Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha online

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peers, the Peters, the Cids, and all those knights commonly termed adventurers :
and if that be doubted, it will be said too ^t the valiant Portuguese, John de
Merlo, was no knight-errant ; he who went to Burgundy, and in &e city of Bas
fought the famous lord of Ghami, monseigneur Pierre; and afterwards, in the city
of Basil, monseigneur Enrique of Eemestan : coming off conqueror in both engage-
ments. They will deny also the challenges and feats performed in Burgundy by
the valiant Spaniards, Pedro Barba and Gutierre Quizada (from whom I am
linealhr descended), who vanquished the sons of the count San Pdo. Let tiiem

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deny, likewise, that Don Fernando de Ghievara travelled into Germany in quest
of adventures, where he fought with messire George, a knight of the Duke
of Austria's court Let them say that the jousts of Suero de Quinones of the
Pass were all mockery; and the enterprises of monseigneur Louis de Falces

against Don Gonzalo de Guzman, a Castilian knight, with many other exploits
performed by Christian knights of these and other kingdoms : — all so authentic
and true, that I say again whoever denies them must be wholly destitute of
sense and reason."

The canon was astonished at Don Quixote's medley of truth and fiction, as
well as at the extent of his knowledge on affairs of chivalry : and he replied,
*' I cannot deny, signer Don Quixote, but that there is some truth in what you
say, especially with regard to the loiights-errant of Spain ; I grant, also, thai
there were the twelve peers of France : but I can never believe that they per-
formed all the deeds ascribed to them by archbishop Turpin. The truth is
they were knights chosen by the kings of France, and call^ peers from being
all equal in quality and prowess — at least it was intended that they should be
so; and in this respect they were similar to the religious order of Saint Jago or
Calatrava, all the professors of which it is presumed are noble, valiant, and
virtaouB; and were called knights of St. John, or of Alcantara, just as those of

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the ancient order were termed knights of the twelve peers. That fJiere wfts »
Cid no one will deny, and likewise a Bernardo del Carpio : bnt that they
performed all the exploits ascribed to them I believe there is great reason to
donbt. As to Peter of Provence's peg, and its standing near Babieca's saddle in
the king's armoury, I confess my sin in being so ignorant or short-sighted that,
though I have seen the saddle, I never could discover the peg — ^laj^ as it is
according to your description.*' " Yet, unquestionably, there it is," replied Don
Quixote ; " and they say, moreover, that it is kept in a leathern case, to prevent
rust." "It may be so," answered the canon; "but by the holy orders I have
received, I do not remember to have seen it. Yet, even granting it, I am not
therefore bound to believe all the stories of so many Amadises, and the whole
tribe of knights-errant; and it is extraordinary that a gentleman possessed of
your understanding and talents should give credit to such extravagance and

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A8TLT fine ! — ^a good jest, truly/' said Don

•Quixote, "that books printed with the

' licence of kings and the approbation of

the examiners, read with general pleasure,

and applauded by great and small, poor

XV ^v and rich, learned and ignorant, nobles and

v^ plebeians — ^in short, by people of every

x^ \ state and condition, should be all lies, and

r ^ at the same time appear so much like

v;^ > truth ! For do they not tell us the parent-

:? age, the country, the kindred, the age,

-5 with a particidar detail of every action of

" this or that knight ? Gk)od sir, be silent,

\ and utter not such blasphemies; and believe

^,. me serious when I advise you to think on

^' this subject more like a man of sense:

