"If that be so," replied Don Lorenzo, "this science, I protest, surpasses all."
"How, if that be so?" said Don Quixote.
"What I mean to say," said Don Lorenzo, "is, that I doubt whether there are now, or ever were, any knights-errant, and adorned with such virtues."
"Many a time," replied Don Quixote, "have I said what I now say once more, that the majority of the world are of opinion that there never were any knights-errant in it; and as it is my opinion that, unless heaven by some miracle brings home to them the truth that there were and are, all the pains one takes will be in vain (as experience has often proved to me), I will not now stop to disabuse you of the error you share with the multitude. All I shall do is to pray to heaven to deliver you from it, and show you how beneficial and necessary knights-errant were in days of yore, and how useful they would be in these days were they but in vogue; but now, for the sins of the people, sloth and indolence, gluttony and luxury are triumphant."
"Our guest has broken out on our hands," said Don Lorenzo to himself at this point; "but, for all that, he is a glorious madman, and I should be a dull blockhead to doubt it."
Here, being summoned to dinner, they brought their colloquy to a close. Don Diego asked his son what he had been able to make out as to the wits of their guest. To which he replied, "All the doctors and clever scribes in the world will not make sense of the scrawl of his madness; he is a madman full of streaks, full of lucid intervals."
They went in to dinner, and the repast was such as Don Diego said on the road he was in the habit of giving to his guests, neat, plentiful, and tasty; but what pleased Don Quixote most was the marvellous silence that reigned throughout the house, for it was like a Carthusian monastery.
When the cloth had been removed, grace said and their hands washed, Don Quixote earnestly pressed Don Lorenzo to repeat to him his verses for the poetical tournament, to which he replied, "Not to be like those poets who, when they are asked to recite their verses, refuse, and when they are not asked for them vomit them up, I will repeat my gloss, for which I do not expect any prize, having composed it merely as an exercise of ingenuity."
"A discerning friend of mine," said Don Quixote, "was of opinion that no one ought to waste labour in glossing verses; and the reason he gave was that the gloss can never come up to the text, and that often or most frequently it wanders away from the meaning and purpose aimed at in the glossed lines; and besides, that the laws of the gloss were too strict, as they did not allow interrogations, nor 'said he,' nor 'I say,' nor turning verbs into nouns, or altering the construction, not to speak of other restrictions and limitations that fetter gloss-writers, as you no doubt know."
"Verily, Senor Don Quixote," said Don Lorenzo, "I wish I could catch your worship tripping at a stretch, but I cannot, for you slip through my fingers like an eel."
"I don't understand what you say, or mean by slipping," said Don Quixote.
"I will explain myself another time," said Don Lorenzo; "for the present pray attend to the glossed verses and the gloss, which run thus:
Could 'was' become an 'is' for me, Then would I ask no more than this; Or could, for me, the time that is Become the time that is to be!—
Dame Fortune once upon a day To me was bountiful and kind; But all things change; she changed her mind, And what she gave she took away. O Fortune, long I've sued to thee; The gifts thou gavest me restore, For, trust me, I would ask no more, Could 'was' become an 'is' for me.
No other prize I seek to gain, No triumph, glory, or success, Only the long-lost happiness, The memory whereof is pain. One taste, methinks, of bygone bliss The heart-consuming fire might stay; And, so it come without delay, Then would I ask no more than this.
I ask what cannot be, alas! That time should ever be, and then Come back to us, and be again, No power on earth can bring to pass; For fleet of foot is he, I wis, And idly, therefore, do we pray That what for aye hath left us may Become for us the time that is.
Perplexed, uncertain, to remain 'Twixt hope and fear, is death, not life; 'Twere better, sure, to end the strife, And dying, seek release from pain. And yet, thought were the best for me. Anon the thought aside I fling, And to the present fondly cling, And dread the time that is to be."
When Don Lorenzo had finished reciting his gloss, Don Quixote stood up, and in a loud voice, almost a shout, exclaimed as he grasped Don Lorenzo's right hand in his, "By the highest heavens, noble youth, but you are the best poet on earth, and deserve to be crowned with laurel, not by Cyprus or by Gaeta—as a certain poet, God forgive him, said—but by the Academies of Athens, if they still flourished, and by those that flourish now, Paris, Bologna, Salamanca. Heaven grant that the judges who rob you of the first prize—that Phoebus may pierce them with his arrows, and the Muses never cross the thresholds of their doors. Repeat me some of your long-measure verses, senor, if you will be so good, for I want thoroughly to feel the pulse of your rare genius."
Is there any need to say that Don Lorenzo enjoyed hearing himself praised by Don Quixote, albeit he looked upon him as a madman? power of flattery, how far-reaching art thou, and how wide are the bounds of thy pleasant jurisdiction! Don Lorenzo gave a proof of it, for he complied with Don Quixote's request and entreaty, and repeated to him this sonnet on the fable or story of Pyramus and Thisbe.
The lovely maid, she pierces now the wall; Heart-pierced by her young Pyramus doth lie; And Love spreads wing from Cyprus isle to fly, A chink to view so wondrous great and small. There silence speaketh, for no voice at all Can pass so strait a strait; but love will ply Where to all other power 'twere vain to try; For love will find a way whate'er befall. Impatient of delay, with reckless pace The rash maid wins the fatal spot where she Sinks not in lover's arms but death's embrace. So runs the strange tale, how the lovers twain One sword, one sepulchre, one memory, Slays, and entombs, and brings to life again.
"Blessed be God," said Don Quixote when he had heard Don Lorenzo's sonnet, "that among the hosts there are of irritable poets I have found one consummate one, which, senor, the art of this sonnet proves to me that you are!"
For four days was Don Quixote most sumptuously entertained in Don Diego's house, at the end of which time he asked his permission to depart, telling him he thanked him for the kindness and hospitality he had received in his house, but that, as it did not become knights-errant to give themselves up for long to idleness and luxury, he was anxious to fulfill the duties of his calling in seeking adventures, of which he was informed there was an abundance in that neighbourhood, where he hoped to employ his time until the day came round for the jousts at Saragossa, for that was his proper destination; and that, first of all, he meant to enter the cave of Montesinos, of which so many marvellous things were reported all through the country, and at the same time to investigate and explore the origin and true source of the seven lakes commonly called the lakes of Ruidera.
Don Diego and his son commended his laudable resolution, and bade him furnish himself with all he wanted from their house and belongings, as they would most gladly be of service to him; which, indeed, his personal worth and his honourable profession made incumbent upon them.
The day of his departure came at length, as welcome to Don Quixote as it was sad and sorrowful to Sancho Panza, who was very well satisfied with the abundance of Don Diego's house, and objected to return to the starvation of the woods and wilds and the short-commons of his ill-stocked alforjas; these, however, he filled and packed with what he considered needful. On taking leave, Don Quixote said to Don Lorenzo, "I know not whether I have told you already, but if I have I tell you once more, that if you wish to spare yourself fatigue and toil in reaching the inaccessible summit of the temple of fame, you have nothing to do but to turn aside out of the somewhat narrow path of poetry and take the still narrower one of knight-errantry, wide enough, however, to make you an emperor in the twinkling of an eye."
In this speech Don Quixote wound up the evidence of his madness, but still better in what he added when he said, "God knows, I would gladly take Don Lorenzo with me to teach him how to spare the humble, and trample the proud under foot, virtues that are part and parcel of the profession I belong to; but since his tender age does not allow of it, nor his praiseworthy pursuits permit it, I will simply content myself with impressing it upon your worship that you will become famous as a poet if you are guided by the opinion of others rather than by your own; because no fathers or mothers ever think their own children ill-favoured, and this sort of deception prevails still more strongly in the case of the children of the brain."
Both father and son were amazed afresh at the strange medley Don Quixote talked, at one moment sense, at another nonsense, and at the pertinacity and persistence he displayed in going through thick and thin in quest of his unlucky adventures, which he made the end and aim of his desires. There was a renewal of offers of service and civilities, and then, with the gracious permission of the lady of the castle, they took their departure, Don Quixote on Rocinante, and Sancho on Dapple.
IN WHICH IS RELATED THE ADVENTURE OF THE ENAMOURED SHEPHERD, TOGETHER WITH OTHER TRULY DROLL INCIDENTS
Don Quixote had gone but a short distance beyond Don Diego's village, when he fell in with a couple of either priests or students, and a couple of peasants, mounted on four beasts of the ass kind. One of the students carried, wrapped up in a piece of green buckram by way of a portmanteau, what seemed to be a little linen and a couple of pairs of-ribbed stockings; the other carried nothing but a pair of new fencing-foils with buttons. The peasants carried divers articles that showed they were on their way from some large town where they had bought them, and were taking them home to their village; and both students and peasants were struck with the same amazement that everybody felt who saw Don Quixote for the first time, and were dying to know who this man, so different from ordinary men, could be. Don Quixote saluted them, and after ascertaining that their road was the same as his, made them an offer of his company, and begged them to slacken their pace, as their young asses travelled faster than his horse; and then, to gratify them, he told them in a few words who he was and the calling and profession he followed, which was that of a knight-errant seeking adventures in all parts of the world. He informed them that his own name was Don Quixote of La Mancha, and that he was called, by way of surname, the Knight of the Lions.
All this was Greek or gibberish to the peasants, but not so to the students, who very soon perceived the crack in Don Quixote's pate; for all that, however, they regarded him with admiration and respect, and one of them said to him, "If you, sir knight, have no fixed road, as it is the way with those who seek adventures not to have any, let your worship come with us; you will see one of the finest and richest weddings that up to this day have ever been celebrated in La Mancha, or for many a league round."
