Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616). Don Quixote, Part 1.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.
VIII. Wherein Is Ended the History of the Curious-Impertinent: and Likewise Recounted the Rough Encounter and Conflict Passed between Don Quixote and Certain Bags of Red Wine
‘What sayst thou, friend?’ quoth the curate (leaving off at that word to prosecute the reading of his novel). ‘Art thou in thy wits, Sancho? What a devil, man, how can that be, seeing the giant dwells at least two thousand leagues from hence?’ By this they heard a marvellous great noise within the chamber, and that Don Quixote cried out aloud, ‘Stay, false thief! robber, stay! for since thou art here, thy scimitar shall but little avail thee.’ And therewithal it seemed that he struck a number of mighty blows on the walls. And Sancho said, ‘There is no need to stand thus listening abroad, but rather that you go in and part the fray, or else assist my lord; although I think it be not very necessary, for the giant is questionless dead by this, and giving account for the ill life he led; for I saw his blood run all about the house, and his head cut off, which is as great as a great wine bag.’ ‘I am content to be hewn in pieces,’ quoth the innkeeper, hearing of this, ‘if Don Quixote or Don devil have not given some blow to one of the wine-bags that stood filled at his bed’s head, and the shed wine must needs be that which seems blood to this good man.’ And saying so,
Sancho went up and down the floor searching for the giant’s head, and seeing that he could not find it he said, ‘Now I do see very well that all the things of this house are enchantments, for the last time that I was here, in this very same room, I got many blows and buffets, and knew not who did strike me, nor could I see any body; and now the head appears not, which I saw cut off with mine own eyes, and yet the blood ran as swiftly from the body as water
The curate held fast Don Quixote by the hands, who believing that he had achieved the adventure, and was after it come into the Princess Micomicona her presence, he laid himself on his knees before the curate, saying, ‘Well may your greatness, high and famous lady, live from henceforth secure from any danger that this unfortunate wretch may do unto you; and I am also freed from this day forward from the promise that I made unto you, seeing I have, by the assistance of the heavens, and through her favour by whom I live and breathe, so happily accomplished it.’ ‘Did not I say so?’ quoth Sancho, hearing of his master. ‘Yea, I was not drunk. See if my master hath not powdered the giant by this? The matter is questionless, and the earldom is mine own.’ Who would not laugh at these raving fits of the master and man? All of them laughed save the innkeeper, who gave himself for anger to the devil more than a hundred times. And the barber, Cardenio, and the curate, got Don Quixote to bed again, not without much ado, who presently fell asleep with tokens of marvellous weariness. They left him sleeping, and went out to comfort
The hostess, on the other side, went up and down whining and saying, ‘In an ill season and an unlucky hour did this knight-errant enter into my house, alas! and I would that mine eyes had never seen him, seeing he costs me so dear. The last time that he was here, he went away scot free for his supper, bed, straw, and barley, both for himself and his man, his horse and his ass, saying that he was a knight-adventurer (and God give to him ill venture, and to all the other adventurers of the world!) and was not therefore bound to pay anything, for so it was written in the statutes of chivalry. And now for his cause came the other gentleman, and took away my good tail, and hath returned it me back with two quarters of damage; for all the hair is fallen off, and it cannot stand my husband any more in stead for the purpose he had it; and for an end and conclusion of all, to break my wine-bags and shed my wine: I wish I may see as much of his blood shed. And do not think otherwise; for, by my father’s old bones and the life of my mother, they shall pay me every doit, one quart upon another, or else I will never be called as I am, nor be mine own father’s daughter.’
