Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[56]-

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 XV: Wherein is related the unfortunate Adventure which befell Don Quixote in meeting with certain bloody-minded Yangueses. (42)

 

The sage Cid Hamet Benengeli relates, that when Don Quixote had taken leave of his hosts, and of all those who were present at Chrysostom's funeral, he and his squire entered the same wood into which they had seen the shepherdess Marcela enter before. And having ranged through it for above two hours, looking for her everywhere, without being able to find her, they stopped in a meadow full of fresh grass, near which ran a pleasant and refreshing brook, insomuch that it invited and compelled them to pass there the sultry hours of the noon-day heat, which already began to come on with great violence. Don Quixote and Sancho alighted, and leaving the ass and Rozinante at large to feed upon the abundance of grass that sprung in the place, they ransacked the wallet; and, without any ceremony, in a friendly and social manner, master and man ate what they found in it. Sancho had taken no care to fetter Rozinante, being well assured he was so tame and so little gamesome, that all the mares in the pastures of Cordova would not provoke him to any unlucky pranks. But fortune, or the devil, who is not always asleep, so ordered it, that there were grazing in that valley a parcel of Galician mares, belonging to certain Yanguesian carriers, whose custom it is to pass the mid-day with their drove, in places -[57]- where there is grass and water: and that where Don Quixote chanced to be, was very fit for the purpose of the Yangueses. Now it fell out, that Rozinante had a mind to console himself with the fillies, and having them in the wind, broke out of his natural and accustomed pace, and without asking his master's leave, betook himself to a smart trot, and went to communicate his need to them. But they, as it seemed, having more inclination to feed than anything else, received him with their heels and their teeth, in such a manner, that in a little time his girths broke, and he lost his saddle. But what must have more sensibly affected him was, that the carriers, seeing the violence offered to their mares, ran to him with their pack- staves, and so belaboured him, that they laid him along on the ground in wretched plight.

By this time Don Quixote and Sancho, who had seen the drubbing of Rozinante, came up out of breath; and Don Quixote said to Sancho: "By what I see, friend Sancho, these are no knights, but rascally people of a scoundrel race. I tell you this, because you may very well help me to take ample revenge for the outrage they have done to Rozinante before our eyes." "What the devil of revenge can we take," answered Sancho, "they being about twenty, and we no more than two, and perhaps but one and a half?" "I am as good as a hundred," replied Don Quixote, and without saying more, he laid his hand on his sword, and flew at the Yangueses; and Sancho did the same, incited and moved thereto by the example of his master. At the first blow, Don Quixote gave one of them a terrible wound through a leathern doublet which he wore on his shoulder. The Yangueses seeing themselves assaulted in this manner by two men only, they being so many, betook themselves to their clubs, and hemming them in, began to belabour them with great vehemence and animosity. It is true that at the second pale they brought Sancho to the ground; and the same befell Don Quixote, neither his dexterity nor courage standing him in any stead: and, as fate would have it, he fell just at Rozinante's feet, who had not yet got up: whence we may learn how unmercifully pack-staves will bruise, when put into rustic and wrathful hands. The Yangueses perceiving the mischief they had done, loaded their beasts with all speed, and pursued their journey, leaving the two adventurers in evil plight.

The first who came to himself was Sancho Panza
The first who came to himself was Sancho Panza

The first who came to himself was Sancho Panza; who finding himself close to his master, with a feeble and plaintive voice cried: "Signor Don Quixote! ah, Signor Don Quixote! " "What would you have, brother Sancho?" answered Don Quixote, in the same feeble and lamentable tone. "I could wish, if it were possible," answered Sancho Panza, "your worship would give me two draughts of that drink of Feo Blass, if you have it here at hand; perhaps it may do as well for broken bones as it does for wounds." "Unhappy I, that we have it not! "answered Don Quixote. "But I swear to you, Sancho Panza, on the faith of a knight-errant, that before two days pass, if fortune does not order it otherwise, I will have it in my power, or my hand must be very much out." "But in how many days do you think, Sir, we shall recover the use of our feet?" replied Sancho Panza. "For my part," said the battered knight Don Quixote, "I cannot limit the number: but it is all my own fault; for I ought not to have laid hand on my sword against men who were not dubbed knights like myself. And therefore, I believe, the god of battles has permitted this chastisement to fall upon me, as a punishment for -[58]- having transgressed the laws of chivalry. Wherefore, brother Sancho, it is requisite that you be forewarned of what I shall now tell you; for it highly concerns the good of us both: and it is this; that when you see we are insulted by such rascally rabble, do not stay till I lay hand on my sword against them, for I will in no wise do it; but do you draw your sword, and chastise them to your own heart's content: but if any knights shall come up to their assistance, I shall then know how to defend you, and offend them with all my might: for you have already seen, by a thousand tokens and experiments, how far the valour of this strong arm of mine extends:" so arrogant was the poor gentleman become by his victory over the valiant Biscainer.

