Part 7 out of 10
"That is not the point, Emerencia," replied Altisidora, "it is that I
would not that my singing should lay bare my heart, and that I should be
thought a light and wanton maiden by those who know not the mighty power
of love; but come what may; better a blush on the cheeks than a sore in
the heart;" and here a harp softly touched made itself heard. As he
listened to all this Don Quixote was in a state of breathless amazement,
for immediately the countless adventures like this, with windows,
gratings, gardens, serenades, lovemakings, and languishings, that he had
read of in his trashy books of chivalry, came to his mind. He at once
concluded that some damsel of the duchess's was in love with him, and
that her modesty forced her to keep her passion secret. He trembled lest
he should fall, and made an inward resolution not to yield; and
commending himself with all his might and soul to his lady Dulcinea he
made up his mind to listen to the music; and to let them know he was
there he gave a pretended sneeze, at which the damsels were not a little
delighted, for all they wanted was that Don Quixote should hear them. So
having tuned the harp, Altisidora, running her hand across the strings,
began this ballad:
O thou that art above in bed,
Between the holland sheets,
A-lying there from night till morn,
With outstretched legs asleep;
O thou, most valiant knight of all
The famed Manchegan breed,
Of purity and virtue more
Than gold of Araby;
Give ear unto a suffering maid,
Well-grown but evil-starr'd,
For those two suns of thine have lit
A fire within her heart.
Adventures seeking thou dost rove,
To others bringing woe;
Thou scatterest wounds, but, ah, the balm
To heal them dost withhold!
Say, valiant youth, and so may God
Thy enterprises speed,
Didst thou the light mid Libya's sands
Or Jaca's rocks first see?
Did scaly serpents give thee suck?
Who nursed thee when a babe?
Wert cradled in the forest rude,
Or gloomy mountain cave?
O Dulcinea may be proud,
That plump and lusty maid;
For she alone hath had the power
A tiger fierce to tame.
And she for this shall famous be
From Tagus to Jarama,
From Manzanares to Genil,
From Duero to Arlanza.
Fain would I change with her, and give
A petticoat to boot,
The best and bravest that I have,
All trimmed with gold galloon.
O for to be the happy fair
Thy mighty arms enfold,
Or even sit beside thy bed
And scratch thy dusty poll!
I rave,--to favours such as these
Unworthy to aspire;
Thy feet to tickle were enough
For one so mean as I.
What caps, what slippers silver-laced,
Would I on thee bestow!
What damask breeches make for thee;
What fine long holland cloaks!
And I would give thee pearls that should
As big as oak-galls show;
So matchless big that each might well
Be called the great "Alone."
Manchegan Nero, look not down
From thy Tarpeian Rock
Upon this burning heart, nor add
The fuel of thy wrath.
A virgin soft and young am I,
Not yet fifteen years old;
(I'm only three months past fourteen,
I swear upon my soul).
I hobble not nor do I limp,
All blemish I'm without,
And as I walk my lily locks
Are trailing on the ground.
And though my nose be rather flat,
And though my mouth be wide,
My teeth like topazes exalt
My beauty to the sky.
Thou knowest that my voice is sweet,
That is if thou dost hear;
And I am moulded in a form
Somewhat below the mean.
These charms, and many more, are thine,
Spoils to thy spear and bow all;
A damsel of this house am I,
By name Altisidora.
Here the lay of the heart-stricken Altisidora came to an end, while the
warmly wooed Don Quixote began to feel alarm; and with a deep sigh he
said to himself, "O that I should be such an unlucky knight that no
damsel can set eyes on me but falls in love with me! O that the peerless
Dulcinea should be so unfortunate that they cannot let her enjoy my
incomparable constancy in peace! What would ye with her, ye queens? Why
do ye persecute her, ye empresses? Why ye pursue her, ye virgins of from
fourteen to fifteen? Leave the unhappy being to triumph, rejoice and
glory in the lot love has been pleased to bestow upon her in surrendering
my heart and yielding up my soul to her. Ye love-smitten host, know that
to Dulcinea only I am dough and sugar-paste, flint to all others; for her
I am honey, for you aloes. For me Dulcinea alone is beautiful, wise,
virtuous, graceful, and high-bred, and all others are ill-favoured,
foolish, light, and low-born. Nature sent me into the world to be hers
and no other's; Altisidora may weep or sing, the lady for whose sake they
belaboured me in the castle of the enchanted Moor may give way to
despair, but I must be Dulcinea's, boiled or roast, pure, courteous, and
chaste, in spite of all the magic-working powers on earth." And with that
he shut the window with a bang, and, as much out of temper and out of
sorts as if some great misfortune had befallen him, stretched himself on
his bed, where we will leave him for the present, as the great Sancho
Panza, who is about to set up his famous government, now demands our
OF HOW THE GREAT SANCHO PANZA TOOK POSSESSION OF HIS ISLAND, AND OF HOW
HE MADE A BEGINNING IN GOVERNING
O perpetual discoverer of the antipodes, torch of the world, eye of
heaven, sweet stimulator of the water-coolers! Thimbraeus here, Phoebus
there, now archer, now physician, father of poetry, inventor of music;
thou that always risest and, notwithstanding appearances, never settest!
To thee, O Sun, by whose aid man begetteth man, to thee I appeal to help
me and lighten the darkness of my wit that I may be able to proceed with
scrupulous exactitude in giving an account of the great Sancho Panza's
government; for without thee I feel myself weak, feeble, and uncertain.
To come to the point, then--Sancho with all his attendants arrived at a
village of some thousand inhabitants, and one of the largest the duke
possessed. They informed him that it was called the island of Barataria,
either because the name of the village was Baratario, or because of the
joke by way of which the government had been conferred upon him. On
reaching the gates of the town, which was a walled one, the municipality
came forth to meet him, the bells rang out a peal, and the inhabitants
showed every sign of general satisfaction; and with great pomp they
conducted him to the principal church to give thanks to God, and then
with burlesque ceremonies they presented him with the keys of the town,
and acknowledged him as perpetual governor of the island of Barataria.
The costume, the beard, and the fat squat figure of the new governor
astonished all those who were not in the secret, and even all who were,
and they were not a few. Finally, leading him out of the church they
carried him to the judgment seat and seated him on it, and the duke's
majordomo said to him, "It is an ancient custom in this island, senor
governor, that he who comes to take possession of this famous island is
bound to answer a question which shall be put to him, and which must be a
somewhat knotty and difficult one; and by his answer the people take the
measure of their new governor's wit, and hail with joy or deplore his
While the majordomo was making this speech Sancho was gazing at several
large letters inscribed on the wall opposite his seat, and as he could
not read he asked what that was that was painted on the wall. The answer
was, "Senor, there is written and recorded the day on which your lordship
took possession of this island, and the inscription says, 'This day, the
so-and-so of such-and-such a month and year, Senor Don Sancho Panza took
possession of this island; many years may he enjoy it.'"
"And whom do they call Don Sancho Panza?" asked Sancho.
"Your lordship," replied the majordomo; "for no other Panza but the one
who is now seated in that chair has ever entered this island."
"Well then, let me tell you, brother," said Sancho, "I haven't got the
'Don,' nor has any one of my family ever had it; my name is plain Sancho
Panza, and Sancho was my father's name, and Sancho was my grandfather's
and they were all Panzas, without any Dons or Donas tacked on; I suspect
that in this island there are more Dons than stones; but never mind; God
knows what I mean, and maybe if my government lasts four days I'll weed
out these Dons that no doubt are as great a nuisance as the midges,
they're so plenty. Let the majordomo go on with his question, and I'll
give the best answer I can, whether the people deplore or not."
At this instant there came into court two old men, one carrying a cane by
way of a walking-stick, and the one who had no stick said, "Senor, some
time ago I lent this good man ten gold-crowns in gold to gratify him and
do him a service, on the condition that he was to return them to me
whenever I should ask for them. A long time passed before I asked for
them, for I would not put him to any greater straits to return them than
he was in when I lent them to him; but thinking he was growing careless
about payment I asked for them once and several times; and not only will
he not give them back, but he denies that he owes them, and says I never
lent him any such crowns; or if I did, that he repaid them; and I have no
witnesses either of the loan, or the payment, for he never paid me; I
want your worship to put him to his oath, and if he swears he returned
them to me I forgive him the debt here and before God."
"What say you to this, good old man, you with the stick?" said Sancho.
To which the old man replied, "I admit, senor, that he lent them to me;
but let your worship lower your staff, and as he leaves it to my oath,
I'll swear that I gave them back, and paid him really and truly."
The governor lowered the staff, and as he did so the old man who had the
stick handed it to the other old man to hold for him while he swore, as
if he found it in his way; and then laid his hand on the cross of the
staff, saying that it was true the ten crowns that were demanded of him
had been lent him; but that he had with his own hand given them back into
the hand of the other, and that he, not recollecting it, was always
asking for them.
Seeing this the great governor asked the creditor what answer he had to
make to what his opponent said. He said that no doubt his debtor had told
the truth, for he believed him to be an honest man and a good Christian,
and he himself must have forgotten when and how he had given him back the
crowns; and that from that time forth he would make no further demand
The debtor took his stick again, and bowing his head left the court.
Observing this, and how, without another word, he made off, and observing
too the resignation of the plaintiff, Sancho buried his head in his bosom
and remained for a short space in deep thought, with the forefinger of
his right hand on his brow and nose; then he raised his head and bade
them call back the old man with the stick, for he had already taken his
departure. They brought him back, and as soon as Sancho saw him he said,
"Honest man, give me that stick, for I want it."
"Willingly," said the old man; "here it is senor," and he put it into his
Sancho took it and, handing it to the other old man, said to him, "Go,
and God be with you; for now you are paid."
"I, senor!" returned the old man; "why, is this cane worth ten
"Yes," said the governor, "or if not I am the greatest dolt in the world;
now you will see whether I have got the headpiece to govern a whole
kingdom;" and he ordered the cane to be broken in two, there, in the
presence of all. It was done, and in the middle of it they found ten
gold-crowns. All were filled with amazement, and looked upon their
governor as another Solomon. They asked him how he had come to the
conclusion that the ten crowns were in the cane; he replied, that
observing how the old man who swore gave the stick to his opponent while
he was taking the oath, and swore that he had really and truly given him
the crowns, and how as soon as he had done swearing he asked for the
stick again, it came into his head that the sum demanded must be inside
it; and from this he said it might be seen that God sometimes guides
those who govern in their judgments, even though they may be fools;
besides he had himself heard the curate of his village mention just such
another case, and he had so good a memory, that if it was not that he
forgot everything he wished to remember, there would not be such a memory
in all the island. To conclude, the old men went off, one crestfallen,
and the other in high contentment, all who were present were astonished,
and he who was recording the words, deeds, and movements of Sancho could
not make up his mind whether he was to look upon him and set him down as
a fool or as a man of sense.
