The Exemplary Novels of Cervantes eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about The Exemplary Novels of Cervantes.

Scip. Look you, Berganza, no one should interfere where he is not wanted, nor take upon himself a business that in no wise is his concern.  Besides, you ought to know, that the advice of the poor, however good it may be, is never taken; nor should the lowly presume to offer advice to the great, who fancy they know everything.  Wisdom in a poor man lies under a cloud, and cannot be seen; or if by chance it shines through it, people mistake it for folly, and treat it with contempt.

Berg. You are right, Scipio; and having had the lesson well beaten into me, I will henceforth act accordingly.  That same night I entered the house of a lady of quality, who had in her arms a little lap-dog, so very diminutive that she could have hid it in her bosom.  The instant it saw me, it flew at me out of its mistress’s arms, barking with all its might, and even went so far as to bite my leg.  I looked at it with disgust, and said to myself, “If I met you in the street, paltry little animal, either I would take no notice of you at all, or I would make mince meat of you.”  The little wretch was an example of the common rule—­that mean-souled persons when they are in favour are always insolent, and ready to offend those who are much better than themselves, though inferior to them in fortune.

Scip. We have many instances of this in worthless fellows, who are insolent enough under cover of their masters’ protection; but if death or any other chance brings down the tree against which they leaned, their true value becomes apparent, since they have no other merit than that borrowed from their patrons; whilst virtue and good sense are always the same, whether clothed or naked, alone or accompanied.  But let us break off now; for the light beaming in through those chinks shows that the dawn is far advanced.

Berg. Be it so; and I trust in heaven that to-night we shall find ourselves in a condition to renew our conversation.

The licentiate finished the reading of this dialogue, and the Alferez his nap, both at the same time.  “Although this colloquy is manifestly fictitious,” said the licentiate, “it is, in my opinion, so well composed, that the Senor Alferez may well proceed with the second part.”

“Since you give me such encouragement, I will do so,” replied the alferez, “without further discussing the question with you, whether the dogs spoke or not.”

“There is no need that we should go over that ground again,” said the licentiate.  “I admire the art and the invention you have displayed in the dialogue, and that is enough.  Let us go to the Espolon,[65] and recreate our bodily eyes, as we have gratified those of our minds.”

[65] A promenade on the banks of the Arlozoro at Valladolid.

“With all my heart,” said the alferez, and away they went.


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The Exemplary Novels of Cervantes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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