Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 84)

"No, senor," said she.

"Well then," returned the bachelor, "don't be uneasy, but go home inpeace; get me ready something hot for breakfast, and while you areon the way say the prayer of Santa Apollonia, that is if you knowit; for I will come presently and you will see miracles."

"Woe is me," cried the housekeeper, "is it the prayer of SantaApollonia you would have me say? That would do if it was the toothachemy master had; but it is in the brains, what he has got."

"I know what I am saying, mistress housekeeper; go, and don't setyourself to argue with me, for you know I am a bachelor ofSalamanca, and one can't be more of a bachelor than that," repliedCarrasco; and with this the housekeeper retired, and the bachelor wentto look for the curate, and arrange with him what will be told inits proper place.

While Don Quixote and Sancho were shut up together, they had adiscussion which the history records with great precision andscrupulous exactness. Sancho said to his master, "Senor, I have educedmy wife to let me go with your worship wherever you choose to takeme."

"Induced, you should say, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "not educed."

"Once or twice, as well as I remember," replied Sancho, "I havebegged of your worship not to mend my words, if so be as youunderstand what I mean by them; and if you don't understand them tosay 'Sancho,' or 'devil,' 'I don't understand thee; and if I don'tmake my meaning plain, then you may correct me, for I am so focile-"

"I don't understand thee, Sancho," said Don Quixote at once; "forI know not what 'I am so focile' means."

"'So focile' means I am so much that way," replied Sancho.

"I understand thee still less now," said Don Quixote.

"Well, if you can't understand me," said Sancho, "I don't know howto put it; I know no more, God help me."

"Oh, now I have hit it," said Don Quixote; "thou wouldst say thouart so docile, tractable, and gentle that thou wilt take what I say tothee, and submit to what I teach thee."

"I would bet," said Sancho, "that from the very first you understoodme, and knew what I meant, but you wanted to put me out that you mighthear me make another couple of dozen blunders."

"May be so," replied Don Quixote; "but to come to the point, whatdoes Teresa say?"

"Teresa says," replied Sancho, "that I should make sure with yourworship, and 'let papers speak and beards be still,' for 'he who bindsdoes not wrangle,' since one 'take' is better than two 'I'll givethee's;' and I say a woman's advice is no great thing, and he whowon't take it is a fool."

"And so say I," said Don Quixote; "continue, Sancho my friend; goon; you talk pearls to-day."

"The fact is," continued Sancho, "that, as your worship knows betterthan I do, we are all of us liable to death, and to-day we are, andto-morrow we are not, and the lamb goes as soon as the sheep, andnobody can promise himself more hours of life in this world than Godmay be pleased to give him; for death is deaf, and when it comes toknock at our life's door, it is always urgent, and neither prayers,nor struggles, nor sceptres, nor mitres, can keep it back, as commontalk and report say, and as they tell us from the pulpits every day."

"All that is very true," said Don Quixote; "but I cannot make outwhat thou art driving at."

"What I am driving at," said Sancho, "is that your worship settlesome fixed wages for me, to be paid monthly while I am in yourservice, and that the same he paid me out of your estate; for Idon't care to stand on rewards which either come late, or ill, ornever at all; God help me with my own. In short, I would like toknow what I am to get, be it much or little; for the hen will lay onone egg, and many littles make a much, and so long as one gainssomething there is nothing lost. To he sure, if it should happen (whatI neither believe nor expect) that your worship were to give me thatisland you have promised me, I am not so ungrateful nor so graspingbut that I would be willing to have the revenue of such islandvalued and stopped out of my wages in due promotion."

"Sancho, my friend," replied Don Quixote, "sometimes proportionmay be as good as promotion."

"I see," said Sancho; "I'll bet I ought to have said proportion, andnot promotion; but it is no matter, as your worship has understoodme."

"And so well understood," returned Don Quixote, "that I have seeninto the depths of thy thoughts, and know the mark thou art shootingat with the countless shafts of thy proverbs. Look here, Sancho, Iwould readily fix thy wages if I had ever found any instance in thehistories of the knights-errant to show or indicate, by theslightest hint, what their squires used to get monthly or yearly;but I have read all or the best part of their histories, and Icannot remember reading of any knight-errant having assigned fixedwages to his squire; I only know that they all served on reward, andthat when they least expected it, if good luck attended their masters,they found themselves recompensed with an island or somethingequivalent to it, or at the least they were left with a title andlordship. If with these hopes and additional inducements you,Sancho, please to return to my service, well and good; but tosuppose that I am going to disturb or unhinge the ancient usage ofknight-errantry, is all nonsense. And so, my Sancho, get you back toyour house and explain my intentions to your Teresa, and if shelikes and you like to be on reward with me, bene quidem; if not, weremain friends; for if the pigeon-house does not lack food, it willnot lack pigeons; and bear in mind, my son, that a good hope is betterthan a bad holding, and a good grievance better than a badcompensation. I speak in this way, Sancho, to show you that I canshower down proverbs just as well as yourself; and in short, I mean tosay, and I do say, that if you don't like to come on reward with me,and run the same chance that I run, God be with you and make a saintof you; for I shall find plenty of squires more obedient andpainstaking, and not so thickheaded or talkative as you are."

When Sancho heard his master's firm, resolute language, a cloud cameover the sky with him and the wings of his heart drooped, for he hadmade sure that his master would not go without him for all thewealth of the world; and as he stood there dumbfoundered and moody,Samson Carrasco came in with the housekeeper and niece, who wereanxious to hear by what arguments he was about to dissuade theirmaster from going to seek adventures. The arch wag Samson cameforward, and embracing him as he had done before, said with a loudvoice, "O flower of knight-errantry! O shining light of arms! O honourand mirror of the Spanish nation! may God Almighty in his infinitepower grant that any person or persons, who would impede or hinder thythird sally, may find no way out of the labyrinth of their schemes,nor ever accomplish what they most desire!" And then, turning to thehousekeeper, he said, "Mistress housekeeper may just as well give oversaying the prayer of Santa Apollonia, for I know it is the positivedetermination of the spheres that Senor Don Quixote shall proceed toput into execution his new and lofty designs; and I should lay a heavyburden on my conscience did I not urge and persuade this knight not tokeep the might of his strong arm and the virtue of his valiantspirit any longer curbed and checked, for by his inactivity he isdefrauding the world of the redress of wrongs, of the protection oforphans, of the honour of virgins, of the aid of widows, and of thesupport of wives, and other matters of this kind appertaining,belonging, proper and peculiar to the order of knight-errantry. On,then, my lord Don Quixote, beautiful and brave, let your worship andhighness set out to-day rather than to-morrow; and if anything beneeded for the execution of your purpose, here am I ready in personand purse to supply the want; and were it requisite to attend yourmagnificence as squire, I should esteem it the happiest good fortune."

At this, Don Quixote, turning to Sancho, said, "Did I not tell thee,Sancho, there would be squires enough and to spare for me? See now whooffers to become one; no less than the illustrious bachelor SamsonCarrasco, the perpetual joy and delight of the courts of theSalamancan schools, sound in body, discreet, patient under heat orcold, hunger or thirst, with all the qualifications requisite tomake a knight-errant's squire! But heaven forbid that, to gratify myown inclination, I should shake or shatter this pillar of lettersand vessel of the sciences, and cut down this towering palm of thefair and liberal arts. Let this new Samson remain in his owncountry, and, bringing honour to it, bring honour at the same timeon the grey heads of his venerable parents; for I will be content withany squire that comes to hand, as Sancho does not deign to accompanyme."

"I do deign," said Sancho, deeply moved and with tears in hiseyes; "it shall not be said of me, master mine," he continued, "'thebread eaten and the company dispersed.' Nay, I come of no ungratefulstock, for all the world knows, but particularly my own town, whothe Panzas from whom I am descended were; and, what is more, I knowand have learned, by many good words and deeds, your worship'sdesire to show me favour; and if I have been bargaining more or lessabout my wages, it was only to please my wife, who, when she setsherself to press a point, no hammer drives the hoops of a cask asshe drives one to do what she wants; but, after all, a man must be aman, and a woman a woman; and as I am a man anyhow, which I can'tdeny, I will be one in my own house too, let who will take it amiss;and so there's nothing more to do but for your worship to make yourwill with its codicil in such a way that it can't be provoked, and letus set out at once, to save Senor Samson's soul from suffering, ashe says his conscience obliges him to persuade your worship to sallyout upon the world a third time; so I offer again to serve yourworship faithfully and loyally, as well and better than all thesquires that served knights-errant in times past or present."

The bachelor was filled with amazement when he heard Sancho'sphraseology and style of talk, for though he had read the first partof his master's history he never thought that he could be so drollas he was there described; but now, hearing him talk of a "will andcodicil that could not be provoked," instead of "will and codicil thatcould not be revoked," he believed all he had read of him, and set himdown as one of the greatest simpletons of modern times; and he said tohimself that two such lunatics as master and man the world had neverseen. In fine, Don Quixote and Sancho embraced one another and madefriends, and by the advice and with the approval of the greatCarrasco, who was now their oracle, it was arranged that theirdeparture should take place three days thence, by which time theycould have all that was requisite for the journey ready, and procure aclosed helmet, which Don Quixote said he must by all means take.Samson offered him one, as he knew a friend of his who had it wouldnot refuse it to him, though it was more dingy with rust and mildewthan bright and clean like burnished steel.

The curses which both housekeeper and niece poured out on thebachelor were past counting; they tore their hair, they clawed theirfaces, and in the style of the hired mourners that were once infashion, they raised a lamentation over the departure of theirmaster and uncle, as if it had been his death. Samson's intention inpersuading him to sally forth once more was to do what the historyrelates farther on; all by the advice of the curate and barber, withwhom he had previously discussed the subject. Finally, then, duringthose three days, Don Quixote and Sancho provided themselves with whatthey considered necessary, and Sancho having pacified his wife, andDon Quixote his niece and housekeeper, at nightfall, unseen byanyone except the bachelor, who thought fit to accompany them half aleague out of the village, they set out for El Toboso, Don Quixoteon his good Rocinante and Sancho on his old Dapple, his alforjasfurnished with certain matters in the way of victuals, and his pursewith money that Don Quixote gave him to meet emergencies. Samsonembraced him, and entreated him to let him hear of his good or evilfortunes, so that he might rejoice over the former or condole with himover the latter, as the laws of friendship required. Don Quixotepromised him he would do so, and Samson returned to the village, andthe other two took the road for the great city of El Toboso.



"Blessed be Allah the all-powerful!" says Hamete Benengeli onbeginning this eighth chapter; "blessed be Allah!" he repeats threetimes; and he says he utters these thanksgivings at seeing that he hasnow got Don Quixote and Sancho fairly afield, and that the readersof his delightful history may reckon that the achievements and humoursof Don Quixote and his squire are now about to begin; and he urgesthem to forget the former chivalries of the ingenious gentleman and tofix their eyes on those that are to come, which now begin on theroad to El Toboso, as the others began on the plains of Montiel; noris it much that he asks in consideration of all he promises, and so hegoes on to say:

Don Quixote and Sancho were left alone, and the moment Samson tookhis departure, Rocinante began to neigh, and Dapple to sigh, which, byboth knight and squire, was accepted as a good sign and a very happyomen; though, if the truth is to be told, the sighs and brays ofDapple were louder than the neighings of the hack, from which Sanchoinferred that his good fortune was to exceed and overtop that of hismaster, building, perhaps, upon some judicial astrology that he mayhave known, though the history says nothing about it; all that canbe said is, that when he stumbled or fell, he was heard to say hewished he had not come out, for by stumbling or falling there wasnothing to be got but a damaged shoe or a broken rib; and, fool ashe was, he was not much astray in this.

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
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