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Don Quixote

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CHAPTER LVI.

OF THE PRODIGIOUS AND UNPARALLELED BATTLE THAT TOOK PLACE BETWEEN DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA AND THE LACQUEY TOSILOS IN DEFENCE OF THE DAUGHTER OF DOÑA RODRIGUEZ

The duke and duchess had no reason to regret the joke that had been played upon Sancho Panza in giving him the government; especially as their majordomo returned the same day, and gave them a minute account of almost every word and deed that Sancho uttered or did during the time; and to wind up with, eloquently described to them the attack upon the island and Sancho’s fright and departure, with which they were not a little amused. After this the history goes on to say that the day fixed for the battle arrived, and that the duke, after having repeatedly instructed his lacquey Tosilos how to deal with Don Quixote so as to vanquish him without killing or wounding him, gave orders to have the heads removed from the lances, telling Don Quixote that Christian charity, on which he plumed himself, could not suffer the battle to be fought with so much risk and danger to life; and that he must be content with the offer of a battlefield on his territory (though that was against the decree of the holy Council, which prohibits all challenges of the sort) and not push such an arduous venture to its extreme limits. Don Quixote bade his excellence arrange all matters connected with the affair as he pleased, as on his part he would obey him in everything. The dread day, then, having arrived, and the duke having ordered a spacious stand to be erected facing the court of the castle for the judges of the field and the appellant duennas, mother and daughter, vast crowds flocked from all the villages and hamlets of the neighbourhood to see the novel spectacle of the battle; nobody, dead or alive, in those parts having ever seen or heard of such a one.

The first person to enter the field and the lists was the master of the ceremonies, who surveyed and paced the whole ground to see that there was nothing unfair and nothing concealed to make the combatants stumble or fall; then the duennas entered and seated themselves, enveloped in mantles covering their eyes, nay even their bosoms, and displaying no slight emotion as Don Quixote appeared in the lists. Shortly afterwards, accompanied by several trumpets and mounted on a powerful steed that threatened to crush the whole place, the great lacquey Tosilos made his appearance on one side of the courtyard with his visor down and stiffly cased in a suit of stout shining armour. The horse was a manifest Frieslander, broad-backed and flea-bitten, and with half a hundred of wool hanging to each of his fetlocks. The gallant combatant came well primed by his master the duke as to how he was to bear himself against the valiant Don Quixote of La Mancha; being warned that he must on no account slay him, but strive to shirk the first encounter so as to avoid the risk of killing him, as he was sure to do if he met him full tilt. He crossed the courtyard at a walk, and coming to where the duennas were placed stopped to look at her who demanded him for a husband; the marshal of the field summoned Don Quixote, who had already presented himself in the courtyard, and standing by the side of Tosilos he addressed the duennas, and asked them if they consented that Don Quixote of La Mancha should do battle for their right. They said they did, and that whatever he should do in that behalf they declared rightly done, final and valid. By this time the duke and duchess had taken their places in a gallery commanding the enclosure, which was filled to overflowing with a multitude of people eager to see this perilous and unparalleled encounter. The conditions of the combat were that if Don Quixote proved the victor his antagonist was to marry the daughter of Doña Rodriguez; but if he should be vanquished his opponent was released from the promise that was claimed against him and from all obligations to give satisfaction. The master of the ceremonies apportioned the sun to them, and stationed them, each on the spot where he was to stand. The drums beat, the sound of the trumpets filled the air, the earth trembled under foot, the hearts of the gazing crowd were full of anxiety, some hoping for a happy issue, some apprehensive of an untoward ending to the affair, and lastly, Don Quixote, commending himself with all his heart to God our Lord and to the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, stood waiting for them to give the necessary signal for the onset. Our lacquey, however, was thinking of something very different; he only thought of what I am now going to mention.

It seems that as he stood contemplating his enemy she struck him as the most beautiful woman he had ever seen all his life; and the little blind boy whom in our streets they commonly call Love had no mind to let slip the chance of triumphing over a lacquey heart, and adding it to the list of his trophies; and so, stealing gently upon him unseen, he drove a dart two yards long into the poor lacquey’s left side and pierced his heart through and through; which he was able to do quite at his ease, for Love is invisible, and comes in and goes out as he likes, without anyone calling him to account for what he does. Well then, when they gave the signal for the onset our lacquey was in an ecstasy, musing upon the beauty of her whom he had already made mistress of his liberty, and so he paid no attention to the sound of the trumpet, unlike Don Quixote, who was off the instant he heard it, and, at the highest speed Rocinante was capable of, set out to meet his enemy, his good squire Sancho shouting lustily as he saw him start, “God guide thee, cream and flower of knights-errant! God give thee the victory, for thou hast the right on thy side!” But though Tosilos saw Don Quixote coming at him he never stirred a step from the spot where he was posted; and instead of doing so called loudly to the marshal of the field, to whom when he came up to see what he wanted he said, “Señor, is not this battle to decide whether I marry or do not marry that lady?” “Just so,” was the answer. “Well then,” said the lacquey, “I feel qualms of conscience, and I should lay a heavy burden upon it if I were to proceed any further with the combat; I therefore declare that I yield myself vanquished, and that I am willing to marry the lady at once.”

The marshal of the field was lost in astonishment at the words of Tosilos; and as he was one of those who were privy to the arrangement of the affair he knew not what to say in reply. Don Quixote pulled up in mid career when he saw that his enemy was not coming on to the attack. The duke could not make out the reason why the battle did not go on; but the marshal of the field hastened to him to let him know what Tosilos said, and he was amazed and extremely angry at it. In the meantime Tosilos advanced to where Doña Rodriguez sat and said in a loud voice, “Señora, I am willing to marry your daughter, and I have no wish to obtain by strife and fighting what I can obtain in peace and without any risk to my life.”

The valiant Don Quixote heard him, and said, “As that is the case I am released and absolved from my promise; let them marry by all means, and as ‘God our Lord has given her, may Saint Peter add his blessing.’”

The duke had now descended to the courtyard of the castle, and going up to Tosilos he said to him, “Is it true, sir knight, that you yield yourself vanquished, and that moved by scruples of conscience you wish to marry this damsel?”

“It is, señor,” replied Tosilos.

“And he does well,” said Sancho, “for what thou hast to give to the mouse, give to the cat, and it will save thee all trouble.”

Tosilos meanwhile was trying to unlace his helmet, and he begged them to come to his help at once, as his power of breathing was failing him, and he could not remain so long shut up in that confined space. They removed it in all haste, and his lacquey features were revealed to public gaze. At this sight Doña Rodriguez and her daughter raised a mighty outcry, exclaiming, “This is a trick! This is a trick! They have put Tosilos, my lord the duke’s lacquey, upon us in place of the real husband. The justice of God and the king against such trickery, not to say roguery!”

“Do not distress yourselves, ladies,” said Don Quixote; “for this is no trickery or roguery; or if it is, it is not the duke who is at the bottom of it, but those wicked enchanters who persecute me, and who, jealous of my reaping the glory of this victory, have turned your husband’s features into those of this person, who you say is a lacquey of the duke’s; take my advice, and notwithstanding the malice of my enemies marry him, for beyond a doubt he is the one you wish for a husband.”

When the duke heard this all his anger was near vanishing in a fit of laughter, and he said, “The things that happen to Señor Don Quixote are so extraordinary that I am ready to believe this lacquey of mine is not one; but let us adopt this plan and device; let us put off the marriage for, say, a fortnight, and let us keep this person about whom we are uncertain in close confinement, and perhaps in the course of that time he may return to his original shape; for the spite which the enchanters entertain against Señor Don Quixote cannot last so long, especially as it is of so little advantage to them to practise these deceptions and transformations.”

“Oh, señor,” said Sancho, “those scoundrels are well used to changing whatever concerns my master from one thing into another. A knight that he overcame some time back, called the Knight of the Mirrors, they turned into the shape of the bachelor Samson Carrasco of our town and a great friend of ours; and my lady Dulcinea del Toboso they have turned into a common country wench; so I suspect this lacquey will have to live and die a lacquey all the days of his life.”

Here the Rodriguez’s daughter exclaimed, “Let him be who he may, this man that claims me for a wife; I am thankful to him for the same, for I had rather be the lawful wife of a lacquey than the cheated mistress of a gentleman; though he who played me false is nothing of the kind.”

To be brief, all the talk and all that had happened ended in Tosilos being shut up until it was seen how his transformation turned out. All hailed Don Quixote as victor, but the greater number were vexed and disappointed at finding that the combatants they had been so anxiously waiting for had not battered one another to pieces, just as the boys are disappointed when the man they are waiting to see hanged does not come out, because the prosecution or the court has pardoned him. The people dispersed, the duke and Don Quixote returned to the castle, they locked up Tosilos, Doña Rodriguez and her daughter remained perfectly contented when they saw that any way the affair must end in marriage, and Tosilos wanted nothing else.



