The Project Gutenberg EBook of The History of Don Quixote, Vol. II., Part 20, by Miguel de Cervantes This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The History of Don Quixote, Vol. II., Part 20 Author: Miguel de Cervantes Release Date: July 21, 2004 [EBook #5923] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK DON QUIXOTE, PART 20 *** Produced by David Widger
The book cover and spine above and the images which follow were not part of the original Ormsby translation—they are taken from the 1880 edition of J. W. Clark, illustrated by Gustave Dore. Clark in his edition states that, "The English text of 'Don Quixote' adopted in this edition is that of Jarvis, with occasional corrections from Motteaux." See in the introduction below John Ormsby's critique of both the Jarvis and Motteaux translations. It has been elected in the present Project Gutenberg edition to attach the famous engravings of Gustave Dore to the Ormsby translation instead of the Jarvis/Motteaux. The detail of many of the Dore engravings can be fully appreciated only by utilizing the "Enlarge" button to expand them to their original dimensions. Ormsby in his Preface has criticized the fanciful nature of Dore's illustrations; others feel these woodcuts and steel engravings well match Quixote's dreams. D.W.
CHAPTER VI OF WHAT TOOK PLACE BETWEEN DON QUIXOTE AND HIS NIECE AND HOUSEKEEPER; ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CHAPTERS IN THE WHOLE HISTORY CHAPTER VII OF WHAT PASSED BETWEEN DON QUIXOTE AND HIS SQUIRE, TOGETHER WITH OTHER VERY NOTABLE INCIDENTS CHAPTER VIII WHEREIN IS RELATED WHAT BEFELL DON QUIXOTE ON HIS WAY TO SEE HIS LADY DULCINEA DEL TOBOSO CHAPTER IX WHEREIN IS RELATED WHAT WILL BE SEEN THERE CHAPTER X WHEREIN IS RELATED THE CRAFTY DEVICE SANCHO ADOPTED TO ENCHANT THE LADY DULCINEA, AND OTHER INCIDENTS AS LUDICROUS AS THEY ARE TRUE
While Sancho Panza and his wife, Teresa Cascajo, held the above irrelevant conversation, Don Quixote's niece and housekeeper were not idle, for by a thousand signs they began to perceive that their uncle and master meant to give them the slip the third time, and once more betake himself to his, for them, ill-errant chivalry. They strove by all the means in their power to divert him from such an unlucky scheme; but it was all preaching in the desert and hammering cold iron. Nevertheless, among many other representations made to him, the housekeeper said to him, "In truth, master, if you do not keep still and stay quiet at home, and give over roaming mountains and valleys like a troubled spirit, looking for what they say are called adventures, but what I call misfortunes, I shall have to make complaint to God and the king with loud supplication to send some remedy."
To which Don Quixote replied, "What answer God will give to your complaints, housekeeper, I know not, nor what his Majesty will answer either; I only know that if I were king I should decline to answer the numberless silly petitions they present every day; for one of the greatest among the many troubles kings have is being obliged to listen to all and answer all, and therefore I should be sorry that any affairs of mine should worry him."
Whereupon the housekeeper said, "Tell us, senor, at his Majesty's court are there no knights?"
"There are," replied Don Quixote, "and plenty of them; and it is right there should be, to set off the dignity of the prince, and for the greater glory of the king's majesty."
"Then might not your worship," said she, "be one of those that, without stirring a step, serve their king and lord in his court?"
"Recollect, my friend," said Don Quixote, "all knights cannot be courtiers, nor can all courtiers be knights-errant, nor need they be. There must be all sorts in the world; and though we may be all knights, there is a great difference between one and another; for the courtiers, without quitting their chambers, or the threshold of the court, range the world over by looking at a map, without its costing them a farthing, and without suffering heat or cold, hunger or thirst; but we, the true knights-errant, measure the whole earth with our own feet, exposed to the sun, to the cold, to the air, to the inclemencies of heaven, by day and night, on foot and on horseback; nor do we only know enemies in pictures, but in their own real shapes; and at all risks and on all occasions we attack them, without any regard to childish points or rules of single combat, whether one has or has not a shorter lance or sword, whether one carries relics or any secret contrivance about him, whether or not the sun is to be divided and portioned out, and other niceties of the sort that are observed in set combats of man to man, that you know nothing about, but I do. And you must know besides, that the true knight-errant, though he may see ten giants, that not only touch the clouds with their heads but pierce them, and that go, each of them, on two tall towers by way of legs, and whose arms are like the masts of mighty ships, and each eye like a great mill-wheel, and glowing brighter than a glass furnace, must not on any account be dismayed by them. On the contrary, he must attack and fall upon them with a gallant bearing and a fearless heart, and, if possible, vanquish and destroy them, even though they have for armour the shells of a certain fish, that they say are harder than diamonds, and in place of swords wield trenchant blades of Damascus steel, or clubs studded with spikes also of steel, such as I have more than once seen. All this I say, housekeeper, that you may see the difference there is between the one sort of knight and the other; and it would be well if there were no prince who did not set a higher value on this second, or more properly speaking first, kind of knights-errant; for, as we read in their histories, there have been some among them who have been the salvation, not merely of one kingdom, but of many."
"Ah, senor," here exclaimed the niece, "remember that all this you are saying about knights-errant is fable and fiction; and their histories, if indeed they were not burned, would deserve, each of them, to have a sambenito put on it, or some mark by which it might be known as infamous and a corrupter of good manners."
"By the God that gives me life," said Don Quixote, "if thou wert not my full niece, being daughter of my own sister, I would inflict a chastisement upon thee for the blasphemy thou hast uttered that all the world should ring with. What! can it be that a young hussy that hardly knows how to handle a dozen lace-bobbins dares to wag her tongue and criticise the histories of knights-errant? What would Senor Amadis say if he heard of such a thing? He, however, no doubt would forgive thee, for he was the most humble-minded and courteous knight of his time, and moreover a great protector of damsels; but some there are that might have heard thee, and it would not have been well for thee in that case; for they are not all courteous or mannerly; some are ill-conditioned scoundrels; nor is it everyone that calls himself a gentleman, that is so in all respects; some are gold, others pinchbeck, and all look like gentlemen, but not all can stand the touchstone of truth. There are men of low rank who strain themselves to bursting to pass for gentlemen, and high gentlemen who, one would fancy, were dying to pass for men of low rank; the former raise themselves by their ambition or by their virtues, the latter debase themselves by their lack of spirit or by their vices; and one has need of experience and discernment to distinguish these two kinds of gentlemen, so much alike in name and so different in conduct."
"God bless me!" said the niece, "that you should know so much, uncle—enough, if need be, to get up into a pulpit and go preach in the streets—and yet that you should fall into a delusion so great and a folly so manifest as to try to make yourself out vigorous when you are old, strong when you are sickly, able to put straight what is crooked when you yourself are bent by age, and, above all, a caballero when you are not one; for though gentlefolk may be so, poor men are nothing of the kind!"
