Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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The History of the
Valorous & Witty Knight-Errant Don Quixote of the Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes, Translated by Thomas Shelton

The Second Part

CHAPTER IX: Where is set down as followeth

 

MIDNIGHT was near spun out when Don Quixote and Sancho left the mountain and entered the city: the town was all hushed, and the dwellers were asleep with their legs stretched at length, as they say; the night was bright-some, though Sancho wished it had been darker, that he might not see his madness; the dogs in the town did nothing but bark and thunder in Don Quixote’s ears, and affrighted Sancho’s heart; now and then an ass brayed, hogs grunted, cats mewed, whose different howlings were augmented with the silent night; all which the enamoured knight held to be ominous, but yet he spoke to Sancho: ‘Son Sancho,’ said he, ‘guide to Dulcinea’s palace; it may be we shall find her waking.’ ‘Body of the sun!’ quoth Sancho, ‘to what palace shall I guide? for where I saw her highness it was a little house.’ ‘Belike,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘she was retired into some corner of her palace to solace herself in private with her damosels, as great ladies and princesses use to do.’ ‘Sir,’ quoth Sancho, ‘since, whether I will or no, you will have my mistress Dulcinea’s house to be a palace, do you think nevertheless this to be a fit time of night to find the door open in? Do you think it fit that we bounce, that they may hear and let us in, to disquiet the whole town? Are we going to a bawdy-house, think ye, like your whoremasters that come and call and enter at what hour they list, how late soever it be?’ ‘First of all, to make one thing sure, let’s find the palace,’ replied Don Quixote, ‘and then, Sancho, I’ll tell thee what’s fit to be done. And look, Sancho, either my sight fails me or that great bulk and shadow that we see is Dulcinea’s palace.’ ‘Well, guide on, sir,’ said Sancho; ‘it may be it is so, though I’ll first see it with my eyes, and feel it with my hands, and believe it as much as it is now day.’

Don Quixote led on, and, having walked about some two hundred paces, he lighted on the bulk that made the shadow, and saw a great steeple, which he perceived was not the palace, but of the chief church in the town. Then said he, ‘Sancho, we are come to the church.’ ‘I see it very well,’ quoth Sancho, ‘and I pray God we come not to our graves; for it is no good sign to haunt churchyards so late, especially since I told you, as I remember, that this lady’s house is in a little alley without passage through.’ ‘A pox on thee, blockhead!’ said Don Quixote; ‘where hast thou ever found that king’s houses and palaces have been built in such alleys?’ ‘Sir,’ quoth Sancho, ‘every country hath their several fashions. It may be here in Toboso they build their great buildings thus, and therefore pray, sir, give me leave to look up and down the streets or lanes that lie in my way, and it may be that in some corner I may light upon this palace — the devil take it ! — that thus mocks and misleads us.’ ‘Speak mannerly, sir,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘of my mistress’ things, and let’s be merry and wise, and cast not the rope after the bucket.’

‘I will forbear,’ said Sancho; ‘but how shall I endure that you will needs have me be throughly acquainted with a house I never saw but once, and to find it at midnight, being you cannot find it that have seen it a million of times?’ ‘Sirrah, I shall grow desperate,’ quoth Don Quixote. ‘Come hither, heretic. Have not I told thee a thousand times that I never saw the peerless Dulcinea, nor never crossed the thresholds of her palace, and that I only am enamoured on her by hearsay, and the great fame of her beauty and discretion?’ ‘Why, now I hear you,’ said Sancho; ‘and, since you say you have never seen her — nor I neither.’ ‘That cannot be,’ said Don Quixote; ‘for you told me, at least, that you had seen her winnowing of wheat, when you brought me the answer of the letter I sent by you.’ ‘Ne’er stand upon that,’ said Sancho; ‘for let me tell you, that I only saw her by hearsay too, and so was the answer I brought, for I know her as well as I can box the moon.’ ‘Sancho, Sancho,’ said Don Quixote, ‘there’s a time to laugh and a time to mourn. Not because I say I have neither seen nor spoken to the mistress of my soul shouldest thou say thou hast neither seen nor spoken to her, it being otherwise, as thou knowest.’

Being in this discourse, they saw one passing by them with two mules, and by the noise the plough made which they drew upon the ground they might see it was some husbandman that rose by break of day to go to his tillage, and so it was as he came, he went singing that Romante of the battle of Roncesvalles with the Frenchmen. In hearing of which quoth Don Quixote, ‘Sancho, hang me if we have any good fortune this night! Do not you hear what this clown sings? ’ ‘Yes, marry, do I,’ said Sancho; ‘but what doth the Chase of Roncesvalles concern us? ‘Tis no more than if he had sung the Romante of Calainos;1 and all one, for our good or ill luck in this business.’

By this the ploughman came by them, and Don Quixote questioned him: ‘Can you tell me, friend, so God reward you, which is the palace of the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso?’ ‘Sir,’ answered the young man, ‘I am a stranger, and have lived but a while in this town, and serve a rich husbandman, to till his ground; here over-against the vicar and the sexton both live; any of them will tell you of this lady princess, as having a list of all the inhabitants of Toboso; although I think there is no such princess here, but many gentlefolk, each of which may be a princess in her own house.’ ‘Why, friend,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘it may be that she I ask for is amongst these.’ ‘It may be so,’ said the fellow, ‘and God speed you, for now it begins to be day-peep’; and, switching his mules, he stayed for no more questions.

Sancho, seeing his master in a deep suspense and very malcontent, told him, ‘Sir, the day comes on apace, and it will not be so fit that we sun ourselves in the street; it is better to go out of the city, and that you shade yourself in some grove hereabouts, and I will come back anon, and not leave a by-place in all this town, where I may search for the house, castle, or palace of my lady, and it were ill luck if I found her not; and, if I do, I will speak with her and let her know where and how you do, expecting that she give you order and direction how you may see her, without any manner of prejudice to her honour and good name.’ ‘Sancho,’ said Don Quixote, ‘thou hast spoken a thousand sentences, enclosed in the circle of thy short discourse. The advice that thou hast now given me I hunger after, and most lovingly accept of. Come, son, let us take shade, and thou shalt return, as thou sayst, to seek, to see, and to speak to my mistress, from whose discretion and courtesy I hope for a thousand miraculous favours.’

Sancho stood upon thorns till he had drawn his master from the town, lest he should verify the lie of the answer that he had carried him from Dulcinea to Sierra Morena. So he hastened him to begone, which was presently done, some two miles from the town, where they found a forest or wood, where Don Quixote took shade; and Sancho returned to the city to speak with Dulcinea, in which embassy matters befel him that require a new attention, and a new belief.
 

1 As if we should have said in English Chevy Chase, or some such-like.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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