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B. PEREZ GALDOS
Author of " Gloria," etc.
FROM THE SPANISH BY CLARA BELL
REVISED AND CORRECTED IN THE UNITED STATES
WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER, PUBLISHER
11 MURRAY STREET
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1883
BY WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington
THIS TRANSLATION WAS MADE EXPRESSLY FOR THE PUBLISHER
THOSE who have read " Gloria " will, it is
hoped, hail with pleasure another work by the
same writer, Perez Galdos different it is true,
but in its way not less delightful.
The strongly- marked humor and darkly-
painted tragedy of " Gloria " are not to be found
in "Marianela;" the characters are distinct and
crisply sketched, but with a tender hand, the
catastrophe is pitiable, rather shocking; the whole
tone is idyllic.
I have not hesitated to translate literally the
Spanish words of endearment ; for though they are
foreign to the calmer spirit of our northern
tongue they are too characteristic to be lost, and
they are strangely pathetic as the only outlet
found for the imprisoned spirit of the hapless
I. Gone Astray. - I
II. Guided Right. IO
III. A Dialogue which explains much. 24
IV. Stony Hearts. 35
V. Labor, and a Landscape with Figures. 52
VII. More Absurdities.
VIII. And yet more.
IX. The Brothers Golfin.
X. Nobody's Children.
XI. The Patriarch of Aldeacorba.
XII. Doctor Celipin.
XIII. Between two Baskets.
XIV. How the Virgin Mary appeared to
XV. The Three Children. 164
XVI. The Vow. 172
XVII. A Fugitive. 179
XVIII. Nela decides that she must go. - 192
XIX. Nela is Tamed. 201
XX. A New World. - 220
XXI. Eyes that Kill. 234*
XXII. Farewell. - 260
THE sun had set. After the brief interval of
twilight the night fell calm and dark, and in its
gloomy bosom the last sounds of a sleepy world
died gently away The traveller went forward on
his way, hastening his step as night came on ; the
path he followed was narrow and worn by the con-
stant tread of men and beasts, and led gently up
a hill on whose verdant slopes grew picturesque
clumps of wild cherry trees, beeches and oaks.
The reader perceives that we are in the north of
Our traveller was a man of middle age, strongly
built, tall and broad-shouldered ; his movements
were brisk and resolute, his step firm, his manner
somewhat rugged, his eye bold and bright ; his
pace was nimble, considering that he was de-
cidedly stout, and he was the reader may at
once be told, though somewhat prematurely as
good a soul as you may meet with anywhere.
He was dressed, as a man in easy circumstances
should be dressed for a journey in spring weather,
with one of those round shady hats, which, from
their ugly shape, have been nicknamed mush-
rooms (hongo), a pair of field-glasses hanging to
a strap, and a knotted stick which, when he did
not use it to support his steps, served to push
aside the brambles when they flung their thorny
branches across so as to catch his dress.
He presently stopped, and gazing round the
dim horizon, he seemed vexed and puzzled. He
evidently was not sure of his way and was looking
round for some passing native of the district who
might give him such topographical information as
might enable him to reach his destination.
" I cannot be mistaken," he said to himself.
" They told me to cross the river by the stepping-
stones and I did so then to walk on, straight
on. And there, to my right, I do in fact, see that
detestable town which I should call Villafangosa
by reason of the enormous amount of mud that
chokes the streets. Well then, I can but go 'on,
straight on' I rather like the phrase, and if I
bore arms, I would adopt it for my motto in
order to find myself at last at the famous mines of
But before he had gone much farther, he added :
" I have lost my way, beyond a doubt I have lost
my way. This, Teodoro Golfin, is the result of
your 'on, straight on.' Bah ! these blockheads do
not know the meaning of words ; either they
meant to laugh at you or else they did not know
the way to the mines of Socartes. A huge min-
ing establishment must be evident to the senses,
with its buildings and chimneys, its noise of ham-
mers and snorting of furnaces, neighing of horses
and clattering of machinery and I neither see,
nor hear, nor smell anything. I might be in a
desert! How absolutely solitary ! If I believed
in witches, I could fancy that Fate intended me
this night to have the honor of making acquain-
tance with some. Deuce take it ! why is there no
one to be seen in these parts ? And it will be half
an hour yet before the moon rises. Ah ! treacher-
ous Luna, it is you who are to blame for my mis-
adventure. If only I could see what sort of place
I am in. However, what could I expect?" and
he shrugged his shoulders with the air of a vigor-
ous man who scorns danger. " What, Golfin, after
having wandered all round the world are you go-
ing to give in now ? The peasants were right after
all: 'on, straight on.' The universal law of loco-
motion cannot fail me here."
And he bravely set out to test the law, and
went on about a kilometre farther, following the
paths which seemed to start from under his feet,
crossing each other and breaking off at a short
distance, in a thousand angles which puzzled and
tired him. Stout as his resolution was, at last he
grew weary of his vain efforts. The paths, which
had at first all led upwards, began to slope down-
wards as they crossed each other, and at last he
came to so steep a slope that he could only hope
to get to the bottom by rolling down it.
" A pretty state of things !" he exclaimed, try-
ing to console himself for this provoking situation
by his sense of the ridiculous. " Where have you
got to now my friend ? This is a perfect abyss. Is
anything to be seen at the bottom. No, nothing,
absolutely nothing the hill-side has disappeared,
the earth has been dug away. There is nothing to
be seen but stones and barren soil tinged red with
iron. I have reached the mines, no doubt of that
and yet there is not a living soul to be seen, no
smoky chimneys ; no noise, not a train in the dis-
tance, not even a dog barking. What am I to do?
out there the path seems to slope up again.
Shall I follow that? Shall I leave the beaten
track ? Shall I go back again ? Oh ! this is ab-
surd ! Either I am not myself or I will reach
Socarte to-night, and be welcomed by my worthy
Brother ! ' On, straight on.' '
He took a step, and his foot sank in the soft
and crumbling soil. " What next, ye ruling
stars ? Am I to be swallowed up alive ? If only
that lazy moon would favor us with a little light
we might see each other's faces and, upon my
soul, I can hardly expect to find Paradise at the
bottom of this hole. It seems to be the crater of
some extinct volcano .... Nothing could be easier
than a slide down this beautiful precipice. What
have we here ? .... A stone ; capital a good
seat while I smoke a cigar and wait for the moon
The philosophical Golfin seated himself as
calmly as if it were a bench by a promenade,
and was preparing for his smoke, when he heard a
voice yes, beyond a doubt, a human voice, at
some little distance a plaintive air, or to speak
more accurately, a melanchply^chant of a single
phrase, of which the last cadence was prolonged
into a " dying fall," and which at last sank into
the silence of the night, so softly that the ear
could not detect when it ceased.
" Come," said the listener, well pleased, " there
are some human beings about. That was a girl's
voice ; yes, certainly a girl's, and a lovely voice
too. I like the popular airs of this country-side.
Now it has stopped. . . . Hark ! it will soon begin
again. . . . Yes, I hear it once more. What a beau-
tiful voice, and what a pathetic air ! You might
believe that it rose front, the bowels of the earth,
and that Senor Golfin, the most matter-of-fact and
least superstitious man in this world, was going to
make acquaintance with sylphs, nymphs, gnomes,
dryads, and all the rabble rout that obey the mys-
terious spirit of the place. But, if I am not mis-
taken, the voice is going farther away the fair
singer is departing .... Hi, girl, child, stop wait
a minute !...."
The voice which had for a few minutes so
charmed the lost wanderer with its enchanting
strains was dying away in the dark void, and at
the shouts of Golfin it was suddenly silent. Be-
yond a doubt the mysterious gnome, who was
solacing its underground loneliness by singing its
plaintive loves, had taken fright at this rough in-
terruption by a human being, and fled to the
deepest caverns of the earth, where precious gems
lay hidden, jealous of their own splendor.
"This is a pleasant state of things " mut-
tered Golfin, thinking that after all he could do no
better than light his cigar. " There seems no rea-
son why it should. not go on for a hundred years.
I can smoke and wait. It was a clever idea of
mine that I could walk up alone to the mines of
Socartes. My luggage will have got there before
me a signal proof of the advantages of 'on,
straight on.' '
A light breeze at this instant sprang up, and
Golfin fancied he heard the sound of footsteps at
the bottom of the unknown or imaginary
abyss before him ; he listened sharply, and in a
minute felt quite certain that some one was walk-
ing below. He stood up and shouted :
" Girl, man, or whoever you are, can I get to
the mines of Socartes by this road ?"
He had not done speaking when he heard a
dog barking wildly, and then a manly voice say-
ing : " Choto, Choto ! come here !"
" Hi there !" cried the traveller. " My good
friend man, boy, demon, or whatever you are,
call back your dog, for I am a man of peace."
" Choto, Choto ! "
Golfin could make out the form of a large,
black dog coming towards him, but after sniffing
round him it retired at its master's call ; and at
that moment the traveller could distinguish a fig-
ure, a man, standing as immovable as a stone im-
age, at about ten paces below him, on a slanting
pathway which seemed to cut across the steep in-
cline. This path, and the human form standing
there, became quite clear now to Golfin, who,
looking up to the sky, exclaimed :
" Thank God ! here is the mad moon at last ;
now we can see where we are. I had not the
faintest notion that a path existed so close to me,
why, it is quite a road. Tell me, my friend, do
you know whether the mines of Socartes are
" Yes, Senor, these are the mines of Socartes ;
but we are at some distance from the works."
The voice which spoke thus was youthful and
pleasant, with the attractive inflection that indi-
cates a polite readiness to be of service. The
doctor was well pleased at detecting this, and
still better pleased at observing the soft light,
which was spreading through the darkness and
bringing resurrection to earth and sky, as though
calling them forth from nothingness.
" Fiat lux /" he said, going forward down the
slope. " I feel as if I had just emerged into
existence from primeval chaos .... Indeed, my
good friend, I am truly grateful to you for the
information you have given me, and for the far-
ther information you no doubt will give me. I
left Villamojada as the sun was setting. They
told me to go on, straight on . ..."
"Are you going to the works?" asked the
strange youth, without stirring from the spot or
looking up towards the doctor, who was now quite
"Yes, Senor; but I have certainly lost my
" Well, this is not the entrance to the mines.
The entrance is by the steps at Rabagones, from
which the road runs and the tram-way that they
are making. If you had gone that way you
would have reached the works in ten minutes.
From here it is a long way, and a very bad road.
We are at the outer circle of the mining galleries,
and shall have to go through passages and tun-
nels, down ladders, through cuttings, up slopes,
and then down the inclined plane ; in short, cross
the mines from this side to the other, where the
workshops are and the furnaces, the machines and
" Well, I seem to have been uncommonly stu-
pid," said Golfin, laughing.
" I will guide you with much pleasure, for I
know every inch of the place."
Golfin, whose feet sank in the loose earth,
slipping here and tottering there, had at last
reached the solid ground of the path, and his first
idea was to look closely at the good-natured lad
who addressed him. For a minute or two he was
speechless with surprise.
" You !" he said, in a low voice.
" I am blind, it is true, Senor," said the boy.
" But I can run without seeing from one end to
the other of the mines of Socartes. This stick I
carry prevents my stumbling, and Choto is always
with me, when I have not got Nela with me, who
is my guide. So, follow me, Senor, and allow me
to guide you."
" AND were you born blind ?" asked Golfin,
with eager interest, arising not only from compas-
"Yes, Senor, born blind," replied the lad, with
perfect simplicity. " I only know the world by
fancy, feeling and hearing. I have learned to un-
derstand that the most wonderful portion of the
universe is that which is unknown to me. I know
that the eyes of other people are not like mine,
since they are able to distinguish things by them
but the power seems to me so extraordinary,
MARIANELA. I I
that I cannot even imagine the possibility of its
" Who knows " Golfin began. " But what
strange scene is this, my friend ? What a won-
derful place we are in !"
The traveller, who had been walking by the
side of his companion, stood still in astonishment
at the weird view which lay before him. They
were in a deep basin resembling the crater of a
volcano; the ground at the bottom was broken
and rough, and the sloping sides still more so.
Round the margin and in the middle of the vast
caldron, which looked even larger than it was in
the deceptive chiaroscuro of the moonlit night,
stood colossal figures, deformed caricatures of
humanity, monsters lying prone with their feet in
the air, with arms spread in despair, stunted
growths, distorted faces such as we see in the
whimsical wreathing of floating clouds but all
still, silent, and turned to stone. In color they
were mummy-like, a reddish bistre ; 'their action
suggested the delirium of fever arrested by sud-
den death. It was as though giant forms had
petrified in the midst of some demoniacal orgy,
and their gestures and the burlesque grimaces of
the monstrous heads had been stricken into fixity,
like the motionless attitudes of sculpture. The
silence which prevailed in this volcanic-looking
hollow was itself terrifying. One might fancy
that the cries and shrieks of a thousand voices
had been petrified too, and had been held there
locked in stone for ages.
" Where are we, my young friend ?" asked
Golfin. " This place is like a nightmare."
"This part of the mine is called La Terrible,"
replied the blind boy, not appreciating his com-
panion's frame of mind. " It was worked till
about two years ago when the ore was exhausted,
and now the mining is carried on in other parts
which are more profitable. The strange objects
that surprise you so much are the blocks of stone
which we call cretdcea, and which consist of
hardened ferruginous clay, after the ore has been
extracted. I have been told that the effect is
sublime, particularly in the moonlight ; but I do
not understand such things."
" A wonderful effect, yes " said the stran-
ger, who still stood gazing at the scene, " but
which to me is more terrible than pleasing, for it
reminds me of the horrors of neuralgia. Shall I
tell you what it is like ? It is as if I were stand-
ing inside a monstrous brain suffering from a fear-
ful headache. Those figures are like the images
which present themselves to the tortured brain,
and become confounded with the hideous fancies
and visions created by a fevered mind."
" Choto, Choto, here !" called the blind lad.
" Take care now, Senor, how you walk ; we are
going into a gallery." And, in fact, Golfin saw
that his guide, feeling with his stick, was making
his way towards a narrow entrance distinguished
by three stout posts.
The dog went in first, snuffing at the black
cavern; the blind boy followed him with the calm
indifference of a man who dwells in perpetual
darkness. Golfin followed, not without some in-
stinctive trepidation and repugnance at an under-
" It is really wonderful," he said, " that you
should go in and out of such a place without
" I have lived all my life in these places, and
know them as well as my own home. Here it is
very cold ; wrap yourself up if have you a cloak
with you. We shall soon be out at the other
end." He walked on, feeling his way with his
hand along the wall, which was formed of upright
beams, and saying:
" Mind you do not stumble over the ruts in
the path ; they bring the mineral along here from
the diggings above. Are you cold ?"
" Tell me," said the doctor, gaily. " Are you
quite certain that the earth has not swallowed us
up ? This passage is the gullet of some mon-
strous insectivorous brute into whose stomach we
miserable worms have inadvertently crept. Do
you often take a walk in this delectable spot ?"
" Yes, often, and at all hours, and I think the
place delightful. Now we are in the most arid
part the ground here is pure sand now we are
on the stones again. Here there is a constant
drip of sulphurous water, and down there we have
a block of rock in which there are petrified shells.
There are layers of slate over there. Do you hear
that toad croaking? we are near the opening
now ; the rascal sits there every night ; I know
him quite well. He has a hoarse, slow voice."
Who the toad ?"
"Yes, Senor ; we are near the end now."
" So I see ; it looks like an eye staring at us
that is the mouth of the corridor."
No sooner were they out in the air again, than
the first thing that struck the doctor's ear was the
same melancholy song as he had heard before.
The blind boy heard it too ; he turned round to
his companion and said, smiling with pride and
" Do you hear her ?"
" I heard that voice before and it charmed me
wonderfully. Who is the singer ?"
Instead of answering, the blind boy stopped
and shouted with all the force of his lungs : " Nela !
Nela !" and the name was repeated by a hundred
echoes, some quite close, others faint and distant.
Then, putting his hands to his mouth for a speak-
ing-trumpet, he called out :
" Do not come to me, I am going that way.
Wait for me at the forge at the forge !"
He turned to the doctor again and explained :
" Nela is a girl who goes about with me ; she
is my guide my Lazarillo. When it was dusk
we were coming home together from the great
meadow it was rather cool, so, as my father
forbids my walking out at night without a cloak,
I waited in Romolinos' cabin, and Nela ran home
to fetch it for me. After staying some little time
in the hut, I remembered that I had a friend com-
ing to see me at home and I had not patience to
wait for Nela, so I set out with Choto. I was just
going down La Terrible when I met you. We
shall soon be at the forge now and there we must
part, for my father is not pleased when I go home
late, and Nela will show you the way to the
" Many thanks, my little friend."
The tunnel had brought them out at a spot
even more wonderful than that they had left. It
was an enormous gulf or chasm in the earth, look-
ing like the result of an earthquake ; but it had
not been rent by the fierce throbs of planetary fires,
but slowly wrought by the laborious pick of the
miner. It looked like the interior of a huge ship-
wrecked vessel, stranded on the shore, and broken
across the waist by the breakers, so as to bend it
at an obtuse angle. You could fancy you saw its
ribs laid bare, and their ends standing up in an
irregular file on one side. Within the hollow hull
lay huge stones, like the relics of a cargo tossed
about by the waves, and the deceptive light of the
moon lent so much aid to the fancy that Golfin
could have believed that he saw among the relics
of a ship's fittings, corpses half devoured by fishes,
mummies, skeletons all dead, silent, half-de-
stroyed and still, as if they had long been lying in
the infinite sepulchre of the ocean And the illu-
sion was perfect when he presently heard a sound
of waters, and a regular splash like the dash of
ripples in the hollow of a rock, or through the
skeleton timbers of a wrecked vessel.
"There is water hereabouts," he said to his
"The noise you hear," replied the other,
stopping, " and which sounds like what shall I
say like the gurgle you make when you gargle
your throat ?...."
" Exactly and where is that gurgle ? Is it
some rivulet that runs near here ?"
" No, Senor ; over there to the left there is a
slope, and beyond it a wide mouth opens in the
ground, a cavern, an abyss without any known
bottom. La Trascava they call it. Some say
that it runs down to the sea at Ficobriga, and
others think that a river flows at the bottom of it
which goes round and round, like a wheel, and
never comes out anywhere. I fancy it must be
like a whirlpool. Some again say that down
there is a constant gust of air coming out of the
interior of the earth as we blow when we whistle
and that this blast meets a current of water;
then they quarrel, and struggle, and fight, and pro-
duce that noise that we hear up here."
" And has no one ever been down into this
" It can only be got into in one way."
" How ?"
" By jumping into it. Those who have gone
in have never come out again ; and it is a great
pity, for they might have told us what goes on in
there. The other end of the cavern is a long way
1 8 MARIANELA.
off from this, for two years ago, when some miners
were working they came upon a rift in the rock
where they heard the very same sound of water
as you hear now. This rift must, no doubt, com-
municate with the inside galleries, out of which
the blast blows and into which the water rushes.
By daylight you can see it plainly, for you need
only go a few steps to the left to reach the spot
and there is a comfortable seat there. Some
people are frightened to go there, but Nela and I
sit there to listen to the voice down inside the
cavern for really, Sefior, we can fancy we hear
it talking. Nela declares and swears that she
hears words, and can distinguish them quite plainly.
I must confess I never heard any words ; but it
goes on murmuring like a soliloquy or a medita-
tion, and sometimes it is sad and sometimes gay
sometimes angry, and sometimes good-hu-
mored and jolly."
" And yet I can make nothing of it but a
gurgle," said the doctor laughing.
" It sounds so from this spot. But we must
not stop now, it is getting late. You must be
prepared to go through another gallery."
" Another ?"
" Yes and this one branches off into two in
the middle. Beyond that there is a labyrinth of
turns and zigzags, because the miners have to
make galleries which, when they are worked out,
are deserted and left to their fate. Go on Choto."
Choto slipped into a little opening that looked
scarcely bigger than a rabbit-hole, followed by the
doctor and his guide, who felt his way along the
dark, narrow, crooked passage with his stick.
There could be no better evidence of the delicacy
and subtlety of the sense of touch, extending be-
yond the skin of a human hand through a piece
of senseless wood. They went forwards, at first
in a curve, and then round corner after corner, and
all the way between walls of damp, and half-rot-
" Do you know what this reminds me of?" said
the doctor, perceiving that his guide took pleasure
in similes and comparisons. " Of nothing so much
as the thoughts of perverse man. We represent
the consciousness of evil, when he looks into his
conscience and sees himself in all his vileness."
Golfin fancied that he had used a metaphor
rather above his companion's comprehension; but
the blind boy proved that he was mistaken, for he
said at once :
" For those to whom that inner world looks
dark and gloomy, these galleries must be dismal
indeed ; but I, who live in perpetual darkness, find
here something which has an affinity with my own
nature. I can walk here as you would in the
broadest road. If it were not for the want of air
in some parts and the excessive damp in others, I
should prefer these subterranean passages to any
place I know."
"That is an idea of brooding fancy."
" I feel as if there were in my brain a narrow
passage a rabbit-hole like this that we are
walking in, and there my ideas run riot grandly."
" Ah ! what a pity that you should never have
seen the azure vault of the sky at mid-day !" the
doctor exclaimed involuntarily. "Tell me, does
this dark hole in which your ideas run riot so
grandly lead out anywhere?"
" Oh yes ! we shall be outside quite soon now.
The vault of the sky you said I fancy it must be
a perfect, equal curve, which looks as if we could
touch it with our hands, but we cannot really."
As he spoke they got out of the tunnel ; Gol-
fin drawing a deep breath of relief, like a man
who has cast off a burthen, exclaimed as ha looked
up at the heavens :
"Thank God that I see you once more stars
of the firmament. Never have you seemed to me
more beautiful than at this moment."
" As I was going along," said the blind boy,
holding out his hand which held a stone, " I picked
up this piece of crystal now do you mean to
say that these crystals, which to my touch are so
sharply cut, so smooth and so neatly packed side
by side, are not a very beautiful thing ? They
seem so to me at any rate." And as he spoke he
broke off some of the crystals.
" My dear fellow," said the doctor with great
feeling and compassion, " it is sad indeed that you
should not be able to know that this stone is hardly
worth looking at, while over our heads there hang
the myriads of marvellous lamps that sparkle in
the heavens." The boy threw back his head and
said in a voice of deep regret :
" Is it true that you are there, you little
" God is infinitely great and merciful," said
Golfin, laying his hand on his young companion's
shoulder. "Who knows who can say much
stranger things have happened are happening
every day." As he spoke, he looked close into
his face, trying to see the lad's eyes by the
dim light; fixed and sightless, he turned them
in the direction in which he heard the speaker's
" There is no hope," Golfin muttered.
They had come out on an open space. The
moon, rising higher and higher, illuminated un-
dulating meadows and high slopes, which looked
like the ramparts of some immense fortification.
To the left, on a level plateau, the doctor saw
a group of white houses crowning the slope.
" There, to the left," said the boy, " is my
home up at the top. Do you know that those
three houses are what remain of the village of
Aldeacorba de Suso. All the rest has been pulled
down at different times in order to dig mines;
all the soil underneath is iron ore, and our fore-
fathers lived over millions of wealth without
He was still speaking when a girl came run-
ning to meet them, a tiny scrap of a child, swift
of foot and slightly built.
" Nela, Nela !" cried the blind boy. " Have
you brought me a cloak ?"
" Here it is," said the girl, putting it over his
" Is this the songstress ? Do you know you
have a lovely voice ?"
" Oh !" exclaimed the boy, in a tone of inno-
cent admiration, " she sings beautifully ! Now,
Mariquilla, you must show this gentleman the way
to the works, and I must go home. I can hear
my father's voice already; he is coming to look
for me, and he will be sure to scold me .... I am
here, I am coming !"
" Make haste in, my boy !" said Golfin, shak-
ing hands with him. " The air is fresh, and you
might take cold. Many thanks for your company.
I hope we may be good friends, for I shall be here
some little time. I am the brother of Carlos Gol-
fin, the engineer of the mines."
" Oh ! indeed .... Don Carlos is a great friend
of my father's. He has been expecting you these
" I arrived this evening at the station at Villa-
mojada, and they told me that Socartes was not
far, and that I could come up on foot. So, as I
like to see the country and get exercise, and as
they told me it was ' on, straight on,' I set out,
and sent my luggage in a cart. You saw how I
had lost my way but there is no evil out of
which good does not come .... I have made your
acquaintance, and we shall be friends, very good
friends perhaps. Go in, good-bye; get home
quickly, for the autumn evenings are not good for
you. The little Senora here will be so good as to
" It is not more than a quarter of an hour's
walk to the works, quite a short way. But take
care not to stumble over the rails, and look out
as you cross the inclined plane. There often are
trucks on the road, and in this damp weather the
ground is like soap. Good-bye, Caballero, and
my very good friend. Good-night" He went
up the slope by a narrow flight of steps cut in the
soil and squared by beams of wood ; Golfin went
straight on, guided by Nela. Does what they
said deserve a separate chapter ? In case it
should, I will give it one.
A DIALOGUE WHICH EXPLAINS MUCH.
"WAIT a moment my child, do not go so
fast," said Golfin, himself standing still. " I want
to light a cigar.
The night was so still, that no precautions were
needed in striking the light to guard it from the
wind, and when the doctor had lighted his cigar
he held the wax match in front of Nela, saying
"Show me your face, little one."
He looked in the child's face with astonish-
ment ; her black eyes shone with a red spot, like
a spark, for the instant while the match lasted. She
looked a child, for she was but a tiny creature, ex-
MARIANELA. , 2$
tremely thin and undeveloped ; but she seemed
like a little woman, for her eyes had not a childlike
expression, and her face had the mature look of a
nature which has gone through experience and
acquired judgment or will have acquired it soon.
In spite of this anomaly, she was well-proportioned
and her small head sat gracefully on her lean little
body. You might have said she was a woman
seen through a diminishing-glass ; or, again, that
she was a child with the eyes and expression of a
grown-up person. In your uncertainty, it was hard
to say whether she was astonishingly forward or
" How old are you ?" asked Golfin, shaking his
ringers free of the match which was beginning to
"They say I am sixteen," said Nela, gazing in
her turn at the doctor.
" Sixteen !" exclaimed Golfin. " Much less
than that, child ! You are twelve at most to judge
" Holy Virgin ! They say I am quite a phe-
nomenon," said the girl in a tone of weariness of
"A phenomenon!" repeated Golfin laying his
hand on her hair. " Well, perhaps so. Now,
come along show me the way."
Nela set out resolutely, keeping but a little way
in front of the traveller but rather on one side
of him, to show her just appreciation of such illus-
trious company. Her nimble little feet, which were
bare, were evidently familiar with the ground they
trod, with the stones, the puddles and the thistles.
She wore a plain frock of scanty breadth, and the
rudimentary simplicity of her garb, as well as the
loose flow of her thick, short hair, which fell in
natural waves, had a stamp of savage indepen-
dence rather than of abject poverty. Her speech,
on the other hand, struck Golfin by its modest
propriety,, indicating a formed and thoughtful
mind. Her voice had a gentle inflection of kind-
liness, which could not be the result of education,
and her glance was restless and shy, whenever she
was not looking at the sky or the earth.
"Tell me," said Golfin. "Do you live in the
mines ? Are you the child of any of the work-
men employed here ?"
"They say I have neither father nor mother."
"Poor little girl! and you work in the mines?"
" No, Senor. I am of no use at all," she re-
plied without raising her eyes.
" Well, you are modest, at any rate."
The doctor bent down to look closely at her
face ; it was small and freckled all over with little
mole-like spots. Her forehead was narrow, her
nose sharp but not ill-shaped, her eyes black and
brilliant, but their light shone but sadly. Her hair,
naturally of a golden brown, was dull for want of
care, and from exposure to the sun, wind and
dust. Her lips were so thin as to be hardly visible,
and always wore a smile, but it was like the faint
smile of the dead who have died dreaming of
Heaven. Nela's mouth was, strictly speaking,
ugly, still it deserved a word of praise from the
point of view expressed in the line from Polo de-
Medina : " A mouth is sweet that asks for noth-
ing."* In fact, neither in word, look, or smile, did
the poor child betray any of the degrading habits of
the beggar. Golfin stroked the sad little face, hold-
ing it under the chin and almost encircling it with
his big fingers.
" Poor little body !" he said. " Providence has
not been over-generous to you. Who do you live
"With Senor Centeno, the overseer of the
beasts belonging to the mines ?"
"You do not seem to have been born in
luxury. Who were your parents?"
"They say my mother sold peppers in the
market at Villamojada. She was not married.
* " Es tan linda su boca que no pide."
She had me one All-Saints' day, and then she
went to be wet-nurse at Madrid."
" A highly estimable woman !" muttered Gol-
" And no one knows who your father was ?"
"Yes, Sefior," said Nela with some pride.
" My father was the first who ever lighted the
lamps of Villamojada."
"I ought to tell you," said the little girl with
the gravity befitting the dignity of history, " that
when the town council first had lamps hung
up in the streets, my father was entrusted with the
care of lighting and cleaning them. I was nursed
by a sister of my mother's not that she was
married either, as they tell me. My father had
quarrelled with her they all lived together as I
have heard and when he went out to light the
lamps he used to put me in his basket, with his
lamp-chimneys and cottons and oil. One day
when he went up to light the lamp on the bridge,
he put the basket on the parapet, and I rolled out
and fell into the river."
" And you were not drowned !"
" No, Senor ; for I fell on the stones. Holy
Mother of God ! I was a dear little thing before
that, they tell me."
"Yes, I am sure you were," said the stranger
with an impulse of loving-kindness. " And so you
are still. But tell me what next. Have you lived
long in the mines ?"
" Thirteen years, they say. My motfrer took
me back after my tumble. My father fell ill, and
as my mother would not do anything for him, be-
cause he was wicked to her, he was taken to the
hospital where they say he died. Meanwhile my
mother came to work in the mines. They say
the overseer discharged her one day because she
drank so much."
" And your mother went .... Go on, I take a
real interest in the good woman ; she went. ..."
" She went to a very big hole over there," said
the child, standing still and speaking with intense
pathos, " and she threw herself in."
" The devil she did ! That was coming to a
bad end. I suppose she did not come out again ?"
" No, Senor," said Nela with perfect simplicity.
" She is there still."
" And since that catastrophe, poor child," said
Golfin kindly, " you have stayed at work here.
Mining work is very hard labor and you have
taken the hue of the soil ; you are thin and ill-
nourished. This life is enough to ruin the strong-
" No, Senor ; I do not labor. They say I am
not good for anything and never shall be."
" God forbid, silly child ! why you are a
" N<5 indeed," insisted the girl, " I cannot work
at all. If I take up ever so small a load, I fall
down, and if I am set to any hard work I faint
away before long."
"You are as God made you and if you fell
into the hands of any one who knew how to treat
you, you would work very well."
" No, Sefior, no indeed," she repeated as en-
ergetically as though it were in her own praise
that she spoke, " I am no good to any one only
in the way."
" Then you are a mere vagabond ?"
" No, Senor, for I attend on Pablo."
" And who is Pablo ?"
" That young blind gentleman, whom you met
in La Terrible. I have been his guide for the last
year and a half. I take him everywhere ; we go
for long walks in the fields."
" He seems a good fellow, this Pablo."
Nela again stood still and looked up at the
doctor, and her face glowed with enthusiasm as
she exclaimed :
" Holy Virgin ! He is the best and dearest
creature in the whole world ! Poor fellow! and
he is cleverer without eyes than all those who can
" Yes, I liked your master. Does he belong
to the place ?"
" Yes, Senor ; he is the only son of Don
Francisco Penaguilas, a very kind and very rich
gentleman who lives in the houses at Aldea-
" Tell me, why are you called Nela ? What
does it mean ?"
The child shrugged her shoulders, and after a
pause, she said :
" My mother's name was Maria Canela, and
so she was called Nela; they say it is a dog's
name. My name is Maria."
" Maria Nela they call me, or sometimes Ca-
nela's girl, and some say Marianela, and some
" And your master, is he fond of you ?"
" Yes, Senor ; he is very good to me. He
says he sees with my eyes, for I take him every-
where, and tell him what everything is like."
' Everything that he cannot see ?" The
stranger seemed much interested in this conver-
" Yes I tell him everything. He asks me
what a star is like, and I tell him all about it in
such a way that it is the same to him as if he
could see it. I explain it all what the planets
are like, and the clouds, and the sky, and the
water, and the lightning, the weather- cocks, the
butterflies, the mists, the snails, and the shapes
and faces of men and animals. I tell him what is
ugly and what is pretty, and so he gets to under-
" I see ; your work is no trifle. What is ugly
and what is pretty ! There is nothing .... You
decide upon that question ? Tell me, can you
"No, Senor. I tell you I am good for noth-
She said this in a tone of perfect conviction,
and the gesture that emphasized her protestation
seemed to add : " You must be a great blockhead
to fancy that I am good for anything."
" Would you not be glad if your friend, by
the grace of God, should recover his sight ?"
The girl did not answer at once, but after a
pause she said :
" It is impossible."
" No, not impossible, only difficult and doubt-
/ " The engineer who manages the mines did
give my master's father some hope of it."
" Don Carlos Golfin ?"
" Yes, Senor. Don Carlos has a brother who
is an eye- doctor, and they say he gives sight to
the blind, and makes those who squint look
" What a clever man !"
" Yes ; and when the eye-doctor wrote to Don
Carlos that he was coming to see him, his brother
wrote to him to bring his instruments with him to
try if he could make Pablo see."
" And has this good man been here yet ?"
" No, sir ; for he is always travelling about in
England and America, and it seems it will be
some time yet -before he comes. Pablo laughs
at it all, and says no man can give him what
the Holy Virgin has denied him from his
"Well perhaps he is right. But are we not
nearly there ? For I see some chimneys which
pour forth smoke darker than the bottomless pit,
and a light too, which looks like a forge."
" Yes here we are. Those are the roasting
furnaces, which burn day and night. There, in
front, are the machines for washing the ore ; they
only work by day. To the right-hand is the
chemical workshop, and down there, last of all,
the counting-house and offices."
The place seemed to lie in fact as Marianela
indicated. In the absence of any wind a mist
hung over the spot, shrouding the buildings in
heavy, gaseous fog, and giving them a confused
and fantastic outline against the moonlit sky.
" This is a pleasanter place to see for once
than to live in," said Golfin, hastening onwards.
