Produced by David Widger
by Miguel de Cervantes
Translated by John Ormsby
OF WHAT HAPPENED SANCHO IN MAKING THE ROUND OF HIS ISLAND
We left the great governor angered and irritated by that portrait-painting rogue of a farmer who, instructed the majordomo, as the majordomo was by the duke, tried to practise upon him; he however, fool, boor, and clown as he was, held his own against them all, saying to those round him and to Doctor Pedro Recio, who as soon as the private business of the duke’s letter was disposed of had returned to the room, “Now I see plainly enough that judges and governors ought to be and must be made of brass not to feel the importunities of the applicants that at all times and all seasons insist on being heard, and having their business despatched, and their own affairs and no others attended to, come what may; and if the poor judge does not hear them and settle the matter–either because he cannot or because that is not the time set apart for hearing them-forthwith they abuse him, and run him down, and gnaw at his bones, and even pick holes in his pedigree. You silly, stupid applicant, don’t be in a hurry; wait for the proper time and season for doing business; don’t come at dinner-hour, or at bed-time; for judges are only flesh and blood, and must give to Nature what she naturally demands of them; all except myself, for in my case I give her nothing to eat, thanks to Senor Doctor Pedro Recio Tirteafuera here, who would have me die of hunger, and declares that death to be life; and the same sort of life may God give him and all his kind–I mean the bad doctors; for the good ones deserve palms and laurels.”
All who knew Sancho Panza were astonished to hear him speak so elegantly, and did not know what to attribute it to unless it were that office and grave responsibility either smarten or stupefy men’s wits. At last Doctor Pedro Recio Agilers of Tirteafuera promised to let him have supper that night though it might be in contravention of all the aphorisms of Hippocrates. With this the governor was satisfied and looked forward to the approach of night and supper-time with great anxiety; and though time, to his mind, stood still and made no progress, nevertheless the hour he so longed for came, and they gave him a beef salad with onions and some boiled calves’ feet rather far gone. At this he fell to with greater relish than if they had given him francolins from Milan, pheasants from Rome, veal from Sorrento, partridges from Moron, or geese from Lavajos, and turning to the doctor at supper he said to him, “Look here, senor doctor, for the future don’t trouble yourself about giving me dainty things or choice dishes to eat, for it will be only taking my stomach off its hinges; it is accustomed to goat, cow, bacon, hung beef, turnips and onions; and if by any chance it is given these palace dishes, it receives them squeamishly, and sometimes with loathing. What the head-carver had best do is to serve me with what they call ollas podridas (and the rottener they are the better they smell); and he can put whatever he likes into them, so long as it is good to eat, and I’ll be obliged to him, and will requite him some day. But let nobody play pranks on me, for either we are or we are not; let us live and eat in peace and good-fellowship, for when God sends the dawn, he sends it for all. I mean to govern this island without giving up a right or taking a bribe; let everyone keep his eye open, and look out for the arrow; for I can tell them ‘the devil’s in Cantillana,’ and if they drive me to it they’ll see something that will astonish them. Nay! make yourself honey and the flies eat you.”
“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 upon them.”
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 very streets?”
“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 was.”
“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 you?”
“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 skull.”
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 embarrassment.”
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 suspense.”
“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 your story?”
“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 of it.”
“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 youth.
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 him.”
“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 you.
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 father’s.”
“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 Sanchica.”
“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 governess.”
“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 letters.
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 turned up.”
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 keep one.”
“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 right, mother?”
“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 and blood.”
“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 father.”
“Governors’ daughters,” said the page, “must not travel along the roads alone, but accompanied by coaches and litters and a great number of attendants.”
“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 evening.”
“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 MATTERS
Day came after the night of the governor’s round; a night which the head-carver passed without sleeping, so were his thoughts of the face and air and beauty of the disguised damsel, while the majordomo spent what was left of it in writing an account to his lord and lady of all Sancho said and did, being as much amazed at his sayings as at his doings, for there was a mixture of shrewdness and simplicity in all his words and deeds. The senor governor got up, and by Doctor Pedro Recio’s directions they made him break his fast on a little conserve and four sups of cold water, which Sancho would have readily exchanged for a piece of bread and a bunch of grapes; but seeing there was no help for it, he submitted with no little sorrow of heart and discomfort of stomach; Pedro Recio having persuaded him that light and delicate diet enlivened the wits, and that was what was most essential for persons placed in command and in responsible situations, where they have to employ not only the bodily powers but those of the mind also.
