OF WHAT BEFELL DON QUIXOTE WITH DONA RODRIGUEZ, THE DUCHESS'S DUENNA, TOGETHER WITH OTHER OCCURRENCES WORTHY OF RECORD AND ETERNAL REMEMBRANCE
Exceedingly moody and dejected was the sorely wounded Don Quixote, with his face bandaged and marked, not by the hand of God, but by the claws of a cat, mishaps incidental to knight-errantry.
Six days he remained without appearing in public, and one night as he lay awake thinking of his misfortunes and of Altisidora's pursuit of him, he perceived that some one was opening the door of his room with a key, and he at once made up his mind that the enamoured damsel was coming to make an assault upon his chastity and put him in danger of failing in the fidelity he owed to his lady Dulcinea del Toboso. "No," said he, firmly persuaded of the truth of his idea (and he said it loud enough to be heard), "the greatest beauty upon earth shall not avail to make me renounce my adoration of her whom I bear stamped and graved in the core of my heart and the secret depths of my bowels; be thou, lady mine, transformed into a clumsy country wench, or into a nymph of golden Tagus weaving a web of silk and gold, let Merlin or Montesinos hold thee captive where they will; whereer thou art, thou art mine, and where'er I am, must be thine." The very instant he had uttered these words, the door opened. He stood up on the bed wrapped from head to foot in a yellow satin coverlet, with a cap on his head, and his face and his moustaches tied up, his face because of the scratches, and his moustaches to keep them from drooping and falling down, in which trim he looked the most extraordinary scarecrow that could be conceived. He kept his eyes fixed on the door, and just as he was expecting to see the love-smitten and unhappy Altisidora make her appearance, he saw coming in a most venerable duenna, in a long white-bordered veil that covered and enveloped her from head to foot. Between the fingers of her left hand she held a short lighted candle, while with her right she shaded it to keep the light from her eyes, which were covered by spectacles of great size, and she advanced with noiseless steps, treading very softly.
Don Quixote kept an eye upon her from his watchtower, and observing her costume and noting her silence, he concluded that it must be some witch or sorceress that was coming in such a guise to work him some mischief, and he began crossing himself at a great rate. The spectre still advanced, and on reaching the middle of the room, looked up and saw the energy with which Don Quixote was crossing himself; and if he was scared by seeing such a figure as hers, she was terrified at the sight of his; for the moment she saw his tall yellow form with the coverlet and the bandages that disfigured him, she gave a loud scream, and exclaiming, "Jesus! what's this I see?" let fall the candle in her fright, and then finding herself in the dark, turned about to make off, but stumbling on her skirts in her consternation, she measured her length with a mighty fall.
Don Quixote in his trepidation began saying, "I conjure thee, phantom, or whatever thou art, tell me what thou art and what thou wouldst with me. If thou art a soul in torment, say so, and all that my powers can do I will do for thee; for I am a Catholic Christian and love to do good to all the world, and to this end I have embraced the order of knight-errantry to which I belong, the province of which extends to doing good even to souls in purgatory."
The unfortunate duenna hearing herself thus conjured, by her own fear guessed Don Quixote's and in a low plaintive voice answered, "Senor Don Quixote--if so be you are indeed Don Quixote--I am no phantom or spectre or soul in purgatory, as you seem to think, but Dona Rodriguez, duenna of honour to my lady the duchess, and I come to you with one of those grievances your worship is wont to redress."
"Tell me, Senora Dona Rodriguez," said Don Quixote, "do you perchance come to transact any go-between business? Because I must tell you I am not available for anybody's purpose, thanks to the peerless beauty of my lady Dulcinea del Toboso. In short, Senora Dona Rodriguez, if you will leave out and put aside all love messages, you may go and light your candle and come back, and we will discuss all the commands you have for me and whatever you wish, saving only, as I said, all seductive communications."
"I carry nobody's messages, senor," said the duenna; "little you know me. Nay, I'm not far enough advanced in years to take to any such childish tricks. God be praised I have a soul in my body still, and all my teeth and grinders in my mouth, except one or two that the colds, so common in this Aragon country, have robbed me of. But wait a little, while I go and light my candle, and I will return immediately and lay my sorrows before you as before one who relieves those of all the world;" and without staying for an answer she quitted the room and left Don Quixote tranquilly meditating while he waited for her. A thousand thoughts at once suggested themselves to him on the subject of this new adventure, and it struck him as being ill done and worse advised in him to expose himself to the danger of breaking his plighted faith to his lady; and said he to himself, "Who knows but that the devil, being wily and cunning, may be trying now to entrap me with a duenna, having failed with empresses, queens, duchesses, marchionesses, and countesses? Many a time have I heard it said by many a man of sense that he will sooner offer you a flat-nosed wench than a roman-nosed one; and who knows but this privacy, this opportunity, this silence, may awaken my sleeping desires, and lead me in these my latter years to fall where I have never tripped? In cases of this sort it is better to flee than to await the battle. But I must be out of my senses to think and utter such nonsense; for it is impossible that a long, white-hooded spectacled duenna could stir up or excite a wanton thought in the most graceless bosom in the world. Is there a duenna on earth that has fair flesh? Is there a duenna in the world that escapes being ill-tempered, wrinkled, and prudish? Avaunt, then, ye duenna crew, undelightful to all mankind. Oh, but that lady did well who, they say, had at the end of her reception room a couple of figures of duennas with spectacles and lace-cushions, as if at work, and those statues served quite as well to give an air of propriety to the room as if they had been real duennas."
So saying he leaped off the bed, intending to close the door and not allow Senora Rodriguez to enter; but as he went to shut it Senora Rodriguez returned with a wax candle lighted, and having a closer view of Don Quixote, with the coverlet round him, and his bandages and night-cap, she was alarmed afresh, and retreating a couple of paces, exclaimed, "Am I safe, sir knight? for I don't look upon it as a sign of very great virtue that your worship should have got up out of bed."
"I may well ask the same, senora," said Don Quixote; "and I do ask whether I shall be safe from being assailed and forced?"
