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Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[115]-

The Life and Exploits
of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes, Translated by Charles Jarvis, Esq.

The First Part
 

CHAPTER XXV: Which treats of the strange Things that befell the valiant Knight
of La Mancha in the Sable Mountain; and how he imitated the Penance of Beltenebros.

 

Don Quixote took his leave of the goatherd, and mounting again on Rozinante, commanded Sancho to follow him; which he did with a very ill will. They jogged on softly, entering into the most craggy part of the mountain; and Sancho was ready to burst for want of some talk with his master, but would fain have had him begin the discourse, that he might not break through what he had enjoined him; but not being able to endure so long a silence, he said to him, "Signor Don Quixote, be pleased to give me your worship's blessings, and my dismission; for I will get me home to my wife and children, with whom I shall at least have the privilege of talking, and speaking my mind; for, to desire me to bear your worship company through these solitudes, night and day, without suffering me to talk when I list, is to bury me alive. If fate had ordered it, that beasts should talk now as they did in the days of Guisopete, it had not been quite so bad; since I might then have communed with my ass as I pleased, and thus have forgotten my ill-fortune; for it is very hard, and not to be borne with patience, for a man to ramble about all his life in quest of adventures, and to meet with nothing but kicks and cuffs, tossings in a blanket, and brickbat bangs, and, with all this, to sew up his mouth, and not dare to utter what he has in his heart, as if he were dumb." — "I understand you, Sancho," answered Don Quixote; "you are impatient until I take off the embargo I have laid on your tongue; suppose it taken off, and say what you will, upon condition that this revocation is to last no longer than whilst we are wandering among these craggy rocks." — "Be it so," said Sancho; "let me talk now, for God knows what will be hereafter. And so beginning to enjoy the benefit of this license, I say, What had your worship to do to stand up so warmly for that same Queen Magimasa, or what's her name; or, what was it to the purpose whether that abbot (64) was her gallant or no? For had you let that pass, seeing you were not his judge, I verily believe the madman would have gone on with his story, and you would have escaped the thump with the stone, the kicks, and above half-a-dozen buffets."

"In faith, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "if you did but know, as I do, how honourable and how excellent a lady Queen Madasima was, I am certain you would own I had a great deal of patience that I did not dash to pieces that mouth out of which such blasphemies issued. For it is very great blasphemy to say, or even to think, that a Queen should be -[116]- punk to a barber-surgeon. The truth of the story is, that that same master Elisabat whom the madman spoke of, was a very prudent man, and of a very sound judgment, and served as tutor and physician to the Queen; but to think she was his paramour is an impertinence that deserves to be severely chastised. And to show you that Cardenio did not know what he said, you may remember that when he said it he was out of his wits."— "So say I," quoth Sancho; "and therefore no account should have been made of his words; for if good fortune had not been your friend, and the flint-stone had been directed at your head as it was at your breast, we had been in a fine condition for standing up in defence of that dear lady, whom God confound. Besides, do you think Cardenio, if he had killed you, would not have come off as being a madman?" — "A knight-errant," answered Don Quixote, "is obliged to defend the honour of women, be they what they will, both against men in their senses and those out of them; how much more then should he stand up in defence of queens of such high degree and worth as was Queen Madasima, for whom I have a particular affection on account of her good parts; for, besides her being extremely beautiful, she was very prudent, and very patient in her afflictions, of which she had many. And the counsels and company of master Elisabat were of great use and comfort to her, in helping her to bear her sufferings with prudence and patience. Hence the ignorant and evil- minded vulgar took occasion to think and talk that she was his paramour; and I say again they lie, and will lie two hundred times more, all who say or think her so." — "I neither say nor think so," answered Sancho; "let those who say it eat the lie, and swallow it with their bread; whether they were guilty or no they have given an account to God before now: I come from my vineyard; I know nothing; I am no friend to inquiring into other men's lives; for he that buys and lies shall find the lie left in his purse behind; besides, naked was I born, and naked I remain; I neither win nor lose; if they were guilty what is that to me? Many think to find bacon where there is not so much as a pin to hang it on; but who can hedge in the cuckoo? Especially, do they spare God Himself?" — "God be my aid," said Don Quixote, "what a parcel of impertinences are you stringing! what has the subject we are upon to do with the proverbs you are threading like beads? Prythee, Sancho, hold your tongue, and henceforward mind spurring your ass, and forbear meddling with what does not concern you. And understand, with all your five senses, that whatever I have done, do, or shall do, is highly reasonable, and exactly conformable to the rules of chivalry, which I am better acquainted with than all the knights who have professed it in the world." — "Sir," replied Sancho, "is it a good rule of chivalry, that we go wandering through these mountains, without path or road, in quest of a madman, who, perhaps, when he is found, will have a mind to finish what he had begun, not his story, but the breaking of your head and my ribs?"

