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 XLIII: Of the second Instructions Don Quixote gave Sancho Panza.
Who, that had heard the foregoing discourse of Don Quixote's, but would have taken him for a prudent and intelligent person? but, as it has often said in the progress of this grand history, he talked foolishly only when chivalry was the subject, and in the rest of his conversation showed himself master of a clear and agreeable understanding, insomuch that his actions perpetually betrayed his judgment, and his judgment his actions. But, in these second instructions given to Sancho, he showed a great deal of pleasantry, and pushed his discretion and his madness to a high pitch.
Sancho listened to him most attentively, endeavouring to preserve his instructions in memory, like one that intended to observe them; and, by their means, he hoped to be safely delivered of the pregnancy of his government. Don Quixote proceeded, saying:
"As to what concerns the government of your own person and family, Sancho, in the first place, I enjoin you to be cleanly, and to pare your nails, and not let them grow, as some do, whose ignorance has made them believe that long nails beautify the hands; as if that excrement and excrescence were a nail, whereas it is rather the talon of a lizard-hunting kestrel; a swinish and monstrous abuse!
"Go not loose and unbuttoned, Sancho; for a slovenly dress betokens a careless mind, unless the discomposure and negligence fall under the article of cunning and design, as was judged to be the case of Julius Caesar.
"Feel with discretion the pulse of what your office may be worth, and, if it will afford your giving liveries to your servants, give them such as are decent and useful, rather than showy and modish; and divide between your servants and the poor; I mean if you can keep six pages, clothe but three, and three of the poor; and thus you will have pages for Heaven and for earth too; a new way of giving liveries, which the vain-glorious never thought of.
"Eat neither garlic nor onion, lest people guess, by the smell, at your peasantry. Walk leisurely and speak deliberately; but not so as to seem to be hearkening to yourself, for all affectation is bad.
"Eat little at dinner, and less at supper; for the health of the whole body is tempered in the forge of the stomach.
"Be temperate in drinking, considering that excess of wine neither keeps secrets nor performs promises.
"Take heed, Sancho, not to chew on both sides of your mouth at once, nor to eruct before company." — "I do not understand your eructing," quoth Sancho. "To eruct," said Don Quixote, "means to belch, a filthy though very significant word; and therefore your nice people have recourse to the Latin, and instead of to belch, say to eruct, and instead of belchings, eructations; and though some do not understand these terms, it is no great matter; for, by usage, they will come hereafter to be understood; and this is to enrich language, over which the vulgar and custom bear sway." — "In truth, Sir," quoth Sancho, "one of the counsels and instructions I intend to carry in my memory shall be this, of not belching: for I am wont to do it very frequently." — "Eructing, Sancho, and not belching," said Don Quixote. "Eructing it shall be henceforward, and, in faith, I will not forget it," quoth Sancho. --
"Likewise, Sancho, intermix not in your discourse that multitude of proverbs you are wont; for though proverbs are short sentences, you often drag them in so by the head and shoulders, that they seem rather cross purposes than sentences." — "God alone can remedy that," quoth Sancho; "for I know more proverbs than will fill a book, and, when I talk, they crowd so thick into my mouth, that they jostle which shall get out first: but my tongue tosses out the first it meets, though it be not always very pat. But, for the future, I will take heed to utter such as become the gravity of my place: For in a plentiful house supper is soon dressed; and He that cuts does not deal; and, He that has the repique is safe; and, To spend and to spare, require judgment." — "So, so, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "thrust in, rank and string on your proverbs, nobody is going about to hinder you. My mother whips me, and I tear on. I am warning you to abstain from proverbs, and in an instant you pour forth a litany of them, which square with what we are upon as much as Over the hills and far away.(186) Look you, Sancho, I do not say a proverb is amiss, when skilfully applied; but to accumulate, and string them at random, renders a discourse flat and low.
"When you are on horseback, sit not leaning your body backwards over your saddle, nor carry your legs stiff, stretched, and straddling from the horse's belly; nor yet dangle them so, as if you were still upon Dapple; for sitting a horse makes some look like gentlemen, others like grooms.
"Let your sleep be moderate, for he who is not up with the sun, does not enjoy the day; and take notice, O Sancho, that diligence is the mother of good fortune, and sloth, her opposite, never reached the end of a good wish.
"The last article of advice I shall at this time give you, though it concerns not the adorning of the body, yet I would have you bear it carefully in mind; for I believe it will be of no less use to you than those I have already given you. It is this. Never set yourself to decide contests about families, at least by comparing them, since perforce one must have the advantage; and he who is postponed will hate you, and he who is preferred will not reward you.
"Your habit shall be breeches and stockings, a long coat, and a cloak somewhat longer; but for trousers or trunk-hose, think not of them, for they are not becoming either to cavaliers or governors.
