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Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 47)


"That must have been it," said Sancho, "for indeed Rocinante wentlike a gipsy's ass with quicksilver in his ears."

"Quicksilver!" said Don Quixote, "aye and what is more, a legionof devils, folk that can travel and make others travel without beingweary, exactly as the whim seizes them. But putting this aside, whatthinkest thou I ought to do about my lady's command to go and see her?For though I feel that I am bound to obey her mandate, I feel too thatI am debarred by the boon I have accorded to the princess thataccompanies us, and the law of chivalry compels me to have regardfor my word in preference to my inclination; on the one hand thedesire to see my lady pursues and harasses me, on the other mysolemn promise and the glory I shall win in this enterprise urge andcall me; but what I think I shall do is to travel with all speed andreach quickly the place where this giant is, and on my arrival I shallcut off his head, and establish the princess peacefully in herrealm, and forthwith I shall return to behold the light thatlightens my senses, to whom I shall make such excuses that she will beled to approve of my delay, for she will see that it entirely tends toincrease her glory and fame; for all that I have won, am winning, orshall win by arms in this life, comes to me of the favour sheextends to me, and because I am hers."

"Ah! what a sad state your worship's brains are in!" said Sancho."Tell me, senor, do you mean to travel all that way for nothing, andto let slip and lose so rich and great a match as this where they giveas a portion a kingdom that in sober truth I have heard say is morethan twenty thousand leagues round about, and abounds with allthings necessary to support human life, and is bigger than Portugaland Castile put together? Peace, for the love of God! Blush for whatyou have said, and take my advice, and forgive me, and marry at oncein the first village where there is a curate; if not, here is ourlicentiate who will do the business beautifully; remember, I am oldenough to give advice, and this I am giving comes pat to thepurpose; for a sparrow in the hand is better than a vulture on thewing, and he who has the good to his hand and chooses the bad, thatthe good he complains of may not come to him."

"Look here, Sancho," said Don Quixote. "If thou art advising me tomarry, in order that immediately on slaying the giant I may becomeking, and be able to confer favours on thee, and give thee what I havepromised, let me tell thee I shall be able very easily to satisfythy desires without marrying; for before going into battle I will makeit a stipulation that, if I come out of it victorious, even I do notmarry, they shall give me a portion portion of the kingdom, that I maybestow it upon whomsoever I choose, and when they give it to me uponwhom wouldst thou have me bestow it but upon thee?"

"That is plain speaking," said Sancho; "but let your worship takecare to choose it on the seacoast, so that if I don't like the life, Imay be able to ship off my black vassals and deal with them as Ihave said; don't mind going to see my lady Dulcinea now, but go andkill this giant and let us finish off this business; for by God itstrikes me it will be one of great honour and great profit."

"I hold thou art in the right of it, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "andI will take thy advice as to accompanying the princess before going tosee Dulcinea; but I counsel thee not to say anything to any one, or tothose who are with us, about what we have considered and discussed,for as Dulcinea is so decorous that she does not wish her thoughtsto be known it is not right that I or anyone for me should disclosethem."

"Well then, if that be so," said Sancho, "how is it that yourworship makes all those you overcome by your arm go to presentthemselves before my lady Dulcinea, this being the same thing assigning your name to it that you love her and are her lover? And asthose who go must perforce kneel before her and say they come fromyour worship to submit themselves to her, how can the thoughts of bothof you be hid?"

"O, how silly and simple thou art!" said Don Quixote; "seest thounot, Sancho, that this tends to her greater exaltation? For thoumust know that according to our way of thinking in chivalry, it is ahigh honour to a lady to have many knights-errant in her service,whose thoughts never go beyond serving her for her own sake, and wholook for no other reward for their great and true devotion than thatshe should be willing to accept them as her knights."

"It is with that kind of love," said Sancho, "I have heard preacherssay we ought to love our Lord, for himself alone, without beingmoved by the hope of glory or the fear of punishment; though for mypart, I would rather love and serve him for what he could do."

"The devil take thee for a clown!" said Don Quixote, "and whatshrewd things thou sayest at times! One would think thou hadststudied."

"In faith, then, I cannot even read."

Master Nicholas here called out to them to wait a while, as theywanted to halt and drink at a little spring there was there. DonQuixote drew up, not a little to the satisfaction of Sancho, for hewas by this time weary of telling so many lies, and in dread of hismaster catching him tripping, for though he knew that Dulcinea was apeasant girl of El Toboso, he had never seen her in all his life.Cardenio had now put on the clothes which Dorothea was wearing whenthey found her, and though they were not very good, they were farbetter than those he put off. They dismounted together by the sideof the spring, and with what the curate had provided himself with atthe inn they appeased, though not very well, the keen appetite theyall of them brought with them.

While they were so employed there happened to come by a youthpassing on his way, who stopping to examine the party at the spring,the next moment ran to Don Quixote and clasping him round the legs,began to weep freely, saying, "O, senor, do you not know me? Look atme well; I am that lad Andres that your worship released from theoak-tree where I was tied."

Don Quixote recognised him, and taking his hand he turned to thosepresent and said: "That your worships may see how important it is tohave knights-errant to redress the wrongs and injuries done bytyrannical and wicked men in this world, I may tell you that some daysago passing through a wood, I heard cries and piteous complaints as ofa person in pain and distress; I immediately hastened, impelled bymy bounden duty, to the quarter whence the plaintive accents seemed tome to proceed, and I found tied to an oak this lad who now standsbefore you, which in my heart I rejoice at, for his testimony will notpermit me to depart from the truth in any particular. He was, I say,tied to an oak, naked from the waist up, and a clown, whom Iafterwards found to be his master, was scarifying him by lashes withthe reins of his mare. As soon as I saw him I asked the reason of socruel a flagellation. The boor replied that he was flogging himbecause he was his servant and because of carelessness thatproceeded rather from dishonesty than stupidity; on which this boysaid, 'Senor, he flogs me only because I ask for my wages.' The mastermade I know not what speeches and explanations, which, though Ilistened to them, I did not accept. In short, I compelled the clown tounbind him, and to swear he would take him with him, and pay himreal by real, and perfumed into the bargain. Is not all this true,Andres my son? Didst thou not mark with what authority I commandedhim, and with what humility he promised to do all I enjoined,specified, and required of him? Answer without hesitation; tellthese gentlemen what took place, that they may see that it is as greatan advantage as I say to have knights-errant abroad."

"All that your worship has said is quite true," answered the lad;"but the end of the business turned out just the opposite of what yourworship supposes."

"How! the opposite?" said Don Quixote; "did not the clown pay theethen?"

"Not only did he not pay me," replied the lad, "but as soon asyour worship had passed out of the wood and we were alone, he tiedme up again to the same oak and gave me a fresh flogging, that left melike a flayed Saint Bartholomew; and every stroke he gave me hefollowed up with some jest or gibe about having made a fool of yourworship, and but for the pain I was suffering I should have laughed atthe things he said. In short he left me in such a condition that Ihave been until now in a hospital getting cured of the injurieswhich that rascally clown inflicted on me then; for all which yourworship is to blame; for if you had gone your own way and not comewhere there was no call for you, nor meddled in other people'saffairs, my master would have been content with giving me one or twodozen lashes, and would have then loosed me and paid me what he owedme; but when your worship abused him so out of measure, and gave himso many hard words, his anger was kindled; and as he could not revengehimself on you, as soon as he saw you had left him the storm burstupon me in such a way, that I feel as if I should never be a managain."

"The mischief," said Don Quixote, "lay in my going away; for Ishould not have gone until I had seen thee paid; because I ought tohave known well by long experience that there is no clown who willkeep his word if he finds it will not suit him to keep it; but thourememberest, Andres, that I swore if he did not pay thee I would goand seek him, and find him though he were to hide himself in thewhale's belly."

"That is true," said Andres; "but it was of no use."

