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but had held his tongue, and now hoped it would be a lesson to people not to listen to everybody who could talk, especially to the neglect of St Antonio's monastery. As to the people themselves, they thought variously. Most of them were mortified at having been cheated ; and some swore they never would be cheated again, let appearances be what they might. Others thought that this was a resolution somewhat equivocal, and more convenient than happy. For our parts, we think the last were right, and this reminds us of a true English story, more good than striking, which we heard a short while ago from a friend. He knew a man of rugged manners, but good heart (not that the two things, as a lover of parenthesis will say, are at all bound to go together), who had a wife somewhat given to debating with hackney-coachmen, and disputing acts of settlement respecting half-miles, and quarter-miles, and abominable additional sixpences. The good housewife was lingering at the door, and exclaiming against one of these monstrous charioteers, whose hoarse low voice was heard at intervals, full of lying protestations and bad weather, when the husband called out from a back-room, “Never mind there, never mind! Let her be cheated ; let her be cheated."

This is a digression; but it is as well to introduce it, in order to take away a certain bitterness out of the mouth of the other's moral.


We now come to a very unromantic set of rogues—the Spanish ones. In a poetical sense at least, they are unromantic ; though doubtless the mountains of Spain have seen as picturesque vagabonds in their time as any. There are the robbers in “ Gil Blas," who have at least a very respectable cavern, and loads of polite superfluities. Who can forget the lofty-named Captain Rolando, with his sturdy height and his whiskers, showing with a lifted torch his treasure to the timid stripling, Gil Blas? The most illustrious theft in Spanish story is one recorded of no less a person than the fine old national hero, the Cid. As the sufferers were Jews, it might be thought that his conscience would not have hurt him in those days; but “My Cid” was a kind of early soldier in behalf of sentiment, and, though he went to work roughly, he meant nobly and kindly. “God knows," said he, on the present occasion, “I do this thing more of necessity than of wilfulness ; but by God's help I shall redeem all.” The case was this. The Cid, who was too good a subject to please his master the king, had quarrelled with him, or rather had been banished ; and nobody was to give him house-room or food.

A number of friends, however, followed him ; and, by the help of his nephew Martin Antolinez, he proposed to raise some money. Martin accordingly negotiated the business with a couple of rich Jews, who, for a deposit of two chests full of spoil, which they were not to open for a year, on account of political circumstances, agreed to advance six hundred marks. “Well, then,” said Martin Antolinez, “ye see that the night is advancing; the Cid is in haste; give us the marks.” 66 This is not the way of business," said they ; we must take first, and then give.” Martin accordingly goes with them to the Cid, who in the meantime has filled a couple of heavy chests with sand. The Cid smiled as they kissed his hand, and said, “Ye see I am going out of the land because of the king's displeasure ; but I shall leave something with ye.” The Jews made a suitable answer, and were then desired to take the chests ; but, though strong men, they could not raise them from the ground. This put them in such spirits that, after telling out the six hundred marks (which Don Martin took without weighing), they offered the Cid a present of a fine red skin ; and upon Don Martin's suggesting that he thought his own services in the business merited a pair of hose, they consulted a minute with each other, in order to do everything judiciously; and then gave him money enough to buy, not

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only the hose, but a rich doublet and good cloak into the bargain.*

The regular sharping rogues, however, that abound in Spanish books of adventure, have one species of romance about them, of a very peculiar nature. It may be called, we fear, as far as Spain is concerned, a romance of real life.” We allude to the absolute want and hunger which is so often the original of their sin. A vein of this craving nature runs throughout most of the Spanish novels. In other countries, theft is generally represented as the result of an abuse of plenty, or some other kind of profligacy, or absolute ruin. But it seems to be an understood thing, that to be poor in Spain is to be in want of the commonest necessaries of life. If a poor man here and there happens not to be in so destitute a state as the rest, he thinks himself bound to maintain the popular character for an appetite ; and manifests the most prodigious sense of punctuality and anticipation in all matters relating to meals. Who ever thinks of Sancho, and does not think of ten minutes before luncheon ? Don Quixote on the other hand counts it ungenteel and undignified to be hungry. The cheat who flatters Gil Blas reckons himself entitled to be insultingly triumphant, merely because he has got a dinner out of him.

Of all these ingenious children of necessity, whose roguery has been sharpened by perpetual want, no wit was surely ever kept at so subtle and fierce an edge as that of the never-to-bedecently-treated Lazarillo de Tormes. If we had not been at a sort of monastic school, and known the beatitude of dry bread and a draught of spring-water, his history would seem to inform us, for the first time, what true hunger was. ning so truly keeps pace with it, that he seems recompensed for the wants of his stomach by the abundant energies of his head. One-half of his imagination is made up of dry bread and scraps, and the other of meditating how to get at them. Every thought of his mind, and every feeling of his affection, coalesces, and tends to one point, with a ventripetal force. It was said of a contriving lady, that she took her very tea by stratagem. Lazarillo is not so lucky. It is enough for him if, by a train of the most ingenious contrivances, he can lay successful siege to a crust. To rout some broken victuals,--to circumvent an onion or so extraordinary,—is the utmost aim of his ambition. An oxfoot is his beau-ideal. He has as intense and circuitous a sense of a piece of cheese as a mouse at a trap. He swallows surreptitious crums with as much zest as a young servant-girl does a plate of preserves. But to his story. He first serves a blind beggar, with whom he lives miserably, except when he commits thefts which subject him to miserable beatings. He next lives with a priest, and finds his condition worse. His third era of esuriency takes place in the house of a Spanish gentleman ; and here he is worse off than ever. The reader wonders, as he himself did, how he can possibly ascend to this climax of starvation. To overreach a blind beggar might be thought easy. The reader will judge by a specimen or two. The old fellow used to keep his mug of liquor between his legs, that Lazarillo might not touch it without his knowledge. He did, however ; and the beggar, discovering it, took to holding the mug in future by the handle. Lazarillo then contrives to suck some of the liquor off with a reed ; till the beggar defeats this contrivance by keeping one hand upon the vessel's mouth. His antagonist, upon this, makes a hole near the bottom of the mug, filling it up with wax, and so tapping the can, with as much gentleness as possible, whenever his thirst makes him bold.

His cun

* See Mr Southey's excellent compilation entitled, “The Chronicle of the Cid," Book III. sec. 21. The version at the end of the book, attributed to Mr Hookham Frere, of a passage out of the “Poema del Cid,” is the most native and terse bit of translation we ever met with. It rides along, like the Cid himself on horseback, with an infinite mixture of ardour and self-possession ; bending, when it chooses, with grace, or bearing down everything with mastery.

This stratagem threw the blind man into despair. He “used to swear and domineer," and wish both the pot and its contents at the devil. The following account of the result is a specimen of the English translation of the work, which is done with great tact and spirit,




we know not by whom. But it is worthy of De Foe. Lazarillo is supposed to tell his adventures himself. “You won't accuse me any more, I hope, cried I, of drinking your wine,* after all the fine precautions you have taken to prevent it.' To that he said not a word; but, feeling all about the pot, he at last unluckily discovered the hole, which dissembling at that time, he let me alone till next day at dinner. Not dreaming, my reader must know, of the old man's malicious stratagem, but getting in between his legs, according to my wonted custom, and receiving into my mouth the distilling dew, and pleasing myself with the success of my own ingenuity, my eyes upward, but half shut, the furious tyrant, taking up the sweet, but hard pot, with both his hands flung it down again with all his force upon my face; with the violence of which blow, imagining the house had fallen upon my head, I lay sprawling without any sentiment or judg. ment; my forehead, nose, and mouth, gushing out of blood, and the latter full of broken teeth, and broken pieces of the can. From that time forward, I ever abominated the monstrous old churl, and, in spite of all his flattering stories, could easily observe how my punishment tickled the old rogue's fancy. He washed my sores with wine ; and with a smile, “What say'st thou,' quoth he, ‘Lazarillo ? the thing that hurt thee, now restores thee to health. Courage, my boy!' But all his raillery could not make me change my mind.”

At another time, a countryman giving them a cluster of grapes, the old man, says Lazarillo, “would needs that opportunity to show me a little kindness, after he had been chiding and beating me the whole day before. So setting ourselves down by a hedge, ‘Come hither, Lazarillo,' quoth he,

and let us enjoy ourselves a little, and eat these raisins together ; which that we may share like brothers, do you take but one at a time, and be sure not to cheat me, and I promise you,


my part, I shall take no more.' That I readily agreed to, and so we


* The reader is to understand a common southern wine, more like a washy cider than anything else.

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