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osophical view, instead of crying me down, they would become my most zealous advocates.'



In his rage, he never suspected me of drinking: for to exasperate him still more against the little doctor, I had thrown into my recital some circumstances of my own addition. Yet engrossed as he was by what I had told him, he could not help taking notice that I drank more water than usual that evening. In fact, the wine had made me very thirsty. Any one but Sangrado would have distrusted my being so very dry as to swallow down glass after glass; but as for him, he took it for granted in the simplicity of his heart that I began to acquire a relish for aqueous potations. Apparently, Gil Blas," said he, with a gracious smile, "you have no longer such a dislike to water. As heaven is my judge, you quaff it off like nectar! It is no wonder, my friend; I was certain you would take a liking to that liquor." "Sir," replied I, "there is a tide in the affairs of men with my present lights I would give all the wine in Valladolid for a pint of water." This answer delighted the doctor, who would not lose so fine an opportunity of expatiating on the excellence of water. He undertook to ring the changes once more in its praise; not like a hireling pleader, but as an enthusiast in the cause. "A thousand times," exclaimed he, "a thousand and a thousand times of greater value, as being more innocent than our modern taverns, were those baths of ages past, whither the people went, not shamefully to squander their fortunes and expose their lives by swilling themselves with wine, but assembled there for the decent and economical amusement of

drinking warm water. It is difficult to admire enough the patriotic forecast of those ancient politicians who established places of public resort where water was dealt out gratis to all comers, and who confined wine to the shops of the apothecaries, that its use might be prohibited save under the direction of physicians. What a stroke of wisdom! It is doubtless to preserve the seeds of that antique frugality, emblematic of the golden age, that persons are found to this day, like you and me, who drink nothing but water, and are persuaded they possess a prevention or a cure for every ailment, provided our warm water has never boiled; for I have observed that water when it is boiled is heavier, and sits less easily on the stomach."

While he was holding forth thus eloquently, I was in danger more than once of splitting my sides with laughing. But I contrived to keep my countenance; nay, more, to chime in

with the doctor's theory. I found fault with the use of wine, and pitied mankind for having contracted an untoward relish for so pernicious a beverage. Then, finding my thirst not sufficiently allayed, I filled a large goblet with water, and after having swilled it like a horse, "Come, sir," said I to my master, "let us drink plentifully of this beneficial liquor. Let us make those early establishments of dilution you so much regret, live again in your house." He clapped his hands in ecstasy at these words, and preached to me for a whole hour about suffering no liquid but water to pass my lips. To confirm the habit, I promised to drink a large quantity every evening; and to keep my word with less violence to my private inclinations, I went to bed with a determined purpose of going to the tavern every day.


I HAD been after dinner to get together my baggage, and take my horse from the inn where I had put up; and afterwards returned to supper at the archbishop's palace, where a neatly furnished room was got ready for me, and such a bed as was more likely to pamper than to mortify the flesh. The day following, his Grace sent for me quite as soon as I was ready to go to him. It was to give me a homily to transcribe. He made a point of having it copied with all possible accuracy. It was done to please him; for I omitted neither accent, nor comma, nor the minutest tittle of all he had marked down. His satisfaction at observing this was heightened by its being unexpected. "Eternal Father!" exclaimed he in a holy rapture, when he had glanced his eye over all the folios of my copy, "was ever anything seen so correct? You are too good a transcriber not to have some little smattering of the grammarian. Now tell me with the freedom of a friend: in writing it over, have you been struck with nothing that grated upon your feelings? Some little careless idiom, or some word used in an improper sense?" "Oh, may it please your Grace," answered I with a modest air, "it is not for me, with my confined education and coarse taste, to aim at making critical remarks. And though ever so well qualified, I am satisfied that your Grace's works would come out pure from the essay." The successor of the Apostles smiled at my auswer. He made no

observation on it; but it was easy to see through all his piety that he was an arrant author at the bottom: there is something in that dye that not heaven itself can wash out.

I seemed to have purchased the fee simple of his good graces by my flattery. Day after day did I get a step farther in his esteem; and Don Ferdinand, who came to see him very often, told me my footing was so firm that there could be no doubt but my fortune was made. Of this my master himself gave me a proof some little time afterwards; and the occasion was as follows: One evening in his closet he rehearsed before me, with appropriate emphasis and action, a homily which he was to deliver the next day in the cathedral. He did not content himself with asking me what I thought of it in the gross, but insisted on my telling him what passages struck me most. I had the good fortune to pick out those which were nearest to his own taste, his favorite commonplaces. Thus, as luck would have it, I passed in his estimation for a man who had a quick and natural relish of the real and less obvious beauties in a work. “This indeed," exclaimed he, "is what you may call having discernment and feeling in perfection! Well, well, my friend! it cannot be said of you,

'Bootum in crasso jurares aëre natum.'"'1

In a word, he was so highly pleased with me as to add in a tone of extraordinary emotion, "Never mind, Gil Blas! henceforward take no care about hereafter: I shall make it my business to place you among the favored children of my bounty. You have my best wishes; and to prove to you that you have them, I shall take you into my inmost confidence."

