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Don Quixote by Miqeul de Cervantes [Saavedra]

Part 7 out of 21

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"To see if I have that mole your father spoke of," answered Don

"There is no occasion to strip," said Sancho; "for I know your
worship has just such a mole on the middle of your backbone, which
is the mark of a strong man."

"That is enough," said Dorothea, "for with friends we must not
look too closely into trifles; and whether it be on the shoulder or on
the backbone matters little; it is enough if there is a mole, be it
where it may, for it is all the same flesh; no doubt my good father
hit the truth in every particular, and I have made a lucky hit in
commending myself to Don Quixote; for he is the one my father spoke
of, as the features of his countenance correspond with those
assigned to this knight by that wide fame he has acquired not only
in Spain but in all La Mancha; for I had scarcely landed at Osuna when
I heard such accounts of his achievements, that at once my heart
told me he was the very one I had come in search of."

"But how did you land at Osuna, senora," asked Don Quixote, "when it
is not a seaport?"

But before Dorothea could reply the curate anticipated her,
saying, "The princess meant to say that after she had landed at Malaga
the first place where she heard of your worship was Osuna."

"That is what I meant to say," said Dorothea.

"And that would be only natural," said the curate. "Will your
majesty please proceed?"

"There is no more to add," said Dorothea, "save that in finding
Don Quixote I have had such good fortune, that I already reckon and
regard myself queen and mistress of my entire dominions, since of
his courtesy and magnanimity he has granted me the boon of
accompanying me whithersoever I may conduct him, which will be only to
bring him face to face with Pandafilando of the Scowl, that he may
slay him and restore to me what has been unjustly usurped by him:
for all this must come to pass satisfactorily since my good father
Tinacrio the Sapient foretold it, who likewise left it declared in
writing in Chaldee or Greek characters (for I cannot read them),
that if this predicted knight, after having cut the giant's throat,
should be disposed to marry me I was to offer myself at once without
demur as his lawful wife, and yield him possession of my kingdom
together with my person."

"What thinkest thou now, friend Sancho?" said Don Quixote at this.
"Hearest thou that? Did I not tell thee so? See how we have already
got a kingdom to govern and a queen to marry!"

"On my oath it is so," said Sancho; "and foul fortune to him who
won't marry after slitting Senor Pandahilado's windpipe! And then, how
illfavoured the queen is! I wish the fleas in my bed were that sort!"

And so saying he cut a couple of capers in the air with every sign
of extreme satisfaction, and then ran to seize the bridle of
Dorothea's mule, and checking it fell on his knees before her, begging
her to give him her hand to kiss in token of his acknowledgment of her
as his queen and mistress. Which of the bystanders could have helped
laughing to see the madness of the master and the simplicity of the
servant? Dorothea therefore gave her hand, and promised to make him
a great lord in her kingdom, when Heaven should be so good as to
permit her to recover and enjoy it, for which Sancho returned thanks
in words that set them all laughing again.

"This, sirs," continued Dorothea, "is my story; it only remains to
tell you that of all the attendants I took with me from my kingdom I
have none left except this well-bearded squire, for all were drowned
in a great tempest we encountered when in sight of port; and he and
I came to land on a couple of planks as if by a miracle; and indeed
the whole course of my life is a miracle and a mystery as you may have
observed; and if I have been over minute in any respect or not as
precise as I ought, let it be accounted for by what the licentiate
said at the beginning of my tale, that constant and excessive troubles
deprive the sufferers of their memory."

"They shall not deprive me of mine, exalted and worthy princess,"
said Don Quixote, "however great and unexampled those which I shall
endure in your service may be; and here I confirm anew the boon I have
promised you, and I swear to go with you to the end of the world until
I find myself in the presence of your fierce enemy, whose haughty head
I trust by the aid of my arm to cut off with the edge of this- I
will not say good sword, thanks to Gines de Pasamonte who carried away
mine"- (this he said between his teeth, and then continued), "and when
it has been cut off and you have been put in peaceful possession of
your realm it shall be left to your own decision to dispose of your
person as may be most pleasing to you; for so long as my memory is
occupied, my will enslaved, and my understanding enthralled by her-
I say no more- it is impossible for me for a moment to contemplate
marriage, even with a Phoenix."

The last words of his master about not wanting to marry were so
disagreeable to Sancho that raising his voice he exclaimed with
great irritation:

"By my oath, Senor Don Quixote, you are not in your right senses;
for how can your worship possibly object to marrying such an exalted
princess as this? Do you think Fortune will offer you behind every
stone such a piece of luck as is offered you now? Is my lady
Dulcinea fairer, perchance? Not she; nor half as fair; and I will even
go so far as to say she does not come up to the shoe of this one here.
A poor chance I have of getting that county I am waiting for if your
worship goes looking for dainties in the bottom of the sea. In the
devil's name, marry, marry, and take this kingdom that comes to hand
without any trouble, and when you are king make me a marquis or
governor of a province, and for the rest let the devil take it all."

Don Quixote, when he heard such blasphemies uttered against his lady
Dulcinea, could not endure it, and lifting his pike, without saying
anything to Sancho or uttering a word, he gave him two such thwacks
that he brought him to the ground; and had it not been that Dorothea
cried out to him to spare him he would have no doubt taken his life on
the spot.

"Do you think," he said to him after a pause, "you scurvy clown,
that you are to be always interfering with me, and that you are to
be always offending and I always pardoning? Don't fancy it, impious
scoundrel, for that beyond a doubt thou art, since thou hast set thy
tongue going against the peerless Dulcinea. Know you not, lout,
vagabond, beggar, that were it not for the might that she infuses into
my arm I should not have strength enough to kill a flea? Say,
scoffer with a viper's tongue, what think you has won this kingdom and
cut off this giant's head and made you a marquis (for all this I count
as already accomplished and decided), but the might of Dulcinea,
employing my arm as the instrument of her achievements? She fights
in me and conquers in me, and I live and breathe in her, and owe my
life and being to her. O whoreson scoundrel, how ungrateful you are,
you see yourself raised from the dust of the earth to be a titled
lord, and the return you make for so great a benefit is to speak
evil of her who has conferred it upon you!"

Sancho was not so stunned but that he heard all his master said, and
rising with some degree of nimbleness he ran to place himself behind
Dorothea's palfrey, and from that position he said to his master:

"Tell me, senor; if your worship is resolved not to marry this great
princess, it is plain the kingdom will not be yours; and not being so,
how can you bestow favours upon me? That is what I complain of. Let
your worship at any rate marry this queen, now that we have got her
here as if showered down from heaven, and afterwards you may go back
to my lady Dulcinea; for there must have been kings in the world who
kept mistresses. As to beauty, I have nothing to do with it; and if
the truth is to be told, I like them both; though I have never seen
the lady Dulcinea."

"How! never seen her, blasphemous traitor!" exclaimed Don Quixote;
"hast thou not just now brought me a message from her?"

"I mean," said Sancho, "that I did not see her so much at my leisure
that I could take particular notice of her beauty, or of her charms
piecemeal; but taken in the lump I like her."

"Now I forgive thee," said Don Quixote; "and do thou forgive me
the injury I have done thee; for our first impulses are not in our

"That I see," replied Sancho, "and with me the wish to speak is
always the first impulse, and I cannot help saying, once at any
rate, what I have on the tip of my tongue."

"For all that, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "take heed of what thou
sayest, for the pitcher goes so often to the well- I need say no
more to thee."

"Well, well," said Sancho, "God is in heaven, and sees all tricks,
and will judge who does most harm, I in not speaking right, or your
worship in not doing it."

"That is enough," said Dorothea; "run, Sancho, and kiss your
lord's hand and beg his pardon, and henceforward be more circumspect
with your praise and abuse; and say nothing in disparagement of that
lady Toboso, of whom I know nothing save that I am her servant; and
put your trust in God, for you will not fail to obtain some dignity so
as to live like a prince."

Sancho advanced hanging his head and begged his master's hand, which
Don Quixote with dignity presented to him, giving him his blessing
as soon as he had kissed it; he then bade him go on ahead a little, as
he had questions to ask him and matters of great importance to discuss
with him. Sancho obeyed, and when the two had gone some distance in
advance Don Quixote said to him, "Since thy return I have had no
opportunity or time to ask thee many particulars touching thy
mission and the answer thou hast brought back, and now that chance has
granted us the time and opportunity, deny me not the happiness thou
canst give me by such good news."

"Let your worship ask what you will," answered Sancho, "for I
shall find a way out of all as as I found a way in; but I implore you,
senor, not not to be so revengeful in future."

"Why dost thou say that, Sancho?" said Don Quixote.

"I say it," he returned, "because those blows just now were more
because of the quarrel the devil stirred up between us both the
other night, than for what I said against my lady Dulcinea, whom I
love and reverence as I would a relic- though there is nothing of that
about her- merely as something belonging to your worship."

"Say no more on that subject for thy life, Sancho," said Don
Quixote, "for it is displeasing to me; I have already pardoned thee
for that, and thou knowest the common saying, 'for a fresh sin a fresh

While this was going on they saw coming along the road they were
following a man mounted on an ass, who when he came close seemed to be
a gipsy; but Sancho Panza, whose eyes and heart were there wherever he
saw asses, no sooner beheld the man than he knew him to be Gines de
Pasamonte; and by the thread of the gipsy he got at the ball, his ass,
for it was, in fact, Dapple that carried Pasamonte, who to escape
recognition and to sell the ass had disguised himself as a gipsy,
being able to speak the gipsy language, and many more, as well as if
they were his own. Sancho saw him and recognised him, and the
instant he did so he shouted to him, "Ginesillo, you thief, give up my
treasure, release my life, embarrass thyself not with my repose,
quit my ass, leave my delight, be off, rip, get thee gone, thief,
and give up what is not thine."

There was no necessity for so many words or objurgations, for at the
first one Gines jumped down, and at a like racing speed made off and
got clear of them all. Sancho hastened to his Dapple, and embracing
him he said, "How hast thou fared, my blessing, Dapple of my eyes,
my comrade?" all the while kissing him and caressing him as if he were
a human being. The ass held his peace, and let himself be kissed and
caressed by Sancho without answering a single word. They all came up
and congratulated him on having found Dapple, Don Quixote
especially, who told him that notwithstanding this he would not cancel
the order for the three ass-colts, for which Sancho thanked him.

While the two had been going along conversing in this fashion, the
curate observed to Dorothea that she had shown great cleverness, as
well in the story itself as in its conciseness, and the resemblance it
bore to those of the books of chivalry. She said that she had many
times amused herself reading them; but that she did not know the
situation of the provinces or seaports, and so she had said at
haphazard that she had landed at Osuna.

"So I saw," said the curate, "and for that reason I made haste to
say what I did, by which it was all set right. But is it not a strange
thing to see how readily this unhappy gentleman believes all these
figments and lies, simply because they are in the style and manner
of the absurdities of his books?"

"So it is," said Cardenio; "and so uncommon and unexampled, that
were one to attempt to invent and concoct it in fiction, I doubt if
there be any wit keen enough to imagine it."

"But another strange thing about it," said the curate, "is that,
apart from the silly things which this worthy gentleman says in
connection with his craze, when other subjects are dealt with, he
can discuss them in a perfectly rational manner, showing that his mind
is quite clear and composed; so that, provided his chivalry is not
touched upon, no one would take him to be anything but a man of
thoroughly sound understanding."