"There is a great deal of truth in what you say, niece," returned Don Quixote, "and I could tell you somewhat about birth that would astonish you; but, not to mix up things human and divine, I refrain. Look you, my dears, all the lineages in the world (attend to what I am saying) can be reduced to four sorts, which are these: those that had humble beginnings, and went on spreading and extending themselves until they attained surpassing greatness; those that had great beginnings and maintained them, and still maintain and uphold the greatness of their origin; those, again, that from a great beginning have ended in a point like a pyramid, having reduced and lessened their original greatness till it has come to nought, like the point of a pyramid, which, relatively to its base or foundation, is nothing; and then there are those—and it is they that are the most numerous—that have had neither an illustrious beginning nor a remarkable mid-course, and so will have an end without a name, like an ordinary plebeian line. Of the first, those that had an humble origin and rose to the greatness they still preserve, the Ottoman house may serve as an example, which from an humble and lowly shepherd, its founder, has reached the height at which we now see it. For examples of the second sort of lineage, that began with greatness and maintains it still without adding to it, there are the many princes who have inherited the dignity, and maintain themselves in their inheritance, without increasing or diminishing it, keeping peacefully within the limits of their states. Of those that began great and ended in a point, there are thousands of examples, for all the Pharaohs and Ptolemies of Egypt, the Caesars of Rome, and the whole herd (if I may such a word to them) of countless princes, monarchs, lords, Medes, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and barbarians, all these lineages and lordships have ended in a point and come to nothing, they themselves as well as their founders, for it would be impossible now to find one of their descendants, and, even should we find one, it would be in some lowly and humble condition. Of plebeian lineages I have nothing to say, save that they merely serve to swell the number of those that live, without any eminence to entitle them to any fame or praise beyond this. From all I have said I would have you gather, my poor innocents, that great is the confusion among lineages, and that only those are seen to be great and illustrious that show themselves so by the virtue, wealth, and generosity of their possessors. I have said virtue, wealth, and generosity, because a great man who is vicious will be a great example of vice, and a rich man who is not generous will be merely a miserly beggar; for the possessor of wealth is not made happy by possessing it, but by spending it, and not by spending as he pleases, but by knowing how to spend it well. The poor gentleman has no way of showing that he is a gentleman but by virtue, by being affable, well-bred, courteous, gentle-mannered, and kindly, not haughty, arrogant, or censorious, but above all by being charitable; for by two maravedis given with a cheerful heart to the poor, he will show himself as generous as he who distributes alms with bell-ringing, and no one that perceives him to be endowed with the virtues I have named, even though he know him not, will fail to recognise and set him down as one of good blood; and it would be strange were it not so; praise has ever been the reward of virtue, and those who are virtuous cannot fail to receive commendation. There are two roads, my daughters, by which men may reach wealth and honours; one is that of letters, the other that of arms. I have more of arms than of letters in my composition, and, judging by my inclination to arms, was born under the influence of the planet Mars. I am, therefore, in a measure constrained to follow that road, and by it I must travel in spite of all the world, and it will be labour in vain for you to urge me to resist what heaven wills, fate ordains, reason requires, and, above all, my own inclination favours; for knowing as I do the countless toils that are the accompaniments of knight-errantry, I know, too, the infinite blessings that are attained by it; I know that the path of virtue is very narrow, and the road of vice broad and spacious; I know their ends and goals are different, for the broad and easy road of vice ends in death, and the narrow and toilsome one of virtue in life, and not transitory life, but in that which has no end; I know, as our great Castilian poet says, that-
It is by rugged paths like these they go That scale the heights of immortality, Unreached by those that falter here below."
"Woe is me!" exclaimed the niece, "my lord is a poet, too! He knows everything, and he can do everything; I will bet, if he chose to turn mason, he could make a house as easily as a cage."
"I can tell you, niece," replied Don Quixote, "if these chivalrous thoughts did not engage all my faculties, there would be nothing that I could not do, nor any sort of knickknack that would not come from my hands, particularly cages and tooth-picks."
At this moment there came a knocking at the door, and when they asked who was there, Sancho Panza made answer that it was he. The instant the housekeeper knew who it was, she ran to hide herself so as not to see him; in such abhorrence did she hold him. The niece let him in, and his master Don Quixote came forward to receive him with open arms, and the pair shut themselves up in his room, where they had another conversation not inferior to the previous one.
The instant the housekeeper saw Sancho Panza shut himself in with her master, she guessed what they were about; and suspecting that the result of the consultation would be a resolve to undertake a third sally, she seized her mantle, and in deep anxiety and distress, ran to find the bachelor Samson Carrasco, as she thought that, being a well-spoken man, and a new friend of her master's, he might be able to persuade him to give up any such crazy notion. She found him pacing the patio of his house, and, perspiring and flurried, she fell at his feet the moment she saw him.
Carrasco, seeing how distressed and overcome she was, said to her, "What is this, mistress housekeeper? What has happened to you? One would think you heart-broken."
"Nothing, Senor Samson," said she, "only that my master is breaking out, plainly breaking out."
"Whereabouts is he breaking out, senora?" asked Samson; "has any part of his body burst?"
"He is only breaking out at the door of his madness," she replied; "I mean, dear senor bachelor, that he is going to break out again (and this will be the third time) to hunt all over the world for what he calls ventures, though I can't make out why he gives them that name. The first time he was brought back to us slung across the back of an ass, and belaboured all over; and the second time he came in an ox-cart, shut up in a cage, in which he persuaded himself he was enchanted, and the poor creature was in such a state that the mother that bore him would not have known him; lean, yellow, with his eyes sunk deep in the cells of his skull; so that to bring him round again, ever so little, cost me more than six hundred eggs, as God knows, and all the world, and my hens too, that won't let me tell a lie."
"That I can well believe," replied the bachelor, "for they are so good and so fat, and so well-bred, that they would not say one thing for another, though they were to burst for it. In short then, mistress housekeeper, that is all, and there is nothing the matter, except what it is feared Don Quixote may do?"
"No, senor," said she.
"Well then," returned the bachelor, "don't be uneasy, but go home in peace; get me ready something hot for breakfast, and while you are on the way say the prayer of Santa Apollonia, that is if you know it; for I will come presently and you will see miracles."
"Woe is me," cried the housekeeper, "is it the prayer of Santa Apollonia you would have me say? That would do if it was the toothache my master had; but it is in the brains, what he has got."
"I know what I am saying, mistress housekeeper; go, and don't set yourself to argue with me, for you know I am a bachelor of Salamanca, and one can't be more of a bachelor than that," replied Carrasco; and with this the housekeeper retired, and the bachelor went to look for the curate, and arrange with him what will be told in its proper place.
While Don Quixote and Sancho were shut up together, they had a discussion which the history records with great precision and scrupulous exactness. Sancho said to his master, "Senor, I have educed my wife to let me go with your worship wherever you choose to take me."
"Induced, you should say, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "not educed."
"Once or twice, as well as I remember," replied Sancho, "I have begged of your worship not to mend my words, if so be as you understand what I mean by them; and if you don't understand them to say 'Sancho,' or 'devil,' 'I don't understand thee; and if I don't make my meaning plain, then you may correct me, for I am so focile-"
"I don't understand thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote at once; "for I know not what 'I am so focile' means."
"'So focile' means I am so much that way," replied Sancho.
"I understand thee still less now," said Don Quixote.
"Well, if you can't understand me," said Sancho, "I don't know how to put it; I know no more, God help me."
