The History of That Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quijote de la Mancha

By Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra; Burton Raffel | Go to book overview

noble widows, sorrowful and in difficult straits, as your mistress would appear to be."

Hearing this, Trifaldín once more bent his knee to the ground and then, signaling the three musicians to begin playing, he left the garden exactly as he had first appeared, and at the same pace, much to the astonishment and wonder of all who had seen him. And then, turning to Don Quijote, the duke said:

"So, my famous knight, neither the darkness in which ill-will always dwells, nor ignorance itself, can hide or obscure the light of courage and virtue. I am obliged to say this, seeing how, though your goodness has been in my castle no more than half a dozen days, the afflicted and those in mourning come seeking you from faraway places — and not in carriages, or riding on camels, but on foot and fasting — trusting that, in your strong arm, they will find the cure for their sorrows and their struggles, and all this because of your great and noble deeds, word of which runs and fairly encircles the entire known world."

"I could wish, my lord duke," replied Don Quijote, "that the holy man could be here, he who at your table the other day showed such a fierce grudge against and such ill-will toward all knight errantry, so he could see with his own eyes whether or not the world truly needs such knights. At least, he might come to know at first hand that, in profoundly troubling situations and disasters of truly enormous proportions, it is not to the houses of learned men that the extraordinarily afflicted and miserable come, nor to the holy men who dwell in their villages, nor to the knight who has never gone beyond the boundaries of his own estate, nor to the lazy courtier who would rather hunt for news, so he can gossip and chatter about it, instead of hunting for deeds that he might do and which others would talk and write about — no, he who cures sorrows, and aids the needy, and shelters maidens in distress, and takes care of widows, is nowhere found more often than in the person of a knight errant, and I give endless thanks to Heaven which has made me one, just as I welcome with open arms any misfortune or struggle that may come to me, as I practice this magnificent profession. Let this lady come in and ask whatever her heart most desires, and the strength of my arm and the unconquerable determination of my brave spirit will provide her with what she seeks."


Chapter Thirty-Seven

— which continues the celebrated tale of Lady Dolorida

The duke and duchess were in seventh heaven, seeing how beautifully Don Quijote had reacted to their plan, but just then Sancho said:

"I don't want this lady messing with my governorship, because once I heard a pharmacist from Toledo, and he could talk like a bird singing, and he said that when this kind of lady gets involved in things, nothing good comes of it. My God, how that pharmacist hated them! Which makes me wonder, since all dueñas [ladies, ladies in waiting, matrons, chaperones] have big mouths and they're all a pain in the neck, no matter how well

-545-

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