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Alejandro Malatesta

alcaide italiano

Da. Ana de Zúñiga

noble, madre de D. Hernando



Galeazo Malatesta

conde italiano

Galeazo Malatesta

conde italiano, nombre fingido de Tomasa

D. García


D. Gómez

caballero, hidalgo, estudiante, paje del "conde Galeazo," criado, nombre fingido de Da. Petronila

D. Hernando Cortés

caballero de Santiago, noble, capitán de infantería antes

Da. Inés

dama, cásase con D. García

D. Jerónimo

¿noble?, primo de D. Hernando

Juan Fernández

categoría desconocida


dama italiana, Condesa de Valencia del Po, prima del Conde Galeazo, cásase con el Conde Galeazo




criado de D. Hernando, paje, gracioso


mozo de mulas


marqués italiano


mozo de mulas



Da. Petronila

noble, sobrina de D. Hernando, cásase con D. Hernando


conde italiano, tío de Laura


hidalgo, caballero-criado (sirve al Conde), italiano


labradora, criada (sirve a Da. Petronila), graciosa, cásase con Mansilla

Vargas (Varguillas)

paje, lacayo (sirve a D. Gómez), nombre fingido de Tomasa

P. anón.:  una voz dentro (*638b, R III, *612b); un criado (habla 642b; 622a; ¿el mismo habla 646c; 632a?; el mismo habla 649a, 637a; 649c 638b?); un alguacil (habla 650c, 641a).


Doña Petronila, dressed as a man and calling herself Don Gómez, meets Tomasa, also dressed as a man and calling herself Vargas. They converse and agree to travel together, with Tomasa serving Petronila (acting as a servant to Petronila). Tomasa says that she is looking for a soldier who carried off her sister.

Meanwhile, Don Hernando is serving as a gardener in the garden of Juan Fernández in the hope of winning Laura. He had previously killed a man because of jealousy over a woman, and had to go to Italy, where he became a famous soldier. He has now returned to Spain, however, and is in love with Laura who professes to love him in return. Laura, who is Italian, has had difficulty in getting her inheritance (and, as a matter of a fact, Hernando is one of the contenders for it).

Back at the inn, Tomasa has guessed that Petronila is a woman, which Petronila finally admits. She then tells how she fell in love with Hernando, who is a cousin of her mother, when he was visiting her home before he had to flee to Italy. At that time he loved Inés, but she was to marry García. Petronila only peeked at Hernando when he was at her house, but he promised her mother that he would return to marry her. Now she knows that he is back from Italy and that he has been well received, so she is looking for him to see if he will still marry her, since she is now poor because a flood washed away all her possessions and killed her mother.

Just as Tomasa is about to tell her story, Count Galeazo and his party arrive at the inn. Petronila is impressed by the Count's handsome appearance, and she and Tomasa learn from Roberto that the Count is Italian and has come to Madrid to marry.


Petronila has discovered that Hernando is posing as a gardener in the estate of Juan Fernández and that he is in love with Laura. Meanwhile she also learns from the Count (Galeazo) that he is supposed to marry Laura, who is his cousin, in order to help settle some lawsuits between her and his father over an estate. He realizes (although he has not yet met her) that she does not want to marry him, however, and he is ready to return to Italy. In addition, the Count knows that the Marqués Octavio also is seeking Laura's hand. Octavio's father was killed and his lands taken by the Count's father years ago in revenge for a certain offense against him. Petronila reassures the Count that they can work all this out if he will just let her make a plan. She tells him, too, that Laura loves "him" (her), but that "he" (Don Gómez) would like for Laura to marry the Count.

Hernando's servant, Mansilla, returns to his master, telling of his travels and his adventures with a certain Tomasa, thus identifying himself as the object of her search. He brings Hernando a letter from his (Hernando's) mother, informing him of his cousin Jerónimo's death. He is to inherit his cousin's estate and his mother wants him to return to Málaga and marry his dead cousin's sister, so that she, too, can enjoy her brother's fortune, which as a woman she cannot inherit. Laura receives a letter from her uncle, telling her of the immanent arrival of the Count and urging her to marry him. Hernando and Laura meet and exchange their two letters so that each can read the other's. At this point Tomasa arrives, dressed as a man and pretending to the Count. Accompanied by Petronila (still dressed as a man) and the real Count, both of whom pose as servants, Tomasa speaks in nonsense phrases. Upon spying Mansilla she recognizes him and gives him a chain. The arrival of Octavio is announced, and Tomasa and her party depart.


Disguised as Don Gómez, Petronila talks to Laura, telling her that "he" is really the Count and that Hernando has deceived both Inés and Petronila, giving her letters from him to Petronila's mother to prove it. Laura falls in love with this "Count," who promises to return with Inés. After Petronila's departure Hernando appears and is berated by her for having deceived her. After giving him the papers Petronila gave her, she (Laura) tells him to choose between Inés and Petronila. All of this leaves Hernando quite confused. Next, Petronila, still dressed as a man, comes and gives Hernando a letter from a lady (Petronila), saying that she has come because of a question of honor and asking him to look for her in Gorguera Street opposite San Sebastián. The letter reveals that the writer is Petronila.

In the meantime Tomasa has revealed her true identity to Mansilla, who professes to be happy to see her and promises to marry her. Petronila, now dressed as a woman and posing as Gómez's sweetheart, talks to the Count, who thinks she is attractive. Hernando then comes to see Petronila, who tells him who she is and that the Count wants to marry her. Hernando is struck by how much Petronila reminds him of Don Gómez. Posing as Inés, Tomasa goes to talk to Laura, who notes that she bears a strong resemblance to the false Count. Observing that it is a matter of honor for Inés and that she has a prior claim on Hernando, Laura offers to give him up to Inés and to marry the Count, since she has now won the lawsuit from him and in this way they can both enjoy the estate. Petronila, dressed as herself, comes, and Laura immediately likes her because she looks like Don Gómez, and this she wants now to help Petronila. Next the Count comes to talk to Laura. He tells her who he is and that he knows about Don Gómez, warning her that the latter already has a wife and child in Madrid. Confused and upset by what he says, Laura refuses to believe him. Tomasa then appears, dressed as the Count, followed by Petronila, also disguised as the count. At this moment an alguacil arrives looking for the Count (on an old charge). The Count says that Petronila is really the Count; Petronila points to Tomasa, who says she is Mansilla's wife and that the other "Count" is really Petronila. At this point Hernando arrives and Tomasa identifies Petronila to him as his niece, telling him that she has a large dowry and they are to marry. Hernando agrees willingly to this arrangement. Tomasa also says that she registered the complaint against the Count and now she wishes to withdraw it. The Count and Laura are to marry, and, of course, Mansilla and Tomasa marry also.


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