Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[426]-

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

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

The Second Part
 

CHAPTER XXXI: Which treats of many and great Things.

 

Excessive was the joy which Sancho conceived to see himself, in his thinking, a favourite of the duchess; expecting to find in her castle the same as at Don Diego's or Basilius's; for he was always a lover of good cheer, and consequently took every opportunity of regaling himself by the forelock, where and whenever it presented. Now the history relates, that, before they came to the pleasure-house or castle, the duke rode on before, and gave all his servants their cue in what manner they were to behave to Don Quixote; who, arriving with the duchess at the castle gate, immediately there issued out two lacqueys or grooms, clad in a kind of morning- gown of fine crimson satin down to their heels; and, taking Don Quixote in their arms, without being observed, said to him, "Go, great Sir, and take our lady the duchess off her horse." Don Quixote did so, and great compliments passed between. But in short the duchess's positiveness got the better, and she would not alight, nor descend from her palfrey, but into the duke's arms, saying she did not think herself worthy to charge so grand a knight with so unprofitable a burthen. At length the duke came -[427]- out and took her off her horse; and at their entering into a large courtyard two beautiful damsels came and threw over Don Quixote's shoulders a large mantle of the finest scarlet, and in an instant all the galleries of the courtyard were crowded with men and women servants belonging to the duke and duchess, crying aloud, "Welcome the flower and cream of knights- errant!" and all or most of them sprinkled whole bottles of sweet-scented waters upon Don Quixote and on the duke and duchess; at all which Don Quixote wondered; and this was the first day that he was thoroughly convinced of his being a true knight-errant, and not an imaginary one, finding himself treated just as he had read knights-errant were in former times.

Sancho, abandoning Dapple, tacked himself close to the duchess, and entered into the castle; but, his conscience soon pricking him for leaving his ass alone, he approached a reverend duenna, who among others came out to receive the duchess, and said to her in a whisper, "Mistress Gonzalez, or what is your duennaship's name?" "Donna Rodriguez de Grijalva," answered the duenna; "what would you please to have with me, brother?" To which Sancho answered, "Be so good, sweetheart, as to step to the castle gate, where you will find a dapple ass of mine; and be so kind as to order him to be put, or put him yourself, into the stable; for the poor thing is a little timorous, and cannot abide to be alone by any means in the world." "If the master be as discreet as the man," answered the duenna, "we are finely thriven. Go, brother, in an evil hour for you and him that brought you hither, and make account, you and your beast, that the duennas of this house are not accustomed to such kind of offices." "Why truly," answered Sancho, "I have heard my master, who is the very mine-finder(174) of histories, relating the story of Lancelot, when he from Britain came, say that ladies took care of his person, and duennas of his horse; and as to the particular of my ass, I would not change him for Signor Lancelot's steed." "If you are a buffoon, brother," replied the duenna, "keep your jokes for some place where they may make a better figure, and where you may be paid for them; for from me you will get nothing but a fig for them." "That is pretty well, however," answered Sancho; "for I am sure then it will be a ripe one, there being no danger of your losing the game at your years for want of a trick." "You son of a whore," cried the duenna, all on fire with rage, "whether I am old or no, to God I am to give an account, and not to you, rascal, garlic-eating stinkard." This she uttered so loud that the duchess heard it, and turning about and seeing the duenna so disturbed, and her eyes red as blood, asked her with whom she was so angry?" With this good man here," answered the duenna, "who has desired me in good earnest to go and set up an ass of his that stands at the castle gate; bringing me for a precedent that the same thing was done, I know not where, by one Lancelot, and telling me how certain ladies looked after him, and certain duennas after his steed; and to mend the matter, in mannerly terms called me old woman." "I should take that for the greatest affront that could be offered me," answered the duchess; and, speaking to Sancho, she said, "Be assured, friend Sancho, that Donna Rodriguez is very young, and wears those veils more for authority and the fashion than upon account of her years." "May the remainder of those I have to live never prosper," answered Sancho, "if I meant her any ill; I only said it because the tenderness I have for my ass is so great, that I thought I could not recommend him to a more charitable -[428]- person than to Signora Donna Rodriguez." Don Quixote, who overheard all, said, "Are these discourses, Sancho, fit for this place?" "Sir," answered Sancho, "every one must speak of his wants, be he where h- will. Here I bethought me of Dapple, and here I spoke of him; and if I had thought of him in the stable, I had spoken of him there." To which the duke said, "Sancho is very much in the right, and not to be blamed in anything; Dapple shall have provender to his heart's content; and let Sancho take no further care, for he shall be treated like his own person."

