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   

-[412]-

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 XXVII: Wherein is related who Master Peter and his Ape were; with the ill success Don Quixote had in the braying Adventure, which he finished not as he wished and intended.

 

Cid Hamete, the chronicler of this grand history, begins this chapter with these words, "I swear as a Catholic Christian: "to which his translator says, that Cid Hamete's swearing as a Catholic Christian, he being a Moor, -[413]- as undoubtedly he was, meant nothing more than that, as the Catholic Christian, when he swears, does or ought to speak and swear the truth, so did he, in writing of Don Quixote, and especially in declaring who Master Peter was, with some account of the divining ape, who surprised all the villages thereabouts with his divinations.

Master Peter and his ape.
Master Peter and his ape.

He says then, that whoever has read the former part of this history must needs remember that Gines de Passamonte, to whom, among other galley-slaves, Don Quixote gave liberty in the Sable Mountain; a benefit, for which, afterward, he had small thanks and worse payment from that mischievous and misbehaving crew. This Gines de Passamonte, whom Don Quixote called Ginesillo de Parapilla, was the person who stole Sancho Panza's Dapple; and the not particularising the when nor the how in the first part, through the neglect of the printers, made many ascribe the fault of the press to want of memory in the author. But, in short, Gines stole him while Sancho was asleep upon his back, making use of the same trick and device that Brunelo did, who, while Sacrapante lay at the siege of Albraca, stole his horse from between his legs; and afterwards Sancho recovered him, as has been already related. This Gines, then, being afraid of falling into the hands of justice, which was in pursuit of him, in order to chastise him for his numberless rogueries and crimes, which were so many and so flagrant that he himself wrote a large volume of them, resolved to pass over to the kingdom of Arragon, and, covering his left eye, took up the trade of puppet-playing and legerdemain, both of which he perfectly understood. It fell out, that, lighting upon some Christian slaves redeemed from Barbary, he bought that ape, which he taught, at a certain signal, to leap up on his shoulder and mutter something, or seem to do so, in his ear. This done, before he entered any town, to which he was going with his show and his ape, he informed himself in the next village, or where he best could, what particular things had happened in such and such a place, and to whom; and bearing them carefully in his memory, the first thing he did was to exhibit his show, which was sometimes of one story, and sometimes of another, but all pleasant, gay, and generally known. The show ended, he used to propound the abilities of his ape, telling the people he divined all that was past and present; but as to what was to come, he did not pretend to any skill therein. He demanded two reals for answering each question, and to some he afforded it cheaper, according as he found the pulse of his clients beat, and coming sometimes to houses where he knew what had happened to the people that lived in them, though they asked no question, because they would not pay him, he gave the signal to his ape, and presently said he told him such and such a thing, which tallied exactly with what had happened; whereby he gained infallible credit, and was followed by everybody. At other times, being very cunning, he answered in such a manner, that his answers came pat to the questions; and as nobody went about to sift or press him to tell how his ape divined, he gulled everybody, and filled his pockets. No sooner was he come into the inn, but he knew Don Quixote and Sancho; which made it very easy for him to excite the wonder of Don Quixote, Sancho, and all that were present. But it would have cost him dear, had Don Quixote directed his hand a little lower, when he cut off King Marsilio's head and destroyed all his cavalry, as is related in the foregoing chapter. This is what offers concerning Master Peter and the ape.

And, returning to Don Quixote de la Mancha, I say, he determined, -[414]- before he went to Saragossa, first to visit the banks of the river Ebro, and all the parts thereabouts, since he had time enough and to spare before the tournaments began. With this design he pursued his journey, and travelled two days without lighting upon anything worth recording, till the third day, going up a hill, he heard a great noise of drums, trumpets, and guns. At first he thought some regiment of soldiers was marching that way, and he clapped spurs to Rozinante, and ascended the hill to see them; and, being got to the top, he perceived, as he thought, in the valley beneath, above two hundred men, armed with various weapons, as spears, cross-bows, partisans, halberds, and pikes, with some guns and a great number of targets. He rode down the hill, and drew so near to the squadron, that he saw the banners distinctly, and distinguished their colours, and observed the devices they bore; especially one upon a banner, or pennant, of white satin, on which an ass, of the little Sardinian breed, holding up its head, its mouth open, and its tongue out, in the act and posture, as it were, of braying, was painted to the life, and round it these two lines written in large characters:

" The bailiffs twain
  Bray'd not in vain."

From this motto Don Quixote gathered that these folks must belong to the braying town, and so he told Sancho, telling him also what was written on the banner. He said also, that the person who had given an account of this affair was mistaken in calling the two brayers aldermen, since, according to the motto, they were not aldermen but bailiffs. To which Sancho Panza answered: "That breaks no squares, Sir; for it may very well be, that the aldermen who brayed, might in process of time become bailiffs of their town, and therefore may properly be called by both those titles; though it signifies nothing to the truth of the history whether the brayers were bailiffs or aldermen, so long as they both brayed; for a bailiff is as likely to bray as an alderman." In fact, they found, that the town derided was sallied forth to attack another, which had laughed at them too much, and beyond what was fitting for good neighbours. Don Quixote advanced towards them, to the no small concern of Sancho, who never loved to make one in these kinds of expeditions. Those of the squadron received him amongst them, taking him to be some one of their party. Don Quixote, lifting up his visor, with an easy and graceful deportment, approached the ass-banner, and all the chiefs of the army gathered about him to look at him, being struck with the same astonishment that everybody was at the first time of seeing him. Don Quixote, seeing them so intent upon looking at him, without anyone's speaking to him or asking him any question, resolved to take advantage of this silence, and, breaking his own, he raised his voice and said:

"Good gentlemen, I earnestly entreat you not to interrupt a discourse I shall make to you, till you find it disgusts and tires you; for, if that happens, at the least sign you shall make, I will clap a seal on my lips, and a gag upon my tongue." They all desired him to say what he pleased; for they would hear him with a very good will. With this license Don Quixote proceeded, saying: "I, gentlemen, am a knight-errant, whose exercise is that of arms, and whose profession that of succouring those who stand in need of succour, and relieving the distressed. Some days ago I heard of your misfortune, and the cause that induces you to take arms, at -[415]- every turn, to revenge yourselves on your enemies. And, having often pondered your business in my mind, I find that, according to the laws of duel, you are under mistake in thinking yourselves affronted; for no one person can affront a whole town, unless it be by accusing them of treason conjointly, as not knowing in particular who committed the treason of which he accuses them. An example of this we have in Don Diego Ordonnez de Lara, who challenged the whole people of Zamora, because he did not know that Vellido Dolfos alone had committed the treason of killing his king; and therefore he challenged them all, and the revenge and answer belonged to them all; though it is very true that Signor Don Diego went somewhat too far, and greatly exceeded the limits of challenging; for he needed not have challenged the dead, the waters, the bread, or the unborn, nor several other particularities mentioned in the challenge. But let that pass; for when choler overflows its dam, the tongue has no father, governor, nor bridle, to restrain it. This being so, then, that a single person cannot affront a kingdom, province, city, republic, or a whole town, it is clear there is no reason for your marching out to revenge such an affront, since it is really none. Would it not be pretty indeed, if those of the watch-making business(172) should endeavour to knock everybody's brains out, who calls them by their trade? And would it not be pleasant, if the cheesemongers, the costermongers, the fish mongers, and soapboilers, with those of several other names and appellations, which are in everybody's mouth, and common among the vulgar; would it not be fine indeed, if all these notable folks should be ashamed of their business, and be perpetually taking revenge, and making sackbuts of their swords upon every quarrel, though never so trivial? No, no; God neither permits nor wills it. Men of wisdom, and well-ordered commonwealths, ought to take arms, draw their swords, and hazard their lives and fortunes upon four accounts: First, to defend the Catholic faith; secondly, to defend their lives, which is agreeable to the natural and divine law; thirdly, in defence of their honour, family, or estate; and fourthly, in the service of their king, in a just war; and, if we may add a fifth, which may indeed be ranked with the second, it is in the defence of their country. To these five capital causes several others might be added, very just and very reasonable, and which oblige us to take arms. But to have recourse to them for trifles, and things rather subjects for laughter and pastime, than for affronts, looks like acting against common sense. Besides, taking an unjust revenge (and no revenge can be just) is acting directly against the holy religion we profess, whereby we are commanded to do good to our enemies, and to love those that hate us; a precept, which, though seemingly difficult, is really not so to any but those who have less of God than of the world, and more of the flesh than the spirit: for Jesus Christ, true God and Man, who never lied, nor could nor can lie, and who is our legislator, has told us, his yoke is easy and his burden light; and therefore he would not command us anything impossible to be performed. So that, gentlemen, you are bound to be quiet and pacified by all laws both divine and human."

"The devil fetch me," quoth Sancho to himself, "if this master of mine be not a tologue;(173) or, if not, he is like one, as one egg is like another." Don Quixote took breath a little; and perceiving that they still stood attentive, he had a mind to proceed in his discourse, and had certainly done so, had not Sancho's acuteness interposed; who, observing that his master paused awhile, took up the cudgels for him, saying: "My master, -[416]- Don Quixote de la Mancha, once called the Knight of the Sorrowful Figure, and now the Knight of the Lions, is a sage gentleman, and understands Latin and the vulgar tongue like any Bachelor of Arts; and, in all he handles or advises, proceeds like an expert soldier, having all the laws and statutes of what is called duel at his fingers' ends; and so there is no more to be done, but to govern yourselves by his direction, and I will bear the blame if you do amiss: besides, you are but just told how foolish it is to be ashamed to hear one bray. I remember, when I was a boy, I brayed as often as I pleased without anybody's hindering me, and with such grace and propriety, that, whenever I brayed, all the asses of the town brayed; and, for all that, I did not cease to be the son of my parents, who were very honest people; and, though for this rare ability I was envied by more than a few of the proudest of my neighbours, I cared not two farthings. And, to convince you that I speak the truth, do but stay and hearken; for this science, like that of swimming, once learned, is never forgotten."

Then, laying his hands to his nostrils, he began to bray so strenuously, that the adjacent valleys resounded again. But one of those who stood close by him, believing he was making a mock of them, lifted up a pole he had in his hand, and gave him such a polt with it, as brought Sancho Panza to the ground. Don Quixote, seeing Sancho so evil-entreated, made at the striker with his lance; but so many interposed that it was impossible for him to be revenged: on the contrary, finding a shower of stones come thick upon him, and a thousand cross-bows presented, and as many guns levelled at him, he turned Rozinante about, and, as fast as he could gallop, got out from among them, recommending himself to God with all his heart, to deliver him from this danger, fearing, at every step, lest some bullet should enter at his back and come out at his breast; and at every moment he fetched his breath to try whether it failed him or not. But those of the squadron were satisfied with seeing him fly, and did not shoot after him. As for Sancho, they set him again upon his ass, scarcely come to himself, and suffered him to follow his master; not that he had sense to guide him, but Dapple naturally followed Rozinante's steps, not enduring to be a moment from him. Don Quixote, being got a good way off, turned about his head, and saw that Sancho followed; and, finding that nobody pursued him, he stopped till he came up. Those of the squadron stayed there till night, and, the enemy not coming forth to battle, they returned to their homes, joyful and merry; and had they known the practice of the ancient Greeks, they would have erected a trophy in that place.

 

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