Texto completo

Escena: En Sevilla y en Coimbra.




Doctor Barbosa

doctor, médico, portugués, caballero, nombre fingido de Jerónima


criado, ¿portugués?

Da. Estefanía

dama portuguesa, hija de D. Iñigo, prima de D. Gaspar, cásase con D. Rodrigo

D. Gaspar de Benavides


D. Gonzalo

caballero, hermano de Da. Jerónima

D. Iñigo de Cárdenas

caballero portugués

D. Jaime Centellas


Da. Jerónima

dama, cásase con D. Gaspar de Benavides

Da. Leonor

dama, prima de Estefanía


criado (de Gonzalo)

D. Manuel


Da. Marta de Barcelos

dama portuguesa, hermana del "doctor Barbosa”, nombre fingido de Jerónima

D. Martín



criada portuguesa, nombre fingido de Quiteria

Micaela Ayala



criada (de Da. Jerónima), cásase con Tello

D. Rodrigo



criado (de D. Gaspar), gracioso

P. anón.: un paje (habla v. 1581; v. 1581; el mismo, habla v. 3200?); acompañamiento del Rey (acot. ant. del v. 2415, no habla); suenan dentro vítores y música (*acot. ant. del v. 2415).


Doña Jerónima and Quiteria, a maid, are talking about Don Gaspar, who has been a guest of Jerónima's brother Gonzalo for a month but who has not spoken to Jerónima in all that time. Jerónima's ambition is to study medicine; she does not care to marry, unless she should find a very exceptional suitor. At present she studies Latin, as does Queen Isabel. She tells Quiteria that the night before she was looking through a keyhole and spied Gaspar who was looking at some papers, sometimes laughing and sometimes sighing as he read them. She proposes to find out what these papers are.

Gaspar, meanwhile, relates the story of how he had to flee Toledo. He was in love there with a young woman named Micaela, but her brother and mother promised her to another, Don Jaime, for reasons of money and social prestige. Jaime, however, received an anonymous note, ruining Micaela's reputation and accusing Gaspar of being her lover. Micaela's mother died of grief over these accusations and Jaime broke his engagement to Micaela, who believed Gaspar to have been the author of the letter. Although he denied this charge against him, she refused to believe him. Finally he found the persons who wrote the letter, killed one of them and wounded the other. After that he was forced to leave Toledo, and so he came to Gonzalo for protection. He now has reason to believe that Micaela's brother has put pressure on Jaime and that Jaime and Micaela are to marry after all. Gaspar's own plan is to flee to Portugal and to go from there to the Indies. Gonzalo tells him that he (Gonzalo) is to go to the New World to govern in Havana and invites Gaspar to go along with him rather than going to Portugal.

Jerónima and Quiteria, veiled, arranged with Gaspar to meet them in the Alcázar because they have news of Micaela. Jerónima is beginning to find Gaspar attractive. When Gaspar and Tello, his servant, come to the Alcázar, Jerónima, still veiled, tells Gaspar that he has offended her by being in her house for a month without speaking to her. She then informs him that Micaela has decided not to marry Jaime and wants to see him. At this point Gonzalo comes to warn Gaspar that he must take refuge in the cathedral because his enemies are in Seville and have searched his room in Gonzalo's house. In fact, he is mistaken on this point because it was really Jerónima and Quiteria who ransacked his room, looking for information about him. Gonzalo also tells Gaspar that he (Gonzalo) is to be sent to Pamplona rather than to the New World and that he must report to Pamplona immediately to help defend it against attack by the French. He recommends that Gaspar follow his original plan of going to Portugal, leaving early the next morning. Gaspar decides to take this advice, and Jerónima makes up her mind to go to Portugal too. She hurries home in order to arrive before Gonzalo returns and misses her.


Gaspar has taken refuge in Portugal, at the home of Don Iñigo in Coimbra, where Don Rodrigo comes to tell him that Micaela is to marry Jaime. Gaspar has fallen in love with Iñigo's daughter Estefanía and has her father's permission to court her. Rodrigo, too, finds Estefanía attractive and is jealous of Gaspar. Estefanía, in turn, is attracted to a young doctor, who is in fact Jerónima in disguise, and she is lovesick. Fearing she may be coming down with the plaque, Iñigo calls a Doctor Barbosa, who turns out to be the very same Jerónima. The "doctor" takes Estefanía's pulse, holds her hands and talks to her at length, after which "he" pronounces her much improved and promises to return that night, after meeting "his" sister, who is arriving from Lisbon. As "he" leaves, the doctor tells Iñigo that he should postpone the courtship of Gaspar and Estefanía because it is better for her health not to be involved now.

Observing Estefanía's obvious interest in the "doctor," Gaspar becomes jealous and goes to seek him out to talk with him. On the way, however, he encounters the doctor's sister, who is wearing a veil and who in reality is none other than Jerónima, now dressed as a woman. Gaspar is overwhelmed by her, although all she shows him of herself is her hand and her eyes. He is sure now that it is she he truly loves, which makes Tello comment that he changes women as if they were shirts.


"Dr. Barbosa" has earned such a fine reputation that the King has made "him" "dotor de cámara." Still disguised as the doctor, Jerónima advises Gasper not to see Estefanía for another day; he really wants to see the doctor's sister "Marta," but does not get a chance to tell the doctor. Meanwhile, Rodrigo is told by Dr. Barbosa that Estefanía loves him and that is why Gaspar has been forbidden to see her.

As Gaspar is speaking to Tello of his love for Marta, the doctor arrives, and in the course of the ensuing conversation Gaspar tells "him" that he is in love with Marta. The doctor hesitates, however, telling him that a lady has followed him from Seville to avenge her honor. Tello registers surprise that Gaspar would have had the opportunity to dishonor a lady without his knowing it. Shortly after this Quiteria brings Gaspar a note from Marta saying that she peeped through the keyhole while he and her brother were talking and heard their entire conversation. In the note she professes to love Gaspar.

At this point Jerónima and Quiteria arrive, dressed as Spanish women and with their faces covered. Jerónima tells Gaspar that she has come from Seville to take revenge on him. Later, dressed as Marta, Jerónima tells Estefanía that the doctor has been having an affair with Estefanía's cousin Leonor. Next Rodrigo comes to tell Estefanía that the doctor says that she loves him, which she denies. After Rodrigo's departure, the doctor enters, only to be chided by Estefanía for having told Rodrigo that she loves him and for having taken up with Leonor. The "doctor" now confesses that he is not really the doctor but Marta, dressed as her brother, and that she just made up the story about Leonor. She tells Estefanía that a dispensation has arrived from Rome for her to marry her cousin Gaspar. Estefanía says that she really loves the doctor, however, to which Marta replies that she may be too late because the doctor and Leonor are at the moment together planning their marriage. This bit of information prompts Estefanía to want to go look for them but Marta stops her by saying that in fact "she" really is the doctor, not his sister, and that he (the doctor) wants Estefanía's hand in marriage, to which request Estefanía accedes.

At this moment Gaspar and Rodrigo enter. Gaspar says that since it is clear that Estefanía does not want to marry him, he wants to marry Marta. In an aside, Jerónima, still dressed as the doctor, asks him to marry "me," a request that shocks Gaspar, of course. She tells him in secret, however, that she's really Marta dressed as the doctor, and they agree to marry. The doctor then asks Rodrigo and Estefanía to be witnesses to the marriage of Gaspar and Marta, and follows this with the request that Rodrigo give his hand to Estefanía, and the latter takes his hand on behalf of the doctor.

Iñigo enters with Quiteria, who announces that the time has come to tell the truth. Gonzalo has been killed in Pamplona, and Jerónima must go back to Seville to take care of the estate. Thus is Jerónima's real identity revealed. She confesses that she became a doctor only because of her love for Gaspar and, of course, the two of them will marry, as will Rodrigo and Estefanía. Imitating their masters, Quiteria and Tello decide to marry as well.


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