Part 6 out of 10
"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
WHEREIN IS RELATED THE STRANGE AND UNDREAMT-OF ADVENTURE OF THE
DISTRESSED DUENNA, ALIAS THE COUNTESS TRIFALDI, TOGETHER WITH A LETTER
WHICH SANCHO PANZA WROTE TO HIS WIFE, TERESA PANZA
The duke had a majordomo of a very facetious and sportive turn, and he it
was that played the part of Merlin, made all the arrangements for the
late adventure, composed the verses, and got a page to represent
Dulcinea; and now, with the assistance of his master and mistress, he got
up another of the drollest and strangest contrivances that can be
The duchess asked Sancho the next day if he had made a beginning with his
penance task which he had to perform for the disenchantment of Dulcinea.
He said he had, and had given himself five lashes overnight.
The duchess asked him what he had given them with.
He said with his hand.
"That," said the duchess, "is more like giving oneself slaps than lashes;
I am sure the sage Merlin will not be satisfied with such tenderness;
worthy Sancho must make a scourge with claws, or a cat-o'-nine tails,
that will make itself felt; for it's with blood that letters enter, and
the release of so great a lady as Dulcinea will not be granted so
cheaply, or at such a paltry price; and remember, Sancho, that works of
charity done in a lukewarm and half-hearted way are without merit and of
To which Sancho replied, "If your ladyship will give me a proper scourge
or cord, I'll lay on with it, provided it does not hurt too much; for you
must know, boor as I am, my flesh is more cotton than hemp, and it won't
do for me to destroy myself for the good of anybody else."
"So be it by all means," said the duchess; "tomorrow I'll give you a
scourge that will be just the thing for you, and will accommodate itself
to the tenderness of your flesh, as if it was its own sister."
Then said Sancho, "Your highness must know, dear lady of my soul, that I
have a letter written to my wife, Teresa Panza, giving her an account of
all that has happened me since I left her; I have it here in my bosom,
and there's nothing wanting but to put the address to it; I'd be glad if
your discretion would read it, for I think it runs in the governor style;
I mean the way governors ought to write."
"And who dictated it?" asked the duchess.
"Who should have dictated but myself, sinner as I am?" said Sancho.
"And did you write it yourself?" said the duchess.
"That I didn't," said Sancho; "for I can neither read nor write, though I
can sign my name."
"Let us see it," said the duchess, "for never fear but you display in it
the quality and quantity of your wit."
Sancho drew out an open letter from his bosom, and the duchess, taking
it, found it ran in this fashion:
SANCHO PANZA'S LETTER TO HIS WIFE, TERESA PANZA
If I was well whipped I went mounted like a gentleman; if I have got a
good government it is at the cost of a good whipping. Thou wilt not
understand this just now, my Teresa; by-and-by thou wilt know what it
means. I may tell thee, Teresa, I mean thee to go in a coach, for that is
a matter of importance, because every other way of going is going on
all-fours. Thou art a governor's wife; take care that nobody speaks evil
of thee behind thy back. I send thee here a green hunting suit that my
lady the duchess gave me; alter it so as to make a petticoat and bodice
for our daughter. Don Quixote, my master, if I am to believe what I hear
in these parts, is a madman of some sense, and a droll blockhead, and I
am no way behind him. We have been in the cave of Montesinos, and the
sage Merlin has laid hold of me for the disenchantment of Dulcinea del
Toboso, her that is called Aldonza Lorenzo over there. With three
thousand three hundred lashes, less five, that I'm to give myself, she
will be left as entirely disenchanted as the mother that bore her. Say
nothing of this to anyone; for, make thy affairs public, and some will
say they are white and others will say they are black. I shall leave this
in a few days for my government, to which I am going with a mighty great
desire to make money, for they tell me all new governors set out with the
same desire; I will feel the pulse of it and will let thee know if thou
art to come and live with me or not. Dapple is well and sends many
remembrances to thee; I am not going to leave him behind though they took
me away to be Grand Turk. My lady the duchess kisses thy hands a thousand
times; do thou make a return with two thousand, for as my master says,
nothing costs less or is cheaper than civility. God has not been pleased
to provide another valise for me with another hundred crowns, like the
one the other day; but never mind, my Teresa, the bell-ringer is in safe
quarters, and all will come out in the scouring of the government; only
it troubles me greatly what they tell me--that once I have tasted it I
will eat my hands off after it; and if that is so it will not come very
cheap to me; though to be sure the maimed have a benefice of their own in
the alms they beg for; so that one way or another thou wilt be rich and
in luck. God give it to thee as he can, and keep me to serve thee. From
this castle, the 20th of July, 1614.
Thy husband, the governor.
When she had done reading the letter the duchess said to Sancho, "On two
points the worthy governor goes rather astray; one is in saying or
hinting that this government has been bestowed upon him for the lashes
that he is to give himself, when he knows (and he cannot deny it) that
when my lord the duke promised it to him nobody ever dreamt of such a
thing as lashes; the other is that he shows himself here to be very
covetous; and I would not have him a money-seeker, for 'covetousness
bursts the bag,' and the covetous governor does ungoverned justice."
"I don't mean it that way, senora," said Sancho; "and if you think the
letter doesn't run as it ought to do, it's only to tear it up and make
another; and maybe it will be a worse one if it is left to my gumption."
"No, no," said the duchess, "this one will do, and I wish the duke to see
With this they betook themselves to a garden where they were to dine, and
the duchess showed Sancho's letter to the duke, who was highly delighted
with it. They dined, and after the cloth had been removed and they had
amused themselves for a while with Sancho's rich conversation, the
melancholy sound of a fife and harsh discordant drum made itself heard.
All seemed somewhat put out by this dull, confused, martial harmony,
especially Don Quixote, who could not keep his seat from pure
disquietude; as to Sancho, it is needless to say that fear drove him to
his usual refuge, the side or the skirts of the duchess; and indeed and
in truth the sound they heard was a most doleful and melancholy one.
While they were still in uncertainty they saw advancing towards them
through the garden two men clad in mourning robes so long and flowing
that they trailed upon the ground. As they marched they beat two great
drums which were likewise draped in black, and beside them came the fife
player, black and sombre like the others. Following these came a
personage of gigantic stature enveloped rather than clad in a gown of the
deepest black, the skirt of which was of prodigious dimensions. Over the
gown, girdling or crossing his figure, he had a broad baldric which was
also black, and from which hung a huge scimitar with a black scabbard and
furniture. He had his face covered with a transparent black veil, through
which might be descried a very long beard as white as snow. He came on
keeping step to the sound of the drums with great gravity and dignity;
and, in short, his stature, his gait, the sombreness of his appearance
and his following might well have struck with astonishment, as they did,
all who beheld him without knowing who he was. With this measured pace
and in this guise he advanced to kneel before the duke, who, with the
others, awaited him standing. The duke, however, would not on any account
allow him to speak until he had risen. The prodigious scarecrow obeyed,
and standing up, removed the veil from his face and disclosed the most
enormous, the longest, the whitest and the thickest beard that human eyes
had ever beheld until that moment, and then fetching up a grave, sonorous
voice from the depths of his broad, capacious chest, and fixing his eyes
on the duke, he said:
"Most high and mighty senor, my name is Trifaldin of the White Beard; I
am squire to the Countess Trifaldi, otherwise called the Distressed
Duenna, on whose behalf I bear a message to your highness, which is that
your magnificence will be pleased to grant her leave and permission to
come and tell you her trouble, which is one of the strangest and most
wonderful that the mind most familiar with trouble in the world could
have imagined; but first she desires to know if the valiant and never
vanquished knight, Don Quixote of La Mancha, is in this your castle, for
she has come in quest of him on foot and without breaking her fast from
the kingdom of Kandy to your realms here; a thing which may and ought to
be regarded as a miracle or set down to enchantment; she is even now at
the gate of this fortress or plaisance, and only waits for your
permission to enter. I have spoken." And with that he coughed, and
stroked down his beard with both his hands, and stood very tranquilly
waiting for the response of the duke, which was to this effect: "Many
days ago, worthy squire Trifaldin of the White Beard, we heard of the
misfortune of my lady the Countess Trifaldi, whom the enchanters have
caused to be called the Distressed Duenna. Bid her enter, O stupendous
squire, and tell her that the valiant knight Don Quixote of La Mancha is
here, and from his generous disposition she may safely promise herself
every protection and assistance; and you may tell her, too, that if my
aid be necessary it will not be withheld, for I am bound to give it to
her by my quality of knight, which involves the protection of women of
all sorts, especially widowed, wronged, and distressed dames, such as her
ladyship seems to be."
On hearing this Trifaldin bent the knee to the ground, and making a sign
to the fifer and drummers to strike up, he turned and marched out of the
garden to the same notes and at the same pace as when he entered, leaving
them all amazed at his bearing and solemnity. Turning to Don Quixote, the
duke said, "After all, renowned knight, the mists of malice and ignorance
are unable to hide or obscure the light of valour and virtue. I say so,
because your excellence has been barely six days in this castle, and
already the unhappy and the afflicted come in quest of you from lands far
distant and remote, and not in coaches or on dromedaries, but on foot and
fasting, confident that in that mighty arm they will find a cure for
their sorrows and troubles; thanks to your great achievements, which are
circulated all over the known earth."
"I wish, senor duke," replied Don Quixote, "that blessed ecclesiastic,
who at table the other day showed such ill-will and bitter spite against
knights-errant, were here now to see with his own eyes whether knights of
the sort are needed in the world; he would at any rate learn by
experience that those suffering any extraordinary affliction or sorrow,
in extreme cases and unusual misfortunes do not go to look for a remedy
to the houses of jurists or village sacristans, or to the knight who has
never attempted to pass the bounds of his own town, or to the indolent
courtier who only seeks for news to repeat and talk of, instead of
striving to do deeds and exploits for others to relate and record. Relief
in distress, help in need, protection for damsels, consolation for
widows, are to be found in no sort of persons better than in
knights-errant; and I give unceasing thanks to heaven that I am one, and
regard any misfortune or suffering that may befall me in the pursuit of
so honourable a calling as endured to good purpose. Let this duenna come
and ask what she will, for I will effect her relief by the might of my
arm and the dauntless resolution of my bold heart."
WHEREIN IS CONTINUED THE NOTABLE ADVENTURE OF THE DISTRESSED DUENNA
The duke and duchess were extremely glad to see how readily Don Quixote
fell in with their scheme; but at this moment Sancho observed, "I hope
this senora duenna won't be putting any difficulties in the way of the
promise of my government; for I have heard a Toledo apothecary, who
talked like a goldfinch, say that where duennas were mixed up nothing
good could happen. God bless me, how he hated them, that same apothecary!
And so what I'm thinking is, if all duennas, of whatever sort or
condition they may be, are plagues and busybodies, what must they be that
are distressed, like this Countess Three-skirts or Three-tails!--for in
my country skirts or tails, tails or skirts, it's all one."
