Miqeul de Cervantes [Saavedra]
Part 17 out of 21
is, the great desire I had to be a governor has been partly cooled
in me; for what is there grand in being ruler on a grain of mustard
seed, or what dignity or authority in governing half a dozen men about
as big as hazel nuts; for, so far as I could see, there were no more
on the whole earth? If your lordship would be so good as to give me
ever so small a bit of heaven, were it no more than half a league, I'd
rather have it than the best island in the world."
"Recollect, Sancho," said the duke, "I cannot give a bit of
heaven, no not so much as the breadth of my nail, to anyone; rewards
and favours of that sort are reserved for God alone. What I can give I
give you, and that is a real, genuine island, compact, well
proportioned, and uncommonly fertile and fruitful, where, if you
know how to use your opportunities, you may, with the help of the
world's riches, gain those of heaven."
"Well then," said Sancho, "let the island come; and I'll try and
be such a governor, that in spite of scoundrels I'll go to heaven; and
it's not from any craving to quit my own humble condition or better
myself, but from the desire I have to try what it tastes like to be
"If you once make trial of it, Sancho," said the duke, "you'll eat
your fingers off after the government, so sweet a thing is it to
command and be obeyed. Depend upon it when your master comes to be
emperor (as he will beyond a doubt from the course his affairs are
taking), it will be no easy matter to wrest the dignity from him,
and he will be sore and sorry at heart to have been so long without
"Senor," said Sancho, "it is my belief it's a good thing to be in
command, if it's only over a drove of cattle."
"May I be buried with you, Sancho," said the duke, "but you know
everything; I hope you will make as good a governor as your sagacity
promises; and that is all I have to say; and now remember to-morrow is
the day you must set out for the government of the island, and this
evening they will provide you with the proper attire for you to
wear, and all things requisite for your departure."
"Let them dress me as they like," said Sancho; "however I'm
dressed I'll be Sancho Panza."
"That's true," said the duke; "but one's dress must be suited to the
office or rank one holds; for it would not do for a jurist to dress
like a soldier, or a soldier like a priest. You, Sancho, shall go
partly as a lawyer, partly as a captain, for, in the island I am
giving you, arms are needed as much as letters, and letters as much as
"Of letters I know but little," said Sancho, "for I don't even
know the A B C; but it is enough for me to have the Christus in my
memory to be a good governor. As for arms, I'll handle those they give
me till I drop, and then, God be my help!"
"With so good a memory," said the duke, "Sancho cannot go wrong in
Here Don Quixote joined them; and learning what passed, and how soon
Sancho was to go to his government, he with the duke's permission took
him by the hand, and retired to his room with him for the purpose of
giving him advice as to how he was to demean himself in his office. As
soon as they had entered the chamber he closed the door after him, and
almost by force made Sancho sit down beside him, and in a quiet tone
thus addressed him: "I give infinite thanks to heaven, friend
Sancho, that, before I have met with any good luck, fortune has come
forward to meet thee. I who counted upon my good fortune to
discharge the recompense of thy services, find myself still waiting
for advancement, while thou, before the time, and contrary to all
reasonable expectation, seest thyself blessed in the fulfillment of
thy desires. Some will bribe, beg, solicit, rise early, entreat,
persist, without attaining the object of their suit; while another
comes, and without knowing why or wherefore, finds himself invested
with the place or office so many have sued for; and here it is that
the common saying, 'There is good luck as well as bad luck in
suits,' applies. Thou, who, to my thinking, art beyond all doubt a
dullard, without early rising or night watching or taking any trouble,
with the mere breath of knight-errantry that has breathed upon thee,
seest thyself without more ado governor of an island, as though it
were a mere matter of course. This I say, Sancho, that thou
attribute not the favour thou hast received to thine own merits, but
give thanks to heaven that disposes matters beneficently, and secondly
thanks to the great power the profession of knight-errantry contains
in itself. With a heart, then, inclined to believe what I have said to
thee, attend, my son, to thy Cato here who would counsel thee and be
thy polestar and guide to direct and pilot thee to a safe haven out of
this stormy sea wherein thou art about to ingulf thyself; for
offices and great trusts are nothing else but a mighty gulf of
"First of all, my son, thou must fear God, for in the fear of him is
wisdom, and being wise thou canst not err in aught.
"Secondly, thou must keep in view what thou art, striving to know
thyself, the most difficult thing to know that the mind can imagine.
If thou knowest thyself, it will follow thou wilt not puff thyself
up like the frog that strove to make himself as large as the ox; if
thou dost, the recollection of having kept pigs in thine own country
will serve as the ugly feet for the wheel of thy folly."
"That's the truth," said Sancho; "but that was when I was a boy;
afterwards when I was something more of a man it was geese I kept, not
pigs. But to my thinking that has nothing to do with it; for all who
are governors don't come of a kingly stock."
"True," said Don Quixote, "and for that reason those who are not
of noble origin should take care that the dignity of the office they
hold he accompanied by a gentle suavity, which wisely managed will
save them from the sneers of malice that no station escapes.
"Glory in thy humble birth, Sancho, and he not ashamed of saying
thou art peasant-born; for when it is seen thou art not ashamed no one
will set himself to put thee to the blush; and pride thyself rather
upon being one of lowly virtue than a lofty sinner. Countless are they
who, born of mean parentage, have risen to the highest dignities,
pontifical and imperial, and of the truth of this I could give thee
instances enough to weary thee.
"Remember, Sancho, if thou make virtue thy aim, and take a pride
in doing virtuous actions, thou wilt have no cause to envy those who
have princely and lordly ones, for blood is an inheritance, but virtue
an acquisition, and virtue has in itself alone a worth that blood does
"This being so, if perchance anyone of thy kinsfolk should come to
see thee when thou art in thine island, thou art not to repel or
slight him, but on the contrary to welcome him, entertain him, and
make much of him; for in so doing thou wilt be approved of heaven
(which is not pleased that any should despise what it hath made),
and wilt comply with the laws of well-ordered nature.
"If thou carriest thy wife with thee (and it is not well for those
that administer governments to be long without their wives), teach and
instruct her, and strive to smooth down her natural roughness; for all
that may be gained by a wise governor may be lost and wasted by a
boorish stupid wife.
"If perchance thou art left a widower- a thing which may happen- and
in virtue of thy office seekest a consort of higher degree, choose not
one to serve thee for a hook, or for a fishing-rod, or for the hood of
thy 'won't have it;' for verily, I tell thee, for all the judge's wife
receives, the husband will be held accountable at the general
calling to account; where he will have repay in death fourfold,
items that in life he regarded as naught.
"Never go by arbitrary law, which is so much favoured by ignorant
men who plume themselves on cleverness.
"Let the tears of the poor man find with thee more compassion, but
not more justice, than the pleadings of the rich.
"Strive to lay bare the truth, as well amid the promises and
presents of the rich man, as amid the sobs and entreaties of the poor.
"When equity may and should be brought into play, press not the
utmost rigour of the law against the guilty; for the reputation of the
stern judge stands not higher than that of the compassionate.
"If perchance thou permittest the staff of justice to swerve, let it
be not by the weight of a gift, but by that of mercy.
"If it should happen thee to give judgment in the cause of one who
is thine enemy, turn thy thoughts away from thy injury and fix them on
the justice of the case.
"Let not thine own passion blind thee in another man's cause; for
the errors thou wilt thus commit will be most frequently irremediable;
or if not, only to be remedied at the expense of thy good name and
even of thy fortune.
"If any handsome woman come to seek justice of thee, turn away thine
eyes from her tears and thine ears from her lamentations, and consider
deliberately the merits of her demand, if thou wouldst not have thy
reason swept away by her weeping, and thy rectitude by her sighs.
"Abuse not by word him whom thou hast to punish in deed, for the
pain of punishment is enough for the unfortunate without the
addition of thine objurgations.
"Bear in mind that the culprit who comes under thy jurisdiction is
but a miserable man subject to all the propensities of our depraved
nature, and so far as may be in thy power show thyself lenient and
forbearing; for though the attributes of God are all equal, to our
eyes that of mercy is brighter and loftier than that of justice.
"If thou followest these precepts and rules, Sancho, thy days will
be long, thy fame eternal, thy reward abundant, thy felicity
unutterable; thou wilt marry thy children as thou wouldst; they and
thy grandchildren will bear titles; thou wilt live in peace and
concord with all men; and, when life draws to a close, death will come
to thee in calm and ripe old age, and the light and loving hands of
thy great-grandchildren will close thine eyes.
"What I have thus far addressed to thee are instructions for the
adornment of thy mind; listen now to those which tend to that of the
OF THE SECOND SET OF COUNSELS DON QUIXOTE GAVE SANCHO PANZA
Who, hearing the foregoing discourse of Don Quixote, would not
have set him down for a person of great good sense and greater
rectitude of purpose? But, as has been frequently observed in the
course of this great history, he only talked nonsense when he
touched on chivalry, and in discussing all other subjects showed
that he had a clear and unbiassed understanding; so that at every turn
his acts gave the lie to his intellect, and his intellect to his acts;
but in the case of these second counsels that he gave Sancho he showed
himself to have a lively turn of humour, and displayed conspicuously
his wisdom, and also his folly.
Sancho listened to him with the deepest attention, and endeavoured
to fix his counsels in his memory, like one who meant to follow them
and by their means bring the full promise of his government to a happy
issue. Don Quixote, then, went on to say:
"With regard to the mode in which thou shouldst govern thy person
and thy house, Sancho, the first charge I have to give thee is to be
clean, and to cut thy nails, not letting them grow as some do, whose
ignorance makes them fancy that long nails are an ornament to their
hands, as if those excrescences they neglect to cut were nails, and
not the talons of a lizard-catching kestrel- a filthy and unnatural
"Go not ungirt and loose, Sancho; for disordered attire is a sign of
an unstable mind, unless indeed the slovenliness and slackness is to
he set down to craft, as was the common opinion in the case of
"Ascertain cautiously what thy office may be worth; and if it will
allow thee to give liveries to thy servants, give them respectable and
serviceable, rather than showy and gay ones, and divide them between
thy servants and the poor; that is to say, if thou canst clothe six
pages, clothe three and three poor men, and thus thou wilt have
pages for heaven and pages for earth; the vainglorious never think
of this new mode of giving liveries.
"Eat not garlic nor onions, lest they find out thy boorish origin by
the smell; walk slowly and speak deliberately, but not in such a way
as to make it seem thou art listening to thyself, for all
affectation is bad.
"Dine sparingly and sup more sparingly still; for the health of
the whole body is forged in the workshop of the stomach.
"Be temperate in drinking, bearing in mind that wine in excess keeps
neither secrets nor promises.
"Take care, Sancho, not to chew on both sides, and not to eruct in
"Eruct!" said Sancho; "I don't know what that means."
"To eruct, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "means to belch, and that is
one of the filthiest words in the Spanish language, though a very
expressive one; and therefore nice folk have had recourse to the
Latin, and instead of belch say eruct, and instead of belches say
eructations; and if some do not understand these terms it matters
little, for custom will bring them into use in the course of time,
so that they will be readily understood; this is the way a language is
enriched; custom and the public are all-powerful there."
