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 XLIV: How Sancho Panza was carried to his Government, and of the Strange Adventure that befel Don Quixote in the Castle

 

‘TIS said that in the original of this history it is read that when Cid Hamet came to write this chapter, the interpreter translated it not as he had written it, which was a kind of complaint of himself, that he undertook so dry and barren a story as this of Don Quixote, because it seemed that Don Quixote and Sancho were the sole speakers, and that he durst not enlarge himself with other digressions, or graver accidents, and more delightful : and he said that to have his invention, his hand, and his quill tied to one sole subject, and to speak by the mouths of few, was a most insupportable labour, and of no benefit to the author; so that to avoid this inconvenience, in the First Part he used the art of novels, as one of The Curious-Impertinent, another of The Captived Captain, which are, as it were, Separated from the history, though the rest that are there recounted are matters that happened to Don Quixote which could not but be set down. He was of opinion likewise, as he said, that many being carried away with attention to Don Quixote’s exploits, would not heed his novels, and skip them, either for haste or irksomeness, without noting the cunning workmanship and framing of them which would be plainly shown if they might come to light by themselves alone, without Don Quixote’s madness or Sancho’s simplicities; therefore in this Second Part he would not engraff loose novels, or adjoining to the story, but certain accidents that might be like unto them, sprung from the passages that the truth itself offers; and these, too, sparingly, and with words only proper to declare them. And since he is shut up and contained in the limits of this narration, having understanding, sufficiency, and ability to treat of all, his request is that his labour be not contemned, but rather that he be commended, not for what he writes, but for what he hath omitted to write: so he goes on with his history, saying,—

That when Don Quixote had dined, the same day that he gave Sancho his instructions, in the afternoon he let him have them in writing, that he might seek somebody to read them to him; but as soon as ever he had given him them, he lost them, and they came to the duke’s hands, who showed them to the duchess; and both of them afresh admired at Don Quixote’s madness and his understanding together; and, so, going forward with their jests, that afternoon they sent Sancho, well accompanied, to the place that to him seemed an island.

It fell out then that the charge of this business was laid upon a steward of the duke’s, a good wise fellow, and very conceited; for there can be no wit that is not governed with discretion : he it was that played the Countess Trifaldi’s part, with the cunning that hath been related: with this, and with his master’s instructions how he should behave himself towards Sancho, he performed his task marvellously. I say, then, that it happened that as Sancho saw the steward, the very face of Trifaldi came into his mind, and, turning to his master, he said, ‘Sir, the devil bear me from hence just as I believe, if you do not confess that this steward of the duke’s here present hath the very countenance of the Afflicted.’

Don Quixote earnestly beheld the steward, and having thoroughly seen him, said to Sancho, ‘There is no need of the devil’s taking thee just as thou believest (for I know not what thou meanest), for the Afflicted’s face is just the same that the steward’s is; but, for all that, the steward is not the Afflicted; for to be so were a manifest contradiction, and now ‘tis no time to sift out these things, which were to enter into an intricate labyrinth. Believe me, friend, ‘twere fit to pray to God very earnestly to deliver us from these damned witches and enchanters.’

‘’Tis no jesting matter,’ quoth Sancho, ‘for I heard him speak before, and methought the very voice of Trifaldi sounded in my ears. Well, I will be silent: but yet I will see henceforward if I can discover any sign to confirm or forego my jealousy.’

‘You may do so, Sancho,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘and you shall give me notice of all that in this business you can discover, and of all that shall befall you in your government.’

Sancho in conclusion departed with a great troop, clad like a lawyer, and upon his back he had a goodly tawny riding-coat of watered camlet, and a hunter’s cap of the same: he rode upon a he-moil after the jennet fashion,1 and behind him, by the duke’s order, his Dapple was led, with trappings and ass-like ornaments all of silk. Sancho turned his head now and then to look upon his ass, with whose company he was so well pleased that he would not have changed to have been Emperor of Germany. At parting he kissed the duke’s hands, and received his master’s benediction, who gave it him with tears, and Sancho received it with blubberings.