" The cloud of vapor wraps round everything, and
the lights have dim circles round them, like the
moon on a sultry night. Which is the office ?"
" Here, we are almost there."
After passing in front of the furnaces, where
the heat made them hurry on, the doctor per-
ceived a house which was no less dingy and
smoky than the others, and at the same instant he
heard a piano being played with a vigor border-
ing on frenzy.
" We have music here. I recognize my sister-
in-law's touch and execution."
" It is Senorita Sofia who is playing," said
The lights of a busy household shone in the
windows, and the balcony on the ground-floor
was wide open. A small spark was visible, the
spark of a cigar. Before the doctor could reach
the spot, the spark flew off, describing a parabola
of fire, and breaking into a thousand twinkling
specks the smoker had shaken the end off.
"There is that everlasting smoker!" cried the
doctor, in a tone of affectionate delight. " Carlos,
" Teodoro !" exclaimed a voice from the bal-
cony. The piano ceased like a singing-bird scared
by a noise. Steps sounded through the house.
The doctor gave his guide a silver coin, and ran
up to the door.
RETRACING her steps and jumping over the
obstacles in her path, Nela made her way to a
house on the left of the machine-sheds, and close
to the stables where the sixty mules belonging to
the establishment stood in grave meditation. The
residence of the overseer, though of modern con-
struction, was neither elegant nor even commodi-
ous. The roof was low, and it was too small by
far to give adequate shelter to the parent couple
of the Centenos to their four children to their
cat and to Nela into the bargain ; but it figured,
nevertheless, on the parchment plans of the settle-
ment under the ostentatious name of " overseer's
Inside, the house seemed to afford a practical
illustration of the saying which we have already
heard so emphatically stated by Marianela ;
namely, that she, Marianela, was of no good to
anyone, only in the way. Somehow, in there,
room was found for everything for the father
and mother, for their sons and their sons' tools,
for a heap of rubbish, of the use of which no irref-
ragable proof has been found, for the cat, for the
dish off which the cat was fed, for Tanasio's
guitar, for the materials of which Tanasio made
his garrotes a kind of lidless hamper for half
a dozen old mule-halters, for the blackbird's cage,
for two useless old boilers, for an altar at which
Dame Centeno worshipped the Divinity with offer-
ings of artificial flowers and some patriarchal ta-
pers, a perennial settlement for flies in short, for
everything and everybody excepting little Maria
Canela. Constantly some one was heard to say :
" You cannot take a step without falling over that
confounded child, Nela I" or else :
" Get into your corner, do. What a plague
the creature is ; she does nothing, and lets no one
else do anything."
The house consisted of three rooms and a loft.
The first of these served not only as dining-room
and drawing-room, but also as the bedroom of
the two elders ; in the second slept the two young
ladies, already grown-up women, and named La
Mariuca and La Pepina. Tanasio, the eldest of
all, stored himself in the garret, and Celipin, the
youngest of the family and nearly twelve years
old, had a bed in the kitchen the innermost
room, the dingiest, dampest and least habitable
of the three rooms which composed the mansion
of the Centenos.
Nela, during the many years of her residence
there, had inhabited various nooks and corners,
going from one to another, according to the exi-
gencies of the moment, to make way for the thou-
sand objects which served only to curtail the last
scanty accommodation left for human beings. On
some occasion the precise facts are unknown to
history Tanasio, whose feet were as crippled as
his brain, and who devoted himself to the manu-
facture of large hampers made of hazel rods, had
placed in the kitchen a pile of at least half a dozen
of these bulky trophies of his art Marianela
looked on, casting her eyes sadly around, and
rinding no corner left into which to creep ; but
the predicament itself inspired her with a happy
idea, which she at once acted upon. She simply
got into one of the baskets, and there passed the
night in sound and blissful sleep. In fact, it was
comfortable enough, and when it was cold she
pulled another basket on the top. From that time,
so long as there were garrotcs (a local name for
these coarse, open baskets) to be found, she never
was at a loss for a crib, and the others would say
of the child : " She sleeps like a jewel."
During meals, in the midst of a noisy discus-
sion on the morning's work, a voice would sud-
denly say in rough tones : " Here !" and Nela
would have a plate given her by one of the family,
big or small, and would seat herself against the big
chest to eat what she had got, in silence. But tow-
ards the end of the meal sometimes the master's
harsh bleating voice would be lifted up saying,
with a perfunctory air of benevolence : " Mothe* ',
you have given poor Nela nothing." And then
Senana, a compound name abbreviated from
Senora Ana, would move her head about as if try-
ing to see some minute and remote object be-
tween the bodies of her own children, saying as
she did so : " What, are you there ? I thought
you had stayed at Aldeacorba."
At night, after supper, the family repeated the
Paternoster over, their beads and then, staggering
like bacchantes, and rubbing their eyes with their
fists, Mariuca and Pepina went to their beds,
which were snug and comfortable and covered
with patchwork quilts. In a few minutes a duet
of contralto snoring was heard which lasted with-
out intermission till morning dawned. Tanasio
went up to the higher regions and Celipin curled
himself round on a heap of rags, not far from the
basket into which Nela disappeared from sight.
The family thus being disposed of, the parents
sat up for a while in the living-room, and while
Centeno, seating himself with a stretch close to
the little table and taking up a newspaper, made a
series of grimaces to convey his bold intention of
reading it, his wife took a stocking full of money
out of the family chest, and after counting it and
adding or taking out a few pieces, carefully re-
stored it to its place. Then she took out sundry
paper packets containing gold pieces and transfer-
red some from one parcel to another. Meanwhile
such remarks as these were made. " Mariuca's
petticoat cost thirty-two reales. I gave Tanasio
the six reales he had to pay. We only want eleven
duros* to make up the five hundred."
Or, on the other hand :
* A Spanish silver coin, equal in value to the U. S. dollar.
"The deputies agreed." "Yesterday a con-
ference was held, etc. ..."
Senana's fingers did her sums, while her hus-
band's forefinger passed doubtfully and waver-
ingly along the lines, to guide his eye and mind
through the labyrinth of letters. And these sen-
tences gradually died away into monosyllables ;
one yawned, then the other, and at last all sunk
into silence, after extinguishing the lamp by which
the overseer of the^mules had been cultivating his
One night, when all was quiet, a creaking of
baskets became audible in the kitchen. It was
not perfectly dark there, for the shutters of the
little window were never shut, and Celipin Cen-
teno, who was not yet asleep, saw the topmost
baskets, which were packed one inside the other,
rising slowly like a gaping oyster-shell, and out
of the opening peeped the nose and black eyes of
" Celipin," she said, " Celipinillo, are you
asleep ?" and she put a hand out.
" No, I am awake ; Nela, you look like a mus-
sel in its shell. What do you want ?"
" Here, take this, it is a peseta* that a gentle-
man gave me this evening the brother of Don
* A silver coin containing two reales.
Carlos. How much have you got now ? This
is something like a present ; now I have given
you something better than coppers !"
" Give it here and thank you very much,
Nela," said the boy, sitting up to reach the money.
"You have given me nearly thirty-two reales
now, a copper at a time.* I have it all safe here,
inside my shirt, in the little bag you gave me.
You are a real good girl."
" I do not want money for anything ; but
take good care of it, for if Senana were to find it,
she would think you would get into some mischief
xvith it and thrash you with the big stick."
" No, no, it is not to get into mischief," said
the boy vehemently, and clenching the money to
his breast with one hand, while he supported him-
self on the other. " It is to make myself a rich
man, Nela, a clever man like some I know. On
Sunday, if they will let me go to Villamojada, I
must buy a spelling-book to learn to read, although
they will not teach me here. Who cares ! I will
learn by myself. Do you know, Nela, they say
that Don Carlos is the son of a man who swept
the streets in Madrid, and he, all by himself, learnt
everything he knows."
* The copper piece is a cttarto. A real contains 34 maravedis
and is worth about the same as the U. S. dime. The smallest Spanish
coin is the maravedi. Four maravedis make a cuarto.
" And so you think you can do the same,
" I believe you ! If father will not take me
away from these confounded mines, I will find
some other way ; ah ! you shall see what sort of
a man I am. I was never meant for that Nela.
You just wait till I have collected a good sum, and
then you will see you will see how I will find a
place in the town there, or take the train to
Madrid, or a steamboat to carry me over to the
islands out there, or get a place as a servant to
some one who will let me study."
" Dear Mother of Heaven !" exclaimed Nela,
opening her oyster-shell still wider and putting
out her whole head. " How quiet you have kept
all these sly plans."
" Do you take me for a fool ? I tell you what
Nela, I am in a mad rage. I cannot live like this;
I shall die in the mines. Drat it all ! Why, I
spend my nights in crying, and my hands are all
knocked to pieces and but do not be frightened,
Nela, at what I am going to say, and do not think
me wicked I would not say it to any other living
" Well ?"
"I do not love father and mother not as I
" Oh ! if you say such things I will never give
you another real. Celipin, for God's sake, think
of what you are saying."
" I cannot help it. Why, just look how we
go on here. We are not human beings, we are
brutes. Sometimes I almost "think we are less
than the mules, and I ask myself if I am in any way
better than a donkey fetching a basket of the
ore and pitching it into a truck ; shoving the
truck up to the furnaces ; stirring the mineral
with a stick to wash it ! Oh dear, oh dear !" . . .
and the hapless boy began to sob bitterly. " Drat
drat it all ! but if you spend years upon years
in work like this, you are bound to go to the
bad at last, your very brains turn to iron-stone.
No, I was never meant for this. I tell my father
to let me go away and learn something, and he
answers that we are poor, and that I am too full of
fancies. We are nothing, nothing but brutes
grinding out a living day by day. Why do you
But Nela did not answer perhaps she was
comparing the boy's hard lot with her own, and
finding her own' much the worse of the two.
" What do you want me to say ?" she replied
at last. " I can never be any good to any one
I am nobody. I can say , nothing to you. . . .
But do not think such wicked things about your
father I mean."
" You only say so to comfort me ; but you
know quite well it is true, and I do believe you
"Yes, you are, I am sure."
"Everyone has something to cry for," said
Maria in a broken voice. " But it is very late,
Celipin ; we must go to sleep."
" No indeed, not if I know it !"
" Yes, child ; go to sleep and do not think of
such miserable things. Good- night."
The shell closed and all was silent.
We hear a great deal said about the hard and
narrow materialism of cities, a dry rot which, amid
all the splendor and pleasures of civilization, eats
into the moral cohesion of society ; but there is a
worse and deeper disease ; thg parochial material-
ism of country villages which ossifies millions of
living beings, crushes every noble ambition in
their souls and shuts them into the petty round of
a mechanical existence, reducing them to the
meanest animal instincts. There are many more
blatant evils in the social order as, for instance,
speculation, usury, the worship of mammon
among men of high culture ; but above all these,
broods a monster which secretly and silently ruins
more than all else, and that is the greed of the
peasant. The covetous peasant acknowledges-. no ..
moral law, has no religion, no clear notions of
right ana wrong ; they are all inextricably mixed
up in his mind with a strange compound of super-
stition and calculating avarice. Behind an air of
hypocritical simplicity, there lies a sinister arithme-
tic which, for keenness and intelligibility, far
transcends the methods of the best mathematicians.
A peasant who has taken a fancy to hoard copper
coin, and dreams of changing it presently into silver
and then the silver into gold, is the most ignoble
creature in creation ; he is capable of every form
and device of malice known to man, combined
with an absence of feeling that is appalling. His
soul shrinks and shrivels till it is nothing more
than a minim measure. Ignorance, coarseness,
and squalor complete the abominable compound
and deprive it of all the means of veiling the deso-
lation within. He can only count on his fingers,
but he is capable of reducing to figures all moral
sense, conscience and the soul itself.
Senana and Centeno, who, after many strug-
gles, had contrived to earn their " morsel of bread"
in the mines of Socartes, were able to make, with
the added toil of their four children, a daily wage
which they would have regarded as a princely for-
tune in the days when they wandered from fair to
fair selling pots and pipkins. It should be men-
tioned with regard to the intellectual powers
of Centeno, that his head, in the opinion' of many
persons, rivalled the steam-hammer in the work-
shops for sheer hardness ; with no disparagement
to that of dame Ana, his wife, who seemed to
be a woman of much prudence and discrimination,
and who governed her household as carefully as
the wisest prince could govern his dominions. She
bagged the wages, earned by her husband and
children, with the best grace in the world, and they
amounted to a neat little sum ; and each time the
money was brought home, she felt as if the very
sacrament itself were being carried in, so intense
was her delight at the mere sight of coin.
Senana afforded her children very little com-
fort in return for the fortune she was accumulating
by the labor of their hands ; however, as they
never complained of the utter and debasing
misery in which they lived, as they betrayed no
wish for emancipation, nor for a breath of any
nobler life worthier of intelligent beings, Senana
let the days slip on. Many indeed had slipped
away before her children slept in beds, and many,
many more before their brawny limbs were covered
with decent garments. She gave them regular and
wholesome meals, following in this respect the
rules most in vogue ; but eating in her house was
a melancholy ceremony nevertheless, a mere doling
out of fodder, as it were, to human animals.
So far as mental nourishment was concerned,
Senana firmly believed that her husband's erudi-
tion, acquired by much miscellaneous reading,
was amply sufficient to credit the whole family
with learning, and for that reason she forbore to
cram the minds of her progeny even with the
amount of instruction which is given in schools.
The elder ones helped her, and the youngest lived
free of pedagogues, buried alive for twelve hours
out of every twenty-four in brutalizing toil in the
mines, so that the whole family swam at large and
at leisure in the vast and stagnant ocean of dul-
The two girls, Mariuca and Pepina, were not
destitute of charms, though youth and robust
growth were the chief. One of them read fluently,
but not the other, and, so far as knowledge of the
world was concerned, it is easy to suppose that
some rudimentary information, at least, was not
lacking to girls who lived with a perfect chorus of
nymphs of all ages and every grade of respect-
ability or the contrary perpetually employed
in mechanical work which left their tongues free
to wag. Mariuca and Pepina were buxom and
well grown, and as erect and strong as Amazons.
They wore short petticoats, displaying half the calf
of the leg which, as well as their broad feet, was
bare, and their rough heads might have supported
an architrave as stoutly as those of Caryatides.
The russet dust of the iron ore which colored them
from head to foot, like all in the mines, gave them
the appearance of massive figures in terra-cotta.
Tanasio was a lethargic being; his want of
character and ambition verged on idiocy. Con-
fined to the house from his earliest years, inca-
pable of taking any exercise, of feeling either
annoyance or pleasure, or of fulfilling any task,
the boy, who was born to be a machine, had sunk
into something not superior to the roughest tool.
The day which found such a creature able to orig-
inate an idea, would infallibly see the total subver-
sion of the order of nature; for, hitherto, no stone
has been known to think.
The relation of this family to their mother was
that of abject submission on their part, and unlim-
ited despotism on hers. The only child who
ever dared to show symptoms of rebellion was the
little one. Senana, with her narrow capacities,
could not at all understand this diabolical ambi-
tion to be something better than a stone. Was
there did he suppose any happier or more
exemplary life than that of a stone ? She would
not admit that it might be changed, even for that
of a rolling stone. Senana loved her children
but there are so many ways of loving. She placed
them above every other consideration - so long
as they submitted to work perpetually in the
mines, to pour all their earnings into- one bowl, to
obey her blindly, to cherish no wild aspirations
nor wish to appear in fine clothes, not to- marry too
young, nor to learn any mischievous trash and
cram their heads with school-work, since " poor
folks" she would say "must always remain poor
and behave as such, and not be wanting to jabber
in the style of the rich city folks, who were eaten
up with vices and rotten with sin."
I have described the manners and customs
which prevailed in the Centeno's house in order
that the reader may understand the life to which
Nela was doomed, a helpless, forsaken creature,
alone, useless, incapable of earning a day's wages ;
alike without a past and without a future, with no
right to anything on earth beyond a bare subsist-
ence. Senana gave her this, and firmly believed
that her generosity was nothing short of heroic.
Many a time would she say, as she filled Nela's
little platter : " What a reward I am laying up for
myself hereafter in Heaven !" And she believed
it as if it were Gospel. No true light could pene-
trate her thick skull as to the saintly exercise of
charity ; she could never have understood that a
kind word, a caress, a loving and gentle action,
which may make a wretch forget his misery, are
infinitely more precious aye, and more heroic
than the broken meat left from a bad meal. It
was but a chance that she did not give them to
the cat, who, at least, was far more kindly spoken
to. Nela never heard herself addressed as mi-
chita, little pet, precious darling nor by any
other of the sweet and endearing names that were
lavished on the cat.
Nothing ever suggested to Nela that she was
born of human beings, like the other inhabitants of
the house. She was never punished ; but she felt
that this immunity arose from their contemptuous
pity for her feeble frame, and certainly not from
any special esteem or care for her person. No
one had ever taught her that she had a soul ready
to bring forth good fruit if she cultivated it with
care, nor that she bore within herself, like other
mortals, that spark of the divine fire which is
called human intelligence, and that this spark
might be fanned to beneficent light and flame. No
one had ever told her that her grotesque small-
ness included in itself the germ of every noble
and delicate sentiment, and that those tiny buds
might open out to lovely flowers, with no more
cultivation than a herb that we glance at now and
again. No one had told her that she had a right,
by the very sternness of Nature in creating her, to
certain tender cares which the strong can dispense
with the healthy and those who have parents
and a home ; since under the laws of Christian
jurisprudence the helpless, the poor, the orphan,
and the destitute, are all alike worthy of protection.
On the other hand, everything combined to
impress upon her, her absolute resemblance to a
rolling stone, which has not even a shape of its
own, but takes that which the waters give it or
the kick of the man that spurns it. Everything
told her that her place in the house was something
below the cat, whose sleek back received the only
caresses ever bestowed on anyone, and the black-
bird that hopped about its cage. And of them,
at any rate, no one said in heartless compassion :
" Poor creature ! it is a pity she did not die !"
LABOR AND A LANDSCAPE WITH FIGURES.
THE smoke of the furnaces, which all night
through were wide awake and panting out their
hot, hoarse breath, caught a silvery gleam as its
wreaths rolled into the distance ; the faint smile of
dawn fell upon the remotest peaks of the moun-
tains, and, by degrees, the hills that guard Socartes
came out of the darkness, the huge slopes of rust-
colored earth and the blackened buildings. The
bell of the works rang out shrilly its call " to work,
to work," and hundreds of sleepy souls came out
of the houses, huts, hovels, holes even. Doors
creaked on their hinges ; the mules came reluc-
tantly out of the stables, making their way to their
watering-place, and the whole establishment,
which had just now looked like a city of the dead
lighted up by the infernal glare of the furnaces,
came to life and began to stir its thousand arms.
The steam soon was seething in the boilers
of the great steam-engine, which supplied the
motive power both for the workshops and
the washing-mills. The water, which performed
the principal part in the operations, began
to flow through the raised conduits from
which it fell on the cylinders. Files of men
and women just risen from their beds, made their
way down to the scene of labor, and at length the
cylindrical sieves began to revolve with hideous
groaning ; the water rushed from one to the other,
pulverizing the dark earth which tumbled on in
muddy eddies and cataracts, from trough to trough,
till it settled at last in a fine chocolate-brown pow-
der. The sound was as of a thousand hungry
jaws chewing grit and sand ; the play of light on
water and soil made it as dazzling as a kaleido-
scope, and the clatter was like some enormous
hollow drum, filled with pebbles and potsherds.
It was impossible to look on without turning
giddy at the incessant whirl of a vast skein, as it
were, of threads of water, some clear and transpar-
ent, others stained red by the ferruginous clay; nor
could any human brain that was not accustomed
to the spectacle, picture to itself this mad struggle
of toothed wheels which never ceased biting at
each other, of cogs, that .met, and caught, and
rolled away again, of screws which, as they turned,
shrieked in pitiless clamor for oil.
The washing was all done in the open air.
The connecting belts came humming down from
the machinery sheds ; other belts began to re-
volve, and at the same time a rhythmical stamp-
ing was heard, a slow and awful tramp like a
giant's step, or a fearful throbbing inside mother
earth. This was the great hammer which had be-
gun to beat ; its stupendous blows moulded the
iron like a paste, and those huge wheels, and
beams, which look as if made to last forever, be-
gan to twist and writhe like the limbs of men in
torment, while the hammer, with its monotonous
impact, created new forms as strong as the rocks
which are the work of ages. For the results of labor
have a strange resemblance to the results of patience.
Men so black, that they look like hewn and
animated coal, gathered round the fiery objects
that were taken from the forges, and seizing them
with those prolonged hands known as tongs,
set to work to hammer them. It is a strange
kind of sculpture, this, which has fire for its in-
spiring genius and a steam-hammer for its chisel.
Wheels and axle-trees for thousands of trucks, and
the damaged portions of the washing-machinery,
were repaired here, and picks, spades and barrows
were made. At the back of the workshops saws
hissed through blocks of timber, and the iron,
which had been formed for labor by fire of wood,
now cut through the sturdy fibre of trees hewn by
the axe from their native spot.
Meanwhile, the mules had been harnessed to
long trains of trucks which carried off the waste
earth to add it to the slopes already made, or
fetched the mineral to be washed. They looked
like immense reptiles, crawling up and down to
meet each other, and always passing close but with-
out any jar or collision. They crept into the
mouths- of the tunnels, and their resemblance was
really perfect to the wriggling creatures that shel-
ter in such damp clefts and caves ; and when the
recalcitrant mules kicked and shied in the bowels
of the earth, it was easy to fancy the Saurians were
fighting and screaming at each other. In the
deepest recesses of all, hundreds of men were
tearing up the earth with picks, inch by inch, to
win the hidden treasure ; these were the sculptors
of the strange and enormous figures which stood
in awful gravity and silence to confront the man
who should venture to invade their mysterious do-
main. The miners hewed down here, bored holes
there, dug farther on in one place, scraped down
the wall in another, broke up the limestone, chip-
ped out the pretty flakes of mica and shale,
pounded down the calcareous clay, picked out the
hematite and pyrites, crushed the fine, white
marble rolling and stirring it incessantly till it
should yield zinc silicate for zinc may be called
the silver of Europe, which, being a metal of
which you cannot make saucepans, is destined
to become the fount of wealth and civilization.
Is it not on zinc that Belgium has hoisted her
standard of moral and political greatness ? Aye,
tin even has its epic !
The sky was clear and bright ; the sun rose
unclouded on the scene, and the wide settlement
of Socartes flashed from dark neutrality into red-
ness. The sculptured rocks, the heaps of ore, the
hillocks of waste soil that rose on every side like
Babylonian mounds, were red ; the ground, the
trucks and carts, the machinery, the water and the
laborers that gave life to Socartes. The brick-
colored tone was universal, with faint shades of
difference in the earth and the houses, the metal
and the people's garments. The women at work
at the washing looked like a crowd of nymphs,
come down in the world, and cast in red iron-
stone. A rivulet of crimson fluid ran through the
bottom conduit to join a crimson river you
might fancy it the sweat of these toiling men and
machines, of muscles and of iron.
Nela stepped out of the house. Even she,
though she did not work in the mines, was faintly
tinged with the universal ruddle, for the finely-
powdered metal spared no one. In her hand she
held a hunch of bread which Senana had given
her for breakfast, and as she eat it she walked on
quickly, lost in thought and not lingering to amuse
herself. She had soon passed the workshops and,
going up the inclined plane and the steps before
mentioned, she reached the houses of Aldeacorba.
The first of these was a handsome and stately
mansion, large, well-built, and cheerful looking,
but lately restored and painted ;" with stone
boundary walls, decorated eaves and a broad
escutcheon surrounded by granite foliage. And
the escutcheon itself would be less missed than the
climbing vine, whose long and leafy branches
looked like whiskers growing, as whiskers do,
on each side of a face, of which the two windows
served as eyes, while the escutcheon was the nose
and the long balcony the mouth, always widely
grinning. And to complete this whimsical air of
personality, a beam stuck out from the balcony in-
tended to attach a rope to support an awning, and
with this addition the face was seen as smoking a
cigar. The roof was in the shape of a cap and in it
there was a window that might represent the tas-
sel. The chimneys could only be the ears. It was
one of those faces in which a physiognomist reads
plainly, peace of mind, ease of circumstance and a
In front of it was a little court-yard en-
closed by a wall of adobe, and on one side was
a pretty orchard. As Nela went in she met the cows
coming out to pasture, and after exchanging a few
words with their driver a formidable youth,
about four feet high and ten years old she went
straight up to a stout gentleman, whiskered, grey-
haired and florid, with a kind face and pleasant
smile, and a half-military and half-rustic air;
he was in his shirt sleeves and braces, and his
hairy arms were bared to the elbow. Before the
little girl addressed him, he looked up at the house
and called out : " Here is Nela, my boy !"
A lad at once made his appearance, remarka-
bly tall, grave and erect, his head held somewhat
stiffly and his eyes fixed and vacant like lenses.
His face was like marble, carved with exquisite
sharpness, and his skin was as fine and soft as a
girl's ; there was not a feature or a line which was
not of that supremely beautiful type of manliness
which was the outcome of a thousand years of
Hellenic thought. Those eyes even, so purely
sculpturesque in their lack of sight, were large,
grand and brilliant. Their fixity lost its strange-
ness when you remembered that behind them all
was night. In the absence of the faculty which is
the cause and origin of facial expression, this blind
Antinous had the cold serenity of marble, endowed
with form by the genius of sculpture and with life by
a vital spark. A breath, a ray of warmth, a mere
sensation would suffice to animate the beautiful
stone which, while it possessed every charm of
form, was devoid of that consciousness of its own
beauty, which is born of the faculty of seeing it
He looked about twenty, and his strong and
graceful frame was in every respect worthy of the
incomparable head that crowned it. Never was a
more lamentable injustice done by Nature, than to
this perfect example of humanity as to beauty,
blest, on one hand, with every gift, and bereft, on
the other, of the sense by which man has most
in common with his fellow-man and gains familiar-
ity with all the marvels of creation at large. The
injustice was such, that these splendid gifts were
useless it was as though after creating all things
the Creator had left them in darkness, so that he
could not himself take pleasure in his works. And
to make the privation more conspicuous, the young
man had mental lights of the highest order and a
very superior intelligence. To have this and to
lack the faculty of conceiving the idea of visibility,
of form as distinct from mere matter, and at the
same time to be as beautiful as an angel ; to have
all the faculties of a man and be as blind as a
vegetable ! It was strange and hard. We, alas !
know not the secret of these terrible injustices ; if
we did, then- -indeed the_gates would be open to us
which hide the primordial secrets of moral and
physical duty; we should understand the fathom-
less mysteries of inherited woe, of evil and of
death, and might take measure of the dark shadow
which always haunts life and all that is good in it.
Don Francisco Penaguilas, the young man's
father, was more than good, he was admirable ;
judicious, kind, genial, honorable and magnani-
mous, and well educated too. No one disliked
him ; he was the most respected of all the .rich
land-owners in the country side, and more than
one delicate question had been settled by the
mediation always equitable and intelligent of
the Sefwr de Aldeacorba de Suso. The house in
which we now find him had been the home of his
infancy. In his youth he had been to America,
and on returning to Spain without having made
his fortune, he had joined the National Guard. He
then returned to his native town where, having
inherited a good fortune, he devoted himself to
husbandry and to breeding cattle, and at the
period of our story he had just come into another
and even larger sum.
His wife, who was an Andalusian, had died
very young, leaving him the one son who, from
his birth, was found to be deprived of the most
precious of the five senses. This was the one
drop which embittered the tender father's cup.
What was the use of reminding him that he was
wealthy, that fortune favored all his undertakings
and smiled on his house ? For whose sake did he
care about it all ? For one who could see neither
the thriving beasts, the flowery meadows, the
overflowing granaries, nor the orchard with its
abundant crop. Don Francisco would gladly
have given his own eyes to his son, and have re-
mained blind for the rest of his days, if such an
act of generosity were possible in this work-a-day
world ; but, as it was not, Don Francisco could
only carry his devotion into practice by giving the
hapless youth every pleasure which could alleviate
the gloom of the darkness in which he lived. For
him he was indefatigable in the cares and the end-
less trifling details of forethought and affection of
which mothers have the secret and fathers some-
times, when the mother is no more. He never
contradicted his son in anything which might con-
sole or entertain him within the limits of propriety
and morality. He amused him with narratives and
reading, watched him with studious anxiety, con-
sidering his health, his legitimate amusements, his
instruction and his Christian education ; for, said
Senor de Penaguilas, whose principles were strictly
orthodox : " I would not have my son doubly
Now, as he came out of the house, he said
" Do not go too far to-day, and do not run
He watched them from the gate till they had
turned the corner of the garden wall, and then he
went indoors, for he had many things to do ; to
write to his brother Manuel, to buy a cow, to
prune a tree, and to see whether the guinea-hen
PABLO and Marianela went out into the coun-
try, preceded by Choto, who ran on and danced
round them, leaping with delight, and sharing his
caresses with great impartiality between his master
and his master's guide.
" Nela," said Pablo, " it is a lovely day ; the
air is soft and fresh, and the sun warm without
being scorching. Where shall we go ?"
" Let us go straight on through the meadows,"
replied Nela, poking her hand into one of the
pockets of the lad's coat. "What have you
brought me to-day ?"
" Search and you will find," said Pablo
" Ah ! Holy Virgin ! chocolate ! how I love
chocolate! nuts and something done up in
paper. What is it ? Oh, Blessed Virgin ! a
sweetie ! Do not I like sweeties ! How rich I am !
We do not have such good things to eat at home,
Pablo. There is no luxury in our food ; there is
no luxury in our clothes either, to be sure. In fact,
no luxury of any sort."
" Where shall we go to-day ?" repeated the
" Wherever you like, child of my heart," re-
plied Nela, eating the sugar-plum and tearing up
the paper it had been wrapped in. " I hear and
obey, king of the world."
The child's black eyes sparkled with happiness;
her sprightly little bird-like face smiled and wrink-
led with satisfaction, and was not still for an in-
stant, as though fitful flashes came and went there
like dimpling light on wavelets in a pool. This
helpless little creature, whose spirit seemed im-
prisoned and confined in the feeble body, ex-
panded and rose elastic when she was alone with
her master and friend. With him she at once be-
came original, bright and intelligent; she had
feeling, grace, refinement and fancy. When she
left him, the dark doors of a prison seemed to close
on her once more.
" But I tell you we will go wherever you
like," remarked the blind youth. "I like to do
what you like. If you wish we will go to the
clump of trees beyond Saldeoro but just as you
"Yes, yes, delightful!" exclaimed Nela, clap-
ping her hands. "And as there is no hurry, we can
sit down whenever we are tired."
" There is a nice place near the spring do you
remember, Nela? And there are some large tree-
trunks, which seem to have been left there on pur-
pose for us to sit upon, and we hear so many,
many birds singing, that it is quite glorious."
" And we can go past the mill-stream that, you
say, talks and mumbles the words out like a tipsy
man. Oh ! what a lovely day and how happy I
" Is the sun very bright, Nela ? Though if you
say ' yes,' I shall be none the wiser, since bright
has no meaning for me."
" It is very bright indeed, Seiiorito mio. But
what does it matter that you cannot see it ? The
sun is not at all pretty ; you cannot look in its
" Why not ?"
" Because it hurts."
" Hurts what ?"
" Hurts the eyes. How do you feel when you
are happy ?"
"When I am out with you, just we two to-
gether in the fields ?"
" Oh ! I feel inside me a sort of freshness, a
springing up of something sweet and sooth-
ing. . . ,"
" That is just it ; now you know how the sun
" What with freshness ?"
"No, no silly boy."
" Oh, like that"
" Like that ? But what is that ?"
" Like that," Nela insisted again.
" I see, it is a thing that cannot be explained
in words. Do you know I used to have a notion
of day and of night. It was daytime when people
talked, it was night when people were silent and
the cocks crowed. Now I estimate it differently ; it
''*.:" V 5
is day when you and I are together, and it is
night when we are apart."
" Ah, Holy Mother !" exclaimed the girl, shak-
ing back the elf-locks that hung over her forehead.
"To me, who can see, it is exactly the same."
" I mean to ask my father to let you come and
live in our house, so that I may always have you
" Good, good !" cried Marianela clapping her
hands once more. And as she spoke, she skipped
on a little way in front and picking up her skirts
with a great deal of grace began to dance.
" What are you about ?" asked the blind boy.
" Child of my heart, I am dancing, I felt so
happy that I thought I must dance."
However, they now had to get over a little fence,
and she slipped her hand into his. After surmount-
ing this obstacle, they went along a lane hedged in
on each side by luxuriant ivy and brambles. Nela
held the branches back that they might not scratch
her companion's face, and at last, after going down-
hill for a considerable time, they went up a slope
shaded by chestnut and walnut trees. When they
had reached the top Pablo said :
" If you do not mind we will sit down here. I
hear some people going past."
" They are the people returning from the mar-
ket at Homedes. To-day is Wednesday. The
high-road runs just below and we can rest here be-
fore going on."
" It is the best thing we can do. Choto, come
The trio seated themselves.
"The place is full of flowers," said Nela.
" Pick me some. Though I cannot see them,
I like to hold them in my hand. I fancy I can
" Here are some lovely ones."
" As I hold them in my hand I fancy that they
make me feel and understand I cannot tell you
how that they are pretty and gay. There is
something inside me, that they seem to belong to,
and that answers to them. Do you know, Nela,
I fancy that I can really see, inside, as it were."
" Oh ! yes, I quite understand we have every-
thing inside us there. The sun, the flowers, the
moon and wide blue sky, with all the stars we
have them all there ; I mean that besides all the
beautiful things outside us, and around us, we carry
others with us in our minds. Here you have a
flower and another, and another six, all quite
different. Now, what do you think flowers are ?"
" Flowers," said the blind youth, puzzled and
lifting them to his face. "Flowers are I fancy as
if the_ earth _ .smiled; but, in truth, I know very
little about plants and flowers."
" Merciful Mother ! what terrible ignorance !"
cried Nela, stroking her friend's hands. " Flowers
are the stars of the earth."
" What an extravagant fancy ! And what are
the stars then ?"
" The stars are the eyes of those who have
gone to Heaven and look down on us."
" Well, but then the flowers. ..."
