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 LXX: Which follows the sixty-ninth, and treats of Matters indispensably Necessary to the perspicuity of this History.


Sancho slept that night on a truckle-bed, in the same chamber with Don Quixote; a thing he would have excused if he could; for he well knew his master would disturb his sleep with questions and answers, and was not much disposed to talk; the smart of his past sufferings being still present to him, and an obstruction to the free use of his tongue; and he would have liked better to have lain in a hovel alone, than in that rich apartment in company. His fear proved so well founded, and his suspicion so just, that scarcely was his master got into bed, when he said: "What think you, Sancho, of this night's adventure? Great and mighty is the force of rejected love, as your own eyes can testify, which saw Altisidora dead, by no other darts, no other sword, nor any other warlike instrument, nor by deadly poison, but merely by the consideration of the rigour and disdain with which I always treated her." "She might have died in a good hour as much as she pleased, and how she pleased," answered Sancho; "and she might have left me in my own house, since I neither made her in love, nor ever disdained her in my life. I know not, nor can I imagine how it -[591]- can be, that the recovery of Altisidora, a damsel more whimsical than discreet, should have anything to do (as I have already said) with the torturing of Sancho Panza. Now indeed I plainly and distinctly perceive there are enchanters and enchantments in the world, from which good Lord deliver me, since I know not how to deliver myself. But for the present, I beseech your worship to let me sleep, and ask me no more questions, unless you have a mind I should throw myself out of the window." "Sleep, friend Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "if the pin-prickings, pinchings, and twitchings you have received, will give you leave." "No smart," replied Sancho, "came up to the affront of the twitches, and for no other reason, but because they were given by duennas, confound them! and once more I beseech your worship to let me sleep; for sleep is the relief of those who are uneasy awake." "Be it so," replied Don Quixote, "and God be with you."

They both fell asleep, and in this interval Cid Hamete, author of this grand history, had a mind to write, and give an account, of what moved the duke and duchess to raise the edifice of the afore-mentioned contrivance, and says, that the Bachelor Sampson Carrasco, not forgetting how, when Knight of the Looking-glasses, he was vanquished and overthrown by Don Quixote, which defeat and overthrow baffled and put a stop to all his designs, had a mind to try his hand again, hoping for better success than the past. And so, informing himself by the page, who brought the letter and presents to Teresa Panza, Sancho's wife, where Don Quixote was, he procured fresh armour, and a horse, and painted a white moon on his shield, carrying the whole magazine upon a he-mule, and conducted by a peasant, not Thomas Cecial, his former squire, lest Sancho Panza or Don Quixote should know him. He arrived at the duke's castle, who informed him what way and route Don Quixote had taken, to be present at the tournaments of Saragossa. He also related to him the jests that had been put upon him, with the contrivance for the disenchantment of Dulcinea, at the expense of Sancho's posteriors. In short, he gave him an account how Sancho had imposed upon his master, making him believe that Dulcinea was enchanted and transformed into a country wench; and how the duchess his wife had persuaded Sancho that he himself was deceived, and that Dulcinea was really enchanted. At which the bachelor laughed, and wondered not a little, considering as well the acuteness and simplicity of Sancho, as the extreme madness of Don Quixote. The duke desired if he found him, and overcame him or not, to return that way, and acquaint him with the event. The bachelor promised he would; he departed in search of him; and not finding him at Saragossa, he went forward, and there befell him what you have already heard. He came back to the duke's castle, and recounted the whole to him, with the conditions of the combat, and that Don Quixote was now actually returning to perform his word, like a true knight-errant, and retire home to his village for a twelvemonth, in which time perhaps, said the bachelor, he may be cured of his madness. This, he said, was the motive of these disguises, it being a great pity that a gentleman of so good an understanding as Don Quixote should be mad. Then he took leave of the duke, and returned home, expecting there Don Quixote, who was coming after him. Hence the duke took occasion to play him this trick, so great was the pleasure he took in everything relating to Don Quixote and Sancho; and sending a great many of his servants, on horseback and on foot, to beset -[592]- all the roads about the castle, every way by which Don Quixote might possibly return, he ordered them if they met with him, to bring him, with or without his good-will, to the castle. They met with him, and gave notice of it to the duke, who, having already given orders for what was to be done, as soon as he heard of his arrival, commanded the torches, and other illuminations to be lighted up in the courtyard, and Altisidora to be placed upon the tomb, with all the preparations before related; the whole represented so to the life, that there was but little difference between that and truth. And Cid Hamete says besides, that to his thinking, the mockers were as mad as the mocked; and that the duke and duchess were within two fingers' breadth of appearing to be mad themselves, since they took so much pains to make a jest of two fools; one of whom was sleeping at full swing, and the other waking with his disjointed thoughts; in which state the day found them, and the desire to get up; for Don Quixote, whether conquered, or conqueror, never took pleasure in the downy bed of sloth.

