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Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane

Alain Rene Le Sage Jr.

Publication Year: 2011


Tobias Smollett, in the preface to his first novel, The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748), acknowledges the influence of Alain René Le Sage’s L’Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane (1715–35 in four volumes) on his work. By far the most successful of “useful and entertaining” romances, Smollett writes, Gil Blas describes “the knavery and foibles of life, with infinite humour and sagacity.” “The following sheets,” he adds significantly, “I have modeled on his plan.”
Smollett’s translation of Gil Blas appeared nine months after the publication of Roderick Random. This chronicle of a merry, philosophical young man whose adventures lead him into all levels of society from the highest to the lowest, presents special problems for a translator. Smollett, without always adhering to the literal expression of the novel’s language, is true to its style, spirit, and ideas. After two and a half centuries, his remains the finest translation of this humorous, satiric, and classic French novel.
In his early years in London, Smollett struggled to find a way to distinguish himself through his medical practice, medical writings, poetry, and plays. None of these attempts, however, allowed him to demonstrate the full range of his personality and talents. Only when he combined his own boundless imagination with the skills he had learned from translating Gil Blas was he able to create energetic narratives filled with vivid and original characters.


Published by: University of Georgia Press

Series: The Works of Tobias Smollett

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii


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pp. ix-xi

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pp. xiii-xiv

This is the first scholarly edition of Tobias Smollett’s translation of Alain René Le Sage’s L’Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane (4 vols., 1715– 35). Numerous signs of haste appear in the first edition (1749) of the translation: run-on sentences, faulty syntax, and ambiguous pronoun references. When Smollett revised a copy of the first edition to serve as printer’s copy for the second edition (1750), many but not all of ...

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pp. xv

No bibliographical or textual study can be completed without the assistance of librarians; we wish to thank especially the staffs of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford; British Library; Rare Book Collections, Cambridge University Library; William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles; Carl A. Kroch Library, Cornell University; Centre for Research Collections, University of ...

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pp. xvii-xxix

In Nathaniel Dance’s 1764 portrait of Tobias Smollett as a successful man of letters the author is “seated in a library against a green curtain, in a grey suit with white cravat and wig, ruffles at his wrists, his left arm resting on a writing table” on which are placed three leaves of a manuscript as well as an inkpot and quill. His right hand holds a book that is resting on his leg, its spine turned outward.1 His choice for the symbolic ...


The Contents of Volume I.

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pp. 3-6

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The Author's Declarations

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pp. 7

As there are some people who cannot read, without making applications of the vicious and ludicrous characters they meet with in works of this kind; I declare to these mischievous readers, that they will be to blame, if they apply any of the pictures drawn in this book. I publickly own that my purpose is to represent life as we fi nd it: but God forbid that I should undertake to delineate any man in particular! Let no reader, ...

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Gil Blas to the Reader

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pp. 9

Gentle reader, before thou hearest the history of my life, give me leave to entertain thee with a short story. Two scholars, in their way from Pennasiel to Salamanca,1 being thirsty and fatigued, sat down by a spring they met with on the road. There, while they rested themselves, after having quenched their thirst, they perceived by accident, upon a stone that was even with the surface of the earth, some letters, already half ...


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pp. 11

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Chapter I. Of the birth and education of Gil Blas.

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pp. 11-12

My father, Blas of Santillane, after having carried arms many years for the service of the Spanish monarchy, retired to the town in which he was born, where he chose a wife among the second- rate citizens, who, tho’ she was no chicken,1 brought me into the world ten months after her marriage.—They afterwards removed to Oviedo, where my mother became a waiting- woman, and my father Squire* to a lady: and as ...

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Chapter II. Of his being grievously alarmed in his way to Pennafl or: Of his conduct in that town; with an account of a person who supp’d with him.

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pp. 13-17

Behold me then in the open field, clear of Oviedo, on the road to Pennaflor, master of my own conduct, of a sorry mule, and forty good ducats, exclusive of some royals1 which I had stolen from my much-honoured uncle.—The first thing I did was to let my beast go at discretion, that is, very gently; and throwing the bridle on her neck, I emptied my purse into my hat, and amused myself in counting my money: my ...

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Chapter III. Of the carrier’s temptation on the road, and its consequence—How Gil Blas, in attempting to get out of the frying- pan, fell into the fire.

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pp. 17-19

I was not the only person who travelled with the carrier, there being in company two children belonging to a gentleman at Pennaflor, a little stroling ballad- singer2 of Mondonedo, and a young tradesman of Astorga, who was bringing home a girl whom he had married at Verco. We became acquainted with one another presently, and every one, in a very short time, told whence he came, and wither he was ...

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Chapter IV. A description of the subterranean habitation, and of what Gil Blas observed therein.

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pp. 19-20

I now discovered my situation, and any one may easily believe that this discovery effectually dispelled my former fear: a terror more mighty, and better founded, took possession of my soul! I laid my account with losing my life as well as my ducats; and looking upon myself as a victim led to the altar, walked (more dead than alive) between my two conductors, who, feeling me tremble, exhorted me in vain to fear ...

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Chapter V. Of the arrival of more thieves in the subterranean habitation, and the agreeable conversation that happened among them.

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pp. 20-26

Signior Rolando had scarce done speaking, when six new faces appeared in the hall; these were the lieutenant with five of the company, who returned loaded with booty, which consisted of two hampers full of sugar, cinnamon, pepper, dried figs, almonds and raisins: the lieutenant addressing himself to the captain, told him, that he ...

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Chapter VI. Of the attempt of Gil Blas to make his escape, and the success thereof.

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pp. 26-27

When the captain of the thieves had made this apology for his profession, he went to bed, and I returned into the hall, where I uncovered the table, and put every thing in order: from thence I went into the kitchen, where Domingo (so was the old negro called) expected me to supper. Tho’ I had no appetite, I sat down with them; but as I could not eat, and appeared as melancholy as I had cause to be so, these two ...

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Chapter VII. Of the behaviour of Gil Blas, when he could do no better.

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pp. 28-29

During the first days of my captivity I was like to sink under the sorrow that oppress’d me, and might have been said to die by inches; but at last my good genius inspired me with the resolution to dissemble: I affected to appear less sad than usual; I began to laugh and sing, tho’, God knows, with an aching heart. In a word, I counterfeited so well, that Leonarda and Domingo were deceived, and believed that ...

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Chapter VIII. Gil Blas accompanies the thieves, and performs an exploit on the highway.

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pp. 29-31

It was the month of September, when, towards the close of the night, I came out of the cavern in company with the robbers, armed like them, with a carabine, two pistols, sword and bayonet, and mounted on a pretty good horse, which they had taken from the same gentleman whose dress I wore. I had lived so long in darkness, that when day broke I was dazzled with the light, which however soon ...

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Chapter IX. Of the serious affair that followed this adventure.

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pp. 31-33

We remained in the wood the greatest part of the day, without perceiving any traveller that could make amends for the priest. At last we left it, in order to return to our cavern, confining our exploits to that ludicrous event which still constituted the subject of our discourse, when we discovered at a distance a coach drawn by four mules, advancing at a brisk trot, and escorted by three men on horseback, who ...

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Chapter X. In what manner the robbers behaved to the lady.—Of the great design which Gil Blas projected, and the issue thereof.

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pp. 33-36

It was within an hour of day- break when we arrived at our habitation; and the first thing we did was to lead our beasts into the stable, where we were obliged to tie them to the rack, and take care of them with our own hands, the old negro having been (three days before) seized with a violent fi t of the gout and rheumatism, that kept him a- bed, deprived of the use of all his limbs: the only member at liberty was his ...

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Chapter XI. The history of Donna Mencia of Mosquera.

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pp. 37-41

I was born at Valladolid, and my name is Donna Mencia of Mosquera. Don Martin, my father, after having spent almost his whole patrimony in the service of his king, was killed in Portugal,1 at the head of his own regiment, and left me so moderately provided, that though I was an only child, I was far from being a good match. I did not want admirers, however, in spite of the lowness of my fortune: a good many of the ...

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Chapter XII. The disagreeable manner in which Gil Blas and the lady were interrupted.

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pp. 41-43

Donna Mencia having ended her relation, shed a torrent of tears, while I,1 letting her give free vent to her sighs, wept also; so natural is it to interest one’s self for the unfortunate, especially for a fine lady in distress. I was going to ask what she intended to do in the present conjuncture; and perhaps she was about to consult me on the same subject; when our conversation was interrupted by a great noise in the inn, ...

