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Don Quixote by Miqeul de Cervantes [Saavedra]

Part 16 out of 21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What is Dapple?" said the duchess.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The duke had a majordomo of a very facetious and sportive turn,
and he it was that played the part of Merlin, made all the
arrangements for the late adventure, composed the verses, and got a
page to represent Dulcinea; and now, with the assistance of his master
and mistress, he got up another of the drollest and strangest
contrivances that can be imagined.

The duchess asked Sancho the next day if he had made a beginning
with his penance task which he had to perform for the disenchantment
of Dulcinea. He said he had, and had given himself five lashes

The duchess asked him what he had given them with.

He said with his hand.

"That," said the duchess, "is more like giving oneself slaps than
lashes; I am sure the sage Merlin will not be satisfied with such
tenderness; worthy Sancho must make a scourge with claws, or a
cat-o'-nine tails, that will make itself felt; for it's with blood
that letters enter, and the release of so great a lady as Dulcinea
will not be granted so cheaply, or at such a paltry price; and
remember, Sancho, that works of charity done in a lukewarm and
half-hearted way are without merit and of no avail."

To which Sancho replied, "If your ladyship will give me a proper
scourge or cord, I'll lay on with it, provided it does not hurt too
much; for you must know, boor as I am, my flesh is more cotton than
hemp, and it won't do for me to destroy myself for the good of anybody

"So be it by all means," said the duchess; "tomorrow I'll give you a
scourge that will be just the thing for you, and will accommodate
itself to the tenderness of your flesh, as if it was its own sister."

Then said Sancho, "Your highness must know, dear lady of my soul,
that I have a letter written to my wife, Teresa Panza, giving her an
account of all that has happened me since I left her; I have it here
in my bosom, and there's nothing wanting but to put the address to it;
I'd be glad if your discretion would read it, for I think it runs in
the governor style; I mean the way governors ought to write."

"And who dictated it?" asked the duchess.

"Who should have dictated but myself, sinner as I am?" said Sancho.

"And did you write it yourself?" said the duchess.

"That I didn't," said Sancho; "for I can neither read nor write,
though I can sign my name."

"Let us see it," said the duchess, "for never fear but you display
in it the quality and quantity of your wit."

Sancho drew out an open letter from his bosom, and the duchess,
taking it, found it ran in this fashion:


If I was well whipped I went mounted like a gentleman; if I have got
a good government it is at the cost of a good whipping. Thou wilt
not understand this just now, my Teresa; by-and-by thou wilt know what
it means. I may tell thee, Teresa, I mean thee to go in a coach, for
that is a matter of importance, because every other way of going is
going on all-fours. Thou art a governor's wife; take care that
nobody speaks evil of thee behind thy back. I send thee here a green
hunting suit that my lady the duchess gave me; alter it so as to
make a petticoat and bodice for our daughter. Don Quixote, my
master, if I am to believe what I hear in these parts, is a madman
of some sense, and a droll blockhead, and I am no way behind him. We
have been in the cave of Montesinos, and the sage Merlin has laid hold
of me for the disenchantment of Dulcinea del Toboso, her that is
called Aldonza Lorenzo over there. With three thousand three hundred
lashes, less five, that I'm to give myself, she will be left as
entirely disenchanted as the mother that bore her. Say nothing of this
to anyone; for, make thy affairs public, and some will say they are
white and others will say they are black. I shall leave this in a
few days for my government, to which I am going with a mighty great
desire to make money, for they tell me all new governors set out
with the same desire; I will feel the pulse of it and will let thee
know if thou art to come and live with me or not. Dapple is well and
sends many remembrances to thee; I am not going to leave him behind
though they took me away to be Grand Turk. My lady the duchess
kisses thy hands a thousand times; do thou make a return with two
thousand, for as my master says, nothing costs less or is cheaper than
civility. God has not been pleased to provide another valise for me
with another hundred crowns, like the one the other day; but never
mind, my Teresa, the bell-ringer is in safe quarters, and all will
come out in the scouring of the government; only it troubles me
greatly what they tell me- that once I have tasted it I will eat my
hands off after it; and if that is so it will not come very cheap to
me; though to be sure the maimed have a benefice of their own in the
alms they beg for; so that one way or another thou wilt be rich and in
luck. God give it to thee as he can, and keep me to serve thee. From
this castle, the 20th of July, 1614.

Thy husband, the governor.


When she had done reading the letter the duchess said to Sancho, "On
two points the worthy governor goes rather astray; one is in saying or
hinting that this government has been bestowed upon him for the lashes
that he is to give himself, when he knows (and he cannot deny it) that
when my lord the duke promised it to him nobody ever dreamt of such
a thing as lashes; the other is that he shows himself here to he
very covetous; and I would not have him a money-seeker, for
'covetousness bursts the bag,' and the covetous governor does
ungoverned justice."

"I don't mean it that way, senora," said Sancho; "and if you think
the letter doesn't run as it ought to do, it's only to tear it up
and make another; and maybe it will be a worse one if it is left to my

"No, no," said the duchess, "this one will do, and I wish the duke
to see it."

With this they betook themselves to a garden where they were to
dine, and the duchess showed Sancho's letter to the duke, who was
highly delighted with it. They dined, and after the cloth had been
removed and they had amused themselves for a while with Sancho's
rich conversation, the melancholy sound of a fife and harsh discordant
drum made itself heard. All seemed somewhat put out by this dull,
confused, martial harmony, especially Don Quixote, who could not
keep his seat from pure disquietude; as to Sancho, it is needless to
say that fear drove him to his usual refuge, the side or the skirts of
the duchess; and indeed and in truth the sound they heard was a most
doleful and melancholy one. While they were still in uncertainty
they saw advancing towards them through the garden two men clad in
mourning robes so long and flowing that they trailed upon the
ground. As they marched they beat two great drums which were
likewise draped in black, and beside them came the fife player,
black and sombre like the others. Following these came a personage
of gigantic stature enveloped rather than clad in a gown of the
deepest black, the skirt of which was of prodigious dimensions. Over
the gown, girdling or crossing his figure, he had a broad baldric
which was also black, and from which hung a huge scimitar with a black
scabbard and furniture. He had his face covered with a transparent
black veil, through which might be descried a very long beard as white
as snow. He came on keeping step to the sound of the drums with
great gravity and dignity; and, in short, his stature, his gait, the
sombreness of his appearance and his following might well have
struck with astonishment, as they did, all who beheld him without
knowing who he was. With this measured pace and in this guise he
advanced to kneel before the duke, who, with the others, awaited him
standing. The duke, however, would not on any account allow him to
speak until he had risen. The prodigious scarecrow obeyed, and
standing up, removed the veil from his face and disclosed the most
enormous, the longest, the whitest and the thickest beard that human
eyes had ever beheld until that moment, and then fetching up a
grave, sonorous voice from the depths of his broad, capacious chest,
and fixing his eyes on the duke, he said:

