The preceding adventure was planned and carried out by the Duke, the Duchess, and their butler. Since it was so amusing, they planned another for the following day. Sancho asks the Duchess to proofread his letter to his wife. In the letter, he describes some of his recent adventures, encloses the hunting outfit given to him by the Duchess, and announces his new governorship. They walk into the garden so that the Duchess could show the letter to the Duke.
The word “amusing” appears many times in the chapters about the Duke and Duchess – both in conversation and in the narrative. The narrator mocks the noble couple by parroting their affectation. The self-conscious, upper-class word conveys the mixture of affection, condescension, and mockery with which the couple treats Quixote.
Suddenly they hear the sound of a drum and fife, and they see three musicians in black and an enormous veiled man with a huge beard. He introduces himself as a messenger from the Countess Trifaldi, also known as the Dolorous Duenna. She is seeking Don Quixote’s assistance. The Duke assures the messenger that the knight is at her service. He comments to Don Quixote, who is standing by his side, that he must be a famous knight indeed, and Quixote is glad that his is such a necessary profession.
The Duke and Duchess are mocking the thing Quixote cares most about – his usefulness in the world, his basic vocation as protector of the helpless. Though Quixote does not act as though he sees through the charade, his earlier self-consciousness and new suspiciousness of others suggests that some small part of him can sense the deceit.