Scene One:  A room in Don Beltrán's house
Don GARCÍA enters in a robe, reading, accompanied by TRISTÁN and CAMINO. Don GARCÍA reads
GARCÍA: "It is the urgency of the matter that forces me beyond the proprieties of my station. What it is, you may discover tonight, at a balcony which the bearer of this note will reveal to you, along with other things I dare not put in writing, May the Lord protect and, etc."
Who wrote this note to me, d'you know? CAMINO: Doña Lucrecia is her name. GARCÍA: De Luna? She whom I proclaim My very heart, beating so Proudly in my breast! She, That queen of beauty, whose lovely feet Tripped today down Silver Street Before noon! CAMINO: Yes. GARCÍA: My destiny! My joy, my life, my own! Tell me all her qualities-- Quickly! CAMINO: I'm amazed that these Great gifts of hers are still unknown To you. You've seen her, you needn't be told About her beauty--I'll skip that part. She's virtuous, she's very smart, Her father's widowed, and very old, And has a vast estate, I hear-- A thousand ducats, maybe two, Which she'll inherit. GARCÍA: Tristán, did you Hear that? TRISTÁN: Without a single tear. CAMINO: As far as her rank of nobility-- What can I say? Luna's her father's Name, and Mendoza, her mother's-- Both solid gold in pedigree. Donþ Lucrecia--to put it plain-- Deserves to marry only with kings. GARCÍA: Cupid, I pray, lend me your wings To mount such heights and there remain. Where does she live? CAMINO: Victory Square. GARCÍA: My goal is clear, and you the guide, It tells me here, to lead me inside The glorious heaven that awaits me there. CAMINO: I'll show you the way to both places, then. GARCÍA: For which I'll thank you, with all my might. CAMINO: I will return later tonight To accompany you, at the stroke of ten. GARCÍA: And tell Lucrecia my reply To her request. CAMINO: Yes, sir. God bless.
CAMINO goes out
GARCÍA: I'm in heaven! What happiness! What love! What a fortunate man am I! Remember, Trist n, the coachman said Lucrecia was the prettier-- And that's the one I love, I'm sure! And surely she has forwarded This letter to me! Don't you see? TRISTÁN: I think you're reaching for it, sir. GARCÍA: Don't be silly--of course, it's her-- Why would the other one write to me? TRISTÁN: Well, the worst thing that can happen to you Tonight, I suppose, is having your Doubts removed. You'll know for sure Who the lady is you're talking to. GARCÍA: I know I won't be led astray. My sense still holds the memory of That sweet soprano voice I love, Whose music slew my soul today.
A PAGE comes in, with a note
PAGE Don García? Sir! That Is for you. GARCÍA: As you were-- Relax. PAGE Your servant, sir. GARCÍA: For heaven's sake, put on your hat!
He reads, to himself
"I wish to set the matter straight About some important things. Come alone. When the bell rings Seven. At St. Blaise. I shall wait. Don Juan de Sosa." (Damn! Good Heaven! What can it be? He doesn't say. But I only got here yesterday, And he's a friend of mine.)
To the PAGE
At seven, You may say, I will not fail To meet with him.
The PAGE goes out
TRISTÁN: Hello? Sir? Don García? What is it? You're Looking extremely pale. GARCÍA: Nothing at all. TRISTÁN: No problems? GARCÍA: None. TRISTÁN: (This is serious--I can tell.) Aside GARCÍA: Fetch me my cape--and my sword as well.
TRISTÁN goes out
But what could I have possibly done?
Don BELTRÁN comes in
BELTRÁN: García? GARCÍA: Father? BELTRÁN: We're going to Take a little horseback ride Today--there's a certain matter I'd Like to talk over with you. GARCÍA: (Another one? Now what?) Aside
TRISTÁN returns and starts to dress Don GARCÍA
BELTRÁN: Now where Are you off to? It's blazing hot Out there. GARCÍA: Just next door; I thought I'd shoot a little pool over there With our neighbor, the count. BELTRÁN: Well, don't Dash about so much. I don't approve-- You just got in. There're thousands of People yet to meet--you won't Be able to do it in a single day. And when you do, I'd prefer it if you Carefully considered two Conditions: when you gamble, play With what you have, and before you air An opinion, think twice. It's the only way I know to be happy. GARCÍA: I'll do what you say-- You're right. BELTRÁN: Now go on out there And make sure the stableboys get The horses saddled and ready by Four. GARCÍA: I'll see to it. BELTRÁN: Good-bye.
