"I was born," he said, "at Elizondo, in the valley of Baztan. My name is Do_ose Lizzarrabengoa, and you know enough of Spain, sir, to know at once, by m_ame, that I come of an old Christian and Basque stock. I call myself Don, because I have a right to it, and if I were at Elizondo I could show you m_archment genealogy. My family wanted me to go into the church, and made m_tudy for it, but I did not like work. I was too fond of playing tennis, an_hat was my ruin. When we Navarrese begin to play tennis, we forget everythin_lse. One day, when I had won the game, a young fellow from Alava picked _uarrel with me. We took to our _maquilas_ ,[](footnotes.xml#footnote_7) and I won again. But I had to leave the neighbourhood. I fell in with som_ragoons, and enlisted in the Almanza Cavalry Regiment. Mountain folks like u_oon learn to be soldiers. Before long I was a corporal, and I had been told _hould soon be made a sergeant, when, to my misfortune, I was put on guard a_he Seville Tobacco Factory. If you have been to Seville you have seen th_reat building, just outside the ramparts, close to the Guadalquivir; I ca_ancy I see the entrance, and the guard room just beside it, even now. Whe_panish soldiers are on duty, they either play cards or go to sleep. I, lik_n honest Navarrese, always tried to keep myself busy. I was making a chain t_old my priming-pin, out of a bit of wire: all at once, my comrades said,
'there's the bell ringing, the girls are coming back to work.' You must know, sir, that there are quite four or five hundred women employed in the factory.
They roll the cigars in a great room into which no man can go without a permi_rom the _Veintiquatro_ ,[](footnotes.xml#footnote_8) because when th_eather is hot they make themselves at home, especially the young ones. Whe_he work-girls come back after their dinner, numbers of young men go down t_ee them pass by, and talk all sorts of nonsense to them. Very few of thos_oung ladies will refuse a silk mantilla, and men who care for that sort o_port have nothing to do but bend down and pick their fish up. While th_thers watched the girls go by, I stayed on my bench near the door. I was _oung fellow then—my heart was still in my own country, and I didn't believ_n any pretty girls who hadn't blue skirts and long plaits of hair falling o_heir shoulders.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_9) And besides, I was rathe_fraid of the Andalusian women. I had not got used to their ways yet; the_ere always jeering one—never spoke a single word of sense. So I was sittin_ith my nose down upon my chain, when I heard some bystanders say, 'Here come_he _gitanella_!' Then I lifted up my eyes, and I saw her! It was that ver_armen you know, and in whose rooms I met you a few months ago.
"She was wearing a very short skirt, below which her white silk stockings—wit_ore than one hole in them—and her dainty red morocco shoes, fastened wit_lame-coloured ribbons, were clearly seen. She had thrown her mantilla back, to show her shoulders, and a great bunch of acacia that was thrust into he_hemise. She had another acacia blossom in the corner of her mouth, and sh_alked along, swaying her hips, like a filly from the Cordova stud farm. In m_ountry anybody who had seen a woman dressed in that fashion would hav_rossed himself. At Seville every man paid her some bold compliment on he_ppearance. She had an answer for each and all, with her hand on her hip, a_old as the thorough gipsy she was. At first I didn't like her looks, and _ell to my work again. But she, like all women and cats, who won't come if yo_all them, and do come if you don't call them, stopped short in front of me, and spoke to me.
"' _Compadre_ ,' said she, in the Andalusian fashion, 'won't you give me you_hain for the keys of my strong box?'
"'It's for my priming-pin,' said I.
"'Your priming-pin!' she cried, with a laugh. 'Oho! I suppose the gentlema_akes lace, as he wants pins!'
"Everybody began to laugh, and I felt myself getting red in the face, an_ouldn't hit on anything in answer.
"'Come, my love!' she began again, 'make me seven ells of lace for m_antilla, my pet pin-maker!'
"And taking the acacia blossom out of her mouth she flipped it at me with he_humb so that it hit me just between the eyes. I tell you, sir, I felt as if _ullet had struck me. I didn't know which way to look. I sat stock-still, lik_ wooden board. When she had gone into the factory, I saw the acacia blossom, which had fallen on the ground between my feet. I don't know what made me d_t, but I picked it up, unseen by any of my comrades, and put it carefull_nside my jacket. That was my first folly.
"Two or three hours later I was still thinking about her, when a panting, terrified-looking porter rushed into the guard-room. He told us a woman ha_een stabbed in the great cigar-room, and that the guard must be sent in a_nce. The sergeant told me to take two men, and go and see to it. I took m_wo men and went upstairs. Imagine, sir, that when I got into the room, _ound, to begin with, some three hundred women, stripped to their shifts, o_ery near it, all of them screaming and yelling and gesticulating, and makin_uch a row that you couldn't have heard God's own thunder. On one side of th_oom one of the women was lying on the broad of her back, streaming wit_lood, with an X newly cut on her face by two strokes of a knife. Opposite th_ounded woman, whom the best-natured of the band were attending, I saw Carmen, held by five or six of her comrades. The wounded woman was crying out, '_onfessor, a confessor! I'm killed!' Carmen said nothing at all. She clinche_er teeth and rolled her eyes like a chameleon. 'What's this?' I asked. I ha_ard work to find out what had happened, for all the work-girls talked a_nce. It appeared that the injured girl had boasted she had money enough i_er pocket to buy a donkey at the Triana Market. 'Why,' said Carmen, who had _ongue of her own, 'can't you do with a broom?' Stung by this taunt, it may b_ecause she felt herself rather unsound in that particular, the other gir_eplied that she knew nothing about brooms, seeing she had not the honour o_eing either a gipsy or one of the devil's godchildren, but that the Senorit_armen would shortly make acquaintance with her donkey, when the _Corregidor_ook her out riding with two lackeys behind her to keep the flies off. 'Well,'
retorted Carmen, 'I'll make troughs for the flies to drink out of on you_heeks, and I'll paint a draught-board o_hem!'[](footnotes.xml#footnote_10) And thereupon, slap, bank! She bega_aking St. Andrew's crosses on the girl's face with a knife she had been usin_or cutting off the ends of the cigars.
"The case was quite clear. I took hold of Carmen's arm. 'Sister mine,' I sai_ivilly, 'you must come with me.' She shot a glance of recognition at me, bu_he said, with a resigned look: 'Let's be off. Where is my mantilla?' She pu_t over her head so that only one of her great eyes was to be seen, an_ollowed my two men, as quiet as a lamb. When we got to the guardroom th_ergeant said it was a serious job, and he must send her to prison. I was tol_ff again to take her there. I put her between two dragoons, as a corpora_oes on such occasions. We started off for the town. The gipsy had begun b_olding her tongue. But when we got to the _Calle de la Serpiente_ —you kno_t, and that it earns its name by its many windings—she began by dropping he_antilla on to her shoulders, so as to show me her coaxing little face, an_urning round to me as well as she could, she said:
"' _Oficial mio_ , where are you taking me to?'
"'To prison, my poor child,' I replied, as gently as I could, just as an_ind-hearted soldier is bound to speak to a prisoner, and especially to _oman.
"'Alack! What will become of me! Senor Oficial, have pity on me! You are s_oung, so good-looking.' Then, in a lower tone, she said, 'Let me get away, and I'll give you a bit of the _bar lachi_ , that will make every woman fal_n love with you!'
"The _bar lachi_ , sir, is the loadstone, with which the gipsies declare on_ho knows how to use it can cast any number of spells. If you can make a woma_rink a little scrap of it, powdered, in a glass of white wine, she'll neve_e able to resist you. I answered, as gravely as I could:
"'We are not here to talk nonsense. You'll have to go to prison. Those are m_rders, and there's no help for it!'
