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Title: The great Galeoto; Folly or saintliness - two plays done from the verse of José Echegaray into English - prose by Hannah Lynch
Author: Echegaray, José
Language: English
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                          Transcriber’s Note:

This version of the text cannot represent certain typographical effects.
Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_.

Footnotes have been moved to follow the paragraphs in which they are
referenced.

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Please
see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding
the handling of any textual issues encountered during its preparation.



                         THE GREAT GALEOTO AND
                          FOLLY OR SAINTLINESS



       _Of this edition 400 copies have been printed for England_

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                           THE GREAT GALEOTO
                          FOLLY OR SAINTLINESS

                    TWO PLAYS DONE FROM THE VERSE OF

                            _JOSÉ ECHEGARAY_

                         INTO ENGLISH PROSE BY

                              HANNAH LYNCH



LONDON 
JOHN LANE AT THE BODLEY HEAD
BOSTON 
LAMSON WOLFFE AND CO. MDCCCXCV



        Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to Her Majesty



                            INTRODUCTION[1]


The Spanish theatre has for so long been out of fashion that a revived
interest in it would carry us into a sort of renaissance. It is not
virgin soil, like the drama of the north which has so lately caught the
ear of Europe. This, perhaps, accounts for its lack of distinctive
originality. For even in Echegaray's notable plays, strong and original
as they are, there is an unmistakable ring of the past. We feel it is
more a revival than a youthful outburst, with all the promise of
novelty. True, it is dominated by the modern need and its restless
searching note; it must prove its mission as something more than the
mere desire to divert. Not even a sermon could be more remote than this
theatre from the old comedy of manners, of loose morals and diverting
intrigue, all weighing as lightly on the dramatist's conscience as on
the audience's. And it may be questioned if Echegaray, a professor of
mathematics as well as a dramatist and poet, could be induced to accept
Mr. Stevenson's well-known and not inappropriate classification of the
artist as of the family of Daughters of Joy. His is no neutral voice
between vice and virtue, concerned solely for the pleasure or interest
of the hour, suing approbation through laughter and wit, or sympathy
through dramatic tears. Lest his audience should fail to carry their
musings on the problems of life to the theatre in the proper modern
spirit, he starts by pricking their conscience and exciting thought that
as little relieves them from the pressure of reality as one of Ibsen's
plays—though with the latter his having nothing else in common but this
determined purpose.

-----

Footnote 1:

  Part of this introduction is reprinted from an article in the
  _Contemporary Review_, and my thanks are due to the publishers for the
  permission.

-----

José Echegaray was born at Madrid in 1832. The years of childhood were
passed in Murcia, where at the university he studied and took out his
degrees. His tendency in youth was towards the exact sciences, with
which he still coquets in the same spirit of pride that pushed Goethe to
glory in his devotion to painting. He more readily offers to his friends
a volume of his _Modern Theories of Physics_ or the _Union of Material
Forces_ by which he is known to a select few, than one of his popular
dramas. Of the scientific value of these works I am not in a position to
offer any opinion. For career, he chose that of engineer, and, we are
told, gave evidence in this line of quite exceptional diligence and
quickness. Certain it is that in this department as well as in others
that followed, he has amply proved that in individual circumstances the
Don may be carried into a permanent frenzy of industry. In 1853 his
studies in engineering terminated. Echegaray was appointed successively
to posts in various provinces, until he returned to Madrid as professor
of the School of Engineers. Here he taught theoretical and applied
mathematics, and while building up a serious reputation in science, he
found time to study political economy, and devour every form of
literature, thus preparing for his future honours as poet and dramatist.
He took part in the revolution of 1868, and was appointed Director of
Public Works and Minister of Commerce. This post he resigned in 1872,
and shortly afterwards that of Minister of Finances, which he was forced
to give up on proclamation of the Republic. Then he emigrated to Paris,
where he composed his first play _El Libro Talonario_. In 1874 the
political situation permitted his return to Spain, and he was nominated
Minister for the third time. After that he began to hold himself more
and more aloof from public life, and took to writing for the theatre
with prodigious activity. Well advanced in middle age, he seems to have
taken Lope de Vega for his model in the matter of production. Within
twenty years he has written more than fifty plays. In a letter before
me, he offers me a choice of his recent plays (whose appearance can only
cover a couple of years, I believe), and thus names them off:—_El
Critico Incipiente_, _Los Dos Fanatismos_, _El Haroldo_, _El Milagro en
Egipto_, _Siempre en Ridiculo_, _Sic vos non vobis_, etc. etc., the
double etc. suggesting at least half a dozen more, I suppose.