"This is all that occurs to me at present, by way of advice to you; as time goes on, and according to the occasions, such shall my instructions be, provided you take care to inform me of the state of your affairs. "— "Sir," answered Sancho, "I see very well, that all your worship has been saying is good, holy, and profitable; but what good will it do me, if I remember nothing of it? It is true, I shall not forget what you have said about not letting my nails grow, and about marrying again if I may: but for your other gallimaufries, quirks, and quillets, I neither do, nor ever shall remember any more of them than of last year's clouds; and therefore it will be necessary to give me them in writing; for though I can neither read nor write, I will give them to my confessor, that he may inculcate them into me whenever there shall be need." — "Ah! sinner that I am!' answered Don Quixote; "how ill does it look in a governor not to be able to read or write; for you must know, O Sancho, that for a man not to know how to read, or to be left-handed, implies one of these two things: either that he sprung from very mean or low parents, or that he was so -- untoward and perverse, that no good could be beaten into him. It is a very great defect you carry with you, and, therefore, I would by all means have you learn to write your name, if possible." — "I can sign my name very well," answered Sancho; "for when I was steward of the brotherhood in our village, I learned to make certain characters, like the marks upon a wool-pack, which I was told spelt my name; but, at the worst, I can pretend my right hand is lame, and make another sign for me: for there is a remedy for everything but death; and I, having the command of the staff, will do what I please. Besides, he whose father is mayor, &c. you know; and I being a governor, am surely something more than mayor. Let them come and play at bo-peep. Ay, ay, let them slight and backbite me; they may come for wool and be sent back shorn; and, whom God loves, his house smells savoury to him; and, the rich man's blunders pass for maxims in the world; and I being a governor, and consequently rich, and bountiful to boot, as I intend to be, nobody will see my defects. No, no, get yourself honey, and clowns will have flies. As much as you have, so much you are worth, said my grannam; and there is no revenging yourself upon a rich man." — "Oh! God's curse light on you!" cried out Don Quixote at this instant; "sixty thousand devils take you and your proverbs! you have been stringing of them this full hour, and putting me to the rack(187) with every one of them. Take my word for it, these proverbs will one day bring you to the gallows; upon their account your subjects will strip you of your government, or at least conspire against you. Tell me where you find them, ignorant, or how apply you them, dunce? For my own part, to utter but one, and apply it properly, I sweat and labour as if I were digging."
"Before God, master of mine," replied Sancho, "your worship complains of very trifles. Why the devil are you angry that I make use of my own goods? for I have no other, nor any stock, but proverbs upon proverbs; and just now I have four that present themselves pat to the purpose, and fit like pears in a pannier;(188) but I will not produce them; for, to keep silence well is called Sancho."(189) — "That you will never do, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "for you are so far from keeping silence well, that you are an arrant prate-apace, and an eternal babbler. But, for all that, I would fain know what four proverbs occurred to you just now, so pat to the purpose; for I have been running over my own memory, which is a pretty good one, and I can think of none." — "Can there be better," quoth Sancho, "than, Never venture your fingers between two eye-teeth; and, To get out of my house; what would you have with my wife? There is no reply; and, Whether the pitcher hits the stone, or the stone hits the pitcher, it is bad for the pitcher; all which fit to a hair. Let no one contest with his governor or his governor's substitutes; for he will come off by the worst, like him who claps his finger between two eye-teeth; but though they be not eye- teeth, so they be teeth, it matters not. To what a governor says, there is no replying; for it is like, Get you out of my house; what business have you with my wife? Then, as to the stone and the pitcher, a blind man may see into it. So that he, who sees a mote in another man's eye, should first look to the beam in his own; that it may not be said of him, the dead woman was afraid of her that was flayed; and your worship knows well, that the fool knows more in his own house than the wise in another man's." — "Not so, Sancho," answered Don Quixote; "the fool knows nothing either in his own house or another's; for knowledge is not a structure to -- be erected upon so shallow a foundation as folly. And so much for Sancho; for if you govern ill, yours will be the fault, but the shame will be mine. But I comfort myself that I have done my duty in advising you as seriously and as discreetly as I possibly could; and so I am acquitted both of my obligation and my promise. God speed you, Sancho, and govern you in your government, and deliver me from a suspicion I have that you will turn the whole island topsy-turvy; which I might prevent by letting the duke know what you are, and telling him that all that paunch gut and little carcass of thine is nothing but a sackful of proverbs and sly remarks." — "Sir," replied Sancho, "if your worship thinks I am not fit for this government, I renounce it from this moment; for I love the little black of the nail of my soul better than my whole body; and plain Sancho can live as well upon bread and onion, as governor Sancho upon capon and partridge. Besides, while we are asleep, the great and the small, the poor and the rich, are all equal. And if your worship reflects, you will find it was you that put me upon the scent of governing; for I know no more of the government of islands than a bustard; and if you fancy the devil will have me if I am a governor, I had rather go Sancho to Heaven than a governor to hell." — "Before God, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for those last words of yours I think you deserve to be governor of a thousand islands. You are good-natured, without which no knowledge is of any value. Pray to God, and endeavour not to err in your intention; I mean, always take care to have a firm purpose and design of doing right in whatever business occurs; for Heaven constantly favours a good intention. And so let us go to dinner; for I believe the lord and lady stay for us."
Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis