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CHAPTER III

WHEREIN IS RELATED THE DROLL WAY IN WHICH DON QUIXOTE HAD HIMSELF
DUBBED A KNIGHT

Harassed by this reflection, he made haste with his scanty
pothouse supper, and having finished it called the landlord, and
shutting himself into the stable with him, fell on his knees before
him, saying, "From this spot I rise not, valiant knight, until your
courtesy grants me the boon I seek, one that will redound to your
praise and the benefit of the human race." The landlord, seeing his
guest at his feet and hearing a speech of this kind, stood staring
at him in bewilderment, not knowing what to do or say, and
entreating him to rise, but all to no purpose until he had agreed to
grant the boon demanded of him. "I looked for no less, my lord, from
your High Magnificence," replied Don Quixote, "and I have to tell
you that the boon I have asked and your liberality has granted is that
you shall dub me knight to-morrow morning, and that to-night I shall
watch my arms in the chapel of this your castle; thus tomorrow, as I
have said, will be accomplished what I so much desire, enabling me
lawfully to roam through all the four quarters of the world seeking
adventures on behalf of those in distress, as is the duty of
chivalry and of knights-errant like myself, whose ambition is directed
to such deeds."

The landlord, who, as has been mentioned, was something of a wag,
and had already some suspicion of his guest's want of wits, was
quite convinced of it on hearing talk of this kind from him, and to
make sport for the night he determined to fall in with his humour.
So he told him he was quite right in pursuing the object he had in
view, and that such a motive was natural and becoming in cavaliers
as distinguished as he seemed and his gallant bearing showed him to
be; and that he himself in his younger days had followed the same
honourable calling, roaming in quest of adventures in various parts of
the world, among others the Curing-grounds of Malaga, the Isles of
Riaran, the Precinct of Seville, the Little Market of Segovia, the
Olivera of Valencia, the Rondilla of Granada, the Strand of San Lucar,
the Colt of Cordova, the Taverns of Toledo, and divers other quarters,
where he had proved the nimbleness of his feet and the lightness of
his fingers, doing many wrongs, cheating many widows, ruining maids
and swindling minors, and, in short, bringing himself under the notice
of almost every tribunal and court of justice in Spain; until at
last he had retired to this castle of his, where he was living upon
his property and upon that of others; and where he received all
knights-errant of whatever rank or condition they might be, all for
the great love he bore them and that they might share their
substance with him in return for his benevolence. He told him,
moreover, that in this castle of his there was no chapel in which he
could watch his armour, as it had been pulled down in order to be
rebuilt, but that in a case of necessity it might, he knew, be watched
anywhere, and he might watch it that night in a courtyard of the
castle, and in the morning, God willing, the requisite ceremonies
might be performed so as to have him dubbed a knight, and so
thoroughly dubbed that nobody could be more so. He asked if he had any
money with him, to which Don Quixote replied that he had not a
farthing, as in the histories of knights-errant he had never read of
any of them carrying any. On this point the landlord told him he was
mistaken; for, though not recorded in the histories, because in the
author's opinion there was no need to mention anything so obvious
and necessary as money and clean shirts, it was not to be supposed
therefore that they did not carry them, and he might regard it as
certain and established that all knights-errant (about whom there were
so many full and unimpeachable books) carried well-furnished purses in
case of emergency, and likewise carried shirts and a little box of
ointment to cure the wounds they received. For in those plains and
deserts where they engaged in combat and came out wounded, it was
not always that there was some one to cure them, unless indeed they
had for a friend some sage magician to succour them at once by
fetching through the air upon a cloud some damsel or dwarf with a vial
of water of such virtue that by tasting one drop of it they were cured
of their hurts and wounds in an instant and left as sound as if they
had not received any damage whatever. But in case this should not
occur, the knights of old took care to see that their squires were
provided with money and other requisites, such as lint and ointments
for healing purposes; and when it happened that knights had no squires
(which was rarely and seldom the case) they themselves carried
everything in cunning saddle-bags that were hardly seen on the horse's
croup, as if it were something else of more importance, because,
unless for some such reason, carrying saddle-bags was not very
favourably regarded among knights-errant. He therefore advised him
(and, as his godson so soon to be, he might even command him) never
from that time forth to travel without money and the usual
requirements, and he would find the advantage of them when he least
expected it.

Don Quixote promised to follow his advice scrupulously, and it was
arranged forthwith that he should watch his armour in a large yard
at one side of the inn; so, collecting it all together, Don Quixote
placed it on a trough that stood by the side of a well, and bracing
his buckler on his arm he grasped his lance and began with a stately
air to march up and down in front of the trough, and as he began his
march night began to fall.

The landlord told all the people who were in the inn about the craze
of his guest, the watching of the armour, and the dubbing ceremony
he contemplated. Full of wonder at so strange a form of madness,
they flocked to see it from a distance, and observed with what
composure he sometimes paced up and down, or sometimes, leaning on his
lance, gazed on his armour without taking his eyes off it for ever
so long; and as the night closed in with a light from the moon so
brilliant that it might vie with his that lent it, everything the
novice knight did was plainly seen by all.