"We men from the Basque country have an accent which all Spaniards easil_ecognise; on the other hand, not one of them can ever learn to say _Bai, jaona_![](footnotes.xml#footnote_11)
"So Carmen easily guessed I was from the Provinces. You know, sir, that th_ipsies, who belong to no particular country, and are always moving about, speak every language, and most of them are quite at home in Portugal, i_rance, in our Provinces, in Catalonia, or anywhere else. They can even mak_hemselves understood by Moors and English people. Carmen knew Basqu_olerably well.
"' _Laguna ene bihotsarena_ , comrade of my heart,' said she suddenly. 'Do yo_elong to our country?'
"Our language is so beautiful, sir, that when we hear it in a foreign countr_t makes us quiver. I wish," added the bandit in a lower tone, "I could have _onfessor from my own country."
After a silence, he began again.
"'I belong to Elizondo,' I answered in Basque, very much affected by the soun_f my own language.
"'I come from Etchalar,' said she (that's a district about four hours' journe_rom my home). 'I was carried off to Seville by the gipsies. I was working i_he factory to earn enough money to take me back to Navarre, to my poor ol_other, who has no support in the world but me, besides her littl_barratcea_[](footnotes.xml#footnote_12) with twenty cider-apple trees i_t. Ah! if I were only back in my own country, looking up at the whit_ountains! I have been insulted here, because I don't belong to this land o_ogues and sellers of rotten oranges; and those hussies are all bande_ogether against me, because I told them that not all their Seville _jacques_ ,[](footnotes.xml#footnote_13) and all their knives, would frighten a_onest lad from our country, with his blue cap and his _maquila_! Goo_omrade, won't you do anything to help your own countrywoman?'
"She was lying then, sir, as she has always lied. I don't know that that gir_ver spoke a word of truth in her life, but when she did speak, I believe_er—I couldn't help myself. She mangled her Basque words, and I believed sh_ame from Navarre. But her eyes and her mouth and her skin were enough t_rove she was a gipsy. I was mad, I paid no more attention to anything, _hought to myself that if the Spaniards had dared to speak evil of my country, I would have slashed their faces just as she had slashed her comrade's. I_hort, I was like a drunken man, I was beginning to say foolish things, and _as very near doing them.
"'If I were to give you a push and you tumbled down, good fellow-countryman,'
she began again in Basque, 'those two Castilian recruits wouldn't be able t_eep me back.'
"Faith, I forgot my orders, I forgot everything, and I said to her, 'Well, then, my friend, girl of my country, try it, and may our Lady of the Mountai_elp you through.'
"Just at that moment we were passing one of the many narrow lanes one sees i_eville. All at once Carmen turned and struck me in the chest with her fist. _umbled backward, purposely. With a bound she sprang over me, and ran off, showing us a pair of legs! People talk about a pair of Basque legs! but her_ere far better—as fleet as they were well-turned. As for me, I picked mysel_p at once, but I stuck out my lance[](footnotes.xml#footnote_14) crossways and barred the street, so that my comrades were checked at the ver_irst moment of pursuit. Then I started to run myself, and they after me—bu_ow were we to catch her? There was no fear of that, what with our spurs, ou_words, and our lances.
"In less time than I have taken to tell you the story the prisoner ha_isappeared. And besides, every gossip in the quarter covered her flight, poked scorn at us, and pointed us in the wrong direction. After a good deal o_arching and countermarching, we had to go back to the guard-room without _eceipt from the governor of the jail.
"To avoid punishment, my men made known that Carmen had spoken to me i_asque; and to tell the truth, it did not seem very natural that a blow fro_uch a little creature should have so easily overthrown a strong fellow lik_e. The whole thing looked suspicious, or, at all events, not over-clear. Whe_ came off guard I lost my corporal's stripes, and was condemned to a month'_mprisonment. It was the first time I had been punished since I had been i_he service. Farewell, now, to the sergeant's stripes, on which I had reckone_o surely!
"The first days in prison were very dreary. When I enlisted I had fancied _as sure to become an officer, at all events. Two of my compatriots, Longa an_ina, are captains-general, after all. Chapalangarra was a colonel, and I hav_layed tennis a score of times with his brother, who was just a needy fello_ike myself. 'Now,' I kept crying to myself, 'all the time you served withou_eing punished has been lost. Now you have a bad mark against your name, an_o get yourself back into the officers' good graces you'll have to work te_imes as hard as when you joined as a recruit.' And why have I got mysel_unished? For the sake of a gipsy hussy, who made game of me, and who at thi_oment is busy thieving in some corner of the town. Yet I couldn't hel_hinking about her. Will you believe it, sir, those silk stockings of her_ith the holes in them, of which she had given me such a full view as she too_o her heels, were always before my eyes? I used to look through the barre_indows of the jail into the street, and among all the women who passed _ever could see one to compare with that minx of a girl—and then, in spite o_yself, I used to smell the acacia blossom she had thrown at me, and which, dry as it was, still kept its sweet scent. If there are such things a_itches, that girl certainly was one.
"One day the jailer came in, and gave me an Alcal_oll.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_15)
"'Look here,' said he, 'this is what your cousin has sent you.'
"I took the loaf, very much astonished, for I had no cousin in Seville. It ma_e a mistake, thought I, as I looked at the roll, but it was so appetizing an_melt so good, that I made up my mind to eat it, without troubling my head a_o whence it came, or for whom it was really intended.
"When I tried to cut it, my knife struck on something hard. I looked, an_ound a little English file, which had been slipped into the dough before th_oll had been baked. The roll also contained a gold piece of two piastres.
Then I had no further doubt—it was a present from Carmen. To people of he_lood, liberty is everything, and they would set a town on fire to sav_hemselves one day in prison. The girl was artful, indeed, and armed with tha_oll, I might have snapped my fingers at the jailers. In one hour, with tha_ittle file, I could have sawn through the thickest bar, and with the gol_oin I could have exchanged my soldier's cloak for civilian garb at th_earest shop. You may fancy that a man who has often taken the eaglets out o_heir nests in our cliff would have found no difficulty in getting down to th_treet out of a window less than thirty feet above it. But I didn't choose t_scape. I still had a soldier's code of honour, and desertion appeared to m_n the light of a heinous crime. Yet this proof of remembrance touched me.
When a man is in prison he likes to think he has a friend outside who takes a_nterest in him. The gold coin did rather offend me; I should have very muc_iked to return it; but where was I to find my creditor? That did not seem _ery easy task.
"After the ceremony of my degradation I had fancied my sufferings were over, but I had another humiliation before me. That came when I left prison, and wa_old off for duty, and put on sentry, as a private soldier. You can no_onceive what a proud man endures at such a moment. I believe I would hav_ust as soon been shot dead—then I should have marched alone at the head of m_latoon, at all events; I should have felt I was somebody, with the eyes o_thers fixed upon me.
"I was posted as sentry on the door of the colonel's house. The colonel was _oung man, rich, good-natured, fond of amusing himself. All the young officer_ere there, and many civilians as well, besides ladies—actresses, as it wa_aid. For my part, it seemed to me as if the whole town had agreed to meet a_hat door, in order to stare at me. Then up drove the colonel's carriage, wit_is valet on the box. And who should I see get out of it, but the gipsy girl!
She was dressed up, this time, to the eyes, togged out in golden ribbons—_pangled gown, blue shoes, all spangled too, flowers and gold lace all ove_er. In her hand she carried a tambourine. With her there were two other gips_omen, one young and one old. They always have one old woman who goes wit_hem, and then an old man with a guitar, a gipsy too, to play alone, and als_or their dances. You must know these gipsy girls are often sent for t_rivate houses, to dance their special dance, the _Romalis_ , and often, too, for quite other purposes.
"Carmen recognised me, and we exchanged glances. I don't know why, but at tha_oment I should have liked to have been a hundred feet beneath the ground.
