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 LXX: Of Divers Rare Things, which serve for the better Illustration and Clearing of this History


SANCHO slept that night upon a quilt, and in Don Quixote’s own chamber; which he would fain have avoided had it been in his power, for he knew full well that his master would hardly let him sleep all night, by reason of the many questions he would demand of him, to which he must of necessity make answer. Now was he in no good humour to talk much; for he felt yet the smart of his fore-passed torments, which were an hindrance to his tongue. And, without doubt, he would rather have lain alone in any poor shed than with company in that goodly house: so true was his fear, and so certain his doubt, as he was scarce laid in his bed, but his master began this discourse unto him:

‘Sancho, what thinkest thou of this night’s success? Needs must a man confess that great and powerful is the force of disdain, since, as thou thyself hast seen with thine own eyes, Altisidora had surely died, and that by no other arrows, nor by any other sword, nor other instrument of war, no, nor by the force of poison, but by the apprehension of the churlish rigour and the disdain wherewith I have ever used her.’

‘She might,’ answered Sancho, ‘have died in good time, and at her choice and pleasure, so she would have let me alone in mine own house, since I was never the cause that she became a’ lover, nor did I ever, in all my life, scorn or disdain her. But I wot not, nor can I imagine, how it may be that the health or welfare of Altisidora, a gentlewoman more fantastical than discreet, hath any reflection, as I have said heretofore, upon the afflictions of Sancho Panza. Now I plainly and distinctly perceive that there be both enchanters and enchantments in the world, from whom God deliver me, since I cannot well deliver myself from them. And therewithal I entreat you to let me sleep; and except you will have me throw myself out of a window, ask me no more questions.’

‘Sleep, my friend Sancho,’ replied Don Quixote, ‘unless the nipping scoffs and bitter frumps which thou hast received will not permit thee so to do.’

‘There is no grief,’ answered Sancho, ‘comparable unto the affront of scoffing frumps; and so much the more sensible am I of such affronts, as that I have received them by old women; a mischief take them! I beseech you once more that you will suffer me to sleep, since that sleep is an easing of all miseries.’

‘Be it as thou sayst,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘and God accompany thee.’

So they both fell asleep, and, whilst they slept, Cid Hamet, author of this great history, would needs write and relate why the duke and the duchess had caused this monument to be built, and invented all that you have seen above.

He writes, then, that the bachelor Samson Carrasco, having not forgotten what had happened unto him, at what time, under the name of the Knight of the Looking glasses, he was vanquished and overthrown by Don Quixote, and therewithal how all his designs and purposes were vanished into smoke, yet nevertheless would he, hoping for better success, attempt the combat again. Therefore is it that, being informed by the page who brought the letter, and with it the present unto Teresa Panza, the wife of Sancho, from the place where Don Quixote made his residence, he recovered new arms and a horse. Then caused he the white moon to be painted in his shield; a mulet carried all this equipage, and a lob or swain led the same, and not Thomas Cecial, his ancient esquire, for fear he should be known of Sancho and Don Quixote.

He so well bestirred himself in his journeys that at last he came to the duke’s castle, who taught him the way or tract that Don Quixote had taken, and how he had a great desire to be present at the tiltings and tournaments of Saragosa. He likewise related unto him the gullings or gudgeons that he had given him, with the invention of Dulcinea’s disenchantment, which should be accomplished at the charges of Sancho’s buttocks. In sum, he understood from him the fob or jest that Sancho had used toward his master in making him believe that Dulcinea was enchanted and transformed into a country lass, and how the duchess his wife had given Sancho to understand that himself was the man that deceived himself, forsomuch as Dulcinea was verily enchanted.

The bachelor could not contain himself from laughing, and therewithal to be amazed, considering the quaint subtlety and plain simplicity of Sancho equal unto the extreme folly of Don Quixote. The duke desired him that if he met with him, and either vanquished him or not, he would be pleased to come that way again, to the end he might advertise him of it.

