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Don Quixote XVIII. Gallant Don Quixote


The next day when our two heroes were riding out of a little wood, Don Quixote caught sight of a princely hawking party on a green meadow. Among them was a beautiful lady on a snow-white palfrey. The noble lady was attired in a splendid green hunting gown and held a falcon on her right wrist, whence our knight concluded that she must be the mistress of all the hunters, "Listen, Sancho," said Don Quixote after a while to his squire, "ride over to this fair lady, and offer her my salutations. Tell her that I, Don Quixote de la Mancha, the Knight of the Lions, the Vanquisher of all Moors, the hero of distressing adventures, kiss her hand and wish to seek permission to wait upon her." Sancho Panza rammed his heels into his donkey, made off at a gallop and had reached the beautiful huntress within a few moments. He dismounted, threw himself on his knees before her and repeated what his master had instructed him to say. The lady smiled sweetly and graciously: "You have delivered your message most fittingly, and if your master really is the famous Don Quixote whose extraordinary deeds the entire kingdom of Spain and the rest of the world are talking about, then I and my husband, the duke, shall be glad to welcome him to our country estates." - Picture 103. The Knight Falls off his Horse Meanwhile Don Quixote approached with a heroic expression on his countenance. He wanted to dismount lightly from the saddle, his head held high like a supernatural hero in order to impress the beautiful noble princess. Sancho Panza rode up to assist him. But unfortunately one foot got entangled in the donkey's bridle so that the hero slipped and landed with his chest and head on the ground, without being able to remove the other foot from the stirrup. Rocinante reared up on her back legs, the donkey brayed loudly and fat Sancho tumbled on to his master, breaking off bits of his suit of armour, which crashed jangling to the ground. The knight was discomfited to have fallen so miserably low before the fair lady, and uttered a volley of terrible curses in the direction of his innocent squire, who was still writhing under the hoofs of his donkey. The duke hastened to come to his aid since the entire company was laughing so much that nobody could move. "A thousand thanks, valorous prince!" said Don Quixote with an apologetic gesture, "you see what misfortune that good-for-nothing squire of mine has brought upon me." - "Peace, Sir Knight de la Mancha!" retorted the duke, leading the dishevelled hero to his beautiful consort. She spoke with a lovely smile: Picture 104. Don Quixote and the Duchess "My knight errant! It in no way detracts from your fame that you have a squire who is indeed talkative, droll and humorous, though less good at holding stirrups." Engaged in such delightful conversation, in the midst of the hunters, Don Quixote approached the gates of the castle riding next to the duchess. Once they had reached the courtyard, the knight leaped from his Rocinante, in order to behave as a true grandseigneur and assist the mistress of the house while she dismounted. But the devil foiled him, bringing further misfortune. The light material of her gown, the valuable lace ruff and the fluttering veil of her hunting hat got caught in the knight's dented armour, got wound around screws, torn by sharp edges, and so entangled that it took a long time to release the beautiful huntress from the armoured Knight of the Sad Countentance.

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