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The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha

To me Melisandra appeared to be Melisandra


The general rout of the puppets being over, Don Quixote's fury began to abate; and with a more pacified countenance turning to the company, "Now," said he, "I could wish all those incredulous persons here who slight knight-errantry might receive conviction of their error, and behold undeniable proofs of the benefit of that function; for how miserable had been the condition of poor Don Gayferos and the fair Melisandra by this time, had I not been here and stood up in their defence! I make no question but those infidels would have apprehended them, and used them barbarously. Well, when all is done, long live knight-errantry; long let it live, I say, above all things whatsoever in this world!" "Ay, ay," said Master Peter in a doleful tone, "let it live long for me, so I may die; for why should I live so unhappy as to say with King Rodrigo, 'Yesterday I was lord of Spain, to-day have not a foot of land I can call mine?' It is not half an hour, nay scarce a moment, since I had kings and emperors at command. I had horses in abundance, and chests and bags full of fine things; but now you see me a poor sorry undone man, quite and clean broke and cast down, and in short a mere beggar. What is worst of all, I have lost my ape too; and all through the rash fury of this knight here, who they say protects the fatherless, redresses wrongs, and does other charitable deeds, but has failed in all these good offices to miserable me. Well may I call him the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure, for he has put me and all that belongs to me in a sorrowful case."

The puppet-player's lamentations moving Sancho's pity, "Come," quoth he, "don't cry, Master Peter, thou breakest my heart to hear thee take on so; don't be cast down, man, for my master's a better Christian, I am sure, than to let any poor man come to loss by him; when he comes to know he has done you wrong, he will pay you for every farthing of damage, I will engage." "Truly," said Master Peter, "if his worship would but pay me for the puppets he has spoiled, I will ask no more, and he will discharge his conscience; for he that wrongs his neighbour, and does not make restitution, can never hope to be saved, that is certain." "I grant it," said Don Quixote; "but I am not sensible how I have in the least injured you, good Master Peter!" "How, sir! not injured me?" cried Master Peter. "Why, these poor relics that lie here on the cold ground cry out for vengeance against you. Was it not the invincible force of that powerful arm of yours that has scattered and dismembered them so? And whose were those bodies, sir, but mine? and by whom was I maintained but by them?"

"Well," said Don Quixote, "now I am thoroughly convinced of a truth which I have had reason to believe before, that those cursed magicians that daily persecute me, do nothing but delude me, first drawing me into dangerous adventures by the appearances of them as really they are, and then presently after changing the face of things as they please. Really and truly, gentlemen, I vow and protest before you all that hear me, that all that was acted here seemed to be really transacted _ipso facto_ as it appeared. To me Melisandra appeared to be Melisandra, Don Gayferos was Don Gayferos, Marsilius Marsilius, and Charlemagne was the real Charlemagne. Which being so, I could not contain my fury, and acted according to the duties of my function, which obliges me to take the injured side. Now, though what I have done proves to be quite contrary to my good design, the fault ought not to be imputed to me, but to my persecuting foes; yet I own myself sorry for the mischance, and will myself pay the costs. Let Master Peter see what he must have for the figures, and I will pay it him now in good and lawful money." "Heaven bless your worship," cried Master Peter with a profound cringe, "I could expect no less from the wonderful Christianity of the valorous Don Quixote de la Mancha, the sure relief and bulwark of all miserable wanderers. Now let my landlord and the great Sancho be mediators and appraisers between your worship and myself, and I will stand to their award."


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