Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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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 XLVII: Giving a farther Account of Sancho's Behaviour in his Government.


The history relates that they conducted Sancho Panza from the court of judicature to a sumptuous palace, where, in a great hall, was spread an elegant and splendid table; and as soon as Sancho entered the hall the waits struck up, and in came four pages with water to wash his hands, which Sancho received with great gravity. The music ceased, and Sancho sat down at the upper end of the table; for there was but that one chair, and no other napkin or plate. A personage, who afterwards proved to be a physician, placed himself, standing on one side of him, with a whalebone rod in his hand. They removed a very fine white cloth, which covered several fruits, and a great variety of eatables. One, who looked like a student, said grace, and a page put a laced bib under Sancho's chin. Another, who played the sewer's part, set a plate of fruit before him;(195) but scarcely had he eaten a bit, when he of the wand, touching the dish with it, the waiter snatched it away from before him with great haste, but the sewer set another dish of meat in its place. Sancho was going to try it, but before he could reach or taste it, the wand had been already at it, and a page whipped that away also with as much speed as he had done the fruit. Sancho, seeing it, was surprised, and looking about him, asked if this repast was to be eaten like a show of sleight-of-hand. To which he of the wand replied, "My lord governor, here must be no other kind of eating but such as is usual and customary in other islands, where there are governors. I, Sir, am a physician, and have an appointed salary in this island for serving the governors of it in that capacity; and I consult their healths much more than my own, studying night and day, and sounding the governor's constitution, the better to know how to cure him when he is sick; and my principal business is to attend at his meals, to let him eat of what I think is most proper for him, and to remove from him whatever I imagine will do him harm, and be hurtful to his stomach. And therefore I ordered the dish of fruit to be taken away, as being too moist; and that other dish of meat I also ordered away, as being too hot, and having in it too much spice, which increases thirst; for he who drinks much, destroys and consumes the radical moisture in which life consists." — "Well then," quoth Sancho; "yon plate of roasted partridges, which seem to me to be very well seasoned, will they do me any harm?" To which the doctor answered, "My lord governor shall not eat a bit of them while I have life." — "Pray, why not?" quoth Sancho. The physician answered, "Because our master Hippocrates, the north star and luminary of medicine, says, in one of his Aphorisms, Omnis saturatio mala, perdicis autem pessima; that is to say, All repletion is bad, but that of partridges the worst of all." — "If it be so," quoth Sancho, "pray see, Signor Doctor, of all the dishes upon this table, which will do me most good, and which least harm, and let me eat of it, without conjuring it away with your wand; for, by the life of the governor, and as God shall give me leave to use it, I am dying with hunger; and to deny me my victuals, though it be against the grain of Signor Doctor, and though he should say as much more against it, I say, is rather the way to shorten my life than to lengthen it." — "Your worship is in the right, my lord governor," answered the physician, "and therefore I am of opinion -[492]- you should not eat of yon stewed coneys, because they are a sharp-haired food; of that veal perhaps you might pick a bit, were it not ΰ la daube but as it is, not a morsel." — "That great dish," said Sancho, "smoking yonder, I take to be an olla-podrida,(196) and, amidst the diversity of things contained in it, surely I may light upon something both wholesome and toothsome." — "Absit," quoth the doctor; "far be such a thought from us; there is not worse nutriment in the world than your olla-podridas; leave them to prebendaries and rectors of colleges, or for country weddings; but let the tables of governors be free from them, where nothing but neatness and delicacy ought to preside; and the reason is, because simple medicines are more esteemed than compound, by all persons, and in all places; for in simples there can be no mistake, but in compounds there may, by altering the quantities of the ingredients. Therefore what I would advise at present for Signor Governor's eating, to corroborate and preserve his health, is, about a hundred of rolled-up wafers, and some thin slices of marmalade, that may sit easy upon the stomach, and help digestion." Sancho, hearing this, threw himself backward in his chair, and, surveying the doctor from head to foot, with a grave voice, asked him his name, and where he had studied. To which he answered, "My lord governor, I am called Doctor Pedro Rezio de Aguero; I am a native of a place called Tirteafuera lying between Caraquel and Almoddobar del Campo, on the right hand, and have taken my doctor's degree in the university of Ossuna."(197) To which Sancho, burning with rage, answered, "Why then, Signor Doctor Pedro Rezio de Aguero,(198) native of Tirteafuera, lying on the right hand as we go from Caraquel to Almoddobar del Campo, graduate in Ossuna, get out of my sight this instant, or, by the sun, I will take a cudgel, and beginning with you, will so lay about me, that there shall not be left one physician in the whole island, at least of those I find to be ignorant; as for those that are learned, prudent, and discreet, I shall respect and honour them as divine persons. And I say again, let Pedro Rezio quit my presence, or I shall take this chair I sit upon, and fling it at his head; and if I am called to an account for it before the judge, when I am out of office, I will justify myself by saying, I did God service in killing a bad physician, the hangman of the public. And give me to eat, or take back your government; for an office that will not find a man in victuals is not worth two beans."