Don Quixote asked him if it was some prince's, that he spoke of it in this way. "Not at all," said the student; "it is the wedding of a farmer and a farmer's daughter, he the richest in all this country, and she the fairest mortal ever set eyes on. The display with which it is to be attended will be something rare and out of the common, for it will be celebrated in a meadow adjoining the town of the bride, who is called, par excellence, Quiteria the fair, as the bridegroom is called Camacho the rich. She is eighteen, and he twenty-two, and they are fairly matched, though some knowing ones, who have all the pedigrees in the world by heart, will have it that the family of the fair Quiteria is better than Camacho's; but no one minds that now-a-days, for wealth can solder a great many flaws. At any rate, Camacho is free-handed, and it is his fancy to screen the whole meadow with boughs and cover it in overhead, so that the sun will have hard work if he tries to get in to reach the grass that covers the soil. He has provided dancers too, not only sword but also bell-dancers, for in his own town there are those who ring the changes and jingle the bells to perfection; of shoe-dancers I say nothing, for of them he has engaged a host. But none of these things, nor of the many others I have omitted to mention, will do more to make this a memorable wedding than the part which I suspect the despairing Basilio will play in it. This Basilio is a youth of the same village as Quiteria, and he lived in the house next door to that of her parents, of which circumstance Love took advantage to reproduce to the word the long-forgotten loves of Pyramus and Thisbe; for Basilio loved Quiteria from his earliest years, and she responded to his passion with countless modest proofs of affection, so that the loves of the two children, Basilio and Quiteria, were the talk and the amusement of the town. As they grew up, the father of Quiteria made up his mind to refuse Basilio his wonted freedom of access to the house, and to relieve himself of constant doubts and suspicions, he arranged a match for his daughter with the rich Camacho, as he did not approve of marrying her to Basilio, who had not so large a share of the gifts of fortune as of nature; for if the truth be told ungrudgingly, he is the most agile youth we know, a mighty thrower of the bar, a first-rate wrestler, and a great ball-player; he runs like a deer, and leaps better than a goat, bowls over the nine-pins as if by magic, sings like a lark, plays the guitar so as to make it speak, and, above all, handles a sword as well as the best."
"For that excellence alone," said Don Quixote at this, "the youth deserves to marry, not merely the fair Quiteria, but Queen Guinevere herself, were she alive now, in spite of Launcelot and all who would try to prevent it."
"Say that to my wife," said Sancho, who had until now listened in silence, "for she won't hear of anything but each one marrying his equal, holding with the proverb 'each ewe to her like.' What I would like is that this good Basilio (for I am beginning to take a fancy to him already) should marry this lady Quiteria; and a blessing and good luck—I meant to say the opposite—on people who would prevent those who love one another from marrying."
"If all those who love one another were to marry," said Don Quixote, "it would deprive parents of the right to choose, and marry their children to the proper person and at the proper time; and if it was left to daughters to choose husbands as they pleased, one would be for choosing her father's servant, and another, some one she has seen passing in the street and fancies gallant and dashing, though he may be a drunken bully; for love and fancy easily blind the eyes of the judgment, so much wanted in choosing one's way of life; and the matrimonial choice is very liable to error, and it needs great caution and the special favour of heaven to make it a good one. He who has to make a long journey, will, if he is wise, look out for some trusty and pleasant companion to accompany him before he sets out. Why, then, should not he do the same who has to make the whole journey of life down to the final halting-place of death, more especially when the companion has to be his companion in bed, at board, and everywhere, as the wife is to her husband? The companionship of one's wife is no article of merchandise, that, after it has been bought, may be returned, or bartered, or changed; for it is an inseparable accident that lasts as long as life lasts; it is a noose that, once you put it round your neck, turns into a Gordian knot, which, if the scythe of Death does not cut it, there is no untying. I could say a great deal more on this subject, were I not prevented by the anxiety I feel to know if the senor licentiate has anything more to tell about the story of Basilio."
To this the student, bachelor, or, as Don Quixote called him, licentiate, replied, "I have nothing whatever to say further, but that from the moment Basilio learned that the fair Quiteria was to be married to Camacho the rich, he has never been seen to smile, or heard to utter rational word, and he always goes about moody and dejected, talking to himself in a way that shows plainly he is out of his senses. He eats little and sleeps little, and all he eats is fruit, and when he sleeps, if he sleeps at all, it is in the field on the hard earth like a brute beast. Sometimes he gazes at the sky, at other times he fixes his eyes on the earth in such an abstracted way that he might be taken for a clothed statue, with its drapery stirred by the wind. In short, he shows such signs of a heart crushed by suffering, that all we who know him believe that when to-morrow the fair Quiteria says 'yes,' it will be his sentence of death."
"God will guide it better," said Sancho, "for God who gives the wound gives the salve; nobody knows what will happen; there are a good many hours between this and to-morrow, and any one of them, or any moment, the house may fall; I have seen the rain coming down and the sun shining all at one time; many a one goes to bed in good health who can't stir the next day. And tell me, is there anyone who can boast of having driven a nail into the wheel of fortune? No, faith; and between a woman's 'yes' and 'no' I wouldn't venture to put the point of a pin, for there would not be room for it; if you tell me Quiteria loves Basilio heart and soul, then I'll give him a bag of good luck; for love, I have heard say, looks through spectacles that make copper seem gold, poverty wealth, and blear eyes pearls."
"What art thou driving at, Sancho? curses on thee!" said Don Quixote; "for when thou takest to stringing proverbs and sayings together, no one can understand thee but Judas himself, and I wish he had thee. Tell me, thou animal, what dost thou know about nails or wheels, or anything else?"
"Oh, if you don't understand me," replied Sancho, "it is no wonder my words are taken for nonsense; but no matter; I understand myself, and I know I have not said anything very foolish in what I have said; only your worship, senor, is always gravelling at everything I say, nay, everything I do."
"Cavilling, not gravelling," said Don Quixote, "thou prevaricator of honest language, God confound thee!"
"Don't find fault with me, your worship," returned Sancho, "for you know I have not been bred up at court or trained at Salamanca, to know whether I am adding or dropping a letter or so in my words. Why! God bless me, it's not fair to force a Sayago-man to speak like a Toledan; maybe there are Toledans who do not hit it off when it comes to polished talk."
"That is true," said the licentiate, "for those who have been bred up in the Tanneries and the Zocodover cannot talk like those who are almost all day pacing the cathedral cloisters, and yet they are all Toledans. Pure, correct, elegant and lucid language will be met with in men of courtly breeding and discrimination, though they may have been born in Majalahonda; I say of discrimination, because there are many who are not so, and discrimination is the grammar of good language, if it be accompanied by practice. I, sirs, for my sins have studied canon law at Salamanca, and I rather pique myself on expressing my meaning in clear, plain, and intelligible language."
"If you did not pique yourself more on your dexterity with those foils you carry than on dexterity of tongue," said the other student, "you would have been head of the degrees, where you are now tail."
"Look here, bachelor Corchuelo," returned the licentiate, "you have the most mistaken idea in the world about skill with the sword, if you think it useless."
"It is no idea on my part, but an established truth," replied Corchuelo; "and if you wish me to prove it to you by experiment, you have swords there, and it is a good opportunity; I have a steady hand and a strong arm, and these joined with my resolution, which is not small, will make you confess that I am not mistaken. Dismount and put in practice your positions and circles and angles and science, for I hope to make you see stars at noonday with my rude raw swordsmanship, in which, next to God, I place my trust that the man is yet to be born who will make me turn my back, and that there is not one in the world I will not compel to give ground."
"As to whether you turn your back or not, I do not concern myself," replied the master of fence; "though it might be that your grave would be dug on the spot where you planted your foot the first time; I mean that you would be stretched dead there for despising skill with the sword."
"We shall soon see," replied Corchuelo, and getting off his ass briskly, he drew out furiously one of the swords the licentiate carried on his beast.
"It must not be that way," said Don Quixote at this point; "I will be the director of this fencing match, and judge of this often disputed question;" and dismounting from Rocinante and grasping his lance, he planted himself in the middle of the road, just as the licentiate, with an easy, graceful bearing and step, advanced towards Corchuelo, who came on against him, darting fire from his eyes, as the saying is. The other two of the company, the peasants, without dismounting from their asses, served as spectators of the mortal tragedy. The cuts, thrusts, down strokes, back strokes and doubles, that Corchuelo delivered were past counting, and came thicker than hops or hail. He attacked like an angry lion, but he was met by a tap on the mouth from the button of the licentiate's sword that checked him in the midst of his furious onset, and made him kiss it as if it were a relic, though not as devoutly as relics are and ought to be kissed. The end of it was that the licentiate reckoned up for him by thrusts every one of the buttons of the short cassock he wore, tore the skirts into strips, like the tails of a cuttlefish, knocked off his hat twice, and so completely tired him out, that in vexation, anger, and rage, he took the sword by the hilt and flung it away with such force, that one of the peasants that were there, who was a notary, and who went for it, made an affidavit afterwards that he sent it nearly three-quarters of a league, which testimony will serve, and has served, to show and establish with all certainty that strength is overcome by skill.
Corchuelo sat down wearied, and Sancho approaching him said, "By my faith, senor bachelor, if your worship takes my advice, you will never challenge anyone to fence again, only to wrestle and throw the bar, for you have the youth and strength for that; but as for these fencers as they call them, I have heard say they can put the point of a sword through the eye of a needle."
"I am satisfied with having tumbled off my donkey," said Corchuelo, "and with having had the truth I was so ignorant of proved to me by experience;" and getting up he embraced the licentiate, and they were better friends than ever; and not caring to wait for the notary who had gone for the sword, as they saw he would be a long time about it, they resolved to push on so as to reach the village of Quiteria, to which they all belonged, in good time.
During the remainder of the journey the licentiate held forth to them on the excellences of the sword, with such conclusive arguments, and such figures and mathematical proofs, that all were convinced of the value of the science, and Corchuelo cured of his dogmatism.
It grew dark; but before they reached the town it seemed to them all as if there was a heaven full of countless glittering stars in front of it. They heard, too, the pleasant mingled notes of a variety of instruments, flutes, drums, psalteries, pipes, tabors, and timbrels, and as they drew near they perceived that the trees of a leafy arcade that had been constructed at the entrance of the town were filled with lights unaffected by the wind, for the breeze at the time was so gentle that it had not power to stir the leaves on the trees. The musicians were the life of the wedding, wandering through the pleasant grounds in separate bands, some dancing, others singing, others playing the various instruments already mentioned. In short, it seemed as though mirth and gaiety were frisking and gambolling all over the meadow. Several other persons were engaged in erecting raised benches from which people might conveniently see the plays and dances that were to be performed the next day on the spot dedicated to the celebration of the marriage of Camacho the rich and the obsequies of Basilio. Don Quixote would not enter the village, although the peasant as well as the bachelor pressed him; he excused himself, however, on the grounds, amply sufficient in his opinion, that it was the custom of knights-errant to sleep in the fields and woods in preference to towns, even were it under gilded ceilings; and so turned aside a little out of the road, very much against Sancho's will, as the good quarters he had enjoyed in the castle or house of Don Diego came back to his mind.
