Don Quixote on hearing this felt his throat, and turning to the duke he said, "By God, senor, Dulcinea says true, I have my soul stuck here in my throat like the nut of a crossbow."
"What say you to this, Sancho?" said the duchess.
"I say, senora," returned Sancho, "what I said before; as for the lashes, abernuncio!"
"Abrenuncio, you should say, Sancho, and not as you do," said the duke.
"Let me alone, your highness," said Sancho. "I'm not in a humour now to look into niceties or a letter more or less, for these lashes that are to be given me, or I'm to give myself, have so upset me, that I don't know what I'm saying or doing. But I'd like to know of this lady, my lady Dulcinea del Toboso, where she learned this way she has of asking favours. She comes to ask me to score my flesh with lashes, and she calls me soul of a pitcher, and great untamed brute, and a string of foul names that the devil is welcome to. Is my flesh brass? or is it anything to me whether she is enchanted or not? Does she bring with her a basket of fair linen, shirts, kerchiefs, socks-not that wear any—to coax me? No, nothing but one piece of abuse after another, though she knows the proverb they have here that 'an ass loaded with gold goes lightly up a mountain,' and that 'gifts break rocks,' and 'praying to God and plying the hammer,' and that 'one "take" is better than two "I'll give thee's."' Then there's my master, who ought to stroke me down and pet me to make me turn wool and carded cotton; he says if he gets hold of me he'll tie me naked to a tree and double the tale of lashes on me. These tender-hearted gentry should consider that it's not merely a squire, but a governor they are asking to whip himself; just as if it was 'drink with cherries.' Let them learn, plague take them, the right way to ask, and beg, and behave themselves; for all times are not alike, nor are people always in good humour. I'm now ready to burst with grief at seeing my green coat torn, and they come to ask me to whip myself of my own free will, I having as little fancy for it as for turning cacique."
"Well then, the fact is, friend Sancho," said the duke, "that unless you become softer than a ripe fig, you shall not get hold of the government. It would be a nice thing for me to send my islanders a cruel governor with flinty bowels, who won't yield to the tears of afflicted damsels or to the prayers of wise, magisterial, ancient enchanters and sages. In short, Sancho, either you must be whipped by yourself, or they must whip you, or you shan't be governor."
"Senor," said Sancho, "won't two days' grace be given me in which to consider what is best for me?"
"No, certainly not," said Merlin; "here, this minute, and on the spot, the matter must be settled; either Dulcinea will return to the cave of Montesinos and to her former condition of peasant wench, or else in her present form shall be carried to the Elysian fields, where she will remain waiting until the number of stripes is completed."
"Now then, Sancho!" said the duchess, "show courage, and gratitude for your master Don Quixote's bread that you have eaten; we are all bound to oblige and please him for his benevolent disposition and lofty chivalry. Consent to this whipping, my son; to the devil with the devil, and leave fear to milksops, for 'a stout heart breaks bad luck,' as you very well know."
To this Sancho replied with an irrelevant remark, which, addressing Merlin, he made to him, "Will your worship tell me, Senor Merlin—when that courier devil came up he gave my master a message from Senor Montesinos, charging him to wait for him here, as he was coming to arrange how the lady Dona Dulcinea del Toboso was to be disenchanted; but up to the present we have not seen Montesinos, nor anything like him."
To which Merlin made answer, "The devil, Sancho, is a blockhead and a great scoundrel; I sent him to look for your master, but not with a message from Montesinos but from myself; for Montesinos is in his cave expecting, or more properly speaking, waiting for his disenchantment; for there's the tail to be skinned yet for him; if he owes you anything, or you have any business to transact with him, I'll bring him to you and put him where you choose; but for the present make up your mind to consent to this penance, and believe me it will be very good for you, for soul as well for body—for your soul because of the charity with which you perform it, for your body because I know that you are of a sanguine habit and it will do you no harm to draw a little blood."
"There are a great many doctors in the world; even the enchanters are doctors," said Sancho; "however, as everybody tells me the same thing—though I can't see it myself—I say I am willing to give myself the three thousand three hundred lashes, provided I am to lay them on whenever I like, without any fixing of days or times; and I'll try and get out of debt as quickly as I can, that the world may enjoy the beauty of the lady Dulcinea del Toboso; as it seems, contrary to what I thought, that she is beautiful after all. It must be a condition, too, that I am not to be bound to draw blood with the scourge, and that if any of the lashes happen to be fly-flappers they are to count. Item, that, in case I should make any mistake in the reckoning, Senor Merlin, as he knows everything, is to keep count, and let me know how many are still wanting or over the number."
"There will be no need to let you know of any over," said Merlin, "because, when you reach the full number, the lady Dulcinea will at once, and that very instant, be disenchanted, and will come in her gratitude to seek out the worthy Sancho, and thank him, and even reward him for the good work. So you have no cause to be uneasy about stripes too many or too few; heaven forbid I should cheat anyone of even a hair of his head."
"Well then, in God's hands be it," said Sancho; "in the hard case I'm in I give in; I say I accept the penance on the conditions laid down."
The instant Sancho uttered these last words the music of the clarions struck up once more, and again a host of muskets were discharged, and Don Quixote hung on Sancho's neck kissing him again and again on the forehead and cheeks. The duchess and the duke expressed the greatest satisfaction, the car began to move on, and as it passed the fair Dulcinea bowed to the duke and duchess and made a low curtsey to Sancho.
And now bright smiling dawn came on apace; the flowers of the field, revived, raised up their heads, and the crystal waters of the brooks, murmuring over the grey and white pebbles, hastened to pay their tribute to the expectant rivers; the glad earth, the unclouded sky, the fresh breeze, the clear light, each and all showed that the day that came treading on the skirts of morning would be calm and bright. The duke and duchess, pleased with their hunt and at having carried out their plans so cleverly and successfully, returned to their castle resolved to follow up their joke; for to them there was no reality that could afford them more amusement.
WHEREIN IS RELATED THE STRANGE AND UNDREAMT-OF ADVENTURE OF THE DISTRESSED DUENNA, ALIAS THE COUNTESS TRIFALDI, TOGETHER WITH A LETTER WHICH SANCHO PANZA WROTE TO HIS WIFE, TERESA PANZA
The duke had a majordomo of a very facetious and sportive turn, and he it was that played the part of Merlin, made all the arrangements for the late adventure, composed the verses, and got a page to represent Dulcinea; and now, with the assistance of his master and mistress, he got up another of the drollest and strangest contrivances that can be imagined.
The duchess asked Sancho the next day if he had made a beginning with his penance task which he had to perform for the disenchantment of Dulcinea. He said he had, and had given himself five lashes overnight.
The duchess asked him what he had given them with.
He said with his hand.
"That," said the duchess, "is more like giving oneself slaps than lashes; I am sure the sage Merlin will not be satisfied with such tenderness; worthy Sancho must make a scourge with claws, or a cat-o'-nine tails, that will make itself felt; for it's with blood that letters enter, and the release of so great a lady as Dulcinea will not be granted so cheaply, or at such a paltry price; and remember, Sancho, that works of charity done in a lukewarm and half-hearted way are without merit and of no avail."
To which Sancho replied, "If your ladyship will give me a proper scourge or cord, I'll lay on with it, provided it does not hurt too much; for you must know, boor as I am, my flesh is more cotton than hemp, and it won't do for me to destroy myself for the good of anybody else."
"So be it by all means," said the duchess; "tomorrow I'll give you a scourge that will be just the thing for you, and will accommodate itself to the tenderness of your flesh, as if it was its own sister."
Then said Sancho, "Your highness must know, dear lady of my soul, that I have a letter written to my wife, Teresa Panza, giving her an account of all that has happened me since I left her; I have it here in my bosom, and there's nothing wanting but to put the address to it; I'd be glad if your discretion would read it, for I think it runs in the governor style; I mean the way governors ought to write."
"And who dictated it?" asked the duchess.
"Who should have dictated but myself, sinner as I am?" said Sancho.
"And did you write it yourself?" said the duchess.
"That I didn't," said Sancho; "for I can neither read nor write, though I can sign my name."
"Let us see it," said the duchess, "for never fear but you display in it the quality and quantity of your wit."
