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 L: Where is declared who were the Enchanters and Executioners that whipped the Matron, pinched and scratched Don Quixote, with the Success the Page had that carried the Letter to Teresa Panza, Sancho’s Wife


CID HAMET, the most punctual searcher of the very motes of this true history, says that when Donna Rodriguez went out of her chamber to go to Don Quixote’s lodging, another waiting-woman that lay with her perceived her; and as all of them have an itch to smell after novelties, she went after so softly that the good Rodriguez perceived it not; and as soon as the waiting-woman saw her go in to Don Quixote, that she might not be defective in the general custom of makebates, she went presently to put this into the duchess’s head, and so told her that Donna Rodriguez was in Don Quixote’s chamber. The duchess told the duke, and asked his leave that she and Altisidora might go see what the matron would have with Don Quixote. The duke granted, and both of them very softly came close to Don Quixote’s door, and so near that they heard all that was spoken within; and when the duchess heard that Rodriguez had set the Aranjuez of her springs a-running in the streets, she could not suffer it, nor Altisidora neither; so full of rage, and greedy to revenge, they entered the chamber suddenly, and stabbed Don Quixote with their nails, and banged the woman, as hath been related: for affronts that are directly done against beauty do awaken women’s choler, and inflame in them a desire of revenge.

The duchess told the duke what had passed, which made him passing merry; and the duchess, proceeding with her intention of mirth and pastime with Don Quixote, despatched the page that played the enchanted Dulcinea’s part (for Sancho had forgotten it, being busied in his government) to Teresa Panza with her husband’s letter, and another from herself, and a chain of fair coral for a token.

The story, too, tells us that the page was very discreet and witty, and, with a desire to serve his lords, he went with a very good will to Sancho’s town; and before he entered into it he saw a company of women washing in a brook, whom he asked if they could tell him if there lived in that town a woman whose name was Teresa Panza, wife to one Sancho Panza, esquire to a knight called Don Quixote de la Mancha; to which question a little girl that was washing there stood up and said, ‘That Teresa Panza is my mother, and that Sancho my father, and that knight our master.’

‘Well, then, damosel,’ quoth the page, ‘come and bring me to your mother, for I bring her a letter and a present from your said father.’

‘That I will with a very good will, sir,’ said the wench, that seemed to be about some fourteen years of age, more or less; and, leaving the clothes that she was washing to another companion of hers, without dressing her head, or putting on stockings and shoes (for she was barelegged, and with her hair about her ears), she leaped before the page’s beast he rode on, and said, ‘Come, sir, for our house is just as you come in at the town, and there you shall find my mother, with sorrow enough, because she hath not heard from my father this great while.’

‘Well, I have so good news for her,’ quoth he, ‘that she may thank God for it.’

At length, leaping, running, and jumping, the girl got to the town, and before she came into the house she cried out aloud at the door, ‘Come out, mother Teresa, come out, come out; for here’s a gentleman hath letters and other things from my good father.’ At which noise, Teresa Panza, her mother, came out, spinning a roll of flax, with a russet petticoat, and it seemed by the shortness of it that it had been cut off at the placket, and she had russet bodies of the same, and she was in her smock-sleeves. She was not very old, for she looked as if she had been about forty; but she was strong, tough, sinewy, and raw-boned; who, seeing her daughter, and the page a-horseback, said, ‘What’s the matter, child? What gentleman is this?’ ‘A servant of my Lady Teresa Panza’s,’ quoth the page; so doing and speaking, he flung himself from his horse, and with great humility went to prostrate himself before the Lady Teresa, saying, ‘My Lady Teresa, give me your hands to kiss, as you are lawful and particular wife to my Lord Don Sancho Panza, proper governor of the island Barataria.’

‘Ah, good sir, forbear, I pray, do not do so,’ quoth Teresa, ‘for I am no court-noll, but a poor husband-woman, a ploughman’s daughter, and wife to a squire-errant, and not a governor.’

