CARLOS and ANGELA enter ANGELA: You can't love me as much as I love you, Carlos. For you I stopped telling the truth. For you I gave up my life in Seville. And for you I came to live in Madrid. I happily gave my soul as your prisoner and have willingly disobeyed the mother who only wanted to keep me safe, to live in peace, and guard my good name. As you know I have loved you well, --very well--, and there is no time left. It's getting hard to cover up these days since my love became an open blaze. Mother hoped I'd find a man who was rich but money was not important to me, you were a Midas whose very touch made love out of all I could see. Is there anything better than true love? Any wealth greater than pure love's gold? Any eternity longer than a lovers passion? Any stone firmer than Cupid's attraction? CARLOS: My attraction to you is so immense that not loving you would make no sense. It would either mean you show no affection or that I show alack of real perception. And since the merit openly expressed on your beautiful face is ample evidence, it stands to reason I lack common sense unless I love you as much as you love me. Have you ever seen greater equality between a man and the object of his fancy than that found in my doting adoration and your corresponding affection? What king or prince has greater wealth or finer fortune than I have felt as I see your hair compete in beauty with the sun's rays in all their glory, behold the pearly treasure of your teeth, feel your lips like burning rubies, or tend that garden of marvelous fire, where I pluck the fruit of my desire. ALEJANDRO enters and stands at the door ALEJANDRO:(I am here because she returned my love Aside not because there's room for love or fun when a man's heart is full of trouble. I come to show her that I am grateful for her affection and to see once again the miracle of true love in a woman.) ANGELA gives her hand to CARLOS ANGELA: Here, be my husband, not my lover, I can't refuse my hand any longer.
ANGELA and CARLOS hold hands (as a symbol of their love and intended marriage)CARLOS: This is, indeed, a sovereign honor! I am and will be yours forever. ALEJANDRO:(Any man who lives long enough Aside learns the meaning of truth and stuff! Experience is the mother of disillusion. I can't believe I saw that action! But why should it shock me to see such behavior here when I believe the same thing is happening at home? Here and there, as God only knows, misfortune rules my life without end. God damn any man trusting cards or women!) To CARLOS ANGELA: You go and ask my mother's indulgence. She has just arranged a rich engagement, and maybe that's all that she needs to give us her permission to marry. CARLOS: I'll go right now to see her and ask. CARLOS exits ALEJANDRO:(A man who'd keep quiet in the face of that Aside has no brains at all! I'll get revenge through her for my own domestic problems. She'll soon about my honor when I... ) You ingrate, you siren, you Lorelei whose beauty and songs lead us to die! You vicious viper, you snake in the grass slinking along the pretty primrose path, forming venom from false, flattering words! You basilisk waiting on a foreign shore to vomit anger from your cheating eyes on those as attracted to your beauty as I! CARLOS returns and stands listening at the door You basilisk, you viper, you siren, I say, attracting every man you meet on the way by means of the senses you manage so well through the marvels he sees, hears, and smells among the flowers, on the shore, and at sea, what did I done, --tell me, please,-- that you should desire to so deceive me? What did Carlos do, to feel your deceit? ANGELA: Jesus! What a shock! Who are you? What do you want? What did I do? Where did you come from? What's your name? How did I offend you? Are you insane? ALEJANDRO:I must have been out of my head, indeed, when your voice was deceiving me, when I first saw and fell for your beauty, when your love was something I believed. The loss of that love awakened me, and you, you evil serpent, not only made the wound but gave me the cure. When I arrived, I was mad, but in leaving I feel fine. ANGELA: Get out of here now, you demon from Hell! I don't understand a word you have said. ALEJANDRO:All that's left are the ashes and embers of what was once the brightest fire. It wasn't extinguished by mere jealousy; like lightning, our love passed quickly leaving me in the dark before it was born. Your fickleness didn't cause my mad words. I spoke them in a desire for vengeance when I witnessed your evil intentions. You deliberately tried to make a fool of me; your pretense of love for me was mere deceit. Like a siren you sang an attractive song, but I'm leaving now. I listened too long. ALEJANDRO exits ANGELA: How crazy can you get? God in heaven! How could you allow this to happen? CARLOS comes out CARLOS: So you think a miserable lover is mad? You are a false, pitiless woman at that! Your soul knows no fear of a vengeful