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 LXIII: Of the Ill Chance that befel Sancho at his Seeing the Galleys, with the Strange Adventure of the Morisca


GREAT were the discourses that Don Quixote framed to himself touching the answers of the Enchanted Head, but none of them fell into the imposture; and all concluded in the promise, which he held for certain, of the disenchantment of Dulcinea. There his blood flowed within him, and he rejoiced within himself, believing he should soon see the accomplishment of it. And Sancho, though, as hath been said, he abhorred to be a governor, yet he desired to bear sway again, and to be obeyed; for such is the desire of rule, though it be but in jest.

In conclusion, that afternoon Don Antonio Moreno, their host, with his two friends, Don Quixote and Sancho, went to the galleys. The general, who had notice of their coming, as soon as they were come near the seaside, made all the galleys strike their tilt-sails, and the hautboys sounded, and they launched a cock-boat to the water, which was all covered with rich cloths and cushions of crimson velvet; and just as Don Quixote entered into it, the admiral galley discharged her forecastle-piece, and the rest of the galleys likewise did the same: and as Don Quixote mounted at the right-side ladder, all the fry of the slaves, as the custom is when any man of quality enters the galley, cried, ‘Hu, hu, hu,’ thrice a-row.

The general, who was a man of quality, a Valencian gentleman, gave him his hand; and being entered, embraced him, saying, ‘This day will I mark with a white stone, or one o the best that shall have befallen me in all my lifetime; having seen Signior Don Quixote de la Mancha, the time and signs that appear in him showing that all the worth of a knight-errant is contained and summed up in him.’ With the like courteous phrase replied Don Quixote, jocund above measure to see himself so lord-like treated withal.

They all went astern, which was very well dressed up, and they sat upon the rails. The boatswain got him to the forecastle, and gave warning with his whistle to the slaves to disrobe themselves, which was done in an instant.

Sancho that saw so many naked men was astonished, and the more when he saw them hoist up their tilt so speedily that he thought all the devils in hell laboured there. Sancho sat upon the pilot’s seat, near the hinder-most rower, on the right hand; who being instructed what he should do, laid hold on Sancho; and so lifting him up, passed him to another, and the second to a third; so the whole rabble of the slaves, beginning from the right side; passed and made him vault from one seat to another so violently that poor Sancho lost his sight, and undoubtedly believed that the fiends of hell carried him; and they gave him not over till they had passed him over all the left side too, and then set him again on the stern; so the poor soul was sore bruised and bemauled, and scarce imagined what had happened to him.

Don Quixote, that saw this flight of Sancho’s without wings, asked the general if those were ceremonies that were used to such as came newly into the galleys; for if they were, that he who intended not to profess in them liked no such pastime; and he vowed to God that if any came to lay hold on him, to make him tumble, he would kick out his soul; and in so saying, he stood up, and grasped his sword.

At this instant they let down the tilt again, and with a terrible noise let fall the mainyard, so that Sancho thought heaven was off the hinges, and fell upon his head, which he crouched together, and clapped it for fear betwixt his legs. Don Quixote was not altogether as he should be; or he began to quake, and shrink up his shoulders, and grew pale. The slaves hoisted the mainyard with the same fury and noise that they had formerly struck it with; and all with such silence, as if they had had neither voice nor breath. The boatswain made signs to them to weigh anchor; and, leaping toward the forecastle, in the midst of them, with his whip, or bull’s-pizzle, he began to fly-flap their shoulders.

When Sancho saw such a company of red feet move at once, for such he guessed the oars to be, he said to himself, ‘Ay, marry, here be things truly enchanted, and not those my master speaks of. What have these unhappy souls committed, that they are thus lashed? And how dares this fellow that goes whistling up and down alone, whip so many? Well, I say, this is hell, or purgatory at least.’

