Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 113)

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

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

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

"So I say," said Sancho, "and if my lady Dulcinea is enchanted, somuch the worse for her, and I'm not going to pick a quarrel with mymaster's enemies, who seem to be many and spiteful. The truth isthat the one I saw was a country wench, and I set her down to be acountry wench; and if that was Dulcinea it must not be laid at mydoor, nor should I be called to answer for it or take theconsequences. But they must go nagging at me at every step- 'Sanchosaid it, Sancho did it, Sancho here, Sancho there,' as if Sancho wasnobody at all, and not that same Sancho Panza that's now going allover the world in books, so Samson Carrasco told me, and he's at anyrate one that's a bachelor of Salamanca; and people of that sort can'tlie, except when the whim seizes them or they have some very goodreason for it. So there's no occasion for anybody to quarrel withme; and then I have a good character, and, as I have heard my mastersay, 'a good name is better than great riches;' let them only stick meinto this government and they'll see wonders, for one who has been agood squire will be a good governor."

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

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

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

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

"What is Dapple?" said the duchess.

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

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

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

"It will be enough for him to he in the stable," said Sancho, "forneither he nor I are worthy to rest a moment in the apple of yourhighness's eye, and I'd as soon stab myself as consent to it; forthough my master says that in civilities it is better to lose by acard too many than a card too few, when it comes to civilities toasses we must mind what we are about and keep within due bounds."

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

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

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



Great was the pleasure the duke and duchess took in the conversationof Don Quixote and Sancho Panza; and, more bent than ever upon theplan they had of practising some jokes upon them that should havethe look and appearance of adventures, they took as their basis ofaction what Don Quixote had already told them about the cave ofMontesinos, in order to play him a famous one. But what the duchesmarvelled at above all was that Sancho's simplicity could be sogreat as to make him believe as absolute truth that Dulcinea hadbeen enchanted, when it was he himself who had been the enchanterand trickster in the business. Having, therefore, instructed theirservants in everything they were to do, six days afterwards theytook him out to hunt, with as great a retinue of huntsmen andbeaters as a crowned king.

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

The appointed day having arrived, Don Quixote armed himself, andSancho arrayed himself, and mounted on his Dapple (for he would notgive him up though they offered him a horse), he placed himself in themidst of the troop of huntsmen. The duchess came out splendidlyattired, and Don Quixote, in pure courtesy and politeness, held therein of her palfrey, though the duke wanted not to allow him; and atlast they reached a wood that lay between two high mountains, where,after occupying various posts, ambushes, and paths, and distributingthe party in different positions, the hunt began with great noise,shouting, and hallooing, so that, between the baying of the hounds andthe blowing of the horns, they could not hear one another. The duchessdismounted, and with a sharp boar-spear in her hand posted herselfwhere she knew the wild boars were in the habit of passing. The dukeand Don Quixote likewise dismounted and placed themselves one ateach side of her. Sancho took up a position in the rear of all withoutdismounting from Dapple, whom he dared not desert lest some mischiefshould befall him. Scarcely had they taken their stand in a linewith several of their servants, when they saw a huge boar, closelypressed by the hounds and followed by the huntsmen, making towardsthem, grinding his teeth and tusks, and scattering foam from hismouth. As soon as he saw him Don Quixote, bracing his shield on hisarm, and drawing his sword, advanced to meet him; the duke withboar-spear did the same; but the duchess would have gone in front ofthem all had not the duke prevented her. Sancho alone, desertingDapple at the sight of the mighty beast, took to his heels as hardas he could and strove in vain to mount a tall oak. As he was clingingto a branch, however, half-way up in his struggle to reach the top,the bough, such was his ill-luck and hard fate, gave way, and caughtin his fall by a broken limb of the oak, he hung suspended in theair unable to reach the ground. Finding himself in this position,and that the green coat was beginning to tear, and reflecting thatif the fierce animal came that way he might be able to get at him,he began to utter such cries, and call for help so earnestly, that allwho heard him and did not see him felt sure he must be in the teeth ofsome wild beast. In the end the tusked boar fell pierced by the bladesof the many spears they held in front of him; and Don Quixote, turninground at the cries of Sancho, for he knew by them that it was he,saw him hanging from the oak head downwards, with Dapple, who didnot forsake him in his distress, close beside him; and Cide Hameteobserves that he seldom saw Sancho Panza without seeing Dapple, orDapple without seeing Sancho Panza; such was their attachment andloyalty one to the other. Don Quixote went over and unhooked Sancho,who, as soon as he found himself on the ground, looked at the rentin his huntingcoat and was grieved to the heart, for he thought he hadgot a patrimonial estate in that suit.

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

By bears be thou devoured, as erstWas famous Favila."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
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