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 LII: In which is related the Adventure of the Second afflicted or distressed Matron, otherwise called Donna Rodriguez.


Cid Hamete relates that Don Quixote, being now healed of his scratches, began to think the life he led in that castle was against all the rules of knight-errantry which he professed; and therefore he resolved to ask leave of the duke and duchess to depart for Saragossa, the celebration of the tournament drawing near, wherein he proposed to win the suit of armour, the usual prize at that festival. And being one day at table with their excellencies, and beginning to unfold his purpose, and ask their leave, behold, on a sudden, there entered at the door of the great hall, two women, as it afterwards appeared, covered from head to foot with mourning weeds; and one of them coming up to Don Quixote, threw herself at full length on the ground, and incessantly kissing his feet, poured forth such dismal, deep, and mournful groans, that all who heard and saw her were confounded; and though the duke and duchess imagined it was some jest their servants were putting upon Don Quixote, yet, seeing how vehemently the woman sighed, groaned, and wept, they were in doubt and in suspense; till the compassionate Don Quixote, raising her from the ground, prevailed with her to discover herself, and remove the veil from before her blubbered face. She did so, and discovered, what they little expected to see, the face of Donna Rodriguez, the duenna of the house; and the other mourner was her daughter, who had been deluded by the rich farmer's son. All that knew her wondered, and the duke and duchess more than anybody; for though they took her for a fool and soft, yet not to the degree as to act so mad a part. At length Donna Rodriguez, turning to her lord and lady, said: "Be pleased, your excellencies, to give me leave to confer a little with this gentleman, for so it behoves me to do, to get successfully out of an unlucky business, into which the presumption of an evil-minded bumpkin has brought me." The duke said he gave her leave, and that she might confer with Don Quixote as much as she pleased. She, directing her face and speech to Don Quixote, said: "It is not long, valorous knight, since I gave you an account how injuriously and treacherously a wicked peasant has used my poor dear child, this unfortunate girl here present, and you promised me to stand up in her defence, and see her righted; and now I understand that you are departing from this castle in quest of good adventures (which God send you!), and therefore my desire is, that, before you begin making your excursions on the highways, you would challenge this untamed rustic, and oblige him to marry my daughter, in compliance with the promise he gave her to be her husband, before he had his will of her; for, to think to meet with justice from my lord duke is to look for pears upon an elm-tree, for the reasons I have already told your worship in private; and so God grant your worship much health, not forsaking us."

To which words Don Quixote returned this answer, with much gravity and solemnity;" Good Madam Duenna, moderate your tears, or rather dry them up, and spare your sighs; for I take upon me the charge of seeing your daughter's wrongs redressed; though it had been better if she had not been so easy in believing the promises of lovers, who, for the most -[518]- part, are very ready at promising, and very slow in performing; and therefore, with my lord duke's leave, I will depart immediately in search of this ungracious youth, and will find and challenge him, and will kill him, if he refuses to perform his contract: for the principal end of my profession is, to spare the humble, and chastise the proud; I mean, to succour the wretched, and destroy the oppressor."

"You need not give yourself any trouble," answered the duke, "to seek the rustic, of whom this good duenna complains; nor need you ask my permission to challenge him: for suppose him challenged, and leave it to me to give him notice of this challenge, and to make him accept it, and come and answer for himself at this castle of mine; where both shall fairly enter the lists, and all the usual ceremonies shall be observed, and exact justice distributed to each, as is the duty of all princes, who grant the lists to combatants within the bounds of their territories." — "With this assurance, and with your grandeur's leave," replied Don Quixote, "for this time I renounce my gentility, and lessen and demean myself to the lowness of the offender, and put myself upon a level with him, that he may be qualified to fight with me; and so, though absent, I challenge and defy him, upon account of the injury he has done in deceiving this poor girl, who was a maiden, and by his fault is no longer such; and he shall either perform his promise of being her lawful husband, or die in the dispute." And immediately pulling off his glove, he threw it into the middle of the hall, and the duke took it up, saying, that, as he had said before, he accepted the challenge in the name of his vassal, appointing the time to be six days after, and the lists to be in the court of the castle; the arms those usually among knights, a lance, shield, and laced suit of armour, and all the other pieces, without deceit, fraud, or any superstition whatever, being first viewed and examined by the judges of the field. But especially, he said, it was necessary the good duenna and the naughty maiden should commit the justice of their cause to the hands of Signor Don Quixote; for otherwise nothing could be done, nor could the said challenge be duly executed. "I do commit it," answered the duenna. "And I too," added the daughter, all weeping, abashed, and confounded.

