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 XXXIII: In which is recited the "Novel of the Curious Impertinent". (84)
In Florence, a rich and famous city of Italy, in the province called Tuscany, lived Anselmo and Lothario, two gentlemen of fortune and quality, and such great friends, that all who knew them styled them, by way of eminence and distinction, the Two Friends. They were both bachelors, young, of the same age, and of the same manners; all which was a sufficient foundation for their reciprocal friendship. It is true, indeed, that Anselmo was somewhat more inclined to amorous dalliance than Lothario, who was fonder of country sports; but upon occasion Anselmo neglected his own pleasures to pursue those of Lothario; and Lothario quitted his to follow those of Anselmo: and thus their inclinations went hand in hand, with such harmony, that no clock kept such exact time. Anselmo fell desperately in love with a beautiful young lady of condition in the same city, called Camilla, daughter of such good parents, and herself so good, that he resolved, with the approbation of his friend Lothario, without whom he did nothing, to demand her of her father in marriage; which he accordingly did. It was Lothario who carried the message; and it was he who concluded the match, so much to the liking of his friend, that in a little time he found himself in the possession of what he desired, and Camilla so satisfied with having obtained Anselmo for her husband, that she ceased not to give thanks to heaven and to Lothario, by whose means such good fortune had befallen her. For some days after the wedding, which are usually dedicated to mirth, Lothario frequented his friend Anselmo's house as he was wont to do, striving to honour, please, and entertain him to the utmost of his power; but the nuptial season being over, and compliments of congratulation at an end, Lothario began to remit the frequency of his visits to Anselmo, thinking, as all discreet men should, that one ought not to visit and frequent the houses of one's friends, when married in the same manner as when they were bachelors. For though true and real friendship neither can or ought to be suspicious in anything, yet so nice is the honour of a married man, that it is thought it may suffer even by a brother, and much more by a friend. Anselmo took notice of Lothario's remissness, and complained greatly of it, telling him that had he suspected his being married would have been the occasion of their not conversing together as formerly, he would never have done it; and since, by the entire harmony between them, while both bachelors, they had acquired so sweet a name as that of the Two Friends, he desired he would not suffer so honourable and so pleasing a title to be lost, by overacting the cautious part; and therefore he besought him, if such a term might be used between them, to return and be master of his house, and come and go as before; assuring him, that his wife Camilla had no other pleasure or will than what he desired she should have; and that, knowing how sincerely and ardently they loved each other, she was much surprised to find him so shy.
To all these, and many other reasons, which Anselmo urged to Lothario, to persuade him to use his house as before, Lothario replied with so much prudence, discretion, and judgment, that Anselmo rested satisfied with the good intention of his friend; and they agreed, that two days in a week, besides holidays, Lothario should come and dine with him; and though this was concerted between these two, Lothario resolved to do what he -- should think most for the honour of his friend, whose reputation was dearer to him than his own. He said, and he said right, that a married man, on whom Heaven has bestowed a beautiful wife, should be as careful what men he brings home to his house as what female friends she converses with abroad; for that which cannot be done nor concerted in the markets, at churches, at public shows, or assemblies (things which husbands must not always deny their wives), may be concerted and brought about at the house of a she-friend or relation, of whom we are most secure. Lothario said also, that a married man stood in need of some friend to inform him of any mistakes in his conduct; for it often happens, that the fondness a man has at first for his wife, makes him either not take notice, or not tell her, for fear of offending her, that she ought to do, or avoid doing, some things, the doing or not doing whereof may reflect honour or disgrace; all which might be easily remedied by the timely admonition of a friend. But where shall we find a friend so discreet, so faithful, and sincere, as Lothario here seems to require? Indeed I cannot tell, unless in Lothario himself, who, with the utmost diligence and attention, watched over the honour of his friend, and contrived to retrench, cut short, and abridge the number of visiting days agreed upon, lest the idle vulgar and prying malicious eyes should censure the free access of a young and rich cavalier, so well born, and of such accomplishments, as he could not but be conscious to himself he was master of, to the house of a lady so beautiful as Camilla; and though his integrity and worth might bridle the tongues of the censorious, yet he had no mind that his own honour, or that of his friend, should be in the least suspected; and therefore, on most of the days agreed upon, he busied and employed himself about such things as he pretended were indispensable And thus the time passed on in complaints on the one hand, and excuses on the other.
