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The History of Don Quixote, Volume 2, Part 27
written by "Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 1547-1616"
... so, breaking his own, he lifted up his voice and said, "Worthy sirs, I entreat you as earnestly as I can not to interrupt an argument I wish to address to you, until you find it displeases or wearies you; and if that come to pass, on the slightest hint you give me I will put a seal upon my lips and a gag upon my tongue." They all bade him say what he liked, for they would listen to him willingly. With this permission Don Quixote went on to say, "I, sirs, am a knight-errant whose calling is that of arms, and whose profession is to protect those who require protection, and give help to such as stand in need of it. Some days ago I became acquainted with your misfortune and the cause which impels you to take up arms again and again to revenge yourselves upon your enemies; and having many times thought over your business in my mind, I find that, according to the laws of combat, you are mistaken in holding yourselves insulted; for a private individual cannot insult an entire community; unless it be by defying it collectively as a traitor, because he cannot tell who in particular is guilty of the treason for which he defies it. Of this we have an example in Don Diego Ordonez de Lara, who defied the whole town of Zamora, because he did not know that Vellido Dolfos alone had committed the treachery of slaying his king; and therefore he defied them all, and the vengeance and the reply concerned all; though, to be sure, Senor Don Diego went rather too far, indeed very much beyond the limits of a defiance; for he had no occasion to defy the dead, or the waters, or the fishes, or those yet unborn, and all the rest of it as set forth; but let that pass, for when anger breaks out there's no father, governor, or bridle to check the tongue. The case being, then, that no one person can insult a kingdom, province, city, state, or entire community, it is clear there is no reason for going out to avenge the defiance of such an insult, inas...

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