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Don Quixote

de la Mancha

by Miguel de Cervantes [Saavedra]

VOLUME I

CHAPTER I

WHICH TREATS OF THE CHARACTER AND PURSUITS OF THE FAMOUS

GENTLEMAN DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA

In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind,
there

lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance in the lance-rack, an

old buckler, a lean hack, and a greyhound for coursing. An olla of rather more beef

than mutton, a salad on most nights, scraps on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and a

pigeon or so extra on Sundays, made away with three-quarters of his income. The

rest of it went in a doublet of fine cloth and velvet breeches and shoes to match
for

holidays, while on week-days he made a brave figure in his best homespun. He had

in his house a housekeeper past forty, a niece under twenty, and a lad for the
field

and market-place, who used to saddle the hack as well as handle the bill-hook. The

age of this gentleman of ours was bordering on fifty; he was of a hardy habit,
spare,

gaunt-featured, a very early riser and a great sportsman. They will have it his

surname was Quixada or Quesada (for here there is some difference of opinion

among the authors who write on the subject), although from reasonable conjectures

it seems plain that he was called Quexana. This, however, is of but little
importance

to our tale; it will be enough not to stray a hair's breadth from the truth in the
telling

of it.

You must know, then, that the above-named gentleman whenever he was at leisure

(which was mostly all the year round) gave himself up to reading books of chivalry

with such ardor and avidity that he almost entirely neglected the pursuit of his
fieldsports,

and even the management of his property; and to such a pitch did his

eagerness and infatuation go that he sold many an acre of tillage land to buy books

of chivalry to read, and brought home as many of them as he could get. But of all

there were none he liked so well as those of the famous Feliciano de Silva's1

composition, for their lucidity of style and complicated conceits were as pearls in


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