Sancho drew out an open letter from his bosom, and the duchess, taking it, found it ran in this fashion:
SANCHO PANZA'S LETTER TO HIS WIFE, TERESA PANZA
If I was well whipped I went mounted like a gentleman; if I have got a good government it is at the cost of a good whipping. Thou wilt not understand this just now, my Teresa; by-and-by thou wilt know what it means. I may tell thee, Teresa, I mean thee to go in a coach, for that is a matter of importance, because every other way of going is going on all-fours. Thou art a governor's wife; take care that nobody speaks evil of thee behind thy back. I send thee here a green hunting suit that my lady the duchess gave me; alter it so as to make a petticoat and bodice for our daughter. Don Quixote, my master, if I am to believe what I hear in these parts, is a madman of some sense, and a droll blockhead, and I am no way behind him. We have been in the cave of Montesinos, and the sage Merlin has laid hold of me for the disenchantment of Dulcinea del Toboso, her that is called Aldonza Lorenzo over there. With three thousand three hundred lashes, less five, that I'm to give myself, she will be left as entirely disenchanted as the mother that bore her. Say nothing of this to anyone; for, make thy affairs public, and some will say they are white and others will say they are black. I shall leave this in a few days for my government, to which I am going with a mighty great desire to make money, for they tell me all new governors set out with the same desire; I will feel the pulse of it and will let thee know if thou art to come and live with me or not. Dapple is well and sends many remembrances to thee; I am not going to leave him behind though they took me away to be Grand Turk. My lady the duchess kisses thy hands a thousand times; do thou make a return with two thousand, for as my master says, nothing costs less or is cheaper than civility. God has not been pleased to provide another valise for me with another hundred crowns, like the one the other day; but never mind, my Teresa, the bell-ringer is in safe quarters, and all will come out in the scouring of the government; only it troubles me greatly what they tell me—that once I have tasted it I will eat my hands off after it; and if that is so it will not come very cheap to me; though to be sure the maimed have a benefice of their own in the alms they beg for; so that one way or another thou wilt be rich and in luck. God give it to thee as he can, and keep me to serve thee. From this castle, the 20th of July, 1614.
Thy husband, the governor.
When she had done reading the letter the duchess said to Sancho, "On two points the worthy governor goes rather astray; one is in saying or hinting that this government has been bestowed upon him for the lashes that he is to give himself, when he knows (and he cannot deny it) that when my lord the duke promised it to him nobody ever dreamt of such a thing as lashes; the other is that he shows himself here to be very covetous; and I would not have him a money-seeker, for 'covetousness bursts the bag,' and the covetous governor does ungoverned justice."
"I don't mean it that way, senora," said Sancho; "and if you think the letter doesn't run as it ought to do, it's only to tear it up and make another; and maybe it will be a worse one if it is left to my gumption."
"No, no," said the duchess, "this one will do, and I wish the duke to see it."
With this they betook themselves to a garden where they were to dine, and the duchess showed Sancho's letter to the duke, who was highly delighted with it. They dined, and after the cloth had been removed and they had amused themselves for a while with Sancho's rich conversation, the melancholy sound of a fife and harsh discordant drum made itself heard. All seemed somewhat put out by this dull, confused, martial harmony, especially Don Quixote, who could not keep his seat from pure disquietude; as to Sancho, it is needless to say that fear drove him to his usual refuge, the side or the skirts of the duchess; and indeed and in truth the sound they heard was a most doleful and melancholy one. While they were still in uncertainty they saw advancing towards them through the garden two men clad in mourning robes so long and flowing that they trailed upon the ground. As they marched they beat two great drums which were likewise draped in black, and beside them came the fife player, black and sombre like the others. Following these came a personage of gigantic stature enveloped rather than clad in a gown of the deepest black, the skirt of which was of prodigious dimensions. Over the gown, girdling or crossing his figure, he had a broad baldric which was also black, and from which hung a huge scimitar with a black scabbard and furniture. He had his face covered with a transparent black veil, through which might be descried a very long beard as white as snow. He came on keeping step to the sound of the drums with great gravity and dignity; and, in short, his stature, his gait, the sombreness of his appearance and his following might well have struck with astonishment, as they did, all who beheld him without knowing who he was. With this measured pace and in this guise he advanced to kneel before the duke, who, with the others, awaited him standing. The duke, however, would not on any account allow him to speak until he had risen. The prodigious scarecrow obeyed, and standing up, removed the veil from his face and disclosed the most enormous, the longest, the whitest and the thickest beard that human eyes had ever beheld until that moment, and then fetching up a grave, sonorous voice from the depths of his broad, capacious chest, and fixing his eyes on the duke, he said:
"Most high and mighty senor, my name is Trifaldin of the White Beard; I am squire to the Countess Trifaldi, otherwise called the Distressed Duenna, on whose behalf I bear a message to your highness, which is that your magnificence will be pleased to grant her leave and permission to come and tell you her trouble, which is one of the strangest and most wonderful that the mind most familiar with trouble in the world could have imagined; but first she desires to know if the valiant and never vanquished knight, Don Quixote of La Mancha, is in this your castle, for she has come in quest of him on foot and without breaking her fast from the kingdom of Kandy to your realms here; a thing which may and ought to be regarded as a miracle or set down to enchantment; she is even now at the gate of this fortress or plaisance, and only waits for your permission to enter. I have spoken." And with that he coughed, and stroked down his beard with both his hands, and stood very tranquilly waiting for the response of the duke, which was to this effect: "Many days ago, worthy squire Trifaldin of the White Beard, we heard of the misfortune of my lady the Countess Trifaldi, whom the enchanters have caused to be called the Distressed Duenna. Bid her enter, O stupendous squire, and tell her that the valiant knight Don Quixote of La Mancha is here, and from his generous disposition she may safely promise herself every protection and assistance; and you may tell her, too, that if my aid be necessary it will not be withheld, for I am bound to give it to her by my quality of knight, which involves the protection of women of all sorts, especially widowed, wronged, and distressed dames, such as her ladyship seems to be."
On hearing this Trifaldin bent the knee to the ground, and making a sign to the fifer and drummers to strike up, he turned and marched out of the garden to the same notes and at the same pace as when he entered, leaving them all amazed at his bearing and solemnity. Turning to Don Quixote, the duke said, "After all, renowned knight, the mists of malice and ignorance are unable to hide or obscure the light of valour and virtue. I say so, because your excellence has been barely six days in this castle, and already the unhappy and the afflicted come in quest of you from lands far distant and remote, and not in coaches or on dromedaries, but on foot and fasting, confident that in that mighty arm they will find a cure for their sorrows and troubles; thanks to your great achievements, which are circulated all over the known earth."
"I wish, senor duke," replied Don Quixote, "that blessed ecclesiastic, who at table the other day showed such ill-will and bitter spite against knights-errant, were here now to see with his own eyes whether knights of the sort are needed in the world; he would at any rate learn by experience that those suffering any extraordinary affliction or sorrow, in extreme cases and unusual misfortunes do not go to look for a remedy to the houses of jurists or village sacristans, or to the knight who has never attempted to pass the bounds of his own town, or to the indolent courtier who only seeks for news to repeat and talk of, instead of striving to do deeds and exploits for others to relate and record. Relief in distress, help in need, protection for damsels, consolation for widows, are to be found in no sort of persons better than in knights-errant; and I give unceasing thanks to heaven that I am one, and regard any misfortune or suffering that may befall me in the pursuit of so honourable a calling as endured to good purpose. Let this duenna come and ask what she will, for I will effect her relief by the might of my arm and the dauntless resolution of my bold heart."
WHEREIN IS CONTINUED THE NOTABLE ADVENTURE OF THE DISTRESSED DUENNA
The duke and duchess were extremely glad to see how readily Don Quixote fell in with their scheme; but at this moment Sancho observed, "I hope this senora duenna won't be putting any difficulties in the way of the promise of my government; for I have heard a Toledo apothecary, who talked like a goldfinch, say that where duennas were mixed up nothing good could happen. God bless me, how he hated them, that same apothecary! And so what I'm thinking is, if all duennas, of whatever sort or condition they may be, are plagues and busybodies, what must they be that are distressed, like this Countess Three-skirts or Three-tails!—for in my country skirts or tails, tails or skirts, it's all one."
"Hush, friend Sancho," said Don Quixote; "since this lady duenna comes in quest of me from such a distant land she cannot be one of those the apothecary meant; moreover this is a countess, and when countesses serve as duennas it is in the service of queens and empresses, for in their own houses they are mistresses paramount and have other duennas to wait on them."
To this Dona Rodriguez, who was present, made answer, "My lady the duchess has duennas in her service that might be countesses if it was the will of fortune; 'but laws go as kings like;' let nobody speak ill of duennas, above all of ancient maiden ones; for though I am not one myself, I know and am aware of the advantage a maiden duenna has over one that is a widow; but 'he who clipped us has kept the scissors.'"
"For all that," said Sancho, "there's so much to be clipped about duennas, so my barber said, that 'it will be better not to stir the rice even though it sticks.'"
"These squires," returned Dona Rodriguez, "are always our enemies; and as they are the haunting spirits of the antechambers and watch us at every step, whenever they are not saying their prayers (and that's often enough) they spend their time in tattling about us, digging up our bones and burying our good name. But I can tell these walking blocks that we will live in spite of them, and in great houses too, though we die of hunger and cover our flesh, be it delicate or not, with widow's weeds, as one covers or hides a dunghill on a procession day. By my faith, if it were permitted me and time allowed, I could prove, not only to those here present, but to all the world, that there is no virtue that is not to be found in a duenna."