Don GARCÍA goes out
I'm still more than a little upset Over what his tutor said. Tristán--how much time would you say You spent with him? TRISTÁN: The entire day. BELTRÁN: Forget that he's my son. Instead, Remember only the loyalty That I have always found in you, And which I'm sure is still there, too. What is he like?--be honest with me. TRISTÁN: I really couldn't say--there's been So little time to judge him by. BELTRÁN: Your tongue's not usually this shy-- There's been plenty of time to judge him in, More than enough, I'd say, for one As smart as you. For my life's sake, Don't spare me--tell me. TRISTÁN: What I make Of him, sir, is this. You see, your son-- And I'm only telling you the truth For your life's sake--that's what you swore-- BELTRÁN: You've always done me right before, And earned my favor so. TRISTÁN: It's his youth-- He's got a great imagination, A wonderful sense of fine detail, But a young man's fancy can sometimes fail Through rashness or over-compensation. Salamanca was his nurse, He needs to be weaned away from the taste For sophomoric pranks, and placed Where that crowd can't infect him. Nothing's worse Than the habits picked up in college. This Wild talk, this lying without Caution or sense, this boasting about Everything, this compulsion of his To risk it all! I heard him today, In one hour, tell six or seven lies! BELTRÁN: God help me! TRISTÁN: Here's the big surprise-- You haven't heard the worst news--they Were such terrible lies, he could have been caught In any one of them. BELTRÁN: Good Lord! TRISTÁN: I'd never have said a single word To hurt you, sir, if you had not Commanded me. BELTRÁN: I know too well Your loyalty and love for me. TRISTÁN: Then, sir, forgive my temerity If I remind you not to tell Your son. Don García must never hear That I mentioned it. Surely you see The risk I run. BELTRÁN: Put your trust in me, Tristán, and put away all fear. Go out and order them to prepare Our horses.
TRISTÁN goes out
O God in Heaven! Well, since it is your will, Lord, even This must make sense somehow--somewhere! For the balance of my time on earth, late In my sad life, my only consolation Is my one son, my only relation-- And God burdens me with this--counterweight! Ah well, it was ever thus--old men Are forever disappointed in Their sons. And ills have always been Worst in the eldest. Patience, then! I'll try to bring this marriage plan To a swift conclusion today; And with a little speed I may Just mend this fault--if I can Do it before the court starts taking Notice of his instability Which would pretty effectively Block any marriage worth the making. With any luck, his new position As a married man might just be The very motivation that he Needs, to reform his vile condition. For it's useless to think that constant correction, Advice, rebuke, or disapproval Would ever bring about the removal Of such an ingrained predilection.
TRISTÁN comes back in
TRISTÁN: The horses are ready, waiting for Your command to go, each one Testing its iron shoes upon The cobblestones of the courtyard floor. Your dappled stallion, eager to advance At the head of the parade, re-learns All by himself the twists and turns And intricate steps of his dance. Behind him, the bay, proudly daring To match her rider in reputation, Studies with renewed dedication Her motions and her equine bearing. BELTRÁN: Go tell García--hurry him on. TRISTÁN: Your son awaits you--so gallantly, That all the court will think that he, Even at this hour, brings a new dawn.
They go out
Scene Two: A room in Don Sancho's house
ISABEL: I told Lucrecia, ma'am, and she Grabbed for her pen and immediately Started to put your brilliant plan Into action. The son of Don Beltr n This night beneath her balcony Will wait. "An urgent matter," she wrote, "We must discuss tonight." Close quote. There you can chat with him--he must Obey. Camino carried the note, And he's a person you can trust. JACINTA: Lucrecia's so obliging to me! ISABEL: At every opportunity She shows herself a perfect friend. JACINTA: Is it late? ISABEL: It's five. JACINTA: Will it never end-- This worry? Even asleep, the memory Distresses me of my poor Don Juan; During my nap, I dreamt that he Was all consumed with jealousy Of another suitor!