The bachelor promised him to do it, and so took his leave of the duke, to go and see whether he could find Don Quixote. He found him not at Saragosa, but went farther, and then befel him what you have already heard.

He came afterward to the duke’s castle, and there made report of all, together with the conditions of the combat. He moreover told them that Don Quixote came again to accomplish, as a perfect knight-errant, the promise which he had made to retire himself to his own village, and there to abide the full space of one full year. And that during the said time it might peradventure be brought to pass, said the bachelor, that he might be cured of his folly. That he never had other intention, and that for this only cause he had thus disguised himself; for it was great pity that a gentleman so well skilled and versed in all things as Don Quixote was should become a fool.

With that he took leave of the duke, and went to his borough, where he stayed for Don Quixote, who was coming after him. Whereupon the duke took occasion to put this trick upon him; for he took a wondrous pleasure of what succeeded unto Sancho and Don Quixote; and therefore he caused all the approaches and highways about his castle to be laid and watched, especially where he imagined our knight might come. And for the said cause he placed divers of his servants as well on foot as on horseback, to the end that if they met with him, willed he, or nilled he, they should bring him to the castle.

Now it fortuned that they met with him, and forthwith gave the duke knowledge of it, who was already resolved what he would do. As soon, then, as he knew of his coming, he caused all the torches and lights that were in the court to be lighted, and Altisidora to be placed upon the tomb, with all the preparation that you have seen before, and that so lively represented as one would have found very little difference betwixt the truth and that which was counterfeit.

Cid Hamet goes yet farther; for he saith that he assuredly believeth that the mockers were as foolish as the mocked, and that there wanted not two inches of the duke’s and duchess’s utter privation of common understanding, since they took so much pains to mock two fools, whereof the one was then sound asleep, and the other broad awake, transported with his raving and ranging thoughts.

In the meantime the day surprised them, and they desired to rise; for the sluggish feathers were never pleasing unto Don Quixote, were he conquered or conqueror.

Altisidora, who, as Don Quixote supposed, being risen from death to life, conforming herself to her master and mistress’s humour, being crowned with the very same garland which she had in the tomb, attired in a loose gown of white taffeta, all beset with flowers of gold, her hair loose, and dangling down her shoulders, leaning upon a staff of fine ebony wood, she entered into Don Quixote’s chamber, who, so soon as he saw her, was so amazed and confounded at her presence as he shrunk down into his bed, all covered with the clothes, and hid with the sheets and counterpoint, that he neither spake word nor used any manner of gesture towards her as might witness that he desired to show her any courtesy.

Altisidora sat down in a chair which was near unto Don Quixote’s head, and, after fetching a deep, deep sigh, with a low, sweet, and mild voice, she thus bespake him:

‘Sir Don Quixote, whensoever women of quality or maidens of discretion trample their honour under their feet, and give their tongue free liberty and scope to exceed the bounds of conveniency or modesty, publishing the secrets lurking in their hearts, they then shall find themselves brought to extreme misery and distress. Now am I one of those pressed, vanquished, and also enamoured; all which notwithstanding I suffer patiently, and continue honest. So that having been so too much, silence was the cause that my soul went out of my body, and I lost my life. It is now two days since that the consideration and remembrance of the rigour which thou, O more stony-minded than any marble, and inexorable knight, so to reject my plaints ! — which you have used towards me, brought me to my life’s end, or at least I have been deemed and taken for dead by all those that saw me. And had it not been that Love, who, taking pity of me, deposed my recovery among the grievous torments of this good esquire, I should for ever have remained in the other world.’

‘Love might well depose it,’ replied Sancho, ‘in those of my ass, and I would have been very glad of it. But tell me, I pray you, good damsel, even as Heaven may provide you of another more kind-loving lover than my master, what is it that you have seen in the other world? What is there in hell that he who dieth desperate must necessarily undergo?’