CHAPTER LVII.

WHICH TREATS OF HOW DON QUIXOTE TOOK LEAVE OF THE DUKE, AND OF WHAT FOLLOWED WITH THE WITTY AND IMPUDENT ALTISIDORA, ONE OF THE DUCHESS’S DAMSELS

Don Quixote now felt it right to quit a life of such idleness as he was leading in the castle; for he fancied that he was making himself sorely missed by suffering himself to remain shut up and inactive amid the countless luxuries and enjoyments his hosts lavished upon him as a knight, and he felt too that he would have to render a strict account to heaven of that indolence and seclusion; and so one day he asked the duke and duchess to grant him permission to take his departure. They gave it, showing at the same time that they were very sorry he was leaving them.

The duchess gave his wife’s letters to Sancho Panza, who shed tears over them, saying, “Who would have thought that such grand hopes as the news of my government bred in my wife Teresa Panza’s breast would end in my going back now to the vagabond adventures of my master Don Quixote of La Mancha? Still I’m glad to see my Teresa behaved as she ought in sending the acorns, for if she had not sent them I’d have been sorry, and she’d have shown herself ungrateful. It is a comfort to me that they can’t call that present a bribe; for I had got the government already when she sent them, and it’s but reasonable that those who have had a good turn done them should show their gratitude, if it’s only with a trifle. After all I went into the government naked, and I come out of it naked; so I can say with a safe conscience—and that’s no small matter—‘naked I was born, naked I find myself, I neither lose nor gain.’”

Thus did Sancho soliloquise on the day of their departure, as Don Quixote, who had the night before taken leave of the duke and duchess, coming out made his appearance at an early hour in full armour in the courtyard of the castle. The whole household of the castle were watching him from the corridors, and the duke and duchess, too, came out to see him. Sancho was mounted on his Dapple, with his alforjas, valise, and proven supremely happy because the duke’s majordomo, the same that had acted the part of the Trifaldi, had given him a little purse with two hundred gold crowns to meet the necessary expenses of the road, but of this Don Quixote knew nothing as yet. While all were, as has been said, observing him, suddenly from among the duennas and handmaidens the impudent and witty Altisidora lifted up her voice and said in pathetic tones:

Give ear, cruel knight;
Draw rein; where’s the need
Of spurring the flanks
Of that ill-broken steed?
From what art thou flying?
No dragon I am,
Not even a sheep,
But a tender young lamb.
Thou hast jilted a maiden
As fair to behold
As nymph of Diana
Or Venus of old.
Bireno, Æneas, what worse shall I call thee?
Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!

In thy claws, ruthless robber,
Thou bearest away
The heart of a meek
Loving maid for thy prey,
Three kerchiefs thou stealest,
And garters a pair,
From legs than the whitest
Of marble more fair;
And the sighs that pursue thee
Would burn to the ground
Two thousand Troy Towns,
If so many were found.
Bireno, Æneas, what worse shall I call thee?
Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!

May no bowels of mercy
To Sancho be granted,
And thy Dulcinea
Be left still enchanted,
May thy falsehood to me
Find its punishment in her,
For in my land the just
Often pays for the sinner.
May thy grandest adventures
Discomfitures prove,
May thy joys be all dreams,
And forgotten thy love.
Bireno, Æneas, what worse shall I call thee?
Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!

May thy name be abhorred
For thy conduct to ladies,
From London to England,
From Seville to Cadiz;
May thy cards be unlucky,
Thy hands contain ne’er a
King, seven, or ace
When thou playest primera;
When thy corns are cut
May it be to the quick;
When thy grinders are drawn
May the roots of them stick.
Bireno, Æneas, what worse shall I call thee?
Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!
All the while the unhappy Altisidora was bewailing herself in the above strain Don Quixote stood staring at her; and without uttering a word in reply to her he turned round to Sancho and said, “Sancho my friend, I conjure thee by the life of thy forefathers tell me the truth; say, hast thou by any chance taken the three kerchiefs and the garters this love-sick maid speaks of?”

To this Sancho made answer, “The three kerchiefs I have; but the garters, as much as ‘over the hills of Úbeda.’”

The duchess was amazed at Altisidora’s assurance; she knew that she was bold, lively, and impudent, but not so much so as to venture to make free in this fashion; and not being prepared for the joke, her astonishment was all the greater. The duke had a mind to keep up the sport, so he said, “It does not seem to me well done in you, sir knight, that after having received the hospitality that has been offered you in this very castle, you should have ventured to carry off even three kerchiefs, not to say my handmaid’s garters. It shows a bad heart and does not tally with your reputation. Restore her garters, or else I defy you to mortal combat, for I am not afraid of rascally enchanters changing or altering my features as they changed his who encountered you into those of my lacquey, Tosilos.”

“God forbid,” said Don Quixote, “that I should draw my sword against your illustrious person from which I have received such great favours. The kerchiefs I will restore, as Sancho says he has them; as to the garters that is impossible, for I have not got them, neither has he; and if your handmaiden here will look in her hiding-places, depend upon it she will find them. I have never been a thief, my lord duke, nor do I mean to be so long as I live, if God cease not to have me in his keeping. This damsel by her own confession speaks as one in love, for which I am not to blame, and therefore need not ask pardon, either of her or of your excellence, whom I entreat to have a better opinion of me, and once more to give me leave to pursue my journey.”

“And may God so prosper it, Señor Don Quixote,” said the duchess, “that we may always hear good news of your exploits; God speed you; for the longer you stay, the more you inflame the hearts of the damsels who behold you; and as for this one of mine, I will so chastise her that she will not transgress again, either with her eyes or with her words.”

“One word and no more, O valiant Don Quixote, I ask you to hear,” said Altisidora, “and that is that I beg your pardon about the theft of the garters; for by God and upon my soul I have got them on, and I have fallen into the same blunder as he did who went looking for his ass being all the while mounted on it.”

“Didn’t I say so?” said Sancho. “I’m a likely one to hide thefts! Why if I wanted to deal in them, opportunities came ready enough to me in my government.”

Don Quixote bowed his head, and saluted the duke and duchess and all the bystanders, and wheeling Rocinante round, Sancho following him on Dapple, he rode out of the castle, shaping his course for Saragossa.



CHAPTER LVIII.

WHICH TELLS HOW ADVENTURES CAME CROWDING ON DON QUIXOTE IN SUCH NUMBERS THAT THEY GAVE ONE ANOTHER NO BREATHING-TIME

When Don Quixote saw himself in open country, free, and relieved from the attentions of Altisidora, he felt at his ease, and in fresh spirits to take up the pursuit of chivalry once more; and turning to Sancho, he said, “Freedom, Sancho, is one of the most precious gifts that heaven has bestowed upon men; no treasures that the earth holds buried or the sea conceals can compare with it; for freedom, as for honour, life may and should be ventured; and on the other hand, captivity is the greatest evil that can fall to the lot of man. I say this, Sancho, because thou hast seen the good cheer, the abundance we have enjoyed in this castle we are leaving; well then, amid those dainty banquets and snow-cooled beverages I felt as though I were undergoing the straits of hunger, because I did not enjoy them with the same freedom as if they had been mine own; for the sense of being under an obligation to return benefits and favours received is a restraint that checks the independence of the spirit. Happy he, to whom heaven has given a piece of bread for which he is not bound to give thanks to any but heaven itself!”

“For all your worship says,” said Sancho, “it is not becoming that there should be no thanks on our part for two hundred gold crowns that the duke’s majordomo has given me in a little purse which I carry next my heart, like a warming plaster or comforter, to meet any chance calls; for we shan’t always find castles where they’ll entertain us; now and then we may light upon roadside inns where they’ll cudgel us.”

In conversation of this sort the knight and squire errant were pursuing their journey, when, after they had gone a little more than half a league, they perceived some dozen men dressed like labourers stretched upon their cloaks on the grass of a green meadow eating their dinner. They had beside them what seemed to be white sheets concealing some objects under them, standing upright or lying flat, and arranged at intervals. Don Quixote approached the diners, and, saluting them courteously first, he asked them what it was those cloths covered. “Señor,” answered one of the party, “under these cloths are some images carved in relief intended for a retablo we are putting up in our village; we carry them covered up that they may not be soiled, and on our shoulders that they may not be broken.”

“With your good leave,” said Don Quixote, “I should like to see them; for images that are carried so carefully no doubt must be fine ones.”

“I should think they were!” said the other; “let the money they cost speak for that; for as a matter of fact there is not one of them that does not stand us in more than fifty ducats; and that your worship may judge; wait a moment, and you shall see with your own eyes;” and getting up from his dinner he went and uncovered the first image, which proved to be one of Saint George on horseback with a serpent writhing at his feet and the lance thrust down its throat with all that fierceness that is usually depicted. The whole group was one blaze of gold, as the saying is. On seeing it Don Quixote said, “That knight was one of the best knights-errant the army of heaven ever owned; he was called Don Saint George, and he was moreover a defender of maidens. Let us see this next one.”

The man uncovered it, and it was seen to be that of Saint Martin on his horse, dividing his cloak with the beggar. The instant Don Quixote saw it he said, “This knight too was one of the Christian adventurers, but I believe he was generous rather than valiant, as thou mayest perceive, Sancho, by his dividing his cloak with the beggar and giving him half of it; no doubt it was winter at the time, for otherwise he would have given him the whole of it, so charitable was he.”

“It was not that, most likely,” said Sancho, “but that he held with the proverb that says, ‘For giving and keeping there’s need of brains.’”

Don Quixote laughed, and asked them to take off the next cloth, underneath which was seen the image of the patron saint of the Spains seated on horseback, his sword stained with blood, trampling on Moors and treading heads underfoot; and on seeing it Don Quixote exclaimed, “Ay, this is a knight, and of the squadrons of Christ! This one is called Don Saint James the Moorslayer, one of the bravest saints and knights the world ever had or heaven has now.”

They then raised another cloth which it appeared covered Saint Paul falling from his horse, with all the details that are usually given in representations of his conversion. When Don Quixote saw it, rendered in such lifelike style that one would have said Christ was speaking and Paul answering, “This,” he said, “was in his time the greatest enemy that the Church of God our Lord had, and the greatest champion it will ever have; a knight-errant in life, a steadfast saint in death, an untiring labourer in the Lord’s vineyard, a teacher of the Gentiles, whose school was heaven, and whose instructor and master was Jesus Christ himself.”

There were no more images, so Don Quixote bade them cover them up again, and said to those who had brought them, “I take it as a happy omen, brothers, to have seen what I have; for these saints and knights were of the same profession as myself, which is the calling of arms; only there is this difference between them and me, that they were saints, and fought with divine weapons, and I am a sinner and fight with human ones. They won heaven by force of arms, for heaven suffereth violence; and I, so far, know not what I have won by dint of my sufferings; but if my Dulcinea del Toboso were to be released from hers, perhaps with mended fortunes and a mind restored to itself I might direct my steps in a better path than I am following at present.”

“May God hear and sin be deaf,” said Sancho to this.

The men were filled with wonder, as well at the figure as at the words of Don Quixote, though they did not understand one half of what he meant by them. They finished their dinner, took their images on their backs, and bidding farewell to Don Quixote resumed their journey.

Sancho was amazed afresh at the extent of his master’s knowledge, as much as if he had never known him, for it seemed to him that there was no story or event in the world that he had not at his fingers’ ends and fixed in his memory, and he said to him, “In truth, master mine, if this that has happened to us to-day is to be called an adventure, it has been one of the sweetest and pleasantest that have befallen us in the whole course of our travels; we have come out of it unbelaboured and undismayed, neither have we drawn sword nor have we smitten the earth with our bodies, nor have we been left famishing; blessed be God that he has let me see such a thing with my own eyes!”

“Thou sayest well, Sancho,” said Don Quixote, “but remember all times are not alike nor do they always run the same way; and these things the vulgar commonly call omens, which are not based upon any natural reason, will by him who is wise be esteemed and reckoned happy accidents merely. One of these believers in omens will get up of a morning, leave his house, and meet a friar of the order of the blessed Saint Francis, and, as if he had met a griffin, he will turn about and go home. With another Mendoza the salt is spilt on his table, and gloom is spilt over his heart, as if nature was obliged to give warning of coming misfortunes by means of such trivial things as these. The wise man and the Christian should not trifle with what it may please heaven to do. Scipio on coming to Africa stumbled as he leaped on shore; his soldiers took it as a bad omen; but he, clasping the soil with his arms, exclaimed, ‘Thou canst not escape me, Africa, for I hold thee tight between my arms.’ Thus, Sancho, meeting those images has been to me a most happy occurrence.”

“I can well believe it,” said Sancho; “but I wish your worship would tell me what is the reason that the Spaniards, when they are about to give battle, in calling on that Saint James the Moorslayer, say ‘Santiago and close Spain!’ Is Spain, then, open, so that it is needful to close it; or what is the meaning of this form?”

“Thou art very simple, Sancho,” said Don Quixote; “God, look you, gave that great knight of the Red Cross to Spain as her patron saint and protector, especially in those hard struggles the Spaniards had with the Moors; and therefore they invoke and call upon him as their defender in all their battles; and in these he has been many a time seen beating down, trampling under foot, destroying and slaughtering the Hagarene squadrons in the sight of all; of which fact I could give thee many examples recorded in truthful Spanish histories.”

Sancho changed the subject, and said to his master, “I marvel, señor, at the boldness of Altisidora, the duchess’s handmaid; he whom they call Love must have cruelly pierced and wounded her; they say he is a little blind urchin who, though blear-eyed, or more properly speaking sightless, if he aims at a heart, be it ever so small, hits it and pierces it through and through with his arrows. I have heard it said too that the arrows of Love are blunted and robbed of their points by maidenly modesty and reserve; but with this Altisidora it seems they are sharpened rather than blunted.”

“Bear in mind, Sancho,” said Don Quixote, “that love is influenced by no consideration, recognises no restraints of reason, and is of the same nature as death, that assails alike the lofty palaces of kings and the humble cabins of shepherds; and when it takes entire possession of a heart, the first thing it does is to banish fear and shame from it; and so without shame Altisidora declared her passion, which excited in my mind embarrassment rather than commiseration.”

“Notable cruelty!” exclaimed Sancho; “unheard-of ingratitude! I can only say for myself that the very smallest loving word of hers would have subdued me and made a slave of me. The devil! What a heart of marble, what bowels of brass, what a soul of mortar! But I can’t imagine what it is that this damsel saw in your worship that could have conquered and captivated her so. What gallant figure was it, what bold bearing, what sprightly grace, what comeliness of feature, which of these things by itself, or what all together, could have made her fall in love with you? For indeed and in truth many a time I stop to look at your worship from the sole of your foot to the topmost hair of your head, and I see more to frighten one than to make one fall in love; moreover I have heard say that beauty is the first and main thing that excites love, and as your worship has none at all, I don’t know what the poor creature fell in love with.”

“Recollect, Sancho,” replied Don Quixote, “there are two sorts of beauty, one of the mind, the other of the body; that of the mind displays and exhibits itself in intelligence, in modesty, in honourable conduct, in generosity, in good breeding; and all these qualities are possible and may exist in an ugly man; and when it is this sort of beauty and not that of the body that is the attraction, love is apt to spring up suddenly and violently. I, Sancho, perceive clearly enough that I am not beautiful, but at the same time I know I am not hideous; and it is enough for an honest man not to be a monster to be an object of love, if only he possesses the endowments of mind I have mentioned.”

While engaged in this discourse they were making their way through a wood that lay beyond the road, when suddenly, without expecting anything of the kind, Don Quixote found himself caught in some nets of green cord stretched from one tree to another; and unable to conceive what it could be, he said to Sancho, “Sancho, it strikes me this affair of these nets will prove one of the strangest adventures imaginable. May I die if the enchanters that persecute me are not trying to entangle me in them and delay my journey, by way of revenge for my obduracy towards Altisidora. Well then let me tell them that if these nets, instead of being green cord, were made of the hardest diamonds, or stronger than that wherewith the jealous god of blacksmiths enmeshed Venus and Mars, I would break them as easily as if they were made of rushes or cotton threads.” But just as he was about to press forward and break through all, suddenly from among some trees two shepherdesses of surpassing beauty presented themselves to his sight—or at least damsels dressed like shepherdesses, save that their jerkins and sayas were of fine brocade; that is to say, the sayas were rich farthingales of gold embroidered tabby. Their hair, that in its golden brightness vied with the beams of the sun itself, fell loose upon their shoulders and was crowned with garlands twined with green laurel and red everlasting; and their years to all appearance were not under fifteen nor above eighteen.

Such was the spectacle that filled Sancho with amazement, fascinated Don Quixote, made the sun halt in his course to behold them, and held all four in a strange silence. One of the shepherdesses, at length, was the first to speak and said to Don Quixote, “Hold, sir knight, and do not break these nets; for they are not spread here to do you any harm, but only for our amusement; and as I know you will ask why they have been put up, and who we are, I will tell you in a few words. In a village some two leagues from this, where there are many people of quality and rich gentlefolk, it was agreed upon by a number of friends and relations to come with their wives, sons and daughters, neighbours, friends and kinsmen, and make holiday in this spot, which is one of the pleasantest in the whole neighbourhood, setting up a new pastoral Arcadia among ourselves, we maidens dressing ourselves as shepherdesses and the youths as shepherds. We have prepared two eclogues, one by the famous poet Garcilasso, the other by the most excellent Camoens, in its own Portuguese tongue, but we have not as yet acted them. Yesterday was the first day of our coming here; we have a few of what they say are called field-tents pitched among the trees on the bank of an ample brook that fertilises all these meadows; last night we spread these nets in the trees here to snare the silly little birds that startled by the noise we make may fly into them. If you please to be our guest, señor, you will be welcomed heartily and courteously, for here just now neither care nor sorrow shall enter.”

