My father is a tailor, and taught me such a good use of the scissors, that, instead of cutting clothes, I learned to cut purses. My ambition, however, was not to be limited to the narrow precincts of a country village; and I was already disgusted with the treatment of a mother-in-law; leaving my home, therefore, I repaired to Toledo, where, giving a free scope to my abilities, I did wonders.
There was no rosary, let it be hung ever so carefully, and no pocket however ingeniously contrived, that my fingers did not visit, or my scissors divide—even though they were guarded by the eyes of Argus.
I can assure you, that, during the four months I resided in that city,
I managed to escape all inconveniences. I was never caught between double doors; never taken off my guard; fell not into the hands of the constables, nor became the dupe of an informer.
Education qualified to move in such distinguished society
“It is now, however, about eight days since, that a spy of the police gave notice of me to the corregidor, who, being a great admirer of people of talent, expressed an anxious desire to be acquainted with me; my extreme modesty, for which I am remarkable, prevented me that honor; for thinking myself neither by birth nor education qualified to move in such distinguished society, I was obliged to disappoint his worship, by withdrawing myself from Toledo.
I effected my removal with such haste, that I actually did not allow myself time to procure a coach, to provide myself with linen, or indeed any of those conveniences with which gentlemen usually travel; and here I am as you see me.
“Really that was very amusing,” said Rincon, grinning; “but now as we know each other, I think it is time to drop our gentility, and confess that we have not anything in the world but what we stand in.”
“There is no use in mincing the matter,” quoth Diego Cortado, for by such name he called himself, “it is even as you say; and since our friendship ought to be lasting, Senor Rincon, I think we should commence it by a proper manifestation of our feelings”: and then rising, both the gentlemen embraced each other with great apparent cordiality and good will.
This little ceremony completing their good understanding, they sat down to play with the above-mentioned cards, having cleaned them from dust and straw, though not from grease and certain deceitful signs; and in a few hands Cortado became as (‘lever at the game as his master Rincon.
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