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Title: Pablo de Segovia, the Spanish Sharper
Author: Quevedo, Francisco de
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Pablo de Segovia, the Spanish Sharper" ***

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[Illustration: FRANCISCO DE QUEVEDO VILLEGAS

VELASQUEZ. PINXT. AUTOGRAVURE]



                           PABLO DE SEGOVIA

                          THE SPANISH SHARPER
                          TRANSLATED FROM THE
                          DE QUEVEDO-VILLEGAS

                     ILLVSTRATED WITH ONE HVNDRED
                           AND TEN DRAWINGS

                                  BY

                             DANIEL VIERGE

                        TOGETHER WITH COMMENTS
                              ON THEM BY
                          JOSEPH PENNELL AND
                            AN ESSAY ON THE
                           LIFE AND WRITINGS
                          OF QUEVEDO BY HENRY
                             EDWARD WATTS

                               _LONDON_

         Printed by UNWIN BROTHERS at the _Gresham Press_ for

                            T FISHER UNWIN

        and Published by him at 11 _Paternoster Buildings_ 1892



CONTENTS.


                                                                    PAGE

COMMENTS ON THE DRAWINGS OF DANIEL URRABIETA VIERGE, AND ALSO
A LETTER FROM THE ARTIST                                             iii

QUEVEDO AND HIS WORKS: WITH AN ESSAY ON THE PICARESQUE NOVEL          xv

BOOK I.

CHAP. I.

Giving an Account of Who he is and Whence he Sprung                    3

CHAP. II.

How I went to School, and what Happened to me there                    8

CHAP. III.

How I went to a Boarding School in quality of Servant
  to Don Diego Coronel                                                17

CHAP. IV.

Of my Convalescence, and Departure for the University of
  Alcalá de Henares                                                   32

CHAP. V.

Of our entrance into Alcalá, of the Footing we had to pay, and the Tricks
they played upon us                                                   41

CHAP. VI.

Of the wicked old Housekeeper, and the first knavish pranks
  I played at Alcalá                                                  51

CHAP. VII.

How I received news of my Father's Death, parted from Don Diego, and
what Course of Life I resolved on for the future                      69

CHAP. VIII.

My Journey from Alcalá to Segovia, and what Happened by the way till I
came to Rejas, where I lay that Night                                 75

CHAP. IX.

Of what Happened to me on the road to Madrid with a Poet              89

CHAP. X.

Of what I did at Madrid, and what Happened to me on my way to
Cerecedilla, where I passed the Night                                 95

CHAP. XI.

The kind Entertainment I had at my Uncle's, the Visits I received; how I
recovered my Inheritance and returned to Madrid                      111

CHAP. XII.

Of my flight from Segovia, with what Happened to me by
  the way to Madrid                                                  126

CHAP. XIII.

In which the Gentleman pursues his Journey, and his promised Tale of his
Life and Condition                                                   132

BOOK II.

CHAP. I.

Of what Happened to me at my coming to Madrid as soon as I arrived there,
until Nightfall                                                      143

CHAP. II.

In which the same Subject is pursued, with other
  strange Incidents                                                  150

CHAP. III.

The further Proceedings of this Sharping Gang, till they were thrown all
together into Gaol                                                   166

CHAP. IV.

In which the Prison is described and what Happened therein, until the old
Woman was whipped, my Companions exposed to Shame, and myself
let out on Bail                                                      176

CHAP. V.

How I took a Lodging, and the Misfortune that befel me therein       184

CHAP. VI.

In which the same Subject is pursued, with other
  strange Incidents                                                  192

CHAP. VII.

In which the Story is continued, with other Incidents
 and notable Misfortunes                                             199

CHAP. VIII.

Of my Cure and other Strange Things                                  211

CHAP. IX.

In which I turn Player, Poet, and Gallant of Nuns; which Characters are
Daintily Painted                                                     222

CHAP. X.

Of what Happened to me at Seville, till I took
 Ship for the Indies                                                 235

                       COMMENTS ON THE DRAWINGS
                          OF DANIEL VIERGE BY
                         IOSEPH PENNELL AND AN
                         ESSAY ON THE LIFE AND
                        WRITINGS OF QUEVEDO BY
                          HENRY EDWARD WATTS



COMMENTS ON THE DRAWINGS OF DANIEL URRABIETA VIERGE.

_And also a Letter from the Artist._


To attempt to introduce Daniel Vierge to the few artists of the world
who are artists, would be, on my part, an impertinence, since his work
is as well known to them as it is to myself. To attempt to introduce him
to the rest of the world would be no less impertinent, since apparently
most men care nothing for the illustrator, though they may, without ever
troubling to know him, delight in his work. But the appearance of _Pablo
de Segovia_, not in French or Spanish, but in English, illustrated by
Vierge's completed series of drawings, is worthy of note and, possibly,
of some comment.

Vierge's first edition of this book was published in Paris in 1882, by
Bonhoure, and the drawings not only made his own name famous throughout
the entire artistic world, but renewed the popularity of Quevedo. The
book--and when I speak of it I refer to the illustrations and not to the
letter-press--was the most brilliant, the most daring, the most original
which had ever appeared. From the head-piece of the first chapter nearly
to the end, almost every page contained a perfect picture which amazed
all who studied it, and delighted all who could appreciate it. These
exquisite little drawings displayed a knowledge of form, of action, of
light and shade, of architecture, expressed with a brilliancy of
handling which has never been surpassed. To make such a statement is to
challenge criticism. But if there have been any more artistic drawings,
or engravings of drawings, produced from the time of Dürer or Bellini,
Rembrandt or of Piranesi, I have yet to find them, though I have gone in
search of them through the chief Museums and Galleries of Europe. In
comparison with Vierge, Dürer knows nothing of light and shade, Bellini
and Vandyke and Holbein are heavy and laboured in their handling, while
Piranesi and Canaletto have but an historical interest. It is true that
to-day in many ways by many men Vierge is nearly approached, but he has
been the inspirer and the master of them all.

The ninety little process blocks in Bonhoure's edition showed the
knowledge of the past, combined with the brilliancy and go of the
present. But after a certain page there came a blank, and the
letter-press dragged on--a libretto without the music. All that one knew
was contained in a short note by the publisher: Vierge had been stricken
with a grave malady, for some years he disappeared as a working artist.
Those years, however, were spent in struggling against an affliction
which would have killed a man less strong, but from which he has emerged
able to complete his most important work. I am sure that Vierge would be
the last, either himself to advertise his frightful misfortune, now
happily over, or to wish to have it advertised by others. It is enough
to say that when his entire right side was paralysed, and he lost the
power of speech, he simply trained himself to work with his left hand,
and to-day, as is proved by the last twenty illustrations in this book,
and the pages of _Le Monde Illustré_ week after week, he is producing
drawings which are unsurpassed.

I hate and abominate the painter who fills columns with the recital of
his misfortunes, telling you how he lost his paint brush, or how he had
never a canvas of the right size, and soulfully lamenting the degeneracy
of an age which knows quite too much to appreciate him. I can almost
worship a man who silently conquers a living death.

Vierge is an artist who, like all great artists, has worked for his
art--and his bread and butter. He is an illustrator, and, though
therefore he has no hope of devoting a gallery to his own glorification,
any Museum which might be so fortunate as to secure the original
drawings from which these reproductions were made, would become for
artists a place of pilgrimage.

[Illustration]

His first publisher thought it enough to state, in the smallest possible
types on the title page, that the story of _Pablo_ was _illustrée de
nombreux dessins par D. Vierge_--many publishers are not even so
generous as this, and ignore the artist-illustrator altogether. To give
the man, to whose genius the whole reason of the new edition was due, a
few lines in a publisher's preface, was, I suppose, very kind and
thoughtful and considerate. But the French Government has since
decorated Vierge with the Legion of Honour, and the French artists have
awarded him a gold medal for these very designs. The charm and
interest of the old illuminated missals lie not in the text, which often
can be gotten elsewhere or is of no account, but in the pictures or
decorations themselves, the work of the illustrators of that day. While
the illuminations are prized, the names of the artists are usually
forgotten. So, too, the work of contemporary illustrators is almost
invariably dismissed by the critic with a sneer or with patronage, if
indeed it be noticed at all. Still, there are some of us who know that
these _great little masters_ of illustration have spent more time and
thought over the production of the _cuts_ which _embellish_ an author,
than the author himself did on the text, and not infrequently knows far
more about the subject. But because the criticism of books is, as a
rule, in the hands of men who know nothing about art, their drawings are
ignored. Or perhaps the degeneracy of modern illustration, and the want
of ability of engravers and reproductive artists, is lamented by men who
could not tell the difference between a process block and an etching,
though they are certain that the old work, the originals of which they
never saw, is much better than that which we are doing to-day and which
they do not want to see.

Fewer people, probably, have seen Vierge's Quevedo since it has been
published, than in a day sit and gape, and yawn in awe-struck ignorance
before the Sistine Madonna; and yet the latter is as blatant a piece of
shoddy commercialism as has ever been produced; the Quevedo is a pure
work of art. Indeed, never in the history of the world were there such
marvellous drawings produced as to-day. But while collectors, dealers,
and directors of Museums squabble over a piece of dirty paper, or throw
public funds and private money away for drawings of which, if Dürer or
Rembrandt, or any painter of distinction, perpetrated them, he should
have been ashamed, none has the wit to spend as many pennies on the
drawings of modern men with no popular reputation, as they do pounds for
the work of others who have a widespread, and possibly justly merited
fame, but no knowledge of the art they practise.

Go through the National Galleries of Germany, and though you will find
tons of miserable scrawls produced by painters, outside of Berlin you
will scarcely come across a drawing by Menzel or Klinger. In the
much-belauded gallery of Munich, you will not find an example of Dietz
or any of the men who to-day are the leaders of German art; if you want
to see them you must go to the publishing offices of _Fliegende
Blätter_. And how many Charles Keenes or Frederick Sandys' does the
British nation possess? Or where, outside of the offices of the _Century
Magazine_ and _Harper's_, can you see a comprehensive collection of the
work of American illustrators? In France, if you wish to study drawings
produced by the cleverest of French draughtsmen, you must go, not to the
Louvre or the Luxembourg, but to the Elysée Montmartre or the Chat Noir.
So long as print sellers and curators have no real knowledge of art, one
may expect the present state of affairs to continue.

Until art be taken as seriously as literature, and be discussed with as
much thought and care and attention by men who understand it practically
as well as theoretically--for the theory of art is or no value, and the
practice is everything--illustration will not find its proper place as
one of the most living and important of the fine arts. But, no
matter--the great illustrator is quite as much of a creator as the great
painter or the great sculptor. If the illustrator print his conception
of an author's meaning upon the same page as the latter's text, this
does not belittle him any more than it increases a painter's greatness
to give his picture the place of honour in a Museum, or the sculptor's
genius to allow him to obstruct the traffic of a street.

The first issue of _Pablo de Segovia_ completely revolutionised the art
of illustration and created a new school of illustrators, the influence
of which is now felt all over the world, even by artists to whom the
name of Vierge is absolutely unknown, and by critics who, in praising
their friends, are really only testifying to the greatness of the master
whose name they never heard. And here I should like to say that I make
no pretension to having discovered Daniel Vierge, although I have been
accused of it; this book discovered him to all artists.

When it came to reproduction, most of the drawings had to be much
reduced. This was beautifully done by Gillot (and it is interesting to
compare the latter's work of ten years ago with that in this volume done
by him to-day), while the printing of Lahure was most careful and
satisfactory; but the appearance of Vierge's work in many cases was
entirely changed, though he himself knew how it would be changed.
Vierge, as anyone can see from these new reproductions, drew openly,
freely, boldly, but most carefully. The reproductions in Bonhoure's
edition gave one the impression of exquisite delicacy, a refinement of
line which did not altogether exist in the original drawings, but was
produced because the artist knew exactly what he wanted, and because the
engraver was able to obtain it.

The drawings were made upon white paper--Bristol board or drawing
paper--with a pen and liquid Indian ink. Vierge uses now a glass pen
like an old stylus, and this, I believe, he prefers to all others. The
drawings were then given to Gillot, the photo-engraver, who, by means of
photography and handwork, produced in a metal block a reproduction of
the original drawing which could be printed with type. It is a
favourite, but fallacious, statement of the art critics that mechanical
reproduction not only ruins the drawing, but is not to be compared to
facsimile woodcutting. This is absolutely untrue if the artist is a
craftsman, and the engraver, who is a craftsman, is also an artist.
Vierge and Gillot fulfill these conditions. No woodcutter, not even
Whitney, Collins, Gamm or Léveillé (there are, unfortunately, none in
England to be considered) could reproduce any one of these drawings in
the wood a bit better than Gillot has done by the mechanical process.
Many of Vierge's lines are so clear and so pure and so simple, that they
would be comparatively easy to cut in the wood. Other arrangements of
lines are so complex, that no woodcutter could ever follow them, but
would have to suggest them. Gillot has reproduced them perfectly, and
almost altogether by mechanical means. But, granted that the woodcutters
could have made equally good reproductions, unless you could find a
consummate artist, who, for the love of the thing, was willing to give
years of his life to it, it would be much more sensible to do what has
been done--give the work to a mechanical engraver like Gillot. For the
woodcutter would be sure to put some of his own personality into his
block, and for my part I prefer Vierge unadulterated. But it is one of
the art critic's absurd canons of belief that in taking work away from
woodcutters and handing it over to mechanical reproducers you are
ruining the art of wood-engraving. The process man has merely removed
much drudgery from the wood-engraver, and obtained for him the chance to
produce work of his own. In the reproduction of pen drawings like those
of Vierge, nearly as much depends upon the printer as upon anyone else,
and I look forward with much interest to the appearance the book will
present. Even authorities on the subject of illustration continually go
wrong in this matter, by accusing artists, who know perfectly well what
they are about, of being unable to draw for reproduction, when the
engraver's proofs which are sent them are almost perfect, though the
final result is almost invariably ruined, owing in some degree to the
artlessness of printers, who, of course, in a fine book should never be
trusted, but principally to the imperfections of the modern
steam-printing press, and quality of the paper supplied by publishers.
No illustrated book can have full justice done to it unless it is
printed by hand as carefully as an etching. No art critic displays
anything but his small knowledge of the subject when he blames the
artist for what may be due to the incapacity of the engraver or the
imperfections of the press. Though the critic and the public have only
to consider the result--the printed book--in almost every case, the
artist is absolutely helpless, as he is not allowed to have anything to
do with this result. That comparative perfection may be reached has,
however, been shown, on the one hand, by the productions of the
Kelmscott Press in hand-work, and, on the other, by the De Vinne Press
with steam.

Fifty years ago Vierge's illustrations could not have been printed with
type. Because once this could not be done--because until the present
century and the coming of Menzel and Fortuny there never was a man who
could draw like Vierge; are not new styles of reproduction to be
invented for his benefit, and new methods of printing to be employed? No
doubt the early printed books, now the pride of the collector and the
dealer, were sneered at by the illuminator and damned by the critic.
Some day Bonhoure's edition of _Pablo_ will be quite as highly prized as
the most precious Caxton.

I have no intention of going into the analysis of the motives which
prompted Vierge to undertake the illustration of _Pablo de Segovia_. I
have never asked him why he took it up, and most likely if he were asked
it would be impossible for him to suggest any reason, other than that
the book appealed to him. I do not believe that any artist could
definitely explain why he endeavoured to produce a certain work of art.
He merely wanted to do it, and then the opportunity presented itself.
Nor do I think the literary artist would know why he wrote a certain
novel. The idea came to him, and he had to. The literary man can
describe his sensations, and tell you how he actually walked across the
street to see a house, or re-wrote a page which did not please him, or
hunted for months for a character: it is the fashion for him to do so.
The artist experiences the same sensations. He not only has to go across
the street to see the house, but he may probably have to stand before
it, on the side-walk, for a couple of days amidst the crowd and traffic,
working under the most difficult conditions; he too has to search for
his model, and, when he has found him, obtain the actual costumes he
wants, or have them made. The literary man, too, can get almost all his
accessories out of books, or if he has to go to a Museum and cannot send
some one, a glance and a few words are enough. The result, if well done,
is hailed as great literature; but the artist, who probably has worked
quite as long, quite as hard, and put quite as much brains into his
work, is told, if he is told anything, that his drawings are pretty. He
seldom has the opportunity of showing how well and how faithfully he has
done his part. It is more than possible that if he has really studied
his subject carefully the author will not like the result, and the
public will complain because the artist has given them more than the
author was able to make them see for themselves, or else they will
demand a photograph because he has made them look at nature with his
eyes.

However, it cannot any longer be said that the illustrator's life is not
reasonably successful. The Paris Exhibition of 1889 brought the gold
medal, to which I have referred, to Vierge for these very drawings, and
the French nation has since decorated him, and in his case it certainly
was a reward for merit and nothing else. Then, also, in illustrating a
book like _Pablo_, of course a certain amount of latitude was allowable.
The artist could pick and choose his architecture in the most
picturesque spots of Spain, and produce a harmonious whole. Nor did he
have to consider Quevedo's personal whims; in this case the author,
being dead, could not demand that the artist should illustrate exactly
those portions of his work which are not illustratable, or which do not
appeal to him. He could work away at just the time when he wished to;
having no _Salon_ to get ready for, he could make his drawings in
whatever fashion he chose, trying all kinds of methods and experiments,
with no hanging committee to reject him because his originality would
cast their own productions into the shade; he could then have his
drawings joyfully accepted by a publisher, and work sympathetically with
the engraver and printer. But it was just when he thought success within
his grasp, and the book was almost finished, that he was paralysed.
Vierge's case, so far as the first edition of _Pablo_ is concerned, is
one of the most cruel. The relations of artists and publishers that is,
publishers who understand the production of fine books--have usually
been happy. But there are exceptions.

I cannot point out whether these drawings, from the author's point of
view, illustrate the text. I have never read the whole book. But I only
care to consider the illustrations as the most remarkable series of
little pictures in black and white that have been produced. That this
will be admitted I do not believe for a minute. More probably Dürer or
Botticelli will be cited, and the nobility of their composition
extolled, and the purity of their ideals dilated upon, while the
meanness of Vierge's imagination, and the baseness of his ideals, are
exhibited as a painful contrast. I find, however, Vierge's true and
brilliant realism much more interesting than the conventional idealism
of the past. The man who can interest and delight you by the way he
draws an old shoe, or a broken pot, as Vierge has done, is quite as
great as he who must take a heavenly host to produce the same
impression.

And from the point of view of technique Vierge's work is the most
perfect that has been done, and it is this quality alone--that is
technique--which has made the reputation of Rembrandt and Velasquez. It
is not because of its subject that a picture is great, but because of
the manner in which it is worked out. To rank subject above execution,
from which it is absolutely inseparable, is intolerable to the artist,
and is merely a device of the inartistic to palm off their incompetent
productions. Nowhere save among Teutonic nations would it be necessary
to make this explanation. But in a land where _Art_ with a _Mission_,
and a big _A_, has descended upon the people, it cannot be too strongly
insisted upon. It may be well, therefore, to show wherein the greatness
of Vierge's technique lies.

It is most evident in his power of expressing many facts with the fewest
possible lines. Each one of these lines is put down with the thought of
the engraver for ever in his mind. This, however, does not mean that he
is less free in his handling. It merely implies his complete command of
his materials. The art of leaving out, and yet conveying the right
impression, probably is the most difficult in the world. Like all art,
which is most subtle, it appears ridiculously easy. Every line is drawn
with the utmost care--a care so great that it is not apparent. The
figures in the little pictures are worked out with a thorough knowledge
of anatomy. The architecture and landscapes, and especially one or two
drawings of mountains, have been studied and rendered in marvellous
fashion. All these pictures are filled with the sunlight and atmosphere
of the south; and all look so simple and so slight that anyone would
think he could almost do them himself. Possibly he could--almost. For
the boundary between good work and bad is nearly imperceptible; in fact,
it is quite so except to a few artists. And it is really only to those
few artists that a work of art does truly appeal in its entirety.

This, as a whole, is the last and the most important complete work which
Vierge has ever produced. But for a man who probably has so many working
years before him--Vierge cannot be much more than forty--it may be the
first of a long series of masterpieces. I know that he has schemes for
such work in his head, and he has now found the most important person
for an illustrator--a publisher. But even should he never be able to
realise his dreams of illustrating the great authors of his own country,
he has already done more than most men: not only has he produced work
which has delighted the artistic world, work which will live, but he has
created a method and a science of illustration acknowledged by the few
to be hitherto unequalled for brilliancy of execution and adaptability
for the printing press.

JOSEPH PENNELL.

NOTE.--At my request, Vierge has furnished the following brief details
of so much of his life and work as he wishes to make public:--

_20 Fevrier, 1892._

     _ ...Je suis né le 5 Mars, 1851, des l'âge de 3 ans je commençais à
     crayonner, il parait que c'était mon seul amusement d'enfant; mon
     pêre me voyant des dispositions serieuses pour le dessin me fit
     travailler sans relâche._

     _Ma santé jusqu'à 7 ans était délicate; pour ce motif mes parents
     ont quetté la ville, pour habiter un endroit, prés de Madrid, nommé
     Pinto, et là tout en remettant ma santé du matin au soir je prenais
     des croquis d'après nature._

     _En 1864 j'entrais à l'école des Beaux Arts de Madrid, J'avais
     comme maîtres_, Madrazo, Fédérico, M. de Hatt, Borglini, _etc. En
     1865, le 18 Juillet, j'obtonais une mention honorable notée
     excelente. En 1866, le 8 Juillet, même récompense; en 1867, le 16
     Juin, un diplome d'honneur. C'est à cette époque que j'ai illustré_
     "Madrid la Nuit," _écrit par_ Eusebio Blasco; "Les Mystéres de Rome
     et du Globe." _A la suite au musée de Madrid, j'ai copié quantité
     d'études de peinture d'après_ Velasquez _et_ Gohia. _En 1869
     j'arrivais à Paris avec l'espoire de ne faire que de la peinture, à
     peine dans cette ville la guerre Franco-Allemande éclata, par cet
     incident je me suis trouvé accaparé par_ "Le Monde Illustré" _et
     par_ "La Vie Moderne." _A cette même époque j'ai illustré quantité
     de livres, entres autres_, "Les Travailleurs de la Mer," "Année
     Terrible," "Notre-Dame de Paris" _et d'autres écrits par_ Victor
     Hugo; "La Mosaïque," "Le Musée des Familles," "Le Magasin
     Pitoresque," "Le Grand Tacagno" _de_ Quevedo, "Les Contes"
     _d_'Edgar Poe, _et aussi_ "L'histoire de France et la Revolution"
     _de_ Michelet _et quantité d'autres. En 1882 je fus nommé
     commandant ordinaire de la Reine d'Espagne Isabelle la Catholique.
     Le 29 Septembre, 1889, j'ai reçu la médaille d'or à l'Exposition
     Universelle de Paris de 1889, et le 29 Novembre, 1889, ma
     décoration de Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur...._

VIERGE.



QUEVEDO AND HIS WORKS:

_With an Essay on the_ Picaresque _Novel_.


Not more unquestioned is Cervantes' claim to be the first of Spanish
humorists than that of Quevedo to be the second. Among his own
countrymen the title, which is generally the more disputable, has been
by a singular consensus of opinion assigned to Quevedo. The author of
_Don Quixote_ apart, who is with the Immortals, there is no greater name
among the writers of Spain than that of the author of _The Visions_, of
_Don Pablo_, of innumerable poems, pamphlets, satires, pieces of wit,
and works serious, moral, sportive, and fanciful. In that Golden Age,
prolific of authors, the hundred years between the birth of Cervantes
and the prime of Calderon, there was no genius so fruitful in every kind
of intellectual product. Poet, politician, humorist, satirist,
theologian, moralist, historian, novelist--Quevedo stands out a prodigy
of learning, wit, and quick and various invention, even among the crowd
of gifted writers who made that period famous in letters. He has been
called the Spanish Juvenal--the Spanish Ovid--the Spanish Lucian. He is
something of all these, and yet is unlike any of them. He wrote lyrics
with the grace, simplicity, and ease of Horace. He is as prodigal of
humour as Rabelais, whom he resembles also in his unfastidiousness, his
obscurity, and his extravagance. He has been likened to our English
Swift, to whom he is akin in the quality of his mordant wit, and almost
approaches in his anti-humanity; but he is lacking in the creative force
of the author of _Gulliver_. Not unlike Swift was Quevedo in fortune as
in genius, for it was disappointed ambition which wore out his heart and
drove him to satire, to visions, and assaults on human folly and vice.

From his earliest years Quevedo was marked for distinction. When
scarcely more than twenty-three he corresponded with the great scholars
of Germany and the Low Countries, the great Lipsius hailing him as
_magnum decus Hispanorum_, and in complimentary epistles urging him to
undertake the vindication of Homer. If we may believe the contemporary
records, Quevedo had by this time acquired all profane knowledge and
human learning. He was versed in all the languages, even Hebrew, Greek,
and Arabic. He began to write early, and continued to write during the
whole of his busy and turbulent life, with an industry, energy, and
fecundity which made him the wonder of his age. The catalogue of his
works embraces every department of authorship, and there appears to be
no species of composition, from an exhortation to a holy life to the
more than ribald canzonet, which he did not attempt. The gayest themes
were as much to his mind as the gravest studies, and from _Paul the
Apostle_ he could pass at will to _Paul the Sharper_, with no apparent
effort of wit or strain of conscience. Some of his works have been lost,
but enough remains to testify to the astonishing vigour, exuberance, and
versatility of his genius. There are religious treatises and biographies
of saints, a _Defence of the Faith_, and a homily on the sacred cradle
and sepulchre. There is a metrical translation of _Epictetus_, and
another of (the false) _Phocylides_. There is a life of _Marcus Brutus_.
There are letters to kings and statesmen, and tracts on the currency.
There are satires in verse and lampoons in prose. There are poems, odes,
ballads, and sonnets innumerable. Even the drama he did not leave
unattempted, though his comedies have perished, together with many other
works, including _Considerations on the New Testament_ and a _Treatise
on the Immortality of the Soul_. Finally, there is the _picaresque_
novel here presented to the English reader under the title of _Don Pablo
de Segovia_, or _Paul the Sharper_.

Francisco de Quevedo, or, to give him his full title, Francisco de Gomez
de Quevedo Villegas, was born at Madrid on the 26th of September, 1580.
He was thus thirty-three years younger than Cervantes, eighteen years
younger than Lope de Vega, and some twenty years older than Calderon.
His father had been a servant to the Emperor Charles V., and his mother
was a lady in attendance upon Philip II.'s fourth wife, Anne of Austria.
The family of Quevedo drew its source from the mountains of Old Castile,
near Burgos. This was a circumstance of which every good Spaniard of the
age was proud, as proving that he was descended from the pure Gothic
race, who maintained their hold of the soil even after the Moorish
invasion, and therefore was an _old Christian_, of blood unmixed with
Moor or Jew. From his parents' position the young Francisco must have
been early trained in the life of the Court and brought into contact
with those who dispensed the power and patronage of the king. He was
educated at the University of Alcalá de Henares, then in the height of
its fame. At fifteen he graduated in theology, and soon afterwards
acquired great distinction for his attainments in the civil and common
law and in the learned languages. That he was early distinguished as a
scholar is proved by his correspondence with Lipsius and other foreign
men of learning, by whom he was addressed as an equal. For some time,
however, Quevedo seems to have lived the usual life of a gay cavalier of
the Court, indulging, as he confesses himself, in the pleasures of his
age and the time, and taking part in those adventures which formed
matter for his lighter works. At twenty-three he was already a poet
distinguished enough to be included in Espinosa's _Flores de Poetas
Ilustres_ (1603). A few years afterwards was published the first
collection of his prose satires, which are better known to the world as
_Visions_--the _Zahurdas de Pluton_ (_Pigstyes of Pluto_), with a
dedication to the Conde de Lemos--a Mæcenas of the period, to whom
afterwards Cervantes dedicated the second part of his _Don Quixote_. The
pieces which are known as _Visions_ are among the most characteristic
and original, as they have been the most popular, of all Quevedo's
works. They bear such titles as _El Sueño de las Calaveras_ (_The Dream
of Skulls_); _El Alguacil Alguacilado_ (_The Catchpole Caught_); _Visita
de los Chistes_ (_Visitation of the Jests_); _El Mundo por de Dentro_
(_The World Inside Out_); _El Entremetido, la Dueña, y el Soplon_ (_The
Intermeddler, the Duenna, and the Informer_); and (the authorship of
which is more doubtful) _La Casa de los Locos de Amor_ (_The House of
the Love-Madmen_). These, which were published at various times, are
satires of a kind then new to the world, or known only in the works of
Lucian; audacious and somewhat extravagant of conception; abounding in
wit, in fancy, and in humour; various in character and in design, but
all intended to ridicule or censure some reigning folly or vice or
abuse. They have been called _Visions_ because most of them are cast in
the form of dreams, in which the author takes us into the world below,
among the Devil and his attendants, who are introduced with many lively
touches of wit and strokes of humour. It is an invention which has been
in favour with poets and satirists of all time, from Lucian to Dante,
and from Dante to Lord Byron.

By these _Visions_ (by himself never so called collectively) the name of
Quevedo has been chiefly made known out of Spain. They are among the
most characteristic of his works, in which his audacious humour and
impetuous fancy found full exercise and a congenial element. They have
been often translated into the various European languages, and were much
read and quoted in the commerce of letters. Besides these, the _Visions_
proper, which are serious satires levelled at the abuses and the evils
of the times, there were numerous other squibs, jests, and pasquinades,
of less solid substance or of lower aim, in rebuke of the fashionable
follies or the vulgar tastes, such as _El Cuento de los Cuentos_ (_The
Tale of Tales_), which is levelled at the excessive use of proverbs; _El
Caballero de la Tenaza_ (_The Knight of the Forceps_), being the apology
of a miser for himself; _La Perinola_ (_The Teetotum_), which is a
personal attack on the fussy and frivolous Perez de Montalvan, one of
Quevedo's favourite butts. There are numerous others, of which the very
titles are so coarse as not to be fit for mention--ephemeral and
obscure, which have died with the occasions which gave them birth.

That at least before 1613 Quevedo was esteemed, by those best capable of
judging, as among the best wits of the time, appears from the very
flattering notice of him which is contained in Cervantes' _Viage del
Parnaso_ (_Voyage to Parnassus_). He is there called _Apollo's son--son
of the Muse Calliope_; and his aid is declared to be absolutely
necessary in the war which the god of poetry is about to wage with the
bad poets. It is true that Cervantes was in the habit of praising almost
everybody, but from the warmth of the terms used, and from other
indications in Quevedo's own works, we may infer that the two greatest
wits of the period had, as great wits rarely have, a just appreciation
of each other. Lope de Vega also, who was of a different order of
genius, as well of a nature dissimilar, ever suspicious of a rival and
jealous of the applause given to another, could bring himself to speak
of Quevedo in his _Laurel de Apolo_ as _prince of the lyric poets_, the
Juvenal of Spanish verse, who might rival Pindar and replace Apollo
himself if the god were to fail.

But before Quevedo had made his name in letters he was destined to earn
distinction in a public career, which afforded him a rare opportunity
for displaying the versatility of his talents and the soundness of his
judgment. Debarred from the profession of arms by his physical
infirmity--he was lame of both feet from his birth--he was driven to
seek a career in civil employment. An adventure which befell him at
Madrid served to fix his destiny. Being in a church at Madrid during the
Holy Week, he saw a gallant of the Court offer a gross insult to a
modest woman. He interfered to protect her, swords were drawn, and
Quevedo slew the aggressor. The slain man being discovered to be a
person of rank, nearly related to those who had power at Court, Quevedo
was forced to fly the country, taking refuge in Sicily, then a
dependency of Spain. The governor or viceroy of the island was Don Pedro
Tellez Giron, Duke of Osuna, a powerful grandee, of whom it was said
that _nature made him a very little gentleman and his deeds a very great
lord_; a man of mark in the civil and military transactions of Philip
III. Quevedo was made his secretary by the Duke, and employed in many
delicate and important affairs of state, in all of which he is declared
to have proved, on the Duke's own testimony, his prudence, courage, and
ability. The Duke of Osuna was transferred, in 1615, from the government
of Sicily to that of Naples, and thither he was followed by Quevedo, who
was made Minister of Finance. In the interval between his employment in
Sicily and his higher office at Naples, Quevedo was despatched to Madrid
on a confidential mission in connection with the revenues of the island,
and was able to commend himself so greatly to the authorities that the
affair of the fatal duel was condoned and a pension of four hundred
ducats bestowed on him. At Naples Quevedo discharged his duties of
financial secretary with great ability and conspicuous success, so that
we are told that, while he reduced the burdens of the people, he
augmented the revenues of the State. During the years following he seems
to have been employed in various high and secret diplomatic businesses
in connection with the policy of the ambitious and turbulent Duke, his
master, being entrusted with the duties of a plenipotentiary at Rome and
at Venice, and managing them, according to the contemporary historians,
with much address and discretion. In the course of his political
adventures Quevedo was involved, in 1617, in that strange affair among
conspiracies which has since been so great a puzzle to historians, the
so-called _Conjuracion de Venise_, which has furnished St. Real with a
subject for his history, and Otway with characters and a plot for his
tragedy. Whether there really was, on the part of the Spanish Viceroy of
Naples, an attempt to overthrow the government of the Venetian Republic,
or whether, as later historians are inclined to believe, the whole
business was planned by the agents of the Venetian Senate to enable them
to reach certain of their political enemies, is a question which is
still under controversy--a controversy in which we are not concerned to
take a part. Certain it is that Quevedo contrived, as an agent of Spain,
to make himself a person the most ungrateful to the Republic, which
pursued him, for some months afterwards, with a fury of hate and
bitterness of malice, which, though flattering to his character of
political _intriguant_, seem irreconcilable with the theory of his
innocence. He even ran a narrow risk of losing his life when on a visit,
apparently secret and unauthorized, to Venice. He was chased by the
officers of justice, and only escaped, we are told, through the
completeness of his disguise, being habited in the rags of a beggar, and
his perfect command of the Venetian dialect. He had the honour of being
afterwards burnt in effigy, a compliment he returned by pouring a stream
of invective on Venice and her government out of the resources of his
abundant rhetoric. Venice he called _the lumber-house of the world--the
toll-booth of princes--a republic such as cannot be credited and cannot
be forgotten--greater than it is fitting for her to be, and less than
she gives herself out to be; powerful in treaties, and feeble in power;
sumptuous in arsenals, profuse in ships; terrible to those who fear the
hulks of a fleet, where fleet is none--a dominion which exposes the
hollowness of many fears. It is a state the more prone to dissensions of
all that exist, more hurtful to her friends than to her enemies, whose
embrace is a peaceful war_,--with a good deal else, in a tone which
savours of very bitter recollections.

Quevedo had now arrived at the zenith of his fame and fortunes. In 1617
he was in Madrid, where he was received with great honour by the King,
Philip III., and his minister, the all-powerful Duke of Lerma. He was
advanced to the much-coveted distinction of a Knight of the Order of
Santiago. The highest posts seemed to be awaiting him at home, through
favour of the feeble and besotted King, then under the influence of a
corrupt and incapable favourite, who was himself ruled by his minion,
Don Rodrigo Calderon. The ambition of Quevedo, as all his serious works
clearly show, was rather for power as a man of affairs than for fame as
a man of letters. But now he was destined to encounter a sudden change
of fortune. The death of Philip III. brought to the throne, in 1621, his
son, Philip IV., then a lad of seventeen, under the dominion of his
gentleman of the bedchamber, known to history as the Count-Duke
Olivares. All the principal officers of the late administration were
dismissed in disgrace. Even the powerful and able Duke of Osuna, whose
brilliant and successful rule in Naples had shed so much lustre on the
reign of the feeble Philip III., was recalled from his post. His
ministers and secretaries were involved in his fate. Quevedo was
sentenced to exile from Court, and confined to his patrimonial village
of La Torre de Juan Abad, where he was kept in a kind of imprisonment
for more than three years. To a man of his fervid temperament and
aspiring hopes this was a punishment worse than death, which seems for
ever after to have embittered his soul and soured his temper. Writing to
the President of Castile to complain of his miserable state and the
treatment to which he was subjected, he tells him that _he had seen many
men condemned to death, but no one condemned to make away with himself_.
He was ultimately allowed to go free without being told of what charge
there had been against him or any reason given for his detention.
Henceforth Quevedo seems to have abandoned all hopes of preferment at
Court, exhibiting more philosophy and more steadfastness in his resolve
to abstain from further thoughts of political life than other men of
letters have shown, in a similar turn of fate, who have been endowed
with the same taste for the delights of office. He seems to have
recovered some portion of the royal favour. He was offered various high
posts in the State, among others the embassy to Genoa, but he refused
them, and would only accept the honorary title of King's Secretary. He
did not wholly exclude himself from politics, however, but, like Swift,
continued to vex himself with public affairs, showing by his sensibility
to the follies and errors of statesmen where his heart lay, and what was
the secret of the _saeva indignatio_ by which he was tortured. He was
free with his pen in condemnation of crying abuses and defects in the
administration. He was prolific of letters, pamphlets, and satires in
prose and verse, all written with a boldness and freedom to which the
age was unaccustomed, which brought their author frequently into
trouble. He assailed a scheme for the debasement of the coinage with a
courage and a power of wit and sarcasm such as were not excelled even by
the famous Drapier, on the same theme, a hundred years later. He exposed
certain abuses in the distribution of the patronage of the military
order of Santiago with a fearlessness which cost him another period of
banishment from Court. He wrote letters to the King of France (Louis
XIII.) and others, more or less directly impugning the conduct of
affairs then under the worthless favourite, the Count-Duke of Olivares.

