OF THE PROGRESS OF SANCHO'S GOVERNMENT, AND OTHER SUCH ENTERTAINING MATTERS
Day came after the night of the governor's round; a night which the head-carver passed without sleeping, so were his thoughts of the face and air and beauty of the disguised damsel, while the majordomo spent what was left of it in writing an account to his lord and lady of all Sancho said and did, being as much amazed at his sayings as at his doings, for there was a mixture of shrewdness and simplicity in all his words and deeds. The senor governor got up, and by Doctor Pedro Recio's directions they made him break his fast on a little conserve and four sups of cold water, which Sancho would have readily exchanged for a piece of bread and a bunch of grapes; but seeing there was no help for it, he submitted with no little sorrow of heart and discomfort of stomach; Pedro Recio having persuaded him that light and delicate diet enlivened the wits, and that was what was most essential for persons placed in command and in responsible situations, where they have to employ not only the bodily powers but those of the mind also.
By means of this sophistry Sancho was made to endure hunger, and hunger so keen that in his heart he cursed the government, and even him who had given it to him; however, with his hunger and his conserve he undertook to deliver judgments that day, and the first thing that came before him was a question that was submitted to him by a stranger, in the presence of the majordomo and the other attendants, and it was in these words: "Senor, a large river separated two districts of one and the same lordship--will your worship please to pay attention, for the case is an important and a rather knotty one? Well then, on this river there was a bridge, and at one end of it a gallows, and a sort of tribunal, where four judges commonly sat to administer the law which the lord of river, bridge and the lordship had enacted, and which was to this effect, 'If anyone crosses by this bridge from one side to the other he shall declare on oath where he is going to and with what object; and if he swears truly, he shall be allowed to pass, but if falsely, he shall be put to death for it by hanging on the gallows erected there, without any remission.' Though the law and its severe penalty were known, many persons crossed, but in their declarations it was easy to see at once they were telling the truth, and the judges let them pass free. It happened, however, that one man, when they came to take his declaration, swore and said that by the oath he took he was going to die upon that gallows that stood there, and nothing else. The judges held a consultation over the oath, and they said, 'If we let this man pass free he has sworn falsely, and by the law he ought to die; but if we hang him, as he swore he was going to die on that gallows, and therefore swore the truth, by the same law he ought to go free.' It is asked of your worship, senor governor, what are the judges to do with this man? For they are still in doubt and perplexity; and having heard of your worship's acute and exalted intellect, they have sent me to entreat your worship on their behalf to give your opinion on this very intricate and puzzling case."
To this Sancho made answer, "Indeed those gentlemen the judges that send you to me might have spared themselves the trouble, for I have more of the obtuse than the acute in me; but repeat the case over again, so that I may understand it, and then perhaps I may be able to hit the point."
The querist repeated again and again what he had said before, and then Sancho said, "It seems to me I can set the matter right in a moment, and in this way; the man swears that he is going to die upon the gallows; but if he dies upon it, he has sworn the truth, and by the law enacted deserves to go free and pass over the bridge; but if they don't hang him, then he has sworn falsely, and by the same law deserves to be hanged."
"It is as the senor governor says," said the messenger; "and as regards a complete comprehension of the case, there is nothing left to desire or hesitate about."
"Well then I say," said Sancho, "that of this man they should let pass the part that has sworn truly, and hang the part that has lied; and in this way the conditions of the passage will be fully complied with."
"But then, senor governor," replied the querist, "the man will have to be divided into two parts; and if he is divided of course he will die; and so none of the requirements of the law will be carried out, and it is absolutely necessary to comply with it."
"Look here, my good sir," said Sancho; "either I'm a numskull or else there is the same reason for this passenger dying as for his living and passing over the bridge; for if the truth saves him the falsehood equally condemns him; and that being the case it is my opinion you should say to the gentlemen who sent you to me that as the arguments for condemning him and for absolving him are exactly balanced, they should let him pass freely, as it is always more praiseworthy to do good than to do evil; this I would give signed with my name if I knew how to sign; and what I have said in this case is not out of my own head, but one of the many precepts my master Don Quixote gave me the night before I left to become governor of this island, that came into my mind, and it was this, that when there was any doubt about the justice of a case I should lean to mercy; and it is God's will that I should recollect it now, for it fits this case as if it was made for it."
"That is true," said the majordomo; "and I maintain that Lycurgus himself, who gave laws to the Lacedemonians, could not have pronounced a better decision than the great Panza has given; let the morning's audience close with this, and I will see that the senor governor has dinner entirely to his liking."
"That's all I ask for--fair play," said Sancho; "give me my dinner, and then let it rain cases and questions on me, and I'll despatch them in a twinkling."
The majordomo kept his word, for he felt it against his conscience to kill so wise a governor by hunger; particularly as he intended to have done with him that same night, playing off the last joke he was commissioned to practise upon him.
It came to pass, then, that after he had dined that day, in opposition to the rules and aphorisms of Doctor Tirteafuera, as they were taking away the cloth there came a courier with a letter from Don Quixote for the governor. Sancho ordered the secretary to read it to himself, and if there was nothing in it that demanded secrecy to read it aloud. The secretary did so, and after he had skimmed the contents he said, "It may well be read aloud, for what Senor Don Quixote writes to your worship deserves to be printed or written in letters of gold, and it is as follows."
DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA'S LETTER TO SANCHO PANZA, GOVERNOR OF THE ISLAND OF BARATARIA.
When I was expecting to hear of thy stupidities and blunders, friend Sancho, I have received intelligence of thy displays of good sense, for which I give special thanks to heaven that can raise the poor from the dunghill and of fools to make wise men. They tell me thou dost govern as if thou wert a man, and art a man as if thou wert a beast, so great is the humility wherewith thou dost comport thyself. But I would have thee bear in mind, Sancho, that very often it is fitting and necessary for the authority of office to resist the humility of the heart; for the seemly array of one who is invested with grave duties should be such as they require and not measured by what his own humble tastes may lead him to prefer. Dress well; a stick dressed up does not look like a stick; I do not say thou shouldst wear trinkets or fine raiment, or that being a judge thou shouldst dress like a soldier, but that thou shouldst array thyself in the apparel thy office requires, and that at the same time it be neat and handsome. To win the good-will of the people thou governest there are two things, among others, that thou must do; one is to be civil to all (this, however, I told thee before), and the other to take care that food be abundant, for there is nothing that vexes the heart of the poor more than hunger and high prices. Make not many proclamations; but those thou makest take care that they be good ones, and above all that they be observed and carried out; for proclamations that are not observed are the same as if they did not exist; nay, they encourage the idea that the prince who had the wisdom and authority to make them had not the power to enforce them; and laws that threaten and are not enforced come to be like the log, the king of the frogs, that frightened them at first, but that in time they despised and mounted upon. Be a father to virtue and a stepfather to vice. Be not always strict, nor yet always lenient, but observe a mean between these two extremes, for in that is the aim of wisdom. Visit the gaols, the slaughter-houses, and the market-places; for the presence of the governor is of great importance in such places; it comforts the prisoners who are in hopes of a speedy release, it is the bugbear of the butchers who have then to give just weight, and it is the terror of the market-women for the same reason. Let it not be seen that thou art (even if perchance thou art, which I do not believe) covetous, a follower of women, or a glutton; for when the people and those that have dealings with thee become aware of thy special weakness they will bring their batteries to bear upon thee in that quarter, till they have brought thee down to the depths of perdition. Consider and reconsider, con and con over again the advices and the instructions I gave thee before thy departure hence to thy government, and thou wilt see that in them, if thou dost follow them, thou hast a help at hand that will lighten for thee the troubles and difficulties that beset governors at every step. Write to thy lord and lady and show thyself grateful to them, for ingratitude is the daughter of pride, and one of the greatest sins we know of; and he who is grateful to those who have been good to him shows that he will be so to God also who has bestowed and still bestows so many blessings upon him.
My lady the duchess sent off a messenger with thy suit and another present to thy wife Teresa Panza; we expect the answer every moment. I have been a little indisposed through a certain scratching I came in for, not very much to the benefit of my nose; but it was nothing; for if there are enchanters who maltreat me, there are also some who defend me. Let me know if the majordomo who is with thee had any share in the Trifaldi performance, as thou didst suspect; and keep me informed of everything that happens thee, as the distance is so short; all the more as I am thinking of giving over very shortly this idle life I am now leading, for I was not born for it. A thing has occurred to me which I am inclined to think will put me out of favour with the duke and duchess; but though I am sorry for it I do not care, for after all I must obey my calling rather than their pleasure, in accordance with the common saying, amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas. I quote this Latin to thee because I conclude that since thou hast been a governor thou wilt have learned it. Adieu; God keep thee from being an object of pity to anyone.
Thy friend, DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA.
Sancho listened to the letter with great attention, and it was praised and considered wise by all who heard it; he then rose up from table, and calling his secretary shut himself in with him in his own room, and without putting it off any longer set about answering his master Don Quixote at once; and he bade the secretary write down what he told him without adding or suppressing anything, which he did, and the answer was to the following effect.
SANCHO PANZA'S LETTER TO DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA.
The pressure of business is so great upon me that I have no time to scratch my head or even to cut my nails; and I have them so long-God send a remedy for it. I say this, master of my soul, that you may not be surprised if I have not until now sent you word of how I fare, well or ill, in this government, in which I am suffering more hunger than when we two were wandering through the woods and wastes.
My lord the duke wrote to me the other day to warn me that certain spies had got into this island to kill me; but up to the present I have not found out any except a certain doctor who receives a salary in this town for killing all the governors that come here; he is called Doctor Pedro Recio, and is from Tirteafuera; so you see what a name he has to make me dread dying under his hands. This doctor says of himself that he does not cure diseases when there are any, but prevents them coming, and the medicines he uses are diet and more diet until he brings one down to bare bones; as if leanness was not worse than fever.
In short he is killing me with hunger, and I am dying myself of vexation; for when I thought I was coming to this government to get my meat hot and my drink cool, and take my ease between holland sheets on feather beds, I find I have come to do penance as if I was a hermit; and as I don't do it willingly I suspect that in the end the devil will carry me off.
So far I have not handled any dues or taken any bribes, and I don't know what to think of it; for here they tell me that the governors that come to this island, before entering it have plenty of money either given to them or lent to them by the people of the town, and that this is the usual custom not only here but with all who enter upon governments.
Last night going the rounds I came upon a fair damsel in man's clothes, and a brother of hers dressed as a woman; my head-carver has fallen in love with the girl, and has in his own mind chosen her for a wife, so he says, and I have chosen youth for a son-in-law; to-day we are going to explain our intentions to the father of the pair, who is one Diego de la Llana, a gentleman and an old Christian as much as you please.
I have visited the market-places, as your worship advises me, and yesterday I found a stall-keeper selling new hazel nuts and proved her to have mixed a bushel of old empty rotten nuts with a bushel of new; I confiscated the whole for the children of the charity-school, who will know how to distinguish them well enough, and I sentenced her not to come into the market-place for a fortnight; they told me I did bravely. I can tell your worship it is commonly said in this town that there are no people worse than the market-women, for they are all barefaced, unconscionable, and impudent, and I can well believe it from what I have seen of them in other towns.
I am very glad my lady the duchess has written to my wife Teresa Panza and sent her the present your worship speaks of; and I will strive to show myself grateful when the time comes; kiss her hands for me, and tell her I say she has not thrown it into a sack with a hole in it, as she will see in the end. I should not like your worship to have any difference with my lord and lady; for if you fall out with them it is plain it must do me harm; and as you give me advice to be grateful it will not do for your worship not to be so yourself to those who have shown you such kindness, and by whom you have been treated so hospitably in their castle.
