페이지 이미지

and embarks on the ocean of the world to seek his fortunes. Some calm seas he meets with, and many tempests. He commences life as a stable boy, turns beggar and porter, thief and man of fashion; enlists as a soldier, goes into Italy, becomes valet to a Cardinal, and pander to a French ambassador. He next returns to Spain, sets up as a merchant, marries, cheats his creditors, and becomes bankrupt; determines to take holy orders, and enters himself as a student at the University of Alcala. Here he fags hard, until he at length withdraws his eyes from divinity to spell love in the fair face of an innkeeper's daughter, whom he marries. He gives up the idea of turning churchman; figures away at a great rate so long as his resources last; revisits his mother; is deserted by his wife; robs an old woman who had taken him into her service; is tried, and condemned to the gallies for life ; obtains his liberation for revealing a conspiracy of the slaves, and afterwards writes an account of his adventures. .

Guzman is not one of your every-day rogues, a common picker and stealer. There is as much difference between one of those vulgar knaves and our Guzmanillo, as there is between an ordinary highwayman and the gallant Du Val, that prince of all rogues without the realm of fiction, that abstracter of gentlemen's purses and filcher of ladies' hearts. An anecdote, related of Du Val, will shew the difference between the two last, and may perhaps amuse'our readers. This hero having arrested the carriage of a certain knight and his lady, who he knew were travelling with four hundred pounds in their possession, the lady, to show that she felt no apprehension, began to play a tune on her flageolet. Du Val very decorously waited until she had finished, and then, being himself an excellent musician, "say his memoirs,” he took a flageolet which hung by his side, and played a tune in return, and afterwards stepped up to the carriage and invited the lady to dance a coranto with him. So reasonable a request could not be refused; she descended, performed the dance, Du Val singing the tune; and was handed back by her partner to the carriage. He then reminded the knight that he had forgot to pay the music, whereupon the courteous knight presented him with a hundred pounds, which our hero politely accepted, telling him he would let him off the other three hundred which he had with him. But to return to our Spanish adventurer. He is a deep, recondite, Machiavellian rogue, who lays most profound and politic schemes to achieve a purse, or circumvent a trinket. He has as many plans and maneuvres, marches and countermarches, about his petty exploits, as a skilful general in conquering a country; and his relation of them is proportionably extended. Then he has so many reflections, soliloquies, and arguments, during their pro

gress, that an account of two or three of his affairs would make a serious encroachment upon one of our numbers. Of one of his knavish tricks only, shall we venture to give a partial account.

Guzman arrives at Milan, where his servant Sayavedra meets with an old acquaintance named Aguilera. This person is in the service of a rich merchant, of the nature and situation of whose wealth he gives a full description to Guzman : and dwells with particular admiration-in which our adventurer most cordially participates—upon a " delicate dapple-grey cat, crammed full with crowns, in good, dainty, brave ruddocks, all good double pistolets, some pieces of two, some of four, not one single one amongst them.” This same cat was kept quiet and warm, in a certain cabinet which the merchant had in his shop. Guzman being made fully acquainted with all necessary particulars, forms a plan to cheat the merchant, which is equally to be admired for its impudence and ingenuity. He first applies to the merchant, informs him he is a stranger-has three thousand ducats, and wishes to deposit them with him, as a person of whose honour and worthiness he had been well certified. The merchant is mightily well pleased at the prospect of having the custody of this treasure, of which he promises to take especial care. Guzman then proceeds in his narrative, as follows:

