The ADVENTURES of ALPHONSO and MARINA;
an interesting spanish tale.
by Jean-Pierre Claris
Marina, at seventeen, was the most admired beauty
in Granada. She was an orphan, and heiress to an immense
fortune, under the guardianship of an old and avaricious
uncle, whose name was Alonzo, and who passed his days
in counting ducats, and his nights in silencing serenades,
nocturnally addressed to Marina. His design was to marry
her, for the sake of her great fortune, to his own son,
Henriquez, who had studied ten years in the university of
Salamanca, and was now able to explain Cornelius Nepos
Almost all the cavaliers of Granada were in love with
Marina. As they could obtain a sight of her only at mass,
the church she frequented was filled with great numbers
of the handsomest and most accomplished youths of the
One of the most distinguished among these, was Don
Alphonso, a captain of cavalry, about twenty, not very
rich, but of a family of the first distinction. Handsome,
polite, and witty, he attracted the eyes of all the ladies of
Granada; though he himself paid attention to none but
Marina, who, not insensible to his attachment, began, on
her part, to take notice of her admirer.
Two months passed away without the lovers daring to
speak; nevertheless, they silently said much. At the end
of that time Don Alphonso found means to convey a letter
to his mistress; which informed her of what she knew before.
The reserved Marina had no sooner read this letter
than she sent it back to Don Alphonso; but, as she possessed
an excellent memory, she retained every word, and
was able to return a very punctual answer, a week afterwards.
A correspondence was now settled between the two
lovers; but Don Alphonso was desirous to be still more
intimate. He had long solicited permission to converse
with Marina through her lattices. Such is the custom in
Spain, where the windows are of much more use during
the night than in the day. They are the places of rendezvous.
When the street is vacant and still, the lover wraps
himself up in his cloak, and, taking his sword, invokes
love and night to favour him, and proceeds to some low
lattice, grated on the side next the street, and secured on
the inside by shutters.
He waits not long before the window opens softly, and
the charming maid appears. She asks, in a tremulous voice,
if any one is there. Her lover, transported at her condescension,
endeavours to dispel her fears. They talk in a
whisper, and repeat the same thing a hundred times. Day,
at length, approaches, and they must separate.
Marina's lattice was on the ground floor, and opened into
a narrow passage, where the houses were ill built, and only
inhabited by the lower class of people. Don Alphonso's
old nurse happened to occupy a tenement directly opposite
the window of Marina. Don Alphonso, therefore repaired
to his nurse. 'My good woman,' said he, 'I have been
much to blame to suffer you to live so long in this miserable
habitation; but I am now determined to make you amends,
by giving you an apartment in my own house. Come, and
reside in that, and leave me to dispose of this.'
The worthy woman could not refrain from tears, and,
for a long time, refused; but, at last, overcome by his
solicitations, she consented to the exchange, with every
expression of gratitude to her benefactor.
Never did any monarch enter his palace with more satisfaction
than Don Alphonso did the hovel of his nurse.
Early in the evening Marina appeared at her lattice. She
promised to repair thither every other night, and she kept
her word. These delightful interviews served only to fan
the flame of love; and, very soon, the lovers nights were
constantly passed in pleasing conversation, and their days in
writing passionate epistles.
Just at this time, Henriquez, the intended husband of
Marina, arrived from Salamanca; bringing with him a declaration
of his passion in Latin, which had been written
for him by the head of his college.
The lovers consulted each other on this event at the lattice;
but, in the mean time, the old guardian had drawn
up a contract of marriage, and a day was fixed on for the
celebration of the nuptials of Marina and Henriquez.
In these circumstances, the only remedy was to fly into
Portugal. This was determined; and it was also settled that
the two lovers, on arriving at Lisbon, should first marry,
and afterwards have recourse to the law, against the guardian.
Marina was to carry with her a box of jewels, which had
been left her by her mother. These were very valuable,
and sufficient to maintain the happy pair till the decision of
their law-suit. To effect this escape, it was necessary to
procure the key of the lattice, and in this Marina succeeded.
It was resolved also, that the next night, at eleven, Don
Alphonso, after having appointed horses to wait without
the city, should come and fetch Marina; who should descend
from the window, into the arms of her lover, and
immediately set off for Portugal.
