Don Quixote de la Mancha

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

CHAPTER 52
In which is related the adventure of the second afflicted or distressed matron, otherwise called Doña Rodriguez.

CID HAMET relates, that Don Quixote, being now healed of his scratches, began to think the life he led in that castle was against all the rules of knight-errantry which he professed; and therefore he resolved to ask leave of the duke and duchess to depart for Saragossa, the celebration of the tournament drawing near, wherein he proposed to win the suit of armour, the usual prize at that festival. And, being one day at table with their excellencies, and beginning to unfold his purpose, and ask their leave, behold, on a sudden there entered, at the door of the great hall, two women, as it afterwards appeared, covered from head to foot with mourning weeds; and one of them, coming up to Don Quixote, threw herself at full length on the ground, and, incessantly kissing his feet, poured forth such dismal, deep, and mournful groans, that all who heard and saw her were confounded; and, though the duke and duchess imagined it was some jest their servants were putting upon Don Quixote, yet, seeing how vehemently the woman sighed, groaned, and wept, they were in doubt and in suspense; till the compassionate Don Quixote, raising her from the ground, prevailed with her to discover herself, and remove the veil from before her blubbered face. She did so, and discovered, what they little expected to see, the face of Doña Rodriguez, the duenna of the house; and the other mourner was her daughter, who had been deluded by the rich farmer's son. All that knew her wondered, and the duke and duchess more than anybody; for, though they took her for a fool and soft, yet not to the degree as to act so mad a part. At length Doña Rodriguez turning to her lord and lady, said:

'Be pleased, your excellencies, to give me leave to confer a little with this gentleman: for so it behoves me to do, to get successfully out of an unlucky business, into which the presumption of an evilminded bumpkin has brought me.'

The duke said, he gave her leave, and that she might confer with Don Quixote as much as she pleased. She, directing her face and speech to Don Quixote, said:

'It is not long, valorous knight, since I gave you an account how

-805-

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