Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

Gavilan Spanish Questions or comments  Bibliographic Record Index page Previous page Bottom Next page 

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 LIV: That treats of Matters concerning this History and no other


THE duke and duchess were resolved that Don Quixote’s challenge that he made against their vassal for the aforesaid cause should go forward; and though the young man were in Flanders, whither he fled, because he would not have Donna Rodriguez to his mother-in-law, yet they purposed to put a Gascoign lackey in his stead, which was called Tosilos, instructing him first very well in all that he had to do.

Some two days after, the duke said to Don Quixote that within four days his contrary would be present, and present himself in the field like an armed knight, and maintain that the damsel lied in her throat if she affirmed that he had promised her marriage. Don Quixote was much pleased with this news, and promised to himself to work miracles in this business, and he held it to be a special happiness to him that occasion was offered wherein those nobles might see how far the valour of his powerful arm extended; and so, with great jocundness and content, he expected the four days, which in the reckoning of his desire seemed to him to be four hundred ages.

Let we them pass, as we let pass divers other matters, and come to the Grand Sancho, to accompany him, who, betwixt mirth and mourning, upon Dapple went to seek out his master, whose company pleased him more than to be governor of all the islands in the world.

It fell out so, that he having not gone very far from the island of his government (for he never stood to aver whether it were island, city, village, or town which he governed), he saw that by the way he went there came six pilgrims with their walking-staves, your strangers that use to beg alms singing, who, when they came near, beset him round, and, raising their voices all together, began to sing in their language, what Sancho could not understand, except it were one word, which plainly signified alms, which he perceived they begged in their song. And he, as saith Cid Hamet, being very charitable, took half a loaf and half a cheese out of his wallet, of which he was provided, and gave it them, telling them by signs he had nothing else to give them; they received it very willingly, and said, ‘Guelte, guelte.’ ‘I understand you not what you would have, good people,’ quoth Sancho. Then one of them took a purse out of his bosom and showed it to Sancho, whereby he understood they asked him for money; but he, putting his thumb to his throat, and his hand upward, gave them to understand he had not a denier; and, spurring Dapple, he broke thorough them; and, passing by, one of them, looking wishly upon him, laid hold on him, and, casting his arms about his middle, with a loud voice, and very good Spanish, said, ‘God defend me, and what do I see? Is it possible I have my dear friend in my arms, my honest neighbour Sancho Panza? Yes, sure I have, for I neither sleep nor am drunk.’

Sancho wondered to hear himself so called by his name, and to see himself embraced by a pilgrim-stranger; and after he had beheld him a good while, without speaking a word, and with much attention, yet he could never call him to mind; but the pilgrim, seeing his suspension, said, ‘How now, is it possible, brother Sancho Panza, thou knowest not thy neighbour Ricote, the Morisco grocer of thy town?’

Then Sancho beheld him more earnestly, and began to remember his favour, and finally knew him perfectly; and so, without alighting from his ass, he cast his arms about his neck, and said, ‘Who the devil, Ricote, could know thee in this vizardly disguise? What’s the matter? Who hath made such Franchote1 of thee? And how darest thou return back again into Spain, where, if thou art catched or known, woe be to thee?’

‘If thou reveal me not, Sancho, I am safe,’ quoth the pilgrim; ‘for in this disguise nobody will know me. Come, let’s go out of the highway into yonder elm-grove, for there my companions mean to dine and repose themselves, and thou shalt eat with them, for they are very good people, and there I shall have leisure to tell thee what hath befallen me since I departed from our town, to obey his Majesty’s edict, which so rigorously threatened those unfortunate ones of our nation, as thou heardst.’

Sancho consented, and Ricote speaking to the rest of the’ pilgrims, they went to the elm-grove, that appeared a pretty way distant from the highway. They flung down their staves, and cast off their pilgrim’s weeds, and so remained in hose and doublet; and all of them were young and handsome fellows except Ricote, who was well entered in years. All of them had wallets, which were all, to see to, well provided at least with incitatives that provoked to drink two miles off.

They sat upon the ground, and, making tablecloths of the grass, they set upon it bread, salt, knives, walnuts, slices of cheese, and clean gammon of bacon bones, which, though they would not let themselves be gnawed, yet they forbade not to be sucked.

They set down likewise a kind of black meat called caviary, made of fishes’ eggs, a great alarum to the bottle; there wanted no olives, though they were dry without any pickle, yet savoury, and made up a dish. But that which most flourished in the field of that banquet was six bottles of wine, which each of them drew out of his wallets: even honest Ricote, too, who had transformed himself from a Morisco into a German or Dutchman, he drew out his, that for quantity might compare with the whole five.

