Don Quixote By Miguel de Cervantes Part 2: Chapter LXV-LXXII



Sancho slept that night in a cot in the same chamber with Don Quixote, a thing he would have gladly excused if he could for he knew very well that with questions and answers his master would not let him sleep, and he was in no humour for talking much, as he still felt the pain of his late martyrdom, which interfered with his freedom of speech; and it would have been more to his taste to sleep in a hovel alone, than in that luxurious chamber in company. And so well founded did his apprehension prove, and so correct was his anticipation, that scarcely had his master got into bed when he said, "What dost thou think of tonight's adventure, Sancho? Great and mighty is the power of cold-hearted scorn, for thou with thine own eyes hast seen Altisidora slain, not by arrows, nor by the sword, nor by any warlike weapon, nor by deadly poisons, but by the thought of the sternness and scorn with which I have always treated her."

"She might have died and welcome," said Sancho, "when she pleased and how she pleased; and she might have left me alone, for I never made her fall in love or scorned her. I don't know nor can I imagine how the recovery of Altisidora, a damsel more fanciful than wise, can have, as I have said before, anything to do with the sufferings of Sancho Panza. Now I begin to see plainly and clearly that there are enchanters and enchanted people in the world; and may God deliver me from them, since I can't deliver myself; and so I beg of your worship to let me sleep and not ask me any more questions, unless you want me to throw myself out of the window."

"Sleep, Sancho my friend," said Don Quixote, "if the pinprodding and pinches thou hast received and the smacks administered to thee will let thee."

"No pain came up to the insult of the smacks," said Sancho, "for the simple reason that it was duennas, confound them, that gave them to me; but once more I entreat your worship to let me sleep, for sleep is relief from misery to those who are miserable when awake."

"Be it so, and God be with thee," said Don Quixote.

They fell asleep, both of them, and Cide Hamete, the author of this great history, took this opportunity to record and relate what it was that induced the duke and duchess to get up the elaborate plot that has been described. The bachelor Samson Carrasco, he says, not forgetting how he as the Knight of the Mirrors had been vanquished and overthrown by Don Quixote, which defeat and overthrow upset all his plans, resolved to try his hand again, hoping for better luck than he had before; and so, having learned where Don Quixote was from the page who brought the letter and present to Sancho's wife, Teresa Panza, he got himself new armour and another horse, and put a white moon upon his shield, and to carry his arms he had a mule led by a peasant, not by Tom Cecial his former squire for fear he should be recognised by Sancho or Don Quixote. He came to the duke's castle, and the duke informed him of the road and route Don Quixote had taken with the intention of being present at the jousts at Saragossa. He told him, too, of the jokes he had practised upon him, and of the device for the disenchantment of Dulcinea at the expense of Sancho's backside; and finally he gave him an account of the trick Sancho had played upon his master, making him believe that Dulcinea was enchanted and turned into a country wench; and of how the duchess, his wife, had persuaded Sancho that it was he himself who was deceived, inasmuch as Dulcinea was really enchanted; at which the bachelor laughed not a little, and marvelled as well at the sharpness and simplicity of Sancho as at the length to which Don Quixote's madness went. The duke begged of him if he found him (whether he overcame him or not) to return that way and let him know the result. This the bachelor did; he set out in quest of Don Quixote, and not finding him at Saragossa, he went on, and how he fared has been already told. He returned to the duke's castle and told him all, what the conditions of the combat were, and how Don Quixote was now, like a loyal knight-errant, returning to keep his promise of retiring to his village for a year, by which time, said the bachelor, he might perhaps be cured of his madness; for that was the object that had led him to adopt these disguises, as it was a sad thing for a gentleman of such good parts as Don Quixote to be a madman. And so he took his leave of the duke, and went home to his village to wait there for Don Quixote, who was coming after him. Thereupon the duke seized the opportunity of practising this mystification upon him; so much did he enjoy everything connected with Sancho and Don Quixote. He had the roads about the castle far and near, everywhere he thought Don Quixote was likely to pass on his return, occupied by large numbers of his servants on foot and on horseback, who were to bring him to the castle, by fair means or foul, if they met him. They did meet him, and sent word to the duke, who, having already settled what was to be done, as soon as he heard of his arrival, ordered the torches and lamps in the court to be lit and Altisidora to be placed on the catafalque with all the pomp and ceremony that has been described, the whole affair being so well arranged and acted that it differed but little from reality. And Cide Hamete says, moreover, that for his part he considers the concocters of the joke as crazy as the victims of it, and that the duke and duchess were not two fingers' breadth removed from being something like fools themselves when they took such pains to make game of a pair of fools.