As soon as this case was disposed of, there came into court a woman
holding on with a tight grip to a man dressed like a well-to-do cattle
dealer, and she came forward making a great outcry and exclaiming,
"Justice, senor governor, justice! and if I don't get it on earth I'll go
look for it in heaven. Senor governor of my soul, this wicked man caught
me in the middle of the fields here and used my body as if it was an
ill-washed rag, and, woe is me! got from me what I had kept these
three-and-twenty years and more, defending it against Moors and
Christians, natives and strangers; and I always as hard as an oak, and
keeping myself as pure as a salamander in the fire, or wool among the
brambles, for this good fellow to come now with clean hands to handle
"It remains to be proved whether this gallant has clean hands or not,"
said Sancho; and turning to the man he asked him what he had to say in
answer to the woman's charge.
He all in confusion made answer, "Sirs, I am a poor pig dealer, and this
morning I left the village to sell (saving your presence) four pigs, and
between dues and cribbings they got out of me little less than the worth
of them. As I was returning to my village I fell in on the road with this
good dame, and the devil who makes a coil and a mess out of everything,
yoked us together. I paid her fairly, but she not contented laid hold of
me and never let go until she brought me here; she says I forced her, but
she lies by the oath I swear or am ready to swear; and this is the whole
truth and every particle of it."
The governor on this asked him if he had any money in silver about him;
he said he had about twenty ducats in a leather purse in his bosom. The
governor bade him take it out and hand it to the complainant; he obeyed
trembling; the woman took it, and making a thousand salaams to all and
praying to God for the long life and health of the senor governor who had
such regard for distressed orphans and virgins, she hurried out of court
with the purse grasped in both her hands, first looking, however, to see
if the money it contained was silver.
As soon as she was gone Sancho said to the cattle dealer, whose tears
were already starting and whose eyes and heart were following his purse,
"Good fellow, go after that woman and take the purse from her, by force
even, and come back with it here;" and he did not say it to one who was a
fool or deaf, for the man was off like a flash of lightning, and ran to
do as he was bid.
All the bystanders waited anxiously to see the end of the case, and
presently both man and woman came back at even closer grips than before,
she with her petticoat up and the purse in the lap of it, and he
struggling hard to take it from her, but all to no purpose, so stout was
the woman's defence, she all the while crying out, "Justice from God and
the world! see here, senor governor, the shamelessness and boldness of
this villain, who in the middle of the town, in the middle of the street,
wanted to take from me the purse your worship bade him give me."
"And did he take it?" asked the governor.
"Take it!" said the woman; "I'd let my life be taken from me sooner than
the purse. A pretty child I'd be! It's another sort of cat they must
throw in my face, and not that poor scurvy knave. Pincers and hammers,
mallets and chisels would not get it out of my grip; no, nor lions'
claws; the soul from out of my body first!"
"She is right," said the man; "I own myself beaten and powerless; I
confess I haven't the strength to take it from her;" and he let go his
hold of her.
Upon this the governor said to the woman, "Let me see that purse, my
worthy and sturdy friend." She handed it to him at once, and the governor
returned it to the man, and said to the unforced mistress of force,
"Sister, if you had shown as much, or only half as much, spirit and
vigour in defending your body as you have shown in defending that purse,
the strength of Hercules could not have forced you. Be off, and God speed
you, and bad luck to you, and don't show your face in all this island, or
within six leagues of it on any side, under pain of two hundred lashes;
be off at once, I say, you shameless, cheating shrew."
The woman was cowed and went off disconsolately, hanging her head; and
the governor said to the man, "Honest man, go home with your money, and
God speed you; and for the future, if you don't want to lose it, see that
you don't take it into your head to yoke with anybody." The man thanked
him as clumsily as he could and went his way, and the bystanders were
again filled with admiration at their new governor's judgments and
Next, two men, one apparently a farm labourer, and the other a tailor,
for he had a pair of shears in his hand, presented themselves before him,
and the tailor said, "Senor governor, this labourer and I come before
your worship by reason of this honest man coming to my shop yesterday
(for saving everybody's presence I'm a passed tailor, God be thanked),
and putting a piece of cloth into my hands and asking me, 'Senor, will
there be enough in this cloth to make me a cap?' Measuring the cloth I
said there would. He probably suspected--as I supposed, and I supposed
right--that I wanted to steal some of the cloth, led to think so by his
own roguery and the bad opinion people have of tailors; and he told me to
see if there would be enough for two. I guessed what he would be at, and
I said 'yes.' He, still following up his original unworthy notion, went
on adding cap after cap, and I 'yes' after 'yes,' until we got as far as
five. He has just this moment come for them; I gave them to him, but he
won't pay me for the making; on the contrary, he calls upon me to pay
him, or else return his cloth."
"Is all this true, brother?" said Sancho.
"Yes," replied the man; "but will your worship make him show the five
caps he has made me?"
"With all my heart," said the tailor; and drawing his hand from under his
cloak he showed five caps stuck upon the five fingers of it, and said,
"there are the caps this good man asks for; and by God and upon my
conscience I haven't a scrap of cloth left, and I'll let the work be
examined by the inspectors of the trade."
All present laughed at the number of caps and the novelty of the suit;
Sancho set himself to think for a moment, and then said, "It seems to me
that in this case it is not necessary to deliver long-winded arguments,
but only to give off-hand the judgment of an honest man; and so my
decision is that the tailor lose the making and the labourer the cloth,
and that the caps go to the prisoners in the gaol, and let there be no
more about it."
If the previous decision about the cattle dealer's purse excited the
admiration of the bystanders, this provoked their laughter; however, the
governor's orders were after all executed. All this, having been taken
down by his chronicler, was at once despatched to the duke, who was
looking out for it with great eagerness; and here let us leave the good
Sancho; for his master, sorely troubled in mind by Altisidora's music,
has pressing claims upon us now.
OF THE TERRIBLE BELL AND CAT FRIGHT THAT DON QUIXOTE GOT IN THE COURSE OF
THE ENAMOURED ALTISIDORA'S WOOING
We left Don Quixote wrapped up in the reflections which the music of the
enamourned maid Altisidora had given rise to. He went to bed with them,
and just like fleas they would not let him sleep or get a moment's rest,
and the broken stitches of his stockings helped them. But as Time is
fleet and no obstacle can stay his course, he came riding on the hours,
and morning very soon arrived. Seeing which Don Quixote quitted the soft
down, and, nowise slothful, dressed himself in his chamois suit and put
on his travelling boots to hide the disaster to his stockings. He threw
over him his scarlet mantle, put on his head a montera of green velvet
trimmed with silver edging, flung across his shoulder the baldric with
his good trenchant sword, took up a large rosary that he always carried
with him, and with great solemnity and precision of gait proceeded to the
antechamber where the duke and duchess were already dressed and waiting
for him. But as he passed through a gallery, Altisidora and the other
damsel, her friend, were lying in wait for him, and the instant
Altisidora saw him she pretended to faint, while her friend caught her in
her lap, and began hastily unlacing the bosom of her dress.
Don Quixote observed it, and approaching them said, "I know very well
what this seizure arises from."
"I know not from what," replied the friend, "for Altisidora is the
healthiest damsel in all this house, and I have never heard her complain
all the time I have known her. A plague on all the knights-errant in the
world, if they be all ungrateful! Go away, Senor Don Quixote; for this
poor child will not come to herself again so long as you are here."
To which Don Quixote returned, "Do me the favour, senora, to let a lute
be placed in my chamber to-night; and I will comfort this poor maiden to
the best of my power; for in the early stages of love a prompt
disillusion is an approved remedy;" and with this he retired, so as not
to be remarked by any who might see him there.
He had scarcely withdrawn when Altisidora, recovering from her swoon,
said to her companion, "The lute must be left, for no doubt Don Quixote
intends to give us some music; and being his it will not be bad."
They went at once to inform the duchess of what was going on, and of the
lute Don Quixote asked for, and she, delighted beyond measure, plotted
with the duke and her two damsels to play him a trick that should be
amusing but harmless; and in high glee they waited for night, which came
quickly as the day had come; and as for the day, the duke and duchess
spent it in charming conversation with Don Quixote.
When eleven o'clock came, Don Quixote found a guitar in his chamber; he
tried it, opened the window, and perceived that some persons were walking
in the garden; and having passed his fingers over the frets of the guitar
and tuned it as well as he could, he spat and cleared his chest, and then
with a voice a little hoarse but full-toned, he sang the following
ballad, which he had himself that day composed:
Mighty Love the hearts of maidens
Doth unsettle and perplex,
And the instrument he uses
Most of all is idleness.
Sewing, stitching, any labour,
Having always work to do,
To the poison Love instilleth
Is the antidote most sure.
And to proper-minded maidens
Who desire the matron's name
Modesty's a marriage portion,
Modesty their highest praise.
Men of prudence and discretion,
Courtiers gay and gallant knights,
With the wanton damsels dally,
But the modest take to wife.
There are passions, transient, fleeting,
Loves in hostelries declar'd,
Sunrise loves, with sunset ended,
When the guest hath gone his way.
Love that springs up swift and sudden,
Here to-day, to-morrow flown,
Passes, leaves no trace behind it,
Leaves no image on the soul.
Painting that is laid on painting
Maketh no display or show;
Where one beauty's in possession
There no other can take hold.
Dulcinea del Toboso
Painted on my heart I wear;
Never from its tablets, never,
Can her image be eras'd.
The quality of all in lovers
Most esteemed is constancy;
'T is by this that love works wonders,
This exalts them to the skies.
Don Quixote had got so far with his song, to which the duke, the duchess,
Altisidora, and nearly the whole household of the castle were listening,
when all of a sudden from a gallery above that was exactly over his
window they let down a cord with more than a hundred bells attached to
it, and immediately after that discharged a great sack full of cats,
which also had bells of smaller size tied to their tails. Such was the
din of the bells and the squalling of the cats, that though the duke and
duchess were the contrivers of the joke they were startled by it, while
Don Quixote stood paralysed with fear; and as luck would have it, two or
three of the cats made their way in through the grating of his chamber,
and flying from one side to the other, made it seem as if there was a
legion of devils at large in it. They extinguished the candles that were
burning in the room, and rushed about seeking some way of escape; the
cord with the large bells never ceased rising and falling; and most of
the people of the castle, not knowing what was really the matter, were at
their wits' end with astonishment. Don Quixote sprang to his feet, and
drawing his sword, began making passes at the grating, shouting out,
"Avaunt, malignant enchanters! avaunt, ye witchcraft-working rabble! I am
Don Quixote of La Mancha, against whom your evil machinations avail not
nor have any power." And turning upon the cats that were running about
the room, he made several cuts at them. They dashed at the grating and
escaped by it, save one that, finding itself hard pressed by the slashes
of Don Quixote's sword, flew at his face and held on to his nose tooth
and nail, with the pain of which he began to shout his loudest. The duke
and duchess hearing this, and guessing what it was, ran with all haste to
his room, and as the poor gentleman was striving with all his might to
detach the cat from his face, they opened the door with a master-key and
went in with lights and witnessed the unequal combat. The duke ran
forward to part the combatants, but Don Quixote cried out aloud, "Let no
one take him from me; leave me hand to hand with this demon, this wizard,
this enchanter; I will teach him, I myself, who Don Quixote of La Mancha
is." The cat, however, never minding these threats, snarled and held on;
but at last the duke pulled it off and flung it out of the window. Don
Quixote was left with a face as full of holes as a sieve and a nose not
in very good condition, and greatly vexed that they did not let him
finish the battle he had been so stoutly fighting with that villain of an
enchanter. They sent for some oil of John's wort, and Altisidora herself
with her own fair hands bandaged all the wounded parts; and as she did so
she said to him in a low voice. "All these mishaps have befallen thee,
hardhearted knight, for the sin of thy insensibility and obstinacy; and
God grant thy squire Sancho may forget to whip himself, so that that
dearly beloved Dulcinea of thine may never be released from her
enchantment, that thou mayest never come to her bed, at least while I who
adore thee am alive."
