Don Quixote de la Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra; Charles Jarvis et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 44
How Sancho Panza was carried to his government, and of the strange adventure which befell Don Quixote in the castle.

WE are told that in the original of this history, it is said, Cid Hamet coming to write this chapter, the interpreter did not translate it, as he had written it: which was a kind of complaint the Moor made of himself*, for having undertaken a history so dry, and so confined, as that of Don Quixote, thinking he must be always talking of him and Sancho, without daring to launch into digressions and episodes of more weight and entertainment. And he said, that to have his invention, his hand, and his pen, always tied down to write upon one subject only, and to speak by the mouths of few characters, was an insupportable toil, and of no advantage to the author; and that, to avoid this inconvenience, he had, in the first part, made use of the artifice of introducing novels, such as that of The Curious Impertinent, and that of The Captive; which are in a manner detached from the history; though most of what is related in that part are accidents which happened to Don Quixote himself and could not be omitted. He also thought, as he tells us, that many readers, carried away by their attention to Don Quixote's exploits, could afford none to the novels, and would either run them over in haste, or with disgust, not considering how fine and artificial they were in themselves, as would have been very evident, had they been published separately, without being tacked to the extravagances of Don Quixote, and the simplicities of Sancho.

And therefore, in this second part, he would introduce no loose nor unconnected novels; but only some episodes, resembling them, and such as flow naturally from such events as the truth offers; and even these, with great limitation, and in no more words than are sufficient to express them: and, since he restrains and confines himself within the narrow limits of the narration, though with ability, genius, and understanding, sufficient to treat of the whole universe, he desires his pains may not be undervalued, but that he may receive applause, not for what he writes, but what he has omitted to write: and then he goes on with his history, saying:

Don Quixote, in the evening of the day he gave the instructions to Sancho, gave them him in writing, that he might get somebody to

-745-

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