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Which treats of the first sally the ingenious Don Quixote made from home

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These preliminaries settled, he did not care to put off any longer the execution of his design, urged on to it by the thought of all the world was losing by his delay, seeing what wrongs he intended to right, grievances to redress, injustices to repair, abuses to remove, and duties to discharge. So, without giving notice of his intention to anyone, and without anybody seeing him, one morning before the dawning of the day (which was one of the hottest of the month of July) he donned his suit of armour, mounted Rocinante with his patched-up helmet on, braced his buckler, took his lance, and by the back door of the yard sallied forth upon the plain in the highest contentment and satisfaction at seeing with what ease he had made a beginning with his grand purpose. But scarcely did he find himself upon the open plain, when a terrible thought struck him, one all but enough to make him abandon the enterprise at the very outset. It occurred to him that he had not been dubbed a knight, and that according to the law of chivalry he neither could nor ought to bear arms against any knight; and that even if he had been, still he ought, as a novice knight, to wear white armour, without a device upon the shield until by his prowess he had earned one. These reflections made him waver in his purpose, but his craze being stronger than any reasoning, he made up his mind to have himself dubbed a knight by the first one he came across, following the example of others in the same case, as he had read in the books that brought him to this pass. As for white armour, he resolved, on the first opportunity, to scour his until it was whiter than an ermine; and so comforting himself he pursued his way, taking that which his horse chose, for in this he believed lay the essence of adventures.

Thus setting out, our new-fledged adventurer paced along, talking to himself and saying, "Who knows but that in time to come, when the veracious history of my famous deeds is made known, the sage who writes it, when he has to set forth my first sally in the early morning, will do it after this fashion? 'Scarce had the rubicund Apollo spread o'er the face of the broad spacious earth the golden threads of his bright hair, scarce had the little birds of painted plumage attuned their notes to hail with dulcet and mellifluous harmony the coming of the rosy Dawn, that, deserting the soft couch of her jealous spouse, was appearing to mortals at the gates and balconies of the Manchegan horizon, when the renowned knight Don Quixote of La Mancha, quitting the lazy down, mounted his celebrated steed Rocinante and began to traverse the ancient and famous Campo de Montiel;'" which in fact he was actually traversing. "Happy the age, happy the time," he continued, "in which shall be made known my deeds of fame, worthy to be moulded in brass, carved in marble, limned in pictures, for a memorial for ever. And thou, O sage magician, whoever thou art, to whom it shall fall to be the chronicler of this wondrous history, forget not, I entreat thee, my good Rocinante, the constant companion of my ways and wanderings." Presently he broke out again, as if he were love-stricken in earnest, "O Princess Dulcinea, lady of this captive heart, a grievous wrong hast thou done me to drive me forth with scorn, and with inexorable obduracy banish me from the presence of thy beauty. O lady, deign to hold in remembrance this heart, thy vassal, that thus in anguish pines for love of thee."

So he went on stringing together these and other absurdities, all in the style of those his books had taught him, imitating their language as well as he could; and all the while he rode so slowly and the sun mounted so rapidly and with such fervour that it was enough to melt his brains if he had any. Nearly all day he travelled without anything remarkable happening to him, at which he was in despair, for he was anxious to encounter some one at once upon whom to try the might of his strong arm.

Writers there are who say the first adventure he met with was that of Puerto Lápice; others say it was that of the windmills; but what I have ascertained on this point, and what I have found written in the annals of La Mancha, is that he was on the road all day, and towards nightfall his hack and he found themselves dead tired and hungry, when, looking all around to see if he could discover any castle or shepherd's shanty where he might refresh himself and relieve his sore wants, he perceived not far out of his road an inn, which was as welcome as a star guiding him to the portals, if not the palaces, of his redemption; and quickening his pace he reached it just as night was setting in. At the door were standing two young women, girls of the district as they call them, on their way to Seville with some carriers who had chanced to halt that night at the inn; and as, happen what might to our adventurer, everything he saw or imaged seemed to him to be and to happen after the fashion of what he read of, the moment he saw the inn he pictured it to himself as a castle with its four turrets and pinnacles of shining silver, not forgetting the drawbridge and moat and all the belongings usually ascribed to castles of the sort. To this inn, which to him seemed a castle, he advanced, and at a short distance from it he checked Rocinante, hoping that some dwarf would show himself upon the battlements, and by sound of trumpet give notice that a knight was approaching the castle. But seeing that they were slow about it, and that Rocinante was in a hurry to reach the stable, he made for the inn door, and perceived the two gay damsels who were standing there, and who seemed to him to be two fair maidens or lovely ladies taking their ease at the castle gate.

