Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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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 VIII: Of the good Success which the valorous Don Quixote had
in the dreadful and never-before-imagined Adventure of the Windmills, with other Events worthy to be recorded.


As they were thus discoursing, they perceived some thirty or forty windmills that are in that plain; and as soon as Don Quixote espied them, he said to his squire; "Fortune disposes our affairs better than we ourselves could have desired. Look yonder, friend Sancho Panza, where you may discover somewhat more than thirty monstrous giants, with whom I intend to fight and take away all their lives; with whose spoils we will begin to enrich ourselves: for it is lawful war, and doing God good service to take away so wicked a generation from off the face of the earth." "What giants?" said Sancho Panza- "Those you see yonder," answered his master, "with those long arms; for some of them are wont to have them almost of the length of two leagues." "Consider, Sir," answered Sancho, "that those which appear yonder are not giants, but windmills; and what seem to be arms are the sails, which, whirled about by the wind, make the millstone go." "One may easily see," answered Don Quixote, "that you are not versed in the business of adventures. They are giants; and if you are afraid, get aside and pray, whilst I engage with them in a fierce and unequal combat." And so saying, he clapped spurs to Rozinante, without minding the cries his squire sent after him, assuring him that those he went to assault were, without all doubt, windmills, and not giants. But he was so fully possessed that they were giants, that he neither heard the outcries of his squire Sancho, nor yet discerned what they were, though he was very near them, but went on, crying out aloud: "Fly not, ye cowards and vile caitiffs; for it is a single knight that assaults you! "Now the wind rose a little, and the great sails began to move: which Don Quixote perceiving, he said: "Well, though you should move more arms than the giant Briareus, you shall pay for it."

And so saying, and recommending himself devoutly to his Lady Dulcinea, beseeching her to succour him in the present danger, being well -[27]- covered with his buckler, and setting his lance in the rest, he rushed on as fast as Rozinante could gallop, and attacked the first mill before him; and running his lance into the sail, the wind whirled it about with so much violence that it broke the lance to shivers, dragging horse and rider after it, and tumbling them over and over on the plain in very evil plight. Sancho Panza hastened to his assistance as fast as his ass could carry him; and when he came up to him, he found him not able to stir, so violent was the blow he and Rozinante had received in falling. "God save me," quoth Sancho, "did not I warn you to have a care of what you did, for that they were nothing but windmills, and nobody could mistake them but one that had the like in his head?" "Peace, friend Sancho," answered Don Quixote; "for matters of war are of all others most subject to continual mutations. Now I verily believe, and it is most certainly so, that the sage Freston, who stole away my chamber and books, has metamorphosed these giants into windmills, on purpose to deprive me of the glory of vanquishing them, so great is the enmity he bears me. But when he has done his worst, his wicked arts will avail but little against the goodness of my sword." " God grant it as he can," answered Sancho Panza; and helping him to rise, he mounted him again upon Rozinante, who was half shoulder-slipped.

And discoursing of the late adventure, they followed the road that led to the pass of Lapice, (29) for there Don Quixote said they could not fail to meet with many and various adventures, it being a great thoroughfare: and yet he went on very melancholy for want of his lance; and speaking of it to his squire, he said: "I remember to have read, that a certain Spanish knight, called Diego Perez de Vargas, having broken his sword in fight, tore off a huge branch or limb from an oak, and performed such wonders with it that day, and dashed out the brains of so many Moors, that he was surnamed Machuca; and from that day forward he and his descendants bore the names of Vargas and Machuca. I tell you this, because from the first oak or crab-tree we meet I mean to tear such another limb, at least as good as that; and I purpose and resolve to do such feats with it, that you shall deem yourself most fortunate in being worthy to behold them, and to be an eye-witness of things which can scarcely be believed." "God's will be done," quoth Sancho; "I believe all just as you say, Sir; but pray set yourself upright in your saddle; for you seem to me to ride sideling, occasioned, doubtless, by your being so sorely bruised by the fall." "It is certainly so," answered Don Quixote; "and if I do not complain of pain, it is because knights-errant are not allowed to complain of any wound whatever, though their entrails came out at it." "If it be so, I have nothing to reply," answered Sancho; "but God knows, I should be glad to hear your worship complain when anything ails you. As for myself, I must complain of the least pain I feel, unless this business of not complaining be understood to extend to the squires of knights-errant." Don Quixote could not forbear smiling at the simplicity of his squire, and told him he might complain whenever and as much as he pleased, with or without cause, having never yet read anything to the contrary in the laws of chivalry.