"Most high and mighty senor, my name is Trifaldin of the White
Beard; I am squire to the Countess Trifaldi, otherwise called the
Distressed Duenna, on whose behalf I bear a message to your
highness, which is that your magnificence will be pleased to grant her
leave and permission to come and tell you her trouble, which is one of
the strangest and most wonderful that the mind most familiar with
trouble in the world could have imagined; but first she desires to
know if the valiant and never vanquished knight, Don Quixote of La
Mancha, is in this your castle, for she has come in quest of him on
foot and without breaking her fast from the kingdom of Kandy to your
realms here; a thing which may and ought to be regarded as a miracle
or set down to enchantment; she is even now at the gate of this
fortress or plaisance, and only waits for your permission to enter.
I have spoken." And with that he coughed, and stroked down his beard
with both his hands, and stood very tranquilly waiting for the
response of the duke, which was to this effect: "Many days ago, worthy
squire Trifaldin of the White Beard, we heard of the misfortune of
my lady the Countess Trifaldi, whom the enchanters have caused to be
called the Distressed Duenna. Bid her enter, O stupendous squire,
and tell her that the valiant knight Don Quixote of La Mancha is here,
and from his generous disposition she may safely promise herself every
protection and assistance; and you may tell her, too, that if my aid
be necessary it will not be withheld, for I am bound to give it to her
by my quality of knight, which involves the protection of women of all
sorts, especially widowed, wronged, and distressed dames, such as
her ladyship seems to be."

On hearing this Trifaldin bent the knee to the ground, and making
a sign to the fifer and drummers to strike up, he turned and marched
out of the garden to the same notes and at the same pace as when he
entered, leaving them all amazed at his bearing and solemnity. Turning
to Don Quixote, the duke said, "After all, renowned knight, the
mists of malice and ignorance are unable to hide or obscure the
light of valour and virtue. I say so, because your excellence has been
barely six days in this castle, and already the unhappy and the
afflicted come in quest of you from lands far distant and remote,
and not in coaches or on dromedaries, but on foot and fasting,
confident that in that mighty arm they will find a cure for their
sorrows and troubles; thanks to your great achievements, which are
circulated all over the known earth."

"I wish, senor duke," replied Don Quixote, "that blessed
ecclesiastic, who at table the other day showed such ill-will and
bitter spite against knights-errant, were here now to see with his own
eyes whether knights of the sort are needed in the world; he would
at any rate learn by experience that those suffering any extraordinary
affliction or sorrow, in extreme cases and unusual misfortunes do
not go to look for a remedy to the houses of jurists or village
sacristans, or to the knight who has never attempted to pass the
bounds of his own town, or to the indolent courtier who only seeks for
news to repeat and talk of, instead of striving to do deeds and
exploits for others to relate and record. Relief in distress, help
in need, protection for damsels, consolation for widows, are to be
found in no sort of persons better than in knights-errant; and I
give unceasing thanks to heaven that I am one, and regard any
misfortune or suffering that may befall me in the pursuit of so
honourable a calling as endured to good purpose. Let this duenna
come and ask what she will, for I will effect her relief by the
might of my arm and the dauntless resolution of my bold heart."



The duke and duchess were extremely glad to see how readily Don
Quixote fell in with their scheme; but at this moment Sancho observed,
"I hope this senora duenna won't be putting any difficulties in the
way of the promise of my government; for I have heard a Toledo
apothecary, who talked like a goldfinch, say that where duennas were
mixed up nothing good could happen. God bless me, how he hated them,
that same apothecary! And so what I'm thinking is, if all duennas,
of whatever sort or condition they may be, are plagues and busybodies,
what must they be that are distressed, like this Countess Three-skirts
or Three-tails!- for in my country skirts or tails, tails or skirts,
it's all one."

"Hush, friend Sancho," said Don Quixote; "since this lady duenna
comes in quest of me from such a distant land she cannot be one of
those the apothecary meant; moreover this is a countess, and when
countesses serve as duennas it is in the service of queens and
empresses, for in their own houses they are mistresses paramount and
have other duennas to wait on them."

To this Dona Rodriguez, who was present, made answer, "My lady the
duchess has duennas in her service that might be countesses if it
was the will of fortune; 'but laws go as kings like;' let nobody speak
ill of duennas, above all of ancient maiden ones; for though I am
not one myself, I know and am aware of the advantage a maiden duenna
has over one that is a widow; but 'he who clipped us has kept the

"For all that," said Sancho, "there's so much to be clipped about
duennas, so my barber said, that 'it will be better not to stir the
rice even though it sticks.'"

"These squires," returned Dona Rodriguez, "are always our enemies;
and as they are the haunting spirits of the antechambers and watch
us at every step, whenever they are not saying their prayers (and
that's often enough) they spend their time in tattling about us,
digging up our bones and burying our good name. But I can tell these
walking blocks that we will live in spite of them, and in great houses
too, though we die of hunger and cover our flesh, be it delicate or
not, with widow's weeds, as one covers or hides a dunghill on a
procession day. By my faith, if it were permitted me and time allowed,
I could prove, not only to those here present, but to all the world,
that there is no virtue that is not to be found in a duenna."

"I have no doubt," said the duchess, "that my good Dona Rodriguez is
right, and very much so; but she had better bide her time for fighting
her own battle and that of the rest of the duennas, so as to crush the
calumny of that vile apothecary, and root out the prejudice in the
great Sancho Panza's mind."

To which Sancho replied, "Ever since I have sniffed the governorship
I have got rid of the humours of a squire, and I don't care a wild fig
for all the duennas in the world."

They would have carried on this duenna dispute further had they
not heard the notes of the fife and drums once more, from which they
concluded that the Distressed Duenna was making her entrance. The
duchess asked the duke if it would be proper to go out to receive her,
as she was a countess and a person of rank.

"In respect of her being a countess," said Sancho, before the duke
could reply, "I am for your highnesses going out to receive her; but
in respect of her being a duenna, it is my opinion you should not stir
a step."

"Who bade thee meddle in this, Sancho?" said Don Quixote.

"Who, senor?" said Sancho; "I meddle for I have a right to meddle,
as a squire who has learned the rules of courtesy in the school of
your worship, the most courteous and best-bred knight in the whole
world of courtliness; and in these things, as I have heard your
worship say, as much is lost by a card too many as by a card too
few, and to one who has his ears open, few words."

"Sancho is right," said the duke; "we'll see what the countess is
like, and by that measure the courtesy that is due to her."

And now the drums and fife made their entrance as before; and here
the author brought this short chapter to an end and began the next,
following up the same adventure, which is one of the most notable in
the history.



Following the melancholy musicians there filed into the garden as
many as twelve duennas, in two lines, all dressed in ample mourning
robes apparently of milled serge, with hoods of fine white gauze so
long that they allowed only the border of the robe to be seen.
Behind them came the Countess Trifaldi, the squire Trifaldin of the
White Beard leading her by the hand, clad in the finest unnapped black
baize, such that, had it a nap, every tuft would have shown as big
as a Martos chickpea; the tail, or skirt, or whatever it might be
called, ended in three points which were borne up by the hands of
three pages, likewise dressed in mourning, forming an elegant
geometrical figure with the three acute angles made by the three
points, from which all who saw the peaked skirt concluded that it must
be because of it the countess was called Trifaldi, as though it were
Countess of the Three Skirts; and Benengeli says it was so, and that
by her right name she was called the Countess Lobuna, because wolves
bred in great numbers in her country; and if, instead of wolves,
they had been foxes, she would have been called the Countess
Zorruna, as it was the custom in those parts for lords to take
distinctive titles from the thing or things most abundant in their
dominions; this countess, however, in honour of the new fashion of her
skirt, dropped Lobuna and took up Trifaldi.

The twelve duennas and the lady came on at procession pace, their
faces being covered with black veils, not transparent ones like
Trifaldin's, but so close that they allowed nothing to be seen through
them. As soon as the band of duennas was fully in sight, the duke, the
duchess, and Don Quixote stood up, as well as all who were watching
the slow-moving procession. The twelve duennas halted and formed a
lane, along which the Distressed One advanced, Trifaldin still holding
her hand. On seeing this the duke, the duchess, and Don Quixote went
some twelve paces forward to meet her. She then, kneeling on the
ground, said in a voice hoarse and rough, rather than fine and
delicate, "May it please your highnesses not to offer such
courtesies to this your servant, I should say to this your handmaid,
for I am in such distress that I shall never be able to make a
proper return, because my strange and unparalleled misfortune has
carried off my wits, and I know not whither; but it must be a long way
off, for the more I look for them the less I find them."

"He would be wanting in wits, senora countess," said the duke,
"who did not perceive your worth by your person, for at a glance it
may be seen it deserves all the cream of courtesy and flower of polite
usage;" and raising her up by the hand he led her to a seat beside the
duchess, who likewise received her with great urbanity. Don Quixote
remained silent, while Sancho was dying to see the features of
Trifaldi and one or two of her many duennas; but there was no
possibility of it until they themselves displayed them of their own
accord and free will.

All kept still, waiting to see who would break silence, which the
Distressed Duenna did in these words: "I am confident, most mighty
lord, most fair lady, and most discreet company, that my most
miserable misery will be accorded a reception no less dispassionate
than generous and condolent in your most valiant bosoms, for it is one
that is enough to melt marble, soften diamonds, and mollify the
steel of the most hardened hearts in the world; but ere it is
proclaimed to your hearing, not to say your ears, I would fain be
enlightened whether there be present in this society, circle, or
company, that knight immaculatissimus, Don Quixote de la
Manchissima, and his squirissimus Panza."

"The Panza is here," said Sancho, before anyone could reply, "and
Don Quixotissimus too; and so, most distressedest Duenissima, you
may say what you willissimus, for we are all readissimus to do you any

On this Don Quixote rose, and addressing the Distressed Duenna,
said, "If your sorrows, afflicted lady, can indulge in any hope of
relief from the valour or might of any knight-errant, here are mine,
which, feeble and limited though they be, shall be entirely devoted to
your service. I am Don Quixote of La Mancha, whose calling it is to
give aid to the needy of all sorts; and that being so, it is not
necessary for you, senora, to make any appeal to benevolence, or
deal in preambles, only to tell your woes plainly and
straightforwardly: for you have hearers that will know how, if not
to remedy them, to sympathise with them."

On hearing this, the Distressed Duenna made as though she would
throw herself at Don Quixote's feet, and actually did fall before them
and said, as she strove to embrace them, "Before these feet and legs I
cast myself, O unconquered knight, as before, what they are, the
foundations and pillars of knight-errantry; these feet I desire to
kiss, for upon their steps hangs and depends the sole remedy for my
misfortune, O valorous errant, whose veritable achievements leave
behind and eclipse the fabulous ones of the Amadises, Esplandians, and
Belianises!" Then turning from Don Quixote to Sancho Panza, and
grasping his hands, she said, "O thou, most loyal squire that ever
served knight-errant in this present age or ages past, whose
goodness is more extensive than the beard of Trifaldin my companion
here of present, well mayest thou boast thyself that, in serving the
great Don Quixote, thou art serving, summed up in one, the whole
host of knights that have ever borne arms in the world. I conjure
thee, by what thou owest to thy most loyal goodness, that thou wilt
become my kind intercessor with thy master, that he speedily give
aid to this most humble and most unfortunate countess."

To this Sancho made answer, "As to my goodness, senora, being as
long and as great as your squire's beard, it matters very little to
me; may I have my soul well bearded and moustached when it comes to
quit this life, that's the point; about beards here below I care
little or nothing; but without all these blandishments and prayers,
I will beg my master (for I know he loves me, and, besides, he has
need of me just now for a certain business) to help and aid your
worship as far as he can; unpack your woes and lay them before us, and
leave us to deal with them, for we'll be all of one mind."

The duke and duchess, as it was they who had made the experiment
of this adventure, were ready to burst with laughter at all this,
and between themselves they commended the clever acting of the
Trifaldi, who, returning to her seat, said, "Queen Dona Maguncia
reigned over the famous kingdom of Kandy, which lies between the great
Trapobana and the Southern Sea, two leagues beyond Cape Comorin. She
was the widow of King Archipiela, her lord and husband, and of their
marriage they had issue the Princess Antonomasia, heiress of the
kingdom; which Princess Antonomasia was reared and brought up under my
care and direction, I being the oldest and highest in rank of her
mother's duennas. Time passed, and the young Antonomasia reached the
age of fourteen, and such a perfection of beauty, that nature could
not raise it higher. Then, it must not be supposed her intelligence
was childish; she was as intelligent as she was fair, and she was
fairer than all the world; and is so still, unless the envious fates
and hard-hearted sisters three have cut for her the thread of life.
But that they have not, for Heaven will not suffer so great a wrong to
Earth, as it would be to pluck unripe the grapes of the fairest
vineyard on its surface. Of this beauty, to which my poor feeble
tongue has failed to do justice, countless princes, not only of that
country, but of others, were enamoured, and among them a private
gentleman, who was at the court, dared to raise his thoughts to the
heaven of so great beauty, trusting to his youth, his gallant bearing,
his numerous accomplishments and graces, and his quickness and
readiness of wit; for I may tell your highnesses, if I am not wearying
you, that he played the guitar so as to make it speak, and he was,
besides, a poet and a great dancer, and he could make birdcages so
well, that by making them alone he might have gained a livelihood, had
he found himself reduced to utter poverty; and gifts and graces of
this kind are enough to bring down a mountain, not to say a tender
young girl. But all his gallantry, wit, and gaiety, all his graces and
accomplishments, would have been of little or no avail towards gaining
the fortress of my pupil, had not the impudent thief taken the
precaution of gaining me over first. First, the villain and
heartless vagabond sought to win my good-will and purchase my
compliance, so as to get me, like a treacherous warder, to deliver
up to him the keys of the fortress I had in charge. In a word, he
gained an influence over my mind, and overcame my resolutions with I
know not what trinkets and jewels he gave me; but it was some verses I
heard him singing one night from a grating that opened on the street
where he lived, that, more than anything else, made me give way and
led to my fall; and if I remember rightly they ran thus:

From that sweet enemy of mine
My bleeding heart hath had its wound;
And to increase the pain I'm bound
To suffer and to make no sign.

The lines seemed pearls to me and his voice sweet as syrup; and
afterwards, I may say ever since then, looking at the misfortune
into which I have fallen, I have thought that poets, as Plato advised,
ought to he banished from all well-ordered States; at least the
amatory ones, for they write verses, not like those of 'The Marquis of
Mantua,' that delight and draw tears from the women and children,
but sharp-pointed conceits that pierce the heart like soft thorns, and
like the lightning strike it, leaving the raiment uninjured. Another
time he sang:

Come Death, so subtly veiled that I
Thy coming know not, how or when,
Lest it should give me life again
To find how sweet it is to die.

