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 LVI: Of the Unmerciful and Never-seen Battle that passed betwixt Don Quixote and the Lackey Tosilos, in Defence of the Matron Donna Rodriguez’ Daughter


THE dukes repented them not of the jest that was put upon Sancho in the government which they gave him, especially because that very day their steward came and told them very punctually all the words and actions that Sancho both did and said in that time; and finally, so described the assault of the island, and so set out Sancho’s fear, and his sally, that they received no small delight.

After this, the history tells us that the day of the prefixed battle came, and the duke having oft instructed his lackey Tosilos how he should behave himself with Don Quixote to overcome him, without killing or wounding
him, he gave order that their pikes should be taken from their lances, telling Don Quixote that Christianity, which he preferred, permitted not that that battle should be with so much hazard and danger of their lives; and that it was enough that he granted him free lists in his country, though it were against the decree of the Holy Council, that prohibits such challenges, yet he would not put that matter so strictly in execution.

Don Quixote bade his Excellency dispose of that business as he pleased, and that he would obey him in all.
The fearful day being come, the duke commanded that there should be a spacious scaffold set up in the place where the judges of the lists might stand, and the matron and her daughter the plaintiffs.

There repaired a world of people from all the towns and neighbouring villages to see the novelty of that battle, who never saw nor ever heard tell of the like in that country, neither the living, nor those that were dead. The first that entered the field and lists was the master of the ceremonies, who measured out the ground, and passed all over it, that there might be no deceit, nor any hidden thing to make them stumble or fall; by and by the women entered, and sat down in their seats, with their mantles over their eyes and breasts, with shows of no small resenting, Don Quixote present in the lists.

A while after, the grand lackey Tosilos appeared on one side of the large place, accompanied with many trumpets, and upon a lusty courser, sinking the very ground under him. His visor was drawn, and he was all arrayed in strong and shining armour; his horse was Friesland, well spread, of colour flea-bitten, each fetlock having nine-and-twenty pound of wool upon it. The valiant combatant came, well instructed by his master how he should demean himself with the valorous Don Quixote de la Mancha, advertised that he should by no means kill him, but that he should strive to shun the first encounter, to excuse the danger of his death, which was certain, if he met him full butt. He paced over the place, and coming where the matron was, he stayed a while to behold her that demanded him for her husband. The master of the lists called Don Quixote, that had now presented himself in the place, and together with Tosilos he spoke to the women, asking them if they agreed that Don Quixote de la Mancha should undertake their cause. They said, Ay, and that they allowed of all he should in that case perform, for firm and available.

By this the duke and duchess were set in a gallery, which looked just to the lists, all which was covered with abundance of people, that expected to see the rigorous trance never seen.

The conditions of the combatant was, that if Don Quixote overcame his contrary, he should marry with Donna Rodriguez’ daughter; and that if he were overcome, his contender was freed from his promise given, and not tied to any satisfaction. The master of the ceremonies divided the sun between them, and set each of them in their places. The drums struck up, and the sound of trumpets filled the air; the earth shook under them, and the hearts of the spectator troop were in suspense, some fearing, others expecting, the good or ill success of this matter.

Finally Don Quixote, recommending himself heartily to God and his mistress Dulcinea del Toboso, stood looking when the precise sign of the encounter should be given; but our lackey was in another mind, he thought upon what now I will tell you. It seems that, as he stood looking upon his enemy, she seemed to him to be the fairest woman in the world, and the little blind boy, whom up and down the streets folk call Love, would not lose the occasion offered, to triumph upon a lackeyan soul, and to put it in the list of his trophies; and so coming to him fair and softly, without anybody perceiving him, he clapped a flight two yards long into his left side, and struck his heart thorough and thorough, and he might safely do it, for Love is invisible, and goes in and out where he list, nobody asking him any account of his actions. Let me tell you, then, that when the sign of the onset was given, our lackey was transported, thinking on the beauty of her that he had made mistress of his liberty, and so he took no notice of the trumpets’ sound, as did Don Quixote, who scarce heard it when he set spurs, and, with as full speed as Rozinante would permit, went against his enemy; and his good squire Sancho Panza, seeing him depart, cried out aloud, ‘God guide thee, cream and flower of knights-errant! God give thee the victory, seeing thou hast right on thy side!’ and though Tosilos saw Don Quixote come toward him, yet he moved not a whit from his place, but rather aloud called the master of the lists, who coming to see what he would have, Tosilos said, ‘Sir, doth not this battle consist in my marrying or not marrying with that gentlewoman?’ Yes, it was answered him. ‘Well, then,’ quoth the lackey, ‘I am scrupulous of conscience, which would much be burthened if this battle should proceed; and therefore I say, I yield myself vanquished, and will marry this gentlewoman presently.’

The master of the lists wondered at Tosilos’s reasons, and as he was one of those that knew of the contriving that business, could not answer him a word. Don Quixote stopped in the midst of his career, seeing his enemy met not.

The duke knew nothing why the combat should not go forward, but the master of the lists went to tell him what Tosilos said, at which he was in suspense, and extremely choleric.

Whilst this happened, Tosilos came where Donna Rodriguez was, and cried aloud, ‘Mistress, I’ll marry your daughter, and therefore will never strive for that with suits and contentions which I may have peaceably and without danger of death.’

The valorous Don Quixote heard this, and said, ‘Seeing ‘tis so, and that I am loosed and free from my promise, let them marry on God’s name, and since God hath given her him, St. Peter bless her.’

The duke now came down into the place, and, coming to Tosilos, said, ‘Is it true, knight, that you yield yourself vanquished, and that, instigated by your timorous conscience, you will marry that maid?’ ‘Ay, sir,’ quoth Tosilos.

‘He doth very well,’ quoth Sancho then; ‘for that thou wouldst give the mouse, give the cat, and he will free thee from trouble.’

Tosilos began now to unlace his helmet, and desired them to help him apace, for his spirits and his breath failed him, and he could not endure to see himself so long shut up in that narrow chamber. They undid it apace, and now the lackey’s face was plainly discovered. Which when Donna Rodriguez and her daughter saw, they cried out, saying, ‘This is cozenage, this is cozenage! They have put Tosilos my lord the duke’s lackey instead of our true husband. Justice from God and the king, for such malice, not to say villainy!’

‘Grieve not yourselves, ladies,’ quoth Don Quixote; ‘for this is neither malice nor villainy; and if it be, the duke is not in fault, but vile enchanters that persecute me, who envying that I should get the glory of this conquest, have converted the face of your husband into this, which you say is the duke’s lackey. Take my counsel, and in spite of the malice of my enemies, marry him, for doubtless ‘tis he that you desire to have to husband.’

The duke, that heard this, was ready to burst all his choler into laughter, and said, ‘The things that happen to Signior Don Quixote are so extraordinary that it makes me believe this is not my lackey. But let us use this sleight and device: let us defer the marriage only one fifteen days, and keep this personage that holds us in doubt locked up, in which perhaps he will return to his pristine shape; for the rancour that enchanters bear Signior Don Quixote will not last so long, they gaining so little by these cozenages and transformations they use.

‘Oh, sir,’ quoth Sancho, ‘these wicked elves do usually change one thing into another in my master’s affairs. Not long since they changed a knight he conquered, called the Knight of the Looking-glasses, into the shape, of the bachelor Samson Carrasco, born in our town, and our special friend; and they turned my mistress Dulcinea del Toboso into a rustic clown; and so I imagine this lackey will live and die so, all days of his life.’

To which quoth Rodriguez’ daughter, ‘Let him be who he will that demands me to wife, I thank him. I had rather be lawful wife to a lackey than a paramour to be mocked by a gentleman, though besides he that abused me is none.

The upshot of all was, that Tosilos should be kept up till they saw what became of his transformation. All cried Don Quixote’s was the victory, and the most were sad and melancholy to see that the expected combatants had not beaten one another to pieces; as boys are sad, when the party they look for comes not out to be hanged, when either the contrary or the justice pardons him.

The people departed, and the duke and the duchess returned, and Don Quixote with them, to the castle; Tosilos was shut up; Donna Rodriguez and her daughter were most happy to see that, one way or other, that business should end in marriage; and Tosilos hoped no less.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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