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Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 64)


It may have been about mid-day when they placed us in the boat,giving us two kegs of water and some biscuit; and the captain, movedby I know not what compassion, as the lovely Zoraida was about toembark, gave her some forty gold crowns, and would not permit hismen to take from her those same garments which she has on now. Wegot into the boat, returning them thanks for their kindness to us, andshowing ourselves grateful rather than indignant. They stood out tosea, steering for the straits; we, without looking to any compass savethe land we had before us, set ourselves to row with such energythat by sunset we were so near that we might easily, we thought,land before the night was far advanced. But as the moon did not showthat night, and the sky was clouded, and as we knew not whereabouts wewere, it did not seem to us a prudent thing to make for the shore,as several of us advised, saying we ought to run ourselves ashore evenif it were on rocks and far from any habitation, for in this way weshould be relieved from the apprehensions we naturally felt of theprowling vessels of the Tetuan corsairs, who leave Barbary atnightfall and are on the Spanish coast by daybreak, where theycommonly take some prize, and then go home to sleep in their ownhouses. But of the conflicting counsels the one which was adoptedwas that we should approach gradually, and land where we could ifthe sea were calm enough to permit us. This was done, and a littlebefore midnight we drew near to the foot of a huge and lofty mountain,not so close to the sea but that it left a narrow space on which toland conveniently. We ran our boat up on the sand, and all sprangout and kissed the ground, and with tears of joyful satisfactionreturned thanks to God our Lord for all his incomparable goodness tous on our voyage. We took out of the boat the provisions it contained,and drew it up on the shore, and then climbed a long way up themountain, for even there we could not feel easy in our hearts, orpersuade ourselves that it was Christian soil that was now under ourfeet.

The dawn came, more slowly, I think, than we could have wished; wecompleted the ascent in order to see if from the summit any habitationor any shepherds' huts could be discovered, but strain our eyes aswe might, neither dwelling, nor human being, nor path nor road couldwe perceive. However, we determined to push on farther, as it couldnot but be that ere long we must see some one who could tell uswhere we were. But what distressed me most was to see Zoraida going onfoot over that rough ground; for though I once carried her on myshoulders, she was more wearied by my weariness than rested by therest; and so she would never again allow me to undergo the exertion,and went on very patiently and cheerfully, while I led her by thehand. We had gone rather less than a quarter of a league when thesound of a little bell fell on our ears, a clear proof that there wereflocks hard by, and looking about carefully to see if any werewithin view, we observed a young shepherd tranquilly andunsuspiciously trimming a stick with his knife at the foot of a corktree. We called to him, and he, raising his head, sprang nimbly to hisfeet, for, as we afterwards learned, the first who presentedthemselves to his sight were the renegade and Zoraida, and seeing themin Moorish dress he imagined that all the Moors of Barbary were uponhim; and plunging with marvellous swiftness into the thicket infront of him, he began to raise a prodigious outcry, exclaiming,"The Moors- the Moors have landed! To arms, to arms!" We were allthrown into perplexity by these cries, not knowing what to do; butreflecting that the shouts of the shepherd would raise the country andthat the mounted coast-guard would come at once to see what was thematter, we agreed that the renegade must strip off his Turkishgarments and put on a captive's jacket or coat which one of ourparty gave him at once, though he himself was reduced to his shirt;and so commending ourselves to God, we followed the same road which wesaw the shepherd take, expecting every moment that the coast-guardwould be down upon us. Nor did our expectation deceive us, for twohours had not passed when, coming out of the brushwood into the openground, we perceived some fifty mounted men swiftly approaching usat a hand-gallop. As soon as we saw them we stood still, waiting forthem; but as they came close and, instead of the Moors they were inquest of, saw a set of poor Christians, they were taken aback, and oneof them asked if it could be we who were the cause of the shepherdhaving raised the call to arms. I said "Yes," and as I was about toexplain to him what had occurred, and whence we came and who wewere, one of the Christians of our party recognised the horseman whohad put the question to us, and before I could say anything more heexclaimed:

"Thanks be to God, sirs, for bringing us to such good quarters; for,if I do not deceive myself, the ground we stand on is that of VelezMalaga unless, indeed, all my years of captivity have made me unableto recollect that you, senor, who ask who we are, are Pedro deBustamante, my uncle."