« Aguilera had brought me that his shop book of accounts, according as I had appointed him. I turned to one of the leaves towards the latter end of the book, where I found some memorials booked eight days before, and in a void place, or blank, where nothing was written, I set down this that followeth : Left with me by Don Juan Ossorio, three thousand crowns in gold, some being pieces of ten, but most of them, of two, and of four. Over and above, he likewise left with me two thousand royals, in good royals of plate. Afterwards I drew a line upon what I had written, to shew that the book was crossed ; and wrote in a different letter on the margin, Lleuolos, lleuolos; which is as much to say, All this money is mine. Afterwards I shut to the book, and gave it him again, and together with it ten doubloons of ten; willing him, that when he opened the cabinet, he should take a hundred other out of the cat, and put those in their room. I likewise gave him two billets; whereof the one said, These three thousand crowns belong to Don Juan Ossorio; and the other said, Here are two thousand rovals in plate, whose true owner is Don Juan Ossorio. I did moreover advise him, that if there were any other bill, or note, in the bag, he should take it forth, and leave mine only there. And that of the two thousand royals, he should clap it into another great bag, wherein Aguilera had already told me, there were some seventeen thousand more, or thereabouts, for he could not know the just number in regard they did daily put in other fresh monies amongst them. And that he should withal remember, that this great bag of silver lay in a great chest next unto his cabinet, and that the bag was marked with a great spot of ink near unto the mouth of it. With these instructions, Aguilera went his way, having taken order with him, that he should that night without fail put every thing in its right place, according as I had given him direction. The day following, as soon as I had dined, I walked leisurely along to the merchant's shop, with my man at my heels, as if I had known no such matter, dissembling the business very handsomely. When I was come thither, and that his eye was upon me, as soon as he saw me, he was wondrous glad; thinking I had brought that with me, which I meant to demand of him. We did agree both in one, in respect of the purpose that we had to deceive each other; but my plot was another kind of gambol than he was aware of. We had both one end, but the means were divers. Now, when we had saluted one another, I said unto him,- To-morrow, Sir, shall I send this my servant unto you with a bag, and a ticket with it, desiring you that you will be pleased to give a quick dispatch, and to send him back unto me as soon as you can, because I shall have occasion to use his service. My poor silly merchant, whose mind was more bent, how he should outstrip me by his cunning, than fearful that I should go beyond him, and prove in the end the craftier knave of the two, thought that my meaning was, that the money should be brought him the next morning; and so said unto me, Sir, your desire shall be fulfilled : you shall have it whensoever you please to send for it.

"With that, I got me out of doors, and had scarce gone twenty paces, but I returned back again, and said unto him,-Sir, since I went from hence, I have better bethought myself, and have present occasion to use this money, and therefore (I pray) let me have it. The man's colour began to change, and seeming to be somewhat troubled, he said unto me,- What money, Sir, is that you would have of me? All, Sir, (said I) all, for I have occasion to use all of it. Whereunto he replied, — What all? What all, quoch I? All the gold and the silver. He answered me, What gold, what silver ? I told him, That silver and gold, Sir, which you have here of mine. I, any gold or silver of yours? No, Sir, (said he) I have no silver nor gold of yours, nor do I know what you mean. Sir, said I, (answering him somewhat roughly) do you make it so strange; think you I do not know what I speak? I am neither mad nor drunk; this is pretty fine dealing indeed; this trick will not serve your turn. Nor yours neither, Sir, said he; methinks yours is the prettier of the two, in demanding that of me, which you never gave me; nor have I any thing of yours. No, Sir, (quoth I) Take heed what you say. Let me wish you to be a little better advised. Leave off your jesting, and come to earnest, for I can assure you this is no jesting matter; I must not be so answered, nor do I take it well at your hands. Very good, Sir, (said he) very good i faith: it is you, Sir, that are disposed to jest, and to make yourself merry with me. No more, (good Sir) it is enough, I pray begone ; I have something else to do, than to find you talk. How, Sir, begone? Nay, by your leave, (quoth 1) there is more in it than so. I must not go hence without my money. Money, (said he) what money would you have of me? What is your demand? Marry, I demand (said I) those crowns and royals which I left with you the other day. With me? (said he) you never left any crowns nor royals with me: Go look your crowns and royals elsewhere; the devil a cross that I have of yours. Then, said I unto him, Are you not ashamed to avouch this before these gentlemen that are here present, who but even now before them, when I told you that I would send my man to-morrow for them, you answered me, he should have them; and now that I come to you for them myself, (having present use for them) do you deny me them with one and the same breath? Deny you, Sir, (said he) I deny you nothing; nor nothing shall you have of me: for I received nothing of you; and nothing shall I return you. How, Sir, nothing? Did not I, Sir, some eight days since, bring you these monies, desiring you to keep them for me, and did not you yourself receive them from me? Give me therefore my monies, and that presently, for I will not that you keep them one minute of an hour longer in your hands. In my hands? (said he.) I have not so much as one farthing of yours in my hands : and therefore, God be with you, Sir, I have no more to say to you. It is the Devil that deceiveth us all. I think so, indeed (quoth I:) for sure the Devil did deceive me when I trusted you with my money: And with that, my inflamed choler having set my whole face on fire, I angrily said unto him, What meanest thou by this, that thou wilt not restore me my money? Before thee and I part, I will make thee lay it down here on this board, even to the uttermost farthing, or else I will know why I shall not. Be wise therefore in time, and well advise with yourself (I would wish you) what you do, for fear of after-claps. The poor man was so troubled, and struck into such a fear, when he saw I was so hot and choleric in the business, and so resolutely bent upon it, that he had not a word to say; yet at last, with a kind of counterfeit smile, seeming to make a jest of my words, he bid me begone, one while in God's name, another in the Devil's; saying, that he knew me not, nor who I was, nor what was my name, nor the thing that I demanded of him. Whereupon, turning myself about to those (which were many) that were there, Art thou so impudent (said I) as to say, thou dost not know who, nor what I am, thinking thereby to out-face me, and to cozen me of those monies thou hast of mine in thy hands ? But I doubt not but I shall find good justice in Milan, and that (though full sore against his will) he should be forced to make me present payment. My man denies it more and more, telling me, I had much mistaken my mark.”