They look out the window
ISABEL: It's Don Beltrán! And with him--ay!--your Peruvian! JACINTA: What are you talking about? ISABEL: That man You spoke with today, on Silver Street, He's riding alongside Don Beltr n-- See for yourself! JACINTA: My God, that can- not be--you're right--it's him! That cheat! That fraud! That liar! Why would he Pretend to be an American When he's the son of Don Beltrán? ISABEL: Because money will always be Crucial to any engagement plan. Money played an important part In gaining access to your heart-- He thought. He must imagine this is At least the likeliest way to start-- As Midas, rather than Narcissus. JACINTA: So when he said it was last year when He first saw me--he was lying again! I clearly heard his father say He just arrived in Madrid today From Salamanca. ISABEL: But then-- To put it in the best possible light, It could be true, lady, you know. He might have seen you a year ago, Then left Madrid, and then he might Have returned from Salamanca last night. And if he didn't, what's the surprise If someone who's desirous of Gaining favor in a lady's eyes, And giving credit to his love, Strengthens his gifts with a couple of lies? What's more, I'm pretty sure he's not Indulging in hyperbole For nothing. Trust me. García got His father here as speedily As if he took a bow and shot Him over to talk with you. Can't be a Coincidence. To see you and say He loves you, and then that very day His father's here with the bright idea Of having you marry his son Garc´a. JACINTA: You're right--but still I would have thought The time between when he saw me And when his father came, and brought These wedding plans of his, was not Long enough. ISABEL: But it was, if he Knew who you were all the time, then met His father on Silver Street, who knew You as well, and was not unaware of who Your family was, and they talked, and he let Him know how much he felt for you, And he--since he adored his son-- And rightly so--moved fast. JACINTA: What will be Will be. The boy's a handsome one, His father's crazy about me, and he Desires me. Consider the marriage done.
They go out
Scene Three: Atocha Boulevard
Enter Don BELTRÁN: and Don GARCÍA
BELTRÁN: What are you thinking about? GARCÍA: That this Is the finest horse I've ever seen. BELTRÁN: A beautiful beast. GARCÍA: How well she's been Trained, and how sharp her spirit is! So mild, yet so magnificent! BELTRÁN: Your brother Gabriel, may he rest In peace, thought her the best; She was his joy, his sole content. GARCÍA: So now, sir, that we've found our way To the hermitage on this lonely hill, What did you want? What's your will? BELTRÁN: What's my pain, you ought to say. Are you a gentleman, García? GARCÍA: I've always thought I was your son. BELTRÁN: I see, just being a son of mine Is all you need to make you one? GARCÍA: Well, yes, father, I think it is. BELTRÁN: Well, that's a really dumb idea! Because you have to act like one, To be a gentleman, Garc´a. How do you think the noblest houses Started? The founders made a name For themselves by their noble deeds. They had no ancestry to claim; These lowborn men had but their acts With which to honor their progeny. It's acting well or ill that makes You good or bad. Now do you see What I'm telling you? GARCÍA: I don't deny That noble deeds can make a man Noble, but I will also say If deeds don't do it, then birth can. BELTRÁN: But if a man of lowly birth Can gain nobility, then is The opposite not true as well-- May not the high born man lose his? GARCÍA: That's also true. BELTRÁN: So then if you Perform disgraceful acts, you can-- Even though you are my son-- Fail to be a gentleman. And if your every action was A scandal to society, My coat of arms would count for nothing, As would your noble ancestry. What is all this I hear with my Own ears--that all your lies and all Your stories have become the wonder Of Salamanca? And you call Yourself a gentleman! You're nothing! To call any man a liar--this Alone is enough to ruin him-- Tell me what being a liar is! If in the world's eyes, I were A man without honor, as long As people said I was a liar, I wouldn't leave the house. How strong And tough your heart must be, or else How long the sword you bear, that you Think you can walk around with all The town calling you what they do! How can such a man exist, With thoughts so base and so inane, To enslave himself to such a vice That yields him neither joy nor gain! At least the lecher has the lure Of seeking sexual satisfaction; The miser has the comfort of His money's power and attraction; The glutton has his feasts to please His palate; the gambler has the thrill Of play and hope of winning big To keep him coming back; the kill- er satisfies his blood revenge; The thief enjoys the haul he's made; Even a quarrelsome man may gain A reputation with his blade. So every vice, in short, can yield Some pleasure or some benefit-- Except for lying. What does it bring But infamy and scorn with it? GARCÍA: Whoever says that I tell lies Is just a. . . liar! BELTRÁN: And once again You lie. That's all you know, even to Defend yourself--you lie, and then You lie again. GARCÍA: But if you won't Believe in me-- BELTRÁN: Believe in what? That you tell truth and all the town Tells lies? Am I an idiot? What matters now is that you give The lie to your defamers by Your actions. It's a whole new world; Speak little and speak true. A high And saintly king lives here--for all To see; you cannot use some fault Of his to excuse your own. And here You deal with all the most exalt- ed peers of Spain, with gentlemen And lords, who if they ever find Your weakness out, will never give You their respect. Must I remind You more? You're all grown up, you wear A beard upon your chin and a sharp sword At your side, you're nobly born, and I'm Your father--that's my final word; I've nothing more to say; I hope A simple reprimand will be Enough for one of your high rank And mental ingenuity. And now, just so you understand How much I've been upset and harried About your welfare, you should know I'm working to get you nobly married. GARCÍA: (Ay! My Lucrecia!) Aside BELTRÁN: Never before My son, has heaven deigned to place Such heavenly beauties, such divine Endowments in a human face As in Jacinta, daughter of Don Fernando Pacheco--she From whom I look to have some fine Grandchildren in my seniority. GARCÍA: (Ay, my Lucrecia! Can it be? Aside You are the only mistress of My heart! BELTRÁN: What's this? No answer? GARCÍA: (Yours I must be, by heaven, my love! BELTRÁN: Now what are you so sad about? Speak up--don't keep me in suspense. GARCÍA: I'm sad because I find I can- not give you my obedience. BELTRÁN: But why? GARCÍA: Because I am already Married. BELTRÁN: You're married! how can this be? My God! And I not know it? GARCÍA: Well, I had to marry--and secretly. BELTRÁN: Was ever father so disgraced! GARCÍA: Don't be distressed, for once you un- derstand the cause, dear father, you Will find the result a happy one. BELTRÁN: My life hangs by a slender thread-- Get to the point--and speedily. GARCÍA: (Come on, imagination, lend Aside Me now your finest subtlety.
