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Escena: En un bosque y una quinta inmediatos a Nancy, capital del antiguo ducado de Lorena. Todos son franceses menos D. Gabriel, Montoya, Gerarda, Olalla, "el marqués de Aguilar," y "el Duque de Nájara."


Aguilar, Marqués de

marqués, nombre fingido de Gabriel


Condesa de Bles, sobrina de Felipo, prima de Clemencia y Beatriz, cásase con Carlos


noble, hija del Duque de Lorena, cásase con D. Gabriel

Carlos de Orliens

Duque de Orliens, príncipe, infante, hermano del rey de Francia


Duquesa de Joyosa, hija menor del Duque de Lorena, hermana de Beatriz, cásase con Enrique




Duque de Lorena, primo del rey

D. Gabriel Manrique

caballero-criado (sirve a Carlos), Duque de Nájara después


categoría desconocida


dama toledana, noble


camarera, dama-criada (sirve a Beatriz)


categoría desconocida


criado (de D. Gabriel), lacayo, gracioso

Nájara (Nájera), Duque de 

duque, nombre fingido de Gabriel


categoría desconocida


Infanta inglesa, cásase con el hermano de Carlos


caballero-criado (sirve a Beatriz)

Tranquitrinco (Joyan T)

categoría desconocida (Montoya llama a Felipo "Joyan Tranquitrinco.")

P. anón.: dos criados (hablan 463c; R I, 1772b; 1665b, 1666a); llaman dentro (*465a; *1775b; *1669a); un paje (habla 470c; 1789b; 1683a); criados y damas (*481a, acot. 1; *1813b, acot. 2; *1708a, acot. 1; habla un criado 481a, 1813b, 1708a; habla una dama que se llama Leonora 481b; 1815a; 1709b).

Todos son franceses menos D. Gabriel, Montoya, Gerarda, Olalla, "el Marqués de Aguilar", y "el Duque de Nájara".


Don Gabriel, a Spaniard, and his servant, Montoya, have accompanied Carlos, brother of the King of France, to Lorena, where Carlos is to marry Beatriz, oldest daughter of Felipo, the Duke of Lorena. Gabriel loves Beatriz, however, and has decided that he must leave. As he and Montoya are departing through the woods, Ricardo follows them and steals Gabriel’s suitcase, then tells him that one of three ladies of the court -- Beatriz, Clemencia, or Armesinda -- wants him to stay, and yet it is none of the three ("es una de las tres, y de las tres no es ninguna"). After saying that this lady wants to know more of Gabriel, Ricardo leaves with the suitcase. Gabriel follows him to a room in the palace, where Ricardo locks him up and leaves him in the dark. Meanwhile two servants of Ricardo capture Montoya and drop him through a chimney into the room where Gabriel is. Montoya's capture is, of course, treated as a great joke by the two servants.

Gabriel and Montoya have remained in the darkened room a few minutes when they hear a knock at the torno and are given a light and a paper. The paper turns out to be a note from the mysterious lady, telling Gabriel he will either die there or come out and tell by signs which of the three it is. He replies on the paper that he will come out. He and Montoya are fed, and another note says that they will be freed the next day.

Meanwhile, Beatriz, who is the one who has sent the notes to Gabriel, is sad because she has found jewels belonging to Gerarda, Gabriel's Spanish sweetheart, in his stolen suitcase. She tells her sister, Clemencia, and her cousin, Armesinda, that she will be happier if they will each wear one of the jewels that Carlos gave her, and they agree to do so. However, she gives each of them one of the jewels from Gabriel's suitcase instead.

Felipo comes, accompanied by Carlos and Enrique, who is supposed to marry Clemencia. Gabriel, now freed from the darkened room, joins them, looking for signs to tell him which one of the ladies wrote him the notes. He thinks to himself that Armesinda is too young to have been able to plan all this. Carlos confides to Gabriel that he prefers Clemencia to Beatriz, which makes Gabriel very happy. Enrique asks Gabriel to be his second (padrino) in a coming joust. Both Clemencia and Armesinda have on one of Gabriel's (Gerarda's) jewels and each says something to him about a lady who loves him. Beatriz, meanwhile, pays him no attention and leaves without addressing him at all. He at first believes that it is Armesinda, then Clemencia, then decides that maybe it is Beatriz after all, and that the signs are not signs and that she's testing his constancy.


Felipo receives a letter from the King asking him to delay the wedding of Beatriz and Carlos or to let Carlos go ahead and marry Clemencia. The King thinks he may marry Beatriz himself. On hearing this news, Enrique becomes angry and says that Clemencia loves him and that if Carlos marries her there will be trouble. After saying that she knows that Carlos loves Clemencia, Beatriz looks at Carlos and cries, then at Gabriel and laughs. Gabriel doesn't know what to make of this, but he decides it is a sign that Beatriz is the one. Clemencia then comes and leads him on, letting him think that she is the one. She then shows him a letter, which she found on the floor in Beatriz's room, that Gabriel wrote to the unknown lady. Clemencia assumes that it was intended for Armesinda and that she must be the one who is in love with Gabriel, because she thinks that Beatriz is happy over the prospect of becoming the Queen of France. Gabriel pretends not to know anything about what Clemencia is referring to until she shows him the letter. Then he asks her why she locked him and his servant up, why she sent him a message through the torno, why she is wearing stolen jewels, and why she keeps him in so much confusion. She is surprised at these questions, and, denying that she wrote him the letters, she asks him why she should want him when she has Enrique, who is her equal and not a foreigner.

