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Chapter 54

  • **Which deals with matters relating to this history and no other**
  • The duke and duchess resolved that the challenge Don Quixote had, for th_eason already mentioned, given their vassal, should be proceeded with; and a_he young man was in Flanders, whither he had fled to escape having Don_odriguez for a mother-in-law, they arranged to substitute for him a Gasco_acquey, named Tosilos, first of all carefully instructing him in all he ha_o do. Two days later the duke told Don Quixote that in four days from tha_ime his opponent would present himself on the field of battle armed as _night, and would maintain that the damsel lied by half a beard, nay a whol_eard, if she affirmed that he had given her a promise of marriage. Do_uixote was greatly pleased at the news, and promised himself to do wonders i_he lists, and reckoned it rare good fortune that an opportunity should hav_ffered for letting his noble hosts see what the might of his strong arm wa_apable of; and so in high spirits and satisfaction he awaited the expiratio_f the four days, which measured by his impatience seemed spinning themselve_ut into four hundred ages. Let us leave them to pass as we do other things,
  • and go and bear Sancho company, as mounted on Dapple, half glad, half sad, h_aced along on his road to join his master, in whose society he was happie_han in being governor of all the islands in the world. Well then, it s_appened that before he had gone a great way from the island of his government
  • (and whether it was island, city, town, or village that he governed he neve_roubled himself to inquire) he saw coming along the road he was travellin_ix pilgrims with staves, foreigners of that sort that beg for alms singing;
  • who as they drew near arranged themselves in a line and lifting up thei_oices all together began to sing in their own language something that Sanch_ould not with the exception of one word which sounded plainly "alms," fro_hich he gathered that it was alms they asked for in their song; and being, a_ide Hamete says, remarkably charitable, he took out of his alforias the hal_oaf and half cheese he had been provided with, and gave them to them,
  • explaining to them by signs that he had nothing else to give them. The_eceived them very gladly, but exclaimed, "Geld! Geld!"
  • "I don't understand what you want of me, good people," said Sancho.
  • On this one of them took a purse out of his bosom and showed it to Sancho, b_hich he comprehended they were asking for money, and putting his thumb to hi_hroat and spreading his hand upwards he gave them to understand that he ha_ot the sign of a coin about him, and urging Dapple forward he broke throug_hem. But as he was passing, one of them who had been examining him ver_losely rushed towards him, and flinging his arms round him exclaimed in _oud voice and good Spanish, "God bless me! What's this I see? Is it possibl_hat I hold in my arms my dear friend, my good neighbour Sancho Panza? Bu_here's no doubt about it, for I'm not asleep, nor am I drunk just now."
  • Sancho was surprised to hear himself called by his name and find himsel_mbraced by a foreign pilgrim, and after regarding him steadily withou_peaking he was still unable to recognise him; but the pilgrim perceiving hi_erplexity cried, "What! and is it possible, Sancho Panza, that thou dost no_now thy neighbour Ricote, the Morisco shopkeeper of thy village?"
  • Sancho upon this looking at him more carefully began to recall his features,
  • and at last recognised him perfectly, and without getting off the ass thre_is arms round his neck saying, "Who the devil could have known thee, Ricote,
  • in this mummer's dress thou art in? Tell me, who bas frenchified thee, and ho_ost thou dare to return to Spain, where if they catch thee and recognise the_t will go hard enough with thee?"
  • "If thou dost not betray me, Sancho," said the pilgrim, "I am safe; for i_his dress no one will recognise me; but let us turn aside out of the roa_nto that grove there where my comrades are going to eat and rest, and tho_halt eat with them there, for they are very good fellows; I'll have tim_nough to tell thee then all that has happened me since I left our village i_bedience to his Majesty's edict that threatened such severities against th_nfortunate people of my nation, as thou hast heard."
  • Sancho complied, and Ricote having spoken to the other pilgrims they withdre_o the grove they saw, turning a considerable distance out of the road. The_hrew down their staves, took off their pilgrim's cloaks and remained in thei_nder-clothing; they were all good-looking young fellows, except Ricote, wh_as a man somewhat advanced in years. They carried alforjas all of them, an_ll apparently well filled, at least with things provocative of thirst, suc_s would summon it from two leagues off. They stretched themselves on th_round, and making a tablecloth of the grass they spread upon it bread, salt,
  • knives, walnut, scraps of cheese, and well-picked ham-bones which if they wer_ast gnawing were not past sucking. They also put down a black dainty called,
  • they say, caviar, and made of the eggs of fish, a great thirst-wakener. No_as there any lack of olives, dry, it is true, and without any seasoning, bu_or all that toothsome and pleasant. But what made the best show in the fiel_f the banquet was half a dozen botas of wine, for each of them produced hi_wn from his alforjas; even the good Ricote, who from a Morisco ha_ransformed himself into a German or Dutchman, took out his, which in siz_ight have vied with the five others. They then began to eat with very grea_elish and very leisurely, making the most of each morsel—very small ones o_verything—they took up on the point of the knife; and then all at the sam_oment raised their arms and botas aloft, the mouths placed in their mouths,
  • and all eyes fixed on heaven just as if they were taking aim at it; and i_his attitude they remained ever so long, wagging their heads from side t_ide as if in acknowledgment of the pleasure they were enjoying while the_ecanted the bowels of the bottles into their own stomachs.
  • Sancho beheld all, "and nothing gave him pain;" so far from that, acting o_he proverb he knew so well, "when thou art at Rome do as thou seest," h_sked Ricote for his bota and took aim like the rest of them, and with no_ess enjoyment. Four times did the botas bear being uplifted, but the fifth i_as all in vain, for they were drier and more sapless than a rush by tha_ime, which made the jollity that had been kept up so far begin to flag.
  • Every now and then some one of them would grasp Sancho's right hand in his ow_aying, "Espanoli y Tudesqui tuto uno: bon compano;" and Sancho would answer,
  • "Bon compano, jur a Di!" and then go off into a fit of laughter that lasted a_our, without a thought for the moment of anything that had befallen him i_is government; for cares have very little sway over us while we are eatin_nd drinking. At length, the wine having come to an end with them, drowsines_egan to come over them, and they dropped asleep on their very table an_ablecloth. Ricote and Sancho alone remained awake, for they had eaten mor_nd drunk less, and Ricote drawing Sancho aside, they seated themselves at th_oot of a beech, leaving the pilgrims buried in sweet sleep; and without onc_alling into his own Morisco tongue Ricote spoke as follows in pure Castilian:
  • "Thou knowest well, neighbour and friend Sancho Panza, how the proclamation o_dict his Majesty commanded to be issued against those of my nation filled u_ll with terror and dismay; me at least it did, insomuch that I think befor_he time granted us for quitting Spain was out, the full force of the penalt_ad already fallen upon me and upon my children. I decided, then, and I thin_isely (just like one who knows that at a certain date the house he lives i_ill be taken from him, and looks out beforehand for another to change into),
  • I decided, I say, to leave the town myself, alone and without my family, an_o to seek out some place to remove them to comfortably and not in the hurrie_ay in which the others took their departure; for I saw very plainly, and s_id all the older men among us, that the proclamations were not mere threats,
  • as some said, but positive enactments which would be enforced at the appointe_ime; and what made me believe this was what I knew of the base an_xtravagant designs which our people harboured, designs of such a nature tha_ think it was a divine inspiration that moved his Majesty to carry out _esolution so spirited; not that we were all guilty, for some there were tru_nd steadfast Christians; but they were so few that they could make no hea_gainst those who were not; and it was not prudent to cherish a viper in th_osom by having enemies in the house. In short it was with just cause that w_ere visited with the penalty of banishment, a mild and lenient one in th_yes of some, but to us the most terrible that could be inflicted upon us.
  • Wherever we are we weep for Spain; for after all we were born there and it i_ur natural fatherland. Nowhere do we find the reception our unhappy conditio_eeds; and in Barbary and all the parts of Africa where we counted upon bein_eceived, succoured, and welcomed, it is there they insult and ill-treat u_ost. We knew not our good fortune until we lost it; and such is the longin_e almost all of us have to return to Spain, that most of those who lik_yself know the language, and there are many who do, come back to it and leav_heir wives and children forsaken yonder, so great is their love for it; an_ow I know by experience the meaning of the saying, sweet is the love of one'_ountry.
  • "I left our village, as I said, and went to France, but though they gave us _ind reception there I was anxious to see all I could. I crossed into Italy,
  • and reached Germany, and there it seemed to me we might live with mor_reedom, as the inhabitants do not pay any attention to trifling points;
  • everyone lives as he likes, for in most parts they enjoy liberty o_onscience. I took a house in a town near Augsburg, and then joined thes_ilgrims, who are in the habit of coming to Spain in great numbers every yea_o visit the shrines there, which they look upon as their Indies and a sur_nd certain source of gain. They travel nearly all over it, and there is n_own out of which they do not go full up of meat and drink, as the saying is,
  • and with a real, at least, in money, and they come off at the end of thei_ravels with more than a hundred crowns saved, which, changed into gold, the_muggle out of the kingdom either in the hollow of their staves or in th_atches of their pilgrim's cloaks or by some device of their own, and carry t_heir own country in spite of the guards at the posts and passes where the_re searched. Now my purpose is, Sancho, to carry away the treasure that _eft buried, which, as it is outside the town, I shall be able to do withou_isk, and to write, or cross over from Valencia, to my daughter and wife, wh_ know are at Algiers, and find some means of bringing them to some Frenc_ort and thence to Germany, there to await what it may be God's will to d_ith us; for, after all, Sancho, I know well that Ricota my daughter an_rancisca Ricota my wife are Catholic Christians, and though I am not so muc_o, still I am more of a Christian than a Moor, and it is always my prayer t_od that he will open the eyes of my understanding and show me how I am t_erve him; but what amazes me and I cannot understand is why my wife an_aughter should have gone to Barbary rather than to France, where they coul_ive as Christians."
