Miqeul de Cervantes >> Don Quixote (page 70)

Good God, what was the indignation of Don Quixote when he heardthe audacious words of his squire! So great was it, that in a voiceinarticulate with rage, with a stammering tongue, and eyes thatflashed living fire, he exclaimed, "Rascally clown, boorish, insolent,and ignorant, ill-spoken, foul-mouthed, impudent backbiter andslanderer! Hast thou dared to utter such words in my presence and inthat of these illustrious ladies? Hast thou dared to harbour suchgross and shameless thoughts in thy muddled imagination? Begone frommy presence, thou born monster, storehouse of lies, hoard of untruths,garner of knaveries, inventor of scandals, publisher of absurdities,enemy of the respect due to royal personages! Begone, show thyselfno more before me under pain of my wrath;" and so saying he knittedhis brows, puffed out his cheeks, gazed around him, and stamped on theground violently with his right foot, showing in every way the ragethat was pent up in his heart; and at his words and furious gesturesSancho was so scared and terrified that he would have been glad if theearth had opened that instant and swallowed him, and his onlythought was to turn round and make his escape from the angrypresence of his master.

But the ready-witted Dorothea, who by this time so well understoodDon Quixote's humour, said, to mollify his wrath, "Be not irritated atthe absurdities your good squire has uttered, Sir Knight of the RuefulCountenance, for perhaps he did not utter them without cause, and fromhis good sense and Christian conscience it is not likely that he wouldbear false witness against anyone. We may therefore believe, withoutany hesitation, that since, as you say, sir knight, everything in thiscastle goes and is brought about by means of enchantment, Sancho, Isay, may possibly have seen, through this diabolical medium, what hesays he saw so much to the detriment of my modesty."

"I swear by God Omnipotent," exclaimed Don Quixote at this, "yourhighness has hit the point; and that some vile illusion must have comebefore this sinner of a Sancho, that made him see what it would havebeen impossible to see by any other means than enchantments; for Iknow well enough, from the poor fellow's goodness and harmlessness,that he is incapable of bearing false witness against anybody."

"True, no doubt," said Don Fernando, "for which reason, Senor DonQuixote, you ought to forgive him and restore him to the bosom of yourfavour, sicut erat in principio, before illusions of this sort hadtaken away his senses."

Don Quixote said he was ready to pardon him, and the curate went forSancho, who came in very humbly, and falling on his knees begged forthe hand of his master, who having presented it to him and allowed himto kiss it, gave him his blessing and said, "Now, Sancho my son,thou wilt be convinced of the truth of what I have many a time toldthee, that everything in this castle is done by means of enchantment."

"So it is, I believe," said Sancho, "except the affair of theblanket, which came to pass in reality by ordinary means."

"Believe it not," said Don Quixote, "for had it been so, I wouldhave avenged thee that instant, or even now; but neither then nornow could I, nor have I seen anyone upon whom to avenge thy wrong."

They were all eager to know what the affair of the blanket was,and the landlord gave them a minute account of Sancho's flights, atwhich they laughed not a little, and at which Sancho would have beenno less out of countenance had not his master once more assured him itwas all enchantment. For all that his simplicity never reached so higha pitch that he could persuade himself it was not the plain and simpletruth, without any deception whatever about it, that he had beenblanketed by beings of flesh and blood, and not by visionary andimaginary phantoms, as his master believed and protested.

The illustrious company had now been two days in the inn; and asit seemed to them time to depart, they devised a plan so that, withoutgiving Dorothea and Don Fernando the trouble of going back with DonQuixote to his village under pretence of restoring Queen Micomicona,the curate and the barber might carry him away with them as theyproposed, and the curate be able to take his madness in hand athome; and in pursuance of their plan they arranged with the owner ofan oxcart who happened to be passing that way to carry him afterthis fashion. They constructed a kind of cage with wooden bars,large enough to hold Don Quixote comfortably; and then Don Fernandoand his companions, the servants of Don Luis, and the officers ofthe Brotherhood, together with the landlord, by the directions andadvice of the curate, covered their faces and disguised themselves,some in one way, some in another, so as to appear to Don Quixote quitedifferent from the persons he had seen in the castle. This done, inprofound silence they entered the room where he was asleep, taking hishis rest after the past frays, and advancing to where he wassleeping tranquilly, not dreaming of anything of the kind happening,they seized him firmly and bound him fast hand and foot, so that, whenhe awoke startled, he was unable to move, and could only marvel andwonder at the strange figures he saw before him; upon which he at oncegave way to the idea which his crazed fancy invariably conjured upbefore him, and took it into his head that all these shapes werephantoms of the enchanted castle, and that he himself wasunquestionably enchanted as he could neither move nor help himself;precisely what the curate, the concoctor of the scheme, expected wouldhappen. Of all that were there Sancho was the only one who was at oncein his senses and in his own proper character, and he, though he waswithin very little of sharing his master's infirmity, did not failto perceive who all these disguised figures were; but he did notdare to open his lips until he saw what came of this assault andcapture of his master; nor did the latter utter a word, waiting to theupshot of his mishap; which was that bringing in the cage, they shuthim up in it and nailed the bars so firmly that they could not beeasily burst open. They then took him on their shoulders, and asthey passed out of the room an awful voice- as much so as thebarber, not he of the pack-saddle but the other, was able to makeit- was heard to say, "O Knight of the Rueful Countenance, let notthis captivity in which thou art placed afflict thee, for this mustneeds be, for the more speedy accomplishment of the adventure in whichthy great heart has engaged thee; the which shall be accomplished whenthe raging Manchegan lion and the white Tobosan dove shall be linkedtogether, having first humbled their haughty necks to the gentleyoke of matrimony. And from this marvellous union shall come forthto the light of the world brave whelps that shall rival the raveningclaws of their valiant father; and this shall come to pass ere thepursuer of the flying nymph shall in his swift natural course havetwice visited the starry signs. And thou, O most noble and obedientsquire that ever bore sword at side, beard on face, or nose to smellwith, be not dismayed or grieved to see the flower ofknight-errantry carried away thus before thy very eyes; for soon, ifit so please the Framer of the universe, thou shalt see thyselfexalted to such a height that thou shalt not know thyself, and thepromises which thy good master has made thee shall not prove false;and I assure thee, on the authority of the sage Mentironiana, that thywages shall be paid thee, as thou shalt see in due season. Follow thenthe footsteps of the valiant enchanted knight, for it is expedientthat thou shouldst go to the destination assigned to both of you;and as it is not permitted to me to say more, God be with thee; forI return to that place I wot of;" and as he brought the prophecy toa close he raised his voice to a high pitch, and then lowered it tosuch a soft tone, that even those who knew it was all a joke werealmost inclined to take what they heard seriously.

Don Quixote was comforted by the prophecy he heard, for he at oncecomprehended its meaning perfectly, and perceived it was promised tohim that he should see himself united in holy and lawful matrimonywith his beloved Dulcinea del Toboso, from whose blessed womb shouldproceed the whelps, his sons, to the eternal glory of La Mancha; andbeing thoroughly and firmly persuaded of this, he lifted up his voice,and with a deep sigh exclaimed, "Oh thou, whoever thou art, who hastforetold me so much good, I implore of thee that on my part thouentreat that sage enchanter who takes charge of my interests, thathe leave me not to perish in this captivity in which they are nowcarrying me away, ere I see fulfilled promises so joyful andincomparable as those which have been now made me; for, let this butcome to pass, and I shall glory in the pains of my prison, findcomfort in these chains wherewith they bind me, and regard this bedwhereon they stretch me, not as a hard battle-field, but as a soft andhappy nuptial couch; and touching the consolation of Sancho Panza,my squire, I rely upon his goodness and rectitude that he will notdesert me in good or evil fortune; for if, by his ill luck or mine, itmay not happen to be in my power to give him the island I havepromised, or any equivalent for it, at least his wages shall not belost; for in my will, which is already made, I have declared the sumthat shall be paid to him, measured, not by his many faithfulservices, but by the means at my disposal."

Sancho bowed his head very respectfully and kissed both his hands,for, being tied together, he could not kiss one; and then theapparitions lifted the cage upon their shoulders and fixed it upon theox-cart.