‘You are,’ quoth the page, ‘a most worthy wife to an arch-worthy governor; and, for proof of what I say, I pray receive this letter and this token’; when instantly he plucked out of his pocket a coral-string, with the laced beads of gold, and put it about her neck and said, ‘This letter is from the governor, and another that I bring, and these corals are from my lady the duchess that sends me to you.

Teresa was amazed, and her daughter also; and the wench said, ‘Hang me, if our master Don Quixote have not a hand in this business, and he it is that hath given my father this government or earldom, that he so often promised him.’

‘You say true,’ quoth the page, ‘for, for Signior Don Quixote’s sake, Signior Sancho Panza is now governor of the island Barataria, as you shall see by this letter.’

‘Read it, gentle sir,’ said Teresa; ‘for, though I can spin, I cannot read a jot.’ ‘Nor I neither,’ added Sanchica; ‘but stay a little, and I’ll call one that shall, either the vicar himself, or the bachelor Samson Carrasco, who will both come hither, with all their hearts, to hear news of my father.’

‘You need not call anybody,’ said he; ‘for, though I cannot spin, yet I can read, and therefore I will read it’; so he did throughout; which, because it was before related, it is not now set down here; and then he drew out the duchess’s, which was as followeth:

‘FRIEND TERESA, — Your husband’s good parts of his wit and honesty moved and obliged me to request the duke my husband to give him the government of one of the many islands he hath. I have understood that he governs like a jer-falcon, for which I am very glad, and consequently my lord the duke; for which I render Heaven many thanks, in that I have not been deceived in making choice of him for the said government; for let me tell Mistress Teresa, it is a very difficult thing to find a good governor in the world, and so God deal with me as Sancho governs. I have sent you, my beloved, a string of coral beads, with the tens of gold; I could wish they had been oriental pearls, but something is better than nothing: time will come that we may know and converse one with another, and God knows what will become of it.

‘Commend me to Sanchica your daughter, and bid her from me that she be in a readiness, for I mean to marry her highly when she least thinks of it.

‘They tell me that in your town there you have goodly acorns; I pray send me some two dozen of them, and I shall esteem them much as coming from you; and write me at large, that I may know of your health and wellbeing: and if you want aught, there is no more to be done but mouth it, and your mouth shall have full measure. So God keep you. — From this town, your loving friend,


‘Lord!’ quoth Teresa, when she heard the letter, ‘what a good, plain, meek lady ‘tis! God bury me with such ladies, and not with your stately ones that are used in this town, who think, because they are gentlefolks, the wind must not touch them: and they go so fantastically to church, as if they were queens at least, and they think it a disgrace to ‘em to look upon a poor country-woman. But look ye, here’s a good lady, that though she be a duchess, calls me friend, and useth me as if I were her equal: equal may I see her with the highest steeple in the Mancha! And concerning her acorns, signior mine, I will send her ladyship a whole peck, that everybody shall behold, and admire them for their bigness. And now, Sanchica, do thou see that this gentleman be welcome; set his horse up, and get some eggs out of the stable, and cut some bacon: he shall fare like a prince for the good news he hath brought us; and his good face deserves it all. In the meantime, I will go tell my neighbours of this good news, and to our father vicar, and Master Nicholas the barber, who have been, and still are, so much thy father’s friends.’

‘Yes, marry, will I,’ quoth Sanchica: ‘but hark you, you must give me half that string, for I do not think my lady duchess such a fool that she would send it all to her.

‘’Tis all thine, daughter,’ said Teresa; ‘but let me wear it a few days about my neck, for verily it glads me to the heart.

‘You will be glad,’ quoth the page, ‘when you see the bundle that I have in my portmanteau, which is a garment of fine cloth, which the governor only wore one day a-hunting, which he hath sent to Mistress Sanchica.’

‘Long may he live!’ quoth Sanchica, ‘and he that brings it too.’