"' _Agur laguna_ ,'[](footnotes.xml#footnote_16) said she. 'Oficial mio!
You keep guard like a recruit,' and before I could find a word in answer, sh_as inside the house.
"The whole party was assembled in the _patio_ , and in spite of the crowd _ould see nearly everything that went on through th_attice.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_17) I could hear the castanets and th_ambourine, the laughter and applause. Sometimes I caught a glimpse of he_ead as she bounded upward with her tambourine. Then I could hear the officer_aying many things to her which brought the blood to my face. As to he_nswers, I knew nothing of them. It was on that day, I think, that I began t_ove her in earnest—for three or four times I was tempted to rush into th_patio_ , and drive my sword into the bodies of all the coxcombs who wer_aking love to her. My torture lasted a full hour; then the gipsies came out, and the carriage took them away. As she passed me by, Carmen looked at me wit_hose eyes you know, and said to me very low, 'Comrade, people who are fond o_ood _fritata_ come to eat it at Lillas Pastia's at Triana!'
"Then, light as a kid, she stepped into the carriage, the coachman whipped u_is mules, and the whole merry party departed, whither I know not.
"You may fancy that the moment I was off guard I went to Triana; but first o_ll I got myself shaved and brushed myself up as if I had been going o_arade. She was living with Lillas Pastia, an old fried-fish seller, a gipsy, as black as a Moor, to whose house a great many civilians resorted to ea_fritata_ , especially, I think, because Carmen had taken up her quarter_here.
"'Lillas,' she said, as soon as she saw me. 'I'm not going to work any mor_o-day. To-morrow will be a day, too.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_18) Come, fellow-countryman, let us go for a walk!'
"She pulled her mantilla across her nose, and there we were in the street, without my knowing in the least whither I was bound.
"'Senorita,' said I, 'I think I have to thank you for a present I had while _as in prison. I've eaten the bread; the file will do for sharpening my lance, and I keep it in remembrance of you. But as for the money, here it is.'
"'Why, he's kept the money!' she exclaimed, bursting out laughing. 'But, afte_ll, that's all the better—for I'm decidedly hard up! What matter! The do_hat runs never starves![](footnotes.xml#footnote_19) Come, let's spend i_ll! You shall treat.'
"We had turned back toward Seville. At the entrance of the _Calle de l_erpiente_ she bought a dozen oranges, which she made me put into m_andkerchief. A little farther on she bought a roll, a sausage, and a bottl_f manzanilla. Then, last of all, she turned into a confectioner's shop. Ther_he threw the gold coin I had returned to her on the counter, with another sh_ad in her pocket, and some small silver, and then she asked me for all th_oney I had. All I possessed was one peseta and a few cuartos, which I hande_ver to her, very much ashamed of not having more. I thought she would hav_arried away the whole shop. She took everything that was best and dearest, _yemas_ ,[](footnotes.xml#footnote_20) _turon_ ,[](footnotes.xml#footnote_21) preserved fruits—as long as the mone_asted. And all these, too, I had to carry in paper bags. Perhaps you know th_Calle del Candilejo_ , where there is a head of Don Pedro th_venger.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_22) That head ought to have given m_ause. We stopped at an old house in that street. She passed into the entry, and knocked at a door on the ground floor. It was opened by a gipsy, _horough-paced servant of the devil. Carmen said a few words to her in Romany.
At first the old hag grumbled. To smooth her down Carmen gave her a couple o_ranges and a handful of sugar-plums, and let her have a taste of wine. The_he hung her cloak on her back, and led her to the door, which she fastene_ith a wooden bar. As soon as we were alone she began to laugh and caper lik_ lunatic, singing out, 'You are my _rom_ , I'm you_romi_.'[](footnotes.xml#footnote_23)
"There I stood in the middle of the room, laden with all her purchases, an_ot knowing where I was to put them down. She tumbled them all onto the floor, and threw her arms round my neck, saying:
"'I pay my debts, I pay my debts! That's the law of th_Cales_.'[](footnotes.xml#footnote_24)
"Ah, sir, that day! that day! When I think of it I forget what to-morrow mus_ring me!"
For a moment the bandit held his peace, then, when he had relighted his cigar, he began afresh.
"We spent the whole day together, eating, drinking, and so forth. When she ha_tuffed herself with sugar-plums, like any child of six years old, she thrus_hem by handfuls into the old woman's water-jar. 'That'll make sherbet fo_er,' she said. She smashed the _yemas_ by throwing them against the walls.
'They'll keep the flies from bothering us.' There was no prank or wild froli_he didn't indulge in. I told her I should have liked to see her dance, onl_here were no castanets to be had. Instantly she seized the old woman's onl_arthenware plate, smashed it up, and there she was dancing the _Romalis_ , and making the bits of broken crockery rattle as well as if they had bee_bony and ivory castanets. That girl was good company, I can tell you! Evenin_ell, and I heard the drums beating tattoo.
"'I must get back to quarters for roll-call,' I said.
"'To quarters!' she answered, with a look of scorn. 'Are you a negro slave, t_et yourself be driven with a ramrod like that! You are as silly as a canar_ird. Your dress suits your nature.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_25) Pshaw!
you've no more heart than a chicken.'
"I stayed on, making up my mind to the inevitable guard-room. The next mornin_he first suggestion of parting came from her.
"'Hark ye, Joseito,' she said. 'Have I paid you? By our law, I owed yo_othing, because you're a _payllo_. But you're a good-looking fellow, and _ook a fancy to you. Now we're quits. Good-day!'
"I asked her when I should see her again.
"'When you're less of a simpleton,' she retorted, with a laugh. Then, in _ore serious tone, 'Do you know, my son, I really believe I love you a little; but that can't last! The dog and the wolf can't agree for long. Perhaps if yo_urned gipsy, I might care to be your _romi_. But that's all nonsense, suc_hings aren't possible. Pshaw! my boy. Believe me, you're well out of it.
You've come across the devil—he isn't always black—and you've not had you_eck wrung. I wear a woollen suit, but I'm n_heep.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_26) Go and burn a candle to your _majari_ ,[](footnotes.xml#footnote_27) she deserves it well. Come, good-by onc_ore. Don't think any more about _La Carmencita_ , or she'll end by makin_ou marry a widow with wooden legs.'[](footnotes.xml#footnote_28)
"As she spoke, she drew back the bar that closed the door, and once we wer_ut in the street she wrapped her mantilla about her, and turned on her heel.
"She spoke the truth. I should have done far better never to think of he_gain. But after that day in the _Calle del Candilejo_ I couldn't think o_nything else. All day long I used to walk about, hoping I might meet her. _ought news of her from the old hag, and from the fried-fish seller. They bot_old me she had gone away to _Laloro_ , which is their name for Portugal.
They probably said it by Carmen's orders, but I soon found out they wer_ying. Some weeks after my day in the _Calle del Candilejo_ I was on duty a_ne of the town gates. A little way from the gate there was a breach in th_all. The masons were working at it in the daytime, and at night a sentine_as posted on it, to prevent smugglers from getting in. All through one day _aw Lillas Pastia going backward and forward near the guard-room, and talkin_o some of my comrades. They all knew him well, and his fried-fish an_ritters even better. He came up to me, and asked if I had any news of Carmen.
"'No,' said I.
"'Well,' said he, 'you'll soon hear of her, old fellow.'
"He was not mistaken. That night I was posted to guard the breach in the wall.
As soon as the sergeant had disappeared I saw a woman coming toward me. M_eart told me it was Carmen. Still I shouted:
"'Keep off! Nobody can pass here!'
"'Now, don't be spiteful,' she said, making herself known to me.
"'What! you here, Carmen?'
"'Yes, _mi payllo_. Let us say few words, but wise ones. Would you like t_arn a douro? Some people will be coming with bundles. Let them alone.'
"'No,' said I, 'I must not allow them through. These are my orders.'
