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Chapter 3

  • **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.