Altisidora (The Girl Infatuated With Don Quixote)
Altisidora Serenades Don Quixote From A Garden Courtyard– One night, when Don Quixote stays at the Duke and Duchess’s country house, he finds it so hot in his room that he opens a window to create a refreshing breeze. When he opens his window he is startled to hear people talking in the courtyard below him loud enough for him to overhear. One of these voices belongs to a beautiful 14-year-old maiden named Altisidora who confides to her best friend Emerencia that she loves Don Quixote. This is why Altisidora says that “ever since she entered the castle and her eyes alighted on Don Quixote she feels ready to weep for him. ” In response, Emercia encourages Altisidora to sing a sonnet to Don Quixote professing her love for him. Seeing that Don Quixote’s window is now open, Emerencia tells Altisidora to voice her love for the “lord of her heart―and the rouser of her soul“―by singing a romantic sonnet for him. At first, Altisidora is reticent to sing her sonnet claiming that not only is the Duchess a light sleeper, who may be disturbed by her voice, but also she does not want to reveal the secrets of her heart through song, mainly because she does not want to be considered “a fickle and flighty maid by those who do not know about the mighty force of love within her.” Despite these objections, though, Altisidora decides to serenade Don Quixote. Therefore, in the next moment, Don Quixote hears the gentle tones of a harp being tuned, which instantly calls to his mind “similar adventures in chivalry books about windows and grilles and gardens and serenades and sweet nothings and fainting fits. Due to his excessive excitement for chivalry books, Don Quixote immediately assumes that one of the Duchess’s maidservants is in love with him and that her modesty forces her to keep her passion a secret. To let Altisidora know that he is there, Don Quixote pretends to sneeze so that she can commence her ballad with comfort.After Altisidora runs her fingers over her harp strings to warm them up, and after she sings a song about how Don Quixote is the bravest and the best of knights that La Mancha ever bore, Altisidora says that though she cannot contend with Dulcinea’s beauty and poise, she would love to be held in Don Quixote’s arms, or sit by his bed, or caress his hair, or massage his feet.
Altisidora Pretends To Faint– Off put by Don Quixote’s refusal to be won over by her romantic ballad, the next morning, Altisidora pretends to faint at Don Quixote’s feet, as our knight swaggers into a great hall to meet the Duke and the Duchess. To revive Altisidora from her love-sick swoon, her best friend, Emercia, takes her into her lap and begins to unlace her bodices, dashing cold water on her face to revive her. This ploy is designed to solicit Don Quixote’s concerned attention so that a romantic connection can grow between him and Altisidora. Instead of drawing Don Quixote’s sympathies, though, this charade causes him to sing a ballad about fickle lust.
Altisidora’s Physical Appearance– In her ballad, Altisidora describes herself as straight legged and not lame, with arms that are very sound, with a flat nose, an aquiline mouth, and teeth that look like the very best topaz. To complete her physical sketch, Altisidora says that she wears her hair in Lilly white tresses that are so long that they trail on the ground.
Altisidora Bandages Don Quixote Nose After A Cat Clings to His Face– After a cat tears at Don Quixote’s nose with its sharp claws, Altisidora bandages his face with the oil of hypericum saying that what got him into this trouble in the first place was his sinful callousness, his hard heartedness, and his stubborn obstinacy.