"'Orders! orders! You didn't think about orders in the _Calle de_andilejo_!'
"'Ah!' I cried, quite maddened by the very thought of that night. 'It was wel_orth while to forget my orders for that! But I won't have any smuggler'_oney!'
"'Well, if you won't have money, shall we go and dine together at ol_orotea's?'
"'No,' said I, half choked by the effort it cost me. 'No, I can't.'
"'Very good! If you make so many difficulties, I know to whom I can go. I'l_sk your officer if he'll come with me to Dorotea's. He looks good-natured, and he'll post a sentry who'll only see what he had better see. Good-bye, canary-bird! I shall have a good laugh the day the order comes out to han_ou!'
"I was weak enough to call her back, and I promised to let the whole o_ipsydom pass in, if that were necessary, so that I secured the only reward _onged for. She instantly swore she would keep her word faithfully the ver_ext day, and ran off to summon her friends, who were close by. There wer_ive of them, of whom Pastia was one, all well loaded with English goods.
Carmen kept watch for them. She was to warn them with her castanets th_nstant she caught sight of the patrol. But there was no necessity for that.
The smugglers finished their job in a moment.
"The next day I went to the _Calle del Candilejo_. Carmen kept me waiting, and when she came, she was in rather a bad temper.
"'I don't like people who have to be pressed,' she said. 'You did me a muc_reater service the first time, without knowing you'd gain anything by it.
Yesterday you bargained with me. I don't know why I've come, for I don't car_or you any more. Here, be off with you. Here's a douro for your trouble.'
"I very nearly threw the coin at her head, and I had to make a violent effor_o prevent myself from actually beating her. After we had wrangled for an hou_ went off in a fury. For some time I wandered about the town, walking hithe_nd thither like a madman. At last I went into a church, and getting into th_arkest corner I could find, I cried hot tears. All at once I heard a voice.
"'A dragoon in tears. I'll make a philter of them!'
"I looked up. There was Carmen in front of me.
"'Well, _mi payllo_ , are you still angry with me?' she said. 'I must car_or you in spite of myself, for since you left me I don't know what has bee_he matter with me. Look you, it is I who ask you to come to the _Calle de_andilejo_ , now!'
"So we made it up: but Carmen's temper was like the weather in our country.
The storm is never so close, in our mountains, as when the sun is at it_rightest. She had promised to meet me again at Dorotea's, but she didn'_ome.
"And Dorotea began telling me again that she had gone off to Portugal abou_ome gipsy business.
"As experience had already taught me how much of that I was to believe, I wen_bout looking for Carmen wherever I thought she might be, and twenty times i_very day I walked through the _Calle del Candilejo_. One evening I was wit_orotea, whom I had almost tamed by giving her a glass of anisette now an_hen, when Carmen walked in, followed by a young man, a lieutenant in ou_egiment.
"'Get away at once,' she said to me in Basque. I stood there, dumfounded, m_eart full of rage.
"'What are you doing here?' said the lieutenant to me. 'Take yourself off—ge_ut of this.'
"I couldn't move a step. I felt paralyzed. The officer grew angry, and seein_ did not go out, and had not even taken off my forage cap, he caught me b_he collar and shook me roughly. I don't know what I said to him. He drew hi_word, and I unsheathed mine. The old woman caught hold of my arm, and th_ieutenant gave me a wound on the forehead, of which I still bear the scar. _ade a step backward, and with one jerk of my elbow I threw old Dorotea down.
Then, as the lieutenant still pressed me, I turned the point of my swor_gainst his body and he ran upon it. Then Carmen put out the lamp and tol_orotea, in her own language, to take to flight. I fled into the stree_yself, and began running along, I knew not whither. It seemed to me that som_ne was following me. When I came to myself I discovered that Carmen had neve_eft me.
"'Great stupid of a canary-bird!' she said, 'you never make anything bu_lunders. And, indeed, you know I told you I should bring you bad luck. Bu_ome, there's a cure for everything when you have a Fleming fro_ome[](footnotes.xml#footnote_29) for your love. Begin by rolling thi_andkerchief round your head, and throw me over that belt of yours. Wait fo_e in this alley—I'll be back in two minutes.
"She disappeared, and soon came back bringing me a striped cloak which she ha_one to fetch, I knew not whence. She made me take off my uniform, and put o_he cloak over my shirt. Thus dressed, and with the wound on my head boun_ound with the handkerchief, I was tolerably like a Valencian peasant, many o_hom come to Seville to sell a drink they make out of '
_chufas_.'[](footnotes.xml#footnote_30) Then she took me to a house ver_uch like Dorotea's, at the bottom of a little lane. Here she and anothe_ipsy woman washed and dressed my wounds, better than any army surgeon coul_ave done, gave me something, I know not what, to drink, and finally made m_ie down on a mattress, on which I went to sleep.
"Probably the woman had mixed one of the soporific drugs of which they kno_he secret in my drink, for I did not wake up till very late the next day. _as rather feverish, and had a violent headache. It was some time before th_emory of the terrible scene in which I had taken part on the previous nigh_ame back to me. After having dressed my wound, Carmen and her friend, squatting on their heels beside my mattress, exchanged a few words of ' _chip_alli_ ,' which appeared to me to be something in the nature of a medica_onsultation. Then they both of them assured me that I should soon be cured, but that I must get out of Seville at the earliest possible moment, for that, if I was caught there, I should most undoubtedly be shot.
"'My boy,' said Carmen to me, 'you'll have to do something. Now that the kin_on't give you either rice or haddock[](footnotes.xml#footnote_31) you'l_ave to think of earning your livelihood. You're too stupid for stealing __astesas_.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_32) But you are brave and active. I_ou have the pluck, take yourself off to the coast and turn smuggler. Haven'_ promised to get you hanged? That's better than being shot, and besides, i_ou set about it properly, you'll live like a prince as long as th_minons_[](footnotes.xml#footnote_33) and the coast-guard don't lay thei_ands on your collar.'
"In this attractive guise did this fiend of a girl describe the new career sh_as suggesting to me,—the only one, indeed, remaining, now I had incurred th_enalty of death. Shall I confess it, sir? She persuaded me without muc_ifficulty. This wild and dangerous life, it seemed to me, would bind her an_e more closely together. In future, I thought, I should be able to make sur_f her love.
"I had often heard talk of certain smugglers who travelled about Andalusia, each riding a good horse, with his mistress behind him and his blunderbuss i_is fist. Already I saw myself trotting up and down the world, with a prett_ipsy behind me. When I mentioned that notion to her, she laughed till she ha_o hold her sides, and vowed there was nothing in the world so delightful as _ight spent camping in the open air, when each _rom_ retired with hi_romi_ beneath their little tent, made of three hoops with a blanket throw_cross them.
"'If I take to the mountains,' said I to her, 'I shall be sure of you.
There'll be no lieutenant there to go shares with me.'
"'Ha! ha! you're jealous!' she retorted, 'so much the worse for you. How ca_ou be such a fool as that? Don't you see I must love you, because I hav_ever asked you for money?'
"When she said that sort to thing I could have strangled her.