Thus they began to eat with great content, and very leisurely, relishing every bit which they took upon a knife’s point, and very little of everything. And straight all of them together would lift their arms and bottles up into the air, putting their own mouths to the bottles’ mouths, their eyes nailed in heaven, as if they had shot at it. And in this fashion, moving their heads from one side to the other, signs of their good liking of the wine, they remained a good while, straining the entrails of the vessels in their stomachs.

Sancho marked all, and was grieved at nothing; rather to fulfil the proverb, that he very well knew, ‘When thou goest to Rome,’ etc.,2 he desired the bottle of Ricote, and so took his aim as well as the rest, and with no less delight than they. Thus the bottles suffered themselves to be hoisted on end four times; but it was not possible the fifth, for they were now as soaked and dry as a mattress, which made their joy hitherto shown now very muddy. Now and then one of them would take Sancho by the right hand, and say, Spaniard and Dutchman, all one, ‘Bon, compagno.’ And Sancho answered, ‘Bon compagno, juro a di’;3 and with that dischargeth such a laughter as lasted a long hour, not remembering as then aught that had befallen him in his government; for cares are wont to have little jurisdiction upon leisure and idleness, whilst men are eating and drinking.

Finally, the ending of their wine was the beginning of a drowsiness that seized upon them all, so they even fell to sleep where they sate, only Ricote and Sancho watched it out, for they had eaten more and drunk less. So Ricote taking Sancho apart, they sat at the foot of a beech, leaving the pilgrims buried in sweet sleep; and Ricote, without stumbling a jot in his Morisco tongue, in pure Castilian language, uttered to him this ensuing discourse:

‘Thou well knowest, O Sancho Panza, friend and neighbour of mine, how the proclamation and edict that his Majesty commanded to be published against those of my nation put us all into a fear and fright; at least me it did. And methought that before the time that was limited us for our departure from Spain, the very rigour of the penalty was executed upon me and my children.

‘I provided, therefore, in my judgment wisely, as he which knows that by such a time the house he lives in shall be taken from him, and so provides himself another against he is to change—I provided, I say, to leave our town, all alone, without my family, and to seek some place whither I might commodiously carry them, and not in such a hurry as the rest that went. For I well saw, and so did all our graver sort, that those proclamations were not only threats, as some said, but true laws to be put in execution at their due time. And I was enforced to believe this truth because I knew the villainous but foolish attempts of our nation: such as methought it was a divine inspiration that moved his Majesty to put so brave a resolution in effect; not because we were all faulty, for some there were firm and true Christians; but they were so few they could not be opposed to those that were otherwise. And it was not fit to nourish a serpent in his bosom, and to have enemies within doors.

‘Finally, we were justly punished with the penalty of banishment, which seemed to some soft and sweet, but to us the terriblest that could be inflicted. Wheresoever we are, we weep to think on Spain; for indeed here we were born, and it is our natural country. We nowhere find the entertainment that our misfortune desires. And in Barbary, and all parts of Africa, where we thought to have been received, entertained, and cherished, there it is where we are most offended and misused. We knew not our happiness till we lost it; and the desire we all have to return to Spain is so great that the most part of such, which are many, who speak the language as I do, return hither again, and leave their wives and children there forsaken, so great is the love they bear their country. And now I know, and find by experience, that the saying is true, “Sweet is the love of one’s country.”

‘I went, as I say, out of our town, and came into France, and though there we were well entertained, yet I would see it all, and so passed into Italy, and arrived in Germany, and there I found we might live with more freedom; for the inhabitants do not look much into niceties, everyone lives as he pleaseth; for in the greatest part of it there is liberty of conscience.

‘There I took a house in a town near Augusta, and so joined with these pilgrims that usually come for Spain, many of them, every year, to visit the devotions here, which are their Indies, and certain gain. They travel all the kingdom over, and there is no town from whence they go not away with meat and drink, as you would say, at least, and sixpence in money. And when they have ended their voyage, they go away with a hundred crowns overplus, which, changed into gold, either in the hollows of their staves, or the patches of their weeds, or by some other sleight they can, they carry out of the kingdom, and pass into other countries, in spite of the searchers of the dry ports, where the money ought to be registered. And now, Sancho, my purpose is to carry away the treasure that I left buried—for because it is without the town I may do it without danger—and write from Valencia to my wife and daughter that I know are in Algiers, and contrive how I may bring them to some port of France, and from thence carry them into Germany, where we will expect how God will please to dispose of us; for indeed, Sancho, I know certainly that Ricota my daughter and Francisca Ricota my wife are Catholic Christians. And, though I be not altogether so, yet I am more Christian than Moor; and my desire to God always is, to open the eyes of my understanding, and to let me know how I may serve Him. And all I admire is, that my wife and daughter should rather go into Barbary than into France, where they might have lived as Christians.’

