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Chapter 35

  • **Which treats of the heroic and prodigious battle Don Quixote had wit_ertain skins of red wine, and brings the novel of "The Ill-Advised Curiosity"
  • to a close**
  • There remained but little more of the novel to be read, when Sancho Panz_urst forth in wild excitement from the garret where Don Quixote was lying,
  • shouting, "Run, sirs! quick; and help my master, who is in the thick of th_oughest and stiffest battle I ever laid eyes on. By the living God he ha_iven the giant, the enemy of my lady the Princess Micomicona, such a slas_hat he has sliced his head clean off as if it were a turnip."
  • "What are you talking about, brother?" said the curate, pausing as he wa_bout to read the remainder of the novel. "Are you in your senses, Sancho? Ho_he devil can it be as you say, when the giant is two thousand leagues away?"
  • Here they heard a loud noise in the chamber, and Don Quixote shouting out,
  • "Stand, thief, brigand, villain; now I have got thee, and thy scimitar shal_ot avail thee!" And then it seemed as though he were slashing vigorously a_he wall.
  • "Don't stop to listen," said Sancho, "but go in and part them or help m_aster: though there is no need of that now, for no doubt the giant is dead b_his time and giving account to God of his past wicked life; for I saw th_lood flowing on the ground, and the head cut off and fallen on one side, an_t is as big as a large wine-skin."
  • "May I die," said the landlord at this, "if Don Quixote or Don Devil has no_een slashing some of the skins of red wine that stand full at his bed's head,
  • and the spilt wine must be what this good fellow takes for blood;" and s_aying he went into the room and the rest after him, and there they found Do_uixote in the strangest costume in the world. He was in his shirt, which wa_ot long enough in front to cover his thighs completely and was six finger_horter behind; his legs were very long and lean, covered with hair, an_nything but clean; on his head he had a little greasy red cap that belonge_o the host, round his left arm he had rolled the blanket of the bed, to whic_ancho, for reasons best known to himself, owed a grudge, and in his righ_and he held his unsheathed sword, with which he was slashing about on al_ides, uttering exclamations as if he were actually fighting some giant: an_he best of it was his eyes were not open, for he was fast asleep, an_reaming that he was doing battle with the giant. For his imagination was s_rought upon by the adventure he was going to accomplish, that it made hi_ream he had already reached the kingdom of Micomicon, and was engaged i_ombat with his enemy; and believing he was laying on the giant, he had give_o many sword cuts to the skins that the whole room was full of wine. O_eeing this the landlord was so enraged that he fell on Don Quixote, and wit_is clenched fist began to pummel him in such a way, that if Cardenio and th_urate had not dragged him off, he would have brought the war of the giant t_n end. But in spite of all the poor gentleman never woke until the barbe_rought a great pot of cold water from the well and flung it with one dash al_ver his body, on which Don Quixote woke up, but not so completely as t_nderstand what was the matter. Dorothea, seeing how short and slight hi_ttire was, would not go in to witness the battle between her champion and he_pponent. As for Sancho, he went searching all over the floor for the head o_he giant, and not finding it he said, "I see now that it's all enchantment i_his house; for the last time, on this very spot where I am now, I got ever s_any thumps without knowing who gave them to me, or being able to see anybody;
  • and now this head is not to be seen anywhere about, though I saw it cut of_ith my own eyes and the blood running from the body as if from a fountain."
  • "What blood and fountains are you talking about, enemy of God and his saints?"
  • said the landlord. "Don't you see, you thief, that the blood and the fountai_re only these skins here that have been stabbed and the red wine swimming al_ver the room?—and I wish I saw the soul of him that stabbed them swimming i_ell."
  • "I know nothing about that," said Sancho; "all I know is it will be my ba_uck that through not finding this head my county will melt away like salt i_ater;"—for Sancho awake was worse than his master asleep, so much had hi_aster's promises addled his wits.
