Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha online

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The steward was as good as his word, for it would have gone much against
his conscience to starve so excellent a governor; besides, he intended to come
to a conclusion wit^ him that very night, and to play off the last trick he had
in commission.

Kow Sancho, having dined to his heart's oontent, though against all the rules
and aphorisms of doctor Tirteafuera, when the cloth was removed, a courier
arrived with a letter from Don Quixote to the governor Sancho desired the
secretary to read it first to himself, and then, if it contained nothing that re-
quired secrecy, to read it aloud. The secretary having done as he was com-
manded, '* My lord," said he, " weU may it be read aloud, for what signer Don
Quixote writes to your lordship deserves to be engraven in letters of gold. Fra^
listen to me.*


" When I expected, friend Sancho, to have heard only of thy carelessness and
blunders, I have had accounts of thy vigilance and discretion ; for which I return
particular thanks to heaven, that can raise up the lowest from their poverty, and

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oonvert the fool into a wise man. I am told, that as a goremor thoa art a num. ;
yet, as a man thou art scarcely above the brute creature— «ach is the hnznility
of thy demeanour. But I would observe to thee, Sancho, that it is often expe-
dient and necessary, for the due support of authority, to act in contradiction to
the humility of the heart. The personal adornments of one that is raised to a
high situation must correspond with his present greatness, and not with his
former lowliness : let thy apparel, therefore, be good and becoming : for the hedge-
stake when decorated no longer appears what it really is. I do not mean, that
thou should*8t wear jewels, or finery, nor, being a judge, would I have thee dress
like a soldier ; but adorn thyself in a manner suitable to thy employment. To
gain the good- will of thy people, two things, among others, thou must not fail
to observe : one is to be courteous to aU — that, indeed, I have already told thee;
the other is to take especial care that the people be exposed to no scarcity of
fbod: for, with the poor, -hunger is, of aU afflictions the most insupportable.
Publish few edicts, but let those be good ; and, above aU, see that they are yreH
observed ; for edicts that are not kept are the same as not made, and serve only
to show that the prince, though he had wisdom and authority to make them, had
not the courage to insist upon their execution. Laws that threaten, and are not
enforced, become like king Log, whose croaking subjects first feared, then de-
spised him. Be a father to virtuQ, and a step-father to vice. ^ Be not always
severe, nor always mild; but choose the happy mean between them, which is the
true point of discretion. Visit the prisons, the shambles, and the markets ; for
there the presence of the governor is l^ghly necessary: such attention is a
comfort to the prisoner hoping for release ; it is a terror to the butchers^ who
then dare not make use of fSedse weights ; and the same effect is produced on all
other dealers. Shouldst thou unhappily be secretly inclined to avarice, to
gluttony or women, which I hope thou art not, avoid showing thyself gmlty of
these vices ; for, when those who are concerned with thee discover thy nding
passion, they will assault thee on that quarter, nor leave thee till they have
effected thy destruction. View, and re-view, consider and re-consider llie
counsels and documents I gave thee in writing before thy departure hence to thy
government ; and in them thou wilt find a choice supply 1o sustain thee through
the toils and difficulties which governors must continually encounter. Write to
thy patrons, the duke and duchess, and show thyself gratefid : for ingratitode is
the daught^ of pride, and one of the greatest sins ; whereas he who is grateful to
those that haVe done him service, thereby testifies that he will be grateful also
to GK>d, his constant benefiEtctor.

My lady duchess has dispatched a messenger to thy wife Teresa with thy
hunting suit, and also a present from herself. We expect an answer every
moment. I have been a little out of order with a certain catdawing which befel
me, not much to the advantage of my nose ; but it was nothing; for, if there are
enchanters who persecute me, there are others who defend me. Let me xnow if
the steward who is with thee had any hand in the actions of the Trifeddi, as
thou hast suspected ; and give me advice, from time to time, of aU that happens
to thee, since the diatance between us is so short. I think of quitting this idle
life very soon ; for I was not bom for luxury and ease. A circumstance has
occurred which may, I believe, tend to deprive me of the fiftvour of the duke and
duchess ;. but, though it afflicts me much, it affects not my determination, for 1
must comply with the duties of my profession in preference to any other claim ,
as it is often said, Amicus Fhto^ sed magu amioa^ Vmtw, I write this in
Latin, being persuaded that thou hast learned that language since thy promotion.
Farewell, and God have thee in his keeping : so mayest Siou escape the pity of
the world.

