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 XXIII: Of what befell the renowned Don Quixote in the Sable Mountain; being one of the most curious and uncommon Adventures of any related in this faithful History.


Don Quixote, finding himself so ill-treated, said to his squire, "Sancho, I have always heard it said, that to do good to low fellows is to throw water into the sea. Had I believed what you said to me, I might have prevented this trouble; but it is done, I must have patience, and take warning from henceforward." — "Your worship will as much take warning," answered Sancho, "as I am a Turk: but since you say, that if you had believed me you had avoided this mischief, believe me now and you will avoid a greater; for let me tell you, there is no putting off the holy brotherhood with chivalries: they do not care two farthings for all the knights-errant in the world: and know fancy already I hear their arrows (60) whizzing about my ears." — "Thou art naturally a coward, Sancho," said Don Quixote; "but that you may not say I am obstinate, and that I never do what you advise, I will, for once, take your counsel, and get out of the reach of that fury you fear so much; but upon this one condition, that neither living nor dying you shall ever tell anybody that I retired and withdrew myself from this peril out of fear, but that I did it out of mere -[103]- compliance with your entreaties: for if you say otherwise you will lie in so doing; and from this time to that, and from that time to this, I tell you you lie, and will lie every time you say or think it; and reply no more; for the bare thought of withdrawing and retreating from any danger, and especially from this, which seems to carry some or no appearance of fear with it, makes me that I now stand prepared to abide here, and expect alone, not only that holy brotherhood you talk of and fear, but the brothers of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the seven Maccabees, and Castor and Pollux, and even all the brothers and brotherhoods that are in the world." — "Sir," answered Sancho, "retreating is not running away, nor is staying wisdom, when the danger overbalances the hope; and it is the part of wise men to secure themselves to-day for to-morrow, and not to venture all upon one throw. And know, though I am but a clown and a peasant, I have yet some smattering of what is called good conduct: therefore repent not of having taken my advice, but get upon Rozinante if you can, and if not I will assist you; and follow me; for my noddle tells me, that for the present we have more need of heels than hands." Don Quixote mounted, without replying a word more; and Sancho leading the way upon his ass, they entered on one side of the Sable Mountain, (61) which was hard by it, it being Sancho's intention to pass quite cross it, and to get out at Viso, or Almodovar del Campo, and to hide themselves for some days among those craggy rocks, that they might not be found if the holy brotherhood should come in quest of them. He was encouraged to this by seeing that the provisions carried by his ass had escaped safe from the skirmish with the galley-slaves, which he looked upon as a miracle, considering what the slaves took away, and how narrowly they searched.

They very soon got into the heart of the Sable Mountain, where Sancho thought it convenient to pass that night, and also some days, at least as long as the provisions he had with him lasted: so they took up their lodging between two great rocks, and amidst abundance of cork-trees. But destiny, which, according to the opinion of those who have not the light of the true faith, guides fashions and disposes all things its own way, so ordered it, that Gines de Passamonte, the famous cheat and robber, whom the valour and madness of Don Quixote had delivered from the chain, being justly afraid of the Holy Brotherhood, took it into his head to hide himself in those very mountains; and his fortune and his fear carried him to the same place, where Don Quixote's and Sancho Panza's had carried them just at the time he could distinguish who they were, and at the instant they were fallen asleep. And as the wicked are always ungrateful, and necessity puts people upon applying to shifts, and the present conveniency overcomes the consideration of the future, Gines, who had neither gratitude nor good-nature, resolved to steal Sancho Panza's ass, making no account of Rozinante, as a thing neither pawnable nor saleable. Sancho Panza slept; the varlet stole his ass; and before it was day he was too far off to be found.