That about the scratching I don't understand; but I suppose it must be one of the ill-turns the wicked enchanters are always doing your worship; when we meet I shall know all about it. I wish I could send your worship something; but I don't know what to send, unless it be some very curious clyster pipes, to work with bladders, that they make in this island; but if the office remains with me I'll find out something to send, one way or another. If my wife Teresa Panza writes to me, pay the postage and send me the letter, for I have a very great desire to hear how my house and wife and children are going on. And so, may God deliver your worship from evil-minded enchanters, and bring me well and peacefully out of this government, which I doubt, for I expect to take leave of it and my life together, from the way Doctor Pedro Recio treats me.
Your worship's servant
SANCHO PANZA THE GOVERNOR.
The secretary sealed the letter, and immediately dismissed the courier; and those who were carrying on the joke against Sancho putting their heads together arranged how he was to be dismissed from the government. Sancho spent the afternoon in drawing up certain ordinances relating to the good government of what he fancied the island; and he ordained that there were to be no provision hucksters in the State, and that men might import wine into it from any place they pleased, provided they declared the quarter it came from, so that a price might be put upon it according to its quality, reputation, and the estimation it was held in; and he that watered his wine, or changed the name, was to forfeit his life for it. He reduced the prices of all manner of shoes, boots, and stockings, but of shoes in particular, as they seemed to him to run extravagantly high. He established a fixed rate for servants' wages, which were becoming recklessly exorbitant. He laid extremely heavy penalties upon those who sang lewd or loose songs either by day or night. He decreed that no blind man should sing of any miracle in verse, unless he could produce authentic evidence that it was true, for it was his opinion that most of those the blind men sing are trumped up, to the detriment of the true ones. He established and created an alguacil of the poor, not to harass them, but to examine them and see whether they really were so; for many a sturdy thief or drunkard goes about under cover of a make-believe crippled limb or a sham sore. In a word, he made so many good rules that to this day they are preserved there, and are called The constitutions of the great governor Sancho Panza.
WHEREIN IS RELATED THE ADVENTURE OF THE SECOND DISTRESSED OR AFFLICTED DUENNA, OTHERWISE CALLED DONA RODRIGUEZ
Cide Hamete relates that Don Quixote being now cured of his scratches felt that the life he was leading in the castle was entirely inconsistent with the order of chivalry he professed, so he determined to ask the duke and duchess to permit him to take his departure for Saragossa, as the time of the festival was now drawing near, and he hoped to win there the suit of armour which is the prize at festivals of the sort. But one day at table with the duke and duchess, just as he was about to carry his resolution into effect and ask for their permission, lo and behold suddenly there came in through the door of the great hall two women, as they afterwards proved to be, draped in mourning from head to foot, one of whom approaching Don Quixote flung herself at full length at his feet, pressing her lips to them, and uttering moans so sad, so deep, and so doleful that she put all who heard and saw her into a state of perplexity; and though the duke and duchess supposed it must be some joke their servants were playing off upon Don Quixote, still the earnest way the woman sighed and moaned and wept puzzled them and made them feel uncertain, until Don Quixote, touched with compassion, raised her up and made her unveil herself and remove the mantle from her tearful face. She complied and disclosed what no one could have ever anticipated, for she disclosed the countenance of Dona Rodriguez, the duenna of the house; the other female in mourning being her daughter, who had been made a fool of by the rich farmer's son. All who knew her were filled with astonishment, and the duke and duchess more than any; for though they thought her a simpleton and a weak creature, they did not think her capable of crazy pranks. Dona Rodriguez, at length, turning to her master and mistress said to them, "Will your excellences be pleased to permit me to speak to this gentleman for a moment, for it is requisite I should do so in order to get successfully out of the business in which the boldness of an evil-minded clown has involved me?"
The duke said that for his part he gave her leave, and that she might speak with Senor Don Quixote as much as she liked.
She then, turning to Don Quixote and addressing herself to him said, "Some days since, valiant knight, I gave you an account of the injustice and treachery of a wicked farmer to my dearly beloved daughter, the unhappy damsel here before you, and you promised me to take her part and right the wrong that has been done her; but now it has come to my hearing that you are about to depart from this castle in quest of such fair adventures as God may vouchsafe to you; therefore, before you take the road, I would that you challenge this froward rustic, and compel him to marry my daughter in fulfillment of the promise he gave her to become her husband before he seduced her; for to expect that my lord the duke will do me justice is to ask pears from the elm tree, for the reason I stated privately to your worship; and so may our Lord grant you good health and forsake us not."
To these words Don Quixote replied very gravely and solemnly, "Worthy duenna, check your tears, or rather dry them, and spare your sighs, for I take it upon myself to obtain redress for your daughter, for whom it would have been better not to have been so ready to believe lovers' promises, which are for the most part quickly made and very slowly performed; and so, with my lord the duke's leave, I will at once go in quest of this inhuman youth, and will find him out and challenge him and slay him, if so be he refuses to keep his promised word; for the chief object of my profession is to spare the humble and chastise the proud; I mean, to help the distressed and destroy the oppressors."
"There is no necessity," said the duke, "for your worship to take the trouble of seeking out the rustic of whom this worthy duenna complains, nor is there any necessity, either, for asking my leave to challenge him; for I admit him duly challenged, and will take care that he is informed of the challenge, and accepts it, and comes to answer it in person to this castle of mine, where I shall afford to both a fair field, observing all the conditions which are usually and properly observed in such trials, and observing too justice to both sides, as all princes who offer a free field to combatants within the limits of their lordships are bound to do."
"Then with that assurance and your highness's good leave," said Don Quixote, "I hereby for this once waive my privilege of gentle blood, and come down and put myself on a level with the lowly birth of the wrong-doer, making myself equal with him and enabling him to enter into combat with me; and so, I challenge and defy him, though absent, on the plea of his malfeasance in breaking faith with this poor damsel, who was a maiden and now by his misdeed is none; and say that he shall fulfill the promise he gave her to become her lawful husband, or else stake his life upon the question."
And then plucking off a glove he threw it down in the middle of the hall, and the duke picked it up, saying, as he had said before, that he accepted the challenge in the name of his vassal, and fixed six days thence as the time, the courtyard of the castle as the place, and for arms the customary ones of knights, lance and shield and full armour, with all the other accessories, without trickery, guile, or charms of any sort, and examined and passed by the judges of the field. "But first of all," he said, "it is requisite that this worthy duenna and unworthy damsel should place their claim for justice in the hands of Don Quixote; for otherwise nothing can be done, nor can the said challenge be brought to a lawful issue."
"I do so place it," replied the duenna.
"And I too," added her daughter, all in tears and covered with shame and confusion.
This declaration having been made, and the duke having settled in his own mind what he would do in the matter, the ladies in black withdrew, and the duchess gave orders that for the future they were not to be treated as servants of hers, but as lady adventurers who came to her house to demand justice; so they gave them a room to themselves and waited on them as they would on strangers, to the consternation of the other women-servants, who did not know where the folly and imprudence of Dona Rodriguez and her unlucky daughter would stop.
And now, to complete the enjoyment of the feast and bring the dinner to a satisfactory end, lo and behold the page who had carried the letters and presents to Teresa Panza, the wife of the governor Sancho, entered the hall; and the duke and duchess were very well pleased to see him, being anxious to know the result of his journey; but when they asked him the page said in reply that he could not give it before so many people or in a few words, and begged their excellences to be pleased to let it wait for a private opportunity, and in the meantime amuse themselves with these letters; and taking out the letters he placed them in the duchess's hand. One bore by way of address, Letter for my lady the Duchess So-and-so, of I don't know where; and the other To my husband Sancho Panza, governor of the island of Barataria, whom God prosper longer than me. The duchess's bread would not bake, as the saying is, until she had read her letter; and having looked over it herself and seen that it might be read aloud for the duke and all present to hear, she read out as follows.
TERESA PANZA'S LETTER TO THE DUCHESS.
The letter your highness wrote me, my lady, gave me great pleasure, for indeed I found it very welcome. The string of coral beads is very fine, and my husband's hunting suit does not fall short of it. All this village is very much pleased that your ladyship has made a governor of my good man Sancho; though nobody will believe it, particularly the curate, and Master Nicholas the barber, and the bachelor Samson Carrasco; but I don't care for that, for so long as it is true, as it is, they may all say what they like; though, to tell the truth, if the coral beads and the suit had not come I would not have believed it either; for in this village everybody thinks my husband a numskull, and except for governing a flock of goats, they cannot fancy what sort of government he can be fit for. God grant it, and direct him according as he sees his children stand in need of it. I am resolved with your worship's leave, lady of my soul, to make the most of this fair day, and go to Court to stretch myself at ease in a coach, and make all those I have envying me already burst their eyes out; so I beg your excellence to order my husband to send me a small trifle of money, and to let it be something to speak of, because one's expenses are heavy at the Court; for a loaf costs a real, and meat thirty maravedis a pound, which is beyond everything; and if he does not want me to go let him tell me in time, for my feet are on the fidgets to be off; and my friends and neighbours tell me that if my daughter and I make a figure and a brave show at Court, my husband will come to be known far more by me than I by him, for of course plenty of people will ask, "Who are those ladies in that coach?" and some servant of mine will answer, "The wife and daughter of Sancho Panza, governor of the island of Barataria;" and in this way Sancho will become known, and I'll be thought well of, and "to Rome for everything." I am as vexed as vexed can be that they have gathered no acorns this year in our village; for all that I send your highness about half a peck that I went to the wood to gather and pick out one by one myself, and I could find no bigger ones; I wish they were as big as ostrich eggs.
Let not your high mightiness forget to write to me; and I will take care to answer, and let you know how I am, and whatever news there may be in this place, where I remain, praying our Lord to have your highness in his keeping and not to forget me.
Sancha my daughter, and my son, kiss your worship's hands.
She who would rather see your ladyship than write to you,
All were greatly amused by Teresa Panza's letter, but particularly the duke and duchess; and the duchess asked Don Quixote's opinion whether they might open the letter that had come for the governor, which she suspected must be very good. Don Quixote said that to gratify them he would open it, and did so, and found that it ran as follows.
TERESA PANZA'S LETTER TO HER HUSBAND SANCHO PANZA.
I got thy letter, Sancho of my soul, and I promise thee and swear as a Catholic Christian that I was within two fingers' breadth of going mad I was so happy. I can tell thee, brother, when I came to hear that thou wert a governor I thought I should have dropped dead with pure joy; and thou knowest they say sudden joy kills as well as great sorrow; and as for Sanchica thy daughter, she leaked from sheer happiness. I had before me the suit thou didst send me, and the coral beads my lady the duchess sent me round my neck, and the letters in my hands, and there was the bearer of them standing by, and in spite of all this I verily believed and thought that what I saw and handled was all a dream; for who could have thought that a goatherd would come to be a governor of islands? Thou knowest, my friend, what my mother used to say, that one must live long to see much; I say it because I expect to see more if I live longer; for I don't expect to stop until I see thee a farmer of taxes or a collector of revenue, which are offices where, though the devil carries off those who make a bad use of them, still they make and handle money. My lady the duchess will tell thee the desire I have to go to the Court; consider the matter and let me know thy pleasure; I will try to do honour to thee by going in a coach.