" Are the eyes of those who are dead and
have not gone straight to Heaven," said the girl,
with all the decision and conviction of a Doctor
of Theology. " The dead are buried in the ground ;
but as they cannot lie still there without just peep-
ing out at the world, they put forth something
which takes the form of a flower. When, in a
field there are many, many flowers, it is because
once upon a time, long ago, a great many people
were buried there."
" No, no," said Pablo very seriously. " Do
not believe such nonsense. Our holy religion
teaches us that the spirit quits the flesh and that
our mortal life comes to an end. What is buried,
Nela, is a mere shell of useless clay which can
neither think, nor feel, nor even see."
" The books say so but Senana says that
books are full of lies."
" But faith and reason say so too, dear Nela.
Your imagination makes you believe a number of
foolish things, but by degrees I will show you
your errors, and you will have true and right
ideas about everything in this world and the
" Aye, aye ! I know, lessons at three for a
penny! And you wanted to make me believe
that the sun stands still and the earth spins round
and round it ! How can you know, you who can-
not see. Merciful Heaven ! May I die on the
spot, if the earth is not as steady as a rock and the
sun running on. Seiiorito mio, I do not set up
for learning, but I have spent many hours of the
day and night in looking at the sky, and I know
how the machine works. The earth is below and
full of islands, some large and some small. The
sun comes up on this side and goes down out there.
It is God Almighty's palace."
" Foolish child !"
" But why not ? Ah ! you have never seen a
fine day and clear sky; why, child, you could
fancy blessing was dropping down from it. I do
not think there could be wicked people nobody
could be wicked if they would only turn up
their faces and see the great eye that looks down
" Your religion is full of superstition, my little
Nela. I will teach you something better."
" Nobody has taught me anything," said Maria
very simply. " But I myself, whoever may object,
have found out in my own head a great many
ideas that comfort me, and so when a good idea
occurs to me, I say : ' Of course, it must be so ; it
cannot be otherwise.' At night, when I am alone
at home, I wonder what will become of us when
we die, and I think how much the Holy Virgin
"Yes, she is our loving Mother."
" And I look up at the sky and I feel her close
over my head, just as when you go up to any one,
you feel the warmth of their breath. She looks
at us night and day through all the lovely things
there are in the world do not laugh at me."
" Those lovely things. . . . ?"
" Are her eyes, of course. Oh ! you would
understand it if you had eyes yourself. You have
not seen a white cloud, a tree, a flower, running
water, a little child, a little lamb, the sparkling
dew, the moon sailing across the sky, and the stars,
which are the eyes of the good men who are
dead. . . "
" They would not want to go up there if they
lie under the ground throwing out flowers."
" Only hear this all-knowing fellow ! Why
they stay down there only till they are purified of
sin, and then they mount and fly up there. Yes,
I believe it, simpleton. Why, what can the stars
be if they are not the souls of those who are
saved ? Do not you know that stars sometimes
come down ? 1,1 myself, have seen them fall ;
down, down, leaving a ray of light behind them.
Yes, Senor, the stars come down when they have
something to tell us here below."
" Oh, Nela !" Pablo exclaimed eagerly. "Your
wild imaginings, absurd as they are, charm and
captivate me, for they betray the innocence of
your soul and the strength of your fancy. All
your errors even are part of an earnest disposition
to know the truth, and of great gifts, which would
be very superior talents if they were cultivated by
reason and education. You must acquire one
precious accomplishment of which I am deprived
you must positively learn to read."
" To read ! And who is to teach me ?"
" My father will ; I will ask him to teach you.
You know he never refuses me anything. What a
pity it is you should live in such a wretched way;
your mind is a mine of treasures. You are good-
ness and sweetness itself and have a lovely imagi-
nation. God has given you a large share of all
the gifts that are in his store and part of himself;
I know it well I cannot see what is outside, but I
can see within, and I know all the wonders of your
spirit that you have shown me since you have
been my guide. It is a year and a half now, and
it seems like yesterday, that we first began our
walks together and yet, no ; I have known you
a thousand years. How is it that there is such a
close relationship between your feelings and mine ?
Just now, for instance, you have talked all sorts
of extravagant nonsense, and I, who know the
truth about the world and religion, I was stirred
to enthusiasm as I listened to you. I feel as if it
were a voice speaking in my own heart."
" Holy Mother !" exclaimed the girl, folding
her hands.. " And can he see something else that
I feel ?"
" What is that ?"
" That I was put into the world expressly to
be your lazarillo, and that my eyes would be of
no use at all, if it were not to guide you and to
tell you how beautiful the world is."
The blind boy turned his head suddenly and
eagerly, and putting out his hands to touch the
child by his side, he said anxiously :
" Tell me, Nela what are you like ?"
But Nela did not answer ; the question was a
stab to her heart.
BY this time they were rested, and they went
on till they reached the beginning of the grove
beyond Saldeoro. Here they turned off into a
clump of ancient walnut trees, of which the trunks
and roots made a sort of step-ladder in the soil,
with mossy hollows and backs so perfect for seats,
that the hand of man could have made no better.
From the top of the slope trickled a thread of
water, tumbling from stone to stone, till it fell ex-
hausted into a little basin constructed to be a
reservoir to feed the conduit by which the neigh-
boring houses were supplied. Before them the
land sloped gently away, affording a lovely pano-
rama of green hills with scattered groves and
villas, and meadow plains where hundreds of
cattle grazed and wandered peacefully. Quite in
the background, between two lofty heights which
were the farthest limit of the land, lay a wide seg-
ment of purely blue sea. It was such a landscape
as makes a man feel to the utmost his relations to
infinity and eternity.
Pablo had seated himself on the trunk of a
tree, resting his left arm on the edge of the basin ;
with his right hand he pulled at the boughs which
hung low enough to touch his forehead, on which
now and again the sunbeams played, as the boughs
" What are you doing, Nela ?" asked he, after
a pause, not hearing the steps, the voice, nor even
the breathing of his companion. " What are you
about, and where are you ?"
" Here I am," said Nela, laying her hand on
his shoulder. " I was looking at the sea."
" Ah !. it must be a long way off."
" It is visible between the hills of Ficobriga."
" Very large immensely large so wide that
you might look all day, and not have done looking
is it not ?"
" There is only a piece to be seen from here
like the bit you cut off with your teeth when
you put a slice of bread in your mouth."
"Yes, yes I understand. Every one says
there is nothing in the world so beautiful as the
sea, because it is so grandly simple. Listen,
Nela, to what I am going to say but what are
you doing ?" Nela had grasped a bough of the
tree with both hands, and was swinging by it
lightly and gracefully.
" Here I am, Senorito mio, I was wondering
why God should not give us human creatures
wings to fly like birds. How delightful it would
be just to give a flap and a whisk, and up we
should go, and in one flight we should be at the
top of that peak between Ficobriga and the sea."
" But though God has not given us wings he
has given us thought instead, which flies faster
than any bird, since it can fly up to God himself.
Tell me, child, of what good would wings be to
me, if God had denied me the gift of thought ?"
" But I should like to have both. And if I
had wings I would pick you up in my little beak
to take you out of this world, and carry you up
ever so much higher than the clouds." The blind
lad put out his hand to stroke Nela's hair.
" Sit down by me ; are you not tired ?"
" Just a little," she said, sitting down and lay-
ing her head with childlike confidence on her
" You are breathing fast, Nelilla, you are very
tired ; it is with trying to fly. Well, what I want
to say to you is this : Talking of the sea put me.
in mind of a thing my father read to me last night.
You know that ever since I was old enough, my
father has been in the habit of reading to me
every evening different books of science, or his-
tory, or art, or mere amusement. I might say
that these readings make up all I know of life.
The Lord, to compensate me for being blind, has
given me a very good memory, and it has turned
these readings to good account ; for though there
has been no regular method in them, I have con-
trived to put some order into the ideas that have
penetrated to my understanding. How I have
enjoyed listening and learning about the admirable
laws and order of the universe, the harmonious
circling of the stars, the motion of atoms, and
above all, those grand principles which govern our
souls and minds. I have enjoyed history too,
which is a true account of all the things men have
done in former times ; for though, my child, they
have always done the same wicked and foolish
things, they have nevertheless gone on improving,
some of them doing their utmost but without
ever succeeding to attain that perfection which
belongs to God alone. And finally, my father has
read me some deeper and more mysterious things
that cannot be understood at once, but when they
are thought over and considered they occupy and
charm the mind. He does not enjoy that sort of
reading very much, as he does not altogether fol-
low it, and it has tired me sometimes, while at
other times it has delighted me. And there is no
doubt that when you have an author who explains
himself clearly, such subjects are very interesting.
They deal with cause and effect, the rationale of all
we think, and how we think, and teach us about
the essential nature of things."
Nela did not seem to understand a single
word of what her friend was saying, but she lis- 1
tened attentively with her mouth wide open ; to
inhale, if possible, the essences and causes of
which her master was discoursing, opening her
beak like a bird watching the movements of a fly
he wants to catch.
" Well, then," he went on, " last night he was
reading me some pages about Beauty. The
author, in discussing Beauty, said that it was the
outcome and radiance of goodness and truth, with
many other ingenious comparisons so well thought
out and expressed, that it was a pleasure to
" And was that book," said Nela, anxious to
prove herself equal to the occasion, " like one
father Centeno has. . . . The thousand and I don't
know how many nights ?"
" No, no, goose-cap ; it is a book on Beauty
in the abstract, you will not understand on ideal
Beauty and yet you must understand that there
is a sort of Beauty which cannot be seen, nor
touched, nor perceived by any of our senses."
" For example, like the Virgin Mary," inter-
rupted Nela, " whom we cannot see nor touch,
because her pictures are not herself, but only her
" You are quite right ; it is just like that.
Thinking over this, my father shut the book, and
talked of one thing and another. We spoke then
of beauty of form, and my father said : ' This
unfortunately you can never understand.' But I
said I could. I said that there could only be one
type, and that would apply to all."
Nela, caring little enough for such subtleties,
had taken -the flowers out of her companion's
hands, and was arranging their colors to her taste,
"I have a clear idea about this," the blind
lad went on, vehemently, "an idea that I have
been quite in love with for some months. Yes, I
am sure, quite sure of it ; I want no eyes to see
that, and I said to my father, I have an ideal of
enchanting beauty, a type which includes every
possible perfection, and that type is Nela. My
father began to laugh, and said 'yes.' '
Nela turned as scarlet as a poppy, and could
not answer a word. During a short spasm of ter-
ror and pain, she felt as if the blind boy were
looking at her.
" Yes, you are the most perfect beauty imagi-
nable," Pablo went on, eagerly. " How could it be
possible that your goodness, and innocence, and
freshness and grace your imagination, your sweet
and lovely soul, which have all combined to enliven
and comfort my dark and melancholy life how,
I say, could it be possible that they should not be
embodied in a person as lovely ? Nela, Nela,"
and his voice trembled with anxiety. "Tell me
are you not beautiful very pretty?"
Nela was silent ; she instinctively put her
hands up, and stuck into her hair some of the
half-faded flowers she had gathered in the mead-
" You will not say ? You are modest. In-
deed, if*you were not, you would not be the sweet
little soul that you are ; the logic of Beauty would
be at fault, and that cannot be. You do not an-
"I . ..." murmured Nela timidly, not ceasing
her occupation, " I do not know they say that I
was very pretty as a baby but now . . . ."
" You are still ?"
Maria, in her utter confusion, could only say :
" Now well, you know that people talk non-
sense and make stupid mistakes sometimes
those who have eyes see least."
" Yes indeed, well said ! Come here and kiss
Nela did not instantly obey, for having suc-
ceeded in fixing a sort of garland of flowers in her
hair, she now felt an eager wish to see the effect
of the adornment in the clear mirror of the reser-
voir. For the first time in her life she felt an im-
pulse of vanity, and leaning on her hands, she bent
over the basin.
" What are you doing ?" asked the blind lad.
" I am looking at myself in the water, which is
just like a looking-glass," she replied, confessing
her vanity with perfect simplicity.
" You need not do that. You are as lovely as
the angels round the throne of God." He had
fired himself with enthusiastic imaginings. *
" The water is ruffled now," said the girl,
" and I cannot see myself plainly. It is trembling
as much as I am. There, now it is quieter, now
it is still again. I can see myself now, very well."
" And see how pretty you are ! Come here,
my child ?" added the blind youth, holding out his
"I .... pretty !" she said, in anxious confusion.
" Well, what I see in the pool is not so ugly as
MARIANELA. 8 1
they say. The fact is, there are a great many
people who do not know how to see."
" Aye, a great many."
" If only I were dressed as other girls are !"
exclaimed Nela, with a touch of pride.
"You shall be."
" And the book said I was beautiful ?" asked
Nela, appealing to every source of conviction.
" I say so, and I always speak the truth !" cried
the boy, carried away by his eager imagination.
" Maybe it is so," said Nela, moving away
from her not too flattering contemplation. " May-
be that men are very stupid, and do not see
things as they really are."
" Human nature is liable to a thousand
" I do believe it," said Mariquilla, greatly com-
forted by her friend's words. " What can they
see to laugh at in me ?"
" Oh ! how miserable is the lot of man !" cried
the blind boy, driven to wild absurdity by his rav-
ing fancy. " The gift of sight may lead him into
many errors may betray him into a misappre-
hension of abstract truth and abstract truth
proves that you are beautiful, without any stain
or blemish of ugliness. If any one. tells me the
contrary, I will give him the lie. Away with their
theories of form. Oh, fool ! into what sins your
eyes may mislead you ! Nela, come here, I want
to have you by my side and kiss your beloved
She threw herself into his arms.
" Sweet, lovely darling !" he exclaimed, clasp-
ing her passionately to his breast " With all my
soul I love you !"
Nela did not speak. Her heart was full of in-
nocent and tender devotion, overflowing with pure
delight. The youth, trembling and throbbing,
held her more closely than ever, saying :
" I love you more than my life. Angel of
God, love me too or I shall die !"
Maria freed herself from his embrace, and he
remained lost in bewilderment. She, the tiny
woman, felt an overwhelming and irresistible im-
pulse to look at her face once more in the water.
She gently stole up to the edge, and there against
the green background she saw the insignificant
little face, with its black eyes, its dull coloring, its
sharp nose not altogether ugly that nose the
short, unkempt hair, and the birdlike, eager ex-
pression. She leaned farther over the stone brim
to see her body ; it was pitiably made and mean.
The flowers in her hair fell into the water, mak-
ing circles in it, and the image wavered. She,
poor child, felt as if her heart were being torn up
by the roots, and she staggered backwards, mur-
" -Mother of God ! how hideous I am !"
" What are you saying, Nela ? I thought you
" I did not say anything son of my soul.
I was only thinking. Yes, it is high time we
should turn homewards. It will soon be dinner-
" Well, come along, you shall dine with me,
and bye-and-by we will go out again. Give me
your hand ; I will not have you leave me."
When they reached home, Don Francisco was
in the forecourt with two other gentlemen ; Maria-
nela recognized the engineer of the mines and the
stranger who had lost his way in La Terrible the
" Here are the Senor ingeniero," said she,
" and his brother the gentleman of last even-
All three men gazed with evident interest at
the blind youth as he approached.
" We have been expecting you some time, my
son," said the father, taking his hand and intro-
ducing him to the doctor.
" Let us go indoors," said the engineer.
" Blessings on all men of science with good
hearts !" exclaimed Don Francisco, turning to the
doctor. " Walk in, gentlemen ; happy is the
hour when you enter my house."
" Now, let us study the case," murmured
When Pablo and the two visitors had gone in,
Don Francisco turned to Mariquilla, who was stand-
ing transfixed and doubtful in the middle of the
court- yard, and said kindly :
" You see, Nela, you may as well go home.
My son will not be able to go out this afternoon."
And then, seeing that still she did not move, he
" You may run round to the kitchen. Doro-
tea will give you something nice."
AND YET MORE.
THE following day Pablo and his guide set out
at the same hour ; but, as the sky was overcast
and a disagreeable breeze was blowing which
threatened to become a south-westerly gale, they
decided on making their walk a short one. Cross-
ing the village green of Aldeacorba, they went
along the great slope above the mines to the west,
intending to go down into the excavations.
" Nela, I must tell you something that will
make you leap with joy," said the blind lad when
they were at some distance from the house. " My
heart is bursting with happiness. I feel as if the
whole Universe, all the sciences, history, philoso-
phy, natural history all that I have ever learnt
had got inside me, and was dancing in procession.
You saw those two gentlemen who were waiting
for me yesterday . . . ."
" Don Carlos and his brother . . . ."
" He is a famous doctor who has been all over
America, making wonderful cures. He is come
to see his brother, and as Don Carlos is a great
friend of my father's, he asked his brother to ex-
amine me. How kind and gentle he is ! First he
sat talking to me ; he asked me a number of
questions, and told me all sorts of pleasant and
amusing stories. Then he told me to sit quite
still ; I felt his fingers on my eyelids, and after a
long time he said something I did not understand
medical terms, and my father never read me
anything about medicine. Then he led me close
to the window, and while he examined my eyes
with some instrument the room was as quiet.
Then he said to my father: " It is worth trying."
86 ' MARIANELA.
They said more, but in a low voice that I might
not hear, and I think they talked partly by signs.
When the visitors were gone, my father said to
me : ' Son of my soul, I cannot conceal from you
the joy that is in me. This man, this angel from
Heaven, has given me a hope a very faint hope
but we cling most to a hope when it is smallest.
I try to give it up by telling myself it is impos-
sible no, almost impossible but it sticks to me
like a burr.' This was what my father said, and
I could hear in his voice that he was crying.
What are you doing, Nela ? Are you dancing ?"
" No. Here I am, close to you !"
" But you used to dance when I told you any-
thing that made me happy. Where shall we go
" It is a dull day we will go as far as Tras-
cava, that is a sheltered spot, and then go down
into La Terrible."
" Very well, just as you like. Oh, Nela! If
only it could be true ; if God would have pity on
me, and grant me the joy of seeing you. Even if
I could only see for one day, and were blind again
the next, how I would thank Him."
Nela said nothing. After feeling at first in-
tensely happy, she now walked on thoughtfully,
with her eyes fixed on the ground.
" Many wonderful things happen in the
world," Pablo went on. " And God's mercy
works in strange ways strikes as suddenly as his
wrath. It comes upon us unexpectedly, after long
punishment and torment, just as his anger falls on
us in the midst of happiness which has seemed se-
cure and eternal do you not think so ?"
" Yes what you hope will be accom-
" How do you know ?"
" My heart tells me so."
" Your heart tells you ! And why should not
such warnings come true ?" cried Pablo, fervently.
" Yes such chosen souls as yours can, in some
cases, foresee the issue. I have noticed it in my-
self, for, as I am not diverted from self-inspection
by seeing things outside me, I have perceived
sometimes that I had a whispered presentiment
that was quite inexplicable. Then when some
event or other has come to pass, I have said to
myself with astonishment : ' I knew all this be-
"The same thing happens to me," replied
Nela. " Yesterday you told me you loved me
dearly, and when I got home I said to myself:
' It is very strange, but I knew something of
this.' " ;.
" It is wonderful, .dear little one, how perfectly
our souls are one. United by our own wish and
will, nothing is wanting but a bond of union. That
bond shall be tied if I really gain the precious
sense that I have never enjoyed. The idea of
seeing would never have taken possession of my
mind if I did not cherish above all things the idea
that through it I should love you better. The ac-
quisition of that power can be nothing to me but
the faculty of admiring in a new kind of way what
I already admire so truly by the way of love.
But I fancy you are sad to-day."
" Yes, I am ; and to tell you the truth, I do
not know why. I am very happy and very sad,
both at once. The day is so gloomy it would
be better if it never were day at all, always
" Nay, nay, things are good as they are. Day
and night ! If God ever grant me to know the
difference, how happy I shall be ! Why are you
" We have come to a dangerous bit. We
must turn aside a little way to get to the path."
" Ah ! La Trascava ! This slippery grass
slopes down till it is lost in the chasm. Whatever
falls down there does not come up again. Let us
go away, Nela; I do not like this place."
" Silly boy, it is a long way from this to the
mouth of the chasm. And it is very pretty here
Nela stood still and detained her companion
by the arm, looking down at the mouth of the
gulf which opened in the earth, in shape like a
funnel. The sloping sides of this narrow, deep
basin were covered by extremely fine turf; at the
very bottom a large oblong rock lay on the grass
among brambles, fennel shrubs and rushes, and
an immense variety of gay-colored flowers. The
stone looked like a large tongue. You felt, rather
than saw, that by the side of it there was an open-
ing, an abyss, hidden by plants, such as Don
Quixote had to cut away when he slid into the
cavern of Montesinos.
Nela seemed never tired of looking.
" Why do you say that the horrible Trascava
looks pretty ?" asked Pablo.
" Because it is so full of flowers. Last week
they were all dead and over, but now they have
bloomed afresh, and it really is lovely to look
at. And there are such numbers of birds there,
and of butterflies too, sucking honey from the
flowers. Choto, Choto, come here do not
frighten the poor little birds."
The dog, who had run down the slope, came
galloping back at Nela's call, and the fluttering
republic of birds returned to take possession of
their common property.
" I have a perfect horror of the place," said
Pablo, pulling the girl's arm. " Now, shall we go
as far as the mines ? I know the way there, and
feel on my own ground ; we will go round behind
el Barco. Choto, go on in front, do not get
under my feet."
They went down a path cut into steps and soon
reached the basin formed by digging out the earth
and ore. Leaving the zone of vegetation, they
suddenly crossed the boundary line of a geologi-
cal zone, so to speak, an enormous trench, whose
sides, wrought by the pick and shovel, displayed
an interesting section of stratification, where the
different layers showed the greatest variety of
colors and earths. This was the place where
Teodoro Golfin had fancied himself in the hull of
a wrecked vessel, worn away by the waves and
its popular name el Barco (the ship), had been
suggested by that very resemblance. By day,
however, the spectator was chiefly struck by the
sections of the strata with their sulphurous and
carboniferous veins, black sedimentary deposits,
lignites, in which jet frequently occurred, streaks
of ferruginous earth that looked as if they had
been mixed with blood, and large, even layers of
slate, split in a thousand places by human devices,
bristling with splinters and riven into fissures and
clefts, looking like wounds seen through a strong
magnifier; while a thread of water t stained with
oxide of iron, that flowed down the middle, might
be taken for blood.
"Where is our seat ?" asked the young man.
" Let us go there ; we shall be sheltered from the
Out of the bottom of the gre^t cutting they
went up by a rough foot-path, that had been made
between broken stones and earth overgrown with
rank fennel, and at the top they sat down under the
shelter of an enormous crag, rent across the middle.
The two halves of the rock, standing opposite each
other, with their jagged faces, looked for all the
world like two yawning jaws trying to meet and
"How pleasant it is here!" Pablo said.
" Sometimes there is a disagreeable draught
through this chasm, but I do not feel it to-day.
What we hear is the trickling water down inside
the bowels of La Trascava."
" It is very quiet to-day," observed Nela.
" Would you like to lie down ?"
"That is a good idea ! Last night I could not
sleep, for thinking of all my father had said to me,
of the doctor, of my eyes. All night I felt as if
a hand went into my eyes and opened a closed
and moss-grown door." As he spoke he stretched
himself at full length and laid his head on Nela's
" A door," he went on, " which was quite in
my inmost feeling, opened, as I tell you, showing
a way into a room where the idea that haunts me
was shut up. Oh ! Nela of my heart, best beloved,
idolized darling, if only God would grant me the
sense I lack. Then I should think myself the
happiest of men for I am almost that already,
merely from having you to be the friend and com-
panion of my life. Very little is needed to make
us two one nothing but to see you and rejoice in
your beauty, with that joy in seeing which I can-
not even comprehend, since I have only a vague
conception of it. I have a questioning spirit only
because I have no power to see for myself. I fancy
it will be like a new way of loving you. I think
of nothing but your beauty, still, there is some-
thing in it which I cannot realize as my own."
" Hark !" said Nela suddenly, with evident in-
terest in something quite distinct from what her
friend was saying. " Do not you hear ?"
" What ?"
"Down in there La Trascava it is talk-
" Superstitious child ! water cannot talk, my
Nela. What language could a driblet of water
speak ? There are but two things which speak,
my sweet: the tongue and the conscience."
" And La Trascava," said Nela, turning paler.
"It is a whisper only : 'Yes, yes, yes, 1 it says. And
sometimes I can hear my mother's voice, saying
quite plainly. ' My little girl, it is very pleasant
down here.' '
" It is all your fancy. Well, fancy talks too ; I
forgot that. My imagination sometimes chatters so
fast, that I have to tell it to be silent. Its
voice is loud, persistent, intolerable ; that of con-
science is deep, calm, convincing ; there is no an-
swering or refuting it."
" Now it sounds as if it were crying," said
Nela, still listening to the bubbling water. " It is
dying away little by little."
Suddenly a light gust came up from the
"There, it sighed deeply did not you hear ?
Now I hear the voice again ; it is speaking low,
and it says to me in a whisper, a tiny whisper in
my ear. ..."
" Well, what does it say ?"
" Nothing," said Maria shortly, after a pause.
"You say it is all nonsense you may be
" I will get all these absurd ideas out of your
head," said the blind youth taking her hand. " We
are going to live together all our lives. Oh !
Heavenly Father ! If I am never to enjoy the
blessing of which Thou didst deprive me at my
birth, why hast Thou allowed me to hope ? Hapless
wretch that I am, if I am not born anew under the
hands of Doctor Golfin. A new birth indeed a
new life ! Oh ! my darling, I swear to you by the
image of God that exists in my soul, glorious, real
and immutable, that you and I will never part by
my will. I shall have eyes, Nela, eyes to delight
in your presence, and then I will marry you. You
will be my beloved wife life of my life, and the
joy and pride of my soul. And do you say
nothing to this even ?"
Nela bent her head down over the lad's hand-
some face ; she wished to speak, but could not
" And if God will not after all vouchsafe me
this mercy," added Pablo, " still you will not leave
me, still you will be my wife unless it horrifies
you to think of marrying a blind man. Indeed, my
dearest, I ought not to inflict such a burden on you.
You will meet some good man who will love you, and
who will make you happy. Your wonderful kind-
ness, your noble feelings, your sweet face, must
win many hearts and inspire the purest love in all
who have to do with you your future cannot fail
to be bright and happy. I swear to you that I
shall love you as long as I live ; seeing or blind, I
devote myself to you before God in the fullest,
most perfect, and most unbounded love. Will
you not speak to me, Nela ?"
"Yes I love you dearly very, very dearly . ."
said Nela, putting her face close to his. " But do
not be anxious to see me. Perhaps I am not so
nice as you fancy."
As she spoke, Nela felt in her pocket and
brought out a piece of silvered glass, a dull and
useless fragment of a cheap mirror, which had
heen broken a week since in the Centeno house-
hold. In this she looked at herself. The image
was all awry, and in consequence of the small
size of the looking-glass she was obliged to study
it a bit at a time, first one eye and then her fore-
head, till, holding it farther off, she could com-
mand a view of half her face at once. But alas !
the result of her investigations was sad enough
as she looked in the glass, the tears started from
" Nela, I felt a drop on my forehead it is
" Yes, my child, it seems to be raining," said
Nela with a gulping sob.
"No^ you are crying. Something in my
heart tells me so. You are goodness itself; your
soul and mine are united by some divine and
mysterious bond; they can never be parted is it
not true? they are two halves of one whole.
Are they not ?"
"Your tears give me a plainer answer than
words could. You love me do you not, and
will always love me, just the same whether I re-
cover my sight or remain blind ?"
"The same, just the same!" cried Nela vehe-
" And will always stay with me ?"
"Then listen," cried the blind lad in passionate
rapture. " If I had to choose between remaining
blind and losing you, I would choose. ..."
" You would choose to remain blind ! Oh !
merciful Mother of Heaven ! how happy how
happy I am !"
" I would choose not to see your sweet face
with these eyes, for I can see it in my soul as
clearly as truth. You live here, in my heart, and
to me you are more lovely and enchanting than
anything on earth."
" Oh ! yes, yes," cried Nela half-crazed. " I
must be beautiful I must be lovely !"
" Listen," said Pablo, " I have a presentiment,
a sure anticipation. It is as though the voice of
God within me promised me that I should have
my sight, that I shall see you, that we shall be
happy. Do you not feel it yourself?"
" I yes, I feel sure you will see. ..."
" I shall see your face what happiness !"
cried the blind boy in the high-pitched ecstatic
tone, which was peculiar to him in moments of
excitement. "But I see it already, I see it now
in my heart as plainly as the truth in my
" Yes, yes, oh ! yes," Nela repeated wildly,
with wide-open eyes and quivering lips. " It is
true, I am, I must be, beautiful !"
" Bless you, sweet one !"
" And you," she said gravely, kissing his fore-
head. " Now, are you not sleepy ?"
" Yes, I am beginning to be sleepy. I did not
sleep all night. And I am so comfortable here."
" Then sleep, my child. ..."
And she began to sing a lullaby. In a few
minutes he was asleep ; but Nela sat listening to
the voice of La Trascava, which said : " Daugh-
ter come . . . daughter come."
THE BROTHERS GOLFIN.
TEODORO GOLFIN did not waste his time at
Socarte. The first day after his arrival he spent
several hours in his brother's laboratory, and dur-
ing the following days he went from one part of
the mines to another, examining and admiring all
he saw here the awful might of natural forces,
and there the power and enterprise of human skill.
At night, when all was still in the busy village,
and nothing was awake but the snorting furnaces,
the worthy doctor, who was an enthusiastic musi-
cian, listened with delight to his sister-in-law's
piano ; Senora Sofia, was Don Carlos' wife, but
their children were all dead.
The two brothers were devotedly attached to
each other. Born in the humblest rank of life,
they had struggled hard in early youth to rise
above ignorance and poverty, often on the point of
giving way to the difficulties that beset them ; but
the impetus of manly determination was so strong
in them, that at length, gasping for breath, they
reached the longed-for land, rising superior to the
beating waves in which vulgar souls splash and
struggle in a perpetual state of shipwreck.
Teodoro, who was the eldest, was a medical
man before Carlos was qualified as an engineer,
and he helped him to the utmost so long as the
younger brother needed it, and when he saw him
fairly started, he took the step to which his enter-
prising spirit had long aspired, and set out for
South America. There he practised with other
celebrated physicians, gaining fame and wealth.
After a short visit at home, in Spain, he returned
to the New World, and even after a second voyage
home he went back again ; but during each of
these expeditions he made a short tour in Europe
to avail himself of the advances made in ophthal-
mic science which he particularly cultivated.
He was a man of unpolished manners,
dark and with an expression at once intelli-
gent and sensual ; his lips were thick, his
skin opaque and hairy, his eyes bright and
keen ; his frame was robust and his constitution
sound, though somewhat injured by the South
American climate. His large, round face, his
prominent brow, his short, rebellious hair, the flash
of his eyes and his thick, square hands, had led to
his being spoken of as "the black lion." In truth,
he was like a lion, and like the king of beasts, he
never lost an opportunity of asserting the estima-
tion in which he held himself. However, this
vanity of a really distinguished man was the most
pardonable of vanities, for it consisted chiefly
in his persistently displaying his two great
titles of fame and honor, namely : his devotion
to surgery and the lowness of his origin. He spoke
incorrectly, from his utter inability to elaborate
phrases with ease and elegance. His rapid and
broken sentences followed the course of his ideas,
which were as swift as the electric spark.
" We," Teodoro would say, " although we
have sprung from the grass by the way-side, which
is the lowest origin conceivable, have grown into
stalwart trees. Long live labor and human enter-
prise ! I cannot but think that we Golfins, though
Heaven knows where we came from, must have
some English blood in our veins. Even our name
seems to me to be of purely Saxon origin. I give
it this etymology, Gold-find, or, as you may say,
Gold-finders. Well, and my brother finds it in
the bowels of the earth, while I find it in that
marvellous miniature universe : the human eye."
At the period of our story he had just arrived
via New York and Liverpool, and, as he declared,
he now meant to remain at home ; but no one be-
lieved it, for he had said so many times before and
had not kept his word.
His brother Carlos was a gentler being, placid,
studious, a slave to his duties, and devoted to
mineralogy and metallurgy to the point of caring
far more for these two branches of learning than
for his wife's society. But the couple lived, never-
theless, in perfect harmony ; or, as Teodoro said,
in an isomorphous state, crystallizing on the same
system. As for himself, when matrimony was
spoken of, he would say:
"To me, marriage would be an epigenesis, a
pseudo-morphous crystallization, that is to say, a
mode of crystallization which would not har-
monize with my nature."
Sofia was a very good woman, who had been
very handsome, but whose beauty was daily los-
ing character and expression from her unfortunate
tendency to stoutness. She had been told that an
atmosphere charged with coal smoke had a ten-
dency to reduce fat, and for this reason she had
come to live at the mines, without ever leaving them
the whole year through. The horrible air, charged
with dust, calamine and smoke, annoyed her
much however. She had no child alive, and her
principal occupation consisted in playing the
102 , MARIANELA.
piano and in organizing societies of benevolent
ladies for giving the poor help in their homes, and
for maintaining hospitals and schools.
At Madrid, for many years her energy had
been prodigious, a real model for all who feel
prompted to acts of charity. With the help of two
or three ladies of rank, equally devoted to their
humble and suffering neighbors, she had organized
more than twenty dramatic performances, and as
many fancy balls, six bull-fights and two cock-
fights, all for the benefit of the poor.
Among her other manias, which were apt to
be but transient, however, was one which perhaps
is less commendable than that for helping the
needy, and which consisted in surrounding herself
with dogs and cats, devoting herself to these ani-
mals with an affection really worthy to be calkd
love. Lately, since she had lived at Socartes, she
had kept a toy- terrier which had been brought
to her as a commission from England by Ulises
Buli, the head of the machinery department.
This was a delicate and slender creature, as tricky
and amusing as a child. It was called Lili, and
had cost a small fortune in London as dogs go.
On fine days the trio walked out together ;
when it was wet they played and sang, for Sofia
had a modest pipe which, at Socartes, passed for
singing. The deputy engineer had a deep bass
voice, and Teodoro likewise was basso profondo.
Carlos could sing but a little higher, so that the
whole effect was somewhat like a priestly choir, in
which Sofia's treble came out as if she were a
priestess being carried off to be immolated. All
the pieces they sang were or at any rate
sounded like priests offering a sacrifice, and a
priestess being sacrificed.