Aurora issued forth, rejoicing the earth, and saddening Sancho Panza, who missed his Dapple, and finding himself deprived of him, began the most doleful lamentation in the world; and so loud it was, that Don Quixote awoke at his cries, and heard him say, "O child of my bowels, born in my own house, the joy of my children, the entertainment of my wife, the envy of my neighbours, the relief of my burdens, and lastly, the -[104]- half of my maintenance! for, with six and twenty maravedis, I earned every day by thy means, I half supported my family." Don Quixote hearing the lamentation, and learning the cause, comforted Sancho with the best reasons he could, and desired him to have patience, promising to give him a bill of exchange for three young asses out of five he had left at home. Sancho was comforted herewith, wiped away his tears, moderated his sighs, and thanked his master for the kindness he showed him. Don Quixote's heart leaped for joy at entering into the mountains, such kind of places seeming to him the most likely to furnish him with those adventures he was in quest of. They recalled to his memory the marvellous events which had befallen knights-errant in such solitudes and deserts. He went on meditating on these things, and so wrapped and transported in them, that he remembered nothing else. Nor had Sancho any other concern, now that he thought he was out of danger, than to appease his hunger with what remained of the clerical spoils; and thus, sitting sideling, as women do, upon his beast, he jogged after his master, emptying the bag and stuffing his paunch; and while he was thus employed he would not have given a farthing to have met with any new adventure whatever.

Being thus busied, he lifted up his eyes and saw his master had stopped, and was endeavouring with the point of his lance to raise up some heavy bundle that lay upon the ground: wherefore he made haste to assist him, if need were, and came up to him just as he had turned over with his lance a saddle-cushion, and a portmanteau fastened to it, half, or rather quite, rotten and torn; but so heavy that Sancho was forced to alight and help to take it up, and his master ordered him to see what was in it. Sancho very readily obeyed; and though the portmanteau was secured with its chain and padlock, you might see through the breaches what it contained; which was four fine Holland shirts, and other linen, no less curious than clean; and in a handkerchief he found a good heap of gold crowns; and, as soon as he espied them, he cried, "Blessed be Heaven, which has presented us with one profitable adventure." And searching further, he found a little pocket-book richly bound. Don Quixote desired to have it, and bid him take the money and keep it for himself. Sancho kissed his hands for the favour; and emptying the portmanteau of the linen, he put it in his provender-bag. All which Don Quixote perceiving, he said, "I am of opinion, Sancho, nor can it possibly be otherwise, that some traveller must have lost his way in these mountains, and have fallen into the hands of robbers who have killed him, and brought him to this remote and secret part to bury him." — "It cannot be so," answered Sancho; "for had they been robbers they would not have left this money here." — "You say right," replied Don Quixote; "and I cannot guess nor think what it should be: but stay, let us see whether this pocket- book has anything written in it by which we may trace and discover what we want to know." He opened it, and the first thing he found was a kind of rough draught, but very legible, of a sonnet; which he read aloud, that Sancho might hear it, to this purpose:

"Or love doth nothing know, or cruel is,
Or my affliction equals not the cause
That doth condemn me to severest pains.
But if love be a god, we must suppose
His knowledge boundless, nor can cruelty
With reason be imputed to a god.                        -[105]-
Whence then the grief, the cruel pains, I feel?
Chloe, art thou the cause? Impossible!
Such ill can ne'er subsist with so much good;
Nor does high heaven's behest ordain my fall.
I soon shall die; my fate's inevitable:
For where we know not the disease's cause,
A miracle alone can hit the cure."

From this parcel of verses," quoth Sancho, "nothing can be collected, unless by the clue here given you can come at the whole bottom."— "What clue is here?" said Don Quixote. "I thought," said Sancho, "your worship named a Clue." — "No, I said Chloλ," answered Don Quixote; "and doubtless that is the name of the lady whom the author of this sonnet complains of; and, in faith, either he (62) is a tolerable poet, or I know but little of the art." — "So then," said Sancho, "your worship understands making verses too?" — "Yes, and better than you think," answered Don Quixote; "and you shall see I do when you carry a letter to my Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, written in verse from top to bottom; for know, Sancho, that all or most of the knights-errant of times past were great poets and great musicians; these two accomplishments, or rather graces, being annexed to lovers-errant. True it is, that the couplets of former knights have more of passion than elegance in them." — "Pray, Sir, read on farther," said Sancho: "perhaps you may find something to satisfy us." Don Quixote turned over the leaf, and said: "This is in prose, and seems to be a letter." — "A letter of business, Sir?" demanded Sancho. "By the beginning, it seems rather one of love," answered Don Quixote. "Then pray, Sir, read it aloud," said Sancho; "for I mightily relish these love-matters." — "With all my heart," said Don Quixote; and reading aloud, as Sancho desired, he found it to this effect.

