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 Second Part
CHAPTER XXXII: Of the Answer Don Quixote gave to his Reprover, with other grave and pleasant Events.
Don Quixote, then standing up, and trembling from head to foot, as if he had quicksilver in his joints, with precipitate and disturbed speech, said, "The place where I am, and the presence of the personages before whom I stand, together with the respect I ever had, and have, for men of your profession, restrain and tie up the hands of my just indignation; and therefore, as well upon the account of what I have said, as being conscious of what everybody knows, that the weapons of gownsmen are the same as those of women, namely, their tongues, I will enter with mine into combat with your reverence, from whom one rather ought to have expected good counsels than opprobrious revilings. Pious and well-meant reproof demands another kind of behaviour and language; at least the reproving me in public, and so rudely, has passed all the bounds of decent reprehension; for it is better to begin with mildness than asperity, and it is not right, without knowledge of the fault, without more ado to call the offender madman and idiot. Tell me, I beseech your reverence, for which of the follies you have seen in me, do you condemn and revile me, bidding me get me home, and take care of my house, and of my wife and children, without knowing whether I have either? What! is there nothing to do but to enter boldly into other men's houses to govern the masters? And -- shall a poor pedagogue, who never saw more of the world than what is contained within a district of twenty or thirty leagues, set himself at random to prescribe laws to chivalry, and to judge of knights-errant? Is it, then, an idle scheme, and time thrown away, to range the world, not seeking its delights, but its austerities, by which good men aspire to the seat of immortality? If gentlemen, if persons of wealth, birth, and quality were to take me for a madman, I should look upon it as an irreparable affront; but to be esteemed a fool by pedants, who never entered upon or trod the paths of chivalry, I value it not a farthing. A knight I am, and a knight I will die, if it be Heaven's good will. Some pass through the spacious field of proud ambition; others through that of servile and base flattery; others by the way of deceitful hypocrisy; and some by that of true religion; but I, by the influence of my star, take the narrow path of knight-errantry, for the exercise of which I despise wealth, but not honour. I have redressed grievances, righted wrongs, chastised the insolent, vanquished giants, and trampled upon hobgoblins; I am in love, but only because knights-errant must be so; and, being so, I am no vicious lover, but a chaste Platonic one. My intentions are always directed to virtuous ends, to do good to all, and hurt to none. Whether he, who means thus, acts thus, and lives in the practice of all this, deserves to be called a fool, let your grandeurs judge, most excellent Duke and Duchess."
"Well said, i' faith!" quoth Sancho; "say no more in vindication of yourself, good my lord and master; for there is no more to be said, nor to be thought, nor to be persevered in, in the world; and besides, this gentleman denying, as he has denied, that there ever were, or are, knights-errant, no wonder if he knows nothing of what he has been talking of." — "Perhaps," said the ecclesiastic, "you, brother, are that Sancho Panza they talk of, to whom your master has promised an island." — "I am so," answered Sancho, "and am he who deserves one as well as any other he whatever. I am one of those of whom they say, Associate with good men, and thou wilt be one of them; and of those of whom it is said again, Not with whom thou wert bred, but with whom thou hast fed; and, He that leaneth against a good tree, a good shelter findeth he. I have leaned to a good master, and have kept him company these many months, and shall be such another as he, if it be God's good pleasure; and if he lives, and I live, neither shall he want kingdoms to rule, nor I islands to govern." — "That you shall not, friend Sancho," said the duke; "for, in the name of Signor Don Quixote, I promise you the government of one of mine, now vacant, and of no inconsiderable value." — "Kneel, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and kiss his excellency's feet for the favour he has done you." Sancho did so. Which the ecclesiastic seeing, he got up from table in a great pet, saying, "By the habit I wear, I could find in my heart to say, your excellency is as simple as these sinners; what wonder if they are mad since wise men authorise their follies? Your excellency may stay with them if you please; but, while they are in the house, I will stay in my own, and save myself the trouble of reproving what I cannot remedy." And, without saying a word, or eating a bit more, away he went, the entreaties of the duke and duchess not availing to stop him; though indeed the duke said not much, through laughter, occasioned by his absurd passion.