With these discourses, pleasing to all but Don Quixote, they mounted the stairs, and conducted Don Quixote into a great hall, hung with rich tissue and cloth of gold and brocade. Six damsels unarmed him, and served him as pages, all instructed and tutored by the duke and duchess what they were to do, and how they were to behave towards Don Quixote, that he might imagine and see they used him like a knight-errant. Don Quixote, being unarmed, remained in his straight breeches and chamois doublet, lean, tall, and stiff, with his jaws meeting, and kissing each other on the inside; such a figure, that, if the damsels who waited upon him had not taken care to contain themselves (that being one of the precise orders given them by their lord and lady), they had burst with laughing. They desired he would suffer himself to be undressed, and put on a clean shirt; but he would by no means consent, saying, that modesty was as becoming a knight-errant as courage. However, he bade them give Sancho the shirt; and shutting himself up with him in a room, where stood a rich bed, he pulled off his clothes and put on the shirt; and, finding himself alone with Sancho, he said to him, "Tell me, modern buffoon and antique blockhead, do you think it a becoming thing to dishonour and affront a duenna so venerable and so worthy of respect? Was that a time to think of Dapple? Or are these gentry likely to let our beasts fare poorly, who treat their owners so elegantly? For the love of God, Sancho, refrain yourself, and do not discover the grain, lest it should be seen of how coarse a country web you are spun. Look you, sinner, the master is so much the more esteemed, by how much his servants are civiler and better bred; and one of the greatest advantages great persons have over other men is, that they employ servants as good as themselves. Do you not consider, pitiful thou, and unhappy me, that, if people perceive you are a gross peasant or a ridiculous fool, they will be apt to think I am some gross cheat, or some knight of the sharping order? No, no, friend Sancho, avoid, avoid these inconveniences; for whoever sets up for a talker and a railer, at the first trip tumbles down into a disgraced buffoon. Bridle your tongue; consider, and deliberate upon your words, before they go out of your mouth; and take notice, we are come to a place from whence, by the help of God and the valour of my arm, we may depart bettered three or even five fold in fortune and reputation." Sancho promised him faithfully to sew up his mouth, or bite his tongue, before he spoke a word that was not to the purpose, and well considered, as he commanded him, and that he need be under no pain as to that matter, for no discovery should be made to his prejudice by him.

Don Quixote then dressed himself, girt on his sword, threw the scarlet mantle over his shoulders, put on a green satin cap, which the damsels had given him, and thus equipped marched out into the great saloon, where he found the damsels drawn up in two ranks, as many on one side as the other, and all of them provided with an equipage for washing his hands, -[429]- which they administered with many reverences and ceremonies. Then came twelve pages, with the gentleman-sewer, to conduct him to dinner, where by this time the lord and lady were waiting for him. They placed him in the middle of them, and, with great pomp and majesty, conducted him to another hall, where a rich table was spread with four covers only. The duke and duchess came to the hall door to receive him, and with them a grave ecclesiastic; one of those who govern great men's houses; one of those who, not being princes born, know not how to instruct those that are, how to demean themselves as such; one of those who would have the magnificence of the great measured by the narrowness of their minds; one of those, who, pretending to teach those they govern to be frugal, teach them to be misers. One of this sort, I say, was the grave ecclesiastic who came out with the duke to receive Don Quixote. A thousand polite compliments passed upon this occasion; and, taking Don Quixote between them, they went and sat down to table. The duke offered Don Quixote the upper end, and, though he would have declined it, the importunities of the duke prevailed upon him to accept it. The ecclesiastic seated himself over against him, and the duke and duchess on each side. Sancho was present all the while, surprised and astonished to see the honour those princes did his master, and, perceiving the many entreaties and ceremonies which passed between the duke and Don Quixote, to make him sit down at the head of the table, he said, "If your honours will give me leave, I will tell you a story of a passage, that happened in our town, concerning places." Scarcely had Sancho said this, when Don Quixote began to tremble, believing, without doubt, he was going to say some foolish thing. Sancho observed, and understood him, and said, "Be not afraid, Sir, of my breaking loose, or of my saying anything that is not pat to the purpose; I have not forgotten the advice your worship gave me a while ago, about talking much or little, well or ill." "I remember nothing, Sancho," answered Don Quixote: "say what you will, so you say it quickly." "What I would say," quoth Sancho, "is very true, and, should it be otherwise, my master Don Quixote, who is present, will not suffer me to lie." "Lie as much as you will for me, Sancho," replied Don Quixote; "I will not be your hindrance; but take heed what you are going to say." "I have so heeded and re-heeded it," quoth Sancho, "that all is as safe as the repique in hand, as you will see by the operation." "It will be convenient," said Don Quixote, "that your honours order this blockhead to be turned out of doors; for he will be making a thousand foolish blunders." "By the life of the duke," said the duchess, "Sancho shall not stir a jot from me: I love him much; for I know he is mighty discreet." "Many such years," quoth Sancho, "may your holiness live, for the good opinion you have of me, though it is not in me; but the tale I would tell is this:

"A certain gentleman of our town, very rich and of a good family for he was descended from the Alamos of Medina del Campo, and married Donna Mencia de Quinnones, who was daughter of Don Alonzo de Marannon, Knight of the Order of St James, who was drowned in the Herradura; about whom there happened that quarrel in our town some years ago, in which, as I take it, my master Don Quixote was concerned, and Tommy the madcap, son of Balvastro the smith, was hurt Pray, good master of mine, is not all this true? Speak, by your life, that these gentleman may not take me for some lying, prating fellow." "Hitherto," said the ecclesiastic, "I take you rather for a prater than for a liar; but -[430]- henceforward I know not what I shall take you for." "You produce so many evidences and so many tokens that I cannot but say," replied Don Quixote, "it is likely you tell the truth; go on, and shorten the story, for you take the way not to have done in two days." "He shall shorten nothing," said the duchess; "and, to please me, he shall tell it his own way, though he have not done in six days; and should it take up so many, they would be to me the most agreeable of any I ever spent in my life."

"I say then, Sirs," proceeded Sancho, "that this same gentleman, whom I know as well as I do my right hand from my left, for it is not a bowshot from my house to his, invited a farmer, who was poor, but honest, to dinner." "Proceed, friend," said the ecclesiastic at this period; "for you are going the way with your tale not to stop till you come to the other world." "I shall stop before we get half-way thither, if it pleases God," answered Sancho; "and so I proceed. This same farmer, coming to the said gentleman-inviter's house God rest his soul, for he is dead and gone, by the same token 'it is reported he died like an angel; for I was not by, being at that time gone a-reaping to Tembleque " "Pr'ythee, son," said the ecclesiastic, "come back quickly from Tembleque and, without burying the gentleman (unless you have a mind to make more burials), make an end of your tale." "The business, then," quoth Sancho, "was this, that they being ready to sit down to table methinks I see them now more than ever." The duke and duchess took great pleasure in seeing the displeasure the good ecclesiastic suffered by the length and pauses of Sancho's tale, but Don Quixote was quite angry and vexed. "I say then," quoth Sancho, "that they both standing, as I have said, and just ready to sit down, the farmer disputed obstinately with the gentleman to take the upper end of the table, and the gentleman, with as much positiveness, pressed the farmer to take it, saying he ought to command in his own house. But the countryman, piquing himself upon his civility and good-breeding, would by no means sit down, till the gentleman, in a fret, laying both his hands upon the farmer's shoulders, made him sit down by main force, saying, Sit thee down, chaff-thrashing churl; for, let me sit where I will, that is the upper end to thee. This is my tale, and truly I believe it was brought in here pretty much to the purpose."

The natural brown of Don Quixote's face was speckled with a thousand colours. The duke and duchess dissembled their laughter, that Don Quixote might not be quite abashed, he having understood Sancho's slyness; and, to waive the discourse and prevent Sancho's running into more impertinences, the duchess asked Don Quixote what news he had of the Lady Dulcinea, and whether he had lately sent her any presents of giants or caitiffs, since he must certainly have vanquished a great many. To which Don Quixote answered, "My misfortunes, Madam, though they have had a beginning, will never have an end. Giants I have conquered and caitiffs, and have sent several; but where should they find her, if she be enchanted, and transformed into the ugliest country wench that can be imagined?" "I know not," quoth Sancho Panza; "to me she appeared the most beautiful creature in the world: at least in activity, or a certain spring she has with her, I am sure she will not yield the advantage to a tumbler. In good faith, Lady Duchess, she bounces from the ground upon an ass as if she were a cat." "Have you seen her enchanted, Sancho?" said the duke. "Seen her!" answered Sancho; "who the -[431]- devil but I was the first that hit upon the business of her enchantment? She is as much enchanted as my father."

The ecclesiastic, when he heard talk of giants, caitiffs, and enchantments, began to suspect that this must be Don Quixote de la Mancha, whose history the duke was commonly reading; and he had as frequently reproved him for so doing, telling him it was extravagance to read such extravagances; and, being assured of the truth of his suspicion, with much choler he said to the duke, "Your excellency, Sir, shall give an account to God for what this good man is doing. This Don Quixote, or Don Coxcomb, or how do you call him, I fancy can hardly be so great an idiot as your excellency would have him, laying occasions in his way to go on in his follies and extravagances." And turning the discourse to Don Quixote, he said, "And you, stupid wretch, who has thrust it into your brain that you are a knight-errant, and that you conquer giants and seize caitiffs? Be gone in a good hour, and in such this is said to you; return to your own house and breed up your children, if you have any; mind your affairs, and cease to ramble up and down the world, sucking the wind, and making all people laugh that know you, or know you not. Where, with a mischief, have you ever found that there have been, or are, knights-errant? Where are there any giants in Spain, or caitiffs in La Mancha, or Dulcineas enchanted, or all the rabble-rout of follies that are told of you?" Don Quixote was very attentive to the words of this venerable man; and, finding that he now held his peace, without minding the respect due to the duke and duchess, with an ireful mien and disturbed countenance he started up and said But his answer deserves a chapter by itself.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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