Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis
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 IV: Of what befell our Knight after he had sallied out from the Inn.
It was about break of day when Don Quixote issued forth from the inn, so satisfied, so gay, so blithe, to see himself knighted, that the joy thereof almost burst his horse's girths. But recollecting the advice of his host, concerning the necessary provisions for his undertaking, especially the articles of money and clean shirts, he resolved to return home, and furnish himself accordingly, and also provide himself with a squire: purposing to take into his service a certain country fellow of the neighbourhood, who was poor, and had children, yet was very fit for the squirely office of chivalry. With this thought, he turned Rozinante towards his village; who, as it were, knowing what his master would be at, began to put on with so much alacrity, that he hardly seemed to set his feet to the ground. He had not gone far, when, on his right hand, from a thicket hard by, he fancied he heard a weak voice, as of a person complaining. And scarcely had he heard it, when he said, "I thank Heaven for the favour it does me, in laying before me so early an opportunity of complying with the duty of my profession, and of reaping the fruit of my honourable desires. These are, doubtless, the cries of some distressed person, who stands in need of my protection and assistance." And turning the reins, he put Rozinante forward toward the place from whence he thought the voice proceeded. And he had entered but a few paces into the wood, when he saw a mare tied to an oak, and a lad to another, naked from the waist upwards, about fifteen years of age, who was the person that cried out; and not without cause, for a lusty country fellow was laying him on very severely with a belt, and accompanied every lash with a reprimand and a word of advice: for, said he, "The tongue slow and the eyes quick." The boy answered, "I will do so no more, dear Sir; by the passion of God, I will never do so again; and I promise for the future to take more care of the flock."
Now Don Quixote, seeing what passed, said in an angry tone: "Discourteous Knight, it ill becomes thee to meddle with one who is not able to defend himself; get upon thy horse, and take thy lance," for he had also a lance leaning against the oak to which the mare was fastened! "for I'll make thee know that it is cowardly to do what thou art doing." The countryman, seeing such a figure coming towards him, armed from head to foot, and brandishing his lance at his face, gave himself up for a dead man, and with good words answered: "Signor Cavalier, this lad whom I am chastising is a servant of mine; I employ him to tend a flock of sheep, -- which I have hereabouts, and he is so careless, that I lose one every day; and because I correct him for his negligence or roguery, he says I do it out of covetousness, and for an excuse not to pay him his wages; but before God and on my conscience he lies." (11) — "Lies, in my presence! pitiful rascal," said Don Quixote; "by the sun that shines upon us, I have a good mind to run thee through and through with this lance: pay him immediately without further reply; if not, by that God who rules us, I will despatch and annihilate thee in a moment! Untie him presently." The countryman hung down his head, and, without replying a word, untied his boy. Don Quixote asked the lad how much his master owed him; who answered, "Nine months' wages, at seven reals (12) a month." Don Quixote computed it, and found that it amounted to sixty-three reals; and he bade the countryman instantly disburse them, otherwise he must expect to die for it. The fellow in a fright answered, that on the word of a dying man, and upon the oath he had taken, though by the way he had taken no oath, it was not so much; for he must deduct the price of three pair of shoes he had given him upon account, and a real for two blood-lettings, when he was not well. "All this is very right," said Don Quixote; "but set the shoes and the blood-lettings against the stripes you have given him undeservedly; for if he tore the leather of the shoes you paid for, you have torn his skin; and if the barber-surgeon drew blood from him when he was sick, you have drawn blood from him when he is well; so that upon these accounts