"Your promise, and my certain hard fate, hurry me to a place, from whence you will sooner hear the news of my death, than the cause of my complaint. You have undone me, ungrateful maid, for the sake of one who has larger possessions, but not more merit, than I. But, if virtue were a treasure now in esteem, I should have had no reason to envy any man's good fortune, nor to bewail my own wretchedness: what your beauty built up, your behaviour has thrown down: by that I took you for an angel, and by this I find you are a woman. Farewell, O Causer of my disquiet; and may Heaven grant, that your husband's perfidy may never come to your knowledge, to make you repent of what you have done, and afford me that revenge which I do not desire."

The letter being read, Don Quixote said: "We can gather little more from this, than from the verses; only that he who wrote it, is some slighted lover." And, turning over most of the book, he found other verses' and letters, some of which were legible, and some not; but the purport of them all was, complaints, lamentations, suspicions, desires, dislikings, favours, and slights, some extolled with rapture, and others as mournfully deplored. While Don Quixote was examining the book, Sancho examined the portmanteau, without leaving a corner in it, or in the saddle-cushion, which he did not search, scrutinize, and look into; nor seam, which he did not rip; nor lock of wool, which he did not carefully pick; that nothing might be lost for want of diligence, or through carelessness; such a greediness had the finding the gold crowns, which were more than a hundred, excited in him. And though he found no -[106]- more of them, he thought himself abundantly rewarded by the leave given him to keep what he had found for the tossing in the blanket, the vomitings of the balsam, the benedictions of the pack-staves, the cuffs of the carrier, the loss of the wallet, and the theft of his cloak; together with all the hunger, thirst, and weariness, he had undergone in his good master's service.

The Knight of the Sorrowful Figure was extremely desirous to know who was the owner of the portmanteau, conjecturing, by the sonnet and the letter, by the money in gold, and by the fineness of the shirts, that it must doubtless belong to some lover of condition, whom the slights and ill-treatment of his mistress had reduced to terms of despair. But there being no one in that uninhabitable and craggy place to give him any information, he thought of nothing but going forward whatever way Rozinante pleased, and that was, wherever he found the way easiest: still possessed with the imagination that he could not fail of meeting with some strange adventure among those briers and rocks.

As he thus went on musing, he espied, on the top of an hillock, just before him, a man skipping from crag to crag, and from bush to bush, with extraordinary agility. He seemed to he naked, his beard black and bushy, his hair long and tangled, his legs and feet bare: on his thighs he wore a pair of breeches of sad-coloured velvet, but so ragged that his skin appeared through several parts. His head was bare; and though he passed with the swiftness already mentioned, the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure saw and observed all these particulars: but though he endeavoured to follow him he could not; for it was not given to Rozinante's feebleness to make way through those craggy places; and besides he was naturally slow-footed and phlegmatic. Don Quixote immediately fancied this must be the owner of the saddle-cushion and portmanteau, and so resolved to go in search of him, though he were sure to wander a whole year among those mountains before he should find him; wherefore he commanded Sancho to cut short over one side of the mountain, while he coasted along the other, in hopes that by this diligence they might light on the man who had so suddenly vanished out of their sight. "I cannot do it," answered Sancho; "for the moment I offer to stir from your worship fear is upon me, assaulting me with a thousand kinds of terrors and apparitions: and let this serve to advertise you, that from henceforward I have not the power to stir a finger's breadth from your presence." — "Be it so," said he of the Sorrowful Figure, "and I am very well pleased that you rely upon my courage, which shall never be wanting to you, though your very soul in your body should fail you: and now follow me step by step, or as you can, and make spying- glasses of your eyes: we will go round this craggy hill, and perhaps we may meet with the man we saw, who doubtless is the owner of what we have found." To which Sancho replied: "It would be much more prudent not to look after him; for if we should find him, and he perchance proves to be the owner of the money, it is plain I must restore it: and therefore it would be better, without this unnecessary diligence, to keep possession of it, bona fide, until by some way less curious and officious, its true owner shall be found; and perhaps that may be at a time when I shall have spent it all, and then I am free by law." — "You deceive yourself in this, Sancho," answered Don Quixote; "for since we have a suspicion who the right owner is, we are obliged to seek him, and return it; and if we should not look for him, the vehement suspicion we have that this may be he, makes us -[107]- already as guilty as if he really were. So that, friend Sancho, you should be in no pain at searching after him, considering the uneasiness I shall be freed from in finding him." Then he pricked Rozinante on, and Sancho followed at the usual rate: and having gone round part of the mountain, they found a dead mule lying in a brook saddled and bridled, and half devoured by dogs and crows. All which confirmed them the more in the suspicion that he who fled from them was owner of the mule and of the bundle.