To all this Don Quixote made no answer except to heave deep sighs, and
then stretched himself on his bed, thanking the duke and duchess for
their kindness, not because he stood in any fear of that bell-ringing
rabble of enchanters in cat shape, but because he recognised their good
intentions in coming to his rescue. The duke and duchess left him to
repose and withdrew greatly grieved at the unfortunate result of the
joke; as they never thought the adventure would have fallen so heavy on
Don Quixote or cost him so dear, for it cost him five days of confinement
to his bed, during which he had another adventure, pleasanter than the
late one, which his chronicler will not relate just now in order that he
may turn his attention to Sancho Panza, who was proceeding with great
diligence and drollery in his government.
WHEREIN IS CONTINUED THE ACCOUNT OF HOW SANCHO PANZA CONDUCTED HIMSELF IN
The history says that from the justice court they carried Sancho to a
sumptuous palace, where in a spacious chamber there was a table laid out
with royal magnificence. The clarions sounded as Sancho entered the room,
and four pages came forward to present him with water for his hands,
which Sancho received with great dignity. The music ceased, and Sancho
seated himself at the head of the table, for there was only that seat
placed, and no more than one cover laid. A personage, who it appeared
afterwards was a physician, placed himself standing by his side with a
whalebone wand in his hand. They then lifted up a fine white cloth
covering fruit and a great variety of dishes of different sorts; one who
looked like a student said grace, and a page put a laced bib on Sancho,
while another who played the part of head carver placed a dish of fruit
before him. But hardly had he tasted a morsel when the man with the wand
touched the plate with it, and they took it away from before him with the
utmost celerity. The carver, however, brought him another dish, and
Sancho proceeded to try it; but before he could get at it, not to say
taste it, already the wand had touched it and a page had carried it off
with the same promptitude as the fruit. Sancho seeing this was puzzled,
and looking from one to another asked if this dinner was to be eaten
after the fashion of a jugglery trick.
To this he with the wand replied, "It is not to be eaten, senor governor,
except as is usual and customary in other islands where there are
governors. I, senor, am a physician, and I am paid a salary in this
island to serve its governors as such, and I have a much greater regard
for their health than for my own, studying day and night and making
myself acquainted with the governor's constitution, in order to be able
to cure him when he falls sick. The chief thing I have to do is to attend
at his dinners and suppers and allow him to eat what appears to me to be
fit for him, and keep from him what I think will do him harm and be
injurious to his stomach; and therefore I ordered that plate of fruit to
be removed as being too moist, and that other dish I ordered to be
removed as being too hot and containing many spices that stimulate
thirst; for he who drinks much kills and consumes the radical moisture
wherein life consists."
"Well then," said Sancho, "that dish of roast partridges there that seems
so savoury will not do me any harm."
To this the physician replied, "Of those my lord the governor shall not
eat so long as I live."
"Why so?" said Sancho.
"Because," replied the doctor, "our master Hippocrates, the polestar and
beacon of medicine, says in one of his aphorisms omnis saturatio mala,
perdicis autem pessima, which means 'all repletion is bad, but that of
partridge is the worst of all."
"In that case," said Sancho, "let senor doctor see among the dishes that
are on the table what will do me most good and least harm, and let me eat
it, without tapping it with his stick; for by the life of the governor,
and so may God suffer me to enjoy it, but I'm dying of hunger; and in
spite of the doctor and all he may say, to deny me food is the way to
take my life instead of prolonging it."
"Your worship is right, senor governor," said the physician; "and
therefore your worship, I consider, should not eat of those stewed
rabbits there, because it is a furry kind of food; if that veal were not
roasted and served with pickles, you might try it; but it is out of the
"That big dish that is smoking farther off," said Sancho, "seems to me to
be an olla podrida, and out of the diversity of things in such ollas, I
can't fail to light upon something tasty and good for me."
"Absit," said the doctor; "far from us be any such base thought! There is
nothing in the world less nourishing than an olla podrida; to canons, or
rectors of colleges, or peasants' weddings with your ollas podridas, but
let us have none of them on the tables of governors, where everything
that is present should be delicate and refined; and the reason is, that
always, everywhere and by everybody, simple medicines are more esteemed
than compound ones, for we cannot go wrong in those that are simple,
while in the compound we may, by merely altering the quantity of the
things composing them. But what I am of opinion the governor should cat
now in order to preserve and fortify his health is a hundred or so of
wafer cakes and a few thin slices of conserve of quinces, which will
settle his stomach and help his digestion."
Sancho on hearing this threw himself back in his chair and surveyed the
doctor steadily, and in a solemn tone asked him what his name was and
where he had studied.
He replied, "My name, senor governor, is Doctor Pedro Recio de Aguero I
am a native of a place called Tirteafuera which lies between Caracuel and
Almodovar del Campo, on the right-hand side, and I have the degree of
doctor from the university of Osuna."
To which Sancho, glowing all over with rage, returned, "Then let Doctor
Pedro Recio de Malaguero, native of Tirteafuera, a place that's on the
right-hand side as we go from Caracuel to Almodovar del Campo, graduate
of Osuna, get out of my presence at once; or I swear by the sun I'll take
a cudgel, and by dint of blows, beginning with him, I'll not leave a
doctor in the whole island; at least of those I know to be ignorant; for
as to learned, wise, sensible physicians, them I will reverence and
honour as divine persons. Once more I say let Pedro Recio get out of this
or I'll take this chair I am sitting on and break it over his head. And
if they call me to account for it, I'll clear myself by saying I served
God in killing a bad doctor--a general executioner. And now give me
something to eat, or else take your government; for a trade that does not
feed its master is not worth two beans."
The doctor was dismayed when he saw the governor in such a passion, and
he would have made a Tirteafuera out of the room but that the same
instant a post-horn sounded in the street; and the carver putting his
head out of the window turned round and said, "It's a courier from my
lord the duke, no doubt with some despatch of importance."
The courier came in all sweating and flurried, and taking a paper from
his bosom, placed it in the governor's hands. Sancho handed it to the
majordomo and bade him read the superscription, which ran thus: To Don
Sancho Panza, Governor of the Island of Barataria, into his own hands or
those of his secretary. Sancho when he heard this said, "Which of you is
my secretary?" "I am, senor," said one of those present, "for I can read
and write, and am a Biscayan." "With that addition," said Sancho, "you
might be secretary to the emperor himself; open this paper and see what
it says." The new-born secretary obeyed, and having read the contents
said the matter was one to be discussed in private. Sancho ordered the
chamber to be cleared, the majordomo and the carver only remaining; so
the doctor and the others withdrew, and then the secretary read the
letter, which was as follows:
It has come to my knowledge, Senor Don Sancho Panza, that certain enemies
of mine and of the island are about to make a furious attack upon it some
night, I know not when. It behoves you to be on the alert and keep watch,
that they surprise you not. I also know by trustworthy spies that four
persons have entered the town in disguise in order to take your life,
because they stand in dread of your great capacity; keep your eyes open
and take heed who approaches you to address you, and eat nothing that is
presented to you. I will take care to send you aid if you find yourself
in difficulty, but in all things you will act as may be expected of your
judgment. From this place, the Sixteenth of August, at four in the
Sancho was astonished, and those who stood by made believe to be so too,
and turning to the majordomo he said to him, "What we have got to do
first, and it must be done at once, is to put Doctor Recio in the
lock-up; for if anyone wants to kill me it is he, and by a slow death and
the worst of all, which is hunger."
"Likewise," said the carver, "it is my opinion your worship should not
eat anything that is on this table, for the whole was a present from some
nuns; and as they say, 'behind the cross there's the devil.'"
"I don't deny it," said Sancho; "so for the present give me a piece of
bread and four pounds or so of grapes; no poison can come in them; for
the fact is I can't go on without eating; and if we are to be prepared
for these battles that are threatening us we must be well provisioned;
for it is the tripes that carry the heart and not the heart the tripes.
And you, secretary, answer my lord the duke and tell him that all his
commands shall be obeyed to the letter, as he directs; and say from me to
my lady the duchess that I kiss her hands, and that I beg of her not to
forget to send my letter and bundle to my wife Teresa Panza by a
messenger; and I will take it as a great favour and will not fail to
serve her in all that may lie within my power; and as you are about it
you may enclose a kiss of the hand to my master Don Quixote that he may
see I am grateful bread; and as a good secretary and a good Biscayan you
may add whatever you like and whatever will come in best; and now take
away this cloth and give me something to eat, and I'll be ready to meet
all the spies and assassins and enchanters that may come against me or my
At this instant a page entered saying, "Here is a farmer on business, who
wants to speak to your lordship on a matter of great importance, he
"It's very odd," said Sancho, "the ways of these men on business; is it
possible they can be such fools as not to see that an hour like this is
no hour for coming on business? We who govern and we who are judges--are
we not men of flesh and blood, and are we not to be allowed the time
required for taking rest, unless they'd have us made of marble? By God
and on my conscience, if the government remains in my hands (which I have
a notion it won't), I'll bring more than one man on business to order.
However, tell this good man to come in; but take care first of all that
he is not some spy or one of my assassins."
"No, my lord," said the page, "for he looks like a simple fellow, and
either I know very little or he is as good as good bread."
"There is nothing to be afraid of," said the majordomo, "for we are all
"Would it be possible, carver," said Sancho, "now that Doctor Pedro Recio
is not here, to let me eat something solid and substantial, if it were
even a piece of bread and an onion?"
"To-night at supper," said the carver, "the shortcomings of the dinner
shall be made good, and your lordship shall be fully contented."
"God grant it," said Sancho.
The farmer now came in, a well-favoured man that one might see a thousand
leagues off was an honest fellow and a good soul. The first thing he said
was, "Which is the lord governor here?"
"Which should it be," said the secretary, "but he who is seated in the
"Then I humble myself before him," said the farmer; and going on his
knees he asked for his hand, to kiss it. Sancho refused it, and bade him
stand up and say what he wanted. The farmer obeyed, and then said, "I am
a farmer, senor, a native of Miguelturra, a village two leagues from
"Another Tirteafuera!" said Sancho; "say on, brother; I know Miguelturra
very well I can tell you, for it's not very far from my own town."
"The case is this, senor," continued the farmer, "that by God's mercy I
am married with the leave and licence of the holy Roman Catholic Church;
I have two sons, students, and the younger is studying to become
bachelor, and the elder to be licentiate; I am a widower, for my wife
died, or more properly speaking, a bad doctor killed her on my hands,
giving her a purge when she was with child; and if it had pleased God
that the child had been born, and was a boy, I would have put him to
study for doctor, that he might not envy his brothers the bachelor and
"So that if your wife had not died, or had not been killed, you would not
now be a widower," said Sancho.
"No, senor, certainly not," said the farmer.
"We've got that much settled," said Sancho; "get on, brother, for it's
more bed-time than business-time."