The doctor was frightened at seeing the governor so choleric, and would have taken himself out of the hall, had not the sound of a post-horn been heard that instant in the street. The sewer, going to the window and looking out, came back, and said, "A courier is arrived from my lord duke, and must certainly have brought some despatches of importance." The courier entered sweating, and in a hurry, and, pulling a packet out of his bosom, he delivered it into the governor's hands, and Sancho gave it to the steward, bidding him read the superscription, which was this: "To Don Sancho Panza, governor of the island of Baratarνa, to be delivered into his own hands, or into his secretary's." Which Sancho hearing, he said, "Which is my secretary here?" One of those present answered, "I am he, Sir; for I can read and write, and am a Biscainer." — "With that addition," quoth Sancho, "you may very well be secretary to the emperor himself; open the packet, and see what it contains." The new-born secretary did so, and, having cast his eye over the contents, he said it was a business which required privacy. Sancho commanded the hall to be -[493]- cleared, and that none should stay but the steward and the sewer; and all the rest, with the physician, being withdrawn, the secretary read the following letter:

"It is come to my knowledge, Signor Don Sancho Panza, that certain enemies of mine, and of the island, intend one of these nights to assault it furiously. You must be watchful and diligent, that they may not attack you unprepared. I am informed, also, by trusty spies, that four persons in disguise are got into the island, to take away your life, because they are in fear of your abilities. Have your eyes about you, and be careful who is admitted to speak to you, and be sure eat nothing sent you as a present. I will take care to send you assistance, if you are in any want of it. And, upon the whole, I do not doubt but you will act as is expected from your judgment.

"Your friend, the Duke."

"From this place, the 16th of August,
          at four in the morning.

Sancho was astonished, and the rest seemed to be so too; and turning to the steward, he said, "The first thing to be done, is to clap Doctor Rezio into prison; for if anybody has a design to kill me, it is he, and that by a lingering, and the worst of deaths, by hunger." — "It is my opinion," answered the steward, "that your honour would do well to eat nothing of all this meat here upon the table; for it was presented by some nuns; and it is a saying, The devil lurks behind the cross." — "I grant it," quoth Sancho; "and, for the present, give me only a piece of bread, and some four pounds of grapes: no poison can be conveyed in them; for, in short, I cannot live without eating; and, if we must hold ourselves in readiness for these wars that threaten us, it will be necessary we should be well victualled; for the guts uphold the heart, and not the heart the guts. And you, secretary, answer my lord duke, and tell him his commands shall be punctually obeyed, just as he gives them; and present my humble service to my lady duchess, and beg her not to forget sending my letter and the bundle, by a special messenger, to my wife Teresa Panza, which I shall look upon as a particular favour, and will be her humble servant to the utmost of my power. And, by the way, you may put in a service to my master, Don Quixote de la Mancha, that he may see I am grateful bread;(199) and, like a good secretary, and a staunch Biscainer, you may add what you please, or what will turn to best account; and pray take away the cloth, and give me something to eat; for I will deal well enough with all the spies, murderers, and enchanters that shall attack me or my island."

Now a page came in, and said, "Here is a countryman about business, who would speak with your lordship concerning an affair, as he says, of great importance." — "A strange case this," quoth Sancho, "that these men of business should be so silly as not to see that such hours as these are not proper for business! What! truly we, who govern, and are judges, are not made of flesh and bones, like other men? Are we made of marble, that we must not refresh at times, when necessity requires it? Before God, and upon my conscience, if my government lasts, as I have a glimmering it will not, I shall hamper more than one of these men of business. Bid this honest man come in, for this once; but first see, that he be not one of the spies, or one of my murderers." — "No, my lord," answered the page;" he looks like a pitcher-souled fellow; and I know little, or he is as harmless as a piece of bread." — "You need not fear," said the steward, "while we are present." — "Is it not possible, sewer," quoth Sancho, "now -[494]- that the doctor Pedro Rezio is not here, for me to eat something of substance and weight, though it were but a luncheon of bread and an onion?" — "To-night at supper," replied the sewer, "amends shall be made for the defects of dinner, and your lordship shall have no cause to complain." — "God grant it," answered Sancho.