By means of this sophistry Sancho was made to endure hunger, and hunger so keen that in his heart he cursed the government, and even him who had given it to him; however, with his hunger and his conserve he undertook to deliver judgments that day, and the first thing that came before him was a question that was submitted to him by a stranger, in the presence of the majordomo and the other attendants, and it was in these words: “Senor, a large river separated two districts of one and the same lordship–will your worship please to pay attention, for the case is an important and a rather knotty one? Well then, on this river there was a bridge, and at one end of it a gallows, and a sort of tribunal, where four judges commonly sat to administer the law which the lord of river, bridge and the lordship had enacted, and which was to this effect, ‘If anyone crosses by this bridge from one side to the other he shall declare on oath where he is going to and with what object; and if he swears truly, he shall be allowed to pass, but if falsely, he shall be put to death for it by hanging on the gallows erected there, without any remission.’ Though the law and its severe penalty were known, many persons crossed, but in their declarations it was easy to see at once they were telling the truth, and the judges let them pass free. It happened, however, that one man, when they came to take his declaration, swore and said that by the oath he took he was going to die upon that gallows that stood there, and nothing else. The judges held a consultation over the oath, and they said, ‘If we let this man pass free he has sworn falsely, and by the law he ought to die; but if we hang him, as he swore he was going to die on that gallows, and therefore swore the truth, by the same law he ought to go free.’ It is asked of your worship, senor governor, what are the judges to do with this man? For they are still in doubt and perplexity; and having heard of your worship’s acute and exalted intellect, they have sent me to entreat your worship on their behalf to give your opinion on this very intricate and puzzling case.”
To this Sancho made answer, “Indeed those gentlemen the judges that send you to me might have spared themselves the trouble, for I have more of the obtuse than the acute in me; but repeat the case over again, so that I may understand it, and then perhaps I may be able to hit the point.”
The querist repeated again and again what he had said before, and then Sancho said, “It seems to me I can set the matter right in a moment, and in this way; the man swears that he is going to die upon the gallows; but if he dies upon it, he has sworn the truth, and by the law enacted deserves to go free and pass over the bridge; but if they don’t hang him, then he has sworn falsely, and by the same law deserves to be hanged.”
“It is as the senor governor says,” said the messenger; “and as regards a complete comprehension of the case, there is nothing left to desire or hesitate about.”
“Well then I say,” said Sancho, “that of this man they should let pass the part that has sworn truly, and hang the part that has lied; and in this way the conditions of the passage will be fully complied with.”
“But then, senor governor,” replied the querist, “the man will have to be divided into two parts; and if he is divided of course he will die; and so none of the requirements of the law will be carried out, and it is absolutely necessary to comply with it.”
“Look here, my good sir,” said Sancho; “either I’m a numskull or else there is the same reason for this passenger dying as for his living and passing over the bridge; for if the truth saves him the falsehood equally condemns him; and that being the case it is my opinion you should say to the gentlemen who sent you to me that as the arguments for condemning him and for absolving him are exactly balanced, they should let him pass freely, as it is always more praiseworthy to do good than to do evil; this I would give signed with my name if I knew how to sign; and what I have said in this case is not out of my own head, but one of the many precepts my master Don Quixote gave me the night before I left to become governor of this island, that came into my mind, and it was this, that when there was any doubt about the justice of a case I should lean to mercy; and it is God’s will that I should recollect it now, for it fits this case as if it was made for it.”
“That is true,” said the majordomo; “and I maintain that Lycurgus himself, who gave laws to the Lacedemonians, could not have pronounced a better decision than the great Panza has given; let the morning’s audience close with this, and I will see that the senor governor has dinner entirely to his liking.”
“That’s all I ask for–fair play,” said Sancho; “give me my dinner, and then let it rain cases and questions on me, and I’ll despatch them in a twinkling.”
The majordomo kept his word, for he felt it against his conscience to kill so wise a governor by hunger; particularly as he intended to have done with him that same night, playing off the last joke he was commissioned to practise upon him.
It came to pass, then, that after he had dined that day, in opposition to the rules and aphorisms of Doctor Tirteafuera, as they were taking away the cloth there came a courier with a letter from Don Quixote for the governor. Sancho ordered the secretary to read it to himself, and if there was nothing in it that demanded secrecy to read it aloud. The secretary did so, and after he had skimmed the contents he said, “It may well be read aloud, for what Senor Don Quixote writes to your worship deserves to be printed or written in letters of gold, and it is as follows.”
DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA’S LETTER TO SANCHO PANZA, GOVERNOR OF THE ISLAND OF BARATARIA.
