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Escena: En Madrid.


D. Alonso

noble, caballero, viejo, perulero, padre de Da. Magdalena y de D. Jerónimo

Da. Angela

dama noble, hermana de D. Sebastián, cásase con D. Jerónimo


categoría desconocida

Chirinola, Condesa de 

condesa italiana, nombre fingido de Magdalena

Chirinola, Condesa de 

condesa italiana, nombre fingido de Angela


caballero italiano

D. Jerónimo

caballero, noble, hermano de Da. Magdalena

Juan Blanco

categoría desconocida

D. Juan de Bastida


Da. Juana


D. Luis

caballero, primo de D. Melchor

Da. Magdalena

noble, dama, cásase con D. Melchor



Martín Danza

categoría desconocida

D. Melchor

hidalgo, caballero


dueña de Da. Magdalena, indiana, cásase con Ventura

D. Sebastián

caballero, noble

Suero Santillana


Ventura (Venturilla)

lacayo (de D. Melchor), gracioso

P. anón.: criados (148b, acot. 2; R II, 1490b, acot.3; no hablan).


Melchor, accompanied by his lackey, Ventura, has come to Madrid, nearly broke, from León, to marry the wealthy daughter of an old family friend who has just returned from the New World. In a church he sees a veiled lady with a beautiful hand, with whom he falls in love. He notices the man sitting next to her cut the cord of her purse from her belt. He takes the purse from the man and then goes outside to wait for its owner to appear. When she comes out he tells her that he saw a robber take her purse, and gives her his (with what little money he has left), pretending it is the one he retrieved from the thief. When she says it is not hers, they agree to let her servant keep it while he tries to find its rightful owner, and they are to meet again the following day in order to return it if they have found its owner. She asks him not to follow her, and he accedes to her request.

Melchor then meets his cousin Luis and Jerónimo, who is (unbeknownst to Melchor, of course) the brother of Magdalena, the girl whom he met at church, and who happens to be, incidentally, the one he has come to Madrid to marry (although none of them realize this). Luis confides to Melchor that he loves the girl Melchor is supposed to marry, but that he is willingly giving her up for Melchor. Melchor, in turn, tells Luis of having met someone whom he thinks he loves. Magdalena, meanwhile, is very much attracted to Melchor. When Melchor and Ventura go to the home of Alonso, the father of Jerónimo and Magdalena, to meet Melchor's intended, she recognizes him, but he does not think her hand is the one he loves, although Ventura tells him it is the same one. Alonso's upstairs neighbors, Sebastián and his sister Angela, who scorns all men, come down to congratulate Melchor and Magdalena.


Magdalena, dressed in mourning and posing as the veiled lady from the church, goes to meet Melchor the following day. She first encounters Luis (who does not recognize her, of course) and asks him to send Melchor, who is nearby, over to talk to her. Luis tells her to bewitch Melchor, for this would help him in his love by keeping Melchor's interest away from Magdalena. Melchor approaches Magdalena, who is still veiled, and during their conversation she tells him that she has heard about how he is to marry Magdalena and that she is jealous of Magdalena and that she has already confessed to Quiñones, as well. He responds by reassuring her that she has nothing to fear, that she is much more beautiful than Magdalena, and other such phrases, ending up by asking her to show him her face, since it is only fair that the captive see the face of his master. She obliges only to the extent of showing him her eyes, however, expressing her apprehension that her face may not measure up to his expectations.

Meanwhile, Ventura bribes Santillana, whom Magdalena has hired as her squire, to tell him who she really is, and Santillana says that she is an Italian, the Countess of Chirinola, and that she lives on Calle de Silva. Santillana then says flattering things to Magdalena, who gives him a ring as a reward. He also refers to her as the Countess of Chirinola and she does not deny it. (She and Melchor arrange to meet again that night.) In the meantime, Angela and Sebastián are plotting. They love Melchor and Magdalena, respectively, and their plan is for Sebastián to say that Magdalena has promised to marry him and to pay some witnesses to give testimony to this as fact. Angela gives Ventura a ring in exchange for information about Melchor and the "Countess."

Angela passes this information on to Sebastián, and the two of them tell it to Alonso, who is very angry upon hearing of Melchor's interest in another woman. Alonso gives permission for Sebastián and Magdalena to marry, and Angela is to marry Jerónimo. While Angela, Sebastián, Jerónimo, Alonso, Magdalena and Quiñones are talking, Melchor arrives, and, by dropping cleverly phrased hints as they leave one at a time, they let him know that they are aware that he loves the Condesa and plans to marry her secretly on Sunday. Magdalena informs Melchor that she knows all about the Countess and that because of her estate the latter has had to return to Italy to marry a certain Enrico, undertaking a journey made very dangerous because of the Moorish pirates. Melchor sadly decides to return to León.


Ventura has sold a ring to get enough money for him and Melchor to return to León, but before they can leave, Santillana comes with a message from the Countess that she did not really have to return to Italy but was testing his loyalty to her and telling him to meet her at the usual place. She sends him a gift of money and clothes, which Ventura receives from a veiled lady who accompanies Santillana. Quiñones, meanwhile, is telling Angela that Magdalena made up the story about the Countess's having to return to Italy, and she suggests that Angela veil herself in order to take the part of the Countess and go to meet Melchor. Magdalena, of course, sent the note and gifts to Melchor, and is herself preparing to go meet him, dressed as the Countess. Quiñones's purpose in telling all of this to Angela is to get money that Sebastián has promised to give her if he marries Magdalena.

Quiñones gives Angela the purse that belonged to Melchor so that she can use it as proof of her identity. She then leaves Angela to go to delay Magdalena in her departure to meet Melchor. Disguised as the Countess, Angela meets Melchor and they talk. Although Ventura remarks to Melchor that her the Countess's eyes appear to be a different color, Melchor disagrees. Soon Magdalena appears, also veiled as the Countess, at which point Melchor becomes quite confused and incapable of deciding which is the real Countess. Just as the two women are about to show him their hands for him to decide on the real one, Jerónimo and Sebastián appear. Fearing that Jerónimo will recognize her, Magdalena flees. Angela, too, leaves, saying that she is returning to Italy. Jerónimo and Sebastián pass on by, ignoring Melchor.

Santillana brings a message to Melchor that the Countess is staying at Magdalena's and that he should come to her window at one o'clock. Magdalena tells Quiñones that she is now jealous of both Countesses. Quiñones, meanwhile, has gotten the purse back from Angela and returned it to Magdalena's room without her knowing that it was ever gone. That night Melchor talks to Magdalena (as the Countess) at the window. She tells him that she must return to Italy and he should marry Magdalena. When he agrees she becomes angry and calls him an unfaithful traitor. He tries to calm her by saying that for him Magdalena is a monster compared to her and that he loves only her, but she leaves the window, saying that she is returning to Italy. Magdalena then appears as herself in the window and tells him he is no judge of beauty.

Meanwhile, Jerónimo has heard a man talking to Magdalena, so he, Alonso, Luis and Sebastián come to the street to see what is going on. Melchor explains that he was talking to the Countess, but Angela appears and says it was she disguised as the Countess. Next comes Magdalena who claims that it was she, not Angela, who was the Countess and offers the purse that Melchor gave her as proof. At this point Melchor recognizes Magdalena's hand as the one he first fell in love with, and so Melchor and Magdalena are to marry. Thus Angela will marry Jerónimo and forget Melchor. Paralleling their masters, Ventura and Quiñones are to marry, and Luis is left contented that Magdalena is marrying his cousin. Now at last Magdalena no longer has to be jealous of herself.


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