Don Alphonso spent the whole day in preparations for
his departure. Marina, on her part, was equally busy, in
getting ready the little box she was to take with her. She
was very careful to secret in it a very fine emerald, which
had been given her by her lover.
Marina and her box were ready by eight in the evening;
and, before ten, Don Alphonso, who had already provided
carriages on the road to Andalusia, arrived at the appointed
spot: his heart beating with perturbation and hope.
As he approached the place, he heard persons calling for
assistance, and perceived two men attacked by five armed
assassins. The brave and humane Alphonso forgot his own
affairs to defend the lives of the assaulted. He wounded
two, and put the other three to flight.
What was his surprise, on more attentively viewing the
persons he had delivered, to perceive they were no other
than Henriquez, and Alonzo, the guardian of Marina.
Some desperate young cavalier of the city, who was in
love with Marina, knowing it was intended that Henriquez
should espouse her, had hired bravoes, to assassinate them;
and, had it not been for the valour of Don Alphonso, the
young scholar and the old miser would have found it no
easy matter to escape.
Alphonso did his utmost to avoid their grateful acknowledgments,
but Henriquez, who piqued himself on having
learned politeness at Salamanca, swore he should not leave
them that night. Alphonso, in despair, had already heard
the clock strike eleven. Alas! he knew not the misfortune
that had happened.
One of the bravoes, whom he had put to flight, had passed
muffled up in his cloak, near the lattice of Marina.
The night was extremely dark, and the unfortunate beauty,
having opened the window, imagined him to be Don
Alphonso, and presented him the box with joyful impatience:
'Take our diamonds,' said she, 'while I descend.'
At the word diamonds, the bravo suddenly stopped, took
the box, without speaking a word, and, while Marina was
getting out of the window, fled with the utmost precipitation.
Imagine the surprise of Marina, when she found herself
alone in the street, and saw nothing of him whom she had
taken for Don Alphonso. She thought, at first, he had
left her, to avoid raising suspicion or alarm. She, therefore,
hastily walked to a little distance, looked round on
every side, and called in a low voice. But no Alphonso
could she see; no lover could she hear.
She was now seized with the most alarming apprehensions.
She knew not whether it were most advisable to return
home, or endeavour to find the horses and attendants of
Don Alphonso, that were waiting without the city. She
continued to walk forwards, in the utmost uncertainty and
distress, till she had lost herself in the streets; while her
fears were augmented by the darkness and silence of the
At length she met a person, whom she asked if she were
far from the gate of the city. The stranger conducted her
thither; but she found nobody waiting as she expected.
She dared not yet accuse her lover of deceiving her: still
she hoped he was at no great distance. She proceeded,
therefore, along the road, fearful of every bush, and calling
Don Alphonso at every step; but the farther she walked
the more she was bewildered; for she had come out of the
city on the side opposite to the Portugal road.
In the mean time Don Alphonso found himself unable to
get away from the grateful Henriquez and his father. They
would not suffer him to leave them for a moment, but
obliged him to enter the house with them; to which Alphonso,
fearful of betraying his intent, and frustrating his
dearest hopes; and imagining too that Marina might be
soon acquainted with the reason of his delay, most reluctantly
Alonzo hastens to the chamber of his ward, to inform
her of the danger he had escaped. He calls, but receives
no answer; he enters her apartment, and finds the lattice
open; his cries collect the servants, and the alarm is immediately
given, that Marina is missing.
Alphonso, in despair, immediately offered to go in quest
of her. Henriquez, thanking him for the concern he expressed,
declared his resolution to accompany him. Alphonso
suggested, that the probability of finding her would
be greater, if they took different roads. Accordingly, he
hastened to rejoin his domestics: and not doubting but
Marina had taken the road to Portugal, put his horses at
full speed. But their swiftness only removed him farther
from the object of his love; while Henriquez galloped
towards the Alpuxarian mountains, the way which Marina
had actually taken.
In the mean time, Marina continued to wander, disconsolate,
along the road that led to the Alpuxares. Presently
she heard the clattering noise of approaching horses; and
at first, imagined it might be her beloved Alphonso: but,
afterward, fearful of discovery, or apprehensive of robbers,
she concealed herself, trembling, behind some bushes.