he owes you nothing." — "The mischief is, Signor Cavalier," quoth the countryman, "that I have no money about me; but let Andres go home with me, and I will pay him all, real by real." — "I go home with him! "said the lad; "the devil a bit: no, Sir, I design no such thing; for when he has me alone, he will flay me like any Saint Bartholomew." (13) — "He will not do so," replied Don Quixote; "it is sufficient to keep him in awe, that I lay my commands upon him; and upon condition he swears to me by the order of knighthood which he has received, I will let him go free, and will be bound for the payment." — "Take heed, good Sir, what you say," quoth the boy; "for my master is no knight, nor ever received any order of knighthood: he is John Aldudo the Rich, of the neighbourhood of Quintanar." — "That is little to the purpose," answered Don Quixote; "there may be knights of the family of the Aldudos, and the rather since every man is the son of his own works." — "That's true," quoth Andres; "but what works is my master the son of, who refuses me the wages of my sweat and labour?" — "I do not refuse thee, friend Andres," replied the countryman; "and be so kind to go with me; for I swear by all the orders of knighthood that are in the world to pay thee, as I have said, every penny down, and perfumed (14) into the bargain." — "As to the perfuming, I thank you for that," said Don Quixote; "give it him in reals, and I shall be satisfied: and see that you perform what you have sworn; else I swear to you by the same oath, to return to find you out, and chastise you; for I shall find you out though you should hide yourself closer than a lizard. And if you would know who it is that commands you this, that you may be the more strictly obliged to perform your promise, know that I am the valorous Don Quixote de la Mancha, the redresser of wrongs and abuses; and so farewell. And do not forget what you have promised and sworn, on pain of the penalties aforesaid." And so saying, he clapped spurs to Rozinante, and was soon got a good way off.
The countryman followed him with all the eyes he had, and when he -- found he was quite past the wood and out of sight, he turned to his man Andres, and said: "Come hither, child; I am resolved to pay thee what I owe thee, as that redresser of wrongs commanded me." — "And I swear so you shall," quoth Andres; "and you will do well to perform what that honest gentleman has commanded, whom God grant to live a thousand years, and who is so brave a man, and so just a judge that, truly, if you do not pay me he will come back and execute what he has threatened." — "And I swear so, too," quoth the countryman; "but to show thee how much I love thee, I am resolved to augment the debt to increase the payment: "and taking him by the arm, he tied him again to the tree, where he gave him so many stripes that he left him for dead. "Now, master Andres, call upon that redresser of wrongs; thou wilt find he will hardly redress this, though I believe I have not quite done with thee yet, for I have a good mind to flay thee alive, as thou didst fear just now." But at length he untied him, and gave him leave to go in quest of his judge, to execute the sentence he had pronounced. Andres went away in dudgeon, swearing he would find out the valorous Don Quixote de la Mancha and tell him all that had passed, and that he should pay for it sevenfold. Notwithstanding all this, away he went weeping, and his master stayed behind laughing.
In this manner the valorous Don Quixote redressed this wrong, and overjoyed at his success, as thinking he had given a most fortunate and glorious beginning to his knight-errantry, he went on towards his village, entirely satisfied with himself, and saying in a low voice: "Well mayest thou deem thyself happy above all women living on the earth, O Dulcinea del Toboso! beauteous above the most beautiful, since it has been thy lot to have subject and obedient to thy whole will and pleasure so valiant and renowned a knight as is, and ever shall be, Don Quixote de la Mancha; who, as all the world knows, received but yesterday the order of knighthood, and to-day has redressed the greatest injury and grievance that injustice could invent and cruelty commit: to-day hath he wrested the scourge out of the hand of that pitiless enemy who so undeservedly lashed that tender stripling."