"Of whom and against whom do you demand that security, sir knight?" said the duenna.
"Of you and against you I ask it," said Don Quixote; "for I am not marble, nor are you brass, nor is it now ten o'clock in the morning, but midnight, or a trifle past it I fancy, and we are in a room more secluded and retired than the cave could have been where the treacherous and daring AEneas enjoyed the fair soft-hearted Dido. But give me your hand, senora; I require no better protection than my own continence, and my own sense of propriety; as well as that which is inspired by that venerable head-dress;" and so saying he kissed her right hand and took it in his own, she yielding it to him with equal ceremoniousness. And here Cide Hamete inserts a parenthesis in which he says that to have seen the pair marching from the door to the bed, linked hand in hand in this way, he would have given the best of the two tunics he had.
Don Quixote finally got into bed, and Dona Rodriguez took her seat on a chair at some little distance from his couch, without taking off her spectacles or putting aside the candle. Don Quixote wrapped the bedclothes round him and covered himself up completely, leaving nothing but his face visible, and as soon as they had both regained their composure he broke silence, saying, "Now, Senora Dona Rodriguez, you may unbosom yourself and out with everything you have in your sorrowful heart and afflicted bowels; and by me you shall be listened to with chaste ears, and aided by compassionate exertions."
"I believe it," replied the duenna; "from your worship's gentle and winning presence only such a Christian answer could be expected. The fact is, then, Senor Don Quixote, that though you see me seated in this chair, here in the middle of the kingdom of Aragon, and in the attire of a despised outcast duenna, I am from the Asturias of Oviedo, and of a family with which many of the best of the province are connected by blood; but my untoward fate and the improvidence of my parents, who, I know not how, were unseasonably reduced to poverty, brought me to the court of Madrid, where as a provision and to avoid greater misfortunes, my parents placed me as seamstress in the service of a lady of quality, and I would have you know that for hemming and sewing I have never been surpassed by any all my life. My parents left me in service and returned to their own country, and a few years later went, no doubt, to heaven, for they were excellent good Catholic Christians. I was left an orphan with nothing but the miserable wages and trifling presents that are given to servants of my sort in palaces; but about this time, without any encouragement on my part, one of the esquires of the household fell in love with me, a man somewhat advanced in years, full-bearded and personable, and above all as good a gentleman as the king himself, for he came of a mountain stock. We did not carry on our loves with such secrecy but that they came to the knowledge of my lady, and she, not to have any fuss about it, had us married with the full sanction of the holy mother Roman Catholic Church, of which marriage a daughter was born to put an end to my good fortune, if I had any; not that I died in childbirth, for I passed through it safely and in due season, but because shortly afterwards my husband died of a certain shock he received, and had I time to tell you of it I know your worship would be surprised;" and here she began to weep bitterly and said, "Pardon me, Senor Don Quixote, if I am unable to control myself, for every time I think of my unfortunate husband my eyes fill up with tears. God bless me, with what an air of dignity he used to carry my lady behind him on a stout mule as black as jet! for in those days they did not use coaches or chairs, as they say they do now, and ladies rode behind their squires. This much at least I cannot help telling you, that you may observe the good breeding and punctiliousness of my worthy husband. As he was turning into the Calle de Santiago in Madrid, which is rather narrow, one of the alcaldes of the Court, with two alguacils before him, was coming out of it, and as soon as my good squire saw him he wheeled his mule about and made as if he would turn and accompany him. My lady, who was riding behind him, said to him in a low voice, 'What are you about, you sneak, don't you see that I am here?' The alcalde like a polite man pulled up his horse and said to him, 'Proceed, senor, for it is I, rather, who ought to accompany my lady Dona Casilda'--for that was my mistress's name. Still my husband, cap in hand, persisted in trying to accompany the alcalde, and seeing this my lady, filled with rage and vexation, pulled out a big pin, or, I rather think, a bodkin, out of her needle-case and drove it into his back with such force that my husband gave a loud yell, and writhing fell to the ground with his lady. Her two lacqueys ran to rise her up, and the alcalde and the alguacils did the same; the Guadalajara gate was all in commotion--I mean the idlers congregated there; my mistress came back on foot, and my husband hurried away to a barber's shop protesting that he was run right through the guts. The courtesy of my husband was noised abroad to such an extent, that the boys gave him no peace in the street; and on this account, and because he was somewhat shortsighted, my lady dismissed him; and it was chagrin at this I am convinced beyond a doubt that brought on his death. I was left a helpless widow, with a daughter on my hands growing up in beauty like the sea-foam; at length, however, as I had the character of being an excellent needlewoman, my lady the duchess, then lately married to my lord the duke, offered to take me with her to this kingdom of Aragon, and my daughter also, and here as time went by my daughter grew up and with her all the graces in the world; she sings like a lark, dances quick as thought, foots it like a gipsy, reads and writes like a schoolmaster, and does sums like a miser; of her neatness I say nothing, for the running water is not purer, and her age is now, if my memory serves me, sixteen years five months and three days, one more or less. To come to the point, the son of a very rich farmer, living in a village of my lord the duke's not very far from here, fell in love with this girl of mine; and in short, how I know not, they came together, and under the promise of marrying her he made a fool of my daughter, and will not keep his word. And though my lord the duke is aware of it (for I have complained to him, not once but many and many a time, and entreated him to order the farmer to marry my daughter), he turns a deaf ear and will scarcely listen to me; the reason being that as the deceiver's father is so rich, and lends him money, and is constantly going security for his debts, he does not like to offend or annoy him in any way. Now, senor, I want your worship to take it upon yourself to redress this wrong either by entreaty or by arms; for by what all the world says you came into it to redress grievances and right wrongs and help the unfortunate. Let your worship put before you the unprotected condition of my daughter, her youth, and all the perfections I have said she possesses; and before God and on my conscience, out of all the damsels my lady has, there is not one that comes up to the sole of her shoe, and the one they call Altisidora, and look upon as the boldest and gayest of them, put in comparison with my daughter, does not come within two leagues of her. For I would have you know, senor, all is not gold that glitters, and that same little Altisidora has more forwardness than good looks, and more impudence than modesty; besides being not very sound, for she has such a disagreeable breath that one cannot bear to be near her for a moment; and even my lady the duchess--but I'll hold my tongue, for they say that walls have ears."
