"What devil?" asked Don Quixote.
"The one with the bladders," said Sancho.
"Then I will recover him," said Don Quixote, "even if he be shut up with him in the deepest and darkest dungeons of hell. Follow me, Sancho, for the cart goes slowly, and with the mules of it I will make good the loss of Dapple."
"You need not take the trouble, senor," said Sancho; "keep cool, for as I now see, the devil has let Dapple go and he is coming back to his old quarters;" and so it turned out, for, having come down with Dapple, in imitation of Don Quixote and Rocinante, the devil made off on foot to the town, and the ass came back to his master.
"For all that," said Don Quixote, "it will be well to visit the discourtesy of that devil upon some of those in the cart, even if it were the emperor himself."
"Don't think of it, your worship," returned Sancho; "take my advice and never meddle with actors, for they are a favoured class; I myself have known an actor taken up for two murders, and yet come off scot-free; remember that, as they are merry folk who give pleasure, everyone favours and protects them, and helps and makes much of them, above all when they are those of the royal companies and under patent, all or most of whom in dress and appearance look like princes."
"Still, for all that," said Don Quixote, "the player devil must not go off boasting, even if the whole human race favours him."
So saying, he made for the cart, which was now very near the town, shouting out as he went, "Stay! halt! ye merry, jovial crew! I want to teach you how to treat asses and animals that serve the squires of knights-errant for steeds."
So loud were the shouts of Don Quixote, that those in the cart heard and understood them, and, guessing by the words what the speaker's intention was, Death in an instant jumped out of the cart, and the emperor, the devil carter and the angel after him, nor did the queen or the god Cupid stay behind; and all armed themselves with stones and formed in line, prepared to receive Don Quixote on the points of their pebbles. Don Quixote, when he saw them drawn up in such a gallant array with uplifted arms ready for a mighty discharge of stones, checked Rocinante and began to consider in what way he could attack them with the least danger to himself. As he halted Sancho came up, and seeing him disposed to attack this well-ordered squadron, said to him, "It would be the height of madness to attempt such an enterprise; remember, senor, that against sops from the brook, and plenty of them, there is no defensive armour in the world, except to stow oneself away under a brass bell; and besides, one should remember that it is rashness, and not valour, for a single man to attack an army that has Death in it, and where emperors fight in person, with angels, good and bad, to help them; and if this reflection will not make you keep quiet, perhaps it will to know for certain that among all these, though they look like kings, princes, and emperors, there is not a single knight-errant."
"Now indeed thou hast hit the point, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "which may and should turn me from the resolution I had already formed. I cannot and must not draw sword, as I have many a time before told thee, against anyone who is not a dubbed knight; it is for thee, Sancho, if thou wilt, to take vengeance for the wrong done to thy Dapple; and I will help thee from here by shouts and salutary counsels."
"There is no occasion to take vengeance on anyone, senor," replied Sancho; "for it is not the part of good Christians to revenge wrongs; and besides, I will arrange it with my ass to leave his grievance to my good-will and pleasure, and that is to live in peace as long as heaven grants me life."
"Well," said Don Quixote, "if that be thy determination, good Sancho, sensible Sancho, Christian Sancho, honest Sancho, let us leave these phantoms alone and turn to the pursuit of better and worthier adventures; for, from what I see of this country, we cannot fail to find plenty of marvellous ones in it."
He at once wheeled about, Sancho ran to take possession of his Dapple, Death and his flying squadron returned to their cart and pursued their journey, and thus the dread adventure of the cart of Death ended happily, thanks to the advice Sancho gave his master; who had, the following day, a fresh adventure, of no less thrilling interest than the last, with an enamoured knight-errant.