The day thus appointed, and the duke having resolved with himself what was to be done in the business, the mourners went their ways; and the duchess ordered that henceforward they should be treated, not as her servants, but as lady adventurers, who were come to her house to demand justice; and so they had a separate apartment ordered them, and were served as strangers, to the amazement of the rest of the family, who knew not what the folly and boldness of Donna Rodriguez and of her ill-errant daughter drove at.

While they were thus engaged in perfecting the joy of the feast, and giving a good end to the dinner, behold there entered, at the hall-door, the page who carried the letters and presents to Teresa Panza, wife of the Governor Sancho Panza; at whose arrival the duke and duchess were much pleased, being desirous to know the success of his journey; and they having asked him, the page replied, he could not relate it so publicly, nor in few words, and desired their excellencies would be pleased to adjourn it to a private audience, and in the meantime to entertain themselves with those letters; and pulling out a couple, he put them into the hands of the duchess. The superscription of one was, "For my lady duchess such a one of I know not what place;" and the other, "To my -[519]- husband Sancho Panza, governor of the island Barataria, whom God prosper more years than me." The duchess's cake was dough, as the saying is, till she had read her letter; and, opening it, she run it over to herself, and finding it might be read aloud, that the duke and the by-standers might hear it, she read what follows:

Teresa Panza's letter to the Duchess.

"My Lady,

"The letter your grandeur wrote me gave me much satisfaction, and indeed | wished for it mightily. The string of corals is very good, and my husband's hunting-suit comes not short of it. Our whole town is highly pleased that your ladyship has made my husband Sancho a governor; though nobody believes it, especially the priest, and Master Nicholas the barber, and Sampson Carrasco the bachelor. But what care I? For so long as the thing is so, as it really is, let everyone say what they list; though, if I may own the truth, I should not have believed it myself, had it not been for the corals and the habit: for in this village everybody thinks my husband a dunce, and, take him from governing a flock of goats, they cannot imagine what government ho can be good for. God be his guide, and speed him as he sees best for his children. I am resolved, dear lady of my soul, with your ladyship's leave, to bring this good day home to my house, and hie me to court, to loll it in a coach, and burst the eyes of a thousand people that envy me already. And therefore I beg your excellency to order my husband to send me a little money, and let it be enough: for at court expenses are great; bread sells for sixpence, and flesh for thirty maravedís the pound; which is a judgment; and if he is not for my going, let him send me word in time for my feet are in motion to begin my journey. My friends and neighbours tell me, that if I and my daughter go fine and stately at court, my husband will be known by me, more than I by him; for folks, to be sure, will ask, 'What ladies are those in that coach?' and a footman of ours will answer; 'The wife and daughter of Sancho Panza, governor of the island Barataria;' and in this manner Sancho will be known, and I shall be esteemed, and to Rome for everything.

"I am as sorry as sorry can be that there has been no gathering of acorns this year in our village; but for all that, I send your highness about half a peck. I went to the mountain to pick and cull them out one by one, and I could find none larger; I wish they had been as big as ostrich eggs.

"Let not your pomposity forget to write to me, and I will take care to answer, advising you of my health, and of all that shall offer worth advising from this place, where I remain praying to our Lord to preserve your honour, and not to forget me. My daughter Sanchica and my son kiss your ladyship's hands.

