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Chapter 45

  • **In which the doubtful question of Mambrino's helmet and the pack-saddle i_inally settled, with other adventures that occurred in truth and earnest**
  • "What do you think now, gentlemen," said the barber, "of what these gentle_ay, when they want to make out that this is a helmet?"
  • "And whoever says the contrary," said Don Quixote, "I will let him know h_ies if he is a knight, and if he is a squire that he lies again a thousan_imes."
  • Our own barber, who was present at all this, and understood Don Quixote'_umour so thoroughly, took it into his head to back up his delusion and carr_n the joke for the general amusement; so addressing the other barber he said:
  • "Senor barber, or whatever you are, you must know that I belong to you_rofession too, and have had a licence to practise for more than twenty years,
  • and I know the implements of the barber craft, every one of them, perfectl_ell; and I was likewise a soldier for some time in the days of my youth, an_ know also what a helmet is, and a morion, and a headpiece with a visor, an_ther things pertaining to soldiering, I meant to say to soldiers' arms; and _ay-saving better opinions and always with submission to sounde_udgments—that this piece we have now before us, which this worthy gentlema_as in his hands, not only is no barber's basin, but is as far from being on_s white is from black, and truth from falsehood; I say, moreover, that this,
  • although it is a helmet, is not a complete helmet."
  • "Certainly not," said Don Quixote, "for half of it is wanting, that is to sa_he beaver."
  • "It is quite true," said the curate, who saw the object of his friend th_arber; and Cardenio, Don Fernando and his companions agreed with him, an_ven the Judge, if his thoughts had not been so full of Don Luis's affair,
  • would have helped to carry on the joke; but he was so taken up with th_erious matters he had on his mind that he paid little or no attention t_hese facetious proceedings.
  • "God bless me!" exclaimed their butt the barber at this; "is it possible tha_uch an honourable company can say that this is not a basin but a helmet? Why,
  • this is a thing that would astonish a whole university, however wise it migh_e! That will do; if this basin is a helmet, why, then the pack-saddle must b_ horse's caparison, as this gentleman has said."
  • "To me it looks like a pack-saddle," said Don Quixote; "but I have alread_aid that with that question I do not concern myself."
  • "As to whether it be pack-saddle or caparison," said the curate, "it is onl_or Senor Don Quixote to say; for in these matters of chivalry all thes_entlemen and I bow to his authority."
  • "By God, gentlemen," said Don Quixote, "so many strange things have happene_o me in this castle on the two occasions on which I have sojourned in it,
  • that I will not venture to assert anything positively in reply to any questio_ouching anything it contains; for it is my belief that everything that goe_n within it goes by enchantment. The first time, an enchanted Moor that ther_s in it gave me sore trouble, nor did Sancho fare well among certai_ollowers of his; and last night I was kept hanging by this arm for nearly tw_ours, without knowing how or why I came by such a mishap. So that now, for m_o come forward to give an opinion in such a puzzling matter, would be to ris_ rash decision. As regards the assertion that this is a basin and not _elmet I have already given an answer; but as to the question whether this i_ pack-saddle or a caparison I will not venture to give a positive opinion,
  • but will leave it to your worships' better judgment. Perhaps as you are no_ubbed knights like myself, the enchantments of this place have nothing to d_ith you, and your faculties are unfettered, and you can see things in thi_astle as they really and truly are, and not as they appear to me."
  • "There can be no question," said Don Fernando on this, "but that Senor Do_uixote has spoken very wisely, and that with us rests the decision of thi_atter; and that we may have surer ground to go on, I will take the votes o_he gentlemen in secret, and declare the result clearly and fully."
  • To those who were in the secret of Don Quixote's humour all this afforde_reat amusement; but to those who knew nothing about it, it seemed th_reatest nonsense in the world, in particular to the four servants of Do_uis, as well as to Don Luis himself, and to three other travellers who had b_hance come to the inn, and had the appearance of officers of the Hol_rotherhood, as indeed they were; but the one who above all was at his wits'
  • end, was the barber basin, there before his very eyes, had been turned int_ambrino's helmet, and whose pack-saddle he had no doubt whatever was about t_ecome a rich caparison for a horse. All laughed to see Don Fernando goin_rom one to another collecting the votes, and whispering to them to give hi_heir private opinion whether the treasure over which there had been so muc_ighting was a pack-saddle or a caparison; but after he had taken the votes o_hose who knew Don Quixote, he said aloud, "The fact is, my good fellow, tha_ am tired collecting such a number of opinions, for I find that there is no_ne of whom I ask what I desire to know, who does not tell me that it i_bsurd to say that this is the pack-saddle of an ass, and not the caparison o_ horse, nay, of a thoroughbred horse; so you must submit, for, in spite o_ou and your ass, this is a caparison and no pack-saddle, and you have state_nd proved your case very badly."
  • "May I never share heaven," said the poor barber, "if your worships are no_ll mistaken; and may my soul appear before God as that appears to me a pack-
  • saddle and not a caparison; but, 'laws go,'-I say no more; and indeed I am no_runk, for I am fasting, except it be from sin."
  • The simple talk of the barber did not afford less amusement than th_bsurdities of Don Quixote, who now observed:
  • "There is no more to be done now than for each to take what belongs to him,
  • and to whom God has given it, may St. Peter add his blessing."
  • But said one of the four servants, "Unless, indeed, this is a deliberate joke,
  • I cannot bring myself to believe that men so intelligent as those present are,
  • or seem to be, can venture to declare and assert that this is not a basin, an_hat not a pack-saddle; but as I perceive that they do assert and declare it,
  • I can only come to the conclusion that there is some mystery in thi_ersistence in what is so opposed to the evidence of experience and trut_tself; for I swear by"—and here he rapped out a round oath-"all the people i_he world will not make me believe that this is not a barber's basin and tha_ jackass's pack-saddle."
  • "It might easily be a she-ass's," observed the curate.
  • "It is all the same," said the servant; "that is not the point; but whether i_s or is not a pack-saddle, as your worships say."
  • On hearing this one of the newly arrived officers of the Brotherhood, who ha_een listening to the dispute and controversy, unable to restrain his ange_nd impatience, exclaimed, "It is a pack-saddle as sure as my father is m_ather, and whoever has said or will say anything else must be drunk."
  • "You lie like a rascally clown," returned Don Quixote; and lifting his pike,
  • which he had never let out of his hand, he delivered such a blow at his hea_hat, had not the officer dodged it, it would have stretched him at ful_ength. The pike was shivered in pieces against the ground, and the rest o_he officers, seeing their comrade assaulted, raised a shout, calling for hel_or the Holy Brotherhood. The landlord, who was of the fraternity, ran at onc_o fetch his staff of office and his sword, and ranged himself on the side o_is comrades; the servants of Don Luis clustered round him, lest he shoul_scape from them in the confusion; the barber, seeing the house turned upsid_own, once more laid hold of his pack-saddle and Sancho did the same; Do_uixote drew his sword and charged the officers; Don Luis cried out to hi_ervants to leave him alone and go and help Don Quixote, and Cardenio and Do_ernando, who were supporting him; the curate was shouting at the top of hi_oice, the landlady was screaming, her daughter was wailing, Maritornes wa_eeping, Dorothea was aghast, Luscinda terror-stricken, and Dona Clara in _aint. The barber cudgelled Sancho, and Sancho pommelled the barber; Don Lui_ave one of his servants, who ventured to catch him by the arm to keep hi_rom escaping, a cuff that bathed his teeth in blood; the Judge took his part;
  • Don Fernando had got one of the officers down and was belabouring hi_eartily; the landlord raised his voice again calling for help for the Hol_rotherhood; so that the whole inn was nothing but cries, shouts, shrieks,
  • confusion, terror, dismay, mishaps, sword-cuts, fisticuffs, cudgellings,
  • kicks, and bloodshed; and in the midst of all this chaos, complication, an_eneral entanglement, Don Quixote took it into his head that he had bee_lunged into the thick of the discord of Agramante's camp; and, in a voic_hat shook the inn like thunder, he cried out:
  • "Hold all, let all sheathe their swords, let all be calm and attend to me a_hey value their lives!"
  • All paused at his mighty voice, and he went on to say, "Did I not tell you,
  • sirs, that this castle was enchanted, and that a legion or so of devils dwel_n it? In proof whereof I call upon you to behold with your own eyes how th_iscord of Agramante's camp has come hither, and been transferred into th_idst of us. See how they fight, there for the sword, here for the horse, o_hat side for the eagle, on this for the helmet; we are all fighting, and al_t cross purposes. Come then, you, Senor Judge, and you, senor curate; let th_ne represent King Agramante and the other King Sobrino, and make peace amon_s; for by God Almighty it is a sorry business that so many persons of qualit_s we are should slay one another for such trifling cause." The officers, wh_id not understand Don Quixote's mode of speaking, and found themselve_oughly handled by Don Fernando, Cardenio, and their companions, were not t_e appeased; the barber was, however, for both his beard and his pack-saddl_ere the worse for the struggle; Sancho like a good servant obeyed th_lightest word of his master; while the four servants of Don Luis kept quie_hen they saw how little they gained by not being so. The landlord alon_nsisted upon it that they must punish the insolence of this madman, who a_very turn raised a disturbance in the inn; but at length the uproar wa_tilled for the present; the pack-saddle remained a caparison till the day o_udgment, and the basin a helmet and the inn a castle in Don Quixote'_magination.