The laugh being over, he said to Don Quixote, "Sir Knight of the Lions, you have answered so well for yourself, that there remains nothing to demand satisfaction for in this case; for, though it has the appearance -- of an affront, it is by no means such, since, as women cannot give an affront, so neither can ecclesiastics, as you better know." — "It is true," answered Don Quixote, "and the reason is, that whoever cannot be affronted, neither can he give an affront to anybody. Women, children, and churchmen, as they cannot defend themselves, though they are offended, so they cannot be affronted, because, as your excellency better knows, there is this difference between an injury and an affront: an affront comes from one who can give it, does give it, and then maintains it; an injury may come from any hand, without affronting. As for example; a person stands carelessly in the street; ten others armed fall upon him, and beat him; he claps his hand to his sword, as he ought to do; but the number of his adversaries hinders him from effecting his intention, which is to revenge himself: this person is injured, but not affronted. Another example will confirm the same thing; a man stands with his back turned; another comes and strikes him with a cudgel, and runs for it, when he has done; the man pursues him, and cannot overtake him; he, who received the blows, received an injury, but no affront, because the affront must be maintained. If he who struck him, though he did it basely and unawares, draws his sword afterward, and stands firm, facing his enemy, he who was struck is both injured and affronted; injured, because he was struck treacherously, and affronted, because he who struck him maintained what he had done by standing his ground, and not stirring a foot. And therefore, according to the established laws of duel, I may be injured, but not affronted; for women and children cannot resent, nor can they fly, nor stand their ground. The same may be said of men consecrated to holy orders; for these three sorts of people want offensive and defensive weapons; and, though they are naturally bound to defend themselves, yet they are not to offend anybody. So that, though I said before, I was injured, I now say, in nowise; for he who cannot receive an affront, can much less give one. For which reasons I neither ought, nor do resent what that good man said to me; only I could have wished he had stayed a little longer, that I might have convinced him of his error in thinking and saying that there are no knights-errant now nor ever were any in the world; for had Amadis, or any one of his numerous descendants, heard this, I am persuaded it would not have fared over well with his reverence." — "That I will swear," quoth Sancho; "they would have given him such a slash, as would have cleft him from top to bottom, like any pomegranate or over-ripe melon; they were not folks to be jested with in that manner. By my beads, I am very certain, had Reynaldos of Montalvan heard the little gentleman talk at that rate, he would have given him such a gag, that be should not have spoken a word more in three years. Ay, ay, let him meddle with them, and see how he will escape out of their hands." The duchess was ready to die with laughter at hearing Sancho talk; and, in her opinion, she took him to be more ridiculous and more mad than his master, and there were several others at that time of the same mind.
At last Don Quixote was calm, and dinner ended; and, at taking away the cloth, there entered four damsels; one with a silver ewer, another with a basin of silver also, a third with two fine clean towels over her shoulder, and the fourth tucked up to her elbows, and in her white hands (for doubtless they were white) a wash-ball of Naples soap. She with the basin drew near, and, with a genteel air and assurance, clapped it under Don Quixote's beard, who, without speaking a word, and wondering at the ceremony, -- believed it to be the custom of that country to wash beards instead of hands, and therefore stretched out his own as far as he could; and instantly the ewer began to rain upon him, and the wash-ball damsel hurried over his beard with great dexterity of hand, raising great flakes of snow (for the lathering was not less white) not only over the beard, but over the whole face and eyes, of the obedient knight, insomuch that it made him shut them whether he would or no. The duke and duchess, who knew nothing of all this, were in expectation what this extraordinary lavation would end in. The barber-damsel, having raised a lather a handful high, pretended that the water was all spent, and ordered the girl with the ewer to fetch more, telling her Signor Don Quixote would stay till she came back. She did so, and Don Quixote remained the strangest and most ridiculous figure imaginable. All that were present beheld him, and seeing him with a neck half an ell long, more than moderately swarthy, his eyes shut, and his beard all in a lather, it was a great wonder, and a sign of great discretion, that they forbore laughing. The damsels concerned in the jest held down their eyes, not daring to look at their lord and lady; who were divided between anger and laughter, not knowing what to do, whether to chastise the girls for their boldness, or reward them for the pleasure they took in beholding Don Quixote in that pickle. At last the damsel of the ewer came, and they made an end of washing Don Quixote; and then she who carried the towels wiped and dried him with much deliberation; and all four at once making him a profound reverence were going