"For heaven's sake, Dona Rodriguez, what ails my lady the duchess?" asked Don Quixote.
"Adjured in that way," replied the duenna, "I cannot help answering the question and telling the whole truth. Senor Don Quixote, have you observed the comeliness of my lady the duchess, that smooth complexion of hers like a burnished polished sword, those two cheeks of milk and carmine, that gay lively step with which she treads or rather seems to spurn the earth, so that one would fancy she went radiating health wherever she passed? Well then, let me tell you she may thank, first of all God, for this, and next, two issues that she has, one in each leg, by which all the evil humours, of which the doctors say she is full, are discharged."
"Blessed Virgin!" exclaimed Don Quixote; "and is it possible that my lady the duchess has drains of that sort? I would not have believed it if the barefoot friars had told it me; but as the lady Dona Rodriguez says so, it must be so. But surely such issues, and in such places, do not discharge humours, but liquid amber. Verily, I do believe now that this practice of opening issues is a very important matter for the health."
Don Quixote had hardly said this, when the chamber door flew open with a loud bang, and with the start the noise gave her Dona Rodriguez let the candle fall from her hand, and the room was left as dark as a wolf's mouth, as the saying is. Suddenly the poor duenna felt two hands seize her by the throat, so tightly that she could not croak, while some one else, without uttering a word, very briskly hoisted up her petticoats, and with what seemed to be a slipper began to lay on so heartily that anyone would have felt pity for her; but although Don Quixote felt it he never stirred from his bed, but lay quiet and silent, nay apprehensive that his turn for a drubbing might be coming. Nor was the apprehension an idle one; one; for leaving the duenna (who did not dare to cry out) well basted, the silent executioners fell upon Don Quixote, and stripping him of the sheet and the coverlet, they pinched him so fast and so hard that he was driven to defend himself with his fists, and all this in marvellous silence. The battle lasted nearly half an hour, and then the phantoms fled; Dona Rodriguez gathered up her skirts, and bemoaning her fate went out without saying a word to Don Quixote, and he, sorely pinched, puzzled, and dejected, remained alone, and there we will leave him, wondering who could have been the perverse enchanter who had reduced him to such a state; but that shall be told in due season, for Sancho claims our attention, and the methodical arrangement of the story demands it.
OF WHAT HAPPENED SANCHO IN MAKING THE ROUND OF HIS ISLAND
We left the great governor angered and irritated by that portrait-painting rogue of a farmer who, instructed the majordomo, as the majordomo was by the duke, tried to practise upon him; he however, fool, boor, and clown as he was, held his own against them all, saying to those round him and to Doctor Pedro Recio, who as soon as the private business of the duke's letter was disposed of had returned to the room, "Now I see plainly enough that judges and governors ought to be and must be made of brass not to feel the importunities of the applicants that at all times and all seasons insist on being heard, and having their business despatched, and their own affairs and no others attended to, come what may; and if the poor judge does not hear them and settle the matter--either because he cannot or because that is not the time set apart for hearing them-forthwith they abuse him, and run him down, and gnaw at his bones, and even pick holes in his pedigree. You silly, stupid applicant, don't be in a hurry; wait for the proper time and season for doing business; don't come at dinner-hour, or at bed-time; for judges are only flesh and blood, and must give to Nature what she naturally demands of them; all except myself, for in my case I give her nothing to eat, thanks to Senor Doctor Pedro Recio Tirteafuera here, who would have me die of hunger, and declares that death to be life; and the same sort of life may God give him and all his kind--I mean the bad doctors; for the good ones deserve palms and laurels."
All who knew Sancho Panza were astonished to hear him speak so elegantly, and did not know what to attribute it to unless it were that office and grave responsibility either smarten or stupefy men's wits. At last Doctor Pedro Recio Agilers of Tirteafuera promised to let him have supper that night though it might be in contravention of all the aphorisms of Hippocrates. With this the governor was satisfied and looked forward to the approach of night and supper-time with great anxiety; and though time, to his mind, stood still and made no progress, nevertheless the hour he so longed for came, and they gave him a beef salad with onions and some boiled calves' feet rather far gone. At this he fell to with greater relish than if they had given him francolins from Milan, pheasants from Rome, veal from Sorrento, partridges from Moron, or geese from Lavajos, and turning to the doctor at supper he said to him, "Look here, senor doctor, for the future don't trouble yourself about giving me dainty things or choice dishes to eat, for it will be only taking my stomach off its hinges; it is accustomed to goat, cow, bacon, hung beef, turnips and onions; and if by any chance it is given these palace dishes, it receives them squeamishly, and sometimes with loathing. What the head-carver had best do is to serve me with what they call ollas podridas (and the rottener they are the better they smell); and he can put whatever he likes into them, so long as it is good to eat, and I'll be obliged to him, and will requite him some day. But let nobody play pranks on me, for either we are or we are not; let us live and eat in peace and good-fellowship, for when God sends the dawn, he sends it for all. I mean to govern this island without giving up a right or taking a bribe; let everyone keep his eye open, and look out for the arrow; for I can tell them 'the devil's in Cantillana,' and if they drive me to it they'll see something that will astonish them. Nay! make yourself honey and the flies eat you."
"Of a truth, senor governor," said the carver, "your worship is in the right of it in everything you have said; and I promise you in the name of all the inhabitants of this island that they will serve your worship with all zeal, affection, and good-will, for the mild kind of government you have given a sample of to begin with, leaves them no ground for doing or thinking anything to your worship's disadvantage."
