**Of the laughable conversation that passed between Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and the bachelor Samson Carrasco**
Don Quixote remained very deep in thought, waiting for the bachelor Carrasco, from whom he was to hear how he himself had been put into a book as Sanch_aid; and he could not persuade himself that any such history could be i_xistence, for the blood of the enemies he had slain was not yet dry on th_lade of his sword, and now they wanted to make out that his might_chievements were going about in print. For all that, he fancied some sage, either a friend or an enemy, might, by the aid of magic, have given them t_he press; if a friend, in order to magnify and exalt them above the mos_amous ever achieved by any knight-errant; if an enemy, to bring them t_aught and degrade them below the meanest ever recorded of any low squire, though as he said to himself, the achievements of squires never were recorded.
If, however, it were the fact that such a history were in existence, it mus_ecessarily, being the story of a knight-errant, be grandiloquent, lofty, imposing, grand and true. With this he comforted himself somewhat, though i_ade him uncomfortable to think that the author was a Moor, judging by th_itle of "Cide;" and that no truth was to be looked for from Moors, as the_re all impostors, cheats, and schemers. He was afraid he might have deal_ith his love affairs in some indecorous fashion, that might tend to th_iscredit and prejudice of the purity of his lady Dulcinea del Toboso; h_ould have had him set forth the fidelity and respect he had always observe_owards her, spurning queens, empresses, and damsels of all sorts, and keepin_n check the impetuosity of his natural impulses. Absorbed and wrapped up i_hese and divers other cogitations, he was found by Sancho and Carrasco, who_on Quixote received with great courtesy.
The bachelor, though he was called Samson, was of no great bodily size, but h_as a very great wag; he was of a sallow complexion, but very sharp-witted, somewhere about four-and-twenty years of age, with a round face, a flat nose, and a large mouth, all indications of a mischievous disposition and a love o_un and jokes; and of this he gave a sample as soon as he saw Don Quixote, b_alling on his knees before him and saying, "Let me kiss your mightiness'_and, Senor Don Quixote of La Mancha, for, by the habit of St. Peter that _ear, though I have no more than the first four orders, your worship is one o_he most famous knights-errant that have ever been, or will be, all the worl_ver. A blessing on Cide Hamete Benengeli, who has written the history of you_reat deeds, and a double blessing on that connoisseur who took the trouble o_aving it translated out of the Arabic into our Castilian vulgar tongue fo_he universal entertainment of the people!"
Don Quixote made him rise, and said, "So, then, it is true that there is _istory of me, and that it was a Moor and a sage who wrote it?"
"So true is it, senor," said Samson, "that my belief is there are more tha_welve thousand volumes of the said history in print this very day. Only as_ortugal, Barcelona, and Valencia, where they have been printed, and moreove_here is a report that it is being printed at Antwerp, and I am persuade_here will not be a country or language in which there will not be _ranslation of it."
"One of the things," here observed Don Quixote, "that ought to give mos_leasure to a virtuous and eminent man is to find himself in his lifetime i_rint and in type, familiar in people's mouths with a good name; I say with _ood name, for if it be the opposite, then there is no death to be compared t_t."
"If it goes by good name and fame," said the bachelor, "your worship alon_ears away the palm from all the knights-errant; for the Moor in his ow_anguage, and the Christian in his, have taken care to set before us you_allantry, your high courage in encountering dangers, your fortitude i_dversity, your patience under misfortunes as well as wounds, the purity an_ontinence of the platonic loves of your worship and my lady Dona Dulcinea de_oboso-"
"I never heard my lady Dulcinea called Dona," observed Sancho here; "nothin_ore than the lady Dulcinea del Toboso; so here already the history is wrong."
"That is not an objection of any importance," replied Carrasco.
"Certainly not," said Don Quixote; "but tell me, senor bachelor, what deeds o_ine are they that are made most of in this history?"
"On that point," replied the bachelor, "opinions differ, as tastes do; som_wear by the adventure of the windmills that your worship took to b_riareuses and giants; others by that of the fulling mills; one cries up th_escription of the two armies that afterwards took the appearance of tw_roves of sheep; another that of the dead body on its way to be buried a_egovia; a third says the liberation of the galley slaves is the best of all, and a fourth that nothing comes up to the affair with the Benedictine giants, and the battle with the valiant Biscayan."
"Tell me, senor bachelor," said Sancho at this point, "does the adventure wit_he Yanguesans come in, when our good Rocinante went hankering afte_ainties?"
"The sage has left nothing in the ink-bottle," replied Samson; "he tells al_nd sets down everything, even to the capers that worthy Sancho cut in th_lanket."
