Book Notes

Volume 2, Chapter 47 Notes from Don Quixote

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Don Quixote Volume 2, Chapter 47

After leaving the courtroom, Sancho is brought to a feast at the palace. As different dishes are placed before him, a doctor Pedro Recio de Agüero taps on them with a whalebone and they are removed before Sancho has a chance to taste them. Sancho asks what is going on and the doctor informs him that it is his job to make sure that the governors only eat food that is good for them and their continued health. The doctor decides that a hundred dry crackers and some slices of quince would be suitable. Sancho finally tells him "to get the hell out of here" (pg. 603) before he beats him and every goofy doctor on the island with a club or breaks the very chair he (Sancho) is sitting on over his head. A post horn blows outside and a messenger brings a letter from the Duke informing Sancho that enemies are planning to attack the island. Also, because they fear Sancho's intelligence, four assassins are seeking his life. He advises Sancho to be on his guard and eat nothing set out before him.

Sancho says they should lock up the doctor since he is trying to kill him by starvation. He instructs his secretary to write a response to the Duke and bring him a loaf of bread and several pounds of grapes (these are unlikely to be poisoned). A page comes in, announcing that a farmer/businessman needs to see him. The farmer, who appears the soul of honesty, tells a long sob story involving his possessed son (whose face is scarred from falling into a fire once) and his future bride (who's not so bad looking considering her missing eye, pockmarks, missing teeth, blue-streaked lips and her paralysis that causes her to be bent over double). The farmer's first request is for the governor to write out a letter of recommendation to the girl's father. The second request is for three or six hundred dollars for the son's dowry. Sancho asks him if there is anything else he needs that he is not mentioning due to shyness. Angry and recognizing he is being played for a fool, Sancho -- the second time that day -- threatens to smash his chair over the farmer's head if he doesn't get out.

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