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The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha

And putting it over those of Sancho


Don

Quixote longed for night so impatiently, that, like all eager expecting lovers, he fancied Phoebus had broken his chariot-wheels, which made the day of so unusual a length; but at last it grew dark, and they went out of the road into a shady wood, where they both alighted, and, being sat down upon the grass, they went to supper upon such provisions as Sancho's wallet afforded.

And now having satisfied himself, he thought it time to satisfy his master, and earn his money. To which purpose he made himself a whip of Dapple's halter; and having stripped himself to the waist, retired farther up into the wood at a small distance from his master. Don Quixote, observing his readiness and resolution, could not forbear calling after him; "Dear Sancho," cried he, "be not too cruel to thyself neither; have a care, do not hack thyself to pieces: make no more haste than good speed; go gently to work, soft and fair goes farthest; I mean, I would not have thee kill thyself before thou gettest to the end of the tally; and that the reckoning may be fair on both sides, I will stand at a distance and keep an account of the strokes by the help of my beads; and so Heaven prosper thy pious undertaking!" "He is an honest man," quoth Sancho, "who pays to a farthing; I only mean to give myself a handsome whipping; for do not think I need kill myself to work miracles." With that he began to exercise the instrument of punishment, and Don Quixote to tell the strokes. But

by the time Sancho had struck seven or eight lashes, he felt the jest bite so smartly, that he began to repent him of his bargain. Whereupon, after a short pause, he called to his master, and told him that he would be off with him; for such lashes as these were modestly worth threepence a-piece of any man's money; and truly he could not afford to go on at three-halfpence a lash. "Go on, friend Sancho," answered Don Quixote; "take courage and proceed; I will double thy pay, if that be all." "Say you so?" quoth Sancho; "then have at all. I will lay it on thick and threefold. Do but listen." With that, slap went the scourge; but the cunning knave left persecuting his own skin, and fell foul of the trees, fetching such dismal groans every now and then, that one would have thought he had been dying. Don Quixote, who was naturally tender-hearted, fearing he might make an end of himself before he could finish his penance, and so disappoint the happy effects of it: "Hold," cried he, "hold, my friend; as thou lovest thy life, hold, I conjure thee: no more at this time. This seems to be a very sharp sort of physic. Therefore, pray do not take it all at once, make two doses of it. Come, come, all in good time; Rome was not built in a day. If I have told right, thou hast given thyself above a thousand stripes; that is enough for one beating; for, to use a homely phrase, the ass will carry his load, but not a double load; ride not a free horse to death." "No, no," quoth Sancho, "it shall never be said of me, the eaten bread is forgotten; or that I thought it working for a dead horse, because I am paid beforehand. Therefore stand off, I beseech you; get out of the reach of my whip, and let me lay on the other thousand, and then the back of the work will be broken: such another flogging bout, and the job will be over." "Since thou art in the humour," replied Don Quixote, "I will withdraw, and Heaven strengthen and reward thee!" With that, Sancho fell to work afresh, and beginning upon a new score, he lashed the trees at so unconscionable a rate, that he fetched off their skins most unmercifully. At length, raising his voice, seemingly resolved to give himself a settling blow, he lets drive at a beech-tree with might and main: "There!" cried he, "down with thee Samson, and all that are about thee!" This dismal cry, with the sound of the dreadful strokes that attended it, made Don Quixote run presently to his squire, and laying fast hold on the halter, "Hold," cried he, "friend Sancho, stay the fury of thy arm. Dost thou think I will have thy death, and the ruin of thy wife and children to be laid at my door? Forbid it, Fate! Let Dulcinea stay a while, till a better opportunity offer itself. I myself will be contented to live in hopes, that when thou hast recovered new strength, the business may be accomplished to every body's satisfaction." "Well, sir," quoth Sancho, "if it be your worship's will and pleasure it should be so, so let it be, quoth I. But, for goodness' sake, do so much as throw your cloak over my shoulders, for I have no mind to catch cold: we novices are somewhat in danger of that when we first undergo the discipline of flogging." With that Don Quixote took off his cloak from his own shoulders, and putting it over those of Sancho, chose to remain in his doublet; and the crafty squire, being lapped up warm, fell fast asleep, and never stirred till the sun waked him.


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