Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[77]-

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 XIX: Sage Discourse that passed between Sancho and his Master, and the succeeding Adventure of the dead Body; with other famous Occurrences.

 

"It is my opinion, master of mine, that all the misfortunes which have befallen us of late are doubtless in punishment of the sin committed by your worship against your own order of knighthood, in not performing the oath you took, not to eat bread on a table-cloth, nor solace yourself with the queen, with all the rest that you swore to accomplish, until your taking away that helmet of Malandrino, or how do you call the Moor, for I do not well remember." "Sancho, you are in the right," said Don Quixote: "but to tell you the truth, it had quite slipped out of my memory; and you may depend upon it the affair of the blanket happened to you for your fault in not putting me in mind of it in time: but I will make amends; for in the order of chivalry there are ways of compounding for everything." "Why, did I swear anything?" answered Sancho. "It matters not that you have not sworn," said Don Quixote: "it is enough that I know you are not free from the guilt of an accessory; and, at all adventures, it will not be amiss to provide ourselves a remedy." "If it be so," said Sancho, "see, Sir, you do not forget this too, as you did the oath: perhaps the goblins may again take a fancy to divert themselves with me, and perhaps with your worship, if they find you so obstinate."

While they were thus discoursing, night overtook them in the middle of the highway, without their lighting on or discovering any place of reception; and the worst of it was, they were perishing with hunger: for with the loss of their wallets, they had lost their whole larder of provisions. And, as an additional misfortune, there befell them an adventure, which without any forced construction, had really the face of one. It happened thus: the night was very dark, notwithstanding which they went on, Sancho believing that since it was the king's highway, they might very probably find an inn within a league or two.

Thus travelling on, the night dark, the squire hungry, and the master with a good appetite, they saw advancing towards them, on the same road, a great number of lights, resembling so many moving stars. Sancho stood aghast at the sight of them, and Don Quixote could not well tell what to make of them. The one checked his ass by the halter, and the other his horse by the bridle, and stood still, viewing attentively what it might be. They perceived the lights were drawing toward them, and the nearer they came, the bigger they appeared. Sancho trembled at the sight, as if he had been quicksilver, and Don Quixote's hair bristled upon his head; but recovering a little courage, he cried out: "Sancho, this must be a most prodigious and most perilous adventure, in which it will be necessary for me to exert my whole might and valour." "Woe is me! "answered Sancho; "should this prove to be an adventure of goblins, as to me it seems to be, where shall I find ribs to endure?" "Let them be ever such goblins," said Don Quixote, "I will not suffer them to touch a thread of your garment: for if they sported with you last time, it was because I could not get over the pales: but we are now upon even ground, where I can brandish my sword at pleasure." "But if they should enchant and benumb you as they did the other time," quoth Sancho, "what matters it whether we are in the open field or no?" "For all that," replied Don -[78]- Quixote, "I beseech you, Sancho, be of good courage; for experience will show you how much of it I am master of." "I will, if it please God," answered Sancho: and leaving the highway a little on one side, they looked again attentively to discover what those walking lights might be; and soon after they perceived a great many persons in white; which dreadful apparition entirely sunk Sancho Panza's courage, whose teeth began to chatter as if he were in a quartan ague: and his trembling and chattering increased, when he saw distinctly what it was: for now they discovered about twenty persons in white robes, all on horseback, with lighted torches in their hands; behind whom came a litter covered with black, which was followed by six persons in deep mourning; and the mules they rode on were covered likewise with black, down to their heels; and it was easily seen they were not horses by the slowness of their pace. Those in white came muttering to themselves in a low and plaintive tone.