Thy Mend,
''Dov QinxoTB DB lA Makgsa.*'

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Sanchi* listened with great attention to the letter, which was praised for its
wisdom by all who heard it; and, rising from table, he took his secretary
with him into his private chamber, being desirons to send an immediate answer
to his master ; and he ordered him to write, without adding or diminishing a tittle,
what he should dictate to him. He was obeyed, and the answer was as follows:

sijrcHO PAmsA. to don qxtizotb db la. kakcea.

" I am so taken up with business, that I have scarcely time either to scratch my
head or even to pare my nails, and therefore, God help me ! I wear them very
long. I tell your worship this, that you may not wonder why I have given you
no account before of my well or ill-being in this government, where I suffer more
hunger than when we both wandered about through woods and deserts.

* My lord duke wrote to me the other day, to tell me of certain spies that were
Gome into this island to take away my life ; but, as yet, I have been able to find
none, except a certain doctor, hired by the islanders to kill their governors. Hg
•alls himself doctor Pedro Bezio, and is a native of Tirteafuera ; so your worship
may see by his name that one is in danger of dying under his hands. The same
doctor owns that he does not cure distempers, but prevents them, for which he
prescribes nothing but fasting and fasting, till he reduces his patient to bare bones;
as if a consumptitn was not worse than a fever. In short, by this man's help, I
am in a fair way to perish by hunger and vexation; and, instead of coming
hither, as I expected, to eat hot, and dnnk cool, and lay my body at night between
HoUand sheets, upon soft beds of down, I am come to do penance, like a hermit ;
and this goes so much against me that, I do believe, the devil will have me at

''Hitherto, 1 have neither touched fee nor bribe; and how I am to fare here-
after, I know not; but I have been told that it was the custom with the governors
of this island, on taking possession, to receive a good round sum by way of gift
or loan from the townVpeople, and furthermore, that it is the same in aU other

" One night, as I was going the round, I met a very comely damsel in man*s
clothes, and a brother of hers in those of a woman. My sewer fell in love with
the girl, and has thoughts of making her his wife, and I have pitched upon the
youth for my son-in-law. To-day we both intend to disclose our minds to their
father, who is one Diego de la Liana, a gentleman, and as good a christian as one
can desire.

<' I visit the markets, as your worship advised me and yesterday I found a huckster
woman pretending to sell new hazel-nuts, and, finding that she had mixed them
with such as were old and rotten, I condemned them aU to the use of the hospital-
boys, who well knew how to pick the good from the bad, and forbade her to appear
in the market again for fifteen days. The people say I did well in this matter,
for it is a common opinion in this town that there is not a worse sort of people
than your market-women : for they are all shameless, hard-hearted, and impudent;
and I verily believe it is so, by those I have seen in other places.

« I am mightily pleased that my lady duchess has written to my wife Teresa
Fanza, and sent her the present your worship mentions ; I hope one time or other
to requite her goodness : pray kiss her honour's hands in my name, and tell her
she has not thrown her favours into a rent sack, as she will find.

'* I should be grieved to hear that you had any cross-reckonings with my lord
and lady ; for, if your worship quarrels with them, 'tis I must come to the
ground; and, since you warn me of all things not to be ungrateful, it would
ill become your worship to be so towards those who have done you so many kind-
nesses, and entertained you so nobly in their castle.

** The cat-business I don't understand— one of the tricks, mayhap, of your

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638 ▲syhitukbs ov dof auzzozs.

worship*! old enemies, fhe enchanters; bat I shall know more aboat it wlien we

« I wonld fain send yonr worship a token, but I cannot tell what, unlees it be
some little clyster-pipes which they make here very corioTisly ; but, if I eontinne
in office, I shall get fees and otlier pickings worth sending you. If my wife
Teresa Fanza writes to me, be so kind as to pay the postage and send me the letter;
for I have a mighty desire to know how £ues it with her, and my house, and
children. So heaven protect your worship £rom evil-minded enchanters, and bring
me salb and sound out of this government ; which I very much doubt, seeing how
I am treated by doctor Pedro Beaio.

