Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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-[329]-

The Life and Exploits
of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes, Translated by Charles Jarvis, Esq.

The Second Part
 

CHAPTER IX: Which contains what will be found in it.

 

Half the night, or thereabouts, was spent, when Don Quixote and Sancho left the mountain and entered into Toboso. The town was all hushed in silence; for its inhabitants were sound asleep, reposing, as the phrase is, with outstretched legs. The night was not quite a dark one; though Sancho could have wished it were, that the obscurity of it might cover or excuse his prevarication. Nothing was heard in all the place but the barking of dogs, stunning Don Quixote's ears and disquieting Sancho's heart. Now and then an ass brayed, swine grunted, and cats mewed; which different sounds were augmented by the silence of the night. All this -[330]- the enamoured knight took for an ill omen; nevertheless he said to Sancho, "Sancho, son, lead on before to Dulcinea's palace; for it may be we shall find her awake." — "To what palace, body of the sun?" answered Sancho. "That I saw her highness in was but a very little house." — "She must have been retired at that time," replied Don Quixote, "to some small apartment of her castle, amusing herself with her damsels, as is usual with great ladies and princesses." — "Since your worship," quoth Sancho, "will needs have my Lady Dulcinea's house to be a castle, is this an hour to find the gates open; and is it fit we should stand thundering at the door till they open and let us in, putting the whole house in an uproar? Think you we are going to a bawdy-house, like your gallants, who knock, and call, and are let in, at what hour they please, be it never so late?" — "First, to make, one thing sure, let us find this castle," replied Don Quixote, "and then I will tell you what is fit to be done; and look, Sancho; for either my eyes deceive me, or that great dark bulk we see yonder must be Dulcinea's palace." — "Then lead on yourself, Sir," answered Sancho: "perhaps it may be so; though, if I were to see it with my eyes, and touch it with my hands, I will believe it just as much as I believe it is now day."

Don Quixote led the way, and, having gone about two hundred paces, he came up to the bulk, which cast the dark shade, and perceived it was a large steeple, and presently knew that the building was no palace, but the principal church of the place; upon which he said, "We are come to the church, Sancho." — "I find we are," answered Sancho, "and pray God we be not come to our graves; for it is no very good sign to be rambling about churchyards at such hours, and especially since I have already told your worship, if I remember right, that this same lady's house stands in an alley, where there is no thoroughfare." — "God's curse light on thee, thou blockhead!" said Don Quixote;" where have you found that castles and royal palaces are built in alleys without a thoroughfare?" — "Sir," replied Sancho, "each country has its customs: perhaps it is the fashion here in Toboso to build your palaces and great edifices in alleys; and therefore I beseech your worship to let me look about among these lanes or alleys just before me; and it may be in one nook or other I may pop upon this same palace, which I wish I may see devoured by dogs, for confounding and bewildering us at this rate." — "Speak with respect, Sancho, of my lady's matters," said Don Quixote;" let us keep our holidays in peace, and not throw the rope after the bucket." — "I will curb myself," answered Sancho;" but with what patience can I bear to think that your worship will needs have me know our mistress's house, and find it at midnight, having seen it but once, when you cannot find it yourself, though you must have seen it thousands of times?" — "You will put me past all patience, Sancho," said Don Quixote: "come hither, heretic; have I not told you a thousand times that I never saw the peerless Dulcinea in all the days of my life, nor ever stepped over the threshold of her palace, and that I am enamoured only by hearsay, and by the great fame of her wit and beauty?" — "I hear it now," answered Sancho;" and I say, that since your worship has never seen her, no more have I." — "That cannot be," replied Don Quixote;" for at least you told me, some time ago, that you saw her winnowing wheat, when you brought me the answer to the letter I sent by you." — "Do not insist upon that, Sir," answered Sancho;" for, let me tell you, the sight of her, and the answer I brought, were both by hearsay too; and I can no more tell who the Lady Dulcinea is, than I am able to box the moon." — "Sancho, Sancho," -[331]- answered Don Quixote, "there is a time to jest, and a time when jests are unseasonable. What! because I say that I never saw nor spoke to the mistress of my soul, must you therefore say so too, when you know the contrary so well?"

While they were thus discoursing, they perceived one passing by with a couple of mules, and, by the noise a ploughshare made in dragging along the ground, they judged it must be some husbandman, who had got up before day, and was going to his work; and so in truth it was. The ploughman came singing the ballad of the defeat of the French in Roncesvalles. Don Quixote hearing it, said, "Let me die, Sancho, if we shall have any good luck to-night; do you not hear what this peasant is singing?" — "Yes, I do," answered Sancho;" but what is the defeat at Roncesvalles to our purpose? He might as well have sung the ballad of Calaνnos; for it had been all one as to the good or ill success of our business." By this time the country fellow was come up to them, and Don Quixote said to him, "Good-morrow, honest friend; can you inform me whereabouts stands the palace of the peerless Princess Donna Dulcinea del Toboso?" — "Sir," answered the young fellow, "I am a stranger, and have been but a few days in this town, and serve a rich farmer in tilling his ground; in yon house over the way live the parish-priest and the sexton of the place: both, or either of them, can give your worship an account of this same princess; for they keep a register of all the inhabitants of Toboso; though I am of opinion no princess at all lives in this town, but several great ladies, that might everyone be a princess in her own house." — "One of these then," said Don Quixote, "must be she I am inquiring after." — "Not unlikely," answered the ploughman; "and God speed you well, for the dawn begins to appear;" and, pricking on his mules, he stayed for no more questions.

Sancho, seeing his master in suspense, and sufficiently dissatisfied, said to him, "Sir, the day comes on apace, and it will not be advisable to let the sun overtake us in the street: it will be better to retire out of the city, and that your worship shelter yourself in some grove hereabouts, and I will return by daylight, and leave no nook or corner in all the town unsearched for this house, castle, or palace, of my lady's; and I shall have ill luck if I do not find it; and as soon as I have found it, I will speak to her ladyship, and will tell her where and how your worship is waiting for her orders and direction for you to see her without prejudice to her honour or reputation." — "Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "you have uttered a thousand sentences in the compass of a few words: the counsel you give I relish much, and accept of most heartily: come along, son, and let us seek where we can take covert; afterwards, as you say, you shall return to seek, see, and speak to, my lady, from whose discretion and courtesy I expect more than miraculous favours." Sancho stood upon thorns till he got his master out of the town, lest he should detect the lie of the answer he carried him to the Sable Mountain, pretending it came from Dulcinea; and therefore he made haste to be gone, and, about two miles from the place, they found a grove or wood, in which Don Quixote took shelter, while Sancho returned back to the city to speak to Dulcinea; in which embassy there befell him things which require fresh attention and fresh credit.

 

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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