Don Quixote Volume 1, Chapter 27
As the priest and barber start putting together their costumes, they borrow things from the innkeeper and his wife that arouses their curiosity. The barber and priest explain about their friend's madness; the innkeepers recognize him as their destructive guest, and tell of their experiences with Don Quijote. The innkeepers enthusiastically help the priest and barber prepare their disguises; loaning them (among other items) an outdated, velvet-satin dress set and a russet and gray donkey tail for a beard. After they leave the inn, the priest realizes that dressing up as a woman is probably sacrilegious and that they must change costumes. Sancho recognizes them and laughs, and they decide to wait and wear the costumes only when they get nearer to Don Quijote.
They let Sancho believe the plan is merely to stop Don Quijote from continuing his penitence. They instruct Sancho not to tell Don Quijote who they; also to tell him that since Dulcinea is illiterate, she told Sancho to tell his master that he was to come see her immediately or she'd be angry with him. Sancho tells them of the crazed man that lives in the mountains. They don their costumes and Sancho suggests that he first see Don Quijote alone since Dulcinea's request might be enough to make him stop his penitence.
Waiting for Sancho, the priest and barber hear a man singing. It soon turns into sobbing and moaning and they decide to search for him. They find him and recognize him as Cardenio and try to talk him into rebuilding his life. Hearing and seeing strangely dressed strangers talk so intimately of his life got Cardenio's attention. Sane at the moment, he says that although heaven must have sent them to show the foolishness of his current lifestyle, if they knew his whole story they might think differently. We finally get to hear the rest of Cardenio's story.
He had confided in Don Fernando that he delayed approaching his father, regarding the marriage, since he knew his father would want him to first find out what the Duke's intentions were for his future. Don Fernando offers to talk to Cardenio's father and persuade him to start arrangements for the marriage. He has Cardenio return to his brother to get money to buy the horses. Cardenio tells Luscinda of these things; she appears upset and is full of tears that Cardenio does not understand. Cardenio carries a letter to the brother; who then instructs him to wait eight days before returning and to make sure the Duke does not see him (since they are paying for these horses without the Duke's consent).
Four days later a messenger arrives with a letter from Luscinda for Cardenio. She tells him that Don Fernando has asked her father for her hand in marriage and her father has agreed -- since he is a better catch. They are to be married secretly in two days. She cryptically tells him to come if he thinks he should; the outcome that day will make it clear to him whether or not she loves him. Cardenio manages to return shortly before the ceremony and to speak with Luscinda. She tells Cardenio that if they will not listen to her she will kill herself with a dagger hidden in her clothes and at the same time reveal her feelings for him.
Hidden and in a state of shock, Cardenio watches the ceremony. When asked, if she will take Don Fernando for her husband, Luscinda does not answer for quite some time. Cardenio waits for her to draw the dagger she spoke of, but she finally, softly says "I do". The groom says his vows and places the ring on her finger; but, before he can embrace her -- she faints. Cardenio is beside himself with rage, jealousy and betrayal. He sees Luscinda's mother unfasten her bodice (to help her breathe) and remove a sealed document. Don Fernando reads this and then sits heavily in a chair. Cardenio leaves.
After he finishes his story, he tells the priest and the barber (nicely) to save their breath for they cannot help him. Just then they all hear a voice.