Enter ALEJANDRO and ROQUE [at ALEJANDRO's house] ALEJANDRO:Will the stars who have decided my fate ever pity the wreck they have made, destroying my temper and fortune? Oh, heaven above, so lovely yet angry, if you can change the face of the moon, why do you never smile graciously on me? You, inconstant Fortune, are responsible for my bad luck, an affliction as eternal as you and all your random evils. Even the devil created no worse trouble when he invented three diabolical ways to destroy a man in this modern age: duels with which to shatter his honor; powerful explosives to take his life; and the worst of all Hell's terrors, cards that steal his wealth and time. ROQUE: Why play cards if you know you'll lose and end up crying like Jeremiah? You... ALEJANDRO:I'll never gamble again as long as I live. ROQUE: I'm reminded of a thief who made a promise: Caught after spending his life in crime, he was sentenced to lose his life. He had climbed the stairs up to the gallows; the hangman was set and ready to go. The thief lifted his eyes above the ledge and finally made the following pledge: "Dear God in Heaven, Light of the World, deliver me now and you have my word, I'll never steal again from poor or rich, nothing at all, as long as I live." Well, sir, this story fits your situation. You're ready, after all this preparation, to take the pledge because nothing is left you can use to gamble. ALEJANDRO: After all you said, Roque, there is at least one consolation. ROQUE: What's that? ALEJANDRO: That angel I found in heaven. What did she say to you about the brooch? Tell me again. Was she cool toward you or did she seem pleased with the gift? Isn't she beautiful? ROQUE: That's the trick! There's the cure for your problem: something I learned from a vet. He said if you put two piles of hay, one on each side of a burro, he would have such beastly taste he couldn't decide which way to go and wouldn't take a bite of either. That's how we can relieve your itch. We'll give you a chair as a place to sit, a whore on one side and cards on the other and, being inclined to one and the other, you won't be able to fix upon either nor to choose between Narcissus and Vilhán. ALEJANDRO:Damn your wit, but you do make me laugh. ROQUE: You can't blame me for being a clown! If I'm so stupid, why laugh just now? ALEJANDRO:Tell me about Angela. What did she say? ROQUE: I must be Cupid as well as your page. I gave her the brooch, which she accepted very courteously, and then she said that she hoped you'd protect her name and that the only reason she would take the gift was the great love she felt. She said that until now she'd never met a man more to her taste and pleasure; she said her love was a secret treasure because of what her mother might think. When she's there, she won't say a thing; she'll pretend to be angry with you now if you come back to gamble at her house. That was her sentence just as she put it. (May God forgive me for telling this fib!) Aside ALEJANDRO: Well, I'm lucky in one thing, at least, and that's enough to make me happy. My luck can't be as bad as it seems. Until today she had never met me and already she says she loves me truly! I'm worried I upset her by taking my leave in a manner that was so angry and hasty. ROQUE: Couldn't it be instead that you seemed too confident and overly carefree? ALEJANDRO:I have a letter ready here for her. I hoped that would make me feel better. I want you to take it to her now. ROQUE: (Lies keep growing! Just notice how! Aside But I have to protect him from himself.) ALEJANDRO gives ROQUE the letter ALEJANDRO: Roque, you will find Isabel's new dress hidden up stairs. It's all there is left that has any value out of all my wealth. Get it out of the house without being seen and take it with this to that modern Daphne, Angela, who is even more beautiful, more cruel, and much more unattainable. ROQUE: (Have you ever seen a dumber lout? Aside I'd never be able to sneak that out and I'd certainly never take it to her.) ALEJANDRO: And don't come back without an answer. ROQUE: I'll bring one back. (But between us, Aside one designed by my home-grown genius.) ROQUE exits ALEJANDRO: Cupid, from now on, I worship at your temple. I swear to you that my love has no equal. Gambling may, indeed, have made me prodigious but blind Love has miraculously made me generous. ISABEL enters ISABEL: Alejandro, you must take care of yourself or you will wind up losing your health, and that is what is important to me. Eating at odd hours, too little sleep, and staying out until late at night. That's no way to manage your life, a life on which my happiness depends. That's what upsets me, not that you left me alone to worry what will become of me. Your wish is my command. I'll always be... ALEJANDRO: Angel, tell me, why are you so disturbed? ISABEL: So I'm an Angel? Is that what I heard? It's pretty bad when the angel who lives in your heart appears openly on your lips. But, even then, if there's a place for me, I accept the situation because, you see, your heart's large enough for two to dwell. ALEJANDRO: Did it upset you to be called an angel? ISABEL: You must think I'm an agent for punishment since it seems I give you no enjoyment. ALEJANDRO:Stop your trying to make me angry. Bring me some food. I'm very hungry. ISABEL: There's nothing here that's fit to eat. ALEJANDRO: Why not? ISABEL: You took the money, jewelry, silverware, and all the valuables with you. ALEJANDRO:Ungrateful woman! Pretending, as you do, that you love me! By Almighty God, I swear I'll bring this to a stop! ALEJANDRO puts his hand on his dagger ISABEL: What can I do? You took every last bit! ALEJANDRO: Get out there and hustle for it! (Is there anything a gambler won't say Aside if he really wants to get his way?) ISABEL: So you have a dagger? Great God above! You call that honor? You call that love? ALEJANDRO exits Oh, glorious shining lights dwelling in the heavenly heights, hear, if you will, my complaint, the troubles that make me cry tears enough to replace the rain: jealousy, neglect, deceit and disdain. Oh, beautiful moon above, you of the everchanging face, hear the pitiful voice of love, a simple woman, a turtle dove, suffering with an ungrateful mate who in just a month has lost his faith. MARCELO enters but remains at the door listening to ISABEL Miserable and deceived am I, a innocent bird who tried to fly. My escape from the trap has failed. I'm in prison and the term is life. Instead of hearing love's sweet strains, there's only the dirge of tears and pain. The wind's made stronger by my sighs, my tears enhance the sea, my love the fire, and the earth moans with my sorrow and pain. No one has suffered as much as I. I will all I have to the grave's domain: the pale bones and cold ashes of my remains. MARCELO: Isabel darling, light of my life, wipe the tears from your pretty face. Dawn alone should weep that way. Let the sunbeams shine from your eyes. Only clouds should bring the rain, not the stars that shine with love. Dry those pools reflecting heaven above and tell me what makes your heart ache. ISABEL: It's Alejandro, sir. He's makes me suffer by carrying on with some woman or other. He gambled away the money, the silver the jewelry, and the clothing we had, and mistreats me so I think he's mad. He asked me for food we didn't have and threatened me with his dagger. He doesn't care that I'm dying of hunger. Then he ordered me to go hustle for it! How could he say anything so evil, or be so vile as to give that order? How could a man, even one without honor, say it unless he had already surrendered soul and body to a wasted and wanton life willingly living with a whore for a wife? Even then, he'd cover up the sordid offense. MARCELO: Don't cry about the lack of good sense, or prodigal passions of that ingrate. The Phoenix will be meat for your plate, and it's feathers will adorn your cap. My wealth is yours. So that is that. I have plenty of jewels and money left. I'll become King Midas for you, my pet. All you have lost will be restored. My mountains are filled with gold; my lagoons are replete with pearls. The month of May with its jeweled birds sipping nectar from the sweetest flowers, its silver lilies, its rubied roses, will have no finer adornment than you. Not even the peacock whose plumes outdo the king's rich crown, the envy of every bird around for its eyes of emerald green, is more beautiful than you will be. MARCELO gives ISABEL a purse Take this and prepare him a meal. Be sure to act like you were pleased. Wear your best jewels and a new gown, but never, never, let him find out they came from me. The barbarities he said to you will give me the means now, to make him mend his ways. Fear that his honor has been debased will prevail and bring him to heel. Just leave all explanations to me. ROQUE enters carrying a dress ROQUE: Madam, won't you please take this gown and put it where it will never be found. MARCELO: Were you supposed to take that to him to sell and gamble with what it would bring? ROQUE: That is what he had asked me to do. There's another thing to tell you, too: I feel bad about the diamond necklace he lost playing in last night's game. I'll do my best to bring it home. It was your favorite piece, I know. To ISABEL MARCELO: Roque is one servant you can trust. To ROQUE We have to cure this prodigal's lusts, Roque, will you help me do that? ROQUE: And bring him home? I hope we can. I'd like a taste of the fatted calf. MARCELO, ROQUE, AND ISABEL exit. CARLOS and DOMINGO enter CARLOS: Neither Don Diego nor Don Luis were there. DOMINGO: They've left, but I don't know for where. CARLOS: They could be at Don Pedro's house. Go see if there's a game there now. No! I think I'll go see for myself. DOMINGO: Then I'll wait for you here, instead. CARLOS exits. Don DIEGO and Don LUIS enter DIEGO: If Alejandro's there at Don Pedro's, you'll have something to say, I know. LUIS: I certainly will, but he didn't go so far that I feel a need to do more than talk. DIEGO: Why don't we go visit Angela, then? LUIS: It's still early for that. Instead, if there's a game going on at this time maybe we could play for a while. To DOMINGO DIEGO: Is Carlos here? DOMINGO: He's out looking for you. ROQUE enters ROQUE: (I'm out of breath from running, whew! Aside But I saw don Diego coming this way.) Please sir, I have something to say. DIEGO: What is it, Roque? ROQUE: Marcelo sent me for the diamond necklace as you see. It holds special meaning