Here she presently saw Henriquez pass by, followed by
a number of servants. Shuddering at the danger of being
again in the power of Alonzo, if she continued in the
high road, she turned aside, and took refuge in a thick
The Alpuxares are a chain of mountains, which extend
from Granada to the Mediterranean. They are inhabited
only by a few peasants. To these, fear and terror conducted
the unfortunate maid. A dry and stony soil, with a few
oak trees, thinly scattered: some torrents and echoing
cataracts, and a number of wild goats, leaping from precipice
to precipice; are the only objects which present themselves
at day-break to the eyes of Marina. Exhausted, at
length, by fatigue and vexation, she sat down in the cavity
of a rock, through the
of which a water
The silence of this grotto, the wildness of the landscape
around, the hoarse and distant murmur of several cascades,
and the noise of the water near her, falling drop by drop
into the bason it had hollowed beneath, all conspired to
excite in Marina the most melancholy sensations. Now she
thought herself cruelly abandoned by her lover; and now
she persuaded herself that some mistake had happened: 'It
certainly could not be Alphonso,' said she, 'to whom I
gave my diamonds. I must have been mistaken. No doubt
he is now far hence, seeking me with anxiety and distraction;
while I, as far distant from him, am perishing here.'
While thus mournfully ruminating, Marina, on a sudden,
heard the sound of a rustic flute. Attentively listening,
she soon heard an harmonious voice, deploring, in plaintive
strains, the infidelity of his mistress, and the miseries
of disappointed love.
'And who can be more sensible of this than myself?'
said Marina, leaving the grotto, in search of this unfortunate
She found a young goatherd, sitting at the foot of a willow,
his eyes bedewed with tears, and intent on the water
as it issued from its rocky source. In his hand he held a
, and by his side lay a staff and a little parcel.
'Shepherd,' said Marina, 'you are no doubt forsaken
by your Mistress: have pity on one abandoned, like yourself,
and conduct me to some habitation, where I may procure
sustenance, at least, though not repose!'
'Alas! Madam,' answered the goatherd, 'I wish it
were in my power to conduct you to the village of Gadara,
behind these rocks: but you will not ask me to return thither,
when you are informed that my mistress is this day to
be married to my rival. I am going to leave these mountains,
never to behold them more; and I carry nothing with
me but my flute, a change of dress, which I have in this
parcel, and the memory of the happiness which I have
This short account suggested a new project to Marina.
'My friend,' said she to the goatherd 'you have no
money, which you will certainly want, when you have left
this country. I have a few ducats, which I will divide
with you, if you let me have the dress in your parcel.'
The goatherd accepted the offer. Marina gave him a
dozen ducats, and, having learned the road to Gadara, took
her leave of the despairing lover, and returned into the
grotto to put on her disguise.
She came out habited in a vest of chamois skin, with a
shepherd's wallet hanging by her side, and, on her head, a
hat ornamented with ribbands. In this attire she appeared
yet more beautiful than when adorned with brocades and
jewels. She took the road to the village, and, stopping in
the market-place, enquired of the peasants, if they knew
of any farmer who wanted a servant.
The inhabitants surround her, and survey the stranger
with admiration. The girls express their surprise at the
beauty of her flowing ringlets. Her elegant form, her
graceful manner, the brilliancy of her eyes, even though
dejected, their superior intelligence and mild benignity,
astonish and delight all beholders. No one could conceive
from whence came this beautiful youth. One imagines him
a person of high distinction in disguise; another, a prince
in love with some shepherdess; while the schoolmaster, who
was at the same time the poet of the village, declared it
must be Apollo, sent down, a second time, to keep sheep
Marina, who assumed the name of Marcello, was not
long in want of a master. She was hired by an aged alcaid,
or judge of the village, esteemed one of the worthiest men
in the whole province.
This honest countryman soon contracted the warmest
friendship for Marina. He scarcely suffered her to tend
his flock for a month before he gave her an employment
within his house, in which the pretended Marcello behaved
with so much propriety and fidelity, that he was equally
beloved by his master, and the servants.
Before he had lived here six months, the alcaid, who was
more than eighty, left the management of all his affairs to
Marcello: he even asked his opinion in all the causes that
came before him, and never had any alcaid decided with so
much justice as he, from the time he permitted himself to
be guided by the advice of Marcello, who was proposed as
an example to all the village: his affability, his pleasing
manner, and his good sense, gained every heart. 'See the
excellent Marcello,' cried the mothers to their sons, 'he is
perpetually employed in rendering his old master's age
happy, and never neglects his duty, to run after the shepherdesses!'
