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Chapter 32

  • **Of the reply Don Quixote gave his censurer, with other incidents, grave an_roll**
  • Don Quixote, then, having risen to his feet, trembling from head to foot lik_ man dosed with mercury, said in a hurried, agitated voice, "The place I a_n, the presence in which I stand, and the respect I have and always have ha_or the profession to which your worship belongs, hold and bind the hands o_y just indignation; and as well for these reasons as because I know, a_veryone knows, that a gownsman's weapon is the same as a woman's, the tongue, I will with mine engage in equal combat with your worship, from whom one migh_ave expected good advice instead of foul abuse. Pious, well-meant reproo_equires a different demeanour and arguments of another sort; at any rate, t_ave reproved me in public, and so roughly, exceeds the bounds of prope_eproof, for that comes better with gentleness than with rudeness; and it i_ot seemly to call the sinner roundly blockhead and booby, without knowin_nything of the sin that is reproved. Come, tell me, for which of th_tupidities you have observed in me do you condemn and abuse me, and bid me g_ome and look after my house and wife and children, without knowing whether _ave any? Is nothing more needed than to get a footing, by hook or by crook, in other people's houses to rule over the masters (and that, perhaps, afte_aving been brought up in all the straitness of some seminary, and withou_aving ever seen more of the world than may lie within twenty or thirt_eagues round), to fit one to lay down the law rashly for chivalry, and pas_udgment on knights-errant? Is it, haply, an idle occupation, or is the tim_ll-spent that is spent in roaming the world in quest, not of its enjoyments, but of those arduous toils whereby the good mount upwards to the abodes o_verlasting life? If gentlemen, great lords, nobles, men of high birth, wer_o rate me as a fool I should take it as an irreparable insult; but I care no_ farthing if clerks who have never entered upon or trod the paths of chivalr_hould think me foolish. Knight I am, and knight I will die, if such be th_leasure of the Most High. Some take the broad road of overweening ambition; others that of mean and servile flattery; others that of deceitful hypocrisy, and some that of true religion; but I, led by my star, follow the narrow pat_f knight-errantry, and in pursuit of that calling I despise wealth, but no_onour. I have redressed injuries, righted wrongs, punished insolences, vanquished giants, and crushed monsters; I am in love, for no other reaso_han that it is incumbent on knights-errant to be so; but though I am, I am n_arnal-minded lover, but one of the chaste, platonic sort. My intentions ar_lways directed to worthy ends, to do good to all and evil to none; and if h_ho means this, does this, and makes this his practice deserves to be called _ool, it is for your highnesses to say, O most excellent duke and duchess."
  • "Good, by God!" cried Sancho; "say no more in your own defence, master mine, for there's nothing more in the world to be said, thought, or insisted on; an_esides, when this gentleman denies, as he has, that there are or ever hav_een any knights-errant in the world, is it any wonder if he knows nothing o_hat he has been talking about?"
  • "Perhaps, brother," said the ecclesiastic, "you are that Sancho Panza that i_entioned, to whom your master has promised an island?"
  • "Yes, I am," said Sancho, "and what's more, I am one who deserves it as muc_s anyone; I am one of the sort—'Attach thyself to the good, and thou wilt b_ne of them,' and of those, 'Not with whom thou art bred, but with whom tho_rt fed,' and of those, 'Who leans against a good tree, a good shade cover_im;' I have leant upon a good master, and I have been for months going abou_ith him, and please God I shall be just such another; long life to him an_ong life to me, for neither will he be in any want of empires to rule, or _f islands to govern."
  • "No, Sancho my friend, certainly not," said the duke, "for in the name o_enor Don Quixote I confer upon you the government of one of no smal_mportance that I have at my disposal."
  • "Go down on thy knees, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and kiss the feet of hi_xcellence for the favour he has bestowed upon thee."
  • Sancho obeyed, and on seeing this the ecclesiastic stood up from tabl_ompletely out of temper, exclaiming, "By the gown I wear, I am almos_nclined to say that your excellence is as great a fool as these sinners. N_onder they are mad, when people who are in their senses sanction thei_adness! I leave your excellence with them, for so long as they are in th_ouse, I will remain in my own, and spare myself the trouble of reproving wha_ cannot remedy;" and without uttering another word, or eating another morsel, he went off, the entreaties of the duke and duchess being entirely unavailin_o stop him; not that the duke said much to him, for he could not, because o_he laughter his uncalled-for anger provoked.
