But eleven years more of life remained for Cervantes, and during these, in so far as our knowledge goes, he met with no more worldly prosperity than in the past; although it is possible that his pecuniary distress was alleviated somewhat by modest returns from his books, and by the bounty of his patron, the Conde de Lemos. In one of the chapters of the First Part of the “Don Quixote” Cervantes mentions by name a little tale of roguish doings, the “Rinconete y Cortadillo.” This, his own composition, reappears with eleven additional short stories in the collection entitled “Novelas ejamplares,” which was issued from the press in 1612. Had he written nothing but the “Exemplary Tales,” his fame would be secure in the annals of Spanish literature. They were the best-framed short stories so far produced in Spanish; they are interesting and realistic, although at times brutally offensive to morality. One of the proofs of the interest that they excited abroad is to be found in the fact that English dramatists like Fletcher, Massinger, Middleton, and Rowley drew upon them for the plots of some of their plays.

While composing these dramatic pieces, Cervantes was carrying on apace a sequel to the First Part of the “Don Quixote.” This Second Part and conclusion of the story of the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza he completed hurriedly and published in 1615, upon learning that a spurious Second Part had been put forth at Tarragona in Aragon in 1614 by a person who masquerades under the pseudonym of Fernândez de Avellaneda, and whose identity remains an enigma. The days of Cervantes were drawing to their close, but he continued to labor to the end, and on his dying couch he put the finishing touches to a novel of love and adventurous travel, the “Persiles y Sigismunda.” On April 23, 1616, Cervantes passed away at Madrid, nominally on the same day as Shakespeare, but not precisely so on account of the difference still existing between the Spanish and the English calendar. His remains are supposed to rest in a community house of the Redemptionists in the Spanish capital.

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