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CHAPTER LII

OF THE QUARREL THAT DON QUIXOTE HAD WITH THE GOATHERD, TOGETHER WITH
THE RARE ADVENTURE OF THE PENITENTS, WHICH WITH AN EXPENDITURE OF
SWEAT HE BROUGHT TO A HAPPY CONCLUSION

The goatherd's tale gave great satisfaction to all the hearers,
and the canon especially enjoyed it, for he had remarked with
particular attention the manner in which it had been told, which was
as unlike the manner of a clownish goatherd as it was like that of a
polished city wit; and he observed that the curate had been quite
right in saying that the woods bred men of learning. They all
offered their services to Eugenio but he who showed himself most
liberal in this way was Don Quixote, who said to him, "Most assuredly,
brother goatherd, if I found myself in a position to attempt any
adventure, I would, this very instant, set out on your behalf, and
would rescue Leandra from that convent (where no doubt she is kept
against her will), in spite of the abbess and all who might try to
prevent me, and would place her in your hands to deal with her
according to your will and pleasure, observing, however, the laws of
chivalry which lay down that no violence of any kind is to be
offered to any damsel. But I trust in God our Lord that the might of
one malignant enchanter may not prove so great but that the power of
another better disposed may prove superior to it, and then I promise
you my support and assistance, as I am bound to do by my profession,
which is none other than to give aid to the weak and needy."

The goatherd eyed him, and noticing Don Quixote's sorry appearance
and looks, he was filled with wonder, and asked the barber, who was
next him, "Senor, who is this man who makes such a figure and talks in
such a strain?"

"Who should it be," said the barber, "but the famous Don Quixote
of La Mancha, the undoer of injustice, the righter of wrongs, the
protector of damsels, the terror of giants, and the winner of
battles?"

"That," said the goatherd, "sounds like what one reads in the
books of the knights-errant, who did all that you say this man does;
though it is my belief that either you are joking, or else this
gentleman has empty lodgings in his head."

"You are a great scoundrel," said Don Quixote, "and it is you who
are empty and a fool. I am fuller than ever was the whoreson bitch
that bore you;" and passing from words to deeds, he caught up a loaf
that was near him and sent it full in the goatherd's face, with such
force that he flattened his nose; but the goatherd, who did not
understand jokes, and found himself roughly handled in such good
earnest, paying no respect to carpet, tablecloth, or diners, sprang
upon Don Quixote, and seizing him by the throat with both hands
would no doubt have throttled him, had not Sancho Panza that instant
come to the rescue, and grasping him by the shoulders flung him down
on the table, smashing plates, breaking glasses, and upsetting and
scattering everything on it. Don Quixote, finding himself free, strove
to get on top of the goatherd, who, with his face covered with
blood, and soundly kicked by Sancho, was on all fours feeling about
for one of the table-knives to take a bloody revenge with. The canon
and the curate, however, prevented him, but the barber so contrived it
that he got Don Quixote under him, and rained down upon him such a
shower of fisticuffs that the poor knight's face streamed with blood
as freely as his own. The canon and the curate were bursting with
laughter, the officers were capering with delight, and both the one
and the other hissed them on as they do dogs that are worrying one
another in a fight. Sancho alone was frantic, for he could not free
himself from the grasp of one of the canon's servants, who kept him
from going to his master's assistance.

At last, while they were all, with the exception of the two bruisers
who were mauling each other, in high glee and enjoyment, they heard
a trumpet sound a note so doleful that it made them all look in the
direction whence the sound seemed to come. But the one that was most
excited by hearing it was Don Quixote, who though sorely against his
will he was under the goatherd, and something more than pretty well
pummelled, said to him, "Brother devil (for it is impossible but
that thou must be one since thou hast had might and strength enough to
overcome mine), I ask thee to agree to a truce for but one hour for
the solemn note of yonder trumpet that falls on our ears seems to me
to summon me to some new adventure." The goatherd, who was by this
time tired of pummelling and being pummelled, released him at once,
and Don Quixote rising to his feet and turning his eyes to the quarter
where the sound had been heard, suddenly saw coming down the slope
of a hill several men clad in white like penitents.

The fact was that the clouds had that year withheld their moisture
from the earth, and in all the villages of the district they were
organising processions, rogations, and penances, imploring God to open
the hands of his mercy and send the rain; and to this end the people
of a village that was hard by were going in procession to a holy
hermitage there was on one side of that valley. Don Quixote when he
saw the strange garb of the penitents, without reflecting how often he
had seen it before, took it into his head that this was a case of
adventure, and that it fell to him alone as a knight-errant to
engage in it; and he was all the more confirmed in this notion, by the
idea that an image draped in black they had with them was some
illustrious lady that these villains and discourteous thieves were
carrying off by force. As soon as this occurred to him he ran with all
speed to Rocinante who was grazing at large, and taking the bridle and
the buckler from the saddle-bow, he had him bridled in an instant, and
calling to Sancho for his sword he mounted Rocinante, braced his
buckler on his arm, and in a loud voice exclaimed to those who stood
by, "Now, noble company, ye shall see how important it is that there
should be knights in the world professing the of knight-errantry; now,
I say, ye shall see, by the deliverance of that worthy lady who is
borne captive there, whether knights-errant deserve to be held in
estimation," and so saying he brought his legs to bear on Rocinante-
for he had no spurs- and at a full canter (for in all this veracious
history we never read of Rocinante fairly galloping) set off to
encounter the penitents, though the curate, the canon, and the
barber ran to prevent him. But it was out of their power, nor did he
even stop for the shouts of Sancho calling after him, "Where are you
going, Senor Don Quixote? What devils have possessed you to set you on
against our Catholic faith? Plague take me! mind, that is a procession
of penitents, and the lady they are carrying on that stand there is
the blessed image of the immaculate Virgin. Take care what you are
doing, senor, for this time it may be safely said you don't know
what you are about." Sancho laboured in vain, for his master was so
bent on coming to quarters with these sheeted figures and releasing
the lady in black that he did not hear a word; and even had he
heard, he would not have turned back if the king had ordered him. He
came up with the procession and reined in Rocinante, who was already
anxious enough to slacken speed a little, and in a hoarse, excited
voice he exclaimed, "You who hide your faces, perhaps because you
are not good subjects, pay attention and listen to what I am about
to say to you." The first to halt were those who were carrying the
image, and one of the four ecclesiastics who were chanting the Litany,
struck by the strange figure of Don Quixote, the leanness of
Rocinante, and the other ludicrous peculiarities he observed, said
in reply to him, "Brother, if you have anything to say to us say it
quickly, for these brethren are whipping themselves, and we cannot
stop, nor is it reasonable we should stop to hear anything, unless
indeed it is short enough to be said in two words."

"I will say it in one," replied Don Quixote, "and it is this; that
at once, this very instant, ye release that fair lady whose tears
and sad aspect show plainly that ye are carrying her off against her
will, and that ye have committed some scandalous outrage against
her; and I, who was born into the world to redress all such like
wrongs, will not permit you to advance another step until you have
restored to her the liberty she pines for and deserves."

From these words all the hearers concluded that he must be a madman,
and began to laugh heartily, and their laughter acted like gunpowder
on Don Quixote's fury, for drawing his sword without another word he
made a rush at the stand. One of those who supported it, leaving the
burden to his comrades, advanced to meet him, flourishing a forked
stick that he had for propping up the stand when resting, and with
this he caught a mighty cut Don Quixote made at him that severed it in
two; but with the portion that remained in his hand he dealt such a
thwack on the shoulder of Don Quixote's sword arm (which the buckler
could not protect against the clownish assault) that poor Don
Quixote came to the ground in a sad plight.

Sancho Panza, who was coming on close behind puffing and blowing,
seeing him fall, cried out to his assailant not to strike him again,
for he was poor enchanted knight, who had never harmed anyone all
the days of his life; but what checked the clown was, not Sancho's
shouting, but seeing that Don Quixote did not stir hand or foot; and
so, fancying he had killed him, he hastily hitched up his tunic
under his girdle and took to his heels across the country like a deer.

