The History of Don Quixote, Vol. I., Part 9.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Produced by David Widger


by Miguel de Cervantes

Translated by John Ormsby

Volume I.

Part 9.



The history relates that it was with the greatest attention Don Quixote
listened to the ragged knight of the Sierra, who began by saying:

"Of a surety, senor, whoever you are, for I know you not, I thank you for
the proofs of kindness and courtesy you have shown me, and would I were
in a condition to requite with something more than good-will that which
you have displayed towards me in the cordial reception you have given me;
but my fate does not afford me any other means of returning kindnesses
done me save the hearty desire to repay them."

"Mine," replied Don Quixote, "is to be of service to you, so much so that
I had resolved not to quit these mountains until I had found you, and
learned of you whether there is any kind of relief to be found for that
sorrow under which from the strangeness of your life you seem to labour;
and to search for you with all possible diligence, if search had been
necessary. And if your misfortune should prove to be one of those that
refuse admission to any sort of consolation, it was my purpose to join
you in lamenting and mourning over it, so far as I could; for it is still
some comfort in misfortune to find one who can feel for it. And if my
good intentions deserve to be acknowledged with any kind of courtesy, I
entreat you, senor, by that which I perceive you possess in so high a
degree, and likewise conjure you by whatever you love or have loved best
in life, to tell me who you are and the cause that has brought you to
live or die in these solitudes like a brute beast, dwelling among them in
a manner so foreign to your condition as your garb and appearance show.
And I swear," added Don Quixote, "by the order of knighthood which I have
received, and by my vocation of knight-errant, if you gratify me in this,
to serve you with all the zeal my calling demands of me, either in
relieving your misfortune if it admits of relief, or in joining you in
lamenting it as I promised to do."

The Knight of the Thicket, hearing him of the Rueful Countenance talk in
this strain, did nothing but stare at him, and stare at him again, and
again survey him from head to foot; and when he had thoroughly examined
him, he said to him:

"If you have anything to give me to eat, for God's sake give it me, and
after I have eaten I will do all you ask in acknowledgment of the
goodwill you have displayed towards me."

Sancho from his sack, and the goatherd from his pouch, furnished the
Ragged One with the means of appeasing his hunger, and what they gave him
he ate like a half-witted being, so hastily that he took no time between
mouthfuls, gorging rather than swallowing; and while he ate neither he
nor they who observed him uttered a word. As soon as he had done he made
signs to them to follow him, which they did, and he led them to a green
plot which lay a little farther off round the corner of a rock. On
reaching it he stretched himself upon the grass, and the others did the
same, all keeping silence, until the Ragged One, settling himself in his
place, said:

"If it is your wish, sirs, that I should disclose in a few words the
surpassing extent of my misfortunes, you must promise not to break the
thread of my sad story with any question or other interruption, for the
instant you do so the tale I tell will come to an end."

These words of the Ragged One reminded Don Quixote of the tale his squire
had told him, when he failed to keep count of the goats that had crossed
the river and the story remained unfinished; but to return to the Ragged
One, he went on to say:

"I give you this warning because I wish to pass briefly over the story of
my misfortunes, for recalling them to memory only serves to add fresh
ones, and the less you question me the sooner shall I make an end of the
recital, though I shall not omit to relate anything of importance in
order fully to satisfy your curiosity."

Don Quixote gave the promise for himself and the others, and with this
assurance he began as follows:

"My name is Cardenio, my birthplace one of the best cities of this
Andalusia, my family noble, my parents rich, my misfortune so great that
my parents must have wept and my family grieved over it without being
able by their wealth to lighten it; for the gifts of fortune can do
little to relieve reverses sent by Heaven. In that same country there was
a heaven in which love had placed all the glory I could desire; such was
the beauty of Luscinda, a damsel as noble and as rich as I, but of
happier fortunes, and of less firmness than was due to so worthy a
passion as mine. This Luscinda I loved, worshipped, and adored from my
earliest and tenderest years, and she loved me in all the innocence and
sincerity of childhood. Our parents were aware of our feelings, and were
not sorry to perceive them, for they saw clearly that as they ripened
they must lead at last to a marriage between us, a thing that seemed
almost prearranged by the equality of our families and wealth. We grew
up, and with our growth grew the love between us, so that the father of
Luscinda felt bound for propriety's sake to refuse me admission to his
house, in this perhaps imitating the parents of that Thisbe so celebrated
by the poets, and this refusal but added love to love and flame to flame;
for though they enforced silence upon our tongues they could not impose
it upon our pens, which can make known the heart's secrets to a loved one
more freely than tongues; for many a time the presence of the object of
love shakes the firmest will and strikes dumb the boldest tongue. Ah
heavens! how many letters did I write her, and how many dainty modest
replies did I receive! how many ditties and love-songs did I compose in
which my heart declared and made known its feelings, described its ardent
longings, revelled in its recollections and dallied with its desires! At
length growing impatient and feeling my heart languishing with longing to
see her, I resolved to put into execution and carry out what seemed to me
the best mode of winning my desired and merited reward, to ask her of her
father for my lawful wife, which I did. To this his answer was that he
thanked me for the disposition I showed to do honour to him and to regard
myself as honoured by the bestowal of his treasure; but that as my father
was alive it was his by right to make this demand, for if it were not in
accordance with his full will and pleasure, Luscinda was not to be taken
or given by stealth. I thanked him for his kindness, reflecting that
there was reason in what he said, and that my father would assent to it
as soon as I should tell him, and with that view I went the very same
instant to let him know what my desires were. When I entered the room
where he was I found him with an open letter in his hand, which, before I
could utter a word, he gave me, saying, 'By this letter thou wilt see,
Cardenio, the disposition the Duke Ricardo has to serve thee.' This Duke
Ricardo, as you, sirs, probably know already, is a grandee of Spain who
has his seat in the best part of this Andalusia. I took and read the
letter, which was couched in terms so flattering that even I myself felt
it would be wrong in my father not to comply with the request the duke
made in it, which was that he would send me immediately to him, as he
wished me to become the companion, not servant, of his eldest son, and
would take upon himself the charge of placing me in a position
corresponding to the esteem in which he held me. On reading the letter my
voice failed me, and still more when I heard my father say, 'Two days
hence thou wilt depart, Cardenio, in accordance with the duke's wish, and
give thanks to God who is opening a road to thee by which thou mayest
attain what I know thou dost deserve; and to these words he added others
of fatherly counsel. The time for my departure arrived; I spoke one night
to Luscinda, I told her all that had occurred, as I did also to her
father, entreating him to allow some delay, and to defer the disposal of
her hand until I should see what the Duke Ricardo sought of me: he gave
me the promise, and she confirmed it with vows and swoonings unnumbered.
Finally, I presented myself to the duke, and was received and treated by
him so kindly that very soon envy began to do its work, the old servants
growing envious of me, and regarding the duke's inclination to show me
favour as an injury to themselves. But the one to whom my arrival gave
the greatest pleasure was the duke's second son, Fernando by name, a
gallant youth, of noble, generous, and amorous disposition, who very soon
made so intimate a friend of me that it was remarked by everybody; for
though the elder was attached to me, and showed me kindness, he did not
carry his affectionate treatment to the same length as Don Fernando. It
so happened, then, that as between friends no secret remains unshared,
and as the favour I enjoyed with Don Fernando had grown into friendship,
he made all his thoughts known to me, and in particular a love affair
which troubled his mind a little. He was deeply in love with a peasant
girl, a vassal of his father's, the daughter of wealthy parents, and
herself so beautiful, modest, discreet, and virtuous, that no one who
knew her was able to decide in which of these respects she was most
highly gifted or most excelled. The attractions of the fair peasant
raised the passion of Don Fernando to such a point that, in order to gain
his object and overcome her virtuous resolutions, he determined to pledge
his word to her to become her husband, for to attempt it in any other way
was to attempt an impossibility. Bound to him as I was by friendship, I
strove by the best arguments and the most forcible examples I could think
of to restrain and dissuade him from such a course; but perceiving I
produced no effect I resolved to make the Duke Ricardo, his father,
acquainted with the matter; but Don Fernando, being sharp-witted and
shrewd, foresaw and apprehended this, perceiving that by my duty as a
good servant I was bound not to keep concealed a thing so much opposed to
the honour of my lord the duke; and so, to mislead and deceive me, he
told me he could find no better way of effacing from his mind the beauty
that so enslaved him than by absenting himself for some months, and that
he wished the absence to be effected by our going, both of us, to my
father's house under the pretence, which he would make to the duke, of
going to see and buy some fine horses that there were in my city, which
produces the best in the world. When I heard him say so, even if his
resolution had not been so good a one I should have hailed it as one of
the happiest that could be imagined, prompted by my affection, seeing
what a favourable chance and opportunity it offered me of returning to
see my Luscinda. With this thought and wish I commended his idea and
encouraged his design, advising him to put it into execution as quickly
as possible, as, in truth, absence produced its effect in spite of the
most deeply rooted feelings. But, as afterwards appeared, when he said
this to me he had already enjoyed the peasant girl under the title of
husband, and was waiting for an opportunity of making it known with
safety to himself, being in dread of what his father the duke would do
when he came to know of his folly. It happened, then, that as with young
men love is for the most part nothing more than appetite, which, as its
final object is enjoyment, comes to an end on obtaining it, and that
which seemed to be love takes to flight, as it cannot pass the limit
fixed by nature, which fixes no limit to true love--what I mean is that
after Don Fernando had enjoyed this peasant girl his passion subsided and
his eagerness cooled, and if at first he feigned a wish to absent himself
in order to cure his love, he was now in reality anxious to go to avoid
keeping his promise.

"The duke gave him permission, and ordered me to accompany him; we
arrived at my city, and my father gave him the reception due to his rank;
I saw Luscinda without delay, and, though it had not been dead or
deadened, my love gathered fresh life. To my sorrow I told the story of
it to Don Fernando, for I thought that in virtue of the great friendship
he bore me I was bound to conceal nothing from him. I extolled her
beauty, her gaiety, her wit, so warmly, that my praises excited in him a
desire to see a damsel adorned by such attractions. To my misfortune I
yielded to it, showing her to him one night by the light of a taper at a
window where we used to talk to one another. As she appeared to him in
her dressing-gown, she drove all the beauties he had seen until then out
of his recollection; speech failed him, his head turned, he was
spell-bound, and in the end love-smitten, as you will see in the course
of the story of my misfortune; and to inflame still further his passion,
which he hid from me and revealed to Heaven alone, it so happened that
one day he found a note of hers entreating me to demand her of her father
in marriage, so delicate, so modest, and so tender, that on reading it he
told me that in Luscinda alone were combined all the charms of beauty and
understanding that were distributed among all the other women in the
world. It is true, and I own it now, that though I knew what good cause
Don Fernando had to praise Luscinda, it gave me uneasiness to hear these
praises from his mouth, and I began to fear, and with reason to feel
distrust of him, for there was no moment when he was not ready to talk of
Luscinda, and he would start the subject himself even though he dragged
it in unseasonably, a circumstance that aroused in me a certain amount of
jealousy; not that I feared any change in the constancy or faith of
Luscinda; but still my fate led me to forebode what she assured me
against. Don Fernando contrived always to read the letters I sent to
Luscinda and her answers to me, under the pretence that he enjoyed the
wit and sense of both. It so happened, then, that Luscinda having begged
of me a book of chivalry to read, one that she was very fond of, Amadis
of Gaul-"

Don Quixote no sooner heard a book of chivalry mentioned, than he said:

"Had your worship told me at the beginning of your story that the Lady
Luscinda was fond of books of chivalry, no other laudation would have
been requisite to impress upon me the superiority of her understanding,
for it could not have been of the excellence you describe had a taste for
such delightful reading been wanting; so, as far as I am concerned, you
need waste no more words in describing her beauty, worth, and
intelligence; for, on merely hearing what her taste was, I declare her to
be the most beautiful and the most intelligent woman in the world; and I
wish your worship had, along with Amadis of Gaul, sent her the worthy Don
Rugel of Greece, for I know the Lady Luscinda would greatly relish
Daraida and Garaya, and the shrewd sayings of the shepherd Darinel, and
the admirable verses of his bucolics, sung and delivered by him with such
sprightliness, wit, and ease; but a time may come when this omission can
be remedied, and to rectify it nothing more is needed than for your
worship to be so good as to come with me to my village, for there I can
give you more than three hundred books which are the delight of my soul
and the entertainment of my life;--though it occurs to me that I have not
got one of them now, thanks to the spite of wicked and envious
enchanters;--but pardon me for having broken the promise we made not to
interrupt your discourse; for when I hear chivalry or knights-errant
mentioned, I can no more help talking about them than the rays of the sun
can help giving heat, or those of the moon moisture; pardon me,
therefore, and proceed, for that is more to the purpose now."

While Don Quixote was saying this, Cardenio allowed his head to fall upon
his breast, and seemed plunged in deep thought; and though twice Don
Quixote bade him go on with his story, he neither looked up nor uttered a
word in reply; but after some time he raised his head and said, "I cannot
get rid of the idea, nor will anyone in the world remove it, or make me
think otherwise--and he would be a blockhead who would hold or believe
anything else than that that arrant knave Master Elisabad made free with
Queen Madasima."

"That is not true, by all that's good," said Don Quixote in high wrath,
turning upon him angrily, as his way was; "and it is a very great
slander, or rather villainy. Queen Madasima was a very illustrious lady,
and it is not to be supposed that so exalted a princess would have made
free with a quack; and whoever maintains the contrary lies like a great
scoundrel, and I will give him to know it, on foot or on horseback, armed
or unarmed, by night or by day, or as he likes best."

Cardenio was looking at him steadily, and his mad fit having now come
upon him, he had no disposition to go on with his story, nor would Don
Quixote have listened to it, so much had what he had heard about Madasima
disgusted him. Strange to say, he stood up for her as if she were in
earnest his veritable born lady; to such a pass had his unholy books
brought him. Cardenio, then, being, as I said, now mad, when he heard
himself given the lie, and called a scoundrel and other insulting names,
not relishing the jest, snatched up a stone that he found near him, and
with it delivered such a blow on Don Quixote's breast that he laid him on
his back. Sancho Panza, seeing his master treated in this fashion,
attacked the madman with his closed fist; but the Ragged One received him
in such a way that with a blow of his fist he stretched him at his feet,
and then mounting upon him crushed his ribs to his own satisfaction; the
goatherd, who came to the rescue, shared the same fate; and having beaten
and pummelled them all he left them and quietly withdrew to his
hiding-place on the mountain. Sancho rose, and with the rage he felt at
finding himself so belaboured without deserving it, ran to take vengeance
on the goatherd, accusing him of not giving them warning that this man
was at times taken with a mad fit, for if they had known it they would
have been on their guard to protect themselves. The goatherd replied that
he had said so, and that if he had not heard him, that was no fault of
his. Sancho retorted, and the goatherd rejoined, and the altercation
ended in their seizing each other by the beard, and exchanging such
fisticuffs that if Don Quixote had not made peace between them, they
would have knocked one another to pieces.

"Leave me alone, Sir Knight of the Rueful Countenance," said Sancho,
grappling with the goatherd, "for of this fellow, who is a clown like
myself, and no dubbed knight, I can safely take satisfaction for the
affront he has offered me, fighting with him hand to hand like an honest

"That is true," said Don Quixote, "but I know that he is not to blame for
what has happened."

With this he pacified them, and again asked the goatherd if it would be
possible to find Cardenio, as he felt the greatest anxiety to know the
end of his story. The goatherd told him, as he had told him before, that
there was no knowing of a certainty where his lair was; but that if he
wandered about much in that neighbourhood he could not fail to fall in
with him either in or out of his senses.



Don Quixote took leave of the goatherd, and once more mounting Rocinante
bade Sancho follow him, which he having no ass, did very discontentedly.
They proceeded slowly, making their way into the most rugged part of the
mountain, Sancho all the while dying to have a talk with his master, and
longing for him to begin, so that there should be no breach of the
injunction laid upon him; but unable to keep silence so long he said to

"Senor Don Quixote, give me your worship's blessing and dismissal, for
I'd like to go home at once to my wife and children with whom I can at
any rate talk and converse as much as I like; for to want me to go
through these solitudes day and night and not speak to you when I have a
mind is burying me alive. If luck would have it that animals spoke as
they did in the days of Guisopete, it would not be so bad, because I
could talk to Rocinante about whatever came into my head, and so put up
with my ill-fortune; but it is a hard case, and not to be borne with
patience, to go seeking adventures all one's life and get nothing but
kicks and blanketings, brickbats and punches, and with all this to have
to sew up one's mouth without daring to say what is in one's heart, just
as if one were dumb."

"I understand thee, Sancho," replied Don Quixote; "thou art dying to have
the interdict I placed upon thy tongue removed; consider it removed, and
say what thou wilt while we are wandering in these mountains."

"So be it," said Sancho; "let me speak now, for God knows what will
happen by-and-by; and to take advantage of the permit at once, I ask,
what made your worship stand up so for that Queen Majimasa, or whatever
her name is, or what did it matter whether that abbot was a friend of
hers or not? for if your worship had let that pass--and you were not a
judge in the matter--it is my belief the madman would have gone on with
his story, and the blow of the stone, and the kicks, and more than half a
dozen cuffs would have been escaped."

"In faith, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "if thou knewest as I do what
an honourable and illustrious lady Queen Madasima was, I know thou
wouldst say I had great patience that I did not break in pieces the mouth
that uttered such blasphemies, for a very great blasphemy it is to say or
imagine that a queen has made free with a surgeon. The truth of the story
is that that Master Elisabad whom the madman mentioned was a man of great
prudence and sound judgment, and served as governor and physician to the
queen, but to suppose that she was his mistress is nonsense deserving
very severe punishment; and as a proof that Cardenio did not know what he
was saying, remember when he said it he was out of his wits."

"That is what I say," said Sancho; "there was no occasion for minding the
words of a madman; for if good luck had not helped your worship, and he
had sent that stone at your head instead of at your breast, a fine way we
should have been in for standing up for my lady yonder, God confound her!
And then, would not Cardenio have gone free as a madman?"

"Against men in their senses or against madmen," said Don Quixote, "every
knight-errant is bound to stand up for the honour of women, whoever they
may be, much more for queens of such high degree and dignity as Queen
Madasima, for whom I have a particular regard on account of her amiable
qualities; for, besides being extremely beautiful, she was very wise, and
very patient under her misfortunes, of which she had many; and the
counsel and society of the Master Elisabad were a great help and support
to her in enduring her afflictions with wisdom and resignation; hence the
ignorant and ill-disposed vulgar took occasion to say and think that she
was his mistress; and they lie, I say it once more, and will lie two
hundred times more, all who think and say so."

"I neither say nor think so," said Sancho; "let them look to it; with
their bread let them eat it; they have rendered account to God whether
they misbehaved or not; I come from my vineyard, I know nothing; I am not
fond of prying into other men's lives; he who buys and lies feels it in
his purse; moreover, naked was I born, naked I find myself, I neither
lose nor gain; but if they did, what is that to me? many think there are
flitches where there are no hooks; but who can put gates to the open
plain? moreover they said of God-"

"God bless me," said Don Quixote, "what a set of absurdities thou art
stringing together! What has what we are talking about got to do with the
proverbs thou art threading one after the other? for God's sake hold thy
tongue, Sancho, and henceforward keep to prodding thy ass and don't
meddle in what does not concern thee; and understand with all thy five
senses that everything I have done, am doing, or shall do, is well
founded on reason and in conformity with the rules of chivalry, for I
understand them better than all the world that profess them."

"Senor," replied Sancho, "is it a good rule of chivalry that we should go
astray through these mountains without path or road, looking for a madman
who when he is found will perhaps take a fancy to finish what he began,
not his story, but your worship's head and my ribs, and end by breaking
them altogether for us?"

"Peace, I say again, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for let me tell thee it
is not so much the desire of finding that madman that leads me into these
regions as that which I have of performing among them an achievement
wherewith I shall win eternal name and fame throughout the known world;
and it shall be such that I shall thereby set the seal on all that can
make a knight-errant perfect and famous."

"And is it very perilous, this achievement?"

"No," replied he of the Rueful Countenance; "though it may be in the dice
that we may throw deuce-ace instead of sixes; but all will depend on thy

"On my diligence!" said Sancho.

"Yes," said Don Quixote, "for if thou dost return soon from the place
where I mean to send thee, my penance will be soon over, and my glory
will soon begin. But as it is not right to keep thee any longer in
suspense, waiting to see what comes of my words, I would have thee know,
Sancho, that the famous Amadis of Gaul was one of the most perfect
knights-errant--I am wrong to say he was one; he stood alone, the first,
the only one, the lord of all that were in the world in his time. A fig
for Don Belianis, and for all who say he equalled him in any respect,
for, my oath upon it, they are deceiving themselves! I say, too, that
when a painter desires to become famous in his art he endeavours to copy
the originals of the rarest painters that he knows; and the same rule
holds good for all the most important crafts and callings that serve to
adorn a state; thus must he who would be esteemed prudent and patient
imitate Ulysses, in whose person and labours Homer presents to us a
lively picture of prudence and patience; as Virgil, too, shows us in the
person of AEneas the virtue of a pious son and the sagacity of a brave
and skilful captain; not representing or describing them as they were,
but as they ought to be, so as to leave the example of their virtues to
posterity. In the same way Amadis was the polestar, day-star, sun of
valiant and devoted knights, whom all we who fight under the banner of
love and chivalry are bound to imitate. This, then, being so, I consider,
friend Sancho, that the knight-errant who shall imitate him most closely
will come nearest to reaching the perfection of chivalry. Now one of the
instances in which this knight most conspicuously showed his prudence,
worth, valour, endurance, fortitude, and love, was when he withdrew,
rejected by the Lady Oriana, to do penance upon the Pena Pobre, changing
his name into that of Beltenebros, a name assuredly significant and
appropriate to the life which he had voluntarily adopted. So, as it is
easier for me to imitate him in this than in cleaving giants asunder,
cutting off serpents' heads, slaying dragons, routing armies, destroying
fleets, and breaking enchantments, and as this place is so well suited
for a similar purpose, I must not allow the opportunity to escape which
now so conveniently offers me its forelock."

