Imatges de pÓgina

ing company of Leocadia'; they were confounded, and amazed, not knowing what to do, whether they should give notice of their misfortune to the justice or not: They were fearful, lest in so doing they should be the principal instruments of publishing their dishonour: They saw themselves without hopes of any matter of favour, as being poor, though nobly descended. They knew not on whom to complain, but their own hard fortune. Rodolpho, in the mean while, being subtile and crafty, brought Leocadia home to his house, and to his own private lodging. And though she was in a swoon when he carried her away, yet for the more surety did he blind-fold her eyes with a handkerchief, that she might not take notice of the streets through which she passed, nor of the house nor lodging whereunto he had brought her. He put her thereinto, without being seen of any body, because he had his quarter in his father's house, who was yet living, to himself, and kept the key of his chamber-door himself, and those of his quarter ;-an unadvised inconsiderateness of parents, to suffer their sons to live in that retired manner, without witnesses of their conversation.

Before that Leocadia had recovered her swooning, Rodolpho had satisfied his lustful desire ; for the unchaste violences of youth seldom or never respect either time or place; but run on headlong whither their unbridled lust leads them, letting loose the reins to all licentiousness. Having the light of his understanding thus blinded, he robbed Leocadia in the dark, of the best jewel that she had. And for that the sins of sensuality reach no farther for the most part, than the accomplishing and fulfilling of them, Rodolpho presently resolved to turn Leocadia out of doors ; and it entered into his imagination to lay her out in the street, being thus in a swoon as she was ; and going to put this his purpose in execution, he perceived that she was newly come to herself, and began to speak, saying:

O unfortunate wretch that I am! Where am I? What darkness is this ? What clouds have encompassed me about? Lord bless me! who is it that toucheth me? Am I in bed? What aileth me? How comes this to pass ? Do you hear me, dear mother; or you, my beloved father? unhappy as I am! For I well perceive that my parents hear me not, and that my enemies touch me. "Happy should I be, if this darkness would endure for ever, not giving my eyes leave to see any more the light of the world. And that this place wherein now I am, whatsoever it be, might serve

Ah me,

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to be the sepulchre to my honour; since that better is that dishonour which is not known, than that honour which is exposed to the opinion of the vulgar. Now I call that to mind which before I could not, that but a little while since I was in the company of my parents ; now I remember that some assaulted me; now I conceive and see, that it is not meet that the people should see me. O thou, whosoever

ou art that art here with me,' (and with this she took fast hold on Rodolpho's hands,) if thou beest such a one whose soul will admit of entreaty, I entreat and beseech thee, that, since thou hast triumphed over my fame, thou wilt likewise triumph over my life; quit me of it instantly, for it is fit that I should lose my life, since that I have lost my honour; and consider with thyself, that the rigour of that cruelty which thou hast exercised on me in offending me, will be tempered and moderated by the pity which thou shalt use towards me by killing me; and so thou shalt show thyself at once both cruel and pitiful.'

The reasons which Leocadia alleged to Rodolpho left him in amazedness and confusion; and like a raw young man, unexperienced in the world, he knew not either what to say or do: Whose silence made Leocadia the more to wonder, who by her hands sought to undeceive herself, and to try by touching whether it were a phantasm, or a ghost that was with her ; but when she found that she touched a body, a very body, and did call to her remembrance the force which was done her going along with her parents, she fell into a true reckoning of her misfortune ; and with the very thought thereof, she returned anew to vent those words which her many sighs and sobs had interrupted, saying:

• Oh, thou bold daring young man! (for thy actions make me to judge thee to be of no great years) I pardon thee the wrong thou hast done me, and forgive thee that foul offence thou hast committed ; so that thou wilt promise and swear unto me, that as thou hast covered it with this darkness, so likewise thou wilt cover it with perpetual silence, without acquainting any body therewith. It is a small recompense which I crave of thee, in comparison of so great an injury Yet to me, considering the case that I am in, it will be the greatest that I can beg of thee, or thou canst give me. Consider besides, that I never saw thy face, neither do I desire to see it. For though I cannot but still think on the offence done me, yet will I not think upon my offender, neither will I lay up in my memory the image of the author of my

