Page:Don Quixote (Cervantes, Ormsby) Volume 2.djvu/20

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xii
PREFACE.

kinds there are, I only know that which is holy, noble, and high-minded ; and if that be so, as it is, I am not likely to attack a priest, above all if, in addition, he holds the rank of familiar of the Holy Office. And if he said what he did on accountt of him on whose behalf it seems he spoke, he is entirely mistaken; for I worship the genius of that person, and admire his works and his unceasing and strenuous industry.[1] After all, however, I am grateful to this gentleman, the author, for saying that my novels are more satirical than exemplary, but that they are good ; for they could not be that unless there was a little of everything in them.


I suspect thou wilt say that I am taking a very humble line, and keeping myself too much within the bounds of my moderation, from a feeling that additional suffering should not be inflicted upon a sufferer, and that what this gentleman has to endure must doubtless be very great, as he does not dare to come out into the open field anl broad daylight, but hides his name and disguises his country as if he had been guilty of some lese majesty. If perchance thou shouldst come to know him, tell him from me that I do not hold myself aggrieved ; for I know well what the temptations of the devil are, and that one of the greatest is putting it into a man's head that he can write and print a book by which he will get as much fame as money, and as much money as fame ; and to prove it I will beg of you, in your own sprightly, pleasant way, to tell him this story.


There was a madman in Seville who took to one of the drollest absurdities and vagaries that ever madman in the world gave way to. It was this : he made a tube of reed sharp at one end, and catching a dog in the street, or wherever it might be, he with his foot held one of its legs fast, and with his hand lifted up the other, and as best he could fixed the tube where, by blowing, he made the dog as round as a ball ; then holding it in this position, he gave it a couple of slaps on the belly, and let it go, saying to the bystanders (and there were always plenty of them) : "Do your worships think, now, that it is an easy thing to blow up a dog ? " — Does your worship think now, that it is an easy thing to write a book ?

  1. Avellaneda, in his coarse and scurrilous preface, charged Cervantes with attacking Lope de Vega, obviously alluding to the passages on the drama in vol. i. chapter xlviii., and attributed the attack to envy. Lope was not, however, a familiar of the Inquisition at the time Cervantes was writing the First Part of Don Quixote, as the words used here would imply.