Neither the curate, nor the barber, nor the bachelor, nor even the sacristan, can believe that thou art a governor, and they say the whole thing is a delusion or an enchantment affair, like everything belonging to thy master Don Quixote; and Samson says he must go in search of thee and drive the government out of thy head and the madness out of Don Quixote's skull; I only laugh, and look at my string of beads, and plan out the dress I am going to make for our daughter out of thy suit. I sent some acorns to my lady the duchess; I wish they had been gold. Send me some strings of pearls if they are in fashion in that island. Here is the news of the village; La Berrueca has married her daughter to a good-for-nothing painter, who came here to paint anything that might turn up. The council gave him an order to paint his Majesty's arms over the door of the town-hall; he asked two ducats, which they paid him in advance; he worked for eight days, and at the end of them had nothing painted, and then said he had no turn for painting such trifling things; he returned the money, and for all that has married on the pretence of being a good workman; to be sure he has now laid aside his paint-brush and taken a spade in hand, and goes to the field like a gentleman. Pedro Lobo's son has received the first orders and tonsure, with the intention of becoming a priest. Minguilla, Mingo Silvato's granddaughter, found it out, and has gone to law with him on the score of having given her promise of marriage. Evil tongues say she is with child by him, but he denies it stoutly. There are no olives this year, and there is not a drop of vinegar to be had in the whole village. A company of soldiers passed through here; when they left they took away with them three of the girls of the village; I will not tell thee who they are; perhaps they will come back, and they will be sure to find those who will take them for wives with all their blemishes, good or bad. Sanchica is making bonelace; she earns eight maravedis a day clear, which she puts into a moneybox as a help towards house furnishing; but now that she is a governor's daughter thou wilt give her a portion without her working for it. The fountain in the plaza has run dry. A flash of lightning struck the gibbet, and I wish they all lit there. I look for an answer to this, and to know thy mind about my going to the Court; and so, God keep thee longer than me, or as long, for I would not leave thee in this world without me.
The letters were applauded, laughed over, relished, and admired; and then, as if to put the seal to the business, the courier arrived, bringing the one Sancho sent to Don Quixote, and this, too, was read out, and it raised some doubts as to the governor's simplicity. The duchess withdrew to hear from the page about his adventures in Sancho's village, which he narrated at full length without leaving a single circumstance unmentioned. He gave her the acorns, and also a cheese which Teresa had given him as being particularly good and superior to those of Tronchon. The duchess received it with greatest delight, in which we will leave her, to describe the end of the government of the great Sancho Panza, flower and mirror of all governors of islands.
OF THE TROUBLOUS END AND TERMINATION SANCHO PANZA'S GOVERNMENT CAME TO
To fancy that in this life anything belonging to it will remain for ever in the same state is an idle fancy; on the contrary, in it everything seems to go in a circle, I mean round and round. The spring succeeds the summer, the summer the fall, the fall the autumn, the autumn the winter, and the winter the spring, and so time rolls with never-ceasing wheel. Man's life alone, swifter than time, speeds onward to its end without any hope of renewal, save it be in that other life which is endless and boundless. Thus saith Cide Hamete the Mahometan philosopher; for there are many that by the light of nature alone, without the light of faith, have a comprehension of the fleeting nature and instability of this present life and the endless duration of that eternal life we hope for; but our author is here speaking of the rapidity with which Sancho's government came to an end, melted away, disappeared, vanished as it were in smoke and shadow. For as he lay in bed on the night of the seventh day of his government, sated, not with bread and wine, but with delivering judgments and giving opinions and making laws and proclamations, just as sleep, in spite of hunger, was beginning to close his eyelids, he heard such a noise of bell-ringing and shouting that one would have fancied the whole island was going to the bottom. He sat up in bed and remained listening intently to try if he could make out what could be the cause of so great an uproar; not only, however, was he unable to discover what it was, but as countless drums and trumpets now helped to swell the din of the bells and shouts, he was more puzzled than ever, and filled with fear and terror; and getting up he put on a pair of slippers because of the dampness of the floor, and without throwing a dressing gown or anything of the kind over him he rushed out of the door of his room, just in time to see approaching along a corridor a band of more than twenty persons with lighted torches and naked swords in their hands, all shouting out, "To arms, to arms, senor governor, to arms! The enemy is in the island in countless numbers, and we are lost unless your skill and valour come to our support."
Keeping up this noise, tumult, and uproar, they came to where Sancho stood dazed and bewildered by what he saw and heard, and as they approached one of them called out to him, "Arm at once, your lordship, if you would not have yourself destroyed and the whole island lost."
"What have I to do with arming?" said Sancho. "What do I know about arms or supports? Better leave all that to my master Don Quixote, who will settle it and make all safe in a trice; for I, sinner that I am, God help me, don't understand these scuffles."
"Ah, senor governor," said another, "what slackness of mettle this is! Arm yourself; here are arms for you, offensive and defensive; come out to the plaza and be our leader and captain; it falls upon you by right, for you are our governor."
"Arm me then, in God's name," said Sancho, and they at once produced two large shields they had come provided with, and placed them upon him over his shirt, without letting him put on anything else, one shield in front and the other behind, and passing his arms through openings they had made, they bound him tight with ropes, so that there he was walled and boarded up as straight as a spindle and unable to bend his knees or stir a single step. In his hand they placed a lance, on which he leant to keep himself from falling, and as soon as they had him thus fixed they bade him march forward and lead them on and give them all courage; for with him for their guide and lamp and morning star, they were sure to bring their business to a successful issue.
"How am I to march, unlucky being that I am?" said Sancho, "when I can't stir my knee-caps, for these boards I have bound so tight to my body won't let me. What you must do is carry me in your arms, and lay me across or set me upright in some postern, and I'll hold it either with this lance or with my body."
"On, senor governor!" cried another, "it is fear more than the boards that keeps you from moving; make haste, stir yourself, for there is no time to lose; the enemy is increasing in numbers, the shouts grow louder, and the danger is pressing."
Urged by these exhortations and reproaches the poor governor made an attempt to advance, but fell to the ground with such a crash that he fancied he had broken himself all to pieces. There he lay like a tortoise enclosed in its shell, or a side of bacon between two kneading-troughs, or a boat bottom up on the beach; nor did the gang of jokers feel any compassion for him when they saw him down; so far from that, extinguishing their torches they began to shout afresh and to renew the calls to arms with such energy, trampling on poor Sancho, and slashing at him over the shield with their swords in such a way that, if he had not gathered himself together and made himself small and drawn in his head between the shields, it would have fared badly with the poor governor, as, squeezed into that narrow compass, he lay, sweating and sweating again, and commending himself with all his heart to God to deliver him from his present peril. Some stumbled over him, others fell upon him, and one there was who took up a position on top of him for some time, and from thence as if from a watchtower issued orders to the troops, shouting out, "Here, our side! Here the enemy is thickest! Hold the breach there! Shut that gate! Barricade those ladders! Here with your stink-pots of pitch and resin, and kettles of boiling oil! Block the streets with feather beds!" In short, in his ardour he mentioned every little thing, and every implement and engine of war by means of which an assault upon a city is warded off, while the bruised and battered Sancho, who heard and suffered all, was saying to himself, "O if it would only please the Lord to let the island be lost at once, and I could see myself either dead or out of this torture!" Heaven heard his prayer, and when he least expected it he heard voices exclaiming, "Victory, victory! The enemy retreats beaten! Come, senor governor, get up, and come and enjoy the victory, and divide the spoils that have been won from the foe by the might of that invincible arm."
"Lift me up," said the wretched Sancho in a woebegone voice. They helped him to rise, and as soon as he was on his feet said, "The enemy I have beaten you may nail to my forehead; I don't want to divide the spoils of the foe, I only beg and entreat some friend, if I have one, to give me a sup of wine, for I'm parched with thirst, and wipe me dry, for I'm turning to water."
They rubbed him down, fetched him wine and unbound the shields, and he seated himself upon his bed, and with fear, agitation, and fatigue he fainted away. Those who had been concerned in the joke were now sorry they had pushed it so far; however, the anxiety his fainting away had caused them was relieved by his returning to himself. He asked what o'clock it was; they told him it was just daybreak. He said no more, and in silence began to dress himself, while all watched him, waiting to see what the haste with which he was putting on his clothes meant.
He got himself dressed at last, and then, slowly, for he was sorely bruised and could not go fast, he proceeded to the stable, followed by all who were present, and going up to Dapple embraced him and gave him a loving kiss on the forehead, and said to him, not without tears in his eyes, "Come along, comrade and friend and partner of my toils and sorrows; when I was with you and had no cares to trouble me except mending your harness and feeding your little carcass, happy were my hours, my days, and my years; but since I left you, and mounted the towers of ambition and pride, a thousand miseries, a thousand troubles, and four thousand anxieties have entered into my soul;" and all the while he was speaking in this strain he was fixing the pack-saddle on the ass, without a word from anyone. Then having Dapple saddled, he, with great pain and difficulty, got up on him, and addressing himself to the majordomo, the secretary, the head-carver, and Pedro Recio the doctor and several others who stood by, he said, "Make way, gentlemen, and let me go back to my old freedom; let me go look for my past life, and raise myself up from this present death. I was not born to be a governor or protect islands or cities from the enemies that choose to attack them. Ploughing and digging, vinedressing and pruning, are more in my way than defending provinces or kingdoms. 'Saint Peter is very well at Rome; I mean each of us is best following the trade he was born to. A reaping-hook fits my hand better than a governor's sceptre; I'd rather have my fill of gazpacho' than be subject to the misery of a meddling doctor who me with hunger, and I'd rather lie in summer under the shade of an oak, and in winter wrap myself in a double sheepskin jacket in freedom, than go to bed between holland sheets and dress in sables under the restraint of a government. God be with your worships, and tell my lord the duke that 'naked I was born, naked I find myself, I neither lose nor gain;' I mean that without a farthing I came into this government, and without a farthing I go out of it, very different from the way governors commonly leave other islands. Stand aside and let me go; I have to plaster myself, for I believe every one of my ribs is crushed, thanks to the enemies that have been trampling over me to-night."
"That is unnecessary, senor governor," said Doctor Recio, "for I will give your worship a draught against falls and bruises that will soon make you as sound and strong as ever; and as for your diet I promise your worship to behave better, and let you eat plentifully of whatever you like."
"You spoke late," said Sancho. "I'd as soon turn Turk as stay any longer. Those jokes won't pass a second time. By God I'd as soon remain in this government, or take another, even if it was offered me between two plates, as fly to heaven without wings. I am of the breed of the Panzas, and they are every one of them obstinate, and if they once say 'odds,' odds it must be, no matter if it is evens, in spite of all the world. Here in this stable I leave the ant's wings that lifted me up into the air for the swifts and other birds to eat me, and let's take to level ground and our feet once more; and if they're not shod in pinked shoes of cordovan, they won't want for rough sandals of hemp; 'every ewe to her like,' 'and let no one stretch his leg beyond the length of the sheet;' and now let me pass, for it's growing late with me."
To this the majordomo said, "Senor governor, we would let your worship go with all our hearts, though it sorely grieves us to lose you, for your wit and Christian conduct naturally make us regret you; but it is well known that every governor, before he leaves the place where he has been governing, is bound first of all to render an account. Let your worship do so for the ten days you have held the government, and then you may go and the peace of God go with you."
"No one can demand it of me," said Sancho, "but he whom my lord the duke shall appoint; I am going to meet him, and to him I will render an exact one; besides, when I go forth naked as I do, there is no other proof needed to show that I have governed like an angel."
"By God the great Sancho is right," said Doctor Recio, "and we should let him go, for the duke will be beyond measure glad to see him."
They all agreed to this, and allowed him to go, first offering to bear him company and furnish him with all he wanted for his own comfort or for the journey. Sancho said he did not want anything more than a little barley for Dapple, and half a cheese and half a loaf for himself; for the distance being so short there was no occasion for any better or bulkier provant. They all embraced him, and he with tears embraced all of them, and left them filled with admiration not only at his remarks but at his firm and sensible resolution.