In 1634 Quevedo, being in his fifty-fourth year, married--to the
surprise, and somewhat to the amusement, of his friends. His way of life
hitherto had scarcely been such as to proclaim his confidence in the
married state; and a letter which he had written to his friend, the
widowed Duchess of Lerma, on the qualities required of a wife, had
seemed to set his standard of taste so high as to condemn him to
celibacy. His wife died soon after their marriage, leaving Quevedo with
fresh troubles, arising out of his satirical humour, or rather from his
reputation for satire. He had betaken himself, after his wife's death,
to his country retreat at Torre de Juan Abad to seek consolation in
literature; and this was probably his busiest period of production. He
wrote a life of Marcus Brutus, of which the scarcely concealed intention
was to point to the Cæsar who then tyrannized over Spain. He aimed
satires in verse, after the classical model, at the reigning favourite.
He wrote the _Politica de Dios y Gobierno de Cristo_ (_Policy of God and
Government of Christ_), which, under the guise of a religious work, was
a biting satire on the King and the Count-Duke. He wrote other works,
some of which have perished, distinguished by elegance of style and
energy of expression, none of them deserving of more than a passing
mention, and all belonging rather to the political history than to the
literature of Spain. To this period also, probably, are to be referred
the greater part of those satirical works, under the name of _Visions_,
which have chiefly contributed to make the name of Quevedo known to the
nations outside of Spain--those bitter, half-humorous, half-serious, and
all-fantastical inventions, such as _The Dream of Skulls_ and _The World
Inside Out_.

In 1639, when it might have seemed to him that Fortune had already done
her worst to plague him, and he had no more either to hope or fear from
kings or ministers, there happened to Quevedo the worst of all the
calamities which marked his busy and troubled life. A satirical sonnet
was found under the King's napkin at supper, which contained violent
reflections on the Government of the Count-Duke Olivares. Quevedo was
believed to be the author, and, without any inquiry or trial, he was
seized at dead of night, in the Duke of Medina Celi's palace, and
hurried off to a dungeon under the cells of the Royal Convent of San
Marcos at Leon. Here he was kept in strict confinement for nearly four
years, in spite of a pitiful appeal to Olivares, in which, while
protesting his innocence of the offence imputed to him, Quevedo wrote:
_No clemency can add many years to my life; no rigour can take many
away_. He was asked to declare which of the many satires there were
going about were his and which were not, but he returned a proud and
disdainful answer. The real author of the lampoon for which Quevedo was
punished was discovered soon after, but this made little or no
difference in the treatment to which he was subjected. In vain did he
entreat the Count-Duke for justice and relief. He pleaded that he was
blind of the left eye, crippled, and afflicted with ulcers, declaring
that he sought not liberty but change of regimen and of prison, _and
this change, the gospel says, Christ granted to a great number of devils
who besought it of Him_. In vain were all these pleas. They were
probably glad to be able to silence, on any pretext, that bold and
biting tongue, which had already done so much to proclaim to posterity
the iniquities of the Government. It was not until after the fall of the
Count-Duke himself, amidst the rejoicings of the whole nation, that
Quevedo was restored to liberty. But his four years' imprisonment,
during part of which time he had been treated, as he complains, _like a
wild beast_ shut up alone without human intercourse, had ruined his
health and broken his spirits. His estate had been sequestrated, and he
was never able to recover more than a small part of it, so that poverty
was added, for the first time in his life, to his other trials. Worn out
by his infirmities, he died at last, of an imposthume in the chest,
contracted during his imprisonment in a damp cell of the Convent, on the
8th of September, 1645, having previously made his peace with God and
the Church in the usual manner.

More fortunate than his master and great contemporary, Cervantes,
Quevedo survives in canvas and in marble, so that we are able to realize
the external features of the man. His portrait by Velasquez,
representing him with a huge pair of spectacles on his nose and the
cross of Santiago on his left bosom, is that by which he is best known.
There is also a bust of him in the Public Library at Madrid. The first
of his biographers, the Neapolitan Tarsia, has drawn this picture of
him, evidently from recollection, in words: _Quevedo was of middling
stature; his hair black and somewhat frizzled_ (encrespado), _his eyes
very brilliant, but so short of sight that he constantly wore
spectacles; the nose and other features well proportioned; and of a
medium frame well made above, although lame and crippled in both feet,
which were twisted inwards; somewhat bulky without being misshapen; very
fair of countenance, and in the main with all those marks co-existent in
his person which physiognomists commend as indicating a good temperament
and a virtuous disposition_. His biography by Tarsia, published in 1663,
is a dull and tedious piece of work. By far the best account of Quevedo
is that which I have made the basis of this sketch, the biography
attached to the only complete collection of Quevedo's works, by Don
Aureliano Fernandez Guerra y Orbe, which forms three volumes in
Rivadeneyra's _Biblioteca de los Autores Españoles_. The _Essai sur la
Vie et les OEuvres de Quevedo_, by Ernest Merimée (Paris, 1886), is a
careful and painstaking work, of which the materials have been taken
from Guerra y Orbe.

To judge the character of the man is easier for posterity than to
estimate the worth of his products in literature. The greater part of
his writings, those which brought him most fame in his lifetime, men
have ceased to read even in Spain itself. Of the eleven octavo volumes
which constituted the first complete edition of Quevedo's works
(1791-94) it may be said that it would be no loss to the world had
three-fourths shared the doom which their author, on his death-bed,
requested might overtake them all. The orthodox would thus have been
saved much scandal, the expurgators a great deal of trouble, the critics
and the commentators an endless amount of curious inquiry. The theology
and the politics (these in Quevedo are much confused) have already
perished. The satires have been visited by the destiny which invariably
attends the works of wit which are dedicated to passing uses, when
literature stoops to the service of politics.

But while the graver works of Quevedo, those which won him the applause
of the learned and the favour of the great, have perished or are sunk
into oblivion, there have survived enough of those lighter pieces born
of his humour or his fancy, which he could scarcely be got to own in his
lifetime, to keep his name alive and to secure for him a permanent place
in literature. His lyrics are among the best in the language, and still
keep their place in every collection of classic Castilian poetry. Those
written in his early days, which include odes, sonnets, ballads,
_quintillas_, and _redondillas_, mostly cast in a light and graceful
mould, are distinguished for elegance of language, delicacy of fancy,
and simple, tender expression. His burlesque poems (which include some
pieces of a breadth such as excludes them from polite society), written
in the _picaresque_ dialect, of which, like Cervantes, he was a past
master--the _Jácaras_, in which the people, the _gitanos_, the _jaques_,
and the _buzos_, speak the language of _Germania_--the _langue verte_ of
Spain--are said still to be heard in the country, sung to the strumming
of guitars. His regular verse is chiefly satire in the manner of
Juvenal, against the corruption of morals and the evils of
misgovernment. Of his prose writings the best are those which are purely
sportive and fanciful, without serious intention, as the _Visita de los
Chistes_, where he makes pleasant fun of the personages which figure in
the old proverbs and popular sayings, as Mateo Pico, who is enshrined in
the phrase, _No dijerá mas Mateo Pico_; Agrages, the boaster from
_Amadis of Gaul_, who is for ever quoted as saying, _Agora lo verédes_
(see _Don Quixote, passim_); Pero Grullo, the prophet who prophesied
only of what he knew had come to pass; Calainos, of the ballad
_Cabalgaba Calainos_; Don Diego de Noche; Marta, who is for ever
expressing her satisfaction that though she died she died with a
bellyful; and Villadiego, whose breeches have immortalized his name;
with Juan Ramos, and the rest. The fun which Quevedo makes out of this
flimsy material is only to be understood by those who know the proverbs
of Spain, and the great part they play in the national talk and
literature.

Less innocent, perhaps, are some of Quevedo's other burlesque pieces,
which neither gods, men, nor county councillors may allow. In these the
poet sins, however, more from carelessness of humour than grossness of
imagination. It is not his ideas that are nasty so much as his words
which are coarse. He uses words at random, and is reckless of the effect
produced, letting his fancy run away with his pen, to the detriment of
his art. He is wanting in the exquisite simplicity and delicacy of the
master of whose work he was a chief admirer, whose style he followed,
and in whose path he attempted to walk--his friend, Miguel de Cervantes.
So passionate was his love for _Don Quixote_ that we are told he would
throw down the book in an ecstasy and declare that he would gladly burn
all his works to be able to write something like _Don Quixote_. Between
the two wits it is pleasant to record that there was nothing like
jealousy. Cervantes, in the references he makes to Quevedo, seems to
speak with more than his wonted kindliness of the younger man, as
though from personal intimacy. In the _Voyage to Parnassus_ Quevedo is
rallied upon his lameness with a freedom which only a friend might take.
In summing up the roll of the good poets who are to be Apollo's allies
in the winning of Parnassus, the name of Quevedo is last on the list.
But Cervantes interrupts the god-messenger to remind him of Quevedo's
infirmity:--

    _Scarce can Francisco de Quevedo be_
        _In time, I said. Nay, quoth he, on this cruise_
        _I do not go, unless he go with me;_
    _He is Apollo's son, son of the Muse_
        _Calliope; we cannot, it is clear,_
        _Go hence without him; I do not choose;_
    _He is the scourge of all the poets drear,_
        _And from Parnassus, at the point of wit,_
        _Will chase the miscreants we expect and fear!_
    _My lord, I said, his pace is most unfit,_
        _He'll be a century upon the route!_
        _Quoth Mercury: It matters not a whit;_
    _For be the poet gentleman to boot,_
        _Upon a dappled cloud, and through the air,_
        _He shall be borne, his courtly taste to suit!_[1]

In the delightful prose appendix to the same poem, the _Adjunta al
Parnaso_, Don Pancracio de Roncesvalles brings to Cervantes' house a
letter from the god Apollo, dated the 22nd of July, 1614. In this there
is another reference to Quevedo: _If Don Francisco de Quevedo hath not
left for Sicily, where they await him, seize him by the hand and tell
him he must not fail to visit me in a neighbourly way; for his late
sudden departure gave me no time to talk with him._

Quevedo's worldly circumstances, as the owner of a landed estate, and
his rank in the public service under the powerful Duke of Osuna, kept
him, happily, free from that necessity of writing for bread which
oppressed the fine genius but could not stifle the kind heart of the
author of _Don Quixote_. But they did not preserve him from the envy of
his other less fortunate brothers of the pen. With Lope de Vega, with
whom he could have no rivalry, whom he survived ten years, his
relations seem to have been tolerably friendly--that is to say, they
exchanged compliments and commendatory sonnets. With Góngora there was
too much similarity of humour to be much love. They had various tilts at
each other, in which there was too much venom spilt for either to emerge
with honour. When Góngora abandoned his early simplicity of style and
took to that affected and extravagant way of writing which came to be
called after him, _Gongorismo_, which corresponded to the disease called
_Euphuism_ in England and _Marinism_ in Italy--Quevedo took up his lance
against the intruder and in defence of the language, writing a pamphlet,
_La Culta Latiniparla_, in which, under the guise of a catechism for the
instruction of ladies of culture in the new way of speech, he quizzes
his rival and the new invention very happily. A French critic and
student of Spanish letters, M. Germond de Lavigne, in his account of
Quevedo, has shown himself so far lost to the sense of humour as to call
this piece _un discours critique litteraire_; which is as though we
should class Swift's _Argument against the Abolition of Christianity_
among works of devotion. Quevedo's wit had little effect in checking the
depraved fashion of writing; and it is sad to tell that he himself, in
his later years, was infected with the barbarous taste, and Gongorized
like the rest. Góngora bitterly resented the attack upon his style, and
there passed between the two much dyslogistic verse in the shape of
epigram and sonnet. Góngora relieves his feelings by a poem in which he
charges his critic with being no great scholar, and with _wandering slow
with heavy pace_--one who _sleeps in Spanish and dreams in
Greek_--insinuating that he is unsound in his religion. In another
sonnet Góngora sneers at his critic's learning, his limping gait, and
his blindness, laughs at his red cross of Santiago, and his adventures,
calling him _borracho_ (drunkard), _pedante gofo_ (stupid pedant), _muy
crítico y muy lego_, &c. Quevedo retorted with equal spirit and good
taste, reflecting on his rival's origin, and hinting that he was no
better Catholic than he should be:--

      _He de untarte mis versos con tocino_
      _Porque no me los roas, Gongorilla._
    (I have to anoint my verses with bacon fat
    That you may not gnaw them, Gongorilla.)

The point of which jest, heightened by the contemptuous diminutive, lies
in the hint that Góngora, then a priest in orders, was no _old
Christian_, but either Jew or Morisco. Another enemy of Quevedo was
Perez de Montalvan, a writer of plays the favourite disciple, parasite,
and bully of Lope de Vega--whom our satirist was fond of assailing in
verse and prose for his dogmatism, his arrogance and his _inscrutable
ignorance_. Montalvan took his revenge in a volume entitled _El Tribunal
de la Justa Venganza_, written under an assumed name, in which Quevedo's
satirical works are tried and condemned for their offences against
religion and morality.

Among the works of Quevedo, that which, perhaps, is most characteristic
of his genius, and most valuable as a picture of contemporary life and
manners, is _Don Pablo de Segovia_, here presented in an English dress,
and, as we venture to believe, in a most appropriate and harmonious
setting, through the art of M. Vierge. _Don Pablo de Segovia_, otherwise
known as _El Gran Tacaño_ (_The Great Sharper_), is a prime sample of
that species of romance which was native of the soil of Spain--there
first engendered at least, and flourishing nowhere else in the same
vigour and luxuriance--the _picaresque_ novel. The _picaro_--from
_picar_, to peck, to nibble at--if he was not a special product of
Spain, throve there in the sixteenth century as he did nowhere else in
the nations. He was not necessarily a rogue, but always a vagabond. He
was one who was at odds with the world--a remnant left over in the
making of society--a survival of the age gone by. Of his order were all
the broken men of the time--a time in which there was much breaking of
men--those who lived by their wits on the witless, the mumpers and
beggars, strolling quacks, sham pilgrims, charm-sellers, discharged or
runaway soldiers, thieves by profession and knaves by necessity,
gypsies, bullies and bravoes, jail-birds, roughs, prisoners, and the
baser sort of parasites--the excrement of life, the scum and draff of
society. In this kind of material, admirable stuff for the humorist and
the painter, Spain was especially rich in the sixteenth century. A
capital sample of the accomplished _picaro_ is Ginés de Pasamonte, the
galley-slave freed by _Don Quixote_, who robbed _Sancho_ of his ass, and
afterwards appeared as _Master Peter_, the puppet-showman. He is the
typical rogue, whose model in youth, in manhood, and in age is to be
found on the canvas of Velasquez and of Murillo. He is a stock figure in
the national drama. He must have been a familiar sight to the Spaniards
of that age, standing at every street corner, every convent door. He was
as common as the poor poet in the market-place. The favourite haunts of
the _picaresque_ gentry, the Bohemian and the Alsatian, are they not
enumerated by the roguish inn-keeper in _Don Quixote_, himself one of
the craft, who plays so deftly upon the knight and his humour?--_the
Fish-Market of Malaga, the Islets of Riarán, the Compass of Seville, the
Aqueduct-Square of Segovia, the Olive Grove of Valencia, the Suburbs of
Granada, the Strand of San Lucar, the Clot-Fountain of Cordova, the
Pot-Houses of Toledo._[2]

The causes of this rank growth of the _picaresque_ element in Spain are
to be sought in the national history. The long series of exhausting wars
in the Netherlands and in Italy; the discovery and development of
America; the monstrous multiplication of monks, priests, and religious
houses during the reigns of Philip and of his successor--these three,
the chief causes of Spain's decadence, may be taken to account for the
poverty, and the vice, and the bitterness of the struggle for existence,
of which the _picaresque_ order, in its extraordinary luxuriance, was
the outgrowth. The cutpurses, the beggars, the professional rogues and
sharpers, were but the product of the unwholesome working of the organs
of life--the remainder ruffianry of that period of diseased energy. The
internal corruption, of which they were the signs, was the consequence
of the fever which shook the frame and the fury which stirred the blood
of Spain during all that period of seeming grandeur but of real disease.
The _picaro_ was the adventurer who had missed his chance in the general
scramble, who did not or could not go to Flanders or to America, or who,
having been, had returned empty. He was the _conquistador_ out of
date--the gold-seeker run to seed. How near he was to the failures of
the Church--the vagabond friar, the religious mendicant--is clearly seen
from this story of _Paul the Sharper_, as well as from the other tales
of the class. The peace of 1609, which secured the independence of
Holland and put an end to the long war in the Low Countries, only
aggravated the evil condition of Spain, by filling the country with a
swarm of needy adventurers and disabled and discharged soldiers, for
whom the State made no provision. How fruitful a source of
demoralization and misery they were we may learn from all the literature
of the period, from _Don Quixote_ downwards. As for America, the
reaction of the tide which brought wealth and new life to Spain had set
in even before the middle of the sixteenth century. The flood which
carried all the men of enterprise and independent spirit to Peru or to
Mexico had left Spain drained of her best life-blood. The sudden influx
of gold tended to sharpen the distinction between rich and poor--to make
it more difficult for the poor to live, while spoiling them for honesty.
The old Castilian simplicity of life was destroyed, and the antique
honour, the legacy left by the heroic age which closed with the fall of
Granada, corrupted. The new rich introduced luxuries and vices which
till then had been alien to the Spanish character. The fortunate
adventurers who came back from the New World were as great a terror to
public morals through their extravagance and their recklessness, as the
unsuccessful through their destitution and despair. The national
inclination to the sins of pride, idleness, and boastfulness--how could
it happen but that it should be enormously fostered and heightened by
the easy conquests in America, following upon the shrinking of the
martial power and the prodigious swelling of the ecclesiastical? With
nearly ten thousand monasteries and nunneries, and more than thirty
thousand monks, of the two orders, Franciscan and Dominican, alone--is
it a wonder that the Spain of Philip III. should be hastening to decay?
The _picaro_ was the fungus which grew out of this mass of corruption.
To these running sores was added the expulsion of the Moriscoes under
Philip III.--an act of cruelty equally base, barbarous, and stupid, of
which the direct consequences were an increase in the cost of life, the
stagnation of trade, and the decline of industry, commerce, and
agriculture. The blow which reduced the forces of national industry by
nearly a million of honest, hardy, thrifty, and skilful workmen, could
not but lead to a great increase of poverty, of vice, and of disorder.
On this waste, and out of this rottenness, fattened and throve
exceedingly the rank weed _picaro_.

The _gusto picaresco_, of which _Don Pablo de Segovia_ is the purest
expression, arose in Spain upon the decay of the so-called romance of
chivalry. Indeed, the first book in that kind, _Lazarillo de Tormes_,
was published when the chivalric romance was in full blast, fifty years
before _Don Quixote_ was written; nor is there any evidence to show that
the author was actuated by a spite against the prevailing fashion. On
the contrary, if the author was, as I presume he was, Diego Hurtado de
Mendoza, we know that he was a fond admirer of _Amadis_, taking only
that book with him and _Celestina_--that curious tragi-comedy, which
was, in some sense, a forerunner of the _picaresque_ novel--when
despatched to the Eternal City as ambassador of Charles V. There was a
close connection between the romantical books of the later period and
the earliest of the _picaresque_ stories. The _picaro_, in fact, is the
direct descendant and the legitimate child of the debased knight-errant.
The public were beginning to get weary of the endless histories of the
knights-adventurers--all equally puissant and valorous--and longed for
common food. It was not the adventurers, however, of which people were
sick, but of the dull and stupid books which pretended to tell of their
exploits. Whatever chivalry there was in Spain had died out before the
blighting influence of the Second Philip--that antithesis incarnate of
all romance. The taste for low life was a natural and to a great extent
a healthy reaction from the unwholesome diet, miscalled romance and of
chivalry, on which the people had fed. The successor of the
knight-errant, the _picaro_, was a good deal like the last of the line
preceding, with much the same features. He was more picturesque than the
knight-errant, and no greater rogue. _Little Lazarus_ and his kin, _Paul
the Sharper_, _Justina_, _Rinconete_, and _Cortadillo_, spoke at least
the language of the people. It was a return to nature--the triumph of
the real over the romantic--a veritable revolution, which doubtless led
the way to a healthier taste and a higher art.

The revolt against the old style was headed by the book which still
stands at the head of _picaresque_ literature, _Lazarillo de
Tormes_--the work, according to the best tradition and authority, of the
famous Castilian statesman, diplomatist, and writer, Diego Hurtado de
Mendoza. I write this with full cognizance of the attempt recently made
by M. Morel-Fatio, in the _Revue de Deux Mondes_, to deprive Mendoza of
that honour. It is contended by M. Morel-Fatio that there is no direct
evidence of Mendoza's being the author of _Lazarillo_; that he never
claimed it as his writing; that it was only attributed to him fifty
years after his death; and that an equal if not superior claim is that
of Father Juan de Ortega, general of the order of Hieronymite monks, to
whom the book is ascribed by a monk of his fraternity, in a work
published in 1605. The arguments by which M. Morel-Fatio maintains his
theory seem to me to be wholly insufficient against Mendoza's claim, and
extravagantly wild and weak in favour of Ortega's. It is true that
Mendoza never declared himself to be the author of _Lazarillo de
Tormes_. There was ample reason why he should not. The book was first
published in 1554; and immediately on its appearance was suppressed by
order of the Inquisition, and put in the _Index Expurgatorius_. But in
1554 Mendoza was at the very climax of his public reputation, having
just returned from Italy with great credit as Charles V.'s ambassador to
the Pope. It was scarcely a time which he would choose to put his name
to a book which had been declared offensive to faith and morals, in
which the abuses of the Church were boldly attacked, and even its
ceremonies ridiculed. The next year Philip II. came to the throne, when
Mendoza found himself in disgrace, and had to retire to his estates. It
was a period still less favourable for his appearing as the author of a
loose and ribald book called _Lazarillo de Tormes_.

Again, it is contended that Mendoza, a grave and haughty noble, of the
proudest family in Spain, who aspired to high place and power at Court,
could hardly have written such a story, dealing with low life and vulgar
people. But Mendoza was a man of varied accomplishments, of wide
knowledge of life, unencumbered with the prejudices of caste and of
singular literary gifts, who might have been one of the great authors of
Spain had he not been content to be a great statesman. He had been
trained for the Church, had been a student at Salamanca, and had served
in the Spanish armies in Italy. He was thus thoroughly well equipped
with all that was required to qualify him for loose literature.
Moreover, as one who had been intended for the priesthood--a calling
which he abandoned for soldiership--he could be no friend to the cloth,
and was precisely the man to ridicule, as he has done, the abuses of the
Church and the vices of the priests, even to caricature the _bulero_ and
the hawker of indulgences. Lastly, there is this further circumstance in
support of his claim that he was known to be a lover of popular
literature, and had shown precisely the same literary talent, humour,
and idiomatic grace which are characteristic of _Lazarillo_, in some
acknowledged letters, still extant, in which he satirizes, with ample
knowledge of their tricks and way of life, the _catariberas_--the needy
adventurers and greedy office-seekers of the period. As to Ortega, whose
claim, first put forth only as a piece of rumour--and, in such a case,
of scandal--in 1605, and never since by any Spanish authority
repeated--is it necessary to dwell on the absurdity of an ecclesiastic
of his eminence writing a book against the vices of his own caste and
assailing his own order--a book dealing with the lives of rogues and
vagabonds--which had to be suppressed by the Church as soon as it
appeared? Nor has M. Morel-Fatio been able to produce any scrap of
Ortega's writing, of character and style like _Lazarillo_. Priests and
monks have, indeed, in that age and in every other, produced much loose
literature. It was a priest who wrote _La Picara Justina_, the dirtiest
of its class. It was a Dominican monk who is charged with the authorship
of the false Second Part of _Don Quixote_. Without occupying any more of
my space on this subject, it is enough to repeat that the weight of
testimony since the days of Nicolas Antonio, the learned and accurate
author of the _Bibliotheca Hispana Nova_, to the present time, is in
favour of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza as the author of _Lazarillo de
Tormes_.

Of the _picaresque_ stories, _Lazarillo de Tormes_, though imperfect and
without a proper conclusion, must still be regarded as the first in
merit as it was the first in time. It has been the model for all its
numerous successors, just as the _Amadis of Gaul_ of the previous
fashion had been the model for the romances of chivalry. For gaiety of
humour, the easy and natural tone of life and simplicity of colouring,
it has been held in great favour ever since its appearance; by no one
relished more than by the author of _Don Quixote_. The next in date was
_Guzman de Alfarache_, by Mateo Aleman, a native of Seville, of which
the first part was published in 1599. This, though almost as popular as
its predecessor, and even more frequently reprinted and translated, has
been much over-praised. It is, in truth, a somewhat arid and tedious
performance, written in a poor style. The hero is less interesting than
his class, for he is not only a rogue but a hypocrite, who pretends to
deceive himself as much as he deceives others, and aspires to be good
and pious, which makes him less picturesque and more immoral than if he
were a _picaro_ proper and true. Next to follow in that line was the
_Picara Justina_, published in 1605, the work of a Dominican whose real
name was Andrés Perez. For the better prevention of scandal, Father
Perez, being likewise the author of divers devotional books, assumed the
name of Lopez de Ubeda. Justina has nothing to recommend her, not even
her viciousness. She is false, affected, and silly, and worthy to end,
as she does, by becoming the wife of Guzman de Alfarache. The book is
perhaps the worst of its class, in art as in ethics, being made
additionally nauseous by the moral warnings and tags of virtuous
sentiment with which the chapters conclude. Perhaps anterior to both
_Guzman de Alfarache_ and _Picara Justina_, though not published till
1613, were Cervantes' two sketches of _picaresque_ life, _Rinconete y
Cortadillo_ and _Los Perros de Mahudes_, the scene of which is laid in
the Triana, the suburb of Seville, then, as now, the favourite home and
head-quarters of the _picaresque_ gentry. There is internal evidence to
show that both these stories, which are clearly drawn from real life and
actual experience, were written before the death of Philip II., in 1598.
Cervantes resided at Seville with his family between 1588 and 1598, and
there is little doubt that the picture he draws of Seville low life is
of this period. _Rinconete y Cortadillo_, in all the qualities of the
higher art, must be placed at the head of this species of literature.
Although only a sketch, it is brimful of humour, wit, and life, drawn
with the same delicate and masterly hand which has given us _Don
Quixote_. What is admirable in the picture is the skill with which a
repulsive subject is treated, so that, while preserving all its truth,
it is redeemed from grossness. There is not a word which is offensive
to taste; yet the thieves, the bullies, the _bona robas_, and the other
delightful but most improper people, move and breathe and talk as _full
of life as if they lived indeed_. In others of his books, Cervantes has
shown his wide and profound knowledge--doubtless born of actual
experience--of this lower order of humanity, as in his _Rufian Dichoso_,
the _Fortunate Bully_, and in some of his plays and interludes.

It is needless to follow in detail the history of the later experiments
in the _gusto picaresco_. As we approach later times the stories become
duller and more respectable. The _Marcos de Obregon_ of Vicente Espinel
appeared in 1618. It is a story of adventure abroad rather than of low
life at home, not wanting in spirit, and with a more regular
construction than most stories of this class, from which Le Sage has
stolen very largely and boldly in his _Gil Blas_, even appropriating the
name of the hero, and giving it to one of his characters. In 1624 came
another of the _picaresque_ brood, called _Alonso, Mozo de Muchos Amos_
(_Alonso, Servant of Many Masters_), by one Yanez y Rivera, which deals
with the humours of domestic service. We need not occupy ourselves with
the long string of lesser works of this character, which are rather
romances of real life than _picaresque_ tales--the _Niña de los
Embustes_ (the _Child of Tricks_) and the _Garduña de Sevilla_ (the
_She-Marten of Seville_) of Solorzano; the _Diablo Cojuelo_ (the _Lame
Devil_) of Guevara, and _Estevanillo Gonzalez_, attributed to the same
author, which is the pretended autobiography of a buffoon, better known
by Le Sage's French version than in the original. Last of all, we come
to that which by some is reckoned to be the _picaresque_ novel _par
excellence_--the well-known work of Le Sage himself, in collaboration
with many others, called _Gil Blas_. This, with all its merits, is no
_picaresque_ novel at all, except in an oblique sense as being the work
of a _picaroon_--a clever theft by an adept in literary conveyance, the
very Autolycus of authors. While the matter is Spanish, the form and,
oddly enough, a great deal of the spirit, is French. I will not go into
the question of what were the sources from which Le Sage drew his story.
That very Spanish and yet curiously French work (_Spanish bricks in
French mortar_) is a wonderful piece of literary craft, showing a genius
in the art of stealing which is equal to that of original composition,
and even more rare. But _Gil Blas_, when all is said, is not a true
_picaroon_, of the breed of _Lazarillo_ and _Rinconete_. He is an
impostor, but in another than the true sense. He is a fortune-hunter,
who looks closely to the main chance, who descends to be respectable,
who aims at a social position, like _Jerome Paturot_. He marries twice,
and lives comfortably in a fine house--a prosperous gentleman, after
bidding hope and fortune farewell. He is no more a _picaro_ than _Ruy
Blas_ is a Spaniard or Djalma an Indian prince.

Of the _picaresque_ novel, which is the special product of Spain--never
successfully acclimatized in any other country, and as entirely Spanish
as the _olla_ or the _gazpacho_--one of the purest specimens is _Don
Pablo de Segovia (Paul the Sharper), exemplo de Vagamundos y espejo de
Tacaños--pattern of Vagabonds and mirror of rogues_. The book is
generally known as _El Buscon_, or _El Gran Tacaño_. The latter title,
which is not Quevedo's, was made the leading designation of the book
after the author's death, and is still that by which the book is most
popular in Spain. _Buscon_ is from _buscar_, to seek, and means a
pursuer of fortune, a searcher after the means of life, a _cadger_.
_Tacaño_ is ingeniously derived by old Covarrubias, in the earliest
Spanish dictionary, from the Greek [Greek: kakós], being a corruption of
_cacaño_; or from the Hebrew _tachach_, which is said to mean fraud and
deceit. _Don Pablo_, however his titles may be derived, is generally
admitted to be the perfect type of an adventurer of the _picaresque_
school. The book of his exploits, though left, like so many Spanish
books, unfinished, is described by Quevedo's best critic as _of all his
writings the freest from affectation, the richest in lively and natural
humours, the brightest, simplest, and most perspicuous; in which he
comes nearest to the amenity, artlessness, and delightful and delicate
style of Don Quixote_. These praises are not undeserved, although the
knight of industry, in his quest of adventures, is very far from being
of kin to the warrior of chivalry, the gentle and perfect knight of La
Mancha. Disfigured as it is by all Quevedo's faults of style and manner,
_Don Pablo_ deserves to be rescued from the fate to which its faults of
language, rather than its defects of taste or its failure in the moral
part, have hitherto consigned it, at least in England. As a picture of
low, vagabond life, it necessarily deals with vice, but it cannot be
said that the vice is rendered attractive. All the characters are bad,
in the sense that they all belong to the class who have failed to
achieve a decent life. The company is not select in which we move, but
it can hardly be said that there is contamination in it any more than we
get from looking at Hogarth's _Gin Lane_, or the _Borrachos_ of
Velasquez. From beginning to end _Don Pablo's_ career is one of
undisguised trickery, dissimulation, and lying. All his companions are
thieves, or impostors, or rogues, patent or undetected. The scenes are
laid almost entirely in the lowest places--in the slums of Segovia, of
Madrid, and of Seville, mostly in prison or in some refuge from the law.
The manners of the people, men and women, are as repulsive as their
morals; and they talk (which is not unusual) after their natures. When
we concede all this we admit the worst which can be said of Quevedo's
work, and impute nothing against the author, either as artist or
moralist. It is difficult to imagine any virtue of a texture so frail as
to be injured by the reading of _Paul the Sharper_. There is no vice in
the book, even though it deals exclusively with vicious people. There is
nothing hurtful in the character of the complete rogue, nor is he
painted in any but his natural colours, as a mean, sordid vagabond, who
does or says nothing whatever to gild his trade or to embellish his
calling. This is the crowning merit of Quevedo's book, among those of
its class, that there are no shabby tricks played upon the reader, such
as other writers of even higher pretensions are guilty of--no attempt to
pass off a rogue as though he were a hero in distress--a creature
deserving of sympathy, who is only treating the world as the world
treated him--a victim of fortune, whose ill-usage by society justifies
his attitude towards the social system. There is no sentiment expended
over _Paul of Segovia_. There is no snivelling over his low condition,
or railing at his unhappy lot. He is not conscious of his degradation.
He is a thief, the son of a thief, with a perfect knowledge of what his
mother is; but he makes no secret of his calling, nor indulges in
excuses for himself or his family. The other heroes of the _picaresque_
novel make some faint pretence to decent behaviour, but _Paul_ never
deviates into respectability. He is _picaro_ to the fingers' ends--in
either sense. Through all his changes of character and of costume he is
still rogue, entire and perfect, without any sprouts of honesty or
repinings after a better life. The _naïveté_ with which he tells of his
exploits, without boasting and without shame, is of the highest
art--true to nature, nor offensive to morality. Whether he is cheating a
jailer or bilking a landlady, dodging the _alguacil_ or bamboozling the
old poet, or befooling the nun, or tricking the bully, he is always true
to himself, without affectation or conceit of being other than he is.
There are no asides, where either the hero or the author (as the bad
modern custom is) communes with his conscience, or finds excuses for
himself, or draws a moral, or in some way or other imparts to the reader
how much superior he (the writer) is to his hero, and how conscious he
is of the reader's presence, giving him to understand, in a manner
unflattering to his intelligence, how that all that he writes is in joke
and not to be taken in bad part. That Quevedo does not do so is his
chief point of art in the book, which deserves to be ranked among the
best of its class, as a chapter out of the great comedy of human life.
The simplicity with which the story is told, without those digressions
and interruptions to which the Spanish story-teller is so prone, make it
a work almost unique among books of the kind. For once Quevedo has
spoken in a language direct and plain, without a riddle or a hidden
motive. It is of course a satire, but a satire of the legitimate kind,
not upon persons, but upon mankind--against general vice, not against
particular sins. The characters of the story, which seems rather to tell
itself than to be told, are all such as were the common property of the
comic writers of the period, but scarcely anywhere else are they found
invested with so much of the breath of life. _Don Pablo_ himself, his
companions, his fellow-students, the crazy old poet, the villainous
jailer, the braggart _espadachins_, the poor _hidalgo_, the strolling
players, the beggars, the gay ladies, the jail-birds, bullies, and
thieves--every member of that unclean company, with all their unsavoury
surroundings, is a real, living personage.