"Peace, I say, Sancho, once again," said Don Quixote; "for know, that it is not barely the desire of finding the madman that brings me to these parts, but the intention I have to perform an exploit in them, by which I shall acquire a perpetual name and renown over the face of the whole earth; and it shall be such an one as shall set the seal to all that can render a knight-errant complete and famous." — "And is this same exploit a dangerous one?" quoth Sancho Panza. "No," answered he of the Sorrowful Figure; "though the die may chance to run so that we may -[117]- have an unlucky throw; but the whole will depend upon your diligence." — "Upon my diligence!" quoth Sancho. "Yes," said Don Quixote; "for if you return speedily from the place whither I intend to send you, my pain will soon be over, and my glory will presently commence: and because it is not expedient to keep you any longer in suspense, waiting to know what my discourse drives at, understand, Sancho, that the famous Amadis de Gaul was one of the most complete knights-errant: I should not have said one of; he was the sole, the principal, the only one; in short, the prince of all that were in his time in the world. A fig for Don Belianis, and for all those who say he equalled him in anything! for I swear they are mistaken. I say also, that if a painter would be famous in his art, he must endeavour to copy after the originals of the most excellent masters he knows. And the same rule holds good for all other arts and sciences, that serve as ornaments of the commonwealth. In like manner, whoever aspires to the character of prudent and patient, must imitate Ulysses, in whose person and toils Homer draws a lively picture of prudence and patience; as Virgil also does of a pious son and a valiant and expert captain, in the person of Ζneas; not delineating or describing them as they really were, but as they ought to be, in order to serve as patterns of virtue to succeeding generations. In this very manner was Amadis the polar, the morning star, and the sun of all valiant and enamoured knights, and he whom all we who militate under the banners of love and chivalry, ought to follow. This being so, friend Sancho, the knight-errant who imitates him the most nearly, will, I take it, stand the fairest to arrive at the perfection of chivalry. And one circumstance in which this knight most eminently discovered his prudence, worth, courage, patience, constancy, and love, was his retiring, when disdained by the Lady Oriana, to do penance in the poor rock, changing his name to that of Beltenebros, or the Lovely-Obscure; a name most certainly significant and proper for the life he had voluntarily chosen. Now, it is easier for me to copy after him in this than in cleaving giants, beheading serpents, slaying dragons, routing armies, shattering fleets, and dissolving enchantments. And since this place is so well adapted for the purpose, there is no reason why I should let slip the opportunity which now so commodiously offers me its forelock."

"In effect," quoth Sancho, "what is it your worship intends to do in so remote a place as this?" — "Have I not told you," answered Don Quixote, "that I design to imitate Amadis acting here the desperado, the senseless, and the madman; at the same time copying the valiant Don Orlando, when he found by the side of a fountain some indications that Angelica the Fair had dishonoured herself with Medoro; at grief whereof he ran mad, tore up trees by the roots, disturbed the waters of the crystal springs, slew shepherds, destroyed flocks, fired cottages, demolished houses, dragged mares on the ground, and did an hundred thousand other extravagances worthy to be recorded and had in eternal remembrance. And supposing that I do not intend to imitate Roldan or Rolando, or Rotulando, for he had all these three names in every point, and in all the mad things he acted, said, and thought, I will make a sketch of them the best I can in what I judge the most essential. And perhaps I may satisfy myself with only copying Amadis, who without playing any mischievous pranks, by weepings and tendernesses, arrived to as great fame as the best of them all." — "It seems to me," quoth Sancho, "that the knights who acted in such manner were provoked to it, and had a -[118]- reason for doing these follies and penances; but pray, what cause has your worship to run mad? What lady has disdained you? Or what tokens have you discovered, to convince you that the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso has committed folly either with Moor (65) or Christian?" — "There lies the point," answered Don Quixote, "and in this consists the finesse of my affair: a knight-errant, who runs mad upon a just occasion, deserves no thanks; but to do so without reason, is the business, giving my lady to understand what I should perform in the wet, if I do this in the dry. How much rather, since I have cause enough given me, by being so long absent from my ever-honoured lady Dulcinea del Toboso; for, as you may have heard from that whilom shepherd, Ambrosio, The absent feel and fear every ill. So that, friend Sancho, do not waste time in counselling me to quit so rare, so happy, and so unheard-of an imitation. Mad I am, and mad I must be, until your return with an answer to a letter I intend to send by you to my Lady Dulcinea; and if it proves such as my fidelity deserves, my madness and my penance will be at an end; but if it proves the contrary, I shall be mad in earnest; and being so, shall feel nothing; so that what answer soever she returns, I shall get out of the conflict and pain wherein you leave me, either enjoying the good you shall bring, if in my senses, or not feeling the ill you bring, if out of them.