  • All having been now pacified and made friends by the persuasion of the Judg_nd the curate, the servants of Don Luis began again to urge him to retur_ith them at once; and while he was discussing the matter with them, the Judg_ook counsel with Don Fernando, Cardenio, and the curate as to what he ough_o do in the case, telling them how it stood, and what Don Luis had said t_im. It was agreed at length that Don Fernando should tell the servants of Do_uis who he was, and that it was his desire that Don Luis should accompany hi_o Andalusia, where he would receive from the marquis his brother the welcom_is quality entitled him to; for, otherwise, it was easy to see from th_etermination of Don Luis that he would not return to his father at present,
  • though they tore him to pieces. On learning the rank of Don Fernando and th_esolution of Don Luis the four then settled it between themselves that thre_f them should return to tell his father how matters stood, and that the othe_hould remain to wait upon Don Luis, and not leave him until they came bac_or him, or his father's orders were known. Thus by the authority of Agramant_nd the wisdom of King Sobrino all this complication of disputes was arranged;
  • but the enemy of concord and hater of peace, feeling himself slighted and mad_ fool of, and seeing how little he had gained after having involved them al_n such an elaborate entanglement, resolved to try his hand once more b_tirring up fresh quarrels and disturbances.
  • It came about in this wise: the officers were pacified on learning the rank o_hose with whom they had been engaged, and withdrew from the contest,
  • considering that whatever the result might be they were likely to get th_orst of the battle; but one of them, the one who had been thrashed and kicke_y Don Fernando, recollected that among some warrants he carried for th_rrest of certain delinquents, he had one against Don Quixote, whom the Hol_rotherhood had ordered to be arrested for setting the galley slaves free, a_ancho had, with very good reason, apprehended. Suspecting how it was, then,
  • he wished to satisfy himself as to whether Don Quixote's feature_orresponded; and taking a parchment out of his bosom he lit upon what he wa_n search of, and setting himself to read it deliberately, for he was not _uick reader, as he made out each word he fixed his eyes on Don Quixote, an_ent on comparing the description in the warrant with his face, and discovere_hat beyond all doubt he was the person described in it. As soon as he ha_atisfied himself, folding up the parchment, he took the warrant in his lef_and and with his right seized Don Quixote by the collar so tightly that h_id not allow him to breathe, and shouted aloud, "Help for the Hol_rotherhood! and that you may see I demand it in earnest, read this warran_hich says this highwayman is to be arrested."
  • The curate took the warrant and saw that what the officer said was true, an_hat it agreed with Don Quixote's appearance, who, on his part, when he foun_imself roughly handled by this rascally clown, worked up to the highest pitc_f wrath, and all his joints cracking with rage, with both hands seized th_fficer by the throat with all his might, so that had he not been helped b_is comrades he would have yielded up his life ere Don Quixote released hi_old. The landlord, who had perforce to support his brother officers, ran a_nce to aid them. The landlady, when she saw her husband engaged in a fres_uarrel, lifted up her voice afresh, and its note was immediately caught up b_aritornes and her daughter, calling upon heaven and all present for help; an_ancho, seeing what was going on, exclaimed, "By the Lord, it is quite tru_hat my master says about the enchantments of this castle, for it i_mpossible to live an hour in peace in it!"
  • Don Fernando parted the officer and Don Quixote, and to their mutua_ontentment made them relax the grip by which they held, the one the coa_ollar, the other the throat of his adversary; for all this, however, th_fficers did not cease to demand their prisoner and call on them to help, an_eliver him over bound into their power, as was required for the service o_he King and of the Holy Brotherhood, on whose behalf they again demanded ai_nd assistance to effect the capture of this robber and footpad of th_ighways.
  • Don Quixote smiled when he heard these words, and said very calmly, "Come now,
  • base, ill-born brood; call ye it highway robbery to give freedom to those i_ondage, to release the captives, to succour the miserable, to raise up th_allen, to relieve the needy? Infamous beings, who by your vile grovellin_ntellects deserve that heaven should not make known to you the virtue tha_ies in knight-errantry, or show you the sin and ignorance in which ye li_hen ye refuse to respect the shadow, not to say the presence, of any knight-
  • errant! Come now; band, not of officers, but of thieves; footpads with th_icence of the Holy Brotherhood; tell me who was the ignoramus who signed _arrant of arrest against such a knight as I am? Who was he that did not kno_hat knights-errant are independent of all jurisdictions, that their law i_heir sword, their charter their prowess, and their edicts their will? Who, _ay again, was the fool that knows not that there are no letters patent o_obility that confer such privileges or exemptions as a knight-errant acquire_he day he is dubbed a knight, and devotes himself to the arduous calling o_hivalry? What knight-errant ever paid poll-tax, duty, queen's pin-money,
  • king's dues, toll or ferry? What tailor ever took payment of him for makin_is clothes? What castellan that received him in his castle ever made him pa_is shot? What king did not seat him at his table? What damsel was no_namoured of him and did not yield herself up wholly to his will and pleasure?
  • And, lastly, what knight-errant has there been, is there, or will there eve_e in the world, not bold enough to give, single-handed, four hundre_udgellings to four hundred officers of the Holy Brotherhood if they come i_is way?"