There lives in Salamanca, sir, A gentleman of noble fame And family. His forbears were Herreras, Don Pedro is his name. Heaven has given him a daughter, A second heaven, with suns for eyes And cheeks as rosy as the water On the horizon at sunrise. To keep it brief, I'll say this much Only, no more: that Nature, sir, Took every blessing fit for such A young age, and gave them all to her. But Fortune, when she sees some one So blest, is Nature's enemy, And to oppose what Nature had done, Gave her the gift of poverty. Moreover, though her family Was far less rich than noble, there Were three in line for the legacy, Two brothers born ahead of her. I saw her in her coach one night, Riding toward the river. If on- ly it were Italy, it might Have been the coach of Phaëton-- But it was Spain. Who ever said That Cupid's shafts were tipped with flame? What I felt then was ice instead-- A chill that pierced me all the same. Why do we think of them as hot-- These passions and these feelings, if Under their spell the soul is caught And held, the body frozen stiff? In brief, I had to see her there, And seeing her, love had to make Me blind, I had to follow her, I was so rapt; and it would take A heart of bronze to judge me for't. By day I walked her street, by night Lived at her gate. I had resort To go-betweens and notes. I'd write Her of my passion, till at last From pity or affection, she Responded; for Love's laws bind fast Even among divinity. The more affection that I showed To her, the more she did requite It--till at last on me she bestowed The heaven of her room one night. And as my burning passions, restrain- ing all my scruples, sought to ease My aching heart's enormous pain And find with her, love's sweet release, I heard her father coming to Her room. What called him there?--it was Not something that he used to do; What was it? It was Fortune cross- ing me that night. Alarmed, but bold-- Oh woman!--she pushed my almost dead Body, unmoving, frozen, cold, Behind the curtains of her bed. In came Don Pedro, and she to hide Her face, now drained of color, flung Her arms about him, and bravely tried To feign delight even as she clung To him. They sat together, side By side, and he explained how she Might benefit by being allied To the Monroyes family By marriage. She, with equal parts Of candor and of caution, said Enough to comfort both our hearts-- For I could hear her from the bed. The two said their goodnights, and then Just as her father headed out Her bedroom door, the moment when The old man's foot was just about To cross her threshold--cursèd be The inventor of--damned and amen!-- The chiming pocket-watch! You see, Mine began striking midnight then. Don Pedro heard it, turned and said, "What is a watch doing over there?" "That watch? why, it was forwarded To me," she answered, "for repair-- By Don Diego Ponce, my Cousin, you know, because out where He lives, he says, there's a scant supply Of watches and watchmakers there." "Give it to me," her father said, "And I'll take care of it." She came Running quite swiftly toward the bed-- Did Sancha--that was my lady's name-- To fetch the watch away from me, And prevent her father from doing so, Before it simultaneously Came into his head that he should go. I reached for it, and was about To hand it over, when once again Chance intervened. As I pulled it out, My pistol tangled in the chain-- I had the pistol out, you see-- The chain caught in the trigger, the gun Fired as the hammer fell, and she Fell, too, at the sound; this seemed to stun The old man, he began to roar; And I seeing these sunlike eyes Eclipsed, heav'n fall'n to the floor, Was sure that she, my life, my prize, The goal of all my actions, lay dead-- A victim of the atrocity Committed by those balls of lead That flew at her so suddenly Out of my pistol's mouth. In rage, Racked with despair, I drew my blade; I was prepared now to engage A thousand men. His two sons stayed Me from escaping--they