WHEREIN AN ACCOUNT IS GIVEN OF THE WEDDING OF CAMACHO THE RICH, TOGETHER WITH THE INCIDENT OF BASILIO THE POOR
Scarce had the fair Aurora given bright Phoebus time to dry the liquid pearls upon her golden locks with the heat of his fervent rays, when Don Quixote, shaking off sloth from his limbs, sprang to his feet and called to his squire Sancho, who was still snoring; seeing which Don Quixote ere he roused him thus addressed him: "Happy thou, above all the dwellers on the face of the earth, that, without envying or being envied, sleepest with tranquil mind, and that neither enchanters persecute nor enchantments affright. Sleep, I say, and will say a hundred times, without any jealous thoughts of thy mistress to make thee keep ceaseless vigils, or any cares as to how thou art to pay the debts thou owest, or find to-morrow's food for thyself and thy needy little family, to interfere with thy repose. Ambition breaks not thy rest, nor doth this world's empty pomp disturb thee, for the utmost reach of thy anxiety is to provide for thy ass, since upon my shoulders thou hast laid the support of thyself, the counterpoise and burden that nature and custom have imposed upon masters. The servant sleeps and the master lies awake thinking how he is to feed him, advance him, and reward him. The distress of seeing the sky turn brazen, and withhold its needful moisture from the earth, is not felt by the servant but by the master, who in time of scarcity and famine must support him who has served him in times of plenty and abundance."
To all this Sancho made no reply because he was asleep, nor would he have wakened up so soon as he did had not Don Quixote brought him to his senses with the butt of his lance. He awoke at last, drowsy and lazy, and casting his eyes about in every direction, observed, "There comes, if I don't mistake, from the quarter of that arcade a steam and a smell a great deal more like fried rashers than galingale or thyme; a wedding that begins with smells like that, by my faith, ought to be plentiful and unstinting."
"Have done, thou glutton," said Don Quixote; "come, let us go and witness this bridal, and see what the rejected Basilio does."
"Let him do what he likes," returned Sancho; "be he not poor, he would marry Quiteria. To make a grand match for himself, and he without a farthing; is there nothing else? Faith, senor, it's my opinion the poor man should be content with what he can get, and not go looking for dainties in the bottom of the sea. I will bet my arm that Camacho could bury Basilio in reals; and if that be so, as no doubt it is, what a fool Quiteria would be to refuse the fine dresses and jewels Camacho must have given her and will give her, and take Basilio's bar-throwing and sword-play. They won't give a pint of wine at the tavern for a good cast of the bar or a neat thrust of the sword. Talents and accomplishments that can't be turned into money, let Count Dirlos have them; but when such gifts fall to one that has hard cash, I wish my condition of life was as becoming as they are. On a good foundation you can raise a good building, and the best foundation in the world is money."
"For God's sake, Sancho," said Don Quixote here, "stop that harangue; it is my belief, if thou wert allowed to continue all thou beginnest every instant, thou wouldst have no time left for eating or sleeping; for thou wouldst spend it all in talking."
"If your worship had a good memory," replied Sancho, "you would remember the articles of our agreement before we started from home this last time; one of them was that I was to be let say all I liked, so long as it was not against my neighbour or your worship's authority; and so far, it seems to me, I have not broken the said article."
"I remember no such article, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "and even if it were so, I desire you to hold your tongue and come along; for the instruments we heard last night are already beginning to enliven the valleys again, and no doubt the marriage will take place in the cool of the morning, and not in the heat of the afternoon."
Sancho did as his master bade him, and putting the saddle on Rocinante and the pack-saddle on Dapple, they both mounted and at a leisurely pace entered the arcade. The first thing that presented itself to Sancho's eyes was a whole ox spitted on a whole elm tree, and in the fire at which it was to be roasted there was burning a middling-sized mountain of faggots, and six stewpots that stood round the blaze had not been made in the ordinary mould of common pots, for they were six half wine-jars, each fit to hold the contents of a slaughter-house; they swallowed up whole sheep and hid them away in their insides without showing any more sign of them than if they were pigeons. Countless were the hares ready skinned and the plucked fowls that hung on the trees for burial in the pots, numberless the wildfowl and game of various sorts suspended from the branches that the air might keep them cool. Sancho counted more than sixty wine skins of over six gallons each, and all filled, as it proved afterwards, with generous wines. There were, besides, piles of the whitest bread, like the heaps of corn one sees on the threshing-floors. There was a wall made of cheeses arranged like open brick-work, and two cauldrons full of oil, bigger than those of a dyer's shop, served for cooking fritters, which when fried were taken out with two mighty shovels, and plunged into another cauldron of prepared honey that stood close by. Of cooks and cook-maids there were over fifty, all clean, brisk, and blithe. In the capacious belly of the ox were a dozen soft little sucking-pigs, which, sewn up there, served to give it tenderness and flavour. The spices of different kinds did not seem to have been bought by the pound but by the quarter, and all lay open to view in a great chest. In short, all the preparations made for the wedding were in rustic style, but abundant enough to feed an army.
Sancho observed all, contemplated all, and everything won his heart. The first to captivate and take his fancy were the pots, out of which he would have very gladly helped himself to a moderate pipkinful; then the wine skins secured his affections; and lastly, the produce of the frying-pans, if, indeed, such imposing cauldrons may be called frying-pans; and unable to control himself or bear it any longer, he approached one of the busy cooks and civilly but hungrily begged permission to soak a scrap of bread in one of the pots; to which the cook made answer, "Brother, this is not a day on which hunger is to have any sway, thanks to the rich Camacho; get down and look about for a ladle and skim off a hen or two, and much good may they do you."
"I don't see one," said Sancho.
"Wait a bit," said the cook; "sinner that I am! how particular and bashful you are!" and so saying, he seized a bucket and plunging it into one of the half jars took up three hens and a couple of geese, and said to Sancho, "Fall to, friend, and take the edge off your appetite with these skimmings until dinner-time comes."
"I have nothing to put them in," said Sancho.
"Well then," said the cook, "take spoon and all; for Camacho's wealth and happiness furnish everything."
While Sancho fared thus, Don Quixote was watching the entrance, at one end of the arcade, of some twelve peasants, all in holiday and gala dress, mounted on twelve beautiful mares with rich handsome field trappings and a number of little bells attached to their petrals, who, marshalled in regular order, ran not one but several courses over the meadow, with jubilant shouts and cries of "Long live Camacho and Quiteria! he as rich as she is fair; and she the fairest on earth!"
Hearing this, Don Quixote said to himself, "It is easy to see these folk have never seen my Dulcinea del Toboso; for if they had they would be more moderate in their praises of this Quiteria of theirs."
Shortly after this, several bands of dancers of various sorts began to enter the arcade at different points, and among them one of sword-dancers composed of some four-and-twenty lads of gallant and high-spirited mien, clad in the finest and whitest of linen, and with handkerchiefs embroidered in various colours with fine silk; and one of those on the mares asked an active youth who led them if any of the dancers had been wounded. "As yet, thank God, no one has been wounded," said he, "we are all safe and sound;" and he at once began to execute complicated figures with the rest of his comrades, with so many turns and so great dexterity, that although Don Quixote was well used to see dances of the same kind, he thought he had never seen any so good as this. He also admired another that came in composed of fair young maidens, none of whom seemed to be under fourteen or over eighteen years of age, all clad in green stuff, with their locks partly braided, partly flowing loose, but all of such bright gold as to vie with the sunbeams, and over them they wore garlands of jessamine, roses, amaranth, and honeysuckle. At their head were a venerable old man and an ancient dame, more brisk and active, however, than might have been expected from their years. The notes of a Zamora bagpipe accompanied them, and with modesty in their countenances and in their eyes, and lightness in their feet, they looked the best dancers in the world.
Following these there came an artistic dance of the sort they call "speaking dances." It was composed of eight nymphs in two files, with the god Cupid leading one and Interest the other, the former furnished with wings, bow, quiver and arrows, the latter in a rich dress of gold and silk of divers colours. The nymphs that followed Love bore their names written on white parchment in large letters on their backs. "Poetry" was the name of the first, "Wit" of the second, "Birth" of the third, and "Valour" of the fourth. Those that followed Interest were distinguished in the same way; the badge of the first announced "Liberality," that of the second "Largess," the third "Treasure," and the fourth "Peaceful Possession." In front of them all came a wooden castle drawn by four wild men, all clad in ivy and hemp stained green, and looking so natural that they nearly terrified Sancho. On the front of the castle and on each of the four sides of its frame it bore the inscription "Castle of Caution." Four skillful tabor and flute players accompanied them, and the dance having been opened, Cupid, after executing two figures, raised his eyes and bent his bow against a damsel who stood between the turrets of the castle, and thus addressed her:
I am the mighty God whose sway Is potent over land and sea. The heavens above us own me; nay, The shades below acknowledge me. I know not fear, I have my will, Whate'er my whim or fancy be; For me there's no impossible, I order, bind, forbid, set free.
Having concluded the stanza he discharged an arrow at the top of the castle, and went back to his place. Interest then came forward and went through two more figures, and as soon as the tabors ceased, he said:
But mightier than Love am I, Though Love it be that leads me on, Than mine no lineage is more high, Or older, underneath the sun. To use me rightly few know how, To act without me fewer still, For I am Interest, and I vow For evermore to do thy will.
Interest retired, and Poetry came forward, and when she had gone through her figures like the others, fixing her eyes on the damsel of the castle, she said:
With many a fanciful conceit, Fair Lady, winsome Poesy Her soul, an offering at thy feet, Presents in sonnets unto thee. If thou my homage wilt not scorn, Thy fortune, watched by envious eyes, On wings of poesy upborne Shall be exalted to the skies.
Poetry withdrew, and on the side of Interest Liberality advanced, and after having gone through her figures, said:
To give, while shunning each extreme, The sparing hand, the over-free, Therein consists, so wise men deem, The virtue Liberality. But thee, fair lady, to enrich, Myself a prodigal I'll prove, A vice not wholly shameful, which May find its fair excuse in love.
In the same manner all the characters of the two bands advanced and retired, and each executed its figures, and delivered its verses, some of them graceful, some burlesque, but Don Quixote's memory (though he had an excellent one) only carried away those that have been just quoted. All then mingled together, forming chains and breaking off again with graceful, unconstrained gaiety; and whenever Love passed in front of the castle he shot his arrows up at it, while Interest broke gilded pellets against it. At length, after they had danced a good while, Interest drew out a great purse, made of the skin of a large brindled cat and to all appearance full of money, and flung it at the castle, and with the force of the blow the boards fell asunder and tumbled down, leaving the damsel exposed and unprotected. Interest and the characters of his band advanced, and throwing a great chain of gold over her neck pretended to take her and lead her away captive, on seeing which, Love and his supporters made as though they would release her, the whole action being to the accompaniment of the tabors and in the form of a regular dance. The wild men made peace between them, and with great dexterity readjusted and fixed the boards of the castle, and the damsel once more ensconced herself within; and with this the dance wound up, to the great enjoyment of the beholders.
Don Quixote asked one of the nymphs who it was that had composed and arranged it. She replied that it was a beneficiary of the town who had a nice taste in devising things of the sort. "I will lay a wager," said Don Quixote, "that the same bachelor or beneficiary is a greater friend of Camacho's than of Basilio's, and that he is better at satire than at vespers; he has introduced the accomplishments of Basilio and the riches of Camacho very neatly into the dance." Sancho Panza, who was listening to all this, exclaimed, "The king is my cock; I stick to Camacho." "It is easy to see thou art a clown, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and one of that sort that cry 'Long life to the conqueror.'"
"I don't know of what sort I am," returned Sancho, "but I know very well I'll never get such elegant skimmings off Basilio's pots as these I have got off Camacho's;" and he showed him the bucketful of geese and hens, and seizing one began to eat with great gaiety and appetite, saying, "A fig for the accomplishments of Basilio! As much as thou hast so much art thou worth, and as much as thou art worth so much hast thou. As a grandmother of mine used to say, there are only two families in the world, the Haves and the Haven'ts; and she stuck to the Haves; and to this day, Senor Don Quixote, people would sooner feel the pulse of 'Have,' than of 'Know;' an ass covered with gold looks better than a horse with a pack-saddle. So once more I say I stick to Camacho, the bountiful skimmings of whose pots are geese and hens, hares and rabbits; but of Basilio's, if any ever come to hand, or even to foot, they'll be only rinsings."
"Hast thou finished thy harangue, Sancho?" said Don Quixote. "Of course I have finished it," replied Sancho, "because I see your worship takes offence at it; but if it was not for that, there was work enough cut out for three days."
"God grant I may see thee dumb before I die, Sancho," said Don Quixote.
"At the rate we are going," said Sancho, "I'll be chewing clay before your worship dies; and then, maybe, I'll be so dumb that I'll not say a word until the end of the world, or, at least, till the day of judgment."
"Even should that happen, O Sancho," said Don Quixote, "thy silence will never come up to all thou hast talked, art talking, and wilt talk all thy life; moreover, it naturally stands to reason, that my death will come before thine; so I never expect to see thee dumb, not even when thou art drinking or sleeping, and that is the utmost I can say."
"In good faith, senor," replied Sancho, "there's no trusting that fleshless one, I mean Death, who devours the lamb as soon as the sheep, and, as I have heard our curate say, treads with equal foot upon the lofty towers of kings and the lowly huts of the poor. That lady is more mighty than dainty, she is no way squeamish, she devours all and is ready for all, and fills her alforjas with people of all sorts, ages, and ranks. She is no reaper that sleeps out the noontide; at all times she is reaping and cutting down, as well the dry grass as the green; she never seems to chew, but bolts and swallows all that is put before her, for she has a canine appetite that is never satisfied; and though she has no belly, she shows she has a dropsy and is athirst to drink the lives of all that live, as one would drink a jug of cold water."
"Say no more, Sancho," said Don Quixote at this; "don't try to better it, and risk a fall; for in truth what thou hast said about death in thy rustic phrase is what a good preacher might have said. I tell thee, Sancho, if thou hadst discretion equal to thy mother wit, thou mightst take a pulpit in hand, and go about the world preaching fine sermons." "He preaches well who lives well," said Sancho, "and I know no more theology than that."
"Nor needst thou," said Don Quixote, "but I cannot conceive or make out how it is that, the fear of God being the beginning of wisdom, thou, who art more afraid of a lizard than of him, knowest so much."
"Pass judgment on your chivalries, senor," returned Sancho, "and don't set yourself up to judge of other men's fears or braveries, for I am as good a fearer of God as my neighbours; but leave me to despatch these skimmings, for all the rest is only idle talk that we shall be called to account for in the other world;" and so saying, he began a fresh attack on the bucket, with such a hearty appetite that he aroused Don Quixote's, who no doubt would have helped him had he not been prevented by what must be told farther on.
IN WHICH CAMACHO'S WEDDING IS CONTINUED, WITH OTHER DELIGHTFUL INCIDENTS
While Don Quixote and Sancho were engaged in the discussion set forth the last chapter, they heard loud shouts and a great noise, which were uttered and made by the men on the mares as they went at full gallop, shouting, to receive the bride and bridegroom, who were approaching with musical instruments and pageantry of all sorts around them, and accompanied by the priest and the relatives of both, and all the most distinguished people of the surrounding villages. When Sancho saw the bride, he exclaimed, "By my faith, she is not dressed like a country girl, but like some fine court lady; egad, as well as I can make out, the patena she wears rich coral, and her green Cuenca stuff is thirty-pile velvet; and then the white linen trimming—by my oath, but it's satin! Look at her hands—jet rings on them! May I never have luck if they're not gold rings, and real gold, and set with pearls as white as a curdled milk, and every one of them worth an eye of one's head! Whoreson baggage, what hair she has! if it's not a wig, I never saw longer or fairer all the days of my life. See how bravely she bears herself—and her shape! Wouldn't you say she was like a walking palm tree loaded with clusters of dates? for the trinkets she has hanging from her hair and neck look just like them. I swear in my heart she is a brave lass, and fit 'to pass over the banks of Flanders.'"
Don Quixote laughed at Sancho's boorish eulogies and thought that, saving his lady Dulcinea del Toboso, he had never seen a more beautiful woman. The fair Quiteria appeared somewhat pale, which was, no doubt, because of the bad night brides always pass dressing themselves out for their wedding on the morrow. They advanced towards a theatre that stood on one side of the meadow decked with carpets and boughs, where they were to plight their troth, and from which they were to behold the dances and plays; but at the moment of their arrival at the spot they heard a loud outcry behind them, and a voice exclaiming, "Wait a little, ye, as inconsiderate as ye are hasty!" At these words all turned round, and perceived that the speaker was a man clad in what seemed to be a loose black coat garnished with crimson patches like flames. He was crowned (as was presently seen) with a crown of gloomy cypress, and in his hand he held a long staff. As he approached he was recognised by everyone as the gay Basilio, and all waited anxiously to see what would come of his words, in dread of some catastrophe in consequence of his appearance at such a moment. He came up at last weary and breathless, and planting himself in front of the bridal pair, drove his staff, which had a steel spike at the end, into the ground, and, with a pale face and eyes fixed on Quiteria, he thus addressed her in a hoarse, trembling voice:
"Well dost thou know, ungrateful Quiteria, that according to the holy law we acknowledge, so long as live thou canst take no husband; nor art thou ignorant either that, in my hopes that time and my own exertions would improve my fortunes, I have never failed to observe the respect due to thy honour; but thou, casting behind thee all thou owest to my true love, wouldst surrender what is mine to another whose wealth serves to bring him not only good fortune but supreme happiness; and now to complete it (not that I think he deserves it, but inasmuch as heaven is pleased to bestow it upon him), I will, with my own hands, do away with the obstacle that may interfere with it, and remove myself from between you. Long live the rich Camacho! many a happy year may he live with the ungrateful Quiteria! and let the poor Basilio die, Basilio whose poverty clipped the wings of his happiness, and brought him to the grave!"
And so saying, he seized the staff he had driven into the ground, and leaving one half of it fixed there, showed it to be a sheath that concealed a tolerably long rapier; and, what may be called its hilt being planted in the ground, he swiftly, coolly, and deliberately threw himself upon it, and in an instant the bloody point and half the steel blade appeared at his back, the unhappy man falling to the earth bathed in his blood, and transfixed by his own weapon.
His friends at once ran to his aid, filled with grief at his misery and sad fate, and Don Quixote, dismounting from Rocinante, hastened to support him, and took him in his arms, and found he had not yet ceased to breathe. They were about to draw out the rapier, but the priest who was standing by objected to its being withdrawn before he had confessed him, as the instant of its withdrawal would be that of this death. Basilio, however, reviving slightly, said in a weak voice, as though in pain, "If thou wouldst consent, cruel Quiteria, to give me thy hand as my bride in this last fatal moment, I might still hope that my rashness would find pardon, as by its means I attained the bliss of being thine."
Hearing this the priest bade him think of the welfare of his soul rather than of the cravings of the body, and in all earnestness implore God's pardon for his sins and for his rash resolve; to which Basilio replied that he was determined not to confess unless Quiteria first gave him her hand in marriage, for that happiness would compose his mind and give him courage to make his confession.
Don Quixote hearing the wounded man's entreaty, exclaimed aloud that what Basilio asked was just and reasonable, and moreover a request that might be easily complied with; and that it would be as much to Senor Camacho's honour to receive the lady Quiteria as the widow of the brave Basilio as if he received her direct from her father.
