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De todo lo dicho quiero que infirais, bobas mías, que es grande la confusion que hay entre los linages, y que solos aquellos parecen grandes y ilustres, que lo muestran en la virtud y en la riqueza y liberalidad de sus dueños. Dije virludes, riquezas y liberalidades, porque el grande que fuere vicioso será vicioso grande, y el rico no liberal será un avaro mendigo: que al poseedor de las riquezas no le hace dichoso el tenerlas, siuo el gastarlas, y no el gastarlas como quiera, sino el saperlas bien gastar. Al caballero pobre no le queda otro camino para mostrar que es caballero, sino el de la virtud, siendo afable, bien críado, cortes, comedido y oficioso; no soberbio, no arrogante, no murmurador, y sobre todo caritativo.
From all that I have said you must clearly see, my good simpletons, that genealogies are involved in endless confusion, and that those only are illustrious and great who are distinguished by their virtue and liberality, as well as their riches: for the great man who is vicious is only a great sinner; and the rich man who wants liberality is but a miserly pauper. The gratification which wealth can bestow is not in mere possession, nor in lavishing it with prodigality, but in the wise application of it. The poor knight can only manifest his rank by his virtues and general conduct. He must be well-bred, courteous, kind and obliging; not proud, not arrogant, no murmurer:—above all, he must be charitable.
–Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha pt. ii, ch. 6 (1615)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”