**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.