While they were holding this conversation Don Quixote continued
his with Sancho, saying:

"Friend Panza, let us forgive and forget as to our quarrels, and
tell me now, dismissing anger and irritation, where, how, and when
didst thou find Dulcinea? What was she doing? What didst thou say to
her? What did she answer? How did she look when she was reading my
letter? Who copied it out for thee? and everything in the matter
that seems to thee worth knowing, asking, and learning; neither adding
nor falsifying to give me pleasure, nor yet curtailing lest you should
deprive me of it."

"Senor," replied Sancho, "if the truth is to be told, nobody
copied out the letter for me, for I carried no letter at all."

"It is as thou sayest," said Don Quixote, "for the note-book in
which I wrote it I found in my own possession two days after thy
departure, which gave me very great vexation, as I knew not what
thou wouldst do on finding thyself without any letter; and I made sure
thou wouldst return from the place where thou didst first miss it."

"So I should have done," said Sancho, "if I had not got it by
heart when your worship read it to me, so that I repeated it to a
sacristan, who copied it out for me from hearing it, so exactly that
he said in all the days of his life, though he had read many a
letter of excommunication, he had never seen or read so pretty a
letter as that."

"And hast thou got it still in thy memory, Sancho?" said Don

"No, senor," replied Sancho, "for as soon as I had repeated it,
seeing there was no further use for it, I set about forgetting it; and
if I recollect any of it, it is that about 'Scrubbing,'I mean to say
'Sovereign Lady,' and the end 'Yours till death, the Knight of the
Rueful Countenance;' and between these two I put into it more than
three hundred 'my souls' and 'my life's' and 'my eyes."



"All that is not unsatisfactory to me," said Don Quixote. "Go on;
thou didst reach her; and what was that queen of beauty doing?
Surely thou didst find her stringing pearls, or embroidering some
device in gold thread for this her enslaved knight."

"I did not," said Sancho, "but I found her winnowing two bushels
of wheat in the yard of her house."

"Then depend upon it," said Don Quixote, "the grains of that wheat
were pearls when touched by her hands; and didst thou look, friend?
was it white wheat or brown?"

"It was neither, but red," said Sancho.

"Then I promise thee," said Don Quixote, "that, winnowed by her
hands, beyond a doubt the bread it made was of the whitest; but go on;
when thou gavest her my letter, did she kiss it? Did she place it on
her head? Did she perform any ceremony befitting it, or what did she

"When I went to give it to her," replied Sancho, "she was hard at it
swaying from side to side with a lot of wheat she had in the sieve,
and she said to me, 'Lay the letter, friend, on the top of that
sack, for I cannot read it until I have done sifting all this."

"Discreet lady!" said Don Quixote; "that was in order to read it
at her leisure and enjoy it; proceed, Sancho; while she was engaged in
her occupation what converse did she hold with thee? What did she
ask about me, and what answer didst thou give? Make haste; tell me
all, and let not an atom be left behind in the ink-bottle."

"She asked me nothing," said Sancho; "but I told her how your
worship was left doing penance in her service, naked from the waist
up, in among these mountains like a savage, sleeping on the ground,
not eating bread off a tablecloth nor combing your beard, weeping
and cursing your fortune."

"In saying I cursed my fortune thou saidst wrong," said Don Quixote;
"for rather do I bless it and shall bless it all the days of my life
for having made me worthy of aspiring to love so lofty a lady as
Dulcinea del Toboso."

"And so lofty she is," said Sancho, "that she overtops me by more
than a hand's-breadth."

"What! Sancho," said Don Quixote, "didst thou measure with her?"

"I measured in this way," said Sancho; "going to help her to put a
sack of wheat on the back of an ass, we came so close together that
I could see she stood more than a good palm over me."

"Well!" said Don Quixote, "and doth she not of a truth accompany and
adorn this greatness with a thousand million charms of mind! But one
thing thou wilt not deny, Sancho; when thou camest close to her
didst thou not perceive a Sabaean odour, an aromatic fragrance, a, I
know not what, delicious, that I cannot find a name for; I mean a
redolence, an exhalation, as if thou wert in the shop of some dainty

"All I can say is," said Sancho, "that I did perceive a little
odour, something goaty; it must have been that she was all in a
sweat with hard work."

"It could not be that," said Don Quixote, "but thou must have been
suffering from cold in the head, or must have smelt thyself; for I
know well what would be the scent of that rose among thorns, that lily
of the field, that dissolved amber."

"Maybe so," replied Sancho; "there often comes from myself that same
odour which then seemed to me to come from her grace the lady
Dulcinea; but that's no wonder, for one devil is like another."

"Well then," continued Don Quixote, "now she has done sifting the
corn and sent it to the mill; what did she do when she read the

"As for the letter," said Sancho, "she did not read it, for she said
she could neither read nor write; instead of that she tore it up
into small pieces, saying that she did not want to let anyone read
it lest her secrets should become known in the village, and that
what I had told her by word of mouth about the love your worship
bore her, and the extraordinary penance you were doing for her sake,
was enough; and, to make an end of it, she told me to tell your
worship that she kissed your hands, and that she had a greater
desire to see you than to write to you; and that therefore she
entreated and commanded you, on sight of this present, to come out
of these thickets, and to have done with carrying on absurdities,
and to set out at once for El Toboso, unless something else of greater
importance should happen, for she had a great desire to see your
worship. She laughed greatly when I told her how your worship was
called The Knight of the Rueful Countenance; I asked her if that
Biscayan the other day had been there; and she told me he had, and
that he was an honest fellow; I asked her too about the galley slaves,
but she said she had not seen any as yet."

"So far all goes well," said Don Quixote; "but tell me what jewel
was it that she gave thee on taking thy leave, in return for thy
tidings of me? For it is a usual and ancient custom with knights and
ladies errant to give the squires, damsels, or dwarfs who bring
tidings of their ladies to the knights, or of their knights to the
ladies, some rich jewel as a guerdon for good news,' and
acknowledgment of the message."

"That is very likely," said Sancho, "and a good custom it was, to my
mind; but that must have been in days gone by, for now it would seem
to be the custom only to give a piece of bread and cheese; because
that was what my lady Dulcinea gave me over the top of the yard-wall
when I took leave of her; and more by token it was sheep's-milk

"She is generous in the extreme," said Don Quixote, "and if she
did not give thee a jewel of gold, no doubt it must have been
because she had not one to hand there to give thee; but sleeves are
good after Easter; I shall see her and all shall be made right. But
knowest thou what amazes me, Sancho? It seems to me thou must have
gone and come through the air, for thou hast taken but little more
than three days to go to El Toboso and return, though it is more
than thirty leagues from here to there. From which I am inclined to
think that the sage magician who is my friend, and watches over my
interests (for of necessity there is and must be one, or else I should
not be a right knight-errant), that this same, I say, must have helped
thee to travel without thy knowledge; for some of these sages will
catch up a knight-errant sleeping in his bed, and without his
knowing how or in what way it happened, he wakes up the next day
more than a thousand leagues away from the place where he went to
sleep. And if it were not for this, knights-errant would not be able
to give aid to one another in peril, as they do at every turn. For a
knight, maybe, is fighting in the mountains of Armenia with some
dragon, or fierce serpent, or another knight, and gets the worst of
the battle, and is at the point of death; but when he least looks
for it, there appears over against him on a cloud, or chariot of fire,
another knight, a friend of his, who just before had been in
England, and who takes his part, and delivers him from death; and at
night he finds himself in his own quarters supping very much to his
satisfaction; and yet from one place to the other will have been two
or three thousand leagues. And all this is done by the craft and skill
of the sage enchanters who take care of those valiant knights; so
that, friend Sancho, I find no difficulty in believing that thou
mayest have gone from this place to El Toboso and returned in such a
short time, since, as I have said, some friendly sage must have
carried thee through the air without thee perceiving it."

"That must have been it," said Sancho, "for indeed Rocinante went
like a gipsy's ass with quicksilver in his ears."

"Quicksilver!" said Don Quixote, "aye and what is more, a legion
of devils, folk that can travel and make others travel without being
weary, exactly as the whim seizes them. But putting this aside, what
thinkest thou I ought to do about my lady's command to go and see her?
For though I feel that I am bound to obey her mandate, I feel too that
I am debarred by the boon I have accorded to the princess that
accompanies us, and the law of chivalry compels me to have regard
for my word in preference to my inclination; on the one hand the
desire to see my lady pursues and harasses me, on the other my
solemn promise and the glory I shall win in this enterprise urge and
call me; but what I think I shall do is to travel with all speed and
reach quickly the place where this giant is, and on my arrival I shall
cut off his head, and establish the princess peacefully in her
realm, and forthwith I shall return to behold the light that
lightens my senses, to whom I shall make such excuses that she will be
led to approve of my delay, for she will see that it entirely tends to
increase her glory and fame; for all that I have won, am winning, or
shall win by arms in this life, comes to me of the favour she
extends to me, and because I am hers."

"Ah! what a sad state your worship's brains are in!" said Sancho.
"Tell me, senor, do you mean to travel all that way for nothing, and
to let slip and lose so rich and great a match as this where they give
as a portion a kingdom that in sober truth I have heard say is more
than twenty thousand leagues round about, and abounds with all
things necessary to support human life, and is bigger than Portugal
and Castile put together? Peace, for the love of God! Blush for what
you have said, and take my advice, and forgive me, and marry at once
in the first village where there is a curate; if not, here is our
licentiate who will do the business beautifully; remember, I am old
enough to give advice, and this I am giving comes pat to the
purpose; for a sparrow in the hand is better than a vulture on the
wing, and he who has the good to his hand and chooses the bad, that
the good he complains of may not come to him."

"Look here, Sancho," said Don Quixote. "If thou art advising me to
marry, in order that immediately on slaying the giant I may become
king, and be able to confer favours on thee, and give thee what I have
promised, let me tell thee I shall be able very easily to satisfy
thy desires without marrying; for before going into battle I will make
it a stipulation that, if I come out of it victorious, even I do not
marry, they shall give me a portion portion of the kingdom, that I may
bestow it upon whomsoever I choose, and when they give it to me upon
whom wouldst thou have me bestow it but upon thee?"

"That is plain speaking," said Sancho; "but let your worship take
care to choose it on the seacoast, so that if I don't like the life, I
may be able to ship off my black vassals and deal with them as I
have said; don't mind going to see my lady Dulcinea now, but go and
kill this giant and let us finish off this business; for by God it
strikes me it will be one of great honour and great profit."

"I hold thou art in the right of it, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and
I will take thy advice as to accompanying the princess before going to
see Dulcinea; but I counsel thee not to say anything to any one, or to
those who are with us, about what we have considered and discussed,
for as Dulcinea is so decorous that she does not wish her thoughts
to be known it is not right that I or anyone for me should disclose

"Well then, if that be so," said Sancho, "how is it that your
worship makes all those you overcome by your arm go to present
themselves before my lady Dulcinea, this being the same thing as
signing your name to it that you love her and are her lover? And as
those who go must perforce kneel before her and say they come from
your worship to submit themselves to her, how can the thoughts of both
of you be hid?"

"O, how silly and simple thou art!" said Don Quixote; "seest thou
not, Sancho, that this tends to her greater exaltation? For thou
must know that according to our way of thinking in chivalry, it is a
high honour to a lady to have many knights-errant in her service,
whose thoughts never go beyond serving her for her own sake, and who
look for no other reward for their great and true devotion than that
she should be willing to accept them as her knights."