"In truth, senor," said Sancho, "one of the counsels and cautions
I mean to bear in mind shall be this, not to belch, for I'm constantly
"Eruct, Sancho, not belch," said Don Quixote.
"Eruct, I shall say henceforth, and I swear not to forget it,"
"Likewise, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "thou must not mingle such a
quantity of proverbs in thy discourse as thou dost; for though
proverbs are short maxims, thou dost drag them in so often by the head
and shoulders that they savour more of nonsense than of maxims."
"God alone can cure that," said Sancho; "for I have more proverbs in
me than a book, and when I speak they come so thick together into my
mouth that they fall to fighting among themselves to get out; that's
why my tongue lets fly the first that come, though they may not be pat
to the purpose. But I'll take care henceforward to use such as befit
the dignity of my office; for 'in a house where there's plenty, supper
is soon cooked,' and 'he who binds does not wrangle,' and 'the
bell-ringer's in a safe berth,' and 'giving and keeping require
"That's it, Sancho!" said Don Quixote; "pack, tack, string
proverbs together; nobody is hindering thee! 'My mother beats me,
and I go on with my tricks.' I am bidding thee avoid proverbs, and
here in a second thou hast shot out a whole litany of them, which have
as much to do with what we are talking about as 'over the hills of
Ubeda.' Mind, Sancho, I do not say that a proverb aptly brought in
is objectionable; but to pile up and string together proverbs at
random makes conversation dull and vulgar.
"When thou ridest on horseback, do not go lolling with thy body on
the back of the saddle, nor carry thy legs stiff or sticking out
from the horse's belly, nor yet sit so loosely that one would
suppose thou wert on Dapple; for the seat on a horse makes gentlemen
of some and grooms of others.
"Be moderate in thy sleep; for he who does not rise early does not
get the benefit of the day; and remember, Sancho, diligence is the
mother of good fortune, and indolence, its opposite, never yet
attained the object of an honest ambition.
"The last counsel I will give thee now, though it does not tend to
bodily improvement, I would have thee carry carefully in thy memory,
for I believe it will be no less useful to thee than those I have
given thee already, and it is this- never engage in a dispute about
families, at least in the way of comparing them one with another;
for necessarily one of those compared will be better than the other,
and thou wilt be hated by the one thou hast disparaged, and get
nothing in any shape from the one thou hast exalted.
"Thy attire shall be hose of full length, a long jerkin, and a cloak
a trifle longer; loose breeches by no means, for they are becoming
neither for gentlemen nor for governors.
"For the present, Sancho, this is all that has occurred to me to
advise thee; as time goes by and occasions arise my instructions shall
follow, if thou take care to let me know how thou art circumstanced."
"Senor," said Sancho, "I see well enough that all these things
your worship has said to me are good, holy, and profitable; but what
use will they be to me if I don't remember one of them? To be sure
that about not letting my nails grow, and marrying again if I have the
chance, will not slip out of my head; but all that other hash, muddle,
and jumble- I don't and can't recollect any more of it than of last
year's clouds; so it must be given me in writing; for though I can't
either read or write, I'll give it to my confessor, to drive it into
me and remind me of it whenever it is necessary."
"Ah, sinner that I am!" said Don Quixote, "how bad it looks in
governors not to know how to read or write; for let me tell thee,
Sancho, when a man knows not how to read, or is left-handed, it argues
one of two things; either that he was the son of exceedingly mean
and lowly parents, or that he himself was so incorrigible and
ill-conditioned that neither good company nor good teaching could make
any impression on him. It is a great defect that thou labourest under,
and therefore I would have thee learn at any rate to sign thy name."
"I can sign my name well enough," said Sancho, "for when I was
steward of the brotherhood in my village I learned to make certain
letters, like the marks on bales of goods, which they told me made out
my name. Besides I can pretend my right hand is disabled and make some
one else sign for me, for 'there's a remedy for everything except
death;' and as I shall be in command and hold the staff, I can do as I
like; moreover, 'he who has the alcalde for his father-,' and I'll
be governor, and that's higher than alcalde. Only come and see! Let
them make light of me and abuse me; 'they'll come for wool and go back
shorn;' 'whom God loves, his house is known to Him;' 'the silly
sayings of the rich pass for saws in the world;' and as I'll be
rich, being a governor, and at the same time generous, as I mean to
be, no fault will he seen in me. 'Only make yourself honey and the
flies will suck you;' 'as much as thou hast so much art thou worth,'
as my grandmother used to say; and 'thou canst have no revenge of a
man of substance.'"
"Oh, God's curse upon thee, Sancho!" here exclaimed Don Quixote;
"sixty thousand devils fly away with thee and thy proverbs! For the
last hour thou hast been stringing them together and inflicting the
pangs of torture on me with every one of them. Those proverbs will
bring thee to the gallows one day, I promise thee; thy subjects will
take the government from thee, or there will be revolts among them.
Tell me, where dost thou pick them up, thou booby? How dost thou apply
them, thou blockhead? For with me, to utter one and make it apply
properly, I have to sweat and labour as if I were digging."
"By God, master mine," said Sancho, "your worship is making a fuss
about very little. Why the devil should you be vexed if I make use
of what is my own? And I have got nothing else, nor any other stock in
trade except proverbs and more proverbs; and here are three just
this instant come into my head, pat to the purpose and like pears in a
basket; but I won't repeat them, for 'sage silence is called Sancho.'"
"That, Sancho, thou art not," said Don Quixote; "for not only art
thou not sage silence, but thou art pestilent prate and perversity;
still I would like to know what three proverbs have just now come into
thy memory, for I have been turning over mine own- and it is a good
one- and none occurs to me."
"What can be better," said Sancho, "than 'never put thy thumbs
between two back teeth;' and 'to "get out of my house" and "what do
you want with my wife?" there is no answer;' and 'whether the
pitcher hits the stove, or the stove the pitcher, it's a bad
business for the pitcher;' all which fit to a hair? For no one
should quarrel with his governor, or him in authority over him,
because he will come off the worst, as he does who puts his finger
between two back and if they are not back teeth it makes no
difference, so long as they are teeth; and to whatever the governor
may say there's no answer, any more than to 'get out of my house'
and 'what do you want with my wife?' and then, as for that about the
stone and the pitcher, a blind man could see that. So that he 'who
sees the mote in another's eye had need to see the beam in his own,'
that it be not said of himself, 'the dead woman was frightened at
the one with her throat cut;' and your worship knows well that 'the
fool knows more in his own house than the wise man in another's.'"
"Nay, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "the fool knows nothing, either
in his own house or in anybody else's, for no wise structure of any
sort can stand on a foundation of folly; but let us say no more
about it, Sancho, for if thou governest badly, thine will he the fault
and mine the shame; but I comfort myself with having done my duty in
advising thee as earnestly and as wisely as I could; and thus I am
released from my obligations and my promise. God guide thee, Sancho,
and govern thee in thy government, and deliver me from the misgiving I
have that thou wilt turn the whole island upside down, a thing I might
easily prevent by explaining to the duke what thou art and telling him
that all that fat little person of thine is nothing else but a sack
full of proverbs and sauciness."
"Senor," said Sancho, "if your worship thinks I'm not fit for this
government, I give it up on the spot; for the mere black of the nail
of my soul is dearer to me than my whole body; and I can live just
as well, simple Sancho, on bread and onions, as governor, on
partridges and capons; and what's more, while we're asleep we're all
equal, great and small, rich and poor. But if your worship looks
into it, you will see it was your worship alone that put me on to this
business of governing; for I know no more about the government of
islands than a buzzard; and if there's any reason to think that
because of my being a governor the devil will get hold of me, I'd
rather go Sancho to heaven than governor to hell."
"By God, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for those last words thou
hast uttered alone, I consider thou deservest to be governor of a
thousand islands. Thou hast good natural instincts, without which no
knowledge is worth anything; commend thyself to God, and try not to
swerve in the pursuit of thy main object; I mean, always make it thy
aim and fixed purpose to do right in all matters that come before
thee, for heaven always helps good intentions; and now let us go to
dinner, for I think my lord and lady are waiting for us."
HOW SANCHO PANZA WAS CONDUCTED TO HIS GOVERNMENT, AND OF THE STRANGE
ADVENTURE THAT BEFELL DON QUIXOTE IN THE CASTLE
It is stated, they say, in the true original of this history, that
when Cide Hamete came to write this chapter, his interpreter did not
translate it as he wrote it- that is, as a kind of complaint the
Moor made against himself for having taken in hand a story so dry
and of so little variety as this of Don Quixote, for he found
himself forced to speak perpetually of him and Sancho, without
venturing to indulge in digressions and episodes more serious and more
interesting. He said, too, that to go on, mind, hand, pen always
restricted to writing upon one single subject, and speaking through
the mouths of a few characters, was intolerable drudgery, the result
of which was never equal to the author's labour, and that to avoid
this he had in the First Part availed himself of the device of novels,
like "The Ill-advised Curiosity," and "The Captive Captain," which
stand, as it were, apart from the story; the others are given there
being incidents which occurred to Don Quixote himself and could not be
omitted. He also thought, he says, that many, engrossed by the
interest attaching to the exploits of Don Quixote, would take none
in the novels, and pass them over hastily or impatiently without
noticing the elegance and art of their composition, which would be
very manifest were they published by themselves and not as mere
adjuncts to the crazes of Don Quixote or the simplicities of Sancho.
Therefore in this Second Part he thought it best not to insert novels,
either separate or interwoven, but only episodes, something like them,
arising out of the circumstances the facts present; and even these
sparingly, and with no more words than suffice to make them plain; and
as he confines and restricts himself to the narrow limits of the
narrative, though he has ability; capacity, and brains enough to
deal with the whole universe, he requests that his labours may not
be despised, and that credit be given him, not alone for what he
writes, but for what he has refrained from writing.
And so he goes on with his story, saying that the day Don Quixote
gave the counsels to Sancho, the same afternoon after dinner he handed
them to him in writing so that he might get some one to read them to
him. They had scarcely, however, been given to him when he let them
drop, and they fell into the hands of the duke, who showed them to the
duchess and they were both amazed afresh at the madness and wit of Don
Quixote. To carry on the joke, then, the same evening they
despatched Sancho with a large following to the village that was to
serve him for an island. It happened that the person who had him in
charge was a majordomo of the duke's, a man of great discretion and
humour- and there can be no humour without discretion- and the same
who played the part of the Countess Trifaldi in the comical way that
has been already described; and thus qualified, and instructed by
his master and mistress as to how to deal with Sancho, he carried
out their scheme admirably. Now it came to pass that as soon as Sancho
saw this majordomo he seemed in his features to recognise those of the
Trifaldi, and turning to his master, he said to him, "Senor, either
the devil will carry me off, here on this spot, righteous and
believing, or your worship will own to me that the face of this
majordomo of the duke's here is the very face of the Distressed One."
