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The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha

Lady Trifaldi and your persecuted friends


speed are all curiously expressed;

so that, in respect of his name, he may vie with the renowned Rozinante." "I dislike not his name," replied Sancho; "but with what bridle or with what halter is he guided?" "I have already told you," answered the Trifaldi, "that he is guided by a peg, which the rider turning this way and that, makes him go, either aloft in the air, or else sweeping, and, as it were, brushing the earth, or in the middle region--a course which the discreet and wise generally endeavour to keep." "I have a mighty desire to see him," quoth Sancho; "but to think I will get upon him, either in the saddle or behind upon the crupper, is to look for pears upon an elm-tree. It were a good jest, indeed, for me, who can hardly sit my own Dapple, though upon a pannel softer than silk, to think of bestriding a wooden crupper, without either pillow or cushion! In faith, I do not intend to flay myself, to unbeard the best lady in the land. Let every one shave or shear, as he likes best; I have no mind for so long a journey; my master may travel by himself. Besides, I have nothing to do with it; I am not wanted for the taking off these beards, as well as the business of my lady Dulcinea." "Indeed, my friend, you are," said the Trifaldi; "and so much need is there of your kind help, that without it nothing can be done." "In the name of all the saints," quoth Sancho, "what have squires to do with their masters' adventures? Are we always to share all the trouble, and they to reap all the glory? Body o' me, it might
be something if the writers who recount their adventures would but set down in their books, 'such a knight achieved such an adventure, with the help of such an one his squire, without whom he could not have done it.' I say, it would be something if we had our due; but instead of this they coolly tell us that 'Don Paralipomenon of the three stars finished the notable adventure of the six goblins,' and the like, without once mentioning his squire, any more than if he had been a thousand miles off; though mayhap he, poor man, was in the thick of it all the while. In truth, my good lord and lady, I say again, my master may manage this adventure by himself; and much good may it do him! I will stay with my lady duchess here; and perhaps when he comes back he may find Madam Dulcinea's business pretty forward; for I intend at my leisure times to lay it on to some purpose."

"Nevertheless, honest Sancho," quoth the duchess, "if your company be really necessary, you will not refuse to go: indeed, all good people will make it their business to entreat you; for piteous, truly, would it be, that through your groundless fears, these poor ladies should remain in this unseemly plight." "Ods my life!" exclaimed Sancho, "were this piece of charity undertaken for modest maidens, or poor charity-girls, a man might engage to undergo something; but to take all this trouble to rid duennas of their beards--plague take them! I had rather see the whole finical and squeamish tribe bearded, from the highest to the lowest of them!" "You seem to be upon bad terms with duennas, friend Sancho," said the duchess, "and are of the same mind as the Toledan apothecary; but, in truth, you are in the wrong; for I have duennas in my family who might serve as models to all duennas; and here is my Donna Rodriguez, who will not allow me to say otherwise."

"Enough, your excellency," quoth Don Quixote; "as for you, Lady Trifaldi and your persecuted friends, I trust that Heaven will speedily look with a pitying eye upon your sorrows, and that Sancho will do his duty in obedience to my wishes. Would that Clavileno were here, and on his back Malambruno himself; for I am confident no razor would more easily shave your ladyships' beards, than my sword shall shave off Malambruno's head from his shoulders! If Heaven in its wisdom permits the wicked to prosper, it is but for a time." "Ah, valorous knight!" exclaimed the afflicted lady, "may all the stars of the celestial regions regard your excellency with eyes of benignity, and impart strength to your arm, and courage to your heart, to be the shield and refuge of the reviled and oppressed duennian order, abominated by apothecaries, calumniated by squires, and scoffed at by pages!"


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