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Chapter 9

  • **In which is concluded and finished the terrific battle between the gallan_iscayan and the valiant Manchegan**
  • In the First Part of this history we left the valiant Biscayan and th_enowned Don Quixote with drawn swords uplifted, ready to deliver two suc_urious slashing blows that if they had fallen full and fair they would a_east have split and cleft them asunder from top to toe and laid them ope_ike a pomegranate; and at this so critical point the delightful history cam_o a stop and stood cut short without any intimation from the author wher_hat was missing was to be found.
  • This distressed me greatly, because the pleasure derived from having read suc_ small portion turned to vexation at the thought of the poor chance tha_resented itself of finding the large part that, so it seemed to me, wa_issing of such an interesting tale. It appeared to me to be a thin_mpossible and contrary to all precedent that so good a knight should hav_een without some sage to undertake the task of writing his marvellou_chievements; a thing that was never wanting to any of those knights-erran_ho, they say, went after adventures; for every one of them had one or tw_ages as if made on purpose, who not only recorded their deeds but describe_heir most trifling thoughts and follies, however secret they might be; an_uch a good knight could not have been so unfortunate as not to have wha_latir and others like him had in abundance. And so I could not bring mysel_o believe that such a gallant tale had been left maimed and mutilated, and _aid the blame on Time, the devourer and destroyer of all things, that ha_ither concealed or consumed it.
  • On the other hand, it struck me that, inasmuch as among his books there ha_een found such modern ones as "The Enlightenment of Jealousy" and the "Nymph_nd Shepherds of Henares," his story must likewise be modern, and that thoug_t might not be written, it might exist in the memory of the people of hi_illage and of those in the neighbourhood. This reflection kept me perplexe_nd longing to know really and truly the whole life and wondrous deeds of ou_amous Spaniard, Don Quixote of La Mancha, light and mirror of Manchega_hivalry, and the first that in our age and in these so evil days devote_imself to the labour and exercise of the arms of knight-errantry, rightin_rongs, succouring widows, and protecting damsels of that sort that used t_ide about, whip in hand, on their palfreys, with all their virginity abou_hem, from mountain to mountain and valley to valley—for, if it were not fo_ome ruffian, or boor with a hood and hatchet, or monstrous giant, that force_hem, there were in days of yore damsels that at the end of eighty years, i_ll which time they had never slept a day under a roof, went to their grave_s much maids as the mothers that bore them. I say, then, that in these an_ther respects our gallant Don Quixote is worthy of everlasting and notabl_raise, nor should it be withheld even from me for the labour and pains spen_n searching for the conclusion of this delightful history; though I know wel_hat if Heaven, chance and good fortune had not helped me, the world woul_ave remained deprived of an entertainment and pleasure that for a couple o_ours or so may well occupy him who shall read it attentively. The discover_f it occurred in this way.
  • One day, as I was in the Alcana of Toledo, a boy came up to sell som_amphlets and old papers to a silk mercer, and, as I am fond of reading eve_he very scraps of paper in the streets, led by this natural bent of mine _ook up one of the pamphlets the boy had for sale, and saw that it was i_haracters which I recognised as Arabic, and as I was unable to read the_hough I could recognise them, I looked about to see if there were an_panish-speaking Morisco at hand to read them for me; nor was there any grea_ifficulty in finding such an interpreter, for even had I sought one for a_lder and better language I should have found him. In short, chance provide_e with one, who when I told him what I wanted and put the book into hi_ands, opened it in the middle and after reading a little in it began t_augh. I asked him what he was laughing at, and he replied that it was a_omething the book had written in the margin by way of a note. I bade him tel_t to me; and he still laughing said, "In the margin, as I told you, this i_ritten: 'This Dulcinea del Toboso so often mentioned in this history, had,
  • they say, the best hand of any woman in all La Mancha for salting pigs.'"
  • When I heard Dulcinea del Toboso named, I was struck with surprise an_mazement, for it occurred to me at once that these pamphlets contained th_istory of Don Quixote. With this idea I pressed him to read the beginning,
  • and doing so, turning the Arabic offhand into Castilian, he told me it meant,
  • "History of Don Quixote of La Mancha, written by Cide Hamete Benengeli, a_rab historian." It required great caution to hide the joy I felt when th_itle of the book reached my ears, and snatching it from the silk mercer, _ought all the papers and pamphlets from the boy for half a real; and if h_ad had his wits about him and had known how eager I was for them, he migh_ave safely calculated on making more than six reals by the bargain. _ithdrew at once with the Morisco into the cloister of the cathedral, an_egged him to turn all these pamphlets that related to Don Quixote into th_astilian tongue, without omitting or adding anything to them, offering hi_hatever payment he pleased. He was satisfied with two arrobas of raisins an_wo bushels of wheat, and promised to translate them faithfully and with al_espatch; but to make the matter easier, and not to let such a precious fin_ut of my hands, I took him to my house, where in little more than a month an_ half he translated the whole just as it is set down here.
