Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[4]-

The Life and Exploits
of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes, Translated by Charles Jarvis, Esq.

The First Part
 

CHAPTER II: Which treats of the first Sally the ingenious Don Quixote
made from his Village.

 

Now these dispositions being made, he would no longer defer putting his design in execution; being the more strongly excited thereto by the mischief he thought his delay occasioned in the world; such and so many were the grievances he proposed to redress; the wrongs he intended to rectify; the exorbitancies to correct; the abuses to reform, and the debts to discharge. And, therefore, without making any one privy to his design, or being seen by anybody, one morning before day, which was one of the hottest of the month of July, he armed himself cap--pie, mounted Rozinante, adjusted his ill-composed beaver, braced on his target, grasped his lance, and issued forth into the fields from a private door of his back-yard, with the greatest satisfaction and joy, to find with how much ease he had given a beginning to his honourable enterprise. But scarce was he got into the plain, when a terrible thought assaulted him, and such as had wellnigh made him abandon his new undertaking; for it came into his remembrance that he was not dubbed a knight, and that, according to the laws of chivalry, he -[5]- neither could nor ought to enter the lists against any knight: and though he had been dubbed, still he must wear white armour, as a new knight, without any device on his shield, until he had acquired one by his prowess. These reflections staggered his resolution; but his frenzy prevailing above any reason whatever, he purposed to get himself knighted by the first person he should meet, in imitation of many others who had done the like, as he had read in the books which had occasioned his madness. As to the white armour, he proposed to scour his own the first opportunity, in such sort, that it should be whiter than ermine: and herewith quieting his mind, he went on his way, following no other road than what his horse pleased to take; believing that therein consisted the life and spirit of adventures.

Thus our flaming adventurer jogged on, talking to himself, and saying: "Who doubts, but that, in future times, when the faithful history of my famous exploits shall come to light, the sage who writes them, when he gives a relation of this my first sally, so early in the morning, will do it in words like these: 'Scarce had ruddy Phoebus spread the golden tresses of his beauteous hair over the face of the wide and spacious earth, and scarce had the painted birds, with the sweet and mellifluous harmony of their forked tongues, saluted the approach of rosy Aurora, who, quitting the soft couch of her jealous husband, disclosed herself to mortals through the gates and balconies of the Manchegan horizon; when the renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha, abandoning the lazy down, mounted his famous courser Rozinante, and began to travel through the ancient and noted field of Montiel;'" and true it is, that was the very field; and passing along it he continued saying: "Happy times, and happy age, in which my famous exploits shall come to light, worthy to be engraved in brass, carved in marble, and drawn in picture, for a monument to all posterity! O thou sage enchanter, whoever thou art, to whose lot it shall fall to be the chronicler of this wonderful history, I beseech thee not to forget my good Rozinante, the inseparable companion of all my travels and excursions." Then on a sudden, as one really enamoured, he went on, saying: "O Princess Dulcinea! mistress of this captive heart! great injury hast thou done me in discarding and disgracing me by thy rigorous decree, forbidding me to appear in the presence of thy beauty. Vouchsafe, lady, to remember this thine enthralled heart, that endures so many afflictions for love of thee."

Thus he went on, stringing one extravagance upon another, in the style his books had taught him, and imitating, as near as he could, their very phrase. He travelled on so leisurely, and the sun advanced so fast, and with such intense heat, that it was sufficient to have melted his brains, if he had had any. He travelled almost that whole day without meeting with anything worth relating, which disheartened him much; for he wanted, immediately, to have encountered somebody to make trial of the force of his valiant arm.

Some authors say, his first adventure was that of the straits of Lapice; others pretend, it was that of the windmills. But what I have been able to discover of this matter, and what I have found written in the annals of La Mancha, is, that he travelled all that day, and, toward the fall of night, his horse and he found themselves tired, and almost dead with hunger; and looking round about to see if he could discover some castle or shepherd's cottage to which he might retire, and relieve his extreme necessity, he perceived, not far from the road, an inn, which was as if he had seen a star directing him to the porticos or palaces of his redemption. He made all -[6]- the haste he could, and came up to it just as the day shut in. There chanced to stand at the door two young women, ladies of pleasure, as they are called, who were going to Seville with certain carriers, who happened to take up their lodging at the inn that night. And as whatever our adventurer thought, saw, or imagined, seemed to him to be done and transacted in the manner he had read of, immediately, at sight of the inn, he fancied it to be a castle, with four turrets and battlements of refulgent silver, together with its draw-bridge, deep moat, and all the appurtenances with which such castles are usually described. As he was making up to the inn, which he took for a castle, at some little distance from it he checked Rozinante by the bridle, expecting some dwarf to appear on the battlements, and give notice, by sound of trumpet, of the arrival of a knight at the castle. But finding they delayed, and that Rozinante pressed to get to the stable, he drew near to the inn door, and saw there the two strolling wenches, who seemed to him to be two beautiful damsels, or graceful ladies, who were taking their pleasure at the castle gate.

They could not contain their laughter
They could not contain their laughter

It happened that a swineherd getting together his hogs (for, without apology, so they are called) from the stubble-field, wound his horn, at which signal they are wont to assemble; and, at that instant, Don Quixote's imagination represented to him what he wished, namely, that some dwarf gave the signal of his arrival; and therefore, with wondrous content, he came up to the inn, and to the ladies, who, perceiving a man armed in that manner with lance and buckler, were frighted, and began to run into the house. But Don Quixote, guessing at their fear by their flight, lifted up his pasteboard vizor, and discovering his withered and dusty visage, with courteous demeanour and grave voice, thus accosted them: "Fly not, ladies, nor fear any discourtesy; for the order of knighthood, which I profess, permits me not to offer injury to any one, much less to virgins of such high rank as your presence denotes." The wenches stared at him, and with all the eyes they had were looking to find his face, which the scurvy beaver almost covered. But when they heard themselves styled virgins, a thing so out of the way of their profession, they could not contain their laughter, and in so violent a manner, that Don Quixote began to grow angry, and said to them; "Modesty well becomes the fair, and nothing is so foolish as excessive laughter, proceeding from a slight occasion: but I do not say this to disoblige you, or to cause you to discover any ill disposition towards me; for mine is no other than to do you service." This language, which they did not understand, and the uncouth mien of our knight, increased their laughter, and his wrath: and things would have gone much farther, had not the inn-keeper, come out at that instant (a man, who, by being very bulky, was inclined to be very peaceable), who, beholding such an odd figure all in armour, the pieces of which were so ill sorted, as were the bridle, lance, buckler, and corselet, could scarce forbear keeping the damsels company in the demonstrations of their mirth. But, being in some fear of a pageant equipped in so warlike a manner, he resolved to speak him fair, and therefore accosted him thus: "If your worship, signor cavalier, is in quest of a lodging, bating a bed, for in this inn there is none to be had, everything else will be found here in great abundance," Don Quixote, perceiving the humility of the governor of the fortress, for such to him appeared the inn-keeper and the inn, answered: "Anything will serve me, Signor Castellano, for arms are my ornaments, and fighting my repose." The host thought he called him Castellano, because he took him for an -[7]- honest Castilian, (7) whereas he was an Andalusian, and of the coast of Saint Lucar, as arrant a thief as Cacus, and as sharp and unlucky as a collegian or a court-page; and therefore he replied: "If it be so, your worship's beds are hard rocks, and your sleep the being always awake; and since it is so, you may venture to alight, being sure of finding in this poor hut sufficient cause for not sleeping a whole twelvemonth, much more one single night." And so saying, he went and held Don Quixote's stirrup, who alighted with much difficulty and pains; for he had not broken his fast all that day. He presently requested of the host to take especial care of his steed, for he was the best piece of horse-flesh that ever ate bread in the world. The inn-keeper viewed him, but did not think him so good as Don Quixote represented him to be, no, not by half; and having set him up in the stable, he returned to see what his guest would be pleased to order; whom the damsels were unarming, for they were already reconciled to him; and though they had taken off the back and breast pieces, they could not find out how to unlace his gorget, or take off the counterfeit beaver, which he had fastened in such a manner with green ribbands, that, there being no possibility of untying them, they must of necessity be cut; which he would by no means consent to, and so he remained all that night with his helmet on, and was the strangest and most ridiculous figure imaginable.

Whilst the girls were taking off his armour, imagining them to be persons of the first quality, and ladies of that castle, he said to them with great gaiety: "Never sure was knight so nobly served by ladies, as was Don Quixote, after his departure from his village: damsels waited on his person, and princesses on his steed. O Rozinante! for that, dear ladies, is my horse's name, and Don Quixote de la Mancha is my own; for though I was not willing to discover myself, until the exploits done for your service and benefit should discover me, the necessity of accommodating the old romance of Sir Lancelot to our present purpose has been the occasion of your knowing my name before the proper season: bet the time will come when your ladyships may command, and I obey: and the valour of my arm shall manifest the desire I have to serve you." The lasses, who were not accustomed to such rhetorical flourishes, answered not a word, but only asked, whether he would be pleased to eat anything. "With all my heart," answered Don Quixote; "anything eatable would, I apprehend, come very seasonably." That day happened to be Friday, and there was nothing to be had in the inn, excepting a parcel of dried fish, which in Castile they call Abadexo; in Andalusia, Baccalao; in some parts Curadillo, and in others Truchuela. They asked him whether he would be pleased to eat some Truchuelas, for they had no other fish to offer him. " So there be many troutlings," answered Don Quixote, "they may serve me instead of one trout; for I would as willingly be paid eight single reals as one real of eight: and the rather, because perhaps these troutlings are like veal, which is preferable to beef, or like kid, which is better than the goat. But be that as it will, let it come quickly; for the toil and weight of arms can not be supported without supplying the belly well." They laid the cloth at the door of the inn for the sake of the fresh breeze; and the landlord brought him some of the ill-watered and worse-boiled Baccalao, and a loaf of bread, as black and mouldy as his armour: but it was matter of great laughter to see him eat; for, having his helmet on, and the beaver up, he could not put anything into his mouth with his own hands, but somebody must do it for him; and so one of the foresaid ladies performed this office. -[8]- But to give him to drink was utterly impossible if the host had not bored a reed, and, putting one end into his mouth, poured in the wine leisurely at the other: and all this he suffered patiently, rather than cut the lacings of his helmet.

In the meantime there came to the inn a sow-gelder, who, as soon as he arrived, sounded his whistle of reeds four or five times, which entirely confirmed Don Quixote in the thought that he was in some famous castle, that they served him with music, and that the poor jacks were trouts, the coarse loaf the finest white bread, the wenches ladies, and the host governor of the castle; and so he concluded his resolution to be well taken, and his sally attended with success. But what gave him the most disturbance was, that he was not yet dubbed a knight; thinking he could not lawfully undertake any adventure until he had first received the order of knighthood.
 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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