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 LXIX: Of the Newest and Strangest Adventure that in all the Course of this History befel Don Quixote


THE horsemen all alighted, and the footmen taking Don Quixote and Sancho forcibly in their arms, they set them in the court, where round about were burning a hundred torches in their vessels of purpose; and about the turrets above five hundred lights; so that in spite of dark night they might there see day.

In the midst of the court there was a hearse raised some two yards from the ground, covered with a cloth of state of black velvet, and round about it there burned a hundred virgin wax candles in silver candlesticks; on the top of it there lay a fair damsel, that showed to be dead, that with her beauty made death herself seem fair; her head was laid upon a pillowbere of cloth of gold, crowned with a garland, woven with divers odoriferous flowers; her hands were crossed upon her breast, and betwixt them was a bough of flourishing yellow palm.

On one side of the court there was a kind of theatre set up, and two personages in their chairs, who with their crowns on their heads, and sceptres in their hands, seemed to be either real or feigned kings; at the side of this theatre, where they went up by steps, there were two other chairs, where they that brought the prisoners set Don Quixote and Sancho; and all this with silence, and signs to them that they should be silent too; but without that they held their peace, for the admiration of what they there saw tied their tongues. After this, two other principal personages came up, whom Don Quixote straight knew to be the duke and duchess, his host and hostess, who sat down in two rich chairs near the two seeming kings. Whom would not this admire, especially having seen that the body upon the hearse was the fair Altisidora? When the duke and duchess mounted, Don Quixote and Sancho bowed to them, and the dukes did the like, nodding their heads a little; and now an officer entered athwart them, and, coming to Sancho, clapped a coat of black buckram on him, all painted with flames of fire; and, taking his cap off, he set a mitre on his head, Just such a one as the Inquisition causes to be set upon heretics, and bade him in his ear he should not unsew his lips, for they would clap a gag in his mouth, or kill him.

Sancho beheld himself all over, and saw himself burning in flames; but since they burned not indeed, he cared not a rush for them. He took off his mitre, and saw it painted with devils; he put it on again, and said within himself, ‘Well, yet neither the one burns me, nor the others carry me away.’

Don Quixote beheld him also, and though fear suspended his senses, he could not but laugh at Sancho’s picture; and now from under the hearse there seemed to sound a low and pleasing sound of flutes, which being uninterrupted by any man’s voice (for there it seemed silence’ self kept silence), was soft and amorous.

Straight there appeared suddenly on the pillow of the hearse a carcass of a goodly youth, clad like a Roman, who to the sound of a harp himself played on, with a most sweet and clear voice, sung these two stanzas following.1

‘Enough,’ said one of the two that seemed to be kings, ‘enough, divine singer; for it were to proceed in infinitum to paint unto us the misfortunes and graces of the peerless Altisidora, not dead, as the simple world surmiseth, but living in the tongues of fame, and in the penance that Sancho is to pass, to return her to the lost sight; and therefore thou, O Rhadamanthus, that judgest with me in the darksome caves of Dis, since thou knowest all that is determining in the inscrutable fates, touching the restoring of this damsel, tell and declare it forthwith, that the happiness we expect from her return may not be deferred.’

Scarce had Judge Minos said this, when Rhadamanthus, standing up, said, ‘Go to, ministers of this house, high and low, great and small, come one after another, and seal Sancho’s chin with four-and-twenty tucks, twelve pinches, and with pins prick his arms and buttocks six times, in which Altisidora’s health consists.’

When Sancho Panza heard this, he broke off his silence, and said, ‘I vow, you shall as soon tuck me, or handle my face, as make me turn Moor. Body of me, what hath the handling my face to do with this damosel’s resurrection? The old woman tasted the spinage, etc., Dulcinea is enchanted, and I must be whipped to disenchant her. Altisidora dies of some sickness it pleaseth God to send her, and her raising must be with four-and-twenty tucks given me, and with grinding my body with pin-thrusts, and pinching my arms black and blue; away with your tricks to some other, I am an old dog, and there’s no histing to me.’

