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 LVI: Of the prodigious and never-seen Battle between Don Quixote de la Mancha and the Lackey Tosilos, in Defence of the Duenna Donna Rodriguez's Daughter.


The duke and duchess repented not of the jest put upon Sancho Panza, in relation to the government they had given him, especially since their steward came home that very day, and gave them a punctual relation of almost all the words and actions Sancho had said and done during that time. In short, he exaggerated the assault of the island, with Sancho's fright and departure; at which they were not a little pleased.

After this, the history tells us, the appointed day of combat came; and the duke having over and over again instructed his lackey Tosilos how he should behave towards Don Quixote, so as to overcome him without killing or wounding him, commanded that the iron heads should be taken off their lances; telling Don Quixote, that Christianity, upon which he valued himself, did not allow that this battle should be fought with so much peril and hazard of their lives, and that he should content himself with giving them free field-room in his territories, though in opposition to the decree of the Holy Council, which prohibits such challenges; and therefore he would not push the affair to the utmost extremity. Don Quixote replied, that his excellency might dispose matters relating to this business as he liked best, for he would obey him in everything. The dreadful day being now come, and the duke having commanded a spacious scaffold to be erected before the court of the castle for the judges of the field, and the two duennas, mother and daughter, appellants; an infinite number of people, from all the neighbouring towns and villages, flocked to see the novelty of this combat, the like having never been heard of in that country, neither by the living nor the dead.

The first who entered the field and the pale was the master of the ceremonies, who examined the ground, and walked it all over, that there might be no foul play, nor anything covered to occasion stumbling or falling. Then entered the duennas, and took their seats, covered with veils to their eyes and even to their breasts, with tokens of no small concern. Don Quixote presented himself in the lists. A while after appeared on one side of the place, accompanied by many trumpets, and mounted upon a puissant steed, making the earth shake under him, the great lackey Tosilos, his visor down, and quite stiffened with strong and shining armour. The horse seemed to be a Frieslander, well spread and flea-bitten, with a quarter of a hundred weight of wool about each fetlock. The valorous combatant came well instructed by the duke his lord how to behave towards the valorous Don Quixote de la Mancha, and cautioned in no wise to hurt him, but to endeavour to shun the first onset, to avoid the danger of his own death, which must be inevitable, should he encounter him full-butt. He traversed the lists, and coming where the duennas were, he set himself to view awhile her who demanded him for her husband. -[534]- The marshal of the field called Don Quixote, who had presented himself in the lists, and, together with Tosilos, asked the duennas, whether they consented that Don Quixote de la Mancha should maintain their right. They answered that they did, and that whatever he should do in the case, they allowed it for well done, firm, and valid. By this time the duke and duchess were seated in a balcony over the barriers, which were crowded with an infinite number of people, all expecting to behold this dangerous and unheard-of battle. It was articled between the combatants, that if Don Quixote should conquer his adversary, the latter should be obliged to marry Donna Rodriguez's daughter; and, if he should be overcome, his adversary should be at his liberty, and free from the promise the women insisted upon, without giving any other satisfaction. The master of the ceremonies divided the sun equally between them, and fixed each in the post he was to stand in. The drums beat; the sound of the trumpets filled the air; the earth trembled beneath their feet; the hearts of the gazing multitude were in suspense, some fearing, others hoping the good or ill success of this business. Finally, Don Quixote, recommending himself with all his heart to God our Lord, and to the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, stood waiting when the precise signal for the onset should be given. But our lackey's thoughts were very differently employed; for he thought, nothing but of what I am going to relate.

It seems, while he stood looking at his female enemy, he fancied her the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life, and the little blind boy, called up and down the streets Love, would not lose the opportunity offered him of triumphing over a lacqueian(207) heart, and placing it in the catalogue of his trophies; and so approaching him fair and softly without anybody's seeing him, he shot the poor lackey in at the left side with an arrow two yards long, and pierced his heart through and through; and he might safely do it; for Love is invincible, and goes in and out where it lists, without being accountable to anybody for his actions.

I say then, that when the signal was given for the onset, our lackey stood transported, thinking on her he had how made the mistress of his liberty, and therefore regarded not the trumpet's sound, as did Don Quixote, who had scarcely heard it, when bending forward, he ran against his enemy, at Rozinante's best speed; and his trusty squire Sancho, seeing him set forward, cried aloud: "God guide you, cream and flower of knights-errant; God give you victory, since you have right oh your side." And though Tosilos saw Don Quixote making towards him, he stirred not a step from his post, but called as loud as he could to the marshal of  the field, who, coming up to see what he wanted, Tosilos said: "Sir, is not this combat to decide, whether I shall marry, or not marry, yonder young lady?" "It is," answered the marshal. "Then," said the lackey, "my conscience will not let me proceed any farther; and I declare that I yield myself vanquished, and am ready to marry that gentlewoman immediate." The marshal was surprised at what Tosilos said, and as he was in the secret of the contrivance, he could not tell what answer to make him. Don Quixote, perceiving that his adversary did not come on to meet him, stopped short in the midst of his career. The duke could not guess reason why the combat did not go forward; but the marshal went and told him what Tosilos had said; at which he was surprised and extremely angry. In the meantime, Tosilos went up to the place where Donna Rodriguez was, and said aloud: " am willing, Madam, to marry your -[535]- daughter, and would not obtain that by strife and contention, which I may have by peace, and without danger of death." The valorous Don Quixote hearing all this, said: "Since it is so, I am absolved from my promise; let them be married in God's name, and since God has given her, Saint Peter bless her." The duke was now come down to the court of the castle, and going up to Tosilos, he said: "Is it true, knight, that you yield yourself vanquished, and that, instigated by your timorous conscience you will marry this damsel?" "Yes, my lord," answered Tosilos. "He does very well," quoth Sancho Panza at this juncture; "for what you would give to the mouse, give it the cat, and you will have no trouble." Tosilos was all this while unlacing his helmet, and desired them to help him quickly, for his spirits and breath were just failing him, and he could not endure to be so long pent up in the straitness of that lodging. They presently unarmed him, and the face of the lackey was exposed to view. Which Donna Rodriguez and her daughter seeing, they cried aloud: "A cheat, a cheat! Tosilos, my lord duke's lackey is put upon us instead of our true spouse; justice from God and the king against so much deceit, not to say villainy." "Afflict not yourselves, ladies," said Don Quixote; "for this is neither deceit nor villainy, and if it be, the duke is not to blame, but the wicked enchanters who persecute me, and who, envying me the glory of this conquest, have transformed the countenance of your husband into that of this person, who, you say, is a lackey of the duke's. Take my advice, and in spite of the malice of my enemies, marry him; for without doubt he is the very man you desire to take for your husband." The duke hearing this, was ready to vent his anger in laughter, and said: "The things which befall Signor Don Quixote are so extraordinary, that I am inclined to believe this is not my lackey; but let us make use of this stratagem and device; let us postpone the wedding for fifteen days, if you please, and in the meantime keep this person, who holds us in doubt, in safe custody; perhaps, during that time, he may return to his pristine figure; for the grudge the enchanters bear to Signor Don Quixote cannot surely last so long, and especially since these tricks and transformations avail them so little." "O Sir," quoth Sancho, "those wicked wretches make it their practice and custom to change things relating to my master from one shape to another. A knight, whom he vanquished a few days ago, called the Knight of the Looking-glasses, was changed by them into the shape and figure of the Bachelor Sampson Carrasco, a native of our town, and a great friend of ours; and they have turned my Lady Dulcinea del Toboso into a downright country wench; therefore I imagine this lackey will live and die a lackey all the days of his life." To which Rodriguez's daughter said: "Let him be who he will, that demands me to wife, I take it kindly of him; for I had rather be a lawful wife to a lackey, than a cast mistress, and tricked by a gentleman, though he who abused me is not one." In short, all these accidents and events ended in Tosilos's confinement, till it should appear what his transformation would come to. The victory was adjudged to Don Quixote by a general acclamation; but the greater part of the spectators were out of humour to find, that the so-much-expected combatants had not hacked one another to pieces; just as boys are sorry when the criminal they expected to see hanged is pardoned, either by the prosecutor or the court.

The crowd dispersed; the duke and Don Quixote returned to the castle; Tosilos was confined; and Donna Rodriguez and her daughter -[536]- were extremely well pleased to see, that, one way or other, this business was like to end in matrimony, and Tosilos hoped no less.


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