Wherein is related the grand adventure of the cave of Montesinos, lying in the heart of La Mancha, to which the valorous Don Quixote gave a happy conclusion.
THE new-married couple made exceeding much of Don Quixote, being obliged by the readiness he had shown in defending their cause: and they esteemed his discretion in equal degree with his valour, accounting him a Cid in arms, and a Cicero in eloquence. Three days honest Sancho solaced himself at the expense of the bride and bridegroom; from whom it was known, that the feigned wounding himself was not a trick concerted with the fair Quiteria, but an invention of Basilius's own, hoping from it the very success which fell out. True it is, he confessed he had let some of his friends into the secret, that they might favour his design, and support his deceit. Don Quixote affirmed, it could not nor ought to be called deceit, which aims at virtuous ends, and that the marriage of lovers was the most excellent of all ends: observing by the way, that hunger and continual necessity are the greatest enemies to love; for love is gaiety, mirth, and content, especially when the lover is in actual possession of the person beloved, to which necessity and poverty are opposed and declared enemies. All this he said with design to persuade Basilius to quit the exercise of those abilities, wherein he so much excelled; for though they procured him fame, they got him no money; and that now he should apply himself to acquire riches by lawful and industrious means, which are never wanting to the prudent and diligent.
'The honourable poor man (if a poor man can be said to have honour) possesses a jewel in having a beautiful wife; and whoever deprives him of her, deprives him of his honour, and as it were kills it. The beautiful and honourable woman, whose husband is poor, deserves to be crowned with laurels and palms of victory and triumph. Beauty, of itself alone, attracts the inclinations of all who behold it, and the royal eagles and other towering birds stoop to the tempting lure. But if such beauty be attended with poverty and a narrow fortune, it is besieged by kites and vultures, and other birds of prey; and she, who stands firm against so many attacks, may well be called the crown of her husband.