  • When he had done laughing, he said to Don Quixote, "You have replied on you_wn behalf so stoutly, Sir Knight of the Lions, that there is no occasion t_eek further satisfaction for this, which, though it may look like an offence, is not so at all, for, as women can give no offence, no more ca_cclesiastics, as you very well know."
  • "That is true," said Don Quixote, "and the reason is, that he who is no_iable to offence cannot give offence to anyone. Women, children, an_cclesiastics, as they cannot defend themselves, though they may receiv_ffence cannot be insulted, because between the offence and the insult ther_s, as your excellence very well knows, this difference: the insult comes fro_ne who is capable of offering it, and does so, and maintains it; the offenc_ay come from any quarter without carrying insult. To take an example: a ma_s standing unsuspectingly in the street and ten others come up armed and bea_im; he draws his sword and quits himself like a man, but the number of hi_ntagonists makes it impossible for him to effect his purpose and aveng_imself; this man suffers an offence but not an insult. Another example wil_ake the same thing plain: a man is standing with his back turned, anothe_omes up and strikes him, and after striking him takes to flight, withou_aiting an instant, and the other pursues him but does not overtake him; h_ho received the blow received an offence, but not an insult, because a_nsult must be maintained. If he who struck him, though he did so sneakingl_nd treacherously, had drawn his sword and stood and faced him, then he wh_ad been struck would have received offence and insult at the same time; offence because he was struck treacherously, insult because he who struck hi_aintained what he had done, standing his ground without taking to flight. An_o, according to the laws of the accursed duel, I may have received offence, but not insult, for neither women nor children can maintain it, nor can the_ound, nor have they any way of standing their ground, and it is just the sam_ith those connected with religion; for these three sorts of persons ar_ithout arms offensive or defensive, and so, though naturally they are boun_o defend themselves, they have no right to offend anybody; and though I sai_ust now I might have received offence, I say now certainly not, for he wh_annot receive an insult can still less give one; for which reasons I ough_ot to feel, nor do I feel, aggrieved at what that good man said to me; I onl_ish he had stayed a little longer, that I might have shown him the mistake h_akes in supposing and maintaining that there are not and never have been an_nights-errant in the world; had Amadis or any of his countless descendant_eard him say as much, I am sure it would not have gone well with hi_orship."
  • "I will take my oath of that," said Sancho; "they would have given him a slas_hat would have slit him down from top to toe like a pomegranate or a rip_elon; they were likely fellows to put up with jokes of that sort! By m_aith, I'm certain if Reinaldos of Montalvan had heard the little man's word_e would have given him such a spank on the mouth that he wouldn't have spoke_or the next three years; ay, let him tackle them, and he'll see how he'll ge_ut of their hands!"
  • The duchess, as she listened to Sancho, was ready to die with laughter, and i_er own mind she set him down as droller and madder than his master; and ther_ere a good many just then who were of the same opinion.
  • Don Quixote finally grew calm, and dinner came to an end, and as the cloth wa_emoved four damsels came in, one of them with a silver basin, another with _ug also of silver, a third with two fine white towels on her shoulder, an_he fourth with her arms bared to the elbows, and in her white hands (fo_hite they certainly were) a round ball of Naples soap. The one with the basi_pproached, and with arch composure and impudence, thrust it under Do_uixote's chin, who, wondering at such a ceremony, said never a word, supposing it to be the custom of that country to wash beards instead of hands; he therefore stretched his out as far as he could, and at the same instant th_ug began to pour and the damsel with the soap rubbed his beard briskly, raising snow-flakes, for the soap lather was no less white, not only over th_eard, but all over the face, and over the eyes of the submissive knight, s_hat they were perforce obliged to keep shut. The duke and duchess, who ha_ot known anything about this, waited to see what came of this strang_ashing. The barber damsel, when she had him a hand's breadth deep in lather, pretended that there was no more water, and bade the one with the jug go an_etch some, while Senor Don Quixote waited. She did so, and Don Quixote wa_eft the strangest and most ludicrous figure that could be imagined. All thos_resent, and there were a good many, were watching him, and as they saw hi_here with half a yard of neck, and that uncommonly brown, his eyes shut, an_is beard full of soap, it was a great wonder, and only by great discretion, that they were able to restrain their laughter. The damsels, the concocters o_he joke, kept their eyes down, not daring to look at their master an_istress; and as for them, laughter and anger struggled within them, and the_new not what to do, whether to punish the audacity of the girls, or to rewar_hem for the amusement they had received from seeing Don Quixote in such _light.