By this time all Don Quixote's companions had come up to where he
lay; but the processionists seeing them come running, and with them
the officers of the Brotherhood with their crossbows, apprehended
mischief, and clustering round the image, raised their hoods, and
grasped their scourges, as the priests did their tapers, and awaited
the attack, resolved to defend themselves and even to take the
offensive against their assailants if they could. Fortune, however,
arranged the matter better than they expected, for all Sancho did
was to fling himself on his master's body, raising over him the most
doleful and laughable lamentation that ever was heard, for he believed
he was dead. The curate was known to another curate who walked in
the procession, and their recognition of one another set at rest the
apprehensions of both parties; the first then told the other in two
words who Don Quixote was, and he and the whole troop of penitents
went to see if the poor gentleman was dead, and heard Sancho Panza
saying, with tears in his eyes, "Oh flower of chivalry, that with
one blow of a stick hast ended the course of thy well-spent life! Oh
pride of thy race, honour and glory of all La Mancha, nay, of all
the world, that for want of thee will be full of evil-doers, no longer
in fear of punishment for their misdeeds! Oh thou, generous above
all the Alexanders, since for only eight months of service thou hast
given me the best island the sea girds or surrounds! Humble with the
proud, haughty with the humble, encounterer of dangers, endurer of
outrages, enamoured without reason, imitator of the good, scourge of
the wicked, enemy of the mean, in short, knight-errant, which is all
that can be said!"

At the cries and moans of Sancho, Don Quixote came to himself, and
the first word he said was, "He who lives separated from you, sweetest
Dulcinea, has greater miseries to endure than these. Aid me, friend
Sancho, to mount the enchanted cart, for I am not in a condition to
press the saddle of Rocinante, as this shoulder is all knocked to
pieces."

"That I will do with all my heart, senor," said Sancho; "and let
us return to our village with these gentlemen, who seek your good, and
there we will prepare for making another sally, which may turn out
more profitable and creditable to us."

"Thou art right, Sancho," returned Don Quixote; "It will be wise
to let the malign influence of the stars which now prevails pass off."

The canon, the curate, and the barber told him he would act very
wisely in doing as he said; and so, highly amused at Sancho Panza's
simplicities, they placed Don Quixote in the cart as before. The
procession once more formed itself in order and proceeded on its road;
the goatherd took his leave of the party; the officers of the
Brotherhood declined to go any farther, and the curate paid them
what was due to them; the canon begged the curate to let him know
how Don Quixote did, whether he was cured of his madness or still
suffered from it, and then begged leave to continue his journey; in
short, they all separated and went their ways, leaving to themselves
the curate and the barber, Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and the good
Rocinante, who regarded everything with as great resignation as his
master. The carter yoked his oxen and made Don Quixote comfortable
on a truss of hay, and at his usual deliberate pace took the road
the curate directed, and at the end of six days they reached Don
Quixote's village, and entered it about the middle of the day, which
it so happened was a Sunday, and the people were all in the plaza,
through which Don Quixote's cart passed. They all flocked to see
what was in the cart, and when they recognised their townsman they
were filled with amazement, and a boy ran off to bring the news to his
housekeeper and his niece that their master and uncle had come back
all lean and yellow and stretched on a truss of hay on an ox-cart.
It was piteous to hear the cries the two good ladies raised, how
they beat their breasts and poured out fresh maledictions on those
accursed books of chivalry; all which was renewed when they saw Don
Quixote coming in at the gate.

At the news of Don Quixote's arrival Sancho Panza's wife came
running, for she by this time knew that her husband had gone away with
him as his squire, and on seeing Sancho, the first thing she asked him
was if the ass was well. Sancho replied that he was, better than his
master was.

"Thanks be to God," said she, "for being so good to me; but now tell
me, my friend, what have you made by your squirings? What gown have
you brought me back? What shoes for your children?"

"I bring nothing of that sort, wife," said Sancho; "though I bring
other things of more consequence and value."

