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Don Quixote - Vol. 2

CHAPTER LVI.


OF THE PRODIGIOUS AND UNPARALLELED BATTLE THAT TOOK PLACE BETWEEN DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA AND THE LACQUEY TOSILOS IN DEFENCE OF THE DAUGHTER OF DONA RODRIGUEZ



The duke and duchess had no reason to regret the joke that had been played upon Sancho Panza in giving him the government; especially as their majordomo returned the same day, and gave them a minute account of almost every word and deed that Sancho uttered or did during the time; and to wind up with, eloquently described to them the attack upon the island and Sancho's fright and departure, with which they were not a little amused. After this the history goes on to say that the day fixed for the battle arrived, and that the duke, after having repeatedly instructed his lacquey Tosilos how to deal with Don Quixote so as to vanquish him without killing or wounding him, gave orders to have the heads removed from the lances, telling Don Quixote that Christian charity, on which he plumed himself, could not suffer the battle to be fought with so much risk and danger to life; and that he must be content with the offer of a battlefield on his territory (though that was against the decree of the holy Council, which prohibits all challenges of the sort) and not push such an arduous venture to its extreme limits. Don Quixote bade his excellence arrange all matters connected with the affair as he pleased, as on his part he would obey him in everything. The dread day, then, having arrived, and the duke having ordered a spacious stand to be erected facing the court of the castle for the judges of the field and the appellant duennas, mother and daughter, vast crowds flocked from all the villages and hamlets of the neighbourhood to see the novel spectacle of the battle; nobody, dead or alive, in those parts having ever seen or heard of such a one.

The first person to enter the field and the lists was the master of the ceremonies, who surveyed and paced the whole ground to see that there was nothing unfair and nothing concealed to make the combatants stumble or fall; then the duennas entered and seated themselves, enveloped in mantles covering their eyes, nay even their bosoms, and displaying no slight emotion as Don Quixote appeared in the lists. Shortly afterwards, accompanied by several trumpets and mounted on a powerful steed that threatened to crush the whole place, the great lacquey Tosilos made his appearance on one side of the courtyard with his visor down and stiffly cased in a suit of stout shining armour. The horse was a manifest Frieslander, broad-backed and flea-bitten, and with half a hundred of wool hanging to each of his fetlocks. The gallant combatant came well primed by his master the duke as to how he was to bear himself against the valiant Don Quixote of La Mancha; being warned that he must on no account slay him, but strive to shirk the first encounter so as to avoid the risk of killing him, as he was sure to do if he met him full tilt. He crossed the courtyard at a walk, and coming to where the duennas were placed stopped to look at her who demanded him for a husband; the marshal of the field summoned Don Quixote, who had already presented himself in the courtyard, and standing by the side of Tosilos he addressed the duennas, and asked them if they consented that Don Quixote of La Mancha should do battle for their right. They said they did, and that whatever he should do in that behalf they declared rightly done, final and valid. By this time the duke and duchess had taken their places in a gallery commanding the enclosure, which was filled to overflowing with a multitude of people eager to see this perilous and unparalleled encounter. The conditions of the combat were that if Don Quixote proved the victor his antagonist was to marry the daughter of Dona Rodriguez; but if he should be vanquished his opponent was released from the promise that was claimed against him and from all obligations to give satisfaction. The master of the ceremonies apportioned the sun to them, and stationed them, each on the spot where he was to stand. The drums beat, the sound of the trumpets filled the air, the earth trembled under foot, the hearts of the gazing crowd were full of anxiety, some hoping for a happy issue, some apprehensive of an untoward ending to the affair, and lastly, Don Quixote, commending himself with all his heart to God our Lord and to the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, stood waiting for them to give the necessary signal for the onset. Our lacquey, however, was thinking of something very different; he only thought of what I am now going to mention.

It seems that as he stood contemplating his enemy she struck him as the most beautiful woman he had ever seen all his life; and the little blind boy whom in our streets they commonly call Love had no mind to let slip the chance of triumphing over a lacquey heart, and adding it to the list of his trophies; and so, stealing gently upon him unseen, he drove a dart two yards long into the poor lacquey's left side and pierced his heart through and through; which he was able to do quite at his ease, for Love is invisible, and comes in and goes out as he likes, without anyone calling him to account for what he does. Well then, when they gave the signal for the onset our lacquey was in an ecstasy, musing upon the beauty of her whom he had already made mistress of his liberty, and so he paid no attention to the sound of the trumpet, unlike Don Quixote, who was off the instant he heard it, and, at the highest speed Rocinante was capable of, set out to meet his enemy, his good squire Sancho shouting lustily as he saw him start, "God guide thee, cream and flower of knights-errant! God give thee the victory, for thou hast the right on thy side!" But though Tosilos saw Don Quixote coming at him he never stirred a step from the spot where he was posted; and instead of doing so called loudly to the marshal of the field, to whom when he came up to see what he wanted he said, "Senor, is not this battle to decide whether I marry or do not marry that lady?" "Just so," was the answer. "Well then," said the lacquey, "I feel qualms of conscience, and I should lay a heavy burden upon it if I were to proceed any further with the combat; I therefore declare that I yield myself vanquished, and that I am willing to marry the lady at once."