_Don Pablo de Segovia_ was first published in 1626, at Saragossa, and
had a great success, several editions being called for before the
author's death. There is reason to believe that it was written some
years before, being probably circulated in manuscript among the
author's friends before being printed, as was the custom of the time. In
1624 Quevedo had been lately released from the first of his
imprisonments at Torre de San Juan Abad, and had partially recovered the
favour of the Court. It was a period when the printers were most busy
with his works--when satires, political apologues, religious tracts,
visions, burlesque and piquant odes, fantasies, and calls to devotion
were being poured forth abundantly out of his fruitful brain. Señor
Guerra y Orbe believes that _Don Pablo_ was written in 1608. That it was
composed before 1624 is proved, I think, by the character of the book,
which is certainly more juvenile than belongs to a man of forty-six, as
well as by a piece of evidence to be found within. In chapter viii.,
when on the road to Torrejon, _Don Pablo_ comes up with a crazy man
mounted on a mule, who proves to be a master of the art of fencing, with
several extravagant projects in his brain for the good of the kingdom.
Among these he has two schemes to propose to the king for the reduction
of Ostend. Now the great siege of Ostend, which is doubtless the one
referred to, was that which ended, after three years' fighting in which
an extraordinary number were slain on both sides, in September, 1604. It
is a reasonable conjecture, therefore, that _Don Pablo_, at least as far
as chapter viii., was written prior to this date. The chapters in which
the students' adventures at Alcalá are described seem to me also to bear
internal evidence of having been written when the impression of
university life was still fresh upon the author. This theory of the date
of _Don Pablo_ makes the author a young man of twenty-three when the
book was composed; and the book itself the third, in order of time, of
the _picaresque_ romances, following closely after _Guzman de
Alfarache_.

_Don Pablo de Segovia_ has been always popular in its native country,
and has been frequently translated into other languages. Señor Guerra y
Orbe notes more than forty editions of the original in Spain and in the
Spanish dominions. An Italian translation, by Juan Pedro Franco,
appeared in 1634 at Venice. A French version, by Geneste, was included
among the burlesque works of Quevedo, translated into that language in
1641. Other early French versions are those of Lyons and of Brussels.
In 1842 M. Germond de Lavigne brought out his translation of _Don Pablo_
which is spirited and readable, but a good deal changed from the
original. Portions of other works by Quevedo are inserted in the text, a
prologue borrowed from the _Hora de Todos_, and a conclusion added from
out of the manufactory of M. Lavigne himself. In M. Lavigne's latest
edition of 1882 appeared the first of M. Vierge's admirably spirited and
characteristic sketches.

_Don Pablo_ was early introduced into the English tongue, though it is
perhaps the least known of Quevedo's works. The _Visions_, translated by
the indefatigable Sir Roger L'Estrange, first appeared in 1688, and went
through many editions in that and the succeeding century. The English
version has the merit, which belongs to all L'Estrange's work, of being
in good, sound, and vigorous language, lively and not inelegant, but it
is far from faithful to the original, the translator taking great
liberties with his author in the attempt to bring him up to the level of
the _humour of the times_. The _Visions_ were much read and often quoted
by English writers of the last century. The _Buscon_, shorn of much of
his stature, was Englished by _a person of quality_ so early as 1657,
with a dedication to a lady. It was still further reduced in 1683, both
in size and art, though most of the grossness was left untouched. The
well-known Captain John Stevens, who translated Mariana's _History_ and
professed (without warrant) to improve and correct Shelton's _Don
Quixote_ (which he did not do to any appreciable extent), also took
Quevedo in hand, translating _Don Pablo_, among other _comical pieces_,
in 1707. A new translation was given to the world in 1734 by Don Pedro
Pineda, a teacher of the Spanish language, then resident in London.
Pineda it was who revised the Spanish text of the splendid edition of
_Don Quixote_, published at the charge of Lord Carteret in 1734, four
handsome quarto volumes--the first in which print and paper did full
justice to Cervantes' masterpiece. Though a person of little humour, who
fell a victim to Cervantes' irony in the matter of the poet Lofraso and
his _Fortuna de Amor_, Pineda was a competent Spanish scholar, at least
for that age. How far his English was his own we have no means of
knowing, but his _perfect knowledge of the language of the original_
recommended him to the editors of the edition of _Quevedo's Works_,
published at Edinburgh in 1798, as a person fit to revise and correct
the version of Mr. Stevens. That version, though not satisfactory in all
respects, is still the best we have in English. It is almost too
faithful to the original in respect that it retains many expressions,
phrases, and words, of the kind in which Quevedo loved to indulge,
which, however appropriate in the mouths of the speakers in a thieves'
den or a convict prison, are scarcely delicate enough for the taste of
the modern English public, or necessary to bring out the full humour of
the story.

The text of the English translation of 1798, corrected and revised, is
that which has been followed in the present publication, of which the
immediate object is less to rescue Quevedo's story from oblivion than to
bring to the notice of the public the singular merit of his countryman,
M. Vierge (Daniel Urrabieta), as an artist in black and white.

H. E. WATTS.

[Illustration]



                          THE HISTORY OF THE
                          LIFE OF THE SHARPER
                           CALLED DON PABLO
                            THE PATTERN OF
                             VAGABONDS AND
                           MIRROR OF ROGUES.

[Illustration]



BOOK I.



CHAP. I.

_Giving an Account of Who he is and Whence he Sprung._


I sir, was born at Segovia, my father's name was Clemente Pablo, a
native of the same town; may God keep him in heaven. I need not speak of
his virtues, for those are unknown, but by trade he was a barber, though
so high minded, that he took it for an affront to be called by any name
but that of a cheek-shearer and beard-tailor. They say he came of a good
stock, and his actions showed it. He was married to Aldonza Saturno de
Rebollo, daughter to Octavio de Rebollo Codillo, and grandchild to
Lepido Ziuraconte. The town foully suspected that she was no old
Christian,[3] though she strongly urged the names of her progenitors, to
prove herself descended from those great men that formed the Triumvirate
at Rome. She was very handsome, and so famous, that all the ballad
rhymers of her time made verses of her, which were sung about the
streets. She ran through many troubles, when first married, and long
after, for there were scandalous tongues in the neighbourhood that did
not stick to say my father was willing to wear the horns, provided they
were tipped with gold. It was proved upon him, that whilst he was
lathering the beards of those he was to trim, a small brother of mine,
about seven years of age, rifled their pockets. The little angel died of
a whipping he had in the gaol; and my father was much concerned at the
loss, because he won the hearts of them all. He was himself a while in
prison for some small trifles of this nature; but I am told he came off
so honourably, that at his first walking abroad from gaol two hundred
cardinals went behind him, of whom ne'er a one was monsignor,[4] and the
ladies stood at their windows to see him pass by; for my father always
made a good figure, either a-foot or a-horseback. I do not speak it out
of vanity, for everybody knows that to be foreign to me.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

My mother, good woman, had no share of troubles. An old woman that bred
me, commending her one day, said, she was of such a taking behaviour,
that she bewitched all she had to do with; but they say, she talked
something concerning her intercourse with a great he-goat, which had
like to have brought her to the stake, to try whether she had anything
of the nature of the salamander, and could live in fire. It was reported
that she had an excellent hand at soldering cracked maidens, and
disguising of grey hairs. Some gave her the name of a pleasure-broker,
others of a reconciler; but the ruder sort, in coarse language, called
her downright bawd, and universal money-catcher. It would make anybody
in love with her to see with what a pleasant countenance she took this
from all persons. I shall not spend much time in relating what a
penitential life she led; but she had a room into which nobody went
besides herself, and sometimes I was admitted on account of my tender
years; it was all beset with dead men's skulls, which she said were to
put her in mind of mortality, though others in spite to her pretended
they were to put tricks upon the living. Her bed was corded with halters
malefactors had been hanged in; and she used to say to me: "D'ye see
these things? I show them as remembrances to those I have a kindness
for, that they may take heed how they live, and avoid coming to such an
end."

My parents had much bickering about me, each of them contending to have
me brought up to his or her trade; but I, who from my infancy had more
gentleman like thoughts, applied myself to neither. My father used to
say to me: "My child, this trade of stealing is no mechanic trade, but a
liberal art." Then pausing and fetching a sigh, he went on: "There is no
living in this world without stealing. Why do you think the constables
and other officers hate us as they do? Why do they sometimes banish,
sometimes whip us at the cart's tail, and at last hang us up like
flitches of bacon without waiting for All Saints' Day to come?"[5] (I
cannot refrain from tears when I think of it, for the good old man wept
like a child, remembering how often they had flogged him.) "The reason
is, because they would have no other thieves among them but themselves
and their gang; but a sharp wit brings us out of all dangers. In my
younger days I plied altogether in the churches, not out of pure
religious zeal, and had been long ago carted, but that I never told
tales, though they put me to the rack; for I never confessed but when
our holy mother the Church commands us. With this business and my trade,
I have made a shift to maintain your mother as decently as I could."
"You maintain me!" answered my mother, in a great rage (for she was
vexed I would not apply me to the sorcery), "it was I that maintained
you; I brought you out of prison by my art, and kept you there with my
money. You may thank the potions I gave you for not confessing, and not
your own courage. My good pots did the feat; and were it not for fear I
should be heard in the streets, I would tell all the story, how I got in
at the chimney, and brought you out at the top of the house." Her
passion was so high, that she would not have given over here, had not
the string of a pair of beads broke, which were all dead men's teeth she
kept for private uses. I told them very resolutely I would apply myself
to virtue, and go on in the good way I had proposed, and therefore
desired them to put me to school, for nothing was to be done without
reading and writing. They approved of what I said, though they both
muttered at it a while betwixt them. My mother fell to stringing her
dead men's teeth, and my father went away, as he said, to trim one--I
know not whether he meant his beard or his purse. I was left alone,
praising God that he had given me such clever parents, and so zealous
for my welfare.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. II.

_How I Went to School, and What Happened to me there._


The next day my primer was bought, and my schoolmaster bespoke. I went
to school, Sir, and he received me with a pleasant countenance, telling
me I had the looks of a sharp lad and intelligent. That he might not
seem to be mistaken in his judgment, I took care to learn my lessons
well that morning. My master made me sit next to him, and gave me good
marks every day, because I came first and went away last, staying behind
to run on some errands for my mistress, and thus I gained all their
affections. They favoured me so much that all the boys were envious. I
made it my business to keep company with gentlemen's sons, above all
others, but particularly with a son of Don Alonso Coronel de Zuñiga: I
used to eat my afternoon's luncheon with him, went to his house every
holiday, and waited on him upon other days. The other boys, either
because I took no notice of them, or that they thought I aimed too high,
were continually giving of me nicknames relating to my father's trade.
Some called me Mr. Razor, others Mr. Stuckup. One to excuse his envy
would say he hated me, because my mother had sucked the blood of his two
little sisters in the night; another, that my father had been sent for
to his house to frighten away the vermin, for nothing was safe where he
came. Some, as I passed by cried out, "Cat"; others, "Puss, Puss."
Another said, "I threw rotten oranges at his mother when she was
carted." Yet, for all their backbiting, glory to God, my shoulders were
broad enough to bear it; and though I was out of countenance yet I took
no notice, but put all up, till one day a boy had the impudence to call
me son of a whore and a witch; he spoke it so plain, that though I had
been glad it had been better wrapped up, I took up a stone, and broke
his head. Away I went, running as fast as I could to my mother to hide
me, telling her all the story. She said, "It was very well done of you,
and like yourself; but you were in the wrong that you did not ask him
who told him so." Hearing what she said, and having always had high
thoughts, I turned to her, and said, "Mother, all that troubles me is,
that some of the slanders by told me I had no cause to be disturbed at
it; and I did not ask them what they meant, because he was so young that
said it." I prayed her to tell me, whether I could have given him the
lie with a safe conscience, or whether I was begot in a huddle, by a
great many, or was the true son of my father. She laughed, and answered,
"God a-mercy, lad, are you so cunning already! You'll be no fool, you
have sense enough; you did very well in breaking his head, for such
things are not to be said, though never so true." This struck me to the
heart, and I was so very much out of countenance, that I resolved, as
soon as possible, to lay hold of all I could, and leave my father's
house. However, I dissembled; my father went and healed the boy; all was
made up, and I went to school again. My master received me in an angry
manner, till being told the occasion of the quarrel, his passion was
assuaged, considering the provocation given me. Don Alonso de Zuñiga's
son, Don Diego, and I were very great all this while, because he had a
natural affection for me; and besides, I used to change tops with him,
if mine were better than his; I gave him any thing I had to eat, and
never asked for what he had; I bought him pictures, I taught him to
wrestle, played at leap frog with him, and was so obliging in all
respects, that the young gentleman's parents observing how fond he was
of my company, would send for me almost every day to dine and sup, and
sometimes to stay all night with him.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

It happened one day soon after Christmas, as we were going to school,
that a counsellor, called Pontio de Aguirre, passed along the street;
little Don Diego seeing him, bid me call him Pontius Pilate, and run
away when I had done. To please my friend, I did so, and the man was so
affronted at it, that he scoured after me as hard as he could, with a
knife in his hand to stab me, so that I was forced to take sanctuary in
my master's house, crying out with might and main. The man was in as
soon as I; my master saved me from his doing me any mischief, promising
to whip me, and was as good as his word, though my mistress, in
consideration of the great service I did her, interceded for me. He bid
me untruss, and every lash he gave me, cried, "Will you ever call
Pontius Pilate again?" I answered, "No, Sir," every time he put the
question; and it was such a warning to me, that dreading the name of
Pontius Pilate, the next day, when we were ordered to say our prayers,
according to custom, coming to the Creed (pray observe the innocent
cunning) instead of saying "He suffered under Pontius Pilate," believing
I was never more to name Pilate, I said, "He suffered under Pontio de
Aguirre." My master burst out a laughing at my simplicity, and to see
how I dreaded the lashing; and embracing me, promised to forgive the
two first whippings I should deserve, which I took as a great favour of
fortune, and a kindness in him.

To be brief, came Shrove-tide, and our master to divert the boys, and
make sport, ordered that there should be a king of cocks[6] among us,
and we casts lots for that honour among twelve he had appointed for it.
I was the lucky person it fell upon, and spoke to my father and mother
to provide me fine clothes. When the day came, abroad I went upon a
starved poor jade of a horse, that fell to saying his prayers at every
step; his back looked like a saw; his neck like a camel's, but somewhat
longer; his head like a pig, only it had but one eye, and that
moon-blind; all this plainly showed the knavery of his keeper, who made
him do penance, and fast, cheating him of his provender. Thus I went,
swinging from side to side, like a jointed baby, with all the rest of
the boys after me, tricked up as fine as so many puppets, till we came
into the market place--the very naming of it frights me; and coming to
the herb-women's stalls, the Lord deliver us from them, my horse being
half starved, snapped up a small cabbage, which no sooner touched his
teeth but it was down his throat, though, by reason of the length of his
neck, it came not into his belly for a long time after. The herb-woman
who, like the rest of them, was an impudent jade, set up the cry, the
others of the trade flocked about her, and among them abundance of the
scoundrels of the market; all these fell a pelting the poor king with
carrot and turnip tops, rotten oranges, and all the offals of the
market. Considering the enemies' forces were all foot,[7] and therefore
I ought not to charge them a-horseback, I would have alighted, but my
horse received such a shot in the head that as he went to rear, his
strength failing him, we both came down into the sewer. You may imagine
what a condition I was in. By this time my subjects, the boys, had armed
themselves with stones, and charging the herb-women, broke two of their
heads. For my part after my fall into the sewer, I was good for little,
unless it were to drive all from me with stink and filth. The officers
coming up, seized two of the herb-women and some of the boys, searching
them for their weapons, which they took away, for some had drawn
daggers they wore for the greater show, and others short swords. They
came to me, and seeing no weapons about me, because I had taken them
off, and put them into a house to be cleaned, with my hat and cloak, one
of them asked me for my arms; I answered, that in that filthy condition
I had none but what were offensive to the nose alone. I cannot but
acquaint you, Sir, by the by, that when they began to pelt me with the
rotten oranges, turnip-tops, &c., my hat being stuck with feathers, as
they do the bawds in Spain when they cart them, I fancied they mistook
me for my mother, and thought they threw at her, as they had done
several times before. This foolish notion being got into my young head,
I began to cry out, "Good women, though I wear feathers in my cap, I am
none of Aldonza Saturno de Rebollo; she is my mother"; as if they could
not perceive that by my shape and face. However, the fright I was in may
excuse my ignorance, especially considering the misfortune came so
suddenly upon me. To return to the officer; he would willingly have
carried me to prison, but did not, because he could not find a clean
place to lay hold of me, for I was all over mire. Some went one way, and
some another, and I went directly home from the market place, punishing
all the noses I met by the way. As soon as I got home I told my father
and mother all the story, who were in such a passion to see me in that
nasty pickle, that they would have beat me. I excused myself the best I
could, laying all the blame on the two leagues of attenuated horse they
had provided for me; and finding nothing would appease them, left the
house, and went away to see my friend Don Diego, whom I found at home
with a broken head, and his parents fully resolved, for this reason,
that he should go to school no more. There was I informed, that my
steed, finding himself in distress, summoned up all the strength he had
to salute his enemies with his heels, but was so weak that he put out
his hips with the effort, and lay in the mud expiring. Considering that
all the sport was spoiled, the mob alarmed, my parents in a rage, my
friend's head broken, and my horse dead, I resolved to go no more to
school, nor to my father's house, but to stay and wait upon Don Diego,
or rather to bear him company, which his parents were well pleased with,
because their son was so taken with me. I wrote home to tell them I had
no need to go to school any longer, for though I could not write a good
hand, that was no fault, because it was more becoming me, who designed
to be a gentleman, to write an ill one; and therefore, from that time, I
renounced the school, to save them charges, and their house, that they
might have no trouble with me. I acquainted them where and what post I
was in, and that I should see them no more, till they gave me leave.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. III.

_How I went to a Boarding School in quality of Servant to Don Diego
Coronel._


[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

Don Alonso resolved to send his son to a boarding-school; both to wean
him from his tender keeping at home, and at the same time to ease
himself of that care. He was informed there was a master of arts in
Segovia whose name was Cabra, that made it his business to breed up
gentlemen's sons;[8] thither he sent his, and me to wait on him. The
first Sunday after Lent we were brought into the house of famine, for it
is impossible to express the penury of the place. The master was a
skeleton, a mere shotten herring, or like a long slender cane, with a
little head upon it, and red haired; so that there needs no more to be
said to such as know the proverb, that "neither cat nor dog of that
colour is good." His eyes were sunk into his head, as if he had looked
through a fruit bottle, or the deep windows in a linen draper's shop;
his nose turning up, and somewhat flat, for the bridge was almost
carried away with an inundation of a cold rheum, for he never had the
disease, because it costs money; his beard had lost its colour for fear
of his mouth, which being so near, seemed to threaten to eat it for mere
hunger; his teeth had many of them forsaken him for want of employment,
or else were banished for being idle livers; his neck as long as a
crane's, with the gullet sticking out so far, as if it had been
compelled by necessity to start out for sustenance; his arms withered;
his hands like a bundle of twigs, each of them, taken downwards, looking
like a fork or a pair of compasses; with long slender legs. He walked
leisurely, and whensoever he happened to move any thing faster his bones
rattled like a pair of snappers. His voice was weak and hollow; his
beard bushy and long, for he never trimmed to save charges, though he
pretended it was so odious to him to feel the barber's hands all over
his face that he would rather die than endure it. One of the boys cut
his hair. In fair weather he wore a thread-bare cap, an inch thick in
grease and dirt, made of a thing that was once cloth, and lined in scurf
and dandruff. His cassock, some said, was miraculous, for no man knew
what colour it was of; some seeing no sign of hair on it, concluded it
was made of frogs' skins; others said it was a mere shadow, or a
phantom; near at hand it looked somewhat black, and at a distance
bluish. He wore no girdle, cuffs, nor band; so that his long hair and
scanty short cassock made him look like the messenger of death. Each
shoe might have served for a Philistine's coffin. As for his chamber,
there was not so much as a cob-web in it, the spiders being all starved
to death. He put spells upon the mice, for fear they should gnaw some
scraps of bread he kept. His bed was on the floor, and he always lay
upon one side, for fear of wearing out the sheets; in short, he was the
Archpauper and Protomiser. Into this prodigy's hands I fell, and lived
under him with Don Diego. The night we came, he showed us our room, and
made us a short speech, which was no longer, out of mere good husbandry.
He told us how we were to behave ourselves, and the next morning we were
employed till dinner time; thither we went, the masters dined first,
and the servants waited. The dining-room was as big as a half peck; five
gentlemen could eat in it at one table. I looked about for the cat, and
seeing none, asked a servant, who was an old hand, and in his leanness
bore the mark of the boarding-school, how it came they had none? The
tears stood in his eyes, and he said, "What do you talk of cats? Pray
who told you that cats loved penance and mortification? Your fat sides
show you are a new comer." This, to me, was the beginning of sorrow; but
I was worse scared, when I observed that all those who were before us in
the house looked like so many pictures of death. Master Cabra said
grace, and sat down, and they ate a meal, which had neither beginning
nor end. They brought the broth in wooden dishes, but it was so clear,
that Narcissus going to drink of it would be in worse danger than at the
fountain. I observed how eagerly they all dived down after a poor single
pea that was in every dish. Every sip he gave, Cabra cried, "By my troth
there is no dainty like the olla, or boiled meat and broth. Let the
world say what it will, all the rest is mere gluttony and extravagancy."
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he belched out all the
porrenger, saying, "This is good for the health, and sharpens the wit."
A curse on thee and thy wit, thought I, and at the same time saw a
servant like a walking ghost, and no more substantial, bring in a dish
of meat, which looked as if he had picked it off his bones. Among it was
one poor stray turnip, at whose sight the master said, "What, have we
turnips to-day? No partridge is, in my opinion, to compare to them. Eat
heartily, for I love to see you eat." He gave every one such a wretched
bit of meat, that I believe it all stuck to their nails, and between
their teeth, so that no part of it ever went into their bellies. Cabra
looked on, and said, "Eat away, for it is a pleasure to me to see what
good stomachs you have." Think what a comfort this was for them that
were pining with hunger! When dinner was over, there remained some
scraps of bread on the table, and a few hits of skin and bones in the
dish, and the master said, "Let this be left for the servants; they must
dine too; it is not for us to gormandize all." A vengeance on thee, and
may what thou hast eaten choke thee, thou wretched miser! thought I;
what a consternation have you put my guts into! He gave thanks, and
said, "Now let us give way to the servants, and go ye use some exercise
until two of the clock, lest your dinner do you harm." I could no longer
forbear laughing for my life, but burst out into a loud fit. He was very
angry, and bid me learn to behave myself modestly, ripping up two or
three old mouldy sentences, and so went his way. We sat down, and I
seeing such short commons, and hearing my guts roar for provender,
being cunning and stronger than the rest, clapped both hands in the
dish, as others did, and whipped down two scraps of bread out of three
there were left, and one piece of skin. The others began to murmur, and
making a noise, in came Cabra, saying, "Eat lovingly together like
brethren, since God provides for you; do not fall out, for there is
enough for you all." This said, he returned to sun himself, and left us
to ourselves. I declare it, there was one of these servants, his name
Surre, a Biscayner, who had so absolutely forgot the way and method of
eating, that he put a small bit of crust, which fell to his share, to
his eyes twice, and even the third time knew not how to carry it to his
mouth. I asked for drink; the rest, who had scarce broke their fast,
never thinking of it, and they gave me a dish with some water, which I
had no sooner laid to my lips, but the sharp-gutted lad I spoke of,
snatched it away, as if I had been Tantalus and that the flitting river
he stands in up to the chin.

Thus we passed on till night. Don Diego asked me how he should do to
persuade his guts that they had dined, for they would not believe it.
That house was an hospital of dizzy heads, proceeding from empty
stomachs, as others are of surfeits. Supper-time came, for afternoonings
were never heard of there; it was much shorter than the dinner, and not
mutton, but a little roasted goat: sure the devil could never have
contrived worse. Our starveling Master Cabra said, "It is very wholesome
and beneficial to eat light suppers, that the stomach may not be
overburdened"; and then he quoted some cursed physician, that was long
since in hell. He extolled spare diet, alleging that it prevented uneasy
dreams, though he knew that in his house it was impossible to dream of
anything but eating. They supped, and we supped, and none had supper. We
went to bed, and neither Don Diego nor I could sleep one wink all that
night, for he lay contriving how to complain to his father, that he
might remove him, and I advising him so to do; and at last I said to
him, "Pray, Sir, are you sure we are alive, for, to tell you the truth,
I have a strong fancy that we were slain in the battle with the
herb-women, and are now souls suffering in purgatory, in which case it
will be to no purpose to talk of your father's fetching us away, without
he has our souls prayed out of this "place of punishment." Having spent
the whole night in this discourse, we got a little nap towards morning,
till it was time to rise; six o'clock struck, Cabra called, and we all
went to school; but when I went to dress me, my doublet was two handfuls
too big; and my breeches, which before were close, now hung so loose as
if they had been none of my own. My very teeth were already all furred,
and looked as yellow as amber; such a wonderful change had one day
wrought. When we came to school, I was ordered to decline some nouns,
and was so wonderful hungry, that I ate half my words for want of more
substantial diet. Any man will easily believe this, who does but hear
what Cabra's man told me, which was, that at his first coming he saw two
great Flanders geldings brought into the house, and two days after they
went out perfect racers, so light, that the very wind would carry them
away; that he saw mastiff dogs come in, and in less than three hours
they went out converted into greyhounds; that one Lent he saw abundance
of men, some thrusting their heads, some their feet, and some their
whole body, into the porch; and this continued a long time, very many
people flocking from all parts to do so; and that he asking one day,
what could be the meaning of it, Cabra was very angry, but one in the
crowd answered, "Some of those "people are troubled with chilblains,
others with the itch, and others with lice; all which distempers and
vermin died as soon as they came into that house, so that they never
felt them more." He assured me this was very true, and I, who was
acquainted with the house, believe it, which I am fain to take notice
of, lest what I say should be looked upon as an hyperbole.

[Illustration]

To return to the school, he set us our lesson, and we conned it, and so
we went on in the same course of life I have here delivered, only that
our master added bacon in the boiling of his pot, because going abroad
one day, he was told that to boil meat without bacon, betokened a
scandalous race descended either from Moors or Jews. For this reason he
provided a small tin case, all full of holes, like a nutmeg-grater,
which he opened, and put in a bit of bacon that filled it; then shutting
the box close, hung it with a string in the pot, that some relish of it
might come through the holes, and the bacon remain for the next day.
Afterwards he thought this too great an expense, and therefore for the
future only dipped the bacon into the pot. It is easy to guess what a
life we led with this sort of diet and usage. Don Diego and I were in
such miserable condition, that since we could find no relief as to
eating, after a month was expired, we contrived, at last, not to rise so
early in the morning, and therefore resolved to pretend we were sick,
but not feverish, because that cheat we thought would be easily
discovered. The head or tooth-ache were inconsiderable distempers; at
last we said we had the gripes, believing, that rather than be at a
penny charges, our master would apply no remedy. The devil ordered worse
than we expected, for Cabra had an old receipt, which descended to him
by inheritance from his father, who was an apothecary. As soon as he was
told our distemper, he prepared a clyster, and sending for an old aunt
of his, threescore and ten years of age, that served him for a nurse
upon occasion, ordered her to give each of us a potion. She began with
Don Diego; the poor wretch shrunk up, and the old jade being blind, and
her hands shaking, instead of giving him it inwardly, let it fly betwixt
his shirt and his back up to his very poll; so that became an outward
ornament which should have served for a lining within. Only God knows
how we were plagued with the old woman. She was so deaf, that she heard
nothing, but understood by signs, though she was half blind; and such an
everlasting prayer, that one day the string of her beads broke over the
pot as it was boiling, and our broth came to table sanctified. Some
said, "These are certainly black Ethiopian pease"; others cried they
were in mourning, and wondered what relation of theirs was dead. Our
master happened to bite one of them, and it pleased God that he broke
his teeth.

On Fridays the old woman would dress us some eggs, but so full of her
reverend grey hairs, that they appeared no less aged then herself. It
was a common practice with her to dip the fire-shovel into the pot
instead of the ladle, and to serve up porrengers of broth stuffed with
coals, vermin, chips, and knots of flax she used to spin, all which she
threw in to fill up and cram the guts. In this misery we continued till
the next Lent, at the beginning of which one of our companions fell
sick. Cabra, to save charges, delayed sending for a physician, till the
patient was just giving up the ghost and desired to prepare for another
world; then he called a young quack, who felt his pulse, and said,
"Hunger had been beforehand with him, and prevented his killing that
man." These were his last words; the poor lad died, and was buried
meanly because he was a stranger. This struck a terror into all that
lived in the house; the dismal story flew all about the town, and came
at last to Don Alonso Coronel's ears, who having no other son, began to
be convinced of Cabra's inhumanity, and to give more credit to the words
of two mere shadows, for we were no better at that time. He came to take
us from the boarding-school, and asked for us, though we stood before
him; so that finding us in such a deplorable condition, he gave our
pinch-gut master some hard words. We were carried away in two chairs,
taking leave of our famished companions, who followed us, as far as
they could, with their eyes and wishes, lamenting and bewailing, as
those do who remain slaves at Algiers when their other associates are
ransomed.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. IV.

_Of my Convalescence, and Departure for the University of Alcalá de
Henares._


When we came to Don Alonso's house, they laid us very gently on to two
beds, for fear of rattling our bones, they were so bare with starving;
then with magnifying glasses they began to search all about our faces
for our eyes, and were a long time before they could find out mine,
because I had suffered most, being treated like a servant, and
consequently mine was a royal hunger. Physicians were called, who
ordered the dust should be wiped off our mouths with fox-tails, as if we
had been paintings; and indeed we looked like the picture of death; and
that we should be nourished with good broths and light meats, for fear
of overloading our weak stomachs. Who can be able to express the
rejoicing there was in our guts, the first good soup that we tasted, and
afterwards when we came to eat some fowl? All these things to them were
unknown novelties. The doctors gave order that for nine days nobody
should talk in our chamber, because our stomachs were so empty that the
least word returned an echo in them. These and such like precautions
used caused our spirits to return to us in some measure; but our jaws
were so tanned and shrivelled up that there was no stretching of them,
and therefore care was taken that they should be every day gently forced
out, and, as it were, set upon the last with the bottom of a pestle. In
a few days we got up to try our limbs, but still we looked like the
shadows of other men, and so lean and pale as if we were lineally
descended from the fathers in the desert. We spent the whole day in
praising God for having delivered us out of the clutches of the most
inhuman Cabra, and offered up our earnest prayers, that no Christian
might ever fall into that miserable thraldom. If ever, when we were
eating, we happened to think of the miserable boarding-school table, it
made us so hungry that we devoured twice as much as at any other time.
We used to tell Don Alonso, how, when Cabra sat down to table, he would
inveigh against gluttony though he never knew any thing of it in his
life; and he laughed heartily when we informed him that, in speaking of
the commandment "Thou shall not kill," he made it extend to partridges
and capons, and such other dainties as never came within his doors, and
even to killing of hunger, which he certainly counted a heinous sin, and
therefore had an aversion to all eating. We were three whole months upon
our recovery, and at the end thereof Don Alonso began to think of
sending his son to Alcalá, to finish his Humanity. He asked me whether I
would go, and I thinking I could never be far enough from that inhuman
monster of misery and famine, offered to serve his son faithfully, as
experience should show. He provided him another servant, in the nature
of steward, to look after him, and give an account of the money he sent
for his expenses, by bill upon one Julian Merluza. We put all our
equipage into a cart belonging to one Diego Monge; it consisted of a
small bed for our master, and a truckle bed to run under it, for me and
the steward whose name was Aranda, five quilts, four pair of sheets,
eight pillows, four hangings, a trunk of linen, and other furniture for
a house. We went ourselves into a coach in the evening, a little before
nightfall, and about midnight came to the ever accursed lone inn of
Viveros. The inn-keeper was a Morisco, and a downright thief; and all
my life I never saw cat and dog so united in peace as that day.[9] He
received us very lovingly, because he and the carters went snacks, for
we travelled so slowly that they were there before us. He came to the
coach-side, gave me his hand to alight, and asked me, "Whether I was
going to the University?" I told him I was. He put me into the house,
where two bullies were with some wenches, a curate praying by them, an
old covetous shopkeeper endeavouring to forget his supper, and two
scoundrelly shabby scholars, contriving how to fill their bellies free
of cost. My master, as being the last comer and but a boy, said,
"Landlord, get what you have in the house for me and two servants." "We
are all your servants, Sir," said the sharpers, "and will wait on you.
Here, landlord, take notice; this gentleman will stand treat; fetch out
all you have in the larder." This said, one of them stepped up to Don
Diego, and taking off his cloak, laid it by, saying, "Pray, Sir, sit
down and rest you." This puffed me up so full of vanity that the inn was
too little to hold me. One of the damsels said, "What a well shaped
gentleman it is; is he going to his studies? Are you his servant, Sir?"
I fancying that every word they said was sincere, answered, "That I and
the other were both his servants." They asked me his name, and it was
scarce out of my mouth, before one of the scholars went up to him, with
tears in his eyes, and embracing him, as if he had been his brother,
said, "O my dear Don Diego! who would have thought, ten years ago, to
have seen you thus. Unhappy man, I am in such a condition that you will
not know me." My master and I were both amazed, and swore we had never
seen him in all our days. The scholar's companion stared Don Diego in
the face, and said to his friend, "Is this the gentleman of whose father
you told me so many stories? It is extraordinary fortunate that we have
met him, and know him. He is grown very tall; God bless him." With this
he began to cross himself, and seemed so overjoyed, that any man would
have thought we had been brought up together. Don Diego made him many
compliments; and as he was asking him his name, out came the innkeeper,
and laid the cloth; and smelling the joke, said, "Let that alone and
talk of it after supper, for the meat will be cold." One of the
bullies stepped up, and set stools for everybody, and an arm chair for
Don Diego; the other of them brought in a dish. The scholars said, "Do
you sup, Sir, and whilst they dress what the house affords for us, we
will wait on you at table." "God forbid," answered Don Diego; "pray,
gentlemen, sit down if you please." The bullies, though he did not speak
to them, readily answered, "Presently, good Sir; all is not ready yet."
When I saw some invited and the others invite themselves, my heart was
in my mouth, and I dreaded what came to pass; for the scholars laying
hold of the salad, which was a good dishful, and looking upon my master,
said, "It would be unreasonable that these ladies should be left
supperless, where a gentleman of such quality is; pray, Sir, give them
leave to take a bit." My master, like a true cully, invited them to
partake. They sat down, and between the scholars and them, in a trice,
there was but one single lettuce of all the salad left, which last bit
Don Diego had; and as the accursed students gave it him, he said, "Sir,
you had a grandfather, who was my father's uncle, that swooned at the
sight of a lettuce; he was a man of such an odd disposition." This said,
he fetched himself down a brick of bread, and his companion did the
like. The damsels had made a great hole in a good loaf; but yet the poor
curate ate more than all of them with his eyes and wishes. The bullies
bringing in a whole side of kid roasted, and a dish of pigeons and bacon
boiled, took their places at the table, saying to the priest, "Why,
father, what makes you stand there? Draw near and reach a bit, for Don
Diego treats us all." No sooner were the words spoken but he sat down.
When my master perceived that they had all intruded upon him he began to
be much concerned. They divided the spoil, giving Don Diego some few
bones to pick; the rest the curate and the others devoured. The bullies
said, "Pray, Sir, do not eat too much supper, lest it does you harm";
and the devil of a scholar answered, "Besides, Sir, you must begin to
practice to be abstemious considering the life you are to lead at
Alcalá." I and the other servant prayed heartily that God would put it
into their hearts to leave something; and when they had devoured every
bit, and the curate was picking the bones over again, one of the bullies
turned about, and said, "God bless us, we have left nothing for the
servants; come hither, gentlemen. Here, landlord, give them all the
house affords; take this pistole to pay for it." Up started immediately
my master's confounded imaginary kinsman, I mean the scholar, saying,
"With your leave, good Sir, I must tell you, I fear your breeding is not
much; it is a sign you are not acquainted with my cousin; he will
provide for his own servants and for ours too, if we had any, as he has
done for us." "Be not in a passion, Sir," replied the other, "we did not
know so much before." When I saw all this sly dissimulation, I began to
curse them and thought I should never have done. The cloth was taken
away, and they all desired Don Diego to go to bed. He would have paid
for the supper, but they answered that in the morning would be time
enough. They stayed a while chatting together; my master asked the
scholar his name, and he answered Don something Coronel. The devil
confound the deceitful dog, whosoever he is. Then perceiving that the
griping shopkeeper was asleep, he said, "Will you have a little sport,
Sir, to make you laugh? Let us put some trick upon this fellow, who has
eaten but one pear upon the road, and is as rich as a Jew." The bullies
cried, "God-a-mercy, Master Licentiate, do so, it is but right." With
this approbation he drew near the poor sleeping old fellow, and slipped
a wallet from under his feet, untied it, and took out a box, all the
company flocking about, as if it had been lawful prize taken in war. He
opened it, and found it full of lozenges; all which he took out, and
supplied their place with stones, chips, and any rubbish that came next
to hand, then laid about a dozen of little glittering stones there are
among some fine lime with which in Spain, they plaster the outsides of
houses, which glitters in the sun like bits of glass. This done, he shut
up the box, and said, "I have not done yet, for he has a leather
bottle"; out of which he poured all the wine, only some little he left
in the bottom, and then stuffed it up with tow and wool, and stopped it.
The scholar put all again into the wallet, and a great stone into the
hood of his travelling coat, and then he and all the rest went to bed,
to sleep about an hour or little more.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

When it was time to set out, all the company waked and got up, and still
the old man slept; they called him and he could not get up for the
weight of the stone that was in his hood. He looked to see what it was,
and the innkeeper pretended to quarrel with him, saying, "God 'o my
life, could you pick up nothing else to carry away, father, but this
stone? I had been finely served, gentlemen, if I had not discovered it;
I value it above an hundred crowns because it is good for the pain in
the stomach." The old man swore and cursed that he had not put it into
his hood; the bullies reckoned up the bill, which came to six crowns;
but the best arithmetician in Christendom could never have made out that
sum. The scholars asked what service they could do us at Alcalá; the
reckoning was paid, we breakfasted, and the old man took up his wallet;
but for fear we should see what he had in it, and so he might be obliged
to distribute any, he untied it in the dark under his great coat, and
laid hold of a bit of lime well daubed, which he clapped into his mouth,
and going to crunch it with a tooth and a half he had, was like to lose
them both. He began to spit and make faces, what with the pain, and what
with the loathsome bit he had put into his mouth. We all went up to him,
and the curate among the first, asking, "What ailed him?" He began to
curse and swear, dropped down the wallet, and the scholar came up to
him, saying, "Get behind me, Satan; here is the cross." The other opened
a breviary and would persuade him he was possessed, till at last he told
what ailed him, and begged they would give him leave to wash his mouth
with some wine he had in his leather bottle. They let him go, he opened
his bottle, and pouring into a small dish, out came a little wine, so
hairy and full of tow, that there was no drinking or enduring the sight
of it. Then the old man fell a raving beyond measure, but seeing all the
company burst their sides with laughing, he was fain to grow calm, and
get up into the waggon with the bullies and wenches. The curate and
scholars mounted on asses, and we went into the coach. We were scarce
gone from the door before they all began to banter and ridicule us,
declaring the trick they had put upon us. The innkeeper cried, "Good
master freshman, a few of these handsels will make you old and wise."
The cursed scholar said, "Pray, cousin, the next time scratch when it
itches, and not afterwards." In short, every one had his say; but we
thought best to take no notice, though, God knows, we were quite out of
countenance. At length we got to Alcalá and alighted at an inn, where we
spent all that day, for we came in at nine in the morning, in reckoning
up the particulars of our last supper, but could never make out the
account.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. V.

