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CHAPTER X. (CONT'D)
Such was the soliloquy Sancho held with himself, and all the conclusion he could come to was to say to himself again, "Well, there's remedy for everything except death, under whose yoke we have all to pass, whether we like it or not, when life's finished. I have seen by a thousand signs that this master of mine is a madman fit to be tied, and for that matter, I too, am not behind him; for I'm a greater fool than he is when I follow him and serve him, if there's any truth in the proverb that says, 'Tell me what company thou keepest, and I'll tell thee what thou art,' or in that other, 'Not with whom thou art bred, but with whom thou art fed.
' Well then, if he be mad, as he is, and with a madness that mostly takes one thing for another, and white for black, and black for white, as was seen when he said the windmills were giants, and the monks' mules dromedaries, flocks of sheep armies of enemies, and much more to the same tune, it will not be very hard to make him believe that some country girl, the first I come across here, is the lady Dulcinea; and if he does not believe it, I'll swear it; and if he should swear, I'll swear again; and if he persists I'll persist still more, so as, come what may, to have my quoit always over the peg. Maybe, by holding out in this way, I may put a stop to his sending me on messages of this kind another time; or maybe he will think, as I suspect he will, that one of those wicked enchanters, who he says have a spite against him, has changed her form for the sake of doing him an ill turn and injuring him."
With this reflection Sancho made his mind easy, counting the business as good as settled, and stayed there till the afternoon so as to make Don Quixote think he had time enough to go to El Toboso and return; and things turned out so luckily for him that as he got up to mount Dapple, he spied, coming from El Toboso towards the spot where he stood, three peasant girls on three colts, or fillies--for the author does not make the point clear, though it is more likely they were she-asses, the usual mount with village girls; but as it is of no great consequence, we need not stop to prove it.
To be brief, the instant Sancho saw the peasant girls, he returned full speed to seek his master, and found him sighing and uttering a thousand passionate lamentations. When Don Quixote saw him he exclaimed, "What news, Sancho, my friend? Am I to mark this day with a white stone or a black?"
"Your worship," replied Sancho, "had better mark it with ruddle, like the inscriptions on the walls of class rooms, that those who see it may see it plain."
"Then thou bringest good news," said Don Quixote.
"So good," replied Sancho, "that your worship has only to spur Rocinante and get out into the open field to see the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, who, with two others, damsels of hers, is coming to see your worship."
"Holy God! what art thou saying, Sancho, my friend?" exclaimed Don Quixote. "Take care thou art not deceiving me, or seeking by false joy to cheer my real sadness."
"What could I get by deceiving your worship," returned Sancho, "especially when it will so soon be shown whether I tell the truth or not? Come, senor, push on, and you will see the princess our mistress coming, robed and adorned--in fact, like what she is. Her damsels and she are all one glow of gold, all bunches of pearls, all diamonds, all rubies, all cloth of brocade of more than ten borders; with their hair loose on their shoulders like so many sunbeams playing with the wind; and moreover, they come mounted on three piebald cackneys, the finest sight ever you saw."
"Hackneys, you mean, Sancho," said Don Quixote.
"There is not much difference between cackneys and hackneys," said Sancho; "but no matter what they come on, there they are, the finest ladies one could wish for, especially my lady the princess Dulcinea, who staggers one's senses."
"Let us go, Sancho, my son," said Don Quixote, "and in guerdon of this news, as unexpected as it is good, I bestow upon thee the best spoil I shall win in the first adventure I may have; or if that does not satisfy thee, I promise thee the foals I shall have this year from my three mares that thou knowest are in foal on our village common."
"I'll take the foals," said Sancho; "for it is not quite certain that the spoils of the first adventure will be good ones."
By this time they had cleared the wood, and saw the three village lasses close at hand. Don Quixote looked all along the road to El Toboso, and as he could see nobody except the three peasant girls, he was completely puzzled, and asked Sancho if it was outside the city he had left them.
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