Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

The Exemplary Novels of Cervantes online

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transgressions; he only declared that, for good reasons, he advised, and
begged her to marry, should he die, that young man of whom he had spoken
to her in private. When Leonora heard this, she threw herself at her
husband's feet, and cried, while her heart throbbed as if it would
burst, "Long may you live, my lord and my only joy; for though you may
not believe a word I say, indeed, indeed I have not offended you, except
in thought."

More she would have said, but when she attempted to exculpate herself by
a full statement of what had really occurred, her tongue failed her, and
she fainted away a second time. The poor old man embraced her as she
lay; so, too, did her parents - all three weeping bitterly; and even the
notary could not refrain from tears. Carrizales gave the negro and the
other slaves their liberty, and left all the servants enough to maintain
them; the perfidious Marialonso alone was to have nothing beyond the
arrears of her wages. Seven days afterwards Carrizales was laid in his
grave.

Leonora remained a mourning though wealthy widow; and whilst Loaysa
expected that she would fulfil the desire which he knew her husband had
expressed in his will, he learned that within a week she had become a
nun in one of the most austere and rigid convents in all Seville.
Mortified by this disappointment, he left the country and went to the
Indies. Leonora's father and mother were deeply grieved, but found
consolation in the wealth which their son-in-law had bequeathed them.
The two damsels likewise consoled themselves, as did the negro and the
female slaves, the former being well provided for, and the latter having
obtained their freedom; the wicked dueña alone was left to digest, in
poverty, the frustration of her base schemes. For my part I was long
possessed with the desire to complete this story, which so signally
exemplifies the little reliance that can be put in locks, turning-boxes,
and walls, whilst the will remains free; and the still less reason there
is to trust the innocence and simplicity of youth, if its ear be exposed
to the suggestions of your demure dueñas, whose virtue consists in their
long black gowns and their formal white hoods. Only I know not why it
was that Leonora did not persist in exculpating herself, and explaining
to her jealous husband how guiltless she had been in the whole of that
unhappy business. But her extreme agitation paralysed her tongue at the
moment, and the haste which her husband made to die, left her without
another opportunity to complete her justification.




THE ILLUSTRIOUS SCULLERY-MAID.


In the famous city of Burgos there lived two wealthy cavaliers, one of
whom was called Don Diego de Carriazo, and the other Don Juan de
Avendaño. Don Diego had a son called after himself, and Don Juan
another, whose name was Don Tomas de Avendaño. These two young gentlemen
being the principal persons of the following tale, we shall for the sake
of brevity call them Carriazo and Avendaño.

Carriazo might be about thirteen or little more, when, prompted by a
scampish disposition, without having had any cause to complain of bad
treatment at home, he ran away from his father's house, and cast himself
upon the wide world. So much did he enjoy a life of unrestricted
freedom, that amidst all the wants and discomforts attendant upon it, he
never missed the plenty of his father's house. He neither tired of
trudging on foot, nor cared for cold or heat. For him all seasons of the
year were genial spring. His sleep was as sound on a heap of straw as on
soft mattresses, and he made himself as snug in a hayloft as between two
Holland sheets. In short, he made such way in the profession he had
chosen, that he could have given lessons to the famous Guzman de
Alfarache.

