OF THE SHREWD AND DROLL CONVERSATION THAT PASSED BETWEEN SANCHO
PANZA AND HIS WIFE TERESA PANZA, AND OTHER MATTERS WORTHY OF BEING
The translator of this history, when he comes to write this fifth
chapter, says that he considers it apocryphal, because in it Sancho
Panza speaks in a style unlike that which might have been expected
from his limited intelligence, and says things so subtle that he
does not think it possible he could have conceived them; however,
desirous of doing what his task imposed upon him, he was unwilling
to leave it untranslated, and therefore he went on to say:
Sancho came home in such glee and spirits that his wife noticed
his happiness a bowshot off, so much so that it made her ask him,
"What have you got, Sancho friend, that you are so glad?"
To which he replied, "Wife, if it were God's will, I should be
very glad not to be so well pleased as I show myself."
"I don't understand you, husband," said she, "and I don't know
what you mean by saying you would be glad, if it were God's will,
not to be well pleased; for, fool as I am, I don't know how one can
find pleasure in not having it."
"Hark ye, Teresa," replied Sancho, "I am glad because I have made up
my mind to go back to the service of my master Don Quixote, who
means to go out a third time to seek for adventures; and I am going
with him again, for my necessities will have it so, and also the
hope that cheers me with the thought that I may find another hundred
crowns like those we have spent; though it makes me sad to have to
leave thee and the children; and if God would be pleased to let me
have my daily bread, dry-shod and at home, without taking me out
into the byways and cross-roads- and he could do it at small cost by
merely willing it- it is clear my happiness would be more solid and
lasting, for the happiness I have is mingled with sorrow at leaving
thee; so that I was right in saying I would be glad, if it were
God's will, not to be well pleased."
"Look here, Sancho," said Teresa; "ever since you joined on to a
knight-errant you talk in such a roundabout way that there is no
"It is enough that God understands me, wife," replied Sancho; "for
he is the understander of all things; that will do; but mind,
sister, you must look to Dapple carefully for the next three days,
so that he may be fit to take arms; double his feed, and see to the
pack-saddle and other harness, for it is not to a wedding we are
bound, but to go round the world, and play at give and take with
giants and dragons and monsters, and hear hissings and roarings and
bellowings and howlings; and even all this would be lavender, if we
had not to reckon with Yanguesans and enchanted Moors."
"I know well enough, husband," said Teresa, "that squires-errant
don't eat their bread for nothing, and so I will be always praying
to our Lord to deliver you speedily from all that hard fortune."
"I can tell you, wife," said Sancho, "if I did not expect to see
myself governor of an island before long, I would drop down dead on
"Nay, then, husband," said Teresa; "let the hen live, though it be
with her pip, live, and let the devil take all the governments in
the world; you came out of your mother's womb without a government,
you have lived until now without a government, and when it is God's
will you will go, or be carried, to your grave without a government.
How many there are in the world who live without a government, and
continue to live all the same, and are reckoned in the number of the
people. The best sauce in the world is hunger, and as the poor are
never without that, they always eat with a relish. But mind, Sancho,
if by good luck you should find yourself with some government, don't
forget me and your children. Remember that Sanchico is now full
fifteen, and it is right he should go to school, if his uncle the
abbot has a mind to have him trained for the Church. Consider, too,
that your daughter Mari-Sancha will not die of grief if we marry
her; for I have my suspicions that she is as eager to get a husband as
you to get a government; and, after all, a daughter looks better ill
married than well whored."
"By my faith," replied Sancho, "if God brings me to get any sort
of a government, I intend, wife, to make such a high match for
Mari-Sancha that there will be no approaching her without calling
her 'my lady."
"Nay, Sancho," returned Teresa; "marry her to her equal, that is the
safest plan; for if you put her out of wooden clogs into high-heeled
shoes, out of her grey flannel petticoat into hoops and silk gowns,
out of the plain 'Marica' and 'thou,' into 'Dona So-and-so' and 'my
lady,' the girl won't know where she is, and at every turn she will
fall into a thousand blunders that will show the thread of her
coarse homespun stuff."
"Tut, you fool," said Sancho; "it will be only to practise it for
two or three years; and then dignity and decorum will fit her as
easily as a glove; and if not, what matter? Let her he 'my lady,'
and never mind what happens."
"Keep to your own station, Sancho," replied Teresa; "don't try to
raise yourself higher, and bear in mind the proverb that says, 'wipe
the nose of your neigbbour's son, and take him into your house.' A
fine thing it would be, indeed, to marry our Maria to some great count
or grand gentleman, who, when the humour took him, would abuse her and
call her clown-bred and clodhopper's daughter and spinning wench. I
have not been bringing up my daughter for that all this time, I can
tell you, husband. Do you bring home money, Sancho, and leave marrying
her to my care; there is Lope Tocho, Juan Tocho's son, a stout, sturdy
young fellow that we know, and I can see he does not look sour at
the girl; and with him, one of our own sort, she will be well married,
and we shall have her always under our eyes, and be all one family,
parents and children, grandchildren and sons-in-law, and the peace and
blessing of God will dwell among us; so don't you go marrying her in
those courts and grand palaces where they won't know what to make of
her, or she what to make of herself."
"Why, you idiot and wife for Barabbas," said Sancho, "what do you
mean by trying, without why or wherefore, to keep me from marrying
my daughter to one who will give me grandchildren that will be
called 'your lordship'? Look ye, Teresa, I have always heard my elders
say that he who does not know how to take advantage of luck when it
comes to him, has no right to complain if it gives him the go-by;
and now that it is knocking at our door, it will not do to shut it
out; let us go with the favouring breeze that blows upon us."
