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CHAPTER XLII

WHICH TREATS OF WHAT FURTHER TOOK PLACE IN THE INN, AND OF SEVERAL
OTHER THINGS WORTH KNOWING

With these words the captive held his peace, and Don Fernando said
to him, "In truth, captain, the manner in which you have related
this remarkable adventure has been such as befitted the novelty and
strangeness of the matter. The whole story is curious and uncommon,
and abounds with incidents that fill the hearers with wonder and
astonishment; and so great is the pleasure we have found in
listening to it that we should be glad if it were to begin again, even
though to-morrow were to find us still occupied with the same tale."
And while he said this Cardenio and the rest of them offered to be
of service to him in any way that lay in their power, and in words and
language so kindly and sincere that the captain was much gratified
by their good-will. In particular Don Fernando offered, if he would go
back with him, to get his brother the marquis to become godfather at
the baptism of Zoraida, and on his own part to provide him with the
means of making his appearance in his own country with the credit
and comfort he was entitled to. For all this the captive returned
thanks very courteously, although he would not accept any of their
generous offers.

By this time night closed in, and as it did, there came up to the
inn a coach attended by some men on horseback, who demanded
accommodation; to which the landlady replied that there was not a
hand's breadth of the whole inn unoccupied.

"Still, for all that," said one of those who had entered on
horseback, "room must be found for his lordship the Judge here."

At this name the landlady was taken aback, and said, "Senor, the
fact is I have no beds; but if his lordship the Judge carries one with
him, as no doubt he does, let him come in and welcome; for my
husband and I will give up our room to accommodate his worship."

"Very good, so be it," said the squire; but in the meantime a man
had got out of the coach whose dress indicated at a glance the
office and post he held, for the long robe with ruffled sleeves that
he wore showed that he was, as his servant said, a Judge of appeal. He
led by the hand a young girl in a travelling dress, apparently about
sixteen years of age, and of such a high-bred air, so beautiful and so
graceful, that all were filled with admiration when she made her
appearance, and but for having seen Dorothea, Luscinda, and Zoraida,
who were there in the inn, they would have fancied that a beauty
like that of this maiden's would have been hard to find. Don Quixote
was present at the entrance of the Judge with the young lady, and as
soon as he saw him he said, "Your worship may with confidence enter
and take your ease in this castle; for though the accommodation be
scanty and poor, there are no quarters so cramped or inconvenient that
they cannot make room for arms and letters; above all if arms and
letters have beauty for a guide and leader, as letters represented
by your worship have in this fair maiden, to whom not only ought
castles to throw themselves open and yield themselves up, but rocks
should rend themselves asunder and mountains divide and bow themselves
down to give her a reception. Enter, your worship, I say, into this
paradise, for here you will find stars and suns to accompany the
heaven your worship brings with you, here you will find arms in
their supreme excellence, and beauty in its highest perfection."

The Judge was struck with amazement at the language of Don
Quixote, whom he scrutinized very carefully, no less astonished by his
figure than by his talk; and before he could find words to answer
him he had a fresh surprise, when he saw opposite to him Luscinda,
Dorothea, and Zoraida, who, having heard of the new guests and of
the beauty of the young lady, had come to see her and welcome her; Don
Fernando, Cardenio, and the curate, however, greeted him in a more
intelligible and polished style. In short, the Judge made his entrance
in a state of bewilderment, as well with what he saw as what he heard,
and the fair ladies of the inn gave the fair damsel a cordial welcome.
On the whole he could perceive that all who were there were people
of quality; but with the figure, countenance, and bearing of Don
Quixote he was at his wits' end; and all civilities having been
exchanged, and the accommodation of the inn inquired into, it was
settled, as it had been before settled, that all the women should
retire to the garret that has been already mentioned, and that the men
should remain outside as if to guard them; the Judge, therefore, was
very well pleased to allow his daughter, for such the damsel was, to
go with the ladies, which she did very willingly; and with part of the
host's narrow bed and half of what the Judge had brought with him,
they made a more comfortable arrangement for the night than they had
expected.