off, the duke, that Don Quixote might not smell the jest, called the damsel with the basin, saying: "Come and wash me too, and take care you have water enough." The arch and diligent wench came and clapped the basin to the duke's chin, as she had done to Don Quixote's, and very expeditiously washed and lathered him well, and leaving him clean and dry, they made their courtesies, and away they went. It was afterwards known that the duke had sworn, that, had they not washed him as they did Don Quixote, he would have punished them for their pertness, which they had discreetly made amends for by serving him in the same manner. Sancho was very attentive to the ceremony of this washing, and said to himself: "God be my guide! is it the custom, truly, of this place to wash the beards of squires as well as of knights? On my conscience and soul, I need it much; and, if they should give me a stroke of a razor, I should take it for a still greater favour." — "What are you saying to yourself, Sancho?" said the duchess. "I say, Madam," answered Sancho, "that in other princes' courts, I have always heard say, when the cloth is taken away, they bring water to wash hands, and not suds to scour beards; and therefore one must live long to see much: it is also said, he who lives a long life must pass through many evils; though one of these same scourings is rather a pleasure than a pain." — "Take no care, friend Sancho," said the duchess; "for I will order my damsels to wash you too, and lay you in soak too, if it be necessary." — "For the present, I shall be satisfied, as to my beard," answered Sancho; "for the rest, God will provide hereafter." — "Hark you, sewer," said the duchess, "mind what honest Sancho desires, and do precisely as he would have you." The sewer answered that Signor Sancho should be punctually obeyed; and so away he went to dinner, and took Sancho with him, the duke and duchess remaining at table with Don Quixote, discoursing of sundry and divers matters, but all relating to the profession of arms and knight-errantry. --
The duchess entreated Don Quixote, since he seemed to have so happy a memory, that he would delineate and describe the beauty and features of the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso; for, according to what fame proclaimed of her beauty, she took it for granted she must be the fairest creature in the world, and even in all La Mancha. Don Quixote sighed at hearing the duchess's request, and said: "If I could pull out my heart, and lay it before your grandeur's eyes here upon the table in a dish, I might save my tongue the labour of telling what can hardly be conceived; for there your excellency would see her painted to the life. But why should I attempt to delineate and describe one by one the perfections of the peerless Dulcinea, it being a burden fitter for other shoulders than mine, an enterprise worthy to employ the pencils of Parrhasius, Timanthes, and Apelles, and the graving-tools of Lysippus, to paint and carve in pictures, marbles, and bronzes; and Ciceronian and Demosthenian rhetoric to praise them." — "What is the meaning of Demosthenian, Signor Don Quixote?" said the duchess; "it is a word I never heard in all the days of my life." — "Demosthenian rhetoric," answered Don Quixote, "is as much as to say the rhetoric of Demosthenes, as Ciceronian of Cicero; who were the two greatest orators and rhetoricians in the world." — "That is true," said the duke; "and you betrayed your ignorance in asking such a question; but for all that, Signor Don Quixote would give us a great deal of pleasure in painting her to us; for though it be but a rough draught, or sketch only, doubtless she will appear such as the most beautiful may envy." — "So she would most certainly," answered Don Quixote, "had not the misfortune which lately befell her blotted her idea out of my mind; such a misfortune, that I am in a condition rather to bewail than to describe her: for your grandeurs must know, that, going a few days ago to kiss her hands, and receive her benediction, commands, and license for this third sally, I found her quite another person than her I sought for. I found her enchanted, and converted from a princess into a country wench, from beautiful to ugly, from an angel to a devil, from fragrant to pestiferous, from courtly to rustic, from light to darkness, from a sober lady to a jumping Joan; and in short, from Dulcinea del Toboso, to a clownish wench of Sayago." — "God be my aid!" cried the duke at this instant with a loud voice: "who may it be that has done so much mischief to the world? Who is it that has deprived it of the beauty that cheered it, the good humour that entertained it, and the modesty that did it honour?" — "Who?" answered Don Quixote, "who could it be but some malicious enchanter, of the many invisible ones, that persecute me; that cursed race, born into the world to obscure and annihilate the exploits of the good, and to brighten and exalt the actions of the wicked? Enchanters have hitherto persecuted me; enchanters still persecute me; and enchanters will continue to persecute me, till they have tumbled me and my lofty chivalries into the profound abyss of oblivion; and they hurt and wound me in the most sensible part; since, to deprive a knight-errant of his mistress, is to deprive him of the eyes he sees with, the sun that enlightens him, and the food that sustains him. I have already often said it, and now repeat it, that a knight-errant without a mistress is like a tree without leaves, a building without cement, and a shadow without a body that causes it."