"Well then," said the farmer, "this son of mine who is going to be a
bachelor, fell in love in the said town with a damsel called Clara
Perlerina, daughter of Andres Perlerino, a very rich farmer; and this
name of Perlerines does not come to them by ancestry or descent, but
because all the family are paralytics, and for a better name they call
them Perlerines; though to tell the truth the damsel is as fair as an
Oriental pearl, and like a flower of the field, if you look at her on the
right side; on the left not so much, for on that side she wants an eye
that she lost by small-pox; and though her face is thickly and deeply
pitted, those who love her say they are not pits that are there, but the
graves where the hearts of her lovers are buried. She is so cleanly that
not to soil her face she carries her nose turned up, as they say, so that
one would fancy it was running away from her mouth; and with all this she
looks extremely well, for she has a wide mouth; and but for wanting ten
or a dozen teeth and grinders she might compare and compete with the
comeliest. Of her lips I say nothing, for they are so fine and thin that,
if lips might be reeled, one might make a skein of them; but being of a
different colour from ordinary lips they are wonderful, for they are
mottled, blue, green, and purple--let my lord the governor pardon me for
painting so minutely the charms of her who some time or other will be my
daughter; for I love her, and I don't find her amiss."
"Paint what you will," said Sancho; "I enjoy your painting, and if I had
dined there could be no dessert more to my taste than your portrait."
"That I have still to furnish," said the farmer; "but a time will come
when we may be able if we are not now; and I can tell you, senor, if I
could paint her gracefulness and her tall figure, it would astonish you;
but that is impossible because she is bent double with her knees up to
her mouth; but for all that it is easy to see that if she could stand up
she'd knock her head against the ceiling; and she would have given her
hand to my bachelor ere this, only that she can't stretch it out, for
it's contracted; but still one can see its elegance and fine make by its
long furrowed nails."
"That will do, brother," said Sancho; "consider you have painted her from
head to foot; what is it you want now? Come to the point without all this
beating about the bush, and all these scraps and additions."
"I want your worship, senor," said the farmer, "to do me the favour of
giving me a letter of recommendation to the girl's father, begging him to
be so good as to let this marriage take place, as we are not ill-matched
either in the gifts of fortune or of nature; for to tell the truth, senor
governor, my son is possessed of a devil, and there is not a day but the
evil spirits torment him three or four times; and from having once fallen
into the fire, he has his face puckered up like a piece of parchment, and
his eyes watery and always running; but he has the disposition of an
angel, and if it was not for belabouring and pummelling himself he'd be a
"Is there anything else you want, good man?" said Sancho.
"There's another thing I'd like," said the farmer, "but I'm afraid to
mention it; however, out it must; for after all I can't let it be rotting
in my breast, come what may. I mean, senor, that I'd like your worship to
give me three hundred or six hundred ducats as a help to my bachelor's
portion, to help him in setting up house; for they must, in short, live
by themselves, without being subject to the interferences of their
"Just see if there's anything else you'd like," said Sancho, "and don't
hold back from mentioning it out of bashfulness or modesty."
"No, indeed there is not," said the farmer.
The moment he said this the governor started to his feet, and seizing the
chair he had been sitting on exclaimed, "By all that's good, you
ill-bred, boorish Don Bumpkin, if you don't get out of this at once and
hide yourself from my sight, I'll lay your head open with this chair. You
whoreson rascal, you devil's own painter, and is it at this hour you come
to ask me for six hundred ducats! How should I have them, you stinking
brute? And why should I give them to you if I had them, you knave and
blockhead? What have I to do with Miguelturra or the whole family of the
Perlerines? Get out I say, or by the life of my lord the duke I'll do as
I said. You're not from Miguelturra, but some knave sent here from hell
to tempt me. Why, you villain, I have not yet had the government half a
day, and you want me to have six hundred ducats already!"
The carver made signs to the farmer to leave the room, which he did with
his head down, and to all appearance in terror lest the governor should
carry his threats into effect, for the rogue knew very well how to play
But let us leave Sancho in his wrath, and peace be with them all; and let
us return to Don Quixote, whom we left with his face bandaged and
doctored after the cat wounds, of which he was not cured for eight days;
and on one of these there befell him what Cide Hamete promises to relate
with that exactitude and truth with which he is wont to set forth
everything connected with this great history, however minute it may be.
OF WHAT BEFELL DON QUIXOTE WITH DONA RODRIGUEZ, THE DUCHESS'S DUENNA,
TOGETHER WITH OTHER OCCURRENCES WORTHY OF RECORD AND ETERNAL REMEMBRANCE
Exceedingly moody and dejected was the sorely wounded Don Quixote, with
his face bandaged and marked, not by the hand of God, but by the claws of
a cat, mishaps incidental to knight-errantry.
Six days he remained without appearing in public, and one night as he lay
awake thinking of his misfortunes and of Altisidora's pursuit of him, he
perceived that some one was opening the door of his room with a key, and
he at once made up his mind that the enamoured damsel was coming to make
an assault upon his chastity and put him in danger of failing in the
fidelity he owed to his lady Dulcinea del Toboso. "No," said he, firmly
persuaded of the truth of his idea (and he said it loud enough to be
heard), "the greatest beauty upon earth shall not avail to make me
renounce my adoration of her whom I bear stamped and graved in the core
of my heart and the secret depths of my bowels; be thou, lady mine,
transformed into a clumsy country wench, or into a nymph of golden Tagus
weaving a web of silk and gold, let Merlin or Montesinos hold thee
captive where they will; whereer thou art, thou art mine, and where'er I
am, must be thine." The very instant he had uttered these words, the door
opened. He stood up on the bed wrapped from head to foot in a yellow
satin coverlet, with a cap on his head, and his face and his moustaches
tied up, his face because of the scratches, and his moustaches to keep
them from drooping and falling down, in which trim he looked the most
extraordinary scarecrow that could be conceived. He kept his eyes fixed
on the door, and just as he was expecting to see the love-smitten and
unhappy Altisidora make her appearance, he saw coming in a most venerable
duenna, in a long white-bordered veil that covered and enveloped her from
head to foot. Between the fingers of her left hand she held a short
lighted candle, while with her right she shaded it to keep the light from
her eyes, which were covered by spectacles of great size, and she
advanced with noiseless steps, treading very softly.
Don Quixote kept an eye upon her from his watchtower, and observing her
costume and noting her silence, he concluded that it must be some witch
or sorceress that was coming in such a guise to work him some mischief,
and he began crossing himself at a great rate. The spectre still
advanced, and on reaching the middle of the room, looked up and saw the
energy with which Don Quixote was crossing himself; and if he was scared
by seeing such a figure as hers, she was terrified at the sight of his;
for the moment she saw his tall yellow form with the coverlet and the
bandages that disfigured him, she gave a loud scream, and exclaiming,
"Jesus! what's this I see?" let fall the candle in her fright, and then
finding herself in the dark, turned about to make off, but stumbling on
her skirts in her consternation, she measured her length with a mighty
Don Quixote in his trepidation began saying, "I conjure thee, phantom, or
whatever thou art, tell me what thou art and what thou wouldst with me.
If thou art a soul in torment, say so, and all that my powers can do I
will do for thee; for I am a Catholic Christian and love to do good to
all the world, and to this end I have embraced the order of
knight-errantry to which I belong, the province of which extends to doing
good even to souls in purgatory."
The unfortunate duenna hearing herself thus conjured, by her own fear
guessed Don Quixote's and in a low plaintive voice answered, "Senor Don
Quixote--if so be you are indeed Don Quixote--I am no phantom or spectre
or soul in purgatory, as you seem to think, but Dona Rodriguez, duenna of
honour to my lady the duchess, and I come to you with one of those
grievances your worship is wont to redress."
"Tell me, Senora Dona Rodriguez," said Don Quixote, "do you perchance
come to transact any go-between business? Because I must tell you I am
not available for anybody's purpose, thanks to the peerless beauty of my
lady Dulcinea del Toboso. In short, Senora Dona Rodriguez, if you will
leave out and put aside all love messages, you may go and light your
candle and come back, and we will discuss all the commands you have for
me and whatever you wish, saving only, as I said, all seductive
"I carry nobody's messages, senor," said the duenna; "little you know me.
Nay, I'm not far enough advanced in years to take to any such childish
tricks. God be praised I have a soul in my body still, and all my teeth
and grinders in my mouth, except one or two that the colds, so common in
this Aragon country, have robbed me of. But wait a little, while I go and
light my candle, and I will return immediately and lay my sorrows before
you as before one who relieves those of all the world;" and without
staying for an answer she quitted the room and left Don Quixote
tranquilly meditating while he waited for her. A thousand thoughts at
once suggested themselves to him on the subject of this new adventure,
and it struck him as being ill done and worse advised in him to expose
himself to the danger of breaking his plighted faith to his lady; and
said he to himself, "Who knows but that the devil, being wily and
cunning, may be trying now to entrap me with a duenna, having failed with
empresses, queens, duchesses, marchionesses, and countesses? Many a time
have I heard it said by many a man of sense that he will sooner offer you
a flat-nosed wench than a roman-nosed one; and who knows but this
privacy, this opportunity, this silence, may awaken my sleeping desires,
and lead me in these my latter years to fall where I have never tripped?
In cases of this sort it is better to flee than to await the battle. But
I must be out of my senses to think and utter such nonsense; for it is
impossible that a long, white-hooded spectacled duenna could stir up or
excite a wanton thought in the most graceless bosom in the world. Is
there a duenna on earth that has fair flesh? Is there a duenna in the
world that escapes being ill-tempered, wrinkled, and prudish? Avaunt,
then, ye duenna crew, undelightful to all mankind. Oh, but that lady did
well who, they say, had at the end of her reception room a couple of
figures of duennas with spectacles and lace-cushions, as if at work, and
those statues served quite as well to give an air of propriety to the
room as if they had been real duennas."
So saying he leaped off the bed, intending to close the door and not
allow Senora Rodriguez to enter; but as he went to shut it Senora
Rodriguez returned with a wax candle lighted, and having a closer view of
Don Quixote, with the coverlet round him, and his bandages and night-cap,
she was alarmed afresh, and retreating a couple of paces, exclaimed, "Am
I safe, sir knight? for I don't look upon it as a sign of very great
virtue that your worship should have got up out of bed."
"I may well ask the same, senora," said Don Quixote; "and I do ask
whether I shall be safe from being assailed and forced?"
"Of whom and against whom do you demand that security, sir knight?" said
"Of you and against you I ask it," said Don Quixote; "for I am not
marble, nor are you brass, nor is it now ten o'clock in the morning, but
midnight, or a trifle past it I fancy, and we are in a room more secluded
and retired than the cave could have been where the treacherous and
daring AEneas enjoyed the fair soft-hearted Dido. But give me your hand,
senora; I require no better protection than my own continence, and my own
sense of propriety; as well as that which is inspired by that venerable
head-dress;" and so saying he kissed her right hand and took it in his
own, she yielding it to him with equal ceremoniousness. And here Cide
Hamete inserts a parenthesis in which he says that to have seen the pair
marching from the door to the bed, linked hand in hand in this way, he
would have given the best of the two tunics he had.
