Of the First Sally that Don Quixote made to seek Adventures

All his preparations being made, he could no longer resist the desire
of carrying out his plans, his head being full of the wrongs he
intended to put right, the errors he wished to amend, and the evil
deeds he felt himself called upon to punish. And, therefore, without
telling any living creature, and unseen of anybody, somewhat before
daybreak—it being one of the warmest days in July—he armed himself
from head to foot, mounted on Rozinante, laced on his strange helmet,
gathered up his target, seized his lance, and through the back door
of his yard sallied forth into the fields, marvellously cheerful
and content to see how easily he had started on his new career. But
scarcely was he clear of the village when he was struck by a terrible
thought, and one which did well-nigh overthrow all his plans. For he
recollected that he had never been knighted, and therefore, according
to the laws of Knighthood, neither could he nor ought he to combat with
any Knight. And even if he were a Knight, he remembered to have read
that as a new Knight he ought to wear white armour without any device
upon his shield until he should win it by force of arms.

These thoughts made him waver a little in his plan; but more for the
reason that his head was full of his folly than for any other, he
determined to cause himself to be knighted by the first he met, as
others had done of whom he had read in the books which had so turned
his brain. As to the white armour, he resolved at the first opportunity
to scour his own until it should be whiter than ermine; and, having
satisfied himself with these intentions, he pursued his way without
following any other road than that which his horse was pleased to
choose, believing that to be the most correct way of meeting with
knightly adventures. And as he rode along he exclaimed to the empty
air as if he had been actually in love: ‘O Princess Dulcinea, Lady of
this captive heart, much wrong hast thou done me by dismissing me and
reproaching me with thy cruel commandment not to appear before thy
beauty! I pray thee, sweet Lady, to remember this thy faithful slave,
who for thy love suffers so many tortures.’

A thousand other ravings, after the style and manner that his books had
taught him, did he add to this as he travelled along, meeting with no
adventure worthy to be set down, whilst the sun mounted so swiftly and
with so great heat that it would have been sufficient to have melted
his brains if he had had any left.

He journeyed all that day long, and at night both he and his horse
were tired and marvellously pressed by hunger, and looking about him
on every side to see whether he could discover any Castle to which he
might retire for the night, he saw an Inn near unto the highway on
which he travelled, which was as welcome a sight to him as if he had
seen a guiding star. Then spurring his horse he rode towards it as fast
as he might, and arrived there much about nightfall.

There stood by chance at the Inn door two jolly peasant women who were
travelling towards Seville with some carriers, who happened to take up
their lodging in that Inn the same evening. And as our Knight Errant
believed all that he saw or heard to take place in the same manner as
he had read in his books, he no sooner saw the Inn than he fancied
it to be a Castle with four turrets and pinnacles of shining silver,
with a drawbridge, a deep moat, and all such things as belong to grand
Castles. Drawing slowly towards it, he checked Rozinante with the
bridle when he was close to the Inn, and rested awhile to see if any
dwarf would mount on the battlements to give warning with the sound
of a trumpet how some Knight did approach the Castle; but seeing they
stayed so long, and Rozinante was eager to get up to his stable, he
went to the Inn door, and there beheld the two wenches that stood at
it, whom he supposed to be two beautiful damsels or lovely ladies
that did solace themselves before the Castle gates. At that moment it
happened that a certain swineherd, as he gathered together his hogs,
blew the horn which was wont to bring them together, and at once Don
Quixote imagined it was some dwarf who gave notice of his arrival;
and he rode up to the Inn door with marvellous delight. The ladies,
when they beheld one armed in that manner with lance and target, made
haste to run into the Inn; but Don Quixote, seeing their fear by their
flight, lifted up his pasteboard visor, showed his withered and dusky
face, and spoke to them thus: ‘Let not your ladyships fly nor fear any
harm, for it does not belong to the order of Knighthood which I profess
to wrong anybody, much less such high-born damsels as your appearance
shows you to be.’

The wenches looked at him very earnestly, and sought with their eyes
for his face, which the ill-fashioned helmet concealed; but when they
heard themselves called high-born damsels, they could not contain
their laughter, which was so loud that Don Quixote was quite ashamed
of them and rebuked them, saying: ‘Modesty is a comely ornament of the
beautiful, and too much laughter springing from trifles is great folly;
but I do not tell you this to make you the more ashamed, for my desire
is none other than to do you all the honour and service I may.’

This speech merely increased their laughter, and with it his anger,
which would have passed all bounds if the Innkeeper had not come out at
this instant. Now this Innkeeper was a man of exceeding fatness, and
therefore, as some think, of a very peaceable disposition; and when he
saw that strange figure, armed in such fantastic armour, he was very
nearly keeping the two women company in their merriment and laughter.
But being afraid of the owner of such a lance and target, he resolved
to behave civilly for fear of what might happen, and thus addressed
him: ‘Sir Knight! if your Worship do seek for lodging, we have no bed
at liberty, but you shall find all other things in abundance.’

To which Don Quixote, noting the humility of the Constable of the
Castle—for such he took him to be—replied: ‘Anything, Sir Constable,
may serve me, for my arms are my dress, and the battlefield is my bed.’

While he was speaking, the Innkeeper laid hand on Don Quixote’s stirrup
and helped him to alight. This he did with great difficulty and pain,
for he had not eaten a crumb all that day. He then bade the Innkeeper
have special care of his horse, saying he was one of the best animals
that ever ate bread.

The Innkeeper looked at Rozinante again and again, but he did not seem
to him half so good as Don Quixote valued him. However, he led him
civilly to the stable, and returned to find his guest in the hands of
the high-born damsels, who were helping him off with his armour. They
had taken off his back and breast plates, but they could in no way get
his head and neck out of the strange, ill-fashioned helmet which he
had fastened on with green ribands.

Now these knots were so impossible to untie that the wenches would
have cut them, but this Don Quixote would not agree to. Therefore he
remained all the night with his helmet on, and looked the drollest and
strangest figure you could imagine. And he was now so pleased with the
women, whom he still took to be ladies and dames of the Castle, that
he said to them: ‘Never was Knight so well attended on and served by
ladies as was Don Quixote. When he departed from his village, damsels
attended on him and princesses on his horse. O ladies! Rozinante is the
name of my steed, and I am called Don Quixote, and the time shall come
when your ladyships may command me and I obey, and then the valour of
mine arm shall discover the desire I have to do you service.’

The women could make nothing of his talk, but asked him if he would
eat, and Don Quixote replying that such was his desire, there was
straightway laid a table at the Inn door. The Host brought out a
portion of badly boiled haddocks, and a black, greasy loaf, which
was all the Inn could supply. But the manner of Don Quixote’s eating
was the best sport in the world, for with his helmet on he could put
nothing into his mouth himself if others did not help him to find
his way, and therefore one of the wenches served his turn at that,
and helped to feed him. But they could not give him drink after that
manner, and he would have remained dry for ever if the Innkeeper had
not bored a cane, and putting one end in his mouth, poured the wine
down the other. And all this he suffered rather than cut the ribands of
his helmet.

And as he sat at supper the swineherd again sounded his horn, and
Don Quixote was still firm in the belief that he was in some famous
Castle where he was served with music, and that the stale haddock was
fresh trout, the bread of the finest flour, the two wenches high-born
damsels, and the Innkeeper the Constable of the Castle. Thus he thought
his career of Knight Errant was well begun, but he was still greatly
troubled by the thought that he was not yet dubbed Knight, and could
not therefore rightly follow his adventures until he received the
honour of Knighthood.