Don Quixote regarded the majordomo attentively, and having done
so, said to Sancho, "There is no reason why the devil should carry
thee off, Sancho, either righteous or believing- and what thou meanest
by that I know not; the face of the Distressed One is that of the
majordomo, but for all that the majordomo is not the Distressed One;
for his being so would involve a mighty contradiction; but this is not
the time for going into questions of the sort, which would be
involving ourselves in an inextricable labyrinth. Believe me, my
friend, we must pray earnestly to our Lord that he deliver us both
from wicked wizards and enchanters."
"It is no joke, senor," said Sancho, "for before this I heard him
speak, and it seemed exactly as if the voice of the Trifaldi was
sounding in my ears. Well, I'll hold my peace; but I'll take care to
be on the look-out henceforth for any sign that may be seen to confirm
or do away with this suspicion."
"Thou wilt do well, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and thou wilt let me
know all thou discoverest, and all that befalls thee in thy
Sancho at last set out attended by a great number of people. He
was dressed in the garb of a lawyer, with a gaban of tawny watered
camlet over all and a montera cap of the same material, and mounted
a la gineta upon a mule. Behind him, in accordance with the duke's
orders, followed Dapple with brand new ass-trappings and ornaments
of silk, and from time to time Sancho turned round to look at his ass,
so well pleased to have him with him that he would not have changed
places with the emperor of Germany. On taking leave he kissed the
hands of the duke and duchess and got his master's blessing, which Don
Quixote gave him with tears, and he received blubbering.
Let worthy Sancho go in peace, and good luck to him, Gentle
Reader; and look out for two bushels of laughter, which the account of
how he behaved himself in office will give thee. In the meantime
turn thy attention to what happened his master the same night, and
if thou dost not laugh thereat, at any rate thou wilt stretch thy
mouth with a grin; for Don Quixote's adventures must be honoured
either with wonder or with laughter.
It is recorded, then, that as soon as Sancho had gone, Don Quixote
felt his loneliness, and had it been possible for him to revoke the
mandate and take away the government from him he would have done so.
The duchess observed his dejection and asked him why he was
melancholy; because, she said, if it was for the loss of Sancho, there
were squires, duennas, and damsels in her house who would wait upon
him to his full satisfaction.
"The truth is, senora," replied Don Quixote, "that I do feel the
loss of Sancho; but that is not the main cause of my looking sad;
and of all the offers your excellence makes me, I accept only the
good-will with which they are made, and as to the remainder I
entreat of your excellence to permit and allow me alone to wait upon
myself in my chamber."
"Indeed, Senor Don Quixote," said the duchess, "that must not be;
four of my damsels, as beautiful as flowers, shall wait upon you."
"To me," said Don Quixote, "they will not be flowers, but thorns
to pierce my heart. They, or anything like them, shall as soon enter
my chamber as fly. If your highness wishes to gratify me still
further, though I deserve it not, permit me to please myself, and wait
upon myself in my own room; for I place a barrier between my
inclinations and my virtue, and I do not wish to break this rule
through the generosity your highness is disposed to display towards
me; and, in short, I will sleep in my clothes, sooner than allow
anyone to undress me."
"Say no more, Senor Don Quixote, say no more," said the duchess;
"I assure you I will give orders that not even a fly, not to say a
damsel, shall enter your room. I am not the one to undermine the
propriety of Senor Don Quixote, for it strikes me that among his
many virtues the one that is pre-eminent is that of modesty. Your
worship may undress and dress in private and in your own way, as you
please and when you please, for there will be no one to hinder you;
and in your chamber you will find all the utensils requisite to supply
the wants of one who sleeps with his door locked, to the end that no
natural needs compel you to open it. May the great Dulcinea del Toboso
live a thousand years, and may her fame extend all over the surface of
the globe, for she deserves to be loved by a knight so valiant and
so virtuous; and may kind heaven infuse zeal into the heart of our
governor Sancho Panza to finish off his discipline speedily, so that
the world may once more enjoy the beauty of so grand a lady."
To which Don Quixote replied, "Your highness has spoken like what
you are; from the mouth of a noble lady nothing bad can come; and
Dulcinea will be more fortunate, and better known to the world by
the praise of your highness than by all the eulogies the greatest
orators on earth could bestow upon her."
"Well, well, Senor Don Quixote," said the duchess, is nearly
supper-time, and the duke is is probably waiting; come let us go to
supper, and retire to rest early, for the journey you made yesterday
from Kandy was not such a short one but that it must have caused you
"I feel none, senora," said Don Quixote, "for I would go so far as
to swear to your excellence that in all my life I never mounted a
quieter beast, or a pleasanter paced one, than Clavileno; and I
don't know what could have induced Malambruno to discard a steed so
swift and so gentle, and burn it so recklessly as he did."
"Probably," said the duchess, "repenting of the evil he had done
to the Trifaldi and company, and others, and the crimes he must have
committed as a wizard and enchanter, he resolved to make away with all
the instruments of his craft; and so burned Clavileno as the chief
one, and that which mainly kept him restless, wandering from land to
land; and by its ashes and the trophy of the placard the valour of the
great Don Quixote of La Mancha is established for ever."
Don Quixote renewed his thanks to the duchess; and having supped,
retired to his chamber alone, refusing to allow anyone to enter with
him to wait on him, such was his fear of encountering temptations that
might lead or drive him to forget his chaste fidelity to his lady
Dulcinea; for he had always present to his mind the virtue of
Amadis, that flower and mirror of knights-errant. He locked the door
behind him, and by the light of two wax candles undressed himself, but
as he was taking off his stockings- O disaster unworthy of such a
personage!- there came a burst, not of sighs, or anything belying
his delicacy or good breeding, but of some two dozen stitches in one
of his stockings, that made it look like a window-lattice. The
worthy gentleman was beyond measure distressed, and at that moment
he would have given an ounce of silver to have had half a drachm of
green silk there; I say green silk, because the stockings were green.
Here Cide Hamete exclaimed as he was writing, "O poverty, poverty! I
know not what could have possessed the great Cordovan poet to call
thee 'holy gift ungratefully received.' Although a Moor, I know well
enough from the intercourse I have had with Christians that holiness
consists in charity, humility, faith, obedience, and poverty; but
for all that, I say he must have a great deal of godliness who can
find any satisfaction in being poor; unless, indeed, it be the kind of
poverty one of their greatest saints refers to, saying, 'possess all
things as though ye possessed them not;' which is what they call
poverty in spirit. But thou, that other poverty- for it is of thee I
am speaking now- why dost thou love to fall out with gentlemen and men
of good birth more than with other people? Why dost thou compel them
to smear the cracks in their shoes, and to have the buttons of their
coats, one silk, another hair, and another glass? Why must their ruffs
be always crinkled like endive leaves, and not crimped with a crimping
iron?" (From this we may perceive the antiquity of starch and
crimped ruffs.) Then he goes on: "Poor gentleman of good family!
always cockering up his honour, dining miserably and in secret, and
making a hypocrite of the toothpick with which he sallies out into the
street after eating nothing to oblige him to use it! Poor fellow, I
say, with his nervous honour, fancying they perceive a league off
the patch on his shoe, the sweat-stains on his hat, the shabbiness
of his cloak, and the hunger of his stomach!"
All this was brought home to Don Quixote by the bursting of his
stitches; however, he comforted himself on perceiving that Sancho
had left behind a pair of travelling boots, which he resolved to
wear the next day. At last he went to bed, out of spirits and heavy at
heart, as much because he missed Sancho as because of the
irreparable disaster to his stockings, the stitches of which he
would have even taken up with silk of another colour, which is one
of the greatest signs of poverty a gentleman can show in the course of
his never-failing embarrassments. He put out the candles; but the
night was warm and he could not sleep; he rose from his bed and opened
slightly a grated window that looked out on a beautiful garden, and as
he did so he perceived and heard people walking and talking in the
garden. He set himself to listen attentively, and those below raised
their voices so that he could hear these words:
"Urge me not to sing, Emerencia, for thou knowest that ever since
this stranger entered the castle and my eyes beheld him, I cannot sing
but only weep; besides my lady is a light rather than a heavy sleeper,
and I would not for all the wealth of the world that she found us
here; and even if she were asleep and did not waken, my singing
would be in vain, if this strange AEneas, who has come into my
neighbourhood to flout me, sleeps on and wakens not to hear it."
"Heed not that, dear Altisidora," replied a voice; "the duchess is
no doubt asleep, and everybody in the house save the lord of thy heart
and disturber of thy soul; for just now I perceived him open the
grated window of his chamber, so he must be awake; sing, my poor
sufferer, in a low sweet tone to the accompaniment of thy harp; and
even if the duchess hears us we can lay the blame on the heat of the
"That is not the point, Emerencia," replied Altisidora, "it is
that I would not that my singing should lay bare my heart, and that
I should be thought a light and wanton maiden by those who know not
the mighty power of love; but come what may; better a blush on the
cheeks than a sore in the heart;" and here a harp softly touched
made itself heard. As he listened to all this Don Quixote was in a
state of breathless amazement, for immediately the countless
adventures like this, with windows, gratings, gardens, serenades,
lovemakings, and languishings, that he had read of in his trashy books
of chivalry, came to his mind. He at once concluded that some damsel
of the duchess's was in love with him, and that her modesty forced her
to keep her passion secret. He trembled lest he should fall, and
made an inward resolution not to yield; and commending himself with
all his might and soul to his lady Dulcinea he made up his mind to
listen to the music; and to let them know he was there he gave a
pretended sneeze, at which the damsels were not a little delighted,
for all they wanted was that Don Quixote should hear them. So having
tuned the harp, Altisidora, running her hand across the strings, began
O thou that art above in bed,
Between the holland sheets,
A-lying there from night till morn,
With outstretched legs asleep;
O thou, most valiant knight of all
The famed Manchegan breed,
Of purity and virtue more
Than gold of Araby;
Give ear unto a suffering maid,
Well-grown but evil-starr'd,
For those two suns of thine have lit
A fire within her heart.
Adventures seeking thou dost rove,
To others bringing woe;
Thou scatterest wounds, but, ah, the balm
To heal them dost withhold!
Say, valiant youth, and so may God
Thy enterprises speed,
Didst thou the light mid Libya's sands
Or Jaca's rocks first see?
Did scaly serpents give thee suck?
Who nursed thee when a babe?
Wert cradled in the forest rude,
Or gloomy mountain cave?
O Dulcinea may be proud,
That plump and lusty maid;
For she alone hath had the power
A tiger fierce to tame.
And she for this shall famous be
From Tagus to Jarama,
From Manzanares to Genil,
From Duero to Arlanza.
Fain would I change with her, and give
A petticoat to boot,
The best and bravest that I have,
All trimmed with gold galloon.
O for to be the happy fair
Thy mighty arms enfold,
Or even sit beside thy bed
And scratch thy dusty poll!
I rave,- to favours such as these
Unworthy to aspire;
Thy feet to tickle were enough
For one so mean as I.
What caps, what slippers silver-laced,
Would I on thee bestow!
What damask breeches make for thee;
What fine long holland cloaks!
And I would give thee pearls that should
As big as oak-galls show;
So matchless big that each might well
Be called the great "Alone."
