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 XXXI: That treats of Many and Great Affairs


GREAT was the joy that Sancho conceived to see himself a favourite to the duchess, as he thought; for it shaped out unto him that he should find in her castle as much as in Don Diego’s or that of Basilius; for he was always affected with a plentiful life, and so laid hold upon Occasion’s lock ever when it was presented. The history then tells us that, before they came to the house of pleasure or castle, the duke went before, and gave order to all his followers how they should behave themselves towards Don Quixote, who as he came on with the duchess to the castle gates, there came out two lackeys, or palfrey boys, clothed down to the feet in coats like nightgowns, of fine crimson satin, and taking Don Quixote in their arms, without hearing or looking on him, they said, ‘Go, and let your greatness help my lady to alight.’ Don Quixote did so, and there was great complimenting betwixt both about it; but in the end the duchess’s earnestness prevailed, and she would not descend or alight from her palfrey but in the duke’s arms, saying that she was too unworthy to be so unprofitable a burden to so high a knight. At length the duke helped her: and, as they entered a great base-court, there came two beautiful damsels, and cast upon Don Quixote’s shoulders a fair mantle of finest scarlet; and in an instant all the leads of the courts and entries were thronged with men and maid servants of the duke’s, who cried aloud, ‘Welcome, O flower and cream of knights-errant!’ and all or most of them sprinkled pots of sweet water upon Don Quixote, and upon the duke, all which made Don Quixote admire; and never till then did he truly believe that he was a knight-errant really and not fantastically, seeing he was used just as he had read knights-errant were in former times.

Sancho, forsaking Dapple, showed himself to the duchess, and entered into the castle; but, his conscience pricking him that he had left his ass alone, he came to a reverend old waiting-woman that came out amongst others to wait upon the duchess, and very softly spoke to her: ‘Mistress Gonsalez, or what is your name forsooth?’ ‘Donna Rodriguez de Grishalva,’ said the waiting-woman. ‘What would you have, brother, with me?’ To which quoth Sancho, ‘I pray will you do me the favour as to go out at the castle gate, where you shall find a dapple ass of mine; I pray will you see him put, or put him yourself, in the stable; for the poor wretch is fearful, and cannot by any means endure to be alone.’ ‘If the master,’ quoth she, ‘be as wise as the man, we shall have a hot bargain on it. Get you gone, with a murrain to you, and him that brought you hither, and look to your ass yourself, for the waiting-Women in this house are not used to such drudgeries.’ ‘Why, truly,’ quoth Sancho, ‘I have heard my master say, who is the very wizard of histories, telling that story of Lanzarote, when he came from Britain, that ladies looked to him and waiting-women to his courser; and, touching my ass in particular, I would not change him for Lanzarote’s horse.’ ‘Brother,’ quoth she, ‘if you be a jester, keep your wit till you have use of it, for those that will pay you; for I have nothing but this fig to give you.’1 ‘Well, yet,’ said Sancho, ‘the fig is like to be ripe, for you will not lose the primavista of your years by a pip less.’ ‘Son of a whore,’ said the waiting-woman all incensed with choler, ‘whether I am old or no God knows; I shall give Him account, and not to thee, thou rascal, that stinkest of garlic.’ All this she spoke so loud that the duchess heard her, who turning and seeing the woman so altered, and her eyes so bloody red, she asked her with whom she was angry. ‘Here,’ said she, ‘with this idiot, that hath earnestly entreated me to put up his ass in the stable that is at the castle gate, giving me for an instance that they have done so I know not where; that certain ladies looked to one Lanzarote, and waiting-women to his horse, and, to mend the matter, in mannerly terms calls me old one.’2 ‘That would more disgrace me,’ quoth the duchess, ‘than all he should say.’ And speaking to Sancho, she said, ‘Look you, friend Sancho, Donna Rodriguez is very young, and that stole she wears is more for authority and for the fashion than for her years. ‘A pox on the rest of my years I have to live,’ quoth Sancho, ‘if I meant her any ill; I only desired the kindness for the love I bear to mine ass, and because I thought I could not recommend him to a more charitable person than Mistress Rodriguez.’ Don Quixote, that heard all, said, ‘Are these discourses, Sancho, fit for this place?’ ‘Sir,’ said Sancho, ‘let every man express his wants wheresoe’er he be. Here I remembered my Dapple, and here I spoke of him; and, if I had remembered him in the stable, there I would have spoken.’ To this quoth the duke, ‘Sancho is in the right, and there is no reason to blame him; Dapple shall have provender, as much as he will, and let Sancho take no care, he shall be used as well as his own person.

With these discourses, pleasing unto all but Don Quixote, they went upstairs, and brought Don Quixote into a goodly hall, hung with rich cloth of gold and tissue; six damosels unarmed him, and served for pages, all of them taught and instructed by the duke and duchess what they should do, and how they should behave themselves towards Don Quixote, that he might imagine and see they used him like a knight-errant.