Just as he had done speaking he came to the centre of four roads, and presently it came into his imagination that the knights-errant, when they came to these cross-ways, set themselves to consider which of the roads they should take, and to imitate them, he stood still awhile; and at last after mature consideration he let go the reins, submitting his own will to be guided by that of his horse, who, following his first motion, took the direct road towards his stable. And having gone about two miles, Don Quixote discovered a company of people who, as it afterwards appeared, were certain merchants of Toledo, going to buy silks in Murcia. There were six of them, and they came with their umbrellas and four servants on horseback, and three muleteers on foot. Scarce had Don Quixote espied them, when he imagined it must be some new adventure; and to imitate as near as possibly he could the passages he had read in his books, he fancied this to be cut out on purpose for him to achieve. And so, with a graceful deportment and intrepidity, he settled himself firm in the stirrups, grasped his lance, covered his breast with his target, and posting himself in the midst of the highway, stood waiting the coming up of those knights-errant, for such he already judged them to be. And when they were come so near as to be seen and heard, Don Quixote raised his voice, and with -- an arrogant air cried out: "Let the whole world stand, if the whole world does not confess that there is not in the whole world a damsel more beautiful than the Empress of la Mancha, the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso! "The merchants stopped at the sound of these words, and to behold the strange figure of him who pronounced them; and by one and the other they soon perceived the madness of the speaker. But they had a mind to stay and see what that confession meant which he required of them; and one of them, who was somewhat of a wag, but withal very discreet, said to him: "Signor Cavalier, we do not know who this good lady you mention may be; let us but see her, and if she is of so great beauty as you intimate, we will with all our hearts, and without any constraint, confess that truth you demand from us." — "Should I show her to you," replied Don Quixote, "where would be the merit in confessing a truth so notorious? The business is, that without seeing her you believe, confess, affirm, swear, and maintain it; and if not, I challenge you all to battle, proud and monstrous as you are: and whether you come on one by one, as the laws of chivalry require, or all together, as is the custom and wicked practice of those of your stamp, here I wait for you, confiding in the justice of my cause." — "Signor Cavalier," replied the merchant, "I beseech your worship, in the name of all the princes here present, that we may not lay a burden upon our consciences by confessing a thing we never saw nor heard, and especially what is so much to the prejudice of the empresses and queens of Alcarria and Estremadura, that your worship would be pleased to show us some picture (15) of this lady, though no bigger than a barley-corn; for we shall guess at the clue by the thread; and herewith we shall rest satisfied and safe, and your worship remain contented and pleased: nay, I verily believe we are already so far inclined to your side, that though her picture should represent her squinting with one eye, and distilling vermilion and brimstone from the other, notwithstanding all this, to oblige you we will say whatever you please in her favour." — "There distils not, base scoundrels, "answered Don Quixote, burning with rage, "there distils not from her what you say, but rather ambergris and civet among cotton; (16) neither is she crooked nor humpbacked, but as straight as a spindle of Guadarrama; (17) but you shall pay for the horrid blasphemy you have uttered against so transcendant a beauty as my mistress."
And so saying, with his lance couched, he ran at him who had spoken, with so much fury and rage,
that if good fortune had not ordered it that Rozinante stumbled and fell in the midst of his career, it had gone
hard with the daring merchant. Rozinante fell, and his master lay rolling about the field a good while, and
endeavouring to rise, but in vain, so encumbered was he with his lance, target, spurs, and helmet, and with the
weight of his antique armour. And while he was thus struggling to get up, and could not, he continued calling out:
"Fly not, ye dastardly rabble; stay, ye race of slaves; for it is through my horse's fault, and not my own, that I
lie here extended." A muleteer of the company, not over good-natured, hearing the poor fallen gentleman vent such
arrogancies, could not bear it without returning him an answer on his ribs; and coming to him he took the lance,
and, after he had broken it to pieces, with one of the splinters he so belaboured Don Quixote, that in spite of his
armour he thrashed him to chaff. His masters cried out not to beat him so much, and to leave him; but the muleteer
was provoked, and would not quit the game until he had quite spent the remainder of his choler; and running for the
other pieces of the -- lance, he finished the breaking
them upon the poor fallen knight; who, notwithstanding the tempest of blows that rained upon him, never shut his
mouth, threatening heaven and earth and those assassins, for such they seemed to him. At length the fellow was
tired, and the merchants went on their way, sufficiently furnished with matter of discourse concerning the poor
belaboured knight, who, when he found himself alone, tried again to raise himself; but if he could not do it when
whole and well, how should he when bruised and almost battered to pieces? Yet still he thought himself a happy man,
looking upon this as a misfortune peculiar to knights-errant, and imputing the whole to his horse's fault; nor was
it possible for him to raise himself up, his whole body was so horribly bruised.
Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis