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

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

chaplain to make his marriage to Antonomasia official, according to the terms of a marriage contract I'd drafted for them myself, and I'd drawn it up so tightly that Sampson himself couldn't have broken it. What had to be done was done, the chaplain saw the contract and heard the lady's confession, which was absolutely unconditional, so he sent her to stay at the house of a very respectable court judge — "

At this, Sancho suddenly said:

"So Candaya has court judges, as well as poets, and seguidillas, which makes me ready to swear that the whole world is all the same. But you'd better hurry up, my lady Trifaldi, because it's getting late and I'm dying to get to the end of this long story."

"Indeed, I'll hurry," replied the countess.


Chapter Thirty-Nine

— in which the Countess Trifaldi continues her stupendous,
infinitely memorable tale

Every time Sancho spoke, the duchess was as delighted as Don Quijote was infuriated, but all the same she told him to be quiet, and Dolorida went on as follows:

"To make a long story short, after all sorts of writs and replies, the chaplain ruled in favor of Don Clavijo, because the princess stuck to her guns and never varied even an inch from what she'd said the first time, so she was handed over to him as his legal wife, which was so upsetting to Queen Maguncia, the Princess Antonomasia's mother, that it wasn't three days before we buried her."

"She had to be dead, of course," said Sancho.

"That's for sure!" replied Trifaldín, "because in Candaya we don't bury live people, just dead ones."

"Well, Señor Squire," answerered Sancho, "I've seen them bury a man who'd fainted, thinking he was dead, and it seems to me that Queen Maguncia certainly had to faint before she died and, as long as you're still alive, all kinds of things can still be fixed up, because after all, what the princess did wasn't so wildly foolish that her mother had to be as offended as all that. If the lady had married one of her pages, or some other house servant, which often happens, as far as I've heard it said, then the damage would be past repairing, but after she'd married a gentleman as well-bred and clever as this one we've been hearing about, well, to tell the truth, it was foolish, but not so foolish as you might think, because according to what my master says about the law — and he's right here, and he won't let me tell a lie — if learned men can become bishops, it's easy to turn knights, especially if they're knights errant, into kings and emperors."

"You're quite right, Sancho," said Don Quijote, "because a knight errant, if he has even a little bit of luck, is always well positioned and placed to become the most powerful lord on earth. But let Lady Dolorida go on, because I venture to say she still has to come to the bitter part of this story, which to here has certainly been sweet enough."

-552-

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