"Thou shalt see now whether it is of use or not," said DonQuixote; and so saying, he got up hastily and bade Sancho bridleRocinante, who was browsing while they were eating. Dorothea asked himwhat he meant to do. He replied that he meant to go in search ofthis clown and chastise him for such iniquitous conduct, and seeAndres paid to the last maravedi, despite and in the teeth of allthe clowns in the world. To which she replied that he must rememberthat in accordance with his promise he could not engage in anyenterprise until he had concluded hers; and that as he knew thisbetter than anyone, he should restrain his ardour until his returnfrom her kingdom.

"That is true," said Don Quixote, "and Andres must have patienceuntil my return as you say, senora; but I once more swear andpromise not to stop until I have seen him avenged and paid."

"I have no faith in those oaths," said Andres; "I would ratherhave now something to help me to get to Seville than all therevenges in the world; if you have here anything to eat that I cantake with me, give it me, and God be with your worship and allknights-errant; and may their errands turn out as well forthemselves as they have for me."

Sancho took out from his store a piece of bread and another ofcheese, and giving them to the lad he said, "Here, take this,brother Andres, for we have all of us a share in your misfortune."

"Why, what share have you got?"

"This share of bread and cheese I am giving you," answered Sancho;"and God knows whether I shall feel the want of it myself or not;for I would have you know, friend, that we squires to knights-erranthave to bear a great deal of hunger and hard fortune, and even otherthings more easily felt than told."

Andres seized his bread and cheese, and seeing that nobody gavehim anything more, bent his head, and took hold of the road, as thesaying is. However, before leaving he said, "For the love of God,sir knight-errant, if you ever meet me again, though you may seethem cutting me to pieces, give me no aid or succour, but leave meto my misfortune, which will not be so great but that a greater willcome to me by being helped by your worship, on whom and all theknights-errant that have ever been born God send his curse."

Don Quixote was getting up to chastise him, but he took to his heelsat such a pace that no one attempted to follow him; and mightilychapfallen was Don Quixote at Andres' story, and the others had totake great care to restrain their laughter so as not to put himentirely out of countenance.

CHAPTER XXXII

WHICH TREATS OF WHAT BEFELL DON QUIXOTE'S PARTY AT THE INN

Their dainty repast being finished, they saddled at once, andwithout any adventure worth mentioning they reached next day theinn, the object of Sancho Panza's fear and dread; but though hewould have rather not entered it, there was no help for it. Thelandlady, the landlord, their daughter, and Maritornes, when theysaw Don Quixote and Sancho coming, went out to welcome them with signsof hearty satisfaction, which Don Quixote received with dignity andgravity, and bade them make up a better bed for him than the lasttime: to which the landlady replied that if he paid better than he didthe last time she would give him one fit for a prince. Don Quixotesaid he would, so they made up a tolerable one for him in the samegarret as before; and he lay down at once, being sorely shaken andin want of sleep.

No sooner was the door shut upon him than the landlady made at thebarber, and seizing him by the beard, said:

"By my faith you are not going to make a beard of my tail anylonger; you must give me back tail, for it is a shame the way thatthing of my husband's goes tossing about on the floor; I mean the combthat I used to stick in my good tail."

But for all she tugged at it the barber would not give it up untilthe licentiate told him to let her have it, as there was now nofurther occasion for that stratagem, because he might declarehimself and appear in his own character, and tell Don Quixote thathe had fled to this inn when those thieves the galley slaves robbedhim; and should he ask for the princess's squire, they could tellhim that she had sent him on before her to give notice to the peopleof her kingdom that she was coming, and bringing with her thedeliverer of them all. On this the barber cheerfully restored the tailto the landlady, and at the same time they returned all theaccessories they had borrowed to effect Don Quixote's deliverance. Allthe people of the inn were struck with astonishment at the beauty ofDorothea, and even at the comely figure of the shepherd Cardenio.The curate made them get ready such fare as there was in the inn,and the landlord, in hope of better payment, served them up atolerably good dinner. All this time Don Quixote was asleep, andthey thought it best not to waken him, as sleeping would now do himmore good than eating.

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
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