  • The landlord was beside himself at the coolness of the squire and th_ischievous doings of the master, and swore it should not be like the las_ime when they went without paying; and that their privileges of chivalr_hould not hold good this time to let one or other of them off without paying,
  • even to the cost of the plugs that would have to be put to the damaged wine-
  • skins. The curate was holding Don Quixote's hands, who, fancying he had no_nded the adventure and was in the presence of the Princess Micomicona, knel_efore the curate and said, "Exalted and beauteous lady, your highness ma_ive from this day forth fearless of any harm this base being could do you;
  • and I too from this day forth am released from the promise I gave you, sinc_y the help of God on high and by the favour of her by whom I live an_reathe, I have fulfilled it so successfully."
  • "Did not I say so?" said Sancho on hearing this. "You see I wasn't drunk;
  • there you see my master has already salted the giant; there's no doubt abou_he bulls; my county is all right!"
  • Who could have helped laughing at the absurdities of the pair, master and man?
  • And laugh they did, all except the landlord, who cursed himself; but at lengt_he barber, Cardenio, and the curate contrived with no small trouble to ge_on Quixote on the bed, and he fell asleep with every appearance of excessiv_eariness. They left him to sleep, and came out to the gate of the inn t_onsole Sancho Panza on not having found the head of the giant; but much mor_ork had they to appease the landlord, who was furious at the sudden death o_is wine-skins; and said the landlady half scolding, half crying, "At an evi_oment and in an unlucky hour he came into my house, this knight-errant—woul_hat I had never set eyes on him, for dear he has cost me; the last time h_ent off with the overnight score against him for supper, bed, straw, an_arley, for himself and his squire and a hack and an ass, saying he was _night adventurer—God send unlucky adventures to him and all the adventurer_n the world—and therefore not bound to pay anything, for it was so settled b_he knight-errantry tariff: and then, all because of him, came the othe_entleman and carried off my tail, and gives it back more than two cuartillo_he worse, all stripped of its hair, so that it is no use for my husband'_urpose; and then, for a finishing touch to all, to burst my wine-skins an_pill my wine! I wish I saw his own blood spilt! But let him not deceiv_imself, for, by the bones of my father and the shade of my mother, they shal_ay me down every quarts; or my name is not what it is, and I am not m_ather's daughter." All this and more to the same effect the landlad_elivered with great irritation, and her good maid Maritornes backed her up,
  • while the daughter held her peace and smiled from time to time. The curat_moothed matters by promising to make good all losses to the best of hi_ower, not only as regarded the wine-skins but also the wine, and above al_he depreciation of the tail which they set such store by. Dorothea comforte_ancho, telling him that she pledged herself, as soon as it should appea_ertain that his master had decapitated the giant, and she found hersel_eacefully established in her kingdom, to bestow upon him the best count_here was in it. With this Sancho consoled himself, and assured the princes_he might rely upon it that he had seen the head of the giant, and more b_oken it had a beard that reached to the girdle, and that if it was not to b_een now it was because everything that happened in that house went b_nchantment, as he himself had proved the last time he had lodged there.
  • Dorothea said she fully believed it, and that he need not be uneasy, for al_ould go well and turn out as he wished. All therefore being appeased, th_urate was anxious to go on with the novel, as he saw there was but littl_ore left to read. Dorothea and the others begged him to finish it, and he, a_e was willing to please them, and enjoyed reading it himself, continued th_ale in these words:
  • The result was, that from the confidence Anselmo felt in Camilla's virtue, h_ived happy and free from anxiety, and Camilla purposely looked coldly o_othario, that Anselmo might suppose her feelings towards him to be th_pposite of what they were; and the better to support the position, Lothari_egged to be excused from coming to the house, as the displeasure with whic_amilla regarded his presence was plain to be seen. But the befooled Anselm_aid he would on no account allow such a thing, and so in a thousand ways h_ecame the author of his own dishonour, while he believed he was insuring hi_appiness. Meanwhile the satisfaction with which Leonela saw herself empowere_o carry on her amour reached such a height that, regardless of everythin_lse, she followed her inclinations unrestrainedly, feeling confident that he_istress would screen her, and even show her how to manage it safely. At las_ne night Anselmo heard footsteps in Leonela's room, and on trying to enter t_ee who it was, he found that the door was held against him, which made hi_ll the more determined to open it; and exerting his strength he forced i_pen, and entered the room in time to see a man leaping through the windo_nto the street. He ran quickly to seize him or discover who he was, but h_as unable to effect either purpose, for Leonela flung her arms round hi_rying, "Be calm, senor; do not give way to passion or follow him who ha_scaped from this; he belongs to me, and in fact he is my husband."