But Sancho Panza did not so thoroughly like his master's instructions, as to forbear answering, and saying: "Sir, I am a peaceable, tame, quiet man, and can dissemble any injury whatsoever; for I have a wife and children to maintain and bring up: so that give me leave, Sir, to tell you by way of hint, since it is not my part to command, that I will upon no account draw my sword either against peasant or against knight; and that from this time forward, in the presence of God, I forgive all injuries any one has done, or shall do me, or that any person is now doing, or may hereafter do me, whether he be high or low, rich or poor, gentle or simple, without excepting any state or condition whatever;" which his master hearing, he answered: "I wish I had breath to talk a little at my ease, and that the pain I feel in this rib would cease ever so short a while, that I might convince you, Panza, of the error you are in. Harkye, sinner, should the gale of fortune, hitherto so contrary, come about in our favour, filling the sails of our desires, so that we may safely and without any hindrance make the port of some one of those islands I have promised you, what would become of you, if when I had gained it, and made you lord thereof, you should render all ineffectual by not being a knight, nor desiring to be one, and by having neither valour nor intention to revenge the injuries done you, or to defend your dominions? For you must know, that in kingdoms and provinces newly conquered, the minds of the natives are never so quiet nor so much in the interest of their new master but there is still ground to fear that they will endeavour to bring about a change of things, and once more, as they call it, try their fortune: and therefore the new possessor ought to have understanding to know how to conduct himself, and courage to act offensively and defensively, whatever shall happen." "In this that hath now befallen us," answered Sancho, "I wish I had been furnished with that understanding and valour your worship speaks of; but I swear, on the faith of a poor man, I am at this time fitter for plasters than discourses. Try, Sir, whether you are able to rise, and we will help up Rozinante, though he does not deserve it, for he was the principal cause of all this mauling. I never believed the like of Rozinante, whom I took to be chaste, and as peaceable as myself. But it is a true saying, that much time is necessary to come to a thorough knowledge of persons; and that we are sure of nothing in this life. Who could have thought, that, after such swinging slashes as you gave that unfortunate adventurer, there should come post as it were in pursuit of you, this vast tempest of pack-staves, which has discharged itself upon our shoulders?" "Thine, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "should, one would think, be used to such storms; but mine, that were brought up between muslins and cambrics, must needs be more sensible of -[59]- the grief of this mishap. And were it not that I imagine do I say imagine? did I not know for certain that all these inconveniences are inseparably annexed to the profession of arms, I would suffer myself to die here out of pure vexation." To this replied the squire: "Sir, since these mishaps are the genuine fruits and harvests of chivalry, pray tell me whether they fall out often, or whether they have their set times in which they happen; for to my thinking, two more such harvests will disable us from ever reaping a third, if God of his infinite mercy does not succour us." "Learn, friend Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "that the life of knights-errant is subject to a thousand perils and mishaps: but then they are every whit as near becoming kings and emperors; and this experience hath shown us in many and divers knights, whose histories I am perfectly acquainted with. I could tell you now, if the pain would give me leave, of some who by the strength of their arm alone have mounted to the high degrees I have mentioned; and these very men were before and after involved in sundry calamities and misfortunes. For the valorous Amadis de Gaul saw himself in the power of his mortal enemy Archelaus the enchanter, of whom it is positively affirmed, that when he had him prisoner he gave him about two hundred lashes with his horse's bridle, after he had tied him to a pillar in his court-yard. And moreover, there is a private author of no small credit, who tells us, that the Knight of the Sun being caught by a trap-door, which sunk under his feet in a certain castle, found himself at the bottom in a deep dungeon under ground, bound hand and foot, where they administered to him one of those things they call a clyster, of snow-water and sand, that almost did his business; and if he had not been succoured in that great distress by a certain sage, his special friend, it had gone very hard with the poor knight. So that I may very well suffer among so many worthy persons, who underwent much greater affronts than those we now undergo: for I would have you know, Sancho, that wounds, which are given with instruments that are accidentally in one's hand, are no affront. And thus it is expressly written in the law of combat, that