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CHAPTER XXVII

WHEREIN IT IS SHOWN WHO MASTER PEDRO AND HIS APE WERE, TOGETHER WITH
THE MISHAP DON QUIXOTE HAD IN THE BRAYING ADVENTURE, WHICH HE DID
NOT CONCLUDE AS HE WOULD HAVE LIKED OR AS HE HAD EXPECTED

Cide Hamete, the chronicler of this great history, begins this
chapter with these words, "I swear as a Catholic Christian;" with
regard to which his translator says that Cide Hamete's swearing as a
Catholic Christian, he being- as no doubt he was- a Moor, only meant
that, just as a Catholic Christian taking an oath swears, or ought
to swear, what is true, and tell the truth in what he avers, so he was
telling the truth, as much as if he swore as a Catholic Christian,
in all he chose to write about Quixote, especially in declaring who
Master Pedro was and what was the divining ape that astonished all the
villages with his divinations. He says, then, that he who has read the
First Part of this history will remember well enough the Gines de
Pasamonte whom, with other galley slaves, Don Quixote set free in
the Sierra Morena: a kindness for which he afterwards got poor
thanks and worse payment from that evil-minded, ill-conditioned set.
This Gines de Pasamonte- Don Ginesillo de Parapilla, Don Quixote
called him- it was that stole Dapple from Sancho Panza; which, because
by the fault of the printers neither the how nor the when was stated
in the First Part, has been a puzzle to a good many people, who
attribute to the bad memory of the author what was the error of the
press. In fact, however, Gines stole him while Sancho Panza was asleep
on his back, adopting the plan and device that Brunello had recourse
to when he stole Sacripante's horse from between his legs at the siege
of Albracca; and, as has been told, Sancho afterwards recovered him.
This Gines, then, afraid of being caught by the officers of justice,
who were looking for him to punish him for his numberless
rascalities and offences (which were so many and so great that he
himself wrote a big book giving an account of them), resolved to shift
his quarters into the kingdom of Aragon, and cover up his left eye,
and take up the trade of a puppet-showman; for this, as well as
juggling, he knew how to practise to perfection. From some released
Christians returning from Barbary, it so happened, he bought the
ape, which he taught to mount upon his shoulder on his making a
certain sign, and to whisper, or seem to do so, in his ear. Thus
prepared, before entering any village whither he was bound with his
show and his ape, he used to inform himself at the nearest village, or
from the most likely person he could find, as to what particular
things had happened there, and to whom; and bearing them well in mind,
the first thing be did was to exhibit his show, sometimes one story,
sometimes another, but all lively, amusing, and familiar. As soon as
the exhibition was over he brought forward the accomplishments of
his ape, assuring the public that he divined all the past and the
present, but as to the future he had no skill. For each question
answered he asked two reals, and for some he made a reduction, just as
he happened to feel the pulse of the questioners; and when now and
then he came to houses where things that he knew of had happened to
the people living there, even if they did not ask him a question,
not caring to pay for it, he would make the sign to the ape and then
declare that it had said so and so, which fitted the case exactly.
In this way he acquired a prodigious name and all ran after him; on
other occasions, being very crafty, he would answer in such a way that
the answers suited the questions; and as no one cross-questioned him
or pressed him to tell how his ape divined, he made fools of them
all and filled his pouch. The instant he entered the inn he knew Don
Quixote and Sancho, and with that knowledge it was easy for him to
astonish them and all who were there; but it would have cost him
dear had Don Quixote brought down his hand a little lower when he
cut off King Marsilio's head and destroyed all his horsemen, as
related in the preceeding chapter.

So much for Master Pedro and his ape; and now to return to Don
Quixote of La Mancha. After he had left the inn he determined to
visit, first of all, the banks of the Ebro and that neighbourhood,
before entering the city of Saragossa, for the ample time there was
still to spare before the jousts left him enough for all. With this
object in view he followed the road and travelled along it for two
days, without meeting any adventure worth committing to writing
until on the third day, as he was ascending a hill, he heard a great
noise of drums, trumpets, and musket-shots. At first he imagined
some regiment of soldiers was passing that way, and to see them he
spurred Rocinante and mounted the hill. On reaching the top he saw
at the foot of it over two hundred men, as it seemed to him, armed
with weapons of various sorts, lances, crossbows, partisans, halberds,
and pikes, and a few muskets and a great many bucklers. He descended
the slope and approached the band near enough to see distinctly the
flags, make out the colours and distinguish the devices they bore,
especially one on a standard or ensign of white satin, on which
there was painted in a very life-like style an ass like a little sard,
with its head up, its mouth open and its tongue out, as if it were
in the act and attitude of braying; and round it were inscribed in
large characters these two lines-

They did not bray in vain,
Our alcaldes twain.

From this device Don Quixote concluded that these people must be
from the braying town, and he said so to Sancho, explaining to him
what was written on the standard. At the same time be observed that
the man who had told them about the matter was wrong in saying that
the two who brayed were regidors, for according to the lines of the
standard they were alcaldes. To which Sancho replied, "Senor,
there's nothing to stick at in that, for maybe the regidors who brayed
then came to he alcaldes of their town afterwards, and so they may
go by both titles; moreover, it has nothing to do with the truth of
the story whether the brayers were alcaldes or regidors, provided at
any rate they did bray; for an alcalde is just as likely to bray as
a regidor." They perceived, in short, clearly that the town which
had been twitted had turned out to do battle with some other that
had jeered it more than was fair or neighbourly.

Don Quixote proceeded to join them, not a little to Sancho's
uneasiness, for he never relished mixing himself up in expeditions
of that sort. The members of the troop received him into the midst
of them, taking him to he some one who was on their side. Don Quixote,
putting up his visor, advanced with an easy bearing and demeanour to
the standard with the ass, and all the chief men of the army
gathered round him to look at him, staring at him with the usual
amazement that everybody felt on seeing him for the first time. Don
Quixote, seeing them examining him so attentively, and that none of
them spoke to him or put any question to him, determined to take
advantage of their silence; so, breaking his own, he lifted up his
voice and said, "Worthy sirs, I entreat you as earnestly as I can
not to interrupt an argument I wish to address to you, until you
find it displeases or wearies you; and if that come to pass, on the
slightest hint you give me I will put a seal upon my lips and a gag
upon my tongue."

They all bade him say what he liked, for they would listen to him
willingly.

With this permission Don Quixote went on to say, "I, sirs, am a
knight-errant whose calling is that of arms, and whose profession is
to protect those who require protection, and give help to such as
stand in need of it. Some days ago I became acquainted with your
misfortune and the cause which impels you to take up arms again and
again to revenge yourselves upon your enemies; and having many times
thought over your business in my mind, I find that, according to the
laws of combat, you are mistaken in holding yourselves insulted; for a
private individual cannot insult an entire community; unless it be
by defying it collectively as a traitor, because he cannot tell who in
particular is guilty of the treason for which he defies it. Of this we
have an example in Don Diego Ordonez de Lara, who defied the whole
town of Zamora, because he did not know that Vellido Dolfos alone
had committed the treachery of slaying his king; and therefore he
defied them all, and the vengeance and the reply concerned all;
though, to be sure, Senor Don Diego went rather too far, indeed very
much beyond the limits of a defiance; for he had no occasion to defy
the dead, or the waters, or the fishes, or those yet unborn, and all
the rest of it as set forth; but let that pass, for when anger
breaks out there's no father, governor, or bridle to check the tongue.
The case being, then, that no one person can insult a kingdom,
province, city, state, or entire community, it is clear there is no
reason for going out to avenge the defiance of such an insult,
inasmuch as it is not one. A fine thing it would be if the people of
the clock town were to be at loggerheads every moment with everyone
who called them by that name, -or the Cazoleros, Berengeneros,
Ballenatos, Jaboneros, or the bearers of all the other names and
titles that are always in the mouth of the boys and common people!
It would be a nice business indeed if all these illustrious cities
were to take huff and revenge themselves and go about perpetually
making trombones of their swords in every petty quarrel! No, no; God
forbid! There are four things for which sensible men and
well-ordered States ought to take up arms, draw their swords, and risk
their persons, lives, and properties. The first is to defend the
Catholic faith; the second, to defend one's life, which is in
accordance with natural and divine law; the third, in defence of one's
honour, family, and property; the fourth, in the service of one's king
in a just war; and if to these we choose to add a fifth (which may
be included in the second), in defence of one's country. To these
five, as it were capital causes, there may be added some others that
may be just and reasonable, and make it a duty to take up arms; but to
take them up for trifles and things to laugh at and he amused by
rather than offended, looks as though he who did so was altogether
wanting in common sense. Moreover, to take an unjust revenge (and
there cannot be any just one) is directly opposed to the sacred law
that we acknowledge, wherein we are commanded to do good to our
enemies and to love them that hate us; a command which, though it
seems somewhat difficult to obey, is only so to those who have in them
less of God than of the world, and more of the flesh than of the
spirit; for Jesus Christ, God and true man, who never lied, and
could not and cannot lie, said, as our law-giver, that his yoke was
easy and his burden light; he would not, therefore, have laid any
command upon us that it was impossible to obey. Thus, sirs, you are
bound to keep quiet by human and divine law."

"The devil take me," said Sancho to himself at this, "but this
master of mine is a tologian; or, if not, faith, he's as like one as
one egg is like another."

Don Quixote stopped to take breath, and, observing that silence
was still preserved, had a mind to continue his discourse, and would
have done so had not Sancho interposed with his smartness; for he,
seeing his master pause, took the lead, saying, "My lord Don Quixote
of La Mancha, who once was called the Knight of the Rueful
Countenance, but now is called the Knight of the Lions, is a gentleman
of great discretion who knows Latin and his mother tongue like a
bachelor, and in everything that he deals with or advises proceeds
like a good soldier, and has all the laws and ordinances of what
they call combat at his fingers' ends; so you have nothing to do but
to let yourselves be guided by what he says, and on my head be it if
it is wrong. Besides which, you have been told that it is folly to
take offence at merely hearing a bray. I remember when I was a boy I
brayed as often as I had a fancy, without anyone hindering me, and
so elegantly and naturally that when I brayed all the asses in the
town would bray; but I was none the less for that the son of my
parents who were greatly respected; and though I was envied because of
the gift by more than one of the high and mighty ones of the town, I
did not care two farthings for it; and that you may see I am telling
the truth, wait a bit and listen, for this art, like swimming, once
learnt is never forgotten;" and then, taking hold of his nose, he
began to bray so vigorously that all the valleys around rang again.

One of those, however, that stood near him, fancying he was
mocking them, lifted up a long staff he had in his hand and smote
him such a blow with it that Sancho dropped helpless to the ground.
Don Quixote, seeing him so roughly handled, attacked the man who had
struck him lance in hand, but so many thrust themselves between them
that he could not avenge him. Far from it, finding a shower of
stones rained upon him, and crossbows and muskets unnumbered
levelled at him, he wheeled Rocinante round and, as fast as his best
gallop could take him, fled from the midst of them, commending himself
to God with all his heart to deliver him out of this peril, in dread
every step of some ball coming in at his back and coming out at his
breast, and every minute drawing his breath to see whether it had gone
from him. The members of the band, however, were satisfied with seeing
him take to flight, and did not fire on him. They put up Sancho,
scarcely restored to his senses, on his ass, and let him go after
his master; not that he was sufficiently in his wits to guide the
beast, but Dapple followed the footsteps of Rocinante, from whom he
could not remain a moment separated. Don Quixote having got some way
off looked back, and seeing Sancho coming, waited for him, as he
perceived that no one followed him. The men of the troop stood their
ground till night, and as the enemy did not come out to battle, they
returned to their town exulting; and had they been aware of the
ancient custom of the Greeks, they would have erected a trophy on
the spot.




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