with contempt and disgust upon an agitation as stupid and childish as ever came of priestly bigotry acting on popular fanaticism and ignorance; and if not moved by the barbarous cruelty of the measure, he would have been impressed by its mischievous consequences to his country, as all the best statesmen of the day were. No loyal reader of his will believe for a moment that his vigorous advocacy of it was undertaken against his convictions and solely in order to please his patron, the leader of the movement. The truth is, no doubt, that in the Archbishop's ante-chamber he heard over and over again all the arguments he has reproduced in "Don Quixote" and in the novel of the "Colloquy of the Dogs," and that his opinions, as opinions so often do, took their complexion from his surroundings. There is no reason to question his sincerity, but the less that is said of his philosophy and foresight the better. He was a philosopher in one and perhaps the best sense, for he knew how to endure the ills of life with philosophy; his knowledge of human nature was profound, his observation was marvellous; but life never seems to have presented any mystery to him, or suggested any problem to his mind.
It does not require much study of the literary history of the time, or any profound critical examination of the work, to see that these elaborate theories and ingenious speculations are not really necessary to explain the meaning of "Don Quixote" or the purpose of Cervantes. The extraordinary influence of the romances of chivalry in his day is quite enough to account for the genesis of the book.
Some idea of the prodigious development of this branch of literature in the sixteenth century may be obtained from the sketch given in the Appendix, if the reader bears in mind that only a portion of the romances belonging to by far the largest group are enumerated. As to its effect upon the nation, there is abundant evidence. From the time when the Amadises and Palmerins began to grow popular down to the very end of the century, there is a steady stream of invective, from men whose character and position lend weight to their words, against the romances of chivalry and the infatuation of their readers. It would be easy to fill a couple of pages with the complaints that were made of the mischief produced by the inordinate appetite for this kind of reading, especially among the upper classes, who, unhappily for them-