were twin Brave lions, armed, and with them stood An army of their servants in The hall, opposing me. I could Have whipped them all--quite easily-- So sharp were both my fury and my blade-- But human strength can never be Victorious, once Fate has made Its dire decree. For just as I Was fighting past them coming in, My swordbelt was entangled by A metal hook--it must have been The knocker on the bedroom door! I'd have to turn my back to free Myself, and be a target for Their wall of swords. That instant she-- My Sancha--woke, regained her sense, And fearing what the end might be Of this unfortunate turn of events, She pulled so mightily on me And pushed so hard upon the door, That in I tumbled, sword and all, Safe in her room, and what is more, She locked my enemies in the hall. We both piled up a barricade Of bureaus, chests, and trunks to bar The door--hoping that wrath delayed Might be some remedy. But far More strength we would have needed, for My foes, in fury, tore right through The bedroom wall, and knocked the door Clean off its iron hinges, too. Now seeing that however much I might delay it, nothing could Prevent my foes from exacting such A punishment as honor would Demand of me, and seeing at My side, beautiful Sancha, the love- ly partner of my Fate, and that Terror had plucked the roses of Her cheeks, and seeing how through no Fault of her own she tossed with me Upon the storm of Chance, and blow For blow did fight with Destiny-- So to reward her loyalty, To spare her any further dread, To escape a certain death for me, And kill all further conflict dead, I had no choice, sir, but to yield-- And ask whether this bloody fray Between us might not best be healed By union of our bloods that day. They saw the risk of continuing, And knew quite well my quality, And after a little squabbling Among themselves, agreed with me. Her father brought the Bishop the news And then returned victorious With his permission for us to use Any priest at all to marry us. So that was done, and mortal war Concluded in the sweetest peace, And you have gained a daughter-in-law Unmatched on earth, or the seven seas. And yet we all agreed that you Should not be told of it. For your Assent had not been given; then too, There was the fact that she was poor. But now at last you have to know-- Then tell me, would you have it so? Which would be better--to have me dead Or living, and so nobly wed? BELTRÁN: From what you say, I'm satisfied That overpowering Fate or Chance Has destined her to be your bride-- So much is clear from the circumstance. And so the only fault you bear Is in not telling me. GARCÍA: That I Might grieve you, sir, was all my fear-- Enough to silence me. BELTRÁN: And why, If she's so noble, should I care If she is poor? The worst thing is-- Of which you seem quite unaware-- That I must now return with this News to Jacinta, to whom I have Given my word. Look at the bind You put me in! All right, we'll save A longer talk for later; we'll find Some time tonight. Ride home at once; Go on, we can discuss it there.
BELTRÁN: goes out
GARCÍA: I go, in all obedience; I'll be just in time for evening prayer. Well, that went well. The old man went Away convinced of everything I said! So lies will never bring A person profit or content? Says who? I'm obviously elated To see him swallow all I said, And clearly I have profited By fleeing a marriage which I hated. That was a wonder to behold! He bawls me out for telling lies, And then immediately he buys The biggest lie I ever told. It's really quite a simple feat To persuade someone who wants to be; And they're deceived quite easily Who are unpracticed in deceit. But now--Don Juan is waiting for me!
Calls off
Hey there! My horse! I've witnessed some Amazing things, and they have come So hard and fast I think I must be Crazy. I'm here one day, and see!-- In just an instant, I'm in love, Engaged to be married, and the rival of Someone who wants to challenge me.
