“There is no fear of that, my friend,” returned the sacristan. I have it so truly in my memory that I shall not mistake a single thread. Saying this, he drew from his pocket a handkerchief to wipe the perspiration from his countenance; a movement not lost on Cortado, who immediately seemed to take a more vivid interest in the poor man s loss, and suggested several expedients for its recovery.
The advice of Cortado was given in so vague a manner, that the sacristan was tempted to ask a repetition; during which, Cortado, taking advantage of the sacristan`s anxiety, contrived to beguile him of his handkerchief, when, with many expressions of condolence, he took his leave, recommending him to use all diligence in the recovery of his property; and then returned to Rincon.
“What have you been so busy about with the student, inquired his companion.
“Why, I have been listening to the poor gentleman s distress, which I protest has so affected me, that I was under the necessity of borrowing his handkerchief,” replied the young wag, at the same time producing it, and applying it to his eyes.
So secretly as to escape
The two young rogues then indulged in some merriment at the expense of the poor sacristan; but Cortado had not effected the latter transfer so secretly as to escape the observation of a lad who had been watching him. “Pray, gentlemen,” said he, advancing towards them, “may I ask of what profession you call yourselves?”
“We don`t understand you, sir,” replied Rincon. “I ask you, gentlemen, whether you arc from Murcia,” repeated the youth. “Neither from Murcia nor from Thebes,” responded Cortado, “and if you have nothing further to say, I wish you a good morning.”
“You don`t choose to understand me, eh! my masters? said the querist, “but I think I could soon make you understand—aye, and leach you to eat pap out of a spoon. What I wish to ask of you, gentlemen, is merely whether your honors are thieves, or no? although it is it useless question, because I already see that you are; but I must inquire with more reason, whether you have paid your footing to the Senor Monipodio?”
“Do thieves pay taxes in this country, my fair sir?“ asked Rincon. “If they do not actually pay, at least they are registered by the Senor Monipodio, who is their father and their master; therefore I should counsel you to come with me for that purpose, or perhaps you will have cause to repent it.”
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