  • At length the damsel with the jug returned and they made an end of washing Do_uixote, and the one who carried the towels very deliberately wiped him an_ried him; and all four together making him a profound obeisance and curtsey, they were about to go, when the duke, lest Don Quixote should see through th_oke, called out to the one with the basin saying, "Come and wash me, and tak_are that there is water enough." The girl, sharp-witted and prompt, came an_laced the basin for the duke as she had done for Don Quixote, and they soo_ad him well soaped and washed, and having wiped him dry they made thei_beisance and retired. It appeared afterwards that the duke had sworn that i_hey had not washed him as they had Don Quixote he would have punished the_or their impudence, which they adroitly atoned for by soaping him as well.
  • Sancho observed the ceremony of the washing very attentively, and said t_imself, "God bless me, if it were only the custom in this country to was_quires' beards too as well as knights'. For by God and upon my soul I want i_adly; and if they gave me a scrape of the razor besides I'd take it as _till greater kindness."
  • "What are you saying to yourself, Sancho?" asked the duchess.
  • "I was saying, senora," he replied, "that in the courts of other princes, whe_he cloth is taken away, I have always heard say they give water for th_ands, but not lye for the beard; and that shows it is good to live long tha_ou may see much; to be sure, they say too that he who lives a long life mus_ndergo much evil, though to undergo a washing of that sort is pleasure rathe_han pain."
  • "Don't be uneasy, friend Sancho," said the duchess; "I will take care that m_amsels wash you, and even put you in the tub if necessary."
  • "I'll be content with the beard," said Sancho, "at any rate for the present; and as for the future, God has decreed what is to be."
  • "Attend to worthy Sancho's request, seneschal," said the duchess, "and d_xactly what he wishes."
  • The seneschal replied that Senor Sancho should be obeyed in everything; an_ith that he went away to dinner and took Sancho along with him, while th_uke and duchess and Don Quixote remained at table discussing a great variet_f things, but all bearing on the calling of arms and knight-errantry.
  • The duchess begged Don Quixote, as he seemed to have a retentive memory, t_escribe and portray to her the beauty and features of the lady Dulcinea de_oboso, for, judging by what fame trumpeted abroad of her beauty, she fel_ure she must be the fairest creature in the world, nay, in all La Mancha.
  • Don Quixote sighed on hearing the duchess's request, and said, "If I coul_luck out my heart, and lay it on a plate on this table here before you_ighness's eyes, it would spare my tongue the pain of telling what can hardl_e thought of, for in it your excellence would see her portrayed in full. Bu_hy should I attempt to depict and describe in detail, and feature by feature, the beauty of the peerless Dulcinea, the burden being one worthy of othe_houlders than mine, an enterprise wherein the pencils of Parrhasius, Timantes, and Apelles, and the graver of Lysippus ought to be employed, t_aint it in pictures and carve it in marble and bronze, and Ciceronian an_emosthenian eloquence to sound its praises?"
  • "What does Demosthenian mean, Senor Don Quixote?" said the duchess; "it is _ord I never heard in all my life."
  • "Demosthenian eloquence," said Don Quixote, "means the eloquence o_emosthenes, as Ciceronian means that of Cicero, who were the two mos_loquent orators in the world."
  • "True," said the duke; "you must have lost your wits to ask such a question.
  • Nevertheless, Senor Don Quixote would greatly gratify us if he would depic_er to us; for never fear, even in an outline or sketch she will be somethin_o make the fairest envious."
  • "I would do so certainly," said Don Quixote, "had she not been blurred to m_ind's eye by the misfortune that fell upon her a short time since, one o_uch a nature that I am more ready to weep over it than to describe it. Fo_our highnesses must know that, going a few days back to kiss her hands an_eceive her benediction, approbation, and permission for this third sally, _ound her altogether a different being from the one I sought; I found he_nchanted and changed from a princess into a peasant, from fair to foul, fro_n angel into a devil, from fragrant to pestiferous, from refined to clownish, from a dignified lady into a jumping tomboy, and, in a word, from Dulcinea de_oboso into a coarse Sayago wench."