  • To this Sancho replied, "Remember, Ricote, that may not have been open t_hem, for Juan Tiopieyo thy wife's brother took them, and being a true Moor h_ent where he could go most easily; and another thing I can tell thee, it i_y belief thou art going in vain to look for what thou hast left buried, fo_e heard they took from thy brother-in-law and thy wife a great quantity o_earls and money in gold which they brought to be passed."
  • "That may be," said Ricote; "but I know they did not touch my hoard, for I di_ot tell them where it was, for fear of accidents; and so, if thou wilt com_ith me, Sancho, and help me to take it away and conceal it, I will give the_wo hundred crowns wherewith thou mayest relieve thy necessities, and, as tho_nowest, I know they are many."
  • "I would do it," said Sancho; "but I am not at all covetous, for I gave up a_ffice this morning in which, if I was, I might have made the walls of m_ouse of gold and dined off silver plates before six months were over; and s_or this reason, and because I feel I would be guilty of treason to my king i_ helped his enemies, I would not go with thee if instead of promising me tw_undred crowns thou wert to give me four hundred here in hand."
  • "And what office is this thou hast given up, Sancho?" asked Ricote.
  • "I have given up being governor of an island," said Sancho, "and such a one,
  • faith, as you won't find the like of easily."
  • "And where is this island?" said Ricote.
  • "Where?" said Sancho; "two leagues from here, and it is called the island o_arataria."
  • "Nonsense! Sancho," said Ricote; "islands are away out in the sea; there ar_o islands on the mainland."
  • "What? No islands!" said Sancho; "I tell thee, friend Ricote, I left it thi_orning, and yesterday I was governing there as I pleased like a sagittarius;
  • but for all that I gave it up, for it seemed to me a dangerous office, _overnor's."
  • "And what hast thou gained by the government?" asked Ricote.
  • "I have gained," said Sancho, "the knowledge that I am no good for governing,
  • unless it is a drove of cattle, and that the riches that are to be got b_hese governments are got at the cost of one's rest and sleep, ay and eve_ne's food; for in islands the governors must eat little, especially if the_ave doctors to look after their health."
  • "I don't understand thee, Sancho," said Ricote; "but it seems to me al_onsense thou art talking. Who would give thee islands to govern? Is there an_carcity in the world of cleverer men than thou art for governors? Hold th_eace, Sancho, and come back to thy senses, and consider whether thou wil_ome with me as I said to help me to take away treasure I left buried (fo_ndeed it may be called a treasure, it is so large), and I will give the_herewithal to keep thee, as I told thee."
  • "And I have told thee already, Ricote, that I will not," said Sancho; "let i_ontent thee that by me thou shalt not be betrayed, and go thy way in God'_ame and let me go mine; for I know that well-gotten gain may be lost, bu_ll-gotten gain is lost, itself and its owner likewise."
  • "I will not press thee, Sancho," said Ricote; "but tell me, wert thou in ou_illage when my wife and daughter and brother-in-law left it?"
  • "I was so," said Sancho; "and I can tell thee thy daughter left it looking s_ovely that all the village turned out to see her, and everybody said she wa_he fairest creature in the world. She wept as she went, and embraced all he_riends and acquaintances and those who came out to see her, and she begge_hem all to commend her to God and Our Lady his mother, and this in such _ouching way that it made me weep myself, though I'm not much given to tear_ommonly; and, faith, many a one would have liked to hide her, or go out an_arry her off on the road; but the fear of going against the king's comman_ept them back. The one who showed himself most moved was Don Pedro Gregorio,
  • the rich young heir thou knowest of, and they say he was deep in love wit_er; and since she left he has not been seen in our village again, and we al_uspect he has gone after her to steal her away, but so far nothing has bee_eard of it."
  • "I always had a suspicion that gentleman had a passion for my daughter," sai_icote; "but as I felt sure of my Ricota's virtue it gave me no uneasiness t_now that he loved her; for thou must have heard it said, Sancho, that th_orisco women seldom or never engage in amours with the old Christians; and m_aughter, who I fancy thought more of being a Christian than of lovemaking,
  • would not trouble herself about the attentions of this heir."
  • "God grant it," said Sancho, "for it would be a bad business for both of them;
  • but now let me be off, friend Ricote, for I want to reach where my master Do_uixote is to-night."
  • "God be with thee, brother Sancho," said Ricote; "my comrades are beginning t_tir, and it is time, too, for us to continue our journey;" and then they bot_mbraced, and Sancho mounted Dapple, and Ricote leant upon his staff, and s_hey parted.