Then came in the countryman, who was of a goodly presence; and one might see, a thousand leagues off, that he was an honest good soul. The first thing he said was, "Which is the lord governor here?" — "Who should," answered the secretary, "but he who is in the chair?" — "I humble myself in his presence," said the countryman, kneeling down, and begging his hand to kiss. Sancho refused it, and commanded him to rise, and to tell his business. The countryman did so, and then said, "My lord I am a countryman, a native of Miguel Turra, two leagues from Ciudad Real." — "What! another Tirteafuera?" quoth Sancho; "say on, brother, for, let me tell you, I know Miguel Turra very well: it is not so far from our town." — "The business is this, Sir," proceeded the peasant. "By the mercy of God I was married in peace, and in the face of the holy Catholic Roman Church. I have two sons, bred scholars; the younger studies for bachelor, and the elder for licentiate. I am a widower; for my wife died, or rather a wicked physician killed her, by purging her when she was with child; and, if it had been God's will that the child had been born, and had proved a son, I would have put him to study for doctor, that he might not envy his two brothers, the bachelor and licentiate." — "So that," quoth Sancho, "if your wife had not died, or had not been killed, you had not been a widower!" — "No, certainly, my lord," answered the peasant.— "We are much the nearer," replied Sancho: "go on, brother; for this is an hour rather for bed than business." — "I say, then," quoth the country-man, "that this son of mine, who is to be the bachelor, fell in love, in the same village, with a damsel called Clara Perlerina, daughter of Andres Perlerino, a very rich farmer; and this name of Perlerino came not to then by lineal or any other descent, but because all of that race are subject to the palsy; and, to mend the name, they call them Perlerinos: though, to say the truth, the damsel is like any Oriental pearl, and, looked at on the right side, seems a very flower of the field; but, on the left, she is not quite so fair; for, on that side, she wants an eye, which she lost by the small-pox; and, though the pits in her face are many and deep, her admirers say they are not pits, but sepulchres, wherein the hearts of her lovers are buried. She is so cleanly, that, to prevent defiling her face, she carries her nose so crooked up, that it seems to be flying from her month; and for all that, she looks extremely well: for she has a large mouth, and, did she not lack half a score or a dozen teeth and grinders, she might pass, and make a figure among ladies of the best fashion. I say nothing of her lips; for they are so thin and slender, that, were it the fashion to reel lips, as they do yarn, one might make a skein of them; but, being of a different colour from what is usually found in lips, they have a marvellous appearance; for they are marbled with blue, green, and orange-tawny. And, pray, my lord governor, pardon me, if I paint so minutely the parts of her, who, after all, is to be my daughter; for I love her, and like her mightily.' — "Paint what you will," quoth Sancho; "for I am mightily taken with the picture; and, had I but dined, I would not desire a better dessert than your portrait." — "It shall be always at your service," answered the peasant; "and the time may come when we may be acquainted, though we are not -[495]- so now; and, I assure you, my lord, if I could but paint her genteelness, and the tallness of her person, you would admire; but that cannot be, because she is crooked, and crumpled up together, and her knees touch her mouth; though, for all that, you may see plainly, that, could she but stand upright, she would touch the ceiling with her head. And she would ere now have given her hand to my bachelor, to be his wife, but that she cannot stretch it out, it is so shrunk: nevertheless her long guttered nails show the goodness of its make."

"So far, so good," quoth Sancho; "and now, brother, make account that you have painted her from head to foot: what is it you would be at? Come to the point without so many windings and turnings, so many fetches and digressions." — "What I desire, my lord," answered the countryman, "is, that your lordship would do me the favour to give me a letter of recommendation to her father, begging his consent to the match, since we are pretty equal in our fortunes and natural endowments; for, to say the truth, my lord governor, my son is possessed, and there is scarcely a day, in which the evil spirits do not torment him three or four times; and, by having fallen once into the fire, his face is as shrivelled as a piece of scorched parchment, and his eyes are somewhat bleared and running; but he is as good conditioned as an angel; and, did he not buffet, and give himself frequent cuffs, he would be a very saint." — "Would you have anything else, honest friend?" replied Sancho. "One thing more I would ask," quoth the peasant, "but that I dare not: yet out it shall; for, in short, it shall not rot in my breast, come of it what will. I say then, my lord, I could be glad your worship would give me three or six hundred ducats towards the fortune of my bachelor; I mean towards the furnishing his house; for, in short, they are to live by themselves, without being subject to the impertinences of their fathers-in-law." — "Well," quoth Sancho, "see if you would have anything else, and be not ashamed to tell it." — "No, for certain," answered the peasant; and scarcely had he said this, when the governor, getting up, and laying hold of the chair he sat on, said: "I vow to God, Don Lubberly Saucy Bumpkin, if you do not get you gone, and instantly avoid my presence, with this chair will I crack your skull: son of a whore, rascal, painter for the devil himself! at this time of day to come and ask me for six hundred ducats! Where should I have them, stinkard? And, if I had them, why should I give them to thee, jibing fool? What care I for Miguel Turra, or for the whole race of the Perlerinos? Begone, I say, or by the life of my lord duke, I will be as good as my word. You are no native of Miguel Turra, but some scoffer sent from hell to tempt me. Impudent scoundrel! I have not yet had the government a day and a half, and you would have me have six hundred ducats?" The sewer made signs to the countryman to go out of the hall, which he did, hanging down his head, and seemingly afraid, lest the governor should execute his threat; for the knave very well knew how to play his part. But let us leave Sancho in his passion, and peace be with him and company; and let us turn to Don Quixote, whom we left with his face bound up, and under cure of his cattish wounds, of which he was not quite healed in eight days; in one of which there befell him what Cid Hamete promises to relate, with that punctuality and truth with which he relates everything belonging to the history, be it never so minute.


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