"Now it happened one day, as they were walking in a meadow without the city, Anselmo addressed Lothario in words to this effect: 'I know very well, friend Lothario, I can never be thankful enough to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon me; first, in making me the son of such parents as mine were, and giving me with so liberal a hand what men call the goods of nature and fortune; and especially in having given me such a friend as yourself, and such a wife as Camilla; two jewels, which, if I value not so high as I ought, I value, at least, so high as I am able. Yet, notwithstanding all these advantages, which usually are sufficient to make men live contented, I live the most uneasy and dissatisfied man in the whole world; having been for some time past harassed and oppressed with a desire so strange, and as much out of the common track of other men, that I wonder at myself, and blame and rebuke myself for it when I am alone, endeavouring to stifle and conceal it even from my own thoughts, and yet I have succeeded no better in my endeavours to stifle and conceal it, than if I had made it my business to publish it to all the world. And since, in short, it must one day break out, I would fain have it lodged in the archives of your breast; not doubting but that, through your secrecy, and friendly application to relieve me, I shall soon be freed from the vexation it gives me, and that, by your diligence, my joy will rise to as high a pitch as my discontent has done by my own folly.' Lothario was in great suspense at Anselmo's discourse, and unable to guess at what he aimed by so tedious a preparation and preamble; and though he revolved in his imagination what desire it could be that gave his friend so much -- disturbance, he still shot wide of the mark; and, to be quickly rid of the perplexity into which this suspense threw him, he said to him, that it was doing a notorious injury to their great friendship, to seek for roundabout ways to acquaint him with his most hidden thoughts, since he might depend upon him either for advice or assistance in what concerned them. 'It is very true,' answered Anselmo; 'and in this confidence I give you to understand, friend Lothario, that the thing which disquiets me is a desire to know whether my wife Camilla be as good and as perfect as I imagine her to be; and I cannot be thoroughly informed of this truth, but by trying her in such a manner, that the proof may manifest the perfection of her goodness, as fire does that of gold. For it is my opinion, my friend, that a woman is honest only so far as she is or is not courted and solicited; and that she alone is really chaste, who has not yielded to the force of promises, presents, and tears, or the continual solicitations of importunate lovers. For, what thanks are due to a woman for being virtuous when nobody persuades her to be otherwise? What mighty matter if she be reserved and cautious, who has no opportunity given her of going astray, and knows she has a husband, who, the first time he catches her transgressing, will be sure to take away her life? The woman, therefore, who is honest out of fear, or for want of opportunity, I shall not hold in the same degree of esteem with her, who, after solicitation and importunity, comes off with the crown of victory. So that, for these reasons, and for many more I could assign in support of my opinion, my desire is, that my wife Camilla may pass through these trials, and be purified and refined in the fire of courtship and solicitation, and that by some person worthy of placing his desires on her; and if she comes off from this conflict, as I believe she will, with the palm of victory, I shall applaud my matchless fortune: I shall then have it to say, that I have attained the utmost of my wishes, and may safely boast that the virtuous woman is fallen to my lot, of whom the wise man says, Who can find her 1 And if the reverse of all this should happen, the satisfaction of being confirmed in my opinion will enable me to bear, without regret, the trouble so costly an experiment may reasonably give me. And as nothing you can urge against my design can be of any avail towards hindering me from putting it in execution, I would have you, my friend Lothario, dispose yourself to be the instrument of performing this work of my fancy; and I will give you opportunity to do it, and you shall want for no means that I can think necessary towards gaining upon a modest, virtuous, reserved, and disinterested woman. And among other reasons which induce me to trust this nice affair to your management, one is, my being certain that if Camilla should be overcome, you will not push the victory to the last extremity, but only account that for done which for good reasons ought not to be done; and thus I shall be wronged only in the intention, and the injury will remain hidden in the virtue of your silence, which in what concerns me, will, I am assured, be eternal as that of death. Therefore, if you would have me enjoy a life that deserves to be called such, you must immediately enter upon this amorous combat, not languidly and lazily, but with all the fervour and diligence my design requires, and with the confidence our friendship assures me of.'
"This was what Anselmo said to Lothario; to all which he was so attentive, that, excepting what he is already mentioned to have said, he opened not his lips until his friend had done; but now perceiving that he -- was silent, after he had gazed at him earnestly for some time, as if he had been looking at something he had never seen before, and which occasioned in him wonder and amazement, he said to him: 'I cannot persuade myself, friend Anselmo, but that what you have been saying to me is all in jest; for had I thought you in earnest, I would not have suffered you to proceed so far; and by not listening to you, I should have prevented your long harangue. I cannot but think either that you do not know me, or that I do not know you. But no; I well know that you are Anselmo, and you know that I am Lothario; the mischief is, that I think you are not the Anselmo you used to be, and you must imagine I am not that Lothario I ought to be; for neither is what you have said to me becoming that friend of mine, Anselmo; nor is what you require of me to be asked of that Lothario whom you know. For true friends ought to prove and use their friends as the poet expresses it, usque ad aras; as much as to say, they ought not to employ their friendship in matters against the law of God. If an heathen had this notion of friendship, how much more ought a Christian to have it, who knows that the divine friendship ought not to be forfeited for any human friendship whatever. And when a friend goes so far as to set aside his duty to heaven, in compliance with the interests of his friend, it must not be for light and trivial matters, but only when the honour and life of his friend are at stake. Tell me then, Anselmo, which of these two are in danger, that I should venture to compliment you with doing a thing in itself so detestable as that you require of me? Neither, assuredly; on the contrary, if I understand you right, you would have me take pains to deprive you of honour and life, and at the same time myself too of both. For if I must do that which will deprive you of your honour, it is plain I take away your life, since a man without honour is worse than if he were dead; and I being the instrument, as you would have me to be, of doing you so much harm, shall I not bring dishonour upon myself, and by consequence, rob myself of life? Hear me, friend Anselmo, and have patience, and forbear answering until I have done urging what I have to say; for there will be time enough for you to reply, and for me to hear you.' — 'With all my heart,' said Anselmo; 'say what you please.'
"Then Lothario went on, saying: 'Methinks, O Anselmo, you are at this time in the same disposition that the Moors are always in, whom you cannot convince of the error of the sect, by citations from holy scripture, nor by arguments drawn from reason, or founded upon articles of faith; but you must produce examples that are plain, easy, intelligible, demonstrative, and undeniable, with such mathematical demonstrations as cannot be denied; as when it is said: If from equal parts, we take equal parts, those that remain are also equal. And when they do not comprehend this in words, as in reality they do not, you must show it to them with your hands, and set it before their very eyes; and after all nothing can convince them of the truths of our holy religion. In this very way and method must 1 deal with you; for this desire which possesses you is so extravagant and wide of all that has the least shadow of reason, that I look upon it as mis-spending time to endeavour to convince you of your folly; for at present I can give it no better name; and I am even tempted to leave you to your indiscretion, as a punishment of your preposterous desire; but the friendship I have for you will not let me deal so rigorously with you, nor will it consent that I should desert you in such manifest danger of undoing -- yourself. And that you may clearly see that it is so, say, Anselmo, have you not told me that I must solicit her who is reserved, persuade her who is virtuous, bribe her who is disinterested, and court her who is prudent? Yes, you have told me so. If then you know that you have a reserved, virtuous, disinterested, and prudent wife, what is it you would have? And if you are of opinion she will come off victorious from all my attacks, as doubtless she will, what better titles do you think to bestow on her afterwards than those she has already? Or what will she be more then than she is now? Either you do not take her for what you pretend, or you do not know what it is you ask. If you do not take her for what you say you do, to what purpose would you try her, and not rather suppose her guilty and treat her as such? But if she be as good as you believe she is, it is absurd to try experiments upon truth itself; since, when that is done, it will remain but in the same degree of esteem it had before. And therefore we must conclude, that to attempt things from whence mischief is more likely to ensue than any advantage to us, is the part of rash and inconsiderate men; and especially when they are such as we are no way forced nor obliged to attempt, and when it may be easily seen at a distance that the enterprise itself is downright madness. Difficult things are undertaken for the sake of God, of the world, or of both together: those which are done for God's sake, are such as are enterprised by the saints while they endeavour to live a life of angels in human bodies; those which are taken in hand for love of the world, are done by those who pass various oceans, various climates, and many foreign nations, to acquire what are usually called the goods of fortune; and those which are undertaken for the sake of God and the world together, are the actions of brave soldiers, who no sooner espy in the enemy's wall so much breach as may be made by a single cannon-ball, but laying aside all fear, without deliberating or regarding the manifest danger that threatens them, and- borne upon the wings of desire to act in defence of their faith, their country, and their king, they throw themselves intrepidly into the midst of a thousand opposing deaths that await them. These are the difficulties which are commonly attempted; and it is honour, glory, and advantage, to attempt them, though so full of dangers and inconveniences. But that which you say you would have attempted and put in execution, will neither procure you glory from God, the goods of fortune, nor reputation among men. For supposing the event to answer your desires, you will be neither happier, richer, nor more honoured than you are at present: and, if you should miscarry, you will find yourself in the most miserable condition that can be imagined; for then it will avail you nothing to think that nobody else knows the misfortune which has befallen you: it will sufficiently afflict and undo you, to know it yourself. And as a farther confirmation of this truth, I will repeat the following stanza of the famous poet Louis Tansilo, at the end of his first part of the "Tears of St Peter." (85)
And therefore its being a secret will not prevent your sorrow, but rather make it perpetual, and be a continual subject for weeping, if not tears from your eyes, tears of blood from your heart, such as that simple doctor wept, who as the poet (86) relates of him, made trial of the cup which the prudent Reinaldo more wisely declined doing. And though this be a poetical fiction, there is a concealed moral in it worthy to be observed, understood, and imitated. But I have still something more to say upon this subject, which I hope will bring you to a full conviction of the great error you are going to commit.
"'Tell me, Anselmo; if heaven or good fortune had made you master and lawful possessor of a superlatively fine diamond, of whose goodness and beauty all jewellers who had seen it were fully satisfied, and should unanimously declare, that in weight, goodness, and beauty, it came up to whatever the nature of such a stone is capable of, and you yourself should believe as much, as knowing nothing to the contrary; would it be right that you should take a fancy to lay this diamond between the anvil and the hammer, and by mere dint of blows try whether it was so hard and so fine as it was thought to be? And further, supposing this put in execution, and that the stone resists so foolish a trial, would it acquire thereby any additional value or reputation? And if it should break, as it might, would not all be lost? Yes, certainly, and make its owner to pass for a simple fellow in everybody's opinion. Suppose then, friend Anselmo, that Camilla is an exquisitely fine diamond, both in your own opinion and in that of other people, and that it is unreasonable to put her to the hazard of being broken; since though she should remain entire, she cannot rise in her value; and should she fail, and not resist, consider in time what a condition you would be in without her, and how justly you might blame yourself for having been the cause both of her ruin and your own. There is no jewel in the world so valuable as a chaste and virtuous woman; and all the honour of women consists in the good opinion the world has of them: and since that of your wife is unquestionably good, why will you bring this truth into doubt? Consider, friend, that woman is an imperfect creature, and that one should not lay stumblingblocks in her way, to make her trip and fall, but rather remove them and clear the way before her, that she may without hindrance advance towards her proper perfection, which consists in being virtuous. Naturalists inform us, that the ermine is a little white creature with a fine fur, and that when the hunters have a mind to catch it, they make use of this artifice: knowing the way it usually takes, or the places it haunts, they lay all the passes with dirt, and then frighten the creature with noise, and drive it toward those places; and when the ermine comes to the dirt, it stands still, suffering itself rather to be taken, than by passing through the mire destroy and sully its whiteness, which it values more than liberty or life. The virtuous and modest woman is an ermine, and the virtue of chastity is whiter and cleaner than snow; and he who would not have her lose but rather guard and preserve it, must take a quite different method from that which is used with the