Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[559]-

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 LXII: Which treats of the Adventure of the Enchanted Head, with other Trifles that must not be omitted.

 

Don Quixote's host was called Don Antonio Moreno, a rich and discreet gentleman, and a lover of mirth in a decent and civil way. And so having Don Quixote in his house, he began to contrive methods how, without prejudice to his guest, he might take advantage of Don Quixote's madness; for jests that hurt are no jests, nor are those pastimes good for anything which turn to the detriment of a third person. The first thing therefore he did, was to cause Don Quixote to be unarmed, and exposed to view in his straight chamois doublet (as we have already described and painted it) in a balcony, which looked into one of the chief streets of the city, in sight of the populace and of the boys, who stood gazing at him as if he had been a monkey. The cavaliers with the liveries began to career it afresh before him, as if for him alone, and not in honour of that day's festival, they had provided them. Sancho was highly delighted, thinking he had found, without knowing how or which way, another Camacho's wedding, another house like Don Diego de Miranda's, and another castle like the Duke's.

Several of Don Antonio's friends dined with him that day; all honouring and treating Don Quixote as a knight-errant; at which he was so puffed up with vain-glory, that he could scarcely conceal the pleasure it gave him. Sancho's witty conceits were such, and so many, that all the servants of the house hung as it were upon his lips, and so did all that heard him. While -[560]- they were at table, Don Antonio said to Sancho: "We are told here, honest Sancho, that you are so great a lover of capons and sausages that, when you have filled your belly, you stuff your pockets with the remainder for next day." — "No, Sir, it is not so," answered Sancho;" your worship is misinformed; for I am more cleanly than gluttonous; and my master Don Quixote, here present, knows very well how he and I often live eight days upon a handful of acorns or hazel-nuts: it is true, indeed, if it so falls out that they give me a heifer, I make haste with a halter; I mean, that I eat whatever is offered me, and take the times as I find them; and whoever has said that I am given to eat much, and am not cleanly, take it from me, he is very much out; and I would say this in another manner, were it not out of respect to the honourable beards here at table." — "In truth," added Don Quixote, "Sancho's parsimony and cleanliness in eating deserve to be written and engraved on plates of brass, to remain an eternal memorial for ages to come. I must confess, when he is hungry, he seems to be somewhat of a glutton; for he eats fast, and chews at both sides at once; but, as for cleanliness, he always strictly observes it; and when he was a governor, he learned to eat so nicely, that he took up grapes, and even the grains of a pomegranate, with the point of a fork." — "How!" cried Don Antonio, "has Sancho then been a governor?" — "Yes," answered Sancho, "and of an island called Barataria. Ten days I governed it, at my own will and pleasure; in which time I lost my rest, and learned to despise all the governments in the world; I fled away from it, and fell into a pit, where I looked upon myself as a dead man, and out of which I escaped alive by a miracle." Don Quixote related minutely all the circumstances of Sancho's government, which gave great pleasure to the hearers.

The cloth being taken away, Don Antonio taking Don Quixote by the hand, led him into a distant apartment, in which there was no other furniture but a table seemingly of jasper, standing upon a foot of the same; upon which there was placed, after the manner of the busts of the Roman emperors, a head which seemed to be of brass. Don Antonio walked with Don Quixote up and down the room, taking several turns about the table; after which he said: "Signor Don Quixote, now that I am assured nobody is within hearing, and that the door is fast, I will tell you one of the rarest adventures, or rather one of the greatest novelties that can be imagined, upon condition, that what I shall tell you be deposited in the inmost recesses of secrecy." — "I swear it shall," answered Don Quixote, "and I will clap a grave-stone over it, for the greater security; for I would have your worship know, Signor Don Antonio (for by this time he had learned his name), that you are talking to one who, though he has ears to hear, has no tongue to speak; so that you may safely transfer whatever is in your breast into mine, and make account you have thrown it into the abyss of silence." — "In confidence of this promise," answered Don Antonio, "I will raise your admiration by what you shall see and hear, and procure myself some relief from the pain I suffer by not having somebody to communicate my secrets to, which are not to be trusted with everybody." Don Quixote was in suspense, expecting what so many precautions would end in. Don Antonio then taking hold of his hand, made him pass it over the brazen head, the table, and the jasper pedestal it stood upon, and then said: "This head, Signor Don Quixote, was wrought and contrived by one of the greatest enchanters and wizards the world ever had. He was, I think, by birth a Polander, and disciple of the famous Escotillo,(210) of whom so many -[561]- wonders are related. He was here in my house, and, for the reward of a thousand crowns, made me this head, which has the virtue and property of answering to every question asked at its ear. After drawing figures, erecting schemes, and observing the stars, he brought it at length to the perfection we shall see to-morrow; for it is mute on Fridays, and, this happening to be Friday, we must wait till to-morrow. In the meanwhile, you may bethink yourself what questions you will ask; for I know by experience, it tells the truth in all its answers." Don Quixote wondered at the property and virtue of the head, and was ready to disbelieve Don Antonio; but, considering how short a time was set for making the experiment, he would say no more, but only thanked him for having discovered to him so great a secret. They went out of the chamber: Don Antonio locked the door after him; and they came to the hall where the rest of the gentlemen were; and in this time Sancho had recounted to them many of the adventures and accidents that had befallen his master.