Don JUAN DE SOSA comes in
JUAN DE SOSA: So, Don García, you have been As good as your word. GARCÍA: Who could know My breeding and think I would be so Base-hearted as to fail? Let's begin, Don Juan--what is the cause, my friend, For which you call me here? What wrong Have I done you? Come, sir, I long To know. Why must our friendship end In a deadly duel? Come, sir, confide. JUAN DE SOSA: She is the cause, that lady who-- If what you told me, still holds true-- Dined with you by the riverside Last night. She is the reason why I suffer, she whom two years ago I made my fiancée, and, though Our marriage is delayed, whom I Intend to wed. You have been here A month, and though you may have been The whole time barricaded in Your house, hidden from me, it's clear You must have known--so publicly Have I expressed to her my love, You could not have been ignorant of My intentions--and so offended me. And now that I have said my piece, I have just one more thing to say, And it is this: either today You stop pursuing her, and cease All contact, for she's the goal I've fol- lowed all these years--or if you feel That my request is groundless, we'll Decide it with swords--winner take all. GARCÍA: It grieves me, sir, that you could be So ill informed in all you say, That you could call me out today To this place, just to fight with me. The lady by the riverside, By Heaven, Hell, and Earth between, Is someone you have never seen, Nor could she ever be your bride. The woman's married, she got to Madrid Only a while ago, Don Juan; I know for sure, if anyone Has seen her, it's me--you never did. And once she goes, I've no desire To see her again, as I hope to live, Nor ever will, on this I give You my solemn word--or call me a liar! JUAN DE SOSA: What you have told me puts an end To all suspicion, and the rage inside My heart is calmed. I am satisfied. GARCÍA: Well, I'm not satisfied, my friend! You called me here, you challenged me; Since that is so, my honor's still In question. Of your own free will You did it, I'm not so easily Put off. I'm no longer free To go--for here I must remain, Be true to what I am, and gain Either my death or victory. JUAN DE SOSA: Consider, friend, before we engage, That though my fears are satisfied, I still feel burning deep inside, The memory of my jealous rage.
They draw their swords and begin to skirmish; Don FÉLIX enters
FÉLIX: Gentlemen, put up your swords, I've come to stop you! GARCÍA: I'd like to see The man capable of stopping me! FÉLIX: Sheathe your steel, and hear my words; The quarrel between the two of you Is groundless! JUAN DE SOSA: I told him so, but he Insists on the necessity Of answering my call, and drew His naked sword for honor's sake. FÉLIX: And like a gentleman he drew His sword, with valor equal to His mighty spirit, and that should make His honor safe. Sir, understand, I beg you, it was jealousy That blinded him, and grant that he May have your pardon and your hand. GARCÍA: I will be ruled by you; well said. But be more careful from this time on, And don't rush into things, Don Juan, Where even angels fear to tread. The whole thing should be comprehended, Before you ever duel again; It's crazy to start the process, when You know the way these things are ended.
Don GARCÍA goes out
FÉLIX: You're a very lucky man, you know, That I arrived here just in time. JUAN DE SOSA: In other words, you're saying I'm Mistaken. FÉLIX: Yes. JUAN DE SOSA: Who told you so? FÉLIX: One of Lucrecia's pages. I know All the details. JUAN DE SOSA: Then tell them to me-- What really happened? FÉLIX: Your page did see Jacinta's coach and coachman go Last night down to the elm grove on The riverside. And the ladies within Had themselves quite a marvelous din- ner. But! The coach was a borrowed one. Here are the facts. Last night at the ver- y hour Lucrecia went to see Your beautful Jacinta, she Was trying to deal with a pair Of queens from out of town--her two Cousins, the ones with the killing eyes? JUAN DE SOSA: The ones from Carmen Street? FÉLIX: Precise- ly. And they're the very ladies who Begged Jacinta to let them use Her coach, in which they made their way Under cover of night, to the river; and they Were the ones of whom your page brought news, Whom you had ordered to keep an eye On the coach, who seeing two women in there, And no other visitors anywhere, Had to assume it was occupied by Jacinta and Lucrecia. JUAN DE SOSA: Of course! FÉLIX: He followed the coach diligently, And when it stopped at the elm grove, he Saw all the waiters and troubadours And left to come to look for us In Madrid. And it's because he couldn't Find us that you've been in pain. You wouldn't Have suffered from such torturous Jealousy, if you had gone To the grove and discovered your mistake. JUAN DE SOSA: Yes, that's the thing that made me make This fatal error! And yet upon Discovering that I was wrong I feel such joy, that everything I've suffered seems worth the suffering. FÉLIX: I've something else to pass along. You might find it amusing. JUAN DE SOSA: Say. FÉLIX: It's something our friend García did. It seems he only got to Madrid From Salamanca yesterday. And instantly he went to bed And slept the entire night away; So everything you heard him say About this feast was all in his head. JUAN DE SOSA: What are you saying? FÉLIX: I tell you true. JUAN DE SOSA: You mean that Don García lies? FÉLIX: I'd say that any man with eyes In his head could see that. The whole thing's too Farfetched to be believed--gold And silver service, six pavilions, Sideboards piled high with millions Of plates, thirty-two courses, ice-cold Goblets, orchestras, a four-part choir! JUAN DE SOSA: The only thing that puzzles me Is how a valiant man could be Such an outrageous liar. The fury of his sword might try The strength of Hercules. FÉLIX: Then he Inherited his bravery; He had to teach himself to lie. JUAN DE SOSA: Let's go to Jacinta, it's time that I Went and apologized to her, And tried to explain how it could occur That such a liar could rouse all my Suspicions. FÉLIX: And from now on, be Careful not to believe a word He says. JUAN DE SOSA: Even if I heard The truth, I'd think it a fantasy.