This fatal facility is one of the drawbacks of Spanish talent. The race
writes without difficulty, which perhaps is the reason that it writes
without finish or distinction. Add to which in adopting French
romanticism, upon which wave it was irresistibly carried, it did but
accommodate the adoption of the natural bent of its own still mediæval
nature. For modern Spanish romanticism belongs more probably to the
sixteenth than to the nineteenth century. It is interesting to note the
rebound with which Victor Hugo's bell cast this semi-civilised and
dreaming people back into their own appropriate century. They prate
to-day in Madrid glibly enough of English improvements, clubs,
electricity, French vaudevilles, and all the pernicious refinements of
our modern civilisation. But these elements are extraneous, a sort of
diverting masquerade in their daily life. At heart they are purely
mediæval. In all the great moments on and off the stage, they forget the
silk hat and coat of civilisation, and walk and talk as if a sword still
absurdly cocked the cloak of romance.

In this hour, when foreign Shakespeares are springing up around us with
incredible profusion, it would be an agreeable task to come forward with
a Spanish Shakespeare. But Don José Echegaray is no such thing. He bears
no resemblance to the new geniuses hailed with such delight. He has none
of the subtlety of Maeterlinck, and certainly offers entertainment by
means of tricks less reminiscent of our start in modern languages. His
literary baggage reveals neither the depth nor the flashes of luminous
thought with which Ibsen startles us through an obscurity of atmosphere,
a childish baldness, and an unconventional disregard of all the
old-fashioned theories upon which the laws of dramatic criticism have
been formed. But if Echegaray is less original, he is creditably more
sane. The lack of depth carries with it a corresponding absence of
crudeness and of an artlessness often so bewildering as to leave us
imperfectly capable of distinguishing the extreme fineness of the line
between genius and insanity. The lucid air of the south clarifies
thought, and produces nothing less sober than Latin bombast and the
high-phrased moods of the Don.

What is more to be deplored in Echegaray's plays is the absence of
French art. An artist in the polished, complete sense he cannot be
described. He has none of the French dramatist's incision, none of his
delicate irony, his playfulness and humorous depravity, none of his
beautiful clarity of expression, still less of his polish, his wit, and
consummate dexterity. Poetry is his favourite form of dramatic
expression, but it is not the suave measured poetry of M. Richepin; and
while he often takes his inspiration from the Middle Ages, he offers us
nothing like the ethereal and fanciful verse of M. Armand Silvestre,
when that author condescends to forget that he is _fin de siècle_, and
seeks to please through the sweetness and delicacy of some mediæval
legend. Echegaray is poet enough to delight in these thrilling ages. But
his treatment of them generally leaves us cold. It lacks fancy and
buoyancy. Sombre passion does not adequately fill the place of absent
humour. It is often thin and false, and glaringly artificial, like the
mediæval romance of an inefficient author. It is a remarkable fact that
such a play as _Mar sin Orillas_ (Shoreless Sea) should have achieved
popularity in a town so imitatively, not intellectually, modern as
Madrid. It has no originality whatever, and offers nothing as
compensation for dulness. It is of the Middle Ages, but without the
captivating atmosphere of those plumed and belted centuries. It runs
complacently along the old dusty highroad; swords clash, knights march
off to glory and the Turkish wars, and beauty at home struggles with
parental enmity, is sore distraught and belied, and while we are
reminded in the high tone of the ancient singers, that

                       'Amor que á la guerra fué
                         Sabe Dios si volverá,'

we are confused by the stupidity of everybody.