"I have no doubt," said the duchess, "that my good Dona Rodriguez is right, and very much so; but she had better bide her time for fighting her own battle and that of the rest of the duennas, so as to crush the calumny of that vile apothecary, and root out the prejudice in the great Sancho Panza's mind."
To which Sancho replied, "Ever since I have sniffed the governorship I have got rid of the humours of a squire, and I don't care a wild fig for all the duennas in the world."
They would have carried on this duenna dispute further had they not heard the notes of the fife and drums once more, from which they concluded that the Distressed Duenna was making her entrance. The duchess asked the duke if it would be proper to go out to receive her, as she was a countess and a person of rank.
"In respect of her being a countess," said Sancho, before the duke could reply, "I am for your highnesses going out to receive her; but in respect of her being a duenna, it is my opinion you should not stir a step."
"Who bade thee meddle in this, Sancho?" said Don Quixote.
"Who, senor?" said Sancho; "I meddle for I have a right to meddle, as a squire who has learned the rules of courtesy in the school of your worship, the most courteous and best-bred knight in the whole world of courtliness; and in these things, as I have heard your worship say, as much is lost by a card too many as by a card too few, and to one who has his ears open, few words."
"Sancho is right," said the duke; "we'll see what the countess is like, and by that measure the courtesy that is due to her."
And now the drums and fife made their entrance as before; and here the author brought this short chapter to an end and began the next, following up the same adventure, which is one of the most notable in the history.
WHEREIN IS TOLD THE DISTRESSED DUENNA'S TALE OF HER MISFORTUNES
Following the melancholy musicians there filed into the garden as many as twelve duennas, in two lines, all dressed in ample mourning robes apparently of milled serge, with hoods of fine white gauze so long that they allowed only the border of the robe to be seen. Behind them came the Countess Trifaldi, the squire Trifaldin of the White Beard leading her by the hand, clad in the finest unnapped black baize, such that, had it a nap, every tuft would have shown as big as a Martos chickpea; the tail, or skirt, or whatever it might be called, ended in three points which were borne up by the hands of three pages, likewise dressed in mourning, forming an elegant geometrical figure with the three acute angles made by the three points, from which all who saw the peaked skirt concluded that it must be because of it the countess was called Trifaldi, as though it were Countess of the Three Skirts; and Benengeli says it was so, and that by her right name she was called the Countess Lobuna, because wolves bred in great numbers in her country; and if, instead of wolves, they had been foxes, she would have been called the Countess Zorruna, as it was the custom in those parts for lords to take distinctive titles from the thing or things most abundant in their dominions; this countess, however, in honour of the new fashion of her skirt, dropped Lobuna and took up Trifaldi.
The twelve duennas and the lady came on at procession pace, their faces being covered with black veils, not transparent ones like Trifaldin's, but so close that they allowed nothing to be seen through them. As soon as the band of duennas was fully in sight, the duke, the duchess, and Don Quixote stood up, as well as all who were watching the slow-moving procession. The twelve duennas halted and formed a lane, along which the Distressed One advanced, Trifaldin still holding her hand. On seeing this the duke, the duchess, and Don Quixote went some twelve paces forward to meet her. She then, kneeling on the ground, said in a voice hoarse and rough, rather than fine and delicate, "May it please your highnesses not to offer such courtesies to this your servant, I should say to this your handmaid, for I am in such distress that I shall never be able to make a proper return, because my strange and unparalleled misfortune has carried off my wits, and I know not whither; but it must be a long way off, for the more I look for them the less I find them."
"He would be wanting in wits, senora countess," said the duke, "who did not perceive your worth by your person, for at a glance it may be seen it deserves all the cream of courtesy and flower of polite usage;" and raising her up by the hand he led her to a seat beside the duchess, who likewise received her with great urbanity. Don Quixote remained silent, while Sancho was dying to see the features of Trifaldi and one or two of her many duennas; but there was no possibility of it until they themselves displayed them of their own accord and free will.
All kept still, waiting to see who would break silence, which the Distressed Duenna did in these words: "I am confident, most mighty lord, most fair lady, and most discreet company, that my most miserable misery will be accorded a reception no less dispassionate than generous and condolent in your most valiant bosoms, for it is one that is enough to melt marble, soften diamonds, and mollify the steel of the most hardened hearts in the world; but ere it is proclaimed to your hearing, not to say your ears, I would fain be enlightened whether there be present in this society, circle, or company, that knight immaculatissimus, Don Quixote de la Manchissima, and his squirissimus Panza."
"The Panza is here," said Sancho, before anyone could reply, "and Don Quixotissimus too; and so, most distressedest Duenissima, you may say what you willissimus, for we are all readissimus to do you any servissimus."
On this Don Quixote rose, and addressing the Distressed Duenna, said, "If your sorrows, afflicted lady, can indulge in any hope of relief from the valour or might of any knight-errant, here are mine, which, feeble and limited though they be, shall be entirely devoted to your service. I am Don Quixote of La Mancha, whose calling it is to give aid to the needy of all sorts; and that being so, it is not necessary for you, senora, to make any appeal to benevolence, or deal in preambles, only to tell your woes plainly and straightforwardly: for you have hearers that will know how, if not to remedy them, to sympathise with them."
On hearing this, the Distressed Duenna made as though she would throw herself at Don Quixote's feet, and actually did fall before them and said, as she strove to embrace them, "Before these feet and legs I cast myself, O unconquered knight, as before, what they are, the foundations and pillars of knight-errantry; these feet I desire to kiss, for upon their steps hangs and depends the sole remedy for my misfortune, O valorous errant, whose veritable achievements leave behind and eclipse the fabulous ones of the Amadises, Esplandians, and Belianises!" Then turning from Don Quixote to Sancho Panza, and grasping his hands, she said, "O thou, most loyal squire that ever served knight-errant in this present age or ages past, whose goodness is more extensive than the beard of Trifaldin my companion here of present, well mayest thou boast thyself that, in serving the great Don Quixote, thou art serving, summed up in one, the whole host of knights that have ever borne arms in the world. I conjure thee, by what thou owest to thy most loyal goodness, that thou wilt become my kind intercessor with thy master, that he speedily give aid to this most humble and most unfortunate countess."
To this Sancho made answer, "As to my goodness, senora, being as long and as great as your squire's beard, it matters very little to me; may I have my soul well bearded and moustached when it comes to quit this life, that's the point; about beards here below I care little or nothing; but without all these blandishments and prayers, I will beg my master (for I know he loves me, and, besides, he has need of me just now for a certain business) to help and aid your worship as far as he can; unpack your woes and lay them before us, and leave us to deal with them, for we'll be all of one mind."
The duke and duchess, as it was they who had made the experiment of this adventure, were ready to burst with laughter at all this, and between themselves they commended the clever acting of the Trifaldi, who, returning to her seat, said, "Queen Dona Maguncia reigned over the famous kingdom of Kandy, which lies between the great Trapobana and the Southern Sea, two leagues beyond Cape Comorin. She was the widow of King Archipiela, her lord and husband, and of their marriage they had issue the Princess Antonomasia, heiress of the kingdom; which Princess Antonomasia was reared and brought up under my care and direction, I being the oldest and highest in rank of her mother's duennas. Time passed, and the young Antonomasia reached the age of fourteen, and such a perfection of beauty, that nature could not raise it higher. Then, it must not be supposed her intelligence was childish; she was as intelligent as she was fair, and she was fairer than all the world; and is so still, unless the envious fates and hard-hearted sisters three have cut for her the thread of life. But that they have not, for Heaven will not suffer so great a wrong to Earth, as it would be to pluck unripe the grapes of the fairest vineyard on its surface. Of this beauty, to which my poor feeble tongue has failed to do justice, countless princes, not only of that country, but of others, were enamoured, and among them a private gentleman, who was at the court, dared to raise his thoughts to the heaven of so great beauty, trusting to his youth, his gallant bearing, his numerous accomplishments and graces, and his quickness and readiness of wit; for I may tell your highnesses, if I am not wearying you, that he played the guitar so as to make it speak, and he was, besides, a poet and a great dancer, and he could make birdcages so well, that by making them alone he might have gained a livelihood, had he found himself reduced to utter poverty; and gifts and graces of this kind are enough to bring down a mountain, not to say a tender young girl. But all his gallantry, wit, and gaiety, all his graces and accomplishments, would have been of little or no avail towards gaining the fortress of my pupil, had not the impudent thief taken the precaution of gaining me over first. First, the villain and heartless vagabond sought to win my good-will and purchase my compliance, so as to get me, like a treacherous warder, to deliver up to him the keys of the fortress I had in charge. In a word, he gained an influence over my mind, and overcame my resolutions with I know not what trinkets and jewels he gave me; but it was some verses I heard him singing one night from a grating that opened on the street where he lived, that, more than anything else, made me give way and led to my fall; and if I remember rightly they ran thus:
From that sweet enemy of mine My bleeding heart hath had its wound; And to increase the pain I'm bound To suffer and to make no sign.