‘I must needs,’ quoth Altisidora, ‘tell you the plain truth of all. So it is, that I was not wholly or thoroughly dead, since I came not into hell; for had I once been therein, there is no question but I had never been able to come out of it at my pleasure. True it is, that I came even unto the gate thereof, where I met with a dozen of devils, who in their hosen and doublets were playing at tennis-ball. They did wear falling-bands set with peaks of Flemish bone-lace, with cuffs unto them of the very same, so deep as they appeared four good inches longer than the arm, to the end their hands might seem the greater. Their battle-dores or rackets were of fire; but that which made me wonder most was that they used books instead of balls, which books were full-stuffed with wind and stiffening; a thing both wondrous and newly strange, yet did not that so much astony me; for, as it is proper unto those that win at any game to rejoice and be glad, whereas those that lose are ever sad and discontent, there all grumbled, chafed, fretted, and bitterly cursed one another.

‘That’s no wonder,’ quoth Sancho, ‘since the devils, whether they play, or play not, whether they win, or win not, at that play they can never be content.’

‘Belike it is even so,’ replied Altisidora; ‘but there is also another thing which likewise bred some amazement in me; that is to say, brought me into admiration; which is, that the ball, that was but once tossed or strucken, could not serve another time, so that at every stroke they were forced to change books, whether they were old or new, which was a marvellous thing to behold. Now it happened that they gave so violent a stroke unto a modern book, and very fairly bound, that it made the very guts to fly out of it, and scattered the leaves thereof up and down. Then said one devil unto another, “I prithee look what that book treateth of.” “It is,” answered the other devil, “The Second Part of the History of Don Quixote de la Mancha, not composed by Cid Hamet, its first author, but by an Aragonois, who braggeth to be born at Tordesillas.” “Now fie upon it,” quoth the other devil; “out of my sight with it, and let it be cast into the very lowest pit of hell, so deep as mine eyes may never see it again.” “But why?” said the other devil. “Is it so bad a book?” “It is so vile a book,” replied the first devil, “that had I myself expressly composed it, I could never have encountered worse.” In the meantime they followed on their game, tossing other books to and fro; but having heard the name of Don Quixote, he whom I love so passionately I have laboured to engrave that vision in my memory.’

‘Now without doubt, then,’ said Don Quixote, ‘it was a night-vision; for there is no other man of that name in the whole world but myself; and that history doth already go from hand to hand through all parts of the universe, and yet stays in no place, for so much as every one will have a kick at it. Now I have not been angry or vexed when I have heard that I wander up and down like a fantastic body, amidst the p itchy shades of hell, and not in the light of the earth, since I am not the man that history speaketh of. If it be true and faithfully compiled, it will live many ages; but if it be nothing worth, it will die even at its birth.

Altisidora would have continued her plaints, accusing Don Quixote of rigour and unkindness; but he said thus unto her, ‘Madam, I have often told you that I am very angry that you have settled your thoughts on me, since you can draw nothing from me but bare thanks, and no remedy at all. I was only born for Dulcinea of Toboso, and to her only have the Destinies, if there be any, wholly dedicated me. To think that any other beauty can possess or usurp the place which she possesseth in my soul were to believe an impossibility. And this should suffice to disabuse you, and to make you to retire yourself within the bounds of your honesty, since no creature is tied unto impossibilities.’

Altisidora hearing these words, made a semblance to be very angry; so that, as it were, in a great anger, she thus bespake him: ‘I swear by the prince of the mumps, the soul of a mortar, and stone of a date — more obstinate and hard-hearted than a rude and base peasant when one sueth unto him, and when he addresseth his level to the butt or mark — if I take you in hand, I will pluck your very eyes out of your head! Do you haply suppose, Sir Vanquished, and Don Knocked-down with bats and cudgels, that I would have died for you? No, no, sir; whatsoever you have seen this night hath been nothing but a fiction or thing feigned. I am not a maiden that would suffer so much as the least, least pain at the tip of my nails for such a camel as you are; much less that I would die for such a gross animal.’