"Oh, now I have hit it," said Don Quixote; "thou wouldst say thou art so docile, tractable, and gentle that thou wilt take what I say to thee, and submit to what I teach thee."
"I would bet," said Sancho, "that from the very first you understood me, and knew what I meant, but you wanted to put me out that you might hear me make another couple of dozen blunders."
"May be so," replied Don Quixote; "but to come to the point, what does Teresa say?"
"Teresa says," replied Sancho, "that I should make sure with your worship, and 'let papers speak and beards be still,' for 'he who binds does not wrangle,' since one 'take' is better than two 'I'll give thee's;' and I say a woman's advice is no great thing, and he who won't take it is a fool."
"And so say I," said Don Quixote; "continue, Sancho my friend; go on; you talk pearls to-day."
"The fact is," continued Sancho, "that, as your worship knows better than I do, we are all of us liable to death, and to-day we are, and to-morrow we are not, and the lamb goes as soon as the sheep, and nobody can promise himself more hours of life in this world than God may be pleased to give him; for death is deaf, and when it comes to knock at our life's door, it is always urgent, and neither prayers, nor struggles, nor sceptres, nor mitres, can keep it back, as common talk and report say, and as they tell us from the pulpits every day."
"All that is very true," said Don Quixote; "but I cannot make out what thou art driving at."
"What I am driving at," said Sancho, "is that your worship settle some fixed wages for me, to be paid monthly while I am in your service, and that the same he paid me out of your estate; for I don't care to stand on rewards which either come late, or ill, or never at all; God help me with my own. In short, I would like to know what I am to get, be it much or little; for the hen will lay on one egg, and many littles make a much, and so long as one gains something there is nothing lost. To be sure, if it should happen (what I neither believe nor expect) that your worship were to give me that island you have promised me, I am not so ungrateful nor so grasping but that I would be willing to have the revenue of such island valued and stopped out of my wages in due promotion."
"Sancho, my friend," replied Don Quixote, "sometimes proportion may be as good as promotion."
"I see," said Sancho; "I'll bet I ought to have said proportion, and not promotion; but it is no matter, as your worship has understood me."
"And so well understood," returned Don Quixote, "that I have seen into the depths of thy thoughts, and know the mark thou art shooting at with the countless shafts of thy proverbs. Look here, Sancho, I would readily fix thy wages if I had ever found any instance in the histories of the knights-errant to show or indicate, by the slightest hint, what their squires used to get monthly or yearly; but I have read all or the best part of their histories, and I cannot remember reading of any knight-errant having assigned fixed wages to his squire; I only know that they all served on reward, and that when they least expected it, if good luck attended their masters, they found themselves recompensed with an island or something equivalent to it, or at the least they were left with a title and lordship. If with these hopes and additional inducements you, Sancho, please to return to my service, well and good; but to suppose that I am going to disturb or unhinge the ancient usage of knight-errantry, is all nonsense. And so, my Sancho, get you back to your house and explain my intentions to your Teresa, and if she likes and you like to be on reward with me, bene quidem; if not, we remain friends; for if the pigeon-house does not lack food, it will not lack pigeons; and bear in mind, my son, that a good hope is better than a bad holding, and a good grievance better than a bad compensation. I speak in this way, Sancho, to show you that I can shower down proverbs just as well as yourself; and in short, I mean to say, and I do say, that if you don't like to come on reward with me, and run the same chance that I run, God be with you and make a saint of you; for I shall find plenty of squires more obedient and painstaking, and not so thickheaded or talkative as you are."
When Sancho heard his master's firm, resolute language, a cloud came over the sky with him and the wings of his heart drooped, for he had made sure that his master would not go without him for all the wealth of the world; and as he stood there dumbfoundered and moody, Samson Carrasco came in with the housekeeper and niece, who were anxious to hear by what arguments he was about to dissuade their master from going to seek adventures. The arch wag Samson came forward, and embracing him as he had done before, said with a loud voice, "O flower of knight-errantry! O shining light of arms! O honour and mirror of the Spanish nation! may God Almighty in his infinite power grant that any person or persons, who would impede or hinder thy third sally, may find no way out of the labyrinth of their schemes, nor ever accomplish what they most desire!" And then, turning to the housekeeper, he said, "Mistress housekeeper may just as well give over saying the prayer of Santa Apollonia, for I know it is the positive determination of the spheres that Senor Don Quixote shall proceed to put into execution his new and lofty designs; and I should lay a heavy burden on my conscience did I not urge and persuade this knight not to keep the might of his strong arm and the virtue of his valiant spirit any longer curbed and checked, for by his inactivity he is defrauding the world of the redress of wrongs, of the protection of orphans, of the honour of virgins, of the aid of widows, and of the support of wives, and other matters of this kind appertaining, belonging, proper and peculiar to the order of knight-errantry. On, then, my lord Don Quixote, beautiful and brave, let your worship and highness set out to-day rather than to-morrow; and if anything be needed for the execution of your purpose, here am I ready in person and purse to supply the want; and were it requisite to attend your magnificence as squire, I should esteem it the happiest good fortune."
At this, Don Quixote, turning to Sancho, said, "Did I not tell thee, Sancho, there would be squires enough and to spare for me? See now who offers to become one; no less than the illustrious bachelor Samson Carrasco, the perpetual joy and delight of the courts of the Salamancan schools, sound in body, discreet, patient under heat or cold, hunger or thirst, with all the qualifications requisite to make a knight-errant's squire! But heaven forbid that, to gratify my own inclination, I should shake or shatter this pillar of letters and vessel of the sciences, and cut down this towering palm of the fair and liberal arts. Let this new Samson remain in his own country, and, bringing honour to it, bring honour at the same time on the grey heads of his venerable parents; for I will be content with any squire that comes to hand, as Sancho does not deign to accompany me."
"I do deign," said Sancho, deeply moved and with tears in his eyes; "it shall not be said of me, master mine," he continued, "'the bread eaten and the company dispersed.' Nay, I come of no ungrateful stock, for all the world knows, but particularly my own town, who the Panzas from whom I am descended were; and, what is more, I know and have learned, by many good words and deeds, your worship's desire to show me favour; and if I have been bargaining more or less about my wages, it was only to please my wife, who, when she sets herself to press a point, no hammer drives the hoops of a cask as she drives one to do what she wants; but, after all, a man must be a man, and a woman a woman; and as I am a man anyhow, which I can't deny, I will be one in my own house too, let who will take it amiss; and so there's nothing more to do but for your worship to make your will with its codicil in such a way that it can't be provoked, and let us set out at once, to save Senor Samson's soul from suffering, as he says his conscience obliges him to persuade your worship to sally out upon the world a third time; so I offer again to serve your worship faithfully and loyally, as well and better than all the squires that served knights-errant in times past or present."
The bachelor was filled with amazement when he heard Sancho's phraseology and style of talk, for though he had read the first part of his master's history he never thought that he could be so droll as he was there described; but now, hearing him talk of a "will and codicil that could not be provoked," instead of "will and codicil that could not be revoked," he believed all he had read of him, and set him down as one of the greatest simpletons of modern times; and he said to himself that two such lunatics as master and man the world had never seen. In fine, Don Quixote and Sancho embraced one another and made friends, and by the advice and with the approval of the great Carrasco, who was now their oracle, it was arranged that their departure should take place three days thence, by which time they could have all that was requisite for the journey ready, and procure a closed helmet, which Don Quixote said he must by all means take. Samson offered him one, as he knew a friend of his who had it would not refuse it to him, though it was more dingy with rust and mildew than bright and clean like burnished steel.