"There is no more to be said," added the duchess; "but for all that, if we are to believe the history of Signor Don Quixote, lately published with the general applause of all nations, we are to collect from thence, if -- I remember right, that your worship never saw the Lady Dulcinea, and that there is no such lady in the world, she being only an imaginary lady, begotten and born of your own brain, and dressed out with all the graces and perfections you pleased." — "There is a great deal to be said upon this subject," answered Don Quixote: "God knows whether there be a Dulcinea or not in the world, and whether she be imaginary or not imaginary; this is one of those things, the proof of which is not to be too nicely inquired into. I neither begot nor brought forth my mistress, though I contemplate her as a lady endowed with all those qualifications which may make her famous over the whole world; such as, the being beautiful without a blemish, grave without pride, amorous with modesty, obliging as being courteous, and courteous as being well-bred; and finally of high descent, because beauty shines and displays itself with greater degrees of perfection when matched with noble blood, than in subjects that are of mean extraction." — "True," said the duke; "but Signor Don Quixote must give me leave to say what the history of his exploits forces me to speak: for from thence may be gathered, that, supposing it be allowed that there is a Dulcinea in Toboso, or out of it, and that she is beautiful in the highest degree, as your worship describes her to us, yet, in respect of high descent, she is not upon a level with the Orianas, the Alastrajareas, Madasimas, and others of that sort, of whom histories are full, as your worship well knows."
"To this I can answer," replied Don Quixote, "that Dulcinea is the daughter of her own works, that virtue ennobles blood, and that a virtuous person, though mean, is more to be valued than a vicious person of quality. Besides, Dulcinea has endowments, which may raise her to be a queen with crown and sceptre; for the merit of a beautiful virtuous woman extends to the working greater miracles, and, though not formally, yet virtually she has in herself greater advantages in store." — "I say, Signor Don Quixote," cried the duchess, "that you tread with great caution, and, as the saying is, with the plummet in hand; and for my own part, henceforward I will believe, and make all my family believe, and even my lord duke, if need be, that there is a Dulcinea in Toboso, and that she is this day living and beautiful and especially well born and well deserving, that such a knight as Signor Don Quixote should be her servant; which is the highest commendation I can bestow upon her. But I cannot forbear entertaining one scruple, and bearing I know not what grudge to Sancho Panza. The scruple is this: the aforesaid history relates, that the said Sancho Panza found the said Lady Dulcinea, when he carried her a letter from your worship, winnowing a sack of wheat; and, as a farther sign of it, he says it was red; which makes me doubt the highness of her birth."