The Christian captive had hardly uttered these words, when thehorseman threw himself off his horse, and ran to embrace the youngman, crying:

"Nephew of my soul and life! I recognise thee now; and long have Imourned thee as dead, I, and my sister, thy mother, and all thy kinthat are still alive, and whom God has been pleased to preserve thatthey may enjoy the happiness of seeing thee. We knew long since thatthou wert in Algiers, and from the appearance of thy garments andthose of all this company, I conclude that ye have had a miraculousrestoration to liberty."

"It is true," replied the young man, "and by-and-by we will tell youall."

As soon as the horsemen understood that we were Christiancaptives, they dismounted from their horses, and each offered his tocarry us to the city of Velez Malaga, which was a league and a halfdistant. Some of them went to bring the boat to the city, we havingtold them where we had left it; others took us up behind them, andZoraida was placed on the horse of the young man's uncle. The wholetown came out to meet us, for they had by this time heard of ourarrival from one who had gone on in advance. They were notastonished to see liberated captives or captive Moors, for people onthat coast are well used to see both one and the other; but theywere astonished at the beauty of Zoraida, which was just thenheightened, as well by the exertion of travelling as by joy at findingherself on Christian soil, and relieved of all fear of being lost; forthis had brought such a glow upon her face, that unless my affectionfor her were deceiving me, I would venture to say that there was not amore beautiful creature in the world- at least, that I had ever seen.We went straight to the church to return thanks to God for themercies we had received, and when Zoraida entered it she said therewere faces there like Lela Marien's. We told her they were her images;and as well as he could the renegade explained to her what they meant,that she might adore them as if each of them were the very same LelaMarien that had spoken to her; and she, having great intelligenceand a quick and clear instinct, understood at once all he said toher about them. Thence they took us away and distributed us all indifferent houses in the town; but as for the renegade, Zoraida, andmyself, the Christian who came with us brought us to the house ofhis parents, who had a fair share of the gifts of fortune, and treatedus with as much kindness as they did their own son.

We remained six days in Velez, at the end of which the renegade,having informed himself of all that was requisite for him to do, setout for the city of Granada to restore himself to the sacred bosomof the Church through the medium of the Holy Inquisition. The otherreleased captives took their departures, each the way that seemed bestto him, and Zoraida and I were left alone, with nothing more thanthe crowns which the courtesy of the Frenchman had bestowed uponZoraida, out of which I bought the beast on which she rides; and, Ifor the present attending her as her father and squire and not asher husband, we are now going to ascertain if my father is living,or if any of my brothers has had better fortune than mine has been;though, as Heaven has made me the companion of Zoraida, I think noother lot could be assigned to me, however happy, that I wouldrather have. The patience with which she endures the hardships thatpoverty brings with it, and the eagerness she shows to become aChristian, are such that they fill me with admiration, and bind meto serve her all my life; though the happiness I feel in seeing myselfhers, and her mine, is disturbed and marred by not knowing whether Ishall find any corner to shelter her in my own country, or whethertime and death may not have made such changes in the fortunes andlives of my father and brothers, that I shall hardly find anyone whoknows me, if they are not alive.

I have no more of my story to tell you, gentlemen; whether it bean interesting or a curious one let your better judgments decide;all I can say is I would gladly have told it to you more briefly;although my fear of wearying you has made me leave out more than onecircumstance.

CHAPTER XLII

WHICH TREATS OF WHAT FURTHER TOOK PLACE IN THE INN, AND OF SEVERALOTHER THINGS WORTH KNOWING

With these words the captive held his peace, and Don Fernando saidto him, "In truth, captain, the manner in which you have relatedthis remarkable adventure has been such as befitted the novelty andstrangeness of the matter. The whole story is curious and uncommon,and abounds with incidents that fill the hearers with wonder andastonishment; and so great is the pleasure we have found inlistening to it that we should be glad if it were to begin again, eventhough to-morrow were to find us still occupied with the same tale."And while he said this Cardenio and the rest of them offered to beof service to him in any way that lay in their power, and in words andlanguage so kindly and sincere that the captain was much gratifiedby their good-will. In particular Don Fernando offered, if he would goback with him, to get his brother the marquis to become godfather atthe baptism of Zoraida, and on his own part to provide him with themeans of making his appearance in his own country with the creditand comfort he was entitled to. For all this the captive returnedthanks very courteously, although he would not accept any of theirgenerous offers.

