even added, that it was
his inclination to appoint me his principal valet,
his confidential friend, his Thomas ; and a situation
so high and distinguished, with a young and gallant
nobleman, appeared to me so flattering and advan-
tageous, that I no longer hesitated of accepting it.
428 THE HISTORY OF
THE DEPARTURE OF THE NEW GOVERNOR ', AND THE ACCI-
DENT WHICH PREVENTED VANILLO FROM ACCOMPANY-
ING HIM TO SICILY-. THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS
DON JUAN succeeded to the titles of his deceased
father; and, by the unexpected favour of the crown,
was put into immediate possession of his confiscated
estates. The King, indeed, by these acts of kindness
seemed only to second the wishes of all ranks and
orders of his subjects ; for the enmity which had
pursued the family during the prosperity of the Duke,
was entirely buried in his grave.
The new Viceroy no sooner heard that the six ships
which had been appointed to convey him to Palermo
were ready, than he took leave of his royal benefactor,
and departed for Barcelona, accompanied by his wife,
Donna Isabella ; it being thought more prudent for
Donna Catherina to remain at court, in order to
cultivate and support a powerful interest in favour of
her beloved son. The aged Thomas, whom she knew
possessed an excellent judgment, and whose gouty
complaints rendered it of little use for him to accom-
pany the new Viceroy, also continued at Madrid.
The pleasure and profit I had long promised myself
from this expedition, through the interests of Ouivillo,
who enjoyed in a high degree the confidence and
friendship of the new Viceroy, my adverse stars pre-
vented me from reaping.
VANILLO CON Z ALES. 429
On the evening of the day fixed for our departure,
I was unfortunately seized with a violent fever, which
increased so rapidly, that my life was thought in
danger. A physician was immediately sent for, who,
although he was scarcely thirty years of age, had
perhaps already despatched more patients than
Hippocrates himself. This seventh son, after a very
profound consideration of my case, wrote a prescrip-
tion, consisting of frog's gall and baked wheat, which,
he observed, according to the opinion of Pliny, was
an unerring febrifuge in all cases; but I no sooner
tasted this compound than I was seized with such
strong convulsions, that the doctor seemed perfectly
satisfied I should soon have no occasion for any
other medicine. I continued delirious for three days.
During this time I was again attacked, not only by
the doctor, but by his coadjutors, the surgeon and
the apothecary, in such a variety of ways, that they
seemed resolved I should ultimately tell no tales,
liy the greatest miracle imaginable, however, I at
length escaped alive from their hands.
The moment I thought my health sufficiently
established to undertake the journey, I departed
from Madrid with a returning muleteer for Barcelona;
and we travelled so expeditiously, that we arrived
there at the end of eight days. My conductor carried
me to St. Andrew's Gate, in the New Town, and set
me down at the sign of the Phcenix, an hotel of very
<; I have brought you here," said he, "in prefer-
ence to any other place, for several reasons ; you
will here find a neat room, a comfortable bed, excel-
lent fare, and, what ought to make a considerable
430 THE HISTORY OF
part of your pleasure, you will behold in your
hostess a young and charming widow, extremely
good-humoured, and extremely sensible."
" So much the worse," replied I, jokingly ; " her
merits are mortifying to a traveller who has not
time to make love ; for if I should find an oppor-
tunity to-morrow to embark for Italy, I must
Just as I had ended this sentence, the hostess
entered the room.
" Here she is," cried the muleteer ; " does she
not deserve a guest of your consequence ? Look
attentively at her figure."
I was, I confess, struck with her beauty, and still
more by the easy and natural style of her conver-
sation. She showed me, with great politeness, the
chamber in which I was to sleep, which I attri-
buted to the muleteer having, on our arrival at the
hotel, announced me as one of the principal attend-
ants on the Duke of Ossuna, the new Viceroy of
Sicily. To pay, on my side, that tribute which
every man of gallantry owes to a pretty woman, I
made a thousand flattering speeches to her, which
she answered with equal good sense and modesty.
The conversation in which we engaged insensibly,
convinced me that, amiable as her person certainly
was, her mind possessed superior charms.
On the first suspension of the conversation, she
retired and left me with the muleteer, who asked
me what I thought of such a widow.
" I am of opinion," said I, " that a man can
nowhere be so well attached. In what part of
Spain was she born ? She does honour to her
VANILLO GONZALES. 431
countrv. I am sure she is descended from a srood
" I am ignorant who were her parents," said the
muleteer; "I only know that she is a native of the
city of Murcia."
My heart bounded in my bosom at these words,
and I felt a strong kind of anxiety, without knowing
why or wherefore. " By heavens !" said I to myself,
" if this young widow should be my sister Inesilla, it
would be an extraordinary circumstance. It is very
probable ; yet surely it cannot be. I will, however,
unravel the mystery this very evening, if possible/'
" My friend," said I to the muleteer, " as I was
also born in the city of Murcia, I should be very
glad to have a private conversation with this widow
upon the subject of her family, whom I ought to
know; especially if she is not of very low extraction,
which I cannot believe. Go, I request of you, and
tell her from me, that I shall be happy to converse
with her on the subject."
The muleteer, who went immediately to the
widow, informed me, on his return, that she would
wait on me immediately; " for I no sooner told her,"
said he, " that you were from Murcia, and wished
to talk with her on the subject, than she appeared
highly delighted. Oh! here she is. Well, I will
leave you together, that you may the more freely
indulge your curiosity."
The muleteer accordingly retired, as the hostess,
who had immediately followed him, entered the room.
432 THE HISTORY OF
VANILLAS CONVERSATION WITH THE WIDOW, AND THE
ASTONISHMENT OF BOTH OF THEM ON DISCOVERING
WHO THEY WERE,
" MADAM," said I to the widow, " I am informed
that we were born in the same place. Permit me
to converse with you upon this subject, and to take
the liberty of asking who you are. It is not an
idle curiosity that prompts me to make this re-
quest ; I have a very particular reason for asking
you the question. Tell me, I beseech you, who
were your parents."
" Signior," replied the widow, " I was born in the
city of Murcia; and, though my parents were not