"That I believe," said Sancho; "and they would be great fools if they did or thought otherwise; once more I say, see to my feeding and my Dapple's for that is the great point and what is most to the purpose; and when the hour comes let us go the rounds, for it is my intention to purge this island of all manner of uncleanness and of all idle good-for-nothing vagabonds; for I would have you know that lazy idlers are the same thing in a State as the drones in a hive, that eat up the honey the industrious bees make. I mean to protect the husbandman, to preserve to the gentleman his privileges, to reward the virtuous, and above all to respect religion and honour its ministers. What say you to that, my friends? Is there anything in what I say, or am I talking to no purpose?"
"There is so much in what your worship says, senor governor," said the majordomo, "that I am filled with wonder when I see a man like your worship, entirely without learning (for I believe you have none at all), say such things, and so full of sound maxims and sage remarks, very different from what was expected of your worship's intelligence by those who sent us or by us who came here. Every day we see something new in this world; jokes become realities, and the jokers find the tables turned upon them."
Night came, and with the permission of Doctor Pedro Recio, the governor had supper. They then got ready to go the rounds, and he started with the majordomo, the secretary, the head-carver, the chronicler charged with recording his deeds, and alguacils and notaries enough to form a fair-sized squadron. In the midst marched Sancho with his staff, as fine a sight as one could wish to see, and but a few streets of the town had been traversed when they heard a noise as of a clashing of swords. They hastened to the spot, and found that the combatants were but two, who seeing the authorities approaching stood still, and one of them exclaimed, "Help, in the name of God and the king! Are men to be allowed to rob in the middle of this town, and rush out and attack people in the very streets?"
"Be calm, my good man," said Sancho, "and tell me what the cause of this quarrel is; for I am the governor."
Said the other combatant, "Senor governor, I will tell you in a very few words. Your worship must know that this gentleman has just now won more than a thousand reals in that gambling house opposite, and God knows how. I was there, and gave more than one doubtful point in his favour, very much against what my conscience told me. He made off with his winnings, and when I made sure he was going to give me a crown or so at least by way of a present, as it is usual and customary to give men of quality of my sort who stand by to see fair or foul play, and back up swindles, and prevent quarrels, he pocketed his money and left the house. Indignant at this I followed him, and speaking him fairly and civilly asked him to give me if it were only eight reals, for he knows I am an honest man and that I have neither profession nor property, for my parents never brought me up to any or left me any; but the rogue, who is a greater thief than Cacus and a greater sharper than Andradilla, would not give me more than four reals; so your worship may see how little shame and conscience he has. But by my faith if you had not come up I'd have made him disgorge his winnings, and he'd have learned what the range of the steel-yard was."
"What say you to this?" asked Sancho. The other replied that all his antagonist said was true, and that he did not choose to give him more than four reals because he very often gave him money; and that those who expected presents ought to be civil and take what is given them with a cheerful countenance, and not make any claim against winners unless they know them for certain to be sharpers and their winnings to be unfairly won; and that there could be no better proof that he himself was an honest man than his having refused to give anything; for sharpers always pay tribute to lookers-on who know them.
"That is true," said the majordomo; "let your worship consider what is to be done with these men."
"What is to be done," said Sancho, "is this; you, the winner, be you good, bad, or indifferent, give this assailant of yours a hundred reals at once, and you must disburse thirty more for the poor prisoners; and you who have neither profession nor property, and hang about the island in idleness, take these hundred reals now, and some time of the day to-morrow quit the island under sentence of banishment for ten years, and under pain of completing it in another life if you violate the sentence, for I'll hang you on a gibbet, or at least the hangman will by my orders; not a word from either of you, or I'll make him feel my hand."
The one paid down the money and the other took it, and the latter quitted the island, while the other went home; and then the governor said, "Either I am not good for much, or I'll get rid of these gambling houses, for it strikes me they are very mischievous."
"This one at least," said one of the notaries, "your worship will not be able to get rid of, for a great man owns it, and what he loses every year is beyond all comparison more than what he makes by the cards. On the minor gambling houses your worship may exercise your power, and it is they that do most harm and shelter the most barefaced practices; for in the houses of lords and gentlemen of quality the notorious sharpers dare not attempt to play their tricks; and as the vice of gambling has become common, it is better that men should play in houses of repute than in some tradesman's, where they catch an unlucky fellow in the small hours of the morning and skin him alive."
"I know already, notary, that there is a good deal to be said on that point," said Sancho.
And now a tipstaff came up with a young man in his grasp, and said, "Senor governor, this youth was coming towards us, and as soon as he saw the officers of justice he turned about and ran like a deer, a sure proof that he must be some evil-doer; I ran after him, and had it not been that he stumbled and fell, I should never have caught him."
"What did you run for, fellow?" said Sancho.
To which the young man replied, "Senor, it was to avoid answering all the questions officers of justice put."
"What are you by trade?"
"And what do you weave?"
"Lance heads, with your worship's good leave."
"You're facetious with me! You plume yourself on being a wag? Very good; and where were you going just now?"
"To take the air, senor."
"And where does one take the air in this island?"
"Where it blows."
"Good! your answers are very much to the point; you are a smart youth; but take notice that I am the air, and that I blow upon you a-stern, and send you to gaol. Ho there! lay hold of him and take him off; I'll make him sleep there to-night without air."
"By God," said the young man, "your worship will make me sleep in gaol just as soon as make me king."
"Why shan't I make thee sleep in gaol?" said Sancho. "Have I not the power to arrest thee and release thee whenever I like?"
"All the power your worship has," said the young man, "won't be able to make me sleep in gaol."
"How? not able!" said Sancho; "take him away at once where he'll see his mistake with his own eyes, even if the gaoler is willing to exert his interested generosity on his behalf; for I'll lay a penalty of two thousand ducats on him if he allows him to stir a step from the prison."
"That's ridiculous," said the young man; "the fact is, all the men on earth will not make me sleep in prison."
"Tell me, you devil," said Sancho, "have you got any angel that will deliver you, and take off the irons I am going to order them to put upon you?"
"Now, senor governor," said the young man in a sprightly manner, "let us be reasonable and come to the point. Granted your worship may order me to be taken to prison, and to have irons and chains put on me, and to be shut up in a cell, and may lay heavy penalties on the gaoler if he lets me out, and that he obeys your orders; still, if I don't choose to sleep, and choose to remain awake all night without closing an eye, will your worship with all your power be able to make me sleep if I don't choose?"