During the three years he absented himself from home, he learned to play
at sheepshanks in Madrid, at _rentoy_ in the public-houses of Toledo,
and at _presa y pinta_ in the barbacans of Seville. In spite of the
sordid penury of his way of life, Carriazo showed himself a prince in
his actions. It was easy to see by a thousand tokens that he came of
gentle blood. His generosity gained him the esteem of all his comrades.
He seldom was present at drinking bouts; and though he drank wine, it
was in moderation, and he carried it well. He was not one of those
unlucky drinkers, who whenever they exceed a little, show it immediately
in their faces, which look as if they were painted with vermilion or red
ochre. In short, the world beheld in Carriazo a virtuous, honourable,
well-bred, rogue, of more than common ability. He passed through all
the degrees of roguery till he graduated as a master in the tunny
fisheries of Zahara, the chief school of the art. O kitchen-walloping
rogues, fat and shining with grease; feigned cripples; cutpurses of
Zocodober and of the Plaza of Madrid; sanctimonious patterers of
prayers; Seville porters; bullies of the Hampa, and all the countless
host comprised under the denomination of rogues! never presume to call
yourself by that name if you have not gone through two courses, at
least, in the academy of the tunny fisheries. There it is that you may
see converging as it were in one grand focus, toil and idleness, filth
and spruceness, sharp set hunger and lavish plenty, vice without
disguise, incessant gambling, brawls and quarrels every hour in the day,
murders every now and then, ribaldry and obscenity, singing, dancing,
laughing, swearing, cheating, and thieving without end. There many a man
of quality seeks for his truant son, nor seeks in vain; and the youth
feels as acutely the pain of being torn from that life of licence as
though he were going to meet his death. But this joyous life has its
bitters as well as its sweets. No one can lie down to sleep securely in
Zahara, but must always have the dread hanging over him of being carried
off to Barbary at any moment. For this reason, they all withdraw at
night into some fortified places on the coast, and place scouts and
sentinels to watch whilst they sleep; but in spite of all precautions,
it has sometimes happened that scouts, sentinels, rogues, overseers,
boats, nets, and all the posse comitatus of the place have begun the
night in Spain and have seen the dawn in Tetuan. No apprehensions of
this kind, however, could deter Carriazo from spending three successive
summers at the fisheries for his pastime; and such was his luck during
his third season, that he won at cards about seven hundred reals, with
which he resolved to buy himself good clothes, return to Burgos, and
gladden the heart of his sorrowing mother.

He took a most affectionate leave of his many dear friends, assuring
them that nothing but sickness or death should prevent his being with
them in the following summer; for his heart was in Zahara, and to his
eyes its parched sands were fresher than all the verdure of the Elysian
fields. Ambling merrily along on shanks' mare, he arrived at Valladolid,
where he stopped a fortnight to get rid of the mahogany hue of his
complexion, and to change his rogue's costume for that of a gentleman.
Having equipped himself properly, he had still a hundred reals left,
which he spent on the hire of a mule and a servant, that he might make a
good figure when he presented himself to his parents. They received him
with the utmost joy, and all the friends and relations of the family
came to congratulate them on the safe arrival of their son Don Diego de
Carriazo. I had forgotten to mention that, during his peregrination, Don
Diego had taken the name of Vidiales, and by that name alone he was
known to his new acquaintances.

Among those who came to see the new arrival were Don Juan de Avendaño
and his son Don Tomas, with the latter of whom, as they were both of the
same age and neighbours, Carriazo contracted a very close friendship.
Carriazo gave his parents a long and circumstantial account of all the
fine things he had seen and done during the three years he had been from
home, in all which there was not one word of truth; but he never so much
as hinted at the tunny fisheries, though they were constantly in his
thoughts, more especially as the time approached in which he had
promised his friends he would return to them. He took no pleasure in the
chase, with which his father sought often to divert him, nor in any of
the convivial meetings of that hospitable city. All kinds of amusements
wearied him, and the best enjoyments that could be offered to him were
not to be compared, he thought, with those he had known at the tunny
fisheries. His friend Avendaño, finding him often melancholy and musing,
ventured to inquire after the cause, at the same time professing his
readiness to assist his friend in any way that might be requisite, and
to the utmost of his power, even at the cost of his blood. Carriazo felt
that it would be wronging the great friendship subsisting between him
and Avendaño if he concealed from the latter the cause of his present
sadness; and therefore he described to him in detail the life he had led
at Zahara, and declared that all his gloom arose from his strong desire
to be there once more. So attractive was the picture he drew, that
Avendaño, far from blaming his taste, expressed his entire sympathy with
it. The end of the matter was that Avendaño determined to go off with
Carriazo, and enjoy for one summer that delicious life of which he had
just heard such a glowing description; and in this determination he was
strongly encouraged to persist by Carriazo, who was glad to be so
countenanced in his own low propensities. They set their wits to work to
see how they could scrape together as much money as possible, and the
best means that occurred to them was that suggested by Avendaño's
approaching departure for Salamanca, where he had already studied for
three years, and where his father wished him to complete his education,
and take a degree in whatever faculty he pleased. Carriazo now made
known to his father that he had a strong desire to go with Avendaño and
study at Salamanca. Don Diego gladly fell in with his son's proposal; he
talked with his friend Don Juan on the subject, and it was agreed
between them that the two young men should reside together at Salamanca,
and be sent thither well supplied with all requisites, and in a manner
suitable to the sons of men of quality.

