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Quixote de la Mancha, if haply this name hath come to your hearing." Illustrious Romancer! were the "fine frenzies," which possessed the brain of thy own Quixote, a fit subject, as in this Second Part, to be exposed to the jeers of Duennas and Serving Men? to be monstered, and shown up at the heartless banquets of great men? Was that pitiable infirmity, which in thy First Part misleads him, always from within, into half-ludicrous, but more than half-compassionable and admirable errors, not infliction enough from heaven, that men by studied artifices must devise and practise upon the humour, to inflame where they should soothe it? Why, Goneril would have blushed to practise upon the abdicated king at this rate, and the shewolf 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.*
In the First Adventures, 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; so as absolutely that they
* Yet from this Second Part, our cried-up pictures are mostly selected; the waiting-women with beards, &c.
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-as 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 almost-does he sub
stitute 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.
REJOICINGS UPON THE NEW YEAR'S COMING OF AGE.
The Old Year 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 stiffly 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 principal 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