She held her peace and said no more, and Don Quixote made answer, “Of a truth, fairest lady, Actaeon when he unexpectedly beheld Diana bathing in the stream could not have been more fascinated and wonderstruck than I at the sight of your beauty. I commend your mode of entertainment, and thank you for the kindness of your invitation; and if I can serve you, you may command me with full confidence of being obeyed, for my profession is none other than to show myself grateful, and ready to serve persons of all conditions, but especially persons of quality such as your appearance indicates; and if, instead of taking up, as they probably do, but a small space, these nets took up the whole surface of the globe, I would seek out new worlds through which to pass, so as not to break them; and that ye may give some degree of credence to this exaggerated language of mine, know that it is no less than Don Quixote of La Mancha that makes this declaration to you, if indeed it be that such a name has reached your ears.”

“Ah! friend of my soul,” instantly exclaimed the other shepherdess, “what great good fortune has befallen us! Seest thou this gentleman we have before us? Well then let me tell thee he is the most valiant and the most devoted and the most courteous gentleman in all the world, unless a history of his achievements that has been printed and I have read is telling lies and deceiving us. I will lay a wager that this good fellow who is with him is one Sancho Panza his squire, whose drolleries none can equal.”

“That’s true,” said Sancho; “I am that same droll and squire you speak of, and this gentleman is my master Don Quixote of La Mancha, the same that’s in the history and that they talk about.”

“Oh, my friend,” said the other, “let us entreat him to stay; for it will give our fathers and brothers infinite pleasure; I too have heard just what thou hast told me of the valour of the one and the drolleries of the other; and what is more, of him they say that he is the most constant and loyal lover that was ever heard of, and that his lady is one Dulcinea del Toboso, to whom all over Spain the palm of beauty is awarded.”

“And justly awarded,” said Don Quixote, “unless, indeed, your unequalled beauty makes it a matter of doubt. But spare yourselves the trouble, ladies, of pressing me to stay, for the urgent calls of my profession do not allow me to take rest under any circumstances.”

At this instant there came up to the spot where the four stood a brother of one of the two shepherdesses, like them in shepherd costume, and as richly and gaily dressed as they were. They told him that their companion was the valiant Don Quixote of La Mancha, and the other Sancho his squire, of whom he knew already from having read their history. The gay shepherd offered him his services and begged that he would accompany him to their tents, and Don Quixote had to give way and comply. And now the game was started, and the nets were filled with a variety of birds that deceived by the colour fell into the danger they were flying from. Upwards of thirty persons, all gaily attired as shepherds and shepherdesses, assembled on the spot, and were at once informed who Don Quixote and his squire were, whereat they were not a little delighted, as they knew of him already through his history. They repaired to the tents, where they found tables laid out, and choicely, plentifully, and neatly furnished. They treated Don Quixote as a person of distinction, giving him the place of honour, and all observed him, and were full of astonishment at the spectacle. At last the cloth being removed, Don Quixote with great composure lifted up his voice and said:

“One of the greatest sins that men are guilty of is—some will say pride—but I say ingratitude, going by the common saying that hell is full of ingrates. This sin, so far as it has lain in my power, I have endeavoured to avoid ever since I have enjoyed the faculty of reason; and if I am unable to requite good deeds that have been done me by other deeds, I substitute the desire to do so; and if that be not enough I make them known publicly; for he who declares and makes known the good deeds done to him would repay them by others if it were in his power, and for the most part those who receive are the inferiors of those who give. Thus, God is superior to all because he is the supreme giver, and the offerings of man fall short by an infinite distance of being a full return for the gifts of God; but gratitude in some degree makes up for this deficiency and shortcoming. I therefore, grateful for the favour that has been extended to me here, and unable to make a return in the same measure, restricted as I am by the narrow limits of my power, offer what I can and what I have to offer in my own way; and so I declare that for two full days I will maintain in the middle of this highway leading to Saragossa, that these ladies disguised as shepherdesses, who are here present, are the fairest and most courteous maidens in the world, excepting only the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso, sole mistress of my thoughts, be it said without offence to those who hear me, ladies and gentlemen.”

On hearing this Sancho, who had been listening with great attention, cried out in a loud voice, “Is it possible there is anyone in the world who will dare to say and swear that this master of mine is a madman? Say, gentlemen shepherds, is there a village priest, be he ever so wise or learned, who could say what my master has said; or is there knight-errant, whatever renown he may have as a man of valour, that could offer what my master has offered now?”

Don Quixote turned upon Sancho, and with a countenance glowing with anger said to him, “Is it possible, Sancho, there is anyone in the whole world who will say thou art not a fool, with a lining to match, and I know not what trimmings of impertinence and roguery? Who asked thee to meddle in my affairs, or to inquire whether I am a wise man or a blockhead? Hold thy peace; answer me not a word; saddle Rocinante if he be unsaddled; and let us go to put my offer into execution; for with the right that I have on my side thou mayest reckon as vanquished all who shall venture to question it;” and in a great rage, and showing his anger plainly, he rose from his seat, leaving the company lost in wonder, and making them feel doubtful whether they ought to regard him as a madman or a rational being. In the end, though they sought to dissuade him from involving himself in such a challenge, assuring him they admitted his gratitude as fully established, and needed no fresh proofs to be convinced of his valiant spirit, as those related in the history of his exploits were sufficient, still Don Quixote persisted in his resolve; and mounted on Rocinante, bracing his buckler on his arm and grasping his lance, he posted himself in the middle of a high road that was not far from the green meadow. Sancho followed on Dapple, together with all the members of the pastoral gathering, eager to see what would be the upshot of his vainglorious and extraordinary proposal.

Don Quixote, then, having, as has been said, planted himself in the middle of the road, made the welkin ring with words to this effect: “Ho ye travellers and wayfarers, knights, squires, folk on foot or on horseback, who pass this way or shall pass in the course of the next two days! Know that Don Quixote of La Mancha, knight-errant, is posted here to maintain by arms that the beauty and courtesy enshrined in the nymphs that dwell in these meadows and groves surpass all upon earth, putting aside the lady of my heart, Dulcinea del Toboso. Wherefore, let him who is of the opposite opinion come on, for here I await him.”

Twice he repeated the same words, and twice they fell unheard by any adventurer; but fate, that was guiding affairs for him from better to better, so ordered it that shortly afterwards there appeared on the road a crowd of men on horseback, many of them with lances in their hands, all riding in a compact body and in great haste. No sooner had those who were with Don Quixote seen them than they turned about and withdrew to some distance from the road, for they knew that if they stayed some harm might come to them; but Don Quixote with intrepid heart stood his ground, and Sancho Panza shielded himself with Rocinante’s hind-quarters. The troop of lancers came up, and one of them who was in advance began shouting to Don Quixote, “Get out of the way, you son of the devil, or these bulls will knock you to pieces!”

“Rabble!” returned Don Quixote, “I care nothing for bulls, be they the fiercest Jarama breeds on its banks. Confess at once, scoundrels, that what I have declared is true; else ye have to deal with me in combat.”

The herdsman had no time to reply, nor Don Quixote to get out of the way even if he wished; and so the drove of fierce bulls and tame bullocks, together with the crowd of herdsmen and others who were taking them to be penned up in a village where they were to be run the next day, passed over Don Quixote and over Sancho, Rocinante and Dapple, hurling them all to the earth and rolling them over on the ground. Sancho was left crushed, Don Quixote scared, Dapple belaboured and Rocinante in no very sound condition.

They all got up, however, at length, and Don Quixote in great haste, stumbling here and falling there, started off running after the drove, shouting out, “Hold! stay! ye rascally rabble, a single knight awaits you, and he is not of the temper or opinion of those who say, ‘For a flying enemy make a bridge of silver.’” The retreating party in their haste, however, did not stop for that, or heed his menaces any more than last year’s clouds. Weariness brought Don Quixote to a halt, and more enraged than avenged he sat down on the road to wait until Sancho, Rocinante and Dapple came up. When they reached him master and man mounted once more, and without going back to bid farewell to the mock or imitation Arcadia, and more in humiliation than contentment, they continued their journey.



CHAPTER LIX.

WHEREIN IS RELATED THE STRANGE THING, WHICH MAY BE REGARDED AS AN ADVENTURE, THAT HAPPENED DON QUIXOTE

A clear limpid spring which they discovered in a cool grove relieved Don Quixote and Sancho of the dust and fatigue due to the unpolite behaviour of the bulls, and by the side of this, having turned Dapple and Rocinante loose without headstall or bridle, the forlorn pair, master and man, seated themselves. Sancho had recourse to the larder of his alforjas and took out of them what he called the prog; Don Quixote rinsed his mouth and bathed his face, by which cooling process his flagging energies were revived. Out of pure vexation he remained without eating, and out of pure politeness Sancho did not venture to touch a morsel of what was before him, but waited for his master to act as taster. Seeing, however, that, absorbed in thought, he was forgetting to carry the bread to his mouth, he said never a word, and trampling every sort of good breeding under foot, began to stow away in his paunch the bread and cheese that came to his hand.