"No, truly," said the secretary, "and the fellow has made his point."
"So then," said Sancho, "it would be entirely of your own choice you would keep from sleeping; not in opposition to my will?"
"No, senor," said the youth, "certainly not."
"Well then, go, and God be with you," said Sancho; "be off home to sleep, and God give you sound sleep, for I don't want to rob you of it; but for the future, let me advise you don't joke with the authorities, because you may come across some one who will bring down the joke on your own skull."
The young man went his way, and the governor continued his round, and shortly afterwards two tipstaffs came up with a man in custody, and said, "Senor governor, this person, who seems to be a man, is not so, but a woman, and not an ill-favoured one, in man's clothes." They raised two or three lanterns to her face, and by their light they distinguished the features of a woman to all appearance of the age of sixteen or a little more, with her hair gathered into a gold and green silk net, and fair as a thousand pearls. They scanned her from head to foot, and observed that she had on red silk stockings with garters of white taffety bordered with gold and pearl; her breeches were of green and gold stuff, and under an open jacket or jerkin of the same she wore a doublet of the finest white and gold cloth; her shoes were white and such as men wear; she carried no sword at her belt, but only a richly ornamented dagger, and on her fingers she had several handsome rings. In short, the girl seemed fair to look at in the eyes of all, and none of those who beheld her knew her, the people of the town said they could not imagine who she was, and those who were in the secret of the jokes that were to be practised upon Sancho were the ones who were most surprised, for this incident or discovery had not been arranged by them; and they watched anxiously to see how the affair would end.
Sancho was fascinated by the girl's beauty, and he asked her who she was, where she was going, and what had induced her to dress herself in that garb. She with her eyes fixed on the ground answered in modest confusion, "I cannot tell you, senor, before so many people what it is of such consequence to me to have kept secret; one thing I wish to be known, that I am no thief or evildoer, but only an unhappy maiden whom the power of jealousy has led to break through the respect that is due to modesty."
Hearing this the majordomo said to Sancho, "Make the people stand back, senor governor, that this lady may say what she wishes with less embarrassment."
Sancho gave the order, and all except the majordomo, the head-carver, and the secretary fell back. Finding herself then in the presence of no more, the damsel went on to say, "I am the daughter, sirs, of Pedro Perez Mazorca, the wool-farmer of this town, who is in the habit of coming very often to my father's house."
"That won't do, senora," said the majordomo; "for I know Pedro Perez very well, and I know he has no child at all, either son or daughter; and besides, though you say he is your father, you add then that he comes very often to your father's house."
"I had already noticed that," said Sancho.
"I am confused just now, sirs," said the damsel, "and I don't know what I am saying; but the truth is that I am the daughter of Diego de la Llana, whom you must all know."
"Ay, that will do," said the majordomo; "for I know Diego de la Llana, and know that he is a gentleman of position and a rich man, and that he has a son and a daughter, and that since he was left a widower nobody in all this town can speak of having seen his daughter's face; for he keeps her so closely shut up that he does not give even the sun a chance of seeing her; and for all that report says she is extremely beautiful."
"It is true," said the damsel, "and I am that daughter; whether report lies or not as to my beauty, you, sirs, will have decided by this time, as you have seen me;" and with this she began to weep bitterly.
On seeing this the secretary leant over to the head-carver's ear, and said to him in a low voice, "Something serious has no doubt happened this poor maiden, that she goes wandering from home in such a dress and at such an hour, and one of her rank too." "There can be no doubt about it," returned the carver, "and moreover her tears confirm your suspicion." Sancho gave her the best comfort he could, and entreated her to tell them without any fear what had happened her, as they would all earnestly and by every means in their power endeavour to relieve her.
"The fact is, sirs," said she, "that my father has kept me shut up these ten years, for so long is it since the earth received my mother. Mass is said at home in a sumptuous chapel, and all this time I have seen but the sun in the heaven by day, and the moon and the stars by night; nor do I know what streets are like, or plazas, or churches, or even men, except my father and a brother I have, and Pedro Perez the wool-farmer; whom, because he came frequently to our house, I took it into my head to call my father, to avoid naming my own. This seclusion and the restrictions laid upon my going out, were it only to church, have been keeping me unhappy for many a day and month past; I longed to see the world, or at least the town where I was born, and it did not seem to me that this wish was inconsistent with the respect maidens of good quality should have for themselves. When I heard them talking of bull-fights taking place, and of javelin games, and of acting plays, I asked my brother, who is a year younger than myself, to tell me what sort of things these were, and many more that I had never seen; he explained them to me as well as he could, but the only effect was to kindle in me a still stronger desire to see them. At last, to cut short the story of my ruin, I begged and entreated my brother--O that I had never made such an entreaty-" And once more she gave way to a burst of weeping.
"Proceed, senora," said the majordomo, "and finish your story of what has happened to you, for your words and tears are keeping us all in suspense."
"I have but little more to say, though many a tear to shed," said the damsel; "for ill-placed desires can only be paid for in some such way."
The maiden's beauty had made a deep impression on the head-carver's heart, and he again raised his lantern for another look at her, and thought they were not tears she was shedding, but seed-pearl or dew of the meadow, nay, he exalted them still higher, and made Oriental pearls of them, and fervently hoped her misfortune might not be so great a one as her tears and sobs seemed to indicate. The governor was losing patience at the length of time the girl was taking to tell her story, and told her not to keep them waiting any longer; for it was late, and there still remained a good deal of the town to be gone over.