for him, so... he'll pay its value in silver or gold. DIEGO: As soon as I won it, I gave it to a lady for safe keeping. It would seem grossly impolite to ask for its return so soon. In a few days I'd be very happy to do as he asks. LUIS and DIEGO exit ROQUE: (He already gave it away! Aside Well I hope to die right here and today if that lady1 from Seville hasn't tricked him, too! She is the one who has it! I'll wait here for Alejandro to come out so I can give him that letter now. I can say it's from "someone who cares.") DOMINGO: By any chance, sir, is your master in there ROQUE: That, or watching the game. Where are you from? DOMINGO: Seville. Domingo's my name. ROQUE: Is your master a gambler, too? DOMINGO: As you see. Here I am, waiting for him to leave. And my money's burning a hole in my pocket. ROQUE: We could play now if you're ready to lose it. As a gambler's servant should, you know, I have a deck with me, ready to go. DOMINGO: Let the devil go back to Hell! Tell me, ROQUE: This cape will serve as our carpet since there is no table. DOMINGO: Can we sit on it? ROQUE: I like to be comfortable when I play. Sword, watch my hat. DOMINGO: What's our game? ROQUE: Straight twenty-one. DOMINGO: Cut for the deal! ROQUE: A queen! DOMINGO: A king! The deck belongs to me! Be brave now! ROQUE: You, too! I'll bet four. DOMINGO: Virgin of Guadalupe, make this team work. An ace and a seven! ROQUE: Ace and a ten! DOMINGO: You got me, you fool! ROQUE: You go to Hell! Join the devil! DOMINGO: Your bet this time? ROQUE: Another four. DOMINGO: I got a jack and a nine! Get along dogies! ROQUE: A four and two eights! Great Jupiter's ghost!
ROQUE bends over the cape picking up the money that's lying in plain sightDOMINGO: I lost again! ROQUE: Will you try once more? DOMINGO: I'll try! ROQUE: Double or nothing! DOMINGO: A seven and a five! Give me another! ROQUE: A queen! The pot is mine! DOMINGO: I lost again! ROQUE: (If I can keep winning Aside as easily as Alejandro keeps losing...) DOMINGO: Until I win a hand, I've got the deal! ROQUE: I'll bet another eight! DOMINGO: A king and a three! And here comes Philip with his mighty sword! ROQUE: The devil made me do it, the pot's my reward! DOMINGO: God damn it! No cuckold wearing horns ever had luck that was any worse! DOMINGO throws the deck of cards behind ROQUE who gets up to gather the deck. In the meanwhile, DOMINGO picks up the cape, the sword, and the money and exits quicklyROQUE: All that because you lost some money? All right, I'll pick them up, but really, next time the loser has to do so. Play with a pro and you have to know how to lose, sure as the sun rises and sets. Bet fast, bet a lot, and hedge your bets. You Sevillian dog, you Andalusian bastard! DOMINGO goes in and out looking for him You drunken flunky, you mulescratcher, you useless shoveler of horse manure! You've left me here, naked as a jaybird! Hey, my hat, my money, my cape and sword! Damn it, he cleaned me out. Good Lord! ALEJANDRO enters ALEJANDRO:There is neither fortune or fate, good or bad, in this day and age. God has certainly judged me harshly to ruin my life so completely. Deserved or not, both good and evil are bestowed according to God's will. I lost all I had gambling at cards and pawned my word for even more. The earth should open its gaping maw and swallow me whole. Roque! What? What are you doing without your cape? ROQUE pretends to be playing a ball game ROQUE: Come on there! Just one more game! One on one! Where's the ball, now? Let's play. There your are. Foul! That's no foul! The goal is over here! It's mine! Give it to me! Watch your rear! Oh, you chicken! Get it! Get it! ROQUE pretends to blow up the ball Chis, chis, chis! Now it's full. Chis! Play ball! That's good! I got fifteen. You didn't either! You're at thirteen! Hey, eggplant head, I got it past you! Up your mother! I did get it through! ALEJANDRO:Roque, are you drunk or are you crazy? ROQUE: I think I'm a little bit of each. ALEJANDRO: Tell me what you think you're doing. ROQUE: See for yourself, we're here playing. ALEJANDRO: Where's your cape? ROQUE: It's too much weight. Have you ever seen anyone play a game wearing a hat or a cape at the same time? ALEJANDRO: Tell me, Roque, and don't try to lie, what you are doing without your things? ROQUE: I went to sleep out here, and I think somebody stole them. ALEJANDRO: Is that a fact or just a trick? ROQUE: (A nasty one, at that!) Aside ALEJANDRO: Were you napping here on the street? Did you do what I asked you to do for me? ROQUE: I did what you asked me to do first. ALEJANDRO: Did you bring me an answer from her? ROQUE: That I did! ALEJANDRO: I'm sorry that I've been left with nothing, not a jewel, not a cent. I don't dare visit Angela without them; I was so much better off when we first met. What would she think of me now? ROQUE: Well, I know a way around that. ALEJANDRO: Give me her note. ROQUE: Listen to me first. Once upon a time, while committing some kind of minor crime a certain vixen fell into a wicked trap a farmer had set. It closed with a snap! She wiggled loose but left her tail behind and there she was, as sad and out of her mind as any old boozer, when the wily fox, her king called for everyone to come to a meeting to discuss some important business or other. Everyone met in the council chamber, and to cover up she stayed in her seat and made a motion that all should be freed from the bother of carrying their tails because all they're good for is carrying hair and as a handle by which to be caught. She said what was needed was a new law to save many lives, as it surely would, ordering that everyone's tail be removed. At this point the wise old king decreed, "Stand up, please, we'd all like to see if you still have yours where it ought to be." She stood and the whole court laughed. Now you convince your friends like that: They should leave their finery at home because all it's good for, as you know, is for betting on cards or giving away. I'll call the servants together to say that we should give up our capes and hats. We'd all look like king's men doing that. ALEJANDRO: Always the joker! ROQUE: And you always sad! ALEJANDRO: Give me the note you say you have and see if there's a bite to eat at home. I haven't eaten today. ROQUE: Here's the note, an arrow of gold taken from Cupid's quiver. ROQUE exits ALEJANDRO: The seal on this letter makes me shiver with anticipation. Stand and deliver! ALEJANDRO reads the letter "Sir: Your discourtesy has left me greatly upset since, although my love for you is great, you show no respect for my command. You have not kept your word. How callous you are! I'm particularly upset by your lack of good sense. When all I asked was that you not gamble any more, couldn't you obey?" Oh, oh! She knows that I've been gambling. But that's proof that she loves me indeed! I'll have to visit her this afternoon. ROQUE enters ROQUE: Don Alejandro, I have good news! The house is in shape for a wedding! Linens as white as snow are covering tables decorated with so many flowers you'd think we'd had April showers. Roasted partridges, a capon and a peacock all attacked my nose with their aroma. There was wine cooling in mountain ice, enough to give everyone the best advice. And what to me was even more shocking, a pile of money, seemingly forgotten, lying there in open sight on the buffet, money my mistress too quickly put away. ALEJANDRO: Is she mad at me? ROQUE: She seemed to be happy, without a trace of anger or animosity --she must keep them occupied elsewhere--. I never saw her look prettier or more fair. ALEJANDRO: I wonder where she borrowed the money. ROQUE: Well, not from your father! Today he told me, "Be sure to warn my son to preserve his wealth. He has all I had to give. Nothing is left. ALEJANDRO: Let's eat then. It seems Fortune's goodness never leaves anyone completely helpless. ROQUE exits A terrible thought has come to my mind: My lack of good fortune is undeniable fact. Fantasy and Illusion stop in your tracks! Stay locked up in my soul, deep inside, you imagined evil, you groundless worry, you incongruous shadow, whatever you may be. Don't pass my lips nor reach outside, don't war on my thoughts so vengefully. Can Isabel be aggrieved and still be happy? Can my house be rich and poor at one time? How can Isabel pay for food and flowers if no friend or relative has come around? I wish God would take me back in time. Why did I say that to her when I was mad? Fantasy and Illusion stop in your tracks! She refused me food for once in her life saying there was nothing left in the house. I told her to go out and hustle it now. If she's the image of a perfect wife, a Lucretia, a Portia, a Penelope in truth, where is the fault in what she could do? Never in the deepest silence of night should any man think a thing like that! Fantasy and Illusion stop in your tracks! ROQUE and FABIAN enter ROQUE: Are you coming to eat? ALEJANDRO: I'm on my way. ALEJANDRO exits ROQUE: I wanted to ask if you can help me today in a matter we must keep confidential. FABIAN: For good or bad? ROQUE: It's not at all evil. FABIAN: All right! ROQUE: Can you fake being a constable? FABIAN: If it's important, I'm really quite able. ROQUE and FABIAN exit. The MOTHER and GOMEZ enter GOMEZ: Marcelo Gentile is waiting at the door for permission to enter. MOTHER: What's he here for? Who is he? GOMEZ: I wish I had the money he has! As to why he's here I can't tell you that. He's neither young or old, he is Genoese, and as wise and proper as he seems to be. MOTHER: Let him enter in wealth and in health! (He must have come to make arrangements Aside for a marriage to Angela, the angel.) MARCELO enters MARCELO: (I'll pretend to be as stupid as I'm able Aside and still manage to use this woman now to keep Alejandro out of this house.) GOMEZ: She's hard of hearing, so speak up to her. MARCELO: I am here to serve you. MOTHER: The same to you, sir. They sit down MARCELO: We who are aging with the passage of time and feel our approaching twilight do all we can to ensure our peace and comfort. But, before I say why I came to your door, perhaps I'd better tell you just who I am. MOTHER: (This talk smells of matrimony, at that.) Aside MARCELO: I thank God for my honor and wealth... MOTHER: I know all about that. MARCELO: Very well, then, I can skip the preliminaries I had readied and tell you that now I want to be freed from doing what I can about domestic chores since other matters need my attention more. I am but a simple man, as you can see, and my age is not an obstacle... MOTHER: (So he Aside thinks that's it. Well, Angela's young and a spirited filly for that old stud.) MARCELO: ...and now I'm looking to marry again so I can enjoy what time I have left. I do have a son, but I've taken care of him already giving him what he should inherit. I have a million or so left, so I'm rich. Why should I delay a comfortable marriage? MOTHER: (My! Isn't that a nice round amount? Aside I hope that I can convince her now that it's for her own good to accept. If she were his wife, we'd both live well. MARCELO: After learning all I could about you I decided to come see what you would do. I didn't want to use a marriage broker so I came myself to make the offer. I beg you, please... MOTHER: (A wonderful man! Aside I will convince her...if only I can!) MARCELO: As I was saying, I beg you, please, madam, would you be willing to marry me? MOTHER: (Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Is this a dream?) Aside Did you just say you wanted to marry me? MARCELO: Of course! Your age, wisdom and virtue are all that I desire. MOTHER: (If this is true, Aside what I have done has earned God's reward. Hypocrisy seems to have taken me far. But I'm not so old and do keep myself up.) If you'll have me, sir, I'm yours to command. My obedience and gratitude are yours on demand. MARCELO: Now that you have agreed to be mine, there is one thing I'll ask at this time: Don't let young men come to this house to visit and gamble as they have up to now. Neighbors are known to have evil minds behind the witnesses we call their eyes. I am not a jealous man, but I am asking you to bar your door until after the wedding, a welcome event that should take place soon. MOTHER: This is a convent, starting this afternoon. (Maybe I should let him know I'm not deaf, Apart but then again that can wait until I see how it all ends.) MARCELO: Now that you've assured me of my good fortune, may I please leave? I promise to return to visit you soon. MOTHER: I'm your willing servant, as is your due. MARCELO: (You could be my grandmother, for all I care! Aside The old witch is as batty as any march hare! The things a loving father won't do every time they are needed to correct a wayward child!) MARCELO exits MOTHER: I'm about to burst with pleasure and desire! Angela! I'm so happy my heart is on fire! ANGELA enters Angela, just listen...! ANGELA: You're sure in a hurry! MOTHER: Not too much of a hurry, as you'll see shortly, for the fabulous wedding about to take place. There'll be no more visitors after today. This is a Carmelite convent now. No, no! Don't worry, we're just taking a new road. ANGELA: What are you telling me? MOTHER: I'm getting married! ANGELA: To whom? MOTHER: To a million in gold, as you'll see. To a wealthy man who is doubly gentile. ANGELA: Is he very old? MOTHER: He's only in his forties. ANGELA: Given our ages, if things are in proportion, I should be able to marry half a million. FABIAN enters carries a constable's mace FABIAN: Is anybody home here? ANGELA: Who wants to know? FABIAN: A public servant. ANGELA: The police? Oh, no! Dear God, not here! FABIAN: Why such indignation? MOTHER: Isn't that enough to ruin the reputation of the most chaste and decent woman? FABIAN: Diego Osorio has sent me with a warrant claiming he won a necklace in this place and left it your hands to keep it safe. ANGELA: He's a liar! FABIAN: Ladies! That just isn't so! He left the diamonds here as you well know. Open up your chests, trunks and sleeves. He sent me to search everywhere I knew how. A hundred diamonds, he said. I want them now! There's no good reason for a lady to refuse. ROQUE looks in at the door ROQUE: (Don't let those two upset you, you fool!) Aside ANGELA: I promised to give them to him directly. FABIAN: I can be trusted! MOTHER: The royal constabulary? FABIAN: I'm telling the truth. I am well known. If I have to call for help, you must know that you'll have even more to explain. MOTHER: That's true. Don't add fire to the flame. Give him the necklace and I promise you you'll have a richer and finer jewel from your new stepfather in a few days. As my loving husband he'll do as I say. Get this man and his mace1 away from me. I don't want him seen by Marcelo Gentile. ANGELA: First, tell me your name. FABIAN: (Isn't she smart?) Aside They usually call me Constable "Sharpe". ROQUE: (Good God! No constable would use that name Aside here at the court, nor anywhere in Spain.) ROQUE exits FABIAN: How is it possible you never heard my name? ANGELA: I'll get it for you. FABIAN: So justice prevails. ANGELA: And you ask Don Diego, how he could dare. Tell him his rudeness was too much to bear. There was no need to send a constable. Doing things this way was really barbarous. ANGELA removes the necklace from her sleeve and gives it to FABIANFABIAN: He was afraid of something more insidious. FABIAN exits MOTHER: That foul, rude, tricky rogue, Don Diego! Sending a constable! Wouldn't you know? That could turn you off of men forever! Wasn't it a lucky thing that your mother found a loving, faithful, and wealthy man? ANGELA: My diamonds are gone forever for all that! MOTHER: Now, don't you see that it's a good thing to keep the men away for the time being? Look what happens when you accept a gift. But think how much worse it could have been! ANGELA: That stupid constable has finally left not even looking back to see how we felt. ALEJANDRO enters carrying a piece of paper ALEJANDRO:(My love and my own domestic problems Aside have brought me to this heaven on earth, this paradise of brightness and happiness.) Pardon me, ladies for coming right in, but love makes one do quite daring things. ANGELA: You might as well not have come, sir, because this house of ours is no longer a place where men can come to play games. ALEJANDRO:(She's still mad about what I did today.) Aside ANGELA: Especially someone who has been so rude. Go gamble elsewhere. I'm tired of you. ALEJANDRO:(She just repeated what was in her note.) Aside Madam... ANGELA: Don't give me excuses, you dolt. ALEJANDRO: (She won't talk with me about it here Aside because her mother might be able to hear.) ANGELA: I can't say how angry I am with you! I don't know if you are a king or a rook! ALEJANDRO:(That's me and Roque! That's truly sharp!) Aside I know you're right in being so harsh, but I'll be unhappy if you won't listen to my excuses. There were good reasons. It was only once, and I will obey you now. ANGELA: And I will forgive you, if you know how, to understand what it was I just said. ALEJANDRO:(That's her way, I'm willing to bet, Aside of getting around her mother.) I'll never disobey you again. As far as I'm concerned, your word is law. You can be sure of that. I swear I'll obey if you forget the past. ANGELA: Well, do it now. ALEJANDRO: Your command is my pleasure. To ANGELA MOTHER: He said he'd obey. Why is he still here? Such trouble from someone we hardly know! Why can't he understand we want him to go? ANGELA: I have never met a man more dense than he. To ALEJANDRO What did I say? Didn't you understand me? ALEJANDRO:I understood you as well as you do yourself, but since your mother doesn't hear so well, just listen to me for a minute now, please. ANGELA: You said you heard me. How stupid can you be? Didn't I tell you what I want you to do? Haven't I made my wishes plain to you? Why are you still completely unmovable? ALEJANDRO:(There, she's telling me not to gamble. Aside How discreet! Now that's real love!) ANGELA: You didn't get it yet? Good God above! What a jewel! ALEJANDRO: (What an intelligent way Aside to thank me for the brooch I sent her today!) It can't compare to my desire for you. The ladies talk between themselves ANGELA: Have you ever seen such a stubborn fool? MOTHER: He's so crazy he ought to dress as a clown. To ALEJANDRO ANGELA: What happened to your colored outfit now? ALEJANDRO:(She's thanking me for the dress I sent.) ANGELA: Now, can you stop being so insistent? Get out! What? You still don't understand? If you need an interpreter, call your man. ALEJANDRO:(Now she wants me to send Roque to her Aside so she can write of her love in a letter. A note is often interpreter to an affair.) MOTHER: (Damn that fool! Is he still there?) Aside ALEJANDRO:Goodbye my angel, my delightful sunlight, my stormy sea. (She's mine all right! Aside Those who've seen me lose when I bet at cards will never call me unlucky again!) ALEJANDRO exits MOTHER: Well! He's finally gone for better or worse. ANGELA: He caught me when I was already disturbed. I can't forget how Don Diego treated me. MOTHER: That vile creature, that low life heel! ANGELA: What was the constable's name? MOTHER: Sharpe. Don LUIS and Don DIEGO enter DIEGO: Coming here at this time is a little hard. If you'll keep the secret I'll tell you why. LUIS: I will, cross my heart and hope to die. DIEGO: You know that Angela, as is plain to see, is head over heels in love with me. LUIS: Then why are you afraid of coming here? DIEGO: She's a little angry with me now, I fear. A constable I know was escorting a woman when I stopped to ask him what she had done out on the street in front of this house, just then, Angela came out looking around. She has to have seen me asking about her and will certainly be jealous and concerned. LUIS: (Has the world ever seen a bigger dope? Aside She loves me, not him, as we all know.) The two men approach the ladies DIEGO: Just like the water that heads to sea after running its violent course, just like the stone that drops to the ground returning to its home here on earth, just like the fireworks that fly to heaven seeking their place in the fiery sphere, Don Diego returns to this glorious house, source of the peace that enlivens his heart, the place where his soul seems to come alive, and his eyes emit bright, burning sparks. ANGELA: They must have freed the demons of Hell, in all of Purgatory not one is left. I'm so furious now I'm about to explode. You creature with neither heart nor soul, how dare you come to see me this way especially after doing what you did today? To Don LUIS DIEGO: Didn't I tell you what she would say? ANGELA: If heaven gave you any brains at all you'd realize what you did was wrong: repaying my love with a lack of faith. I've always been honest, for heaven's sake! Did you think that I would leave you flat? Did you really need a constable for that? DIEGO: Just listen to what it was that happened. ANGELA: I don't want to know. DIEGO: Angela, please listen. The constable... ANGELA: There's no excuse. Fine! I'm glad I found out about you in time. From now on I will only believe in myself. It's clear enough that men have no respect for a woman at all. LUIS: (Did I have to come here Aside to listen to this? But something's queer! Not even a bitch would use that tone.) ANGELA: How angry I am with you, God only knows! Did you really think I'd take your pride? To Don LUIS DIEGO: That's what got her upset, all right! ANGELA: How could you possible place a higher value or desire more deeply that pretty "jewel" the constable took than on my love and honor? To Don LUIS DIEGO: She saw that whore he was taking prisoner and thinks she has something to do with me. ANGELA: You can't love me much, it's plain to see. Trust is the way a true love is measured. DIEGO: I love you, Angela, more than any treasure. I adore this place beyond all good sense. I bask in the sunshine of your presence. Please understand I did nothing wrong. I came to tell you it wasn't my fault. LUIS: (I'm a fool to listen. I'd better go.) Aside ANGELA: Get out of here right now, Don Diego. Never come near me again. Go on home! There you can take care of that jewel the constable will have delivered to you. Your being here only makes the hurt worse. To Don LUIS DIEGO: She won't let me explain chapter or verse. What a way of showing her love for me! Who wouldn't be enchanted as I have been with such rare frankness in a beautiful woman? Who wouldn't adore such a lovely rage, the anger that fills her eyes with faith? To Doņa ANGELA That constable wasn't working for me, anyhow, he was taking the "jewel" to the courthouse. ANGELA: Well, what do I care about where he went? It's your lack of trust in me that I resent. LUIS: (How fickle can a woman be?) Aside MOTHER: Angela's right! Get out of here now! Your behavior's a fright! To Don LUIS DIEGO: Even her saintly mother, is angry with me. Calm them down if you can, Don Luis. I'll wait for you on the street outside. To the ladies I'm sorry you won't listen. Ladies, good night. Don LUIS exits with a bow MOTHER: We've had a rain of clowns and fools all day. To Don LUIS ANGELA: What do you think? What do you have to say? LUIS: You quickly destroyed my tower of dreams. By God, I wish I had done as well as he, so I could hear you talk like that to me. I swear to heaven, I wish I had done more and ripped from that fickle breast of yours that which has cost me so many tears. Don Diego was being too polite, I fear, despite the fact that you called him rude. But here in Madrid pretty women abound and there are plenty of constables around. Some day soon I will do just as he has done and what was mine will return to its home. To her MOTHER ANGELA: What's going on here? What does he mean? I'm completely confused. MOTHER: It seems to me, he said right out he wants his necklace back. These are two sly dogs we've got on our track. They've smelled out what it is we've done and thus the constables and the beastly fun. Didn't you understand his threat just now? Don't let it become the talk of the town. Give it to him. To Don LUIS ANGELA: You repulsive, slimy worm! Like any arrogant, nameless brat you presume the love and honor of a man. Here's the necklace, take it and go. I won't take gifts from dimwitted dolts who lower themselves to behave this way. ANGELA throws the necklace at him and exits MOTHER: And don't you ever come back here again! The MOTHER exits LUIS: How changeable they are! I wonder what made them so angry, for no reason at all? Well, if she loves Don Diego as it seems and wants to show that she despises me, things, after all, didn't turn out so bad; I did get that expensive necklace back. Don LUIS exits. ALEJANDRO enters dressed for the evening out ALEJANDRO:May the peaceful dark of the night hide and protect me as I fight to calm my worries about my honor at home and my love for another. What pain can be found in Hell itself equal to the torment of seeing Isabel happy at home and loaded with money? Now that's a new problem for me! I can't ask her what is going on; I'm afraid I know what she's done. As I argue here with myself, I say: Why should I wonder that a chaste and faithful woman should be happy despite the fact her husband is angry if she knows how a wife should behave? Why shouldn't she still have money today if she kept some hidden or put away? And, if all of that is really true, why do I torture myself as I do? My reason insists it's all imagination, my soul responds it's pure deception, and my fear then warns me to leave it alone. The truth could harm me more than I know. ROQUE enters ROQUE: Is that you, sir? ALEJANDRO: Yes, Roque, it's me. ROQUE: What are you doing out here on the street? ALEJANDRO:I feel happier here than I do at home. ALEJANDRO is constantly sad and thoughtful ROQUE: Did you see Doņa Angela yet? Did you go? ALEJANDRO:Earlier this evening. ROQUE: What did she say? ALEJANDRO:The brooch and dress received her praise, and then she gave me a message for you. ROQUE: (Either he's being deliberately obtuse, Aside losing his mind, or he's stupid, indeed.) CARLOS enters dressed for the night out CARLOS: Has anyone ever had a more futile chase that the one that is keeping me awake? It's no use for me to love Isabel, I know, still I come to stand beneath her window. My soul should speak and tell its secrets. There is no cure in maintaining silence. There is no way known a doctor can heal an illness the patient refuses to reveal. CARLOS stops to look at the windows ALEJANDRO:A man has stopped there beneath our balcony. See? ROQUE: I do. ALEJANDRO: Do you know who he could be? ROQUE: What am I, a cat that sees in the dark? ALEJANDRO:(Don't let my imagination add new sparks Aside to the troubled flames.) Take a look. CARLOS sighs CARLOS: Oh! ALEJANDRO: God, what a sigh! CARLOS exits ROQUE: He's on the loose, or else he's given it up for the night. ALEJANDRO:Go see if it's anyone you recognize. ROQUE follows after CARLOS I'll conquer my fear by believing in her. A good wife is something a man must honor with loyalty and confidence in her faith in order to preserve his own honored state. MARCELO and FABIAN enter wrapped in their capes MARCELO: Just now my servants have told me Alejandro was here, on the street. FABIAN: There he is. MARCELO: Don't let him see you. ALEJANDRO:Here comes someone. No, there are two, and they stopped to stare at my house. For heaven's sake, what's going on now? I'm being struck by bolts of lightning; these aren't just the arrows of jealousy I'm willing to bet they, too, will sigh. If they do, my reason tells me why. They are envious of me, but then what about the honor dwelling in this house? FABIAN whistles FABIAN: Pst! Pst! ALEJANDRO: Good God, he's whistling instead! The burning fury of suspicion has been fed. The fire is roaring! My heart is in flames. I should follow them, but no... I'll wait. An occasion may arise that's better by far. Roque may know who those two men are. MARCELO and FABIAN leave. As they do so they run into ROQUE ROQUE: Do I know you, sir? MARCELO: Don't say a thing. ALEJANDRO:Is that you, Roque? ROQUE: Yes, I'm coming. ALEJANDRO:Who was the first man? What's the word? ROQUE: The man from Seville, Carlos de Villamayor. ALEJANDRO:Evidently, my worries were not in vain. And the two who just left, who were they? ROQUE: An Italian Count who's been hanging around. ALEJANDRO:Very soon now, he's going to find out what the honor of a Spaniard is worth. ROQUE: (How quick he is to believe the worst! Aside I'll either tell the truth or laugh out loud. Bite your lips or he'll find out.) MARCELO enters from a different door, speaking to someone insideMARCELO: I want to see how the children are doing. I'll be right back. ROQUE: Your father's coming. ALEJANDRO:Is that you, sir? MARCELO: Is that Alejandro? ALEJANDRO sighs ALEJANDRO:Oh, my honor is lost! MARCELO: What's wrong, son? ALEJANDRO:Either I'm going mad or about to die and it`s all my fault. That I can't deny. I've been blind to how I was behaving. Your prodigal son has come home, returning to stand before you, to kneel at your feet. Thinking of what I have done, makes me weep. My eyes are flowing red with bloody tears but my actions can't be undone, I fear. I'm sorry, yes, about losing the wealth but that doesn't equal the pain I've felt for having gambled against your advice. I lost everything I had but, even worse, I seem to have lost my honor as well. Sir, you warned me that that could happen, too. In spite of what you said I should do, I treated Isabel badly. Still, it seems that she's not upset, she's even happy. What's worse, I just saw her wearing gems, and prettier than ever in a brand new dress. MARCELO: (That's it! Take the bit in your teeth. Aside Learn what happens when a man gets married.) ALEJANDRO:I asked her where she got these things, nervously blushing, she answered, saying, "I went out and hustled to get them." I swear that my hair stood up on end! And, just now, some people were passing by and making signals to someone inside. It's all my fault! I did it to myself. MARCELO: There, there, son. Your good sense should tell you: if you have a wife, give her an inch and she'll take a mile. A real man should treat his wife well, show her love, shower her with presents, spend time at home, and forget his vices. A woman is not an animal a man entices by begging and then leaving her alone. Pay attention now, and see how it's done. I'll watch Isabel, but you must agree to do nothing without first telling me. Although it may seem that I'm already old, I'll see grandchildren your age, I hope. But remember that happiness, as they say, lives in a gambler's house very few days. MARCELO exits ALEJANDRO: Oh, you spawn of love, you tyrant rulers! Envy, rage, torture, and confusion! You murderers of merit and meditation! Hellish vanity, mistrust, and disorder! You, who are the human soul's masters, you spurs to suffering and temptation! War between man's will and comprehension! Jealousy and imagination, insane advisors! Blind suspicions and frenetic fantasies! Eternal presumption, illusion, and shadow! Ever varying desires and riotous worries! Nocturnal chaos, Fortune's calamitous blow! You imaginary evil and despotic jealousies! Bring death to me here or disillusion me now!
Electronic text by Vern G. Williamsen
and J T Abraham
Additional formatting by Matthew D. Stroud
Latest update: 28 Jun 2002