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Don Quixote - Vol. 2

CHAPTER LXVII.


OF THE RESOLUTION DON QUIXOTE FORMED TO TURN SHEPHERD AND TAKE TO A LIFE IN THE FIELDS WHILE THE YEAR FOR WHICH HE HAD GIVEN HIS WORD WAS RUNNING ITS COURSE; WITH OTHER EVENTS TRULY DELECTABLE AND HAPPY



If a multitude of reflections used to harass Don Quixote before he had been overthrown, a great many more harassed him since his fall. He was under the shade of a tree, as has been said, and there, like flies on honey, thoughts came crowding upon him and stinging him. Some of them turned upon the disenchantment of Dulcinea, others upon the life he was about to lead in his enforced retirement. Sancho came up and spoke in high praise of the generous disposition of the lacquey Tosilos.

"Is it possible, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that thou dost still think that he yonder is a real lacquey? Apparently it has escaped thy memory that thou hast seen Dulcinea turned and transformed into a peasant wench, and the Knight of the Mirrors into the bachelor Carrasco; all the work of the enchanters that persecute me. But tell me now, didst thou ask this Tosilos, as thou callest him, what has become of Altisidora, did she weep over my absence, or has she already consigned to oblivion the love thoughts that used to afflict her when I was present?"

"The thoughts that I had," said Sancho, "were not such as to leave time for asking fool's questions. Body o' me, senor! is your worship in a condition now to inquire into other people's thoughts, above all love thoughts?"

"Look ye, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "there is a great difference between what is done out of love and what is done out of gratitude. A knight may very possibly be proof against love; but it is impossible, strictly speaking, for him to be ungrateful. Altisidora, to all appearance, loved me truly; she gave me the three kerchiefs thou knowest of; she wept at my departure, she cursed me, she abused me, casting shame to the winds she bewailed herself in public; all signs that she adored me; for the wrath of lovers always ends in curses. I had no hopes to give her, nor treasures to offer her, for mine are given to Dulcinea, and the treasures of knights-errant are like those of the fairies,' illusory and deceptive; all I can give her is the place in my memory I keep for her, without prejudice, however, to that which I hold devoted to Dulcinea, whom thou art wronging by thy remissness in whipping thyself and scourging that flesh—would that I saw it eaten by wolves—which would rather keep itself for the worms than for the relief of that poor lady."

"Senor," replied Sancho, "if the truth is to be told, I cannot persuade myself that the whipping of my backside has anything to do with the disenchantment of the enchanted; it is like saying, 'If your head aches rub ointment on your knees;' at any rate I'll make bold to swear that in all the histories dealing with knight-errantry that your worship has read you have never come across anybody disenchanted by whipping; but whether or no I'll whip myself when I have a fancy for it, and the opportunity serves for scourging myself comfortably."

"God grant it," said Don Quixote; "and heaven give thee grace to take it to heart and own the obligation thou art under to help my lady, who is thine also, inasmuch as thou art mine."

As they pursued their journey talking in this way they came to the very same spot where they had been trampled on by the bulls. Don Quixote recognised it, and said he to Sancho, "This is the meadow where we came upon those gay shepherdesses and gallant shepherds who were trying to revive and imitate the pastoral Arcadia there, an idea as novel as it was happy, in emulation whereof, if so be thou dost approve of it, Sancho, I would have ourselves turn shepherds, at any rate for the time I have to live in retirement. I will buy some ewes and everything else requisite for the pastoral calling; and, I under the name of the shepherd Quixotize and thou as the shepherd Panzino, we will roam the woods and groves and meadows singing songs here, lamenting in elegies there, drinking of the crystal waters of the springs or limpid brooks or flowing rivers. The oaks will yield us their sweet fruit with bountiful hand, the trunks of the hard cork trees a seat, the willows shade, the roses perfume, the widespread meadows carpets tinted with a thousand dyes; the clear pure air will give us breath, the moon and stars lighten the darkness of the night for us, song shall be our delight, lamenting our joy, Apollo will supply us with verses, and love with conceits whereby we shall make ourselves famed for ever, not only in this but in ages to come."

"Egad," said Sancho, "but that sort of life squares, nay corners, with my notions; and what is more the bachelor Samson Carrasco and Master Nicholas the barber won't have well seen it before they'll want to follow it and turn shepherds along with us; and God grant it may not come into the curate's head to join the sheepfold too, he's so jovial and fond of enjoying himself."