_Of our entrance into Alcalá, of the Footing we had to pay, and the
Tricks they played upon us._


Towards the evening, before it was dark, we left the inn, to go to the
house that had been hired for us, which was without the Santiago Gate,
in a court full of scholars; but in our house there were only three
families of us. The owner, or landlord of it was one of those who
believe in God out of complaisance or only in outward show, such as they
vulgarly called Moriscos; for there are abundance of this sort of
people, and of those that have great noses and cannot endure the smell
of bacon. Yet I do not by this mean to reflect upon the people of
quality, which are there very numerous and unspotted in blood. The
landlord received me with a worse countenance than if I had been an
Inquisitor come to ask him for his billet of faith; I know not whether
he did it to make us respect him the more, or whether it was the nature
of the beast, for it is no wonder they should be ill natured who are of
such bad principles. We brought in our goods, made the beds, and rested
that night. When it was day, all the scholars in the house came in their
shirts to demand entrance money of my master. He being an utter stranger
to that affair, asked me, "What it was they would be at?" whilst I at
the same time, for fear of what might happen, thrust myself between two
quilts, with only half my head out, like a tortoise. They demanded a
couple of crowns, which were given them; and they set up a hellish cry,
singing, "Long live our companion, and let him be admitted into our
friendship; let him enjoy all the privileges of a freeman, and be
allowed to have the itch, to be greasy, and as hungry as we are." This
said, they all tumbled down the stairs, we dressed ourselves, and set
out for the schools. My master was conducted by some collegians, his
father's friends, and so took his place in the school; but I, being to
go to another place, went all alone, and began to quake for fear. I had
scarce set my foot into the great court, before they all faced me, and
began to cry, "A new fellow!" The better to colour the matter, I fell
a-laughing, as if I had not regarded it; but it availed me not, for
eight or nine of them standing about me began to grin and laugh out. I
blushed; would to God I had not, for immediately one that was next me
clapped his hand to his nose, and stepping aside, said, "This Lazarus is
for rising from the dead, he stinks so." Then they all stood off,
stopping their noses. I thinking to escape that way, held my nose too,
and said, "You are in the right, gentlemen, here is a great stink." They
all burst out a-laughing, and getting farther off, gathered about a
hundred strong. They began to hawk, and give the alarm with their
throats, and by their coughing, and opening and shutting of their
mouths, I perceived what they were preparing for me.[10] By this time I
was daubed all over from head to foot; but a sly dog observing that I
was covered, and had nothing on my face, came running towards me, crying
out, as if he had been in a passion, "Enough; do not murder him." After
all this they would have necked me as they do rabbits to kill them; but
there was no touching me, without carrying off some part of their
loathsome bounty, which hung all about my wretched cloak, then turned
grey with filth, though it came in black. They left me, looking all
over like an old man's spitting-sheet. I went home, though I scarce knew
the way; and it was good luck that this happened in the morning, for I
met but two or three boys, who, I believe, were good-natured, for they
only threw half a dozen dirty clouts at me, and went their ways. I got
into the house, and the Moorish landlord seeing me, fell a-laughing, and
made show us if he would have spit upon me; which I dreading, cried out,
"Hold, landlord, for I am not the picture of Christ!" Would to God I had
never said it, for he laid on to me several pounds with a couple of
weights he had in his hand. Having got this good help besides all the
rest, though half revenged, I went up, and was a long time before I
could find out where to take hold of my cloak and cassock. At last I
took them off, hanged them up on the terrace, and laid me down upon the
bed.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

My master coming in found me asleep, and not knowing of my loathsome
disaster, was in a passion, and fell a-tugging me by the hair so
furiously, that had I not waked immediately he had made me bald before
my time. I started up, crying out and complaining, and he still more
passionate, said, "This is a fine way of serving me, Pablo; 'tis a new
way of life." This went to my heart, and I answered, "You are a great
comfort to me, Sir, in my afflictions; do but see what a condition that
cloak and cassock are in, which have served for handkerchiefs to the
filthiest noses that ever poisoned clean linen." This said, I fell
a-weeping; which he perceiving, believed me, looked for the cassock, and
seeing it, took pity on me, and said, "Pablo, be on your guard, and take
care of yourself, for you have no father or mother to take your part
here." I told him all that had befallen me, and he ordered me to strip
and go to my chamber, where four servants of the other lodgers in the
house lay. I went to bed and slept, and being refreshed with that and a
good supper, I found myself as well as if nothing had happened to me.
But when misfortunes begin to fall, there is such a series of them
linked together, as if they would never have an end. The other servants
came to bed, who all saluted and asked me, "Whether I was sick, and what
made me so soon a-bed?" I told them the whole story; and immediately, as
if they had been innocence itself, they began to cross themselves, and
said, "Was there ever such wickedness acted? This would not be tolerated
among infidels." Another cried, "The proctors are in the fault, that
they do not take care to prevent it. Shall you know them again?" I
answered, I should not, and thanked them for the kindness they seemed to
show me. This discourse lasted till they stripped, went to bed, put out
the candle, and I fell asleep, as if I had been with my mother and
brothers. It was about twelve of the clock, I believe, when one of them
waked me, roaring out in a dismal manner, "Help, help; they kill me;
thieves!" At the same time there was a noise in his bed of voices and
lashes. I held up my head, and said, "What is the matter there?" As soon
as ever I uncovered myself, they laid on to my back with a rope made
into a cat-o'-nine-tails. I cried out, and would have got up; the other
complained as much as I, but it was me only they flogged. I called out
for help in God's name, but the lashes fell so thick upon me, they
having pulled all the clothes off me, that I had no other refuge but
to creep under the bed. I did so, and immediately the other three, who
seemed to be sleeping, began all to roar out, and I hearing the lashes
still, concluded that some stranger scourged us all. In the meanwhile
the hell-hound that was next me, skipped into my bed. This done the
lashes ceased, and all four of them got up, crying out again, "It is a
great villainy, and not to be endured." Still I lay under my bed,
whining like a dog that is pinched in a door, and shrinking myself all
up, as if I had been drawn together by the cramp. The others made as if
they had shut the door; then I crept out, got into my bed again, and
asking, whether any of them was hurt, they all complained bitterly. I
lay down, covered myself up warm, and fell asleep again; and happening
to tumble about in my sleep, when I waked, I found myself all daubed up
to my very neck. They all got up, and I pleaded the flogging for an
excuse to lie a-bed. The devil himself could not turn me from one side.
I was full of confusion, considering whether the fright and disorder had
occasioned my committing myself in my sleep. In short, I was innocent
and guilty at the same time, and knew not what excuse to make for
myself. It is impossible to express the anguish I was in, what with
shame, what with my finger that was disjointed, and what with the dread
of being cramped. At length, fearing they would really put that villainy
in execution, for they had really put cords about my thighs, I made as
if I came to myself; yet I was not so quick, but that the rogues being
knavishly bent, had whipped the cords about my thighs, and tugged so
hard that they sunk them an inch into my flesh. Then they left me,
crying, "Bless us, what a puny creature you are." I cried for mere
vexation, and they archly said, "It is all for your health's good to be
bemired; hold your peace." This done, they washed me, laid me in the bed
again, and went their way. Being left alone, I lay and considered, that
what I had endured in one day at Alcalá was worse than all my sufferings
under Cabra at the boarding-school. At noon I dressed me, cleaned my
cloak and cassock the best I could, washing it like an old clout, and
waited for my master, who, when he came, asked me, "How I did?" All the
family dined, and so did I, though I ate but little, having but an
indifferent stomach at that time, and after dinner we all met to chat in
an open gallery. The other servants, when they had sufficiently
bantered me, discovering the trick they had put upon me, laughed
heartily. I was worse out of countenance than before, and said to
myself, "Look to yourself, Pablo, be on the alert." I resolved to begin
a new course of life; we were all made friends, and from that day
forward lived as lovingly in the house together as if we had been all
one mother's children, and no man disturbed me any more at the schools
or public places.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. VI.

_Of the wicked old Housekeeper, and the first knavish pranks I played at
Alcalá._


[Illustration]

Do as you see them do, says the proverb; and it is well said. I took it
so seriously into consideration, that I fully resolved to play the knave
among knaves, and to outdo them all if possible. I know not whether I
succeeded as I designed, but I am sure I used all my endeavours. I began
by making a law, that it should be no less than death for any pigs to
come into our house, or for any of our old housekeeper's chickens to run
out of the yard into our room. It happened one day, that two of the most
elegant porkers that ever my eyes beheld slipped into our domain; I was
then at play with the other servants, and hearing them grunt, said to
one of my companions, "Go, see who it is that grunts in our house." He
went, and brought word they were two swine. No sooner had I heard these
words but I went out in a passion, saying, "It was a great deal of
impudence in them to grunt in other people's houses." Then clapping the
door to, in the same heat of blood, I ran my sword into the throats of
them both, and then we cut off their heads. To prevent their cry being
heard abroad, we all set up our throats, roaring as loud as possibly we
could, as if we had been singing; and so they gave up the ghost among
us. We paunched them, saved the blood, and by the help of our straw bed,
half singed them in the back yard; so that when our masters came home
all was over, though after an indifferent manner; only the puddings were
not yet made, which was not for want of expedition, for we had left half
they had in the guts, merely to save loss of time. Don Diego and our
steward were told the story, and flew into such a passion against me
that the other lodgers, who were ready to burst with laughing, thought
fit to take my part. Don Diego asked me what I could say for myself if
the thing should be found out, and I should be taken up for it? I
answered I would plead hunger, which is the common refuge of all
scholars; and if that was not enough, I would urge that, seeing them
come into the house without knocking as if they had been at home, I
thought they had been our own. They all laughed at my plea, and Don
Diego said, "By my troth, Pablo, you begin to understand your trade." It
was very well worth observing the difference between my master and me,
he so sober and religious, and I so arch and knavish, so that the one
was a foil to the other and served to set off either his virtue or vice.
Our old housekeeper was pleased to the very heart, for we both played
our parts, and had conspired against the larder. I was caterer, and a
very Judas in my employment, and ever since retained an inclination to
cribbing and stealing. The meat always wasted in the old jade's keeping,
and she never dressed wether-mutton when she could get ewe or goat;
besides, she picked the flesh off the bones before she boiled them, so
that the dishes served up looked as it the cattle had died of a
consumption; and the broth was so clear, that, had it been consolidated,
it might have passed for crystal; only now and then for change, that the
soup might look a little fat, she clapped in a few candle ends. When I
was by she would say to my master, "In troth, Sir, little Pablo is the
best servant in Spain, bating his unluckiness; but that may well enough
be borne with, because he is honest. He buys the best the market
affords." I gave the same character of her, and so we put upon the whole
house. If there was any store of coals, bacon, or oil laid in, we stole
half of it, and some while after would say, "Pray, gentlemen, retrench
your expenses a little, for if you go on at this rate, you had need have
a mint of money; the coals or the oil is spent, but no wonder at the
rate that you use it; you had best order more to be brought in. Sir,
give little Pablo the money, and you will have a better account of it."
Money was accordingly given me, and we sold them the other half we had
stole, and half of what we brought, and that was in full.

If ever I happened to buy anything in the market at the real value, then
the old housekeeper and I would pretend to fall out and quarrel, and she
seeming to be in a passion, would say, "Do not tell me, Pablo, that this
is a pennyworth of salad." Then I would seem to cry, and make a great
deal of noise, went to complain to my master, and persuaded him to send
the steward to inquire, that the old woman might be convinced, who still
scolded on designedly. The steward went and found as I said, by which
means both master and steward were imposed upon, and had the better
opinion of me for my honesty, and of the housekeeper for her care. Don
Diego being thus fixed in his good opinion of me, used to say to her,
"Would to God Pablo were otherwise as virtuous as he is honest; I see
plainly he is as trusty as you represent him." Thus we held them in
ignorance, and sucked them like horse leeches. I do not at all doubt,
Sir, but you wonder how much we might cheat them of at the year's end;
the total was certainly considerable, yet I suppose we were not obliged
to make restitution, for the old woman never missed going to church
daily, yet I never saw any disposition in her to restore the least part;
nor did I perceive any scruple of conscience she made of it, though she
was so great a saint. She always wore a pair of beads about her neck, so
big that the wood of them might have served to roast a sirloin of beef.
It was all hung with crosses, medals, pictures, and other trinkets, on
all which she said she prayed every night for her benefactors. She had a
catalogue of an hundred and odd saints that were her patrons; and in
truth she had need of no less help to bear her out of all her
wickedness. Her chamber was over my master's, where she set up more
prayers than a blind begger. And all in Latin, such as it was, for
neither mortals on earth nor angels in heaven could understand it, which
she did to appear the more innocent and simple; but we were ready to
split our sides with laughing. Besides these she had many other
excellent qualifications, for she was an extraordinary messenger of love
and contriver of pleasure, which is the same as a bawd; but her excuse
to me was that it came to her by descent, just as the kings of France
had the gift of curing the king's evil. You will imagine perhaps that we
always lived in unity; but who does not know that the two best friends,
if they are covetous, and live together, will endeavour to cheat one
another; and I took care to let slip no opportunity.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

The old woman kept hens in the yard, and had about a dozen or fourteen
well-grown chickens, which made my teeth water to be at them, or they
were fit to be served up to any gentleman's table. It happened on day
that when going to feed them, as the common custom is in Spain, she
called them together, crying, _Pio, Pio, Pio_. This she repeated very
often, and I being upon the catch, cried out as loud as she, "As God
shall save me, mistress, I wish I had seen you kill a man, or clip the
king's coin, for then I might have kept your counsel--rather than do as
you have done; and now I must be forced to discover it. The Lord have
mercy upon us both!" She seeing me act all that concern and disorder,
was somewhat startled, and said, "Why, what have I done, Pablo? If you
are in jest, do not tease me any longer." "What do you mean by jesting?"
said I; a curse on it, I cannot possibly avoid giving information to the
Inquisition, else I shall be excommunicated." "The Inquisition," quoth
she, trembling like a leaf on a tree; "why, have I committed any crime
against religion?" "Why, there's the case," answered I; "don't you think
to dally with the Inquisitors. You had better own you were in the wrong,
that you spoke like a fool; eat your words, and not deny the blasphemy
and irreverence." She replied in a great consternation: "But tell me,
Pablo, will they punish me if I recant?" "No," said I, "for then they
will only absolve you." "Then I recant," quoth she; "but do you tell me
what it is I am to recant, for I know nothing of it as I hope for
mercy." "Bless me," replied I, "is it possible you should be so dull as
not to reflect that, but I don't know how to express it--the disrespect
was so great that I am afraid to repeat it. Don't you remember you
called the chickens _Pio, Pio_, and Pius is the name of several Popes,
vicars of Christ, and heads of the Church? Now, do you consider whether
that be any trifling sin? She stood as if she had been thunder-struck,
and after a while cried, "'Tis true I said so, Pablo, but may I be
curs'd if I did it with any ill design. I recant; do you consider
whether some means may not be found to avoid informing against me? For I
shall die if they get me into the Inquisition." "Provided you will take
your oath," answered I, "on the holy altar, that you did it not with any
ill intent. I may, upon that assurance, forbear impeaching you; but then
you must give me those two chickens that fed when you were calling them
by that most sanctified name of the Popes, that I may carry them to an
officer of the Inquisition for him to burn them, for they are defiled;
and in the next place, you must swear positively never to be guilty of
the like again. This you must do now, for to-morrow I'll swear." For the
better fixing of this notion in her head, I went on: "The worst of it
is, Cipriana" (for that was her name), "that I shall be in danger, for
the Inquisitor will ask whether I am not the person, and may put me to
trouble. Do you e'en carry them yourself, for I am afraid." "For the
Lord's sake," cried she, "Pablo, take pity on me, and do you carry them;
there is no danger of your coming to any harm." I made her press me a
long while, and at last, though it was the thing I aimed at, I suffered
myself to be persuaded. I took the chickens, hid them in my chamber,
made show as it I went abroad, and came in again, saying, "It has fallen
out better than I expected; the cunning officer would fain have come
after me to see the woman, but I gave him the slip cleverly, and did the
trick." She hugged and kissed me, and gave me another chicken for my
pains, which I carried to his companions, had them all dressed at the
cook's, and ate them with my fellow-servants. Don Diego and the
housekeeper came to hear of the trick, and all the family made excellent
sport with it. The old woman had like to have fretted herself to death
for mere vexation, and was a thousand times in the mind, for revenge, to
discover all my cheats, but that she was as deep in the dirt as I was in
the mire. Being thus at variance with the old woman, and no way now left
to put upon her, I contrived new ways to play my pranks, and fell to
that the scholars call snatching and shoplifting, at which sport I had
many pleasant adventures.

One night, about nine of the clock, at which time there are but few
people abroad, passing through the great street, I spied a
confectioner's shop open, and in it a basket of raisins upon the
counter. I whipped in, took hold of it, and set off a-running. The
confectioner scoured after me, and so did several neighbours and
servants. Being loaded, I perceived that though I had the start they
would overtake me, and therefore turning the corner of the street, I
clapt the basket upon the ground, sat down upon it, and wrapping my
cloak about my leg, began to cry out, holding it with both hands, "God
forgive him, he has trod upon me and crippled me." They heard what I
said, and when they came up I began to cry, "For the Lord's sake pity
the lame! I pray God you may never be lame!" They came to me, panting,
and out of breath, and said, "Friend, did you see a man run this way?"
"He is a-head of you," answered I, "for he trod upon me." With this they
started again, and vanished. I was left alone, carried my basket home
and told the story, which they would not believe, though they highly
applauded the ingenuity, for which reason I invited them to see me steal
a box of sweetmeats another night. They came, and observing that all the
boxes were so far within the shop that there was no reaching them,
concluded the thing was impracticable, especially because the
confectioner, having heard what had happened to the other one, was upon
his guard. However, I went on, and drawing my sword, which was a stiff
tuck, about a dozen paces short of the shop, run on, and when I came up
to the door, I cried out, "You are a dead man," and made a strong pass
just before the confectioner's breast, who dropped down, calling for
help, and my sword run clear through a box of sweetmeats, which I drew
out with it and carried off. They were all amazed at the contrivance,
and ready to burst with laughing, to hear the confectioner bid the
people search him, for he was certainly wounded, and knew the other to
be a man he had a falling out with; but when he turned about, the other
boxes being disordered by the pulling out of that one, he discovered the
cheat, and fell a blessing himself as if he would never have done. The
truth of it is, I never ate anything that pleased me so well. My
companions used to say, I could maintain the family with what I lifted,
which is only a modest term for stealing. Being then but a boy, and
hearing myself commended for these knavish pranks, it encouraged me to
commit more. I used to bring home my girdle hung all round with little
pitchers, which I stole from nuns, begging some water to drink of them,
and when they turned it out in their wheel, I went off with the mugs,
they being shut up, and not able to help themselves; so that it became a
fashion not to give out anything without a pledge for the vessel.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

After this I promised Don Diego and his companions that I would one
night disarm the round. The night was appointed, and we set out upon the
exploit. I went foremost with another servant of our family, and as soon
as I discovered the watch, went up as if I had been in a great fright,
saying, "Is it the round?" They answered, "It was." Then said I, "Is the
officer here?" They replied, "He was." Then I kneeled down, and said,
"Sir, it is in your power to do me right, to revenge my wrong, and to do
the public a great piece of service; be pleased to hear a word or two I
have to communicate in private, if you desire to secure some notorious
criminals." He stepped aside, and some of his officers were laying hands
on their swords, and others taking out their rods of authority, whilst I
said, "Sir, I am come from Seville, in pursuit of six of the most
notorious malefactors in the world; they are all thieves and murderers,
and among them is one that killed my mother and a brother of mine,
without any provocation but to exercise his barbarity. This is proved
upon him, and they all come, as I heard them say, with a French spy; and
by what I can further guess from their words, he is sent (then I lowered
my voice) by Antonio Perez."[11] At these words the officer gave a
start, and cried, "Where are they?" "They are, Sir," said I, "in a house
of ill-fame; do not stay, good Sir; the souls of my mother and brother
will requite you with their prayers, and the king will reward you." He
said very earnestly, "Good God! let us lose no time; follow me all of
you, and give me a target." I took him aside again, and added, "Sir, the
whole business will be spoiled if you do so; the only way to do it is,
for them all to go in without swords, and one by one, for they are above
in the rooms, and have pistols, and as soon as they see any come with
swords, knowing that none can wear them but officers of justice, they
will be sure to fire. It is better only to go in with your daggers, and
then seize them by the arms behind, for we are enough of us." The
officer being eager to secure them at any rate, approved of my
contrivance. By this time we were come near the place, and the officer,
thus instructed by me, ordered them all to hide their swords in a
field there is just before the house, under the grass. They did so, and
went on. I had already instructed my companion that as soon as ever they
laid their swords down, he should seize them, and make the best of his
way home. He did so, and when they were all going into the house, I
stayed out the last; and as soon as they were entered, being followed by
several people they picked up by the way, I gave them the slip, and
turned short into a narrow lane that comes out near the Victoria,
running all the way as swift as a greyhound. When the round was all in
the house, and found none there but scholars and scoundrels--which is
all one--they began to look about for me, and not finding me, suspected
it was some trick put upon them. Being thus disappointed, they went to
take their swords, but there was no sign of them. It is impossible to
tell what pains the officer, attended by the rector of the university,
took that night. They searched all the town to the very beds, and when
they came to ours, I was in bed, with a nightcap on, and close covered,
for fear of being known, a candle lighted in one hand and a crucifix in
the other, with a sham priest praying by me, and all the rest of my
companions on their knees about the bed. The rector, with all his
officers, came in, and seeing that spectacle, went out again, supposing
no such prank could be played by any there. They made no search, but the
rector prayed by me, and asked whether I was speechless; they answered,
I was; and so away they went, in despair of making any discovery. The
rector swore he would deliver up the offender, if he could find him; and
the officer vowed he would hang him, though he were the son of a grandee
of Spain. I got up, and this prank makes sport at Alcalá to this very
day. To avoid being tedious, I omit giving an account of my robbing in
the open market, as if it had been on a mountain; not a box or case
escaped me, but I had it home, and kept the house in fuel all the year;
and as for the apple-women, nothing was ever safe in their stalls or
standings, for I had declared perpetual war against them, on account of
the affront put upon me when I was king at Segovia. I pass by the
contributions I raised on the fields of beans, vineyards, and orchards,
all about that part of the country. These and the like practices gained
me the reputation of a mischievous, cunning fellow among all people. The
young gentlemen were so fond of me, that I had scarce leisure to wait
on Don Diego, whom I honoured as he deserved for the great kindness he
bore me.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. VII.

_How I received news of my Father's Death, parted from Don Diego, and
what Course of Life I resolved on for the future_


At length Don Diego received a letter from his father, and with it one
for me, from an uncle of mine, whose name was Alonso Ramplon, a man near
akin to all the virtues, and very well known in Segovia as being the
finisher of the law, and for four years past the carrying out of all its
decrees went through his hands. In short, to speak plain, he was the
executioner or hangman; but such a clever fellow at his business that it
would not vex a man to be hanged by him, he did it so neatly. This
worthy person wrote to me from Segovia to Alcalá as follows:

"Son Pablo (for so he called me for the much love he bore me)--

"The great affairs of this employment in the which it has pleased his
majesty to place me, have been the occasion of my not writing to you
before; for if there be any thing to find fault with in the king's
service, it is the great trouble and attendance it requires; which,
however, is in some measure requited by the honour of being his servant.
It troubles me to be forced to send you disagreeable news; but your
father died eight days ago, with as much bravery and resolution as ever
man did; I speak of my own knowledge, as having trussed him up myself.
The cart became him as well as if it had been a chariot, and all that
saw the rope about his neck concluded him as clever a fellow as ever was
hanged. He looked up all the way he went at the windows, very much
unconcerned, courteously bowing to all the tradesmen, that left their
shops to gaze at him, and turned up his whiskers several times. He
desired the priests that went to prepare him for death, not to be too
eager, but to rest and take a breathing time, extolling any remarkable
expressions they used. Being come to the triple tree, he presently set
his foot on the ladder, and went up it nimbly, not creeping on all-four
as others do; and perceiving that one of the rounds of it was cracked
through, he turned to the officers attending, and bid them get it mended
for the next that came, because all men had not his spirit. I cannot
express how much his person and carriage were applauded. At the top of
the ladder he sat down, set his clothes handsomely about him, took the
rope and clapped the noose to his ear, and then perceiving the Jesuit
was going to preach to him, he turned to him and said, 'Father, I accept
of the will for the deed. Let us have a few staves of a psalm, and have
done quickly, for I hate to be tedious.' This was done accordingly; he
charged me to put on his cap a little to one side and to wipe his mouth,
which I did. And then he swang, without shrinking up his legs, or making
ugly faces; but kept such sedateness in his countenance that it was a
pleasure to behold him. I quartered him out, and left the several parts
on the highways. God knows what a trouble it is to me to see him there
daily treating the crows and ravens. I cannot give you a much better
account of your mother, for, though still living, she is a prisoner in
the Inquisition at Toledo, because she would not let the dead rest in
their graves. They give out that every night she used to salute a great
he-goat, kissing him on the eye which has no pupil. In her house were
found as many arms, legs, and heads as would have stocked a charnel
house; and she reckoned it one of her smallest abilities to counterfeit
virgins and solder cracked virtues. They say she would fly up a chimney,
and ride faster upon a broom-staff than another can upon the best
Andalusian nag. I am sorry she disgraces us all, and me more
particularly as being the king's officer, and such kindred does not
become my post. Dear child, here are some goods of your father's that
have been concealed to the value of four hundred ducats; I am your
uncle, and all I have is yours. Upon sight hereof you may come away
hither, for your skill in Latin and rhetoric will qualify you to make
you an excellent hangman. Let me have your answer speedily, and till
then God keep you, &c."

[Illustration]

I must confess, I was much troubled at this fresh disgrace, and yet, in
some measure, I was glad of it, for the scandalous lives of parents make
their greatest misfortunes a comfort to their children. I went away
hastily to Don Diego, who was then reading his father's letter, in which
he ordered him to leave the university and return home, but not to take
me with him, because of the account he had received of my trickiness. He
told me he must be gone, and how his father commanded him to part with
me, which he was sorry for; and I was so much more. He added, he would
recommend me to another gentleman, his friend, to serve him. I smiled,
and answered, "Sir, the case is altered; I have other designs in my
head, and aim at greater matters, so that I must take another course;
for though hitherto I was at the foot of the ladder, in order to mount,
you must understand that my father has got up to the top of it." With
this I told how bravely he had died, at his full stretch; how he was
carved out, and served up as a feast to the birds of the air. That my
good uncle, the executioner, had sent me the whole account, and
acquainted me with my mammy's confinement; for I could be plain with
him, because he knew all my pedigree. He seemed to be much concerned,
and asked how I intended to bestow myself. I informed him of all my
resolutions and so the very next day he went away for Segovia, very
melancholy, and I stayed in the house, without taking the least notice
of my misfortune. I burned the letter, for fear it might be dropped, and
somebody read it, and began to provide for my journey to Segovia,
designing to take possession of what was my due, and to know my kindred,
that I might shun them.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. VIII.

_My Journey from Alcalá to Segovia, and Happened by the way till I came
to Rejas, where I lay that Night._


At length the day came when I left the sweetest life I have ever known.
I cannot express how much it troubled me to leave so many friends and
dear acquaintance, for they were very numerous. I sold what little I had
got underhand, to bear my charges on the way; and with some tricks and
sleights of hand, made up about forty crowns, hired a mule, and left my
lodging, where I had nothing to leave behind. The Lord alone knows what
a hue and cry there was after me; the shoemaker roared for the shoes he
had trusted me with; the old housekeeper scolded for her wages; the
landlord fretted for his rent. One cried, "My heart always misgave me
that I should be so served"; another said, "They were much in the right
who told me that this fellow was a cheat."

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

In short, I was so generally beloved that I left half the town in tears
for me when I came away, and the other half laughing at those that
bemoaned themselves. I diverted myself with these thoughts along the
road, when having passed through the town of Torote, I overtook a man
riding on a he-mule, with a pannel. He talked to himself very rapidly,
and was so wrapt in imagination that he did not perceive me, though I
was close by his side. I saluted him, and he returned the courtesy; then
I asked which way he was travelling; and after a few such questions and
answers had passed between us, began to discourse about the Turks coming
down, and the king's forces. Then he began to lay a scheme for
recovering of the Holy Land, and the taking of Algiers; by which
discourse I perceived that he was mad upon politics and government. We
went on with our dialogue as became a couple of pleasant fellows, and
skipping from one subject to another, fell last upon Flanders. There I
hit his vein, for he fetched up a deep sigh, and said, "That country has
cost me more than it has done the king; for I have been upon a project
about these fourteen years, which were it not impracticable, as it is,
would have set all right there long ago." "What can that be," answered
I, "which is so convenient and useful, and yet at the same time
impracticable, and not to be put in execution?" "Who told you," replied
he, very hastily, "that it cannot be put in execution? It can be
executed, for its being impracticable is another matter; and were it not
for fear of being troublesome, I would tell you what is; but it will all
out; for I design very suddenly to print it, with some other small works
of mine, among which I propose to the king two several methods for
recovering Ostend."[12] I entreated him to acquaint me with them; and
he, pulling some papers out of his pocket, showed me a draught of the
enemy's works and of ours, and said, "Sir, you plainly see that all this
difficulty lies in this inlet of the sea; now, my contrivance is to suck
it dry with sponges, and so to remove that obstacle." This wild notion
made me burst into a loud fit of laughter, and he, looking me
earnestly in the face, went on, "I never showed it to anybody but has
done the same as you do, for they are all mightily pleased with it."
"Truly," replied I, "it is an extraordinary pleasure and satisfaction to
me to be acquainted with a design so novel and reasonable; but, Sir, be
pleased to consider, that when you have once sucked up the water that is
in it, the sea will throw in more." "The sea will do no such thing,"
answered he, "for I have examined it very nicely; besides that, I have
found out an invention to sink the sea twelve fathoms all about there."
I durst not make any objection, for fear he should say he had a project
to draw down the sky to us. In all my days I never met with such a
madman. He told me that Juanelo, a famous engineer, who brought water
from the river Tagus up a vast hill, to serve the city Toledo, had done
nothing; for he was now contriving to bring the whole river up to that
city a much easier way; and when he came to explain the method, it was
to be by a spell; pray do but mind whether ever such follies were heard
of in the world; but he went on, and added, "Yet I do not design to put
this in execution, unless the king will first settle a good estate upon
me, and knight me, for I am capable enough of that honour, because I
have good testimonials of my gentility." This rambling, wild discourse
lasted us to Torrejon, where he stayed to see a kinswoman. I went on
very well pleased, and laughing heartily at the projects he spent his
time in.

[Illustration]

I had not gone far before I spied at a distance a mule loose, and a man
by her a-foot, who looking into a book, drew some lines, and measured
them with a pair of compasses. He leaped and skipped about from side to
side, and now and then laying one finger upon the other, made several
extravagant motions. I must confess, that stopping at a good distance
some time to observe him, I at first concluded he was a conjurer, and
was almost afraid to go on. At last I resolved to venture, and drawing
near, he spied me, shut his book, and going to mount, his foot slipped
out of the stirrup and he fell. I helped him up, and he said, "I took
not the due proportion in rising, to make the half circumference of
mounting." I did not understand what he meant, but presently guessed
what he was, for a more extravagant distracted man was never born of a
woman. He asked whether I was going to Madrid in a direct line, or took
a circumflex road? Though I did not understand him, yet I answered,
"That by circumflex." Next he asked me whose sword that was by my side?
and having answered it was mine, he viewed it, and said, "That bar ought
to be longer, to ward off the cuts that are made upon the centre of the
thrusts." And thus he went on, sputtering out such a parcel of big
words, that I was fain to ask him what his profession was? He told me
that he was a solid master of the noble science of defence, and would
make it good upon any ground in Spain. I could not forbear laughing, and
answered, "By my troth, Sir, I rather took you for a conjurer, when I
saw you describing circles, and making such antic motions in the field."
"The reason of that," replied he, "was because there occurred to me a
thrust in quart, fetching the greater compass, to engage my adversary's
sword, and killing him before he can say his soul is his own, that he
may not discover who did it; and I was then reducing of it to
mathematical rules." "Is it possible," said I, "that the mathematics
should be concerned in that affair?" "Not only the mathematics," quoth
he, "but divinity, philosophy, music, and physic." "I do not question it
as to the last," said I, "since that art aims at killing." "Do not make
a jest of it," continued he, "for I will now teach you an excellent
guard, and at the same time you shall lay on the great cuts, which shall
contain the spiral lines of the sword." "I do not understand one word of
all you say," answered I. And he again, "Why, here you have them in this
book, which is called, _The Wonders of the Sword_.[13] It is an
excellent one, and contains prodigious things; and to convince you of
it, at Rejas, where we shall lie to-night, you shall see me perform
wonders with two spits; and you need not question but that whosoever
reads this book, will kill as many as he pleases." "Either that book
teaches men how to make plagues," replied I, "or it was written by some
doctor of physic." "What do you mean by a doctor?" replied he. "He is an
extraordinary wise man, and I could find in my heart to say more."