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Chapter XIII. By what accident Gil Blas was set at liberty at last; and whither he directed his course.

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pp. 43-45

While I pass’d my days in entertaining myself with these reflections, my adventures, such as they appeared in my deposition, spread all over the town; upon which many people, being curious to see me, came and presented themselves, one after another, at a small chink thro’ which the light was conveyed into my prison, and, after having observed me for some time, went away. I was surprized at this ...

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Chapter XIV. Of his reception at Burgos by Donna Mencia.

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pp. 45-47

I did not lie a- bed like a sluggard1 next morning, but went to reckon with my landlady, who seemed less proud and snappish than she had been the night before: a change that I ascribed to the presence of three honest soldiers belonging to the holy brotherhood, who conversed with her in a very familiar manner.—They had lodged all night at the inn, and it was, doubtless, for these gentlemen of importance, that all the beds ...

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Chapter XV. Of the manner in which Gil Blas dressed himself—Of the new present he received from the lady, and the equipage in which he departed from Burgos.

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pp. 47-50

They brought for my supper a huge fricassee, of sheep- trotters,1 which I picked to the bones; and having drank in proportion, betook myself to rest. As I had the convenience of a good bed, I was in hopes of enjoying a sound sleep: but for all that, could not close my eyes; my thoughts being ingrossed, in determining upon the dress I was to choose. “What must I do? (said I to myself ) prosecute my first design, buy a ...

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Chapter XVI. Shews that we ought not to trust too much to prosperity.

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pp. 50-54

We slept the first night at Duennas, and arriving at Valladolid, the day following about four a clock in the afternoon, alighted at an inn, which seemed one of the best in town. I left the care of my mules to my lacquey, and going up stairs into a chamber whither I ordered a servant of the house to bring my portmanteau, felt myself a little fatigued, and without taking off my boots, threw myself on the bed, where ...

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Chapter XVII. How Gil Blas bestowed himself after the adventure of the ready- furnished lodging.

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pp. 54-59

Having heartily bewailed my misfortune, I considered, that instead of giving way to sorrow, I ought to animate myself against mischance; and summoning all my courage to my assistance, said to myself, while I put on my cloaths, by way of consolation, “I am happy in that the rogues have not also carried off my apparel, and some ducats which I have still in my purse:” I gave them credit for this piece of civility, and ...


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pp. 61

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Chapter I. Fabricius conducts Gil Blas, and introduces him to the licentiate Sedillo. The situation of this canon. A description of his housekeeper.

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pp. 61-65

We were so much afraid of coming too late, that we made but one leap from the alley to the house of the old licentiate. We knocked at the door, which was opened by a girl ten years old, who passed for the housekeeper’s niece, in spite of scandal; and asking if the canon could be spoke with, Dame Jacinta appeared: she was a person already arrived at the age of discretion, but still handsome; and, in ...

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Chapter II. In what manner the canon was treated when he fell sick:—the consequence of it; and the legacy which he left to Gil Blas.

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pp. 66-69

I served the licentiate Sedillo three months without complaining of the bad nights he made me pass; at the end of which time he fell sick of a fever, and felt his gout increased by the pain which it occasioned; so that, for the first time in his life, which had been long, he had recourse to physicians, and sent for doctor Sangrado,1 whom all Valladolid looked upon as another Hippocrates. Dame Jacinta would have been better ...

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Chapter III. Gil Blas engages himself in the service of Doctor Sangrado, and becomes a celebrated physician.

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pp. 69-72

I resolved to visit Signior Arias de Londonna and consult his register for a new place; but as I was just going into the blind alley where he lived, I met doctor Sangrado, whom I had not seen since the death of my master, and took the freedom to salute him. He recollected me immediately, although I had changed my dress, and expressing some joy at seeing me, “Art thou there, my child? (said he) I was just thinking of ...

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Chapter IV. Gil Blas continues to act the physician with equal capacity and success.— The adventure of the ring retrieved.

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pp. 72-79

I had just got home, when doctor Sangrado came in, to whom I gave an account of the patients I had visited, and put into his hand eight reals which remained of the twelve I had received for my prescriptions. “Eight reals! (said he, after having counted them,) this is a small matter for two visits; but we must refuse nothing.” So it appeared: for he kept six, and giving me two, “Hold, Gil Blas, (added he) there is something for ...

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Chapter V. The sequel of the ring retrieved. Gil Blas quits the profession of physick, and makes his retreat from Valladolid.

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pp. 79-82

After having in this manner executed the scheme of Fabricius, we left Camilla’s lodgings, congratulating ourselves upon a piece of success that even surpass’d our expectation; for we had laid our account with recovering the ring only. However, we carried off the rest without ceremony; and, far from making a scruple of robbing curtezans, we thought we had done a meritorious action.—“Gentlemen, ...

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Chapter VI. Of his route when he left Valladolid; and the person he joined on the road.

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pp. 82-84

I walked very fast, looking behind me from time to time, to see if this formidable Biscayan was not at my heels; my imagination being so much possessed by that fellow, that I took every tree or bush I saw for him; and every moment felt my heart throb with fear. I plucked up my courage, however, when I had gone a good league, and continued, at an easier pace, my journey towards Madrid, whither my ...

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Chapter VII. The story of the journeyman barber.

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pp. 84-97

Ferdinand Peres de la Fuenta, my grandfather, (I go to the fountain- head)1 after having been fifty years barber in the village of Olmedo, died, and left four sons, the eldest of whom took possession of his shop, and succeeded him in the business; Bertrand, the second, having an inclination for trade, became a mercer; Thomas, who was the third, kept a school; and the fourth, whose name was Pedro, feeling himself ...

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Chapter VIII. Gil Blas and his companion come up with a man, whom they perceive soaking crusts of bread in a spring; and enter into conversation with him.

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pp. 97-99

Signior Diego de la Fuenta recounted a good many more adventures that had happened to him; but, in my opinion, so little worth the breath they cost, that I shall pass them over in silence; tho’ I was obliged to hear the recital, which was so tedious, that it brought us as far as Ponte de Duera. In this village we staid the remaining part of the day; and, at the inn where we lodged, ordered for supper a dish of cabbage- soup ...

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Chapter IX. The condition in which Diego fi nds his family; and an account of the rejoicings: after which Gil Blas bids him farewel.

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pp. 99-103

Having slept that night between Moyados and Valpuesta, in a little village whose name I have forgot, we arrived next day, about eleven o’clock in the forenoon, in the plain of Olmedo. “Signior Gil Blas, (said my comrade) there is the place of my nativity, which I cannot behold again without transport; so natural it is to love one’s country.” “Signior Diego, (answered I) one who expresses such regard for his native ...


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pp. 105

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Chapter I. The arrival of Gil Blas at Madrid; with an account of the fi rst master whom he served in that city.

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pp. 105-109

Having staid some time with the young barber, I afterwards joined a merchant of Segovia, in his way thro’ Olmedo, with four mules, on which he had transported goods to Valladolid, and was returning with them unloaded. We became acquainted on the road, and he conceived such a friendship for me, that he insisted upon my lodging at his house when we arrived at Segovia. There he detain’d me two ...

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Chapter II. The astonishment of Gil Blas, when he met Captain Rolando at Madrid, and the curious things which that robber recounted to him.

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pp. 109-113

Don Barnard de Castil Blazo, after having waited upon the corregidor to the street, returned with all expedition, to lock his strong box and all the doors that secured it. Then we went out both very well satisfied: he for having acquired a powerful friend, and I for being now ensured in my six rials a day. The desire I had to recount this adventure to Melendez, made me take the road to his house, which when I had almost ...

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Chapter III. He is dismissed by Don Barnard de Castil Blazo, and enters into the service of a beau.

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pp. 113-119

As we went out of the tavern, and were taking leave of one another, my master happening to pass, saw me, and I perceived, looked hard at the captain, which made me believe that he was surprised to fi nd me acquainted with such a figure. Certain it is, that the appearance of Rolando could not prepossess people in his favour: for he was a very tall fellow with a long visage and hook- nose;1 and though not ugly, had very much ...

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Chapter IV. How Gil Blas became acquainted with the valets of the beaus.—The admirable secret they imparted to him, of acquiring the reputation of a man of wit, at a small expence; and the singular oath which they obliged him to take.