When Don Quixote saw himself caged and hoisted on the cart in thisway, he said, "Many grave histories of knights-errant have I read; butnever yet have I read, seen, or heard of their carrying offenchanted knights-errant in this fashion, or at the slow pace thatthese lazy, sluggish animals promise; for they always take them awaythrough the air with marvellous swiftness, enveloped in a dark thickcloud, or on a chariot of fire, or it may be on some hippogriff orother beast of the kind; but to carry me off like this on anox-cart! By God, it puzzles me! But perhaps the chivalry andenchantments of our day take a different course from that of thosein days gone by; and it may be, too, that as I am a new knight inthe world, and the first to revive the already forgotten calling ofknight-adventurers, they may have newly invented other kinds ofenchantments and other modes of carrying off the enchanted. Whatthinkest thou of the matter, Sancho my son?"

"I don't know what to think," answered Sancho, "not being as wellread as your worship in errant writings; but for all that I venture tosay and swear that these apparitions that are about us are not quitecatholic."

"Catholic!" said Don Quixote. "Father of me! how can they beCatholic when they are all devils that have taken fantastic shapesto come and do this, and bring me to this condition? And if thouwouldst prove it, touch them, and feel them, and thou wilt find theyhave only bodies of air, and no consistency except in appearance."

"By God, master," returned Sancho, "I have touched them already; andthat devil, that goes about there so busily, has firm flesh, andanother property very different from what I have heard say devilshave, for by all accounts they all smell of brimstone and other badsmells; but this one smells of amber half a league off." Sancho washere speaking of Don Fernando, who, like a gentleman of his rank,was very likely perfumed as Sancho said.

"Marvel not at that, Sancho my friend," said Don Quixote; "for letme tell thee devils are crafty; and even if they do carry odours aboutwith them, they themselves have no smell, because they are spirits;or, if they have any smell, they cannot smell of anything sweet, butof something foul and fetid; and the reason is that as they carry hellwith them wherever they go, and can get no ease whatever from theirtorments, and as a sweet smell is a thing that gives pleasure andenjoyment, it is impossible that they can smell sweet; if, then,this devil thou speakest of seems to thee to smell of amber, eitherthou art deceiving thyself, or he wants to deceive thee by making theefancy he is not a devil."

Such was the conversation that passed between master and man; andDon Fernando and Cardenio, apprehensive of Sancho's making acomplete discovery of their scheme, towards which he had alreadygone some way, resolved to hasten their departure, and calling thelandlord aside, they directed him to saddle Rocinante and put thepack-saddle on Sancho's ass, which he did with great alacrity. Inthe meantime the curate had made an arrangement with the officers thatthey should bear them company as far as his village, he paying them somuch a day. Cardenio hung the buckler on one side of the bow ofRocinante's saddle and the basin on the other, and by signscommanded Sancho to mount his ass and take Rocinante's bridle, andat each side of the cart he placed two officers with their muskets;but before the cart was put in motion, out came the landlady and herdaughter and Maritornes to bid Don Quixote farewell, pretending toweep with grief at his misfortune; and to them Don Quixote said:

"Weep not, good ladies, for all these mishaps are the lot of thosewho follow the profession I profess; and if these reverses did notbefall me I should not esteem myself a famous knight-errant; forsuch things never happen to knights of little renown and fame, becausenobody in the world thinks about them; to valiant knights they do, forthese are envied for their virtue and valour by many princes and otherknights who compass the destruction of the worthy by base means.Nevertheless, virtue is of herself so mighty, that, in spite of allthe magic that Zoroaster its first inventor knew, she will comevictorious out of every trial, and shed her light upon the earth asthe sun does upon the heavens. Forgive me, fair ladies, if, throughinadvertence, I have in aught offended you; for intentionally andwittingly I have never done so to any; and pray to God that he deliverme from this captivity to which some malevolent enchanter hasconsigned me; and should I find myself released therefrom, the favoursthat ye have bestowed upon me in this castle shall be held in memoryby me, that I may acknowledge, recognise, and requite them as theydeserve."

Title: Don Quixote
Author: Miqeul de Cervantes
Viewed 215492 times


Page generation 0.002 seconds