Don Quixote de la Mancha

By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra; Charles Jarvis et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 56
Of the prodigious and never-seen battle between Don Quixote de la Mancha and the lackey Tosilos, in defence of the duenna Doña Rodriguez's daughter.

THE duke and the duchess repented not of the jest put upon Sancho Panza, in relation to the government they had given him; especially since their steward came home that very day, and gave them a punctual relation of almost all the words and actions Sancho had said and done during that time. In fine, he exaggerated the assault of the island, with Sancho's fright, and departure; at which they were not a little pleased.

After this the history tells us, the appointed day of combat came, and the duke having over and over again instructed his lackey Tosilos how he should behave towards Don Quixote, so as to overcome him without killing or wounding him, commanded that the iron heads should be taken off their lances, telling Don Quixote that Christianity, upon which he valued himself, did not allow that this battle should be fought with so much peril and hazard of their lives, and that he should content himself with giving them free field-room in his territories, though in opposition to the decree of the holy council,* which prohibits such challenges; and therefore he would not push the affair to the utmost extremity. Don Quixote replied, that his excellency might dispose matters relating to this business as he liked best, for he would obey him in everything.

The dreadful day being now come, and the duke having commanded a spacious scaffold to be erected before the court of the castle for the judges of the field, and the two duennas, mother and daughter, appellants; an infinite number of people, from all the neighbouring towns and villages, flocked to see the novelty of this combat, the like having never been heard of in that country, neither by the living nor the dead.

The first who entered the field and the pale, was the master of the ceremonies, who examined the ground, and walked it all over, that there might be no foul play, nor any other thing covered to occasion stumbling or falling. Then entered the duennas and took their seats, covered with veils to their eyes, and even to their breasts, with tokens of no small concern.

-830-

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