"To shorten the story, sir, Carmen procured me civilian clothes, disguised i_hich I got out of Seville without being recognised. I went to Jerez, with _etter from Pastia to a dealer in anisette whose house was the smugglers'
meeting-place. I was introduced to them, and their leader, surnamed _E_ancaire_ , enrolled me in his gang. We started for Gaucin, where I foun_armen, who had told me she would meet me there. In all these expeditions sh_cted as spy for our gang, and she was the best that ever was seen. She ha_ow just returned from Gibraltar, and had already arranged with the captain o_ ship for a cargo of English goods which we were to receive on the coast. W_ent to meet it near Estepona. We hid part in the mountains, and laden wit_he rest, we proceeded to Ronda. Carmen had gone there before us. It was sh_gain who warned us when we had better enter the town. This first journey, an_everal subsequent ones, turned out well. I found the smuggler's lif_leasanter than a soldier's: I could give presents to Carmen, I had money, an_ had a mistress. I felt little or no remorse, for, as the gipsies say, 'Th_appy man never longs to scratch his itch.' We were made welcome everywhere, my comrades treated me well, and even showed me a certain respect. The reaso_f this was that I had killed my man, and that some of them had no exploit o_hat description on their conscience. But what I valued most in my new lif_as that I often saw Carmen. She showed me more affection than ever; nevertheless, she would never admit, before my comrades, that she was m_istress, and she had even made me swear all sorts of oaths that I would no_ay anything about her to them. I was so weak in that creature's hands, that _beyed all her whims. And besides, this was the first time she had reveale_erself as possessing any of the reserve of a well-conducted woman, and I wa_imple enough to believe she had really cast off her former habits.
"Our gang, which consisted of eight or ten men, was hardly ever togethe_xcept at decisive moments, and we were usually scattered by twos and three_bout the towns and villages. Each one of us pretended to have some trade. On_as a tinker, another was a groom; I was supposed to peddle haberdashery, bu_ hardly ever showed myself in large places, on account of my unlucky busines_t Seville. One day, or rather one night, we were to meet below Veger. _E_ancaire_ and I got there before the others.
"'We shall soon have a new comrade,' said he. 'Carmen has just managed one o_er best tricks. She has contrived the escape of her _rom_ , who was in th_presidio_ at Tarifa.'
"I was already beginning to understand the gipsy language, which nearly all m_omrades spoke, and this word _rom_ startled me.
"What! her husband? Is she married, then?' said I to the captain.
"'Yes!' he replied, 'married to Garcia _e_uerto_[](footnotes.xml#footnote_34)—as cunning a gipsy as she is herself.
The poor fellow has been at the galleys. Carmen has wheedled the surgeon o_he _presidio_ to such good purpose that she has managed to get her _rom_ut of prison. Faith! that girl's worth her weight in gold. For two years sh_as been trying to contrive his escape, but she could do nothing until th_uthorities took it into their heads to change the surgeon. She soon manage_o come to an understanding with this new one.'
"You may imagine how pleasant this news was for me. I soon saw Garcia _e_uerto_. He was the very ugliest brute that was ever nursed in gipsydom. Hi_kin was black, his soul was blacker, and he was altogether the most thorough- paced ruffian I ever came across in my life. Carmen arrived with him, and whe_he called him her _rom_ in my presence, you should have seen the eyes sh_ade at me, and the faces she pulled whenever Garcia turned his head away.
"I was disgusted, and never spoke a word to her all night. The next morning w_ad made up our packs, and had already started, when we became aware that w_ad a dozen horsemen on our heels. The braggart Andalusians, who had bee_oasting they would murder every one who came near them, cut a pitiful figur_t once. There was a general rout. _El Dancaire_ , Garcia, a good-lookin_ellow from Ecija, who was called _El Remendado_ , and Carmen herself, kep_heir wits about them. The rest forsook the mules and took to the gorges, where the horses could not follow them. There was no hope of saving the mules, so we hastily unstrapped the best part of our booty, and taking it on ou_houlders, we tried to escape through the rocks down the steepest of th_lopes. We threw our packs down in front of us and followed them as best w_ould, slipping along on our heels. Meanwhile the enemy fired at us. It wa_he first time I had ever heard bullets whistling around me and I didn't min_t very much. When there's a woman looking on, there's no particular merit i_napping one's fingers at death. We all escaped except the poor _Remendado_ , who received a bullet wound in the loins. I threw away my pack and tried t_ift him up.
"'Idiot!' shouted Garcia, 'what do we want with offal! Finish him off, an_on't lose the cotton stockings!'
"'Drop him!' cried Carmen.
"I was so exhausted that I was obliged to lay him down for a moment under _ock. Garcia came up, and fired his blunderbuss full into his face. 'He'd be _lever fellow who recognised him now!' said he, as he looked at the face, cu_o pieces by a dozen slugs.
"There, sir; that's the delightful sort of life I've led! That night we foun_urselves in a thicket, worn out with fatigue, with nothing to eat, and ruine_y the loss of our mules. What do you think that devil Garcia did? He pulled _ack of cards out of his pocket and began playing games with _El Dancaire_y the light of a fire they kindled. Meanwhile I was lying down, staring a_he stars, thinking of _El Remendado_ , and telling myself I would just a_ief be in his place. Carmen was squatting down near me, and every now an_hen she would rattle her castanets and hum a tune. Then, drawing close to me, as if she would have whispered in my ear, she kissed me two or three time_ver almost against my will.
"'You are a devil,' said I to her.
"'Yes,' she replied.
"After a few hours' rest, she departed to Gaucin, and the next morning _ittle goatherd brought us some food. We stayed there all that day, and in th_vening we moved close to Gaucin. We were expecting news from Carmen, but non_ame. After daylight broke we saw a muleteer attending a well-dressed woma_ith a parasol, and a little girl who seemed to be her servant. Said Garcia,
'There go two mules and two women whom St. Nicholas has sent us. I woul_ather have had four mules, but no matter. I'll do the best I can with these.'
"He took his blunderbuss, and went down the pathway, hiding himself among th_rushwood.
"We followed him, _El Dancaire_ and I keeping a little way behind. As soo_s the woman saw us, instead of being frightened—and our dress would have bee_nough to frighten any one—she burst into a fit of loud laughter. 'Ah! th_lillipendi_! They take me for an _erani_!'[](footnotes.xml#footnote_35)
"It was Carmen, but so well disguised that if she had spoken any othe_anguage I should never have recognised her. She sprang off her mule, an_alked some time in an undertone with _El Dancaire_ and Garcia. Then sh_aid to me:
"'Canary-bird, we shall meet again before you're hanged. I'm off to Gibralta_n gipsy business—you'll soon have news of me.'
"We parted, after she had told us of a place where we should find shelter fo_ome days. That girl was the providence of our gang. We soon received som_oney sent by her, and a piece of news which was still more useful to us—t_he effect that on a certain day two English lords would travel from Gibralta_o Granada by a road she mentioned. This was a word to the wise. They ha_lenty of good guineas. Garcia would have killed them, but _El Dancaire_ an_ objected. All we took from them, besides their shirts, which we greatl_eeded, was their money and their watches.
"Sir, a man may turn rogue in sheer thoughtlessness. You lose your head over _retty girl, you fight another man about her, there is a catastrophe, you hav_o take to the mountains, and you turn from a smuggler into a robber befor_ou have time to think about it. After this matter of the English lords, w_oncluded that the neighbourhood of Gibraltar would not be healthy for us, an_e plunged into the _Sierra de Ronda_. You once mentioned Jose-Maria to me.
Well, it was there I made acquaintance with him. He always took his mistres_ith him on his expeditions. She was a pretty girl, quiet, modest, well- mannered, you never heard a vulgar word from her, and she was quite devoted t_im. He, on his side, led her a very unhappy life. He was always running afte_ther women, he ill-treated her, and then sometimes he would take it into hi_ead to be jealous. One day he slashed her with a knife. Well, she only dote_n him the more! That's the way with women, and especially with Andalusians.
This girl was proud of the scar on her arm, and would display it as though i_ere the most beautiful thing in the world. And then Jose-Maria was the wors_f comrades in the bargain. In one expedition we made with him, he managed s_hat he kept all the profits, and we had all the trouble and the blows. But _ust go back to my story. We had no sign at all from Carmen. _El Dancaire_aid: 'One of us will have to go to Gibraltar to get news of her. She mus_ave planned some business. I'd go at once, only I'm too well known a_ibraltar.' _El Tuerto_ said:
"'I'm well known there too. I've played so many tricks on th_rayfish[](footnotes.xml#footnote_36)—and as I've only one eye, it is no_vereasy for me to disguise myself.'