While they stood looking at the mule, they heard a whistle like that of a shepherd tending his flock; and presently on their left hand appeared a good number of goats, and behind them on the top of the mountain the goatherd that kept them, who was an old man. Don Quixote called aloud to him, and desired him to come down to them. He answered as loudly, and demanded who had brought them to that desolate place, seldom or never trodden unless by the feet of goats, wolves, or other wild beasts which frequented those mountains. Sancho replied, if he would come down they would satisfy his curiosity in everything. The goatherd descended, and coming to the place where Don Quixote was, he said: "I will lay a wager you are viewing the hackney-mule which lies dead in this bottom: in good faith it has lain there these six month already. Pray tell me, have you lighted on his master hereabouts?" — "We have lighted on nothing," answered Don Quixote, "but a saddle-cushion and a small portmanteau, which we found not far from hence." — "I found it too," answered the goatherd; "but would by no means take it up nor come near it, for fear of some mischief, and lest I should be charged with having stolen it; for the devil is subtle, and lays stumbling-blocks and occasions of falling in our way, without our knowing how or how not." — "I say so too," answered Sancho: "for I also found it, and would not go within a stone's throw of it: there I left it, and there it lies as it was for me; for I will not have a dog with a bell." — "Tell me, honest man," said Don Quixote, "do you know who is the owner of these goods?" — "What I know," said the goatherd, "is, that six months ago, more or less, there arrived 'at the huts of certain shepherds about three leagues from this place, a genteel and comely youth, mounted on this very mule which lies dead here, and with the same saddle-cushion and portmanteau you say you found, and touched not. He inquired of us which part of this hill was the most craggy, and least accessible. We told him it was this where we now are: and so it is, truly; for if you were to go on about half a league farther, perhaps you would not easily find the way out: and I wonder how you could get even hither, since there is no road nor path that leads to this place. The youth then, I say, hearing our answer, turned about his mule, and made towards the place we showed him, leaving us all pleased with his goodly appearance, and in admiration at his question, and the haste he made to reach the mountain: and from that time we saw him not again, until some days after he issued out upon one of our shepherds, and without saying a word, came up to him and gave him several cuffs and kicks, and immediately went to our sumpter-ass, which he plundered of all the bread and cheese she carried; and this done, he fled again to the rocks with wonderful swiftness. Some of us goatherds knowing this, went almost two days in quest of him through the most intricate part of this craggy hill; and at last we found him lying in the hollow of a large cork tree. He came out to us with much gentleness, his garment torn, and his face so disfigured and scorched by the sun, that we -[108]- should scarcely have known him, but that his clothes, ragged as they were, with the description given us of them, assured us he was the. person we were in search after. He saluted us courteously, and in few but complaisant terms, bid us not wonder to see him in that condition, to which he was necessitated in order to perform a certain penance enjoined him for his manifold sins. We entreated him to tell us who he was, but we could get no more out of him. We desired him, likewise, that when he stood in need of food, without which he could not subsist, he would let us know where we might find him, and we would very freely and willingly bring him some: and if this was not to his liking, that at least he would come out and ask for it, and not take it away from the shepherds by force. He thanked us for our offers, begged pardon for the violences past, and promised from thenceforth to ask it for God's sake, without giving disturbance to anybody. As to the place of his abode, he said he had no other than what chance presented him wherever the night overtook him; and he ended his discourse with such melting tears, that we who heard him must have been very stones not to have borne him company in them, considering what he was the first time we saw him, and what we saw him now to be: for, as I before said, he was a very comely and graceful youth, and by his courteous behaviour and civil discourse showed himself to be well-born and a court-like person: for though we who heard him were country people, his genteel carriage was sufficient to discover itself even to rusticity. In the height of his discourse he stopped short and stood silent, nailing his eyes to the ground for a considerable time, whilst we all stood still in suspense, waiting to see what that fit of distraction would end in, with no small compassion at the sight; for by his demeanour, his staring, and fixing his eyes unmoved for a long while on the ground, and then shutting them again, by biting his lips, and arching his brows, we easily judged that some fit of madness was come upon him; and he quickly confirmed us in our suspicions, for he started up with great fury from the ground on which he had just before thrown himself, and fell upon the first that stood next him with such resolution and rage, that if we had not taken him off, he would have bit and cuffed him to death. And all this while he cried out: 'Ah traitor Fernando! here, here you shall pay for the wrong you have done me; these hands shall tear out that heart in which all kinds of wickedness, and especially deceit and treachery, do lurk and are harboured.' And to these he added other expressions, all tending to revile the said Fernando, and charging him with falsehood and treachery. We disengaged him from our companion at last with no small difficulty; and he, without saying a word, left us, and plunged amidst the thickest of the bushes and briers, so that we could not possibly follow him. By this we guessed that his madness returned by fits, and that some person whose name is Fernando must have done him some injury of as grievous a nature as the condition to which it has reduced him sufficiently declares. And this has been often confirmed to us since that time, by his issuing out one while to beg of the shepherds part of what they had to eat, and at other times to take it from them by force; for when the mad fit is upon him, though the shepherds freely offer it him, he will not take it without coming to blows for it; but when he is in his senses he asks it for God's sake, with courtesy and civility, and is very thankful for it, not without shedding tears. And truly, gentlemen, I must tell you," pursued the goatherd, "that yesterday I and four young swains, two of them my servants and two my friends, resolved to go in search of him, and having -[109]- found him, either by force or by fair means to carry him to the town of Almodovar, which is eight leagues off, and there to get him cured, if his distemper be curable; or at least inform ourselves who he is when he is in his senses, and whether he has any relations to whom we may give notice of his misfortune. This, gentlemen, is all I can tell you, in answer to your inquiry, by which you may understand that the owner of the goods you found is the same whom you saw pass by you so swiftly and so nakedly; "for Don Quixote had already told him how he had seen that man pass skipping over the craggy rocks.

Don Quixote was in admiration at what he heard from the goatherd; and having now a greater desire to learn who the unfortunate madman was, he resolved, as he had before purposed, to seek him all over the mountain, without leaving a corner or cave in it unsearched, until he should find him. But fortune managed better for him than he thought or expected: for in that very instant the youth they sought appeared from between some clefts of a rock, coming toward the place where they stood, and muttering to himself something which could not be understood though one were near him, much less at a distance. His dress was such as has been described: but as he drew near, Don Quixote perceived that a buff doublet he had on, though torn to pieces, still retained the perfume of amber; whence he positively concluded, that the person who wore such apparel could not be of the lowest quality. When the youth came up to them, he saluted them with an harsh unmusical accent, but with much civility. Don Quixote returned him the salute with no less complaisance, and alighting from Rozinante, with a genteel air and address advanced to embrace him, and held him a good space very close between his arms, as if he had been acquainted with him a long time. The other, whom we may call the Ragged Knight of the Sorry Figure, as Don Quixote of the Sorrowful, after he had suffered himself to be embraced, drew back a little, and laying both his hands on Don Quixote's shoulders, stood beholding him as if to see whether he knew him; in no less wonder, perhaps, at the figure, mien, and armour of Don Quixote, than Don Quixote was at the sight of him. In short, the first who spoke after the embracing was the ragged knight, and he said what shall be told in the next chapter.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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