only peruse these memoirs, and they will
abundantly repay your trouble. What more delightful than to have, as it were,
before our eyes a vast lake of boiling pitch, with a prodigious number of serpents,
snakes, crocodiles, and divers other lands of fierce and dreadful creatures, float-
ing in it ; and from the midst of the lake to hear a most dreadful voice saying,
' knight, whosoever thou art, now surveying this tremendous lake, if thou
wouldst possess the treasure that lies concealed beneath these sable waters, show
the valour of thy undaunted breast, and plunge thyself headlong into the midst of
the black and burning liquid ; if not, thou wilt be unworthy to see the mighty
wonders enclosed therein, and contained in the seven castles of the seven
enchanted nymphs who dwell beneath this horrid blackness.' And scarcely has
the knight heitd these terrific words when, without farther consideration or
reflection upon the danger to which he exposes himself, and even without putting
off his cumbrous armour, he commends himself to God and his mistress, and
plunges headlong into the boiling pool ; when unexpectedly he finds himself in
the midst of flowery fields, with which those of Elysium can bear no compa-
rison, where the sky seems far more clear and the sun shines with greater
brightness. Beyond it appears a forest of beautiful and shady trees, whose ver-
dure regales the sight, whilst the ears are entertained with the sweet and artless
notes of an infinite number of little birds of various hues, hopping among the
intricate branches. Here he discovers a little brook, whose clear waters,
resembling liquid crystal, run murmuring over the fine sands and snowy
pebbles, which rival sifted gold and purest pearl. There he sees an artificial
fountain of variegated jasper and polished marble. Here he beholds another of
rustic composition, in which the minute shells of the muscle, with the white and
yellow wreathed houses of the snail, arranged in orderly confusion, interspersed
with pieces of glittering crystal and pellucid emeralds, compose a work of such
variety that art, imitating nature, seems here to suipass her. Then suddenly he
descries a strong castle or stately palace, the walls of which are massy gold, the

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battlements composed of diamonds, and the gates of hyacinths; in short iht
structure is so admirable that, though the materials whereof it is framed are no
less than diamonds, carbuncles, tubies, pearls, gold, and emeralds, jet the work-
manship is still more precious. And after this, can anything be more charming
than to behold, sallying forth at the castle-gate, a goodly troop of damsels, in
such rich and gorgeous attire that were I to attempt the minute description that
is given in history, the task would be endless ; and then she who appears to be
the principal takes by the hand the daring knight who threw himself into the burn-
ing lake, and silently leads him into the rich palace or castle ; and stripping him
as naked as when he first came into the world, bathes him in temperate water,
and then anoints him with odoriferous essences, and puts on him a shirt of tlie

finest lawn, all sweet-scented and perfumed. Then comes another damsel, and
liirows over his shoulders a mantle worth a city, at least. He is afterwards led
into another hall, where he is struck with wonder and admiration at the sight of
tabes spread in beautiful order. Then to see him wash his hands in water dis-
tilled from amber and sweet-scented flowers ! To see him seated in a chair of
ivory ! To behold the damsels waiting upon him, all preserving a marvellous
silence ! Then to see such variety of delicious viands, so savourily dressed that
the appetite is at a loss where to direct the hand ! To hear soft music while he
is eating, without knowing whence the sounds proceed ! And when the repast is
finished, and the tables removed, the knight reclines on his seat, and perbaps is
picking his teeth, when suddenly the door of the saloon opens, and lo ! a damsel
enters more beautiful than any of the former, who, seating herself by the knight's
side, begins to give him an account of that castle, and to inform hun how ^e is
enchanted in it, with sundry other matters which amaze the knight and all those
who read his history. I will enlarge on this no farther; for you must be con-
vinced, frx)m what I have said, that every part of every history of a knight-
errant must yield wonder and delight. Study well these books, signer; for, believe
me, you will find that they will exhilirate and improve your mind. Of myself I
can say that since I have been a knight-errant I am become valiant, polite, liberal

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well-bred, generons, conrteoTui, dariog, affable, patient, a sufferer of toils, impri-
Bomnents, and enchantment; and although so lately enclosed within a cage; like a
maniac, yet do I hope, through the valour of my arm, and the favour of heaven,
to see myself in a i^ort time king of some kingdom, when I may display
the gratitude and liberality enclosed ^ _ ^

in tibis breast of mine; for upon
my fidth, sir, the poor man is
unable to exercise the virtue of ,
liberality; and the gratitude which
consists only in inclination is a
dead thing, even as fedth without
works is dead. I shall, therefore,
rejoice when fortune presents me
with an opportunity of exalting
myself, that I may liiow my heart
in conferring benefits on my Mends,
especially on poor Sancho Fanza
here, my squire, who is one of the
best men in the world ; and I would
fain bestow on him an earldom, as
I have long since promised; al-
though I am somewhat in doubt of
his ability in the government of
his estate.**

Sancho overhearing his master's
last words, said, "Take you the
tronble, signer Don Quixote, to
procure me that same earldom,
which your worship has so often
promised, and 1 have been so long
waiting for, and you shall see that

I shall not want ability to govern it But even if I should, there are people,
I have heard say, who (arm &ese lordships ; and, paying the owners so mudi a

year, take upon themselves the government of the whole, while his lordship loUs
at his ease, enjoying his estate, without conoeming himself any &rther about it.