Sancho put him in mind that it was time to dine. His master answered, that at present he had no need; but that he might eat whenever he thought fit. With this licence Sancho adjusted himself the best he could upon his beast, and taking out what he carried in his wallet, he jogged on eating, -[28]- behind his master very leisurely, and now and then lifted the bottle to his mouth with so much relish, the best-fed victualler of Malaga might have envied him. And whilst he went on in this manner, repeating his draughts, he thought no more of the promises his master had made him; nor did he think it any toil, but rather a recreation, to go in quest of adventures, though never so perilous. In short, they passed that night among some trees, and from one of them Don Quixote tore a withered branch, that might serve him in some sort for a lance, and fixed it to the iron head or spear of that which was broken. All that night Don Quixote slept not a wink, ruminating on his Lady Dulcinea, in conformity to what he had read in his books where the knights are wont to pass many nights together without closing their eyes, in forests and deserts, entertaining themselves with the remembrance of their mistresses. Not so did Sancho pass the night; whose stomach being full, and not of dandelion-water, he made but one sleep of it: and, if his master had not roused him, neither the beams of the sun that darted full in his face, nor the melody of the birds, which in great numbers most cheerfully saluted the approach of the new day, could have awakened him. On rising up, he took a swig at his bottle, and found it much lighter than the evening before, which grieved his very heart, for he did not think they were in the way to remedy that defect very soon. Don Quixote would not break his fast; for, as it is said, he resolved to subsist upon savoury remembrances.

They returned to the way they had entered upon the day before toward the pass of Lapice, which they discovered about three in the afternoon. "Here," said Don Quixote, espying it, "brother Sancho Panza, we may thrust our hands up to the elbows in what they call adventures; but take this caution with you, that, though you should see me in the greatest peril in the world, you must not lay your hand to your sword to defend me; unless you see that they who assault me are vile mob and mean scoundrels: in that case you may assist me: but if they should be knights, it is no wise lawful nor allowed by the laws of chivalry, that you should intermeddle until you are dubbed a Knight." "I assure you, Sir," answered Sancho, "your worship shall be obeyed most punctually herein; and the rather because I am naturally very peaceable, and an enemy to thrusting myself into brangles and squabbles; but for all that, as to what regards the defence of my own person, I shall make no great account of those same laws, since both divine and human allow every one to defend himself against all who would annoy him." "I say no less," answered Don Quixote; "but in the business of assisting me against knights, you must restrain and keep in your natural impetuosity." "I say I will do so," answered Sancho; "and I will observe this precept as religiously as the Lord's Day."

As they were thus discoursing, there appeared in the road two monks of the order of St Benedict, mounted upon two dromedaries, for the mules whereon they rode were not much less. They wore travelling masks and umbrellas. Behind them came a coach, and four or five men on horseback, who accompanied it, with two muleteers on foot. There was in the coach, as it was afterwards known, a certain Biscaine lady going to Seville to her husband; who was there ready to embark for the Indies, in a very honourable post. The monks came not in her company, though they were travelling the same road. But scarcely had Don Quixote espied them, when he said to his squire, "Either I am deceived or this is likely to prove the most famous adventure that ever was seen; for those black bulks that -[29]- appear yonder must be, and without doubt are, enchanters, who are carrying away some princess, whom they have stolen, in that coach; and I am obliged to redress this wrong to the utmost of my power." "This may prove a worse job than the windmills," said Sancho: "pray, Sir, take notice, that those are Benedictine Monks, and the coach must belong to some travellers. Pray hearken to my advice, and have a care what you do, and let not the devil deceive you." "I have already told you, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "that you know little of the business of adventures: what I say is true, and you will see it presently." And so saying, he advanced forward, and planted himself in the midst of the highway by which the monks were to pass; and when they were so near, that he supposed they could hear what he said, he cried out with a loud voice, "Diabolical and monstrous race, either instantly release the high-born princesses whom you are carrying away in that coach against their wills, or prepare for instant death, as the just chastisement of your wicked deeds." (30) The monks stopped their mules, and stood admiring, as well at the figure of Don Quixote as at his expressions; to which they answered, "Signor Cavalier, we are neither diabolical nor monstrous, but a couple of religious of the Benedictine order who are travelling on our own business, and are entirely ignorant whether any princesses are carried away by force in that coach or not." "Soft words do nothing with me; for I know ye, treacherous scoundrels," said Don Quixote; and without staying for any other reply, he clapped spurs to Rozinante, and, with his lance couched, ran at the foremost monk with such fury and resolution, that, if he had not slid down from his mule he would have brought him to the ground in spite of his teeth, and wounded to boot, if not killed outright.