"It is with that kind of love," said Sancho, "I have heard preachers
say we ought to love our Lord, for himself alone, without being
moved by the hope of glory or the fear of punishment; though for my
part, I would rather love and serve him for what he could do."

"The devil take thee for a clown!" said Don Quixote, "and what
shrewd things thou sayest at times! One would think thou hadst

"In faith, then, I cannot even read."

Master Nicholas here called out to them to wait a while, as they
wanted to halt and drink at a little spring there was there. Don
Quixote drew up, not a little to the satisfaction of Sancho, for he
was by this time weary of telling so many lies, and in dread of his
master catching him tripping, for though he knew that Dulcinea was a
peasant girl of El Toboso, he had never seen her in all his life.
Cardenio had now put on the clothes which Dorothea was wearing when
they found her, and though they were not very good, they were far
better than those he put off. They dismounted together by the side
of the spring, and with what the curate had provided himself with at
the inn they appeased, though not very well, the keen appetite they
all of them brought with them.

While they were so employed there happened to come by a youth
passing on his way, who stopping to examine the party at the spring,
the next moment ran to Don Quixote and clasping him round the legs,
began to weep freely, saying, "O, senor, do you not know me? Look at
me well; I am that lad Andres that your worship released from the
oak-tree where I was tied."

Don Quixote recognised him, and taking his hand he turned to those
present and said: "That your worships may see how important it is to
have knights-errant to redress the wrongs and injuries done by
tyrannical and wicked men in this world, I may tell you that some days
ago passing through a wood, I heard cries and piteous complaints as of
a person in pain and distress; I immediately hastened, impelled by
my bounden duty, to the quarter whence the plaintive accents seemed to
me to proceed, and I found tied to an oak this lad who now stands
before you, which in my heart I rejoice at, for his testimony will not
permit me to depart from the truth in any particular. He was, I say,
tied to an oak, naked from the waist up, and a clown, whom I
afterwards found to be his master, was scarifying him by lashes with
the reins of his mare. As soon as I saw him I asked the reason of so
cruel a flagellation. The boor replied that he was flogging him
because he was his servant and because of carelessness that
proceeded rather from dishonesty than stupidity; on which this boy
said, 'Senor, he flogs me only because I ask for my wages.' The master
made I know not what speeches and explanations, which, though I
listened to them, I did not accept. In short, I compelled the clown to
unbind him, and to swear he would take him with him, and pay him
real by real, and perfumed into the bargain. Is not all this true,
Andres my son? Didst thou not mark with what authority I commanded
him, and with what humility he promised to do all I enjoined,
specified, and required of him? Answer without hesitation; tell
these gentlemen what took place, that they may see that it is as great
an advantage as I say to have knights-errant abroad."

"All that your worship has said is quite true," answered the lad;
"but the end of the business turned out just the opposite of what your
worship supposes."

"How! the opposite?" said Don Quixote; "did not the clown pay thee

"Not only did he not pay me," replied the lad, "but as soon as
your worship had passed out of the wood and we were alone, he tied
me up again to the same oak and gave me a fresh flogging, that left me
like a flayed Saint Bartholomew; and every stroke he gave me he
followed up with some jest or gibe about having made a fool of your
worship, and but for the pain I was suffering I should have laughed at
the things he said. In short he left me in such a condition that I
have been until now in a hospital getting cured of the injuries
which that rascally clown inflicted on me then; for all which your
worship is to blame; for if you had gone your own way and not come
where there was no call for you, nor meddled in other people's
affairs, my master would have been content with giving me one or two
dozen lashes, and would have then loosed me and paid me what he owed
me; but when your worship abused him so out of measure, and gave him
so many hard words, his anger was kindled; and as he could not revenge
himself on you, as soon as he saw you had left him the storm burst
upon me in such a way, that I feel as if I should never be a man

"The mischief," said Don Quixote, "lay in my going away; for I
should not have gone until I had seen thee paid; because I ought to
have known well by long experience that there is no clown who will
keep his word if he finds it will not suit him to keep it; but thou
rememberest, Andres, that I swore if he did not pay thee I would go
and seek him, and find him though he were to hide himself in the
whale's belly."

"That is true," said Andres; "but it was of no use."

"Thou shalt see now whether it is of use or not," said Don
Quixote; and so saying, he got up hastily and bade Sancho bridle
Rocinante, who was browsing while they were eating. Dorothea asked him
what he meant to do. He replied that he meant to go in search of
this clown and chastise him for such iniquitous conduct, and see
Andres paid to the last maravedi, despite and in the teeth of all
the clowns in the world. To which she replied that he must remember
that in accordance with his promise he could not engage in any
enterprise until he had concluded hers; and that as he knew this
better than anyone, he should restrain his ardour until his return
from her kingdom.

"That is true," said Don Quixote, "and Andres must have patience
until my return as you say, senora; but I once more swear and
promise not to stop until I have seen him avenged and paid."

"I have no faith in those oaths," said Andres; "I would rather
have now something to help me to get to Seville than all the
revenges in the world; if you have here anything to eat that I can
take with me, give it me, and God be with your worship and all
knights-errant; and may their errands turn out as well for
themselves as they have for me."

Sancho took out from his store a piece of bread and another of
cheese, and giving them to the lad he said, "Here, take this,
brother Andres, for we have all of us a share in your misfortune."

"Why, what share have you got?"

"This share of bread and cheese I am giving you," answered Sancho;
"and God knows whether I shall feel the want of it myself or not;
for I would have you know, friend, that we squires to knights-errant
have to bear a great deal of hunger and hard fortune, and even other
things more easily felt than told."

Andres seized his bread and cheese, and seeing that nobody gave
him anything more, bent his head, and took hold of the road, as the
saying is. However, before leaving he said, "For the love of God,
sir knight-errant, if you ever meet me again, though you may see
them cutting me to pieces, give me no aid or succour, but leave me
to my misfortune, which will not be so great but that a greater will
come to me by being helped by your worship, on whom and all the
knights-errant that have ever been born God send his curse."

Don Quixote was getting up to chastise him, but he took to his heels
at such a pace that no one attempted to follow him; and mightily
chapfallen was Don Quixote at Andres' story, and the others had to
take great care to restrain their laughter so as not to put him
entirely out of countenance.



Their dainty repast being finished, they saddled at once, and
without any adventure worth mentioning they reached next day the
inn, the object of Sancho Panza's fear and dread; but though he
would have rather not entered it, there was no help for it. The
landlady, the landlord, their daughter, and Maritornes, when they
saw Don Quixote and Sancho coming, went out to welcome them with signs
of hearty satisfaction, which Don Quixote received with dignity and
gravity, and bade them make up a better bed for him than the last
time: to which the landlady replied that if he paid better than he did
the last time she would give him one fit for a prince. Don Quixote
said he would, so they made up a tolerable one for him in the same
garret as before; and he lay down at once, being sorely shaken and
in want of sleep.

No sooner was the door shut upon him than the landlady made at the
barber, and seizing him by the beard, said:

"By my faith you are not going to make a beard of my tail any
longer; you must give me back tail, for it is a shame the way that
thing of my husband's goes tossing about on the floor; I mean the comb
that I used to stick in my good tail."

But for all she tugged at it the barber would not give it up until
the licentiate told him to let her have it, as there was now no
further occasion for that stratagem, because he might declare
himself and appear in his own character, and tell Don Quixote that
he had fled to this inn when those thieves the galley slaves robbed
him; and should he ask for the princess's squire, they could tell
him that she had sent him on before her to give notice to the people
of her kingdom that she was coming, and bringing with her the
deliverer of them all. On this the barber cheerfully restored the tail
to the landlady, and at the same time they returned all the
accessories they had borrowed to effect Don Quixote's deliverance. All
the people of the inn were struck with astonishment at the beauty of
Dorothea, and even at the comely figure of the shepherd Cardenio.
The curate made them get ready such fare as there was in the inn,
and the landlord, in hope of better payment, served them up a
tolerably good dinner. All this time Don Quixote was asleep, and
they thought it best not to waken him, as sleeping would now do him
more good than eating.

While at dinner, the company consisting of the landlord, his wife,
their daughter, Maritornes, and all the travellers, they discussed the
strange craze of Don Quixote and the manner in which he had been
found; and the landlady told them what had taken place between him and
the carrier; and then, looking round to see if Sancho was there,
when she saw he was not, she gave them the whole story of his
blanketing, which they received with no little amusement. But on the
curate observing that it was the books of chivalry which Don Quixote
had read that had turned his brain, the landlord said:

"I cannot understand how that can be, for in truth to my mind
there is no better reading in the world, and I have here two or
three of them, with other writings that are the very life, not only of
myself but of plenty more; for when it is harvest-time, the reapers
flock here on holidays, and there is always one among them who can
read and who takes up one of these books, and we gather round him,
thirty or more of us, and stay listening to him with a delight that
makes our grey hairs grow young again. At least I can say for myself
that when I hear of what furious and terrible blows the knights
deliver, I am seized with the longing to do the same, and I would like
to be hearing about them night and day."

"And I just as much," said the landlady, "because I never have a
quiet moment in my house except when you are listening to some one
reading; for then you are so taken up that for the time being you
forget to scold."

"That is true," said Maritornes; "and, faith, I relish hearing these
things greatly too, for they are very pretty; especially when they
describe some lady or another in the arms of her knight under the
orange trees, and the duenna who is keeping watch for them half dead
with envy and fright; all this I say is as good as honey."

"And you, what do you think, young lady?" said the curate turning to
the landlord's daughter.

"I don't know indeed, senor," said she; "I listen too, and to tell
the truth, though I do not understand it, I like hearing it; but it is
not the blows that my father likes that I like, but the laments the
knights utter when they are separated from their ladies; and indeed
they sometimes make me weep with the pity I feel for them."

"Then you would console them if it was for you they wept, young
lady?" said Dorothea.

"I don't know what I should do," said the girl; "I only know that
there are some of those ladies so cruel that they call their knights
tigers and lions and a thousand other foul names: and Jesus! I don't
know what sort of folk they can be, so unfeeling and heartless, that
rather than bestow a glance upon a worthy man they leave him to die or
go mad. I don't know what is the good of such prudery; if it is for
honour's sake, why not marry them? That's all they want."

"Hush, child," said the landlady; "it seems to me thou knowest a
great deal about these things, and it is not fit for girls to know
or talk so much."

"As the gentleman asked me, I could not help answering him," said
the girl.

"Well then," said the curate, "bring me these books, senor landlord,
for I should like to see them."

"With all my heart," said he, and going into his own room he brought
out an old valise secured with a little chain, on opening which the
curate found in it three large books and some manuscripts written in a
very good hand. The first that he opened he found to be "Don
Cirongilio of Thrace," and the second "Don Felixmarte of Hircania,"
and the other the "History of the Great Captain Gonzalo Hernandez de
Cordova, with the Life of Diego Garcia de Paredes."

When the curate read the two first titles he looked over at the
barber and said, "We want my friend's housekeeper and niece here now."

"Nay," said the barber, "I can do just as well to carry them to
the yard or to the hearth, and there is a very good fire there."

"What! your worship would burn my books!" said the landlord.

"Only these two," said the curate, "Don Cirongilio, and Felixmarte."

"Are my books, then, heretics or phlegmaties that you want to burn
them?" said the landlord.

"Schismatics you mean, friend," said the barber, "not phlegmatics."