"But tell me, Sancho, have you taken care of Mambrino's helmet, which I saw you take off the ground, when that graceless fellow would have broken it to pieces, but could not? Whence you may perceive the excellence of its temper." To which Sancho answered: "As God liveth, Sir Knight of the Sorrowful Figure, I cannot endure nor bear with patience, some things your worship says; they are enough to make me think that all you tell me of chivalry, and of winning kingdoms and empires, of bestowing islands, and doing other favours and mighty things, according to the custom of knights-errant, must be mere vapour, and a lie, and all friction or fiction, or whatever you call it; for to hear you say that a barber's basin is Mambrino's helmet, and that you cannot be beaten out of this error in several days, what can one think but that he who says and affirms such a thing must be addle-brained? I have the basin in my wallet, all battered, and I carry it to get it mended at home, for the use of my beard, if God be so gracious to me as to restore me one time or other to my wife and children." — "Behold, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "I swear likewise that thou hast the shallowest brain that any squire has, or ever had, in the world. Is it possible, that in all the time you have gone about with me, you do not perceive that all matters relating to knights-errant appear chimeras, follies, and extravagances, and seem all done by the rule of contraries? Not that they are in reality so, but because there is a crew of enchanters always about us, who alter and disguise all our matters, and turn them according to their own pleasure, and as they are inclined to favour or distress us; hence it is that this, which appears to you a barber's basin, appears to me Mambrino's helmet, and to another will, perhaps, appear something else; and it was a singular foresight of the sage, my friend, to make that appear to everybody to be a basin which really and truly is Mambrino's helmet; because, being of so great value, all the world would persecute me in order to take it from me; but now that they take it for nothing but a barber's basin, they do not trouble themselves to get it; as was evident in him who endeavoured to break it, and left it on the ground without carrying it off; -[119]- for, in faith, had he known what it was he would never have left it. Take care of it, friend, for I have no need of it at present; I rather think of putting off all my armour, and being naked as I was born, in case I should have more mind to copy Orlando in my penance than Amadis."

While they were thus discoursing, they arrived at the foot of a steep rock, which stood alone among several others that surrounded it, as if it had been hewn out from the rest. By its skirts ran a gentle stream, and it was encircled by a meadow so verdant and fertile, that it delighted the eyes of all who beheld it. There grew about it several forest trees, and some plants and flowers, which added greatly to the pleasantness of the place. This was the scene in which the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure chose to perform his penance; and, upon viewing it, he thus broke out in a loud voice, as if he had been beside himself: "This is the place, oh ye Heavens, which I select and appoint for bewailing the misfortune in which you, alas! have involved me. This is the spot where my flowing tears shall increase the waters of this crystal rivulet, and my continual and profound sighs shall incessantly move the leaves of these lofty trees, in testimony and token of the pain my persecuted heart endures. Oh, ye rural deities, whoever ye be, that inhabit these remote deserts, give ear to the complaints of an unhappy lover, whom long absence, and some pangs of jealousy, have driven to bewail himself among these craggy rocks, and to complain of the cruelty of that ungrateful fair, the utmost extent and ultimate perfection of all human beauty. Oh, ye wood-nymphs and dryads, who are accustomed to inhabit the closest recesses of the mountains (so may the nimble and lascivious satyrs, by whom you are beloved in vain, never disturb your sweet repose), assist me to lament my hard fate, or at least be not weary of hearing my moan. O Dulcinea del Toboso, light of my darkness, glory of my pain, the north-star of my travels, and overruling planet of my fortune, so may Heaven prosper you in whatever you pray for; consider, I beseech you, the place and state to which your absence has reduced me, and how well you return what is due to my fidelity. Oh, ye solitary trees, who, from henceforth, are to be the companions of my retirement, wave gently your branches, in token of your kind acceptance of my person. And oh thou, my squire, agreeable companion in my most prosperous and adverse fortune, carefully imprint in thy memory what thou shalt see me here perform, that thou mayest recount and recite it to her who is the sole cause of it all." And saying this, he alighted from Rozinante, and in an instant took off his bridle and saddle; and giving him a slap on the buttocks, said to him: "Oh steed, as excellent for thy performances as unfortunate by thy fate, he gives thee liberty, who wants it himself. Go whither thou wilt; for thou hast it written in thy forehead, that neither Astolpho's Hippogriff, nor the famous Frontino, which cost Bradamante so dear, could match thee in speed."