She, with broken sobs and half-suppressed sighs, went on to say, "My misfortune, my misadventure, is simply this, that I entreated my brother to dress me up as a man in a suit of his clothes, and take me some night, when our father was asleep, to see the whole town; he, overcome by my entreaties, consented, and dressing me in this suit and himself in clothes of mine that fitted him as if made for him (for he has not a hair on his chin, and might pass for a very beautiful young girl), to-night, about an hour ago, more or less, we left the house, and guided by our youthful and foolish impulse we made the circuit of the whole town, and then, as we were about to return home, we saw a great troop of people coming, and my brother said to me, 'Sister, this must be the round, stir your feet and put wings to them, and follow me as fast as you can, lest they recognise us, for that would be a bad business for us;' and so saying he turned about and began, I cannot say to run but to fly; in less than six paces I fell from fright, and then the officer of justice came up and carried me before your worships, where I find myself put to shame before all these people as whimsical and vicious."
"So then, senora," said Sancho, "no other mishap has befallen you, nor was it jealousy that made you leave home, as you said at the beginning of your story?"
"Nothing has happened me," said she, "nor was it jealousy that brought me out, but merely a longing to see the world, which did not go beyond seeing the streets of this town."
The appearance of the tipstaffs with her brother in custody, whom one of them had overtaken as he ran away from his sister, now fully confirmed the truth of what the damsel said. He had nothing on but a rich petticoat and a short blue damask cloak with fine gold lace, and his head was uncovered and adorned only with its own hair, which looked like rings of gold, so bright and curly was it. The governor, the majordomo, and the carver went aside with him, and, unheard by his sister, asked him how he came to be in that dress, and he with no less shame and embarrassment told exactly the same story as his sister, to the great delight of the enamoured carver; the governor, however, said to them, "In truth, young lady and gentleman, this has been a very childish affair, and to explain your folly and rashness there was no necessity for all this delay and all these tears and sighs; for if you had said we are so-and-so, and we escaped from our father's house in this way in order to ramble about, out of mere curiosity and with no other object, there would have been an end of the matter, and none of these little sobs and tears and all the rest of it."
"That is true," said the damsel, "but you see the confusion I was in was so great it did not let me behave as I ought."
"No harm has been done," said Sancho; "come, we will leave you at your father's house; perhaps they will not have missed you; and another time don't be so childish or eager to see the world; for a respectable damsel should have a broken leg and keep at home; and the woman and the hen by gadding about are soon lost; and she who is eager to see is also eager to be seen; I say no more."
The youth thanked the governor for his kind offer to take them home, and they directed their steps towards the house, which was not far off. On reaching it the youth threw a pebble up at a grating, and immediately a woman-servant who was waiting for them came down and opened the door to them, and they went in, leaving the party marvelling as much at their grace and beauty as at the fancy they had for seeing the world by night and without quitting the village; which, however, they set down to their youth.
The head-carver was left with a heart pierced through and through, and he made up his mind on the spot to demand the damsel in marriage of her father on the morrow, making sure she would not be refused him as he was a servant of the duke's; and even to Sancho ideas and schemes of marrying the youth to his daughter Sanchica suggested themselves, and he resolved to open the negotiation at the proper season, persuading himself that no husband could be refused to a governor's daughter. And so the night's round came to an end, and a couple of days later the government, whereby all his plans were overthrown and swept away, as will be seen farther on.
WHEREIN IS SET FORTH WHO THE ENCHANTERS AND EXECUTIONERS WERE WHO FLOGGED THE DUENNA AND PINCHED DON QUIXOTE, AND ALSO WHAT BEFELL THE PAGE WHO CARRIED THE LETTER TO TERESA PANZA, SANCHO PANZA'S WIFE
Cide Hamete, the painstaking investigator of the minute points of this veracious history, says that when Dona Rodriguez left her own room to go to Don Quixote's, another duenna who slept with her observed her, and as all duennas are fond of prying, listening, and sniffing, she followed her so silently that the good Rodriguez never perceived it; and as soon as the duenna saw her enter Don Quixote's room, not to fail in a duenna's invariable practice of tattling, she hurried off that instant to report to the duchess how Dona Rodriguez was closeted with Don Quixote. The duchess told the duke, and asked him to let her and Altisidora go and see what the said duenna wanted with Don Quixote. The duke gave them leave, and the pair cautiously and quietly crept to the door of the room and posted themselves so close to it that they could hear all that was said inside. But when the duchess heard how the Rodriguez had made public the Aranjuez of her issues she could not restrain herself, nor Altisidora either; and so, filled with rage and thirsting for vengeance, they burst into the room and tormented Don Quixote and flogged the duenna in the manner already described; for indignities offered to their charms and self-esteem mightily provoke the anger of women and make them eager for revenge. The duchess told the duke what had happened, and he was much amused by it; and she, in pursuance of her design of making merry and diverting herself with Don Quixote, despatched the page who had played the part of Dulcinea in the negotiations for her disenchantment (which Sancho Panza in the cares of government had forgotten all about) to Teresa Panza his wife with her husband's letter and another from herself, and also a great string of fine coral beads as a present.
Now the history says this page was very sharp and quick-witted; and eager to serve his lord and lady he set off very willingly for Sancho's village. Before he entered it he observed a number of women washing in a brook, and asked them if they could tell him whether there lived there a woman of the name of Teresa Panza, wife of one Sancho Panza, squire to a knight called Don Quixote of La Mancha. At the question a young girl who was washing stood up and said, "Teresa Panza is my mother, and that Sancho is my father, and that knight is our master."
"Well then, miss," said the page, "come and show me where your mother is, for I bring her a letter and a present from your father."
"That I will with all my heart, senor," said the girl, who seemed to be about fourteen, more or less; and leaving the clothes she was washing to one of her companions, and without putting anything on her head or feet, for she was bare-legged and had her hair hanging about her, away she skipped in front of the page's horse, saying, "Come, your worship, our house is at the entrance of the town, and my mother is there, sorrowful enough at not having had any news of my father this ever so long."
"Well," said the page, "I am bringing her such good news that she will have reason to thank God."
And then, skipping, running, and capering, the girl reached the town, but before going into the house she called out at the door, "Come out, mother Teresa, come out, come out; here's a gentleman with letters and other things from my good father." At these words her mother Teresa Panza came out spinning a bundle of flax, in a grey petticoat (so short was it one would have fancied "they to her shame had cut it short"), a grey bodice of the same stuff, and a smock. She was not very old, though plainly past forty, strong, healthy, vigorous, and sun-dried; and seeing her daughter and the page on horseback, she exclaimed, "What's this, child? What gentleman is this?"