The curses which both housekeeper and niece poured out on the bachelor were past counting; they tore their hair, they clawed their faces, and in the style of the hired mourners that were once in fashion, they raised a lamentation over the departure of their master and uncle, as if it had been his death. Samson's intention in persuading him to sally forth once more was to do what the history relates farther on; all by the advice of the curate and barber, with whom he had previously discussed the subject. Finally, then, during those three days, Don Quixote and Sancho provided themselves with what they considered necessary, and Sancho having pacified his wife, and Don Quixote his niece and housekeeper, at nightfall, unseen by anyone except the bachelor, who thought fit to accompany them half a league out of the village, they set out for El Toboso, Don Quixote on his good Rocinante and Sancho on his old Dapple, his alforjas furnished with certain matters in the way of victuals, and his purse with money that Don Quixote gave him to meet emergencies. Samson embraced him, and entreated him to let him hear of his good or evil fortunes, so that he might rejoice over the former or condole with him over the latter, as the laws of friendship required. Don Quixote promised him he would do so, and Samson returned to the village, and the other two took the road for the great city of El Toboso.
"Blessed be Allah the all-powerful!" says Hamete Benengeli on beginning this eighth chapter; "blessed be Allah!" he repeats three times; and he says he utters these thanksgivings at seeing that he has now got Don Quixote and Sancho fairly afield, and that the readers of his delightful history may reckon that the achievements and humours of Don Quixote and his squire are now about to begin; and he urges them to forget the former chivalries of the ingenious gentleman and to fix their eyes on those that are to come, which now begin on the road to El Toboso, as the others began on the plains of Montiel; nor is it much that he asks in consideration of all he promises, and so he goes on to say:
Don Quixote and Sancho were left alone, and the moment Samson took his departure, Rocinante began to neigh, and Dapple to sigh, which, by both knight and squire, was accepted as a good sign and a very happy omen; though, if the truth is to be told, the sighs and brays of Dapple were louder than the neighings of the hack, from which Sancho inferred that his good fortune was to exceed and overtop that of his master, building, perhaps, upon some judicial astrology that he may have known, though the history says nothing about it; all that can be said is, that when he stumbled or fell, he was heard to say he wished he had not come out, for by stumbling or falling there was nothing to be got but a damaged shoe or a broken rib; and, fool as he was, he was not much astray in this.
Said Don Quixote, "Sancho, my friend, night is drawing on upon us as we go, and more darkly than will allow us to reach El Toboso by daylight; for there I am resolved to go before I engage in another adventure, and there I shall obtain the blessing and generous permission of the peerless Dulcinea, with which permission I expect and feel assured that I shall conclude and bring to a happy termination every perilous adventure; for nothing in life makes knights-errant more valorous than finding themselves favoured by their ladies."
"So I believe," replied Sancho; "but I think it will be difficult for your worship to speak with her or see her, at any rate where you will be able to receive her blessing; unless, indeed, she throws it over the wall of the yard where I saw her the time before, when I took her the letter that told of the follies and mad things your worship was doing in the heart of Sierra Morena."
"Didst thou take that for a yard wall, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "where or at which thou sawest that never sufficiently extolled grace and beauty? It must have been the gallery, corridor, or portico of some rich and royal palace."
"It might have been all that," returned Sancho, "but to me it looked like a wall, unless I am short of memory."
"At all events, let us go there, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "for, so that I see her, it is the same to me whether it be over a wall, or at a window, or through the chink of a door, or the grate of a garden; for any beam of the sun of her beauty that reaches my eyes will give light to my reason and strength to my heart, so that I shall be unmatched and unequalled in wisdom and valour."
"Well, to tell the truth, senor," said Sancho, "when I saw that sun of the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, it was not bright enough to throw out beams at all; it must have been, that as her grace was sifting that wheat I told you of, the thick dust she raised came before her face like a cloud and dimmed it."
"What! dost thou still persist, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "in saying, thinking, believing, and maintaining that my lady Dulcinea was sifting wheat, that being an occupation and task entirely at variance with what is and should be the employment of persons of distinction, who are constituted and reserved for other avocations and pursuits that show their rank a bowshot off? Thou hast forgotten, O Sancho, those lines of our poet wherein he paints for us how, in their crystal abodes, those four nymphs employed themselves who rose from their loved Tagus and seated themselves in a verdant meadow to embroider those tissues which the ingenious poet there describes to us, how they were worked and woven with gold and silk and pearls; and something of this sort must have been the employment of my lady when thou sawest her, only that the spite which some wicked enchanter seems to have against everything of mine changes all those things that give me pleasure, and turns them into shapes unlike their own; and so I fear that in that history of my achievements which they say is now in print, if haply its author was some sage who is an enemy of mine, he will have put one thing for another, mingling a thousand lies with one truth, and amusing himself by relating transactions which have nothing to do with the sequence of a true history. O envy, root of all countless evils, and cankerworm of the virtues! All the vices, Sancho, bring some kind of pleasure with them; but envy brings nothing but irritation, bitterness, and rage."
"So I say too," replied Sancho; "and I suspect in that legend or history of us that the bachelor Samson Carrasco told us he saw, my honour goes dragged in the dirt, knocked about, up and down, sweeping the streets, as they say. And yet, on the faith of an honest man, I never spoke ill of any enchanter, and I am not so well off that I am to be envied; to be sure, I am rather sly, and I have a certain spice of the rogue in me; but all is covered by the great cloak of my simplicity, always natural and never acted; and if I had no other merit save that I believe, as I always do, firmly and truly in God, and all the holy Roman Catholic Church holds and believes, and that I am a mortal enemy of the Jews, the historians ought to have mercy on me and treat me well in their writings. But let them say what they like; naked was I born, naked I find myself, I neither lose nor gain; nay, while I see myself put into a book and passed on from hand to hand over the world, I don't care a fig, let them say what they like of me."