" Your worship's servant,

^* Sanoho Fahza^ the governor.'*

The secretary sealed the letter, and it was forthwith dispatched by the
courier; and, as it was now judged expedient to release the governor hwn the
troubles of office, measures were concerted by those who had the management of
these jests. Sanoho passed that afternoon in making divers regulations for the
benefit of his people. Among others, he strictly prohibited the monopoly and
forestalling of provisions ; wines he allowed to be imported* from all parts,
requiring only the merchant to declare of what growth it was, that a just price
might be set upon it ; and whoever adulterated it, or gave it a idse name, should
be punished with death. He moderated the prices of all sorts of hose and shoes,
especially the latter, the current price of iniieh he thought exorbitant. He
limited Uie wages of servants, whidi were mounting fast to an extravagant height
He laid several penalties upon all those who ^ould sing lewd and immorBl
songs, either by day or by night; and prohibited the vagrant blind from going
about singing Uieir miracles in rhyme, unless they could produce unquestion-
able evidence of their truth : being persuaded that such oounterfeit tales brought
discredit upon those which were genuine. He appointed an overseer of the
poor, — not to persecute them, but to examine their true elaims : for under the
disguise of pretended lameness and counterfeit sores are often foimd study
thieves and hale drunkards. In short, he made many good and wholesome
ordinances, which are still observed in that town ; and, bearing his name, are
called, "The liegulations of the great Governor Saneho Panza."*

•The various Abmes meiitionad in thiBtnd the praosdwg chtptsn n^>eotiii| ihe moiiopol7<''
provisions, the insolence and dishonesty of the vendeis, ue idhsness and eztoitioB of a smntt i
and the numerous tricks of vaarant impostors, aie shown by PoUioer to be erils nelly czmg
at that period, and still the svJ^ects of oonplaint

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AOTnrroBBs of dov qitizuxb. 689



ID Hamete relates that Don Quixote, being

> now properly healed of hie wounds, began to

think the life he led in that castle was against

all the rules of his profession, and therefore

L he determined to request his noble host

f and hostess to grant him their permission tc

depart for Saragossa, as the approaching

tournament drew near, wherein he proposed

to win the suit'bf armour which was the prize at that festival.

But as he was dining one day with their highnesses, and preparing to unfold
his purpose, lo ! two women, clad in deep mourning, entered the great hall, and
one of them, advancing towards the table, threw herself at Don Quixote's feet,
which she embraced, at the same time pouring forth so many groans that all
present were astonished ; and the duke and duchess suspected it to be some jest
of their domestics, yet the groans and sobs of the female appeared so much like
real distress that they were in doubt, until the compassionate Don Quixote raised
her from the ground, and preyailed with her to remove the veil from her weeping
visage, when, to their surprise, they beheld the duenna Donna Bodriguez, accom-
panied by her unfortunate daughter, who had been deluded by the rich farmer's
son. This discovery was a fresh cause of amazement, especially to the duke
and duchess, for, though they knew the good woman's simplicity and foUy, they
had not thought her quite so absurd. At length Donna Bodriguez, turning to
her lord and lady, ** Hay it please your excellencies,*' said she, ** to permit me
to speak with this gentleman, by whom I hope to be relieved from a perplexity
in which we are involved by a cruel impudent villain.'* The duke told her that
she had his permission to say whatever she pleased to Don Quixote. Whereupon
addressing herself to the knight, she said, ''It ia not long, valorous knight, since
I gave you an account how basely and treacherously a wicked peasant had naed,
my poor dear child, this unfortunate girl here present, and you promised me to
stand up in her defence and see her righted ; and now I understand that you are
about to leave this castle in search of good adventuros — which Qod send you —
my desire is that, before you go forth into the wide world, you would challenge
that graceless villain, and force him to wed my daughter, as he promised before
he overcame her maiden scruples; for to expect justice in this affair from my lord
duke would, for the reasons I mentioned to you, be to look for pears on an elm
tree ; so heaven preserve your worship, and still be our defence."