On the days when they walked far they took
with them a sort of picnic afternoon meal. One
evening it was at the end of September, and six
days after the doctor's arrival at the mines the
party were returning homewards in the following
order : Lili, Sofia, Teodoro, Carlos. The path was
too narrow to allow of their walking two and two.
Lili wore a little sky-blue coat or gaberdine with
his mistress's initials worked upon it; Sofia carried
her parasol like a gun over her shoulder, and Teo-
doro had his stick in precisely the same position
with his hat hanging on the end of it ; it was one
of his favorite whims to walk out bare-headed.
They were passing above La Trascava when Lili,
leaving the path, with his elastic little legs like
springs, began to run on the turf that covered the
slope to the chasm. First he ran, but then he
slipped on the grass. Sofia gave a cry of terror.
Her first impulse, prompted by an almost ma-
ternal feeling, was to run after the little beast that
was in no real danger; but her husband stopped
her, saying : " The devil may have Lili if he
wants him but he will come back. It is impos-
sible to go down, the turf here is so slippery."
" Lili, Lili," cried Sofia, hoping that her touch-
ing appeal would arrest the creature on the road
to perdition, and bring him back to the path of
virtue and duty. But the tenderest adjurations
had no effect on the rebellious soul of Lili, who
went lower and lower. From time to time he
looked up at his mistress with his bright, black
eyes, which seemed to say : " For mercy's sake
do not be so foolish."
At the large, moss-grown, white rock, which
lay like a lid at the very mouth of the chasm, Lili
stopped. All stood with their eyes fixed on the
spot, and they at once perceived something mov-
ing there. They supposed it to be some beast of
prey hiding behind the rock ; but Sofia gave
another shriek of astonishment rather than of
terror, and exclaimed :
"It is Nela. Nela what are you doing
On hearing her name called, the girl appeared
greatly disturbed, and colored deeply.
"What are you doing there, mad child ?" re-
peated the lady. "Take up Lili and bring him
back to me. Heaven have mercy on us ! but what
next will that creature be doing ? Just look at
the place she has put herself in ! It is all your
fault that Lili went down there what an exam-
ple to set the poor little animal. It is all your
fault that he behaved in this naughty, wilful
" That child is a perfect limb of mischief," said
Don Carlos to his brother. " Only look at the
place she has got to."
While, on the top of the slope, they were thus
discussing her, Nela, down at the bottom, was try-
ing to catch Lili, who, more wilful and daring than
he had ever been before in the whole course of
his monotonous existence, constantly eluded her
grasp. His mistress shouted to him in vain to " be
good and behave himself," while he, ignoring the
most elementary principles of duty, went on leap-
ing and frisking, looking up at her, from time to
time, with consummate impudence, as though to
say : " My good lady, just go on with your walk
and leave me in peace."
At last ; however, the sportive little beast got
entangled among the briars which grew in the hol-
low, and there his little great-coat got him into dire
trouble ; the poor dog, finding it impossible to es-
cape from the brushwood, began to bark lamenta-
bly for help.
" He will be lost, he will be killed !" wailed the
Senora. " Nela, Nela, if you will only save him,
I will give you a fine, big dog. Save him go
carefully hold fast."
Nela went boldly to the rescue ; setting her
foot on the brambles and stout-stemmed creepers
that grew over the rift, and holding on by one
hand to the rock, she put out the other to take
hold of Lili's tail, by which she pulled him out of
the tangle in which he had been caught Then,
patting and coaxing him, she mounted in triumph
to the top of the slope.
" It is your fault, all your fault," said Sofia
crossly, and boxing the dog's ears very gently.
" What on earth made you go down into that hole
you know he goes after you wherever he finds
you hussy that you are !"
And then she kissed her recovered treasure
and gave him one or two mild slaps, and after
having assured herself that his precious skin was
whole, she pulled his little coat straight, which had
got dragged over his head, and gave him to Nela,
" Take him, and carry him in your arms, for he
must be tired, and such a long scamper may do
him harm. But take care of him go on in front.
Take great care of him you see I am close
behind to keep an eye on you."
The family party set out again, with Nela
leading the way. Lili looked at his mistress over
Nela's shoulder, and seemed to say : " My good
mistress, what a simpleton you are !"
Teodoro Golfin had said not a word during the
whole of Lili's agitating escapade, but when they
had started on their way once more and were
crossing the fields, where the three could walk
abreast without inconvenience, the doctor said to
his brother's wife :
" I cannot but think, dear Sofia, that you are
unreasonably devoted to the little dog. To be
sure a dog that cost two hundred duros, is indeed
a dog among dogs. Still, I cannot but ask my-
self how it is that you have spent time and money
in making a great-coat for his highness the terrier,
while it has never occurred to you to buy a pair of
shoes for Nela."
" Shoes for Nela !" exclaimed Sofia laughing.
" What for, I should like to know. She would have
worn them through in two days. You may laugh
at me as much as you please well, I admit that
my affection for Lili amounts to an extravagance ;
still, you cannot accuse me of want of charity.
Noiv indeed, I must say, should I ever allow you
to take such a liberty," and as she spoke she drew
herself up with a solemn look of offended dignity.
" As to knowing how to exercise charity with due
prudence and judgment, I believe I may hold my
own with any one, be it whom it may for charity
does not consist merely in giving without rhyme
or reason, not knowing whether your alms are
well or ill-bestowed. Do you suppose you can
teach me anything ? My dear Teodoro, I am quite
as experienced in such matters as you are in the
treatment of eyes."
"I know, I know, my dear. You have done
wonders. You need not tell me for the fiftieth time
of all the dramatic entertainments, balls and bull-
fights, you have got up for the benefit of the poor,
nor of the lotteries, which have brought in large
sums ; though, after providing food for any num-
ber of idle vagabonds, there has been but a small
fraction left for the sick and suffering ! All these
facts only go to prove to my mind the singular
state of a society, which cannot be charitable
without dancing, bull-fights or lottery tickets.
No, we need not discuss all that ; I know and ad-
mire those heroic achievements ; they have their
good side, and that not a small one. But you and
your gay friends very rarely put yourself in connec-
tion with any poor soul, to learn from his own lips
the cause and history of his misery, or to discern
what kind of wretchedness it is that oppresses him
for there are, actually, some troubles so extraor-
dinary that the gift of a few coppers can do
nothing to alleviate them, no, nor even a morsel of
" Here we have our philosopher well astride
on his hobby," said Sofia spitefully. " Pray how
do you know what I have ever done, or what I
ought to do ?"
" Nay, do not be vexed," said Golfin; " for all
my discourse tends to a single point, and that is
that Nela should have shoes."
"Very well, then to-morrow morning I will
buy her a pair."
" No for I will buy them myself this evening.
Do not poach on my preserves, Senora."
" Here Nela," cried the lady, seeing that she
had gone some distance ahead. " Do not go so
fast ; keep in sight that I may see what you are
" Poor little creature !" said her husband.
" Who could guess she was sixteen years
" She is dreadfully stunted, miserable little
I 10 MARIANELA.
thing !" exclaimed Sofia. " I cannot help asking,
why God should permit such creatures to live ?
And again I ask myself, what in the world can be
done for her ? Nothing nothing, but to feed
and clothe her after a fashion but you see, she
tears everything she puts on. She cannot labor
because she faints away she has not strength
enough to do any kind of Work. She skips from
stone to stone, or climbs the trees, playing and
chattering the whole day long and singing like the
birds ; what clothes she has are soon reduced to
rags. . . ."
"And yet," said Carlos, "I have noticed that
she is very intelligent. There is a great deal of
acuteness and cleverness under that simple exterior
and wild rusticity. No, no, Nela is no fool by a
long way. If any one had taken the trouble to
teach her anything, she would have learnt it better,
perhaps, than most children. Would you believe
it ? Nela has a great imagination ; but lacking, as
she does, the most rudimentary knowledge, it has
of course, made her sentimental and super-
" In point of fact she is in the condition of all
primitive races," said Teodoro. " She is at the
pastoral stage of civilization."
" Only yesterday," Carlos went on, " I was
MARIANELA. 1 1 I
passing by La Trascava and I saw her sitting ex-
actly where we found her again just now. I called
her and made her come to me, and I asked her
what she was doing there ; and with the most per-
fect simplicity she told me she was talking with
her mother. You know, perhaps, that Nela's
mother threw herself into that chasm."
" That is to say that she killed herself," said
Sofia. " She was a woman of bad character and
worse feeling, from all I have heard of her. Carlos
was not living here then, but they say she drank like
a stoker. And I ask you : Do these vile creatures,
who end a. life of sin by committing the greatest
crime of all Suicide deserve any pity from the
human race ? There are things too horrible to
contemplate wretches that ought never to have
been born. Teodoro may argue as much as he
likes, but I cannot help asking you. ..."
" Ask nothing, my dear sister," said Teodoro
warmly. " For I could only reply that the suicide
deserves our deepest and fullest pity. So far as
abuse goes, heap it on her by all means, and as
much as you please ; but at the same time it might
be as well to enquire what were the causes that
brought her to such a fearful extremity of despera-
tion and I may add that if society had not
wholly abandoned her and left her no way out but
the yawning door of that hideous abyss which
seemed to invite her. ..."
" Abandoned by society ! Well, some must
be. . . ." said Sofia flippantly. "Society cannot take
care of every one. Look at the statistics of popu-
lation only look, and you will see how many
poor there are to provide for. Besides, supposing
society does overlook some what is religion
" I am speaking of those poor wretches who
add to all their other miseries, ignorance, which is
the greatest of all. An ignorant soul, debased and
superstitious, has none but the vaguest and ab-
surdest ideas of God. The sense of something
Great and Unknown, instead of withholding him,
impels him to crime. It is* rarely indeed that the
thought of religion is of any good to those who
vegetate in stolid ignorance. No intelligent friend
ever goes near them, neither master nor priest ;
the only superior they ever come into contact
with, is the judge who tries them.
" It is strange to see how inexorably you con-
demn what, after all, is your own work !" he went
on, twisting the stick on which his hat was still
mounted. " You stand looking straight before
you, seeing at the very threshold of your own
comfortable homes a crowd of neglected creatures,
deprived of everything that childhood needs, from
parents to playthings you see them, I say, with-
out its ever occurring to you to raise them an inch
in the world, by telling them that they too are
human beings, and giving them some of the ideas
they so deplorably lack, without ever dreaming of
ennobling them by lifting them out of their brutal-
izing, mechanical toil, to some intelligent work ;
you see them dwelling in filthy hovels, ill-fed, sink-
ing lower day by day in their savage squalor, and
it never occurs to you to spare for them a little of
the comfort and luxury that surround you ! You
save all your energies to declaim against murder,
robbery and suicide, without ever reflecting that
you are, in fact, keeping open school for these
" You seem to forget that there are houses of
refuge, hospitals, asylums. ..." said Sofia tartly.
" Read statistics, Teodoro, and you will see the
number of miserable creatures. . . . Read statistics."
" I do not read statistics, my dear sister, and
your statistics count for nothing with me. Asylums
are good not that they can ever solve the great
problem of orphanage. A hapless orphan, drop-
ped in the streets or in the fields, bereft of all
personal affection, and cared for only by a town
council rarely, indeed, is the vacuum filled which
yawns in his soul for the love of a parent not to
speak of the vacuum where self-respect, honor,
and responsibility ought to be, and so rarely are
found. And on that point I have an idea of my
own but, perhaps, it will appear to you ab-
"Tell us, at any rate."
" The problem of orphanhood, and the mis-
eries of infancy, will never be completely and
finally solved, any more than the rest of our great
social problems ; still, it will be lightened when
custom, supported by law yes, by law, you see
I am in earnest when custom and law insist that
every orphan, whatever its birth do not laugh
has a right to claim adoption by some married
couple in easy circumstances, and who have no
children. By this plan, there will be no childless
parents, and no fatherless children."
" Yes, by this. plan," retorted Sofia, "we should
be parents to Nela !"
" And why not ?" said Teodoro. " At the same
time you would not waste two hundred duros in
buying a dog, nor the livelong blessed day in talk-
ing nonsense to his highness, Master Lili."
"And why are rich bachelors to be exempt
under this delightful law ? Why should not they
also be burthened, each with his orphan ?"
MARIANELA. I I 5
" I have no objection. . . ." said the doctor; he
was looking at the ground. " But what is this ?
They all looked down, and at regular intervals
they saw small spots of blood.
" Mercy !" cried Sofia, covering her eyes. " It
is Nela see, it is where she has trodden ; these
are her footmarks."
" Oh yes ! I see. It was when she went into
the brambles to fetch your precious dog. Nela,
Nela, whose right foot was bleeding a good
deal, came hobbling back again.
" Give me my poor Lili," said the lady, taking
the dog out of the ragged child's arms. " Do not
hurt him ; does it hurt you much ? Poor little
thing. Oh! how it is bleeding. I cannot bear
to look at it." And Sofia turned her back to
spare her sensitive nerves, hugging Lili more
" Let us see what has happened," said Teo-
doro, lifting Nela up and seating her on a high
stone that was at hand. Then, putting on his
spectacles, he said : "It is quite a trifle, only a few
scratches ; there is a thorn in here I rather think.
That hurts you ? Yes, just so, here is the vil-
lain. Wait a minute. Now, Sofia if you cannot
look on at a surgical operation, you had better
While his sister went slowly forward to save
her nervous system this terrible shock, Golfin took
a small case out of his pocket and a pair of
tweezers out of the case, and in less than a wink-
ing the thorn was extracted.
"That is a brave little woman," he said to
Nela, who had not even winced. " Now we will
tie this foot up." And he bound it round with
his handkerchief. Marianela jumped down to
walk and Carlos offered her his hand.
"No, no come here," said Teodoro. He
took the little girl under the arms, and with a rapid
and dexterous twist perched her on his right
" If you do not feel safe hold on to my hair,"
he said. " It will not come off. Now, you must
carry the stick with the hat."
" What a ridiculous sight !" said Sofia, in fits of
laughter as they came up with her. " Teodoro,
with Nela on his shoulder, and then the stick and
Gessler's hat on the top. ..."
MARIANELA. 1 1/
" THERE you see a man ready for anything
and everything, my dear Sofia," said Teodoro.
" It is the result of our education, is it not,
Carlos ? of having had no coddling in our child-
hood, and having been accustomed from our ten-
derest infancy to the idea that no one could be
our inferior ? Men who have made themselves,
as we have done, who, without any mortal help nor
any safeguard but strong will and high ambition,
have been able to triumph in the struggle for exist-
ence the devil's in it, but they are the only people
who really know how to help the helpless ! I will
not tell you half the things I have been able to
do in my life treating my neighbor as myself
for fear of falling into an ugly trick of singing my
own praises ; for fear too of making you envious,
in spite of your raffles and benevolent lotteries
enough of that."
"Nay, tell us, or tell us some other time."
" No, no, such things should be kept secret for
modesty's sake. I am bound to confess that I
cannot boast of any considerable store of that
I 1 8 MARIANELA.
lovely grace ; I am not lacking in vanity, and one
of the things I am vainest of, is of having been a
beggar, of having asked charity from door to
door, of having walked barefoot with my brother
Carlos, and slept in corners under door- ways, with-
out a roof, without shelter, without a home of any
kind. Some wonderful spirit of energy and de-
termination burned within me whence it came I
know not ; but I felt that before us lay two paths,
one to prison and one to glory. I took my poor
little brother on my shoulders just as I am car-
rying Nela and I said : ' Our Father which art
in Heaven save us!' And he saved us. I learnt
to read, and then I taught my brother ; I served
many masters, who gave me food and let me go
to school. I saved my pittance. I bought a
money-box, and scraped enough together to buy
some books. How I began medicine, I do not
know ; but somehow I did, while my brother was
earning a living as an errand boy in a shop."
"What are you talking about?" exclaimed
Sofia much annoyed, for this was a theme she
particularly disliked. " I cannot help asking ;
what is the use of recalling all these childish de-
tails ? Besides, you exaggerate them greatly."
" I exaggerate nothing," said Teodoro with
triumphant jollity. " Just listen, Senora, and say
. MARIANELA. 119
nothing. I speak of what I know with the author-
ity of experience. Hear me all ye poor, all ye
helpless ones, and ye forsaken little ones ! I took
to medicine, God knows how; I learnt, God knows
how. A worthy man blessings on his memory!
gave me good counsel and helped me with money ;
I loved the science, but how could I study without
ceasing to work for my living ? This was a terri-
ble dilemma. Do you remember, Carlos, when
we both went to ask for employment in the bar-
ber's shop, in the old calle de Cofreros ? * Never
in our lives had either of us had a razor in his hand,
but we had to earn our bread by shaving. At first
we only looked on do you remember Carlos
and then we wielded the noble instruments our-
selves. Bleeding was the making of us. Then I
began to study anatomy ; a noble, a glorious
science ! but my school- work became a serious
matter, and I had to give up working for the
worthy barber. He cried, positively cried, the day
I left him ; he gave me two duros, and his wife
made me a present of a pair of her husband's old
trousers. Then I went as a valet. God was always
merciful in giving me good masters. My love of
study interested these dear, kind people, and they
allowed me as much spare time as possible. I sat
* Trunkmaker's street.
1 2O MARIANELA.
up to study; nay, I studied in my sleep. I was like
a monomaniac, for while I did the washing, I re-
peated the names of the different parts of the human
frame. I remember, that as I brushed my master's
clothes, I studied muscular anatomy as I folded
a sleeve I would say to myself: 'deltoid, biceps,
supinator, fie x or, cubitalis ; ' and over his trousers
I would repeat, 'glutaeus, psoas, gemellus, tibialis. '
'In that house they used to give me broken food,
which I carried to my brother, who was living
with a worthy man who bought and sold old
clothes. Do you remember, Carlos ?"
" I remember well," said Carlos with feeling.
" And I am grateful to the good soul who gave
me a roof over my head in return for some trifling
service in keeping his accounts. And it was there
that I was so lucky as to come across the retired
Colonel, who taught me the elements of mathe-
" Well ! you have not a rag that you blush to
display to all the world !" snorted Sofia.
" My brother asked me for bread," Teodoro
went coolly on, "and my answer was: 'Bread ?
work at mathematics.' One day my master gave
me tickets of admission to the Theatre de la Cruz ;
I took my brother, and we enjoyed it enormously,
but- Carlos caught a cold and inflammation of the
lungs. That was a dreadful, a terrible business ;
it was a blow at the very root of our exis-
tence, a shot in our backbone. But who is cast
down ? On we had to go. He must be cured.
A physician who had taken a great fancy to me,
undertook to doctor him."
" It was nothing less than a miracle that he
saved my life in that squalid hole a perfect
museum of old clothes, old iron, and old
" God was on our side I see it plainly. Oh !
I knew very well in whom I trusted," Teodoro
went on, with the fervid rapid eloquence, which
was as characteristic of the man, as his black elf-
locks and leonine countenance. " But, for my
brother to have medicine, I had to do without
clothes. The Pharmacopeia did not admit of
tailors' bills nay, prescription after prescription
first my cloak went, then my overcoat, then my
shoes were turned into pills. However, my mas-
ter stood by me. I got some clothes once more,
and my brother was outside the house again. The
doctor said : ' He will get quite well in the coun-
try.' 'The country,' said I, and I thought it
over ; then he may go to the School of Mines.
My brother was a good mathematician, I taught
him some chemistry, he soon took a fancy to
rocks and stones, and before he went into the
school he had begun going out into the fields to
pick up pebbles. Well, I meanwhile went on my
way, beaten by winds and waves ; every day I
knew something more of medicine. A famous
operator took me as his assistant ; then I was no
longer a mere menial I was a servant to science.
My master fell ill, I nursed him like a Brother of
Charity but he died, leaving me a legacy. God
bless me ! but it was a fortune ! It consisted of a
walking-stick, a machine for making cigars, a
hunting-horn, and four thousand reales in money.
My brother bought books and I bought some
clothes, and as soon as I was decently dressed, I
began to get patients. It really seemed as if folks
fell ill on purpose to give me employment. On
straight on ! Years and years went by ; at last,
after many miseries I saw, far off, the way to a
refuge. Still, my brother and I sailed on without
any too severe toil, and we were never melancholy;
God smiled upon our souls. Well, indeed, for us!
God held out his hand to us, as it were. I began
to study the eye and soon could operate for cata-
ract, but I wanted something more than this. I
was earning money, no doubt, but my brother
cost me all I earned. At last, however, Carlos
passed out of the schools. Three cheers for the
brave none but the brave fain the day. I saw
him settled at Riotinto with a good salary, and
then off I went to America. I was a sort of
Columbus, the Columbus of labor ; a sort of
Cortes ; I discovered a New World for myself, and
having discovered it, I conquered it."
" You are your own trumpeter," said Sofia
" If there are still heroes to be found you are
one of them," said Carlos with eager admiration
for his brother.
" Well, set to work now, noble Demi-god," said
Sofia, " crown your achievement by working a
miracle, and restore to sight a man blind from his
birth. Look, there is Don Francisco coming out
to meet us."
And, in fact, mounting the ridge which shuts
in the mines to the west, they had come to Aldea-
corba, and past the house of Penaguilas, who,
pulling on his coat in the utmost haste now came
hurrying towards them. Darkness was falling
THE PATRIARCH OF ALDEACORBA.
" THE cows are just being milked," he began,
without wishing them good-evening. " I thought
you would all like some milk. I hope to see you
well, Sefiora Sofia and you Don Teodoro. The
sight of you is good for sore eyes. But what is
the matter with Maria Canela a little lame paw ?
How long have you been so spoiled, little one ?"
The whole party turned into the court- yard.
They could hear the deep lowing of the cows,
which had just been driven to their stables, and
the homely sound, with the fresh country smell of
the hay, which the laborers were carrying from
the lofts, soothed the senses and the mind. The
doctor seated Nela on a stone bench, while she,
speechless with surprise and respect, dared not
budge an inch, but could only wonder at this de-
lightful state of things.
" And where is Pablo ?" the engineer enquired.
" He is just gone down into the garden," said
Senor de Penaguilas, as he offered Sofia a rustic
seat. ".You might run off and join him Nela."
" No, no, I do not wish her to go yet," said
Teodoro detaining her. " Besides, she is going to
have some milk with us."
" Do you wish to see my son this evening ?"
" No, yesterday's examination was quite satis-
factory," replied Golfin. " The operation can be
" And successfully ?"
" Ah ! as to that I cannot say. How great
a pleasure it would be to give sight to a young
fellow who so richly deserves it, I need not tell
you ! Your son has a most superior intelligence,
a brilliant imagination, and a most delightful
nature. His total ignorance of the outer, visible
world, only throws his beautiful qualities into re-
lief; they stand out in conspicuous simplicity, with
the naked charm and dignity of a work of Nature,
untouched and unspoiled by the hand of man.
He is full of idealism, it affects all his thoughts
a grand and beautiful idealism. It reminds me of
a colossal mass of unwrought marble a block as
it lies in the quarry. He knows nothing of reality,
he lives a charmed life, a life of pure illusion. If
we could but give him sight ! Still, I say to my-
self supposing that by giving him sight we
should make him a man instead of an angel. It
is a question that raises doubts in my mind. How-
ever, we are bound to try to make a man of him ;
it is the duty of science ; we will drag him out of
the world of fancy into that of reality, and then,
with his powerful mind, he would rapidly gain ac-
curate information and sound judgment. He
would soon acquire the invaluable power of esti-
mating the true relative value of things."
Three cups of milk were now brought in, white,
warm, fragrant, and frothy to the very rim.
Penaguilas handed a cup first to Sofia, and the two
gentlemen took the others; but Teodoro Golfin
offered his to Nela, who was overwhelmed with
bashfulness and refused to touch it.
" Come, little woman," said Sofia, " do not be
so rude ; take what is given you."
"Another cup of milk for Don Teodoro," said
Don Francisco to the servant. And then they
heard the milk as it flowed into the pails from the
full udders of the cows.
" He will appreciate the true relative value of
things," said Don Francisco, repeating the doctor's
last words, which had made a deep impression on
his mind. "That is an admirable observation,
Don Teodoro. And with regard to the subject
under discussion, I must explain to you the doubts
I have felt for some days past. But I may as well
sit down." And Don Francisco seated himself on
a stool he had in his hand. The others had al-
ready been accommodated with chairs brought out
of the house, and Nela was still perched on the
stone bench. The milk she had drunk as she was
bidden had left a thin white moustache on her
" I must tell you Don Teodoro that for some
days I have been very uneasy at the excited state
in which my son has been ; I attribute it to the
hope that has been held out to him but still,
there is something else something more than
that. You know that I am in the habit of read-
ing to him out of various books. I believe that
this reading has done much to fire his imagination
and instruct his mind, and that many ideas have
been developed in his brain, which are, as it were,
above the comprehension of a blind man. I do
not know whether I am making myself clear."
" There is no end to his discussions and argu-
ments ; I am astounded by the depth and acuteness
of his remarks, though I feel that his knowledge
is mixed up with a thousand misconceptions, from
want of method and from his ignorance of the
"It could not be otherwise."
" But the strangest thing is that, carried away
by his imagination which is like a young Her-
cules fettered with chains within a dungeon, and
struggling to burst its bonds and break down
" Good, very good, well said."
" His imagination, I was saying, cannot rest in
the darkness of his sense, and strives to reach our
world of daylight, making up for his want of sight
by the boldness of its assumptions. Pablo has a
wonderful spirit of enquiry, but it is like a noble
bird whose wings are clipped. For some few days
he has been almost delirious ; he does not sleep
and his passion for information has been almost
madness. At all hours of the day he asks for
some new book, and at every pause he makes the
keenest observations, but with such a mixture of
simple innocence, that he makes me laugh. He
asserts and maintains the absurdest things, and if
I contradict him I am really afraid of his going
out of his mind of his brain softening. If you
could only see how melancholy and how disputa-
tious he sometimes is. He takes up an idea and,
come what may, it is impossible to get it out of
his head. Now, for some days, he has had a fixed
idea, which is as touching as it is preposterous.
He will have it that Nela is pretty."
They all laughed, and Nela turned scarlet.
" That Nela is pretty !" exclaimed Teodoro
kindly. " Well, and so she is."
" Oh ! sweetly pretty, particularly with that
moustache !" said Sofia.
" She has a dear little face of her own," re-
peated Teodoro, putting his hand under her chin ;
" Sofia, lend me your handkerchief. Come, we
will get rid of the moustache."
Teodoro returned the handkerchief to Sofia
after wiping Nela's face. Don Francisco told the
girl to go and join the blind boy, and she hobbled
" And if I contradict him," he then went on,
" my son tells me that, perhaps the gift of sight
has weakened my perception of the true aspect of
things a quaiat garadox^"
" Do not contradict him at all, and for the
preseht discontinue your readings. For a few days
we must adopt a regimen of absolute tranquillity.
The brain must be treated with the utmost con-
sideration before attempting any operation of this
" If it is indeed God's will that my son should
receive his sight," said Penaguilas devoutly, " I
shall regard you as the greatest and most beneficent
of men. The darkness of his eyes is the darkness of
my life; that black shadow has saddened all my
days, and clouds all the wealth and ease of which I
am master. For I am rich but of what use are
riches ? How can I care for the things he cannot
see. Only a month ago I fell heir to a fine for-
tune you know, Don Carlos, my cousin Faustino
died at Matamoros. He had no children, so my
brother Manuel and I are his heirs. It is throw-
ing pearls before swine not as regards my
brother, who has a daughter, a sweet girl, old
enough to marry but so far as I am con-
cerned, a wretched man who can never see his son
enjoy the best pleasures of a respectable and easy
A long silence followed, interrupted only by the
gentle lowing of the cows in the adjoining stable.
" And then," added the worthy father in mel-
ancholy tones, " he knows nothing of the pleasures
of work, the greatest pleasure of all. Igndrant,
as he is, of the beauties of Nature, what can he
know of the delights of the country or the charms
of agriculture ? I cannot imagine how God can
bear to deprive a human creature of the pleasure
of admiring a fat beast, a tree loaded with pears,
or a green pasture; of seeing the fruits of the
earth in their abundance ; of sending out the
laborers to their day's toil, and reading the signs
of the weather in the sky. For him life is simply
a fevered dream it is lonely too ; solitary, for he
can never have the comfort of a family round
him. When I die what family will the poor blind
boy have ? He will not want to marry, nor will he
find a woman of good family who would engage
herself to him, in spite of his wealth ; nor, indeed,
could I advise him to marry. So that when Don
Teodoro gave me a hope, I felt as if heaven was
opened to me; I had visions of a young and
happy and sensible marriage ; cherubs my
grandchildren fluttered round me; I saw my
tombstone graced and fragrant with the blossoms
of a future generation, and the loving care which
even after death should follow me to the grave.
You cannot enter into all this ; you cannot know
how my brother, who is as good as gold, God
bless him ! as soon as he heard of my hopes, be-
gan to plot and plan and dream. Here, this is
what he says" and he took out a parcel of let-
ters which he turned over for a few minutes with-
out finding the one he wanted. "Well, to make
a long story short, he was beside himself with
delight and he said to me : ' I will marry my Flor-
entina to your Pablo, and so we shall get com-
pound interest on the half million of pesos left by
cousin Faustino.' I can see him, poor old
Manuel, rubbing his hands and strutting about as
his way is when he has hit on a good idea. I am
expecting him and his daughter to arrive at any
hour ; they are coming to stay with me for the
4th of October, and to see what comes of this at-
tempt to bless my son with the light of day."
By this time it was growing dark and the party
of four became aware of a most appetizing vapor
issuing from the house, and announcing a savory
farm-supper. The village patriarch, who seemed
the very incarnation of the spirit of the place a
tranquil melancholy spoke again presently : " My
brother's happiness and my own depends on my
having a son, whom I may propose as a husband
for his daughter, who is as sweet and fair as the
Holy Virgin, as we see her represented when the
angel of the Lord comes to say : ' The Lord is
with thee.' My blind boy is not the man but my
Pablo, with his eyesight, would realize my fondest
dreams and bring the blessing of God into my
They were all silent, deeply impressed by the
worthy father's simple and pathetic utterances, and
he himself raised his rough, brown hand, hardened
by labor, to wipe away a tear.
" What have you to say to all this ?" Carlos
asked his brother.
" I can say no more than that I have conscien-
tiously examined the case, and can find no suffi-
cient reason for saying it is hopeless, as the other
distinguished operators have said whom our good
friend has consulted. I cannot pledge myself to
succeed, nor can I think it impossible. The exami-
nation I made yesterday revealed no defect or in-
jury in the retina, and no disease in the optic nerve.
If the retina is perfect, all that is needed is the re-
moval of some impediment in front of it. The
crystalline lens often becomes opaque sometimes
hard and stony and this is what does the mis-
chief. If all the other parts of the organ are
healthy and work but, in the commonwealth of
the eye, many individual portions are only too
ready to become atrophied by idleness."
" So that, in short, it amounts simply to con-
genital cataract," said Penaguilas eagerly.
" Oh no, Senor ; if it were no more than that,
it would be a happy thing for us ! All that would
be needed would be to get rid of the part that
does its duty so badly. It ought to let the light
in and instead of that, it is congested, degenerate,
stony, and as opaque as a wall. No there is
something more than that, Don Francisco. The
iris is defective, the pupil must be taken in hand.
Still, I can laugh all these details to scorn if,
when I enter into possession, as it were, of this
dormant organ, I only find the choroid and the
retina uninjured. If, on the other hand,, when I
have removed the opaque lens and let the light in,
I find complete amaurosis if it were only partial,
that would be something but if it is total. . . .
When the nerve of sight is dead we can do noth-
ing. The deep mysteries of life are closed against
us. There is nothing for it but patience. This
case is to me a most interesting one ; there are
symptoms which lead me to believe that the in-
ternal function is unimpaired. The retina, as
Sovereign lord, seems quite disposed to receive the
light I shall introduce to it, and that high func-
tionary, the vitreous humor, will probably find it
no novelty. If 'from long want of exercise it
has sunk into a state of incipient glaucoma a
kind of melancholy we will treat it for that.
All wilf then be well in that darkened chamber.
But there is another thing to be considered.
A fissured iris, and an ordinary cataract usually
admit some gleam of light, and our patient sees
not a glimmer. This made me hesitate. In
fact, the sclerotic too is very much thickened ;
the impediments to the admission of light are
many and serious .... However, we shall see,
Don Francisco. Have you courage for any-
" Courage ! What should I have courage for ?"
asked Don Francisco.
" Sir, you will want all your courage if. ..."
" Well, if. ... ?"
" If, after undergoing a painful operation, your
son is still as blind as before. I said to you, plainly:
The case is not desperate ; shall I operate ?"
" And I answered, and I answer once more ;
Yes operate ; and God's will be done. On-
"Aye, onwards! You have taken my motto."
Don Francisco rose and wrung the surgeon's
hands, that were so like a lion's paws.
" In this climate the operation may be favor-
ably performed early in October," Golfin went
on. " To-morrow we will decide on the regimen
to which we must subject our patient. Meanwhile
we will be going, for it is fresh up on this hill."
Penaguilas pressed shelter and supper on his
friends, but they would not accept. They set out
homewards with Nela, whom Teodoro insisted on
taking with him, and Don Francisco kept them
company as far as the works.
Soothed by the silence and beauty of the night,
they fell into conversation on lighter themes on
the yield and profits of the mines, and other local
matters. The Golfins having reached home, Don
Francisco turned back alone and heavy-hearted,
walking slowly, with his eyes fixed on the. ground.
He was thinking of the terrible days of doubt and
hope, of expectation and anxiety which were com-
ing on him. Presently he was met by Choto, and
the pair lazily climbed the wooden stair. The
moon gave them light, and the old man's shadow
went up in front of him, broken by the steps into
a zigzag monster that leaped from plank to plank.
The dog trotted by its side and Don Francisco, in
the absence of any other mortal to whom he could
confide the thoughts that wearied his brain, pres-
ently said :
" Oh Choto ! will it succeed ?"
THAT worthy, Senor Centeno, having refreshed
his mind with the dull columns of his newspaper,
and ' Senana,' his wife, after enjoying the more in-
toxicating delights of counting and feeling the
coin in the stocking, had taken themselves to bed.
Children first and parents after, they had all
marched off to their respective couches. First
there was the mumbled Litany, sounding like some
muttered gibberish; then yawns, while the slug-
gard fingers made the sign of the cross and then
the stony-hearted family slept.
When the house was as still as the grave itself,
a soft rustling began to be audible in the kitchen,
like the stirring of bats coming out of their hiding
nooks to see life. The hampers opened and Celi-
pin heard these words :
" Celipin look here; I have got something
nice for you to-night."
