Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[81]-

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 XX: Of the Adventure (the like never before seen or heard of) achieved by the renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha with less Hazard than ever any was achieved by the most famous Knight in the World.

 

"It is impossible, Sir, but there must be some fountain or brook hereabouts, to water these herbs; and therefore we should go a little farther on; for we shall meet with something to quench this terrible thirst that afflicts us, and is doubtless more painful than hunger itself." Don Quixote approved the advice; and he, taking Rozinante by the bridle, and Sancho his ass by the halter, after he had placed upon him the relics of the supper, began to march forward through the meadow, feeling their way; for the night was so dark they could see nothing. But they had not gone two hundred paces, when a great noise of water reached their ears, like that of some mighty cascade pouring down from a vast and steep rock. The sound rejoiced them exceedingly, and stopping to listen from whence it came, they heard on a sudden another dreadful noise, which abated the pleasure occasioned by that of the water, especially in Sancho, who was naturally fearful and pusillanimous. I say, they heard a dreadful din of irons and chains rattling across one another, and giving mighty strokes in time and measure; which, together with the furious noise of the water, would have struck terror into any other heart but that of Don Quixote. The night, as is said, was dark, and they chanced to enter among certain tall trees, whose leaves, agitated by a gentle breeze, caused a kind of fearful and still noise: so that the solitude, the situation, the darkness, and the noise of the water, with the whispering of the leaves, all occasioned horror and astonishment; especially when they found, that neither the -[82]- blows ceased, the wind slept, nor the morning approached; and as an addition to all this their total ignorance where they were. (51) But Don Quixote, accompanied by his intrepid heart, leaped upon Rozinante, and bracing on his buckler, brandished his spear, and said, "Friend Sancho, you must know, that by the will of Heaven I was born in this age of iron, to revive in it that of gold, or as people usually express it, the golden age. I am he for whom are reserved dangers, great exploits, and valorous achievements. I am he, I say again, who am destined to revive the Order of the Round Table, that of the twelve Peers of France, and the nine Worthies, and to obliterate the memory of the Platirs, the Tablantes, Olivantes, and Tirantes, the Knights of the Sun, and the Belianises, with the whole tribe of the famous knights-errant of times past, performing, in this age in which I live, such stupendous deeds and feats of arms as are sufficient to obscure the brightest they ever achieved. Trusty and loyal squire, you observe the darkness of this night, its strange silence, the confused and deaf sound of these trees, the fearful noise of that water we come to seek, which one would think precipitated itself headlong from the high mountains of the moon; that incessant striking and clashing that wounds our ears: all which together, and each by itself, are sufficient to infuse terror, fear, and amazement, into the breast of Mars himself; how much more into that, which is not accustomed to similar adventures and accidents? Now all I have described to you serves to rouse and awaken my courage, and my heart already beats in my breast with eager desire of encountering this adventure, however difficult it may appear. Wherefore straiten Rozinante's girths a little, and God be with you. Stay for me here three days, and no more: if I do not return in that time, you may go back to our town; and thence to do me a favour and good service, you shall go to Toboso, where you shall say to my incomparable Lady Dulcinea, that her inthralled knight died in the attempting things that might have made him worthy to be styled hers."

When Sancho heard these words of his master, he began to weep with the greatest tenderness in the world, and to say, "Sir, I do not understand why your worship should encounter this so fearful an adventure: it is now night, and nobody sees us; we may easily turn aside, and get out of harm's way, though we should not drink these three days: and as nobody sees us, much less will there be anybody to tax us with cowardice. Besides, I have heard the priest of our village, whom your worship knows very well, preach, that he who seeketh danger perisheth therein: so that it is not good to tempt God, by undertaking so extravagant an exploit, whence there is no escaping but by a miracle. Let it suffice, that Heaven has delivered you from being tossed in a blanket, as I was, and brought you off victorious, safe, and sound, from among so many enemies as accompanied the dead man. And though all this be not sufficient to move you, nor soften your stony heart, let this thought and belief prevail, that scarcely shall your worship be departed hence, when I, for very fear, shall give up my soul to whomsoever shall be pleased to take it. I left my country, and forsook my wife and children, to follow and serve your worship, believing 1 should be the better, and not the worse for it: but as covetousness bursts the bag, so hath it rent from me my hopes: for, when they were most lively, and I just expecting to obtain that cursed unlucky island which you have so often promised me, I find myself, in exchange thereof, ready to be abandoned by your worship in a place remote from all human -[83]- society. For God's sake, dear Sir, do me not such a diskindness; and, since your worship will not wholly desist from this enterprise, at least adjourn it until daybreak, to which, according to the little skill I learned, when a shepherd, it cannot be above three hours; for the muzzle of the north-bear is at the top of the head, and makes midnight in the line of the left arm." — "How can you, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "see where this line is made, or where this muzzle or top of the head you talk of is, since the night is so dark that not a star appears in the whole sky?" — "True," said Sancho; "but fear has many eyes, and sees things beneath the earth, how much more above in the sky: besides, it is reasonable to think it does not want much of day-break." — "Want what it will," answered Don Quixote, "it shall never be said of me, neither now nor at any other time, that tears or entreaties could dissuade me from doing the duty of a knight: therefore, pray thee, Sancho, hold thy tongue; for God, who has put it in my heart to attempt this unparalleled and fearful adventure, will take care to watch over my safety, and to comfort thee in thy sadness. What you have to do is, to girt Rozinante well, and to stay here; for I will quickly return, alive or dead."

Sancho, then, seeing his master's final resolution, and how little his tears, prayers, and counsels prevailed with him, determined to have recourse to a stratagem, and oblige him to wait until day, if he could: and so, while he was straitening the horse's girths, softly, and without being perceived, he tied Rozinante's two hinder feet together with his ass's halter; so that, when Don Quixote would have departed, he was not able: for the horse could not move but by jumps. Sancho seeing the good success of his contrivance, said, "Ah, Sir! behold how heaven, moved by my tears and prayers, has ordained that Rozinante cannot go; and if you will obstinately persist to spur him, you will but provoke fortune, and, as they say, 'kick against the pricks.'" This made Don Quixote quite desperate, and the more he spurred his horse, the less he could move him; and without suspecting the ligature, he thought it best to be quiet, and either stay until day appeared or until Rozinante could stir; believing certainly that it proceeded from some other cause, and not from Sancho's cunning; to whom he thus spoke: "Since it is so, Sancho, that Rozinante cannot stir, I am contented to stay until the dawn smiles, though I weep all the time she delays her coming." — "You need not weep," answered Sancho; "for I will entertain you until day with telling you stories, if you had not rather alight, and compose yourself to sleep a little upon the green grass, as knights-errant are wont to do, and so be the less weary, when the day and hour comes for attempting that unparalleled adventure you wait for." — "What call you alighting or sleeping?" said Don Quixote: "Am I one of those knights who take repose in time of danger? Sleep thou who wert born to sleep, or do what thou wilt. I will do what I see best befits my profession." — "Pray, good Sir, be not angry," answered Sancho; "I do not say it with that design." And coming close to him he put one hand on the pommel of the saddle before, and the other on the back part, and there he stood embracing his master's left thigh, without daring to stir from him a finger's breadth, so much was he afraid of the blows, which still sounded alternately in his ears. Don Quixote bade him tell some story to entertain him, as he had promised; to which Sancho replied, he would, if the dread of what he heard would permit him. "Notwithstanding," said he, "I will force myself to tell a story, which, if I can hit upon it, and -[84]- it slips not through my fingers, is the best of all stories; and pray be attentive, for now I begin:

