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CHAPTER XVII

IN WHICH ARE CONTAINED THE INNUMERABLE TROUBLES WHICH THE BRAVE
DON QUIXOTE AND HIS GOOD SQUIRE SANCHO PANZA ENDURED IN THE INN, WHICH
TO HIS MISFORTUNE HE TOOK TO BE A CASTLE

By this time Don Quixote had recovered from his swoon; and in the
same tone of voice in which he had called to his squire the day before
when he lay stretched "in the vale of the stakes," he began calling to
him now, "Sancho, my friend, art thou asleep? sleepest thou, friend
Sancho?"

"How can I sleep, curses on it!" returned Sancho discontentedly
and bitterly, "when it is plain that all the devils have been at me
this night?"

"Thou mayest well believe that," answered Don Quixote, "because,
either I know little, or this castle is enchanted, for thou must know-
but this that I am now about to tell thee thou must swear to keep
secret until after my death."

"I swear it," answered Sancho.

"I say so," continued Don Quixote, "because I hate taking away
anyone's good name."

"I say," replied Sancho, "that I swear to hold my tongue about it
till the end of your worship's days, and God grant I may be able to
let it out tomorrow."

"Do I do thee such injuries, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "that thou
wouldst see me dead so soon?"

"It is not for that," replied Sancho, "but because I hate keeping
things long, and I don't want them to grow rotten with me from
over-keeping."

"At any rate," said Don Quixote, "I have more confidence in thy
affection and good nature; and so I would have thee know that this
night there befell me one of the strangest adventures that I could
describe, and to relate it to thee briefly thou must know that a
little while ago the daughter of the lord of this castle came to me,
and that she is the most elegant and beautiful damsel that could be
found in the wide world. What I could tell thee of the charms of her
person! of her lively wit! of other secret matters which, to
preserve the fealty I owe to my lady Dulcinea del Toboso, I shall pass
over unnoticed and in silence! I will only tell thee that, either fate
being envious of so great a boon placed in my hands by good fortune,
or perhaps (and this is more probable) this castle being, as I have
already said, enchanted, at the time when I was engaged in the
sweetest and most amorous discourse with her, there came, without my
seeing or knowing whence it came, a hand attached to some arm of
some huge giant, that planted such a cuff on my jaws that I have
them all bathed in blood, and then pummelled me in such a way that I
am in a worse plight than yesterday when the carriers, on account of
Rocinante's misbehaviour, inflicted on us the injury thou knowest
of; whence conjecture that there must be some enchanted Moor
guarding the treasure of this damsel's beauty, and that it is not
for me."

"Not for me either," said Sancho, "for more than four hundred
Moors have so thrashed me that the drubbing of the stakes was cakes
and fancy-bread to it. But tell me, senor, what do you call this
excellent and rare adventure that has left us as we are left now?
Though your worship was not so badly off, having in your arms that
incomparable beauty you spoke of; but I, what did I have, except the
heaviest whacks I think I had in all my life? Unlucky me and the
mother that bore me! for I am not a knight-errant and never expect
to be one, and of all the mishaps, the greater part falls to my
share."

"Then thou hast been thrashed too?" said Don Quixote.

"Didn't I say so? worse luck to my line!" said Sancho.

"Be not distressed, friend," said Don Quixote, "for I will now
make the precious balsam with which we shall cure ourselves in the
twinkling of an eye."

By this time the cuadrillero had succeeded in lighting the lamp, and
came in to see the man that he thought had been killed; and as
Sancho caught sight of him at the door, seeing him coming in his
shirt, with a cloth on his head, and a lamp in his hand, and a very
forbidding countenance, he said to his master, "Senor, can it be
that this is the enchanted Moor coming back to give us more
castigation if there be anything still left in the ink-bottle?"

"It cannot be the Moor," answered Don Quixote, "for those under
enchantment do not let themselves be seen by anyone."

