Produced by David Widger
by Miguel de Cervantes
Translated by John Ormsby
OF WHAT HAPPENED SANCHO IN MAKING THE ROUND OF HIS ISLAND
We left the great governor angered and irritated by that
portrait-painting rogue of a farmer who, instructed the majordomo, as the
majordomo was by the duke, tried to practise upon him; he however, fool,
boor, and clown as he was, held his own against them all, saying to those
round him and to Doctor Pedro Recio, who as soon as the private business
of the duke's letter was disposed of had returned to the room, "Now I see
plainly enough that judges and governors ought to be and must be made of
brass not to feel the importunities of the applicants that at all times
and all seasons insist on being heard, and having their business
despatched, and their own affairs and no others attended to, come what
may; and if the poor judge does not hear them and settle the
matter--either because he cannot or because that is not the time set
apart for hearing them-forthwith they abuse him, and run him down, and
gnaw at his bones, and even pick holes in his pedigree. You silly, stupid
applicant, don't be in a hurry; wait for the proper time and season for
doing business; don't come at dinner-hour, or at bed-time; for judges are
only flesh and blood, and must give to Nature what she naturally demands
of them; all except myself, for in my case I give her nothing to eat,
thanks to Senor Doctor Pedro Recio Tirteafuera here, who would have me
die of hunger, and declares that death to be life; and the same sort of
life may God give him and all his kind--I mean the bad doctors; for the
good ones deserve palms and laurels."
All who knew Sancho Panza were astonished to hear him speak so elegantly,
and did not know what to attribute it to unless it were that office and
grave responsibility either smarten or stupefy men's wits. At last Doctor
Pedro Recio Agilers of Tirteafuera promised to let him have supper that
night though it might be in contravention of all the aphorisms of
Hippocrates. With this the governor was satisfied and looked forward to
the approach of night and supper-time with great anxiety; and though
time, to his mind, stood still and made no progress, nevertheless the
hour he so longed for came, and they gave him a beef salad with onions
and some boiled calves' feet rather far gone. At this he fell to with
greater relish than if they had given him francolins from Milan,
pheasants from Rome, veal from Sorrento, partridges from Moron, or geese
from Lavajos, and turning to the doctor at supper he said to him, "Look
here, senor doctor, for the future don't trouble yourself about giving me
dainty things or choice dishes to eat, for it will be only taking my
stomach off its hinges; it is accustomed to goat, cow, bacon, hung beef,
turnips and onions; and if by any chance it is given these palace dishes,
it receives them squeamishly, and sometimes with loathing. What the
head-carver had best do is to serve me with what they call ollas podridas
(and the rottener they are the better they smell); and he can put
whatever he likes into them, so long as it is good to eat, and I'll be
obliged to him, and will requite him some day. But let nobody play pranks
on me, for either we are or we are not; let us live and eat in peace and
good-fellowship, for when God sends the dawn, he sends it for all. I mean
to govern this island without giving up a right or taking a bribe; let
everyone keep his eye open, and look out for the arrow; for I can tell
them 'the devil's in Cantillana,' and if they drive me to it they'll see
something that will astonish them. Nay! make yourself honey and the flies
"Of a truth, senor governor," said the carver, "your worship is in the
right of it in everything you have said; and I promise you in the name of
all the inhabitants of this island that they will serve your worship with
all zeal, affection, and good-will, for the mild kind of government you
have given a sample of to begin with, leaves them no ground for doing or
thinking anything to your worship's disadvantage."
"That I believe," said Sancho; "and they would be great fools if they did
or thought otherwise; once more I say, see to my feeding and my Dapple's
for that is the great point and what is most to the purpose; and when the
hour comes let us go the rounds, for it is my intention to purge this
island of all manner of uncleanness and of all idle good-for-nothing
vagabonds; for I would have you know that lazy idlers are the same thing
in a State as the drones in a hive, that eat up the honey the industrious
bees make. I mean to protect the husbandman, to preserve to the gentleman
his privileges, to reward the virtuous, and above all to respect religion
and honour its ministers. What say you to that, my friends? Is there
anything in what I say, or am I talking to no purpose?"
"There is so much in what your worship says, senor governor," said the
majordomo, "that I am filled with wonder when I see a man like your
worship, entirely without learning (for I believe you have none at all),
say such things, and so full of sound maxims and sage remarks, very
different from what was expected of your worship's intelligence by those
who sent us or by us who came here. Every day we see something new in
this world; jokes become realities, and the jokers find the tables turned
Night came, and with the permission of Doctor Pedro Recio, the governor
had supper. They then got ready to go the rounds, and he started with the
majordomo, the secretary, the head-carver, the chronicler charged with
recording his deeds, and alguacils and notaries enough to form a
fair-sized squadron. In the midst marched Sancho with his staff, as fine
a sight as one could wish to see, and but a few streets of the town had
been traversed when they heard a noise as of a clashing of swords. They
hastened to the spot, and found that the combatants were but two, who
seeing the authorities approaching stood still, and one of them
exclaimed, "Help, in the name of God and the king! Are men to be allowed
to rob in the middle of this town, and rush out and attack people in the
"Be calm, my good man," said Sancho, "and tell me what the cause of this
quarrel is; for I am the governor."
Said the other combatant, "Senor governor, I will tell you in a very few
words. Your worship must know that this gentleman has just now won more
than a thousand reals in that gambling house opposite, and God knows how.
I was there, and gave more than one doubtful point in his favour, very
much against what my conscience told me. He made off with his winnings,
and when I made sure he was going to give me a crown or so at least by
way of a present, as it is usual and customary to give men of quality of
my sort who stand by to see fair or foul play, and back up swindles, and
prevent quarrels, he pocketed his money and left the house. Indignant at
this I followed him, and speaking him fairly and civilly asked him to
give me if it were only eight reals, for he knows I am an honest man and
that I have neither profession nor property, for my parents never brought
me up to any or left me any; but the rogue, who is a greater thief than
Cacus and a greater sharper than Andradilla, would not give me more than
four reals; so your worship may see how little shame and conscience he
has. But by my faith if you had not come up I'd have made him disgorge
his winnings, and he'd have learned what the range of the steel-yard
"What say you to this?" asked Sancho. The other replied that all his
antagonist said was true, and that he did not choose to give him more
than four reals because he very often gave him money; and that those who
expected presents ought to be civil and take what is given them with a
cheerful countenance, and not make any claim against winners unless they
know them for certain to be sharpers and their winnings to be unfairly
won; and that there could be no better proof that he himself was an
honest man than his having refused to give anything; for sharpers always
pay tribute to lookers-on who know them.
"That is true," said the majordomo; "let your worship consider what is to
be done with these men."
"What is to be done," said Sancho, "is this; you, the winner, be you
good, bad, or indifferent, give this assailant of yours a hundred reals
at once, and you must disburse thirty more for the poor prisoners; and
you who have neither profession nor property, and hang about the island
in idleness, take these hundred reals now, and some time of the day
to-morrow quit the island under sentence of banishment for ten years, and
under pain of completing it in another life if you violate the sentence,
for I'll hang you on a gibbet, or at least the hangman will by my orders;
not a word from either of you, or I'll make him feel my hand."
The one paid down the money and the other took it, and the latter quitted
the island, while the other went home; and then the governor said,
"Either I am not good for much, or I'll get rid of these gambling houses,
for it strikes me they are very mischievous."
"This one at least," said one of the notaries, "your worship will not be
able to get rid of, for a great man owns it, and what he loses every year
is beyond all comparison more than what he makes by the cards. On the
minor gambling houses your worship may exercise your power, and it is
they that do most harm and shelter the most barefaced practices; for in
the houses of lords and gentlemen of quality the notorious sharpers dare
not attempt to play their tricks; and as the vice of gambling has become
common, it is better that men should play in houses of repute than in
some tradesman's, where they catch an unlucky fellow in the small hours
of the morning and skin him alive."
"I know already, notary, that there is a good deal to be said on that
point," said Sancho.
And now a tipstaff came up with a young man in his grasp, and said,
"Senor governor, this youth was coming towards us, and as soon as he saw
the officers of justice he turned about and ran like a deer, a sure proof
that he must be some evil-doer; I ran after him, and had it not been that
he stumbled and fell, I should never have caught him."
"What did you run for, fellow?" said Sancho.
To which the young man replied, "Senor, it was to avoid answering all the
questions officers of justice put."
"What are you by trade?"
"And what do you weave?"
"Lance heads, with your worship's good leave."
"You're facetious with me! You plume yourself on being a wag? Very good;
and where were you going just now?"
"To take the air, senor."
"And where does one take the air in this island?"
"Where it blows."
"Good! your answers are very much to the point; you are a smart youth;
but take notice that I am the air, and that I blow upon you a-stern, and
send you to gaol. Ho there! lay hold of him and take him off; I'll make
him sleep there to-night without air."
