Page:Don Quixote (Cervantes, Ormsby) Volume 2.djvu/31

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9
CHAPTER I.

"As to whether I ought to be vexed or not," returned Don Quixote, "I myself am the best judge."

Hereupon the curate observed, "I have hardly said a word as yet; and I would gladly be relieved of a doubt, arising from what Don Quixote has said, that worries and works my conscience."

"The señor curate has leave for more than that," returned Don Quixote, "so he may declare his doubt, for it is not pleasant to have a doubt on one's conscience."

"Well then, with that permission," said the curate, "I say my doubt is that, all I can do, I can not persuade myself that the whole pack of knights-errant you, Señor Quixote, have mentioned, were really and truly persons of flesh and blood, that ever lived in the world; on the contrary, I suspect it to be all fiction, fable, and falsehood, and dreams told by men awakened from sleep, or rather still half asleep."

"That is another mistake," replied Don Quixote, "into which many have fallen who do not believe that there ever were such knights in the world, and I have often, with divers people and on divers occasions, tried to expose this almost universal error to the light of truth. Sometimes I have not been successful in my purpose, sometimes I have, supporting it upon the shoulders of the truth; which truth is so clear that I can almost say I have with my own eyes seen Amadis of Gaul, who was a man of lofty stature, fair complexion, with a handsome though black beard, of a countenance between gentle and stern in expression, sparing of words, slow to anger, and quick to put it away from him; and as I have depicted Amadis, so I could, I think, portray and describe all the knights-errant that are in all the histories in the world; for by the perception I have that they were what their histories describe, and by the deeds they did and the dispositions they displayed, it is possible, with the aid of sound philosophy, to deduce their features, complexion, and stature."

"How big, in your worship's opinion, may the giant Morgante have been, Señor Don Quixote?" asked the barber.

"With regard to giants," replied Don Quixote, "opinions differ as to whether there ever were any or not in the world; but the Holy Scripture, which can not err by a jot from the truth, shows us that there were, when it gives us the history of that big Philistine, Goliath, who was seven cubits and a half in height, which is a huge size. Likewise, in the island of