Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

Gavilan Spanish Questions or comments  Bibliographic Record Index page Previous page Bottom Next page   


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 XXXIX: Wherein Trifaldi continues her stupendous and memorable History.


At every word Sancho spoke, the duchess was in as high delight as Don Quixote was at his wits' end; who commanded him to hold his peace, and the Afflicted went on, saying, "In short, after many pros and cons, the -[461]- Infanta standing stiffly to her engagement, without varying or departing from her first declaration, the vicar pronounced sentence in favour of Don Clavijo, and gave her to him to wife; at which the Queen Donna Maguncia, mother to the Infanta Antonomasia, was so much disturbed, that we buried her in three days' time." "She died then, I suppose?" quoth Sancho. "Most assuredly," answered Trifaldin; "for in Candaya they do not bury the living, but the dead." "Master Squire," replied Sancho, "it has happened, ere now, that a person in a swoon has been buried for dead; and, in my opinion, Queen Maguncia ought to have swooned away rather than have died; for, while there is life there is hope; and the Infanta's transgression was not so great, that she should lay it so much to heart. Had the lady married one of her pages, or any other servant of the family, as many others have done, as I have been told, the mischief had been without remedy; but, she having made choice of a cavalier, so much a gentleman, and of such parts as he is here painted to us, verily, verily, though perhaps it was foolish, it was not so very much so as some people think; for, according to the rules of my master, who is here present, and will not let me lie, as bishops are made out of learned men, so kings and emperors may be made out of cavaliers, especially if they are errant." "You are in the right, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "for a knight-errant, give him but two inches of good luck, is next to being the greatest lord in the world. But let Madam Afflicted proceed; for I fancy the bitter part of this hitherto sweet story is still behind." "The bitter behind!" answered the countess: "ay, so bitter, that, in comparison, wormwood is sweet, and rue savoury."

"The queen being now dead, and not swooned away, we buried her; and scarcely had we covered her with earth, and pronounced the last farewell, when, Quis talia fando temperet lacrymis! upon the queen's sepulchre appeared, mounted on a wooden horse, the giant Malambruno, her cousin-german, who, besides being cruel, is an enchanter also. This giant, in revenge of his cousin's death, and in chastisement of the boldness of Don Clavijo, and the folly of Antonomasia, left them both enchanted by his art upon the very sepulchre; she being converted into a monkey of brass, and he into a fearful crocodile of an unknown metal; and between them lies a plate of metal likewise, with letters engraved upon it in the Syriac language, which, being rendered into the Candayan, and now into the Castilian, contains this sentence: These two presumptuous lovers shall not recover their pristine form till the valorous Manchegan shall enter into single combat with me; for the destinies reserve this unheard-of adventure for his great valour alone. This done, he drew out of the scabbard a broad and unmeasurable scimitar, and, taking me by the hair of my head, he made show as if he would cut my throat, or whip off my head at a blow. I was frightened to death, and my voice stuck in my throat; nevertheless, recovering myself as well as I could, with a trembling and doleful voice, I used such entreaties as prevailed with him to suspend the execution of so rigorous a punishment. Finally, he sent for all the duennas of the palace, being those here present, and, after having exaggerated our fault, and inveighed against the qualities of duennas, their wicked plots, and worse intrigues, and charging them with all that blame which I alone deserved, he said he would not chastise us with capital punishment, but with other lengthened pains, which should put us to a kind of civil and perpetual death; and in the very instant he had done speaking, we all felt the pores -[462]- of our faces open, and a pricking pain all over them like the pricking of needles. Immediately we clapped our hands to our faces, and found them in the condition you shall see presently."

Then the Afflicted, and the rest of the duennas, lifted up the veils which concealed them, and discovered their faces all planted with beards, some red, some black, some white, and some piebald; at which sight the duke and duchess seemed to wonder, Don Quixote and Sancho were amazed, and all present astonished; and the Trifaldi proceeded: "Thus that wicked and evil-minded felon Malambruno punished us, covering the soft smoothness of our faces with the ruggedness of these bristles; would to Heaven he had struck off our heads with his unmeasurable scimitar rather than have obscured the light of our countenances with these brushes that overspread them! For. noble lords and lady, if we rightly consider it, and what I am now going to say I would speak with rivers of tears, but that the consideration of our misfortune, and the seas our eyes have already wept, keep them without moisture, and dry as the beards of corn; and therefore I will speak it without tears; I say then, whither can a duenna with a beard go? What father or what mother will bewail her? Who will succour her? For even when her grain is the smoothest and her face tortured with a thousand sorts of washes and ointments, scarcely can she find anybody to show kindness to her; what must she do then, when her face is become a wood? O ye duennas, my dear companions, in an unlucky hour were we born, and in an evil minute did our fathers beget us;" and, so saying, she seemed to faint away.


Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

Gavilan Spanish Questions or comments Bibliographic Record Index page Previous page Top Next page