"By God," said the young man, "your worship will make me sleep in gaol
just as soon as make me king."
"Why shan't I make thee sleep in gaol?" said Sancho. "Have I not the
power to arrest thee and release thee whenever I like?"
"All the power your worship has," said the young man, "won't be able to
make me sleep in gaol."
"How? not able!" said Sancho; "take him away at once where he'll see his
mistake with his own eyes, even if the gaoler is willing to exert his
interested generosity on his behalf; for I'll lay a penalty of two
thousand ducats on him if he allows him to stir a step from the prison."
"That's ridiculous," said the young man; "the fact is, all the men on
earth will not make me sleep in prison."
"Tell me, you devil," said Sancho, "have you got any angel that will
deliver you, and take off the irons I am going to order them to put upon
"Now, senor governor," said the young man in a sprightly manner, "let us
be reasonable and come to the point. Granted your worship may order me to
be taken to prison, and to have irons and chains put on me, and to be
shut up in a cell, and may lay heavy penalties on the gaoler if he lets
me out, and that he obeys your orders; still, if I don't choose to sleep,
and choose to remain awake all night without closing an eye, will your
worship with all your power be able to make me sleep if I don't choose?"
"No, truly," said the secretary, "and the fellow has made his point."
"So then," said Sancho, "it would be entirely of your own choice you
would keep from sleeping; not in opposition to my will?"
"No, senor," said the youth, "certainly not."
"Well then, go, and God be with you," said Sancho; "be off home to sleep,
and God give you sound sleep, for I don't want to rob you of it; but for
the future, let me advise you don't joke with the authorities, because
you may come across some one who will bring down the joke on your own
The young man went his way, and the governor continued his round, and
shortly afterwards two tipstaffs came up with a man in custody, and said,
"Senor governor, this person, who seems to be a man, is not so, but a
woman, and not an ill-favoured one, in man's clothes." They raised two or
three lanterns to her face, and by their light they distinguished the
features of a woman to all appearance of the age of sixteen or a little
more, with her hair gathered into a gold and green silk net, and fair as
a thousand pearls. They scanned her from head to foot, and observed that
she had on red silk stockings with garters of white taffety bordered with
gold and pearl; her breeches were of green and gold stuff, and under an
open jacket or jerkin of the same she wore a doublet of the finest white
and gold cloth; her shoes were white and such as men wear; she carried no
sword at her belt, but only a richly ornamented dagger, and on her
fingers she had several handsome rings. In short, the girl seemed fair to
look at in the eyes of all, and none of those who beheld her knew her,
the people of the town said they could not imagine who she was, and those
who were in the secret of the jokes that were to be practised upon Sancho
were the ones who were most surprised, for this incident or discovery had
not been arranged by them; and they watched anxiously to see how the
affair would end.
Sancho was fascinated by the girl's beauty, and he asked her who she was,
where she was going, and what had induced her to dress herself in that
garb. She with her eyes fixed on the ground answered in modest confusion,
"I cannot tell you, senor, before so many people what it is of such
consequence to me to have kept secret; one thing I wish to be known, that
I am no thief or evildoer, but only an unhappy maiden whom the power of
jealousy has led to break through the respect that is due to modesty."
Hearing this the majordomo said to Sancho, "Make the people stand back,
senor governor, that this lady may say what she wishes with less
Sancho gave the order, and all except the majordomo, the head-carver, and
the secretary fell back. Finding herself then in the presence of no more,
the damsel went on to say, "I am the daughter, sirs, of Pedro Perez
Mazorca, the wool-farmer of this town, who is in the habit of coming very
often to my father's house."
"That won't do, senora," said the majordomo; "for I know Pedro Perez very
well, and I know he has no child at all, either son or daughter; and
besides, though you say he is your father, you add then that he comes
very often to your father's house."
"I had already noticed that," said Sancho.
"I am confused just now, sirs," said the damsel, "and I don't know what I
am saying; but the truth is that I am the daughter of Diego de la Llana,
whom you must all know."
"Ay, that will do," said the majordomo; "for I know Diego de la Llana,
and know that he is a gentleman of position and a rich man, and that he
has a son and a daughter, and that since he was left a widower nobody in
all this town can speak of having seen his daughter's face; for he keeps
her so closely shut up that he does not give even the sun a chance of
seeing her; and for all that report says she is extremely beautiful."
"It is true," said the damsel, "and I am that daughter; whether report
lies or not as to my beauty, you, sirs, will have decided by this time,
as you have seen me;" and with this she began to weep bitterly.
On seeing this the secretary leant over to the head-carver's ear, and
said to him in a low voice, "Something serious has no doubt happened this
poor maiden, that she goes wandering from home in such a dress and at
such an hour, and one of her rank too." "There can be no doubt about it,"
returned the carver, "and moreover her tears confirm your suspicion."
Sancho gave her the best comfort he could, and entreated her to tell them
without any fear what had happened her, as they would all earnestly and
by every means in their power endeavour to relieve her.
"The fact is, sirs," said she, "that my father has kept me shut up these
ten years, for so long is it since the earth received my mother. Mass is
said at home in a sumptuous chapel, and all this time I have seen but the
sun in the heaven by day, and the moon and the stars by night; nor do I
know what streets are like, or plazas, or churches, or even men, except
my father and a brother I have, and Pedro Perez the wool-farmer; whom,
because he came frequently to our house, I took it into my head to call
my father, to avoid naming my own. This seclusion and the restrictions
laid upon my going out, were it only to church, have been keeping me
unhappy for many a day and month past; I longed to see the world, or at
least the town where I was born, and it did not seem to me that this wish
was inconsistent with the respect maidens of good quality should have for
themselves. When I heard them talking of bull-fights taking place, and of
javelin games, and of acting plays, I asked my brother, who is a year
younger than myself, to tell me what sort of things these were, and many
more that I had never seen; he explained them to me as well as he could,
but the only effect was to kindle in me a still stronger desire to see
them. At last, to cut short the story of my ruin, I begged and entreated
my brother--O that I had never made such an entreaty-" And once more she
gave way to a burst of weeping.
"Proceed, senora," said the majordomo, "and finish your story of what has
happened to you, for your words and tears are keeping us all in
"I have but little more to say, though many a tear to shed," said the
damsel; "for ill-placed desires can only be paid for in some such way."
The maiden's beauty had made a deep impression on the head-carver's
heart, and he again raised his lantern for another look at her, and
thought they were not tears she was shedding, but seed-pearl or dew of
the meadow, nay, he exalted them still higher, and made Oriental pearls
of them, and fervently hoped her misfortune might not be so great a one
as her tears and sobs seemed to indicate. The governor was losing
patience at the length of time the girl was taking to tell her story, and
told her not to keep them waiting any longer; for it was late, and there
still remained a good deal of the town to be gone over.
She, with broken sobs and half-suppressed sighs, went on to say, "My
misfortune, my misadventure, is simply this, that I entreated my brother
to dress me up as a man in a suit of his clothes, and take me some night,
when our father was asleep, to see the whole town; he, overcome by my
entreaties, consented, and dressing me in this suit and himself in
clothes of mine that fitted him as if made for him (for he has not a hair
on his chin, and might pass for a very beautiful young girl), to-night,
about an hour ago, more or less, we left the house, and guided by our
youthful and foolish impulse we made the circuit of the whole town, and
then, as we were about to return home, we saw a great troop of people
coming, and my brother said to me, 'Sister, this must be the round, stir
your feet and put wings to them, and follow me as fast as you can, lest
they recognise us, for that would be a bad business for us;' and so
saying he turned about and began, I cannot say to run but to fly; in less
than six paces I fell from fright, and then the officer of justice came
up and carried me before your worships, where I find myself put to shame
before all these people as whimsical and vicious."
"So then, senora," said Sancho, "no other mishap has befallen you, nor
was it jealousy that made you leave home, as you said at the beginning of
"Nothing has happened me," said she, "nor was it jealousy that brought me
out, but merely a longing to see the world, which did not go beyond
seeing the streets of this town."
The appearance of the tipstaffs with her brother in custody, whom one of
them had overtaken as he ran away from his sister, now fully confirmed
the truth of what the damsel said. He had nothing on but a rich petticoat
and a short blue damask cloak with fine gold lace, and his head was
uncovered and adorned only with its own hair, which looked like rings of
gold, so bright and curly was it. The governor, the majordomo, and the
carver went aside with him, and, unheard by his sister, asked him how he
came to be in that dress, and he with no less shame and embarrassment
told exactly the same story as his sister, to the great delight of the
enamoured carver; the governor, however, said to them, "In truth, young
lady and gentleman, this has been a very childish affair, and to explain
your folly and rashness there was no necessity for all this delay and all
these tears and sighs; for if you had said we are so-and-so, and we
escaped from our father's house in this way in order to ramble about, out
of mere curiosity and with no other object, there would have been an end
of the matter, and none of these little sobs and tears and all the rest
"That is true," said the damsel, "but you see the confusion I was in was
so great it did not let me behave as I ought."
