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Chapter 13

  • **In which is continued the adventure of the knight of the grove, togethe_ith the sensible, original, and tranquil colloquy that passed between the tw_quires**
  • The knights and the squires made two parties, these telling the story of thei_ives, the others the story of their loves; but the history relates first o_ll the conversation of the servants, and afterwards takes up that of th_asters; and it says that, withdrawing a little from the others, he of th_rove said to Sancho, "A hard life it is we lead and live, senor, we that ar_quires to knights-errant; verily, we eat our bread in the sweat of our faces,
  • which is one of the curses God laid on our first parents."
  • "It may be said, too," added Sancho, "that we eat it in the chill of ou_odies; for who gets more heat and cold than the miserable squires of knight-
  • errantry? Even so it would not be so bad if we had something to eat, for woe_re lighter if there's bread; but sometimes we go a day or two withou_reaking our fast, except with the wind that blows."
  • "All that," said he of the Grove, "may be endured and put up with when we hav_opes of reward; for, unless the knight-errant he serves is excessivel_nlucky, after a few turns the squire will at least find himself rewarded wit_ fine government of some island or some fair county."
  • "I," said Sancho, "have already told my master that I shall be content wit_he government of some island, and he is so noble and generous that he ha_romised it to me ever so many times."
  • "I," said he of the Grove, "shall be satisfied with a canonry for my services,
  • and my master has already assigned me one."
  • "Your master," said Sancho, "no doubt is a knight in the Church line, and ca_estow rewards of that sort on his good squire; but mine is only a layman;
  • though I remember some clever, but, to my mind, designing people, strove t_ersuade him to try and become an archbishop. He, however, would not b_nything but an emperor; but I was trembling all the time lest he should tak_ fancy to go into the Church, not finding myself fit to hold office in it;
  • for I may tell you, though I seem a man, I am no better than a beast for th_hurch."
  • "Well, then, you are wrong there," said he of the Grove; "for those islan_overnments are not all satisfactory; some are awkward, some are poor, som_re dull, and, in short, the highest and choicest brings with it a heav_urden of cares and troubles which the unhappy wight to whose lot it ha_allen bears upon his shoulders. Far better would it be for us who hav_dopted this accursed service to go back to our own houses, and there emplo_urselves in pleasanter occupations—in hunting or fishing, for instance; fo_hat squire in the world is there so poor as not to have a hack and a coupl_f greyhounds and a fishingrod to amuse himself with in his own village?"
  • "I am not in want of any of those things," said Sancho; "to be sure I have n_ack, but I have an ass that is worth my master's horse twice over; God sen_e a bad Easter, and that the next one I am to see, if I would swap, even if _ot four bushels of barley to boot. You will laugh at the value I put on m_apple—for dapple is the colour of my beast. As to greyhounds, I can't wan_or them, for there are enough and to spare in my town; and, moreover, ther_s more pleasure in sport when it is at other people's expense."
  • "In truth and earnest, sir squire," said he of the Grove, "I have made up m_ind and determined to have done with these drunken vagaries of these knights,
  • and go back to my village, and bring up my children; for I have three, lik_hree Oriental pearls."
  • "I have two," said Sancho, "that might be presented before the Pope himself,
  • especially a girl whom I am breeding up for a countess, please God, though i_pite of her mother."
  • "And how old is this lady that is being bred up for a countess?" asked he o_he Grove.
  • "Fifteen, a couple of years more or less," answered Sancho; "but she is a_all as a lance, and as fresh as an April morning, and as strong as a porter."
  • "Those are gifts to fit her to be not only a countess but a nymph of th_reenwood," said he of the Grove; "whoreson strumpet! what pith the rogue mus_ave!"
  • To which Sancho made answer, somewhat sulkily, "She's no strumpet, nor was he_other, nor will either of them be, please God, while I live; speak mor_ivilly; for one bred up among knights-errant, who are courtesy itself, you_ords don't seem to me to be very becoming."
  • "O how little you know about compliments, sir squire," returned he of th_rove. "What! don't you know that when a horseman delivers a good lance thrus_t the bull in the plaza, or when anyone does anything very well, the peopl_re wont to say, 'Ha, whoreson rip! how well he has done it!' and that wha_eems to be abuse in the expression is high praise? Disown sons and daughters,
  • senor, who don't do what deserves that compliments of this sort should be pai_o their parents."
  • "I do disown them," replied Sancho, "and in this way, and by the sam_easoning, you might call me and my children and my wife all the strumpets i_he world, for all they do and say is of a kind that in the highest degre_eserves the same praise; and to see them again I pray God to deliver me fro_ortal sin, or, what comes to the same thing, to deliver me from this perilou_alling of squire into which I have fallen a second time, decayed and beguile_y a purse with a hundred ducats that I found one day in the heart of th_ierra Morena; and the devil is always putting a bag full of doubloons befor_y eyes, here, there, everywhere, until I fancy at every stop I am putting m_and on it, and hugging it, and carrying it home with me, and makin_nvestments, and getting interest, and living like a prince; and so long as _hink of this I make light of all the hardships I endure with this simpleto_f a master of mine, who, I well know, is more of a madman than a knight."
  • "There's why they say that 'covetousness bursts the bag,'" said he of th_rove; "but if you come to talk of that sort, there is not a greater one i_he world than my master, for he is one of those of whom they say, 'the care_f others kill the ass;' for, in order that another knight may recover th_enses he has lost, he makes a madman of himself and goes looking for what,
  • when found, may, for all I know, fly in his own face." "And is he in lov_erchance?" asked Sancho.
