At this time a soldier and a student came up, who liking the clean-liness of the baskets, the former called Rincon, and the student beckoned Cortado. Rincon, by way of commencing his office, bowed very humbly to his employer, and said, “I hope your honor will not forget that I am a beginner.”
“Never fear,” said the soldier, “your reward shall not be amiss, tor I can afford to be liberal—I am going to give a feast to-day to some friends of my mistress.”
“Then pray load me as much as you please,” returned the youth, “for I have both the will and the strength to carry the whole market; aye, and sugar to season it withal, if such be your honor s pleasure.
Serving so respectable a gentleman
The soldier was so well pleased with the quickness of the youth, that he told him, if he desired to quit his present employment, he would lake him into his service. Rincon replied with many thanks, saying, “That as he was so newly entered on the office, he wished to see whether it would turn out well or ill; but, in case of failure, he should not have the honor of serving so respectable a gentleman, because he had given his word to a priest.”
The soldier laughed, and gave him a good load, directing him to the house of his mistress, and desiring him to remember it well, as he would have occasion to go there often; he then gave him three quartos, and dismissed him. Rincon returned with the utmost speed to the square, lest he should lose an opportunity; for the Asturian had cautioned him to be diligent and trustworthy; although in carrying small fish, or such like commodity, there was no harm, he said, in taking a little from a quantity which could not be missed; but on no account to take it if there should be the least chance of detection, as credit was the soul of their trade.
Cortado returned just about the same time as Rincon, who, showing his companion the three quartos, asked him what luck he had met with? Cortado, putting his hand into his breast, drew out a purse which seemed to have been made in times past, but was nevertheless well stocked with money, and said, “His reverence has done me the favor to pay me with this purse, and with these two quartos; but take the purse, Rincon, lest his worship may change his mind.”
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