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Weiger perceives a tripartite structure to the tale itself: «the story of Leandra has a discernible beginning (her life is concisely narrated from birth to the age of sixteen), a middle (the conflict of the plot) and an end (her removal to the convent)» (268)



Fajardo has rightfully pointed out the voyeurism involved (1984, 91-96).



Immerwahr links this tale with Cervantes' distrust of the pastoral: «Eugenio's denunciation of the female gender in his nanny goat is no less a burlesque descent from the posthumous love poems of Grisóstomo than his brawl with Quijote is a descent from Grisóstomo's dignified funeral. If the second pastoral thus appears to be a parody of the first, it may be that Cervantes is pointing to the inadequacy of this vehicle, with its endless stylized laments of unrequited love, for the portrayal of a vital human love capable and worthy of fulfillment» (134-35). The idea of «descent» is, I believe, outmoded: Grisóstomo suffered from an obsession as destructive as Anselmo's in El curioso impertinente and his suicide is a more serious criticism of pastoral literature's pernicious influence on life than is Eugenio's semi-comic frustration. Héctor Márquez states that this seventh tale «parece terminar con la desesperación de la protagonista pero queda sin resolver el problema de los pastores enamorados» (105), but the text does not give any evidence of desperation in Leandra; if her adherents continue grieving, that's their problem, the text seems to suggest. Williamson points out that Leandra's «reclusion does not prevent the local swains from getting themselves up as goatherds to roam about the countryside (like those others in the Marcela story) weeping for her love» ( 57, emphasis added on their role-playing). In their get-up they are to be categorized with Grisóstomo, although they are of course less passionate. Eugenio recognizes the aberrant nature of so much weeping and wailing in a passage which also prompts the reader to recall Grisóstomo: «de todos se estiende la locura, que hay quien se queje de desdén sin haberla jamás hablado, y aun quien se lamente y sienta la rabiosa enfermedad de los celos, que ella jamás dio a nadie [...].»



Edmund Gayton had a mid-seventeenth-century sensibility and, though English, may assist us in perceiving the comic underside of this tale: «The Goatherd, having laid his Goat from skipping, / Under that Embleme tels of maidens tripping: / And would insinuate into our brests, / That there are farre more women-straies, then Beasts. / If the toy take them, like the speckled Goat, / They care not for the spoile of petticoat» (279).



Fajardo links Leandra's skin-deep beauty to Vicente's «superficial charms and glittering clothes -a counterpart of her own seductiveness» (1986, 244); it is ironically fitting that he should successfully lure her with promises of enjoying the glitter and gaudery of Naples. Márquez Villanueva states that Leandra was «arrastrada de un capricho sensual [...] con pésimo juicio» (137). Compare Gayton: «Leandra, not so wise as faire, / Was taken with this pedlars ware: / His fabulous stories she adores, / As Desdemona did the Moors» (280).



Doña Lorenza in El viejo celoso felt the same yearnings which are implied for Leandra, but in her case it was the vecina Ortigosa who promised a cure by «spiriting» a young galán into her chamber (and arms): «Quizá con esta [vida] que ahora se comenzará, se le quitará toda esa mala gana y le vendrá otra más saludable y que más la contente» (Entremeses 223). The Cañizares-Carrizales complex of zealous protection-preservation is an undercurrent in Eugenio's tale as well.



«Imagen de milagros está dicho por imagen notoriamente milagrosa, a la cual van a visitar devotamente desde tierras lejanas» (Rodríguez-Marín 244, n. 12). Were one as socarrón as Sancho, the only miracle attributable might be the preservation of her own virginity, but of course we have yet to answer the Question. And isn't it curious that never, to my immediate knowledge, has Leonisa in El amante liberal prompted the same query, she who spent a week in a cave with seven Turks who, like her, had survived a shipwreck, yet she says she emerged inviolate? But of course that preservation is central to Cervantes' purpose: «La pareja Ricardo-Leonisa se destaca idealmente dentro del marco de lascivias y desatadas pasiones que despierta, pero cuya violencia no mancha ni el puro amor del héroe ni la virtud de su amada» (Rodríguez-Luis 23, emphasis added).



Ullman imputes a motive which the text does not seem to substantiate: «Leandra swears about a past non-performance of a man in order to save herself, and it is the spectators within the novel who doubt it. The reader, though, must come to his own conclusion» (318, emphasis added); in a footnote he adds: «We might compare Leandra with Zoraida, whose virginity is likewise dubious, depending on what we know about pirates. The captive's statement is really de rigueur». Might not Eugenio's also be such, albeit perhaps with less conviction? Márquez Villanueva would disagree, for he states of the two despojadas, «ambas conservan su honor [note!] por encima de toda consideración de verosimilitud» (137). (Gayton meets the exigency of rhyme in stating motive: «For to a Cave he brought the damzell, / Pretending there to rest her hams well!» [281].)



This was my argument in «Dorotea, or the Narrators' Arts» and I apply it here as well.



He is not, strictly speaking, a «surprisingly cultivated goatherd» (Williamson 58), but a surprisingly cultivated aldeano playing at goatherd, a subtle difference but meaningful. Casalduero drew a comparison to Garcilaso's Égloga I: «Anselmo y Eugenio, el uno con sus ovejas, el otro con sus cabras -nuevos Nemorosos y Salicios-, dejan la aldea para el valle, donde pasan la vida cantando alabanzas o vituperios de la amada» (200).