CHAPTER LIX - WHEREIN IS RELATED THE STRANGE THING, WHICH MAY BE REGARDED AS AN ADVENTURE, THAT HAPPENED DON QUIXOTE
A clear limpid spring which they discovered in a cool grove relieved Don Quixote and Sancho of the dust and fatigue due to the unpolite behaviour of the bulls, and by the side of this, having turned Dapple and Rocinante loose without headstall or bridle, the forlorn pair, master and man, seated themselves. Sancho had recourse to the larder of his alforjas and took out of them what he called the prog; Don Quixote rinsed his mouth and bathed his face, by which cooling process his flagging energies were revived. Out of pure vexation he remained without eating, and out of pure politeness Sancho did not venture to touch a morsel of what was before him, but waited for his master to act as taster. Seeing, however, that, absorbed in thought, he was forgetting to carry the bread to his mouth, he said never a word, and trampling every sort of good breeding under foot, began to stow away in his paunch the bread and cheese that came to his hand.
"Eat, Sancho my friend," said Don Quixote; "support life, which is of more consequence to thee than to me, and leave me to die under the pain of my thoughts and pressure of my misfortunes. I was born, Sancho, to live dying, and thou to die eating; and to prove the truth of what I say, look at me, printed in histories, famed in arms, courteous in behaviour, honoured by princes, courted by maidens; and after all, when I looked forward to palms, triumphs, and crowns, won and earned by my valiant deeds, I have this morning seen myself trampled on, kicked, and crushed by the feet of unclean and filthy animals. This thought blunts my teeth, paralyses my jaws, cramps my hands, and robs me of all appetite for food; so much so that I have a mind to let myself die of hunger, the cruelest death of all deaths."
"So then," said Sancho, munching hard all the time, "your worship does not agree with the proverb that says, 'Let Martha die, but let her die with a full belly.' I, at any rate, have no mind to kill myself; so far from that, I mean to do as the cobbler does, who stretches the leather with his teeth until he makes it reach as far as he wants. I'll stretch out my life by eating until it reaches the end heaven has fixed for it; and let me tell you, senor, there's no greater folly than to think of dying of despair as your worship does; take my advice, and after eating lie down and sleep a bit on this green grass-mattress, and you will see that when you awake you'll feel something better."
Don Quixote did as he recommended, for it struck him that Sancho's reasoning was more like a philosopher's than a blockhead's, and said he, "Sancho, if thou wilt do for me what I am going to tell thee my ease of mind would be more assured and my heaviness of heart not so great; and it is this; to go aside a little while I am sleeping in accordance with thy advice, and, making bare thy carcase to the air, to give thyself three or four hundred lashes with Rocinante's reins, on account of the three thousand and odd thou art to give thyself for the disenchantment of Dulcinea; for it is a great pity that the poor lady should be left enchanted through thy carelessness and negligence."
"There is a good deal to be said on that point," said Sancho; "let us both go to sleep now, and after that, God has decreed what will happen. Let me tell your worship that for a man to whip himself in cold blood is a hard thing, especially if the stripes fall upon an ill-nourished and worse-fed body. Let my lady Dulcinea have patience, and when she is least expecting it, she will see me made a riddle of with whipping, and 'until death it's all life;' I mean that I have still life in me, and the desire to make good what I have promised."
Don Quixote thanked him, and ate a little, and Sancho a good deal, and then they both lay down to sleep, leaving those two inseparable friends and comrades, Rocinante and Dapple, to their own devices and to feed unrestrained upon the abundant grass with which the meadow was furnished. They woke up rather late, mounted once more and resumed their journey, pushing on to reach an inn which was in sight, apparently a league off. I say an inn, because Don Quixote called it so, contrary to his usual practice of calling all inns castles. They reached it, and asked the landlord if they could put up there. He said yes, with as much comfort and as good fare as they could find in Saragossa. They dismounted, and Sancho stowed away his larder in a room of which the landlord gave him the key. He took the beasts to the stable, fed them, and came back to see what orders Don Quixote, who was seated on a bench at the door, had for him, giving special thanks to heaven that this inn had not been taken for a castle by his master. Supper-time came, and they repaired to their room, and Sancho asked the landlord what he had to give them for supper. To this the landlord replied that his mouth should be the measure; he had only to ask what he would; for that inn was provided with the birds of the air and the fowls of the earth and the fish of the sea.
"There's no need of all that," said Sancho; "if they'll roast us a couple of chickens we'll be satisfied, for my master is delicate and eats little, and I'm not over and above gluttonous."
The landlord replied he had no chickens, for the kites had stolen them.
"Well then," said Sancho, "let senor landlord tell them to roast a pullet, so that it is a tender one."
