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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Two Tartarins
By Alphonse Daudet (1840–1897)
 
From ‘Tartarin of Tarascon’

ANSWER me, you will say, how the mischief is it that Tartarin of Tarascon never left Tarascon, with all this mania for adventure, need of powerful sensations, and folly about travel, rides, and journeys from the Pole to the Equator?  1
  For that is a fact: up to the age of five-and-forty, the dreadless Tarasconian had never once slept outside his own room. He had not even taken that obligatory trip to Marseilles which every sound Provençal makes upon coming of age. The most of his knowledge included Beaucaire, and yet that’s not far from Tarascon, there being merely the bridge to go over. Unfortunately, this rascally bridge has so often been blown away by the gales, it is so long and frail, and the Rhône has such a width at this spot that—well, faith! you understand! Tartarin of Tarascon preferred terra firma.  2
  We are afraid we must make a clean breast of it: in our hero there were two very distinct characters. Some Father of the Church has said: “I feel there are two men in me.” He would have spoken truly in saying this about Tartarin, who carried in his frame the soul of Don Quixote, the same chivalric impulses, heroic ideal, and crankiness for the grandiose and romantic; but, worse is the luck! he had not the body of the celebrated hidalgo, that thin and meagre apology for a body, on which material life failed to take a hold; one that could get through twenty nights without its breast-plate being unbuckled, and forty-eight hours on a handful of rice. On the contrary, Tartarin’s body was a stout honest bully of a body, very fat, very weighty, most sensual and fond of coddling, highly touchy, full of low-class appetite and homely requirements—the short, paunchy body on stumps of the immortal Sancho Panza.  3
  Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in the one same man! you will readily comprehend what a cat-and-dog couple they made! what strife! what clapperclawing! Oh, the fine dialogue for Lucian or Saint-Évremond to write, between the two Tartarins—Quixote-Tartarin and Sancho-Tartarin! Quixote-Tartarin firing up on the stories of Gustave Aimard, and shouting, “Up and at ’em!” and Sancho-Tartarin thinking only of the rheumatics ahead, and murmuring, “I mean to stay at home.”

  
THE DUET
QUIXOTE-TARTARIN
SANCHO-TARTARIN
[Highly excited]
[Quite calmly]
Cover yourself with glory, Tartarin.  Tartarin, cover yourself with flannel.
[Still more excitedly]
[Still more calmly]
Oh for the terrible double-barreled rifle! Oh for bowie-knives, lassos, and moccasins!  Oh for the thick knitted waistcoats! and warm knee-caps! Oh for the welcome padded caps with ear-flaps!
[Above all self-control]
[Ringing up the maid]
A battle-axe! fetch me a battle-axe!  Now then, Jeannette, do bring up that chocolate!
  4
 
  Whereupon Jeannette would appear with an unusually good cup of chocolate, just right in warmth, sweetly smelling, and with the play of light on watered silk upon its unctuous surface, and with succulent grilled steak flavored with anise-seed, which would set Sancho-Tartarin off on the broad grin, and into a laugh that drowned the shouts of Quixote-Tartarin.  5
  Thus it came about that Tartarin of Tarascon never had left Tarascon.  6
 
 
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