Page:Don Quixote (Cervantes, Ormsby) Volume 2.djvu/37

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15
CHAPTER II.

assumed the 'Don'[1] and made a knight of yourself at a jump, with four vine-stocks and a couple of acres of land, and never a shirt to your back.[2] The caballeros say they do not want to have hidalgos setting up in opposition to them, particularly squire hidalgos who polish their own shoes and darn their black stockings with green silk."

"That," said Don Quixote, "does not apply to me, for I always go well dressed and never patched; ragged I may be, very likely, but ragged more from the wear and tear of arms than of time." [3]

"As to your worship's valor, courtesy, achievements, and task, there is a variety of opinions. Some say, 'mad but droll;' others, 'valiant but unlucky;' others, 'courteous but meddling;' and then they go into such a number of things that they don't leave a whole bone either in your worship or in myself."

"Recollect, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that wherever virtue exists in an eminent degree it is persecuted. Few or none of the famous men that have lived escaped being calumniated by malice. Julius Caesar, the boldest, wisest, and bravest of captains, was charged with being ambitious, and not particularly cleanly in his dress, or pure in his morals. Of Alexander, whose deeds won him the name of Great, they say that he was somewhat of a drunkard. Of Hercules, him of the many labors, it is said that he was lewd and luxurious. Of Don Galaor, the brother of Amadis of Gaul, it was whispered that he was over quarrelsome, and of his brother that he was lachrymose. So that, O Sancho, amongst all these calumnies against good men, mine may be let pass, since they are no more than thou hast said."

"That's just where it is, body of my father!" returned Sancho.

"Is there more, then?" asked Don Quixote.

"There's the tail to be skinned yet,"[4] said Sancho; "all so far is cakes and fancy bread;[5] but if your worship wants to know all about the calumnies they bring against you, I will

  1. In the time of Cervantes the title of Don was much more restricted than now-a-days, when it is by courtesy given to every one.
  2. Literally, "with a rag behind and another in front."
  3. Alluding to the proverb (111) Hidalgo honrado ántes roto que remendado — "The gentleman of honor, ragged sooner than patched."
  4. Prov. 52, meaning "don't fancy you have done with it."
  5. Proverbial phrase 229.