  • "He is," said of the Grove, "with one Casildea de Vandalia, the rawest an_est roasted lady the whole world could produce; but that rawness is not th_nly foot he limps on, for he has greater schemes rumbling in his bowels, a_ill be seen before many hours are over."
  • "There's no road so smooth but it has some hole or hindrance in it," sai_ancho; "in other houses they cook beans, but in mine it's by the potful;
  • madness will have more followers and hangers-on than sound sense; but if ther_e any truth in the common saying, that to have companions in trouble give_ome relief, I may take consolation from you, inasmuch as you serve a maste_s crazy as my own."
  • "Crazy but valiant," replied he of the Grove, "and more roguish than crazy o_aliant."
  • "Mine is not that," said Sancho; "I mean he has nothing of the rogue in him;
  • on the contrary, he has the soul of a pitcher; he has no thought of doing har_o anyone, only good to all, nor has he any malice whatever in him; a chil_ight persuade him that it is night at noonday; and for this simplicity I lov_im as the core of my heart, and I can't bring myself to leave him, let him d_ver such foolish things."
  • "For all that, brother and senor," said he of the Grove, "if the blind lea_he blind, both are in danger of falling into the pit. It is better for us t_eat a quiet retreat and get back to our own quarters; for those who see_dventures don't always find good ones."
  • Sancho kept spitting from time to time, and his spittle seemed somewhat rop_nd dry, observing which the compassionate squire of the Grove said, "It seem_o me that with all this talk of ours our tongues are sticking to the roofs o_ur mouths; but I have a pretty good loosener hanging from the saddle-bow o_y horse," and getting up he came back the next minute with a large bota o_ine and a pasty half a yard across; and this is no exaggeration, for it wa_ade of a house rabbit so big that Sancho, as he handled it, took it to b_ade of a goat, not to say a kid, and looking at it he said, "And do you carr_his with you, senor?"
  • "Why, what are you thinking about?" said the other; "do you take me for som_altry squire? I carry a better larder on my horse's croup than a genera_akes with him when he goes on a march."
  • Sancho ate without requiring to be pressed, and in the dark bolted mouthful_ike the knots on a tether, and said he, "You are a proper trusty squire, on_f the right sort, sumptuous and grand, as this banquet shows, which, if i_as not come here by magic art, at any rate has the look of it; not like me,
  • unlucky beggar, that have nothing more in my alforjas than a scrap of cheese,
  • so hard that one might brain a giant with it, and, to keep it company, a fe_ozen carobs and as many more filberts and walnuts; thanks to the austerity o_y master, and the idea he has and the rule he follows, that knights-erran_ust not live or sustain themselves on anything except dried fruits and th_erbs of the field."
  • "By my faith, brother," said he of the Grove, "my stomach is not made fo_histles, or wild pears, or roots of the woods; let our masters do as the_ike, with their chivalry notions and laws, and eat what those enjoin; I carr_y prog-basket and this bota hanging to the saddle-bow, whatever they may say;
  • and it is such an object of worship with me, and I love it so, that there i_ardly a moment but I am kissing and embracing it over and over again;" and s_aying he thrust it into Sancho's hands, who raising it aloft pointed to hi_outh, gazed at the stars for a quarter of an hour; and when he had don_rinking let his head fall on one side, and giving a deep sigh, exclaimed,
  • "Ah, whoreson rogue, how catholic it is!"
  • "There, you see," said he of the Grove, hearing Sancho's exclamation, "how yo_ave called this wine whoreson by way of praise."
  • "Well," said Sancho, "I own it, and I grant it is no dishonour to call anyon_horeson when it is to be understood as praise. But tell me, senor, by wha_ou love best, is this Ciudad Real wine?"
  • "O rare wine-taster!" said he of the Grove; "nowhere else indeed does it com_rom, and it has some years' age too."
  • "Leave me alone for that," said Sancho; "never fear but I'll hit upon th_lace it came from somehow. What would you say, sir squire, to my having suc_ great natural instinct in judging wines that you have only to let me smel_ne and I can tell positively its country, its kind, its flavour an_oundness, the changes it will undergo, and everything that appertains to _ine? But it is no wonder, for I have had in my family, on my father's side,
  • the two best wine-tasters that have been known in La Mancha for many a lon_ear, and to prove it I'll tell you now a thing that happened them. They gav_he two of them some wine out of a cask, to try, asking their opinion as t_he condition, quality, goodness or badness of the wine. One of them tried i_ith the tip of his tongue, the other did no more than bring it to his nose.
  • The first said the wine had a flavour of iron, the second said it had _tronger flavour of cordovan. The owner said the cask was clean, and tha_othing had been added to the wine from which it could have got a flavour o_ither iron or leather. Nevertheless, these two great wine-tasters held t_hat they had said. Time went by, the wine was sold, and when they came t_lean out the cask, they found in it a small key hanging to a thong o_ordovan; see now if one who comes of the same stock has not a right to giv_is opinion in such like cases."
  • "Therefore, I say," said he of the Grove, "let us give up going in quest o_dventures, and as we have loaves let us not go looking for cakes, but retur_o our cribs, for God will find us there if it be his will."
  • "Until my master reaches Saragossa," said Sancho, "I'll remain in his service;
  • after that we'll see."
  • The end of it was that the two squires talked so much and drank so much tha_leep had to tie their tongues and moderate their thirst, for to quench it wa_mpossible; and so the pair of them fell asleep clinging to the now nearl_mpty bota and with half-chewed morsels in their mouths; and there we wil_eave them for the present, to relate what passed between the Knight of th_rove and him of the Rueful Countenance.