**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."