Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 91)

And so saying he stood up and laid his hand on his sword, waiting tosee what the Knight of the Grove would do, who in an equally calmvoice said in reply, "Pledges don't distress a good payer; he whohas succeeded in vanquishing you once when transformed, Sir DonQuixote, may fairly hope to subdue you in your own proper shape; butas it is not becoming for knights to perform their feats of arms inthe dark, like highwaymen and bullies, let us wait till daylight, thatthe sun may behold our deeds; and the conditions of our combat shallbe that the vanquished shall be at the victor's disposal, to do allthat he may enjoin, provided the injunction be such as shall bebecoming a knight."

"I am more than satisfied with these conditions and terms,"replied Don Quixote; and so saying, they betook themselves to wheretheir squires lay, and found them snoring, and in the same posturethey were in when sleep fell upon them. They roused them up, andbade them get the horses ready, as at sunrise they were to engage in abloody and arduous single combat; at which intelligence Sancho wasaghast and thunderstruck, trembling for the safety of his masterbecause of the mighty deeds he had heard the squire of the Groveascribe to his; but without a word the two squires went in quest oftheir cattle; for by this time the three horses and the ass hadsmelt one another out, and were all together.

On the way, he of the Grove said to Sancho, "You must know, brother,that it is the custom with the fighting men of Andalusia, when theyare godfathers in any quarrel, not to stand idle with folded armswhile their godsons fight; I say so to remind you that while ourmasters are fighting, we, too, have to fight, and knock one another toshivers."

"That custom, sir squire," replied Sancho, "may hold good amongthose bullies and fighting men you talk of, but certainly not amongthe squires of knights-errant; at least, I have never heard mymaster speak of any custom of the sort, and he knows all the laws ofknight-errantry by heart; but granting it true that there is anexpress law that squires are to fight while their masters arefighting, I don't mean to obey it, but to pay the penalty that maybe laid on peacefully minded squires like myself; for I am sure itcannot be more than two pounds of wax, and I would rather pay that,for I know it will cost me less than the lint I shall be at theexpense of to mend my head, which I look upon as broken and splitalready; there's another thing that makes it impossible for me tofight, that I have no sword, for I never carried one in my life."

"I know a good remedy for that," said he of the Grove; "I havehere two linen bags of the same size; you shall take one, and I theother, and we will fight at bag blows with equal arms."

"If that's the way, so be it with all my heart," said Sancho, "forthat sort of battle will serve to knock the dust out of us insteadof hurting us."

"That will not do," said the other, "for we must put into thebags, to keep the wind from blowing them away, half a dozen nicesmooth pebbles, all of the same weight; and in this way we shall beable to baste one another without doing ourselves any harm ormischief."

"Body of my father!" said Sancho, "see what marten and sable, andpads of carded cotton he is putting into the bags, that our headsmay not be broken and our bones beaten to jelly! But even if theyare filled with toss silk, I can tell you, senor, I am not going tofight; let our masters fight, that's their lookout, and let us drinkand live; for time will take care to ease us of our lives, without ourgoing to look for fillips so that they may be finished off beforetheir proper time comes and they drop from ripeness."

"Still," returned he of the Grove, "we must fight, if it be only forhalf an hour."

"By no means," said Sancho; "I am not going to be so discourteous orso ungrateful as to have any quarrel, be it ever so small, with oneI have eaten and drunk with; besides, who the devil could bringhimself to fight in cold blood, without anger or provocation?"

"I can remedy that entirely," said he of the Grove, "and in thisway: before we begin the battle, I will come up to your worship fairand softly, and give you three or four buffets, with which I shallstretch you at my feet and rouse your anger, though it were sleepingsounder than a dormouse."

"To match that plan," said Sancho, "I have another that is not awhit behind it; I will take a cudgel, and before your worship comesnear enough to waken my anger I will send yours so sound to sleep withwhacks, that it won't waken unless it be in the other world, whereit is known that I am not a man to let my face be handled by anyone;let each look out for the arrow- though the surer way would be tolet everyone's anger sleep, for nobody knows the heart of anyone,and a man may come for wool and go back shorn; God gave his blessingto peace and his curse to quarrels; if a hunted cat, surrounded andhard pressed, turns into a lion, God knows what I, who am a man, mayturn into; and so from this time forth I warn you, sir squire, thatall the harm and mischief that may come of our quarrel will be putdown to your account."

"Very good," said he of the Grove; "God will send the dawn and weshall be all right."

And now gay-plumaged birds of all sorts began to warble in thetrees, and with their varied and gladsome notes seemed to welcomeand salute the fresh morn that was beginning to show the beauty of hercountenance at the gates and balconies of the east, shaking from herlocks a profusion of liquid pearls; in which dulcet moisture bathed,the plants, too, seemed to shed and shower down a pearly spray, thewillows distilled sweet manna, the fountains laughed, the brooksbabbled, the woods rejoiced, and the meadows arrayed themselves in alltheir glory at her coming. But hardly had the light of day made itpossible to see and distinguish things, when the first object thatpresented itself to the eyes of Sancho Panza was the squire of theGrove's nose, which was so big that it almost overshadowed his wholebody. It is, in fact, stated, that it was of enormous size, hookedin the middle, covered with warts, and of a mulberry colour like anegg-plant; it hung down two fingers' length below his mouth, and thesize, the colour, the warts, and the bend of it, made his face sohideous, that Sancho, as he looked at him, began to tremble hand andfoot like a child in convulsions, and he vowed in his heart to lethimself be given two hundred buffets, sooner than be provoked to fightthat monster. Don Quixote examined his adversary, and found that healready had his helmet on and visor lowered, so that he could notsee his face; he observed, however, that he was a sturdily builtman, but not very tall in stature. Over his armour he wore a surcoator cassock of what seemed to be the finest cloth of gold, allbespangled with glittering mirrors like little moons, which gave himan extremely gallant and splendid appearance; above his helmetfluttered a great quantity of plumes, green, yellow, and white, andhis lance, which was leaning against a tree, was very long andstout, and had a steel point more than a palm in length.

Don Quixote observed all, and took note of all, and from what he sawand observed he concluded that the said knight must be a man ofgreat strength, but he did not for all that give way to fear, likeSancho Panza; on the contrary, with a composed and dauntless air, hesaid to the Knight of the Mirrors, "If, sir knight, your greateagerness to fight has not banished your courtesy, by it I wouldentreat you to raise your visor a little, in order that I may see ifthe comeliness of your countenance corresponds with that of yourequipment."

"Whether you come victorious or vanquished out of this emprise,sir knight," replied he of the Mirrors, "you will have more thanenough time and leisure to see me; and if now I do not comply withyour request, it is because it seems to me I should do a serious wrongto the fair Casildea de Vandalia in wasting time while I stopped toraise my visor before compelling you to confess what you are alreadyaware I maintain."

"Well then," said Don Quixote, "while we are mounting you can atleast tell me if I am that Don Quixote whom you said you vanquished."

"To that we answer you," said he of the Mirrors, "that you are aslike the very knight I vanquished as one egg is like another, but asyou say enchanters persecute you, I will not venture to say positivelywhether you are the said person or not."

"That," said Don Quixote, "is enough to convince me that you areunder a deception; however, entirely to relieve you of it, let ourhorses be brought, and in less time than it would take you to raiseyour visor, if God, my lady, and my arm stand me in good stead, Ishall see your face, and you shall see that I am not the vanquishedDon Quixote you take me to be."

With this, cutting short the colloquy, they mounted, and Don Quixotewheeled Rocinante round in order to take a proper distance to chargeback upon his adversary, and he of the Mirrors did the same; but DonQuixote had not moved away twenty paces when he heard himself calledby the other, and, each returning half-way, he of the Mirrors saidto him, "Remember, sir knight, that the terms of our combat are,that the vanquished, as I said before, shall be at the victor'sdisposal."

"I am aware of it already," said Don Quixote; "provided what iscommanded and imposed upon the vanquished be things that do nottransgress the limits of chivalry."

"That is understood," replied he of the Mirrors.

At this moment the extraordinary nose of the squire presented itselfto Don Quixote's view, and he was no less amazed than Sancho at thesight; insomuch that he set him down as a monster of some kind, or ahuman being of some new species or unearthly breed. Sancho, seeing hismaster retiring to run his course, did not like to be left alonewith the nosy man, fearing that with one flap of that nose on hisown the battle would be all over for him and he would be leftstretched on the ground, either by the blow or with fright; so heran after his master, holding on to Rocinante's stirrup-leather, andwhen it seemed to him time to turn about, he said, "I implore ofyour worship, senor, before you turn to charge, to help me up intothis cork tree, from which I will be able to witness the gallantencounter your worship is going to have with this knight, more to mytaste and better than from the ground."

"It seems to me rather, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that thouwouldst mount a scaffold in order to see the bulls without danger."

"To tell the truth," returned Sancho, "the monstrous nose of thatsquire has filled me with fear and terror, and I dare not stay nearhim."

"It is," said Don Quixote, "such a one that were I not what I amit would terrify me too; so, come, I will help thee up where thouwilt."

While Don Quixote waited for Sancho to mount into the cork tree heof the Mirrors took as much ground as he considered requisite, and,supposing Don Quixote to have done the same, without waiting for anysound of trumpet or other signal to direct them, he wheeled his horse,which was not more agile or better-looking than Rocinante, and athis top speed, which was an easy trot, he proceeded to charge hisenemy; seeing him, however, engaged in putting Sancho up, he drewrein, and halted in mid career, for which his horse was very grateful,as he was already unable to go. Don Quixote, fancying that his foe wascoming down upon him flying, drove his spurs vigorously intoRocinante's lean flanks and made him scud along in such style that thehistory tells us that on this occasion only was he known to makesomething like running, for on all others it was a simple trot withhim; and with this unparalleled fury he bore down where he of theMirrors stood digging his spurs into his horse up to buttons,without being able to make him stir a finger's length from the spotwhere he had come to a standstill in his course. At this luckymoment and crisis, Don Quixote came upon his adversary, in troublewith his horse, and embarrassed with his lance, which he eithercould not manage, or had no time to lay in rest. Don Quixote, however,paid no attention to these difficulties, and in perfect safety tohimself and without any risk encountered him of the Mirrors withsuch force that he brought him to the ground in spite of himselfover the haunches of his horse, and with so heavy a fall that he layto all appearance dead, not stirring hand or foot. The instantSancho saw him fall he slid down from the cork tree, and made allhaste to where his master was, who, dismounting from Rocinante, wentand stood over him of the Mirrors, and unlacing his helmet to see ifhe was dead, and to give him air if he should happen to be alive, hesaw- who can say what he saw, without filling all who hear it withastonishment, wonder, and awe? He saw, the history says, the verycountenance, the very face, the very look, the very physiognomy, thevery effigy, the very image of the bachelor Samson Carrasco! As soonas he saw it he called out in a loud voice, "Make haste here,Sancho, and behold what thou art to see but not to believe; quick,my son, and learn what magic can do, and wizards and enchanters arecapable of."

Sancho came up, and when he saw the countenance of the bachelorCarrasco, he fell to crossing himself a thousand times, and blessinghimself as many more. All this time the prostrate knight showed nosigns of life, and Sancho said to Don Quixote, "It is my opinion,senor, that in any case your worship should take and thrust your swordinto the mouth of this one here that looks like the bachelor SamsonCarrasco; perhaps in him you will kill one of your enemies, theenchanters."

"Thy advice is not bad," said Don Quixote, "for of enemies the fewerthe better;" and he was drawing his sword to carry into effectSancho's counsel and suggestion, when the squire of the Mirrors cameup, now without the nose which had made him so hideous, and criedout in a loud voice, "Mind what you are about, Senor Don Quixote; thatis your friend, the bachelor Samson Carrasco, you have at your feet,and I am his squire."

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
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