**Of the strangest and most extraordinary adventure that befell Don Quixote i_he whole course of this great history**
The horsemen dismounted, and, together with the men on foot, without _oment's delay taking up Sancho and Don Quixote bodily, they carried them int_he court, all round which near a hundred torches fixed in sockets wer_urning, besides above five hundred lamps in the corridors, so that in spit_f the night, which was somewhat dark, the want of daylight could not b_erceived. In the middle of the court was a catafalque, raised about two yard_bove the ground and covered completely by an immense canopy of black velvet,
and on the steps all round it white wax tapers burned in more than a hundre_ilver candlesticks. Upon the catafalque was seen the dead body of a damsel s_ovely that by her beauty she made death itself look beautiful. She lay wit_er head resting upon a cushion of brocade and crowned with a garland o_weet-smelling flowers of divers sorts, her hands crossed upon her bosom, an_etween them a branch of yellow palm of victory. On one side of the court wa_rected a stage, where upon two chairs were seated two persons who from havin_rowns on their heads and sceptres in their hands appeared to be kings of som_ort, whether real or mock ones. By the side of this stage, which was reache_y steps, were two other chairs on which the men carrying the prisoners seate_on Quixote and Sancho, all in silence, and by signs giving them to understan_hat they too were to be silent; which, however, they would have been withou_ny signs, for their amazement at all they saw held them tongue-tied. And no_wo persons of distinction, who were at once recognised by Don Quixote as hi_osts the duke and duchess, ascended the stage attended by a numerous suite,
and seated themselves on two gorgeous chairs close to the two kings, as the_eemed to be. Who would not have been amazed at this? Nor was this all, fo_on Quixote had perceived that the dead body on the catafalque was that of th_air Altisidora. As the duke and duchess mounted the stage Don Quixote an_ancho rose and made them a profound obeisance, which they returned by bowin_heir heads slightly. At this moment an official crossed over, and approachin_ancho threw over him a robe of black buckram painted all over with flames o_ire, and taking off his cap put upon his head a mitre such as thos_ndergoing the sentence of the Holy Office wear; and whispered in his ear tha_e must not open his lips, or they would put a gag upon him, or take his life.
Sancho surveyed himself from head to foot and saw himself all ablaze wit_lames; but as they did not burn him, he did not care two farthings for them.
He took off the mitre and seeing painted with devils he put it on again,
saying to himself, "Well, so far those don't burn me nor do these carry m_ff." Don Quixote surveyed him too, and though fear had got the better of hi_aculties, he could not help smiling to see the figure Sancho presented. An_ow from underneath the catafalque, so it seemed, there rose a low sweet soun_f flutes, which, coming unbroken by human voice (for there silence itsel_ept silence), had a soft and languishing effect. Then, beside the pillow o_hat seemed to be the dead body, suddenly appeared a fair youth in a Roma_abit, who, to the accompaniment of a harp which he himself played, sang in _weet and clear voice these two stanzas:
While fair Altisidora, who the sport
Of cold Don Quixote's cruelty hath been,
Returns to life, and in this magic court
The dames in sables come to grace the scene,
And while her matrons all in seemly sort
My lady robes in baize and bombazine,
Her beauty and her sorrows will I sing
With defter quill than touched the Thracian string.
But not in life alone, methinks, to me
Belongs the office; Lady, when my tongue
Is cold in death, believe me, unto thee
My voice shall raise its tributary song.
My soul, from this strait prison-house set free,
As o'er the Stygian lake it floats along,
Thy praises singing still shall hold its way,
And make the waters of oblivion stay.
At this point one of the two that looked like kings exclaimed, "Enough,
enough, divine singer! It would be an endless task to put before us now th_eath and the charms of the peerless Altisidora, not dead as the ignoran_orld imagines, but living in the voice of fame and in the penance whic_ancho Panza, here present, has to undergo to restore her to the long-los_ight. Do thou, therefore, O Rhadamanthus, who sittest in judgment with me i_he murky caverns of Dis, as thou knowest all that the inscrutable fates hav_ecreed touching the resuscitation of this damsel, announce and declare it a_nce, that the happiness we look forward to from her restoration be no longe_eferred."
No sooner had Minos the fellow judge of Rhadamanthus said this, tha_hadamanthus rising up said:
"Ho, officials of this house, high and low, great and small, make haste hithe_ne and all, and print on Sancho's face four-and-twenty smacks, and give hi_welve pinches and six pin thrusts in the back and arms; for upon thi_eremony depends the restoration of Altisidora."
On hearing this Sancho broke silence and cried out, "By all that's good, I'l_s soon let my face be smacked or handled as turn Moor. Body o' me! What ha_andling my face got to do with the resurrection of this damsel? 'The ol_oman took kindly to the blits; they enchant Dulcinea, and whip me in order t_isenchant her; Altisidora dies of ailments God was pleased to send her, an_o bring her to life again they must give me four-and-twenty smacks, and pric_oles in my body with pins, and raise weals on my arms with pinches! Try thos_okes on a brother-in-law; 'I'm an old dog, and "tus, tus" is no use wit_e.'"
"Thou shalt die," said Rhadamanthus in a loud voice; "relent, thou tiger;
humble thyself, proud Nimrod; suffer and be silent, for no impossibilities ar_sked of thee; it is not for thee to inquire into the difficulties in thi_atter; smacked thou must be, pricked thou shalt see thyself, and with pinche_hou must be made to howl. Ho, I say, officials, obey my orders; or by th_ord of an honest man, ye shall see what ye were born for."
At this some six duennas, advancing across the court, made their appearance i_rocession, one after the other, four of them with spectacles, and all wit_heir right hands uplifted, showing four fingers of wrist to make their hand_ook longer, as is the fashion now-a-days. No sooner had Sancho caught sigh_f them than, bellowing like a bull, he exclaimed, "I might let myself b_andled by all the world; but allow duennas to touch me—not a bit of it!
Scratch my face, as my master was served in this very castle; run me throug_he body with burnished daggers; pinch my arms with red-hot pincers; I'll bea_ll in patience to serve these gentlefolk; but I won't let duennas touch me,
though the devil should carry me off!"
Here Don Quixote, too, broke silence, saying to Sancho, "Have patience, m_on, and gratify these noble persons, and give all thanks to heaven that i_as infused such virtue into thy person, that by its sufferings thou cans_isenchant the enchanted and restore to life the dead."
The duennas were now close to Sancho, and he, having become more tractable an_easonable, settling himself well in his chair presented his face and beard t_he first, who delivered him a smack very stoutly laid on, and then made him _ow curtsey.
"Less politeness and less paint, senora duenna," said Sancho; "by God you_ands smell of vinegar-wash."
In fine, all the duennas smacked him and several others of the househol_inched him; but what he could not stand was being pricked by the pins; an_o, apparently out of patience, he started up out of his chair, and seizing _ighted torch that stood near him fell upon the duennas and the whole set o_is tormentors, exclaiming, "Begone, ye ministers of hell; I'm not made o_rass not to feel such out-of-the-way tortures."
At this instant Altisidora, who probably was tired of having been so lon_ying on her back, turned on her side; seeing which the bystanders cried ou_lmost with one voice, "Altisidora is alive! Altisidora lives!"
Rhadamanthus bade Sancho put away his wrath, as the object they had in vie_as now attained. When Don Quixote saw Altisidora move, he went on his knee_o Sancho saying to him, "Now is the time, son of my bowels, not to call the_y squire, for thee to give thyself some of those lashes thou art bound to la_n for the disenchantment of Dulcinea. Now, I say, is the time when the virtu_hat is in thee is ripe, and endowed with efficacy to work the good that i_ooked for from thee."
To which Sancho made answer, "That's trick upon trick, I think, and not hone_pon pancakes; a nice thing it would be for a whipping to come now, on the to_f pinches, smacks, and pin-proddings! You had better take a big stone and ti_t round my neck, and pitch me into a well; I should not mind it much, if I'_o be always made the cow of the wedding for the cure of other people'_ilments. Leave me alone; or else by God I'll fling the whole thing to th_ogs, let come what may."
Altisidora had by this time sat up on the catafalque, and as she did so th_larions sounded, accompanied by the flutes, and the voices of all presen_xclaiming, "Long life to Altisidora! long life to Altisidora!" The duke an_uchess and the kings Minos and Rhadamanthus stood up, and all, together wit_on Quixote and Sancho, advanced to receive her and take her down from th_atafalque; and she, making as though she were recovering from a swoon, bowe_er head to the duke and duchess and to the kings, and looking sideways at Do_uixote, said to him, "God forgive thee, insensible knight, for through th_ruelty I have been, to me it seems, more than a thousand years in the othe_orld; and to thee, the most compassionate upon earth, I render thanks for th_ife I am now in possession of. From this day forth, friend Sancho, count a_hine six smocks of mine which I bestow upon thee, to make as many shirts fo_hyself, and if they are not all quite whole, at any rate they are all clean."
Sancho kissed her hands in gratitude, kneeling, and with the mitre in hi_and. The duke bade them take it from him, and give him back his cap an_oublet and remove the flaming robe. Sancho begged the duke to let them leav_im the robe and mitre; as he wanted to take them home for a token and mement_f that unexampled adventure. The duchess said they must leave them with him;
for he knew already what a great friend of his she was. The duke then gav_rders that the court should be cleared, and that all should retire to thei_hambers, and that Don Quixote and Sancho should be conducted to their ol_uarters.