"That's it," said the landlord; "but if you want to burn any, let it
be that about the Great Captain and that Diego Garcia; for I would
rather have a child of mine burnt than either of the others."

"Brother," said the curate, "those two books are made up of lies,
and are full of folly and nonsense; but this of the Great Captain is a
true history, and contains the deeds of Gonzalo Hernandez of
Cordova, who by his many and great achievements earned the title all
over the world of the Great Captain, a famous and illustrious name,
and deserved by him alone; and this Diego Garcia de Paredes was a
distinguished knight of the city of Trujillo in Estremadura, a most
gallant soldier, and of such bodily strength that with one finger he
stopped a mill-wheel in full motion; and posted with a two-handed
sword at the foot of a bridge he kept the whole of an immense army
from passing over it, and achieved such other exploits that if,
instead of his relating them himself with the modesty of a knight
and of one writing his own history, some free and unbiassed writer had
recorded them, they would have thrown into the shade all the deeds
of the Hectors, Achilleses, and Rolands."

"Tell that to my father," said the landlord. "There's a thing to
be astonished at! Stopping a mill-wheel! By God your worship should
read what I have read of Felixmarte of Hircania, how with one single
backstroke he cleft five giants asunder through the middle as if
they had been made of bean-pods like the little friars the children
make; and another time he attacked a very great and powerful army,
in which there were more than a million six hundred thousand soldiers,
all armed from head to foot, and he routed them all as if they had
been flocks of sheep. And then, what do you say to the good Cirongilio
of Thrace, that was so stout and bold; as may be seen in the book,
where it is related that as he was sailing along a river there came up
out of the midst of the water against him a fiery serpent, and he,
as soon as he saw it, flung himself upon it and got astride of its
scaly shoulders, and squeezed its throat with both hands with such
force that the serpent, finding he was throttling it, had nothing
for it but to let itself sink to the bottom of the river, carrying
with it the knight who would not let go his hold; and when they got
down there he found himself among palaces and gardens so pretty that
it was a wonder to see; and then the serpent changed itself into an
old ancient man, who told him such things as were never heard. Hold
your peace, senor; for if you were to hear this you would go mad
with delight. A couple of figs for your Great Captain and your Diego

Hearing this Dorothea said in a whisper to Cardenio, "Our landlord
is almost fit to play a second part to Don Quixote."

"I think so," said Cardenio, "for, as he shows, he accepts it as a
certainty that everything those books relate took place exactly as
it is written down; and the barefooted friars themselves would not
persuade him to the contrary."

"But consider, brother, said the curate once more, "there never
was any Felixmarte of Hircania in the world, nor any Cirongilio of
Thrace, or any of the other knights of the same sort, that the books
of chivalry talk of; the whole thing is the fabrication and
invention of idle wits, devised by them for the purpose you describe
of beguiling the time, as your reapers do when they read; for I
swear to you in all seriousness there never were any such knights in
the world, and no such exploits or nonsense ever happened anywhere."

"Try that bone on another dog," said the landlord; "as if I did
not know how many make five, and where my shoe pinches me; don't think
to feed me with pap, for by God I am no fool. It is a good joke for
your worship to try and persuade me that everything these good books
say is nonsense and lies, and they printed by the license of the Lords
of the Royal Council, as if they were people who would allow such a
lot of lies to be printed all together, and so many battles and
enchantments that they take away one's senses."

"I have told you, friend," said the curate, "that this is done to
divert our idle thoughts; and as in well-ordered states games of
chess, fives, and billiards are allowed for the diversion of those who
do not care, or are not obliged, or are unable to work, so books of
this kind are allowed to be printed, on the supposition that, what
indeed is the truth, there can be nobody so ignorant as to take any of
them for true stories; and if it were permitted me now, and the
present company desired it, I could say something about the
qualities books of chivalry should possess to be good ones, that would
be to the advantage and even to the taste of some; but I hope the time
will come when I can communicate my ideas to some one who may be
able to mend matters; and in the meantime, senor landlord, believe
what I have said, and take your books, and make up your mind about
their truth or falsehood, and much good may they do you; and God grant
you may not fall lame of the same foot your guest Don Quixote halts

"No fear of that," returned the landlord; "I shall not be so mad
as to make a knight-errant of myself; for I see well enough that
things are not now as they used to be in those days, when they say
those famous knights roamed about the world."

Sancho had made his appearance in the middle of this conversation,
and he was very much troubled and cast down by what he heard said
about knights-errant being now no longer in vogue, and all books of
chivalry being folly and lies; and he resolved in his heart to wait
and see what came of this journey of his master's, and if it did not
turn out as happily as his master expected, he determined to leave him
and go back to his wife and children and his ordinary labour.

The landlord was carrying away the valise and the books, but the
curate said to him, "Wait; I want to see what those papers are that
are written in such a good hand." The landlord taking them out
handed them to him to read, and he perceived they were a work of about
eight sheets of manuscript, with, in large letters at the beginning,
the title of "Novel of the Ill-advised Curiosity." The curate read
three or four lines to himself, and said, "I must say the title of
this novel does not seem to me a bad one, and I feel an inclination to
read it all." To which the landlord replied, "Then your reverence will
do well to read it, for I can tell you that some guests who have
read it here have been much pleased with it, and have begged it of
me very earnestly; but I would not give it, meaning to return it to
the person who forgot the valise, books, and papers here, for maybe he
will return here some time or other; and though I know I shall miss
the books, faith I mean to return them; for though I am an
innkeeper, still I am a Christian."

"You are very right, friend," said the curate; "but for all that, if
the novel pleases me you must let me copy it."

"With all my heart," replied the host.

While they were talking Cardenio had taken up the novel and begun to
read it, and forming the same opinion of it as the curate, he begged
him to read it so that they might all hear it.

"I would read it," said the curate, "if the time would not be better
spent in sleeping."

"It will be rest enough for me," said Dorothea, "to while away the
time by listening to some tale, for my spirits are not yet tranquil
enough to let me sleep when it would be seasonable."

"Well then, in that case," said the curate, "I will read it, if it
were only out of curiosity; perhaps it may contain something

Master Nicholas added his entreaties to the same effect, and
Sancho too; seeing which, and considering that he would give
pleasure to all, and receive it himself, the curate said, "Well
then, attend to me everyone, for the novel begins thus."



In Florence, a rich and famous city of Italy in the province
called Tuscany, there lived two gentlemen of wealth and quality,
Anselmo and Lothario, such great friends that by way of distinction
they were called by all that knew them "The Two Friends." They were
unmarried, young, of the same age and of the same tastes, which was
enough to account for the reciprocal friendship between them. Anselmo,
it is true, was somewhat more inclined to seek pleasure in love than
Lothario, for whom the pleasures of the chase had more attraction; but
on occasion Anselmo would forego his own tastes to yield to those of
Lothario, and Lothario would surrender his to fall in with those of
Anselmo, and in this way their inclinations kept pace one with the
other with a concord so perfect that the best regulated clock could
not surpass it.

Anselmo was deep in love with a high-born and beautiful maiden of
the same city, the daughter of parents so estimable, and so
estimable herself, that he resolved, with the approval of his friend
Lothario, without whom he did nothing, to ask her of them in marriage,
and did so, Lothario being the bearer of the demand, and conducting
the negotiation so much to the satisfaction of his friend that in a
short time he was in possession of the object of his desires, and
Camilla so happy in having won Anselmo for her husband, that she
gave thanks unceasingly to heaven and to Lothario, by whose means such
good fortune had fallen to her. The first few days, those of a wedding
being usually days of merry-making, Lothario frequented his friend
Anselmo's house as he had been wont, striving to do honour to him
and to the occasion, and to gratify him in every way he could; but
when the wedding days were over and the succession of visits and
congratulations had slackened, he began purposely to leave off going
to the house of Anselmo, for it seemed to him, as it naturally would
to all men of sense, that friends' houses ought not to be visited
after marriage with the same frequency as in their masters' bachelor
days: because, though true and genuine friendship cannot and should
not be in any way suspicious, still a married man's honour is a
thing of such delicacy that it is held liable to injury from brothers,
much more from friends. Anselmo remarked the cessation of Lothario's
visits, and complained of it to him, saying that if he had known
that marriage was to keep him from enjoying his society as he used, he
would have never married; and that, if by the thorough harmony that
subsisted between them while he was a bachelor they had earned such
a sweet name as that of "The Two Friends," he should not allow a title
so rare and so delightful to be lost through a needless anxiety to act
circumspectly; and so he entreated him, if such a phrase was allowable
between them, to be once more master of his house and to come in and
go out as formerly, assuring him that his wife Camilla had no other
desire or inclination than that which he would wish her to have, and
that knowing how sincerely they loved one another she was grieved to
see such coldness in him.

To all this and much more that Anselmo said to Lothario to
persuade him to come to his house as he had been in the habit of
doing, Lothario replied with so much prudence, sense, and judgment,
that Anselmo was satisfied of his friend's good intentions, and it was
agreed that on two days in the week, and on holidays, Lothario
should come to dine with him; but though this arrangement was made
between them Lothario resolved to observe it no further than he
considered to be in accordance with the honour of his friend, whose
good name was more to him than his own. He said, and justly, that a
married man upon whom heaven had bestowed a beautiful wife should
consider as carefully what friends he brought to his house as what
female friends his wife associated with, for what cannot be done or
arranged in the market-place, in church, at public festivals or at
stations (opportunities that husbands cannot always deny their wives),
may be easily managed in the house of the female friend or relative in
whom most confidence is reposed. Lothario said, too, that every
married man should have some friend who would point out to him any
negligence he might be guilty of in his conduct, for it will sometimes
happen that owing to the deep affection the husband bears his wife
either he does not caution her, or, not to vex her, refrains from
telling her to do or not to do certain things, doing or avoiding which
may be a matter of honour or reproach to him; and errors of this
kind he could easily correct if warned by a friend. But where is
such a friend to be found as Lothario would have, so judicious, so
loyal, and so true?

Of a truth I know not; Lothario alone was such a one, for with the
utmost care and vigilance he watched over the honour of his friend,
and strove to diminish, cut down, and reduce the number of days for
going to his house according to their agreement, lest the visits of
a young man, wealthy, high-born, and with the attractions he was
conscious of possessing, at the house of a woman so beautiful as
Camilla, should be regarded with suspicion by the inquisitive and
malicious eyes of the idle public. For though his integrity and
reputation might bridle slanderous tongues, still he was unwilling
to hazard either his own good name or that of his friend; and for this
reason most of the days agreed upon he devoted to some other
business which he pretended was unavoidable; so that a great portion
of the day was taken up with complaints on one side and excuses on the
other. It happened, however, that on one occasion when the two were
strolling together outside the city, Anselmo addressed the following
words to Lothario.

"Thou mayest suppose, Lothario my friend, that I am unable to give
sufficient thanks for the favours God has rendered me in making me the
son of such parents as mine were, and bestowing upon me with no
niggard hand what are called the gifts of nature as well as those of
fortune, and above all for what he has done in giving me thee for a
friend and Camilla for a wife- two treasures that I value, if not as
highly as I ought, at least as highly as I am able. And yet, with
all these good things, which are commonly all that men need to
enable them to live happily, I am the most discontented and
dissatisfied man in the whole world; for, I know not how long since, I
have been harassed and oppressed by a desire so strange and so
unusual, that I wonder at myself and blame and chide myself when I
am alone, and strive to stifle it and hide it from my own thoughts,
and with no better success than if I were endeavouring deliberately to
publish it to all the world; and as, in short, it must come out, I
would confide it to thy safe keeping, feeling sure that by this means,
and by thy readiness as a true friend to afford me relief, I shall
soon find myself freed from the distress it causes me, and that thy
care will give me happiness in the same degree as my own folly has
caused me misery."

