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CHAPTER XXI. (CONT'D)
Basilio and Quiteria having thus joined hands, the priest, deeply moved and with tears in his eyes, pronounced the blessing upon them, and implored heaven to grant an easy passage to the soul of the newly wedded man, who, the instant he received the blessing, started nimbly to his feet and with unparalleled effrontery pulled out the rapier that had been sheathed in his body. All the bystanders were astounded, and some, more simple than inquiring, began shouting, "A miracle, a miracle!" But Basilio replied, "No miracle, no miracle; only a trick, a trick!" The priest, perplexed and amazed, made haste to examine the wound with both hands, and found that the blade had passed, not through Basilio's flesh and ribs, but through a hollow iron tube full of blood, which he had adroitly fixed at the place, the blood, as was afterwards ascertained, having been so prepared as not to congeal. In short, the priest and Camacho and most of those present saw they were tricked and made fools of
The bride showed no signs of displeasure at the deception; on the contrary, hearing them say that the marriage, being fraudulent, would not be valid, she said that she confirmed it afresh, whence they all concluded that the affair had been planned by agreement and understanding between the pair, whereat Camacho and his supporters were so mortified that they proceeded to revenge themselves by violence, and a great number of them drawing their swords attacked Basilio, in whose protection as many more swords were in an instant unsheathed, while Don Quixote taking the lead on horseback, with his lance over his arm and well covered with his shield, made all give way before him. Sancho, who never found any pleasure or enjoyment in such doings, retreated to the wine-jars from which he had taken his delectable skimmings, considering that, as a holy place, that spot would be respected.
"Hold, sirs, hold!" cried Don Quixote in a loud voice; "we have no right to take vengeance for wrongs that love may do to us: remember love and war are the same thing, and as in war it is allowable and common to make use of wiles and stratagems to overcome the enemy, so in the contests and rivalries of love the tricks and devices employed to attain the desired end are justifiable, provided they be not to the discredit or dishonour of the loved object. Quiteria belonged to Basilio and Basilio to Quiteria by the just and beneficent disposal of heaven. Camacho is rich, and can purchase his pleasure when, where, and as it pleases him. Basilio has but this ewe-lamb, and no one, however powerful he may be, shall take her from him; these two whom God hath joined man cannot separate; and he who attempts it must first pass the point of this lance;" and so saying he brandished it so stoutly and dexterously that he overawed all who did not know him.
But so deep an impression had the rejection of Quiteria made on Camacho's mind that it banished her at once from his thoughts; and so the counsels of the priest, who was a wise and kindly disposed man, prevailed with him, and by their means he and his partisans were pacified and tranquillised, and to prove it put up their swords again, inveighing against the pliancy of Quiteria rather than the craftiness of Basilio; Camacho maintaining that, if Quiteria as a maiden had such a love for Basilio, she would have loved him too as a married woman, and that he ought to thank heaven more for having taken her than for having given her.
Camacho and those of his following, therefore, being consoled and pacified, those on Basilio's side were appeased; and the rich Camacho, to show that he felt no resentment for the trick, and did not care about it, desired the festival to go on just as if he were married in reality. Neither Basilio, however, nor his bride, nor their followers would take any part in it, and they withdrew to Basilio's village; for the poor, if they are persons of virtue and good sense, have those who follow, honour, and uphold them, just as the rich have those who flatter and dance attendance on them. With them they carried Don Quixote, regarding him as a man of worth and a stout one.
Sancho alone had a cloud on his soul, for he found himself debarred from waiting for Camacho's splendid feast and festival, which lasted until night; and thus dragged away, he moodily followed his master, who accompanied Basilio's party, and left behind him the flesh-pots of Egypt; though in his heart he took them with him, and their now nearly finished skimmings that he carried in the bucket conjured up visions before his eyes of the glory and abundance of the good cheer he was losing. And so, vexed and dejected though not hungry, without dismounting from Dapple he followed in the footsteps of Rocinante.
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