‘Thou diest,’ quoth Rhadamanthus aloud; ‘relent, thou tiger; humble thyself, proud Nembroth; suffer and be silent, since no impossibilities are required of thee; and stand not upon difficulties in this business; thou shalt be tucked, and see thyself grinded; thou shalt groan with pinching. Go to, I say, ministers, fulfil my command; if not, as I am an honest man, you shall rue the time that ever you were born.’

Now there came through the court six like old waiting-women, one after another in procession; four with spectacles, and all with their right hands lifted aloft, with four fingers-breadth of their wrists discovered, to make their hands seem larger, as the fashion is.

No sooner had Sancho seen them, when, bellowing like a bull, he said, ‘Well might I suffer all the world else to handle me, but that waiting-women touch me I will never consent. Let ‘em cat-scratch my face, as my master was served in this castle, let ‘em thrust me through with bodkin-pointed daggers, let ‘em pull off my flesh with hot burning pincers, and I will bear it patiently, and serve these nobles; but that waiting-women touch me, let the devil take me, I will not consent.’

Don Quixote then interrupted him, saying, ‘Have patience soon, and please these lordings, and thank God that He hath given such virtue to thy person, that with the martyrdom of it thou mayst disenchant the enchanted, and raise up the dead.’

And now the waiting-women drew near Sancho; who, being won and ‘persuaded, settled in his chair, offered his face and chin to the first that came, who gave him a well-sealed tuck, and so made him a curtsy. ‘Less curtsy, and less slabber-sauces, good Mistress Mumpsimus,’ quoth Sancho; ‘for I protest your hands smell of vinegar.’

At length all the waiting-women sealed him, and others pinched him; but that which he could not suffer was the pins-pricking; and therefore he rose out of his chair very moody, and laying hold of a lighted torch that was near him, he ran after the women and his executioners, saying, ‘Avaunt, infernal ministers! for I am not made of brass, not to be sensible of such extraordinary martyrdom.’

By this Altisidora, that was weary with lying so long upon her back, turned on one side; which when the bystanders saw, all of them cried out jointly, ‘Altisidora lives! Altisidora lives!’

Rhadamanthus commanded Sancho to lay aside his choler, since now his intent was obtained.

And as Don Quixote saw Altisidora stir, he went to kneel down to Sancho, saying, ‘Son of my entrails, ‘tis now high time that thou give thyself some of the lashes to which thou art obliged, for the disenchanting of Dulcinea. Now, I say, is the time wherein thy virtue may be seasoned, and thou mayst with efficacy effect the good that is expected from thee.’

To which quoth Sancho, ‘Heyday, this is sour upon sour; ‘twere good after these pinchings, tucks, and pins-prickings, that lashes should follow; there’s no more to be done, but even take a good stone and tie it to my neck and cast me into a well, for which I should not grieve much, if so be that, to cure other folks’ ills, I must be the pack-horse. Let me alone; if not, I shall mar all.’

And now Altisidora sat up in the hearse, and the hautboys, accompanied with flutes and voices, began to sound, and all cried out, ‘Live Altisidora! Altisidora live!’ The dukes rose up, and with them Minos and Rhadamanthus, and all together with Don Quixote and Sancho went to receive Altisidora, and to help her out of the hearse, who, feigning a kind of dismaying, bowed down to her lords and to the two kings, and looking askance on Don Quixote, said, ‘God pardon thee, discourteous knight, since by thy cruelty I have remained in another world, methinks, at least these thousand years; and thee I thank, the most compassionate squire in the world, I thank thee for the life I possess: and now dispose of six of my smocks, which I give thee to make six shirts; and if they be not all whole, yet they are clean at least.’

Sancho kissed her hands with his mitre off, and his knees on the ground; and the duke commanded they should return him his cap, and instead of his gown with the flames they should return him his gaberdine. Sancho desired the duke that they would leave, him both, which he would carry into his country in memory of that unheard-of success. The duchess answered they should, and that he knew how much she was his friend. The duke commanded all to avoid the court, and to retire to their lodgings, and that Don Quixote and Sancho should be carried to theirs they knew of old.

1 Which I likewise omit, as being basely made on purpose, and so not worth the translation.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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