It is this sort of talk, and what Sancho says lower down, that
made the translator of the history say he considered this chapter
"Don't you see, you animal," continued Sancho, "that it will be well
for me to drop into some profitable government that will lift us out
of the mire, and marry Mari-Sancha to whom I like; and you yourself
will find yourself called 'Dona Teresa Panza,' and sitting in church
on a fine carpet and cushions and draperies, in spite and in
defiance of all the born ladies of the town? No, stay as you are,
growing neither greater nor less, like a tapestry figure- Let us say
no more about it, for Sanchica shall be a countess, say what you
"Are you sure of all you say, husband?" replied Teresa. "Well, for
all that, I am afraid this rank of countess for my daughter will be
her ruin. You do as you like, make a duchess or a princess of her, but
I can tell you it will not be with my will and consent. I was always a
lover of equality, brother, and I can't bear to see people give
themselves airs without any right. They called me Teresa at my
baptism, a plain, simple name, without any additions or tags or
fringes of Dons or Donas; Cascajo was my father's name, and as I am
your wife, I am called Teresa Panza, though by right I ought to he
called Teresa Cascajo; but 'kings go where laws like,' and I am
content with this name without having the 'Don' put on top of it to
make it so heavy that I cannot carry it; and I don't want to make
people talk about me when they see me go dressed like a countess or
governor's wife; for they will say at once, 'See what airs the slut
gives herself! Only yesterday she was always spinning flax, and used
to go to mass with the tail of her petticoat over her head instead
of a mantle, and there she goes to-day in a hooped gown with her
broaches and airs, as if we didn't know her!' If God keeps me in my
seven senses, or five, or whatever number I have, I am not going to
bring myself to such a pass; go you, brother, and be a government or
an island man, and swagger as much as you like; for by the soul of
my mother, neither my daughter nor I are going to stir a step from our
village; a respectable woman should have a broken leg and keep at
home; and to he busy at something is a virtuous damsel's holiday; be
off to your adventures along with your Don Quixote, and leave us to
our misadventures, for God will mend them for us according as we
deserve it. I don't know, I'm sure, who fixed the 'Don' to him, what
neither his father nor grandfather ever had."
"I declare thou hast a devil of some sort in thy body!" said Sancho.
"God help thee, what a lot of things thou hast strung together, one
after the other, without head or tail! What have Cascajo, and the
broaches and the proverbs and the airs, to do with what I say? Look
here, fool and dolt (for so I may call you, when you don't
understand my words, and run away from good fortune), if I had said
that my daughter was to throw herself down from a tower, or go roaming
the world, as the Infanta Dona Urraca wanted to do, you would be right
in not giving way to my will; but if in an instant, in less than the
twinkling of an eye, I put the 'Don' and 'my lady' on her back, and
take her out of the stubble, and place her under a canopy, on a
dais, and on a couch, with more velvet cushions than all the Almohades
of Morocco ever had in their family, why won't you consent and fall in
with my wishes?"
"Do you know why, husband?" replied Teresa; "because of the
proverb that says 'who covers thee, discovers thee.' At the poor man
people only throw a hasty glance; on the rich man they fix their eyes;
and if the said rich man was once on a time poor, it is then there
is the sneering and the tattle and spite of backbiters; and in the
streets here they swarm as thick as bees."
"Look here, Teresa," said Sancho, "and listen to what I am now going
to say to you; maybe you never heard it in all your life; and I do not
give my own notions, for what I am about to say are the opinions of
his reverence the preacher, who preached in this town last Lent, and
who said, if I remember rightly, that all things present that our eyes
behold, bring themselves before us, and remain and fix themselves on
our memory much better and more forcibly than things past."
These observations which Sancho makes here are the other ones on
account of which the translator says he regards this chapter as
apocryphal, inasmuch as they are beyond Sancho's capacity.
"Whence it arises," he continued, "that when we see any person
well dressed and making a figure with rich garments and retinue of
servants, it seems to lead and impel us perforce to respect him,
though memory may at the same moment recall to us some lowly condition
in which we have seen him, but which, whether it may have been poverty
or low birth, being now a thing of the past, has no existence; while
the only thing that has any existence is what we see before us; and if
this person whom fortune has raised from his original lowly state
(these were the very words the padre used) to his present height of
prosperity, be well bred, generous, courteous to all, without
seeking to vie with those whose nobility is of ancient date, depend
upon it, Teresa, no one will remember what he was, and everyone will
respect what he is, except indeed the envious, from whom no fair
fortune is safe."
"I do not understand you, husband," replied Teresa; "do as you like,
and don't break my head with any more speechifying and rethoric; and
if you have revolved to do what you say-"
"Resolved, you should say, woman," said Sancho, "not revolved."
"Don't set yourself to wrangle with me, husband," said Teresa; "I
speak as God pleases, and don't deal in out-of-the-way phrases; and
I say if you are bent upon having a government, take your son Sancho
with you, and teach him from this time on how to hold a government;
for sons ought to inherit and learn the trades of their fathers."
"As soon as I have the government," said Sancho, "I will send for
him by post, and I will send thee money, of which I shall have no
lack, for there is never any want of people to lend it to governors
when they have not got it; and do thou dress him so as to hide what he
is and make him look what he is to be."
"You send the money," said Teresa, "and I'll dress him up for you as
fine as you please."
"Then we are agreed that our daughter is to be a countess," said
"The day that I see her a countess," replied Teresa, "it will be the
same to me as if I was burying her; but once more I say do as you
please, for we women are born to this burden of being obedient to
our husbands, though they be dogs;" and with this she began to weep in
earnest, as if she already saw Sanchica dead and buried.
Sancho consoled her by saying that though he must make her a
countess, he would put it off as long as possible. Here their
conversation came to an end, and Sancho went back to see Don
Quixote, and make arrangements for their departure.