Short summary - The Return of Don Quixote - Gilbert Keith Chesterton

British literature summaries -

Short summary - The Return of Don Quixote
Gilbert Keith Chesterton

An amateur performance staged in the halls of the former medieval abbey, and now the estates of Baron Sewood, changed the fate of its participants and many other people, contributed to the centuries-old struggle of revolutionary socialists and conservative aristocrats, turned out to be a very instructive episode in the history of Great Britain and, in the end finally, he turned life to the only organic state for it - ordinary happiness.

A lover of antiquity, a young and pensive Olivia Ashley was the author of the play «Troubadour Blondel». This historically famous troubadour traveled, singing throughout Europe in the hope that King Richard the Lionheart, captured in Austria on his way from the Holy Land, would hear his songs and respond. The king, who he found, after some hesitation, makes a firm decision to return to his homeland, so that "good old England" would be preserved and flourished under his arm.

The problem of staging the play is primarily the lack of performers. The minor role of the second troubadour has to invite John Braintree, a man whose views and actions of a staunch socialist make no less inappropriate impression in Sivudian society than his revolutionary blood-red tie. And the role of the king, which is unusually important in the play, ultimately goes to the scientist, the Sivuda librarian Michael Hern. This makes him move away from the history of the ancient Hittites, that is, from what was previously the whole point of his life, and plunge into European history of the 12th – 13th centuries. A new hobby embraces him, like a rapid and irresistible fire. The red-haired Rosamund Severn, the daughter of Lord Siwood, and several young people of their circle also participate in the play. Dreamy Olivia Ashley, meanwhile, is working with great care on the scenery. For perfection, she needs that pure scarlet paint that matches the paints on antique miniatures. During her childhood, such paint was sold only in one shop, and now it is completely impossible to find. Only Douglas Merrel, a representative of a noble family who has a reputation as a person inclined to give himself to whims and indulge in adventures, can help her by taking such an assignment seriously. The consequence of this is that he does not shy away from the "bad society", which is an insurmountable obstacle for others on the path to coveted self-will and adventure. and now it’s completely impossible to find. Only Douglas Merrell, a representative of a noble family who has a reputation as a man prone to give whims and indulge in adventures, can help her by taking such an assignment seriously. The consequence of this is that he does not shy away from the "bad society", which is an insurmountable obstacle for others on the path to coveted self-will and adventure. and now it’s completely impossible to find. Only Douglas Merrell, a representative of a noble family who has a reputation as a man prone to give whims and indulge in adventures, can help her by taking such an assignment seriously. The consequence of this is that he does not shy away from the "bad society", which is an insurmountable obstacle for others on the path to coveted self-will and adventure.


What follows is a truly heroic comic story of the exploits of Douglas Marrel. He finds an old scientist who knows the secret of medieval scarlet paint. He gets acquainted with his theory of the death of European civilization due to an epidemic of blindness that hit the Western world and makes us prefer boring modern dyes to the inspiring colors of the Middle Ages. He saves this holy protector of brightness from the madhouse. He defeats the demonic psychiatrist, who as a result finds himself in his only worthy place - a cell for the mentally ill. He falls in love with the beautiful daughter of a learned old man. Finally, ten weeks later, Merrell returns to the Seawood estate with a jar of magical scarlet paint he obtained. His head is decorated with a coachman’s hat, and he himself controls an old cab - all this he acquired in his time as a means,