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pp. 119-122

In this manner did these lords continue the conversation, until Don Matthias, whom, in the mean time, I helped to dress, was ready to go abroad. Then he bad me follow him, and all the beaus together set out for the tavern, to which Don Fernand de Gamboa had proposed to conduct them. As I walked in the rear, in company with three other valets, (for each of the cavaliers had one,) I observed, not without wonder, that ...

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Chapter V. Gil Blas sets up for a man of gallantry, and becomes acquainted with a fine lady.

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pp. 123-128

After having refresh’d myself with some hours of sleep, I got up in good humour; and remembring the advice I had received from Melendez, went (my master not being yet awake) and presented my respects to the steward, whose vanity seemed not a little flattered with this instance of my regard. He received me very graciously, and asked if I was not yet familiarized to the way of living practised among young ...

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Chapter VI. The conversation of some noblemen, about the players of the prince’s company.

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pp. 128-131

That day, while my master was dressing, he received a billet from Don Alexo Segiar, desiring his company at his house, whither we went, and found with him, the marquis of Zeneta, and another young nobleman of a good mien, whom I had never seen before. “Don Matthias, (said Segiar to my master, presenting the unknown cavalier) this is Don Pompeio de Castro, a relation of mine, who has been at the court ...

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Chapter VII. The history of Don Pompeio de Castro.

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pp. 131-135

Don Alexo (added he) knows that while I was yet a boy, I resolved to carry arms; and that seeing our own country in profound peace, I went to Portugal, from whence I passed over into Africa with the duke of Braganza,1 who gave me employment in the army under his command. Being a younger brother of very small fortune, I was under a necessity of signalizing myself in such a manner as to attract the notice ...

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Chapter VIII. By what accident Gil Blas was obliged to seek a new place.

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pp. 136-138

Such was the story that Don Pompeio recounted, and which the valet of Don Alexo and I overheard, although they had taken the precaution of sending us away before it was begun: but instead of retiring, we stopt at the door which we had left half open, and from thence lost not a word of what was said. After this, the noblemen set in to drinking, but their debauch did not last till day; because Don Pompeio, who was ...

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Chapter IX. Of the person in whose service he engaged, after the death of Don Matthias de Silva.

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pp. 139-140

A few days after the funeral of Don Matthias, all his servants being paid and dismissed, I fixed my abode in the house of the little barber, with whom I began to live in strict friendship; and there I promised myself more pleasure than with Melendez. As I did not want money, I was in no hurry to inquire about a new place: besides, I was become nice on that point,1 and resolved to serve none but the quality for ...

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Chapter X. Which is as short as the foregoing.

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pp. 141-143

It being near play- time, my mistress bid Laura and me follow her to the theatre. We went accordingly to her tyring-room,1 where she put off her ordinary dress, and took another more magnificent for her appearance on the stage. The curtain being drawn, Laura conducted and sat down by me in a place, where we could both see and hear the actors perfectly well. I was disgusted at the greatest part of them, doubtless ...

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Chapter XI. How the players lived together; and their treatment of authors.

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pp. 143-146

I went to market next morning, in order to begin my office of butler; and as it was a meagre day, bought, by order of my mistress, some good fat pullets, rabbits, partridges, and other wild fowl; for as the gentlemen- players were not altogether satisfied with the behaviour of the church towards them, they did not think proper to adhere scrupulously to its commandments.—I brought home more victuals than would have ...

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Chapter XII. Gil Blas acquires the theatrical taste, abandons himself to the pleasures of a comic life, with which, however, he is disgusted in a little time.

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pp. 146-148

The company remained at table until the hour arrived of going to the theatre, whither they repaired in a body. I followed, and once more saw the play, which gave me such pleasure, that I resolved to take the same opportunity every day. In this I did not fail, and insensibly became reconciled to the actors; such is the force of custom: I was particularly charmed with those who ranted and distorted themselves most ...


The Contents of Volume II

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pp. 153-154


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pp. 155

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Chapter I. Gil Blas being disgusted at the irregularities of the actresses, quits the service of Arsenia, and gets into a more creditable family.

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pp. 155-158

A remnant of honour and religion, which I did not fail to preserve, amidst such corruption of morals, made me resolve not only to leave Arsenia, but also to break off all correspondence with Laura, whom, however, I could not help loving, though I was sensible of her flagrant infidelity. Happy is he who can thus profit by those moments of reflection that interrupt the pleasures which engross his attention! ...

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Chapter II. The reception that Gil Blas met with from Aurora, and the conversation that passed between them.

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pp. 158-160

I saluted Aurora, whom I found in dishabille, in the most respectful manner, and with the best grace I could put on; and she received me with a smiling air, forced me to sit down by her, and bad her ambassadress retire into another room. After this prelude, with which I was not ill pleased, she addressed herself to me in these words. “Gil Blas, you must have perceived that I look upon you in a favourable light, and distinguish you ...

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Chapter III. The great change that happened in the family of Don Vincent, and the strange resolution with which love inspired the fair Aurora.

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pp. 160-163

Soon after this adventure, Signior Don Vincent happened to fall sick; and though he had not been in such an advanced age, the symptoms of his disease were so violent, that we had reason to fear a fatal issue. When he was fi rst seized, two of the most famous physicians of Madrid were sent for. One of them was called doctor Andros, and the other doctor Oquetos, who having examined the patient with great attention, were ...

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Chapter IV. The baleful marriage. A Novel.

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pp. 164-179

Roger king of Sicily1 had a brother and a sister: the first, called Mainfroy, revolted against him, and lighted up a dangerous and bloody war in the kingdom; but had the misfortune to lose two battles, and fall into the hands of the king, who contented himself with punishing his rebellion, by depriving him of his liberty. This clemency served only to make Roger pass for a barbarian, in the opinion of one part of his ...

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Chapter V. The behaviour of Aurora de Gusman, at Salamanca.

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pp. 179-184

Ortiz, her companions, and I, having heard this relation, withdrew, and left Aurora with Elvira in the hall, where they spent the rest of the day in conversation. Far from being tired with one another, next day when we set out, they were as much affected at parting, as two friends who have long lived agreeably together. At last we arrived (without meeting any bad accident) at Salamanca,* where we immediately ...

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Chapter VI. The stratagems practised by Aurora, to captivate Don Lewis de Pacheco.

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pp. 184-189

The two new friends meeting next morning, began the day with embraces, which Aurora was obliged to give and receive, in order to act the part of Don Felix. They went out to walk, and I accompanied them with Chilindron, the valet of Don Lewis; when stopping at the university, to look at the titles of books that were pasted on the gate,1 which a good many people amused themselves in reading, I perceived a ...

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Chapter VII. Gil Blas quits his place, and goes into the service of Don Gonzales de Pacheco.

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pp. 190-195

Three weeks after this marriage, my mistress being desirous of recompensing me for the services I had done her, made me a present of an hundred pistoles, saying, “Gil Blas, my friend, far from turning you away, I leave it to your choice to stay with me as long as you please; but my husband’s uncle, Don Gonzales de Pacheco, wants to have you for a valet de chambre. I spoke to him so advantageously of you, that ...

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Chapter VIII. The character of the marchioness of Chaves, and of those people who usually visited her.

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pp. 195-198

The marchioness of Chaves1 was a widow of five and thirty, handsome, tall, and well shaped, who enjoyed a yearly income of ten thousand ducats, without the care and incumbrance of children. I never saw a woman of more gravity, or one who spoke less, though this did not hinder her from being looked upon as the most witty lady in Madrid. The great concourse of people of quality, and men of learning, who ...

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Chapter IX. The incident, in consequence of which, Gil Blas quitted the marchioness de Chaves; and the course he followed afterwards.

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pp. 198-202

I had already lived six months with the marchioness de Chaves, and I confess, was satisfied with my condition; but the destiny I had to fulfil, would not permit me to live longer in that lady’s house, nor even in Madrid: I will therefore recount the adventure that obliged me to remove from both. Among my lady’s maids, there was one called ...

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Chapter X. The story of Don Alphonso and the fair Seraphina.

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pp. 202-211

I will conceal nothing from you, father, nor from the other gentleman who hears me; for, after the generosity he shewed, I should be to blame to distrust him. Listen, therefore, to my misfortunes. I was born in Madrid, and my origin is this.—An officer of the German guards,1 called the Baron de Steinbach, going home one evening, perceived a bundle of white linen at the foot of the stair- case. He took it up and carried ...

