the least atoms of the most inquisitive desire. O most celebrated author! O happy Don Quixote! O famous Dulcinea! O facetious Sancho Panza! Live each jointly and severally infinite ages, for the general pleasure and pastime of the living.
Now the story says, that, when Sancho saw the Afflicted [One] faint away, he said:
'Upon the faith of an honest man, and by the blood of all my ancestors, the Panzas, I swear, I never heard or saw, nor has my master ever told me, nor did such an adventure as this ever enter into his thoughts. A thousand devils take thee (I would not curse anybody) for an enchanter, and a giant, Malambruno! couldst thou find no other kind of punishment to inflict upon these sinners, but that of bearding them? Had it not been better (I am sure it had been better for them) to have whipped off half their noses, though they had snuffled for it, than to have clapped them on beards? I will lay a wager, they have not wherewith to pay for shaving.'
'That is true, sir,' answered one of the twelve; 'we have not wherewith to keep ourselves clean; and therefore, to shift as well as we can, some of us use sticking-plasters of pitch; which being applied to the face, and pulled off with a jerk, we remain as sleek and smooth as the bottom of a stone mortar: for, though there are women in Candaya, who go from house to house, to take off the hair of the body, and shape the eyebrows, and other jobs pertaining to women, we, who are my lady's duennas, would never have anything to do with them; for most of them smell of the procuress, having ceased to be otherwise serviceable: and if we are not relieved by Señor Don Quixote, with beards shall we be carried to our graves.'
'Mine,' quoth Don Quixote, 'shall be plucked off in the country of the Moors, rather than not free you from yours.'
By this time the Trifaldi was come to herself, and said:
'The murmuring sound of that promise, valorous knight, in the midst of my swoon, reached my ears, and was the occasion of my coming out of it, and recovering my senses: and so once again I beseech you, illustrious errant, and invincible sir, that your gracious promises may be converted into deeds.'
'It shall not rest at me,' answered Don Quixote; 'inform me, madam, what it is I am to do; for my inclination is fully disposed to serve you.'
'The case is,' answered the Afflicted [One], 'that, from hence to