"That, Sancho," returned Don Quixote, "reminds me of what happened to a famous poet of our own day, who, having written a bitter satire against all the courtesan ladies, did not insert or name in it a certain lady of whom it was questionable whether she was one or not. She, seeing she was not in the list of the poet, asked him what he had seen in her that he did not include her in the number of the others, telling him he must add to his satire and put her in the new part, or else look out for the consequences. The poet did as she bade him, and left her without a shred of reputation, and she was satisfied by getting fame though it was infamy. In keeping with this is what they relate of that shepherd who set fire to the famous temple of Diana, by repute one of the seven wonders of the world, and burned it with the sole object of making his name live in after ages; and, though it was forbidden to name him, or mention his name by word of mouth or in writing, lest the object of his ambition should be attained, nevertheless it became known that he was called Erostratus. And something of the same sort is what happened in the case of the great emperor Charles V and a gentleman in Rome. The emperor was anxious to see that famous temple of the Rotunda, called in ancient times the temple 'of all the gods,' but now-a-days, by a better nomenclature, 'of all the saints,' which is the best preserved building of all those of pagan construction in Rome, and the one which best sustains the reputation of mighty works and magnificence of its founders. It is in the form of a half orange, of enormous dimensions, and well lighted, though no light penetrates it save that which is admitted by a window, or rather round skylight, at the top; and it was from this that the emperor examined the building. A Roman gentleman stood by his side and explained to him the skilful construction and ingenuity of the vast fabric and its wonderful architecture, and when they had left the skylight he said to the emperor, 'A thousand times, your Sacred Majesty, the impulse came upon me to seize your Majesty in my arms and fling myself down from yonder skylight, so as to leave behind me in the world a name that would last for ever.' 'I am thankful to you for not carrying such an evil thought into effect,' said the emperor, 'and I shall give you no opportunity in future of again putting your loyalty to the test; and I therefore forbid you ever to speak to me or to be where I am; and he followed up these words by bestowing a liberal bounty upon him. My meaning is, Sancho, that the desire of acquiring fame is a very powerful motive. What, thinkest thou, was it that flung Horatius in full armour down from the bridge into the depths of the Tiber? What burned the hand and arm of Mutius? What impelled Curtius to plunge into the deep burning gulf that opened in the midst of Rome? What, in opposition to all the omens that declared against him, made Julius Caesar cross the Rubicon? And to come to more modern examples, what scuttled the ships, and left stranded and cut off the gallant Spaniards under the command of the most courteous Cortes in the New World? All these and a variety of other great exploits are, were and will be, the work of fame that mortals desire as a reward and a portion of the immortality their famous deeds deserve; though we Catholic Christians and knights-errant look more to that future glory that is everlasting in the ethereal regions of heaven than to the vanity of the fame that is to be acquired in this present transitory life; a fame that, however long it may last, must after all end with the world itself, which has its own appointed end. So that, O Sancho, in what we do we must not overpass the bounds which the Christian religion we profess has assigned to us. We have to slay pride in giants, envy by generosity and nobleness of heart, anger by calmness of demeanour and equanimity, gluttony and sloth by the spareness of our diet and the length of our vigils, lust and lewdness by the loyalty we preserve to those whom we have made the mistresses of our thoughts, indolence by traversing the world in all directions seeking opportunities of making ourselves, besides Christians, famous knights. Such, Sancho, are the means by which we reach those extremes of praise that fair fame carries with it."
"All that your worship has said so far," said Sancho, "I have understood quite well; but still I would be glad if your worship would dissolve a doubt for me, which has just this minute come into my mind."
"Solve, thou meanest, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "say on, in God's name, and I will answer as well as I can."
"Tell me, senor," Sancho went on to say, "those Julys or Augusts, and all those venturous knights that you say are now dead—where are they now?"
"The heathens," replied Don Quixote, "are, no doubt, in hell; the Christians, if they were good Christians, are either in purgatory or in heaven."
"Very good," said Sancho; "but now I want to know—the tombs where the bodies of those great lords are, have they silver lamps before them, or are the walls of their chapels ornamented with crutches, winding-sheets, tresses of hair, legs and eyes in wax? Or what are they ornamented with?"
To which Don Quixote made answer: "The tombs of the heathens were generally sumptuous temples; the ashes of Julius Caesar's body were placed on the top of a stone pyramid of vast size, which they now call in Rome Saint Peter's needle. The emperor Hadrian had for a tomb a castle as large as a good-sized village, which they called the Moles Adriani, and is now the castle of St. Angelo in Rome. The queen Artemisia buried her husband Mausolus in a tomb which was reckoned one of the seven wonders of the world; but none of these tombs, or of the many others of the heathens, were ornamented with winding-sheets or any of those other offerings and tokens that show that they who are buried there are saints."
"That's the point I'm coming to," said Sancho; "and now tell me, which is the greater work, to bring a dead man to life or to kill a giant?"
"The answer is easy," replied Don Quixote; "it is a greater work to bring to life a dead man."
"Now I have got you," said Sancho; "in that case the fame of them who bring the dead to life, who give sight to the blind, cure cripples, restore health to the sick, and before whose tombs there are lamps burning, and whose chapels are filled with devout folk on their knees adoring their relics be a better fame in this life and in the other than that which all the heathen emperors and knights-errant that have ever been in the world have left or may leave behind them?"
"That I grant, too," said Don Quixote.
"Then this fame, these favours, these privileges, or whatever you call it," said Sancho, "belong to the bodies and relics of the saints who, with the approbation and permission of our holy mother Church, have lamps, tapers, winding-sheets, crutches, pictures, eyes and legs, by means of which they increase devotion and add to their own Christian reputation. Kings carry the bodies or relics of saints on their shoulders, and kiss bits of their bones, and enrich and adorn their oratories and favourite altars with them."
"What wouldst thou have me infer from all thou hast said, Sancho?" asked Don Quixote.
"My meaning is," said Sancho, "let us set about becoming saints, and we shall obtain more quickly the fair fame we are striving after; for you know, senor, yesterday or the day before yesterday (for it is so lately one may say so) they canonised and beatified two little barefoot friars, and it is now reckoned the greatest good luck to kiss or touch the iron chains with which they girt and tortured their bodies, and they are held in greater veneration, so it is said, than the sword of Roland in the armoury of our lord the King, whom God preserve. So that, senor, it is better to be an humble little friar of no matter what order, than a valiant knight-errant; with God a couple of dozen of penance lashings are of more avail than two thousand lance-thrusts, be they given to giants, or monsters, or dragons."
"All that is true," returned Don Quixote, "but we cannot all be friars, and many are the ways by which God takes his own to heaven; chivalry is a religion, there are sainted knights in glory."
"Yes," said Sancho, "but I have heard say that there are more friars in heaven than knights-errant."
"That," said Don Quixote, "is because those in religious orders are more numerous than knights."
"The errants are many," said Sancho.
"Many," replied Don Quixote, "but few they who deserve the name of knights."
With these, and other discussions of the same sort, they passed that night and the following day, without anything worth mention happening to them, whereat Don Quixote was not a little dejected; but at length the next day, at daybreak, they descried the great city of El Toboso, at the sight of which Don Quixote's spirits rose and Sancho's fell, for he did not know Dulcinea's house, nor in all his life had he ever seen her, any more than his master; so that they were both uneasy, the one to see her, the other at not having seen her, and Sancho was at a loss to know what he was to do when his master sent him to El Toboso. In the end, Don Quixote made up his mind to enter the city at nightfall, and they waited until the time came among some oak trees that were near El Toboso; and when the moment they had agreed upon arrived, they made their entrance into the city, where something happened them that may fairly be called something.
'Twas at the very midnight hour—more or less—when Don Quixote and Sancho quitted the wood and entered El Toboso. The town was in deep silence, for all the inhabitants were asleep, and stretched on the broad of their backs, as the saying is. The night was darkish, though Sancho would have been glad had it been quite dark, so as to find in the darkness an excuse for his blundering. All over the place nothing was to be heard except the barking of dogs, which deafened the ears of Don Quixote and troubled the heart of Sancho. Now and then an ass brayed, pigs grunted, cats mewed, and the various noises they made seemed louder in the silence of the night; all which the enamoured knight took to be of evil omen; nevertheless he said to Sancho, "Sancho, my son, lead on to the palace of Dulcinea, it may be that we shall find her awake."
