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 LV: Of Matters that befel Sancho by the Way, and Others the Best in the World


SANCHO’s long stay with Ricote was the cause that he reached not that day to the duke’s castle, though he came within half a league of it, where the night took him, somewhat dark and close; but, being summer-time, it troubled him not much, and therefore he went out of the way, purposing to rest till the morning; but, as ill luck would have it, seeking a place where he might best accommodate himself; he and Dapple fell into a most dark and deep pit, which was amongst certain ruinous buildings; and as he was falling he recommended himself with all his heart to God, thinking he should not stop till he came to hell; but it fell out otherwise, for within a little more than three fathoms’ length Dapple felt ground, and he sat still upon him, without any hurt or damage received.

He felt all his body over, and held in his breath, to see if he were sound, or pierced anywhere; but seeing himself well and whole, and in catholic health, he thought he could never praise God sufficiently for the favour He had done him, for he thought verily he had been beaten into a thousand pieces. He went likewise groping with his hands about the walls of the pit, to see if it were possible to get out without help; but he found them all smooth, without any place to lay hold on, which grieved him very much, especially when he heard Dapple cry out tenderly and dolefully: and no marvel, for it was not for wantonness, he saw himself in a pitiful taking.

‘Alas!’ quoth Sancho then, ‘and what sudden and unthought-of accidents befal men that live in this miserable world! Who would have supposed that he who yesterday saw himself enthronised governor of an island, commanding servants and vassals, should to-day be buried in a pit, without anybody’s help, without servant or vassal coming to succour him? Here I and my ass are like to perish with hunger, if so be that first we die not, he with his bruise, and I with grief and anguish: at least, I shall not be so happy as my master Don Quixote was, when he descended and went down into that enchanted cave of Montesinos, where he found better welcome than if he had been at his own house. And it seemed he found the cloth ready laid, and his bed made: there saw he goodly and pleasant visions; and here, I believe, I shall see nothing but toads and snakes. Unfortunate that I am! what is my madness and folly come to? My bones will be fetched out from hence when it shall please Heaven that I am found, white and smooth, the flesh picked off, and my trusty Dapple’s with them; whereupon peradventure it shall be known who we are, at least by those that shall take notice that Sancho and the ass never parted, nor the ass from Sancho. Again, I say, unhappy we! our ill fortune would not that we should die in our country and amongst our friends, where, though our misfortune had found no redress, yet we should not have wanted pity, and at last gasp we should have had our eyes closed. O companion mine, and friend, how ill have I rewarded thy honest service? Pardon me, and desire fortune, in the best manner thou canst, to deliver us from this miserable toil in which we are both put; and I here promise to set a crown of laurel on thy head, that thou shalt look like a poet-laureate, and I will double thy provender allowance.’

Thus Sancho lamented, and his ass hearkened to him, without answering a word: such was the strait and anguish in which the poor scab found himself.

Finally, having passed over the whole night in complaints and lamentations, the day came on, with whose clearness and splendour Sancho saw that there was no manner of possibility to get out of that well without help, and he began to lament and make a noise, to see if anybody heard him; but all his crying out was as in a desert, for in all the country round about there was none to hearken to him. And then Dapple lay with his mouth open, and Sancho thought he had been dead; yet he so handled the matter that he set him upon his legs, and taking a piece of bread out of his wallets, which had run the same fortune with them, he gave it his ass, which came not amiss to him: and Sancho said to him, as if he had understood it, ‘Sorrows great are lessened with meat.’