That evening they carried Don Quixote abroad to take the air, not armed, but dressed like a citizen, in a long loose garment of tawny-coloured cloth, which would have made frost itself sweat at that season. They ordered their servants to entertain and amuse Sancho, so as not to let him go out of doors. Don Quixote rode, not upon Rozinante, but upon a large easy-paced mule, handsomely accoutred. In dressing him, unperceived by him, they pinned at his back a parchment, whereon was written in capital letters: "This is Don Quixote de la Mancha." They no sooner began their march, but the scroll drew the eyes of all that passed by, and they read aloud, "This is Don Quixote de la Mancha." Don Quixote wondered that everybody who saw him named and knew him; and turning to Don Antonio, who was riding by his side, he said: "Great is the prerogative inherent in knight-errantry, since it makes all its professors known and renowned throughout the limits of the earth; for, pray observe, Signor Don Antonio, how the very boys of this city know me, without having ever seen me." — "It is true, Signor Don Quixote," answered Don Antonio;" for, as fire cannot be hidden nor confined, so virtue will be known; and that which is obtained by the profession of arms, shines with a brightness and lustre superior to that of all others."

Now it happened that, as Don Quixote was riding along with the applause aforesaid, a Castilian, who had read the label on his shoulders, lifted up his voice, saying: "The devil take thee for Don Quixote de la Mancha! What! are you got hither, without being killed by the infinite number of bangs you have had upon your back? You are mad, and, were you so alone, and within the doors of your own folly, the mischief were the less; but you have the property of converting into fools and madmen all that converse, or have any communication with you; witness these gentlemen who accompany you. Get you home, fool, and look after your estate, your wife, and children, and leave off these vanities, which worm-eat your brain, and skim off the cream of your understanding." — "Brother," replied Don Antonio, "keep on your way, and do not be giving counsel to those who do not ask it. Signor Don Quixote de la Mancha is wise, and we who bear him company are not fools. Virtue challenges respect where-ever it is found; and begone in an evil hour, and meddle not where you are not called." — "Before God," answered the Castilian, "your worship is in the right; for to give advice to this good man is to kick against the pricks. But for all that it grieves me very much that the good sense, it -[562]- is said, this madman discovers in all other things, should run to waste through the channel of his knight-errantry; and the evil hour your worship wished me, be to me and to all my descendants, if, from this day forward, though I should live more years than Methuselah, I give advice to anybody, though they should ask it me."