The captive, whose heart had leaped within him the instant he saw
the Judge, telling him somehow that this was his brother, asked one of
the servants who accompanied him what his name was, and whether he
knew from what part of the country he came. The servant replied that
he was called the Licentiate Juan Perez de Viedma, and that he had
heard it said he came from a village in the mountains of Leon. From
this statement, and what he himself had seen, he felt convinced that
this was his brother who had adopted letters by his father's advice;
and excited and rejoiced, he called Don Fernando and Cardenio and
the curate aside, and told them how the matter stood, assuring them
that the judge was his brother. The servant had further informed him
that he was now going to the Indies with the appointment of Judge of
the Supreme Court of Mexico; and he had learned, likewise, that the
young lady was his daughter, whose mother had died in giving birth
to her, and that he was very rich in consequence of the dowry left
to him with the daughter. He asked their advice as to what means he
should adopt to make himself known, or to ascertain beforehand
whether, when he had made himself known, his brother, seeing him so
poor, would be ashamed of him, or would receive him with a warm heart.

"Leave it to me to find out that," said the curate; "though there is
no reason for supposing, senor captain, that you will not be kindly
received, because the worth and wisdom that your brother's bearing
shows him to possess do not make it likely that he will prove
haughty or insensible, or that he will not know how to estimate the
accidents of fortune at their proper value."

"Still," said the captain, "I would not make myself known
abruptly, but in some indirect way."

"I have told you already," said the curate, "that I will manage it
in a way to satisfy us all."

By this time supper was ready, and they all took their seats at
the table, except the captive, and the ladies, who supped by
themselves in their own room. In the middle of supper the curate said:

"I had a comrade of your worship's name, Senor Judge, in
Constantinople, where I was a captive for several years, and that same
comrade was one of the stoutest soldiers and captains in the whole
Spanish infantry; but he had as large a share of misfortune as he
had of gallantry and courage."

"And how was the captain called, senor?" asked the Judge.

"He was called Ruy Perez de Viedma," replied the curate, "and he was
born in a village in the mountains of Leon; and he mentioned a
circumstance connected with his father and his brothers which, had
it not been told me by so truthful a man as he was, I should have
set down as one of those fables the old women tell over the fire in
winter; for he said his father had divided his property among his
three sons and had addressed words of advice to them sounder than
any of Cato's. But I can say this much, that the choice he made of
going to the wars was attended with such success, that by his
gallant conduct and courage, and without any help save his own
merit, he rose in a few years to be captain of infantry, and to see
himself on the high-road and in position to be given the command of
a corps before long; but Fortune was against him, for where he might
have expected her favour he lost it, and with it his liberty, on
that glorious day when so many recovered theirs, at the battle of
Lepanto. I lost mine at the Goletta, and after a variety of adventures
we found ourselves comrades at Constantinople. Thence he went to
Algiers, where he met with one of the most extraordinary adventures
that ever befell anyone in the world."

Here the curate went on to relate briefly his brother's adventure
with Zoraida; to all which the Judge gave such an attentive hearing
that he never before had been so much of a hearer. The curate,
however, only went so far as to describe how the Frenchmen plundered
those who were in the boat, and the poverty and distress in which
his comrade and the fair Moor were left, of whom he said he had not
been able to learn what became of them, or whether they had reached
Spain, or been carried to France by the Frenchmen.

The captain, standing a little to one side, was listening to all the
curate said, and watching every movement of his brother, who, as
soon as he perceived the curate had made an end of his story, gave a
deep sigh and said with his eyes full of tears, "Oh, senor, if you
only knew what news you have given me and how it comes home to me,
making me show how I feel it with these tears that spring from my eyes
in spite of all my worldly wisdom and self-restraint! That brave
captain that you speak of is my eldest brother, who, being of a bolder
and loftier mind than my other brother or myself, chose the honourable
and worthy calling of arms, which was one of the three careers our
father proposed to us, as your comrade mentioned in that fable you
thought he was telling you. I followed that of letters, in which God
and my own exertions have raised me to the position in which you see
me. My second brother is in Peru, so wealthy that with what he has
sent to my father and to me he has fully repaid the portion he took
with him, and has even furnished my father's hands with the means of
gratifying his natural generosity, while I too have been enabled to
pursue my studies in a more becoming and creditable fashion, and so to
attain my present standing. My father is still alive, though dying
with anxiety to hear of his eldest son, and he prays God unceasingly
that death may not close his eyes until he has looked upon those of
his son; but with regard to him what surprises me is, that having so
much common sense as he had, he should have neglected to give any
intelligence about himself, either in his troubles and sufferings,
or in his prosperity, for if his father or any of us had known of
his condition he need not have waited for that miracle of the reed
to obtain his ransom; but what now disquiets me is the uncertainty
whether those Frenchmen may have restored him to liberty, or
murdered him to hide the robbery. All this will make me continue my
journey, not with the satisfaction in which I began it, but in the
deepest melancholy and sadness. Oh dear brother! that I only knew
where thou art now, and I would hasten to seek thee out and deliver
thee from thy sufferings, though it were to cost me suffering
myself! Oh that I could bring news to our old father that thou art
alive, even wert thou the deepest dungeon of Barbary; for his wealth
and my brother's and mine would rescue thee thence! Oh beautiful and
generous Zoraida, that I could repay thy good goodness to a brother!
That I could be present at the new birth of thy soul, and at thy
bridal that would give us all such happiness!"

All this and more the Judge uttered with such deep emotion at the
news he had received of his brother that all who heard him shared in
it, showing their sympathy with his sorrow. The curate, seeing,
then, how well he had succeeded in carrying out his purpose and the
captain's wishes, had no desire to keep them unhappy any longer, so he
rose from the table and going into the room where Zoraida was he
took her by the hand, Luscinda, Dorothea, and the Judge's daughter
following her. The captain was waiting to see what the curate would
do, when the latter, taking him with the other hand, advanced with
both of them to where the Judge and the other gentlemen were and said,
"Let your tears cease to flow, Senor Judge, and the wish of your heart
be gratified as fully as you could desire, for you have before you
your worthy brother and your good sister-in-law. He whom you see here
is the Captain Viedma, and this is the fair Moor who has been so good
to him. The Frenchmen I told you of have reduced them to the state of
poverty you see that you may show the generosity of your kind heart."

The captain ran to embrace his brother, who placed both hands on his
breast so as to have a good look at him, holding him a little way
off but as soon as he had fully recognised him he clasped him in his
arms so closely, shedding such tears of heartfelt joy, that most of
those present could not but join in them. The words the brothers
exchanged, the emotion they showed can scarcely be imagined, I
fancy, much less put down in writing. They told each other in a few
words the events of their lives; they showed the true affection of
brothers in all its strength; then the judge embraced Zoraida, putting
all he possessed at her disposal; then he made his daughter embrace
her, and the fair Christian and the lovely Moor drew fresh tears
from every eye. And there was Don Quixote observing all these
strange proceedings attentively without uttering a word, and
attributing the whole to chimeras of knight-errantry. Then they agreed
that the captain and Zoraida should return with his brother to
Seville, and send news to his father of his having been delivered
and found, so as to enable him to come and be present at the
marriage and baptism of Zoraida, for it was impossible for the Judge
to put off his journey, as he was informed that in a month from that
time the fleet was to sail from Seville for New Spain, and to miss the
passage would have been a great inconvenience to him. In short,
everybody was well pleased and glad at the captive's good fortune; and
as now almost two-thirds of the night were past, they resolved to
retire to rest for the remainder of it. Don Quixote offered to mount
guard over the castle lest they should be attacked by some giant or
other malevolent scoundrel, covetous of the great treasure of beauty
the castle contained. Those who understood him returned him thanks for
this service, and they gave the Judge an account of his
extraordinary humour, with which he was not a little amused. Sancho
Panza alone was fuming at the lateness of the hour for retiring to
rest; and he of all was the one that made himself most comfortable, as
he stretched himself on the trappings of his ass, which, as will be
told farther on, cost him so dear.

The ladies, then, having retired to their chamber, and the others
having disposed themselves with as little discomfort as they could,
Don Quixote sallied out of the inn to act as sentinel of the castle as
he had promised. It happened, however, that a little before the
approach of dawn a voice so musical and sweet reached the ears of
the ladies that it forced them all to listen attentively, but
especially Dorothea, who had been awake, and by whose side Dona
Clara de Viedma, for so the Judge's daughter was called, lay sleeping.
No one could imagine who it was that sang so sweetly, and the voice
was unaccompanied by any instrument. At one moment it seemed to them
as if the singer were in the courtyard, at another in the stable;
and as they were all attention, wondering, Cardenio came to the door
and said, "Listen, whoever is not asleep, and you will hear a
muleteer's voice that enchants as it chants."

"We are listening to it already, senor," said Dorothea; on which
Cardenio went away; and Dorothea, giving all her attention to it, made
out the words of the song to be these:




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