Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

Gavilan Spanish Questions or comments  Bibliographic Record Index page Previous page Bottom Next page   


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 XLI: Wherein the Captive continues the Story of his Adventures.


"In less than fifteen days our renegado had bought a very good barque, capable of holding above thirty persons; and, to make sure work, and give the business a colour, he made a short voyage to a place called Sargel, thirty leagues from Algiers towards Oran, to which there is a great trade for dried figs. Two or three times he made this trip, in company of the Tagarin aforesaid. The Moors of Aragon are called in Barbary, Tagarins, and those of Granada, Mudajares; and in the kingdom of Fez, the Mudajares are called Elches, who are the people the king makes most use -[230]- of in his wars. You must know, that each time he passed with his barque, he cast anchor in a little creek, not two bow-shots distant from the garden, where Zoraida expected us; and there the renegado designedly set himself, together with the Moors that rowed, either to perform the zala, (102) or to practise by way of jest what he intended to execute in earnest; and with this view he would go to Zoraida's garden, and beg some fruit, which her father would give him, without knowing who he was. His design was, as he afterwards told me, to speak to Zoraida, and to tell her that he was the person, who, by my direction, was to carry her to Christendom, and that she might be easy and secure; but it was impossible for him to do it, the Moorish women never suffering themselves to be seen either by Moor or Turk, unless when commanded by their husbands or fathers. Christian slaves, indeed, are allowed to keep company and converse with them, with more freedom perhaps than is proper. But I should have been sorry if he had talked to her, because it might have frightened her, to see that the business was intrusted to a renegado. But God, who ordered it otherwise, gave the renegado no opportunity of effecting his good design; who, finding how securely he went to and from Sargel, and that he lay at anchor, when, how, and where, he pleased, and that the Tagarin, his partner, had no will of his own, but approved whatever he directed; that I was ransomed, and that there wanted nothing but to find some Christians to help to row; he bid me consider who I would bring with me, besides those already ransomed, and bespeak them for the first Friday; for that was the time he fixed for our departure. Upon this I spoke to twelve Spaniards, all able men at the oar, and such as could most easily get out of the city unsuspected; and it was no easy matter to find so many at that juncture; for there were twenty corsairs out pirating, and they had taken almost all the rowers with them; and these had not been found, but that their master did not go out that summer, having a galiot to finish, that was then upon the stocks. I said nothing more to them, but that they should steal out of the town one by one, the next Friday in the dusk of the evening, and wait for me somewhere about Agimorato's garden. I gave this direction to each of them separately, with this caution, that, if they should see any other Christians there, they should only say, I ordered them to stay for me in that place.

"This point being taken care of, one thing was yet wanting, and that the most necessary of all; which was, to inform Zoraida how matters stood, that she might be in readiness, and on the watch, so as not to be frightened if we rushed upon her on a sudden, before the time she could think that the vessel from Christendom could be arrived. And therefore I resolved to go to the garden, and try if I could speak to her; and under pretence of gathering some herbs, one day before our departure I went thither, and the first person I met was her father, who spoke to me in a language, which all over Barbary, and even at Constantinople, is spoken among captives and Moors, and is neither Morisco nor Castilian, nor of any other nation, but a medley of all languages, and generally understood. He, I say, in that jargon, asked me what I came to look for in that garden, and to whom I belonged? I answered him, I was a slave of Arnauté Mami, who, I knew, was a very great friend of his; and that I came for a few herbs of several sorts to make a salad. He then asked me if I was upon ransom or not, and how much my master demanded for me? While we were thus talking, the fair Zoraida, who had espied me some time before, came -[231]- out of the house; and, as the Moorish women make no scruple of appearing before the Christians, nor are at all shy towards them, as I have already observed, she made no difficulty of coming where I stood with her father, who, seeing her walking slowly towards us, called to her, and bid her come on. It would be too hard a task for me, at this time, to express the great beauty, the genteel air, the finery and richness of attire, with which my beloved Zoraida appeared then before my eyes. More pearls, if I may so say, hung about her beauteous neck, and more jewels were in her ears and hair, than she had hairs on her head. About her ankles, which were bare, according to custom, she had two Carcaxes, so they call the enamelled foot-bracelets in Morisco, of the purest gold, set with so many diamonds, that, as she told me since, her father valued them at ten thousand pistoles; and those she wore on her wrists were of equal value. The pearls were in abundance, and very good; for the greatest finery and magnificence of the Moorish women consists in adorning themselves with the finest seed-pearls; and therefore there are more of that sort among the Moors, than among all other nations; and Zoraida's father had the reputation of having a great many, and those the very best in Algiers, and to be worth besides above two hundred thousand Spanish crowns; of all which she who is now mine was once mistress. Whether, with all these ornaments, she then appeared beautiful or not, and what she must have been in the days of her prosperity may be conjectured by what remains after so many fatigues. For it is well known, that the beauty of some women has days and seasons, and depends upon accidents, which diminish or increase it; nay, the very passions of the mind naturally improve or impair it, and very often utterly destroy it. In short, she came extremely adorned, and extremely beautiful; to me at least she seemed the most so of anything I had ever beheld; which, together with my obligations to her, made me think her an angel from heaven, descended for my pleasure and relief.