"If they don't let themselves be seen, they let themselves be felt,"
said Sancho; "if not, let my shoulders speak to the point."

"Mine could speak too," said Don Quixote, "but that is not a
sufficient reason for believing that what we see is the enchanted
Moor."

The officer came up, and finding them engaged in such a peaceful
conversation, stood amazed; though Don Quixote, to be sure, still
lay on his back unable to move from pure pummelling and plasters.
The officer turned to him and said, "Well, how goes it, good man?"

"I would speak more politely if I were you," replied Don Quixote;
"is it the way of this country to address knights-errant in that
style, you booby?"

The cuadrillero finding himself so disrespectfully treated by such a
sorry-looking individual, lost his temper, and raising the lamp full
of oil, smote Don Quixote such a blow with it on the head that he gave
him a badly broken pate; then, all being in darkness, he went out, and
Sancho Panza said, "That is certainly the enchanted Moor, Senor, and
he keeps the treasure for others, and for us only the cuffs and
lamp-whacks."

"That is the truth," answered Don Quixote, "and there is no use in
troubling oneself about these matters of enchantment or being angry or
vexed at them, for as they are invisible and visionary we shall find
no one on whom to avenge ourselves, do what we may; rise, Sancho, if
thou canst, and call the alcaide of this fortress, and get him to give
me a little oil, wine, salt, and rosemary to make the salutiferous
balsam, for indeed I believe I have great need of it now, because I am
losing much blood from the wound that phantom gave me."

Sancho got up with pain enough in his bones, and went after the
innkeeper in the dark, and meeting the officer, who was looking to see
what had become of his enemy, he said to him, "Senor, whoever you are,
do us the favour and kindness to give us a little rosemary, oil, salt,
and wine, for it is wanted to cure one of the best knights-errant on
earth, who lies on yonder bed wounded by the hands of the enchanted
Moor that is in this inn."

When the officer heard him talk in this way, he took him for a man
out of his senses, and as day was now beginning to break, he opened
the inn gate, and calling the host, he told him what this good man
wanted. The host furnished him with what he required, and Sancho
brought it to Don Quixote, who, with his hand to his head, was
bewailing the pain of the blow of the lamp, which had done him no more
harm than raising a couple of rather large lumps, and what he
fancied blood was only the sweat that flowed from him in his
sufferings during the late storm. To be brief, he took the
materials, of which he made a compound, mixing them all and boiling
them a good while until it seemed to him they had come to
perfection. He then asked for some vial to pour it into, and as
there was not one in the inn, he decided on putting it into a tin
oil-bottle or flask of which the host made him a free gift; and over
the flask he repeated more than eighty paternosters and as many more
ave-marias, salves, and credos, accompanying each word with a cross by
way of benediction, at all which there were present Sancho, the
innkeeper, and the cuadrillero; for the carrier was now peacefully
engaged in attending to the comfort of his mules.

This being accomplished, he felt anxious to make trial himself, on
the spot, of the virtue of this precious balsam, as he considered
it, and so he drank near a quart of what could not be put into the
flask and remained in the pigskin in which it had been boiled; but
scarcely had he done drinking when he began to vomit in such a way
that nothing was left in his stomach, and with the pangs and spasms of
vomiting he broke into a profuse sweat, on account of which he bade
them cover him up and leave him alone. They did so, and he lay
sleeping more than three hours, at the end of which he awoke and
felt very great bodily relief and so much ease from his bruises that
he thought himself quite cured, and verily believed he had hit upon
the balsam of Fierabras; and that with this remedy he might
thenceforward, without any fear, face any kind of destruction, battle,
or combat, however perilous it might be.

Sancho Panza, who also regarded the amendment of his master as
miraculous, begged him to give him what was left in the pigskin, which
was no small quantity. Don Quixote consented, and he, taking it with
both hands, in good faith and with a better will, gulped down and
drained off very little less than his master. But the fact is, that
the stomach of poor Sancho was of necessity not so delicate as that of
his master, and so, before vomiting, he was seized with such
gripings and retchings, and such sweats and faintness, that verily and
truly be believed his last hour had come, and finding himself so
racked and tormented he cursed the balsam and the thief that had given
it to him.

Don Quixote seeing him in this state said, "It is my belief, Sancho,
that this mischief comes of thy not being dubbed a knight, for I am
persuaded this liquor cannot be good for those who are not so."

"If your worship knew that," returned Sancho- "woe betide me and all
my kindred!- why did you let me taste it?"

At this moment the draught took effect, and the poor squire began to
discharge both ways at such a rate that the rush mat on which he had
thrown himself and the canvas blanket he had covering him were fit for
nothing afterwards. He sweated and perspired with such paroxysms and
convulsions that not only he himself but all present thought his end
had come. This tempest and tribulation lasted about two hours, at
the end of which he was left, not like his master, but so weak and
exhausted that he could not stand. Don Quixote, however, who, as has
been said, felt himself relieved and well, was eager to take his
departure at once in quest of adventures, as it seemed to him that all
the time he loitered there was a fraud upon the world and those in
it who stood in need of his help and protection, all the more when
he had the security and confidence his balsam afforded him; and so,
urged by this impulse, he saddled Rocinante himself and put the
pack-saddle on his squire's beast, whom likewise he helped to dress
and mount the ass; after which he mounted his horse and turning to a
corner of the inn he laid hold of a pike that stood there, to serve
him by way of a lance. All that were in the inn, who were more than
twenty persons, stood watching him; the innkeeper's daughter was
likewise observing him, and he too never took his eyes off her, and
from time to time fetched a sigh that he seemed to pluck up from the
depths of his bowels; but they all thought it must be from the pain he
felt in his ribs; at any rate they who had seen him plastered the
night before thought so.

As soon as they were both mounted, at the gate of the inn, he called
to the host and said in a very grave and measured voice, "Many and
great are the favours, Senor Alcaide, that I have received in this
castle of yours, and I remain under the deepest obligation to be
grateful to you for them all the days of my life; if I can repay
them in avenging you of any arrogant foe who may have wronged you,
know that my calling is no other than to aid the weak, to avenge those
who suffer wrong, and to chastise perfidy. Search your memory, and
if you find anything of this kind you need only tell me of it, and I
promise you by the order of knighthood which I have received to
procure you satisfaction and reparation to the utmost of your desire."

The innkeeper replied to him with equal calmness, "Sir Knight, I
do not want your worship to avenge me of any wrong, because when any
is done me I can take what vengeance seems good to me; the only
thing I want is that you pay me the score that you have run up in
the inn last night, as well for the straw and barley for your two
beasts, as for supper and beds."

"Then this is an inn?" said Don Quixote.

"And a very respectable one," said the innkeeper.

"I have been under a mistake all this time," answered Don Quixote,
"for in truth I thought it was a castle, and not a bad one; but
since it appears that it is not a castle but an inn, all that can be
done now is that you should excuse the payment, for I cannot
contravene the rule of knights-errant, of whom I know as a fact (and
up to the present I have read nothing to the contrary) that they never
paid for lodging or anything else in the inn where they might be;
for any hospitality that might be offered them is their due by law and
right in return for the insufferable toil they endure in seeking
adventures by night and by day, in summer and in winter, on foot and
on horseback, in hunger and thirst, cold and heat, exposed to all
the inclemencies of heaven and all the hardships of earth."

"I have little to do with that," replied the innkeeper; "pay me what
you owe me, and let us have no more talk of chivalry, for all I care
about is to get my money."

"You are a stupid, scurvy innkeeper," said Don Quixote, and
putting spurs to Rocinante and bringing his pike to the slope he
rode out of the inn before anyone could stop him, and pushed on some
distance without looking to see if his squire was following him.

The innkeeper when he saw him go without paying him ran to get
payment of Sancho, who said that as his master would not pay neither
would he, because, being as he was squire to a knight-errant, the same
rule and reason held good for him as for his master with regard to not
paying anything in inns and hostelries. At this the innkeeper waxed
very wroth, and threatened if he did not pay to compel him in a way
that he would not like. To which Sancho made answer that by the law of
chivalry his master had received he would not pay a rap, though it
cost him his life; for the excellent and ancient usage of
knights-errant was not going to be violated by him, nor should the
squires of such as were yet to come into the world ever complain of
him or reproach him with breaking so just a privilege.

The ill-luck of the unfortunate Sancho so ordered it that among
the company in the inn there were four woolcarders from Segovia, three
needle-makers from the Colt of Cordova, and two lodgers from the
Fair of Seville, lively fellows, tender-hearted, fond of a joke, and
playful, who, almost as if instigated and moved by a common impulse,
made up to Sancho and dismounted him from his ass, while one of them
went in for the blanket of the host's bed; but on flinging him into it
they looked up, and seeing that the ceiling was somewhat lower what
they required for their work, they decided upon going out into the
yard, which was bounded by the sky, and there, putting Sancho in the
middle of the blanket, they began to raise him high, making sport with
him as they would with a dog at Shrovetide.

The cries of the poor blanketed wretch were so loud that they
reached the ears of his master, who, halting to listen attentively,
was persuaded that some new adventure was coming, until he clearly
perceived that it was his squire who uttered them. Wheeling about he
came up to the inn with a laborious gallop, and finding it shut went
round it to see if he could find some way of getting in; but as soon
as he came to the wall of the yard, which was not very high, he
discovered the game that was being played with his squire. He saw
him rising and falling in the air with such grace and nimbleness that,
had his rage allowed him, it is my belief he would have laughed. He
tried to climb from his horse on to the top of the wall, but he was so
bruised and battered that he could not even dismount; and so from
the back of his horse he began to utter such maledictions and
objurgations against those who were blanketing Sancho as it would be
impossible to write down accurately: they, however, did not stay their
laughter or their work for this, nor did the flying Sancho cease his
lamentations, mingled now with threats, now with entreaties but all to
little purpose, or none at all, until from pure weariness they left
off. They then brought him his ass, and mounting him on top of it they
put his jacket round him; and the compassionate Maritornes, seeing him
so exhausted, thought fit to refresh him with a jug of water, and that
it might be all the cooler she fetched it from the well. Sancho took
it, and as he was raising it to his mouth he was stopped by the
cries of his master exclaiming, "Sancho, my son, drink not water;
drink it not, my son, for it will kill thee; see, here I have the
blessed balsam (and he held up the flask of liquor), and with drinking
two drops of it thou wilt certainly be restored."

At these words Sancho turned his eyes asquint, and in a still louder
voice said, "Can it be your worship has forgotten that I am not a
knight, or do you want me to end by vomiting up what bowels I have
left after last night? Keep your liquor in the name of all the devils,
and leave me to myself!" and at one and the same instant he left off
talking and began drinking; but as at the first sup he perceived it
was water he did not care to go on with it, and begged Maritornes to
fetch him some wine, which she did with right good will, and paid
for it with her own money; for indeed they say of her that, though she
was in that line of life, there was some faint and distant resemblance
to a Christian about her. When Sancho had done drinking he dug his
heels into his ass, and the gate of the inn being thrown open he
passed out very well pleased at having paid nothing and carried his
point, though it had been at the expense of his usual sureties, his
shoulders. It is true that the innkeeper detained his alforjas in
payment of what was owing to him, but Sancho took his departure in
such a flurry that he never missed them. The innkeeper, as soon as
he saw him off, wanted to bar the gate close, but the blanketers would
not agree to it, for they were fellows who would not have cared two
farthings for Don Quixote, even had he been really one of the
knights-errant of the Round Table.




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