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Volume 2, Chapter 23 Notes from Don Quixote

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Don Quixote Volume 2, Chapter 23

Don Quijote tells his incredible experiences down in the cave. Tired of dangling on the rope (after eighty feet), he got out on a ledge to rest. He called up for his friends to stop letting the rope down; but, as they didn't -- he let it coil up next to him. As he wondered how he would now get to the very bottom of the cave, he fell asleep and when he awoke found himself in a beautiful meadow. He then noticed a crystal palace and as its gates opened, a very old man came over and hugged him. He is none other than Montesino himself and he has been waiting for none other than Don Quijote himself who is to be the one to tell the world what is hidden in the cave.

Don Quijote asks him if it is true that he cut out the heart of his friend Durandarte to bring to the Lady Belarma. It is true (though his friend was dead at the time) and Montesino brings him to a marble tomb where Durandarte lies in the flesh -- a somewhat noisy dead man as he just then calls out to Montesino asking about the delivery of his heart. Montesino gets upset, because no matter how many times he explains that he delivered the heart, his friend either does not hear or doesn't believe him. However, he does hear him when he explains that Don Quijote (of whom Merlin prophesied great things according to Montesino) is here and may be able to help break the enchantment, and replies:

"....if not, oh my cousin, what I say is: patience, and shuffle the cards." Volume 2, Chapter 23, pg. 482

It turns out that there a great many enchanted people down there. Lady Belarma arrives at the end of a procession carrying the mummified heart. She does not look too good to Don Quijote, and Montesino explains that it is not due to her menstruating but the stress she has been under. Montesino then has the effrontery to say, that on a good day her beauty would rival that of Dulcinea. This ticks Don Quijote off but Montesino apologizes for his blunder.

They then discuss how three days passed for Don Quijote and only an hour for Sancho and the cousin. They decide it has something to do with enchantment and ask Don Quijote if he ate during the time he was there; which he did not -- in keeping with what they know of enchantments. For they know that the enchanted do not eat or have bowel movements (although they did not ask Don Quijote if he experienced the latter).

Don Quijote goes on to tell them that he even saw Dulcinea down there (after all she is suffering from an enchantment of homeliness!). This is where Sancho knows his master has lost his marbles since he himself produced this ersatz Dulcinea. She would not speak with Don Quijote himself but sent one of the two maidens that accompanied her to ask him for six dollars for a new petticoat. He only had four dollars and handed that over whereupon the maiden whirled away in a high-flying cartwheel! Montesino also tells him that he will be informed how to break all these enchantments at another time.

Sancho confronts Don Quijote about the possibility that a magician has stolen his sanity.

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