By this he discovered on the one side of the pit a great hole, whereat a man might pass thorough, crooking and stooping a little. Sancho drew to it, and, squatting down, entered in, and saw that within it was large and spacious, and he might well discern it; for by a place that you might call the roof, the sunbeam entered in, that discovered it all. He saw likewise that it was enlarged by another spacious concavity, which when he saw, he turned back again to his ass, and with a stone began to pull down the earth of the hole, and in a little while made way for his ass to go out, which he did, and Sancho leading him by the halter, went forward along the cave, to see if he could find any egress on the other side: sometimes he went darklong, and without light, but never without fear. ‘Lord God,’ said he, ‘this, that to me is a misfortune, were to my master Don Quixote a famous adventure. He would think these profundities and dungeons were flowery gardens, and Galiana’s palaces, and he would hope to get out of this straitness and darkness into some flowery field; but I, unfortunate, ill-advised, and fainthearted, think that every moment I shall fall into a deeper profundity than this former, that will swallow me down-right. ‘Tis a good ill that comes alone.’ In this manner, and in this imagination, he thought he had gone somewhat more than half a league, and at last he discovered a kind of twilight, as if it had been day, and came in at some open place, which seemed to open an entrance to another world.

Here Cid Hamet Benengeli leaves him, and turns again to treat of Don Quixote, who, jocund and contented, expected the prefixed time for the combat he was to perform with the dishonourer of Donna Rodriguez’ daughter, and thought to rectify the wrong and uncouth turn he had done her.

It fell out, then, that going out one morning to exercise and practise against the trance in which ere long he was to see himself, fetching up Rozinante with a full career, he came close to a cave’s mouth, that had he not reined him in hard, it had been impossible but he must have fallen into it.

Well, he stopped him, and fell not in; and coming somewhat nearer, without alighting, looked into that depth, and, beholding of it, heard a great noise within, and, hearkening attentively, he might perceive and understand that he that made it cried out, ‘Ho, above there, is there any Christian that hears me? or any charitable gentleman that will take pity of a sinner buried alive — of an unhappy ungoverned governor?’

Don Quixote thought he heard Sancho Panza’s voice, at which he was in suspense and affrighted; but, raising his voice as high as he could, he said, ‘Who is below there? who is it that cries out?’ ‘Who should be here? or who should cry out?’ they answered, ‘but the weather-beaten Sancho Panza, governor, with a pox to him for his ill errantry, of the island Barataria, squire sometime to the famous knight, Don Quixote de la Mancha?’

When Don Quixote heard this, his admiration was doubled, and his astonishment increased, as thinking Sancho Panza might be dead, and that his soul was there doing penance. And carried with this imagination, he said, ‘I conjure thee by all I may, as I am a Catholic Christian, that thou tell me who thou art? and if thou be’st a soul in penalty, tell me what thou wilt have me do for thee: for since my profession is to succour and help the needy of this world, it shall always be so to help and aid the needy in another world, that cannot help themselves.’

Then said they below, ‘Belike, you that speak to me are my master Don Quixote de la Mancha, and by the organ of your voice can be no other.’

‘Don Quixote I am,’ quoth he, ‘that both aid the living and dead in their necessities, therefore tell me who thou art, for thou amazest me. For if thou be Sancho Panza my squire, and that, being dead, the devil hath not seized on thee, and by God’s mercy thou be in purgatory, our Holy Mother the Catholic Roman Church hath sufficient suffrages to deliver thee from the pain thou endurest: and I with my wealth will solicit all that I can, and therefore make an end, and tell me who thou art.’

‘God’s me, by whose birth soever you will, Signior Don Quixote, I swear I am your squire Sancho Panza, and I never died in all my life, but that having left my government for matters and causes that must be told more at leisure, over-night I fell into this pit, where I lie and Dapple too, who will prove me to be no liar, for he is here with me. Will you any more?’ And it seemed the ass understood what Sancho said, for at the instant he began to bray so loud that all the cave resounded.

‘A famous witness,’ quoth Don Quixote; ‘I know this bray, as if I had brought it forth, and I hear thy voice, my Sancho. Stay, and I’ll go to the duke’s castle that is here hard by, and I will get some to help thee out of this pit, into which thy sins have cast thee.’

‘Go, sir,’ quoth Sancho, ‘for God’s love, and return quickly, for I can no longer endure to be buried here alive, and I die for fear.’

Don Quixote left him, and went to the castle to let the dukes know Sancho’s mishap; at which they marvelled not a little, though they knew well enough how he might fall in for the knowledge they had, time out of mind, of that vault; but they could not imagine how he had left his government, they knowing nothing of his coming. Finally, they caused ropes and cables to be sent, and with much cost and labour of people, Sancho and Dapple were drawn out of that dismalness to the sun’s light.