This strange vision, at such an hour, and in a place so uninhabited, might very well strike terror into Sancho's heart, and even into that of his master; and so it would have done, had he been any other than Don Quixote. As for Sancho, his whole stock of courage was already exhausted. But it was quite otherwise with his master, whose lively imagination at that instant represented to him that this must be one of the adventures of his books. He figured to himself, that the litter was a bier, on which was carried some knight sorely wounded or slain, whose revenge was reserved for him: and without more ado he couched his spear, settled himself firm in his saddle, and with a sprightly vigour and mien, posted himself in the middle of the road, by which the men in white must of necessity pass; and when he saw them come near, he raised his voice, and said: "Hold, knights, whoever you are, give me an account to whom you belong, whence you come, whither you are going, and what it is you carry upon that bier? For, in all appearance, either you have done some injury to others, or others to you; and it is expedient and necessary that I should be informed of it, either to chastise you for the evil you have done, or to revenge you of the wrong done you." "We are going in haste," answered one of those in white: "the inn is a great way off; and we cannot stay to give so long an account as you require:" and so spurring his mule, he passed forward. Don Quixote, highly resenting this answer, laid hold of his bridle, and said: "Stand, and be more civil, and give me an account of what I have asked you; otherwise I challenge you all to battle." The mule was skittish, and started at his laying his hand on the bridle; so that, rising up right on her hind-legs, she fell backward to the ground, with her rider under her. A lacquey that came on foot seeing him in white fall, began to revile Don Quixote: whose choler being already stirred, he couched his spear, and without staying longer, assaulted one of the mourners, and laid him on the ground grievously wounded; and turning him about to the rest, it was worth seeing with what agility he attacked and defeated them, insomuch that you would have thought Rozinante had wings grown on him in that instant, so nimbly and proudly did he bestir himself. All those in white were timorous and unarmed people, and of course presently quitted the skirmish, and ran away over the field, with the lighted torches in their hands, looking like so many masqueraders on a carnival or a festival night. The mourners likewise were so wrapped up and muffled in their long robes, that they could not stir; so that Don Quixote, with entire safety to himself, demolished them -[79]- all, and obliged them to quit the field, sorely against their wills: for they thought him no man, but the devil from hell broke loose upon them, to carry away the dead body they bore in the litter. (49)

All this Sancho beheld with admiration at his master's intrepidity, and said to himself: "Without doubt this master of mine is as valiant and magnanimous as he pretends to be." There lay a burning torch on the ground, just by the first whom the mule had overthrown; by the light of which Don Quixote espied him, and coming to him, set the point of his spear to his throat, commanding him to surrender, or he would kill him. To which the fallen man answered: "I am more than enough surrendered already; for I cannot stir, having one of my legs broken. I beseech you, Sir, if you are a Christian gentleman, do not kill me: you would commit a great sacrilege; for I am a licentiate, and have taken the lesser orders." "Who the devil then," said Don Quixote, "brought you hither, being an ecclesiastic?" "Who, Sir?" replied he that was overthrown. "My misfortune." "A greater yet threatens you," said Don Quixote, "if you do not satisfy me in all I first asked of you." "Your worship shall soon be satisfied," answered the licentiate: "and, therefore, you must know, Sir, that though I told you before I was a licentiate, I am indeed only a bachelor of arts, and my name is Alonzo Lopez. I am a native of Alcovendas: I came from the city of Baeza, with eleven more ecclesiastics, the same who fled with the torches; we are accompanying a corpse in that litter to the city of Segovia: it is that of a gentleman who died in Baeza, where he was deposited; and now, as I say, we are carrying his bones to his burying-place in Segovia, where he was born." "And who killed him?" demanded Don Quixote. "God," replied the bachelor, "by means of a pestilential fever he sent him." "Then," said Don Quixote, "our Lord has saved me the labour of revenging his death, in case anybody else had slain him: but since he fell by the hand of heaven, there is no more to be done but to be silent, and shrug up our shoulders; for just the same must I have done, had it been pleased to have slain me. And I would have your reverence know, that I am a knight of la Mancha, Don Quixote by name, and that it is my office and exercise to go through the world, righting wrongs, and redressing grievances." "I do not understand your way of righting wrongs," said the bachelor: "for from right you have set me wrong, having broken my leg, which will never be right again whilst I live; and the grievance you have redressed in me is, to leave me so aggrieved, that I shall never be otherwise; and it was a very unlucky adventure to me to meet you, who are seeking adventures." "All things," answered Don Quixote, "do not fall out the same way: the mischief, master bachelor Alonzo Lopez, was occasioned by your coming, as you did, by night, arrayed in those surplices, with lighted torches, chanting, and clad in doleful weeds, so that you really resembled something wicked, and of the other world: which laid me under a necessity of complying with my duty, and of attacking you; and I would have attacked you, though I had certainly known you to be so many devils of hell; for until now I took you to be no less." "Since my fate would have it so," said the bachelor, "I beseech you, Signor Knight-errant, who have done me such arrant mischief, help me to get from under this mule; for my leg is held fast between the stirrup and the saddle." "I might have talked on until to-morrow morning," said Don Quixote: "why did you delay acquainting me with your uneasiness?" Then he called out to Sancho Panza to come to him: but he did not care -[80]- to stir, being employed in ransacking a sumpter-mule, which those good men had brought with them, well stored with eatables. Sancho made a bag of his cloak, and cramming into it as much as it would hold, he loaded his beast; and then running to his master's call, he helped to disengage the bachelor from under the oppression of his mule, and setting him on it gave him the. torch, and Don Quixote bid him follow the track of his comrades, and beg their pardon in his name for the injury which he could not avoid doing them. Sancho likewise said, "If perchance those gentlemen would know who the champion is that routed them, tell them it is the famous Don Quixote de la Mancha, otherwise called the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure."

