Page:Don Quixote (Cervantes, Ormsby) Volume 2.djvu/21

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xiii
PREFACE.

And if this story does not suit him, you may, dear reader, tell him this one, which is likewise of a madman and a dog.

In Cordova there was another madman, whose way it was to carry a piece of marble slab or a stone, not of the lightest, on his head, and when he came upon any unwary dog he used to draw close to him and let the weight fall right on top of him ; on which the dog in a rage, barking and howling, would run three streets without stopping. It so happened, however, that one of the dogs he discharged his load upon was a cap-maker's dog, of which his master was very fond. The stone came down hitting it on the head, the dog raised a yell at the blow, the master saw the affair and was wroth, and snatching up a measuring-yard rushed out at the madman and did not leave a sound bone in his body, and at every stroke he gave him he said, "You dog, you thief ! my lurcher ! [1] Don't you see, you brute, that my dog is a lurcher ? " and so, repeating the word " lurcher " again and again, he sent the madman away beaten to a jelly. The madman took the lesson to heart, and vanished, and for more than a month never once showed himself in public ; but after that he came out again with his old trick and a heavier load than ever. He came up to where there was a dog, and, examining it very carefully without venturing to let the stone fall, he said : " This is a lurcher ; ware ! " In short, all the dogs he came across, be they mastiffs or terriers, he said were lurchers ; and he discharged no more stones. May be it will be the same with this historian ; that he will not venture another time to discharge the weight of his wit in books, which, being bad, are harder than stones. Tell him, too, that I do not care a farthing for the threat he holds out to me of depriving me of my profit by means of his book ; for, to borrow from the famous interlude of " The Perendenga," I say in answer to him, "Long life to my lord the Veintiquatro, and Christ be with us all." [2] Long life to the great Conde de Lemos, whose Christian charity and well-known generosity support me against all the strokes of my curst fortune ; and long life to the supreme benevolence of His Eminence of Toledo, Don Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas ; [3] and what matter

  1. Podenco, a kind of small greyhound, hunting by nose as well as by sight, and generally used for rabbits.
  2. The municipal authorities of Seville, Cordova, and Granada were called Veintiquatros, from being twenty-four in number. The passage is, of course, a quotation from some popular interlude of the day.
  3. Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas was Cardinal-Archbishop of Toledo, Primate of Spain, and brother of the Duke of Lerma, the Prime Minister.