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The History of Don Quixote, Vol. II., Part 29 by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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Produced by David Widger


Volume II.

Part 29.

by Miguel de Cervantes

Translated by John Ormsby



Don Quixote, then, having risen to his feet, trembling from head to foot
like a man dosed with mercury, said in a hurried, agitated voice, "The
place I am in, the presence in which I stand, and the respect I have and
always have had for the profession to which your worship belongs, hold
and bind the hands of my just indignation; and as well for these reasons
as because I know, as everyone knows, that a gownsman's weapon is the
same as a woman's, the tongue, I will with mine engage in equal combat
with your worship, from whom one might have expected good advice instead
of foul abuse. Pious, well-meant reproof requires a different demeanour
and arguments of another sort; at any rate, to have reproved me in
public, and so roughly, exceeds the bounds of proper reproof, for that
comes better with gentleness than with rudeness; and it is not seemly to
call the sinner roundly blockhead and booby, without knowing anything of
the sin that is reproved. Come, tell me, for which of the stupidities you
have observed in me do you condemn and abuse me, and bid me go home and
look after my house and wife and children, without knowing whether I have
any? Is nothing more needed than to get a footing, by hook or by crook,
in other people's houses to rule over the masters (and that, perhaps,
after having been brought up in all the straitness of some seminary, and
without having ever seen more of the world than may lie within twenty or
thirty leagues round), to fit one to lay down the law rashly for
chivalry, and pass judgment on knights-errant? Is it, haply, an idle
occupation, or is the time ill-spent that is spent in roaming the world
in quest, not of its enjoyments, but of those arduous toils whereby the
good mount upwards to the abodes of everlasting life? If gentlemen, great
lords, nobles, men of high birth, were to rate me as a fool I should take
it as an irreparable insult; but I care not a farthing if clerks who have
never entered upon or trod the paths of chivalry should think me foolish.
Knight I am, and knight I will die, if such be the pleasure of the Most
High. Some take the broad road of overweening ambition; others that of
mean and servile flattery; others that of deceitful hypocrisy, and some
that of true religion; but I, led by my star, follow the narrow path of
knight-errantry, and in pursuit of that calling I despise wealth, but not
honour. I have redressed injuries, righted wrongs, punished insolences,
vanquished giants, and crushed monsters; I am in love, for no other
reason than that it is incumbent on knights-errant to be so; but though I
am, I am no carnal-minded lover, but one of the chaste, platonic sort. My
intentions are always directed to worthy ends, to do good to all and evil
to none; and if he who means this, does this, and makes this his practice
deserves to be called a fool, it is for your highnesses to say, O most
excellent duke and duchess."

"Good, by God!" cried Sancho; "say no more in your own defence, master
mine, for there's nothing more in the world to be said, thought, or
insisted on; and besides, when this gentleman denies, as he has, that
there are or ever have been any knights-errant in the world, is it any
wonder if he knows nothing of what he has been talking about?"

"Perhaps, brother," said the ecclesiastic, "you are that Sancho Panza
that is mentioned, to whom your master has promised an island?"

"Yes, I am," said Sancho, "and what's more, I am one who deserves it as
much as anyone; I am one of the sort--'Attach thyself to the good, and
thou wilt be one of them,' and of those, 'Not with whom thou art bred,
but with whom thou art fed,' and of those, 'Who leans against a good
tree, a good shade covers him;' I have leant upon a good master, and I
have been for months going about with him, and please God I shall be just
such another; long life to him and long life to me, for neither will he
be in any want of empires to rule, or I of islands to govern."

"No, Sancho my friend, certainly not," said the duke, "for in the name of
Senor Don Quixote I confer upon you the government of one of no small
importance that I have at my disposal."

"Go down on thy knees, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and kiss the feet of
his excellence for the favour he has bestowed upon thee."

Sancho obeyed, and on seeing this the ecclesiastic stood up from table
completely out of temper, exclaiming, "By the gown I wear, I am almost
inclined to say that your excellence is as great a fool as these sinners.
No wonder they are mad, when people who are in their senses sanction
their madness! I leave your excellence with them, for so long as they are
in the house, I will remain in my own, and spare myself the trouble of
reproving what I cannot remedy;" and without uttering another word, or
eating another morsel, he went off, the entreaties of the duke and
duchess being entirely unavailing to stop him; not that the duke said
much to him, for he could not, because of the laughter his uncalled-for
anger provoked.

When he had done laughing, he said to Don Quixote, "You have replied on
your own behalf so stoutly, Sir Knight of the Lions, that there is no
occasion to seek further satisfaction for this, which, though it may look
like an offence, is not so at all, for, as women can give no offence, no
more can ecclesiastics, as you very well know."

"That is true," said Don Quixote, "and the reason is, that he who is not
liable to offence cannot give offence to anyone. Women, children, and
ecclesiastics, as they cannot defend themselves, though they may receive
offence cannot be insulted, because between the offence and the insult
there is, as your excellence very well knows, this difference: the insult
comes from one who is capable of offering it, and does so, and maintains
it; the offence may come from any quarter without carrying insult. To
take an example: a man is standing unsuspectingly in the street and ten
others come up armed and beat him; he draws his sword and quits himself
like a man, but the number of his antagonists makes it impossible for him
to effect his purpose and avenge himself; this man suffers an offence but
not an insult. Another example will make the same thing plain: a man is
standing with his back turned, another comes up and strikes him, and
after striking him takes to flight, without waiting an instant, and the
other pursues him but does not overtake him; he who received the blow
received an offence, but not an insult, because an insult must be
maintained. If he who struck him, though he did so sneakingly and
treacherously, had drawn his sword and stood and faced him, then he who
had been struck would have received offence and insult at the same time;
offence because he was struck treacherously, insult because he who struck
him maintained what he had done, standing his ground without taking to
flight. And so, according to the laws of the accursed duel, I may have
received offence, but not insult, for neither women nor children can
maintain it, nor can they wound, nor have they any way of standing their
ground, and it is just the same with those connected with religion; for
these three sorts of persons are without arms offensive or defensive, and
so, though naturally they are bound to defend themselves, they have no
right to offend anybody; and though I said just now I might have received
offence, I say now certainly not, for he who cannot receive an insult can
still less give one; for which reasons I ought not to feel, nor do I
feel, aggrieved at what that good man said to me; I only wish he had
stayed a little longer, that I might have shown him the mistake he makes
in supposing and maintaining that there are not and never have been any
knights-errant in the world; had Amadis or any of his countless
descendants heard him say as much, I am sure it would not have gone well
with his worship."

"I will take my oath of that," said Sancho; "they would have given him a
slash that would have slit him down from top to toe like a pomegranate or
a ripe melon; they were likely fellows to put up with jokes of that sort!
By my faith, I'm certain if Reinaldos of Montalvan had heard the little
man's words he would have given him such a spank on the mouth that he
wouldn't have spoken for the next three years; ay, let him tackle them,
and he'll see how he'll get out of their hands!"

The duchess, as she listened to Sancho, was ready to die with laughter,
and in her own mind she set him down as droller and madder than his
master; and there were a good many just then who were of the same

Don Quixote finally grew calm, and dinner came to an end, and as the
cloth was removed four damsels came in, one of them with a silver basin,
another with a jug also of silver, a third with two fine white towels on
her shoulder, and the fourth with her arms bared to the elbows, and in
her white hands (for white they certainly were) a round ball of Naples
soap. The one with the basin approached, and with arch composure and
impudence, thrust it under Don Quixote's chin, who, wondering at such a
ceremony, said never a word, supposing it to be the custom of that
country to wash beards instead of hands; he therefore stretched his out
as far as he could, and at the same instant the jug began to pour and the
damsel with the soap rubbed his beard briskly, raising snow-flakes, for
the soap lather was no less white, not only over the beard, but all over
the face, and over the eyes of the submissive knight, so that they were
perforce obliged to keep shut. The duke and duchess, who had not known
anything about this, waited to see what came of this strange washing. The
barber damsel, when she had him a hand's breadth deep in lather,
pretended that there was no more water, and bade the one with the jug go
and fetch some, while Senor Don Quixote waited. She did so, and Don
Quixote was left the strangest and most ludicrous figure that could be
imagined. All those present, and there were a good many, were watching
him, and as they saw him there with half a yard of neck, and that
uncommonly brown, his eyes shut, and his beard full of soap, it was a
great wonder, and only by great discretion, that they were able to
restrain their laughter. The damsels, the concocters of the joke, kept
their eyes down, not daring to look at their master and mistress; and as
for them, laughter and anger struggled within them, and they knew not
what to do, whether to punish the audacity of the girls, or to reward
them for the amusement they had received from seeing Don Quixote in such
a plight.

