My sedillas and canzonettas were much admired; and eventually no serenade was considered as effective, without the assistance of the counter-tenor of Anselmo. I hardly need observe that it was very profitable; and that I had the means of supplying myself with luxuries which the rules of our order did not admit. I soon became irregular and debauched; often sitting up whole nights with the young cavaliers, drinking and singing amorous songs for their amusement. Still, however, my conduct was not known, or was overlooked for the reasons which I have stated before.
When once a man indulges to excess in wine, he is assailed by, and becomes an easy prey to every other vice. This error soon led me into others; and, regardless of my monastic vows, I often felt more inclined to serenade upon my own account than on that of my employers. I had the advantage of a very handsome face, but it was disguised by the shaven crown and the unbecoming manner of cutting the hair; the coarse and unwieldly monastic dress belonging to our order hid the symmetry of my limbs, which, might have otherwise attracted notice on the Prado. I soon perceived that, although my singing was admired by the other sex, their admiration went no further. They seemed to consider that in every other point I was, as I ought to have been, dead to the world.
There was a young lady, Donna Sophia, whom I had for some time instructed in music, who appeared to be more favourably inclined. She was an excellent performer, and passionately fond of the science: and I have always observed, your highness, that between the real amateurs of harmony there is a sympathy, a description of free-masonry, which immediately puts them on a level, and on terms of extreme intimacy; so much so, that were I a married man, and my wife extremely partial to music, I should be very careful how I introduced to her a person of a similar feeling, if I possessed it not myself. I was very much in the good graces of this young lady, and flattered myself with a successful issue: when one day, as we were singing a duet, a handsome young officer made his appearance. His hair, which was of the finest brown, curled in natural ringlets: and his clothes were remarkably well-fitted to his slender and graceful figure. He was a cousin, who had just returned from Carthagena; and as he was remarkably attentive, I soon perceived that all my advances had been thrown away, and that I was more and more in the background each morning that I made my appearance.
Annoyed at this, I ventured to speak too freely; and during his absence calumniated him to the Donna Sophia, hoping by these means to regain my place in her affections; but I made a sad mistake: for not only were my services dispensed with for the future, but, as I afterwards discovered, she stated to her cousin the grounds upon which I had been dismissed.