"Thou art in the right of it, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "and the bachelor Samson Carrasco, if he enters the pastoral fraternity, as no doubt he will, may call himself the shepherd Samsonino, or perhaps the shepherd Carrascon; Nicholas the barber may call himself Niculoso, as old Boscan formerly was called Nemoroso; as for the curate I don't know what name we can fit to him unless it be something derived from his title, and we call him the shepherd Curiambro. For the shepherdesses whose lovers we shall be, we can pick names as we would pears; and as my lady's name does just as well for a shepherdess's as for a princess's, I need not trouble myself to look for one that will suit her better; to thine, Sancho, thou canst give what name thou wilt."

"I don't mean to give her any but Teresona," said Sancho, "which will go well with her stoutness and with her own right name, as she is called Teresa; and then when I sing her praises in my verses I'll show how chaste my passion is, for I'm not going to look 'for better bread than ever came from wheat' in other men's houses. It won't do for the curate to have a shepherdess, for the sake of good example; and if the bachelor chooses to have one, that is his look-out."

"God bless me, Sancho my friend!" said Don Quixote, "what a life we shall lead! What hautboys and Zamora bagpipes we shall hear, what tabors, timbrels, and rebecks! And then if among all these different sorts of music that of the albogues is heard, almost all the pastoral instruments will be there."

"What are albogues?" asked Sancho, "for I never in my life heard tell of them or saw them."

"Albogues," said Don Quixote, "are brass plates like candlesticks that struck against one another on the hollow side make a noise which, if not very pleasing or harmonious, is not disagreeable and accords very well with the rude notes of the bagpipe and tabor. The word albogue is Morisco, as are all those in our Spanish tongue that begin with al; for example, almohaza, almorzar, alhombra, alguacil, alhucema, almacen, alcancia, and others of the same sort, of which there are not many more; our language has only three that are Morisco and end in i, which are borcegui, zaquizami, and maravedi. Alheli and alfaqui are seen to be Arabic, as well by the "al" at the beginning as by the "i" they end with. I mention this incidentally, the chance allusion to albogues having reminded me of it; and it will be of great assistance to us in the perfect practice of this calling that I am something of a poet, as thou knowest, and that besides the bachelor Samson Carrasco is an accomplished one. Of the curate I say nothing; but I will wager he has some spice of the poet in him, and no doubt Master Nicholas too, for all barbers, or most of them, are guitar players and stringers of verses. I will bewail my separation; thou shalt glorify thyself as a constant lover; the shepherd Carrascon will figure as a rejected one, and the curate Curiambro as whatever may please him best; and so all will go as gaily as heart could wish."

To this Sancho made answer, "I am so unlucky, senor, that I'm afraid the day will never come when I'll see myself at such a calling. O what neat spoons I'll make when I'm a shepherd! What messes, creams, garlands, pastoral odds and ends! And if they don't get me a name for wisdom, they'll not fail to get me one for ingenuity. My daughter Sanchica will bring us our dinner to the pasture. But stay—she's good-looking, and shepherds there are with more mischief than simplicity in them; I would not have her 'come for wool and go back shorn;' love-making and lawless desires are just as common in the fields as in the cities, and in shepherds' shanties as in royal palaces; 'do away with the cause, you do away with the sin;' 'if eyes don't see hearts don't break' and 'better a clear escape than good men's prayers.'"

"A truce to thy proverbs, Sancho," exclaimed Don Quixote; "any one of those thou hast uttered would suffice to explain thy meaning; many a time have I recommended thee not to be so lavish with proverbs and to exercise some moderation in delivering them; but it seems to me it is only 'preaching in the desert;' 'my mother beats me and I go on with my tricks."

"It seems to me," said Sancho, "that your worship is like the common saying, 'Said the frying-pan to the kettle, Get away, blackbreech.' You chide me for uttering proverbs, and you string them in couples yourself."

"Observe, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "I bring in proverbs to the purpose, and when I quote them they fit like a ring to the finger; thou bringest them in by the head and shoulders, in such a way that thou dost drag them in, rather than introduce them; if I am not mistaken, I have told thee already that proverbs are short maxims drawn from the experience and observation of our wise men of old; but the proverb that is not to the purpose is a piece of nonsense and not a maxim. But enough of this; as nightfall is drawing on let us retire some little distance from the high road to pass the night; what is in store for us to-morrow God knoweth."