“Eat, Sancho my friend,” said Don Quixote; “support life, which is of more consequence to thee than to me, and leave me to die under the pain of my thoughts and pressure of my misfortunes. I was born, Sancho, to live dying, and thou to die eating; and to prove the truth of what I say, look at me, printed in histories, famed in arms, courteous in behaviour, honoured by princes, courted by maidens; and after all, when I looked forward to palms, triumphs, and crowns, won and earned by my valiant deeds, I have this morning seen myself trampled on, kicked, and crushed by the feet of unclean and filthy animals. This thought blunts my teeth, paralyses my jaws, cramps my hands, and robs me of all appetite for food; so much so that I have a mind to let myself die of hunger, the cruelest death of all deaths.”

“So then,” said Sancho, munching hard all the time, “your worship does not agree with the proverb that says, ‘Let Martha die, but let her die with a full belly.’ I, at any rate, have no mind to kill myself; so far from that, I mean to do as the cobbler does, who stretches the leather with his teeth until he makes it reach as far as he wants. I’ll stretch out my life by eating until it reaches the end heaven has fixed for it; and let me tell you, señor, there’s no greater folly than to think of dying of despair as your worship does; take my advice, and after eating lie down and sleep a bit on this green grass-mattress, and you will see that when you awake you’ll feel something better.”

Don Quixote did as he recommended, for it struck him that Sancho’s reasoning was more like a philosopher’s than a blockhead’s, and said he, “Sancho, if thou wilt do for me what I am going to tell thee my ease of mind would be more assured and my heaviness of heart not so great; and it is this; to go aside a little while I am sleeping in accordance with thy advice, and, making bare thy carcase to the air, to give thyself three or four hundred lashes with Rocinante’s reins, on account of the three thousand and odd thou art to give thyself for the disenchantment of Dulcinea; for it is a great pity that the poor lady should be left enchanted through thy carelessness and negligence.”

“There is a good deal to be said on that point,” said Sancho; “let us both go to sleep now, and after that, God has decreed what will happen. Let me tell your worship that for a man to whip himself in cold blood is a hard thing, especially if the stripes fall upon an ill-nourished and worse-fed body. Let my lady Dulcinea have patience, and when she is least expecting it, she will see me made a riddle of with whipping, and ‘until death it’s all life;’ I mean that I have still life in me, and the desire to make good what I have promised.”

Don Quixote thanked him, and ate a little, and Sancho a good deal, and then they both lay down to sleep, leaving those two inseparable friends and comrades, Rocinante and Dapple, to their own devices and to feed unrestrained upon the abundant grass with which the meadow was furnished. They woke up rather late, mounted once more and resumed their journey, pushing on to reach an inn which was in sight, apparently a league off. I say an inn, because Don Quixote called it so, contrary to his usual practice of calling all inns castles. They reached it, and asked the landlord if they could put up there. He said yes, with as much comfort and as good fare as they could find in Saragossa. They dismounted, and Sancho stowed away his larder in a room of which the landlord gave him the key. He took the beasts to the stable, fed them, and came back to see what orders Don Quixote, who was seated on a bench at the door, had for him, giving special thanks to heaven that this inn had not been taken for a castle by his master. Supper-time came, and they repaired to their room, and Sancho asked the landlord what he had to give them for supper. To this the landlord replied that his mouth should be the measure; he had only to ask what he would; for that inn was provided with the birds of the air and the fowls of the earth and the fish of the sea.

“There’s no need of all that,” said Sancho; “if they’ll roast us a couple of chickens we’ll be satisfied, for my master is delicate and eats little, and I’m not over and above gluttonous.”

The landlord replied he had no chickens, for the kites had stolen them.

“Well then,” said Sancho, “let señor landlord tell them to roast a pullet, so that it is a tender one.”

“Pullet! My father!” said the landlord; “indeed and in truth it’s only yesterday I sent over fifty to the city to sell; but saving pullets ask what you will.”

“In that case,” said Sancho, “you will not be without veal or kid.”

“Just now,” said the landlord, “there’s none in the house, for it’s all finished; but next week there will be enough and to spare.”

“Much good that does us,” said Sancho; “I’ll lay a bet that all these short-comings are going to wind up in plenty of bacon and eggs.”

“By God,” said the landlord, “my guest’s wits must be precious dull; I tell him I have neither pullets nor hens, and he wants me to have eggs! Talk of other dainties, if you please, and don’t ask for hens again.”

“Body o’ me!” said Sancho, “let’s settle the matter; say at once what you have got, and let us have no more words about it.”

“In truth and earnest, señor guest,” said the landlord, “all I have is a couple of cow-heels like calves’ feet, or a couple of calves’ feet like cowheels; they are boiled with chick-peas, onions, and bacon, and at this moment they are crying ‘Come eat me, come eat me.”

“I mark them for mine on the spot,” said Sancho; “let nobody touch them; I’ll pay better for them than anyone else, for I could not wish for anything more to my taste; and I don’t care a pin whether they are feet or heels.”

“Nobody shall touch them,” said the landlord; “for the other guests I have, being persons of high quality, bring their own cook and caterer and larder with them.”

“If you come to people of quality,” said Sancho, “there’s nobody more so than my master; but the calling he follows does not allow of larders or store-rooms; we lay ourselves down in the middle of a meadow, and fill ourselves with acorns or medlars.”

Here ended Sancho’s conversation with the landlord, Sancho not caring to carry it any farther by answering him; for he had already asked him what calling or what profession it was his master was of.

Supper-time having come, then, Don Quixote betook himself to his room, the landlord brought in the stew-pan just as it was, and he sat himself down to sup very resolutely. It seems that in another room, which was next to Don Quixote’s, with nothing but a thin partition to separate it, he overheard these words, “As you live, Señor Don Jeronimo, while they are bringing supper, let us read another chapter of the Second Part of ‘Don Quixote of La Mancha.’”

The instant Don Quixote heard his own name he started to his feet and listened with open ears to catch what they said about him, and heard the Don Jeronimo who had been addressed say in reply, “Why would you have us read that absurd stuff, Don Juan, when it is impossible for anyone who has read the First Part of the history of ‘Don Quixote of La Mancha’ to take any pleasure in reading this Second Part?”

“For all that,” said he who was addressed as Don Juan, “we shall do well to read it, for there is no book so bad but it has something good in it. What displeases me most in it is that it represents Don Quixote as now cured of his love for Dulcinea del Toboso.”

On hearing this Don Quixote, full of wrath and indignation, lifted up his voice and said, “Whoever he may be who says that Don Quixote of La Mancha has forgotten or can forget Dulcinea del Toboso, I will teach him with equal arms that what he says is very far from the truth; for neither can the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso be forgotten, nor can forgetfulness have a place in Don Quixote; his motto is constancy, and his profession to maintain the same with his life and never wrong it.”

“Who is this that answers us?” said they in the next room.

“Who should it be,” said Sancho, “but Don Quixote of La Mancha himself, who will make good all he has said and all he will say; for pledges don’t trouble a good payer.”

Sancho had hardly uttered these words when two gentlemen, for such they seemed to be, entered the room, and one of them, throwing his arms round Don Quixote’s neck, said to him, “Your appearance cannot leave any question as to your name, nor can your name fail to identify your appearance; unquestionably, señor, you are the real Don Quixote of La Mancha, cynosure and morning star of knight-errantry, despite and in defiance of him who has sought to usurp your name and bring to naught your achievements, as the author of this book which I here present to you has done;” and with this he put a book which his companion carried into the hands of Don Quixote, who took it, and without replying began to run his eye over it; but he presently returned it saying, “In the little I have seen I have discovered three things in this author that deserve to be censured. The first is some words that I have read in the preface; the next that the language is Aragonese, for sometimes he writes without articles; and the third, which above all stamps him as ignorant, is that he goes wrong and departs from the truth in the most important part of the history, for here he says that my squire Sancho Panza’s wife is called Mari Gutierrez, when she is called nothing of the sort, but Teresa Panza; and when a man errs on such an important point as this there is good reason to fear that he is in error on every other point in the history.”

“A nice sort of historian, indeed!” exclaimed Sancho at this; “he must know a deal about our affairs when he calls my wife Teresa Panza, Mari Gutierrez; take the book again, señor, and see if I am in it and if he has changed my name.”

“From your talk, friend,” said Don Jeronimo, “no doubt you are Sancho Panza, Señor Don Quixote’s squire.”

“Yes, I am,” said Sancho; “and I’m proud of it.”