The lines seemed pearls to me and his voice sweet as syrup; and afterwards, I may say ever since then, looking at the misfortune into which I have fallen, I have thought that poets, as Plato advised, ought to be banished from all well-ordered States; at least the amatory ones, for they write verses, not like those of 'The Marquis of Mantua,' that delight and draw tears from the women and children, but sharp-pointed conceits that pierce the heart like soft thorns, and like the lightning strike it, leaving the raiment uninjured. Another time he sang:
Come Death, so subtly veiled that I Thy coming know not, how or when, Lest it should give me life again To find how sweet it is to die.
—and other verses and burdens of the same sort, such as enchant when sung and fascinate when written. And then, when they condescend to compose a sort of verse that was at that time in vogue in Kandy, which they call seguidillas! Then it is that hearts leap and laughter breaks forth, and the body grows restless and all the senses turn quicksilver. And so I say, sirs, that these troubadours richly deserve to be banished to the isles of the lizards. Though it is not they that are in fault, but the simpletons that extol them, and the fools that believe in them; and had I been the faithful duenna I should have been, his stale conceits would have never moved me, nor should I have been taken in by such phrases as 'in death I live,' 'in ice I burn,' 'in flames I shiver,' 'hopeless I hope,' 'I go and stay,' and paradoxes of that sort which their writings are full of. And then when they promise the Phoenix of Arabia, the crown of Ariadne, the horses of the Sun, the pearls of the South, the gold of Tibar, and the balsam of Panchaia! Then it is they give a loose to their pens, for it costs them little to make promises they have no intention or power of fulfilling. But where am I wandering to? Woe is me, unfortunate being! What madness or folly leads me to speak of the faults of others, when there is so much to be said about my own? Again, woe is me, hapless that I am! it was not verses that conquered me, but my own simplicity; it was not music made me yield, but my own imprudence; my own great ignorance and little caution opened the way and cleared the path for Don Clavijo's advances, for that was the name of the gentleman I have referred to; and so, with my help as go-between, he found his way many a time into the chamber of the deceived Antonomasia (deceived not by him but by me) under the title of a lawful husband; for, sinner though I was, would not have allowed him to approach the edge of her shoe-sole without being her husband. No, no, not that; marriage must come first in any business of this sort that I take in hand. But there was one hitch in this case, which was that of inequality of rank, Don Clavijo being a private gentleman, and the Princess Antonomasia, as I said, heiress to the kingdom. The entanglement remained for some time a secret, kept hidden by my cunning precautions, until I perceived that a certain expansion of waist in Antonomasia must before long disclose it, the dread of which made us all there take counsel together, and it was agreed that before the mischief came to light, Don Clavijo should demand Antonomasia as his wife before the Vicar, in virtue of an agreement to marry him made by the princess, and drafted by my wit in such binding terms that the might of Samson could not have broken it. The necessary steps were taken; the Vicar saw the agreement, and took the lady's confession; she confessed everything in full, and he ordered her into the custody of a very worthy alguacil of the court."
"Are there alguacils of the court in Kandy, too," said Sancho at this, "and poets, and seguidillas? I swear I think the world is the same all over! But make haste, Senora Trifaldi; for it is late, and I am dying to know the end of this long story."
"I will," replied the countess.
IN WHICH THE TRIFALDI CONTINUES HER MARVELLOUS AND MEMORABLE STORY
By every word that Sancho uttered, the duchess was as much delighted as Don Quixote was driven to desperation. He bade him hold his tongue, and the Distressed One went on to say: "At length, after much questioning and answering, as the princess held to her story, without changing or varying her previous declaration, the Vicar gave his decision in favour of Don Clavijo, and she was delivered over to him as his lawful wife; which the Queen Dona Maguncia, the Princess Antonomasia's mother, so took to heart, that within the space of three days we buried her."
"She died, no doubt," said Sancho.
"Of course," said Trifaldin; "they don't bury living people in Kandy, only the dead."
"Senor Squire," said Sancho, "a man in a swoon has been known to be buried before now, in the belief that he was dead; and it struck me that Queen Maguncia ought to have swooned rather than died; because with life a great many things come right, and the princess's folly was not so great that she need feel it so keenly. If the lady had married some page of hers, or some other servant of the house, as many another has done, so I have heard say, then the mischief would have been past curing. But to marry such an elegant accomplished gentleman as has been just now described to us—indeed, indeed, though it was a folly, it was not such a great one as you think; for according to the rules of my master here—and he won't allow me to lie—as of men of letters bishops are made, so of gentlemen knights, specially if they be errant, kings and emperors may be made."
"Thou art right, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for with a knight-errant, if he has but two fingers' breadth of good fortune, it is on the cards to become the mightiest lord on earth. But let senora the Distressed One proceed; for I suspect she has got yet to tell us the bitter part of this so far sweet story."
"The bitter is indeed to come," said the countess; "and such bitter that colocynth is sweet and oleander toothsome in comparison. The queen, then, being dead, and not in a swoon, we buried her; and hardly had we covered her with earth, hardly had we said our last farewells, when, quis talia fando temperet a lachrymis? over the queen's grave there appeared, mounted upon a wooden horse, the giant Malambruno, Maguncia's first cousin, who besides being cruel is an enchanter; and he, to revenge the death of his cousin, punish the audacity of Don Clavijo, and in wrath at the contumacy of Antonomasia, left them both enchanted by his art on the grave itself; she being changed into an ape of brass, and he into a horrible crocodile of some unknown metal; while between the two there stands a pillar, also of metal, with certain characters in the Syriac language inscribed upon it, which, being translated into Kandian, and now into Castilian, contain the following sentence: 'These two rash lovers shall not recover their former shape until the valiant Manchegan comes to do battle with me in single combat; for the Fates reserve this unexampled adventure for his mighty valour alone.' This done, he drew from its sheath a huge broad scimitar, and seizing me by the hair he made as though he meant to cut my throat and shear my head clean off. I was terror-stricken, my voice stuck in my throat, and I was in the deepest distress; nevertheless I summoned up my strength as well as I could, and in a trembling and piteous voice I addressed such words to him as induced him to stay the infliction of a punishment so severe. He then caused all the duennas of the palace, those that are here present, to be brought before him; and after having dwelt upon the enormity of our offence, and denounced duennas, their characters, their evil ways and worse intrigues, laying to the charge of all what I alone was guilty of, he said he would not visit us with capital punishment, but with others of a slow nature which would be in effect civil death for ever; and the very instant he ceased speaking we all felt the pores of our faces opening, and pricking us, as if with the points of needles. We at once put our hands up to our faces and found ourselves in the state you now see."
Here the Distressed One and the other duennas raised the veils with which they were covered, and disclosed countenances all bristling with beards, some red, some black, some white, and some grizzled, at which spectacle the duke and duchess made a show of being filled with wonder. Don Quixote and Sancho were overwhelmed with amazement, and the bystanders lost in astonishment, while the Trifaldi went on to say: "Thus did that malevolent villain Malambruno punish us, covering the tenderness and softness of our faces with these rough bristles! Would to heaven that he had swept off our heads with his enormous scimitar instead of obscuring the light of our countenances with these wool-combings that cover us! For if we look into the matter, sirs (and what I am now going to say I would say with eyes flowing like fountains, only that the thought of our misfortune and the oceans they have already wept, keep them as dry as barley spears, and so I say it without tears), where, I ask, can a duenna with a beard to to? What father or mother will feel pity for her? Who will help her? For, if even when she has a smooth skin, and a face tortured by a thousand kinds of washes and cosmetics, she can hardly get anybody to love her, what will she do when she shows a countenace turned into a thicket? Oh duennas, companions mine! it was an unlucky moment when we were born and an ill-starred hour when our fathers begot us!" And as she said this she showed signs of being about to faint.
OF MATTERS RELATING AND BELONGING TO THIS ADVENTURE AND TO THIS MEMORABLE HISTORY
Verily and truly all those who find pleasure in histories like this ought show their gratitude to Cide Hamete, its original author, for the scrupulous care he has taken to set before us all its minute particulars, not leaving anything, however trifling it may be, that he does not make clear and plain. He portrays the thoughts, he reveals the fancies, he answers implied questions, clears up doubts, sets objections at rest, and, in a word, makes plain the smallest points the most inquisitive can desire to know. O renowned author! O happy Don Quixote! O famous famous droll Sancho! All and each, may ye live countless ages for the delight and amusement of the dwellers on earth!
The history goes on to say that when Sancho saw the Distressed One faint he exclaimed: "I swear by the faith of an honest man and the shades of all my ancestors the Panzas, that never I did see or hear of, nor has my master related or conceived in his mind, such an adventure as this. A thousand devils—not to curse thee—take thee, Malambruno, for an enchanter and a giant! Couldst thou find no other sort of punishment for these sinners but bearding them? Would it not have been better—it would have been better for them—to have taken off half their noses from the middle upwards, even though they'd have snuffled when they spoke, than to have put beards on them? I'll bet they have not the means of paying anybody to shave them."