WHICH DEALS WITH MATTERS RELATING TO THIS HISTORY AND NO OTHER
The duke and duchess resolved that the challenge Don Quixote had, for the reason already mentioned, given their vassal, should be proceeded with; and as the young man was in Flanders, whither he had fled to escape having Dona Rodriguez for a mother-in-law, they arranged to substitute for him a Gascon lacquey, named Tosilos, first of all carefully instructing him in all he had to do. Two days later the duke told Don Quixote that in four days from that time his opponent would present himself on the field of battle armed as a knight, and would maintain that the damsel lied by half a beard, nay a whole beard, if she affirmed that he had given her a promise of marriage. Don Quixote was greatly pleased at the news, and promised himself to do wonders in the lists, and reckoned it rare good fortune that an opportunity should have offered for letting his noble hosts see what the might of his strong arm was capable of; and so in high spirits and satisfaction he awaited the expiration of the four days, which measured by his impatience seemed spinning themselves out into four hundred ages. Let us leave them to pass as we do other things, and go and bear Sancho company, as mounted on Dapple, half glad, half sad, he paced along on his road to join his master, in whose society he was happier than in being governor of all the islands in the world. Well then, it so happened that before he had gone a great way from the island of his government (and whether it was island, city, town, or village that he governed he never troubled himself to inquire) he saw coming along the road he was travelling six pilgrims with staves, foreigners of that sort that beg for alms singing; who as they drew near arranged themselves in a line and lifting up their voices all together began to sing in their own language something that Sancho could not with the exception of one word which sounded plainly "alms," from which he gathered that it was alms they asked for in their song; and being, as Cide Hamete says, remarkably charitable, he took out of his alforias the half loaf and half cheese he had been provided with, and gave them to them, explaining to them by signs that he had nothing else to give them. They received them very gladly, but exclaimed, "Geld! Geld!"
"I don't understand what you want of me, good people," said Sancho.
On this one of them took a purse out of his bosom and showed it to Sancho, by which he comprehended they were asking for money, and putting his thumb to his throat and spreading his hand upwards he gave them to understand that he had not the sign of a coin about him, and urging Dapple forward he broke through them. But as he was passing, one of them who had been examining him very closely rushed towards him, and flinging his arms round him exclaimed in a loud voice and good Spanish, "God bless me! What's this I see? Is it possible that I hold in my arms my dear friend, my good neighbour Sancho Panza? But there's no doubt about it, for I'm not asleep, nor am I drunk just now."
Sancho was surprised to hear himself called by his name and find himself embraced by a foreign pilgrim, and after regarding him steadily without speaking he was still unable to recognise him; but the pilgrim perceiving his perplexity cried, "What! and is it possible, Sancho Panza, that thou dost not know thy neighbour Ricote, the Morisco shopkeeper of thy village?"
Sancho upon this looking at him more carefully began to recall his features, and at last recognised him perfectly, and without getting off the ass threw his arms round his neck saying, "Who the devil could have known thee, Ricote, in this mummer's dress thou art in? Tell me, who bas frenchified thee, and how dost thou dare to return to Spain, where if they catch thee and recognise thee it will go hard enough with thee?"
"If thou dost not betray me, Sancho," said the pilgrim, "I am safe; for in this dress no one will recognise me; but let us turn aside out of the road into that grove there where my comrades are going to eat and rest, and thou shalt eat with them there, for they are very good fellows; I'll have time enough to tell thee then all that has happened me since I left our village in obedience to his Majesty's edict that threatened such severities against the unfortunate people of my nation, as thou hast heard."
Sancho complied, and Ricote having spoken to the other pilgrims they withdrew to the grove they saw, turning a considerable distance out of the road. They threw down their staves, took off their pilgrim's cloaks and remained in their under-clothing; they were all good-looking young fellows, except Ricote, who was a man somewhat advanced in years. They carried alforjas all of them, and all apparently well filled, at least with things provocative of thirst, such as would summon it from two leagues off. They stretched themselves on the ground, and making a tablecloth of the grass they spread upon it bread, salt, knives, walnut, scraps of cheese, and well-picked ham-bones which if they were past gnawing were not past sucking. They also put down a black dainty called, they say, caviar, and made of the eggs of fish, a great thirst-wakener. Nor was there any lack of olives, dry, it is true, and without any seasoning, but for all that toothsome and pleasant. But what made the best show in the field of the banquet was half a dozen botas of wine, for each of them produced his own from his alforjas; even the good Ricote, who from a Morisco had transformed himself into a German or Dutchman, took out his, which in size might have vied with the five others. They then began to eat with very great relish and very leisurely, making the most of each morsel--very small ones of everything--they took up on the point of the knife; and then all at the same moment raised their arms and botas aloft, the mouths placed in their mouths, and all eyes fixed on heaven just as if they were taking aim at it; and in this attitude they remained ever so long, wagging their heads from side to side as if in acknowledgment of the pleasure they were enjoying while they decanted the bowels of the bottles into their own stomachs.
Sancho beheld all, "and nothing gave him pain;" so far from that, acting on the proverb he knew so well, "when thou art at Rome do as thou seest," he asked Ricote for his bota and took aim like the rest of them, and with not less enjoyment. Four times did the botas bear being uplifted, but the fifth it was all in vain, for they were drier and more sapless than a rush by that time, which made the jollity that had been kept up so far begin to flag.
Every now and then some one of them would grasp Sancho's right hand in his own saying, "Espanoli y Tudesqui tuto uno: bon compano;" and Sancho would answer, "Bon compano, jur a Di!" and then go off into a fit of laughter that lasted an hour, without a thought for the moment of anything that had befallen him in his government; for cares have very little sway over us while we are eating and drinking. At length, the wine having come to an end with them, drowsiness began to come over them, and they dropped asleep on their very table and tablecloth. Ricote and Sancho alone remained awake, for they had eaten more and drunk less, and Ricote drawing Sancho aside, they seated themselves at the foot of a beech, leaving the pilgrims buried in sweet sleep; and without once falling into his own Morisco tongue Ricote spoke as follows in pure Castilian:
"Thou knowest well, neighbour and friend Sancho Panza, how the proclamation or edict his Majesty commanded to be issued against those of my nation filled us all with terror and dismay; me at least it did, insomuch that I think before the time granted us for quitting Spain was out, the full force of the penalty had already fallen upon me and upon my children. I decided, then, and I think wisely (just like one who knows that at a certain date the house he lives in will be taken from him, and looks out beforehand for another to change into), I decided, I say, to leave the town myself, alone and without my family, and go to seek out some place to remove them to comfortably and not in the hurried way in which the others took their departure; for I saw very plainly, and so did all the older men among us, that the proclamations were not mere threats, as some said, but positive enactments which would be enforced at the appointed time; and what made me believe this was what I knew of the base and extravagant designs which our people harboured, designs of such a nature that I think it was a divine inspiration that moved his Majesty to carry out a resolution so spirited; not that we were all guilty, for some there were true and steadfast Christians; but they were so few that they could make no head against those who were not; and it was not prudent to cherish a viper in the bosom by having enemies in the house. In short it was with just cause that we were visited with the penalty of banishment, a mild and lenient one in the eyes of some, but to us the most terrible that could be inflicted upon us. Wherever we are we weep for Spain; for after all we were born there and it is our natural fatherland. Nowhere do we find the reception our unhappy condition needs; and in Barbary and all the parts of Africa where we counted upon being received, succoured, and welcomed, it is there they insult and ill-treat us most. We knew not our good fortune until we lost it; and such is the longing we almost all of us have to return to Spain, that most of those who like myself know the language, and there are many who do, come back to it and leave their wives and children forsaken yonder, so great is their love for it; and now I know by experience the meaning of the saying, sweet is the love of one's country.
"I left our village, as I said, and went to France, but though they gave us a kind reception there I was anxious to see all I could. I crossed into Italy, and reached Germany, and there it seemed to me we might live with more freedom, as the inhabitants do not pay any attention to trifling points; everyone lives as he likes, for in most parts they enjoy liberty of conscience. I took a house in a town near Augsburg, and then joined these pilgrims, who are in the habit of coming to Spain in great numbers every year to visit the shrines there, which they look upon as their Indies and a sure and certain source of gain. They travel nearly all over it, and there is no town out of which they do not go full up of meat and drink, as the saying is, and with a real, at least, in money, and they come off at the end of their travels with more than a hundred crowns saved, which, changed into gold, they smuggle out of the kingdom either in the hollow of their staves or in the patches of their pilgrim's cloaks or by some device of their own, and carry to their own country in spite of the guards at the posts and passes where they are searched. Now my purpose is, Sancho, to carry away the treasure that I left buried, which, as it is outside the town, I shall be able to do without risk, and to write, or cross over from Valencia, to my daughter and wife, who I know are at Algiers, and find some means of bringing them to some French port and thence to Germany, there to await what it may be God's will to do with us; for, after all, Sancho, I know well that Ricota my daughter and Francisca Ricota my wife are Catholic Christians, and though I am not so much so, still I am more of a Christian than a Moor, and it is always my prayer to God that he will open the eyes of my understanding and show me how I am to serve him; but what amazes me and I cannot understand is why my wife and daughter should have gone to Barbary rather than to France, where they could live as Christians."
To this Sancho replied, "Remember, Ricote, that may not have been open to them, for Juan Tiopieyo thy wife's brother took them, and being a true Moor he went where he could go most easily; and another thing I can tell thee, it is my belief thou art going in vain to look for what thou hast left buried, for we heard they took from thy brother-in-law and thy wife a great quantity of pearls and money in gold which they brought to be passed."
"That may be," said Ricote; "but I know they did not touch my hoard, for I did not tell them where it was, for fear of accidents; and so, if thou wilt come with me, Sancho, and help me to take it away and conceal it, I will give thee two hundred crowns wherewith thou mayest relieve thy necessities, and, as thou knowest, I know they are many."
"I would do it," said Sancho; "but I am not at all covetous, for I gave up an office this morning in which, if I was, I might have made the walls of my house of gold and dined off silver plates before six months were over; and so for this reason, and because I feel I would be guilty of treason to my king if I helped his enemies, I would not go with thee if instead of promising me two hundred crowns thou wert to give me four hundred here in hand."
"And what office is this thou hast given up, Sancho?" asked Ricote.
"I have given up being governor of an island," said Sancho, "and such a one, faith, as you won't find the like of easily."
"And where is this island?" said Ricote.
"Where?" said Sancho; "two leagues from here, and it is called the island of Barataria."
"Nonsense! Sancho," said Ricote; "islands are away out in the sea; there are no islands on the mainland."
"What? No islands!" said Sancho; "I tell thee, friend Ricote, I left it this morning, and yesterday I was governing there as I pleased like a sagittarius; but for all that I gave it up, for it seemed to me a dangerous office, a governor's."
"And what hast thou gained by the government?" asked Ricote.
"I have gained," said Sancho, "the knowledge that I am no good for governing, unless it is a drove of cattle, and that the riches that are to be got by these governments are got at the cost of one's rest and sleep, ay and even one's food; for in islands the governors must eat little, especially if they have doctors to look after their health."
"I don't understand thee, Sancho," said Ricote; "but it seems to me all nonsense thou art talking. Who would give thee islands to govern? Is there any scarcity in the world of cleverer men than thou art for governors? Hold thy peace, Sancho, and come back to thy senses, and consider whether thou wilt come with me as I said to help me to take away treasure I left buried (for indeed it may be called a treasure, it is so large), and I will give thee wherewithal to keep thee, as I told thee."
"And I have told thee already, Ricote, that I will not," said Sancho; "let it content thee that by me thou shalt not be betrayed, and go thy way in God's name and let me go mine; for I know that well-gotten gain may be lost, but ill-gotten gain is lost, itself and its owner likewise."
"I will not press thee, Sancho," said Ricote; "but tell me, wert thou in our village when my wife and daughter and brother-in-law left it?"
"I was so," said Sancho; "and I can tell thee thy daughter left it looking so lovely that all the village turned out to see her, and everybody said she was the fairest creature in the world. She wept as she went, and embraced all her friends and acquaintances and those who came out to see her, and she begged them all to commend her to God and Our Lady his mother, and this in such a touching way that it made me weep myself, though I'm not much given to tears commonly; and, faith, many a one would have liked to hide her, or go out and carry her off on the road; but the fear of going against the king's command kept them back. The one who showed himself most moved was Don Pedro Gregorio, the rich young heir thou knowest of, and they say he was deep in love with her; and since she left he has not been seen in our village again, and we all suspect he has gone after her to steal her away, but so far nothing has been heard of it."