The adviser departed; the procession went on; but the boys and the people crowded so to read the scroll, that Don Antonio was forced to take it off, under pretence of taking off something else. Night came: the processioners returned home, where was a ball of ladies; for Don Antonio's wife, who was a lady of distinction, cheerful, beautiful, and discreet, had invited several of her friends to honour her guest, and to entertain them with his unheard-of madness. Several ladies came; they supped splendidly, and the ball began about ten o'clock at night. Among the ladies, there were two of an arch and pleasant disposition, who, though they were very modest, yet behaved with more freedom than usual, that the jest might divert without giving distaste. These were so eager to take Don Quixote out to dance, that they teased, not only his body, but his very soul. It was a perfect sight to behold the figure of Den Quixote, long, lank, lean, and yellow, straitened in his clothes, awkward, and especially not at all nimble. The ladies courted him, as it were by stealth, and he disdained them by stealth too. But, finding himself hard pressed by their courtships, he exalted his voice, and said: "Fugite, partes adversae; leave me to my repose, ye unwelcome thoughts; avaunt, ladies with your desires; for she who is queen of mine, the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso, will not consent that any others but hers should subject and subdue me." And, so saying, he sat down in the middle of the hall upon the floor, quite fatigued and disjointed by this dancing exercise. Don Antonio ordered the servants to take him up, and carry him to bed; and the first who lent an helping hand was Sancho, who said: "What, in God's name, master of mine, put you upon dancing? Think you that all who are valiant must be caperers, or all knights-errant dancing masters? If you think so, I say you are mistaken; I know those who would sooner cut a giant's windpipe than a caper. Had you been for the shoe-jig,(211) I would have supplied your defect; for I slap it away like any gerfalcon; but as for regular dancing, I cannot work a stitch at it." With this, and similar discourse, Sancho furnished matter of laughter to the company, and laid his master in bed, covering him up stoutly, that he might sweat out the cold he might have got by his dancing.

The next day Don Antonio thought fit to make an experiment of the enchanted head; and so, with Don Quixote, Sancho, and two other friends, with the two ladies who had worried Don Quixote in dancing (for they stayed that night with Don Antonio's wife), he locked himself up in the room where the head stood. He told them the property it had, charged them all with the secret, and told them this was the first day of his trying the virtue of that enchanted head. Nobody but Don Antonio's two friends knew the trick of the enchantment; and, if Don Antonio had not first discovered it to them, they also would have been as much surprised as the rest, it being impossible not to be so, so cunningly and curiously was it contrived, The first who approached the ear of the head was Don Antonio himself, who said in a low voice, yet not so low but he was overheard by them all: "Tell me, head, by the virtue inherent in thee, what am 1 now thinking of?" The head answered, without moving its lips, in a clear -[563]- and distinct voice, so as to be heard by everybody: "I am no judge of thoughts." At hearing of which they were all astonished, especially since, neither in the room, nor anywhere about the table, was there any human creature that could answer. "How many of us are here?" demanded Don Antonio again. Answer was made him in the same key: "You and your wife, with two friends of yours, and two of hers, and a famous knight, called Don Quixote de la Mancha, with a certain squire of his, Sancho Panza by name." Here was wondering indeed; here was everybody's hair standing on end out of pure affright. Don Antonio, going aside at some distance from the head, said: "This is enough to assure me I was not deceived by him who sold you to me, sage head, speaking head, answering head, and admirable head! Let somebody else go, and ask it what they please." Now, as women are commonly in haste, and inquisitive, the first who went up to it was one of the two friends of Don Antonio's wife, and her question was: "Tell me, head, what shall I do to be very handsome?" It was answered: "Be very modest." — "I ask you no more," said the querist. Then her companion came up, and said: "I would know, head, whether my husband loves me, or no." The answer was: "You may easily know that by his usage of you." The married woman going aside, said: "The question might very well have been spared; for, in reality, a man's actions are the beat interpreters of his affections." Then one of Don Antonio's two friends went and asked him: "Who am I?" The answer was: "You know." — "I do not ask you that," answered the gentleman, "but only, whether you know me?" — "I do," replied the head; "you are Don Pedro Noriz." — "I desire to hear no more," said he;" since this is sufficient, O head, to convince me that you know everything." Then the other friend stepped up, and demanded: "Tell me, head, what desires has my eldest son?" It was answered: "Have I not told you already, that I do not judge of thoughts? But, for all that, I can tell you, that your son's desire is to bury you." — "It is so," replied the gentleman;" I see it with my eyes, and touch it with my finger; and I ask no more questions." Then came Don Antonio's wife, and said: "I know not, O head, what to ask you: only I would know of you, whether I shall enjoy my dear husband many years." The answer was: "You shall; for his good constitution, and his temperate way of living, promise many years of life, which several are wont to shorten by intemperance." Next came Don Quixote, and said: "Tell me, O answerer, was it truth, or a dream, what I related as having befallen me in Montesinos's cave? Will the whipping of Sancho, my squire, be certainly fulfilled? Will the disenchantment of Dulcinea take effect?" — "As to the business of the cave," it was answered, "there is much to be said; it has something of both; Sancho's whipping will go on but slowly; the disenchantment of Dulcinea will be brought about in due time." — "I desire to know no more," replied Don Quixote; "for, so I may but see Dulcinea disenchanted, I shall make account that all the good fortune I can desire comes upon me at a clap." The last querist was Sancho, and his question was this: "Head, shall I, peradventure, get another government? Shall I quit the penurious life of a squire? Shall I return to see my wife and children?" To which it was answered: "You shall govern in your own house; and if you return to it, you shall see your wife and your children, and quitting service, you shall cease to be a squire." — "Very good, in faith," quoth Sancho Panza; "I could have told myself as much, and the prophet Perogrullo could have told me no -[564]- more." — "Beast," cried Don Quixote, "what answer would you have? Is it not enough, that the answers this head returns, correspond to the questions put to it?" — "Yes, it is enough," answered Sancho;" but I wish it had explained itself, and told me a little more."