  • In the first pamphlet the battle between Don Quixote and the Biscayan wa_rawn to the very life, they planted in the same attitude as the histor_escribes, their swords raised, and the one protected by his buckler, th_ther by his cushion, and the Biscayan's mule so true to nature that it coul_e seen to be a hired one a bowshot off. The Biscayan had an inscription unde_is feet which said, "Don Sancho de Azpeitia," which no doubt must have bee_is name; and at the feet of Rocinante was another that said, "Don Quixote."
  • Rocinante was marvellously portrayed, so long and thin, so lank and lean, wit_o much backbone and so far gone in consumption, that he showed plainly wit_hat judgment and propriety the name of Rocinante had been bestowed upon him.
  • Near him was Sancho Panza holding the halter of his ass, at whose feet wa_nother label that said, "Sancho Zancas," and according to the picture, h_ust have had a big belly, a short body, and long shanks, for which reason, n_oubt, the names of Panza and Zancas were given him, for by these two surname_he history several times calls him. Some other trifling particulars might b_entioned, but they are all of slight importance and have nothing to do wit_he true relation of the history; and no history can be bad so long as it i_rue.
  • If against the present one any objection be raised on the score of its truth,
  • it can only be that its author was an Arab, as lying is a very commo_ropensity with those of that nation; though, as they are such enemies o_urs, it is conceivable that there were omissions rather than additions mad_n the course of it. And this is my own opinion; for, where he could an_hould give freedom to his pen in praise of so worthy a knight, he seems to m_eliberately to pass it over in silence; which is ill done and wors_ontrived, for it is the business and duty of historians to be exact,
  • truthful, and wholly free from passion, and neither interest nor fear, hatre_or love, should make them swerve from the path of truth, whose mother i_istory, rival of time, storehouse of deeds, witness for the past, example an_ounsel for the present, and warning for the future. In this I know will b_ound all that can be desired in the pleasantest, and if it be wanting in an_ood quality, I maintain it is the fault of its hound of an author and not th_ault of the subject. To be brief, its Second Part, according to th_ranslation, began in this way:
  • With trenchant swords upraised and poised on high, it seemed as though the tw_aliant and wrathful combatants stood threatening heaven, and earth, and hell,
  • with such resolution and determination did they bear themselves. The fier_iscayan was the first to strike a blow, which was delivered with such forc_nd fury that had not the sword turned in its course, that single stroke woul_ave sufficed to put an end to the bitter struggle and to all the adventure_f our knight; but that good fortune which reserved him for greater things,
  • turned aside the sword of his adversary, so that although it smote him upo_he left shoulder, it did him no more harm than to strip all that side of it_rmour, carrying away a great part of his helmet with half of his ear, al_hich with fearful ruin fell to the ground, leaving him in a sorry plight.
  • Good God! Who is there that could properly describe the rage that filled th_eart of our Manchegan when he saw himself dealt with in this fashion? Al_hat can be said is, it was such that he again raised himself in his stirrups,
  • and, grasping his sword more firmly with both hands, he came down on th_iscayan with such fury, smiting him full over the cushion and over the head,
  • that—even so good a shield proving useless—as if a mountain had fallen on him,
  • he began to bleed from nose, mouth, and ears, reeling as if about to fal_ackwards from his mule, as no doubt he would have done had he not flung hi_rms about its neck; at the same time, however, he slipped his feet out of th_tirrups and then unclasped his arms, and the mule, taking fright at th_errible blow, made off across the plain, and with a few plunges flung it_aster to the ground. Don Quixote stood looking on very calmly, and, when h_aw him fall, leaped from his horse and with great briskness ran to him, and,
  • presenting the point of his sword to his eyes, bade him surrender, or he woul_ut his head off. The Biscayan was so bewildered that he was unable to answe_ word, and it would have gone hard with him, so blind was Don Quixote, ha_ot the ladies in the coach, who had hitherto been watching the combat i_reat terror, hastened to where he stood and implored him with earnes_ntreaties to grant them the great grace and favour of sparing their squire'_ife; to which Don Quixote replied with much gravity and dignity, "In truth,
  • fair ladies, I am well content to do what ye ask of me; but it must be on on_ondition and understanding, which is that this knight promise me to go to th_illage of El Toboso, and on my behalf present himself before the peerles_ady Dulcinea, that she deal with him as shall be most pleasing to her."
  • The terrified and disconsolate ladies, without discussing Don Quixote's deman_r asking who Dulcinea might be, promised that their squire should do all tha_ad been commanded.
  • "Then, on the faith of that promise," said Don Quixote, "I shall do him n_urther harm, though he well deserves it of me."