"What hath been, hath been; the good that shall befall be for us all; and evil to him that evil seeks. And pray, Sir, take notice, that the beginning which the ancients gave to their tales was not just what they pleased, but rather some sentence of Cato Zonzorinus the Roman, who says, And evil to him that evil seeks; which is as apt to the present purpose as a ring to your finger, signifying that your worship should be quiet, and not go about searching after evil, but rather that we turn aside into some other road; for we are under no obligation to continue in this, wherein so many fears overwhelm us." — "Go on with your story, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "and leave me to take care of the road we are to follow." — "I say then," continued Sancho, "that in a place of Estremadura there was a shepherd, I mean a goatherd; which shepherd or goatherd, as my story says, was called Lope Ruiz; and this Lope Ruiz was in love with a shepherdess called Torralva; which shepherdess, called Torralva, was daughter to a rich herdsman, and this rich herdsman—" "If you tell your story after this fashion, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "repeating everything you say twice, you will not have done these two days: tell it concisely, and like a man of sense, or else say no more." — "In the very same manner that I tell it," answered Sancho, "they tell all stories in my country; and I can tell it no otherwise, nor is it fit your worship should require me to make new customs!" — "Tell it, as you will then," answered Don Quixote; "since fate will have it that I must hear thee: go on."

"And so, dearest Sir," continued Sancho, "as I said before, this shepherd was in love with the shepherdess Torralva, who was a jolly, strapping wench, a little scornful, and somewhat masculine: for she had certain small whiskers; and methinks I see her just now." — "What, did you know her?" said Don Quixote "I did not know her," answered Sancho; "but he who told me this story, said it was so certain and true, that I might, when I told it to another, affirm and swear I had seen it all. And so, in process of time, the devil, who sleeps not, and troubles all things, brought it about, that the love which the shepherd bore to the shepherdess, was converted into mortal hatred; and the cause, according to evil tongues, was a certain quantity of little jealousies she gave him, beyond measure: and so much did he hate her from thenceforward, that, to avoid the sight of her, he chose to absent himself from that country, and go where his eyes should never behold her more. Torralva, who found herself disdained by Lope, presently began to love him better than ever she had loved him before." — "It is a natural quality of women," said Don Quixote, "to slight those who love them, and love those who slight them: go on, Sancho."

"It fell out," proceeded Sancho, "that the shepherd put his design in execution: and collecting together his goats, went on towards the plains of Estremadura, in order to pass over into the kingdom of Portugal. Torralva knowing it, went after him, following him on foot and bare-legged at a distance, with a pilgrim's staff in her hand, and a wallet about her neck, in which she carried, as is reported, a piece of a looking-glass, a piece of a comb, and a sort of a small gallipot of pomatum for the face. But whatever she carried, for I shall not now set myself to vouch what it was, I only tell you, that, as they say, the shepherd came with his flock to pass the river Guadiana, which at that time was swollen, and had almost overflowed its banks; and on the side he came to there was neither boat nor -[85]- anybody to ferry him or his flock over to the other side; which grieved him mightily, for he saw that Torralva was at his heels, and would give him much disturbance by her entreaties and tears. He therefore looked about until he espied a fisherman with a boat near him, but so small that it could hold only one person and one goat: however, he spoke to him, and agreed with him to carry over him and his three hundred goats. The fisherman got into the boat, and carried over a goat: he returned, and carried over another: he came back again, and again carried over another. Pray, Sir, keep an account of the goats that the fisherman is carrying over; for if one slips out of your memory, the story will be at an end, and it will be impossible to tell a word more of it. I go on then, and say, that the landing-place on the opposite side was covered with mud, and slippery, and the fisherman was a great while in coming and going. However, he returned for another goat, and for others, and for another." — "Make account he carried them all over," said Don Quixote, "and do not be going and coming in this manner; for at this rate you will not have done carrying them over in a twelve-month." — "How many are passed already?" said Sancho. "How the devil should I know?" answered Don Quixote. "See there now; did I not tell you to keep an exact account? before God there is an end of the story: I can go no farther." — "How can this be?" answered Don Quixote?" Is it so essential to the story, to know the exact number of goats that passed over, that if one be mistaken, the story can proceed no farther?" — "No Sir, in no wise," answered Sancho: "for when I desired your worship to tell me how many goats had passed, and you answered you did not know, in that very instant all that I had left to say fled out of my memory; and in faith it was very edifying and satisfactory." — "So then," said Don Quixote, "the story is at an end?" — "As sure as my mother is," quoth Sancho. "Verily," answered Don Quixote, "you have told one of the rarest tales, fables, or histories, imaginable; and your way of telling and concluding it is such, as never was nor will be seen in one's whole life; though I expected nothing less from your good sense; but I do not wonder at it; for perhaps this incessant din may have disturbed your understanding." — "All that may be," answered Sancho: "but, as to my story, I know there's no more to be said; for it ends just where the error in the account of carrying over the goats begins." — "Let it end where it will in God's name," said Don Quixote, "and let us see whether Rozinante can stir himself." Again he clapt spurs to him, and again he jumped, and then stood stock still, so effectually was he fettered.

Now, whether the cold of the morning which was at hand, or whether some lenitive food on which he supped, or whether the motion was purely natural, which is rather to be believed, it so happened that Sancho had a desire to do what nobody could do for him. But so great was the fear that had possessed his heart, that he durst not stir the breadth of a finger from his master; and to think to leave that business undone, was also impossible: and so what he did for peace sake, was to let go his right hand which held the hinder part of the saddle, with which, softly, and without any noise, he loosed the running point that kept up his breeches; whereupon down they fell, and hung about his legs like shackles: then he lifted up his shirt the best he could, and exposed to the open air those parts which were none of the smallest. This being done, which he thought the best expedient towards getting out of that terrible anguish and distress, another and a greater difficulty attended him, which was, that he thought he could not -[86]- ease himself without making some noise: so he set his teeth close, and squeezed up his shoulders, and held in his breath as much as possibly he could. But notwithstanding all these precautions, he was so unlucky after all as to make a little noise, very different from that which had put him into so great a fright. Don Quixote heard it, and said: "What noise is this, Sancho?" — "I do not know, Sir," answered he: "it must be some new business; for adventures and misadventures never begin with a little matter." He tried his fortune a second time, and it succeeded so well with him, that without the least noise or rumbling more, he found himself discharged of the burden that had given him so much uneasiness. But as Don Quixote had the sense of smelling no less perfect than that of hearing, and Sancho stood so close, and as it were sewed to him, some of the vapours ascending in a direct line could not fail to reach his nostrils: which they had no sooner done, but he relieved his nose by taking it between his fingers, and with a kind of snuffling tone, said: "Methinks, Sancho, you are in great bodily fear." — "I am so," said Sancho; "but wherein does your worship perceive it now more than ever?" — "In that you smell stronger than ever, and not of ambergris," answered Don Quixote. "That may very well be," said Sancho; "but your worship alone is in fault, for carrying me about at these unseasonable hours, and into these unfrequented places." — "Get three or four steps off, friend," said Don Quixote, without taking his fingers from his nostrils, "and henceforward be more careful of your own person, and of what you owe to mine; my overmuch familiarity with you has bred this contempt." — "I will lay a wager," replied Sancho, "you think I have been doing something with my person that I ought not." — "The more you stir it, friend Sancho, the more it will savour," answered Don Quixote.