"No harm has been done," said Sancho; "come, we will leave you at your
father's house; perhaps they will not have missed you; and another time
don't be so childish or eager to see the world; for a respectable damsel
should have a broken leg and keep at home; and the woman and the hen by
gadding about are soon lost; and she who is eager to see is also eager to
be seen; I say no more."
The youth thanked the governor for his kind offer to take them home, and
they directed their steps towards the house, which was not far off. On
reaching it the youth threw a pebble up at a grating, and immediately a
woman-servant who was waiting for them came down and opened the door to
them, and they went in, leaving the party marvelling as much at their
grace and beauty as at the fancy they had for seeing the world by night
and without quitting the village; which, however, they set down to their
The head-carver was left with a heart pierced through and through, and he
made up his mind on the spot to demand the damsel in marriage of her
father on the morrow, making sure she would not be refused him as he was
a servant of the duke's; and even to Sancho ideas and schemes of marrying
the youth to his daughter Sanchica suggested themselves, and he resolved
to open the negotiation at the proper season, persuading himself that no
husband could be refused to a governor's daughter. And so the night's
round came to an end, and a couple of days later the government, whereby
all his plans were overthrown and swept away, as will be seen farther on.
WHEREIN IS SET FORTH WHO THE ENCHANTERS AND EXECUTIONERS WERE WHO FLOGGED
THE DUENNA AND PINCHED DON QUIXOTE, AND ALSO WHAT BEFELL THE PAGE WHO
CARRIED THE LETTER TO TERESA PANZA, SANCHO PANZA'S WIFE
Cide Hamete, the painstaking investigator of the minute points of this
veracious history, says that when Dona Rodriguez left her own room to go
to Don Quixote's, another duenna who slept with her observed her, and as
all duennas are fond of prying, listening, and sniffing, she followed her
so silently that the good Rodriguez never perceived it; and as soon as
the duenna saw her enter Don Quixote's room, not to fail in a duenna's
invariable practice of tattling, she hurried off that instant to report
to the duchess how Dona Rodriguez was closeted with Don Quixote. The
duchess told the duke, and asked him to let her and Altisidora go and see
what the said duenna wanted with Don Quixote. The duke gave them leave,
and the pair cautiously and quietly crept to the door of the room and
posted themselves so close to it that they could hear all that was said
inside. But when the duchess heard how the Rodriguez had made public the
Aranjuez of her issues she could not restrain herself, nor Altisidora
either; and so, filled with rage and thirsting for vengeance, they burst
into the room and tormented Don Quixote and flogged the duenna in the
manner already described; for indignities offered to their charms and
self-esteem mightily provoke the anger of women and make them eager for
revenge. The duchess told the duke what had happened, and he was much
amused by it; and she, in pursuance of her design of making merry and
diverting herself with Don Quixote, despatched the page who had played
the part of Dulcinea in the negotiations for her disenchantment (which
Sancho Panza in the cares of government had forgotten all about) to
Teresa Panza his wife with her husband's letter and another from herself,
and also a great string of fine coral beads as a present.
Now the history says this page was very sharp and quick-witted; and eager
to serve his lord and lady he set off very willingly for Sancho's
village. Before he entered it he observed a number of women washing in a
brook, and asked them if they could tell him whether there lived there a
woman of the name of Teresa Panza, wife of one Sancho Panza, squire to a
knight called Don Quixote of La Mancha. At the question a young girl who
was washing stood up and said, "Teresa Panza is my mother, and that
Sancho is my father, and that knight is our master."
"Well then, miss," said the page, "come and show me where your mother is,
for I bring her a letter and a present from your father."
"That I will with all my heart, senor," said the girl, who seemed to be
about fourteen, more or less; and leaving the clothes she was washing to
one of her companions, and without putting anything on her head or feet,
for she was bare-legged and had her hair hanging about her, away she
skipped in front of the page's horse, saying, "Come, your worship, our
house is at the entrance of the town, and my mother is there, sorrowful
enough at not having had any news of my father this ever so long."
"Well," said the page, "I am bringing her such good news that she will
have reason to thank God."
And then, skipping, running, and capering, the girl reached the town, but
before going into the house she called out at the door, "Come out, mother
Teresa, come out, come out; here's a gentleman with letters and other
things from my good father." At these words her mother Teresa Panza came
out spinning a bundle of flax, in a grey petticoat (so short was it one
would have fancied "they to her shame had cut it short"), a grey bodice
of the same stuff, and a smock. She was not very old, though plainly past
forty, strong, healthy, vigorous, and sun-dried; and seeing her daughter
and the page on horseback, she exclaimed, "What's this, child? What
gentleman is this?"
"A servant of my lady, Dona Teresa Panza," replied the page; and suiting
the action to the word he flung himself off his horse, and with great
humility advanced to kneel before the lady Teresa, saying, "Let me kiss
your hand, Senora Dona Teresa, as the lawful and only wife of Senor Don
Sancho Panza, rightful governor of the island of Barataria."
"Ah, senor, get up, do that," said Teresa; "for I'm not a bit of a court
lady, but only a poor country woman, the daughter of a clodcrusher, and
the wife of a squire-errant and not of any governor at all."
"You are," said the page, "the most worthy wife of a most arch-worthy
governor; and as a proof of what I say accept this letter and this
present;" and at the same time he took out of his pocket a string of
coral beads with gold clasps, and placed it on her neck, and said, "This
letter is from his lordship the governor, and the other as well as these
coral beads from my lady the duchess, who sends me to your worship."
Teresa stood lost in astonishment, and her daughter just as much, and the
girl said, "May I die but our master Don Quixote's at the bottom of this;
he must have given father the government or county he so often promised
"That is the truth," said the page; "for it is through Senor Don Quixote
that Senor Sancho is now governor of the island of Barataria, as will be
seen by this letter."
"Will your worship read it to me, noble sir?" said Teresa; "for though I
can spin I can't read, not a scrap."
"Nor I either," said Sanchica; "but wait a bit, and I'll go and fetch
some one who can read it, either the curate himself or the bachelor
Samson Carrasco, and they'll come gladly to hear any news of my father."
"There is no need to fetch anybody," said the page; "for though I can't
spin I can read, and I'll read it;" and so he read it through, but as it
has been already given it is not inserted here; and then he took out the
other one from the duchess, which ran as follows:
Friend Teresa,--Your husband Sancho's good qualities, of heart as well as
of head, induced and compelled me to request my husband the duke to give
him the government of one of his many islands. I am told he governs like
a gerfalcon, of which I am very glad, and my lord the duke, of course,
also; and I am very thankful to heaven that I have not made a mistake in
choosing him for that same government; for I would have Senora Teresa
know that a good governor is hard to find in this world and may God make
me as good as Sancho's way of governing. Herewith I send you, my dear, a
string of coral beads with gold clasps; I wish they were Oriental pearls;
but "he who gives thee a bone does not wish to see thee dead;" a time
will come when we shall become acquainted and meet one another, but God
knows the future. Commend me to your daughter Sanchica, and tell her from
me to hold herself in readiness, for I mean to make a high match for her
when she least expects it. They tell me there are big acorns in your
village; send me a couple of dozen or so, and I shall value them greatly
as coming from your hand; and write to me at length to assure me of your
health and well-being; and if there be anything you stand in need of, it
is but to open your mouth, and that shall be the measure; and so God keep
From this place. Your loving friend, THE DUCHESS.
"Ah, what a good, plain, lowly lady!" said Teresa when she heard the
letter; "that I may be buried with ladies of that sort, and not the
gentlewomen we have in this town, that fancy because they are gentlewomen
the wind must not touch them, and go to church with as much airs as if
they were queens, no less, and seem to think they are disgraced if they
look at a farmer's wife! And see here how this good lady, for all she's a
duchess, calls me 'friend,' and treats me as if I was her equal--and
equal may I see her with the tallest church-tower in La Mancha! And as
for the acorns, senor, I'll send her ladyship a peck and such big ones
that one might come to see them as a show and a wonder. And now,
Sanchica, see that the gentleman is comfortable; put up his horse, and
get some eggs out of the stable, and cut plenty of bacon, and let's give
him his dinner like a prince; for the good news he has brought, and his
own bonny face deserve it all; and meanwhile I'll run out and give the
neighbours the news of our good luck, and father curate, and Master
Nicholas the barber, who are and always have been such friends of thy
"That I will, mother," said Sanchica; "but mind, you must give me half of
that string; for I don't think my lady the duchess could have been so
stupid as to send it all to you."
"It is all for thee, my child," said Teresa; "but let me wear it round my
neck for a few days; for verily it seems to make my heart glad."
"You will be glad too," said the page, "when you see the bundle there is
in this portmanteau, for it is a suit of the finest cloth, that the
governor only wore one day out hunting and now sends, all for Senora
"May he live a thousand years," said Sanchica, "and the bearer as many,
nay two thousand, if needful."
With this Teresa hurried out of the house with the letters, and with the
string of beads round her neck, and went along thrumming the letters as
if they were a tambourine, and by chance coming across the curate and
Samson Carrasco she began capering and saying, "None of us poor now,
faith! We've got a little government! Ay, let the finest fine lady tackle
me, and I'll give her a setting down!"
"What's all this, Teresa Panza," said they; "what madness is this, and
what papers are those?"
"The madness is only this," said she, "that these are the letters of
duchesses and governors, and these I have on my neck are fine coral
beads, with ave-marias and paternosters of beaten gold, and I am a
"God help us," said the curate, "we don't understand you, Teresa, or know
what you are talking about."
"There, you may see it yourselves," said Teresa, and she handed them the
The curate read them out for Samson Carrasco to hear, and Samson and he
regarded one another with looks of astonishment at what they had read,
and the bachelor asked who had brought the letters. Teresa in reply bade
them come with her to her house and they would see the messenger, a most
elegant youth, who had brought another present which was worth as much
more. The curate took the coral beads from her neck and examined them
again and again, and having satisfied himself as to their fineness he
fell to wondering afresh, and said, "By the gown I wear I don't know what
to say or think of these letters and presents; on the one hand I can see
and feel the fineness of these coral beads, and on the other I read how a
duchess sends to beg for a couple of dozen of acorns."
"Square that if you can," said Carrasco; "well, let's go and see the
messenger, and from him we'll learn something about this mystery that has
They did so, and Teresa returned with them. They found the page sifting a
little barley for his horse, and Sanchica cutting a rasher of bacon to be
paved with eggs for his dinner. His looks and his handsome apparel
pleased them both greatly; and after they had saluted him courteously,
and he them, Samson begged him to give them his news, as well of Don
Quixote as of Sancho Panza, for, he said, though they had read the
letters from Sancho and her ladyship the duchess, they were still puzzled
and could not make out what was meant by Sancho's government, and above
all of an island, when all or most of those in the Mediterranean belonged
to his Majesty.
To this the page replied, "As to Senor Sancho Panza's being a governor
there is no doubt whatever; but whether it is an island or not that he
governs, with that I have nothing to do; suffice it that it is a town of
more than a thousand inhabitants; with regard to the acorns I may tell
you my lady the duchess is so unpretending and unassuming that, not to
speak of sending to beg for acorns from a peasant woman, she has been
known to send to ask for the loan of a comb from one of her neighbours;
for I would have your worships know that the ladies of Aragon, though
they are just as illustrious, are not so punctilious and haughty as the
Castilian ladies; they treat people with greater familiarity."
In the middle of this conversation Sanchica came in with her skirt full
of eggs, and said she to the page, "Tell me, senor, does my father wear
trunk-hose since he has been governor?"
"I have not noticed," said the page; "but no doubt he wears them."
"Ah! my God!" said Sanchica, "what a sight it must be to see my father in
tights! Isn't it odd that ever since I was born I have had a longing to
see my father in trunk-hose?"
"As things go you will see that if you live," said the page; "by God he
is in the way to take the road with a sunshade if the government only
lasts him two months more."
The curate and the bachelor could see plainly enough that the page spoke
in a waggish vein; but the fineness of the coral beads, and the hunting
suit that Sancho sent (for Teresa had already shown it to them) did away
with the impression; and they could not help laughing at Sanchica's wish,
and still more when Teresa said, "Senor curate, look about if there's
anybody here going to Madrid or Toledo, to buy me a hooped petticoat, a
proper fashionable one of the best quality; for indeed and indeed I must
do honour to my husband's government as well as I can; nay, if I am put
to it and have to, I'll go to Court and set a coach like all the world;
for she who has a governor for her husband may very well have one and
"And why not, mother!" said Sanchica; "would to God it were to-day
instead of to-morrow, even though they were to say when they saw me
seated in the coach with my mother, 'See that rubbish, that
garlic-stuffed fellow's daughter, how she goes stretched at her ease in a
coach as if she was a she-pope!' But let them tramp through the mud, and
let me go in my coach with my feet off the ground. Bad luck to backbiters
all over the world; 'let me go warm and the people may laugh.' Do I say
"To be sure you do, my child," said Teresa; "and all this good luck, and
even more, my good Sancho foretold me; and thou wilt see, my daughter, he
won't stop till he has made me a countess; for to make a beginning is
everything in luck; and as I have heard thy good father say many a time
(for besides being thy father he's the father of proverbs too), 'When
they offer thee a heifer, run with a halter; when they offer thee a
government, take it; when they would give thee a county, seize it; when
they say, "Here, here!" to thee with something good, swallow it.' Oh no!
go to sleep, and don't answer the strokes of good fortune and the lucky
chances that are knocking at the door of your house!"
"And what do I care," added Sanchica, "whether anybody says when he sees
me holding my head up, 'The dog saw himself in hempen breeches,' and the
rest of it?"
Hearing this the curate said, "I do believe that all this family of the
Panzas are born with a sackful of proverbs in their insides, every one of
them; I never saw one of them that does not pour them out at all times
and on all occasions."
"That is true," said the page, "for Senor Governor Sancho utters them at
every turn; and though a great many of them are not to the purpose, still
they amuse one, and my lady the duchess and the duke praise them highly."
"Then you still maintain that all this about Sancho's government is true,
senor," said the bachelor, "and that there actually is a duchess who
sends him presents and writes to him? Because we, although we have
handled the present and read the letters, don't believe it and suspect it
to be something in the line of our fellow-townsman Don Quixote, who
fancies that everything is done by enchantment; and for this reason I am
almost ready to say that I'd like to touch and feel your worship to see
whether you are a mere ambassador of the imagination or a man of flesh
"All I know, sirs," replied the page, "is that I am a real ambassador,
and that Senor Sancho Panza is governor as a matter of fact, and that my
lord and lady the duke and duchess can give, and have given him this same
government, and that I have heard the said Sancho Panza bears himself
very stoutly therein; whether there be any enchantment in all this or
not, it is for your worships to settle between you; for that's all I know
by the oath I swear, and that is by the life of my parents whom I have
still alive, and love dearly."
"It may be so," said the bachelor; "but dubitat Augustinus."
"Doubt who will," said the page; "what I have told you is the truth, and
that will always rise above falsehood as oil above water; if not operibus
credite, et non verbis. Let one of you come with me, and he will see with
his eyes what he does not believe with his ears."
"It's for me to make that trip," said Sanchica; "take me with you, senor,
behind you on your horse; for I'll go with all my heart to see my
"Governors' daughters," said the page, "must not travel along the roads
alone, but accompanied by coaches and litters and a great number of
"By God," said Sanchica, "I can go just as well mounted on a she-ass as
in a coach; what a dainty lass you must take me for!"
"Hush, girl," said Teresa; "you don't know what you're talking about; the
gentleman is quite right, for 'as the time so the behaviour;' when it was
Sancho it was 'Sancha;' when it is governor it's 'senora;' I don't know
if I'm right."
"Senora Teresa says more than she is aware of," said the page; "and now
give me something to eat and let me go at once, for I mean to return this
"Come and do penance with me," said the curate at this; "for Senora
Teresa has more will than means to serve so worthy a guest."
The page refused, but had to consent at last for his own sake; and the
curate took him home with him very gladly, in order to have an
opportunity of questioning him at leisure about Don Quixote and his
doings. The bachelor offered to write the letters in reply for Teresa;
but she did not care to let him mix himself up in her affairs, for she
thought him somewhat given to joking; and so she gave a cake and a couple
of eggs to a young acolyte who was a penman, and he wrote for her two
letters, one for her husband and the other for the duchess, dictated out
of her own head, which are not the worst inserted in this great history,
as will be seen farther on.
OF THE PROGRESS OF SANCHO'S GOVERNMENT, AND OTHER SUCH ENTERTAINING
Day came after the night of the governor's round; a night which the
head-carver passed without sleeping, so were his thoughts of the face and
air and beauty of the disguised damsel, while the majordomo spent what
was left of it in writing an account to his lord and lady of all Sancho
said and did, being as much amazed at his sayings as at his doings, for
there was a mixture of shrewdness and simplicity in all his words and
deeds. The senor governor got up, and by Doctor Pedro Recio's directions
they made him break his fast on a little conserve and four sups of cold
water, which Sancho would have readily exchanged for a piece of bread and
a bunch of grapes; but seeing there was no help for it, he submitted with
no little sorrow of heart and discomfort of stomach; Pedro Recio having
persuaded him that light and delicate diet enlivened the wits, and that
was what was most essential for persons placed in command and in
responsible situations, where they have to employ not only the bodily
powers but those of the mind also.