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Chapter XI. The old hermit discovers himself, and Gil Blas perceives that he is among his acquaintance.

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pp. 211-214

Alphonso having ended the melancholy narration of his misfortunes, the old hermit said to him, “Son, you have been very imprudent in staying so long at Toledo. I look upon all you have recounted, in a light very different from that in which you see it, and your passion for Seraphina, is in my opinion, pure madness. Believe me, you must forget that young lady, who cannot possibly be yours.—Yield therefore, with a ...


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pp. 215

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Chapter I. The history of Don Raphael.

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pp. 215-253

I am the son of an actress at Madrid, whose name was Lucinda, famous for her theatrical talents, and still more for her gallantry. As for my father, I cannot, without presumption, assume any one in particular. ’Tis true, I might tell what man of quality was in love with my mother when I came into the world; but that epocha would by no means be a convincing proof of his being the author of my birth. A woman of my ...

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Chapter II. The council which Don Raphael held with his hearers, and the adventure which happened to them when they designed to quit the wood.

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pp. 254-257

When Don Raphael had ended his narration, which I thought a little tedious,1 Don Alphonso was so polite as to say, it had diverted him very much. Then Signior Ambrose opened, and addressing himself to his fellow- adventurer, “Don Raphael, (said he) consider that the sun is set; it will be proper, methinks, to deliberate upon what we are to do.” “You are in the right, (replied his comrade) we must determine ...


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pp. 259

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Chapter I. The conduct of Gil Blas and his companions, after they quitted the Count de Polan. The important project which Ambrose formed, and the manner in which it was executed.

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pp. 259-264

The Count de Polan having spent one half of the night in thanking and assuring us, that we might depend upon his gratitude, called the landlord, in order to consult with him about the means of getting in safety to Turis, whither he designed to go. We left that nobleman to take his measures accordingly; and departing from the inn, followed the road that Lamela was pleased to choose. ...

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Chapter II. The resolution which Don Alphonso and Gil Blas formed after this adventure.

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pp. 264-266

We travelled all night, according to our laudable custom, and found ourselves at break of day, near a little village two leagues from Segorba. As we were all fatigued, we willingly quitted the highway, to get among some willows, which we perceived at the bottom of a little hill, ten or twelve hundred paces from the village, in which we did not think proper to stop. We found that the willows yielded an agreeable ...

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Chapter III. After what disagreeable incident Don Alphonso found his wishes fulfi lled; and by what adventure Gil Blas, of a sudden, saw himself in a happy situation.

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pp. 267-268

We pushed forward chearfully, as far as Bunol, where unfortunately being obliged to halt, Don Alphonso fell sick of a high fever, with violent paroxysms, which made me afraid of his life. Luckily there was no physician in the place, and I was quit for my fear: he was out of danger at the end of three days, and my care helped to reestablish his health. He shewed himself very sensible of what I had done for him; and ...


The Contents of Volume III

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pp. 273-277


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pp. 279

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Chapter I. The amours of Gil Blas and dame Lorença Sephora.

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pp. 279-283

I went accordingly to Xelva, to make restitution of the three thousand ducats,1 which we had stole from Samuel Simon: and will freely own, I was tempted on the road to convert the money to my own use, in order to begin my stewardship2 under happy auspices. This I might have done with impunity; for, had I travelled five or six days, and then returned, as if I had acquitted myself of my commission, Don Alphonso and ...

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Chapter II. The fate of Gil Blas, after he quitted the castle of Leyva, and the happy consequence that attended the bad success of his amours.

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pp. 283-288

I was mounted on a good horse of my own, with two hundred pistoles1 in my portmanteau, 2 the best part of which I had got by the banditti whom we slew, and the share of the three thousand ducats which had been stolen from Samuel Simon; for Don Alphonso, without making me restore what I had fingered, had made restitution of the whole sum out of his own pocket. Wherefore, considering my effects as wealth ...

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Chapter III. Gil Blas becomes the favourite of the archbishop, and the canal of his bounty.

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pp. 288-291

I had been in the afternoon, to fetch my baggage and horse from the inn where I had lodged; after which I returned to supper at the palace, where I found a very handsome chamber, and a down- bed, prepared for me. His grace ordered me to be called early next morning; and gave me a homily to transcribe, injoining me to copy it with all possible exactness. This I performed minutely, without having forgot either ...

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Chapter IV. The archbishop is seized with a fit of the apoplexy. The dilemma in which Gil Blas found himself, and the method he took to be extricated.

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pp. 291-293

While I thus bestowed my services on different people, Don Fernand being about to leave Grenada, I visited that nobleman before his departure, in order to thank him anew, for the excellent post which he had procured for me. I appeared to him so well satisfied with my condition, that he said, “My dear Gil Blas, I am ravished to find thee so well pleased with my uncle the archbishop.” “I am charmed with him, ...

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Chapter V. The step that Gil Blas took after the archbishop had dismissed him. His accidental meeting with the licentiate who had been so much obliged to him; with the gratitude of that priest.

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pp. 293-295

I went out of the closet, cursing the caprice, or rather weakness, of the archbishop, and more enraged against him, than afflicted at the loss of his favour. I even doubted some time, if I should go and touch my hundred ducats; but, after mature deliberation, I was not fool enough to refuse them. I considered, that this money would not deprive me of the right of ridiculing the prelate; in which, I was resolved not to be wanting, as ...

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Chapter VI. Gil Blas goes to see a play at Grenada. His astonishment at the sight of one of the actresses; and the consequences of that event.

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pp. 295-299

Garcias was no sooner out of the hall, than two well dressed cavaliers came in and sat down by me: they began to talk of the players of the Grenada company, and of a new comedy which was then on the stage. This piece, according to their discourse, made a great noise in the city; and I resolved to go and see it that very day; for I had not been at a play since my arrival at Grenada. As I had almost all that time lived in the ...

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Chapter VII. The history of Laura.

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pp. 300-307

I am going to relate, as succinctly as I can, by what accident I embraced the profession of a player. Great events happened, after you left me in such an honourable manner. My mistress Arsenia, rather tired than disgusted with the world, renounced the stage, and carried me with her, to a fine estate which she had bought near Zamora, with the price ...

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Chapter VIII. The reception which Gil Blas met with from the players of Grenada, and his finding an old acquaintance behind the scenes.

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pp. 308-309

Laura had no sooner finished her story, than an old actress, who lived in the neighbourhood, came to take her up in her way to the play-house. This venerable stage heroine would have been very proper for playing the part of the goddess Cotys.1 My sister did not fail to present her brother to this superannuated figure; upon which, a great many compliments passed on both sides. ...

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Chapter IX. He supped that evening with an extraordinary man: an account of what happened between them.

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pp. 310-311

I observed in the hall a kind of old monk cloathed in coarse grey cloath, who was at supper all alone in a corner. Sitting down out of curiosity just opposite to him, I saluted him very civilly, and he shewed himself no less polite. My pittance being brought, I began to dispatch it with a good deal of appetite; and while I ate in silence, I frequently looked at this person, whose eyes I always found fixed on mine. Fatigued ...

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Chapter X. The commission that the Marquis de Marialva gave to Gil Blas, and the manner in which that faithful secretary acquitted himself of it.

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pp. 312-314

The marquis was not yet come home from the lodgings of his actress; and I found his valets de chambre playing at primero,1 in his apartment, expecting his return. I made up to them, and we amused ourselves in making merry till two o’clock in the morning, when our master arrived. He was a little surprised to see me, and said with a gracious air, which made me guess that he returned very well satisfied with his evening’s ...

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Chapter XI. Gil Blas receives a piece of news, which is like a thunderbolt to him.

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pp. 314-315

I repaired to my eating- house, where meeting two men of a very agreeable conversation, I dined and sat at table with them, till it was time to go to the play. Then we parted: they went about their own affairs, and I took the road to the theatre. I must observe by the bye, that I had all the reason in the world to be in good humour; mirth had reigned in my conversation with these two gentlemen; my fortune had a most smiling ...

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Chapter XII. Gil Blas takes lodgings in a house where he contracts an acquaintance with captain Chinchilla. The character of that officer; with an account of the affair that brought him to Madrid.

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pp. 316-321

On my first arrival at Madrid, I fixed my habitation in a house that was let into lodgings, where lived, among other people, an old captain, who had come from the farther end of New Castile, to sollicit at court for a pension, which he thought he had but too well deserved. His name was Don Hannibal de Chinchilla. It was not without astonishment that I beheld him for the first time, being a man turned of sixty, of a ...