"Pullet! My father!" said the landlord; "indeed and in truth it's only yesterday I sent over fifty to the city to sell; but saving pullets ask what you will."
"In that case," said Sancho, "you will not be without veal or kid."
"Just now," said the landlord, "there's none in the house, for it's all finished; but next week there will he enough and to spare."
"Much good that does us," said Sancho; "I'll lay a bet that all these short-comings are going to wind up in plenty of bacon and eggs."
"By God," said the landlord, "my guest's wits must he precious dull; I tell him I have neither pullets nor hens, and he wants me to have eggs! Talk of other dainties, if you please, and don't ask for hens again."
"Body o' me!" said Sancho, "let's settle the matter; say at once what you have got, and let us have no more words about it."
"In truth and earnest, senor guest," said the landlord, "all I have is a couple of cow-heels like calves' feet, or a couple of calves' feet like cowheels; they are boiled with chick-peas, onions, and bacon, and at this moment they are crying 'Come eat me, come eat me."
"I mark them for mine on the spot," said Sancho; "let nobody touch them; I'll pay better for them than anyone else, for I could not wish for anything more to my taste; and I don't care a pin whether they are feet or heels."
"Nobody shall touch them," said the landlord; "for the other guests I have, being persons of high quality, bring their own cook and caterer and larder with them."
"If you come to people of quality," said Sancho, "there's nobody more so than my master; but the calling he follows does not allow of larders or store-rooms; we lay ourselves down in the middle of a meadow, and fill ourselves with acorns or medlars."
Here ended Sancho's conversation with the landlord, Sancho not caring to carry it any farther by answering him; for he had already asked him what calling or what profession it was his master was of.
Supper-time having come, then, Don Quixote betook himself to his room, the landlord brought in the stew-pan just as it was, and he sat himself down to sup very resolutely. It seems that in another room, which was next to Don Quixote's, with nothing but a thin partition to separate it, he overheard these words, "As you live, Senor Don Jeronimo, while they are bringing supper, let us read another chapter of the Second Part of 'Don Quixote of La Mancha.'"
The instant Don Quixote heard his own name be started to his feet and listened with open ears to catch what they said about him, and heard the Don Jeronimo who had been addressed say in reply, "Why would you have us read that absurd stuff, Don Juan, when it is impossible for anyone who has read the First Part of the history of 'Don Quixote of La Mancha' to take any pleasure in reading this Second Part?"
"For all that," said he who was addressed as Don Juan, "we shall do well to read it, for there is no book so bad but it has something good in it. What displeases me most in it is that it represents Don Quixote as now cured of his love for Dulcinea del Toboso."
On hearing this Don Quixote, full of wrath and indignation, lifted up his voice and said, "Whoever he may be who says that Don Quixote of La Mancha has forgotten or can forget Dulcinea del Toboso, I will teach him with equal arms that what he says is very far from the truth; for neither can the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso be forgotten, nor can forgetfulness have a place in Don Quixote; his motto is constancy, and his profession to maintain the same with his life and never wrong it."
"Who is this that answers us?" said they in the next room.
"Who should it be," said Sancho, "but Don Quixote of La Mancha himself, who will make good all he has said and all he will say; for pledges don't trouble a good payer."
Sancho had hardly uttered these words when two gentlemen, for such they seemed to be, entered the room, and one of them, throwing his arms round Don Quixote's neck, said to him, "Your appearance cannot leave any question as to your name, nor can your name fail to identify your appearance; unquestionably, senor, you are the real Don Quixote of La Mancha, cynosure and morning star of knight-errantry, despite and in defiance of him who has sought to usurp your name and bring to naught your achievements, as the author of this book which I here present to you has done;" and with this he put a book which his companion carried into the hands of Don Quixote, who took it, and without replying began to run his eye over it; but he presently returned it saying, "In the little I have seen I have discovered three things in this author that deserve to be censured. The first is some words that I have read in the preface; the next that the language is Aragonese, for sometimes he writes without articles; and the third, which above all stamps him as ignorant, is that he goes wrong and departs from the truth in the most important part of the history, for here he says that my squire Sancho Panza's wife is called Mari Gutierrez, when she is called nothing of the sort, but Teresa Panza; and when a man errs on such an important point as this there is good reason to fear that he is in error on every other point in the history."
"A nice sort of historian, indeed!" exclaimed Sancho at this; "he must know a deal about our affairs when he calls my wife Teresa Panza, Mari Gutierrez; take the book again, senor, and see if I am in it and if he has changed my name."
"From your talk, friend," said Don Jeronimo, "no doubt you are Sancho Panza, Senor Don Quixote's squire."
"Yes, I am," said Sancho; "and I'm proud of it."