In the vast green meadow of the Siwood estate, meanwhile, something unusual is happening. Above the motley heraldic mob of nobles, dressed in medieval clothes and armed with medieval weapons, the king sits on the throne, surrounded by a magnificent retinue. The extraordinary seriousness and solemnity of the king does not immediately allow him to recognize him as a scientist, Sivuda librarian. Next to him is the red-haired Rosamund with superbly sparkling premium weapons in his hands. In the crowd, which, with surprise and slight contempt, gazes at the strange appearance of Douglas Marrel, an inappropriate representative of the Victorian era, he recognizes many of his secular acquaintances. "What is this? Has the performance really dragged on for two and a half months? »-« How! You do not know? - answer him. «Didn't you read the newspapers?» Merrell didn't read them. He rolled in his cab along rural roads, driving only lonely ones, travelers in no hurry. Meanwhile, the political system of England has radically changed. His Majesty’s government transferred all power to the Leo League, an organization that was truly born from the amateur performance of the Troubadour Blondel because librarian Herne did not want to part with the king. He was supported by a group of like-minded people led by the passionate Rosamund. In the context of the political crisis that arose because of the powerful strike of miners and workers, the government came to the decision that the pressure of the socialists, led by the tireless, honest and talented John Braintree, can only be resisted by a new force based on a romantic rush of love for the good old traditions and embodied in the most reactionary Leo League. Once in power The Lion League returned medieval laws and established the rule of England by the three battle kings. King of Western England became Michael Hearn. At this moment, a royal court was taking place in this meadow, in which the king was to resolve the dispute between the striking workers and the owners of mines and factories. The strikers demanded that enterprises be transferred to those who work for them. The owners of coal and dyeing enterprises, supported by the entire propertied class, stood here, dressed in suits of the noble estate and ready with arms in their hands to protect their property and privileges.

Before the trial began, the king listened to the story of Douglas Marrel. To the great indignation of his adherents, who firmly and unshakably stood for the idea of a medieval masquerade, the king presented Merrell with an award weapon intended for a true knight who performed an unselfish and beautiful feat. And this despite all the obvious absurdity and comic of his adventures!

But the king’s next decision leads a brilliant crowd into such decisive indignation that inevitably puts an end to Hern’s power. First, the king recognized Braintree as a noble and chivalrous opponent, and secondly, he decided that the factories and mines belonged to workers much more corresponds to the laws of the Middle Ages, than their belonging to the former owners, who are not even masters of professional workshops. Thirdly, the king said that, according to the latest genealogical research, only a negligible part of the aristocracy gathered here has a genuine right to be called it. Basically, these are descendants of shopkeepers and millers.

«Enough!» Exclaimed the Lord Prime Minister, the first to come forward so recently with the initiative to transfer power to the Leo League. «Enough!» Lord Seawood resolutely repeated after him. «Enough! Enough! - flashed over the crowd of noble knights. - Take this actress away! Get him out! Lock him in the book depository! »

The magnificent retinue of the king instantly disappeared. Only John Braintree, Olivia Ashley and Rosamund Severn remained behind him. Douglas Merrell also joined them. «Marrel, stop! Remember who you really are! »Shouted to him. «I am the last liberal,» the man in the kebman hat answered firmly.

It was dawning. A thin horseman with a spear rode out onto a foggy road, behind him a ridiculously rumbled cab. «Why are you following me, Douglas?» The knight asked sternly, revealing an image of sadness. «Because I don’t mind being called simply Sancho Panza,» came the kebmen from a high place.


How they wandered along the roads of England, trying to protect the destitute, discussing the fate of civilization, helping the weak, giving lectures on history, preaching, fighting not with mills, but with millers and performing many similar, and also absolutely incomparable feats - all of this, maybe someone else will tell. It is important for us now that in their wanderings and adventures their convictions are finally clarified. Here they are: stop the doctor if you see that he is crazier than the patient; do it yourself, for only an honest fight brings results. And then it followed that Don Quixote needed to return. In the end, they turned to the forbidden west for them, in the direction of Siwood.

Dreamy Olivia Ashley made sure that the wonderful paint of her childhood fully reproduces the color of John Braintree's tie. Their noble hearts are united. Douglas Merrel for a long time hesitated to make an offer to the daughter of the old scientist he saved: he was afraid that a feeling of gratitude would not leave her the possibility of refusal. But simplicity won, now they are happy. The return of Michael Hearn, his meeting with Rosamund doomed these two to happiness. Rosamund, having inherited Seawood after the death of her father, returned it to the monastic order. The abbey reappeared there. Legend has it that the sad knight Michael Hearn joked for the first time in his life: "When celibacy returns, the true significance of marriage returns." And in this joke he was serious, as always.