Carlos tells Gabriel that he is now sorry about giving up Beatriz. He thinks he just thought he was in love with Clemencia because of Enrique's love for her. Now he wants Gabriel to pretend to love Beatriz so that he (Carlos) will be jealous and love Beatriz again. Armesinda has fallen in love with Gabriel and she talks to Montoya to try to find out why Gabriel is so sad. Montoya tells her about Gerarda and also about the unknown lady in the palace who loves him and all of the events that have taken place there.

Beatriz tells her father that she does not want to be a queen and that she will marry whomever she loves. Carlos thinks she means she wants to marry him; Enrique, thinking she is angry with Carlos for changing his mind about marrying her, gets his hopes up; Gabriel wonders if Beatriz is in love with him, if perhaps this is a sign to him. Felipo agrees not force her to marry against her will. Clemencia continues to make insinuating remarks to Gabriel; Armesinda comes and talks of Gerarda, the jewels and how the woman of the torno may make him forget Gerarda. Gabriel is completely confused. Each of the three women seems to be giving him signs that she is the one.


Clemencia tells Enrique that she thinks he does not really love her, since he switched his affections so quickly to Beatriz. He says he thought she did not care. She affirms her constancy, and they are in love once again. She tells him that Gabriel knows her secrets and will act as a go-between (tercero) for them and that he should ask Gabriel for advice. She then replaces the letter on the floor where she found it, in order to watch to see who picks it up, but Felipo comes along and wants to talk to her about all of the various possible marriages for her and Beatriz, so she has to leave with him.

After Clemencia leaves, Beatriz comes and finds the letter and picks it up. Carlos and Gabriel see her, and they agree that Carlos will go and talk with her, telling her that he knows that she is fond of Gabriel. His purpose in doing this is to get her interested in Gabriel so that Carlos will be jealous and thus begin to care for Beatriz again. When Carlos speaks to her of "signs" she thinks that Gabriel has told him all about the letters she wrote, and he at the same time realizes that there is something going on with her in regard to Gabriel. During their conversation he tells her, untruthfully, that Gabriel is the Duke of Nájara.

Meanwhile Felipo tells Armesinda that she can marry Enrique because Clemencia is giving him up. Armesinda says that he should think more about this and get more advice before making a final decision.

Beatriz later hears Armesinda and Clemencia accusing each other of being the person who wrote the letters to Gabriel. On hearing this Beatriz believes that Gabriel has told them as well as Carlos about the torno, the letters and all the rest. When Gabriel appears shortly thereafter, she scolds him for talking too much and leaves him wondering what she means, whereupon Clemencia appears and also complains that he has talked too much. By now he is very bewildered by what Beatriz and Clemencia have said.

Carlos comes along and tells Gabriel that he should have explained the situation to him before he (Carlos) decided to give up Clemencia and go back to Beatriz. This only adds to Gabriel's confusion. At this point Enrique turns up and says that Clemencia told him to ask Gabriel for advice, since he was acting as a go-between for them. Although he is terribly mixed up Gabriel pretends to know secrets that he cannot tell Enrique.

Another letter arrives telling Gabriel to go back to the room of the torno, so he and Montoya go there. Clemencia, meanwhile, tells Felipo the whole story of the letters and that Armesinda is the person who wrote them and who is in love with Gabriel. He is doubtful, so she tells him to get the letters from Gabriel so that he can tell by the writing who wrote them. Armesinda comes at this point and says that Clemencia is the one who wrote the letters.

Gabriel and Montoya, back in the room of the torno, receive a letter saying that Gabriel is to die because he is too talkative. At this moment Felipo, Beatriz, Clemencia, Armesinda, and Enrique all burst into the room. Gabriel and Montoya greet them with drawn swords, but they surrender them to Felipo. Gabriel cannot understand why they have all come, since his death was supposed to be in order to silence him so that no one know of the letters. Felipo asks Gabriel who wrote him the letters, and when he answers that he does not know Felipo asks for the letters in order to examine the handwriting. Upon seeing them, however, he says the writing is not that of any of the three women.

Gabriel then proposes to find out himself who the lady in question is. He asks where they got Gerarda's jewels and Beatriz replies that her maid found them under Beatriz's pillows -- a fact confirmed by one of the other ladies of the court. Gabriel then asks Felipo if all three of the women were with him when Gabriel and Montoya returned to the room of the torno. When Felipo replies that Clemencia and Armesinda were but that Beatriz was missing, Gabriel identifies Beatriz as the letter writer, saying she must have been in the torno delivering the last letter at that time. Beatriz confess that that he has discovered the truth.

At this moment Carlos arrives with the news that his brother the King has married an English princess and that the Duke of Nájara has died childless in Spain, so his nephew, Gabriel, has been named his heir and is the new duke. He asks that Gabriel and Beatriz be permitted to marry, as well as Clemencia and Enrique, and says that he will marry Armesinda. Felipo agrees to these marriages, and the play ends with Montoya lamenting the fact that he is left with no one, while Gabriel comments that love is, indeed, an ingenious plotter.


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