Sancho observing all this, said, "God's peace be with him who saved us the trouble of unpannelling Dapple; for, in faith, he should not have wanted a slap on the buttocks, nor a speech in his praise; but if he were here, I would not consent to his being unpannelled, there being no occasion for it; for he had nothing to do with love or despair any more than I, who was once his master when it so pleased God. And truly, Sir Knight of the Sorrowful Figure, if it be so, that my departure and your madness go on in earnest, it will be needful to saddle Rozinante again, that he may supply -[120]- the loss of my Dapple, and save me time in going and coming; for if I go on foot I know not when I shall get thither, nor when return, being in truth a sorry footman." — "Be it as you will," answered Don Quixote; "for I do not disapprove your project; and I say you shall depart within three days, for I intend in that time to show you what I do and say for her, that you may tell it her." — "What have I more to see," quoth Sancho, "than what I have already seen?" — "You are very far from being perfect in the story," answered Don Quixote; "for I have not yet torn my garments, scattered my arms about, and dashed my head against these rocks, with other things of the like sort, that will strike you with admiration." — "For the love of God," said Sancho, "have a care how you give yourself those knocks; for you may chance to light upon such an unlucky point of a rock, that at the first dash you may dissolve the whole machine of this penance: and I should think, since your worship is of opinion that knocks of the head are necessary, and that this work cannot be done without them, you might content yourself, since all is a fiction, a counterfeit, and a sham; I say, you might content yourself with running your head against water, or some soft thing, such as cotton; and leave it to me to tell my Lady that you dashed your head against the point of a rock harder than that of a diamond." — "I thank you for your good will, friend Sancho," answered Don Quixote; "but I would have you to know, that all these things that I do are not in jest, but very good earnest: for, otherwise, it would be to transgress the rules of chivalry, which enjoin us to tell no lie at all, on pain of being punished as apostates; and the doing one thing for another is the same as lying. And, therefore, my knocks on the head must be real, substantial, and sound ones, without equivocation or mental reservation. However, it will be necessary to leave me some lint to heal me, since fortune will have it that we have lost the balsam." — "It was worse to lose the ass," answered Sancho; "for in losing him, we lost lint and everything else; and I beseech your worship not to put me in mind of that cursed drench; for in barely hearing it mentioned, my very soul is turned upside down, not to say my stomach. As for the three days allowed me for seeing the mad pranks you are to perform, make account, I beseech you, that they are already passed; for I take them all for granted, and will tell wonders to my Lady; and write you the letter, and despatch me quickly; for I long to come back, and release your worship from this purgatory wherein I leave you." — "Purgatory, do you call it, Sancho?" said Don Quixote. "Call it rather hell, or worse, if anything can be worse." — "I have heard say," quoth Sancho, "that out of hell there is no retention." — "I know not," said Don Quixote, "what retention means." — "Retention," answered Sancho, "means, that he who is once in hell never does, nor ever can, get out. But it will be quite the reverse with your worship, or it shall go hard with my heels, if I have but spurs to enliven Rozinante: and let me but once get to Toboso, and into the presence of my Lady Dulcinea, and I warrant you I will tell her such a story of the foolish and mad things, for they are all no better, which your worship has done, and is doing, that I shall bring her to be as supple as a glove, though I find her harder than a cork-tree; with whose sweet and honeyed answer I will return through the air like a witch, and fetch your worship out of this purgatory, which seems a hell, and is not, because there is hope to get out of it; which, as I have said, none can have that are in hell; nor do I believe you will say otherwise."

