Book Notes

Volume 2, Chapter 48 Notes from Don Quixote

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Don Quixote Volume 2, Chapter 48

As Don Quijote lays in bed still bandaged up from his cat scratches, he hears someone at his door. Imagining that it is Altisidora, he speaks aloud of how the vision of Dulcinea is embossed on his heart and bowels. As the door opens, he stands up on his bed wrapped in the yellow satin bedspread, donning his nightcap and myriad bandages. In comes an ancient-looking dueña in a body length veil, wearing glasses and holding a candle. Don Quijote imagines her to be some evil sorceress and when she, in turn, lays eyes on him in his getup, drops her candle in fright and trips on her veil as she tries to run from the room.

It is only Doña Rodríguez come to ask for his help. Don Quijote is still on guard in case the Devil is using a dueña to seduce him where others had failed; although, thinking about it he recognizes the unlikelihood of this overgrown, bespectacled dueña causing him to lust! After they both express their fear of each other's possible plans of seduction, they relax.

Doña Rodríguez shares her convoluted sob story where her husband (pictured as a candidate for sainthood) was stabbed in a pique by the Duchess many years ago which weakened his resistance to illness and he died soon after leaving her to raise their daughter on her own. The daughter is not only beautiful, but graceful, and learned (and had been a virgin). The problem now is that a rich farmer's son promised this daughter marriage, so she slept with him and now he is refusing to honor his promise. The Duke refuses to do anything about it since the son's father is very generous with his money to the Duke. After hearing of the Duchess's violence, Don Quijote asks if there is something wrong with her. Doña Rodríguez confides that the Duchess is being treated for negative tumors. She has two ulcers on her legs to drain them out.

Just then, the door bursts open blowing out the candle and the duena finds herself being strangled, then beaten about her legs with something resembling a slipper. Don Quijote, keeps quiet hoping to avoid his turn, but receives a good vigorous pinching. The silent torturers leave after a half hour.

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