Sancho and Quixote wash off the road dust in a stream. Sancho wants to have lunch, but Quixote is too upset to put anything in his mouth. He was born to always be dying of his thoughts, he says, and Sancho was born to eat. He is so humiliated by his ignoble defeat that he wants to die of hunger. Sancho tells him that he will feel better after he eats and sleeps. Quixote agrees to nap if Sancho promises to give himself some of the lashes that will disenchant Dulcinea. They sleep most of the day and hurry to a nearby inn, which Quixote calls an inn and not a castle (and so does the author). They get a room and a meager dinner.
Quixote has always held fast to the belief that all his misfortunes have been caused by evil enchanters, by unfriendly and irrational outside forces. We are startled to hear him admit that the cause of his troubles is internal, that his own thoughts cause him the most harm. And we note another milestone in Quixote’s disenchantment when he sees an inn as an inn, and not as a castle.
As they eat, they overhear some people in the next room talking about the second part of Don Quixote de la Mancha. The two men agree that the second part is much worse than the first, especially because it describes Don Quixote out of love with Dulcinea. When don Quixote springs up challenging anyone who says such a thing, the two gentlemen come in and greet him with pleasure – one is called Don Juan and the other is Don Jerónimo. They hand Don Quixote the second volume of the history. Quixote looks through it and makes several criticisms – it calls Sancho’s wife Mari Gutiérrez, when in reality her name is Teresa.
Quixote and Sancho establish the inauthenticity of the Avellaneda second volume by citing two inaccuracies: Quixote falling out of love with Dulcinea, and the misnaming of Sancho’s wife. But we have seen that Quixote does, in a way, fall out of love with Dulcinea in the second part, because she is fading from his imagination. And Sancho’s wife has been called several different names in the history. The original is always lost; the line between the inauthentic and the authentic (the true and the false) is blurred.
They continue talking over dinner. Don Jerónimo says that the second book depicts Sancho as an unfunny glutton. Sancho tells the gentlemen that the Sancho and Quixote in the false second book aren’t the same as the Sancho and Quixote in the first book. Quixote refuses to read any more of the second book so as not to sully his thoughts. When he hears that the second book describes his adventures in the jousts at Saragossa, he changes his plans and decides to avoid Saragossa and go to Barcelona instead. They sleep and leave the next morning.
In this scene, Quixote and Sancho have finally come face to face with their fictional doubles. They are forced to enter into a sort of competition with these doubles: they must prove their reality as against the reality of the doubles. Quixote decides to avoid Saragossa to separate himself from his double and to overpower him.