Rinconete and Cortadillo part 2


The scanty remains of a shirt of the color of chamois leather partly adorned the neck and shoulders of the younger; while his companion had remedied the inconvenience of such a deficiency by the waistband of an old pair of trousers, covered with grease and completely in tatters, which hung suspended from his neck on his breast, and appeared to conceal a small bundle.

In this repository of valuables was concealed a pack of cards of a different shape to those generally used; for by reason of their long service, the corners were so much worn, that they began to assume a circular shape, which had been rendered still more distinct by the application of the scissors, it being found that the circular form was the most durable. Both the youths were much sunburnt; their nails were begrimed with dirt, and their skin could hardly be called clean. One was armed with a broken sword, and the other with a yellow-handled knife, which completed their costume.

Addressing a gentleman

They sallied from the inn and seated themselves opposite each other, under a sort of covering which serves for a veranda in houses of that description; and the elder, bowing very politely to the other addressed him with all the air of a man of ton. “If I might take the liberty of addressing a gentleman of your distinguished appearance without the ceremony of introduction, I should inquire what part of the country has the honor of claiming you as a resident, and whither you intend to travel?”

“Senor Caballero,” returned the other, with equal ceremony and politeness, “with respect to your first question, I am sorry that I am unable to satisfy your curiosity, being utterly ignorant of it myself; and, as to the second, I lament that I can afford you as little information, for I really don`t know.”

“Why, truly, sir,” said he without the shirt, “if I might give an opinion, you certainly don`t look as though you had dropped from heaven; and if you had, I should not think you would choose this place for your descent—consequently you must be going somewhere.”

“That is very just,” replied the one with the hat; “and yet I have told you the truth, for my country is no longer mine, my father having turned me out: and as to the future, I must trust to chance, which I dare say will put something in my way by which I may get an honest livelihood.”

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