By this time night closed in, and as it did, there came up to theinn a coach attended by some men on horseback, who demandedaccommodation; to which the landlady replied that there was not ahand's breadth of the whole inn unoccupied.

"Still, for all that," said one of those who had entered onhorseback, "room must be found for his lordship the Judge here."

At this name the landlady was taken aback, and said, "Senor, thefact is I have no beds; but if his lordship the Judge carries one withhim, as no doubt he does, let him come in and welcome; for myhusband and I will give up our room to accommodate his worship."

"Very good, so be it," said the squire; but in the meantime a manhad got out of the coach whose dress indicated at a glance theoffice and post he held, for the long robe with ruffled sleeves thathe wore showed that he was, as his servant said, a Judge of appeal. Heled by the hand a young girl in a travelling dress, apparently aboutsixteen years of age, and of such a high-bred air, so beautiful and sograceful, that all were filled with admiration when she made herappearance, and but for having seen Dorothea, Luscinda, and Zoraida,who were there in the inn, they would have fancied that a beautylike that of this maiden's would have been hard to find. Don Quixotewas present at the entrance of the Judge with the young lady, and assoon as he saw him he said, "Your worship may with confidence enterand take your ease in this castle; for though the accommodation bescanty and poor, there are no quarters so cramped or inconvenient thatthey cannot make room for arms and letters; above all if arms andletters have beauty for a guide and leader, as letters representedby your worship have in this fair maiden, to whom not only oughtcastles to throw themselves open and yield themselves up, but rocksshould rend themselves asunder and mountains divide and bow themselvesdown to give her a reception. Enter, your worship, I say, into thisparadise, for here you will find stars and suns to accompany theheaven your worship brings with you, here you will find arms intheir supreme excellence, and beauty in its highest perfection."

The Judge was struck with amazement at the language of DonQuixote, whom he scrutinized very carefully, no less astonished by hisfigure than by his talk; and before he could find words to answerhim he had a fresh surprise, when he saw opposite to him Luscinda,Dorothea, and Zoraida, who, having heard of the new guests and ofthe beauty of the young lady, had come to see her and welcome her; DonFernando, Cardenio, and the curate, however, greeted him in a moreintelligible and polished style. In short, the Judge made his entrancein a state of bewilderment, as well with what he saw as what he heard,and the fair ladies of the inn gave the fair damsel a cordial welcome.On the whole he could perceive that all who were there were peopleof quality; but with the figure, countenance, and bearing of DonQuixote he was at his wits' end; and all civilities having beenexchanged, and the accommodation of the inn inquired into, it wassettled, as it had been before settled, that all the women shouldretire to the garret that has been already mentioned, and that the menshould remain outside as if to guard them; the Judge, therefore, wasvery well pleased to allow his daughter, for such the damsel was, togo with the ladies, which she did very willingly; and with part of thehost's narrow bed and half of what the Judge had brought with him,they made a more comfortable arrangement for the night than they hadexpected.

The captive, whose heart had leaped within him the instant he sawthe Judge, telling him somehow that this was his brother, asked one ofthe servants who accompanied him what his name was, and whether heknew from what part of the country he came. The servant replied thathe was called the Licentiate Juan Perez de Viedma, and that he hadheard it said he came from a village in the mountains of Leon. Fromthis statement, and what he himself had seen, he felt convinced thatthis was his brother who had adopted letters by his father's advice;and excited and rejoiced, he called Don Fernando and Cardenio andthe curate aside, and told them how the matter stood, assuring themthat the judge was his brother. The servant had further informed himthat he was now going to the Indies with the appointment of Judge ofthe Supreme Court of Mexico; and he had learned, likewise, that theyoung lady was his daughter, whose mother had died in giving birthto her, and that he was very rich in consequence of the dowry leftto him with the daughter. He asked their advice as to what means heshould adopt to make himself known, or to ascertain beforehandwhether, when he had made himself known, his brother, seeing him sopoor, would be ashamed of him, or would receive him with a warm heart.

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
Viewed 197426 times

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