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These words were no sooner out of his mouth, than I fell at his Grace's feet, quite overwhelmed with gratitude. I embraced his elliptical legs with almost pagan idolatry, and considered myself as a man on the high-road to a very handsome fortune. "Yes, my child," resumed the archbishop, whose speech had been cut short by the rapidity of my prostration, “I mean to make you the receiver-general of all my inmost ruminations. Hearken attentively to what I am going to say. I have a great pleasure in preaching. The Lord sheds a blessing on my homilies; they sink deep into the hearts of sinners; set up a glass in which vice sees its own image, and bring back many from the paths of error into the high-road of repentance. What a heav

1 “You would have sworn he was born in the wit-dulling air of Bœotia.”

enly sight, when a miser, scared at the hideous picture of his avarice drawn by my eloquence, opens his coffers to the poor and needy, and dispenses the accumulated store with a liberal hand! The voluptuary too is snatched from the pleasures of the table; ambition flies at my command to the wholesome discipline of the monastic cell; while female frailty, tottering on the brink of ruin, with one ear open to the siren voice of the seducer and the other to my saintly correctives, is restored to domestic happiness and the approving smile of heaven, by the timely warnings of the pulpit. These miraculous conversions, which happen almost every Sunday, ought of themselves to goad me on in the career of saving souls. Nevertheless, to conceal no part of my weakness from my monitor, there is another reward on which my heart is intent, a reward which the seraphic scrupulousness of my virtue to little purpose condemns as too carnal, a literary reputation for a sublime and elegant style. The honor of being handed down to posterity as a perfect pulpit orator has its irresistible attractions. My compositions are generally thought to be equally powerful and persuasive; but I could wish of all things to steer clear of the rock on which good authors split who are too long before the public, and to retire from professional life with my reputation in undiminished luster. To this end, my dear Gil Blas," continued the prelate, "there is one thing requisite for your zeal and friendship. Whenever it shall strike you that my pen begins to contract, as it were, the ossification of old age, whenever you see my genius in its climacteric, do not fail to give me a hint. There is no trusting to one's self in such a case: pride and conceit were the original sin of man. The probe of criticism must be intrusted to an impartial stand-by, of fine talents and unshaken probity. Both those requisites center in you: you are my choice, and I give myself up to your direction." "Heaven be praised, my lord," said I, "there is no need to trouble yourself with any such thoughts yet. Besides, an understanding of your Grace's mold and caliber will last out double the time of a common genius; or to speak with more certainty and truth, it will never be the worse for wear, if you live to the age of Methusalem. I consider you as a second Cardinal Ximenes, whose powers, superior to decay, instead of flagging with years seemed to derive new vigor from their approximation with the heavenly regions." "No flattery, my friend!" interrupted he. "I know myself to be in danger of

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failing all at once. At my age one begins to be sensible of infirmities, and those of the body communicate with the mind. I repeat it to you, Gil Blas, as soon as you shall be of opinion that my head is not so clear as usual, give me warning of it instantly. Do not be afraid of offending by frankness and sincerity: to put me in mind of my own frailty will be the strongest proof of your affection for me. Besides, your very interest is concerned in it; for if it should, by any spite of chance towards you, come to my ears that the people say in town, 'His Grace's sermons produce no longer their accustomed impression; it is time for him to abandon his pulpit to younger candidates,' -I do assure you, most seriously and solemnly, you will lose not only my friendship, but the provision for life that I have promised you. Such will be the result of your silly tampering with truth."

Here my patron left off to wait for my answer, which was an echo of his speech and a promise of obeying him in all things. From that moment there were no secrets from me; I became the prime favorite. All the household, except Melchior de la Ronda, looked at me with an eye of envy. It was curious to observe the manner in which the whole establishment, from the highest to the lowest, thought it necessary to demean themselves towards his Grace's confidential secretary; there was no meanness to which they would not stoop to curry favor with me: I could scarcely believe they were Spaniards. I left no stone unturned to be of service to them, without being taken in by their interested assiduities. .

Two months after this worthy gentleman had left us, in the luxuriant harvest of my highest favor, a lowering storm came suddenly over the episcopal palace: the archbishop had a stroke of apoplexy. By dint of immediate applications and good nursing, in a few days there was no bodily appearance of disease remaining. But his reverend intellects did not so easily recover from their lethargy. I could not help observing it to myself in the very first discourse that he composed. Yet there was not such a wide gap between the merits of the present and the former ones as to warrant the inference that the sun of oratory was many degrees advanced in its post-meridian course. A second homily was worth waiting for, because that would clearly determine the line of my conduct. Alas, and well-a-day! when that second homily came, it was a knock-down argument. Sometimes the good prelate moved forward, and sometimes he moved

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