The words of Anselmo struck Lothario with astonishment, unable as he
was to conjecture the purport of such a lengthy preamble; and though
be strove to imagine what desire it could be that so troubled his
friend, his conjectures were all far from the truth, and to relieve
the anxiety which this perplexity was causing him, he told him he
was doing a flagrant injustice to their great friendship in seeking
circuitous methods of confiding to him his most hidden thoughts, for
be well knew he might reckon upon his counsel in diverting them, or
his help in carrying them into effect.

"That is the truth," replied Anselmo, "and relying upon that I
will tell thee, friend Lothario, that the desire which harasses me
is that of knowing whether my wife Camilla is as good and as perfect
as I think her to be; and I cannot satisfy myself of the truth on this
point except by testing her in such a way that the trial may prove the
purity of her virtue as the fire proves that of gold; because I am
persuaded, my friend, that a woman is virtuous only in proportion as
she is or is not tempted; and that she alone is strong who does not
yield to the promises, gifts, tears, and importunities of earnest
lovers; for what thanks does a woman deserve for being good if no
one urges her to be bad, and what wonder is it that she is reserved
and circumspect to whom no opportunity is given of going wrong and who
knows she has a husband that will take her life the first time he
detects her in an impropriety? I do not therefore hold her who is
virtuous through fear or want of opportunity in the same estimation as
her who comes out of temptation and trial with a crown of victory; and
so, for these reasons and many others that I could give thee to
justify and support the opinion I hold, I am desirous that my wife
Camilla should pass this crisis, and be refined and tested by the fire
of finding herself wooed and by one worthy to set his affections
upon her; and if she comes out, as I know she will, victorious from
this struggle, I shall look upon my good fortune as unequalled, I
shall be able to say that the cup of my desire is full, and that the
virtuous woman of whom the sage says 'Who shall find her?' has
fallen to my lot. And if the result be the contrary of what I
expect, in the satisfaction of knowing that I have been right in my
opinion, I shall bear without complaint the pain which my so dearly
bought experience will naturally cause me. And, as nothing of all thou
wilt urge in opposition to my wish will avail to keep me from carrying
it into effect, it is my desire, friend Lothario, that thou shouldst
consent to become the instrument for effecting this purpose that I
am bent upon, for I will afford thee opportunities to that end, and
nothing shall be wanting that I may think necessary for the pursuit of
a virtuous, honourable, modest and high-minded woman. And among
other reasons, I am induced to entrust this arduous task to thee by
the consideration that if Camilla be conquered by thee the conquest
will not be pushed to extremes, but only far enough to account that
accomplished which from a sense of honour will be left undone; thus
I shall not be wronged in anything more than intention, and my wrong
will remain buried in the integrity of thy silence, which I know
well will be as lasting as that of death in what concerns me. If,
therefore, thou wouldst have me enjoy what can be called life, thou
wilt at once engage in this love struggle, not lukewarmly nor
slothfully, but with the energy and zeal that my desire demands, and
with the loyalty our friendship assures me of."

Such were the words Anselmo addressed to Lothario, who listened to
them with such attention that, except to say what has been already
mentioned, he did not open his lips until the other had finished. Then
perceiving that he had no more to say, after regarding him for awhile,
as one would regard something never before seen that excited wonder
and amazement, he said to him, "I cannot persuade myself, Anselmo my
friend, that what thou hast said to me is not in jest; if I thought
that thou wert speaking seriously I would not have allowed thee to
go so far; so as to put a stop to thy long harangue by not listening
to thee I verily suspect that either thou dost not know me, or I do
not know thee; but no, I know well thou art Anselmo, and thou
knowest that I am Lothario; the misfortune is, it seems to me, that
thou art not the Anselmo thou wert, and must have thought that I am
not the Lothario I should be; for the things that thou hast said to me
are not those of that Anselmo who was my friend, nor are those that
thou demandest of me what should be asked of the Lothario thou
knowest. True friends will prove their friends and make use of them,
as a poet has said, usque ad aras; whereby he meant that they will not
make use of their friendship in things that are contrary to God's
will. If this, then, was a heathen's feeling about friendship, how
much more should it be a Christian's, who knows that the divine must
not be forfeited for the sake of any human friendship? And if a friend
should go so far as to put aside his duty to Heaven to fulfil his duty
to his friend, it should not be in matters that are trifling or of
little moment, but in such as affect the friend's life and honour. Now
tell me, Anselmo, in which of these two art thou imperilled, that I
should hazard myself to gratify thee, and do a thing so detestable
as that thou seekest of me? Neither forsooth; on the contrary, thou
dost ask of me, so far as I understand, to strive and labour to rob
thee of honour and life, and to rob myself of them at the same time;
for if I take away thy honour it is plain I take away thy life, as a
man without honour is worse than dead; and being the instrument, as
thou wilt have it so, of so much wrong to thee, shall not I, too, be
left without honour, and consequently without life? Listen to me,
Anselmo my friend, and be not impatient to answer me until I have said
what occurs to me touching the object of thy desire, for there will be
time enough left for thee to reply and for me to hear."

"Be it so," said Anselmo, "say what thou wilt."

Lothario then went on to say, "It seems to me, Anselmo, that thine
is just now the temper of mind which is always that of the Moors,
who can never be brought to see the error of their creed by quotations
from the Holy Scriptures, or by reasons which depend upon the
examination of the understanding or are founded upon the articles of
faith, but must have examples that are palpable, easy, intelligible,
capable of proof, not admitting of doubt, with mathematical
demonstrations that cannot be denied, like, 'If equals be taken from
equals, the remainders are equal:' and if they do not understand
this in words, and indeed they do not, it has to be shown to them with
the hands, and put before their eyes, and even with all this no one
succeeds in convincing them of the truth of our holy religion. This
same mode of proceeding I shall have to adopt with thee, for the
desire which has sprung up in thee is so absurd and remote from
everything that has a semblance of reason, that I feel it would be a
waste of time to employ it in reasoning with thy simplicity, for at
present I will call it by no other name; and I am even tempted to
leave thee in thy folly as a punishment for thy pernicious desire; but
the friendship I bear thee, which will not allow me to desert thee
in such manifest danger of destruction, keeps me from dealing so
harshly by thee. And that thou mayest clearly see this, say,
Anselmo, hast thou not told me that I must force my suit upon a modest
woman, decoy one that is virtuous, make overtures to one that is
pure-minded, pay court to one that is prudent? Yes, thou hast told
me so. Then, if thou knowest that thou hast a wife, modest,
virtuous, pure-minded and prudent, what is it that thou seekest? And
if thou believest that she will come forth victorious from all my
attacks- as doubtless she would- what higher titles than those she
possesses now dost thou think thou canst upon her then, or in what
will she be better then than she is now? Either thou dost not hold her
to be what thou sayest, or thou knowest not what thou dost demand.
If thou dost not hold her to be what thou why dost thou seek to
prove her instead of treating her as guilty in the way that may seem
best to thee? but if she be as virtuous as thou believest, it is an
uncalled-for proceeding to make trial of truth itself, for, after
trial, it will but be in the same estimation as before. Thus, then, it
is conclusive that to attempt things from which harm rather than
advantage may come to us is the part of unreasoning and reckless
minds, more especially when they are things which we are not forced or
compelled to attempt, and which show from afar that it is plainly
madness to attempt them.

"Difficulties are attempted either for the sake of God or for the
sake of the world, or for both; those undertaken for God's sake are
those which the saints undertake when they attempt to live the lives
of angels in human bodies; those undertaken for the sake of the
world are those of the men who traverse such a vast expanse of
water, such a variety of climates, so many strange countries, to
acquire what are called the blessings of fortune; and those undertaken
for the sake of God and the world together are those of brave
soldiers, who no sooner do they see in the enemy's wall a breach as
wide as a cannon ball could make, than, casting aside all fear,
without hesitating, or heeding the manifest peril that threatens them,
borne onward by the desire of defending their faith, their country,
and their king, they fling themselves dauntlessly into the midst of
the thousand opposing deaths that await them. Such are the things that
men are wont to attempt, and there is honour, glory, gain, in
attempting them, however full of difficulty and peril they may be; but
that which thou sayest it is thy wish to attempt and carry out will
not win thee the glory of God nor the blessings of fortune nor fame
among men; for even if the issue he as thou wouldst have it, thou wilt
be no happier, richer, or more honoured than thou art this moment; and
if it be otherwise thou wilt be reduced to misery greater than can
be imagined, for then it will avail thee nothing to reflect that no
one is aware of the misfortune that has befallen thee; it will suffice
to torture and crush thee that thou knowest it thyself. And in
confirmation of the truth of what I say, let me repeat to thee a
stanza made by the famous poet Luigi Tansillo at the end of the
first part of his 'Tears of Saint Peter,' which says thus:

The anguish and the shame but greater grew
In Peter's heart as morning slowly came;
No eye was there to see him, well he knew,
Yet he himself was to himself a shame;
Exposed to all men's gaze, or screened from view,
A noble heart will feel the pang the same;
A prey to shame the sinning soul will be,
Though none but heaven and earth its shame can see.

Thus by keeping it secret thou wilt not escape thy sorrow, but
rather thou wilt shed tears unceasingly, if not tears of the eyes,
tears of blood from the heart, like those shed by that simple doctor
our poet tells us of, that tried the test of the cup, which the wise
Rinaldo, better advised, refused to do; for though this may be a
poetic fiction it contains a moral lesson worthy of attention and
study and imitation. Moreover by what I am about to say to thee thou
wilt be led to see the great error thou wouldst commit.

"Tell me, Anselmo, if Heaven or good fortune had made thee master
and lawful owner of a diamond of the finest quality, with the
excellence and purity of which all the lapidaries that had seen it had
been satisfied, saying with one voice and common consent that in
purity, quality, and fineness, it was all that a stone of the kind
could possibly be, thou thyself too being of the same belief, as
knowing nothing to the contrary, would it be reasonable in thee to
desire to take that diamond and place it between an anvil and a
hammer, and by mere force of blows and strength of arm try if it
were as hard and as fine as they said? And if thou didst, and if the
stone should resist so silly a test, that would add nothing to its
value or reputation; and if it were broken, as it might be, would
not all be lost? Undoubtedly it would, leaving its owner to be rated
as a fool in the opinion of all. Consider, then, Anselmo my friend,
that Camilla is a diamond of the finest quality as well in thy
estimation as in that of others, and that it is contrary to reason
to expose her to the risk of being broken; for if she remains intact
she cannot rise to a higher value than she now possesses; and if she
give way and be unable to resist, bethink thee now how thou wilt be
deprived of her, and with what good reason thou wilt complain of
thyself for having been the cause of her ruin and thine own.
Remember there is no jewel in the world so precious as a chaste and
virtuous woman, and that the whole honour of women consists in
reputation; and since thy wife's is of that high excellence that
thou knowest, wherefore shouldst thou seek to call that truth in
question? Remember, my friend, that woman is an imperfect animal,
and that impediments are not to be placed in her way to make her
trip and fall, but that they should be removed, and her path left
clear of all obstacles, so that without hindrance she may run her
course freely to attain the desired perfection, which consists in
being virtuous. Naturalists tell us that the ermine is a little animal
which has a fur of purest white, and that when the hunters wish to
take it, they make use of this artifice. Having ascertained the places
which it frequents and passes, they stop the way to them with mud, and
then rousing it, drive it towards the spot, and as soon as the
ermine comes to the mud it halts, and allows itself to be taken
captive rather than pass through the mire, and spoil and sully its
whiteness, which it values more than life and liberty. The virtuous
and chaste woman is an ermine, and whiter and purer than snow is the
virtue of modesty; and he who wishes her not to lose it, but to keep
and preserve it, must adopt a course different from that employed with
the ermine; he must not put before her the mire of the gifts and
attentions of persevering lovers, because perhaps- and even without
a perhaps- she may not have sufficient virtue and natural strength
in herself to pass through and tread under foot these impediments;
they must be removed, and the brightness of virtue and the beauty of a
fair fame must be put before her. A virtuous woman, too, is like a
mirror, of clear shining crystal, liable to be tarnished and dimmed by
every breath that touches it. She must be treated as relics are;
adored, not touched. She must be protected and prized as one
protects and prizes a fair garden full of roses and flowers, the owner
of which allows no one to trespass or pluck a blossom; enough for
others that from afar and through the iron grating they may enjoy
its fragrance and its beauty. Finally let me repeat to thee some
verses that come to my mind; I heard them in a modern comedy, and it
seems to me they bear upon the point we are discussing. A prudent
old man was giving advice to another, the father of a young girl, to
lock her up, watch over her and keep her in seclusion, and among other
arguments he used these:

Woman is a thing of glass;
But her brittleness 'tis best
Not too curiously to test:
Who knows what may come to pass?

Breaking is an easy matter,
And it's folly to expose
What you cannot mend to blows;
What you can't make whole to shatter.

This, then, all may hold as true,
And the reason's plain to see;
For if Danaes there be,
There are golden showers too.

"All that I have said to thee so far, Anselmo, has had reference
to what concerns thee; now it is right that I should say something
of what regards myself; and if I be prolix, pardon me, for the
labyrinth into which thou hast entered and from which thou wouldst
have me extricate thee makes it necessary.

"Thou dost reckon me thy friend, and thou wouldst rob me of
honour, a thing wholly inconsistent with friendship; and not only dost
thou aim at this, but thou wouldst have me rob thee of it also. That
thou wouldst rob me of it is clear, for when Camilla sees that I pay
court to her as thou requirest, she will certainly regard me as a
man without honour or right feeling, since I attempt and do a thing so
much opposed to what I owe to my own position and thy friendship. That
thou wouldst have me rob thee of it is beyond a doubt, for Camilla,
seeing that I press my suit upon her, will suppose that I have
perceived in her something light that has encouraged me to make
known to her my base desire; and if she holds herself dishonoured, her
dishonour touches thee as belonging to her; and hence arises what so
commonly takes place, that the husband of the adulterous woman, though
he may not be aware of or have given any cause for his wife's
failure in her duty, or (being careless or negligent) have had it in
his power to prevent his dishonour, nevertheless is stigmatised by a
vile and reproachful name, and in a manner regarded with eyes of
contempt instead of pity by all who know of his wife's guilt, though
they see that he is unfortunate not by his own fault, but by the
lust of a vicious consort. But I will tell thee why with good reason
dishonour attaches to the husband of the unchaste wife, though he know
not that she is so, nor be to blame, nor have done anything, or
given any provocation to make her so; and be not weary with
listening to me, for it will be for thy good.

"When God created our first parent in the earthly paradise, the Holy
Scripture says that he infused sleep into Adam and while he slept took
a rib from his left side of which he formed our mother Eve, and when
Adam awoke and beheld her he said, 'This is flesh of my flesh, and
bone of my bone.' And God said 'For this shall a man leave his
father and his mother, and they shall be two in one flesh; and then
was instituted the divine sacrament of marriage, with such ties that
death alone can loose them. And such is the force and virtue of this
miraculous sacrament that it makes two different persons one and the
same flesh; and even more than this when the virtuous are married; for
though they have two souls they have but one will. And hence it
follows that as the flesh of the wife is one and the same with that of
her husband the stains that may come upon it, or the injuries it
incurs fall upon the husband's flesh, though he, as has been said, may
have given no cause for them; for as the pain of the foot or any
member of the body is felt by the whole body, because all is one
flesh, as the head feels the hurt to the ankle without having caused
it, so the husband, being one with her, shares the dishonour of the
wife; and as all worldly honour or dishonour comes of flesh and blood,
and the erring wife's is of that kind, the husband must needs bear his
part of it and be held dishonoured without knowing it. See, then,
Anselmo, the peril thou art encountering in seeking to disturb the
peace of thy virtuous consort; see for what an empty and ill-advised
curiosity thou wouldst rouse up passions that now repose in quiet in
the breast of thy chaste wife; reflect that what thou art staking
all to win is little, and what thou wilt lose so much that I leave
it undescribed, not having the words to express it. But if all I
have said be not enough to turn thee from thy vile purpose, thou
must seek some other instrument for thy dishonour and misfortune;
for such I will not consent to be, though I lose thy friendship, the
greatest loss that I can conceive."

Having said this, the wise and virtuous Lothario was silent, and
Anselmo, troubled in mind and deep in thought, was unable for a
while to utter a word in reply; but at length he said, "I have
listened, Lothario my friend, attentively, as thou hast seen, to
what thou hast chosen to say to me, and in thy arguments, examples,
and comparisons I have seen that high intelligence thou dost
possess, and the perfection of true friendship thou hast reached;
and likewise I see and confess that if I am not guided by thy opinion,
but follow my own, I am flying from the good and pursuing the evil.
This being so, thou must remember that I am now labouring under that
infirmity which women sometimes suffer from, when the craving seizes
them to eat clay, plaster, charcoal, and things even worse, disgusting
to look at, much more to eat; so that it will be necessary to have
recourse to some artifice to cure me; and this can be easily
effected if only thou wilt make a beginning, even though it be in a
lukewarm and make-believe fashion, to pay court to Camilla, who will
not be so yielding that her virtue will give way at the first
attack: with this mere attempt I shall rest satisfied, and thou wilt
have done what our friendship binds thee to do, not only in giving
me life, but in persuading me not to discard my honour. And this
thou art bound to do for one reason alone, that, being, as I am,
resolved to apply this test, it is not for thee to permit me to reveal
my weakness to another, and so imperil that honour thou art striving
to keep me from losing; and if thine may not stand as high as it ought
in the estimation of Camilla while thou art paying court to her,
that is of little or no importance, because ere long, on finding in
her that constancy which we expect, thou canst tell her the plain
truth as regards our stratagem, and so regain thy place in her esteem;
and as thou art venturing so little, and by the venture canst afford
me so much satisfaction, refuse not to undertake it, even if further
difficulties present themselves to thee; for, as I have said, if
thou wilt only make a beginning I will acknowledge the issue decided."

Lothario seeing the fixed determination of Anselmo, and not
knowing what further examples to offer or arguments to urge in order
to dissuade him from it, and perceiving that he threatened to
confide his pernicious scheme to some one else, to avoid a greater
evil resolved to gratify him and do what he asked, intending to manage
the business so as to satisfy Anselmo without corrupting the mind of
Camilla; so in reply he told him not to communicate his purpose to any
other, for he would undertake the task himself, and would begin it
as soon as he pleased. Anselmo embraced him warmly and affectionately,
and thanked him for his offer as if he had bestowed some great
favour upon him; and it was agreed between them to set about it the
next day, Anselmo affording opportunity and time to Lothario to
converse alone with Camilla, and furnishing him with money and
jewels to offer and present to her. He suggested, too, that he
should treat her to music, and write verses in her praise, and if he
was unwilling to take the trouble of composing them, he offered to
do it himself. Lothario agreed to all with an intention very different
from what Anselmo supposed, and with this understanding they
returned to Anselmo's house, where they found Camilla awaiting her
husband anxiously and uneasily, for he was later than usual in
returning that day. Lothario repaired to his own house, and Anselmo
remained in his, as well satisfied as Lothario was troubled in mind;
for he could see no satisfactory way out of this ill-advised business.
That night, however, he thought of a plan by which he might deceive
Anselmo without any injury to Camilla. The next day he went to dine
with his friend, and was welcomed by Camilla, who received and treated
him with great cordiality, knowing the affection her husband felt
for him. When dinner was over and the cloth removed, Anselmo told
Lothario to stay there with Camilla while he attended to some pressing
business, as he would return in an hour and a half. Camilla begged him
not to go, and Lothario offered to accompany him, but nothing could
persuade Anselmo, who on the contrary pressed Lothario to remain
waiting for him as he had a matter of great importance to discuss with
him. At the same time he bade Camilla not to leave Lothario alone
until he came back. In short he contrived to put so good a face on the
reason, or the folly, of his absence that no one could have
suspected it was a pretence.

Anselmo took his departure, and Camilla and Lothario were left alone
at the table, for the rest of the household had gone to dinner.
Lothario saw himself in the lists according to his friend's wish,
and facing an enemy that could by her beauty alone vanquish a squadron
of armed knights; judge whether he had good reason to fear; but what
he did was to lean his elbow on the arm of the chair, and his cheek
upon his hand, and, asking Camilla's pardon for his ill manners, he
said he wished to take a little sleep until Anselmo returned.
Camilla in reply said he could repose more at his ease in the
reception-room than in his chair, and begged of him to go in and sleep
there; but Lothario declined, and there he remained asleep until the
return of Anselmo, who finding Camilla in her own room, and Lothario
asleep, imagined that he had stayed away so long as to have afforded
them time enough for conversation and even for sleep, and was all
impatience until Lothario should wake up, that he might go out with
him and question him as to his success. Everything fell out as he
wished; Lothario awoke, and the two at once left the house, and
Anselmo asked what he was anxious to know, and Lothario in answer told
him that he had not thought it advisable to declare himself entirely
the first time, and therefore had only extolled the charms of Camilla,
telling her that all the city spoke of nothing else but her beauty and
wit, for this seemed to him an excellent way of beginning to gain
her good-will and render her disposed to listen to him with pleasure
the next time, thus availing himself of the device the devil has
recourse to when he would deceive one who is on the watch; for he
being the angel of darkness transforms himself into an angel of light,
and, under cover of a fair seeming, discloses himself at length, and
effects his purpose if at the beginning his wiles are not
discovered. All this gave great satisfaction to Anselmo, and he said
he would afford the same opportunity every day, but without leaving
the house, for he would find things to do at home so that Camilla
should not detect the plot.

Thus, then, several days went by, and Lothario, without uttering a
word to Camilla, reported to Anselmo that he had talked with her and
that he had never been able to draw from her the slightest
indication of consent to anything dishonourable, nor even a sign or
shadow of hope; on the contrary, he said she would inform her
husband of it.

"So far well," said Anselmo; "Camilla has thus far resisted words;
we must now see how she will resist deeds. I will give you to-morrow
two thousand crowns in gold for you to offer or even present, and as
many more to buy jewels to lure her, for women are fond of being
becomingly attired and going gaily dressed, and all the more so if
they are beautiful, however chaste they may be; and if she resists
this temptation, I will rest satisfied and will give you no more

Lothario replied that now he had begun he would carry on the
undertaking to the end, though he perceived he was to come out of it
wearied and vanquished. The next day he received the four thousand
crowns, and with them four thousand perplexities, for he knew not what
to say by way of a new falsehood; but in the end he made up his mind
to tell him that Camilla stood as firm against gifts and promises as
against words, and that there was no use in taking any further
trouble, for the time was all spent to no purpose.

But chance, directing things in a different manner, so ordered it
that Anselmo, having left Lothario and Camilla alone as on other
occasions, shut himself into a chamber and posted himself to watch and
listen through the keyhole to what passed between them, and
perceived that for more than half an hour Lothario did not utter a
word to Camilla, nor would utter a word though he were to be there for
an age; and he came to the conclusion that what his friend had told
him about the replies of Camilla was all invention and falsehood,
and to ascertain if it were so, he came out, and calling Lothario
aside asked him what news he had and in what humour Camilla was.
Lothario replied that he was not disposed to go on with the
business, for she had answered him so angrily and harshly that he
had no heart to say anything more to her.

"Ah, Lothario, Lothario," said Anselmo, "how ill dost thou meet
thy obligations to me, and the great confidence I repose in thee! I
have been just now watching through this keyhole, and I have seen that
thou has not said a word to Camilla, whence I conclude that on the
former occasions thou hast not spoken to her either, and if this be
so, as no doubt it is, why dost thou deceive me, or wherefore
seekest thou by craft to deprive me of the means I might find of
attaining my desire?"

Anselmo said no more, but he had said enough to cover Lothario
with shame and confusion, and he, feeling as it were his honour
touched by having been detected in a lie, swore to Anselmo that he
would from that moment devote himself to satisfying him without any
deception, as he would see if he had the curiosity to watch; though he
need not take the trouble, for the pains he would take to satisfy
him would remove all suspicions from his mind. Anselmo believed him,
and to afford him an opportunity more free and less liable to
surprise, he resolved to absent himself from his house for eight days,
betaking himself to that of a friend of his who lived in a village not
far from the city; and, the better to account for his departure to
Camilla, he so arranged it that the friend should send him a very
pressing invitation.

Unhappy, shortsighted Anselmo, what art thou doing, what art thou
plotting, what art thou devising? Bethink thee thou art working
against thyself, plotting thine own dishonour, devising thine own
ruin. Thy wife Camilla is virtuous, thou dost possess her in peace and
quietness, no one assails thy happiness, her thoughts wander not
beyond the walls of thy house, thou art her heaven on earth, the
object of her wishes, the fulfilment of her desires, the measure
wherewith she measures her will, making it conform in all things to
thine and Heaven's. If, then, the mine of her honour, beauty,
virtue, and modesty yields thee without labour all the wealth it
contains and thou canst wish for, why wilt thou dig the earth in
search of fresh veins, of new unknown treasure, risking the collapse
of all, since it but rests on the feeble props of her weak nature?
Bethink thee that from him who seeks impossibilities that which is
possible may with justice be withheld, as was better expressed by a
poet who said:
'Tis mine to seek for life in death,
Health in disease seek I,I seek in prison freedom's breath,
In traitors loyalty.
So Fate that ever scorns to grant
Or grace or boon to me,Since what can never be I want,
Denies me what might be.

The next day Anselmo took his departure for the village, leaving
instructions with Camilla that during his absence Lothario would
come to look after his house and to dine with her, and that she was to
treat him as she would himself. Camilla was distressed, as a
discreet and right-minded woman would be, at the orders her husband
left her, and bade him remember that it was not becoming that anyone
should occupy his seat at the table during his absence, and if he
acted thus from not feeling confidence that she would be able to
manage his house, let him try her this time, and he would find by
experience that she was equal to greater responsibilities. Anselmo
replied that it was his pleasure to have it so, and that she had
only to submit and obey. Camilla said she would do so, though
against her will.

Anselmo went, and the next day Lothario came to his house, where
he was received by Camilla with a friendly and modest welcome; but she
never suffered Lothario to see her alone, for she was always
attended by her men and women servants, especially by a handmaid of
hers, Leonela by name, to whom she was much attached (for they had
been brought up together from childhood in her father's house), and
whom she had kept with her after her marriage with Anselmo. The
first three days Lothario did not speak to her, though he might have
done so when they removed the cloth and the servants retired to dine
hastily; for such were Camilla's orders; nay more, Leonela had
directions to dine earlier than Camilla and never to leave her side.
She, however, having her thoughts fixed upon other things more to
her taste, and wanting that time and opportunity for her own
pleasures, did not always obey her mistress's commands, but on the
contrary left them alone, as if they had ordered her to do so; but the
modest bearing of Camilla, the calmness of her countenance, the
composure of her aspect were enough to bridle the tongue of
Lothario. But the influence which the many virtues of Camilla
exerted in imposing silence on Lothario's tongue proved mischievous
for both of them, for if his tongue was silent his thoughts were busy,
and could dwell at leisure upon the perfections of Camilla's
goodness and beauty one by one, charms enough to warm with love a
marble statue, not to say a heart of flesh. Lothario gazed upon her
when he might have been speaking to her, and thought how worthy of
being loved she was; and thus reflection began little by little to
assail his allegiance to Anselmo, and a thousand times he thought of
withdrawing from the city and going where Anselmo should never see him
nor he see Camilla. But already the delight he found in gazing on
her interposed and held him fast. He put a constraint upon himself,
and struggled to repel and repress the pleasure he found in
contemplating Camilla; when alone he blamed himself for his
weakness, called himself a bad friend, nay a bad Christian; then he
argued the matter and compared himself with Anselmo; always coming
to the conclusion that the folly and rashness of Anselmo had been
worse than his faithlessness, and that if he could excuse his
intentions as easily before God as with man, he had no reason to
fear any punishment for his offence.

In short the beauty and goodness of Camilla, joined with the
opportunity which the blind husband had placed in his hands, overthrew
the loyalty of Lothario; and giving heed to nothing save the object
towards which his inclinations led him, after Anselmo had been three
days absent, during which he had been carrying on a continual struggle
with his passion, he began to make love to Camilla with so much
vehemence and warmth of language that she was overwhelmed with
amazement, and could only rise from her place and retire to her room
without answering him a word. But the hope which always springs up
with love was not weakened in Lothario by this repelling demeanour; on
the contrary his passion for Camilla increased, and she discovering in
him what she had never expected, knew not what to do; and
considering it neither safe nor right to give him the chance or
opportunity of speaking to her again, she resolved to send, as she did
that very night, one of her servants with a letter to Anselmo, in
which she addressed the following words to him.



"It is commonly said that an army looks ill without its general
and a castle without its castellan, and I say that a young married
woman looks still worse without her husband unless there are very good
reasons for it. I find myself so ill at ease without you, and so
incapable of enduring this separation, that unless you return
quickly I shall have to go for relief to my parents' house, even if
I leave yours without a protector; for the one you left me, if
indeed he deserved that title, has, I think, more regard to his own
pleasure than to what concerns you: as you are possessed of
discernment I need say no more to you, nor indeed is it fitting I
should say more."

Anselmo received this letter, and from it he gathered that
Lothario had already begun his task and that Camilla must have replied
to him as he would have wished; and delighted beyond measure at such
intelligence he sent word to her not to leave his house on any
account, as he would very shortly return. Camilla was astonished at
Anselmo's reply, which placed her in greater perplexity than before,
for she neither dared to remain in her own house, nor yet to go to her
parents'; for in remaining her virtue was imperilled, and in going she
was opposing her husband's commands. Finally she decided upon what was
the worse course for her, to remain, resolving not to fly from the
presence of Lothario, that she might not give food for gossip to her
servants; and she now began to regret having written as she had to her
husband, fearing he might imagine that Lothario had perceived in her
some lightness which had impelled him to lay aside the respect he owed
her; but confident of her rectitude she put her trust in God and in
her own virtuous intentions, with which she hoped to resist in silence
all the solicitations of Lothario, without saying anything to her
husband so as not to involve him in any quarrel or trouble; and she
even began to consider how to excuse Lothario to Anselmo when he
should ask her what it was that induced her to write that letter. With
these resolutions, more honourable than judicious or effectual, she
remained the next day listening to Lothario, who pressed his suit so
strenuously that Camilla's firmness began to waver, and her virtue had
enough to do to come to the rescue of her eyes and keep them from
showing signs of a certain tender compassion which the tears and
appeals of Lothario had awakened in her bosom. Lothario observed all
this, and it inflamed him all the more. In short he felt that while
Anselmo's absence afforded time and opportunity he must press the
siege of the fortress, and so he assailed her self-esteem with praises
of her beauty, for there is nothing that more quickly reduces and
levels the castle towers of fair women's vanity than vanity itself
upon the tongue of flattery. In fact with the utmost assiduity he
undermined the rock of her purity with such engines that had Camilla
been of brass she must have fallen. He wept, he entreated, he
promised, he flattered, he importuned, he pretended with so much
feeling and apparent sincerity, that he overthrew the virtuous
resolves of Camilla and won the triumph he least expected and most
longed for. Camilla yielded, Camilla fell; but what wonder if the
friendship of Lothario could not stand firm? A clear proof to us
that the passion of love is to be conquered only by flying from it,
and that no one should engage in a struggle with an enemy so mighty;
for divine strength is needed to overcome his human power. Leonela
alone knew of her mistress's weakness, for the two false friends and
new lovers were unable to conceal it. Lothario did not care to tell
Camilla the object Anselmo had in view, nor that he had afforded him
the opportunity of attaining such a result, lest she should undervalue
his love and think that it was by chance and without intending it
and not of his own accord that he had made love to her.

A few days later Anselmo returned to his house and did not
perceive what it had lost, that which he so lightly treated and so
highly prized. He went at once to see Lothario, and found him at home;
they embraced each other, and Anselmo asked for the tidings of his
life or his death.

"The tidings I have to give thee, Anselmo my friend," said Lothario,
"are that thou dost possess a wife that is worthy to be the pattern
and crown of all good wives. The words that I have addressed to her
were borne away on the wind, my promises have been despised, my
presents have been refused, such feigned tears as I shed have been
turned into open ridicule. In short, as Camilla is the essence of
all beauty, so is she the treasure-house where purity dwells, and
gentleness and modesty abide with all the virtues that can confer
praise, honour, and happiness upon a woman. Take back thy money, my
friend; here it is, and I have had no need to touch it, for the
chastity of Camilla yields not to things so base as gifts or promises.
Be content, Anselmo, and refrain from making further proof; and as
thou hast passed dryshod through the sea of those doubts and
suspicions that are and may be entertained of women, seek not to
plunge again into the deep ocean of new embarrassments, or with
another pilot make trial of the goodness and strength of the bark that
Heaven has granted thee for thy passage across the sea of this
world; but reckon thyself now safe in port, moor thyself with the
anchor of sound reflection, and rest in peace until thou art called
upon to pay that debt which no nobility on earth can escape paying."

Anselmo was completely satisfied by the words of Lothario, and
believed them as fully as if they had been spoken by an oracle;
nevertheless he begged of him not to relinquish the undertaking,
were it but for the sake of curiosity and amusement; though
thenceforward he need not make use of the same earnest endeavours as
before; all he wished him to do was to write some verses to her,
praising her under the name of Chloris, for he himself would give
her to understand that he was in love with a lady to whom he had given
that name to enable him to sing her praises with the decorum due to
her modesty; and if Lothario were unwilling to take the trouble of
writing the verses he would compose them himself.

