The captains showed plainly the concern they felt, the regent's lady was downcast, and the pilgrims did not at all enjoy seeing their property confiscated. Roque kept them in suspense in this way for a while; but he had no desire to prolong their distress, which might be seen a bowshot off, and turning to the captains he said, "Sirs, will your worships be pleased of your courtesy to lend me sixty crowns, and her ladyship the regent's wife eighty, to satisfy this band that follows me, for 'it is by his singing the abbot gets his dinner;' and then you may at once proceed on your journey, free and unhindered, with a safe-conduct which I shall give you, so that if you come across any other bands of mine that I have scattered in these parts, they may do you no harm; for I have no intention of doing injury to soldiers, or to any woman, especially one of quality."
Profuse and hearty were the expressions of gratitude with which the captains thanked Roque for his courtesy and generosity; for such they regarded his leaving them their own money. Senora Dona Guiomar de Quinones wanted to throw herself out of the coach to kiss the feet and hands of the great Roque, but he would not suffer it on any account; so far from that, he begged her pardon for the wrong he had done her under pressure of the inexorable necessities of his unfortunate calling. The regent's lady ordered one of her servants to give the eighty crowns that had been assessed as her share at once, for the captains had already paid down their sixty. The pilgrims were about to give up the whole of their little hoard, but Roque bade them keep quiet, and turning to his men he said, "Of these crowns two fall to each man and twenty remain over; let ten be given to these pilgrims, and the other ten to this worthy squire that he may be able to speak favourably of this adventure;" and then having writing materials, with which he always went provided, brought to him, he gave them in writing a safe-conduct to the leaders of his bands; and bidding them farewell let them go free and filled with admiration at his magnanimity, his generous disposition, and his unusual conduct, and inclined to regard him as an Alexander the Great rather than a notorious robber.
One of the squires observed in his mixture of Gascon and Catalan, "This captain of ours would make a better friar than highwayman; if he wants to be so generous another time, let it be with his own property and not ours."
The unlucky wight did not speak so low but that Roque overheard him, and drawing his sword almost split his head in two, saying, "That is the way I punish impudent saucy fellows." They were all taken aback, and not one of them dared to utter a word, such deference did they pay him. Roque then withdrew to one side and wrote a letter to a friend of his at Barcelona, telling him that the famous Don Quixote of La Mancha, the knight-errant of whom there was so much talk, was with him, and was, he assured him, the drollest and wisest man in the world; and that in four days from that date, that is to say, on Saint John the Baptist's Day, he was going to deposit him in full armour mounted on his horse Rocinante, together with his squire Sancho on an ass, in the middle of the strand of the city; and bidding him give notice of this to his friends the Niarros, that they might divert themselves with him. He wished, he said, his enemies the Cadells could be deprived of this pleasure; but that was impossible, because the crazes and shrewd sayings of Don Quixote and the humours of his squire Sancho Panza could not help giving general pleasure to all the world. He despatched the letter by one of his squires, who, exchanging the costume of a highwayman for that of a peasant, made his way into Barcelona and gave it to the person to whom it was directed.