At length the damsel with the jug returned and they made an end of
washing Don Quixote, and the one who carried the towels very deliberately
wiped him and dried him; and all four together making him a profound
obeisance and curtsey, they were about to go, when the duke, lest Don
Quixote should see through the joke, called out to the one with the basin
saying, "Come and wash me, and take care that there is water enough." The
girl, sharp-witted and prompt, came and placed the basin for the duke as
she had done for Don Quixote, and they soon had him well soaped and
washed, and having wiped him dry they made their obeisance and retired.
It appeared afterwards that the duke had sworn that if they had not
washed him as they had Don Quixote he would have punished them for their
impudence, which they adroitly atoned for by soaping him as well.

Sancho observed the ceremony of the washing very attentively, and said to
himself, "God bless me, if it were only the custom in this country to
wash squires' beards too as well as knights'. For by God and upon my soul
I want it badly; and if they gave me a scrape of the razor besides I'd
take it as a still greater kindness."

"What are you saying to yourself, Sancho?" asked the duchess.

"I was saying, senora," he replied, "that in the courts of other princes,
when the cloth is taken away, I have always heard say they give water for
the hands, but not lye for the beard; and that shows it is good to live
long that you may see much; to be sure, they say too that he who lives a
long life must undergo much evil, though to undergo a washing of that
sort is pleasure rather than pain."

"Don't be uneasy, friend Sancho," said the duchess; "I will take care
that my damsels wash you, and even put you in the tub if necessary."

"I'll be content with the beard," said Sancho, "at any rate for the
present; and as for the future, God has decreed what is to be."

"Attend to worthy Sancho's request, seneschal," said the duchess, "and do
exactly what he wishes."

The seneschal replied that Senor Sancho should be obeyed in everything;
and with that he went away to dinner and took Sancho along with him,
while the duke and duchess and Don Quixote remained at table discussing a
great variety of things, but all bearing on the calling of arms and

The duchess begged Don Quixote, as he seemed to have a retentive memory,
to describe and portray to her the beauty and features of the lady
Dulcinea del Toboso, for, judging by what fame trumpeted abroad of her
beauty, she felt sure she must be the fairest creature in the world, nay,
in all La Mancha.

Don Quixote sighed on hearing the duchess's request, and said, "If I
could pluck out my heart, and lay it on a plate on this table here before
your highness's eyes, it would spare my tongue the pain of telling what
can hardly be thought of, for in it your excellence would see her
portrayed in full. But why should I attempt to depict and describe in
detail, and feature by feature, the beauty of the peerless Dulcinea, the
burden being one worthy of other shoulders than mine, an enterprise
wherein the pencils of Parrhasius, Timantes, and Apelles, and the graver
of Lysippus ought to be employed, to paint it in pictures and carve it in
marble and bronze, and Ciceronian and Demosthenian eloquence to sound its

"What does Demosthenian mean, Senor Don Quixote?" said the duchess; "it
is a word I never heard in all my life."

"Demosthenian eloquence," said Don Quixote, "means the eloquence of
Demosthenes, as Ciceronian means that of Cicero, who were the two most
eloquent orators in the world."

"True," said the duke; "you must have lost your wits to ask such a
question. Nevertheless, Senor Don Quixote would greatly gratify us if he
would depict her to us; for never fear, even in an outline or sketch she
will be something to make the fairest envious."

"I would do so certainly," said Don Quixote, "had she not been blurred to
my mind's eye by the misfortune that fell upon her a short time since,
one of such a nature that I am more ready to weep over it than to
describe it. For your highnesses must know that, going a few days back to
kiss her hands and receive her benediction, approbation, and permission
for this third sally, I found her altogether a different being from the
one I sought; I found her enchanted and changed from a princess into a
peasant, from fair to foul, from an angel into a devil, from fragrant to
pestiferous, from refined to clownish, from a dignified lady into a
jumping tomboy, and, in a word, from Dulcinea del Toboso into a coarse
Sayago wench."

"God bless me!" said the duke aloud at this, "who can have done the world
such an injury? Who can have robbed it of the beauty that gladdened it,
of the grace and gaiety that charmed it, of the modesty that shed a
lustre upon it?"

"Who?" replied Don Quixote; "who could it be but some malignant enchanter
of the many that persecute me out of envy--that accursed race born into
the world to obscure and bring to naught the achievements of the good,
and glorify and exalt the deeds of the wicked? Enchanters have persecuted
me, enchanters persecute me still, and enchanters will continue to
persecute me until they have sunk me and my lofty chivalry in the deep
abyss of oblivion; and they injure and wound me where they know I feel it
most. For to deprive a knight-errant of his lady is to deprive him of the
eyes he sees with, of the sun that gives him light, of the food whereby
he lives. Many a time before have I said it, and I say it now once more,
a knight-errant without a lady is like a tree without leaves, a building
without a foundation, or a shadow without the body that causes it."

"There is no denying it," said the duchess; "but still, if we are to
believe the history of Don Quixote that has come out here lately with
general applause, it is to be inferred from it, if I mistake not, that
you never saw the lady Dulcinea, and that the said lady is nothing in the
world but an imaginary lady, one that you yourself begot and gave birth
to in your brain, and adorned with whatever charms and perfections you

"There is a good deal to be said on that point," said Don Quixote; "God
knows whether there be any Dulcinea or not in the world, or whether she
is imaginary or not imaginary; these are things the proof of which must
not be pushed to extreme lengths. I have not begotten nor given birth to
my lady, though I behold her as she needs must be, a lady who contains in
herself all the qualities to make her famous throughout the world,
beautiful without blemish, dignified without haughtiness, tender and yet
modest, gracious from courtesy and courteous from good breeding, and
lastly, of exalted lineage, because beauty shines forth and excels with a
higher degree of perfection upon good blood than in the fair of lowly

"That is true," said the duke; "but Senor Don Quixote will give me leave
to say what I am constrained to say by the story of his exploits that I
have read, from which it is to be inferred that, granting there is a
Dulcinea in El Toboso, or out of it, and that she is in the highest
degree beautiful as you have described her to us, as regards the
loftiness of her lineage she is not on a par with the Orianas,
Alastrajareas, Madasimas, or others of that sort, with whom, as you well
know, the histories abound."

"To that I may reply," said Don Quixote, "that Dulcinea is the daughter
of her own works, and that virtues rectify blood, and that lowly virtue
is more to be regarded and esteemed than exalted vice. Dulcinea, besides,
has that within her that may raise her to be a crowned and sceptred
queen; for the merit of a fair and virtuous woman is capable of
performing greater miracles; and virtually, though not formally, she has
in herself higher fortunes."

"I protest, Senor Don Quixote," said the duchess, "that in all you say,
you go most cautiously and lead in hand, as the saying is; henceforth I
will believe myself, and I will take care that everyone in my house
believes, even my lord the duke if needs be, that there is a Dulcinea in
El Toboso, and that she is living to-day, and that she is beautiful and
nobly born and deserves to have such a knight as Senor Don Quixote in her
service, and that is the highest praise that it is in my power to give
her or that I can think of. But I cannot help entertaining a doubt, and
having a certain grudge against Sancho Panza; the doubt is this, that the
aforesaid history declares that the said Sancho Panza, when he carried a
letter on your worship's behalf to the said lady Dulcinea, found her
sifting a sack of wheat; and more by token it says it was red wheat; a
thing which makes me doubt the loftiness of her lineage."