Teresa went out with her chain about her neck, and played with her fingers upon her letters, as if they had been a timbrel; and meeting by chance with the vicar and Samson Carrasco, she began to dance, and to say, ‘I’ faith, now there is none poor of the kin; we have a little government; no, no! Now let the proudest gentlewoman of ‘em all meddle with me, and I’ll show her a new trick.’

‘What madness is this, Teresa Panza? and what papers are these?’

‘No madness,’ quoth she, ‘but these are letters from duchesses and governors, and these I wear about my neck are fine corals; the Ave-Maries and Paternosters are of beaten gold; and I am a governess.

‘Now God shield us, Teresa, we understand you not, neither know we what you mean.

‘There you may see,’ quoth Teresa, and gave ‘em the letters.

The vicar reads them, that Samson Carrasco might hear; so he and the vicar looked one upon the other, wondering at what they had read; and the bachelor asked, ‘Who brought those letters?’ Teresa answered that they should go home with her and they should see the messenger, a young youth, as fair as a golden pine-apple, and that he brought her another present twice as good.

The vicar took the corals from her neck, and beheld them again and again, and, assuring himself that they were right, he began to wonder afresh, and said, ‘By my coat, I swear I know not what to say or think of these letters and tokens; for on the one side I see and touch the fineness of these corals, and on the other that a duchess sends to beg two dozen of acorns.’ ‘Come crack me this nut,’ quoth Carrasco. ‘Well, let us go see the bearer of this letter, and by him we will be informed of these doubts that are offered.’

They did so, and Teresa went back with them. They found the page sifting a little barley for his beast, and Sanchica cutting a rasher to pave it1 with eggs for the page’s dinner, whose presence and attire much contented them both; and after they had courteously saluted him, and he them, Samson asked him for news as well of Don Quixote as Sancho; for though they had read Sancho and the lady duchess’s letters, yet they were troubled, and could not guess what Sancho’s government should mean, especially of an island, since all or the most that were in the Mediterranean Sea, belonged to his Majesty. To which the page answered, ‘That Signior Sancho Panza is governor ‘tis not to be doubted, but whether it be an island or no that he governs, I meddle not with it; ‘tis enough that it is a place of above a thousand inhabitants. And concerning the acorns, let me tell you, my lady the duchess is so plain and humble that her sending for acorns to this country-woman is nothing. I have known when she hath sent to borrow a comb of one of her neighbours; and let me tell you, the ladies of Aragon, though they be as noble, yet they stand not so much upon their points, neither are so lofty, as your Castilians, and they are much plainer.’

Whilst they were in the midst of this discourse, Sanchica came leaping with her lap full of eggs, and asked the page, ‘Tell me, sir, doth my father wear paned hose since his being governor?’ ‘I never marked it,’ quoth the page, ‘but sure he doth.’ ‘O God,’ quoth she, ‘what a sight it would be to see my father in his linen hose first! How say you, that ever since I was born I have had a desire to see my father in paned hose?’ ‘With many of these you shall see him,’ quoth the page, ‘if you live. And I protest, if his government last him but two months longer, he will be likely to wear a cap with a beaver.

The vicar and bachelor perceived very well that the page played the jack with them; but the goodness of the coral beads and the hunting-suit that Sancho sent made all straight again, for Teresa had showed them the apparel, and they could not but laugh at Sanchica’s desire, and most, when Teresa said, ‘Master vicar, pray will you hearken out if there be anybody that go toward Madrid or Toledo, that they may buy me a farthingale round and well made, just in the fashion, and of the best sort; for, in truth, in truth, I mean to credit my husband’s government as much as I can; and if I be angry, I’ll to court myself too, and have my coach as well as the best; for she that hath a governor to her husband may very well have it and maintain it.’

‘And why not, mother?’ quoth Sanchica, ‘and the sooner the better, though those that see me set with my mother in the coach should say, “Look ye on Mistress Whacham, goodman garlic-eater’s daughter, how she is set and stretched at ease in the coach, as if she were a Pope Joan”; but let them tread in the dirt, and let me go in my coach; a pox on all backbiters, the fox fares best when he is cursed. Say I well, mother mine?’