"Worthy madam," replied Don Quixote, with much gravity and stateliness,
''moderate your tear&-*K)r rather dry them up, and spare your sighs; for I
take upon me the charge of seeing your daughter's wrongs redress^ : though
it had been better if she had not been so ready to believe the promises of
lovers, who, lor the most part, are forward to make promises, and very slow
to perform them. However, I will, with my loM duke's leave, depart imme-
diately in search of this ungracious youth, and will dudlenge and slay him if ha

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refuse to perform his contract : for the chief end and purpose of mj profearion
is, to spare the humble, and chastise the proud; — ^I mean, to succour the
wretched, and destroy the oppressor." " Sir knight,"^ said the duke, " you need
not trouble yourself to seek the rustic of whom this good duenna complains;
nor need you ask my permission to challenge him : regard him as already clial-
lenged, and leave it to me to oblige him to answer it, and meet you in person
here in this castle, within the lists, where all the usual ceremonies shall be
observed, and impartial justice distributed ; conformable to the practice of all
princes, who grant the lists to combatants within the bounds of theit territorieB.*'
"Upon that assurance," said Don Quixote, "with your grace's leave, I waive
on this occasion the punctilios of my gentility, and degrade myself to the level
of the offender, that he may be qualified to meet me in equal combat. Thus
then, though absent, I challenge and defy him, upon account of the injury he has
done in deceiving tiiis poor girl, who through his fault, is no longer a maiden ;
and he shall either perform his promise of becoming her lawful husband or die
in the contest." Thereupon pulling off his glove, he cast it into the middle oi
the hall, and the duke immediately took it up, declaring, as he had done before,
that he accepted the challenge in the name of lus vassal, and that the oombat
should take place six dap after, in the inner court of lus castle : the arms to be
those customary among knights—namely a lance, shield, and laced suit of armour,
and all the other pieces, without deceit, fraud, or any superstition whatever, to
be first viewed and examined by the judges of the field. " But first it will be
necessary," he further said, " that this good duenna here, and this naugrhty
damsel, should commit the justice of their cause to the hand of their champion
Don Quixote : for otherwise the challenge would become void and nothing be
done." "I do commit it," answered the duenna. "And I too," added the
daughter, all in tears, ashamed, and confused.

'Die day being fixed, and the duke determined within himself what should be
done, the mourning suppUcants retired ; at the same time, the duchess gave orders
that they should not be regarded as domestics, but as ladies-errant, who came to
seek justice in her castle. A separate apartment was, therefore, allotted to them,
and &ey were served as strangers, — to the amusement of the rest of the house-
hold, who could not imagine what was to be the end of the folly and presumption |
on the part of the duenna and her forsaken daughter. *

A choice dessert to their entertaininent now succeeded, and to give it a happy
completion, in came the page who had carried the letters and presents to govemoi
Sancho's wife Teresa. The duke and duchess were much pleased at his return,
and eager to learn the particulars of his journey. He said in reply to their
inquiries, that he could not give his report so publidy, nor in few words, and
therefore entreated their graces would be pleased to hear it in private, and in the
meantime accept of what amusement the letters he had brought might afford.
He thereupon delivered his packet, when one of the letters was found to be
addressed " To my lady duchess, of I know not where," and the other, '* To my
husband, Sancho Panza, governor of the island of Barataria, whom God prosper
more years than me." The duchess's cake was dough, as it is said, till die had
perused her letter, which she eagerly opened, and, after hastily running her eye
over it, finding nothing that required secrecy, she read it aloud to the duke and
the rest of the company, and the following were its contents.


