Rinconete and Cortadillo part 7

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However, on entering the city by the Aduana gate, Cortado was not able to resist the temptation of cutting open the portmanteau of a Frenchman, behind whom he was mounted. His knife was handy on all occasions, and he inflicted so grievous a wound on the valise, that he presently discovered its contents, and selected from them two shirts, a small sun-dial, and a memorandum book. These things, it is true, Were of little value; but they served to replenish their purse, which was now exhausted, with twenty reals.

Having secured this, they went to view the city, of which they had heard so much; the cathedral excited their admiration, and they were astonished at the great concourse of people on the river. The galleys, likewise, did not escape their observation, and an involuntary sigh escaped from each, as his thoughts naturally anticipated the time when he might have a closer view of them.

They were surprised to see such a number of boys with baskets, plying for hire; and they took the opportunity of asking one the nature of his office—whether it was laborious—and what was the gain? It was an Asturian boy of whom they made the inquiry, and he replied, “That the business was easy enough—that they paid no duty and that on some days they gained five reals, and on others six, as it might happen—with which they lived the life of a king- free to seek any master that paid them well—and then they enjoyed themselves after their own fashion.”

Necessary equipment for their new profession

This account of the Asturian pleased the two friends mightily; tor the anticipation of carrying the goods of others seemed highly favorable to their peculiar abilities, and they forthwith determined to purchase the necessary equipment for their new profession. The Asturian told them it would be necessary to buy some small bags, and three baskets, for fish, flesh, and fruit—the bags to be used solely for bread; and that when provided with these necessaries, they were to attend in the mornings at the flesh-market, in the square of San Salvador—on fast-days at the fish-market—and in the evening they were to look for employment at the river side.

This instruction the two friends committed to memory; and having purchased what was necessary with the spoils of the Frenchaman, they planted themselves the next morning in the square of San Salvador. They had not been there long, before their new baskets attracted the attention of the other boys, who soon flocked round them, anxious to know whence they came, and everything concerning them; to all which the friends gave those answers which might have been expected from young persons of their talent and discretion.

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