**In which is continued the adventure of the Sierra Morena**
The history relates that it was with the greatest attention Don Quixot_istened to the ragged knight of the Sierra, who began by saying:
"Of a surety, senor, whoever you are, for I know you not, I thank you for th_roofs of kindness and courtesy you have shown me, and would I were in _ondition to requite with something more than good-will that which you hav_isplayed towards me in the cordial reception you have given me; but my fat_oes not afford me any other means of returning kindnesses done me save th_earty desire to repay them."
"Mine," replied Don Quixote, "is to be of service to you, so much so that _ad resolved not to quit these mountains until I had found you, and learned o_ou whether there is any kind of relief to be found for that sorrow unde_hich from the strangeness of your life you seem to labour; and to search fo_ou with all possible diligence, if search had been necessary. And if you_isfortune should prove to be one of those that refuse admission to any sor_f consolation, it was my purpose to join you in lamenting and mourning ove_t, so far as I could; for it is still some comfort in misfortune to find on_ho can feel for it. And if my good intentions deserve to be acknowledged wit_ny kind of courtesy, I entreat you, senor, by that which I perceive yo_ossess in so high a degree, and likewise conjure you by whatever you love o_ave loved best in life, to tell me who you are and the cause that has brough_ou to live or die in these solitudes like a brute beast, dwelling among the_n a manner so foreign to your condition as your garb and appearance show. An_ swear," added Don Quixote, "by the order of knighthood which I hav_eceived, and by my vocation of knight-errant, if you gratify me in this, t_erve you with all the zeal my calling demands of me, either in relieving you_isfortune if it admits of relief, or in joining you in lamenting it as _romised to do."
The Knight of the Thicket, hearing him of the Rueful Countenance talk in thi_train, did nothing but stare at him, and stare at him again, and again surve_im from head to foot; and when he had thoroughly examined him, he said t_im:
"If you have anything to give me to eat, for God's sake give it me, and afte_ have eaten I will do all you ask in acknowledgment of the goodwill you hav_isplayed towards me."
Sancho from his sack, and the goatherd from his pouch, furnished the Ragge_ne with the means of appeasing his hunger, and what they gave him he ate lik_ half-witted being, so hastily that he took no time between mouthfuls,
gorging rather than swallowing; and while he ate neither he nor they wh_bserved him uttered a word. As soon as he had done he made signs to them t_ollow him, which they did, and he led them to a green plot which lay a littl_arther off round the corner of a rock. On reaching it he stretched himsel_pon the grass, and the others did the same, all keeping silence, until th_agged One, settling himself in his place, said:
"If it is your wish, sirs, that I should disclose in a few words th_urpassing extent of my misfortunes, you must promise not to break the threa_f my sad story with any question or other interruption, for the instant yo_o so the tale I tell will come to an end."
These words of the Ragged One reminded Don Quixote of the tale his squire ha_old him, when he failed to keep count of the goats that had crossed the rive_nd the story remained unfinished; but to return to the Ragged One, he went o_o say:
"I give you this warning because I wish to pass briefly over the story of m_isfortunes, for recalling them to memory only serves to add fresh ones, an_he less you question me the sooner shall I make an end of the recital, thoug_ shall not omit to relate anything of importance in order fully to satisf_our curiosity."
Don Quixote gave the promise for himself and the others, and with thi_ssurance he began as follows:
"My name is Cardenio, my birthplace one of the best cities of this Andalusia,
my family noble, my parents rich, my misfortune so great that my parents mus_ave wept and my family grieved over it without being able by their wealth t_ighten it; for the gifts of fortune can do little to relieve reverses sent b_eaven. In that same country there was a heaven in which love had placed al_he glory I could desire; such was the beauty of Luscinda, a damsel as nobl_nd as rich as I, but of happier fortunes, and of less firmness than was du_o so worthy a passion as mine. This Luscinda I loved, worshipped, and adore_rom my earliest and tenderest years, and she loved me in all the innocenc_nd sincerity of childhood. Our parents were aware of our feelings, and wer_ot sorry to perceive them, for they saw clearly that as they ripened the_ust lead at last to a marriage between us, a thing that seemed almos_rearranged by the equality of our families and wealth. We grew up, and wit_ur growth grew the love between us, so that the father of Luscinda felt boun_or propriety's sake to refuse me admission to his house, in this perhap_mitating the parents of that Thisbe so celebrated by the poets, and thi_efusal but added love to love and flame to flame; for though they enforce_ilence upon our tongues they could not impose it upon our pens, which ca_ake known the heart's secrets to a loved one more freely than tongues; fo_any a time the presence of the object of love shakes the firmest will an_trikes dumb the boldest tongue. Ah heavens! how many letters did I write her,
and how many dainty modest replies did I receive! how many ditties and love-
songs did I compose in which my heart declared and made known its feelings,
described its ardent longings, revelled in its recollections and dallied wit_ts desires! At length growing impatient and feeling my heart languishing wit_onging to see her, I resolved to put into execution and carry out what seeme_o me the best mode of winning my desired and merited reward, to ask her o_er father for my lawful wife, which I did. To this his answer was that h_hanked me for the disposition I showed to do honour to him and to regar_yself as honoured by the bestowal of his treasure; but that as my father wa_live it was his by right to make this demand, for if it were not i_ccordance with his full will and pleasure, Luscinda was not to be taken o_iven by stealth. I thanked him for his kindness, reflecting that there wa_eason in what he said, and that my father would assent to it as soon as _hould tell him, and with that view I went the very same instant to let hi_now what my desires were. When I entered the room where he was I found hi_ith an open letter in his hand, which, before I could utter a word, he gav_e, saying, 'By this letter thou wilt see, Cardenio, the disposition the Duk_icardo has to serve thee.' This Duke Ricardo, as you, sirs, probably kno_lready, is a grandee of Spain who has his seat in the best part of thi_ndalusia. I took and read the letter, which was couched in terms s_lattering that even I myself felt it would be wrong in my father not t_omply with the request the duke made in it, which was that he would send m_mmediately to him, as he wished me to become the companion, not servant, o_is eldest son, and would take upon himself the charge of placing me in _osition corresponding to the esteem in which he held me. On reading th_etter my voice failed me, and still more when I heard my father say, 'Tw_ays hence thou wilt depart, Cardenio, in accordance with the duke's wish, an_ive thanks to God who is opening a road to thee by which thou mayest attai_hat I know thou dost deserve; and to these words he added others of fatherl_ounsel. The time for my departure arrived; I spoke one night to Luscinda, _old her all that had occurred, as I did also to her father, entreating him t_llow some delay, and to defer the disposal of her hand until I should se_hat the Duke Ricardo sought of me: he gave me the promise, and she confirme_t with vows and swoonings unnumbered. Finally, I presented myself to th_uke, and was received and treated by him so kindly that very soon envy bega_o do its work, the old servants growing envious of me, and regarding th_uke's inclination to show me favour as an injury to themselves. But the on_o whom my arrival gave the greatest pleasure was the duke's second son,
Fernando by name, a gallant youth, of noble, generous, and amorou_isposition, who very soon made so intimate a friend of me that it wa_emarked by everybody; for though the elder was attached to me, and showed m_indness, he did not carry his affectionate treatment to the same length a_on Fernando. It so happened, then, that as between friends no secret remain_nshared, and as the favour I enjoyed with Don Fernando had grown int_riendship, he made all his thoughts known to me, and in particular a lov_ffair which troubled his mind a little. He was deeply in love with a peasan_irl, a vassal of his father's, the daughter of wealthy parents, and hersel_o beautiful, modest, discreet, and virtuous, that no one who knew her wa_ble to decide in which of these respects she was most highly gifted or mos_xcelled. The attractions of the fair peasant raised the passion of Do_ernando to such a point that, in order to gain his object and overcome he_irtuous resolutions, he determined to pledge his word to her to become he_usband, for to attempt it in any other way was to attempt an impossibility.
Bound to him as I was by friendship, I strove by the best arguments and th_ost forcible examples I could think of to restrain and dissuade him from suc_ course; but perceiving I produced no effect I resolved to make the Duk_icardo, his father, acquainted with the matter; but Don Fernando, bein_harp-witted and shrewd, foresaw and apprehended this, perceiving that by m_uty as a good servant I was bound not to keep concealed a thing so muc_pposed to the honour of my lord the duke; and so, to mislead and deceive me,
he told me he could find no better way of effacing from his mind the beaut_hat so enslaved him than by absenting himself for some months, and that h_ished the absence to be effected by our going, both of us, to my father'_ouse under the pretence, which he would make to the duke, of going to see an_uy some fine horses that there were in my city, which produces the best i_he world. When I heard him say so, even if his resolution had not been s_ood a one I should have hailed it as one of the happiest that could b_magined, prompted by my affection, seeing what a favourable chance an_pportunity it offered me of returning to see my Luscinda. With this though_nd wish I commended his idea and encouraged his design, advising him to pu_t into execution as quickly as possible, as, in truth, absence produced it_ffect in spite of the most deeply rooted feelings. But, as afterward_ppeared, when he said this to me he had already enjoyed the peasant gir_nder the title of husband, and was waiting for an opportunity of making i_nown with safety to himself, being in dread of what his father the duke woul_o when he came to know of his folly. It happened, then, that as with youn_en love is for the most part nothing more than appetite, which, as its fina_bject is enjoyment, comes to an end on obtaining it, and that which seemed t_e love takes to flight, as it cannot pass the limit fixed by nature, whic_ixes no limit to true love—what I mean is that after Don Fernando had enjoye_his peasant girl his passion subsided and his eagerness cooled, and if a_irst he feigned a wish to absent himself in order to cure his love, he wa_ow in reality anxious to go to avoid keeping his promise.
"The duke gave him permission, and ordered me to accompany him; we arrived a_y city, and my father gave him the reception due to his rank; I saw Luscind_ithout delay, and, though it had not been dead or deadened, my love gathere_resh life. To my sorrow I told the story of it to Don Fernando, for I though_hat in virtue of the great friendship he bore me I was bound to concea_othing from him. I extolled her beauty, her gaiety, her wit, so warmly, tha_y praises excited in him a desire to see a damsel adorned by suc_ttractions. To my misfortune I yielded to it, showing her to him one night b_he light of a taper at a window where we used to talk to one another. As sh_ppeared to him in her dressing-gown, she drove all the beauties he had see_ntil then out of his recollection; speech failed him, his head turned, he wa_pell-bound, and in the end love-smitten, as you will see in the course of th_tory of my misfortune; and to inflame still further his passion, which he hi_rom me and revealed to Heaven alone, it so happened that one day he found _ote of hers entreating me to demand her of her father in marriage, s_elicate, so modest, and so tender, that on reading it he told me that i_uscinda alone were combined all the charms of beauty and understanding tha_ere distributed among all the other women in the world. It is true, and I ow_t now, that though I knew what good cause Don Fernando had to prais_uscinda, it gave me uneasiness to hear these praises from his mouth, and _egan to fear, and with reason to feel distrust of him, for there was n_oment when he was not ready to talk of Luscinda, and he would start th_ubject himself even though he dragged it in unseasonably, a circumstance tha_roused in me a certain amount of jealousy; not that I feared any change i_he constancy or faith of Luscinda; but still my fate led me to forebode wha_he assured me against. Don Fernando contrived always to read the letters _ent to Luscinda and her answers to me, under the pretence that he enjoyed th_it and sense of both. It so happened, then, that Luscinda having begged of m_ book of chivalry to read, one that she was very fond of, Amadis of Gaul-"
Don Quixote no sooner heard a book of chivalry mentioned, than he said:
"Had your worship told me at the beginning of your story that the Lad_uscinda was fond of books of chivalry, no other laudation would have bee_equisite to impress upon me the superiority of her understanding, for i_ould not have been of the excellence you describe had a taste for suc_elightful reading been wanting; so, as far as I am concerned, you need wast_o more words in describing her beauty, worth, and intelligence; for, o_erely hearing what her taste was, I declare her to be the most beautiful an_he most intelligent woman in the world; and I wish your worship had, alon_ith Amadis of Gaul, sent her the worthy Don Rugel of Greece, for I know th_ady Luscinda would greatly relish Daraida and Garaya, and the shrewd saying_f the shepherd Darinel, and the admirable verses of his bucolics, sung an_elivered by him with such sprightliness, wit, and ease; but a time may com_hen this omission can be remedied, and to rectify it nothing more is neede_han for your worship to be so good as to come with me to my village, fo_here I can give you more than three hundred books which are the delight of m_oul and the entertainment of my life;—though it occurs to me that I have no_ot one of them now, thanks to the spite of wicked and envious enchanters;—bu_ardon me for having broken the promise we made not to interrupt you_iscourse; for when I hear chivalry or knights-errant mentioned, I can no mor_elp talking about them than the rays of the sun can help giving heat, o_hose of the moon moisture; pardon me, therefore, and proceed, for that i_ore to the purpose now."
While Don Quixote was saying this, Cardenio allowed his head to fall upon hi_reast, and seemed plunged in deep thought; and though twice Don Quixote bad_im go on with his story, he neither looked up nor uttered a word in reply;
but after some time he raised his head and said, "I cannot get rid of th_dea, nor will anyone in the world remove it, or make me think otherwise—an_e would be a blockhead who would hold or believe anything else than that tha_rrant knave Master Elisabad made free with Queen Madasima."
"That is not true, by all that's good," said Don Quixote in high wrath,
turning upon him angrily, as his way was; "and it is a very great slander, o_ather villainy. Queen Madasima was a very illustrious lady, and it is not t_e supposed that so exalted a princess would have made free with a quack; an_hoever maintains the contrary lies like a great scoundrel, and I will giv_im to know it, on foot or on horseback, armed or unarmed, by night or by day,
or as he likes best."
Cardenio was looking at him steadily, and his mad fit having now come upo_im, he had no disposition to go on with his story, nor would Don Quixote hav_istened to it, so much had what he had heard about Madasima disgusted him.
Strange to say, he stood up for her as if she were in earnest his veritabl_orn lady; to such a pass had his unholy books brought him. Cardenio, then,
being, as I said, now mad, when he heard himself given the lie, and called _coundrel and other insulting names, not relishing the jest, snatched up _tone that he found near him, and with it delivered such a blow on Do_uixote's breast that he laid him on his back. Sancho Panza, seeing his maste_reated in this fashion, attacked the madman with his closed fist; but th_agged One received him in such a way that with a blow of his fist h_tretched him at his feet, and then mounting upon him crushed his ribs to hi_wn satisfaction; the goatherd, who came to the rescue, shared the same fate;
and having beaten and pummelled them all he left them and quietly withdrew t_is hiding-place on the mountain. Sancho rose, and with the rage he felt a_inding himself so belaboured without deserving it, ran to take vengeance o_he goatherd, accusing him of not giving them warning that this man was a_imes taken with a mad fit, for if they had known it they would have been o_heir guard to protect themselves. The goatherd replied that he had said so,
and that if he had not heard him, that was no fault of his. Sancho retorted,
and the goatherd rejoined, and the altercation ended in their seizing eac_ther by the beard, and exchanging such fisticuffs that if Don Quixote had no_ade peace between them, they would have knocked one another to pieces.
"Leave me alone, Sir Knight of the Rueful Countenance," said Sancho, grapplin_ith the goatherd, "for of this fellow, who is a clown like myself, and n_ubbed knight, I can safely take satisfaction for the affront he has offere_e, fighting with him hand to hand like an honest man."
"That is true," said Don Quixote, "but I know that he is not to blame for wha_as happened."
With this he pacified them, and again asked the goatherd if it would b_ossible to find Cardenio, as he felt the greatest anxiety to know the end o_is story. The goatherd told him, as he had told him before, that there was n_nowing of a certainty where his lair was; but that if he wandered about muc_n that neighbourhood he could not fail to fall in with him either in or ou_f his senses.