ermine; for he must not lay in her way the mire of the courtship and assiduity of importunate lovers, since it is more than probable she may not have virtue and natural strength enough to enable her of herself to trample down and get clear over those impediments: it is necessary therefore to remove such things out of her way, and set before her pure and unspotted virtue, and the charms of an unblemished reputation. A good woman may also be compared to a mirror of crystal, -- shining and bright, but liable to be sullied and dimmed by every breath that comes near it. The virtuous woman is to be treated in the same manner as relics are, to be adored, but not handled. The good woman is to be looked after and prized, like a fine garden full of roses and other flowers, the owner of which suffers nobody to walk among them or touch anything, but only at a distance and through iron rails, to enjoy its fragrancy and beauty. Lastly, I will repeat to you some verses which I remember to have heard in a modern comedy, and which seem very applicable to our present purpose. A prudent old man advises another, who is a father of a young maiden, to look well after her, and lock her up; and among other reasons, gives these following:
"'All that I have hitherto said, O Anselmo, relates only to you; it is now fit I should say something concerning myself; and pardon me if I am prolix; for the labyrinth into which you have run yourself, and out of which you would have me extricate you, requires no less. You look upon me as your friend, and yet against all rules of friendship, would deprive me of my honour: nor is this all; you would have me take away yours. That you will rob me of mine, is plain; for when Camilla finds that I make love to her, as you desire I should, it is certain she will look upon me as a man void of honour, and base, since I attempt and do a thing so contrary to what I owe to myself and to your friendship. That you would have me deprive you of yours there is no doubt; for Camilla, perceiving that I make addresses to her, must think I have discovered some mark of lightness in her, which has emboldened me to declare to her my guilty passion; and her looking upon herself as dishonoured, affects you as being her husband. And hence arises what we so commonly find, that the husband of the adulterous wife, though he does not know it, nor has given his wife any reason for transgressing her duty, and though his misfortunes be not owing to his own neglect, or want of care, is nevertheless called by a vilifying and opprobrious name; and those who are not unacquainted with his wife's incontinence, are apt to look upon him with an eye, rather of contempt than of pity. But I will tell you the reason why the husband of a vicious wife is justly dishonoured, though he does not know that he is or has been at all in fault, or connived at, or given -- her occasion to become such. And be not weary of hearing me, since the whole will redound to your own advantage.
"'When God created our first parent in the terrestrial paradise, as the holy Scripture informs us, he infused a sleep into Adam; and while he slept he took a rib out of his left side, of which he formed our mother Eve; and when Adam awoke and beheld her, he said: This is flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bone. And God said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and they two shall be one flesh. And at that time the holy sacrament of marriage was instituted with such ties as death only can loose. And this miraculous sacrament is of such force and virtue, that it makes two different persons to be but one flesh; nay, it does more in the properly married; for though they have two souls, they have but one will. And hence it is, that as the flesh of the wife is the very same with that of the husband, the blemishes or defects thereof are participated by the flesh of the husband, though, as is already said, he was not the occasion of them. For as the whole body feels the pain of the foot, or of any other member, because they are all one flesh; and the head feels the smart of the ankle, though it was not the cause of it; so the husband partakes of the wife's dishonour by being the self-same thing with her. And as the honours and dishonours of the world all proceed from flesh and blood, and those of the vicious wife being of this kind, the husband must of necessity bear his part in them, and be reckoned dishonoured without his knowing it. Behold then, O Anselmo, the danger to which you expose yourself in seeking to disturb the quiet your virtuous consort enjoys. Consider, through how vain and impertinent a curiosity you would stir up the humours that now lie dormant in the breast of your chaste wife. Reflect, that what you adventure to gain is little, and what you may lose will be so great, that I will pass over in silence what I want words to express. But, if all I have said be not sufficient to dissuade you from your preposterous design, you must look out for some other instrument of your disgrace and misfortune, for I am resolved not to act this part, though I should thereby lose your friendship, which is the greatest loss I am able to conceive.'
