Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha online

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company in the inn gratis." The inn-keeper rejoiced at hearing this, and pointed
out a convenient place for setting up the show — which was done in an instant
Don Quixote was not entirely satisfied with the ape's divinations, thinking it
very im]«robable that such a creature should, of itself, know anything either of
future or past : therefore, whilst master Peter was preparing his show, he drew
Sancho aside to a comer of the stable, where, in a low voice^ he said to him, " I


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have been considering, Sancho, the strange power of this ape, and am couTinoed
that master Peter, his owner, must have made a tacit or express pact with,
the devil.*' "Nay," quoth Sancho, "if the pack be- express from the devil,
it must needs be a very sooty pack : but what advantage would it be to this
same master Peter to have such a pack ?*' " Thou dost not comprehend me,
Sancho," said Don Quixote : ''I only mean that &e must certainly have made
some agreement with the devil to infuse this power into the ape, whereby he gains
much worldly wealth, and, in return for the favour, he. gives up his soul, which
is the chief aim of that great enemy of mankind. What induces me to tliis
belief is finding that the ape answers only questions relative to things past
or present, which is eicactly what is known by the devil, who knows nothing of
the future except by conjecture, wherein he must be often mistaken ; for it is
the prerogative of God alone truly to comprehend all things ; to Him nothing is
past or future, everything is present. This being the fact, it is plain the ape is
inspired by the devil : and I marvel much he has not been questioned by our
holy inquisition, and examined by torture till he acknowledges the authority
under which he acts. It is certain that this ape is no astrologer : neither he nor
his master know how to raise one of those figures called judical, although now
so much in fashion that there is scarcely a maid-servant, page, or labouring
mechanic, who does not pretend to raise a figure, and draw conclusions from the
stars as if it were no more than a trick at cards ; thus degrading, by ignorance
and imposture, a science no less wonderful than true. I know a lady who asked
one of these pretenders whether her little lap-dog would breed, and, if so, what
would be the number and colour of its oflfspring. To which master astrologer,
after raising his figure, answered that the bitch would certainly have three
whelps, one green, one carnation, and the other mottled. It happened that the
bitch died some two days after, of a fluifeit ; yet was master figure-raiser still
accounted, Hke the rest of his brethren, an infallible astrologer."

"But for all that," quoth Sancho, "I should Hke your worship to desire
master Peter to ask his ape whether all that was true which you told about
the cave of Montesinos ; because, for my own part, begging your worship*s par-
don, I take it to be all fibs and nonsense, or at least only a dream." ''Thou
may St think what thou wilt," answered Don Quixote : " however, I will do as
thou advisest, although I feel some scruples on the subject."

Here they were interrupted by master Peter, who came to inform Don
Quixote that the show was ready, and to request he would come to see it,
assuring him that he would find it worthy of his attention. The knight told
him that he had a question to put to the ape first, as he desired to be in-
formed by it whether the things which happened to him in the cave of
Montesiilbs were realities, or only sleeping fancies ; though he had a suspicion
himself that they were a mixture of both. Master Peter immediately brought
his ape, and placing him before Don Quixote and Sancho, said, " Look you,
master ape, this worthy knight would know whether certain things which befel
him in the cave of Montesinos were real or visionary." Then making the^usl
signal, the ape leaped upon his left shoulder, and, after seeming to whisper in
his ear, master Peter said, " The ape tells me that some of the things your wor-
ship saw, or which befel you in the said cave are not true, and some probable;
which is all he now knows concerning this matter — for his virtue has just left
him ; but, if your worship desires to hear more, on Priday next, when his
faculty will return, he will answer to your heart's content. "There now,"
quoth Sancho, " did I not say you would never make me believe all you told us
about that same cave ? — ^no, nor half of it" " That will hereafter appear," an-
swered Don Quixote; "for time brings all things to light, though hidden
within the bowels of the earth ; and now we will drop the subject for tiie
present^ and see the puppet-play, for I am of opinion there must be some

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novelty in it." " Some !" exclaimed master Peter : " sixty thousand novelties
shall you see in this play of mine ! I assure you, signor Don Quixote, it is one
of the rarest sights that the world affords this day ; Openhu eredite et non verbis ;
so let us to work, for it
grows late, and we have
a great deal to do, to say,
and to show."