In these and the like dialogues the master and man passed the night. But Sancho perceiving that at length the morning was coming on, with much caution untied Rozinante, and tied up his breeches. Rozinante finding himself at liberty, though naturally he was not over mettlesome, seemed to feel himself alive, and began to paw the ground; but as for curvetting, begging his pardon, he knew not what it was. Don Quixote perceiving that Rozinante began to bestir himself, took it for a good omen, and believed it signified he should forthwith attempt that fearful adventure. By this time the dawn appeared, and everything being distinctly seen, Don Quixote perceived he was got among some tall chestnut trees, which afforded a gloomy shade: he perceived also that the striking did not cease; but he could not see what caused it. So without farther delay he made Rozinante feel the spur, and turning again to take leave of Sancho, commanded him to wait there for him three days at the farthest, as he had said before, and that if he did not return by that time he might conclude for certain it was God's will he should end his days in that perilous adventure. He again repeated the embassy and message he was to carry to his lady Dulcinea; and as to what concerned the reward of his service he need be in no pain, for he had made his will before he left his village, in which he would find himself gratified as to his wages, in proportion to the time he had served; but if God should bring him off safe and sound from that danger, he might reckon himself infallibly secure of the promised island. Sancho wept afresh at hearing again the moving expressions of his good master, and resolved not to leave him to the last moment and end of this business. The author of this history gathers from the tears, and this so -[87]- honourable a resolution of Sancho Panza's, that he must have been well born, and at least an old Christian. (52) This tender concern somewhat softened his master, but not so much as to make him discover any weakness, on the contrary, dissembling the best he could, he began to put on toward the place from whence the noise of the water and of the strokes seemed to proceed. Sancho followed him on foot, leading, as usual, his ass, that constant companion of his prosperous and adverse fortunes, by the halter. And having gone a good way among those shady chestnut-trees, they came to a little green spot at the foot of some steep rocks, from which a mighty gush of water percipitated itself. At the foot of the rocks were certain miserable huts, which seemed rather the ruins of buildings than houses; from amidst which proceeded as they perceived, the sound and din of the strokes, which did not yet cease. Rozinante started, and was in disorder at the noise of the water and of the strokes; and Don Quixote quieting him, went on fair and softly toward the huts, recommending himself devoutly to his lady, and beseeching her to favour him in that fearful expedition and enterprise; and by the by besought God also not to forget him. Sancho stirred not from his side, stretching out his neck, and looking between Rozinante's legs, to see if he could perceive what held him in such dread and suspense. They had gone about a hundred yards farther, when at doubling a point, the very cause, for it could be no other, of that horrible and dreadful noise which had held them all night in such suspense and fear, appeared plain and exposed to view.