Two years passed away in this manner. Marina, whose
thoughts were continually employed on her lover, had sent
a shepherd, in whom she could confide, to Granada, to
procure information concerning Don Alphonso, Alonzo,
and Henriquez. The shepherd brought word back, that
Alonzo was dead, Henriquez married; and that Alphonso
had not been seen or heard of for two years.
Marina now lost all hope of again beholding her lover,
and, happy in being able to pass her days in that village, in
the bosom of peace and friendship, had resolved to bid an
eternal adieu to love, when the old alcaid, her master, fell
dangerously ill. Marcello attended his last moments with
all the affection of a son, and the good old man behaved to
him like a grateful father: he died and left all he possessed
to the faithful Marcello. But his will was far from being
a consolation to his heir.
The whole village lamented the alcaid, and, after his
funeral rites were celebrated, the inhabitants assembled to
choose a successor. In Spain certain villages have the right
of nominating their own alcaid, whose office it is to decide
their differences, and take cognizance of greater crimes by
arresting and examining the offenders, and delivering them
over to the superior judges, who generally confirm the sentence
of those rustic magistrates; for good laws are always
perfectly consonant to simple reason.
The assembled villagers unanimously agreed, that no one
could be so proper to succeed the late alcaid as the youth
whom he seemed to have designed for his successor. The
old men, therefore, followed by their sons, came with the
usual ceremonies to offer Marina the wand, the ensign of
the office. Marina accepted, and sensibly touched by such
a proof of esteem and affection from these good people, resolved
to consecrate to their happiness a life which she had
formerly intended to dedicate to love.
While the new alcaid is engaged with the duties of her
office, let us return to the unfortunate Don Alphonso, whom
we left galloping towards Portugal, and continually removing
farther from the beloved object of his pursuit.
Don Alphonso arrived at Lisbon, without obtaining any
intelligence of Marina, and immediately returned, by the
same road, to search every place he had before in vain examined;
again he returned to Lisbon, but without success.
After six months ineffectual enquiry, being convinced
that Marina had never returned to Granada, he imagined
she might perhaps be at Seville, where, he knew, she had
relations. He immediately hastened to Seville, and there
found that Marina's relations had just embarked for Mexico.
Don Alphonso no longer doubted that his mistress was
gone with them, and directly went on board the last ship
which remained to sail. He arrived at Mexico, where he
found the relations, but alas! no Marina: they had heard
nothing of her: he, therefore, returned to Spain. And
now the ship is attacked by a violent storm, and cast away
on the coast of Granada; he, and a few of the passengers,
save themselves by swimming; they land, and make their
way to the mountains, to procure assistance, and, by accident
or love, are conducted to Gadara.
Don Alphonso and his unfortunate companions, took
refuge in the first inn, congratulating each other on the
danger they had escaped. While they were discoursing on
their adventures, one of the passengers began to quarrel
with a soldier, concerning a box, which the passenger
asserted belonged to him.
Don Alphonso desirous to put an end to the contention,
obliged the passenger to declare what it contained, opening
it, at the same time, to discover whether he spoke truth.
How great was his surprise to find in it the jewels of
Marina, and, among them the very emerald he had given
her. For a moment he stood motionless, examining attentively
the casket, and fixing his eyes, sparkling with rage,
on the claimant, 'how came you by these jewels?' said he,
with a terrible voice.
'What does it signify,' replied the passenger, haughtily,
'how I came by them? It is sufficient that they are mine.'
He then endeavoured to snatch the casket from Don
Alphonso; but the latter, pushing him back, instantly drew
his sword, and exclaiming, 'Wretch, confess your crime,
or you die this moment,' attacked him with great fury: his
antagonist defended himself desperately, but presently received
a mortal wound, and fell.
Don Alphonso was immediately surrounded by the people
of the house. They take him to prison, and the master
of the inn sends his wife to fetch the clergyman of the
parish, that he may administer spiritual comfort to the dying
man, while he runs himself, to the alcaid to carry the casket,
and inform him of the whole adventure.
How great was the surprise, the joy, and the anxiety of
Marina on perceiving her diamonds, and hearing the behaviour
of the noble stranger!