"That will not be necessary," said Lothario, "for the muses are
not such enemies of mine but that they visit me now and then in the
course of the year. Do thou tell Camilla what thou hast proposed about
a pretended amour of mine; as for the verses will make them, and if
not as good as the subject deserves, they shall be at least the best I
can produce." An agreement to this effect was made between the
friends, the ill-advised one and the treacherous, and Anselmo
returning to his house asked Camilla the question she already wondered
he had not asked before- what it was that had caused her to write
the letter she had sent him. Camilla replied that it had seemed to her
that Lothario looked at her somewhat more freely than when he had been
at home; but that now she was undeceived and believed it to have
been only her own imagination, for Lothario now avoided seeing her, or
being alone with her. Anselmo told her she might be quite easy on
the score of that suspicion, for he knew that Lothario was in love
with a damsel of rank in the city whom he celebrated under the name of
Chloris, and that even if he were not, his fidelity and their great
friendship left no room for fear. Had not Camilla, however, been
informed beforehand by Lothario that this love for Chloris was a
pretence, and that he himself had told Anselmo of it in order to be
able sometimes to give utterance to the praises of Camilla herself, no
doubt she would have fallen into the despairing toils of jealousy; but
being forewarned she received the startling news without uneasiness.

The next day as the three were at table Anselmo asked Lothario to
recite something of what he had composed for his mistress Chloris; for
as Camilla did not know her, he might safely say what he liked.

"Even did she know her," returned Lothario, "I would hide nothing,
for when a lover praises his lady's beauty, and charges her with
cruelty, he casts no imputation upon her fair name; at any rate, all I
can say is that yesterday I made a sonnet on the ingratitude of this
Chloris, which goes thus:


At midnight, in the silence, when the eyes
Of happier mortals balmy slumbers close,
The weary tale of my unnumbered woes
To Chloris and to Heaven is wont to rise.
And when the light of day returning dyes
The portals of the east with tints of rose,
With undiminished force my sorrow flows
In broken accents and in burning sighs.
And when the sun ascends his star-girt throne,
And on the earth pours down his midday beams,
Noon but renews my wailing and my tears;
And with the night again goes up my moan.
Yet ever in my agony it seems
To me that neither Heaven nor Chloris hears."

The sonnet pleased Camilla, and still more Anselmo, for he praised
it and said the lady was excessively cruel who made no return for
sincerity so manifest. On which Camilla said, "Then all that
love-smitten poets say is true?"

"As poets they do not tell the truth," replied Lothario; "but as
lovers they are not more defective in expression than they are

"There is no doubt of that," observed Anselmo, anxious to support
and uphold Lothario's ideas with Camilla, who was as regardless of his
design as she was deep in love with Lothario; and so taking delight in
anything that was his, and knowing that his thoughts and writings
had her for their object, and that she herself was the real Chloris,
she asked him to repeat some other sonnet or verses if he
recollected any.

"I do," replied Lothario, "but I do not think it as good as the
first one, or, more correctly speaking, less bad; but you can easily
judge, for it is this.


I know that I am doomed; death is to me
As certain as that thou, ungrateful fair,
Dead at thy feet shouldst see me lying, ere
My heart repented of its love for thee.
If buried in oblivion I should be,
Bereft of life, fame, favour, even there
It would be found that I thy image bear
Deep graven in my breast for all to see.
This like some holy relic do I prize
To save me from the fate my truth entails,
Truth that to thy hard heart its vigour owes.
Alas for him that under lowering skies,
In peril o'er a trackless ocean sails,
Where neither friendly port nor pole-star shows."

Anselmo praised this second sonnet too, as he had praised the first;
and so he went on adding link after link to the chain with which he
was binding himself and making his dishonour secure; for when Lothario
was doing most to dishonour him he told him he was most honoured;
and thus each step that Camilla descended towards the depths of her
abasement, she mounted, in his opinion, towards the summit of virtue
and fair fame.

It so happened that finding herself on one occasion alone with her
maid, Camilla said to her, "I am ashamed to think, my dear Leonela,
how lightly I have valued myself that I did not compel Lothario to
purchase by at least some expenditure of time that full possession
of me that I so quickly yielded him of my own free will. I fear that
he will think ill of my pliancy or lightness, not considering the
irresistible influence he brought to bear upon me."

"Let not that trouble you, my lady," said Leonela, "for it does
not take away the value of the thing given or make it the less
precious to give it quickly if it be really valuable and worthy of
being prized; nay, they are wont to say that he who gives quickly
gives twice."

"They say also," said Camilla, "that what costs little is valued

"That saying does not hold good in your case," replied Leonela, "for
love, as I have heard say, sometimes flies and sometimes walks; with
this one it runs, with that it moves slowly; some it cools, others
it burns; some it wounds, others it slays; it begins the course of its
desires, and at the same moment completes and ends it; in the
morning it will lay siege to a fortress and by night will have taken
it, for there is no power that can resist it; so what are you in dread
of, what do you fear, when the same must have befallen Lothario,
love having chosen the absence of my lord as the instrument for
subduing you? and it was absolutely necessary to complete then what
love had resolved upon, without affording the time to let Anselmo
return and by his presence compel the work to be left unfinished;
for love has no better agent for carrying out his designs than
opportunity; and of opportunity he avails himself in all his feats,
especially at the outset. All this I know well myself, more by
experience than by hearsay, and some day, senora, I will enlighten you
on the subject, for I am of your flesh and blood too. Moreover, lady
Camilla, you did not surrender yourself or yield so quickly but that
first you saw Lothario's whole soul in his eyes, in his sighs, in
his words, his promises and his gifts, and by it and his good
qualities perceived how worthy he was of your love. This, then,
being the case, let not these scrupulous and prudish ideas trouble
your imagination, but be assured that Lothario prizes you as you do
him, and rest content and satisfied that as you are caught in the
noose of love it is one of worth and merit that has taken you, and one
that has not only the four S's that they say true lovers ought to
have, but a complete alphabet; only listen to me and you will see
how I can repeat it by rote. He is to my eyes and thinking, Amiable,
Brave, Courteous, Distinguished, Elegant, Fond, Gay, Honourable,
Illustrious, Loyal, Manly, Noble, Open, Polite, Quickwitted, Rich, and
the S's according to the saying, and then Tender, Veracious: X does
not suit him, for it is a rough letter; Y has been given already;
and Z Zealous for your honour."

Camilla laughed at her maid's alphabet, and perceived her to be more
experienced in love affairs than she said, which she admitted,
confessing to Camilla that she had love passages with a young man of
good birth of the same city. Camilla was uneasy at this, dreading lest
it might prove the means of endangering her honour, and asked
whether her intrigue had gone beyond words, and she with little
shame and much effrontery said it had; for certain it is that
ladies' imprudences make servants shameless, who, when they see
their mistresses make a false step, think nothing of going astray
themselves, or of its being known. All that Camilla could do was to
entreat Leonela to say nothing about her doings to him whom she called
her lover, and to conduct her own affairs secretly lest they should
come to the knowledge of Anselmo or of Lothario. Leonela said she
would, but kept her word in such a way that she confirmed Camilla's
apprehension of losing her reputation through her means; for this
abandoned and bold Leonela, as soon as she perceived that her
mistress's demeanour was not what it was wont to be, had the
audacity to introduce her lover into the house, confident that even if
her mistress saw him she would not dare to expose him; for the sins of
mistresses entail this mischief among others; they make themselves the
slaves of their own servants, and are obliged to hide their laxities
and depravities; as was the case with Camilla, who though she
perceived, not once but many times, that Leonela was with her lover in
some room of the house, not only did not dare to chide her, but
afforded her opportunities for concealing him and removed all
difficulties, lest he should be seen by her husband. She was unable,
however, to prevent him from being seen on one occasion, as he sallied
forth at daybreak, by Lothario, who, not knowing who he was, at
first took him for a spectre; but, as soon as he saw him hasten
away, muffling his face with his cloak and concealing himself
carefully and cautiously, he rejected this foolish idea, and adopted
another, which would have been the ruin of all had not Camilla found a
remedy. It did not occur to Lothario that this man he had seen issuing
at such an untimely hour from Anselmo's house could have entered it on
Leonela's account, nor did he even remember there was such a person as
Leonela; all he thought was that as Camilla had been light and
yielding with him, so she had been with another; for this further
penalty the erring woman's sin brings with it, that her honour is
distrusted even by him to whose overtures and persuasions she has
yielded; and he believes her to have surrendered more easily to
others, and gives implicit credence to every suspicion that comes into
his mind. All Lothario's good sense seems to have failed him at this
juncture; all his prudent maxims escaped his memory; for without
once reflecting rationally, and without more ado, in his impatience
and in the blindness of the jealous rage that gnawed his heart, and
dying to revenge himself upon Camilla, who had done him no wrong,
before Anselmo had risen he hastened to him and said to him, "Know,
Anselmo, that for several days past I have been struggling with
myself, striving to withhold from thee what it is no longer possible
or right that I should conceal from thee. Know that Camilla's fortress
has surrendered and is ready to submit to my will; and if I have
been slow to reveal this fact to thee, it was in order to see if it
were some light caprice of hers, or if she sought to try me and
ascertain if the love I began to make to her with thy permission was
made with a serious intention. I thought, too, that she, if she were
what she ought to be, and what we both believed her, would have ere
this given thee information of my addresses; but seeing that she
delays, I believe the truth of the promise she has given me that the
next time thou art absent from the house she will grant me an
interview in the closet where thy jewels are kept (and it was true
that Camilla used to meet him there); but I do not wish thee to rush
precipitately to take vengeance, for the sin is as yet only
committed in intention, and Camilla's may change perhaps between
this and the appointed time, and repentance spring up in its place. As
hitherto thou hast always followed my advice wholly or in part, follow
and observe this that I will give thee now, so that, without
mistake, and with mature deliberation, thou mayest satisfy thyself
as to what may seem the best course; pretend to absent thyself for two
or three days as thou hast been wont to do on other occasions, and
contrive to hide thyself in the closet; for the tapestries and other
things there afford great facilities for thy concealment, and then
thou wilt see with thine own eyes and I with mine what Camilla's
purpose may be. And if it be a guilty one, which may be feared
rather than expected, with silence, prudence, and discretion thou
canst thyself become the instrument of punishment for the wrong done

Anselmo was amazed, overwhelmed, and astounded at the words of
Lothario, which came upon him at a time when he least expected to hear
them, for he now looked upon Camilla as having triumphed over the
pretended attacks of Lothario, and was beginning to enjoy the glory of
her victory. He remained silent for a considerable time, looking on
the ground with fixed gaze, and at length said, "Thou hast behaved,
Lothario, as I expected of thy friendship: I will follow thy advice in
everything; do as thou wilt, and keep this secret as thou seest it
should be kept in circumstances so unlooked for."

Lothario gave him his word, but after leaving him he repented
altogether of what he had said to him, perceiving how foolishly he had
acted, as he might have revenged himself upon Camilla in some less
cruel and degrading way. He cursed his want of sense, condemned his
hasty resolution, and knew not what course to take to undo the
mischief or find some ready escape from it. At last he decided upon
revealing all to Camilla, and, as there was no want of opportunity for
doing so, he found her alone the same day; but she, as soon as she had
the chance of speaking to him, said, "Lothario my friend, I must
tell thee I have a sorrow in my heart which fills it so that it
seems ready to burst; and it will be a wonder if it does not; for
the audacity of Leonela has now reached such a pitch that every

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