To which Sancho said, ‘Look you, Ricote, perhaps they could not do withal; for John Tyopeio, your wife’s brother, carried them; and he, belike, as he was a rank Moor, would go where he thought best. And I can tell you more, I think ‘tis in vain for you to seek what you left hidden, for we had news that your brother-in-law and your wife had many pearls taken from them, and a great deal of gold which was not registered.’

‘That may very well be, Sancho,’ quoth Ricote; ‘but I know they touched not my treasure. For I would not tell them where it was hidden, as fearing some mishap; and therefore, if thou wilt come with me, Sancho, and help me to take it out and conceal it, I’ll give thee two hundred crowns to the relief of thy necessities; for thou knowest I know thou hast many.

‘Were I covetous,’ quoth Sancho, ‘I would yield to this; and were I so, this morning I left an office, which had I kept, I might have made my house-walls of gold, and within one six months have eaten in silver dishes. So that partly for this, and partly not to be a traitor to my king, in favouring his enemies, I will not go with thee, though thou wouldst give me four hundred crowns.’

‘And what office was that thou leftest, Sancho?’ quoth Ricote.

‘I left to be governor of an island,’ quoth Sancho, ‘and such a one that, i’ faith, in three bow-shots again you shall scarce meet with such another.’

‘And where is this island?’ said he.

‘Where?’ quoth Sancho. ‘Why, two leagues off, and it is called the island Barataria.’

‘Peace, Sancho,’ quoth Ricote; ‘for your islands are out in the sea; you have no islands in the terra firma.’

‘No?’ quoth Sancho. ‘I tell you, friend Ricote, this morning I left it, and yesterday I governed in it at my pleasure, like a Sagittarius; but yet I left it, as thinking the governor’s office to be dangerous.’

‘And what have you gotten by it?’ quoth Ricote.

‘I have gotten,’ said he, ‘this experience, that I am not fit to govern aught but a herd of cattle, and that in those kind of governments there is no wealth gotten, but with labour, toil, loss of sleep and sustenance; for in your islands your governors fare very ill, especially if they have physicians that look to their health.’

‘I understand thee not, Sancho,’ quoth Ricote; ‘but methinks thou talkest without sense: for who would give thee islands to govern? Want there in the world more able men than thou to be governors? Peace, Sancho, and return to thy wits, and see if thou wilt go with me, as I have said, and help me take out the treasure that I have hidden, for it may very well be called a treasure, and I will give thee sufficient to maintain thee.’

‘I have told thee, Ricote,’ quoth Sancho, ‘that I will not. Let it suffice, I will not discover thee; and go on thy way, on God’s name, and leave me to mine: for I know that what is well gotten is lost, but what is ill gotten, it and the owner too.’

‘I will not be too earnest with thee,’ said he; ‘but tell me, wast thou in our town when my wife, my daughter, and my brother-in-law departed?’

‘Marry, was I,’ quoth Sancho; ‘and I can tell you, your daughter showed so beautiful that all the town went out to see her, and every one said she was the fairest creature in the world. She went weeping, and embraced all her friends and acquaintances, and as many as came to see her, and entreated all to recommend her to God, and this so feelingly that she made me weep, that am no belwether: and, i’ faith, many had a good mind to have concealed her, and to take her away upon the way, but fear of resisting the king’s commandment made them abstain. He that showed himself most enamoured was Don Pedro Gregorio, that youth, the rich heir that you know very well. He, they say, loved her very much, and since she went was never seen more in our town, and we all thought he followed to steal her away; but hitherto there is nothing known.’

‘I always suspected,’ quoth Ricote,’ that this gentleman loved my daughter; but being confident in Ricota’s worth, it never troubled me to know that he loved her well: for I am sure, Sancho, thou hast heard say that Morisca women seldom or never for love married with old Christians. And so my daughter, who, as I believe, rather tended her soul’s health than to be enamoured, cared little for this rich heir’s soliciting.’

‘God grant it,’ quoth Sancho, ‘for it would be very ill for them both. And now, Ricote, let me go from hence, for I mean this night to see my master Don Quixote.’

‘God be with thee, brother Sancho, for now my companions are stirring, and it is time to be on our way.

And straight both of them took leave, and Sancho gat upon Dapple, and Ricote leant on his pilgrim’s staff, and so both departed.

1 A word of disgrace the Spaniard useth to all strangers, but chiefly to the French.
2 Cum fueris Romae, etc.
3 Swears in a broken language.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

Gavilan Spanish Questions or comments Bibliographic Record Index page Previous page Top Next page