"'Then I suppose I must go,' said I, delighted at the very idea of seein_armen again. 'Well, how am I to set about it?'
"The others answered:
"'You must either go by sea, or you must get through by San Rocco, whicheve_ou like the best; once you are in Gibraltar, inquire in the port where _hocolate-seller called _La Rollona_ lives. When you've found her, she'l_ell you everything that's happening.'
"It was settled that we were all to start for the Sierra, that I was to leav_y two companions there, and take my way to Gibraltar, in the character of _ruit-seller. At Ronda one of our men procured me a passport; at Gaucin I wa_rovided with a donkey. I loaded it with oranges and melons, and starte_orth. When I reached Gibraltar I found that many people knew _La Rollona_ , but that she was either dead or had gone _ad finibus terroe_ ,[](footnotes.xml#footnote_37) and, to my mind, her disappearanc_xplained the failure of our correspondence with Carmen. I stabled my donkey, and began to move about the town, carrying my oranges as though to sell them, but in reality looking to see whether I could not come across any face I knew.
The place is full of ragamuffins from every country in the world, and i_eally is like the Tower of Babel, for you can't go ten paces along a stree_ithout hearing as many languages. I did see some gipsies, but I hardly dare_onfide in them. I was taking stock of them, and they were taking stock of me.
We had mutually guessed each other to be rogues, but the important thing fo_s was to know whether we belonged to the same gang. After having spent tw_ays in fruitless wanderings, and having found out nothing either as to _L_ollona_ or as to Carmen, I was thinking I would go back to my comrades a_oon as I had made a few purchases, when, toward sunset, as I was walkin_long a street, I heard a woman's voice from a window say, 'Orange-seller!'
"I looked up, and on a balcony I saw Carmen looking out, beside a scarlet- coated officer with gold epaulettes, curly hair, and all the appearance of _ich _milord_. As for her, she was magnificently dressed, a shawl hung on he_houlders, she'd a gold comb in her hair, everything she wore was of silk; an_he cunning little wretch, not a bit altered, was laughing till she held he_ides.
"The Englishman shouted to me in mangled Spanish to come upstairs, as the lad_anted some oranges, and Carmen said to me in Basque:
"'Come up, and don't look astonished at anything!'
"Indeed, nothing that she did ought ever to have astonished me. I don't kno_hether I was most happy or wretched at seeing her again. At the door of th_ouse there was a tall English servant with a powdered head, who ushered m_nto a splendid drawing-room. Instantly Carmen said to me in Basque, 'Yo_on't know one word of Spanish, and you don't know me.' Then turning to th_nglishman, she added:
"'I told you so. I saw at once he was a Basque. Now you'll hear what a quee_anguage he speaks. Doesn't he look silly? He's like a cat that's been caugh_n the larder!'
"'And you,' said I to her in my own language, 'you look like an impuden_ade—and I've a good mind to scar your face here and now, before your spark.'
"'My spark!' said she. 'Why, you've guessed that all alone! Are you jealous o_his idiot? You're even sillier than you were before our evening in th_Calle del Candilejo_! Don't you see, fool, that at this moment I'm doin_ipsy business, and doing it in the most brilliant manner? This house belong_o me—the guineas of that crayfish will belong to me! I lead him by the nose, and I'll lead him to a place that he'll never get out of!'
"'And if I catch you doing any gipsy business in this style again, I'll see t_t that you never do any again!' said I.
"'Ah! upon my word! Are you my _rom_ , pray that you give me orders? If _E_uerto_ is pleased, what have you to do with it? Oughtn't you to be ver_appy that you are the only man who can call himself m_minchorro_?'[](footnotes.xml#footnote_38)
"'What does he say?' inquired the Englishman.
"'He says he's thirsty, and would like a drink,' answered Carmen, and sh_hrew herself back upon a sofa, screaming with laughter at her ow_ranslation.
"When that girl begins to laugh, sir, it was hopeless for anybody to try an_alk sense. Everybody laughed with her. The big Englishman began to laugh too, like the idiot he was, and ordered the servant to bring me something to drink.
"While I was drinking she said to me:
"'Do you see that ring he has on his finger? If you like I'll give it to you.'
"And I answered:
"'I would give one of my fingers to have your _milord_ out on the mountains, and each of us with a _maquila_ in his fist.'
"' _Maquila_ , what does that mean?' asked the Englishman.
"'Maquila,' said Carmen, still laughing, 'means an orange. Isn't it a quee_ord for an orange? He says he'd like you to eat _maquila_.'
"'Does he?' said the Englishman. 'Very well, bring more _maquila_ to- morrow.'
"While we were talking a servant came in and said dinner was ready. Then th_nglishman stood up, gave me a piastre, and offered his arm to Carmen, as i_he couldn't have walked alone. Carmen, who was still laughing, said to me:
"'My boy, I can't ask you to dinner. But to-morrow, as soon as you hear th_rums beat for parade, come here with your oranges. You'll find a bette_urnished room than the one in the _Calle del Candilejo_ , and you'll se_hether I am still your _Carmencita_. Then afterwards we'll talk about gips_usiness.'
"I gave her no answer—even when I was in the street I could hear th_nglishman shouting, 'Bring more _maquila_ to-morrow,' and Carmen's peals o_aughter.
"I went out, not knowing what I should do; I hardly slept, and next morning _as so enraged with the treacherous creature that I made up my mind to leav_ibraltar without seeing her again. But the moment the drums began to roll, m_ourage failed me. I took up my net full of oranges, and hurried off t_armen's house. Her window-shutters had been pulled apart a little, and I sa_er great dark eyes watching for me. The powdered servant showed me in a_nce. Carmen sent him out with a message, and as soon as we were alone sh_urst into one of her fits of crocodile laughter and threw her arms around m_eck. Never had I seen her look so beautiful. She was dressed out like _ueen, and scented; she had silken furniture, embroidered curtains—and _ogged out like the thief I was!
"' _Minchorro_ ,' said Carmen, 'I've a good mind to smash up everything here, set fire to the house, and take myself off to the mountains.' And then sh_ould fondle me, and then she would laugh, and she danced about and tore u_er fripperies. Never did monkey gambol nor make such faces, nor play suc_ild tricks, as she did that day. When she had recovered her gravity—
"'Hark!' she said, 'this is gipsy business. I mean him to take me to Ronda, where I have a sister who is a nun' (here she shrieked with laughter again).
'We shall pass by a particular spot which I shall make known to you. Then yo_ust fall upon him and strip him to the skin. Your best plan would be to d_or him, but,' she added, with a certain fiendish smile of hers, which no on_ho saw it ever had any desire to imitate, 'do you know what you had bette_o? Let _El Tuerto_ come up in front of you. You keep a little behind. Th_rayfish is brave, and skilful too, and he has good pistols. Do yo_nderstand?'
"And she broke off with another fit of laughter that made me shiver.
"'No,' said I, 'I hate Garcia, but he's my comrade. Some day, maybe, I'll ri_ou of him, but we'll settle our account after the fashion of my country. It'_nly chance that has made me a gipsy, and in certain things I shall always b_ thorough Navarrese,[](footnotes.xml#footnote_39) as the proverb says.
"'You're a fool,' she rejoined, 'a simpleton, a regular _payllo_. You're jus_ike the dwarf who thinks himself tall because he can spit a lon_ay.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_40) You don't love me! Be off with you!'
"Whenever she said to me 'Be off with you," I couldn't go away. I promised _ould start back to my comrades and wait the arrival of the Englishman. She, on her side, promised she would be ill until she left Gibraltar for Ronda.
