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The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha

They will make three thousand three hundred three halfpences


"Sir,"

answered Sancho, "do you take me for a monk or a friar, that I should start up in the middle of the night, and discipline myself at this rate? Or do you think it such an easy matter to scourge myself one moment, and fall a-singing the next? Look you, sir; say not a word more of this whipping; if the bare brushing of my coat would do you any good, you should not have it, much less the currying of my hide; and so let me go to sleep again." "O obdurate heart!" cried Don Quixote; "O nourishment and favours ill bestowed! Is this my reward for having got thee a government, and my good intentions to get thee an earldom, or an equivalent at least, which I dare engage to do when this year of our obscurity is elapsed? for, in short, _post tenebras spero lucem_." "That I do not understand," quoth Sancho; "but this I very well know, that I have worst luck of any physician under the cope of heaven; other doctors kill their patients, and are paid for it too, and yet they are at no further trouble than scrawling two or three cramp words for some physical slip-slop, which the apothecaries are at all the pains to make up. Now here am I, that save people from the grave, at the expense of my own hide, pinched, run through with pins, and whipped like a top, and yet never a cross I get by the bargain. But if ever they catch me a-curing any body in this fashion, unless I have my fee beforehand, may I be served as I have been, for nothing. No money, no cure, say I." "You are right, Sancho," said Don
Quixote; "for my part, had you demanded your fees for disenchanting Dulcinea, you should have received them already; but I am afraid there can be no gratuity proportionable to the greatness of the cure; and therefore I would not have the remedy depend upon a reward; for who knows whether my proffering it, or thy acceptance of it, might hinder the effect of the penance? However, since we have gone so far, we will put it to a trial: come, Sancho, name your price, and begin. First scourge yourself, then pay yourself out of the money of mine that you have in your custody." Sancho, opening his eyes and ears above a foot wide at this fair offer, leaped presently at the proposal. "Ay, ay, sir, now, now you say something," quoth he; "I will do it with a jerk now, since you speak so feelingly: I have a wife and children to maintain, sir, and I must mind the main chance. Come, then, how much will you give me by the lash?" "Were your payment," said Don Quixote, "to be answerable to the greatness and merits of the cure, not all the wealth of Venice, nor the Indian mines, were sufficient to reward thee. But see what cash you have of mine in your hands, and set what price you will on every stripe." "The lashes," quoth Sancho, "are in all three thousand three hundred and odd, of which I have had five; the rest are to come. Let these five go for the odd ones, and let us come to the three thousand three hundred. At a quartillo, or three halfpence a-piece (and I will not bate a farthing, if it were to my brother), they will make three thousand three hundred three-halfpences. Three thousand three-halfpences make fifteen hundred threepences, which amounts to seven hundred and fifty reals or sixpences. Now the three hundred remaining three-halfpences make an hundred and fifty threepences, and threescore and fifteen sixpences; put that together, and it comes just to eight hundred and twenty-five reals, or sixpences, to a farthing. This money, sir, if you please, I will deduct from yours that I have in my hands; and then I will reckon myself well paid for my jerking, and go home well pleased, though well whipped. But that is nothing; for he must not think to catch fish who is afraid to wet his feet. I need say no more." "Now blessings on thy heart, dearest Sancho!" cried Don Quixote; "O my friend, how shall Dulcinea and I be bound to pray for thee, and serve thee while it shall please Heaven to continue us on earth! If she recover her former shape and beauty, as now she infallibly must, her misfortune will turn to her felicity, and I shall triumph in my defeat. Speak, dear Sancho; when wilt thou enter upon thy task? and a hundred reals more shall be at thy service, as a gratuity for thy being expeditious." "I will begin this very night," answered Sancho; "do you but order it so that we may lie in the fields, and you shall see how I will lay about me."


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