When I was expecting to hear of thy stupidities and blunders, friend Sancho, I have received intelligence of thy displays of good sense, for which I give special thanks to heaven that can raise the poor from the dunghill and of fools to make wise men. They tell me thou dost govern as if thou wert a man, and art a man as if thou wert a beast, so great is the humility wherewith thou dost comport thyself. But I would have thee bear in mind, Sancho, that very often it is fitting and necessary for the authority of office to resist the humility of the heart; for the seemly array of one who is invested with grave duties should be such as they require and not measured by what his own humble tastes may lead him to prefer. Dress well; a stick dressed up does not look like a stick; I do not say thou shouldst wear trinkets or fine raiment, or that being a judge thou shouldst dress like a soldier, but that thou shouldst array thyself in the apparel thy office requires, and that at the same time it be neat and handsome. To win the good-will of the people thou governest there are two things, among others, that thou must do; one is to be civil to all (this, however, I told thee before), and the other to take care that food be abundant, for there is nothing that vexes the heart of the poor more than hunger and high prices. Make not many proclamations; but those thou makest take care that they be good ones, and above all that they be observed and carried out; for proclamations that are not observed are the same as if they did not exist; nay, they encourage the idea that the prince who had the wisdom and authority to make them had not the power to enforce them; and laws that threaten and are not enforced come to be like the log, the king of the frogs, that frightened them at first, but that in time they despised and mounted upon. Be a father to virtue and a stepfather to vice. Be not always strict, nor yet always lenient, but observe a mean between these two extremes, for in that is the aim of wisdom. Visit the gaols, the slaughter-houses, and the market-places; for the presence of the governor is of great importance in such places; it comforts the prisoners who are in hopes of a speedy release, it is the bugbear of the butchers who have then to give just weight, and it is the terror of the market-women for the same reason. Let it not be seen that thou art (even if perchance thou art, which I do not believe) covetous, a follower of women, or a glutton; for when the people and those that have dealings with thee become aware of thy special weakness they will bring their batteries to bear upon thee in that quarter, till they have brought thee down to the depths of perdition. Consider and reconsider, con and con over again the advices and the instructions I gave thee before thy departure hence to thy government, and thou wilt see that in them, if thou dost follow them, thou hast a help at hand that will lighten for thee the troubles and difficulties that beset governors at every step. Write to thy lord and lady and show thyself grateful to them, for ingratitude is the daughter of pride, and one of the greatest sins we know of; and he who is grateful to those who have been good to him shows that he will be so to God also who has bestowed and still bestows so many blessings upon him.
My lady the duchess sent off a messenger with thy suit and another present to thy wife Teresa Panza; we expect the answer every moment. I have been a little indisposed through a certain scratching I came in for, not very much to the benefit of my nose; but it was nothing; for if there are enchanters who maltreat me, there are also some who defend me. Let me know if the majordomo who is with thee had any share in the Trifaldi performance, as thou didst suspect; and keep me informed of everything that happens thee, as the distance is so short; all the more as I am thinking of giving over very shortly this idle life I am now leading, for I was not born for it. A thing has occurred to me which I am inclined to think will put me out of favour with the duke and duchess; but though I am sorry for it I do not care, for after all I must obey my calling rather than their pleasure, in accordance with the common saying, amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas. I quote this Latin to thee because I conclude that since thou hast been a governor thou wilt have learned it. Adieu; God keep thee from being an object of pity to anyone.
Thy friend, DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA.
Sancho listened to the letter with great attention, and it was praised and considered wise by all who heard it; he then rose up from table, and calling his secretary shut himself in with him in his own room, and without putting it off any longer set about answering his master Don Quixote at once; and he bade the secretary write down what he told him without adding or suppressing anything, which he did, and the answer was to the following effect.
SANCHO PANZA’S LETTER TO DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA.
The pressure of business is so great upon me that I have no time to scratch my head or even to cut my nails; and I have them so long-God send a remedy for it. I say this, master of my soul, that you may not be surprised if I have not until now sent you word of how I fare, well or ill, in this government, in which I am suffering more hunger than when we two were wandering through the woods and wastes.
My lord the duke wrote to me the other day to warn me that certain spies had got into this island to kill me; but up to the present I have not found out any except a certain doctor who receives a salary in this town for killing all the governors that come here; he is called Doctor Pedro Recio, and is from Tirteafuera; so you see what a name he has to make me dread dying under his hands. This doctor says of himself that he does not cure diseases when there are any, but prevents them coming, and the medicines he uses are diet and more diet until he brings one down to bare bones; as if leanness was not worse than fever.
In short he is killing me with hunger, and I am dying myself of vexation; for when I thought I was coming to this government to get my meat hot and my drink cool, and take my ease between holland sheets on feather beds, I find I have come to do penance as if I was a hermit; and as I don’t do it willingly I suspect that in the end the devil will carry me off.
So far I have not handled any dues or taken any bribes, and I don’t know what to think of it; for here they tell me that the governors that come to this island, before entering it have plenty of money either given to them or lent to them by the people of the town, and that this is the usual custom not only here but with all who enter upon governments.
Last night going the rounds I came upon a fair damsel in man’s clothes, and a brother of hers dressed as a woman; my head-carver has fallen in love with the girl, and has in his own mind chosen her for a wife, so he says, and I have chosen youth for a son-in-law; to-day we are going to explain our intentions to the father of the pair, who is one Diego de la Llana, a gentleman and an old Christian as much as you please.
I have visited the market-places, as your worship advises me, and yesterday I found a stall-keeper selling new hazel nuts and proved her to have mixed a bushel of old empty rotten nuts with a bushel of new; I confiscated the whole for the children of the charity-school, who will know how to distinguish them well enough, and I sentenced her not to come into the market-place for a fortnight; they told me I did bravely. I can tell your worship it is commonly said in this town that there are no people worse than the market-women, for they are all barefaced, unconscionable, and impudent, and I can well believe it from what I have seen of them in other towns.
I am very glad my lady the duchess has written to my wife Teresa Panza and sent her the present your worship speaks of; and I will strive to show myself grateful when the time comes; kiss her hands for me, and tell her I say she has not thrown it into a sack with a hole in it, as she will see in the end. I should not like your worship to have any difference with my lord and lady; for if you fall out with them it is plain it must do me harm; and as you give me advice to be grateful it will not do for your worship not to be so yourself to those who have shown you such kindness, and by whom you have been treated so hospitably in their castle.
That about the scratching I don’t understand; but I suppose it must be one of the ill-turns the wicked enchanters are always doing your worship; when we meet I shall know all about it. I wish I could send your worship something; but I don’t know what to send, unless it be some very curious clyster pipes, to work with bladders, that they make in this island; but if the office remains with me I’ll find out something to send, one way or another. If my wife Teresa Panza writes to me, pay the postage and send me the letter, for I have a very great desire to hear how my house and wife and children are going on. And so, may God deliver your worship from evil-minded enchanters, and bring me well and peacefully out of this government, which I doubt, for I expect to take leave of it and my life together, from the way Doctor Pedro Recio treats me.
Your worship’s servant
SANCHO PANZA THE GOVERNOR.
The secretary sealed the letter, and immediately dismissed the courier; and those who were carrying on the joke against Sancho putting their heads together arranged how he was to be dismissed from the government. Sancho spent the afternoon in drawing up certain ordinances relating to the good government of what he fancied the island; and he ordained that there were to be no provision hucksters in the State, and that men might import wine into it from any place they pleased, provided they declared the quarter it came from, so that a price might be put upon it according to its quality, reputation, and the estimation it was held in; and he that watered his wine, or changed the name, was to forfeit his life for it. He reduced the prices of all manner of shoes, boots, and stockings, but of shoes in particular, as they seemed to him to run extravagantly high. He established a fixed rate for servants’ wages, which were becoming recklessly exorbitant. He laid extremely heavy penalties upon those who sang lewd or loose songs either by day or night. He decreed that no blind man should sing of any miracle in verse, unless he could produce authentic evidence that it was true, for it was his opinion that most of those the blind men sing are trumped up, to the detriment of the true ones. He established and created an alguacil of the poor, not to harass them, but to examine them and see whether they really were so; for many a sturdy thief or drunkard goes about under cover of a make-believe crippled limb or a sham sore. In a word, he made so many good rules that to this day they are preserved there, and are called The constitutions of the great governor Sancho Panza.
WHEREIN IS RELATED THE ADVENTURE OF THE SECOND DISTRESSED OR AFFLICTED DUENNA, OTHERWISE CALLED DONA RODRIGUEZ
Cide Hamete relates that Don Quixote being now cured of his scratches felt that the life he was leading in the castle was entirely inconsistent with the order of chivalry he professed, so he determined to ask the duke and duchess to permit him to take his departure for Saragossa, as the time of the festival was now drawing near, and he hoped to win there the suit of armour which is the prize at festivals of the sort. But one day at table with the duke and duchess, just as he was about to carry his resolution into effect and ask for their permission, lo and behold suddenly there came in through the door of the great hall two women, as they afterwards proved to be, draped in mourning from head to foot, one of whom approaching Don Quixote flung herself at full length at his feet, pressing her lips to them, and uttering moans so sad, so deep, and so doleful that she put all who heard and saw her into a state of perplexity; and though the duke and duchess supposed it must be some joke their servants were playing off upon Don Quixote, still the earnest way the woman sighed and moaned and wept puzzled them and made them feel uncertain, until Don Quixote, touched with compassion, raised her up and made her unveil herself and remove the mantle from her tearful face. She complied and disclosed what no one could have ever anticipated, for she disclosed the countenance of Dona Rodriguez, the duenna of the house; the other female in mourning being her daughter, who had been made a fool of by the rich farmer’s son. All who knew her were filled with astonishment, and the duke and duchess more than any; for though they thought her a simpleton and a weak creature, they did not think her capable of crazy pranks. Dona Rodriguez, at length, turning to her master and mistress said to them, “Will your excellences be pleased to permit me to speak to this gentleman for a moment, for it is requisite I should do so in order to get successfully out of the business in which the boldness of an evil-minded clown has involved me?”
The duke said that for his part he gave her leave, and that she might speak with Senor Don Quixote as much as she liked.
She then, turning to Don Quixote and addressing herself to him said, “Some days since, valiant knight, I gave you an account of the injustice and treachery of a wicked farmer to my dearly beloved daughter, the unhappy damsel here before you, and you promised me to take her part and right the wrong that has been done her; but now it has come to my hearing that you are about to depart from this castle in quest of such fair adventures as God may vouchsafe to you; therefore, before you take the road, I would that you challenge this froward rustic, and compel him to marry my daughter in fulfillment of the promise he gave her to become her husband before he seduced her; for to expect that my lord the duke will do me justice is to ask pears from the elm tree, for the reason I stated privately to your worship; and so may our Lord grant you good health and forsake us not.”
To these words Don Quixote replied very gravely and solemnly, “Worthy duenna, check your tears, or rather dry them, and spare your sighs, for I take it upon myself to obtain redress for your daughter, for whom it would have been better not to have been so ready to believe lovers’ promises, which are for the most part quickly made and very slowly performed; and so, with my lord the duke’s leave, I will at once go in quest of this inhuman youth, and will find him out and challenge him and slay him, if so be he refuses to keep his promised word; for the chief object of my profession is to spare the humble and chastise the proud; I mean, to help the distressed and destroy the oppressors.”
“There is no necessity,” said the duke, “for your worship to take the trouble of seeking out the rustic of whom this worthy duenna complains, nor is there any necessity, either, for asking my leave to challenge him; for I admit him duly challenged, and will take care that he is informed of the challenge, and accepts it, and comes to answer it in person to this castle of mine, where I shall afford to both a fair field, observing all the conditions which are usually and properly observed in such trials, and observing too justice to both sides, as all princes who offer a free field to combatants within the limits of their lordships are bound to do.”
“Then with that assurance and your highness’s good leave,” said Don Quixote, “I hereby for this once waive my privilege of gentle blood, and come down and put myself on a level with the lowly birth of the wrong-doer, making myself equal with him and enabling him to enter into combat with me; and so, I challenge and defy him, though absent, on the plea of his malfeasance in breaking faith with this poor damsel, who was a maiden and now by his misdeed is none; and say that he shall fulfill the promise he gave her to become her lawful husband, or else stake his life upon the question.”
And then plucking off a glove he threw it down in the middle of the hall, and the duke picked it up, saying, as he had said before, that he accepted the challenge in the name of his vassal, and fixed six days thence as the time, the courtyard of the castle as the place, and for arms the customary ones of knights, lance and shield and full armour, with all the other accessories, without trickery, guile, or charms of any sort, and examined and passed by the judges of the field. “But first of all,” he said, “it is requisite that this worthy duenna and unworthy damsel should place their claim for justice in the hands of Don Quixote; for otherwise nothing can be done, nor can the said challenge be brought to a lawful issue.”
“I do so place it,” replied the duenna.
“And I too,” added her daughter, all in tears and covered with shame and confusion.
This declaration having been made, and the duke having settled in his own mind what he would do in the matter, the ladies in black withdrew, and the duchess gave orders that for the future they were not to be treated as servants of hers, but as lady adventurers who came to her house to demand justice; so they gave them a room to themselves and waited on them as they would on strangers, to the consternation of the other women-servants, who did not know where the folly and imprudence of Dona Rodriguez and her unlucky daughter would stop.
And now, to complete the enjoyment of the feast and bring the dinner to a satisfactory end, lo and behold the page who had carried the letters and presents to Teresa Panza, the wife of the governor Sancho, entered the hall; and the duke and duchess were very well pleased to see him, being anxious to know the result of his journey; but when they asked him the page said in reply that he could not give it before so many people or in a few words, and begged their excellences to be pleased to let it wait for a private opportunity, and in the meantime amuse themselves with these letters; and taking out the letters he placed them in the duchess’s hand. One bore by way of address, Letter for my lady the Duchess So-and-so, of I don’t know where; and the other To my husband Sancho Panza, governor of the island of Barataria, whom God prosper longer than me. The duchess’s bread would not bake, as the saying is, until she had read her letter; and having looked over it herself and seen that it might be read aloud for the duke and all present to hear, she read out as follows.
TERESA PANZA’S LETTER TO THE DUCHESS.
The letter your highness wrote me, my lady, gave me great pleasure, for indeed I found it very welcome. The string of coral beads is very fine, and my husband’s hunting suit does not fall short of it. All this village is very much pleased that your ladyship has made a governor of my good man Sancho; though nobody will believe it, particularly the curate, and Master Nicholas the barber, and the bachelor Samson Carrasco; but I don’t care for that, for so long as it is true, as it is, they may all say what they like; though, to tell the truth, if the coral beads and the suit had not come I would not have believed it either; for in this village everybody thinks my husband a numskull, and except for governing a flock of goats, they cannot fancy what sort of government he can be fit for. God grant it, and direct him according as he sees his children stand in need of it. I am resolved with your worship’s leave, lady of my soul, to make the most of this fair day, and go to Court to stretch myself at ease in a coach, and make all those I have envying me already burst their eyes out; so I beg your excellence to order my husband to send me a small trifle of money, and to let it be something to speak of, because one’s expenses are heavy at the Court; for a loaf costs a real, and meat thirty maravedis a pound, which is beyond everything; and if he does not want me to go let him tell me in time, for my feet are on the fidgets to be off; and my friends and neighbours tell me that if my daughter and I make a figure and a brave show at Court, my husband will come to be known far more by me than I by him, for of course plenty of people will ask, “Who are those ladies in that coach?” and some servant of mine will answer, “The wife and daughter of Sancho Panza, governor of the island of Barataria;” and in this way Sancho will become known, and I’ll be thought well of, and “to Rome for everything.” I am as vexed as vexed can be that they have gathered no acorns this year in our village; for all that I send your highness about half a peck that I went to the wood to gather and pick out one by one myself, and I could find no bigger ones; I wish they were as big as ostrich eggs.
Let not your high mightiness forget to write to me; and I will take care to answer, and let you know how I am, and whatever news there may be in this place, where I remain, praying our Lord to have your highness in his keeping and not to forget me.
Sancha my daughter, and my son, kiss your worship’s hands.
She who would rather see your ladyship than write to you,
All were greatly amused by Teresa Panza’s letter, but particularly the duke and duchess; and the duchess asked Don Quixote’s opinion whether they might open the letter that had come for the governor, which she suspected must be very good. Don Quixote said that to gratify them he would open it, and did so, and found that it ran as follows.
TERESA PANZA’S LETTER TO HER HUSBAND SANCHO PANZA.
I got thy letter, Sancho of my soul, and I promise thee and swear as a Catholic Christian that I was within two fingers’ breadth of going mad I was so happy. I can tell thee, brother, when I came to hear that thou wert a governor I thought I should have dropped dead with pure joy; and thou knowest they say sudden joy kills as well as great sorrow; and as for Sanchica thy daughter, she leaked from sheer happiness. I had before me the suit thou didst send me, and the coral beads my lady the duchess sent me round my neck, and the letters in my hands, and there was the bearer of them standing by, and in spite of all this I verily believed and thought that what I saw and handled was all a dream; for who could have thought that a goatherd would come to be a governor of islands? Thou knowest, my friend, what my mother used to say, that one must live long to see much; I say it because I expect to see more if I live longer; for I don’t expect to stop until I see thee a farmer of taxes or a collector of revenue, which are offices where, though the devil carries off those who make a bad use of them, still they make and handle money. My lady the duchess will tell thee the desire I have to go to the Court; consider the matter and let me know thy pleasure; I will try to do honour to thee by going in a coach.
Neither the curate, nor the barber, nor the bachelor, nor even the sacristan, can believe that thou art a governor, and they say the whole thing is a delusion or an enchantment affair, like everything belonging to thy master Don Quixote; and Samson says he must go in search of thee and drive the government out of thy head and the madness out of Don Quixote’s skull; I only laugh, and look at my string of beads, and plan out the dress I am going to make for our daughter out of thy suit. I sent some acorns to my lady the duchess; I wish they had been gold. Send me some strings of pearls if they are in fashion in that island. Here is the news of the village; La Berrueca has married her daughter to a good-for-nothing painter, who came here to paint anything that might turn up. The council gave him an order to paint his Majesty’s arms over the door of the town-hall; he asked two ducats, which they paid him in advance; he worked for eight days, and at the end of them had nothing painted, and then said he had no turn for painting such trifling things; he returned the money, and for all that has married on the pretence of being a good workman; to be sure he has now laid aside his paint-brush and taken a spade in hand, and goes to the field like a gentleman. Pedro Lobo’s son has received the first orders and tonsure, with the intention of becoming a priest. Minguilla, Mingo Silvato’s granddaughter, found it out, and has gone to law with him on the score of having given her promise of marriage. Evil tongues say she is with child by him, but he denies it stoutly. There are no olives this year, and there is not a drop of vinegar to be had in the whole village. A company of soldiers passed through here; when they left they took away with them three of the girls of the village; I will not tell thee who they are; perhaps they will come back, and they will be sure to find those who will take them for wives with all their blemishes, good or bad. Sanchica is making bonelace; she earns eight maravedis a day clear, which she puts into a moneybox as a help towards house furnishing; but now that she is a governor’s daughter thou wilt give her a portion without her working for it. The fountain in the plaza has run dry. A flash of lightning struck the gibbet, and I wish they all lit there. I look for an answer to this, and to know thy mind about my going to the Court; and so, God keep thee longer than me, or as long, for I would not leave thee in this world without me.
The letters were applauded, laughed over, relished, and admired; and then, as if to put the seal to the business, the courier arrived, bringing the one Sancho sent to Don Quixote, and this, too, was read out, and it raised some doubts as to the governor’s simplicity. The duchess withdrew to hear from the page about his adventures in Sancho’s village, which he narrated at full length without leaving a single circumstance unmentioned. He gave her the acorns, and also a cheese which Teresa had given him as being particularly good and superior to those of Tronchon. The duchess received it with greatest delight, in which we will leave her, to describe the end of the government of the great Sancho Panza, flower and mirror of all governors of islands.
OF THE TROUBLOUS END AND TERMINATION SANCHO PANZA’S GOVERNMENT CAME TO
To fancy that in this life anything belonging to it will remain for ever in the same state is an idle fancy; on the contrary, in it everything seems to go in a circle, I mean round and round. The spring succeeds the summer, the summer the fall, the fall the autumn, the autumn the winter, and the winter the spring, and so time rolls with never-ceasing wheel. Man’s life alone, swifter than time, speeds onward to its end without any hope of renewal, save it be in that other life which is endless and boundless. Thus saith Cide Hamete the Mahometan philosopher; for there are many that by the light of nature alone, without the light of faith, have a comprehension of the fleeting nature and instability of this present life and the endless duration of that eternal life we hope for; but our author is here speaking of the rapidity with which Sancho’s government came to an end, melted away, disappeared, vanished as it were in smoke and shadow. For as he lay in bed on the night of the seventh day of his government, sated, not with bread and wine, but with delivering judgments and giving opinions and making laws and proclamations, just as sleep, in spite of hunger, was beginning to close his eyelids, he heard such a noise of bell-ringing and shouting that one would have fancied the whole island was going to the bottom. He sat up in bed and remained listening intently to try if he could make out what could be the cause of so great an uproar; not only, however, was he unable to discover what it was, but as countless drums and trumpets now helped to swell the din of the bells and shouts, he was more puzzled than ever, and filled with fear and terror; and getting up he put on a pair of slippers because of the dampness of the floor, and without throwing a dressing gown or anything of the kind over him he rushed out of the door of his room, just in time to see approaching along a corridor a band of more than twenty persons with lighted torches and naked swords in their hands, all shouting out, “To arms, to arms, senor governor, to arms! The enemy is in the island in countless numbers, and we are lost unless your skill and valour come to our support.”
Keeping up this noise, tumult, and uproar, they came to where Sancho stood dazed and bewildered by what he saw and heard, and as they approached one of them called out to him, “Arm at once, your lordship, if you would not have yourself destroyed and the whole island lost.”
“What have I to do with arming?” said Sancho. “What do I know about arms or supports? Better leave all that to my master Don Quixote, who will settle it and make all safe in a trice; for I, sinner that I am, God help me, don’t understand these scuffles.”
“Ah, senor governor,” said another, “what slackness of mettle this is! Arm yourself; here are arms for you, offensive and defensive; come out to the plaza and be our leader and captain; it falls upon you by right, for you are our governor.”
“Arm me then, in God’s name,” said Sancho, and they at once produced two large shields they had come provided with, and placed them upon him over his shirt, without letting him put on anything else, one shield in front and the other behind, and passing his arms through openings they had made, they bound him tight with ropes, so that there he was walled and boarded up as straight as a spindle and unable to bend his knees or stir a single step. In his hand they placed a lance, on which he leant to keep himself from falling, and as soon as they had him thus fixed they bade him march forward and lead them on and give them all courage; for with him for their guide and lamp and morning star, they were sure to bring their business to a successful issue.
“How am I to march, unlucky being that I am?” said Sancho, “when I can’t stir my knee-caps, for these boards I have bound so tight to my body won’t let me. What you must do is carry me in your arms, and lay me across or set me upright in some postern, and I’ll hold it either with this lance or with my body.”
“On, senor governor!” cried another, “it is fear more than the boards that keeps you from moving; make haste, stir yourself, for there is no time to lose; the enemy is increasing in numbers, the shouts grow louder, and the danger is pressing.”
Urged by these exhortations and reproaches the poor governor made an attempt to advance, but fell to the ground with such a crash that he fancied he had broken himself all to pieces. There he lay like a tortoise enclosed in its shell, or a side of bacon between two kneading-troughs, or a boat bottom up on the beach; nor did the gang of jokers feel any compassion for him when they saw him down; so far from that, extinguishing their torches they began to shout afresh and to renew the calls to arms with such energy, trampling on poor Sancho, and slashing at him over the shield with their swords in such a way that, if he had not gathered himself together and made himself small and drawn in his head between the shields, it would have fared badly with the poor governor, as, squeezed into that narrow compass, he lay, sweating and sweating again, and commending himself with all his heart to God to deliver him from his present peril. Some stumbled over him, others fell upon him, and one there was who took up a position on top of him for some time, and from thence as if from a watchtower issued orders to the troops, shouting out, “Here, our side! Here the enemy is thickest! Hold the breach there! Shut that gate! Barricade those ladders! Here with your stink-pots of pitch and resin, and kettles of boiling oil! Block the streets with feather beds!” In short, in his ardour he mentioned every little thing, and every implement and engine of war by means of which an assault upon a city is warded off, while the bruised and battered Sancho, who heard and suffered all, was saying to himself, “O if it would only please the Lord to let the island be lost at once, and I could see myself either dead or out of this torture!” Heaven heard his prayer, and when he least expected it he heard voices exclaiming, “Victory, victory! The enemy retreats beaten! Come, senor governor, get up, and come and enjoy the victory, and divide the spoils that have been won from the foe by the might of that invincible arm.”
“Lift me up,” said the wretched Sancho in a woebegone voice. They helped him to rise, and as soon as he was on his feet said, “The enemy I have beaten you may nail to my forehead; I don’t want to divide the spoils of the foe, I only beg and entreat some friend, if I have one, to give me a sup of wine, for I’m parched with thirst, and wipe me dry, for I’m turning to water.”
They rubbed him down, fetched him wine and unbound the shields, and he seated himself upon his bed, and with fear, agitation, and fatigue he fainted away. Those who had been concerned in the joke were now sorry they had pushed it so far; however, the anxiety his fainting away had caused them was relieved by his returning to himself. He asked what o’clock it was; they told him it was just daybreak. He said no more, and in silence began to dress himself, while all watched him, waiting to see what the haste with which he was putting on his clothes meant.
He got himself dressed at last, and then, slowly, for he was sorely bruised and could not go fast, he proceeded to the stable, followed by all who were present, and going up to Dapple embraced him and gave him a loving kiss on the forehead, and said to him, not without tears in his eyes, “Come along, comrade and friend and partner of my toils and sorrows; when I was with you and had no cares to trouble me except mending your harness and feeding your little carcass, happy were my hours, my days, and my years; but since I left you, and mounted the towers of ambition and pride, a thousand miseries, a thousand troubles, and four thousand anxieties have entered into my soul;” and all the while he was speaking in this strain he was fixing the pack-saddle on the ass, without a word from anyone. Then having Dapple saddled, he, with great pain and difficulty, got up on him, and addressing himself to the majordomo, the secretary, the head-carver, and Pedro Recio the doctor and several others who stood by, he said, “Make way, gentlemen, and let me go back to my old freedom; let me go look for my past life, and raise myself up from this present death. I was not born to be a governor or protect islands or cities from the enemies that choose to attack them. Ploughing and digging, vinedressing and pruning, are more in my way than defending provinces or kingdoms. ‘Saint Peter is very well at Rome; I mean each of us is best following the trade he was born to. A reaping-hook fits my hand better than a governor’s sceptre; I’d rather have my fill of gazpacho’ than be subject to the misery of a meddling doctor who me with hunger, and I’d rather lie in summer under the shade of an oak, and in winter wrap myself in a double sheepskin jacket in freedom, than go to bed between holland sheets and dress in sables under the restraint of a government. God be with your worships, and tell my lord the duke that ‘naked I was born, naked I find myself, I neither lose nor gain;’ I mean that without a farthing I came into this government, and without a farthing I go out of it, very different from the way governors commonly leave other islands. Stand aside and let me go; I have to plaster myself, for I believe every one of my ribs is crushed, thanks to the enemies that have been trampling over me to-night.”
“That is unnecessary, senor governor,” said Doctor Recio, “for I will give your worship a draught against falls and bruises that will soon make you as sound and strong as ever; and as for your diet I promise your worship to behave better, and let you eat plentifully of whatever you like.”
“You spoke late,” said Sancho. “I’d as soon turn Turk as stay any longer. Those jokes won’t pass a second time. By God I’d as soon remain in this government, or take another, even if it was offered me between two plates, as fly to heaven without wings. I am of the breed of the Panzas, and they are every one of them obstinate, and if they once say ‘odds,’ odds it must be, no matter if it is evens, in spite of all the world. Here in this stable I leave the ant’s wings that lifted me up into the air for the swifts and other birds to eat me, and let’s take to level ground and our feet once more; and if they’re not shod in pinked shoes of cordovan, they won’t want for rough sandals of hemp; ‘every ewe to her like,’ ‘and let no one stretch his leg beyond the length of the sheet;’ and now let me pass, for it’s growing late with me.”
To this the majordomo said, “Senor governor, we would let your worship go with all our hearts, though it sorely grieves us to lose you, for your wit and Christian conduct naturally make us regret you; but it is well known that every governor, before he leaves the place where he has been governing, is bound first of all to render an account. Let your worship do so for the ten days you have held the government, and then you may go and the peace of God go with you.”
“No one can demand it of me,” said Sancho, “but he whom my lord the duke shall appoint; I am going to meet him, and to him I will render an exact one; besides, when I go forth naked as I do, there is no other proof needed to show that I have governed like an angel.”
“By God the great Sancho is right,” said Doctor Recio, “and we should let him go, for the duke will be beyond measure glad to see him.”
They all agreed to this, and allowed him to go, first offering to bear him company and furnish him with all he wanted for his own comfort or for the journey. Sancho said he did not want anything more than a little barley for Dapple, and half a cheese and half a loaf for himself; for the distance being so short there was no occasion for any better or bulkier provant. They all embraced him, and he with tears embraced all of them, and left them filled with admiration not only at his remarks but at his firm and sensible resolution.