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Chapter XIII. Gil Blas meets his dear friend Fabricius at court; their mutual joy; they repair together to a certain place, where a curious conversation happens between them.

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pp. 321-327

I contracted a custom of going every morning to court, where I commonly spent two or three hours, in seeing the grandees pass and repass, though they appeared there without that splendor which surrounds them in other places. One day as I walked to and fro, and strutted through the apartments, making, like many others, a foolish figure enough, I perceived Fabricius, whom I had left at Valladolid, in the ...

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Chapter XIV. Fabricius introduces Gil Blas to the service of Count Galiano, a Sicilian nobleman.

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pp. 327-330

I was so desirous of seeing Fabricius again, that I visited him early next morning. “Good morrow, (said I, when I entered) Signior Don Fabricius, the flower, or rather the glow- worm,1 of the Asturian nobility!” At these words he laughed heartily. “Thou hast observed then (cried he) that I am dubbed a Don?” “Yes, Mr. Gentleman, (I replied) and give me leave to tell you, that when you recounted your metamorphosis ...

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Chapter XV. Count Galiano invests Gil Blas with an employment in his house.

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pp. 330-333

I went to fetch my baggage to my new habitation; and when I returned, the Count was at dinner, and several noblemen and the poet Nunnez, who called for what he wanted with an easy air, and mingled in the conversation. Nay, I observed that every word he spoke, afforded pleasure to the company. What a fine thing is genius! A man of wit can easily turn himself into all shapes. ...

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Chapter XVI. An accident happens to Count Galiano’s baboon, which is the cause of great affliction to that nobleman. Gil Blas falls sick; the consequence of his distemper.

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pp. 334-338

About this time, the repose of the family was strangely disturbed by an accident which will seem trifling to the reader; though it turned out a very serious matter to the servants, and especially to me: Cupid, that baboon of which I have made mention, that animal so beloved by our master, attempting one day to leap from one window to another, acquitted himself so ill in the performance, that he fell down into the ...


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pp. 339

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Chapter I. Gil Blas contracts a good acquaintance, and obtains a post that consoles him for Count Galiano’s ingratitude. The history of Don Valerio de Luna.

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pp. 339-342

My not having heard of Nunnez all this time, surprized me so much, that I concluded he must be in the country: and as soon as I could walk, went to his lodgings, where I understood that he had actually gone to Andalousia, three weeks before, with the Duke de Medina Sidonia. One morning, at waking, Don Melchior de la Ronda came into my head; and remembering that I had promised to him, while I was ...

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Chapter II. Gil Blas is presented to the Duke of Lerma, who receives him into the number of his secretaries; sets him to work, and is satisfied with his performance.

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pp. 342-346

Monteser was the person who informed me of these agreeable news, and said, “Friend Gil Blas, though I feel some regret in losing you, I love you too well, not to be overjoyed at your succeeding Don Valerio. You will not fail to make a fine fortune, provided you follow two pieces of advice which I have to give you. The first is, to appear so much attached to his excellency, that he shall never doubt of your being ...

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Chapter III. He learns that his post is not altogether without mortifications. His uneasiness at this piece of news, which obliges him to alter his conduct.

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pp. 346-348

I was at great pains, when I entered, to let the landlord know that I was secretary to the prime minister; and in that quality, I did not know what to order for my dinner: I was afraid of bespeaking something that might savour of parsimony, and therefore bad him dress what he himself should think proper. Accordingly, he regaled me in a sumptuous manner, and I was served with marks of respect which gave me still more ...

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Chapter IV. Gil Blas gains the favour of the duke of Lerma, who intrusts him with a secret of great importance.

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pp. 348-349

Although his grace, to use the expression, only just appeared before me, and vanished again, every day; I insensibly rendered myself so agreeable to his excellency, that he said to me one afternoon, “Hark’ye, Gil Blas, I like thy disposition and understanding, and have a regard for thee accordingly. Thou art a zealous faithful young fellow, extremely intelligent and discreet; so that I don’t think I shall misplace ...

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Chapter V. Gil Blas is overwhelmed with joy, honour and distress.

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pp. 350-352

The minister’s affection for me was soon perceived; for he affected to give marks of it in public, giving me the charge of his porto-folio, which he used to carry in his own hand to council. This novelty making people look upon me as a small favourite, excited the envy of several persons; and was the occasion of my receiving a great deal of court holy water. My two neighbours, the secretaries, were not the last in complimenting ...

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Chapter VI. The manner in which Gil Blas informs the duke of Lerma of his necessity, and that minister’s behaviour on the occasion.

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pp. 352-355

While the king was at the Escurial, he defrayed the expence of every body; so that there I did not feel where the shoe pinched:1 I lay in a wardrobe,2 just by the bed- chamber of the duke; who one morning, rising as usual at break of day, made me take some papers and a standish,3 and follow him into the palace-garden. We went and sat down under a tuft of trees, where I put myself, by his order, into the posture ...

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Chapter VII. The good use to which he put his fifteen hundred ducats; the first affair in which he intermedled, and the profit from thence accruing.

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pp. 355-356

The king, as if he had intended to gratify my impatience, returned the very next day, to Madrid; upon which, I flew instantly to the royal treasury, where I immediately touched the sum contained in my order. I now listened to nothing but my vanity and ambition; I abandoned my miserable room to those secretaries who are still ignorant of the language of birds, and once more hired my fine apartment, which was ...

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Chapter VIII. The history of Don Roger de Rada.

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pp. 356-361

Don Anastasio de Rada, a Grenadine gentleman, lived happily in the town of Antequera, with Donna Estephania his wife, who together with unblemished virtue, possessed a gentle disposition and a great share of beauty. If she had a tender affection for her husband, he was also distractedly fond of her, and being naturally addicted to jealousy, (though he had not the least cause to suspect her fidelity) was not without ...

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Chapter IX. Gil Blas finds means to make a considerable fortune in a very short time, and gives himself great airs accordingly.

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pp. 361-366

This affair quickened my appetite; and ten pistoles which I gave to Scipio, for his right of brokerage, encouraged him to go upon the scent again. I have already extolled his talents in this way: he might have been justly entitled the great Scipio.1 The second customer he brought, was a printer, who, in despite of common sense, had enriched himself by books of knight-errantry. This honest tradesman had pirated a work ...

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Chapter X The morals of Gil Blas are intirely corrupted at court. He is charged with a commission by the Count de Lemos, and engages in an intrigue with that nobleman.

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pp. 366-370

As soon as I was known to be in favour with the Duke of Lerma, I had a court of my own. Every morning, my anti-chamber was full of people, and I gave audience at my levee. Two kinds of company came thither; one, to buy my interest with the minister for favours; and the other to move me by supplications, to obtain for them what they wanted, gratis. The first were sure of being heard and assisted; but with regard ...

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Chapter XI. The private visit and presents which the prince of Spain made to Catalina.

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pp. 370-372

I went that instant with five hundred double pistoles to the Count de Lemos, who told me, “You could not come in better season. I have spoke to the prince; he has bit at the hook, and burns with impatience to see Catalina. This very night he intends to slip privately out of the palace, in order to visit her. It is a thing determined, and our measures are taken accordingly. Inform the ladies of his resolution, and give them that ...

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Chapter XII. Catalina’s real character. The perplexity and uneasiness of Gil Blas. The precaution he was obliged to take for his own quiet.

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pp. 373-374

Just as I entered my own house, I heard a great noise; and enquiring into the cause, was told, Scipio that evening treated half- a- dozen of his friends, who sung full throat, and frequently broke out in loud fi ts of laughter; so that assuredly this repast could not be properly stiled the banquet of the seven wise men. The master of the feast, advertised of my arrival, said to his company, “Gentlemen, ...

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Chapter XIII. Gil Blas continues to act the man of consequence. Hears news of his family, which make but small impression upon him, and quarrels with Fabricius.

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pp. 375-377

I have already observed, that in the morning my antichamber was usually crowded with people who came to make proposals, but I would not receive them viva voce; and, according to the custom at court, or rather with a view of exhibiting my own importance, I said to each sollicitor,1 “Give in a memorial.” I was so much used to this, that one day I answered in these words to my landlord, who came to put me in mind ...