  • "God bless me!" said the duke aloud at this, "who can have done the world suc_n injury? Who can have robbed it of the beauty that gladdened it, of th_race and gaiety that charmed it, of the modesty that shed a lustre upon it?"
  • "Who?" replied Don Quixote; "who could it be but some malignant enchanter o_he many that persecute me out of envy—that accursed race born into the worl_o obscure and bring to naught the achievements of the good, and glorify an_xalt the deeds of the wicked? Enchanters have persecuted me, enchanter_ersecute me still, and enchanters will continue to persecute me until the_ave sunk me and my lofty chivalry in the deep abyss of oblivion; and the_njure and wound me where they know I feel it most. For to deprive a knight- errant of his lady is to deprive him of the eyes he sees with, of the sun tha_ives him light, of the food whereby he lives. Many a time before have I sai_t, and I say it now once more, a knight-errant without a lady is like a tre_ithout leaves, a building without a foundation, or a shadow without the bod_hat causes it."
  • "There is no denying it," said the duchess; "but still, if we are to believ_he history of Don Quixote that has come out here lately with genera_pplause, it is to be inferred from it, if I mistake not, that you never sa_he lady Dulcinea, and that the said lady is nothing in the world but a_maginary lady, one that you yourself begot and gave birth to in your brain, and adorned with whatever charms and perfections you chose."
  • "There is a good deal to be said on that point," said Don Quixote; "God know_hether there be any Dulcinea or not in the world, or whether she is imaginar_r not imaginary; these are things the proof of which must not be pushed t_xtreme lengths. I have not begotten nor given birth to my lady, though _ehold her as she needs must be, a lady who contains in herself all th_ualities to make her famous throughout the world, beautiful without blemish, dignified without haughtiness, tender and yet modest, gracious from courtes_nd courteous from good breeding, and lastly, of exalted lineage, becaus_eauty shines forth and excels with a higher degree of perfection upon goo_lood than in the fair of lowly birth."
  • "That is true," said the duke; "but Senor Don Quixote will give me leave t_ay what I am constrained to say by the story of his exploits that I hav_ead, from which it is to be inferred that, granting there is a Dulcinea in E_oboso, or out of it, and that she is in the highest degree beautiful as yo_ave described her to us, as regards the loftiness of her lineage she is no_n a par with the Orianas, Alastrajareas, Madasimas, or others of that sort, with whom, as you well know, the histories abound."
  • "To that I may reply," said Don Quixote, "that Dulcinea is the daughter of he_wn works, and that virtues rectify blood, and that lowly virtue is more to b_egarded and esteemed than exalted vice. Dulcinea, besides, has that withi_er that may raise her to be a crowned and sceptred queen; for the merit of _air and virtuous woman is capable of performing greater miracles; an_irtually, though not formally, she has in herself higher fortunes."
  • "I protest, Senor Don Quixote," said the duchess, "that in all you say, you g_ost cautiously and lead in hand, as the saying is; henceforth I will believ_yself, and I will take care that everyone in my house believes, even my lor_he duke if needs be, that there is a Dulcinea in El Toboso, and that she i_iving to-day, and that she is beautiful and nobly born and deserves to hav_uch a knight as Senor Don Quixote in her service, and that is the highes_raise that it is in my power to give her or that I can think of. But I canno_elp entertaining a doubt, and having a certain grudge against Sancho Panza; the doubt is this, that the aforesaid history declares that the said Sanch_anza, when he carried a letter on your worship's behalf to the said lad_ulcinea, found her sifting a sack of wheat; and more by token it says it wa_ed wheat; a thing which makes me doubt the loftiness of her lineage."
  • To this Don Quixote made answer, "Senora, your highness must know tha_verything or almost everything that happens me transcends the ordinary limit_f what happens to other knights-errant; whether it be that it is directed b_he inscrutable will of destiny, or by the malice of some jealous enchanter.
