Don Quixote - Part I (Chapter III, page 2 of 5)


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Don Quixote promised to follow his advice scrupulously, and it was
arranged forthwith that he should watch his armour in a large yard at one
side of the inn; so, collecting it all together, Don Quixote placed it on
a trough that stood by the side of a well, and bracing his buckler on his
arm he grasped his lance and began with a stately air to march up and
down in front of the trough, and as he began his march night began to
fall.

The landlord told all the people who were in the inn about the craze of
his guest, the watching of the armour, and the dubbing ceremony he
contemplated. Full of wonder at so strange a form of madness, they
flocked to see it from a distance, and observed with what composure he
sometimes paced up and down, or sometimes, leaning on his lance, gazed on
his armour without taking his eyes off it for ever so long; and as the
night closed in with a light from the moon so brilliant that it might vie
with his that lent it, everything the novice knight did was plainly seen
by all.

Meanwhile one of the carriers who were in the inn thought fit to water
his team, and it was necessary to remove Don Quixote's armour as it lay
on the trough; but he seeing the other approach hailed him in a loud
voice, "O thou, whoever thou art, rash knight that comest to lay hands on
the armour of the most valorous errant that ever girt on sword, have a
care what thou dost; touch it not unless thou wouldst lay down thy life
as the penalty of thy rashness." The carrier gave no heed to these words
(and he would have done better to heed them if he had been heedful of his
health), but seizing it by the straps flung the armour some distance from
him. Seeing this, Don Quixote raised his eyes to heaven, and fixing his
thoughts, apparently, upon his lady Dulcinea, exclaimed, "Aid me, lady
mine, in this the first encounter that presents itself to this breast
which thou holdest in subjection; let not thy favour and protection fail
me in this first jeopardy;" and, with these words and others to the same
purpose, dropping his buckler he lifted his lance with both hands and
with it smote such a blow on the carrier's head that he stretched him on
the ground, so stunned that had he followed it up with a second there
would have been no need of a surgeon to cure him. This done, he picked up
his armour and returned to his beat with the same serenity as before.

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