‘Very well,’ quoth she; ‘and my good Sancho foretold me of all these blessings, and many more; and thou shalt see, daughter, I’ll never rest till I am a countess, for all is but to begin well, and, as I have often heard thy good father say, who is likewise the father of proverbs, “Look not a given horse in the mouth; when a government is given thee, take it; when an earldom, grip it; and when they hist, hist2 to thee with a reward, take it up.” No, no, be careless, and answer not good fortune when she knocks at your doors.’

‘And what care I,’ quoth Sanchica, ‘what he says that sees me stately and majestical? “There’s a dog in a doublet,” and such-like.’

When the vicar heard all this, he said, ‘I cannot believe but all the stock of the Panzas were born with a bushel of proverbs in their bellies; I never saw any of them that did not scatter ‘em at all times, and upon all occasions.’ ‘You say true,’ quoth the page, ‘for Signior Sancho the governor speaks them every foot; and though many of them be nothing to the purpose, yet they delight, and my lady the duchess and the duke do much celebrate them.’ ‘That still you should affirm, sir, that this of Sancho’s government is true, and that there can be any duchess in the world that sends him presents, and writes to him — for we, although we see them, and have read the letters, yet we cannot believe it, and we think that this is one of Don Quixote our countryman his inventions, who thinks that all are by way of enchantment; so that I am about to desire to feel and touch you, to see whether you be an airy ambassador or a man of flesh and blood.’

‘Sir,’ quoth the page, ‘all I know of myself is that I am a real ambassador, and that Signior Sancho Panza is an effective governor, and that my lord the duke and duchess may give, and have given, the said government; and I have heard say that the said Sancho Panza demeans himself most robustiously in it. If in this there be any enchantment, you may dispute it amongst yourselves, for I know no more, by an oath I shall swear, which is, by the life of my parents, who are alive, and I love them very well.’

‘It may very well be,’ quoth the bachelor, ‘but “dubitat Augustinus.”’ ‘Doubt it whoso will,’ quoth the page, ‘I have told you the truth, which shall always prevail above lies, as the oil above the water; and if not “operibus credite et non verbis”; one of you go with me, and you shall see with your eyes what you will not believe with your ears.

‘That journey will I go,’ quoth Sanchica: ‘you shall carry me, sir, at your horse’s crupper, and I’ll go with a very good will to see my father.’ ‘Governors’ daughters,’ quoth he, ‘must not travel alone, but accompanied with caroches and horse-litters and good store of servants.’ ‘Marry,’ quoth Sanchica, ‘I can go as well upon a young ass-colt as upon a coach; you have a dainty piece of me, no doubt.’

‘Peace, wench,’ said Teresa; ‘thou knowest not what thou sayst; and this gentleman is in the right, the times are altered: when thy father was Sancho, then mightest thou be Sanchica, but now he is governor, madam; and I know not whether I have said aught.’ ‘Mistress Teresa says more than she is aware of,’ quoth the page; ‘and now pray let me dine, and be quickly despatched, for I must return this afternoon.’ ‘Then,’ quoth the vicar, ‘you shall do penance with me to-day, for Mistress Teresa hath more good will than good cheer to welcome so good a guest.’

The page refused; but, for his better fare, he was forced to accept of the kindness, and the vicar carried him the more willingly that he might have time to ask at leisure after Don Quixote’s exploits. The bachelor offered Teresa to write the answers of her letters, but she would not that he should deal in her affairs, for she held him to be a scoffer; and so she gave a little roll of bread and a couple of eggs to a little monk that could write, who wrote her two letters, one for her husband and the other for the duchess, framed by her own pate, and are not the worst in all this grand history, as you may see hereafter.

1 Para empedarte: a pretty metaphor, for in Spain they use to fry their collops and eggs all together, not as we do, first bacon, and then eggs, and therefore the author calls it paving.
2 Hist, hist, as if it were the calling a dog, to give him meat.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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