"She, who has more mind to see your ladyship, than to write to you,



"Your servant,


"Teresa Panza."

Great was the pleasure all received at hearing Teresa Panza's letter, especially the duke and duchess, who asked Don Quixote whether he thought it proper to open the letter for the governor, which must needs be most excellent. Don Quixote said, to please them, he would open it; which he did, and found the contents as follow:

Teresa Panza's letter to her husband Sancho Panza.

"I received your letter, dear Sancho of my soul; and I vow and swear to you, upon the word of a Catholic Christian, that I was within two fingers' breadth of running mad with satisfaction. Look you, brother, when I came to hear that you were a governor, me-thought I should have dropped down dead for mere joy; for you know, it is usually said, that sudden joy kills as effectually as excessive grief. Your daughter Sanchica could not contain her water for pure ecstacy. I had before, my eyes the suit you sent me, and the corals sent by my lady duchess about my neck, and the letters in my hands, and the bearer of them present; and for all that I believed and thought all I saw and touched was a dream; for who could imagine that a goatherd should come to be a governor of islands? You know, friend, my mother used to say, that one must live long to see much. I say this, because I think to see more if I live longer; for I never expect to stop till I see you a farmer-general, or a collector of the customs; offices in which, though the devil carries away him that abuses them, in short, one is always taking and fingering of money. My -[520]- lady duchess will tell you how I long to go to court; consider of it, and let me know your mind; for I will strive to do you credit there by riding in a coach. The priest, the barber, the bachelor, and even the sexton cannot believe you are a governor, and say that it is all delusion or matter of enchantment, like all the rest of your master Don Quixote's affairs; and Sampson says, he will find you out, and take this government out of your head, and Don Quixote's madness out of his skull. I only laugh at them, and look upon my string of corals; and am contriving how to make our daughter a gown of the suit you sent me. I sent my lady duchess a parcel of acorns; I wish they had been of gold. Pr'ythee send me some strings of pearl, if they are in fashion in that same island. The news of this town is, that the Berrueca is about marrying her daughter to a sorry painter, who is come to this town to paint whatever should offer. The magistrates ordered him to paint the king's arms over the gate of the town-house; he demanded two ducats; they paid him beforehand; he worked eight days, at the end of which he had made nothing of it, and said he could not hit upon painting such trumpery. He returned the money, and for all that, he marries under the title of a good workman. It is true he has already quitted the pencil and taken the spade, and goes to the field like a gentleman. Pedro de Lobo's son has taken orders, and shaven his crown in order to be a priest. Minguella, Mingo Silvato's niece has heard of it, and is suing him upon a promise of marriage; evil tongues do not stick to say she is with child by him; but he denies it with both hands. We have had no olives this year, nor is there a drop of vinegar to be had in all this town. A company of foot soldiers passed through here, and by the way carried off three girls. I will not tell you who they are; perhaps they will return, and somebody or other will not fail to marry them with all their faults. Sanchica makes bone-lace, and gets eight maravedis a day, which she drops into a till-box, to help towards household-stuff; but now that she is a governor's daughter you will give her a fortune, and she need not work for it. The pump in our market-place is dried up. A thunderbolt fell upon the pillory, and there may they all light! I expect an answer to this, and your resolution about my going to court. And so God keep you more years than myself, or as many; for I would not willingly leave you in this world behind me.


Your wife,


"Teresa Panza."

The letters caused much laughter, applause, esteem, and admiration; and to put the seal to the whole, arrived the courier, who brought that which Sancho sent to Don Quixote; which was also publicly read, and occasioned the governor's simplicity to be matter of doubt. The duchess retired, to learn of the page what had befallen him in Sancho's village; he related the whole very particularly, without leaving a circumstance unrecited. He gave her the acorns, as also a cheese, which Teresa gave him for a very good one, and better than those of Tronchon. The duchess received it with great satisfaction; and so we will leave them, to relate how ended the government of the great Sancho Panza, the flower and mirror of all insulary governors.


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