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 LV: Of what befell Sancho in the Way, and other Matters, which you have only to see.


Sancho stayed so long with Ricote that he had not time to reach the duke's castle that day; though he was arrived within half a league of it when the night somewhat dark and close overtook him; but it being summer-time it gave him no great concern; and so he struck out of the road, purposing -[529]- to wait for the morning. But his ill luck would have it, that in seeking a place where he might best accommodate himself, he and Dapple fell together into a deep and very dark pit, among some ruins of old buildings; and as he was falling, he recommended himself to God with his whole heart, not expecting to stop till he came to the depth of the abyss. But it fell out otherwise; for a little beyond three fathom Dapple felt ground, and Sancho found himself on his back, without having received any damage or hurt at all. He fell to feeling his body all over, and held his breath to see if he was sound, or bored through in any part; and finding himself well, whole, and in Catholic health, he thought he could never give sufficient thanks to God for the mercy extended to him; for he verily thought he had been beaten into a thousand pieces. He felt also with his hands about the sides of the pit, to see if it was possible to get out of it without help; but he found them all smooth, and without any hold or footing; at which Sancho was much grieved, and especially when he heard Dapple groan most tenderly and sadly; and no wonder; nor did he lament out of wantonness, being in truth not over well situated. "Alas!" said Sancho Panza, "what unexpected accidents perpetually befall those who live in this miserable world! Who could have thought that he, who yesterday saw himself enthroned a governor of an island, commanding his servants and his vassals, should to-day find himself buried in a pit, without anybody to help him, and without servant or vassal to come to his assistance? Here must I and my ass perish with hunger, unless we die first, he by bruises and contusions, and I by grief and concern. At least I shall not be so happy as my master Don Quixote de la Mancha was, when he descended and went down into the cave of the enchanted Montesinos, where he met with better entertainment than in his own house, and where it seems he found the cloth ready laid, and the bed ready made. There saw he beautiful and pleasant visions; and here I shall see, I suppose, toads and snakes. Unfortunate that I am! What are my follies and imaginations come to? Hence shall my bones be taken up, when it shall please God that I am found, clean, white, and bare, and those of my trusty Dapple with them; whence, peradventure, it will be conjectured who we were, at least by those who have been informed that Sancho Panza never parted from his ass, nor his ass from Sancho Panza. And I say, miserable we! that our ill luck would not suffer us to die in our own country, and among our friends, where, though our misfortunes had found no remedy, there would not be wanting some to grieve for them, and at our last gasp to close our eyes. Oh, my companion and my friend! how ill have I repaid thy good services! forgive me, and beg of fortune in the best manner thou art able, to bring us out of this miserable calamity, in which we are both involved; and I promise to put a crown of laurel upon thy head, that thou mayest look like any poet-laureate, and to double thy allowance." Thus lamented Sancho Panza, and his beast listened to him without answering one word; such was the distress and anguish the poor creature was in. Finally, having passed all that night in sad lamentations and complainings, the day came on, by the light and splendour of which Sancho soon perceived it was of all impossibilities the most impossible to get out of that pit without help. Then he began to lament and to cry out aloud, to try if anybody could hear him; but all his cries were in the desert; for there was not a creature in all these parts within hearing; and then he gave himself over for dead. Dapple lay with his mouth upwards, and Sancho -[530]- contrived to get him upon his legs, though he could scarce stand; and pulling out of his wallet, which had also shared the fortune of the fall, a piece of bread, he gave it his beast, who did not take it amiss; and Sancho, as if the ass understood him, said to him: "Bread is relief for all kinds of grief." At length he discovered a hole in one side of the pit, wide enough for a man to creep through, stooping. Sancho squatting down, crept through upon all four, and found it was spacious and large within; and he could see about him; for a ray of the sun glancing in through what might be called the roof, discovered it all. He saw also that it enlarged and extended itself into another spacious concavity. Which having observed, he came back to where his ass was, and with a stone began to break away the earth of the hole, and soon made room for his ass to pass easily through, which he did; then taking him by the halter, he advanced forward along the cavern, to see if he could find a way to get out on the other side. He went on, sometimes darkling, and sometimes without light, but never without fear. "The Almighty God be my aid," quoth he to himself: "this, which to me is a mishap, to my master Don Quixote had been an adventure; he would, no doubt, have taken these depths and dungeons for flowery gardens and palaces of Galiana;(206) and would have expected to issue out of this obscurity by some pleasant meadow. But, unhappy I, devoid of counsel, and dejected in mind, at every step expect some other pit deeper than this to open on a sudden under my feet, and swallow me downright; welcome the ill that comes alone." In this manner, and with these thoughts, he fancied he had gone somewhat more than half a league when he discovered a glimmering light, like that of the day breaking in, and opening an entrance into what seemed to him the road to the other world. Here Cid Hamet Benengeli leaves him, and returns to treat of Don Quixote, who with joy and transport, was waiting for the appointed day of combat with the ravisher of Donna Rodriguez's daughter's honour, resolving to see justice done her, and to take satisfaction for the affront and injury offered her.