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pp. 379

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Chapter I. Scipio advises Gil Blas to marry, proposes the daughter of a rich and noted goldsmith for his wife: the steps which were taken in consequence of this advice.

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pp. 379-381

One evening, after the company which had supped with me was gone, seeing myself alone with Scipio, I asked what he had done that day? “A master- piece, (he replied) I intend to have you married to the only daughter of a goldsmith of my acquaintance.” “The daughter of a goldsmith! (cried I, with an air of disdain) hast thou lost thy senses? How canst thou propose a wife from the city? One who has certainly ...

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Chapter II. Gil Blas, by accident, remembers Don Alphonso de Leyva, and does him a piece of service, out of vanity.

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pp. 381-383

The order of my history requires, that I should leave my marriage for a moment, to recount the service which I did to Don Alphonso my old master, whom I had intirely forgotten till now, that I remembered him on this occasion. The government of the city of Valencia1 became vacant; and when I heard this piece of news, I thought of Don Alphonso de Leyva. I reflected, that this employment would suit him admirably ...

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Chapter III. The preparations for the marriage of Gil Blas, and the great event that rendered them useless.

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pp. 383-385

Let us return to my fair Gabriela, whom I was to marry in eight- days. Both parties prepared for the ceremony: Salero took off rich cloaths1 for the bride; and I hired a chambermaid, a page, and an old squire, for her attendants. All this was ordered by Scipio, who waited even more impatiently than I, for the day on which the dowry was to be paid. On the evening preceding the day so much ...

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Chapter IV. The treatment of Gil Blas in the tower of Segovia, and the manner in which he learned the cause of his imprisonment.

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pp. 386-388

They began with putting me into a dungeon, where I was left upon straw, like a malefactor worthy of death. Here I passed the night, not in deploring my condition, for, as yet, I had not perceived the whole of my misfortune, but in tasking my remembrance, to find out the cause of my imprisonment. I did not doubt that it was the work of Calderona; nevertheless, though I suspected that he had discovered the ...

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Chapter V. His reflections before he went to sleep, and an account of the noise that waked him.

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pp. 388-390

I spent two hours at least, in reflecting upon what Tordesillas had told me. I am confined here, then, said I to myself, for having contributed to the pleasures of the heir apparent. How imprudent was I, in doing services of that kind, to so young a prince: for, his tender years alone make me guilty. Had he been in a more advanced age, the king would, perhaps, have laughed at that which now incenses him so much. But who ...

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Chapter VI. The history of Don Gaston de Cogollos, and Donna Helena de Galisteo.

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pp. 390-401

Not much less than four years ago, I set out from Madrid for Coria, to visit Donna Eleonora de Laxarilla, my aunt, one of the richest widows in Old Castile, whose heir I am. I was no sooner arrived at her house, than love began to invade my repose. The windows of my apartment faced the lattices of a lady, who lived opposite to my aunt’s house; and I could easily perceive her, by the assistance of the width of her ...

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Chapter VII.Scipio finds Gil Blas in the tower of Segovia, and tells him a great deal of news.

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pp. 401-403

Our conversation was interrupted by Tordesillas, who coming into the chamber, addressed himself to me in these terms. “Signior Gil Blas, I have been speaking to a young man who presented himself at the prison- gate, and asked if you was not in confinement here. When I refused to satisfy his curiosity, he seemed very much mortified. ‘Noble captain (said he, with tears in his eyes) don’t reject the humble request ...

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Chapter VIII. The motives and success of Scipio’s first journey to Madrid. Gil Blas falls sick: the consequence of his distemper.

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pp. 403-405

If it be usually observed, that we have no greater enemies than our domesticks; it must likewise be owned, that when they happen to be faithful and affectionate, they are our best friends. After the zeal that Scipio had manifested, I could not look upon him but as another self. There was, therefore, no more subordination between Gil Blas and his secretary; no more ceremony: they lodged together in the same room, using ...

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Chapter IX.Scipio returns to Madrid, and procures the enlargement of Gil Blas, on certain conditions. What course they steer together, when they leave the tower of Segovia, and the conversation that passes between them.

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pp. 406-407

Scipio set out once more for Madrid; and I, in expectation of his return, applied myself to reading, being furnished with more books than I wanted, by Tordesillas, who borrowed them from an old commander that could not read, though he had a fine library, to maintain the appearance of a literati. I loved, in particular, good works of morality, because I found in them, every moment, passages that flattered my aversion for ...

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Chapter X. Their behaviour at Madrid. Gil Blas meets a certain person in the street. The consequence of that meeting.

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pp. 408-410

When we arrived at Madrid, we alighted at a small house, where Scipio had lodged in his expeditions; and the first thing we did, was to repair to Salero, in order to retrieve our doubloons. He gave us a very civil reception, and expressed a good deal of joy in seeing me at liberty. “I protest to you, (said he) I was so much affected with your misfortune, that I conceived a disgust at all alliances with courtiers, their fortunes ...


The Contents of Volume IV

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pp. 415-419


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pp. 421

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Chapter I. Gil Blas sets out for the Asturias; passes through Valladolid, where he visits his old master doctor Sangrado, and meets, by accident, with Signior Manuel Ordonnez, director of the hospital.

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pp. 421-425

While I was getting ready for my departure from Madrid, with Scipio, on my journey to the Asturias, Pope Paul the fifth named the Duke of Lerma to the cardinalship. The Pope being desirous of establishing the inquisition1 in the kingdom of Naples,2 invested the minister with the purple, that he might engage him to make King Philip consent to such a laudable design. All those who were well acquainted with ...

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Chapter II. Gil Blas continues his journey, and arrives safely at Oviedo. The condition in which he found his parents. The death of his father, and the consequences thereof.

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pp. 426-431

From Valladolid, we got in four days to Oviedo, without meeting with any bad accident on the road, notwithstanding the proverb, which says, that robbers smell the money of travellers afar off. We should have been, however, a pretty good booty; and two inhabitants of the cavern would have been sufficient to carry off our doubloons1 with ease; for I had not learned to grow valiant at court; and Bertrand, my Moço de ...

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Chapter III. Gil Blas departs for the kingdom of Valencia, and at length arrives at Lirias. A description of his house. His reception; with an account of the people he found there.

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pp. 431-435

We took the road to Leon, then to Valencia; and continuing our journey, by small stages, in ten days arrived at the city of Segorba: from whence, next morning, we repaired to my estate, which is but three leagues distant from it. As we drew near this place, my secretary observed, with great attention, all the country- seats that presented themselves to his view, on the right and left; and when he perceived one of a ...

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Chapter IV. He departs for Valencia, to visit the noblemen of Leyva. His conversation with them, and the kind reception he met with from Seraphina.

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pp. 435-437

I undressed, and went to bed; where feeling no inclination to sleep, I abandoned myself to reflection. I represented to myself the friendship with which the noblemen of Leyva repaid my attachment to them; and, penetrated with those new marks of their affection, resolved to go, the very next day, and satisfy the longing impatience I had of seeing and thanking them for their favours. I likewise enjoyed, by anticipation, the ...

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Chapter V. Gil Blas goes to the play, where he sees a new tragedy acted. The success of that performance, with the public taste of Valencia.

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pp. 438-439

I stopt some minutes at the door, to view the people who went in; and observed, that they consisted of all ranks. I saw cavaliers of a genteel mien, and richly dressed, and some figures as ordinary as the cloaths they wore. I perceived ladies of quality alight from their coaches, and go to the boxes, which they had ordered to be bespoke; and female adventurers go in with a view of alluring cullies.1 This concourse of all sorts of ...

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Chapter VI. Gil Blas walking through the streets of Valencia meets a friar whom he thinks he knows. An account of that friar.

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pp. 440-443

As I had not seen the whole city in my first excursion, I went out next day, with an intention to take another walk; and perceived in the street a Carthusian friar,1 who, doubtless, was going to perform the affairs of his community. He walked with downcast eyes, and so devout an air, that he attracted the notice of every body. As he passed close by me, I looked at him with attention, and thought I saw in him the very ...

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Chapter VII. Gil Blas returns to his castle of Lirias. Hears an agreeable piece of news from Scipio. And makes a reform in his house keeping.

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pp. 443-445

I spent eight days at Valencia in high taste, living among counts and marquises. Shews, balls, concerts, entertainments, conversations with the ladies, and other amusements, I enjoyed by the favour of the governor and his lady, to whom I paid my court so successfully, that when I set out for Lirias, they were sorry to part with me. They even obliged me to promise, that I would divide my time between them and my ...