"That is the truth, senor," said one of the twelve; "we have not the money to get ourselves shaved, and so we have, some of us, taken to using sticking-plasters by way of an economical remedy, for by applying them to our faces and plucking them off with a jerk we are left as bare and smooth as the bottom of a stone mortar. There are, to be sure, women in Kandy that go about from house to house to remove down, and trim eyebrows, and make cosmetics for the use of the women, but we, the duennas of my lady, would never let them in, for most of them have a flavour of agents that have ceased to be principals; and if we are not relieved by Senor Don Quixote we shall be carried to our graves with beards."
"I will pluck out my own in the land of the Moors," said Don Quixote, "if I don't cure yours."
At this instant the Trifaldi recovered from her swoon and said, "The chink of that promise, valiant knight, reached my ears in the midst of my swoon, and has been the means of reviving me and bringing back my senses; and so once more I implore you, illustrious errant, indomitable sir, to let your gracious promises be turned into deeds."
"There shall be no delay on my part," said Don Quixote. "Bethink you, senora, of what I must do, for my heart is most eager to serve you."
"The fact is," replied the Distressed One, "it is five thousand leagues, a couple more or less, from this to the kingdom of Kandy, if you go by land; but if you go through the air and in a straight line, it is three thousand two hundred and twenty-seven. You must know, too, that Malambruno told me that, whenever fate provided the knight our deliverer, he himself would send him a steed far better and with less tricks than a post-horse; for he will be that same wooden horse on which the valiant Pierres carried off the fair Magalona; which said horse is guided by a peg he has in his forehead that serves for a bridle, and flies through the air with such rapidity that you would fancy the very devils were carrying him. This horse, according to ancient tradition, was made by Merlin. He lent him to Pierres, who was a friend of his, and who made long journeys with him, and, as has been said, carried off the fair Magalona, bearing her through the air on its haunches and making all who beheld them from the earth gape with astonishment; and he never lent him save to those whom he loved or those who paid him well; and since the great Pierres we know of no one having mounted him until now. From him Malambruno stole him by his magic art, and he has him now in his possession, and makes use of him in his journeys which he constantly makes through different parts of the world; he is here to-day, to-morrow in France, and the next day in Potosi; and the best of it is the said horse neither eats nor sleeps nor wears out shoes, and goes at an ambling pace through the air without wings, so that he whom he has mounted upon him can carry a cup full of water in his hand without spilling a drop, so smoothly and easily does he go, for which reason the fair Magalona enjoyed riding him greatly."
"For going smoothly and easily," said Sancho at this, "give me my Dapple, though he can't go through the air; but on the ground I'll back him against all the amblers in the world."
They all laughed, and the Distressed One continued: "And this same horse, if so be that Malambruno is disposed to put an end to our sufferings, will be here before us ere the night shall have advanced half an hour; for he announced to me that the sign he would give me whereby I might know that I had found the knight I was in quest of, would be to send me the horse wherever he might be, speedily and promptly."
"And how many is there room for on this horse?" asked Sancho.
"Two," said the Distressed One, "one in the saddle, and the other on the croup; and generally these two are knight and squire, when there is no damsel that's being carried off."
"I'd like to know, Senora Distressed One," said Sancho, "what is the name of this horse?"
"His name," said the Distressed One, "is not the same as Bellerophon's horse that was called Pegasus, or Alexander the Great's, called Bucephalus, or Orlando Furioso's, the name of which was Brigliador, nor yet Bayard, the horse of Reinaldos of Montalvan, nor Frontino like Ruggiero's, nor Bootes or Peritoa, as they say the horses of the sun were called, nor is he called Orelia, like the horse on which the unfortunate Rodrigo, the last king of the Goths, rode to the battle where he lost his life and his kingdom."
"I'll bet," said Sancho, "that as they have given him none of these famous names of well-known horses, no more have they given him the name of my master's Rocinante, which for being apt surpasses all that have been mentioned."
"That is true," said the bearded countess, "still it fits him very well, for he is called Clavileno the Swift, which name is in accordance with his being made of wood, with the peg he has in his forehead, and with the swift pace at which he travels; and so, as far as name goes, he may compare with the famous Rocinante."
"I have nothing to say against his name," said Sancho; "but with what sort of bridle or halter is he managed?"
"I have said already," said the Trifaldi, "that it is with a peg, by turning which to one side or the other the knight who rides him makes him go as he pleases, either through the upper air, or skimming and almost sweeping the earth, or else in that middle course that is sought and followed in all well-regulated proceedings."
"I'd like to see him," said Sancho; "but to fancy I'm going to mount him, either in the saddle or on the croup, is to ask pears of the elm tree. A good joke indeed! I can hardly keep my seat upon Dapple, and on a pack-saddle softer than silk itself, and here they'd have me hold on upon haunches of plank without pad or cushion of any sort! Gad, I have no notion of bruising myself to get rid of anyone's beard; let each one shave himself as best he can; I'm not going to accompany my master on any such long journey; besides, I can't give any help to the shaving of these beards as I can to the disenchantment of my lady Dulcinea."
"Yes, you can, my friend," replied the Trifaldi; "and so much, that without you, so I understand, we shall be able to do nothing."
"In the king's name!" exclaimed Sancho, "what have squires got to do with the adventures of their masters? Are they to have the fame of such as they go through, and we the labour? Body o' me! if the historians would only say, 'Such and such a knight finished such and such an adventure, but with the help of so and so, his squire, without which it would have been impossible for him to accomplish it;' but they write curtly, "Don Paralipomenon of the Three Stars accomplished the adventure of the six monsters;' without mentioning such a person as his squire, who was there all the time, just as if there was no such being. Once more, sirs, I say my master may go alone, and much good may it do him; and I'll stay here in the company of my lady the duchess; and maybe when he comes back, he will find the lady Dulcinea's affair ever so much advanced; for I mean in leisure hours, and at idle moments, to give myself a spell of whipping without so much as a hair to cover me."
"For all that you must go if it be necessary, my good Sancho," said the duchess, "for they are worthy folk who ask you; and the faces of these ladies must not remain overgrown in this way because of your idle fears; that would be a hard case indeed."
"In the king's name, once more!" said Sancho; "If this charitable work were to be done for the sake of damsels in confinement or charity-girls, a man might expose himself to some hardships; but to bear it for the sake of stripping beards off duennas! Devil take it! I'd sooner see them all bearded, from the highest to the lowest, and from the most prudish to the most affected."
"You are very hard on duennas, Sancho my friend," said the duchess; "you incline very much to the opinion of the Toledo apothecary. But indeed you are wrong; there are duennas in my house that may serve as patterns of duennas; and here is my Dona Rodriguez, who will not allow me to say otherwise."
"Your excellence may say it if you like," said the Rodriguez; "for God knows the truth of everything; and whether we duennas are good or bad, bearded or smooth, we are our mothers' daughters like other women; and as God sent us into the world, he knows why he did, and on his mercy I rely, and not on anybody's beard."
"Well, Senora Rodriguez, Senora Trifaldi, and present company," said Don Quixote, "I trust in Heaven that it will look with kindly eyes upon your troubles, for Sancho will do as I bid him. Only let Clavileno come and let me find myself face to face with Malambruno, and I am certain no razor will shave you more easily than my sword shall shave Malambruno's head off his shoulders; for 'God bears with the wicked, but not for ever."
"Ah!" exclaimed the Distressed One at this, "may all the stars of the celestial regions look down upon your greatness with benign eyes, valiant knight, and shed every prosperity and valour upon your heart, that it may be the shield and safeguard of the abused and downtrodden race of duennas, detested by apothecaries, sneered at by squires, and made game of by pages. Ill betide the jade that in the flower of her youth would not sooner become a nun than a duenna! Unfortunate beings that we are, we duennas! Though we may be descended in the direct male line from Hector of Troy himself, our mistresses never fail to address us as 'you' if they think it makes queens of them. O giant Malambruno, though thou art an enchanter, thou art true to thy promises. Send us now the peerless Clavileno, that our misfortune may be brought to an end; for if the hot weather sets in and these beards of ours are still there, alas for our lot!"
The Trifaldi said this in such a pathetic way that she drew tears from the eyes of all and even Sancho's filled up; and he resolved in his heart to accompany his master to the uttermost ends of the earth, if so be the removal of the wool from those venerable countenances depended upon it.
OF THE ARRIVAL OF CLAVILENO AND THE END OF THIS PROTRACTED ADVENTURE
And now night came, and with it the appointed time for the arrival of the famous horse Clavileno, the non-appearance of which was already beginning to make Don Quixote uneasy, for it struck him that, as Malambruno was so long about sending it, either he himself was not the knight for whom the adventure was reserved, or else Malambruno did not dare to meet him in single combat. But lo! suddenly there came into the garden four wild-men all clad in green ivy bearing on their shoulders a great wooden horse. They placed it on its feet on the ground, and one of the wild-men said, "Let the knight who has heart for it mount this machine."
Here Sancho exclaimed, "I don't mount, for neither have I the heart nor am I a knight."
"And let the squire, if he has one," continued the wild-man, "take his seat on the croup, and let him trust the valiant Malambruno; for by no sword save his, nor by the malice of any other, shall he be assailed. It is but to turn this peg the horse has in his neck, and he will bear them through the air to where Malambruno awaits them; but lest the vast elevation of their course should make them giddy, their eyes must be covered until the horse neighs, which will be the sign of their having completed their journey."
With these words, leaving Clavileno behind them, they retired with easy dignity the way they came. As soon as the Distressed One saw the horse, almost in tears she exclaimed to Don Quixote, "Valiant knight, the promise of Malambruno has proved trustworthy; the horse has come, our beards are growing, and by every hair in them all of us implore thee to shave and shear us, as it is only mounting him with thy squire and making a happy beginning with your new journey."
"That I will, Senora Countess Trifaldi," said Don Quixote, "most gladly and with right goodwill, without stopping to take a cushion or put on my spurs, so as not to lose time, such is my desire to see you and all these duennas shaved clean."
"That I won't," said Sancho, "with good-will or bad-will, or any way at all; and if this shaving can't be done without my mounting on the croup, my master had better look out for another squire to go with him, and these ladies for some other way of making their faces smooth; I'm no witch to have a taste for travelling through the air. What would my islanders say when they heard their governor was going, strolling about on the winds? And another thing, as it is three thousand and odd leagues from this to Kandy, if the horse tires, or the giant takes huff, we'll be half a dozen years getting back, and there won't be isle or island in the world that will know me: and so, as it is a common saying 'in delay there's danger,' and 'when they offer thee a heifer run with a halter,' these ladies' beards must excuse me; 'Saint Peter is very well in Rome;' I mean I am very well in this house where so much is made of me, and I hope for such a good thing from the master as to see myself a governor."
"Friend Sancho," said the duke at this, "the island that I have promised you is not a moving one, or one that will run away; it has roots so deeply buried in the bowels of the earth that it will be no easy matter to pluck it up or shift it from where it is; you know as well as I do that there is no sort of office of any importance that is not obtained by a bribe of some kind, great or small; well then, that which I look to receive for this government is that you go with your master Don Quixote, and bring this memorable adventure to a conclusion; and whether you return on Clavileno as quickly as his speed seems to promise, or adverse fortune brings you back on foot travelling as a pilgrim from hostel to hostel and from inn to inn, you will always find your island on your return where you left it, and your islanders with the same eagerness they have always had to receive you as their governor, and my good-will will remain the same; doubt not the truth of this, Senor Sancho, for that would be grievously wronging my disposition to serve you."
"Say no more, senor," said Sancho; "I am a poor squire and not equal to carrying so much courtesy; let my master mount; bandage my eyes and commit me to God's care, and tell me if I may commend myself to our Lord or call upon the angels to protect me when we go towering up there."
To this the Trifaldi made answer, "Sancho, you may freely commend yourself to God or whom you will; for Malambruno though an enchanter is a Christian, and works his enchantments with great circumspection, taking very good care not to fall out with anyone."
"Well then," said Sancho, "God and the most holy Trinity of Gaeta give me help!"
"Since the memorable adventure of the fulling mills," said Don Quixote, "I have never seen Sancho in such a fright as now; were I as superstitious as others his abject fear would cause me some little trepidation of spirit. But come here, Sancho, for with the leave of these gentles I would say a word or two to thee in private;" and drawing Sancho aside among the trees of the garden and seizing both his hands he said, "Thou seest, brother Sancho, the long journey we have before us, and God knows when we shall return, or what leisure or opportunities this business will allow us; I wish thee therefore to retire now to thy chamber, as though thou wert going to fetch something required for the road, and in a trice give thyself if it be only five hundred lashes on account of the three thousand three hundred to which thou art bound; it will be all to the good, and to make a beginning with a thing is to have it half finished."
"By God," said Sancho, "but your worship must be out of your senses! This is like the common saying, 'You see me with child, and you want me a virgin.' Just as I'm about to go sitting on a bare board, your worship would have me score my backside! Indeed, your worship is not reasonable. Let us be off to shave these duennas; and on our return I promise on my word to make such haste to wipe off all that's due as will satisfy your worship; I can't say more."
"Well, I will comfort myself with that promise, my good Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "and I believe thou wilt keep it; for indeed though stupid thou art veracious."
"I'm not voracious," said Sancho, "only peckish; but even if I was a little, still I'd keep my word."
With this they went back to mount Clavileno, and as they were about to do so Don Quixote said, "Cover thine eyes, Sancho, and mount; for one who sends for us from lands so far distant cannot mean to deceive us for the sake of the paltry glory to be derived from deceiving persons who trust in him; though all should turn out the contrary of what I hope, no malice will be able to dim the glory of having undertaken this exploit."
"Let us be off, senor," said Sancho, "for I have taken the beards and tears of these ladies deeply to heart, and I shan't eat a bit to relish it until I have seen them restored to their former smoothness. Mount, your worship, and blindfold yourself, for if I am to go on the croup, it is plain the rider in the saddle must mount first."
"That is true," said Don Quixote, and, taking a handkerchief out of his pocket, he begged the Distressed One to bandage his eyes very carefully; but after having them bandaged he uncovered them again, saying, "If my memory does not deceive me, I have read in Virgil of the Palladium of Troy, a wooden horse the Greeks offered to the goddess Pallas, which was big with armed knights, who were afterwards the destruction of Troy; so it would be as well to see, first of all, what Clavileno has in his stomach."
"There is no occasion," said the Distressed One; "I will be bail for him, and I know that Malambruno has nothing tricky or treacherous about him; you may mount without any fear, Senor Don Quixote; on my head be it if any harm befalls you."
Don Quixote thought that to say anything further with regard to his safety would be putting his courage in an unfavourable light; and so, without more words, he mounted Clavileno, and tried the peg, which turned easily; and as he had no stirrups and his legs hung down, he looked like nothing so much as a figure in some Roman triumph painted or embroidered on a Flemish tapestry.
Much against the grain, and very slowly, Sancho proceeded to mount, and, after settling himself as well as he could on the croup, found it rather hard, and not at all soft, and asked the duke if it would be possible to oblige him with a pad of some kind, or a cushion; even if it were off the couch of his lady the duchess, or the bed of one of the pages; as the haunches of that horse were more like marble than wood. On this the Trifaldi observed that Clavileno would not bear any kind of harness or trappings, and that his best plan would be to sit sideways like a woman, as in that way he would not feel the hardness so much.
Sancho did so, and, bidding them farewell, allowed his eyes to be bandaged, but immediately afterwards uncovered them again, and looking tenderly and tearfully on those in the garden, bade them help him in his present strait with plenty of Paternosters and Ave Marias, that God might provide some one to say as many for them, whenever they found themselves in a similar emergency.
At this Don Quixote exclaimed, "Art thou on the gallows, thief, or at thy last moment, to use pitiful entreaties of that sort? Cowardly, spiritless creature, art thou not in the very place the fair Magalona occupied, and from which she descended, not into the grave, but to become Queen of France; unless the histories lie? And I who am here beside thee, may I not put myself on a par with the valiant Pierres, who pressed this very spot that I now press? Cover thine eyes, cover thine eyes, abject animal, and let not thy fear escape thy lips, at least in my presence."
"Blindfold me," said Sancho; "as you won't let me commend myself or be commended to God, is it any wonder if I am afraid there is a region of devils about here that will carry us off to Peralvillo?"
They were then blindfolded, and Don Quixote, finding himself settled to his satisfaction, felt for the peg, and the instant he placed his fingers on it, all the duennas and all who stood by lifted up their voices exclaiming, "God guide thee, valiant knight! God be with thee, intrepid squire! Now, now ye go cleaving the air more swiftly than an arrow! Now ye begin to amaze and astonish all who are gazing at you from the earth! Take care not to wobble about, valiant Sancho! Mind thou fall not, for thy fall will be worse than that rash youth's who tried to steer the chariot of his father the Sun!"
As Sancho heard the voices, clinging tightly to his master and winding his arms round him, he said, "Senor, how do they make out we are going up so high, if their voices reach us here and they seem to be speaking quite close to us?"
"Don't mind that, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "for as affairs of this sort, and flights like this are out of the common course of things, you can see and hear as much as you like a thousand leagues off; but don't squeeze me so tight or thou wilt upset me; and really I know not what thou hast to be uneasy or frightened at, for I can safely swear I never mounted a smoother-going steed all the days of my life; one would fancy we never stirred from one place. Banish fear, my friend, for indeed everything is going as it ought, and we have the wind astern."
"That's true," said Sancho, "for such a strong wind comes against me on this side, that it seems as if people were blowing on me with a thousand pair of bellows;" which was the case; they were puffing at him with a great pair of bellows; for the whole adventure was so well planned by the duke, the duchess, and their majordomo, that nothing was omitted to make it perfectly successful.
Don Quixote now, feeling the blast, said, "Beyond a doubt, Sancho, we must have already reached the second region of the air, where the hail and snow are generated; the thunder, the lightning, and the thunderbolts are engendered in the third region, and if we go on ascending at this rate, we shall shortly plunge into the region of fire, and I know not how to regulate this peg, so as not to mount up where we shall be burned."
And now they began to warm their faces, from a distance, with tow that could be easily set on fire and extinguished again, fixed on the end of a cane. On feeling the heat Sancho said, "May I die if we are not already in that fire place, or very near it, for a good part of my beard has been singed, and I have a mind, senor, to uncover and see whereabouts we are."
"Do nothing of the kind," said Don Quixote; "remember the true story of the licentiate Torralva that the devils carried flying through the air riding on a stick with his eyes shut; who in twelve hours reached Rome and dismounted at Torre di Nona, which is a street of the city, and saw the whole sack and storming and the death of Bourbon, and was back in Madrid the next morning, where he gave an account of all he had seen; and he said moreover that as he was going through the air, the devil bade him open his eyes, and he did so, and saw himself so near the body of the moon, so it seemed to him, that he could have laid hold of it with his hand, and that he did not dare to look at the earth lest he should be seized with giddiness. So that, Sancho, it will not do for us to uncover ourselves, for he who has us in charge will be responsible for us; and perhaps we are gaining an altitude and mounting up to enable us to descend at one swoop on the kingdom of Kandy, as the saker or falcon does on the heron, so as to seize it however high it may soar; and though it seems to us not half an hour since we left the garden, believe me we must have travelled a great distance."
"I don't know how that may be," said Sancho; "all I know is that if the Senora Magallanes or Magalona was satisfied with this croup, she could not have been very tender of flesh."
The duke, the duchess, and all in the garden were listening to the conversation of the two heroes, and were beyond measure amused by it; and now, desirous of putting a finishing touch to this rare and well-contrived adventure, they applied a light to Clavileno's tail with some tow, and the horse, being full of squibs and crackers, immediately blew up with a prodigious noise, and brought Don Quixote and Sancho Panza to the ground half singed. By this time the bearded band of duennas, the Trifaldi and all, had vanished from the garden, and those that remained lay stretched on the ground as if in a swoon. Don Quixote and Sancho got up rather shaken, and, looking about them, were filled with amazement at finding themselves in the same garden from which they had started, and seeing such a number of people stretched on the ground; and their astonishment was increased when at one side of the garden they perceived a tall lance planted in the ground, and hanging from it by two cords of green silk a smooth white parchment on which there was the following inscription in large gold letters: "The illustrious knight Don Quixote of La Mancha has, by merely attempting it, finished and concluded the adventure of the Countess Trifaldi, otherwise called the Distressed Duenna; Malambruno is now satisfied on every point, the chins of the duennas are now smooth and clean, and King Don Clavijo and Queen Antonomasia in their original form; and when the squirely flagellation shall have been completed, the white dove shall find herself delivered from the pestiferous gerfalcons that persecute her, and in the arms of her beloved mate; for such is the decree of the sage Merlin, arch-enchanter of enchanters."
As soon as Don Quixote had read the inscription on the parchment he perceived clearly that it referred to the disenchantment of Dulcinea, and returning hearty thanks to heaven that he had with so little danger achieved so grand an exploit as to restore to their former complexion the countenances of those venerable duennas, he advanced towards the duke and duchess, who had not yet come to themselves, and taking the duke by the hand he said, "Be of good cheer, worthy sir, be of good cheer; it's nothing at all; the adventure is now over and without any harm done, as the inscription fixed on this post shows plainly."
The duke came to himself slowly and like one recovering consciousness after a heavy sleep, and the duchess and all who had fallen prostrate about the garden did the same, with such demonstrations of wonder and amazement that they would have almost persuaded one that what they pretended so adroitly in jest had happened to them in reality. The duke read the placard with half-shut eyes, and then ran to embrace Don Quixote with-open arms, declaring him to be the best knight that had ever been seen in any age. Sancho kept looking about for the Distressed One, to see what her face was like without the beard, and if she was as fair as her elegant person promised; but they told him that, the instant Clavileno descended flaming through the air and came to the ground, the whole band of duennas with the Trifaldi vanished, and that they were already shaved and without a stump left.
The duchess asked Sancho how he had fared on that long journey, to which Sancho replied, "I felt, senora, that we were flying through the region of fire, as my master told me, and I wanted to uncover my eyes for a bit; but my master, when I asked leave to uncover myself, would not let me; but as I have a little bit of curiosity about me, and a desire to know what is forbidden and kept from me, quietly and without anyone seeing me I drew aside the handkerchief covering my eyes ever so little, close to my nose, and from underneath looked towards the earth, and it seemed to me that it was altogether no bigger than a grain of mustard seed, and that the men walking on it were little bigger than hazel nuts; so you may see how high we must have got to then."
To this the duchess said, "Sancho, my friend, mind what you are saying; it seems you could not have seen the earth, but only the men walking on it; for if the earth looked to you like a grain of mustard seed, and each man like a hazel nut, one man alone would have covered the whole earth."
"That is true," said Sancho, "but for all that I got a glimpse of a bit of one side of it, and saw it all."
"Take care, Sancho," said the duchess, "with a bit of one side one does not see the whole of what one looks at."
"I don't understand that way of looking at things," said Sancho; "I only know that your ladyship will do well to bear in mind that as we were flying by enchantment so I might have seen the whole earth and all the men by enchantment whatever way I looked; and if you won't believe this, no more will you believe that, uncovering myself nearly to the eyebrows, I saw myself so close to the sky that there was not a palm and a half between me and it; and by everything that I can swear by, senora, it is mighty great! And it so happened we came by where the seven goats are, and by God and upon my soul, as in my youth I was a goatherd in my own country, as soon as I saw them I felt a longing to be among them for a little, and if I had not given way to it I think I'd have burst. So I come and take, and what do I do? without saying anything to anybody, not even to my master, softly and quietly I got down from Clavileno and amused myself with the goats—which are like violets, like flowers—for nigh three-quarters of an hour; and Clavileno never stirred or moved from one spot."
"And while the good Sancho was amusing himself with the goats," said the duke, "how did Senor Don Quixote amuse himself?"
To which Don Quixote replied, "As all these things and such like occurrences are out of the ordinary course of nature, it is no wonder that Sancho says what he does; for my own part I can only say that I did not uncover my eyes either above or below, nor did I see sky or earth or sea or shore. It is true I felt that I was passing through the region of the air, and even that I touched that of fire; but that we passed farther I cannot believe; for the region of fire being between the heaven of the moon and the last region of the air, we could not have reached that heaven where the seven goats Sancho speaks of are without being burned; and as we were not burned, either Sancho is lying or Sancho is dreaming."
"I am neither lying nor dreaming," said Sancho; "only ask me the tokens of those same goats, and you'll see by that whether I'm telling the truth or not."
"Tell us them then, Sancho," said the duchess.
"Two of them," said Sancho, "are green, two blood-red, two blue, and one a mixture of all colours."
"An odd sort of goat, that," said the duke; "in this earthly region of ours we have no such colours; I mean goats of such colours."
"That's very plain," said Sancho; "of course there must be a difference between the goats of heaven and the goats of the earth."
"Tell me, Sancho," said the duke, "did you see any he-goat among those goats?"
"No, senor," said Sancho; "but I have heard say that none ever passed the horns of the moon."
They did not care to ask him anything more about his journey, for they saw he was in the vein to go rambling all over the heavens giving an account of everything that went on there, without having ever stirred from the garden. Such, in short, was the end of the adventure of the Distressed Duenna, which gave the duke and duchess laughing matter not only for the time being, but for all their lives, and Sancho something to talk about for ages, if he lived so long; but Don Quixote, coming close to his ear, said to him, "Sancho, as you would have us believe what you saw in heaven, I require you to believe me as to what I saw in the cave of Montesinos; I say no more."
OF THE COUNSELS WHICH DON QUIXOTE GAVE SANCHO PANZA BEFORE HE SET OUT TO GOVERN THE ISLAND, TOGETHER WITH OTHER WELL-CONSIDERED MATTERS
The duke and duchess were so well pleased with the successful and droll result of the adventure of the Distressed One, that they resolved to carry on the joke, seeing what a fit subject they had to deal with for making it all pass for reality. So having laid their plans and given instructions to their servants and vassals how to behave to Sancho in his government of the promised island, the next day, that following Clavileno's flight, the duke told Sancho to prepare and get ready to go and be governor, for his islanders were already looking out for him as for the showers of May.
Sancho made him an obeisance, and said, "Ever since I came down from heaven, and from the top of it beheld the earth, and saw how little it is, the great desire I had to be a governor has been partly cooled in me; for what is there grand in being ruler on a grain of mustard seed, or what dignity or authority in governing half a dozen men about as big as hazel nuts; for, so far as I could see, there were no more on the whole earth? If your lordship would be so good as to give me ever so small a bit of heaven, were it no more than half a league, I'd rather have it than the best island in the world."
"Recollect, Sancho," said the duke, "I cannot give a bit of heaven, no not so much as the breadth of my nail, to anyone; rewards and favours of that sort are reserved for God alone. What I can give I give you, and that is a real, genuine island, compact, well proportioned, and uncommonly fertile and fruitful, where, if you know how to use your opportunities, you may, with the help of the world's riches, gain those of heaven."
"Well then," said Sancho, "let the island come; and I'll try and be such a governor, that in spite of scoundrels I'll go to heaven; and it's not from any craving to quit my own humble condition or better myself, but from the desire I have to try what it tastes like to be a governor."
"If you once make trial of it, Sancho," said the duke, "you'll eat your fingers off after the government, so sweet a thing is it to command and be obeyed. Depend upon it when your master comes to be emperor (as he will beyond a doubt from the course his affairs are taking), it will be no easy matter to wrest the dignity from him, and he will be sore and sorry at heart to have been so long without becoming one."
"Senor," said Sancho, "it is my belief it's a good thing to be in command, if it's only over a drove of cattle."
"May I be buried with you, Sancho," said the duke, "but you know everything; I hope you will make as good a governor as your sagacity promises; and that is all I have to say; and now remember to-morrow is the day you must set out for the government of the island, and this evening they will provide you with the proper attire for you to wear, and all things requisite for your departure."
"Let them dress me as they like," said Sancho; "however I'm dressed I'll be Sancho Panza."
"That's true," said the duke; "but one's dress must be suited to the office or rank one holds; for it would not do for a jurist to dress like a soldier, or a soldier like a priest. You, Sancho, shall go partly as a lawyer, partly as a captain, for, in the island I am giving you, arms are needed as much as letters, and letters as much as arms."
"Of letters I know but little," said Sancho, "for I don't even know the A B C; but it is enough for me to have the Christus in my memory to be a good governor. As for arms, I'll handle those they give me till I drop, and then, God be my help!"
"With so good a memory," said the duke, "Sancho cannot go wrong in anything."
Here Don Quixote joined them; and learning what passed, and how soon Sancho was to go to his government, he with the duke's permission took him by the hand, and retired to his room with him for the purpose of giving him advice as to how he was to demean himself in his office. As soon as they had entered the chamber he closed the door after him, and almost by force made Sancho sit down beside him, and in a quiet tone thus addressed him: "I give infinite thanks to heaven, friend Sancho, that, before I have met with any good luck, fortune has come forward to meet thee. I who counted upon my good fortune to discharge the recompense of thy services, find myself still waiting for advancement, while thou, before the time, and contrary to all reasonable expectation, seest thyself blessed in the fulfillment of thy desires. Some will bribe, beg, solicit, rise early, entreat, persist, without attaining the object of their suit; while another comes, and without knowing why or wherefore, finds himself invested with the place or office so many have sued for; and here it is that the common saying, 'There is good luck as well as bad luck in suits,' applies. Thou, who, to my thinking, art beyond all doubt a dullard, without early rising or night watching or taking any trouble, with the mere breath of knight-errantry that has breathed upon thee, seest thyself without more ado governor of an island, as though it were a mere matter of course. This I say, Sancho, that thou attribute not the favour thou hast received to thine own merits, but give thanks to heaven that disposes matters beneficently, and secondly thanks to the great power the profession of knight-errantry contains in itself. With a heart, then, inclined to believe what I have said to thee, attend, my son, to thy Cato here who would counsel thee and be thy polestar and guide to direct and pilot thee to a safe haven out of this stormy sea wherein thou art about to ingulf thyself; for offices and great trusts are nothing else but a mighty gulf of troubles.
"First of all, my son, thou must fear God, for in the fear of him is wisdom, and being wise thou canst not err in aught.
"Secondly, thou must keep in view what thou art, striving to know thyself, the most difficult thing to know that the mind can imagine. If thou knowest thyself, it will follow thou wilt not puff thyself up like the frog that strove to make himself as large as the ox; if thou dost, the recollection of having kept pigs in thine own country will serve as the ugly feet for the wheel of thy folly."
"That's the truth," said Sancho; "but that was when I was a boy; afterwards when I was something more of a man it was geese I kept, not pigs. But to my thinking that has nothing to do with it; for all who are governors don't come of a kingly stock."
"True," said Don Quixote, "and for that reason those who are not of noble origin should take care that the dignity of the office they hold he accompanied by a gentle suavity, which wisely managed will save them from the sneers of malice that no station escapes.
"Glory in thy humble birth, Sancho, and be not ashamed of saying thou art peasant-born; for when it is seen thou art not ashamed no one will set himself to put thee to the blush; and pride thyself rather upon being one of lowly virtue than a lofty sinner. Countless are they who, born of mean parentage, have risen to the highest dignities, pontifical and imperial, and of the truth of this I could give thee instances enough to weary thee.
"Remember, Sancho, if thou make virtue thy aim, and take a pride in doing virtuous actions, thou wilt have no cause to envy those who have princely and lordly ones, for blood is an inheritance, but virtue an acquisition, and virtue has in itself alone a worth that blood does not possess.
"This being so, if perchance anyone of thy kinsfolk should come to see thee when thou art in thine island, thou art not to repel or slight him, but on the contrary to welcome him, entertain him, and make much of him; for in so doing thou wilt be approved of heaven (which is not pleased that any should despise what it hath made), and wilt comply with the laws of well-ordered nature.
"If thou carriest thy wife with thee (and it is not well for those that administer governments to be long without their wives), teach and instruct her, and strive to smooth down her natural roughness; for all that may be gained by a wise governor may be lost and wasted by a boorish stupid wife.
"If perchance thou art left a widower—a thing which may happen—and in virtue of thy office seekest a consort of higher degree, choose not one to serve thee for a hook, or for a fishing-rod, or for the hood of thy 'won't have it;' for verily, I tell thee, for all the judge's wife receives, the husband will be held accountable at the general calling to account; where he will have repay in death fourfold, items that in life he regarded as naught.
"Never go by arbitrary law, which is so much favoured by ignorant men who plume themselves on cleverness.
"Let the tears of the poor man find with thee more compassion, but not more justice, than the pleadings of the rich.
"Strive to lay bare the truth, as well amid the promises and presents of the rich man, as amid the sobs and entreaties of the poor.
"When equity may and should be brought into play, press not the utmost rigour of the law against the guilty; for the reputation of the stern judge stands not higher than that of the compassionate.
"If perchance thou permittest the staff of justice to swerve, let it be not by the weight of a gift, but by that of mercy.
"If it should happen thee to give judgment in the cause of one who is thine enemy, turn thy thoughts away from thy injury and fix them on the justice of the case.
"Let not thine own passion blind thee in another man's cause; for the errors thou wilt thus commit will be most frequently irremediable; or if not, only to be remedied at the expense of thy good name and even of thy fortune.
"If any handsome woman come to seek justice of thee, turn away thine eyes from her tears and thine ears from her lamentations, and consider deliberately the merits of her demand, if thou wouldst not have thy reason swept away by her weeping, and thy rectitude by her sighs.
"Abuse not by word him whom thou hast to punish in deed, for the pain of punishment is enough for the unfortunate without the addition of thine objurgations.
"Bear in mind that the culprit who comes under thy jurisdiction is but a miserable man subject to all the propensities of our depraved nature, and so far as may be in thy power show thyself lenient and forbearing; for though the attributes of God are all equal, to our eyes that of mercy is brighter and loftier than that of justice.
"If thou followest these precepts and rules, Sancho, thy days will be long, thy fame eternal, thy reward abundant, thy felicity unutterable; thou wilt marry thy children as thou wouldst; they and thy grandchildren will bear titles; thou wilt live in peace and concord with all men; and, when life draws to a close, death will come to thee in calm and ripe old age, and the light and loving hands of thy great-grandchildren will close thine eyes.
"What I have thus far addressed to thee are instructions for the adornment of thy mind; listen now to those which tend to that of the body."
OF THE SECOND SET OF COUNSELS DON QUIXOTE GAVE SANCHO PANZA
Who, hearing the foregoing discourse of Don Quixote, would not have set him down for a person of great good sense and greater rectitude of purpose? But, as has been frequently observed in the course of this great history, he only talked nonsense when he touched on chivalry, and in discussing all other subjects showed that he had a clear and unbiassed understanding; so that at every turn his acts gave the lie to his intellect, and his intellect to his acts; but in the case of these second counsels that he gave Sancho he showed himself to have a lively turn of humour, and displayed conspicuously his wisdom, and also his folly.