The second religious seeing his comrade treated in this manner, clapped spurs to his mule's sides, and began to scour along the plain lighter than the wind itself. Sancho Panza seeing the monk on the ground, leaped nimbly from his ass, and running to him began to take off his habit. In the meanwhile, the monk's two lacqueys coming up asked him why he was stripping their master of his clothes? Sancho answered, that they were his lawful perquisites, as being the spoils of the battle which his lord Don Quixote had just won. The lacqueys, who did not understand raillery, nor what was meant by spoils or battles, seeing Don Quixote at a distance talking with those in the coach, fell upon Sancho, and threw him down, and, leaving him not a hair in his beard, gave him a hearty kicking, and left him stretched on the ground, breathless and senseless; and, without losing a minute, the monk got upon his mule again, trembling, and terribly frighted, and as pale as death; and no sooner was he mounted, but he spurred after his companion, who stood waiting at a good distance to see what would be the issue of that strange encounter; but being unwilling to wait the event they went on their way, crossing themselves oftener than if the devil had been close at their heels. Don Quixote, as was said, stood talking to the lady in the coach, saying, "Your beauty, dear lady, may dispose of your person as pleaseth you best; for your haughty ravishers lie prostrate on the ground, overthrown by my invincible arm; and that you may not be at any pains to learn the name of your deliverer, know, that I am called Don Quixote de la Mancha, Knight-errant and Adventurer, and captive to the peerless and beauteous Dulcinea del Toboso; and, in requital of the benefit you have received at my hands, all I desire is, that you would return to Toboso, and, in my name, present -[30]- yourselves before that lady, and tell her what I have done to obtain your liberty."

All that Don Quixote said was overheard by a certain squire who accompanied the coach, a Biscainer; who, finding he would not let the coach go forward, but insisted upon its immediately returning to Toboso, flew at Don Quixote, and, taking hold of his lance, addressed him, in bad Castilian, and worse Biscaine, after this manner: "Begone, cavalier, and the devil go with thee: I swear by the God that made me, if thou dost not quit the coach, thou forfeitest thy life, as I am a Biscainer." Don Quixote understood him very well, and with great calmness answered, "Wert thou a gentleman, as thou art not, I would before now have chastised thy folly and presumption, thou pitiful slave." To which the Biscainer replied, "I no gentleman! I swear by the great God thou liest, as I am a Christian; if thou wilt throw away thy lance, and draw thy sword, thou shalt see I will make no more of thee than a cat does of a mouse. Biscainer by land, gentleman by sea, gentleman for the devil, and thou liest: look then, if thou hast anything else to say." "Thou shalt see that presently, as said Agrages," answered Don Quixote: and throwing down his lance, he drew his sword, and grasping his buckler, set upon the Biscainer with a resolution to kill him. The Biscainer, seeing him come on in that manner, though he would fain have alighted from his mule, which, being of the worst kind of hacknies, was not be depended upon, had yet only time to draw his sword; but it happened well for him that he was close to the coach side, out of which he snatched a cushion, which served him for a shield; and immediately to it they went, as if they had been mortal enemies. The rest of the company would have made peace between them; but they could not, for the Biscainer swore, in his gibberish, that if they would not let him finish the combat, he would kill his mistress and everybody that offered to hinder him. The lady of the coach, amazed and affrighted at what she saw, bid the coachman put a little out of the way, and so sat at a distance, beholding the rigorous conflict: in the progress of which, the Biscainer gave Don Quixote such a huge stroke on one of his shoulders and above his buckler, that, had it not been for his coat of mail, he had cleft him down to the girdle. Don Quixote feeling the weight of that unmeasureable blow, cried out aloud, saying, "O lady of my soul, Dulcinea, flower of all beauty, succour this thy knight, who to satisfy thy great goodness, exposes himself to this rigorous extremity." The saying this, the drawing his sword, the covering himself well with his buckler, and falling furiously on the Biscainer, were all done in one moment, he resolving to venture all on the fortune of one single blow. The Biscainer, who saw him coming thus upon him, and perceived his bravery by his resolution, resolved to do the same thing that Don Quixote had done; and so he waited for him, covering himself well with his cushion, but was not able to turn his mule about to the right or the left, she being already so jaded, and so little used to such sport that she would not stir a step.

Now Don Quixote, as has been said, advanced against the wary Biscainer with his lifted sword, fully determined to cleave him asunder; and the Biscainer expected him with his sword also lifted up, and guarded by his cushion. All the bystanders were trembling, and in suspense what might be the event of those prodigious blows with which they threatened each other; and the lady of the coach, and her waiting-women, were making a thousand vows and promises of offerings to all the images and places of -[31]- devotion in Spain, that God would deliver them and their squire from the great peril they were in. But the misfortune is, that the author of this history, in this very crisis leaves the combat unfinished, excusing himself, that he could find no more written of the exploits of Don Quixote than what he has already related. It is true, indeed, that the second undertaker of this work could not believe that so curious an history could be lost in oblivion, or that the wits of la Mancha should have so little curiosity, as not to preserve in their archives, or their cabinets, some papers that treated of this famous knight; and upon that presumption he did not despair to find the conclusion of this delectable history; which, heaven favouring him, he has at last done in the manner as shall be recounted in the following chapter.


Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

Gavilan Spanish Questions or comments Bibliographic Record Index page Previous page Top Next page