Now, reader, let honest Sancho part in peace, and in good time, and expect two bushels of laughter, which his demeanour in his government will minister to thee: and in the meantime mark what befel his master that very night, for if it make thee not laugh outright, yet it will cause thee to show thy teeth, and grin like an ape; for Don Quixote’s affairs must either be solemnised with admiration or laughter.

‘Tis said, then, that Sancho was scarce departed when Don Quixote resented his solitariness; and if it had been possible for him to have revoked his commission, or taken away his government, he would have done it.

The duchess knew his melancholy, and asked him why he was so sad; for if it were for Sancho’s absence, she had squires and waiting-women and damsels in her house, that would do him all service.

‘True it is, madam,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘that I resent Sancho’s absence; but that is not the principal cause that makes me appear sad: and of those many kindnesses that your Excellency offers me, I only accept and make choice of the good will with which they are offered, and for the rest, I humbly beseech your Excellency that you give me leave in my chamber to serve myself.’

‘Truly, Signior Don Quixote,’ quoth the duchess, ‘it must not be so; for four of my damsels shall wait upon you as fair as flowers.’

‘They shall be no flowers to me,’ quoth he, ‘but very thorns that prick my soul. They shall fly as soon as enter into my chamber, or come near me. If your greatness will continue in your favours towards me, let this be one, that I may serve myself within mine own doors, that I may put a wall in midst of my desires and honesty; and I will not forego this custom for all the liberality that your highness will show unto [me]. To conclude, I will rather sleep in my clothes than yield that anybody shall help to undress me.

‘Enough, enough, Signior Don Quixote,’ quoth the duchess; ‘for my part, I’ll give order that not so much as a fly shall come within your distance, much less a damsel. I am none of those that would make Signior Don Quixote transcend his decency; for, as I have a kind of glimmering, one of Signior Don Quixote’s most eminent virtues is his honesty: undress yourself, and go to bed alone after your own fashion, how you will, and nobody shall hinder you, and in your chamber you shall have all things necessary, and lock your door to you. Your vessels shall be ready, that no natural cause make you rise to open your door. Long live the grand Dulcinea del Toboso, and her name far extended upon the globe of the earth, since she deserved to be beloved of so honest and valiant a knight; and the gracious heavens infuse into Sancho Panza our governor his heart a desire to finish the disciplining of himself quickly, that the world may re-enjoy the beauty of so great a lady.’

To which quoth Don Quixote, ‘Your highness hath spoken like yourself; for no ill thing can proceed from the mouth of so good a lady; and Dulcinea shall be the more happy, and more esteemed in the world, in that your greatness hath praised her, than if she had had the praises of the best rhetoricians in the world.’

‘Well, go to, Signior Don Quixote,’ quoth the duchess, ‘‘tis now supper-time, and the duke expects us; come, sir, let’s sup, and to bed betimes; for your voyage yesterday from Candaya was not so short but it hath left some weariness in you.’

‘None at all, lady,’ quoth he, ‘for I may swear to your Excellency that in my lifetime I never rode upon a gentler nor better-paced beast than Clavileno; and I know no reason why Malambruno should lose so swift and so gentle a horse, and so burn him without more ado.’

‘You may imagine,’ quoth she, ‘that he repenting him of the hurt he had done Trifaldi and her company and many others, and of the wickedness that as a witch and enchanter he had committed, would destroy the instruments of his office, and so burnt Clavileno as the chiefest of them, and that which did most disquiet him, roving up and down; and so with his burnt ashes, and the trophy of the scroll, Don Quixote’s valour is eternalised.’

Don Quixote afresh gave fresh thanks to the duchess, and when he had supped he retired to his chamber alone, without permitting anybody to serve him, he was so afraid to meet with occasions that might induce him to forget the honest decorum due to his lady Dulcinea, Amadis his goodness being always in his imagination, the flower and looking-glass of knights-errant.

The door he shut after him, and undressed himself by the light of two wax candles. As he pulled off his stockings (O ill-luck, unworthy such a personage!) there broke from him, not sighs, or any such thing that might discredit his cleanly neatness, but some four-and-twenty stitches and a half, that made his stocking look like a lattice-window. The good knight was extremely afflicted, and would have given for a drachm of green silk an ounce of silver: green silk, I say, for his stockings were green.

And here Benengeli exclaimed, saying, ‘O poverty! poverty! I know not what moved that famous Cordovan poet to call thee holy thankless gift. For I that am a Moor know very well, by the communication I have had with Christians, that holiness consists in charity, humility, faith, obedience, and poverty. But yet a man had need have a special grace from God, that can be contented, being poor, except it be with such a kind of poverty as one of the greatest saints speaks of, “Esteem of all things as if you had them not,” and this is called poorness of spirit. But thou, second poverty (of that kind that I mean), why dost thou mix thyself with gentlemen and those that be well-born? Why dost thou make them cobble their shoes? and that the buttons of their jerkins be some silk, others hair, others glass? Why must their ruffs, for the most part, be unset lattice-ways, and not set with the stick?’ And by this you may perceive how ancient the use of starch is, and of setting ruffs. He proceeds: ‘Unhappy he, that being well-born, puts his credit to shifts, as by ill-faring, with his door locked to him,2 making his toothpicker an hypocrite, with which he comes to the street-door picking his teeth, though he have eat nothing that should require such cleanliness. Unhappy he, I say, whose credit is scarred, and thinks that a patch upon his shoe is spied a league off, or the thorough sweating of his hat, or the threadbareness of his cloak, or the hunger of his maw.’

All this was renewed in Don Quixote by the breach in his stocking; but his comfort was that Sancho had left him a pair of boots, which he thought to put on the next day. Finally, to bed he went, heavy and pensative, as well for want of Sancho’s company as or e irreparable misfortune of his stocking, whose stitches he would have taken up, though it had been with silk of another colour, which is one of the greatest signs of misery that may befal a gentleman in the progress of his prolix necessity. He put out the lights, ‘twas hot, and he could not sleep; so he rose from his bed, and opened a little the lid of an iron window that looked toward a fair garden; and, opening it, he perceived and heard people stirring and talking in the garden; they below raised their voices insomuch that these speeches might be heard.

‘Be not so earnest with me, O Emerencia, to have me sing; for thou knowest that ever since this stranger hath been in the castle, and that mine eyes beheld him, I cannot sing, but weep; besides, my lady’s sleep is rather short than sound, and I would not that she should know we were here, for all the goods in the world; and though she should sleep, and not wake, my singing yet were in vain, if this new Aeneas sleep, and wake not to give ear to it—this, that is come into my kingdom to leave me scorned and forsaken.’

‘Think not of that, friend Altisidora,’ said they, ‘for doubtless the duchess and everybody else in the house is asleep, except the master of thy heart and thy soul’s alarm; for now I heard him open his window, and he is certainly awake : sing, poor grieved wretch, in a low and sweet tune, to the sound of thy harp, and if the duchess should perceive it, our excuse should be that we are here by reason ‘tis so hot within doors.’

‘‘Tis not for our being here, O Emerencia,’ quoth Altisidora, ‘but that I am not willing my song should discover my heart; and that I should be held by those that have no notice of the powerful force of love for a longing and light housewife; but come what will on it, better shame in the face than a spot in the heart.’

And with this she heard a harp most sweetly played on, which when Don Quixote heard, it amazed him; and in the instant, an infinite company of adventures came into his mind, of windows, grates, gardens, music, courting, and fopperies, that he had read in his sottish books of knighthood; and straight he imagined that some damsel of the duchess’s was enamoured on him, and that her honesty enforced her to conceal her affection; he was afraid lest he should yield, but firmly purposed not to be vanquished; so, recommending himself, heart and soul, to his Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, he determined to hearken to the music; and that they might know he was there, he feigned a sneeze, which not a little pleased the damsels, that desired nothing else; so Altisidora running on, and tuning her harp, began this song:

‘Thou that in thy bed dost lie,
   In midst of Holland sheets,
Sleeping with thy legs outstretch’d,
   All night long until the morn.