Manchegan Nero, look not down
From thy Tarpeian Rock
Upon this burning heart, nor add
The fuel of thy wrath.
A virgin soft and young am I,
Not yet fifteen years old;
(I'm only three months past fourteen,
I swear upon my soul).
I hobble not nor do I limp,
All blemish I'm without,
And as I walk my lily locks
Are trailing on the ground.
And though my nose be rather flat,
And though my mouth be wide,
My teeth like topazes exalt
My beauty to the sky.
Thou knowest that my voice is sweet,
That is if thou dost hear;
And I am moulded in a form
Somewhat below the mean.
These charms, and many more, are thine,
Spoils to thy spear and bow all;
A damsel of this house am I,
By name Altisidora.
Here the lay of the heart-stricken Altisidora came to an end,
while the warmly wooed Don Quixote began to feel alarm; and with a
deep sigh he said to himself, "O that I should be such an unlucky
knight that no damsel can set eyes on me but falls in love with me!
O that the peerless Dulcinea should be so unfortunate that they cannot
let her enjoy my incomparable constancy in peace! What would ye with
her, ye queens? Why do ye persecute her, ye empresses? Why ye pursue
her, ye virgins of from fourteen to fifteen? Leave the unhappy being
to triumph, rejoice and glory in the lot love has been pleased to
bestow upon her in surrendering my heart and yielding up my soul to
her. Ye love-smitten host, know that to Dulcinea only I am dough and
sugar-paste, flint to all others; for her I am honey, for you aloes.
For me Dulcinea alone is beautiful, wise, virtuous, graceful, and
high-bred, and all others are ill-favoured, foolish, light, and
low-born. Nature sent me into the world to be hers and no other's;
Altisidora may weep or sing, the lady for whose sake they belaboured
me in the castle of the enchanted Moor may give way to despair, but
I must be Dulcinea's, boiled or roast, pure, courteous, and chaste, in
spite of all the magic-working powers on earth." And with that he shut
the window with a bang, and, as much out of temper and out of sorts as
if some great misfortune had befallen him, stretched himself on his
bed, where we will leave him for the present, as the great Sancho
Panza, who is about to set up his famous government, now demands our
OF HOW THE GREAT SANCHO PANZA TOOK POSSESSION OF HIS ISLAND, AND
OF HOW HE MADE A BEGINNING IN GOVERNING
O perpetual discoverer of the antipodes, torch of the world, eye
of heaven, sweet stimulator of the water-coolers! Thimbraeus here,
Phoebus there, now archer, now physician, father of poetry, inventor
of music; thou that always risest and, notwithstanding appearances,
never settest! To thee, O Sun, by whose aid man begetteth man, to thee
I appeal to help me and lighten the darkness of my wit that I may be
able to proceed with scrupulous exactitude in giving an account of the
great Sancho Panza's government; for without thee I feel myself
weak, feeble, and uncertain.
To come to the point, then- Sancho with all his attendants arrived
at a village of some thousand inhabitants, and one of the largest
the duke possessed. They informed him that it was called the island of
Barataria, either because the name of the village was Baratario, or
because of the joke by way of which the government had been
conferred upon him. On reaching the gates of the town, which was a
walled one, the municipality came forth to meet him, the bells rang
out a peal, and the inhabitants showed every sign of general
satisfaction; and with great pomp they conducted him to the
principal church to give thanks to God, and then with burlesque
ceremonies they presented him with the keys of the town, and
acknowledged him as perpetual governor of the island of Barataria. The
costume, the beard, and the fat squat figure of the new governor
astonished all those who were not in the secret, and even all who
were, and they were not a few. Finally, leading him out of the
church they carried him to the judgment seat and seated him on it, and
the duke's majordomo said to him, "It is an ancient custom in this
island, senor governor, that he who comes to take possession of this
famous island is bound to answer a question which shall be put to him,
and which must he a somewhat knotty and difficult one; and by his
answer the people take the measure of their new governor's wit, and
hail with joy or deplore his arrival accordingly."
While the majordomo was making this speech Sancho was gazing at
several large letters inscribed on the wall opposite his seat, and
as he could not read he asked what that was that was painted on the
wall. The answer was, "Senor, there is written and recorded the day on
which your lordship took possession of this island, and the
inscription says, 'This day, the so-and-so of such-and-such a month
and year, Senor Don Sancho Panza took possession of this island;
many years may he enjoy it.'"
"And whom do they call Don Sancho Panza?" asked Sancho.
"Your lordship," replied the majordomo; "for no other Panza but
the one who is now seated in that chair has ever entered this island."
"Well then, let me tell you, brother," said Sancho, "I haven't got
the 'Don,' nor has any one of my family ever had it; my name is
plain Sancho Panza, and Sancho was my father's name, and Sancho was my
grandfather's and they were all Panzas, without any Dons or Donas
tacked on; I suspect that in this island there are more Dons than
stones; but never mind; God knows what I mean, and maybe if my
government lasts four days I'll weed out these Dons that no doubt
are as great a nuisance as the midges, they're so plenty. Let the
majordomo go on with his question, and I'll give the best answer I
can, whether the people deplore or not."
At this instant there came into court two old men, one carrying a
cane by way of a walking-stick, and the one who had no stick said,
"Senor, some time ago I lent this good man ten gold-crowns in gold
to gratify him and do him a service, on the condition that he was to
return them to me whenever I should ask for them. A long time passed
before I asked for them, for I would not put him to any greater
straits to return them than he was in when I lent them to him; but
thinking he was growing careless about payment I asked for them once
and several times; and not only will he not give them back, but he
denies that he owes them, and says I never lent him any such crowns;
or if I did, that he repaid them; and I have no witnesses either of
the loan, or the payment, for he never paid me; I want your worship to
put him to his oath, and if he swears he returned them to me I forgive
him the debt here and before God."
"What say you to this, good old man, you with the stick?" said
To which the old man replied, "I admit, senor, that he lent them
to me; but let your worship lower your staff, and as he leaves it to
my oath, I'll swear that I gave them back, and paid him really and
The governor lowered the staff, and as he did so the old man who had
the stick handed it to the other old man to hold for him while he
swore, as if he found it in his way; and then laid his hand on the
cross of the staff, saying that it was true the ten crowns that were
demanded of him had been lent him; but that he had with his own hand
given them back into the hand of the other, and that he, not
recollecting it, was always asking for them.
Seeing this the great governor asked the creditor what answer he had
to make to what his opponent said. He said that no doubt his debtor
had told the truth, for he believed him to be an honest man and a good
Christian, and he himself must have forgotten when and how he had
given him back the crowns; and that from that time forth he would make
no further demand upon him.
The debtor took his stick again, and bowing his head left the court.
Observing this, and how, without another word, he made off, and
observing too the resignation of the plaintiff, Sancho buried his head
in his bosom and remained for a short space in deep thought, with
the forefinger of his right hand on his brow and nose; then he
raised his head and bade them call back the old man with the stick,
for he had already taken his departure. They brought him back, and
as soon as Sancho saw him he said, "Honest man, give me that stick,
for I want it."
"Willingly," said the old man; "here it is senor," and he put it
into his hand.
Sancho took it and, handing it to the other old man, said to him,
"Go, and God be with you; for now you are paid."
"I, senor!" returned the old man; "why, is this cane worth ten
"Yes," said the governor, "or if not I am the greatest dolt in the
world; now you will see whether I have got the headpiece to govern a
whole kingdom;" and he ordered the cane to be broken in two, there, in
the presence of all. It was done, and in the middle of it they found
ten gold-crowns. All were filled with amazement, and looked upon their
governor as another Solomon. They asked him how he had come to the
conclusion that the ten crowns were in the cane; he replied, that
observing how the old man who swore gave the stick to his opponent
while he was taking the oath, and swore that he had really and truly
given him the crowns, and how as soon as he had done swearing he asked
for the stick again, it came into his head that the sum demanded
must be inside it; and from this he said it might be seen that God
sometimes guides those who govern in their judgments, even though they
may be fools; besides he had himself heard the curate of his village
mention just such another case, and he had so good a memory, that if
it was not that he forgot everything he wished to remember, there
would not be such a memory in all the island. To conclude, the old men
went off, one crestfallen, and the other in high contentment, all
who were present were astonished, and he who was recording the
words, deeds, and movements of Sancho could not make up his mind
whether he was to look upon him and set him down as a fool or as a man
As soon as this case was disposed of, there came into court a
woman holding on with a tight grip to a man dressed like a
well-to-do cattle dealer, and she came forward making a great outcry
and exclaiming, "Justice, senor governor, justice! and if I don't
get it on earth I'll go look for it in heaven. Senor governor of my
soul, this wicked man caught me in the middle of the fields here and
used my body as if it was an ill-washed rag, and, woe is me! got
from me what I had kept these three-and-twenty years and more,
defending it against Moors and Christians, natives and strangers;
and I always as hard as an oak, and keeping myself as pure as a
salamander in the fire, or wool among the brambles, for this good
fellow to come now with clean hands to handle me!"
"It remains to be proved whether this gallant has clean hands or
not," said Sancho; and turning to the man he asked him what he had
to say in answer to the woman's charge.
He all in confusion made answer, "Sirs, I am a poor pig dealer,
and this morning I left the village to sell (saving your presence)
four pigs, and between dues and cribbings they got out of me little
less than the worth of them. As I was returning to my village I fell
in on the road with this good dame, and the devil who makes a coil and
a mess out of everything, yoked us together. I paid her fairly, but
she not contented laid hold of me and never let go until she brought
me here; she says I forced her, but she lies by the oath I swear or am
ready to swear; and this is the whole truth and every particle of it."
The governor on this asked him if he had any money in silver about
him; he said he had about twenty ducats in a leather purse in his
bosom. The governor bade him take it out and hand it to the
complainant; he obeyed trembling; the woman took it, and making a
thousand salaams to all and praying to God for the long life and
health of the senor governor who had such regard for distressed
orphans and virgins, she hurried out of court with the purse grasped
in both her hands, first looking, however, to see if the money it
contained was silver.
As soon as she was gone Sancho said to the cattle dealer, whose
tears were already starting and whose eyes and heart were following
his purse, "Good fellow, go after that woman and take the purse from
her, by force even, and come back with it here;" and he did not say it
to one who was a fool or deaf, for the man was off like a flash of
lightning, and ran to do as he was bid.
All the bystanders waited anxiously to see the end of the case,
and presently both man and woman came back at even closer grips than
before, she with her petticoat up and the purse in the lap of it,
and he struggling hard to take it from her, but all to no purpose,
so stout was the woman's defence, she all the while crying out,
"Justice from God and the world! see here, senor governor, the
shamelessness and boldness of this villain, who in the middle of the
town, in the middle of the street, wanted to take from me the purse
your worship bade him give me."
"And did he take it?" asked the governor.
"Take it!" said the woman; "I'd let my life be taken from me
sooner than the purse. A pretty child I'd be! It's another sort of cat
they must throw in my face, and not that poor scurvy knave. Pincers
and hammers, mallets and chisels would not get it out of my grip;
no, nor lions' claws; the soul from out of my body first!"