This repertory is extended, but can hardly be called varied. The one
note of undiluted drama runs through all, and while the poet declaims
upon a lofty level, it may be said that he chiefly reaches poetry
through means of the felicitous vocables of the language he has the
privilege to write, rather than by reason of any real genius as a poet.
He is concerned more with striking situations than with development or
revelation of character. In this line he is totally lacking in diversity
and subtlety. He apprehends woman in none other but the crude, mediæval
form. To him she is simply a personality of divine and inexhaustible
love—an exalted and inalterable ideal; and whether she wears modern
raiment or the garb of remote centuries, she is never anything but a
spiritualised stain-glass outline, which affords gross and barbaric
males—Velasquez' heroes and high-toned villains—much opportunity to rant
of saints and angels, and is a subject for continuous worship,
ill-treatment, misunderstanding, and devotion to death.

The very titles of these plays have a fine melodramatic ring—_The
Avenger's Bride_, _On the Sword's Point_, _In the Bosom of Death_, and
_Death upon the Lips_, etc. In Spanish the titles are beautiful and
inspiring enough to justify choice. _En el Seno de la Muerte_ is a
particularly impressive play, which rings imagination back into the
thirteenth century almost upon a thrill with its strong Hugoesque tinge
of romance. There is no fluted fervour of lovers, no thrum of lute or
impassioned sequidilla to enliven the roll of solemn wedded passion and
betrayal. Remorse and stern hidalgic resentment stalk the stage
grandiloquently to the blare of trumpets, royal entrances and exits, and
the hum of the Roussillon wars. We have the inevitable struggle between
love and duty, the inevitable sombre judgment and full-dress sentiments
of virtue. Echegaray has apparently no understanding of vice except as
subject for castigation. The bastard Manfred, beloved of his legitimate
brother and seignor, loves his sister-in-law Beatrix. Don Jaime, the
injured husband, has all the noble and melancholy charm of a Velasquez
portrait, the model upon which the dramatist would seem to have drawn
his unvarying study of the Middle Ages Don. They all carry their black
velvet and plumes with the same high air, seem equally unacquainted with
smiles and the lighter emotions, and breathe the same unapproachable
perfection in domestic life. For each one the wife is sovereign lady,
and if they betray anger, it is the anger of heroes who never forget
that they are hidalgoes, and who are incapable of falling, upon any
provocation, into triviality or pleasantry of speech. Small blame to the
ladies of such lords if they sometimes forget their oath of allegiance,
and occasionally decline upon lesser natures. However picturesque, as
housemates these Velasquez gentlemen are beyond endurance, and deserve
to perish victims of their own relentless nobility.

Don Jaime adored his wife and loved his half-brother. Both in turn loved
him, and recognised to the full his claim upon their mutual admiration.
But this was naturally no impediment to their own frailty, though not
even Echegaray's sinners are for one moment permitted to give a cheerful
aspect to sin. It is perhaps a double unwisdom to stoop to folly when
they mean to be so persistently miserable over it. Certain it is, that
in this case the lady's choice cannot have been prompted by any desire
for a lively change. Manfred is only a more scowling, discontented
edition of the legitimate Don. 'You are sadder than ever, and your hand
avoids the touch of mine,' he complains to Beatrix in the beginning of
the second act. And she replies: 'I am ever sad. Sorrow is throned
within my bosom, and so imperious is its possession, that death alone
can free its slave.' And then when Manfred prays for death as a mutual
deliverance, she reproaches him: 'Does my love not then suffice you? If
so, live and enjoy it, or confess that of our sin the vase only contains
the bitterness, the shame and the disenchantment.'

MANFRED. Your love is but a lie, since I strain in my embrace naught but
  a cold and inert marble statue. While your soul, your mind,
  yourself—all that I most fondly love eludes the touch of my lips, and
  my heart hears the disdainful murmur: 'This is not for the bastard.'

BEATRIX. 'Tis not so. You do not understand me.

MANFRED. Yes, I understand you. You have only loved Jaime.

BEATRIX. So deeply have I loved you, Manfred, that I have forsaken
  Jaime, noble as he is, for you who are so base. I have given myself to
  you, drawn by the attraction of the abyss which is your love. And I
  thought that I could live and be happy under cover of my sin, but it
  may not be. For ever between my breast and your arms he interposes.

They try to persuade themselves upon insufficient evidence that Jaime is
dead, but Beatrix, the more nervous and impressionable of the two,
endures the conviction of her senses that her husband lives as the added
torture of fear to insistent remorse. Every sound that disturbs the
silence, as they sit together by the fire, carries menace of his
approach. 'Why are we not happy since we love one another?' Manfred
bitterly cries, interrupting her terrified listening. Here is the
keynote of Echegaray's philosophy, whether he marshals the dead
centuries before us, or treats of the modern conscience. Even in the
less complex ages, when the world was younger and fresher, he will not
hear of obedience to instinct unpunished before even the fruit has had
time to turn to ashes.

We understand that we are commanded to contemplate unrelieved gloom of
sentiment and situation upon the entrance of Don Jaime, back from the
Roussillon wars in company with Don Pedro, king of Aragon. The guilty
lovers have an enemy in one Juana, the duenna and wife of Roger, the
squire, who, discovering Beatrix and Manfred in a passionate embrace, is
set upon by the infuriated bastard and inadvertently driven upon the
sword's point into the family vault, where the door slams upon him with
a secret spring. When Manfred has excited the king's anger by scornful
rejection of the favour of a name and title that shall give him equality
with his brother, we realise that the hour is a favourable one for
Juana's accusation. Whatever rights a sovereign may arrogate to himself
in the matter of his own morals, he is usually a keen arbitrator of the
limitations of those of his subjects. On this principle, Don Pedro shows
himself merciless to the sinners, though one happens to be his hostess
and the other his host's much-loved brother. A rational man would have
preferred to blink and turn away, with the safe conclusion that it was,
after all, none of his business. But monarchs are allowed so many other
attributes, that even out of Spain they may be fitly dispensed with
reason. In an interview with the culprits, when a saner man would have
been touched with the generous strife between them as to which should
bear the blame and punishment, he decides that both shall die. Upon
Manfred's petition, he consents that Jaime shall live in ignorance of
his wrong, but the poor fool, for all his crown, was not sufficiently
master of events to contrive this rash promise. Spanish history may
furnish a precedent of such a situation, but we are not taught that the
lives of the monarchs of the land explain it adequately. When Jaime
enters and remonstrates with Don Pedro:—'I am her owner, sir. All your
power, your crown, your greatness, the glory of Sicily and of the entire
world—what are they against Beatrix! But smoke and dust,'—the king
commutes her sentence to perpetual imprisonment, and orders the
execution of Manfred in Barcelona. Upon this Jaime threatens to carry
both away with him, forswear his king and country, and cross the
frontier. A violent quarrel ensues between him and the king, and in the
midst of recriminations, Don Pedro casts his dishonour in the teeth of
his angry subject. The unfortunate nobleman, dazed and incredulous,
reads Roger's letter, given him by Don Pedro, and falls into a
spiritless despair. He asks his sovereign's pardon, and they part
reconciled friends. Left alone by the family vault at night, he bursts
into a sonorous soliloquy. We remember a somewhat similar situation in
Victor Hugo, and are irritated by the reminiscence. There is a natural
note in his simple cry to Beatrix to speak to him before she dies—to
lie, feign, accuse him,—only speak. Also in the speech to Manfred that
follows, when he recalls the time they were playmates together, and then
tells bitterly the roll of his wrongs: 'It were kinder to kill me at
once,' Manfred cries impetuously. By a curious ineffectuality, a lack of
skill, it however falls just short of real pathos. Echegaray is never
simple enough to reach pathos. The climax has a false ring. Manfred dies
by his own hand, and, following his example, Jaime stabs himself, and
falls near him, in the shadow of the tomb.

