The goatherd, whose name is Eugenio, begins his story. In a nearby village lives a wealthy farmer with a very beautiful daughter named Leandra. When she turned sixteen, men from all over the country came to ask for her hand, including the storyteller himself. The farmer knew Eugenio to be well-born, Christian, wealthy, and intelligent, but Eugenio’s rival, Anselmo, possessed the same qualities. Finally, the farmer decided to let his daughter choose her own husband.
We recognize this storyline right away. The repetitiveness of the subplots is perhaps meant to poke fun at the overly similar plots of most chivalry books. Leandra’s story, so far, is almost identical to Marcela’s. Her family is hoping to make a marriage of equality – a marriage based on social and economic correspondence.
Just then, a retired soldier named Vicente de la Rosa came to town. He wore many bells and whistles and brightly-colored suits, told fantastical stories, played the guitar, and wrote poems. Leandra fell in love with him and the pair ran off together without getting married. Three days later, a search party found Leandra stranded in a cave in the mountains: the soldier had run off with her clothes, her money, and her jewelry. She left to live in a convent, and Eugenio and Anselmo were left lovelorn and despairing. They decided to become shepherds and spend their time singing about Leandra’s loveliness and cruelty in the mountains, and many of her other suitors followed their example.
In this story, a certain new kind of love interferes with the family’s sensible designs. Leandra’s love for the soldier is not a platonic love like Quixote’s, not a love of likeness or unlikeness like Luscinda’s or Zoraida’s – it’s just a love based on empty charm. More than anything else, it resembles the love affair between Camila and Lotario: it is similarly spontaneous, instinctive, and impractical. Just like Camila, Leandra ends up in a convent, a prison for the impulses.