Don Quixote and Sancho
complied with his request,
and repaired to the place
where the show was set |
out, filled in every part ji'
with small wax candles, ij
so that it made a gay
and hrilliant appearance.
Master Peter, who was to
manage the figures, placed
himself behind the show, .
and in the front of the
scene stood his boy, whose

office it was to relate the story and expound the mystery of the piece ; holding
a wand in his hand to point to the several figures as they entered.

All the people of the inn being fixed, some standing opposite to the show,
and Don Quixote, Sancho, the page, and the scholar seated in the best places,
the young interpreter began to say what will be heard or seen by those who may
choose to read or listen to what is recorded in the following chapter.



';; , ./^ TBiAire and Trojans were all

, ; j !;jiM(^,i, i^' il i 1 1 , ; ' • i ; I • Silent :* — ^that is, all the speo-

• jij j|i|li''e' U^l''' ' ' ' ' ( ^*^^y ^^"^ o{ the show hung upon

' 1 1 1 " ' .-^ ' I I the lipsf of the expounder of

its wonders, when fi-om behind
the scene their ears were sa-
luted with the sound of drums
and trumpets, and discharges
of artillery. These fiourishes
being over, the boy raised his
voice and said, "Gentlemen,
we here present you with a
f true story, taken out of the
^^ French chronicles and Spanish
;. ballads, which are in every-
body's mouth, and sung by the
' boys about the streets. It tells
you how Don Gayferos delivers
his spouse Melisendra, who was imprisoned by the Moors, in the city of Sansuenna,

• " Conticuere omncs." Virg. JEn, 1. 2. — J.

*• ** Narrantis conjux, pendet i»\) on*, viri " Orid, Epist i t. 30. — J. '

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now called Saragossa ; and there you may see how Don Qayferoe is playing ai
tables, according to the ballad, —

* Oayferos now at tables plays,
Forgetful of his lady dear.'

That personage whom yon see with a crown on his head and a sceptre in fail

hands is the emperof
Charlemagne, the fairMe-
lisendra's reputed father,
who, vexed at the idle-
ness and negligence of
his son-in-law, oomea
forth to chide him : and
pray mark with w^hat
passion and vehemenoe
he rates him— one would
think he had a miad
to give him half-a-doaen
raps over the pate with
his sceptre ; indeed then
^ are some authors who say
he actually gave them,
^ and sound ones too, and,
after having laid it on
roundly about the injury
his honour sustained in
not delivering his spouse,
it is reported that he made

use of these very words — ' I have said enough — ^look to it.' Pray observe, gen-
tlemen, how the emperor turns

his back, and leaves Don Oayferos

in a fret

"See him now in a rage,

tossing the table-board one

way, and pieces another! Now

calling hastily for his armour,

and now asking Don Orlando, his

cousin, to lend him his sword

Durindana, which Don Orlando

refuses, though he offers to bear

him company in his perilous un-
dertaking ; but the furious knight

will not accept of his help, saying

that he is able alone to deliver

his spouse, though she were thrust

down to the centre of the earth.

Hereupon ho goes out to arm

himself, in order to set forward

immediately. Now, gentlemen,

turn your eyes towards that

tower which appears yonder, 5

which you are to suppose to be ^

one of the Moorish towers of '

Baragossa, now caUed the Alja-

feria ; and that lady in a Moorish

habit, who appears in the balcony ia che peerless Meliaendra, who^ from

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jkjrrvsTUBSB of doh amzaiE. 501

that window, baa cast man^ a wistful look towards the road that leads to

France, and soothed her captirity by thinking of the city of Paris and her dear

husband. Now behold a

strange incident, the like

perhaps you never beard of

before. Do you not see that

Moor stealing along softly, and

how, step by step, wi^ his

finger on his mouth, he comes

bebind Melisendra ? Hear what

a smack he gives on her sweet

lips, and see how she spits and

wipes her mouth with her

white smock-sleeves, and how

she frets, and tears her beau-
teous hair from pure vexation !