The time for their departure being arrived, they were furnished with
money, and with a tutor who was more remarkable for integrity than for
mother wit. Their fathers talked much and impressively to their sons
about what they should do, and how they should govern themselves, in
order that they might become fraught with virtue and knowledge, for that
is the fruit which every student should aspire to reap from his labours
and his vigils, especially such as are of good family. The sons were all
humility and obedience; their mothers cried; both parents gave them
their blessing, and away they went, mounted on their own mules, and
attended by two servants of their respective households, besides the
tutor, who had let his beard grow, to give him a more imposing air of
gravity, as became his charge.

When they arrived at Valladolid, they told their tutor they should like
to remain there a couple of days to see the city, having never been in
it before. The tutor severely reprimanded them for entertaining any such
idle notion, telling them they had no time to lose in silly diversions;
that their business was to get as fast as possible to the place where
they were to pursue their studies; that he should be doing extreme
violence to his conscience if he allowed them to stop for one hour, not
to speak of two days; that they should continue their journey forthwith,
or, if not, then brown bread should be their portion.

Such was the extent of the ability in his office possessed by this
tutor, or major-domo, as we should rather call him. The lads, who had
already gathered in their harvest, since they had laid hands upon four
hundred gold crowns which were in the major-domo's keeping, begged that
he would let them remain in Valladolid for that day only, that they
might see the grand aqueducts, which were then in course of
construction, for the purpose of conveying the waters of Argales to that
city. He consented at last, but with extreme reluctance, for he wished
to avoid the expense of an additional day on the road, and to spend the
night at Valdiastellas, whence he could easily reach Salamanca in two
days. But the bay horse thinks one thing, and the man on his back
another thing, and so it proved in the major-domo's case. The lads,
mounted on two excellent mules, and attended by only one servant, rode
out to see the fountain of Argales, famous for its antiquity and the
abundance of its water. On their arrival there, Avendaño gave the
servant a sealed paper, bidding him return forthwith to the city, and
deliver it to his tutor, after which the servant was to wait for them at
the Puerta del Campo. The servant did as he was bid, and went back to
the city with the letter; and they, turning their mules' heads another
way, slept that night in Mojados, and arrived two days afterwards in
Madrid, where they sold their mules.

They dressed themselves like peasants in short jerkins, loose breeches,
and gray stockings. An old clothes dealer, to whom they sold their
handsome apparel in the morning, transformed them by night in such a
manner that their own mothers would not have known them. Lightly
equipped, as suited their purpose, and without swords, for they had sold
them to the old clothes dealer, they took to the road to Toledo. There
let us leave them for the present, stepping out briskly with merry
hearts, while we return to the tutor, and see him open the letter
delivered to him by the servant, which he read as follows: -

"Your worship, señor Pedro Alonso, will be pleased to have patience and
go back to Burgos, where you will say to our parents that we, their
sons, having with mature deliberation considered how much more arms
befit cavaliers than do letters, have determined to exchange Salamanca
for Brussels, and Spain for Flanders. We have got the four hundred
crowns; the mules we intend to sell. The course we have chosen, which is
so worthy of persons of our quality, and the length of the journey
before us, are sufficient to excuse our fault, though a fault it will
not be deemed by any one but a coward. Our departure takes place now;
our return will be when it shall please God, to whose keeping, we, your
humble pupils, heartily commend you. Given from the fountain of Argales,
with one foot in the stirrup for Flanders.

"CARRIAZO,
"AVENDANO."

Aghast at the contents of this letter, Pedro Alonso hurried to his
valise, and found that the paper spoke but too truly, for the money was
gone. Instantly mounting the remaining mule, he returned to Burgos to
carry these tidings to his patrons, in order that they might take
measures to recover possession of their sons' persons. But as to how he
was received, the author of this tale says not a word, for the moment he
has put Pedro Alonso into the saddle, he leaves him to give the
following account of what occurred to Avendaño and Carriazo at the
entrance of Illescas.