“ The house was all in an uproar, and those likewise, which were present there from the beginning, that this difference happened between us. Upon this coil and stir that was between them, there came in many into the shop, as they passed along the street, besides a great number of the neighbours, asking one another, What was the matter? For now were we grown so loud, that we did not well understand one another. All that were there, went inquiring, What was the cause of all this noise ; what we quarrelled about? not so few as a hundred were talking here and there of it, and every one relating it each to other, some in one manner and some in another, whilst we within

drowned all that the other said, so earnest was the contesting that was between us. In the heat whereof comes me in a Bargello, an officer of the same nature with our Alguazil in Castile, a kind of sergeant or catchpole, but he bear no vare or white rod in his hand as ours do, and making the people to give way, he came up where we were, being both (through the heat of our choler) as hot and as red as coals. When I saw the Justice present (howbeit he was a stranger unto me, and knew him no otherwise than as he was the Justice) I saw my suit at an end, and that the cause was like to go with me. And here, taking my cue, I began in a milder temper to speak thus unto those that were by :--Gentlemen, you have seen and heard that which hath here passed between us, and how, and in what manner, this naughty man hath denied me mine own money ; let his own man speak the truth concerning this business, and if he (out of his respect to his master) shall refuse to deliver what he knows, let his own book speak in my behalf, wherein shall that appear to be set down which he received of me, and in what parcels, and in what manner of fashion I delivered the said monies unto him ; to the end, that it may be known unto you, which of us is the honester man, and speaks the most truth. Should I be so shameless to ask a man that, which I never gave him ? Into a cat-skin bag that he hath, he did put into that cabinet three thousand crowns of mine, some of two, and others of four; and for to make iny proofs more plain and clear unto you, he hath intermixed amongst them, ten crowns of ten, which in the whole make up just the sum of three thousand crowns; and in a bag which he locked up within that chest, (wherein he told me there were at that time I delivered him my monies, near, together with mine, about some seventeen thousand royals) did he put those two thousand he had of me: and if this (which I tell you) be not true, I am content to lose it all, and that you take my head from off my shoulders, for the arrantest traitor that ever spake with tongue, an' if here in your presence, before I stir a foot from hence, I do not make good unto you all that I have said. Only, gentlemen, let me intreat (though a stranger) so much lawful favour from you, that there may present inquisition be made concerning this business (considering how nearly it concerns me) that he may not, by gaining of time, have opportunity to transport them to some other place. And turning myself toward the Bargello, I said, --See now, Sir, I beseech you, Sir, to see, which of us two treats falsehood, which intends deceit? The merchant then said, -I am content to stand to this motion, and to put myself upon this trial, I shall bring forth my books, I care not who see them, let them be perused, if any such thing be there to be found; you shall likewise see all the money that I have in the house; and if any such thing shall appear as this man would make you believe, I will confess that he says truth, and that I am in the wrong. Then said they that were present,—This business is now ended, they are both agreed upon the point, and it will straight be seen which of these two are in the right.

“The merchant commanded his servant that kept his cash, that he should bring him his great book of accounts. He did so; but when he had brought it, I excepted against it, and said,--O) thou

« 이전계속 »