To this Don Quixote made answer, "Senora, your highness must know that
everything or almost everything that happens me transcends the ordinary
limits of what happens to other knights-errant; whether it be that it is
directed by the inscrutable will of destiny, or by the malice of some
jealous enchanter. Now it is an established fact that all or most famous
knights-errant have some special gift, one that of being proof against
enchantment, another that of being made of such invulnerable flesh that
he cannot be wounded, as was the famous Roland, one of the twelve peers
of France, of whom it is related that he could not be wounded except in
the sole of his left foot, and that it must be with the point of a stout
pin and not with any other sort of weapon whatever; and so, when Bernardo
del Carpio slew him at Roncesvalles, finding that he could not wound him
with steel, he lifted him up from the ground in his arms and strangled
him, calling to mind seasonably the death which Hercules inflicted on
Antaeus, the fierce giant that they say was the son of Terra. I would
infer from what I have mentioned that perhaps I may have some gift of
this kind, not that of being invulnerable, because experience has many
times proved to me that I am of tender flesh and not at all impenetrable;
nor that of being proof against enchantment, for I have already seen
myself thrust into a cage, in which all the world would not have been
able to confine me except by force of enchantments. But as I delivered
myself from that one, I am inclined to believe that there is no other
that can hurt me; and so, these enchanters, seeing that they cannot exert
their vile craft against my person, revenge themselves on what I love
most, and seek to rob me of life by maltreating that of Dulcinea in whom
I live; and therefore I am convinced that when my squire carried my
message to her, they changed her into a common peasant girl, engaged in
such a mean occupation as sifting wheat; I have already said, however,
that that wheat was not red wheat, nor wheat at all, but grains of orient
pearl. And as a proof of all this, I must tell your highnesses that,
coming to El Toboso a short time back, I was altogether unable to
discover the palace of Dulcinea; and that the next day, though Sancho, my
squire, saw her in her own proper shape, which is the fairest in the
world, to me she appeared to be a coarse, ill-favoured farm-wench, and by
no means a well-spoken one, she who is propriety itself. And so, as I am
not and, so far as one can judge, cannot be enchanted, she it is that is
enchanted, that is smitten, that is altered, changed, and transformed; in
her have my enemies revenged themselves upon me, and for her shall I live
in ceaseless tears, until I see her in her pristine state. I have
mentioned this lest anybody should mind what Sancho said about Dulcinea's
winnowing or sifting; for, as they changed her to me, it is no wonder if
they changed her to him. Dulcinea is illustrious and well-born, and of
one of the gentle families of El Toboso, which are many, ancient, and
good. Therein, most assuredly, not small is the share of the peerless
Dulcinea, through whom her town will be famous and celebrated in ages to
come, as Troy was through Helen, and Spain through La Cava, though with a
better title and tradition. For another thing; I would have your graces
understand that Sancho Panza is one of the drollest squires that ever
served knight-errant; sometimes there is a simplicity about him so acute
that it is an amusement to try and make out whether he is simple or
sharp; he has mischievous tricks that stamp him rogue, and blundering
ways that prove him a booby; he doubts everything and believes
everything; when I fancy he is on the point of coming down headlong from
sheer stupidity, he comes out with something shrewd that sends him up to
the skies. After all, I would not exchange him for another squire, though
I were given a city to boot, and therefore I am in doubt whether it will
be well to send him to the government your highness has bestowed upon
him; though I perceive in him a certain aptitude for the work of
governing, so that, with a little trimming of his understanding, he would
manage any government as easily as the king does his taxes; and moreover,
we know already ample experience that it does not require much cleverness
or much learning to be a governor, for there are a hundred round about us
that scarcely know how to read, and govern like gerfalcons. The main
point is that they should have good intentions and be desirous of doing
right in all things, for they will never be at a loss for persons to
advise and direct them in what they have to do, like those
knight-governors who, being no lawyers, pronounce sentences with the aid
of an assessor. My advice to him will be to take no bribe and surrender
no right, and I have some other little matters in reserve, that shall be
produced in due season for Sancho's benefit and the advantage of the
island he is to govern."

The duke, duchess, and Don Quixote had reached this point in their
conversation, when they heard voices and a great hubbub in the palace,
and Sancho burst abruptly into the room all glowing with anger, with a
straining-cloth by way of a bib, and followed by several servants, or,
more properly speaking, kitchen-boys and other underlings, one of whom
carried a small trough full of water, that from its colour and impurity
was plainly dishwater. The one with the trough pursued him and followed
him everywhere he went, endeavouring with the utmost persistence to
thrust it under his chin, while another kitchen-boy seemed anxious to
wash his beard.

"What is all this, brothers?" asked the duchess. "What is it? What do you
want to do to this good man? Do you forget he is a governor-elect?"

To which the barber kitchen-boy replied, "The gentleman will not let
himself be washed as is customary, and as my lord and the senor his
master have been."

"Yes, I will," said Sancho, in a great rage; "but I'd like it to be with
cleaner towels, clearer lye, and not such dirty hands; for there's not so
much difference between me and my master that he should be washed with
angels' water and I with devil's lye. The customs of countries and
princes' palaces are only good so long as they give no annoyance; but the
way of washing they have here is worse than doing penance. I have a clean
beard, and I don't require to be refreshed in that fashion, and whoever
comes to wash me or touch a hair of my head, I mean to say my beard, with
all due respect be it said, I'll give him a punch that will leave my fist
sunk in his skull; for cirimonies and soapings of this sort are more like
jokes than the polite attentions of one's host."

The duchess was ready to die with laughter when she saw Sancho's rage and
heard his words; but it was no pleasure to Don Quixote to see him in such
a sorry trim, with the dingy towel about him, and the hangers-on of the
kitchen all round him; so making a low bow to the duke and duchess, as if
to ask their permission to speak, he addressed the rout in a dignified
tone: "Holloa, gentlemen! you let that youth alone, and go back to where
you came from, or anywhere else if you like; my squire is as clean as any
other person, and those troughs are as bad as narrow thin-necked jars to
him; take my advice and leave him alone, for neither he nor I understand

Sancho took the word out of his mouth and went on, "Nay, let them come
and try their jokes on the country bumpkin, for it's about as likely I'll
stand them as that it's now midnight! Let them bring me a comb here, or
what they please, and curry this beard of mine, and if they get anything
out of it that offends against cleanliness, let them clip me to the

Upon this, the duchess, laughing all the while, said, "Sancho Panza is
right, and always will be in all he says; he is clean, and, as he says
himself, he does not require to be washed; and if our ways do not please
him, he is free to choose. Besides, you promoters of cleanliness have
been excessively careless and thoughtless, I don't know if I ought not to
say audacious, to bring troughs and wooden utensils and kitchen
dishclouts, instead of basins and jugs of pure gold and towels of
holland, to such a person and such a beard; but, after all, you are
ill-conditioned and ill-bred, and spiteful as you are, you cannot help
showing the grudge you have against the squires of knights-errant."

The impudent servitors, and even the seneschal who came with them, took
the duchess to be speaking in earnest, so they removed the
straining-cloth from Sancho's neck, and with something like shame and
confusion of face went off all of them and left him; whereupon he, seeing
himself safe out of that extreme danger, as it seemed to him, ran and
fell on his knees before the duchess, saying, "From great ladies great
favours may be looked for; this which your grace has done me today cannot
be requited with less than wishing I was dubbed a knight-errant, to
devote myself all the days of my life to the service of so exalted a
lady. I am a labouring man, my name is Sancho Panza, I am married, I have
children, and I am serving as a squire; if in any one of these ways I can
serve your highness, I will not be longer in obeying than your grace in

"It is easy to see, Sancho," replied the duchess, "that you have learned
to be polite in the school of politeness itself; I mean to say it is easy
to see that you have been nursed in the bosom of Senor Don Quixote, who
is, of course, the cream of good breeding and flower of ceremony--or
cirimony, as you would say yourself. Fair be the fortunes of such a
master and such a servant, the one the cynosure of knight-errantry, the
other the star of squirely fidelity! Rise, Sancho, my friend; I will
repay your courtesy by taking care that my lord the duke makes good to
you the promised gift of the government as soon as possible."