Meanwhile one of the carriers who were in the inn thought fit to
water his team, and it was necessary to remove Don Quixote's armour as
it lay on the trough; but he seeing the other approach hailed him in a
loud voice, "O thou, whoever thou art, rash knight that comest to
lay hands on the armour of the most valorous errant that ever girt
on sword, have a care what thou dost; touch it not unless thou wouldst
lay down thy life as the penalty of thy rashness." The carrier gave no
heed to these words (and he would have done better to heed them if
he had been heedful of his health), but seizing it by the straps flung
the armour some distance from him. Seeing this, Don Quixote raised his
eyes to heaven, and fixing his thoughts, apparently, upon his lady
Dulcinea, exclaimed, "Aid me, lady mine, in this the first encounter
that presents itself to this breast which thou holdest in subjection;
let not thy favour and protection fail me in this first jeopardy;"
and, with these words and others to the same purpose, dropping his
buckler he lifted his lance with both hands and with it smote such a
blow on the carrier's head that he stretched him on the ground, so
stunned that had he followed it up with a second there would have been
no need of a surgeon to cure him. This done, he picked up his armour
and returned to his beat with the same serenity as before.

Shortly after this, another, not knowing what had happened (for
the carrier still lay senseless), came with the same object of
giving water to his mules, and was proceeding to remove the armour
in order to clear the trough, when Don Quixote, without uttering a
word or imploring aid from anyone, once more dropped his buckler and
once more lifted his lance, and without actually breaking the second
carrier's head into pieces, made more than three of it, for he laid it
open in four. At the noise all the people of the inn ran to the
spot, and among them the landlord. Seeing this, Don Quixote braced his
buckler on his arm, and with his hand on his sword exclaimed, "O
Lady of Beauty, strength and support of my faint heart, it is time for
thee to turn the eyes of thy greatness on this thy captive knight on
the brink of so mighty an adventure." By this he felt himself so
inspired that he would not have flinched if all the carriers in the
world had assailed him. The comrades of the wounded perceiving the
plight they were in began from a distance to shower stones on Don
Quixote, who screened himself as best he could with his buckler, not
daring to quit the trough and leave his armour unprotected. The
landlord shouted to them to leave him alone, for he had already told
them that he was mad, and as a madman he would not be accountable even
if he killed them all. Still louder shouted Don Quixote, calling
them knaves and traitors, and the lord of the castle, who allowed
knights-errant to be treated in this fashion, a villain and a low-born
knight whom, had he received the order of knighthood, he would call to
account for his treachery. "But of you," he cried, "base and vile
rabble, I make no account; fling, strike, come on, do all ye can
against me, ye shall see what the reward of your folly and insolence
will be." This he uttered with so much spirit and boldness that he
filled his assailants with a terrible fear, and as much for this
reason as at the persuasion of the landlord they left off stoning him,
and he allowed them to carry off the wounded, and with the same
calmness and composure as before resumed the watch over his armour.

But these freaks of his guest were not much to the liking of the
landlord, so he determined to cut matters short and confer upon him at
once the unlucky order of knighthood before any further misadventure
could occur; so, going up to him, he apologised for the rudeness
which, without his knowledge, had been offered to him by these low
people, who, however, had been well punished for their audacity. As he
had already told him, he said, there was no chapel in the castle,
nor was it needed for what remained to be done, for, as he
understood the ceremonial of the order, the whole point of being
dubbed a knight lay in the accolade and in the slap on the shoulder,
and that could be administered in the middle of a field; and that he
had now done all that was needful as to watching the armour, for all
requirements were satisfied by a watch of two hours only, while he had
been more than four about it. Don Quixote believed it all, and told
him he stood there ready to obey him, and to make an end of it with as
much despatch as possible; for, if he were again attacked, and felt
himself to be dubbed knight, he would not, he thought, leave a soul
alive in the castle, except such as out of respect he might spare at
his bidding.

Thus warned and menaced, the castellan forthwith brought out a
book in which he used to enter the straw and barley he served out to
the carriers, and, with a lad carrying a candle-end, and the two
damsels already mentioned, he returned to where Don Quixote stood, and
bade him kneel down. Then, reading from his account-book as if he were
repeating some devout prayer, in the middle of his delivery he
raised his hand and gave him a sturdy blow on the neck, and then, with
his own sword, a smart slap on the shoulder, all the while muttering
between his teeth as if he was saying his prayers. Having done this,
he directed one of the ladies to gird on his sword, which she did with
great self-possession and gravity, and not a little was required to
prevent a burst of laughter at each stage of the ceremony; but what
they had already seen of the novice knight's prowess kept their
laughter within bounds. On girding him with the sword the worthy
lady said to him, "May God make your worship a very fortunate
knight, and grant you success in battle." Don Quixote asked her name
in order that he might from that time forward know to whom he was
beholden for the favour he had received, as he meant to confer upon
her some portion of the honour he acquired by the might of his arm.
She answered with great humility that she was called La Tolosa, and
that she was the daughter of a cobbler of Toledo who lived in the
stalls of Sanchobienaya, and that wherever she might be she would
serve and esteem him as her lord. Don Quixote said in reply that she
would do him a favour if thenceforward she assumed the "Don" and
called herself Dona Tolosa. She promised she would, and then the other
buckled on his spur, and with her followed almost the same
conversation as with the lady of the sword. He asked her name, and she
said it was La Molinera, and that she was the daughter of a
respectable miller of Antequera; and of her likewise Don Quixote
requested that she would adopt the "Don" and call herself Dona
Molinera, making offers to her further services and favours.

Having thus, with hot haste and speed, brought to a conclusion these
never-till-now-seen ceremonies, Don Quixote was on thorns until he saw
himself on horseback sallying forth in quest of adventures; and
saddling Rocinante at once he mounted, and embracing his host, as he
returned thanks for his kindness in knighting him, he addressed him in
language so extraordinary that it is impossible to convey an idea of
it or report it. The landlord, to get him out of the inn, replied with
no less rhetoric though with shorter words, and without calling upon
him to pay the reckoning let him go with a Godspeed.




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