"I remained at Gibraltar two days longer. She had the boldness to disguis_erself and come and see me at the inn. I departed, I had a plan of my own. _ent back to our meeting-place with the information as to the spot and th_our at which the Englishman and Carmen were to pass by. I found _E_ancaire_ and Garcia waiting for me. We spent the night in a wood, beside _ire made of pine-cones that blazed splendidly. I suggested to Garcia that w_hould play cards, and he agreed. In the second game I told him he wa_heating; he began to laugh; I threw the cards in his face. He tried to get a_is blunderbuss. I set my foot on it, and said, 'They say you can use a knif_s well as the best ruffian in Malaga; will you try it with me?' _E_ancaire_ tried to part us. I had given Garcia one or two cuffs, his rage ha_iven him courage, he drew his knife, and I drew mine. We both of us told _E_ancaire_ he must leave us alone, and let us fight it out. He saw there wa_o means of stopping us, so he stood on one side. Garcia was already ben_ouble, like a cat ready to spring upon a mouse. He held his hat in his lef_and to parry with, and his knife in front of him—that's their Andalusia_uard. I stood up in the Navarrese fashion, with my left arm raised, my lef_eg forward, and my knife held straight along my right thigh. I felt I wa_tronger than any giant. He flew at me like an arrow. I turned round on m_eft foot, so that he found nothing in front of him. But I thrust him in th_hroat, and the knife went in so far that my hand was under his chin. I gav_he blade such a twist that it broke. That was the end. The blade was carrie_ut of the wound by a gush of blood as thick as my arm, and he fell ful_ength on his face.
"'What have you done?' said _El Dancaire_ to me.
"'Hark ye,' said I, 'we couldn't live on together. I love Carmen and I mean t_e the only one. And besides, Garcia was a villain. I remember what he did t_hat poor _Remendado_. There are only two of us left now, but we are bot_ood fellows. Come, will you have me for your friend, for life or death?'
" _El Dancaire_ stretched out his hand. He was a man of fifty.
"'Devil take these love stories!' he cried. 'If you'd asked him for Carme_e'd have sold her to you for a piastre! There are only two of us now—ho_hall we manage for to-morrow?'
"'I'll manage it all alone,' I answered. 'I can snap my fingers at the whol_orld now.'
"We buried Garcia, and we moved our camp two hundred paces farther on. Th_ext morning Carmen and her Englishman came along with two muleteers and _ervant. I said to _El Dancaire_ :
"'I'll look after the Englishman, you frighten the others—they're not armed!'
"The Englishman was a plucky fellow. He'd have killed me if Carmen hadn'_ogged his elbow.
"To put it shortly, I won Carmen back that day, and my first words were t_ell her she was a widow.
"When she knew how it had all happened—
"'You'll always be a _lillipendi_ ,' she said. 'Garcia ought to have kille_ou. Your Navarrese guard is a pack of nonsense, and he has sent far mor_kilful men than you into the darkness. It was just that his time had come—an_ours will come too.'
"'Ay, and yours too!—if you're not a faithful _romi_ to me.'
"'So be it,' said she. 'I've read in the coffee grounds, more than once, tha_ou and I were to end our lives together. Pshaw! what must be, will be!' an_he rattled her castanets, as was her way when she wanted to drive away som_orrying thought.
"One runs on when one is talking about one's self. I dare say all thes_etails bore you, but I shall soon be at the end of my story. Our new lif_asted for some considerable time. _El Dancaire_ and I gathered a fe_omrades about us, who were more trustworthy than our earlier ones, and w_urned our attention to smuggling. Occasionally, indeed, I must confess w_topped travellers on the highways, but never unless we were at the las_xtremity, and could not avoid doing so; and besides, we never ill-treated th_ravellers, and confined ourselves to taking their money from them.
"For some months I was very well satisfied with Carmen. She still served us i_ur smuggling operations, by giving us notice of any opportunity of making _ood haul. She remained either at Malaga, at Cordova, or at Granada, but at _ord from me she would leave everything, and come to meet me at some _venta_r even in our lonely camp. Only once—it was at Malaga—she caused me som_neasiness. I heard she had fixed her fancy upon a very rich merchant, wit_hom she probably proposed to play her Gibraltar trick over again. In spite o_verything _El Dancaire_ said to stop me, I started off, walked into Malag_n broad daylight, sought for Carmen and carried her off instantly. We had _harp altercation.
"'Do you know,' said she, 'now that you're my _rom_ for good and all, _on't care for you so much as when you were my _minchorro_! I won't b_orried, and above all, I won't be ordered about. I choose to be free to do a_ like. Take care you don't drive me too far; if you tire me out, I'll fin_ome good fellow who'll serve you just as you served _El Tuerto_.'
" _El Dancaire_ patched it up between us; but we had said things to eac_ther that rankled in our hearts, and we were not as we had been before.
Shortly after that we had a misfortune: the soldiers caught us, _El Dancaire_nd two of my comrades were killed; two others were taken. I was sorel_ounded, and, but for my good horse, I should have fallen into the soldiers'
hands. Half dead with fatigue, and with a bullet in my body, I sought shelte_n a wood, with my only remaining comrade. When I got off my horse I fainte_way, and I thought I was going to die there in the brushwood, like a sho_are. My comrade carried me to a cave he knew of, and then he sent to fetc_armen.
"She was at Granada, and she hurried to me at once. For a whole fortnight sh_ever left me for a single instant. She never closed her eyes; she nursed m_ith a skill and care such as no woman ever showed to the man she loved mos_enderly. As soon as I could stand on my feet, she conveyed me with the utmos_ecrecy to Granada. These gipsy women find safe shelter everywhere, and _pent more than six weeks in a house only two doors from that of th_Corregidor_ who was trying to arrest me. More than once I saw him pass by, from behind the shutter. At last I recovered, but I had thought a great deal, on my bed of pain, and I had planned to change my way of life. I suggested t_armen that we should leave Spain, and seek an honest livelihood in the Ne_orld. She laughed in my face.
"'We were not born to plant cabbages,' she cried. 'Our fate is to liv_payllos_! Listen: I've arranged a business with Nathan Ben-Joseph a_ibraltar. He has cotton stuffs that he can not get through till you come t_etch them. He knows you're alive, and reckons upon you. What would ou_ibraltar correspondents say if you failed them?'
"I let myself by persuaded, and took up my vile trade once more.
"While I was hiding at Granada there were bull-fights there, to which Carme_ent. When she came back she talked a great deal about a skilful _picador_f the name of Lucas. She knew the name of his horse, and how much hi_mbroidered jacket had cost him. I paid no attention to this; but a few day_ater, Juanito, the only one of my comrades who was left, told me he had see_armen with Lucas in a shop in the Zacatin. Then I began to feel alarmed. _sked Carmen how and why she had made the _picador's_ acquaintance.
"'He's a man out of whom we may be able to get something,' said she. 'A nois_tream has either water in it or pebbles. He has earned twelve hundred real_t the bull-fights. It must be one of two things: we must either have hi_oney, or else, as he is a good rider and a plucky fellow, we can enroll hi_n our gang. We have lost such an one an such an one; you'll have to replac_hem. Take this man with you!'
"'I want neither his money nor himself,' I replied, 'and I forbid you to spea_o him.'
"'Beware!' she retorted. 'If any one defies me to do a thing, it's ver_uickly done.'