And they go out
Scene Four: A Street
GARCÍA: I hope my father will forgive Me for deceiving him. There was No choice. TRISTÁN: It was ingenious, But tell me, sir, what narrative Will you think up now, to keep him from Figuring out your wedding story Was a fiction? GARCÍA: Well, before he Finds out, I guess I'll tell him some- thing else--I'll write back false replies To every letter he gives me to send To Salamanca. Why should it end? I can keep it going by telling more lies.
Doña JACINTA, Doña LUCRECIA, and ISABEL enter above, in a window
JACINTA: I'd just got used to the whole idea, When back comes Don Beltrán, enraged, With the news that I couldn't be engaged To be married to Don García. LUCRECIA: So then your fake American Really was his son, García. JACINTA: That's true, My friend. LUCRECIA: And who acquainted you With the story of the banquet? JACINTA: Don Juan. LUCRECIA: But when did you have time to see Don Juan? JACINTA: Tonight--he just now went. He knew the story well, and spent The whole time telling it to me. LUCRECIA: It's rather grand--his dishonesty! And you should punish him for it, I'd say. JACINTA: Those three men there--does it look like they Are heading toward our balcony? LUCRECIA: It's Don García marching to His post. It's time. JACINTA: Go, Isabel, Spy on the two old men and tell Us what they're doing. LUCRECIA: I can tell you; My father's telling your uncle some slow, Dull, long drawn-out story about God knows what. ISABEL: Then I'll go out; And when I come back, I'll let you know.
CAMILLO There's the balcony where your heart, Your soul, your glory waits for you.
LUCRECIA: It's your big scene, I want you to Speak all my lines, and take my part. GARCÍA: Lucrecia? JACINTA: García, is that you? GARCÍA: It is one who found a jewel today On Silver Street, richer than may Be carved by the hand of heaven--one who From the first moment he laid his eyes On you, was caught in the grip of love, And surrended his heart, his soul, all of His life, so greatly did he prize Your worth--one who in essence gave Himself. As yours alone does he Account himself, and begins to be Today what he is--Lucrecia's slave.
Doña JACINTA and Doña LUCRECIA speak aside
JACINTA: (My friend, this gallant seems to be In love with every girl he sees.) LUCRECIA: (Then he's a charlatan.) JACINTA: (He's A great pretender, certainly.) GARCÍA: My lady, I am eager to be Of any service I may to you. JACINTA: It's no longer possible to do What I hoped you would discuss with me--
TRISTÁN and Don GARCÍA speak aside
TRISTÁN: (Is that her?) GARCÍA: (Oh, yes!) JACINTA: I wished to discuss An important marriage, sir, and so I sent for you, but now I know That it's not possible for us. GARCÍA: But why? JACINTA: Because you've made a prior Marriage. GARCÍA: I have? Who, me? JACINTA: Yes, you. GARCÍA: I'm single, by heaven! It's not true! Whoever told you that was a liar!