At this moment it so happened that a swineherd who was going through the stubbles collecting a drove of pigs (for, without any apology, that is what they are called) gave a blast of his horn to bring them together, and forthwith it seemed to Don Quixote to be what he was expecting, the signal of some dwarf announcing his arrival; and so with prodigious satisfaction he rode up to the inn and to the ladies, who, seeing a man of this sort approaching in full armour and with lance and buckler, were turning in dismay into the inn, when Don Quixote, guessing their fear by their flight, raising his pasteboard visor, disclosed his dry dusty visage, and with courteous bearing and gentle voice addressed them, "Your ladyships need not fly or fear any rudeness, for that it belongs not to the order of knighthood which I profess to offer to anyone, much less to highborn maidens as your appearance proclaims you to be." The girls were looking at him and straining their eyes to make out the features which the clumsy visor obscured, but when they heard themselves called maidens, a thing so much out of their line, they could not restrain their laughter, which made Don Quixote wax indignant, and say, "Modesty becomes the fair, and moreover laughter that has little cause is great silliness; this, however, I say not to pain or anger you, for my desire is none other than to serve you."

The incomprehensible language and the unpromising looks of our cavalier only increased the ladies' laughter, and that increased his irritation, and matters might have gone farther if at that moment the landlord had not come out, who, being a very fat man, was a very peaceful one. He, seeing this grotesque figure clad in armour that did not match any more than his saddle, bridle, lance, buckler, or corselet, was not at all indisposed to join the damsels in their manifestations of amusement; but, in truth, standing in awe of such a complicated armament, he thought it best to speak him fairly, so he said, "Señor Caballero, if your worship wants lodging, bating the bed (for there is not one in the inn) there is plenty of everything else here." Don Quixote, observing the respectful bearing of the Alcaide of the fortress (for so innkeeper and inn seemed in his eyes), made answer, "Sir Castellan, for me anything will suffice, for

     'My armour is my only wear,
     My only rest the fray.'"

The host fancied he called him Castellan because he took him for a "worthy of Castile," though he was in fact an Andalusian, and one from the strand of San Lucar, as crafty a thief as Cacus and as full of tricks as a student or a page. "In that case," said he,

     "'Your bed is on the flinty rock,
     Your sleep to watch alway;'

and if so, you may dismount and safely reckon upon any quantity of sleeplessness under this roof for a twelvemonth, not to say for a single night." So saying, he advanced to hold the stirrup for Don Quixote, who got down with great difficulty and exertion (for he had not broken his fast all day), and then charged the host to take great care of his horse, as he was the best bit of flesh that ever ate bread in this world. The landlord eyed him over but did not find him as good as Don Quixote said, nor even half as good; and putting him up in the stable, he returned to see what might be wanted by his guest, whom the damsels, who had by this time made their peace with him, were now relieving of his armour. They had taken off his breastplate and backpiece, but they neither knew nor saw how to open his gorget or remove his make-shift helmet, for he had fastened it with green ribbons, which, as there was no untying the knots, required to be cut. This, however, he would not by any means consent to, so he remained all the evening with his helmet on, the drollest and oddest figure that can be imagined; and while they were removing his armour, taking the baggages who were about it for ladies of high degree belonging to the castle, he said to them with great sprightliness:

     "Oh, never, surely, was there knight
        So served by hand of dame,
     As served was he, Don Quixote hight,
        When from his town he came;
     With maidens waiting on himself,
        Princesses on his hack--

or Rocinante, for that, ladies mine, is my horse's name, and Don Quixote of La Mancha is my own; for though I had no intention of declaring myself until my achievements in your service and honour had made me known, the necessity of adapting that old ballad of Lancelot to the present occasion has given you the knowledge of my name altogether prematurely. A time, however, will come for your ladyships to command and me to obey, and then the might of my arm will show my desire to serve you."

The girls, who were not used to hearing rhetoric of this sort, had nothing to say in reply; they only asked him if he wanted anything to eat. "I would gladly eat a bit of something," said Don Quixote, "for I feel it would come very seasonably." The day happened to be a Friday, and in the whole inn there was nothing but some pieces of the fish they call in Castile "abadejo," in Andalusia "bacallao," and in some places "curadillo," and in others "troutlet;" so they asked him if he thought he could eat troutlet, for there was no other fish to give him. "If there be troutlets enough," said Don Quixote, "they will be the same thing as a trout; for it is all one to me whether I am given eight reals in small change or a piece of eight; moreover, it may be that these troutlets are like veal, which is better than beef, or kid, which is better than goat. But whatever it be let it come quickly, for the burden and pressure of arms cannot be borne without support to the inside." They laid a table for him at the door of the inn for the sake of the air, and the host brought him a portion of ill-soaked and worse cooked stockfish, and a piece of bread as black and mouldy as his own armour; but a laughable sight it was to see him eating, for having his helmet on and the beaver up, he could not with his own hands put anything into his mouth unless some one else placed it there, and this service one of the ladies rendered him. But to give him anything to drink was impossible, or would have been so had not the landlord bored a reed, and putting one end in his mouth poured the wine into him through the other; all which he bore with patience rather than sever the ribbons of his helmet.

While this was going on there came up to the inn a sowgelder, who, as he approached, sounded his reed pipe four or five times, and thereby completely convinced Don Quixote that he was in some famous castle, and that they were regaling him with music, and that the stockfish was trout, the bread the whitest, the wenches ladies, and the landlord the castellan of the castle; and consequently he held that his enterprise and sally had been to some purpose. But still it distressed him to think he had not been dubbed a knight, for it was plain to him he could not lawfully engage in any adventure without receiving the order of knighthood.

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Capítulo II.

Que trata de la primera salida que de su tierra hizo el ingenioso don Quijote

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Hechas, pues, estas prevenciones, no quiso aguardar más tiempo a poner en efecto su pensamiento, apretándole a ello la falta que él pensaba que hacía en el mundo su tardanza, según eran los agravios que pensaba deshacer, tuertos que enderezar, sinrazones que emendar, y abusos que mejorar y deudas que satisfacer. Y así, sin dar parte a persona alguna de su intención, y sin que nadie le viese, una mañana, antes del día, que era uno de los calurosos del mes de julio, se armó de todas sus armas, subió sobre Rocinante, puesta su mal compuesta celada, embrazó su adarga, tomó su lanza, y, por la puerta falsa de un corral, salió al campo con grandísimo contento y alborozo de ver con cuánta facilidad había dado principio a su buen deseo. Mas, apenas se vio en el campo, cuando le asaltó un pensamiento terrible, y tal, que por poco le hiciera dejar la comenzada empresa; y fue que le vino a la memoria que no era armado caballero, y que, conforme a ley de caballería, ni podía ni debía tomar armas con ningún caballero; y, puesto que lo fuera, había de llevar armas blancas, como novel caballero, sin empresa en el escudo, hasta que por su esfuerzo la ganase. Estos pensamientos le hicieron titubear en su propósito; mas, pudiendo más su locura que otra razón alguna, propuso de hacerse armar caballero del primero que topase, a imitación de otros muchos que así lo hicieron, según él había leído en los libros que tal le tenían. En lo de las armas blancas, pensaba limpiarlas de manera, en teniendo lugar, que lo fuesen más que un armiño; y con esto se quietó y prosiguió su camino, sin llevar otro que aquel que su caballo quería, creyendo que en aquello consistía la fuerza de las aventuras.

Yendo, pues, caminando nuestro flamante aventurero, iba hablando consigo mismo y diciendo:

—¿Quién duda sino que en los venideros tiempos, cuando salga a luz la verdadera historia de mis famosos hechos, que el sabio que los escribiere no ponga, cuando llegue a contar esta mi primera salidad tan de mañana, desta manera?: «Apenas había el rubicundo Apolo tendido por la faz de la ancha y espaciosa tierra las doradas hebras de sus hermosos cabellos, y apenas los pequeños y pintados pajarillos con sus arpadas lenguas habían saludado con dulce y meliflua armonía la venida de la rosada aurora, que, dejando la blanda cama del celoso marido, por las puertas y balcones del manchego horizonte a los mortales se mostraba, cuando el famoso caballero don Quijote de la Mancha, dejando las ociosas plumas, subió sobre su famoso caballo Rocinante, y comenzó a caminar por el antiguo y conocido campo de Montiel».

Y era la verdad que por él caminaba. Y añadió diciendo:

—Dichosa edad, y siglo dichoso aquel adonde saldrán a luz las famosas hazañas mías, dignas de entallarse en bronces, esculpirse en mármoles y pintarse en tablas para memoria en lo futuro. ¡Oh tú, sabio encantador, quienquiera que seas, a quien ha de tocar el ser coronista de esta peregrina historia, ruégote que no te olvides de mi buen Rocinante, compañero eterno mío en todos mis caminos y carreras!

Luego volvía diciendo, como si verdaderamente fuera enamorado:

—¡Oh princesa Dulcinea, señora deste cautivo corazón!, mucho agravio me habedes fecho en despedirme y reprocharme con el riguroso afincamiento de mandarme no parecer ante la vuestra fermosura. Plégaos, señora, de membraros deste vuestro sujeto corazón, que tantas cuitas por vuestro amor padece.

Con éstos iba ensartando otros disparates, todos al modo de los que sus libros le habían enseñado, imitando en cuanto podía su lenguaje. Con esto, caminaba tan despacio, y el sol entraba tan apriesa y con tanto ardor, que fuera bastante a derretirle los sesos, si algunos tuviera.

Casi todo aquel día caminó sin acontecerle cosa que de contar fuese, de lo cual se desesperaba, porque quisiera topar luego luego con quien hacer experiencia del valor de su fuerte brazo. Autores hay que dicen que la primera aventura que le avino fue la del Puerto Lápice; otros dicen que la de los molinos de viento; pero, lo que yo he podido averiguar en este caso, y lo que he hallado escrito en los Anales de la Mancha, es que él anduvo todo aquel día, y, al anochecer, su rocín y él se hallaron cansados y muertos de hambre; y que, mirando a todas partes por ver si descubriría algún castillo o alguna majada de pastores donde recogerse y adonde pudiese remediar su mucha hambre y necesidad, vio, no lejos del camino por donde iba, una venta, que fue como si viera una estrella que, no a los portales, sino a los alcázares de su redención le encaminaba. Diose priesa a caminar, y llegó a ella a tiempo que anochecía.

Estaban acaso a la puerta dos mujeres mozas, destas que llaman del partido, las cuales iban a Sevilla con unos arrieros que en la venta aquella noche acertaron a hacer jornada; y, como a nuestro aventurero todo cuanto pensaba, veía o imaginaba le parecía ser hecho y pasar al modo de lo que había leído, luego que vio la venta, se le representó que era un castillo con sus cuatro torres y chapiteles de luciente plata, sin faltarle su puente levadiza y honda cava, con todos aquellos adherentes que semejantes castillos se pintan. Fuese llegando a la venta, que a él le parecía castillo, y a poco trecho della detuvo las riendas a Rocinante, esperando que algún enano se pusiese entre las almenas a dar señal con alguna trompeta de que llegaba caballero al castillo. Pero, como vio que se tardaban y que Rocinante se daba priesa por llegar a la caballeriza, se llegó a la puerta de la venta, y vio a las dos destraídas mozas que allí estaban, que a él le parecieron dos hermosas doncellas o dos graciosas damas que delante de la puerta del castillo se estaban solazando. En esto, sucedió acaso que un porquero que andaba recogiendo de unos rastrojos una manada de puercos—que, sin perdón, así se llaman— tocó un cuerno, a cuya señal ellos se recogen, y al instante se le representó a don Quijote lo que deseaba, que era que algún enano hacía señal de su venida; y así, con extraño contento, llegó a la venta y a las damas, las cuales, como vieron venir un hombre de aquella suerte, armado y con lanza y adarga, llenas de miedo, se iban a entrar en la venta; pero don Quijote, coligiendo por su huida su miedo, alzándose la visera de papelón y descubriendo su seco y polvoroso rostro, con gentil talante y voz reposada, les dijo:

No fuyan las vuestras mercedes ni teman desaguisado alguno; ca a la orden de caballería que profeso non toca ni atañe facerle a ninguno, cuanto más a tan altas doncellas como vuestras presencias demuestran.

Mirábanle las mozas, y andaban con los ojos buscándole el rostro, que la mala visera le encubría; mas, como se oyeron llamar doncellas, cosa tan fuera de su profesión, no pudieron tener la risa, y fue de manera que don Quijote vino a correrse y a decirles:

—Bien parece la mesura en las fermosas, y es mucha sandez además la risa que de leve causa procede; pero no vos lo digo porque os acuitedes ni mostredes mal talante; que el mío non es de ál que de serviros.

El lenguaje, no entendido de las señoras, y el mal talle de nuestro caballero acrecentaba en ellas la risa y en él el enojo; y pasara muy adelante si a aquel punto no saliera el ventero, hombre que, por ser muy gordo, era muy pacífico, el cual, viendo aquella figura contrahecha, armada de armas tan desiguales como eran la brida, lanza, adarga y coselete, no estuvo en nada en acompañar a las doncellas en las muestras de su contento. Mas, en efeto, temiendo la máquina de tantos pertrechos, determinó de hablarle comedidamente; y así, le dijo:

—Si vuestra merced, señor caballero, busca posada, amén del lecho (porque en esta venta no hay ninguno), todo lo demás se hallará en ella en mucha abundancia.

Viendo don Quijote la humildad del alcaide de la fortaleza, que tal le pareció a él el ventero y la venta, respondió:

—Para mí, señor castellano, cualquiera cosa basta, porque mis arreos son las armas, mi descanso el pelear, etc.