With this, the conversation came to an end, and Don Quixote retired to
take his midday sleep; but the duchess begged Sancho, unless he had a
very great desire to go to sleep, to come and spend the afternoon with
her and her damsels in a very cool chamber. Sancho replied that, though
he certainly had the habit of sleeping four or five hours in the heat of
the day in summer, to serve her excellence he would try with all his
might not to sleep even one that day, and that he would come in obedience
to her command, and with that he went off. The duke gave fresh orders
with respect to treating Don Quixote as a knight-errant, without
departing even in smallest particular from the style in which, as the
stories tell us, they used to treat the knights of old.



The history records that Sancho did not sleep that afternoon, but in
order to keep his word came, before he had well done dinner, to visit the
duchess, who, finding enjoyment in listening to him, made him sit down
beside her on a low seat, though Sancho, out of pure good breeding,
wanted not to sit down; the duchess, however, told him he was to sit down
as governor and talk as squire, as in both respects he was worthy of even
the chair of the Cid Ruy Diaz the Campeador. Sancho shrugged his
shoulders, obeyed, and sat down, and all the duchess's damsels and
duennas gathered round him, waiting in profound silence to hear what he
would say. It was the duchess, however, who spoke first, saying:

"Now that we are alone, and that there is nobody here to overhear us, I
should be glad if the senor governor would relieve me of certain doubts I
have, rising out of the history of the great Don Quixote that is now in
print. One is: inasmuch as worthy Sancho never saw Dulcinea, I mean the
lady Dulcinea del Toboso, nor took Don Quixote's letter to her, for it
was left in the memorandum book in the Sierra Morena, how did he dare to
invent the answer and all that about finding her sifting wheat, the whole
story being a deception and falsehood, and so much to the prejudice of
the peerless Dulcinea's good name, a thing that is not at all becoming
the character and fidelity of a good squire?"

At these words, Sancho, without uttering one in reply, got up from his
chair, and with noiseless steps, with his body bent and his finger on his
lips, went all round the room lifting up the hangings; and this done, he
came back to his seat and said, "Now, senora, that I have seen that there
is no one except the bystanders listening to us on the sly, I will answer
what you have asked me, and all you may ask me, without fear or dread.
And the first thing I have got to say is, that for my own part I hold my
master Don Quixote to be stark mad, though sometimes he says things that,
to my mind, and indeed everybody's that listens to him, are so wise, and
run in such a straight furrow, that Satan himself could not have said
them better; but for all that, really, and beyond all question, it's my
firm belief he is cracked. Well, then, as this is clear to my mind, I can
venture to make him believe things that have neither head nor tail, like
that affair of the answer to the letter, and that other of six or eight
days ago, which is not yet in history, that is to say, the affair of the
enchantment of my lady Dulcinea; for I made him believe she is enchanted,
though there's no more truth in it than over the hills of Ubeda."

The duchess begged him to tell her about the enchantment or deception, so
Sancho told the whole story exactly as it had happened, and his hearers
were not a little amused by it; and then resuming, the duchess said, "In
consequence of what worthy Sancho has told me, a doubt starts up in my
mind, and there comes a kind of whisper to my ear that says, 'If Don
Quixote be mad, crazy, and cracked, and Sancho Panza his squire knows it,
and, notwithstanding, serves and follows him, and goes trusting to his
empty promises, there can be no doubt he must be still madder and sillier
than his master; and that being so, it will be cast in your teeth, senora
duchess, if you give the said Sancho an island to govern; for how will he
who does not know how to govern himself know how to govern others?'"

"By God, senora," said Sancho, "but that doubt comes timely; but your
grace may say it out, and speak plainly, or as you like; for I know what
you say is true, and if I were wise I should have left my master long
ago; but this was my fate, this was my bad luck; I can't help it, I must
follow him; we're from the same village, I've eaten his bread, I'm fond
of him, I'm grateful, he gave me his ass-colts, and above all I'm
faithful; so it's quite impossible for anything to separate us, except
the pickaxe and shovel. And if your highness does not like to give me the
government you promised, God made me without it, and maybe your not
giving it to me will be all the better for my conscience, for fool as I
am I know the proverb 'to her hurt the ant got wings,' and it may be that
Sancho the squire will get to heaven sooner than Sancho the governor.
'They make as good bread here as in France,' and 'by night all cats are
grey,' and 'a hard case enough his, who hasn't broken his fast at two in
the afternoon,' and 'there's no stomach a hand's breadth bigger than
another,' and the same can be filled 'with straw or hay,' as the saying
is, and 'the little birds of the field have God for their purveyor and
caterer,' and 'four yards of Cuenca frieze keep one warmer than four of
Segovia broad-cloth,' and 'when we quit this world and are put
underground the prince travels by as narrow a path as the journeyman,'
and 'the Pope's body does not take up more feet of earth than the
sacristan's,' for all that the one is higher than the other; for when we
go to our graves we all pack ourselves up and make ourselves small, or
rather they pack us up and make us small in spite of us, and then--good
night to us. And I say once more, if your ladyship does not like to give
me the island because I'm a fool, like a wise man I will take care to
give myself no trouble about it; I have heard say that 'behind the cross
there's the devil,' and that 'all that glitters is not gold,' and that
from among the oxen, and the ploughs, and the yokes, Wamba the husbandman
was taken to be made King of Spain, and from among brocades, and
pleasures, and riches, Roderick was taken to be devoured by adders, if
the verses of the old ballads don't lie."

"To be sure they don't lie!" exclaimed Dona Rodriguez, the duenna, who
was one of the listeners. "Why, there's a ballad that says they put King
Rodrigo alive into a tomb full of toads, and adders, and lizards, and
that two days afterwards the king, in a plaintive, feeble voice, cried
out from within the tomb--

They gnaw me now, they gnaw me now,
There where I most did sin.

And according to that the gentleman has good reason to say he would
rather be a labouring man than a king, if vermin are to eat him."

The duchess could not help laughing at the simplicity of her duenna, or
wondering at the language and proverbs of Sancho, to whom she said,
"Worthy Sancho knows very well that when once a knight has made a promise
he strives to keep it, though it should cost him his life. My lord and
husband the duke, though not one of the errant sort, is none the less a
knight for that reason, and will keep his word about the promised island,
in spite of the envy and malice of the world. Let Sancho he of good
cheer; for when he least expects it he will find himself seated on the
throne of his island and seat of dignity, and will take possession of his
government that he may discard it for another of three-bordered brocade.
The charge I give him is to be careful how he governs his vassals,
bearing in mind that they are all loyal and well-born."

"As to governing them well," said Sancho, "there's no need of charging me
to do that, for I'm kind-hearted by nature, and full of compassion for
the poor; there's no stealing the loaf from him who kneads and bakes;'
and by my faith it won't do to throw false dice with me; I am an old dog,
and I know all about 'tus, tus;' I can be wide-awake if need be, and I
don't let clouds come before my eyes, for I know where the shoe pinches
me; I say so, because with me the good will have support and protection,
and the bad neither footing nor access. And it seems to me that, in
governments, to make a beginning is everything; and maybe, after having
been governor a fortnight, I'll take kindly to the work and know more
about it than the field labour I have been brought up to."