“Faith, then,” said the gentleman, “this new author does not handle you with the decency that displays itself in your person; he makes you out a heavy feeder and a fool, and not in the least droll, and a very different being from the Sancho described in the First Part of your master’s history.”

“God forgive him,” said Sancho; “he might have left me in my corner without troubling his head about me; ‘let him who knows how ring the bells; ‘Saint Peter is very well in Rome.’”

The two gentlemen pressed Don Quixote to come into their room and have supper with them, as they knew very well there was nothing in that inn fit for one of his sort. Don Quixote, who was always polite, yielded to their request and supped with them. Sancho stayed behind with the stew. and invested with plenary delegated authority seated himself at the head of the table, and the landlord sat down with him, for he was no less fond of cow-heel and calves’ feet than Sancho was.

While at supper Don Juan asked Don Quixote what news he had of the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, was she married, had she been brought to bed, or was she with child, or did she in maidenhood, still preserving her modesty and delicacy, cherish the remembrance of the tender passion of Señor Don Quixote?

To this he replied, “Dulcinea is a maiden still, and my passion more firmly rooted than ever, our intercourse unsatisfactory as before, and her beauty transformed into that of a foul country wench;” and then he proceeded to give them a full and particular account of the enchantment of Dulcinea, and of what had happened him in the cave of Montesinos, together with what the sage Merlin had prescribed for her disenchantment, namely the scourging of Sancho.

Exceedingly great was the amusement the two gentlemen derived from hearing Don Quixote recount the strange incidents of his history; and if they were amazed by his absurdities they were equally amazed by the elegant style in which he delivered them. On the one hand they regarded him as a man of wit and sense, and on the other he seemed to them a maundering blockhead, and they could not make up their minds whereabouts between wisdom and folly they ought to place him.

Sancho having finished his supper, and left the landlord in the X condition, repaired to the room where his master was, and as he came in said, “May I die, sirs, if the author of this book your worships have got has any mind that we should agree; as he calls me glutton (according to what your worships say) I wish he may not call me drunkard too.”

“But he does,” said Don Jeronimo; “I cannot remember, however, in what way, though I know his words are offensive, and what is more, lying, as I can see plainly by the physiognomy of the worthy Sancho before me.”

“Believe me,” said Sancho, “the Sancho and the Don Quixote of this history must be different persons from those that appear in the one Cide Hamete Benengeli wrote, who are ourselves; my master valiant, wise, and true in love, and I simple, droll, and neither glutton nor drunkard.”

“I believe it,” said Don Juan; “and were it possible, an order should be issued that no one should have the presumption to deal with anything relating to Don Quixote, save his original author Cide Hamete; just as Alexander commanded that no one should presume to paint his portrait save Apelles.”

“Let him who will paint me,” said Don Quixote; “but let him not abuse me; for patience will often break down when they heap insults upon it.”

“None can be offered to Señor Don Quixote,” said Don Juan, “that he himself will not be able to avenge, if he does not ward it off with the shield of his patience, which, I take it, is great and strong.”

A considerable portion of the night passed in conversation of this sort, and though Don Juan wished Don Quixote to read more of the book to see what it was all about, he was not to be prevailed upon, saying that he treated it as read and pronounced it utterly silly; and, if by any chance it should come to its author’s ears that he had it in his hand, he did not want him to flatter himself with the idea that he had read it; for our thoughts, and still more our eyes, should keep themselves aloof from what is obscene and filthy.

They asked him whither he meant to direct his steps. He replied, to Saragossa, to take part in the harness jousts which were held in that city every year. Don Juan told him that the new history described how Don Quixote, let him be who he might, took part there in a tilting at the ring, utterly devoid of invention, poor in mottoes, very poor in costume, though rich in sillinesses.

“For that very reason,” said Don Quixote, “I will not set foot in Saragossa; and by that means I shall expose to the world the lie of this new history writer, and people will see that I am not the Don Quixote he speaks of.”

“You will do quite right,” said Don Jeronimo; “and there are other jousts at Barcelona in which Señor Don Quixote may display his prowess.”

“That is what I mean to do,” said Don Quixote; “and as it is now time, I pray your worships to give me leave to retire to bed, and to place and retain me among the number of your greatest friends and servants.”

“And me too,” said Sancho; “maybe I’ll be good for something.”

With this they exchanged farewells, and Don Quixote and Sancho retired to their room, leaving Don Juan and Don Jeronimo amazed to see the medley he made of his good sense and his craziness; and they felt thoroughly convinced that these, and not those their Aragonese author described, were the genuine Don Quixote and Sancho. Don Quixote rose betimes, and bade adieu to his hosts by knocking at the partition of the other room. Sancho paid the landlord magnificently, and recommended him either to say less about the providing of his inn or to keep it better provided.



CHAPTER LX.

OF WHAT HAPPENED DON QUIXOTE ON HIS WAY TO BARCELONA

It was a fresh morning giving promise of a cool day as Don Quixote quitted the inn, first of all taking care to ascertain the most direct road to Barcelona without touching upon Saragossa; so anxious was he to make out this new historian, who they said abused him so, to be a liar. Well, as it fell out, nothing worthy of being recorded happened him for six days, at the end of which, having turned aside out of the road, he was overtaken by night in a thicket of oak or cork trees; for on this point Cide Hamete is not as precise as he usually is on other matters.

Master and man dismounted from their beasts, and as soon as they had settled themselves at the foot of the trees, Sancho, who had had a good noontide meal that day, let himself, without more ado, pass the gates of sleep. But Don Quixote, whom his thoughts, far more than hunger, kept awake, could not close an eye, and roamed in fancy to and fro through all sorts of places. At one moment it seemed to him that he was in the cave of Montesinos and saw Dulcinea, transformed into a country wench, skipping and mounting upon her she-ass; again that the words of the sage Merlin were sounding in his ears, setting forth the conditions to be observed and the exertions to be made for the disenchantment of Dulcinea. He lost all patience when he considered the laziness and want of charity of his squire Sancho; for to the best of his belief he had only given himself five lashes, a number paltry and disproportioned to the vast number required. At this thought he felt such vexation and anger that he reasoned the matter thus: “If Alexander the Great cut the Gordian knot, saying, ‘To cut comes to the same thing as to untie,’ and yet did not fail to become lord paramount of all Asia, neither more nor less could happen now in Dulcinea’s disenchantment if I scourge Sancho against his will; for, if it is the condition of the remedy that Sancho shall receive three thousand and odd lashes, what does it matter to me whether he inflicts them himself, or someone else inflicts them, when the essential point is that he receives them, let them come from whatever quarter they may?”

With this idea he went over to Sancho, having first taken Rocinante’s reins and arranged them so as to be able to flog him with them, and began to untie the points (the common belief is he had but one in front) by which his breeches were held up; but the instant he approached him Sancho woke up in his full senses and cried out, “What is this? Who is touching me and untrussing me?”

“It is I,” said Don Quixote, “and I come to make good thy shortcomings and relieve my own distresses; I come to whip thee, Sancho, and wipe off some portion of the debt thou hast undertaken. Dulcinea is perishing, thou art living on regardless, I am dying of hope deferred; therefore untruss thyself with a good will, for mine it is, here, in this retired spot, to give thee at least two thousand lashes.”

“Not a bit of it,” said Sancho; “let your worship keep quiet, or else by the living God the deaf shall hear us; the lashes I pledged myself to must be voluntary and not forced upon me, and just now I have no fancy to whip myself; it is enough if I give you my word to flog and flap myself when I have a mind.”

“It will not do to leave it to thy courtesy, Sancho,” said Don Quixote, “for thou art hard of heart and, though a clown, tender of flesh;” and at the same time he strove and struggled to untie him.

Seeing this Sancho got up, and grappling with his master he gripped him with all his might in his arms, giving him a trip with the heel stretched him on the ground on his back, and pressing his right knee on his chest held his hands in his own so that he could neither move nor breathe.

“How now, traitor!” exclaimed Don Quixote. “Dost thou revolt against thy master and natural lord? Dost thou rise against him who gives thee his bread?”

“I neither put down king, nor set up king,” said Sancho; “I only stand up for myself who am my own lord; if your worship promises me to be quiet, and not to offer to whip me now, I’ll let you go free and unhindered; if not—

Traitor and Doña Sancha’s foe,
Thou diest on the spot.”

Don Quixote gave his promise, and swore by the life of his thoughts not to touch so much as a hair of his garments, and to leave him entirely free and to his own discretion to whip himself whenever he pleased.

Sancho rose and removed some distance from the spot, but as he was about to place himself leaning against another tree he felt something touch his head, and putting up his hands encountered somebody’s two feet with shoes and stockings on them. He trembled with fear and made for another tree, where the very same thing happened to him, and he fell a-shouting, calling upon Don Quixote to come and protect him. Don Quixote did so, and asked him what had happened to him, and what he was afraid of. Sancho replied that all the trees were full of men’s feet and legs. Don Quixote felt them, and guessed at once what it was, and said to Sancho, “Thou hast nothing to be afraid of, for these feet and legs that thou feelest but canst not see belong no doubt to some outlaws and freebooters that have been hanged on these trees; for the authorities in these parts are wont to hang them up by twenties and thirties when they catch them; whereby I conjecture that I must be near Barcelona;” and it was, in fact, as he supposed; with the first light they looked up and saw that the fruit hanging on those trees were freebooters’ bodies.