"What is it in reality," said Sancho, "that your worship means to do in
such an out-of-the-way place as this?"

"Have I not told thee," answered Don Quixote, "that I mean to imitate
Amadis here, playing the victim of despair, the madman, the maniac, so as
at the same time to imitate the valiant Don Roland, when at the fountain
he had evidence of the fair Angelica having disgraced herself with Medoro
and through grief thereat went mad, and plucked up trees, troubled the
waters of the clear springs, slew destroyed flocks, burned down huts,
levelled houses, dragged mares after him, and perpetrated a hundred
thousand other outrages worthy of everlasting renown and record? And
though I have no intention of imitating Roland, or Orlando, or Rotolando
(for he went by all these names), step by step in all the mad things he
did, said, and thought, I will make a rough copy to the best of my power
of all that seems to me most essential; but perhaps I shall content
myself with the simple imitation of Amadis, who without giving way to any
mischievous madness but merely to tears and sorrow, gained as much fame
as the most famous."

"It seems to me," said Sancho, "that the knights who behaved in this way
had provocation and cause for those follies and penances; but what cause
has your worship for going mad? What lady has rejected you, or what
evidence have you found to prove that the lady Dulcinea del Toboso has
been trifling with Moor or Christian?"

"There is the point," replied Don Quixote, "and that is the beauty of
this business of mine; no thanks to a knight-errant for going mad when he
has cause; the thing is to turn crazy without any provocation, and let my
lady know, if I do this in the dry, what I would do in the moist;
moreover I have abundant cause in the long separation I have endured from
my lady till death, Dulcinea del Toboso; for as thou didst hear that
shepherd Ambrosio say the other day, in absence all ills are felt and
feared; and so, friend Sancho, waste no time in advising me against so
rare, so happy, and so unheard-of an imitation; mad I am, and mad I must
be until thou returnest with the answer to a letter that I mean to send
by thee to my lady Dulcinea; and if it be such as my constancy deserves,
my insanity and penance will come to an end; and if it be to the opposite
effect, I shall become mad in earnest, and, being so, I shall suffer no
more; thus in whatever way she may answer I shall escape from the
struggle and affliction in which thou wilt leave me, enjoying in my
senses the boon thou bearest me, or as a madman not feeling the evil thou
bringest me. But tell me, Sancho, hast thou got Mambrino's helmet safe?
for I saw thee take it up from the ground when that ungrateful wretch
tried to break it in pieces but could not, by which the fineness of its
temper may be seen."

To which Sancho made answer, "By the living God, Sir Knight of the Rueful
Countenance, I cannot endure or bear with patience some of the things
that your worship says; and from them I begin to suspect that all you
tell me about chivalry, and winning kingdoms and empires, and giving
islands, and bestowing other rewards and dignities after the custom of
knights-errant, must be all made up of wind and lies, and all pigments or
figments, or whatever we may call them; for what would anyone think that
heard your worship calling a barber's basin Mambrino's helmet without
ever seeing the mistake all this time, but that one who says and
maintains such things must have his brains addled? I have the basin in my
sack all dinted, and I am taking it home to have it mended, to trim my
beard in it, if, by God's grace, I am allowed to see my wife and children
some day or other."

"Look here, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "by him thou didst swear by just
now I swear thou hast the most limited understanding that any squire in
the world has or ever had. Is it possible that all this time thou hast
been going about with me thou hast never found out that all things
belonging to knights-errant seem to be illusions and nonsense and
ravings, and to go always by contraries? And not because it really is so,
but because there is always a swarm of enchanters in attendance upon us
that change and alter everything with us, and turn things as they please,
and according as they are disposed to aid or destroy us; thus what seems
to thee a barber's basin seems to me Mambrino's helmet, and to another it
will seem something else; and rare foresight it was in the sage who is on
my side to make what is really and truly Mambrine's helmet seem a basin
to everybody, for, being held in such estimation as it is, all the world
would pursue me to rob me of it; but when they see it is only a barber's
basin they do not take the trouble to obtain it; as was plainly shown by
him who tried to break it, and left it on the ground without taking it,
for, by my faith, had he known it he would never have left it behind.
Keep it safe, my friend, for just now I have no need of it; indeed, I
shall have to take off all this armour and remain as naked as I was born,
if I have a mind to follow Roland rather than Amadis in my penance."

Thus talking they reached the foot of a high mountain which stood like an
isolated peak among the others that surrounded it. Past its base there
flowed a gentle brook, all around it spread a meadow so green and
luxuriant that it was a delight to the eyes to look upon it, and forest
trees in abundance, and shrubs and flowers, added to the charms of the
spot. Upon this place the Knight of the Rueful Countenance fixed his
choice for the performance of his penance, and as he beheld it exclaimed
in a loud voice as though he were out of his senses:

"This is the place, oh, ye heavens, that I select and choose for
bewailing the misfortune in which ye yourselves have plunged me: this is
the spot where the overflowings of mine eyes shall swell the waters of
yon little brook, and my deep and endless sighs shall stir unceasingly
the leaves of these mountain trees, in testimony and token of the pain my
persecuted heart is suffering. Oh, ye rural deities, whoever ye be that
haunt this lone spot, give ear to the complaint of a wretched lover whom
long absence and brooding jealousy have driven to bewail his fate among
these wilds and complain of the hard heart of that fair and ungrateful
one, the end and limit of all human beauty! Oh, ye wood nymphs and
dryads, that dwell in the thickets of the forest, so may the nimble
wanton satyrs by whom ye are vainly wooed never disturb your sweet
repose, help me to lament my hard fate or at least weary not at listening
to it! Oh, Dulcinea del Toboso, day of my night, glory of my pain, guide
of my path, star of my fortune, so may Heaven grant thee in full all thou
seekest of it, bethink thee of the place and condition to which absence
from thee has brought me, and make that return in kindness that is due to
my fidelity! Oh, lonely trees, that from this day forward shall bear me
company in my solitude, give me some sign by the gentle movement of your
boughs that my presence is not distasteful to you! Oh, thou, my squire,
pleasant companion in my prosperous and adverse fortunes, fix well in thy
memory what thou shalt see me do here, so that thou mayest relate and
report it to the sole cause of all," and so saying he dismounted from
Rocinante, and in an instant relieved him of saddle and bridle, and
giving him a slap on the croup, said, "He gives thee freedom who is
bereft of it himself, oh steed as excellent in deed as thou art
unfortunate in thy lot; begone where thou wilt, for thou bearest written
on thy forehead that neither Astolfo's hippogriff, nor the famed Frontino
that cost Bradamante so dear, could equal thee in speed."

Seeing this Sancho said, "Good luck to him who has saved us the trouble
of stripping the pack-saddle off Dapple! By my faith he would not have
gone without a slap on the croup and something said in his praise; though
if he were here I would not let anyone strip him, for there would be no
occasion, as he had nothing of the lover or victim of despair about him,
inasmuch as his master, which I was while it was God's pleasure, was
nothing of the sort; and indeed, Sir Knight of the Rueful Countenance, if
my departure and your worship's madness are to come off in earnest, it
will be as well to saddle Rocinante again in order that he may supply the
want of Dapple, because it will save me time in going and returning: for
if I go on foot I don't know when I shall get there or when I shall get
back, as I am, in truth, a bad walker."

"I declare, Sancho," returned Don Quixote, "it shall be as thou wilt, for
thy plan does not seem to me a bad one, and three days hence thou wilt
depart, for I wish thee to observe in the meantime what I do and say for
her sake, that thou mayest be able to tell it."

"But what more have I to see besides what I have seen?" said Sancho.

"Much thou knowest about it!" said Don Quixote. "I have now got to tear
up my garments, to scatter about my armour, knock my head against these
rocks, and more of the same sort of thing, which thou must witness."

"For the love of God," said Sancho, "be careful, your worship, how you
give yourself those knocks on the head, for you may come across such a
rock, and in such a way, that the very first may put an end to the whole
contrivance of this penance; and I should think, if indeed knocks on the
head seem necessary to you, and this business cannot be done without
them, you might be content--as the whole thing is feigned, and
counterfeit, and in joke--you might be content, I say, with giving them
to yourself in the water, or against something soft, like cotton; and
leave it all to me; for I'll tell my lady that your worship knocked your
head against a point of rock harder than a diamond."

"I thank thee for thy good intentions, friend Sancho," answered Don
Quixote, "but I would have thee know that all these things I am doing are
not in joke, but very much in earnest, for anything else would be a
transgression of the ordinances of chivalry, which forbid us to tell any
lie whatever under the penalties due to apostasy; and to do one thing
instead of another is just the same as lying; so my knocks on the head
must be real, solid, and valid, without anything sophisticated or
fanciful about them, and it will be needful to leave me some lint to
dress my wounds, since fortune has compelled us to do without the balsam
we lost."

"It was worse losing the ass," replied Sancho, "for with him lint and all
were lost; but I beg of your worship not to remind me again of that
accursed liquor, for my soul, not to say my stomach, turns at hearing the
very name of it; and I beg of you, too, to reckon as past the three days
you allowed me for seeing the mad things you do, for I take them as seen
already and pronounced upon, and I will tell wonderful stories to my
lady; so write the letter and send me off at once, for I long to return
and take your worship out of this purgatory where I am leaving you."

"Purgatory dost thou call it, Sancho?" said Don Quixote, "rather call it
hell, or even worse if there be anything worse."

"For one who is in hell," said Sancho, "nulla est retentio, as I have
heard say."

"I do not understand what retentio means," said Don Quixote.

"Retentio," answered Sancho, "means that whoever is in hell never comes
nor can come out of it, which will be the opposite case with your worship
or my legs will be idle, that is if I have spurs to enliven Rocinante:
let me once get to El Toboso and into the presence of my lady Dulcinea,
and I will tell her such things of the follies and madnesses (for it is
all one) that your worship has done and is still doing, that I will
manage to make her softer than a glove though I find her harder than a
cork tree; and with her sweet and honeyed answer I will come back through
the air like a witch, and take your worship out of this purgatory that
seems to be hell but is not, as there is hope of getting out of it;
which, as I have said, those in hell have not, and I believe your worship
will not say anything to the contrary."

"That is true," said he of the Rueful Countenance, "but how shall we
manage to write the letter?"

"And the ass-colt order too," added Sancho.