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Chapter VIII. The amours of Gil Blas and the fair Antonia.

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pp. 445-449

Two days after my return from Valencia to Lirias, Basil the labourer, my farmer, came in the morning to ask leave to present Antonia his daughter, who (he said) wanted to have the honour of saluting her new master. I told him, that it would give me great pleasure; upon which, he went out, and returned soon after with the fair Antonia. I think I may give that epithet to a maid of sixteen or eighteen years, who, ...

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Chapter IX. The manner in which the nuptials of Gil Blas and the fair Antonia were celebrated; and the rejoicings with which they were attended.

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pp. 449-452

Although I was under no necessity of obtaining the permission of the noblemen of Leyva, Scipio and I concluded, that we could not, in honour, omit imparting to them, my design of marrying Basil’s daughter, and of asking their consent, out of good manners. I set out immediately for Valencia, where they were as much surprized to see me, as to hear the cause of my journey. Don Caesar and his son having seen Antonia more ...

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Chapter X. What followed the marriage of Gil Blas and the fair Antonia. The beginning of Scipio’s history.

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pp. 452-466

On the very next day after my marriage, the lords of Leyva returned to Valencia, after having given me a thousand new marks of friendship; so that my secretary and I remained in the house, with our wives and servants only. The care which both of us took to please the ladies, was not ineffectual; in a little time, I inspired my wife with as much love for me, as I had for her; and Scipio made his spouse ...

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Chapter XI. The sequel of Scipio’s history.

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pp. 466-472

As long as my money lasted, the landlord treated me with great respect; but no sooner did he perceive that my finances were exhausted, than he looked cool upon me, picked a quarrel,1 and one morning early, desired me to leave his house. I quitted it with disdain, and went into a church belonging to the Dominicans,2 where, while I heard mass, an old Mendicant3 came, and asked alms of me. I took two or three ...

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Chapter XII. The conclusion of Scipio’s history.

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pp. 472-481

Bad example sometimes produces good effects. The conduct of young Velasquez, made me reflect seriously upon my own; I began to combat my thievish inclinations, and live like an honest man. The habit of seizing all the money I could lay my hands on, was so much confirmed in me, by repeated acts, that it was not easily vanquished. Nevertheless, I did not despair of succeeding, imagining, that to become ...


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pp. 483

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Chapter I. Gil Blas is overwhelmed with joy, which is disturbed by a melancholy event. Such changes happen at court, as induce Santillane to go thither again.

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pp. 483-485

I have already observed, that there was great harmony between Antonia and Beatrice; the last being used to live like a submissive waiting- woman, and the other habituating herself to act the mistress. Scipio and I were husbands of too much gallantry, and too well beloved by our wives, to be long without children: they grew pregnant almost at the same time. Beatrice, who was the first delivered, brought into the world ...

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Chapter II. Gil Blas arrives at Madrid, and appears at court: the King remembers and recommends him to his prime minister. The consequence of that recommendation.

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pp. 486-489

We gained Madrid in less than eight days, Don Alphonso having accommodated us with two of his best horses, that we might make the greater dispatch; and we alighted at a furnished house where I lodged before, belonging to Vincent Forrero, my old landlord, who was very glad to see me again. As this was a man who piqued himself upon knowing every thing that happened, both at ...

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Chapter III. Gil Blas is hindered from executing his resolution to leave the court, and receives an important piece of service from Joseph Navarro.

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pp. 489-491

On my return to my lodging, I met my old friend Joseph Navarro, clerk of the kitchen to Don Balthazar de Zuniga.1 I went up to him, saluted him, and asked if he knew me, and if he would still be so good as to speak to a wretch who had repaid his friendship with ingratitude. “You confess then, (said he) that you have not used me extremely well?” “Yes; (answered I) and you have a right to load me with reproaches: ...

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Chapter IV. Gil Blas acquires the love of Count d’Olivares.

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pp. 491-493

I did not fail to return in the afternoon, and call for the steward, whose name was Don Raymond Caporis. I no sooner told him my name, than, saluting me with great demonstrations of respect, “Signior, (said he) follow me if you please: I will conduct you to the apartment which is destined for you in this house.” So saying, he carried me by a little stair to a range of five or six rooms, which composed the second ...

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Chapter V. The private conversation which Gil Blas had with Navarro, and the first business in which he was employed by the Count d’Olivares.

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pp. 493-495

As soon as I saw Joseph, I told him with some agitation, that I had a great many things to communicate: upon which, he carried me to a private place; where, after having informed him of what had happened, I asked his opinion of the matter. “My opinion (answered he) is, that you are in the way of making a vast fortune: every thing smiles upon you: you are agreeable to the prime- minister; and another thing which ...

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Chapter VI. The use to which Gil Blas put his three hundred pistoles; and his charge to Scipio: with the success of the above- mentioned memorial.

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pp. 495-497

This favour of the minister furnished Scipio with a new opportunity of congratulating my return to court.1 “You see (said he) that fortune has great designs in your favour. Are you now sorry for having quitted your solitude? Long life to the Count d’Olivares! he is quite another sort of a patron than his predecessor. The Duke of Lerma, though you was so much attached to him, let you languish several months, ...

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Chapter VII. By what accident, in what place and condition, Gil Blas found his friend Fabricius; and the conversation that happened between them.

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pp. 498-500

Nothing gave more pleasure to the Count, than to know the opinion which the people of Madrid had of his conduct in the ministry. He asked me every day, what people said of him; and even maintained spies, who brought him an exact account of what passed in the city. They reported to him every word which they heard; and as he ordered them to be sincere, his self- love suffered sometimes; for the people have an ...

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Chapter VIII. Gil Blas becomes more and more beloved by his master. Scipio returns to Madrid, and gives an account of his journey to Santillane.

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pp. 500-501

The Count d’Olivares, whom henceforth I shall call the Count- Duke,1 because the King was pleased about this time to honour him with that title, had a foible which I discovered, very much to my own advantage; and this was a desire of being beloved. As soon as he perceived that any one attached himself to him thro’ inclination, he immediately conceived a friendship for that adherent. ...

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Chapter IX. How, and to whom the Count-Duke married his only daughter, with the bitter fruits which that marriage produced.

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pp. 502-503

Soon after the return of Coscolina’s son, the Count- Duke fell into a profound reverie, in which he remained for the space of eight whole days. I imagined that he was meditating some great stroke of politicks; but the subject of his musing regarded his own family only. “Gil Blas, (said he to me one afternoon) thou must have perceived that I am a good deal perplexed in mind. Yes, my child, I am wholly engrossed ...

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Chapter X. Gil Blas by accident meets the poet Nunnez, who tells him, that he has composed a tragedy, which is immediately to be represented on the prince’s theatre. The bad success of that piece, with the surprizing good luck which attended its fall.

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pp. 504-506

The Minister began to be consoled, and I of consequence to resume my good humour, when one evening I went out all alone to take the air in my coach, and met in my way the Asturian poet, whom I had not seen since he quitted the hospital. He being very well dressed, I took him into the coach, and we drove together to St. Jerome’s meadow.1 “Mr. Nunnez, (said I to him) I think ...

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Chapter XI. Santillane obtains an employment for Scipio, who departs for New-Spain.

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pp. 506-507

My secretary could not without envy look upon the unexpected good fortune of the poet Nunnez, which was the sole subject of his discourse during eight whole days. “I admire (said he) the caprice of fortune, that sometimes delights in loading a detestable author with wealth, while she leaves men of genius in misery; I wish she would take it in her head to enrich me also in the space of one night.” “That may very ...

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Chapter XII. Don Alphonso de Leyva comes to Madrid; the motive of his journey. Gil Blas is afflicted at the cause, but rejoices at the consequence of it.

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pp. 507-509

Scipio was scarce gone, when a page belonging to the minister brought to me a billet containing these words, “If Signior de Santillane will give himself the trouble to call at St. Gabriel’s head in Toledo street,1 he will there see one of his best friends.” “Who can this anonymous friend be? (said I to myself.) Why does he conceal his name? he wants, I suppose, to give me the pleasure of surprize.” I went out immediately ...

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Chapter XIII. Gil Blas meets Don Gaston de Cogollos, and Don Andrea de Tordesillas, at the palace. The conclusion of the story of Don Gaston and Donna Helena de Galisteo. Santillane does an important piece of service to Tordesillas.

