Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. XVI., December, 1880 online

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to the Pass, and who shall decide all questions which may arise.

The last chapter provides "that if the lady whose I [Quiñones] am shall
pass that way, she shall not lose her glove, and no one but myself shall
do combat for her, for no one in the world could do it so truly as I."

When the preceding provisions had been read, Quiñones gave to the
king-at-arms a letter signed and sealed, which invited to the Pass all
knights so disposed, granting safe conduct to those of other kingdoms,
and declaring the cause of said trial of arms. Copies of the above
letter were also given to other heralds, who were provided with
everything necessary for long journeys, and in the six months that
intervened before the day fixed for the jousts the matter had been
proclaimed throughout all Christendom. Meanwhile, Quiñones provided
horses and arms and everything necessary for "such an important

In the kingdom of Leon, about ten miles east of Astorga and on the
highway from that city to the capital, is the bridge of Orbigo. Suero de
Quiñones did not select Orbigo with reference to convenience of access
from the Castiles, but because it must be passed by pilgrims to
Santiago; and that year (1434) was especially sacred to the saint, whose
festival, on the 25th of July, has always been celebrated with great
pomp. The Spaniards having been forbidden to go to Jerusalem as
crusaders, and being too much occupied at home with the Moors to make
such a long pilgrimage, wisely substituted Santiago, where the remains
of St. James, the patron of Spain, is supposed to rest. His body is said
to have floated in a stone coffin from Joppa to Padron (thirteen miles
below Santiago) in seven days, and for nearly eight centuries lay
forgotten in a cave, but was at length miraculously brought to light by
mysterious flames hovering over its resting-place, and in 829 was
removed to Santiago. In 846 the saint made his appearance at the
celebrated battle of Clavijo, where he slew sixty thousand Moors, and
was rewarded by a grant of a bushel of grain from every acre in Spain.
His shrine was a favorite resort for pilgrims from all Christendom until
after the Reformation, and the saint retained his bushel of grain (the
annual value of which had reached the large sum of one million dollars)
until 1835.

It was near the highway, in a pleasant grove, that Quiñones erected the
lists, a hundred and forty-six paces long and surrounded by a palisade
of the height of a lance, with various stands for the judges and
spectators. At the opposite ends of the lists were entrances - one for
the defenders of the Pass - and there were hung the arms and banners of
Quiñones, as well as at the other entrance, which was reserved for the
knights who should come to make trial of their arms. In order that no
one might mistake the way, a marble king-at-arms was erected near the
bridge, with the right arm extended and the inscription, "To the Pass."

The final arrangements were not concluded until the 10th of July, the
first day of the jousts. Twenty-two tents had been erected for the
accommodation of those engaged in the enterprise as well as for mere
spectators, and Quiñones had provided all necessary servants and
artisans, among whom are mentioned kings-at-arms, heralds, trumpeters
and other musicians, notaries, armorers, blacksmiths, surgeons,
physicians, carpenters, lance-makers, tailors, embroiderers, etc. In the
midst of the tents was erected a wooden dining - hall, hung with rich
French cloth and provided with two tables - one for Quiñones and the
knights who came to the Pass, and the other for those who honored the
jousts with their presence. A curious fact not to be omitted is that the
king sent one of his private secretaries to prepare daily accounts of
what happened at the Pass, which were transmitted by relays to Segovia
(where he was engaged in hunting), so that he should receive them within
twenty-four hours.

On Saturday, the 10th of July, 1434, all the arrangements having been
completed, the heralds proceeded to the entrance of the lists and
announced to Quiñones that three knights were at the bridge of Orbigo
who had come to make trial of their arms - one a German, Messer Arnoldo
de la Floresta Bermeja of the marquisate of Brandenburg, "about
twenty-seven years old, blond and well-dressed;" the others two brothers
from Valencia, by name Juan and Per Fabla. Quiñones was greatly
delighted at their coming, and sent the heralds to invite them to take
up their quarters with him, which they did, and were received with honor
at the entrance of the lists in the presence of the judges. It being
Saturday, the jousting was deferred until the following Monday, and the
spurs of the three knights were hung up in the judges' stand as a sort
of pledge, to be restored to their owners when they were ready to enter
the lists.

The next morning the trumpets sounded, and Quiñones and his nine
companions heard mass in the church of St. John at Orbigo, and took
possession of the lists in the following fashion: First came the
musicians with drums and Moorish fifes, preceded by the judge, Pero
Barba. Then followed two large and beautiful horses drawing a cart
filled with lances of various sizes pointed with Milan steel. The cart
was covered with blue and green trappings embroidered with bay trees and
flowers, and on every tree was the figure of a parrot. The driver of
this singular conveyance was a dwarf. Next came Quiñones on a powerful
horse with blue trappings, on which were worked his device and a chain,
with the motto _Il faut deliberer_[5] He was dressed in a quilted jacket
of olive velvet brocade embroidered in green, with a cloak of blue
velvet, breeches of scarlet cloth and a tall cap of the same color. He
wore wheel-spurs of the Italian fashion richly gilt, and carried a drawn
sword, also gilt. On his right arm, near the shoulder, was richly
embroidered his device in gold two fingers broad, and around it in blue

Si a vous ne plait de avoyr me sure,
Certes ie clis,
Que ie suis,
Sans venture.[6]

With Quiñones were his nine companions in scarlet velvet and blue cloaks
bearing Quiñones' device and chain, and the trappings of their horses
blue, with the same device and motto. Near Quiñones were many knights on
foot, some of whom led his horse to do him honor. Three pages
magnificently attired and mounted closed the procession, which entered
the lists, and after passing around it twice halted before the judges'
stand, and Quiñones exhorted the judges to decide impartially all that
should happen, giving equal justice to all, and especially to defend the
strangers in case they should be attacked on account of having wounded
any of the defenders of the Pass.

The next day, Monday, at dawn the drums beat the reveille, and the
judges, with the heralds, notaries and kings-at-arms, took their places
in their stands. The nine defenders meanwhile heard mass in a large tent
which served as a private chapel for Quiñones, and where mass was said
thrice daily at his expense by some Dominicans. After the defenders were
armed they sent for the judges to inspect their weapons and armor. The
German knight, Arnoldo, had a disabled hand, but he declared he would
rather die than refrain from jousting. His arms and horse were approved,
although the latter was superior to that of Quiñones. The judges had
provided a body of armed soldiers whose duty it was to see that all had
fair play in the field, and had a pile of lances of various sizes placed
where each knight could select one to suit him.

Quiñones and the German now entered the lists, accompanied by their
friends and with "much music." The judges commanded that no one should
dare to speak aloud or give advice or make any sign to any one in the
lists, no matter what happened, under penalty of having the tongue cut
out for speaking and a hand cut off for making signs; and they also
forbade any knight to enter the lists with more than two servants, one
mounted and the other on foot. The spur taken from the German the
previous Saturday was now restored to him, and the trumpets sounded a
charge, while the heralds and kings-at-arms cried _Legeres allér!
legeres allér! é fair son deber_.

The two knights charged instantly, lance in rest, and Quiñones
encountered his antagonist in the guard of his lance, and his weapon
glanced off and touched him in the armor of his right hand and tore it
off, and his lance broke in the middle. The German encountered him in
the armor of the left arm, tore it off and carried a piece of the border
without breaking his lance. In the second course Quiñones encountered
the German in the top of his plastron, without piercing it, and the
lance came out under his arm-pit, whereupon all thought he was wounded,
for on receiving the shock he exclaimed _Olas!_ and his right vantbrace
was torn off, but the lance was not broken. The German encountered
Quiñones in the front of his helmet, breaking his lance two palms from
the iron. In the third course Quiñones encountered the German in the
guard of his left gauntlet, and passed through it, and the head of the
lance stuck in the rim without breaking, and the German failed to
encounter. In the fourth course Quiñones encountered the German in the
armor of his left arm without breaking his lance, and the German failed
to encounter. In the next course both failed to encounter, but in the
sixth Quiñones encountered the German in the joint of his left
vantbrace, and the iron passed half through without breaking, while the
shaft broke in the middle, and the German failed to encounter. After
this last course they went to the judges' stand, where their jousting
was pronounced finished, since they had broken three lances between
them. Quiñones invited the German to supper, and both were accompanied
to their quarters by music, and Quiñones disarmed himself in public.

The two Valencian knights did not delay to challenge Quiñones, since he
had remained uninjured; and, as they had the right to demand horses and
arms, they chose those which Quiñones had used in the last joust. The
chronicler adds: "It seems to me that they did not ask it so much for
their honor as for the safety of their skins." The judges decided that
Quiñones was not bound to give his own armor, as there were other suits
as good: nevertheless, he complied, and sent in addition four horses to
choose from. He was also anxious to joust with them, but Lope de
Estuñiga refused to yield his place, and cited the chapter of the
regulations which provided that no one should single out his adversary.
Quiñones offered him a very fine horse and a gold chain worth three
hundred doubloons, but Estuñiga answered that he would not yield his
turn although he were offered a city.

At vespers Estuñiga and Juan Fabla were armed and the judges examined
their arms, and although Fabla had the better horse, they let it pass.
At the sound of the trumpet Estuñiga entered the lists magnificently
attired, and attended by two pages in armor bearing a drawn sword and a
lance. Juan Fabla followed immediately, and at the given signal they
attacked each other lance in rest. Fabla encountered Estuñiga in the
left arm, tearing off his armor, but neither of them broke his lance. In
the four following courses they failed to encounter. In the sixth Fabla
encountered his adversary in the breastplate, breaking his lance in the
middle, and the head remained sticking in the armor. They encountered in
the seventh course, and Estuñiga's servant, who was in the lists, cried
out, "At him! at him!" The judges commanded his tongue to be cut out,
but at the intercession of those present the sentence was commuted to
thirty blows and imprisonment. They failed to encounter in the eighth
course, but in the ninth Estuñiga broke his lance on Fabla's left arm:
the latter failed to encounter, and received a great reverse. After this
they ran nine courses without encountering, but in the nineteenth
Estuñiga met Fabla in the plastron, and his lance slipped off on to his
helmet, but did not break, although it pierced the plastron and the iron
remained sticking in it. By this time it had grown so dark that the
judges could not distinguish the good from the bad encounters, and for
this reason they decided that the combat was finished the same as though
three lances had been broken. Estuñiga invited Fabla to sup with
Quiñones, "and at table there were many knights, and after supper they

That same day there arrived at the Pass nine knights from Aragon, who
swore that they were gentlemen without reproach. Their spurs were taken
from them, according to the established custom, and hung up in the
judges' stand until they should enter the lists.

The succeeding combats were but repetitions, with trifling variations,
of those just described. From dawn, when the trumpet sounded for battle,
until the evening grew so dark that the judges could not distinguish the
combatants, the defenders maintained the Pass against all comers with
bravery and honor.

The third day there passed near Orbigo two ladies, and the judges sent
the king-at-arms and the herald to ascertain whether they were of noble
birth and provided with knights to represent them in the lists and win
them a passage through Orbigo, and also to request them to give up their
right-hand gloves. The ladies answered that they were noble and were on
a pilgrimage to Santiago; their names were Leonora and Guiomar de la
Vega; the former was married and accompanied by her husband; the latter
was a widow. The king-at-arms then requested their gloves to be kept as
a pledge until some knight should ransom them. Frances Davio, an
Aragonese knight, immediately offered to do combat for the ladies. The
husband of Doña Leonora said that he had not heard of this adventure,
and was unprepared to attempt it then, but if the ladies were allowed to
retain their gloves, as soon as he had accomplished his pilgrimage he
would return and enter the lists for them. The gloves, however, were
retained and hung in the judges' stand. The matter caused some
discussion, and finally the judges decided that the gloves should not be
kept, for fear it should seem that the defenders of the Pass were
interfering with pilgrims, and also on account of Juan de la Vega's
chivalrous response. So the gloves were sent on to Astorga to be
delivered to their owners, and Juan de la Vega was absolved from all
obligation to ransom them, "and there was strife among many knights as
to who should do battle for the sisters."

On the 16th of July, Frances Davio jousted with Lope de Estuñiga, and
when the trial of arms was ended with great honor to both, Davio swore
aloud, so that many knights heard him, "that never in the future would
he have a love-affair with a nun, for up to that time he had loved one,
and it was for her sake that he had come to the Pass; and any one who
had known it could have challenged him as an evil-doer, and he could not
have defended himself." Whereat Delena, the notary and compiler of the
original record of the Pass, exclaims, "To which I say that if he had
had any Christian nobleness, or even the natural shame which leads every
one to conceal his faults, he would not have made public such a
sacrilegious scandal, so dishonorable to the religious order and so
injurious to Christ."

The same day the king-at-arms and herald announced to Quiñones that a
gentleman named Vasco de Barrionuevo, servant of Ruy Diaz de Mendoza,
mayor-domo of the king, had come to make trial of his arms, but as he
was not a knight he prayed Quiñones to confer that honor on him.
Quiñones consented, and commanded him to wait at the entrance of the
lists, whither he and the nine defenders went on foot accompanied by a
great crowd. Quiñones asked Vasco if he desired to become a knight, and
on his answering in the affirmative he drew his gilt sword and said,
"Sir, do you promise to keep and guard all the things appertaining to
the noble order of chivalry, and to die rather than fail in any one of
them?" He swore that he would do so, and Quiñones, striking him on the
helmet with his naked sword, said, "God make thee a good knight and aid
thee to live and act as every good knight should do!" After this
ceremony the new knight entered the lists with Pedro de los Rios, and
they ran seven courses and broke three lances.

On the festival of St. James (July 25th) Quiñones entered the lists
without three of the principal pieces of his armor - namely, the visor of
his helmet, the left vantbrace and breastplate - and said, "Knights and
judges of this Passo Honroso, inasmuch as I announced through Monreal,
the king's herald, that on St. James's Day there would be in this place
three knights, each without a piece of his armor, and each ready to run
two courses with every knight who should present himself that day, know,
therefore, that I, Suero de Quiñones, alone am those three knights, and
am prepared to accomplish what I proclaimed." The judges after a short
deliberation answered that they had no authority to permit him to risk
his life in manifest opposition to the regulations which he had sworn to
obey, and declared him under arrest, and forbade all jousting that day,
as it was Sunday and the festival of St. James. Quiñones felt greatly
grieved at their decision, and told them that "in the service of his
lady he had gone into battle against the Moors in the kingdom of Granada
with his right arm bared, and God had preserved him, and would do so
now." The judges, however, were inflexible and refused to hear him.

The last day of July, late in the afternoon, there arrived at the Pass
a gentleman named Pedro de Torrecilla, a retainer or squire of Alfonso
de Deza, but no one was willing to joust with him, on the ground that he
was not an hidalgo. The generous Lope de Estuñiga, hearing this, offered
to dub him a knight, but Torrecilla thanked him and said he could not
afford to sustain in becoming manner the honor of chivalry, but he would
make good the fact that he was an hidalgo. Lope de Estuñiga was so much
pleased by this discreet answer that he believed him truly of gentle
blood, and to do him honor entered the lists with him. It was, however,
so late that they had only time to run three courses, and then the
judges pronounced their joust finished. Torrecilla esteemed so highly
the fact that so renowned a knight as Lope de Estuñiga should have
condescended to enter the lists with him that he swore it was the
greatest honor he had ever received in his life, and he offered him his
services. Estuñiga thanked him, and affirmed that he felt as much
honored by having jousted with him as though he had been an emperor.[7]

A few days after the above events an incident occurred which shows how
contagious the example of Quiñones and his followers was, and to what
amusing imitations it led. A Lombard trumpeter made his appearance at
the Pass, and said that he had been to Santiago on a pilgrimage, and
while there had heard that there was at the Passo Honroso a trumpeter of
the king of Castile named Dalmao, very celebrated in his line, and he
had gone thirty leagues out of his way in order to have a trial of skill
with him; and he offered to stake a good trumpet against one of
Dalmao's. The latter took the Lombard's trumpet and blew so loud and
skilfully that the Italian, in spite of all his efforts, was obliged to
confess himself conquered, and gave up his trumpet. |

