Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Don Quixote 1.40



Verily and truly all those who find pleasure in histories like
this ought show their gratitude to Cide Hamete, its original author,
for the scrupulous care he has taken to set before us all its minute
particulars, not leaving anything, however trifling it may be, that he
does not make clear and plain. He portrays the thoughts, he reveals
the fancies, he answers implied questions, clears up doubts, sets
objections at rest, and, in a word, makes plain the smallest points
the most inquisitive can desire to know. O renowned author! O happy
Don Quixote! O famous famous droll Sancho! All and each, may ye live
countless ages for the delight and amusement of the dwellers on earth!

The history goes on to say that when Sancho saw the Distressed One
faint he exclaimed: "I swear by the faith of an honest man and the
shades of all my ancestors the Panzas, that never I did see or hear
of, nor has my master related or conceived in his mind, such an
adventure as this. A thousand devils- not to curse thee- take thee,
Malambruno, for an enchanter and a giant! Couldst thou find no other
sort of punishment for these sinners but bearding them? Would it not
have been better- it would have been better for them- to have taken
off half their noses from the middle upwards, even though they'd
have snuffled when they spoke, than to have put beards on them? I'll
bet they have not the means of paying anybody to shave them."

"That is the truth, senor," said one of the twelve; "we have not the
money to get ourselves shaved, and so we have, some of us, taken to
using sticking-plasters by way of an economical remedy, for by
applying them to our faces and plucking them off with a jerk we are
left as bare and smooth as the bottom of a stone mortar. There are, to
be sure, women in Kandy that go about from house to house to remove
down, and trim eyebrows, and make cosmetics for the use of the
women, but we, the duennas of my lady, would never let them in, for
most of them have a flavour of agents that have ceased to be
principals; and if we are not relieved by Senor Don Quixote we shall
be carried to our graves with beards."

"I will pluck out my own in the land of the Moors," said Don
Quixote, "if I don't cure yours."

At this instant the Trifaldi recovered from her swoon and said, "The
chink of that promise, valiant knight, reached my ears in the midst of
my swoon, and has been the means of reviving me and bringing back my
senses; and so once more I implore you, illustrious errant,
indomitable sir, to let your gracious promises be turned into deeds."

"There shall be no delay on my part," said Don Quixote. "Bethink
you, senora, of what I must do, for my heart is most eager to serve

"The fact is," replied the Distressed One, "it is five thousand
leagues, a couple more or less, from this to the kingdom of Kandy,
if you go by land; but if you go through the air and in a straight
line, it is three thousand two hundred and twenty-seven. You must
know, too, that Malambruno told me that, whenever fate provided the
knight our deliverer, he himself would send him a steed far better and
with less tricks than a post-horse; for he will be that same wooden
horse on which the valiant Pierres carried off the fair Magalona;
which said horse is guided by a peg he has in his forehead that serves
for a bridle, and flies through the air with such rapidity that you
would fancy the very devils were carrying him. This horse, according
to ancient tradition, was made by Merlin. He lent him to Pierres,
who was a friend of his, and who made long journeys with him, and,
as has been said, carried off the fair Magalona, bearing her through
the air on its haunches and making all who beheld them from the
earth gape with astonishment; and he never lent him save to those whom
he loved or those who paid him well; and since the great Pierres we
know of no one having mounted him until now. From him Malambruno stole
him by his magic art, and he has him now in his possession, and
makes use of him in his journeys which he constantly makes through
different parts of the world; he is here to-day, to-morrow in
France, and the next day in Potosi; and the best of it is the said
horse neither eats nor sleeps nor wears out shoes, and goes at an
ambling pace through the air without wings, so that he whom he has
mounted upon him can carry a cup full of water in his hand without
spilling a drop, so smoothly and easily does he go, for which reason
the fair Magalona enjoyed riding him greatly."

"For going smoothly and easily," said Sancho at this, "give me my
Dapple, though he can't go through the air; but on the ground I'll
back him against all the amblers in the world."

They all laughed, and the Distressed One continued: "And this same
horse, if so be that Malambruno is disposed to put an end to our
sufferings, will be here before us ere the night shall have advanced
half an hour; for he announced to me that the sign he would give me
whereby I might know that I had found the knight I was in quest of,
would be to send me the horse wherever he might be, speedily and

"And how many is there room for on this horse?" asked Sancho.

"Two," said the Distressed One, "one in the saddle, and the other on
the croup; and generally these two are knight and squire, when there
is no damsel that's being carried off."

"I'd like to know, Senora Distressed One," said Sancho, "what is the
name of this horse?"

"His name," said the Distressed One, "is not the same as
Bellerophon's horse that was called Pegasus, or Alexander the Great's,
called Bucephalus, or Orlando Furioso's, the name of which was
Brigliador, nor yet Bayard, the horse of Reinaldos of Montalvan, nor
Frontino like Ruggiero's, nor Bootes or Peritoa, as they say the
horses of the sun were called, nor is he called Orelia, like the horse
on which the unfortunate Rodrigo, the last king of the Goths, rode
to the battle where he lost his life and his kingdom."

"I'll bet," said Sancho, "that as they have given him none of
these famous names of well-known horses, no more have they given him
the name of my master's Rocinante, which for being apt surpasses all
that have been mentioned."

"That is true," said the bearded countess, "still it fits him very
well, for he is called Clavileno the Swift, which name is in
accordance with his being made of wood, with the peg he has in his
forehead, and with the swift pace at which he travels; and so, as
far as name goes, he may compare with the famous Rocinante."

"I have nothing to say against his name," said Sancho; "but with
what sort of bridle or halter is he managed?"

"I have said already," said the Trifaldi, "that it is with a peg, by
turning which to one side or the other the knight who rides him
makes him go as he pleases, either through the upper air, or
skimming and almost sweeping the earth, or else in that middle
course that is sought and followed in all well-regulated proceedings."

"I'd like to see him," said Sancho; "but to fancy I'm going to mount
him, either in the saddle or on the croup, is to ask pears of the
elm tree. A good joke indeed! I can hardly keep my seat upon Dapple,
and on a pack-saddle softer than silk itself, and here they'd have
me hold on upon haunches of plank without pad or cushion of any
sort! Gad, I have no notion of bruising myself to get rid of
anyone's beard; let each one shave himself as best he can; I'm not
going to accompany my master on any such long journey; besides, I
can't give any help to the shaving of these beards as I can to the
disenchantment of my lady Dulcinea."

"Yes, you can, my friend," replied the Trifaldi; "and so much,
that without you, so I understand, we shall be able to do nothing."

"In the king's name!" exclaimed Sancho, "what have squires got to do
with the adventures of their masters? Are they to have the fame of
such as they go through, and we the labour? Body o' me! if the
historians would only say, 'Such and such a knight finished such and
such an adventure, but with the help of so and so, his squire, without
which it would have been impossible for him to accomplish it;' but
they write curtly, "Don Paralipomenon of the Three Stars
accomplished the adventure of the six monsters;' without mentioning
such a person as his squire, who was there all the time, just as if
there was no such being. Once more, sirs, I say my master may go
alone, and much good may it do him; and I'll stay here in the
company of my lady the duchess; and maybe when he comes back, he
will find the lady Dulcinea's affair ever so much advanced; for I mean
in leisure hours, and at idle moments, to give myself a spell of
whipping without so much as a hair to cover me."

"For all that you must go if it be necessary, my good Sancho,"
said the duchess, "for they are worthy folk who ask you; and the faces
of these ladies must not remain overgrown in this way because of
your idle fears; that would be a hard case indeed."

"In the king's name, once more!" said Sancho; "If this charitable
work were to be done for the sake of damsels in confinement or
charity-girls, a man might expose himself to some hardships; but to
bear it for the sake of stripping beards off duennas! Devil take it!
I'd sooner see them all bearded, from the highest to the lowest, and
from the most prudish to the most affected."

"You are very hard on duennas, Sancho my friend," said the
duchess; "you incline very much to the opinion of the Toledo
apothecary. But indeed you are wrong; there are duennas in my house
that may serve as patterns of duennas; and here is my Dona
Rodriguez, who will not allow me to say otherwise."

"Your excellence may say it if you like," said the Rodriguez; "for
God knows the truth of everything; and whether we duennas are good
or bad, bearded or smooth, we are our mothers' daughters like other
women; and as God sent us into the world, he knows why he did, and
on his mercy I rely, and not on anybody's beard."

"Well, Senora Rodriguez, Senora Trifaldi, and present company," said
Don Quixote, "I trust in Heaven that it will look with kindly eyes
upon your troubles, for Sancho will do as I bid him. Only let
Clavileno come and let me find myself face to face with Malambruno,
and I am certain no razor will shave you more easily than my sword
shall shave Malambruno's head off his shoulders; for 'God bears with
the wicked, but not for ever."

"Ah!" exclaimed the Distressed One at this, "may all the stars of
the celestial regions look down upon your greatness with benign
eyes, valiant knight, and shed every prosperity and valour upon your
heart, that it may be the shield and safeguard of the abused and
downtrodden race of duennas, detested by apothecaries, sneered at by
squires, and made game of by pages. Ill betide the jade that in the
flower of her youth would not sooner become a nun than a duenna!
Unfortunate beings that we are, we duennas! Though we may be descended
in the direct male line from Hector of Troy himself, our mistresses
never fail to address us as 'you' if they think it makes queens of
them. O giant Malambruno, though thou art an enchanter, thou art
true to thy promises. Send us now the peerless Clavileno, that our
misfortune may be brought to an end; for if the hot weather sets in
and these beards of ours are still there, alas for our lot!"

The Trifaldi said this in such a pathetic way that she drew tears
from the eyes of all and even Sancho's filled up; and he resolved in
his heart to accompany his master to the uttermost ends of the
earth, if so be the removal of the wool from those venerable
countenances depended upon it.

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