"Here the virtuous and discreet Lothario ceased; and Anselmo was so confounded and pensive, that, for some time, he could not answer him a word; but at last he said: 'I have listened, friend Lothario, to all you have been saying to me, with the attention you may have observed; and in your arguments, examples, and comparisons, I plainly discover your great discretion, and the perfection of that friendship you have attained to: I see, also, and acknowledge, that, in rejecting your opinion, and adhering to my own, I fly the good, and pursue the evil. Yet, this supposed, you must consider that I labour under the infirmity to which some women are subject, who have a longing to eat dirt, chalk, coals, and other things still worse, even such as are loathsome to the sight, and much more so to the taste. And, therefore, some art must be made use of to cure me; and it may be done with ease, only by your beginning to court Camilla, though but coldly and feignedly, who cannot be so yielding and pliant that her modesty should fall to the ground at the first onset; and with this faint beginning I shall rest satisfied, and you will have complied with what you owe to our friendship, not only in restoring me to life, but by persuading me not to be the cause of my own dishonour. And there is one reason especially, which obliges you to undertake this business, which -- is, that, as I am determined to put this experiment in practice, it behoves you not to let me disclose my frenzy to another person, and so hazard that honour you are endeavouring to preserve; and though your own should lose ground in Camilla's opinion, while you are making love to her, it is of little or no consequence; since, in a short time, when we have experienced in her the integrity we expect, you may then discover to her the pure truth of our contrivance; whereupon you will regain your former credit with her. And, since you hazard so little, and may give me so much pleasure by the risk, do not decline the task, whatever inconveniences may appear to you in it; since, as I have already said, if you will but set about it, I shall give up the cause for determined.'
"Lothario perceiving Anselmo's fixed resolution, and not knowing what other examples to produce, nor what farther reasons to offer, to dissuade him from his purpose, and finding he threatened to impart his extravagant desire to some other person, resolved, in order to avoid a greater evil, to gratify him, and undertake what he desired; but with a full purpose and intention to order the matter so, that, without giving Camilla any disturbance, Anselmo should rest satisfied; and therefore he returned for answer, that he desired he would not communicate his design to any other person whatever, for he would take the business upon himself, and would begin it whenever he pleased. Anselmo embraced him with great tenderness and affection, thanking him for this offer, as if he had done him some great favour; and it was agreed between them, that he should set about the work the very next day, when he would give him opportunity and leisure to talk with Camilla alone, and would also furnish him with money and jewels to present her with. He advised him to entertain her with music, and write verses in her praise, and, if he did not care to be at the pains, he would make them for him. Lothario consented to everything, but with an intention very different from what Anselmo imagined. Things thus settled, they returned to Anselmo's house, where they found Camilla waiting with great uneasiness and anxiety for her husband, who had stayed abroad longer that day than usual. Lothario, after some time, retired to his own house, and Anselmo remained in his, as contented as Lothario was pensive, who was at a loss what stratagem to invent to extricate himself handsomely out of this unpleasant and foolish business. That night, however, he fixed on a plan to deceive Anselmo, without offending Camilla: and the next day he came to dine with his friend, and was kindly received by Camilla, who always entertained and treated him with much good-will, knowing the affection her husband had for him. Dinner being ended, and the cloth taken away, Anselmo desired Lothario to stay with Camilla, while he went upon an urgent affair, which he would despatch and be back in about an hour and a half. Camilla prayed him not to go, and Lothario offered to bear him company: but it signified nothing with Anselmo; on the contrary, he importuned Lothario to stay and wait for him; for he had a matter of great importance to talk to him about. He also desired Camilla to bear Lothario company until his return. In short, he knew so well how to counterfeit a necessity for his absence, though that necessity proceeded only from his own folly, (87) that no one could perceive it was feigned.