"I always had a suspicion that gentleman had a passion for my daughter," said Ricote; "but as I felt sure of my Ricota's virtue it gave me no uneasiness to know that he loved her; for thou must have heard it said, Sancho, that the Morisco women seldom or never engage in amours with the old Christians; and my daughter, who I fancy thought more of being a Christian than of lovemaking, would not trouble herself about the attentions of this heir."
"God grant it," said Sancho, "for it would be a bad business for both of them; but now let me be off, friend Ricote, for I want to reach where my master Don Quixote is to-night."
"God be with thee, brother Sancho," said Ricote; "my comrades are beginning to stir, and it is time, too, for us to continue our journey;" and then they both embraced, and Sancho mounted Dapple, and Ricote leant upon his staff, and so they parted.
OF WHAT BEFELL SANCHO ON THE ROAD, AND OTHER THINGS THAT CANNOT BE SURPASSED
The length of time he delayed with Ricote prevented Sancho from reaching the duke's castle that day, though he was within half a league of it when night, somewhat dark and cloudy, overtook him. This, however, as it was summer time, did not give him much uneasiness, and he turned aside out of the road intending to wait for morning; but his ill luck and hard fate so willed it that as he was searching about for a place to make himself as comfortable as possible, he and Dapple fell into a deep dark hole that lay among some very old buildings. As he fell he commended himself with all his heart to God, fancying he was not going to stop until he reached the depths of the bottomless pit; but it did not turn out so, for at little more than thrice a man's height Dapple touched bottom, and he found himself sitting on him without having received any hurt or damage whatever. He felt himself all over and held his breath to try whether he was quite sound or had a hole made in him anywhere, and finding himself all right and whole and in perfect health he was profuse in his thanks to God our Lord for the mercy that had been shown him, for he made sure he had been broken into a thousand pieces. He also felt along the sides of the pit with his hands to see if it were possible to get out of it without help, but he found they were quite smooth and afforded no hold anywhere, at which he was greatly distressed, especially when he heard how pathetically and dolefully Dapple was bemoaning himself, and no wonder he complained, nor was it from ill-temper, for in truth he was not in a very good case. "Alas," said Sancho, "what unexpected accidents happen at every step to those who live in this miserable world! Who would have said that one who saw himself yesterday sitting on a throne, governor of an island, giving orders to his servants and his vassals, would see himself to-day buried in a pit without a soul to help him, or servant or vassal to come to his relief? Here must we perish with hunger, my ass and myself, if indeed we don't die first, he of his bruises and injuries, and I of grief and sorrow. At any rate I'll not be as lucky as my master Don Quixote of La Mancha, when he went down into the cave of that enchanted Montesinos, where he found people to make more of him than if he had been in his own house; for it seems he came in for a table laid out and a bed ready made. There he saw fair and pleasant visions, but here I'll see, I imagine, toads and adders. Unlucky wretch that I am, what an end my follies and fancies have come to! They'll take up my bones out of this, when it is heaven's will that I'm found, picked clean, white and polished, and my good Dapple's with them, and by that, perhaps, it will be found out who we are, at least by such as have heard that Sancho Panza never separated from his ass, nor his ass from Sancho Panza. Unlucky wretches, I say again, that our hard fate should not let us die in our own country and among our own people, where if there was no help for our misfortune, at any rate there would be some one to grieve for it and to close our eyes as we passed away! O comrade and friend, how ill have I repaid thy faithful services! Forgive me, and entreat Fortune, as well as thou canst, to deliver us out of this miserable strait we are both in; and I promise to put a crown of laurel on thy head, and make thee look like a poet laureate, and give thee double feeds."
In this strain did Sancho bewail himself, and his ass listened to him, but answered him never a word, such was the distress and anguish the poor beast found himself in. At length, after a night spent in bitter moanings and lamentations, day came, and by its light Sancho perceived that it was wholly impossible to escape out of that pit without help, and he fell to bemoaning his fate and uttering loud shouts to find out if there was anyone within hearing; but all his shouting was only crying in the wilderness, for there was not a soul anywhere in the neighbourhood to hear him, and then at last he gave himself up for dead. Dapple was lying on his back, and Sancho helped him to his feet, which he was scarcely able to keep; and then taking a piece of bread out of his alforjas which had shared their fortunes in the fall, he gave it to the ass, to whom it was not unwelcome, saying to him as if he understood him, "With bread all sorrows are less."
And now he perceived on one side of the pit a hole large enough to admit a person if he stooped and squeezed himself into a small compass. Sancho made for it, and entered it by creeping, and found it wide and spacious on the inside, which he was able to see as a ray of sunlight that penetrated what might be called the roof showed it all plainly. He observed too that it opened and widened out into another spacious cavity; seeing which he made his way back to where the ass was, and with a stone began to pick away the clay from the hole until in a short time he had made room for the beast to pass easily, and this accomplished, taking him by the halter, he proceeded to traverse the cavern to see if there was any outlet at the other end. He advanced, sometimes in the dark, sometimes without light, but never without fear; "God Almighty help me!" said he to himself; "this that is a misadventure to me would make a good adventure for my master Don Quixote. He would have been sure to take these depths and dungeons for flowery gardens or the palaces of Galiana, and would have counted upon issuing out of this darkness and imprisonment into some blooming meadow; but I, unlucky that I am, hopeless and spiritless, expect at every step another pit deeper than the first to open under my feet and swallow me up for good; 'welcome evil, if thou comest alone.'"
In this way and with these reflections he seemed to himself to have travelled rather more than half a league, when at last he perceived a dim light that looked like daylight and found its way in on one side, showing that this road, which appeared to him the road to the other world, led to some opening.
Here Cide Hamete leaves him, and returns to Don Quixote, who in high spirits and satisfaction was looking forward to the day fixed for the battle he was to fight with him who had robbed Dona Rodriguez's daughter of her honour, for whom he hoped to obtain satisfaction for the wrong and injury shamefully done to her. It came to pass, then, that having sallied forth one morning to practise and exercise himself in what he would have to do in the encounter he expected to find himself engaged in the next day, as he was putting Rocinante through his paces or pressing him to the charge, he brought his feet so close to a pit that but for reining him in tightly it would have been impossible for him to avoid falling into it. He pulled him up, however, without a fall, and coming a little closer examined the hole without dismounting; but as he was looking at it he heard loud cries proceeding from it, and by listening attentively was able to make out that he who uttered them was saying, "Ho, above there! is there any Christian that hears me, or any charitable gentleman that will take pity on a sinner buried alive, on an unfortunate disgoverned governor?"
It struck Don Quixote that it was the voice of Sancho Panza he heard, whereat he was taken aback and amazed, and raising his own voice as much as he could, he cried out, "Who is below there? Who is that complaining?"
"Who should be here, or who should complain," was the answer, "but the forlorn Sancho Panza, for his sins and for his ill-luck governor of the island of Barataria, squire that was to the famous knight Don Quixote of La Mancha?"
When Don Quixote heard this his amazement was redoubled and his perturbation grew greater than ever, for it suggested itself to his mind that Sancho must be dead, and that his soul was in torment down there; and carried away by this idea he exclaimed, "I conjure thee by everything that as a Catholic Christian I can conjure thee by, tell me who thou art; and if thou art a soul in torment, tell me what thou wouldst have me do for thee; for as my profession is to give aid and succour to those that need it in this world, it will also extend to aiding and succouring the distressed of the other, who cannot help themselves."
"In that case," answered the voice, "your worship who speaks to me must be my master Don Quixote of La Mancha; nay, from the tone of the voice it is plain it can be nobody else."
"Don Quixote I am," replied Don Quixote, "he whose profession it is to aid and succour the living and the dead in their necessities; wherefore tell me who thou art, for thou art keeping me in suspense; because, if thou art my squire Sancho Panza, and art dead, since the devils have not carried thee off, and thou art by God's mercy in purgatory, our holy mother the Roman Catholic Church has intercessory means sufficient to release thee from the pains thou art in; and I for my part will plead with her to that end, so far as my substance will go; without further delay, therefore, declare thyself, and tell me who thou art."
"By all that's good," was the answer, "and by the birth of whomsoever your worship chooses, I swear, Senor Don Quixote of La Mancha, that I am your squire Sancho Panza, and that I have never died all my life; but that, having given up my government for reasons that would require more time to explain, I fell last night into this pit where I am now, and Dapple is witness and won't let me lie, for more by token he is here with me."
Nor was this all; one would have fancied the ass understood what Sancho said, because that moment he began to bray so loudly that the whole cave rang again.
"Famous testimony!" exclaimed Don Quixote; "I know that bray as well as if I was its mother, and thy voice too, my Sancho. Wait while I go to the duke's castle, which is close by, and I will bring some one to take thee out of this pit into which thy sins no doubt have brought thee."
"Go, your worship," said Sancho, "and come back quick for God's sake; for I cannot bear being buried alive any longer, and I'm dying of fear."
Don Quixote left him, and hastened to the castle to tell the duke and duchess what had happened Sancho, and they were not a little astonished at it; they could easily understand his having fallen, from the confirmatory circumstance of the cave which had been in existence there from time immemorial; but they could not imagine how he had quitted the government without their receiving any intimation of his coming. To be brief, they fetched ropes and tackle, as the saying is, and by dint of many hands and much labour they drew up Dapple and Sancho Panza out of the darkness into the light of day. A student who saw him remarked, "That's the way all bad governors should come out of their governments, as this sinner comes out of the depths of the pit, dead with hunger, pale, and I suppose without a farthing."
Sancho overheard him and said, "It is eight or ten days, brother growler, since I entered upon the government of the island they gave me, and all that time I never had a bellyful of victuals, no not for an hour; doctors persecuted me and enemies crushed my bones; nor had I any opportunity of taking bribes or levying taxes; and if that be the case, as it is, I don't deserve, I think, to come out in this fashion; but 'man proposes and God disposes;' and God knows what is best, and what suits each one best; and 'as the occasion, so the behaviour;' and 'let nobody say "I won't drink of this water;"' and 'where one thinks there are flitches, there are no pegs;' God knows my meaning and that's enough; I say no more, though I could."
"Be not angry or annoyed at what thou hearest, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "or there will never be an end of it; keep a safe conscience and let them say what they like; for trying to stop slanderers' tongues is like trying to put gates to the open plain. If a governor comes out of his government rich, they say he has been a thief; and if he comes out poor, that he has been a noodle and a blockhead."
"They'll be pretty sure this time," said Sancho, "to set me down for a fool rather than a thief."
Thus talking, and surrounded by boys and a crowd of people, they reached the castle, where in one of the corridors the duke and duchess stood waiting for them; but Sancho would not go up to see the duke until he had first put up Dapple in the stable, for he said he had passed a very bad night in his last quarters; then he went upstairs to see his lord and lady, and kneeling before them he said, "Because it was your highnesses' pleasure, not because of any desert of my own, I went to govern your island of Barataria, which 'I entered naked, and naked I find myself; I neither lose nor gain.' Whether I have governed well or ill, I have had witnesses who will say what they think fit. I have answered questions, I have decided causes, and always dying of hunger, for Doctor Pedro Recio of Tirteafuera, the island and governor doctor, would have it so. Enemies attacked us by night and put us in a great quandary, but the people of the island say they came off safe and victorious by the might of my arm; and may God give them as much health as there's truth in what they say. In short, during that time I have weighed the cares and responsibilities governing brings with it, and by my reckoning I find my shoulders can't bear them, nor are they a load for my loins or arrows for my quiver; and so, before the government threw me over I preferred to throw the government over; and yesterday morning I left the island as I found it, with the same streets, houses, and roofs it had when I entered it. I asked no loan of anybody, nor did I try to fill my pocket; and though I meant to make some useful laws, I made hardly any, as I was afraid they would not be kept; for in that case it comes to the same thing to make them or not to make them. I quitted the island, as I said, without any escort except my ass; I fell into a pit, I pushed on through it, until this morning by the light of the sun I saw an outlet, but not so easy a one but that, had not heaven sent me my master Don Quixote, I'd have stayed there till the end of the world. So now my lord and lady duke and duchess, here is your governor Sancho Panza, who in the bare ten days he has held the government has come by the knowledge that he would not give anything to be governor, not to say of an island, but of the whole world; and that point being settled, kissing your worships' feet, and imitating the game of the boys when they say, 'leap thou, and give me one,' I take a leap out of the government and pass into the service of my master Don Quixote; for after all, though in it I eat my bread in fear and trembling, at any rate I take my fill; and for my part, so long as I'm full, it's all alike to me whether it's with carrots or with partridges."