Just by the town gate they met two muleteers, Andalusians apparently,
one of whom was coming from Seville, and the other going thither. Said
the latter to the former, "If my masters were not so far ahead, I should
like to stop a little longer to ask you a thousand things I want to
know, for I am quite astonished at what you have told me about the
conde's having hanged Alonzo Gines and Ribera without giving them leave
to appeal."

"As I'm a sinner," replied the Sevillian, "the conde laid a trap for
them, got them under his jurisdiction - for they were soldiers, and once
having them in his gripe, the court of appeal could never get them out
of it. I tell you what it is, friend, he has a devil within him, that
same conde de Puñonrostro. Seville, and the whole country round it for
ten leagues, is swept clear of swash-bucklers; not a thief ventures
within his limits; they all fear him like fire. It is whispered,
however, that he will soon give up his place as corregidor, for he is
tired of being at loggerheads at every hand's turn with the señores of
the court of appeal."

"May they live a thousand years!" exclaimed he who was going to
Seville; "for they are the fathers of the miserable, and a refuge for
the unfortunate. How many poor fellows must eat dirt, for no other
reason than the anger of an arbitrary judge of a corregidor, either
ill-informed or wrong-headed! Many eyes see more than two; the venom of
injustice cannot so soon lay hold on many hearts as on one alone."

"You have turned preacher!" said he of Seville; "but I am afraid I can't
stop to hear the end of your sermon. Don't put up to night at your usual
place, but go to the Posada del Sevillano, for there you will see the
prettiest scullery-wench I know. Marinilla at the Venta Tejada is a
dishclout in comparison with her. I will only tell you that it is said
the son of the corregidor is very sweet upon her. One of my masters gone
on ahead there, swears, that on his way back to Andalusia, he will stop
two months in Toledo, and in that same inn, only to have his fill of
looking at her. I myself ventured once to give her a little bit of a
squeeze, and all I got for it was a swinging box on the ear. She is as
hard as a flint, as savage as a kestrel, and as touch-me-not as a
nettle; but she has a face that does a body's eyes good to look at. She
has the sun in one cheek, and the moon in the other; the one is made of
roses and the other of carnations, and between them both are lilies and
jessamine. I say no more, only see her for yourself, and you will see
that all I have told you is nothing to what I might say of her beauty.
I'd freely settle upon her those two silver gray mules of mine that you
know, if they would let me have her for my wife; but I know they won't,
for she is a morsel for an archbishop or a conde. Once more I say, go
and see her; and so, good-bye to you, for I must be off."

The two muleteers went their several ways, leaving the two friends much
struck by what they had overheard of the conversation, especially
Avendaño, in whom the mere relation which the muleteer had given of the
scullery-maid's beauty awoke an intense desire to see her. It had the
same effect on Carriazo, but not to an equal degree, nor so as to
extinguish his desire to reach his beloved tunny fisheries, from which
he would not willingly be delayed to behold the pyramids of Egypt, or
any or all of the other seven wonders of the world.

Repeating the dialogue between the muleteers, and mimicking their tones
and gestures, served as pastime to beguile the way until they reached
Toledo. Carriazo, who had been there before, led the way at once to the
Posada del Sevillano; but they did not venture to ask for accommodation
there, their dress and appearance not being such as would have gained
them a ready welcome. Night was coming on, and though Carriazo
importuned Avendaño to go with him in search of lodgings elsewhere, he
could not prevail on him to quit the doors of the Sevillano, or cease
from hanging about them, upon the chance that the celebrated
scullery-maid might perhaps make her appearance. When it was pitch dark
Carriazo was in despair, but still Avendaño stuck to the spot; and, at
last, he went into the courtyard of the inn, under pretence of inquiring
after some gentlemen of Burgos who were on their way to Seville. He had
but just entered the courtyard, when a girl, who seemed to be about
fifteen, and was dressed in working clothes, came out of one of the side
doors with a lighted candle. Avendaño's eyes did not rest on the girl's
dress, but on her face, which seemed to him such as a painter would give
to the angels; and so overcome was he by her beauty, that he could only
gaze at it in speechless admiration, without being able to say one word
for himself.