D. JAIME. Manfred, too, lies dead, and you shortly will follow us. When
  you die, where will you fall?

BEATRIX. By your side.

D. JAIME. Then come closer—'tis no lie? Answer. [_Clasps her._]

BEATRIX. No.

D. JAIME. And where will your tears flow?

BEATRIX. Over your body.

D. JAIME. Then see. You must embrace my inert body. Do not cease
  weeping—so that—thus we drop into the bosom of death.

_Death on his Lips_ takes us into quite another atmosphere. We are in
foreign lands, on the distant shore of Lake Geneva, in the heart of the
Calvinist Inquisition. The Don is introduced, but only as an exile, in
the person of Miguel Servet, a famous Aragonese doctor who was martyred
at Geneva in 1553. The Calvinists are painted in befitting blackness by
a Spaniard, naturally glad of an opportunity to show that other lands
had their Inquisition as well as Spain, and cruelty in those days was to
be found as fierce elsewhere. It is a gloomy, a powerful, but not a very
interesting play. Servet is well contrasted with the Genevese, the
heaviness of the one race being dexterously made to appear so much less
amiable and well-mannered than that of the other. The heroine, Margarita
(naturally), is the usual heroine of Echegaray's choice—all heart,
devotion, generosity, sincerity, and a certain broad intelligence. He
may be trusted not to choose a fool, though he may never aspire to
striking originality in his portrayal of what he evidently regards as
the angelic sex.

_On the Sword's Point_ attains a higher level of dramatic thought. Doña
Violante is married to Don Rodrigo—the inevitable Velasquez, in plumes
and black velvet. In the first bloom of youth, a titled blackguard had
surprised and dishonoured her, and Fernando, her son, is the unsuspected
offspring of this shame. He is a fine-spirited young fellow, more fiery
and blusterous than the implacably dignified Rodrigo. He loves, and is
beloved by, Laura, the ward of his parents. An unconscious vein of
humour runs through the pompous scene, in which he is found by these
latter on his knees before the girl. Don Rodrigo is shocked at such
indelicate boldness—just like the amusing Marquis in _The Sorcerer_.
'They love each other,' Doña Violante expostulates. 'It is necessary to
be severe with youth,' the Don replies, repressing his indignation at
the bidding of his wife. Then he proceeds to point out to Fernando that
henceforth Laura's honour must be as dear to him as his own, and after
an eulogy on the virtue of the ladies of his house, he explains that if
the stain of dishonour dimmed the splendour of the name of Moncada in a
woman, it would be the duty of her husband, father, or brother to kill
her on the spot. This is not lively talk for Doña Violante, but life was
not a lively matter for women in those dull days—especially in Spain,
where it still is the reverse of exciting for them. The young man's
ardent youth puzzles Don Rodrigo, it is so unlike his own, and these
perplexities are disturbed by the titled blackguard's sudden claim to
Laura's hand—whom he describes as a mixture of Turkish houri and
Christian virgin. Thereupon ensues a painful scene between the victim
and the wrong-doer. The titled blackguard shows himself susceptible of
the feelings of a gentleman, and deplores the sin of his rash youth—does
he also not wear black velvet and a plumed cap? However, he has no mind
to renounce his claim to Laura's hand though Doña Violante kneel to him,
and Fernando swagger about with unsheathed steel. The duenna and the
squire (from whom a little humour might not unreasonably be expected if
it were possible to convict so serious a philosopher as the author with
anything like deliberate pleasantry) contrive to muddle the carriage of
Doña Violante's passionate letter to her betrayer, speaking of the fatal
night with lamentable lucidity, so that it falls into Fernando's hands,
who instantly believes that Laura is the injured woman. Some spirited
scenes ensue, and Fernando interrupts an interview in the dark as he
believes between Laura and his rival. A light reveals his mother's
shame, and when Don Rodrigo enters after Laura he does not hesitate to
sacrifice himself and the beloved by letting it appear that it was Laura
he discovered at a clandestine meeting instead of his mother. The result
is that Laura is condemned by the relentless Moncada to marry the titled
blackguard, being now too damaged an article for the son of his house.
This is a delicate dilemma for a youth with such traditions to live up
to: to have to choose between his mother's death and dishonour and the
dishonour and loss of his bride. His birth is only revealed to him by
Doña Violante to prevent the sacrilegious duel between him and his
father, and to guard the dreadful secret Fernando stabs himself. 'My
death, mother, blots out your dishonour.' The third act hurries on
through many strong effects, and the young man's death we feel to have
the appropriate majesty of the inevitable. The situation is so poignant
that there could be no other solution, and even the titled blackguard
wins our sympathy in that last tragic scene.