"She is right," said the man; "I own myself beaten and powerless;
I confess I haven't the strength to take it from her;" and he let go
his hold of her.
Upon this the governor said to the woman, "Let me see that purse, my
worthy and sturdy friend." She handed it to him at once, and the
governor returned it to the man, and said to the unforced mistress
of force, "Sister, if you had shown as much, or only half as much,
spirit and vigour in defending your body as you have shown in
defending that purse, the strength of Hercules could not have forced
you. Be off, and God speed you, and bad luck to you, and don't show
your face in all this island, or within six leagues of it on any side,
under pain of two hundred lashes; be off at once, I say, you
shameless, cheating shrew."
The woman was cowed and went off disconsolately, hanging her head;
and the governor said to the man, "Honest man, go home with your
money, and God speed you; and for the future, if you don't want to
lose it, see that you don't take it into your head to yoke with
anybody." The man thanked him as clumsily as he could and went his
way, and the bystanders were again filled with admiration at their new
governor's judgments and sentences.
Next, two men, one apparently a farm labourer, and the other a
tailor, for he had a pair of shears in his hand, presented
themselves before him, and the tailor said, "Senor governor, this
labourer and I come before your worship by reason of this honest man
coming to my shop yesterday (for saving everybody's presence I'm a
passed tailor, God be thanked), and putting a piece of cloth into my
hands and asking me, 'Senor, will there be enough in this cloth to
make me a cap?' Measuring the cloth I said there would. He probably
suspected- as I supposed, and I supposed right- that I wanted to steal
some of the cloth, led to think so by his own roguery and the bad
opinion people have of tailors; and he told me to see if there would
he enough for two. I guessed what he would be at, and I said 'yes.'
He, still following up his original unworthy notion, went on adding
cap after cap, and I 'yes' after 'yes,' until we got as far as five.
He has just this moment come for them; I gave them to him, but he
won't pay me for the making; on the contrary, he calls upon me to
pay him, or else return his cloth."
"Is all this true, brother?" said Sancho.
"Yes," replied the man; "but will your worship make him show the
five caps he has made me?"
"With all my heart," said the tailor; and drawing his hand from
under his cloak he showed five caps stuck upon the five fingers of it,
and said, "there are the caps this good man asks for; and by God and
upon my conscience I haven't a scrap of cloth left, and I'll let the
work be examined by the inspectors of the trade."
All present laughed at the number of caps and the novelty of the
suit; Sancho set himself to think for a moment, and then said, "It
seems to me that in this case it is not necessary to deliver
long-winded arguments, but only to give off-hand the judgment of an
honest man; and so my decision is that the tailor lose the making
and the labourer the cloth, and that the caps go to the prisoners in
the gaol, and let there be no more about it."
If the previous decision about the cattle dealer's purse excited the
admiration of the bystanders, this provoked their laughter; however,
the governor's orders were after all executed. All this, having been
taken down by his chronicler, was at once despatched to the duke,
who was looking out for it with great eagerness; and here let us leave
the good Sancho; for his master, sorely troubled in mind by
Altisidora's music, has pressing claims upon us now.
OF THE TERRIBLE BELL AND CAT FRIGHT THAT DON QUIXOTE GOT IN THE
COURSE OF THE ENAMOURED ALTISIDORA'S WOOING
We left Don Quixote wrapped up in the reflections which the music of
the enamourned maid Altisidora had given rise to. He went to bed
with them, and just like fleas they would not let him sleep or get a
moment's rest, and the broken stitches of his stockings helped them.
But as Time is fleet and no obstacle can stay his course, he came
riding on the hours, and morning very soon arrived. Seeing which Don
Quixote quitted the soft down, and, nowise slothful, dressed himself
in his chamois suit and put on his travelling boots to hide the
disaster to his stockings. He threw over him his scarlet mantle, put
on his head a montera of green velvet trimmed with silver edging,
flung across his shoulder the baldric with his good trenchant sword,
took up a large rosary that he always carried with him, and with great
solemnity and precision of gait proceeded to the antechamber where the
duke and duchess were already dressed and waiting for him. But as he
passed through a gallery, Altisidora and the other damsel, her friend,
were lying in wait for him, and the instant Altisidora saw him she
pretended to faint, while her friend caught her in her lap, and
began hastily unlacing the bosom of her dress.
Don Quixote observed it, and approaching them said, "I know very
well what this seizure arises from."
"I know not from what," replied the friend, "for Altisidora is the
healthiest damsel in all this house, and I have never heard her
complain all the time I have known her. A plague on all the
knights-errant in the world, if they be all ungrateful! Go away, Senor
Don Quixote; for this poor child will not come to herself again so
long as you are here."
To which Don Quixote returned, "Do me the favour, senora, to let a
lute be placed in my chamber to-night; and I will comfort this poor
maiden to the best of my power; for in the early stages of love a
prompt disillusion is an approved remedy;" and with this he retired,
so as not to be remarked by any who might see him there.
He had scarcely withdrawn when Altisidora, recovering from her
swoon, said to her companion, "The lute must be left, for no doubt Don
Quixote intends to give us some music; and being his it will not be
They went at once to inform the duchess of what was going on, and of
the lute Don Quixote asked for, and she, delighted beyond measure,
plotted with the duke and her two damsels to play him a trick that
should be amusing but harmless; and in high glee they waited for
night, which came quickly as the day had come; and as for the day, the
duke and duchess spent it in charming conversation with Don Quixote.
When eleven o'clock came, Don Quixote found a guitar in his chamber;
he tried it, opened the window, and perceived that some persons were
walking in the garden; and having passed his fingers over the frets of
the guitar and tuned it as well as he could, he spat and cleared his
chest, and then with a voice a little hoarse but full-toned, he sang
the following ballad, which he had himself that day composed:
Mighty Love the hearts of maidens
Doth unsettle and perplex,
And the instrument he uses
Most of all is idleness.
Sewing, stitching, any labour,
Having always work to do,
To the poison Love instilleth
Is the antidote most sure.
And to proper-minded maidens
Who desire the matron's name
Modesty's a marriage portion,
Modesty their highest praise.
Men of prudence and discretion,
Courtiers gay and gallant knights,
With the wanton damsels dally,
But the modest take to wife.
There are passions, transient, fleeting,
Loves in hostelries declar'd,
Sunrise loves, with sunset ended,
When the guest hath gone his way.
Love that springs up swift and sudden,
Here to-day, to-morrow flown,
Passes, leaves no trace behind it,
Leaves no image on the soul.
Painting that is laid on painting
Maketh no display or show;
Where one beauty's in possession
There no other can take hold.
Dulcinea del Toboso
Painted on my heart I wear;
Never from its tablets, never,
Can her image be eras'd.
The quality of all in lovers
Most esteemed is constancy;
'T is by this that love works wonders,
This exalts them to the skies.
Don Quixote had got so far with his song, to which the duke, the
duchess, Altisidora, and nearly the whole household of the castle were
listening, when all of a sudden from a gallery above that was
exactly over his window they let down a cord with more than a
hundred bells attached to it, and immediately after that discharged
a great sack full of cats, which also had bells of smaller size tied
to their tails. Such was the din of the bells and the squalling of the
cats, that though the duke and duchess were the contrivers of the joke
they were startled by it, while Don Quixote stood paralysed with fear;
and as luck would have it, two or three of the cats made their way
in through the grating of his chamber, and flying from one side to the
other, made it seem as if there was a legion of devils at large in it.
They extinguished the candles that were burning in the room, and
rushed about seeking some way of escape; the cord with the large bells
never ceased rising and falling; and most of the people of the castle,
not knowing what was really the matter, were at their wits' end with
astonishment. Don Quixote sprang to his feet, and drawing his sword,
began making passes at the grating, shouting out, "Avaunt, malignant
enchanters! avaunt, ye witchcraft-working rabble! I am Don Quixote
of La Mancha, against whom your evil machinations avail not nor have
any power." And turning upon the cats that were running about the
room, he made several cuts at them. They dashed at the grating and
escaped by it, save one that, finding itself hard pressed by the
slashes of Don Quixote's sword, flew at his face and held on to his
nose tooth and nail, with the pain of which he began to shout his
loudest. The duke and duchess hearing this, and guessing what it
was, ran with all haste to his room, and as the poor gentleman was
striving with all his might to detach the cat from his face, they
opened the door with a master-key and went in with lights and
witnessed the unequal combat. The duke ran forward to part the
combatants, but Don Quixote cried out aloud, "Let no one take him from
me; leave me hand to hand with this demon, this wizard, this
enchanter; I will teach him, I myself, who Don Quixote of La Mancha
is." The cat, however, never minding these threats, snarled and held
on; but at last the duke pulled it off and flung it out of the window.
Don Quixote was left with a face as full of holes as a sieve and a
nose not in very good condition, and greatly vexed that they did not
let him finish the battle he had been so stoutly fighting with that
villain of an enchanter. They sent for some oil of John's wort, and
Altisidora herself with her own fair hands bandaged all the wounded
parts; and as she did so she said to him in a low voice. "All these
mishaps have befallen thee, hardhearted knight, for the sin of thy
insensibility and obstinacy; and God grant thy squire Sancho may
forget to whip himself, so that that dearly beloved Dulcinea of
thine may never be released from her enchantment, that thou mayest
never come to her bed, at least while I who adore thee am alive."
To all this Don Quixote made no answer except to heave deep sighs,
and then stretched himself on his bed, thanking the duke and duchess
for their kindness, not because he stood in any fear of that
bell-ringing rabble of enchanters in cat shape, but because he
recognised their good intentions in coming to his rescue. The duke and
duchess left him to repose and withdrew greatly grieved at the
unfortunate result of the joke; as they never thought the adventure
would have fallen so heavy on Don Quixote or cost him so dear, for
it cost him five days of confinement to his bed, during which he had
another adventure, pleasanter than the late one, which his
chronicler will not relate just now in order that he may turn his
attention to Sancho Panza, who was proceeding with great diligence and
drollery in his government.
WHEREIN IS CONTINUED THE ACCOUNT OF HOW SANCHO PANZA CONDUCTED
HIMSELF IN HIS GOVERNMENT
The history says that from the justice court they carried Sancho
to a sumptuous palace, where in a spacious chamber there was a table
laid out with royal magnificence. The clarions sounded as Sancho
entered the room, and four pages came forward to present him with
water for his hands, which Sancho received with great dignity. The
music ceased, and Sancho seated himself at the head of the table,
for there was only that seat placed, and no more than one cover
laid. A personage, who it appeared afterwards was a physician,
placed himself standing by his side with a whalebone wand in his hand.
They then lifted up a fine white cloth covering fruit and a great
variety of dishes of different sorts; one who looked like a student
said grace, and a page put a laced bib on Sancho, while another who
played the part of head carver placed a dish of fruit before him.
But hardly had he tasted a morsel when the man with the wand touched
the plate with it, and they took it away from before him with the
utmost celerity. The carver, however, brought him another dish, and
Sancho proceeded to try it; but before he could get at it, not to
say taste it, already the wand had touched it and a page had carried
it off with the same promptitude as the fruit. Sancho seeing this
was puzzled, and looking from one to another asked if this dinner
was to be eaten after the fashion of a jugglery trick.
