Don Quixote de la Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra; Charles Jarvis et al. | Go to book overview

Don Quixote de la Mancha

FIRST PART

CHAPTER 1
Which treats of the quality and manner of life of the renowned gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha.

IN a village of La Mancha,* the name of which I purposely omit, there lived not long ago, one of those gentlemen, who usually keep a lance upon a rack, an old target, a lean horse, and a greyhound for coursing. A dish of boiled meat, consisting of somewhat more beef than mutton, the fragments served up cold on most nights, an omelet* on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and a small pigeon by way of addition on Sundays, consumed three-fourths of his income. The rest was laid out in a surtout of fine black cloth, a pair of velvet breeches for holidays, with slippers of the same; and on week-days he prided himself in the very best of his own homespun cloth. His family consisted of a housekeeper somewhat above forty, a niece not quite twenty, and a lad for the field and the market, who both saddled the horse and handled the pruning-hook. The age of our gentleman bordered upon fifty years. He was of a robust constitution, sparebodied, of a meagre visage; a very early riser, and a keen sportsman. It is said his surname was Quixada, or Quesada (for in this there is some difference among the authors who have written upon this subject), though by probable conjectures it may be gathered that he was called Quixana.* But this is of little importance to our story; let it suffice that in relating we do not swerve a jot from the truth.

You must know then, that this gentleman aforesaid, at times when he was idle, which was most part of the year, gave himself up to the

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