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Just 80 will I do, and give mysdf no more trouble than needs must, but enjoy
myself like any duke, and let the world rub." '* This, brother Sancho," said the
canon, *' may be done, as £ar as regards the management of your reyenne ; but
the administration of justice must be attended to by the lord himself; and re-
quires capacity, judgment, and, above all, an upright intention, without which
nothing prospers : for heaven assists the good intent of the simple, and disap-
points the evil designs of the cunning." ** I do not understand these philosophies,"
answered Sancho; "all that I know is, that I wish I may as siirely have the earl-
dom as I should know how to govern it; for I have as large a soul as anotiier,
and as large a body as the best of them ; and I should be as much king of my own
dominion as any other king : and, being so, I would do what I pleased ; and,
doing what I pleased, I should have my will ; and, having my will, I should be
contented ; and, being content, there is no more to be desired ; and when there is
no more to desire, there is an end of it, and let the estate come ; so Qod be with
ye, and let us see it, as one blind man said to another." " These are no bad phi-
losophies, as you say, Sancho," quoth the canon : " nevertheless, there is a great
deal more to be said upon the subject of earldoms." ''That may be," obs^^ed
Bon Quixote ; " but I am guided by the numerous examples offered on this sub-
jcct by knights of my own profession; who, in compensation for the loyal and
("ignal services they had received from their squires, conferred upon them extra-
ordinary favours, making them absolute lords of cities and islands : indeed, there
was one whose services were so great that he had the presumption to accept of a
kingdom. But why should I say more, when before me is the bright example of
the great Amadis de Gaul, who made his squire knight of the Firm Island?
Surely I may, therefore, without scruple of conscience, make an earl of Sancho
Panza, who is one of the best squires that ever served knight-errant." "With all
this methodical raving the canon was no less amused than astonished.

The servants who went to the inn for the simipter-mule had now returned; and,
having spread a carpet over the green grass, the party seated themselves under


the shade of some trees, and there enjoyed their repast, while tne cattle luxu-
riated on the fresh pasture. As they were thus employed, they suddenly heard
a noise and the sound of a little bell from a thicket near them ; at the same
instant a beautifal she-goat, speckled with black, white and grey, ran out of the
thicket, followed by a goatherd, calling to her aloud, in the usual language, to

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stop and come back to the fold. The fdgitive animal, trembling and af&ighted,
ran to the company, claiming, as it were, their protection ; but the goatherd pur-
sued her, and seizing her by the horns, addressed her as a rational creature, ''Ah
wanton, spotted thing! how hast thou strayed of late! What wolves have
frightened thee, child ? Wilt thou tell me, pretty one, what this means ? But
what else can it mean, but that thou art a female, and therefore canst not be quiet!
A plague on thy humours, and aU theirs whom thou resemblest ! Turn back, my
love, turn back; for though not content, at least thou wilt be more safe in thine
own fold, and among thy companions; for if thou, who shouldst protect and
guide them, go astray, what must become of them?"

The party were very much amused by the goatherd*8 remonstrances, and
the canon said, " I entreat you, brother, not to be in such haste to force back this
goat to her fold; for, since she is a female, she will follow her natural
inclination in spite of all your opposition. Come, do not be angry, but eat and
drink with us, and let the wayward creature rest herself." At the same time he
offered him the hinder quarter of a cold rabbit on the point of a fork. The
goatherd thanked him, and accepted his offer, and being tiien in a better temper,
he said, ''Do not think me a fool, gentlemen, for talking so seriously to
this animal: for, in truth, my words were not without a meaning; and
though I am a rustic, I know the difference between conversing with men
and beasts." "I doubt it not," said the priest; "indeed, it is well known that
the mountains breed learned men, and the huts of shepherds contain philosophers."
." At least, sir," replied the goatherd, " they contain men who have some knowledge
gained from experience ; and if I shall not be intruding, I will tell a circumstance
which confirms it."