"You are right, Sancho," said the duchess, "for no one is born ready
taught, and the bishops are made out of men and not out of stones. But to
return to the subject we were discussing just now, the enchantment of the
lady Dulcinea, I look upon it as certain, and something more than
evident, that Sancho's idea of practising a deception upon his master,
making him believe that the peasant girl was Dulcinea and that if he did
not recognise her it must be because she was enchanted, was all a device
of one of the enchanters that persecute Don Quixote. For in truth and
earnest, I know from good authority that the coarse country wench who
jumped up on the ass was and is Dulcinea del Toboso, and that worthy
Sancho, though he fancies himself the deceiver, is the one that is
deceived; and that there is no more reason to doubt the truth of this,
than of anything else we never saw. Senor Sancho Panza must know that we
too have enchanters here that are well disposed to us, and tell us what
goes on in the world, plainly and distinctly, without subterfuge or
deception; and believe me, Sancho, that agile country lass was and is
Dulcinea del Toboso, who is as much enchanted as the mother that bore
her; and when we least expect it, we shall see her in her own proper
form, and then Sancho will be disabused of the error he is under at

"All that's very possible," said Sancho Panza; "and now I'm willing to
believe what my master says about what he saw in the cave of Montesinos,
where he says he saw the lady Dulcinea del Toboso in the very same dress
and apparel that I said I had seen her in when I enchanted her all to
please myself. It must be all exactly the other way, as your ladyship
says; because it is impossible to suppose that out of my poor wit such a
cunning trick could be concocted in a moment, nor do I think my master is
so mad that by my weak and feeble persuasion he could be made to believe
a thing so out of all reason. But, senora, your excellence must not
therefore think me ill-disposed, for a dolt like me is not bound to see
into the thoughts and plots of those vile enchanters. I invented all that
to escape my master's scolding, and not with any intention of hurting
him; and if it has turned out differently, there is a God in heaven who
judges our hearts."

"That is true," said the duchess; "but tell me, Sancho, what is this you
say about the cave of Montesinos, for I should like to know."

Sancho upon this related to her, word for word, what has been said
already touching that adventure, and having heard it the duchess said,
"From this occurrence it may be inferred that, as the great Don Quixote
says he saw there the same country wench Sancho saw on the way from El
Toboso, it is, no doubt, Dulcinea, and that there are some very active
and exceedingly busy enchanters about."

"So I say," said Sancho, "and if my lady Dulcinea is enchanted, so much
the worse for her, and I'm not going to pick a quarrel with my master's
enemies, who seem to be many and spiteful. The truth is that the one I
saw was a country wench, and I set her down to be a country wench; and if
that was Dulcinea it must not be laid at my door, nor should I be called
to answer for it or take the consequences. But they must go nagging at me
at every step--'Sancho said it, Sancho did it, Sancho here, Sancho
there,' as if Sancho was nobody at all, and not that same Sancho Panza
that's now going all over the world in books, so Samson Carrasco told me,
and he's at any rate one that's a bachelor of Salamanca; and people of
that sort can't lie, except when the whim seizes them or they have some
very good reason for it. So there's no occasion for anybody to quarrel
with me; and then I have a good character, and, as I have heard my master
say, 'a good name is better than great riches;' let them only stick me
into this government and they'll see wonders, for one who has been a good
squire will be a good governor."

"All worthy Sancho's observations," said the duchess, "are Catonian
sentences, or at any rate out of the very heart of Michael Verino
himself, who florentibus occidit annis. In fact, to speak in his own
style, 'under a bad cloak there's often a good drinker.'"

"Indeed, senora," said Sancho, "I never yet drank out of wickedness; from
thirst I have very likely, for I have nothing of the hypocrite in me; I
drink when I'm inclined, or, if I'm not inclined, when they offer it to
me, so as not to look either strait-laced or ill-bred; for when a friend
drinks one's health what heart can be so hard as not to return it? But if
I put on my shoes I don't dirty them; besides, squires to knights-errant
mostly drink water, for they are always wandering among woods, forests
and meadows, mountains and crags, without a drop of wine to be had if
they gave their eyes for it."

"So I believe," said the duchess; "and now let Sancho go and take his
sleep, and we will talk by-and-by at greater length, and settle how he
may soon go and stick himself into the government, as he says."

Sancho once more kissed the duchess's hand, and entreated her to let good
care be taken of his Dapple, for he was the light of his eyes.

"What is Dapple?" said the duchess.

"My ass," said Sancho, "which, not to mention him by that name, I'm
accustomed to call Dapple; I begged this lady duenna here to take care of
him when I came into the castle, and she got as angry as if I had said
she was ugly or old, though it ought to be more natural and proper for
duennas to feed asses than to ornament chambers. God bless me! what a
spite a gentleman of my village had against these ladies!"

"He must have been some clown," said Dona Rodriguez the duenna; "for if
he had been a gentleman and well-born he would have exalted them higher
than the horns of the moon."

"That will do," said the duchess; "no more of this; hush, Dona Rodriguez,
and let Senor Panza rest easy and leave the treatment of Dapple in my
charge, for as he is a treasure of Sancho's, I'll put him on the apple of
my eye."

"It will be enough for him to be in the stable," said Sancho, "for
neither he nor I are worthy to rest a moment in the apple of your
highness's eye, and I'd as soon stab myself as consent to it; for though
my master says that in civilities it is better to lose by a card too many
than a card too few, when it comes to civilities to asses we must mind
what we are about and keep within due bounds."

"Take him to your government, Sancho," said the duchess, "and there you
will be able to make as much of him as you like, and even release him
from work and pension him off."

"Don't think, senora duchess, that you have said anything absurd," said
Sancho; "I have seen more than two asses go to governments, and for me to
take mine with me would be nothing new."

Sancho's words made the duchess laugh again and gave her fresh amusement,
and dismissing him to sleep she went away to tell the duke the
conversation she had had with him, and between them they plotted and
arranged to play a joke upon Don Quixote that was to be a rare one and
entirely in knight-errantry style, and in that same style they practised
several upon him, so much in keeping and so clever that they form the
best adventures this great history contains.



Great was the pleasure the duke and duchess took in the conversation of
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza; and, more bent than ever upon the plan they
had of practising some jokes upon them that should have the look and
appearance of adventures, they took as their basis of action what Don
Quixote had already told them about the cave of Montesinos, in order to
play him a famous one. But what the duchess marvelled at above all was
that Sancho's simplicity could be so great as to make him believe as
absolute truth that Dulcinea had been enchanted, when it was he himself
who had been the enchanter and trickster in the business. Having,
therefore, instructed their servants in everything they were to do, six
days afterwards they took him out to hunt, with as great a retinue of
huntsmen and beaters as a crowned king.

They presented Don Quixote with a hunting suit, and Sancho with another
of the finest green cloth; but Don Quixote declined to put his on, saying
that he must soon return to the hard pursuit of arms, and could not carry
wardrobes or stores with him. Sancho, however, took what they gave him,
meaning to sell it the first opportunity.