Pensó el huésped que el haberle llamado castellano había sido por haberle parecido de los sanos de Castilla, aunque él era andaluz, y de los de la playa de Sanlúcar, no menos ladrón que Caco, ni menos maleante que estudiantado paje; y así, le respondió:

—Según eso, las camas de vuestra merced serán duras peñas, y su dormir, siempre velar; y siendo así, bien se puede apear, con seguridad de hallar en esta choza ocasión y ocasiones para no dormir en todo un año, cuanto más en una noche.

Y, diciendo esto, fue a tener el estribo a don Quijote, el cual se apeó con mucha dificultad y trabajo, como aquel que en todo aquel día no se había desayunado.

Dijo luego al huésped que le tuviese mucho cuidado de su caballo, porque era la mejor pieza que comía pan en el mundo. Miróle el ventero, y no le pareció tan bueno como don Quijote decía, ni aun la mitad; y, acomodándole en la caballeriza, volvió a ver lo que su huésped mandaba, al cual estaban desarmando las doncellas, que ya se habían reconciliado con él; las cuales, aunque le habían quitado el peto y el espaldar, jamás supieron ni pudieron desencajarle la gola, ni quitalle la contrahecha celada, que traía atada con unas cintas verdes, y era menester cortarlas, por no poderse quitar los ñudos; mas él no lo quiso consentir en ninguna manera, y así, se quedó toda aquella noche con la celada puesta, que era la más graciosa y estraña figura que se pudiera pensar; y, al desarmarle, como él se imaginaba que aquellas traídas y llevadas que le desarmaban eran algunas principales señoras y damas de aquel castillo, les dijo con mucho donaire:

     —Nunca fuera caballero
     de damas tan bien servido
     como fuera don Quijote
     cuando de su aldea vino:
     doncellas curaban dél;
     princesas, del su rocino,

o Rocinante, que éste es el nombre, señoras mías, de mi caballo, y don Quijote de la Mancha el mío; que, puesto que no quisiera descubrirme fasta que las fazañas fechas en vuestro servicio y pro me descubrieran, la fuerza de acomodar al propósito presente este romance viejo de Lanzarote ha sido causa que sepáis mi nombre antes de toda sazón; pero, tiempo vendrá en que las vuestras señorías me manden y yo obedezca, y el valor de mi brazo descubra el deseo que tengo de serviros.

Las mozas, que no estaban hechas a oír semejantes retóricas, no respondían palabra; sólo le preguntaron si quería comer alguna cosa.

—Cualquiera yantaría yo —respondió don Quijote—, porque, a lo que entiendo, me haría mucho al caso.

A dicha, acertó a ser viernes aquel día, y no había en toda la venta sino unas raciones de un pescado que en Castilla llaman abadejo, y en Andalucía bacallao, y en otras partes curadillo, y en otras truchuela. Preguntáronle si por ventura comería su merced truchuela, que no había otro pescado que dalle a comer.

—Como haya muchas truchuelas —respondió don Quijote—, podrán servir de una trucha, porque eso se me da que me den ocho reales en sencillos que en una pieza de a ocho. Cuanto más, que podría ser que fuesen estas truchuelas como la ternera, que es mejor que la vaca, y el cabrito que el cabrón. Pero, sea lo que fuere, venga luego, que el trabajo y peso de las armas no se puede llevar sin el gobierno de las tripas.

Pusiéronle la mesa a la puerta de la venta, por el fresco, y trújole el huésped una porción del mal remojado y peor cocido bacallao, y un pan tan negro y mugriento como sus armas; pero era materia de grande risa verle comer, porque, como tenía puesta la celada y alzada la visera, no podía poner nada en la boca con sus manos si otro no se lo daba y ponía; y ansí, una de aquellas señoras servía deste menester. Mas, al darle de beber, no fue posible, ni lo fuera si el ventero no horadara una caña, y puesto el un cabo en la boca, por el otro le iba echando el vino; y todo esto lo recebía en paciencia, a trueco de no romper las cintas de la celada.

Estando en esto, llegó acaso a la venta un castrador de puercos; y, así como llegó, sonó su silbato de cañas cuatro o cinco veces, con lo cual acabó de confirmar don Quijote que estaba en algún famoso castillo, y que le servían con música, y que el abadejo eran truchas; el pan, candeal; y las rameras, damas; y el ventero, castellano del castillo, y con esto daba por bien empleada su determinación y salida. Mas lo que más le fatigaba era el no verse armado caballero, por parecerle que no se podría poner legítimamente en aventura alguna sin recebir la orden de caballería.

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