God; your heart doesn't know the meaning of love; your tongue doesn't speak a word of truth. What can you offer as an acceptable excuse? How can you deny this? The evidence proves that one of us has been played for a fool. You've been cheating, on Alejandro or on me. That's plain enough for anyone to see. Well, if I'm the one who has been fooled, I'll have no part of a marriage to you. If I am the one you love, I also refuse because you're faithless. The woman who managed to turn Alejandro into a fool, won't have a chance to deceive me, too. ANGELA: Listen! CARLOS: Among the things Alejandro said --and he was right-- was that you're a siren. I'm not stopping to hear your song. CARLOS exits ANGELA: Where in Hell did that idiot come from? He ripped from my breast what little peace and contentment I had, the love God gave me. This Alejandro is certainly not generous! He's brought only misfortune to my house. GOMEZ and her MOTHER enter MOTHER: What has you upset? ANGELA: How could this happen? Mother, that tiresome fool came back again, and acted more irksome and crazier than ever. MOTHER: Alejandro? ANGELA: That's the one. MOTHER: Who is Alejandro? GOMEZ: You know! Your fiance's son. MOTHER: Marcelo's? GOMEZ: That's the one. He lost a lot of money here. ANGELA: That must what's making him act so queer. GOMEZ: Here comes Marcelo now. MOTHER: You get inside. ANGELA: Why shouldn't he see me? Why should I hide? MOTHER: There's a good old saying that explains why: A horse, especially one that is older now, won't eat straw if there's green grass around. ANGELA exits Get me a book, Gómez. GOMEZ: Which? MOTHER: Who cares? It doesn't matter since it's only there for appearance. You know I don't read. MARCELO and ROQUE enter ROQUE: I told you I saw him leave just now. MARCELO: That gives me an excuse to bawl her out. ROQUE: You act like this is your house already. MARCELO: That's what she thinks, as you will see. GOMEZ gives the MOTHER a book ROQUE: You're the first Cupid I ever knew that grew up to be as old as you. MARCELO: So, this is the way you spend your time? Do you read books to occupy your mind? MOTHER: I spend an hour a day with my books. MARCELO: What are you reading? To ROQUE You take a look. MOTHER: Luis de León's work, The Perfect Wife. ROQUE: (Women are such treacherous creatures! Aside I saw one the other day at St. Mary's with some old women with soured features reading from her prayer book, apparently. She was making all the right gestures, genuflecting and crossing herself daintily, as if she were concentrating on the lecture. A little later I saw her learning the ABC with the help of an very friendly priest.) MARCELO and the MOTHER sit down with ROQUE standing behind the chairsMARCELO: Why didn't you keep your promise to me? Why was Alejandro here? Tell me, please. And that Don Diego, what did he want? The neighbors will have reason to talk. You must guard your reputation for virtue. MOTHER: Your son is a pest, and that's the truth! He keeps coming here without being asked, to give us a hard time. He makes me mad! ROQUE and MARCELO speak softly to each other ROQUE: Is the old lady very deaf? MARCELO: Very much so. ROQUE: What do you want with a woman that old? MARCELO: The crack-brained hag actually believes I love her and that we are to be married. MOTHER: (Oh, oh! I heard that and it really smells.) Aside ROQUE: You'd better be awfully nice to her then. To the MOTHER MARCELO: What you have done is reason for me to be as jealous as any lover would be. To MARCELO ROQUE: The old woman took the bait. How dense! Go, you woman with no fifth sense, bathe in the Jordan to cure your ears. While you're at it, lose a hundred years. MOTHER: (For that, you two are going to pay me!) Aside From where he is standing ROQUE looks at the book she is reading ROQUE: God in heaven! She's reading Don Quijote! MARCELO: What a sly fox! I'm beginning to wonder if she can tell one letter from another. ROQUE: I could give her a lesson if you like. See here, Bee-ay spells Ba, dear child! MOTHER: (I heard that! How does he dare Aside stand and look over my shoulder there?) To the MOTHER MARCELO: If I seem jealous, you've given me cause. My son was here gambling, and lost a lot. MOTHER: (That's why he's playing tricks on me! Aside He wants to reform his son, it seems. He'll pay for that, just wait and see!) Since the last time you visited me you have been the center of my life. I am here to serve you as is your right. To MARCELO ROQUE: If her reason for living is you alone we have discovered the land of the old. MOTHER: What are you two whispering about? You haven't been talking about me now? MARCELO: Gossip about people is not my style. I'd never talk about someone I idolize. To MARCELO ROQUE: Have you changed religions? I want to know. Is that why you adore this bag of bones! MOTHER: (I heard him say that! God help him now! Aside That did it! You two better look out!) ROQUE: Why don't you ask her to set the date? MARCELO: It's hard to believe my desire's so great. My heart's afire! My soul's been ignited by thinking of marriage. I'm so excited! MOTHER: In spite of what the gossips may say, we ought to be married right away. (You can be sure I wasn't true to myself Aside if I didn't turn their trick on them.) MARCELO: Let's set the date as soon as we can, on condition my son never comes here again. MOTHER: (See how he keeps coming back to that!) Aside Indeed, sir, we should do as you have said. But before we go even one step further, I think you should meet Angela, my daughter. Come out her, child! Say, "How do you do?" Your stepfather-to-be wants to meet you. MARCELO: I think I may have seen her here earlier. To MARCELO ROQUE: So you're stuck with a ready-made daughter? What kind of glue has she been using? ANGELA enters ANGELA: What is it Mother? Were you just calling? MOTHER: Angela, I want you to meet your new father. ANGELA: How do you do? Meeting you is a pleasure. MARCELO: I hope you enjoy your youth forever. The man who gets you will have a treasure! You're an angel in beauty as well as name! ANGELA: You flatter me, sir. MOTHER: (There goes the bait! Aside He'll have reason enough, if he takes it, to remember these ladies from Seville!) MARCELO: (Cupid himself gave her that complexion Aside mixing snow and roses, lilies and carnation! Without a stitch to wear, one could thrive in the comfortable warmth of her sunlike eyes. She's as beautiful as the gardens of spring.) Tell me the truth, Roque, what do you think? ROQUE: She's as pretty as the girl of my dreams. MARCELO: Is she really as beautiful as she seems? MOTHER: (There he comes! If only he falls into it, Aside my pretty, young net is ready for him. I'm going to get him and get him good.) What do you think of Angela, sir? MARCELO: She's as beautiful as a tree in bloom. Cupid himself would fall in love with her. MARCELO and the MOTHER go off to one side together MOTHER: Marcelo, can I speak to you here alone? Let's speak in private... I am getting old. You know that I've lost my hearing, and my age is such I don't think I am able to give you all you hope for. Angela is good-looking, deserves the honor, and there's not an evil bone in her body. She behaves virtuously and modestly. Why don't you marry her instead of me? I admire and respect you as you can see and will thank God for making you as happy as you will make her. MARCELO: (I have never seen, Aside in all my years, a finer or more rare beauty. Having her as a wife would rejuvenate me as surely as a bath in Jordan's waters. Love can strike like lightning's furor, violently smashing a cold, hard stone. How quickly the glory of a beautiful woman can bring even a mature man to ruin. But then I'm rich and I really want her. In my golden years she'll bring me pleasure. They can gossip about me all they want.) Madam, I accept. I'll be your son-in-law. MOTHER: Don't you want to know about her qualities or more about her? MARCELO: I know enough already. MOTHER: Well, that's fine but let's keep it quiet and not tell anyone for a little while. I don't want to upset another young man who has already come to ask for her hand. You could give your Power of Attorney to a friend so you can marry her by proxy. Then you come take your wife home quietly and save the cost of a large, public wedding. MARCELO: That sounds like a good idea to me. I'll make a note of her name and identity, so the papers can all be drawn up properly. MARCELO takes out a notebook and writes down the information MOTHER: (Hook line and sinker, he took the bait! Aside Our names are the same. Now he'll pay!) MARCELO: Her name is Angela, what? MOTHER: De Heredia! (Her name is Mendoza, just like her father. Aside What a plot this would be for a play!) MARCELO: And, tell me, what was her father's name? MOTHER: Don Andrés de Heredia. (That's my father.) Aside MARCELO: And her mother? MOTHER: (I'll name my mother.) Aside Inés de Soria. I thought you knew that. MARCELO: I just asked to be sure and get it exact. MOTHER: (Now you're going to learn not to fool Aside a woman who knows exactly what to do.) MARCELO: I think that's all that I need right now. I'll have the Power of Attorney made out and send a friend and a notary very soon. MOTHER: Just knowing that you know what to do makes me feel secure about this marriage. MARCELO: I promise you, madam, you won't be sorry. MOTHER: There's really no need for such a pledge to someone you have already made happy. MARCELO: Why shouldn't I if you were the source of the shining star I am waiting for? Let's go, Roque. ROQUE: Do I dare ask now what it was that you were writing down? MARCELO: I'll tell you all about it later on. MARCELO and ROQUE leave with a bow to ANGELA MOTHER: Experience certainly leads one to wisdom, the crucible in which one tries the truth. This city is confusing, too full of fools! The men are phantoms, hollow statues: not one of them has any real substance. There's nothing real here, only appearance. ANGELA: Mother! You are going to marry one now! MOTHER: You'd better learn, real women know how to repulse the tricks men try to play! The MOTHER exits ANGELA: Sweet Cupid, if it's true what they say, bring Carlos back to me in a peaceful state. Use the arrow of peace to calm his anger. GOMEZ enters GOMEZ: I managed to persuade him to return. But that was work! ANGELA: I'll make it up to you. CARLOS enters and GOMEZ exits CARLOS: I came because I had nothing better to do. ANGELA: Any man who thinks he is truly enamored doesn't know the meaning of the word if he doesn't respect the one he adores. In general, his respect is the source of a willing disbelief in mere appearance. Respect is what makes him take the chance to use his eyes and ears and find the truth. Any overly zealous lover, such as you, lays himself open to quarrels and jealousy. Alejandro was mad about losing his money. CARLOS: Do you really expect me not to believe what I saw with my own eyes? Now really! That's the trouble with you women today! You insist on denying the light of day. You obstinately demand the right to rebel since you always expect to win in the end. Don DIEGO enters DIEGO: (I wonder if love has calmed the anger Aside I saw shooting from her eyes like daggers. But they say the anger of a woman in love is like a cloud in the summer skies above: one shot of lightning, a little thunder, and a bit of rain before it blows over. Don DIEGO sees CARLOS and ANGELA Look over there! How fickle can she be? How faithless? But they haven't seen me. I'm glad that they left the door open.) ANGELA: Haven't I managed to convince you yet? CARLOS: Well, I guess I can take you at your word. ANGELA: You can hold me in your arms as a reward. ANGELA and CARLOS embrace DIEGO: (How could I be such a stupid ass Aside as to believe a woman who'd do that?) ANGELA: That's enough! Now go talk to my mother. She might not say "no" as she did earlier. CARLOS exits DIEGO: So you got even with me for having made you jealous, you slithering Libyan snake! Indeed, now I can see the poison you hid behind those alluring, carnation lips. CARLOS returns to stand at the door Did ever a more treacherous crocodile cry false tears into the River Nile as he plotted the cruelest of his tricks? Wasn't it yesterday I heard from your lips complaints about my love? Wasn't it here I saw your eyes fill with love and tears? And I find you today embracing another! I sense here your disdain and anger! I can't complain of your being fickle because, by nature, women are changeable; but I do have a right to complain, as a man who remembers that it was you who began... ANGELA: What Devil from Hell persecutes me now? The Tower of Babel has nothing on this house! Did Valencia's insane asylum let you escape? Or did the Tavera Hospital ignore your state and turn a violent maniac like you loose? Fortune, I can't take any more from you! DIEGO: Can you excuse or deny that embrace? Didn't I see that it was you who gave your beautiful, faithless arms to Carlos? What's worse, you begged him to do so! ANGELA: What do you care you ignorant boor? Don't you know the meaning of manners or the rules of proper behavior? DIEGO: I suppose you'll claim you only did that to get even since you can't deny the facts. ANGELA: Get our of here now! How did you get in? Wasn't the door locked? DIEGO: Well, I'm free again! So I'll go away now and leave you two to lampoon and ridicule my love for you. Just be sure you send me without delay the souvenir I gave you to hold and keep safe. ANGELA: What are you talking about, you monster? DIEGO: (There, now she knows what I think of her Aside since I asked her to return my necklace.) DIEGO exits ANGELA: What dark mystery is behind all this? Thank God he left. CARLOS: Twice, Angela? Twice? The same thing happening again tonight? Is this what you asked me to come and see? Wasn't once enough for you? It was for me! I suppose you'll say Don Diego is mad, too, having lost his money like that other fool? Wasn't that what you said about Alejandro? Or, were you just inventing a cruel joke? Or, is this the way you operate your trap, trying anything to make me jealous, perhaps? CARLOS turns to go and ANGELA grabs at his cape ANGELA: Look, Carlos, Don Diego seems to think he's in love, but I only... CARLOS: ...want to fool me! "Wasn't it yesterday I heard from your lips complaints about my love? Wasn't it here I saw your eyes fill with love and tears? And I find you today embracing another! I sense here your disdain and anger!" Isn't that what he said? He must have reason to hope if he hasn't already taken possession. CARLOS rips his cape from her hand and exits ANGELA: Won't you listen to my explanations? Is this an end to my expectations? I'm driven out of my mind with sorrow. I'm ready to stop living as of tomorrow. ANGELA exits. MARCELO, ALBERTO, and a NOTARY enter MARCELO: The papers are made out just as I ordered they are signed and ready to be delivered. You ought to know that the only reason I'm getting married is because of my son. He's a little wild about cards and women and this is the only way I can help him. Maybe he'll calm down a bit when he sees his inheritance disappear once I'm married. ALBERTO: But, Marcelo, you are still young enough to marry without anyone thinking it odd. MARCELO: Alberto, you just be sure to keep control; remember you're only a groom by proxy. Although the mother does dress as a widow, she's still quite young and somewhat pretty. So don't make a mistake whatever you do! You should easily recognize the daughter who, you will see, is beautiful as the rising sun. ALBERTO: I think I'm prepared to get the job done. Let's get going! MARCELO: And keep your mouths shut! NOTARY: That we know how to do! ALBERTO and the NOTARY exit MARCELO: What wonderful luck! ALEJANDRO enters ALEJANDRO:My troubled mind has given birth Aside to a horrible monster at last. I have to admit that I am the true father of these terrible problems I have. If only I could leave for a place overseas and forget the trouble I've caused, forget what I owe and be completely free of the doubts that give me pause. MARCELO: Alejandro, son, what's wrong with you? ALEJANDRO:I just found some things in Isabel's room that shouldn't be there: jewelry and a dress, and a diamond necklace that was in her desk. Have they replaced my honor? Do you know? I'm afraid everyone will think I'm cuckold! MARCELO: This is a matter we must investigate. Son, such a thought is exceedingly grave, but don't say a word until we know more. You take this money and keep it in store to cover the expenses you'll probably have. MARCELO gives ALEJANDRO a purse I must say this news has made me very sad. (I hope to find out, by this experiment, Aside if his unhappiness will make him forget about gambling and sowing more wild oats. I certainly can't do more unless I know.) MARCELO exits ALEJANDRO:Come out into the open, Truth, come out! Let me see what has happened! Roque didn't give it to Angela. The lout! He may have given it to Isabel! But no! That can't possibly be the truth after what Angela said to me. And the diamond necklace was there, too! Isabel had it! Could it be? Diego won it, and may be willing to tell. He may give me the answer. I must find out if my honor is truly dead or if my worries are over. ROQUE enters ROQUE: A message came for you from Don Pedro. ALEJANDRO:What's he want? ROQUE: He wants you to know there's a rich game going on at his house if you want to go and even things out. ALEJANDRO:Satan, begone! Your tempting devil, Roque! How can you even mention gambling to me now that my despair has made me repent? ROQUE: (When he has money he hasn't yet spent, Aside how can this idiot ignore a good game? Damn it all! He must have changed!) ALEJANDRO:Come here, Roque. Tell me the truth. ROQUE: What about? ALEJANDRO: About that diamond brooch. Did you give it to Angela? Tell me now. ROQUE: Have you gone mad? Is there any doubt? When you saw her, as you told me yourself, she thanked you for both the pin and dress. ALEJANDRO:That she did! All right, you can go. ROQUE: (He must have seen the brooch at home. Aside His worries made him change his ways.) ROQUE exits ALEJANDRO:Oh, good God in heaven! What can I say? I just realized what must have happened. Don Diego sent the necklace as a present! There's no other way it could possibly be! He won her heart. The thought is killing me! ROQUE enters ROQUE: Sir! ALEJANDRO: Has another message for me arrived? ROQUE: Doña Angela has asked that you pass by. ALEJANDRO:Satan, begone! Stop being a tempting demon! I don't give a damn about gambling or women. No man as stupid as I should be a gambler and I certainly have no more use for her. ROQUE: (This seems to be going pretty well, now.) Aside And here comes Don Diego looking around. Don DIEGO enters and ROQUE exits ALEJANDRO:(He will know if I've been condemned Aside or if my grievous errors can be forgiven. My future hangs on his lips for good or evil.) DIEGO: Alejandro, I am here on important business. ALEJANDRO:(He may want to make my dishonor clear.) Aside That's the reason that I am waiting here. DIEGO: You have always been my very best friend, the only one in whom I have confidence. ALEJANDRO:(The time has come!) Aside DIEGO: I need you tonight as my second in duel I must fight with a man who has hurt me deeply. ALEJANDRO:I'd be happy to help. Who can that be? DIEGO: It's Carlos de Villamayor. ALEJANDRO: (Now I see! Aside As my friend he wants revenge for me! What a true friend he turned out to be!) DIEGO: I was in love with Angela and had some hope but now she has promised to marry Carlos. I'd be willing to bet that she gave him all the things she took from us as gifts. The necklace you lost and that I won is proof enough she's been up to no good. She couldn't get it from me for her own, but she accepted it from me as a loan. I'll get it from her before it gets dark; then we'll go find that Andalusian bastard. ALEJANDRO:Well, I'll be waiting for you right here on the street. DIEGO: I'll see you soon, never fear! DIEGO exits ALEJANDRO:That's all the proof I could ever need. Last night Carlos was out in the street openly sighing and staring at the house, and all day long he's been hanging around. Angela is in love with him. That's plain. I saw that myself, for goodness sake! She may have given him those as gifts, the necklace, brooch, and other things. Now they are here and Isabel has them. How right people are when they claim that happiness lives but a few sweet days in a gambler's house, a place full of hurt, sadness, grief, worry and open dishonor. ISABEL enters ISABEL: Like the sick man who is glad to see the resplendent light of each new dawn, like the road-worn wanderer who's happy to find refreshing shade on an open lawn, I am pleased to find you here with me despite the cloud hiding your rising sun. Not once have I seen a smile on your lips; don't let your mood be our love's eclipse. ALEJANDRO:Like the sick man who is sorely vexed by the dark of night when the sun had gone, like the traveler who is tired and upset, suffering the heat of summer's midday sun, I am bothered, whenever you speak to me, by your pretended love and fawning flattery. ISABEL: Where nectar is found by a solicitous bee a spider hunts the venom that's fatal. Is the flower at fault if the evil you see is in the heart and not on the petal? My love is simple but it makes me happy. Fault yourself if you feel miserable. The mistake is yours, --good heaven above!-- Don't blame me, my words or my love. ALEJANDRO:What a common conceit! How ignorant! What a stupid and boring argument! You haven't made me feel one bit better. ISABEL: Tell me, if you can, what is the matter? If the effects can be so easily seen, come right out and say what you mean. ALEJANDRO:At its source the river that now permits sea-going vessels to float freely on it was only a spring, asleep in a meadow. My hurt and pain have just been born. If they live, they will certainly grow. You in there! ROQUE: Sir? ALEJANDRO: Close the door! (The door was open to my misfortune; Aside it must be shut now to let nothing in. So the pain I keep inside can come out. Honor and Love, let's have a short truce). Isabel, it's hard for be to be calm now because I esteem your honor and virtue, but in the face of what I have seen, my heart and mind are battling my soul. The controversy's important as it can be, and peace will come from your lips alone. Life and death are yours to choose. Give me your life or tell me the truth. ISABEL: If you want the facts, as you have stated, why do you demand them with rigorous threats? Can a truly righteous person be persuaded to tell the truth by warnings of death? Go ahead, my love, and simply ask me. You want the truth? I'll give it gladly. ALEJANDRO takes ISABEL by the arm ALEJANDRO:Where did you get the necklace and brooch after I, unfortunately, lost the jewels? ISABEL: No woman as obedient and faithful as I would ever answer a question that blind and ignorant, one that should never... ISABEL breaks out of his grip angrily as MARCELO answers You faithless philanderer, ask your father! MARCELO: Children, children what's going on here? ALEJANDRO:I'm trying to break the grip of fear, her deranged cruelty and painful deceit. MARCELO takes ALEJANDRO to one side MARCELO: If I can explain what you have seen, calm your fears, and end your jealousy, Alejandro, what will you promise me? ALEJANDRO:I really love her, she's so beautiful, even if I have called her ungrateful. Although I can't promise anything valuable, I swear that I'll never again gamble. May the heavens deny me their shining light; may I be refused the fruits of the earth; may springs turn their living water to ice; and the sun forbid me its comforting warmth; may my torments equal those of Tantalus; may my sleep be disturbed by an evil succubus, fantastic horrors and insomniac nightmares; may my desires find only withered flowers where they hoped to reap fruited bowers; may the Lord condemn me to waste my youth fighting overseas battles that serve no use, or rambling wherever my fate may take me, if ever in the future I drop my guard to chase another woman, even momentarily, or wager a cent at a game of cards. MARCELO: A saint once said he wanted to see Hell, to learn the meaning of eternal torment, from a safe distance. He saw it in a dream, and died from fear thinking it was real. I tried to let you feel a cuckold's torture, brought on by your delirious, insane nature. A man who refuses to honor and love his wife will,as a result, inevitably suffer the like. Your servant returned the brooch and the dress. By some sly trick he got the necklace for Isabel. It was I who was outside during the night making you jealous with my signs and sighs. ALEJANDRO:Good God in heaven above! I am lucky indeed! It means little when a lover