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Chapter 57

  • **Which treats of how Don Quixote took leave of the duke, and of what followe_ith the witty and impudent Altisidora, one of the duchess's damsels**
  • Don Quixote now felt it right to quit a life of such idleness as he wa_eading in the castle; for he fancied that he was making himself sorely misse_y suffering himself to remain shut up and inactive amid the countles_uxuries and enjoyments his hosts lavished upon him as a knight, and he fel_oo that he would have to render a strict account to heaven of that indolenc_nd seclusion; and so one day he asked the duke and duchess to grant hi_ermission to take his departure. They gave it, showing at the same time tha_hey were very sorry he was leaving them.
  • The duchess gave his wife's letters to Sancho Panza, who shed tears over them, saying, "Who would have thought that such grand hopes as the news of m_overnment bred in my wife Teresa Panza's breast would end in my going bac_ow to the vagabond adventures of my master Don Quixote of La Mancha? Stil_'m glad to see my Teresa behaved as she ought in sending the acorns, for i_he had not sent them I'd have been sorry, and she'd have shown hersel_ngrateful. It is a comfort to me that they can't call that present a bribe; for I had got the government already when she sent them, and it's bu_easonable that those who have had a good turn done them should show thei_ratitude, if it's only with a trifle. After all I went into the governmen_aked, and I come out of it naked; so I can say with a safe conscience—an_hat's no small matter—'naked I was born, naked I find myself, I neither los_or gain.'"
  • Thus did Sancho soliloquise on the day of their departure, as Don Quixote, wh_ad the night before taken leave of the duke and duchess, coming out made hi_ppearance at an early hour in full armour in the courtyard of the castle. Th_hole household of the castle were watching him from the corridors, and th_uke and duchess, too, came out to see him. Sancho was mounted on his Dapple, with his alforjas, valise, and proven, supremely happy because the duke'_ajordomo, the same that had acted the part of the Trifaldi, had given him _ittle purse with two hundred gold crowns to meet the necessary expenses o_he road, but of this Don Quixote knew nothing as yet. While all were, as ha_een said, observing him, suddenly from among the duennas and handmaidens th_mpudent and witty Altisidora lifted up her voice and said in pathetic tones:
  • {verse
  • Give ear, cruel knight;
  • Draw rein; where's the need
  • Of spurring the flanks
  • Of that ill-broken steed?
  • From what art thou flying?
  • No dragon I am,
  • Not even a sheep,
  • But a tender young lamb.
  • Thou hast jilted a maiden
  • As fair to behold
  • As nymph of Diana
  • Or Venus of old.
  • Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?
  • Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!
  • In thy claws, ruthless robber,
  • Thou bearest away
  • The heart of a meek
  • Loving maid for thy prey,
  • Three kerchiefs thou stealest,
  • And garters a pair,
  • From legs than the whitest
  • Of marble more fair;
  • And the sighs that pursue thee
  • Would burn to the ground
  • Two thousand Troy Towns,
  • If so many were found.
  • Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?
  • Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!
  • May no bowels of mercy
  • To Sancho be granted,
  • And thy Dulcinea
  • Be left still enchanted,
  • May thy falsehood to me
  • Find its punishment in her,
  • For in my land the just
  • Often pays for the sinner.
  • May thy grandest adventures
  • Discomfitures prove,
  • May thy joys be all dreams,
  • And forgotten thy love.
  • Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?
  • Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!
  • May thy name be abhorred
  • For thy conduct to ladies,
  • From London to England,
  • From Seville to Cadiz;
  • May thy cards be unlucky,
  • Thy hands contain ne'er a
  • King, seven, or ace
  • When thou playest primera;
  • When thy corns are cut
  • May it be to the quick;
  • When thy grinders are drawn
  • May the roots of them stick.
  • Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?
  • Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!
  • {verse
  • All the while the unhappy Altisidora was bewailing herself in the above strai_on Quixote stood staring at her; and without uttering a word in reply to he_e turned round to Sancho and said, "Sancho my friend, I conjure thee by th_ife of thy forefathers tell me the truth; say, hast thou by any chance take_he three kerchiefs and the garters this love-sick maid speaks of?"
  • To this Sancho made answer, "The three kerchiefs I have; but the garters, a_uch as 'over the hills of Ubeda.'"
  • The duchess was amazed at Altisidora's assurance; she knew that she was bold, lively, and impudent, but not so much so as to venture to make free in thi_ashion; and not being prepared for the joke, her astonishment was all th_reater. The duke had a mind to keep up the sport, so he said, "It does no_eem to me well done in you, sir knight, that after having received th_ospitality that has been offered you in this very castle, you should hav_entured to carry off even three kerchiefs, not to say my handmaid's garters.
  • It shows a bad heart and does not tally with your reputation. Restore he_arters, or else I defy you to mortal combat, for I am not afraid of rascall_nchanters changing or altering my features as they changed his wh_ncountered you into those of my lacquey, Tosilos."
  • "God forbid," said Don Quixote, "that I should draw my sword against you_llustrious person from which I have received such great favours. Th_erchiefs I will restore, as Sancho says he has them; as to the garters tha_s impossible, for I have not got them, neither has he; and if your handmaide_ere will look in her hiding-places, depend upon it she will find them. I hav_ever been a thief, my lord duke, nor do I mean to be so long as I live, i_od cease not to have me in his keeping. This damsel by her own confessio_peaks as one in love, for which I am not to blame, and therefore need not as_ardon, either of her or of your excellence, whom I entreat to have a bette_pinion of me, and once more to give me leave to pursue my journey."
  • "And may God so prosper it, Senor Don Quixote," said the duchess, "that we ma_lways hear good news of your exploits; God speed you; for the longer yo_tay, the more you inflame the hearts of the damsels who behold you; and a_or this one of mine, I will so chastise her that she will not transgres_gain, either with her eyes or with her words."
  • "One word and no more, O valiant Don Quixote, I ask you to hear," sai_ltisidora, "and that is that I beg your pardon about the theft of th_arters; for by God and upon my soul I have got them on, and I have falle_nto the same blunder as he did who went looking for his ass being all th_hile mounted on it."
  • "Didn't I say so?" said Sancho. "I'm a likely one to hide thefts! Why if _anted to deal in them, opportunities came ready enough to me in m_overnment."
  • Don Quixote bowed his head, and saluted the duke and duchess and all th_ystanders, and wheeling Rocinante round, Sancho following him on Dapple, h_ode out of the castle, shaping his course for Saragossa.