The same gloom and power pervade _The Avenger's Bride_, the old story of
Montague and Capulet. But here the young Montague, one Don Carlos, slays
the traditional family enemy, who happens to be the father of a
weak-sighted maiden. She emerges into the strong sunlight just in time
to recognise her father's assassin, and then is struck blind. Don Carlos
woos her under another name, and an old lover, who is an enlightened
oculist of the Middle Ages, restores her sight. Her lover Lorenzo had
promised to kill the man she should name her father's murderer. When she
cries out, 'Don Carlos,' he keeps his word, and she falls upon his
corpse 'the avenger's bride.'

What touches us more closely is Echegaray's manipulation of the modern
conscience, and its illimitable scope for reflection, for conflict, and
the many-sided drama of temptation. This is familiar ground, and we are
ever pleased to welcome a new combatant. That the Spanish dramatist
brings a novel note may be accepted after reading the curious prologue
to his _Gran Galeoto_. It is the best and most popular of Echegaray's
plays. In its printed form it is dedicated to _Everybody_, which is the
crowning insistance on the _motif_ of the prologue, and there is an
introduction by Señor Ignacio José Escobar from which I copy an
interesting statement.

'And then came that unforgettable night the 19th March 1881, the night
of the first representation of _The Great Galeoto_. There was neither
strife nor contradiction, nothing but a universal concert of
congratulation, praise, and applause. Here your treatment of a great
social problem had the good fortune to run on lines that in all eyes
seemed elevated and humane. What a splendid and legitimate satisfaction
for those among us who had hesitated to share the general opinion!'

The _Epoca_ wrote next day:—'Don José Echegaray has obtained an
indisputable, an unanimous triumph. He has treated a great social
question in a masterly manner. The great Galeoto felt the rod of shame
upon its cheek, but it applauded without a single exception. The social
vice exists, we know, and that vice was whipped with all the vigorous
energy of a Greek tragedy. Everybody recognised the truth of the
picture, though none cared to accept it as personal: but the social
moral avenged by the creative genius of Señor Echegaray owes him a
reward and satisfaction, and that reward and that satisfaction will be
the union of all classes, those who may have once in a way formed part
of the great Galeoto, and those who habitually protest against the
facile habit of slander—to show their gratitude to the poet, the one for
vengeance, and the other for the lesson received.

'A subscription not to exceed twenty reals (four shillings), which will
be devoted to some work of art, will recall to Señor Echegaray while he
lives that he may obtain triumphs as great as last night's, seeking his
inspiration in the true sentiment of art.'

