Don Quixote - Part II (Dedication of Part II, page 1 of 2)


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TO THE COUNT OF LEMOS:

These days past, when sending Your Excellency my plays, that had appeared
in print before being shown on the stage, I said, if I remember well,
that Don Quixote was putting on his spurs to go and render homage to Your
Excellency. Now I say that "with his spurs, he is on his way." Should he
reach destination methinks I shall have rendered some service to Your
Excellency, as from many parts I am urged to send him off, so as to
dispel the loathing and disgust caused by another Don Quixote who, under
the name of Second Part, has run masquerading through the whole world.
And he who has shown the greatest longing for him has been the great
Emperor of China, who wrote me a letter in Chinese a month ago and sent
it by a special courier. He asked me, or to be truthful, he begged me to
send him Don Quixote, for he intended to found a college where the
Spanish tongue would be taught, and it was his wish that the book to be
read should be the History of Don Quixote. He also added that I should go
and be the rector of this college. I asked the bearer if His Majesty had
afforded a sum in aid of my travel expenses. He answered, "No, not even
in thought."

"Then, brother," I replied, "you can return to your China, post haste or
at whatever haste you are bound to go, as I am not fit for so long a
travel and, besides being ill, I am very much without money, while
Emperor for Emperor and Monarch for Monarch, I have at Naples the great
Count of Lemos, who, without so many petty titles of colleges and
rectorships, sustains me, protects me and does me more favour than I can
wish for."

Thus I gave him his leave and I beg mine from you, offering Your
Excellency the "Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda," a book I shall finish
within four months, Deo volente, and which will be either the worst or
the best that has been composed in our language, I mean of those intended
for entertainment; at which I repent of having called it the worst, for,
in the opinion of friends, it is bound to attain the summit of possible
quality. May Your Excellency return in such health that is wished you;
Persiles will be ready to kiss your hand and I your feet, being as I am,
Your Excellency's most humble servant.

From Madrid, this last day of October of the year one thousand six
hundred and fifteen.

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