It happened then, that riding out one morning to exercise and assay himself for the business of the combat he was to be engaged in within a day or two, as he was now reining, now running Rozinante, he chanced to pitch his feet so near a pit, that had he not drawn the reins in very strongly, he must inevitably have fallen into it. At last he stopped him and fell not, and getting a little nearer, without alighting, he viewed the chasm, and as he was looking at it, he heard a loud voice within, and listening attentively, he could distinguish and understand that he who spoke from below said: "Ho, above there! is there any Christian that hears me, or any charitable gentleman to take pity of a sinner buried alive, an unfortunate disgoverned governor?" Don Quixote thought he heard Sancho Panza's voice; at which he was surprised and amazed; and raising his voice as high as he could, he cried: "Who is below there? Who is it complains?" "Who should be here, or who should complain," replied the voice, "but the forlorn Sancho Panza, governor, for his sins and for his evil-errantry, of the island of Barataria, and late squire of the famous knight Don Quixote de la Mancha?" Which Don Quixote hearing, his astonishment was doubled. and his amazement increased; for it came into his imagination that Sancho Panza was dead, and that his soul was there doing penance; and being carried away by this thought he said: "I conjure thee, by all that can conjure thee as a Catholic Christian, to tell me who thou art; and if thou -[531]- art a soul in purgatory, let me know what I can do for thee; for since it is my profession to be aiding and assisting the needy of this world, I shall also be ready to aid and assist the distressed in the other, who cannot help themselves." "So then," answered the voice, "you who speak to me are my master Don Quixote de la Mancha, and by the tone of the voice it can be nobody else for certain." "Don Quixote I am," replied Don Quixote, "he who professes to succour and assist the living and the dead in their necessities. Tell me, then, who thou art, for thou amazest me: if you are my squire Sancho Panza, and chance to be dead, since the devils have not got you, but through the mercy of God you are in purgatory, our Holy Mother the Roman Catholic Church has supplications sufficient to deliver you from the pains you are in; and I, for my part, will solicit her in your behalf, as far as my estate will reach; therefore explain, and without more ado tell me who you are." "I vow to God," said the voice, "and I swear by the birth of whom your worship pleases, Signor Don Quixote de la Mancha, that I am your squire Sancho Panza, and that I never was dead in all the days of my life, but that, having left my government for causes and considerations that require more leisure to relate them, this night I fell into this cavern, where I now am, and Dapple with me, who will not let me lie, by the same token he stands here by me; and would you have any more?" One would think the ass had understood what Sancho said; for at that instant be began to bray, and that so lustily, that the whole cave resounded with it. "A credible witness," cried Don Quixote; "I know that bray as well as if I had brought it forth; and I know your voice, my dear Sancho: stay a little, and I will go to the duke's castle hard by, and will fetch people to get you out of this pit, into which your sins have certainly cast yon." "Pray go, for the Lord's sake," quoth Sancho, "and return' speedily; for I cannot longer endure being buried alive here, and am dying with fear."