So far, the encounters, if not entirely bloodless, had not been
attended by any fatal accident. The defenders had all been wounded, more
or less severely: once Quiñones concealed the fact until the end of the
joust in which his antagonist had been badly hurt, and it was only when
the knights were disarmed that it was discovered that Quiñones was
bleeding profusely. On another occasion his helmet was pierced by his
adversary's lance, the fragment of which he strove in vain to withdraw.
All believed him mortally wounded, but he cried, "It is nothing! it is
nothing! Quiñones! Quiñones!" and continued as though nothing had
occurred. After three encounters the judges descended from their stands
and made him remove his helmet to see whether he was wounded. When it
was found that he was not, "every one thought that God had miraculously
delivered him." Quiñones was also wounded in his encounter with Juan de
Merlo, and again concealed the fact until the end of the combat, when he
asked the judges to excuse him from jousting further that day, as his
right hand, which he had previously sprained, was again dislocated, and
caused him terrible suffering; and well it might, for the flesh was
lacerated and the whole arm seemed paralyzed.

The wounds received the 28th of July were, unfortunately, sufficiently
healed by the 6th of August to enable him to enter the lists with the
unhappy Esberte de Claramonte, an Aragonese. "Would to God," exclaims
the chronicler, "he had never come here!" In the ninth encounter
Quiñones' lance entered his antagonist's left eye and penetrated the
brain. The luckless knight broke his lance in the ground, was lifted
from his saddle by the force of the blow, and fell dead without uttering
a word; "and his face seemed like the face of one who had been dead two
hours." The Aragonese and Catalans present bewailed his death loudly,
and Quiñones was grieved in his soul at such a great misfortune. Every
possible honor was shown the dead knight, and the welfare of his soul
was not forgotten. Master Anton, Quiñones' confessor, and the other
priests were sent for to administer the sacraments, and Quiñones begged
them to chant the _Responsorium_[8] over the body, as was customary in
the Church, and do in all respects as though he himself were the dead
man. The priest replied that the Church did not consider as sons those
who died in such exercises, for they could not be performed without
mortal sin, neither did she intercede for their souls; in proof whereof
he referred to the canonical law, cap. _de Torneamentis_.[9] However, at
the earnest request of Quiñones, Messer Anton went with a letter to the
bishop of Astorga to ask leave to bury Claramonte in holy ground,
Quiñones promising if it were granted to take the dead knight to Leon
and bury him in his own family chapel. Meanwhile, they bore the body to
the hermitage of Santa Catalina, near the bridge of Orbigo, and there it
remained until night, when Messer Anton returned without the desired
license; so they buried Claramonte in unconsecrated ground near the
hermitage, with all possible honor and amid the tears of the assembled
knights. This mournful event does not seem, however, to have made a very
deep impression, for that same afternoon the jousting was continued.

The remaining days were marked by no unusual occurrence: several were
seriously but not fatally wounded, and one by one the defenders of the
Pass were disabled; so that when the 9th of August, the last day of the
jousts, arrived, Sancho de Ravenal was the only one of the ten defenders
who was able to enter the lists. He maintained the Pass that day against
two knights, and then the jousts were declared ended. When the decision
was known there was great rejoicing and blowing of trumpets, and the
lists were illuminated with torches. The judges returned the spurs which
still hung in the stand to the owners who through lack of time had not
been able to joust. Quiñones and eight of his companions (Lope de Aller
was confined to his bed by his wounds) entered the lists in the same
manner and order as on the first day, and halting before the judges
Quiñones addressed them as follows: "It is known to Your Honors how I
presented myself here thirty days ago with these companions, and the
cause of my so doing was to terminate the captivity in which until this
moment I was to a very virtuous lady, in token of which I have worn this
iron collar continually every Thursday. The condition of my ransom was,
as you know, three hundred lances broken or guarding this Pass thirty
days, awaiting knights and gentlemen who should free me from said
captivity; and whereas I believe, honorable sirs, that I have fulfilled
everything according to the terms set down at the beginning, I therefore
beg you will command me to remove this iron collar in testimony of my

The judges answered briefly as follows: "Virtuous gentleman and knight,
after hearing your declaration, which seems just and true, we hereby
declare your enterprise completed and your ransom paid; and be it known

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Online LibraryVariousLippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. XVI., December, 1880 → online text (page 16 of 20)