"All shall be included," said Don Quixote; "and as there is no paper, it
would be well done to write it on the leaves of trees, as the ancients
did, or on tablets of wax; though that would be as hard to find just now
as paper. But it has just occurred to me how it may be conveniently and
even more than conveniently written, and that is in the note-book that
belonged to Cardenio, and thou wilt take care to have it copied on paper,
in a good hand, at the first village thou comest to where there is a
schoolmaster, or if not, any sacristan will copy it; but see thou give it
not to any notary to copy, for they write a law hand that Satan could not
make out."

"But what is to be done about the signature?" said Sancho.

"The letters of Amadis were never signed," said Don Quixote.

"That is all very well," said Sancho, "but the order must needs be
signed, and if it is copied they will say the signature is false, and I
shall be left without ass-colts."

"The order shall go signed in the same book," said Don Quixote, "and on
seeing it my niece will make no difficulty about obeying it; as to the
loveletter thou canst put by way of signature, 'Yours till death, the
Knight of the Rueful Countenance.' And it will be no great matter if it
is in some other person's hand, for as well as I recollect Dulcinea can
neither read nor write, nor in the whole course of her life has she seen
handwriting or letter of mine, for my love and hers have been always
platonic, not going beyond a modest look, and even that so seldom that I
can safely swear I have not seen her four times in all these twelve years
I have been loving her more than the light of these eyes that the earth
will one day devour; and perhaps even of those four times she has not
once perceived that I was looking at her: such is the retirement and
seclusion in which her father Lorenzo Corchuelo and her mother Aldonza
Nogales have brought her up."

"So, so!" said Sancho; "Lorenzo Corchuelo's daughter is the lady Dulcinea
del Toboso, otherwise called Aldonza Lorenzo?"

"She it is," said Don Quixote, "and she it is that is worthy to be lady
of the whole universe."

"I know her well," said Sancho, "and let me tell you she can fling a
crowbar as well as the lustiest lad in all the town. Giver of all good!
but she is a brave lass, and a right and stout one, and fit to be
helpmate to any knight-errant that is or is to be, who may make her his
lady: the whoreson wench, what sting she has and what a voice! I can tell
you one day she posted herself on the top of the belfry of the village to
call some labourers of theirs that were in a ploughed field of her
father's, and though they were better than half a league off they heard
her as well as if they were at the foot of the tower; and the best of her
is that she is not a bit prudish, for she has plenty of affability, and
jokes with everybody, and has a grin and a jest for everything. So, Sir
Knight of the Rueful Countenance, I say you not only may and ought to do
mad freaks for her sake, but you have a good right to give way to despair
and hang yourself; and no one who knows of it but will say you did well,
though the devil should take you; and I wish I were on my road already,
simply to see her, for it is many a day since I saw her, and she must be
altered by this time, for going about the fields always, and the sun and
the air spoil women's looks greatly. But I must own the truth to your
worship, Senor Don Quixote; until now I have been under a great mistake,
for I believed truly and honestly that the lady Dulcinea must be some
princess your worship was in love with, or some person great enough to
deserve the rich presents you have sent her, such as the Biscayan and the
galley slaves, and many more no doubt, for your worship must have won
many victories in the time when I was not yet your squire. But all things
considered, what good can it do the lady Aldonza Lorenzo, I mean the lady
Dulcinea del Toboso, to have the vanquished your worship sends or will
send coming to her and going down on their knees before her? Because may
be when they came she'd be hackling flax or threshing on the threshing
floor, and they'd be ashamed to see her, and she'd laugh, or resent the

"I have before now told thee many times, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that
thou art a mighty great chatterer, and that with a blunt wit thou art
always striving at sharpness; but to show thee what a fool thou art and
how rational I am, I would have thee listen to a short story. Thou must
know that a certain widow, fair, young, independent, and rich, and above
all free and easy, fell in love with a sturdy strapping young
lay-brother; his superior came to know of it, and one day said to the
worthy widow by way of brotherly remonstrance, 'I am surprised, senora,
and not without good reason, that a woman of such high standing, so fair,
and so rich as you are, should have fallen in love with such a mean, low,
stupid fellow as So-and-so, when in this house there are so many masters,
graduates, and divinity students from among whom you might choose as if
they were a lot of pears, saying this one I'll take, that I won't take;'
but she replied to him with great sprightliness and candour, 'My dear
sir, you are very much mistaken, and your ideas are very old-fashioned,
if you think that I have made a bad choice in So-and-so, fool as he
seems; because for all I want with him he knows as much and more
philosophy than Aristotle.' In the same way, Sancho, for all I want with
Dulcinea del Toboso she is just as good as the most exalted princess on
earth. It is not to be supposed that all those poets who sang the praises
of ladies under the fancy names they give them, had any such mistresses.
Thinkest thou that the Amarillises, the Phillises, the Sylvias, the
Dianas, the Galateas, the Filidas, and all the rest of them, that the
books, the ballads, the barber's shops, the theatres are full of, were
really and truly ladies of flesh and blood, and mistresses of those that
glorify and have glorified them? Nothing of the kind; they only invent
them for the most part to furnish a subject for their verses, and that
they may pass for lovers, or for men valiant enough to be so; and so it
suffices me to think and believe that the good Aldonza Lorenzo is fair
and virtuous; and as to her pedigree it is very little matter, for no one
will examine into it for the purpose of conferring any order upon her,
and I, for my part, reckon her the most exalted princess in the world.
For thou shouldst know, Sancho, if thou dost not know, that two things
alone beyond all others are incentives to love, and these are great
beauty and a good name, and these two things are to be found in Dulcinea
in the highest degree, for in beauty no one equals her and in good name
few approach her; and to put the whole thing in a nutshell, I persuade
myself that all I say is as I say, neither more nor less, and I picture
her in my imagination as I would have her to be, as well in beauty as in
condition; Helen approaches her not nor does Lucretia come up to her, nor
any other of the famous women of times past, Greek, Barbarian, or Latin;
and let each say what he will, for if in this I am taken to task by the
ignorant, I shall not be censured by the critical."

"I say that your worship is entirely right," said Sancho, "and that I am
an ass. But I know not how the name of ass came into my mouth, for a rope
is not to be mentioned in the house of him who has been hanged; but now
for the letter, and then, God be with you, I am off."

Don Quixote took out the note-book, and, retiring to one side, very
deliberately began to write the letter, and when he had finished it he
called to Sancho, saying he wished to read it to him, so that he might
commit it to memory, in case of losing it on the road; for with evil
fortune like his anything might be apprehended. To which Sancho replied,
"Write it two or three times there in the book and give it to me, and I
will carry it very carefully, because to expect me to keep it in my
memory is all nonsense, for I have such a bad one that I often forget my
own name; but for all that repeat it to me, as I shall like to hear it,
for surely it will run as if it was in print."

"Listen," said Don Quixote, "this is what it says:


"Sovereign and exalted Lady,--The pierced by the point of absence, the
wounded to the heart's core, sends thee, sweetest Dulcinea del Toboso,
the health that he himself enjoys not. If thy beauty despises me, if thy
worth is not for me, if thy scorn is my affliction, though I be
sufficiently long-suffering, hardly shall I endure this anxiety, which,
besides being oppressive, is protracted. My good squire Sancho will
relate to thee in full, fair ingrate, dear enemy, the condition to which
I am reduced on thy account: if it be thy pleasure to give me relief, I
am thine; if not, do as may be pleasing to thee; for by ending my life I
shall satisfy thy cruelty and my desire.

"Thine till death,

"The Knight of the Rueful Countenance."

"By the life of my father," said Sancho, when he heard the letter, "it is
the loftiest thing I ever heard. Body of me! how your worship says
everything as you like in it! And how well you fit in 'The Knight of the
Rueful Countenance' into the signature. I declare your worship is indeed
the very devil, and there is nothing you don't know."

"Everything is needed for the calling I follow," said Don Quixote.

"Now then," said Sancho, "let your worship put the order for the three
ass-colts on the other side, and sign it very plainly, that they may
recognise it at first sight."

"With all my heart," said Don Quixote, and as he had written it he read
it to this effect:

"Mistress Niece,--By this first of ass-colts please pay to Sancho Panza,
my squire, three of the five I left at home in your charge: said three
ass-colts to be paid and delivered for the same number received here in
hand, which upon this and upon his receipt shall be duly paid. Done in
the heart of the Sierra Morena, the twenty-seventh of August of this
present year."

"That will do," said Sancho; "now let your worship sign it."

"There is no need to sign it," said Don Quixote, "but merely to put my
flourish, which is the same as a signature, and enough for three asses,
or even three hundred."

"I can trust your worship," returned Sancho; "let me go and saddle
Rocinante, and be ready to give me your blessing, for I mean to go at
once without seeing the fooleries your worship is going to do; I'll say I
saw you do so many that she will not want any more."

"At any rate, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "I should like--and there is
reason for it--I should like thee, I say, to see me stripped to the skin
and performing a dozen or two of insanities, which I can get done in less
than half an hour; for having seen them with thine own eyes, thou canst
then safely swear to the rest that thou wouldst add; and I promise thee
thou wilt not tell of as many as I mean to perform."

"For the love of God, master mine," said Sancho, "let me not see your
worship stripped, for it will sorely grieve me, and I shall not be able
to keep from tears, and my head aches so with all I shed last night for
Dapple, that I am not fit to begin any fresh weeping; but if it is your
worship's pleasure that I should see some insanities, do them in your
clothes, short ones, and such as come readiest to hand; for I myself want
nothing of the sort, and, as I have said, it will be a saving of time for
my return, which will be with the news your worship desires and deserves.
If not, let the lady Dulcinea look to it; if she does not answer
reasonably, I swear as solemnly as I can that I will fetch a fair answer
out of her stomach with kicks and cuffs; for why should it be borne that
a knight-errant as famous as your worship should go mad without rhyme or
reason for a--? Her ladyship had best not drive me to say it, for by God
I will speak out and let off everything cheap, even if it doesn't sell: I
am pretty good at that! she little knows me; faith, if she knew me she'd
be in awe of me."

"In faith, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "to all appearance thou art no
sounder in thy wits than I."

"I am not so mad," answered Sancho, "but I am more peppery; but apart
from all this, what has your worship to eat until I come back? Will you
sally out on the road like Cardenio to force it from the shepherds?"

"Let not that anxiety trouble thee," replied Don Quixote, "for even if I
had it I should not eat anything but the herbs and the fruits which this
meadow and these trees may yield me; the beauty of this business of mine
lies in not eating, and in performing other mortifications."

"Do you know what I am afraid of?" said Sancho upon this; "that I shall
not be able to find my way back to this spot where I am leaving you, it
is such an out-of-the-way place."