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

We held on this ridiculous discourse till we came to Rejas, and went
into an inn; but as we were alighting, he called out to me as loud as he
could, to be sure first to form an obtuse angle with my legs, and then
reducing them to parallel lines, to come perpendicularly to the ground.
The landlord seeing me laugh, did so to, and asked me, "Whether that
gentleman was an Indian, that he spoke in such a sort." I thought I
should have died with laughing between them; but he presently went up to
the host, and said, "Pray, Sir, lend me a couple of spits to make two or
three angles, and I will restore them immediately." "Lord bless me,
Sir," answered the host, "give me the angles, and my wife will roast
them in a trice, though they are a sort of birds I never heard the names
of before." "They are no birds," replied the other; and turning to me,
added, "Pray, Sir, do but observe the effects of ignorance. Let me have
the spits, for I want them only to fence with, and perhaps you will see
me do that to-day which may be worth more to you than all you have got
in your life." In fine, the spits were in use, and we were fain to take
up with two long ladles. Never was anything so ridiculous seen in this
world. He gave a skip, and said, "This sally gains me more ground, and
puts by my adversary's sword; now I make my advantage of the remiss
motion to kill in the natural way; this should be a cut, and this a
thrust." He came not within a mile of me, but danced round with his
ladle; now I standing still all the while, all his motions looked as if
he were fencing with a pot that is boiling over the fire. Then he went
on, saying, "In short, this is the true art, not like the drunken
follies of fencing-masters, who understand nothing but drinking." The
words were scarce out of his mouth before a great he-mulatto stepped out
of the next room, with a pair of whiskers like two brushes, a hat as big
as an umbrella, a buff-doublet under a loose coat, bandy-legged,
hook-nosed, and with two or three signs of the cross on his face, a
dagger that might have served Goliath, and a hanging look, and said, "I
am an approved master, and have my certificate about me, and by this
light I'll make an example of any man that dare presume to reflect upon
so many brave fellows as profess the noble science."[14] Seeing we were
likely to be in a broil, I stept in, and said, "He had not spoken to
him, and therefore he had no occasion to be affronted." "Draw your
sword, if you have ever a one," added he, "and let us try who has most
skill, without playing the fool with ladles." My poor wretched companion
opened his book, and cried aloud, "Here it is, as I say, in the book,
and it is printed by authority; and I'll maintain with the ladle that
all it contains is true; or else without the ladle, either here, or upon
any other ground; and if anybody does not believe it, let us measure
it." This said, he pulled out his compasses, and went on, "This is an
obtuse angle." The fencing-master drew his dagger, and replied, "I
neither know who is angle, nor who is obtuse; nor did I ever hear such
words before; but I'll cut you in pieces with this dagger in my hand."
He ran at the poor devil, who fled from him amain, skipping about the
house, and crying, "He cannot hurt me, for I have gained upon his
sword." The landlord and I parted them, with the help of other people
that came in, though I was scarce able to stand for laughing. The honest
madman was put into his chamber, and I with him. We supped, and all the
house went to bed. About two of the clock he got up in his shirt, and
began to ramble about the room, skipping and sputtering a deal of
nonsense in mathematical terms. He waked me and not satisfied with this,
went down to the landlord to give him a light, saying he had found a
fixed object for the cross pass upon the bow. The landlord wished him at
the devil for waking him; but still the other tormented him, till he
called him a madman, and then he came up and told me, if I would rise I
should see the curious fence he had found out against the Turks and
their scimitars, and added, he would go show it to the king
immediately, because it was very advantageous to Christendom. By this
time it was day, we all got up and paid our shot. We reconciled the
madman and the fencing-master, who went away, saying, "That what my
companion alleged was good in itself, but it made more men mad than
skilful at their weapon, because not one in a hundred understood the
least part of it."

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. IX.

_Of what Happened to me on the road to Madrid with a Poet._


I held on my journey to Madrid, and my mad companion went off to go
another road; when he had gone a little way he turned back very hastily,
and calling on me as loud as he could, though we were in the open where
none could hear us, he whispered in my ear, "Pray, Sir, let me conjure
you, as you hope to live, not to discover any of the mighty secrets I
have acquainted you with, relating to the art of fencing, but keep them
to yourself, since you are a man of sound judgment." I promised so to
do; he went his way again, and I fell a-laughing at the comical secret.
I travelled about a league without meeting anybody, and was considering
with myself how difficult a matter it was for me to tread the paths of
virtue and honour, since it was requisite, in the first place, that I
should hide the scandal of my parents, and then have so much worth
myself as to conceal me from their shame. These thoughts seemed to me so
honourable, that I congratulated myself on them, and said, "It will be
much more honourable in me, who had none to learn virtue from, than in
those who had it hereditary from their predecessors." My head was full
of these ideas, when I overtook a very old clergyman riding on a mule
towards Madrid. We fell into discourse, and he asked me whence I came? I
told him, from Alcalá. "God's curse," said he, "on those low people,
since there was not one man of sense to be found among them." I asked
how could that be said of such a town, where there were so many learned
men? He answered, in a great passion, "Learned! I'll tell you how
learned, Sir! I have for these fourteen years last past made all the
songs and ballads and the verses for the bedels at Corpus Christi and
Christmas, in the village of Majalahonda,[15] where I am reader; and
those you call learned men, when I put up some of my works among the
rest, at the public act, took no notice of mine. And that you may be
sensible, good Sir, of the wrong they did me, I will read them to you;"
and accordingly he began as follows:

    _Come, shepherds, let us dance and play_
    _On great saint Corpus Christi's day;_
    _For he comes down to give its thanks,_
    _For all our kind and loving pranks._
    _When we have drunk and made all even,_
    _He flies back again to heaven._
    _What he does there I cannot say,_
    _Since here with us he will not stay._
    _Come, shepherds, let us dance and play, &c._

[Illustration]

Having read this admired piece, which was too long to remember any more
of it, he proceeded: "Now, Sir, could the very inventor of doggerel
himself have said any thing finer than this? Do but consider what a deal
of mystery there is in that word _Shepherds_; it cost me about a month's
hard study." I could no longer contain myself within bounds, for I was
ready to burst, and so breaking out into a loud fit of laughter, I said,
"It is most wonderful; but I observe you call great saint _Corpus
Christi_, whereas _Corpus Christi_ is not the name of a saint, but a
festival instituted in honour of the blessed sacrament." "That's a
pretty fancy," replied he, scornfully, "I'll show you him in the
calendar, and he is canonized, and I'll lay my head on it." I could not
contend any more with him for laughing at his unaccountable ignorance,
but told him his verses deserved to be highly rewarded, for I had never
seen anything more comical in my life. "No?" said he; "then pray hear a
little of a small book I have written in honour of the eleven
thousand virgins. I have composed fifty stanzas, of eight verses each,
to every one of them; a most excellent piece." For fear of being
pestered with so many millions of his lines, I desired him to show me
anything that was not godly; and then he began to recite a comedy, which
had as many acts as there are days in a year. He told me he writ it in
two days, and that was the rough draught, and might be about half a ream
of paper. The name of it was _Noah's Ark_; the whole represented by
cocks and mice, asses, foxes, and wild boars, like Æsop's fables. I
extolled both the plot and the conduct; and he answered, "I ought not to
commend it because it is my own, but the like was never made in the
world, besides that it is altogether new; and if I can but get it acted,
there will be nothing so fine. All the difficulty lies in that, for if
it were not, could anything be so sublime and lofty? However, I have
contrived to have it all acted by parrots, jackdaws, magpies, starlings,
and all other sorts of birds as speak, and to bring in monkeys for the
farce." "That indeed will be very extraordinary," answered I. "All this
is nothing," replied the old man, "to what I have done for the sake of a
woman I love. Here are nine hundred and one sonnets, and twelve
rondeaux"--as if he had been reckoning up pounds, shillings, and
pence--"made in praise of my mistress's legs." I asked him whether he
had ever seen them? He replied he had not, on his word as a priest, but
that all his conceits were by way of prophecy. Though it was a diversion
to hear his nonsense, I must confess I dreaded such a multitude of
barbarous verses, and therefore endeavoured to turn off the discourse
another way, telling him I saw hares. "Then," cried he, "I'll begin with
one, in which I compare her legs to that creature." Still to bring him
off that subject, I went on, "Don't you see that star, Sir, which
appears by daylight?" "As soon as I have done with this," replied he, "I
will read you the thirtieth sonnet, where I call her a star, for you
talk as if you were acquainted with my fancies." It was such a vexation
to me to find I could name nothing but what he had writ some nonsense
upon, that I was all joy when I perceived we drew near Madrid, believing
he would then give over for shame; but it proved quite contrary, for as
soon as we came into the street, he began to raise his voice, to show
what he was. I entreated him to forbear, lest if the boys should once
get the scent of a poet, all the rotten oranges and cabbage stumps in
the town should come after us, in regard the poets were declared madmen,
in a proclamation set out against them, by one that had been of the
profession, but recanted and took up in time. This put him in a great
consternation, and he begged me to read it to him if I had it. I
promised him so to do when we came to the lodging-house; and accordingly
we went to one where he used to alight, and found at least a dozen blind
ballad-singers at the door. Some knew him by the scent, and others by
his voice, and all of them gave him a volley of welcomes. He embraced
them all, and then some began to ask him for verses on the day of
judgment in a lofty, bombastical style, that might provoke action;
others would have commemorations for the departed; and so the rest,
every one according to his fancy, giving him eight reals a-man earnest.
He dismissed them, and said to me, "I shall make above three hundred
reals of the blind men, and therefore, with your leave, Sir, I'll
withdraw for awhile now, to compose some lines, and after dinner we will
hear the proclamation read, if you please." Wretched life! for none are
more miserable than those madmen that get their bread by such as are as
mad as themselves.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. X.

_Of what I did at Madrid, and what Happened to me on my way to
Cerecedilla, where I passed the Night._


The poet withdrew awhile to study profaneness and nonsense for the blind
ballad-singers till it was dinner-time, which being over, they desired
to have the proclamation read, and having nothing else to do at that
time, I drew it out and complied with their desires. I have inserted it
here, because I reckon it ingenious, and pat to the purposes mentioned
in it. It ran as follows:

                            A PROCLAMATION.

       _Against Addle-headed, Numskull, and Dry-brained Poets._

The old poetaster laughed out very heartily when he heard this title,
and said, "I might have had business cut out till to-morrow; I thought
this had concerned me, and it is only against numskull poets." I was
mightily pleased with his conceit, as if he had been a Horace or a
Virgil. I skipped over the preamble, and began with the first article,
which was as follows:

In regard that this sort of vermin, called poets, are our neighbours
and Christians, though wicked ones, and considering they spend all their
days in worshipping of eyes, mouths, noses, and old ribbons and
slippers, besides many other abominable sins they are guilty of, we
think fit to direct and ordain, that all common halfpenny poets be
confined together against Easter, as lewd women are wont to be, and that
care be taken to convince them of their evil practices, and to convert
them; and to this purpose we do appoint monasteries of penitent poets.

_Item._ Observing the excessive heats and droughts in the dog-days,
caused by the abundance of suns, and other brighter stars, created and
produced by those high-flying poets, we enjoin perpetual silence as to
all heavenly beings, and appoint two months' vacation for the Muses, as
well as for the law, that they may have some time to recruit and recover
the continual charge they are at.

_Item._ Forasmuch as this infernal sect of men, condemned to eternal
flights, as murderers of good words and ravishers of sentences, have
infected the women with the plague of poetry, we declare that we look
upon this mischief done them as a sufficient revenge for the damage we
received from their sex at the beginning of the world; and to supply the
present wants and necessities the world now labours under, we do farther
ordain, that all the songs and other verses, made by poets in praise of
women, be burned like old lace, to take out the gold and silver they put
into their lady's hair and skins, and that all the oriental pearls,
rubies, and precious stones be picked out of them, since they are so
full of those rich metals and jewels.

Here the old poetaster was quite out of patience, and starting up in a
fume, cried, "They had even as good rob us of all we have. Pray, Sir,
let us have no more of it, for I design to reverse that judgment, and
remove the cause, not to chancery, for that would be a wrong to my coat
and dignity, but to the spiritual court, where I will spend all I am
worth. It would be very pleasant that I, who am a churchman, should put
up with that wrong. I will make it appear that an ecclesiastical poet's
verses are not liable to that proclamation, and to lose no time, I will
go and prove it in open court immediately." I could have laughed
heartily at him, but for the more expedition, because it grew late, I
said to him, "Sir, this proclamation is made only for diversion, and is
of no force, nor binding, as having no lawful authority." "A vengeance
on it," replied the old man, in a great heat, "you should have told me
so much before, Sir, and might have saved me all this trouble. Do you
consider what a thing it is for a man to have a stock of eight hundred
thousand songs and ballads by him, and to hear such a decree? Proceed,
Sir, and God forgive you for putting me into such a fright." Then I went
on thus:

_Item._ For that very many, since they left their ancient idolatry of
heathen gods and goddesses, still retaining some Pagan superstitions,
are turned shepherds, which is the cause that the cattle are withered up
with drinking nothing but their tears, and parched with the fire that
continually burns in their souls, and so charmed with their music, that
they forget to feed; we do ordain, that they quit that employment, and
that such as love solitude have hermitages appointed them, and the rest
be coachmen and watermen, because those are callings given to much mirth
and ribaldry.

"It was some scoundrel, cuckoldy whoreson," cried the mad rhymer, "that
contrived this proclamation; and if I knew the dog, I would write such a
satire upon him as should fret his soul, and all that read it. What a
pretty figure a smooth-faced man as I am would make in a hermitage? And
would it be fit for a person dignified as reader to turn coachman?
Enough, Sir, those jests are not to be borne with." "I told you before,"
said I, "that this is all a jest, and as such you may hear it." This
said, I proceeded:

_Item._ To prevent all wrongs, we do appoint that, for the future, no
verses be imported from France or Italy, or other foreign parts, whence
our poets steal, and pretend to make them their own; and that whatsoever
poet shall be found guilty of this offence, be obliged to wear good
clothes, and to keep himself clean and sweet for a week at least.

Our poet was very well pleased with this decree, for he wore a cassock
that was grey with age, and so ragged, that it was a wonder he could go
about without dropping in pieces. His gown and other accoutrements were
only fit to manure the ground, which made me smile. And I told him: It
is further ordained, That all women, who fell in love with mere poets,
should be reputed as desperate persons, who hang or drown themselves,
and as such never be buried in hallowed ground. And considering the
mighty crop of roundelays, sonnets, songs and ballads, these over-rank
years have produced, we do ordain, that all parcels of them, which have
escaped the grocers and tobacconists as unworthy those employments, be
sent to the necessary houses, without any appeal allowed them.

To conclude; I came to the last article which runs thus: However, taking
it into our pitiful consideration, that there are three sorts of persons
in the nation so very miserable that they cannot live without this sort
of poets, which are players, blind men, and ballad-singers; we do ordain
that there may be some journeymen of this profession, provided they be
licensed by the aldermen-poets of their wards; with this limitation,
that the players-poets shall not use any devils or conjurers in their
farces, nor conclude their comedies in matrimony; that the blind men
shall not sing dismal stories which happened at Jerusalem or Morocco,
nor patch up their verses with "eke also, and well a-day," and the like;
and, that the ballad-singers shall no longer run upon Gil and Pascual,
nor quibble upon words, nor contrive their songs so, that altering but
the names, they may serve upon all occasions. To conclude, we command
all poets in general to discard Jupiter, Venus, Apollo, and all the herd
of heathen gods and goddesses, on pain of having none but them to pray
by them on their deathbed.

[Illustration]

All that heard the proclamation read were highly pleased, and begged
copies of it; only the old man began to swear by his Bible, that it was
a satire upon him, because of what it contained concerning the blind
men, and that he knew what he did better than any man, and went on,
saying, "Do not mistake me, I once lay in the same house with Liñan, and
dined several times with Espinel, and was in Madrid as near Lope de Vega
as to any man in the room, and have seen Don Alonso de Ercilla a
thousand times, and have a picture at home of the divine Figueroa, and I
bought the old breeches Padilla left off when he became a friar, which I
still wear, though bad enough." These were all old Spanish famous poets,
with whom he pretended to be thus acquainted, as if the knowledge of
them would have made his nonsense the more tolerable. At the same time
he showed us the breeches, which set all the company into such a fit
of laughing, that none of them cared to leave the lodging. But it was
now two of the clock, and having to travel further, we left Madrid. I
took my leave of him, though unwillingly enough, and travelled on
towards the pass on the mountains.

It pleased God, to divert me from evil thoughts, that I met with a
soldier; we fell into discourse. He asked me whether I came from the
Court? I told him I only passed through the town. "It is fit for nothing
else," answered the soldier, "it is full of base people; by the Lord, I
had rather lie at a siege up to the waist in snow, expecting a kind
bullet, and half starved, than endure the insolencies they offer a man
of honour." I replied, he should consider that at Court there were
people of all sorts, and that they made great account of any person of
worth. He cut me off short, saying in a great passion, "Why, I have been
this half year at Court, suing for a pair of colours, after twenty
campaigns, and having shed my blood in the king's service, as appears by
these wounds." And at the same time he showed me a scar half a quarter
long on his groin, which was as plain a tumour as the light of the sun;
and two seams on his heels, saying, they had been shots; but I
concluded, by some I have of the same sort, that they had been
chilblains broken. He pulled off his hat to show me his face, where
appeared a long gash from ear to ear, and quite across his nose, besides
other smaller cuts, that made it look like a mathematical draught, all
of lines. "These," said he, "I received at Paris, serving my God and my
king, for whom I have had my countenance carved out and disfigured; and
in return, I have received nothing but fair words, which are equivalent
at present to foul actions. Let me entreat you, learned Sir, to read
these papers; for, by heavens, a more remarkable man, I vow to God,
never went into the field"; and he spoke truth, for he had marks enough
to be known by. With this, he began to pull out tin-cases, and to show
me a multitude of papers, which I believed belonged to another, whose
name he had borrowed. I read them, and said a thousand things in his
praise, pretending that neither the Cid nor Bernardo could compare with
him. He laid hold of what I said in a passion, and cried, "To compare
with me; by this light! no more can Garcia de Paredes, Julian Romero,
nor others as great as they! Damn all they did, there was no cannon in
their days. The devil take me, Bernardo would be a mere chicken now.
Pray, Sir, do you but inquire in the Low Countries about the exploit
performed by the person that wanted a tooth in front, and you will hear
what they say of it." "Are you the person, Sir?" said I. And he replied,
"Why, who do you think it was? Do you not see here is a breach in my
teeth? But let us talk no more of it, for it does not become a man to
praise himself." This discourse held us along till we overtook a hermit
riding on an ass, with a long beard like a brush, lean, and clad in
sackcloth. We saluted him as usual with the words _Deo Gratias_; and he
began to extol the corn on the ground, and in it the mercies of God. The
soldier immediately flew out, and said, "Father, I have seen pikes
charged against me thicker than that corn; and I vow to God, I did all
that man could do at the sacking of Antwerp, that I did by the Lord!"
The hermit reproved him for swearing so much, and he answered, "It is a
sign you were never a soldier, Father, since you reprove me for
exercising my calling." It made me laugh to hear what he made soldiery
to consist in, and perceived he was some scoundrel, who knew little of
that noble profession, but that infamous part most used by the scum of
those that follow it.

[Illustration]

We came at length to the pass in the mountains, the hermit praying all
the way on a pair of beads so big, it was a load; and every bead he
dropped sounded like a stroke with a mallet. The soldier compared the
rocks to the forts he pretended to have seen, observed what place was
strong, and where the cannon might be planted for battery. I had my eyes
fixed on them both, and was as much afraid of the hermit's monstrous
beads as of the soldier's extravagant lies. "How easily," said he,
"would I blow up a great part of this pass with gunpowder, and do all
travellers good service." Thus we came to Cerecedilla, and went into an
inn all three of us, after night-fall; we ordered supper, though it was
Friday, and in the meanwhile the hermit said, "Let us divert ourselves
awhile, for idleness is the source of all vice. Let us play for Ave
Marias;" and so saying, he dropped a pack of cards out of his sleeve. I
could not but laugh at that pleasant sight, considering the great beads;
but the soldier cried, "Let us have a friendly game as far as an hundred
reals will go I have about me." Being covetous, I said I would
venture the like sum, and the hermit, rather than disoblige, consented,
telling us he had about two hundred reals to buy oil for the lamp. I
must confess I thought to have sucked up all his oil, but may the Turk
always succeed as I did. We played at lanskenet, and the best of it was
he pretended that he did not understand the game, and made us teach it
him. He let us win for two deals, but then turned so sharp upon us, that
he left us bare, and became our heir before we were dead. The dog palmed
upon us so slily, it was a shame to see him; he would now and then let
us draw a single stake, and then double it upon us. The soldier, every
card he lost, let fly half a score oaths, and twice as many curses,
wrapped up in blasphemies. For my part, I was eating my nails, whilst
the hermit drew my money to him. He called upon all the saints in
heaven, and in short left us penniless. We would have played on upon
some little pledges, but when he had won my six hundred reals and the
soldier's hundred, he said that was only for pastime, and we were all
brethren, and therefore he would not meddle any farther. "Do not swear,"
said he, "for you see I have had good luck, because I prayed to God." We
believed him, as not knowing the sleight he had at packing the cards;
the soldier swore he would never play again, and so did I. "A curse on
it," cried the poor ensign, for he then told me he was so; "I have been
among Turks and infidels, but was never so stripped." The good hermit
laughed at all we said, and pulled out his beads again. Having never a
stiver left, I desired him to treat me at supper, and pay for our
lodgings till we came to Segovia, since he had cleared our pockets. He
promised so to do, devoured threescore eggs, the like I never beheld,
and said he would go take his rest. We all lay in a great hall among
other people, all the rooms being taken up before. I lay down very
melancholy. The soldier called the landlord, and gave him charge of his
papers in the tin cases, and a bundle of tattered shirts, and so we went
to sleep. The hermit made the sign of the cross, and we blessed
ourselves from him.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

He slept, and I watched, contriving how to get his money from him. The
soldier talked in his sleep about his hundred reals, as if they had not
been past retrieving. When it was time to rise, he called hastily for a
light, which was brought, and the landlord gave the soldier his bundle,
but forgot his papers. The poor ensign made the house ring, calling for
his services. The landlord was amazed, and everybody pressing that he
should give them, he ran out and brought three close-stools, saying,
"There is one for each of you, would you have any more?" (For in
Spanish, services is a polite word for a close-stool.) This had like to
have spoiled all, for the soldier got up in his shirt, with his sword in
his hand, and ran after the landlord, swearing he would murder him;
because he made a jest of him, who had been at the battles of Lepanto,
St. Quintin, and several others, and brought him close-stools instead of
the papers he had given him. We all ran after to hold him, and could
not, whilst the landlord cried, "Sir, you asked me for services; I was
not bound to know, that in the language of soldiers, they gave that
name to the certificates of their exploits." At length we appeased them,
and returned to our room. The hermit, fearing the worst, lay abed,
pretending the fright had done him harm; however, he paid our reckoning,
and we set out towards the mountain, very much disturbed at his
behaviour towards us, and much more for that we had not been able to get
his money from him.

We came up with a Genoese, I mean one of those bankers who help to drain
Spain of all its money. He was going up the mountain, with a servant
behind him, and an umbrella over his head, much like a rich usurer. We
fell into discourse with him, and still he turned it to talk of money,
for they are a people that seem born for nothing but the purse. He
presently fell upon Besançon, and to argue whether it were convenient or
no to put out money at Besançon. At last the soldier and I asked him
what gentleman that was he talked of? He answered, smiling, "It is a
town in Italy, where all the great money-dealers meet to settle the
exchange and value of coin." By which we understood that Besançon was
the great exchange of usurers. He entertained us on the way, telling he
was undone because a bank was broke in which he had above sixty thousand
ducats; and swore by his conscience to all he said, though I am of
opinion that conscience among traders is like a virtue among whores,
which they sell though they have none. Scarce any trader has any
conscience, for being informed that it has a sting, they leave it behind
them with the navel-string when they come into the world. We held on our
conversation till we spied the walls of Segovia, which was a great
satisfaction to me, though the thoughts of what I had endured under the
wicked Cabra, at the starving boarding-school, would have given a check
to my joy. When I came to the town, I spied my father waiting upon the
road, which brought tears to my eyes; but I went on, being much altered
since I left the place, for I began to have a beard and was well clad. I
parted from my company, and considering who was most likely to know my
uncle besides the gallows, I could not imagine whom to apply myself to.
I went up and asked several people for Alonso Ramplon, and nobody could
give me any tidings of him, everyone said he did not know him: I was
very glad to find so many honest men in my town. As I stood there, I
heard the common crier set up his note, and after him my good uncle
playing his part. There came a file of bareheaded fellows, naked to the
waist, before my uncle, and he played a tune upon all their backs, going
from the one to the other. I stood gazing at this sight, with a man I
had been inquiring of, and told him I was a person of high birth; when I
saw my uncle draw near, and he espying me, ran to embrace me, calling me
nephew. I thought I should have died for shame; I never looked back to
take leave of the man I was with, but went along with my uncle, who said
to me, "You may follow till I have done with these people, for we are
now upon our return, and you shall dine with me to-day." I, being
mounted on my mule, and thinking in that gang I should be but one degree
less exposed than those that were whipped, told him I would wait there,
and stepped a little aside, so very much out of countenance that had not
the recovery of my inheritance depended on him, I would never more have
spoken to him, or been seen in that place. He concluded his exercise,
came back, and carried me to his house, where I alighted, and we dined.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. XI.

_The kind Entertainment I had at my Uncle's, the Visits I received; how
I recovered my Inheritance and returned to Madrid._


[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

My worthy uncle was lodged near the slaughterhouse, at a water-seller's
house. We went in, and he said to me, "My lodging is not a palace, but I
assure you, nephew, it stands conveniently for my business." We went up
such a pair of stairs that I longed to be at the top, to know whether
there was any difference betwixt it and the ladder at the gallows. There
we came into such a low room that we walked about as if we had been all
full of courtesy, bowing to one another. He hung up the
cat-of-nine-tails on a nail, about which there were others with halters,
broad knives, axes, hooks, and other tools belonging to the trade. He
asked me why I did not take off my cloak and sit down? I answered, "I
did not use to do so." I cannot express how much I was out of
countenance at my uncle's infamous profession, who told me it was lucky
that I came at such a time, for I should have a good dinner, because he
had invited some friends. As we were talking, in came one of those that
beg money at the church-doors for the release of souls, in a purple gown
down to his heels, and rattling his questing box, said, "I have got
as much to-day by my souls as you have done by the rogues you flogged."
They made grimaces at one another; the wicked soul-broker tucked up his
long robe, discovering a pair of bandy legs and canvas breeches, and
began to shift about, asking whether Clement was come? My uncle told him
he was not, when at the same time in came an acorn thresher--I mean a
swineherd, wrapped up in a clout, with a pair of wooden shoes on. I knew
him by his horn he had in his hand, which had been more fashionable had
it been upon his head. He saluted us after his manner, and next to him
in came a left-handed squinting mulatto, with a hat that had brims like
an umbrella and a crown like a sugar-loaf; his sword with more guards
about it than at the king's hunting; a buff-doublet; and a face as full
of scars as if it had been made of patches stitched together. He sat
down, saluting all the company, and said to my uncle, "By my troth,
Alonso, Flat Nose and the Nailer have been well mauled to-day." Up
started he of the souls, and cried "I gave Flechilla, the hangman of
Ocana, four ducats, to put on the ass apace and play with a slender
cat-of-nine-tails, when I was fly-flapp'd there." "By the Lord," quoth
the mulatto, "I was too kind to the dog Lobrezno at Murcia, for the ass
went a snail's gallop all the way, and the rogue laid them on so, that
my back was all weals." "My back is virgin still," said the swineherd.
"To every hog comes his Martinmas," answered the beggar.[16] "I must say
that for myself," quoth my good uncle, "that of all whipsters I am the
man, who am true and trusty to these that bespeak me; these to-day gave
me five crowns, and they had a parcel of friendly lashes with the single
cat-of-nine-tails." I was so much out of countenance to see what good
company my uncle kept, that my blushes betrayed me, and the mulatto
perceiving it, said, "Is this reverend gentleman the person that
suffered the other day, and had a certain number of stripes given him?"
I answered, "I was none of those that suffered as they had done." With
this my uncle started up, and said, "This is my nephew, a graduate at
Alcalá, and a great scholar." They begged my pardon, and made tenders of
great friendship.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

I was quite mad to eat my dinner, receive what was due, and get as far
as I could from my uncle. The cloth was laid, and the meat drawn up in
an old hat, as they draw up the alms that is given in prisons. It was
dished up in broken platters, and pieces of old crocks and pans, being
dressed in a stinking cellar, which was still more plague and confusion
to me. They sat down, the beggar at the upper end, and the rest as it
fell out. I will not tell what we ate, but only that they were all
dainties to encourage drinking. The mulatto, in a trice, poured down
three pints of pure red. The swineherd seeing the cup stand at me, still
whipt it off, pledging more healths than we spoke words; no man called
for water, or so much as thought of it. Five good meat pasties were
served up; they raised the crusts, and taking a holy-water sprinkler,
said a short prayer for the soul to whom the flesh belonged. Then said
my uncle, "You remember, nephew, what I wrote to you about your father;
it now comes afresh into my mind." They all ate, but I took up only with
the bottoms, and ever since then I have retained the custom of saying a
prayer for the soul departed when I eat meat pies. The pots went round
without ceasing, and the mulatto and the beggar plied it so hard, that a
dish of scurvy sausages, looking like fingers of blacks cut off, being
set upon the table, one of them asked what they meant by serving up
dressed charcoal? My uncle by this time was in such a condition, up to
the throat in wine, with one eye almost out and the other half drowned,
that laying hold of one of the sausages, in a hoarse and broken voice,
he said, "By this bread, which is God's creature, made to his own image
and likeness, I never ate better black meat, nephew." It made me laugh
with one side of my mouth, and fret with the other, to see the mulatto,
stretching out his hand, lay hold of the salt-dish, and cry, "This
pottage is hot;" and at the same time the swineherd took a whole handful
of salt, and clapping it into his mouth, said, "This is a pretty
provocative for drinking." After all this medley there came some soup,
so orderly was our entertainment. The beggar laying hold of a porringer
with both hands, cried, "God's blessing on cleanliness;" and instead of
clapping of it to his mouth, laid it to his cheek, where he poured it
down, scalding his face and washing himself in grease from head to foot,
in a most shameful manner. Being in this miserable plight, he tried to
get up, but his head being too heavy, he was fain to rest with both his
hands upon the table, which was only a board set upon two tressels, so
that it overturned and begrimed all the rest; and then he cried that the
swineherd had pushed him. The swineherd seeing the other fall upon him,
scrambled up, and laying hold of his horn trumpet, beat it about his
ears. They grappled and clung so close together that the beggar set his
teeth in the swineherd's cheek, and both of them rolling on the ground,
made such a wambling in the swineherd's belly, that he cast up all he
had ate and drunk in the beggar's face. My uncle, who was the soberest
of all the company, asked who had brought so many clergy into the house?
Perceiving that they all looked through multiplying glasses, I parted
the two combatants, made them friends, and helped up the mulatto, who
lay on the ground maudlin drunk, and weeping bitterly. I laid my uncle
on his bed, who made a low bow to a tall wooden candlestick he had,
thinking it had been one of his guests. Next I took away the swineherd's
horn, but there was no silencing him after all the rest were asleep; he
was still calling for his horn, and said, "No man ever could play more
tunes on it, and he would now imitate the organ."

In short, I never left them till they were all fast asleep; then I went
abroad, and spent the afternoon in seeing the town; I passed by Cabra's
house, and heard he was dead, but never asked of what distemper, knowing
he could die of none as long as it was possible to starve. At night I
returned home, full four hours after I had gone out, and found one of
the company awake, crawling about the room on all-four to find the door,
and complaining he had lost the house. I raised him up, and let the rest
sleep till eleven at night, when they awaked of themselves, stretching
and yawning. One of them asked, "What a clock it was?" The swineherd,
who had not laid half his fumes, answered, "It was still afternoon, and
the weather piping hot." The beggar, as well as he could speak, asked
for his cloak, saying, "The distressed families had been long neglected,
the whole care of their souls lying upon his hands;" and thinking to go
to the door, he went to the window, where seeing the stars, he cried out
to the others, telling them, "That the sky was hill of stars at noonday,
and there was a mighty eclipse." They all blessed themselves, and kissed
the ground. Having observed the villainy of the beggar, I was much
scandalized, and resolved to take heed of that sort of men. The sight of
all these abominable practices made me the more impatient to be among
gentlemen and persons of worth. I got them all away one by one, the best
I could, and put my uncle to bed, who, though not foxed, was drunk
enough, and made the best shift I could myself, with my own clothes, and
some of the poor departed souls' that lay about the room. Thus we passed
the night, and in the morning I discoursed my uncle about seeing my
inheritance and taking possession of it, telling him I was quite tired,
and knew not with what. He stretched one leg out of bed, and got up; we
had much talk concerning my affairs, and I had enough to do with him, he
was so tipsy and dull. At length I prevailed with him to tell me of part
or my inheritance, though not all; and so he told me of three hundred
ducats my worthy father had got by sleight of hand, and left them in
custody of a decent woman, that was the receiver of all that was stolen
for ten leagues round the country. To be short, I received and pouched
my money, which my uncle had not yet drank out, nor consumed; and that
was very much, considering he was such a brutal man; but the reason was,
he thought it would serve me to take my degrees, and, with a little
learning, I might come to be a cardinal, which to him seemed no
difficult matter. When he understood I had the money, he said to me, "My
child, Pablo, it will be your own fault if you do not thrive and are not
a good man since you have a good example before you. You have got money,
and I will always be your friend, for all I have and all I earn is
yours." I returned him thanks for his kind offers. We spent the day in
extravagant talk, and in returning visits to the aforesaid persons. They
passed the afternoon playing at knuckle-bones, the same company--my
uncle, the swineherd, and the beggar, this last squandering the money of
the poor at a villainous rate. It was wonderful to see how dexterous
they were at it, catching them up in the air and shaking them up as they
fell on the wrist. Night came on, the guests went away, and my uncle and
I to bed, for he had now got me a quilt. When it was day, I got up
before he was awake, and went away, without being perceived, to an inn,
locking the door on the outside, and thrusting in the key at a cranny. I
went away, as I have said, to an inn, to hide myself, and wait the next
opportunity to go to Madrid. I left him a letter sealed up in the room,
wherein I gave an account of my departure, and the reasons that moved
me so to do, desiring he would make no inquiry after me, for I would
never see him more.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. XII.

_Of my flight from Segovia, with what Happened to me by the Way to
Madrid._


A carrier was setting out that morning with a load from the inn for
Madrid. He had a spare ass, which I hired, and went before to wait for
him without the city gate. He came accordingly; I mounted, and began my
journey, and said to myself, "Farewell to thee for ever, thou knave of
an uncle, "dishonour of our family, stretcher of wind-pipes." I
considered I was going to Madrid, the Court of Spain, where, to my great
satisfaction, nobody knew me, and there I must trust to my ingenuity.
The first thing I resolved to do was to lay aside my scholar's habit,
and clothe myself in the fashion. But let us return to my uncle, who was
in a great rage at the letter I left him, which was to this effect:

"Mr. Alonso Ramplon.

"Since it has pleased God to show me such signal mercies, as to take
away my good father, and to order my mother to be conveyed to Toledo,
where I know the best that can come of her is to vanish away in smoke;
all I could wish for at present would be to see you served as you serve
others. I design to be singular in my family, for I can never make more
than one, unless I fall under your hands, and you carve me up as you do
others. Do not inquire after me, for I am in duty bound to deny the
kindred that is between us. Serve God and the king."