"What may you please to want, brother?" said the girl. "Are you servant
to one of the gentlemen in the house?"

"I am no one's servant but yours," replied Avendaño, trembling with
emotion.

"Go to, brother," returned the girl disdainfully, "we who are servants
ourselves have no need of others to wait on us;" and calling her master,
she said, "Please to see, sir, what this lad wants."

The master came out, and, in reply to his question, Avendaño said that
he was looking for some gentlemen of Burgos who were on their way to
Seville. One of them was his master, and had sent him on before them to
Alcalá de Henares upon business of importance, bidding him, when that
was done, to proceed to Toledo, and wait for him at the Sevillano; and
he believed that his master would arrive there that night or the
following day at farthest.

So plausibly did Avendaño tell this fib that the landlord was quite
taken in by it. "Very well, friend," said he, "you may stop here till
your master comes."

"Many thanks, señor landlord," replied Avendaño; "and will your worship
bid them give me a room for myself, and a comrade of mine who is
outside? We have got money to pay for it, as well as another."

"Certainly," said the host, and turning to the girl he said, "Costanza,
bid la Argüello take these two gallants to the corner room, and give
them clean sheets."

"I will do so, señor," and curtsying to her master she went away,
leaving Avendaño by her departure in a state of feeling like that of the
tired wayfarer when the sun sets and he finds himself wrapt in cheerless
darkness. He went, however, to give an account of what he had seen and
done to Carriazo, who very soon perceived that his friend had been
smitten in the heart; but he would not say a word about the matter then,
until he should see whether there was a fair excuse for the hyperbolical
praises with which Avendaño exalted the beauty of Costanza above the
stars.

At last they went in doors, and la Argüello, the chamber maid, a woman
of some five-and-forty years of age, showed them a room which was
neither a gentleman's nor a servant's, but something between the two. On
their asking for supper, la Argüello told them they did not provide
meals in that inn; they only cooked and served up such food as the
guests bought and fetched for themselves; but there were eating-houses
in the neighbourhood, where they might without scruple of conscience go
and sup as they pleased. The two friends took la Argüello's advice, and
went to an eating-house, where Carriazo supped on what they set before
him, and Avendaño on what he had brought with him, to wit, thoughts and
fancies. Carriazo noticed that his friend ate little or nothing, and, by
way of sounding him, he said on their way back to the inn, "We must be
up betimes to-morrow morning, so that we may reach Orgez before the heat
of the day."

"I am not disposed for that," replied Avendaño, "for I intend, before I
leave this city, to see all that is worth seeing in it, such as the
cathedral, the waterworks of Juanelo, the view from the top of St.
Augustine's, the King's garden, and the promenade by the river."

"Very well, we can see all that in two days."

"What need of such haste? We are not posting to Rome to ask for a vacant
benefice."

"Ha! ha! friend, I see how it is, I'll be hanged if you are not more
inclined to stay in Toledo than to continue our journey."

"That's true, I confess; it is as impossible for me to forego the sight
of that girl's face, as it is to get into heaven without good works."

"Gallantly spoken, and as becomes a generous breast like yours! Here's a
pretty story! Don Tomas de Avendaño, son of the wealthy and noble
cavalier, Don Juan de Avendaño, over head and ears in love with the
scullery-maid at the Posada del Sevillano!"

"It strikes me, I may answer you in the same strain. Here's Don Diego de
Carriazo, son and sole heir of the noble knight of Alcántara of the same
name, a youth finely gifted alike in body and mind, and behold him in
love - with whom, do you suppose? With queen Ginevra? No such thing, but
with the tunny fisheries of Zahara, and all its rogues and rascals, - a
more loathsome crew, I suspect, than ever beset St. Anthony in his
temptations."

"You have given me tit for tat, friend, and slain me with my own weapon.
Let us say no more now, but go to bed, and to-morrow who knows but we
come to our senses?"

"Look ye, Carriazo, you have not yet seen Costanza; when you have seen



Online LibraryMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraThe Exemplary Novels of Cervantes → online text (page 35 of 42)