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upon the abdicated king at this rate, and the she-wolf Regan not have endured to play the pranks upon his fled wits, which thou hast made thy Quixote suffer in Duchesses' halls, and at the hands of that unworthy nobleman.1
In the First Adventure, even, it needed all the art of the most consummate artist in the Book way that the world hath yet seen, to keep up in the mind of the reader the heroic attributes of the character without relaxing ; 80 as absolutely that they shall suffer no alloy from the debasing fellowship of the clown. If it ever obtrudes itself as a disharmony, are we inclined to laugh ; or not, rather, to indulge a contrary emotion ?-Cervantes, stung, perchance, by the relish with which his Reading Public had received the fooleries of the man, more to their palates than the generosities of the master, in the sequel let his pen run riot, lost the harmony and the balance, and sacrificed a great idea to the taste of his contemporaries. We know that in the present day the Knight has fewer admirers than the Squire. Anticipating, what did actually happen to him—a8 afterwards it did to his scarce inferior follower, the Author of “Guzman de Alfarache ” ——that some less knowing hand would prevent him by a spurious Second Part; and judging, that it would be easier for his competitor to out-bid him in the comicalities, than in the romance, of his work, he abandoned his Knight, and has fairly set up the Squire for his Hero. For what else has he unsealed the eyes of Sancho ; and instead of that twilight state of semi-insanity -the madness at second-hand—the contagion, caught from a stronger mind infected—that war between native cunning, and hereditary deference, with which he has hitherto accompanied his master—two for a pair almostdoes he substitute a downright Knave, with open eyes, for his own ends only following a confessed Madman ; and offering at one time to lay, if not actually laying, hands upon him! From the moment that Sancho loses his reverence, Don Quixote is become-a treatable lunatic. Our artists handle him accordingly.
1 Yet from this Second Part, our cried-up pictures are mostly selected, the waiting-women with beards, &c.
REJOICINGS UPON THE NEW YEAR'S
COMING OF AGE
HE Old rear being dead, and the New Year
coming of age, which he does, by Calendar
Law, as soon as the breath is out of the old gentleman's body, nothing would serve the young spark but he must give a dinner upon the occasion, to which all the Days in the year were invited. The Festivals, whom he deputed as his stewards, were mightily taken with the notion. They had been engaged time out of mind, they said, in providing mirth and good cheer for mortals below; and it was time they should have a taste of their own bounty. It was stiffily debated among them, whether the Fasts should be admitted. Some said, the appearance of such lean, starved guests, with their mortified faces, would pervert the ends of the meeting. But the objection was over-ruled by Christmas Day, who had a design upon Ash Wednesday (as you shall hear), and a mighty desire to see how the old Domine would behave himself in his cups. Only the Vigils were requested to come with their lanterns, to light the gentlefolks home at night.
All the Days came to their day. Covers were provided for three hundred and sixty-five guests at the prin
Tavelfy suit, white ano and Epipharcold Lent and
cipal table; with an occasional knife and fork at the side-board for the Twenty-Ninth of February.
I should have told you, that cards of invitation had been issued. The carriers were the Hours ; twelve little, merry, whirligig foot-pages, as you should desire to see, that went all round, and found out the persons invited well enough, with the exception of Easter Day, Shrove Tuesday, and a few such Moveables, who had lately shifted their quarters.
Well, they all met at last, foul Days, fine Days, all sorts of Days, and a rare din they made of it. There was nothing but, Hail ! fellow Day,—well met—brother Day—sister Day,-only Lady Day kept a little on the aloof, and seemed somewhat scornful. Yet some said, Twelfth Day cut her out and out, for she came in a tiffany suit, white and gold, like a queen on a frost-cake, all royal, glittering, and Epiphanous. The rest came, some in green, some in white—but old Lent and his family were not yet out of mourning. Rainy Days came in, dripping; and sun-shiny Days helped them to change their stockings. Wedding Day was there in his marriage finery, a little the worse for wear. Pay Day came late, as he always does ; and Doomsday sent word—he might be expected.
April Fool (as my young lord's jester) took upon himself to marshal the guests, and wild work he made it. It would have posed old Erra Pater to have found out any given Day in the year, to erect a scheme upongood Days, bad Days, were so shuffled together, to the confounding of all sober horoscopy.
He had stuck the Twenty First of June next to the Twenty Second of December, and the former looked like a Maypole siding a marrow-bone. Ash Wednesday got wedged in (as was concerted) betwixt Christmas and Lord Mayor's Days. Lord! how he laid about him ! Nothing but barons of beef and turkeys would go down with him—to the great greasing and detriment of his new sackcloth bib and tucker. And still Christmas Day was at his elbow, plying him with the wassail-bowl, till he roared, and hiccupp’d, and protested there was no faith in dried ling, but commended it to the devil for a sour, windy, acrimonious, censorious, hy-po-crit-crit-critical mess, and no dish for a gentleman. Then he dipt his fist into the middle of the great custard that stood before his left-hand neighbour, and daubed his hungry beard all over with it, till you would have taken him for the Last day in December, it so hung in icicles.
At another part of the table, Shrove Tuesday, was helping the Second of September to some cock broth,— which courtesy the latter returned with the delicate thigh of a hen pheasant-so there was no love lost for that matter. The Last of Lent was spunging upon Shrovetide's pancakes ; which April Fool perceiving, told him he did well, for pancakes were proper to a good fry-day.
In another part, a hubbub arose about the Thirtieth of January, who, it seems, being a sour puritanic character, that thought nobody's meat good or sanctified enough for him, had smuggled into the room a calf's head, which he had cooked at home for that purpose, thinking to feast thereon incontinently ; but as it lay in the dish March manyweathers, who is a very fine lady, and subject to the meagrims, screamed out there was a “human head in the platter,” and raved about Herodias' daughter to that degree, that the obnoxious viand was obliged to be removed ; nor did she recover her stomach till she had gulped down a Restorative, confected of Oak Apple, which the merry Twenty Ninth of May always carries about with him for that purpose.