-and other verses and burdens of the same sort, such as enchant when
sung and fascinate when written. And then, when they condescend to
compose a sort of verse that was at that time in vogue in Kandy, which
they call seguidillas! Then it is that hearts leap and laughter breaks
forth, and the body grows restless and all the senses turn
quicksilver. And so I say, sirs, that these troubadours richly deserve
to be banished to the isles of the lizards. Though it is not they that
are in fault, but the simpletons that extol them, and the fools that
believe in them; and had I been the faithful duenna I should have
been, his stale conceits would have never moved me, nor should I
have been taken in by such phrases as 'in death I live,' 'in ice I
burn,' 'in flames I shiver,' 'hopeless I hope,' 'I go and stay,' and
paradoxes of that sort which their writings are full of. And then when
they promise the Phoenix of Arabia, the crown of Ariadne, the horses
of the Sun, the pearls of the South, the gold of Tibar, and the balsam
of Panchaia! Then it is they give a loose to their pens, for it
costs them little to make promises they have no intention or power
of fulfilling. But where am I wandering to? Woe is me, unfortunate
being! What madness or folly leads me to speak of the faults of
others, when there is so much to be said about my own? Again, woe is
me, hapless that I am! it was not verses that conquered me, but my own
simplicity; it was not music made me yield, but my own imprudence;
my own great ignorance and little caution opened the way and cleared
the path for Don Clavijo's advances, for that was the name of the
gentleman I have referred to; and so, with my help as go-between, he
found his way many a time into the chamber of the deceived Antonomasia
(deceived not by him but by me) under the title of a lawful husband;
for, sinner though I was, would not have allowed him to approach the
edge of her shoe-sole without being her husband. No, no, not that;
marriage must come first in any business of this sort that I take in
hand. But there was one hitch in this case, which was that of
inequality of rank, Don Clavijo being a private gentleman, and the
Princess Antonomasia, as I said, heiress to the kingdom. The
entanglement remained for some time a secret, kept hidden by my
cunning precautions, until I perceived that a certain expansion of
waist in Antonomasia must before long disclose it, the dread of
which made us all there take counsel together, and it was agreed
that before the mischief came to light, Don Clavijo should demand
Antonomasia as his wife before the Vicar, in virtue of an agreement to
marry him made by the princess, and drafted by my wit in such
binding terms that the might of Samson could not have broken it. The
necessary steps were taken; the Vicar saw the agreement, and took
the lady's confession; she confessed everything in full, and he
ordered her into the custody of a very worthy alguacil of the court."

"Are there alguacils of the court in Kandy, too," said Sancho at
this, "and poets, and seguidillas? I swear I think the world is the
same all over! But make haste, Senora Trifaldi; for it is late, and
I am dying to know the end of this long story."

"I will," replied the countess.



By every word that Sancho uttered, the duchess was as much delighted
as Don Quixote was driven to desperation. He bade him hold his tongue,
and the Distressed One went on to say: "At length, after much
questioning and answering, as the princess held to her story,
without changing or varying her previous declaration, the Vicar gave
his decision in favour of Don Clavijo, and she was delivered over to
him as his lawful wife; which the Queen Dona Maguncia, the Princess
Antonomasia's mother, so took to heart, that within the space of three
days we buried her."

"She died, no doubt," said Sancho.

"Of course," said Trifaldin; "they don't bury living people in
Kandy, only the dead."

"Senor Squire," said Sancho, "a man in a swoon has been known to
be buried before now, in the belief that he was dead; and it struck me
that Queen Maguncia ought to have swooned rather than died; because
with life a great many things come right, and the princess's folly was
not so great that she need feel it so keenly. If the lady had
married some page of hers, or some other servant of the house, as many
another has done, so I have heard say, then the mischief would have
been past curing. But to marry such an elegant accomplished
gentleman as has been just now described to us- indeed, indeed, though
it was a folly, it was not such a great one as you think; for
according to the rules of my master here- and he won't allow me to
lie- as of men of letters bishops are made, so of gentlemen knights,
specially if they be errant, kings and emperors may be made."

"Thou art right, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for with a
knight-errant, if he has but two fingers' breadth of good fortune,
it is on the cards to become the mightiest lord on earth. But let
senora the Distressed One proceed; for I suspect she has got yet to
tell us the bitter part of this so far sweet story."

"The bitter is indeed to come," said the countess; "and such
bitter that colocynth is sweet and oleander toothsome in comparison.
The queen, then, being dead, and not in a swoon, we buried her; and
hardly had we covered her with earth, hardly had we said our last
farewells, when, quis talia fando temperet a lachrymis? over the
queen's grave there appeared, mounted upon a wooden horse, the giant
Malambruno, Maguncia's first cousin, who besides being cruel is an
enchanter; and he, to revenge the death of his cousin, punish the
audacity of Don Clavijo, and in wrath at the contumacy of Antonomasia,
left them both enchanted by his art on the grave itself; she being
changed into an ape of brass, and he into a horrible crocodile of some
unknown metal; while between the two there stands a pillar, also of
metal, with certain characters in the Syriac language inscribed upon
it, which, being translated into Kandian, and now into Castilian,
contain the following sentence: 'These two rash lovers shall not
recover their former shape until the valiant Manchegan comes to do
battle with me in single combat; for the Fates reserve this unexampled
adventure for his mighty valour alone.' This done, he drew from its
sheath a huge broad scimitar, and seizing me by the hair he made as
though he meant to cut my throat and shear my head clean off. I was
terror-stricken, my voice stuck in my throat, and I was in the deepest
distress; nevertheless I summoned up my strength as well as I could,
and in a trembling and piteous voice I addressed such words to him
as induced him to stay the infliction of a punishment so severe. He
then caused all the duennas of the palace, those that are here
present, to be brought before him; and after having dwelt upon the
enormity of our offence, and denounced duennas, their characters,
their evil ways and worse intrigues, laying to the charge of all
what I alone was guilty of, he said he would not visit us with capital
punishment, but with others of a slow nature which would be in
effect civil death for ever; and the very instant he ceased speaking
we all felt the pores of our faces opening, and pricking us, as if
with the points of needles. We at once put our hands up to our faces
and found ourselves in the state you now see."

Here the Distressed One and the other duennas raised the veils
with which they were covered, and disclosed countenances all bristling
with beards, some red, some black, some white, and some grizzled, at
which spectacle the duke and duchess made a show of being filled
with wonder. Don Quixote and Sancho were overwhelmed with amazement,
and the bystanders lost in astonishment, while the Trifaldi went on to
say: "Thus did that malevolent villain Malambruno punish us,
covering the tenderness and softness of our faces with these rough
bristles! Would to heaven that he had swept off our heads with his
enormous scimitar instead of obscuring the light of our countenances
with these wool-combings that cover us! For if we look into the
matter, sirs (and what I am now going to say I would say with eyes
flowing like fountains, only that the thought of our misfortune and
the oceans they have already wept, keep them as dry as barley
spears, and so I say it without tears), where, I ask, can a duenna
with a beard to to? What father or mother will feel pity for her?
Who will help her? For, if even when she has a smooth skin, and a face
tortured by a thousand kinds of washes and cosmetics, she can hardly
get anybody to love her, what will she do when she shows a
countenace turned into a thicket? Oh duennas, companions mine! it
was an unlucky moment when we were born and an ill-starred hour when
our fathers begot us!" And as she said this she showed signs of
being about to faint.



Verily and truly all those who find pleasure in histories like
this ought show their gratitude to Cide Hamete, its original author,
for the scrupulous care he has taken to set before us all its minute
particulars, not leaving anything, however trifling it may be, that he
does not make clear and plain. He portrays the thoughts, he reveals
the fancies, he answers implied questions, clears up doubts, sets
objections at rest, and, in a word, makes plain the smallest points
the most inquisitive can desire to know. O renowned author! O happy
Don Quixote! O famous famous droll Sancho! All and each, may ye live
countless ages for the delight and amusement of the dwellers on earth!

The history goes on to say that when Sancho saw the Distressed One
faint he exclaimed: "I swear by the faith of an honest man and the
shades of all my ancestors the Panzas, that never I did see or hear
of, nor has my master related or conceived in his mind, such an
adventure as this. A thousand devils- not to curse thee- take thee,
Malambruno, for an enchanter and a giant! Couldst thou find no other
sort of punishment for these sinners but bearding them? Would it not
have been better- it would have been better for them- to have taken
off half their noses from the middle upwards, even though they'd
have snuffled when they spoke, than to have put beards on them? I'll
bet they have not the means of paying anybody to shave them."

"That is the truth, senor," said one of the twelve; "we have not the
money to get ourselves shaved, and so we have, some of us, taken to
using sticking-plasters by way of an economical remedy, for by
applying them to our faces and plucking them off with a jerk we are
left as bare and smooth as the bottom of a stone mortar. There are, to
be sure, women in Kandy that go about from house to house to remove
down, and trim eyebrows, and make cosmetics for the use of the
women, but we, the duennas of my lady, would never let them in, for
most of them have a flavour of agents that have ceased to be
principals; and if we are not relieved by Senor Don Quixote we shall
be carried to our graves with beards."

"I will pluck out my own in the land of the Moors," said Don
Quixote, "if I don't cure yours."

At this instant the Trifaldi recovered from her swoon and said, "The
chink of that promise, valiant knight, reached my ears in the midst of
my swoon, and has been the means of reviving me and bringing back my
senses; and so once more I implore you, illustrious errant,
indomitable sir, to let your gracious promises be turned into deeds."

"There shall be no delay on my part," said Don Quixote. "Bethink
you, senora, of what I must do, for my heart is most eager to serve

"The fact is," replied the Distressed One, "it is five thousand
leagues, a couple more or less, from this to the kingdom of Kandy,
if you go by land; but if you go through the air and in a straight
line, it is three thousand two hundred and twenty-seven. You must
know, too, that Malambruno told me that, whenever fate provided the
knight our deliverer, he himself would send him a steed far better and
with less tricks than a post-horse; for he will be that same wooden
horse on which the valiant Pierres carried off the fair Magalona;
which said horse is guided by a peg he has in his forehead that serves
for a bridle, and flies through the air with such rapidity that you
would fancy the very devils were carrying him. This horse, according
to ancient tradition, was made by Merlin. He lent him to Pierres,
who was a friend of his, and who made long journeys with him, and,
as has been said, carried off the fair Magalona, bearing her through
the air on its haunches and making all who beheld them from the
earth gape with astonishment; and he never lent him save to those whom
he loved or those who paid him well; and since the great Pierres we
know of no one having mounted him until now. From him Malambruno stole
him by his magic art, and he has him now in his possession, and
makes use of him in his journeys which he constantly makes through
different parts of the world; he is here to-day, to-morrow in
France, and the next day in Potosi; and the best of it is the said
horse neither eats nor sleeps nor wears out shoes, and goes at an
ambling pace through the air without wings, so that he whom he has
mounted upon him can carry a cup full of water in his hand without
spilling a drop, so smoothly and easily does he go, for which reason
the fair Magalona enjoyed riding him greatly."

"For going smoothly and easily," said Sancho at this, "give me my
Dapple, though he can't go through the air; but on the ground I'll
back him against all the amblers in the world."

They all laughed, and the Distressed One continued: "And this same
horse, if so be that Malambruno is disposed to put an end to our
sufferings, will be here before us ere the night shall have advanced
half an hour; for he announced to me that the sign he would give me
whereby I might know that I had found the knight I was in quest of,
would be to send me the horse wherever he might be, speedily and

"And how many is there room for on this horse?" asked Sancho.

"Two," said the Distressed One, "one in the saddle, and the other on
the croup; and generally these two are knight and squire, when there
is no damsel that's being carried off."

"I'd like to know, Senora Distressed One," said Sancho, "what is the
name of this horse?"

"His name," said the Distressed One, "is not the same as
Bellerophon's horse that was called Pegasus, or Alexander the Great's,
called Bucephalus, or Orlando Furioso's, the name of which was
Brigliador, nor yet Bayard, the horse of Reinaldos of Montalvan, nor
Frontino like Ruggiero's, nor Bootes or Peritoa, as they say the
horses of the sun were called, nor is he called Orelia, like the horse
on which the unfortunate Rodrigo, the last king of the Goths, rode
to the battle where he lost his life and his kingdom."

"I'll bet," said Sancho, "that as they have given him none of
these famous names of well-known horses, no more have they given him
the name of my master's Rocinante, which for being apt surpasses all
that have been mentioned."

"That is true," said the bearded countess, "still it fits him very
well, for he is called Clavileno the Swift, which name is in
accordance with his being made of wood, with the peg he has in his
forehead, and with the swift pace at which he travels; and so, as
far as name goes, he may compare with the famous Rocinante."

"I have nothing to say against his name," said Sancho; "but with
what sort of bridle or halter is he managed?"

"I have said already," said the Trifaldi, "that it is with a peg, by
turning which to one side or the other the knight who rides him
makes him go as he pleases, either through the upper air, or
skimming and almost sweeping the earth, or else in that middle
course that is sought and followed in all well-regulated proceedings."

"I'd like to see him," said Sancho; "but to fancy I'm going to mount
him, either in the saddle or on the croup, is to ask pears of the
elm tree. A good joke indeed! I can hardly keep my seat upon Dapple,
and on a pack-saddle softer than silk itself, and here they'd have
me hold on upon haunches of plank without pad or cushion of any
sort! Gad, I have no notion of bruising myself to get rid of
anyone's beard; let each one shave himself as best he can; I'm not
going to accompany my master on any such long journey; besides, I
can't give any help to the shaving of these beards as I can to the
disenchantment of my lady Dulcinea."

"Yes, you can, my friend," replied the Trifaldi; "and so much,
that without you, so I understand, we shall be able to do nothing."

"In the king's name!" exclaimed Sancho, "what have squires got to do
with the adventures of their masters? Are they to have the fame of
such as they go through, and we the labour? Body o' me! if the
historians would only say, 'Such and such a knight finished such and
such an adventure, but with the help of so and so, his squire, without
which it would have been impossible for him to accomplish it;' but
they write curtly, "Don Paralipomenon of the Three Stars
accomplished the adventure of the six monsters;' without mentioning
such a person as his squire, who was there all the time, just as if
there was no such being. Once more, sirs, I say my master may go
alone, and much good may it do him; and I'll stay here in the
company of my lady the duchess; and maybe when he comes back, he
will find the lady Dulcinea's affair ever so much advanced; for I mean
in leisure hours, and at idle moments, to give myself a spell of
whipping without so much as a hair to cover me."