"That is true," answered he of the Sorrowful Figure; "but how shall we -[121]- contrive to write the letter?" — "And the ass-colt bill?" added Sancho, "Nothing shall be omitted," said Don Quixote; "and, since we have no paper, we shall do well to write it, as the ancients did, on the leaves of trees or on tablets of wax; though it will be as difficult to meet with these at present as with paper. But now I recollect, it may be as well, or rather better, to write it in Cardenio's pocket-book, and you will take care to get it fairly transcribed upon paper in the first town you come to where there is a schoolmaster; or, if there be none, any parish-clerk will transcribe it for you; but be sure you give it to no hackney-writer of the law; for the devil himself will never be able to read their confounded court-hand." — "But what must we do about the signing it with your hand?" said Sancho. "Billet-doux are never subscribed," answered Don Quixote. "Very well," replied Sancho; "but the warrant for the colts must of necessity be signed by yourself; for if that be copied, people will say the signing is counterfeited, and I shall be forced to go without the colts." — "The warrant shall be signed in the same pocket-book; and, at sight of it, my niece will make no difficulty to comply with it. As to what concerns the love-letter, let it be subscribed thus: Yours until death, the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure. And it is no great matter if it be in another hand; for by what I remember, Dulcinea can neither write nor read, nor has she ever seen a letter or writing of mine in her whole life; for our loves have always been of the Platonic kind, extending no farther than to modest looks at one another; and even those so very rarely, that I dare truly swear in twelve years that I have loved her more than the sight of these eyes, which the earth must one day devour, I have not seen her four times, and perhaps of these four times she may not have once perceived that I looked at her. Such is the reserve and strictness with which her father, Lorenzo Corchuelo, and her mother, Aldonza Nogales, have brought her up."

"Heyday!" quoth Sancho, "what, the daughter of Lorenzo Corchuelo! is she the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, alias Aldonza Lorenzo?" — "It is even she," said Don Quixote; "and she who deserves to be mistress of the universe." — "I know her well," quoth Sancho, "and I can assure you, she will pitch the bar with the lustiest swain in the parish: long live the giver. Why, she is a mettled lass, tall, straight, and vigorous, and can make her part good with any knight-errant that shall have her for a mistress. Oh the jade! what a pair of lungs and a voice she has! I remember she got one day upon the church-steeple, to call some young ploughmen who were in a field of her father's; and though they were half a league off, they heard her as plainly as if they had stood at the foot of the tower: and the best of her is, that she is not at all coy; for she has much of the courtier in her, and makes a jest and a may-game of everybody. I say then, Sir Knight of the Sorrowful Figure, that you not only may, and ought to run mad for her, but also you may justly despair and hang yourself, and nobody that hears it but will say you did extremely well, though the devil should carry you away. I would fain be gone, if it were only to see her; for I have not seen her this many a day, and by this time she must needs be altered; for it mightily spoils women's faces to be always abroad in the field, exposed to the sun and weather. And I confess to your worship, Signor Don Quixote, that hitherto I have been in a great error; for I thought for certain that the Lady Dulcinea was some great princess with whom you were in love, or at least some person of such great quality as to deserve the rich presents you have sent her, as well that of the Biscainer as that of the -[122]- galley-slaves; and many others there must have been, considering the many victories you must have gained before I came to be your squire. But all things considered, what good can it do the Lady Aldonza Lorenzo, I mean the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, to have the vanquished, whom your worship sends, or may send, fall upon their knees before her? For who knows but at the time they arrive she may be carding flax, or thrashing in the barn, and they may be ashamed to see her, and she may laugh, or he disgusted, at the present?" — "I have often told thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that thou art an eternal babbler; and, though void of wit, your bluntness often occasions smarting; but to convince you at once of your folly and my discretion, I will tell you a short story:

"Know, then, that a certain widow, handsome, young, gay, and rich, and withal no prude, fell in love with a young, strapping, well-set lay- brother. His superior heard of it, and one day took occasion to say to the good widow, by way of brotherly reprehension: 'I wonder, madam, and not without great reason, that a woman of such quality, so beautiful, and so rich, should fall in love with such a despicable, mean, silly fellow, when there are in this house so many graduates, dignitaries, and divines, among whom you might pick and choose as you would among pears, and say, This I like, that I do not like.' But she answered him, with great frankness and good-humour: 'You are much mistaken, worthy Sir, and think altogether in the old-fashioned way, if you imagine that I have made an ill choice in that fellow, how silly soever he may appear, since, for the purpose I intend him, he knows as much or more philosophy than Aristotle himself.' In like manner, Sancho, Dulcinea del Toboso, for the purpose I intend her, deserves as highly as the greatest princess on earth. The poets, who have celebrated the praises of ladies under fictitious names, imposed at pleasure, had not all of them real mistresses. Thinkest thou that the Amaryllises, the Phyllises, the Silvias, the Dianas, the Calateas, the Alidas, and the like, of whom books, ballads, barbers' shops, and stage plays, are full, were really mistresses of flesh and blood, and to those who do and have celebrated them? No, certainly, but they are for the most part feigned, on purpose to be the subjects of their verse, and to make the authors pass for men of gallant and amorous dispositions. And, therefore, it is sufficient that I think and believe that the good Aldonza Lorenzo is beautiful and chaste; and as to her lineage, it matters not; for there needs no inquiry about it, as if she were to receive some order of knighthood; and for my part, I make account that she is the greatest princess in the world. For you must know, Sancho, if you do not know it already, that two things above all others incite to love, namely, great beauty and a good name; now both these are to be found in perfection in Dulcinea; for in beauty none can be compared to her, and for a good name few can come near her. To conclude, I imagine that everything is exactly as I say, without addition or diminution; and I represent her to my thoughts just as I wish her to be, both in beauty and quality. Helen is not comparable to her, nor is she excelled by Lucretia, or any other of the famous women of antiquity, whether Grecian, Latin, or Barbarian. And let every one say what he pleases; for if upon this account I am blamed by the ignorant, I shall not be censured by the most severe judges." — "Your worship," replied Sancho, "is always in the right, and I am an ass; but why do I mention an ass, when one ought not to talk of a halter in his house who was hanged? But give me the letter, and God be with you; for I am upon the wing." -[123]-

Don Quixote pulled out the pocket-book, and stepping aside began very gravely to write the letter; and when he had done he called Sancho, and said he would read it to him, that he might have it by heart, lest he should chance to lose it by the way; for everything was to be feared from his ill fortune. To which Sancho answered: "Write it, Sir, two or three times in the book, and give it me, and I will carry it carefully: but to think that I can carry it in my memory is a folly; for mine is so bad, that I often forget my own name. Nevertheless, read it to me; I shall be glad to hear it, for it must needs be a clever one." — "Listen then," said Don Quixote, "for it runs thus:"

Don Quixote's Letter To Dulcinea Del Toboso.

"Sovereign and high Lady,
"
The stabbed by the point of absence, and the pierced to the heart, oh sweetest Dulcinea del Toboso, sends that health to you which he wants himself. If your beauty despises me, if your worth profits me nothing, and if your disdain still pursues me, though I am enured to suffering, I shall ill support an affliction, which is not only violent, but the more durable for being so. My good squire Sancho will give you a full account, oh ungrateful fair, and my beloved enemy, of the condition I am in for your sake. If it pleases you to relieve me, I am yours; and if not, do what seems good to you; for by my death I shall at once satisfy your cruelty and my own passion.

"Yours, until death,

"The Knight of the Sorrowful Figure."