"A servant of my lady, Dona Teresa Panza," replied the page; and suiting the action to the word he flung himself off his horse, and with great humility advanced to kneel before the lady Teresa, saying, "Let me kiss your hand, Senora Dona Teresa, as the lawful and only wife of Senor Don Sancho Panza, rightful governor of the island of Barataria."
"Ah, senor, get up, do that," said Teresa; "for I'm not a bit of a court lady, but only a poor country woman, the daughter of a clodcrusher, and the wife of a squire-errant and not of any governor at all."
"You are," said the page, "the most worthy wife of a most arch-worthy governor; and as a proof of what I say accept this letter and this present;" and at the same time he took out of his pocket a string of coral beads with gold clasps, and placed it on her neck, and said, "This letter is from his lordship the governor, and the other as well as these coral beads from my lady the duchess, who sends me to your worship."
Teresa stood lost in astonishment, and her daughter just as much, and the girl said, "May I die but our master Don Quixote's at the bottom of this; he must have given father the government or county he so often promised him."
"That is the truth," said the page; "for it is through Senor Don Quixote that Senor Sancho is now governor of the island of Barataria, as will be seen by this letter."
"Will your worship read it to me, noble sir?" said Teresa; "for though I can spin I can't read, not a scrap."
"Nor I either," said Sanchica; "but wait a bit, and I'll go and fetch some one who can read it, either the curate himself or the bachelor Samson Carrasco, and they'll come gladly to hear any news of my father."
"There is no need to fetch anybody," said the page; "for though I can't spin I can read, and I'll read it;" and so he read it through, but as it has been already given it is not inserted here; and then he took out the other one from the duchess, which ran as follows:
Friend Teresa,--Your husband Sancho's good qualities, of heart as well as of head, induced and compelled me to request my husband the duke to give him the government of one of his many islands. I am told he governs like a gerfalcon, of which I am very glad, and my lord the duke, of course, also; and I am very thankful to heaven that I have not made a mistake in choosing him for that same government; for I would have Senora Teresa know that a good governor is hard to find in this world and may God make me as good as Sancho's way of governing. Herewith I send you, my dear, a string of coral beads with gold clasps; I wish they were Oriental pearls; but "he who gives thee a bone does not wish to see thee dead;" a time will come when we shall become acquainted and meet one another, but God knows the future. Commend me to your daughter Sanchica, and tell her from me to hold herself in readiness, for I mean to make a high match for her when she least expects it. They tell me there are big acorns in your village; send me a couple of dozen or so, and I shall value them greatly as coming from your hand; and write to me at length to assure me of your health and well-being; and if there be anything you stand in need of, it is but to open your mouth, and that shall be the measure; and so God keep you.
From this place. Your loving friend, THE DUCHESS.
"Ah, what a good, plain, lowly lady!" said Teresa when she heard the letter; "that I may be buried with ladies of that sort, and not the gentlewomen we have in this town, that fancy because they are gentlewomen the wind must not touch them, and go to church with as much airs as if they were queens, no less, and seem to think they are disgraced if they look at a farmer's wife! And see here how this good lady, for all she's a duchess, calls me 'friend,' and treats me as if I was her equal--and equal may I see her with the tallest church-tower in La Mancha! And as for the acorns, senor, I'll send her ladyship a peck and such big ones that one might come to see them as a show and a wonder. And now, Sanchica, see that the gentleman is comfortable; put up his horse, and get some eggs out of the stable, and cut plenty of bacon, and let's give him his dinner like a prince; for the good news he has brought, and his own bonny face deserve it all; and meanwhile I'll run out and give the neighbours the news of our good luck, and father curate, and Master Nicholas the barber, who are and always have been such friends of thy father's."
"That I will, mother," said Sanchica; "but mind, you must give me half of that string; for I don't think my lady the duchess could have been so stupid as to send it all to you."
"It is all for thee, my child," said Teresa; "but let me wear it round my neck for a few days; for verily it seems to make my heart glad."
"You will be glad too," said the page, "when you see the bundle there is in this portmanteau, for it is a suit of the finest cloth, that the governor only wore one day out hunting and now sends, all for Senora Sanchica."
"May he live a thousand years," said Sanchica, "and the bearer as many, nay two thousand, if needful."
With this Teresa hurried out of the house with the letters, and with the string of beads round her neck, and went along thrumming the letters as if they were a tambourine, and by chance coming across the curate and Samson Carrasco she began capering and saying, "None of us poor now, faith! We've got a little government! Ay, let the finest fine lady tackle me, and I'll give her a setting down!"
"What's all this, Teresa Panza," said they; "what madness is this, and what papers are those?"
"The madness is only this," said she, "that these are the letters of duchesses and governors, and these I have on my neck are fine coral beads, with ave-marias and paternosters of beaten gold, and I am a governess."
"God help us," said the curate, "we don't understand you, Teresa, or know what you are talking about."
"There, you may see it yourselves," said Teresa, and she handed them the letters.
The curate read them out for Samson Carrasco to hear, and Samson and he regarded one another with looks of astonishment at what they had read, and the bachelor asked who had brought the letters. Teresa in reply bade them come with her to her house and they would see the messenger, a most elegant youth, who had brought another present which was worth as much more. The curate took the coral beads from her neck and examined them again and again, and having satisfied himself as to their fineness he fell to wondering afresh, and said, "By the gown I wear I don't know what to say or think of these letters and presents; on the one hand I can see and feel the fineness of these coral beads, and on the other I read how a duchess sends to beg for a couple of dozen of acorns."
"Square that if you can," said Carrasco; "well, let's go and see the messenger, and from him we'll learn something about this mystery that has turned up."
