CH. V. -- The son of the Genoese is acknowledged by a legal instrument, and named Don Henry Philip de Guzman. Santillane establishes his household, and arranges the course of his studies.
THE act of adoption was soon legalized with the king's consent and good pleasure. Don Henry Philip de Guzman, as this descendant from a committee of fathers was named, became acknowledged successor to the earldom of Olivarez and the duchy of San Lucar. The minister, to give the act all possible publicity, communicated it through Carnero to the ambassadors and grandees of Spain, who were somewhat startled. The jokers of Madrid were not insensible to the ridicule, and the satirical poets made their harvest of so fine a subject for their pen.
I asked my lord duke where my pupil was. Here in town, answered he, with an aunt from whom I shall remove him as soon as you have got a house ready. This I did immediately, and furnished it magnificently. When my establishment was complete in servants and officers, his excellency sent for this equivocal production, this spurious offset from the renowned stock of the Guzmans. The lad was tall and personable. Don Henry, said his lordship, pointing to me, this gentleman is to be your tutor and introduce you into the world; he has my entire confidence, and an unlimited authority over you. After much good advice, and many compliments to me, the minister retired, and I took Don Henry home.
As soon as we got thither, I introduced him to his household, and explained the nature of each individual's employment. He did not seem at all disconcerted at the change of circumstances, but received the obeisances of his dependants as if he had been a lord by nature, and not by chance. He was not without mother-wit, but ignorant in a deplorable degree; he could scarcely read and write. I gave him masters for the Latin grammar, geography, history, and fencing. A dancing-master of course was not forgotten; but in an affair of the first consequence, selection was difficult, for there were more eminent professors of that art in Madrid than of all the languages and sciences put together.
While I was pondering on this difficulty, a man gaudily dressed came into the court-yard and inquired for me. I went down, supposing him to be at least a knight of some military or privileged order. Signor de Santillane, said he, with a profusion of bows which anticipated his line in life, I am come to offer you my services as Don Henry's governor. My name is Martin Ligero, and I have, thank heaven, some reputation in the world. I have no occasion to canvass for scholars; that is all very well for petty dancing-masters! My custom is to wait till I am sent for; but being a sort of appendage to the house of Guzman, and having taught its various branches for a long period, I thought it a point of respect to wait on you first. I perceive, answered I, that you are just the man we want What are your terms? Four double pistoles a month, answered he, and I give but two lessons a week. Four doubloons a month! cried I, that is an exorbitant price. Exorbitant! rejoined he with astonishment; why, it is not more than eight times as much as you would give to a mathematical master or a Greek professor.
There was no resisting so ludicrous a comparison of merit; I laughed out right, and asked Signor Ligero whether he really thought his talents worth more than those of the first proficients in learning and science. Most assuredly, said he; at least, if you measure our pretensions by their respective utility. What sort of machines may those be which are fashioned under their hands? Jointless puppets, unlicked cubs, open-mouthed and impenetrable shell-fish; but our lessons supple and render pliant the intractable stiffness of their component parts, and bring them insensibly into shape: in short, we communicate to them a graceful motion, a polite address, the carriage of good company, and the outward marks of elevated rank.
I could not but give way to such cogent arguments in favour of the dancing-master's occupation, and engaged him about Dun Henry's person without haggling as to terms, since those specified were only at the rate established by the leading professors of the art.