  • Anselmo would not believe it, but blind with rage drew a dagger and threatene_o stab Leonela, bidding her tell the truth or he would kill her. She, in he_ear, not knowing what she was saying, exclaimed, "Do not kill me, senor, fo_ can tell you things more important than any you can imagine."
  • "Tell me then at once or thou diest," said Anselmo.
  • "It would be impossible for me now," said Leonela, "I am so agitated: leave m_ill to-morrow, and then you shall hear from me what will fill you wit_stonishment; but rest assured that he who leaped through the window is _oung man of this city, who has given me his promise to become my husband."
  • Anselmo was appeased with this, and was content to wait the time she asked o_im, for he never expected to hear anything against Camilla, so satisfied an_ure of her virtue was he; and so he quitted the room, and left Leonela locke_n, telling her she should not come out until she had told him all she had t_ake known to him. He went at once to see Camilla, and tell her, as he did,
  • all that had passed between him and her handmaid, and the promise she ha_iven him to inform him matters of serious importance.
  • There is no need of saying whether Camilla was agitated or not, for so grea_as her fear and dismay, that, making sure, as she had good reason to do, tha_eonela would tell Anselmo all she knew of her faithlessness, she had not th_ourage to wait and see if her suspicions were confirmed; and that same night,
  • as soon as she thought that Anselmo was asleep, she packed up the mos_aluable jewels she had and some money, and without being observed by anybod_scaped from the house and betook herself to Lothario's, to whom she relate_hat had occurred, imploring him to convey her to some place of safety or fl_ith her where they might be safe from Anselmo. The state of perplexity t_hich Camilla reduced Lothario was such that he was unable to utter a word i_eply, still less to decide upon what he should do. At length he resolved t_onduct her to a convent of which a sister of his was prioress; Camilla agree_o this, and with the speed which the circumstances demanded, Lothario too_er to the convent and left her there, and then himself quitted the cit_ithout letting anyone know of his departure.
  • As soon as daylight came Anselmo, without missing Camilla from his side, ros_ager to learn what Leonela had to tell him, and hastened to the room where h_ad locked her in. He opened the door, entered, but found no Leonela; all h_ound was some sheets knotted to the window, a plain proof that she had le_erself down from it and escaped. He returned, uneasy, to tell Camilla, bu_ot finding her in bed or anywhere in the house he was lost in amazement. H_sked the servants of the house about her, but none of them could give him an_xplanation. As he was going in search of Camilla it happened by chance tha_e observed her boxes were lying open, and that the greater part of her jewel_ere gone; and now he became fully aware of his disgrace, and that Leonela wa_ot the cause of his misfortune; and, just as he was, without delaying t_ress himself completely, he repaired, sad at heart and dejected, to hi_riend Lothario to make known his sorrow to him; but when he failed to fin_im and the servants reported that he had been absent from his house all nigh_nd had taken with him all the money he had, he felt as though he were losin_is senses; and to make all complete on returning to his own house he found i_eserted and empty, not one of all his servants, male or female, remaining i_t. He knew not what to think, or say, or do, and his reason seemed to b_eserting him little by little. He reviewed his position, and saw himself in _oment left without wife, friend, or servants, abandoned, he felt, by th_eaven above him, and more than all robbed of his honour, for in Camilla'_isappearance he saw his own ruin. After long reflection he resolved at las_o go to his friend's village, where he had been staying when he afforde_pportunities for the contrivance of this complication of misfortune. H_ocked the doors of his house, mounted his horse, and with a broken spirit se_ut on his journey; but he had hardly gone half-way when, harassed by hi_eflections, he had to dismount and tie his horse to a tree, at the foot o_hich he threw himself, giving vent to piteous heartrending sighs; and ther_e remained till nearly nightfall, when he observed a man approaching o_orseback from the city, of whom, after saluting him, he asked what was th_ews in Florence.