Don Quixote, once unarmed, was in his straight trouses and doublet of chamois, dry, high, and lank, with his jaws that within and without bussed one another, a picture that, if the damosels that served him had not had a care to hold in heir laughter, which was one of the precise orders their lords had given them, had burst with laughing. They desired him to unclothe himself to shift a shirt; but he would by no means consent, saying that honesty was as proper to a knight-errant as valour. Nothwithstanding, he bade them give a shirt to Sancho, and, locking himself up with him in a chamber, where was a rich bed, he plucked off his clothes and put on the shirt, and, as Sancho and he were alone, he thus spoke to him: ‘Tell me, modern jester and old jolt-head, is it a fit thing to dishonour and affront so venerable an old waiting-woman and so worthy to be respected as she? Was that a fit time to remember your Dapple? Or think you that these were lords to let beasts fare ill, that so neatly use their masters? For God’s love, Sancho, look to thyself, and discover not thy coarse thread, that they may see thou art not woven out of a base web. Know, sinner as thou art, that the master is so much the more esteemed by how much his servants are honest and mannerly; and one of the greatest advantages that great men have over inferiors is that they keep servants as good as themselves. Knowest thou not, poor fellow as thou art, and unhappy that I am, that if they see thee to be a gross peasant they will think that I am some mountebank or shifting squire? No, no, friend Sancho; shun, shun these inconveniences, for he that stumbles too much upon the prater and wit-monger at the first toe-knock falls, and becomes a scornful jester. Bridle thy tongue, consider and ruminate upon thy words before they come from thee, and observe we are now come to a place from whence, with God’s help and mine arm’s valour, we shall go bettered threefold, nay fivefold, in fame and wealth.’ Sancho promised him very truly to sew up his mouth, or to bite his tongue, before he would speak a word that should not be well considered and to purpose, as he had commanded, and that he should not fear that by him they should ever be discovered.

Don Quixote dressed himself, buckled his sword to his belt, and clapped his scarlet mantle upon him, putting on a hunter’s cap of green satin, which the damosels had given him; and thus adorned to the great chamber he went, where he found the damosels all in a row, six on one side and six on the other, and all with provision for him to wash, which they ministered with many courtesies and ceremonies. Betwixt them straight they got him full of pomp and majesty, and carried him to another room, where was a rich table, with service for four persons. The duke and duchess came to the door to receive him, and with them a grave clergyman, one of those that govern great men’s houses;3 one of those that, as they are not born nobly, so they know not how to instruct those that are; one of those that would have great men’s liberalities measured by the straitness of their minds; of those that, teaching those they govern to be frugal, would make them miserable; such a one I say, this grave clergyman was, that came with the duke to receive Don Quixote. There passed a thousand loving compliments, and at last, taking Don Quixote between them, they sat down to dinner.

The duke invited Don Quixote to the upper end of the table, which though he refused, yet the duke so importuned him that he was forced to take it. The clergyman sat over against him, and the duke and duchess on each side. Sancho was by at all, gaping in admiration to see the honour those princes did to his master; and, seeing the many ceremonies and entreaties that passed betwixt the duke and him to make him sit down at the table’s end, he said, ‘If your worships will give me leave, I’ll tell you a tale that happened in our town concerning places.’ Scarce had Sancho said this when Don Quixote began to shake, believing certainly he would speak some idle speech. Sancho, beholding, understood him and said, ‘Fear not, sir, that I shall be unmannerly, or that I shall say anything that may not be to the purpose; for I have not forgotten your counsel touching speaking much or little, well or ill.’ ‘I remember nothing, Sancho,’ quoth Don Quixote; ‘speak what thou wilt, so thou speak quickly.’

‘Well, what I shall speak,’ quoth Sancho, ‘is as true as my master Don Quixote will not let me lie, who is here present.’ ‘For me,’ replied Don Quixote, ‘lie as much as thou wilt, for I’ll not hinder thee; but take heed what thou speakest.’ ‘I have so heeded and re-heeded it that you shall see, I warrant ye.’ ‘’Twere very fit,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘that your greatnesses would command this coxcomb to be thrust out, for he will talk you a thousand follies.’ ‘Assuredly,’ quoth the duchess, ‘Sancho shall not stir a jot from me; for I know he is very discreet.’

‘Discreet years live your holiness,’ quoth Sancho, ‘for the good opinion you have of me, although I deserve it not; and thus says my tale: A gentleman of our town, very rich and well born—for he was of the blood of the Alami of Medina del Campo, and married with Donna Mencia de Quinnones, that was daughter to Don Alonso de Maranon, Knight of the Order of Saint Jacques, that was drowned in the Herradura, touching whom that quarrel was not long since in our town; for, as I remember, my master Don Quixote was in it, where little Thomas the madcap, son to Balvastro the smith, was wounded. Is not all this true, master mine?4 Say by your life, that these lords may not hold me for a prating liar.’

‘Hitherto,’ said the clergyman, ‘I rather hold thee for a prater than a liar; but from henceforward I know not for what I shall hold thee.’ ‘Thou givest so many witnesses and so many tokens, Sancho, that I cannot but say,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘thou tellest true. On with thy tale, and make an end, for I think thou wilt not have ended these two days.’ ‘Let him go on,’ quoth the duchess, ‘to do me a pleasure, and let him tell his tale as he pleaseth, though he make not an end these six days; for if they were so many years they would be the best that ever I passed in my life.’

‘I say, then, my masters, that the said gentleman I told you of at first, and whom I know as well as I know one hand from another—for, from my house to his, ‘tis not a bow-shoot—invited a poor but honest husbandman.’ ‘On, brother,’ said the clergyman, ‘for methinks you travel with your tale as if you would not rest till the next world.’ ‘In less than half this I will, if it please God,’ said Sancho, ‘and so I proceed. The said husbandman coming to the said gentleman-inviter’s house—God be merciful to him, for he is now dead! and, for a further token, they say died like a lamb; for I was not by, for at that time I was gone to another town to reaping—’ ‘I prithee,’ quoth the clergyman, ‘come back from your reaping, and, without burying the gentleman, except you mean to make more obsequies, end your tale.’ ‘The business, then,’ quoth Sancho, ‘was this, that both of them being ready to sit down at table; for methinks I see them now more than ever—

The dukes received great pleasure to see the distaste that the clergyman took at the delays and pauses of Sancho’s tale, and Don Quixote consumed himself in choler and rage. ‘Then thus,’ quoth Sancho: ‘both of them being ready to sit down, the husbandman contended with the gentleman not to sit uppermost, and he with the other that he should, as meaning to command in his own house; but the husbandman, presuming to be mannerly and courteous, never would, till the gentleman, very moody, laying hands upon him, made him sit down perforce, saying, “Sit you down, you thresher; for whereso’er I sit that shall be the table’s-end to thee.” And now you have my tale, and truly I believe it was brought in here pretty well to the purpose.

Don Quixote’s face was in a thousand colours, that jaspered upon his brow. The lords dissembled their laughter, that Don Quixote might not be too much abashed, when they perceived Sancho’s knavery: and to change discourse, that Sancho might not proceed with other fooleries, the duchess asked Don Quixote what news he had of the Lady Dulcinea, and if he had sent her for a present lately any giants or bugbears, since he could not but have overcome many. To which Don Quixote answered, ‘Lady mine, my misfortunes, although they had a beginning, yet they will never have ending. Giants, elves, and bugbears I have overcome and sent her; but where should they find her that is enchanted, and turned into the foulest creature that can be?’ ‘I know not,’ quoth Sancho; ‘methinks she is the fairest creature in the world, at least I know well that for her nimbleness and leaping5 she’ll give no advantage to a tumbler. In good faith, my lady duchess, she leaps from the ground upon an ass as if she were a cat.’ ‘Have you seen her enchanted, Sancho?’ said the duke. ‘How? seen her?’ quoth Sancho. ‘Why, who the devil but I was the first that fell into the trick of her enchantment? She is as much enchanted as my ass.

The clergyman, that heard them talk of giants, elves, and bugbears, and enchantments, fell into reckoning that that was Don Quixote de la Mancha, whose story the duke ordinarily read, and for which he had divers times reprehended him, telling him ‘twas a madness to read such fopperies; and, being assured of the certainty which he suspected, speaking to the duke very angerly, he said, ‘Your Excellency ought to give God Almighty an account for this man’s folly. This Don Quixote—or Don Coxcomb, or how do you call him?—I suppose he is not so very an idiot as your Excellency would make him, giving him ready occasions to proceed in his empty-brained madness.’ And, framing his discourse to Don Quixote, he said: ‘And who, goodman dullpate, hath thrust into your brain that you are a knight-errant, that you overcome giants and take bugbears? Get you [home], in God’s name, so be it spoken; return to your house, and bring up your children, if you have them, and look to your stock, and leave your ranging thorough the world, blowing blubbles, and making all that know you, or not know you, to laugh. Where have you ever found, with a mischief, that there have been or are knights-errant? Where any giants in Spain, or bugbears in Mancha, or enchanted Dulcineas, with the rest of your troop of simplicities?’

Don Quixote was very attentive to this venerable man’s discourse, and seeing him now silent, without any respect of the dukes, with an angry countenance he stood up and said—but his answer deserves a chapter by itself.

1 La higa, a word of disgrace.
2 Vieja, a name that a woman in Spain cannot endure to hear, though she were as old as Methusalem.
3 A good character of a poor pendant.
4 After he had begun a tale without head or foot, he asks a question.
5 A good mistake.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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