"Hush, friend Sancho," said Don Quixote; "since this lady duenna comes in
quest of me from such a distant land she cannot be one of those the
apothecary meant; moreover this is a countess, and when countesses serve
as duennas it is in the service of queens and empresses, for in their own
houses they are mistresses paramount and have other duennas to wait on
To this Dona Rodriguez, who was present, made answer, "My lady the
duchess has duennas in her service that might be countesses if it was the
will of fortune; 'but laws go as kings like;' let nobody speak ill of
duennas, above all of ancient maiden ones; for though I am not one
myself, I know and am aware of the advantage a maiden duenna has over one
that is a widow; but 'he who clipped us has kept the scissors.'"
"For all that," said Sancho, "there's so much to be clipped about
duennas, so my barber said, that 'it will be better not to stir the rice
even though it sticks.'"
"These squires," returned Dona Rodriguez, "are always our enemies; and as
they are the haunting spirits of the antechambers and watch us at every
step, whenever they are not saying their prayers (and that's often
enough) they spend their time in tattling about us, digging up our bones
and burying our good name. But I can tell these walking blocks that we
will live in spite of them, and in great houses too, though we die of
hunger and cover our flesh, be it delicate or not, with widow's weeds, as
one covers or hides a dunghill on a procession day. By my faith, if it
were permitted me and time allowed, I could prove, not only to those here
present, but to all the world, that there is no virtue that is not to be
found in a duenna."
"I have no doubt," said the duchess, "that my good Dona Rodriguez is
right, and very much so; but she had better bide her time for fighting
her own battle and that of the rest of the duennas, so as to crush the
calumny of that vile apothecary, and root out the prejudice in the great
Sancho Panza's mind."
To which Sancho replied, "Ever since I have sniffed the governorship I
have got rid of the humours of a squire, and I don't care a wild fig for
all the duennas in the world."
They would have carried on this duenna dispute further had they not heard
the notes of the fife and drums once more, from which they concluded that
the Distressed Duenna was making her entrance. The duchess asked the duke
if it would be proper to go out to receive her, as she was a countess and
a person of rank.
"In respect of her being a countess," said Sancho, before the duke could
reply, "I am for your highnesses going out to receive her; but in respect
of her being a duenna, it is my opinion you should not stir a step."
"Who bade thee meddle in this, Sancho?" said Don Quixote.
"Who, senor?" said Sancho; "I meddle for I have a right to meddle, as a
squire who has learned the rules of courtesy in the school of your
worship, the most courteous and best-bred knight in the whole world of
courtliness; and in these things, as I have heard your worship say, as
much is lost by a card too many as by a card too few, and to one who has
his ears open, few words."
"Sancho is right," said the duke; "we'll see what the countess is like,
and by that measure the courtesy that is due to her."
And now the drums and fife made their entrance as before; and here the
author brought this short chapter to an end and began the next, following
up the same adventure, which is one of the most notable in the history.
WHEREIN IS TOLD THE DISTRESSED DUENNA'S TALE OF HER MISFORTUNES
Following the melancholy musicians there filed into the garden as many as
twelve duennas, in two lines, all dressed in ample mourning robes
apparently of milled serge, with hoods of fine white gauze so long that
they allowed only the border of the robe to be seen. Behind them came the
Countess Trifaldi, the squire Trifaldin of the White Beard leading her by
the hand, clad in the finest unnapped black baize, such that, had it a
nap, every tuft would have shown as big as a Martos chickpea; the tail,
or skirt, or whatever it might be called, ended in three points which
were borne up by the hands of three pages, likewise dressed in mourning,
forming an elegant geometrical figure with the three acute angles made by
the three points, from which all who saw the peaked skirt concluded that
it must be because of it the countess was called Trifaldi, as though it
were Countess of the Three Skirts; and Benengeli says it was so, and that
by her right name she was called the Countess Lobuna, because wolves bred
in great numbers in her country; and if, instead of wolves, they had been
foxes, she would have been called the Countess Zorruna, as it was the
custom in those parts for lords to take distinctive titles from the thing
or things most abundant in their dominions; this countess, however, in
honour of the new fashion of her skirt, dropped Lobuna and took up
The twelve duennas and the lady came on at procession pace, their faces
being covered with black veils, not transparent ones like Trifaldin's,
but so close that they allowed nothing to be seen through them. As soon
as the band of duennas was fully in sight, the duke, the duchess, and Don
Quixote stood up, as well as all who were watching the slow-moving
procession. The twelve duennas halted and formed a lane, along which the
Distressed One advanced, Trifaldin still holding her hand. On seeing this
the duke, the duchess, and Don Quixote went some twelve paces forward to
meet her. She then, kneeling on the ground, said in a voice hoarse and
rough, rather than fine and delicate, "May it please your highnesses not
to offer such courtesies to this your servant, I should say to this your
handmaid, for I am in such distress that I shall never be able to make a
proper return, because my strange and unparalleled misfortune has carried
off my wits, and I know not whither; but it must be a long way off, for
the more I look for them the less I find them."
"He would be wanting in wits, senora countess," said the duke, "who did
not perceive your worth by your person, for at a glance it may be seen it
deserves all the cream of courtesy and flower of polite usage;" and
raising her up by the hand he led her to a seat beside the duchess, who
likewise received her with great urbanity. Don Quixote remained silent,
while Sancho was dying to see the features of Trifaldi and one or two of
her many duennas; but there was no possibility of it until they
themselves displayed them of their own accord and free will.
All kept still, waiting to see who would break silence, which the
Distressed Duenna did in these words: "I am confident, most mighty lord,
most fair lady, and most discreet company, that my most miserable misery
will be accorded a reception no less dispassionate than generous and
condolent in your most valiant bosoms, for it is one that is enough to
melt marble, soften diamonds, and mollify the steel of the most hardened
hearts in the world; but ere it is proclaimed to your hearing, not to say
your ears, I would fain be enlightened whether there be present in this
society, circle, or company, that knight immaculatissimus, Don Quixote de
la Manchissima, and his squirissimus Panza."
"The Panza is here," said Sancho, before anyone could reply, "and Don
Quixotissimus too; and so, most distressedest Duenissima, you may say
what you willissimus, for we are all readissimus to do you any
On this Don Quixote rose, and addressing the Distressed Duenna, said, "If
your sorrows, afflicted lady, can indulge in any hope of relief from the
valour or might of any knight-errant, here are mine, which, feeble and
limited though they be, shall be entirely devoted to your service. I am
Don Quixote of La Mancha, whose calling it is to give aid to the needy of
all sorts; and that being so, it is not necessary for you, senora, to
make any appeal to benevolence, or deal in preambles, only to tell your
woes plainly and straightforwardly: for you have hearers that will know
how, if not to remedy them, to sympathise with them."
On hearing this, the Distressed Duenna made as though she would throw
herself at Don Quixote's feet, and actually did fall before them and
said, as she strove to embrace them, "Before these feet and legs I cast
myself, O unconquered knight, as before, what they are, the foundations
and pillars of knight-errantry; these feet I desire to kiss, for upon
their steps hangs and depends the sole remedy for my misfortune, O
valorous errant, whose veritable achievements leave behind and eclipse
the fabulous ones of the Amadises, Esplandians, and Belianises!" Then
turning from Don Quixote to Sancho Panza, and grasping his hands, she
said, "O thou, most loyal squire that ever served knight-errant in this
present age or ages past, whose goodness is more extensive than the beard
of Trifaldin my companion here of present, well mayest thou boast thyself
that, in serving the great Don Quixote, thou art serving, summed up in
one, the whole host of knights that have ever borne arms in the world. I
conjure thee, by what thou owest to thy most loyal goodness, that thou
wilt become my kind intercessor with thy master, that he speedily give
aid to this most humble and most unfortunate countess."
To this Sancho made answer, "As to my goodness, senora, being as long and
as great as your squire's beard, it matters very little to me; may I have
my soul well bearded and moustached when it comes to quit this life,
that's the point; about beards here below I care little or nothing; but
without all these blandishments and prayers, I will beg my master (for I
know he loves me, and, besides, he has need of me just now for a certain
business) to help and aid your worship as far as he can; unpack your woes
and lay them before us, and leave us to deal with them, for we'll be all
of one mind."
The duke and duchess, as it was they who had made the experiment of this
adventure, were ready to burst with laughter at all this, and between
themselves they commended the clever acting of the Trifaldi, who,
returning to her seat, said, "Queen Dona Maguncia reigned over the famous
kingdom of Kandy, which lies between the great Trapobana and the Southern
Sea, two leagues beyond Cape Comorin. She was the widow of King
Archipiela, her lord and husband, and of their marriage they had issue
the Princess Antonomasia, heiress of the kingdom; which Princess
Antonomasia was reared and brought up under my care and direction, I
being the oldest and highest in rank of her mother's duennas. Time
passed, and the young Antonomasia reached the age of fourteen, and such a
perfection of beauty, that nature could not raise it higher. Then, it
must not be supposed her intelligence was childish; she was as
intelligent as she was fair, and she was fairer than all the world; and
is so still, unless the envious fates and hard-hearted sisters three have
cut for her the thread of life. But that they have not, for Heaven will
not suffer so great a wrong to Earth, as it would be to pluck unripe the
grapes of the fairest vineyard on its surface. Of this beauty, to which
my poor feeble tongue has failed to do justice, countless princes, not
only of that country, but of others, were enamoured, and among them a
private gentleman, who was at the court, dared to raise his thoughts to
the heaven of so great beauty, trusting to his youth, his gallant
bearing, his numerous accomplishments and graces, and his quickness and
readiness of wit; for I may tell your highnesses, if I am not wearying
you, that he played the guitar so as to make it speak, and he was,
besides, a poet and a great dancer, and he could make birdcages so well,
that by making them alone he might have gained a livelihood, had he found
himself reduced to utter poverty; and gifts and graces of this kind are
enough to bring down a mountain, not to say a tender young girl. But all
his gallantry, wit, and gaiety, all his graces and accomplishments, would
have been of little or no avail towards gaining the fortress of my pupil,
had not the impudent thief taken the precaution of gaining me over first.
First, the villain and heartless vagabond sought to win my good-will and
purchase my compliance, so as to get me, like a treacherous warder, to
deliver up to him the keys of the fortress I had in charge. In a word, he
gained an influence over my mind, and overcame my resolutions with I know
not what trinkets and jewels he gave me; but it was some verses I heard
him singing one night from a grating that opened on the street where he
lived, that, more than anything else, made me give way and led to my
fall; and if I remember rightly they ran thus:
From that sweet enemy of mine
My bleeding heart hath had its wound;
And to increase the pain I'm bound
To suffer and to make no sign.
The lines seemed pearls to me and his voice sweet as syrup; and
afterwards, I may say ever since then, looking at the misfortune into
which I have fallen, I have thought that poets, as Plato advised, ought
to be banished from all well-ordered States; at least the amatory ones,
for they write verses, not like those of 'The Marquis of Mantua,' that
delight and draw tears from the women and children, but sharp-pointed
conceits that pierce the heart like soft thorns, and like the lightning
strike it, leaving the raiment uninjured. Another time he sang:
Come Death, so subtly veiled that I
Thy coming know not, how or when,
Lest it should give me life again
To find how sweet it is to die.
--and other verses and burdens of the same sort, such as enchant when
sung and fascinate when written. And then, when they condescend to
compose a sort of verse that was at that time in vogue in Kandy, which
they call seguidillas! Then it is that hearts leap and laughter breaks
forth, and the body grows restless and all the senses turn quicksilver.
And so I say, sirs, that these troubadours richly deserve to be banished
to the isles of the lizards. Though it is not they that are in fault, but
the simpletons that extol them, and the fools that believe in them; and
had I been the faithful duenna I should have been, his stale conceits
would have never moved me, nor should I have been taken in by such
phrases as 'in death I live,' 'in ice I burn,' 'in flames I shiver,'
'hopeless I hope,' 'I go and stay,' and paradoxes of that sort which
their writings are full of. And then when they promise the Phoenix of
Arabia, the crown of Ariadne, the horses of the Sun, the pearls of the
South, the gold of Tibar, and the balsam of Panchaia! Then it is they
give a loose to their pens, for it costs them little to make promises
they have no intention or power of fulfilling. But where am I wandering
to? Woe is me, unfortunate being! What madness or folly leads me to speak
of the faults of others, when there is so much to be said about my own?
Again, woe is me, hapless that I am! it was not verses that conquered me,
but my own simplicity; it was not music made me yield, but my own
imprudence; my own great ignorance and little caution opened the way and
cleared the path for Don Clavijo's advances, for that was the name of the
gentleman I have referred to; and so, with my help as go-between, he
found his way many a time into the chamber of the deceived Antonomasia
(deceived not by him but by me) under the title of a lawful husband; for,
sinner though I was, would not have allowed him to approach the edge of
her shoe-sole without being her husband. No, no, not that; marriage must
come first in any business of this sort that I take in hand. But there
was one hitch in this case, which was that of inequality of rank, Don
Clavijo being a private gentleman, and the Princess Antonomasia, as I
said, heiress to the kingdom. The entanglement remained for some time a
secret, kept hidden by my cunning precautions, until I perceived that a
certain expansion of waist in Antonomasia must before long disclose it,
the dread of which made us all there take counsel together, and it was
agreed that before the mischief came to light, Don Clavijo should demand
Antonomasia as his wife before the Vicar, in virtue of an agreement to
marry him made by the princess, and drafted by my wit in such binding
terms that the might of Samson could not have broken it. The necessary
steps were taken; the Vicar saw the agreement, and took the lady's
confession; she confessed everything in full, and he ordered her into the
custody of a very worthy alguacil of the court."
"Are there alguacils of the court in Kandy, too," said Sancho at this,
"and poets, and seguidillas? I swear I think the world is the same all
over! But make haste, Senora Trifaldi; for it is late, and I am dying to
know the end of this long story."
"I will," replied the countess.
IN WHICH THE TRIFALDI CONTINUES HER MARVELLOUS AND MEMORABLE STORY
By every word that Sancho uttered, the duchess was as much delighted as
Don Quixote was driven to desperation. He bade him hold his tongue, and
the Distressed One went on to say: "At length, after much questioning and
answering, as the princess held to her story, without changing or varying
her previous declaration, the Vicar gave his decision in favour of Don
Clavijo, and she was delivered over to him as his lawful wife; which the
Queen Dona Maguncia, the Princess Antonomasia's mother, so took to heart,
that within the space of three days we buried her."
"She died, no doubt," said Sancho.
"Of course," said Trifaldin; "they don't bury living people in Kandy,
only the dead."
"Senor Squire," said Sancho, "a man in a swoon has been known to be
buried before now, in the belief that he was dead; and it struck me that
Queen Maguncia ought to have swooned rather than died; because with life
a great many things come right, and the princess's folly was not so great
that she need feel it so keenly. If the lady had married some page of
hers, or some other servant of the house, as many another has done, so I
have heard say, then the mischief would have been past curing. But to
marry such an elegant accomplished gentleman as has been just now
described to us--indeed, indeed, though it was a folly, it was not such a
great one as you think; for according to the rules of my master here--and
he won't allow me to lie--as of men of letters bishops are made, so of
gentlemen knights, specially if they be errant, kings and emperors may be
"Thou art right, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for with a knight-errant, if
he has but two fingers' breadth of good fortune, it is on the cards to
become the mightiest lord on earth. But let senora the Distressed One
proceed; for I suspect she has got yet to tell us the bitter part of this
so far sweet story."
"The bitter is indeed to come," said the countess; "and such bitter that
colocynth is sweet and oleander toothsome in comparison. The queen, then,
being dead, and not in a swoon, we buried her; and hardly had we covered
her with earth, hardly had we said our last farewells, when, quis talia
fando temperet a lachrymis? over the queen's grave there appeared,
mounted upon a wooden horse, the giant Malambruno, Maguncia's first
cousin, who besides being cruel is an enchanter; and he, to revenge the
death of his cousin, punish the audacity of Don Clavijo, and in wrath at
the contumacy of Antonomasia, left them both enchanted by his art on the
grave itself; she being changed into an ape of brass, and he into a
horrible crocodile of some unknown metal; while between the two there
stands a pillar, also of metal, with certain characters in the Syriac
language inscribed upon it, which, being translated into Kandian, and now
into Castilian, contain the following sentence: 'These two rash lovers
shall not recover their former shape until the valiant Manchegan comes to
do battle with me in single combat; for the Fates reserve this unexampled
adventure for his mighty valour alone.' This done, he drew from its
sheath a huge broad scimitar, and seizing me by the hair he made as
though he meant to cut my throat and shear my head clean off. I was
terror-stricken, my voice stuck in my throat, and I was in the deepest
distress; nevertheless I summoned up my strength as well as I could, and
in a trembling and piteous voice I addressed such words to him as induced
him to stay the infliction of a punishment so severe. He then caused all
the duennas of the palace, those that are here present, to be brought
before him; and after having dwelt upon the enormity of our offence, and
denounced duennas, their characters, their evil ways and worse intrigues,
laying to the charge of all what I alone was guilty of, he said he would
not visit us with capital punishment, but with others of a slow nature
which would be in effect civil death for ever; and the very instant he
ceased speaking we all felt the pores of our faces opening, and pricking
us, as if with the points of needles. We at once put our hands up to our
faces and found ourselves in the state you now see."
Here the Distressed One and the other duennas raised the veils with which
they were covered, and disclosed countenances all bristling with beards,
some red, some black, some white, and some grizzled, at which spectacle
the duke and duchess made a show of being filled with wonder. Don Quixote
and Sancho were overwhelmed with amazement, and the bystanders lost in
astonishment, while the Trifaldi went on to say: "Thus did that
malevolent villain Malambruno punish us, covering the tenderness and
softness of our faces with these rough bristles! Would to heaven that he
had swept off our heads with his enormous scimitar instead of obscuring
the light of our countenances with these wool-combings that cover us! For
if we look into the matter, sirs (and what I am now going to say I would
say with eyes flowing like fountains, only that the thought of our
misfortune and the oceans they have already wept, keep them as dry as
barley spears, and so I say it without tears), where, I ask, can a duenna
with a beard to to? What father or mother will feel pity for her? Who
will help her? For, if even when she has a smooth skin, and a face
tortured by a thousand kinds of washes and cosmetics, she can hardly get
anybody to love her, what will she do when she shows a countenace turned
into a thicket? Oh duennas, companions mine! it was an unlucky moment
when we were born and an ill-starred hour when our fathers begot us!" And
as she said this she showed signs of being about to faint.
OF MATTERS RELATING AND BELONGING TO THIS ADVENTURE AND TO THIS MEMORABLE
Verily and truly all those who find pleasure in histories like this ought
show their gratitude to Cide Hamete, its original author, for the
scrupulous care he has taken to set before us all its minute particulars,
not leaving anything, however trifling it may be, that he does not make
clear and plain. He portrays the thoughts, he reveals the fancies, he
answers implied questions, clears up doubts, sets objections at rest,
and, in a word, makes plain the smallest points the most inquisitive can
desire to know. O renowned author! O happy Don Quixote! O famous famous
droll Sancho! All and each, may ye live countless ages for the delight
and amusement of the dwellers on earth!
The history goes on to say that when Sancho saw the Distressed One faint
he exclaimed: "I swear by the faith of an honest man and the shades of
all my ancestors the Panzas, that never I did see or hear of, nor has my
master related or conceived in his mind, such an adventure as this. A
thousand devils--not to curse thee--take thee, Malambruno, for an
enchanter and a giant! Couldst thou find no other sort of punishment for
these sinners but bearding them? Would it not have been better--it would
have been better for them--to have taken off half their noses from the
middle upwards, even though they'd have snuffled when they spoke, than to
have put beards on them? I'll bet they have not the means of paying
anybody to shave them."
"That is the truth, senor," said one of the twelve; "we have not the
money to get ourselves shaved, and so we have, some of us, taken to using
sticking-plasters by way of an economical remedy, for by applying them to
our faces and plucking them off with a jerk we are left as bare and
smooth as the bottom of a stone mortar. There are, to be sure, women in
Kandy that go about from house to house to remove down, and trim
eyebrows, and make cosmetics for the use of the women, but we, the
duennas of my lady, would never let them in, for most of them have a
flavour of agents that have ceased to be principals; and if we are not
relieved by Senor Don Quixote we shall be carried to our graves with
"I will pluck out my own in the land of the Moors," said Don Quixote, "if
I don't cure yours."
At this instant the Trifaldi recovered from her swoon and said, "The
chink of that promise, valiant knight, reached my ears in the midst of my
swoon, and has been the means of reviving me and bringing back my senses;
and so once more I implore you, illustrious errant, indomitable sir, to
let your gracious promises be turned into deeds."
"There shall be no delay on my part," said Don Quixote. "Bethink you,
senora, of what I must do, for my heart is most eager to serve you."
"The fact is," replied the Distressed One, "it is five thousand leagues,
a couple more or less, from this to the kingdom of Kandy, if you go by
land; but if you go through the air and in a straight line, it is three
thousand two hundred and twenty-seven. You must know, too, that
Malambruno told me that, whenever fate provided the knight our deliverer,
he himself would send him a steed far better and with less tricks than a
post-horse; for he will be that same wooden horse on which the valiant
Pierres carried off the fair Magalona; which said horse is guided by a
peg he has in his forehead that serves for a bridle, and flies through
the air with such rapidity that you would fancy the very devils were
carrying him. This horse, according to ancient tradition, was made by
Merlin. He lent him to Pierres, who was a friend of his, and who made
long journeys with him, and, as has been said, carried off the fair
Magalona, bearing her through the air on its haunches and making all who
beheld them from the earth gape with astonishment; and he never lent him
save to those whom he loved or those who paid him well; and since the
great Pierres we know of no one having mounted him until now. From him
Malambruno stole him by his magic art, and he has him now in his
possession, and makes use of him in his journeys which he constantly
makes through different parts of the world; he is here to-day, to-morrow
in France, and the next day in Potosi; and the best of it is the said
horse neither eats nor sleeps nor wears out shoes, and goes at an ambling
pace through the air without wings, so that he whom he has mounted upon
him can carry a cup full of water in his hand without spilling a drop, so
smoothly and easily does he go, for which reason the fair Magalona
enjoyed riding him greatly."
