|Miguel de Cervantes|
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616). Don Quixote, Part 1.
Vol. 14, pp. 252-266 of The Harvard Classics
The romance-stricken Don Quixote sees a fair youth seated by the side of a stream, "his feet like two crystals, his hands like snow?flakes." The youth was a charming girl!
(Cervantes aided in the capture of Tunis, Oct. 10, 1573.)
The Fourth Book
I. Wherein Is Discoursed the New and Pleasant Adventure That Happened to the Curate and the Barber in Sierra Morena
MOST happy and fortunate were those times wherein the thrice audacious and bold knight, Don Quixote of the Mancha, was bestowed on the world, by whose most honourable resolution to revive and renew in it the already worn-out and well-night deceased exercise of arms, we joy in this our so niggard and scant an age of all pastimes, not only the sweetness of his true history, but also of the other tales and digressions contained therein, which are in some respects no less pleasing, artificial, and true than the very history itself; the which, prosecuting the carded, spun, and self-twined thread of the relation, says that, as the curate began to bethink himself upon some answer that might both comfort and animate Cardenio, he was hindered by a voice which came to his hearing, said very dolefully the words ensuing:
‘O God! is it possible that I have yet found out the place which may serve for a hidden sepulchre to the load of this loathsome body that I unwillingly bear so long? Yes, it may be, if the solitariness of these rocks do not illude me. Ah, unfortunate that I am! how much more grateful companions will these crags and thickets prove to my designs, by affording me leisure to communicate my mishaps to Heaven with plaints, than that of any mortal man living, since there is none upon earth from whom may be expected counsel in doubts, ease in complaints, or in harms remedy?’ The curate and his companions heard and understood all the words clearly, and forasmuch as they conjectured (as indeed it was) that those plaints were delivered very near unto them, they did all arise to search out the plaintiff; and, having gone some twenty steps thence, they beheld a young youth behind a rock, sitting under an ash-tree, and attired like a country swain, whom, by reason his face was inclined, as he sat washing of his feet in the clear stream that glided that way, they could not perfectly discern, and therefore approached towards him with so great silence, as they were not descried by him, who only attended to the washing of his feet, which were so white, as they properly resembled two pieces of clear crystal that grew among the other stones of the stream. The whiteness and beauty of the feet amazed them, being not made, as they well conjectured, to tread clods, or measure the steps of lazy oxen, and holding the plough, as the youth’s apparel would persuade them; and therefore the curate, who went before the rest, seeing they were not yet spied, made signs to the other two that they should divert a little out of the way, or hide themselves behind some broken cliffs that were near the place, which they did all of them, noting what the youth did with very great attention. He wore a little brown capouch girt very near to his body with a white towel, also a pair of breeches and gamashoes of the same coloured cloth, and on his head a clay-coloured cap; his gamashoes were lifted up half the leg, which verily seemed to be white alabaster. Finally, having washed his feet, taking out a linen kerchief from under his cap, he dried them therewithal, and at the taking out of the kerchief he held up his face, and then those which stood gazing on him had leisure to discern an unmatchable beauty, so surpassing great, as Cardenio, rounding the curate in the ear, said, ‘This body, since it is not Lucinda, can be no human creature, but a divine.’ The youth took off his cap at last, and, shaking his head to the one and other part, did dishevel and discover such beautiful hairs as those of Phoebus might justly emulate them; and thereby they knew the supposed swain to be a delicate woman; yea, and the fairest that ever the first two had seen in their lives, or Cardenio himself, the lovely Lucinda excepted; for, as he after affirmed, no feature save Lucinda’s could contend with hers. The long and golden hairs did not only cover her shoulders, but did also hide her round about in such sort as (her feet excepted) no other part of her body appeared, they were so near and long. At this time her hands served her for a comb, which, as her feet seemed pieces of crystal in the water, so did they appear among her hairs like pieces of driven snow. All which circumstances did possess the three which stood gazing at her with great admiration and desire to know what she was, and therefore resolved to show themselves; and with the noise which they made when they arose, the beautiful maiden held up her head, and, removing her hairs from before her eyes with both hands, she espied those that had made it; and presently arising, full of fear and trouble, she laid hand on a packet that was by her, which seemed to be of apparel and thought to fly away without staying to pull on her shoes, or to gather up her hair. But scarce had she gone six paces when her delicate and tender feet, unable to abide the rough encounter of the stones, made her to fall to the earth; which the three perceiving, they came out to her, and the curate arriving first of all, said to her, ‘Lady, whatsoever you be, stay and fear nothing; for we which you behold here come only with intention to do you service, and therefore you need not pretend so impertinent a flight, which neither your feet can endure, nor would we permit.’
