Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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The History of the
Valorous & Witty Knight-Errant Don Quixote of the Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes, Translated by Thomas Shelton

The Second Part

CHAPTER XXI: Of the Prosecution of Camacho’s Marriage,
with other Delightful Accidents

 

As Don Quixote and Sancho were in their discourse mentioned in the former chapter, they heard a great noise and outcry, which was caused by them that rode on the mares, who with a large career and shouts went to meet the married couple, who, hemmed in with a thousand tricks and devices, came in company of the vicar, and both their kindreds, and all the better sort of the neighbouring towns, all clad in their best apparel.

And as Sancho saw the bride he said, ‘In good faith she is not dressed like a country-wench, but like one of your nice court dames; by the mass, methinks her glass necklaces she should wear are rich coral, and her coarse green of Cuenca is a thirty-piled velvet1 and her lacing, that should be white linen, I vow by me! is satin. Well look on her hands, that should have their jet rings; let me not thrive if they be not golden rings, arrant gold, and set with pearls as white as a sillabub, each of them as precious as an eye. Ah, whoreson, and what locks she hath! for, if they be not false, I never saw longer nor fairer in my life. Well, well, find not fault with her liveliness and stature, and compare her me to a date-tree, that bends up and down when it is loaden with bunches of dates; for so doth she with her trinkets hanging at her hair and about her neck. I swear by my soul, she is a wench of mettle, and may very well pass the pikes in Flanders.’

Don Quixote laughed at Sancho’s rustic praises, and he thought that, setting his mistress Dulcinea aside, he never saw a fairer woman. The beauteous Quiteria was somewhat pale, belike, with the ill night that brides always have when they dress themselves for the next day’s marriage. They drew near to a theatre on one side of the meadow that was dressed with carpets and boughs, where the marriage was to be solemnised, and where they should behold the dances and inventions; and just as they should come to the place they heard a great outcry behind them, and a voice saying, ‘Stay a while, rash people as well as hasty’; at whose voice and words they all turned about, and saw that he that spoke was one clad, to see to, in a black jacket, all welted with crimson in flames, crowned, as they straight perceived, with a crown of mournful cypress; in his hand he had a great truncheon; and, coming nearer, he was known by all to be the gallant Basilius, who were in suspense, expecting what should be the issue of those cries and words, fearing some ill success from this so unlooked-for arrival. He drew near, weary and out of breath; and, coming before the married couple and clapping his truncheon upon the ground, which had a steel pike at the end of it, his colour changed, and, his eyes fixed upon Quiteria, with a fearful and hollow voice thus spoke: ‘Well knowest thou, forgetful Quiteria, that, according to the law of God that we profess, that whilst I live thou canst not be married to any other; neither are you ignorant that, because I would stay till time and my industry might better my fortunes, I would not break that decorum that was fitting to the preserving of thy honesty; but you, forgetting all duty due to my virtuous desires, will make another master of what is mine, whose riches serve not only to make him happy in them, but every way fortunate; and, that he may be so to the full (not as I think he deserves it, but as the Fates ordain it for him), I will with these hands remove the impossibility or inconvenience that may disturb him, removing myself out of the way. Live, rich Camacho, live with the ungrateful Quiteria many and prosperous years; and let your poor Basilius die, whose poverty clipped the wings of his happiness, and laid him in his grave.’

And, saying this, he laid hold of his truncheon that he had stuck in the ground, and, the one-half of it remaining still there, showed that it served for a scabbard to a short tuck that was concealed in it; and, putting that which might be called the hilt on the ground, with a nimble spring and a resolute purpose he cast himself upon it, and in an instant the bloody point appeared out of his back, with half the steel blade, the poor soul weltering in his blood all along on the ground, run thorough with his own weapon. His friends ran presently to help him, grieved with his misery and miserable hap, and Don Quixote, forsaking his Rozinante, went also to help him, took him in his arms, but found that as yet there was life in him. They would have pulled out the tuck, but the vicar, there present, was of opinion that it were not best, before he had confessed himself; for that the drawing it out and his death would be both at one instant. But Basilius, coming a little to himself, with a faint and doleful voice said, ‘If thou wouldst, O Quiteria, yet in this last and forcible trance give me thy hand to be my spouse, I should think my rashness might something excuse me, since with this I obtain to be thine.’ The vicar, hearing this, bade him he should have a care of his soul’s health, rather than of the pleasures of his body, and that he should heartily ask God forgiveness for his sins, and for his desperate action. To which Basilius replied that he would by no means confess himself if Quiteria did not first give him her hand to be his spouse, for that content would make him cheerfully confess himself. When Don Quixote heard the wounded man’s petition he cried aloud that Basilius desired a thing very just and reasonable, and that Signior Camacho would be as much honoured in receiving Quiteria, the worthy Basilius his widow, as if he had received her from her father’s side: ‘Here is no more to do but give one “Ay,” no more than to pronounce it, since the nuptial bed of this marriage must be the grave.’

Camacho gave ear to all this, and was much troubled, not knowing what to do or say; but Basilius his friends were so earnest, requesting him to consent that Quiteria might give him her hand to be his spouse, that he might not endanger his soul by departing desperately, that they moved him and enforced him to say that if Quiteria would he was contented, seeing it was but deferring his desires a minute longer. Then all of them came to Quiteria, some with entreaties, others with tears, most with forcible reasons, and persuaded her she should give her hand to poor Basilius; and she, more hard than marble, more lumpish than a statue, would not answer a word, neither would she at all, had not the vicar bid her resolve what she would do, for Basilius was even now ready to depart, and could not expect her irresolute determination. Then the fair Quiteria, without answering a word, all sad and troubled, came where Basilius was with his eyes even set, his breath failing him, making show as if he would die like a Gentile, and not like a Christian.

Quiteria came at length, and upon her knees made signs to have his hand. Basilius unjoined his eyes, and, looking steadfastly upon her, said, ‘O Quiteria! thou art now come to be pitiful, when thy pity must be the sword that shall end my life, since now I want force to receive the glory that thou givest in choosing me for thine, or to suspend the dolour that so hastily closeth up mine eyes with the fearful shade of death. All I desire thee is (O fatal star of mine!) that the hand thou requirest, and that that thou wilt give me, that it be not for fashion-sake, nor once more to deceive me, but that thou confess and say, without being forced to it, that thou givest me thy hand freely, as to thy lawful spouse, since it were unmerciful in this trance to deceive me, or to deal falsely with him that hath been so true to thee.’ In the midst of this discourse he fainted, so that all the standers-by thought now he had been gone. Quiteria, all honest and shamefaced, laying hold with her right hand on Basilius his, said to him, ‘No force can work upon my will, and so I give thee the freest hand I have, to be thy lawful spouse, and receive thine, if thou give it me as freely, and that the anguish of thy sudden accident do not too much trouble thee.’ ‘I give it,’ said Basilius, ‘lively and courageously, with the best understanding that Heaven hath endowed me withal, and therefore take me, and I deliver myself as thy espousal.’ ‘And I,’ said Quiteria, ‘as thy spouse, whether thou live long, or whether from my arms they carry thee to thy grave.

‘This young man,’ said Sancho, ‘being so wounded, talks much methinks; let him leave his wooing, and attend his soul’s health, which methinks appears more in his tongue than in his teeth.’

Basilius and Quiteria having their hands thus fastened, the vicar, tender-hearted and compassionate, poured his blessing upon them, and prayed God to give good rest to the new-married man’s soul, who as soon as he received this benediction suddenly starts up, and, with an unlooked-for agility, drew out the tuck which was sheathed in his body. All the spectators were in a maze, and some of them, more out of simplicity than curiosity, began to cry out, ‘A miracle! a miracle!’ But Basiius replied, ‘No miracle, no miracle; but a trick, a trick.’ But the vicar, heedless and astonished, came with both his hands to feel the wound, and found that the blade had neither passed through flesh or ribs, but through a hollow pipe of iron, that he filled with blood, well fitted in that place, and, as after it was known, prepared so that it could not congeal. At last the vicar and Camacho, and all the standers-by, thought that they were mocked and made a laughingstock. The bride made no great show of sorrow; rather when she heard say that the marriage could not stand current, because it was deceitful, she said that she anew confirmed it; by which they all collected that the business had been plotted by the knowledge and consentment of them both. At which Camacho and his friends were so abashed that they remitted their revenge to their hands, and, unsheathing many swords, they set upon Basiius, in whose favour in an instant there were as many more drawn; and Don Quixote, taking the vanguard on horseback, with his lance at his rest, and well covered with his shield, made way through ‘em all. Sancho, whom such fears did never please or solace, ran to the pottage- pot from whence he had gotten the skimmings, thinking that to be a sanctuary, and so to be respected. Don Quixote cried aloud, ‘Hold, hold, sirs; for there is no reason that you should take revenge for the wrongs that love doth us; and observe that love and war are all one; and, as in war it is lawful to use sleights and stratagems to overcome the enemy, so, in amorous strifes and competencies, impostures and juggling-tricks are held for good, to attain to the wished end, so it be not in prejudice and dishonour of the thing affected. Quiteria was due to Basilius, and Basilius to Quiteria, by the just and favourable inclination of Heaven. Camacho is rich, and may purchase his delight, and whom God hath joined let no man separate. Basilius hath but this one sheep; let none offer to take it from him, be he never so powerful; he that first attempts it must first pass through the point of this lance.’ At which he shaked his lance strongly and cunningly, that he frighted all that knew him not.

But Quiteria’s disdain was so inwardly fixed in Camacho’s heart that he forgot her in an instant; so that the vicar’s persuasions prevailed with him (who was a good, discreet, and honest-minded man), by which Camacho and his complices were pacified and quieted, in sign of which they put up their swords, rather blaming Quiteria’s facility than Basilius his industry. Camacho framed this discourse to himself, — that if Quiteria loved Basilius when she was a maid she would also have continued her love to him though she had been his wife, so that he ought to give God thanks rather for having ridden him of her than to have given her to him.

Camacho, then, and those of his crew being comforted and pacified, all Basilius his likewise were so; and Camacho, to show that he stomached not the jest, nor cared for it, was willing the feast should go forward, as if he had been really married. But neither Basiius, nor his spouse, nor their followers would stay, but went to Basiius his town; for your poor that be virtuous and discreet have as well those that will follow, honour, and uphold them, as the rich theirs, and such as will flatter them. Don Quixote went with them too, for they esteemed him to be a man of worth and valour; but Sancho’s mind was in a mist to see that it was impossible for him to stay for Camacho’s sumptuous feast and sports that lasted till the evening; so that straitened and sorrowful he followed on with his master that went in Basilius his squadron, and thus left behind him those flesh-pots of Egypt, though he bore them with him in his mind, whose scum which he carried in the kettle, being consumed now and ended, represented unto him the glorious and abundant happiness he lost; so that all sad and sorrowful, though hungerless, without alighting from Dapple, he followed Rozinante’s track.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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