Doña JACINTA and Doña LUCRECIA speak aside
JACINTA: (Have you ever seen a bigger fraud?) LUCRECIA: (All he knows how to do is deceive.) JACINTA: That's what you'd like me to believe! GARCÍA: I'm single, I tell you--I swear to God! JACINTA: (And now he swears it!) LUCRECIA: (That's what they do-- Liars--that's how they work--they all Take oaths to bolster up their fall- ing credit, and make their lies seem true.) GARCÍA: If yours is the white hand that Fate Has chosen to be the crown of my Good fortune, I hope that I Can keep from forfeiting that great- est good by simply proving to you That I am guiltless of this offense. JACINTA: (He lies with so much confidence! Doesn't it almost seem to be true?) GARCÍA: Here is my hand, and by the power Of that, lady, believe in me. JACINTA: A hand you'd give as surety To three hundred women in a single hour? GARCÍA: Somehow I've lost my credit with you. JACINTA: For a very good reason, I would say. You expect to keep it, when today You told me you were from Peru? When the truth is you were born right here In Madrid, and that although you just Got back into town, you said you must Have been around for a whole year Here in the court. And then you claim, Somewhat more recently, that you Were wed in Salamanca to Some woman, which you now disclaim, And on top of that, you were in your bed Asleep last night, although you lied And said you were by the riverside Feasting some lady with a fancy spread. TRISTÁN: (I'd say that covers it.) GARCÍA: All right, this Is the simple truth. Listen to me, My glorious one, I think I see Exactly where the problem is. I really don't think I need to bring The other matters up, they're not Important, really. But we've got To talk about the crucial thing-- This marriage. Lucrecia, will you tell Me something: if you were the reason why I said I was married, would the lie I told be blamed on you as well? JACINTA: If I were the reason? GARCÍA: Yes, my prize. JACINTA: How could I be? GARCÍA: I'll tell you how. JACINTA: (You listen close, Lucrecia, now We're going to get some gorgeous lies.) GARCÍA: This very day my father was trying To arrange a marriage for me, to force Me to marry someone else. But yours I must be, and I hoped by lying To prevent it. And in expectation of Gaining your hand, when it comes to All other women, I'm married, for you And you alone, I'm single, my love. When I got your note, I had to be Encouraged, and so I tried to block, With this excuse, all further talk Of other marriage plans for me. So that's the story. And if you view The whole thing as a rude surprise, Remember that what prompted the lies Was really the truth of my love for you. LUCRECIA: (If only that were so!) JACINTA: (How well He talks, and with so little time To prepare!) So, you say that I'm The reason why you suffer--tell Me then how could I be, on so Short an acquaintance? You saw me today, And you're hopelessly in love, you say? You'd marry a woman you don't even know? GARCÍA: I grant, today I saw your beauty For the first time, lady, and love Compels me now to speak to you of Only what's true--it is my duty. But don't forget that godlike things Work miracles, and Cupid, though He's far too young to walk, can go Swift as the wind, on Love's own wings. And thus to say a moment would be Too short a time to make me die Of love, Lucrecia, is to deny Your power and your divinity. You ask how I can love you when I know you hardly at all. I would To God I didn't know you! I could Be sure my love was purer then. But I do know you--and your family; Your name is sweet upon my lips: You are a Luna without eclipse, A Mendoza free from infamy. I know your mother has passed away, You live alone in your great house, Your father's income exceeds a thous- and doubloons--I'm sure. Now can you say That I am ill informed? I would To God, my dearest love, you knew Me half so well, and loved me too. LUCRECIA: (Love him! I almost think I could.) JACINTA: But what about Jacinta? She's Pretty enough, isn't she, Smart and rich enough to be Courted by all the finest grandees? GARCÍA: She's smart, rich, and pretty, I concur. But that means nothing at all to me. JACINTA: Why, what defect in her do you see? GARCÍA: The biggest--I'm not in love with her. JACINTA: Suppose I wanted you to be Married to her? That that was why I called you here? What would you reply? GARCÍA: That you were being hard on me For nothing. That's what my father said, He had the same idea today; And that is why I had to say That I already had been wed To someone else. So that won't work. I'm sorry, no; and if you try To talk me into it, then I Would sooner get married to a Turk. And that's the truth. And I swear here, That I will hate--such is my love-- Anything else you can even think of, That isn't you, Lucrecia dear. LUCRECIA: (Would it were true!) JACINTA: Have you no shame? Or is it a faulty memory That makes you lie so outrageously? How dare you treat me so--the same Day that I hear you profess your love To Jacinta! By all that's holy, how Do you dare to deny it now? GARCÍA: Jacinta? I swear by God above, That you're the only lady I Have talked to since I came to Madrid. JACINTA: You might have told your lies and hid Your shame till now! But will you try-- In the very thing I saw you do-- To tell me lies? If that is so, How could I ever hope to know Even the smallest truth from you? Good-bye! And if I ever hear From you again, think this, I do It only to amuse myself with you-- As those, exhausted by the sheer Weight of their business, leave their tables And workbenches to seek relief From their tedium, by spending a brief Hour or two with Aesop's fables.
Doña JACINTA goes out
GARCÍA: Lovely Lucrecia, hear me out. LUCRECIA: (Now I'm really confused.)
Doña LUCRECIA goes out
GARCÍA: I'm going mad. Was there ever a time when true things had So little credit? TRISTÁN: When they came out Of a lying mouth. GARCÍA: She didn't believe A word I said! TRISTÁN: What's the surprise? She caught you in six or seven lies Already. What did you hope to achieve? The next time give it a little thought-- And you'll see--the man who lies in small Affairs, will he be trusted at all In important matters? I think not!
And they go out


The Truth Can't Be Trusted, Act III

Electronic text by Vern G. Williamsen and J T Abraham
Additional formatting by Matthew D. Stroud

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Most recent update: 28 Jun 2002