By means of this sophistry Sancho was made to endure hunger, and hunger
so keen that in his heart he cursed the government, and even him who had
given it to him; however, with his hunger and his conserve he undertook
to deliver judgments that day, and the first thing that came before him
was a question that was submitted to him by a stranger, in the presence
of the majordomo and the other attendants, and it was in these words:
"Senor, a large river separated two districts of one and the same
lordship--will your worship please to pay attention, for the case is an
important and a rather knotty one? Well then, on this river there was a
bridge, and at one end of it a gallows, and a sort of tribunal, where
four judges commonly sat to administer the law which the lord of river,
bridge and the lordship had enacted, and which was to this effect, 'If
anyone crosses by this bridge from one side to the other he shall declare
on oath where he is going to and with what object; and if he swears
truly, he shall be allowed to pass, but if falsely, he shall be put to
death for it by hanging on the gallows erected there, without any
remission.' Though the law and its severe penalty were known, many
persons crossed, but in their declarations it was easy to see at once
they were telling the truth, and the judges let them pass free. It
happened, however, that one man, when they came to take his declaration,
swore and said that by the oath he took he was going to die upon that
gallows that stood there, and nothing else. The judges held a
consultation over the oath, and they said, 'If we let this man pass free
he has sworn falsely, and by the law he ought to die; but if we hang him,
as he swore he was going to die on that gallows, and therefore swore the
truth, by the same law he ought to go free.' It is asked of your worship,
senor governor, what are the judges to do with this man? For they are
still in doubt and perplexity; and having heard of your worship's acute
and exalted intellect, they have sent me to entreat your worship on their
behalf to give your opinion on this very intricate and puzzling case."
To this Sancho made answer, "Indeed those gentlemen the judges that send
you to me might have spared themselves the trouble, for I have more of
the obtuse than the acute in me; but repeat the case over again, so that
I may understand it, and then perhaps I may be able to hit the point."
The querist repeated again and again what he had said before, and then
Sancho said, "It seems to me I can set the matter right in a moment, and
in this way; the man swears that he is going to die upon the gallows; but
if he dies upon it, he has sworn the truth, and by the law enacted
deserves to go free and pass over the bridge; but if they don't hang him,
then he has sworn falsely, and by the same law deserves to be hanged."
"It is as the senor governor says," said the messenger; "and as regards a
complete comprehension of the case, there is nothing left to desire or
"Well then I say," said Sancho, "that of this man they should let pass
the part that has sworn truly, and hang the part that has lied; and in
this way the conditions of the passage will be fully complied with."
"But then, senor governor," replied the querist, "the man will have to be
divided into two parts; and if he is divided of course he will die; and
so none of the requirements of the law will be carried out, and it is
absolutely necessary to comply with it."
"Look here, my good sir," said Sancho; "either I'm a numskull or else
there is the same reason for this passenger dying as for his living and
passing over the bridge; for if the truth saves him the falsehood equally
condemns him; and that being the case it is my opinion you should say to
the gentlemen who sent you to me that as the arguments for condemning him
and for absolving him are exactly balanced, they should let him pass
freely, as it is always more praiseworthy to do good than to do evil;
this I would give signed with my name if I knew how to sign; and what I
have said in this case is not out of my own head, but one of the many
precepts my master Don Quixote gave me the night before I left to become
governor of this island, that came into my mind, and it was this, that
when there was any doubt about the justice of a case I should lean to
mercy; and it is God's will that I should recollect it now, for it fits
this case as if it was made for it."
"That is true," said the majordomo; "and I maintain that Lycurgus
himself, who gave laws to the Lacedemonians, could not have pronounced a
better decision than the great Panza has given; let the morning's
audience close with this, and I will see that the senor governor has
dinner entirely to his liking."
"That's all I ask for--fair play," said Sancho; "give me my dinner, and
then let it rain cases and questions on me, and I'll despatch them in a
The majordomo kept his word, for he felt it against his conscience to
kill so wise a governor by hunger; particularly as he intended to have
done with him that same night, playing off the last joke he was
commissioned to practise upon him.
It came to pass, then, that after he had dined that day, in opposition to
the rules and aphorisms of Doctor Tirteafuera, as they were taking away
the cloth there came a courier with a letter from Don Quixote for the
governor. Sancho ordered the secretary to read it to himself, and if
there was nothing in it that demanded secrecy to read it aloud. The
secretary did so, and after he had skimmed the contents he said, "It may
well be read aloud, for what Senor Don Quixote writes to your worship
deserves to be printed or written in letters of gold, and it is as
DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA'S LETTER TO SANCHO PANZA, GOVERNOR OF THE ISLAND
When I was expecting to hear of thy stupidities and blunders, friend
Sancho, I have received intelligence of thy displays of good sense, for
which I give special thanks to heaven that can raise the poor from the
dunghill and of fools to make wise men. They tell me thou dost govern as
if thou wert a man, and art a man as if thou wert a beast, so great is
the humility wherewith thou dost comport thyself. But I would have thee
bear in mind, Sancho, that very often it is fitting and necessary for the
authority of office to resist the humility of the heart; for the seemly
array of one who is invested with grave duties should be such as they
require and not measured by what his own humble tastes may lead him to
prefer. Dress well; a stick dressed up does not look like a stick; I do
not say thou shouldst wear trinkets or fine raiment, or that being a
judge thou shouldst dress like a soldier, but that thou shouldst array
thyself in the apparel thy office requires, and that at the same time it
be neat and handsome. To win the good-will of the people thou governest
there are two things, among others, that thou must do; one is to be civil
to all (this, however, I told thee before), and the other to take care
that food be abundant, for there is nothing that vexes the heart of the
poor more than hunger and high prices. Make not many proclamations; but
those thou makest take care that they be good ones, and above all that
they be observed and carried out; for proclamations that are not observed
are the same as if they did not exist; nay, they encourage the idea that
the prince who had the wisdom and authority to make them had not the
power to enforce them; and laws that threaten and are not enforced come
to be like the log, the king of the frogs, that frightened them at first,
but that in time they despised and mounted upon. Be a father to virtue
and a stepfather to vice. Be not always strict, nor yet always lenient,
but observe a mean between these two extremes, for in that is the aim of
wisdom. Visit the gaols, the slaughter-houses, and the market-places; for
the presence of the governor is of great importance in such places; it
comforts the prisoners who are in hopes of a speedy release, it is the
bugbear of the butchers who have then to give just weight, and it is the
terror of the market-women for the same reason. Let it not be seen that
thou art (even if perchance thou art, which I do not believe) covetous, a
follower of women, or a glutton; for when the people and those that have
dealings with thee become aware of thy special weakness they will bring
their batteries to bear upon thee in that quarter, till they have brought
thee down to the depths of perdition. Consider and reconsider, con and
con over again the advices and the instructions I gave thee before thy
departure hence to thy government, and thou wilt see that in them, if
thou dost follow them, thou hast a help at hand that will lighten for
thee the troubles and difficulties that beset governors at every step.
Write to thy lord and lady and show thyself grateful to them, for
ingratitude is the daughter of pride, and one of the greatest sins we
know of; and he who is grateful to those who have been good to him shows
that he will be so to God also who has bestowed and still bestows so many
blessings upon him.
My lady the duchess sent off a messenger with thy suit and another
present to thy wife Teresa Panza; we expect the answer every moment. I
have been a little indisposed through a certain scratching I came in for,
not very much to the benefit of my nose; but it was nothing; for if there
are enchanters who maltreat me, there are also some who defend me. Let me
know if the majordomo who is with thee had any share in the Trifaldi
performance, as thou didst suspect; and keep me informed of everything
that happens thee, as the distance is so short; all the more as I am
thinking of giving over very shortly this idle life I am now leading, for
I was not born for it. A thing has occurred to me which I am inclined to
think will put me out of favour with the duke and duchess; but though I
am sorry for it I do not care, for after all I must obey my calling
rather than their pleasure, in accordance with the common saying, amicus
Plato, sed magis amica veritas. I quote this Latin to thee because I
conclude that since thou hast been a governor thou wilt have learned it.
Adieu; God keep thee from being an object of pity to anyone.
Thy friend, DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA.
Sancho listened to the letter with great attention, and it was praised
and considered wise by all who heard it; he then rose up from table, and
calling his secretary shut himself in with him in his own room, and
without putting it off any longer set about answering his master Don
Quixote at once; and he bade the secretary write down what he told him
without adding or suppressing anything, which he did, and the answer was
to the following effect.
SANCHO PANZA'S LETTER TO DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA.
The pressure of business is so great upon me that I have no time to
scratch my head or even to cut my nails; and I have them so long-God send
a remedy for it. I say this, master of my soul, that you may not be
surprised if I have not until now sent you word of how I fare, well or
ill, in this government, in which I am suffering more hunger than when we
two were wandering through the woods and wastes.