if a shoemaker strikes a person with the last he has in his hand, though it be really of wood, it will not therefore be said that the person thus beaten with it was cudgelled. I say this that you may not think, though we are mauled in this scuffle, we are disgraced: for the arms those men carried, wherewith they pounded us, were no other than their pack-staves; and none of them, as I remember, had either tuck, sword, or dagger." "They gave me no leisure," answered Sancho, "to observe so narrowly; for scarcely had I laid hand on my whinyard, (43) when they crossed my shoulders with their saplings, in such a manner, that they deprived my eyes of sight, and my feet of strength, laying me now where I now lie, and where I am not so much concerned to think whether the business of the thrashing be an affront or no, as I am troubled at the pain of the blows, which will leave as deep an impression in my memory as on my shoulders." "All this, notwithstanding, I tell you, brother Panza," replied Don Quixote, "there is no remembrance which time does not obliterate, nor pain which death does not put an end to." "What greater misfortune can there be," replied Panza, "than that which remains till time effaces it, and till death puts an end to it? If this mischance of ours were of that sort which people cure with a couple of plasters, it would not be altogether so bad: but for aught I see, all the plasters of an hospital will not be sufficient to set us to rights again." -[60]- "Have done with this, and gather strength out of weakness, Sancho," answered Don Quixote; "for so I purpose to do: and let us see how Rozinante does; for by what I perceive, not the least part of this misfortune has fallen to the poor beast's share." "That is not at all strange," answered Sancho, "since he also appertains to a knight-errant. But what I wonder at is, that my ass should come off scot-free, where we have paid so dear." "Fortune always leaves some door open in disasters whereby to come at a remedy," said Don Quixote. "I say this, because this poor beast may now supply the want of Rozinante, by carrying me hence to some castle, where I may be cured of my wounds. Nor do I take the being mounted in this fashion to be dishonourable; for I remember to have read that the good old Silenus, governor and tutor of the merry god of laughter, when he made his entry into the city of the hundred gates, went riding, much to his satisfaction, on a most beautiful ass." "Perhaps he rode as your worship says," answered Sancho; "but there is a main difference between riding and laying athwart like a sack of rubbish." To which Don Quixote answered: "The wounds received in battle rather give honour than take it away; so that, friend Panza, answer me no more; but as I have already said to you, raise me up as well as you can, and place me in whatever manner you please upon your ass, that we may get hence before night comes on, and overtake us in this uninhabited place." "Yet I have heard your worship say," quoth Panza, "that it is usual for knights-errant to sleep on heaths and deserts most part of the year, and that they look upon it to be very fortunate." "That is," said Don Quixote, "when they cannot help it, or are in love: and this is so true, that there have been knights, who, unknown to their mistresses, have exposed themselves for two years together, upon rocks, to the sun and the shade, and to the inclemencies of heaven. One of these was Amadis, when calling himself Beltenebros, he took up his lodging on the poor rock, whether for eight years or eight months I know not, for I am not perfect in his history. It is sufficient that there he was doing penance for I know not what distaste shown him by the Lady Oriana. But let us have done with this, Sancho, and despatch before such another misfortune happens to the ass as hath befallen Rozinante."

"That would be the devil indeed," quoth Sancho; and sending forth thirty oh's, and sixty sighs, and a hundred and twenty curses, on whomsoever had brought him thither, he raised himself up, but remained bent by the way like a Turkish bow, entirely unable to stand upright: and with all this fatigue he made a shift to saddle his ass, who had also taken advantage of that day's excessive liberty to go a little astray. He then heaved up Rozinante, who, had he had a tongue to complain with, most certainly would not have been outdone either by Sancho or his master. In short, Sancho settled Don Quixote upon the ass; and tying Rozinante by the head to his tail, led them both by the halter, he proceeding, now faster now slower, toward the place where he thought the road might lie. And he had scarce gone a short league when fortune, which was conducting his affairs from good to better, discovered to him the road, in which he espied an inn; which to his sorrow and Don Quixote's joy must needs be a castle. Sancho positively maintained it was an inn, and his master that it was a castle; and the obstinate dispute lasted so long, that they had time to arrive there before it ended; and without more words Sancho entered into it with his string of cattle.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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