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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 LXII: The Adventure of the Enchanted Head, with other Flim-Flams that must be recounted

 

DON QUIXOTE’s host’s name was Don Antonio Moreno, a rich gentleman and a discreet, and one that loved to be honestly and affably merry, who having Don Quixote now at home, began to invent how, without prejudice to him, he might divulge his madness; for jests ought not to be too bitter, nor pastimes in detriment of a third person.

The first thing he did, then, was to cause Don Quixote to be unarmed, and to make him appear in that strait chamois apparel of his (as heretofore we have painted and described him), so he brought him to a bay-window which looked toward one of the chiefest streets in the city, to be publicly seen by all comers, and the boys that beheld him as if he had been a monkey. They in the liveries began afresh to fetch careers before him, as if for him only, and not to solemnise that festival day, their liveries had been put on; and Sancho was most jocund, as thinking he had found out, he knew not how, nor which way, a new Camacho’s marriage, or another house like Don Diego de Miranda’s, or the duke’s castle.

That day some of Don Antonio’s friends dined with him, all honouring Don Quixote, and observing him as a knight-errant; with which, being most vain-glorious, he could scarce contain himself in his happiness. Sancho’s conceits were such, and so many, that all the servants of the house hung upon his lips, and as many also as heard him.

Being at table, Don Antonio said to Sancho, ‘We have heard here, honest Sancho, that thou lovest leech and roasted olives so well, that when thou canst eat no more, thou keepest the rest in thy bosom till another time.’ ‘No, sir, ‘tis not so,’ said Sancho, ‘for I am more cleanly than so; and my master Don Quixote here present knows well that we are wont, both of us, to live eight days with a handful of acorns or walnuts. True it is, that now and then I look not a given horse in the mouth; I mean, I eat what is given me, and make use of the time present; and whosoever hath said that I am an extraordinary eater, and not cleanly, let him know he doth me wrong; and I should proceed farther, were it not for the company here at table.’

‘Truly,’ said Don Quixote, ‘the parsimony and cleanliness with which Sancho feeds may be written and graved in sheets of brass, that it may be eternally remembered by ensuing ages. True it is, that when he is hungry, he is somewhat ravenous, eats apace, and chews on both sides; but for cleanliness, that he hath punctually observed; and when he was a governor, learned to eat most neatly, for he would eat your grapes, nay, pomegranate seeds, with his fork.’

‘How,’ quoth Don Antonio, ‘hath Sancho been a governor?’

‘Ay,’ said Sancho, ‘and of an island called Barataria; ten days I governed to my will, in them I lost my rest, and learnt to contemn all the governments in the world. From thence I came flying, and fell into a pit, where I thought I should have died, from whence I escaped miraculously.’

Don Quixote recounted all the particulars of Sancho’s government, with which the hearers were much delighted.

The cloth now taken away, and Don Antonio taking Don Quixote by the hand, carried him into a private chamber, in which there was no other kind of furniture but a table that seemed to be of jasper, borne up with feet of the same, upon which there were set a head, as if it had been of brass, just as your Roman emperors are used to be, from the breast upward. Don Antonio walked with Don Quixote up and down the chamber, and having gone a good many turns about the table, at last he said, ‘Signior Don Quixote, now that I am fully persuaded nobody hears us, and that the door is fast, I will tell you one of the rarest adventures, or rather novelties, that can be imagined, provided that what I tell you shall be deposited in the uttermost privy chambers of secrecy.

‘That I vow,’ said Don Quixote; ‘and for more safety, I will clap a tombstone over it; for let me tell you, Signior Don Antonio’ (for now he knew his name), ‘you converse with one that, though he have ears to hear, yet he hath no tongue to tell; so that what is in your breast you may freely translate it into mine, and rest assured that you have flung it into the abyssus of silence.’

‘In confidence of this promise,’ answered Don Antonio, ‘I will make you admire at what you shall hear and see, and so you shall somewhat ease me of the trouble I am in, in not finding one that I may communicate my secrets with, with which every one is not to be trusted.’