suffers jealousy because it signals discomfort, not dishonor. But just imagining the distress and lack of honor jealousy causes in the case of a married man, even when it's an illusion, hurts like hell. Is it possible for you to pardon me, Isabel, for believing what I thought I saw today? ALEJANDRO gets on his knees A man who is jealous feels love not hate. I had my doubts but never really believed that you could have been unfaithful to me. Our human senses are subject to error. ISABEL: Get up! I didn't hear you speak those words, nor have I seen you on your knees before me. ALEJANDRO:How saintly! What proof of your nobility! ISABEL: I'm only the woman who has always loved you. ALEJANDRO:I swear that I'll always adore you, too. ROQUE speaks to ALEJANDRO ROQUE: What will you bet that I take the blame and become the target in this game? ALEJANDRO:No you won't. I know what you're worth. MARCELO: Well, I have news of my upcoming pleasure and want to invite you to a feast tonight. I need, even at my age and stage in life, some pleasure at home and a little peace. I'm getting married despite how it seems. If that disturbs you, pardon me please. ALEJANDRO:Instead, I'm glad to see you so happy. ISABEL: And I promise to respect and love your wife. ALEJANDRO:Who is she? MARCELO: She's young and pretty! All right? ROQUE: (Why not admit marrying the deaf, old dame! Aside Eating raisins instead of fresh grapes!) They all exit. ANGELA and her MOTHER enter MOTHER: Why are you sad now? Is it about Carlos? Don't be silly. You should let the man go. It's clear you haven't taken my advice about him but, after all, it is your life, miserable, poor, sad, and lonely as it may be. You really ought to take an example from me. I'm not as pretty and I am of a certain age but I've managed to make a rich marriage. ANGELA: Oh, damn your eagerness to be wealthy! Because of it I have to suffer and worry about the attention I paid to Don Diego in exchange for his diamonds and gold. Now Carlos, overcome with jealousy called me fickle and false here today, and there is some truth to what he says. MOTHER: You should be a widow if you want to weep. Angela, you put on these widow's weeds. I'm getting tired of them and would like to look younger than I do. You ought to try being a widow like me for just one day. Maybe that experience is all it would take to make you so happy you won't want to marry. ANGELA: Are you trying to play games with me? I'm not in the mood for fun and games. MOTHER: You'd look beautiful in this. Your face would look like a rose hiding in the snow. The MOTHER takes off her wimple and puts it on ANGELA ANGELA: I might as well be wearing these weeds Carlos is as good as dead to me. I will do what I can in the meantime to learn how he feels. The MOTHER remarks about the wimple MOTHER: Now that's nice! GOMEZ enters GOMEZ: A Notary is here. MOTHER: (Now the fun begins!) Aside ANGELA: I'd better get rid of this thing, quick! MOTHER: There's no time. There's nothing you can do. Don't worry about it, they don't know you. ALBERTO and the NOTARY enter ALBERTO: I have been sent to your house, ladies, as the Attorney for Don Marcelo Gentile. This gentleman is a Notary. You know why... MOTHER: (Only one of us knows all. That is I.) Aside ALBERTO: I take it that you're to be his bride. The NOTARY and ALBERTO speak to one side NOTARY: The widow seems far prettier to my eyes. I would swear that she's the younger. ALBERTO: She may be a stepmother rather than mother. It seems funny to me too, but Marcelo did order us not to marry him to the widow. I think he'd be better off if we did. NOTARY: The other one is an angel, too good for him! ALBERTO: It seems that love is a matter of tastes. NOTARY: Well, let's get this over with right away. Angela de Heredia. Is that your name? MOTHER: It is. NOTARY: Who was your father? MOTHER: Don Andrés. NOTARY: Your mother? MOTHER: Inés de Soria. ALBERTO: In the name of Marcelo Gentile, I give you my hand. MOTHER: I accept by pledging my word and my hand. NOTARY: May the two of you live in peace forever. I will sign here and the wedding is over. ALBERTO: I'll go take Marcelo the happy news. ALBERTO and the NOTARY exit MOTHER: And I'll wait here until you do. (I pray to God he takes it well.) Aside ANGELA removes the wimple ANGELA: Now you take this away, please Gomez. I was so ashamed. GOMEZ: I heard someone say that at weddings everything is disguised. I'm glad I found out it's true here today. With things going so well at this time, I may have a chance of finding a wife. MOTHER: Gomez, I may have been married, all right, but when it comes to you, there is no hope. GOMEZ: Between your age and mine, as you know, there isn't even three hours difference. CARLOS enters CARLOS: Out on the street I just heard it said that fickle woman Angela had been wed. Although I have been greatly offended, still I burn with adoration for you. Did you marry Marcelo? Is it true? Tell me now, are you out of