Don Quixote finally got into bed, and Dona Rodriguez took her seat on a
chair at some little distance from his couch, without taking off her
spectacles or putting aside the candle. Don Quixote wrapped the
bedclothes round him and covered himself up completely, leaving nothing
but his face visible, and as soon as they had both regained their
composure he broke silence, saying, "Now, Senora Dona Rodriguez, you may
unbosom yourself and out with everything you have in your sorrowful heart
and afflicted bowels; and by me you shall be listened to with chaste
ears, and aided by compassionate exertions."
"I believe it," replied the duenna; "from your worship's gentle and
winning presence only such a Christian answer could be expected. The fact
is, then, Senor Don Quixote, that though you see me seated in this chair,
here in the middle of the kingdom of Aragon, and in the attire of a
despised outcast duenna, I am from the Asturias of Oviedo, and of a
family with which many of the best of the province are connected by
blood; but my untoward fate and the improvidence of my parents, who, I
know not how, were unseasonably reduced to poverty, brought me to the
court of Madrid, where as a provision and to avoid greater misfortunes,
my parents placed me as seamstress in the service of a lady of quality,
and I would have you know that for hemming and sewing I have never been
surpassed by any all my life. My parents left me in service and returned
to their own country, and a few years later went, no doubt, to heaven,
for they were excellent good Catholic Christians. I was left an orphan
with nothing but the miserable wages and trifling presents that are given
to servants of my sort in palaces; but about this time, without any
encouragement on my part, one of the esquires of the household fell in
love with me, a man somewhat advanced in years, full-bearded and
personable, and above all as good a gentleman as the king himself, for he
came of a mountain stock. We did not carry on our loves with such secrecy
but that they came to the knowledge of my lady, and she, not to have any
fuss about it, had us married with the full sanction of the holy mother
Roman Catholic Church, of which marriage a daughter was born to put an
end to my good fortune, if I had any; not that I died in childbirth, for
I passed through it safely and in due season, but because shortly
afterwards my husband died of a certain shock he received, and had I time
to tell you of it I know your worship would be surprised;" and here she
began to weep bitterly and said, "Pardon me, Senor Don Quixote, if I am
unable to control myself, for every time I think of my unfortunate
husband my eyes fill up with tears. God bless me, with what an air of
dignity he used to carry my lady behind him on a stout mule as black as
jet! for in those days they did not use coaches or chairs, as they say
they do now, and ladies rode behind their squires. This much at least I
cannot help telling you, that you may observe the good breeding and
punctiliousness of my worthy husband. As he was turning into the Calle de
Santiago in Madrid, which is rather narrow, one of the alcaldes of the
Court, with two alguacils before him, was coming out of it, and as soon
as my good squire saw him he wheeled his mule about and made as if he
would turn and accompany him. My lady, who was riding behind him, said to
him in a low voice, 'What are you about, you sneak, don't you see that I
am here?' The alcalde like a polite man pulled up his horse and said to
him, 'Proceed, senor, for it is I, rather, who ought to accompany my lady
Dona Casilda'--for that was my mistress's name. Still my husband, cap in
hand, persisted in trying to accompany the alcalde, and seeing this my
lady, filled with rage and vexation, pulled out a big pin, or, I rather
think, a bodkin, out of her needle-case and drove it into his back with
such force that my husband gave a loud yell, and writhing fell to the
ground with his lady. Her two lacqueys ran to rise her up, and the
alcalde and the alguacils did the same; the Guadalajara gate was all in
commotion--I mean the idlers congregated there; my mistress came back on
foot, and my husband hurried away to a barber's shop protesting that he
was run right through the guts. The courtesy of my husband was noised
abroad to such an extent, that the boys gave him no peace in the street;
and on this account, and because he was somewhat shortsighted, my lady
dismissed him; and it was chagrin at this I am convinced beyond a doubt
that brought on his death. I was left a helpless widow, with a daughter
on my hands growing up in beauty like the sea-foam; at length, however,
as I had the character of being an excellent needlewoman, my lady the
duchess, then lately married to my lord the duke, offered to take me with
her to this kingdom of Aragon, and my daughter also, and here as time
went by my daughter grew up and with her all the graces in the world; she
sings like a lark, dances quick as thought, foots it like a gipsy, reads
and writes like a schoolmaster, and does sums like a miser; of her
neatness I say nothing, for the running water is not purer, and her age
is now, if my memory serves me, sixteen years five months and three days,
one more or less. To come to the point, the son of a very rich farmer,
living in a village of my lord the duke's not very far from here, fell in
love with this girl of mine; and in short, how I know not, they came
together, and under the promise of marrying her he made a fool of my
daughter, and will not keep his word. And though my lord the duke is
aware of it (for I have complained to him, not once but many and many a
time, and entreated him to order the farmer to marry my daughter), he
turns a deaf ear and will scarcely listen to me; the reason being that as
the deceiver's father is so rich, and lends him money, and is constantly
going security for his debts, he does not like to offend or annoy him in
any way. Now, senor, I want your worship to take it upon yourself to
redress this wrong either by entreaty or by arms; for by what all the
world says you came into it to redress grievances and right wrongs and
help the unfortunate. Let your worship put before you the unprotected
condition of my daughter, her youth, and all the perfections I have said
she possesses; and before God and on my conscience, out of all the
damsels my lady has, there is not one that comes up to the sole of her
shoe, and the one they call Altisidora, and look upon as the boldest and
gayest of them, put in comparison with my daughter, does not come within
two leagues of her. For I would have you know, senor, all is not gold
that glitters, and that same little Altisidora has more forwardness than
good looks, and more impudence than modesty; besides being not very
sound, for she has such a disagreeable breath that one cannot bear to be
near her for a moment; and even my lady the duchess--but I'll hold my
tongue, for they say that walls have ears."
"For heaven's sake, Dona Rodriguez, what ails my lady the duchess?" asked
"Adjured in that way," replied the duenna, "I cannot help answering the
question and telling the whole truth. Senor Don Quixote, have you
observed the comeliness of my lady the duchess, that smooth complexion of
hers like a burnished polished sword, those two cheeks of milk and
carmine, that gay lively step with which she treads or rather seems to
spurn the earth, so that one would fancy she went radiating health
wherever she passed? Well then, let me tell you she may thank, first of
all God, for this, and next, two issues that she has, one in each leg, by
which all the evil humours, of which the doctors say she is full, are
"Blessed Virgin!" exclaimed Don Quixote; "and is it possible that my lady
the duchess has drains of that sort? I would not have believed it if the
barefoot friars had told it me; but as the lady Dona Rodriguez says so,
it must be so. But surely such issues, and in such places, do not
discharge humours, but liquid amber. Verily, I do believe now that this
practice of opening issues is a very important matter for the health."
Don Quixote had hardly said this, when the chamber door flew open with a
loud bang, and with the start the noise gave her Dona Rodriguez let the
candle fall from her hand, and the room was left as dark as a wolf's
mouth, as the saying is. Suddenly the poor duenna felt two hands seize
her by the throat, so tightly that she could not croak, while some one
else, without uttering a word, very briskly hoisted up her petticoats,
and with what seemed to be a slipper began to lay on so heartily that
anyone would have felt pity for her; but although Don Quixote felt it he
never stirred from his bed, but lay quiet and silent, nay apprehensive
that his turn for a drubbing might be coming. Nor was the apprehension an
idle one; one; for leaving the duenna (who did not dare to cry out) well
basted, the silent executioners fell upon Don Quixote, and stripping him
of the sheet and the coverlet, they pinched him so fast and so hard that
he was driven to defend himself with his fists, and all this in
marvellous silence. The battle lasted nearly half an hour, and then the
phantoms fled; Dona Rodriguez gathered up her skirts, and bemoaning her
fate went out without saying a word to Don Quixote, and he, sorely
pinched, puzzled, and dejected, remained alone, and there we will leave
him, wondering who could have been the perverse enchanter who had reduced
him to such a state; but that shall be told in due season, for Sancho
claims our attention, and the methodical arrangement of the story demands
OF WHAT HAPPENED SANCHO IN MAKING THE ROUND OF HIS ISLAND
We left the great governor angered and irritated by that
portrait-painting rogue of a farmer who, instructed the majordomo, as the
majordomo was by the duke, tried to practise upon him; he however, fool,
boor, and clown as he was, held his own against them all, saying to those
round him and to Doctor Pedro Recio, who as soon as the private business
of the duke's letter was disposed of had returned to the room, "Now I see
plainly enough that judges and governors ought to be and must be made of
brass not to feel the importunities of the applicants that at all times
and all seasons insist on being heard, and having their business
despatched, and their own affairs and no others attended to, come what
may; and if the poor judge does not hear them and settle the
matter--either because he cannot or because that is not the time set
apart for hearing them-forthwith they abuse him, and run him down, and
gnaw at his bones, and even pick holes in his pedigree. You silly, stupid
applicant, don't be in a hurry; wait for the proper time and season for
doing business; don't come at dinner-hour, or at bed-time; for judges are
only flesh and blood, and must give to Nature what she naturally demands
of them; all except myself, for in my case I give her nothing to eat,
thanks to Senor Doctor Pedro Recio Tirteafuera here, who would have me
die of hunger, and declares that death to be life; and the same sort of
life may God give him and all his kind--I mean the bad doctors; for the
good ones deserve palms and laurels."
All who knew Sancho Panza were astonished to hear him speak so elegantly,
and did not know what to attribute it to unless it were that office and
grave responsibility either smarten or stupefy men's wits. At last Doctor
Pedro Recio Agilers of Tirteafuera promised to let him have supper that
night though it might be in contravention of all the aphorisms of
Hippocrates. With this the governor was satisfied and looked forward to
the approach of night and supper-time with great anxiety; and though
time, to his mind, stood still and made no progress, nevertheless the
hour he so longed for came, and they gave him a beef salad with onions
and some boiled calves' feet rather far gone. At this he fell to with
greater relish than if they had given him francolins from Milan,
pheasants from Rome, veal from Sorrento, partridges from Moron, or geese
from Lavajos, and turning to the doctor at supper he said to him, "Look
here, senor doctor, for the future don't trouble yourself about giving me
dainty things or choice dishes to eat, for it will be only taking my
stomach off its hinges; it is accustomed to goat, cow, bacon, hung beef,
turnips and onions; and if by any chance it is given these palace dishes,
it receives them squeamishly, and sometimes with loathing. What the
head-carver had best do is to serve me with what they call ollas podridas
(and the rottener they are the better they smell); and he can put
whatever he likes into them, so long as it is good to eat, and I'll be
obliged to him, and will requite him some day. But let nobody play pranks
on me, for either we are or we are not; let us live and eat in peace and
good-fellowship, for when God sends the dawn, he sends it for all. I mean
to govern this island without giving up a right or taking a bribe; let
everyone keep his eye open, and look out for the arrow; for I can tell
them 'the devil's in Cantillana,' and if they drive me to it they'll see
something that will astonish them. Nay! make yourself honey and the flies
"Of a truth, senor governor," said the carver, "your worship is in the
right of it in everything you have said; and I promise you in the name of
all the inhabitants of this island that they will serve your worship with
all zeal, affection, and good-will, for the mild kind of government you
have given a sample of to begin with, leaves them no ground for doing or
thinking anything to your worship's disadvantage."
"That I believe," said Sancho; "and they would be great fools if they did
or thought otherwise; once more I say, see to my feeding and my Dapple's
for that is the great point and what is most to the purpose; and when the
hour comes let us go the rounds, for it is my intention to purge this
island of all manner of uncleanness and of all idle good-for-nothing
vagabonds; for I would have you know that lazy idlers are the same thing
in a State as the drones in a hive, that eat up the honey the industrious
bees make. I mean to protect the husbandman, to preserve to the gentleman
his privileges, to reward the virtuous, and above all to respect religion
and honour its ministers. What say you to that, my friends? Is there
anything in what I say, or am I talking to no purpose?"
"There is so much in what your worship says, senor governor," said the
majordomo, "that I am filled with wonder when I see a man like your
worship, entirely without learning (for I believe you have none at all),
say such things, and so full of sound maxims and sage remarks, very
different from what was expected of your worship's intelligence by those
who sent us or by us who came here. Every day we see something new in
this world; jokes become realities, and the jokers find the tables turned
Night came, and with the permission of Doctor Pedro Recio, the governor
had supper. They then got ready to go the rounds, and he started with the
majordomo, the secretary, the head-carver, the chronicler charged with
recording his deeds, and alguacils and notaries enough to form a
fair-sized squadron. In the midst marched Sancho with his staff, as fine
a sight as one could wish to see, and but a few streets of the town had
been traversed when they heard a noise as of a clashing of swords. They
hastened to the spot, and found that the combatants were but two, who
seeing the authorities approaching stood still, and one of them
exclaimed, "Help, in the name of God and the king! Are men to be allowed
to rob in the middle of this town, and rush out and attack people in the
"Be calm, my good man," said Sancho, "and tell me what the cause of this
quarrel is; for I am the governor."
Said the other combatant, "Senor governor, I will tell you in a very few
words. Your worship must know that this gentleman has just now won more
than a thousand reals in that gambling house opposite, and God knows how.
I was there, and gave more than one doubtful point in his favour, very
much against what my conscience told me. He made off with his winnings,
and when I made sure he was going to give me a crown or so at least by
way of a present, as it is usual and customary to give men of quality of
my sort who stand by to see fair or foul play, and back up swindles, and
prevent quarrels, he pocketed his money and left the house. Indignant at
this I followed him, and speaking him fairly and civilly asked him to
give me if it were only eight reals, for he knows I am an honest man and
that I have neither profession nor property, for my parents never brought
me up to any or left me any; but the rogue, who is a greater thief than
Cacus and a greater sharper than Andradilla, would not give me more than
four reals; so your worship may see how little shame and conscience he
has. But by my faith if you had not come up I'd have made him disgorge
his winnings, and he'd have learned what the range of the steel-yard
"What say you to this?" asked Sancho. The other replied that all his
antagonist said was true, and that he did not choose to give him more
than four reals because he very often gave him money; and that those who
expected presents ought to be civil and take what is given them with a
cheerful countenance, and not make any claim against winners unless they
know them for certain to be sharpers and their winnings to be unfairly
won; and that there could be no better proof that he himself was an
honest man than his having refused to give anything; for sharpers always
pay tribute to lookers-on who know them.
"That is true," said the majordomo; "let your worship consider what is to
be done with these men."
"What is to be done," said Sancho, "is this; you, the winner, be you
good, bad, or indifferent, give this assailant of yours a hundred reals
at once, and you must disburse thirty more for the poor prisoners; and
you who have neither profession nor property, and hang about the island
in idleness, take these hundred reals now, and some time of the day
to-morrow quit the island under sentence of banishment for ten years, and
under pain of completing it in another life if you violate the sentence,
for I'll hang you on a gibbet, or at least the hangman will by my orders;
not a word from either of you, or I'll make him feel my hand."
The one paid down the money and the other took it, and the latter quitted
the island, while the other went home; and then the governor said,
"Either I am not good for much, or I'll get rid of these gambling houses,
for it strikes me they are very mischievous."
"This one at least," said one of the notaries, "your worship will not be
able to get rid of, for a great man owns it, and what he loses every year
is beyond all comparison more than what he makes by the cards. On the
minor gambling houses your worship may exercise your power, and it is
they that do most harm and shelter the most barefaced practices; for in
the houses of lords and gentlemen of quality the notorious sharpers dare
not attempt to play their tricks; and as the vice of gambling has become
common, it is better that men should play in houses of repute than in
some tradesman's, where they catch an unlucky fellow in the small hours
of the morning and skin him alive."
"I know already, notary, that there is a good deal to be said on that
point," said Sancho.
And now a tipstaff came up with a young man in his grasp, and said,
"Senor governor, this youth was coming towards us, and as soon as he saw
the officers of justice he turned about and ran like a deer, a sure proof
that he must be some evil-doer; I ran after him, and had it not been that
he stumbled and fell, I should never have caught him."
"What did you run for, fellow?" said Sancho.
To which the young man replied, "Senor, it was to avoid answering all the
questions officers of justice put."
"What are you by trade?"
"And what do you weave?"
"Lance heads, with your worship's good leave."
"You're facetious with me! You plume yourself on being a wag? Very good;
and where were you going just now?"
"To take the air, senor."
"And where does one take the air in this island?"
"Where it blows."
"Good! your answers are very much to the point; you are a smart youth;
but take notice that I am the air, and that I blow upon you a-stern, and
send you to gaol. Ho there! lay hold of him and take him off; I'll make
him sleep there to-night without air."
"By God," said the young man, "your worship will make me sleep in gaol
just as soon as make me king."
"Why shan't I make thee sleep in gaol?" said Sancho. "Have I not the
power to arrest thee and release thee whenever I like?"
"All the power your worship has," said the young man, "won't be able to
make me sleep in gaol."
"How? not able!" said Sancho; "take him away at once where he'll see his
mistake with his own eyes, even if the gaoler is willing to exert his
interested generosity on his behalf; for I'll lay a penalty of two
thousand ducats on him if he allows him to stir a step from the prison."
"That's ridiculous," said the young man; "the fact is, all the men on
earth will not make me sleep in prison."
"Tell me, you devil," said Sancho, "have you got any angel that will
deliver you, and take off the irons I am going to order them to put upon
"Now, senor governor," said the young man in a sprightly manner, "let us
be reasonable and come to the point. Granted your worship may order me to
be taken to prison, and to have irons and chains put on me, and to be
shut up in a cell, and may lay heavy penalties on the gaoler if he lets
me out, and that he obeys your orders; still, if I don't choose to sleep,
and choose to remain awake all night without closing an eye, will your
worship with all your power be able to make me sleep if I don't choose?"
"No, truly," said the secretary, "and the fellow has made his point."
"So then," said Sancho, "it would be entirely of your own choice you
would keep from sleeping; not in opposition to my will?"
"No, senor," said the youth, "certainly not."
"Well then, go, and God be with you," said Sancho; "be off home to sleep,
and God give you sound sleep, for I don't want to rob you of it; but for
the future, let me advise you don't joke with the authorities, because
you may come across some one who will bring down the joke on your own
The young man went his way, and the governor continued his round, and
shortly afterwards two tipstaffs came up with a man in custody, and said,
"Senor governor, this person, who seems to be a man, is not so, but a
woman, and not an ill-favoured one, in man's clothes." They raised two or
three lanterns to her face, and by their light they distinguished the
features of a woman to all appearance of the age of sixteen or a little
more, with her hair gathered into a gold and green silk net, and fair as
a thousand pearls. They scanned her from head to foot, and observed that
she had on red silk stockings with garters of white taffety bordered with
gold and pearl; her breeches were of green and gold stuff, and under an
open jacket or jerkin of the same she wore a doublet of the finest white
and gold cloth; her shoes were white and such as men wear; she carried no
sword at her belt, but only a richly ornamented dagger, and on her
fingers she had several handsome rings. In short, the girl seemed fair to
look at in the eyes of all, and none of those who beheld her knew her,
the people of the town said they could not imagine who she was, and those
who were in the secret of the jokes that were to be practised upon Sancho
were the ones who were most surprised, for this incident or discovery had
not been arranged by them; and they watched anxiously to see how the
affair would end.
Sancho was fascinated by the girl's beauty, and he asked her who she was,
where she was going, and what had induced her to dress herself in that
garb. She with her eyes fixed on the ground answered in modest confusion,
"I cannot tell you, senor, before so many people what it is of such
consequence to me to have kept secret; one thing I wish to be known, that
I am no thief or evildoer, but only an unhappy maiden whom the power of
jealousy has led to break through the respect that is due to modesty."
Hearing this the majordomo said to Sancho, "Make the people stand back,
senor governor, that this lady may say what she wishes with less
Sancho gave the order, and all except the majordomo, the head-carver, and
the secretary fell back. Finding herself then in the presence of no more,
the damsel went on to say, "I am the daughter, sirs, of Pedro Perez
Mazorca, the wool-farmer of this town, who is in the habit of coming very
often to my father's house."
"That won't do, senora," said the majordomo; "for I know Pedro Perez very
well, and I know he has no child at all, either son or daughter; and
besides, though you say he is your father, you add then that he comes
very often to your father's house."
"I had already noticed that," said Sancho.
"I am confused just now, sirs," said the damsel, "and I don't know what I
am saying; but the truth is that I am the daughter of Diego de la Llana,
whom you must all know."
"Ay, that will do," said the majordomo; "for I know Diego de la Llana,
and know that he is a gentleman of position and a rich man, and that he
has a son and a daughter, and that since he was left a widower nobody in
all this town can speak of having seen his daughter's face; for he keeps
her so closely shut up that he does not give even the sun a chance of
seeing her; and for all that report says she is extremely beautiful."
"It is true," said the damsel, "and I am that daughter; whether report
lies or not as to my beauty, you, sirs, will have decided by this time,
as you have seen me;" and with this she began to weep bitterly.
On seeing this the secretary leant over to the head-carver's ear, and
said to him in a low voice, "Something serious has no doubt happened this
poor maiden, that she goes wandering from home in such a dress and at
such an hour, and one of her rank too." "There can be no doubt about it,"
returned the carver, "and moreover her tears confirm your suspicion."
Sancho gave her the best comfort he could, and entreated her to tell them
without any fear what had happened her, as they would all earnestly and
by every means in their power endeavour to relieve her.
"The fact is, sirs," said she, "that my father has kept me shut up these
ten years, for so long is it since the earth received my mother. Mass is
said at home in a sumptuous chapel, and all this time I have seen but the
sun in the heaven by day, and the moon and the stars by night; nor do I
know what streets are like, or plazas, or churches, or even men, except
my father and a brother I have, and Pedro Perez the wool-farmer; whom,
because he came frequently to our house, I took it into my head to call
my father, to avoid naming my own. This seclusion and the restrictions
laid upon my going out, were it only to church, have been keeping me
unhappy for many a day and month past; I longed to see the world, or at
least the town where I was born, and it did not seem to me that this wish
was inconsistent with the respect maidens of good quality should have for
themselves. When I heard them talking of bull-fights taking place, and of
javelin games, and of acting plays, I asked my brother, who is a year
younger than myself, to tell me what sort of things these were, and many
more that I had never seen; he explained them to me as well as he could,
but the only effect was to kindle in me a still stronger desire to see
them. At last, to cut short the story of my ruin, I begged and entreated
my brother--O that I had never made such an entreaty-" And once more she
gave way to a burst of weeping.
"Proceed, senora," said the majordomo, "and finish your story of what has
happened to you, for your words and tears are keeping us all in
"I have but little more to say, though many a tear to shed," said the
damsel; "for ill-placed desires can only be paid for in some such way."
The maiden's beauty had made a deep impression on the head-carver's
heart, and he again raised his lantern for another look at her, and
thought they were not tears she was shedding, but seed-pearl or dew of
the meadow, nay, he exalted them still higher, and made Oriental pearls
of them, and fervently hoped her misfortune might not be so great a one
as her tears and sobs seemed to indicate. The governor was losing
patience at the length of time the girl was taking to tell her story, and
told her not to keep them waiting any longer; for it was late, and there
still remained a good deal of the town to be gone over.
She, with broken sobs and half-suppressed sighs, went on to say, "My
misfortune, my misadventure, is simply this, that I entreated my brother
to dress me up as a man in a suit of his clothes, and take me some night,
when our father was asleep, to see the whole town; he, overcome by my
entreaties, consented, and dressing me in this suit and himself in
clothes of mine that fitted him as if made for him (for he has not a hair
on his chin, and might pass for a very beautiful young girl), to-night,
about an hour ago, more or less, we left the house, and guided by our
youthful and foolish impulse we made the circuit of the whole town, and
then, as we were about to return home, we saw a great troop of people
coming, and my brother said to me, 'Sister, this must be the round, stir
your feet and put wings to them, and follow me as fast as you can, lest
they recognise us, for that would be a bad business for us;' and so
saying he turned about and began, I cannot say to run but to fly; in less
than six paces I fell from fright, and then the officer of justice came
up and carried me before your worships, where I find myself put to shame
before all these people as whimsical and vicious."
"So then, senora," said Sancho, "no other mishap has befallen you, nor
was it jealousy that made you leave home, as you said at the beginning of
"Nothing has happened me," said she, "nor was it jealousy that brought me
out, but merely a longing to see the world, which did not go beyond
seeing the streets of this town."
The appearance of the tipstaffs with her brother in custody, whom one of
them had overtaken as he ran away from his sister, now fully confirmed
the truth of what the damsel said. He had nothing on but a rich petticoat
and a short blue damask cloak with fine gold lace, and his head was
uncovered and adorned only with its own hair, which looked like rings of
gold, so bright and curly was it. The governor, the majordomo, and the
carver went aside with him, and, unheard by his sister, asked him how he
came to be in that dress, and he with no less shame and embarrassment
told exactly the same story as his sister, to the great delight of the
enamoured carver; the governor, however, said to them, "In truth, young
lady and gentleman, this has been a very childish affair, and to explain
your folly and rashness there was no necessity for all this delay and all
these tears and sighs; for if you had said we are so-and-so, and we
escaped from our father's house in this way in order to ramble about, out
of mere curiosity and with no other object, there would have been an end
of the matter, and none of these little sobs and tears and all the rest
"That is true," said the damsel, "but you see the confusion I was in was
so great it did not let me behave as I ought."
"No harm has been done," said Sancho; "come, we will leave you at your
father's house; perhaps they will not have missed you; and another time
don't be so childish or eager to see the world; for a respectable damsel
should have a broken leg and keep at home; and the woman and the hen by
gadding about are soon lost; and she who is eager to see is also eager to
be seen; I say no more."
The youth thanked the governor for his kind offer to take them home, and
they directed their steps towards the house, which was not far off. On
reaching it the youth threw a pebble up at a grating, and immediately a
woman-servant who was waiting for them came down and opened the door to
them, and they went in, leaving the party marvelling as much at their
grace and beauty as at the fancy they had for seeing the world by night
and without quitting the village; which, however, they set down to their
The head-carver was left with a heart pierced through and through, and he
made up his mind on the spot to demand the damsel in marriage of her
father on the morrow, making sure she would not be refused him as he was
a servant of the duke's; and even to Sancho ideas and schemes of marrying
the youth to his daughter Sanchica suggested themselves, and he resolved
to open the negotiation at the proper season, persuading himself that no
husband could be refused to a governor's daughter. And so the night's
round came to an end, and a couple of days later the government, whereby
all his plans were overthrown and swept away, as will be seen farther on.
WHEREIN IS SET FORTH WHO THE ENCHANTERS AND EXECUTIONERS WERE WHO FLOGGED
THE DUENNA AND PINCHED DON QUIXOTE, AND ALSO WHAT BEFELL THE PAGE WHO
CARRIED THE LETTER TO TERESA PANZA, SANCHO PANZA'S WIFE
Cide Hamete, the painstaking investigator of the minute points of this
veracious history, says that when Dona Rodriguez left her own room to go
to Don Quixote's, another duenna who slept with her observed her, and as
all duennas are fond of prying, listening, and sniffing, she followed her
so silently that the good Rodriguez never perceived it; and as soon as
the duenna saw her enter Don Quixote's room, not to fail in a duenna's
invariable practice of tattling, she hurried off that instant to report
to the duchess how Dona Rodriguez was closeted with Don Quixote. The
duchess told the duke, and asked him to let her and Altisidora go and see
what the said duenna wanted with Don Quixote. The duke gave them leave,
and the pair cautiously and quietly crept to the door of the room and
posted themselves so close to it that they could hear all that was said
inside. But when the duchess heard how the Rodriguez had made public the
Aranjuez of her issues she could not restrain herself, nor Altisidora
either; and so, filled with rage and thirsting for vengeance, they burst
into the room and tormented Don Quixote and flogged the duenna in the
manner already described; for indignities offered to their charms and
self-esteem mightily provoke the anger of women and make them eager for
revenge. The duchess told the duke what had happened, and he was much
amused by it; and she, in pursuance of her design of making merry and
diverting herself with Don Quixote, despatched the page who had played
the part of Dulcinea in the negotiations for her disenchantment (which
Sancho Panza in the cares of government had forgotten all about) to
Teresa Panza his wife with her husband's letter and another from herself,
and also a great string of fine coral beads as a present.
Now the history says this page was very sharp and quick-witted; and eager
to serve his lord and lady he set off very willingly for Sancho's
village. Before he entered it he observed a number of women washing in a
brook, and asked them if they could tell him whether there lived there a
woman of the name of Teresa Panza, wife of one Sancho Panza, squire to a
knight called Don Quixote of La Mancha. At the question a young girl who
was washing stood up and said, "Teresa Panza is my mother, and that
Sancho is my father, and that knight is our master."
"Well then, miss," said the page, "come and show me where your mother is,
for I bring her a letter and a present from your father."
"That I will with all my heart, senor," said the girl, who seemed to be
about fourteen, more or less; and leaving the clothes she was washing to
one of her companions, and without putting anything on her head or feet,
for she was bare-legged and had her hair hanging about her, away she
skipped in front of the page's horse, saying, "Come, your worship, our
house is at the entrance of the town, and my mother is there, sorrowful
enough at not having had any news of my father this ever so long."
"Well," said the page, "I am bringing her such good news that she will
have reason to thank God."
And then, skipping, running, and capering, the girl reached the town, but
before going into the house she called out at the door, "Come out, mother
Teresa, come out, come out; here's a gentleman with letters and other
things from my good father." At these words her mother Teresa Panza came
out spinning a bundle of flax, in a grey petticoat (so short was it one
would have fancied "they to her shame had cut it short"), a grey bodice
of the same stuff, and a smock. She was not very old, though plainly past
forty, strong, healthy, vigorous, and sun-dried; and seeing her daughter
and the page on horseback, she exclaimed, "What's this, child? What
gentleman is this?"
"A servant of my lady, Dona Teresa Panza," replied the page; and suiting
the action to the word he flung himself off his horse, and with great
humility advanced to kneel before the lady Teresa, saying, "Let me kiss
your hand, Senora Dona Teresa, as the lawful and only wife of Senor Don
Sancho Panza, rightful governor of the island of Barataria."
"Ah, senor, get up, do that," said Teresa; "for I'm not a bit of a court
lady, but only a poor country woman, the daughter of a clodcrusher, and
the wife of a squire-errant and not of any governor at all."
"You are," said the page, "the most worthy wife of a most arch-worthy
governor; and as a proof of what I say accept this letter and this
present;" and at the same time he took out of his pocket a string of
coral beads with gold clasps, and placed it on her neck, and said, "This
letter is from his lordship the governor, and the other as well as these
coral beads from my lady the duchess, who sends me to your worship."
Teresa stood lost in astonishment, and her daughter just as much, and the
girl said, "May I die but our master Don Quixote's at the bottom of this;
he must have given father the government or county he so often promised
"That is the truth," said the page; "for it is through Senor Don Quixote
that Senor Sancho is now governor of the island of Barataria, as will be
seen by this letter."
"Will your worship read it to me, noble sir?" said Teresa; "for though I
can spin I can't read, not a scrap."
"Nor I either," said Sanchica; "but wait a bit, and I'll go and fetch
some one who can read it, either the curate himself or the bachelor
Samson Carrasco, and they'll come gladly to hear any news of my father."
"There is no need to fetch anybody," said the page; "for though I can't
spin I can read, and I'll read it;" and so he read it through, but as it
has been already given it is not inserted here; and then he took out the
other one from the duchess, which ran as follows:
Friend Teresa,--Your husband Sancho's good qualities, of heart as well as
of head, induced and compelled me to request my husband the duke to give
him the government of one of his many islands. I am told he governs like
a gerfalcon, of which I am very glad, and my lord the duke, of course,
also; and I am very thankful to heaven that I have not made a mistake in
choosing him for that same government; for I would have Senora Teresa
know that a good governor is hard to find in this world and may God make
me as good as Sancho's way of governing. Herewith I send you, my dear, a
string of coral beads with gold clasps; I wish they were Oriental pearls;
but "he who gives thee a bone does not wish to see thee dead;" a time
will come when we shall become acquainted and meet one another, but God
knows the future. Commend me to your daughter Sanchica, and tell her from
me to hold herself in readiness, for I mean to make a high match for her
when she least expects it. They tell me there are big acorns in your
village; send me a couple of dozen or so, and I shall value them greatly
as coming from your hand; and write to me at length to assure me of your
health and well-being; and if there be anything you stand in need of, it
is but to open your mouth, and that shall be the measure; and so God keep
From this place. Your loving friend, THE DUCHESS.
"Ah, what a good, plain, lowly lady!" said Teresa when she heard the
letter; "that I may be buried with ladies of that sort, and not the
gentlewomen we have in this town, that fancy because they are gentlewomen
the wind must not touch them, and go to church with as much airs as if
they were queens, no less, and seem to think they are disgraced if they
look at a farmer's wife! And see here how this good lady, for all she's a
duchess, calls me 'friend,' and treats me as if I was her equal--and
equal may I see her with the tallest church-tower in La Mancha! And as
for the acorns, senor, I'll send her ladyship a peck and such big ones
that one might come to see them as a show and a wonder. And now,
Sanchica, see that the gentleman is comfortable; put up his horse, and
get some eggs out of the stable, and cut plenty of bacon, and let's give
him his dinner like a prince; for the good news he has brought, and his
own bonny face deserve it all; and meanwhile I'll run out and give the
neighbours the news of our good luck, and father curate, and Master
Nicholas the barber, who are and always have been such friends of thy
"That I will, mother," said Sanchica; "but mind, you must give me half of
that string; for I don't think my lady the duchess could have been so
stupid as to send it all to you."