hurt. I shall pour forth my complaints between myself and Heaven, without desiring that the world should hear them, which doth not judge of things by their success, but according unto that which is settled in its opinion. I know not how it is that I utter these truths unto thee, which usually are wont to be grounded upon the experience of many cases, and on the discourse of many years, mine amounting to no more than seventeen; yet do I understand thus much, that grief and sorrow doth alike tie and untie the tongue of the afflicted ; one while exaggerating the received wrong, that others may be thereby the better induced to believe it, and another while burying it in silence, that others may not give any remedy thereunto. So that which way soever it be, whether I speak or hold my peace," I persuade myself, that I cannot but move thee either to believe me, or to remedy me; since that not to believe me were ignorance, and to remedy me impossible. Yet mayest thou give me some little ease of my grief, whereof I will not despair, since it will cost thee but little to give it me. This then is that which I will say unto thee : See that thou do not flatter thyself with expecting or hoping, that time shall allay or pacify that just rage and indignation which I bear, and still shall towards thee; neither do thou go about to heap more wrongs upon me, because thou art not likely farther to enjoy me, and having already enjoyed me, methinks thy evil desires should be the less enflamed. Make account that thou offendest me by accident, without giving way to any good discourse, and I will make account that I was not born and brought forth into the world; or if I were, it was for to be unfortunate. Put me, therefore, presently forth into the street, or at least near unto the great church; for from that place I shall know how to go directly home. Moreover, thou shalt likewise swear unto me, that thou shalt not follow me, nor seek to know where I dwell; nor ask me neither my parents, or mine own name, nor of my kinsfolk and allies; who, for that they are so rich and so noble, they may not be in me so unhappy and unfortunate. Return me answer to these my demands; and if thou art afraid that I may chance to know thee by thy voice, I would have thee again to know, that, excepting my father and my confessor, I have not spoken with any man in my life, and very few are they which I have heard speak in their ordinary talk and communication, that I could be able to distinguish them by the sound of their voice.'

The answer which Rodolpho returned to the discreet dis

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course of afflicted Leocadia, was no other save his embracing her, and making show that he had a mind to renew in himself his lustful desire, and in her her farther dishonour; the which being perceived by Leocadia, with greater force and resistance than her tender age could promise, she defended herself with such stout resistance, that the strength and courage, and with it the desires of Rodolpho, began to flag. And for that the insolency which he had used with Leocadia, had no other beginning than from a violent lascivious impetuousness, from which never springeth that true love which is permanent; but instead of that impetuousness, which passeth away, there remaineth only repentance, or at least a coldness of will to second it, Rodolpho then growing somewhat cooler, but much more weary, without speaking one word, left Leocadia in his bed and lodging, and went to seek out his companions, for to consult and advise with them what he had best to do.

Leocadia perceived that she was left all alone and fast shut up; whereupon, rising from the bed, she went roaming about the room, groping the walls with her hands, for to try if she could find a door to get out at, or a window to leap down. She found the door, but too strongly locked for her to open it : and she lighted on a window which she was able to unhasp, by which the moon shined in so clear and so bright, that Leocadia could distinguish the colours of certain damasks which adorned the lodging. She could discern that the bed was gilded, and so richly furnished, that it seemed rather the bed of a prince, than of a private gentleman. She reckoned the number of the chairs and stools, and of the escrutores and cabinets ; she noted the place where the door stood, and though she saw frames hanging on the walls, yet she discerned not the pictures that were drawn in them. The window was large, well garnished and guarded with a great many bars, the prospect whereof was into a garden, which was likewise enclosed with high walls ; difficulties which opposed themselves to that intention which she had to leap down into the street. All that she saw and noted of the capaciousness and rich furniture of the room, gave her to understand, that the master and owner thereof must needs be some principal person, and not of mean wealth, but exceeding rich. Upon a cabinet which stood near to the window, she espied a little crucifix all of silver, the which she took and put it in her sleeve; not out of devotion, and as little out of theft; but only drawn unto it by a discreet de

sign which she had in her head. This being done, she shuts the window, leaving it as it was before, and returned back to the bed, expecting what end such a bad beginning would have.

It was not to her seeming much more than half an hour, when she heard the door of the lodging open, and that one came unto her, without speaking so much as a word, with a handkerchief hoodwinked her eyes, and taking her up by the arm, took her out of the lodging, she hearing him shut the door after him. This person was Rodolpho, who, though he had gone to seek out his companions, yet was he not willing to find them; it seeming unto him, that it was not fit that he should have any witnesses of that which had passed with that damsel; but was rather resolved to tell them, that, repenting himself of that ill deed, and moved with her tears, he had put her off, leaving her in the midway. Having thus bethought himself, he returned back with all speed, to place Leocadia near unto the great church, as she had formerly entreated of him before it were day; lest otherwise it might disappoint his purpose, and he be enforced to keep her in his lodging till the next ensuing night; in which space of time, neither was he willing to use any more force or violence, nor to give occasion of being known. He brought her then to the place which they commonly call by the name of Ayuntamiento, where the people publicly assemble and meet together; and there in a counterfeit voice, and in a tongue half Portuguese and half Spanish, he told her that she might thence go securely to her own house, and that none should follow and track her whither she went. And before that she had time and leisure to unknit and loosen the handkerchief, he had got himself far enough out of her sight.

Leocadia remained all alone; she took away the blind from before her eyes ; she knew the place where he had left her; she looked round about her on every side ; she saw no person living, but suspecting that some would follow her aloof off, at every step she made a stand, advancing in that manner in her way homeward, which was not very far from the church; and for to deceive the spies, if by chance they should follow her, she entered into a house that she found open; and thence by little and little went to her own, where she found her parents amazed and astonished, and so far from preparing to go to bed, that they had not so much as entertained the least thought of taking any rest at all ; who,

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