Don Quixote was in great suspense, expecting what would be the issue of all these circumstances; so Don Antonio taking him by the hand, he made him feel all over the brazen head and the table, and jasper feet, and then said, ‘This head, signior, was made by one of the greatest enchanters or magicians that hath been in the world, and I believe by nation he was a Polander, and one of that famous Scotus his disciples, of whom so many wonders are related, who was here in my house, and for a thousand crowns I gave him framed me this head, that hath the property and quality to answer to anything that it is asked in your ear. He had his tricks and devices, his painting of characters, his observing of stars, looked to every tittle, and finally brought this head to the perfection that to-morrow you shall see, for on the Fridays still it is mute, which being this day, we must expect till tomorrow; and so in the meantime you may bethink you what you will demand; for I know by experience this head answers truly to all that is asked.’

Don Quixote admired at the virtue and property of the head, and could scarce believe Don Antonio, but seeing how short a time there was to the trial, he would not gainsay him, but thanked him for discovering so great a secret; so out of the room they went. Don Antonio locked the door after him, and they came into a hail where the rest of the gentlemen were; in this interim Sancho had related to them many of the adventures and successes that befel his master.

That afternoon they carried Don Quixote abroad, not armed, but clad in the city garb, with a loose coat of tawny cloth, that in that season might have made frost itself sweat. They gave order to their servants to entertain Sancho, and not to let him stir out of doors. Don Quixote rode not upon Rozinante, but on a goodly trotting mule, with good furniture; they put his coat upon him, and at his back, he not perceiving it, they sewed a piece of parchment, wherein was written in text letters, ‘This is Don Quixote de la Mancha.’ As they began their walk, the scroll drew all men’s eyes to look on it, and as they read, ‘This is Don Quixote de la Mancha,’ he admired to see what a number beheld and named him, and knew him, and, turning to Don Antonio, that went by him, said, ‘Great is the prerogative due to knight-errantry, since over all the world it makes its professors known and renowned; for look you, Signior Don Antonio, even the very boys of this city, having never seen me before, know me.’ “Tis true, signior,’ quoth Don Antonio; ‘for as fire cannot be hidden nor bounded, no more can virtue, but it must be known; and that which is gotten by the profession of arms doth most flourish and triumph above the rest.’

It happened that Don Quixote riding with this applause, a Castilian that read the scroll at his back raised his voice, saying, ‘The devil take thee for Don Quixote de la Mancha! and art thou gotten hither without being killed with those infinite bastings thou hast borne upon thy shoulders? Thou art a madman; and wert thou so in private, and within thine house, ‘twere less evil; but thy property is to make all that converse or treat with thee madmen and coxcombs, as may appear by these that accompany thee. Get thee home, idiot, and look to thy estate, wife, and children, and leave these vanities that worm-eat thy brains and defile thy intellect.’

‘Brother,’ said Don Antonio, ‘follow your way, and give no counsel to those that need it not. Signior Don Quixote is wise, and we that do accompany him are no fools. Virtue is worthy to be honoured wheresoever she is; and so be gone, with a pox to you, and meddle not where you have nothing to do.’

‘I vow,’ quoth the Castilian, ‘you have reason; for to give counsel to this man is to strive against the stream; but, for all that, it pities me very much that the good understanding they say this blockhead hath in all things else should be let out at the pipe of his knight-errantry; and a pox light on me, as you wish, sir, and all my posterity, if from henceforward, though I should live to the years of Methusalem, I give counsel to any, though it be desired.’

Thus the counsellor went by, and the show went on; but the boys and all manner of people pressed so thick to read the scroll that Don Antonio was forced to take it off from him, as if he had done something else.