Celipin could see nothing, but he put out his
hand and took from Nela's two duros. Having as-
sured himself of their genuineness by touch since
he could hardly have done so by sight he re-
mained speechless with astonishment.
"Don Teodoro gave them to me," added the
girl, " to buy myself a pair of shoes. But I do not
.want shoes; so I give them to you, and so you
will get on faster."
" Hurrah ! You are as good as the Holy Virgin,
Nela I want very little more now, and when I
have got another half-dozen or so of reales you
shall see what Celipin is made of."
" Aye, and listen to me, child ; the man who
gave me that money ran about the streets barefoot
begging when he was a boy, and now. ..."
" You do not mean it ! Don Teodoro ? And
now he has such lots of money. They say six
mules could not carry it all."
" Yes, and he slept in the streets, and was an
errand boy, and had no breeches in short, was
poorer than a rat. And his brother, Don Carlos,
lived in an old-clothes shop."
" Lord save us ! What wonderful things we
five to hear of! Well, I will go and find an old-
clothes shop where I can live."
" Well, and after that he became a barber to
earn a living and be able to study."
" Ah. . . . ! Look here then ; I have a great
mind to go straight into a barber's shop ; I shall
soon have to shave myself, and I am brisk and
quick enough, thank God ! Only wait till I get
to Madrid shaving on one hand and studying on
the other, at the end of two months I will know
everything. Look here, it has just struck me that
I am made to be a doctor. Yes, a doctor, what
with feeling pulses and looking at tongues, that is
the way to fill your pockets."
" Don Teodoro," Nela went on, " had much
less than you, for you will soon have five duros,
and with five duros, you can get almost everything.
Don Teodoro and Don Carlos were like the birds
that fly about without house or home, all alone in
the world. Well, by managing well, they got
learned. Don Teodoro studied dead bodies, and
Don Carlos studied stones, and so they learnt to
be gentlemen, and men of importance. And that
is why Don Teodoro is such a friend to the poor.
Celipin, you should have seen him this evening
when he jumped me upon his shoulder and then
he gave me his cup of milk and looked at me as
if I were a lady."
"All strong, active men, are the same," said
Celipin sharply. " You will see how brave and
fine I shall look when I wear a long cloak and a
high hat ; and I will wear those stockings on my
hands gloves they call them, and never take
them off excepting to feel a pulse I will have a
stick with a gilt knob and will wear such clothes !
nothing shall ever touch my skin but fine linen.
Lord love you child ! but you will laugh to see
" Do not be fancying that you can rise to such
things at once you who are as bare as an egg,"
said the girl. " You must go step by step, learn-
ing one thing to-day and another to-morrow. I
advise you, before you learn to cure sick folks,
to learn to write ; and so you ought, if it is
only to leave a letter for your mother, asking her to
forgive you, and telling her that you are gone away
from home to improve yourself, to make your
way like Don Teodoro, and become a clever
" Do not talk nonsense child. Who does not
know that writing comes first ? Only let me get
a pen in my hand, and you will see me flourish
away at the letters, and what beautiful fine strokes
I will make up and down, like Don Francisco
Penaguilas' name at the end of a letter. Write ?
do not talk to me in four days you will see what
letters I will write. Aye, you shall hear them read
and see what grand ideas I can hatch out, and set
them down too, in such fine words as will make
you all look foolish. Bless you child ! but you
have no notion how clever I can be. I feel it in-
side my head here, buzzing and humming, bur-
nmbum, burumbum, like the water in the boiler of
a steam-engine. It will not let me sleep, and I
feel as if all the sciences in the world came rush-
ing in and flapped blindly about like bats, wanting
me to study them. All the sciences I must
learn them all; I must not leave out one. Well,
you will see."
" But there must be a great many. Pablo
Penaguilas knows them all, and he told me
that there are a great, great many, and that a
man's whole lifetime is not enough to learn even
"Never do you believe him. Well, you will
see what I can do."
" And the best of all is what Don Carlos
learns; why, only think, he picks up a stone and
makes brass of it ; indeed, they do say he makes
silver, and even gold. Learn that science, Celi-
" Do not you be mistaken, Nela ; there is
nothing like knowing how to take a wrist and look
at a tongue, and tell in a minute in what corner of
a body the mischief lies. They say that Don
Teodoro can take a man's eye out and put him in
a new one, that he can see with as well as if he
had been born with it. Just think what it is to
see a man dying, and to make him hale and sound
again only by making him swallow half-a-dozen
flies, let us say, stewed down on a Monday with
hazel twigs gathered by a maid named Juana
I say that is something worth doing. Yes, you
shall see, you shall see what I will do. Doctor
Celipin de Socartes. I tell you my fame will reach
as far as Havana."
" Good, good !" cried Nela, delighted, " But
remember, you must be a good boy, because the
reason your parents have taught you nothing, is
only because they were not clever enough, and so,
as you are clever, you must pray for them to the
Holy Virgin, and not forget to send them some of
all the money you are going to get."
" I will be sure to send them some. You see,
it is not because I owe them any grudge that I
am going to run away ; and before long, very
soon, you will see a porter come up from the
station so loaded with big parcels that he can
hardly stand, and what will they be ? Why, pet-
ticoats for mother and the girls, and a tall hat for
father and you I will send you a pair of ear-
"You are in a hurry with your presents,"
said Nela, smothering a laugh. " Ear-rings for
" Stop ; I have just got another idea. Shall I
tell you ? It is that you should come with me ;
two of us together we should help each other to
earn money and to learn. For you are clever too,
I am too sharp not to see that ; and you can learn
to be a lady as I can to be a gentleman. Oh
Lord ! how I should laugh to see you playing the
piano like Dona Sofia."
" What a simpleton you are ! Why I am no
good for anything. If I went with you, I should
only be a clog and burden to you."
" But they say now that Don Pablo is going to
be made to see, and when he can see, you will
have nothing to do in Socartes. What do you
think of my plan ? Why do not you answer ?"
There was a long pause, during which Nela
made no answer. Celipin asked her again but got
" Go to sleep, Celipin," she said from the bot-
tom of the baskets. " I am dreadfully sleepy."
" If my brain will let me sleep, God save us !"
And a minute later he was dreaming of him-
self in the semblance of Don Teodoro Golfin, fix-
ing new eyes in old sockets, splitting open frag-
ments of rock, and snatching sick men from the
jaws of death by means of doses of flies, stewed
on a Monday, with hazel twigs picked by a
maiden. He saw himself dressed with gorgeous
garments, his hands encased in perfumed gloves,
and riding in a coach drawn by swans instead of
horses, invited by Kings and courted by Queens,
attending ladies of distinction, lauded by nobles,
and carried in triumph by all the peoples of the
BETWEEN TWO BASKETS.
NELA had shut herself into her baskets to be
alone ; we will follow her, however, and look in
upon her thoughts. But first we must give a little
more of her history.
Having entirely lacked all instruction in her
infancy, having equally lacked all those soft en-
dearments, which unfailingly open the mind to
recognize certain truths, Marianela's powerful
imagination had conceived a strange set of
ideas, a wild and fanciful theogony, and a highly
whimsical scheme of cause and effect. Teodoro
Golfin's comparison of Nela's mind with the early
stage of a primitive race was a particularly happy
one. In her, as in them, the fascination of the
marvellous was the predominant sense ; she be-
lieved in supernatural agencies, apart from the one
and supreme God, and saw in all natural objects
an abstract personality, by no means cut off from
all communication with men. In spite of all this,
however, Nela had some knowledge of the Gospel.
It had never been taught her, to be sure, but she
had heard such things talked of. She saw that
people went to a function they called the Mass,
and she understood the idea of a sublime sacrifice;
but beyond this her notions could not go. The
contagion of a common feeling had accustomed
her mind to reverence the image of the Crucified
God ; she knew it should be kissed, and she even
could repeat some prayers that she had learnt
mechanically ; she knew whatever she wanted she
could ask of God but this was all. The absolute
neglect in which her whole nature had been left
until the time of her acquaintance with Pablo Pena-
guilas was the cause of this confusion, and her
friendship with this strange being, who, shut up in
darkness, nevertheless with his mind's eye boldly
investigated all the problems of life, had come to her
too late. Nela's system of philosophy, of her own
fabrication, had already petrified a strange com-
pound of paganism and sentimentality. At the
same time it must be said that Marianela, though
her spirit ranged so far outside the common at-
mosphere, was well endowed with good sense, and
could form a sound judgment on the things of
daily life, as has been seen in the advice she gave
to Celipin. This, no doubt, was due to the native
soundness of her mind.
The strongest instinct of her nature was her
love, nay her secret passion, for physical beauty
wherever she saw it. Nothing could be more
natural than this impulse in a human soul growing
up in total solitude, so far as society and teaching
were concerned, and in constant intercourse, in
close intimacy we may say, with Nature and all
its sublime or gracious beauty light, color,
eloquent inarticulate voices, and infinite variety of
form. And Marianela's admiration had assumed
the guise of worship ; in obedience to a law, which
also governs the primitive race, she had personified
all the beauty she saw around her and worshipped
it in a single incarnation, ideal but human. This
divinity of her imagination she called the Virgin
Mary, a conception she had derived from the do-
main of religious thought, of which she knew so
little. And the Virgin Mary would not have be-
come her cherished ideal, if she had not joined to
her moral perfections all the physical gifts of
beauty and grace ; if her aspect had not been
noble and attractive, at once human and divine ;
if it had not seemed to Nela the epitome in which
were concentrated all the glory of light, the sober
peace of darkness, the music of running waters, the
grace and sweetness of flowers, the freshness of the
dew, the low complaining of the wind, the spotless
purity of the mountain snow, the loving glances of
the stars, and the solemn majesty of the clouds, as
they ride across the vault of heaven.
The person of God himself she conceived of as
terrible and austere, inspiring respect rather than
love. All that was gracious was bestowed by the
Virgin, and she was the giver of all that human
creatures could ask for. God frowned, while She
smiled ; God chastised, but She forgave ; this last
C-otion was by no means a strange one. It is ac-
cepted with almost absolute faith among the labor-
ing classes of the rural parts of Spain. Nor is it
at all uncommon, when we find a strong imagina-
tion joined to extreme ignorance, to meet with the
fusion which existed in Nela's mind of all the
beauties of Nature with the beautiful personifica-
tion which combines all the aesthetic charms of
the Christian ideal. If the darkness in which
Nela dwelt had only been more complete, if she
had but been rather more destitute of religious
notions, she would have been an utter pagan and
have worshipped the moon, the woods, the rivers,
fire and the sun. This was Nela as her life in
Socartes had made her, and such she remained till
she was fifteen. After that, her comradeship with
Pablo and her frequent talk with the lad, whose
ideas were so broad and so sound, had somewhat
modified her tone of thought. But she still al-
lowed supreme sovereignty to physical beauty ; she
still superstitiously adored the Virgin as the em-
bodiment of all the loveliness of Nature, and, in a
way, of all moral law ; crowning her system with
the most extraordinary ideas as to death and the
life to come.
Curling herself up in her basket, Marianela's
reflections took this form :
" Holy Mother of God ! Why why did you
not make me beautiful ? Why did you not look
down on me as soon as I was born ? For the more
I look at myself, the uglier I seem to grow. Oh !
why am I in this world at all ? Of what good can I
be ? Who can care for me ? One single soul, Lady
Mother, only one, and he only because he cannot
see me. What is to become of me when he sees
me and casts me off? for it is impossible that he
should ever love me when he sees my miserable
little body, my freckled face, my ugly mouth, my
sharp nose, my dirty brown skin all my hide-
ous little self of no good to any one but to kick
perhaps. What is that ? Only Nela nothing at
all. She is of no use to any one but the blind
boy. If his eyes are opened, if he turns and looks
at me, I shall drop down dead.
" He is the only being to whom ' Nela' is any-
thing more important than the cats and the birds.
He loves me. Loves me as lovers love their sweet-
hearts, as God intends human beings to love each
other. Oh Lady Mother ! now that you are go-
ing to work a miracle and let him see, make me
beautiful or strike me dead, for I shall not be
wanted any more in this world. I am good for
nothing and ever shall be, excepting to one per-
son. Am I sorry then that he should be able to
see? No, no, not that, no. I want him to see;
I would give my own eyes for him to see with his ;
I would give my life. I hope Don Teodoro can
work the miracle as they say. Blessings on all
wise men ! What I do not want is that my mas-
ter should ever see me. Before I will let him see
me, oh Mother ! I will bury myself alive, I will
throw myself into the river. Yes, the earth shall
cover my ugliness. I ought never to have been
She writhed in her narrow basket, and then she
went on :
" All my heart and thought are for him. That
poor, blind man, who has taken it into his head to
be fond of me he is the first being in the world
to me next to the Virgin Mary. Oh ! If only I
were tall and handsome ; if I had the figure, and
1 50 MARIANELA.
the face, and the color above all, the color of
other girls ! % If I could only make a lady of my-
self and dress myself up. And then my greatest
joy would be to think that his eyes liked to look
at me. If I were like other girls, even like Mariuca
how soon I would find a way of getting taught
and being made a lady of. Oh Mother Mary,
Queen of the world ! The only creature that loves
me, I am going to lose : he will leave me. Why
did you ever let him love me, and let me love him ?
It ought not never to have been."
The tears poured down her cheeks ; she folded
her arms and turned over, and even when half
asleep she still was speaking to herself:
" Oh, how much I love you, child of my soul !
Love me too, love me very much. It is Nela who
is no good to any one. Love me very much.
Let me give you a kiss here on your head.
But do not open your eyes, do not look at me.
Shut them so."
HOW THE VIRGIN MARY APPEARED TO NELA.
THE thoughts which fade and fly as sleep
overcomes us, very commonly lurk in some hole
or corner ready to take us by storm again as soon
as we wake. Thus it was that Mariquilla, who,
having fallen asleep with her head full of strange
fancies of the Virgin, of the blind lad, and of her
own ugliness which, she longed so wildly to see
changed into wonderful loveliness, woke with the
same ideas in her brain when Senana's call roused
her in her basket. As soon as her eyes were open,
Nela put up her usual prayer to the Virgin
Mother a sort of Litany, compounded of the
ordinary Litany to the Virgin and of certain
clauses of her own devising, and forming altogether
an address which would look strange enough if it
were written down. Among other things, Nela's
prayer said :
" Thou didst appear to me in my dreams last
night, oh Lady ! and promise to comfort me to-
day. Now I am awake, and still I feel as if I saw
thy face just before me, and far lovelier than all
the grand and lovely things in the world." And
152 MARIAN EL A.
as she spoke she turned and gazed round her.
Noticing in herself the utter vagueness with which
she did so, she thought to herself: " Something
has come over me."
" What is the matter, Nela ?" asked Senana,
seeing the girl stand with her eyes wide open and
fixed on a spot in space. " Do you see a vision,
But Nela did not answer, her mind was ab-
sorbed in self contemplation.
" What ails me ?" she asked herself. " It can-
not he anything evil, or wicked, for I do not feel
the black ugly figure of a devil inside me, but
something heavenly : a beautiful face, a smile and
a look which if I am in my right mind are
those of the Virgin Mary herself. Oh Lady
Mother ! Can it be true that thou wilt give me
comfort to-day ? And how? By giving me what
I prayed for last night ?"
" Now then, brat !" screamed Senana in her
harsh tones, like a cracked bell. " Go and wash
your ugly little snout"
Nela went at once. Her spirit had felt a shock
as of a sudden gleam of great hope. She looked
at herself in the quivering surface of the water,
and her heart shrank within her.
" No difference," she muttered. " As ugly as
ever ; the same child's face with a woman's years
and a woman's heart !"
But after washing herself she went through
the same experience as before a sort of agony
of anticipation, and, in spite of her narrow vocabu-
lary, Nela could classify these feelings as presenti-
" Pablo and I," said she to herself, " have often
talked of how we feel when something sad or
something pleasant is going to happen. Pablo
told me that just before an earthquake people have
strange sensations ; there is something in the air,
and the beasts feel it too. Is there going to be an
earthquake, I wonder ?" And she knelt down and
felt the ground with her hand.
" I cannot tell. But something is going to
happen, and I cannot doubt that it will be some-
thing good. The Virgin told me last night that
to-day she would comfort me. What has come
over me ? The Heavenly Queen seems to be
close to me. I cannot see her, but I feel her
before me behind me. ..."
She went close by the machines for washing
the ore towards the inclined plane, looking about
her with eager eyes. There was nothing to be
seen but the arms and wheels of iron, toiling with
fiendish shrieks amid the hideous confusion of
whirling cylinders, lashing the water to powder, as
it seemed, and breathing out dust and smoke.
Presently, when she had gone some little distance,
she stopped ; putting her hand to her forehead,
and fixing her eyes on the ground in all the be-
wilderment of doubt : " The question is," said
she to herself, " am I happy or am I sad ?"
She looked up at the sky, half wondering to
see it appear the same as on other days and it was
a lovely day and then she walked on faster, to
reach Aldeacorba as soon as possible. Instead of
going through the gallery in the mines and up the
wooden steps, she kept above the hollow way, along
by the gutter that bordered the inclined tramway,
intending to get out into the fields, and walk
straight on by the level road to the village. This
way was much the prettiest, and she almost always
chose it, for that reason. It went by lanes full
of sweet and gay flowers, where crowds of bees
and butterflies fluttered and sipped ; there were
thickets of bramble loaded with the black fruit be-
loved of children ; clumps of cherry-trees over-
grown with honeysuckles, and enormous ilex,
tall, spreading, densely shady, and proud, it would
seem, of their wide, black shadows.
Here Nela went more slowly, uneasy in her-
self, puzzled at her own sensations, and at the
anxious excitement that stirred in her. Her rapid
fancy presently hit upon a formula to express the
state of her feelings, and remembering having heard
it said of such and such a one, " the devil is in him,"
she said to herself: "The angels are in me, the
Virgin Mary is with me this day. What I feel are
the wings of her angels fluttering inside me. Thou
art near me, Lady Mother, I see you and yet I
do not see you as we see with our eyes shut."
She shut her eyes, and then she opened them
again. She had just passed a grove of trees and
turned an angle of the road to go to a place where
she knew of a bramble copse, the greenest, pretti-
est, a*nd most fruitful in all the neighborhood.
There were luxuriant ferns too, honeysuckle, wild
vine, and other climbing plants, all clinging and
tangled together in mutual dependence.
Nela heard a rustle in the brushwood close to
her, and turning round she saw Merciful Heaven 1
There, in a frame of greenery, stood the Immacu-
late Virgin herself the face, the eyes, which in
their gaze seemed to have all the calm beauty of
the sky. Nela stood silent, petrified ; with a feel-
ing at once of devotion and terror. She could not
stir, nor cry out, nor hardly breathe, nor take her
eyes off this beatific vision.
It stood among the verdure, the face and
figure to the waist perfectly displayed. This was
yes, certainly the very presence of the Maiden
of Nazareth, whose moral loveliness every painter
has endeavored to express by means of physical
beauty, from St. Luke downwards through "eigh-
teen centuries. Have not men indeed seen that
sacred form with the eyes of sense with the
eyes of Albert Diirer of Rafael of Van Eyck
of Bartolome Murillo ? It was under the
Rafaelesque aspect that she now appeared to
Nela, the most realistic of all, if realism can mean
the nearest approach of perfect human beauty to
an artistic representation of divine goodness. The
oval of her face was less narrow than the Seville
painter's type, and had more of the tender round-
ness of the Italian form. Her eyes, which were
finely shaped, were gentleness itself, with a soft-
ness and sweetness as far removed from indiffer-
ence, as from the lightning glow of the eyes of
Andalucia ; the brows that overarched them were
delicately curved, and as fine as if they had been
traced with a paint-brush. Her forehead was
unshadowed by any cloud of weariness or sadness,
and her lips, which were rather full, parted in a
smile that revealed the pearliest teeth that ever bit
into the apples of Paradise. And so, without in
the least intending it, I have compared her to our
Mother Eve wide as the distance is between her
who yielded to the Serpent and her who set her
heel on his head ; but the beauty of a lovely girl
is enough to betray us into such unlucky blunders.
To put a finishing touch to this imperfect descrip-
tion of the divine vision which had so utterly dis-
mayed poor Marianela, it must be said that her
complexion was of that faded rose color, or warm
clear brown which gives an enchanting glow to
the faces of those glorious pictures which succes-
sive generations, of believers and heretics alike,
have worshipped in ecstasy.
After the first shock of surprise was over, the
first fhing that Nela observed, and which confused
her judgment greatly, was that the fair Virgin
wore a blue ribbon round her throat, a detail she
had never before seen in any picture or dream of
the Virgin Mary ; then she perceived that her
shoulders and bosom were covered by a dress in
every respect similar to that worn by other ladies ;
but the thing which puzzled and disturbed her most
was that the fair creature was picking blackberries
and eating them.
She was beginning to draw accurate inferences
from this remarkable behavior, when she heard a
loud man's voice calling :
" Florentina, Florentina !"
" I am here, Papa here, eating blackber-
" Naughty child how can you like to eat
blackberries ? What next whim will you take ?
Have I not told you that they are only fit for the poor
children that run about the country, and not for a
young lady who has been properly brought up.
Do you hear? And lived in good society."
Nela saw the speaker come towards them. He
was a man of advanced middle age and medium
height, rotund, and with a ruddy countenance
that seemed to radiate satisfaction as the sun
radiates light. His legs were thin, his nose was
large, and his person decorated with a variety of
splendid objects, among which a thick watch-chain
was conspicuous, while he wore a broad-brimmed
hat of fine black felt.
" Come, come, child," said Don Manuel Pena-
guilas, for he it was, " respectable people do not
eat blackberries nor skip and jump about like that.
There, you have torn your dress I do not care
about the dress, for I can buy you another as I
bought you that I only speak because the peo-
ple here who see you might think you had no
dress but the one you have on."
Nela, who by this time understood the case,
looked at the young lady's dress. It was good
and handsome, but her face betrayed unmistaka-
bly the transition and a rapid one from the
position of a rich peasant's daughter to that of a
fine lady. Every detail of her attire, from her shoes
to her comb, stamped her as the daughter of the
people in holiday clothes. But the girl's natural
grace and beauty were so transcendent, that no
deficiency, as measured by any conventional stand-
ard of elegance, could dim them. It was not to
be denied, however, that her whole individuality
cried out for a short peasant's skirt, hair dressed in
plaits with a bunch of poppies to adorn it with
affected simplicity, a sleeveless bodice, a coral neck-
lace in short, the costume which good taste and
the nature of things would have suggested, with-
out any admixture of the devices of the fine
As the young girl came out from among the
brambles, Don* Manuel perceived Nela, at the
moment when she had just recovered from
her delusion, and he called out as he turned
to her :
" Hallo ! and who are you ? Why, look Flor-
entina, it is Nela, the little body that waits upon
your cousin. You remember I spoke of her to
you ? And how are you now-a-days ?"
"Very well, Senor Don Manuel. And you.
How are you, Senor ?" asked Mariquilla without
taking her eyes off Florentina.
" Perfectly well as you see. This is my
daughter. Well, what do you think of her ?"
Florentina had just set out on a butterfly chase.
" My dear child, where are you going ? What
do you want now?" said the father, visibly
annoyed. " Now do you think it looks well
that you should be running after an insect like
some poor child ? You must not be so wild, my
child. Young ladies brought up in good society
do not do such things never do such things. . ."
It was a trick with Don Manuel to repeat the
last clause of his sentences to give them em-
" Ah ! do not be cross, Papa," said the girl,
returning from her fruitless chase to shelter her-
self under the protecting brim of the paternal hat.
" You know how much I love the country and that
I am half crazy when I see trees and flowers and
meadows. And in that dismal town of Campo I
never see anything of the kind. ..."
" Oh ! but you must not say anything against
Santa Irene de Campo ; it is a famous town where
you find every comfort and convenience, and a
great deal of very distinguished society. It stands
in the foremost ranks of civilization yes, of
civilization. You can admire the beauties of
Nature while you walk properly by my side. I
admire them too, but without cutting capers or
turning somersaults. You can tell when a young-
person has moved in good society only by her
way of walking and looking at the scene around
her. This way of calling out at every minute :
Ah ! Oh ! Look there, Papa ! How pretty !
and pointing to a fern, perhaps, or an oak-tree, or
a rock a thorn-bush even, a brook is not at
all in good taste people will think you have
lived in a desert. So come and walk by me.
Nela will show us the way home, for, to tell you
the truth, I do not know where we are."
" If we turn to the left, past that old house,"
said Nela readily, " we shall be there directly.
But here comes Don Francisco."
And, in fact, Don Francisco came on towards
them, calling out : " The chocolate is getting
" What would you have my good fellow.
This child was so anxious to scamper across the
country that she would not wait, so we went
springing from bush to bush like goats just like
goats from bush to bush."
" Well come in now, come home. Nela do you
come too, and have some chocolate," said Pena-
1 62 MARIANELA.
guilas, laying a hand on the child's head. " Well,
and what do you think of my niece ? Is not she
pretty? Florentina, when you have had your
chocolate, Nela will take you and Pablo for a
walk, and you will see all the beauties of the
neighborhood the mines, the wood, the river. .. ."
Florentina sent a kind glance to the hapless
little creature who, as she ran by her side, seemed
to have been formed by Nature expressly as a foil
and contrast to one of the loveliest and most per-
fect of her creations.
When they reached the house the table was
ready laid with the chocolate pots full of the thick
and nutritious beverage, and a small hillock of
slices of bread. There too were the mantequilla
(a sort of cake), duly decked with fern leaves, and
no lack of other household dainties. The bright
glasses of crystal water reflected and magnified all
these gastronomical objects.
" Here we have something to support life,"
said Don Francisco, seating himself.
" And you will have some chocolate too, Nela,"
said Pablo. He had hardly spoken when Floren-
tina had offered her the chocolate pot, and every-
thing that was on the table was pressed on her
acceptance. She refused at first, but the Senorita
insisted with so much kindness and gentle grace,
that she had at last no choice. Don Manuel cast
side glances at his daughter, not feeling perfectly
satisfied with her advance in the arts and manners
of the best society, since one of the most impor-
tant points, in his estimation, consisted in a deli-
cate appreciation of the shades of civility due to
different people according to their rank and posi-
tion, " showing to each neither more nor less than
was appropriate by the rules of social distinction ;
since, by this means, each would keep his place,
while true dignity would hold its own and observe
that happy medium of courtesy, which was not
too haughty or reserved to the rich, nor too
humble and condescending to the poor not too
humble to the poor."
When they had done breakfast, Don Francisco
" Now, you children, go out for a walk.
Pablo, this is the last day that Don Teodoro will
allow you to walk out. You three go and have a
run, while my brother and I go over the farm.
Fly away birds !"
There was no need to speak twice ; the beauty
of the day was invitation enough, and the three
young people set out for the fields.
THE THREE CHILDREN.
THE town-bred damsel thoroughly enjoyed
the open and smiling meadows without the tram-
mels of her father's social dogmas, and as soon as
they were at some little distance from the house
she took to running and leaping, swinging now
and then from the branches of the trees as she
passed them. She pinched the blackberries with
the tips of her fingers, and when she thought
them ripe she would pick three, one for each
"This is for you, cousin," she said, putting it
to his lips, "and this is for you, Nela, and this
little one is for me."
Then as the birds flew across she could not resist
the temptation to wave her arms as if she too could
fly. " Where are the little rascals off to I wonder ?"
she said. She must need gather a branch from every
oak-tree and split open the acorns to see what was
in them, then she bit into one, and finding it
bitter, tossed it away. No botanist, mad on
Latin names and classification, could have been so
eager to collect all the flowers that grew under
her feet, as if to bid her welcome to their native
soil, and she gathered enough in half an hour to .
adorn every button-hole in her cousin's cloak, to
make a garland for Nela's hair, and then one for
" My cousin would like to see the mines,"
said Pablo. " Do not you think we might go
"Yes, let us go down this way, Senorita."
" Oh ! but I do not like to go through tunnels,
they frighten me dreadfully. I really cannot go
through a tunnel. ..." said Florentina, following
them. " Cousin, do you and Nela walk about
here often ? Oh ! but this is beautiful I could
live here all my life. Blessings on the man who
is going to give you the power of enjoying this
lovely world !"
" God grant it ! And it will all look much
more lovely to me who have never seen it, than
to you who are tired of it all. But do not sup-
pose, Florentina, that I do not understand what
beauty is ; I can feel it in my own fashion, and
my fancy almost, almost makes up for my want of
"That is strange. But say what you will,"
replied Florentina, " we will have some good fun
when you can see."
1 66 MARIANELA.
" Maybe," said the blind boy, " that I may
not find much to say that day."
Nela meanwhile was absolutely speechless.
When they had reached the crater of La Ter-
rible, Florentina was greatly struck by the grand
spectacle of the limestone rocks, left on the ground
after the ore had been extracted. She compared
' them to huge masses of sugar loaves piled one on
another ; then, after looking a second time, she
said they were like gigantic dogs and cats turned
to stone at the critical moment of a furious fight.
" Let us sit down on this slope," she said,
" and we shall see the trains go by with the min-
eral, and besides we can see these stones which
are very curious. That large rock in the middle
has a wide mouth do you see, Nela? and out
of the mouth sticks a toothpick ; it is a tree that
has grown all alone there. It looks as if it were
laughing at us, for it has eyes too ; and there, far-
ther on, is one with a hump, another smoking a
pipe, and two pulling each other's hair ; there is
one yawning, another asleep and drunk, and an-
other head downwards supporting a cathedral on
his feet ; then there is one playing the guitar, with
a dog's head and coffee-pot on it like a cap."
" What you are saying," observed the blind
man, "proves to me how differently things are
MARIAN ELA. 167
seen by different eyes, and that the precious gift of
sight sometimes travesties them strangely, chang-
ing their natural form into something whimsical
and unreal ; for, after all, what you see before you
are neither cats nor men, toothpicks, cathedrals,
nor coffee-pots, but merely limestone rocks and
masses of calcareous stone stained with oxide of
iron. And it is your eye that burlesques so sim-
ple a fact."
" You are right, cousin ; and for that very
reason I say it is our imagination that sees,
and not our eyes. Nevertheless our sight is use-
ful to inform us, for instance, of certain things
which poor people have not got and which we
who are rich can give them." And as she spoke
she touched Nela's dress.
" Why does not this dear little Nela wear bet-
ter clothes ?" she went on. " I have a number of
frocks and I will give her one and a new one
too, into the bargain." Marianela, covered with
blushes and confusion, did not raise her eyes.
" That is a thing I can never understand : why
some have so much and others so little. I get quite
angry with Papa when I hear him abusing those
who wish that everything should be divided so
that all should have an equal share. What do they
call those people, Pablo ?"
1 68 MARIANELA.
" Socialists communists. ..." said the lad
" Well, those are the people for me. I vote for
a redistribution, so that the rich should give the
poor all they have too much of. Why should this
orphan go barefoot when I wear shoes ? Even
wicked people ought not to be destitute, much less
good ones. Now, I know that Nela is very good,
you told me so last evening, and your father said
so too. And she has no parents, no one to care
for her. How is it that there are so many, many,
miserable creatures in the world ? My bread burns
my mouth when I remember how many there are
who have none at all. Poor little Nela ! such a
good child, and so forlorn ! It seems impossible
that to this day you should have lived without
being loved, without any one to give you a kiss nor
to cuddle and pet you as we pet little children
my heart aches to think of it."
Marianela was as completely petrified with as-
tonishment as at the first sight of the apparition.
Then she had seen the Virgin Mary, now she
heard her very words.
" Listen, little one," the Holy Maiden went on,
"and you, Pablo, listen too. I must help and
comfort Nela not as we help the beggars by the
road, but as we try to help a brother whom we
find unexpectedly. Did you not tell me that she
has been your companion, your lazarillo, your
guide through the darkness ? That you saw with
her eyes and trod in her steps ? Nela is mine as
much as yours then, and I shall take charge of
her. I will dress her and give her everything she
can want to live decently, and teach her a hundred
things to make her useful in the house. Papa told
me that perhaps I might always have to live here ;
and, if so, Nela will live with me ; with me she
will learn to read, to say her prayers, to sew and
to cook ; she will learn so many things that she
will know as much as I do. What do you think
of my plan ? She will soon be nothing short of a
young lady. My father will not prevent me I
know. Indeed, last evening he said to me : 'Flor-
entinilla perhaps, perhaps, before long I shall not
rule you any longer ; you may have to obey an-
other master. ..." Well, be that as it may, Nela
shall be my friend. Will you love me ? dearly ?
You have lived so neglected as the wild flowers
grow in the fields that you do not even know
how to say thank you but never mind I will
teach you ; oh ! I have to teach you so many-
Marianela, who had been making stupendous
efforts not to cry as she listened to these splendid
promises, could at last hold in no longer and, after
screwing up her face for a minute, burst into tears.
The blind boy sat silent, lost in thought.
"Florentina," he said presently," you speak
and think differently from most other people.
Your goodness is as infinite and as enthusiastic as
that which has filled the world with martyrs and
peopled heaven with saints."
"What an extravagant way of putting it!"
said the girl laughing, and she rose to gather a
flower that had attracted her attention at some lit-
" Is she gone ?" asked Pablo.
" Yes," said Nela, gulping down her tears.
" Do you know ?" said Pablo, " I fancy my
cousin must be rather pretty. When she arrived
last evening I felt the greatest antipathy towards
her ; I cannot tell you what a dislike I took to her.
But to-day I fancy I can see her, and that she
must be rather pretty."
Nela began to cry again.
" She is like an angel !" she said with a flood of
tears. "She looks as if she had just come straight
from Heaven. Body and soul she is exactly like
the Holy Virgin Mary."
" Oh ! do not exaggerate," said Pablo uneasily.
" She cannot be so lovely as you say. Do not im-
MARIANELA. I /I
agine that because I have no eyes I cannot feel
who is beautiful and who is not."
" No, no, you cannot feel it, you do not under-
stand. Oh! you are mistaken, quite mistaken."
"No, no. She cannot be so beautiful," the
blind lad insisted, turning very pale as he spoke.
".Nela, darling of my heart, do you know what
my father told me ? That if I recover my sight I
am to marry Florentina."
