The Devil in Love
The narrative is conducted on behalf of a young Spanish nobleman, who almost fell prey to diabolical intrigues. When Don Alvar Maravillas was twenty-five years old, he served as captain of the Guard of the King of Naples. Officers often indulged in philosophical conversations, and one day the conversation turned to kabbalistic: some considered it a serious science, others saw in it only a source for rascal and deceit of the gullible. Don Alvar kept silent and looked closely at his eldest colleague, the Flemish Soberano. As it turned out, he had power over the secret forces. Alvar wished immediately to join this great science, and on the warnings of the teacher thoughtlessly answered what would be behind the ears of the prince of darkness.
Soberano invited the young man to dine with his two friends. After the meal the whole company went to the ruins of Portici. In a cave with a vaulted ceiling the Flemish traced a circle with his cane,
inscribed some signs into it and called the formula of the spell. Then everyone left, and Don Alvar was left alone. He was ill at ease, but he was afraid to be known as an empty fanfaron and therefore fulfilled all the regulations, calling Beelzebub’s name three times. Suddenly a window opened in the vault, a stream of blinding light poured in and a disgusting head of a camel with huge ears appeared. Opening the mouth, the ghost asked in Italian: “What do you want?” Don Alvar almost lost his senses at the sound of a terrible voice, but managed to master himself and spoke in such an imperative tone that the devil came to embarrassment. Don Alvar ordered him to appear in a more proper manner – for example, in the form of a dog. Then the camel stretched his neck to the very middle of the cave and spat on the floor a small white spaniel with silky hair. It was a bitch, and the boy gave her the name of Biondette. On the orders of Alvar, a rich table was laid. Bjondett first appeared in the image of a musician-virtuoso, and then – a charming page. Soberano and his companions could not hide their
amazement and fright, but the young officer’s cocky confidence somewhat calmed them. Then a magnificent coach was brought to the ruins. On the way to Naples, Bernadillo (that’s the name of one of Soberano’s friends) suggested that Don Alvar had made an amazing deal, since no one had ever been served with such kindness. The young man remained silent, but felt a vague alarm and decided to get rid of his page as soon as possible. Here Biondette began to cry out to the feeling of honor: a Spanish nobleman can not drive out even a despicable courtesan at such a late hour, not to mention the girl who sacrificed everything to him. Don Alvar yielded: after giving up the services of the alleged servant, he undressed and lay down, but the face of the page seemed to him everywhere-even on the canopy of the bed. In vain he reminded himself of an ugly ghost – the abomination of a camel only set off the charm of Biondette.
From these painful reflections the bed was broken, and the young man fell to the floor. When the frightened Biondette rushed to him, he ordered her not to run around the room barefoot and in the same shirt – so not for long and catch a cold. The next morning, Biondette confessed that she loved Alvar for the valor she had shown in the face of the terrible vision, and she took a bodily shell to connect with her hero. He is in danger: the slanderers want to declare him a necromancer and hand him over to a well-known court. They both need to escape from Naples, but first he must utter the magic formula: accept Biondette’s ministry and take it under his protection. Don Alvar muttered the words suggested to him, and the girl exclaimed that she would become the happiest creature in the world. The boy had to accept that the demon took all travel expenses. On the way to Venice, Don Alvar fell into a kind of numbness and woke up already in the apartments of the best hotel in the city. He went to his mother’s banker, and he immediately handed him two hundred sequins, which Dona Mencia sent through the stables of Miguel Pimientos. Alvar opened the letters: the mother complained of health and the filial inattention – she did not say a word about the kind money she had given her.
With relief, returning the debt to Biondette, the young man plunged into a whirlwind of city entertainment – he did his best to stay away from the source of his temptation. Don Alvar’s passion was a game, and everything went well until happiness changed him – he lost himself to the ground. Biondette, noticing his distress, offered his services: reluctantly, he used her knowledge and applied one unpretentious combination that proved to be unmistakable. Now Alvar was always at the money, but the anxious feeling returned – he was not sure that he would be able to remove the dangerous spirit from himself. Biondette always stood before his eyes. To distract himself from thoughts of her, he began to spend time with the company of courtesans, and the most famous of them soon fell in love with him to insanity. Alvar sincerely tried to answer this feeling, because he yearned to free himself from his secret passion, but everything was in vain – Olympia quickly realized that she had a rival. By order of a jealous courtesan, Alvar’s house was monitored, and then Biondette received an anonymous letter with threats. Alvar was struck by the extravagance of his mistress: if Olympia knew who was threatened with death! For an incomprehensible reason for himself, he could never call this being a real name. Meanwhile, Biondette clearly suffered from Alvar’s inattention and poured out her longings in musical improvisations. After listening to her song, Alvar decided to leave immediately, for the delusion became too dangerous. In addition, it seemed to him that Bernadillo was following him, once escorted him to the ruins of Portici. The porters carried Alvar’s belongings to the gondola, Biondette followed, and at that moment the woman in the mask struck her with a dagger.
Biondette was bleeding. Out of himself from desperation, Alvar appealed for vengeance. There was a surgeon, attracted by screams. After examining the wounded, he announced that there was no hope. The young man seemed to have lost his mind: adored Biondetta was the victim of his ridiculous prejudice – he mistook her for a deceptive ghost and consciously put mortal danger. When the exhausted Alvar finally forgot his dream, his mother caught a glimpse of him: as if he was walking along with her to the ruins of Portici, and suddenly someone was pushing him into the abyss – it was Biondette! But then another hand caught him, and he found himself in the arms of his mother. Alvar woke up, choking with horror. Undoubtedly, this terrible dream was the fruit of a frustrated imagination: now it was no longer possible to doubt that Biondetta was a creature of flesh and blood. Alvar vowed to give her happiness if she did survive.
Three weeks later, Biondette woke up. Alvar surrounded her with the most tender care. She quickly recovered and blossomed every day. At last he dared to ask a question about the terrible vision in the ruins of Portici. Biondetta claimed that it was the cunning of necromancers, who were planning to humiliate and enslave Alvar. But the sylphs, salamanders and undines, admiring his courage, decided to support him, and Biondette appeared before him in the form of a dog. She was allowed to take a bodily shell for the sake of union with the sage – she voluntarily became a woman and discovered that she has a heart that belongs wholly to her lover. However, without the support of Alvar, she is doomed to become the most unhappy creature in the world.
The month passed in a delightful bliss. But when Alvar said that for marriage he needed to ask for a mother’s blessing, Biondette hit him with reproaches. The dejected youth decided, nevertheless, to go to Extremadura. Biondetta caught up with him near Turin. According to her, the villain Bernadillo grew bolder after leaving Alvar and accused her of being an evil spirit guilty of kidnapping the captain of the quartet of the King of Naples. Everyone in horror turned away from her, and with great difficulty she managed to escape from Venice. Alvar, full of remorse, still did not give up the idea of visiting his mother. It seemed that everything interfered with this intention: the carriage constantly broke down, the elements raged, horses and mules alternately came to frenzy, and Biondetta insisted that Alvar wanted to destroy them both. Not far from Extremadura, the young man caught Bert’s eyes, the sister of his wet nurse. This honest villagewoman told him that Dona Mensia was dying, for she could not bear news of the terrible behavior of her son. Despite the protests of Biondetta, Alvar ordered to drive to Maravillas, but then the axle burst again at the carriage. Fortunately, nearby was a farm belonging to the Duke of Medina Sidonia. Tenant Markoye greeted the unexpected guests, inviting them to take part in the wedding feast. Alvar entered into a conversation with two gypsies who promised to tell him a lot of interesting things, but Biondette did everything to prevent this conversation. At night, the inevitable happened – the young man, touched by the tears of his beloved, could not free himself from the sweet embrace. The next morning the happy Biondette asked not to be named more than a name that does not fit the devil – Beelzebub now waits for confessions of love. Shocked, Alvar offered no resistance, and the enemy of the human race again took possession of him, and then appeared before him in his original form – instead of a charming face on the pillow appeared the head of a disgusting camel. The monster with an indescribable laughter thrust out an endlessly long tongue and asked in a terrible voice in Italian: “What do you want?” Alvar, screwing his eyes shut, threw himself face down on the floor. When he woke up, the bright sun was shining. Farmer Markoe told him that Biondette had already left, generously paying for them both. “What do you want?” Alvar, screwing his eyes shut, threw himself face down on the floor. When he woke up, the bright sun was shining. Farmer Markoe told him that Biondette had already left, generously paying for them both. “What do you want?” Alvar, screwing his eyes shut, threw himself face down on the floor. When he woke up, the bright sun was shining. Farmer Markoe told him that Biondette had already left, generously paying for them both.
Alvar got into the carriage. He was in such turmoil that he could hardly speak. In the castle he was joyfully met by his mother – alive and unharmed. The unfortunate youth fell at her feet and in a fit of repentance told of everything that had happened to him. Surprisingly listening to him, the mother said that Berta had long been bedridden with a serious illness. Dona Mensia herself did not think to send him money in excess of the stipulated content, and the good stableman Pimientos died eight months ago. Finally, the Duke of Medina Sidonia has no possessions in the places where Alvar visited. Undoubtedly, the young man became a victim of deceptive visions that enslaved his sanity. The priest immediately recalled that Alvar had avoided the greatest danger a man could suffer. But the monastery does not need to leave, because the enemy backed down. Of course, he will try to revive the charming vision of the memory – a barrier to this should be a legal marriage. If the chosen one has celestial charm and talents, Alvar will never feel tempted to take her for the devil.