Altisidora, who, in Don Quixote's opinion, was just returned from death to life, carrying on the humour of the duke and duchess, crowned with the same garland she wore on the tomb, and clad in a robe of white taffeta, flowered with gold, and her hair dishevelled, and leaning on a black staff of polished ebony, entered the chamber of Don Quixote, who was so amazed and confounded at the sight of her, that he shrunk down, and covered himself almost over head and ears with the sheets and quilts, his tongue mute, and with no inclination to show her any kind of civility. Altisidora sat down in a chair by his bed's head, and after fetching a profound sigh, with a tender and enfeebled voice, she said: "When women of distinction, and reserved maidens, trample upon honour, and give a loose to the tongue, breaking through every inconveniency, and giving public notice of the secrets of their hearts, they must sure be reduced to a great strait. I, Signor Don Quixote de la Mancha, am one of these distressed, vanquished, and enamoured; but, for all that, patient, long-suffering, and modest, to such a degree, that my soul burst through my silence, and I lost my life. It is now two days since, by reflection on your rigour, O flinty knight, and harder than any marble to my complaints, I have been dead, or at least judged to be so by those that saw me; and were it not that love taking pity on me, placed my recovery in the sufferings of this good squire, there had I remained in the other world." "Love," quoth Sancho, "might as well have placed it in those of my ass, and I should have taken it as kindly. But, pray tell me, signora, so may Heaven provide you with a more tender-hearted lover than my master, what is it you saw in the other world? What is there in hell? for whoever dies in despair must perforce take up his rest in that place." "In truth," said Altisidora, "I did not die quite, since I went not to hell; for had I once set foot in it, I could not have got out again, though I had never so great a desire. The truth is, I came to the gate, where about a dozen devils were playing at tennis, in their waistcoats and drawers, their shirt-collars ornamented with Flanders lace, and ruffles of the same, with four inches of their wrists bare, to make their hands seem the longer,(218) in which they had rackets of fire. But what I wondered most at, was, that, instead of tennis-balls, they made use of books, seemingly stuffed with wind and flocks; a thing marvellous and new; but this I did not so much wonder at, as to see, that whereas it is natural for winning gamesters to -[593]- rejoice, and losers to be sorry, among the gamesters of that place, all grumbled, all were upon the fret, and all cursed one another." "That is not at all strange," answered Sancho; "for devils, play or not play, win or not win, can never be contented." "That is true," said Altisidora; "but there is another thing I wonder at; I mean, I wondered at it then; which was, that, at the first toss, the ball was demolished, and could not serve a second time; and so they whipped them away, new and old, that it was marvellous to behold; and to one of them, flaming new, and neatly bound, they gave such a smart stroke, that they made its guts fly out, and scattered its leaves all about; and one devil said to another: 'See what book that is;' and the other devil answered: 'It is "The Second Part of the History of Don Quixote de la Mancha," not composed by Cid Hamete, its first author, but by an Arragonese, who calls himself a native of Tordesillas.' 'Away with it,' cried the other devil, 'and down with it to the bottom of the infernal abyss, that my eyes may never see it more.' 'Is it so bad?' answered the other. 'So bad,' replied the first, 'that had I myself undertaken to make it worse, it had been past my skill.' They went on with their play, tossing other books up and down; and I, for having heard Don Quixote named, whom I so passionately love, endeavoured to retain this vision in my memory." "A vision, doubtless, it must be," said Don Quixote; "for there is no other I in the world, and this history is tossed about from hand to hand, but stays in none; for everybody has a kick at it. It gives me no concern to hear that I wander, like a phantom, about the shades of the abyss, or about the light of this earth, because I am not the person this history treats of. If it be good, faithful, and true, it will survive for ages; but, if it be bad, from its birth to its grave the passage will be but short."

