The Manuscript found in Saragossa
One day Señorita Cimiento was writing near the window. Her ink was thick; she poured water into it and made it so thin that it was impossible to use. Moved by feelings of courtesy, my father filled a bottle with ink and sent it to her. His maid came back with thanks and a cardboard box containing twelve sticks of sealing-wax, all of different colours. On them had been impressed ornaments and devices in a most accomplished way. So my father found out how Señorita Cimiento spent her time; and her work, analogous to his, was, as it were, its complement. The quality of the manufacture of the waxes was even higher than that of his ink. Full of approbation, he folded down an envelope, wrote an address on it with his fine ink and sealed it with his new wax, which took the impression perfectly. He put the envelope on the table and did not tire of contemplating it.
She opened the door and we found ourselves in underground vaults, beyond which was what looked like a silver lake, but was actually a lake of quicksilver. The princess clapped her hands, and a boat propelled by a yellow dwarf appeared. We stepped into the boat, and I saw that the dwarf’s face was of gold, with diamond eyes and a coral mouth. In other words it was an automaton who rowed through the quicksilver with his little oars and skilfully made the boat skim along. This novel pilot took us to the foot of a rock which opened up to allow us to pass into another chamber, in which there was the amazing spectacle of countless other automata: peacocks spreading enamel tails which were studded with jewels, parrots with emeralds for plumage flying above our heads, negroes made of ebony proffering golden platters laden with ruby cherries and sapphire grapes. There were numerous other astonishing objects in these magical vaults which stretched further than the eye could see.