Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[202]-

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 XXXVI: Which treats of other uncommon Accidents that happened at the Inn.

 

While these things passed, the host who stood at the inn door said: "Here comes a goodly company of guests; if they stop here, we shall sing O be joyful." "What folks are they?" said Cardenio. "Four men," answered the host, "on horseback la Gineta, (93) with lances and targets, and black masks on their faces; (94) and with them a woman on a side-saddle, dressed in white, and her face likewise covered; and two lads besides on foot." "Are they near at hand?" demanded the priest. "So near," replied the innkeeper, "that they are already at the door." Dorothea hearing this, veiled her face; and Cardenio went into Don Quixote's chamber; and scarcely had they done so, when the persons the host mentioned entered the yard; and the four horsemen, who, by their appearance, seemed to be persons of distinction, having alighted, went to help down the lady who came on the side-saddle; and one of them taking her in his arms, set her down in a chair which stood at the door of the room into which Cardenio had withdrawn. In all this time neither she, nor they, had taken off their masks, or spoken one word: only the lady, at sitting down in the chair, fetched a deep sigh, and let fall her arms like one sick and ready to faint away. The servants on foot took the horses to the stable. The priest, seeing all this, and desirous to know who they were in that odd guise, and that kept such silence, went where the lads were, and inquired of one of them; who answered him: "In truth, Signor, I cannot inform you who these gentlefolks are; I can only tell you they must be people of considerable quality, especially he who took the lady down in his arms: I say this because all the rest pay him such respect, and do nothing but what he orders and directs." "And the lady, pray, who is she?" demanded the priest. "Neither can I tell that," replied the lacquey; "for I have not once seen her face during the whole journey; I have indeed often heard her sigh, and utter such groans, that one would think any one of them enough to break her heart; and it is no wonder we know no more than what we have told you; for it is not above two days since my comrade and I came to serve them; for, having met us upon the road, they asked and -[203]- persuaded us to go with them as far as Andalusia, promising to pay us very well." "And have you heard any of them called by their names?" said the priest. "No, indeed," answered the lad; "for they all travel with so much silence, that you would wonder; and you hear nothing among them but the sighs and sobs of the poor lady, which move us to pity her; and, whithersoever it is that she is going, we believe it must be against her will; and, by what we can gather from her habit, she must be a nun, or going to be one, which seems most probable; and perhaps, because the being one does not proceed from her choice, she goes thus heavily." "Very likely," said the priest; and, leaving them, he returned to the room where he had left Dorothea; who, hearing the lady in the mask sigh, moved by a natural compassion, went to her, and said: "What is the matter, dear madam? If it be anything that we women can assist you in, speak; for, on my part, I am ready to serve you with great good-will." To all this the afflicted lady returned no answer; and, though Dorothea urged her still more, she persisted in her silence, until the cavalier in the mask, who, the servant said, was superior to the rest, came up, and said to Dorothea: "Trouble not yourself, madam, to offer anything to this woman; for it is her way not to be thankful for any service done her; nor endeavour to get an answer from her, unless you would hear some lie from her mouth." "No," said she, who hitherto had held her peace; "on the contrary, it is for being so sincere and so averse to lying and deceit, that I am now reduced to such hard fortune; and of this you may be a witness yourself, since it is my truth alone which makes you act so false and treacherous a part."

Cardenio heard these words plainly and distinctly, being very near her who spoke them; for Don Quixote's chamber-door only was between; and as soon as he heard them, he cried out aloud: "Good God! what is this I hear? What voice is this which has reached my ears?" The lady, all in surprise, turned her head at these exclamations; and not seeing who uttered them, she got up, and was going into the room; which the cavalier perceiving, he stopped her, and would not suffer her to stir a step. With this perturbation, and her sudden rising, her mask fell off, and she discovered a beauty incomparable, and a countenance miraculous, though pale and full of horror; for she rolled her eyes round as far as she could see, examining every place with so much eagerness, that she seemed distracted; at which Dorothea and the rest, without knowing why she did so, were moved to great compassion. The cavalier held her fast by the shoulders; and, his hands being thus employed, he could not keep on his mask, which was falling off, as indeed at last it did; and Dorothea, who had clasped the lady in her arms, lifting up her eyes, discovered that the person who also held her, was her husband, Don Fernando; and scarcely had she perceived it was he, when, fetching from the bottom of her heart a deep and dismal "Oh!" she fell backward in a swoon; and had not the barber, who stood close by, caught her in his arms, she would have fallen to the ground. The priest ran immediately, and took off her veil to throw water in her face; and no sooner had he uncovered it, but Don Fernando, for it was he who held the other in his arms, knew her, and stood like one dead at the sight of her; nevertheless, he did not let go Lucinda, who was the lady that was struggling so hard to get from him; for she knew Cardenio's voice in his exclamations, and he knew hers. Cardenio heard also the "Oh," which Dorothea gave when she fainted away; and believing it came from his Lucinda, he ran out of the room in a fright, and the first he saw was Don -[204]- Fernando holding Lucinda close in his arms. Don Fernando presently knew Cardenio; and all three, Lucinda, Cardenio, and Dorothea, were struck dumb, hardly knowing what had happened to them. They all stood silent, and gazing on one another, Dorothea on Don Fernando, Don Fernando on Cardenio, Cardenio on Lucinda, and Lucinda on Cardenio. But the first that broke silence was Lucinda, who addressed herself to Don Fernando in this manner: "Suffer me, Signor Don Fernando, as you are a gentleman, since you will not do it upon any other account, suffer me to cleave to that wall, of which I am the ivy; to that prop, from which neither your importunities, your threats, your promises, nor your presents, were able to separate me. Observe how Heaven, by unusual, and to us hidden, ways, has brought me into the presence of my true husband; and well you know, by a thousand dear-bought experiences, that death alone can efface him out of my memory. Then, since all farther attempts are vain, let this open declaration convert your love into rage, your good-will into revenge, and thereby put an end to my life; for if I lose it in the presence of my dear husband, I shall reckon it well disposed of; and perhaps my death may convince him of the fidelity I have preserved for him to my last moment."

By this time Dorothea was come to herself, and had listened to all that Lucinda said, by which she discovered who she was; but, seeing that Don Fernando did not yet let her go from between his arms, nor make any answer to what she said, she got up as well as she could, and went and kneeled down at his feet, and, pouring forth an abundance of lovely and piteous tears, she began to say thus:

"If, my dear lord, the rays of that sun you hold now eclipsed between your arms had not dazzled and obscured your eyes, you must have seen that she who lies prostrate at your feet is the unhappy, so long as you are pleased to have it so, and unfortunate Dorothea. I am that humble country girl, whom you, through goodness or love, deigned to raise to the honour of calling herself yours. I am she who, confined within the bounds of modesty, lived a contented life, until to the voice of your importunities and seemingly sincere and real passion, she opened the gates of her reserve, and delivered up to you the keys of her liberty; a gift by you so ill requited, as appears by my being driven into the circumstances in which you find me, and forced to see you in the posture you are now in. Notwithstanding all this, I would not have you imagine that I am brought hither by any dishonest motives, but only by those of grief and concern, to see myself neglected and forsaken by you. You would have me be yours, and would have it in such a manner, that though now you would not have it be so, it is not possible you should cease to be mine. Consider, my lord, that the matchless affection I have for you may balance the beauty and nobility of her for whom I am abandoned. You cannot be the fair Luanda's, because you are mine; nor can she be yours, because she is Cardenio's. And it is easier, if you take it right, to reduce your inclination to love her who adores you, than to bring her to love who abhors you. You importuned my indifference; you solicited my integrity; you were not ignorant of my condition; you know very well in what manner I gave myself up entirely to your will; you have no room to pretend any deceit: and if this be so, as it really is, and if you are as much a Christian as a gentleman, why do you, by so many evasions, delay making me as happy at last as you did at first? And if you will not acknowledge -[205]- me for what I am, your true and lawful wife, at least admit me for your slave; for, so I be under your power, I shall account myself happy and very fortunate. Do not, by forsaking and abandoning me, give the world occasion to censure and disgrace me. Do not so sorely afflict my aged parents, whose constant and faithful services, as good vassals to yours, do not deserve it. And if you fancy your blood is debased by mixing it with mine, consider, there is little or no nobility in the world but what has run in the same channel, and that what is derived from women is not essential in illustrious descents: besides, true nobility consists in virtue; and if you forfeit that by denying me what is so justly my due, I shall then remain with greater advantages of nobility than you. In short, Sir, I shall only add, that whether you will or no, I am your wife: witness your words, which if you value yourself on that account, on which you undervalue me, ought not to be false; witness your handwriting; and witness Heaven, which you invoked to bear testimony to what you promised me. And though all this should fail, your conscience will not fail to whisper you in the midst of your joys; justifying this truth I have told you, and disturbing your greatest pleasures and satisfaction."

 These and other reasons did the afflicted Dorothea urge so feelingly and with so many tears, that all who accompanied Don Fernando, and all who were present besides, sympathised with her. Don Fernando listened to her without answering a word, until she had put an end to what she had to say, and began to lament so bitterly, that it must have been a heart of brass which the signs of so much sorrow could not soften. Lucinda gazed at her with no less pity for her affliction than admiration at her wit and beauty; and, though she had a mind to go to her, and endeavour to comfort her, she was prevented by Don Fernando's still holding her fast in his arms; who, full of confusion and astonishment, after he had attentively beheld Dorothea for a good while, opened his arms, and leaving Lucinda free, said: "You have conquered, fair Dorothea; you have conquered; for there is no withstanding so many united truths."

Lucinda was so faint when Don Fernando let her go, that she was just falling to the ground. But Cardenio, who was near her, and had placed himself behind Don Fernando that he might not know him, now laying aside all fear, and at all adventures, ran to support Lucinda; and, catching her between his arms, he said: "If it pleases pitying Heaven that now at last you should have some rest, my dear, faithful, and constant mistress, I believe you can find it nowhere more secure than in these arms which now receive you, and did receive you heretofore, when fortune was pleased to allow me to call you mine." At these expressions Lucinda fixed her eyes on Cardenio; and having begun first to know him by his voice, and being now assured by sight that it was he, she was almost beside herself, and without any regard to the forms of decency, and throwing her arms about his neck, and joining her face to his, she said to him: "You, my dear Cardenio, you are the true owner of this your slave, though fortune were yet more adverse, and though my life, which depends upon yours, were threatened yet more than it is."

This was a strange sight to Don Fernando and all the bystanders, who were astonished at so unexpected an event. Dorothea fancied that Don Fernando changed colour, and looked as if he had a mind to revenge himself on Cardenio; for she saw him put his hand toward his sword; and no sooner did she perceive it, but she ran immediately, and, embracing his -[206]- knees and kissing them, she held him so fast, that he could not stir; and, her tears trickling down without intermission, she said to him: "What is it you intend to do, my only refuge, in this unexpected crisis? You have your wife at your feet, and she, whom you would have to be yours, is in the arms of her own husband: consider whether it be fit or possible for you to undo what Heaven has done, or whether it will become you to raise her to an equality with yourself, who, regardless of all obstacles, and confirmed in her truth and constancy, is bathing the bosom of her true husband before your face, with the tears of love flowing from her eyes. For God's sake, and your own character, I beseech you, that this public declaration, so far from increasing your wrath, may appease it, and that these two lovers may be permitted without any impediment from you, to live together in peace all the time Heaven shall be pleased to allot them; and by this you will show the generosity of your noble and illustrious breast, and the world will see that reason sways more with you than appetite."

While Dorothea was saying this, Cardenio, though he held Lucinda between his arms, kept his eyes fixed on Don Fernando, with a resolution, if he saw him make any motion towards assaulting him, to endeavour to defend himself, and also to act offensively as well as he could against all who should take part against him, though it should cost him his life. But now Don Fernando's friends, together with the priest and the barber, who were present all the while, not omitting honest Sancho Panza, ran and surrounded Don Fernando, entreating him to have regard to Dorothea's tears; and as they verily believed she had said nothing but what was true, they begged bf him that he would not suffer her to be disappointed in her just expectations. They desired he would consider, that not by chance as it seemed, but by the particular providence of Heaven, they had all met in a place where one would have least imagined they should; and the priest put him in mind that nothing but death could part Lucinda from Cardenio, and that though they should be severed by the edge of the sword, they would account their deaths most happy; and that in a case which could not be remedied, the highest wisdom would be by forcing and overcoming himself, to show a greatness of mind in suffering this couple, by his mere good-will, to enjoy that happiness which Heaven had already granted them. He desired him also to turn his eyes on the beauty of Dorothea, and see how few, if any, could equal, much less exceed her; and that to her beauty he would add her humility, and the extreme love she had for him; but especially that he would remember that, if he valued himself on being a gentleman and a Christian, he could do no less than perform the promise he had given her, and that in so doing he would please God, and do what was right in the eyes of all wise men, who know and understand that it is the prerogative of beauty, though in a mean subject, if it be accompanied with modesty, to be able to raise and equal itself to any height without any disparagement to him who raises and makes it equal to himself; and that in complying with the strong dictates of appetite, there is nothing blameworthy, provided there be no sin in the action. In short, to these they all added such and so many powerful arguments, that the generous heart of Don Fernando being nourished with noble blood, was softened, and suffered itself to be overcome by that truth, which if he had had a mind he could not have resisted; and the proof he gave of surrendering himself and submitting to what was proposed, was to stoop down and -[207]- embrace Dorothea, saying to her: "Rise, dear Madam; for it is not fit she should kneel at my feet who is mistress of my soul; and if hitherto I have given no proof of what I say, perhaps it has been so ordered by Heaven, that by finding in you the constancy of your affection to me, I may know how to esteem you as you deserve. What I beg of you is, not to reproach me with my past unkind behaviour and great neglect of you; for the very same cause and motive that induced me to take you for mine, influenced me to endeavour not to be yours; and to show you the truth of what I say, turn and behold the eyes of the now satisfied Lucinda, and in them you will see an excuse for all my errors; and since she has found and attained to what she desired, and I have found in you all I want, let her live secure and contented many happy years with her Cardenio; and I will beseech Heaven that I may do the like with my dear Dorothea." And saying this, he embraced her again, and joined his face to hers with such tenderness of passion, that he had much ado to prevent his tears from giving undoubted signs of his love and repentance. It was not so with Lucinda and Cardenio, and almost all the rest of the company present; for they began to shed so many tears, some for joy on their own account, and some on the account of others, that one would have thought some heavy and dismal disaster had befallen them all. Even Sancho Panza wept, though he owned afterwards that for his part he wept only to see that Dorothea was not, as he imagined, the Queen Micomicona, from whom he expected so many favours.

Their joint wonder and weeping lasted for some time; and then Cardenio and Lucinda went and kneeled before Don Fernando, thanking him for the favour he had done them, in such terms of respect, that Don Fernando knew not what to answer; and so he raised them up, and embraced them with much courtesy and many demonstrations of affection. Then he desired Dorothea to tell him how she came to that place so far from home? She related in few and discreet words all she had before told Cardenio; with which Don Fernando and his company were so pleased, that they wished the story had lasted much longer, such was the grace with which Dorothea recounted her misfortunes. And when she had made an end, Don Fernando related what had befallen him in the city, after his finding the paper in Lucinda's bosom, wherein she declared that she was wife to Cardenio, and could not be his. He said that he had a mind to have killed her, and should have done it if her parents had not hindered him; upon which he left the house, enraged and ashamed, with a resolution of revenging himself at a more convenient time; that the following day he heard that Lucinda was missing from her father's house, without anybody's knowing whither she was gone; in short, that at the end of some months he came to know that she was in a convent, purposing to remain there all her days, unless she could spend them with Cardenio; and that as soon as he knew it, choosing those three gentlemen for his companions, he went to the place where she was, but did not speak to her, fearing if she knew he was there, the monastery would be better guarded; and so waiting for a day when the porter's lodge was open, he left two to secure the door, and he with the other entered into the convent in search of Lucinda, whom they found in the cloisters talking to a nun; and snatching her away, without giving her time for anything, they came with her to a place where they accommodated themselves with whatever was needful for the carrying her off; all which they could very safely do, as the monastery -[208]- was in the fields, and a good way from the town. He said, that when Lucinda saw herself in his power she swooned away, and that when she came to herself she did nothing but weep and sigh, without speaking one word; and that in this manner, accompanied with silence and tears, they arrived at that inn, which to him was arriving at Heaven, where all earthly misfortunes have an end.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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