The appointed day having arrived, Don Quixote armed himself, and Sancho
arrayed himself, and mounted on his Dapple (for he would not give him up
though they offered him a horse), he placed himself in the midst of the
troop of huntsmen. The duchess came out splendidly attired, and Don
Quixote, in pure courtesy and politeness, held the rein of her palfrey,
though the duke wanted not to allow him; and at last they reached a wood
that lay between two high mountains, where, after occupying various
posts, ambushes, and paths, and distributing the party in different
positions, the hunt began with great noise, shouting, and hallooing, so
that, between the baying of the hounds and the blowing of the horns, they
could not hear one another. The duchess dismounted, and with a sharp
boar-spear in her hand posted herself where she knew the wild boars were
in the habit of passing. The duke and Don Quixote likewise dismounted and
placed themselves one at each side of her. Sancho took up a position in
the rear of all without dismounting from Dapple, whom he dared not desert
lest some mischief should befall him. Scarcely had they taken their stand
in a line with several of their servants, when they saw a huge boar,
closely pressed by the hounds and followed by the huntsmen, making
towards them, grinding his teeth and tusks, and scattering foam from his
mouth. As soon as he saw him Don Quixote, bracing his shield on his arm,
and drawing his sword, advanced to meet him; the duke with boar-spear did
the same; but the duchess would have gone in front of them all had not
the duke prevented her. Sancho alone, deserting Dapple at the sight of
the mighty beast, took to his heels as hard as he could and strove in
vain to mount a tall oak. As he was clinging to a branch, however,
half-way up in his struggle to reach the top, the bough, such was his
ill-luck and hard fate, gave way, and caught in his fall by a broken limb
of the oak, he hung suspended in the air unable to reach the ground.
Finding himself in this position, and that the green coat was beginning
to tear, and reflecting that if the fierce animal came that way he might
be able to get at him, he began to utter such cries, and call for help so
earnestly, that all who heard him and did not see him felt sure he must
be in the teeth of some wild beast. In the end the tusked boar fell
pierced by the blades of the many spears they held in front of him; and
Don Quixote, turning round at the cries of Sancho, for he knew by them
that it was he, saw him hanging from the oak head downwards, with Dapple,
who did not forsake him in his distress, close beside him; and Cide
Hamete observes that he seldom saw Sancho Panza without seeing Dapple, or
Dapple without seeing Sancho Panza; such was their attachment and loyalty
one to the other. Don Quixote went over and unhooked Sancho, who, as soon
as he found himself on the ground, looked at the rent in his huntingcoat
and was grieved to the heart, for he thought he had got a patrimonial
estate in that suit.

Meanwhile they had slung the mighty boar across the back of a mule, and
having covered it with sprigs of rosemary and branches of myrtle, they
bore it away as the spoils of victory to some large field-tents which had
been pitched in the middle of the wood, where they found the tables laid
and dinner served, in such grand and sumptuous style that it was easy to
see the rank and magnificence of those who had provided it. Sancho, as he
showed the rents in his torn suit to the duchess, observed, "If we had
been hunting hares, or after small birds, my coat would have been safe
from being in the plight it's in; I don't know what pleasure one can find
in lying in wait for an animal that may take your life with his tusk if
he gets at you. I recollect having heard an old ballad sung that says,

By bears be thou devoured, as erst
Was famous Favila."

"That," said Don Quixote, "was a Gothic king, who, going a-hunting, was
devoured by a bear."

"Just so," said Sancho; "and I would not have kings and princes expose
themselves to such dangers for the sake of a pleasure which, to my mind,
ought not to be one, as it consists in killing an animal that has done no
harm whatever."

"Quite the contrary, Sancho; you are wrong there," said the duke; "for
hunting is more suitable and requisite for kings and princes than for
anybody else. The chase is the emblem of war; it has stratagems, wiles,
and crafty devices for overcoming the enemy in safety; in it extreme cold
and intolerable heat have to be borne, indolence and sleep are despised,
the bodily powers are invigorated, the limbs of him who engages in it are
made supple, and, in a word, it is a pursuit which may be followed
without injury to anyone and with enjoyment to many; and the best of it
is, it is not for everybody, as field-sports of other sorts are, except
hawking, which also is only for kings and great lords. Reconsider your
opinion therefore, Sancho, and when you are governor take to hunting, and
you will find the good of it."

"Nay," said Sancho, "the good governor should have a broken leg and keep
at home;" it would be a nice thing if, after people had been at the
trouble of coming to look for him on business, the governor were to be
away in the forest enjoying himself; the government would go on badly in
that fashion. By my faith, senor, hunting and amusements are more fit for
idlers than for governors; what I intend to amuse myself with is playing
all fours at Eastertime, and bowls on Sundays and holidays; for these
huntings don't suit my condition or agree with my conscience."

"God grant it may turn out so," said the duke; "because it's a long step
from saying to doing."

"Be that as it may," said Sancho, "'pledges don't distress a good payer,'
and 'he whom God helps does better than he who gets up early,' and 'it's
the tripes that carry the feet and not the feet the tripes;' I mean to
say that if God gives me help and I do my duty honestly, no doubt I'll
govern better than a gerfalcon. Nay, let them only put a finger in my
mouth, and they'll see whether I can bite or not."

"The curse of God and all his saints upon thee, thou accursed Sancho!"
exclaimed Don Quixote; "when will the day come--as I have often said to
thee--when I shall hear thee make one single coherent, rational remark
without proverbs? Pray, your highnesses, leave this fool alone, for he
will grind your souls between, not to say two, but two thousand proverbs,
dragged in as much in season, and as much to the purpose as--may God
grant as much health to him, or to me if I want to listen to them!"

"Sancho Panza's proverbs," said the duchess, "though more in number than
the Greek Commander's, are not therefore less to be esteemed for the
conciseness of the maxims. For my own part, I can say they give me more
pleasure than others that may be better brought in and more seasonably

In pleasant conversation of this sort they passed out of the tent into
the wood, and the day was spent in visiting some of the posts and
hiding-places, and then night closed in, not, however, as brilliantly or
tranquilly as might have been expected at the season, for it was then
midsummer; but bringing with it a kind of haze that greatly aided the
project of the duke and duchess; and thus, as night began to fall, and a
little after twilight set in, suddenly the whole wood on all four sides
seemed to be on fire, and shortly after, here, there, on all sides, a
vast number of trumpets and other military instruments were heard, as if
several troops of cavalry were passing through the wood. The blaze of the
fire and the noise of the warlike instruments almost blinded the eyes and
deafened the ears of those that stood by, and indeed of all who were in
the wood. Then there were heard repeated lelilies after the fashion of
the Moors when they rush to battle; trumpets and clarions brayed, drums
beat, fifes played, so unceasingly and so fast that he could not have had
any senses who did not lose them with the confused din of so many
instruments. The duke was astounded, the duchess amazed, Don Quixote
wondering, Sancho Panza trembling, and indeed, even they who were aware
of the cause were frightened. In their fear, silence fell upon them, and
a postillion, in the guise of a demon, passed in front of them, blowing,
in lieu of a bugle, a huge hollow horn that gave out a horrible hoarse

"Ho there! brother courier," cried the duke, "who are you? Where are you
going? What troops are these that seem to be passing through the wood?"

To which the courier replied in a harsh, discordant voice, "I am the
devil; I am in search of Don Quixote of La Mancha; those who are coming
this way are six troops of enchanters, who are bringing on a triumphal
car the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso; she comes under enchantment,
together with the gallant Frenchman Montesinos, to give instructions to
Don Quixote as to how, she the said lady, may be disenchanted."

"If you were the devil, as you say and as your appearance indicates,"
said the duke, "you would have known the said knight Don Quixote of La
Mancha, for you have him here before you."

"By God and upon my conscience," said the devil, "I never observed it,
for my mind is occupied with so many different things that I was
forgetting the main thing I came about."

"This demon must be an honest fellow and a good Christian," said Sancho;
"for if he wasn't he wouldn't swear by God and his conscience; I feel
sure now there must be good souls even in hell itself."

Without dismounting, the demon then turned to Don Quixote and said, "The
unfortunate but valiant knight Montesinos sends me to thee, the Knight of
the Lions (would that I saw thee in their claws), bidding me tell thee to
wait for him wherever I may find thee, as he brings with him her whom
they call Dulcinea del Toboso, that he may show thee what is needful in
order to disenchant her; and as I came for no more I need stay no longer;
demons of my sort be with thee, and good angels with these gentles;" and
so saying he blew his huge horn, turned about and went off without
waiting for a reply from anyone.

They all felt fresh wonder, but particularly Sancho and Don Quixote;
Sancho to see how, in defiance of the truth, they would have it that
Dulcinea was enchanted; Don Quixote because he could not feel sure
whether what had happened to him in the cave of Montesinos was true or
not; and as he was deep in these cogitations the duke said to him, "Do
you mean to wait, Senor Don Quixote?"