‘I believe it well,’ quoth Sancho then; ‘for all these lovers’ deaths are but to cause sport and laughter. Well may they say that they die; but that they will hasten their deaths, Judas may believe it if he list.’

As they were in these discourses, the musician and poet who had sung the foregoing stanzas entered into the chamber, and, making a very low reverence unto Don Quixote, he thus said unto him, ‘Sir knight, I beseech you to hold me in the number of your humblest servants. I have long since been most affectionate unto you, as well by reason of your far-bruited renown as for your high-raised feats of arms.’

‘Tell me,’ answered Don Quixote, ‘who you are, that my courtesy may answer your merit.’

The young man gave him to understand that he was the musician and the panegyric of the fore-passed night.

‘In good sooth,’ replied Don Quixote, ‘you have a very good voice; nevertheless, meseems that what you sung was not greatly to the purpose; for what have the stanzas of Garcilasso to do with the death of this damosel?’

‘My fair sir,’ said the musician, ‘you ought not to wonder at that: the best and choicest poets of our age do practise it; so that every man writes as best pleaseth his fancy, and stealeth what, and from whom he lists, whether it cohere with the purpose or not. By reason whereof, all the follies, absurdities, or fopperies that they sing, indite, or write, they ascribe unto a poetical licence.’

Don Quixote would have answered, but he was hindered by the duke and duchess, who both entered the chamber to see him; amongst whom there passed so long a discourse, and pleasant a conference, in which Sancho alleged so many ready quips, witty conceits, merry proverbs, and therewithal so many wily shifts and subtle knaveries, as the duke and the duchess were all astonished again, as well by reason of his simplicity as of his subtlety.

Don Quixote besought them to give him leave to depart the very same day, since that knights, subdued as he was, ought rather to dwell in an homely cottage or simple shed than in kingly palaces, which they most willingly granted him. And the duchess demanded of him whether Altisidora was in his good favour or no.

‘Madam,’ answered Don Quixote, ‘you are to understand that all the infirmity of this damosel takes its beginning and being from idleness, and that an honest occupation and continual exercise is the only remedy for it. She was even now telling me that in hell they are working tapestry-work, and that there are made tirings and networks. I think that she’ is skilful in such works, and that’s the reason she therein employs herself, never ceasing to handle small spindles or spools; and thus the images of him she loveth will never be removed in her imagination. What I tell you is most certain; it is my opinion, it is my counsel.’

‘And mine also,’ quoth Sancho, ‘since I never saw any workman that applied or busied himself about such works that died for love. The maidens, I say, occupied about such works think more on the accomplishing of their task than on that of their loves. I judge of it by myself; whilst I am digging or delving I never think on my pinkaney at all; I speak of my Teresa Panza, whom I love better a thousand times than my very eyelids.’

‘Sancho, you speak very well,’ said the duchess; ‘and I will take such order as my Altisidora shall henceforward occupy herself about such works, for she can work them excellently well.’

‘Madam,’ quoth Altisidora, ‘I shall not need to use such a remedy, since the remembrance or consideration of the cruelties and unkindness which this robber and roving thief hath used towards me will be of force, without any other device or artifice, to blot and deface them out of my memory. In’ the meanwhile, with your highness’s permission, I will be gone from hence, that so mine eyes may not behold not only his filthy and ghastly shape, but his ugly and abominable countenance.’

‘The words,’ replied the duke, ‘which you utter make me remember the old proverb, which teacheth us that he who sharply chides is ready to pardon.’

Altisidora made a show to dry up the tears from her eyes with a handkercher; and then, making a very low curtsy unto her master and mistress, she went out of the chamber.

‘Alas! poor damsel,’ said then Sancho, ‘I send thee ill luck, since thou hast already met with it, in lighting upon a soul made of a skuttle, and a heart of oak. Hadst thou had to do with me, thou shouldst have found a cock of me, that would have crowed after another fashion.’

Thus their discourse brake off; Don Quixote took his clothes, dined with the duke and duchess, and in the afternoon went his way.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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