Page:Don Quixote (Cervantes, Ormsby) Volume 2.djvu/39

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17
CHAPTER III.

CHAPTER III.

Of the laughable conversation that passed between Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and the bachelor Samson Carrasco.

Don Quixote remained very deep in thought, waiting for the bachelor Carrasco, from whom he was to hear how he himself had been put into a book as Sancho said; and he could not persuade himself that any such history could be in existence, for the blood of the enemies he had slain was not yet dry on the blade of his sword, and now they wanted to make out that his mighty achievements were going about in print. [1] For all that, he fancied some sage, either a friend or an enemy, might, by the aid of magic, have given them to the press; if a friend, in order to magnify and exalt them above the most famous ever achieved by any knight-errant; if an enemy, to bring them to naught and degrade them below the meanest ever recorded of any low squire, though, as he said to himself, the achievements of squires never were recorded. If, however, it were the fact that such a history were in existence, it must necessarily, being the story of a knight-errant, be grandiloquent, lofty, imposing, grand and true. With this he comforted himself somewhat, though it made him uncomfortable to think that the author was a Moor, judging by the title of "Cid;" and that no truth was to be looked for from Moors, as they are all impostors, cheats, and schemers. He was afraid he might have dealt with his love affairs in some indecorous fashion, that might tend to the discredit and prejudice of the purity of his lady Dulcinea del Toboso; he would have had him set forth the fidelity and respect he had always observed towards her, spurning queens, empresses, and damsels of all sorts, and keeping in check the

  1. The critics and commentators have been much troubled by the inconsistency involved in making only a month elapse between the termination of the First Part and the resumption of the story, in which short space of time the first volume is supposed to have been written, translated, printed, and circulated, as we are afterwards told, to the extent of 12,000 copies. Cervantes, however, himself saw the blunder, as we perceive here, and makes a happy use of it as evidence of enchantment in the knight's eyes. Cervantes never troubled his head about such inconsistencies. The action of the whole story of Don Quixote is supposed to extend over three or four months only, but according to dates it extends over twenty-five years, from 1589 to 1614.

Vol. II.—2