"By the life of my father," quoth Sancho, hearing the letter, "it is the toppingest thing I ever heard. Odds my life, how curiously your worship expresses in it whatever you please! and how excellently do you close all with the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure! Verily, your worship is the devil himself; and there is nothing but what you know." — "The profession I am of," answered Don Quixote, "requires me to understand everything."— "Well then," said Sancho, "pray clap on the other side the leaf the bill for the three ass-colts, and sign it very plain, that people may know your hand at first sight." — "With all my heart," said Don Quixote; and having written it, he read as follows:

"Dear Niece,
"At sight of this, my first bill of ass-colts, give order, that three of the five I left at home in your custody be delivered to Sancho Panza, my squire; which three colts I ordered to be delivered and paid for the like number received of him here in tale; and this, with his acquittance, shall be your discharge. Done in the heart of the Sable Mountain, this twenty-second of August, this present year "

"It is mighty well," said Sancho; "pray sign it." — "It wants no signing," said Don Quixote; "I need only put my cipher to it, which is the same thing, and is sufficient not only for three asses but for three hundred." — "I rely upon your worship," answered Sancho; "let me go and saddle Rozinante, and prepare to give me your blessing; for I intend to depart immediately, without staying to see the follies you are about to commit; and I will relate that I saw you act so many that she can desire no more." — "At least, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "I would have you see, nay it is necessary you should see, I say, I will have you see me naked, and do a dozen or two of mad pranks; for I shall despatch them in less than half an hour: and having seen these with your own eyes, you may safely swear to those you intend to add; for assure yourself you will not relate so many as I intend to perform." — "For the love of God, dear -[124]- Sir," quoth Sancho, "let me not see your worship naked; for it will move my compassion much, and I shall not be able to forbear weeping; and my head is so disordered with last night's grief for the loss of poor Dapple, that I am in no condition at present to begin new lamentations. If your worship has a mind I should be an eye-witness of some mad pranks, pray do them clothed, and with brevity, and let them be such as will stand you in most stead; and the rather, because for me there needed nothing of all this; and, as I said before, it is but delaying my return with the news your worship so much desires and deserves. If otherwise, let the Lady Dulcinea prepare herself; for if she does not answer as she should do, I protest solemnly, I will fetch it out of her stomach by dint of kicks and buffets; for it is not to be endured, that so famous a knight-errant as your worship should run mad, without why or wherefore, for a let not Madam provoke me to speak out; before God I shall blab, and out with all by wholesale, though it spoil the market. I am pretty good at this sport: she does not know me; if she did, in faith she would agree with me." — "In troth, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "to all appearance you are as mad as myself." — "Not quite so mad," answered Sancho, "but a little more choleric. But setting aside all this, what is it your worship is to eat until my return? Are you to go upon the highway to rob the shepherds, like Cardenio?"— "Trouble not yourself about that," answered Don Quixote; "though I were provided, I would eat nothing but herbs and fruits, which this meadow and these trees will afford me; for the finesse of my affair consists in not eating, and other austerities."—Then Sancho said, "Do you know, Sir, I fear that I shall not be able to find the way again to this place where I leave you, it is so concealed?" — "Observe well the marks; for I will endeavour to be hereabouts," said Don Quixote, "and will, moreover, take care to get to the top of some of the highest cliffs to see if I can discover you when you return. But the surest way not to miss me, nor lose yourself, will be to cut down some boughs off the many trees that are here, and strew them as you go on, from space to space, until you are got down into the plain; and they will serve as landmarks and tokens to find me by, at your return, in imitation of Theseus's clue to the labyrinth." — "I will do so," answered Sancho Panza; and having cut down several, he begged his master's blessing, and, not without many tears on both sides, took his leave of him. And mounting upon Rozinante, of whom Don Quixote gave him an especial charge, desiring him to be as careful of him as of his own proper person, he rode towards the plain, strewing broom boughs here and there, as his master had directed him; and so away he went, though Don Quixote still importuned him to stay and see him perform, though it were but a couple of mad pranks. But he had not gone above a hundred paces when he turned back, and said: "Your worship, Sir, said very well, that in order to my being able to swear with a safe conscience I have seen you do mad tricks, it would be proper I should, at least, see you do one; though in truth I have seen a very great one already in your staying here." — "Did I not tell you so?" replied Don Quixote; "stay but a moment, Sancho, I will despatch them in the repeating of a Credo." (66) Then stripping off his breeches in all haste, he remained naked from the waist downwards, and covered only with the tail of his shirt: and presently, without more ado, he cut a couple of capers in the air, and a brace of tumbles, head down and heels up, exposing things which made Sancho turn Rozinante about, that he might not see them a second time; and -[125]- fully satisfied him that he might safely swear his master was stark mad; and so we will leave him going on his way, until his return, which was speedy.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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