Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 21)

"Let no one, whatever his rank or condition, dare to follow thebeautiful Marcela, under pain of incurring my fierce indignation.She has shown by clear and satisfactory arguments that little or nofault is to be found with her for the death of Chrysostom, and alsohow far she is from yielding to the wishes of any of her lovers, forwhich reason, instead of being followed and persecuted, she shouldin justice be honoured and esteemed by all the good people of theworld, for she shows that she is the only woman in it that holds tosuch a virtuous resolution."

Whether it was because of the threats of Don Quixote, or becauseAmbrosio told them to fulfil their duty to their good friend, noneof the shepherds moved or stirred from the spot until, having finishedthe grave and burned Chrysostom's papers, they laid his body in it,not without many tears from those who stood by. They closed thegrave with a heavy stone until a slab was ready which Ambrosio said hemeant to have prepared, with an epitaph which was to be to this effect:

Beneath the stone before your eyesThe body of a lover lies;In life he was a shepherd swain,In death a victim to disdain.Ungrateful, cruel, coy, and fair,Was she that drove him to despair,And Love hath made her his allyFor spreading wide his tyranny.

They then strewed upon the grave a profusion of flowers andbranches, and all expressing their condolence with his friendambrosio, took their Vivaldo and his companion did the same; and DonQuixote bade farewell to his hosts and to the travellers, whopressed him to come with them to Seville, as being such a convenientplace for finding adventures, for they presented themselves in everystreet and round every corner oftener than anywhere else. DonQuixote thanked them for their advice and for the disposition theyshowed to do him a favour, and said that for the present he would not,and must not go to Seville until he had cleared all these mountains ofhighwaymen and robbers, of whom report said they were full. Seeing hisgood intention, the travellers were unwilling to press him further,and once more bidding him farewell, they left him and pursued theirjourney, in the course of which they did not fail to discuss the storyof Marcela and Chrysostom as well as the madness of Don Quixote. He,on his part, resolved to go in quest of the shepherdess Marcela, andmake offer to her of all the service he could render her; but thingsdid not fall out with him as he expected, according to what is relatedin the course of this veracious history, of which the Second Part endshere.



The sage Cide Hamete Benengeli relates that as soon as Don Quixotetook leave of his hosts and all who had been present at the burialof Chrysostom, he and his squire passed into the same wood whichthey had seen the shepherdess Marcela enter, and after having wanderedfor more than two hours in all directions in search of her withoutfinding her, they came to a halt in a glade covered with tender grass,beside which ran a pleasant cool stream that invited and compelledthem to pass there the hours of the noontide heat, which by thistime was beginning to come on oppressively. Don Quixote and Sanchodismounted, and turning Rocinante and the ass loose to feed on thegrass that was there in abundance, they ransacked the alforjas, andwithout any ceremony very peacefully and sociably master and manmade their repast on what they found in them. Sancho had not thoughtit worth while to hobble Rocinante, feeling sure, from what he knew ofhis staidness and freedom from incontinence, that all the mares in theCordova pastures would not lead him into an impropriety. Chance,however, and the devil, who is not always asleep, so ordained itthat feeding in this valley there was a drove of Galician poniesbelonging to certain Yanguesan carriers, whose way it is to take theirmidday rest with their teams in places and spots where grass and waterabound; and that where Don Quixote chanced to be suited theYanguesans' purpose very well. It so happened, then, that Rocinantetook a fancy to disport himself with their ladyships the ponies, andabandoning his usual gait and demeanour as he scented them, he,without asking leave of his master, got up a briskish little trotand hastened to make known his wishes to them; they, however, itseemed, preferred their pasture to him, and received him with theirheels and teeth to such effect that they soon broke his girths andleft him naked without a saddle to cover him; but what must havebeen worse to him was that the carriers, seeing the violence he wasoffering to their mares, came running up armed with stakes, and sobelaboured him that they brought him sorely battered to the ground.

By this time Don Quixote and Sancho, who had witnessed thedrubbing of Rocinante, came up panting, and said Don Quixote toSancho:

"So far as I can see, friend Sancho, these are not knights butbase folk of low birth: I mention it because thou canst lawfully aidme in taking due vengeance for the insult offered to Rocinantebefore our eyes."

"What the devil vengeance can we take," answered Sancho, "if theyare more than twenty, and we no more than two, or, indeed, perhaps notmore than one and a half?"

"I count for a hundred," replied Don Quixote, and without more wordshe drew his sword and attacked the Yanguesans and excited and impelledby the example of his master, Sancho did the same; and to beginwith, Don Quixote delivered a slash at one of them that laid openthe leather jerkin he wore, together with a great portion of hisshoulder. The Yanguesans, seeing themselves assaulted by only twomen while they were so many, betook themselves to their stakes, anddriving the two into the middle they began to lay on with great zealand energy; in fact, at the second blow they brought Sancho to theground, and Don Quixote fared the same way, all his skill and highmettle availing him nothing, and fate willed it that he should fall atthe feet of Rocinante, who had not yet risen; whereby it may be seenhow furiously stakes can pound in angry boorish hands. Then, seeingthe mischief they had done, the Yanguesans with all the haste theycould loaded their team and pursued their journey, leaving the twoadventurers a sorry sight and in sorrier mood.

Sancho was the first to come to, and finding himself close to hismaster he called to him in a weak and doleful voice, "Senor DonQuixote, ah, Senor Don Quixote!"

"What wouldst thou, brother Sancho?" answered Don Quixote in thesame feeble suffering tone as Sancho.

"I would like, if it were possible," answered Sancho Panza, "yourworship to give me a couple of sups of that potion of the fieryBlas, if it be that you have any to hand there; perhaps it willserve for broken bones as well as for wounds."

"If I only had it here, wretch that I am, what more should we want?"said Don Quixote; "but I swear to thee, Sancho Panza, on the faithof a knight-errant, ere two days are over, unless fortune ordersotherwise, I mean to have it in my possession, or my hand will havelost its cunning."

"But in how many does your worship think we shall have the use ofour feet?" answered Sancho Panza.

"For myself I must say I cannot guess how many," said the batteredknight Don Quixote; "but I take all the blame upon myself, for I hadno business to put hand to sword against men who where not dubbedknights like myself, and so I believe that in punishment for havingtransgressed the laws of chivalry the God of battles has permittedthis chastisement to be administered to me; for which reason,brother Sancho, it is well thou shouldst receive a hint on thematter which I am now about to mention to thee, for it is of muchimportance to the welfare of both of us. It is at when thou shaltsee rabble of this sort offering us insult thou art not to wait till Idraw sword against them, for I shall not do so at all; but do thoudraw sword and chastise them to thy heart's content, and if anyknights come to their aid and defence I will take care to defendthee and assail them with all my might; and thou hast already seenby a thousand signs and proofs what the might of this strong arm ofmine is equal to"- so uplifted had the poor gentleman become throughthe victory over the stout Biscayan.

But Sancho did not so fully approve of his master's admonition as tolet it pass without saying in reply, "Senor, I am a man of peace, meekand quiet, and I can put up with any affront because I have a wife andchildren to support and bring up; so let it be likewise a hint to yourworship, as it cannot be a mandate, that on no account will I drawsword either against clown or against knight, and that here before GodI forgive the insults that have been offered me, whether they havebeen, are, or shall be offered me by high or low, rich or poor,noble or commoner, not excepting any rank or condition whatsoever."

To all which his master said in reply, "I wish I had breath enoughto speak somewhat easily, and that the pain I feel on this sidewould abate so as to let me explain to thee, Panza, the mistake thoumakest. Come now, sinner, suppose the wind of fortune, hitherto soadverse, should turn in our favour, filling the sails of our desiresso that safely and without impediment we put into port in some oneof those islands I have promised thee, how would it be with thee if onwinning it I made thee lord of it? Why, thou wilt make it well-nighimpossible through not being a knight nor having any desire to be one,nor possessing the courage nor the will to avenge insults or defendthy lordship; for thou must know that in newly conquered kingdomsand provinces the minds of the inhabitants are never so quiet nor sowell disposed to the new lord that there is no fear of their makingsome move to change matters once more, and try, as they say, whatchance may do for them; so it is essential that the new possessorshould have good sense to enable him to govern, and valour to attackand defend himself, whatever may befall him."

"In what has now befallen us," answered Sancho, "I'd have beenwell pleased to have that good sense and that valour your worshipspeaks of, but I swear on the faith of a poor man I am more fit forplasters than for arguments. See if your worship can get up, and letus help Rocinante, though he does not deserve it, for he was themain cause of all this thrashing. I never thought it of Rocinante, forI took him to be a virtuous person and as quiet as myself. Afterall, they say right that it takes a long time to come to knowpeople, and that there is nothing sure in this life. Who would havesaid that, after such mighty slashes as your worship gave that unluckyknight-errant, there was coming, travelling post and at the very heelsof them, such a great storm of sticks as has fallen upon ourshoulders?"

"And yet thine, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "ought to be used tosuch squalls; but mine, reared in soft cloth and fine linen, it isplain they must feel more keenly the pain of this mishap, and if itwere not that I imagine- why do I say imagine?- know of a certaintythat all these annoyances are very necessary accompaniments of thecalling of arms, I would lay me down here to die of pure vexation."

To this the squire replied, "Senor, as these mishaps are what onereaps of chivalry, tell me if they happen very often, or if theyhave their own fixed times for coming to pass; because it seems tome that after two harvests we shall be no good for the third, unlessGod in his infinite mercy helps us."

"Know, friend Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "that the life ofknights-errant is subject to a thousand dangers and reverses, andneither more nor less is it within immediate possibility forknights-errant to become kings and emperors, as experience has shownin the case of many different knights with whose histories I amthoroughly acquainted; and I could tell thee now, if the pain wouldlet me, of some who simply by might of arm have risen to the highstations I have mentioned; and those same, both before and after,experienced divers misfortunes and miseries; for the valiant Amadis ofGaul found himself in the power of his mortal enemy Arcalaus themagician, who, it is positively asserted, holding him captive, gavehim more than two hundred lashes with the reins of his horse whiletied to one of the pillars of a court; and moreover there is a certainrecondite author of no small authority who says that the Knight ofPhoebus, being caught in a certain pitfall, which opened under hisfeet in a certain castle, on falling found himself bound hand and footin a deep pit underground, where they administered to him one of thosethings they call clysters, of sand and snow-water, that well-nighfinished him; and if he had not been succoured in that soreextremity by a sage, a great friend of his, it would have gone veryhard with the poor knight; so I may well suffer in company with suchworthy folk, for greater were the indignities which they had to sufferthan those which we suffer. For I would have thee know, Sancho, thatwounds caused by any instruments which happen by chance to be inhand inflict no indignity, and this is laid down in the law of theduel in express words: if, for instance, the cobbler strikes anotherwith the last which he has in his hand, though it be in fact a pieceof wood, it cannot be said for that reason that he whom he struck withit has been cudgelled. I say this lest thou shouldst imagine thatbecause we have been drubbed in this affray we have therefore sufferedany indignity; for the arms those men carried, with which they poundedus, were nothing more than their stakes, and not one of them, so faras I remember, carried rapier, sword, or dagger."

"They gave me no time to see that much," answered Sancho, "forhardly had I laid hand on my tizona when they signed the cross on myshoulders with their sticks in such style that they took the sight outof my eyes and the strength out of my feet, stretching me where Inow lie, and where thinking of whether all those stake-strokes were anindignity or not gives me no uneasiness, which the pain of the blowsdoes, for they will remain as deeply impressed on my memory as on myshoulders."

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
Viewed 140743 times


Page generation 0.001 seconds