A scholar saw him, and said, ‘Thus should all bad governors come out of their governments, as this sinner doth out of this profound abysm, pale dead for hunger, and, as I believe, without a cross to bless him with.’

Sancho heard him, and said, ‘‘Tis eight or ten days, goodman murmurer, since I began to govern the island, in all which I never eat bread that kept me from hunger one hour; in all that time physicians have persecuted me, and enemies have bruised my bones; neither have I had leisure to take bribes, or to recover my due, which being so, I deserved not, in my opinion, to come out in this manner; but man purposeth, and God disposeth, and God best knows what each man needeth; and let every man fit himself to the times, and no man say, I’ll drink no more of such a drink; for where we think to fare well, there is oft ill usage. God Almighty knows my mind, ‘tis enough, and I say no more, though I could.’

‘Be not angry, Sancho, nor vexed with what thou hearest, for so thou shalt never be in quiet; come with a good conscience, let ‘em say what they will, for to bridle malicious tongues is as much as to set gates in the highway. If a governor come rich from his government, they say he hath played the thief; and if poor, that he hath been a weak, unable coxcomb.’

‘I warrant you,’ quoth Sancho, ‘this bout, they shall rather hold me to be a coxcomb than a thief.’

With this discourse they went toward the castle hemmed in with many boys, and other people, where the duke and duchess were in certain running galleries, expecting Don Quixote and Sancho; who, before he would go up to see the duke, would first accommodate Dapple in the stable; for he said he had had a marvellous ill night on’t at their lodging; and so straight he went up to see his lords, before whom, upon his knees, he said:

‘I, my lords, because your greatnesses would needs have it so, without any desert of mine, went to govern your island Barataria; into which, naked I entered, and naked come I out, I neither win nor lose; whether I governed well or ill, here be witnesses present to say what they please. I have resolved doubts, sentenced causes, and have been ready to be starved because Master Doctor Pedro Rezio, born at Tirteafuera, would have it so, that island and governorish physician; enemies set upon us by night, and having put us in great danger, they of the island say that they were freed, and got the victory, by the valour of my arm: such health God send them, as they tell truth herein.

‘In fine, I have summed up all the burdens and the cares that this governing brings with it, and find, by my account, that my shoulders cannot bear them; neither are they a weight for my ribs, nor arrows for my quiver; and therefore, lest I should be cast away in my government, I have cast it away, and since yesterday morning I left the island as I found it, with the same streets, houses, and roofs that it had when I came into it.

‘I have borrowed nothing of nobody, nor hoarded up anything; and though I thought to have made some profitable ordinances, yet I did not, as fearing they would not be kept, which is as much as if they had never been made.

‘I left the island, as I say, without anybody’s accompanying me but Dapple; I fell into a pit, went forward in it, until this morning by the sun’s light I got out; but not so easily, for if Heaven had not provided me my master Don Quixote, there I had stuck till the end of the world.

‘So that, my lords, duke and duchess, here is Sancho Panza your governor, that hath only learnt to know, in these ten days that he bath governed, that he cares not for governing, not an island, nay, were it the whole world; this presupposed, kissing your honour’s hands, imitating boys’ play, that cry, “Leap thou, and then let me leap,”1 so I leap from the government, and pass again to my master Don Quixote’s service; for in fine, though with him I eat my victuals sometimes in fear, yet I have my belly full, and so that be, all’s one to me, that it be with carrots or with partridge.’

With this, Sancho ended his tedious discourse; Don Quixote fearing always that he would blunder out a thousand fopperies, but seeing him end with so few, he thanked Heaven in his heart; and the duke embraced Sancho, and said he was sorry in his soul that he left the government so quickly; but that he would cause some office of less trouble, and more profit in his estate, to be given him. The duchess likewise embraced him, and commanded he should be made much of, for he seemed to be much wearied, and to be worse entreated.

1 Like our truss or fail.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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