"I am very glad of that," returned his wife; "show me these things
of more value and consequence, my friend; for I want to see them to
cheer my heart that has been so sad and heavy all these ages that
you have been away."

"I will show them to you at home, wife," said Sancho; "be content
for the present; for if it please God that we should again go on our
travels in search of adventures, you will soon see me a count, or
governor of an island, and that not one of those everyday ones, but
the best that is to be had."

"Heaven grant it, husband," said she, "for indeed we have need of
it. But tell me, what's this about islands, for I don't understand
it?"

"Honey is not for the mouth of the ass," returned Sancho; "all in
good time thou shalt see, wife- nay, thou wilt be surprised to hear
thyself called 'your ladyship' by all thy vassals."

"What are you talking about, Sancho, with your ladyships, islands,
and vassals?" returned Teresa Panza- for so Sancho's wife was
called, though they were not relations, for in La Mancha it is
customary for wives to take their husbands' surnames.

"Don't be in such a hurry to know all this, Teresa," said Sancho;
"it is enough that I am telling you the truth, so shut your mouth. But
I may tell you this much by the way, that there is nothing in the
world more delightful than to be a person of consideration, squire
to a knight-errant, and a seeker of adventures. To be sure most of
those one finds do not end as pleasantly as one could wish, for out of
a hundred, ninety-nine will turn out cross and contrary. I know it
by experience, for out of some I came blanketed, and out of others
belaboured. Still, for all that, it is a fine thing to be on the
look-out for what may happen, crossing mountains, searching woods,
climbing rocks, visiting castles, putting up at inns, all at free
quarters, and devil take the maravedi to pay."

While this conversation passed between Sancho Panza and his wife,
Don Quixote's housekeeper and niece took him in and undressed him
and laid him in his old bed. He eyed them askance, and could not
make out where he was. The curate charged his niece to be very careful
to make her uncle comfortable and to keep a watch over him lest he
should make his escape from them again, telling her what they had been
obliged to do to bring him home. On this the pair once more lifted
up their voices and renewed their maledictions upon the books of
chivalry, and implored heaven to plunge the authors of such lies and
nonsense into the midst of the bottomless pit. They were, in short,
kept in anxiety and dread lest their uncle and master should give them
the slip the moment he found himself somewhat better, and as they
feared so it fell out.

But the author of this history, though he has devoted research and
industry to the discovery of the deeds achieved by Don Quixote in
his third sally, has been unable to obtain any information
respecting them, at any rate derived from authentic documents;
tradition has merely preserved in the memory of La Mancha the fact
that Don Quixote, the third time he sallied forth from his home,
betook himself to Saragossa, where he was present at some famous
jousts which came off in that city, and that he had adventures there
worthy of his valour and high intelligence. Of his end and death he
could learn no particulars, nor would he have ascertained it or
known of it, if good fortune had not produced an old physician for him
who had in his possession a leaden box, which, according to his
account, had been discovered among the crumbling foundations of an
ancient hermitage that was being rebuilt; in which box were found
certain parchment manuscripts in Gothic character, but in Castilian
verse, containing many of his achievements, and setting forth the
beauty of Dulcinea, the form of Rocinante, the fidelity of Sancho
Panza, and the burial of Don Quixote himself, together with sundry
epitaphs and eulogies on his life and character; but all that could be
read and deciphered were those which the trustworthy author of this
new and unparalleled history here presents. And the said author asks
of those that shall read it nothing in return for the vast toil
which it has cost him in examining and searching the Manchegan
archives in order to bring it to light, save that they give him the
same credit that people of sense give to the books of chivalry that
pervade the world and are so popular; for with this he will consider
himself amply paid and fully satisfied, and will be encouraged to seek
out and produce other histories, if not as truthful, at least equal in
invention and not less entertaining. The first words written on the
parchment found in the leaden box were these:

THE ACADEMICIANS OF
ARGAMASILLA, A VILLAGE OF
LA MANCHA,
ON THE LIFE AND DEATH
OF DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA,
HOC SCRIPSERUNT
MONICONGO, ACADEMICIAN OF ARGAMASILLA,



