Soon the renegade bought a boat, and the captive gathered a Moorish crew and sailed with the renegade to a town called Cherchell near Zoraida’s villa. He came to the villa and received permission to enter by telling Zoraida’s father that he was a slave looking for salad leaves. Zoraida came out into the garden to speak to him, dressed very richly and beautifully. Zoraida spoke to the captive in front of her father in a sort of double-talk, and he told her that they would be sailing for Spain the following day.
This romance is very different from both Quixote’s platonic love and the crisscrossed love stories that have just been resolved. The subplot romances are based on economic and social likeness, but this is a romance of unlikeness.
The next day, the renegade took the Moorish crew hostage in order to force them to sail to Spain. They went to get Zoraida from the villa at night when her father was asleep, since she insisted that he must not be touched. But he woke up and began shouting, so they tied him up and took him hostage onto the boat, along with a trunk full of money and jewelry. Hajji Murad begged for his and his daughter’s freedom, but the renegade explained that his daughter has chosen to become a Christian and planned the escape herself. When he heard this news, Hajji Murad threw himself into the sea. The men rescued him and left him with the other Moorish prisoners on a little island.
Though Zoraida’s story seems to be about freedom and boundary-crossing, it is also a journey from one tower to another – from one religious and cultural loyalty to another. Her choice shows courage and independence, but it is also a kind of obedience: she is following the instructions of her father’s slave, the woman that was like a mother to her when she was younger. She is not going from civilization into the wilderness, like Quixote and Sancho.
As they were sailing away, the Moorish man’s curses still ringing in their ears, they came upon another ship, which signaled them a greeting. The renegade decided not to reply, thinking it must be a ship of French pirates. When the mysterious vessel came closer it fired two cannonballs at the captive’s ship, which rapidly began sinking. The men on the ship (who were indeed French) explained that they fired because it is impolite to ignore a greeting; they helped Zoraida and the others onto their ship and took all their valuables. However, they gave the company a little boat and enough supplies to complete their journey. The next day, the captive and the others reached the Spanish coast.
It’s hard to say whether the French sailors are in earnest when they cite impoliteness as the reason for their attack. Like many other parts of this novel, their comment is probably a mixture of humor and seriousness. In any case, it is an extreme example of the rule-bound society in which Quixote sows disorder: even in the lawless reaches of the ocean, even in the mouths of ruthless pirates, society asserts its strict rules.
The company began walking in search of some settlement. On their way they came upon a shepherd boy, who became so frightened when he saw people in Moorish clothes that he ran away shouting. Some coastguards came their way expecting a Moorish army and finding instead a small group of Christians. One of the former captives recognized a coastguard as his uncle, and the guards helped the group reach a nearby town. Soon everyone split up. Now, says the captive, he is travelling with Zoraida to find his father or his brothers, who might help him get settled with his new bride.
As soon as they step off the boat, society pulls them in. Right away, they are accosted by guards anxious to uphold the recent anti-Moorish laws. Luckily, one man’s family ties help them transition smoothly from sea to civilization. The ever-present buzz of the legal system in the novel’s background is naturalistic and prosaic, like the novel’s inclusion of bad jokes and bodily functions.