" Since this affair," said Don Quixote, "bears somewhat the semblance of an
adventure, for my own part, ^ ^ -^ . «

friend, I shall listen to you most ' '

willingly : I can answer also for
these gentlemen, who are persons ^ *
of sense, and wiU relish the "-
curious, tiie entertaining, and the ^

marvellous which, I doubt not, ^ ,

your story contains: I entreat t

you, friend, to begin it immedi- '

ately." "I shall take myself
away to the side of yonder brook,"
said Sancho, "with this pasly,
of which I mean to lay in enough ^>,"
to last three days at least : for I ^ ^
have heard my master, Don -^/
Quixote, say that the squire of a '
Imight-errant should eat when '"J
he can, and as long as he can, '^-
because he may lose his way for '
six days together in a wood ; and
then, if a man has not his belly
well lined or his wallet well
provided, there he may stay till
he is turned into a mummy."

"Thou art in the right, Sancho," .. - . ^ — ^,, ^^.^

said Don Quixote; "go where ^-^^''y — -"'''„"^-~_

thou wilt, and eat what thou '^' -^^^y^ -^— -c^-<r- ". -.^"

canst; my appetite is already satisfied, and my miud oiiiy needs refreshment,
which the tale of this good man will doubtless afford." The goath^ being

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now requested by the others of the company to begin his tale, he patted his goat,
which he still held by the homs, saying, "lie thee down by me, speckled fool;
for we shall have time enough to return to our fold." The goat seemed to
understand him ; for as soon as her master was seated, she laid herself quietly
down by him, and, looking up into his face, seemed to listen to his story, which
he began as follows : —




^HBKB leagues from this valley there is a town which, though small, is one
I of the richest in these parts ; and among its inhabitants was a farmer of such an
excellent character that, though riches generally gain esteem, he was more re-
spected for his good qualities than for his w^th; and his happiness was completed
in possessing a daughter of extraordinary beauty, discretion, and virtue. When a
child, she was lovely, but at the age of sixteen dhe was perfectly beautiftil, and her
fSame extended over all the neighbouring villages — ^villages, do I say? — ^it spread it-
self to the remotest cities, even into the palaces of kings ! People came frc»n every
part to see her, as some relic or wonder-working image. Her father guarded her
and she guarded herself : for no padlocks, bolts, or bars, secure a maiden so well
as her own reserve. The wealth of the father, and the beauty of the daughter,
induced many to seek her hand, insomuch that he whose right it was to dispose
of so precious a jewel, was peiplexed, and knew not whom to select among her
importunate suitors. I was one of the number, and had indulged fond hopes of
success, being known to her father, bom in the same village, untainted in blood,
in the flower of my age, rich, and of no mean understanding. Another of our
village, of equal pretensions with myself, solicited her also; and her father being
equaUy satifl&ed with both of us, was perplexed which to prefer, and therefore
detennined to leave the choice to Leandra herself — for so the maiden is called :
an example worthy the imitation of all parents. I do not say they should g;ive
them their choice of what is improper; but they should propose to them whai: is

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good, and hsve them to aeleot thence according to their taste. I know not which
of us Leandra preferred ; this only I know, that her father put us hoth off by
pleading the tender age of his da-jghter, and with such general expressions a^
neither bound himself nor disobliged ua. My rival's name is Anselmo, mine

Eugeido; for you ought to know the names of the persons concerned in this
tragedy, the catastrophe of which, thou^ still suspended, wiU sorely be disastrous.
'' About that time there came to our Tillage one Vincent de la Bosa, son of a
poor farmer in the same place. This Vincent had returned from Italy and other
countries, where he had served in the wars, haying been carried away from our
town at twelve years of age^ by a captain who happened to march that way
with his company; and now, at tiie end of twelve years more, he came book in a
soldier's garb, bedizened wiUi a variety of colours, and covered with a thousand
trinkets and Ottering chains. To-day he put on one piece of finery, to-morrow
another 2 but all slight and counterfeit, of little or no value. The coxmtry-folks
(who are naturally envious, and if they chance to have leisure, are malice itself)
observed and reckoned up all his trappings and gew-gaws, and found that


