Chapter Seven furthers the plans of the curate and barber to “cure” Don Quixote:

Another remedy which the curate and barber prescribed for the distemper of their friend, was to alter and block up the closet where his books had been kept; that, upon his getting up, he should not find them, and the cause being taken away, the effect might cease….

After his first sally, Don Quixote was in great need of rest. He remains in bed for two days, and of course the first thing he does when he gets up is go to visit his books. He can not find the room, and asks his house-keeper, who was instructed by the curate and barber to reply:

“There are neither books nor closet in this house; for the devil himself has run away with both.” “It was not the devil, cried the neice, but, an inchanter that conveyed himself hither in a cloud, one night after your worship’s departure, and alighting from a dragon on which he was mounted, entered the closet, where I know not what he did, but having staid a very little while, he came flying thro’ the roof, leaving the whole house full of smoke.”

Perhaps some dear reader will be able to explain to me how they intend to cure Don Quixote of his delusions by feeding them? The plan backfires, as Don Quixote responds in the manner that he will conduct himself through the rest of the novel:

“The case then is plain, said the knight, that same sage inchanter is one of my greatest enemies, who bears me a grudge… and for this reason, he endeavours to give me every mortification in his power….”

Nothing will stand in his way, and no defeat or setback will be viewed as such.

As further part of their attempt to bring Don Quixote to reason, the curate and barber converse with him for several days, as a result of which

he observed that the world was in want of nothing so much as of knights-errant, and that in him this honourable order was revived.

In every way, both spiritual and secular, the world is wanting. Who, then, is mad: those who are content, or those who would remedy the situation? Is it madness to want to help others, to do good, even to win glory for the woman one loves? After Don Quixote enlists Sancho Panza as his squire, the chapter ends with his advice to the poor simpleton peasant that wonderfully captures the knight’s bright outlook and high expectations:

“…let not thy soul be so far debased, as to content itself with any thing less than a vice-royalty.”

He is saying one should follow one’s dreams, never compromise one’s principles, and never be satisfied with second-best. Isn’t this the same advice the self-help experts dole out, the same advice, in a hopeful moment when the future appears infinite with possibilities, we give our children today?

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