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Chapter 51

  • **Of the progress of Sancho's government, and other such entertainin_atters**
  • Day came after the night of the governor's round; a night which the head-
  • carver passed without sleeping, so were his thoughts of the face and air an_eauty of the disguised damsel, while the majordomo spent what was left of i_n writing an account to his lord and lady of all Sancho said and did, bein_s much amazed at his sayings as at his doings, for there was a mixture o_hrewdness and simplicity in all his words and deeds. The senor governor go_p, and by Doctor Pedro Recio's directions they made him break his fast on _ittle conserve and four sups of cold water, which Sancho would have readil_xchanged for a piece of bread and a bunch of grapes; but seeing there was n_elp for it, he submitted with no little sorrow of heart and discomfort o_tomach; Pedro Recio having persuaded him that light and delicate die_nlivened the wits, and that was what was most essential for persons placed i_ommand and in responsible situations, where they have to employ not only th_odily powers but those of the mind also.
  • By means of this sophistry Sancho was made to endure hunger, and hunger s_een that in his heart he cursed the government, and even him who had given i_o him; however, with his hunger and his conserve he undertook to delive_udgments that day, and the first thing that came before him was a questio_hat was submitted to him by a stranger, in the presence of the majordomo an_he other attendants, and it was in these words: "Senor, a large rive_eparated two districts of one and the same lordship—will your worship pleas_o pay attention, for the case is an important and a rather knotty one? Wel_hen, on this river there was a bridge, and at one end of it a gallows, and _ort of tribunal, where four judges commonly sat to administer the law whic_he lord of river, bridge and the lordship had enacted, and which was to thi_ffect, 'If anyone crosses by this bridge from one side to the other he shal_eclare on oath where he is going to and with what object; and if he swear_ruly, he shall be allowed to pass, but if falsely, he shall be put to deat_or it by hanging on the gallows erected there, without any remission.' Thoug_he law and its severe penalty were known, many persons crossed, but in thei_eclarations it was easy to see at once they were telling the truth, and th_udges let them pass free. It happened, however, that one man, when they cam_o take his declaration, swore and said that by the oath he took he was goin_o die upon that gallows that stood there, and nothing else. The judges held _onsultation over the oath, and they said, 'If we let this man pass free h_as sworn falsely, and by the law he ought to die; but if we hang him, as h_wore he was going to die on that gallows, and therefore swore the truth, b_he same law he ought to go free.' It is asked of your worship, seno_overnor, what are the judges to do with this man? For they are still in doub_nd perplexity; and having heard of your worship's acute and exalte_ntellect, they have sent me to entreat your worship on their behalf to giv_our opinion on this very intricate and puzzling case."
  • To this Sancho made answer, "Indeed those gentlemen the judges that send yo_o me might have spared themselves the trouble, for I have more of the obtus_han the acute in me; but repeat the case over again, so that I may understan_t, and then perhaps I may be able to hit the point."
  • The querist repeated again and again what he had said before, and then Sanch_aid, "It seems to me I can set the matter right in a moment, and in this way;
  • the man swears that he is going to die upon the gallows; but if he dies upo_t, he has sworn the truth, and by the law enacted deserves to go free an_ass over the bridge; but if they don't hang him, then he has sworn falsely,
  • and by the same law deserves to be hanged."
  • "It is as the senor governor says," said the messenger; "and as regards _omplete comprehension of the case, there is nothing left to desire o_esitate about."
  • "Well then I say," said Sancho, "that of this man they should let pass th_art that has sworn truly, and hang the part that has lied; and in this wa_he conditions of the passage will be fully complied with."
  • "But then, senor governor," replied the querist, "the man will have to b_ivided into two parts; and if he is divided of course he will die; and s_one of the requirements of the law will be carried out, and it is absolutel_ecessary to comply with it."
  • "Look here, my good sir," said Sancho; "either I'm a numskull or else there i_he same reason for this passenger dying as for his living and passing ove_he bridge; for if the truth saves him the falsehood equally condemns him; an_hat being the case it is my opinion you should say to the gentlemen who sen_ou to me that as the arguments for condemning him and for absolving him ar_xactly balanced, they should let him pass freely, as it is always mor_raiseworthy to do good than to do evil; this I would give signed with my nam_f I knew how to sign; and what I have said in this case is not out of my ow_ead, but one of the many precepts my master Don Quixote gave me the nigh_efore I left to become governor of this island, that came into my mind, an_t was this, that when there was any doubt about the justice of a case _hould lean to mercy; and it is God's will that I should recollect it now, fo_t fits this case as if it was made for it."
  • "That is true," said the majordomo; "and I maintain that Lycurgus himself, wh_ave laws to the Lacedemonians, could not have pronounced a better decisio_han the great Panza has given; let the morning's audience close with this,
  • and I will see that the senor governor has dinner entirely to his liking."
  • "That's all I ask for—fair play," said Sancho; "give me my dinner, and the_et it rain cases and questions on me, and I'll despatch them in a twinkling."
  • The majordomo kept his word, for he felt it against his conscience to kill s_ise a governor by hunger; particularly as he intended to have done with hi_hat same night, playing off the last joke he was commissioned to practis_pon him.
  • It came to pass, then, that after he had dined that day, in opposition to th_ules and aphorisms of Doctor Tirteafuera, as they were taking away the clot_here came a courier with a letter from Don Quixote for the governor. Sanch_rdered the secretary to read it to himself, and if there was nothing in i_hat demanded secrecy to read it aloud. The secretary did so, and after he ha_kimmed the contents he said, "It may well be read aloud, for what Senor Do_uixote writes to your worship deserves to be printed or written in letters o_old, and it is as follows."
  • DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA'S LETTER TO SANCHO PANZA, GOVERNOR OF THE ISLAND O_ARATARIA.
  • When I was expecting to hear of thy stupidities and blunders, friend Sancho, _ave received intelligence of thy displays of good sense, for which I giv_pecial thanks to heaven that can raise the poor from the dunghill and o_ools to make wise men. They tell me thou dost govern as if thou wert a man,
  • and art a man as if thou wert a beast, so great is the humility wherewith tho_ost comport thyself. But I would have thee bear in mind, Sancho, that ver_ften it is fitting and necessary for the authority of office to resist th_umility of the heart; for the seemly array of one who is invested with grav_uties should be such as they require and not measured by what his own humbl_astes may lead him to prefer. Dress well; a stick dressed up does not loo_ike a stick; I do not say thou shouldst wear trinkets or fine raiment, o_hat being a judge thou shouldst dress like a soldier, but that thou shoulds_rray thyself in the apparel thy office requires, and that at the same time i_e neat and handsome. To win the good-will of the people thou governest ther_re two things, among others, that thou must do; one is to be civil to all
  • (this, however, I told thee before), and the other to take care that food b_bundant, for there is nothing that vexes the heart of the poor more tha_unger and high prices. Make not many proclamations; but those thou makes_ake care that they be good ones, and above all that they be observed an_arried out; for proclamations that are not observed are the same as if the_id not exist; nay, they encourage the idea that the prince who had the wisdo_nd authority to make them had not the power to enforce them; and laws tha_hreaten and are not enforced come to be like the log, the king of the frogs,
  • that frightened them at first, but that in time they despised and mounte_pon. Be a father to virtue and a stepfather to vice. Be not always strict,
  • nor yet always lenient, but observe a mean between these two extremes, for i_hat is the aim of wisdom. Visit the gaols, the slaughter-houses, and th_arket-places; for the presence of the governor is of great importance in suc_laces; it comforts the prisoners who are in hopes of a speedy release, it i_he bugbear of the butchers who have then to give just weight, and it is th_error of the market-women for the same reason. Let it not be seen that tho_rt (even if perchance thou art, which I do not believe) covetous, a followe_f women, or a glutton; for when the people and those that have dealings wit_hee become aware of thy special weakness they will bring their batteries t_ear upon thee in that quarter, till they have brought thee down to the depth_f perdition. Consider and reconsider, con and con over again the advices an_he instructions I gave thee before thy departure hence to thy government, an_hou wilt see that in them, if thou dost follow them, thou hast a help at han_hat will lighten for thee the troubles and difficulties that beset governor_t every step. Write to thy lord and lady and show thyself grateful to them,
  • for ingratitude is the daughter of pride, and one of the greatest sins we kno_f; and he who is grateful to those who have been good to him shows that h_ill be so to God also who has bestowed and still bestows so many blessing_pon him.
  • My lady the duchess sent off a messenger with thy suit and another present t_hy wife Teresa Panza; we expect the answer every moment. I have been a littl_ndisposed through a certain scratching I came in for, not very much to th_enefit of my nose; but it was nothing; for if there are enchanters wh_altreat me, there are also some who defend me. Let me know if the majordom_ho is with thee had any share in the Trifaldi performance, as thou dids_uspect; and keep me informed of everything that happens thee, as the distanc_s so short; all the more as I am thinking of giving over very shortly thi_dle life I am now leading, for I was not born for it. A thing has occurred t_e which I am inclined to think will put me out of favour with the duke an_uchess; but though I am sorry for it I do not care, for after all I must obe_y calling rather than their pleasure, in accordance with the common saying,
  • amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas. I quote this Latin to thee because _onclude that since thou hast been a governor thou wilt have learned it.
  • Adieu; God keep thee from being an object of pity to anyone.
  • Thy friend, DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA.
  • Sancho listened to the letter with great attention, and it was praised an_onsidered wise by all who heard it; he then rose up from table, and callin_is secretary shut himself in with him in his own room, and without putting i_ff any longer set about answering his master Don Quixote at once; and he bad_he secretary write down what he told him without adding or suppressin_nything, which he did, and the answer was to the following effect.
  • SANCHO PANZA'S LETTER TO DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA.
  • The pressure of business is so great upon me that I have no time to scratch m_ead or even to cut my nails; and I have them so long-God send a remedy fo_t. I say this, master of my soul, that you may not be surprised if I have no_ntil now sent you word of how I fare, well or ill, in this government, i_hich I am suffering more hunger than when we two were wandering through th_oods and wastes.
  • My lord the duke wrote to me the other day to warn me that certain spies ha_ot into this island to kill me; but up to the present I have not found ou_ny except a certain doctor who receives a salary in this town for killing al_he governors that come here; he is called Doctor Pedro Recio, and is fro_irteafuera; so you see what a name he has to make me dread dying under hi_ands. This doctor says of himself that he does not cure diseases when ther_re any, but prevents them coming, and the medicines he uses are diet and mor_iet until he brings one down to bare bones; as if leanness was not worse tha_ever.
  • In short he is killing me with hunger, and I am dying myself of vexation; fo_hen I thought I was coming to this government to get my meat hot and my drin_ool, and take my ease between holland sheets on feather beds, I find I hav_ome to do penance as if I was a hermit; and as I don't do it willingly _uspect that in the end the devil will carry me off.
  • So far I have not handled any dues or taken any bribes, and I don't know wha_o think of it; for here they tell me that the governors that come to thi_sland, before entering it have plenty of money either given to them or len_o them by the people of the town, and that this is the usual custom not onl_ere but with all who enter upon governments.
  • Last night going the rounds I came upon a fair damsel in man's clothes, and _rother of hers dressed as a woman; my head-carver has fallen in love with th_irl, and has in his own mind chosen her for a wife, so he says, and I hav_hosen youth for a son-in-law; to-day we are going to explain our intention_o the father of the pair, who is one Diego de la Llana, a gentleman and a_ld Christian as much as you please.
  • I have visited the market-places, as your worship advises me, and yesterday _ound a stall-keeper selling new hazel nuts and proved her to have mixed _ushel of old empty rotten nuts with a bushel of new; I confiscated the whol_or the children of the charity-school, who will know how to distinguish the_ell enough, and I sentenced her not to come into the market-place for _ortnight; they told me I did bravely. I can tell your worship it is commonl_aid in this town that there are no people worse than the market-women, fo_hey are all barefaced, unconscionable, and impudent, and I can well believ_t from what I have seen of them in other towns.
  • I am very glad my lady the duchess has written to my wife Teresa Panza an_ent her the present your worship speaks of; and I will strive to show mysel_rateful when the time comes; kiss her hands for me, and tell her I say sh_as not thrown it into a sack with a hole in it, as she will see in the end. _hould not like your worship to have any difference with my lord and lady; fo_f you fall out with them it is plain it must do me harm; and as you give m_dvice to be grateful it will not do for your worship not to be so yourself t_hose who have shown you such kindness, and by whom you have been treated s_ospitably in their castle.
  • That about the scratching I don't understand; but I suppose it must be one o_he ill-turns the wicked enchanters are always doing your worship; when w_eet I shall know all about it. I wish I could send your worship something;
  • but I don't know what to send, unless it be some very curious clyster pipes,
  • to work with bladders, that they make in this island; but if the offic_emains with me I'll find out something to send, one way or another. If m_ife Teresa Panza writes to me, pay the postage and send me the letter, for _ave a very great desire to hear how my house and wife and children are goin_n. And so, may God deliver your worship from evil-minded enchanters, an_ring me well and peacefully out of this government, which I doubt, for _xpect to take leave of it and my life together, from the way Doctor Pedr_ecio treats me.
  • Your worship's servant
  • SANCHO PANZA THE GOVERNOR.
  • The secretary sealed the letter, and immediately dismissed the courier; an_hose who were carrying on the joke against Sancho putting their head_ogether arranged how he was to be dismissed from the government. Sancho spen_he afternoon in drawing up certain ordinances relating to the good governmen_f what he fancied the island; and he ordained that there were to be n_rovision hucksters in the State, and that men might import wine into it fro_ny place they pleased, provided they declared the quarter it came from, s_hat a price might be put upon it according to its quality, reputation, an_he estimation it was held in; and he that watered his wine, or changed th_ame, was to forfeit his life for it. He reduced the prices of all manner o_hoes, boots, and stockings, but of shoes in particular, as they seemed to hi_o run extravagantly high. He established a fixed rate for servants' wages,
  • which were becoming recklessly exorbitant. He laid extremely heavy penaltie_pon those who sang lewd or loose songs either by day or night. He decree_hat no blind man should sing of any miracle in verse, unless he could produc_uthentic evidence that it was true, for it was his opinion that most of thos_he blind men sing are trumped up, to the detriment of the true ones. H_stablished and created an alguacil of the poor, not to harass them, but t_xamine them and see whether they really were so; for many a sturdy thief o_runkard goes about under cover of a make-believe crippled limb or a sha_ore. In a word, he made so many good rules that to this day they ar_reserved there, and are called The constitutions of the great governor Sanch_anza.