" My lady,
" The letter your greatness sent to me, made me right glad, and, in faith, ]
longed for it mightily. The string of corals is very good, and my husband's
hunting suit comes not short of it. All the people in our town talk of youi

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Ixidjvhip's goodness in making' my husband a goTemor, though nobody believes
it ; — especially the priest fmd master Nicholas the barber, and ti^e bachelor Samson
Carrasoo. But what care I ? for so long as the thing is so as it is, they may
say what they list ; though, to own the truth, I should not haye belieyed it
myself but for the corals and the habit ; for in this Tillage everybody takes my
husband for a dolt, and cannot think what government he can be good for, but
over a herd of goats. God be his guide, and speed him in what is best for his
children. As for me, dear honey-sweet madam, I am bent upon making hay
while the sun shines, and hie mc to court, to loll in my coach, though it mokes
a thousand, that I could name, stare their eyes out to see me. So pray bid my
husband to send me a little money, — and let it be enough : for I reckon it is dear
living at court, where bread sells for sixpence, and meat for thirty maravedis the
pound, which is a judgment ; and if he is not for my going, let him send me
word in time, for my feet tingle to be on the tramp ; and besides, my neighbours
all tell me that if I and my daughter go stately and filDe at court, my husband will
be better known by me than I by him ; and to be sure, many will ask, what
ladies are those in that coach? and will be told by a footman of ours that 'tis the
wife and daughter of Sancho Fanza, governor of the island of Barataria ; and so
shall my husband be known, and I much looked upon — to Borne for everything !

'* I am as sorry as sorry can bo, that hereabouts there has been no gathering of
acorns this year of any account ; but> for oil that, I send your highness about half
a peck, which I went to the hiUs for, and with my own hands picked them one
by one, and could find no better — ^I wish they had been as big as ostrich eggs.

" Pray let not your mightiness forget to write to me, and I will take care to
answer, and send you tidings of my health, and all the news of the village where
I now remain, praying our Lord to preserve your greatness, and not to forget me
Mj daughter Sanchica and my son kiss your ladyship's hands.

*' She who is more minded to see than to write to your ladyship,

" Tour servant,

" Tjebesa. Paitza.."

Teresa's letter gave great pleasure to all who heard it, especially the duke and
duchess, insomuch that her gjace asked Don Quixote if he thought her letter to
the governor might with propriety be opened, as it must needs be admirable : to
which he repli^ that, to satisfy her highness's curiosity, he would open it.
Accordingly he did so, and found it to contain what follows : —


'* I received thy letter, dear husband of my soul, and I vow and swear to thee,

as I am a catholic christian, that I was within two fingers' breadth of running

mad with joy. Yes, indeed, when 1 came to hear that thou wast a governor,

methought I should have dropped down dead for mere gladness ; for 'tis said,

thou know'st, that sudden joy kills as soon as great sorrow. And as for our

daughter Sanchica, verily she could not contain herself, for pure pleasure.

There I had before my eyes thy suit, and the corals sent by my lady duchess

about my neck, and the letters in my hands, and the young man that brought

them standing by; yet, for all that, I thought it could be nothing but a dream : for

who could tlunk that a goatherd should ever come to be a governor of islands !

My mother used to say that, 'he who would see much must Hve long.' I say this

because, if I live longer, 1 hope to seo more ; — ^no, faith, I shall not rest till I see

thoe a tax-farmer, or a collector of the customs : for, though they be offices that

send many to the devil, there is much money to be touched and turned. My

lady duchess will tell theo how I have a huge longing to go to court — think of it,

and let me know thy mind : for I would fiun do thee credit there by riding in a



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" Neither the priest, the barber, the bachelor, nor ev^n the sexton, can yet
believe thou art a governor, and will have it Ihat it is all a cheat, or a matter of
enchantment, like the rest of thy master Don Qnizote*s afS&irs ; and Sanuaon sajB
he will find thee out, and drive this government ont of thy pate, and soour thj
master's brains. But I only laugh at tiiem, and look upon my string of oorala, and
think how to make thy suit of green into a habit for our daught^. I sent mj
lady duchess a parcel of acorns : — I wish they had been of gold. Pr'ythee s^id
me some strings of pearl, if they are in fiBshion in that same isUind. The news
of our town is that Berrneca has married her daughter to a sorry painter, wbo came
here and undertook any sort of work. The corporation employed him to paint
the king's arms over the gate of the town-house. He asked them two ducats tor
the job, which they paid beforehand; so he fell to it, and worked eight days, at
the end of which he had made nothing of it, and said he could not bring his hand
to paint such trumpery, and returned the money ; yet, for all that he married in

Online LibraryMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraAdventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha → online text (page 75 of 89)