"I cut no capers in the blanket," returned Sancho; "in the air I did, and mor_f them than I liked."
"There is no human history in the world, I suppose," said Don Quixote, "tha_as not its ups and downs, but more than others such as deal with chivalry, for they can never be entirely made up of prosperous adventures."
"For all that," replied the bachelor, "there are those who have read th_istory who say they would have been glad if the author had left out some o_he countless cudgellings that were inflicted on Senor Don Quixote in variou_ncounters."
"That's where the truth of the history comes in," said Sancho.
"At the same time they might fairly have passed them over in silence,"
observed Don Quixote; "for there is no need of recording events which do no_hange or affect the truth of a history, if they tend to bring the hero of i_nto contempt. AEneas was not in truth and earnest so pious as Virgi_epresents him, nor Ulysses so wise as Homer describes him."
"That is true," said Samson; "but it is one thing to write as a poet, anothe_o write as a historian; the poet may describe or sing things, not as the_ere, but as they ought to have been; but the historian has to write the_own, not as they ought to have been, but as they were, without addin_nything to the truth or taking anything from it."
"Well then," said Sancho, "if this senor Moor goes in for telling the truth, no doubt among my master's drubbings mine are to be found; for they never too_he measure of his worship's shoulders without doing the same for my whol_ody; but I have no right to wonder at that, for, as my master himself says, the members must share the pain of the head."
"You are a sly dog, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "i' faith, you have no want o_emory when you choose to remember."
"If I were to try to forget the thwacks they gave me," said Sancho, "my weal_ould not let me, for they are still fresh on my ribs."
"Hush, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and don't interrupt the bachelor, whom _ntreat to go on and tell all that is said about me in this history."
"And about me," said Sancho, "for they say, too, that I am one of th_rincipal presonages in it."
"Personages, not presonages, friend Sancho," said Samson.
"What! Another word-catcher!" said Sancho; "if that's to be the way we shal_ot make an end in a lifetime."
"May God shorten mine, Sancho," returned the bachelor, "if you are not th_econd person in the history, and there are even some who would rather hea_ou talk than the cleverest in the whole book; though there are some, too, wh_ay you showed yourself over-credulous in believing there was any possibilit_n the government of that island offered you by Senor Don Quixote."
"There is still sunshine on the wall," said Don Quixote; "and when Sancho i_omewhat more advanced in life, with the experience that years bring, he wil_e fitter and better qualified for being a governor than he is at present."
"By God, master," said Sancho, "the island that I cannot govern with the year_ have, I'll not be able to govern with the years of Methuselah; th_ifficulty is that the said island keeps its distance somewhere, I know no_here; and not that there is any want of head in me to govern it."
"Leave it to God, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "for all will be and perhap_etter than you think; no leaf on the tree stirs but by God's will."
"That is true," said Samson; "and if it be God's will, there will not be an_ant of a thousand islands, much less one, for Sancho to govern."
"I have seen governors in these parts," said Sancho, "that are not to b_ompared to my shoe-sole; and for all that they are called 'your lordship' an_erved on silver."
"Those are not governors of islands," observed Samson, "but of othe_overnments of an easier kind: those that govern islands must at least kno_rammar."
"I could manage the gram well enough," said Sancho; "but for the mar I hav_either leaning nor liking, for I don't know what it is; but leaving thi_atter of the government in God's hands, to send me wherever it may be most t_is service, I may tell you, senor bachelor Samson Carrasco, it has pleased m_eyond measure that the author of this history should have spoken of me i_uch a way that what is said of me gives no offence; for, on the faith of _rue squire, if he had said anything about me that was at all unbecoming a_ld Christian, such as I am, the deaf would have heard of it."
"That would be working miracles," said Samson.
"Miracles or no miracles," said Sancho, "let everyone mind how he speaks o_rites about people, and not set down at random the first thing that come_nto his head."
"One of the faults they find with this history," said the bachelor, "is tha_ts author inserted in it a novel called 'The Ill-advised Curiosity;' not tha_t is bad or ill-told, but that it is out of place and has nothing to do wit_he history of his worship Senor Don Quixote."
"I will bet the son of a dog has mixed the cabbages and the baskets," sai_ancho.
"Then, I say," said Don Quixote, "the author of my history was no sage, bu_ome ignorant chatterer, who, in a haphazard and heedless way, set abou_riting it, let it turn out as it might, just as Orbaneja, the painter o_beda, used to do, who, when they asked him what he was painting, answered,
'What it may turn out.' Sometimes he would paint a cock in such a fashion, an_o unlike, that he had to write alongside of it in Gothic letters, 'This is _ock; and so it will be with my history, which will require a commentary t_ake it intelligible."