As for the latter, one was sleeping soundly and the other lying awake occupied with his desultory thoughts, when daylight came to them bringing with it the desire to rise; for the lazy down was never a delight to Don Quixote, victor or vanquished. Altisidora, come back from death to life as Don Quixote fancied, following up the freak of her lord and lady, entered the chamber, crowned with the garland she had worn on the catafalque and in a robe of white taffeta embroidered with gold flowers, her hair flowing loose over her shoulders, and leaning upon a staff of fine black ebony. Don Quixote, disconcerted and in confusion at her appearance, huddled himself up and well-nigh covered himself altogether with the sheets and counterpane of the bed, tongue-tied, and unable to offer her any civility. Altisidora seated herself on a chair at the head of the bed, and, after a deep sigh, said to him in a feeble, soft voice, "When women of rank and modest maidens trample honour under foot, and give a loose to the tongue that breaks through every impediment, publishing abroad the inmost secrets of their hearts, they are reduced to sore extremities. Such a one am I, Senor Don Quixote of La Mancha, crushed, conquered, love-smitten, but yet patient under suffering and virtuous, and so much so that my heart broke with grief and I lost my life. For the last two days I have been dead, slain by the thought of the cruelty with which thou hast treated me, obdurate knight,

O harder thou than marble to my plaint;

or at least believed to be dead by all who saw me; and had it not been that Love, taking pity on me, let my recovery rest upon the sufferings of this good squire, there I should have remained in the other world."

"Love might very well have let it rest upon the sufferings of my ass, and I should have been obliged to him," said Sancho. "But tell me, senora — and may heaven send you a tenderer lover than my master-what did you see in the other world? What goes on in hell? For of course that's where one who dies in despair is bound for."

"To tell you the truth," said Altisidora, "I cannot have died outright, for I did not go into hell; had I gone in, it is very certain I should never have come out again, do what I might. The truth is, I came to the gate, where some dozen or so of devils were playing tennis, all in breeches and doublets, with falling collars trimmed with Flemish bonelace, and ruffles of the same that served them for wristbands, with four fingers' breadth of the arms exposed to make their hands look longer; in their hands they held rackets of fire; but what amazed me still more was that books, apparently full of wind and rubbish, served them for tennis balls, a strange and marvellous thing; this, however, did not astonish me so much as to observe that, although with players it is usual for the winners to be glad and the losers sorry, there in that game all were growling, all were snarling, and all were cursing one another." "That's no wonder," said Sancho; "for devils, whether playing or not, can never be content, win or lose."

"Very likely," said Altisidora; "but there is another thing that surprises me too, I mean surprised me then, and that was that no ball outlasted the first throw or was of any use a second time; and it was wonderful the constant succession there was of books, new and old. To one of them, a brand-new, well-bound one, they gave such a stroke that they knocked the guts out of it and scattered the leaves about. 'Look what book that is,' said one devil to another, and the other replied, 'It is the "Second Part of the History of Don Quixote of La Mancha," not by Cide Hamete, the original author, but by an Aragonese who by his own account is of Tordesillas.' 'Out of this with it,' said the first, 'and into the depths of hell with it out of my sight.' 'Is it so bad?' said the other. 'So bad is it,' said the first, 'that if I had set myself deliberately to make a worse, I could not have done it.' They then went on with their game, knocking other books about; and I, having heard them mention the name of Don Quixote whom I love and adore so, took care to retain this vision in my memory."

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After the misadventure with the windmills, Don Quixote