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CHAPTER XLVII

OF THE STRANGE MANNER IN WHICH DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA WAS
CARRIED AWAY ENCHANTED, TOGETHER WITH OTHER REMARKABLE INCIDENTS

When Don Quixote saw himself caged and hoisted on the cart in this
way, he said, "Many grave histories of knights-errant have I read; but
never yet have I read, seen, or heard of their carrying off
enchanted knights-errant in this fashion, or at the slow pace that
these lazy, sluggish animals promise; for they always take them away
through the air with marvellous swiftness, enveloped in a dark thick
cloud, or on a chariot of fire, or it may be on some hippogriff or
other beast of the kind; but to carry me off like this on an
ox-cart! By God, it puzzles me! But perhaps the chivalry and
enchantments of our day take a different course from that of those
in days gone by; and it may be, too, that as I am a new knight in
the world, and the first to revive the already forgotten calling of
knight-adventurers, they may have newly invented other kinds of
enchantments and other modes of carrying off the enchanted. What
thinkest thou of the matter, Sancho my son?"

"I don't know what to think," answered Sancho, "not being as well
read as your worship in errant writings; but for all that I venture to
say and swear that these apparitions that are about us are not quite
catholic."

"Catholic!" said Don Quixote. "Father of me! how can they be
Catholic when they are all devils that have taken fantastic shapes
to come and do this, and bring me to this condition? And if thou
wouldst prove it, touch them, and feel them, and thou wilt find they
have only bodies of air, and no consistency except in appearance."

"By God, master," returned Sancho, "I have touched them already; and
that devil, that goes about there so busily, has firm flesh, and
another property very different from what I have heard say devils
have, for by all accounts they all smell of brimstone and other bad
smells; but this one smells of amber half a league off." Sancho was
here speaking of Don Fernando, who, like a gentleman of his rank,
was very likely perfumed as Sancho said.

"Marvel not at that, Sancho my friend," said Don Quixote; "for let
me tell thee devils are crafty; and even if they do carry odours about
with them, they themselves have no smell, because they are spirits;
or, if they have any smell, they cannot smell of anything sweet, but
of something foul and fetid; and the reason is that as they carry hell
with them wherever they go, and can get no ease whatever from their
torments, and as a sweet smell is a thing that gives pleasure and
enjoyment, it is impossible that they can smell sweet; if, then,
this devil thou speakest of seems to thee to smell of amber, either
thou art deceiving thyself, or he wants to deceive thee by making thee
fancy he is not a devil."

Such was the conversation that passed between master and man; and
Don Fernando and Cardenio, apprehensive of Sancho's making a
complete discovery of their scheme, towards which he had already
gone some way, resolved to hasten their departure, and calling the
landlord aside, they directed him to saddle Rocinante and put the
pack-saddle on Sancho's ass, which he did with great alacrity. In
the meantime the curate had made an arrangement with the officers that
they should bear them company as far as his village, he paying them so
much a day. Cardenio hung the buckler on one side of the bow of
Rocinante's saddle and the basin on the other, and by signs
commanded Sancho to mount his ass and take Rocinante's bridle, and
at each side of the cart he placed two officers with their muskets;
but before the cart was put in motion, out came the landlady and her
daughter and Maritornes to bid Don Quixote farewell, pretending to
weep with grief at his misfortune; and to them Don Quixote said:

"Weep not, good ladies, for all these mishaps are the lot of those
who follow the profession I profess; and if these reverses did not
befall me I should not esteem myself a famous knight-errant; for
such things never happen to knights of little renown and fame, because
nobody in the world thinks about them; to valiant knights they do, for
these are envied for their virtue and valour by many princes and other
knights who compass the destruction of the worthy by base means.
Nevertheless, virtue is of herself so mighty, that, in spite of all
the magic that Zoroaster its first inventor knew, she will come
victorious out of every trial, and shed her light upon the earth as
the sun does upon the heavens. Forgive me, fair ladies, if, through
inadvertence, I have in aught offended you; for intentionally and
wittingly I have never done so to any; and pray to God that he deliver
me from this captivity to which some malevolent enchanter has
consigned me; and should I find myself released therefrom, the favours
that ye have bestowed upon me in this castle shall be held in memory
by me, that I may acknowledge, recognise, and requite them as they
deserve."