They did so, and Teresa returned with them. They found the page sifting a little barley for his horse, and Sanchica cutting a rasher of bacon to be paved with eggs for his dinner. His looks and his handsome apparel pleased them both greatly; and after they had saluted him courteously, and he them, Samson begged him to give them his news, as well of Don Quixote as of Sancho Panza, for, he said, though they had read the letters from Sancho and her ladyship the duchess, they were still puzzled and could not make out what was meant by Sancho's government, and above all of an island, when all or most of those in the Mediterranean belonged to his Majesty.
To this the page replied, "As to Senor Sancho Panza's being a governor there is no doubt whatever; but whether it is an island or not that he governs, with that I have nothing to do; suffice it that it is a town of more than a thousand inhabitants; with regard to the acorns I may tell you my lady the duchess is so unpretending and unassuming that, not to speak of sending to beg for acorns from a peasant woman, she has been known to send to ask for the loan of a comb from one of her neighbours; for I would have your worships know that the ladies of Aragon, though they are just as illustrious, are not so punctilious and haughty as the Castilian ladies; they treat people with greater familiarity."
In the middle of this conversation Sanchica came in with her skirt full of eggs, and said she to the page, "Tell me, senor, does my father wear trunk-hose since he has been governor?"
"I have not noticed," said the page; "but no doubt he wears them."
"Ah! my God!" said Sanchica, "what a sight it must be to see my father in tights! Isn't it odd that ever since I was born I have had a longing to see my father in trunk-hose?"
"As things go you will see that if you live," said the page; "by God he is in the way to take the road with a sunshade if the government only lasts him two months more."
The curate and the bachelor could see plainly enough that the page spoke in a waggish vein; but the fineness of the coral beads, and the hunting suit that Sancho sent (for Teresa had already shown it to them) did away with the impression; and they could not help laughing at Sanchica's wish, and still more when Teresa said, "Senor curate, look about if there's anybody here going to Madrid or Toledo, to buy me a hooped petticoat, a proper fashionable one of the best quality; for indeed and indeed I must do honour to my husband's government as well as I can; nay, if I am put to it and have to, I'll go to Court and set a coach like all the world; for she who has a governor for her husband may very well have one and keep one."
"And why not, mother!" said Sanchica; "would to God it were to-day instead of to-morrow, even though they were to say when they saw me seated in the coach with my mother, 'See that rubbish, that garlic-stuffed fellow's daughter, how she goes stretched at her ease in a coach as if she was a she-pope!' But let them tramp through the mud, and let me go in my coach with my feet off the ground. Bad luck to backbiters all over the world; 'let me go warm and the people may laugh.' Do I say right, mother?"
"To be sure you do, my child," said Teresa; "and all this good luck, and even more, my good Sancho foretold me; and thou wilt see, my daughter, he won't stop till he has made me a countess; for to make a beginning is everything in luck; and as I have heard thy good father say many a time (for besides being thy father he's the father of proverbs too), 'When they offer thee a heifer, run with a halter; when they offer thee a government, take it; when they would give thee a county, seize it; when they say, "Here, here!" to thee with something good, swallow it.' Oh no! go to sleep, and don't answer the strokes of good fortune and the lucky chances that are knocking at the door of your house!"
"And what do I care," added Sanchica, "whether anybody says when he sees me holding my head up, 'The dog saw himself in hempen breeches,' and the rest of it?"
Hearing this the curate said, "I do believe that all this family of the Panzas are born with a sackful of proverbs in their insides, every one of them; I never saw one of them that does not pour them out at all times and on all occasions."
"That is true," said the page, "for Senor Governor Sancho utters them at every turn; and though a great many of them are not to the purpose, still they amuse one, and my lady the duchess and the duke praise them highly."
"Then you still maintain that all this about Sancho's government is true, senor," said the bachelor, "and that there actually is a duchess who sends him presents and writes to him? Because we, although we have handled the present and read the letters, don't believe it and suspect it to be something in the line of our fellow-townsman Don Quixote, who fancies that everything is done by enchantment; and for this reason I am almost ready to say that I'd like to touch and feel your worship to see whether you are a mere ambassador of the imagination or a man of flesh and blood."
"All I know, sirs," replied the page, "is that I am a real ambassador, and that Senor Sancho Panza is governor as a matter of fact, and that my lord and lady the duke and duchess can give, and have given him this same government, and that I have heard the said Sancho Panza bears himself very stoutly therein; whether there be any enchantment in all this or not, it is for your worships to settle between you; for that's all I know by the oath I swear, and that is by the life of my parents whom I have still alive, and love dearly."
"It may be so," said the bachelor; "but dubitat Augustinus."
"Doubt who will," said the page; "what I have told you is the truth, and that will always rise above falsehood as oil above water; if not operibus credite, et non verbis. Let one of you come with me, and he will see with his eyes what he does not believe with his ears."
"It's for me to make that trip," said Sanchica; "take me with you, senor, behind you on your horse; for I'll go with all my heart to see my father."
"Governors' daughters," said the page, "must not travel along the roads alone, but accompanied by coaches and litters and a great number of attendants."
"By God," said Sanchica, "I can go just as well mounted on a she-ass as in a coach; what a dainty lass you must take me for!"
"Hush, girl," said Teresa; "you don't know what you're talking about; the gentleman is quite right, for 'as the time so the behaviour;' when it was Sancho it was 'Sancha;' when it is governor it's 'senora;' I don't know if I'm right."
"Senora Teresa says more than she is aware of," said the page; "and now give me something to eat and let me go at once, for I mean to return this evening."
"Come and do penance with me," said the curate at this; "for Senora Teresa has more will than means to serve so worthy a guest."
The page refused, but had to consent at last for his own sake; and the curate took him home with him very gladly, in order to have an opportunity of questioning him at leisure about Don Quixote and his doings. The bachelor offered to write the letters in reply for Teresa; but she did not care to let him mix himself up in her affairs, for she thought him somewhat given to joking; and so she gave a cake and a couple of eggs to a young acolyte who was a penman, and he wrote for her two letters, one for her husband and the other for the duchess, dictated out of her own head, which are not the worst inserted in this great history, as will be seen farther on.