"For going smoothly and easily," said Sancho at this, "give me my Dapple,
though he can't go through the air; but on the ground I'll back him
against all the amblers in the world."
They all laughed, and the Distressed One continued: "And this same horse,
if so be that Malambruno is disposed to put an end to our sufferings,
will be here before us ere the night shall have advanced half an hour;
for he announced to me that the sign he would give me whereby I might
know that I had found the knight I was in quest of, would be to send me
the horse wherever he might be, speedily and promptly."
"And how many is there room for on this horse?" asked Sancho.
"Two," said the Distressed One, "one in the saddle, and the other on the
croup; and generally these two are knight and squire, when there is no
damsel that's being carried off."
"I'd like to know, Senora Distressed One," said Sancho, "what is the name
of this horse?"
"His name," said the Distressed One, "is not the same as Bellerophon's
horse that was called Pegasus, or Alexander the Great's, called
Bucephalus, or Orlando Furioso's, the name of which was Brigliador, nor
yet Bayard, the horse of Reinaldos of Montalvan, nor Frontino like
Ruggiero's, nor Bootes or Peritoa, as they say the horses of the sun were
called, nor is he called Orelia, like the horse on which the unfortunate
Rodrigo, the last king of the Goths, rode to the battle where he lost his
life and his kingdom."
"I'll bet," said Sancho, "that as they have given him none of these
famous names of well-known horses, no more have they given him the name
of my master's Rocinante, which for being apt surpasses all that have
"That is true," said the bearded countess, "still it fits him very well,
for he is called Clavileno the Swift, which name is in accordance with
his being made of wood, with the peg he has in his forehead, and with the
swift pace at which he travels; and so, as far as name goes, he may
compare with the famous Rocinante."
"I have nothing to say against his name," said Sancho; "but with what
sort of bridle or halter is he managed?"
"I have said already," said the Trifaldi, "that it is with a peg, by
turning which to one side or the other the knight who rides him makes him
go as he pleases, either through the upper air, or skimming and almost
sweeping the earth, or else in that middle course that is sought and
followed in all well-regulated proceedings."
"I'd like to see him," said Sancho; "but to fancy I'm going to mount him,
either in the saddle or on the croup, is to ask pears of the elm tree. A
good joke indeed! I can hardly keep my seat upon Dapple, and on a
pack-saddle softer than silk itself, and here they'd have me hold on upon
haunches of plank without pad or cushion of any sort! Gad, I have no
notion of bruising myself to get rid of anyone's beard; let each one
shave himself as best he can; I'm not going to accompany my master on any
such long journey; besides, I can't give any help to the shaving of these
beards as I can to the disenchantment of my lady Dulcinea."
"Yes, you can, my friend," replied the Trifaldi; "and so much, that
without you, so I understand, we shall be able to do nothing."
"In the king's name!" exclaimed Sancho, "what have squires got to do with
the adventures of their masters? Are they to have the fame of such as
they go through, and we the labour? Body o' me! if the historians would
only say, 'Such and such a knight finished such and such an adventure,
but with the help of so and so, his squire, without which it would have
been impossible for him to accomplish it;' but they write curtly, "Don
Paralipomenon of the Three Stars accomplished the adventure of the six
monsters;' without mentioning such a person as his squire, who was there
all the time, just as if there was no such being. Once more, sirs, I say
my master may go alone, and much good may it do him; and I'll stay here
in the company of my lady the duchess; and maybe when he comes back, he
will find the lady Dulcinea's affair ever so much advanced; for I mean in
leisure hours, and at idle moments, to give myself a spell of whipping
without so much as a hair to cover me."
"For all that you must go if it be necessary, my good Sancho," said the
duchess, "for they are worthy folk who ask you; and the faces of these
ladies must not remain overgrown in this way because of your idle fears;
that would be a hard case indeed."
"In the king's name, once more!" said Sancho; "If this charitable work
were to be done for the sake of damsels in confinement or charity-girls,
a man might expose himself to some hardships; but to bear it for the sake
of stripping beards off duennas! Devil take it! I'd sooner see them all
bearded, from the highest to the lowest, and from the most prudish to the
"You are very hard on duennas, Sancho my friend," said the duchess; "you
incline very much to the opinion of the Toledo apothecary. But indeed you
are wrong; there are duennas in my house that may serve as patterns of
duennas; and here is my Dona Rodriguez, who will not allow me to say
"Your excellence may say it if you like," said the Rodriguez; "for God
knows the truth of everything; and whether we duennas are good or bad,
bearded or smooth, we are our mothers' daughters like other women; and as
God sent us into the world, he knows why he did, and on his mercy I rely,
and not on anybody's beard."
"Well, Senora Rodriguez, Senora Trifaldi, and present company," said Don
Quixote, "I trust in Heaven that it will look with kindly eyes upon your
troubles, for Sancho will do as I bid him. Only let Clavileno come and
let me find myself face to face with Malambruno, and I am certain no
razor will shave you more easily than my sword shall shave Malambruno's
head off his shoulders; for 'God bears with the wicked, but not for
"Ah!" exclaimed the Distressed One at this, "may all the stars of the
celestial regions look down upon your greatness with benign eyes, valiant
knight, and shed every prosperity and valour upon your heart, that it may
be the shield and safeguard of the abused and downtrodden race of
duennas, detested by apothecaries, sneered at by squires, and made game
of by pages. Ill betide the jade that in the flower of her youth would
not sooner become a nun than a duenna! Unfortunate beings that we are, we
duennas! Though we may be descended in the direct male line from Hector
of Troy himself, our mistresses never fail to address us as 'you' if they
think it makes queens of them. O giant Malambruno, though thou art an
enchanter, thou art true to thy promises. Send us now the peerless
Clavileno, that our misfortune may be brought to an end; for if the hot
weather sets in and these beards of ours are still there, alas for our
The Trifaldi said this in such a pathetic way that she drew tears from
the eyes of all and even Sancho's filled up; and he resolved in his heart
to accompany his master to the uttermost ends of the earth, if so be the
removal of the wool from those venerable countenances depended upon it.
OF THE ARRIVAL OF CLAVILENO AND THE END OF THIS PROTRACTED ADVENTURE
And now night came, and with it the appointed time for the arrival of the
famous horse Clavileno, the non-appearance of which was already beginning
to make Don Quixote uneasy, for it struck him that, as Malambruno was so
long about sending it, either he himself was not the knight for whom the
adventure was reserved, or else Malambruno did not dare to meet him in
single combat. But lo! suddenly there came into the garden four wild-men
all clad in green ivy bearing on their shoulders a great wooden horse.
They placed it on its feet on the ground, and one of the wild-men said,
"Let the knight who has heart for it mount this machine."
Here Sancho exclaimed, "I don't mount, for neither have I the heart nor
am I a knight."
"And let the squire, if he has one," continued the wild-man, "take his
seat on the croup, and let him trust the valiant Malambruno; for by no
sword save his, nor by the malice of any other, shall he be assailed. It
is but to turn this peg the horse has in his neck, and he will bear them
through the air to where Malambruno awaits them; but lest the vast
elevation of their course should make them giddy, their eyes must be
covered until the horse neighs, which will be the sign of their having
completed their journey."
With these words, leaving Clavileno behind them, they retired with easy
dignity the way they came. As soon as the Distressed One saw the horse,
almost in tears she exclaimed to Don Quixote, "Valiant knight, the
promise of Malambruno has proved trustworthy; the horse has come, our
beards are growing, and by every hair in them all of us implore thee to
shave and shear us, as it is only mounting him with thy squire and making
a happy beginning with your new journey."
"That I will, Senora Countess Trifaldi," said Don Quixote, "most gladly
and with right goodwill, without stopping to take a cushion or put on my
spurs, so as not to lose time, such is my desire to see you and all these
duennas shaved clean."
"That I won't," said Sancho, "with good-will or bad-will, or any way at
all; and if this shaving can't be done without my mounting on the croup,
my master had better look out for another squire to go with him, and
these ladies for some other way of making their faces smooth; I'm no
witch to have a taste for travelling through the air. What would my
islanders say when they heard their governor was going, strolling about
on the winds? And another thing, as it is three thousand and odd leagues
from this to Kandy, if the horse tires, or the giant takes huff, we'll be
half a dozen years getting back, and there won't be isle or island in the
world that will know me: and so, as it is a common saying 'in delay
there's danger,' and 'when they offer thee a heifer run with a halter,'
these ladies' beards must excuse me; 'Saint Peter is very well in Rome;'
I mean I am very well in this house where so much is made of me, and I
hope for such a good thing from the master as to see myself a governor."
"Friend Sancho," said the duke at this, "the island that I have promised
you is not a moving one, or one that will run away; it has roots so
deeply buried in the bowels of the earth that it will be no easy matter
to pluck it up or shift it from where it is; you know as well as I do
that there is no sort of office of any importance that is not obtained by
a bribe of some kind, great or small; well then, that which I look to
receive for this government is that you go with your master Don Quixote,
and bring this memorable adventure to a conclusion; and whether you
return on Clavileno as quickly as his speed seems to promise, or adverse
fortune brings you back on foot travelling as a pilgrim from hostel to
hostel and from inn to inn, you will always find your island on your
return where you left it, and your islanders with the same eagerness they
have always had to receive you as their governor, and my good-will will
remain the same; doubt not the truth of this, Senor Sancho, for that
would be grievously wronging my disposition to serve you."
"Say no more, senor," said Sancho; "I am a poor squire and not equal to
carrying so much courtesy; let my master mount; bandage my eyes and
commit me to God's care, and tell me if I may commend myself to our Lord
or call upon the angels to protect me when we go towering up there."
To this the Trifaldi made answer, "Sancho, you may freely commend
yourself to God or whom you will; for Malambruno though an enchanter is a
Christian, and works his enchantments with great circumspection, taking
very good care not to fall out with anyone."
"Well then," said Sancho, "God and the most holy Trinity of Gaeta give me
"Since the memorable adventure of the fulling mills," said Don Quixote,
"I have never seen Sancho in such a fright as now; were I as
superstitious as others his abject fear would cause me some little
trepidation of spirit. But come here, Sancho, for with the leave of these
gentles I would say a word or two to thee in private;" and drawing Sancho
aside among the trees of the garden and seizing both his hands he said,
"Thou seest, brother Sancho, the long journey we have before us, and God
knows when we shall return, or what leisure or opportunities this
business will allow us; I wish thee therefore to retire now to thy
chamber, as though thou wert going to fetch something required for the
road, and in a trice give thyself if it be only five hundred lashes on
account of the three thousand three hundred to which thou art bound; it
will be all to the good, and to make a beginning with a thing is to have
it half finished."
"By God," said Sancho, "but your worship must be out of your senses! This
is like the common saying, 'You see me with child, and you want me a
virgin.' Just as I'm about to go sitting on a bare board, your worship
would have me score my backside! Indeed, your worship is not reasonable.
Let us be off to shave these duennas; and on our return I promise on my
word to make such haste to wipe off all that's due as will satisfy your
worship; I can't say more."