"Faith, then," said the gentleman, "this new author does not handle you with the decency that displays itself in your person; he makes you out a heavy feeder and a fool, and not in the least droll, and a very different being from the Sancho described in the First Part of your master's history."
"God forgive him," said Sancho; "he might have left me in my corner without troubling his head about me; 'let him who knows how ring the bells; 'Saint Peter is very well in Rome.'"
The two gentlemen pressed Don Quixote to come into their room and have supper with them, as they knew very well there was nothing in that inn fit for one of his sort. Don Quixote, who was always polite, yielded to their request and supped with them. Sancho stayed behind with the stew. and invested with plenary delegated authority seated himself at the head of the table, and the landlord sat down with him, for he was no less fond of cow-heel and calves' feet than Sancho was.
While at supper Don Juan asked Don Quixote what news he had of the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, was she married, had she been brought to bed, or was she with child, or did she in maidenhood, still preserving her modesty and delicacy, cherish the remembrance of the tender passion of Senor Don Quixote?
To this he replied, "Dulcinea is a maiden still, and my passion more firmly rooted than ever, our intercourse unsatisfactory as before, and her beauty transformed into that of a foul country wench;" and then he proceeded to give them a full and particular account of the enchantment of Dulcinea, and of what had happened him in the cave of Montesinos, together with what the sage Merlin had prescribed for her disenchantment, namely the scourging of Sancho.
Exceedingly great was the amusement the two gentlemen derived from hearing Don Quixote recount the strange incidents of his history; and if they were amazed by his absurdities they were equally amazed by the elegant style in which he delivered them. On the one hand they regarded him as a man of wit and sense, and on the other he seemed to them a maundering blockhead, and they could not make up their minds whereabouts between wisdom and folly they ought to place him.
Sancho having finished his supper, and left the landlord in the X condition, repaired to the room where his master was, and as he came in said, "May I die, sirs, if the author of this book your worships have got has any mind that we should agree; as he calls me glutton (according to what your worships say) I wish he may not call me drunkard too."
"But he does," said Don Jeronimo; "I cannot remember, however, in what way, though I know his words are offensive, and what is more, lying, as I can see plainly by the physiognomy of the worthy Sancho before me."
"Believe me," said Sancho, "the Sancho and the Don Quixote of this history must be different persons from those that appear in the one Cide Hamete Benengeli wrote, who are ourselves; my master valiant, wise, and true in love, and I simple, droll, and neither glutton nor drunkard."
"I believe it," said Don Juan; "and were it possible, an order should be issued that no one should have the presumption to deal with anything relating to Don Quixote, save his original author Cide Hamete; just as Alexander commanded that no one should presume to paint his portrait save Apelles."
"Let him who will paint me," said Don Quixote; "but let him not abuse me; for patience will often break down when they heap insults upon it."
"None can be offered to Senor Don Quixote," said Don Juan, "that he himself will not be able to avenge, if he does not ward it off with the shield of his patience, which, I take it, is great and strong."
A considerable portion of the night passed in conversation of this sort, and though Don Juan wished Don Quixote to read more of the book to see what it was all about, he was not to be prevailed upon, saying that he treated it as read and pronounced it utterly silly; and, if by any chance it should come to its author's ears that he had it in his hand, he did not want him to flatter himself with the idea that he had read it; for our thoughts, and still more our eyes, should keep themselves aloof from what is obscene and filthy.
They asked him whither he meant to direct his steps. He replied, to Saragossa, to take part in the harness jousts which were held in that city every year. Don Juan told him that the new history described how Don Quixote, let him be who he might, took part there in a tilting at the ring, utterly devoid of invention, poor in mottoes, very poor in costume, though rich in sillinesses.
"For that very reason," said Don Quixote, "I will not set foot in Saragossa; and by that means I shall expose to the world the lie of this new history writer, and people will see that I am not the Don Quixote he speaks of."
"You will do quite right," said Don Jeronimo; "and there are other jousts at Barcelona in which Senor Don Quixote may display his prowess."
"That is what I mean to do," said Don Quixote; "and as it is now time, I pray your worships to give me leave to retire to bed, and to place and retain me among the number of your greatest friends and servants."
"And me too," said Sancho; "maybe I'll be good for something."
With this they exchanged farewells, and Don Quixote and Sancho retired to their room, leaving Don Juan and Don Jeronimo amazed to see the medley he made of his good sense and his craziness; and they felt thoroughly convinced that these, and not those their Aragonese author described, were the genuine Don Quixote and Sancho. Don Quixote rose betimes, and bade adieu to his hosts by knocking at the partition of the other room. Sancho paid the landlord magnificently, and recommended him either to say less about the providing of his inn or to keep it better provided.