The bachelor being gone, Don Quixote asked Sancho what induced him to call him the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure at that time more than at any other?" I will tell you," answered Sancho; "it is because I have been viewing you by the light of the torch, which that unfortunate man carried; and in truth your worship makes at present very near the most woeful figure I have ever seen; which must be occasioned either by the fatigue of this combat or the want of your teeth." "It is owing to neither," replied Don Quixote; "but the sage, who has the charge of writing the history of my achievements, has thought fit I should assume a surname, as all the knights of old were wont to do: one called himself the Knight of the burning Sword; another, he of the Unicorn: this, of the Damsels; that, of the Phoenix; another, the Knight of the Griffin; and another he of Death; and were known by these names and ensigns over the whole globe of the earth. (50) And therefore I say, that the aforesaid sage has now put it into your head, and into your mouth, to call me the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure, as I purpose to call myself from this day forward: and that this name may fit me the better, I determine, when there is an opportunity, to have a most sorrowful figure painted on my shield." "You need not spend time and money in getting this figure made," said Sancho; "your worship need only show your own, and present yourself to be looked at; and, without either image or shield, they will immediately call you Him of the Sorrowful Figure; and be assured I tell you the truth; for I promise you, Sir, and let not this be said in jest, that hunger, and the loss of your grinders, makes you look so ruefully, that, as I have said, the sorrowful picture may very well be spared."

Don Quixote smiled at Sancho's conceit, yet resolved to call himself by that name, and to paint his shield or buckler as he had imagined; and he said, "I conceive, Sancho, that I am liable to excommunication for having laid violent hands on holy things, Juxta illud si quis suadente diabolo, &c., though I know I did not lay my hands but my spear upon them: besides, I did not think I had to do with priests or things belonging to the church, which I respect and reverence like a good Catholic and faithful Christian as I am, but with ghosts and goblins of the other world. And though it were so, I perfectly remember what befell the Cid Ruy Diaz, when he broke the chair of that king's ambassador in the presence of his Holiness the Pope, for which he was excommunicated; yet honest Roderigo de Vivar passed that day, for an honourable and courageous knight."

The bachelor having gone off, as has been said, without replying a word, Don Quixote had a mind to see whether the corpse in the hearse were only bones or not; but Sancho would not consent, saying, "Sir, your worship has finished this perilous adventure at the least expense of any I -[81]- have seen; and, though these folks are conquered and defeated, they may chance to reflect that they were beaten by one man, and being confounded and ashamed thereat may recover themselves, and return in quest of us, and then we may have enough to do. The ass is properly furnished; the mountain is near; hunger presses; and we have no more to do but decently to march off; and as the saying is, To the grave with the dead, and the living to the bread;" and driving on his ass before him, he desired his master to follow; who, thinking Sancho in the right, followed without replying. They had not gone far between two little hills, when they found themselves in a spacious and retired valley, where they alighted. Sancho disburdened the ass; and lying along on the green grass, with hunger for sauce, they dispatched their breakfast, dinner, afternoon's luncheon, and supper, all at once, regaling their palates with more than one cold mess, which the ecclesiastics that attended the deceased, such gentlemen seldom failing to make much of themselves, had brought with them on the sumpter-mule. But another mishap befell them, which Sancho took for the worst of all; which was, that they had no wine, nor so much as water, to drink; and they being very thirsty, Sancho, who perceived the meadow they were in covered with green and fine grass, said what will be related in the following chapter.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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