My lord the duke wrote to me the other day to warn me that certain spies
had got into this island to kill me; but up to the present I have not
found out any except a certain doctor who receives a salary in this town
for killing all the governors that come here; he is called Doctor Pedro
Recio, and is from Tirteafuera; so you see what a name he has to make me
dread dying under his hands. This doctor says of himself that he does not
cure diseases when there are any, but prevents them coming, and the
medicines he uses are diet and more diet until he brings one down to bare
bones; as if leanness was not worse than fever.
In short he is killing me with hunger, and I am dying myself of vexation;
for when I thought I was coming to this government to get my meat hot and
my drink cool, and take my ease between holland sheets on feather beds, I
find I have come to do penance as if I was a hermit; and as I don't do it
willingly I suspect that in the end the devil will carry me off.
So far I have not handled any dues or taken any bribes, and I don't know
what to think of it; for here they tell me that the governors that come
to this island, before entering it have plenty of money either given to
them or lent to them by the people of the town, and that this is the
usual custom not only here but with all who enter upon governments.
Last night going the rounds I came upon a fair damsel in man's clothes,
and a brother of hers dressed as a woman; my head-carver has fallen in
love with the girl, and has in his own mind chosen her for a wife, so he
says, and I have chosen youth for a son-in-law; to-day we are going to
explain our intentions to the father of the pair, who is one Diego de la
Llana, a gentleman and an old Christian as much as you please.
I have visited the market-places, as your worship advises me, and
yesterday I found a stall-keeper selling new hazel nuts and proved her to
have mixed a bushel of old empty rotten nuts with a bushel of new; I
confiscated the whole for the children of the charity-school, who will
know how to distinguish them well enough, and I sentenced her not to come
into the market-place for a fortnight; they told me I did bravely. I can
tell your worship it is commonly said in this town that there are no
people worse than the market-women, for they are all barefaced,
unconscionable, and impudent, and I can well believe it from what I have
seen of them in other towns.
I am very glad my lady the duchess has written to my wife Teresa Panza
and sent her the present your worship speaks of; and I will strive to
show myself grateful when the time comes; kiss her hands for me, and tell
her I say she has not thrown it into a sack with a hole in it, as she
will see in the end. I should not like your worship to have any
difference with my lord and lady; for if you fall out with them it is
plain it must do me harm; and as you give me advice to be grateful it
will not do for your worship not to be so yourself to those who have
shown you such kindness, and by whom you have been treated so hospitably
in their castle.
That about the scratching I don't understand; but I suppose it must be
one of the ill-turns the wicked enchanters are always doing your worship;
when we meet I shall know all about it. I wish I could send your worship
something; but I don't know what to send, unless it be some very curious
clyster pipes, to work with bladders, that they make in this island; but
if the office remains with me I'll find out something to send, one way or
another. If my wife Teresa Panza writes to me, pay the postage and send
me the letter, for I have a very great desire to hear how my house and
wife and children are going on. And so, may God deliver your worship from
evil-minded enchanters, and bring me well and peacefully out of this
government, which I doubt, for I expect to take leave of it and my life
together, from the way Doctor Pedro Recio treats me.
Your worship's servant
SANCHO PANZA THE GOVERNOR.
The secretary sealed the letter, and immediately dismissed the courier;
and those who were carrying on the joke against Sancho putting their
heads together arranged how he was to be dismissed from the government.
Sancho spent the afternoon in drawing up certain ordinances relating to
the good government of what he fancied the island; and he ordained that
there were to be no provision hucksters in the State, and that men might
import wine into it from any place they pleased, provided they declared
the quarter it came from, so that a price might be put upon it according
to its quality, reputation, and the estimation it was held in; and he
that watered his wine, or changed the name, was to forfeit his life for
it. He reduced the prices of all manner of shoes, boots, and stockings,
but of shoes in particular, as they seemed to him to run extravagantly
high. He established a fixed rate for servants' wages, which were
becoming recklessly exorbitant. He laid extremely heavy penalties upon
those who sang lewd or loose songs either by day or night. He decreed
that no blind man should sing of any miracle in verse, unless he could
produce authentic evidence that it was true, for it was his opinion that
most of those the blind men sing are trumped up, to the detriment of the
true ones. He established and created an alguacil of the poor, not to
harass them, but to examine them and see whether they really were so; for
many a sturdy thief or drunkard goes about under cover of a make-believe
crippled limb or a sham sore. In a word, he made so many good rules that
to this day they are preserved there, and are called The constitutions of
the great governor Sancho Panza.
WHEREIN IS RELATED THE ADVENTURE OF THE SECOND DISTRESSED OR AFFLICTED
DUENNA, OTHERWISE CALLED DONA RODRIGUEZ
Cide Hamete relates that Don Quixote being now cured of his scratches
felt that the life he was leading in the castle was entirely inconsistent
with the order of chivalry he professed, so he determined to ask the duke
and duchess to permit him to take his departure for Saragossa, as the
time of the festival was now drawing near, and he hoped to win there the
suit of armour which is the prize at festivals of the sort. But one day
at table with the duke and duchess, just as he was about to carry his
resolution into effect and ask for their permission, lo and behold
suddenly there came in through the door of the great hall two women, as
they afterwards proved to be, draped in mourning from head to foot, one
of whom approaching Don Quixote flung herself at full length at his feet,
pressing her lips to them, and uttering moans so sad, so deep, and so
doleful that she put all who heard and saw her into a state of
perplexity; and though the duke and duchess supposed it must be some joke
their servants were playing off upon Don Quixote, still the earnest way
the woman sighed and moaned and wept puzzled them and made them feel
uncertain, until Don Quixote, touched with compassion, raised her up and
made her unveil herself and remove the mantle from her tearful face. She
complied and disclosed what no one could have ever anticipated, for she
disclosed the countenance of Dona Rodriguez, the duenna of the house; the
other female in mourning being her daughter, who had been made a fool of
by the rich farmer's son. All who knew her were filled with astonishment,
and the duke and duchess more than any; for though they thought her a
simpleton and a weak creature, they did not think her capable of crazy
pranks. Dona Rodriguez, at length, turning to her master and mistress
said to them, "Will your excellences be pleased to permit me to speak to
this gentleman for a moment, for it is requisite I should do so in order
to get successfully out of the business in which the boldness of an
evil-minded clown has involved me?"
The duke said that for his part he gave her leave, and that she might
speak with Senor Don Quixote as much as she liked.
She then, turning to Don Quixote and addressing herself to him said,
"Some days since, valiant knight, I gave you an account of the injustice
and treachery of a wicked farmer to my dearly beloved daughter, the
unhappy damsel here before you, and you promised me to take her part and
right the wrong that has been done her; but now it has come to my hearing
that you are about to depart from this castle in quest of such fair
adventures as God may vouchsafe to you; therefore, before you take the
road, I would that you challenge this froward rustic, and compel him to
marry my daughter in fulfillment of the promise he gave her to become her
husband before he seduced her; for to expect that my lord the duke will
do me justice is to ask pears from the elm tree, for the reason I stated
privately to your worship; and so may our Lord grant you good health and
forsake us not."
To these words Don Quixote replied very gravely and solemnly, "Worthy
duenna, check your tears, or rather dry them, and spare your sighs, for I
take it upon myself to obtain redress for your daughter, for whom it
would have been better not to have been so ready to believe lovers'
promises, which are for the most part quickly made and very slowly
performed; and so, with my lord the duke's leave, I will at once go in
quest of this inhuman youth, and will find him out and challenge him and
slay him, if so be he refuses to keep his promised word; for the chief
object of my profession is to spare the humble and chastise the proud; I
mean, to help the distressed and destroy the oppressors."
"There is no necessity," said the duke, "for your worship to take the
trouble of seeking out the rustic of whom this worthy duenna complains,
nor is there any necessity, either, for asking my leave to challenge him;
for I admit him duly challenged, and will take care that he is informed
of the challenge, and accepts it, and comes to answer it in person to
this castle of mine, where I shall afford to both a fair field, observing
all the conditions which are usually and properly observed in such
trials, and observing too justice to both sides, as all princes who offer
a free field to combatants within the limits of their lordships are bound
"Then with that assurance and your highness's good leave," said Don
Quixote, "I hereby for this once waive my privilege of gentle blood, and
come down and put myself on a level with the lowly birth of the
wrong-doer, making myself equal with him and enabling him to enter into
combat with me; and so, I challenge and defy him, though absent, on the
plea of his malfeasance in breaking faith with this poor damsel, who was
a maiden and now by his misdeed is none; and say that he shall fulfill
the promise he gave her to become her lawful husband, or else stake his
life upon the question."
And then plucking off a glove he threw it down in the middle of the hall,
and the duke picked it up, saying, as he had said before, that he
accepted the challenge in the name of his vassal, and fixed six days
thence as the time, the courtyard of the castle as the place, and for
arms the customary ones of knights, lance and shield and full armour,
with all the other accessories, without trickery, guile, or charms of any
sort, and examined and passed by the judges of the field. "But first of
all," he said, "it is requisite that this worthy duenna and unworthy
damsel should place their claim for justice in the hands of Don Quixote;
for otherwise nothing can be done, nor can the said challenge be brought
to a lawful issue."
"I do so place it," replied the duenna.
"And I too," added her daughter, all in tears and covered with shame and
This declaration having been made, and the duke having settled in his own
mind what he would do in the matter, the ladies in black withdrew, and
the duchess gave orders that for the future they were not to be treated
as servants of hers, but as lady adventurers who came to her house to
demand justice; so they gave them a room to themselves and waited on them
as they would on strangers, to the consternation of the other
women-servants, who did not know where the folly and imprudence of Dona
Rodriguez and her unlucky daughter would stop.
And now, to complete the enjoyment of the feast and bring the dinner to a
satisfactory end, lo and behold the page who had carried the letters and
presents to Teresa Panza, the wife of the governor Sancho, entered the
hall; and the duke and duchess were very well pleased to see him, being
anxious to know the result of his journey; but when they asked him the
page said in reply that he could not give it before so many people or in
a few words, and begged their excellences to be pleased to let it wait
for a private opportunity, and in the meantime amuse themselves with
these letters; and taking out the letters he placed them in the duchess's
hand. One bore by way of address, Letter for my lady the Duchess
So-and-so, of I don't know where; and the other To my husband Sancho
Panza, governor of the island of Barataria, whom God prosper longer than
me. The duchess's bread would not bake, as the saying is, until she had
read her letter; and having looked over it herself and seen that it might
be read aloud for the duke and all present to hear, she read out as
TERESA PANZA'S LETTER TO THE DUCHESS.
The letter your highness wrote me, my lady, gave me great pleasure, for
indeed I found it very welcome. The string of coral beads is very fine,
and my husband's hunting suit does not fall short of it. All this village
is very much pleased that your ladyship has made a governor of my good
man Sancho; though nobody will believe it, particularly the curate, and
Master Nicholas the barber, and the bachelor Samson Carrasco; but I don't
care for that, for so long as it is true, as it is, they may all say what
they like; though, to tell the truth, if the coral beads and the suit had
not come I would not have believed it either; for in this village
everybody thinks my husband a numskull, and except for governing a flock
of goats, they cannot fancy what sort of government he can be fit for.
God grant it, and direct him according as he sees his children stand in
need of it. I am resolved with your worship's leave, lady of my soul, to
make the most of this fair day, and go to Court to stretch myself at ease
in a coach, and make all those I have envying me already burst their eyes
out; so I beg your excellence to order my husband to send me a small
trifle of money, and to let it be something to speak of, because one's
expenses are heavy at the Court; for a loaf costs a real, and meat thirty
maravedis a pound, which is beyond everything; and if he does not want me
to go let him tell me in time, for my feet are on the fidgets to be off;
and my friends and neighbours tell me that if my daughter and I make a
figure and a brave show at Court, my husband will come to be known far
more by me than I by him, for of course plenty of people will ask, "Who
are those ladies in that coach?" and some servant of mine will answer,
"The wife and daughter of Sancho Panza, governor of the island of
Barataria;" and in this way Sancho will become known, and I'll be thought
well of, and "to Rome for everything." I am as vexed as vexed can be that
they have gathered no acorns this year in our village; for all that I
send your highness about half a peck that I went to the wood to gather
and pick out one by one myself, and I could find no bigger ones; I wish
they were as big as ostrich eggs.
Let not your high mightiness forget to write to me; and I will take care
to answer, and let you know how I am, and whatever news there may be in
this place, where I remain, praying our Lord to have your highness in his
keeping and not to forget me.
Sancha my daughter, and my son, kiss your worship's hands.
She who would rather see your ladyship than write to you,
All were greatly amused by Teresa Panza's letter, but particularly the
duke and duchess; and the duchess asked Don Quixote's opinion whether
they might open the letter that had come for the governor, which she
suspected must be very good. Don Quixote said that to gratify them he
would open it, and did so, and found that it ran as follows.
TERESA PANZA'S LETTER TO HER HUSBAND SANCHO PANZA.
I got thy letter, Sancho of my soul, and I promise thee and swear as a
Catholic Christian that I was within two fingers' breadth of going mad I
was so happy. I can tell thee, brother, when I came to hear that thou
wert a governor I thought I should have dropped dead with pure joy; and
thou knowest they say sudden joy kills as well as great sorrow; and as
for Sanchica thy daughter, she leaked from sheer happiness. I had before
me the suit thou didst send me, and the coral beads my lady the duchess
sent me round my neck, and the letters in my hands, and there was the
bearer of them standing by, and in spite of all this I verily believed
and thought that what I saw and handled was all a dream; for who could
have thought that a goatherd would come to be a governor of islands? Thou
knowest, my friend, what my mother used to say, that one must live long
to see much; I say it because I expect to see more if I live longer; for
I don't expect to stop until I see thee a farmer of taxes or a collector
of revenue, which are offices where, though the devil carries off those
who make a bad use of them, still they make and handle money. My lady the
duchess will tell thee the desire I have to go to the Court; consider the
matter and let me know thy pleasure; I will try to do honour to thee by
going in a coach.
Neither the curate, nor the barber, nor the bachelor, nor even the
sacristan, can believe that thou art a governor, and they say the whole
thing is a delusion or an enchantment affair, like everything belonging
to thy master Don Quixote; and Samson says he must go in search of thee
and drive the government out of thy head and the madness out of Don
Quixote's skull; I only laugh, and look at my string of beads, and plan
out the dress I am going to make for our daughter out of thy suit. I sent
some acorns to my lady the duchess; I wish they had been gold. Send me
some strings of pearls if they are in fashion in that island. Here is the
news of the village; La Berrueca has married her daughter to a
good-for-nothing painter, who came here to paint anything that might turn
up. The council gave him an order to paint his Majesty's arms over the
door of the town-hall; he asked two ducats, which they paid him in
advance; he worked for eight days, and at the end of them had nothing
painted, and then said he had no turn for painting such trifling things;
he returned the money, and for all that has married on the pretence of
being a good workman; to be sure he has now laid aside his paint-brush
and taken a spade in hand, and goes to the field like a gentleman. Pedro
Lobo's son has received the first orders and tonsure, with the intention
of becoming a priest. Minguilla, Mingo Silvato's granddaughter, found it
out, and has gone to law with him on the score of having given her
promise of marriage. Evil tongues say she is with child by him, but he
denies it stoutly. There are no olives this year, and there is not a drop
of vinegar to be had in the whole village. A company of soldiers passed
through here; when they left they took away with them three of the girls
of the village; I will not tell thee who they are; perhaps they will come
back, and they will be sure to find those who will take them for wives
with all their blemishes, good or bad. Sanchica is making bonelace; she
earns eight maravedis a day clear, which she puts into a moneybox as a
help towards house furnishing; but now that she is a governor's daughter
thou wilt give her a portion without her working for it. The fountain in
the plaza has run dry. A flash of lightning struck the gibbet, and I wish
they all lit there. I look for an answer to this, and to know thy mind
about my going to the Court; and so, God keep thee longer than me, or as
long, for I would not leave thee in this world without me.
The letters were applauded, laughed over, relished, and admired; and
then, as if to put the seal to the business, the courier arrived,
bringing the one Sancho sent to Don Quixote, and this, too, was read out,
and it raised some doubts as to the governor's simplicity. The duchess
withdrew to hear from the page about his adventures in Sancho's village,
which he narrated at full length without leaving a single circumstance
unmentioned. He gave her the acorns, and also a cheese which Teresa had
given him as being particularly good and superior to those of Tronchon.
The duchess received it with greatest delight, in which we will leave
her, to describe the end of the government of the great Sancho Panza,
flower and mirror of all governors of islands.
OF THE TROUBLOUS END AND TERMINATION SANCHO PANZA'S GOVERNMENT CAME TO
To fancy that in this life anything belonging to it will remain for ever
in the same state is an idle fancy; on the contrary, in it everything
seems to go in a circle, I mean round and round. The spring succeeds the
summer, the summer the fall, the fall the autumn, the autumn the winter,
and the winter the spring, and so time rolls with never-ceasing wheel.
Man's life alone, swifter than time, speeds onward to its end without any
hope of renewal, save it be in that other life which is endless and
boundless. Thus saith Cide Hamete the Mahometan philosopher; for there
are many that by the light of nature alone, without the light of faith,
have a comprehension of the fleeting nature and instability of this
present life and the endless duration of that eternal life we hope for;
but our author is here speaking of the rapidity with which Sancho's
government came to an end, melted away, disappeared, vanished as it were
in smoke and shadow. For as he lay in bed on the night of the seventh day
of his government, sated, not with bread and wine, but with delivering
judgments and giving opinions and making laws and proclamations, just as
sleep, in spite of hunger, was beginning to close his eyelids, he heard
such a noise of bell-ringing and shouting that one would have fancied the
whole island was going to the bottom. He sat up in bed and remained
listening intently to try if he could make out what could be the cause of
so great an uproar; not only, however, was he unable to discover what it
was, but as countless drums and trumpets now helped to swell the din of
the bells and shouts, he was more puzzled than ever, and filled with fear
and terror; and getting up he put on a pair of slippers because of the
dampness of the floor, and without throwing a dressing gown or anything
of the kind over him he rushed out of the door of his room, just in time
to see approaching along a corridor a band of more than twenty persons
with lighted torches and naked swords in their hands, all shouting out,
"To arms, to arms, senor governor, to arms! The enemy is in the island in
countless numbers, and we are lost unless your skill and valour come to
Keeping up this noise, tumult, and uproar, they came to where Sancho
stood dazed and bewildered by what he saw and heard, and as they
approached one of them called out to him, "Arm at once, your lordship, if
you would not have yourself destroyed and the whole island lost."
"What have I to do with arming?" said Sancho. "What do I know about arms
or supports? Better leave all that to my master Don Quixote, who will
settle it and make all safe in a trice; for I, sinner that I am, God help
me, don't understand these scuffles."
"Ah, senor governor," said another, "what slackness of mettle this is!
Arm yourself; here are arms for you, offensive and defensive; come out to
the plaza and be our leader and captain; it falls upon you by right, for
you are our governor."
"Arm me then, in God's name," said Sancho, and they at once produced two
large shields they had come provided with, and placed them upon him over
his shirt, without letting him put on anything else, one shield in front
and the other behind, and passing his arms through openings they had
made, they bound him tight with ropes, so that there he was walled and
boarded up as straight as a spindle and unable to bend his knees or stir
a single step. In his hand they placed a lance, on which he leant to keep
himself from falling, and as soon as they had him thus fixed they bade
him march forward and lead them on and give them all courage; for with
him for their guide and lamp and morning star, they were sure to bring
their business to a successful issue.
"How am I to march, unlucky being that I am?" said Sancho, "when I can't
stir my knee-caps, for these boards I have bound so tight to my body
won't let me. What you must do is carry me in your arms, and lay me
across or set me upright in some postern, and I'll hold it either with
this lance or with my body."
"On, senor governor!" cried another, "it is fear more than the boards
that keeps you from moving; make haste, stir yourself, for there is no
time to lose; the enemy is increasing in numbers, the shouts grow louder,
and the danger is pressing."
Urged by these exhortations and reproaches the poor governor made an
attempt to advance, but fell to the ground with such a crash that he
fancied he had broken himself all to pieces. There he lay like a tortoise
enclosed in its shell, or a side of bacon between two kneading-troughs,
or a boat bottom up on the beach; nor did the gang of jokers feel any
compassion for him when they saw him down; so far from that,
extinguishing their torches they began to shout afresh and to renew the
calls to arms with such energy, trampling on poor Sancho, and slashing at
him over the shield with their swords in such a way that, if he had not
gathered himself together and made himself small and drawn in his head
between the shields, it would have fared badly with the poor governor,
as, squeezed into that narrow compass, he lay, sweating and sweating
again, and commending himself with all his heart to God to deliver him
from his present peril. Some stumbled over him, others fell upon him, and
one there was who took up a position on top of him for some time, and
from thence as if from a watchtower issued orders to the troops, shouting
out, "Here, our side! Here the enemy is thickest! Hold the breach there!
Shut that gate! Barricade those ladders! Here with your stink-pots of
pitch and resin, and kettles of boiling oil! Block the streets with
feather beds!" In short, in his ardour he mentioned every little thing,
and every implement and engine of war by means of which an assault upon a
city is warded off, while the bruised and battered Sancho, who heard and
suffered all, was saying to himself, "O if it would only please the Lord
to let the island be lost at once, and I could see myself either dead or
out of this torture!" Heaven heard his prayer, and when he least expected
it he heard voices exclaiming, "Victory, victory! The enemy retreats
beaten! Come, senor governor, get up, and come and enjoy the victory, and
divide the spoils that have been won from the foe by the might of that
"Lift me up," said the wretched Sancho in a woebegone voice. They helped
him to rise, and as soon as he was on his feet said, "The enemy I have
beaten you may nail to my forehead; I don't want to divide the spoils of
the foe, I only beg and entreat some friend, if I have one, to give me a
sup of wine, for I'm parched with thirst, and wipe me dry, for I'm
turning to water."
They rubbed him down, fetched him wine and unbound the shields, and he
seated himself upon his bed, and with fear, agitation, and fatigue he
fainted away. Those who had been concerned in the joke were now sorry
they had pushed it so far; however, the anxiety his fainting away had
caused them was relieved by his returning to himself. He asked what
o'clock it was; they told him it was just daybreak. He said no more, and
in silence began to dress himself, while all watched him, waiting to see
what the haste with which he was putting on his clothes meant.
He got himself dressed at last, and then, slowly, for he was sorely
bruised and could not go fast, he proceeded to the stable, followed by
all who were present, and going up to Dapple embraced him and gave him a
loving kiss on the forehead, and said to him, not without tears in his
eyes, "Come along, comrade and friend and partner of my toils and
sorrows; when I was with you and had no cares to trouble me except
mending your harness and feeding your little carcass, happy were my
hours, my days, and my years; but since I left you, and mounted the
towers of ambition and pride, a thousand miseries, a thousand troubles,
and four thousand anxieties have entered into my soul;" and all the while
he was speaking in this strain he was fixing the pack-saddle on the ass,
without a word from anyone. Then having Dapple saddled, he, with great
pain and difficulty, got up on him, and addressing himself to the
majordomo, the secretary, the head-carver, and Pedro Recio the doctor and
several others who stood by, he said, "Make way, gentlemen, and let me go
back to my old freedom; let me go look for my past life, and raise myself
up from this present death. I was not born to be a governor or protect
islands or cities from the enemies that choose to attack them. Ploughing
and digging, vinedressing and pruning, are more in my way than defending
provinces or kingdoms. 'Saint Peter is very well at Rome; I mean each of
us is best following the trade he was born to. A reaping-hook fits my
hand better than a governor's sceptre; I'd rather have my fill of
gazpacho' than be subject to the misery of a meddling doctor who me with
hunger, and I'd rather lie in summer under the shade of an oak, and in
winter wrap myself in a double sheepskin jacket in freedom, than go to
bed between holland sheets and dress in sables under the restraint of a
government. God be with your worships, and tell my lord the duke that
'naked I was born, naked I find myself, I neither lose nor gain;' I mean
that without a farthing I came into this government, and without a
farthing I go out of it, very different from the way governors commonly
leave other islands. Stand aside and let me go; I have to plaster myself,
for I believe every one of my ribs is crushed, thanks to the enemies that
have been trampling over me to-night."
"That is unnecessary, senor governor," said Doctor Recio, "for I will
give your worship a draught against falls and bruises that will soon make
you as sound and strong as ever; and as for your diet I promise your
worship to behave better, and let you eat plentifully of whatever you
"You spoke late," said Sancho. "I'd as soon turn Turk as stay any longer.
Those jokes won't pass a second time. By God I'd as soon remain in this
government, or take another, even if it was offered me between two
plates, as fly to heaven without wings. I am of the breed of the Panzas,
and they are every one of them obstinate, and if they once say 'odds,'
odds it must be, no matter if it is evens, in spite of all the world.
Here in this stable I leave the ant's wings that lifted me up into the
air for the swifts and other birds to eat me, and let's take to level
ground and our feet once more; and if they're not shod in pinked shoes of
cordovan, they won't want for rough sandals of hemp; 'every ewe to her
like,' 'and let no one stretch his leg beyond the length of the sheet;'
and now let me pass, for it's growing late with me."
To this the majordomo said, "Senor governor, we would let your worship go
with all our hearts, though it sorely grieves us to lose you, for your
wit and Christian conduct naturally make us regret you; but it is well
known that every governor, before he leaves the place where he has been
governing, is bound first of all to render an account. Let your worship
do so for the ten days you have held the government, and then you may go
and the peace of God go with you."
"No one can demand it of me," said Sancho, "but he whom my lord the duke
shall appoint; I am going to meet him, and to him I will render an exact
one; besides, when I go forth naked as I do, there is no other proof
needed to show that I have governed like an angel."
"By God the great Sancho is right," said Doctor Recio, "and we should let
him go, for the duke will be beyond measure glad to see him."
They all agreed to this, and allowed him to go, first offering to bear
him company and furnish him with all he wanted for his own comfort or for
the journey. Sancho said he did not want anything more than a little
barley for Dapple, and half a cheese and half a loaf for himself; for the
distance being so short there was no occasion for any better or bulkier
provant. They all embraced him, and he with tears embraced all of them,
and left them filled with admiration not only at his remarks but at his
firm and sensible resolution.