  • Now it is an established fact that all or most famous knights-errant have som_pecial gift, one that of being proof against enchantment, another that o_eing made of such invulnerable flesh that he cannot be wounded, as was th_amous Roland, one of the twelve peers of France, of whom it is related tha_e could not be wounded except in the sole of his left foot, and that it mus_e with the point of a stout pin and not with any other sort of weapo_hatever; and so, when Bernardo del Carpio slew him at Roncesvalles, findin_hat he could not wound him with steel, he lifted him up from the ground i_is arms and strangled him, calling to mind seasonably the death whic_ercules inflicted on Antaeus, the fierce giant that they say was the son o_erra. I would infer from what I have mentioned that perhaps I may have som_ift of this kind, not that of being invulnerable, because experience has man_imes proved to me that I am of tender flesh and not at all impenetrable; no_hat of being proof against enchantment, for I have already seen myself thrus_nto a cage, in which all the world would not have been able to confine m_xcept by force of enchantments. But as I delivered myself from that one, I a_nclined to believe that there is no other that can hurt me; and so, thes_nchanters, seeing that they cannot exert their vile craft against my person, revenge themselves on what I love most, and seek to rob me of life b_altreating that of Dulcinea in whom I live; and therefore I am convinced tha_hen my squire carried my message to her, they changed her into a commo_easant girl, engaged in such a mean occupation as sifting wheat; I hav_lready said, however, that that wheat was not red wheat, nor wheat at all, but grains of orient pearl. And as a proof of all this, I must tell you_ighnesses that, coming to El Toboso a short time back, I was altogethe_nable to discover the palace of Dulcinea; and that the next day, thoug_ancho, my squire, saw her in her own proper shape, which is the fairest i_he world, to me she appeared to be a coarse, ill-favoured farm-wench, and b_o means a well-spoken one, she who is propriety itself. And so, as I am no_nd, so far as one can judge, cannot be enchanted, she it is that i_nchanted, that is smitten, that is altered, changed, and transformed; in he_ave my enemies revenged themselves upon me, and for her shall I live i_easeless tears, until I see her in her pristine state. I have mentioned thi_est anybody should mind what Sancho said about Dulcinea's winnowing o_ifting; for, as they changed her to me, it is no wonder if they changed he_o him. Dulcinea is illustrious and well-born, and of one of the gentl_amilies of El Toboso, which are many, ancient, and good. Therein, mos_ssuredly, not small is the share of the peerless Dulcinea, through whom he_own will be famous and celebrated in ages to come, as Troy was through Helen, and Spain through La Cava, though with a better title and tradition. Fo_nother thing; I would have your graces understand that Sancho Panza is one o_he drollest squires that ever served knight-errant; sometimes there is _implicity about him so acute that it is an amusement to try and make ou_hether he is simple or sharp; he has mischievous tricks that stamp him rogue, and blundering ways that prove him a booby; he doubts everything and believe_verything; when I fancy he is on the point of coming down headlong from shee_tupidity, he comes out with something shrewd that sends him up to the skies.
  • After all, I would not exchange him for another squire, though I were given _ity to boot, and therefore I am in doubt whether it will be well to send hi_o the government your highness has bestowed upon him; though I perceive i_im a certain aptitude for the work of governing, so that, with a littl_rimming of his understanding, he would manage any government as easily as th_ing does his taxes; and moreover, we know already ample experience that i_oes not require much cleverness or much learning to be a governor, for ther_re a hundred round about us that scarcely know how to read, and govern lik_erfalcons. The main point is that they should have good intentions and b_esirous of doing right in all things, for they will never be at a loss fo_ersons to advise and direct them in what they have to do, like those knight- governors who, being no lawyers, pronounce sentences with the aid of a_ssessor. My advice to him will be to take no bribe and surrender no right, and I have some other little matters in reserve, that shall be produced in du_eason for Sancho's benefit and the advantage of the island he is to govern."
  • The duke, duchess, and Don Quixote had reached this point in thei_onversation, when they heard voices and a great hubbub in the palace, an_ancho burst abruptly into the room all glowing with anger, with a straining- cloth by way of a bib, and followed by several servants, or, more properl_peaking, kitchen-boys and other underlings, one of whom carried a smal_rough full of water, that from its colour and impurity was plainly dishwater.
  • The one with the trough pursued him and followed him everywhere he went, endeavouring with the utmost persistence to thrust it under his chin, whil_nother kitchen-boy seemed anxious to wash his beard.
  • "What is all this, brothers?" asked the duchess. "What is it? What do you wan_o do to this good man? Do you forget he is a governor-elect?"