Here Sancho brought his long speech to an end, Don Quixote having been the whole time in dread of his uttering a host of absurdities; and when he found him leave off with so few, he thanked heaven in his heart. The duke embraced Sancho and told him he was heartily sorry he had given up the government so soon, but that he would see that he was provided with some other post on his estate less onerous and more profitable. The duchess also embraced him, and gave orders that he should be taken good care of, as it was plain to see he had been badly treated and worse bruised.
OF THE PRODIGIOUS AND UNPARALLELED BATTLE THAT TOOK PLACE BETWEEN DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA AND THE LACQUEY TOSILOS IN DEFENCE OF THE DAUGHTER OF DONA RODRIGUEZ
The duke and duchess had no reason to regret the joke that had been played upon Sancho Panza in giving him the government; especially as their majordomo returned the same day, and gave them a minute account of almost every word and deed that Sancho uttered or did during the time; and to wind up with, eloquently described to them the attack upon the island and Sancho's fright and departure, with which they were not a little amused. After this the history goes on to say that the day fixed for the battle arrived, and that the duke, after having repeatedly instructed his lacquey Tosilos how to deal with Don Quixote so as to vanquish him without killing or wounding him, gave orders to have the heads removed from the lances, telling Don Quixote that Christian charity, on which he plumed himself, could not suffer the battle to be fought with so much risk and danger to life; and that he must be content with the offer of a battlefield on his territory (though that was against the decree of the holy Council, which prohibits all challenges of the sort) and not push such an arduous venture to its extreme limits. Don Quixote bade his excellence arrange all matters connected with the affair as he pleased, as on his part he would obey him in everything. The dread day, then, having arrived, and the duke having ordered a spacious stand to be erected facing the court of the castle for the judges of the field and the appellant duennas, mother and daughter, vast crowds flocked from all the villages and hamlets of the neighbourhood to see the novel spectacle of the battle; nobody, dead or alive, in those parts having ever seen or heard of such a one.
The first person to enter the-field and the lists was the master of the ceremonies, who surveyed and paced the whole ground to see that there was nothing unfair and nothing concealed to make the combatants stumble or fall; then the duennas entered and seated themselves, enveloped in mantles covering their eyes, nay even their bosoms, and displaying no slight emotion as Don Quixote appeared in the lists. Shortly afterwards, accompanied by several trumpets and mounted on a powerful steed that threatened to crush the whole place, the great lacquey Tosilos made his appearance on one side of the courtyard with his visor down and stiffly cased in a suit of stout shining armour. The horse was a manifest Frieslander, broad-backed and flea-bitten, and with half a hundred of wool hanging to each of his fetlocks. The gallant combatant came well primed by his master the duke as to how he was to bear himself against the valiant Don Quixote of La Mancha; being warned that he must on no account slay him, but strive to shirk the first encounter so as to avoid the risk of killing him, as he was sure to do if he met him full tilt. He crossed the courtyard at a walk, and coming to where the duennas were placed stopped to look at her who demanded him for a husband; the marshal of the field summoned Don Quixote, who had already presented himself in the courtyard, and standing by the side of Tosilos he addressed the duennas, and asked them if they consented that Don Quixote of La Mancha should do battle for their right. They said they did, and that whatever he should do in that behalf they declared rightly done, final and valid. By this time the duke and duchess had taken their places in a gallery commanding the enclosure, which was filled to overflowing with a multitude of people eager to see this perilous and unparalleled encounter. The conditions of the combat were that if Don Quixote proved the victor his antagonist was to marry the daughter of Dona Rodriguez; but if he should be vanquished his opponent was released from the promise that was claimed against him and from all obligations to give satisfaction. The master of the ceremonies apportioned the sun to them, and stationed them, each on the spot where he was to stand. The drums beat, the sound of the trumpets filled the air, the earth trembled under foot, the hearts of the gazing crowd were full of anxiety, some hoping for a happy issue, some apprehensive of an untoward ending to the affair, and lastly, Don Quixote, commending himself with all his heart to God our Lord and to the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, stood waiting for them to give the necessary signal for the onset. Our lacquey, however, was thinking of something very different; he only thought of what I am now going to mention.
It seems that as he stood contemplating his enemy she struck him as the most beautiful woman he had ever seen all his life; and the little blind boy whom in our streets they commonly call Love had no mind to let slip the chance of triumphing over a lacquey heart, and adding it to the list of his trophies; and so, stealing gently upon him unseen, he drove a dart two yards long into the poor lacquey's left side and pierced his heart through and through; which he was able to do quite at his ease, for Love is invisible, and comes in and goes out as he likes, without anyone calling him to account for what he does. Well then, when they gave the signal for the onset our lacquey was in an ecstasy, musing upon the beauty of her whom he had already made mistress of his liberty, and so he paid no attention to the sound of the trumpet, unlike Don Quixote, who was off the instant he heard it, and, at the highest speed Rocinante was capable of, set out to meet his enemy, his good squire Sancho shouting lustily as he saw him start, "God guide thee, cream and flower of knights-errant! God give thee the victory, for thou hast the right on thy side!" But though Tosilos saw Don Quixote coming at him he never stirred a step from the spot where he was posted; and instead of doing so called loudly to the marshal of the field, to whom when he came up to see what he wanted he said, "Senor, is not this battle to decide whether I marry or do not marry that lady?" "Just so," was the answer. "Well then," said the lacquey, "I feel qualms of conscience, and I should lay a-heavy burden upon it if I were to proceed any further with the combat; I therefore declare that I yield myself vanquished, and that I am willing to marry the lady at once."
The marshal of the field was lost in astonishment at the words of Tosilos; and as he was one of those who were privy to the arrangement of the affair he knew not what to say in reply. Don Quixote pulled up in mid career when he saw that his enemy was not coming on to the attack. The duke could not make out the reason why the battle did not go on; but the marshal of the field hastened to him to let him know what Tosilos said, and he was amazed and extremely angry at it. In the meantime Tosilos advanced to where Dona Rodriguez sat and said in a loud voice, "Senora, I am willing to marry your daughter, and I have no wish to obtain by strife and fighting what I can obtain in peace and without any risk to my life."
The valiant Don Quixote heard him, and said, "As that is the case I am released and absolved from my promise; let them marry by all means, and as 'God our Lord has given her, may Saint Peter add his blessing.'"
The duke had now descended to the courtyard of the castle, and going up to Tosilos he said to him, "Is it true, sir knight, that you yield yourself vanquished, and that moved by scruples of conscience you wish to marry this damsel?"
"It is, senor," replied Tosilos.
"And he does well," said Sancho, "for what thou hast to give to the mouse, give to the cat, and it will save thee all trouble."
Tosilos meanwhile was trying to unlace his helmet, and he begged them to come to his help at once, as his power of breathing was failing him, and he could not remain so long shut up in that confined space. They removed it in all haste, and his lacquey features were revealed to public gaze. At this sight Dona Rodriguez and her daughter raised a mighty outcry, exclaiming, "This is a trick! This is a trick! They have put Tosilos, my lord the duke's lacquey, upon us in place of the real husband. The justice of God and the king against such trickery, not to say roguery!"
"Do not distress yourselves, ladies," said Don Quixote; "for this is no trickery or roguery; or if it is, it is not the duke who is at the bottom of it, but those wicked enchanters who persecute me, and who, jealous of my reaping the glory of this victory, have turned your husband's features into those of this person, who you say is a lacquey of the duke's; take my advice, and notwithstanding the malice of my enemies marry him, for beyond a doubt he is the one you wish for a husband."
When the duke heard this all his anger was near vanishing in a fit of laughter, and he said, "The things that happen to Senor Don Quixote are so extraordinary that I am ready to believe this lacquey of mine is not one; but let us adopt this plan and device; let us put off the marriage for, say, a fortnight, and let us keep this person about whom we are uncertain in close confinement, and perhaps in the course of that time he may return to his original shape; for the spite which the enchanters entertain against Senor Don Quixote cannot last so long, especially as it is of so little advantage to them to practise these deceptions and transformations."
"Oh, senor," said Sancho, "those scoundrels are well used to changing whatever concerns my master from one thing into another. A knight that he overcame some time back, called the Knight of the Mirrors, they turned into the shape of the bachelor Samson Carrasco of our town and a great friend of ours; and my lady Dulcinea del Toboso they have turned into a common country wench; so I suspect this lacquey will have to live and die a lacquey all the days of his life."
Here the Rodriguez's daughter exclaimed, "Let him be who he may, this man that claims me for a wife; I am thankful to him for the same, for I had rather be the lawful wife of a lacquey than the cheated mistress of a gentleman; though he who played me false is nothing of the kind."
To be brief, all the talk and all that had happened ended in Tosilos being shut up until it was seen how his transformation turned out. All hailed Don Quixote as victor, but the greater number were vexed and disappointed at finding that the combatants they had been so anxiously waiting for had not battered one another to pieces, just as the boys are disappointed when the man they are waiting to see hanged does not come out, because the prosecution or the court has pardoned him. The people dispersed, the duke and Don Quixote returned to the castle, they locked up Tosilos, Dona Rodriguez and her daughter remained perfectly contented when they saw that any way the affair must end in marriage, and Tosilos wanted nothing else.
WHICH TREATS OF HOW DON QUIXOTE TOOK LEAVE OF THE DUKE, AND OF WHAT FOLLOWED WITH THE WITTY AND IMPUDENT ALTISIDORA, ONE OF THE DUCHESS'S DAMSELS
Don Quixote now felt it right to quit a life of such idleness as he was leading in the castle; for he fancied that he was making himself sorely missed by suffering himself to remain shut up and inactive amid the countless luxuries and enjoyments his hosts lavished upon him as a knight, and he felt too that he would have to render a strict account to heaven of that indolence and seclusion; and so one day he asked the duke and duchess to grant him permission to take his departure. They gave it, showing at the same time that they were very sorry he was leaving them.
The duchess gave his wife's letters to Sancho Panza, who shed tears over them, saying, "Who would have thought that such grand hopes as the news of my government bred in my wife Teresa Panza's breast would end in my going back now to the vagabond adventures of my master Don Quixote of La Mancha? Still I'm glad to see my Teresa behaved as she ought in sending the acorns, for if she had not sent them I'd have been sorry, and she'd have shown herself ungrateful. It is a comfort to me that they can't call that present a bribe; for I had got the government already when she sent them, and it's but reasonable that those who have had a good turn done them should show their gratitude, if it's only with a trifle. After all I went into the government naked, and I come out of it naked; so I can say with a safe conscience--and that's no small matter--'naked I was born, naked I find myself, I neither lose nor gain.'"