To this he with the wand replied, "It is not to be eaten, senor
governor, except as is usual and customary in other islands where
there are governors. I, senor, am a physician, and I am paid a
salary in this island to serve its governors as such, and I have a
much greater regard for their health than for my own, studying day and
night and making myself acquainted with the governor's constitution,
in order to be able to cure him when he falls sick. The chief thing
I have to do is to attend at his dinners and suppers and allow him
to eat what appears to me to be fit for him, and keep from him what
I think will do him harm and be injurious to his stomach; and
therefore I ordered that plate of fruit to be removed as being too
moist, and that other dish I ordered to he removed as being too hot
and containing many spices that stimulate thirst; for he who drinks
much kills and consumes the radical moisture wherein life consists."
"Well then," said Sancho, "that dish of roast partridges there
that seems so savoury will not do me any harm."
To this the physician replied, "Of those my lord the governor
shall not eat so long as I live."
"Why so?" said Sancho.
"Because," replied the doctor, "our master Hippocrates, the polestar
and beacon of medicine, says in one of his aphorisms omnis saturatio
mala, perdicis autem pessima, which means 'all repletion is bad, but
that of partridge is the worst of all."
"In that case," said Sancho, "let senor doctor see among the
dishes that are on the table what will do me most good and least harm,
and let me eat it, without tapping it with his stick; for by the
life of the governor, and so may God suffer me to enjoy it, but I'm
dying of hunger; and in spite of the doctor and all he may say, to
deny me food is the way to take my life instead of prolonging it."
"Your worship is right, senor governor," said the physician; "and
therefore your worship, I consider, should not eat of those stewed
rabbits there, because it is a furry kind of food; if that veal were
not roasted and served with pickles, you might try it; but it is out
of the question."
"That big dish that is smoking farther off," said Sancho, "seems
to me to be an olla podrida, and out of the diversity of things in
such ollas, I can't fail to light upon something tasty and good for
"Absit," said the doctor; "far from us be any such base thought!
There is nothing in the world less nourishing than an olla podrida; to
canons, or rectors of colleges, or peasants' weddings with your
ollas podridas, but let us have none of them on the tables of
governors, where everything that is present should be delicate and
refined; and the reason is, that always, everywhere and by
everybody, simple medicines are more esteemed than compound ones,
for we cannot go wrong in those that are simple, while in the compound
we may, by merely altering the quantity of the things composing
them. But what I am of opinion the governor should cat now in order to
preserve and fortify his health is a hundred or so of wafer cakes
and a few thin slices of conserve of quinces, which will settle his
stomach and help his digestion."
Sancho on hearing this threw himself back in his chair and
surveyed the doctor steadily, and in a solemn tone asked him what
his name was and where he had studied.
He replied, "My name, senor governor, is Doctor Pedro Recio de
Aguero I am a native of a place called Tirteafuera which lies
between Caracuel and Almodovar del Campo, on the right-hand side,
and I have the degree of doctor from the university of Osuna."
To which Sancho, glowing all over with rage, returned, "Then let
Doctor Pedro Recio de Malaguero, native of Tirteafuera, a place that's
on the right-hand side as we go from Caracuel to Almodovar del
Campo, graduate of Osuna, get out of my presence at once; or I swear
by the sun I'll take a cudgel, and by dint of blows, beginning with
him, I'll not leave a doctor in the whole island; at least of those
I know to be ignorant; for as to learned, wise, sensible physicians,
them I will reverence and honour as divine persons. Once more I say
let Pedro Recio get out of this or I'll take this chair I am sitting
on and break it over his head. And if they call me to account for
it, I'll clear myself by saying I served God in killing a bad
doctor- a general executioner. And now give me something to eat, or
else take your government; for a trade that does not feed its master
is not worth two beans."
The doctor was dismayed when he saw the governor in such a
passion, and he would have made a Tirteafuera out of the room but that
the same instant a post-horn sounded in the street; and the carver
putting his head out of the window turned round and said, "It's a
courier from my lord the duke, no doubt with some despatch of
The courier came in all sweating and flurried, and taking a paper
from his bosom, placed it in the governor's hands. Sancho handed it to
the majordomo and bade him read the superscription, which ran thus: To
Don Sancho Panza, Governor of the Island of Barataria, into his own
hands or those of his secretary. Sancho when he heard this said,
"Which of you is my secretary?" "I am, senor," said one of those
present, "for I can read and write, and am a Biscayan." "With that
addition," said Sancho, "you might be secretary to the emperor
himself; open this paper and see what it says." The new-born secretary
obeyed, and having read the contents said the matter was one to be
discussed in private. Sancho ordered the chamber to be cleared, the
majordomo and the carver only remaining; so the doctor and the
others withdrew, and then the secretary read the letter, which was
It has come to my knowledge, Senor Don Sancho Panza, that certain
enemies of mine and of the island are about to make a furious attack
upon it some night, I know not when. It behoves you to be on the alert
and keep watch, that they surprise you not. I also know by trustworthy
spies that four persons have entered the town in disguise in order
to take your life, because they stand in dread of your great capacity;
keep your eyes open and take heed who approaches you to address you,
and eat nothing that is presented to you. I will take care to send you
aid if you find yourself in difficulty, but in all things you will act
as may be expected of your judgment. From this place, the Sixteenth of
August, at four in the morning.
Sancho was astonished, and those who stood by made believe to be
so too, and turning to the majordomo he said to him, "What we have got
to do first, and it must be done at once, is to put Doctor Recio in
the lock-up; for if anyone wants to kill me it is he, and by a slow
death and the worst of all, which is hunger."
"Likewise," said the carver, "it is my opinion your worship should
not eat anything that is on this table, for the whole was a present
from some nuns; and as they say, 'behind the cross there's the
"I don't deny it," said Sancho; "so for the present give me a
piece of bread and four pounds or so of grapes; no poison can come
in them; for the fact is I can't go on without eating; and if we are
to be prepared for these battles that are threatening us we must be
well provisioned; for it is the tripes that carry the heart and not
the heart the tripes. And you, secretary, answer my lord the duke
and tell him that all his commands shall be obeyed to the letter, as
he directs; and say from me to my lady the duchess that I kiss her
hands, and that I beg of her not to forget to send my letter and
bundle to my wife Teresa Panza by a messenger; and I will take it as a
great favour and will not fail to serve her in all that may lie within
my power; and as you are about it you may enclose a kiss of the hand
to my master Don Quixote that he may see I am grateful bread; and as a
good secretary and a good Biscayan you may add whatever you like and
whatever will come in best; and now take away this cloth and give me
something to eat, and I'll be ready to meet all the spies and
assassins and enchanters that may come against me or my island."
At this instant a page entered saying, "Here is a farmer on
business, who wants to speak to your lordship on a matter of great
importance, he says."
"It's very odd," said Sancho, "the ways of these men on business; is
it possible they can be such fools as not to see that an hour like
this is no hour for coming on business? We who govern and we who are
judges- are we not men of flesh and blood, and are we not to be
allowed the time required for taking rest, unless they'd have us
made of marble? By God and on my conscience, if the government remains
in my hands (which I have a notion it won't), I'll bring more than one
man on business to order. However, tell this good man to come in;
but take care first of all that he is not some spy or one of my
"No, my lord," said the page, "for he looks like a simple fellow,
and either I know very little or he is as good as good bread."
"There is nothing to be afraid of," said the majordomo, "for we
are all here."
"Would it be possible, carver," said Sancho, "now that Doctor
Pedro Recio is not here, to let me eat something solid and
substantial, if it were even a piece of bread and an onion?"
"To-night at supper," said the carver, "the shortcomings of the
dinner shall be made good, and your lordship shall be fully
"God grant it," said Sancho.
The farmer now came in, a well-favoured man that one might see a
thousand leagues off was an honest fellow and a good soul. The first
thing he said was, "Which is the lord governor here?"
"Which should it be," said the secretary, "but he who is seated in
"Then I humble myself before him," said the farmer; and going on his
knees he asked for his hand, to kiss it. Sancho refused it, and bade
him stand up and say what he wanted. The farmer obeyed, and then said,
"I am a farmer, senor, a native of Miguelturra, a village two
leagues from Ciudad Real."
"Another Tirteafuera!" said Sancho; "say on, brother; I know
Miguelturra very well I can tell you, for it's not very far from my
"The case is this, senor," continued the farmer, "that by God's
mercy I am married with the leave and licence of the holy Roman
Catholic Church; I have two sons, students, and the younger is
studying to become bachelor, and the elder to be licentiate; I am a
widower, for my wife died, or more properly speaking, a bad doctor
killed her on my hands, giving her a purge when she was with child;
and if it had pleased God that the child had been born, and was a boy,
I would have put him to study for doctor, that he might not envy his
brothers the bachelor and the licentiate."
"So that if your wife had not died, or had not been killed, you
would not now be a widower," said Sancho.
"No, senor, certainly not," said the farmer.
"We've got that much settled," said Sancho; "get on, brother, for
it's more bed-time than business-time."
"Well then," said the farmer, "this son of mine who is going to be a
bachelor, fell in love in the said town with a damsel called Clara
Perlerina, daughter of Andres Perlerino, a very rich farmer; and
this name of Perlerines does not come to them by ancestry or
descent, but because all the family are paralytics, and for a better
name they call them Perlerines; though to tell the truth the damsel is
as fair as an Oriental pearl, and like a flower of the field, if you
look at her on the right side; on the left not so much, for on that
side she wants an eye that she lost by small-pox; and though her
face is thickly and deeply pitted, those who love her say they are not
pits that are there, but the graves where the hearts of her lovers are
buried. She is so cleanly that not to soil her face she carries her
nose turned up, as they say, so that one would fancy it was running
away from her mouth; and with all this she looks extremely well, for
she has a wide mouth; and but for wanting ten or a dozen teeth and
grinders she might compare and compete with the comeliest. Of her lips
I say nothing, for they are so fine and thin that, if lips might be
reeled, one might make a skein of them; but being of a different
colour from ordinary lips they are wonderful, for they are mottled,
blue, green, and purple- let my lord the governor pardon me for
painting so minutely the charms of her who some time or other will
be my daughter; for I love her, and I don't find her amiss."
"Paint what you will," said Sancho; "I enjoy your painting, and if I
had dined there could be no dessert more to my taste than your
"That I have still to furnish," said the farmer; "but a time will
come when we may be able if we are not now; and I can tell you, senor,
if I could paint her gracefulness and her tall figure, it would
astonish you; but that is impossible because she is bent double with
her knees up to her mouth; but for all that it is easy to see that
if she could stand up she'd knock her head against the ceiling; and
she would have given her hand to my bachelor ere this, only that she
can't stretch it out, for it's contracted; but still one can see its
elegance and fine make by its long furrowed nails."
