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Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 82)


"It must be, by some means or other," said Don Quixote, "forunless the name stands there plain and manifest, no woman wouldbelieve the verses were made for her."

They agreed upon this, and that the departure should take place inthree days from that time. Don Quixote charged the bachelor to keep ita secret, especially from the curate and Master Nicholas, and from hisniece and the housekeeper, lest they should prevent the execution ofhis praiseworthy and valiant purpose. Carrasco promised all, andthen took his leave, charging Don Quixote to inform him of his good orevil fortunes whenever he had an opportunity; and thus they badeeach other farewell, and Sancho went away to make the necessarypreparations for their expedition.

CHAPTER V

OF THE SHREWD AND DROLL CONVERSATION THAT PASSED BETWEEN SANCHOPANZA AND HIS WIFE TERESA PANZA, AND OTHER MATTERS WORTHY OF BEINGDULY RECORDED

The translator of this history, when he comes to write this fifthchapter, says that he considers it apocryphal, because in it SanchoPanza speaks in a style unlike that which might have been expectedfrom his limited intelligence, and says things so subtle that hedoes not think it possible he could have conceived them; however,desirous of doing what his task imposed upon him, he was unwillingto leave it untranslated, and therefore he went on to say:

Sancho came home in such glee and spirits that his wife noticedhis happiness a bowshot off, so much so that it made her ask him,"What have you got, Sancho friend, that you are so glad?"

To which he replied, "Wife, if it were God's will, I should bevery glad not to be so well pleased as I show myself."

"I don't understand you, husband," said she, "and I don't knowwhat you mean by saying you would be glad, if it were God's will,not to be well pleased; for, fool as I am, I don't know how one canfind pleasure in not having it."

"Hark ye, Teresa," replied Sancho, "I am glad because I have made upmy mind to go back to the service of my master Don Quixote, whomeans to go out a third time to seek for adventures; and I am goingwith him again, for my necessities will have it so, and also thehope that cheers me with the thought that I may find another hundredcrowns like those we have spent; though it makes me sad to have toleave thee and the children; and if God would be pleased to let mehave my daily bread, dry-shod and at home, without taking me outinto the byways and cross-roads- and he could do it at small cost bymerely willing it- it is clear my happiness would be more solid andlasting, for the happiness I have is mingled with sorrow at leavingthee; so that I was right in saying I would be glad, if it wereGod's will, not to be well pleased."

"Look here, Sancho," said Teresa; "ever since you joined on to aknight-errant you talk in such a roundabout way that there is nounderstanding you."

"It is enough that God understands me, wife," replied Sancho; "forhe is the understander of all things; that will do; but mind,sister, you must look to Dapple carefully for the next three days,so that he may be fit to take arms; double his feed, and see to thepack-saddle and other harness, for it is not to a wedding we arebound, but to go round the world, and play at give and take withgiants and dragons and monsters, and hear hissings and roarings andbellowings and howlings; and even all this would be lavender, if wehad not to reckon with Yanguesans and enchanted Moors."

"I know well enough, husband," said Teresa, "that squires-errantdon't eat their bread for nothing, and so I will be always prayingto our Lord to deliver you speedily from all that hard fortune."

"I can tell you, wife," said Sancho, "if I did not expect to seemyself governor of an island before long, I would drop down dead onthe spot."

"Nay, then, husband," said Teresa; "let the hen live, though it bewith her pip, live, and let the devil take all the governments inthe world; you came out of your mother's womb without a government,you have lived until now without a government, and when it is God'swill you will go, or be carried, to your grave without a government.How many there are in the world who live without a government, andcontinue to live all the same, and are reckoned in the number of thepeople. The best sauce in the world is hunger, and as the poor arenever without that, they always eat with a relish. But mind, Sancho,if by good luck you should find yourself with some government, don'tforget me and your children. Remember that Sanchico is now fullfifteen, and it is right he should go to school, if his uncle theabbot has a mind to have him trained for the Church. Consider, too,that your daughter Mari-Sancha will not die of grief if we marryher; for I have my suspicions that she is as eager to get a husband asyou to get a government; and, after all, a daughter looks better illmarried than well whored."