To which Don Quixote answered: "Madam, your grandeur must know that most or all the things which befell me exceed the ordinary bounds of what happens to other knights-errant, whether directed by the inscrutable will of the destinies, or ordered through the malice of some envious enchanter; and as it is already a thing certain, that, among all or most of the famous knights-errant, one is privileged from being subject to the power of enchantment; another's flesh is so impenetrable that he cannot be wounded; as was the case of the renowned Orlando, one of the twelve peers of France, of whom it is related, that he was invulnerable, excepting in the sole of his left foot, and in that only by the point of a great pin, and by no other weapon whatever; so that when Bernardo del Carpio killed -- him in Roncesvalles, perceiving he could not wound him with steel, he hoisted him from the ground between his arms and squeezed him to death, recollecting the manner in which Hercules slew Antaeus, that fierce giant, who was said to be a son of the earth. I would infer from what I have said, that, perhaps, I may have some one of those privileges; not that of being invulnerable; for experience has often shown me that I am made of tender flesh, and by no means impenetrable; nor that of not being subject to enchantment, for I have already found myself clapped into a cage, in which the whole world could never have been able to have shut me up, had it not been by force of enchantments; but, since I freed myself from thence, I am inclined to believe no other can touch me; and therefore these enchanters, seeing they cannot practise their wicked artifices upon my person, revenge themselves upon what I love best, and have a mind to take away my life by evil-entreating Dulcinea, for whom I live; and therefore I am of opinion, that, when my squire carried her my message, they had transformed her into a country wench, busied in that mean employment of winnowing wheat. But I have before said that the wheat was not red, nor indeed wheat, but grains of Oriental pearl; and for proof hereof I must tell your grandeurs, that, coming lately through Toboso, I could not find Dulcinea 's palace; and that Sancho, my squire, having seen her the other day in her own proper figure, the most beautiful on the globe, to me she appeared a coarse, ugly, country wench, and not well-spoken, whereas she is discretion itself; and since I neither am, nor in all likelihood can be enchanted, it is she is the enchanted, the injured, the metamorphosed, and transformed; in her my enemies have revenged themselves on me, and for her I shall live in perpetual tears, till I see her restored to her former state.
"All this I have said, that no stress may be laid upon what Sancho told of Dulcinea's sifting and winnowing; for since to me she was changed, no wonder if she was metamorphosed to him. Dulcinea is well born, of quality, and of the genteel families of Toboso, which are many, ancient, and very good; and no doubt the peerless Dulcinea has a large share in them, for whom her town will be famous and renowned in the ages to come, as Troy was for Helen, and Spain has been for Cava,(175) though upon better grounds and a juster title. On the other hand, I would have your grandeurs understand, that Sancho Panza is one of the most ingenious squires that ever served knight-errant; he has indeed, at times, certain simplicities so acute, that it is no small pleasure to consider whether he has in him most of the simple or acute; he has roguery enough to pass for a knave, and negligence enough to confirm him a dunce; he doubts of everything, and believes everything; when I imagine he is falling headlong into stupidity, he outs with such smart sayings as raise him to the skies. In short, I would not exchange him for any other squire, though a city were given me to boot; and therefore I am in doubt whether I shall do well to send him to the government your grandeur has favoured him with; though I perceive in him such a fitness for the business of governing, that, with a little polishing of his understanding, he would be as much master of that art as the king is of his customs. Besides, we know, by sundry experiences, that there is no need of much ability nor much learning to be a governor; for there are a hundred of them up and down that can scarcely read, and yet they govern as sharp as so many hawks. The main point is, that their intention be good, and that they desire to do everything right, and there -- will never be wanting counsellors to advise and direct them in what they are to do; like your governors, who, being swordsmen, and not scholars, have an assistant on the bench. My counsel to him would be to refuse all bribes, but to insist on his dues; and with some other little matters, which lie in my breast, and shall out in proper time, for Sancho's benefit, and the good of the island he is to govern."