And now day dawned; and if the dead freebooters had scared them, their hearts were no less troubled by upwards of forty living ones, who all of a sudden surrounded them, and in the Catalan tongue bade them stand and wait until their captain came up. Don Quixote was on foot with his horse unbridled and his lance leaning against a tree, and in short completely defenceless; he thought it best therefore to fold his arms and bow his head and reserve himself for a more favourable occasion and opportunity. The robbers made haste to search Dapple, and did not leave him a single thing of all he carried in the alforjas and in the valise; and lucky it was for Sancho that the duke’s crowns and those he brought from home were in a girdle that he wore round him; but for all that these good folk would have stripped him, and even looked to see what he had hidden between the skin and flesh, but for the arrival at that moment of their captain, who was about thirty-four years of age apparently, strongly built, above the middle height, of stern aspect and swarthy complexion. He was mounted upon a powerful horse, and had on a coat of mail, with four of the pistols they call petronels in that country at his waist. He saw that his squires (for so they call those who follow that trade) were about to rifle Sancho Panza, but he ordered them to desist and was at once obeyed, so the girdle escaped. He wondered to see the lance leaning against the tree, the shield on the ground, and Don Quixote in armour and dejected, with the saddest and most melancholy face that sadness itself could produce; and going up to him he said, “Be not so cast down, good man, for you have not fallen into the hands of any inhuman Busiris, but into Roque Guinart’s, which are more merciful than cruel.”

“The cause of my dejection,” returned Don Quixote, “is not that I have fallen into thy hands, O valiant Roque, whose fame is bounded by no limits on earth, but that my carelessness should have been so great that thy soldiers should have caught me unbridled, when it is my duty, according to the rule of knight-errantry which I profess, to be always on the alert and at all times my own sentinel; for let me tell thee, great Roque, had they found me on my horse, with my lance and shield, it would not have been very easy for them to reduce me to submission, for I am Don Quixote of La Mancha, he who hath filled the whole world with his achievements.”

Roque Guinart at once perceived that Don Quixote’s weakness was more akin to madness than to swagger; and though he had sometimes heard him spoken of, he never regarded the things attributed to him as true, nor could he persuade himself that such a humour could become dominant in the heart of man; he was extremely glad, therefore, to meet him and test at close quarters what he had heard of him at a distance; so he said to him, “Despair not, valiant knight, nor regard as an untoward fate the position in which thou findest thyself; it may be that by these slips thy crooked fortune will make itself straight; for heaven by strange circuitous ways, mysterious and incomprehensible to man, raises up the fallen and makes rich the poor.”

Don Quixote was about to thank him, when they heard behind them a noise as of a troop of horses; there was, however, but one, riding on which at a furious pace came a youth, apparently about twenty years of age, clad in green damask edged with gold and breeches and a loose frock, with a hat looped up in the Walloon fashion, tight-fitting polished boots, gilt spurs, dagger and sword, and in his hand a musketoon, and a pair of pistols at his waist.

Roque turned round at the noise and perceived this comely figure, which drawing near thus addressed him, “I came in quest of thee, valiant Roque, to find in thee if not a remedy at least relief in my misfortune; and not to keep thee in suspense, for I see thou dost not recognise me, I will tell thee who I am; I am Claudia Jeronima, the daughter of Simon Forte, thy good friend, and special enemy of Clauquel Torrellas, who is thine also as being of the faction opposed to thee. Thou knowest that this Torrellas has a son who is called, or at least was not two hours since, Don Vicente Torrellas. Well, to cut short the tale of my misfortune, I will tell thee in a few words what this youth has brought upon me. He saw me, he paid court to me, I listened to him, and, unknown to my father, I loved him; for there is no woman, however secluded she may live or close she may be kept, who will not have opportunities and to spare for following her headlong impulses. In a word, he pledged himself to be mine, and I promised to be his, without carrying matters any further. Yesterday I learned that, forgetful of his pledge to me, he was about to marry another, and that he was to go this morning to plight his troth, intelligence which overwhelmed and exasperated me; my father not being at home I was able to adopt this costume you see, and urging my horse to speed I overtook Don Vicente about a league from this, and without waiting to utter reproaches or hear excuses I fired this musket at him, and these two pistols besides, and to the best of my belief I must have lodged more than two bullets in his body, opening doors to let my honour go free, enveloped in his blood. I left him there in the hands of his servants, who did not dare and were not able to interfere in his defence, and I come to seek from thee a safe-conduct into France, where I have relatives with whom I can live; and also to implore thee to protect my father, so that Don Vicente’s numerous kinsmen may not venture to wreak their lawless vengeance upon him.”

Roque, filled with admiration at the gallant bearing, high spirit, comely figure, and adventure of the fair Claudia, said to her, “Come, señora, let us go and see if thy enemy is dead; and then we will consider what will be best for thee.” Don Quixote, who had been listening to what Claudia said and Roque Guinart said in reply to her, exclaimed, “Nobody need trouble himself with the defence of this lady, for I take it upon myself. Give me my horse and arms, and wait for me here; I will go in quest of this knight, and dead or alive I will make him keep his word plighted to so great beauty.”

“Nobody need have any doubt about that,” said Sancho, “for my master has a very happy knack of matchmaking; it’s not many days since he forced another man to marry, who in the same way backed out of his promise to another maiden; and if it had not been for his persecutors the enchanters changing the man’s proper shape into a lacquey’s the said maiden would not be one this minute.”

Roque, who was paying more attention to the fair Claudia’s adventure than to the words of master or man, did not hear them; and ordering his squires to restore to Sancho everything they had stripped Dapple of, he directed them to return to the place where they had been quartered during the night, and then set off with Claudia at full speed in search of the wounded or slain Don Vicente. They reached the spot where Claudia met him, but found nothing there save freshly spilt blood; looking all round, however, they descried some people on the slope of a hill above them, and concluded, as indeed it proved to be, that it was Don Vicente, whom either dead or alive his servants were removing to attend to his wounds or to bury him. They made haste to overtake them, which, as the party moved slowly, they were able to do with ease. They found Don Vicente in the arms of his servants, whom he was entreating in a broken feeble voice to leave him there to die, as the pain of his wounds would not suffer him to go any farther. Claudia and Roque threw themselves off their horses and advanced towards him; the servants were overawed by the appearance of Roque, and Claudia was moved by the sight of Don Vicente, and going up to him half tenderly half sternly, she seized his hand and said to him, “Hadst thou given me this according to our compact thou hadst never come to this pass.”

The wounded gentleman opened his all but closed eyes, and recognising Claudia said, “I see clearly, fair and mistaken lady, that it is thou that hast slain me, a punishment not merited or deserved by my feelings towards thee, for never did I mean to, nor could I, wrong thee in thought or deed.”

“It is not true, then,” said Claudia, “that thou wert going this morning to marry Leonora the daughter of the rich Balvastro?”

“Assuredly not,” replied Don Vicente; “my cruel fortune must have carried those tidings to thee to drive thee in thy jealousy to take my life; and to assure thyself of this, press my hands and take me for thy husband if thou wilt; I have no better satisfaction to offer thee for the wrong thou fanciest thou hast received from me.”

Claudia wrung his hands, and her own heart was so wrung that she lay fainting on the bleeding breast of Don Vicente, whom a death spasm seized the same instant. Roque was in perplexity and knew not what to do; the servants ran to fetch water to sprinkle their faces, and brought some and bathed them with it. Claudia recovered from her fainting fit, but not so Don Vicente from the paroxysm that had overtaken him, for his life had come to an end. On perceiving this, Claudia, when she had convinced herself that her beloved husband was no more, rent the air with her sighs and made the heavens ring with her lamentations; she tore her hair and scattered it to the winds, she beat her face with her hands and showed all the signs of grief and sorrow that could be conceived to come from an afflicted heart. “Cruel, reckless woman!” she cried, “how easily wert thou moved to carry out a thought so wicked! O furious force of jealousy, to what desperate lengths dost thou lead those that give thee lodging in their bosoms! O husband, whose unhappy fate in being mine hath borne thee from the marriage bed to the grave!”