"By my faith," replied Sancho, "if God brings me to get any sortof a government, I intend, wife, to make such a high match forMari-Sancha that there will be no approaching her without callingher 'my lady."

"Nay, Sancho," returned Teresa; "marry her to her equal, that is thesafest plan; for if you put her out of wooden clogs into high-heeledshoes, out of her grey flannel petticoat into hoops and silk gowns,out of the plain 'Marica' and 'thou,' into 'Dona So-and-so' and 'mylady,' the girl won't know where she is, and at every turn she willfall into a thousand blunders that will show the thread of hercoarse homespun stuff."

"Tut, you fool," said Sancho; "it will be only to practise it fortwo or three years; and then dignity and decorum will fit her aseasily as a glove; and if not, what matter? Let her he 'my lady,'and never mind what happens."

"Keep to your own station, Sancho," replied Teresa; "don't try toraise yourself higher, and bear in mind the proverb that says, 'wipethe nose of your neigbbour's son, and take him into your house.' Afine thing it would be, indeed, to marry our Maria to some great countor grand gentleman, who, when the humour took him, would abuse her andcall her clown-bred and clodhopper's daughter and spinning wench. Ihave not been bringing up my daughter for that all this time, I cantell you, husband. Do you bring home money, Sancho, and leave marryingher to my care; there is Lope Tocho, Juan Tocho's son, a stout, sturdyyoung fellow that we know, and I can see he does not look sour atthe girl; and with him, one of our own sort, she will be well married,and we shall have her always under our eyes, and be all one family,parents and children, grandchildren and sons-in-law, and the peace andblessing of God will dwell among us; so don't you go marrying her inthose courts and grand palaces where they won't know what to make ofher, or she what to make of herself."

"Why, you idiot and wife for Barabbas," said Sancho, "what do youmean by trying, without why or wherefore, to keep me from marryingmy daughter to one who will give me grandchildren that will becalled 'your lordship'? Look ye, Teresa, I have always heard my elderssay that he who does not know how to take advantage of luck when itcomes to him, has no right to complain if it gives him the go-by;and now that it is knocking at our door, it will not do to shut itout; let us go with the favouring breeze that blows upon us."

It is this sort of talk, and what Sancho says lower down, thatmade the translator of the history say he considered this chapterapocryphal.

"Don't you see, you animal," continued Sancho, "that it will be wellfor me to drop into some profitable government that will lift us outof the mire, and marry Mari-Sancha to whom I like; and you yourselfwill find yourself called 'Dona Teresa Panza,' and sitting in churchon a fine carpet and cushions and draperies, in spite and indefiance of all the born ladies of the town? No, stay as you are,growing neither greater nor less, like a tapestry figure- Let us sayno more about it, for Sanchica shall be a countess, say what youwill."

"Are you sure of all you say, husband?" replied Teresa. "Well, forall that, I am afraid this rank of countess for my daughter will beher ruin. You do as you like, make a duchess or a princess of her, butI can tell you it will not be with my will and consent. I was always alover of equality, brother, and I can't bear to see people givethemselves airs without any right. They called me Teresa at mybaptism, a plain, simple name, without any additions or tags orfringes of Dons or Donas; Cascajo was my father's name, and as I amyour wife, I am called Teresa Panza, though by right I ought to hecalled Teresa Cascajo; but 'kings go where laws like,' and I amcontent with this name without having the 'Don' put on top of it tomake it so heavy that I cannot carry it; and I don't want to makepeople talk about me when they see me go dressed like a countess orgovernor's wife; for they will say at once, 'See what airs the slutgives herself! Only yesterday she was always spinning flax, and usedto go to mass with the tail of her petticoat over her head insteadof a mantle, and there she goes to-day in a hooped gown with herbroaches and airs, as if we didn't know her!' If God keeps me in myseven senses, or five, or whatever number I have, I am not going tobring myself to such a pass; go you, brother, and be a government oran island man, and swagger as much as you like; for by the soul ofmy mother, neither my daughter nor I are going to stir a step from ourvillage; a respectable woman should have a broken leg and keep athome; and to he busy at something is a virtuous damsel's holiday; beoff to your adventures along with your Don Quixote, and leave us toour misadventures, for God will mend them for us according as wedeserve it. I don't know, I'm sure, who fixed the 'Don' to him, whatneither his father nor grandfather ever had."

"I declare thou hast a devil of some sort in thy body!" said Sancho."God help thee, what a lot of things thou hast strung together, oneafter the other, without head or tail! What have Cascajo, and thebroaches and the proverbs and the airs, to do with what I say? Lookhere, fool and dolt (for so I may call you, when you don'tunderstand my words, and run away from good fortune), if I had saidthat my daughter was to throw herself down from a tower, or go roamingthe world, as the Infanta Dona Urraca wanted to do, you would be rightin not giving way to my will; but if in an instant, in less than thetwinkling of an eye, I put the 'Don' and 'my lady' on her back, andtake her out of the stubble, and place her under a canopy, on adais, and on a couch, with more velvet cushions than all the Almohadesof Morocco ever had in their family, why won't you consent and fall inwith my wishes?"

"Do you know why, husband?" replied Teresa; "because of theproverb that says 'who covers thee, discovers thee.' At the poor manpeople only throw a hasty glance; on the rich man they fix their eyes;and if the said rich man was once on a time poor, it is then thereis the sneering and the tattle and spite of backbiters; and in thestreets here they swarm as thick as bees."

"Look here, Teresa," said Sancho, "and listen to what I am now goingto say to you; maybe you never heard it in all your life; and I do notgive my own notions, for what I am about to say are the opinions ofhis reverence the preacher, who preached in this town last Lent, andwho said, if I remember rightly, that all things present that our eyesbehold, bring themselves before us, and remain and fix themselves onour memory much better and more forcibly than things past."

These observations which Sancho makes here are the other ones onaccount of which the translator says he regards this chapter asapocryphal, inasmuch as they are beyond Sancho's capacity.

"Whence it arises," he continued, "that when we see any personwell dressed and making a figure with rich garments and retinue ofservants, it seems to lead and impel us perforce to respect him,though memory may at the same moment recall to us some lowly conditionin which we have seen him, but which, whether it may have been povertyor low birth, being now a thing of the past, has no existence; whilethe only thing that has any existence is what we see before us; and ifthis person whom fortune has raised from his original lowly state(these were the very words the padre used) to his present height ofprosperity, be well bred, generous, courteous to all, withoutseeking to vie with those whose nobility is of ancient date, dependupon it, Teresa, no one will remember what he was, and everyone willrespect what he is, except indeed the envious, from whom no fairfortune is safe."

"I do not understand you, husband," replied Teresa; "do as you like,and don't break my head with any more speechifying and rethoric; andif you have revolved to do what you say-"

"Resolved, you should say, woman," said Sancho, "not revolved."

"Don't set yourself to wrangle with me, husband," said Teresa; "Ispeak as God pleases, and don't deal in out-of-the-way phrases; andI say if you are bent upon having a government, take your son Sanchowith you, and teach him from this time on how to hold a government;for sons ought to inherit and learn the trades of their fathers."

"As soon as I have the government," said Sancho, "I will send forhim by post, and I will send thee money, of which I shall have nolack, for there is never any want of people to lend it to governorswhen they have not got it; and do thou dress him so as to hide what heis and make him look what he is to be."

"You send the money," said Teresa, "and I'll dress him up for you asfine as you please."

"Then we are agreed that our daughter is to be a countess," saidSancho.

"The day that I see her a countess," replied Teresa, "it will be thesame to me as if I was burying her; but once more I say do as youplease, for we women are born to this burden of being obedient toour husbands, though they be dogs;" and with this she began to weep inearnest, as if she already saw Sanchica dead and buried.

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
Viewed 198790 times

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