"Well, I will comfort myself with that promise, my good Sancho," replied
Don Quixote, "and I believe thou wilt keep it; for indeed though stupid
thou art veracious."
"I'm not voracious," said Sancho, "only peckish; but even if I was a
little, still I'd keep my word."
With this they went back to mount Clavileno, and as they were about to do
so Don Quixote said, "Cover thine eyes, Sancho, and mount; for one who
sends for us from lands so far distant cannot mean to deceive us for the
sake of the paltry glory to be derived from deceiving persons who trust
in him; though all should turn out the contrary of what I hope, no malice
will be able to dim the glory of having undertaken this exploit."
"Let us be off, senor," said Sancho, "for I have taken the beards and
tears of these ladies deeply to heart, and I shan't eat a bit to relish
it until I have seen them restored to their former smoothness. Mount,
your worship, and blindfold yourself, for if I am to go on the croup, it
is plain the rider in the saddle must mount first."
"That is true," said Don Quixote, and, taking a handkerchief out of his
pocket, he begged the Distressed One to bandage his eyes very carefully;
but after having them bandaged he uncovered them again, saying, "If my
memory does not deceive me, I have read in Virgil of the Palladium of
Troy, a wooden horse the Greeks offered to the goddess Pallas, which was
big with armed knights, who were afterwards the destruction of Troy; so
it would be as well to see, first of all, what Clavileno has in his
"There is no occasion," said the Distressed One; "I will be bail for him,
and I know that Malambruno has nothing tricky or treacherous about him;
you may mount without any fear, Senor Don Quixote; on my head be it if
any harm befalls you."
Don Quixote thought that to say anything further with regard to his
safety would be putting his courage in an unfavourable light; and so,
without more words, he mounted Clavileno, and tried the peg, which turned
easily; and as he had no stirrups and his legs hung down, he looked like
nothing so much as a figure in some Roman triumph painted or embroidered
on a Flemish tapestry.
Much against the grain, and very slowly, Sancho proceeded to mount, and,
after settling himself as well as he could on the croup, found it rather
hard, and not at all soft, and asked the duke if it would be possible to
oblige him with a pad of some kind, or a cushion; even if it were off the
couch of his lady the duchess, or the bed of one of the pages; as the
haunches of that horse were more like marble than wood. On this the
Trifaldi observed that Clavileno would not bear any kind of harness or
trappings, and that his best plan would be to sit sideways like a woman,
as in that way he would not feel the hardness so much.
Sancho did so, and, bidding them farewell, allowed his eyes to be
bandaged, but immediately afterwards uncovered them again, and looking
tenderly and tearfully on those in the garden, bade them help him in his
present strait with plenty of Paternosters and Ave Marias, that God might
provide some one to say as many for them, whenever they found themselves
in a similar emergency.
At this Don Quixote exclaimed, "Art thou on the gallows, thief, or at thy
last moment, to use pitiful entreaties of that sort? Cowardly, spiritless
creature, art thou not in the very place the fair Magalona occupied, and
from which she descended, not into the grave, but to become Queen of
France; unless the histories lie? And I who am here beside thee, may I
not put myself on a par with the valiant Pierres, who pressed this very
spot that I now press? Cover thine eyes, cover thine eyes, abject animal,
and let not thy fear escape thy lips, at least in my presence."
"Blindfold me," said Sancho; "as you won't let me commend myself or be
commended to God, is it any wonder if I am afraid there is a region of
devils about here that will carry us off to Peralvillo?"
They were then blindfolded, and Don Quixote, finding himself settled to
his satisfaction, felt for the peg, and the instant he placed his fingers
on it, all the duennas and all who stood by lifted up their voices
exclaiming, "God guide thee, valiant knight! God be with thee, intrepid
squire! Now, now ye go cleaving the air more swiftly than an arrow! Now
ye begin to amaze and astonish all who are gazing at you from the earth!
Take care not to wobble about, valiant Sancho! Mind thou fall not, for
thy fall will be worse than that rash youth's who tried to steer the
chariot of his father the Sun!"
As Sancho heard the voices, clinging tightly to his master and winding
his arms round him, he said, "Senor, how do they make out we are going up
so high, if their voices reach us here and they seem to be speaking quite
close to us?"
"Don't mind that, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "for as affairs of this
sort, and flights like this are out of the common course of things, you
can see and hear as much as you like a thousand leagues off; but don't
squeeze me so tight or thou wilt upset me; and really I know not what
thou hast to be uneasy or frightened at, for I can safely swear I never
mounted a smoother-going steed all the days of my life; one would fancy
we never stirred from one place. Banish fear, my friend, for indeed
everything is going as it ought, and we have the wind astern."
"That's true," said Sancho, "for such a strong wind comes against me on
this side, that it seems as if people were blowing on me with a thousand
pair of bellows;" which was the case; they were puffing at him with a
great pair of bellows; for the whole adventure was so well planned by the
duke, the duchess, and their majordomo, that nothing was omitted to make
it perfectly successful.
Don Quixote now, feeling the blast, said, "Beyond a doubt, Sancho, we
must have already reached the second region of the air, where the hail
and snow are generated; the thunder, the lightning, and the thunderbolts
are engendered in the third region, and if we go on ascending at this
rate, we shall shortly plunge into the region of fire, and I know not how
to regulate this peg, so as not to mount up where we shall be burned."
And now they began to warm their faces, from a distance, with tow that
could be easily set on fire and extinguished again, fixed on the end of a
cane. On feeling the heat Sancho said, "May I die if we are not already
in that fire place, or very near it, for a good part of my beard has been
singed, and I have a mind, senor, to uncover and see whereabouts we are."
"Do nothing of the kind," said Don Quixote; "remember the true story of
the licentiate Torralva that the devils carried flying through the air
riding on a stick with his eyes shut; who in twelve hours reached Rome
and dismounted at Torre di Nona, which is a street of the city, and saw
the whole sack and storming and the death of Bourbon, and was back in
Madrid the next morning, where he gave an account of all he had seen; and
he said moreover that as he was going through the air, the devil bade him
open his eyes, and he did so, and saw himself so near the body of the
moon, so it seemed to him, that he could have laid hold of it with his
hand, and that he did not dare to look at the earth lest he should be
seized with giddiness. So that, Sancho, it will not do for us to uncover
ourselves, for he who has us in charge will be responsible for us; and
perhaps we are gaining an altitude and mounting up to enable us to
descend at one swoop on the kingdom of Kandy, as the saker or falcon does
on the heron, so as to seize it however high it may soar; and though it
seems to us not half an hour since we left the garden, believe me we must
have travelled a great distance."
"I don't know how that may be," said Sancho; "all I know is that if the
Senora Magallanes or Magalona was satisfied with this croup, she could
not have been very tender of flesh."
The duke, the duchess, and all in the garden were listening to the
conversation of the two heroes, and were beyond measure amused by it; and
now, desirous of putting a finishing touch to this rare and
well-contrived adventure, they applied a light to Clavileno's tail with
some tow, and the horse, being full of squibs and crackers, immediately
blew up with a prodigious noise, and brought Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
to the ground half singed. By this time the bearded band of duennas, the
Trifaldi and all, had vanished from the garden, and those that remained
lay stretched on the ground as if in a swoon. Don Quixote and Sancho got
up rather shaken, and, looking about them, were filled with amazement at
finding themselves in the same garden from which they had started, and
seeing such a number of people stretched on the ground; and their
astonishment was increased when at one side of the garden they perceived
a tall lance planted in the ground, and hanging from it by two cords of
green silk a smooth white parchment on which there was the following
inscription in large gold letters: "The illustrious knight Don Quixote of
La Mancha has, by merely attempting it, finished and concluded the
adventure of the Countess Trifaldi, otherwise called the Distressed
Duenna; Malambruno is now satisfied on every point, the chins of the
duennas are now smooth and clean, and King Don Clavijo and Queen
Antonomasia in their original form; and when the squirely flagellation
shall have been completed, the white dove shall find herself delivered
from the pestiferous gerfalcons that persecute her, and in the arms of
her beloved mate; for such is the decree of the sage Merlin,
arch-enchanter of enchanters."
As soon as Don Quixote had read the inscription on the parchment he
perceived clearly that it referred to the disenchantment of Dulcinea, and
returning hearty thanks to heaven that he had with so little danger
achieved so grand an exploit as to restore to their former complexion the
countenances of those venerable duennas, he advanced towards the duke and
duchess, who had not yet come to themselves, and taking the duke by the
hand he said, "Be of good cheer, worthy sir, be of good cheer; it's
nothing at all; the adventure is now over and without any harm done, as
the inscription fixed on this post shows plainly."
The duke came to himself slowly and like one recovering consciousness
after a heavy sleep, and the duchess and all who had fallen prostrate
about the garden did the same, with such demonstrations of wonder and
amazement that they would have almost persuaded one that what they
pretended so adroitly in jest had happened to them in reality. The duke
read the placard with half-shut eyes, and then ran to embrace Don Quixote
with-open arms, declaring him to be the best knight that had ever been
seen in any age. Sancho kept looking about for the Distressed One, to see
what her face was like without the beard, and if she was as fair as her
elegant person promised; but they told him that, the instant Clavileno
descended flaming through the air and came to the ground, the whole band
of duennas with the Trifaldi vanished, and that they were already shaved
and without a stump left.
The duchess asked Sancho how he had fared on that long journey, to which
Sancho replied, "I felt, senora, that we were flying through the region
of fire, as my master told me, and I wanted to uncover my eyes for a bit;
but my master, when I asked leave to uncover myself, would not let me;
but as I have a little bit of curiosity about me, and a desire to know
what is forbidden and kept from me, quietly and without anyone seeing me
I drew aside the handkerchief covering my eyes ever so little, close to
my nose, and from underneath looked towards the earth, and it seemed to
me that it was altogether no bigger than a grain of mustard seed, and
that the men walking on it were little bigger than hazel nuts; so you may
see how high we must have got to then."
To this the duchess said, "Sancho, my friend, mind what you are saying;
it seems you could not have seen the earth, but only the men walking on
it; for if the earth looked to you like a grain of mustard seed, and each
man like a hazel nut, one man alone would have covered the whole earth."
"That is true," said Sancho, "but for all that I got a glimpse of a bit
of one side of it, and saw it all."
"Take care, Sancho," said the duchess, "with a bit of one side one does
not see the whole of what one looks at."
"I don't understand that way of looking at things," said Sancho; "I only
know that your ladyship will do well to bear in mind that as we were
flying by enchantment so I might have seen the whole earth and all the
men by enchantment whatever way I looked; and if you won't believe this,
no more will you believe that, uncovering myself nearly to the eyebrows,
I saw myself so close to the sky that there was not a palm and a half
between me and it; and by everything that I can swear by, senora, it is
mighty great! And it so happened we came by where the seven goats are,
and by God and upon my soul, as in my youth I was a goatherd in my own
country, as soon as I saw them I felt a longing to be among them for a
little, and if I had not given way to it I think I'd have burst. So I
come and take, and what do I do? without saying anything to anybody, not
even to my master, softly and quietly I got down from Clavileno and
amused myself with the goats--which are like violets, like flowers--for
nigh three-quarters of an hour; and Clavileno never stirred or moved from
"And while the good Sancho was amusing himself with the goats," said the
duke, "how did Senor Don Quixote amuse himself?"
To which Don Quixote replied, "As all these things and such like
occurrences are out of the ordinary course of nature, it is no wonder
that Sancho says what he does; for my own part I can only say that I did
not uncover my eyes either above or below, nor did I see sky or earth or
sea or shore. It is true I felt that I was passing through the region of
the air, and even that I touched that of fire; but that we passed farther
I cannot believe; for the region of fire being between the heaven of the
moon and the last region of the air, we could not have reached that
heaven where the seven goats Sancho speaks of are without being burned;
and as we were not burned, either Sancho is lying or Sancho is dreaming."
"I am neither lying nor dreaming," said Sancho; "only ask me the tokens
of those same goats, and you'll see by that whether I'm telling the truth
"Tell us them then, Sancho," said the duchess.
"Two of them," said Sancho, "are green, two blood-red, two blue, and one
a mixture of all colours."
"An odd sort of goat, that," said the duke; "in this earthly region of
ours we have no such colours; I mean goats of such colours."
"That's very plain," said Sancho; "of course there must be a difference
between the goats of heaven and the goats of the earth."
"Tell me, Sancho," said the duke, "did you see any he-goat among those
"No, senor," said Sancho; "but I have heard say that none ever passed the
horns of the moon."
They did not care to ask him anything more about his journey, for they
saw he was in the vein to go rambling all over the heavens giving an
account of everything that went on there, without having ever stirred
from the garden. Such, in short, was the end of the adventure of the
Distressed Duenna, which gave the duke and duchess laughing matter not
only for the time being, but for all their lives, and Sancho something to
talk about for ages, if he lived so long; but Don Quixote, coming close
to his ear, said to him, "Sancho, as you would have us believe what you
saw in heaven, I require you to believe me as to what I saw in the cave
of Montesinos; I say no more."
OF THE COUNSELS WHICH DON QUIXOTE GAVE SANCHO PANZA BEFORE HE SET OUT TO
GOVERN THE ISLAND, TOGETHER WITH OTHER WELL-CONSIDERED MATTERS
The duke and duchess were so well pleased with the successful and droll
result of the adventure of the Distressed One, that they resolved to
carry on the joke, seeing what a fit subject they had to deal with for
making it all pass for reality. So having laid their plans and given
instructions to their servants and vassals how to behave to Sancho in his
government of the promised island, the next day, that following
Clavileno's flight, the duke told Sancho to prepare and get ready to go
and be governor, for his islanders were already looking out for him as
for the showers of May.
Sancho made him an obeisance, and said, "Ever since I came down from
heaven, and from the top of it beheld the earth, and saw how little it
is, the great desire I had to be a governor has been partly cooled in me;
for what is there grand in being ruler on a grain of mustard seed, or
what dignity or authority in governing half a dozen men about as big as
hazel nuts; for, so far as I could see, there were no more on the whole
earth? If your lordship would be so good as to give me ever so small a
bit of heaven, were it no more than half a league, I'd rather have it
than the best island in the world."
"Recollect, Sancho," said the duke, "I cannot give a bit of heaven, no
not so much as the breadth of my nail, to anyone; rewards and favours of
that sort are reserved for God alone. What I can give I give you, and
that is a real, genuine island, compact, well proportioned, and
uncommonly fertile and fruitful, where, if you know how to use your
opportunities, you may, with the help of the world's riches, gain those
"Well then," said Sancho, "let the island come; and I'll try and be such
a governor, that in spite of scoundrels I'll go to heaven; and it's not
from any craving to quit my own humble condition or better myself, but
from the desire I have to try what it tastes like to be a governor."
"If you once make trial of it, Sancho," said the duke, "you'll eat your
fingers off after the government, so sweet a thing is it to command and
be obeyed. Depend upon it when your master comes to be emperor (as he
will beyond a doubt from the course his affairs are taking), it will be
no easy matter to wrest the dignity from him, and he will be sore and
sorry at heart to have been so long without becoming one."
"Senor," said Sancho, "it is my belief it's a good thing to be in
command, if it's only over a drove of cattle."
"May I be buried with you, Sancho," said the duke, "but you know
everything; I hope you will make as good a governor as your sagacity
promises; and that is all I have to say; and now remember to-morrow is
the day you must set out for the government of the island, and this
evening they will provide you with the proper attire for you to wear, and
all things requisite for your departure."
"Let them dress me as they like," said Sancho; "however I'm dressed I'll
be Sancho Panza."
"That's true," said the duke; "but one's dress must be suited to the
office or rank one holds; for it would not do for a jurist to dress like
a soldier, or a soldier like a priest. You, Sancho, shall go partly as a
lawyer, partly as a captain, for, in the island I am giving you, arms are
needed as much as letters, and letters as much as arms."
"Of letters I know but little," said Sancho, "for I don't even know the A
B C; but it is enough for me to have the Christus in my memory to be a
good governor. As for arms, I'll handle those they give me till I drop,
and then, God be my help!"
"With so good a memory," said the duke, "Sancho cannot go wrong in
Here Don Quixote joined them; and learning what passed, and how soon
Sancho was to go to his government, he with the duke's permission took
him by the hand, and retired to his room with him for the purpose of
giving him advice as to how he was to demean himself in his office. As
soon as they had entered the chamber he closed the door after him, and
almost by force made Sancho sit down beside him, and in a quiet tone thus
addressed him: "I give infinite thanks to heaven, friend Sancho, that,
before I have met with any good luck, fortune has come forward to meet
thee. I who counted upon my good fortune to discharge the recompense of
thy services, find myself still waiting for advancement, while thou,
before the time, and contrary to all reasonable expectation, seest
thyself blessed in the fulfillment of thy desires. Some will bribe, beg,
solicit, rise early, entreat, persist, without attaining the object of
their suit; while another comes, and without knowing why or wherefore,
finds himself invested with the place or office so many have sued for;
and here it is that the common saying, 'There is good luck as well as bad
luck in suits,' applies. Thou, who, to my thinking, art beyond all doubt
a dullard, without early rising or night watching or taking any trouble,
with the mere breath of knight-errantry that has breathed upon thee,
seest thyself without more ado governor of an island, as though it were a
mere matter of course. This I say, Sancho, that thou attribute not the
favour thou hast received to thine own merits, but give thanks to heaven
that disposes matters beneficently, and secondly thanks to the great
power the profession of knight-errantry contains in itself. With a heart,
then, inclined to believe what I have said to thee, attend, my son, to
thy Cato here who would counsel thee and be thy polestar and guide to
direct and pilot thee to a safe haven out of this stormy sea wherein thou
art about to ingulf thyself; for offices and great trusts are nothing
else but a mighty gulf of troubles.
"First of all, my son, thou must fear God, for in the fear of him is
wisdom, and being wise thou canst not err in aught.
"Secondly, thou must keep in view what thou art, striving to know
thyself, the most difficult thing to know that the mind can imagine. If
thou knowest thyself, it will follow thou wilt not puff thyself up like
the frog that strove to make himself as large as the ox; if thou dost,
the recollection of having kept pigs in thine own country will serve as
the ugly feet for the wheel of thy folly."
"That's the truth," said Sancho; "but that was when I was a boy;
afterwards when I was something more of a man it was geese I kept, not
pigs. But to my thinking that has nothing to do with it; for all who are
governors don't come of a kingly stock."
"True," said Don Quixote, "and for that reason those who are not of noble
origin should take care that the dignity of the office they hold he
accompanied by a gentle suavity, which wisely managed will save them from
the sneers of malice that no station escapes.
"Glory in thy humble birth, Sancho, and be not ashamed of saying thou art
peasant-born; for when it is seen thou art not ashamed no one will set
himself to put thee to the blush; and pride thyself rather upon being one
of lowly virtue than a lofty sinner. Countless are they who, born of mean
parentage, have risen to the highest dignities, pontifical and imperial,
and of the truth of this I could give thee instances enough to weary
"Remember, Sancho, if thou make virtue thy aim, and take a pride in doing
virtuous actions, thou wilt have no cause to envy those who have princely
and lordly ones, for blood is an inheritance, but virtue an acquisition,
and virtue has in itself alone a worth that blood does not possess.
"This being so, if perchance anyone of thy kinsfolk should come to see
thee when thou art in thine island, thou art not to repel or slight him,
but on the contrary to welcome him, entertain him, and make much of him;
for in so doing thou wilt be approved of heaven (which is not pleased
that any should despise what it hath made), and wilt comply with the laws
of well-ordered nature.
"If thou carriest thy wife with thee (and it is not well for those that
administer governments to be long without their wives), teach and
instruct her, and strive to smooth down her natural roughness; for all
that may be gained by a wise governor may be lost and wasted by a boorish
"If perchance thou art left a widower--a thing which may happen--and in
virtue of thy office seekest a consort of higher degree, choose not one
to serve thee for a hook, or for a fishing-rod, or for the hood of thy
'won't have it;' for verily, I tell thee, for all the judge's wife
receives, the husband will be held accountable at the general calling to
account; where he will have repay in death fourfold, items that in life
he regarded as naught.
"Never go by arbitrary law, which is so much favoured by ignorant men who
plume themselves on cleverness.
"Let the tears of the poor man find with thee more compassion, but not
more justice, than the pleadings of the rich.
"Strive to lay bare the truth, as well amid the promises and presents of
the rich man, as amid the sobs and entreaties of the poor.
"When equity may and should be brought into play, press not the utmost
rigour of the law against the guilty; for the reputation of the stern
judge stands not higher than that of the compassionate.
"If perchance thou permittest the staff of justice to swerve, let it be
not by the weight of a gift, but by that of mercy.
"If it should happen thee to give judgment in the cause of one who is
thine enemy, turn thy thoughts away from thy injury and fix them on the
justice of the case.
"Let not thine own passion blind thee in another man's cause; for the
errors thou wilt thus commit will be most frequently irremediable; or if
not, only to be remedied at the expense of thy good name and even of thy
"If any handsome woman come to seek justice of thee, turn away thine eyes
from her tears and thine ears from her lamentations, and consider
deliberately the merits of her demand, if thou wouldst not have thy
reason swept away by her weeping, and thy rectitude by her sighs.
"Abuse not by word him whom thou hast to punish in deed, for the pain of
punishment is enough for the unfortunate without the addition of thine
"Bear in mind that the culprit who comes under thy jurisdiction is but a
miserable man subject to all the propensities of our depraved nature, and
so far as may be in thy power show thyself lenient and forbearing; for
though the attributes of God are all equal, to our eyes that of mercy is
brighter and loftier than that of justice.
"If thou followest these precepts and rules, Sancho, thy days will be
long, thy fame eternal, thy reward abundant, thy felicity unutterable;
thou wilt marry thy children as thou wouldst; they and thy grandchildren
will bear titles; thou wilt live in peace and concord with all men; and,
when life draws to a close, death will come to thee in calm and ripe old
age, and the light and loving hands of thy great-grandchildren will close
"What I have thus far addressed to thee are instructions for the
adornment of thy mind; listen now to those which tend to that of the
OF THE SECOND SET OF COUNSELS DON QUIXOTE GAVE SANCHO PANZA
Who, hearing the foregoing discourse of Don Quixote, would not have set
him down for a person of great good sense and greater rectitude of
purpose? But, as has been frequently observed in the course of this great
history, he only talked nonsense when he touched on chivalry, and in
discussing all other subjects showed that he had a clear and unbiassed
understanding; so that at every turn his acts gave the lie to his
intellect, and his intellect to his acts; but in the case of these second
counsels that he gave Sancho he showed himself to have a lively turn of
humour, and displayed conspicuously his wisdom, and also his folly.
Sancho listened to him with the deepest attention, and endeavoured to fix
his counsels in his memory, like one who meant to follow them and by
their means bring the full promise of his government to a happy issue.
Don Quixote, then, went on to say:
"With regard to the mode in which thou shouldst govern thy person and thy
house, Sancho, the first charge I have to give thee is to be clean, and
to cut thy nails, not letting them grow as some do, whose ignorance makes
them fancy that long nails are an ornament to their hands, as if those
excrescences they neglect to cut were nails, and not the talons of a
lizard-catching kestrel--a filthy and unnatural abuse.
"Go not ungirt and loose, Sancho; for disordered attire is a sign of an
unstable mind, unless indeed the slovenliness and slackness is to be set
down to craft, as was the common opinion in the case of Julius Caesar.
"Ascertain cautiously what thy office may be worth; and if it will allow
thee to give liveries to thy servants, give them respectable and
serviceable, rather than showy and gay ones, and divide them between thy
servants and the poor; that is to say, if thou canst clothe six pages,
clothe three and three poor men, and thus thou wilt have pages for heaven
and pages for earth; the vainglorious never think of this new mode of
"Eat not garlic nor onions, lest they find out thy boorish origin by the
smell; walk slowly and speak deliberately, but not in such a way as to
make it seem thou art listening to thyself, for all affectation is bad.
"Dine sparingly and sup more sparingly still; for the health of the whole
body is forged in the workshop of the stomach.
"Be temperate in drinking, bearing in mind that wine in excess keeps
neither secrets nor promises.
"Take care, Sancho, not to chew on both sides, and not to eruct in
"Eruct!" said Sancho; "I don't know what that means."
"To eruct, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "means to belch, and that is one of
the filthiest words in the Spanish language, though a very expressive
one; and therefore nice folk have had recourse to the Latin, and instead
of belch say eruct, and instead of belches say eructations; and if some
do not understand these terms it matters little, for custom will bring
them into use in the course of time, so that they will be readily
understood; this is the way a language is enriched; custom and the public
are all-powerful there."
"In truth, senor," said Sancho, "one of the counsels and cautions I mean
to bear in mind shall be this, not to belch, for I'm constantly doing
"Eruct, Sancho, not belch," said Don Quixote.
"Eruct, I shall say henceforth, and I swear not to forget it," said
"Likewise, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "thou must not mingle such a
quantity of proverbs in thy discourse as thou dost; for though proverbs
are short maxims, thou dost drag them in so often by the head and
shoulders that they savour more of nonsense than of maxims."
"God alone can cure that," said Sancho; "for I have more proverbs in me
than a book, and when I speak they come so thick together into my mouth
that they fall to fighting among themselves to get out; that's why my
tongue lets fly the first that come, though they may not be pat to the
purpose. But I'll take care henceforward to use such as befit the dignity
of my office; for 'in a house where there's plenty, supper is soon
cooked,' and 'he who binds does not wrangle,' and 'the bell-ringer's in a
safe berth,' and 'giving and keeping require brains.'"
"That's it, Sancho!" said Don Quixote; "pack, tack, string proverbs
together; nobody is hindering thee! 'My mother beats me, and I go on with
my tricks.' I am bidding thee avoid proverbs, and here in a second thou
hast shot out a whole litany of them, which have as much to do with what
we are talking about as 'over the hills of Ubeda.' Mind, Sancho, I do not
say that a proverb aptly brought in is objectionable; but to pile up and
string together proverbs at random makes conversation dull and vulgar.
"When thou ridest on horseback, do not go lolling with thy body on the
back of the saddle, nor carry thy legs stiff or sticking out from the
horse's belly, nor yet sit so loosely that one would suppose thou wert on
Dapple; for the seat on a horse makes gentlemen of some and grooms of
"Be moderate in thy sleep; for he who does not rise early does not get
the benefit of the day; and remember, Sancho, diligence is the mother of
good fortune, and indolence, its opposite, never yet attained the object
of an honest ambition.
"The last counsel I will give thee now, though it does not tend to bodily
improvement, I would have thee carry carefully in thy memory, for I
believe it will be no less useful to thee than those I have given thee
already, and it is this--never engage in a dispute about families, at
least in the way of comparing them one with another; for necessarily one
of those compared will be better than the other, and thou wilt be hated
by the one thou hast disparaged, and get nothing in any shape from the
one thou hast exalted.
"Thy attire shall be hose of full length, a long jerkin, and a cloak a
trifle longer; loose breeches by no means, for they are becoming neither
for gentlemen nor for governors.
"For the present, Sancho, this is all that has occurred to me to advise
thee; as time goes by and occasions arise my instructions shall follow,
if thou take care to let me know how thou art circumstanced."
"Senor," said Sancho, "I see well enough that all these things your
worship has said to me are good, holy, and profitable; but what use will
they be to me if I don't remember one of them? To be sure that about not
letting my nails grow, and marrying again if I have the chance, will not
slip out of my head; but all that other hash, muddle, and jumble--I don't
and can't recollect any more of it than of last year's clouds; so it must
be given me in writing; for though I can't either read or write, I'll
give it to my confessor, to drive it into me and remind me of it whenever
it is necessary."
"Ah, sinner that I am!" said Don Quixote, "how bad it looks in governors
not to know how to read or write; for let me tell thee, Sancho, when a
man knows not how to read, or is left-handed, it argues one of two
things; either that he was the son of exceedingly mean and lowly parents,
or that he himself was so incorrigible and ill-conditioned that neither
good company nor good teaching could make any impression on him. It is a
great defect that thou labourest under, and therefore I would have thee
learn at any rate to sign thy name." "I can sign my name well enough,"
said Sancho, "for when I was steward of the brotherhood in my village I
learned to make certain letters, like the marks on bales of goods, which
they told me made out my name. Besides I can pretend my right hand is
disabled and make some one else sign for me, for 'there's a remedy for
everything except death;' and as I shall be in command and hold the
staff, I can do as I like; moreover, 'he who has the alcalde for his
father-,' and I'll be governor, and that's higher than alcalde. Only come
and see! Let them make light of me and abuse me; 'they'll come for wool
and go back shorn;' 'whom God loves, his house is known to Him;' 'the
silly sayings of the rich pass for saws in the world;' and as I'll be
rich, being a governor, and at the same time generous, as I mean to be,
no fault will be seen in me. 'Only make yourself honey and the flies will
suck you;' 'as much as thou hast so much art thou worth,' as my
grandmother used to say; and 'thou canst have no revenge of a man of
"Oh, God's curse upon thee, Sancho!" here exclaimed Don Quixote; "sixty
thousand devils fly away with thee and thy proverbs! For the last hour
thou hast been stringing them together and inflicting the pangs of
torture on me with every one of them. Those proverbs will bring thee to
the gallows one day, I promise thee; thy subjects will take the
government from thee, or there will be revolts among them. Tell me, where
dost thou pick them up, thou booby? How dost thou apply them, thou
blockhead? For with me, to utter one and make it apply properly, I have
to sweat and labour as if I were digging."
"By God, master mine," said Sancho, "your worship is making a fuss about
very little. Why the devil should you be vexed if I make use of what is
my own? And I have got nothing else, nor any other stock in trade except
proverbs and more proverbs; and here are three just this instant come
into my head, pat to the purpose and like pears in a basket; but I won't
repeat them, for 'sage silence is called Sancho.'"
"That, Sancho, thou art not," said Don Quixote; "for not only art thou
not sage silence, but thou art pestilent prate and perversity; still I
would like to know what three proverbs have just now come into thy
memory, for I have been turning over mine own--and it is a good one--and
none occurs to me."
"What can be better," said Sancho, "than 'never put thy thumbs between
two back teeth;' and 'to "get out of my house" and "what do you want with
my wife?" there is no answer;' and 'whether the pitcher hits the stove,
or the stove the pitcher, it's a bad business for the pitcher;' all which
fit to a hair? For no one should quarrel with his governor, or him in
authority over him, because he will come off the worst, as he does who
puts his finger between two back and if they are not back teeth it makes
no difference, so long as they are teeth; and to whatever the governor
may say there's no answer, any more than to 'get out of my house' and
'what do you want with my wife?' and then, as for that about the stone
and the pitcher, a blind man could see that. So that he 'who sees the
mote in another's eye had need to see the beam in his own,' that it be
not said of himself, 'the dead woman was frightened at the one with her
throat cut;' and your worship knows well that 'the fool knows more in his
own house than the wise man in another's.'"
"Nay, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "the fool knows nothing, either in his
own house or in anybody else's, for no wise structure of any sort can
stand on a foundation of folly; but let us say no more about it, Sancho,
for if thou governest badly, thine will be the fault and mine the shame;
but I comfort myself with having done my duty in advising thee as
earnestly and as wisely as I could; and thus I am released from my
obligations and my promise. God guide thee, Sancho, and govern thee in
thy government, and deliver me from the misgiving I have that thou wilt
turn the whole island upside down, a thing I might easily prevent by
explaining to the duke what thou art and telling him that all that fat
little person of thine is nothing else but a sack full of proverbs and
"Senor," said Sancho, "if your worship thinks I'm not fit for this
government, I give it up on the spot; for the mere black of the nail of
my soul is dearer to me than my whole body; and I can live just as well,
simple Sancho, on bread and onions, as governor, on partridges and
capons; and what's more, while we're asleep we're all equal, great and
small, rich and poor. But if your worship looks into it, you will see it
was your worship alone that put me on to this business of governing; for
I know no more about the government of islands than a buzzard; and if
there's any reason to think that because of my being a governor the devil
will get hold of me, I'd rather go Sancho to heaven than governor to
"By God, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for those last words thou hast
uttered alone, I consider thou deservest to be governor of a thousand
islands. Thou hast good natural instincts, without which no knowledge is
worth anything; commend thyself to God, and try not to swerve in the
pursuit of thy main object; I mean, always make it thy aim and fixed
purpose to do right in all matters that come before thee, for heaven
always helps good intentions; and now let us go to dinner, for I think my
lord and lady are waiting for us."
HOW SANCHO PANZA WAS CONDUCTED TO HIS GOVERNMENT, AND OF THE STRANGE
ADVENTURE THAT BEFELL DON QUIXOTE IN THE CASTLE
It is stated, they say, in the true original of this history, that when
Cide Hamete came to write this chapter, his interpreter did not translate
it as he wrote it--that is, as a kind of complaint the Moor made against
himself for having taken in hand a story so dry and of so little variety
as this of Don Quixote, for he found himself forced to speak perpetually
of him and Sancho, without venturing to indulge in digressions and
episodes more serious and more interesting. He said, too, that to go on,
mind, hand, pen always restricted to writing upon one single subject, and
speaking through the mouths of a few characters, was intolerable
drudgery, the result of which was never equal to the author's labour, and
that to avoid this he had in the First Part availed himself of the device
of novels, like "The Ill-advised Curiosity," and "The Captive Captain,"
which stand, as it were, apart from the story; the others are given there
being incidents which occurred to Don Quixote himself and could not be
omitted. He also thought, he says, that many, engrossed by the interest
attaching to the exploits of Don Quixote, would take none in the novels,
and pass them over hastily or impatiently without noticing the elegance
and art of their composition, which would be very manifest were they
published by themselves and not as mere adjuncts to the crazes of Don
Quixote or the simplicities of Sancho. Therefore in this Second Part he
thought it best not to insert novels, either separate or interwoven, but
only episodes, something like them, arising out of the circumstances the
facts present; and even these sparingly, and with no more words than
suffice to make them plain; and as he confines and restricts himself to
the narrow limits of the narrative, though he has ability; capacity, and
brains enough to deal with the whole universe, he requests that his
labours may not be despised, and that credit be given him, not alone for
what he writes, but for what he has refrained from writing.
And so he goes on with his story, saying that the day Don Quixote gave
the counsels to Sancho, the same afternoon after dinner he handed them to
him in writing so that he might get some one to read them to him. They
had scarcely, however, been given to him when he let them drop, and they
fell into the hands of the duke, who showed them to the duchess and they
were both amazed afresh at the madness and wit of Don Quixote. To carry
on the joke, then, the same evening they despatched Sancho with a large
following to the village that was to serve him for an island. It happened
that the person who had him in charge was a majordomo of the duke's, a
man of great discretion and humour--and there can be no humour without
discretion--and the same who played the part of the Countess Trifaldi in
the comical way that has been already described; and thus qualified, and
instructed by his master and mistress as to how to deal with Sancho, he
carried out their scheme admirably. Now it came to pass that as soon as
Sancho saw this majordomo he seemed in his features to recognise those of
the Trifaldi, and turning to his master, he said to him, "Senor, either
the devil will carry me off, here on this spot, righteous and believing,
or your worship will own to me that the face of this majordomo of the
duke's here is the very face of the Distressed One."
Don Quixote regarded the majordomo attentively, and having done so, said
to Sancho, "There is no reason why the devil should carry thee off,
Sancho, either righteous or believing--and what thou meanest by that I
know not; the face of the Distressed One is that of the majordomo, but
for all that the majordomo is not the Distressed One; for his being so
would involve a mighty contradiction; but this is not the time for going
into questions of the sort, which would be involving ourselves in an
inextricable labyrinth. Believe me, my friend, we must pray earnestly to
our Lord that he deliver us both from wicked wizards and enchanters."
"It is no joke, senor," said Sancho, "for before this I heard him speak,
and it seemed exactly as if the voice of the Trifaldi was sounding in my
ears. Well, I'll hold my peace; but I'll take care to be on the look-out
henceforth for any sign that may be seen to confirm or do away with this
"Thou wilt do well, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and thou wilt let me know
all thou discoverest, and all that befalls thee in thy government."
Sancho at last set out attended by a great number of people. He was
dressed in the garb of a lawyer, with a gaban of tawny watered camlet
over all and a montera cap of the same material, and mounted a la gineta
upon a mule. Behind him, in accordance with the duke's orders, followed
Dapple with brand new ass-trappings and ornaments of silk, and from time
to time Sancho turned round to look at his ass, so well pleased to have
him with him that he would not have changed places with the emperor of
Germany. On taking leave he kissed the hands of the duke and duchess and
got his master's blessing, which Don Quixote gave him with tears, and he
Let worthy Sancho go in peace, and good luck to him, Gentle Reader; and
look out for two bushels of laughter, which the account of how he behaved
himself in office will give thee. In the meantime turn thy attention to
what happened his master the same night, and if thou dost not laugh
thereat, at any rate thou wilt stretch thy mouth with a grin; for Don
Quixote's adventures must be honoured either with wonder or with
It is recorded, then, that as soon as Sancho had gone, Don Quixote felt
his loneliness, and had it been possible for him to revoke the mandate
and take away the government from him he would have done so. The duchess
observed his dejection and asked him why he was melancholy; because, she
said, if it was for the loss of Sancho, there were squires, duennas, and
damsels in her house who would wait upon him to his full satisfaction.
"The truth is, senora," replied Don Quixote, "that I do feel the loss of
Sancho; but that is not the main cause of my looking sad; and of all the
offers your excellence makes me, I accept only the good-will with which
they are made, and as to the remainder I entreat of your excellence to
permit and allow me alone to wait upon myself in my chamber."
"Indeed, Senor Don Quixote," said the duchess, "that must not be; four of
my damsels, as beautiful as flowers, shall wait upon you."
"To me," said Don Quixote, "they will not be flowers, but thorns to
pierce my heart. They, or anything like them, shall as soon enter my
chamber as fly. If your highness wishes to gratify me still further,
though I deserve it not, permit me to please myself, and wait upon myself
in my own room; for I place a barrier between my inclinations and my
virtue, and I do not wish to break this rule through the generosity your
highness is disposed to display towards me; and, in short, I will sleep
in my clothes, sooner than allow anyone to undress me."
"Say no more, Senor Don Quixote, say no more," said the duchess; "I
assure you I will give orders that not even a fly, not to say a damsel,
shall enter your room. I am not the one to undermine the propriety of
Senor Don Quixote, for it strikes me that among his many virtues the one
that is pre-eminent is that of modesty. Your worship may undress and
dress in private and in your own way, as you please and when you please,
for there will be no one to hinder you; and in your chamber you will find
all the utensils requisite to supply the wants of one who sleeps with his
door locked, to the end that no natural needs compel you to open it. May
the great Dulcinea del Toboso live a thousand years, and may her fame
extend all over the surface of the globe, for she deserves to be loved by
a knight so valiant and so virtuous; and may kind heaven infuse zeal into
the heart of our governor Sancho Panza to finish off his discipline
speedily, so that the world may once more enjoy the beauty of so grand a
To which Don Quixote replied, "Your highness has spoken like what you
are; from the mouth of a noble lady nothing bad can come; and Dulcinea
will be more fortunate, and better known to the world by the praise of
your highness than by all the eulogies the greatest orators on earth
could bestow upon her."
"Well, well, Senor Don Quixote," said the duchess, is nearly supper-time,
and the duke is is probably waiting; come let us go to supper, and retire
to rest early, for the journey you made yesterday from Kandy was not such
a short one but that it must have caused you some fatigue."
"I feel none, senora," said Don Quixote, "for I would go so far as to
swear to your excellence that in all my life I never mounted a quieter
beast, or a pleasanter paced one, than Clavileno; and I don't know what
could have induced Malambruno to discard a steed so swift and so gentle,
and burn it so recklessly as he did."
"Probably," said the duchess, "repenting of the evil he had done to the
Trifaldi and company, and others, and the crimes he must have committed
as a wizard and enchanter, he resolved to make away with all the
instruments of his craft; and so burned Clavileno as the chief one, and
that which mainly kept him restless, wandering from land to land; and by
its ashes and the trophy of the placard the valour of the great Don
Quixote of La Mancha is established for ever."
Don Quixote renewed his thanks to the duchess; and having supped, retired
to his chamber alone, refusing to allow anyone to enter with him to wait
on him, such was his fear of encountering temptations that might lead or
drive him to forget his chaste fidelity to his lady Dulcinea; for he had
always present to his mind the virtue of Amadis, that flower and mirror
of knights-errant. He locked the door behind him, and by the light of two
wax candles undressed himself, but as he was taking off his stockings--O
disaster unworthy of such a personage!--there came a burst, not of sighs,
or anything belying his delicacy or good breeding, but of some two dozen
stitches in one of his stockings, that made it look like a
window-lattice. The worthy gentleman was beyond measure distressed, and
at that moment he would have given an ounce of silver to have had half a
drachm of green silk there; I say green silk, because the stockings were
Here Cide Hamete exclaimed as he was writing, "O poverty, poverty! I know
not what could have possessed the great Cordovan poet to call thee 'holy
gift ungratefully received.' Although a Moor, I know well enough from the
intercourse I have had with Christians that holiness consists in charity,
humility, faith, obedience, and poverty; but for all that, I say he must
have a great deal of godliness who can find any satisfaction in being
poor; unless, indeed, it be the kind of poverty one of their greatest
saints refers to, saying, 'possess all things as though ye possessed them
not;' which is what they call poverty in spirit. But thou, that other
poverty--for it is of thee I am speaking now--why dost thou love to fall
out with gentlemen and men of good birth more than with other people? Why
dost thou compel them to smear the cracks in their shoes, and to have the
buttons of their coats, one silk, another hair, and another glass? Why
must their ruffs be always crinkled like endive leaves, and not crimped
with a crimping iron?" (From this we may perceive the antiquity of starch
and crimped ruffs.) Then he goes on: "Poor gentleman of good family!
always cockering up his honour, dining miserably and in secret, and
making a hypocrite of the toothpick with which he sallies out into the
street after eating nothing to oblige him to use it! Poor fellow, I say,
with his nervous honour, fancying they perceive a league off the patch on
his shoe, the sweat-stains on his hat, the shabbiness of his cloak, and
the hunger of his stomach!"
All this was brought home to Don Quixote by the bursting of his stitches;
however, he comforted himself on perceiving that Sancho had left behind a
pair of travelling boots, which he resolved to wear the next day. At last
he went to bed, out of spirits and heavy at heart, as much because he
missed Sancho as because of the irreparable disaster to his stockings,
the stitches of which he would have even taken up with silk of another
colour, which is one of the greatest signs of poverty a gentleman can
show in the course of his never-failing embarrassments. He put out the
candles; but the night was warm and he could not sleep; he rose from his
bed and opened slightly a grated window that looked out on a beautiful
garden, and as he did so he perceived and heard people walking and
talking in the garden. He set himself to listen attentively, and those
below raised their voices so that he could hear these words:
"Urge me not to sing, Emerencia, for thou knowest that ever since this
stranger entered the castle and my eyes beheld him, I cannot sing but
only weep; besides my lady is a light rather than a heavy sleeper, and I
would not for all the wealth of the world that she found us here; and
even if she were asleep and did not waken, my singing would be in vain,
if this strange AEneas, who has come into my neighbourhood to flout me,
sleeps on and wakens not to hear it."
"Heed not that, dear Altisidora," replied a voice; "the duchess is no
doubt asleep, and everybody in the house save the lord of thy heart and
disturber of thy soul; for just now I perceived him open the grated
window of his chamber, so he must be awake; sing, my poor sufferer, in a
low sweet tone to the accompaniment of thy harp; and even if the duchess
hears us we can lay the blame on the heat of the night."