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^8 u>Tjanvjat9 or poir quixoTs.

he had three smta of apparel, of different colours, with hose and garten to
them ; but those he disguised in so many different ways, and with bo much con-
trivance, that had they not been counted one would have sworn that he had
above ten suits, and twenty plumes of feathers. Do not look upon this descrip-
tion of his dress as impertinent or superfluous, for it is an important part of the

story. He used to seat himself on a stone bench, under a great poplar tree
in our market-place, and there he would hold us all gaping and listening to the
history of his exploits. There was no country on i^e whole globe that he
had not seen, nor battle in which he had not been engaged. He had slain more
Moors than are in Morocco and Tunis, and fought more single combats, according
to his own account, than Gante, Luna, Diego Garcia de Paredes, and a thousand
others, from which he always came off victorious, and without losing a drop of
blood; at the same time he would show us marks of woimds which, &ough they
were not to be discerned, he assured us were so many musket-shots received
in different actions. With the utmost arrogance he wotdd thee and thou hi?
equals and acquaintance, and boast that his arm was his fatlier, his deeds his
pedigree, and that under the title of soldier he owed the king himself nothing.
In addition to this boasting, he pretended to be somewhat of a musician, and
scratched a little upon the guitar, which some people admired. But his accom-
plishments did not end here ; for he was likewise something of a poet, and would
compose a ballad, a league and a half in length, en every trifling incident that
happened in the village.

** Now this soldier whom I have described, this Vincent de la Bosa, this hero,
this gallant, this musician, this poet, was often seen and admired by Leandra,
from a window of her house, which faced the market-place. She was struck
with the tinsel of his gaudy apparel ; his ballads enchanted her ; for he gave at
least twenty copies about, of all he composed. The exploits he related of him-

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BeU xeached her ears— in short, as the devil would have it, she fell downiight in
love with him, before he had entertained the presumption of courting her.
In short, as in afEaira of love none are so easily accompli^ed as those which are
fiiYOured by the inclination of tiie lady, Leandra and Vincent soon came to a
mutual understanding, and before any of her numerous suitors had the least sus-
picion of her design, she had already acoomphshed it, and left the house of her
affectionate father (she had no mother), and quitted the town with the soldier,
who came off in this enterprise more triumphantly than in any of those of which
he had so arrogantly boasted. This event excited general astonishment. Anselmo
and I were utterly confounded, her father grieved, her kindred ashamed, justice
alarmed, and the troopers of the holy brotherhood in fiill activity. They beset
the highways, and searched the woods, leaving no place unexplored; and at
the end of three days they found the poor giddy Leandra in the cave of a moun-
tain, stripped of all her clothes, and the money and jeweb which she had carried

away from home. They brought her back to her disconsolate father; and being
questioned, she freely confessed that Vincent de la Bosa had deceived her, and
upon promise of marriage had persuaded her to leave her father's house, telling
her he would carry her to Kaples, the richest and most delicious city in the
whole world. The imprudent and credulous girl said, that having believed him,
she had robbed her father, and given the whole to him on the nig^t of her elope-
ment: and that he had carried her among the mountains, and left her shut up in
that cave, after plundering her of everything but her honour. It was no easy
matter to persuaide us of the young man's forbearance, but she aflirmed it so
positively that her father was much comforted with the idea that she had not
sustained an irreparable loss.

" The same day that Leandra returned, she disappeared from our eyes, as her
feither placed her in the monastery of a neighbouring town, in hopes that time
might efface the blemish which her reputation had suffered. Her tender years
were some excuse for her fault, especially with those who were indifferent as to
whether she was good or bad, but those who know how much sense and under-
standing she possesses could only ascribe her f&vli to levity, and the fbibica

Online LibraryMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraAdventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha → online text (page 41 of 89)