— as if that was to blame for

the indignity. Observe, also,

the grave Moor who stands in ^

that open gallery — he is Mar- >

silius, king of Sansuenna, who

seeing the insolence of the

Moor, though he is a kinsman,

and a great favourite, orders

him to be seized immediately,

and two hundred stripes given

him, and to be led through

the principal streets of tbe

city, with criers before, to

proclaim his crime, followed

by the public whippers with their rods ; and see now how all this is put in
' ' execution, almost as soon as the fault

is committed; for among the Moors
there are no citations, nor indictments,
" nor delays of the law as among us."
/ "Boy, boy," said Don Quixote, "on
with your story in a straight line, and
leave your curves and transversals: I
can tell you there is often much need
of formal process and deliberate trial
to come at the truth." Master Peter
also, from behind, said, " None of your
flourishes, boy, but do what the gentle-
^ man bids you, and then you cannot be
I wrong; sing your song plainly, and
meddle not with counterpoints, for they
will only put you out" " Very well,"
quoth the boy; and proceeded, saying: —
" The figure you see there on horse-
back, muffled up in a Gascoigne cloak,
is Don Ghiyferos himself, whom his
lady (after being revenged on the im-
pertinence of the Moor) sees from the
battlements of the tower, and, taking

him for a stranger, holds that disoourao with him which is recorded in the ballad :

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If towatds Fnnoe your ooune you bend,
Let me entreat you, gentle friend,
Make diligent inquiry there
For Gayferoe, my husband dear.

The rest I omit, because length begets loathing. It is sufficient that Don
(^ayferos makes himself known to her, as you may perceive by the signs of joy
she discoyers, and especially now that you see how nimbly i^e lets herself down
from the balcony, to get on horseback behind her loving spouse. But alas, poor
Lidy ! the border of her under-petticoat has caught one of the iron rails of the
balcony, and there she hangs dangling in the air, without being able to reach
the ground. But see how heaven is merciful, and sends relief in the greatest
distress ! For now comes Don Ghiyferos, and, without caring for the richness
of her petticoat, see how he lays hold of her, and, tearing her from the hooks,
brings her at once to the ground, and then, at a spring, sets her behind him on
the crupper, astride like a man, bidding her hold very fest, and clasp her arms
about him till they cross and meet over his breast, that she may not &11; because
the lady Melisendra was not accustomed to that way of riding.

*' Now, gentlemen, observe ; hear how the horse neighs and shows how proud he

is of the burthen of his valiant master and his tsai mistress. See how they
now wheel about and, turning their backs upon the city, scamper away merrily
and joyfully to Paris. Peace be vrith ye, ye matchless pair of faithfiol lovers !
Safe and sound may you reach your desired country, without impediment, acci-
dent» or ill-luck on your journey ! May you live as long as Nestor, among

friends and relations rejoicing in your happiness, and'' *' Stay, stay, boy,"

said master Peter, ** none of your flights, I beseech you ; for affectation is the
deviL" The boy, making no reply, went on with his story. " Now, sirs," said
he, ** quickly as this was done, idle and evil eyes, that pry into everything, are
not wanting to mark the descent and mounting of the fair Melisendra, -and to
give notice to king Marsilius, who immediately ordered an alarm to be sounded ;
and now observe the hurry and tumult which follow ! See how the whole dty
shakes with the ringing of bells in the steeples of the mosques," — ** Not so,"
quoth Don Quixote, " master Peter is very much out as to the ringing of bells,
which were not used by the Moors, but kettle-drums and a kind of dulcimer, like
our waits ; and, therefore, to introduce the ringing of bells in Sansuenna is a gross
absurdity." Upon which, master Peter left off ringing, and said : ** Signer Don
Quixote, if you stand upon these trifles we shall never please you; do not be sc
seveie a critic* Have we not thousands of comedies ML ot such mistakes and

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LDvxammts of ik>n anxors 508

blunders, and jet are they not everywhere listened to, not only with applause^
but admiration ?— Go on, hoy, and let these folks talk ; for, so that my h^ are
filled, I care not if there he as many absurdities as there are motes in the sun.**
" You are in the right," quoth Don Quixote; and the boy proceeded :

" See, gentlemen, the squadrons of glittering cavalry that now rush out of the
city, in pursuit of the two catholic lovers ! How many trumpets sound, how many
dulcimers play, and how many drums and kettle-drums rattle ! Alack, I fear


the fugitives will be overtaken and brought back tied to their own horse's tail,
which would be a lamentable spectacle." Don Quixote, roused at the din, and
seeing such a number of Moots, thought it incumbent on him to succour the
flyiDg pair; and, rising up, said in a loud voice, " It shall never be said while I
live that I suffered such a wrong to be committed against so famous a knight and
so daring a lover as Don Gayferos. Hold, base-bom rabble ! — foUow Mm not,
or expect to feel the fury of my resentment ! " ' Twas no sooner said than done ;
he imsheathed his sword, and, at one spring, he planted himself close to the show,
and with the utmost fury began to rain ha^ and slashes on the Moorish puppets,
overthrowing some, and beheading others, laming this, and demolishing Uiat;
and among other mighty strokes one fell with mortal force in such a direction
that, had not master Peter dexterously slipped aside, he would have taken off his
head as clean as if it had been made of sugar paste. *' Hold, signer Don Quixote ! "
cried out the show-man, ''hold, for pit}''s sake ! — ^these are not real Moors that
you are cutting and destroying, but puppets of pasteboard ! Think of what you
are doing : sinner that I am ! you will ruin me for ever." These remonstrances
were lost upon the exasperated knight, who still laid about him, showering down
and redoubling his blows, fore-stroke and back-stroke, with such fury that in less
than the saying of two credos he demolished the whole machine, hacking to
pieces all the tackling and figures. King Manilius was in a grievous condition,
and the emperor Charlemagne's head, as well as crown, cleft in twain ! The
whole audience was in a consternation ; the ape flew to the top of the house, the
scholar and the page were panic-struck, and Bancho trembled exceedingly ; for,
as he afterwards declared when the storm was over, he had never seen lus master
in such a rage before.

After this chastisement of the Moors, and the general destruction which accom-
panied it, Don Quixote's fury began to abate, and he calmly said, ** I wish all
those were at this moment present who obstinately refuse to be convinced of the
infinite benefit that knights-errant are to the world : for, had I not been fortu-
nately at hand, what would have become of good Don Gkiyferos and the fair

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Melisendra ? No doubt these infidel dogs would hare overtaken them bj this
time, and treated them with their wonted cruelty. — Long live knight-errantiy,
ubove all things in the world !" '* In God's name let it Hve, and let me die ! '*
replied master Peter, in a dolorous tone, " for such is my wretched fate that I cun

say, with king Boderigo, ' Yesterday I was a sovereign of Spain, and to-day I
Iiave not a foot of land to call my own. * It is not hcdf an hour ago, nor scarcely
half a minute, since I was master of kiugs and emperors, my stalls full of horses,
and my trunks and sacks full of fine things ; — now, I am destitute and wretched,
poor and a beggar ; and to aggravate my grief, I have lost my ape, who, in truth,
will make me sweat for it before I catch him again ; and all this though the rash
fury of this doughty knight, who is said to protect orphans, redress wrongs, and
do other charitable deeds ; but heaven be praised ; he has failed in all these good
offices towards my wretched self. Well may he be called the knight of the
sorrowful figure, for, alas ! I am undone for ever by the sorrowful disfigurement
I see before me/'

Sancho Panza was moved to compassion by master Peter's lamentations, and
said to him,'* Come, do not weep, master Peter ; for it breaks my heart to see you
grieve und take on so. I can assure you my master Don Quixote is too catholic
and scrupulous a Christian to let any poor man come to loss by him : when he
finds out that he has done you wrong he will certainly make you amends with
interest" ''Truly,'* said master Peter, "if his worship would but make

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good pari of tlie damage be has done zne I should be satisfied, and be would
acquit his conscience : for he that takes from his neighbour, and does not make
restitution, can never be saved, that's certain." ** I allow it," said Don Quixote ;
*' but as yet I am not aware that I have any thing of yours, master Peter."
" How ! " answered Peter : " see the relics that lie on the hard and barren ground !
How were they scattered and annihilated but by the invincible force of your
powerful arm? To whom did their bodies belong but to me? How did I main*
tain myself but by them?" "Here," said Don Quixote, "is a fresh confirmation
of what I have often thought, and can now no longer doubt, that those enchanters
who persecute me are continually leading me into error by first allowing me to
see things as they rcaUy are, and then transforming them to my eyes into what-
ever shape they please. I protest to you, gentlemen, that the spectacle we have
just beheld seemed to me a real occurrence, and I doubted not the identity of
Melisendra, Don Gayferos, MarsHius, and Charlemagne ; J was therefore moved
with indignation at what I conceived to be injustice, and, in compliance with the
duty of my profession as a knight-errant, 1 wished to assist and succour the fugi-
tives ; and with this good intention I did what you have witnessed. If I have
been deceived and things have fallen out imhappily, it is not I who am to blame,
but my wicked persecutors. Nevertheless, though this error of mine proceeded
not from malice, yet I will condemn myself in costs— consider, master Peter, your
demand for the damaged figures, and I will pay it you down in current and law-
ful money of Castile." Master Peter made him a low bow, saying, **I expected no
less from the unexampled Christianity of the valorous Don Quixote de la Mancha,
tlie true protector of all needy and distressed wanderers, and let master inn-keeper
and the great Sancho be umpires and appraisers between your worship and me,
of what the demolished figures are, or might be, worth."

The inn-keeper and Sancho consented, whereupon master Peter, taking up
JMarsiHus, king of Saragossa, without a head, " You see, " said he, " how impos-
sible it is to restore this king to his former state, and therefore I think, with sub-
mission to better judgment, that you must award me for his death and destruction
four reals and a half." "Proceed," quoth Don Quixote. "Then for this gash
from top to bottom," continued master Peter, taking up the emperor Charlemagne,
"I think five reals and a quartillo would not be too much." "Nor too litUe,"
quoth Sancho. "Nor yet too much," added the inn-keeper; "but split the
difference and set him down five reals." "Give him the whole of his demand,"
quoth Don Quixote : " for a quartillo more or less is immaterial on this disastrous
occasion; but, be quick, master Peter, for supper-time approaches, and I feel
symptoms of hunger." "For this figure," quoth master Peter, " wanting a nose
and an eye, which is the fair MeUsendra, I must have and can abate nothing of
two reals and twelve maravedis." "Nay," said Don Quixote, " the devil is in it
if Melisendra, with her husband, be not by this time, at least, upon the borders
of Prance : for the horse they rode seemed to me to fly rather than gallop ; and
therefore do not pretend to sell me a cat for a coney, shewing me here Melisendra
without a nose, whereas at this very instant, the happy pair are probably solacing
themselves at their ease, far out of the reach of their enemies. God help every
one to what is their just due : proceed, master Peter, but let us have plain deal-
ing." Master Peter finding that Don Quixote began to waver, and was return-
Lag to his old theme, and not choosing that he shoidd escape, he changed his
ground and said, " No, now I recollect, this cannot be Melisendra, but one of
her waiting-maids, and so with sixty maravedis I shall be content and well
enough paid."

Thus he went on, setting his price upon the 4ead and wounded, which the
arbitrators moderated to the satisfaction of both parties ; and the whole amounted
to forty reals and three quartillos, which Sancho having paid down, master Peter
demanded two reals more for the trouble he should have in catching his ape.

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'* Give him the two reals, Sancho," said Don Quixote; " and now would I give
two hundred more to be assured that the lady Melisendra and signer Don Qsj-
feros are at this time in France and among their Mends." " Nob^y can tell us
that better than my ape," said master Peter ; '' but the devil himself cannot
catch him now ; though, perhaps, either his love for me, or hunger, will foree
him to return at night. However, to-morrow is a new day, and we shall then
see each other again."

The bustle of the puppet-show being quite over, they all supped together in
peace and good-fellowship, at the expense of Don Quixote, whose liberality was
boundless. The man who carried thb lances and halberds left the inn before
day-break, and after the sun had risen the scholar and the page came to take
leave of Don Quixote : the former to return home, and the latter to pursue his
intended journey : Don Quixote having given him a dozen reals to assist in
defraying his expenses. Master Peter had no mind for any feather intercourse
with Don Quixote, whom he knew perfectly well, and therefore he also arose
before the sun, and, collecting the fragments of his show, he set off with his ape
in quest of adventures of his own ; while the inn-keeper, who was not so well
acquainted with Don Quixote, was equally surprised at his madness and liberality.
In short, Sancho, by order of his master, paid him well, and about eight in llie
morning, having taken leave of him, they left the inn and proceeded on their
journey, where we will leave them, to relate other things necessary to the
elucidation of this fisunous history.

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Online LibraryMiguel de Cervantes SaavedraAdventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha → online text (page 59 of 89)