"Observe the landmarks well," said Don Quixote, "for I will try not to go
far from this neighbourhood, and I will even take care to mount the
highest of these rocks to see if I can discover thee returning; however,
not to miss me and lose thyself, the best plan will be to cut some
branches of the broom that is so abundant about here, and as thou goest
to lay them at intervals until thou hast come out upon the plain; these
will serve thee, after the fashion of the clue in the labyrinth of
Theseus, as marks and signs for finding me on thy return."

"So I will," said Sancho Panza, and having cut some, he asked his
master's blessing, and not without many tears on both sides, took his
leave of him, and mounting Rocinante, of whom Don Quixote charged him
earnestly to have as much care as of his own person, he set out for the
plain, strewing at intervals the branches of broom as his master had
recommended him; and so he went his way, though Don Quixote still
entreated him to see him do were it only a couple of mad acts. He had not
gone a hundred paces, however, when he returned and said:

"I must say, senor, your worship said quite right, that in order to be
able to swear without a weight on my conscience that I had seen you do
mad things, it would be well for me to see if it were only one; though in
your worship's remaining here I have seen a very great one."

"Did I not tell thee so?" said Don Quixote. "Wait, Sancho, and I will do
them in the saying of a credo," and pulling off his breeches in all haste
he stripped himself to his skin and his shirt, and then, without more
ado, he cut a couple of gambados in the air, and a couple of somersaults,
heels over head, making such a display that, not to see it a second time,
Sancho wheeled Rocinante round, and felt easy, and satisfied in his mind
that he could swear he had left his master mad; and so we will leave him
to follow his road until his return, which was a quick one.



Returning to the proceedings of him of the Rueful Countenance when he
found himself alone, the history says that when Don Quixote had completed
the performance of the somersaults or capers, naked from the waist down
and clothed from the waist up, and saw that Sancho had gone off without
waiting to see any more crazy feats, he climbed up to the top of a high
rock, and there set himself to consider what he had several times before
considered without ever coming to any conclusion on the point, namely
whether it would be better and more to his purpose to imitate the
outrageous madness of Roland, or the melancholy madness of Amadis; and
communing with himself he said:

"What wonder is it if Roland was so good a knight and so valiant as
everyone says he was, when, after all, he was enchanted, and nobody could
kill him save by thrusting a corking pin into the sole of his foot, and
he always wore shoes with seven iron soles? Though cunning devices did
not avail him against Bernardo del Carpio, who knew all about them, and
strangled him in his arms at Roncesvalles. But putting the question of
his valour aside, let us come to his losing his wits, for certain it is
that he did lose them in consequence of the proofs he discovered at the
fountain, and the intelligence the shepherd gave him of Angelica having
slept more than two siestas with Medoro, a little curly-headed Moor, and
page to Agramante. If he was persuaded that this was true, and that his
lady had wronged him, it is no wonder that he should have gone mad; but
I, how am I to imitate him in his madness, unless I can imitate him in
the cause of it? For my Dulcinea, I will venture to swear, never saw a
Moor in her life, as he is, in his proper costume, and she is this day as
the mother that bore her, and I should plainly be doing her a wrong if,
fancying anything else, I were to go mad with the same kind of madness as
Roland the Furious. On the other hand, I see that Amadis of Gaul, without
losing his senses and without doing anything mad, acquired as a lover as
much fame as the most famous; for, according to his history, on finding
himself rejected by his lady Oriana, who had ordered him not to appear in
her presence until it should be her pleasure, all he did was to retire to
the Pena Pobre in company with a hermit, and there he took his fill of
weeping until Heaven sent him relief in the midst of his great grief and
need. And if this be true, as it is, why should I now take the trouble to
strip stark naked, or do mischief to these trees which have done me no
harm, or why am I to disturb the clear waters of these brooks which will
give me to drink whenever I have a mind? Long live the memory of Amadis
and let him be imitated so far as is possible by Don Quixote of La
Mancha, of whom it will be said, as was said of the other, that if he did
not achieve great things, he died in attempting them; and if I am not
repulsed or rejected by my Dulcinea, it is enough for me, as I have said,
to be absent from her. And so, now to business; come to my memory ye
deeds of Amadis, and show me how I am to begin to imitate you. I know
already that what he chiefly did was to pray and commend himself to God;
but what am I to do for a rosary, for I have not got one?"

And then it occurred to him how he might make one, and that was by
tearing a great strip off the tail of his shirt which hung down, and
making eleven knots on it, one bigger than the rest, and this served him
for a rosary all the time he was there, during which he repeated
countless ave-marias. But what distressed him greatly was not having
another hermit there to confess him and receive consolation from; and so
he solaced himself with pacing up and down the little meadow, and writing
and carving on the bark of the trees and on the fine sand a multitude of
verses all in harmony with his sadness, and some in praise of Dulcinea;
but, when he was found there afterwards, the only ones completely legible
that could be discovered were those that follow here:

Ye on the mountain side that grow,
Ye green things all, trees, shrubs, and bushes,
Are ye aweary of the woe
That this poor aching bosom crushes?
If it disturb you, and I owe
Some reparation, it may be a
Defence for me to let you know
Don Quixote's tears are on the flow,
And all for distant Dulcinea
Del Toboso.

The lealest lover time can show,
Doomed for a lady-love to languish,
Among these solitudes doth go,
A prey to every kind of anguish.
Why Love should like a spiteful foe
Thus use him, he hath no idea,
But hogsheads full--this doth he know--
Don Quixote's tears are on the flow,
And all for distant Dulcinea
Del Toboso.

Adventure-seeking doth he go
Up rugged heights, down rocky valleys,
But hill or dale, or high or low,
Mishap attendeth all his sallies:
Love still pursues him to and fro,
And plies his cruel scourge--ah me! a
Relentless fate, an endless woe;
Don Quixote's tears are on the flow,
And all for distant Dulcinea
Del Toboso.

The addition of "Del Toboso" to Dulcinea's name gave rise to no little
laughter among those who found the above lines, for they suspected Don
Quixote must have fancied that unless he added "del Toboso" when he
introduced the name of Dulcinea the verse would be unintelligible; which
was indeed the fact, as he himself afterwards admitted. He wrote many
more, but, as has been said, these three verses were all that could be
plainly and perfectly deciphered. In this way, and in sighing and calling
on the fauns and satyrs of the woods and the nymphs of the streams, and
Echo, moist and mournful, to answer, console, and hear him, as well as in
looking for herbs to sustain him, he passed his time until Sancho's
return; and had that been delayed three weeks, as it was three days, the
Knight of the Rueful Countenance would have worn such an altered
countenance that the mother that bore him would not have known him: and
here it will be well to leave him, wrapped up in sighs and verses, to
relate how Sancho Panza fared on his mission.

As for him, coming out upon the high road, he made for El Toboso, and the
next day reached the inn where the mishap of the blanket had befallen
him. As soon as he recognised it he felt as if he were once more living
through the air, and he could not bring himself to enter it though it was
an hour when he might well have done so, for it was dinner-time, and he
longed to taste something hot as it had been all cold fare with him for
many days past. This craving drove him to draw near to the inn, still
undecided whether to go in or not, and as he was hesitating there came
out two persons who at once recognised him, and said one to the other:

"Senor licentiate, is not he on the horse there Sancho Panza who, our
adventurer's housekeeper told us, went off with her master as esquire?"

"So it is," said the licentiate, "and that is our friend Don Quixote's
horse;" and if they knew him so well it was because they were the curate
and the barber of his own village, the same who had carried out the
scrutiny and sentence upon the books; and as soon as they recognised
Sancho Panza and Rocinante, being anxious to hear of Don Quixote, they
approached, and calling him by his name the curate said, "Friend Sancho
Panza, where is your master?"

Sancho recognised them at once, and determined to keep secret the place
and circumstances where and under which he had left his master, so he
replied that his master was engaged in a certain quarter on a certain
matter of great importance to him which he could not disclose for the
eyes in his head.

"Nay, nay," said the barber, "if you don't tell us where he is, Sancho
Panza, we will suspect as we suspect already, that you have murdered and
robbed him, for here you are mounted on his horse; in fact, you must
produce the master of the hack, or else take the consequences."

"There is no need of threats with me," said Sancho, "for I am not a man
to rob or murder anybody; let his own fate, or God who made him, kill
each one; my master is engaged very much to his taste doing penance in
the midst of these mountains;" and then, offhand and without stopping, he
told them how he had left him, what adventures had befallen him, and how
he was carrying a letter to the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, the daughter of
Lorenzo Corchuelo, with whom he was over head and ears in love. They were
both amazed at what Sancho Panza told them; for though they were aware of
Don Quixote's madness and the nature of it, each time they heard of it
they were filled with fresh wonder. They then asked Sancho Panza to show
them the letter he was carrying to the lady Dulcinea del Toboso. He said
it was written in a note-book, and that his master's directions were that
he should have it copied on paper at the first village he came to. On
this the curate said if he showed it to him, he himself would make a fair
copy of it. Sancho put his hand into his bosom in search of the note-book
but could not find it, nor, if he had been searching until now, could he
have found it, for Don Quixote had kept it, and had never given it to
him, nor had he himself thought of asking for it. When Sancho discovered
he could not find the book his face grew deadly pale, and in great haste
he again felt his body all over, and seeing plainly it was not to be
found, without more ado he seized his beard with both hands and plucked
away half of it, and then, as quick as he could and without stopping,
gave himself half a dozen cuffs on the face and nose till they were
bathed in blood.

Seeing this, the curate and the barber asked him what had happened him
that he gave himself such rough treatment.

"What should happen me?" replied Sancho, "but to have lost from one hand
to the other, in a moment, three ass-colts, each of them like a castle?"

"How is that?" said the barber.

"I have lost the note-book," said Sancho, "that contained the letter to
Dulcinea, and an order signed by my master in which he directed his niece
to give me three ass-colts out of four or five he had at home;" and he
then told them about the loss of Dapple.

The curate consoled him, telling him that when his master was found he
would get him to renew the order, and make a fresh draft on paper, as was
usual and customary; for those made in notebooks were never accepted or

Sancho comforted himself with this, and said if that were so the loss of
Dulcinea's letter did not trouble him much, for he had it almost by
heart, and it could be taken down from him wherever and whenever they

"Repeat it then, Sancho," said the barber, "and we will write it down

Sancho Panza stopped to scratch his head to bring back the letter to his
memory, and balanced himself now on one foot, now the other, one moment
staring at the ground, the next at the sky, and after having half gnawed
off the end of a finger and kept them in suspense waiting for him to
begin, he said, after a long pause, "By God, senor licentiate, devil a
thing can I recollect of the letter; but it said at the beginning,
'Exalted and scrubbing Lady.'"

"It cannot have said 'scrubbing,'" said the barber, "but 'superhuman' or

"That is it," said Sancho; "then, as well as I remember, it went on, 'The
wounded, and wanting of sleep, and the pierced, kisses your worship's
hands, ungrateful and very unrecognised fair one; and it said something
or other about health and sickness that he was sending her; and from that
it went tailing off until it ended with 'Yours till death, the Knight of
the Rueful Countenance."

It gave them no little amusement, both of them, to see what a good memory
Sancho had, and they complimented him greatly upon it, and begged him to
repeat the letter a couple of times more, so that they too might get it
by heart to write it out by-and-by. Sancho repeated it three times, and
as he did, uttered three thousand more absurdities; then he told them
more about his master but he never said a word about the blanketing that
had befallen himself in that inn, into which he refused to enter. He told
them, moreover, how his lord, if he brought him a favourable answer from
the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, was to put himself in the way of
endeavouring to become an emperor, or at least a monarch; for it had been
so settled between them, and with his personal worth and the might of his
arm it was an easy matter to come to be one: and how on becoming one his
lord was to make a marriage for him (for he would be a widower by that
time, as a matter of course) and was to give him as a wife one of the
damsels of the empress, the heiress of some rich and grand state on the
mainland, having nothing to do with islands of any sort, for he did not
care for them now. All this Sancho delivered with so much
composure--wiping his nose from time to time--and with so little
common-sense that his two hearers were again filled with wonder at the
force of Don Quixote's madness that could run away with this poor man's
reason. They did not care to take the trouble of disabusing him of his
error, as they considered that since it did not in any way hurt his
conscience it would be better to leave him in it, and they would have all
the more amusement in listening to his simplicities; and so they bade him
pray to God for his lord's health, as it was a very likely and a very
feasible thing for him in course of time to come to be an emperor, as he
said, or at least an archbishop or some other dignitary of equal rank.

To which Sancho made answer, "If fortune, sirs, should bring things about
in such a way that my master should have a mind, instead of being an
emperor, to be an archbishop, I should like to know what
archbishops-errant commonly give their squires?"

"They commonly give them," said the curate, some simple benefice or cure,
or some place as sacristan which brings them a good fixed income, not
counting the altar fees, which may be reckoned at as much more."

"But for that," said Sancho, "the squire must be unmarried, and must
know, at any rate, how to help at mass, and if that be so, woe is me, for
I am married already and I don't know the first letter of the A B C. What
will become of me if my master takes a fancy to be an archbishop and not
an emperor, as is usual and customary with knights-errant?"

"Be not uneasy, friend Sancho," said the barber, "for we will entreat
your master, and advise him, even urging it upon him as a case of
conscience, to become an emperor and not an archbishop, because it will
be easier for him as he is more valiant than lettered."

"So I have thought," said Sancho; "though I can tell you he is fit for
anything: what I mean to do for my part is to pray to our Lord to place
him where it may be best for him, and where he may be able to bestow most
favours upon me."

"You speak like a man of sense," said the curate, "and you will be acting
like a good Christian; but what must now be done is to take steps to coax
your master out of that useless penance you say he is performing; and we
had best turn into this inn to consider what plan to adopt, and also to
dine, for it is now time."

Sancho said they might go in, but that he would wait there outside, and
that he would tell them afterwards the reason why he was unwilling, and
why it did not suit him to enter it; but he begged them to bring him out
something to eat, and to let it be hot, and also to bring barley for
Rocinante. They left him and went in, and presently the barber brought
him out something to eat. By-and-by, after they had between them
carefully thought over what they should do to carry out their object, the
curate hit upon an idea very well adapted to humour Don Quixote, and
effect their purpose; and his notion, which he explained to the barber,
was that he himself should assume the disguise of a wandering damsel,
while the other should try as best he could to pass for a squire, and
that they should thus proceed to where Don Quixote was, and he,
pretending to be an aggrieved and distressed damsel, should ask a favour
of him, which as a valiant knight-errant he could not refuse to grant;
and the favour he meant to ask him was that he should accompany her
whither she would conduct him, in order to redress a wrong which a wicked
knight had done her, while at the same time she should entreat him not to
require her to remove her mask, nor ask her any question touching her
circumstances until he had righted her with the wicked knight. And he had
no doubt that Don Quixote would comply with any request made in these
terms, and that in this way they might remove him and take him to his own
village, where they would endeavour to find out if his extraordinary
madness admitted of any kind of remedy.



The curate's plan did not seem a bad one to the barber, but on the
contrary so good that they immediately set about putting it in execution.
They begged a petticoat and hood of the landlady, leaving her in pledge a
new cassock of the curate's; and the barber made a beard out of a
grey-brown or red ox-tail in which the landlord used to stick his comb.
The landlady asked them what they wanted these things for, and the curate
told her in a few words about the madness of Don Quixote, and how this
disguise was intended to get him away from the mountain where he then
was. The landlord and landlady immediately came to the conclusion that
the madman was their guest, the balsam man and master of the blanketed
squire, and they told the curate all that had passed between him and
them, not omitting what Sancho had been so silent about. Finally the
landlady dressed up the curate in a style that left nothing to be
desired; she put on him a cloth petticoat with black velvet stripes a
palm broad, all slashed, and a bodice of green velvet set off by a
binding of white satin, which as well as the petticoat must have been
made in the time of king Wamba. The curate would not let them hood him,
but put on his head a little quilted linen cap which he used for a
night-cap, and bound his forehead with a strip of black silk, while with
another he made a mask with which he concealed his beard and face very
well. He then put on his hat, which was broad enough to serve him for an
umbrella, and enveloping himself in his cloak seated himself
woman-fashion on his mule, while the barber mounted his with a beard down
to the waist of mingled red and white, for it was, as has been said, the
tail of a clay-red ox.

They took leave of all, and of the good Maritornes, who, sinner as she
was, promised to pray a rosary of prayers that God might grant them
success in such an arduous and Christian undertaking as that they had in
hand. But hardly had he sallied forth from the inn when it struck the
curate that he was doing wrong in rigging himself out in that fashion, as
it was an indecorous thing for a priest to dress himself that way even
though much might depend upon it; and saying so to the barber he begged
him to change dresses, as it was fitter he should be the distressed
damsel, while he himself would play the squire's part, which would be
less derogatory to his dignity; otherwise he was resolved to have nothing
more to do with the matter, and let the devil take Don Quixote. Just at
this moment Sancho came up, and on seeing the pair in such a costume he
was unable to restrain his laughter; the barber, however, agreed to do as
the curate wished, and, altering their plan, the curate went on to
instruct him how to play his part and what to say to Don Quixote to
induce and compel him to come with them and give up his fancy for the
place he had chosen for his idle penance. The barber told him he could
manage it properly without any instruction, and as he did not care to
dress himself up until they were near where Don Quixote was, he folded up
the garments, and the curate adjusted his beard, and they set out under
the guidance of Sancho Panza, who went along telling them of the
encounter with the madman they met in the Sierra, saying nothing,
however, about the finding of the valise and its contents; for with all
his simplicity the lad was a trifle covetous.

The next day they reached the place where Sancho had laid the
broom-branches as marks to direct him to where he had left his master,
and recognising it he told them that here was the entrance, and that they
would do well to dress themselves, if that was required to deliver his
master; for they had already told him that going in this guise and
dressing in this way were of the highest importance in order to rescue
his master from the pernicious life he had adopted; and they charged him
strictly not to tell his master who they were, or that he knew them, and
should he ask, as ask he would, if he had given the letter to Dulcinea,
to say that he had, and that, as she did not know how to read, she had
given an answer by word of mouth, saying that she commanded him, on pain
of her displeasure, to come and see her at once; and it was a very
important matter for himself, because in this way and with what they
meant to say to him they felt sure of bringing him back to a better mode
of life and inducing him to take immediate steps to become an emperor or
monarch, for there was no fear of his becoming an archbishop. All this
Sancho listened to and fixed it well in his memory, and thanked them
heartily for intending to recommend his master to be an emperor instead
of an archbishop, for he felt sure that in the way of bestowing rewards
on their squires emperors could do more than archbishops-errant. He said,
too, that it would be as well for him to go on before them to find him,
and give him his lady's answer; for that perhaps might be enough to bring
him away from the place without putting them to all this trouble. They
approved of what Sancho proposed, and resolved to wait for him until he
brought back word of having found his master.

Sancho pushed on into the glens of the Sierra, leaving them in one
through which there flowed a little gentle rivulet, and where the rocks
and trees afforded a cool and grateful shade. It was an August day with
all the heat of one, and the heat in those parts is intense, and the hour
was three in the afternoon, all which made the spot the more inviting and
tempted them to wait there for Sancho's return, which they did. They were
reposing, then, in the shade, when a voice unaccompanied by the notes of
any instrument, but sweet and pleasing in its tone, reached their ears,
at which they were not a little astonished, as the place did not seem to
them likely quarters for one who sang so well; for though it is often
said that shepherds of rare voice are to be found in the woods and
fields, this is rather a flight of the poet's fancy than the truth. And
still more surprised were they when they perceived that what they heard
sung were the verses not of rustic shepherds, but of the polished wits of
the city; and so it proved, for the verses they heard were these:

What makes my quest of happiness seem vain?
What bids me to abandon hope of ease?
What holds my heart in anguish of suspense?
If that be so, then for my grief
Where shall I turn to seek relief,
When hope on every side lies slain
By Absence, Jealousies, Disdain?

What the prime cause of all my woe doth prove?
What at my glory ever looks askance?
Whence is permission to afflict me given?
If that be so, I but await
The stroke of a resistless fate,
Since, working for my woe, these three,
Love, Chance and Heaven, in league I see.

What must I do to find a remedy?
What is the lure for love when coy and strange?
What, if all fail, will cure the heart of sadness?
If that be so, it is but folly
To seek a cure for melancholy:
Ask where it lies; the answer saith
In Change, in Madness, or in Death.

The hour, the summer season, the solitary place, the voice and skill of
the singer, all contributed to the wonder and delight of the two
listeners, who remained still waiting to hear something more; finding,
however, that the silence continued some little time, they resolved to go
in search of the musician who sang with so fine a voice; but just as they
were about to do so they were checked by the same voice, which once more
fell upon their ears, singing this


When heavenward, holy Friendship, thou didst go
Soaring to seek thy home beyond the sky,
And take thy seat among the saints on high,
It was thy will to leave on earth below
Thy semblance, and upon it to bestow
Thy veil, wherewith at times hypocrisy,
Parading in thy shape, deceives the eye,
And makes its vileness bright as virtue show.
Friendship, return to us, or force the cheat
That wears it now, thy livery to restore,
By aid whereof sincerity is slain.
If thou wilt not unmask thy counterfeit,
This earth will be the prey of strife once more,
As when primaeval discord held its reign.

The song ended with a deep sigh, and again the listeners remained waiting
attentively for the singer to resume; but perceiving that the music had
now turned to sobs and heart-rending moans they determined to find out
who the unhappy being could be whose voice was as rare as his sighs were
piteous, and they had not proceeded far when on turning the corner of a
rock they discovered a man of the same aspect and appearance as Sancho
had described to them when he told them the story of Cardenio. He,
showing no astonishment when he saw them, stood still with his head bent
down upon his breast like one in deep thought, without raising his eyes
to look at them after the first glance when they suddenly came upon him.
The curate, who was aware of his misfortune and recognised him by the
description, being a man of good address, approached him and in a few
sensible words entreated and urged him to quit a life of such misery,
lest he should end it there, which would be the greatest of all
misfortunes. Cardenio was then in his right mind, free from any attack of
that madness which so frequently carried him away, and seeing them
dressed in a fashion so unusual among the frequenters of those wilds,
could not help showing some surprise, especially when he heard them speak
of his case as if it were a well-known matter (for the curate's words
gave him to understand as much) so he replied to them thus:

"I see plainly, sirs, whoever you may be, that Heaven, whose care it is
to succour the good, and even the wicked very often, here, in this remote
spot, cut off from human intercourse, sends me, though I deserve it not,
those who seek to draw me away from this to some better retreat, showing
me by many and forcible arguments how unreasonably I act in leading the
life I do; but as they know, that if I escape from this evil I shall fall
into another still greater, perhaps they will set me down as a
weak-minded man, or, what is worse, one devoid of reason; nor would it be
any wonder, for I myself can perceive that the effect of the recollection
of my misfortunes is so great and works so powerfully to my ruin, that in
spite of myself I become at times like a stone, without feeling or
consciousness; and I come to feel the truth of it when they tell me and
show me proofs of the things I have done when the terrible fit
overmasters me; and all I can do is bewail my lot in vain, and idly curse
my destiny, and plead for my madness by telling how it was caused, to any
that care to hear it; for no reasonable beings on learning the cause will
wonder at the effects; and if they cannot help me at least they will not
blame me, and the repugnance they feel at my wild ways will turn into
pity for my woes. If it be, sirs, that you are here with the same design
as others have come wah, before you proceed with your wise arguments, I
entreat you to hear the story of my countless misfortunes, for perhaps
when you have heard it you will spare yourselves the trouble you would
take in offering consolation to grief that is beyond the reach of it."

As they, both of them, desired nothing more than to hear from his own
lips the cause of his suffering, they entreated him to tell it, promising
not to do anything for his relief or comfort that he did not wish; and
thereupon the unhappy gentleman began his sad story in nearly the same
words and manner in which he had related it to Don Quixote and the
goatherd a few days before, when, through Master Elisabad, and Don
Quixote's scrupulous observance of what was due to chivalry, the tale was
left unfinished, as this history has already recorded; but now
fortunately the mad fit kept off, allowed him to tell it to the end; and
so, coming to the incident of the note which Don Fernando had found in
the volume of "Amadis of Gaul," Cardenio said that he remembered it
perfectly and that it was in these words:

"Luscinda to Cardenio.

"Every day I discover merits in you that oblige and compel me to hold you
in higher estimation; so if you desire to relieve me of this obligation
without cost to my honour, you may easily do so. I have a father who
knows you and loves me dearly, who without putting any constraint on my
inclination will grant what will be reasonable for you to have, if it be
that you value me as you say and as I believe you do."

"By this letter I was induced, as I told you, to demand Luscinda for my
wife, and it was through it that Luscinda came to be regarded by Don
Fernando as one of the most discreet and prudent women of the day, and
this letter it was that suggested his design of ruining me before mine
could be carried into effect. I told Don Fernando that all Luscinda's
father was waiting for was that mine should ask her of him, which I did
not dare to suggest to him, fearing that he would not consent to do so;
not because he did not know perfectly well the rank, goodness, virtue,
and beauty of Luscinda, and that she had qualities that would do honour
to any family in Spain, but because I was aware that he did not wish me
to marry so soon, before seeing what the Duke Ricardo would do for me. In
short, I told him I did not venture to mention it to my father, as well
on account of that difficulty, as of many others that discouraged me
though I knew not well what they were, only that it seemed to me that
what I desired was never to come to pass. To all this Don Fernando
answered that he would take it upon himself to speak to my father, and
persuade him to speak to Luscinda's father. O, ambitious Marius! O, cruel
Catiline! O, wicked Sylla! O, perfidious Ganelon! O, treacherous Vellido!
O, vindictive Julian! O, covetous Judas! Traitor, cruel, vindictive, and
perfidious, wherein had this poor wretch failed in his fidelity, who with
such frankness showed thee the secrets and the joys of his heart? What
offence did I commit? What words did I utter, or what counsels did I give
that had not the furtherance of thy honour and welfare for their aim?
But, woe is me, wherefore do I complain? for sure it is that when
misfortunes spring from the stars, descending from on high they fall upon
us with such fury and violence that no power on earth can check their
course nor human device stay their coming. Who could have thought that
Don Fernando, a highborn gentleman, intelligent, bound to me by gratitude
for my services, one that could win the object of his love wherever he
might set his affections, could have become so obdurate, as they say, as
to rob me of my one ewe lamb that was not even yet in my possession? But
laying aside these useless and unavailing reflections, let us take up the
broken thread of my unhappy story.

"To proceed, then: Don Fernando finding my presence an obstacle to the
execution of his treacherous and wicked design, resolved to send me to
his elder brother under the pretext of asking money from him to pay for
six horses which, purposely, and with the sole object of sending me away
that he might the better carry out his infernal scheme, he had purchased
the very day he offered to speak to my father, and the price of which he
now desired me to fetch. Could I have anticipated this treachery? Could I
by any chance have suspected it? Nay; so far from that, I offered with
the greatest pleasure to go at once, in my satisfaction at the good
bargain that had been made. That night I spoke with Luscinda, and told
her what had been agreed upon with Don Fernando, and how I had strong
hopes of our fair and reasonable wishes being realised. She, as
unsuspicious as I was of the treachery of Don Fernando, bade me try to
return speedily, as she believed the fulfilment of our desires would be
delayed only so long as my father put off speaking to hers. I know not
why it was that on saying this to me her eyes filled with tears, and
there came a lump in her throat that prevented her from uttering a word
of many more that it seemed to me she was striving to say to me. I was
astonished at this unusual turn, which I never before observed in her.
for we always conversed, whenever good fortune and my ingenuity gave us
the chance, with the greatest gaiety and cheerfulness, mingling tears,
sighs, jealousies, doubts, or fears with our words; it was all on my part
a eulogy of my good fortune that Heaven should have given her to me for
my mistress; I glorified her beauty, I extolled her worth and her
understanding; and she paid me back by praising in me what in her love
for me she thought worthy of praise; and besides we had a hundred
thousand trifles and doings of our neighbours and acquaintances to talk
about, and the utmost extent of my boldness was to take, almost by force,
one of her fair white hands and carry it to my lips, as well as the
closeness of the low grating that separated us allowed me. But the night
before the unhappy day of my departure she wept, she moaned, she sighed,
and she withdrew leaving me filled with perplexity and amazement,
overwhelmed at the sight of such strange and affecting signs of grief and
sorrow in Luscinda; but not to dash my hopes I ascribed it all to the
depth of her love for me and the pain that separation gives those who
love tenderly. At last I took my departure, sad and dejected, my heart
filled with fancies and suspicions, but not knowing well what it was I
suspected or fancied; plain omens pointing to the sad event and
misfortune that was awaiting me.

"I reached the place whither I had been sent, gave the letter to Don
Fernando's brother, and was kindly received but not promptly dismissed,
for he desired me to wait, very much against my will, eight days in some
place where the duke his father was not likely to see me, as his brother
wrote that the money was to be sent without his knowledge; all of which
was a scheme of the treacherous Don Fernando, for his brother had no want
of money to enable him to despatch me at once.

"The command was one that exposed me to the temptation of disobeying it,
as it seemed to me impossible to endure life for so many days separated
from Luscinda, especially after leaving her in the sorrowful mood I have
described to you; nevertheless as a dutiful servant I obeyed, though I
felt it would be at the cost of my well-being. But four days later there
came a man in quest of me with a letter which he gave me, and which by
the address I perceived to be from Luscinda, as the writing was hers. I
opened it with fear and trepidation, persuaded that it must be something
serious that had impelled her to write to me when at a distance, as she
seldom did so when I was near. Before reading it I asked the man who it
was that had given it to him, and how long he had been upon the road; he
told me that as he happened to be passing through one of the streets of
the city at the hour of noon, a very beautiful lady called to him from a
window, and with tears in her eyes said to him hurriedly, 'Brother, if
you are, as you seem to be, a Christian, for the love of God I entreat
you to have this letter despatched without a moment's delay to the place
and person named in the address, all which is well known, and by this you
will render a great service to our Lord; and that you may be at no
inconvenience in doing so take what is in this handkerchief;' and said
he, 'with this she threw me a handkerchief out of the window in which
were tied up a hundred reals and this gold ring which I bring here
together with the letter I have given you. And then without waiting for
any answer she left the window, though not before she saw me take the
letter and the handkerchief, and I had by signs let her know that I would
do as she bade me; and so, seeing myself so well paid for the trouble I
would have in bringing it to you, and knowing by the address that it was
to you it was sent (for, senor, I know you very well), and also unable to
resist that beautiful lady's tears, I resolved to trust no one else, but
to come myself and give it to you, and in sixteen hours from the time
when it was given me I have made the journey, which, as you know, is
eighteen leagues.'

"All the while the good-natured improvised courier was telling me this, I
hung upon his words, my legs trembling under me so that I could scarcely
stand. However, I opened the letter and read these words:

"'The promise Don Fernando gave you to urge your father to speak to mine,
he has fulfilled much more to his own satisfaction than to your
advantage. I have to tell you, senor, that he has demanded me for a wife,
and my father, led away by what he considers Don Fernando's superiority
over you, has favoured his suit so cordially, that in two days hence the
betrothal is to take place with such secrecy and so privately that the
only witnesses are to be the Heavens above and a few of the household.
Picture to yourself the state I am in; judge if it be urgent for you to
come; the issue of the affair will show you whether I love you or not.
God grant this may come to your hand before mine shall be forced to link
itself with his who keeps so ill the faith that he has pledged.'

"Such, in brief, were the words of the letter, words that made me set out
at once without waiting any longer for reply or money; for I now saw
clearly that it was not the purchase of horses but of his own pleasure
that had made Don Fernando send me to his brother. The exasperation I
felt against Don Fernando, joined with the fear of losing the prize I had
won by so many years of love and devotion, lent me wings; so that almost
flying I reached home the same day, by the hour which served for speaking
with Luscinda. I arrived unobserved, and left the mule on which I had
come at the house of the worthy man who had brought me the letter, and
fortune was pleased to be for once so kind that I found Luscinda at the
grating that was the witness of our loves. She recognised me at once, and
I her, but not as she ought to have recognised me, or I her. But who is
there in the world that can boast of having fathomed or understood the
wavering mind and unstable nature of a woman? Of a truth no one. To
proceed: as soon as Luscinda saw me she said, 'Cardenio, I am in my
bridal dress, and the treacherous Don Fernando and my covetous father are
waiting for me in the hall with the other witnesses, who shall be the
witnesses of my death before they witness my betrothal. Be not
distressed, my friend, but contrive to be present at this sacrifice, and
if that cannot be prevented by my words, I have a dagger concealed which
will prevent more deliberate violence, putting an end to my life and
giving thee a first proof of the love I have borne and bear thee.' I
replied to her distractedly and hastily, in fear lest I should not have
time to reply, 'May thy words be verified by thy deeds, lady; and if thou
hast a dagger to save thy honour, I have a sword to defend thee or kill
myself if fortune be against us.'