Don Quixote, that saw with what attention Sancho beheld all that passed, said, ‘Ah, friend Sancho, how speedily and with how little cost might you, if you would, take off your doublet, and clap yourself amongst these fellows, and make an end of disenchanting Dulcinea! For, having so many companions in misery, you would not be so sensible of pain; and besides, it might be that the sage Merlin might take every one of these lashes, being well laid on, for ten.’

The general would have asked what lashes those were, and what disenchantment of Dulcinea’s, when a mariner cried out, ‘Monjuy makes signs that there is a vessel with oars towards the west side of the coast.’ Which said, the general leapt upon the forecastle and cried out, ‘Go to, my hearts; let her not escape. This boat, that our watch-tower discovers, is some frigate of Algiers pirates.’

And now the three other galleys came to their admiral to know what they should do. The general commanded that two of them should launch to the sea, and he with the other would go betwixt land and land, that so the vessel might not escape them.

The slaves rowed hard, and so furiously drove on the galleys, as if they had flown. And those that launched first into the sea, about a two miles off discovered a vessel, which in sight they marked to have about a fourteen or fifteen oars, as it fell out to be true; which vessel, when she discovered the galleys, she put herself in chase, hoping by her swiftness to escape; but it prevailed nothing, for the admiral galley was one of the swiftest vessels that sailed in the sea, and so got of the other so much, that they in the frigate plainly saw that they could not escape; and so the master of her would have had them forsaken their oars, and yielded, for fear of offending our general. But, fate that would have it otherwise, so disposed the matter that, as the admiral came on so nigh that they in the bark might hear a cry from the galley that they should yield, two Toraquis, that is, two drunken Turks, that were in the frigate, with twelve others, discharged two calivers, with which they killed two soldiers that stood abaft our galley, which when our general saw, he vowed not to leave a man alive in the vessel, and coming in great fury to grapple with her, she escaped under the galley’s oars. The galley passed forward a pretty way; they in the vessel saw themselves gone, and began to set sail, and to fly afresh, as they saw the galley coming on them; but their industry did them not so much good as their presumption hurt; for the admiral overtaking them within one half-mile, clapped his oars on the vessel, and so took her, and every man alive in her.

By this the two other galleys came, and all four returned to the wharf with their prize, where a world of people expected them, desirous to see what they brought. The general cast anchor near land, and perceived that the viceroy of the city was on the shore. He commanded that a cock-boat should be launched to bring him, and that they should strike the mainyard to hang presently the master of the frigate, and the rest of the Turks that they had taken in her, which were about six-and-thirty persons; all goodly men, and most of them Turkish shot.

The general asked who was master of the bark; and answer was made him by one of the captives in Spanish, who appeared after to be a runagate Spaniard, ‘This youth you see here is our master’; and he showed him one of the goodliest comely youths that could be deciphered by human imagination. He was not, to see to, above twenty years of age.

The general asked, ‘Tell me, ill-advised dog, what moved thee to kill my soldiers, since thou sawest it was impossible to escape? Is this the respect due to admirals? Knowest not thou that rashness is not valour? Doubtful hopes may make men bold, but not desperate.’

The master would have replied, but the general could not as yet give him the hearing, by reason of his going to welcome the viceroy aboard, who entered now the galley with some servants of his, and others of the city.

‘You have had a pretty chase on’t, my lord general,’ said the viceroy. ‘So pretty,’ said the general, ‘that your Excellency shall see it hanged up at the mainyard.’ ‘How so?’ quoth the viceroy. ‘Why, they have killed me,’ said he, ‘against all law of arms, reason, or custom of wars, two of the best soldiers I had in my galleys, and I have sworn to hang them all, especially this youth, the master of the frigate’; and he showed him one that had his hands bound, and the halter about his neck, expecting his death.

The viceroy beheld him, and seeing him so comely, handsome, and so humble withal, his beauty giving him in that instant, as it were, a letter of recommendation, the viceroy had a mind to save him, and therefore asked, ‘Tell me, master, art thou a Turk born, or a Moor, or a runagate?’ To which the youth answered him in his own language, ‘Neither of all.’ ‘Why, what art thou?’ quoth the viceroy. ‘A Christian woman,’ said the young man. ‘A woman, and a Christian, in this habit, in these employments! a thing rather to be wondered at than believed.’ ‘My lords, I beseech you,’ quoth the youth, ‘let my execution be a little deferred, whilst I recount my life.’ What heart so hard that would not be softened with that reason, at least to hear the sad and grieved youth to tell his story? The general bade him proceed, but that there was no hope for him of pardon for his notorious offence. So the youth began in this manner:

‘Of that lineage, more unhappy than wise, on which a sea of misfortunes in these latter times have rained, am I, born of Moriscan parents, and in the current of their misery was carried by two of my uncles into Barbary, it nothing availing me to say I was a Christian, as I am indeed, and not seeming so, as many of us, but truly Catholic; but this truth prevailed nothing with the officers that had charge given them to look to our banishment, neither would my uncles believe I was a Christian, but that it was a trick of mine to stay in my native country; and so rather forcibly, than by my consent, they carried me with them. My mother was a Christian, and my father discreet, and so likewise I sucked the Catholic faith in my milk. I was well brought up, and neither in my language or fashion made show to be a Morisca. With these virtues, my beauty, if so be I have any, increased also; and though my restraint and retirement was great, yet it was not such but that a young gentleman, called Don Gaspar Gregorio, had gotten a sight of me. This gentleman was son and heir to a knight that lived near to our town. He saw me, and we had some speech; and seeing himself lost to me, but I not won by him—’twere large, to tell, especially fearing that, as I am speaking, this halter must throttle me—yet I say that Don Gregorio would needs accompany me in my banishment, and so mingling himself with Moriscos that came out of other places (for he understood the language well), in our voyage he got acquainted with my two uncles that went with me; for my father, wisely, when he heard the edict of our banishment, went out of our town, and went to seek some place in a foreign country where we might be entertained; and he left many pearls, precious stones, and some money in double pistolets hidden in a secret place, which I only knew of, but he commanded me by no means to meddle with it, if we were banished before his return. I did so, and with my uncles and others of our kindred, passed into Barbary, and our resting-place was Algiers; I might have said, Hell. The king there had notice of my beauty, and likewise that I was rich, which partly fell out to be my happiness. He sent for me, and asked me of what part of Spain I was, and what money and jewels I brought. I told him the place, but that my jewels and moneys were buried, but that they might easily be had, if I might but go thither for them. All this I said, hoping his own covetousness would more blind him than my beauty.

‘Whilst we were in this discourse, they told him there came one of the goodliest fair youths with me that could be imagined. I thought presently it was Don Gregorio they meant, whose comeliness is not to be paralleled. It troubled me to think in what danger he would be; for those barbarous Turks do more esteem a handsome boy than a woman, be she never so fair. The king commanded straight that he should be brought before him, that he might see him; and asked me if it were true they said of the youth. I told him, yes (and it seemed Heaven put it into my head), but that he was no man, but a woman as I was, and I desired him he would give me leave to clothe her in her natural habit, that her beauty might appear to the full, and that otherwise, too, she would be too shamefaced before him. He bade me do so, and that on the morrow he would give order for my return to Spain to seek the hidden treasure. I spoke with Don Gaspar, and told him what danger he had been in by being a man; so I clad him like a Moorish woman, and that afternoon brought him to the king’s presence, who, seeing him, admired at her beauty, and thought to reserve him, and to send him for a present to the Grand Signior; and so to avoid the danger in his seraglio of women, if he put her there, he commanded her to be kept in a house of certain Moorish gentlewomen, whither he was carried. How this troubled us both (for I cannot deny that I love him), let them consider that have been absent from their loves. The king gave order then that I should come for Spain in this frigate, and that these two Turks that killed your soldiers should accompany me, and this runagate Spaniard,’ pointing to him that had first spoken, ‘who I know is in his heart a Christian, and hath a greater desire to remain here than to return into Barbary; the rest are Moors and Turks that only serve for rowers. The two covetous and insolent Turks, not respecting the order we had, that they should set me and this runagate Spaniard on the first shore, in the habits of Christians (of which we were provided), would needs first scour the coast, and take some prize, if they could, fearing that if they should set us on land by some mischance we might discover the frigate to be upon the coast, so that they might be taken by the galleys; and over-night we described this wharf, and not knowing of these four galleys, we were discovered, and this hath befallen us that you have seen. In fine, Don Gregorio remains in his woman’s habit amongst women, in manifest danger of his destruction, and I am here prisoner, expecting, or to say truer, fearing the losing of my life, which, notwithstanding, wearies me. This, sirs, is the conclusion of my lamentable history, as true as unfortunate. My request is that I may die a Christian, since, as I have said, I am not guilty of that crime into which the rest of my nation have fallen’; and with this she broke off, her eyes pregnant with tears, which were accompanied with many from the standers-by also.

The viceroy, all tender and compassionate, came to her, and undid the cord that bound the Moor’s fair hands. In the meantime, whilst this Christian Morisca related her story, an ancient pilgrim that entered the galley had his eyes fastened upon her, and she had no sooner ended her discourse when he cast himself at her feet, and, embracing them with interrupted words, sighs, and sobs, said, ‘Oh, my unfortunate daughter Anna Felix, I am Ricote thy father, that have returned to seek thee, as not being able to live without thee, for thou art my very soul.’ At these words Sancho opened his eyes, and lifted up his head (which he held down, thinking upon his ill-favoured tossing in the galley), and beholding the pilgrim, knew him to be the same Ricote that he met the same day he left his government, and it appeared she was his daughter; when being unbound, she embraced her father, mingling her tears with his. Then said he to the general and viceroy, ‘This, my lords, is my daughter, more unhappy in her success than in her name, as famous for beauty as I for wealth. I left my country to find a resting-place in some strange country, and having found one in Germany, returned in this pilgrim’s weed in company of other Germans to seek my daughter, and to dig out my hidden treasure, but found not her, and the treasure I bring with me, and now by strange chance have lighted on my greatest treasure, that is, my beloved daughter; if so be our small offence, and her tears and mine together, with the integrity of your justice, may open the gates of mercy, show it us, that never had so much as a thought once to offend you, nor conspired with those of our own lineage, who were justly banished.’ Then said Sancho, ‘I know Ricote well, and know all is true he saith concerning that Anna Felix is his daughter, but for other flim-flams, whether he had a good or bad intention, I intermeddle not.’

The bystanders wondering all at this accident, the general said, ‘Well, your tears will not let me accomplish my vow; live, fair Anna Felix, as long as Heaven will give thee leave, and let those rash slaves die that committed the fault’; so he commanded that the two Turks that had killed his two soldiers should presently be hanged upon the mainyard; but the viceroy desired him earnestly not to hang them, since they had showed more madness than valour. The general condescended, for revenge is not good in cold blood; and straight they contrived how to get Don Gregorio free. Ricote offered two thousand ducats he had in pearls and jewels towards it; many means were thought on, but none so good as that of the renegado Spaniard that was mentioned, who offered to return to Algiers in some small bark, only with some six Christian oars, for he knew where, how, and when he might disembark himself, and the house also where Don Gaspar was. The general and viceroy were in some doubt of him, or to trust him with the Christians that should row with him. But Anna Felix undertook for him, and Ricote offered to ransom the Christians if they were taken. And being agreed, the viceroy went ashore, and Don Antonio Moreno carried the Morisca and her father with him, the viceroy enjoining him to use them as well as possibly he might, and offered him the command of anything in his house toward it. Such was the charity and benevolence that the beauty of Anna Felix had infused into his breast.

Gavilan College celebrates 400 years of Don Quijote

The History of Don Quixote - The Second Part

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