While this was passing between the ladies of the castle and Don
Quixote, the curate and the barber bade farewell to Don Fernando and
his companions, to the captain, his brother, and the ladies, now all
made happy, and in particular to Dorothea and Luscinda. They all
embraced one another, and promised to let each other know how things
went with them, and Don Fernando directed the curate where to write to
him, to tell him what became of Don Quixote, assuring him that there
was nothing that could give him more pleasure than to hear of it,
and that he too, on his part, would send him word of everything he
thought he would like to know, about his marriage, Zoraida's
baptism, Don Luis's affair, and Luscinda's return to her home. The
curate promised to comply with his request carefully, and they
embraced once more, and renewed their promises.

The landlord approached the curate and handed him some papers,
saying he had discovered them in the lining of the valise in which the
novel of "The Ill-advised Curiosity" had been found, and that he might
take them all away with him as their owner had not since returned;
for, as he could not read, he did not want them himself. The curate
thanked him, and opening them he saw at the beginning of the
manuscript the words, "Novel of Rinconete and Cortadillo," by which he
perceived that it was a novel, and as that of "The Ill-advised
Curiosity" had been good he concluded this would be so too, as they
were both probably by the same author; so he kept it, intending to
read it when he had an opportunity. He then mounted and his friend the
barber did the same, both masked, so as not to be recognised by Don
Quixote, and set out following in the rear of the cart. The order of
march was this: first went the cart with the owner leading it; at each
side of it marched the officers of the Brotherhood, as has been
said, with their muskets; then followed Sancho Panza on his ass,
leading Rocinante by the bridle; and behind all came the curate and
the barber on their mighty mules, with faces covered, as aforesaid,
and a grave and serious air, measuring their pace to suit the slow
steps of the oxen. Don Quixote was seated in the cage, with his
hands tied and his feet stretched out, leaning against the bars as
silent and as patient as if he were a stone statue and not a man of
flesh. Thus slowly and silently they made, it might be, two leagues,
until they reached a valley which the carter thought a convenient
place for resting and feeding his oxen, and he said so to the
curate, but the barber was of opinion that they ought to push on a
little farther, as at the other side of a hill which appeared close by
he knew there was a valley that had more grass and much better than
the one where they proposed to halt; and his advice was taken and they
continued their journey.

Just at that moment the curate, looking back, saw coming on behind
them six or seven mounted men, well found and equipped, who soon
overtook them, for they were travelling, not at the sluggish,
deliberate pace of oxen, but like men who rode canons' mules, and in
haste to take their noontide rest as soon as possible at the inn which
was in sight not a league off. The quick travellers came up with the
slow, and courteous salutations were exchanged; and one of the new
comers, who was, in fact, a canon of Toledo and master of the others
who accompanied him, observing the regular order of the procession,
the cart, the officers, Sancho, Rocinante, the curate and the
barber, and above all Don Quixote caged and confined, could not help
asking what was the meaning of carrying the man in that fashion;
though, from the badges of the officers, he already concluded that
he must be some desperate highwayman or other malefactor whose
punishment fell within the jurisdiction of the Holy Brotherhood. One
of the officers to whom he had put the question, replied, "Let the
gentleman himself tell you the meaning of his going this way, senor,
for we do not know."

Don Quixote overheard the conversation and said, "Haply,
gentlemen, you are versed and learned in matters of errant chivalry?
Because if you are I will tell you my misfortunes; if not, there is no
good in my giving myself the trouble of relating them;" but here the
curate and the barber, seeing that the travellers were engaged in
conversation with Don Quixote, came forward, in order to answer in
such a way as to save their stratagem from being discovered.

The canon, replying to Don Quixote, said, "In truth, brother, I know
more about books of chivalry than I do about Villalpando's elements of
logic; so if that be all, you may safely tell me what you please."

"In God's name, then, senor," replied Don Quixote; "if that be so, I
would have you know that I am held enchanted in this cage by the
envy and fraud of wicked enchanters; for virtue is more persecuted
by the wicked than loved by the good. I am a knight-errant, and not
one of those whose names Fame has never thought of immortalising in
her record, but of those who, in defiance and in spite of envy itself,
and all the magicians that Persia, or Brahmans that India, or
Gymnosophists that Ethiopia ever produced, will place their names in
the temple of immortality, to serve as examples and patterns for
ages to come, whereby knights-errant may see the footsteps in which
they must tread if they would attain the summit and crowning point
of honour in arms."

"What Senor Don Quixote of La Mancha says," observed the curate, "is
the truth; for he goes enchanted in this cart, not from any fault or
sins of his, but because of the malevolence of those to whom virtue is
odious and valour hateful. This, senor, is the Knight of the Rueful
Countenance, if you have ever heard him named, whose valiant
achievements and mighty deeds shall be written on lasting brass and
imperishable marble, notwithstanding all the efforts of envy to
obscure them and malice to hide them."