"It is all for thee, my child," said Teresa; "but let me wear it round my
neck for a few days; for verily it seems to make my heart glad."
"You will be glad too," said the page, "when you see the bundle there is
in this portmanteau, for it is a suit of the finest cloth, that the
governor only wore one day out hunting and now sends, all for Senora
"May he live a thousand years," said Sanchica, "and the bearer as many,
nay two thousand, if needful."
With this Teresa hurried out of the house with the letters, and with the
string of beads round her neck, and went along thrumming the letters as
if they were a tambourine, and by chance coming across the curate and
Samson Carrasco she began capering and saying, "None of us poor now,
faith! We've got a little government! Ay, let the finest fine lady tackle
me, and I'll give her a setting down!"
"What's all this, Teresa Panza," said they; "what madness is this, and
what papers are those?"
"The madness is only this," said she, "that these are the letters of
duchesses and governors, and these I have on my neck are fine coral
beads, with ave-marias and paternosters of beaten gold, and I am a
"God help us," said the curate, "we don't understand you, Teresa, or know
what you are talking about."
"There, you may see it yourselves," said Teresa, and she handed them the
The curate read them out for Samson Carrasco to hear, and Samson and he
regarded one another with looks of astonishment at what they had read,
and the bachelor asked who had brought the letters. Teresa in reply bade
them come with her to her house and they would see the messenger, a most
elegant youth, who had brought another present which was worth as much
more. The curate took the coral beads from her neck and examined them
again and again, and having satisfied himself as to their fineness he
fell to wondering afresh, and said, "By the gown I wear I don't know what
to say or think of these letters and presents; on the one hand I can see
and feel the fineness of these coral beads, and on the other I read how a
duchess sends to beg for a couple of dozen of acorns."
"Square that if you can," said Carrasco; "well, let's go and see the
messenger, and from him we'll learn something about this mystery that has
They did so, and Teresa returned with them. They found the page sifting a
little barley for his horse, and Sanchica cutting a rasher of bacon to be
paved with eggs for his dinner. His looks and his handsome apparel
pleased them both greatly; and after they had saluted him courteously,
and he them, Samson begged him to give them his news, as well of Don
Quixote as of Sancho Panza, for, he said, though they had read the
letters from Sancho and her ladyship the duchess, they were still puzzled
and could not make out what was meant by Sancho's government, and above
all of an island, when all or most of those in the Mediterranean belonged
to his Majesty.
To this the page replied, "As to Senor Sancho Panza's being a governor
there is no doubt whatever; but whether it is an island or not that he
governs, with that I have nothing to do; suffice it that it is a town of
more than a thousand inhabitants; with regard to the acorns I may tell
you my lady the duchess is so unpretending and unassuming that, not to
speak of sending to beg for acorns from a peasant woman, she has been
known to send to ask for the loan of a comb from one of her neighbours;
for I would have your worships know that the ladies of Aragon, though
they are just as illustrious, are not so punctilious and haughty as the
Castilian ladies; they treat people with greater familiarity."
In the middle of this conversation Sanchica came in with her skirt full
of eggs, and said she to the page, "Tell me, senor, does my father wear
trunk-hose since he has been governor?"
"I have not noticed," said the page; "but no doubt he wears them."
"Ah! my God!" said Sanchica, "what a sight it must be to see my father in
tights! Isn't it odd that ever since I was born I have had a longing to
see my father in trunk-hose?"
"As things go you will see that if you live," said the page; "by God he
is in the way to take the road with a sunshade if the government only
lasts him two months more."
The curate and the bachelor could see plainly enough that the page spoke
in a waggish vein; but the fineness of the coral beads, and the hunting
suit that Sancho sent (for Teresa had already shown it to them) did away
with the impression; and they could not help laughing at Sanchica's wish,
and still more when Teresa said, "Senor curate, look about if there's
anybody here going to Madrid or Toledo, to buy me a hooped petticoat, a
proper fashionable one of the best quality; for indeed and indeed I must
do honour to my husband's government as well as I can; nay, if I am put
to it and have to, I'll go to Court and set a coach like all the world;
for she who has a governor for her husband may very well have one and
"And why not, mother!" said Sanchica; "would to God it were to-day
instead of to-morrow, even though they were to say when they saw me
seated in the coach with my mother, 'See that rubbish, that
garlic-stuffed fellow's daughter, how she goes stretched at her ease in a
coach as if she was a she-pope!' But let them tramp through the mud, and
let me go in my coach with my feet off the ground. Bad luck to backbiters
all over the world; 'let me go warm and the people may laugh.' Do I say
"To be sure you do, my child," said Teresa; "and all this good luck, and
even more, my good Sancho foretold me; and thou wilt see, my daughter, he
won't stop till he has made me a countess; for to make a beginning is
everything in luck; and as I have heard thy good father say many a time
(for besides being thy father he's the father of proverbs too), 'When
they offer thee a heifer, run with a halter; when they offer thee a
government, take it; when they would give thee a county, seize it; when
they say, "Here, here!" to thee with something good, swallow it.' Oh no!
go to sleep, and don't answer the strokes of good fortune and the lucky
chances that are knocking at the door of your house!"
"And what do I care," added Sanchica, "whether anybody says when he sees
me holding my head up, 'The dog saw himself in hempen breeches,' and the
rest of it?"
Hearing this the curate said, "I do believe that all this family of the
Panzas are born with a sackful of proverbs in their insides, every one of
them; I never saw one of them that does not pour them out at all times
and on all occasions."
"That is true," said the page, "for Senor Governor Sancho utters them at
every turn; and though a great many of them are not to the purpose, still
they amuse one, and my lady the duchess and the duke praise them highly."
"Then you still maintain that all this about Sancho's government is true,
senor," said the bachelor, "and that there actually is a duchess who
sends him presents and writes to him? Because we, although we have
handled the present and read the letters, don't believe it and suspect it
to be something in the line of our fellow-townsman Don Quixote, who
fancies that everything is done by enchantment; and for this reason I am
almost ready to say that I'd like to touch and feel your worship to see
whether you are a mere ambassador of the imagination or a man of flesh
"All I know, sirs," replied the page, "is that I am a real ambassador,
and that Senor Sancho Panza is governor as a matter of fact, and that my
lord and lady the duke and duchess can give, and have given him this same
government, and that I have heard the said Sancho Panza bears himself
very stoutly therein; whether there be any enchantment in all this or
not, it is for your worships to settle between you; for that's all I know
by the oath I swear, and that is by the life of my parents whom I have
still alive, and love dearly."
"It may be so," said the bachelor; "but dubitat Augustinus."
"Doubt who will," said the page; "what I have told you is the truth, and
that will always rise above falsehood as oil above water; if not operibus
credite, et non verbis. Let one of you come with me, and he will see with
his eyes what he does not believe with his ears."
"It's for me to make that trip," said Sanchica; "take me with you, senor,
behind you on your horse; for I'll go with all my heart to see my
"Governors' daughters," said the page, "must not travel along the roads
alone, but accompanied by coaches and litters and a great number of
"By God," said Sanchica, "I can go just as well mounted on a she-ass as
in a coach; what a dainty lass you must take me for!"
"Hush, girl," said Teresa; "you don't know what you're talking about; the
gentleman is quite right, for 'as the time so the behaviour;' when it was
Sancho it was 'Sancha;' when it is governor it's 'senora;' I don't know
if I'm right."
"Senora Teresa says more than she is aware of," said the page; "and now
give me something to eat and let me go at once, for I mean to return this
"Come and do penance with me," said the curate at this; "for Senora
Teresa has more will than means to serve so worthy a guest."
The page refused, but had to consent at last for his own sake; and the
curate took him home with him very gladly, in order to have an
opportunity of questioning him at leisure about Don Quixote and his
doings. The bachelor offered to write the letters in reply for Teresa;
but she did not care to let him mix himself up in her affairs, for she
thought him somewhat given to joking; and so she gave a cake and a couple
of eggs to a young acolyte who was a penman, and he wrote for her two
letters, one for her husband and the other for the duchess, dictated out
of her own head, which are not the worst inserted in this great history,
as will be seen farther on.
OF THE PROGRESS OF SANCHO'S GOVERNMENT, AND OTHER SUCH ENTERTAINING
Day came after the night of the governor's round; a night which the
head-carver passed without sleeping, so were his thoughts of the face and
air and beauty of the disguised damsel, while the majordomo spent what
was left of it in writing an account to his lord and lady of all Sancho
said and did, being as much amazed at his sayings as at his doings, for
there was a mixture of shrewdness and simplicity in all his words and
deeds. The senor governor got up, and by Doctor Pedro Recio's directions
they made him break his fast on a little conserve and four sups of cold
water, which Sancho would have readily exchanged for a piece of bread and
a bunch of grapes; but seeing there was no help for it, he submitted with
no little sorrow of heart and discomfort of stomach; Pedro Recio having
persuaded him that light and delicate diet enlivened the wits, and that
was what was most essential for persons placed in command and in
responsible situations, where they have to employ not only the bodily
powers but those of the mind also.
By means of this sophistry Sancho was made to endure hunger, and hunger
so keen that in his heart he cursed the government, and even him who had
given it to him; however, with his hunger and his conserve he undertook
to deliver judgments that day, and the first thing that came before him
was a question that was submitted to him by a stranger, in the presence
of the majordomo and the other attendants, and it was in these words:
"Senor, a large river separated two districts of one and the same
lordship--will your worship please to pay attention, for the case is an
important and a rather knotty one? Well then, on this river there was a
bridge, and at one end of it a gallows, and a sort of tribunal, where
four judges commonly sat to administer the law which the lord of river,
bridge and the lordship had enacted, and which was to this effect, 'If
anyone crosses by this bridge from one side to the other he shall declare
on oath where he is going to and with what object; and if he swears
truly, he shall be allowed to pass, but if falsely, he shall be put to
death for it by hanging on the gallows erected there, without any
remission.' Though the law and its severe penalty were known, many
persons crossed, but in their declarations it was easy to see at once
they were telling the truth, and the judges let them pass free. It
happened, however, that one man, when they came to take his declaration,
swore and said that by the oath he took he was going to die upon that
gallows that stood there, and nothing else. The judges held a
consultation over the oath, and they said, 'If we let this man pass free
he has sworn falsely, and by the law he ought to die; but if we hang him,
as he swore he was going to die on that gallows, and therefore swore the
truth, by the same law he ought to go free.' It is asked of your worship,
senor governor, what are the judges to do with this man? For they are
still in doubt and perplexity; and having heard of your worship's acute
and exalted intellect, they have sent me to entreat your worship on their
behalf to give your opinion on this very intricate and puzzling case."
To this Sancho made answer, "Indeed those gentlemen the judges that send
you to me might have spared themselves the trouble, for I have more of
the obtuse than the acute in me; but repeat the case over again, so that
I may understand it, and then perhaps I may be able to hit the point."