"Anselmo went away, and Camilla and Lothario remained by themselves at table, the rest of the family being all gone to dinner. Thus Lothario found himself entered the lists, as his friend had desired, with an -- enemy before him able to conquer, by her beauty alone, a squadron of armed cavaliers: think then, whether Lothario had not cause to fear. But the first thing he did was to lay his elbow on the arm of the chair, and his cheek on his hand; and begging Camilla to pardon his ill manners, he said he would willingly repose himself a little, until Anselmo's return. Camilla answered, that he might repose himself more at ease on the couch (88) than in the chair, and therefore desired him to walk in, and lie down there. Lothario excused himself, and slept where he was, until Anselmo's return; who, finding Camilla retired to her chamber, and Lothario asleep, believed that as he had stayed so long, they had had time enough both to talk and to sleep; and he thought it long until Lothario awoke, that he might go out with him, and inquire after his success. All fell out as he wished. Lothario awoke, and presently they went out together, and Anselmo asked him concerning what he wanted to be informed of. Lothario answered, that he did not think it proper to open too far the first time, and therefore all he had done was to tell her she was very handsome, and that the whole town rung of her wit and beauty; and this he thought a good introduction, as it might insinuate him into her good-will, and dispose her to listen to him the next time with pleasure: in which he employed the same artifice which the devil uses to deceive a person who is on his guard; who being in reality an angel of darkness, transforms himself into one of light, and setting plausible appearances before him, at length discovers himself, and carries his point, if his deceit be not found out at the beginning. Anselmo was mightily pleased with all this, and said he would give him the like opportunity every day, without going abroad; for he would so employ himself at home, that Camilla should never suspect his stratagem.
"Now many days passed, and Lothario, though he spoke not a word to Camilla on the subject, told Anselmo that he had, and that he could never perceive in her the least sign of anything that was amiss, or even discover the least glimpse or shadow of hope for himself; on the contrary, that she threatened to tell her husband if he did not quit his base design. 'It is very well,' said Anselmo; 'hitherto Camilla has resisted words: we must next see how she will resist deeds: to-morrow I will give you two thousand crowns in gold to present her with, and as many more to buy jewels by way of lure; for women, especially if they are handsome, though never so chaste, are fond of being fine and well dressed; and if she resists this temptation, I will be satisfied, and give you no farther trouble.' Lothario answered, that since he had begun, he would go through with this affair, though he was sure he should come off wearied and repulsed. The next day he received the four thousand crowns, and with them four thousand confusions, not knowing what new lie to invent: but in short, he resolved to tell him that Camilla was as inflexible to presents and promises as to words, so that he need not weary himself any farther, since all the time was spent in vain.
"But fortune, which directed matters otherwise, so ordered it, that Anselmo having left Lothario and Camilla alone as usual, shut himself up in an adjoining chamber, and stood looking and listening through the keyhole how they behaved themselves, and saw, that in above half an hour Lothario said not a word to Camilla; nor would he have said a word had he stood there an age. On which he concluded, that all his friend had told him of Camilla's answers was mere fiction. And to try whether it was -- so or not, he came out of the chamber, and calling Lothario aside, asked him what news he had for him, and what disposition he found Camilla in? Lothario replied, that he was resolved not to mention the business any more to her, for she had answered him so sharply and angrily, that he had not the courage to open his lips again to her. 'Ah! Lothario, Lothario! 'said Anselmo, 'how ill do you keep your engagement with me, and deserve the great confidence I repose in you! I am just come from looking through the keyhole of that door, and have found that you have not spoken a word to Camilla; whence I conclude, that you have never yet spoken to her at all. If it be so, as doubtless it is, why do you deceive me? Or why would you industriously deprive me of those means I might otherwise find to compass my desire? 'Anselmo said no more; but what he had said was sufficient to leave Lothario abashed and confounded; who, thinking his honour touched by being caught in a lie, swore to Anselmo, that from this moment he took upon him to satisfy him, and would tell him no more lies, as he should find, if he had the curiosity to watch him; which, however, he might save himself the trouble of doing; for he would endeavour so earnestly to procure him satisfaction, that there should be no room left for suspicion. Anselmo believed him; and to give him an opportunity more secure and less liable to surprise, he resolved to absent himself from home for eight days, and to visit a friend of his who lived in a village not far from the city. And to excuse his departure to Camilla, he contrived that his friend should press earnestly for his company. Rash and unhappy Anselmo! What is it you are doing? What is it you intend? What is it you are contriving? Consider, you are acting against yourself, designing your own dishonour, and contriving your own ruin. Your wife Camilla is virtuous; you possess her peaceably and quietly; nobody disturbs your enjoyment of her; her thoughts do not stray beyond the walls of her house; you are her heaven upon earth, the aim of her desires, the accomplishment of her wishes, and the rule by which she measures her will, adjusting it wholly according to yours and that of Heaven. If, then, the mine of her honour, beauty, virtue, and modesty, yield you, without any toil, all the wealth they contain or you can desire, why will you ransack those mines for other veins of new and unheard-of treasures, and thereby put the whole in danger of ruin: since, in truth, it is supported only by the feeble props of woman's weak nature? Consider, that he who seeks after what is impossible, ought in justice to be denied what is possible; as a certain poet has better expressed it in these verses:
"The next day Anselmo went to his friend's house in the country, telling Camilla that during his
absence Lothario would come to take care of his house, and dine with her, and desiring her to treat him as she would
do his own person. Camilla, as a discreet and virtuous woman should, was troubled at the order her husband gave her,
and represented to him how -- improper it was that
anybody in his absence should take his place at his table; and if he did it, as doubting her ability to manage his
family, she desired he would try her for this time, and he should see by experience that she was equal to trusts of
greater consequence. Anselmo replied, it was his pleasure it should be so, and that she had nothing to do but to
acquiesce and be obedient. Camilla said she would, though much against her inclination. Anselmo went away, and the
next day Lothario came to his house, where he was received by Camilla with a kind and modest welcome. But she never
exposed herself to be left alone with Lothario, being constantly attended by her men and maid-servants, especially
by her own maid, called Leonela, whom, as they had been brought up together from their infancy in her father's
house, she loved very much, and upon her marriage with Anselmo, had brought with her. Lothario said nothing to her
the three first days, though he had opportunities when the cloth was taken away and the servants were gone to make a
hasty dinner, for so Camilla had directed; and farther, Leonela had orders to dine before her mistress, and never to
stir from her side: but she, having her thoughts intent upon other matters of her own pleasure, and wanting to
employ those hours and that opportunity to her own purposes, did not always observe her mistress's orders, but often
left them alone, as if she had been expressly commanded so to do. Nevertheless, the modest presence of Camilla, the
gravity of her countenance, and her composed behaviour, were such that they awed and bridled Lothario's tongue. But
the influence of her virtues in silencing Lothario's tongue redounded to the greater prejudice of them both. For if
his tongue lay still, his thoughts were in motion; and he had leisure to contemplate, one by one, all those
perfections of goodness and beauty of which Camilla was mistress, and which were sufficient to inspire love into a
statue of marble, and how much more into a heart of flesh. Lothario gazed at her all the while he might have talked
to her, and considered how worthy she was to be beloved; and this consideration began by little and little to
undermine the regards he had for Anselmo; and a thousand times he thought of withdrawing from the city, and going
where Anselmo should never see him, nor he Camilla; but the pleasure he took in beholding her had already thrown an
obstacle in the way of his intention. He did violence to himself, and had frequent struggles within him to get the
better of the pleasure he received in gazing on Camilla. He blamed himself when alone for his folly; he called
himself a false friend, and a bad Christian. He reasoned upon, and made comparisons between, his own conduct and
that of Anselmo; and still concluded, that Anselmo's folly and presumption were greater than his own infidelity; and
if what he had in his thoughts were but as excusable before God as it was before men, he should fear no punishment
for his fault. In short, the beauty and goodness of Camilla, together with the opportunity which the thoughtless
husband had put into his hands, quite overturned Lothario's integrity. And, without regarding anything but what
tended to the gratification of his passion, at the end of three days from the time of Anselmo's absence, during
which he had been in perpetual struggle with his desires, he began to solicit Camilla with such earnestness and
disorder, and with such amorous expressions, that Camilla was astonished, and could only rise from her seat and
retire to her chamber, without answering a word. But notwithstanding this sudden blast, Lothario's hope was not
withered; for hope, being born with love, always lives with it. On the
-- contrary, he was the more eager in the pursuit of Camilla; who having discovered in Lothario
what she never could have imagined, was at a loss how to behave. But thinking it neither safe nor right to give him
opportunity or leisure of talking to her any more, she resolved to send that very night one of her servants to
Anselmo with a letter, in which she wrote as follows.
Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis