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

By Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra; Burton Raffel | Go to book overview
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miracles most blind men sing about were imaginary, and this was harmful to those which were in fact true.

He created and set up the machinery for a poor people's constabulary, so they could be tested to see if they really were poor or not, because strong‐ armed thieves and healthy drunkards often hid under cover of a pretended physical handicap and some fabricated wound or disease. In short: he decreed such wonderful things that, to this very day, his laws are still observed there, and are known as The Great Governor Sancho Panza's Legal System.

Chapter Fifty-Two

in which is narrated the adventure of the second doleful or anguished
dueña, otherwise known as Doña Rodríguez

Sidi Hamid records that, being now healed of all his scratches, it seemed to Don Quijote that the life he was leading in that castle was almost the direct opposite of what his oath of knight errantry required, so he decided to ask the duke and duchess if he might leave them and go to Zaragosa, where feast days were drawing near and the suit of armor awarded for victory in such tournaments might well be his.

At table with his hosts, one day, and just about to put his plan into effect, he suddenly saw two women (as they later proved to be) entering the great dining room, draped in mourning from head to foot, and then one of them, approaching Don Quijote, threw herself face first on the ground, her mouth pressed against his feet and emitting such misery‐ wracked moans, so wrenching and deep, that they upset everyone who could see and hear her, and even the duke and duchess at first fancied this was some joke being played on Don Quijote by the servants, but then, seeing how the woman, now kneeling, sighed and moaned and wept, the noble pair were confused and uncertain, until, at last, Don Quijote mercifully raised the woman from the ground and made her uncover herself, removing the mantle from her tear-stained face.

The woman did so, and revealed what no one could have expected, for the features she uncovered were those of Dona Rodriguez, lady in waiting to the duchess, and when the other mourner's identity was made known, she was seen to be Dona Rodriguez's daughter, the girl who had been deceived by the rich farmer's son. All those who knew the dueña were astonished, and especially the duke and duchess, who considered her a dolt, pleasant enough, but characterless and certainly not the sort who indulged in such wild pranks. After a moment, Dona Rodríguez turned toward her mistress and the duke, and said:

"May it please Your Excellencies to allow me some words with this knight, for it will not take long to conclude a matter in which, because of the insolence of a wickedly motivated peasant, I happen to be concerned."

The duke replied that she had his permission, and indeed she might say as much to Don Quijote as she cared to. Turning to our knight, she declared:

"Brave knight, some days ago I told you of the injustice and treachery


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