"Body of the sun! what palace am I to lead to," said Sancho, "when what I saw her highness in was only a very little house?"
"Most likely she had then withdrawn into some small apartment of her palace," said Don Quixote, "to amuse herself with damsels, as great ladies and princesses are accustomed to do."
"Senor," said Sancho, "if your worship will have it in spite of me that the house of my lady Dulcinea is a palace, is this an hour, think you, to find the door open; and will it be right for us to go knocking till they hear us and open the door; making a disturbance and confusion all through the household? Are we going, do you fancy, to the house of our wenches, like gallants who come and knock and go in at any hour, however late it may be?"
"Let us first of all find out the palace for certain," replied Don Quixote, "and then I will tell thee, Sancho, what we had best do; but look, Sancho, for either I see badly, or that dark mass that one sees from here should be Dulcinea's palace."
"Then let your worship lead the way," said Sancho, "perhaps it may be so; though I see it with my eyes and touch it with my hands, I'll believe it as much as I believe it is daylight now."
Don Quixote took the lead, and having gone a matter of two hundred paces he came upon the mass that produced the shade, and found it was a great tower, and then he perceived that the building in question was no palace, but the chief church of the town, and said he, "It's the church we have lit upon, Sancho."
"So I see," said Sancho, "and God grant we may not light upon our graves; it is no good sign to find oneself wandering in a graveyard at this time of night; and that, after my telling your worship, if I don't mistake, that the house of this lady will be in an alley without an outlet."
"The curse of God on thee for a blockhead!" said Don Quixote; "where hast thou ever heard of castles and royal palaces being built in alleys without an outlet?"
"Senor," replied Sancho, "every country has a way of its own; perhaps here in El Toboso it is the way to build palaces and grand buildings in alleys; so I entreat your worship to let me search about among these streets or alleys before me, and perhaps, in some corner or other, I may stumble on this palace—and I wish I saw the dogs eating it for leading us such a dance."
"Speak respectfully of what belongs to my lady, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "let us keep the feast in peace, and not throw the rope after the bucket."
"I'll hold my tongue," said Sancho, "but how am I to take it patiently when your worship wants me, with only once seeing the house of our mistress, to know always, and find it in the middle of the night, when your worship can't find it, who must have seen it thousands of times?"
"Thou wilt drive me to desperation, Sancho," said Don Quixote. "Look here, heretic, have I not told thee a thousand times that I have never once in my life seen the peerless Dulcinea or crossed the threshold of her palace, and that I am enamoured solely by hearsay and by the great reputation she bears for beauty and discretion?"
"I hear it now," returned Sancho; "and I may tell you that if you have not seen her, no more have I."
"That cannot be," said Don Quixote, "for, at any rate, thou saidst, on bringing back the answer to the letter I sent by thee, that thou sawest her sifting wheat."
"Don't mind that, senor," said Sancho; "I must tell you that my seeing her and the answer I brought you back were by hearsay too, for I can no more tell who the lady Dulcinea is than I can hit the sky."
"Sancho, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "there are times for jests and times when jests are out of place; if I tell thee that I have neither seen nor spoken to the lady of my heart, it is no reason why thou shouldst say thou hast not spoken to her or seen her, when the contrary is the case, as thou well knowest."
While the two were engaged in this conversation, they perceived some one with a pair of mules approaching the spot where they stood, and from the noise the plough made, as it dragged along the ground, they guessed him to be some labourer who had got up before daybreak to go to his work, and so it proved to be. He came along singing the ballad that says-
Ill did ye fare, ye men of France, In Roncesvalles chase-
"May I die, Sancho," said Don Quixote, when he heard him, "if any good will come to us tonight! Dost thou not hear what that clown is singing?"
"I do," said Sancho, "but what has Roncesvalles chase to do with what we have in hand? He might just as well be singing the ballad of Calainos, for any good or ill that can come to us in our business."
By this time the labourer had come up, and Don Quixote asked him, "Can you tell me, worthy friend, and God speed you, whereabouts here is the palace of the peerless princess Dona Dulcinea del Toboso?"
"Senor," replied the lad, "I am a stranger, and I have been only a few days in the town, doing farm work for a rich farmer. In that house opposite there live the curate of the village and the sacristan, and both or either of them will be able to give your worship some account of this lady princess, for they have a list of all the people of El Toboso; though it is my belief there is not a princess living in the whole of it; many ladies there are, of quality, and in her own house each of them may be a princess."
"Well, then, she I am inquiring for will be one of these, my friend," said Don Quixote.
"May be so," replied the lad; "God be with you, for here comes the daylight;" and without waiting for any more of his questions, he whipped on his mules.
Sancho, seeing his master downcast and somewhat dissatisfied, said to him, "Senor, daylight will be here before long, and it will not do for us to let the sun find us in the street; it will be better for us to quit the city, and for your worship to hide in some forest in the neighbourhood, and I will come back in the daytime, and I won't leave a nook or corner of the whole village that I won't search for the house, castle, or palace, of my lady, and it will be hard luck for me if I don't find it; and as soon as I have found it I will speak to her grace, and tell her where and how your worship is waiting for her to arrange some plan for you to see her without any damage to her honour and reputation."
"Sancho," said Don Quixote, "thou hast delivered a thousand sentences condensed in the compass of a few words; I thank thee for the advice thou hast given me, and take it most gladly. Come, my son, let us go look for some place where I may hide, while thou dost return, as thou sayest, to seek, and speak with my lady, from whose discretion and courtesy I look for favours more than miraculous."
Sancho was in a fever to get his master out of the town, lest he should discover the falsehood of the reply he had brought to him in the Sierra Morena on behalf of Dulcinea; so he hastened their departure, which they took at once, and two miles out of the village they found a forest or thicket wherein Don Quixote ensconced himself, while Sancho returned to the city to speak to Dulcinea, in which embassy things befell him which demand fresh attention and a new chapter.
When the author of this great history comes to relate what is set down in this chapter he says he would have preferred to pass it over in silence, fearing it would not be believed, because here Don Quixote's madness reaches the confines of the greatest that can be conceived, and even goes a couple of bowshots beyond the greatest. But after all, though still under the same fear and apprehension, he has recorded it without adding to the story or leaving out a particle of the truth, and entirely disregarding the charges of falsehood that might be brought against him; and he was right, for the truth may run fine but will not break, and always rises above falsehood as oil above water; and so, going on with his story, he says that as soon as Don Quixote had ensconced himself in the forest, oak grove, or wood near El Toboso, he bade Sancho return to the city, and not come into his presence again without having first spoken on his behalf to his lady, and begged of her that it might be her good pleasure to permit herself to be seen by her enslaved knight, and deign to bestow her blessing upon him, so that he might thereby hope for a happy issue in all his encounters and difficult enterprises. Sancho undertook to execute the task according to the instructions, and to bring back an answer as good as the one he brought back before.