Altisidora was going on with her complainings of Don Quixote, when Don Quixote said to her: "I have often told you, Madam, that I am very sorry you have placed your affections on me, since from mine you must expect no other return but thanks. I was born to be Dulcinea del Toboso's, and to her the fates, if there be any, have devoted me; and to think that any other beauty shall occupy the place she possesses in my soul, is to think what is impossible. This may suffice to disabuse you, and prevail with you to retreat within the bounds of your own modesty, since no creature is tied to the performance of impossibilities." Which Altisidora hearing, she assumed an air of anger and fury, and said: "God's my life! Don Poor-jack,(219) soul of a mortar, stone of a date, and more obdurate and obstinate than a courted clown, if I come at you, I will tear your very eyes out. Think you, Don Vanquished, and Don Cudgelled, that I died for you? All that you have seen this night has been but a fiction; for I am not a woman to let the black of my nail ache for such camels, much less to die for them." "That I verily believe," quoth Sancho; "for the business of dying for love is a jest: folks may talk of it; but, for doing it, believe it Judas."

While they were engaged in this discourse, there entered the musician, singer, and poet, who had sung the two fore-mentioned stanzas; who, making a profound reverence to Don Quixote, said: "Be pleased, Sir Knight, to reckon and look upon me in the number of your most humble servants; for I have been most affectionately so this great while, as well on account of your fame, as of your exploits." Don Quixote answered: "Pray, Sir, tell me who you are, that my civility may correspond with -[594]- your merits." The young man answered, that he was the musician and panegyrist of the foregoing night. "Indeed," replied Don Quixote, "you have an excellent voice; but what you sung did not seem to me much to the purpose; for what have the stanzas of Garcilasso to do with the death of this gentlewoman?" "Wonder not at that, Sir," answered the musician; "for, among the upstart poets of our age, it is the fashion for every one to write as he pleases, and to steal from whom he pleases, be it to the purpose or not; and, in these times, there is no silly thing sung or written, but is ascribed to poetical license."

Don Quixote would have replied: but the duke and duchess coming to visit him, prevented him; and between them there passed a long and delicious conversation, in which Sancho said so many pleasant and waggish things, that their grandeurs admired afresh, as well at his simplicity, as his acuteness. Don Quixote beseeched them to grant him leave to depart that very day, for it was more becoming such vanquished knights as he to dwell in a hog-sty, than a royal palace. They readily granted his request, and the duchess asked him whether Altisidora remained in his good graces. He answered: "Your ladyship must know, 'dear Madam, that the whole of this damsel's distemper proceeds from idleness, the remedy whereof consists in some honest and constant employment. And she has told me here, that lace is much worn in hell, and since she must needs know how to make it, let her stick to that; for, while her fingers are employed in managing the bobbins, the image or images of what she loves will not be roving so much in her imagination. This is the truth, this is my opinion, and this my advice." "And mine too," added Sancho; "for I never in my life saw a maker of lace that died for love; for your damsels that are busied have their thoughts more intent upon performing their tasks, than upon their loves. I know it by myself; for while I am digging, I never think of my deary, I mean my Teresa Panza, whom I love better than my very eyelids." "You say very well, Sancho," added the duchess, "and I will take care, that my Altisidora shall henceforward be employed in needlework, at which she is very expert." "There is no need, Madam," answered Altisidora, "of this remedy, since the consideration of the cruel treatment I have received from this ruffian and monster will blot him out of my memory, without any other expedient; and, with your grandeur's leave, I will withdraw, that I may not have before my eyes, I will not say his sorrowful figure, but his abominable and hideous aspect." "I wish," cried the duke, "this may not prove like the saying, a lover railing is not far from forgiving." Altisidora, making show of wiping the tears from her eyes with a handkerchief, and then making a low courtesy to her lord and lady, went out of the room. "Poor damsel!" quoth Sancho, "I forebode thee ill luck, since thou hast to do with a heart of matweed, and a soul of oak; for, in faith, if thou hadst had to do with me, another guise cock would have crowed." The conversation was at an end: Don Quixote dressed himself, dined with the duke and duchess, and departed that afternoon.


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