So vehement and so piteous were the lamentations of Claudia that they drew tears from Roque’s eyes, unused as they were to shed them on any occasion. The servants wept, Claudia swooned away again and again, and the whole place seemed a field of sorrow and an abode of misfortune. In the end Roque Guinart directed Don Vicente’s servants to carry his body to his father’s village, which was close by, for burial. Claudia told him she meant to go to a monastery of which an aunt of hers was abbess, where she intended to pass her life with a better and everlasting spouse. He applauded her pious resolution, and offered to accompany her whithersoever she wished, and to protect her father against the kinsmen of Don Vicente and all the world, should they seek to injure him. Claudia would not on any account allow him to accompany her; and thanking him for his offers as well as she could, took leave of him in tears. The servants of Don Vicente carried away his body, and Roque returned to his comrades, and so ended the love of Claudia Jeronima; but what wonder, when it was the insuperable and cruel might of jealousy that wove the web of her sad story?

Roque Guinart found his squires at the place to which he had ordered them, and Don Quixote on Rocinante in the midst of them delivering a harangue to them in which he urged them to give up a mode of life so full of peril, as well to the soul as to the body; but as most of them were Gascons, rough lawless fellows, his speech did not make much impression on them. Roque on coming up asked Sancho if his men had returned and restored to him the treasures and jewels they had stripped off Dapple. Sancho said they had, but that three kerchiefs that were worth three cities were missing.

“What are you talking about, man?” said one of the bystanders; “I have got them, and they are not worth three reals.”

“That is true,” said Don Quixote; “but my squire values them at the rate he says, as having been given me by the person who gave them.”

Roque Guinart ordered them to be restored at once; and making his men fall in in line he directed all the clothing, jewellery, and money that they had taken since the last distribution to be produced; and making a hasty valuation, and reducing what could not be divided into money, he made shares for the whole band so equitably and carefully, that in no case did he exceed or fall short of strict distributive justice.

When this had been done, and all left satisfied, Roque observed to Don Quixote, “If this scrupulous exactness were not observed with these fellows there would be no living with them.”

Upon this Sancho remarked, “From what I have seen here, justice is such a good thing that there is no doing without it, even among the thieves themselves.”

One of the squires heard this, and raising the butt-end of his harquebuss would no doubt have broken Sancho’s head with it had not Roque Guinart called out to him to hold his hand. Sancho was frightened out of his wits, and vowed not to open his lips so long as he was in the company of these people.

At this instant one or two of those squires who were posted as sentinels on the roads, to watch who came along them and report what passed to their chief, came up and said, “Señor, there is a great troop of people not far off coming along the road to Barcelona.”

To which Roque replied, “Hast thou made out whether they are of the sort that are after us, or of the sort we are after?”

“The sort we are after,” said the squire.

“Well then, away with you all,” said Roque, “and bring them here to me at once without letting one of them escape.”

They obeyed, and Don Quixote, Sancho, and Roque, left by themselves, waited to see what the squires brought, and while they were waiting Roque said to Don Quixote, “It must seem a strange sort of life to Señor Don Quixote, this of ours, strange adventures, strange incidents, and all full of danger; and I do not wonder that it should seem so, for in truth I must own there is no mode of life more restless or anxious than ours. What led me into it was a certain thirst for vengeance, which is strong enough to disturb the quietest hearts. I am by nature tender-hearted and kindly, but, as I said, the desire to revenge myself for a wrong that was done me so overturns all my better impulses that I keep on in this way of life in spite of what conscience tells me; and as one depth calls to another, and one sin to another sin, revenges have linked themselves together, and I have taken upon myself not only my own but those of others: it pleases God, however, that, though I see myself in this maze of entanglements, I do not lose all hope of escaping from it and reaching a safe port.”

Don Quixote was amazed to hear Roque utter such excellent and just sentiments, for he did not think that among those who followed such trades as robbing, murdering, and waylaying, there could be anyone capable of a virtuous thought, and he said in reply, “Señor Roque, the beginning of health lies in knowing the disease and in the sick man’s willingness to take the medicines which the physician prescribes; you are sick, you know what ails you, and heaven, or more properly speaking God, who is our physician, will administer medicines that will cure you, and cure gradually, and not of a sudden or by a miracle; besides, sinners of discernment are nearer amendment than those who are fools; and as your worship has shown good sense in your remarks, all you have to do is to keep up a good heart and trust that the weakness of your conscience will be strengthened. And if you have any desire to shorten the journey and put yourself easily in the way of salvation, come with me, and I will show you how to become a knight-errant, a calling wherein so many hardships and mishaps are encountered that if they be taken as penances they will lodge you in heaven in a trice.”

Roque laughed at Don Quixote’s exhortation, and changing the conversation he related the tragic affair of Claudia Jeronima, at which Sancho was extremely grieved; for he had not found the young woman’s beauty, boldness, and spirit at all amiss.

And now the squires despatched to make the prize came up, bringing with them two gentlemen on horseback, two pilgrims on foot, and a coach full of women with some six servants on foot and on horseback in attendance on them, and a couple of muleteers whom the gentlemen had with them. The squires made a ring round them, both victors and vanquished maintaining profound silence, waiting for the great Roque Guinart to speak. He asked the gentlemen who they were, whither they were going, and what money they carried with them; “Señor,” replied one of them, “we are two captains of Spanish infantry; our companies are at Naples, and we are on our way to embark in four galleys which they say are at Barcelona under orders for Sicily; and we have about two or three hundred crowns, with which we are, according to our notions, rich and contented, for a soldier’s poverty does not allow a more extensive hoard.”

Roque asked the pilgrims the same questions he had put to the captains, and was answered that they were going to take ship for Rome, and that between them they might have about sixty reals. He asked also who was in the coach, whither they were bound and what money they had, and one of the men on horseback replied, “The persons in the coach are my lady Doña Guiomar de Quiñones, wife of the regent of the Vicaria at Naples, her little daughter, a handmaid and a duenna; we six servants are in attendance upon her, and the money amounts to six hundred crowns.”

“So then,” said Roque Guinart, “we have got here nine hundred crowns and sixty reals; my soldiers must number some sixty; see how much there falls to each, for I am a bad arithmetician.” As soon as the robbers heard this they raised a shout of “Long life to Roque Guinart, in spite of the lladres that seek his ruin!”

The captains showed plainly the concern they felt, the regent’s lady was downcast, and the pilgrims did not at all enjoy seeing their property confiscated. Roque kept them in suspense in this way for a while; but he had no desire to prolong their distress, which might be seen a bowshot off, and turning to the captains he said, “Sirs, will your worships be pleased of your courtesy to lend me sixty crowns, and her ladyship the regent’s wife eighty, to satisfy this band that follows me, for ‘it is by his singing the abbot gets his dinner;’ and then you may at once proceed on your journey, free and unhindered, with a safe-conduct which I shall give you, so that if you come across any other bands of mine that I have scattered in these parts, they may do you no harm; for I have no intention of doing injury to soldiers, or to any woman, especially one of quality.”

Profuse and hearty were the expressions of gratitude with which the captains thanked Roque for his courtesy and generosity; for such they regarded his leaving them their own money. Señora Doña Guiomar de Quiñones wanted to throw herself out of the coach to kiss the feet and hands of the great Roque, but he would not suffer it on any account; so far from that, he begged her pardon for the wrong he had done her under pressure of the inexorable necessities of his unfortunate calling. The regent’s lady ordered one of her servants to give the eighty crowns that had been assessed as her share at once, for the captains had already paid down their sixty. The pilgrims were about to give up the whole of their little hoard, but Roque bade them keep quiet, and turning to his men he said, “Of these crowns two fall to each man and twenty remain over; let ten be given to these pilgrims, and the other ten to this worthy squire that he may be able to speak favourably of this adventure;” and then having writing materials, with which he always went provided, brought to him, he gave them in writing a safe-conduct to the leaders of his bands; and bidding them farewell let them go free and filled with admiration at his magnanimity, his generous disposition, and his unusual conduct, and inclined to regard him as an Alexander the Great rather than a notorious robber.

One of the squires observed in his mixture of Gascon and Catalan, “This captain of ours would make a better friar than highwayman; if he wants to be so generous another time, let it be with his own property and not ours.”

The unlucky wight did not speak so low but that Roque overheard him, and drawing his sword almost split his head in two, saying, “That is the way I punish impudent saucy fellows.” They were all taken aback, and not one of them dared to utter a word, such deference did they pay him. Roque then withdrew to one side and wrote a letter to a friend of his at Barcelona, telling him that the famous Don Quixote of La Mancha, the knight-errant of whom there was so much talk, was with him, and was, he assured him, the drollest and wisest man in the world; and that in four days from that date, that is to say, on Saint John the Baptist’s Day, he was going to deposit him in full armour mounted on his horse Rocinante, together with his squire Sancho on an ass, in the middle of the strand of the city; and bidding him give notice of this to his friends the Niarros, that they might divert themselves with him. He wished, he said, his enemies the Cadells could be deprived of this pleasure; but that was impossible, because the crazes and shrewd sayings of Don Quixote and the humours of his squire Sancho Panza could not help giving general pleasure to all the world. He despatched the letter by one of his squires, who, exchanging the costume of a highwayman for that of a peasant, made his way into Barcelona and gave it to the person to whom it was directed.