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pp. 509-513

I swam in joy for having so luckily changed a displaced governour into a viceroy: even the Lords of Levya were less pleased at it, than I was. I soon had another opportunity of employing my credit for a friend; which I think I should relate, to persuade the reader, that I was no longer the same Gil Blas who sold the favours of the court, under the preceding ministry. ...

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Chapter XIV. Santillane visits the poet Nunnez: an account of the persons whom he found, and the discourse which he heard at his lodgings.

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pp. 513-515

One afternoon, I was seized with an inclination of visiting the Asturian poet, being curious to know how he was lodged. I went accordingly, to the house of Signior Don Bertrand Gomez de Ribero, and asking for Nunnez, “He does not live here: (said the porter) but lodges there at present, having hired the back- side of the house.” So saying, he pointed to a house in the neighbourhood, whither I went, and after having ...


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pp. 517

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Chapter I. Gil Blas is sent to Toledo by the minister: the motive and success of his journey.

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pp. 517-522

During a whole month almost, his Grace had been saying to me every day, “Santillane, the time draws near when I shall set thy address to work;” and still this time did not come. At length, however, it arrived; and his Excellency spoke to me in these words: “It is reported, that in the company of players belonging to Toledo, there is a young actress whose talents make a great noise: it is said that she dances and sings ...

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Chapter II. Santillane gives an account of his commission to the minister, who employs him to bring Lucretia to Madrid. The arrival of that actress, and her appearance at court.

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pp. 522-523

At my return to Madrid, I found the Count- Duke very impatient to know the success of my journey. “Gil Blas, (said he) hast thou seen this same actress? Is she worth bringing to court?” “My lord, (I replied) fame, which usually praises beauties more than they deserve, has not said enough in commendation of young Lucretia; she is an admirable creature, both as to her person and talents.” “Is it possible! (cried ...

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Chapter III. Lucretia makes a great noise at court, and acts before the King, who falls in love with her. The consequences of his passion.

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pp. 523-526

The appearance of two new actresses soon made a noise at court; the very next day it was spoke of at the King’s Levee. Some noblemen extolled young Lucretia in particular, and drew such a beautiful picture of her, that the Monarch was struck with it: but dissembling the impression which their discourses made upon his heart, he seemed to take no notice of what they said.1 Nevertheless, as soon as he found ...

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Chapter IV. Santillane is invested by the minister with a new employment.

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pp. 526-527

I was also sensibly affected by the misfortune of Lucretia, and felt such remorse for having contributed to it, that looking upon myself as an infamous wretch, in spite of the quality of the lover whose passion I had served, I resolved to abandon the Caduceus1for ever. I even expressed to the minister the reluctance I had to bear it, and begged he would employ me in something else. “Santillane, (said he) I am charmed ...

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Chapter V. The son of the Genoese lady is owned by an authentic act, and called Don Henry Philip de Guzman. Santillane forms the family of that young nobleman, and hires all sorts of masters for him.

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pp. 528-529

The Count- Duke in a little time actually owned the son of Donna Margarita Spinola, and the deed was executed with the consent and inclination of the King. Don Henry Philip de Guzman (for that was the name given to this child of many fathers) was declared sole heir of the Count d’Olivares, and of the dutchy of San Lucar. The minister, that no body might be ignorant of this event, ordered Carnero to communicate ...

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Chapter VI. Scipio returning from New- Spain, Gil Blas settles him in the service of Don Henry. The studies of that young nobleman, with the honours which were conferred upon him, and an account of the lady to whom he was married. Gil Blas becomes noble i

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pp. 529-531

I had not as yet compleated the half of Don Henry’s family, when Scipio returned from Mexico. I asked him if he was satisfied with his voyage, and he answered, “I have reason to be so; since, with three thousand ducats in specie, I have brought over twice as much in merchandize of the consumption1 of this country.” “I congratulate thee, my child, (I replied.) Thy fortune is now begun; and it is in thy power to compleat ...

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Chapter VII. Gil Blas meets Fabricius again by accident. The last conversation that happened between them, and the important advice which Nunnez gave to Santillane.

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pp. 531-532

The Asturian poet (as must have been observed by the reader) willingly neglected me, and my occupations did not permit me to visit him. I had not seen him since the day of the dissertation on the Iphigenia of Euripides, when chance again threw him in my way near the gate of the sun. He was coming out of a printing- house, and I accosted him, saying, “Aha! Mr. Nunnez, you have been at the printer’s, that seems ...

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Chapter VIII. Gil Blas is convinced of the truth of Fabricius’s intelligence. The King goes to Saragossa.

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pp. 533-534

Nevertheless, what the Asturian poet had told me, was not without foundation. There was in the palace, a secret confederacy formed against the Count- Duke, and the Queen was said to be at the head of it;1 but none of the measures which they took to displace the minister, transpired: nay, a whole year passed, before I perceived that his favour had received the least shock. ...

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Chapter IX. The revolution of Portugal, and the disgrace of the Count- Duke.

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pp. 534-536

A few days after the King’s return, a very disagreeable piece of news spread all over Madrid. It was reported that the Portugueze, looking upon the revolt of the Catalonians as a fair occasion offered to them by fortune, for shaking off the Spanish yoke, had taken up arms, and chosen the Duke of Braganza for their King; that they were resolved to maintain him on the throne, and were confident of success; Spain having ...

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Chapter X. The anxiety and cares which at first disturbed the repose of the Count-Duke, and the happy tranquility by which they were succeeded. The occupations of the minister in his retreat.

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pp. 536-537

Madam d’Olivares let her husband set out for Loeches, and staid a few days after him at court, with a design to try, if by her tears and intreaties, she could not effect his being recalled: but in vain did she prostrate herself before their Majesties; the King had no regard to her remonstrances, tho’ artfully prepared; and the Queen, who hated her mortally, beheld her tears with pleasure. The minister’s wife was not ...

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Chapter XI. The Count- Duke becomes, all of a sudden, sad and thoughtful: the surprizing cause of his melancholy, with its fatal consequence.

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pp. 538-539

His grace, in order to vary his occupations, amused himself sometimes, also, in cultivating his garden. One day while I beheld him at work, he said to me in a jocular strain: “Santillane, thou seest a minister banished from court, turned gardiner at Loeches.” “My lord, (answered I in the same tone) me thinks I see Dionysus of Syracuse, school- master at Corinth.”1 My master smiled at my reply, and was not at all ...

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Chapter XII. The transactions at the castle of Loeches, after the death of the Count- Duke; and the departure of Santillane.

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pp. 541-542

The minister, according to his own direction, being buried without noise and pomp, in the convent of nuns, by the sound of our lamentations; after the funeral, Madam d’Olivares ordered the will to be read, with which all the domestics had reason to be satisfied. Every one had a legacy proportioned to his station; and the least was two thousand crowns: mine was the most considerable; his Grace having bequeathed ...

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Chapter XIII. Gil Blas returns to his castle, where he is overjoyed to find Seraphina, his god- daughter, marriageable: and falls in love with another lady.

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pp. 542-544

I spent fifteen days on the road to Lirias, being under no necessity of travelling fast: all that I desired was, to arrive at it safely; and my wish was accomplished. The sight of my castle at first inspired me with some melancholy thoughts, in recalling the memory of Antonia: but I soon banished them, by entertaining my fancy with more pleasant ideas: and this I could the more easily do, as twenty years, which were elapsed since her ...

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Chapter the Last. The double marriage celebrated at Lirias, which concludes the history of Gil Blas de Santillane.

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pp. 545-548

Scipio, by this discourse, encouraged me to declare myself the lover of Dorothea, without considering that he exposed me to the risk of a refusal: I could not, however, determine upon it without trembling: for, although I looked younger than I was, and could have sunk ten good years at least of my age, I could not help thinking I had good reason to doubt of my pleasing a young beauty. I resolved, nevertheless, to risk ...

Notes to the Text

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pp. 549-606

Textual Commentary

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pp. 607-612

List of Emendations

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pp. 613-632

Textual Notes

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pp. 633


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pp. 635-636

Historical Collation

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pp. 637-686

Bibliographical Descriptions

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pp. 687-693


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pp. 695-698

E-ISBN-13: 9780820337326
E-ISBN-10: 0820337323
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820335728
Print-ISBN-10: 082033572X

Page Count: 740
Illustrations: 37 b&w illustrations
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: The Works of Tobias Smollett