Don Quixote left him, and went to the castle to tell the duke and duchess what had befallen Sancho Panza; at which they wondered not a little, though they easily conceived how he might fall, by the corresponding circumstance of the pit, which had been there time out of mind; but they could not imagine how he had left the government without their having advice of his coming. Finally, they sent ropes and pulleys, and by dint of a great many hands, and a great deal of labour, Dapple and Sancho Panza were drawn out of those gloomy shades to the light of the sun. A certain scholar seeing him, said: "Thus should all bad governors come out of their governments, as this sinner comes out of the depth of this abyss, starved with hunger, wan, and, I suppose, penniless." Sancho hearing him, said: "It is about eight or fen days, brother murmurer, since I entered upon the government of the island that was bestowed upon me, in all which time I had not my belly full one hour; I was persecuted by physicians, and had my bones broken by enemies; nor had I leisure to make perquisites, or receive my dues; and this being so, as it really is, methinks I deserved not to be packed off in this manner: but man proposes, and God disposes; and he knows what is best and fittest for everybody; and, as is the reason, such is the season; and let nobody say, I will not drink of this water; for where one expects to meet with gammons of bacon, there are no pins to hang them on. God knows my mind, and that is enough; I say no more, though I could." "Be not angry, Sancho, nor concerned at what you hear," replied Don Quixote; "for then you -[532]- will never have done: come but you with a safe conscience, and let people say what they will; for you may as well think to barricade the highway as to tie up the tongue of slander. If a governor comes rich from his government, they say he has plundered it; and if he leaves it poor, that he has been a good-for-nothing fool." "I warrant," answered Sancho, "that for this bout, they will rather take me for a fool than a thief."

In such discourse, and surrounded by a multitude of boys and other people, they arrived at the castle, where the duke and duchess were already in a gallery waiting for Don Quixote, and for Sancho, who would not go up to see the duke, till he had first taken the necessary care of Dapple in the stable, saying, the poor thing had had but an indifferent night's lodging; and that done, up he went to see the duke and duchess, before whom kneeling, he said: "I, my lord and lady, because your grandeurs would have it so, without any desert of mine, went to govern your island of Barataria, into which naked I entered, and naked I have left it: I neither win nor lose; whether I have governed well or ill, there are witnesses who may say what they please. I have resolved doubts, and pronounced sentences, and all the while ready to die with hunger, because Doctor Pedro Rezio, native of Tirteafuera, and physician-in-ordinary to the island and its governors, would have it so. Enemies attacked us by night, and though they put us in great danger, the people of the island say they were delivered and got the victory, by the valour of my arm; and, according as they say true, so help them God. In short, in this time I have summed up the cares and burdens that governing brings with it, and find by my account that my shoulders cannot bear them, neither are they a proper weight for my ribs, or arrows for my quiver; and therefore, lest the government should forsake me, I resolved to forsake the government; and yesterday morning I left the island as I found it, with the same streets, houses, and roofs it had before I went into it. I borrowed nothing of anybody, nor set about making a purse; and though I thought to have made some wholesome laws, I made none, fearing they would not be observed, which is all one as if they were not made. I quitted, I say, the island, accompanied by nobody but Dapple; I fell into a pit, and went along underground, till this morning, by the light of the sun, I discovered a way out, though not so easy a one, but that, if Heaven had not sent my master Don Quixote there, I had stayed till the end of the world. So that, my lord duke, and lady duchess, behold here your governor Sancho Panza, who, in ten days only that he held the government, has gained the experience to know that he would not give a farthing to be governor, not of an island only, but even of the whole world. This then being the case, kissing your honours' feet, and imitating the boys at play, who cry, 'Leap you, and then let me leap,' I give a leap out of the government, and again pass over to the service of my master Don Quixote: for, after all, though with him I eat my bread in bodily fear, at least I have my belly full; and for my part, so that be well filled, all is one to me, whether it be with carrots or partridges."

Here Sancho ended his long speech, Don Quixote fearing all the while he would utter a thousand extravagances; and, seeing he had ended with so few, he gave thanks to Heaven in his heart. The duke embraced Sancho, and assured him, that it grieved him to the soul he had left the government so soon; but that he would take care he should have some other employment in his territories, of less trouble and more profit. The duchess also -[533]- embraced him, and ordered he should be made much of; for he seemed to be sorely bruised, and in wretched plight.


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