Don Quixote By Miguel de Cervantes Part 2: Chapter LXIII-LXIV

CHAPTER LXIII.

OF THE MISHAP THAT BEFELL SANCHO PANZA THROUGH THE VISIT TO THE GALLEYS, AND THE STRANGE ADVENTURE OF THE FAIR MORISCO

Profound were Don Quixote's reflections on the reply of the enchanted head, not one of them, however, hitting on the secret of the trick, but all concentrated on the promise, which he regarded as a certainty, of Dulcinea's disenchantment. This he turned over in his mind again and again with great satisfaction, fully persuaded that he would shortly see its fulfillment; and as for Sancho, though, as has been said, he hated being a governor, still he had a longing to be giving orders and finding himself obeyed once more; this is the misfortune that being in authority, even in jest, brings with it.

To resume; that afternoon their host Don Antonio Moreno and his two friends, with Don Quixote and Sancho, went to the galleys. The commandant had been already made aware of his good fortune in seeing two such famous persons as Don Quixote and Sancho, and the instant they came to the shore all the galleys struck their awnings and the clarions rang out. A skiff covered with rich carpets and cushions of crimson velvet was immediately lowered into the water, and as Don Quixote stepped on board of it, the leading galley fired her gangway gun, and the other galleys did the same; and as he mounted the starboard ladder the whole crew saluted him (as is the custom when a personage of distinction comes on board a galley) by exclaiming "Hu, hu, hu," three times. The general, for so we shall call him, a Valencian gentleman of rank, gave him his hand and embraced him, saying, "I shall mark this day with a white stone as one of the happiest I can expect to enjoy in my lifetime, since I have seen Senor Don Quixote of La Mancha, pattern and image wherein we see contained and condensed all that is worthy in knight-errantry."

Don Quixote delighted beyond measure with such a lordly reception, replied to him in words no less courteous. All then proceeded to the poop, which was very handsomely decorated, and seated themselves on the bulwark benches; the boatswain passed along the gangway and piped all hands to strip, which they did in an instant. Sancho, seeing such a number of men stripped to the skin, was taken aback, and still more when he saw them spread the awning so briskly that it seemed to him as if all the devils were at work at it; but all this was cakes and fancy bread to what I am going to tell now. Sancho was seated on the captain's stage, close to the aftermost rower on the right-hand side. He, previously instructed in what he was to do, laid hold of Sancho, hoisting him up in his arms, and the whole crew, who were standing ready, beginning on the right, proceeded to pass him on, whirling him along from hand to hand and from bench to bench with such rapidity that it took the sight out of poor Sancho's eyes, and he made quite sure that the devils themselves were flying away with him; nor did they leave off with him until they had sent him back along the left side and deposited him on the poop; and the poor fellow was left bruised and breathless and all in a sweat, and unable to comprehend what it was that had happened to him.

Don Quixote when he saw Sancho's flight without wings asked the general if this was a usual ceremony with those who came on board the galleys for the first time; for, if so, as he had no intention of adopting them as a profession, he had no mind to perform such feats of agility, and if anyone offered to lay hold of him to whirl him about, he vowed to God he would kick his soul out; and as he said this he stood up and clapped his hand upon his sword. At this instant they struck the awning and lowered the yard with a prodigious rattle. Sancho thought heaven was coming off its hinges and going to fall on his head, and full of terror he ducked it and buried it between his knees; nor were Don Quixote's knees altogether under control, for he too shook a little, squeezed his shoulders together and lost colour. The crew then hoisted the yard with the same rapidity and clatter as when they lowered it, all the while keeping silence as though they had neither voice nor breath. The boatswain gave the signal to weigh anchor, and leaping upon the middle of the gangway began to lay on to the shoulders of the crew with his courbash or whip, and to haul out gradually to sea.

When Sancho saw so many red feet (for such he took the oars to be) moving all together, he said to himself, "It's these that are the real chanted things, and not the ones my master talks of. What can those wretches have done to be so whipped; and how does that one man who goes along there whistling dare to whip so many? I declare this is hell, or at least purgatory!"

Don Quixote, observing how attentively Sancho regarded what was going on, said to him, "Ah, Sancho my friend, how quickly and cheaply might you finish off the disenchantment of Dulcinea, if you would strip to the waist and take your place among those gentlemen! Amid the pain and sufferings of so many you would not feel your own much; and moreover perhaps the sage Merlin would allow each of these lashes, being laid on with a good hand, to count for ten of those which you must give yourself at last."

The general was about to ask what these lashes were, and what was Dulcinea's disenchantment, when a sailor exclaimed, "Monjui signals that there is an oared vessel off the coast to the west."

On hearing this the general sprang upon the gangway crying, "Now then, my sons, don't let her give us the slip! It must be some Algerine corsair brigantine that the watchtower signals to us." The three others immediately came alongside the chief galley to receive their orders. The general ordered two to put out to sea while he with the other kept in shore, so that in this way the vessel could not escape them. The crews plied the oars driving the galleys so furiously that they seemed to fly. The two that had put out to sea, after a couple of miles sighted a vessel which, so far as they could make out, they judged to be one of fourteen or fifteen banks, and so she proved. As soon as the vessel discovered the galleys she went about with the object and in the hope of making her escape by her speed; but the attempt failed, for the chief galley was one of the fastest vessels afloat, and overhauled her so rapidly that they on board the brigantine saw clearly there was no possibility of escaping, and the rais therefore would have had them drop their oars and give themselves up so as not to provoke the captain in command of our galleys to anger. But chance, directing things otherwise, so ordered it that just as the chief galley came close enough for those on board the vessel to hear the shouts from her calling on them to surrender, two Toraquis, that is to say two Turks, both drunken, that with a dozen more were on board the brigantine, discharged their muskets, killing two of the soldiers that lined the sides of our vessel. Seeing this the general swore he would not leave one of those he found on board the vessel alive, but as he bore down furiously upon her she slipped away from him underneath the oars. The galley shot a good way ahead; those on board the vessel saw their case was desperate, and while the galley was coming about they made sail, and by sailing and rowing once more tried to sheer off; but their activity did not do them as much good as their rashness did them harm, for the galley coming up with them in a little more than half a mile threw her oars over them and took the whole of them alive. The other two galleys now joined company and all four returned with the prize to the beach, where a vast multitude stood waiting for them, eager to see what they brought back. The general anchored close in, and perceived that the viceroy of the city was on the shore. He ordered the skiff to push off to fetch him, and the yard to be lowered for the purpose of hanging forthwith the rais and the rest of the men taken on board the vessel, about six-and-thirty in number, all smart fellows and most of them Turkish musketeers. He asked which was the rais of the brigantine, and was answered in Spanish by one of the prisoners (who afterwards proved to be a Spanish renegade), "This young man, senor that you see here is our rais," and he pointed to one of the handsomest and most gallant-looking youths that could be imagined. He did not seem to be twenty years of age.

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After the misadventure with the windmills, Don Quixote




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