"When she was come up to us, her father told her, in his own tongue, that I was a captive belonging to his friend Arnauté Mami, and that I came to look for a salad. She took up the discourse, and in the aforesaid medley of languages, asked me whether I was a gentleman, and why I did not ransom myself. I told her I was already ransomed, and by the price she might guess what my master thought of me, since he had got fifteen hundred pieces of eight for me. To which she answered: 'Truly, had you belonged to my father, he should not have parted with you for twice that sum; for you Christians always falsify in your accounts of yourselves, pretending to be poor, in order to cheat the Moors.' — 'It may very well be so, Madam,' answered I; 'but in truth, I dealt sincerely with my master, and ever did and shall do the same by everybody in the world.' — 'And when go you away?' said Zoraida. 'To-morrow, I believe,' said I; 'for there is a French vessel which sails to-morrow, and I intend to go in her.' — 'Would it not be better,' replied Zoraida, 'to stay until some ships come from Spain, and go with them; and not with those of France, who are not your friends?' — 'No, Madam,' answered I; 'but should the news we have of a Spanish ship's coming suddenly prove true, I would perhaps stay a little for it, though it is more likely I shall depart to-morrow: for the desire I have to be in my own country, and with the persons I love, is so great, that it will not suffer me to wait for any other conveniency, though ever so much better.' — 'You are married, doubtless, in your own country,' said Zoraida, 'and therefore you are so desirous to be gone, and be at home -[232]- with your wife?' — 'No,' replied I, 'I am not married; but I have given my word to marry as soon as I get thither.' — 'And is the lady whom you have promised beautiful?' said Zoraida. 'So beautiful,' answered I, 'that to compliment her, and tell you the truth, she is very like yourself.' Her father laughed heartily at this, and said: 'Really, Christian, she must be beautiful indeed, if she resembles my daughter, who is accounted the handsomest woman in all this kingdom: observe her well, and you will see I speak the truth.' Zoraida's father served us as an interpreter to most of this conversation, as understanding Spanish; for though she spoke the bastard language in use there, as I told you, yet she expressed her meaning more by signs than by words.

