I took the leather and proceeded very deliberately to count out the sum to which the horse-hire amounted, and having delivered it to him in the presence of witnesses, I said, "During the whole journey you have been of no service to us whatever; nevertheless, you have fared like ourselves, and have had all you could desire to eat and drink. I intended, on your leaving us, to present you, moreover, with a propina of two dollars; but since, notwithstanding our kind treatment, you endeavoured to pillage us, I will not give you a cuarto: go, therefore, about your business."
All the audience expressed their satisfaction at this sentence, and told him that he had been rightly served, and that he was a disgrace to Galicia. Two or three women crossed themselves, and asked him if he was not afraid that the Denho, whom he had invoked, would take him away. At last, a respectable-looking man said to him, "Are you not ashamed to have attempted to rob two innocent strangers?"
"Strangers!" roared the fellow, who was by this time foaming with rage; "innocent strangers, carracho! they know more of Spain and Galicia too than the whole of us. Oh, Denho, that servant is no man but a wizard, a nuveiro. Where is Perico?"
He mounted Perico, and proceeded forthwith to another posada. The tale, however, of his dishonesty had gone before him, and no person would house him; whereupon he returned on his steps, and seeing me looking out of the window of the house, he gave a savage shout, and shaking his fist at me, galloped out of the town, the people pursuing him with hootings and revilings.
Martin of Rivadeo--The Factious Mare--Asturians--Luarca--The Seven Bellotas--Hermits--The Asturian's Tale--Strange Guests--The Big Servant--Batuschca.
"WHAT may your business be?" said I to a short, thick, merry-faced fellow in a velveteen jerkin and canvas pantaloons, who made his way into my apartment, in the dusk of the evening.
"I am Martin of Rivadeo, your worship," replied the man, "an alquilador by profession; I am told that you want a horse for your journey into the Asturias to-morrow, and of course a guide: now, if that be the case, I counsel you to hire myself and mare."
"I am become tired of guides," I replied; "so much so that I was thinking of purchasing a pony, and proceeding without any guide at all. The last which we had was an infamous character."
"So I have been told, your worship, and it was well for the bribon that I was not in Rivadeo when the affair to which you allude occurred. But he was gone with the pony Perico before I came back, or I would have bled the fellow to a certainty with my knife. He is a disgrace to the profession, which is one of the most honourable and ancient