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The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha

Unless it be that your knights errant


said, "Pray, sir, be pacified;

as truly as I live, I did but jest." "Though thou mayest jest, I do not," answered Don Quixote. "Come hither, merry sir; what thinkest thou? Suppose these mill-hammers had really been some perilous adventure, have I not given proof of the courage requisite to undertake and achieve it? Am I obliged, being a knight as I am, to distinguish sounds, and know which are, or are not, those of a fulling-mill, more especially if (which is indeed the truth) I had never seen any fulling-mills in my life, as thou hast--a pitiful rustic as thou art, who wert born and bred amongst them? but let these six fulling-hammers be transformed into six giants, and let them beard me one by one, or altogether, and if I do not set them all on their heads, then make what jest thou wilt of me." "It is enough, good sir," replied Sancho; "I confess I have been a little too jocose; but pray tell me, now that it is peace between us, was it not a thing to be laughed at, and worth telling, what a fearful taking we were in last night--I mean, that I was in?--for I know that your worship is a stranger to fear." "I do not deny," answered Don Quixote, "that what has befallen us may be risible, but it is not proper to be repeated; for all persons have not the sense to see things in their right point of view." "But," answered Sancho, "your worship knew how to point your lance aright when you pointed it at my head, and hit me on the shoulders; let that pass, for I have heard say, 'he loves thee well who makes thee weep;'
and, besides, your people of condition, when they have given a servant a hard word, presently give him some old hose, though what is usually given after a beating I cannot tell, unless it be that your knights-errant, after bastinadoes, bestow islands, or kingdoms on terra firma." "The die may so run," quoth Don Quixote, "that all thou hast said may come to pass; excuse what is done, since thou art considerate; for know that first impulses are not under a man's control: and that thou mayest abstain from talking too much with me henceforth, I apprise thee of one thing, that in all the books of chivalry I ever read, numerous as they are, I recollect no example of a squire who conversed so much with his master as thou dost with thine. And really I account it a great fault both in thee and in myself; in thee, because thou payest me so little respect; in me, that I do not make myself respected more. There was Gandalin, squire to Amadis de Gaul, earl of the firm island, of whom we read that he always spoke to his master cap in hand, his head inclined, and body bent after the Turkish fashion. What shall we say of Gasabel, squire to Don Galaor, who was so silent that, to illustrate the excellence of his marvellous taciturnity, his name is mentioned but once in all that great and faithful history? From what I have said, thou mayest infer, Sancho, that there ought to be a difference between master and man, between lord and lacquey, and between knight and squire; so that, from this day forward, we must be treated with more respect: for howsoever thou mayest excite my anger, 'it will go ill with the pitcher.' The favours and benefits I promised thee will come in due time; and if they do not come, the wages, at least, thou wilt not lose." "Your worship says very well," quoth Sancho; "but I would fain know (if perchance the time of the favours should not come, and it should be necessary to have recourse to the article of the wages) how much might the squire of a knight-errant get in those times? and whether they agreed by the month, or by the day, like labourers?" "I do not believe," answered Don Quixote, "that those squires were retained at stated wages, but they relied on courtesy; and if I have appointed thee any in the will I left sealed at home, it was in case of accidents; for I know not yet how chivalry may succeed in these calamitous times, and I would not have my soul suffer in the other world for trifles; for I would have thee know, Sancho, that there is no state more perilous than that of adventurers." "It is so, in truth," said Sancho, "since the noise of the hammers of a fulling-mill were sufficient to disturb and discompose the heart of so valorous a knight as your worship."


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