"Go, my son," said Don Quixote, "and be not dazed when thou findest thyself exposed to the light of that sun of beauty thou art going to seek. Happy thou, above all the squires in the world! Bear in mind, and let it not escape thy memory, how she receives thee; if she changes colour while thou art giving her my message; if she is agitated and disturbed at hearing my name; if she cannot rest upon her cushion, shouldst thou haply find her seated in the sumptuous state chamber proper to her rank; and should she be standing, observe if she poises herself now on one foot, now on the other; if she repeats two or three times the reply she gives thee; if she passes from gentleness to austerity, from asperity to tenderness; if she raises her hand to smooth her hair though it be not disarranged. In short, my son, observe all her actions and motions, for if thou wilt report them to me as they were, I will gather what she hides in the recesses of her heart as regards my love; for I would have thee know, Sancho, if thou knowest it not, that with lovers the outward actions and motions they give way to when their loves are in question are the faithful messengers that carry the news of what is going on in the depths of their hearts. Go, my friend, may better fortune than mine attend thee, and bring thee a happier issue than that which I await in dread in this dreary solitude."
"I will go and return quickly," said Sancho; "cheer up that little heart of yours, master mine, for at the present moment you seem to have got one no bigger than a hazel nut; remember what they say, that a stout heart breaks bad luck, and that where there are no fletches there are no pegs; and moreover they say, the hare jumps up where it's not looked for. I say this because, if we could not find my lady's palaces or castles to-night, now that it is daylight I count upon finding them when I least expect it, and once found, leave it to me to manage her."
"Verily, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "thou dost always bring in thy proverbs happily, whatever we deal with; may God give me better luck in what I am anxious about."
With this, Sancho wheeled about and gave Dapple the stick, and Don Quixote remained behind, seated on his horse, resting in his stirrups and leaning on the end of his lance, filled with sad and troubled forebodings; and there we will leave him, and accompany Sancho, who went off no less serious and troubled than he left his master; so much so, that as soon as he had got out of the thicket, and looking round saw that Don Quixote was not within sight, he dismounted from his ass, and seating himself at the foot of a tree began to commune with himself, saying, "Now, brother Sancho, let us know where your worship is going. Are you going to look for some ass that has been lost? Not at all. Then what are you going to look for? I am going to look for a princess, that's all; and in her for the sun of beauty and the whole heaven at once. And where do you expect to find all this, Sancho? Where? Why, in the great city of El Toboso. Well, and for whom are you going to look for her? For the famous knight Don Quixote of La Mancha, who rights wrongs, gives food to those who thirst and drink to the hungry. That's all very well, but do you know her house, Sancho? My master says it will be some royal palace or grand castle. And have you ever seen her by any chance? Neither I nor my master ever saw her. And does it strike you that it would be just and right if the El Toboso people, finding out that you were here with the intention of going to tamper with their princesses and trouble their ladies, were to come and cudgel your ribs, and not leave a whole bone in you? They would, indeed, have very good reason, if they did not see that I am under orders, and that 'you are a messenger, my friend, no blame belongs to you.' Don't you trust to that, Sancho, for the Manchegan folk are as hot-tempered as they are honest, and won't put up with liberties from anybody. By the Lord, if they get scent of you, it will be worse for you, I promise you. Be off, you scoundrel! Let the bolt fall. Why should I go looking for three feet on a cat, to please another man; and what is more, when looking for Dulcinea will be looking for Marica in Ravena, or the bachelor in Salamanca? The devil, the devil and nobody else, has mixed me up in this business!"
Such was the soliloquy Sancho held with himself, and all the conclusion he could come to was to say to himself again, "Well, there's remedy for everything except death, under whose yoke we have all to pass, whether we like it or not, when life's finished. I have seen by a thousand signs that this master of mine is a madman fit to be tied, and for that matter, I too, am not behind him; for I'm a greater fool than he is when I follow him and serve him, if there's any truth in the proverb that says, 'Tell me what company thou keepest, and I'll tell thee what thou art,' or in that other, 'Not with whom thou art bred, but with whom thou art fed.' Well then, if he be mad, as he is, and with a madness that mostly takes one thing for another, and white for black, and black for white, as was seen when he said the windmills were giants, and the monks' mules dromedaries, flocks of sheep armies of enemies, and much more to the same tune, it will not be very hard to make him believe that some country girl, the first I come across here, is the lady Dulcinea; and if he does not believe it, I'll swear it; and if he should swear, I'll swear again; and if he persists I'll persist still more, so as, come what may, to have my quoit always over the peg. Maybe, by holding out in this way, I may put a stop to his sending me on messages of this kind another time; or maybe he will think, as I suspect he will, that one of those wicked enchanters, who he says have a spite against him, has changed her form for the sake of doing him an ill turn and injuring him."
With this reflection Sancho made his mind easy, counting the business as good as settled, and stayed there till the afternoon so as to make Don Quixote think he had time enough to go to El Toboso and return; and things turned out so luckily for him that as he got up to mount Dapple, he spied, coming from El Toboso towards the spot where he stood, three peasant girls on three colts, or fillies—for the author does not make the point clear, though it is more likely they were she-asses, the usual mount with village girls; but as it is of no great consequence, we need not stop to prove it.
To be brief, the instant Sancho saw the peasant girls, he returned full speed to seek his master, and found him sighing and uttering a thousand passionate lamentations. When Don Quixote saw him he exclaimed, "What news, Sancho, my friend? Am I to mark this day with a white stone or a black?"
"Your worship," replied Sancho, "had better mark it with ruddle, like the inscriptions on the walls of class rooms, that those who see it may see it plain."
"Then thou bringest good news," said Don Quixote.
"So good," replied Sancho, "that your worship has only to spur Rocinante and get out into the open field to see the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, who, with two others, damsels of hers, is coming to see your worship."
"Holy God! what art thou saying, Sancho, my friend?" exclaimed Don Quixote. "Take care thou art not deceiving me, or seeking by false joy to cheer my real sadness."
"What could I get by deceiving your worship," returned Sancho, "especially when it will so soon be shown whether I tell the truth or not? Come, senor, push on, and you will see the princess our mistress coming, robed and adorned—in fact, like what she is. Her damsels and she are all one glow of gold, all bunches of pearls, all diamonds, all rubies, all cloth of brocade of more than ten borders; with their hair loose on their shoulders like so many sunbeams playing with the wind; and moreover, they come mounted on three piebald cackneys, the finest sight ever you saw."
"Hackneys, you mean, Sancho," said Don Quixote.
"There is not much difference between cackneys and hackneys," said Sancho; "but no matter what they come on, there they are, the finest ladies one could wish for, especially my lady the princess Dulcinea, who staggers one's senses."
"Let us go, Sancho, my son," said Don Quixote, "and in guerdon of this news, as unexpected as it is good, I bestow upon thee the best spoil I shall win in the first adventure I may have; or if that does not satisfy thee, I promise thee the foals I shall have this year from my three mares that thou knowest are in foal on our village common."
"I'll take the foals," said Sancho; "for it is not quite certain that the spoils of the first adventure will be good ones."
By this time they had cleared the wood, and saw the three village lasses close at hand. Don Quixote looked all along the road to El Toboso, and as he could see nobody except the three peasant girls, he was completely puzzled, and asked Sancho if it was outside the city he had left them.
