Home  »  Don Quixote, Part 1  »  XV. Which Speaks of That Which After Befel in the Inn, and of Sundry Other Things Worthy to Be Known

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

The Fourth Book

XV. Which Speaks of That Which After Befel in the Inn, and of Sundry Other Things Worthy to Be Known

THE CAPTIVE having said this, held his peace; and Don Fernando replied to him thus: ‘Truly, captain, the manner wherewithal you have recounted this marvellous success hath been such as it may be paragoned to the novelty and strangeness of the event itself. And so great is the delight we have taken in the hearing thereof, as I do believe that although we had spent the time from hence till to-morrow in listening to it, yet should we be glad to hear it told over once again.’

And saying so, Cardenio and all the rest did offer themselves and their means to his service, as much as lay in them, with so cordial and friendly words as the Captive remained thoroughly satisfied with their good wits; but specially Don Fernando offered, that if he would return with him, he would cause the marquis his brother to be Zoraida her godfather in baptism; and that he, for his part, would so accommodate him with all things necessary, as he might enter into the town with the decency and authority due to his person. The Captive did gratify his large offers very courteously, but would not accept any of them at the time. By this the night drew on, and about the fall thereof there arrived at the inn a coach, with some men a-horseback, and asked for lodging; to whom the hostess answered that in all the inn there was not a span free, the number of her guests was already so many. ‘Well, although that be so,’ quoth one of the horsemen that had entered, ‘yet must there be a place found for Master Justice who comes in this coach.’ At this name the hostess was afraid, and said, ‘Sir, the misfortune is that I have no beds; but if Master Justice brings one with him, as it is probable he doth, let him enter in boldly, and I and my husband will leave our own chamber to accommodate his worship.’ ‘So be it,’ quoth the squire; and by this time alighted out of the coach a man whose attire did presently denote his dignity and office, for his long gown and his great and large sleeves did show that he was a judge, as the serving-men affirmed. He led a young maiden by the hand, of about some sixteen years old, apparelled in riding attire; but she was therewithal of so disposed, beautiful, and cheerful a countenance, as her presence did strike them all into admiration; so as if they had not seen Dorothea, Lucinda, and Zoraida, which were then in the inn, they would hardly have believed that this damsel’s beauty might anywhere have been matched.

Don Quixote was present at the judge’s and the gentlewoman’s entry; and so, as soon as he had seen him, he said, ‘Sir, you may boldly enter the take your ease in this castle, which although it be but little and ill accommodated, yet there is no narrowness nor discommodity in the world but makes place for arms and learning, and specially if the arms and letters bring beauty for their guide and leader, as your learning doth, conducted by this lovely damsel, to whom ought not only castles to open and manifest themselves, but also rocks to part and divide their cliffs, and mountains to bow their ambitious crests, to give and make her a lodging. Enter, therefore, I say, worshipful sir, into this paradise, wherein you shall find stars and suns to accompany this sky which you bring along with you. Here shall you find arms in their height, and beauty in her prime.’ The judge marvelled greatly at Don Quixote’s speech, whom he began to behold very earnestly, and wondered no less at his shape than at his words; and knowing not what answer he might return him, he was diverted, on the other side, by the sudden approach of the three ladies, Lucinda, Dorothea, and Zoraida, which stood before him; for, having heard of the arrival of new guests, and also being informed by the hostess of the young lady’s beauty, they were come forth to see and entertain her. But Don Fernando, Cardenio, and the curate did give him more complete and courtly entertainment than the rusty knight. In effect, the judge was marvellously amazed at that which he saw and heard in that inn: and the fair guests thereof bade the beautiful maiden welcome. The judge perceived very well that the guests of the inn were all men of account; but Don Quixote’s feature, visage, and behaviour did set him out of all bias, being not able to conjecture what he might be. And after some court-like intercourses passed, and the commodities of the inn examined, they all agreed again, as they had done before, that all the women should enter into Don Quixote’s room, and the men remain without in their guard: and so the judge was content that the damsel, who was his daughter, should also go with those ladies, which she did with a very good will; and, with a part of the innkeeper’s narrow bed, and half of that which the judge had brought with him, they made shift to pass over that night the best they could.

The Captive, who from the instant that he had first seen the judge, did greatly suspect that he was his brother, and demanded of one of his servants how he was called, and where he was born. The other answered how he was called the licentiate, John Perez of Viedma, and, as he had heard, he was born in a village of the mountains of Leon. With this relation, and the rest that he had noted, he finally confirmed his opinion that it was the brother who, following his father’s advice, had dedicated himself to his studies; and, full of joy and contentment, calling aside Don Fernando, Cardenio, and the curate, he certified them of all that had passed, and that the judge was his brother. The serving-man told him likewise how he went towards the Indies, where he had his place and office in the courts of Mexico; and also that the young gentlewoman was his daughter, of whose birth her mother had died, and he ever after remained a widower, and very rich by her dowry and portion that she had left to her daughter. He demanded of them advice how he might discover himself to his brother, or first know whether, after he had detected himself, he would receive him with a good countenance and affection, and not be ashamed to acknowledge him for his brother, seeing him in so poor an estate. ‘Leave the trial of that experience to me,’ quoth the curate, ‘and the rather because there is no occasion why you, sir captain, should not be kindly entertained by him; for the prudence, worths, and good countenance of your brother give manifest tokens that he is nothing arrogant.’ ‘For all that,’ said the captain, ‘I would not make myself known on the sudden, but would use some pretty ambages to bring him acquainted with me.’ ‘I say unto you,’ quoth the curate, ‘that I will trace the matter in such sort as we will all rest satisfied.’

Supper was by this made ready, and all of them sat down to the table, the Captive excepted and ladies, which supped together within the room; and about the midst of supper the curate said, ‘Master Justice, I have had in times past a comrade of your very surname in Constantinople, where I was sometime captive, who was one of the most valiant soldiers and captains that might be found among all the Spanish foot; but he was as unfortunate as he was valorous and resolute.’ ‘And how was that captain called, good sir?’ quoth the judge. ‘His name was,’ replied master curate, ‘Ruy Perez of Viedma, and he was born in a village of the mountains of Leon; and he recounted unto me an occurrence happened between his father, him, and his other brethren, which, if I had not been told by a man of such credit and reputation as he was, I would have esteemed for one of these fables which old wives are wont to rehearse by the fireside in winter; for he said to me that his father had divided his goods among his three sons, and gave them withal certain precepts, better than those of Cato; and I know well that the choice which he made to follow the war had such happy success, as within a few years, through his forwardness and valour, without the help of any other arm, he was advanced to a company of foot, and made a captain, and was in the way and course of becoming one day a colonel; but fortune was contrary to him, for even there where he was most to expect her favour, he lost it, with the loss of his liberty, in that most happy journey wherein so many recovered it, to wit, in the battle of Lepanto. I lost mine in Goleta; and after, by different success, we became companions in Constantinople, from whence we went to Algiers, where did befall him one of the most notable adventures that ever happened in the world’; and there the curate, with sufficient brevity, recounted all that had happened between the captain and Zoraida; to all which the judge was so attentive, as in all his life he never listened to any cause so attentively as then. And the curate only arrived to the point wherein the Frenchmen spoiled the Christians that came in the barque, and the necessity wherein his companion and the beautiful Zoraida remained; of whom he had not learned anything after, nor knew not what became of them, or whether they came into Spain, or were carried away by the Frenchmen into France.

The captain stood listening somewhat aloof off to all the curate’s words, and noted the while the motions and gestures of his brother; who, seeing that the curate had now made an end of his speech, breathing forth a great sigh, and his eyes being filled with tears, he said, ‘Oh, sir, if you had known the news which you have told me, and how nearly they touch me in some points, whereby I am constrained to manifest these tears, which violently break forth in despite of my discretion and calling, you would hold me excused for this excess. That captain of whom you spoke is my eldest brother, who, as one stronger and of more noble thoughts than I or my younger brother, made election of the honourable military calling, one of the three estates which our father proposed to us, even as your comrade informed, when, as you thought, he related a fable. I followed my book, by which God and my diligence raised me to the state you see. My younger brother is in Peru, and with that which he hath sent to my father and myself, hath bountifully recompensed the portion he carried, and given to him sufficient to satisfy his liberal disposition, and to me wherewithal to continue my studies with the decency and authority needful to advance me to the rank which now I possess. My father lives yet, but dying through desire to learn somewhat of his eldest son, and doth daily importune God with incessant prayers that death may not shut his eyes until he may once again see him alive. I only marvel not a little, considering his discretion, that among all his labours, afflictions, or prosperous successes, he hath been so careless in giving his father notice of his proceedings; for if either he or any one of us had known of his captivity, he should not have needed to expect the miracle of the cane for his ransom. But that which troubles me most of all is to think whether these Frenchmen have restored him again to liberty, or else slain him, that they might conceal their robbery the better; all which will be an occasion to me to prosecute my voyage, not with the joy wherewithal I began it, but rather with melancholy and sorrow. Oh, dear brother, I would I might know now where thou art, that I myself might go and search thee out, and free thee from thy pains, although it were with the hazard of mine own. Oh, who is he that could carry news to our old father that thou wert alive, although thou wert hidden in the most abstruse dungeons of Barbary? for his riches, my brother’s, and mine, would fetch thee from thence. O beautiful and bountiful Zoraida! who might be able to recompense thee for the good thou hast done to my brother? How happy were he that might be resent at thy spiritual birth and baptism, and at thy nuptials, which would be so grateful to us all.’ These and many other such words did the judge deliver, so full of compassion for the news that he had received of his brother, as all that heard him kept him company in showing signs of compassion for his sorrow.

The curate therefore, perceiving the happy success whereto his design and the captain’s desire had sorted, would hold the company sad no longer; and therefore, arising from the table, and entering into the room wherein Zoraida was, he took her by the hand, and after her followed Lucinda, Dorothea, and the judge his daughter. The captain stood still to see what the curate would do, who, taking him fast by the other hand, marched over with them both towards the judge and the other gentlemen, and saying, ‘Suppress your tears, Master Justice, and glut your desire with all that good which it may desire, seeing you have here before you your good brother and your loving” sister-in-law. This man whom you view here is the Captain Viedma, and this the beautiful Moor which hath done so much for him. The Frenchmen which I told you of have reduced them to the poverty you see, to the end that you may show the liberality of your noble breast.’

Then did the captain draw near to embrace his brother; but he held him off a while with his arms, to note whether it was he or no; but when he once knew him, he embraced him so lovingly, and with such abundance of tears, as did attract the like from all the beholders. The words that the brothers spoke one to another, or the feeling affection which they showed, can hardly be conceived, and therefore much less written by any one whatsoever. There they did briefly recount the one to the other their successes; there did they show the true love and affection of brothers in his prime; there did the judge embrace Zoraida; there he made her an offer of all that was his; there did he also cause his daughter to embrace her; there the beautiful Christian and the most beautiful Moor renewed the tears of them all; there Don Quixote was attentive, without speaking a word, pondering of these rare occurrences, and attributing them to the chimeras which he imagined to be incident to chivalry; and there they agreed that the captain and Zoraida should return with their brother to Seville, and thence advise their father of his finding and liberty, that he, as well as he might, should come to Seville to the baptism and marriage of Zoraida, because the judge could not possibly return, or discontinue his journey, in respect that the Indian fleet was to depart within a month from Seville towards New Spain.

Every one, in conclusion, was joyful and glad at the Cative’s good success; and two parts of the night being well-nigh spent, they all agreed to repose themselves a while. Don Quixote offered himself to watch and guard the castle whilst they slept, lest they should be assaulted by some giant or other miscreant, desirous to rob the great treasure of beauty that was therein immured and kept. Those that knew him rendered unto him infinite thanks, and withal informed the judge of his extravagant humour, whereat he was not a little recreated; only Sancho Panza did fret, because they went so slowly to sleep, and he alone was best accommodated of them all, by lying down on his beast’s furniture, which cost him dearly, as shall be after recounted. The ladies being withdrawn into their chamber, and every one laying himself down where best he might, Don Quixote sallied out of the inn, to be sentinel of the castle, as he had promised. And a little before day it happened that so sweet and tuneable a voice touched the ladies’ ears, as it obliged them all to listen unto it very attentively, but chiefly Dorothea, who first awaked, and whose side the young gentlewoman, Donna Clara of Viedma (for so the judge’s daughter was called), slept. None of them could imagine who it was that sung so well without the help of any instrument. Sometimes it seemed that he sung in the yard, others that it was in the stable. And being thus in suspense, Cardenioi came to the chamber door, and said, “Whosoever is not asleep, let them give ear, and they shall hear the voice of a lackey that so chants as it likewise enchants.’ ‘Sir,’ quoth Dorothea, ‘we hear him very well.’ With this Cardenio departed; and Dorothea, using all the attention possible, heard that his song was this following.