"While we were thus engaged in discourse, a Moor came running to us, crying aloud that four Turks had leaped over the pales or wall of the garden, and were gathering the fruit, though it was not yet ripe. The old man was put into a fright, and so was Zoraida; for the Moors were naturally afraid of the Turks, especially of their soldiers, who are so insolent and imperious over the Moors, who are subject to them, that they treat them worse than if they were their slaves. Therefore Zoraida's father said to her: 'Daughter, retire into the house, and lock yourself in, while I go and talk to these dogs; and you, Christian, gather your herbs, and be gone in peace, and Alla send you safe to your own country.' I bowed myself, and he went his way to find the Turks, leaving me alone with Zoraida, who also made as if she was going whither her father bid her. But scarcely was he got out of sight among the trees of the garden, when she turned back to me, with her eyes full of tears, and said: 'Amexi, Christiano, amexi?' that is, 'Are you going away, Christian? are you going away ?' I answered, 'Yes, Madam, but not without you: expect me the next Juma, and be not frightened when you see us; for we shall certainly get to Christendom.' I said this in such a manner, that she understood me very well; and throwing her arm about my neck, she began to walk softly and trembling toward the house; and fortune would have it, which might have proved fatal, if Heaven had not ordained otherwise, that, while we were going in the posture and manner I told you, her arm being about my neck, her father returning from driving away the Turks, saw us in that posture, and we were sensible that he discovered us. But Zoraida had the discretion and presence of mind not to take her arm from about my neck, but rather held me closer; and leaning her head against my breast, and bending her knees a little, gave plain signs of fainting away; and I also made as if I held her up only to keep her from falling. Her father came running to us, and seeing his daughter in that posture, asked what ailed her. But she not answering, he said: 'Without doubt, these dogs have frightened her into a swoon;' and taking her from me, he inclined her gently to his bosom. And she fetching a deep sigh, and her eyes still full of tears, said: 'Amexi, Christiano, amexi;' 'Begone, Christian, begone.' To which her father answered: 'There is no occasion, child, why the Christian should go away: he has done you no harm, and the Turks are gone off; let nothing frighten you; there is no danger; for as I have already told you, the Turks at my request have returned by the way they came.' — 'Sir,' said I to her father, 'they have frightened her, as you say; but, since she bids me be gone, I will not disturb her: God be with you, and with your leave, I will come again, if we have occasion for herbs, to this garden; for my master says, there are no better for a salad anywhere -[233]- than here.' — 'You may come whenever you will,' answered Agimorato;' for my daughter does not say this, as having been offended by you or any other Christian; but instead of bidding the Turks be gone, she bid you be gone, or because she thought it time for you to go and gather your herbs.' I now took my leave of them both, and she, seeming as if her soul had been rent from her, went away with her father. And I, under pretence of gathering herbs, walked over and took a view of the whole garden at my leisure, observing carefully all the inlets and outlets, and the strength of the house, and every conveniency which might tend to facilitate our business.

"When I had so done, I went and gave an account to the renegado and my companions of all that had passed, longing eagerly for the hour when, without fear of surprise, I might enjoy the happiness which fortune presented me in the beautiful Zoraida. In a word, time passed on, and the day appointed, and by us so much wished for, came; and we all observing the order and method which after mature deliberation and long debate we had agreed on, had the desired success. For the Friday following the day when I talked with Zoraida in the garden, Morrenago, for that was the renegado's name, at the close of the evening cast anchor with the barque almost opposite to where Zoraida dwelt. The Christians who were to be employed at the oar were ready and hidden in several places thereabouts. They were all in suspense, their hearts beating in expectation of my coming, being eager to surprise the barque which lay before their eyes: for they knew nothing of what was concerted with the renegado, but thought they were to regain their liberty by mere force, and by killing the Moors who were on board the vessel. As soon therefore as I and my friends appeared, all they that were hidden came out and joined us one after another. It was now the time that the city gates were shut, and nobody appeared abroad in all that quarter. Being met together, we were in some doubt whether it would be better to go first to Zoraida, or secure the Moors who rowed the vessel. While we were in this uncertainty, our renegado came to us, asking us what we stayed for; for now was the time, all his Moors being thoughtless of danger, and most of them asleep. We told him what we demurred about, and he said, that the thing of the most importance was, first, to seize the vessel, which might be done with all imaginable ease, and without any manner of danger; and then we might presently go and fetch Zoraida. We all approved of what he said, and so, without farther delay, he being our guide, we came to the vessel; and he leaping in first, drew a cutlass, and said in Morisco: 'Let not one man of you stir, unless he has a mind it should cost him his life.' By this time all the Christians were got on board; and the Moors, who were timorous fellows, hearing the master speak thus, were in a great fright; and, without making any resistance, for indeed they had few or no arms, silently suffered themselves to be bound, which was done very expeditiously, the Christians threatening the Moors that if they raised any manner of cry, or made the least noise, they would in that instant put them all to the sword.

"This being done, and half our number remaining on board to guard them, the rest of us, the renegado being still our leader, went to Agimorato's garden, and as good luck would have it, the door opened as easily to us as if it had not been locked; and we came up to the house with great stillness and silence, and without being perceived by any one. The lovely Zoraida was expecting us at a window, and when she heard -[234]- people coming she asked in a low voice, whether we were Nazareni? that is, Christians. I answered, we were, and desired her to come down. When she knew it was I, she stayed not a moment, but without answering me a word, came down in an instant, and opening the door, appeared to us all so beautiful and richly attired that I cannot easily express it. As soon as I saw her I took her hand and kissed it; the renegado did the same, and my two comrades also; and the rest, who knew not the meaning of it, followed our example, thinking we only meant to express our thanks and acknowledgments to her, as the instrument of our deliverance. The renegado asked her in Morisco, whether her father was in the house; she answered he was, and asleep. 'Then we must awaken him,' replied the renegado, 'and carry him with us, and all that he has of value in this beautiful villa.' — 'No,' said she, 'my father must by no means be touched, and there is nothing considerable here but what I have with me, which is sufficient to make you all rich and content; stay a little, and you shall see. And so saying, she went in again, and bid us be quiet, and make no noise, for she would come back immediately. I asked the renegado what she said: he told me, and I bid him be sure to do just as Zoraida would have him, who was now returned with a little trunk so full of gold crowns, that she could hardly carry it.

"Ill fortune would have it, that her father in the meantime happened to awake, and hearing a noise in the garden, looked out at the window, and presently found there were Christians in it. Immediately he cried out as loud as he could in Arabic, 'Christians, Christians, thieves, thieves!' which outcry put all into the utmost terror and confusion. But the renegado, seeing the danger we were in, and considering how much it imported him to go through with the enterprise before it was discovered, ran up with the greatest speed to the room where Agimorato was; and with him ran up several others; but I did not dare to quit Zoraida, who had sunk into my arms almost in a swoon. In short, they that went up acquitted themselves so well, that in a moment they came down with Agimorato, having tied his hands and stopped his mouth with a handkerchief, so that he could not speak a word, and threatening, if he made the least noise, that it should cost him his life. When his daughter saw him she covered her eyes, that she might avoid his sight, and her father was astonished at finding her, not knowing how willingly she had put herself into our hands. But at that time it being of the utmost consequence to us to fly, we got as speedily as we could to the barque, where our comrades already expected us with impatience, fearing we had met with some cross accident. Scarcely two hours of the night were passed, when we were all got on board, and then we untied the hands of Zoraido's father, and took the handkerchief out of his mouth; but the renegado warned him again not to speak a word; for if he did they would take away his life. When he saw his daughter there, he began to weep most tenderly, and especially when he perceived that I held her closely embraced, and that she, without making any show of opposition, complaint, or coyness, sat so still and quiet: nevertheless he held his peace, lest we should put the renegado's threats in execution.

"Zoraida now finding herself in the barque, and that we began to handle our oars, and seeing her father there, and the rest of the Moors, who were bound, spoke to the renegado, to desire me to do her the favour to loose those Moors, and set her father at liberty; for she would sooner throw -[235]- herself into the sea, than see a father, who loved her so tenderly, carried away captive before her eyes, and upon her account. The renegado told me what she desired, and I answered that I was entirely satisfied it should be so: but he replied it was not convenient; for should they be set on shore there, they would presently raise the country and alarm the city, and cause some light frigates to be sent out in quest of us, and so we should be beset both by land and sea, and it would be impossible for us to escape; but what might be done was, to give them their liberty at the first Christian country we should touch at. We all came into this opinion, and Zoraida also was satisfied when we told her what we had determined, and the reasons why we could not at present comply with her request. And then immediately, with joyful silence and cheerful diligence, each of our brave rowers handled his oar, and recommending ourselves to God with all our hearts, we began to make toward the island of Majorca, which is the nearest Christian land. But the north wind beginning to blow fresh, and the sea being somewhat rough, it was not possible for us to steer the course of Majorca, and we were forced to keep along shore towards Oran, not without great apprehensions of being discovered from the town of Sargel, which lies on that coast, about sixty miles from Algiers. We were afraid, likewise, of meeting in our passage with some of those galiots which come usually with merchandise from Tetuan; though, each relying on his own courage and that of his comrades in general, we presumed that, if we should meet a galiot, provided it were not a cruiser, we should be so far from being ruined, that we should probably take a vessel in which we might more securely pursue our course. While we proceeded in our voyage, Zoraida kept her head between my hands, that she might not look on her father; and I could perceive she was continually calling upon Lela Marien to assist us.

"We had rowed about thirty miles, when daybreak came upon us, and we found ourselves not above three musket-shot distant from the shore, which seemed to be quite a desert, and without any creature to discover us: however, by mere dint of rowing, we made a little out to sea, which was by this time become more calm; and when we had advanced about two leagues, it was ordered they should row by turns, whilst we took a little refreshment the barque being well provided; but the rowers said, that it was not a time to take any rest, and that they would by no means quit their oars, but would eat and row, if those who were unemployed would bring the victuals to them. They did so; and now the wind began to blow a brisk gale, which forced us to set up our sails, lay down our oars, and steer directly to Oran, it being impossible to hold any other course. All this was done with great expedition; and we sailed above eight miles an hour, without any other fear than that of meeting some corsair. We gave the Moorish prisoners something to eat, and the renegado comforted them, telling them they were not slaves, and that they should have their liberty given them the first opportunity; and he said the same to Zoraida's father, who answered: "I might, perhaps, expect or hope for any other favour from your liberality and generous usage, O Christians; but as to giving me my liberty, think me not so simple as to imagine it; for you would never have exposed yourselves to the hazard of taking it from me, to restore it me so freely, especially since you know who I am, and the advantage that may accrue to you by my ransom; which do but name, and from this moment I promise you whatever you demand for myself and -[236]- for this my unhappy daughter, or else for her alone, who is the greater and better part of my soul.' In saying this he began to weep so bitterly, that it moved us all to compassion, and forced Zoraida to look up at him; who seeing him weep in that manner, was so melted, that she got up from me, and ran to embrace her father; and laying her face to his, they began so tender a lamentation that many of us could not forbear keeping them company. But when her father observed that she was adorned with her best attire, and had so many jewels about her, he said to her in his language: 'How comes it, daughter, that yesterday evening, before this terrible misfortune befell us, I saw you in your ordinary and household dress, and now, without having had time to dress yourself, or having received any joyful news fit to be solemnized by adorning and dressing yourself out, I see you set off with the best clothes that I could possibly give you, when fortune was more favourable to us? Answer to me this; for it holds me in greater suspense and astonishment than the misfortune itself into which I am fallen.' The renegado interpreted to us all that the Moor said to his daughter, who answered him not a word; but when he saw in a corner of the vessel the little trunk in which she used to keep her jewels, which he knew very well he had left in Algiers, and had not brought with him to the garden, he was still more confounded, and asked her how that trunk had come to our hands, and what was in it; to which the renegado, without staying until Zoraida spoke, answered: 'Trouble not yourself, Signor, about asking your daughter so many questions; for with one word I can satisfy them all; and therefore be it known to you, that she is a Christian, and has been the instrument to file off our chains, and give us the liberty we enjoy: she is here with her own consent, and well pleased, I believe, to find herself in this condition, like one who goes out of darkness into light, from death to life, and from suffering to glory.' — 'Is this true, daughter?' said the Moor. 'It is,' answered Zoraida. 'In effect then,' replied the old man, 'you are become a Christian, and are she who has put her father into the power of his enemies?' To which Zoraida answered: 'I am indeed a Christian; but not she who has reduced you to this condition; for my desire never was to do you harm, but only myself good.'—' And what good have you done yourself, my daughter?' — 'Ask that,' answered she, 'of Lela Marien, who can tell you better than I can.'

"The Moor had scarcely heard this when, with incredible precipitation, he threw himself headlong into the sea, and without doubt had been drowned, if the wide and cumbersome garments he wore had not kept him a little while above the water. Zoraida cried out to save him; and we all presently ran, and laying hold of his garment dragged him out, half drowned and senseless; at which sight Zoraida was so affected that she set up a tender and sorrowful lamentation over him, as if he had been dead. We turned him with his mouth downward, and he voided a great deal of water, and in about two hours came to himself. In the meantime the wind being changed, we were obliged to ply our oars to avoid running upon the shore; but by good fortune we came to a creek by the side of a small promontory, or head, which by the Moors is called the Cape of Cava, Rumia, that is to say, in our language, The wicked Christian Woman; for the Moors have a tradition that Cava, (103) who occasioned the loss of Spain, lies buried there; Cava signifying in their language a wicked woman, and Rumia, a Christian; and farther, they reckon it an ill omen to be forced -[237]- to anchor there; and otherwise they never do so; though to us it proved, not the shelter of a wicked woman, but ŕ safe harbour and retreat, considering how high the sea ran. We placed scouts on shore, and never dropped our oars; we ate of what the renegado had provided, and prayed to God and to our Lady very devoutly for assistance and protection, that we might give a happy ending to so fortunate a beginning. Order was given, at Zoraida's entreaty, to set her father on shore with the rest of the Moors, who, until now, had been fast bound; for she had not the heart, nor could her tender feelings brook, to see her father and her countrymen carried off prisoners before her face. We promised her it should be done at our going off, since there was no danger in leaving them in so desolate a place. Our prayers were not in vain; heaven heard them; for the wind presently changed in our favour, and the sea was calm, inviting us to return and prosecute our intended voyage.

"Seeing this, we unbound the Moors, and set them one by one on shore, at which they were greatly surprised; but when we came to disembark Zoraida's father, who was now perfectly in his senses, he said: 'Why, Christians, think you, is this wicked woman desirous of my being set at liberty? Think you it is out of any filial piety she has towards me? No, certainly, but it is on account of the disturbance my presence would give her when she has a mind to put her evil inclinations in practice. And think not that she is moved to change her religion because she thinks yours is preferable to ours; no, but because she knows that libertinism is more allowed in your country than in ours.' And turning to Zoraida, whilst I and another Christian held him fast by both arms, lest he should commit some outrage, he said: 'O infamous girl, and ill-advised maiden! whither goest thou blindfold and precipitate, in the power of these dogs, our natural enemies? Cursed be the hour in which I begat thee, and cursed be the indulgence and luxury in which I brought thee up!' But perceiving he was not likely to give over in haste, I hurried him ashore, and from thence he continued his execrations and wailings, praying to Mahomet that he would beseech God to destroy, confound, and make an end of us; and when, being under sail, we could no longer hear his words, we saw his actions; which were, tearing his beard, plucking off his hair, and rolling himself on the ground; and once he raised his voice so high, that we could hear him say: 'Come back, beloved daughter, come back to shore; for I forgive thee all: let those men keep the money they already have, and do thou come back, and comfort thy disconsolate father, who must lose his life in this desert land if thou forsakest him.' All this Zoraida heard; all this she felt and bewailed; but could not speak nor answer him a word, only, 'May it please Alla, my dear father, that Lela Marien, who has been the cause of my turning Christian, may comfort you in your affliction. Alla well knows, that I could do no otherwise than I have done, and that these Christians are not indebted to me for any particular goodwill to them, since, though I had had no mind to have gone with them but rather to have stayed at home, it was impossible; for my mind would not let me be at rest, until I performed this work, which to me seems as good, as you, my dearest father, think it bad.' This she said when we were got so far off that her father could not hear her, nor we see him any more. So I comforted Zoraida, and we all minded our voyage, which was now made so easy to us by a favourable wind, that we made no doubt of being next morning upon the coast of Spain. -[238]- "But as good seldom or never comes pure and unmixed, without being accompanied or followed by some ill to alarm or disturb it, our fortune would have it, or perhaps the curses the Moor bestowed on his daughter, for such are always to be dreaded, let the father be what he will; I say it happened, that being now got far out to sea, and the third hour of the night wellnigh past; being under full sail, and the oars being lashed, for the fair wind eased us of the labour of making use of them, — by the light of the moon, which shone very bright, we discovered a round vessel with all her sails out a little ahead of us, but so very near that we were forced to strike sail to avoid running foul of her; and they also put the helm hard up to give us room to go by. The men had posted themselves on the quarter-deck to ask who we were, whither we were going, and from whence we came; but asking us in French, our renegado said: 'Let no one answer; for these, without doubt, are French corsairs, to whom all is fish that comes to net.' Upon this caution nobody spoke a word; and having sailed a little on, their vessel being under the wind, on a sudden they let fly two pieces of artillery, and both, as it appeared, with chain-shot; for one cut our mast through the middle, which, with the sail, fell into the sea, and the other at the same instant came through the middle of our barque, so as to lay it quite open without wounding any of us. But finding ourselves sinking, we all began to cry aloud for help, and to beg of those in the ship to take us in, for we were drowning. They then struck their sails, and hoisting out the boat or pinnace, with about twelve Frenchmen in her, well armed with muskets, and their matches lighted, they came up close to us, and seeing how few we were, and that the vessel was sinking, they took us in, telling us, that this had befallen us because of our incivility in returning them no answer. Our renegado took the trunk, in which was Zoraida's treasure, and without being perceived by any one, threw it overboard into the sea. In short, we all passed into the French ship, where, after they had informed themselves of whatever they had a mind to know concerning us, immediately, as if they had been our capital enemies, they stripped us of everything, and Zoraida even of the bracelets she wore upon her ankles; but the uneasiness they gave her, gave me less than the apprehension I was in, lest they should proceed from plundering her of her rich and precious jewels to the depriving her of the jewel of most worth, and that which she valued most. But the desires of this sort of men seldom extend farther than to money, with which their avarice is never satisfied, as was evident at that time; for they would have taken away the very clothes we wore as slaves, if they had thought they could have made anything of them. Some of them were of opinion it would be best to throw us all overboard, wrapped up in a sail; fer their design was to trade in some of the Spanish ports, pretending to be of Brittany; and should they carry us with them thither, they would be seized on and punished, upon discovery of the robbery. But the captain, who had rifled my dear Zoraida, said he was contented with the prize he had already got, and that he would not touch at any port of Spain, but pass the Straits of Gibraltar by night, or as he could, and make the best of his way for Rochelle, from whence he came; and therefore, in conclusion, they agreed to give us their ship-boat, and what was necessary for so short a voyage as we had to make; which they did the next day in view of the Spanish coast; at which sight all our troubles and miseries were forgotten as entirely as if they have never happened to us; to great is the pleasure of regaining one's lost liberty. It -[239]- was about noon when they put us into the boat, giving us two barrels of water and some biscuit; and the captain, moved by I know not what compassion, gave the beautiful Zoraida at her going off, about forty crowns in gold, and would not permit his soldiers to strip her of these very clothes she has now on.

"We went on board, giving them thanks for the favour they did us, and showing ourselves rather pleased than dissatisfied. They stood out to sea, steering toward the Straits; and we, without minding any other north-star than the land before us, rowed so hard that we were at sunset so near it that we might easily, we thought, get thither before the night should be far spent; but the moon not shining, and the sky being cloudy, as we did not know the coast we were upon, we did not think it safe to land, as several among us would have had us, though it were among the rocks, and far from any town; for by that means, they said, we should avoid the danger we ought to fear from the corsairs of Tetuan, who are over-night in Barbary, and the next morning on the coast of Spain, where they commonly pick up some prize, and return to sleep at their own homes. However, it was agreed at last that we should row gently towards the shore, and if the sea proved calm, we should land wherever we could. We did so; and a little before midnight we arrived at the foot of a very large and high mountain, not so close to the shore but there was room enough for our landing commodiously. We run our boat into the sand; we all got on shore and kissed the ground, and, with tears of joy and satisfaction, gave thanks to God our Lord for the unparalleled mercy He had shown us in our voyage. We took our provisions out of the boat, which we dragged on shore, and then ascended a good way up the mountain; and though it was really so, we could not satisfy our minds, nor thoroughly believe that the ground we were upon was Christian ground. We thought the day would never come; at last we got to the top of the mountain, to see if we could discover any houses or huts of shepherds; but as far as ever we could see, neither habitation, nor person, nor path, nor road, could we discover at all. However, we determined to go farther into the country, thinking it impossible but we must soon see somebody to inform us where we were. But what vexed me most was to see Zoraida travel on foot through those craggy places; for though I sometimes took her on my shoulders, my weariness tired her more than her own resting relieved her; and therefore she would not suffer me to take that trouble any more; and so went on with very great patience and signs of joy, I still leading her by the hand.

"We had gone in this manner little less than a quarter of a league, when the sound of a little bell reached our ears, a certain signal that some flocks were near us; and all of us looking out attentively to see whether any appeared, we discovered a young shepherd at the foot of a cork-tree, in great tranquillity and repose, shaping a stick with his knife. We called out to him, and he, lifting up his head, got up nimbly on his feet; and, as we came to understand afterwards, the first who presented themselves to his sight being the renegado and Zoraida, he seeing them in Moorish habits, thought all the Moors in Barbary were upon him; and making toward the wood before him with incredible speed, he cried out as loud as ever he could: 'Moors! the Moors are landed: Moors! Moors! arm, arm!' We hearing this outcry, were confounded, and knew not what to do; but considering that the shepherd's outcries must needs alarm the country, and that the militia of the coast would presently come to see what was the -[240]- matter, we agreed that the renegado should strip off his Turkish habit, and put on a jerkin, or slave's cassock, which one of us immediately gave him, though he who lent it remained only in his shirt and breeches. And so, recommending ourselves to God, we went on the same way we saw the shepherd take, expecting every moment when the coastguard would be upon us; nor were we deceived in our apprehension; for in less than two hours, as we came down the hill into the plain, we discovered above fifty horsemen coming towards us on a half-gallop; and as soon as we saw them, we stood still to wait their coming up. But as they drew near and found, instead of the Moors they looked for, a company of poor Christian captives, they were surprised, and one of them asked us whether we were the occasion of the shepherd's alarming the country? I answered, we were; and being about to acquaint him whence we came, and who we were, one of the Christians that came with us knew the horsemen who had asked us the question, and without giving me time to say anything more, he cried: 'God be praised, gentlemen, for bringing us to so good a part of the country; for if I am not mistaken, the ground we stand upon is the territory of Velez Malaga, and if the length of my captivity has not impaired my memory, you, Sir, who are asking us these questions, are Pedro de Bustamante, my uncle.' Scarcely had the Christian captive said this, when the horseman threw himself from his horse, and ran to embrace the young man, saying to him: 'Dear nephew of my soul and of my life, I know you; and we have often bewailed your death, I, and my sister your mother, and all your kindred, who are still alive; and God has been pleased to prolong their lives, that they may have the pleasure of seeing you again. We knew you were in Algiers, and by the appearance of your dress, and that of your companions, I guess you must have recovered your liberty in some miraculous manner.' — 'It is so,' answered the young man, 'and we shall have time enough hereafter to tell you the whole story.' As soon as the horsemen understood that we were Christian captives, they alighted from their horses, and each of them invited us to accept of his horse to carry us to the city of Velez Malaga, which was a league and a half off. Some of them went back to carry the boat to the town, being told by us where we had left it. Others of them took us up behind them, and Zoraida rode behind our captive's uncle. All the people came out to receive us, having heard the news of our coming from some who went before. They did not come to see captives freed, or Moors made slaves; for the people of that coast are accustomed to see both the one and the other; but they came to gaze at the beauty of Zoraida, which was at that time in its full perfection; for, what with the fatigue of walking, and the joy of being in Christendom without the fear of being lost, such colours showed themselves in her face, that if my affection did not then deceive me, I will venture to say there never was in the world a more beautiful creature; at least none that I had ever seen.

"We went directly to the church, to give God thanks for the mercy we had received; and Zoraida, at first entering, said, there were faces there very like that of Lela Marien. We told her they were pictures of her, and the renegado explained to her the best he could what they signified, that she might adore them, just as if every one of them were really that very Lela Marien who had spoken to her. She, who has good sense, and a clear and ready apprehension, presently understood what was told her concerning the images. After this they carried us and lodged us in different -[241]- houses of the town: but the Christian who came with us took the renegado, Zoraida, and me, to the house of his parents, who were in pretty good circumstances, and treated us with as much kindness as they did their own son. We stayed in Velez six days, at the end of which the renegado having informed himself of what was proper for him to do, repaired to the city of Granada, there to be re-admitted, by means of the holy inquisition, into the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church. The rest of the freed captives went every one which way he pleased: as for Zoraida and myself, we remained behind, with those crowns only which the courtesy of the Frenchmen had bestowed on Zoraida; with part of which I bought the beast she rides on; and hitherto I have served her as a father and gentleman-usher, and not as an husband. We are going with the design to see if my father be living, or whether either of my brothers have had better fortune than myself: though considering that Heaven has given me Zoraida, no other fortune could have befallen me which I should have valued at so high a rate. The patience with which Zoraida bears the inconveniences poverty brings along with it, and the desire she seems to express of becoming a Christian is such and so great, that I am in admiration, and look upon myself as bound to serve her all the days of my life. But the delight I take in seeing myself hers, and her mine, is sometimes interrupted and almost destroyed by my not knowing whether I shall find any corner in my own country in which to shelter her, and whether time and death have not made such alterations in the affairs and lives of my father and brothers, that if they are no more, I shall hardly find anybody who knows me.

"This, gentlemen, is my history: whether it be an entertaining and uncommon one, you are to judge. For my own part, I can say, I would willingly have related it still more succinctly, though the fear of tiring you has made me omit several circumstances which were at my tongue's end."


Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

Gavilan Spanish Questions or comments Bibliographic Record Index page Previous page Top Next page