"Why not?" replied he; "here will I wait, fearless and firm, though all
hell should come to attack me."

"Well then, if I see another devil or hear another horn like the last,
I'll wait here as much as in Flanders," said Sancho.

Night now closed in more completely, and many lights began to flit
through the wood, just as those fiery exhalations from the earth, that
look like shooting-stars to our eyes, flit through the heavens; a
frightful noise, too, was heard, like that made by the solid wheels the
ox-carts usually have, by the harsh, ceaseless creaking of which, they
say, the bears and wolves are put to flight, if there happen to be any
where they are passing. In addition to all this commotion, there came a
further disturbance to increase the tumult, for now it seemed as if in
truth, on all four sides of the wood, four encounters or battles were
going on at the same time; in one quarter resounded the dull noise of a
terrible cannonade, in another numberless muskets were being discharged,
the shouts of the combatants sounded almost close at hand, and farther
away the Moorish lelilies were raised again and again. In a word, the
bugles, the horns, the clarions, the trumpets, the drums, the cannon, the
musketry, and above all the tremendous noise of the carts, all made up
together a din so confused and terrific that Don Quixote had need to
summon up all his courage to brave it; but Sancho's gave way, and he fell
fainting on the skirt of the duchess's robe, who let him lie there and
promptly bade them throw water in his face. This was done, and he came to
himself by the time that one of the carts with the creaking wheels
reached the spot. It was drawn by four plodding oxen all covered with
black housings; on each horn they had fixed a large lighted wax taper,
and on the top of the cart was constructed a raised seat, on which sat a
venerable old man with a beard whiter than the very snow, and so long
that it fell below his waist; he was dressed in a long robe of black
buckram; for as the cart was thickly set with a multitude of candles it
was easy to make out everything that was on it. Leading it were two
hideous demons, also clad in buckram, with countenances so frightful that
Sancho, having once seen them, shut his eyes so as not to see them again.
As soon as the cart came opposite the spot the old man rose from his
lofty seat, and standing up said in a loud voice, "I am the sage
Lirgandeo," and without another word the cart then passed on. Behind it
came another of the same form, with another aged man enthroned, who,
stopping the cart, said in a voice no less solemn than that of the first,
"I am the sage Alquife, the great friend of Urganda the Unknown," and
passed on. Then another cart came by at the same pace, but the occupant
of the throne was not old like the others, but a man stalwart and robust,
and of a forbidding countenance, who as he came up said in a voice far
hoarser and more devilish, "I am the enchanter Archelaus, the mortal
enemy of Amadis of Gaul and all his kindred," and then passed on. Having
gone a short distance the three carts halted and the monotonous noise of
their wheels ceased, and soon after they heard another, not noise, but
sound of sweet, harmonious music, of which Sancho was very glad, taking
it to be a good sign; and said he to the duchess, from whom he did not
stir a step, or for a single instant, "Senora, where there's music there
can't be mischief."

"Nor where there are lights and it is bright," said the duchess; to which
Sancho replied, "Fire gives light, and it's bright where there are
bonfires, as we see by those that are all round us and perhaps may burn
us; but music is a sign of mirth and merrymaking."

"That remains to be seen," said Don Quixote, who was listening to all
that passed; and he was right, as is shown in the following chapter.



They saw advancing towards them, to the sound of this pleasing music,
what they call a triumphal car, drawn by six grey mules with white linen
housings, on each of which was mounted a penitent, robed also in white,
with a large lighted wax taper in his hand. The car was twice or,
perhaps, three times as large as the former ones, and in front and on the
sides stood twelve more penitents, all as white as snow and all with
lighted tapers, a spectacle to excite fear as well as wonder; and on a
raised throne was seated a nymph draped in a multitude of silver-tissue
veils with an embroidery of countless gold spangles glittering all over
them, that made her appear, if not richly, at least brilliantly,
apparelled. She had her face covered with thin transparent sendal, the
texture of which did not prevent the fair features of a maiden from being
distinguished, while the numerous lights made it possible to judge of her
beauty and of her years, which seemed to be not less than seventeen but
not to have yet reached twenty. Beside her was a figure in a robe of
state, as they call it, reaching to the feet, while the head was covered
with a black veil. But the instant the car was opposite the duke and
duchess and Don Quixote the music of the clarions ceased, and then that
of the lutes and harps on the car, and the figure in the robe rose up,
and flinging it apart and removing the veil from its face, disclosed to
their eyes the shape of Death itself, fleshless and hideous, at which
sight Don Quixote felt uneasy, Sancho frightened, and the duke and
duchess displayed a certain trepidation. Having risen to its feet, this
living death, in a sleepy voice and with a tongue hardly awake, held
forth as follows:

I am that Merlin who the legends say
The devil had for father, and the lie
Hath gathered credence with the lapse of time.
Of magic prince, of Zoroastric lore
Monarch and treasurer, with jealous eye
I view the efforts of the age to hide
The gallant deeds of doughty errant knights,
Who are, and ever have been, dear to me.
Enchanters and magicians and their kind

Are mostly hard of heart; not so am I;
For mine is tender, soft, compassionate,
And its delight is doing good to all.
In the dim caverns of the gloomy Dis,
Where, tracing mystic lines and characters,
My soul abideth now, there came to me
The sorrow-laden plaint of her, the fair,
The peerless Dulcinea del Toboso.
I knew of her enchantment and her fate,
From high-born dame to peasant wench transformed
And touched with pity, first I turned the leaves
Of countless volumes of my devilish craft,
And then, in this grim grisly skeleton
Myself encasing, hither have I come
To show where lies the fitting remedy
To give relief in such a piteous case.
O thou, the pride and pink of all that wear

The adamantine steel! O shining light,
O beacon, polestar, path and guide of all
Who, scorning slumber and the lazy down,
Adopt the toilsome life of bloodstained arms!
To thee, great hero who all praise transcends,
La Mancha's lustre and Iberia's star,
Don Quixote, wise as brave, to thee I say--
For peerless Dulcinea del Toboso
Her pristine form and beauty to regain,
'T is needful that thy esquire Sancho shall,
On his own sturdy buttocks bared to heaven,
Three thousand and three hundred lashes lay,
And that they smart and sting and hurt him well.
Thus have the authors of her woe resolved.
And this is, gentles, wherefore I have come.

"By all that's good," exclaimed Sancho at this, "I'll just as soon give
myself three stabs with a dagger as three, not to say three thousand,
lashes. The devil take such a way of disenchanting! I don't see what my
backside has got to do with enchantments. By God, if Senor Merlin has not
found out some other way of disenchanting the lady Dulcinea del Toboso,
she may go to her grave enchanted."

"But I'll take you, Don Clown stuffed with garlic," said Don Quixote,
"and tie you to a tree as naked as when your mother brought you forth,
and give you, not to say three thousand three hundred, but six thousand
six hundred lashes, and so well laid on that they won't be got rid of if
you try three thousand three hundred times; don't answer me a word or
I'll tear your soul out."

On hearing this Merlin said, "That will not do, for the lashes worthy
Sancho has to receive must be given of his own free will and not by
force, and at whatever time he pleases, for there is no fixed limit
assigned to him; but it is permitted him, if he likes to commute by half
the pain of this whipping, to let them be given by the hand of another,
though it may be somewhat weighty."

"Not a hand, my own or anybody else's, weighty or weighable, shall touch
me," said Sancho. "Was it I that gave birth to the lady Dulcinea del
Toboso, that my backside is to pay for the sins of her eyes? My master,
indeed, that's a part of her--for, he's always calling her 'my life' and
'my soul,' and his stay and prop--may and ought to whip himself for her
and take all the trouble required for her disenchantment. But for me to
whip myself! Abernuncio!"