She immediately hastened to the inn: the minister was
already there; and the dying man, induced by his exhortations,
declared, in presence of the alcaid, that, two years
before, as he was one night passing through a street in Granada,
a lady had given him that box, through a lattice, desiring
him to hold it till she came down, but that he immediately
made off with the jewels; for which theft he asked
pardon of God, and of the unknown lady he had injured.
He immediately expired, and Marina hastened to the
Imagine the palpitations of her heart: she could no
longer doubt but she should again see Don Alphonso, but
she was apprehensive of being known by him: she therefore
pulled her hat over her eyes, wrapped herself up in
her cloak, and, preceded by her clerk and the gaoler, entered
No sooner had she come to the bottom of the stairs than
she perceived Don Alphonso. Her joy almost deprived her
of speech; she leaned against the wall, her head sunk on
her shoulder, and the tears bedewed her cheeks. She wiped
them away, stopped a moment to take breath, and, endeavouring
to speak with firmness, approached the prisoner.
'Stranger,' said she, disguising her voice, 'you have killed
your companion. What could induce you to commit
such a horrid crime?'
'Alcaid,' answered Don Alphonso, 'I have committed
no crime; it was an act of justice; but I am desirous to die.
Death alone can end the miseries, of which the wretch I
have sacrificed was the first cause. Condemn me. I wish
not to make a defence. Deliver me from a life which is
hateful to me, since I have lost what alone could render it
delightful; since I can no longer hope ever to find'——
He was scarce able to conclude, and his voice faintly expressed
the name of Marina.
Marina trembled on hearing him pronounce her name.
She could scarcely conceal her transports, but was ready to
throw herself into the arms of her lover. The presence,
however, of so many witnesses restrained her. She, therefore,
turned away her eyes, and faintly requested to be left
alone with the prisoner. She was obeyed.
Giving a free course to her tears she advanced towards
Don Alphonso, and offering him her hand, said to him, in
a most affectionate tone, 'Do you then still love her who
lives for you alone?'
At these words, at this voice, Alphonso lifts his head,
unable to believe his eyes. 'Oh Heavens! Is it—is it my
Marina! Or is it some angelic being assuming her form?
Yes, it is my Marina herself, I can no longer doubt it,'
cried he, clamping her in his arms, and bathing her with his
tears. 'It is my love, my life, and all my woes are
'No,' said Marina, as soon as she could recover speech,
'you are guilty of bloodshed, and I cannot free you from
your fetters; but I will repair to-morrow to the superior
judge, will inform him of the secret of my birth, relate to
him our misfortunes, and, if he refuses me your liberty, will
return and end my days with you in this prison.'
Marcello immediately gave orders for the removal of Alphonso
from the dungeon into a less hideous place of security.
He took care that he should want for nothing, and
returned home to prepare for his journey, the next day,
when a most alarming event prevented his departure, and
hastened the delivery of Don Alphonso.
Some Algerine galleys, which had for several days pursued
the ship on board which Don Alphonso was, had arrived on
the coast, some time after the shipwreck; and willing to
repay themselves for the trouble they had taken, had determined
to land, during the night. Two renegadoes, who
knew the country, undertook to conduct the barbarians to
the village of Gadara, and fulfilled their promise but too
About one in the morning, when labour enjoys repose,
and villainy wakes to remorse, the dreadful cry to arms! to
arms! was heard.
The Corsairs had landed, and were burning and slaughtering
all before them. The darkness of the night, the groans
of the dying, and the shrieks of the inhabitants, filled every
heart with consternation. The trembling wives caught their
husbands in their arms; and the old men sought succour
from their sons. In a moment the village was in flames, the
light of which discovered the gory scymitars and white turbans
of the Moors.
Those barbarians, the flambeau in one hand, and the
hatchet in the other, were breaking and burning the doors
of the houses; making their way through the smoaking ruins,
to seek for victims or for plunder, and returning covered
with blood, and loaded with booty.
Here they rush into the chamber, to which two lovers,
the bride and bridegroom of the day, had been conducted
by their mother. Each on their knees, side by side, was
pouring forth thanks to heaven, for having crowned their
faithful wishes. An unfeeling wretch, remorseless, seizes
the terrified bride; loads her unhappy lover, whom in cruelty
he spares, with chains; and snatches before his face, in
spite of his distraction, his tears, prayers, and exclamations,
that prize which was due to him alone.
There they take the sleeping infant from its cradle. The
mother, frantic, defends it, singly, against an host. Nothing
can repel, nothing can terrify her. Death she braves
and provokes. For her child she supplicates, threatens, and
combats; while the tender infant, already seized by these
tigers, starts, wakes, stares, with the wild agony of terror,
on the grim visage of its murderer, and sinks into convulsive
horror and sleep, from which it wakes no more.
Nothing is held sacred by these monsters. They force
their way into the temples of the Most High, break the
shrines, strip off the gold, and trample the holy relics under
foot. Alas! of what avail to the priests is their sacred
character? to the aged their grey hairs? to youth its graces,
or to infancy its innocence? Slavery, fire, devastation, and
death are every where, and compassion is fled.
On the first alarm the Alcaid made all haste to the prison
to inform Don Alphonso of the danger. The brave Alphonso
demanded a sword for himself and a buckler for the
Alcaid. He takes Marina by the hand, and making his way
to the market-place, thus accosts the fugitives: 'My friends,
are ye Spaniards, and do ye abandon your wives and children
to the fury of the infidels?'
He stops, he rallies them, inspires them with his own
valor, and, more than human, (for he is a lover, and a hero)
rushes, sabre in hand, on a party of the Moors, whom he
instantly disperses. The inhabitants recover their recollection
and their courage; enraged, behold their slaughtered
friends; and hasten in crowds to join their leader.
Alphonso, without quitting Marina, and ever solicitous
to expose his life in her defence, attacks the barbarians at
the head of his brave Spaniards, and dealing destruction to
all who make resistance, drives the fugitives before him,
retakes the plunder and the prisoners, and only quits the
pursuit of the enemy to return and extinguish the flames.
The day began to break, when a body of troops, who had
received information of the descent of the infidels, arrived
from a neighbouring town. The governor had put himself
at their head and found Don Alphonso surrounded by women,
children, and old men; who, weeping, kissed his
hands, with unfeigned gratitude, for having preserved their
husbands, their fathers, or their sons.
The governor, informed of the exploits of Don Alphonso,
loaded him with praises and caresses; but Marina, requesting
to be heard, declared to the governor in presence of the
whole village, her sex; giving, at the same time, a relation
of her adventures, the death of the bravo by Don Alphonso,
and the circumstances which rendered him excusable.
All the inhabitants, greatly affected with her story, fell at
the feet of the governor, intreating pardon for the man to
whom they were indebted for their preservation. Their
request was granted, and the happy Alphonso, thus restored
to his dear Marina, embraced the governor, and blessed the
good inhabitants. One of the old men then advanced:
'Brave stranger,' said he, 'you are our deliverer, but you take
from us our Alcaid; this loss perhaps outweighs your benefit.
Double our blessings; instead of depriving us of our
greatest, remain in this village; condescend to become our
Alcaid, our master, our friend. Honour us so far, as to
permit nothing to abate our love for you. In a great city,
the cowardly and the wicked, who maintain the same rank
with yourself, will think themselves your equals; while,
here, every virtuous inhabitant will look on you as his
father; next to the Deity himself, you will receive, from
us, the highest honour; and, while life remains, on the
anniversary of this day, the fathers of our families will present
their children before you, saying, 'behold the man who
preserved the lives of your mothers.'
Alphonso was enchanted while he listened to the old man.
'Yes,' cried he, 'my children, yes, my brethren, I will
remain here. My life shall be devoted to Marina and to
you. But my wife has considerable possessions in Granada.
Our excellent governor will add his interest to ours that we
may recover them, and they shall be employed to rebuild the
houses which the Infidels have burnt. On this condition
alone, will I accept the office of Alcaid; and though I
should expend in your service, both my riches and my life,
I should still be your debtor; for it is you who have restored
to me my Marina!'
Imagine the transports of the villagers while Alphonso
spoke. The governor was a person of power, and undertook
to arrange every thing to his wish; and, two days afterwards,
the marriage was celebrated between Marina and her lover.
Notwithstanding their late misfortunes, nothing could
exceed the joy of the inhabitants. The two lovers long
lived in unexampled felicity; and made the whole district
as virtuous and happy as themselves.