"In this case," said he, "it will be only to say 'yes,' and no consequences can follow the utterance of the word, for the nuptial couch of this marriage must be the grave."
Camacho was listening to all this, perplexed and bewildered and not knowing what to say or do; but so urgent were the entreaties of Basilio's friends, imploring him to allow Quiteria to give him her hand, so that his soul, quitting this life in despair, should not be lost, that they moved, nay, forced him, to say that if Quiteria were willing to give it he was satisfied, as it was only putting off the fulfillment of his wishes for a moment. At once all assailed Quiteria and pressed her, some with prayers, and others with tears, and others with persuasive arguments, to give her hand to poor Basilio; but she, harder than marble and more unmoved than any statue, seemed unable or unwilling to utter a word, nor would she have given any reply had not the priest bade her decide quickly what she meant to do, as Basilio now had his soul at his teeth, and there was no time for hesitation.
On this the fair Quiteria, to all appearance distressed, grieved, and repentant, advanced without a word to where Basilio lay, his eyes already turned in his head, his breathing short and painful, murmuring the name of Quiteria between his teeth, and apparently about to die like a heathen and not like a Christian. Quiteria approached him, and kneeling, demanded his hand by signs without speaking. Basilio opened his eyes and gazing fixedly at her, said, "O Quiteria, why hast thou turned compassionate at a moment when thy compassion will serve as a dagger to rob me of life, for I have not now the strength left either to bear the happiness thou givest me in accepting me as thine, or to suppress the pain that is rapidly drawing the dread shadow of death over my eyes? What I entreat of thee, O thou fatal star to me, is that the hand thou demandest of me and wouldst give me, be not given out of complaisance or to deceive me afresh, but that thou confess and declare that without any constraint upon thy will thou givest it to me as to thy lawful husband; for it is not meet that thou shouldst trifle with me at such a moment as this, or have recourse to falsehoods with one who has dealt so truly by thee."
While uttering these words he showed such weakness that the bystanders expected each return of faintness would take his life with it. Then Quiteria, overcome with modesty and shame, holding in her right hand the hand of Basilio, said, "No force would bend my will; as freely, therefore, as it is possible for me to do so, I give thee the hand of a lawful wife, and take thine if thou givest it to me of thine own free will, untroubled and unaffected by the calamity thy hasty act has brought upon thee."
"Yes, I give it," said Basilio, "not agitated or distracted, but with unclouded reason that heaven is pleased to grant me, thus do I give myself to be thy husband."
"And I give myself to be thy wife," said Quiteria, "whether thou livest many years, or they carry thee from my arms to the grave."
"For one so badly wounded," observed Sancho at this point, "this young man has a great deal to say; they should make him leave off billing and cooing, and attend to his soul; for to my thinking he has it more on his tongue than at his teeth."
Basilio and Quiteria having thus joined hands, the priest, deeply moved and with tears in his eyes, pronounced the blessing upon them, and implored heaven to grant an easy passage to the soul of the newly wedded man, who, the instant he received the blessing, started nimbly to his feet and with unparalleled effrontery pulled out the rapier that had been sheathed in his body. All the bystanders were astounded, and some, more simple than inquiring, began shouting, "A miracle, a miracle!" But Basilio replied, "No miracle, no miracle; only a trick, a trick!" The priest, perplexed and amazed, made haste to examine the wound with both hands, and found that the blade had passed, not through Basilio's flesh and ribs, but through a hollow iron tube full of blood, which he had adroitly fixed at the place, the blood, as was afterwards ascertained, having been so prepared as not to congeal. In short, the priest and Camacho and most of those present saw they were tricked and made fools of. The bride showed no signs of displeasure at the deception; on the contrary, hearing them say that the marriage, being fraudulent, would not be valid, she said that she confirmed it afresh, whence they all concluded that the affair had been planned by agreement and understanding between the pair, whereat Camacho and his supporters were so mortified that they proceeded to revenge themselves by violence, and a great number of them drawing their swords attacked Basilio, in whose protection as many more swords were in an instant unsheathed, while Don Quixote taking the lead on horseback, with his lance over his arm and well covered with his shield, made all give way before him. Sancho, who never found any pleasure or enjoyment in such doings, retreated to the wine-jars from which he had taken his delectable skimmings, considering that, as a holy place, that spot would be respected.
"Hold, sirs, hold!" cried Don Quixote in a loud voice; "we have no right to take vengeance for wrongs that love may do to us: remember love and war are the same thing, and as in war it is allowable and common to make use of wiles and stratagems to overcome the enemy, so in the contests and rivalries of love the tricks and devices employed to attain the desired end are justifiable, provided they be not to the discredit or dishonour of the loved object. Quiteria belonged to Basilio and Basilio to Quiteria by the just and beneficent disposal of heaven. Camacho is rich, and can purchase his pleasure when, where, and as it pleases him. Basilio has but this ewe-lamb, and no one, however powerful he may be, shall take her from him; these two whom God hath joined man cannot separate; and he who attempts it must first pass the point of this lance;" and so saying he brandished it so stoutly and dexterously that he overawed all who did not know him.
But so deep an impression had the rejection of Quiteria made on Camacho's mind that it banished her at once from his thoughts; and so the counsels of the priest, who was a wise and kindly disposed man, prevailed with him, and by their means he and his partisans were pacified and tranquillised, and to prove it put up their swords again, inveighing against the pliancy of Quiteria rather than the craftiness of Basilio; Camacho maintaining that, if Quiteria as a maiden had such a love for Basilio, she would have loved him too as a married woman, and that he ought to thank heaven more for having taken her than for having given her.
Camacho and those of his following, therefore, being consoled and pacified, those on Basilio's side were appeased; and the rich Camacho, to show that he felt no resentment for the trick, and did not care about it, desired the festival to go on just as if he were married in reality. Neither Basilio, however, nor his bride, nor their followers would take any part in it, and they withdrew to Basilio's village; for the poor, if they are persons of virtue and good sense, have those who follow, honour, and uphold them, just as the rich have those who flatter and dance attendance on them. With them they carried Don Quixote, regarding him as a man of worth and a stout one. Sancho alone had a cloud on his soul, for he found himself debarred from waiting for Camacho's splendid feast and festival, which lasted until night; and thus dragged away, he moodily followed his master, who accompanied Basilio's party, and left behind him the flesh-pots of Egypt; though in his heart he took them with him, and their now nearly finished skimmings that he carried in the bucket conjured up visions before his eyes of the glory and abundance of the good cheer he was losing. And so, vexed and dejected though not hungry, without dismounting from Dapple he followed in the footsteps of Rocinante.
WHERIN IS RELATED THE GRAND ADVENTURE OF THE CAVE OF MONTESINOS IN THE HEART OF LA MANCHA, WHICH THE VALIANT DON QUIXOTE BROUGHT TO A HAPPY TERMINATION
Many and great were the attentions shown to Don Quixote by the newly married couple, who felt themselves under an obligation to him for coming forward in defence of their cause; and they exalted his wisdom to the same level with his courage, rating him as a Cid in arms, and a Cicero in eloquence. Worthy Sancho enjoyed himself for three days at the expense of the pair, from whom they learned that the sham wound was not a scheme arranged with the fair Quiteria, but a device of Basilio's, who counted on exactly the result they had seen; he confessed, it is true, that he had confided his idea to some of his friends, so that at the proper time they might aid him in his purpose and insure the success of the deception.
"That," said Don Quixote, "is not and ought not to be called deception which aims at virtuous ends;" and the marriage of lovers he maintained to be a most excellent end, reminding them, however, that love has no greater enemy than hunger and constant want; for love is all gaiety, enjoyment, and happiness, especially when the lover is in the possession of the object of his love, and poverty and want are the declared enemies of all these; which he said to urge Senor Basilio to abandon the practice of those accomplishments he was skilled in, for though they brought him fame, they brought him no money, and apply himself to the acquisition of wealth by legitimate industry, which will never fail those who are prudent and persevering. The poor man who is a man of honour (if indeed a poor man can be a man of honour) has a jewel when he has a fair wife, and if she is taken from him, his honour is taken from him and slain. The fair woman who is a woman of honour, and whose husband is poor, deserves to be crowned with the laurels and crowns of victory and triumph. Beauty by itself attracts the desires of all who behold it, and the royal eagles and birds of towering flight stoop on it as on a dainty lure; but if beauty be accompanied by want and penury, then the ravens and the kites and other birds of prey assail it, and she who stands firm against such attacks well deserves to be called the crown of her husband. "Remember, O prudent Basilio," added Don Quixote, "it was the opinion of a certain sage, I know not whom, that there was not more than one good woman in the whole world; and his advice was that each one should think and believe that this one good woman was his own wife, and in this way he would live happy. I myself am not married, nor, so far, has it ever entered my thoughts to be so; nevertheless I would venture to give advice to anyone who might ask it, as to the mode in which he should seek a wife such as he would be content to marry. The first thing I would recommend him, would be to look to good name rather than to wealth, for a good woman does not win a good name merely by being good, but by letting it be seen that she is so, and open looseness and freedom do much more damage to a woman's honour than secret depravity. If you take a good woman into your house it will be an easy matter to keep her good, and even to make her still better; but if you take a bad one you will find it hard work to mend her, for it is no very easy matter to pass from one extreme to another. I do not say it is impossible, but I look upon it as difficult."
Sancho, listening to all this, said to himself, "This master of mine, when I say anything that has weight and substance, says I might take a pulpit in hand, and go about the world preaching fine sermons; but I say of him that, when he begins stringing maxims together and giving advice not only might he take a pulpit in hand, but two on each finger, and go into the market-places to his heart's content. Devil take you for a knight-errant, what a lot of things you know! I used to think in my heart that the only thing he knew was what belonged to his chivalry; but there is nothing he won't have a finger in."
Sancho muttered this somewhat aloud, and his master overheard him, and asked, "What art thou muttering there, Sancho?"
"I'm not saying anything or muttering anything," said Sancho; "I was only saying to myself that I wish I had heard what your worship has said just now before I married; perhaps I'd say now, 'The ox that's loose licks himself well.'"
"Is thy Teresa so bad then, Sancho?"
"She is not very bad," replied Sancho; "but she is not very good; at least she is not as good as I could wish."
"Thou dost wrong, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "to speak ill of thy wife; for after all she is the mother of thy children." "We are quits," returned Sancho; "for she speaks ill of me whenever she takes it into her head, especially when she is jealous; and Satan himself could not put up with her then."
In fine, they remained three days with the newly married couple, by whom they were entertained and treated like kings. Don Quixote begged the fencing licentiate to find him a guide to show him the way to the cave of Montesinos, as he had a great desire to enter it and see with his own eyes if the wonderful tales that were told of it all over the country were true. The licentiate said he would get him a cousin of his own, a famous scholar, and one very much given to reading books of chivalry, who would have great pleasure in conducting him to the mouth of the very cave, and would show him the lakes of Ruidera, which were likewise famous all over La Mancha, and even all over Spain; and he assured him he would find him entertaining, for he was a youth who could write books good enough to be printed and dedicated to princes. The cousin arrived at last, leading an ass in foal, with a pack-saddle covered with a parti-coloured carpet or sackcloth; Sancho saddled Rocinante, got Dapple ready, and stocked his alforjas, along with which went those of the cousin, likewise well filled; and so, commending themselves to God and bidding farewell to all, they set out, taking the road for the famous cave of Montesinos.
On the way Don Quixote asked the cousin of what sort and character his pursuits, avocations, and studies were, to which he replied that he was by profession a humanist, and that his pursuits and studies were making books for the press, all of great utility and no less entertainment to the nation. One was called "The Book of Liveries," in which he described seven hundred and three liveries, with their colours, mottoes, and ciphers, from which gentlemen of the court might pick and choose any they fancied for festivals and revels, without having to go a-begging for them from anyone, or puzzling their brains, as the saying is, to have them appropriate to their objects and purposes; "for," said he, "I give the jealous, the rejected, the forgotten, the absent, what will suit them, and fit them without fail. I have another book, too, which I shall call 'Metamorphoses, or the Spanish Ovid,' one of rare and original invention, for imitating Ovid in burlesque style, I show in it who the Giralda of Seville and the Angel of the Magdalena were, what the sewer of Vecinguerra at Cordova was, what the bulls of Guisando, the Sierra Morena, the Leganitos and Lavapies fountains at Madrid, not forgetting those of the Piojo, of the Cano Dorado, and of the Priora; and all with their allegories, metaphors, and changes, so that they are amusing, interesting, and instructive, all at once. Another book I have which I call 'The Supplement to Polydore Vergil,' which treats of the invention of things, and is a work of great erudition and research, for I establish and elucidate elegantly some things of great importance which Polydore omitted to mention. He forgot to tell us who was the first man in the world that had a cold in his head, and who was the first to try salivation for the French disease, but I give it accurately set forth, and quote more than five-and-twenty authors in proof of it, so you may perceive I have laboured to good purpose and that the book will be of service to the whole world."
Sancho, who had been very attentive to the cousin's words, said to him, "Tell me, senor—and God give you luck in printing your books-can you tell me (for of course you know, as you know everything) who was the first man that scratched his head? For to my thinking it must have been our father Adam."
"So it must," replied the cousin; "for there is no doubt but Adam had a head and hair; and being the first man in the world he would have scratched himself sometimes."
"So I think," said Sancho; "but now tell me, who was the first tumbler in the world?"
"Really, brother," answered the cousin, "I could not at this moment say positively without having investigated it; I will look it up when I go back to where I have my books, and will satisfy you the next time we meet, for this will not be the last time."
"Look here, senor," said Sancho, "don't give yourself any trouble about it, for I have just this minute hit upon what I asked you. The first tumbler in the world, you must know, was Lucifer, when they cast or pitched him out of heaven; for he came tumbling into the bottomless pit."
"You are right, friend," said the cousin; and said Don Quixote, "Sancho, that question and answer are not thine own; thou hast heard them from some one else."
"Hold your peace, senor," said Sancho; "faith, if I take to asking questions and answering, I'll go on from this till to-morrow morning. Nay! to ask foolish things and answer nonsense I needn't go looking for help from my neighbours."
"Thou hast said more than thou art aware of, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "for there are some who weary themselves out in learning and proving things that, after they are known and proved, are not worth a farthing to the understanding or memory."
In this and other pleasant conversation the day went by, and that night they put up at a small hamlet whence it was not more than two leagues to the cave of Montesinos, so the cousin told Don Quixote, adding, that if he was bent upon entering it, it would be requisite for him to provide himself with ropes, so that he might be tied and lowered into its depths. Don Quixote said that even if it reached to the bottomless pit he meant to see where it went to; so they bought about a hundred fathoms of rope, and next day at two in the afternoon they arrived at the cave, the mouth of which is spacious and wide, but full of thorn and wild-fig bushes and brambles and briars, so thick and matted that they completely close it up and cover it over.
On coming within sight of it the cousin, Sancho, and Don Quixote dismounted, and the first two immediately tied the latter very firmly with the ropes, and as they were girding and swathing him Sancho said to him, "Mind what you are about, master mine; don't go burying yourself alive, or putting yourself where you'll be like a bottle put to cool in a well; it's no affair or business of your worship's to become the explorer of this, which must be worse than a Moorish dungeon."
"Tie me and hold thy peace," said Don Quixote, "for an emprise like this, friend Sancho, was reserved for me;" and said the guide, "I beg of you, Senor Don Quixote, to observe carefully and examine with a hundred eyes everything that is within there; perhaps there may be some things for me to put into my book of 'Transformations.'"
"The drum is in hands that will know how to beat it well enough," said Sancho Panza.
When he had said this and finished the tying (which was not over the armour but only over the doublet) Don Quixote observed, "It was careless of us not to have provided ourselves with a small cattle-bell to be tied on the rope close to me, the sound of which would show that I was still descending and alive; but as that is out of the question now, in God's hand be it to guide me;" and forthwith he fell on his knees and in a low voice offered up a prayer to heaven, imploring God to aid him and grant him success in this to all appearance perilous and untried adventure, and then exclaimed aloud, "O mistress of my actions and movements, illustrious and peerless Dulcinea del Toboso, if so be the prayers and supplications of this fortunate lover can reach thy ears, by thy incomparable beauty I entreat thee to listen to them, for they but ask thee not to refuse me thy favour and protection now that I stand in such need of them. I am about to precipitate, to sink, to plunge myself into the abyss that is here before me, only to let the world know that while thou dost favour me there is no impossibility I will not attempt and accomplish." With these words he approached the cavern, and perceived that it was impossible to let himself down or effect an entrance except by sheer force or cleaving a passage; so drawing his sword he began to demolish and cut away the brambles at the mouth of the cave, at the noise of which a vast multitude of crows and choughs flew out of it so thick and so fast that they knocked Don Quixote down; and if he had been as much of a believer in augury as he was a Catholic Christian he would have taken it as a bad omen and declined to bury himself in such a place. He got up, however, and as there came no more crows, or night-birds like the bats that flew out at the same time with the crows, the cousin and Sancho giving him rope, he lowered himself into the depths of the dread cavern; and as he entered it Sancho sent his blessing after him, making a thousand crosses over him and saying, "God, and the Pena de Francia, and the Trinity of Gaeta guide thee, flower and cream of knights-errant. There thou goest, thou dare-devil of the earth, heart of steel, arm of brass; once more, God guide thee and send thee back safe, sound, and unhurt to the light of this world thou art leaving to bury thyself in the darkness thou art seeking there;" and the cousin offered up almost the same prayers and supplications.
Don Quixote kept calling to them to give him rope and more rope, and they gave it out little by little, and by the time the calls, which came out of the cave as out of a pipe, ceased to be heard they had let down the hundred fathoms of rope. They were inclined to pull Don Quixote up again, as they could give him no more rope; however, they waited about half an hour, at the end of which time they began to gather in the rope again with great ease and without feeling any weight, which made them fancy Don Quixote was remaining below; and persuaded that it was so, Sancho wept bitterly, and hauled away in great haste in order to settle the question. When, however, they had come to, as it seemed, rather more than eighty fathoms they felt a weight, at which they were greatly delighted; and at last, at ten fathoms more, they saw Don Quixote distinctly, and Sancho called out to him, saying, "Welcome back, senor, for we had begun to think you were going to stop there to found a family." But Don Quixote answered not a word, and drawing him out entirely they perceived he had his eyes shut and every appearance of being fast asleep.
They stretched him on the ground and untied him, but still he did not awake; however, they rolled him back and forwards and shook and pulled him about, so that after some time he came to himself, stretching himself just as if he were waking up from a deep and sound sleep, and looking about him he said, "God forgive you, friends; ye have taken me away from the sweetest and most delightful existence and spectacle that ever human being enjoyed or beheld. Now indeed do I know that all the pleasures of this life pass away like a shadow and a dream, or fade like the flower of the field. O ill-fated Montesinos! O sore-wounded Durandarte! O unhappy Belerma! O tearful Guadiana, and ye O hapless daughters of Ruidera who show in your waves the tears that flowed from your beauteous eyes!"
The cousin and Sancho Panza listened with deep attention to the words of Don Quixote, who uttered them as though with immense pain he drew them up from his very bowels. They begged of him to explain himself, and tell them what he had seen in that hell down there.
"Hell do you call it?" said Don Quixote; "call it by no such name, for it does not deserve it, as ye shall soon see."
He then begged them to give him something to eat, as he was very hungry. They spread the cousin's sackcloth on the grass, and put the stores of the alforjas into requisition, and all three sitting down lovingly and sociably, they made a luncheon and a supper of it all in one; and when the sackcloth was removed, Don Quixote of La Mancha said, "Let no one rise, and attend to me, my sons, both of you."
OF THE WONDERFUL THINGS THE INCOMPARABLE DON QUIXOTE SAID HE SAW IN THE PROFOUND CAVE OF MONTESINOS, THE IMPOSSIBILITY AND MAGNITUDE OF WHICH CAUSE THIS ADVENTURE TO BE DEEMED APOCRYPHAL
It was about four in the afternoon when the sun, veiled in clouds, with subdued light and tempered beams, enabled Don Quixote to relate, without heat or inconvenience, what he had seen in the cave of Montesinos to his two illustrious hearers, and he began as follows:
"A matter of some twelve or fourteen times a man's height down in this pit, on the right-hand side, there is a recess or space, roomy enough to contain a large cart with its mules. A little light reaches it through some chinks or crevices, communicating with it and open to the surface of the earth. This recess or space I perceived when I was already growing weary and disgusted at finding myself hanging suspended by the rope, travelling downwards into that dark region without any certainty or knowledge of where I was going, so I resolved to enter it and rest myself for a while. I called out, telling you not to let out more rope until I bade you, but you cannot have heard me. I then gathered in the rope you were sending me, and making a coil or pile of it I seated myself upon it, ruminating and considering what I was to do to lower myself to the bottom, having no one to hold me up; and as I was thus deep in thought and perplexity, suddenly and without provocation a profound sleep fell upon me, and when I least expected it, I know not how, I awoke and found myself in the midst of the most beautiful, delightful meadow that nature could produce or the most lively human imagination conceive. I opened my eyes, I rubbed them, and found I was not asleep but thoroughly awake. Nevertheless, I felt my head and breast to satisfy myself whether it was I myself who was there or some empty delusive phantom; but touch, feeling, the collected thoughts that passed through my mind, all convinced me that I was the same then and there that I am this moment. Next there presented itself to my sight a stately royal palace or castle, with walls that seemed built of clear transparent crystal; and through two great doors that opened wide therein, I saw coming forth and advancing towards me a venerable old man, clad in a long gown of mulberry-coloured serge that trailed upon the ground. On his shoulders and breast he had a green satin collegiate hood, and covering his head a black Milanese bonnet, and his snow-white beard fell below his girdle. He carried no arms whatever, nothing but a rosary of beads bigger than fair-sized filberts, each tenth bead being like a moderate ostrich egg; his bearing, his gait, his dignity and imposing presence held me spellbound and wondering. He approached me, and the first thing he did was to embrace me closely, and then he said to me, 'For a long time now, O valiant knight Don Quixote of La Mancha, we who are here enchanted in these solitudes have been hoping to see thee, that thou mayest make known to the world what is shut up and concealed in this deep cave, called the cave of Montesinos, which thou hast entered, an achievement reserved for thy invincible heart and stupendous courage alone to attempt. Come with me, illustrious sir, and I will show thee the marvels hidden within this transparent castle, whereof I am the alcaide and perpetual warden; for I am Montesinos himself, from whom the cave takes its name.'
"The instant he told me he was Montesinos, I asked him if the story they told in the world above here was true, that he had taken out the heart of his great friend Durandarte from his breast with a little dagger, and carried it to the lady Belerma, as his friend when at the point of death had commanded him. He said in reply that they spoke the truth in every respect except as to the dagger, for it was not a dagger, nor little, but a burnished poniard sharper than an awl."
"That poniard must have been made by Ramon de Hoces the Sevillian," said Sancho.
"I do not know," said Don Quixote; "it could not have been by that poniard maker, however, because Ramon de Hoces was a man of yesterday, and the affair of Roncesvalles, where this mishap occurred, was long ago; but the question is of no great importance, nor does it affect or make any alteration in the truth or substance of the story."
"That is true," said the cousin; "continue, Senor Don Quixote, for I am listening to you with the greatest pleasure in the world."
"And with no less do I tell the tale," said Don Quixote; "and so, to proceed—the venerable Montesinos led me into the palace of crystal, where, in a lower chamber, strangely cool and entirely of alabaster, was an elaborately wrought marble tomb, upon which I beheld, stretched at full length, a knight, not of bronze, or marble, or jasper, as are seen on other tombs, but of actual flesh and bone. His right hand (which seemed to me somewhat hairy and sinewy, a sign of great strength in its owner) lay on the side of his heart; but before I could put any question to Montesinos, he, seeing me gazing at the tomb in amazement, said to me, 'This is my friend Durandarte, flower and mirror of the true lovers and valiant knights of his time. He is held enchanted here, as I myself and many others are, by that French enchanter Merlin, who, they say, was the devil's son; but my belief is, not that he was the devil's son, but that he knew, as the saying is, a point more than the devil. How or why he enchanted us, no one knows, but time will tell, and I suspect that time is not far off. What I marvel at is, that I know it to be as sure as that it is now day, that Durandarte ended his life in my arms, and that, after his death, I took out his heart with my own hands; and indeed it must have weighed more than two pounds, for, according to naturalists, he who has a large heart is more largely endowed with valour than he who has a small one. Then, as this is the case, and as the knight did really die, how comes it that he now moans and sighs from time to time, as if he were still alive?'
"As he said this, the wretched Durandarte cried out in a loud voice:
O cousin Montesinos! 'T was my last request of thee, When my soul hath left the body, And that lying dead I be, With thy poniard or thy dagger Cut the heart from out my breast, And bear it to Belerma. This was my last request."
On hearing which, the venerable Montesinos fell on his knees before the unhappy knight, and with tearful eyes exclaimed, 'Long since, Senor Durandarte, my beloved cousin, long since have I done what you bade me on that sad day when I lost you; I took out your heart as well as I could, not leaving an atom of it in your breast, I wiped it with a lace handkerchief, and I took the road to France with it, having first laid you in the bosom of the earth with tears enough to wash and cleanse my hands of the blood that covered them after wandering among your bowels; and more by token, O cousin of my soul, at the first village I came to after leaving Roncesvalles, I sprinkled a little salt upon your heart to keep it sweet, and bring it, if not fresh, at least pickled, into the presence of the lady Belerma, whom, together with you, myself, Guadiana your squire, the duenna Ruidera and her seven daughters and two nieces, and many more of your friends and acquaintances, the sage Merlin has been keeping enchanted here these many years; and although more than five hundred have gone by, not one of us has died; Ruidera and her daughters and nieces alone are missing, and these, because of the tears they shed, Merlin, out of the compassion he seems to have felt for them, changed into so many lakes, which to this day in the world of the living, and in the province of La Mancha, are called the Lakes of Ruidera. The seven daughters belong to the kings of Spain and the two nieces to the knights of a very holy order called the Order of St. John. Guadiana your squire, likewise bewailing your fate, was changed into a river of his own name, but when he came to the surface and beheld the sun of another heaven, so great was his grief at finding he was leaving you, that he plunged into the bowels of the earth; however, as he cannot help following his natural course, he from time to time comes forth and shows himself to the sun and the world. The lakes aforesaid send him their waters, and with these, and others that come to him, he makes a grand and imposing entrance into Portugal; but for all that, go where he may, he shows his melancholy and sadness, and takes no pride in breeding dainty choice fish, only coarse and tasteless sorts, very different from those of the golden Tagus. All this that I tell you now, O cousin mine, I have told you many times before, and as you make no answer, I fear that either you believe me not, or do not hear me, whereat I feel God knows what grief. I have now news to give you, which, if it serves not to alleviate your sufferings, will not in any wise increase them. Know that you have here before you (open your eyes and you will see) that great knight of whom the sage Merlin has prophesied such great things; that Don Quixote of La Mancha I mean, who has again, and to better purpose than in past times, revived in these days knight-errantry, long since forgotten, and by whose intervention and aid it may be we shall be disenchanted; for great deeds are reserved for great men.'
"'And if that may not be,' said the wretched Durandarte in a low and feeble voice, 'if that may not be, then, my cousin, I say "patience and shuffle;"' and turning over on his side, he relapsed into his former silence without uttering another word.
"And now there was heard a great outcry and lamentation, accompanied by deep sighs and bitter sobs. I looked round, and through the crystal wall I saw passing through another chamber a procession of two lines of fair damsels all clad in mourning, and with white turbans of Turkish fashion on their heads. Behind, in the rear of these, there came a lady, for so from her dignity she seemed to be, also clad in black, with a white veil so long and ample that it swept the ground. Her turban was twice as large as the largest of any of the others; her eyebrows met, her nose was rather flat, her mouth was large but with ruddy lips, and her teeth, of which at times she allowed a glimpse, were seen to be sparse and ill-set, though as white as peeled almonds. She carried in her hands a fine cloth, and in it, as well as I could make out, a heart that had been mummied, so parched and dried was it. Montesinos told me that all those forming the procession were the attendants of Durandarte and Belerma, who were enchanted there with their master and mistress, and that the last, she who carried the heart in the cloth, was the lady Belerma, who, with her damsels, four days in the week went in procession singing, or rather weeping, dirges over the body and miserable heart of his cousin; and that if she appeared to me somewhat ill-favoured or not so beautiful as fame reported her, it was because of the bad nights and worse days that she passed in that enchantment, as I could see by the great dark circles round her eyes, and her sickly complexion; 'her sallowness, and the rings round her eyes,' said he, 'are not caused by the periodical ailment usual with women, for it is many months and even years since she has had any, but by the grief her own heart suffers because of that which she holds in her hand perpetually, and which recalls and brings back to her memory the sad fate of her lost lover; were it not for this, hardly would the great Dulcinea del Toboso, so celebrated in all these parts, and even in the world, come up to her for beauty, grace, and gaiety.'
"'Hold hard!' said I at this, 'tell your story as you ought, Senor Don Montesinos, for you know very well that all comparisons are odious, and there is no occasion to compare one person with another; the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso is what she is, and the lady Dona Belerma is what she is and has been, and that's enough.' To which he made answer, 'Forgive me, Senor Don Quixote; I own I was wrong and spoke unadvisedly in saying that the lady Dulcinea could scarcely come up to the lady Belerma; for it were enough for me to have learned, by what means I know not, that you are her knight, to make me bite my tongue out before I compared her to anything save heaven itself.' After this apology which the great Montesinos made me, my heart recovered itself from the shock I had received in hearing my lady compared with Belerma."
"Still I wonder," said Sancho, "that your worship did not get upon the old fellow and bruise every bone of him with kicks, and pluck his beard until you didn't leave a hair in it."
"Nay, Sancho, my friend," said Don Quixote, "it would not have been right in me to do that, for we are all bound to pay respect to the aged, even though they be not knights, but especially to those who are, and who are enchanted; I only know I gave him as good as he brought in the many other questions and answers we exchanged."
"I cannot understand, Senor Don Quixote," remarked the cousin here, "how it is that your worship, in such a short space of time as you have been below there, could have seen so many things, and said and answered so much."
"How long is it since I went down?" asked Don Quixote.
"Little better than an hour," replied Sancho.
"That cannot be," returned Don Quixote, "because night overtook me while I was there, and day came, and it was night again and day again three times; so that, by my reckoning, I have been three days in those remote regions beyond our ken."
"My master must be right," replied Sancho; "for as everything that has happened to him is by enchantment, maybe what seems to us an hour would seem three days and nights there."
"That's it," said Don Quixote.
"And did your worship eat anything all that time, senor?" asked the cousin.
"I never touched a morsel," answered Don Quixote, "nor did I feel hunger, or think of it."
"And do the enchanted eat?" said the cousin.
"They neither eat," said Don Quixote; "nor are they subject to the greater excrements, though it is thought that their nails, beards, and hair grow."
"And do the enchanted sleep, now, senor?" asked Sancho.
"Certainly not," replied Don Quixote; "at least, during those three days I was with them not one of them closed an eye, nor did I either."
"The proverb, 'Tell me what company thou keepest and I'll tell thee what thou art,' is to the point here," said Sancho; "your worship keeps company with enchanted people that are always fasting and watching; what wonder is it, then, that you neither eat nor sleep while you are with them? But forgive me, senor, if I say that of all this you have told us now, may God take me—I was just going to say the devil—if I believe a single particle."
"What!" said the cousin, "has Senor Don Quixote, then, been lying? Why, even if he wished it he has not had time to imagine and put together such a host of lies."
"I don't believe my master lies," said Sancho.
"If not, what dost thou believe?" asked Don Quixote.
"I believe," replied Sancho, "that this Merlin, or those enchanters who enchanted the whole crew your worship says you saw and discoursed with down there, stuffed your imagination or your mind with all this rigmarole you have been treating us to, and all that is still to come."
"All that might be, Sancho," replied Don Quixote; "but it is not so, for everything that I have told you I saw with my own eyes, and touched with my own hands. But what will you say when I tell you now how, among the countless other marvellous things Montesinos showed me (of which at leisure and at the proper time I will give thee an account in the course of our journey, for they would not be all in place here), he showed me three country girls who went skipping and capering like goats over the pleasant fields there, and the instant I beheld them I knew one to be the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso, and the other two those same country girls that were with her and that we spoke to on the road from El Toboso! I asked Montesinos if he knew them, and he told me he did not, but he thought they must be some enchanted ladies of distinction, for it was only a few days before that they had made their appearance in those meadows; but I was not to be surprised at that, because there were a great many other ladies there of times past and present, enchanted in various strange shapes, and among them he had recognised Queen Guinevere and her dame Quintanona, she who poured out the wine for Lancelot when he came from Britain."
When Sancho Panza heard his master say this he was ready to take leave of his senses, or die with laughter; for, as he knew the real truth about the pretended enchantment of Dulcinea, in which he himself had been the enchanter and concocter of all the evidence, he made up his mind at last that, beyond all doubt, his master was out of his wits and stark mad, so he said to him, "It was an evil hour, a worse season, and a sorrowful day, when your worship, dear master mine, went down to the other world, and an unlucky moment when you met with Senor Montesinos, who has sent you back to us like this. You were well enough here above in your full senses, such as God had given you, delivering maxims and giving advice at every turn, and not as you are now, talking the greatest nonsense that can be imagined."
"As I know thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "I heed not thy words."
"Nor I your worship's," said Sancho, "whether you beat me or kill me for those I have spoken, and will speak if you don't correct and mend your own. But tell me, while we are still at peace, how or by what did you recognise the lady our mistress; and if you spoke to her, what did you say, and what did she answer?"
"I recognised her," said Don Quixote, "by her wearing the same garments she wore when thou didst point her out to me. I spoke to her, but she did not utter a word in reply; on the contrary, she turned her back on me and took to flight, at such a pace that crossbow bolt could not have overtaken her. I wished to follow her, and would have done so had not Montesinos recommended me not to take the trouble as it would be useless, particularly as the time was drawing near when it would be necessary for me to quit the cavern. He told me, moreover, that in course of time he would let me know how he and Belerma, and Durandarte, and all who were there, were to be disenchanted. But of all I saw and observed down there, what gave me most pain was, that while Montesinos was speaking to me, one of the two companions of the hapless Dulcinea approached me on one without my having seen her coming, and with tears in her eyes said to me, in a low, agitated voice, 'My lady Dulcinea del Toboso kisses your worship's hands, and entreats you to do her the favour of letting her know how you are; and, being in great need, she also entreats your worship as earnestly as she can to be so good as to lend her half a dozen reals, or as much as you may have about you, on this new dimity petticoat that I have here; and she promises to repay them very speedily.' I was amazed and taken aback by such a message, and turning to Senor Montesinos I asked him, 'Is it possible, Senor Montesinos, that persons of distinction under enchantment can be in need?' To which he replied, 'Believe me, Senor Don Quixote, that which is called need is to be met with everywhere, and penetrates all quarters and reaches everyone, and does not spare even the enchanted; and as the lady Dulcinea del Toboso sends to beg those six reals, and the pledge is to all appearance a good one, there is nothing for it but to give them to her, for no doubt she must be in some great strait.' 'I will take no pledge of her,' I replied, 'nor yet can I give her what she asks, for all I have is four reals; which I gave (they were those which thou, Sancho, gavest me the other day to bestow in alms upon the poor I met along the road), and I said, 'Tell your mistress, my dear, that I am grieved to the heart because of her distresses, and wish I was a Fucar to remedy them, and that I would have her know that I cannot be, and ought not be, in health while deprived of the happiness of seeing her and enjoying her discreet conversation, and that I implore her as earnestly as I can, to allow herself to be seen and addressed by this her captive servant and forlorn knight. Tell her, too, that when she least expects it she will hear it announced that I have made an oath and vow after the fashion of that which the Marquis of Mantua made to avenge his nephew Baldwin, when he found him at the point of death in the heart of the mountains, which was, not to eat bread off a tablecloth, and other trifling matters which he added, until he had avenged him; and I will make the same to take no rest, and to roam the seven regions of the earth more thoroughly than the Infante Don Pedro of Portugal ever roamed them, until I have disenchanted her.' 'All that and more, you owe my lady,' the damsel's answer to me, and taking the four reals, instead of making me a curtsey she cut a caper, springing two full yards into the air."
"O blessed God!" exclaimed Sancho aloud at this, "is it possible that such things can be in the world, and that enchanters and enchantments can have such power in it as to have changed my master's right senses into a craze so full of absurdity! O senor, senor, for God's sake, consider yourself, have a care for your honour, and give no credit to this silly stuff that has left you scant and short of wits."
"Thou talkest in this way because thou lovest me, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "and not being experienced in the things of the world, everything that has some difficulty about it seems to thee impossible; but time will pass, as I said before, and I will tell thee some of the things I saw down there which will make thee believe what I have related now, the truth of which admits of neither reply nor question."
WHEREIN ARE RELATED A THOUSAND TRIFLING MATTERS, AS TRIVIAL AS THEY ARE NECESSARY TO THE RIGHT UNDERSTANDING OF THIS GREAT HISTORY
He who translated this great history from the original written by its first author, Cide Hamete Benengeli, says that on coming to the chapter giving the adventures of the cave of Montesinos he found written on the margin of it, in Hamete's own hand, these exact words:
"I cannot convince or persuade myself that everything that is written in the preceding chapter could have precisely happened to the valiant Don Quixote; and for this reason, that all the adventures that have occurred up to the present have been possible and probable; but as for this one of the cave, I see no way of accepting it as true, as it passes all reasonable bounds. For me to believe that Don Quixote could lie, he being the most truthful gentleman and the noblest knight of his time, is impossible; he would not have told a lie though he were shot to death with arrows. On the other hand, I reflect that he related and told the story with all the circumstances detailed, and that he could not in so short a space have fabricated such a vast complication of absurdities; if, then, this adventure seems apocryphal, it is no fault of mine; and so, without affirming its falsehood or its truth, I write it down. Decide for thyself in thy wisdom, reader; for I am not bound, nor is it in my power, to do more; though certain it is they say that at the time of his death he retracted, and said he had invented it, thinking it matched and tallied with the adventures he had read of in his histories." And then he goes on to say:
The cousin was amazed as well at Sancho's boldness as at the patience of his master, and concluded that the good temper the latter displayed arose from the happiness he felt at having seen his lady Dulcinea, even enchanted as she was; because otherwise the words and language Sancho had addressed to him deserved a thrashing; for indeed he seemed to him to have been rather impudent to his master, to whom he now observed, "I, Senor Don Quixote of La Mancha, look upon the time I have spent in travelling with your worship as very well employed, for I have gained four things in the course of it; the first is that I have made your acquaintance, which I consider great good fortune; the second, that I have learned what the cave of Montesinos contains, together with the transformations of Guadiana and of the lakes of Ruidera; which will be of use to me for the Spanish Ovid that I have in hand; the third, to have discovered the antiquity of cards, that they were in use at least in the time of Charlemagne, as may be inferred from the words you say Durandarte uttered when, at the end of that long spell while Montesinos was talking to him, he woke up and said, 'Patience and shuffle.' This phrase and expression he could not have learned while he was enchanted, but only before he had become so, in France, and in the time of the aforesaid emperor Charlemagne. And this demonstration is just the thing for me for that other book I am writing, the 'Supplement to Polydore Vergil on the Invention of Antiquities;' for I believe he never thought of inserting that of cards in his book, as I mean to do in mine, and it will be a matter of great importance, particularly when I can cite so grave and veracious an authority as Senor Durandarte. And the fourth thing is, that I have ascertained the source of the river Guadiana, heretofore unknown to mankind."