"That will do, brother," said Sancho; "consider you have painted her
from head to foot; what is it you want now? Come to the point
without all this beating about the bush, and all these scraps and
"I want your worship, senor," said the farmer, "to do me the
favour of giving me a letter of recommendation to the girl's father,
begging him to be so good as to let this marriage take place, as we
are not ill-matched either in the gifts of fortune or of nature; for
to tell the truth, senor governor, my son is possessed of a devil, and
there is not a day but the evil spirits torment him three or four
times; and from having once fallen into the fire, he has his face
puckered up like a piece of parchment, and his eyes watery and
always running; but he has the disposition of an angel, and if it
was not for belabouring and pummelling himself he'd be a saint."
"Is there anything else you want, good man?" said Sancho.
"There's another thing I'd like," said the farmer, "but I'm afraid
to mention it; however, out it must; for after all I can't let it be
rotting in my breast, come what may. I mean, senor, that I'd like your
worship to give me three hundred or six hundred ducats as a help to my
bachelor's portion, to help him in setting up house; for they must, in
short, live by themselves, without being subject to the
interferences of their fathers-in-law."
"Just see if there's anything else you'd like," said Sancho, "and
don't hold back from mentioning it out of bashfulness or modesty."
"No, indeed there is not," said the farmer.
The moment he said this the governor started to his feet, and
seizing the chair he had been sitting on exclaimed, "By all that's
good, you ill-bred, boorish Don Bumpkin, if you don't get out of
this at once and hide yourself from my sight, I'll lay your head
open with this chair. You whoreson rascal, you devil's own painter,
and is it at this hour you come to ask me for six hundred ducats!
How should I have them, you stinking brute? And why should I give them
to you if I had them, you knave and blockhead? What have I to do
with Miguelturra or the whole family of the Perlerines? Get out I say,
or by the life of my lord the duke I'll do as I said. You're not
from Miguelturra, but some knave sent here from hell to tempt me. Why,
you villain, I have not yet had the government half a day, and you
want me to have six hundred ducats already!"
The carver made signs to the farmer to leave the room, which he
did with his head down, and to all appearance in terror lest the
governor should carry his threats into effect, for the rogue knew very
well how to play his part.
But let us leave Sancho in his wrath, and peace be with them all;
and let us return to Don Quixote, whom we left with his face
bandaged and doctored after the cat wounds, of which he was not
cured for eight days; and on one of these there befell him what Cide
Hamete promises to relate with that exactitude and truth with which he
is wont to set forth everything connected with this great history,
however minute it may be.
OF WHAT BEFELL DON QUIXOTE WITH DONA RODRIGUEZ, THE DUCHESS'S
DUENNA, TOGETHER WITH OTHER OCCURRENCES WORTHY OF RECORD AND ETERNAL
Exceedingly moody and dejected was the sorely wounded Don Quixote,
with his face bandaged and marked, not by the hand of God, but by
the claws of a cat, mishaps incidental to knight-errantry. Six days he
remained without appearing in public, and one night as he lay awake
thinking of his misfortunes and of Altisidora's pursuit of him, he
perceived that some one was opening the door of his room with a key,
and he at once made up his mind that the enamoured damsel was coming
to make an assault upon his chastity and put him in danger of
failing in the fidelity he owed to his lady Dulcinea del Toboso. "No,"
said he, firmly persuaded of the truth of his idea (and he said it
loud enough to be heard), "the greatest beauty upon earth shall not
avail to make me renounce my adoration of her whom I bear stamped
and graved in the core of my heart and the secret depths of my bowels;
be thou, lady mine, transformed into a clumsy country wench, or into a
nymph of golden Tagus weaving a web of silk and gold, let Merlin or
Montesinos hold thee captive where they will; whereer thou art, thou
art mine, and where'er I am, must he thine." The very instant he had
uttered these words, the door opened. He stood up on the bed wrapped
from head to foot in a yellow satin coverlet, with a cap on his
head, and his face and his moustaches tied up, his face because of the
scratches, and his moustaches to keep them from drooping and falling
down, in which trim he looked the most extraordinary scarecrow that
could be conceived. He kept his eyes fixed on the door, and just as he
was expecting to see the love-smitten and unhappy Altisidora make
her appearance, he saw coming in a most venerable duenna, in a long
white-bordered veil that covered and enveloped her from head to
foot. Between the fingers of her left hand she held a short lighted
candle, while with her right she shaded it to keep the light from
her eyes, which were covered by spectacles of great size, and she
advanced with noiseless steps, treading very softly.
Don Quixote kept an eye upon her from his watchtower, and
observing her costume and noting her silence, he concluded that it
must be some witch or sorceress that was coming in such a guise to
work him some mischief, and he began crossing himself at a great rate.
The spectre still advanced, and on reaching the middle of the room,
looked up and saw the energy with which Don Quixote was crossing
himself; and if he was scared by seeing such a figure as hers, she was
terrified at the sight of his; for the moment she saw his tall
yellow form with the coverlet and the bandages that disfigured him,
she gave a loud scream, and exclaiming, "Jesus! what's this I see?"
let fall the candle in her fright, and then finding herself in the
dark, turned about to make off, but stumbling on her skirts in her
consternation, she measured her length with a mighty fall.
Don Quixote in his trepidation began saying, "I conjure thee,
phantom, or whatever thou art, tell me what thou art and what thou
wouldst with me. If thou art a soul in torment, say so, and all that
my powers can do I will do for thee; for I am a Catholic Christian and
love to do good to all the world, and to this end I have embraced
the order of knight-errantry to which I belong, the province of
which extends to doing good even to souls in purgatory."
The unfortunate duenna hearing herself thus conjured, by her own
fear guessed Don Quixote's and in a low plaintive voice answered,
"Senor Don Quixote- if so be you are indeed Don Quixote- I am no
phantom or spectre or soul in purgatory, as you seem to think, but
Dona Rodriguez, duenna of honour to my lady the duchess, and I come to
you with one of those grievances your worship is wont to redress."
"Tell me, Senora Dona Rodriguez," said Don Quixote, "do you
perchance come to transact any go-between business? Because I must
tell you I am not available for anybody's purpose, thanks to the
peerless beauty of my lady Dulcinea del Toboso. In short, Senora
Dona Rodriguez, if you will leave out and put aside all love messages,
you may go and light your candle and come back, and we will discuss
all the commands you have for me and whatever you wish, saving only,
as I said, all seductive communications."
"I carry nobody's messages, senor," said the duenna; "little you
know me. Nay, I'm not far enough advanced in years to take to any such
childish tricks. God be praised I have a soul in my body still, and
all my teeth and grinders in my mouth, except one or two that the
colds, so common in this Aragon country, have robbed me of. But wait a
little, while I go and light my candle, and I will return
immediately and lay my sorrows before you as before one who relieves
those of all the world;" and without staying for an answer she quitted
the room and left Don Quixote tranquilly meditating while he waited
for her. A thousand thoughts at once suggested themselves to him on
the subject of this new adventure, and it struck him as being ill done
and worse advised in him to expose himself to the danger of breaking
his plighted faith to his lady; and said he to himself, "Who knows but
that the devil, being wily and cunning, may be trying now to entrap me
with a duenna, having failed with empresses, queens, duchesses,
marchionesses, and countesses? Many a time have I heard it said by
many a man of sense that he will sooner offer you a flat-nosed wench
than a roman-nosed one; and who knows but this privacy, this
opportunity, this silence, may awaken my sleeping desires, and lead me
in these my latter years to fall where I have never tripped? In
cases of this sort it is better to flee than to await the battle.
But I must be out of my senses to think and utter such nonsense; for
it is impossible that a long, white-hooded spectacled duenna could
stir up or excite a wanton thought in the most graceless bosom in
the world. Is there a duenna on earth that has fair flesh? Is there
a duenna in the world that escapes being ill-tempered, wrinkled, and
prudish? Avaunt, then, ye duenna crew, undelightful to all mankind.
Oh, but that lady did well who, they say, had at the end of her
reception room a couple of figures of duennas with spectacles and
lace-cushions, as if at work, and those statues served quite as well
to give an air of propriety to the room as if they had been real
So saying he leaped off the bed, intending to close the door and not
allow Senora Rodriguez to enter; but as he went to shut it Senora
Rodriguez returned with a wax candle lighted, and having a closer view
of Don Quixote, with the coverlet round him, and his bandages and
night-cap, she was alarmed afresh, and retreating a couple of paces,
exclaimed, "Am I safe, sir knight? for I don't look upon it as a
sign of very great virtue that your worship should have got up out
"I may well ask the same, senora," said Don Quixote; "and I do ask
whether I shall be safe from being assailed and forced?"
"Of whom and against whom do you demand that security, sir
knight?" said the duenna.
"Of you and against you I ask it," said Don Quixote; "for I am not
marble, nor are you brass, nor is it now ten o'clock in the morning,
but midnight, or a trifle past it I fancy, and we are in a room more
secluded and retired than the cave could have been where the
treacherous and daring AEneas enjoyed the fair soft-hearted Dido.
But give me your hand, senora; I require no better protection than
my own continence, and my own sense of propriety; as well as that
which is inspired by that venerable head-dress;" and so saying he
kissed her right hand and took it in his own, she yielding it to him
with equal ceremoniousness. And here Cide Hamete inserts a parenthesis
in which he says that to have seen the pair marching from the door
to the bed, linked hand in hand in this way, he would have given the
best of the two tunics he had.
Don Quixote finally got into bed, and Dona Rodriguez took her seat
on a chair at some little distance from his couch, without taking
off her spectacles or putting aside the candle. Don Quixote wrapped
the bedclothes round him and covered himself up completely, leaving
nothing but his face visible, and as soon as they had both regained
their composure he broke silence, saying, "Now, Senora Dona Rodriguez,
you may unbosom yourself and out with everything you have in your
sorrowful heart and afflicted bowels; and by me you shall be
listened to with chaste ears, and aided by compassionate exertions."
"I believe it," replied the duenna; "from your worship's gentle
and winning presence only such a Christian answer could be expected.
The fact is, then, Senor Don Quixote, that though you see me seated in
this chair, here in the middle of the kingdom of Aragon, and in the
attire of a despised outcast duenna, I am from the Asturias of Oviedo,
and of a family with which many of the best of the province are
connected by blood; but my untoward fate and the improvidence of my
parents, who, I know not how, were unseasonably reduced to poverty,
brought me to the court of Madrid, where as a provision and to avoid
greater misfortunes, my parents placed me as seamstress in the service
of a lady of quality, and I would have you know that for hemming and
sewing I have never been surpassed by any all my life. My parents left
me in service and returned to their own country, and a few years later
went, no doubt, to heaven, for they were excellent good Catholic
Christians. I was left an orphan with nothing but the miserable
wages and trifling presents that are given to servants of my sort in
palaces; but about this time, without any encouragement on my part,
one of the esquires of the household fell in love with me, a man
somewhat advanced in years, full-bearded and personable, and above all
as good a gentleman as the king himself, for he came of a mountain
stock. We did not carry on our loves with such secrecy but that they
came to the knowledge of my lady, and she, not to have any fuss
about it, had us married with the full sanction of the holy mother
Roman Catholic Church, of which marriage a daughter was born to put an
end to my good fortune, if I had any; not that I died in childbirth,
for I passed through it safely and in due season, but because
shortly afterwards my husband died of a certain shock he received, and
had I time to tell you of it I know your worship would be
surprised;" and here she began to weep bitterly and said, "Pardon
me, Senor Don Quixote, if I am unable to control myself, for every
time I think of my unfortunate husband my eyes fill up with tears. God
bless me, with what an air of dignity he used to carry my lady
behind him on a stout mule as black as jet! for in those days they did
not use coaches or chairs, as they say they do now, and ladies rode
behind their squires. This much at least I cannot help telling you,
that you may observe the good breeding and punctiliousness of my
worthy husband. As he was turning into the Calle de Santiago in
Madrid, which is rather narrow, one of the alcaldes of the Court, with
two alguacils before him, was coming out of it, and as soon as my good
squire saw him he wheeled his mule about and made as if he would
turn and accompany him. My lady, who was riding behind him, said to
him in a low voice, 'What are you about, you sneak, don't you see that
I am here?' The alcalde like a polite man pulled up his horse and said
to him, 'Proceed, senor, for it is I, rather, who ought to accompany
my lady Dona Casilda'- for that was my mistress's name. Still my
husband, cap in hand, persisted in trying to accompany the alcalde,
and seeing this my lady, filled with rage and vexation, pulled out a
big pin, or, I rather think, a bodkin, out of her needle-case and
drove it into his back with such force that my husband gave a loud
yell, and writhing fell to the ground with his lady. Her two
lacqueys ran to rise her up, and the alcalde and the alguacils did the
same; the Guadalajara gate was all in commotion -I mean the idlers
congregated there; my mistress came back on foot, and my husband
hurried away to a barber's shop protesting that he was run right
through the guts. The courtesy of my husband was noised abroad to such
an extent, that the boys gave him no peace in the street; and on
this account, and because he was somewhat shortsighted, my lady
dismissed him; and it was chagrin at this I am convinced beyond a
doubt that brought on his death. I was left a helpless widow, with a
daughter on my hands growing up in beauty like the sea-foam; at
length, however, as I had the character of being an excellent
needlewoman, my lady the duchess, then lately married to my lord the
duke, offered to take me with her to this kingdom of Aragon, and my
daughter also, and here as time went by my daughter grew up and with
her all the graces in the world; she sings like a lark, dances quick
as thought, foots it like a gipsy, reads and writes like a
schoolmaster, and does sums like a miser; of her neatness I say
nothing, for the running water is not purer, and her age is now, if my
memory serves me, sixteen years five months and three days, one more
or less. To come to the point, the son of a very rich farmer, living
in a village of my lord the duke's not very far from here, fell in
love with this girl of mine; and in short, how I know not, they came
together, and under the promise of marrying her he made a fool of my
daughter, and will not keep his word. And though my lord the duke is
aware of it (for I have complained to him, not once but many and
many a time, and entreated him to order the farmer to marry my
daughter), he turns a deaf ear and will scarcely listen to me; the
reason being that as the deceiver's father is so rich, and lends him
money, and is constantly going security for his debts, he does not
like to offend or annoy him in any way. Now, senor, I want your
worship to take it upon yourself to redress this wrong either by
entreaty or by arms; for by what all the world says you came into it
to redress grievances and right wrongs and help the unfortunate. Let
your worship put before you the unprotected condition of my
daughter, her youth, and all the perfections I have said she
possesses; and before God and on my conscience, out of all the damsels
my lady has, there is not one that comes up to the sole of her shoe,
and the one they call Altisidora, and look upon as the boldest and
gayest of them, put in comparison with my daughter, does not come
within two leagues of her. For I would have you know, senor, all is
not gold that glitters, and that same little Altisidora has more
forwardness than good looks, and more impudence than modesty;
besides being not very sound, for she has such a disagreeable breath
that one cannot bear to be near her for a moment; and even my lady the
duchess- but I'll hold my tongue, for they say that walls have ears."
"For heaven's sake, Dona Rodriguez, what ails my lady the
duchess?" asked Don Quixote.
"Adjured in that way," replied the duenna, "I cannot help
answering the question and telling the whole truth. Senor Don Quixote,
have you observed the comeliness of my lady the duchess, that smooth
complexion of hers like a burnished polished sword, those two cheeks
of milk and carmine, that gay lively step with which she treads or
rather seems to spurn the earth, so that one would fancy she went
radiating health wherever she passed? Well then, let me tell you she
may thank, first of all God, for this, and next, two issues that she
has, one in each leg, by which all the evil humours, of which the
doctors say she is full, are discharged."
"Blessed Virgin!" exclaimed Don Quixote; "and is it possible that my
lady the duchess has drains of that sort? I would not have believed it
if the barefoot friars had told it me; but as the lady Dona
Rodriguez says so, it must be so. But surely such issues, and in
such places, do not discharge humours, but liquid amber. Verily, I
do believe now that this practice of opening issues is a very
important matter for the health."
Don Quixote had hardly said this, when the chamber door flew open
with a loud bang, and with the start the noise gave her Dona Rodriguez
let the candle fall from her hand, and the room was left as dark as
a wolf's mouth, as the saying is. Suddenly the poor duenna felt two
hands seize her by the throat, so tightly that she could not croak,
while some one else, without uttering a word, very briskly hoisted
up her petticoats, and with what seemed to be a slipper began to lay
on so heartily that anyone would have felt pity for her; but
although Don Quixote felt it he never stirred from his bed, but lay
quiet and silent, nay apprehensive that his turn for a drubbing
might be coming. Nor was the apprehension an idle one; one; for
leaving the duenna (who did not dare to cry out) well basted, the
silent executioners fell upon Don Quixote, and stripping him of the
sheet and the coverlet, they pinched him so fast and so hard that he
was driven to defend himself with his fists, and all this in
marvellous silence. The battle lasted nearly half an hour, and then
the phantoms fled; Dona Rodriguez gathered up her skirts, and
bemoaning her fate went out without saying a word to Don Quixote,
and he, sorely pinched, puzzled, and dejected, remained alone, and
there we will leave him, wondering who could have been the perverse
enchanter who had reduced him to such a state; but that shall be
told in due season, for Sancho claims our attention, and the
methodical arrangement of the story demands it.
OF WHAT HAPPENED SANCHO IN MAKING THE ROUND OF HIS ISLAND
We left the great governor angered and irritated by that
portrait-painting rogue of a farmer who, instructed the majordomo,
as the majordomo was by the duke, tried to practise upon him; he
however, fool, boor, and clown as he was, held his own against them
all, saying to those round him and to Doctor Pedro Recio, who as
soon as the private business of the duke's letter was disposed of
had returned to the room, "Now I see plainly enough that judges and
governors ought to be and must be made of brass not to feel the
importunities of the applicants that at all times and all seasons
insist on being heard, and having their business despatched, and their
own affairs and no others attended to, come what may; and if the
poor judge does not hear them and settle the matter- either because he
cannot or because that is not the time set apart for hearing them-
forthwith they abuse him, and run him down, and gnaw at his bones, and
even pick holes in his pedigree. You silly, stupid applicant, don't be
in a hurry; wait for the proper time and season for doing business;
don't come at dinner-hour, or at bed-time; for judges are only flesh
and blood, and must give to Nature what she naturally demands of them;
all except myself, for in my case I give her nothing to eat, thanks to
Senor Doctor Pedro Recio Tirteafuera here, who would have me die of
hunger, and declares that death to be life; and the same sort of
life may God give him and all his kind- I mean the bad doctors; for
the good ones deserve palms and laurels."
All who knew Sancho Panza were astonished to hear him speak so
elegantly, and did not know what to attribute it to unless it were
that office and grave responsibility either smarten or stupefy men's
wits. At last Doctor Pedro Recio Agilers of Tirteafuera promised to
let him have supper that night though it might be in contravention
of all the aphorisms of Hippocrates. With this the governor was
satisfied and looked forward to the approach of night and
supper-time with great anxiety; and though time, to his mind, stood
still and made no progress, nevertheless the hour he so longed for
came, and they gave him a beef salad with onions and some boiled
calves' feet rather far gone. At this he fell to with greater relish
than if they had given him francolins from Milan, pheasants from Rome,
veal from Sorrento, partridges from Moron, or geese from Lavajos,
and turning to the doctor at supper he said to him, "Look here,
senor doctor, for the future don't trouble yourself about giving me
dainty things or choice dishes to eat, for it will be only taking my
stomach off its hinges; it is accustomed to goat, cow, bacon, hung
beef, turnips and onions; and if by any chance it is given these
palace dishes, it receives them squeamishly, and sometimes with
loathing. What the head-carver had best do is to serve me with what
they call ollas podridas (and the rottener they are the better they
smell); and he can put whatever he likes into them, so long as it is
good to eat, and I'll be obliged to him, and will requite him some
day. But let nobody play pranks on me, for either we are or we are
not; let us live and eat in peace and good-fellowship, for when God
sends the dawn, be sends it for all. I mean to govern this island
without giving up a right or taking a bribe; let everyone keep his eye
open, and look out for the arrow; for I can tell them 'the devil's
in Cantillana,' and if they drive me to it they'll see something
that will astonish them. Nay! make yourself honey and the flies eat
"Of a truth, senor governor," said the carver, "your worship is in
the right of it in everything you have said; and I promise you in
the name of all the inhabitants of this island that they will serve
your worship with all zeal, affection, and good-will, for the mild
kind of government you have given a sample of to begin with, leaves
them no ground for doing or thinking anything to your worship's
"That I believe," said Sancho; "and they would be great fools if
they did or thought otherwise; once more I say, see to my feeding
and my Dapple's for that is the great point and what is most to the
purpose; and when the hour comes let us go the rounds, for it is my
intention to purge this island of all manner of uncleanness and of all
idle good-for-nothing vagabonds; for I would have you know that lazy
idlers are the same thing in a State as the drones in a hive, that eat
up the honey the industrious bees make. I mean to protect the
husbandman, to preserve to the gentleman his privileges, to reward the
virtuous, and above all to respect religion and honour its
ministers. What say you to that, my friends? Is there anything in what
I say, or am I talking to no purpose?"
"There is so much in what your worship says, senor governor," said
the majordomo, "that I am filled with wonder when I see a man like
your worship, entirely without learning (for I believe you have none
at all), say such things, and so full of sound maxims and sage
remarks, very different from what was expected of your worship's
intelligence by those who sent us or by us who came here. Every day we
see something new in this world; jokes become realities, and the
jokers find the tables turned upon them."
Night came, and with the permission of Doctor Pedro Recio, the
governor had supper. They then got ready to go the rounds, and he
started with the majordomo, the secretary, the head-carver, the
chronicler charged with recording his deeds, and alguacils and
notaries enough to form a fair-sized squadron. In the midst marched
Sancho with his staff, as fine a sight as one could wish to see, and
but a few streets of the town had been traversed when they heard a
noise as of a clashing of swords. They hastened to the spot, and found
that the combatants were but two, who seeing the authorities
approaching stood still, and one of them exclaimed, "Help, in the name
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