When the canon heard both the prisoner and the man who was at
liberty talk in such a strain he was ready to cross himself in his
astonishment, and could not make out what had befallen him; and all
his attendants were in the same state of amazement.

At this point Sancho Panza, who had drawn near to hear the
conversation, said, in order to make everything plain, "Well, sirs,
you may like or dislike what I am going to say, but the fact of the
matter is, my master, Don Quixote, is just as much enchanted as my
mother. He is in his full senses, he eats and he drinks, and he has
his calls like other men and as he had yesterday, before they caged
him. And if that's the case, what do they mean by wanting me to
believe that he is enchanted? For I have heard many a one say that
enchanted people neither eat, nor sleep, nor talk; and my master, if
you don't stop him, will talk more than thirty lawyers." Then
turning to the curate he exclaimed, "Ah, senor curate, senor curate!
do you think I don't know you? Do you think I don't guess and see
the drift of these new enchantments? Well then, I can tell you I
know you, for all your face is covered, and I can tell you I am up
to you, however you may hide your tricks. After all, where envy reigns
virtue cannot live, and where there is niggardliness there can be no
liberality. Ill betide the devil! if it had not been for your
worship my master would be married to the Princess Micomicona this
minute, and I should be a count at least; for no less was to be
expected, as well from the goodness of my master, him of the Rueful
Countenance, as from the greatness of my services. But I see now how
true it is what they say in these parts, that the wheel of fortune
turns faster than a mill-wheel, and that those who were up yesterday
are down to-day. I am sorry for my wife and children, for when they
might fairly and reasonably expect to see their father return to
them a governor or viceroy of some island or kingdom, they will see
him come back a horse-boy. I have said all this, senor curate, only to
urge your paternity to lay to your conscience your ill-treatment of my
master; and have a care that God does not call you to account in
another life for making a prisoner of him in this way, and charge
against you all the succours and good deeds that my lord Don Quixote
leaves undone while he is shut up.

"Trim those lamps there!" exclaimed the barber at this; "so you
are of the same fraternity as your master, too, Sancho? By God, I
begin to see that you will have to keep him company in the cage, and
be enchanted like him for having caught some of his humour and
chivalry. It was an evil hour when you let yourself be got with
child by his promises, and that island you long so much for found
its way into your head."

"I am not with child by anyone," returned Sancho, "nor am I a man to
let myself be got with child, if it was by the King himself. Though
I am poor I am an old Christian, and I owe nothing to nobody, and if I
long for an island, other people long for worse. Each of us is the son
of his own works; and being a man I may come to be pope, not to say
governor of an island, especially as my master may win so many that he
will not know whom to give them to. Mind how you talk, master
barber; for shaving is not everything, and there is some difference
between Peter and Peter. I say this because we all know one another,
and it will not do to throw false dice with me; and as to the
enchantment of my master, God knows the truth; leave it as it is; it
only makes it worse to stir it."