It was, kind reader, and take it not in dudgeon, six fulling-hammers, whose alternate strokes formed that hideous sound. Don Quixote seeing what it was, was struck dumb, and in the utmost confusion. Sancho looked at him, and saw he hung down his head upon his breast, with manifest indications of being quite abashed. Don Quixote looked also at Sancho, and saw his cheeks swollen, and his mouth full of laughter, with evident signs of being ready to burst with it; and notwithstanding his vexation, he could not forbear laughing himself at sight of Sancho; who, seeing his master had led the way, burst out in so violent a manner, that he was forced to hold his sides with his hands, to save himself from splitting with laughter. Four times he ceased, and four times he returned to his laughter, with the same impetuosity as at first. At which Don Quixote gave himself to the devil, especially when he heard him say, by way of irony: "You must know, friend Sancho, that I was born, by the will of Heaven, in this our age of iron, to revive in it the golden or that of gold. I am he, for whom are reserved dangers, great exploits, and valorous achievements!" And so he went on, repeating most or all of the expressions which Don Quixote had used at the first hearing those dreadful strokes. Don Quixote perceiving that Sancho played upon him, grew so ashamed, and enraged to that degree, that he lifted up his lance, and discharged two such blows on him, that, had he received them on his head, as he did on his shoulders, the knight had acquitted himself of the payment of his wages, unless it were to his heirs. Sancho, finding he paid so dearly for his jokes, and fearing lest his master should proceed farther, cried out with much humility: "Pray, Sir, be pacified: by the living God, I did but jest." — "Though you jest, I do not," answered Don Quixote. "Come hither, merry Sir; what think you? Suppose these mill-hammers had been some perilous adventure, have I not snowed the courage requisite to undertake and achieve it? Am I, think you, obliged, being a knight as I am, to -[88]- distinguish sounds, and know which are, or are not, of a fulling-mill? Besides, it may be, as it really is, that I never saw any fulling-mills in my life, as thou hast, like a pitiful rustic as thou art, having been born and bred amongst them. But let these six fulling-hammers be transformed into six giants, and let them beard me one by one, or all together, and if I do not set them all on their heads, then make what jest you will of me." — "It is enough, good Sir," replied Sancho; "I confess I have been a little too jocose: but pray tell me, now that it is peace between us, as God shall bring you out of all the adventures that shall happen to you, safe and sound, as he has brought you out of this, was it not a thing to be laughed at, and worth telling, what great fear we were in, at least what I was in? For, as to your worship, I know you are unacquainted with it, nor do you know what fear or terror is." — "I do not deny," answered Don Quixote, "but that what has befallen us is fit to be laughed at, but not fit to be told; for all persons are not discreet enough to know how to take things by the right handle." — "But," answered Sancho, "your worship knew how to handle your lance aright, when you pointed it at my head, and hit me on the shoulders; thanks be to God and to my own agility in slipping aside. But let that pass; it will out in the bucking: for I have heard say, he loves thee well who makes thee weep; and besides, your people of condition, when they have given a servant a hard word, presently give him some old hose and breeches; though what is usually given after a beating, I cannot tell, unless it be that your knights-errant, after bastinados, bestow islands or kingdoms on the continent." — "The die may run so," said Don Quixote, "that all you have said may come to pass; and forgive what is past, since you are considerate; and know, that the first motions are not in a man's power: and henceforward be apprized of one thing, that you may abstain and forbear talking too much with me, that, in all the books of chivalry I ever read, infinite as they are, I never found that any squire conversed so much with his master as you do with yours. And really I account it a great fault, both in you and in me: in you, because you respect me so little; in me, that I do not make myself respected more. Was not Gandalin, squire to Amadis de Gaul, earl of the Firm Island? And we read of him, that he always spoke to his master cap in hand, his head inclined, and his body bent after the Turkish fashion. What shall we say of Gasabal, squire to Don Galaor, who was so silent, that, to illustrate the excellency of his marvellous taciturnity, his name is mentioned but once in all that great and faithful history? From what I have said, you may infer, Sancho, that there ought to be a difference between master and man, between lord and lacquey, and between knight and squire. So that, from this day forward, we must be treated with more respect; for which way soever I am angry with you, it will go ill with the pitcher. The favours and benefits I promised you, will come in due time; and, if they do not come, the wages, at least, as I have told you, will not be lost." — "Your worship says very well," quoth Sancho; "but I would fain know, if perchance the time of the favours should not come, and it should be expedient to have recourse to the article of the wages, how much might the squire of a knight-errant get in those times; and whether they agreed by the month, or by the day, like labourers?" — "I do not believe," answered Don Quixote, "that those squires were at stated wages, but relied on courtesy. And if I have appointed you any, in the will I left sealed at home, it was for fear of what might happen; for I cannot yet tell you how chivalry may succeed in these calamitous times of -[89]- ours, and I would not have my soul suffer in the other world for a trifle; for I would have you to know, Sancho, that there is no state more perilous than that of adventurers." — "It is so, in truth," said Sancho; "since the noise of the hammers of a fulling-mill were sufficient to disturb and discompose the heart of so valorous a knight as your worship. But you may depend upon it, that from henceforward I shall not open my lips to make merry with your worship's matters, but shall honour you as my master and natural lord." — "By so doing," replied Don Quixote, "your days shall be long in the land; for, next to our parents, we are bound to respect our masters, as if they were our fathers."

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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