The duke admitted the validity of their excuses, but, availing himself of occasions warranted by custom and courtesy, he found means to load the two friends with rich gifts, which he sent from time to time to their house in Bologna. Many of these were of such value, that although they might have been refused for fear of seeming to receive a payment, yet the appropriate manner in which they were presented, and the particular periods at which Alfonso took care that they should arrive, caused their acceptance to be easy, not to say inevitable; such, for example, were those despatched by him at the moment of their departure for their own country, and those which he gave them when they came to Ferrara to take their leave of him.
At this period, the Spanish gentlemen found Cornelia the mother of two little girls, and the duke more enamoured of his wife than ever. The duchess gave the diamond cross to Don Juan, and the gold agnus to Don Antonio, both of whom had now no choice but to accept them. They finally arrived without accident in their native Spain, where they married rich, noble, and beautiful ladies; and they never ceased to maintain a friendly correspondence with the duke and duchess of Ferrara, and with Lorenzo Bentivoglio, to the great satisfaction of all parties.
END OF THE LADY CORNELIA.
RINCONETE AND CORTADILLO:
Or, Peter of the Corner and the Little Cutter.
At the Venta or hostelry of the Mulinillo, which is situate on the confines of the renowned plain of Alcudia, and on the road from Castile to Andalusia, two striplings met by chance on one of the hottest days of summer. One of them was about fourteen or fifteen years of age; the other could not have passed his seventeenth year. Both were well formed, and of comely features, but in very ragged and tattered plight. Cloaks they had none; their breeches were of linen, and their stockings were merely those bestowed on them by Nature. It is true they boasted shoes; one of them wore alpargates, or rather dragged them along at his heels; the other had what might as well have been shackles for all the good they did the wearer, being rent in the uppers, and without soles. Their respective head-dresses were a montera and a miserable sombrero, low in the crown and wide in the brim. On his shoulder,