"How outside the city?" returned Sancho. "Are your worship's eyes in the back of your head, that you can't see that they are these who are coming here, shining like the very sun at noonday?"
"I see nothing, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "but three country girls on three jackasses."
"Now, may God deliver me from the devil!" said Sancho, "and can it be that your worship takes three hackneys—or whatever they're called—as white as the driven snow, for jackasses? By the Lord, I could tear my beard if that was the case!"
"Well, I can only say, Sancho, my friend," said Don Quixote, "that it is as plain they are jackasses—or jennyasses—as that I am Don Quixote, and thou Sancho Panza: at any rate, they seem to me to be so."
"Hush, senor," said Sancho, "don't talk that way, but open your eyes, and come and pay your respects to the lady of your thoughts, who is close upon us now;" and with these words he advanced to receive the three village lasses, and dismounting from Dapple, caught hold of one of the asses of the three country girls by the halter, and dropping on both knees on the ground, he said, "Queen and princess and duchess of beauty, may it please your haughtiness and greatness to receive into your favour and good-will your captive knight who stands there turned into marble stone, and quite stupefied and benumbed at finding himself in your magnificent presence. I am Sancho Panza, his squire, and he the vagabond knight Don Quixote of La Mancha, otherwise called 'The Knight of the Rueful Countenance.'"
Don Quixote had by this time placed himself on his knees beside Sancho, and, with eyes starting out of his head and a puzzled gaze, was regarding her whom Sancho called queen and lady; and as he could see nothing in her except a village lass, and not a very well-favoured one, for she was platter-faced and snub-nosed, he was perplexed and bewildered, and did not venture to open his lips. The country girls, at the same time, were astonished to see these two men, so different in appearance, on their knees, preventing their companion from going on. She, however, who had been stopped, breaking silence, said angrily and testily, "Get out of the way, bad luck to you, and let us pass, for we are in a hurry."
To which Sancho returned, "Oh, princess and universal lady of El Toboso, is not your magnanimous heart softened by seeing the pillar and prop of knight-errantry on his knees before your sublimated presence?"
On hearing this, one of the others exclaimed, "Woa then! why, I'm rubbing thee down, she-ass of my father-in-law! See how the lordlings come to make game of the village girls now, as if we here could not chaff as well as themselves. Go your own way, and let us go ours, and it will be better for you."
"Get up, Sancho," said Don Quixote at this; "I see that fortune, 'with evil done to me unsated still,' has taken possession of all the roads by which any comfort may reach 'this wretched soul' that I carry in my flesh. And thou, highest perfection of excellence that can be desired, utmost limit of grace in human shape, sole relief of this afflicted heart that adores thee, though the malign enchanter that persecutes me has brought clouds and cataracts on my eyes, and to them, and them only, transformed thy unparagoned beauty and changed thy features into those of a poor peasant girl, if so be he has not at the same time changed mine into those of some monster to render them loathsome in thy sight, refuse not to look upon me with tenderness and love; seeing in this submission that I make on my knees to thy transformed beauty the humility with which my soul adores thee."
"Hey-day! My grandfather!" cried the girl, "much I care for your love-making! Get out of the way and let us pass, and we'll thank you."
Sancho stood aside and let her go, very well pleased to have got so well out of the hobble he was in. The instant the village lass who had done duty for Dulcinea found herself free, prodding her "cackney" with a spike she had at the end of a stick, she set off at full speed across the field. The she-ass, however, feeling the point more acutely than usual, began cutting such capers, that it flung the lady Dulcinea to the ground; seeing which, Don Quixote ran to raise her up, and Sancho to fix and girth the pack-saddle, which also had slipped under the ass's belly. The pack-saddle being secured, as Don Quixote was about to lift up his enchanted mistress in his arms and put her upon her beast, the lady, getting up from the ground, saved him the trouble, for, going back a little, she took a short run, and putting both hands on the croup of the ass she dropped into the saddle more lightly than a falcon, and sat astride like a man, whereat Sancho said, "Rogue! but our lady is lighter than a lanner, and might teach the cleverest Cordovan or Mexican how to mount; she cleared the back of the saddle in one jump, and without spurs she is making the hackney go like a zebra; and her damsels are no way behind her, for they all fly like the wind;" which was the truth, for as soon as they saw Dulcinea mounted, they pushed on after her, and sped away without looking back, for more than half a league.
Don Quixote followed them with his eyes, and when they were no longer in sight, he turned to Sancho and said, "How now, Sancho? thou seest how I am hated by enchanters! And see to what a length the malice and spite they bear me go, when they seek to deprive me of the happiness it would give me to see my lady in her own proper form. The fact is I was born to be an example of misfortune, and the target and mark at which the arrows of adversity are aimed and directed. Observe too, Sancho, that these traitors were not content with changing and transforming my Dulcinea, but they transformed and changed her into a shape as mean and ill-favoured as that of the village girl yonder; and at the same time they robbed her of that which is such a peculiar property of ladies of distinction, that is to say, the sweet fragrance that comes of being always among perfumes and flowers. For I must tell thee, Sancho, that when I approached to put Dulcinea upon her hackney (as thou sayest it was, though to me it appeared a she-ass), she gave me a whiff of raw garlic that made my head reel, and poisoned my very heart."
"O scum of the earth!" cried Sancho at this, "O miserable, spiteful enchanters! O that I could see you all strung by the gills, like sardines on a twig! Ye know a great deal, ye can do a great deal, and ye do a great deal more. It ought to have been enough for you, ye scoundrels, to have changed the pearls of my lady's eyes into oak galls, and her hair of purest gold into the bristles of a red ox's tail, and in short, all her features from fair to foul, without meddling with her smell; for by that we might somehow have found out what was hidden underneath that ugly rind; though, to tell the truth, I never perceived her ugliness, but only her beauty, which was raised to the highest pitch of perfection by a mole she had on her right lip, like a moustache, with seven or eight red hairs like threads of gold, and more than a palm long."
"From the correspondence which exists between those of the face and those of the body," said Don Quixote, "Dulcinea must have another mole resembling that on the thick of the thigh on that side on which she has the one on her ace; but hairs of the length thou hast mentioned are very long for moles."
"Well, all I can say is there they were as plain as could be," replied Sancho.
"I believe it, my friend," returned Don Quixote; "for nature bestowed nothing on Dulcinea that was not perfect and well-finished; and so, if she had a hundred moles like the one thou hast described, in her they would not be moles, but moons and shining stars. But tell me, Sancho, that which seemed to me to be a pack-saddle as thou wert fixing it, was it a flat-saddle or a side-saddle?"
"It was neither," replied Sancho, "but a jineta saddle, with a field covering worth half a kingdom, so rich is it."
"And that I could not see all this, Sancho!" said Don Quixote; "once more I say, and will say a thousand times, I am the most unfortunate of men."
Sancho, the rogue, had enough to do to hide his laughter, at hearing the simplicity of the master he had so nicely befooled. At length, after a good deal more conversation had passed between them, they remounted their beasts, and followed the road to Saragossa, which they expected to reach in time to take part in a certain grand festival which is held every year in that illustrious city; but before they got there things happened to them, so many, so important, and so strange, that they deserve to be recorded and read, as will be seen farther on.