Home  »  Don Quixote, Part 1  »  VII. Of the Second Departure Which Our Good Knight, Don Quixote, Made from His House to Seek Adventures

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616). Don Quixote, Part 1.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

The First Part

VII. Of the Second Departure Which Our Good Knight, Don Quixote, Made from His House to Seek Adventures

WHILE they were thus busied, Don Quixote began to cry aloud, saying, ‘Here, here, valorous knights! Here it is needful that you show the force of your valiant arms; for the courtiers begin to bear away the best of the tourney.’ The folk repairing to this rumour and noise, was an occasion that any further speech and visitation of the books was omitted; and therefore it is to be suspected, that the Carolea and Lion of Spain, with the Acts of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, written by Don Louis de Avila, were burned, without being ever seen or heard; and perhaps if the curate had seen them, they should not have passed under so rigorous a sentence. When they all arrived to Don Quixote his chamber, he was risen already out of his bed, and continued still his outcries, cutting and slashing on every side, being so broadly awake as if he never had slept. Wherefore, taking him in their arms, they returned him by main force into his bed, and, after he was somewhat quiet and settled, he said, turning himself to the curate, ‘In good sooth, Lord Archbishop Turpin, it is a great dishonour to us that are called the twelve Peers, to permit the knights of the court to bear thus away the glory of the tourney without more ado, seeing that we the adventurers have gained the prize thereof the three foremost days.’ ‘Hold your peace, good gossip,’ quoth the curate, ‘for fortune may be pleased to change the success, and what is lost to-day may be won again to-morrow. Look you to your health for the present; for you seem at least to be very much tired, if besides you be not sore wounded.’ ‘Wounded! no,’ quoth Don Quixote; ‘but doubtless I am somewhat bruised, for that bastard, Don Rowland, hath beaten me to powder with the stock of an oak-tree; and all for envy, because he sees that I only dare oppose myself to his valour. But let me be never again called Raynold of Montealban if he pay not dearly for it, as soon as I rise from this bed, in despite of all his enchantment. But, I pray you, call for my breakfast, for I know it will do me much good, and leave the revenge of this wrong to my charge.’ Presently meat was brought; and after he had eaten he fell asleep, and they remained astonished at his wonderful madness. That night the old woman burned all the books that she found in the house and yard; and some there were burnt that deserved, for their worthiness, to be kept up in everlasting treasuries, if their fortunes and the laziness of the searchers had permitted it. And so the proverb was verified in them, ‘that the just pays sometimes for the sinners.’ One of the remedies which the curate and the barber prescribed for that present, to help their friend’s disease, was that they should change his chamber, and dam up his study, to the end that, when he arose, he might not find them; for, perhaps, by removing the cause, they might also take away the effects: and, moreover, they bade them to say that a certain enchanter had carried them away, study and all; which device was presently put in practice. And, within two days after, Don Quixote got up, and the first thing he did was to go and visit his books; and seeing he could not find the chamber in the same place where he had left it, he went up and down to find it. Sometimes he came to the place where the door stood, and felt it with his hands, and then would turn his eyes up and down here and there to seek it, without speaking a word. But at last, after deliberation, he asked of the old woman the way to his books. She, as one well schooled before what she should answer, said, “What study, or what nothing, is this you look for? There is now no more study nor books in this house; for the very devil himself carried all away with him.’ ‘It was not the devil,’ said his niece, ‘but an enchanter, that came here one night upon a cloud, the day after you departed from hence; and, alighting down from a serpent upon which he rode, he entered into the study, and what he did therein I know not; and within a while after he fled out at the roof of the house, and left all the house full of smoke; and when we accorded to see what he had done, we could neither see book nor study: only this much the old woman and I do remember very well, that the naughty old man, at his departure, said, with a loud voice, that he, for hidden enmity that he bore to the lord of those books, had done all the harm to the house that they might perceive when he were departed, and added that he was named the wise Muniaton. ‘Frestron, you would have said.’ quoth Don Quixote. ‘I know not,’ quoth the old woman, whether he hight Frestron or Friton, but well I wot that his name ended with “ton.” ‘That is true,’ quoth Don Quixote; ‘and he is a very wise enchanter, and my great adversary, and looks on me with a sinister eye; for he knows, by his art and science, that I shall in time fight a single combat with a knight, his very great friend, and overcome him in battle, without being able to be by him assisted, and therefore he labours to do me all the hurt he may; and I have sent him word, that he strives in vain to divert or shun that which is by Heaven already decreed.’ ‘Who doubts of that?’ quoth his niece. ‘But I pray you, good uncle, say, what need have you to thrust yourself into these difficulties and brabbles? Were it not better to rest you quietly in your own house, than to wander through the world, searching bread of blasted cord, without once considering how many there go to seek for wool that return again shorn themselves? ‘Oh, niece,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘how ill dost thou understand the matter! Before I permit myself to be shorn, I will pill and pluck away the beards of as many as shall dare or imagine to touch but a hair only of me.’ To these words the women would make no reply, because they saw his choler increase.

Fifteen days he remained quietly at home, without giving any argument of seconding his former vanities; in which time passed many pleasant encounters between him and his two gossips, the curate and barber, upon that point which he defended, to wit, that the world needed nothing so much as knights-errant, and that the erratical knighthood ought to be again renewed therein. Master parson would contradict him sometimes, and other times yield unto that he urged; for had they not observed that manner of proceeding, it were impossible to bring him to any conformity. In this space Don Quixote dealt with a certain labourer, his neighbour, an honest man (if the title of honesty may be given to the poor), but one of a very shallow wit; in resolution, he said so much to him, and persuaded him so earnestly, and made him so large promises, as the poor fellow determined to go away with him, and serve him as his squire. Don Quixote, among many other things, bade him to dispose himself willingly to depart with him; for now and then such an adventure might present itself, that, in as short space as one would take up a couple of straws, an island might be won, and he be left as governor thereof. With these and such like promises, Sancho Panza (for so he was called) left his wife and children, and agreed to be his squire. Afterward, Don Quixote began to cast plots how to come by some money; which he achieved by selling one thing, pawning another, and turning all upside down. At last he got a pretty sum, and, accommodating himself with a buckler which he had borrowed of a friend, and patching up his broken beaver again as well as he could, he advertised his squire Sancho of the day and hour wherein he meant to depart, that he might likewise furnish himself with that which he thought needful; but above all things he charged him to provide himself of a wallet; which he promised to perform, and said that he meant also to carry a very good ass, which he had of his own, because he was not wont to travel much a-foot. In that of the ass Don Quixote stood a while pensive, calling to mind whether ever he had read that any knight-errant carried his squire assishly mounted; but he could not remember any authority for it; yet, notwithstanding, he resolved that he might bring his beast, with intention to accommodate him more honourably, when occasion were offered, by dismounting the fist discourteous knight they met, from his horse, and giving it to his squire; he also furnished himself with shirts, and as many other things as he might, according unto the innkeeper’s advice. All which being finished, Sancho Panza, without bidding his wife and children farewell, or Don Quixote his niece and old servant, they both departed one night out of the village, unknown to any person living; and they travelled so far that night, as they were sure in the morning not to be found, although they were pursued. Sancho Panza rode on his beast like a patriarch, with his wallet and bottle, and a marvellous longing to see himself governor of the island which his master had promised unto him.

Don Quixote took by chance the very same course and way that he had done in his first voyage through the field of Montiel, wherein he travelled then with less vexation than the first: for, by reason it was early, and the sunbeams striking not directly down, but athwart, the heat did not trouble them much. And Sancho Panza, seeing the opportunity good, said to his master, ‘I pray you, have care, good sir knight, that you forget not that government of the island which you have promised me, for I shall be able to govern it were it never so great.’ To which Don Quixote replied; ‘You must understand, friend Sancho Panza, that it was a custom very much used by ancient knights-errant, to make their squires governors of the islands and kingdoms that they conquered; and I am resolved that so good a custom shall never be abolished by me, but rather I will pass and exceed them therein; for they sometimes, and as I take it, did, for the greater part, expect until their squires waxed aged; and after they were cloyed with service, and had suffered many bad days and worse nights, then did they bestow upon them some title of an earl, or at least of a marquis, of some valley or province, of more or less account. But if thou livest, and I withal, it may happen that I may conquer such a kingdom within six days, that hath other kingdoms adherent to it, which would fall out as just as it were cast in a mould for thy purpose, whom I would crown presently king of one of them. And do not account this to be any great matter; for things and chances do happen to such knights-adventurers as I am, by so unexpected and wonderful ways and means, as I might give thee very easily a great deal more than I have promised.’ ‘After that manner,’ said Sancho Panza, ‘if I were a king, through some miracle of those which you say, then should Joan Gutierez, my wife, become a queen, and my children princes!’ ‘Who doubts of that?’ said Don Quixote. ‘That do I,’ replied Sancho Panza; ‘for I am fully persuaded, that although God would rain kingdoms down upon the earth, none of them would sit well on Mary Gutierez her head; for, sir, you must understand that she’s not worth a dodkin for a queen. To be a countess would agree with her better; and yet, I pray God that she be able to discharge that calling.’ ‘Commend thou the matter to God,’ quoth Don Quixote, ‘that He may give her that which is most convenient for her. But do not thou abase thy mind so much as to content thyself with less than at the least to be a viceroy.’ ‘I will not, good sir,’ quoth Sancho, ‘especially seeing I have so worthy a lord and master as yourself, who knows how to give me all that may turn to my benefit, and that I shall be able to discharge in good sort.’