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CHAPTER LXXI

OF WHAT PASSED BETWEEN DON QUIXOTE AND HIS SQUIRE SANCHO ON THE
WAY TO THEIR VILLAGE

The vanquished and afflicted Don Quixote went along very downcast in
one respect and very happy in another. His sadness arose from his
defeat, and his satisfaction from the thought of the virtue that lay
in Sancho, as had been proved by the resurrection of Altisidora;
though it was with difficulty he could persuade himself that the
love-smitten damsel had been really dead. Sancho went along anything
but cheerful, for it grieved him that Altisidora had not kept her
promise of giving him the smocks; and turning this over in his mind he
said to his master, "Surely, senor, I'm the most unlucky doctor in the
world; there's many a physician that, after killing the sick man he
had to cure, requires to be paid for his work, though it is only
signing a bit of a list of medicines, that the apothecary and not he
makes up, and, there, his labour is over; but with me though to cure
somebody else costs me drops of blood, smacks, pinches,
pinproddings, and whippings, nobody gives me a farthing. Well, I swear
by all that's good if they put another patient into my hands,
they'll have to grease them for me before I cure him; for, as they
say, 'it's by his singing the abbot gets his dinner,' and I'm not
going to believe that heaven has bestowed upon me the virtue I have,
that I should be dealing it out to others all for nothing."

"Thou art right, Sancho my friend," said Don Quixote, "and
Altisidora has behaved very badly in not giving thee the smocks she
promised; and although that virtue of thine is gratis data- as it
has cost thee no study whatever, any more than such study as thy
personal sufferings may be- I can say for myself that if thou
wouldst have payment for the lashes on account of the disenchant of
Dulcinea, I would have given it to thee freely ere this. I am not
sure, however, whether payment will comport with the cure, and I would
not have the reward interfere with the medicine. I think there will be
nothing lost by trying it; consider how much thou wouldst have,
Sancho, and whip thyself at once, and pay thyself down with thine
own hand, as thou hast money of mine."

At this proposal Sancho opened his eyes and his ears a palm's
breadth wide, and in his heart very readily acquiesced in whipping
himself, and said he to his master, "Very well then, senor, I'll
hold myself in readiness to gratify your worship's wishes if I'm to
profit by it; for the love of my wife and children forces me to seem
grasping. Let your worship say how much you will pay me for each
lash I give myself."

"If Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "I were to requite thee as the
importance and nature of the cure deserves, the treasures of Venice,
the mines of Potosi, would be insufficient to pay thee. See what
thou hast of mine, and put a price on each lash."

"Of them," said Sancho, "there are three thousand three hundred
and odd; of these I have given myself five, the rest remain; let the
five go for the odd ones, and let us take the three thousand three
hundred, which at a quarter real apiece (for I will not take less
though the whole world should bid me) make three thousand three
hundred quarter reals; the three thousand are one thousand five
hundred half reals, which make seven hundred and fifty reals; and
the three hundred make a hundred and fifty half reals, which come to
seventy-five reals, which added to the seven hundred and fifty make
eight hundred and twenty-five reals in all. These I will stop out of
what I have belonging to your worship, and I'll return home rich and
content, though well whipped, for 'there's no taking trout'- but I say
no more."

"O blessed Sancho! O dear Sancho!" said Don Quixote; "how we shall
be bound to serve thee, Dulcinea and I, all the days of our lives that
heaven may grant us! If she returns to her lost shape (and it cannot
be but that she will) her misfortune will have been good fortune,
and my defeat a most happy triumph. But look here, Sancho; when wilt
thou begin the scourging? For if thou wilt make short work of it, I
will give thee a hundred reals over and above."

"When?" said Sancho; "this night without fail. Let your worship
order it so that we pass it out of doors and in the open air, and I'll
scarify myself."

Night, longed for by Don Quixote with the greatest anxiety in the
world, came at last, though it seemed to him that the wheels of
Apollo's car had broken down, and that the day was drawing itself
out longer than usual, just as is the case with lovers, who never make
the reckoning of their desires agree with time. They made their way at
length in among some pleasant trees that stood a little distance
from the road, and there vacating Rocinante's saddle and Dapple's
pack-saddle, they stretched themselves on the green grass and made
their supper off Sancho's stores, and he making a powerful and
flexible whip out of Dapple's halter and headstall retreated about
twenty paces from his master among some beech trees. Don Quixote
seeing him march off with such resolution and spirit, said to him,
"Take care, my friend, not to cut thyself to pieces; allow the
lashes to wait for one another, and do not be in so great a hurry as
to run thyself out of breath midway; I mean, do not lay on so
strenuously as to make thy life fail thee before thou hast reached the
desired number; and that thou mayest not lose by a card too much or
too little, I will station myself apart and count on my rosary here
the lashes thou givest thyself. May heaven help thee as thy good
intention deserves."

"'Pledges don't distress a good payer,'" said Sancho; "I mean to lay
on in such a way as without killing myself to hurt myself, for in
that, no doubt, lies the essence of this miracle."

He then stripped himself from the waist upwards, and snatching up
the rope he began to lay on and Don Quixote to count the lashes. He
might have given himself six or eight when he began to think the
joke no trifle, and its price very low; and holding his hand for a
moment, he told his master that he cried off on the score of a blind
bargain, for each of those lashes ought to be paid for at the rate
of half a real instead of a quarter.

"Go on, Sancho my friend, and be not disheartened," said Don
Quixote; "for I double the stakes as to price."

"In that case," said Sancho, "in God's hand be it, and let it rain
lashes." But the rogue no longer laid them on his shoulders, but
laid on to the trees, with such groans every now and then, that one
would have thought at each of them his soul was being plucked up by
the roots. Don Quixote, touched to the heart, and fearing he might
make an end of himself, and that through Sancho's imprudence he
might miss his own object, said to him, "As thou livest, my friend,
let the matter rest where it is, for the remedy seems to me a very
rough one, and it will he well to have patience; 'Zamora was not won
in an hour.' If I have not reckoned wrong thou hast given thyself over
a thousand lashes; that is enough for the present; 'for the ass,' to
put it in homely phrase, 'bears the load, but not the overload.'"

"No, no, senor," replied Sancho; "it shall never be said of me, 'The
money paid, the arms broken;' go back a little further, your
worship, and let me give myself at any rate a thousand lashes more;
for in a couple of bouts like this we shall have finished off the lot,
and there will be even cloth to spare."

"As thou art in such a willing mood," said Don Quixote, "may
heaven aid thee; lay on and I'll retire."

Sancho returned to his task with so much resolution that he soon had
the bark stripped off several trees, such was the severity with
which he whipped himself; and one time, raising his voice, and
giving a beech a tremendous lash, he cried out, "Here dies Samson, and
all with him!"

At the sound of his piteous cry and of the stroke of the cruel lash,
Don Quixote ran to him at once, and seizing the twisted halter that
served him for a courbash, said to him, "Heaven forbid, Sancho my
friend, that to please me thou shouldst lose thy life, which is needed
for the support of thy wife and children; let Dulcinea wait for a
better opportunity, and I will content myself with a hope soon to be
realised, and have patience until thou hast gained fresh strength so
as to finish off this business to the satisfaction of everybody."

"As your worship will have it so, senor," said Sancho, "so be it;
but throw your cloak over my shoulders, for I'm sweating and I don't
want to take cold; it's a risk that novice disciplinants run."

Don Quixote obeyed, and stripping himself covered Sancho, who
slept until the sun woke him; they then resumed their journey, which
for the time being they brought to an end at a village that lay
three leagues farther on. They dismounted at a hostelry which Don
Quixote recognised as such and did not take to be a castle with
moat, turrets, portcullis, and drawbridge; for ever since he had
been vanquished he talked more rationally about everything, as will be
shown presently. They quartered him in a room on the ground floor,
where in place of leather hangings there were pieces of painted
serge such as they commonly use in villages. On one of them was
painted by some very poor hand the Rape of Helen, when the bold
guest carried her off from Menelaus, and on the other was the story of
Dido and AEneas, she on a high tower, as though she were making
signals with a half sheet to her fugitive guest who was out at sea
flying in a frigate or brigantine. He noticed in the two stories
that Helen did not go very reluctantly, for she was laughing slyly and
roguishly; but the fair Dido was shown dropping tears the size of
walnuts from her eyes. Don Quixote as he looked at them observed,
"Those two ladies were very unfortunate not to have been born in
this age, and I unfortunate above all men not to have been born in
theirs. Had I fallen in with those gentlemen, Troy would not have been
burned or Carthage destroyed, for it would have been only for me to
slay Paris, and all these misfortunes would have been avoided."

"I'll lay a bet," said Sancho, "that before long there won't be a
tavern, roadside inn, hostelry, or barber's shop where the story of
our doings won't be painted up; but I'd like it painted by the hand of
a better painter than painted these."

"Thou art right, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for this painter is
like Orbaneja, a painter there was at Ubeda, who when they asked him
what he was painting, used to say, 'Whatever it may turn out; and if
he chanced to paint a cock he would write under it, 'This is a
cock,' for fear they might think it was a fox. The painter or
writer, for it's all the same, who published the history of this new
Don Quixote that has come out, must have been one of this sort I
think, Sancho, for he painted or wrote 'whatever it might turn out;'
or perhaps he is like a poet called Mauleon that was about the Court
some years ago, who used to answer at haphazard whatever he was asked,
and on one asking him what Deum de Deo meant, he replied De donde
diere. But, putting this aside, tell me, Sancho, hast thou a mind to
have another turn at thyself to-night, and wouldst thou rather have it
indoors or in the open air?"

"Egad, senor," said Sancho, "for what I'm going to give myself, it
comes all the same to me whether it is in a house or in the fields;
still I'd like it to be among trees; for I think they are company
for me and help me to bear my pain wonderfully."

"And yet it must not be, Sancho my friend," said Don Quixote;
"but, to enable thee to recover strength, we must keep it for our
own village; for at the latest we shall get there the day after
tomorrow."

Sancho said he might do as he pleased; but that for his own part
he would like to finish off the business quickly before his blood
cooled and while he had an appetite, because "in delay there is apt to
be danger" very often, and "praying to God and plying the hammer," and
"one take was better than two I'll give thee's," and "a sparrow in the
hand than a vulture on the wing."

"For God's sake, Sancho, no more proverbs!" exclaimed Don Quixote;
"it seems to me thou art becoming sicut erat again; speak in a
plain, simple, straight-forward way, as I have often told thee, and
thou wilt find the good of it."

"I don't know what bad luck it is of mine," argument to my mind;
however, I mean to mend said Sancho, "but I can't utter a word without
a proverb that is not as good as an argument to my mind; however, I
mean to mend if I can;" and so for the present the conversation ended.




Don Quixote by Migeul de Cervantes
Category:
Romance Literature - Spanish
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