O thou knight the valiantest
   That all Mancha hath produc’d,
More honest, and more blest withal,
   Than the finest Arabian gold.

Hear a damsel sorrowful,
   Tall of growth, but ill sh’hath thriv’d,
That with light of thy two suns,
   Feels her soul inflam’d and scorch’d.

Thou thy adventures followest,
   Others’ misadventures find’st;
Thou giv’st wounds, and yet deny’st
   To give healing remedy.

Tell me, O thou valiant youth
   (God increase thy maladies),
Wert thou bred in Africa,
   Or in Jaca mountainous?

Serpents nourish thee with milk,
   Or perhaps thy nurses were
Th’uncouth thickness of the woods,
   Or the mountains horrible?

Well may Dulcinea, she,
   That same damsel, plump and sound,
Brag that she hath conquer’d a
   Tiger and a savage beast.

For which she shall famous be,
   From Henares to Xarama,
Tagus, Mansanares, and
   Pisuerga, and Arlanza too.

Oh that I might change with her,
   I would give my coat to boot;
And the gaudy’st that I have,
   All bedaub’d with golden fringe.

Oh that I were in thy arms,
   If not so, but near thy bed,
That I might but scratch thy head,
   And the dandruff rid from thee.

Much I ask, but not deserve
   Favours so remarkable;
Let me then but touch thy foot,
   Fit for my humility.

Oh, what nightcaps I would give,
   And what silver socks to thee,
What damask breeches eke,
   And what cloaks of Holland too!

Likewise of the finest pearls,
   Each as big as any gall,
Which, if that there were but one,
   Might be called The One alone.

Do not from thy Tarpey view
   This same fire that doth me scorch,
Manchegan Nero of the world,
   Nor kindle’t with thy cruelty.

Young I am, a tender chick,
   Not yet my age is past fifteen,
Fourteen am I, three months more,
   I swear to thee in conscience.

I do not limp, I am not lame,
   Nothing about me maim’d;
And my looks like lilies are
   That do drag upon the ground.

And although my mouth be wide,
   Yet my nose is something flat,
And my teeth are topazes:
   Beauty lifts me to the clouds.

My voice you see, if that you hark,
   To the sweetest equal is,
And my disposition, too,
   Less than reasonable is.

These, and other graces more,
   Of thy quiver are the spoils,
Of this house I damsel am,
   And Altisidora call’d.’

Here the sore-wounded Altisidora ended her song, and the fright of the required Don Quixote began, who, fetching a deep sigh, said within himself, ‘That I must be so unhappy an errant that no damsel that sees me but is enamoured on me; that Dulcinea del Toboso should be so unfortunate that they will not let her alone enjoy my incomparable firmness! Queens, what mean you toward her? Empresses, why do you persecute her? Damsels of fourteen or fifteen years, why do you bait her? Leave, leave the poor creature, let her triumph, joy, and rejoice, with the lot that love gave her, in yielding her my heart and delivering her my soul. Look, ye enamoured troop, for Dulcinea only am I of paste and sugar-pellets, and for all else of flint: for her, I am honey; for you, bitter aloes. Dulcinea only is to me fair, discreet, honest, gallant, well-born; and others, foul, foolish, light, and worse-born. Nature threw me into the world to be only hers, and nobody’s else. Let Altisidora weep or sing; let the lady despair for whom I was banged in the castle of the enchanted Moor,3 for, sod or roasted, I am Dulcinea’s, clean, well-nurtured, and honest, in spite of all the powerful witchcrafts of the earth.’

And with this he clapped to the window suddenly, and, all angry and despiteous, as if some disgrace had befallen him, he got him to bed, where for the present we will leave him, for the grand Sancho Panza calls upon us, who means to begin his famous government.
 

1 The stirrups short, and his legs trussed up.
2 He describes the right custom of his hungry countrymen in general.
3 His adventure in the First Part with the Carrier and Maritornes in the vent.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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