  • To which the barber kitchen-boy replied, "The gentleman will not let himsel_e washed as is customary, and as my lord and the senor his master have been."
  • "Yes, I will," said Sancho, in a great rage; "but I'd like it to be wit_leaner towels, clearer lye, and not such dirty hands; for there's not so muc_ifference between me and my master that he should be washed with angels'
  • water and I with devil's lye. The customs of countries and princes' palace_re only good so long as they give no annoyance; but the way of washing the_ave here is worse than doing penance. I have a clean beard, and I don'_equire to be refreshed in that fashion, and whoever comes to wash me or touc_ hair of my head, I mean to say my beard, with all due respect be it said, I'll give him a punch that will leave my fist sunk in his skull; fo_irimonies and soapings of this sort are more like jokes than the polit_ttentions of one's host."
  • The duchess was ready to die with laughter when she saw Sancho's rage an_eard his words; but it was no pleasure to Don Quixote to see him in such _orry trim, with the dingy towel about him, and the hangers-on of the kitche_ll round him; so making a low bow to the duke and duchess, as if to ask thei_ermission to speak, he addressed the rout in a dignified tone: "Holloa, gentlemen! you let that youth alone, and go back to where you came from, o_nywhere else if you like; my squire is as clean as any other person, an_hose troughs are as bad as narrow thin-necked jars to him; take my advice an_eave him alone, for neither he nor I understand joking."
  • Sancho took the word out of his mouth and went on, "Nay, let them come and tr_heir jokes on the country bumpkin, for it's about as likely I'll stand the_s that it's now midnight! Let them bring me a comb here, or what they please, and curry this beard of mine, and if they get anything out of it that offend_gainst cleanliness, let them clip me to the skin."
  • Upon this, the duchess, laughing all the while, said, "Sancho Panza is right, and always will be in all he says; he is clean, and, as he says himself, h_oes not require to be washed; and if our ways do not please him, he is fre_o choose. Besides, you promoters of cleanliness have been excessivel_areless and thoughtless, I don't know if I ought not to say audacious, t_ring troughs and wooden utensils and kitchen dishclouts, instead of basin_nd jugs of pure gold and towels of holland, to such a person and such _eard; but, after all, you are ill-conditioned and ill-bred, and spiteful a_ou are, you cannot help showing the grudge you have against the squires o_nights-errant."
  • The impudent servitors, and even the seneschal who came with them, took th_uchess to be speaking in earnest, so they removed the straining-cloth fro_ancho's neck, and with something like shame and confusion of face went of_ll of them and left him; whereupon he, seeing himself safe out of tha_xtreme danger, as it seemed to him, ran and fell on his knees before th_uchess, saying, "From great ladies great favours may be looked for; thi_hich your grace has done me today cannot be requited with less than wishing _as dubbed a knight-errant, to devote myself all the days of my life to th_ervice of so exalted a lady. I am a labouring man, my name is Sancho Panza, _m married, I have children, and I am serving as a squire; if in any one o_hese ways I can serve your highness, I will not be longer in obeying tha_our grace in commanding."
  • "It is easy to see, Sancho," replied the duchess, "that you have learned to b_olite in the school of politeness itself; I mean to say it is easy to se_hat you have been nursed in the bosom of Senor Don Quixote, who is, o_ourse, the cream of good breeding and flower of ceremony—or cirimony, as yo_ould say yourself. Fair be the fortunes of such a master and such a servant, the one the cynosure of knight-errantry, the other the star of squirel_idelity! Rise, Sancho, my friend; I will repay your courtesy by taking car_hat my lord the duke makes good to you the promised gift of the government a_oon as possible."
  • With this, the conversation came to an end, and Don Quixote retired to tak_is midday sleep; but the duchess begged Sancho, unless he had a very grea_esire to go to sleep, to come and spend the afternoon with her and he_amsels in a very cool chamber. Sancho replied that, though he certainly ha_he habit of sleeping four or five hours in the heat of the day in summer, t_erve her excellence he would try with all his might not to sleep even on_hat day, and that he would come in obedience to her command, and with that h_ent off. The duke gave fresh orders with respect to treating Don Quixote as _night-errant, without departing even in smallest particular from the style i_hich, as the stories tell us, they used to treat the knights of old.