Thus far had the duke, the duchess, and Don Quixote proceeded in their discourse, when they heard several voices, and a great noise in the palace, and presently Sancho entered the hall quite alarmed, with a dish- clout for a slabbering-bib; and after him a parcel of kitchen-boys, and other lower servants. One of them carried a tray full of water, which, by its colour and uncleanness, seemed to be dish-water. He followed and persecuted him, endeavouring with all earnestness to fix it under his chin; and another scullion seemed as solicitous to wash his beard. "What is the matter, brothers?" said the duchess, "what is the matter? What would you do to this good man? What! do you not consider that he is a governor elect?" To which the roguish barber answered, "Madam, this gentleman will not suffer himself to be washed, as is the custom, and as our lord the duke and his master have been." — "Yes I will," answered Sancho, in great wrath; "but I would have cleaner towels and clearer suds, and not such filthy hands; for there is no such difference between me and my master, that he should be washed with angel-water, and I with the devil's lye. The customs of countries and of prince's palaces are so far good, as they are not troublesome; but this custom of scouring here is worse than that of the whipping penitents. My beard is clean, and I have no need of such refreshings; and he who offers to scour me, or touch a hair of my head (I mean of my beard), with due reverence be it spoken, I will give him such a dowse, that I will set my fist fast in his skull; for such ceremonies and soapings as these look more like jibes than courtesy to guests." The duchess was ready to die with laughing, to see the rage and hear the reasonings of Sancho. But Don Quixote was not over-pleased to see him so accoutred with the nasty towel, and surrounded with such a parcel of kitchen tribe; and so making a low bow to the duke and duchess, as if begging leave to speak, he said to the rabble, with a solemn voice, "Ho! gentlemen cavaliers, be pleased to let the young man alone, and return from whence you came, or to any other place you list; for my squire is as clean as another man, and these trays are as painful to him as a narrow-necked jug. Take my advice, and let him alone; for neither he nor I understand jesting." Sancho caught the words out of his master's mouth, and proceeded, saying, "No, no, let them go on with their jokes; for I will endure it, as much as it is now night. Let them bring hither a comb, or what else they please, and let them curry this beard, and if they find anything in it that offends against cleanliness, let them shear me crosswise."
Here the duchess, still laughing, said, "Sancho Panza is in the right in whatever he has said, and will be so in whatever he shall say: he is clean, and, as he says, needs no washing; and, if he is not pleased with our custom, he is at his own disposal; and besides, you ministers of cleanliness have been extremely remiss and careless, and I may say presumptuous, in bringing to such a personage, and such a beard, your trays and dish-clouts, instead of ewers and basins of pure gold, and towels of Dutch diaper; but, in short, you are a parcel of scoundrels, and ill-born, and cannot forbear -- showing the grudge you bear to the squires of knights-errant." The roguish servants, and even the sewer, who came with them, believed that the duchess spoke in earnest, and so they took Sancho's dish-clout off his neck, and with some confusion and shame slunk away and left him; who, finding himself rid of what he thought an imminent danger, went and kneeled before the duchess, and said, "From great folks great favours are to be expected: that which your ladyship has done me to-day cannot be repaid with less than the desire of seeing myself dubbed a knight-errant, that I may employ all the days of my life in the service of so high a lady. A peasant I am; Sancho Panza is my name; married I am; children I have; and I serve as a squire: if with any one of these I can be serviceable to your grandeur, I shall not be slower in obeying than your ladyship in commanding." — "It appears plainly, Sancho," answered the duchess, "that you have learned to be courteous in the school of courtesy itself. I mean, it is evident you have been bred in the bosom of Signor Don Quixote, who must needs be the cream of complaisance, and the flower of ceremony, or cirimony, as you say. Success attend such a master and such a man! the one the pole-star of knight-errantry, and the other the bright luminary of squirely fidelity. Rise up, friend Sancho; for I will make you amends for your civility by prevailing with my lord duke to perform, as soon as possible, the promise he has made you of the government."
Thus ended the conversation, and Don Quixote went to repose himself during the heat of the day; and the duchess desired Sancho, if he had not an inclination to sleep, to pass the afternoon with her and her damsels in a very cool hall. Sancho answered, that, though indeed he was wont to sleep four or five hours a day, during the afternoon heats of the summer, to wait upon her goodness, he would endeavour with all his might not to sleep at all that day, and would be obedient to her commands; and so away he went. The duke gave fresh orders about treating Don Quixote as a knight-errant, without deviating a tittle from the style in which we read the knights of former times were treated."
Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis