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The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha

For the Lady Melisandra was not used to that kind of riding


"I omit the rest, not to tire you with a long story. It is sufficient that he makes himself known to her; and accordingly, see how she lets herself down from the balcony, to come at her loving husband and get behind him; but alas! the skirt of her gown is caught upon one of the spikes of the balcony, and there she hangs and hovers miserably in the air, without being able to get down. But see how Heaven is merciful, and sends relief in the greatest distress! Don Gayferos rides up to her, and, not fearing to tear her rich gown, lays hold on it, and at one pull brings her down; and then at one lift sets her astride upon his horse's crupper, bidding her to sit fast, and clasp her arms about him; for the Lady Melisandra was not used to that kind of riding.

"Observe now how the horse neighs, and shews how proud he is of the burden of his brave master and fair mistress. Look now how they turn their backs and leave the city, and gallop it merrily away towards Paris. Peace be with you, for a peerless couple of true lovers! may ye get safe and sound into your own country, without any let or ill chance in your journey, and live in peace and quietness among your friends and relations!" "Plainness, boy!" cried Master Peter, "none of your flights, I beseech you." The boy answered nothing, but going on: "Now, sirs," quoth he, "some of those idle people that love to pry into every thing happened to spy Melisandra as she was making her escape, and ran presently and gave Marsilius notice of it: whereupon he straight commanded to sound an alarm; and now mind what a din and hurly-burly there is, and how the city shakes with the ring of the bells backwards in all the mosques!" "There you are out, boy," said Don Quixote: "the Moors have no bells, they only use kettle-drums, and a kind of shaulms like our waits or hautboys; so that your ringing of bells in Sansuena is a mere absurdity, good Master Peter." "Nay, sir," said Master Peter, giving over ringing, "if you stand upon these trifles with us, we shall never please you. Don't be so severe a critic: are there not a thousand plays that pass with great success and applause, though they have many greater absurdities, and nonsense in abundance? On, boy, on; no matter, so I get the money." "Well said," answered Don Quixote. "And now, sirs," quoth the boy, "observe what a vast company of glittering horse comes pouring out of the city in pursuit of the Christian lovers; what a dreadful sound of trumpets and clarions, and drums and kettle-drums, there is in the air. I fear they will overtake them, and then will the poor wretches be dragged along most barbarously at the tails of their horses, which would be sad indeed."

Don Quixote, seeing such a number of Moors, and hearing such an alarm, thought it high time to assist the flying lovers; and starting up, "It shall never be said while I live," cried he aloud, "that I suffered such a wrong to be done to so famous a knight and so daring a lover as Don Gayferos. Forbear then your unjust pursuit, ye base-born rascals! Stop, or prepare to meet my furious resentment!" Then drawing out his sword to make good his threats, at one spring he gets to the show, and with a violent fury lays at the Moorish puppets, cutting and slashing in a most terrible manner; some he overthrows, and beheads others; maims this, and cleaves that in pieces. Among the rest of his merciless strokes, he thundered one down with such a mighty force, that had not Master Peter luckily squatted down, it had certainly chopped off his head as easily as one might cut an apple. "Hold, hold, sir," cried the puppet-player, after this narrow escape, "hold for pity's sake! What do you mean, sir? These are no real Moors that you cut and hack so, but poor harmless puppets made of pasteboard. Think of what you do; you ruin me for ever. Oh that ever I was born! you have broke me quite." But Don Quixote, without minding his words, doubled and redoubled his blows so thick, and laid about him so outrageously, that in less than two credos he had cut all the strings and wires, mangled the puppets, and spoiled and demolished the whole machine. King Marsilius was in a grievous condition. The Emperor Charlemagne's head and crown were cleft in two. The whole audience was in a sad consternation. The ape scampered off to the top of the house. The scholar was frightened out of his wits; the page was very uneasy; and Sancho himself was in a terrible fright; for, as he said after the hurricane was over, he had never seen his master in such a rage before.


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