The barber did not care to answer Sancho lest by his plain
speaking he should disclose what the curate and he himself were trying
so hard to conceal; and under the same apprehension the curate had
asked the canon to ride on a little in advance, so that he might
tell him the mystery of this man in the cage, and other things that
would amuse him. The canon agreed, and going on ahead with his
servants, listened with attention to the account of the character,
life, madness, and ways of Don Quixote, given him by the curate, who
described to him briefly the beginning and origin of his craze, and
told him the whole story of his adventures up to his being confined in
the cage, together with the plan they had of taking him home to try if
by any means they could discover a cure for his madness. The canon and
his servants were surprised anew when they heard Don Quixote's strange
story, and when it was finished he said, "To tell the truth, senor
curate, I for my part consider what they call books of chivalry to
be mischievous to the State; and though, led by idle and false
taste, I have read the beginnings of almost all that have been
printed, I never could manage to read any one of them from beginning
to end; for it seems to me they are all more or less the same thing;
and one has nothing more in it than another; this no more than that.
And in my opinion this sort of writing and composition is of the
same species as the fables they call the Milesian, nonsensical tales
that aim solely at giving amusement and not instruction, exactly the
opposite of the apologue fables which amuse and instruct at the same
time. And though it may be the chief object of such books to amuse,
I do not know how they can succeed, when they are so full of such
monstrous nonsense. For the enjoyment the mind feels must come from
the beauty and harmony which it perceives or contemplates in the
things that the eye or the imagination brings before it; and nothing
that has any ugliness or disproportion about it can give any pleasure.
What beauty, then, or what proportion of the parts to the whole, or of
the whole to the parts, can there be in a book or fable where a lad of
sixteen cuts down a giant as tall as a tower and makes two halves of
him as if he was an almond cake? And when they want to give us a
picture of a battle, after having told us that there are a million
of combatants on the side of the enemy, let the hero of the book be
opposed to them, and we have perforce to believe, whether we like it
or not, that the said knight wins the victory by the single might of
his strong arm. And then, what shall we say of the facility with which
a born queen or empress will give herself over into the arms of some
unknown wandering knight? What mind, that is not wholly barbarous
and uncultured, can find pleasure in reading of how a great tower full
of knights sails away across the sea like a ship with a fair wind, and
will be to-night in Lombardy and to-morrow morning in the land of
Prester John of the Indies, or some other that Ptolemy never described
nor Marco Polo saw? And if, in answer to this, I am told that the
authors of books of the kind write them as fiction, and therefore
are not bound to regard niceties of truth, I would reply that
fiction is all the better the more it looks like truth, and gives
the more pleasure the more probability and possibility there is
about it. Plots in fiction should be wedded to the understanding of
the reader, and be constructed in such a way that, reconciling
impossibilities, smoothing over difficulties, keeping the mind on
the alert, they may surprise, interest, divert, and entertain, so that
wonder and delight joined may keep pace one with the other; all
which he will fail to effect who shuns verisimilitude and truth to
nature, wherein lies the perfection of writing. I have never yet
seen any book of chivalry that puts together a connected plot complete
in all its numbers, so that the middle agrees with the beginning,
and the end with the beginning and middle; on the contrary, they
construct them with such a multitude of members that it seems as
though they meant to produce a chimera or monster rather than a
well-proportioned figure. And besides all this they are harsh in their
style, incredible in their achievements, licentious in their amours,
uncouth in their courtly speeches, prolix in their battles, silly in
their arguments, absurd in their travels, and, in short, wanting in
everything like intelligent art; for which reason they deserve to be
banished from the Christian commonwealth as a worthless breed."

The curate listened to him attentively and felt that he was a man of
sound understanding, and that there was good reason in what he said;
so he told him that, being of the same opinion himself, and bearing
a grudge to books of chivalry, he had burned all Don Quixote's,
which were many; and gave him an account of the scrutiny he had made
of them, and of those he had condemned to the flames and those he
had spared, with which the canon was not a little amused, adding
that though he had said so much in condemnation of these books,
still he found one good thing in them, and that was the opportunity
they afforded to a gifted intellect for displaying itself; for they
presented a wide and spacious field over which the pen might range
freely, describing shipwrecks, tempests, combats, battles,
portraying a valiant captain with all the qualifications requisite
to make one, showing him sagacious in foreseeing the wiles of the
enemy, eloquent in speech to encourage or restrain his soldiers,
ripe in counsel, rapid in resolve, as bold in biding his time as in
pressing the attack; now picturing some sad tragic incident, now
some joyful and unexpected event; here a beauteous lady, virtuous,
wise, and modest; there a Christian knight, brave and gentle; here a
lawless, barbarous braggart; there a courteous prince, gallant and
gracious; setting forth the devotion and loyalty of vassals, the
greatness and generosity of nobles. "Or again," said he, "the author
may show himself to be an astronomer, or a skilled cosmographer, or
musician, or one versed in affairs of state, and sometimes he will
have a chance of coming forward as a magician if he likes. He can
set forth the craftiness of Ulysses, the piety of AEneas, the valour
of Achilles, the misfortunes of Hector, the treachery of Sinon, the
friendship of Euryalus, the generosity of Alexander, the boldness of
Caesar, the clemency and truth of Trajan, the fidelity of Zopyrus, the
wisdom of Cato, and in short all the faculties that serve to make an
illustrious man perfect, now uniting them in one individual, again
distributing them among many; and if this be done with charm of
style and ingenious invention, aiming at the truth as much as
possible, he will assuredly weave a web of bright and varied threads
that, when finished, will display such perfection and beauty that it
will attain the worthiest object any writing can seek, which, as I
said before, is to give instruction and pleasure combined; for the
unrestricted range of these books enables the author to show his
powers, epic, lyric, tragic, or comic, and all the moods the sweet and
winning arts of poesy and oratory are capable of; for the epic may
be written in prose just as well as in verse."




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