Nela could not answer ; her tears continued to
flow in silence, pouring down her burning cheeks
and dropping on her hands. But not even the
bitterest tears could give expression or relief to
her intense grief. It was immeasurable, infinite,
that was all she knew.
" I know why you are crying so much," the
blind youth said holding her hands very tightly in
his own. " But my father will not insist on mak-
ing me marry against my will. For me there is no
wife in the world but you. When my eyes can
see, they will care for no beauty but your heavenly
Jace ; all others will be but shades, too remote and
dim to attract my gaze. Oh God ! what is a
human face like ? How does the soul stand re-
vealed in flesh ? If light cannot avail to give an-
other aspect to thought and fancy, of what use is
it at all ? That which we conceive of and that
which is are they not one and the same thing ?
Are not the idea and the form the same to each
other as fire and heat ? Can they be separated ?
And can you cease to be the fairest in the world
to me, the sweetest and best beloved, when I am
lord of the vast domain of the visible ?"
Florentina now rejoined them, and they talked
as they went home ; but nothing more was said of
sufficient interest to be set down here.
NOTHING of importance occurred on the two
following days, but then there came one on which
the deed was done, the wonderful, crowning, fate-
ful deed. Teodoro Golfin, in whose hands the
surgeon's knife was as the chisel of a Genius, had
attempted to amend one of Nature's most delicate
works. Unflinching and calm he took possession,
as it were, in virtue of his science and experience,
of the marvellous speck in which the glorious
scheme of the Universe is epitomized and concen-
trated. The task before him was nothing less than
to stand face to face with the mystery of Life ; to
investigate and discover the causes which hindered
a living eye from taking cognizance of things visi-
ble. For this a firm soul was needed and a tender
hand. The delicate tissue of the cornea must be
divided, the crystalline lens removed, carefully
avoiding the hyaloid membrane and the vitreous
humor ; the dimensions of the pupil must be in-
creased by an incision, and the condition of the
inner chamber of the eye ascertained by induction
or by examination.
Few words were spoken after this daring ex-
pedition into a microcosm an enterprise not less
bold than the attempt to measure the distance be-
tween the stars, or to guage the infinite realms of
space. Those who were present sat in silent sus-
pense, as they might await the resurrection of a
dead man or the creation of a new world. Golfin
said nothing definite either :
" Iris contractile," he muttered. " Retina sen-
sitive. . . . Nerves living and sound. ..." And yet
the function, the fact, the act of seeing where
was that ?
"Time will show," said Don Teodoro, as he
carefully adjusted the bandages. " Patience."
And his leonine face expressed neither disap-
pointment nor triumph, neither hope nor doubt.
Science had done all she could ; it was almost like
an act of creation, like many others she has
1 74 MARIANELA.
enabled us to perform in this nineteenth century.
Nature, thus boldly defied and resenting such an in-
trusion on her secrets, held her peace.
The patient was strictly forbidden to see any
one but his father, who waited on him ; no one
else was admitted. Nela went several times to en-
quire for the invalid ; but she never crossed the
threshold, she waited outside till Don Manuel
should come out, or his daughter, or some mem-
ber of the household. The young lady, after giving
her the fullest information and painting in lively
colors the anxiety they all felt, would go out to
walk with her. One day Florentina insisted that
Nela should show her where she lived, and they
went down to Centeno's hovel ; the squalid inte-
rior horrified and disgusted Florentina; above all,
the baskets which served as the orphan's bed.
" Well, Nela will very soon come to live with
me," said Florentina, getting out of the stuffy hole
as fast as she could, " and then she will have a
bedroom just like mine, and will dress and feed as
Dame Centeno and her two girls stood open-
mouthed with astonishment at this speech. They
began to think that the hapless and neglected or-
phan must have found her father in some Prince
or King, as the orphans do in the tales.
When they had left the house behind them
Florentina said to her companion : " Pray to God
day and night that He may grant my dear cousin
the blessing which we all enjoy and which He has
denied to him. What an anxious state we live in !
If he gains his sight a thousand delightful things
will follow and many difficulties will be removed.
I have made a solemn vow to the Virgin ; I have
promised that if she grants my cousin his sight I
will take under my care the very poorest creature I
can find, and give her all that can make her en-
tirely forget her poverty, making her my own equal
in every respect, as happy and as comfortable as
I am. And it is not enough merely to give her
clothes, or set her down to a table with plenty of
soup and meat. No, there is another charity
which is worth more than all the broken food and
frippery in the world kindness, respect, consider-
ation, and a name. I will give her these too, and
teach her to respect herself. I have found the
person I want, Maria it is you. I have promised
the Holy Virgin from the bottom of my soul that
if she will bestow the gift of sight on my cousin,
you shall be my sister. You shall be the same as
myself, in my house, exactly like my sister." As she
spoke Nela's Virgin clasped the girl in her arms
and kissed her on the forehead.
It is impossible to give any idea of the poor lit-
tle vagabond's feelings in this crowning hour of her
life. An instinctive dread kept her away from the
house at Aldeacorba, a dread that was dimly mixed
up with the personality of her young benefactress,
like the figures we see in a nightmare ; while, at
the same time, she felt tender admiration and
reverence for her. Now and again, in her inno-
cent bewilderment, she fancied it must be the Vir-
gin Mary in her actual presence ; in no other way
could she conceive of the kind-heartedness which
smiled upon her, like the realms of Paradise, from
the open soul of Florentina, with its purity, ten-
derness, gentleness, and gracious consolations.
Nela's honest instinct made her feel and understand
at once that she could not hate her self-constituted
sister. Hate her ! How could she ? She felt she
must love her with all the strength of her soul.
Her aversion and repulsion sank to the bottom like
a sediment after fermentation, and there decom-
posed and vanished, their elements recombining
to intensify the admiration and respect she felt for
her benefactress. Still, though the feeling had
disappeared, the cause remained the sentiment
which, as it could no longer flourish singly in her
soul, with that masterful exclusiveness which is
characteristic of such passions, revenged itself by
MARIANELA. 1 77
producing that utter dejection which is the very
demon of melancholy.
At Centeno's they remarked that Nela did not
eat, that she seemed wearier than usual, that for
long intervals she sat as silent and motionless as a
statue, and that she sang no longer, day or night.
Her incapacity for exertion had become absolute
helplessness, and Tanasio, having sent her to buy
him some tobacco, she sat down in the road and
remained there for the rest of the day.
One morning, just a week after the operation
had been performed, she went up to the engineer's
house, and Sofia said to her : " A gift for good
news Nela ! Have you heard ? They have taken
off the bandages to-day, and they say he can see,
that he will see quite well. Ulysses, the foreman
of the works, has just been to tell us. Teodoro
has not been here, but my husband has gone to
Aldeacorba we shall know the truth very soon."
Nela, as she heard it, fejttnpre dead than alive,
and crossing her hands she exclaimed : " Blessed
be the Holy Virgin who has worked this wonder !
She, she alone has done it."
"You are glad little one? No wonder, for
now Senorita Florentina will keep her promise,"
said Sofia in a bantering tone. " Allow me to con-
gratulate you, Senorita Dona Nela. Why it is
like a lottery ! What a big prize, Nelilla ! And
yet you may not be grateful no, you will not.
I never yet knew any poor who were grateful.
They are all proud, and the more you give them
the more they ask. Well, it is a settled thing that
Pablo is to marry his cousin, and it is a very
good match ; they are a handsome pair and she
seems no fool and she has a sweet pretty face ;
what a pity to spoil such a face and figure by dress-
ing so villanously ! No, no, if I want to dress well I
will not apply to the dressmaker at Santa Irene de
As she spoke Don Carlos came in ; he was
radiant with satisfaction and delight
" A complete success !" he shouted as he
reached the door. " Next to God stands my
brother Teodoro !"
" It is quite certain ?"
"As sure as daylight I never believed it
could be. And what a triumph, Sofia ! What a
triumph ! It is my greatest pride and happiness
to be my brother's brother. He is the king of
men. Yes, as I say: First God, and then Teo-
THE wonderful good news flew through
Socartes. Nothing else was talked of in the
smelting-houses, in the workshops, in the washing-
mills, on the tram-way, in the deepest diggings,
and on the top of the hill, in the bowels of the earth
or the open light of heaven. Various interesting
commentaries were added : that in Aldeacorba it
was thought for a moment that Don Francisco
was out of his wits with joy ; that Don Manuel
meant to celebrate the happy event by giving a
grand banquet to all the hands employed in the
mines ; and, finally, that Don Teodoro was a great
man, whom all blind men, present or to come,
might indeed esteem, " as the apple of their eye."
Nela could not venture to go to the house at
Aldeacorba. A mysterious force seemed to hold
her back. She wandered all day round and about
the mines, gazing from afar at the Penaguilas 1
house, which in her eyes, looked transformed.
Her spirit was full of a strange compound of the
sincerest joy and an overwhelming shamefaced-
ness, of noble devotion and with it the unendura-
ble aching, so to speak, of an intensely sensitive
She found some surcease from the turmoil of
her brain in that motherly solitude which had
contributed so largely to the formation of her
character, and in dreaming over the beauty of
Nature, which always lifted her soul to closer com-
munion with the Divinity. The clouds in the sky
and the flowers of the field affected her mind as
others are affected by the pomp of altars, the elo-
quence of preachers and the study of the medita-
tions of the mystics. In the solitude of the open
country she thought and said a thousand things
that she never dreamed were aspirations and
prayers. She looked towards Aldeacorba, and
said to herself:
" I will never go there again. All is over and
done. Of what use can I be now?"
With all her ignorance she understood that the
struggle in her soul arose from her incapacity to
hate any one ; on the contrary, she was constrained
to love her friend and her enemy alike, and just
as thistles turned into flowers under the miraculous
touch of some Christian martyr, Nela perceived
that her jealousy and aversion were graciously
blossoming into admiration and gratitude. That
which could undergo no change was the feeling
we have described as self-conscious shame, and
which urged her to keep herself quite apart from
any events which might henceforth occur in Al-
deacorba. It was a special aspect of the senti-
ment which in civilized and educated persons is
called amour propre, which includes in itself the
capacity for self-depreciation. The connection,
however, between her feeling and that which has
so large a share in the actions of cultivated per-
sons, consisted in the fact that both were founded
on a punctilious sense of dignity. If Marianela
could have expressed herself in their language
she would have said :
" My dignity will not allow me to submit to
the horrible degradation you would put upon me.
It is God's will that I should endure this humilia-
tion so be it; but I cannot stand by and see
myself deposed and discrowned. May his bless-
ings fall on the head of her who, by a law of
nature, must fill the place I once occupied but
I have not the courage to put her there with my
But not being able to utter her pain in these
words, she could only say : " I will never go to
Aldeacorba again I will never let him see me.
I will run away with Celipin, or I will go to my
mother. I am of no use now to any one."
1 82 MARIANELA.
Still, even while she said this, it struck her as
very sad that she should have to give up the
divine protection of that Heavenly Maiden who
had appeared to her in the darkest hour of her life,
and cast her sheltering mantle over her ! To think
that after seeing the vision realized which had so
often appeared to her in dreams of thrilling beati-
tude, she must renounce it to have heard herself
called by a gentle voice, that offered her a sister's
love, a happy home, position, a name, and a lux-
urious existence and then be unable to obey the
invitation with joy, alacrity and thankfulness to
reject the hand which would snatch her from a life
of degradation and misery, and make a lady of
the wretched vagabond, raising her from the rank
of a domestic animal to that of a loved and
respected woman !.-...
" Woe, woe !" she cried, clutching her bosom
as if her fingers were talons: "I cannot, never,
never . . . Nothing in the world shall ever take me
to Aldeacorba ! Virgin, mother of my soul, take
me, take me . . . Mother, will you not come and
fetch me !"
As night came on, she went home ; on her way
she met Celipin with a stick in his hand and his
cap hung on the end of it.
"Look here, Nelilla," said the boy: "Is not
this how Don Teodoro carries his hat ? Just now
I was passing the pool at Hinojales and I looked
at my reflection in the water. My ! was not I
surprised I thought I looked just like Don Teo-
doro Golfin. Some day this week we will set out
to become learned and useful persons. I have
got as much money now as I want, and you will
see, no one will dare to laugh at Senor de Celipin."
For three days Nela kept out of the way,
wandering about the neighborhood of the mines,
following the course of the river along its rugged
banks, or hiding herself in the quiet recesses of
the wood of Saldeoro. The nights she spent. in
her basket, but she could not sleep. One night
she timidly called her companion :
" Celipin when ?" and Celipin replied with
all the solemnity befitting a regular expedition :
The two adventurers rose at day-break, and
both went their way ; Celipin to his work, and
Nela to carry a message from Senana to the en-
gineer's housekeeper. On her return she found
Senorita Florentina, who was waiting for her at
Centenc's house. Maria was surprised and alarmed
at seeing her, though her instinct told her of the
end and object of this visit.
" Nela, my little sister," said the girl with en-
gaging gentleness : " Why are you behaving so
strangely ? Why have you not been near us all
these days ? Come, Pablo wishes to see you. Do
you not know that now he can say : ' I want to
see this thing or the other ?' Do you not know
that my cousin is no longer blind ?"
"Yes I know it," said Nela, taking 'the hand
Florentina held out to her and covering it with
" Come along then ; come at once. He is al-
ways asking for ' Seiiora Nela.' And to-day you
must be there when Don Teodoro takes the ban-
dage off it is the fourth time. Oh ! the first day
when he first tried it ! What a day that was !
When we knew for certain that my cousin was
born again, as I may say, to the light of day we
almost died of joy. And the first face he saw was
mine. Come along, quickly." But Maria drew
her hand out of her Virgin's clasp.
" Have you forgotten my promise, my vow ?"
Florentina went on, " or did you think I was
talking at random ? But indeed, nothing I can do
seems enough to show our Mother of Mercies my
gratitude for the grace she has shown us. I should
like that, on this day, not a creature that the whole
world contains should be sad. I should like to
divide my happiness, and fling it abroad on all sides,
as the sower casts the seed ; I should like to go
into every wretched dwelling and say : ' All your
troubles are ended. I have a remedy for them
all.' But it is impossible; no one can do that but
God. Still, as my powers are not equal to my will,
let me at any rate do what I can and these are
not mere words, Nela. Come with me, away from
this hovel ; bid farewell to everything that has
made part of your misery and your loneliness.
For you may have an affection, even for your
wretchedness, my child."
Marianela did not, however, say good-bye to
anything ; and as none of the family were indoors
at that hour, she did not wait for them. Florentina
went out, leading by the hand the poor little girl
whom her noble impulses and Christian feeling had
adopted to be her equal; and Nela allowed herself
to be led, from sheer incapacity to offer any resis-
tance. She felt as though some superhuman power
had taken her in hand and was carrying her along,
fatally and inevitably, as the angels bear a soul
away to Heaven.
They took the path by Hinojales, where the
vagabond child had seen Florentina for the first
time. As they turned into the lane the young
lady said to her companion.
" Why have you not been to the house ? My
1 86 MARIANELA.
uncle says that you have so much natural modesty
and delicacy that it is a pity you should not have
been educated. Was it delicacy that kept you
from coming to ask for what, by God's mercy,
you had so happily gained ? Without doubt my
uncle is right. . . . You should have seen the
poor dear man that day he said he should
not be sorry to die ! Do you see ? My eyes are
still red with crying so much. And last night my
uncle and my father and I never went to sleep ;
we were making plans for all the family and
building castles in the air all night Why do you
say nothing ? Why are you so silent ? Are you
not as glad as I am?"
Nela looked up in the girl's bright face and
made a faint effort to resist the gentle hand that
"Come along what is the matter ? You look
at me so strangely Nela."
She did indeed ; the hapless child's eyes wan-
dering vaguely from one object to another, ended
by fixing themselves on the Virgin of her fancy,
with a strange glitter of apprehension.
"Why does your hand tremble so?" Floren-
tina went on. " Are you ill ? You are as pale as
death and your teeth are chattering. If you are
ill I will cure you, I myself can cure you. From
this day you will have some one to care for you,
and pet you, and make much of you. And I shall
not be alone you know, for Pablo is very fond of
you he told me so. We both love you dearly
and he and I shall be like one person. He wants
to see you. Just fancy how full of curiosity a
man must be who has never seen anything at all ;
but you cannot think how from being so clever
as he is, and having an imagination which seems
to have given him a number of ideas which blind
people scarcely ever have from the first moment
he knew what was pretty and what was ugly. A
bit of scarlet sealing-wax pleased him at once and
a piece of coal he thought hideous. He admired
the beauty of the sky and was disgusted at the
sight of a frog. Everything that is beautiful
excites him to an enthusiasm that is almost deli-
rium ; everything ugly fills him with horror, and
makes him tremble as we do when we are fright-
ened. My appearance must have pleased him,
for he exclaimed as soon as he saw me: "Oh!
cousin, how pretty you are ! Thank God for hav-
ing bestowed sight on me so that I can see you !"
Nela had gently withdrawn her hand from
Florentina's grasp and fell on the ground as if
suddenly stricken to death. The young girl bent
over her, saying in coaxing tones: "Oh ! what is
1 88 MARIANELA.
it ails you ? Why do you look at me so ?" Ma-
rianela fixed her eyes on the Holy Virgin's face
with a miserable stare ; still their expression was
not one of aversion, but rather a gaze of agonized
entreaty, like the last look of a dying man implor-
ing mercy from the image of the Saviour, and
believing it to be God himself.
" Senora," murmured the child, "I do not hate
you no indeed I do not hate you. On the con-
trary, I love you dearly I adore you." And
taking up the hem of Florentina's dress she
pressed it to her dry lips and kissed it fervently.
"But whoever supposed you would hate me?"
said the young girl greatly bewildered. " I know
that you love me. But you frighten me get
"I do love you, dearly, dearly; I adore you,"
repeated Nela, kissing the feet of her benefactress.
"And yet I cannot I cannot. ..."
" What cannot you do for God's sake ! get
up." Florentina put out her arms to help her up;
but Nela rose without any assistance, and spring-
ing away to a safe distance, she repeated, bursting
into a flood of tears :
"I cannot Senorita, I cannot."
"What? in Heaven's name! what has come
over you ?"
" I cannot go there." And she pointed to
Aldeacorba, where the roof of Don Francisco's
house was visible among the trees.
" And why ?"
" The Blessed Virgin knows," replied the child
with prompt decision. " May the Holy Virgin
bless you !" She made a cross with her fingers
and kissed it ; she was registering a vow.
Florentina took a step towards her and Maria,
understanding the loving impulse, flew to meet
her ; she laid her head against her friend's bosom,
and murmured as she sobbed : " Kiss me for
God's sake ! give me one kiss !"
Florentina kissed her tenderly, and then free-
ing herself with a start, or rather a wild and
sudden leap, the child or woman fled to a
brake close at hand; the brushwood seemed to
open and swallow her up.
"Nela, Nela little sister!" cried Florentina
in much distress.
" Farewell, child of my eyes !" said Nela, turn-
ing round to look at her once more; and she
vanished in the copse.
Florentina listened to the rustle of the
branches, as the hunter listens to the rush of the
prey that has escaped him. Then all was silent;
not a sound was to be heard but the vague mono-
tone that fills the atmosphere at noon in the open
country a sound which seems to be the whisper
of our own thoughts as they go forth towards all
that surrounds us. Florentina stood amazed,
powerless, speechless, deeply distressed as if she
had just seen some fond illusion snatched from
her gaze. She did not know what to think of it
all, and even her unbounded kind-heartedness,
which often crippled her judgment, could supply
She had been standing in the same spot for
some little time, her head drooping, her cheeks
tingling, and her blue eyes full of tears, when
Teodoro Golfin happened to come upon her, mak-
ing his way at an easy pace from Aldeacorba
homewards. The doctor was greatly astonished
to find the young lady alone and with an expres-
sion of vexation and regret which, far from
diminishing her beauty, added to it and made it
" What ails the girl ?" he exclaimed with some
anxiety. " Why, Florentina, what is the matter ?"
"A dreadful thing, Senor Golfin," said Flor-
entina, wiping her eyes. " I was thinking con-
sidering how many terrible things there are in the
" And what are these terrible things, Senorita ?
Where have you been ? Can anything have hap-
pened to you ?"
"Provoking things and of all things there is
one which is more provoking than all the rest."
" What is that ?"
" Ingratitude, Senor." And pointing to the
copse of bramble and fern, she added : " It was in
She went up to the highest spot at hand to
see farther into the distance. " Quite out of sight !"
she said with a sigh.
" Quite," said the surgeon laughing. " Don
Manuel told me that you were devoting yourself
to collecting butterflies. They are ungrateful
creatures indeed not to wish to be caught by
" It is not that I will tell you all about it if
you are going to Aldeacorba."
" I was not going, as I have just come away,
fair damsel ; but if you will tell me all about it
be it what it may I will go back again. I am
all ears for your story."
NELA DECIDES THAT SHE MUST GO.
NELA wandered about alone all day, and at
night she prowled round the house at Aldeacorba,
creeping as near to it as she dared without running
the risk of being discovered ; whenever she heard
footsteps she stole away like a thief. Then she
went down into the crater of La Terrible, whose
grewsome aspect somehow suited her gloomy
mood ; she lingered there some time looking up
at the stone giants that stood round it, and then
she climbed up one of them to see the lights of
Aldeacorba. There they were, sparkling above
the slopes of the mine against the dark background
of earth and sky. After gazing at them for a
while as if her hungry eyes had never seen lights
before, she quitted La Terrible and went towards
La Trascava. But before she reached it she heard
footsteps, and turning round, she saw Master Celi-
pin coming along the path at a brisk determined
pace. He had a small bundle hanging from a
stick over his shoulder, and his step, as well as his
air and attitude, announced a full determination
never to stop till he should have paced the whole
circumference of the globe.
" Celipe ! Where are you going?" cried
Nela, detaining him.
" Nela . . . you out here ! We thought you were
with Senorita Florentina, eating ham, and turkey,
and partridges all day long, and drinking lemonade
and syrups. What are you doing here ?"
" And you where are you off to ?"
" You ask me that, now ? Why do you ask
me since you know quite well," answered the boy,
jerking the stick and bundle. " You know very well
that I am going to learn all I can and make money.
Did I not tell you it would be to-night ? And
here I am, as glad as can be a little sorry, too,
when I think that father and mother will cry. You
see, Nela, the Blessed Virgin favored us to-night,
for father and mother began to snore sooner than
usual ; and I had my bundle ready, and I climbed
up to the window and got out of it. Now are
you coming or not ?"
" Yes, I am coming," said Nela with sudden
decision, taking the arm of the adventurous Celi-
" We will take the train, and we will go in the
train as far as we can," said Celipin with liberal
enthusiasm. "And then we must beg till we get to
Madrid, where the King of Spain lives ; and when
once we have got there, you can go as a servant
in the house of some Marquis or Count, and I
will go into another, and at the same time I can
study, and you can have a heap of fine things.
And I can teach you a little of all I learn
only a little, not too much ; for you women have
no need to be as learned as we doctors must
Before Celipin had ended his speech, they had
set out on their road, trotting on as fast as though
they already saw in the distance the turrets of the
city '"where the King of Spain lives."
" Let us get out of the regular path," said
Celipin, his practical talents rising to the occasion :
" If they see us they will lay hands upon us and
give us a good thrashing."
But Nela drew her hand away from her fellow-
adventurer's, and sitting down on a stone, she
said : " I am not going."
" Nela ! what a little fool you are ! You have
not a brave heart like mine ; a heart as big as the
rocks in La Terrible !" said Celipin, with a brag-
gart air. "What the devil are you afraid of? Why
will you not come ?"
I oh ! why should I ?"
" Do not you know that Don Golfin said that
MARIANELA. 1 95
the work here is turning us all to stones ? I do
not want to be a stone not I."
"I why should I go?" repeated Nela with
disconsolate bitterness. " You have time enough
for me, it is too late."
And Nela's head sunk on her breast and she
sat for some time insensible to the persuasive elo-
quence of the Hippocrates of the future. The
idea that she was about to cross the boundary of
the spot of earth where she had lived so long, and
where her mother slept the sleep of the dead,
made her feel as if she were being torn up by the
roots. The beauty of the place in all its variety
seemed to claim her by a sort of relationship ; the
rare and fleeting joys, nay, the very misery she
had known there ; the memory of her friend and
of the happy hours when they had walked in the
woods or sat by the spring at Saldeoro ; all the
feelings of admiration or of sympathy, of love or
of gratitude, which had grown and blossomed in
her soul among these scenes these flowers
these clouds these rustling trees these frown-
ing rocks inseparable as it were from the loveli-
ness or the grandeur, the progress and the immu-
tability of all these works of nature, were so many
roots from her heart, and dragging them up from
the soil was bitter anguish.
"No I am not going," she repeated.
And Celipin argued and talked as if, having
by some miracle reached the goal of his career,
he belonged to all the academies present and to
" You are going home then ?" he asked, seeing
that his oratory was as unavailing as that of the
academies themselves commonly is.
" You are going to Aldeacorba ?"
"No; not there either."
"Then you will go to where Senora Floren-
tina lives "
" No, no not there."
"The devil's in it but where are you going
Nela did not answer; she sat looking at the
ground with an expression of dismay, as if she
saw there the fragments of the most beautiful and
precious thing on earth fallen and lying broken
at her feet.
"Well then, Nela," said Celipin, exhausted
with his long harangue, " I must leave you and
be off, for they might follow me, and find me.
Would you like me to give you a peseta as a
parting gift to-night ?"
"No, Celipin, I want nothing. Go, you will
be a rich man yet. Take care of yourself and do
not forget Socartes and your father and mother."
The traveller had a sensation highly improper
in a man of so much importance and dignity a
strong disposition to cry; but swallowing down
this inopportune emotion, he said :
" How should I ever forget Socartes ? You
need not have said that I shall never forget my
father and mother, nor you, for you helped me to
do this. Good-bye, Nelilla hark! I hear foot-
Celipin shouldered his staff with a resolution
that symbolized his courage to defy all the dan-
gers of the wide world ; but his valorous display
was wasted, for a dog only came running up to
" It is Choto," said Nela, trembling all over.
" A bad sign !" muttered Celipin, setting for-
ward ; and he disappeared in the darkness.
A stone was lost to geology, and the world
would be the richer by a great man !
Nela shivered as the dog leaped upon her and
caressed her. The affectionate creature, after
jumping round and round her, whining and bark-
ing with so much expression that it was almost
like speaking, set off running as fast as he could
towards Aldeacorba. You might have thought
he was in chase of some wild game. Choto
unlike some orators seemed to speak when he
Just at this time Teodoro Golfin was coming
away from the Penaguilas'. He was met by
Choto, who, with voluble haste, told him I know
not what. It was a fervent, fitful address, delivered
between his gasps for breath and gushes of eager
anxiety. Golfin, though he understood several
languages, was not strong in the canine tongue,
and paid no particular heed. Choto leaped up
and round him, jerking out barks from his moist
jaws, some short and sharp as insults, others soft
and coaxing, and then again threats. Teodoro
meanwhile stood still, his attention was struck by
the dog's manner; and Choto, seeing that he had
made himself understood to a certain extent,
began to run in a contrary direction to Golfin's
homeward road. The doctor followed him.
"Very well," he muttered, "that way then."
Choto retraced his steps, as if to make sure
that Golfin was following him, and then he trotted
on again. At some little distance from the house
Golfin heard a voice saying :
" Well, Choto, what is it you want ?"
MARIANELA. 1 99
He suspected at once that it was Nela. He x
paused and listened, hidden in the shadow of a
beech-tree, and soon perceived a little figure
standing out from the stone wall and walking very
slowly. The shadows of the brambles prevented his
seeing her very distinctly. He set Out to follow
her at some little distance, quitting the path and
walking on the turf, so as to make no noise. Be-
yond a doubt it was Nela. He recognized her
perfectly when they got upon open ground, where
there were no dark shadows cast by trees or shrubs.
The girl now went faster and faster ; at last she
began to run, and Golfin ran too. After this un-
equal race had gone on for some distance, Nela
sat down on a stone. At her feet was the sloping
basin of La Trascava, black and hideous in the
gloom. Golfin waited a moment ; then he very
softly went nearer to the girl. Choto was seated
in front of her, squatted on his hind quarters, with
his fore paw stretched out, and gazing at her with
the gravity of a sphinx. Nela stared into the
depths below, and suddenly starting to her feet
she began to go quickly down the slope slipping
rather than runmng. With one bound Teodoro
stood by the abyss, roaring in stentorian tones :
He looked down, but could see nothing in the
dark chasm ; he could hear Choto whining as he
ran round and round the ridge, lower and lower
in spirals, as if he were being sucked in by some
eddy in the dreadful gulf. Teodoro thought of
going down himself and cautiously took a step or
two ; then he called again, and a voice from below
" Come up this minute."
"Come up, I say."
Presently he could just see the child's face in
the lowest visible depths of the horrible chasm.
Choto, after snuffing at the opening, came up
again, round and round the basin as before ; Nela
too was climbing up, but very slowly. Indeed,
she stopped, and repeated feebly : " Senor ? . . . "
" I tell you come up. What are you doing
Nela came a little further.
" Come quickly. I have something to tell
" To tell me ?"
"Yes something I must tell you at once."
Nela crawled up; but Teodoro did not feel
sure that he had triumphed till he had seized her
hand and held it tightly to lead her away with
NELA IS TAMED.
THEY walked on a short distance without
speaking. Teodoro Golfin, for all his learning,
wisdom, and eloquence, felt as ignorant and as
helpless as Nela, and less disposed for speech than
usual. She followed him unresistingly, and he ac-
commodated his steps to those of the child-
woman, like a man taking a boy to school. At a
turn in the road where three enormous white
stones stood up, weather-worn till they looked like
bleached skeletons, the doctor sat down, and plac-
ing Nela in front of him, as if she were on her
trial for some grave delinquency, he held her by
both hands and said solemnly:
" What were you going to do there ?"
" I where ?"
" Down there. You know very well what I
mean. Answer me plainly, as you would answer
your confessor or your father."
" I have no father," replied Nela with a faintly
" That is true but suppose me to be your
father, and answer me. What were you going to
" My mother is down there," she answered
"Your mother is dead. Do you not know
that dead people are gone to another world, or
altogether away ?"
" She is there," said Nela positively, and look-
ing back towards the spot she had left.
" And you thought you would go to her. Is
that it ? That is to say, you meant to kill your-
" Yes, Senor, that is it."
" And do you not know that your mother
committed a great sin in killing herself, and you
would do the same if you followed her example ?
Were you never taught that ?"
"I do not think anyone ever told me any-
thing of the kind. And if I want to kill myself,
who is to prevent me ?"
" But you yourself without being told
cannot you feel that God cannot be pleased with
us for getting rid of our lives ? Poor child left
to your own instincts without any teaching, or
religion, or loving and disinterested guidance!
What ideas can you have of God, of a future life,
of death ? What makes you fancy your mother
is there ? Do you call a few lifeless bones your
mother ! Can you believe that she is still alive,
thinlzing of you and loving you down in that pit ?
Did no one ever tell you that when once our souls
have left our bodies they never return to them again?
Do you not know that a tomb, a grave, whatever
it may be, never contains anything but dust and
foul corruption ? What do you think God is like ?
Like some grand and solemn man who sits above
us with his arms folded, and who allows us to
play with our lives, while, in His place, we see
some sprite, hobgoblin or fetich of our fancy ?
Your master, Nela, who is so wise and good, did
he never talk to you about such things?"
" Oh ! yes he did. But it is of no use to tell
me them now. ..."
" Of no use now when you want to kill
yourself? TeU me, silly child, did you think that
by throwing yourself into that hole you would be
any better off?"
" Yes, Senor."
" In what way ?"
"I should feel none of the things*! feel now,
but something else, much better and I should be
with my mother."
" I see you are more silly than wicked," said
Golfin laughing. " Now, be quite honest with me.
Do you owe me any grudge ?"
"No indeed. I owe no one any grudge
least of all you, Senor, who have been so kind to
me, and have made my master see."
"Very good but that is not all; I not only
want you to like me, but you must trust me and
tell me all your little secrets. Strange little secrets
are hidden in your mind, little woman, and you
must tell them all to me every one. You will
see, I shall not be hard upon you ; I shall make a
very kind father confessor."
Nela smiled a forlorn smile ; then bending her
head, she fell on her knees.
" No, silly child, that is not the way ; sit down
by me come here," said Golfin, gently drawing
her to a seat by his side. " I fancy you were go-
ing crazy for want of some one to whom you
could tell everything ; is it not so ? And you are
to conceal nothing. You are indeed alone in the
world, poor child. Come, Nela, let us see; tell
me first of all why now be very attentive why
you took it into your head that you wanted to kill
Nela did not answer.
" I saw you happy enough, and content with
life to all appearance, only a few days since.
Why have you suddenly gone mad in a single
" I want to go to my mother " replied Nela,
after hesitating a moment. " I do not want to live
any longer. Of what good am I in the world ?
Is it not much better that I should die ? And if
God will not make me die, I will kill myself, my
" This notion that you are of no use is at the
bottom of all your miseries, poor little creature !
Curses on him or on them, for they are many
who ever put it into your head. They are all
equally responsible for the neglect, the isolation,
and the ignorance in which you lived. You are
of no use ! God knows what you might have been
if you had fallen into other hands ! A refined
nature is yours, perhaps an exquisitely superior
one. But good Heavens ! If you put a harp
into clumsy hands what can they do with it but
break it. Because your fragile frame is not
strong enough to break stones and carry earth like
those brutes in human form Mariuca and Pepina,
who shall say that you are of no use ? Were we
all born to toil like mere animals ? Are you to
be forbidden to have any intelligence, any feeling,
any of the gifts of nature which no one has ever
cultivated in you ? Nonsense ! You are of some
use ; you might be of great good if you only fell
into hands that could mould you and train you."
Nela, whose intuition gathered the purport of
this speech, though the words were beyond her,
was deeply impressed. She kept her eyes fixed
on Teodoro Golfin's rugged, shrewd, and expres-
sive countenance. Her heart was full of astonish-
ment and gratitude.
" Still there is a mystery about you," the
dusky, leonine doctor went on : "The most per-
fect opportunity was offered you to escape from
your miserable lot, and you refused it. Florentina,
who is an angel if ever there was one, was ready
to adopt you as a friend and a sister; I never knew
an instance of greater kindness and generosity.
And what have you done ? Fled from her like a
wild thing. This is sheer ingratitude or some
other feeling which I cannot at all compre-
"No, no, no," cried Nela, much distressed, "I
am not ungrateful. I adore Senorita Florentina ;
she seems to me not to be made of flesh and
blood like the rest of us ; I do not deserve even
to look upon her. ..."
" Well, my child, you may mean what you say;
but from your behavior we can only conclude that
you are ungrateful most ungrateful. ..."
" No, no," sobbed Nela. " I am not, indeed
I am not ungrateful. I was afraid I knew
that you would all think me ungrateful, and that
was the only thing that troubled me when I was
going to kill myself. But I am so stupid; I did
not know how to ask pardon of the Senorita be-
fore I ran away, nor how to explain it all."
" I will make your peace with Florentina ; and
even if you wish never to see her again, I will un-
dertake to tell her and convince her that you were
not ungrateful. Now, open your heart to me and
tell me everything; what makes you so miserable
and desperate ? However wretched a human be-
ing may be however great his misery and lone-
liness, he does not take his own life unless he has
some overpowering reason for hating it."
"No, Senor so it seems to me."
" Then you hate your life ?"
Nela was silent for a minute. Then, crossing
her arms, she exclaimed vehemently.
"No no. I do not hate it; on the contrary,
I want to find it !"
" A pretty way you were going to work to
look for it !"
" I thought that when you were dead you
would have everything you could not get here. If
not, why is death always, always calling us to
come ? I have dreams, and when I dream I see
all who are dead happy and at peace."
" You believe in dreams ?"
" Yes, Senor. I look at the trees and the
rocks that I have seen here ever since I was born,
and in their face. ..."
"Come, come the trees and rocks have
"Yes everything that is lovely can see and
speak. And they say to me : ' Come to us die,
and you will live quite happy.' '
" What a lamentable fancy !" Golfin muttered
to himself. " A perfectly pagan spirit !"
And he added aloud :
" But if you want to live, why did you not ac-
cept Florentina's offer ? I come back to the same
" Because because what the Senorita of-
fered me was worse than death !" cried Nela
" How unjustly you think of her kind charity.
There are, of course, beings so wretched that they
prefer a low and vagabond existence to the dignity
of a superior position. You are accustomed to a
free life in direct contact with nature, and you
prefer this debased freedom to the sweet affections
of home life. Have you been so happy then in
this mode of life ?"
" I was beginning to be happy. ..."
" And when did you cease to be happy ?"
After a long pause, Nela replied :
" When you came here."
"I what harm have I done you ?"
" None, none nothing but the greatest
" I have given your master his sight," said
Golfin, looking at Nela's face with the narrow at-
tention of a physiologist. " Do you not thank me
for that ?"
" Much, Senor, very much," and she gazed up
at him with eyes full of tears.
Golfin watched her closely, so as not to miss
the slightest change of expression which might
guide him to a comprehension of the girl's feel-
ings, as he went on :
"Your master told me that he loved you
dearly, when he was blind ; and now that he can
see, he constantly asks for Nela. He knows very
well that for him the whole outer world was filled
by one person Nela ; and the sight which has
been mercifully bestowed on him is of no value to
him, unless he can use it to see Nela."
"To see Nela but he never shall see Nela
Nela will never let him see her !" she exclaimed
" Why not ?"
" Because she is so ugly. He may have cared
for Maria Canela when his eyes were shut ; but
now that they are open and he can see the
Senorita, he can never, never care for a poor little
" Who knows but. ..."
" It is impossible," she said positively.
" It is your fancy you cannot tell whether
your master will be pleased with you or not till
you try. I will take you to the house."
"I will not go I cannot go!" she cried, start-
ing to her feet and standing in front of Teodoro,
who was utterly astounded at the determination of
her gesture and the flash of her black eyes, which
both revealed her resolute nature.
" Be calm, be easy come here," he said per-
suasively. " It is true that you are not very pretty
but a sensible man does not think so much as
you fancy of mere outside beauty. You are too
self-conscious, little woman."
But Nela, paying no sort of heed to the doc-
tor's moralities, and as resolute in her attitude as
she was in her opinion, gravely went on as if pro-
nouncing sentence :
"There ought to be nothing ugly in the
world. Nothing that is ugly ought to be allowed
" But, my child, if all we ugly people were to be
obliged to take ourselves out of the world, it would
be left almost depopulated. Poor, unhappy, little
simpleton ! But this notion of yours is not a new
one. Other persons had it before you, centuries
ago ; persons with an imagination like yours
living, as you have lived, in the midst of Nature,
and lacking the light which your ignorance and
loneliness have deprived you of, and which they
had not, because it had not then dawned on the
world. 3 But you must be cured of this delusion ;
you must reflect that you have your portion of
gifts more precious than beauty gifts of the mind,
which neither fade with time, nor change with the
caprices of taste. Seek for them in your soul and
you will find them. They will not perish as beauty f
would which, seek it as you may in your looking-
glass, you will never find. But seek out these
really good and precious gifts; cultivate them, and
when you see them thriving and blooming, all this
misery you are suffering will vanish take my
word for it. And meanwhile you will soon rise
superior to the wretched situation in which you
now are, and acquire a beauty which may not per-
haps charm the eye, but which will be a source of
pride and happiness to yourself."
This wise advice was either not heard or not
heeded by Nela; she sat down again by Golfin and
gazed fixedly in his face. Her small eyes, more
eloquent just then than the finest could have been,
seemed to say :
" And what is the upshot of all these fine
speeches, learned Sir ?"
" Now you see," Golfin went on, warming to
his subject, and giving it, in spite of himself, the
character of a psychological lecture there is one
important question, and that is. ..."
But Nela had guessed it, and covered her face
with her hands.
" There is nothing strange in it on the con-
trary, it is the most natural thing that could hap-
pen to you. You have a sensitive temperament
and an excitable imagination. You and your
master had led a life together of free and poetic
communion with nature, and of most perfect and
innocent intimacy. He is as wise and clever as a
man can be, and as handsome as a statue. His
beauty, when blind even, seemed formed to delight
the eyes of those who could see. His kindness of
heart too, and generous spirit are enough to charm
and win the love of any woman. It is not strange
that they should have captivated you a child so
womanly or a woman looking so like a child.
Do you love him so much ? More than anything
else in the world ?"
" Yes, yes Senor," the girl sobbed out.
" And you cannot bear the idea of his ceasing
to love you ?"
" And he used to say loving words to you and
make you promises ?...."
" Yes, oh yes, Senor. He told me I should be
his companion as long as he lived and and I
" And why should you not ?"
" He said he could not live without me, and
that even if he ever could see he would still love
me. I was quite happy ; I was ugly, and little,
and ill- made, but I did not care, for he could not
see me ; and in his darkness he thought I was
pretty. And then. ..."
"Then," said Golfin gently, for he was filled
with pity. " I see the fault is all mine."
" Fault, no ; for you did a good deed. You are
very, very good. It is good to have given him
his sight. I know, I tell myself, that it is good ;
but after that I must go away, quite away for he
will see Senorita Florentina and will compare me
with her and Senorita Florentina is as pretty as
the angels, and I it is like comparing a piece of
broken glass with the sun ! Of what good can I
be ? I dreamed that I ought never to have been
born ! Oh why was I ever born ? God made a
mistake; he gave me an ugly face, and a miserable
little body, and such a large heart ! But of what
use to me is a large heart ? It is a torment and
nothing else. Woe is me ! If I did not keep it
under, it would hate and detest a great many peo-
ple. And yet I do not want to hate people I
do not know how to hate them, and I would rather
bury my miserable heart than live to learn to hate ;
bury it, so that it should not torment me any
" You are tormented by jealousy, and by your
sense of humiliation. Poor little one, you are in-
deed alone ! Neither the knowledge you lack, nor
the home you have never had, nor the work you
cannot do would avail to save you from this. But
tell me, what do you feel about the protection and
kindness that Florentina offers you ?"
"Terror! Shame!" exclaimed Nela, opening
her eyes wide in horror. "To live with them
to see them constantly! For they will marry
my heart tells me they will marry ; I dreamed it,
I know it."
" But Florentina is very kind ; she will love
"Yes, and I love her but not at Aldea-
corba !" cried the girl in wild accents. " She came
to rob me of what was mine for he was mine
yes, Senor, he was indeed. Florentina is like
the Blessed Virgin I will pray to her, yes,
Senor, and worship her; but I do not want
her to take away what is my own and she
will take it away she has taken it away al-
ready ! And where am I to go to ; what am I,
what good am I in the world at all ? I have lost
everything and I want to go to my mother."
She walked away ; but Golfin seized her as a
wild beast clutches its prey, and held her tightly
by the wrist. As he did so he felt her quick and
. " Come here," he said. " From this moment,
whether you like it or no, you are my slave. You
are mine, and you are to do "nothing but what I
tell you. Poor little soul, full of eager feeling, of
fervent fancy, frankness and superstition you
have a nature framed for all that is good ; but it
has been ruined by the wild life you have led, by
neglect and want of training, and even the most
elementary teaching ! What a hideous state of
society we live in, which forgets its duties so ut-
terly, and leaves a precious creature like this per-
ish! Come here; I am not going to let you quit
my side. I have hunted you down and caught
you caught you in a trap in the midst of the
woods, in some sylvan wilderness, and now I shall
try to teach you and train you. We will see if this
rough diamond cannot be cut and polished. Ah !
you do not even know how ignorant you are; and
I shall open a new world to your mind, show you a
thousand wonderful things that you have never un-
derstood, though you have a vague and dim idea of
some of them. Tell me, cannot you feel in your soul
a germ how shall I explain myself? a bud, of that
rarest and most beautiful grace : Humility ? The
mother of all the virtues ; which, strange to say,
makes us actually happy when* we see ourselves
subordinate to others ? Have you never felt the
impulse of self-denial, which makes us rejoice in
sacrificing ourselves for others, in making ourselves
small that some one else may become great ? But
you will learn this, child ; you will learn to lay your
ugliness at the feet of beauty, to look on with calm
satisfaction and joy at the triumphs of others, to
fetter that great wild heart of yours and bring it
into subjection, so that you shall never feel envy nor
rage, but will love your neighbor as yourself, and
rise superior to all who may have injured or hurt
you. You shall be made all that Nature meant you
to be when she endowed you at your birth. Hap-
less child ! Born in a Christian country, and not
even a Christian ! Your soul dwells in a sort of
poetic worship of nature. You cannot understand
me, little one, but so it is. You are in the state of
those primitive peoples of whom the memory
even hardly survives governed by your instincts
and passions, while beauty is your dearest idol.
Eighteen centuries have been devoted in vain to
spiritualizing humanity, so far as you are con-
cerned. And as to the selfish world which has
left you to such a fate ! What name does it de-
serve ? You have lived in these mines, a solitary
soul, not taught a single letter, not even sent to an
infant school, though you would have learnt little
enough there ; not even given the most imperfect
teaching in that religion of which your nation
boasts. Why, you have never been inside a
church except to stare at some ceremony which to
you had no meaning; you cannot even mutter a
prayer that you understand ; you know nothing of
the world, or of God, or your own soul. . . .
" But you shall know all this ; you shall be a
different creature. You shall no longer be hapless
little Nela, but a good, and honest, and useful
It would be rash to assert that Nela had un-
derstood all this speech, which Golfin declaimed
with such vehemence and fervor that he entirely
forgot the person to whom he was speaking. But
the little outcast felt a curious fascination, and the
spirit of her friend's utterances sank gently into
her soul, and soothed it, and compelled her to
blind assent. His power over the untaught girl
was that fateful and irresistible control which a
superior mind exercises over an inferior one. Sad
but unresisting, her head drooped against the sur-
" Come along," Golfin said resolutely.
Nela trembled from head to foot ; a cold sweat
stood on her face, and Golfin felt that her hands
were icy-cold, and her pulses beating violently ;
but he failed to attribute this physical condition to
her mental anguish ; he held her hand more firmly
and repeated : " Come it is cold here."
His power over her was so great that she rose
as he did, and they went a little way together.
But then Nela stopped, and fell on her knees.
"Oh, Senor !" she cried in an agony: " Do not
take me away with you."
She was very pale, and looked wrecked by
physical and mental misery. Golfin tried to pull
her up; but her helpless frame did not stir by any
strength of her own. It was clear she must be
carried like a senseless corpse.
" One day," said Golfin, " not very long since,
almost in this very place, I took you on my shoul-
ders to carry you. Now I must do the same it
He lifted her in his arms; her hot breath
seemed to burn his face. She was drooping, fad-
ing, dying like a plant torn up from the soil, and
with its roots laid bare.
As they got nearer to Aldeacorba, Golfin felt
some life returning to the dead weight in his arms.
Nela raised her head, and threw up her hands in
despair, but she said nothing.
They went in ; all was silent. A maid servant
came to meet them, and by Teodoro's desire she
conducted him noiselessly to Florentina's room.
Florentina was alone. By the light of a fast-
dying lamp she was kneeling on the floor, her el-
bows resting on the seat of a chair, and praying
with absorbed devotion. She was startled at see-
ing a man at her door at so late an hour, but her
alarm at once gave way to surprise, when she saw
the burden Golfin bore in his strong arms.
Her astonishment was too great for speech
when the doctor, carefully depositing his load on
a sofa, said :
"I have caught her you see. What do you
say to that ? Am I a good butterfly hunter ?"
A NEW WORLD.
WE must now go back a few days.
When Teodoro Golfin first removed the band-
age for a few moments from Pablo Penaguilas*
eyes, the boy uttered a cry of terror. Every im-
pulse made him shrink from all he saw ; he put
out his hands as though by pushing away one ob-
ject he could get away farther from the rest.
Luminous space was to him like a vast void into
which he felt as if he must fall ; and the instinct of
self-preservation made him close his eyes to feel
himself safe. However, his father, the surgeon,
and the rest of them, persuaded him to try once
more, for all were equally anxious ; he looked
again, but his terror was no less. The images of
all he saw, rushed into his brain with such sudden
violence and confusion with a sort of storm and
assault, as it were that he felt as if they were
falling upon him bodily. The distant mountains
seemed to lie within reach, and the persons and
objects that were near him seemed, literally, to
strike his eyes.
Golfjn noted these phenomena with the most
eager interest ; this was the second case of cure of
congenital blindness which he had had the oppor-
tunity of studying. The others hardly dared to
be glad ; they were so bewildered and alarmed by
the agitating effects produced on the patient by
the first exercise of the function of sight. To
Pablo himself it was a series of delightful experi-
ments. His nerves and his imagination were so
seriously excited the surgeon thought it prudent
to compel him to rest.
"Now," he said, smiling, "you have seen
enough for to-day. You cannot step out of dark-
ness into light, into the wide domain of the sun,
as you would walk into a theatre. This is a new
birth, with pain as well as joy in it."
Presently the young fellow was so eager to try
his newly-found power once more, that Golfin
consented to open a crack, as it were, upon the
" My whole mind," said Pablo, trying to ex-
plain his first impressions, " seems bathed in
beauty a beauty I had never dreamed of before.
What were the things which rushed in upon me
and filled me with terror ? It was the sense of
size, of space, which I had never before conceived
of but in a very imperfect manner, and which
dawned upon me clear and terrible ; as if I were
being dragged up to the highest mountains and
down to the deepest abyss. It is all grand and
beautiful, but it makes me tremble. But I want to
feel it all once more. All the glory and loveliness
that I gazed at has made me feel bewildered and
humbled ; it was like some serene and majestic
presence bending down to meet me. The whole
universe seemed to be rushing towards me and I
was startled and terror stricken the sky looked
like a vast space, watching, listening I cannot
put it into words. It was vacancy, but strangely
full of expression. All that landscape of sky and
mountains looked at me, came down upon me
but it was all so cold, and grand, and stern. Let
me see something delicate, something gentle and
lovable Nela ! Where is Nela ?"
Golfin once more relieved him of the bandage,
and giving him a pair of suitable spectacles, he left
him free to look about him.
" Oh ! is that Nela ! Merciful Heaven !" ex-
claimed Pablo enchanted.
"This is your cousin Florentina."
"Ah!" said the lad, coloring with confusion.
" That is my cousin. I had no idea any person
could be so beautiful. Oh ! thank God for giving
me the faculty which enables me to see anything
so lovely. Cousin Florentina, you are like the
most lovely music like the most perfect embodi-
ment of some delicious harmony. And Nela,
where is she ?"
"You will have time enough to see her," said
Don Francisco delighted. " Try now to be
" Florentina, Florentina !" repeated Pablo ex-
citedly. " What is it in your face that makes me
feel as if the spirit of God himself was shining
through it ? You stand in the midst of a glory
which must, to be sure, be the sun. Beams, rays
seem to shine from your face. Ah! at last I
know what the angels are like and your dress,
your hands, your hair, seem to fill me with some
new and strange sensation. What is it ?"
" He is beginning to see color," muttered Gol-
fin to himself. " He perhaps perceives every ob-
ject surrounded by the colors of the spectrum.
But he cannot estimate degrees of distance."
" I seem to have you inside my eyes," Pablo
went on. " You seem to have become part of my
thoughts, and the sight of you comes upon me like
a memory ; but a memory of what ? I never saw
any thing or any body before. Can I have lived
before I came into this world ? I know not but
I knew your eyes. And you, father where are
you ? I have seen you yes I have pictured you
too you are just what I have loved. And now
my uncle? You are very much alike. And
where, where is that dear good Golfin? bless
" Here, minding my patient," said the surgeon
coming forward. " Here I am as ugly as sin. As
you have never seen a lion or a Newfoundland
dog, you can have no idea of my style of beauty.
They say I am exactly like those two noble
"All good kind souls !...." said Pablo.
" But my cousin is the prettiest oh ! infinitely
the prettiest. But Nela, for pity's sake, where is
They told him that his lazarillo never came
to the house, and that they had been too busy to
go to look for her, and he was extremely dis-
tressed at this intelligence. They succeeded in
soothing him, and as they feared he might become
feverish, they persuaded him to go to bed and try
The next day he was in a state of great pros-
tration, but his vigorous nature triumphed over
everything. He begged to have a glass of water
and when he saw it, he exclaimed : " I feel as I
were drinking at the mere sight of water."
His expressions were equally vivid and pictu-
resque about everything he saw which struck his
fancy strongly. After correcting the defective
sphericity of the eye by means of glasses, which
he tried one after another, Golfm began to direct
his attention to the differences and combinations
of colors, and the young man's sound mind and
taste never failed in distinguishing the ugly from the
beautiful. Indeed, he felt these two attributes as
two absolute and distinct ideas, without connect-
ing them in any way with any notion of utility or,
on the other hand, of goodness. A butterfly
which flew by accident into his room enchanted
him, but an ink-bottle he thought simply horrible,
though his father explained to him that it could
not be otherwise, since its use was to hold ink to
write with. When he was shown two prints, one
of the Crucifixion, and one of Galatea riding in a
shell and escorted by Tritons and Nymphs, he
preferred the second which was a great scandal
to Florentina, who promised herself that she would
teach him to hold sacred things far above every-
thing profane. He watched their faces with the
keenest attention, and the wonderful coincidence
of facial expression with language astonished him
excessively. When he saw the maids and other
women about the place, he was greatly annoyed if
they were ugly or commonplace; indeed, his
cousin's beauty made him indifferent to any other
woman. In spite of this he wanted to see them
all ; his curiosity was like a raging thirst which
nothing could satisfy. Every day he was disap-
pointed at never seeing Nela; but he was so fond
of Florentina that he could not bear her to leave
him for a moment.
On the third day Golfin said to him : " You
have now made acquaintance with a great many
things the marvels of this visible world. Now
you must see yourself."
He brought a mirror, and Pablo looked in it.
" That is I !" he exclaimed with simple ad-
miration. " It is difficult to believe it. How have
I come inside that hard still sheet of water ? What
a wonderful thing glass is! It seems as if it could
not be true that men made that stony atmosphere.
My word! but I am not an ugly fellow!
What do you say cousin ? And you, when you
look in this, do you see yourself as pretty as you
are ? No, impossible. Look up into the sky and
you will find your image there. You may believe
you see an angel when you only look at your-
That evening, when he was alone with her and
she was giving him some little help he needed
as an invalid, Pablo said to her :
" Cousin, my father read me, I remember, a
passage in history about Christopher Columbus
who discovered a New World, which no European
had ever seen before. That navigator opened the
eyes of the Old World, so that they saw another
and more beautiful one. I cannot help thinking
of him as a man like Teodoro Golfin, and of
Europe as a blind man to whom America and its
wonders were like a revelation of light. Well, and
I have seen a New World. You are my America,
you are that first and lovely island where Colum-
bus set foot on land. He never saw the continent,
with its vast forests and immense rivers, and I too
perhaps have not yet seen what is loveliest of
all. ..." He broke off and sat sunk in thought ;
then presently he asked :
" Where is Nela ?"
" I cannot think what has come over the poor
child," said Florentina. " I suppose she does not
wish to see you."
"She is bashful and very shy," replied Pablo:
" She is afraid of troubling us in the house.
Florentina, I must tell you in confidence, that I
love her dearly ; you will love her too. I have a
most eager wish to see my good little comrade and
" I will go and look for her to-morrow morn-
" Yes, do but do not be gone long. When
I do not see you I feel very lonely ; I have be-
come accustomed to see you, and these three days
have been centuries of happiness. Do not rob
me of a minute. Last night my father told me
that after having seen you I ought never to want
to see another woman."
" What nonsense !" exclaimed the girl blush-
ing. "There are plenty much prettier than I
"No, no; they all say no." Pablo vehemently
declared, turning his blindfold eyes towards his
cousin, as if he could see her even through his
bandages. " They used to tell me so before, and
I could not believe it ; but now that I have seen
the world and know what beauty is, I believe it
yes indeed I do. You are perfectly lovely ; there
is no one there can be no one more lovely.
Give me your hand." And he grasped it eagerly
in both of his.
" I laugh now," he went on, " to think of my
absurd blind man's vanity, of my foolish attempts
to realize the true aspect of things without seeing
them. I believe that as long as I live I shall
never forget the surprise that the reality was to
me. Reality ! Oh, the man who knows it not is
blind indeed, a perfect idiot ! Florentina I was
" No, cousin, you were always very clever and
so you are still. But do not let your fancy work
too vividly now. It will soon be time to go to
bed. Don Teodoro particularly said that I was
not to let you talk so late, because it keeps you
from sleeping ; if you do not keep quiet I shall
" Is it night already ?"
"Yes, quite night."
"But day or night I love to talk to you,"
Pablo persisted, tossing over on his bed, on which
he was lying dressed and very restless. " I will
be silent on one condition, and that is that you do
not go away from my side, and that, from time to
time, you pat the bed with your hand that I may
know that you are there."
" Very well, so I will, and this is the first sign
of life," said Florentina, laughing and patting the
" When I hear you laugh, I feel as if a breath
of sweet fresh air blew round me, and all my
senses help in some way to remind me of you.
Your image lives in my memory so vividly, that
even with my eyes bandaged I can see you still
" Will you have done chattering or must I
fetch Don Teodoro ?" said the girl gaily.
"No, no stay quiet. I cannot be silent if
I were to be silent all my thoughts all I can see
in my brain would only torment me twice as
much. And you want me to go to sleep ! Sleep !
But I have you in here, Florentina, making a tur-
moil in my brain, and driving me crazy. I am so
full of joy and rapture that I have no words to
express them. All last night I fancied I was
talking to you and to Nela. Poor little Nela !
I am most curious to see her. Desperately
" Well, I will find her to-morrow. Now, have
done with your talking ; if you do not cease I
" No, stop. I will only talk to myself. I will
say all the things I say to you at night when I
fancy we are alone together I will remember
what you say to me."
" I ?"
" Well, the things I can fancy I hear said in
your voice Now, do you be silent, Senorita. I
am alone now with my own imaginings."
The next day when Florentina came up to
her cousin's room, she said :
" I brought Maraquilla up here and she ran
away. Ungrateful little thing !"
" And you did not look for her ?"
" Where was I to look ? She ran away from
me. This evening I will go out again and hunt
her till I find her."
" No, no ; do not go out," said Pablo eagerly.
" She will come back, she will come of her own
" She seems out of her mind."
" Does she know that I can see now ?"
" I myself told her. But really I am sure she
has lost her wits. She says that I am the Holy
Virgin and kisses my dress."
" That shows that you have produced the same
impression on her as on every one else. Nela is
so sweet. Poor little girl ! We must take care of
her, Florentina, and be kind to her do not you
think so ?"
. " She is ungrateful I am afraid," said Floren-
" No, never think so. Nela could not be un-
grateful. She is a good child I am very fond
of her. She must be found and brought here to
" I will go."
" No not you," said Pablo positively, taking
his cousin's hand. "Your duty, most undutiful
cousin, is to take care of me. If Golfin does not
come soon to take off my bandage and put on my
glasses, I shall do it myself. I have not seen you
since yesterday, and I cannot bear it I cannot
bear it. Is Don Teodoro come ?"
" He is down stairs with your father and mine.
He will come up quite soon. Have patience ; you
are as bad as a school-boy."
Pablo writhed with irritation.
" Light, light !" he cried. " It is a crime to
keep me in the dark so long. I cannot live like
this I shall die. I want what is the bread of
life to me ; I want the use of my eyes. I have
not seen you to-day, cousin, and I am wild to see
you. I am hungry, thirsty to see you. Oh ! thank
God for real knowledge ! Thank God for having
created you, sweetest of women, a combination of
every beauty. And yet, if after having created
beauty, God had not given us hearts to feel it,
how imperfect his work would have been ! Light !
light ! . . ,"
Teodoro came up and opened the gates of the
outer world to him, filling his soul with joy, and
he passed a quiet day talking of a variety of sub-
jects. Not till the evening did his thoughts revert
to that point in his past life, which seemed to be
diminishing and fading in the distance, like vessels
which on a clear day are lost on the horizon. It
was in the tone of a man who recalls some long
past circumstance, that Pablo asked : " Has not
Nela made her appearance ?"
Florentina replied that she had not, and they
talked of other things.
In the course of the night, at a very late hour,
Pablo heard the noise of voices in the house. He
fancied he heard those of Teodoro Golfin, of
Florentina, and of his father. But after that he
slept quietly, though haunted in his dreams by the
images of all he had seen and the phantoms of all
he imagined. His dreams, which began tranquilly
and smilingly, afterwards became agitated and
painful, for in some deep recess of his soul, as
though it were a vast cavern suddenly lighted up,
rose a medley array of the beautiful and the
hideous forms of the outside world of passions
awakened and memories buried convulsing his
whole soul. The following day, as Golfin had
promised, he left his room to move about the
EYES THAT KI LL.
THE room which had been assigned to Floren-
tina at Aldeacorba was the pleasantest in the
house. No one had used it since the death of
Pablo's mother ; but Don Francisco, deeming his
niece worthy to be lodged there, had the room
neatly arranged and added some little elegancies
which had been quite unknown to it in his wife's
lifetime. The balcony looked southwards and
over the garden, so that the room was always
flooded with light and perfume, and cheered by
the happy song of birds. Florentina herself,
during her few days' stay, had given it the stamp,
so to speak, of her own individuality ; all sorts of
small properties and trifles betrayed the nature of
the woman who lived in it, as you may know a
bird by its nest. If there are some persons who
would make a hell of a palace, so there are others
who have only to enter a hovel to make it a Para-
It was that very stormy day I say that day,
for I cannot name the date ; I only know that it
was a day. It had rained all the morning ; then
the sky had cleared, and at last, high above the
misty whiteness of the lower atmosphere, a rain-
bow threw its glorious arch. One end rested on
the oaks of Ficobriga, close to the sea, and the
other on the woods of Saldeoro. Supreme in its
simplicity the rainbow can be compared to nothing
else, any more than an absolutely ideal and typi-
cal form can be. A rainbow is the epitome, the
alpha and omega, of visible color.
Florentina was in her room, not threading
beads, nor embroidering satin with gold thread,
but cutting out garments from patterns made of
newspaper. She was squatting on the floor, in
the attitudes of a fidgetty child at play; now
sitting on her heels, now on all fours, and plying
the scissors without a moment's respite. By her
side was a heap of pieces of woollen stuff, calico,
cotton print, and other materials that she had been,
that very morning, to buy at Villamojada, in spite
of wind and weather ; and snipping here, and cut-
ting there, she was fast evolving sleeves, skirts, and
bodies. They were not perhaps models of dress-
making, nor was the exactitude of the patterns to
be entirely relied on, for they also were of her
own devising ; however, she would have been the
first to acknowledge their shortcomings, and she
hoped that good- will might conduce to a happy
result. Her worthy father had said to her, as he
saw her sitting to work :
" Bless me, child ! one would think there were
no dressmakers in the world. You cannot ima-
gine how it annoys me to see a young lady of
good position crawling about on the floor with
shears in her hands. It is not at all the right
thing. I cannot bear that you should work to
clothe yourself even, and am I to submit to see
you working for others ? What are dressmakers
for heh ? What are dressmakers for ?"
" A dressmaker would do it much better than
I shall," replied Florentina laughing. " But then
you see it would not be my doing, Papa ; and to
do it myself is the very thing I most want."
He left her to her own devices; but not alone,
for in the middle of the alcove, between the bed
and the wardrobe, stood an old-fashioned sofa and
on the sofa lay two blankets, and at one end, on
a pile of pillows, lay a weary little head. The
face was haggard and colorless asleep. Sunk
rather, in an uneasy lethargy, broken now and
again by violent starting and terrors. However,
a calmer state had supervened by mid-day, when
Florentina's father came into the room again, fol-
lowed by Golfin. The surgeon went up to the
sofa and leaned over Nela, watching her face.
"She seems to be sleeping more quietly now,"
he said: "We must have no noise."
" What do you think of my daughter ?" said
Don Manuel, laughing. " Do you see all the
trouble she is taking. Now be quite impartial,
Don Teodoro : Is there any reason why she should
vex me ? Honestly, when there is no necessity for
taking so much trouble, why should she do so ?
What pleasure can it be to me to see my daughter
wasting all I give her for pin-money ; wasting it
on others ; and besides this mania for low occu-
pations for low occupations. . . ."
" Let her please herself," replied Golfin, looking
down admiringly at the girl. " Every young lady
has her own way of wasting her pin-money."
" And I am not to object if her charity brings
her to destitution, to bankruptcy !" exclaimed Don
Manuel, marching up and down the room in pom-
pous indignation, with his hands in his pockets.
"Besides, is there no better method of charity than
this ? She wished to show her gratitude to God
for my nephew's recovery well and good very
proper, a very Christian feeling. But we shall see,
we shall see."
He stopped in front of Nela and looked at
" Now, would it not have been better," he said,
"' if, instead of bringing this poor girl into the
house, my daughter had organized one of those
grand charitable affairs, which are the fashion even
at court, and which give all the best people in
society an opportunity of displaying their good
feeling? Why did you not think of holding a
lottery ? We could easily have sold any number
of tickets among our friends, and have collected
a handsome sum of money to give away to chari-
table asylums. Why, you might have got up an
association among the gentry of Villamojada and
the neighborhood, or have invited all our acquain-
tance at Santa Irene de Campo to join you, and
have held meetings and collected a great deal of
money. Nay, why not have got up a bull-fight ?
I would have undertaken to provide the beasts
and the men. Or amateur theatricals? Last
night Dona Sofia and I were talking of that very
thing. Learn from her, my dear, learn from her.
The poor owe more to her than I can tell you.
There are all the families who live by the em-
ployment they get in working the lotteries there
are all the professionals and subordinates who
make money by the theatrical performances ! Oh !
my dear, the paupers in the workhouse are not the
only poor ! Sofia told me that they made a little
fortune out of the masked balls they gave this
winter. A good deal of it was spent, of course,
in gas, in renting the theatre, in service, and so
forth still there was a morsel of bread left for
the poor after all. But, if you do not believe me,
read the statistics, child read the statistics."
Florentina laughed, and found no better an-
swer than to repeat the surgeon's apology for her :
"Every young lady has her own way of wast-
ing her pin-money."
"But Don Teodoro," remonstrated Don
Manuel, in great disgust: " You must admit that
no one else does it as my daughter does."
" I quite admit it," said Golfin with meaning,
and looking at the girl: " No one is like FJoren-
"And yet with all her faults," said the
father, drawing her to him : " With all her faults,
I love her better than my life. This little hussy is
worth her weight in gold. Come, tell me, which
do you like best, Aldeacorba de Suso, or Santa
Irene de Campo ?"
" I do not dislike Aldeacorba."
" Ah ! little puss. I see which way the wind
blows. Do you know that at this very moment
my brother is talking seriously to his son ? Family
affairs ! Well, and something very good is to come
of it all look, Don Teodoro, at my daughter's
face ; it is as red as roses in May. Now, I am off
to hear what my brother has to say what my
brother has to say." And the worthy man de-
Golfin went back to Nela.
" Did she sleep last night ?" he asked.
" Very little. I heard her sobbing and crying
all night. But to-night she shall have a good bed,
for which I have sent to Villamojada, and I will
put her in the little room next to mine."
" Poor little Nela !" said the doctor. "You can-
not imagine what an interest I feel in this hapless
creature. Some people would laugh at it, but we,
at any rate, are not made of stone. What little
we have done to improve the condition of this
poor child, ought to be done for a large propor-
tion of the human race. There are many thou-
sands of beings in the world in the same plight as
Nela. Who knows them ? where are they ? They
are lost in the desert of society for society has
its deserts in the dark places of life, in the soli-
tudes of field labor, in mines, in factories. We
pass them without even seeing them we give
them alms, perhaps, but without knowing them.
How are we to be cognizant of so base a class of
humanity ! At first Nela attracted me because I
thought that hers was an exceptional nature; but.
as I have thought more, I have felt that hers is
after all only one of the commonest cases. It is
an instance of the condition to which a highly-
organized moral nature must be reduced, a nature
apt for good, apt for learning, apt for virtue, but
which can never develop its powers in the neglect
and isolation to which it is condemned. They
live blind in spirit, just as Pablo Penaguilas lived
blind in body, though he possessed the latent
faculty of sight."
Florentina was listening with eager sympathy
and intelligence to the surgeon's speech.