As soon as Sancho had done speaking the nymph in silver that was at the
side of Merlin's ghost stood up, and removing the thin veil from her face
disclosed one that seemed to all something more than exceedingly
beautiful; and with a masculine freedom from embarrassment and in a voice
not very like a lady's, addressing Sancho directly, said, "Thou wretched
squire, soul of a pitcher, heart of a cork tree, with bowels of flint and
pebbles; if, thou impudent thief, they bade thee throw thyself down from
some lofty tower; if, enemy of mankind, they asked thee to swallow a
dozen of toads, two of lizards, and three of adders; if they wanted thee
to slay thy wife and children with a sharp murderous scimitar, it would
be no wonder for thee to show thyself stubborn and squeamish. But to make
a piece of work about three thousand three hundred lashes, what every
poor little charity-boy gets every month--it is enough to amaze,
astonish, astound the compassionate bowels of all who hear it, nay, all
who come to hear it in the course of time. Turn, O miserable,
hard-hearted animal, turn, I say, those timorous owl's eyes upon these of
mine that are compared to radiant stars, and thou wilt see them weeping
trickling streams and rills, and tracing furrows, tracks, and paths over
the fair fields of my cheeks. Let it move thee, crafty, ill-conditioned
monster, to see my blooming youth--still in its teens, for I am not yet
twenty--wasting and withering away beneath the husk of a rude peasant
wench; and if I do not appear in that shape now, it is a special favour
Senor Merlin here has granted me, to the sole end that my beauty may
soften thee; for the tears of beauty in distress turn rocks into cotton
and tigers into ewes. Lay on to that hide of thine, thou great untamed
brute, rouse up thy lusty vigour that only urges thee to eat and eat, and
set free the softness of my flesh, the gentleness of my nature, and the
fairness of my face. And if thou wilt not relent or come to reason for
me, do so for the sake of that poor knight thou hast beside thee; thy
master I mean, whose soul I can this moment see, how he has it stuck in
his throat not ten fingers from his lips, and only waiting for thy
inflexible or yielding reply to make its escape by his mouth or go back
again into his stomach."

Don Quixote on hearing this felt his throat, and turning to the duke he
said, "By God, senor, Dulcinea says true, I have my soul stuck here in my
throat like the nut of a crossbow."

"What say you to this, Sancho?" said the duchess.

"I say, senora," returned Sancho, "what I said before; as for the lashes,

"Abrenuncio, you should say, Sancho, and not as you do," said the duke.

"Let me alone, your highness," said Sancho. "I'm not in a humour now to
look into niceties or a letter more or less, for these lashes that are to
be given me, or I'm to give myself, have so upset me, that I don't know
what I'm saying or doing. But I'd like to know of this lady, my lady
Dulcinea del Toboso, where she learned this way she has of asking
favours. She comes to ask me to score my flesh with lashes, and she calls
me soul of a pitcher, and great untamed brute, and a string of foul names
that the devil is welcome to. Is my flesh brass? or is it anything to me
whether she is enchanted or not? Does she bring with her a basket of fair
linen, shirts, kerchiefs, socks-not that wear any--to coax me? No,
nothing but one piece of abuse after another, though she knows the
proverb they have here that 'an ass loaded with gold goes lightly up a
mountain,' and that 'gifts break rocks,' and 'praying to God and plying
the hammer,' and that 'one "take" is better than two "I'll give thee's."'
Then there's my master, who ought to stroke me down and pet me to make me
turn wool and carded cotton; he says if he gets hold of me he'll tie me
naked to a tree and double the tale of lashes on me. These tender-hearted
gentry should consider that it's not merely a squire, but a governor they
are asking to whip himself; just as if it was 'drink with cherries.' Let
them learn, plague take them, the right way to ask, and beg, and behave
themselves; for all times are not alike, nor are people always in good
humour. I'm now ready to burst with grief at seeing my green coat torn,
and they come to ask me to whip myself of my own free will, I having as
little fancy for it as for turning cacique."

"Well then, the fact is, friend Sancho," said the duke, "that unless you
become softer than a ripe fig, you shall not get hold of the government.
It would be a nice thing for me to send my islanders a cruel governor
with flinty bowels, who won't yield to the tears of afflicted damsels or
to the prayers of wise, magisterial, ancient enchanters and sages. In
short, Sancho, either you must be whipped by yourself, or they must whip
you, or you shan't be governor."

"Senor," said Sancho, "won't two days' grace be given me in which to
consider what is best for me?"

"No, certainly not," said Merlin; "here, this minute, and on the spot,
the matter must be settled; either Dulcinea will return to the cave of
Montesinos and to her former condition of peasant wench, or else in her
present form shall be carried to the Elysian fields, where she will
remain waiting until the number of stripes is completed."

"Now then, Sancho!" said the duchess, "show courage, and gratitude for
your master Don Quixote's bread that you have eaten; we are all bound to
oblige and please him for his benevolent disposition and lofty chivalry.
Consent to this whipping, my son; to the devil with the devil, and leave
fear to milksops, for 'a stout heart breaks bad luck,' as you very well

To this Sancho replied with an irrelevant remark, which, addressing
Merlin, he made to him, "Will your worship tell me, Senor Merlin--when
that courier devil came up he gave my master a message from Senor
Montesinos, charging him to wait for him here, as he was coming to
arrange how the lady Dona Dulcinea del Toboso was to be disenchanted; but
up to the present we have not seen Montesinos, nor anything like him."

To which Merlin made answer, "The devil, Sancho, is a blockhead and a
great scoundrel; I sent him to look for your master, but not with a
message from Montesinos but from myself; for Montesinos is in his cave
expecting, or more properly speaking, waiting for his disenchantment; for
there's the tail to be skinned yet for him; if he owes you anything, or
you have any business to transact with him, I'll bring him to you and put
him where you choose; but for the present make up your mind to consent to
this penance, and believe me it will be very good for you, for soul as
well for body--for your soul because of the charity with which you
perform it, for your body because I know that you are of a sanguine habit
and it will do you no harm to draw a little blood."

"There are a great many doctors in the world; even the enchanters are
doctors," said Sancho; "however, as everybody tells me the same
thing--though I can't see it myself--I say I am willing to give myself
the three thousand three hundred lashes, provided I am to lay them on
whenever I like, without any fixing of days or times; and I'll try and
get out of debt as quickly as I can, that the world may enjoy the beauty
of the lady Dulcinea del Toboso; as it seems, contrary to what I thought,
that she is beautiful after all. It must be a condition, too, that I am
not to be bound to draw blood with the scourge, and that if any of the
lashes happen to be fly-flappers they are to count. Item, that, in case I
should make any mistake in the reckoning, Senor Merlin, as he knows
everything, is to keep count, and let me know how many are still wanting
or over the number."

"There will be no need to let you know of any over," said Merlin,
"because, when you reach the full number, the lady Dulcinea will at once,
and that very instant, be disenchanted, and will come in her gratitude to
seek out the worthy Sancho, and thank him, and even reward him for the
good work. So you have no cause to be uneasy about stripes too many or
too few; heaven forbid I should cheat anyone of even a hair of his head."

"Well then, in God's hands be it," said Sancho; "in the hard case I'm in
I give in; I say I accept the penance on the conditions laid down."

The instant Sancho uttered these last words the music of the clarions
struck up once more, and again a host of muskets were discharged, and Don
Quixote hung on Sancho's neck kissing him again and again on the forehead
and cheeks. The duchess and the duke expressed the greatest satisfaction,
the car began to move on, and as it passed the fair Dulcinea bowed to the
duke and duchess and made a low curtsey to Sancho.

And now bright smiling dawn came on apace; the flowers of the field,
revived, raised up their heads, and the crystal waters of the brooks,
murmuring over the grey and white pebbles, hastened to pay their tribute
to the expectant rivers; the glad earth, the unclouded sky, the fresh
breeze, the clear light, each and all showed that the day that came
treading on the skirts of morning would be calm and bright. The duke and
duchess, pleased with their hunt and at having carried out their plans so
cleverly and successfully, returned to their castle resolved to follow up
their joke; for to them there was no reality that could afford them more

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