"For all that you must go if it be necessary, my good Sancho,"
said the duchess, "for they are worthy folk who ask you; and the faces
of these ladies must not remain overgrown in this way because of
your idle fears; that would be a hard case indeed."

"In the king's name, once more!" said Sancho; "If this charitable
work were to be done for the sake of damsels in confinement or
charity-girls, a man might expose himself to some hardships; but to
bear it for the sake of stripping beards off duennas! Devil take it!
I'd sooner see them all bearded, from the highest to the lowest, and
from the most prudish to the most affected."

"You are very hard on duennas, Sancho my friend," said the
duchess; "you incline very much to the opinion of the Toledo
apothecary. But indeed you are wrong; there are duennas in my house
that may serve as patterns of duennas; and here is my Dona
Rodriguez, who will not allow me to say otherwise."

"Your excellence may say it if you like," said the Rodriguez; "for
God knows the truth of everything; and whether we duennas are good
or bad, bearded or smooth, we are our mothers' daughters like other
women; and as God sent us into the world, he knows why he did, and
on his mercy I rely, and not on anybody's beard."

"Well, Senora Rodriguez, Senora Trifaldi, and present company," said
Don Quixote, "I trust in Heaven that it will look with kindly eyes
upon your troubles, for Sancho will do as I bid him. Only let
Clavileno come and let me find myself face to face with Malambruno,
and I am certain no razor will shave you more easily than my sword
shall shave Malambruno's head off his shoulders; for 'God bears with
the wicked, but not for ever."

"Ah!" exclaimed the Distressed One at this, "may all the stars of
the celestial regions look down upon your greatness with benign
eyes, valiant knight, and shed every prosperity and valour upon your
heart, that it may be the shield and safeguard of the abused and
downtrodden race of duennas, detested by apothecaries, sneered at by
squires, and made game of by pages. Ill betide the jade that in the
flower of her youth would not sooner become a nun than a duenna!
Unfortunate beings that we are, we duennas! Though we may be descended
in the direct male line from Hector of Troy himself, our mistresses
never fail to address us as 'you' if they think it makes queens of
them. O giant Malambruno, though thou art an enchanter, thou art
true to thy promises. Send us now the peerless Clavileno, that our
misfortune may be brought to an end; for if the hot weather sets in
and these beards of ours are still there, alas for our lot!"

The Trifaldi said this in such a pathetic way that she drew tears
from the eyes of all and even Sancho's filled up; and he resolved in
his heart to accompany his master to the uttermost ends of the
earth, if so be the removal of the wool from those venerable
countenances depended upon it.



And now night came, and with it the appointed time for the arrival
of the famous horse Clavileno, the non-appearance of which was already
beginning to make Don Quixote uneasy, for it struck him that, as
Malambruno was so long about sending it, either he himself was not the
knight for whom the adventure was reserved, or else Malambruno did not
dare to meet him in single combat. But lo! suddenly there came into
the garden four wild-men all clad in green ivy bearing on their
shoulders a great wooden horse. They placed it on its feet on the
ground, and one of the wild-men said, "Let the knight who has heart
for it mount this machine."

Here Sancho exclaimed, "I don't mount, for neither have I the
heart nor am I a knight."

"And let the squire, if he has one," continued the wild-man, "take
his seat on the croup, and let him trust the valiant Malambruno; for
by no sword save his, nor by the malice of any other, shall he be
assailed. It is but to turn this peg the horse has in his neck, and he
will bear them through the air to where Malambruno awaits them; but
lest the vast elevation of their course should make them giddy,
their eyes must be covered until the horse neighs, which will be the
sign of their having completed their journey."

With these words, leaving Clavileno behind them, they retired with
easy dignity the way they came. As soon as the Distressed One saw
the horse, almost in tears she exclaimed to Don Quixote, "Valiant
knight, the promise of Malambruno has proved trustworthy; the horse
has come, our beards are growing, and by every hair in them all of
us implore thee to shave and shear us, as it is only mounting him with
thy squire and making a happy beginning with your new journey."

"That I will, Senora Countess Trifaldi," said Don Quixote, "most
gladly and with right goodwill, without stopping to take a cushion
or put on my spurs, so as not to lose time, such is my desire to see
you and all these duennas shaved clean."

"That I won't," said Sancho, "with good-will or bad-will, or any way
at all; and if this shaving can't be done without my mounting on the
croup, my master had better look out for another squire to go with
him, and these ladies for some other way of making their faces smooth;
I'm no witch to have a taste for travelling through the air. What
would my islanders say when they heard their governor was going,
strolling about on the winds? And another thing, as it is three
thousand and odd leagues from this to Kandy, if the horse tires, or
the giant takes huff, we'll he half a dozen years getting back, and
there won't be isle or island in the world that will know me: and
so, as it is a common saying 'in delay there's danger,' and 'when they
offer thee a heifer run with a halter,' these ladies' beards must
excuse me; 'Saint Peter is very well in Rome;' I mean I am very well
in this house where so much is made of me, and I hope for such a
good thing from the master as to see myself a governor."

"Friend Sancho," said the duke at this, "the island that I have
promised you is not a moving one, or one that will run away; it has
roots so deeply buried in the bowels of the earth that it will be no
easy matter to pluck it up or shift it from where it is; you know as
well as I do that there is no sort of office of any importance that is
not obtained by a bribe of some kind, great or small; well then,
that which I look to receive for this government is that you go with
your master Don Quixote, and bring this memorable adventure to a
conclusion; and whether you return on Clavileno as quickly as his
speed seems to promise, or adverse fortune brings you back on foot
travelling as a pilgrim from hostel to hostel and from inn to inn, you
will always find your island on your return where you left it, and
your islanders with the same eagerness they have always had to receive
you as their governor, and my good-will will remain the same; doubt
not the truth of this, Senor Sancho, for that would be grievously
wronging my disposition to serve you."

"Say no more, senor," said Sancho; "I am a poor squire and not equal
to carrying so much courtesy; let my master mount; bandage my eyes and
commit me to God's care, and tell me if I may commend myself to our
Lord or call upon the angels to protect me when we go towering up

To this the Trifaldi made answer, "Sancho, you may freely commend
yourself to God or whom you will; for Malambruno though an enchanter
is a Christian, and works his enchantments with great
circumspection, taking very good care not to fall out with anyone."

"Well then," said Sancho, "God and the most holy Trinity of Gaeta
give me help!"

"Since the memorable adventure of the fulling mills," said Don
Quixote, "I have never seen Sancho in such a fright as now; were I
as superstitious as others his abject fear would cause me some
little trepidation of spirit. But come here, Sancho, for with the
leave of these gentles I would say a word or two to thee in
private;" and drawing Sancho aside among the trees of the garden and
seizing both his hands he said, "Thou seest, brother Sancho, the
long journey we have before us, and God knows when we shall return, or
what leisure or opportunities this business will allow us; I wish thee
therefore to retire now to thy chamber, as though thou wert going to
fetch something required for the road, and in a trice give thyself
if it be only five hundred lashes on account of the three thousand
three hundred to which thou art bound; it will be all to the good, and
to make a beginning with a thing is to have it half finished."

"By God," said Sancho, "but your worship must be out of your senses!
This is like the common saying, 'You see me with child, and you want
me a virgin.' Just as I'm about to go sitting on a bare board, your
worship would have me score my backside! Indeed, your worship is not
reasonable. Let us be off to shave these duennas; and on our return
I promise on my word to make such haste to wipe off all that's due
as will satisfy your worship; I can't say more."

"Well, I will comfort myself with that promise, my good Sancho,"
replied Don Quixote, "and I believe thou wilt keep it; for indeed
though stupid thou art veracious."

"I'm not voracious," said Sancho, "only peckish; but even if I was a
little, still I'd keep my word."

With this they went back to mount Clavileno, and as they were
about to do so Don Quixote said, "Cover thine eyes, Sancho, and mount;
for one who sends for us from lands so far distant cannot mean to
deceive us for the sake of the paltry glory to be derived from
deceiving persons who trust in him; though all should turn out the
contrary of what I hope, no malice will be able to dim the glory of
having undertaken this exploit."

"Let us be off, senor," said Sancho, "for I have taken the beards
and tears of these ladies deeply to heart, and I shan't eat a bit to
relish it until I have seen them restored to their former
smoothness. Mount, your worship, and blindfold yourself, for if I am
to go on the croup, it is plain the rider in the saddle must mount

"That is true," said Don Quixote, and, taking a handkerchief out
of his pocket, he begged the Distressed One to bandage his eyes very
carefully; but after having them bandaged he uncovered them again,
saying, "If my memory does not deceive me, I have read in Virgil of
the Palladium of Troy, a wooden horse the Greeks offered to the
goddess Pallas, which was big with armed knights, who were
afterwards the destruction of Troy; so it would he as well to see,
first of all, what Clavileno has in his stomach."

"There is no occasion," said the Distressed One; "I will be bail for
him, and I know that Malambruno has nothing tricky or treacherous
about him; you may mount without any fear, Senor Don Quixote; on my
head be it if any harm befalls you."

Don Quixote thought that to say anything further with regard to
his safety would be putting his courage in an unfavourable light;
and so, without more words, he mounted Clavileno, and tried the peg,
which turned easily; and as he had no stirrups and his legs hung down,
he looked like nothing so much as a figure in some Roman triumph
painted or embroidered on a Flemish tapestry.

Much against the grain, and very slowly, Sancho proceeded to
mount, and, after settling himself as well as he could on the croup,
found it rather hard, and not at all soft, and asked the duke if it
would be possible to oblige him with a pad of some kind, or a cushion;
even if it were off the couch of his lady the duchess, or the bed of
one of the pages; as the haunches of that horse were more like
marble than wood. On this the Trifaldi observed that Clavileno would
not bear any kind of harness or trappings, and that his best plan
would be to sit sideways like a woman, as in that way he would not
feel the hardness so much.

Sancho did so, and, bidding them farewell, allowed his eyes to he
bandaged, but immediately afterwards uncovered them again, and looking
tenderly and tearfully on those in the garden, bade them help him in
his present strait with plenty of Paternosters and Ave Marias, that
God might provide some one to say as many for them, whenever they
found themselves in a similar emergency.

At this Don Quixote exclaimed, "Art thou on the gallows, thief, or
at thy last moment, to use pitiful entreaties of that sort?
Cowardly, spiritless creature, art thou not in the very place the fair
Magalona occupied, and from which she descended, not into the grave,
but to become Queen of France; unless the histories lie? And I who
am here beside thee, may I not put myself on a par with the valiant
Pierres, who pressed this very spot that I now press? Cover thine
eyes, cover thine eyes, abject animal, and let not thy fear escape thy
lips, at least in my presence."

"Blindfold me," said Sancho; "as you won't let me commend myself
or be commended to God, is it any wonder if I am afraid there is a
region of devils about here that will carry us off to Peralvillo?"

They were then blindfolded, and Don Quixote, finding himself settled
to his satisfaction, felt for the peg, and the instant he placed his
fingers on it, all the duennas and all who stood by lifted up their
voices exclaiming, "God guide thee, valiant knight! God be with
thee, intrepid squire! Now, now ye go cleaving the air more swiftly
than an arrow! Now ye begin to amaze and astonish all who are gazing
at you from the earth! Take care not to wobble about, valiant
Sancho! Mind thou fall not, for thy fall will be worse than that
rash youth's who tried to steer the chariot of his father the Sun!"

As Sancho heard the voices, clinging tightly to his master and
winding his arms round him, he said, "Senor, how do they make out we
are going up so high, if their voices reach us here and they seem to
be speaking quite close to us?"

"Don't mind that, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "for as affairs of this
sort, and flights like this are out of the common course of things,
you can see and hear as much as you like a thousand leagues off; but
don't squeeze me so tight or thou wilt upset me; and really I know not
what thou hast to be uneasy or frightened at, for I can safely swear I
never mounted a smoother-going steed all the days of my life; one
would fancy we never stirred from one place. Banish fear, my friend,
for indeed everything is going as it ought, and we have the wind

"That's true," said Sancho, "for such a strong wind comes against me
on this side, that it seems as if people were blowing on me with a
thousand pair of bellows;" which was the case; they were puffing at
him with a great pair of bellows; for the whole adventure was so
well planned by the duke, the duchess, and their majordomo, that
nothing was omitted to make it perfectly successful.

Don Quixote now, feeling the blast, said, "Beyond a doubt, Sancho,
we must have already reached the second region of the air, where the
hail and snow are generated; the thunder, the lightning, and the
thunderbolts are engendered in the third region, and if we go on
ascending at this rate, we shall shortly plunge into the region of
fire, and I know not how to regulate this peg, so as not to mount up
where we shall be burned."

And now they began to warm their faces, from a distance, with tow
that could be easily set on fire and extinguished again, fixed on
the end of a cane. On feeling the heat Sancho said, "May I die if we
are not already in that fire place, or very near it, for a good part
of my beard has been singed, and I have a mind, senor, to uncover
and see whereabouts we are."

"Do nothing of the kind," said Don Quixote; "remember the true story
of the licentiate Torralva that the devils carried flying through
the air riding on a stick with his eyes shut; who in twelve hours
reached Rome and dismounted at Torre di Nona, which is a street of the
city, and saw the whole sack and storming and the death of Bourbon,
and was back in Madrid the next morning, where he gave an account of
all he had seen; and he said moreover that as he was going through the
air, the devil bade him open his eyes, and he did so, and saw
himself so near the body of the moon, so it seemed to him, that he
could have laid hold of it with his hand, and that he did not dare
to look at the earth lest he should be seized with giddiness. So that,
Sancho, it will not do for us to uncover ourselves, for he who has
us in charge will be responsible for us; and perhaps we are gaining an
altitude and mounting up to enable us to descend at one swoop on the
kingdom of Kandy, as the saker or falcon does on the heron, so as to
seize it however high it may soar; and though it seems to us not
half an hour since we left the garden, believe me we must have
travelled a great distance."

"I don't know how that may be," said Sancho; "all I know is that
if the Senora Magallanes or Magalona was satisfied with this croup,
she could not have been very tender of flesh."

The duke, the duchess, and all in the garden were listening to the
conversation of the two heroes, and were beyond measure amused by
it; and now, desirous of putting a finishing touch to this rare and
well-contrived adventure, they applied a light to Clavileno's tail
with some tow, and the horse, being full of squibs and crackers,
immediately blew up with a prodigious noise, and brought Don Quixote
and Sancho Panza to the ground half singed. By this time the bearded
band of duennas, the Trifaldi and all, had vanished from the garden,
and those that remained lay stretched on the ground as if in a
swoon. Don Quixote and Sancho got up rather shaken, and, looking about
them, were filled with amazement at finding themselves in the same
garden from which they had started, and seeing such a number of people
stretched on the ground; and their astonishment was increased when
at one side of the garden they perceived a tall lance planted in the
ground, and hanging from it by two cords of green silk a smooth
white parchment on which there was the following inscription in
large gold letters: "The illustrious knight Don Quixote of La Mancha
has, by merely attempting it, finished and concluded the adventure
of the Countess Trifaldi, otherwise called the Distressed Duenna;
Malambruno is now satisfied on every point, the chins of the duennas
are now smooth and clean, and King Don Clavijo and Queen Antonomasia
in their original form; and when the squirely flagellation shall
have been completed, the white dove shall find herself delivered
from the pestiferous gerfalcons that persecute her, and in the arms of
her beloved mate; for such is the decree of the sage Merlin,
arch-enchanter of enchanters."

As soon as Don Quixote had read the inscription on the parchment
he perceived clearly that it referred to the disenchantment of
Dulcinea, and returning hearty thanks to heaven that he had with so
little danger achieved so grand an exploit as to restore to their
former complexion the countenances of those venerable duennas, he
advanced towards the duke and duchess, who had not yet come to
themselves, and taking the duke by the hand he said, "Be of good
cheer, worthy sir, be of good cheer; it's nothing at all; the
adventure is now over and without any harm done, as the inscription
fixed on this post shows plainly."

The duke came to himself slowly and like one recovering
consciousness after a heavy sleep, and the duchess and all who had
fallen prostrate about the garden did the same, with such
demonstrations of wonder and amazement that they would have almost
persuaded one that what they pretended so adroitly in jest had
happened to them in reality. The duke read the placard with
half-shut eyes, and then ran to embrace Don Quixote with-open arms,
declaring him to be the best knight that had ever been seen in any
age. Sancho kept looking about for the Distressed One, to see what her
face was like without the beard, and if she was as fair as her elegant
person promised; but they told him that, the instant Clavileno
descended flaming through the air and came to the ground, the whole
band of duennas with the Trifaldi vanished, and that they were already
shaved and without a stump left.

The duchess asked Sancho how he had fared on that long journey, to
which Sancho replied, "I felt, senora, that we were flying through the
region of fire, as my master told me, and I wanted to uncover my
eyes for a bit; but my master, when I asked leave to uncover myself,
would not let me; but as I have a little bit of curiosity about me,
and a desire to know what is forbidden and kept from me, quietly and
without anyone seeing me I drew aside the handkerchief covering my
eyes ever so little, close to my nose, and from underneath looked
towards the earth, and it seemed to me that it was altogether no
bigger than a grain of mustard seed, and that the men walking on it
were little bigger than hazel nuts; so you may see how high we must
have got to then."

To this the duchess said, "Sancho, my friend, mind what you are
saying; it seems you could not have seen the earth, but only the men
walking on it; for if the earth looked to you like a grain of
mustard seed, and each man like a hazel nut, one man alone would
have covered the whole earth."

"That is true," said Sancho, "but for all that I got a glimpse of
a bit of one side of it, and saw it all."

"Take care, Sancho," said the duchess, "with a bit of one side one
does not see the whole of what one looks at."

"I don't understand that way of looking at things," said Sancho;
"I only know that your ladyship will do well to bear in mind that as
we were flying by enchantment so I might have seen the whole earth and
all the men by enchantment whatever way I looked; and if you won't
believe this, no more will you believe that, uncovering myself
nearly to the eyebrows, I saw myself so close to the sky that there
was not a palm and a half between me and it; and by everything that
I can swear by, senora, it is mighty great! And it so happened we came
by where the seven goats are, and by God and upon my soul, as in my
youth I was a goatherd in my own country, as soon as I saw them I felt
a longing to be among them for a little, and if I had not given way to
it I think I'd have burst. So I come and take, and what do I do?
without saying anything to anybody, not even to my master, softly
and quietly I got down from Clavileno and amused myself with the
goats- which are like violets, like flowers- for nigh three-quarters
of an hour; and Clavileno never stirred or moved from one spot."

"And while the good Sancho was amusing himself with the goats," said
the duke, "how did Senor Don Quixote amuse himself?"

To which Don Quixote replied, "As all these things and such like
occurrences are out of the ordinary course of nature, it is no
wonder that Sancho says what he does; for my own part I can only say
that I did not uncover my eyes either above or below, nor did I see
sky or earth or sea or shore. It is true I felt that I was passing
through the region of the air, and even that I touched that of fire;
but that we passed farther I cannot believe; for the region of fire
being between the heaven of the moon and the last region of the air,
we could not have reached that heaven where the seven goats Sancho
speaks of are without being burned; and as we were not burned,
either Sancho is lying or Sancho is dreaming."

"I am neither lying nor dreaming," said Sancho; "only ask me the
tokens of those same goats, and you'll see by that whether I'm telling
the truth or not."

"Tell us them then, Sancho," said the duchess.

"Two of them," said Sancho, "are green, two blood-red, two blue, and
one a mixture of all colours."

"An odd sort of goat, that," said the duke; "in this earthly
region of ours we have no such colours; I mean goats of such colours."

"That's very plain," said Sancho; "of course there must be a
difference between the goats of heaven and the goats of the earth."

"Tell me, Sancho," said the duke, "did you see any he-goat among
those goats?"

"No, senor," said Sancho; "but I have heard say that none ever
passed the horns of the moon."

They did not care to ask him anything more about his journey, for
they saw he was in the vein to go rambling all over the heavens giving
an account of everything that went on there, without having ever
stirred from the garden. Such, in short, was the end of the
adventure of the Distressed Duenna, which gave the duke and duchess
laughing matter not only for the time being, but for all their
lives, and Sancho something to talk about for ages, if he lived so
long; but Don Quixote, coming close to his ear, said to him,
"Sancho, as you would have us believe what you saw in heaven, I
require you to believe me as to what I saw in the cave of
Montesinos; I say no more."



The duke and duchess were so well pleased with the successful and
droll result of the adventure of the Distressed One, that they
resolved to carry on the joke, seeing what a fit subject they had to
deal with for making it all pass for reality. So having laid their
plans and given instructions to their servants and vassals how to
behave to Sancho in his government of the promised island, the next
day, that following Clavileno's flight, the duke told Sancho to
prepare and get ready to go and be governor, for his islanders were
already looking out for him as for the showers of May.

Sancho made him an obeisance, and said, "Ever since I came down from
heaven, and from the top of it beheld the earth, and saw how little it

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