Camila, Anselmo, Lothario and the Bold Servant-Girl Leonela (A Fable from DON QUIJOTE, by Miguel Cervantes)

Self is currently on Volume 1, Chapter 34 of Don Quijote (the translation by Burton Raffel):

It so happened that a very stupid man named Anselmo wanted to test his wife Camila’s modesty and virtue by asking his friend (Lothario) to woo her and see if she would submit to temptation.

So Lothario did woo Camila, and she did fall in love with him, and then she had second thoughts, wondering if perhaps she hadn’t submitted too quickly, but her maid Leonela hastens to assure Her Ladyship:

” . . .  don’t let all these misgivings and finicky notions trouble your mind, but be confident that Lothario values you as you value him, and be happy and well satisfied that, having been caught in love’s noose, it’s one distinctly worthy of having snared you.  Not only do you have the four S’s that all good lovers are supposed to have (solo, solicito, sabio, secreto:  “unattached, attentive, sensible, secret”), but you have a whole alphabet:  just listen, and you’ll see how I can recite it by heart.  Your lover —  as far as I can tell — is

Grateful (Agadecido)
Good (Bueno)
A Gentleman (Caballero)
Generous (Dadivoso)
In Love (Enamorado)
Steadfast (Firme)
Gallant (Gallardo)
Honest (Honrado)
Distinguished (Ilustre)
Loyal (Leal)
Young (Mozo)
Noble (Noble)
Modest (Onesto)
Renowned (Principal)
Solid (Quantioso)
Rich (Rico)
— and all the S’s I’ve said already — and then
Close-mouthed (Tacito)
True (Verdadero)
— and X isn’t right for him, because it’s a harsh letter —
— and we’ve already said Y (that is, I)
and Z, Zealous for your honor (Zelador)

What a very astute servant girl Leonela is! Knows just the right words to calm her Mistress’s fears. And so learned: look how quickly she came up with that Abecedario (ABC)!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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