The marshal of the field was lost in astonishment at the words of Tosilos; and as he was one of those who were privy to the arrangement of the affair he knew not what to say in reply. Don Quixote pulled up in mid career when he saw that his enemy was not coming on to the attack. The duke could not make out the reason why the battle did not go on; but the marshal of the field hastened to him to let him know what Tosilos said, and he was amazed and extremely angry at it. In the meantime Tosilos advanced to where Dona Rodriguez sat and said in a loud voice, "Senora, I am willing to marry your daughter, and I have no wish to obtain by strife and fighting what I can obtain in peace and without any risk to my life."

The valiant Don Quixote heard him, and said, "As that is the case I am released and absolved from my promise; let them marry by all means, and as 'God our Lord has given her, may Saint Peter add his blessing.'"

The duke had now descended to the courtyard of the castle, and going up to Tosilos he said to him, "Is it true, sir knight, that you yield yourself vanquished, and that moved by scruples of conscience you wish to marry this damsel?"

"It is, senor," replied Tosilos.

"And he does well," said Sancho, "for what thou hast to give to the mouse, give to the cat, and it will save thee all trouble."

Tosilos meanwhile was trying to unlace his helmet, and he begged them to come to his help at once, as his power of breathing was failing him, and he could not remain so long shut up in that confined space. They removed it in all haste, and his lacquey features were revealed to public gaze. At this sight Dona Rodriguez and her daughter raised a mighty outcry, exclaiming, "This is a trick! This is a trick! They have put Tosilos, my lord the duke's lacquey, upon us in place of the real husband. The justice of God and the king against such trickery, not to say roguery!"

"Do not distress yourselves, ladies," said Don Quixote; "for this is no trickery or roguery; or if it is, it is not the duke who is at the bottom of it, but those wicked enchanters who persecute me, and who, jealous of my reaping the glory of this victory, have turned your husband's features into those of this person, who you say is a lacquey of the duke's; take my advice, and notwithstanding the malice of my enemies marry him, for beyond a doubt he is the one you wish for a husband."

When the duke heard this all his anger was near vanishing in a fit of laughter, and he said, "The things that happen to Senor Don Quixote are so extraordinary that I am ready to believe this lacquey of mine is not one; but let us adopt this plan and device; let us put off the marriage for, say, a fortnight, and let us keep this person about whom we are uncertain in close confinement, and perhaps in the course of that time he may return to his original shape; for the spite which the enchanters entertain against Senor Don Quixote cannot last so long, especially as it is of so little advantage to them to practise these deceptions and transformations."

"Oh, senor," said Sancho, "those scoundrels are well used to changing whatever concerns my master from one thing into another. A knight that he overcame some time back, called the Knight of the Mirrors, they turned into the shape of the bachelor Samson Carrasco of our town and a great friend of ours; and my lady Dulcinea del Toboso they have turned into a common country wench; so I suspect this lacquey will have to live and die a lacquey all the days of his life."

Here the Rodriguez's daughter exclaimed, "Let him be who he may, this man that claims me for a wife; I am thankful to him for the same, for I had rather be the lawful wife of a lacquey than the cheated mistress of a gentleman; though he who played me false is nothing of the kind."

To be brief, all the talk and all that had happened ended in Tosilos being shut up until it was seen how his transformation turned out. All hailed Don Quixote as victor, but the greater number were vexed and disappointed at finding that the combatants they had been so anxiously waiting for had not battered one another to pieces, just as the boys are disappointed when the man they are waiting to see hanged does not come out, because the prosecution or the court has pardoned him. The people dispersed, the duke and Don Quixote returned to the castle, they locked up Tosilos, Dona Rodriguez and her daughter remained perfectly contented when they saw that any way the affair must end in marriage, and Tosilos wanted nothing else.





CHAPTER LVII.


WHICH TREATS OF HOW DON QUIXOTE TOOK LEAVE OF THE DUKE, AND OF WHAT FOLLOWED WITH THE WITTY AND IMPUDENT ALTISIDORA, ONE OF THE DUCHESS'S DAMSELS



Don Quixote now felt it right to quit a life of such idleness as he was leading in the castle; for he fancied that he was making himself sorely missed by suffering himself to remain shut up and inactive amid the countless luxuries and enjoyments his hosts lavished upon him as a knight, and he felt too that he would have to render a strict account to heaven of that indolence and seclusion; and so one day he asked the duke and duchess to grant him permission to take his departure. They gave it, showing at the same time that they were very sorry he was leaving them.



The duchess gave his wife's letters to Sancho Panza, who shed tears over them, saying, "Who would have thought that such grand hopes as the news of my government bred in my wife Teresa Panza's breast would end in my going back now to the vagabond adventures of my master Don Quixote of La Mancha? Still I'm glad to see my Teresa behaved as she ought in sending the acorns, for if she had not sent them I'd have been sorry, and she'd have shown herself ungrateful. It is a comfort to me that they can't call that present a bribe; for I had got the government already when she sent them, and it's but reasonable that those who have had a good turn done them should show their gratitude, if it's only with a trifle. After all I went into the government naked, and I come out of it naked; so I can say with a safe conscience—and that's no small matter—'naked I was born, naked I find myself, I neither lose nor gain.'"

Thus did Sancho soliloquise on the day of their departure, as Don Quixote, who had the night before taken leave of the duke and duchess, coming out made his appearance at an early hour in full armour in the courtyard of the castle. The whole household of the castle were watching him from the corridors, and the duke and duchess, too, came out to see him. Sancho was mounted on his Dapple, with his alforjas, valise, and proven supremely happy because the duke's majordomo, the same that had acted the part of the Trifaldi, had given him a little purse with two hundred gold crowns to meet the necessary expenses of the road, but of this Don Quixote knew nothing as yet. While all were, as has been said, observing him, suddenly from among the duennas and handmaidens the impudent and witty Altisidora lifted up her voice and said in pathetic tones:

Give ear, cruel knight;
Draw rein; where's the need
Of spurring the flanks
Of that ill-broken steed?
From what art thou flying?
No dragon I am,
Not even a sheep,
But a tender young lamb.
Thou hast jilted a maiden
As fair to behold
As nymph of Diana
Or Venus of old.

Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?

Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!

In thy claws, ruthless robber,
Thou bearest away
The heart of a meek
Loving maid for thy prey,
Three kerchiefs thou stealest,
And garters a pair,
From legs than the whitest
Of marble more fair;
And the sighs that pursue thee
Would burn to the ground
Two thousand Troy Towns,
If so many were found.

Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?

Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!

May no bowels of mercy
To Sancho be granted,
And thy Dulcinea
Be left still enchanted,
May thy falsehood to me
Find its punishment in her,
For in my land the just
Often pays for the sinner.
May thy grandest adventures
Discomfitures prove,
May thy joys be all dreams,
And forgotten thy love.

Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?

Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!

May thy name be abhorred
For thy conduct to ladies,
From London to England,
From Seville to Cadiz;
May thy cards be unlucky,
Thy hands contain ne'er a
King, seven, or ace
When thou playest primera;
When thy corns are cut
May it be to the quick;
When thy grinders are drawn
May the roots of them stick.

Bireno, AEneas, what worse shall I call thee?

Barabbas go with thee! All evil befall thee!

All the while the unhappy Altisidora was bewailing herself in the above strain Don Quixote stood staring at her; and without uttering a word in reply to her he turned round to Sancho and said, "Sancho my friend, I conjure thee by the life of thy forefathers tell me the truth; say, hast thou by any chance taken the three kerchiefs and the garters this love-sick maid speaks of?"

To this Sancho made answer, "The three kerchiefs I have; but the garters, as much as 'over the hills of Ubeda.'"

The duchess was amazed at Altisidora's assurance; she knew that she was bold, lively, and impudent, but not so much so as to venture to make free in this fashion; and not being prepared for the joke, her astonishment was all the greater. The duke had a mind to keep up the sport, so he said, "It does not seem to me well done in you, sir knight, that after having received the hospitality that has been offered you in this very castle, you should have ventured to carry off even three kerchiefs, not to say my handmaid's garters. It shows a bad heart and does not tally with your reputation. Restore her garters, or else I defy you to mortal combat, for I am not afraid of rascally enchanters changing or altering my features as they changed his who encountered you into those of my lacquey, Tosilos."

"God forbid," said Don Quixote, "that I should draw my sword against your illustrious person from which I have received such great favours. The kerchiefs I will restore, as Sancho says he has them; as to the garters that is impossible, for I have not got them, neither has he; and if your handmaiden here will look in her hiding-places, depend upon it she will find them. I have never been a thief, my lord duke, nor do I mean to be so long as I live, if God cease not to have me in his keeping. This damsel by her own confession speaks as one in love, for which I am not to blame, and therefore need not ask pardon, either of her or of your excellence, whom I entreat to have a better opinion of me, and once more to give me leave to pursue my journey."

"And may God so prosper it, Senor Don Quixote," said the duchess, "that we may always hear good news of your exploits; God speed you; for the longer you stay, the more you inflame the hearts of the damsels who behold you; and as for this one of mine, I will so chastise her that she will not transgress again, either with her eyes or with her words."

"One word and no more, O valiant Don Quixote, I ask you to hear," said Altisidora, "and that is that I beg your pardon about the theft of the garters; for by God and upon my soul I have got them on, and I have fallen into the same blunder as he did who went looking for his ass being all the while mounted on it."

"Didn't I say so?" said Sancho. "I'm a likely one to hide thefts! Why if I wanted to deal in them, opportunities came ready enough to me in my government."

Don Quixote bowed his head, and saluted the duke and duchess and all the bystanders, and wheeling Rocinante round, Sancho following him on Dapple, he rode out of the castle, shaping his course for Saragossa.






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