"Luckily the _picador_ departed to Malaga, and I set about passing in th_ew's cotton stuffs. This expedition gave me a great deal to do, and Carmen a_ell. I forgot Lucas, and perhaps she forgot him too—for the moment, at al_vents. It was just about that time, sir, that I met you, first at Montilla, and then afterward at Cordova. I won't talk about that last interview. Yo_now more about it, perhaps, than I do. Carmen stole your watch from you, sh_anted to have your money besides, and especially that ring I see on you_inger, and which she declared to be a magic ring, the possession of which wa_ery important to her. We had a violent quarrel, and I struck her. She turne_ale and began to cry. It was the first time I had ever seen her cry, and i_ffected me in the most painful manner. I begged her to forgive me, but sh_ulked with me for a whole day, and when I started back to Montilla sh_ouldn't kiss me. My heart was still very sore, when, three days later, sh_oined me with a smiling face and as merry as a lark. Everything wa_orgotten, and we were like a pair of honeymoon lovers. Just as we wer_arting she said, 'There's a _fete_ at Cordova; I shall go and see it, an_hen I shall know what people will be coming away with money, and I can war_ou.'
"I let her go. When I was alone I thought about the _fete_ , and about th_hange in Carmen's temper. 'She must have avenged herself already,' said I t_yself, 'since she was the first to make our quarrel up.' A peasant told m_here was to be bull-fighting at Cordova. Then my blood began to boil, and _ent off like a madman straight to the bull-ring. I had Lucas pointed out t_e, and on the bench, just beside the barrier, I recognised Carmen. One glanc_t her was enough to turn my suspicion into certainty. When the first bul_ppeared Lucas began, as I had expected to play the agreeable; he snatched th_ockade off the bull and presented it to Carmen, who put it in her hair a_nce.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_41)
"The bull avenged me. Lucas was knocked down, with his horse on his chest, an_he bull on top of both of them. I looked for Carmen, she had disappeared fro_er place already. I couldn't get out of mine, and I was obliged to wait unti_he bull-fight was over. Then I went off to that house you already know, an_aited there quietly all that evening and part of the night. Toward tw_'clock in the morning Carmen came back, and was rather surprised to see me.
"'Come with me,' said I.
"'Very well,' said she, 'let's be off.'
"I went and got my horse, and took her up behind me, and we travelled all th_est of the night without saying a word to each other. When daylight came w_topped at a lonely inn, not far from a hermitage. There I said to Carmen:
"'Listen—I forget everything, I won't mention anything to you. But swear on_hing to me—that you'll come with me to America, and live there quietly!'
"'No,' said she, in a sulky voice, 'I won't go to America—I am very wel_ere.'
"'That's because you're near Lucas. But be very sure that even if he gets wel_ow, he won't make old bones. And, indeed, why should I quarrel with him? I'_ired of killing all your lovers; I'll kill you this time.'
"She looked at me steadily with her wild eyes, and then she said:
"'I've always thought you would kill me. The very first time I saw you I ha_ust met a priest at the door of my house. And to-night, as we were going ou_f Cordova, didn't you see anything? A hare ran across the road between you_orse's feet. It is fate.'
"'Carmencita,' I asked, 'don't you love me any more?'
"She gave me no answer, she was sitting cross-legged on a mat, making marks o_he ground with her finger.
"'Let us change our life, Carmen,' said I imploringly. 'Let us go away an_ive somewhere we shall never be parted. You know we have a hundred and twent_old ounces buried under an oak not far from here, and then we have more mone_ith Ben-Joseph the Jew.'
"She began to smile, and then she said, 'Me first, and then you. I know i_ill happen like that.'
"'Think about it,' said I. 'I've come to the end of my patience and m_ourage. Make up your mind—or else I must make up mine.'
"I left her alone and walked toward the hermitage. I found the hermit praying.
I waited till his prayer was finished. I longed to pray myself, but _ouldn't. When he rose up from his knees I went to him.
"'Father,' I said, 'will you pray for some one who is in great danger?'
"'I pray for every one who is afflicted,' he replied.
"'Can you say a mass for a soul which is perhaps about to go into the presenc_f its Maker?'
"'Yes,' he answered, looking hard at me.
"And as there was something strange about me, he tried to make me talk.
"'It seems to me that I have seen you somewhere,' said he.
"I laid a piastre on his bench.
"'When shall you say the mass?' said I.
"'In half an hour. The son of the innkeeper yonder is coming to serve it. Tel_e, young man, haven't you something on your conscience that is tormentin_ou? Will you listen to a Christian's counsel?'
"I could hardly restrain my tears. I told him I would come back, and hurrie_way. I went and lay down on the grass until I heard the bell. Then I wen_ack to the chapel, but I stayed outside it. When he had said the mass, I wen_ack to the _venta_. I was hoping Carmen would have fled. She could hav_aken my horse and ridden away. But I found her there still. She did no_hoose that any one should say I had frightened her. While I had been away sh_ad unfastened the hem of her gown and taken out the lead that weighted it; and now she was sitting before a table, looking into a bowl of water int_hich she had just thrown the lead she had melted. She was so busy with he_pells that at first she didn't notice my return. Sometimes she would take ou_ bit of lead and turn it round every way with a melancholy look. Sometime_he would sing one of those magic songs, which invoke the help of Mari_adella, Don Pedro's mistress, who is said to have been the _Bari Crallisa_ —the great gipsy queen.[](footnotes.xml#footnote_42)
"'Carmen,' I said to her, 'will you come with me?' She rose, threw away he_ooden bowl, and put her mantilla over her head ready to start. My horse wa_ed up, she mounted behind me, and we rode away.
"After we had gone a little distance I said to her, 'So, my Carmen, you ar_uite ready to follow me, isn't that so?'
"She answered, 'Yes, I'll follow you, even to death—but I won't live with yo_ny more.'
"We had reached a lonely gorge. I stopped my horse.
"'Is this the place?' she said.
"And with a spring she reached the ground. She took off her mantilla and thre_t at her feet, and stood motionless, with one hand on her hip, looking at m_teadily.
"'You mean to kill me, I see that well,' said she. 'It is fate. But you'l_ever make me give in.'
"I said to her: 'Be rational, I implore you; listen to me. All the past i_orgotten. Yet you know it is you who have been my ruin—it is because of yo_hat I am a robber and a murderer. Carmen, my Carmen, let me save you, an_ave myself with you.'
"'Jose,' she answered, 'what you ask is impossible. I don't love you any more.
You love me still, and that is why you want to kill me. If I liked, I migh_ell you some other lie, but I don't choose to give myself the trouble.
Everything is over between us two. You are my _rom_ , and you have the righ_o kill your _romi_ , but Carmen will always be free. A _calli_ she wa_orn, and a _calli_ she'll die.'
"'Then, you love Lucas?' I asked.
"'Yes, I have loved him—as I loved you—for an instant—less than I loved you, perhaps. But now I don't love anything, and I hate myself for ever havin_oved you.'
"I cast myself at her feet, I seized her hands, I watered them with my tears, I reminded her of all the happy moments we had spent together, I offered t_ontinue my brigand's life, if that would please her. Everything, sir, everything—I offered her everything if she would only love me again.
"'Love you again? That's not possible! Live with you? I will not do it!'
"I was wild with fury. I drew my knife, I would have had her look frightened, and sue for mercy—but that woman was a demon.
"I cried, 'For the last time I ask you. Will you stay with me?'
"'No! no! no!' she said, and she stamped her foot.
"Then she pulled a ring I had given her off her finger, and cast it into th_rushwood.
"I struck her twice over—I had taken Garcia's knife, because I had broken m_wn. At the second thrust she fell without a sound. It seems to me that I ca_till see her great black eyes staring at me. Then they grew dim and the lid_losed.
"For a good hour I lay there prostrate beside her corpse. Then I recollecte_hat Carmen had often told me that she would like to lie buried in a wood. _ug a grave for her with my knife and laid her in it. I hunted about a lon_ime for her ring, and I found it at last. I put it into the grave beside her, with a little cross—perhaps I did wrong. Then I got upon my horse, galloped t_ordova, and gave myself up at the nearest guard-room. I told them I ha_illed Carmen, but I would not tell them where her body was. That hermit was _oly man! He prayed for her—he said a mass for her soul. Poor child! It's th_calle_ who are to blame for having brought her up as they did."