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"Give The Devil His Due"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The phrase means to acknowledge a good even in an evil person. Maritornes, a scullery maid at the inn where Sancho and his master spend a night in the mistaken belief that it is a noble's castle, causes a commotion when discovered in the bed of one of the muleteers. Though she slips away, Sancho and Don Quixote get a beating. The next morning as they try to leave without paying, Sancho Panza is caught and tossed in a blanket. Out of pity for the exhausted and tormented squire, Maritornes brings him a drink of water. When he demands something stronger, as Cervantes relates:

. . . she went and fetched him wine to make him amends, and paid for 't out of her own pocket; for, to give the devil his due, 'twas said of her, that though she was somewhat too free of her favors, yet she had something of Christianity in her.