Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis
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 XXVI: A Continuation of the Refinements practised by
The history, turning to recount what the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure did, when he found himself alone, informs us, that Don Quixote having finished his tumbles and gambols, naked from the middle downward, and clothed from the middle upward, and perceiving that Sancho was gone without caring to see any more of his foolish pranks, got upon the top of an high rock, and there began to think again of what he had often thought before, without ever coming to any resolution; and that was, which of the two was best, and would stand him in most stead, to imitate Orlando in his extravagant madness, or Amadis in his melancholic moods. And, talking to himself, he said: "If Orlando was so good and valiant a knight as everybody allows he was, what wonder is it, since, in short, he was enchanted, and nobody could kill him but by thrusting a needle into the sole of his foot; and therefore he always wore shoes with seven soles of iron. These contrivances, however, stood him in no stead against Bernardo del Carpio, who knew the secret, and pressed him to death between his arms, in Roncesvalles. But setting aside his valour, let us come to his losing his wits, which it is certain he did, occasioned by some tokens he found in the forest, and by the news brought him by the shepherd, that Angelica had slept more than two afternoons with Medoro, a little Moor, with curled locks, and page to Agramante. And if he knew this to be true, and that his lady had played him false, he did no great matter in running mad. But how can I imitate him in his madness, if I do not imitate him in the occasion of it? For I dare swear, my Dulcinea del Toboso never saw a Moor, in his own dress, in all her life, and that she is this day as the mother that bore her; and I should do her a manifest wrong, if, suspecting her, I should run mad of the same kind of madness with that of Orlando Furioso. On the other side, I see that Amadis de Gaul, without losing his wits, and without acting the madman, acquired the reputation of a lover, as much as the best of them. For, as the history has it, finding himself disdained by his Lady Oriana, who commanded him not to appear in her presence until it was her pleasure, he only retired to the Poor Rock, accompanied by an hermit, and there wept his bellyful, until Heaven came to his relief, in the midst of his trouble and greatest anguish. And if this be true, as it really is, why should I take the pains to strip myself stark-naked, or grieve these trees, that never did me any harm? Neither have I any reason to disturb the water of these crystal streams, which are to furnish me with drink when I want it. Live the memory of Amadis, and let him be imitated as far as may be by Don Quixote de la Mancha, of whom shall be said, what was said of another, that if he did not achieve great things, he died in attempting them. And if I am not rejected, nor disdained, by my Dulcinea, it is sufficient, as I have already said, that I am absent from her. --
Well then, hands to your work; come to my memory ye deeds of Amadis, and teach me where I am to begin to imitate you; but I know that the most he did was to pray; and so will I do." Whereupon he strung some large galls of a cork-tree, which served him for a rosary. But what troubled him very much was, his not having an hermit to hear his confession, and to comfort him; and so he passed the time in walking up and down the meadow, writing and graving on the barks of trees, and in the fine sand, a great many verses, all accommodated to his melancholy, and some in praise of Dulcinea. But those that were found entire and legible, after he was discovered in that place, were only these following:
The addition of Del Toboso to the name of Dulcinea occasioned no small laughter in those who found the above-recited verses; for they concluded that Don Quixote imagined, if, in naming Dulcinea, he did not add Del Toboso, the couplet could not be understood; and it was really so, as he afterwards confessed. He wrote many others; but, as is said, they could transcribe no more than those three stanzas fair and entire. In this amusement, and in sighing and invoking the fauns and sylvan deities of those woods, the nymphs of the brooks, and the mournful and humid echo, to answer, to condole, and listen to his moan, he passed the time, and in gathering herbs to sustain himself, until Sancho's return; who, if he had tarried three weeks, as he did three days, the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure would have been so disfigured, that the very mother who bore him could not have known him. And here it will be proper to leave him, -- Tapped up in his sighs and verses, to relate what befell Sancho in his embassy.
Having got into the high road, he steered towards Toboso; and the next day he came within sight of the inn where the mishap of the blanket had befallen him; and scarcely had he discovered it at a distance, when he fancied himself again flying in the air, and therefore would not go in, though it was the hour that he might and ought to have stopped, that is, about noon; besides, he had a mind to eat something warm, all having been cold-treat with him for many days past. This necessity forced him to draw nigh to the inn, still doubting whether he should go in or not. And while he was in suspense there came out of the inn two persons who presently knew him; and one said to the other: "Pray, Signor Licentiate, is not that Sancho Panza yonder on horseback, who, as our adventurer's housekeeper told us, was gone with her master as his squire?" — "Yes it is," said the Licentiate, "and that is our Don Quixote's horse." And no wonder they knew him so well, they being the priest and the barber of his village, and the persons who had made the scrutiny and gaol-delivery of the books; and being now certain it was Sancho Panza and Rozinante, and being desirous also to learn some tidings of Don Quixote, they went up to him, and the priest, calling him by his name, said: "Friend Sancho Panza, where have you left your master?" Sancho Panza immediately knew them, and resolved to conceal the place and circumstances in which he had left his master; so he answered, that his master was very busy in a certain place, and about a certain affair of the greatest importance to him, which he durst not discover for the eyes he had in his head. "No!" quoth the barber. "But if you do not tell us where he is, we shall conclude, as we do already, that you have murdered and robbed him, since you come thus upon his horse; and see that you produce the horse's owner, or woe be to you."— "There is no reason why you should threaten me," quoth Sancho; "for I am not a man to rob or murder anybody; let every man's fate kill him, or God that made him. My master is doing a certain penance, much to his liking, in the midst of yon mountain." And thereupon, very glibly, and without hesitation, he related to them in what manner he had left him, the adventures that had befallen him, and how he was carrying a letter to the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, who was the daughter of Lorenzo Corchuelo, with whom his master was up to the ears in love.
They were both astonished at what Sancho told them; and though they already knew Don Quixote's madness, and of what kind it was, they were always struck with fresh wonder at hearing it. They desired Sancho Panza to show them the letter he was carrying to the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso. He said, it was written in a pocket-book, and that it was his master's order he should get it copied out upon paper, at the first town he came at. The priest said, if he would show it him he would transcribe it in a very fair character. Sancho Panza put his hand into his bosom to take out the book, but found it not; nor could he have found it had he searched for it until now; for it remained with Don Quixote, who had forgotten to give it him, and he to ask for it. When Sancho perceived he had not the book, he turned as pale as death; and feeling again all over his body in a great hurry, and seeing it was not to be found, without more ado he laid hold of his beard with both hands, and tore away half of it; and presently after he gave himself half a dozen cuffs on the nose and mouth, and bathed them all in blood; which the priest and the barber seeing, they asked him what -- had happened to him that he handled himself so roughly?" What should happen to me," answered Sancho, "but that I have lost and let slip through my fingers three ass-colts, each of them as stately as a castle." — "How so?" replied the barber. "I have lost the pocket-book," answered Sancho, "in which was the letter to Dulcinea, and a bill signed by my master, by which he ordered his niece to deliver me three colts out of four or five he had at home." And at the same time he recounted to them the loss of Dapple. The priest bade him be of good cheer, telling him, that, when he saw his master, he would engage him to renew the order, and draw the bill over again upon paper, according to usage and custom, since those that were written in pocket-books were never accepted nor complied with. Sancho was comforted by this, and said, that since it was so, he was in no great pain for the loss of the letter to Dulcinea, for he could almost say it by heart; so that they might write it down from his mouth, where and when they pleased. "Repeat it then, Sancho," quoth the barber, "and we will write it down afterwards." Then Sancho began to scratch his head, to bring the letter to his remembrance; and now stood upon one foot, and then upon the other; one while he looked down upon the ground, another up to the sky; and after he had bit off half a nail of one of his fingers, keeping them in suspense, and expectation of hearing him repeat it, he said, after a very long pause: "Before God, Master Licentiate, let the devil take all I remember of the letter; though at the beginning it said: 'High and subterrane Lady' — "No," said the barber, "not subterrane, but super-humane, or sovereign Lady." — "It was so," said Sancho. "Then if I do not mistake, it went on: the wounded, and the waking, and the smitten, kisses your honour's hands, ungrateful and regardless fair, and then it said I know not what of health and sickness, that he sent; and so he went on, until at last he ended with thine till death, the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure."
They were both not a little pleased to see how good a memory Sancho had, and commended it much, and desired him to repeat the letter twice more, that they also might get it by heart, in order to write it down in due time. Thrice Sancho repeated it again, and thrice he added three thousand other extravagances. After this he recounted also many other things concerning his master, but said not a word of the tossing in the blanket which had happened to himself in that inn into which he refused to enter. He said likewise how his lord, upon his carrying him back a kind of despatch from his Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, was to set forward to endeavour to become an emperor, or at least a king; for so it was concerted between them; and it would be a very easy matter to bring it about, considering the worth of his person, and the strength of his arm: and when this was accomplished, his master was to marry him, for by that time he should without doubt be a widower, and to give him to wife one of the empress's maids of honour, heiress to a large and rich territory on the mainland; for, as to islands, he was quite out of conceit with them. Sancho said all this with so much gravity, ever and anon blowing his nose, and so much in his senses, that they were struck with fresh astonishment at the powerful influence of Don Quixote's madness, which had carried away with it this poor fellow's understanding also. They would not give themselves the trouble to convince him of his error, thinking it better, since it did not at all hurt his conscience, to let him continue in it; besides that it would afford them the more pleasure in hearing his follies: and therefore -- they told him he should pray to God for his lord's health, since it was very possible and very feasible for him in process of time to become an emperor, as he said, or at least an archbishop, (67) or something else of equal dignity. To which Sancho answered: "Gentlemen, if fortune should so order it, that my master should take it into his head not to be an emperor but an archbishop, I would fain know what archbishops-errant usually give to their squires?" — "They usually give them," answered the priest, "some benefice, or cure, or vergership, which brings them in a good penny-rent, besides the perquisites of the altar, usually valued at as much more." — "For this it will be necessary," replied Sancho, "that the squire be not married, and that he knows at least the responses to the mass; and if so, woe is me; for I am married, and do not know the first letter of A, B, C. What will become of me if my master should have a mind to be an archbishop, and not an emperor, as is the fashion and custom of knights-errant?" — "Be not uneasy, friend Sancho," said the barber; ' for we will entreat your master and advise him, and even make it a case of conscience that he be an emperor and not an archbishop; for it will be better for him also, because he is more a soldier than a scholar." — "I have thought the same," answered Sancho, "though I can affirm that he has ability for everything. What I intend to do on my part is, to pray to our Lord that he will direct him to that which is best for him and will enable him to bestow most favours upon me." — "You talk like a wise man," said the priest, "and will act therein like a good Christian. But the next thing now to be done is, to contrive how we may bring your master off from the performance of that unprofitable penance; and that we may concert the proper measures, and get something to eat likewise, for it is high time, let us go into the inn." Sancho desired them to go in, and he said he would stay there without, and afterwards he would tell them the reason why he did not, nor was it convenient for him to go in; but he prayed them to bring him out something to eat that was warm, and also some barley for Rozinante. They went in and left him, and soon after the barber brought him out some meat.
After these two had laid their heads together, how to bring about their design, the priest
bethought him of a device exactly fitted to Don Quixote's humour, and likely to effect what they desired. Which was,
as he told the barber, that he designed to put himself into the habit of a damsel-errant, and would have him to
equip himself the best he could, so as to pass for his squire; and that in this disguise they should go to the place
where Don Quixote was; and himself, pretending to be an afflicted damsel, and in distress, would beg a boon of him,
which he as a valorous knight-errant could not choose but vouchsafe: and that the boon he intended to beg was, that
he would go with her whither she should carry him, to redress an injury done her by a discourteous knight,
entreating him at the same time, that he would not desire her to take off her mask, nor inquire anything farther
concerning her, until he had done her justice on that wicked knight: and he made no doubt but that Don Quixote
would, by these means, be brought to do whatever they desired of him, and so they should bring him away from that
place, and carry him to his village, where they would endeavour to find some remedy for his unaccountable madness.
Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis