To which the duchess made answer, "that worthy Sancho is droll Iconsider a very
good thing, because it is a sign that he is shrewd;for drollery and sprightliness,
Senor Don Quixote, as you very wellknow, do not take up their abode with dull wits;
and as good Sancho isdroll and sprightly I here set him down as shrewd."
"And talkative," added Don Quixote.
"So much the better," said the duke, "for many droll things cannotbe said in
few words; but not to lose time in talking, come, greatKnight of the Rueful Countenance-"
"Of the Lions, your highness must say," said Sancho, "for there isno Rueful Countenance
nor any such character now."
"He of the Lions be it," continued the duke; "I say, let SirKnight of the Lions
come to a castle of mine close by, where heshall be given that reception which is
due to so exalted apersonage, and which the duchess and I are wont to give to allknights-errant
who come there."
By this time Sancho had fixed and girthed Rocinante's saddle, andDon Quixote
having got on his back and the duke mounted a finehorse, they placed the duchess
in the middle and set out for thecastle. The duchess desired Sancho to come to her
side, for shefound infinite enjoyment in listening to his shrewd remarks. Sanchorequired
no pressing, but pushed himself in between them and the duke,who thought it rare
good fortune to receive such a knight-errant andsuch a homely squire in their castle.
WHICH TREATS OF MANY AND GREAT MATTERS
Supreme was the satisfaction that Sancho felt at seeing himself,as it seemed,
an established favourite with the duchess, for he lookedforward to finding in her
castle what he had found in Don Diego'shouse and in Basilio's; he was always fond
of good living, andalways seized by the forelock any opportunity of feasting himselfwhenever
it presented itself. The history informs us, then, thatbefore they reached the country
house or castle, the duke went on inadvance and instructed all his servants how
they were to treat DonQuixote; and so the instant he came up to the castle gates
with theduchess, two lackeys or equerries, clad in what they call morninggowns of
fine crimson satin reaching to their feet, hastened out,and catching Don Quixote
in their arms before he saw or heard them,said to him, "Your highness should go
and take my lady the duchess offher horse." Don Quixote obeyed, and great bandying
of complimentsfollowed between the two over the matter; but in the end the duchess'sdetermination
carried the day, and she refused to get down or dismountfrom her palfrey except
in the arms of the duke, saying she did notconsider herself worthy to impose so
unnecessary a burden on sogreat a knight. At length the duke came out to take her
down, and asthey entered a spacious court two fair damsels came forward andthrew
over Don Quixote's shoulders a large mantle of the finestscarlet cloth, and at the
same instant all the galleries of thecourt were lined with the men-servants and
women-servants of thehousehold, crying, "Welcome, flower and cream of knight-errantry!"while
all or most of them flung pellets filled with scented water overDon Quixote and
the duke and duchess; at all which Don Quixote wasgreatly astonished, and this was
the first time that he thoroughlyfelt and believed himself to be a knight-errant
in reality and notmerely in fancy, now that he saw himself treated in the same way
as hehad read of such knights being treated in days of yore.
Sancho, deserting Dapple, hung on to the duchess and entered thecastle, but feeling
some twinges of conscience at having left theass alone, he approached a respectable
duenna who had come out withthe rest to receive the duchess, and in a low voice
he said to her,"Senora Gonzalez, or however your grace may be called-"
"I am called Dona Rodriguez de Grijalba," replied the duenna;"what is your will,
brother?" To which Sancho made answer, "I shouldbe glad if your worship would do
me the favour to go out to the castlegate, where you will find a grey ass of mine;
make them, if youplease, put him in the stable, or put him there yourself, for the
poorlittle beast is rather easily frightened, and cannot bear beingalone at all."
"If the master is as wise as the man," said the duenna, "we have gota fine bargain.
Be off with you, brother, and bad luck to you andhim who brought you here; go, look
after your ass, for we, the duennasof this house, are not used to work of that sort."
"Well then, in troth," returned Sancho, "I have heard my master, whois the very
treasure-finder of stories, telling the story ofLancelot when he came from Britain,
say that ladies waited upon himand duennas upon his hack; and, if it comes to my
ass, I wouldn'tchange him for Senor Lancelot's hack."
"If you are a jester, brother," said the duenna, "keep yourdrolleries for some
place where they'll pass muster and be paid for;for you'll get nothing from me but
"At any rate, it will be a very ripe one," said Sancho, "for youwon't lose the
trick in years by a point too little."
"Son of a bitch," said the duenna, all aglow with anger, "whetherI'm old or not,
it's with God I have to reckon, not with you, yougarlic-stuffed scoundrel!" and
she said it so loud, that the duchessheard it, and turning round and seeing the
duenna in such a state ofexcitement, and her eyes flaming so, asked whom she was
"With this good fellow here," said the duenna, "who has particularlyrequested
me to go and put an ass of his that is at the castle gateinto the stable, holding
it up to me as an example that they did thesame I don't know where- that some ladies
waited on one Lancelot,and duennas on his hack; and what is more, to wind up with,
hecalled me old."
"That," said the duchess, "I should have considered the greatestaffront that
could be offered me;" and addressing Sancho, she saidto him, "You must know, friend
Sancho, that Dona Rodriguez is veryyouthful, and that she wears that hood more for
authority and customsake than because of her years."
"May all the rest of mine be unlucky," said Sancho, "if I meant itthat way; I
only spoke because the affection I have for my ass is sogreat, and I thought I could
not commend him to a more kind-heartedperson than the lady Dona Rodriguez."
Don Quixote, who was listening, said to him, "Is this properconversation for
the place, Sancho?"
"Senor," replied Sancho, "every one must mention what he wantswherever he may
be; I thought of Dapple here, and I spoke of him here;if I had thought of him in
the stable I would have spoken there."
On which the duke observed, "Sancho is quite right, and there isno reason at
all to find fault with him; Dapple shall be fed to hisheart's content, and Sancho
may rest easy, for he shall be treatedlike himself."
While this conversation, amusing to all except Don Quixote, wasproceeding, they
ascended the staircase and ushered Don Quixote into achamber hung with rich cloth
of gold and brocade; six damsels relievedhim of his armour and waited on him like
pages, all of them preparedand instructed by the duke and duchess as to what they
were to do, andhow they were to treat Don Quixote, so that he might see and believethey
were treating him like a knight-errant. When his armour wasremoved, there stood
Don Quixote in his tight-fitting breeches andchamois doublet, lean, lanky, and long,
with cheeks that seemed tobe kissing each other inside; such a figure, that if the
damselswaiting on him had not taken care to check their merriment (whichwas one
of the particular directions their master and mistress hadgiven them), they would
have burst with laughter. They asked him tolet himself be stripped that they might
put a shirt on him, but hewould not on any account, saying that modesty became knights-errantjust
as much as valour. However, he said they might give the shirtto Sancho; and shutting
himself in with him in a room where therewas a sumptuous bed, he undressed and put
on the shirt; and then,finding himself alone with Sancho, he said to him, "Tell
me, thounew-fledged buffoon and old booby, dost thou think it right tooffend and
insult a duenna so deserving of reverence and respect asthat one just now? Was that
a time to bethink thee of thy Dapple, orare these noble personages likely to let
the beasts fare badly whenthey treat their owners in such elegant style? For God's
sake, Sancho,restrain thyself, and don't show the thread so as to let them see whata
coarse, boorish texture thou art of. Remember, sinner that thou art,the master is
the more esteemed the more respectable and well-bred hisservants are; and that one
of the greatest advantages that princeshave over other men is that they have servants
as good as themselvesto wait on them. Dost thou not see- shortsighted being that
thouart, and unlucky mortal that I am!- that if they perceive thee to be acoarse
clown or a dull blockhead, they will suspect me to be someimpostor or swindler?
Nay, nay, Sancho friend, keep clear, oh, keepclear of these stumbling-blocks; for
he who falls into the way ofbeing a chatterbox and droll, drops into a wretched
buffoon thefirst time he trips; bridle thy tongue, consider and weigh thy wordsbefore
they escape thy mouth, and bear in mind we are now inquarters whence, by God's help,
and the strength of my arm, we shallcome forth mightily advanced in fame and fortune."
Sancho promised him with much earnestness to keep his mouth shut,and to bite
off his tongue before he uttered a word that was notaltogether to the purpose and
well considered, and told him he mightmake his mind easy on that point, for it should
never be discoveredthrough him what they were.
Don Quixote dressed himself, put on his baldric with his sword,threw the scarlet
mantle over his shoulders, placed on his head amontera of green satin that the damsels
had given him, and thusarrayed passed out into the large room, where he found the
damselsdrawn up in double file, the same number on each side, all with theappliances
for washing the hands, which they presented to him withprofuse obeisances and ceremonies.
Then came twelve pages, togetherwith the seneschal, to lead him to dinner, as his
hosts were alreadywaiting for him. They placed him in the midst of them, and with
muchpomp and stateliness they conducted him into another room, where therewas a
sumptuous table laid with but four covers. The duchess and theduke came out to the
door of the room to receive him, and with thema grave ecclesiastic, one of those
who rule noblemen's houses; oneof those who, not being born magnates themselves,
never know how toteach those who are how to behave as such; one of those who would
havethe greatness of great folk measured by their own narrowness ofmind; one of
those who, when they try to introduce economy into thehousehold they rule, lead
it into meanness. One of this sort, I say,must have been the grave churchman who
came out with the duke andduchess to receive Don Quixote.
A vast number of polite speeches were exchanged, and at length,taking Don Quixote
between them, they proceeded to sit down totable. The duke pressed Don Quixote to
take the head of the table,and, though he refused, the entreaties of the duke were
so urgent thathe had to accept it.
The ecclesiastic took his seat opposite to him, and the duke andduchess those
at the sides. All this time Sancho stood by, gaping withamazement at the honour
he saw shown to his master by theseillustrious persons; and observing all the ceremonious
pressing thathad passed between the duke and Don Quixote to induce him to takehis
seat at the head of the table, he said, "If your worship will giveme leave I will
tell you a story of what happened in my villageabout this matter of seats."
The moment Sancho said this Don Quixote trembled, making sure thathe was about
to say something foolish. Sancho glanced at him, andguessing his thoughts, said,
"Don't be afraid of my going astray,senor, or saying anything that won't be pat
to the purpose; Ihaven't forgotten the advice your worship gave me just now abouttalking
much or little, well or ill."
"I have no recollection of anything, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "saywhat thou
wilt, only say it quickly."
"Well then," said Sancho, "what I am going to say is so true that mymaster Don
Quixote, who is here present, will keep me from lying."
"Lie as much as thou wilt for all I care, Sancho," said Don Quixote,"for I am
not going to stop thee, but consider what thou art goingto say."
"I have so considered and reconsidered," said Sancho, "that thebell-ringer's
in a safe berth; as will be seen by what follows."
"It would be well," said Don Quixote, "if your highnesses wouldorder them to
turn out this idiot, for he will talk a heap ofnonsense."
"By the life of the duke, Sancho shall not be taken away from me fora moment,"
said the duchess; "I am very fond of him, for I know heis very discreet."
"Discreet be the days of your holiness," said Sancho, "for thegood opinion you
have of my wit, though there's none in me; but thestory I want to tell is this.
There was an invitation given by agentleman of my town, a very rich one, and one
of quality, for hewas one of the Alamos of Medina del Campo, and married to DonaMencia
de Quinones, the daughter of Don Alonso de Maranon, Knight ofthe Order of Santiago,
that was drowned at the Herradura- him therewas that quarrel about years ago in
our village, that my master DonQuixote was mixed up in, to the best of my belief,
that Tomasillothe scapegrace, the son of Balbastro the smith, was wounded in.- Isn'tall
this true, master mine? As you live, say so, that these gentlefolkmay not take me
for some lying chatterer."
"So far," said the ecclesiastic, "I take you to be more achatterer than a liar;
but I don't know what I shall take you forby-and-by."
"Thou citest so many witnesses and proofs, Sancho," said DonQuixote, "that I
have no choice but to say thou must be telling thetruth; go on, and cut the story
short, for thou art taking the way notto make an end for two days to come."