The night came on, and they returned home, where was a revels of women; for Don Antonio’s wife, that was well-bred, mirthful, fair, and discreet, invited other she-friends of hers to come to welcome her new guest and to make merry with his strange madness. Some of them came, and they had a royal supper, and the revels began about ten a-clock at night. Among these dames there were two of a notable waggish disposition, and great scoffers; and though honest, yet they strained their carriage that their tricks might the better delight without irksomeness; these were so eager to take Don Quixote out to dance, that they wearied not only his body, but his mind likewise. ‘Twas a goodly sight to see his shape, long, lank, lean, his visage pale, the whole man shut up in his apparel, ungraceful and unwieldy. The damosels wooed him as it were by stealth, and he by stealth disdained them as fast; but, seeing himself much pressed by their courtings, he lifted up his voice and said, ‘“Fugite partes adversae,” and leave me, O unwelcome imaginations, to my quiet! Get you farther off with your wishes, ladies, for she that is the lady of mine, the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso, will have none but hers subject and conquer me’; and so saying, he sat him down in the midst of the hall upon the ground, bruised and broken with his dancing exercise.

Don Antonio made him be taken up in men’s arms and carried to bed. The first that laid hold on him was Sancho, saying, ‘In the name of God, what meant you, master mine, to dance? Think you that all that are valiant must be dancers, and all knights-errant skipjacks? I say, if you think so, you are deceived; you have some that would rather kill giants than fetch a caper. If you were to frisk, I would save you that labour, for I can do it like a jer-falcon; but in your dancing I cannot work a stitch.’ With this and such-like discourse Sancho made the revellers laugh, and laid his master to bed, laying clothes enough on him, that he might sweat out the cold he had taken by dancing.

The next day Don Antonio thought fit to try the enchanted head, and so, with Don Quixote, Sancho, and others his friends, and the two gentlewomen that had so laboured Don Quixote in the dance, that stayed all night with Don Antonio’s wife, he locked himself in the room where the head was. He told them its property, enjoining them to silence; and he said to them that this was the first time in which he meant to make proof of the virtue of the enchanted head, and except his two friends, no living creature else knew the trick of that enchantment; and if Don Antonio had not discovered it to them, they also would have fallen into the same admiration that the rest did; for it was not otherwise possible, the fabric of it being so curious and cunning.

The first that came to the head’s hearing was Don Antonio himself, who spoke softly, but so that he might be heard by all: ‘Tell me, head, by the virtue that is contained in thee, what think I of now?’ And the head answered (not moving the lips, with a loud and distinct voice, that all the bystanders might hear this reason), ‘I judge not of thoughts.’ Which when they all heard, they were astonished, and the more, seeing neither in all the room, nor anywhere about the table, there was not any human creature to answer. ‘How many here be there of us?’ quoth Don Antonio again. And answer was made him in the same tenor voice: ‘There are thou and thy wife, with two of thy he-friends, and two of her she-friends, and a famous knight called Don Quixote de la Mancha, and a squire of his that hight Sancho Panza.’ Ay, marry, sir, here was the wondering afresh, here was every one’s hair standing on end with pure horror. And Don Antonio, getting him aside from the head, said, “Tis enough now for me to know that I was not deceived by him that sold thee me, sage head, talking head, answering head, admired head! Come another now, and ask what he will.’ And as your women for the most part are hastiest and most inquisitive, the first that came was one of Don Antonio’s wife’s friends, and her demand was this, ‘Tell me, head, what shall I do to make myself fair?’ The answer was, ‘Be honest.’ ‘I have done,’ said she. Straight came her other companion, and said, ‘I would fain know, head, whether my husband love me or no’; and the answer was, ‘Thou shalt know by his usage.’ The married woman stood by, saying, ‘The question might have been spared; for good usage is the best sign of affection.’ Then came one of Don Antonio’s friends, and asked, ‘Who am I?’ The answer was, ‘Thou knowest.’ ‘I ask thee not that,’ said the gentleman, ‘but whether thou know me.’ ‘I do,’ it was answered; ‘thou art Don Pedro Noriz.’ ‘No more, O head; let this suffice to make me know thou knowest all.’ And so, stepping aside, the other friend came and asked, ‘Tell me, head, what desires hath my eldest son?’ ‘I have told you,’ it was answered, ‘that I judge not of thoughts; yet let me tell you, your son desires to bury you.’ ‘That,’ quoth the gentleman, ‘I know well, and daily perceive; but I have done.’ Don Antonio’s wife came next, and said, ‘Head, I know not what to ask thee; I would only fain know of thee if I shall long enjoy my dear husband’; and the answer was, ‘Thou shalt, for his health and spare diet promise him many years, which many shorten by distempers.’