Thus ended the questions and answers, but not the amazement of the whole company, excepting Don Antonio's two friends, who knew the secret which Cid Hamete Benengeli would immediately discover, not to keep the world in suspense, believing there was some witchcraft, or extraordinary mystery, concealed in that head: and therefore he says, that Don Antonio Moreno procured it to be made, in imitation of another head he had seen at Madrid, made by a statuary for his own diversion, and to surprise the ignorant; and the machine was contrived in this manner. The table was of wood, painted, and varnished over like jasper; and the foot it stood upon was of the same, with four eagle-claws, to make it stand the firmer, and bear the weight the better. The head, resembling that of a Roman emperor, and coloured like copper, was hollow, and so was the table itself, in which the bust was so exactly fixed, that no sign of a joint appeared. The foot also was hollow, and answered to the neck and breast of the head, and all this corresponding with another chamber just under that, where the head stood. Through all this hollow of the foot, table, neck, and breast of the figure aforesaid, went a pipe of tin, which could not be seen. The answerer was placed in the chamber underneath, with his mouth close to the pipe, so that the voice descended and ascended in clear and articulate sounds, as through a speaking-trumpet; and thus it was impossible to discover the juggle. A nephew of Don Antonio's, a student acute and discreet, was the respondent; who, being informed beforehand by his uncle, who were to be with him that day in the chamber of the head, could easily answer, readily and exactly, to the first question; to the rest he answered by conjectures, and as a discreet person, discreetly. Cid Hamete says farther, that this wonderful machine lasted about eight or ten days; but it being divulged up and down the city that Don Antonio kept in his house an enchanted head, which answered to all questions, he, fearing lest it should come to the ears of the watchful sentinels of our faith, acquainted the gentlemen of the Inquisition with the secret; who ordered him to break it in pieces, lest the ignorant vulgar should be scandalised at it; but still, in the opinion of Don Quixote and of Sancho Panza, the head continued to be enchanted, and an answerer of questions, more indeed to the satisfaction of Don Quixote than of Sancho.