" Look at her," he went on : " There she lies ;
she has a beautiful fancy, acute feelings, and can
love with devotion and tenderness. She is gifted
with a remarkable aptitude for every grace of
mind, while, at the same time, she is full of the
grossest superstitions; her religious ideas are
vague, monstrous, and heterodox, and her moral
sense needs guidance as much as her natural in-
telligence. She has had no education but what
she has been able to give herself; like a tree that
gets no nourishment but that of its own withered
and fallen leaves, she owes absolutely nothing to
any one else. In all her life she has never been
taught a single lesson, never heard a word of lov-
ing counsel, nor a precept of pious dogma ; she is
guided entirely by ill-understood examples which
she adapts to her own instincts and desires. Her
criticisms are all her own, and as she is full of
imagination and feeling, and the strongest native
impulse of her soul is to worship something, she
has worshipped Nature, after the fashion of primi-
tive races. All her ideals are naturalistic and if
you do not quite understand what I mean, dear
Florentina, I must explain myself more exactly
" She has a really artistic passion for form and
beauty. Her whole nature and her affections all
centre round this idea. The gifts and graces of
the mind are to her an unknown realm of beauty,
a hardly- discovered land, of which she knows only
so much as some traveller might of a new country
on whose shores he had been shipwrecked. The
great news of the gospel the greatest achieve-
ment of the spirit of humanity has hardly even
sounded in her ears ; she has the same faint sus-
picion of it that Asiatic nations may have of
European culture and if you do not quite under-
stand me, dear Florentina, I must explain myself /
more exactly another time.
"But she is very capable of making rapid
progress in a short time, and of rising to a higher
level, nay to our own. Show her a little light and
she will fly across the centuries she has wan-
dered from the track, and cannot see far, but give
her light and she will find her way again. No
one yet has ever put the torch in her hand, for
Pablo Penaguilas, in his own ignorance of all ex-
ternal truth, contributed largely but unconsciously
to increase her errors. Such a fantastic and
extravagant idealist was not the best master for a
nature like hers. We must set truth before the
poor child, who is like a being raised from the
dead of a remote past ; we will teach her to know
the graces of the mind ; we will bring her down
to our own century; we will give her soul a
strength which as yet it has not, and put a noble
Christian conscience in the place of her savage
naturalism and wild superstitions. We have an
admirable field to work in, a virgin soil on which
to sow the seed of centuries of growth. We may
make time fly fast over her head, showing her the
truth it has revealed, and so create a new being
for indeed, dear Florentina, it is the same thing as
creating a new being and if you do not quite
understand me, I must explain myself more ex-
actly another time."
Florentina, though she made no pretensions
to learning, thought that she did understand what
Golfin had meant by his quaint and original
harangue. She herself was about to add some
remarks on the subject ; but at that moment Nela
woke. Her eyes timidly wandered round the
room, and then rested alternately on the two faces
that looked down at her.
" You are not frightened ?" said Florentina
"Frightened no Senora; you are very kind
and the Senor too."
" Are you not glad to be here ? what are you
Golfin took her hand. " Speak frankly and
truly," he said : "Which of us do you like best
Florentina or me ?"
Nela made no reply, and the others smiled ;
but the child remained moodily grave.
"Now, listen to me, you silly little thing," the
surgeon went on : " You have to make up your
mind to live with one of us. Florentina will stay
here ; I shall go away. Decide for one or the
other which do you like best."
Marianela looked from one to the other with-
out finding any definite answer ; finally her eyes
rested on those of Golfin.
" I believe I am the man of her choice. But
that is not fair to Florentina, Nela ; she will be
The poor child smiled and, putting out a feeble
hand to Florentina, she murmured :
" I do not want to vex her."
But even while she spoke she turned ashy
pale ; she strained her neck, her eyes seemed start-
ing out of her head she was listening to a sound-
that was full of terrors to her. She had heard
" He is coming !" exclaimed Golfin, sympa-
thizing in his patient's alarm.
"Yes, here he comes!" cried Florentina, and
she flew to the door.
It was he. Pablo had opened the door and
walked softly into the room straight in, from
the habit he had acquired during years of blind-
ness. He came in smiling, and his eyes, freed
from the bandage, which he had himself removed,
looked straight before him. They were as yet
unaccustomed to the muscular action which makes
them turn, and were hardly aware of objects lying
out of the direct line of vision. It was literally
true of him as it is of many who never were
blind in their lives that he only saw what was
directly under his eyes.
" Cousin !" said he going towards her: "Why
have you not been to see me to-day? I have had
to come to look for you. Your father told me
you were doing some work for the poor so I
suppose I must forgive you."
Florentina did not know what to say; she
was annoyed. Pablo had not observed either
Golfin or Nela, and Florentina, intending to keep
him from approaching the sofa, went towards the
window; then, picking up some pieces of stuff, she
sat down as if she were going to sew. The full
light of the sun fell upon her, shedding a vivid
glow on all her left side and giving the most
charming relief to her pretty head with its russet
brown hair. Her beauty seemed radiant; like
the very personification and incarnation of light.
Her hair was somewhat in disorder, and her thin
morning dress followed the graceful lines of her
slender figure, while her simple and dignified pose
was worthy of the noblest ideals of art.
" Cousin," she said with a slight frown on her
pretty brow, " Don Teodoro has not yet given
you leave to-day to take your bandage off. That
is not right."
" He will give me leave presently," said the
young man laughing. ' And it cannot hurt me;
I am really quite well. And if it did do me
harm, I should not care. No, I should not
care if I became blind again, after having seen
"And what good would that be to you ?" said
" I was alone in my room, my father is gone
out after speaking to me about you. You know
what he said."
" No, I know nothing about it," said the girl,
with her eyes fixed on her work.
"But I know. My father is very kind and
reasonable, and we are very fond of each other. . . .
Well, when my father had left me, I took off the
bandage and looked out at the fields ; I saw the
rainbow and I felt quite overcome with admira-
tion, and with religious feeling too, Florentina
I do not know why that grand spectacle, which I
had never seen before, should have given me so
intense a feeling of the harmony of creation. I do
not know why, looking at the perfect blending of
its colors, I could not help thinking of you.
I do not know why, as I saw the rainbow, I said
to myself: ' I have felt this all before.' I felt
again exactly as I felt when I first saw you, Flo-
rentina, my darling. My heart seemed ready to
burst my bosom, and I could not help crying.
I cried a great deal and my tears blinded me again
for a few minutes I called you and you did not
answer when I could see again, the rainbow had
vanished. I went to look for you, I thought you
were in the garden I went down stairs, up stairs,
and here I am. And now, here, I find you so
lovely that I feel as if I had never seen you
rightly till to-day never till to-day, because now
I have had time to learn to compare you with
others. I have seen several women, and they are
all horrible by your side. I find it hard to believe
that you have lived through the years of my
blindness. Nay, nay. What I believe is that you
came into being at the moment when light dawned
upon my comprehension ; that my own mind
created you at the moment when I first was lord
of the visible world. They had often told me that
there was not a living creature to compare with
you, and I would not believe it but I believe it
now, as surely as I believe in the light of heaven!"
And as he spoke he fell on one knee.
Florentina, startled and abashed, looked up
from her sewing.
" Cousin for pity's sake !" she murmured.
"Cousin for pity's sake!" exclaimed Pablo,
with frank enthusiasm. "Why, why, are you so
lovely ? My father is most reasonable ; I can say
nothing against his arguments or his kindness.
Florentina, do you know I thought I could never
love you ; I thought I could love some one not
you. But what can I do ? Thank God my love
and my reason are one ! My father, to whom I
confessed my mistake; told me that I had loved a
hideous monster. But now I can say that I wor-
ship an angel. The ignorant blind man can see,
and at last pay due homage to real beauty. And
yet I cannot help trembling do you not see me
tremble ? Seeing you I have but one desire, and
that is, to take you in my arms and clasp you to
my heart, enfolding you, holding you tightly
And Pablo, who was now kneeling on both
knees, clasped his arms across his breast.
" Oh ! I do not know what I feel !" he went
on, stammering, and turning pale with agitation.
" Every day I discover some new world, Floren-
tina. First I discovered the world of light, to-day
I have discovered another. Is it possible that
you, so lovely so divine are to be mine, the
wife of my heart ?"
He seemed about to fall to the ground in a
fainting-fit, and Florentina leaned forward to sup-
port him. " Pablo took her hand, then lifting her
wide loose sleeve, he kissed her wrist and arm
with eager passion, counting the kisses.
" One two three four ah ! I am
"Be quiet, stop," cried Florentina, standing
up, and making her cousin rise too. " Doctor
Golfin will you scold him."
"Your bandage on, at once!" cried Teodoro :
" Go to your room and keep quiet."
The young man, in the utmost confusion turned
to that side of the room and brought his eyes to
bear on the surgeon, standing by the sofa that
was covered with blankets.
" Are you here, Don Teodoro ?" he said going
up to him.
"Yes, I am here," said Golfin very gravely.
" You ought to go back to your room and put the
bandage on again. I will go with you."
" I am perfectly well but, of course, I will
obey only, first let me see what is here."
He was looking at the blankets and, between
them, at a ghastly head, anything but fair to look
upon. In fact Nela's nose seemed to have become
sharper, her eyes smaller, her mouth less well-
formed, her face more freckled, her hair thinner,
and her forehead lower. Her eyes were closed,
she breathed with difficulty, her livid lips were
parted, and the hapless child seemed to be at her
last gasp, with the look of death on her face al-
" Ah !" exclaimed Pablo : " My father told me
that Florentina had given shelter to some poor
creature. How good of her ! You poor child,
you may be thankful, for you have fallen into the
hands of an angel ! Are you ill ? In my house
you shall want for nothing ; my cousin is the very
image of God on earth. This poor child is very
ill ; is she not doctor ?"
"Yes. . ." said Golfin, "she must be left alone
and hear no more talking."
"Then I am gone."
Pablo put out his hand and laid it on the
head which seemed to his unaccustomed eyes the
most terrible symbol of all human misery and
wretchedness. Nela raised her eyes and fixed
them on her master. Pablo felt as if they gazed
at him from the depths of a tomb, so profound
was their expression of sorrow and despair ; then
Nela freed one hand from beneath the coverings
a feeble, burning, rough little hand and took
that of the young man. At her touch Pablo
shuddered from head to foot, and uttered a cry
that came from his very soul.
There was a terrible pause one of those lulls
which precede the catastrophes of life as they do
the convulsions of nature, as though to add to
Then, in a quavering voice that thrilled the
by-standers with its tragical sadness, Nela spoke :
" Yes, Senorito mio" she said, " I am
Slowly, and as if she were lifting some too
heavy weight, she raised her master's hand to her
dry lips and kissed it kissed it again and then,
with a third attempt, her lips remained motionless
on the lad's hand.
They were all silent looking at her. The first
to break the silence was Pablo.
"Is this you. . . ." he said, "you. . . ." And
the thoughts that crowded on his mind checked
his utterance of any. He would have liked to dis-
cover some new language in which to utter them,
just as he had already discovered the two new
worlds of light, and of the love of external
beauty. He could do nothing but look at her
look at Nela and remember that darkened world
in which he had lived, his passions and the dreams
and errors of his blindness all wandering and lost
in its obscurity. Florentina, wiping away her
tears, leaned over Nela to look into her face, and
Golfin, watching her and knowing too well what
he saw, exclaimed in a voice like a knell :
" It has killed her. The sight of you has killed
her!" then turning to Pablo he said sternly:
" Go, at once, to your room."
" Dying ! dying so, without any cause !" cried
Florentina in despair, and laying her hand lightly
on Nela's brow.
" Maria !" she said, " Marianela !"
She called her by her name again and again,
leaning over her and looking at her, as we might
look over the margin of a well at some one who
has fallen into it and who is drowning in the depth
and blackness of its waters.
" She does not answer !" said Pablo, horror-
Golfin, watching her ebbing vitality, perceived
that her pulse still throbbed under his touch.
Pablo bent over her, and putting his lips close to
her ear, he called her once more :
" Nela, Nela my friend my dear !"
She turned a little, opened her eyes, and
moved her hands. She looked as if her spirit had
returned from some far away flight. Seeing Pablo's
gaze fixed upon her with anxious curiosity, she
turned aside abashed and alarmed, and tried to
hide her face as if she were a guilty thing.
" What is the matter with her ?" asked Floren-
tina vehemently. " Don Teodoro, save her if you
are a man. If you do not save her you are a
charlatan ! . . . "
The young girl's charitable instincts were spur-
ring her to positive rage.
" Nela !" repeated the lad in the deepest dis-
tress, and not yet recovered from the shock which
the sight of his 'little comrade had given him :
"You seem to be afraid of me what have I
done to you ?"
The dying girl put out her hand to clasp Floren-
tina's, and pressed it to her breast, and then she did
the same with Pablo's ; afterwards she once more
pressed them both with all the strength she could
command. Her sunken eyes looked from one to the
other, but her gaze was vague and remote; it
seemed to come from some inner depth of dark-
ness and despair, as though she were indeed the
drowning wretch in the well, sinking lower every
instant. Suddenly her breathing became difficult;
she sighed, and clutched the two hands she held
with convulsive energy.
Teodoro had turned the house upside down ;
had sent for medicines and powerful stimulants,
and was doing all in his power to arrest the swift
extinction of this young life.
" It is hard," he said, " to stop a drop of water
that is trickling, falling away down, down, and
within an inch or two of the great Sea. But I
He sent away every one but Florentina, whom
he kept in the room. But the stimulants and
irritants with which he endeavored to bring back
ebbing life to the frail body, only served to restore
some little muscular action, and in spite of this
she was sinking every minute.
" It is cruelty !" cried Golfin desperately, as he
snatched away the mustard and the irritants.
" We are tormentors and torturers. It is like set-
ting dogs on 'a dying man that the pain may keep
him alive to suffer. Away with it all !"
" And is there nothing to be done ?"
" Nothing but what God will do."
" But what is the matter with her ?"
" Death !" he shouted with a delirious rage of
grief, ill-befitting a medical man.
" But what illness is it that has brought her to
" Death !" he repeated.
" You do not understand me ; I want to know
of what. . . . ?"
" Of death. How can I tell you whether it
is shame, or jealousy, or wounded pride, or grief,
or disappointed love, that has killed her? A strange
catalogue of symptoms ! No, no we know noth-
ing nothing but useless details."
" I tell you we know nothing a little on the
surface that is all."
" And this, what is this ?"
"A sudden attack of inflammation menin-
" And what is that ?"
" A name. . . . Death !"
" But is it possible that any one should die
like this without any known cause, without any
sort of disease ? Oh ! Don Teodord, what is the
matter with her ?"
" How should I know ?"
" But you are a doctor ?"
"Of eyes not of passions."
" Passions !" exclaimed Florentina, looking
down at the senseless girl. "You poor child
what passions are you dying of?"
"Ask your future husband."
Florentina stood lost in utter amazement
"Poor thing!" she cried with a choked sob.
" Can mere grief kill in this way ?"
" When I picked her up at la Trascava she
was in a high fever."
" But that is not enough ; no, not enough to
kill her !"
" You say it is not enough. God and Nature
say that it is."
" It is as if she had been stabbed."
" Remember what those eyes now closing
forever saw a short while since. Remember
that a blind man loved her and that he is blind
no longer; that he has seen her seen her ! The
shock was a death-blow. ..."
" Oh what a terrible mysterious. . . . H
" No, it is no mystery," cried the surgeon,
almost wildly. " It is tha awful collapse of tin
illusion^ the rude"^fjlow of reality] the miserable
^destroyer which has come between two nokle 1 )
souls. And I I brought that reality home to '
" Oh it is a wretched mystery !" repeated
Florentina, not understanding the current of .his
" A mystery ? No," repeated Teodoro with
increasing agitation : " It is bare reality ; the sud-
den swallowing up of a whole world of illusions.
Reality to him meant a new life to her, anguish,
suffocation, humiliation, sorrow, contempt, an
empty life, jealousy, Death !"
"And all for "
" And all for one pair of eyes opened to see
light and reality. Reality! I cannot get the
word out of my brain. It seems to be written
there in letters of fire."
"All for one pair of eyes. And grief can kill
so quickly without giving us time to try a
" I do not know," said Golfin, bewildered, con-
founded, helpless, in view of the mystic characters
of the Book of Life and Death, which science
may pore over but may not decipher its dark rid-
" You do not know !" cried Florentina desper-
ately. " Then why are you a doctor ?"
" I do not know, I do not know !" he reiterated,
striking his dishevelled head with his heavy hands.
"Yes, one thing I know, and that is that we
know nothing but the skin-deep phenomena^ of
"file! I I am a menHer ofeyes and nothing
He fixed his gaze with absorbed attention on
the little figure which was hovering on the border-
land between a living woman and a corpse. " Soul !"
he exclaimed in a tone of bitter questioning :
" WJiat is passing in you now ?"
Florentina burst into tears.
" The soul !" she murmured, and her head
drooped on her breast : " It is fled !'
" No. . . " said Teodoro, taking Nela's hand.
" There is still some life left but so little, that it
would seem as if the soul were indeed far away
and had left only the breath behind."
MARIANELA. 2 59
" Lord have mercy !" exclaimed the young
girl and began to pray.
" Alas ! hapless spirit !" murmured the sur-
geon. "You were but ill-lodged indeed. . . .".
They both bent over her, watching her closely.
" Her lips are moving," cried Florentina.
" She is speaking."
Yes, her lips parted; she _ said something a
word, two, three.
" What is she saying ?" each asked the other ;
but neither of them could understand her.
She spoke perhaps in the tongue that is known
to those who live the life eternal.
This was the end; her lips moved no more;
they remained half- open showing a row of little
white teeth. Teodoro bent over her and, kissing
Nela's forehead, he said in a steady voice :
"Woman, you did well to quit this world."
But Florentina's voice was choked with tears and
sobs as she said : " I wanted to make her happy,
and she would not be."
STRANGE and wonderful to tell ! Nela, who
had never in her life had a room, nor clothes, nor
shoes, nor food, nor sympathy, nor relations, nor
any earthly thing of her own, not even a name
was buried in a style which caused no small
amount of envy among the living in Socartes.
This posthumous splendor was the bitterest irony
ever known in these metalliferous regions. Seiior-
ita Florentina, acting on her generous impulses,
consoled herself for the disappointment of not
having been able to help Nela alive, by the satis-
faction of doing honor to her hapless remains after
death. Some hard-hearted materialists criticised
her severely ; but, for our part, we regarded it as
an additional proof of her refined kind-hearted-
When Nela was carried to the grave, the
curious who came to gaze at her, thought her
almost pretty wonderful to say ! At least so
they said. It was the first time a compliment
had ever been paid her. The funeral was mag-
nificent, and the priests of Villamojada opened
their mouths wide in astonishment when they
found themselves receiving money to pray for the
soul of La Canela's daughter. It was bewildering,
amazing, to think that a being whose social im-
portance had been about equal to that of a worm
or a fly, should prove the occasion of so much
burning of tapers, of so much hanging of drapery,
and of making so many choristers and sacristans
hoarse. Nay, it was so astounding as to be posi-
tively amusing ; nothing else was talked of for at
least six weeks.
The surprise, and indeed to be frank the
indignation of this worthy little world, culminated
one day when two waggons, loaded with enor-
mous blocks of fine white stone, were descried
approaching by the high-road. In Senana's mind,
particularly, a hideous subversion of ideas took
place, a cataclysm resulting in mental chaos, when
she brought herself to believe that those fine white
stones were to build Nela's tomb. If an ox had
taken to flying or her husband to making speeches,
it could not have roused her from her stupefac-
The parish registers of Villamojada were
searched, for of course it was indispensable that
she should have a name now she was dead, though
she had done without one during her life ; as is
proved by this very history, where she has borne
various names. And this indispensable requisite
having been found, and duly placed on the
records of the dead, the magnificent tomb, which
stood up proudly among the rustic crosses of the
graveyard at Aldeacorba, had this epitaph en-
graved on it :
R. I. P.
MARI'A MANUELA TELLEZ.
RECALLED TO HEAVEN
OCTOBER THE izth, 186 . . .
And a wreath of flowers prettily carved in the
marble, crowned the inscription. Many months
later, when Florentina and Pablo Penaguilas had
been some time married and no one to tell the
truth, for truth is the first consideration no one
in Aldeacorba de Suso remembered Nela any
longer, some travellers of the tourist genus, in
crossing that part of the country, happened to
observe the grand marble sepulchre erected in the
cemetery by the piety and affection of an exem-
plary friend, and were struck with admiration.
Without more ado they proceeded to write down
in their note-book these remarks, which were sub-
sequently published under the title of " Sketches
from Cantabria," in an English newspaper.
"The most remarkable, object to be seen at
Aldeacorba is a magnificent monument, erected
in the cemetery over the grave of a young lady
of rank, famous in that part of the country for her
beauty. Dona Mariquita Manuela Tellez be-
longed to one of the noblest and wealthiest
families in Cantabria, that of Tellez Giron y de
Trastamara. Witty, romantic, and capricious, she
took a fancy to wander about the roads, playing
the guitar and singing Calderon's odes, and she
would dress herself up in rags to enable her to
mix with the herd of beggars, pick-pockets, trou-
badours, bull-fighters, friars, hidalgos, gypsies, and
muleteers, which at the great kermesas, constitute
that motley scene of Spanish low life which still
exists and always must exist, independent and
picturesque, in spite of the railways and newspa-
pers which have begun to force their way into the
"The abad* of Villamojada wept as he told us
of the whims, the virtues, and the beauty of this
wealthy gentlewoman, who, whenever she ap-
peared at the balls, banquets, or canas of Madrid,
was distinguished for her aristocratic deportment.
* In some provinces the rector of a parish.
The number of romanceros, sonnets and madrigals
composed in honor of this noble damsel by all the
Spanish poets, is beyond all calculation."*
On reading this I saw at once that the worthy
reporters had dreamed dreams. I determined to
tell the truth, and the truth, as I have told it, has
resulted in this book.
We must now bid farewell forever to this tomb.
We will fix our eyes on another object, seek out
another figure searching diligently, for he whom
we want is but a small personage, a minute insect,
as it were, no larger on the face of the earth than
the Phylloxera on the vine. But we have found
him there he is, tiny, squalid, a mere atomy.
But he lives and breathes, and will grow great in
time. Listen to his story, for it is an interesting
one I promise you.
But no ; it does not belong to- this book. If
you like the history of Marianela, in good time
you shall hear that of Celipin.
* The point of this passage in the original is the misuse of Spanish
words and the introduction of others which are not Spanish. Thus
Hidalgo means a nobleman ; and Kermesas, FT., Kermesse, Dutch,
Kermis, is a name for a fair peculiar to Holland and Belgium.
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symmetry in the treatment of the different parts, and from the first
word to the last is thoroughly harmonious in tone and coloring.
Therefore, in 'Aspasia,' we are given a book, which could only pro-
ceed from the union of an artistic nature and a thoughtful mind a
book that does not depict fiery .passions in dramatic conflict, but with
dignified composure, leads the conflict therein described to the final
catastrophe." Allgemcine Zcitung. (Augsburg).
Price, in paper cover, - $1.OO per set.
in cloth binding, - - (.75 "
FOR SALE AT ALL THE BOOKSTORES.
Sent by mail post-paid on receipt of price.
WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER,
1 1 Murray Street, New York.
A ROMANCE OF ANCIENT ROME
FROM THE GERMAN BY MARY J. SAFFORD.
" Antinous, a Romance of Ancient Rome, from the
German of George Taylor, by Mary J. Safford, is one
of those faithful reproductions of ancient manners, cus-
toms and scenery which German authors are so fond of
writing, and in which they are so wonderfully successful.
The story deals with the old age of the Emperor Hadrian
and with his favorite Antinous. The recital is full of
power, and is extraordinary in its vividly realistic draw-
ing of character. Though a minutely close study of
historical detail, it is spirited in the telling and of ab-
sorbing interest in the plot and descriptions. The era
and the personages stand out with stereoscopic clearness.
Nothing could be finer than the portrait of the melan-
choly Hadrian and its beautifully-contrasted fellow
picture, the sorrowful Antinous. The book is one that
appeals to every cultivated taste, and overflows with
interest of the most refined description." Saturday
Evening Gazette, Boston, July i, 1882.
IN ONE VOLUME
Price, in paper cover, - - 5O cents,
in cloth binding, - - - 9O "
FOR SALE AT ALL THE BOOKSTORES.
Sent by mail post-paid on receipt of price.
WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER,
\ 1 Murray Street, New York.
IE ILi I .A. 3ST IE
M M AUGUSTUS CRAVEN
FROM THE FRENCH BY
LADY GEORGIANA FULLERTON
" We have before us an excellent specimen of the
better class of French novels. It is ' Eliane, ' by
Madame Augustus Craven. It illustrates in a very
charming way the various results of the French system
of making courtships and marriages. The book is a
very charming one, which we have read with pleasure."
The Mail, Toronto, Aug. n, 1882.
" It is not only pure, but is, we believe, a trustworthy
description of the dignified French life of which it is a
picture. ' Eliane' is one of the very best novels we have
read for one or two seasons past." The American Lit.
Churchman, Baltimore, August i, 1882.
" ' Eliane' is interesting, not only because it is such a
record of the best kind of French life and manners as
could only have been written by a person thoroughly
at home in the subject, but also because of the delicate
drawing of character which it contains. The book is
quiet in tone, and may fail to please readers who care
for nothing but incident; but there are, it may be hoped,
still many readers to whom its grace and fine style will
recommend it." London Sat. Review, June 3, 1882.
IN ONE VOLUME
Price, in paper cover, ... 50 cents,
in cloth binding, - - - 9O
FOR SALE AT ALL THE BOOKSTORES.
Sent by mail post-paid on receipt of price.
WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER,
1 1 Murray Street, New York.
ANTON GIULIO BARRILI
FROM THE ITALIAN BY CLARA BELL
" It is an attractive little novel, spirited in plot, and
marked by a charming grace in the telling. It is at
once bright, witty and delicate, is simple in design, but
has a marked dramatic interest. The characters are
brilliantly sketched, the dialogue is spirited, and there is
an unconventionality in the work as a whole that makes
it thoroughly delightful reading." Boston Saturday
Evening Gazette, May 28, 1882.
" There is more to the work than appears on the
surface, many passages being fruitful subjects for psycho-
logical meditation. The characters are all well drawn,
especially those of the serious-minded prior, the obese
and tractable uncle, and the grandiloquent sub-prefect.
The author is an unusually good painter of human nat-
ure, and the ease and naturalness of his style is refresh-
ing. No fault is to be found with the translation."
Boston Evening Transcript, May 20, 1882.
IN ONE VOLUME
Price, in paper cover, - - 5O cents,
in cloth binding, - - - 9O "
FOR SALE AT ALL THE BOOKSTORES.
Sent by mail post-paid on receipt of price.
WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER,
1 1 Murray Street, New York.
A Whimsical Wooing
ANTON GIULIO BARRILI
Author of "The Eleventh Commandment."
FROM THE ITALIAN BY CLARA BELL
"Some months ago we had occasion to praise a pleas-
ant novel of modern Italian life by the author of the
above story. The present is not less deserving of praise.
It is just the very thing to play as an afterpiece. Cast
into purely dramatic form indeed, without any change
at all it would form a sparkling little comedietta for a
private theatrical party. The little volume is most
charming ; it is very brief, but every line sparkles ; and
we find it all too short." Toronto Mail.
" ' A Whimsical Wooing ' is the richly-expressive
title under which 'Clara Bell' introduces a cleverly-
narrated episode by Anton Guilio Barrili to American
readers. It is a sketch of Italian life, at once rich and
strong, but nevertheless discreet in sentiment and grace-
ful in diction. It is the old story of the fallacy of
trusting to a proxy in love matters." Boston Post.
Price, in paper cover, 25 cents,
in cloth binding, - - 5O
FOR SALE AT ALL THE BOOKSTORES.
Sent by mail post-paid on receipt of price.
WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER,
1 1 Murray Street, New York.
"A ROMANCE OF A SOUL."
WILHELMINE von HILLERN
FROM THE GERMAN BY S. BARING-GOULD.
"' Ernestine ' is a work of positive genius. An English critic has
likened the conception of the heroine in her childhood to George El-
iot's Maggie Tulliver, and truly there is a certain resemblance ; but
there is in the piece a much stronger suggestion of George Eliot's
calm mastery of the secret springs of human action, and George
Eliot's gift of laying bare the life of a human soul, than of likeness
between particulars, characters or situations here and those with which
we are familiar in George Eliot's work." New York Evening Post,
Feb. 17, 1881.
" Ernestine in her childhood somewhat reminds us of Maggie TulK-
ver in the Mill on the Floss, and in her maidenhood of Mr. 1 ennyson's
Princess. For many a year as child and woman she grieved that she
had not been born a man. In fact, she was a downright and fearless
champion of woman's rights. But in the end she yields, and as we
take leave of her, we hear her saying to her husband, ' I thank God
that I am a woman and that I am yours.' Very pretty, though per-
haps too sad, are the opening scenes in which we first make her ac-
1 ' There are many humorous touches throughout the work which
afford a pleasant relief to the more pathetic portions."
" In fact, in many places as we read the story, we saw that it would
easily adapt itself to the purposes of the dramatist. London Saturday
Price, in paper cover, SO cents per set.
in cloth binding, SI.5O per set.
FOR SALE AT ALL THE BOOKSTORES.
SENT BY MAIL POST-PAID ON RECEIPT OF PRICE.
WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER,
1 1 Murray Street, New York.
THE HOUR WILL COME
A TALE OF AN ALPINE CLOISTER
WILHELMINE VON HILLERN
FROM THE GERMAN BY CLARA BELL.
" The Hour Will Come; A Tale of an Alpine Cloister, by Wilhel-
mine von Hillern, is a charming story, perhaps somewhat old-fashioned
in regard to plot, but gracefully and thoughtfully written, and full of
interest in its admirable painting of character. It has a fine local
color, and its descriptions are strikingly vivid and picturesque. It
belongs to the best class of modern German fiction, and will be read
with pleasure and satisfaction by every person of taste. The transla-
tion, by Clara Bell, may be warmly praised for its spirit and its easy
flow." Boston Saturday Evening Gazette, Oct. 9, 1880.
" The Hour Will Come" is the title of a translation by Miss Clara
Bell from the German original of Wilhelmine von Hillern, author of
that beautiful romance " Geier-Wally." "The Hour Will Come" is
hardly less interesting, its plot being one of the strongest and most
pathetic that could well be imagined. The time is the Middle Ages,
and Miss Von Hillern has achieved a remarkable success in repro-
ducing the rudeness, the picturesqueness and the sombre coloring of
those days. Those who take up "The Hour Will Come "will not
care to lay it down again until they have read it through Baltimore
Gazette, Wednesday, October 13, 1880.
Price, in paper cover, - - 4O cents,
in cloth binding, - - 75 "
FOR SALE AT ALL THE BOOKSTORES.
SENT BY MAIL ON RECEIPT OF PRICE.
WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER,
1 1 Murray Street, New York.
HIGHER THAN THE CHURCH
AN ART LEGEND OF ANCIENT TIMES
WILHELMINE VON HILLERN
FROM THE GERMAN BY MARY J. SAFFORD
"Mary J. Safford translates acceptably a very charming short
story from the German of Wilhelmine von Hillern. If it was not told
by the sacristan of Breisach, it deserves to have been. It has the
full flavor ot old German and English love tales, such as have been
crystallized in the old ballads. The Emperor, the gifted boy, his
struggles with the stupidity of his townsmen, his apparently hopeless
love above him ; these form the old delightful scene, set in a Durer-
esque border. There are touches here and there which refer to the
present. The sixteenth century tale has a political moral that will
appeal to Germans who believe that Alsatia, once German in heart as
well as in tongue, ought to be held by force to the Fatherland till she
forgets her beloved France." N. Y. Times, Dec. ^th, 1881.
Price, in paper cover, - 25 cents,
in cloth binding, - - 50 "
FOR SALE AT ALL THE BOOKSTORES.
Sent by mail post-paid on receipt of price.
WILLIAM S GOTTSBERGER,
\ \ Murray Street, New York.
GEORGE HENRY LEWES
It is not difficult to explain why ' Ranthorpe " was not a success
in the ordinary sense of a popular novel; but the explanation will
probably give the reason why it has been since recalled to the atten-
tion of the reading world. It was of too didactic a quality to suit the
tastes of novel-readers in search of mere sensation. It is full of moral-
izings, and, although the topics are secular enough, it is rather
preachy. Bet there is a good deal of wisdom in it that is not without
its use. The hero of the book runs a literary career, goes first into
poetry and fails, then into the drama, and his tragedy is d d.
The main interest of the volume is in the copious side discussions on
the causes of failure in literary adventure, and we have a vivid and
readable illustration of ideas which the author subsequently developed
in his review articles on "The Principles of Success in Literature."
From this point of view the book is instructive, while the plot keeps up
the reader's interest in the usual way. The Popular Science Monthly.
Price, In paper cover, - - 4O cents,
in cloth binding, - - 75 "
FOR SALE AT ALL THE BOOKSTORES.
Sent by mail post-paid on receipt of price.
WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER,
1 1 Murray Street, New York.
A PRACTICAL METHOD
A. RAMOS DIAZ DE VILLEGAS
" Spanish is not under any circumstances a difficult language
to learn. It has in its construction and pronunciation an encour-
aging directness very unlike the grammatical involutions of German
and the delicate sound-shadings of French. Working in accord-
ance with the rules of almost any 'system,' a diligent student can
in a very little while acquire a fair mastery of the language; though
it is true that some of the ' systems ' are much more difficult than
others. One of the simplest and best of them all is 'A Practical
Method for Learning Spanish,' by Senor A. Ramos Diaz de
Villegas, just now published by William S. Gottsberger, New York.
The method ' of Senor de Villegas comprehends a collection of
anecdotes arranged in short lines with an English translation,
similarly arranged, on the corresponding opposite page ; familiar
phrases, with idiomatic renderings in English in parallel columns ;
a vocabulary of words in common use, and a complete list of the
Spanish irregular verbs. It will be observed that this method
hardly can be called original ; that it is more or less that of Morales,
of Velazquez, of Prendergast, and that some of its features are
found in Ollendorff and in Ahn; but in simplicity of arrangement
and directness of purpose it is superior to all of these Prendergast
possibly excepted. It certainly is what it is called a practical
method for learning Spanish. With a relatively small outlay of
mental exertion it produces exceptionally good results." Philadel-
phia Times, June 24, 1882.
ONE VOL., i2MO. PRICE 75 CENTS.
Sent by mail, putt-paid, on receipt of. price.
WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER,
\ 1 Murray Stree^ New York.
University of California
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