Thus did Sancho soliloquise on the day of their departure, as Don Quixote, who had the night before taken leave of the duke and duchess, coming out made his appearance at an early hour in full armour in the courtyard of the castle. The whole household of the castle were watching him from the corridors, and the duke and duchess, too, came out to see him. Sancho was mounted on his Dapple, with his alforjas, valise, and proven, supremely happy because the duke's majordomo, the same that had acted the part of the Trifaldi, had given him a little purse with two hundred gold crowns to meet the necessary expenses of the road, but of this Don Quixote knew nothing as yet. While all were, as has been said, observing him, suddenly from among the duennas and handmaidens the impudent and witty Altisidora lifted up her voice and said in pathetic tones:
Give ear, cruel knight;
Draw rein; where's the need Of spurring the flanks
Of that ill-broken steed? From what art thou flying?
No dragon I am, Not even a sheep,
But a tender young lamb. Thou hast jilted a maiden
As fair to behold As nymph of Diana
Or Venus of old.
Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?
Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!
In thy claws, ruthless robber,
Thou bearest away The heart of a meek
Loving maid for thy prey, Three kerchiefs thou stealest,
And garters a pair, From legs than the whitest
Of marble more fair; And the sighs that pursue thee
Would burn to the ground Two thousand Troy Towns,
If so many were found.
Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?
Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!
May no bowels of mercy
To Sancho be granted, And thy Dulcinea
Be left still enchanted, May thy falsehood to me
Find its punishment in her, For in my land the just
Often pays for the sinner. May thy grandest adventures
Discomfitures prove, May thy joys be all dreams,
And forgotten thy love.
Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?
Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!
May thy name be abhorred
For thy conduct to ladies, From London to England,
From Seville to Cadiz; May thy cards be unlucky,
Thy hands contain ne'er a King, seven, or ace
When thou playest primera; When thy corns are cut
May it be to the quick; When thy grinders are drawn
May the roots of them stick.
Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?
Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!
All the while the unhappy Altisidora was bewailing herself in the above strain Don Quixote stood staring at her; and without uttering a word in reply to her he turned round to Sancho and said, "Sancho my friend, I conjure thee by the life of thy forefathers tell me the truth; say, hast thou by any chance taken the three kerchiefs and the garters this love-sick maid speaks of?"
To this Sancho made answer, "The three kerchiefs I have; but the garters, as much as 'over the hills of Ubeda.'"
The duchess was amazed at Altisidora's assurance; she knew that she was bold, lively, and impudent, but not so much so as to venture to make free in this fashion; and not being prepared for the joke, her astonishment was all the greater. The duke had a mind to keep up the sport, so he said, "It does not seem to me well done in you, sir knight, that after having received the hospitality that has been offered you in this very castle, you should have ventured to carry off even three kerchiefs, not to say my handmaid's garters. It shows a bad heart and does not tally with your reputation. Restore her garters, or else I defy you to mortal combat, for I am not afraid of rascally enchanters changing or altering my features as they changed his who encountered you into those of my lacquey, Tosilos."
"God forbid," said Don Quixote, "that I should draw my sword against your illustrious person from which I have received such great favours. The kerchiefs I will restore, as Sancho says he has them; as to the garters that is impossible, for I have not got them, neither has he; and if your handmaiden here will look in her hiding-places, depend upon it she will find them. I have never been a thief, my lord duke, nor do I mean to be so long as I live, if God cease not to have me in his keeping. This damsel by her own confession speaks as one in love, for which I am not to blame, and therefore need not ask pardon, either of her or of your excellence, whom I entreat to have a better opinion of me, and once more to give me leave to pursue my journey."
"And may God so prosper it, Senor Don Quixote," said the duchess, "that we may always hear good news of your exploits; God speed you; for the longer you stay, the more you inflame the hearts of the damsels who behold you; and as for this one of mine, I will so chastise her that she will not transgress again, either with her eyes or with her words."
"One word and no more, O valiant Don Quixote, I ask you to hear," said Altisidora, "and that is that I beg your pardon about the theft of the garters; for by God and upon my soul I have got them on, and I have fallen into the same blunder as he did who went looking for his ass being all the while mounted on it."
"Didn't I say so?" said Sancho. "I'm a likely one to hide thefts! Why if I wanted to deal in them, opportunities came ready enough to me in my government."
Don Quixote bowed his head, and saluted the duke and duchess and all the bystanders, and wheeling Rocinante round, Sancho following him on Dapple, he rode out of the castle, shaping his course for Saragossa.
WHICH TELLS HOW ADVENTURES CAME CROWDING ON DON QUIXOTE IN SUCH NUMBERS THAT THEY GAVE ONE ANOTHER NO BREATHING-TIME
When Don Quixote saw himself in open country, free, and relieved from the attentions of Altisidora, he felt at his ease, and in fresh spirits to take up the pursuit of chivalry once more; and turning to Sancho he said, "Freedom, Sancho, is one of the most precious gifts that heaven has bestowed upon men; no treasures that the earth holds buried or the sea conceals can compare with it; for freedom, as for honour, life may and should be ventured; and on the other hand, captivity is the greatest evil that can fall to the lot of man. I say this, Sancho, because thou hast seen the good cheer, the abundance we have enjoyed in this castle we are leaving; well then, amid those dainty banquets and snow-cooled beverages I felt as though I were undergoing the straits of hunger, because I did not enjoy them with the same freedom as if they had been mine own; for the sense of being under an obligation to return benefits and favours received is a restraint that checks the independence of the spirit. Happy he, to whom heaven has given a piece of bread for which he is not bound to give thanks to any but heaven itself!"
"For all your worship says," said Sancho, "it is not becoming that there should be no thanks on our part for two hundred gold crowns that the duke's majordomo has given me in a little purse which I carry next my heart, like a warming plaster or comforter, to meet any chance calls; for we shan't always find castles where they'll entertain us; now and then we may light upon roadside inns where they'll cudgel us."
In conversation of this sort the knight and squire errant were pursuing their journey, when, after they had gone a little more than half a league, they perceived some dozen men dressed like labourers stretched upon their cloaks on the grass of a green meadow eating their dinner. They had beside them what seemed to be white sheets concealing some objects under them, standing upright or lying flat, and arranged at intervals. Don Quixote approached the diners, and, saluting them courteously first, he asked them what it was those cloths covered. "Senor," answered one of the party, "under these cloths are some images carved in relief intended for a retablo we are putting up in our village; we carry them covered up that they may not be soiled, and on our shoulders that they may not be broken."
"With your good leave," said Don Quixote, "I should like to see them; for images that are carried so carefully no doubt must be fine ones."
"I should think they were!" said the other; "let the money they cost speak for that; for as a matter of fact there is not one of them that does not stand us in more than fifty ducats; and that your worship may judge; wait a moment, and you shall see with your own eyes;" and getting up from his dinner he went and uncovered the first image, which proved to be one of Saint George on horseback with a serpent writhing at his feet and the lance thrust down its throat with all that fierceness that is usually depicted. The whole group was one blaze of gold, as the saying is. On seeing it Don Quixote said, "That knight was one of the best knights-errant the army of heaven ever owned; he was called Don Saint George, and he was moreover a defender of maidens. Let us see this next one."
The man uncovered it, and it was seen to be that of Saint Martin on his horse, dividing his cloak with the beggar. The instant Don Quixote saw it he said, "This knight too was one of the Christian adventurers, but I believe he was generous rather than valiant, as thou mayest perceive, Sancho, by his dividing his cloak with the beggar and giving him half of it; no doubt it was winter at the time, for otherwise he would have given him the whole of it, so charitable was he."
"It was not that, most likely," said Sancho, "but that he held with the proverb that says, 'For giving and keeping there's need of brains.'"
Don Quixote laughed, and asked them to take off the next cloth, underneath which was seen the image of the patron saint of the Spains seated on horseback, his sword stained with blood, trampling on Moors and treading heads underfoot; and on seeing it Don Quixote exclaimed, "Ay, this is a knight, and of the squadrons of Christ! This one is called Don Saint James the Moorslayer, one of the bravest saints and knights the world ever had or heaven has now."
They then raised another cloth which it appeared covered Saint Paul falling from his horse, with all the details that are usually given in representations of his conversion. When Don Quixote saw it, rendered in such lifelike style that one would have said Christ was speaking and Paul answering, "This," he said, "was in his time the greatest enemy that the Church of God our Lord had, and the greatest champion it will ever have; a knight-errant in life, a steadfast saint in death, an untiring labourer in the Lord's vineyard, a teacher of the Gentiles, whose school was heaven, and whose instructor and master was Jesus Christ himself."
There were no more images, so Don Quixote bade them cover them up again, and said to those who had brought them, "I take it as a happy omen, brothers, to have seen what I have; for these saints and knights were of the same profession as myself, which is the calling of arms; only there is this difference between them and me, that they were saints, and fought with divine weapons, and I am a sinner and fight with human ones. They won heaven by force of arms, for heaven suffereth violence; and I, so far, know not what I have won by dint of my sufferings; but if my Dulcinea del Toboso were to be released from hers, perhaps with mended fortunes and a mind restored to itself I might direct my steps in a better path than I am following at present."
"May God hear and sin be deaf," said Sancho to this.
The men were filled with wonder, as well at the figure as at the words of Don Quixote, though they did not understand one half of what he meant by them. They finished their dinner, took their images on their backs, and bidding farewell to Don Quixote resumed their journey.
Sancho was amazed afresh at the extent of his master's knowledge, as much as if he had never known him, for it seemed to him that there was no story or event in the world that he had not at his fingers' ends and fixed in his memory, and he said to him, "In truth, master mine, if this that has happened to us to-day is to be called an adventure, it has been one of the sweetest and pleasantest that have befallen us in the whole course of our travels; we have come out of it unbelaboured and undismayed, neither have we drawn sword nor have we smitten the earth with our bodies, nor have we been left famishing; blessed be God that he has let me see such a thing with my own eyes!"
"Thou sayest well, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "but remember all times are not alike nor do they always run the same way; and these things the vulgar commonly call omens, which are not based upon any natural reason, will by him who is wise be esteemed and reckoned happy accidents merely. One of these believers in omens will get up of a morning, leave his house, and meet a friar of the order of the blessed Saint Francis, and, as if he had met a griffin, he will turn about and go home. With another Mendoza the salt is spilt on his table, and gloom is spilt over his heart, as if nature was obliged to give warning of coming misfortunes by means of such trivial things as these. The wise man and the Christian should not trifle with what it may please heaven to do. Scipio on coming to Africa stumbled as he leaped on shore; his soldiers took it as a bad omen; but he, clasping the soil with his arms, exclaimed, 'Thou canst not escape me, Africa, for I hold thee tight between my arms.' Thus, Sancho, meeting those images has been to me a most happy occurrence."
"I can well believe it," said Sancho; "but I wish your worship would tell me what is the reason that the Spaniards, when they are about to give battle, in calling on that Saint James the Moorslayer, say 'Santiago and close Spain!' Is Spain, then, open, so that it is needful to close it; or what is the meaning of this form?"
"Thou art very simple, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "God, look you, gave that great knight of the Red Cross to Spain as her patron saint and protector, especially in those hard struggles the Spaniards had with the Moors; and therefore they invoke and call upon him as their defender in all their battles; and in these he has been many a time seen beating down, trampling under foot, destroying and slaughtering the Hagarene squadrons in the sight of all; of which fact I could give thee many examples recorded in truthful Spanish histories."
Sancho changed the subject, and said to his master, "I marvel, senor, at the boldness of Altisidora, the duchess's handmaid; he whom they call Love must have cruelly pierced and wounded her; they say he is a little blind urchin who, though blear-eyed, or more properly speaking sightless, if he aims at a heart, be it ever so small, hits it and pierces it through and through with his arrows. I have heard it said too that the arrows of Love are blunted and robbed of their points by maidenly modesty and reserve; but with this Altisidora it seems they are sharpened rather than blunted."