Now came Don Quixote, and said, ‘Tell me, thou that answerest, was it true, or a dream, that (as I recount) befel me in Montesinos’ Cave? shall Sancho my squire’s whipping be accomplished? shall Dulcinea be disenchanted?’ ‘For that of the cave,’ quoth the answerer, ‘there is much to be said, it partakes of all; Sancho’s whipping shall be prolonged; but Dulcinea’s disenchanting shall come to a real end.’ ‘I desire no more,’ said Don Quixote; ‘for so Dulcinea be disenchanted, I make account all my good fortunes come upon me at a clap.’

Sancho was the last demander, and his question was this: ‘Head, shall I happily have another government? shall I be free from this penurious squire’s life? shall I see my wife and children again?’ To which it was answered him: “In thy house shalt thou govern, whither if thou return, thou shalt see thy wife and children, and leaving thy service, thou shalt leave being a squire.’ ‘Very good,’ quoth Sancho; ‘this I could have told before myself, and my father’s horse could have said no more.’ ‘Beast,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘what answer wouldst thou have? Is it not enough that the answers this head gives thee are correspondent to thy questions?’ ‘‘Tis true,’ said Sancho, ‘but I would have known more.

And now the questions and answers were ended, but not the admiration in which all remained but Don Antonio’s friends that knew the conceit. Which Cid Hamet Benengeli would forthwith declare, not to hold the world in suspense, to think that some witch, or extraordinary mystery, was enclosed in the said head; and thus saith he, that Don Antonio Moreno, in imitation of another head, which he saw in Madrid, framed by a carver, caused this to be made in his house, to entertain the simple, and make them wonder at it, and the fabric was in this manner:

The table itself was of wood, painted and varnished over like jasper, and the foot on which it stood was of the same, with four eagle’s claws standing out to uphold it the better. The head that showed like the medal or picture of a Roman emperor, and of brass colour, was all hollow, and so was the table too, to which it was so cunningly joined that there was no appearance of it; the foot of the table was likewise hollow, that answered to the breast and neck of the head; and all this answered to another chamber, that was under the room where the head was; and through all this hollowness of the foot, the table, breast and neck of the medal, there went a tin pipe, made fit to them, that could not be perceived. He that was to answer set his mouth to the pipe in the chamber underneath, answering to this upper room, so that the voice ascended and descended, as through a trunk, clearly and distinctly, and it was not possible to find the juggling out. A nephew of Don Antonio’s, a scholar, a good witty and discreet youth, was the answerer, who having notice from his uncle of those that were to enter the room, it was easy for him to answer suddenly and punctually to their first questions, and to the rest he answered by discreet conjectures.

Moreover, Cid Hamet says that this marvellous engine lasted for ten or twelve days; but when it was divulged up and down the city that Don Antonio had an enchanted head in his house that answered to all questions, fearing lest it should come to the notice of the waking sentinels of our faith, having acquainted those inquisitors with the business, they commanded him to make away with it, lest it should scandalise the ignorant vulgar; but yet in Don Quixote and Sancho’s opinion the head was still enchanted, and answering; but indeed not altogether so much to Sancho’s satisfaction.

The gallants of the city, to please Don Antonio, and for Don Quixote’s better hospitality, and on purpose that his madness might make the more general sport, appointed a running at the ring, about a six days after, which was broken off upon an occasion that after happened.

Don Quixote had a mind to walk round about the city on foot, fearing that if he went on horseback the boys would persecute him; so he and Sancho, with two servants of Don Antonio’s, went a-walking. It happened that as they passed thorough one street, Don Quixote looked up, and saw written upon a door, in great letters, ‘Here are books printed,’ which pleased him wondrously; for till then he had never seen any press, and he desired to know the manner of it.

In he went with all his retinue, where he saw in one place drawing of sheets, in another correcting, in this composing, in that mending; finally, all the machine that is usual in great presses.

Don Quixote came to one of the boxes, and asked what they had in hand there. The workmen told him; he wondered; and passed farther. To another he came, and asked one that was in it what he was doing. The workman answered, ‘Sir, this gentleman you see,’ and he showed him a good comely proper man, and somewhat ancient, ‘hath translated an Italian book into Spanish, and I am composing of it here to be printed.’