[Illustration]

It is impossible to express how, in all likelihood, he railed and swore
at me; but let us leave him there, and return to my journey. I was
mounted on a dappled ass of La Mancha, and wished with all my heart that
I might meet nobody; when on a sudden I discovered at a distance a
gentleman going a-pace, with his cloak hanging on his shoulders, his
sword by his side, close breeches, and boots on, altogether, to outward
appearance, genteel enough, with a clean starched band, and his hat on
one side. I conceived he was some man of quality that was walking, and
had left his coach behind him; and accordingly, when I came up, I
saluted him. He looked at me, and said, "It is very likely, good Sir,
that you travel more easy on that ass than I do with all my equipage."
Imagining he had meant his coach and servants he left behind, I
answered, "In troth, Sir, I reckon it more easy travelling than in a
coach, for though there is no dispute that you go very easily in that
you have left behind you, yet the jolting of it is troublesome." "What
coach behind?" replied he, much disturbed, and turning short to look
about him, the sudden motion made his breeches drop down, for it broke
the one point he had to hold them up; and though he saw me ready to
burst with laughing, he asked to borrow one of me. Perceiving he had no
more shirt than would come within the waistband of his breeches, and
scarce reach to acquaint his breech he had any, I replied, "As I hope
for mercy, Sir, you had best wait till your servants come up, for I
cannot possibly assist you, having but one single point to hold up my
own breeches." "If you are in jest, Sir," quoth he, holding his breeches
in his hands, "let it pass, for I do not understand what you mean by
servants." With this he went on, and was so plain in letting me know he
was poor, that before we had gone half a league together, he owned he
should never be able to get to Madrid, unless I would let him ride upon
my ass awhile, he was so tired with walking with his breeches in his
hands, which moved me to compassion, and I alighted. He was so
encumbered with his breeches, that I was fain to help him up, and was
much surprised at what I discovered by my feeling; for behind, as far as
was covered with the cloak, the hinder parts had no other fence against
the eyes and the air. He, being sensible of the discovery I had made,
very discreetly prevented what reflection I might make by saying, "All
is not gold that glitters, Sir Licentiate," giving me that title on
account of my long scholar's robe; "no doubt but when you saw my fine
starched band, and the show I made, you fancied I was the Lord knows
who.[17] Little do you think how many fine outsides are as bare within
as what you felt." I assured him upon my word that I had conceited much
different matters from what I found. "Why then, Sir," replied he, "let
me tell you, all you have seen as yet is nothing, for everything about
me is remarkable, and no part of me is truly clad. Such as you see me, I
am a real substantial gentleman, of a good family and known seat on the
mountains; and could I but feed my body as I keep my seat and gentility,
I should be a happy man. But as the world goes, good Sir, there is no
keeping up noble blood without bread and meat, and, God be praised, it
runs red in every man's veins; nor can he be a worthy person who is
worth nothing.[18] I am now convinced of the value of a good pedigree,
for being ready to starve one day, they would not give a chop of mutton
in the cook's-shop for mine; for they said it was not flourished with
gold letters; but the leaf gold on pills is more valuable, and few men
of letters have any gold. I have sold all to my very burial-place, that
nothing may be called mine when I am dead, for my father Toribio
Rodriguez Vallejo Gomez de Ampuero y Jordan lost all he had in the world
by being bound for others. I have nothing now left to sell but the title
of Don, and I am so unfortunate, that I can find nobody that has
occasion for it, because there is scarce a scoundrel now but usurps it."
Though the poor gentleman's misfortunes were intermixed with something
that was comical, I could not but pity him, asked his name, whither he
was going, and what to do? He answered with all his father's names, Don
Toribio Rodriguez Vallejo Gomez de Ampuero y Jordan. Never did I hear
such an empty sounding jingling name, or so like the clattering of a
bell, as beginning in _Don_ and ending in _dan_. He added, he was going
to Madrid, because a threadbare elder brother, as he was, soon grew
tainted and mouldy in a country town, and had no way to subsist; and
therefore he was going to the common refuge of distressed persons, where
there is room for all, and open house kept for wandering spongers: "And
I never want five or six crowns in my pocket," said he, "as soon as I am
there, nor a good bed, meat, and drink, and sometimes a forbidden
pleasure; for a good wit at Court is like the philosopher's stone, which
converts all it touches into gold." This to me was the most welcome news
I had ever heard; and therefore, as it were to divert the tediousness of
our journey, I desired him to inform me how, and by whom, he, and others
in his condition, could live at Court; for to me it appeared a very
difficult matter, because everyone there seemed so far from being
contented with his own, that he aimed at what belonged to others. "There
are many of all sorts," replied my spark, "but flattery is like a
master-key, which introduces a man wheresoever he pleases, in such great
places; and that you may not think strange of what I say, do but listen
to my adventures and contrivances, and you will be convinced of the
truth of it."

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. XIII.

_In which the Gentleman pursues his Journey, and his promised Tale of
his Life and Condition._


[Illustration]

"The first thing you are to observe is, that at Court there are always
the wisest and the weakest, the richest and the poorest, and the
extremes of all other sorts. There the virtuous are concealed, and the
wicked not taken notice of; and there live a sort of people like myself,
who are not known to have any estates, real or personal, nor does it
appear whence they came, or how they live. Among ourselves we are
distinguished by several names, some are called gentlemen-mumpers,
others sharpers, others pinchguts, others barebones, and others
commoners; but in general we live by our wits. For the most part, we
cheat our guts of their due, for it is a very dangerous and troublesome
thing to live upon others. We are scarecrows at all good tables, the
terror of cook-shops, and always unbidden and unwelcome guests, living
like chameleons by the air, and so contented. When we happen to dine
upon a leek, we strut and look as big as if stuffed with capon.
Whosoever comes to visit us, never fails to find mutton and fowl bones,
and parings of fruit about the house, and the doors strewed with
feathers and young coney skins; all which we pick up over night, about
the streets, to credit us the next day. As soon as the friend comes
in, we fall into a passion, and cry, 'It is a strange thing that I can
never make this maid sweep the room in time. Good Sir, excuse me, for I
have had some friends at dinner, and these servants never mind their
business,' &c. Such as do not know us believe it, and think we have had
an entertainment. Next, as for dining at other men's houses, whensoever
we have spoke but three words with a man, we take care to know where he
lives, thither we are sure to make just at eating-time, when we know he
is at table; we tell him his conversation has so charmed us, that we are
not able to keep away, for he is the most taking person in the world. If
he asks whether we have dined, and they have not yet begun, we answer in
the negative. If they invite us, we never stay to be asked twice,
because those ceremonies have often made us go with hungry bellies. If
they have begun to eat, we say we have dined, and then, though the
master of the house carves up his fowl, or any joint of meat never so
dexterously, that we may have the opportunity of chopping up a mouthful
or two, we cry, 'By your leave, Sir, pray let me have the honour of
being your carver, for I remember (naming some duke or earl that is
dead, God rest his soul), used to take more delight in seeing me carve
than in eating.' This said, we lay hold of the knife, cut out curious
bits, and say, 'How deliciously it smells! It would be an affront to the
cook not to taste it; what a delicate hand she has at seasoning!' With
this we fall on, and down goes half the meat in the dish for a taste. If
there be bacon, we call it our delight; if mutton, the only thing we
love; if but a turnip, an excellent morsel; and so everything that comes
in our way is ever the thing that we most admire. If all this fails, we
are sure of the alms of some monastery, which we do not receive in
public among the beggars, but privately, endeavouring to persuade the
friars that we rather take it out of devotion than for want.

[Illustration]

"It is pleasant enough to see one of us in a gaming-house, how
diligently he attends, snuffs the candles, reaches the pots, fetches
cards, applauds all the winner says, and all this for a poor real or two
he gives him. We carry in our mind the whole inventory of our wardrobe
or ragshop, in order to dress us; and as in some places they observe set
times for prayer, so do we for mending and botching. It is wonderful to
see what variety of rubbish we lay up, and produce upon occasion. We
look upon the sun as our mortal enemy, because he discovers our darns,
stitches, and patches; and yet are forced to be beholden to him,
standing up with our legs wide open in the morning where he shines in,
to discover by the shadows on the ground what shreds or rags hang
between our legs, and then with a pair of scissors we trim the breeches.
Now that part betwixt the thighs being so apt to wear, it is very odd to
observe what gaps we make behind to fill up the forepart, so that very
often the posteriors are hacked away till they remain quite naked. Only
the cloak is privy to this secret, and therefore we are very cautious of
windy days, and of going upstairs that are light, or mounting
a-horseback. We make it our business to study postures against the
light; and if it prove a very bright day, we walk with our legs as close
as may be, and sit as if our knees were clung together, for fear lest we
open them the gashes may appear. There is nothing about us but what has
been another thing before, and may have a particular history writ of it;
as for instance, you see this waistcoat. Sir, it was once a pair of
wide-kneed breeches, grandchild to a short cape, and great-grandchild to
a long mourner's cloak, which was its first parent, and now it waits to
be converted into footing for stockings, and forty other things. Our
socks were once handkerchiefs, descended from towels, which had been
shirts, and those the issue of sheets; after all this, they are made
into paper, on which we write, and at last burn to make blacking for our
shoes, where I have seen it perform wonders, recovering many a pair that
was condemned as only fit for the dunghill. At night we never fail to
get at the greatest distance we can from the light, for fear of
discovering our threadbare cloaks and woolless coats, for there is no
more nap on them than is upon a stone; and though it pleases God to give
us hair on our faces, we have none on our clothes; and therefore, to
save the expense of a barber, we always contrive to stay till two of us
want trimming together, and then we scrape one another, following the
advice of the gospel, 'Be helpful to one another, like loving brethren.'
Besides, we always take care not to intrude into the houses of others,
for everyone keeps his own and timely notice is given to avoid
contention, being very jealous in the point of eating. It is an
indispensable duty among us to ride about all the great noted streets
once a quarter, though it be on an ass-colt, and once a year to go in a
coach, when we are sure to sit as close to the door as possible,
thrusting out our heads, bowing to all that pass by to be seen, and
talking to our friends and acquaintance, though they do not see or mind
us. If any unmannerly creature happens to bite us before ladies, we have
ways to scratch in public, without being taken notice of; for if it
happened to be on the thigh, we tell a story of a soldier we saw had a
shot through there, clapping our fingers on the place that itches, and
clawing instead of pointing. If it is in the church, and they sting on
our breasts, we beat them by way of devotion, though it be at a
christening; for the back, we lean against a pillar or wall, and rub it
there, as if we only stood up to observe something. To deal ingenuously,
as to the matter of lying, not one word of truth ever comes out of our
mouths. In all companies we run over a bead-roll of dukes and counts,
making some of them our friends, and others our relations, always
observing that those great men must be either dead or very remote. The
best of all is that we never fall in love, unless it be to earn our
bread; for by our constitutions, coy ladies, though never so beautiful,
are absolutely forbidden; so that we ever court a tripe-man for our
meat, the landlady for our lodging, the starcher for our band and other
necessaries; and though such slender diet makes us unfit to satisfy them
all, yet we keep them in good humour. Will anybody that sees the boots
on my legs believe they are upon the bare skin, without any stockings?
Or will any one that sees my curious starched band imagine I have no
shirt? Let me tell you, Sir, a gentleman may make a shift without those
things, but there is no living for him without a set starched band. This
is an outward ornament, altogether necessary to grace a man; and
besides, when he has turned it and wound it every way, the starch in it
will make him a mess as good as watergruel. In short, reverend Sir, a
gentleman of our stamp must go through all sorts of wants and hardships,
and that is the way to live at Court. Sometimes he flourishes and rolls
in plenty, and at another time he falls into an hospital; but still he
lives; and he who knows how to manage is a king, though he has never so
little."

I was so well pleased with the gentleman's strange ways of living, and
so much diverted with his relation, that I went on a-foot as far as
Rozas, where we lay that night. The squire supped with me, for he had
not one doit, and I thought myself beholden to him for his instructions,
because they led me into abundance of secrets, and put me into the way
of sharping. I acquainted him with my designs before we went to bed,
which he returned with a thousand embraces, telling me he had always
been in hopes since he met me that his words would work some good effect
on a person of my capacity. He offered me his service towards
introducing me at Madrid into the society of the tricking brotherhood,
and a lodging among them. I accepted of his kindness, without letting
him know what was my treasure in ducats, which was only an hundred
reals, which, with the kindness I had done, and was still continuing,
purchased his friendship. I bought him three points from our landlord;
he tied up his hose, we rested that night, got up early in the morning,
and away we went to Madrid.

                           END OF BOOK ONE.

[Illustration]



                          THE HISTORY OF THE
                          LIFE OF THE SHARPER
                           CALLED DON PABLO
                            THE PATTERN OF
                             VAGABONDS AND
                           MIRROR OF ROGUES.

[Illustration]



BOOK II.



CHAP. I.

_Of what happened to me at my coming to Madrid as soon as I arrived
there, until Nightfall._


[Illustration]

[Illustration]

We got to Madrid at ten o'clock in the morning, and went lovingly
together by consent to the house where Don Toribio's friends lived. A
very old woman miserably clad opened the door; he inquired for his
friends, and she answered, they were gone out a-seeking. We continued by
ourselves until noon, diverting the time, he encouraging me to follow
the sponging course of life, and I listening carefully to his advice.
Half an hour after twelve in came a scarecrow, clad in black baize down
to his heels, more threadbare than his conscience. They talked to one
another in the thieves' cant, the result whereof was his embracing me
and offering his service. We discoursed awhile, and then he pulled out a
glove, in which were sixteen reals, and a letter, by virtue of which he
had collected that money, pretending it was a licence to beg for a woman
in distress. He took the money out of the glove, drew another to it out
of his pocket, and folded them together as physicians do. I asked him
why he did not wear them? And he answered, because they were both for
one hand, and that way they served as well as if they had been fellows.
All this while I observed he did not let go his cloak, which was wrapped
about him; and, being but a novice, for my better information took the
liberty to inquire why he still hugged himself up so close in his cloak?
He replied, "My friend, there is a great rent down my back, made up with
a patch of old stuff, besides a great spot of oil; this piece of a cloak
hides all, and thus I can appear abroad." At length he unwrapped
himself, and under his cassock I perceived a great bulk sticking out,
which I took to have been trunk-breeches, for it looked like them, until
he, going in to louse himself, tucked up his coats, and I perceived
there were only two hoops of pasteboard tied to his waist, and joined to
his thighs, which stuck out under his mourning, for he wore neither
shirt nor breeches, but was so naked that he had scarce anything to
lose. He went into the lousing room, and turned a little board that hung
at the door, on which was written, "One is lousing," that no other might
go in until he had done. I blessed God with all my heart to see how
he had provided for men, giving them ingenuity if they wanted riches.
"For my part," said my friend, "I have something the matter with my
breeches with travelling, and therefore must withdraw to mend." He asked
whether there were any rags? The old woman, who gathered them twice a
week about the streets, as the rag-women do for the paper mills, to cure
the incurable diseases of those gentlemen, answered there were none; and
that Don Lorenzo Yñiguez del Pedroso had kept his bed a fortnight for
want of them, being bad of his coat. At this time in came one booted, in
a travelling garb, a grey suit, and a hat bridled up on both sides. The
others told him who I was, and he, saluting me very lovingly, laid down
his cloak; and it appeared--who would imagine it?--that the fore part of
his coat was of grey cloth, and the back of white linen, well stained
with sweat. I could not forbear laughing, and he very demurely said,
"You'll come into action, and then you won't laugh; I'll lay a wager you
don't know why I wear my hat with the brims bridled up." I answered,
"Out of gallantry, and that they may the better see your face." "That's
your mistake," said he, "I do it to prevent them seeing; it is because I
have no hatband, and this hides it." This said, he pulled out about
twenty letters, and as many reals, saying, he could not deliver those.
Everyone was marked a real postage, and they were all folded alike. He
signed any name that came into his head, writ news of his own making,
and delivered them in that habit to people of fashion, receiving the
postage, which he practised once a month; all which to me was very
amazing.

[Illustration]

Next came two others, one of them with a cloth coat, reaching but half
way down his wide Walloon trunks, and a cloak of the same, with his band
ruffled up to hide the lining, which was rent. The breeches were of
camlet, but only as far as appeared, for all the rest was of red baize.
This man was jangling and wrangling with the other, who wore a ruff for
want of a band, a hanging coat for want of a cloak, and went upon a
crutch, with one leg bound up in rags and furs, because he had but one
stocking. He pretended to be a soldier, and had been so, but a scurvy
one and in peaceful regions, and by the privilege of a soldier intruded
into any house. He in the coat and half breeches cried, "The one half,
or at least a considerable part, is due to me; if you do not give it me,
I swear to God----" "Do not swear to God," replied the other, "for I am
not lame at home, and if you prate, I'll lay this crutch about your
ears." "You shall give it." "I shall not give it." So they came to high
words, and gave one another the lie; then falling to blows, the clothes
in a moment flew all about in rags at the first handling. We parted
them, and inquiring into the cause of the quarrel, the soldier cried,
"Put tricks upon me! you shall not have the value of a doit. You must
understand, gentlemen, that being at St. Saviour's Church, there came a
child to this poor fellow, and asked him whether I was the ensign Juan
de Lorenzana? who answered, I was, because he saw he had something in
his hand. With this, he brought the child to me, and, calling me ensign,
said, 'Here, Sir, see what this child would have with you.' I understood
the trick, and said I was the man, took his message, and with it a dozen
of handkerchiefs, returning an answer to his mother, who sent them to
some person of that name. Now he demands half, and I'll be torn in
pieces before I'll part with them; my own nose shall have the wearing of
them all out." The cause was adjudged in his favour, only he was forbid
blowing his nose in them, and ordered to deliver them up to the old
woman, to make ruffles and cuffs for the honour of the community, to
represent shirt-sleeves; for blowing the nose was absolutely prohibited.
When night came we all went to bed, and lay as close together as
herrings in a barrel, or tools in a tweezer-case. As for supper, there
was not so much as a thought of it; most of the gang never stripped, for
they were naked enough to go to bed as they went all day.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. II.

_In which the same Subject is pursued, with other strange Incidents._


Day came, and we all started to action. I was as well acquainted with
them already as if we had been one mother's children; for there is ever
an easiness and sweetness in things evil. It was very pleasant to see
one put on his shirt at ten several times, because it consisted of as
many several clouts, and say a prayer at every one, like a priest that
is vesting to go to the altar. One could not find the way into his
breeches; another called out for help to put on his doublet, for none of
them knew the right side from the wrong, or the head from the heels.
When this was over, which afforded no little pleasure, they all laid
hold of their needles and thread, and it was darn, stitch, and patch.
One fixed an arm against a wall, to draw together the rents in a sleeve;
another kneeled down, to botch up the holes in his hose; another clapped
his head betwixt his legs, to come at a breach upon his buttocks.
Bosco[19] never painted such variety of strange figures as I saw there;
they botched, and the old woman supplied them with materials, rags and
clouts of all the colours of the rainbow, which she had picked up on
Saturday night.

[Illustration]

When the mending time was over, as they called it, they all viewed one
another narrowly to see what was amiss, in order to go abroad
a-shifting. I told them I would have them order my dress, for I designed
to lay out the hundred reals I had on a suit of clothes, and leave off
my cassock. "That must not be," said they, "let the money be put into
the common stock; we will clothe him immediately out of our wardrobe,
and appoint him his walk in the town, where he shall range and nibble
for himself." I consented, deposited the money, and in a trice they made
me a mourning cloth coat out of my cassock, cut my long cloak into a
short one, and trucked the remains of it for an old hat new dressed,
making a hatband very neatly of some cotton picked out of inkhorns. They
took off my band and wide-kneed breeches, and instead of these, put me
on a pair of close hose, slashed only in front, for the sides and the
back part were nothing but sheep-skins. The silk stockings they gave me
were not half stockings, for they reached but four fingers below the
knees, the rest being covered with a tight pair of boots over my own red
hose. The collar they gave me was all in rags, and when they put it on,
they said, "The collar is somewhat imperfect on the sides and behind; if
anybody looks at you, Sir, you must be sure to turn about as they do,
like the sun-flower, which still moves as he does. If there happen to be
two at once observing you on both sides, fall back; and to prevent being
observed behind, let your hat hang down on your neck, so that the brim
may cover the band, leaving all your forehead bare; and if anybody asks
why you wear it so, tell him, it is because you dare show your face in
any part of the world." Next they gave me a box containing black and
white thread, sewing silk, packthread, a needle, a thimble, bits of
cloth, linen, and silk, with other shreds and scraps, and a knife. To my
girdle they fastened a tinder-box, with steel and flint in a little
pouch, saying, "This box will carry you through the world, without the
help of friends or relations; this contains all we stand in need of;
take and keep it." They appointed the ward of San Luis for my walk, and
so I entered upon my employment. We all went out together, but because I
was a novice, they ordered him that brought and converted me to be my
god-father in the trade of sharping.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

We set out very gravely, walking in state, with our beads in our hands,
and made towards my precinct. We paid respect to all we met, taking off
our hats to the men, though we had rather have taken their cloaks; to
the women we bowed low, because they are fond of respect and proud of
being honoured. My worthy tutor, as he went along, would say to one
creditor, "I shall receive money to-morrow;" to another, "Have patience
for a day or two; the bankers put me off." One asked him for his cloak,
another for his girdle; by which I perceived he was such a true friend
to his friend, that he had nothing which was his own. We went in and out
from one side-walk to another, winding and turning about, to avoid the
houses of creditors. Here one whipped out to demand his house-rent,
there another the hire of his sword, presently a third the loan of his
sheets and shirts; so that one seemed to be a gentleman on hire, like a
mule. It happened he spied a man at a good distance, who, as he told
me, was ready to tear him to pieces for a debt, but could not tear the
money from him. To prevent being known by him, he let fall his long
hair, which before was tucked up behind his ears, and looked like a
shock dog that was never shorn. Then he clapped a patch upon one eye,
and began to talk to me in Italian. He had time enough to do this before
the other came up, who had not yet observed him. I declare I saw the man
turn round and round, as a dog does before he lies down; he blessed
himself as if he had been bewitched, and went away, saying, "God bless
me, I durst have sworn it had been he; what a mighty mistake I had like
to commit; he who has lost oxen always fancies he hears their bells." I
was ready to burst with laughing to see what a figure my friend made; he
stepped into a porch to tuck up his hair again, and pull off his patch,
and said, "This is the dress for denying of debts; learn, my friend, for
you will see a thousand such shifts in this town." We went on, and at
the corner of a street took two slices of gingerbread and as many drams
of brandy of one of the sisterhood, who gave it us for nothing, after
wishing my director welcome to town, who said, "This puts a man in a
condition to make shift without a dinner for this day, for at worst he
is sure of so much." It went to my very heart to think it was doubtful
whether we should have any dinner, and answered him very disconsolately
on behalf of my stomach, to which he replied, "You are a man of small
faith, and repose little confidence in our mumping profession. God
Almighty provides for the crows and jackdaws, and even for scriveners;
and should he fail us poor pinchguts? You have but a poor stomach." "You
are in the right," quoth I, "but still I fear I shall make it poorer,
for there is nothing in it."

[Illustration]

As we were talking after this manner, a clock struck twelve, and being
yet a stranger to that profession, my stomach took no notice of the
gingerbread, but I was as if I had eaten nothing. Being thus put in mind
again of that want, I turned to my conductor, and said, "My friend, this
business of starving is very hard to be learned at first; I was used to
feed like a farmer, and am now brought to fast like an anchorite. It is
no wonder you are not hungry, who have been bred to it from your
infancy, like king Mithridates with poison, so that it is now familiar
and habitual to you. I do not perceive you take any diligent care to
provide belly-timber, and therefore I am resolved to shift as well as I
can." "God o' my life," quoth he, "what a pleasant spark you are! it is
but just now struck twelve, and are you in such a mighty haste already?
Your stomach is very exact to its hours, and immediately cries out
cupboard; but it must practise patience, and learn to be in arrears at
times. What, would you be cramming all day? The very beasts can do no
more. It does not appear in history that ever knight of our order was
troubled with indigestion. I told you already, that God provides for all
men, yet, if you are in such stress, I am going to receive alms at the
Monastery of St. Jerome, where there are friars fat as capons; there I
will stuff my crop. If you will go along with me, well and good; if not,
every one take his own course." "Farewell," said I, "my wants are not so
small as to be satisfied with the leavings of others; every man shift
for himself."

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

My friend walked very upright, now and then looking down to his feet,
and took out a few crumbs of bread, which he carried for that purpose in
a little box; these he strewed about his beard and clothes, so that he
looked as if he had dined. I coughed and hawked to conceal my weakness,
wiping my whiskers, muffled up with my cloak upon the left shoulder,
playing with my tens, for I had but ten beads upon my string. All that
saw me believed I had dined, and had they thought creatures were then
dining upon me they had guessed right. All my confidence was in my
crowns I had sunk, though it smote my conscience that it was against the
rules of our profession to pay for a dinner, being obliged to feed upon
the public; but I was resolved to break the fast and transgress the
ordinances. By this time I was come to the corner of the street of San
Luis, where a pastry-cook lived. On the counter lay a curious mutton
pie, delicately baked, and piping hot out of the oven; my nose stumbled
at it, and I made a full set like a dog at a partridge, fixing my eyes
and gazing so steadfastly that it shrunk up as if it had been blasted.
It had been pleasant enough to know how many ways I cast about to steal
it, and then again I resolved to buy it. By this time it struck one,
which put such a damp upon me, that I resolved to roll into the next
cook's shop. As I was steering towards one, it pleased God that I met
with a friend of mine, called the licentiate Flechilla, who came
swinging his cassock down the street, his face all flushed and his long
robes full of daglocks. As soon as he spied me, he ran to embrace me,
and yet I wonder he should know me in that condition. I returned his
embrace. He asked how I did? and I answered, "I have plenty of stories
to tell you, Mr. Licentiate; all that troubles me is, that I must be
gone to-night." "I am sorry for that," quoth he, "and were it not late,
and that I am going in haste to dinner, I would stay with you; but a
sister I have that is married, and her husband expects me." "Is Mistress
Anne here?" said I. "So then I'll leave all, and go and wait upon her;
that is a duty I cannot dispense with." Hearing him say he had not yet
dined, made me sharp; away I went with him, and by the way told him,
that a wench he had been very fond of at Alcalá was then in town, and I
could get him admittance into her house. He was mightily pleased at this
motion, for I purposely contrived to talk of such things as might be
pleasing to him. This discourse held us till we came to his sister's
house; in we went; I made very great tenders of service to both husband
and wife, and they believing that I had come on invitation, coming as I
did at that hour of the day, began to excuse themselves, saying, they
would have made some provision had they thought of such a guest. I laid
hold of the opportunity, and invited myself, telling them I was no
stranger but an old friend, and should take it unkindly to be treated
with ceremony. They sat down, I did so too; and the better to stop the
other's mouth, who had not invited me, nor ever thought of any such
thing, every now and then I gave him a remembrance of the wench, saying,
she had asked for him, and was infinitely fond of him, with many more
lies to that purpose, which made him bear the more patiently with my
cramming, for such havoc as I made in the first course was never seen.
The boiled meat was served up; I tumbled the best part of it down my
throat in a moment, without nicety, but in such a hurry as if I had not
thought it safe enough betwixt my teeth. As I hope for mercy, I laid
about me at such a rate, as if my life depended on it, and things
vanished in my presence as quickly as corpses are said to disappear in
the old burying ground of Valladolid. No doubt but they observed how I
poured down the soup, how soon I drained the dish, how clean I picked
the bones, and how cleverly I despatched the meat, and to say the truth,
at every turn I clapped a good hunch of bread into my pocket till it
could hold no more.

When the cloth was removed, the licentiate and I stepped aside to talk
about our going to the aforesaid wench's house, which I represented to
him as a very easy matter; but as we were talking at the window, I
pretended somebody had called to me from the street, and answered, "Sir,
I come this moment;" asked leave of my friend, promising to return
immediately. I left him waiting for me, and so he might have done to
this day, for I slipped away, and my belly being full had no more
occasion for him. I met him several times after, and excused myself,
telling a thousand lies, which are not to our purpose. Rambling thence
about the streets at random, I came to the Guadalajara gate, and sat
down on one of the benches that are at the mercers' door. As God would
have it, there came two of those creatures that raise money upon their
handsome faces to the shop; they were both close veiled, with only one
eye bare to see their way, and attended by an old woman and a little
page boy. They asked for some very rich new fashion embroidered velvet.
To commence a discourse, I began to play and pun upon the velvet,
turning and winding, till I brought it to all the waggish lewd meanings
I had a mind to. I perceived my freedom had put them in hopes they might
carry off some present from the shop; and knowing I could be no loser, I
offered them whatsoever they pleased. They stood out a little,
pretending they did not use to accept of any thing from persons they
were not acquainted with. I laid hold of that opportunity, telling them
that I owned it was a presumption in me to offer them any thing there,
but that I desired them to accept of a parcel of rich silks sent me from
Milan, which that page of mine should carry them at night, pointing to
one that stood over the way bareheaded, waiting for his master, who was
in a shop. And that they might take me for some man of quality, and well
known, I pulled off my hat to all the judges, privy-counsellors and
gentry that went by, bowing as if we had been very well acquainted,
though I knew none of them. These outward shows, and my taking a piece
of gold of my hidden treasure, on pretence of giving an alms to a poor
body that begged of me, made them conclude I was some gentleman of note.
They made as if to go home because it grew late, and took their leave,
charging me to be sure the page should go as privately as might be. I
begged of them, but as a favour and token of their good will, a pair of
beads, all set and linked in gold, which the handsomest of them had in
her hand, as a pledge for me to visit them the next day without fail.
They made some difficulty to part with it, till I offered them a hundred
crowns in pawn for it, which they refused, hoping by that means to draw
me in for a better penny, asked where I lodged, and told me their
quarters, desiring me to observe that they could not receive messages at
all times, because they were persons of quality. I led them through the
High Street, and before we turned out of it made choice of the largest
and fairest house I could, which had a coach without horses standing at
the door, telling them it was mine, and at their service, as were the
horses and master of them. My name, I told them, was Don Alvaro de
Cordova, and in I went by the gate right before their faces. At our
coming out of the shop, I remember, I called over one of the pages from
the other side of the way, beckoning to him very stately with my hand,
and pretending to order him and the rest of them to wait there till I
came, but in reality only asked whether he did not belong to my uncle
the Commander; he answered me he did not, and so I dismissed him,
setting myself off with borrowed feathers.

When it was dark night we all went home, and, coming in, I found the
counterfeit soldier, that had the clouted leg, with a white wax flambeau
they had given him to attend a funeral, and he run away with it. This
fellow's name was Magazo, born at Olias; he had been captain in a play,
and had fought abundance of Moors in a sword-dance. When he talked with
any that had served in the Low Countries, he told them he had been in
China; and if he happened to meet with any that had been there, he
pretended he had served in Flanders. He talked much of encamping, and
lying out in the field, though he had never been in any unless it were
to louse himself; named abundance of strongholds, and knew none but the
common gaols; highly extolled the memory of Don John of Austria,
commended the Duke of Alva for a generous, true friend, and had
abundance of names of noted Turks, galleys, and great officers at his
fingers' ends, all which he had picked out of a ballad then in vogue
concerning the like affairs. But being altogether unacquainted with
geography or anything of the sea, discoursing about the famous battle of
Lepanto, he said that Lepanto was a very brave Turk. The poor wretch was
so ignorant that he served to make us excellent sport.

Soon after in came my companion with his nose beaten almost flat to his
face, all his head wrapped up in clouts very bloody and dirty. We asked
him how he came into that pickle? He told us he went to the alms at the
Monastery of St. Jerome, and asked for a double portion, pretending it
was for some poor people that could not beg; the friars stopped so much
from the common mumpers to give it him, that they, being provoked,
tracked him, and found he was sucking it up with might and main in a
dark corner behind a door. They fell into a dispute whether it was
lawful to cheat to fill one's own belly, and to rob others to serve
one's self. The contest rose to high words, which were followed with
blows, and those raised many knobs and bumps on his head. They attacked
him with the pots they received the pottage in, and the damage done to
his nose came by a wooden dish they gave him to smell to, more hastily
than had been convenient. They took away his sword; out came the porter
at the noise, and had enough to do to part them. In short, our poor
brother found himself in so much danger that he offered to return all he
had eaten, and it would not serve his turn; for they insisted that he
begged for others, and had no feeling of his trade. Out started from
among the rest of the gang a two-handed mendicant scholar, crying, "Do
but behold the figure made up of clouts like a rag baby, as poor as a
pastrycook in Lent, as full of holes as a flageolet, all patches like a
magpie, as greasy as an oilman, and as tattered as an old flag! Pitiful
scoundrel, there are those that receive the holy saints' alms that are
fit to be bishops, or for any other dignity; I myself am a graduate of
Siguenza." The porter interposed, hearing a little old fellow cry out
that though he came there for pottage he was descended from the famous
Great Captain, and had many lofty relations. But I will leave them here,
since our companion was now got off, and endeavouring to shake his bones
into their places again.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. III.

_The further Proceedings of this Sharping Gang, till they were thrown
all together into Gaol._


[Illustration]

[Illustration]

The next that came was Merlo Diaz, his girdle hung all round with
earthen cups and glasses, which he had got at nunneries, begging drink
at the wheel, without the least remorse of conscience. Don Lorenzo de
Pedroso relieved him, coming in with an excellent good cloak, which he
had exchanged at a billiard table for his own, which had no sign it had
been made of wool, it was so threadbare. This fellow used to take off
his cloak, as if he designed to play, and to lay it among the rest, and
then not agreeing about the match, he returned to the place, took up the
cloak he liked best, and went his way; the same he did at nine-pins and
other games. All this was nothing in comparison of Don Cosme, who
came in with a regiment of boys at his tail, that were troubled with the
king's evil, cancers, or leprosy, or were hurt or lame. He played the
white witch, or doctor, that cured by prayers and blessings, having to
this purpose learned some superstitious ceremonies and cramp words of an
old woman. By this cheat he got more than all the rest together, for if
anyone came to be cured without something to make a show under his
cloak, or the jingle of money in his pocket, or the cry of some live
fowl, he was never at leisure. He had made fools of half the town,
making them believe whatsoever he pleased, for there never was so
absolute a master at lying, insomuch that he never spoke truth but
accidentally. His common discourse was of heaven; when he came into a
house he always said, "God be here;" and going out, "The Lord have you
in his keeping." He carried with him all the apparatus of hypocrisy; a
pair of beads as big as walnuts; the fag end of a scourge, bloodied
from his nose, he would contrive to be peeping out from under his cloak;
when he shrugged to remove the creatures that bit him, he persuaded
others it was the hair cloth he wore next his skin, and that this
starving was a voluntary fast. Then would he tell stories of strange
temptations he had overcome; if the devil happened to be named, he
cried, "The Lord deliver and preserve us," kissed the ground when he
went into the church, called himself unworthy sinner, never lifted up
his eyes to look at women, though he might their coats. These cheats had
so far prevailed on the multitude that they begged his prayers, and
might as well have applied themselves to the devil; for he was not only
a gamester, but a very shark or pickpocket, who never took the name of
God in vain, being always sure to get something by it. As for women, he
had several children scattered about, and two hermitesses with child at
that time.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

The next that came was Polanco, making a great noise, and asking for a
long, sad-coloured gown, a big cross, an overgrown false beard, and a
bell. He used to go about at night in this dress, crying, "Remember you
are to die, and be kind to the souls departed, &c.," which brought him
in considerable alms; and when he found a house open, he went in, and if
nobody was in the way stole all that came to his hand. If anybody saw
him, he rung his bell, and in a dismal tone, as he knew how to frame it,
cried, "Remember, brethren, &c." All these and many more contrivances,
and strange ways of stealing, I learned in a month I continued among
them. To return where I left off: I showed the beads and told them the
story; they applauded my ingenuity, and the old woman took them, and
went about saying they belonged to a poor maiden gentlewoman, who was
fain to sell them for bread, having her story ready for every occasion.
The old jade wept whenever she pleased, wrung her hands, and sighed most
bitterly; she called all the people, children; and over a good smock,
jerkin, gown and petticoats, wore a tattered long robe of sackcloth,
given her by an anchorite, her friend, who lived on the mountains by
Alcalá. Her business was to manage the wardrobe, to counsel and
conceal; but the devil, who is always kind to his servants, so ordered
it, that going one day to a house to sell some clothes and other things,
somebody there knew their own goods, sent for an officer, secured the
old hag, whom we called Mother Lebrusca, and she presently discovered
all the plot, told how we all lived, and that we were gentlemen of prey.
The officer left her in the gaol, and came to our house, where he found
me and all my companions. He had half a dozen under-catchpoles along
with him, and removed the whole sharping congregation to the prison,
where our gentility saw itself in great peril.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. IV.

_In which the Prison is described and what happened therein, until the
old Woman was whipped, my Companions exposed to Shame, and myself let
out on Bail._


They clapped on each of us, as we came in, two pair of irons, and took
us off to the dungeon; but I made use of the money I had to prevent
falling into that hell, pulling out a pistole, and making it glitter in
the gaoler's eyes, saying, "Pray, Sir, be pleased to hear me a word in
private." He having seen a glimpse of the gold, took me aside, and I
went on, "I beseech you, Sir, take pity of an unfortunate man." Then I
took him lovingly by the hand, and clapped in the piece, which he
greedily grasped, being used to such ceremonies, and answered, "I will
examine into your disorder, and if it is dangerous, you shall not go
down into the hole." I understood him, and submitted myself humbly, so
that he left me out, and turned down my companions. I will not take up
time by relating what sport we made in the prison and as we went along
the streets; for being pushed and dragged along, bound, some of us
without cloaks, and others with them, it was comical to see such a
parcel of ragamuffins, all patches, and parti-coloured black and white,
like magpies. The officers knew not how to take fast hold of them, they
were all in such tatters; some they thought to grasp by the flesh, and
finding none, for it was all starved away, they feared to be answerable
for disjointing the bones. Others lost their coats and breeches by the
rough handling of those unmerciful fellows. When they unbound the rope,
as they led them all in, the rags and clouts dropped off with it. At
night I was carried to the common side, where I had a little bed
allotted me. It was odd to see some lie down in their whole case,
without taking of the least rag they wore in the day. Others at one
motion put off all the clothes they had; others played; but at last we
were made fast, and the light put out. We all forgot our irons, and took
our rest very favourably.

