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The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha

My name is Trifaldin of the White Beard


"Thy husband the governor,

"SANCHO PANZA.

"From this castle, the 20th of July, 1614."

The duchess, having read the letter, said to Sancho: "In two things the good governor is a little out of the way; the one in saying, or insinuating, that this government is conferred on him on account of the lashes he is to give himself; whereas he cannot deny that, when my lord duke promised it to him, nobody dreamt of lashes: the other is, that he appears to be covetous, and I hope no harm may come of it; for avarice bursts the bag, and the covetous governor doeth ungoverned justice." "Truly, madam, that is not my meaning," replied Sancho; "and if your highness does not like this letter, it is but tearing it, and writing a new one, which mayhap may prove worse, if left to thy mending." "No, no," replied the duchess; "this is a very good one, and the duke shall see it."

They then repaired to a garden where they were to dine that day; and there Sancho's letter was shewn to the duke, who read it with great pleasure. After dinner, as Sancho was entertaining the company with some of his relishing conversation, they suddenly heard the dismal sound of an unbraced drum, accompanied by a fife. All were surprised at this martial and doleful harmony, especially Don Quixote, who was so agitated that he could scarcely keep his seat. As for Sancho, it is enough

to say that fear carried him to his usual refuge, which was the duchess's side, or the skirts of her petticoat; for the sounds which they heard were truly dismal and melancholy. While they were thus held in suspense, two young men clad in mourning robes trailing upon the ground, entered the garden, each of them beating a great drum, covered also with black; and with these a third playing on the fife, in mourning like the rest. These were followed by a personage of gigantic stature, enveloped in a robe of the blackest dye, the train whereof was of immoderate length, and over it he wore a broad black belt, in which was slung a mighty scimitar, enclosed within a sable scabbard. His face was covered by a thin black veil, through which might be discovered a long beard, white as snow. He marched forward, regulating his steps to the sound of the drums, with much gravity and stateliness. In short, his dark robe, his enormous bulk, his solemn deportment, and the funereal gloom of his figure, together with his attendants, might well produce the surprise that appeared on every countenance. With all imaginable respect and formality he approached and knelt down before the duke, who received him standing, and would in no wise suffer him to speak till he rose up. The monstrous apparition, then rising, lifted up his veil, and exposed to view his fearful length of beard--the longest, whitest, and most luxuriant that ever human eyes beheld; when, fixing his eyes on the duke, in a voice grave and sonorous, he said, "Most high and potent lord, my name is Trifaldin of the White Beard, and I am squire to the Countess Trifaldi, otherwise called the Afflicted Duenna, from whom I bear a message to your highness, requesting that you will be pleased to give her ladyship permission to approach, and relate to your magnificence the unhappy and wonderful circumstances of her misfortune. But first, she desires to know whether the valorous and invincible knight, Don Quixote de la Mancha, resides at this time in your castle; for in quest of him she has travelled on foot, and fasting, from the kingdom of Candaya to this your territory; an exertion miraculous and incredible, were it not wrought by enchantment. She is now at the outward gate of this castle, and only waits your highness's invitation to enter." Having said this, he hemmed, stroked his beard from top to bottom, and with much gravity and composure stood expecting the duke's answer, which was to this effect: "Worthy Trifaldin of the White Beard, long since have we been apprised of the afflictions of my lady the Countess Trifaldi, who, through the malice of enchanters, is too truly called the Afflicted Duenna; tell her, therefore, that she may enter, and that the valiant knight Don Quixote de la Mancha is here present, from whose generous assistance she may safely promise herself all the redress she requires." Trifaldin, on receiving the duke's answer, bent one knee to the ground; then giving a signal to his musical attendants, he retired, leaving all in astonishment at the majesty of his figure and deportment.


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