‘What is the name of it?’ quoth Don Quixote. To which said the author, ‘Sir, it is called Le Bagatelle, to wit, in Spanish, The Trifle; and though it bear but a mean name, yet it contains in it many great and substantial matters.’

‘I understand a little Italian,’ said Don Quixote, ‘and dare venture upon a stanzo of Ariosto’s; but tell me, signior mine, not that I would examine your skill, but only for curiosity, have you ever found set down in all your writing the word pignata?’ ‘Yes, often,’ quoth the author. ‘And how translate you it?’ said Don Quixote. ‘How should I translate it,’ said the author, ‘but in saying “pottage-pot”?’ ‘Body of me,’ said Don Quixote, ‘and how forward are you in the Italian idiom! I’ll lay a good wager that where the Italian says piace, you translate it “please”; and where piu, you say “more”; and su is “above”; and giu “beneath.”’

‘Yes, indeed do I,’ said the author; ‘for these be their proper significations.’

‘I dare swear,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘you are not known to the world, which is always backward in rewarding flourishing wits and laudable industry. Oh what a company of rare abilities are lost in the world! What wits cubbed up, what virtues contemned! But, for all that, methinks this translating from one language into another, except it be out of the queens of tongues, Greek and Latin, is just like looking upon the wrong side of arras-hangings; that although the pictures be seen, yet they are full of thread-ends, that darken them, and they are not seen with the plainness and smoothness as on the other side. And the translating out of easy languages argues neither wit nor elocution, no more than doth the copying from out of one paper into another. Yet I infer not from this that translating is not a laudable exercise; for a man may be far worse employed, and in things less profitable. I except amongst translators our two famous ones: the one, Doctor Christoval de Figueroa in his Pastor Fido, and the other, Don John de Xauregui, in his Amyntas, where they haply leave it doubtful which is the translation or original. But tell me, sir, print you this book upon your own charge, or sell you your licence to some bookbinder?’

‘Upon mine own,’ said the author; ‘and I think to get a thousand crowns by it, at least with this first impression; for there will be two thousand copies, and they will vent at three shillings apiece roundly.’

‘You understand the matter well,’ said Don Quixote. ‘It seems you know not the passages of printers, and the correspondencies they have betwixt one and the other. I promise you that when you have two thousand copies lying by you, you’ll be so troubled as passeth; and the rather if the book be but a little dull, and not conceited all thorough.’

‘Why, would you have me,’ quoth the author, ‘let a bookseller have my licence, that would give me but a halfpenny a sheet, and that thinks he doth me a kindness in it, too? I print not my works to get fame in the world, for I am by them well known in it. I must have profit, for without that, fame is not worth a rush.’

‘God send you good luck,’ said Don Quixote. So he passed to another box, where he saw some correcting a sheet of a book intituled The Light of the Soul; and in seeing it, he said, “Such books as these, though there be many of them, ought to be imprinted; for there be many sinners, and many lights are needful, for so many be darkened.’

He went on, and saw some correcting another book, and inquiring the title, they answered him that it was called The Second Part of the Ingenious Knight, Don Quixote de la Mancha, made by such a one, an inhabitant of Tordesillas.

‘I have notice of this book,’ said Don Quixote, ‘and in my conscience, I thought before now it had been burnt, and turned to ashes for an idle pamphlet; but it will not, like hogs, want its Saint Martin;1 for your feigned histories are so much the more good and delightful by how much they come near the truth, or the likeness of it; and the true ones are so much the better by how much the truer.’

And saying thus, with some shows of distaste, he left the press; and that very day Don Antonio purposed to carry him to the galleys that were in the wharf; at which Sancho much rejoiced, for he had never in his life seen any. Don Antonio gave notice to the general of the galleys that in the afternoon he would bring his guest, the famous Don Quixote de la Mancha, to see them; of whom all the city by this time had notice. And in the next chapter what happened to him shall be declared.
 

1 Against that saint’s day is hogs’ searing.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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