The poor girl remained so amazed and confounded as she answered not a word; wherefore, the curate and the rest drawing nearer, they took her by the hand, and then he prosecuted his speech, saying, ‘What your habit concealed from us, lady, your hairs have bewrayed, being manifest arguments that the causes were of no small moment which have thus bemasked your singular beauty under so unworthy array, and conducted you to this all-abandoned desert, wherein it was a wonderful chance to have met you, if not to remedy your harms, yet at least to give you some comfort, seeing no evil can afflict and vex one so much, and plunge him in so deep extremes (whilst it deprives not the life), that will wholly abhor from listening to the advice that is offered with a good and sincere intention; so that, fair lady, or lord, or what else you shall please to be termed, shake off your affrightment, and rehearse unto us your good or ill fortune; for you shall find in us jointly, or in every one part, companions to help you to deplore your disasters.’
Whilst the curate made this speech, the disguised woman stood as one half asleep, now beholding the one, now the other, without once moving her lip or saying a word; just like a rustical clown, when rare and unseen things to him before are unexpectedly presented to his view.
But the curate insisting, and using other persuasive reasons addressed to that effect, won her at last to make a breach on her tedious silence, and, with a profound sigh, blow open her coral gates, saying somewhat to this effect: ‘Since the solitariness of these rocks hath not been potent to conceal me, nor the dishevelling of my disordered hairs licensed my tongue to belie my sex, it were in vain for me to feign that anew which, if you believed it, would be more for courtesy’s sake than any other respect. Which presupposed, I say, good sirs, that I do gratify you highly for the liberal offers you have made me, which are such as have bound me to satisfy your demand as near as I may, although I fear the relation which I must make to you of my mishaps will breed sorrow at once with compassion in you, by reason you shall not be able to find any salve that may cure, comfort, or beguile them; yet, notwithstanding, to the end my reputation may not hover longer suspended in your opinions, seeing you know me to be a woman, and view me young, alone, and thus attired, being things all of them able, either joined or parted, to overthrow the best credit, I must be enforced to unfold what I could otherwise most willingly conceal.’