your mind? Marry a man whose hair has been dyed, turned to silver by the wings of time? MOTHER: Easy, easy! You're talking about me. ANGELA: My mother is the one who got married. Now look here, Carlos... CARLOS: Oh! Pardon me. Don DIEGO and Don LUIS enter DIEGO: I came to get my diamond necklace back. No swindling skirt can fool me like that or win me over with flattery and lies. LUIS: Since our little talk, I know you're right. We know now that she got my golden chain using the same trick she used to fool you. MOTHER: They seem glued to us by some evil fate; I sure am getting tired of seeing these two. MARCELO, ISABEL, ALEJANDRO, ALBERTO, ROQUE, and FABIO enter GOMEZ: Once they get wind of a wedding feast everyone in town shows up, it seems. ROQUE: Make room for the bridegroom. Make way! MOTHER: (Here we go! May God preserve me today!) Aside ALBERTO speaks aside to MARCELO ALBERTO: In my opinion the widow is far prettier. So, tell me why you didn't choose her. MARCELO: How can you say a thing like that? Why, dawn itself is no prettier than my bride! ROQUE: I have something to say, are you listening? If you want to have music at the wedding, you'd better send for trumpets and bells to make sure that the bride can hear them. ALEJANDRO:Angela married my father? He is lucky! Imagine having her beauty for company! ISABEL: They say she didn't even have a dowry! MARCELO speaks with ANGELA MARCELO: Has any captain ever come safely home after being battered by the stormy sea happier than I, now that I have come into the presence of your eyes that gleam making the sun's rays seem like shadows, darkening the stars that adorn the night? ANGELA: It isn't right you should praise me so. Speaking to mother first, would be polite. MARCELO: Your wisdom pleases me. You are right. (What a polite wife I have married!) Aside ANGELA: (He will be a nice stepfather, it seems.) Aside MARCELO: Madam, your permission, your agreement, and your blessing have made my life perfect. MOTHER: I am here to obey your every call. MARCELO: (Now that's an agreeable mother-in-law!) Aside Because you are the master of this house, it is only right that you should allow Angela to give her hand now in marriage. ANGELA: I accept the offer, and it's about time. Here's my hand, Carlos, if you'll be mine. MARCELO: "Here's my hand, Carlos"? What do you mean? ANGELA: That's my husband's name, don't you see? MARCELO: What's this, Alberto? ALBERTO: I guess that's that. She's still single and looking for a man. MARCELO: "Single"? ALBERTO: She's neither married nor a nun. ROQUE: (This wedding is certainly cheap enough! Aside We're getting two for the price of one!) MARCELO: How confusing this is. Are we in Babylon? ALBERTO: If it was Angela you wanted to marry, why are you now so surprised and angry? ANGELA: Sir, Angela de Heredia is your wife. My name's Mendoza. My mother's your bride. MARCELO: Even in Ethiopia there's no magic that black! MOTHER: Calm down, sir. You mustn't talk like that! You don't want all this to be made public. You asked me first, and I didn't lie about it. I am your wife. MARCELO: Is Angela your name, too? CARLOS: Certainly. Everyone knows that. Even I do. ROQUE: Well, the marriage is void and null. MOTHER: Why? ROQUE: Because your hearing is dull, you couldn't hear what was happening. MARCELO: That's a way out, Roque, good thinking! MOTHER: What makes you think I'm that big a fool? I can hear better than any one of you. ROQUE: Let's have a test, you crazy old hag. MOTHER: You're the one who's crazy. Take that! ROQUE: I have to admit she heard that time. (Another test but in a softer tone!) Aside Madam Oldage married our gallant knight! MOTHER: You're lying, you scullery maid's mop! If Marcelo isn't too old for marriage, I've got a way to go before I'm his age. ROQUE: Did you say she was deaf? No beast of the forest hears better than she. MARCELO: Well, if she's not deaf, that's good. Angela de Heredia I am your groom. Once a man's fate has been decided, no force on earth is able to oppose it. DIEGO: It's my turn! Doña Angela, keep your vow and return my diamond necklace to me now. ANGELA: What necklace do you mean? What's that? DIEGO: I said I'm asking you to give it back. ANGELA: But the constable took it from me already. You know that as you admitted to me. Why ask me for it now? FABIAN: Now it's my turn! DIEGO: What constable? When? Can't you remember? What's the confusion? ANGELA: There he is, now! Mr. Sharpe, you're here in the nick of time. Didn't I give you the necklace? So how...? ALEJANDRO:Now it's my turn! I have the diamonds, and will happily pay for them. DIEGO: That's done! ALEJANDRO:It's time we brought the play to an end now that the gambler has met his fate. ROQUE: Forgive us our faults, most gracious guests. Enjoy yourselves now and let heaven wait. PRAISE GOD, THE PLAY'S AT AN END
Electronic text by Vern G. Williamsen
and J T Abraham
Additional formatting by Matthew D. Stroud
Latest update: 28 Jun 2002