ON THE TOMB OF DON QUIXOTE

EPITAPH

The scatterbrain that gave La Mancha more
Rich spoils than Jason's; who a point so keen
Had to his wit, and happier far had been
If his wit's weathercock a blunter bore;
The arm renowned far as Gaeta's shore,
Cathay, and all the lands that lie between;
The muse discreet and terrible in mien
As ever wrote on brass in days of yore;
He who surpassed the Amadises all,
And who as naught the Galaors accounted,
Supported by his love and gallantry:
Who made the Belianises sing small,
And sought renown on Rocinante mounted;
Here, underneath this cold stone, doth he lie.


PANIAGUADO,
ACADEMICIAN OF ARGAMASILLA,
IN LAUDEM DULCINEAE DEL TOBOSO


SONNET

She, whose full features may be here descried,
High-bosomed, with a bearing of disdain,
Is Dulcinea, she for whom in vain
The great Don Quixote of La Mancha sighed.
For her, Toboso's queen, from side to side
He traversed the grim sierra, the champaign
Of Aranjuez, and Montiel's famous plain:
On Rocinante oft a weary ride.
Malignant planets, cruel destiny,
Pursued them both, the fair Manchegan dame,
And the unconquered star of chivalry.
Nor youth nor beauty saved her from the claim
Of death; he paid love's bitter penalty,
And left the marble to preserve his name.

CAPRICHOSO, A MOST ACUTE ACADEMICIAN
OF ARGAMASILLA, IN PRAISE OF ROCINANTE,
STEED OF DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA

SONNET

On that proud throne of diamantine sheen,
Which the blood-reeking feet of Mars degrade,
The mad Manchegan's banner now hath been
By him in all its bravery displayed.
There hath he hung his arms and trenchant blade
Wherewith, achieving deeds till now unseen,
He slays, lays low, cleaves, hews; but art hath made
A novel style for our new paladin.
If Amadis be the proud boast of Gaul,
If by his progeny the fame of Greece
Through all the regions of the earth be spread,
Great Quixote crowned in grim Bellona's hall
To-day exalts La Mancha over these,
And above Greece or Gaul she holds her head.
Nor ends his glory here, for his good steed
Doth Brillador and Bayard far exceed;
As mettled steeds compared with Rocinante,
The reputation they have won is scanty.


BURLADOR, ACADEMICIAN OF ARGAMASILLA,
ON SANCHO PANZA

SONNET

The worthy Sancho Panza here you see;
A great soul once was in that body small,
Nor was there squire upon this earthly ball
So plain and simple, or of guile so free.
Within an ace of being Count was he,
And would have been but for the spite and gall
Of this vile age, mean and illiberal,
That cannot even let a donkey be.
For mounted on an ass (excuse the word),
By Rocinante's side this gentle squire
Was wont his wandering master to attend.
Delusive hopes that lure the common herd
With promises of ease, the heart's desire,
In shadows, dreams, and smoke ye always end.


CACHIDIABLO,
ACADEMICIAN OF ARGAMASILLA,
ON THE TOMB OF DON QUIXOTE
EPITAPH

The knight lies here below,
Ill-errant and bruised sore,
Whom Rocinante bore
In his wanderings to and fro.
By the side of the knight is laid
Stolid man Sancho too,
Than whom a squire more true
Was not in the esquire trade.


TIQUITOC,
ACADEMICIAN OF ARGAMASILLA,
ON THE TOMB OF DULCINEA DEL TOBOSO

EPITAPH
Here Dulcinea lies.
Plump was she and robust:
Now she is ashes and dust:
The end of all flesh that dies.
A lady of high degree,
With the port of a lofty dame,
And the great Don Quixote's flame,
And the pride of her village was she.


These were all the verses that could be deciphered; the rest, the
writing being worm-eaten, were handed over to one of the
Academicians to make out their meaning conjecturally. We have been
informed that at the cost of many sleepless nights and much toil he
has succeeded, and that he means to publish them in hopes of Don
Quixote's third sally.


"Forse altro cantera con miglior plectro."




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