They turned aside, and supped late and poorly, very much against Sancho's will, who turned over in his mind the hardships attendant upon knight-errantry in woods and forests, even though at times plenty presented itself in castles and houses, as at Don Diego de Miranda's, at the wedding of Camacho the Rich, and at Don Antonio Moreno's; he reflected, however, that it could not be always day, nor always night; and so that night he passed in sleeping, and his master in waking.





CHAPTER LXVIII.


OF THE BRISTLY ADVENTURE THAT BEFELL DON QUIXOTE



The night was somewhat dark, for though there was a moon in the sky it was not in a quarter where she could be seen; for sometimes the lady Diana goes on a stroll to the antipodes, and leaves the mountains all black and the valleys in darkness. Don Quixote obeyed nature so far as to sleep his first sleep, but did not give way to the second, very different from Sancho, who never had any second, because with him sleep lasted from night till morning, wherein he showed what a sound constitution and few cares he had. Don Quixote's cares kept him restless, so much so that he awoke Sancho and said to him, "I am amazed, Sancho, at the unconcern of thy temperament. I believe thou art made of marble or hard brass, incapable of any emotion or feeling whatever. I lie awake while thou sleepest, I weep while thou singest, I am faint with fasting while thou art sluggish and torpid from pure repletion. It is the duty of good servants to share the sufferings and feel the sorrows of their masters, if it be only for the sake of appearances. See the calmness of the night, the solitude of the spot, inviting us to break our slumbers by a vigil of some sort. Rise as thou livest, and retire a little distance, and with a good heart and cheerful courage give thyself three or four hundred lashes on account of Dulcinea's disenchantment score; and this I entreat of thee, making it a request, for I have no desire to come to grips with thee a second time, as I know thou hast a heavy hand. As soon as thou hast laid them on we will pass the rest of the night, I singing my separation, thou thy constancy, making a beginning at once with the pastoral life we are to follow at our village."

"Senor," replied Sancho, "I'm no monk to get up out of the middle of my sleep and scourge myself, nor does it seem to me that one can pass from one extreme of the pain of whipping to the other of music. Will your worship let me sleep, and not worry me about whipping myself? or you'll make me swear never to touch a hair of my doublet, not to say my flesh."

"O hard heart!" said Don Quixote, "O pitiless squire! O bread ill-bestowed and favours ill-acknowledged, both those I have done thee and those I mean to do thee! Through me hast thou seen thyself a governor, and through me thou seest thyself in immediate expectation of being a count, or obtaining some other equivalent title, for I—post tenebras spero lucem."

"I don't know what that is," said Sancho; "all I know is that so long as I am asleep I have neither fear nor hope, trouble nor glory; and good luck betide him that invented sleep, the cloak that covers over all a man's thoughts, the food that removes hunger, the drink that drives away thirst, the fire that warms the cold, the cold that tempers the heat, and, to wind up with, the universal coin wherewith everything is bought, the weight and balance that makes the shepherd equal with the king and the fool with the wise man. Sleep, I have heard say, has only one fault, that it is like death; for between a sleeping man and a dead man there is very little difference."

"Never have I heard thee speak so elegantly as now, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "and here I begin to see the truth of the proverb thou dost sometimes quote, 'Not with whom thou art bred, but with whom thou art fed.'"

"Ha, by my life, master mine," said Sancho, "it's not I that am stringing proverbs now, for they drop in pairs from your worship's mouth faster than from mine; only there is this difference between mine and yours, that yours are well-timed and mine are untimely; but anyhow, they are all proverbs."

At this point they became aware of a harsh indistinct noise that seemed to spread through all the valleys around. Don Quixote stood up and laid his hand upon his sword, and Sancho ensconced himself under Dapple and put the bundle of armour on one side of him and the ass's pack-saddle on the other, in fear and trembling as great as Don Quixote's perturbation. Each instant the noise increased and came nearer to the two terrified men, or at least to one, for as to the other, his courage is known to all. The fact of the matter was that some men were taking above six hundred pigs to sell at a fair, and were on their way with them at that hour, and so great was the noise they made and their grunting and blowing, that they deafened the ears of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, and they could not make out what it was. The wide-spread grunting drove came on in a surging mass, and without showing any respect for Don Quixote's dignity or Sancho's, passed right over the pair of them, demolishing Sancho's entrenchments, and not only upsetting Don Quixote but sweeping Rocinante off his feet into the bargain; and what with the trampling and the grunting, and the pace at which the unclean beasts went, pack-saddle, armour, Dapple and Rocinante were left scattered on the ground and Sancho and Don Quixote at their wits' end.

Sancho got up as well as he could and begged his master to give him his sword, saying he wanted to kill half a dozen of those dirty unmannerly pigs, for he had by this time found out that that was what they were.

"Let them be, my friend," said Don Quixote; "this insult is the penalty of my sin; and it is the righteous chastisement of heaven that jackals should devour a vanquished knight, and wasps sting him and pigs trample him under foot."

"I suppose it is the chastisement of heaven, too," said Sancho, "that flies should prick the squires of vanquished knights, and lice eat them, and hunger assail them. If we squires were the sons of the knights we serve, or their very near relations, it would be no wonder if the penalty of their misdeeds overtook us, even to the fourth generation. But what have the Panzas to do with the Quixotes? Well, well, let's lie down again and sleep out what little of the night there's left, and God will send us dawn and we shall be all right."



"Sleep thou, Sancho," returned Don Quixote, "for thou wast born to sleep as I was born to watch; and during the time it now wants of dawn I will give a loose rein to my thoughts, and seek a vent for them in a little madrigal which, unknown to thee, I composed in my head last night."

"I should think," said Sancho, "that the thoughts that allow one to make verses cannot be of great consequence; let your worship string verses as much as you like and I'll sleep as much as I can;" and forthwith, taking the space of ground he required, he muffled himself up and fell into a sound sleep, undisturbed by bond, debt, or trouble of any sort. Don Quixote, propped up against the trunk of a beech or a cork tree—for Cide Hamete does not specify what kind of tree it was—sang in this strain to the accompaniment of his own sighs:

When in my mind
I muse, O Love, upon thy cruelty,
To death I flee,
In hope therein the end of all to find.

But drawing near
That welcome haven in my sea of woe,
Such joy I know,
That life revives, and still I linger here.

Thus life doth slay,
And death again to life restoreth me;
Strange destiny,
That deals with life and death as with a play!

He accompanied each verse with many sighs and not a few tears, just like one whose heart was pierced with grief at his defeat and his separation from Dulcinea.

And now daylight came, and the sun smote Sancho on the eyes with his beams. He awoke, roused himself up, shook himself and stretched his lazy limbs, and seeing the havoc the pigs had made with his stores he cursed the drove, and more besides. Then the pair resumed their journey, and as evening closed in they saw coming towards them some ten men on horseback and four or five on foot. Don Quixote's heart beat quick and Sancho's quailed with fear, for the persons approaching them carried lances and bucklers, and were in very warlike guise. Don Quixote turned to Sancho and said, "If I could make use of my weapons, and my promise had not tied my hands, I would count this host that comes against us but cakes and fancy bread; but perhaps it may prove something different from what we apprehend." The men on horseback now came up, and raising their lances surrounded Don Quixote in silence, and pointed them at his back and breast, menacing him with death. One of those on foot, putting his finger to his lips as a sign to him to be silent, seized Rocinante's bridle and drew him out of the road, and the others driving Sancho and Dapple before them, and all maintaining a strange silence, followed in the steps of the one who led Don Quixote. The latter two or three times attempted to ask where they were taking him to and what they wanted, but the instant he began to open his lips they threatened to close them with the points of their lances; and Sancho fared the same way, for the moment he seemed about to speak one of those on foot punched him with a goad, and Dapple likewise, as if he too wanted to talk. Night set in, they quickened their pace, and the fears of the two prisoners grew greater, especially as they heard themselves assailed with—"Get on, ye Troglodytes;" "Silence, ye barbarians;" "March, ye cannibals;" "No murmuring, ye Scythians;" "Don't open your eyes, ye murderous Polyphemes, ye blood-thirsty lions," and suchlike names with which their captors harassed the ears of the wretched master and man. Sancho went along saying to himself, "We, tortolites, barbers, animals! I don't like those names at all; 'it's in a bad wind our corn is being winnowed;' 'misfortune comes upon us all at once like sticks on a dog,' and God grant it may be no worse than them that this unlucky adventure has in store for us."

Don Quixote rode completely dazed, unable with the aid of all his wits to make out what could be the meaning of these abusive names they called them, and the only conclusion he could arrive at was that there was no good to be hoped for and much evil to be feared. And now, about an hour after midnight, they reached a castle which Don Quixote saw at once was the duke's, where they had been but a short time before. "God bless me!" said he, as he recognised the mansion, "what does this mean? It is all courtesy and politeness in this house; but with the vanquished good turns into evil, and evil into worse."

They entered the chief court of the castle and found it prepared and fitted up in a style that added to their amazement and doubled their fears, as will be seen in the following chapter.






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