Don Quixote By Miguel de Cervantes Part 1: Chapter XLII-XLIV

CHAPTER XLIV.

IN WHICH ARE CONTINUED THE UNHEARD-OF ADVENTURES OF THE INN

So loud, in fact, were the shouts of Don Quixote, that the landlord opening the gate of the inn in all haste, came out in dismay, and ran to see who was uttering such cries, and those who were outside joined him. Maritornes, who had been by this time roused up by the same outcry, suspecting what it was, ran to the loft and, without anyone seeing her, untied the halter by which Don Quixote was suspended, and down he came to the ground in the sight of the landlord and the travellers, who approaching asked him what was the matter with him that he shouted so. He without replying a word took the rope off his wrist, and rising to his feet leaped upon Rocinante, braced his buckler on his arm, put his lance in rest, and making a considerable circuit of the plain came back at a half-gallop exclaiming:

"Whoever shall say that I have been enchanted with just cause, provided my lady the Princess Micomicona grants me permission to do so, I give him the lie, challenge him and defy him to single combat."

The newly arrived travellers were amazed at the words of Don Quixote; but the landlord removed their surprise by telling them who he was, and not to mind him as he was out of his senses. They then asked the landlord if by any chance a youth of about fifteen years of age had come to that inn, one dressed like a muleteer, and of such and such an appearance, describing that of Dona Clara's lover. The landlord replied that there were so many people in the inn he had not noticed the person they were inquiring for; but one of them observing the coach in which the Judge had come, said, "He is here no doubt, for this is the coach he is following: let one of us stay at the gate, and the rest go in to look for him; or indeed it would be as well if one of us went round the inn, lest he should escape over the wall of the yard." "So be it," said another; and while two of them went in, one remained at the gate and the other made the circuit of the inn; observing all which, the landlord was unable to conjecture for what reason they were taking all these precautions, though he understood they were looking for the youth whose description they had given him.

It was by this time broad daylight; and for that reason, as well as in consequence of the noise Don Quixote had made, everybody was awake and up, but particularly Dona Clara and Dorothea; for they had been able to sleep but badly that night, the one from agitation at having her lover so near her, the other from curiosity to see him. Don Quixote, when he saw that not one of the four travellers took any notice of him or replied to his challenge, was furious and ready to die with indignation and wrath; and if he could have found in the ordinances of chivalry that it was lawful for a knight-errant to undertake or engage in another enterprise, when he had plighted his word and faith not to involve himself in any until he had made an end of the one to which he was pledged, he would have attacked the whole of them, and would have made them return an answer in spite of themselves. But considering that it would not become him, nor be right, to begin any new emprise until he had established Micomicona in her kingdom, he was constrained to hold his peace and wait quietly to see what would be the upshot of the proceedings of those same travellers; one of whom found the youth they were seeking lying asleep by the side of a muleteer, without a thought of anyone coming in search of him, much less finding him.

The man laid hold of him by the arm, saying, "It becomes you well indeed, Senor Don Luis, to be in the dress you wear, and well the bed in which I find you agrees with the luxury in which your mother reared you."

The youth rubbed his sleepy eyes and stared for a while at him who held him, but presently recognised him as one of his father's servants, at which he was so taken aback that for some time he could not find or utter a word; while the servant went on to say, "There is nothing for it now, Senor Don Luis, but to submit quietly and return home, unless it is your wish that my lord, your father, should take his departure for the other world, for nothing else can be the consequence of the grief he is in at your absence."

"But how did my father know that I had gone this road and in this dress?" said Don Luis.

"It was a student to whom you confided your intentions," answered the servant, "that disclosed them, touched with pity at the distress he saw your father suffer on missing you; he therefore despatched four of his servants in quest of you, and here we all are at your service, better pleased than you can imagine that we shall return so soon and be able to restore you to those eyes that so yearn for you."

"That shall be as I please, or as heaven orders," returned Don Luis.

"What can you please or heaven order," said the other, "except to agree to go back? Anything else is impossible."

All this conversation between the two was overheard by the muleteer at whose side Don Luis lay, and rising, he went to report what had taken place to Don Fernando, Cardenio, and the others, who had by this time dressed themselves; and told them how the man had addressed the youth as "Don," and what words had passed, and how he wanted him to return to his father, which the youth was unwilling to do. With this, and what they already knew of the rare voice that heaven had bestowed upon him, they all felt very anxious to know more particularly who he was, and even to help him if it was attempted to employ force against him; so they hastened to where he was still talking and arguing with his servant. Dorothea at this instant came out of her room, followed by Dona Clara all in a tremor; and calling Cardenio aside, she told him in a few words the story of the musician and Dona Clara, and he at the same time told her what had happened, how his father's servants had come in search of him; but in telling her so, he did not speak low enough but that Dona Clara heard what he said, at which she was so much agitated that had not Dorothea hastened to support her she would have fallen to the ground. Cardenio then bade Dorothea return to her room, as he would endeavour to make the whole matter right, and they did as he desired. All the four who had come in quest of Don Luis had now come into the inn and surrounded him, urging him to return and console his father at once and without a moment's delay. He replied that he could not do so on any account until he had concluded some business in which his life, honour, and heart were at stake. The servants pressed him, saying that most certainly they would not return without him, and that they would take him away whether he liked it or not.

"You shall not do that," replied Don Luis, "unless you take me dead; though however you take me, it will be without life."

By this time most of those in the inn had been attracted by the dispute, but particularly Cardenio, Don Fernando, his companions, the Judge, the curate, the barber, and Don Quixote; for he now considered there was no necessity for mounting guard over the castle any longer. Cardenio being already acquainted with the young man's story, asked the men who wanted to take him away, what object they had in seeking to carry off this youth against his will.

"Our object," said one of the four, "is to save the life of his father, who is in danger of losing it through this gentleman's disappearance."

Upon this Don Luis exclaimed, "There is no need to make my affairs public here; I am free, and I will return if I please; and if not, none of you shall compel me."

"Reason will compel your worship," said the man, "and if it has no power over you, it has power over us, to make us do what we came for, and what it is our duty to do."

"Let us hear what the whole affair is about," said the Judge at this; but the man, who knew him as a neighbour of theirs, replied, "Do you not know this gentleman, Senor Judge? He is the son of your neighbour, who has run away from his father's house in a dress so unbecoming his rank, as your worship may perceive."

The judge on this looked at him more carefully and recognised him, and embracing him said, "What folly is this, Senor Don Luis, or what can have been the cause that could have induced you to come here in this way, and in this dress, which so ill becomes your condition?"

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After the misadventure with the windmills, Don Quixote




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