[Illustration]

The gaoler then fancying I would drop him another pistole rather than be
let down into the hole, ordered me to be buried among the rest, which I
resolved to endure rather than break bulk any more. I was conveyed down,
where my old friends received me with a great shout and much
satisfaction. That night I lay cool, without anything to cover me; when
it was day, we all came out of the dungeon, saw one another's faces, and
presently our companions demanded the usual garnish-money, on pain of a
good liquoring. I presently disbursed six reals; but my companions
having nothing to give, the matter was left over till night. Among the
rest in the dungeon, was a tall one-eyed young fellow, with a great pair
of whiskers, a sour look, round shouldered, and those well flogged. He
had a whole smith's forge upon him, double fetters on his legs, and a
great chain hanging from his neck; they called him the Giant; and he
said of himself that he was in prison for petty trifles, which I
concluded to be some mere larceny; and if anybody asked him whether that
was the crime, he answered in the negative, but that it was for backward
sins. When the gaoler reproved him for his tricks, he would call him the
hangman's pantryman, and general storekeeper of sin. At other times he
would cry, "You are a fool to contend with one that will vanish in
smoke; by the Lord I will stifle you as I go off." This he had said,
expecting to be burnt alive. He contracted friendship with another they
called Robledo, and by a nickname the Tumbler, who said he was in prison
for his dexterity, which consisted in making everything vanish he laid
his hands on. He had been lashed by all the beadles and hangmen in
Spain; his face was all over cuts and scars; his ears were at a great
distance, for he carried but one about him, having left the other behind
him in his travels; his nose was soldered together, having been cleft
with a cut of a sword. Four other rampant fellows, like lions in
heraldry, herded with those two, all of them loaded with chains, and
condemned to thrash the sea, that is, to the galleys. These said they
might boast, in a short time, that they had served the king both by sea
and land; and a man would not believe how impatiently they expected
their commission. These people taking it ill that my comrades had not
discharged the duty of garnish, contrived to give them a sound lashing
at night, with a curious rope's end, provided for that purpose. When
night came we were put into the dismal vault, they put out the light,
and I presently secured myself under my bed; two of them began to
whistle, and a third to lay about him with the rope's end. The sparks
perceiving it was like to go ill with them, crowded themselves up so
close together, all the flesh of their bones being before devoured by
the mange and lice, that they found room enough in a cranny between the
boards, lying like so many fleas in a seam, or bugs in a bedstead. The
lashes sounded on the boards, but the bodies they were designed for lay
close without speaking a word. The whipsters observing they did not
complain, laid aside their discipline, and began to pelt them with
stones, bricks, and rubbish, they had gathered to that effect. This
project succeeded better, for a stone hit Don Toribio on the neck, and
raised a bunch as thick as his fist. He cried out "Murder!" and the
knaves, that he might not be heard, fell a-singing all together, and
rattled their chains. Don Toribio struggled with his companions to get
undermost, and in the scuffle, their bones rattled like castanets, their
coats fell all in tatters, and not a rag was left upon them. The stones
flew about so thick, that in a short space poor Don Toribio had as many
knobs on his head as there are on a pine-apple. Finding there was no
manner of protection against that dreadful shower of hail that fell upon
us, but there he was like to die a martyr, without being guilty of the
least piety or religion, he cried out, begging they would let him get
out of that place, and he would pay immediately, delivering up his
clothes in pledge. The persecutors consented, and though his companions
would have held him, because he sheltered them, he got up the best he
could, all battered, and came over to my side. The rest were not so
quick at promising the same, but that they had as many knocks as hairs
on their heads, yet offered up their clothes towards paying the garnish;
thinking it was better to lie abed for want of clothes than for broken
bones. Accordingly they were let go for that night, but in the morning
they had orders to strip; they did so, and it appeared that all their
clothes put together would not bring one halfpenny loaf. They lay abed,
that is, wrapped up in a blanket belonging to the public.

[Illustration]

I slipped out of the dungeon, desiring them to excuse me for not bearing
them company, because it was not convenient. I greased the gaoler over
again with three pieces of eight, and being informed who the clerk was
that had the charge of prosecuting us, sent for him by a young running
thief. He came, I got into a room with him, and after some discourse
concerning our business in general, I told him I had some little money,
which I desired him to keep for me; and that as far as might be done
with safety, he would favour an unfortunate young gentleman who had been
unadvisedly drawn into that offence. "Believe me, Sir," said he, when he
had grasped the ready, "the whole matter depends upon us; and "he that
has a mind to be a knave, may do a great deal of mischief. I "have sent
more men to the gallows without any cause, but for my pleasure, than
there are words in an indictment. Leave it to me, and do not question
but I'll bring you off safe and sound." This said, he made as if he was
going away, but came back again from the door to ask something for
honest Diego Garcia, the constable, for it was convenient to stop his
mouth with a silver gag; something more he hinted at concerning the
clerk of the court; saying, "It is in this clerk's power, Sir, to undo a
man by turning up the whites of his eyes, raising his voice, making a
noise to rouse a magistrate or recorder when they are asleep, as it
often happens, and many other such dangerous actions." I apprehended
him, and lugged out fifty reals more; in return for which he bid me set
my cloak right, taught me two cures for a cold I had got in the prison;
and to conclude, said, "Make yourself easy, the gaoler will be kind to
you, if you give him but a piece of eight, for these sort of people do
nothing out of good nature, but all for interest." I could not but smile
at his hint, he went his way, and I gave the gaoler a crown; he knocked
off my irons, and gave me leave to go to his house. He had a wife like
a whale, and two daughters as ugly as the devil, and as wicked, yet of
the game, in spite of their faces.

[Illustration]

It happened that the gaoler, whose name was one Blandones de San Pablo,
and his wife's Donna Anna Moraez, came home to dinner one day, when I
was there, in a great rage, fuming, and would not eat. His wife dreading
some mighty thing had happened, drew near, and tormented him so long
with the usual importunities, that at last he said, "What the devil d'ye
think ails me? That scoundrel dog of Almendros, the lodging-house
keeper, having some words with me about farming the gaol, told me you
are not spotless." "Has the villain ever scoured me?" cried she. "By my
grandame's soul, you don't deserve to be called man since you did not
tear his beard for him. Did I ever employ his servants to clean me?"
Then turning to me, she went on, "By the Lord, he cannot call me Jew,
like himself, for of the four parts he has, two are villain and two are
Jew. By my troth, Don Pablo, had I heard him, I would have put him in
mind that the Inquisition had laid the St. Andrew's cross upon his
back." The gaoler in very doleful manner replied, "Alas, wife! I held my
peace because he told me you were doubly and trebly allied to that race;
for he did not talk of your not being spotless on account of swine, but
for not eating their flesh." "Then he called me Jew," quoth she, "and
you could take it so calmly. Brave times! is that the regard you have
for the honour of Donna Anna Moraez, the daughter of Estefania Rubio and
Juan de Madrid, both of them well known to God and all the world."
"Daughter to Juan de Madrid?" said I. "To Juan de Madrid of Auñon,"
cried she. "By the Lord," quoth I, "the rogue that spoke so is a
whoreson Jew and a cuckold." Then turning to them, I went on: "The
honoured Juan de Madrid, whose soul rest in peace, was my father's own
cousin-german, and I will make it appear what he was, and whence he
came, for it concerns me; and if once I get out of prison, I'll make the
dog eat his words. I have my pedigree here in town in gold letters,
which makes out both families." They were all overjoyed with their new
relation, and much encouraged to hear of the pedigree; and at the same
time I had no such thing, nor did I know who they were. The husband
began to sift out the point of kindred, coming to particulars, but I to
prevent being caught in a lie, made as if I was going out in a passion,
swearing and cursing. They all held me, desiring no more might be said
of the matter. Every now and then I would let fly, "Juan de Madrid! what
a pedigree I have of his!" Another time, as if I were musing, I dropt,
"Juan de Madrid the elder, father to Juan de Madrid, was married to Anna
de Azevedo the stout," and then I was quieted a little. In short I
managed this tack so well, that the gaoler kept me at bed and board in
his house; and then the honest clerk, at his request, and for the bribe
I gave him, ordered the business so well, that the old woman was taken
out before them all upon a dapple grey ass, with a crier before her,
making proclamation that she was a thief, and close at her heels the
hangman, scoring her on the ribs as he had been directed by the
gentlemen of the long robe. Then followed all my companions upon braying
palfreys, bareheaded and faced, thus to be exposed to public shame, like
standing on the pillory, and so ragged that they could not hide their
nakedness. After this solemnity they were banished for six years. For my
part I was bailed out with the assistance of the clerk; and the other at
the court played his part, for he changed his tone, spoke low, skipped
over some words, and swallowed whole sentences.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. V.

_How I took a Lodging, and the Misfortune that befel me therein._


Being out of prison, I found myself all alone and destitute of friends,
though I was told they were travelling towards Seville at the public
expense; yet I would not follow them, but went away to a lodging. Here I
fell in with a fair, clear skinned wench, free, pleasant, sometimes
forward and sometimes coy. She lisped a little, was afraid of mice,
prided herself upon her hands; and the better to show them, always
snuffed the candles, carved up the meat at table, and held them up at
church; in the street was always pointing where everybody lived; sitting
in company continually contrived to be pinning up her head-gear; and of
all games loved to play at draughts, because then her hands were never
off the board. She would frequently yawn, though she had no need, to
show her teeth, and then cross her mouth; and in short the whole house
had so much of her hands, that her very father and mother were out of
patience with them. They entertained me very well in their house, for
they made it their business to let lodgings, and could receive but three
at once, which, at this time, were myself, a Portuguese, and a
Catalonian. All of them were very courteous to me; I liked the wench
well enough by way of diversion, and thought it a convenience to have
her in the house. I courted her; told her abundance of pleasant stories
I had picked up to pass the time; brought them home news, though there
were none abroad; did them all the service I could, provided it cost
nothing; persuaded them I understood witchcraft, and was a conjurer, and
could make it appear as if the house were sinking, or all in a flame,
without doing the least harm; all which the credulous, foolish women
easily believed. All the family were civil and kind to me; but all this
did not amount to love, for being but indifferently clad, though I had
somewhat mended my apparel with the help of the gaoler, keeping up the
kindred by continual sponging at his house; they did not take so much
notice of it as I could have wished. To gain the reputation of being a
man of wealth, though I concealed it, I contrived to send some of my
acquaintance to ask for me when I was not at home. One of these came and
inquired for Don Ramiro de Guzman, for I had told them that was my name,
having been informed by my friends that changing of names was not
expensive, and might prove very advantageous. The man, I say, inquired
for Don Ramiro, a rich merchant, who had lately farmed two branches of
the revenue of the king. Neither the old nor the young landlady knew me
by this description, and therefore answered that no such man lived
there, but only one Don Ramiro de Guzman, who was rather ragged than
rich, a little fellow, hard favoured, and poor. "That is the person I
want," replied the man; "and as light as you make of him, I would desire
no more, if it were God's will, than as much as he is worth above two
thousand ducats a year." He told them a great many more lies of this
sort; they stood amazed, and he left them a sham bill of exchange he
pretended he had on me for nine thousand ducats, desiring them to get me
to accept it. Both mother and daughter gave credit to my wealth, and
immediately pricked me down for a husband. I came home very unconcerned,
as if I knew nothing of the matter; immediately they gave me the bill of
exchange, baying, "Wealth and love are hardly to be concealed, Don
Ramiro. It is very well that you make us such strangers to what you are,
when you know we have so much kindness for you." I made as if I was
displeased at his leaving the bill, and went away to my chamber. It was
pleasant to see how they changed their note as soon as they thought I
had money; they said everything became me, admired every word I spoke,
and I was the most accomplished person in the world.

[Illustration]

Perceiving they had bit at the bait I had laid for them, I made the
wench acquainted with my affections, which she received with much joy,
returning a thousand loving expressions, and so we parted for that time.
The next night, the more to confirm them in the conceit of my wealth, I
shut myself up in my chamber, which was parted from theirs only by a
thin wall of lath and plaster, and taking out fifty crowns, counted them
over so often that they reckoned six thousand. This contrivance of
making them believe I was rich, succeeded as well as I could wish, for
their whole study was to please and make much of me. The Portuguese, who
lodged in the house with me, was called Don Vasco de Meneses, and was
knight of the famous order of Christ in Portugal. He wore a black cloak,
a pair of boots, a little band, and large whiskers, and was passionately
in love with Donna Berenguela de Rebolledo, for that was our mistress's
name. When he courted her, he would make long speeches, sighing like a
nun at a sermon in Lent, and singing very scurvily. There was continual
bickering between him and the Catalonian, who was the most wretched,
miserable creature that ever God put life into; for, like a tertian
ague, he fed but once in three days, and the bread was so hard that it
had broke several of his teeth. His way of making love was looking big
and bullying, though at the same time he had no more heart than a hen,
and cackled as much. These two perceiving I had got the start of them in
the amorous adventure, made it their whole business to rail at me. The
Portuguese said I was a shabby, lousy scoundrel; the Catalonian gave out
that I was a pitiful coward. I knew all they said, and sometimes heard
it, but did not think fit to make any reply. In short, the wench gave
me a full hearing, and received my love letters, which I began,
according to the laudable custom, with "Pardon my presumption," "The
power of your beauty," &c. Then I went on with the terms of passion and
flames, and feigned myself her slave, sealing it with a heart struck
through with a dart. After all this ceremony we came to plain _thee_ and
_thou_; and to clench the notion of my quality, already conceived, I
went abroad, hired a mule, and muffling myself up in my cloak, and
changing my voice, asked for myself, inquiring whether Don Ramiro de
Guzman, lord of Valcerado and Vellorete, lived there. The wench made
answer, "Here is a gentleman of that name, of a low stature," and
described me. I replied he was the man, and desired her to tell him that
Diego de Solarzano, his steward, was going to receive his rents, and
called as he went by to kiss his hand. Having left this message I went
away, and came home awhile after. They received me with the greatest joy
imaginable, complaining that I would not let them know I was lord of
Valcerado and Vellorete, and delivered the message they had for me. This
made the wench mad to secure such a rich husband, and so she contrived
that I should talk with her at one o'clock in the morning, getting out
of a gallery upon the tiles her window looked over.

[Illustration]

The devil, who is always contriving of mischief, so ordered it, that at
night, being eager to improve that opportunity, I went up into the
gallery, and getting out of it upon the tiles, where I was to entertain
my lady, my feet slipped, and I came down upon a neighbour's house, who
was a notary, with such force, that I broke all the tiles, and left the
print of them in my sides. The dreadful noise waked half the house, and
fancying there had been thieves, for that sort of people are always
apprehensive of them, they came out upon the top of the house. I would
have hid myself behind a chimney, which made the suspicion the greater;
for the notary, with the assistance of two servants and a brother, beat
me like a stock-fish, and bound me in the presence of my mistress,
without any regard to what I could say for myself. She laughed heartily,
because having told her before that I could play abundance of odd pranks
by the help of the magic art, she concluded the fall had been only a
trick to make sport, and therefore lay calling to me to come up, for I
had done enough. This and the beating made me roar out unmercifully; and
the best of it was, that she believed it was all sham, and laughed
immoderately. The notary began to draw up a process, and because he
heard some keys rattle in my pocket, he not only said, but writ it down,
that they were picklocks, though they were showed him, and it was
impossible to beat it out of him. I told him I was Don Ramiro de
Guzman, at which he laughed heartily. Seeing myself in a wretched
condition, unmercifully beaten before my mistress, and like to be
hurried away to gaol with a scandalous name, though innocent, I knew not
what course to take. I fell upon my knees before the notary, and begged
of him for the love of God, but all that would not prevail with him to
quit me. Hitherto we were still upon the tiles, for these people have
never the more conscience for being the nearer heaven; they then took me
down below, through a skylight that was over a kitchen.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. VI.

_In which the same Adventure is pursued, with various other Incidents._


I had not one wink of sleep all that night, thinking on my misfortune,
which was not my falling upon the tiles, but into the cruel and
merciless clutches of the notary; and when I called to mind the
pretended picklocks he had found in my pocket, and how many leaves he
had writ of my process, I perceived there is nothing in nature increases
so fast as a crime, when a notary has the handling of it. I spent the
night in hatching schemes; sometimes I resolved to beg him for Jesus
Christ's sake; but then reflecting how He was used, when upon earth, by
men of that kidney, I put off doing so. I tried several times to unbind
myself, but he presently heard me, and came to see if all was fast; for
he was more watchful, studying how to make out a lie, than I was to
clear myself. He got up by break of day, and was dressed so early, that
there was no creature stirring in the whole house besides himself and
the devil that prompted him; he laid hold of a good leather belt,
strapped me soundly with it over and over again, and reproved me
severely for the vile sin of thieving, as being a thing he was so well
acquainted with himself. This was the posture we were in, he laying on
me, and I almost resolved to give him money, which is the only thing in
nature that mollifies those stony hearts. By this time my mistress, who
had seen my fall and cudgelling, being convinced it was a real
misfortune and no enchantment, had, by her earnest prayers and
entreaties, prevailed upon the Portuguese and Catalonian to come to my
assistance, as they did. The notary hearing them speak to me,
immediately drew out his pen to insert them into his process as
accessories. The Portuguese had not patience to hear it, but let fly
some ill language, telling him he was a man of quality, and the king's
servant, and that I was a very honest gentleman, and it was very
knavishly done to bind me after that manner. This said, he began to
unbind me, and the notary to cry out for help. In came two servants of
his, half bum-bailiff and half porter, treading upon their own cloaks,
and tearing their bands, as they use to do, to make it appear as if they
had been beaten in the execution of their office, and roared out for all
people to aid and assist them in the king's name. However, the
Portuguese and Catalonian unbound me, and the notary perceiving there
was nobody to stand by him, said, "I vow to God I am not to be so
served, and were not you, gentlemen, persons of such worth, it might
cost you dear; however, bid these witnesses be contented, and take
notice, that I serve you generously without any prospect of interest." I
understood the hint; took out a piece of eight and gave it him, and had
a very good mind to return the beating he had given me, but forbore
rather than own the receipt of it, and went away with them, returning
hearty thanks for my deliverance, my face all bruised with the cuffs and
my back weal'd with cudgelling. The Catalonian made very merry, and
advised the wench to marry me to invert the proverb, "That I might not
be cuckolded first and beaten after, but first beaten and then
cuckolded." He called me a bold desperate fellow, ironically alluding to
my cudgelling, which sly way of his still put me out of countenance. If
I happened to go in to give them but a friendly visit, he presently
began a discourse of thrashing, of canes and cudgels.

Finding myself thus run down, and that they began to discover the cheat
of my riches, I laid about how to get away from the house and carry off
my equipage, without paying for my diet or lodging, which amounted to
some money. I agreed with one, Licentiate Brandalagas, of the town of
Hornillos, and two friends of his, that they should come and seize upon
me. They came at the day appointed, told the landlady they were sent by
the Inquisition, and charged her with secresy. The whole family quaked
for fear, because I had pretended to them that I was a conjurer. They
spoke not a word against carrying me off, but when they saw my equipage
moving they would have made a seizure for what I owed, but the others
answered, "That all the goods belonged to the Inquisition." At this they
had no word to say; they let them go peaceably, and when they were gone,
said, "They had always dreaded it." The Portuguese and Catalonian
positively affirmed that those who used to inquire for me were devils;
that I had certainly a familiar spirit, and when the women told them how
much money I had counted, they swore it was no money, though it seemed
so, and the others believed them.

[Illustration]

I got clear off, and saved all my diet and lodging, and then, with the
advice of those that had stood my friends, I contrived to alter my dress
into the genteel fashion, to put on strait breeches, and a great collar,
and get a scoundrel by the name of a page, and two rogues for footmen,
as the mode then was. The others encouraged me so to do, showing how I
might make myself at once by that means, getting a wife with a great
fortune, by making such a figure, which frequently happened at Madrid;
adding, that they would put me in the way, finding out one for my turn,
and contriving how I might gain admittance. Covetousness prevailing, and
the desire of a wife, I consented, searched all the brokers' shops,
bought my wedding clothes, hired a horse, and mounted in great state
that very day, but could not light on a footman. Away I made to the
High Street, and stopped at a saddler's shop, as if I were buying some
furniture. Two gentlemen on horseback asked me, "Whether I was about
buying a rich embroidered saddle and housing I had in my hand?" I laid
it down immediately, saying, "It was at their service, if they liked
it," and kept them awhile with a thousand compliments. At length they
said they would go and divert themselves in the Prado. I told them I
would wait on them, if they would give me leave; and left word with the
saddler, that in case my pages and footmen came thither, he should send
them after me, describing the livery to him; which said, I clapped in
between the two gentlemen, and away we went. By the way I considered
with myself, that none who saw us could possibly guess or decide to
which of us the pages and footmen belonged, or which of us had none. I
began to talk very loud of the tilting and other sports on horseback at
Talavera, and of a piebald horse I had, highly commending a lusty
stallion I expected from Cordova. Every page or footman I met on
horseback I stopped, asking, "Whose it was?" Then talked of his marks
like a jockey, and asked, "Whether he was to be sold?" Then I would make
him take a turn or two up and down the street, and though there were no
fault, would find one in the bridle, and tell him how to mend it.
Fortune so ordered it that I met with several opportunities of showing
my talent. The gentlemen were mystified, and, as I fancied, thought with
themselves, "What upstart country squire is this?" One of them had a
plain badge of knighthood on his breast, the other his hanging at a
chain set with diamonds; and therefore, to amuse them, I said I was
looking out to buy some choice horses for myself and a kinsman of mine
that were to be at some sports on horseback. When we came to the Prado,
I took my feet out of the stirrups, turning my heels out and walking
easily, with my cloak hanging upon one shoulder, and my hat in my hand.
Everybody gazed at me; one said, "I have seen that spark walk on foot;"
another, "The scoundrel makes a pretty figure." I made as if I did not
hear them, and walked on. The two gentlemen went up to a coach full of
ladies, and desired me to amuse them awhile. I left the side where the
young ones were, and went to the other where there was a mother and an
aunt, two pleasant old jades, the one about fifty years of age, the
other little less. I told them a thousand amorous lies, and they
listened to them; for there is no woman, though never so old, but has a
good conceit of herself; offered to treat them, and asked whether the
other ladies were married? They replied they were maids, and it was easy
enough to guess at it by their talk. Then I made the usual compliment,
wishing they might see them well preferred to their mind, and they were
much taken with it. Next they asked me how I spent my time at Court? To
which I answered, that I kept out of the way from a father and mother,
who would fain marry me, against my will, to a woman that was ugly,
foolish, and of a mean family, only because she had a vast portion. "And
for my part, ladies," I said, "I had rather have a wife well born, in
her smock, than the wealthiest Jew that is; for, God be praised, my
patrimony is worth about forty thousand ducats a year; and if I succeed
in a law suit, which goes hitherto well on my side, I shall want no
more." The aunt hearing this account, very promptly cried, "Lord, Sir, I
admire you for that humour. Do not marry unless you please, and with a
woman of a good family, for I do assure you, that though I am not very
rich, I have refused to marry off my niece, who has had very rich
suitors, because they were not of quality. She is poor, it is true, for
her portion is but six thousand ducats; but as for blood she is inferior
to none." "I do not question that, Madam," said I. At this the damsels
ended their discourse with the gentlemen, and asked for some
refreshment. The two gazed upon one another, and began to quake for
fear; but I laying hold of the opportunity, told them I was sorry my
pages were out of the way, because I had nobody to send home for some
boxes of sweetmeats. They returned thanks, and I desired them to be the
next day at the summer-house in the Prado, and I would send them a cold
refection. They accepted of the invitation, told me their address, and
inquired after mine; so the coach went off, and my companions and I made
towards our homes. They observing that I was so generous in offering the
treat, began to take a fancy to me, and the more to oblige me, desired I
would sup with them that night. I stood off a little, but not too long,
and supped with them, sending out several times to seek my servants, and
swearing I would turn them away. When it struck ten I told them I had an
assignation, and therefore begged they would excuse me for that time and
went away; first engaging them to meet the next day at the summer-house.
From them I went to return the hired horse to the owner, and thence
home, where I found my companions playing at _reversis_. I told them
what had happened and of the engagement I had made. We resolved to send
the collation without fail, and to lay out two hundred reals on it.
Having thus ordered affairs, we went to bed, where I own I could not
sleep all night for thinking how I should invest the dowry, for I could
not resolve whether it were better with it to build a good house, or to
put it out to interest, not knowing which would be better and of more
benefit for me.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. VII.

_In which the Story is continued, with other Incidents and notable
Misfortunes._


[Illustration]

In the morning we got up to provide the plate, servants, and collation;
and there being nothing in this world that money cannot command, as
being a thing worshipped by all men, I found a nobleman's butler that
furnished plate, and undertook to wait himself with three of his
fellow-servants. The forenoon was spent in arranging affairs, and after
dinner I hired a nag and at the appointed time set out for the
summer-house. I had abundance of papers sticking out of my pockets;
besides that, my coat being unbuttoned, some peeped out at my bosom, as
if I had been a man of mighty business. When I came to the place the
ladies and gentlemen were there; the former received me with much show
of love, and the latter talked to me by plain _thee_ and _thou_, in
token of familiarity. I had told them my name was Don Philip Tristan,
and nothing was to be heard in all their mouths but Don Philip and Don
Philip; but I told them I had been so entirely taken up with some
business of the king's and the accounts of my estate, that I had much
ado to be as good as my word, and therefore they must expect a hurried
repast. By this time the butler came with all his tackle, plate and
servants; the gentlemen and ladies looked at me and held their peace. I
ordered him to go into the eating-room and lay the cloth, whilst we went
to divert ourselves at the fish-ponds. The old women drew near to fawn
and flatter, and I was glad to see the young girls unveiled, for since I
was born I never saw so delicate a creature as that was whom I designed
for my wife. A skin as white as alabaster, delicate fair hair, a
singular fresh colour in her cheeks, a little mouth, fine, small teeth
standing close together, a well-shaped nose, large black eyes, tall of
stature, charming hands, with a delicate little lisp. The other was not
amiss, but more wanton, and I suspected she had been handled. We went to
the fish-ponds, saw all that could be seen, and by her talk I found that
my intended bride would have been in danger in Herod's days of being
included among the innocents. In short, she had not a grain of sense;
however, as I never love them for counsellors or jesters, but only to
take my pleasure with them--and if they are ugly and clever it is like
lying with Aristotle or Seneca or a book--I always pitch upon those that
are properest for the use I would make of them. This consideration
comforted me; we went towards the banqueting-house, and as we passed
along a branch of the hedge got hold of the lace of my band, and tore it
a little; the young lady stepped up and pinned it with a silver pin, and
her mother bade me send it to her house the next day, and Donna Anna, so
the maiden was called, would mend it. All the repast was in excellent
order, hot and cold, fruit and sweetmeats.

When the cloth was taken away, I spied a gentleman coming along the
garden with two servants after him, and who should this be but my old
master, Don Diego Coronel. He drew near, and, seeing me in this habit,
could not take his eyes off me, talked to the women, calling them
cousins, and all the time turned to look again and again. I kept talking
to the butler, while the other two gentlemen, my master's friends, were
in deep discourse with him. He asked them, as afterwards appeared, my
name, and they answered, it was Don Philip Tristan, a very honest
gentleman of a great estate. I saw him cross himself, and at length he
came up to me before them all, and said, "Sir, will you pardon me, for,
by the Lord, till I heard your name, I took you for a different person
from what you are; in my life I never saw anything so like a servant I
had at Segovia, called little Pablo, the son of a barber in that town."
They all laughed heartily, and I used all the art I could to forbear
betraying myself by blushing, and said, "I long mightily to see that
man, because abundance of people had told me I was extremely like him."
"Good God," cried Don Diego, "like him! I never saw such a resemblance,
his very shape, voice and mien. I declare to you, Sir, it is a marvel,
and I never beheld any two so exactly alike." The old women, mother and
aunt, asked how it was possible that a gentleman of such quality should
be so like that mean scoundrel. And that there should be no suspicion on
them, one said, "I know Don Philip very well, it was he that entertained
us at Ocaña, by my husband's order." I took the cue, and answered, "I
should always be ready to do them all the service I could everywhere."
Don Diego offered his service and begged pardon for the affront of
taking me for the barber's son, adding, "Sir, you will scarce believe
it, but his mother was a witch, his father a thief, his uncle the
hangman, and he himself the wickedest base fellow in the world." It is
easy to guess what I felt, hearing such scandalous things said of me to
my face; I sat upon thorns, though I did all I could to dissemble my
uneasiness. My two new acquaintance and I took our leave, and Don Diego
went into the coach with the ladies. Then he asked them what was the
meaning of the treat, and their being with me? The mother and aunt told
him I was heir to so many thousand ducats a year, and had a mind to
marry Anna; that he might inquire into the matter, and he would see how
proper an affair it was, and how advantageous to their family. This
discourse lasted till they got home, which was near the church of St.
Philip. My comrades and I went together to their house, as we had done
the night before, and they having a mind to fleece me, asked me whether
I would play. I guessed at their meaning, and set to it; the cards were
brought; I let them win at first, but soon fetched it about; won about
three hundred reals, took my leave and went home.

There I found my two companions, the Licentiate Brandalagas, and Pedro
Lopez, who were practising new cheats upon the dice. As soon they saw
me, they left off to inquire how I had sped. I only told them that I had
been in great danger; how I had met with Don Diego, and how I came off.
They comforted and encouraged me to proceed, and not to desist from the
enterprise by any means. We had now notice given us that they used to
play at an apothecary's house close by. I understood the game at that
time tolerably well, had cards made for the purpose, and knew all sorts
of cheats, so we resolved to go put in for the plate among them. I sent
my friends before me, who at their coming, asked them whether they would
please to play with a monk of the order of St. Benedict, who was just
come to town to be cured of a tedious distemper among his relations and
friends, and was well stocked with crowns and ducats? This set them all
a-gog, and they cried, "Let the friar come, in God's name." "He is a man
of note in the order," added Pedro Lopez, "and being out for a sally,
has a mind to amuse himself for a few hours, and does it only for
company's sake." "Let him come," quoth they, "we do not care what his
motive is." "We tell you so much as a caution," answered Brandalagas.
"Enough," said the man of the house, "you need say no more." This
satisfied them that the thing was so, and the lie was believed. My two
acolytes came for me, and I was dressed with my nightcap on, in a
Benedictine habit, which I had got by the wheel of fortune in my
rambles, a pair of spectacles on my nose, and a short, bushy beard, to
show as if it were grown since my sickness. I walked in very demurely,
sat down, and we began to play. They all combined to put upon me, but I
swept all before me, being much sharper at it than they, so that in
about three hours' time I won upwards of thirteen hundred reals. I gave
them a trifle for luck, and took my leave with the usual compliment of,
"The Lord be praised," charging them not to be scandalised to see me
play, for it was mere diversion and nothing else. They who had lost
their money cursed themselves to the pit of hell. I took my leave again,
and we sallied out, got to our lodging about half after one, divided our
booty, and so to bed.

[Illustration]

This was some satisfaction to me for the unlucky accident before. I got
up in the morning to hire a horse, but they were all let, by which I
perceived there were more in my case besides myself. To walk the streets
a-foot did not look well, especially at that time. I went towards St.
Philip's, where I found a lawyer's footman with a horse in his hand,
waiting for his master, who had just alighted to hear mass in that
church. I clapt four reals in his hands, to let me ride two or three
turns along the next street, where my mistress lived. He consented; I
mounted; rode twice up and down the street, without seeing anybody, but
at the third turn Donna Anna looked out. When I saw her, thinking to
show off my horsemanship, and being but an indifferent jockey and
unacquainted with the horse's qualities, I gave him two cuts with the
whip, reining him in at the same time; he reared first, then striking
out behind, set a-running at full speed, so that I came clear over his
head into a puddle. I had no other recourse in this pitiful plight, all
beset with boys, and in the presence of my mistress, but to cry out, "A
cursed dog! My sorrel would never have done so. I shall pay for these
mad pranks one time or other. They told me of his tricks, and yet I
would needs be defying him." By this time the footman brought me the
horse again, for he had stopt as soon as he had thrown me; I mounted
again, and Don Diego Coronel, who lived in the same house with his
kinswoman, hearing the noise, looked out. The sight of him startled me
very much; he asked, "Whether I had any hurt?" I answered, "No," though
at the same time one of my legs was almost lamed. The footman pressed me
hard to give him his horse, for fear his master should come out of the
church and see me, for he was going to Court. It was my misfortune, that
as he was speaking to me, the lawyer came behind us, and knowing his
steed, ran at the footman, beating him about the head and face with his
fist, and asking him, as loud as he could cry, "How he durst have the
impudence to let anybody ride his horse?" And what was worst of all, he
turned to me, and in a very angry manner, bade me get down with many
curses. All this was in the full view of my mistress and Don Diego
Coronel, which put me as much out of countenance as if I had been
whipped at the cart's tail. I was wonderfully cast down and melancholy,
and with good cause, to have two such misfortunes befal me upon so small
a spot of ground. In fine, I was fain to alight; the lawyer mounted, and
went his way; and I the better to carry off the business, staid in the
street, talking to Don Diego, and said, "I never mounted such an unlucky
jade in all my days. My cream-coloured horse is yonder by St. Philip's
church, and is very hard-mouthed when he sets a-galloping. I was telling
some people there how I used to ride him at full speed, and pull him up
at one check. They told me, I could not do it with a horse that stood
there, which was the lawyer's you saw; I resolved to try; you cannot
imagine what a restive jade it is, and has such a scurvy saddle, that it
was a wonder he did not kill me." "It was so, indeed," answered Don
Diego; "and yet, Sir, you seem hurt in that leg." "I do so," replied I,
"and therefore I'll go take my own horse and get home." The young lady
was fully satisfied that all I said was true, for I could perceive she
was much concerned at my fall; but Don Diego, who saw farther, grew
suspicious through what had happened with the lawyer in the street.

This proved the cause of my ruin, besides many other unlucky accidents
that befel me; and the greatest of all was, that when I went home and
came to a chest, where in a portmanteau I had left all the remains of my
inheritance, and what I won at play, except only an hundred reals I had
about me, I found my good friends the Licentiate Brandalagas and Pedro
Lopez had laden themselves with it, and were fled. This was a mortal
stroke, and I stood confounded, not knowing which way to turn myself,
and saying, "A curse on him that puts his trust in ill-gotten wealth,
which goes as it comes." Unhappy man! what shall I do? I could not tell
whether it were best to go myself, or send a hue and cry after them. I
did not like this course, because if they should happen to be taken,
they would charge me with the disguise of the monk's habit, and other
matters, and that was the direct way to the gallows; and as for
following of them, I knew not which way. At last, for fear of spoiling
my marriage, which I looked upon as secure, and likely to make amends
for all losses, I resolved to stay and push it on vigorously. I dined,
after dinner hired a horse, went away towards my mistress's street; and
having no footman, and it not being decent to be seen without one, I
waited at the corner of the street until some man passed by that looked
like one, and away I went after him, making him a footman, though he was
none. At the other end of the street I did the like, standing out of
sight until another went by like the former, and then rode down again. I
know not whether it was a conviction of the truth that I was the very
scoundrel that Don Diego suspected, or the fresh cause of suspicion, on
account of the lawyer's horse and footman, or what else that did it, but
he took care to inquire who I was, what I lived on, and observed all my
actions. At last he discovered the whole intrigue the strangest way that
could be imagined, for I pressed on the business of matrimony very
hotly, plying the ladies continually with letters; and Don Diego being
as eagerly importuned by them, who were in haste to conclude it, as he
was upon the scent after me, met the Licentiate Flechilla, the man I
invited myself to dine with, when first I entered myself among the
sharping gang at Madrid before my imprisonment. This man taking it ill
that I had not gone to see him again, according to promise, happening to
talk with Don Diego, and knowing I had been his servant, told him how I
met him when I went to dine with him; and that but two days ago he had
seen me on horseback, and I informed him I was going to be married to a
great fortune. This was enough for Don Diego, who returning home
immediately, met with the two gentlemen I had made myself so familiar
with, gave them an account of the whole affair, and desired them to be
ready at night to give me a good thrashing in his street, where he would
contrive I should be, and they might know me by his cloak, which he
would take care I should have on. They agreed, saw me presently in the
street, and all of them carried it so fair at that time, that I never
thought myself so secure of their friendship as then. We continued
talking together how to divert ourselves at night, till towards the
close of the evening the two gentlemen took their leave, and went down
the street. Don Diego and I being left by ourselves, turned towards the
church of St. Philip. When we came to the next turning, Don Diego said
to me, "Let me beg the favour of you, Don Philip, to change cloaks with
me, for I have occasion to go this way, and would not be known." "With
all my heart," answered I. I took his cloak very innocently, and gave
him mine in an unhappy hour, offering to go along and stand by him if
need were; but he having projected to stand by me to break my bones,
replied, "He was obliged to go alone, and therefore desired me to leave
him."

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

No sooner had I parted from him, but the devil contrived that two who
were lying in wait there to give him a thrashing on account of a wench,
thinking, by the cloak, that I was Don Diego, fell a-cudgelling me as
thick as hail; I cried out, and by my voice and face they discovered I
was the wrong man, at which they ran away, and I was left with my
beating, which raised three or four big lumps on my head. I had to make
a halt, not daring to go into my mistress's street a while for fear. At
last about twelve, which was the time when I talked with her, I came up
to the door where one of Don Diego's friends that waited for me, being
ready with a good cudgel, gave me two blows across the shins, which laid
me flat on the ground; as soon as I was down, the other played his part,
giving me a slash across the face from ear to ear. They then took away
my cloak, and left me on the ground, saying, "This is the reward of
false, deceitful, base-born scoundrels." I cried out for help, not
knowing to whom I was beholden for that usage, though, by what they said
at parting, I guessed it might perhaps be the landlord I had cheated,
with the contrivance of being taken up by the Inquisition, or the gaoler
I had so long imposed upon, or my companions who had fled; for, to say
the truth, I expected that cut from so many places, that I could not be
positive from whom it might come. Don Diego was the person I least
suspected, and I was farthest from the mark; but still cried out,
"Thieves! Thieves!" which at length brought the watch, who took me up,
and spying a gash a foot long on my face, and that I had no cloak, nor
could tell how that misfortune came, they carried me away to a surgeon's
house, where I was dressed; then they asked where I lived, and thither
they conducted me. I went to bed and lay all night awake, full of
remorse and confusion; my face being cut in two, my body bruised, and my
legs so crippled with the cudgelling, that I could not stand nor had
scarce any feeling in them. In fine, I was wounded, robbed, and in such
a condition, that I could neither follow my friends, nor proceed with my
marriage, nor stay in Madrid, nor get away.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. VIII.

_Of my Cure, and other Strange Things._


[Illustration]

The next morning, by break of day, the lady of the house appeared at my
bed's head. She was a good sort of old woman, at the years of
discretion, past fifty-five, a great pair of beads in her hand, a face
like a dried apple, or a walnut shell, it was so full of furrows. She
had a great name in the neighbourhood, and so she lay in bed till noon
when she pleased, and with as many as pleased. She promoted pleasure and
contrived delight; her name was one La Guia; her trade to let lodgings
at home, and hire others abroad. Her house was never without lodgers all
the year round. It was pleasant to see how she instructed a young girl
in veiling herself, teaching her what parts of her face she must be sure
to expose to sight. If she had good teeth, she advised her to be always
a-laughing, though it were at a visit of condolence; if she had fine
hands, she taught her to be always playing with them; if fair hair, to
have some loose locks peeping out under the veil; if good eyes, to be
continually ogling; and if sparkling small ones, to shut and then open
them wide, and be sure to look up. As for washes, and other cosmetics
for the skin, she would make an Ethiopian as fair of complexion as a
Dane; so that many women came to her, and went home so altered, that
their own husbands did not know them; but her greatest art consisted in
mending virgins, and making up damsels. All this I saw performed by the
time I had been but eight days in the house; and to complete all, she
directed the women how to pick pockets, and taught them what pretty
expressions they should use. She showed them how they should wheedle a
jewel out of a man; young girls were to do it by way of pleasantry and
jest, ripe maids as a due, and old women as a piece of respect and
obligation. She put them in the way how to beg money, and how to draw
rings and other trinkets. Upon occasion, she quoted some famous ones of
her own profession at Alcalá, at Burgos, and in other parts of Spain
where any had gained renown in this art of cullying. I have given this
account of her that I may be pitied, considering into what hands I was
fallen; and the words she said to me may be the more taken notice of.
She was always very fond of proverbs, and began her speech after this
manner: "'Where you take and not put, you soon reach the bottom'; 'As
you sow, so will you reap'; 'As the wedding so the cake.' My son, Don
Philip, to deal plainly, I do not understand you, nor can I conceive how
you live. You are young, and it is no wonder you should be somewhat
wild, without considering, that even whilst we sleep, we are travelling
to our end. I, who have now one foot in the grave, have the privilege to
tell you so much. It is very odd I should be told that you spent much
money, and nobody knows how; and that you have, since you came to town,
sometimes appeared like a scholar, sometimes a sharper, and sometimes
like a gentleman. All this comes of keeping company; for, my son, 'tell
me where you herd, and I'll tell you what you are'; and 'birds of a
feather flock together'; and 'many a good bit is lost between the lip
and the dish.' Go, you fool; if you had a hankering after women, did not
you know that I had always a good stock of that commodity by me, and
that I live by that trade? I breed them up to hand, and fit them for
that business, and then I have them ready at my beck. What occasion have
you to be drawn away by one scoundrel to-day, and by another rascal
to-morrow; picking up a dirty drab here, and a pickled jade there, who
fleece you to keep another? I vow and swear you had saved many a crown
if you had applied yourself to me, for I am not over fond of money. By
my father's soul, and as I hope for mercy, I would not have asked you
now for what is due for lodging, but that I want it for some private
uses, and to buy some little candles and herbs." She had her gallipots,
though she was neither surgeon or apothecary, and if anybody greased her
she anointed herself, and flew out with the smoke.[20]

I perceived that all her discourse and long speech ended in a dun; for
though that was her text, she did not begin with it as others do, but
made it her conclusion; when I found that I was not at all to seek for
the occasion of her loving visit, which was the first she made me whilst
I lodged in her house, excepting only one day, when she came to answer
for herself, because she heard I had been told some story about her
witchcraft, and that when the officers came to seize her, she had cast
such a mist before their eyes, that they could neither find the house
nor the street. She came then to tell me it was all a mistake, for they
meant another of her name; and no wonder, for there were more of the
name and profession. I paid her down the money, and as I was telling it
out, ill fortune, which always attends me, and the devil, who never
forgets to plague me, so ordered it, that the officers came to seize
her for a scandalous liver, and had information that her gallant was in
the house. They came directly into my room, and seeing me in bed and her
by me, they laid hold of us both, gave me half a score good blows, and
dragged me out of bed. Two others held her fast, saluting her with the
titles of bawd and witch. Who would have thought it of a woman that
lived as I have said? The noise the constables made, and my cries, gave
the alarm to her gallant, who was a fruiterer, and lay in the next room
within. He set off a-running. They observing it, and being informed by
another lodger in the house that I was not the man, scoured after, and
laid hold of him, leaving me well beaten and my hair torn off; yet for
all I had endured, I could not forbear laughing to hear how the dogs
complimented the old woman. One cried, "How gracefully you will look in
a cart, mother; by my troth, it will be a great satisfaction to me to
see a thousand or two of rotten oranges and turnip tops fly after you."
Another said, "We have taken care that you shall make a good show, and
be well attended." At last they caught her bully, bound them both,
begged my pardon, and left me to myself.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

It was some comfort to me to see my good landlady in the way to
preferment, so that all my care was to be in a readiness that I might
throw one rotten orange at her; though considering what a maid of hers,
who was left behind, told me, I much doubted whether ever they could
secure her in prison, for she talked of flying, and some other matters I
did not at all like. I lay eight days in the house under the surgeon's
hands, and was scarce able to go abroad at the end of them, for they
were fain to stitch up my face, and I could not go without crutches. By
this time my money was spent, for the hundred reals all went in lodging,
diet, and cure; so that to avoid further expenses, when my treasure was
gone, I resolved to go abroad upon crutches, and sell my linen and
clothes, which were very good. I did so and with part of the money
bought an old leather jerkin, a canvas waistcoat, a patched beggar's
great coat down to my ankles, spatter-dashes on my legs, and great
clouted shoes, the hood of the great coat on my head, a large brass
crucifix about my neck, and a pair of beads in my hand. A mumper, who
was a master at his trade, taught me the doleful tone and proper
phrases for begging, so I began immediately to practise it about the
streets. Sixty reals I had left I sewed up in my doublet, and so set up
for a beggar, much confiding in my cant. I went about the streets for a
whole week, howling in a dismal tone, and repeating my lesson after this
manner: "Good Christian servants of the Lord, take pity on a poor
distressed, miserable, wounded, and maimed creature, that has no comfort
of his life." This was my working day note, but on Sundays and holidays
I altered my voice, and said, "Good charitable people, for the exalted
Princess, Queen of the Angels, Mother of God, give an alms to the poor
cripple whom the Lord has visited." Then I stopped a little, which does
good service, and went on again: "See my poor limbs were blasted,
unhappy wretch that I am, as I was working in a vineyard; I lost the use
of all my precious limbs; for I was as strong and as sound as any of you
are, the Lord be for ever praised, and preserve your health and limbs."
Thus the farthings came tumbling in by shoals; I got abundance of money,
and was in a way of getting much more, had I not been thwarted by an
ill-looking lusty young fellow, lame of both arms and with but one leg,
who plied my own walks in a wheelbarrow, and picked up more pence than I
did, though he begged not half so genteelly; for he had a hoarse voice,
which ended in a squeak, and said, "Faithful servants of Jesus Christ,
behold how the Lord hath afflicted me for my sins; give one farthing to
the poor, God will reward you," and then he added, "for the sweet Jesu's
sake." This brought him a mighty revenue, and I observed it, and for the
future I cut off the _s_, and said only _Jesu_, because I perceived it
moved to greater devotion. In short, I altered my phrases as occasion
served, and there was no end of my gettings. I had both my legs bound up
in a leather bag, and lay in a surgeon's porch, with a beggar that plied
at the corner of a street, one of the arrantest knaves that ever God put
life into. He was very rich, and as it were our superior, and earned as
much as all of us. His belly hung out in a bunch; besides, he bound one
arm tight with a rope above the shoulder, which made his hand look as if
it were lame, swoln, and had an inflammation. He lay flat on his back,
with all the rupture naked, which was as big as his head, and cried,
"Behold my misery, see how the Lord chastises his servants." If a woman
happened to pass by, "Sweet, beautiful lady, the Lord bless your dear
soul." Most of them would give him an alms for calling them handsome,
and would make that their way to their visits, though it were not their
road. If any ragged soldier came by, he called him "Noble Captain;" if
any other sort of man, "Good worthy gentleman;" if he saw anybody in a
coach, "Right Honourable Lord;" and if a clergyman on a mule, "Most
Reverend Archdeacon." In short, he was a most intolerable flatterer, and
had particular ways of begging on holidays. I contracted such intimacy
with him that he acquainted me with a secret, which in a few days made
us rich; and it was, that he kept three little boys, who begged about
the streets, stole everything that came in their way, which they brought
to him, and he was the receiver; besides, he had two small children that
learned to pick pockets, and he went halves with them. Being so well
instructed by such an able master, I took to the same courses, and he
provided me with fit instruments for my purpose. In less than a month's
time I had got above forty crowns clear of expenses, and at last,
designing that we should go away together, he disclosed to me the
greatest secret and cunningest design that ever beggar had in his head,
which we both joined in; and it was, that between us we every day stole
four or five children, which being cried, we presently appeared,
inquired what marks they had to be known by, and said, "Good God, Sir, I
found this child at such a time, and had I not come as I did, a cart had
run over it, but I have taken care of it." They readily paid us the
reward, and it throve so well, that I got above fifty crowns more, and
by this time my legs were well, though I still wore them wrapped in
clouts. I resolved to leave Madrid and go away to Toledo, where I knew
nobody and nobody knew me. Having taken this resolution, I bought an old
suit of grey clothes, a sword and bands, took leave of Valcazar, the
beggar I last mentioned, and went about the inns to find some way to go
to Toledo.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. IX.

_In which I turn Player, Poet, and Gallant of Nuns; which Characters are
Daintily Painted._


[Illustration]

At a certain inn I met with a company of strolling players, who were
going to Toledo, and had three carts with them. It pleased God that
among the gang I found one who had been my fellow-student at Alcalá, who
had played the wag, and was turned actor. I told him what a mind I had
to go to Toledo, and he scarce knew me for the scar across my face, and
he could not forbear crossing himself at the sign of my cross.[21] In
conclusion, for a small spill of money, he was so much my friend as to
prevail with the rest to let me go with them. We were a scratch lot,
men and women together, and I was mightily taken with one of the crew,
who was the chief dancer, and acted the queen and other great parts in
plays, for she was a notable jilt. Her husband happened to sit next to
me, and not thinking to whom I spoke, but following my inclination, I
asked him, "How could a man do to have a little talk with this woman,
that I might spend twenty crowns upon her, for I have a great liking to
her?" "It does not become me to answer your question, as I am her
husband," replied the man, "nor is it fit I should talk of any such
thing; but to speak without feeling, for I have none, she deserves to
have any money spent upon her, for there is not a more dainty bit of
flesh upon the earth, nor such a playsome wench." This said, he leaped
out of the cart, and got into another, in all likelihood that I might
have an opportunity of making my addresses to her. I was pleased with
the man's answer, and perceived it may be said of such men, that they
had wives as if they had none. I laid hold of the opportunity; she asked
me whither I was going, and some questions concerning my life and
circumstances; and in conclusion, after much talk, postponed the affair
to Toledo.

We diverted ourselves by the way as best we could, and I happened to act
a piece out of a play of San Alejo that I had borne a part in when I was
a boy, which I did so well, that they took a liking to me, and learning
of my friend, who was in the company, of all my misfortunes and hard
circumstances which I had made him acquainted with, she asked me whether
I would make one among them? They so highly extolled their strolling
course of life, and I was then in such want of some support, and so fond
of the wench, that I agreed with the manager for two years. Writings
were signed between us to oblige me to stay with them, so they gave me
my allowance, and allotted my parts, and thus we came to Toledo. They
gave me two or three prologues to get by heart, and some other grave
parts, which suited well with my voice. I applied myself to it, and
spoke the first prologue in the town, which was about a ship in
distress, as they all are, and wanting provisions, which put into that
port. I called the folks a "Senate," begging their attentions, pardon
for all faults, and so went off. There was great clapping of hands, and
in fine I was liked on the stage. We acted a play, written by one of
our actors, and I wondered how they should come to be poets, for I
thought it belonged only to very learned and ingenious men, and not to
persons so extremely ignorant. But it is now come to such a pass that
every head of them writes plays, and every actor makes drolls and
farces; though formerly I remember no plays would go down but such as
were written by the good Lope de Vega and Doctor Ramon. In short, the
play was acted the first day, and no soul could make anything of it. The
second day we began it again, and as God would have it, there was some
warlike exploit to begin with; and I came upon the stage in armour, and
with a target on my arm, which was a great mercy, or else I had
infallibly been pelted to death with cabbage-stalks and pumpkins, and
all things that came to hand. Such a storm of hail was never seen, and
the play deserved it, for it represented a king of Normandy in a
hermit's habit, without any sense or reason, had two scoundrel footmen
to make sport, and when they came to unravel the plot, there was nothing
but marrying of all the company, and there was an end; so that, to say
the truth, we got but what we deserved. We all fell foul of our
companion, the pretended poet, and I bade him consider what a danger we
had escaped, and take warning by it; he answered, he had not made one
word of the play, but only picked up bits and scraps, some from one and
some from another, as they came in his way, which he had jumbled
together, like a beggar's cloak made of all sorts of rags; and the ill
luck was, that it had not been neatly joined. He owned, that all the
players who wrote plays, were obliged to make restitution, because they
only stole from all the parts they acted, which was easily done, and
they were willing to run all hazards in hopes of getting ten or twenty
crowns. Besides that, going about all the country, and being shown plays
by several persons, they borrowed them to read, and then stole them, to
which, when they had done, they only added some scurvy part, and left
out another better, and so they called it their own; protesting that no
player ever knew how to write a scene any other way.

I liked the contrivance and took a great fancy to try it myself, as
having some small turn for poetry, and being somewhat versed in poets,
for I had read Garcilaso, and others, and so I resolved to fall into
that trade; so that with this, and my actress, and my own playing, I
made a shift to live. By that time we had been a month at Toledo, acting
several new plays, and endeavouring to retrieve our first failure, and
they had come to call me little Alonso, for I had given out that my name
was Alonso, to which the generality added the title of the Cruel,
because I had acted a part of that nature, to the great liking of the
pit and upper galleries. I had now got several new suits of clothes, and
there were some heads of other strollers who endeavoured to inveigle me
away from my company. I set up for a critic of comedy, commented on the
famous actors, reprehended the attitudes of Pinedo, gave my vote for
Sanchez's natural sedateness, called Morales pretty good, so that my
advice was always taken in contriving the scenes and adorning the stage;
and if any play came to be offered, it was left to me to examine it.
Being encouraged by this applause, I made my maiden effort as a poet in
a little ballad, and then wrote a small farce, which was well approved
of. Next I ventured a play, and that it might not escape being a thing
divine, made it all of devotion, and full of the Blessed Virgin. It
began with music, had fine shows of souls in purgatory, and devils
appearing, as was the fashion then, with old gibberish when they
appeared, and strange shrieks when they vanished. The mob was mightily
pleased with my rhymes about Satan, and my long discourses about his
falling from Heaven, and such like. In short the play was acted, and
well liked. I had more business than I could turn my hands to, for all
sorts of lovers flocked to me, some would have songs on their mistress's
eyes, others on their foreheads, others on their white hands, and others
on their golden locks. There was a set price for everything; but I sold
cheap to draw the more custom, because there were other shops besides
mine. As for godly ballads, I supplied all the country clerks and
runners of monasteries; and the blind men were my best friends, for they
never allowed less than eighty reals, and I always took care they should
be bombastic, and stuffed with cramp words, which neither they nor I
understood. I brought up many new fashions in verse, as tailors do in
clothes, and was the first that concluded my songs like sermons, praying
for grace in this world and glory in the next.

Thus was I happy, with the wind blowing fair as I could wish, my
pockets full of money, highly in vogue, and in such a prosperous
condition that I aimed at being chief of a company of strollers. My
house was handsomely furnished, for the devil put into my head to buy
the old mouldy tapestry of taverns to hang my rooms at a cheap rate, all
which cost me about five or six crowns; for they afforded a better
prospect than any the king has, for being so ragged you might see
through any part of them, which you cannot do through any of his. The
oddest thing happened to me one day that ever was heard of, which I will
not forbear to make known, though it be to my shame. When I was writing
a play, I used to shut myself up at home in the garret, where I kept
close and dined. The maid used to bring up my dinner, and leave it
there; and it was my way to act all I wrote, and talk aloud, as if I had
been upon the stage. As the devil would have it, when the maid was
coming up the stairs, which were dark and steep, with the dish of meat
and plates in her hand, I was composing a scene of hunting a bear, and,
being wholly intent upon my play, cried out as loud as I could:

    "_Fly, fly, the bloody bear; take heed, I say,_
     _Alas, I'm killed, and you'll become its prey._"

The poor wench, who was a silly Galician, hearing me roar that I was
killed, and she in danger to become a prey to the bear, thought it had
been real matter of fact, and that I called to her to save herself. Upon
this conceit she took to her heels, and treading on her coats in the
confusion, tumbled down all the stairs. The soup was spilt, the plates
were broken, and she run out roaring into the street, "that a bear was
killing a man." I could not be so nimble but that all the neighbours
were about me, asking where the bear was? and I could scarce make them
believe me, though I told them it was the maid's foolish mistake, for I
was only acting a part of a play. I lost my dinner that day; my
companions were told of it, and all the town made sport with it. Many
such accidents befel me whilst I followed the trade of poetising, and
would not forsake that wicked course of life.

[Illustration]

It happened, as frequently does to that sort of people, that the chief
of our company, being known to have done very well at Toledo, was
arrested for some old debts and thrown into gaol, which broke up our
gang, and everyone went his own way. As for my part, though my comrades
would have introduced me into other companies, having no great
inclination to that calling, for I had followed it out of mere
necessity; I thought of nothing but taking my pleasure, being then well
dressed and in no want of money. I took my leave of them all, they went
their ways; and I, who had proposed to quit an ill course of life, by
desisting from being a stroller, to mend the matter, dropped out of the
frying-pan into the fire, for I fell into much worse. I became a
candidate for Antichrist; to speak plainly, I became a gallant of nuns.
The encouragement I had to commit this madness, was, that I understood
there was a nun, the goddess Venus herself, at whose request I had
written abundance of little devout pastorals; and she had taken some
liking to me on that account, and seeing me act Saint John the
Evangelist in a Sacramental play. The good lady made very much of me,
and told me there was nothing troubled her so much as my being a player;
for I had pretended to her that I was the son of a gentleman of quality,
and therefore she pitied me, and I at last resolved to send her the
following lines:

     "I have quitted the company of players, rather to comply with your
     desires, than because it was otherwise convenient for me so to do;
     but to me all the company in the world, without yours, is solitude.
     I shall now have the more opportunity of being yours, as being
     absolutely my own master. Let me know when I may have speech with
     you, and when I shall know when I may be happy, &c."

The runner carried the note, the good nun was wonderfully pleased to
hear of my change of life, and answered me as follows:--

     "I rather expect to be congratulated than to congratulate you on
     your good fortune; for my wishes and your prosperity are
     inseparable. You may be looked upon as recovered out of a desperate
     estate; it only remains that you persevere, as I shall do. I
     question whether there will be any liberty at the grate to-day; but
     do not fail to come at even-song, for there at least we shall see
     one another, and perhaps I may find means to put some trick upon
     the lady abbess.

Farewell."

I liked the note, for the woman was really witty, and very handsome.
After dinner I put on the best suit I used to act the gallant in on the
stage, went to church, pretended to pray, and then began to examine
every inch of the grating and veil before the choir, to see if I could
discover her. At length it pleased God I had the good fortune, or rather
the devil contrived me the ill luck, that I heard the old sign; I began
to cough, she answered--it was a cough of Barabbas. We followed each
other in the catarrh, and it seemed as if they had strewn pepper in the
church. At last, when I was quite weary of coughing, a wheezy old woman
appeared at the grate, and I discovered my mistake; for this is a very
uncertain sign in a convent, because, as it serves for a sign among
young ones, it is habitual with old ones, and when a man thinks it a
call to catch a nightingale, he finds nothing but an owl. I stayed a
long time in the church, till even-song began, which I heard out, for
the admirers of nuns have this madness, besides all the rest, that they
must play the hypocrite and pray against their will; besides that, they
never go beyond the eve, being ever in expectation, but the day of
enjoyment never comes. I never failed being at even-song, and stretched
out my neck a handful longer than it was, to endeavour to see into the
choir. The sacristan and clerk were my constant companions, and I was
well received by the vicar, who was a pleasant man, and walked as stiff
and upright as if a spit had been run through him. I went by times to
take my place in a court the nuns' windows looked into, where it was
comical to see the strange postures of others, as mad pretenders as
myself. One gazed without ever so much as winking; another stood with
one hand on his sword, and his beads on the other, like a statue upon a
tomb; another with his arms stretched out as if he were flying; some
gaping, as if they would have had their hearts fly out at their mouths;
some leaning against the walls, as if they had come to support them;
some walking as if to be bought for their pacing, like horses; and
others with _billets doux_ in their hands, like falconers, to bring the
hawk to the lure. The jealous lovers were in another band; some smiling,
and gazing up at their mistresses; others reading verses, and showing
them; one, pacing the terrace with a damsel in hand out of pique;
another, talking to a suborned servant-maid, who was giving him a
letter. All this was below where we were, but above the place for the
nuns was a little old tower, all full of cracks, chinks, and peeping
holes, where appeared nothing but a confusion--here a hand, there a
foot, in another place a head, in another a handkerchief, a glove, or
the like; some walked, others coughed, and so everyone had her
particular way. In summer it is pleasant enough to see the men so
parched and the women so cool. In winter some of us stay so long in the
wet that we are mouldy, and the moss grows upon us; neither snow nor
rain can drive us away; and all this is only to see a woman through a
grate and a glass, like some holy relic, or curious piece of
workmanship, for that is all we can ever expect. It is just like falling
in love with a blackbird in a cage, if ever she talks; or with a fine
picture, if she does not. The greatest favour ever to be attained is to
touch the ends of the fingers. They lean their heads against the double
grates, and shoot volleys of fine conceits through those loopholes. 'Tis
perfect love at hide and seek, and yet for this we study to talk fine
and whisper, must endure every old woman that chides, every doorkeeper
that commands, and every one at the wheel that gives what answer she
pleases.

I had followed this cursed employment so long that I was well looked
upon by the lady abbess, civilly treated by the good priest, and a
familiar with the clerk, for we hid our folly from them; and this is all
the happiness such madmen can aspire to. I began to be weary of the
doorkeeper's turning me away, and of the nuns begging, and methought how
dear I endeavoured to purchase a place in hell, which others have at so
easy a rate, and that I even anticipated to take share of it in this
world by such extravagant means. It was plain that I rode post to
perdition, and threw away my soul only for a few looks. When I talked to
her, for fear of being overheard by the rest, I used to thrust my head
so close to the grate, that the print of it would not come out in two
days, and at the same time spoke so low that she could not understand
one word without a trumpet at her ear. Everybody that saw me, cried, "A
curse on thee, thou wicked, nun-hunting dog!" besides many other worse
compliments. All these things brought me to my senses, and I resolved to
quit my nun, even though it cost me my living; and this I determined to
do on St. John's Day. I had come to know what nuns were. I need not tell
you, Sir, how the she-votaries of St. John get themselves hoarse of
spite, so that, instead of chanting the mass, they groan it; nor do they
wash their faces, but don their old garments. I got off her the value of
fifty crowns of her work, in silk stockings, rich purses, and
sweetmeats, pretending to have them raffled for; but as soon as I had
them in possession, I set out for Seville to try my fortune there, as
the greater city. The pious reader may guess how much the nun was
concerned, not for me, but what I cheated her of.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



CHAP. X.

_Of what happened to me at Seville, till I took Ship for the Indies._


I had a good journey from Toledo to Seville, for I was sharp at play,
had loaded dice, both high and low, and could palm a dice, hold four,
and throw out three; besides, I had false cards, and knew how to pack
any, and turn up what I pleased, and abundance of other fine arts and
sleights of hand, which I pass by as tedious, and for fear they might
rather serve to teach others evil practices, than for warnings of what
they are to shun; but perhaps some few words of advice may be of use to
such as are not skilled in those practices; and they who read my book,
if they are cheated, may thank themselves. Never think yourself safe
because you find the cards, for they will change them upon you whilst a
candle is snuffing. Take care they make no scratches or other marks on
the cards; and if my reader is a poor vagabond, he must observe, that,
among that gang of rake-hells, they prick the cards they would know with
a pin, or handle them so as to leave a crease. If you happen to play
among a better sort of people, take heed of cards which are originally
falsified, and have private marks on the pasteboard. Never trust to a
clean card, nor think yourself safe with a foul one, for the cheat is
equal in both. Take heed the dealer never bends any cards more than
others, which is a certain way to pick your pocket; and observe that no
motions be made with the fingers, or no hints given by the first letters
of words. I will not let you farther into this secret; this is enough to
make you always stand upon your guard, for you may be assured I do not
tell the hundredth part of the cheats.

Being master of these arts, I got to Seville at my fellow-travellers'
expense, winning all the hire of the mules, my other charges, and money
to boot, of them and my landlords at the inns. I alighted at that they
call _The Moor_, where I was found out by one of my schoolfellows at
Alcalá, whose name was Mata, but he, thinking it did not make noise
enough, had changed it to Matorral. He dealt in men's lives, and sold
cuts and slashes, a trade which throve well with him; he carried the
sign of it on his face, where he had received his share. He always made
his bargain to a nicety for length and depth, when he was to bestow any,
and said, "No man is so absolute a master, as he who has been well
hacked and hewn himself." And he was in the right, for his face was one
seam, and himself all slashes. He told me, I must go sup with him and
his comrades, and they would bring me back to the inn. I went with him,
and when we were in his lodging, he said, "Come, spark, lay by your
cloak and look like a man, for this night you shall see all the brave
fellows in Seville; and that they may not look upon you as a cully,
tumble your band, thrust out your back, and let your cloak hang loose,
as if it were dropping off, for we hate to see any man's cloak set fast
upon his back. Screw your chops about, and make faces with both sides of
your mouth, then talk big, using the rough words of us gentry." I
learned his lesson, and he lent me a dagger, broad enough to have been
a scimitar, and for length it wanted nothing of a sword but the name.
Now drink off this quart of wine," said he, "for without you vapour you
will not look like a true bully." We had gone so far in my instructions,
and I was half seas over with what I had drank, when in came four of the
gang, with faces like old gout-shoes, bound about the middle like
monkeys with their cloaks instead of ropes, their hats standing a tiptoe
on their heads, and cocked up, as if the brims were nailed to the
crowns; a whole armourer's shop about them in swords and daggers, and
the points of them beating against their right heels; their eyes
staring, their whiskers turned up, and their beards like brushes. They
made their compliment with their mouths, and then, in a hoarse tone, and
clipping their words, saluted my companion in a gibberish, who answered
in like manner. They sat down, and spoke not one word to ask who I was,
but one of them looking at Matorral, and opening his mouth, thrust out
his under lip, by way of pointing at me. My introducer answered in the
same language, laying hold of his beard, and looking down; after which
they all got up, embraced, and expressed a great deal of kindness for
me. I returned the same compliments, which were like smelling to so many
hogsheads of wine. When it was supper time, in came a parcel of
strapping scoundrels to wait at table, whom the topping bullies call
under-spur-leathers. We all sat down together at table, and the first
thing they served up was a dish of pickles, which as soon as they had
tasted, they all fell to drinking to my honour, by way of welcome; and
till I saw them drink to it, I must confess I never knew I had any. Next
came fish and flesh, all of it high seasoned to promote drinking. There
was a great bowl full of wine, like a half tub, on the ground, and he
that was to pledge, lay all along to drink by wholesale. I was taken
with the contrivance, but by the time a few healths had gone about we
none of us knew one another. They fell to talk of warlike affairs, and
oaths flew as thick as hail. A matter of twenty or thirty persons were
cut out for destruction. The Mayor of the city was adjudged to be cut in
pieces; then they talked of the glorious memory of Domingo Tirynado and
Gayon, and poured out wine in quantity for the soul of Escamilla.[22]
Some that were maudlin wept bitterly, calling to mind the untimely end
of Alonzo Alvarez, one of their brethren, whose body was exposed on a
gibbet for the crows to feast on. By this time my companion's brains
were turned topsy-turvy, and laying hold of a loaf, and looking
earnestly on the candle, he said with a hoarse voice, "By this, which is
the face of God, and by that light which came out of the angel's mouth,
if you think fit, gentlemen, we will this very night maul the sergeant's
man that pursued our poor one-eyed friend." They all set up a dismal
cry, ratifying the proposal made by an oath after this manner: They drew
their daggers, laid their hands on the edge of the bowl, and lying along
with their chops to it, said, "As we drink this wine, so will we suck
the blood of every informing catchpole." "Who was this Alonzo Alvarez,"
said I, whose death is so much regretted?" "He was," answered one of
them, "a brave fighting lad, a man of spirit, full of mettle, and a good
companion. Let us go, for the devil begins to be strong in me." This
said, we all went out a catchpole-hunting. Being quite overcome with
wine, and all my reason drowned, I never reflected on the danger I was
running myself into. We came to the Strand, where we met the round,
which no sooner appeared, but our swords were drawn and we attacked
them. I did like the rest, and at the first charge we made way for the
filthy souls of two catchpoles to fly out of their bodies. The constable
took to his heels, and ran up the street, crying out for help. We could
not pursue, because he had too much the start, but took sanctuary in the
cathedral, where we were sheltered against justice, and slept as much as
was requisite to discharge the fumes of the wine we had drank. When we
came to our senses, I could not but wonder that two catchpoles should be
killed by, and a constable fly from, a parcel of mere hogsheads of wine,
for we were no better at that time. We fared well in our sanctuary, for
the gay nymphs of the town flocked to us, and spent all they had upon
us. A strapping jade, called La Grajales, took a fancy to me, and
clothed me from head to foot in her own colours. I liked this sort of
living better than any I had yet tried, and therefore resolved to stick
to my trusty Grajales till death. I learnt all the cant, and in a short
time was an absolute master among the ruffians. The officers of justice
took all possible care to search for us, and kept rounds about the
sanctuary; yet for all that we took our rambles after midnight in
disguise.

Perceiving that this was like to be a tedious business, and that ill
fate pursued me everywhere, though it made me never the wiser to take
warning for the future, tiring me out like a true obstinate sinner, I
therefore, with the advice of my doxy Grajales, resolved to go to the
Indies, taking her along with me, to try whether I could meet with
better fortune in another country. But it proved worse, for they never
mend their condition who only change places without mending life and
manners.

[Illustration]


FOOTNOTES:

 [1] From Mr. J. Y. Gibson's spirited translation of _El Viage del
 Parnaso_ (1883).

 [2] _Don Quixote_, Part i., chap. iii.

 [3] _i.e._, she was Jew.

 [4] _Cardinal_, a weal raised by a lash.

 [5] In allusion to the proverb--_á cada puerco viene su San
 Martin_--to every pig comes its Martinmas.

 [6] In allusion to the Shrove-tide sport of throwing at cocks.

 [7] _Era batalla nabal_, a play upon the word _nabal_, meaning
 "belonging to turnips (_nabos_)" as well as "naval."

 [8] No imaginary but a real personage, whose true name was Antonio
 Cabreriza.

 [9] The Morisco was called _dog_ by the Christians; and _cat_ (gato)
 was a cant word for thief.

 [10] There is a scene here which will not bear an English dress. The
 scholars stand around and spit at Pablo. There is no other humour of
 which the reader is deprived.

 [11] The famous secretary of Philip II., whose intrigues against Spain
 never ceased till his death in 1611.

 [12] Ostend was taken by the Spaniards under Espinola, on the 22nd
 September, 1604, after a siege which lasted more than three years.

 [13] A book so named, written by a famous master of the sword, Pacheco
 de Narvaez, was published at Madrid in 1600.

 [14] There was actually a famous fencing-master, a mulatto, Francisco
 Hernandez, of whom his rival, Narvaez, wrote slightingly. Probably
 they are both ridiculed in this passage.

 [15] Majalahonda is a village ten miles from Madrid, famous for the
 rudeness of its inhabitants and their speech. See _Don Quixote_, Part
 ii., chap. xix.

 [16] _Demandador_--one who begs for alms for the release of the souls
 of the poor from purgatory, elsewhere called facetiously _animero_.

 [17] In the original _que era un Conde de Irlos_. The Conde de Irlos
 was one of the heroes of the ancient ballads. He was the Marquis de
 Carabas of Spanish legend.

 [18] Literally, "he who is nothing cannot be a son of something,"
 _i.e._, _hidalgo_--_hijo de algo_.

 [19] _Bosco_--Jerome Bosch, a Dutch painter who settled in Spain in
 the latter half of the Fifteenth century, famous for his eccentric
 works--the Spanish Callot.

 [20] Meaning that she pretended to practise witchcraft, like others of
 her calling.

 [21] _Signum crucis_--slang for a sword-cut across the face.

 [22] Noted bravoes of the period.

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

fufil=> fulfill {pg ix}

appearence=> appearance {pg x}

Je suis ne le 5 Mars=> Je suis né le 5 Mars {pg xiv}

c'etait=> c'était {pg xiv}

d'etudes=> d'études {pg xiv}

etait=> était {pg xiv}

ecrits=> écrits {pg xiv}

They began to hauk=> They began to hawk {pg 42}

crying out amain=> crying out again {pg 49}

us usual=> as usual {pg 102}

my neice=> my niece {pg 197}





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