  • The citizen replied, "The strangest that have been heard for many a day; fo_t is reported abroad that Lothario, the great friend of the wealthy Anselmo,
  • who lived at San Giovanni, carried off last night Camilla, the wife o_nselmo, who also has disappeared. All this has been told by a maid-servant o_amilla's, whom the governor found last night lowering herself by a sheet fro_he windows of Anselmo's house. I know not indeed, precisely, how the affai_ame to pass; all I know is that the whole city is wondering at th_ccurrence, for no one could have expected a thing of the kind, seeing th_reat and intimate friendship that existed between them, so great, they say,
  • that they were called 'The Two Friends.'"
  • "Is it known at all," said Anselmo, "what road Lothario and Camilla took?"
  • "Not in the least," said the citizen, "though the governor has been ver_ctive in searching for them."
  • "God speed you, senor," said Anselmo.
  • "God be with you," said the citizen and went his way.
  • This disastrous intelligence almost robbed Anselmo not only of his senses bu_f his life. He got up as well as he was able and reached the house of hi_riend, who as yet knew nothing of his misfortune, but seeing him come pale,
  • worn, and haggard, perceived that he was suffering some heavy affliction.
  • Anselmo at once begged to be allowed to retire to rest, and to be give_riting materials. His wish was complied with and he was left lying down an_lone, for he desired this, and even that the door should be locked. Findin_imself alone he so took to heart the thought of his misfortune that by th_igns of death he felt within him he knew well his life was drawing to _lose, and therefore he resolved to leave behind him a declaration of th_ause of his strange end. He began to write, but before he had put down all h_eant to say, his breath failed him and he yielded up his life, a victim t_he suffering which his ill-advised curiosity had entailed upon him. Th_aster of the house observing that it was now late and that Anselmo did no_all, determined to go in and ascertain if his indisposition was increasing,
  • and found him lying on his face, his body partly in the bed, partly on th_riting-table, on which he lay with the written paper open and the pen stil_n his hand. Having first called to him without receiving any answer, his hos_pproached him, and taking him by the hand, found that it was cold, and sa_hat he was dead. Greatly surprised and distressed he summoned the househol_o witness the sad fate which had befallen Anselmo; and then he read th_aper, the handwriting of which he recognised as his, and which containe_hese words:
  • "A foolish and ill-advised desire has robbed me of life. If the news of m_eath should reach the ears of Camilla, let her know that I forgive her, fo_he was not bound to perform miracles, nor ought I to have required her t_erform them; and since I have been the author of my own dishonour, there i_o reason why-"
  • So far Anselmo had written, and thus it was plain that at this point, befor_e could finish what he had to say, his life came to an end. The next day hi_riend sent intelligence of his death to his relatives, who had alread_scertained his misfortune, as well as the convent where Camilla lay almost o_he point of accompanying her husband on that inevitable journey, not o_ccount of the tidings of his death, but because of those she received of he_over's departure. Although she saw herself a widow, it is said she refuse_ither to quit the convent or take the veil, until, not long afterwards,
  • intelligence reached her that Lothario had been killed in a battle in which M.
  • de Lautrec had been recently engaged with the Great Captain Gonzalo Fernande_e Cordova in the kingdom of Naples, whither her too late repentant lover ha_epaired. On learning this Camilla took the veil, and shortly afterwards died,
  • worn out by grief and melancholy. This was the end of all three, an end tha_ame of a thoughtless beginning.
  • "I like this novel," said the curate; "but I cannot persuade myself of it_ruth; and if it has been invented, the author's invention is faulty, for i_s impossible to imagine any husband so foolish as to try such a costl_xperiment as Anselmo's. If it had been represented as occurring between _allant and his mistress it might pass; but between husband and wife there i_omething of an impossibility about it. As to the way in which the story i_old, however, I have no fault to find."