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CHAPTER LXIV

TREATING OF THE ADVENTURE WHICH GAVE DON QUIXOTE MORE UNHAPPINESS
THAN ALL THAT HAD HITHERTO BEFALLEN HIM


The wife of Don Antonio Moreno, so the history says, was extremely
happy to see Ana Felix in her house. She welcomed her with great
kindness, charmed as well by her beauty as by her intelligence; for in
both respects the fair Morisco was richly endowed, and all the
people of the city flocked to see her as though they had been summoned
by the ringing of the bells.

Don Quixote told Don Antonio that the plan adopted for releasing Don
Gregorio was not a good one, for its risks were greater than its
advantages, and that it would be better to land himself with his
arms and horse in Barbary; for he would carry him off in spite of
the whole Moorish host, as Don Gaiferos carried off his wife
Melisendra.

"Remember, your worship," observed Sancho on hearing him say so,
"Senor Don Gaiferos carried off his wife from the mainland, and took
her to France by land; but in this case, if by chance we carry off Don
Gregorio, we have no way of bringing him to Spain, for there's the sea
between."

"There's a remedy for everything except death," said Don Quixote;
"if they bring the vessel close to the shore we shall be able to get
on board though all the world strive to prevent us."

"Your worship hits it off mighty well and mighty easy," said Sancho;
"but 'it's a long step from saying to doing;' and I hold to the
renegade, for he seems to me an honest good-hearted fellow."

Don Antonio then said that if the renegade did not prove successful,
the expedient of the great Don Quixote's expedition to Barbary
should be adopted. Two days afterwards the renegade put to sea in a
light vessel of six oars a-side manned by a stout crew, and two days
later the galleys made sail eastward, the general having begged the
viceroy to let him know all about the release of Don Gregorio and
about Ana Felix, and the viceroy promised to do as he requested.

One morning as Don Quixote went out for a stroll along the beach,
arrayed in full armour (for, as he often said, that was "his only
gear, his only rest the fray," and he never was without it for a
moment), he saw coming towards him a knight, also in full armour, with
a shining moon painted on his shield, who, on approaching sufficiently
near to be heard, said in a loud voice, addressing himself to Don
Quixote, "Illustrious knight, and never sufficiently extolled Don
Quixote of La Mancha, I am the Knight of the White Moon, whose
unheard-of achievements will perhaps have recalled him to thy
memory. I come to do battle with thee and prove the might of thy
arm, to the end that I make thee acknowledge and confess that my lady,
let her be who she may, is incomparably fairer than thy Dulcinea del
Toboso. If thou dost acknowledge this fairly and openly, thou shalt
escape death and save me the trouble of inflicting it upon thee; if
thou fightest and I vanquish thee, I demand no other satisfaction than
that, laying aside arms and abstaining from going in quest of
adventures, thou withdraw and betake thyself to thine own village
for the space of a year, and live there without putting hand to sword,
in peace and quiet and beneficial repose, the same being needful for
the increase of thy substance and the salvation of thy soul; and if
thou dost vanquish me, my head shall be at thy disposal, my arms and
horse thy spoils, and the renown of my deeds transferred and added
to thine. Consider which will be thy best course, and give me thy
answer speedily, for this day is all the time I have for the
despatch of this business."

Don Quixote was amazed and astonished, as well at the Knight of
the White Moon's arrogance, as at his reason for delivering the
defiance, and with calm dignity he answered him, "Knight of the
White Moon, of whose achievements I have never heard until now, I will
venture to swear you have never seen the illustrious Dulcinea; for had
you seen her I know you would have taken care not to venture
yourself upon this issue, because the sight would have removed all
doubt from your mind that there ever has been or can be a beauty to be
compared with hers; and so, not saying you lie, but merely that you
are not correct in what you state, I accept your challenge, with the
conditions you have proposed, and at once, that the day you have fixed
may not expire; and from your conditions I except only that of the
renown of your achievements being transferred to me, for I know not of
what sort they are nor what they may amount to; I am satisfied with my
own, such as they be. Take, therefore, the side of the field you
choose, and I will do the same; and to whom God shall give it may
Saint Peter add his blessing."

The Knight of the White Moon had been seen from the city, and it was
told the viceroy how he was in conversation with Don Quixote. The
viceroy, fancying it must be some fresh adventure got up by Don
Antonio Moreno or some other gentleman of the city, hurried out at
once to the beach accompanied by Don Antonio and several other
gentlemen, just as Don Quixote was wheeling Rocinante round in order
to take up the necessary distance. The viceroy upon this, seeing
that the pair of them were evidently preparing to come to the
charge, put himself between them, asking them what it was that led
them to engage in combat all of a sudden in this way. The Knight of
the White Moon replied that it was a question of precedence of beauty;
and briefly told him what he had said to Don Quixote, and how the
conditions of the defiance agreed upon on both sides had been
accepted. The viceroy went over to Don Antonio, and asked in a low
voice did he know who the Knight of the White Moon was, or was it some
joke they were playing on Don Quixote. Don Antonio replied that he
neither knew who he was nor whether the defiance was in joke or in
earnest. This answer left the viceroy in a state of perplexity, not
knowing whether he ought to let the combat go on or not; but unable to
persuade himself that it was anything but a joke he fell back, saying,
"If there be no other way out of it, gallant knights, except to
confess or die, and Don Quixote is inflexible, and your worship of the
White Moon still more so, in God's hand be it, and fall on."

He of the White Moon thanked the viceroy in courteous and
well-chosen words for the permission he gave them, and so did Don
Quixote, who then, commending himself with all his heart to heaven and
to his Dulcinea, as was his custom on the eve of any combat that
awaited him, proceeded to take a little more distance, as he saw his
antagonist was doing the same; then, without blast of trumpet or other
warlike instrument to give them the signal to charge, both at the same
instant wheeled their horses; and he of the White Moon, being the
swifter, met Don Quixote after having traversed two-thirds of the
course, and there encountered him with such violence that, without
touching him with his lance (for he held it high, to all appearance
purposely), he hurled Don Quixote and Rocinante to the earth, a
perilous fall. He sprang upon him at once, and placing the lance
over his visor said to him, "You are vanquished, sir knight, nay
dead unless you admit the conditions of our defiance."

Don Quixote, bruised and stupefied, without raising his visor said
in a weak feeble voice as if he were speaking out of a tomb, "Dulcinea
del Toboso is the fairest woman in the world, and I the most
unfortunate knight on earth; it is not fitting that this truth
should suffer by my feebleness; drive your lance home, sir knight, and
take my life, since you have taken away my honour."

"That will I not, in sooth," said he of the White Moon; "live the
fame of the lady Dulcinea's beauty undimmed as ever; all I require
is that the great Don Quixote retire to his own home for a year, or
for so long a time as shall by me be enjoined upon him, as we agreed
before engaging in this combat."

The viceroy, Don Antonio, and several others who were present
heard all this, and heard too how Don Quixote replied that so long
as nothing in prejudice of Dulcinea was demanded of him, he would
observe all the rest like a true and loyal knight. The engagement
given, he of the White Moon wheeled about, and making obeisance to the
viceroy with a movement of the head, rode away into the city at a half
gallop. The viceroy bade Don Antonio hasten after him, and by some
means or other find out who he was. They raised Don Quixote up and
uncovered his face, and found him pale and bathed with sweat.
Rocinante from the mere hard measure he had received lay unable to
stir for the present. Sancho, wholly dejected and woebegone, knew
not what to say or do. He fancied that all was a dream, that the whole
business was a piece of enchantment. Here was his master defeated, and
bound not to take up arms for a year. He saw the light of the glory of
his achievements obscured; the hopes of the promises lately made him
swept away like smoke before the wind; Rocinante, he feared, was
crippled for life, and his master's bones out of joint; for if he were
only shaken out of his madness it would be no small luck. In the end
they carried him into the city in a hand-chair which the viceroy
sent for, and thither the viceroy himself returned, cager to ascertain
who this Knight of the White Moon was who had left Don Quixote in such
a sad plight.




Don Quixote by Migeul de Cervantes
Category:
Romance Literature - Spanish
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