Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 24)

Don Quixote seeing him in this state said, "It is my belief, Sancho,that this mischief comes of thy not being dubbed a knight, for I ampersuaded this liquor cannot be good for those who are not so."

"If your worship knew that," returned Sancho- "woe betide me and allmy kindred!- why did you let me taste it?"

At this moment the draught took effect, and the poor squire began todischarge both ways at such a rate that the rush mat on which he hadthrown himself and the canvas blanket he had covering him were fit fornothing afterwards. He sweated and perspired with such paroxysms andconvulsions that not only he himself but all present thought his endhad come. This tempest and tribulation lasted about two hours, atthe end of which he was left, not like his master, but so weak andexhausted that he could not stand. Don Quixote, however, who, as hasbeen said, felt himself relieved and well, was eager to take hisdeparture at once in quest of adventures, as it seemed to him that allthe time he loitered there was a fraud upon the world and those init who stood in need of his help and protection, all the more whenhe had the security and confidence his balsam afforded him; and so,urged by this impulse, he saddled Rocinante himself and put thepack-saddle on his squire's beast, whom likewise he helped to dressand mount the ass; after which he mounted his horse and turning to acorner of the inn he laid hold of a pike that stood there, to servehim by way of a lance. All that were in the inn, who were more thantwenty persons, stood watching him; the innkeeper's daughter waslikewise observing him, and he too never took his eyes off her, andfrom time to time fetched a sigh that he seemed to pluck up from thedepths of his bowels; but they all thought it must be from the pain hefelt in his ribs; at any rate they who had seen him plastered thenight before thought so.

As soon as they were both mounted, at the gate of the inn, he calledto the host and said in a very grave and measured voice, "Many andgreat are the favours, Senor Alcaide, that I have received in thiscastle of yours, and I remain under the deepest obligation to begrateful to you for them all the days of my life; if I can repaythem in avenging you of any arrogant foe who may have wronged you,know that my calling is no other than to aid the weak, to avenge thosewho suffer wrong, and to chastise perfidy. Search your memory, andif you find anything of this kind you need only tell me of it, and Ipromise you by the order of knighthood which I have received toprocure you satisfaction and reparation to the utmost of your desire."

The innkeeper replied to him with equal calmness, "Sir Knight, Ido not want your worship to avenge me of any wrong, because when anyis done me I can take what vengeance seems good to me; the onlything I want is that you pay me the score that you have run up inthe inn last night, as well for the straw and barley for your twobeasts, as for supper and beds."

"Then this is an inn?" said Don Quixote.

"And a very respectable one," said the innkeeper.

"I have been under a mistake all this time," answered Don Quixote,"for in truth I thought it was a castle, and not a bad one; butsince it appears that it is not a castle but an inn, all that can bedone now is that you should excuse the payment, for I cannotcontravene the rule of knights-errant, of whom I know as a fact (andup to the present I have read nothing to the contrary) that they neverpaid for lodging or anything else in the inn where they might be;for any hospitality that might be offered them is their due by law andright in return for the insufferable toil they endure in seekingadventures by night and by day, in summer and in winter, on foot andon horseback, in hunger and thirst, cold and heat, exposed to allthe inclemencies of heaven and all the hardships of earth."

"I have little to do with that," replied the innkeeper; "pay me whatyou owe me, and let us have no more talk of chivalry, for all I careabout is to get my money."

"You are a stupid, scurvy innkeeper," said Don Quixote, andputting spurs to Rocinante and bringing his pike to the slope herode out of the inn before anyone could stop him, and pushed on somedistance without looking to see if his squire was following him.

The innkeeper when he saw him go without paying him ran to getpayment of Sancho, who said that as his master would not pay neitherwould he, because, being as he was squire to a knight-errant, the samerule and reason held good for him as for his master with regard to notpaying anything in inns and hostelries. At this the innkeeper waxedvery wroth, and threatened if he did not pay to compel him in a waythat he would not like. To which Sancho made answer that by the law ofchivalry his master had received he would not pay a rap, though itcost him his life; for the excellent and ancient usage ofknights-errant was not going to be violated by him, nor should thesquires of such as were yet to come into the world ever complain ofhim or reproach him with breaking so just a privilege.

The ill-luck of the unfortunate Sancho so ordered it that amongthe company in the inn there were four woolcarders from Segovia, threeneedle-makers from the Colt of Cordova, and two lodgers from theFair of Seville, lively fellows, tender-hearted, fond of a joke, andplayful, who, almost as if instigated and moved by a common impulse,made up to Sancho and dismounted him from his ass, while one of themwent in for the blanket of the host's bed; but on flinging him into itthey looked up, and seeing that the ceiling was somewhat lower whatthey required for their work, they decided upon going out into theyard, which was bounded by the sky, and there, putting Sancho in themiddle of the blanket, they began to raise him high, making sport withhim as they would with a dog at Shrovetide.

The cries of the poor blanketed wretch were so loud that theyreached the ears of his master, who, halting to listen attentively,was persuaded that some new adventure was coming, until he clearlyperceived that it was his squire who uttered them. Wheeling about hecame up to the inn with a laborious gallop, and finding it shut wentround it to see if he could find some way of getting in; but as soonas he came to the wall of the yard, which was not very high, hediscovered the game that was being played with his squire. He sawhim rising and falling in the air with such grace and nimbleness that,had his rage allowed him, it is my belief he would have laughed. Hetried to climb from his horse on to the top of the wall, but he was sobruised and battered that he could not even dismount; and so fromthe back of his horse he began to utter such maledictions andobjurgations against those who were blanketing Sancho as it would beimpossible to write down accurately: they, however, did not stay theirlaughter or their work for this, nor did the flying Sancho cease hislamentations, mingled now with threats, now with entreaties but all tolittle purpose, or none at all, until from pure weariness they leftoff. They then brought him his ass, and mounting him on top of it theyput his jacket round him; and the compassionate Maritornes, seeing himso exhausted, thought fit to refresh him with a jug of water, and thatit might be all the cooler she fetched it from the well. Sancho tookit, and as he was raising it to his mouth he was stopped by thecries of his master exclaiming, "Sancho, my son, drink not water;drink it not, my son, for it will kill thee; see, here I have theblessed balsam (and he held up the flask of liquor), and with drinkingtwo drops of it thou wilt certainly be restored."

At these words Sancho turned his eyes asquint, and in a still loudervoice said, "Can it be your worship has forgotten that I am not aknight, or do you want me to end by vomiting up what bowels I haveleft after last night? Keep your liquor in the name of all the devils,and leave me to myself!" and at one and the same instant he left offtalking and began drinking; but as at the first sup he perceived itwas water he did not care to go on with it, and begged Maritornes tofetch him some wine, which she did with right good will, and paidfor it with her own money; for indeed they say of her that, though shewas in that line of life, there was some faint and distant resemblanceto a Christian about her. When Sancho had done drinking he dug hisheels into his ass, and the gate of the inn being thrown open hepassed out very well pleased at having paid nothing and carried hispoint, though it had been at the expense of his usual sureties, hisshoulders. It is true that the innkeeper detained his alforjas inpayment of what was owing to him, but Sancho took his departure insuch a flurry that he never missed them. The innkeeper, as soon ashe saw him off, wanted to bar the gate close, but the blanketers wouldnot agree to it, for they were fellows who would not have cared twofarthings for Don Quixote, even had he been really one of theknights-errant of the Round Table.



Sancho reached his master so limp and faint that he could not urgeon his beast. When Don Quixote saw the state he was in he said, "Ihave now come to the conclusion, good Sancho, that this castle orinn is beyond a doubt enchanted, because those who have so atrociouslydiverted themselves with thee, what can they be but phantoms or beingsof another world? and I hold this confirmed by having noticed thatwhen I was by the wall of the yard witnessing the acts of thy sadtragedy, it was out of my power to mount upon it, nor could I evendismount from Rocinante, because they no doubt had me enchanted; for Iswear to thee by the faith of what I am that if I had been able toclimb up or dismount, I would have avenged thee in such a way thatthose braggart thieves would have remembered their freak for ever,even though in so doing I knew that I contravened the laws ofchivalry, which, as I have often told thee, do not permit a knightto lay hands on him who is not one, save in case of urgent and greatnecessity in defence of his own life and person."

"I would have avenged myself too if I could," said Sancho,"whether I had been dubbed knight or not, but I could not; thoughfor my part I am persuaded those who amused themselves with me werenot phantoms or enchanted men, as your worship says, but men offlesh and bone like ourselves; and they all had their names, for Iheard them name them when they were tossing me, and one was calledPedro Martinez, and another Tenorio Hernandez, and the innkeeper, Iheard, was called Juan Palomeque the Left-handed; so that, senor, yournot being able to leap over the wall of the yard or dismount from yourhorse came of something else besides enchantments; and what I make outclearly from all this is, that these adventures we go seeking willin the end lead us into such misadventures that we shall not knowwhich is our right foot; and that the best and wisest thing, accordingto my small wits, would be for us to return home, now that it isharvest-time, and attend to our business, and give over wandering fromZeca to Mecca and from pail to bucket, as the saying is."

"How little thou knowest about chivalry, Sancho," replied DonQuixote; "hold thy peace and have patience; the day will come whenthou shalt see with thine own eyes what an honourable thing it is towander in the pursuit of this calling; nay, tell me, what greaterpleasure can there be in the world, or what delight can equal thatof winning a battle, and triumphing over one's enemy? None, beyond alldoubt."

"Very likely," answered Sancho, "though I do not know it; all I knowis that since we have been knights-errant, or since your worship hasbeen one (for I have no right to reckon myself one of so honourablea number) we have never won any battle except the one with theBiscayan, and even out of that your worship car-ne with half an earand half a helmet the less; and from that till now it has been allcudgellings and more cudgellings, cuffs and more cuffs, I gettingthe blanketing over and above, and falling in with enchanted personson whom I cannot avenge myself so as to know what the delight, as yourworship calls it, of conquering an enemy is like."

"That is what vexes me, and what ought to vex thee, Sancho," repliedDon Quixote; "but henceforward I will endeavour to have at hand somesword made by such craft that no kind of enchantments can takeeffect upon him who carries it, and it is even possible that fortunemay procure for me that which belonged to Amadis when he was called'The Knight of the Burning Sword,' which was one of the best swordsthat ever knight in the world possessed, for, besides having thesaid virtue, it cut like a razor, and there was no armour, howeverstrong and enchanted it might be, that could resist it."

"Such is my luck," said Sancho, "that even if that happened and yourworship found some such sword, it would, like the balsam, turn outserviceable and good for dubbed knights only, and as for thesquires, they might sup sorrow."

"Fear not that, Sancho," said Don Quixote: "Heaven will dealbetter by thee."

Thus talking, Don Quixote and his squire were going along, when,on the road they were following, Don Quixote perceived approachingthem a large and thick cloud of dust, on seeing which he turned toSancho and said:

"This is the day, Sancho, on which will be seen the boon myfortune is reserving for me; this, I say, is the day on which asmuch as on any other shall be displayed the might of my arm, and onwhich I shall do deeds that shall remain written in the book of famefor all ages to come. Seest thou that cloud of dust which risesyonder? Well, then, all that is churned up by a vast army composedof various and countless nations that comes marching there."

"According to that there must be two," said Sancho, "for on thisopposite side also there rises just such another cloud of dust."

Don Quixote turned to look and found that it was true, and rejoicingexceedingly, he concluded that they were two armies about to engageand encounter in the midst of that broad plain; for at all times andseasons his fancy was full of the battles, enchantments, adventures,crazy feats, loves, and defiances that are recorded in the books ofchivalry, and everything he said, thought, or did had reference tosuch things. Now the cloud of dust he had seen was raised by two greatdroves of sheep coming along the same road in opposite directions,which, because of the dust, did not become visible until they drewnear, but Don Quixote asserted so positively that they were armiesthat Sancho was led to believe it and say, "Well, and what are we todo, senor?"

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
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