I had been three years in this situation, when legal business required the presence of Donna Isabella at Madrid. The young ladies, who were both very handsome, and remarkably like each other in person, were much admired by the cavaliers. Two had gained the victory over the rival candidates—Don Perez was the favoured suitor of Donna Emilia, while Don Florez was proud to wear the chains of the lively Teresa. Donna Isabella had, however, no intention that her nieces should quit her for the present, and aware, by the serenading which took place every night, that there were pretenders to her nieces’ smiles, she hastened back to Seville sooner than she had intended.
Although I had not been trusted by either, I had an idea of what was going on; but with more prudence than most boys of my age, I made no remarks either to my mistress or to the young ladies. We had returned to Seville about a month, when Donna Emilia called me aside, and said, “Pedro, can you keep a secret?”
I told her—“Yes, if I was paid for it.”
“And what do you want to induce you to keep it, you little miser?”
I replied—“From her, only a kiss.”
She called me a little rogue, gave me the kiss, and then told me, that a cavalier would be under the window a little after vesper bell, and that I must give him a billet, which she put into my hand. Of course, having received my payment before hand, I consented. At the time mentioned I looked out of the gate, and perceiving a cavalier under the window, I accosted him, “What ho, Senor, what is it you expect from a fair lady?”
“A billet, my little page,” replied he.
“Then here you have it,” replied I, pulling it out of my vest. He put a doubloon in my hand, and immediately disappeared.
I liked the gold very much, but I preferred the other payment more. I put the money into my pocket, and returned into the house. I had hardly come into the hall, when Donna Teresa, the other young lady, accosted me. “Pedro, I have been looking for you—can you keep a secret?”
“Yes, if I am paid for it,” replied I, as before.
“And what must it be that will keep that little tongue of yours from chattering?”
“From you,” replied I, “it must be a kiss.”
“Oh! you little mannikin—I’ll give you twenty;” and she did so, until she almost took away my breath. “And now,” said she, “there is a senor waiting below for a note, which you must take him.” I took the note, and when I came to the gate, found a cavalier there, as she had mentioned. “Oh, Senor,” said I, “what are you waiting for, is it a billet-doux from a sweet lady?”