The gentlemen of the town, in complaisance to Don Antonio, and for the better entertainment of Don Quixote, as well as to give him an opportunity of discovering his follies, appointed a running at the ring six days after, which was prevented by an accident that will be told hereafter. Don Quixote had a mind to walk about the town, without ceremony, and on foot, apprehending that if he went on horseback he should be persecuted by the boys; and so he, and Sancho, with two servants assigned him by Don Antonio, walked out to make the tour. Now it fell out, that as they passed through a certain street, Don Quixote lifting up his eyes, saw written over a door in very large letters: "Here books are printed." At which he was much pleased; for till then he had never seen any printing, and was desirous to know how it was performed. In he went, with all his retinue, and saw drawing off the sheets in one place, correcting in another, composing in this, revising in that, in short, all the -[565]- to be seen in great printing-houses. Don Quixote went to one of the boxes, and asked what they had in hand there. The workman told him: he wondered, and went on. He came to another box, and asked one what he was doing. The workman answered: "Sir, that gentleman yonder," pointing to a man of a good person and appearance, and of some gravity, "has translated an Italian book into our Castilian language, and I am composing it here for the press." — "What title has the book?" demanded Don Quixote. To which the author answered: "Sir, the book in Italian is called, 'Le Bagetelle.'" — "And what answers to 'Bagetelle' in our Castilian?" asked Don Quixote. "'Le Bagetelle,'" said the author, "is, as if we should say, Trifles. But though its title be mean, it contains many very good and substantial things." Don Quixote added: "I know a little of the Tuscan language, and value myself upon singing some stanzas of Ariosto. But, good Sir, pray tell me (and I do not say this with design to examine your skill, but out of curiosity and nothing else), in the course of your writing, have you ever met with the word Pignata? "— "Yes, often," replied the author. "And how do you translate it in Castilian?" said Don Quixote. "How should I translate it," replied the author, "but by the word Olla!" — "Body of me," said Don Quixote, "what a progress has your worship made in the Tuscan language! I would venture a good wager, that where the Tuscan says Pνace, you say, in Castilian, Place; and where it says Piϋ, you say Mas; and Su you translate Arriba, and Giω by Abaxo." — "I do so, most certainly," replied the author;" for these are their proper renderings." — "I dare swear," added Don Quixote, "you are not known in the world, which is ever an enemy to rewarding florid wits, and laudable pains. What abilities are lost, what geniuses cooped up, and what virtues undervalued! But for all that, I cannot but be of opinion, that translating out of one language into another, unless it be from those queens of the languages, Greek and Latin, is like setting to view the wrong side of a piece of tapestry, where, though the figures are seen, they are full of ends and threads, which obscure them, and are not seen with the smoothness and evenness of the right side. And the translating out of easy languages shows neither genius nor elocution, any more than transcribing one paper from another. But I would not hence infer that translating is not a laudable exercise; for a man may be employed in things of worse consequence, and less advantage. Out of this account are excepted the two celebrated translators, Doctor Christopher de Figueroa in his 'Pastor Fido,' and Don John de Xauregui in his 'Aminta'; in which, with a curious felicity, they bring it in doubt which is the translation and which the original. But, tell me, Sir, is this book printed on your own account, or have you sold the copy to some bookseller?" — "I print it on my own account," answered the author;" and I expect to get a thousand ducats by this first impression, of which there will be two thousand copies, and they will go off at six reals a set, in a trice." — "Mighty well, Sir," answered Don Quixote; "it is plain you know but little of the turns and doubles of the booksellers, and the combination there is among them. I promise you, when you find the weight of two thousand volumes upon your back, it will so depress you, that you will be frightened, especially if the book be anything dull, or not over-sprightly." — "What! Sir," cried the author, "would you have me make over my right to the bookseller, who, perhaps, will give me three maravedνs for it, and even think he does me a kindness in giving me so much? I print no more books to purchase fame in the world; for -[566]- I am already sufficiently known by my works. Profit I seek, without which fame is not worth a farthing." — "God send you good success," answered Don Quixote; and going on to another box, he saw they were correcting a sheet of another book, entitled, "The Light of the Soul." And seeing it, he said: "These kind of books, though there are a great many of them abroad, are those that ought to be printed; for there are abundance of sinners up and down, and so many benighted persons stand in need of an infinite number of lights." He went forward, and saw they were correcting another book; and asking its title, he was answered that it was called the "Second Part of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha," written by such a one, an inhabitant of Tordesillas. "I know something of that book," said Don Quixote; "and, in truth, and on my conscience, I thought it had been burnt before now, and reduced to ashes, for its impertinence; but its Martinmas will come, as it does to every hog;(212) for all fabulous histories are so far good and entertaining as they come near the truth, or the resemblance of it; and true histories themselves are so much the better, by how much the truer." And, so saying, he went out of the printing-house with some show of disgust; and that same day Don Antonio purposed to carry him to see the galleys, which lay in the road; at which Sancho rejoiced much, having never in his life seen any. Don Antonio gave notice to the commodore of the four galleys, that he would bring his guest, the renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha, that afternoon to see them, of whom the commodore and all the inhabitants of the city had some knowledge; and what befell him there shall be told in the following chapter.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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