"There's where it is, what I abominate, Senor Samson," said Sancho here; "my master will attack a hundred armed men as a greedy boy would half a dozen melons. Body of the world, senor bachelor! there is a time to attack and a time to retreat, and it is not to be always 'Santiago, and close Spain!' Moreover, I have heard it said (and I think by my master himself, if I remember rightly) that the mean of valour lies between the extremes of cowardice and rashness; and if that be so, I don't want him to fly without having good reason, or to attack when the odds make it better not. But, above all things, I warn my master that if he is to take me with him it must be on the condition that he is to do all the fighting, and that I am not to be called upon to do anything except what concerns keeping him clean and comfortable; in this I will dance attendance on him readily; but to expect me to draw sword, even against rascally churls of the hatchet and hood, is idle. I don't set up to be a fighting man, Senor Samson, but only the best and most loyal squire that ever served knight-errant; and if my master Don Quixote, in consideration of my many faithful services, is pleased to give me some island of the many his worship says one may stumble on in these parts, I will take it as a great favour; and if he does not give it to me, I was born like everyone else, and a man must not live in dependence on anyone except God; and what is more, my bread will taste as well, and perhaps even better, without a government than if I were a governor; and how do I know but that in these governments the devil may have prepared some trip for me, to make me lose my footing and fall and knock my grinders out? Sancho I was born and Sancho I mean to die. But for all that, if heaven were to make me a fair offer of an island or something else of the kind, without much trouble and without much risk, I am not such a fool as to refuse it; for they say, too, 'when they offer thee a heifer, run with a halter; and 'when good luck comes to thee, take it in.'"
"Brother Sancho," said Carrasco, "you have spoken like a professor; but, for all that, put your trust in God and in Senor Don Quixote, for he will give you a kingdom, not to say an island."
"It is all the same, be it more or be it less," replied Sancho; "though I can tell Senor Carrasco that my master would not throw the kingdom he might give me into a sack all in holes; for I have felt my own pulse and I find myself sound enough to rule kingdoms and govern islands; and I have before now told my master as much."
"Take care, Sancho," said Samson; "honours change manners, and perhaps when you find yourself a governor you won't know the mother that bore you."
"That may hold good of those that are born in the ditches," said Sancho, "not of those who have the fat of an old Christian four fingers deep on their souls, as I have. Nay, only look at my disposition, is that likely to show ingratitude to anyone?"
"God grant it," said Don Quixote; "we shall see when the government comes; and I seem to see it already."
He then begged the bachelor, if he were a poet, to do him the favour of composing some verses for him conveying the farewell he meant to take of his lady Dulcinea del Toboso, and to see that a letter of her name was placed at the beginning of each line, so that, at the end of the verses, "Dulcinea del Toboso" might be read by putting together the first letters. The bachelor replied that although he was not one of the famous poets of Spain, who were, they said, only three and a half, he would not fail to compose the required verses; though he saw a great difficulty in the task, as the letters which made up the name were seventeen; so, if he made four ballad stanzas of four lines each, there would be a letter over, and if he made them of five, what they called decimas or redondillas, there were three letters short; nevertheless he would try to drop a letter as well as he could, so that the name "Dulcinea del Toboso" might be got into four ballad stanzas.
"It must be, by some means or other," said Don Quixote, "for unless the name stands there plain and manifest, no woman would believe the verses were made for her."
They agreed upon this, and that the departure should take place in three days from that time. Don Quixote charged the bachelor to keep it a secret, especially from the curate and Master Nicholas, and from his niece and the housekeeper, lest they should prevent the execution of his praiseworthy and valiant purpose. Carrasco promised all, and then took his leave, charging Don Quixote to inform him of his good or evil fortunes whenever he had an opportunity; and thus they bade each other farewell, and Sancho went away to make the necessary preparations for their expedition.