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The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha

Saving the holy dignity of signor the licentiate


CHAPTER XIX.

_Of the ingenious method pursued to withdraw our enamoured Knight from the rigorous penance which he had imposed on himself._

As soon as the priest had done speaking, Sancho said, "By my troth, signor, it was my master who did that feat; not but that I gave him fair warning, and advised him to mind what he was about, telling him that it was a sin to set them at liberty; for they were all going to the galleys for being most notorious villains." "Blockhead!" said Don Quixote, "knights-errant are not bound to inquire whether the fettered and oppressed are brought to that situation by their faults or their misfortunes. It is their part to assist them under oppression, and to regard their sufferings, not their crimes. I encountered a bead-roll and string of miserable wretches, and acted towards them as my profession required of me. As for the rest, I care not; and whoever takes it amiss, saving the holy dignity of signor the licentiate, and his reverend person, I say, he knows but little of the principles of chivalry; and this I will maintain with the edge of my sword!"

Dorothea was possessed of too much humour and sprightly wit not to join with the rest in their diversion at Don Quixote's expense; and perceiving his wrath, she said, "Sir knight, be pleased to remember the boon you have promised me, and that you are thereby bound not to engage in any other adventure,

however urgent; therefore assuage your wrath; for had signor the licentiate known that the galley-slaves were freed by that invincible arm, he would sooner have sewed up his mouth with three stitches, and thrice have bitten his tongue, than he would have said a word that might redound to the disparagement of your worship." "Ay, verily I would," exclaimed the priest; "or even have plucked off one of my mustachios." "I will say no more, madam," said Don Quixote; "and I will repress that just indignation raised within my breast, and quietly proceed, until I have accomplished the promised boon. But, in requital, I beseech you to inform me of the particulars of your grievance, as well as the number and quality of the persons on whom I must take due, satisfactory, and complete revenge." "That I will do most willingly," answered Dorothea; "but yet I fear a story like mine, consisting wholly of afflictions and disasters, will prove but a tedious entertainment." "Never fear that, madam," cried Don Quixote. "Since, then, it must be so," said Dorothea, "be pleased to lend me your attention." With that Cardenio and the barber gathered up to her, to hear what kind of story she had provided so soon; Sancho did the same, being no less deceived in her than his master; and the lady having seated herself well on her mule, after coughing once or twice, and other preparations, very gracefully began her story.

"First, gentlemen," said she, "you must know my name is"--here she stopped short, and could not call to mind the name the curate had given her; whereupon finding her at a nonplus, he made haste to help her out. "It is not at all strange," said he, "madam, that you should be so discomposed by your disasters as to stumble at the very beginning of the account you are going to give


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