These and such like words spake the innkeeper’s wife with very great fury, and was seconded by her good servant Maritornes. The daughter held her peace, and would now and then smile a little. But master parson did quiet and pacify all, by promising to satisfy them for the damages as well as he might, as well for the wine as for the bags, but chiefly for her tail, the which was so much accounted of and valued so highly. Dorothea did comfort Sancho, saying to him, that whensoever it should be verified that his lord had slain the giant, and established her quietly in her kingdom, she would bestow upon him the best earldom thereof. With this he took courage, and assured the princess that he himself had seen the giant’s head cut off; and for a more certain token thereof, he said that he had a beard that reached him down to his girdle; and that if the head could not now be found, it was by reason that all the affairs of that house
‘It after befel that Anselmo grew so satisfied of his wife’s honesty as he led a most contented and secure life. And Camilla did for the nonce look sourly upon Lothario, to the end Anselmo might construe her mind amiss. And for a greater confirmation thereof, Lothario requested Anselmo to excuse his coming any more to his house, seeing that he clearly perceived how Camilla could neither brook his company nor presence. But the hoodwinked Anselmo answered him that he would in no wise consent thereunto; and in this manner did weave his own dishonour a thousand ways, thinking to work his contentment. In this season, such was the delight that Leonela took also in her affections, as she suffered herself to be borne away by them headlongly, without any care or regard, confident because her lady did cover it, yea, and sometimes instructed her how she might put her desires in practice, without any fear or danger. But finally, Anselmo heard on a night somebody walk in Leonela’s chamber, and, being desirous to know who it was, as he thought to enter, he felt the door to be held fast against him, which gave him a greater desire to open it; and therefore he struggled so long and used such violence, as he threw open the door, and entered just at the time that another leaped out at the window; and therefore he ran out to overtake him, or see wherein he might know him, but could neither compass the one nor the other, by reason that Leonela, embracing him hardly, withheld him and said, “Pacify yourself, good sir, and be not troubled, nor follow him that was here; for he is one that belongs to me, and that so much, as he is my spouse.” Anselmo would not believe her, but rather,
‘Anselmo, as soon as it was day, without heeding the absence of his wife, arose and went to the place where he had shut up Leonela, with desire to know of her what she had promised to acquaint him withal. He opened the chamber door, and entered, but could find nobody therein, but some certain sheets knit together and tied to the window, as a certain sign how Leonela had made an escape by that way. Wherefore he returned very sad to tell to Camilla the adventure; but when he could neither find her at bed nor in the whole house, he remained astonied, and demanded for her of his servants, but none of them could tell him anything. And as he searched for her, he happened to see her coffers lie open and most of her jewels wanting; and herewithal fell into the true account of his disgrace, and that Leonela was not the cause of his misfortune, and so departed out of his house sad and pensive, even as he was, half ready and unapparelled, to his friend Lothario, to recount unto him his disaster: but when he found him to be likewise absented, and that the servants told him how their master was departed the very same night, and had borne away with him all his money, he was ready to run out of his wits. And to conclude, he returned to his own house again, wherein he found no creature, man or woman, for all his folk were departed, and had left the house alone and desert. He knew not what he might think, say, or do; and then his judgment began to fail him. There he did contemplate and behold himself in an instant, without a wife, a friend, and servants; abandoned (to his seeming) of Heaven that covered him, and chiefly without honour; for he clearly noted his own perdition in Camilla’s crime. In the end he resolved, after he had bethought himself a great while, to go to his friend’s village, wherein he had been all the while that he afforded the leisure to contrive that disaster. And so, shutting up his house, he mounted a-horseback, and rode away in languishing and doleful wise. And scarce had he
‘With these so unfortunate news poor Anselmo arrived, not only to terms of losing his wits, but also well-nigh of losing his life; and therefore, arising as well as he might, he came to his friend’s house, who had heard nothing yet of his disgrace; but perceiving him to arrive so wan, pined, and dried up, he presently conjectured that some grievous evil afflicted him. Anselmo requested him presently that he might be carried to his chamber, and provided of paper and ink to write withal. All was done, and he left in bed, and alone, for so he desired them; and also that the door should be fast locked. And being alone, the imagination of his misfortune gave him such a terrible charge, as he clearly perceived that his life would shortly fail him, and therefore resolved to leave notice of the cause of his sudden and unexpected death; and therefore he began to write it; but before
‘“A foolish and impertinent desire hath despoiled me of life. If the news of my death shall arrive to Camilla, let her also know that I do pardon her, for she was not bound to work miracles; nor had I any need to desire that she should work them. And seeing I was the builder and contriver of mine own dishonour, there is no reason”—
‘Hitherunto did Anselmo write, by which it appeared that his life ended in that point, ere he could set an end to the reason he was to give. The next day ensuing, the gentleman his friend acquainted Anselmo’s kinsfolk with his death; the which had already knowledge of his misfortune, and also of the monastery wherein Camilla had retired herself, being almost in terms to accompany her husband in that forcible voyage; nor for the news of his death, but for grief of others which she had received of her absent friend. It is said that although she was a widow, yet would she neither depart out of the monastery, nor become a religious woman, until she had received within a few days after news how Lothario was slain in a battle given by Monsieur de Lautrec, to the great Captain Gonzalo Fernandez of Cordova, in the kingdom of Naples; and that was the end of the late repentant friend, the which being known to Camilla, she made a profession, and shortly after deceased between the
‘This novel,’ quoth the curate, having read it, ‘is a pretty one; but yet I cannot persuade myself that it is true, and if it be a fiction, the author erred therein; for it cannot be imagined that any husband would be so foolish as to make so costly an experience as did Anselmo; but if this accident had been devised betwixt a gentleman and his love, then were it possible; but being between man and wife, it contains somewhat that is impossible and unlikely, but yet I can take no exception against the manner of recounting thereof.’