"No fear of that," returned Samson, "for it is so plain that there is nothin_n it to puzzle over; the children turn its leaves, the young people read it, the grown men understand it, the old folk praise it; in a word, it is s_humbed, and read, and got by heart by people of all sorts, that the instan_hey see any lean hack, they say, 'There goes Rocinante.' And those that ar_ost given to reading it are the pages, for there is not a lord's ante-chambe_here there is not a 'Don Quixote' to be found; one takes it up if anothe_ays it down; this one pounces upon it, and that begs for it. In short, th_aid history is the most delightful and least injurious entertainment that ha_een hitherto seen, for there is not to be found in the whole of it even th_emblance of an immodest word, or a thought that is other than Catholic."
"To write in any other way," said Don Quixote, "would not be to write truth, but falsehood, and historians who have recourse to falsehood ought to b_urned, like those who coin false money; and I know not what could have le_he author to have recourse to novels and irrelevant stories, when he had s_uch to write about in mine; no doubt he must have gone by the proverb 'wit_traw or with hay, etc,' for by merely setting forth my thoughts, my sighs, m_ears, my lofty purposes, my enterprises, he might have made a volume a_arge, or larger than all the works of El Tostado would make up. In fact, th_onclusion I arrive at, senor bachelor, is, that to write histories, or book_f any kind, there is need of great judgment and a ripe understanding. To giv_xpression to humour, and write in a strain of graceful pleasantry, is th_ift of great geniuses. The cleverest character in comedy is the clown, for h_ho would make people take him for a fool, must not be one. History is in _easure a sacred thing, for it should be true, and where the truth is, ther_od is; but notwithstanding this, there are some who write and fling book_roadcast on the world as if they were fritters."
"There is no book so bad but it has something good in it," said the bachelor.
"No doubt of that," replied Don Quixote; "but it often happens that those wh_ave acquired and attained a well-deserved reputation by their writings, los_t entirely, or damage it in some degree, when they give them to the press."
"The reason of that," said Samson, "is, that as printed works are examine_eisurely, their faults are easily seen; and the greater the fame of th_riter, the more closely are they scrutinised. Men famous for their genius, great poets, illustrious historians, are always, or most commonly, envied b_hose who take a particular delight and pleasure in criticising the writing_f others, without having produced any of their own."
"That is no wonder," said Don Quixote; "for there are many divines who are n_ood for the pulpit, but excellent in detecting the defects or excesses o_hose who preach."
"All that is true, Senor Don Quixote," said Carrasco; "but I wish such fault- finders were more lenient and less exacting, and did not pay so much attentio_o the spots on the bright sun of the work they grumble at; for if aliquand_onus dormitat Homerus, they should remember how long he remained awake t_hed the light of his work with as little shade as possible; and perhaps i_ay be that what they find fault with may be moles, that sometimes heighte_he beauty of the face that bears them; and so I say very great is the risk t_hich he who prints a book exposes himself, for of all impossibilities th_reatest is to write one that will satisfy and please all readers."
"That which treats of me must have pleased few," said Don Quixote.
"Quite the contrary," said the bachelor; "for, as stultorum infinitum es_umerus, innumerable are those who have relished the said history; but som_ave brought a charge against the author's memory, inasmuch as he forgot t_ay who the thief was who stole Sancho's Dapple; for it is not stated there, but only to be inferred from what is set down, that he was stolen, and _ittle farther on we see Sancho mounted on the same ass, without an_eappearance of it. They say, too, that he forgot to state what Sancho di_ith those hundred crowns that he found in the valise in the Sierra Morena, a_e never alludes to them again, and there are many who would be glad to kno_hat he did with them, or what he spent them on, for it is one of the seriou_missions of the work."
"Senor Samson, I am not in a humour now for going into accounts o_xplanations," said Sancho; "for there's a sinking of the stomach come ove_e, and unless I doctor it with a couple of sups of the old stuff it will pu_e on the thorn of Santa Lucia. I have it at home, and my old woman is waitin_or me; after dinner I'll come back, and will answer you and all the worl_very question you may choose to ask, as well about the loss of the ass a_bout the spending of the hundred crowns;" and without another word or waitin_or a reply he made off home.
Don Quixote begged and entreated the bachelor to stay and do penance with him.
The bachelor accepted the invitation and remained, a couple of young pigeon_ere added to the ordinary fare, at dinner they talked chivalry, Carrasco fel_n with his host's humour, the banquet came to an end, they took thei_fternoon sleep, Sancho returned, and their conversation was resumed.