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 Second Part

CHAPTER XLVI: Of the dreadful Bell-ringing and cattish Consternation Don Quixote was put into in the Progress of the enamoured Altisidora's Amour.


We left the great Don Quixote wrapped up in the reflections occasioned by the music of the enamoured damsel Altisidora. He carried them with him to bed; and, as if they had been fleas, they would not suffer him to sleep, or take the least rest. To these was added the disaster of the stocking. But as time is swift, and no bar can stop him, he came riding upon the hours, and that of the morning posted on apace; which Don Quixote perceiving, he forsook his downy pillow, and in haste put on his chamois doublet, and his travelling boots, to conceal the misfortune of his stocking. He threw over his shoulders his scarlet mantle, and clapped on his head a green velvet cap trimmed with silver lace. He hung his trusty trenchant blade in his shoulder-belt.(194) On his wrist he wore a large rosary, which he always carried about him. And with great state and solemnity he marched towards the ante-chamber, where the duke and duchess, who were ready dressed, expected him; and as he passed through a gallery, Altisidora, and the other damsel, her friend, stood purposely posted, and waiting for him. As soon as Altisidora espied Don Quixote, she pretended to faint away, and her companion caught her in her lap, and in a great hurry was unlacing her stays. Don Quixote, seeing it, drew near to them, and said, "I very well know whence these accidents proceed." "I know not from whence," answered her friend; "for Altisidora is the healthiest damsel in all this family, and I have never heard so much as an Oh! from her since I have known her; ill betide all the knights-errant in the world if they are all ungrateful. Leave this place, Signor Don Quixote; for the poor girl will not come to herself so long as your worship stays here." To which Don Quixote answered, "Be pleased, Madam, to give order that a lute be left in my chamber to-night, and I will comfort this poor damsel the best I am able; for, in the beginning of love, to be early undeceived is the readiest cure." And so saying, away he went, to avoid the observation of those who might see him there. He was hardly gone, when Altisidora, recovering from her swoon, said to her companion, "By all means let him have the lute; for doubtless he intends us some music, and it cannot be bad if it -[489]- be his." They presently went and gave the duchess an account of what had passed, and of Don Quixote's desiring a lute; and she, being exceedingly rejoiced at it, concerted with the duke and her damsels how they might play him some trick which would be more merry than mischievous. And, being pleased with their contrivance, they waited for night, which came on as fast as the day had done, which they spent in relishing conversation with Don Quixote. That same day the duchess despatched one of her pages, being he who in the wood had personated the figure of the enchanted Dulcinea, to Teresa Panza, with her husband Sancho Panza's letter, and a bundle he had left to be sent, charging him to bring back an exact account of all that should pass. This being done, and eleven o'clock at night being come, Don Quixote found in his chamber a lute. He touched it; he opened his casement, and perceived that the people were walking in the garden; and having again run over the strings of the instrument and tuned it as well as he could, he hemmed and cleared his pipes, and then, with a hoarse, though not unmusical voice, he sung the following song, which he himself had composed that day:


" Love, with idleness its friend,
  O'er a maiden gains its end;
  But let business and employment
  Fill up ev'ry careful moment;
  These an antidote will prove
  Gainst the pois'nous arts of love.
  Maidens that aspire to marry,
  In their looks reserve should carry;
  Modesty their price should raise,
  And be herald of their praise.
  Knights, whom toils of arms employ,
  With the free may laugh and toy;
  But the modest only choose,
  When they tie the nuptial noose.
  Love, that rises with the sun,
  With his setting beams is gone;
  Love, that guest-like visits hearts,
  When the banquet's o'er departs;
  And the love, that comes to-day,
  And to-morrow wings its way,
  Leaves no traces on the soul,
  Its affections to control.
  Where a sov'reign beauty reigns,
  Fruitless are a rival's pains.
  O'er a finish'd picture who
  E'er a second picture drew?
  Fair Dulcinea, queen of beauty,
  Rules my heart, and claims its duty;
  Nothing there can take her place;
  Nought her image can erase.
  Whether fortune smile or frown,
  Constancy's the lover's crown;
  And, its force divine to prove,
  Miracles performs in love."

Thus far Don Quixote had proceeded in his song, to which the duke and duchess, Altisidora, and almost all the folks of the castle, were very attentive; when, on a sudden, from an open gallery directly over Don Quixote's window, a rope was let down, to which above a hundred bells -[490]- were fastened; and immediately after them was emptied a great sackful of cats, which had smaller bells tied to their tails. The noise of the jangling of the bells, and the mewing of the cats, was so great, that the duke and duchess, though the inventors of the jest, were frightened at it, and Don Quixote himself was in a panic; and fortune so ordered it, that two or three of the cats got in at the casement of his chamber, and scouring about from side to side, one would have thought a legion of devils was broken loose in it. They extinguished the lights that were burning in the chamber, and endeavoured to make their escape. The cord, to which the bells were fastened, was let down and pulled up incessantly. Most of the folks of the castle, who were not in the secret, were in suspense and astonishment. Don Quixote got upon his feet; and, laying hold of to sword, he began to make thrusts at the casement, and cried out aloud. "Avaunt, ye malicious enchanters! avaunt, ye rabble of wizards! for I am Don Quixote de la Mancha, against whom your wicked arts are of no force nor effect." And turning to the cats, who were running about the room, he gave several cuts at them. They took to the casement, and got out at it all but one, which, finding itself hard pressed by Don Quixote's slashing, flew at his face, and seized him by the nose with its claws and teeth, the pain of which made him roar as loud as he was able; which the duke and duchess hearing, and guessing the occasion, they ran in all haste up to his chamber, and opening it with a master-key,. they found the poor gentleman striving with all his might to disengage the cat from his face. They entered with lights, and beheld the unequal combat. The duke ran to part the fray, and Don Quixote cried aloud, "Let no one take him off; leave me to battle it with this demon, this wizard, this enchanter; for I will make him know the difference betwixt him and me, and who Don Quixote de la Mancha is." But the cat, not regarding these menaces, growled on, and kept her hold. At length the duke forced open her claws, and threw her out of the window.

Don Quixote remained with his face like a sieve, and his nose not over whole, though greatly dissatisfied that they would not let him finish the combat he had so toughly maintained against that caitiff enchanter. They fetched some oil of Aparicio, and Altisidora herself, with her lily-white hands, bound up his wounds; and while she was so employed, she said to him in a low voice, "All these misadventures befall you, hard-hearted knight, for the sin of your stubborn disdain; and God grant that Sancho, your squire, may forget to whip himself, that this same beloved Dulcinea of yours may never be released from her enchantment, nor you ever enjoy her, or approach her nuptial bed, at least while I live, who adore you." To all this Don Quixote returned no other answer than a profound sigh, and then stretched himself at full length upon his bed, humbly thanking the duke and duchess for their assistance, not as being afraid of that cattish, bell-ringing, necromantic crew, but as he was sensible of their good intention by their readiness to succour him. They left him to his rest, and went away, not a little concerned at the ill success of their joke; for they did not think this adventure would have proved so heavy and so hard upon Don Quixote; for it cost him five days' confinement to his bed; where another adventure befell him more relishing than the former, which his historian will not relate at present, that he may attend Sancho Panza, who went on very busily and very pleasantly with his government.


Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated by Charles Jarvis

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