"Bear in mind, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that love is influenced by no consideration, recognises no restraints of reason, and is of the same nature as death, that assails alike the lofty palaces of kings and the humble cabins of shepherds; and when it takes entire possession of a heart, the first thing it does is to banish fear and shame from it; and so without shame Altisidora declared her passion, which excited in my mind embarrassment rather than commiseration."
"Notable cruelty!" exclaimed Sancho; "unheard-of ingratitude! I can only say for myself that the very smallest loving word of hers would have subdued me and made a slave of me. The devil! What a heart of marble, what bowels of brass, what a soul of mortar! But I can't imagine what it is that this damsel saw in your worship that could have conquered and captivated her so. What gallant figure was it, what bold bearing, what sprightly grace, what comeliness of feature, which of these things by itself, or what all together, could have made her fall in love with you? For indeed and in truth many a time I stop to look at your worship from the sole of your foot to the topmost hair of your head, and I see more to frighten one than to make one fall in love; moreover I have heard say that beauty is the first and main thing that excites love, and as your worship has none at all, I don't know what the poor creature fell in love with."
"Recollect, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "there are two sorts of beauty, one of the mind, the other of the body; that of the mind displays and exhibits itself in intelligence, in modesty, in honourable conduct, in generosity, in good breeding; and all these qualities are possible and may exist in an ugly man; and when it is this sort of beauty and not that of the body that is the attraction, love is apt to spring up suddenly and violently. I, Sancho, perceive clearly enough that I am not beautiful, but at the same time I know I am not hideous; and it is enough for an honest man not to be a monster to be an object of love, if only he possesses the endowments of mind I have mentioned."
While engaged in this discourse they were making their way through a wood that lay beyond the road, when suddenly, without expecting anything of the kind, Don Quixote found himself caught in some nets of green cord stretched from one tree to another; and unable to conceive what it could be, he said to Sancho, "Sancho, it strikes me this affair of these nets will prove one of the strangest adventures imaginable. May I die if the enchanters that persecute me are not trying to entangle me in them and delay my journey, by way of revenge for my obduracy towards Altisidora. Well then let me tell them that if these nets, instead of being green cord, were made of the hardest diamonds, or stronger than that wherewith the jealous god of blacksmiths enmeshed Venus and Mars, I would break them as easily as if they were made of rushes or cotton threads." But just as he was about to press forward and break through all, suddenly from among some trees two shepherdesses of surpassing beauty presented themselves to his sight--or at least damsels dressed like shepherdesses, save that their jerkins and sayas were of fine brocade; that is to say, the sayas were rich farthingales of gold embroidered tabby. Their hair, that in its golden brightness vied with the beams of the sun itself, fell loose upon their shoulders and was crowned with garlands twined with green laurel and red everlasting; and their years to all appearance were not under fifteen nor above eighteen.
Such was the spectacle that filled Sancho with amazement, fascinated Don Quixote, made the sun halt in his course to behold them, and held all four in a strange silence. One of the shepherdesses, at length, was the first to speak and said to Don Quixote, "Hold, sir knight, and do not break these nets; for they are not spread here to do you any harm, but only for our amusement; and as I know you will ask why they have been put up, and who we are, I will tell you in a few words. In a village some two leagues from this, where there are many people of quality and rich gentlefolk, it was agreed upon by a number of friends and relations to come with their wives, sons and daughters, neighbours, friends and kinsmen, and make holiday in this spot, which is one of the pleasantest in the whole neighbourhood, setting up a new pastoral Arcadia among ourselves, we maidens dressing ourselves as shepherdesses and the youths as shepherds. We have prepared two eclogues, one by the famous poet Garcilasso, the other by the most excellent Camoens, in its own Portuguese tongue, but we have not as yet acted them. Yesterday was the first day of our coming here; we have a few of what they say are called field-tents pitched among the trees on the bank of an ample brook that fertilises all these meadows; last night we spread these nets in the trees here to snare the silly little birds that startled by the noise we make may fly into them. If you please to be our guest, senor, you will be welcomed heartily and courteously, for here just now neither care nor sorrow shall enter."
She held her peace and said no more, and Don Quixote made answer, "Of a truth, fairest lady, Actaeon when he unexpectedly beheld Diana bathing in the stream could not have been more fascinated and wonderstruck than I at the sight of your beauty. I commend your mode of entertainment, and thank you for the kindness of your invitation; and if I can serve you, you may command me with full confidence of being obeyed, for my profession is none other than to show myself grateful, and ready to serve persons of all conditions, but especially persons of quality such as your appearance indicates; and if, instead of taking up, as they probably do, but a small space, these nets took up the whole surface of the globe, I would seek out new worlds through which to pass, so as not to break them; and that ye may give some degree of credence to this exaggerated language of mine, know that it is no less than Don Quixote of La Mancha that makes this declaration to you, if indeed it be that such a name has reached your ears."
"Ah! friend of my soul," instantly exclaimed the other shepherdess, "what great good fortune has befallen us! Seest thou this gentleman we have before us? Well then let me tell thee he is the most valiant and the most devoted and the most courteous gentleman in all the world, unless a history of his achievements that has been printed and I have read is telling lies and deceiving us. I will lay a wager that this good fellow who is with him is one Sancho Panza his squire, whose drolleries none can equal."
"That's true," said Sancho; "I am that same droll and squire you speak of, and this gentleman is my master Don Quixote of La Mancha, the same that's in the history and that they talk about."
"Oh, my friend," said the other, "let us entreat him to stay; for it will give our fathers and brothers infinite pleasure; I too have heard just what thou hast told me of the valour of the one and the drolleries of the other; and what is more, of him they say that he is the most constant and loyal lover that was ever heard of, and that his lady is one Dulcinea del Toboso, to whom all over Spain the palm of beauty is awarded."
"And justly awarded," said Don Quixote, "unless, indeed, your unequalled beauty makes it a matter of doubt. But spare yourselves the trouble, ladies, of pressing me to stay, for the urgent calls of my profession do not allow me to take rest under any circumstances."
At this instant there came up to the spot where the four stood a brother of one of the two shepherdesses, like them in shepherd costume, and as richly and gaily dressed as they were. They told him that their companion was the valiant Don Quixote of La Mancha, and the other Sancho his squire, of whom he knew already from having read their history. The gay shepherd offered him his services and begged that he would accompany him to their tents, and Don Quixote had to give way and comply. And now the gave was started, and the nets were filled with a variety of birds that deceived by the colour fell into the danger they were flying from. Upwards of thirty persons, all gaily attired as shepherds and shepherdesses, assembled on the spot, and were at once informed who Don Quixote and his squire were, whereat they were not a little delighted, as they knew of him already through his history. They repaired to the tents, where they found tables laid out, and choicely, plentifully, and neatly furnished. They treated Don Quixote as a person of distinction, giving him the place of honour, and all observed him, and were full of astonishment at the spectacle. At last the cloth being removed, Don Quixote with great composure lifted up his voice and said:
"One of the greatest sins that men are guilty of is--some will say pride--but I say ingratitude, going by the common saying that hell is full of ingrates. This sin, so far as it has lain in my power, I have endeavoured to avoid ever since I have enjoyed the faculty of reason; and if I am unable to requite good deeds that have been done me by other deeds, I substitute the desire to do so; and if that be not enough I make them known publicly; for he who declares and makes known the good deeds done to him would repay them by others if it were in his power, and for the most part those who receive are the inferiors of those who give. Thus, God is superior to all because he is the supreme giver, and the offerings of man fall short by an infinite distance of being a full return for the gifts of God; but gratitude in some degree makes up for this deficiency and shortcoming. I therefore, grateful for the favour that has been extended to me here, and unable to make a return in the same measure, restricted as I am by the narrow limits of my power, offer what I can and what I have to offer in my own way; and so I declare that for two full days I will maintain in the middle of this highway leading to Saragossa, that these ladies disguised as shepherdesses, who are here present, are the fairest and most courteous maidens in the world, excepting only the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso, sole mistress of my thoughts, be it said without offence to those who hear me, ladies and gentlemen."
On hearing this Sancho, who had been listening with great attention, cried out in a loud voice, "Is it possible there is anyone in the world who will dare to say and swear that this master of mine is a madman? Say, gentlemen shepherds, is there a village priest, be he ever so wise or learned, who could say what my master has said; or is there knight-errant, whatever renown he may have as a man of valour, that could offer what my master has offered now?"
Don Quixote turned upon Sancho, and with a countenance glowing with anger said to him, "Is it possible, Sancho, there is anyone in the whole world who will say thou art not a fool, with a lining to match, and I know not what trimmings of impertinence and roguery? Who asked thee to meddle in my affairs, or to inquire whether I am a wise man or a blockhead? Hold thy peace; answer me not a word; saddle Rocinante if he be unsaddled; and let us go to put my offer into execution; for with the right that I have on my side thou mayest reckon as vanquished all who shall venture to question it;" and in a great rage, and showing his anger plainly, he rose from his seat, leaving the company lost in wonder, and making them feel doubtful whether they ought to regard him as a madman or a rational being. In the end, though they sought to dissuade him from involving himself in such a challenge, assuring him they admitted his gratitude as fully established, and needed no fresh proofs to be convinced of his valiant spirit, as those related in the history of his exploits were sufficient, still Don Quixote persisted in his resolve; and mounted on Rocinante, bracing his buckler on his arm and grasping his lance, he posted himself in the middle of a high road that was not far from the green meadow. Sancho followed on Dapple, together with all the members of the pastoral gathering, eager to see what would be the upshot of his vainglorious and extraordinary proposal.
Don Quixote, then, having, as has been said, planted himself in the middle of the road, made the welkin ring with words to this effect: "Ho ye travellers and wayfarers, knights, squires, folk on foot or on horseback, who pass this way or shall pass in the course of the next two days! Know that Don Quixote of La Mancha, knight-errant, is posted here to maintain by arms that the beauty and courtesy enshrined in the nymphs that dwell in these meadows and groves surpass all upon earth, putting aside the lady of my heart, Dulcinea del Toboso. Wherefore, let him who is of the opposite opinion come on, for here I await him."
Twice he repeated the same words, and twice they fell unheard by any adventurer; but fate, that was guiding affairs for him from better to better, so ordered it that shortly afterwards there appeared on the road a crowd of men on horseback, many of them with lances in their hands, all riding in a compact body and in great haste. No sooner had those who were with Don Quixote seen them than they turned about and withdrew to some distance from the road, for they knew that if they stayed some harm might come to them; but Don Quixote with intrepid heart stood his ground, and Sancho Panza shielded himself with Rocinante's hind-quarters. The troop of lancers came up, and one of them who was in advance began shouting to Don Quixote, "Get out of the way, you son of the devil, or these bulls will knock you to pieces!"
"Rabble!" returned Don Quixote, "I care nothing for bulls, be they the fiercest Jarama breeds on its banks. Confess at once, scoundrels, that what I have declared is true; else ye have to deal with me in combat."
The herdsman had no time to reply, nor Don Quixote to get out of the way even if he wished; and so the drove of fierce bulls and tame bullocks, together with the crowd of herdsmen and others who were taking them to be penned up in a village where they were to be run the next day, passed over Don Quixote and over Sancho, Rocinante and Dapple, hurling them all to the earth and rolling them over on the ground. Sancho was left crushed, Don Quixote scared, Dapple belaboured and Rocinante in no very sound condition.
They all got up, however, at length, and Don Quixote in great haste, stumbling here and falling there, started off running after the drove, shouting out, "Hold! stay! ye rascally rabble, a single knight awaits you, and he is not of the temper or opinion of those who say, 'For a flying enemy make a bridge of silver.'" The retreating party in their haste, however, did not stop for that, or heed his menaces any more than last year's clouds. Weariness brought Don Quixote to a halt, and more enraged than avenged he sat down on the road to wait until Sancho, Rocinante and Dapple came up. When they reached him master and man mounted once more, and without going back to bid farewell to the mock or imitation Arcadia, and more in humiliation than contentment, they continued their journey.