"I think she could not have heard all these words, for I perceived that
they called her away in haste, as the bridegroom was waiting. Now the
night of my sorrow set in, the sun of my happiness went down, I felt my
eyes bereft of sight, my mind of reason. I could not enter the house, nor
was I capable of any movement; but reflecting how important it was that I
should be present at what might take place on the occasion, I nerved
myself as best I could and went in, for I well knew all the entrances and
outlets; and besides, with the confusion that in secret pervaded the
house no one took notice of me, so, without being seen, I found an
opportunity of placing myself in the recess formed by a window of the
hall itself, and concealed by the ends and borders of two tapestries,
from between which I could, without being seen, see all that took place
in the room. Who could describe the agitation of heart I suffered as I
stood there--the thoughts that came to me--the reflections that passed
through my mind? They were such as cannot be, nor were it well they
should be, told. Suffice it to say that the bridegroom entered the hall
in his usual dress, without ornament of any kind; as groomsman he had
with him a cousin of Luscinda's and except the servants of the house
there was no one else in the chamber. Soon afterwards Luscinda came out
from an antechamber, attended by her mother and two of her damsels,
arrayed and adorned as became her rank and beauty, and in full festival
and ceremonial attire. My anxiety and distraction did not allow me to
observe or notice particularly what she wore; I could only perceive the
colours, which were crimson and white, and the glitter of the gems and
jewels on her head dress and apparel, surpassed by the rare beauty of her
lovely auburn hair that vying with the precious stones and the light of
the four torches that stood in the hall shone with a brighter gleam than
all. Oh memory, mortal foe of my peace! why bring before me now the
incomparable beauty of that adored enemy of mine? Were it not better,
cruel memory, to remind me and recall what she then did, that stirred by
a wrong so glaring I may seek, if not vengeance now, at least to rid
myself of life? Be not weary, sirs, of listening to these digressions; my
sorrow is not one of those that can or should be told tersely and
briefly, for to me each incident seems to call for many words."

To this the curate replied that not only were they not weary of listening
to him, but that the details he mentioned interested them greatly, being
of a kind by no means to be omitted and deserving of the same attention
as the main story.

"To proceed, then," continued Cardenio: "all being assembled in the hall,
the priest of the parish came in and as he took the pair by the hand to
perform the requisite ceremony, at the words, 'Will you, Senora Luscinda,
take Senor Don Fernando, here present, for your lawful husband, as the
holy Mother Church ordains?' I thrust my head and neck out from between
the tapestries, and with eager ears and throbbing heart set myself to
listen to Luscinda's answer, awaiting in her reply the sentence of death
or the grant of life. Oh, that I had but dared at that moment to rush
forward crying aloud, 'Luscinda, Luscinda! have a care what thou dost;
remember what thou owest me; bethink thee thou art mine and canst not be
another's; reflect that thy utterance of "Yes" and the end of my life
will come at the same instant. O, treacherous Don Fernando! robber of my
glory, death of my life! What seekest thou? Remember that thou canst not
as a Christian attain the object of thy wishes, for Luscinda is my bride,
and I am her husband!' Fool that I am! now that I am far away, and out of
danger, I say I should have done what I did not do: now that I have
allowed my precious treasure to be robbed from me, I curse the robber, on
whom I might have taken vengeance had I as much heart for it as I have
for bewailing my fate; in short, as I was then a coward and a fool,
little wonder is it if I am now dying shame-stricken, remorseful, and

"The priest stood waiting for the answer of Luscinda, who for a long time
withheld it; and just as I thought she was taking out the dagger to save
her honour, or struggling for words to make some declaration of the truth
on my behalf, I heard her say in a faint and feeble voice, 'I will:' Don
Fernando said the same, and giving her the ring they stood linked by a
knot that could never be loosed. The bridegroom then approached to
embrace his bride; and she, pressing her hand upon her heart, fell
fainting in her mother's arms. It only remains now for me to tell you the
state I was in when in that consent that I heard I saw all my hopes
mocked, the words and promises of Luscinda proved falsehoods, and the
recovery of the prize I had that instant lost rendered impossible for
ever. I stood stupefied, wholly abandoned, it seemed, by Heaven, declared
the enemy of the earth that bore me, the air refusing me breath for my
sighs, the water moisture for my tears; it was only the fire that
gathered strength so that my whole frame glowed with rage and jealousy.
They were all thrown into confusion by Luscinda's fainting, and as her
mother was unlacing her to give her air a sealed paper was discovered in
her bosom which Don Fernando seized at once and began to read by the
light of one of the torches. As soon as he had read it he seated himself
in a chair, leaning his cheek on his hand in the attitude of one deep in
thought, without taking any part in the efforts that were being made to
recover his bride from her fainting fit.

"Seeing all the household in confusion, I ventured to come out regardless
whether I were seen or not, and determined, if I were, to do some
frenzied deed that would prove to all the world the righteous indignation
of my breast in the punishment of the treacherous Don Fernando, and even
in that of the fickle fainting traitress. But my fate, doubtless
reserving me for greater sorrows, if such there be, so ordered it that
just then I had enough and to spare of that reason which has since been
wanting to me; and so, without seeking to take vengeance on my greatest
enemies (which might have been easily taken, as all thought of me was so
far from their minds), I resolved to take it upon myself, and on myself
to inflict the pain they deserved, perhaps with even greater severity
than I should have dealt out to them had I then slain them; for sudden
pain is soon over, but that which is protracted by tortures is ever
slaying without ending life. In a word, I quitted the house and reached
that of the man with whom I had left my mule; I made him saddle it for
me, mounted without bidding him farewell, and rode out of the city, like
another Lot, not daring to turn my head to look back upon it; and when I
found myself alone in the open country, screened by the darkness of the
night, and tempted by the stillness to give vent to my grief without
apprehension or fear of being heard or seen, then I broke silence and
lifted up my voice in maledictions upon Luscinda and Don Fernando, as if
I could thus avenge the wrong they had done me. I called her cruel,
ungrateful, false, thankless, but above all covetous, since the wealth of
my enemy had blinded the eyes of her affection, and turned it from me to
transfer it to one to whom fortune had been more generous and liberal.
And yet, in the midst of this outburst of execration and upbraiding, I
found excuses for her, saying it was no wonder that a young girl in the
seclusion of her parents' house, trained and schooled to obey them
always, should have been ready to yield to their wishes when they offered
her for a husband a gentleman of such distinction, wealth, and noble
birth, that if she had refused to accept him she would have been thought
out of her senses, or to have set her affection elsewhere, a suspicion
injurious to her fair name and fame. But then again, I said, had she
declared I was her husband, they would have seen that in choosing me she
had not chosen so ill but that they might excuse her, for before Don
Fernando had made his offer, they themselves could not have desired, if
their desires had been ruled by reason, a more eligible husband for their
daughter than I was; and she, before taking the last fatal step of giving
her hand, might easily have said that I had already given her mine, for I
should have come forward to support any assertion of hers to that effect.
In short, I came to the conclusion that feeble love, little reflection,
great ambition, and a craving for rank, had made her forget the words
with which she had deceived me, encouraged and supported by my firm hopes
and honourable passion.

"Thus soliloquising and agitated, I journeyed onward for the remainder of
the night, and by daybreak I reached one of the passes of these
mountains, among which I wandered for three days more without taking any
path or road, until I came to some meadows lying on I know not which side
of the mountains, and there I inquired of some herdsmen in what direction
the most rugged part of the range lay. They told me that it was in this
quarter, and I at once directed my course hither, intending to end my
life here; but as I was making my way among these crags, my mule dropped
dead through fatigue and hunger, or, as I think more likely, in order to
have done with such a worthless burden as it bore in me. I was left on
foot, worn out, famishing, without anyone to help me or any thought of
seeking help: and so thus I lay stretched on the ground, how long I know
not, after which I rose up free from hunger, and found beside me some
goatherds, who no doubt were the persons who had relieved me in my need,
for they told me how they had found me, and how I had been uttering
ravings that showed plainly I had lost my reason; and since then I am
conscious that I am not always in full possession of it, but at times so
deranged and crazed that I do a thousand mad things, tearing my clothes,
crying aloud in these solitudes, cursing my fate, and idly calling on the
dear name of her who is my enemy, and only seeking to end my life in
lamentation; and when I recover my senses I find myself so exhausted and
weary that I can scarcely move. Most commonly my dwelling is the hollow
of a cork tree large enough to shelter this miserable body; the herdsmen
and goatherds who frequent these mountains, moved by compassion, furnish
me with food, leaving it by the wayside or on the rocks, where they think
I may perhaps pass and find it; and so, even though I may be then out of
my senses, the wants of nature teach me what is required to sustain me,
and make me crave it and eager to take it. At other times, so they tell
me when they find me in a rational mood, I sally out upon the road, and
though they would gladly give it me, I snatch food by force from the
shepherds bringing it from the village to their huts. Thus do pass the
wretched life that remains to me, until it be Heaven's will to bring it
to a close, or so to order my memory that I no longer recollect the
beauty and treachery of Luscinda, or the wrong done me by Don Fernando;
for if it will do this without depriving me of life, I will turn my
thoughts into some better channel; if not, I can only implore it to have
full mercy on my soul, for in myself I feel no power or strength to
release my body from this strait in which I have of my own accord chosen
to place it.

"Such, sirs, is the dismal story of my misfortune: say if it be one that
can be told with less emotion than you have seen in me; and do not
trouble yourselves with urging or pressing upon me what reason suggests
as likely to serve for my relief, for it will avail me as much as the
medicine prescribed by a wise physician avails the sick man who will not
take it. I have no wish for health without Luscinda; and since it is her
pleasure to be another's, when she is or should be mine, let it be mine
to be a prey to misery when I might have enjoyed happiness. She by her
fickleness strove to make my ruin irretrievable; I will strive to gratify
her wishes by seeking destruction; and it will show generations to come
that I alone was deprived of that of which all others in misfortune have
a superabundance, for to them the impossibility of being consoled is
itself a consolation, while to me it is the cause of greater sorrows and
sufferings, for I think that even in death there will not be an end of

Here Cardenio brought to a close his long discourse and story, as full of
misfortune as it was of love; but just as the curate was going to address
some words of comfort to him, he was stopped by a voice that reached his
ear, saying in melancholy tones what will be told in the Fourth Part of
this narrative; for at this point the sage and sagacious historian, Cide
Hamete Benengeli, brought the Third to a conclusion.


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