All this she, that appeared so comely, spoke without stop or staggering, with so ready delivery, and so sweet a voice, as her discretion admired them no less than her beauty; and, renewing again their compliments and entreaties to her to accomplish speedily her promise, she, setting all coyness apart, drawing on her shoes very modestly, and winding up her hair, sat her down on a stone, and the other three about her, where she used no little violence to smother certain rebellious tears that strove to break forth without her permission, and them, with a reposed and clear voice, she began the history of her life in this manner:
‘In this province of Andalusia there is a certain town from whence a duke derives his denomination, which makes him one of those in Spain are called grandees. He hath two sons—the elder is heir of his states, and likewise, as may be presumed, of his virtues; the younger is heir I know not of what, if he be not of Vellido, his treacheries or Galalon’s frauds. My parents are this nobleman’s vassals, of humble and low calling, but so rich as, if the goods of nature had equalled those of their fortunes, then should they have had nothing else to desire, nor I feared to see myself in the misfortunes wherein I now am plunged, for perhaps my mishaps proceed from that of theirs, in not being nobly descended. True it is that they are not so base as they should therefore shame their calling, nor so high as may check my conceit, which persuades me that my disasters proceed from their lowness. In conclusion, they are but farmers and plain people, but without any touch or spot of bad blood, and, as we usually say, old, rusty Christians, yet so rusty and ancient as yet their riches and magnificent port gain them, by little and little, the title of gentility, yea, and of worship also; although the treasure and nobility whereof they made most price and account was to have had me for their daughter; and therefore, as well by reason that they had none other heir than myself, as also because, as affectionate parents, they held me most dear, I was one of the most made of and cherished daughters that ever father brought up. I was the mirror wherein they beheld themselves, the staff of their old age, and the subject to which they addressed all their desires, from which, because they were most virtuous, mine did not stray an inch; and even in the same manner that I was lady of their minds, so was I also of their goods. By me were servants admitted or dismissed; the notice and account of what was sowed or reaped passed through my hands; of the oil-mills, the wine-presses, the number of great and little cattle, the bee-hives—in fine, of all that so rich a farmer as my father was, had, or could have, I kept the account, and was the steward thereof and mistress, with such care of my side, and pleasure of theirs, as I cannot possibly endear it enough. The times of leisure that I had in the day, after I had given what was necessary to the head servants and other labourers, I did entertain in those exercises which were both commendable and requisite for maidens, to wit, in sewing, making of bone lace, and many times handling the distaff; and if sometimes I left those exercises to recreate my mind a little, I would then take some godly book in hand, or play on the harp; for experience had taught me that music ordereth disordered minds, and doth lighten the passions that afflict the spirit.
‘This was the life which I led in my father’s house, the recounting whereof so particularly hath not been done for ostentation, nor to give you to understand that I am rich, but to the end you may note how much, without mine own fault, have I fallen from that happy state I have said, unto the unhappy plight into which I am now reduced. The history, therefore, is this, that passing my life in so many occupations, and that with such recollection as might be compared to a religious life, unseen, as I thought, by any other person than those of our house; for when I went to mass it was commonly so early, and so accompanied by my mother and other maid-servants, and I myself so covered and watchful as mine eyes did scarce see the earth whereon I trod; and yet, notwithstanding, those of love, or, as I may better term them, of idleness, to which lynx eyes may not be compared, did represent me to Don Fernando’s affection and care; for this is the name of the duke’s younger son of whom I spake before.’
Scarce had she named Don Fernando, when Cardenio changed coloua, and began to sweat, with such alteration of body and countenance, as the curate and barber which beheld it, feared that the accident of frenzy did assault him, which was wont (as they had heard) to possess him at times. But Cardenio did nothing else than sweat, and stood still, beholding now and then the country girl, imagining straight what she was; who, without taking notice of his alteration, followed on her discourse in this manner:
‘And scarce had he seen me, when (as he himself after confessed) he abode greatly surprised by my love, as his actions, did after give evident demonstration. But to conclude soon the relation of those misfortunes which have no conclusion, I will overslip in silence the diligences and practices of Don Fernando, used to declare unto me his affection. He suborned all the folk of the house; he bestowed gifts and favours on my parents. Every day was a holiday and a day of sports in the streets where I dwelt; at night no man could sleep for music. The letters were innumerable that came to my hands, without knowing who brought them farsed too full of amorous conceits and offers, and containing more promises and protestations, than characters. All which not only could not mollify my mind, but rather hardened it so much as if he were my mortal enemy; and therefore did construe all the endeavours he used to gain my goodwill to be practised to a contrary end; which I did not as accounting Don Fernando ungentle, or that I esteemed him too importunate; for I took a kind of delight to see myself so highly esteemed and beloved of so noble a gentleman; nor was I anything offended to see his papers written in my praise; for, if I be not deceived in this point, be we women ever so foul, we love to hear men call us beautiful. But mine honesty was that which opposed itself unto all these things, and the continual admonitions of my parents, which had by this plainly perceived Don Fernando’s pretence, as one that cared not all the world should know it. They would often say unto me that they had deposited their honours and reputation in my virtue alone and discretion, and bade me consider the inequality that was between Don Fernando and me, and that I might collect by it how his thoughts (did he ever so much affirm the contrary) were more addressed to compass his pleasures than my profit; and that if I feared any inconvenience might befall, to the end they might cross it, and cause him to abandon his so unjust a pursuit, they would match me where I most liked, either to the best of that town or any other adjoining, saying, they might easily compass it, both by reason of their great wealth and my good report. I fortified my resolution and integrity with these certain promises and the known truth which they told me, and therefore would never answer to Don Fernando any word that might ever so far off argue the least hope of condescending to his desires. All which cautions of mine, which I think he deemed to be disdains, did inflame more his lascivious appetite (for this is the name wherewithal I entitle his affection towards me), which, had it been such as it ought, you had not known it now, for then the cause of revealing it had not befallen me. Finally, Don Fernando, understanding how my parents meant to marry me, to the end they might make void his hope of ever possessing me, or at least set more guards to preserve mine honour, and this news or surmise was an occasion that he did what you shall presently hear.
‘For, one night as I sat in my chamber, only attended by a young maiden that served me, I having shut the doors very safe, for fear lest, through my negligence, my honesty might incur any danger, without knowing or imagining how it might happen, notwithstanding all my diligences used and preventions, and amidst the solitude of this silence and recollection, he stood before me in my chamber. At his presence I was so troubled as I lost both sight and speech, and by reason thereof could not cry, nor I think he would not, though I had attempted it, permit me; for he presently ran over to me, and, taking me between his arms (for, as I have said, I was so amazed as I had no power to defend myself), he spake such things to me as I know not how it is possible that so many lies should have ability to feign things resembling in show so much the truth; and the traitor caused tears to give credit to his words, and sighs to give countenance to his intention.
‘I, poor soul, being alone amidst my friends, and weakly practised in such affairs, began, I know not how, to account his leasings for verities, but not in such sort as his tears or sighs might any wise move me to any compassion that were not commendable. And so, the first trouble and amazement of mind being past, I began again to recover my defective spirits, and then said to him, with more courage than I thought I should have had, “If, as I am, my lord between your arms, I were between the paws of a fierce lion, and that I were made certain of my liberty on condition to do or say anything prejudicial to mine honour, it would prove as impossible for me to accept it as for that which once hath been to leave off his essence and being. Wherefore, even as you have engirt my middle with your arms, so likewise have I tied fast my mind with virtuous and forcible desires that are wholly different from yours, as you shall perceive, if, seeking to force me, you presume to pass further with your inordinate design. I am your vassal, but not your slave; nor hath the nobility of your blood power, nor ought it to harden, to dishonour, stain, or hold in little account the humility of mine; and I do esteem myself, though a country wench and farmer’s daughter, as much as you can yourself, though a nobleman and a lord. With me your violence shall not prevail, your riches gain any grace, your words have power to deceive, or your sighs and tears be able to move; yet, if I shall find any of these properties mentioned in him whom my parent shall please to bestow on me for my spouse, I will presently subject my will to his, nor shall it ever vary from his mind a jot; so that, if I might remain with honour, although I rested void of delights, yet would I willingly bestow on you that which you presently labour so much to obtain: all which I do say to divert your straying thought from ever thinking that any one may obtain of me aught who is not my lawful spouse.” “If the let only consists therein, most beautiful Dorothea” (for so I am called), answered the disloyal lord, “behold, I give thee here my hand to be thine alone; and let the heavens, from which nothing is concealed, and this image of Our Lady, which thou hast here present, be witnesses of this truth!”’
When Cardenio heard her say that she was called Dorothea, he fell again into his former suspicion, and in the end confirmed his first opinion to be true, but would not interrupt her speech, being desirous to know the success, which he knew wholly almost before, and therefore said only, ‘Lady, is it possible that you are named Dorothea? I have heard report of another of that name, which perhaps hath run the like course of your misfortune; but I request you to continue your relation, for a time may come wherein I may recount unto you things of the same kind, which will breed no small admiration.’ Dorothea noted Cardenio’s words and his uncouth and disastrous attire, and then entreated him very instantly if he knew anything of her affairs he would acquaint her therewithal; for if fortune had left her any good, it was only the courage which she had to bear patiently any disaster that might befall her, being certain in her opinion that no new one could arrive which might increase a whit those she had already.
‘Lady, I would not let slip the occasion,’ quoth Cardenio, ‘to tell you what I think, if that which I imagine were true; and yet there is no commodity left to do it, nor can it avail you much to know it.’ ‘Let it be what it list,’ said Dorothea; ‘but that which after befel of my relation was this: That Don Fernando took an image that was in my chamber for witness of our contract, and added withal most forcible words and unusual oaths, promising unto me to become my husband; although I warned him, before he had ended his speech, to see well what he did, and to weigh the wrath of his father when he should see him married to one so base and his vassal, and that therefore he should take heed that my beauty (such as it was) should not blind him, seeing he should not find therein a sufficient excuse for his error, and that if he meant to do me any good, I conjured him, by the love that he bore unto me, to licence my fortunes to rule in their own sphere, according as my quality reached; for such unequal matches do never please long, nor persevere with that delight wherewithal they began.
‘All the reasons here rehearsed I said unto him, and many more which now are fallen out of mind, but yet proved of no efficacy to wean him from his obstinate purpose; even like unto one that goeth to buy, with intention never to pay for what he takes, and therefore never considers the price, worth, or defect of the stuff he takes to credit. I at this season made a brief discourse, and said thus to myself, “I may do this, for I am not the first which by matrimony hath ascended from a low degree to a high estate; nor shall Don Fernando be the first whom beauty or blind affection (for that is the most certain) hath induced to make choice of a consort unequal to his greatness. Then, since herein I create to new world nor custom, what error can be committed by embracing the honour wherewithal fortune crowns me, although it so befel that his affection to me endured no longer than till he accomplished his will? for before God I certes shall still remain his wife. And if I should disdainfully give him the repulse, I see him now in such terms as, perhaps forgetting the duty of a nobleman, he may use violence, and then shall I remain for ever dishonoured, and also without excuse of the imputations of the ignorant, which knew not how much without any fault I have fallen into this inevitable danger; for what reasons may be sufficiently forcible to persuade my father and others that this nobleman did enter into my chamber without my consent?” All these demands and answers did I, in an instant, revolve in mine imagination, and found myself chiefly forced (how I cannot tell) to assent to his petition by the witnesses he invoked, the tears he shed, and finally by his sweet disposition and comely feature, which, accompanied with so many arguments of unfeigned affection, were able to conquer and enthrall any other heart, though it were as free and wary as mine own. Then called I for my waiting-maid, that she might on earth accompany the celestial witnesses.
‘And then Don Fernando turned again to reiterate and confirm his oaths, and added to his former other new saints as witnesses, and wished a thousand succeeding maledictions to light on him if he did not accomplish his promise to me. His eyes again waxed moist, his sighs increased, and himself enwreathed me more straitly between his arms, from which he had never once loosed me; and with this, and my maiden’s departure, I left to be a maiden, and he began to be a traitor and a disloyal man. The day that succeeded to the night of my mishaps came not, I think, so soon as Don Fernando desired it; for, after a man hath satisfied that which the appetite covets, the greatest delight it can take after is to apart itself from the place where the desire was accomplished. I say this, because Don Fernando did hasten his departure from me: by my maid’s industry, who was the very same that had brought him into my chamber, he was got in the street before dawning. And at his departure from me he said (although not with so great show of affection and vehemency as he had used at his coming) that I might be secure of his faith, and that his oaths were firm and most true; and for a more confirmation of his word, he took a rich ring off his finger and put it on mine. In fine, he departed, and I remained behind, I cannot well say whether joyful or sad; but this much I know, that I rested confused and pensive, and almost beside myself for the late mischance; yet either I had not the heart, or else I forgot to chide my maid for her treachery committed by shutting up Don Fernando in my chamber; for as yet I could not determine whether that which had befallen me was a good or an evil.
‘I said to Don Fernando, at his departure, that he might see me other nights when he pleased, by the same means he had come that night, seeing I was his own, and would rest so, until it pleased him to let the world know that I was his wife. But he never returned again but the next night following, nor could I see him after, for the space of a month, either in the street or church, so as I did but spend time in vain to expect him; although I understood that he was still in town, and rode every other day a-hunting, an exercise to which he was much addicted.
‘Those days were, I know, unfortunate and accursed to me, and those hours sorrowful; for in them I began to doubt, nay, rather wholly to discredit Don Fernando’s faith; and my maid did then hear loudly the checks I gave unto her for her presumption, ever until then dissembled; and I was, moreover, constrained to watch and keep guard on my tears and countenance, lest I should give occasion to my parents to demand of me the cause of my discontents, and thereby engage me to use ambages or untruths to cover them. But all this ended in an instant, one moment arriving whereon all these respects stumbled, all honourable discourses ended, patience was lost, and my most hidden secrets issued in public; which was, when there was spread a certain rumour throughout the town, within a few days after, that Don Fernando had married, in a city near adjoining, a damsel of surpassing beauty, and of very noble birth, although not so rich as could deserve, by her preferment or dowry, so worthy a husband; it was also said that she was named Lucinda, with many other things that happened at their espousals worthy of admiration.’ Cardenio hearing Lucinda named did nothing else but lift up his shoulders, bite his lip, bend his brows, and after a little while shed from his eyes two floods of tears. But yet for all that Dorothea did not interrupt the file of her history, saying, ‘This doleful news came to my hearing; and my heart, instead of freezing thereat, was so inflamed with choler and rage, as I had well-nigh run out to the streets, and with outcries published the deceit and treason that was done to me; but my fury was presently assuaged by the resolution which I made to do what I put in execution the very same night, and then I put on this habit which you see, being given unto me by one of those that among us country-folk are called swains, who was my father’s servant; to whom I disclosed all my misfortunes, and requested him to accompany me to the city where I understood my enemy sojourned. He, after he had reprehended my boldness, perceiving me to have an inflexible resolution, made offer to attend on me, as he said, unto the end of the world; and presently after I trussed up in a pillow-bear a woman’s attire, some money, and jewels, to prevent necessities that might befal; and in the silence of night, without acquainting my treacherous maid with my purpose, I issued out of my house, accompanied by my servant and many imaginations, and in that manner set on towards the city, and though I went on foot, was yet borne away flying by my desires, to come, if not in time enough to hinder that which was past, yet at least to demand of Don Fernando that he would tell me with what conscience of soul he had done it. I arrived where I wished within two days and a half; and at the entry of the city I demanded where Lucinda her father dwelt; and he of whom I first demanded the question answered me more than I desired to hear. He showed me the house, and recounted to me all that befel at the daughter’s marriage, being a thing so public and known in the city, as men made meetings of purpose to discourse thereof.
‘He said to me that the very night wherein Don Fernando was espoused to Lucinda, after she had given her consent to be his wife, she was instantly assailed by a terrible accident that struck her into a trance, and her spouse approaching to unclasp her bosom that she might take the air; found a paper folded in it, written with Lucinda’s own hand, wherein she said and declared that she could not be Don Fernando’s wife, because she was already Cardenio’s, who was, as the man told me, a very principal gentleman of the same city; and that if she had given her consent to Don Fernando, it was only done because she would not disobey her parents. In conclusion, he told me that the paper made also mention how she had a resolution to kill herself presently after the marriage, and did also lay down therein the motives she had to do it; all which, as they say, was confirmed by a poniard that was found hidden about her in her apparel. Which Don Fernando perceiving, presuming that Lucinda did flout him, and hold him in little account, he set upon her ere she was come to herself, and attempted to kill her with the very same poniard, and had done it, if her father and other friends which were present had not opposed themselves and hindered his determination. Moreover, they reported that presently after Don Fernando absented himself from the city, and that Lucinda turned not out of her agony until the next day, and then recounted to her parents how she was verily spouse to that Cardenio of whom we spake even now. I learned besides that Cardenio, as it is rumoured, was present at the marriage, and that as soon as he saw her married, being a thing he would never have credited, departed out of the city in a desperate mood, but first left behind him a letter, wherein he showed at large the wrong Lucinda had done to him, and that he himself meant to go to some place where people should never after hear of him. All this was notorious, and publicly bruited throughout the city, and every one spoke thereof, but most of all having very soon after understood that Lucinda was missing from her parent’s house and the city, for she could not be found in neither of both; for which her parents were almost beside themselves, not knowing what means to use to find her.
‘These news reduced my hopes again to their ranks, and I esteemed it better to find Don Fernando unmarried than married, presuming that yet the gates of my remedy were not wholly shut, I giving myself to understand that Heaven had peradventure set that impediment on the second marriage to make him understand what he ought to the first, and to remember how he was a Christian, and that he was more obliged to his soul than to human respects. I revolved all these things in my mind, and comfortless did yet comfort myself, by feigning large yet languishing hopes, to sustain that life which I now do so much abhor. And whilst I stayed thus in the city, ignorant what I might do, seeing I found not Don Fernando, I heard a crier go about publicly, promising great rewards to any one that could find me out, giving signs of the very age and apparel I wore; and I likewise heard it was bruited abroad that the youth which came with me had carried me away from my father’s house—a thing that touched my soul very nearly, to view my credit so greatly wrecked, seeing that it was not sufficient to have lost it by my coming away, without the addition [of] him with whom I departed, being a subject so base and unworthy of my loftier thoughts. Having heard this cry, I departed out of the city with my servant, who even then began to give tokens that he faltered in the fidelity he had promised to me; and both of us, together entered the very same night into the most hidden parts of this mountain, fearing lest we might be found. But, as it is commonly said that one evil calls on another, and that the end of one disaster is the beginning of a greater, so proved it with me; for my good servant, until then faithful and trusty, rather incited by his villainy than my beauty, thought to have taken the benefit of the opportunity which these inhabitable places offered, and solicited me of love, with little shame and less fear of God, or respect of myself; and now seeing that I answered his impudences with severe and reprehensive words, leaving the entreaties aside wherewithal he thought first to have compassed his will, he began to use his force; but just Heaven, which seldom or never neglects the just man’s assistance, did so favour my proceedings, as with my weak forces, and very little labour, I threw him down a steep rock, and there I left him, I know not whether alive or dead; and presently I entered in among these mountains with more swiftness than my fear and weariness required, having therein no other project or design than to hide myself in them, and shun my father and others, which by his entreaty and means sought for me everywhere.
‘Some months are past since my first coming here, where I found a herdman, who carried me to a village seated in the midst of these rocks, wherein he dwelt, and entertained me, whom I have served as a shepherd ever since, procuring as much as lay in me to abide still in the field, to cover these hairs which have now so unexpectedly betrayed me; yet all my care and industry availed not, seeing my master came at last to the notice that I was no man, but a woman, which was an occasion that the like evil thought sprung in him as before in my servant; and as fortune gives not always remedy for the difficulties which occur, I found neither rock nor downfall to cool and cure my master’s infirmity, as I had done for my man, and therefore I accounted it a less inconvenience to depart thence, and hide myself again among these deserts, than to adventure the trial of my strength or reason with him; therefore, as I say, I turned to imbosk myself, and search out some place where, without any encumbrance, I might entreat Heaven, with my sighs and tears, to have compassion on my mishap, and lend me industry and favour, either to issue fortunately out of it, or else to die amidst these solitudes, not leaving any memory of a wretch, who hath ministered matter, although not through her own default, that men may speak and murmur of her, both in her own and in other countries.’
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