To the extraordinary and self-conscious prelude of _The Great Galeoto_
which lifts a play quite out of the region of diversion, and, as the
sensible Don Julian remarks, plunges us into philosophy, the written,
not acted, prologue to _El Hijo de Don Juan_ (Don Juan's Son) may be
added as an excellent interpretation of Echegaray's personality,
revealed already with passable clearness in the dramatic prologue
quoted. He enumerates the conclusions of the critics. That the play was
inspired by Ibsen's celebrated _Ghosts_. That the passions it deals with
are more appropriate to Northern climes than to the South. That it
treats of the problem of hereditary madness. That it discusses the law
of heredity. That it is gloomy and lugubrious, with no other object than
that of inspiring horror. That it is a purely pathological drama. That
it contains nothing but the process of madness. That from the moment it
is understood that Lázaro will go mad, all interest in the work ceases,
and there remains nothing but to follow step by step the shipwreck of
enfeebled intelligence. And so on. Echegaray regards all this as the
lamentable exercise of dramatic criticism. The underlying thought of his
work is different, but he declines to enter into further explanation of
it, each scene and each phrase sufficiently explaining it already. To
touch more closely upon the matter would be perilous. Besides, he adds,
it is not his habit to defend his plays. Once written, he casts them to
their fate, without material or moral defence, and the critics are free
to tear themselves to pieces over them. There is one phrase alone that
he defends energetically, because it is borrowed from Ibsen, and appears
to him of singular beauty: 'Mother, give me the sun.' This he describes
in his prologue as 'simple, infantile, half comical, but enfolding a
world of ideas, an ocean of feeling, a hell of sorrows, a cruel lesson,
the supreme watchword of society—of the family.' He continues, quite in
the modern spirit:

  'A generation consumed by vice, which carries in its marrow the venom
  of impure love, in whose corrupted blood the red globules are mixed
  with putrid matter, must ever fall by degrees into the abysm of
  idiocy. Lázaro's cry is the last glimmer of a reason dropping into the
  eternal darkness of imbecility. At that very hour Nature awakes, and
  the sun rises; it is another twilight that will soon be all light.

  'Both twilights meet, cross, salute in recognition of eternal
  farewell, at the end of the drama. Reason, departing, is held in the
  grip of corrupting pleasure. The sun, rising, with its immortal call,
  is pushed forward by the sublime force of Nature.

  'Down with human reason, at the point of extinction: hail to the sun
  that starts another day! 'Give me the sun,' Lázaro cries to his
  mother. Don Juan also begs it through the tresses of the girl of
  Tarifa.

  'On this subject there is much to be said; it provokes much
  reflection. If indeed our society—but what the deuce am I doing with
  philosophy? Let each one solve the problem as best he can, and ask for
  the sun, the horns of the moon, or whatever takes his fancy. And if
  nobody is interested in the matter, it only proves that the modern Don
  Juan has engendered many children without Lázaro's talent.

  'Respectful salutations to the children of Don Juan.'

From all this it will be understood that Echegaray presses into the
service of pleasure the desperate problems of our natural history, and
instead of laughter confronts us with mournful gravity; asks us to stand
aghast at inherited injustice, and to doubt with him the wisdom of
Providence at sight of such undiminished and idle wickedness in man, and
such an accumulation of unmerited suffering. Now-a-days we are
inordinately engrossed by such issues, and life weighs more heavily upon
our shoulders than it did upon our fathers. The good old spirit of fun
is fast being trodden out of us by the pervading sense of a mission, and
the laborious duty of converting somebody to something. We no longer go
to the theatre to weep over fictitious wrongs and smile at imaginary
joys. We go to study what we are pleased to call life; to sip at the
founts of philosophy, to hear a sermon. It is not exhilarating, but we
thankfully take the draught of wisdom offered us, and go our ways
without a murmur that we have been depressed rather than entertained.
Cervantes, with old-fashioned sanity of judgment, condemned the practice
of preaching sermons through the veil of fiction. What sort of
reflection would the pathological novel and drama inspire in so wise and
witty an author? He might be led to create a type of character even more
mad than the Knight Errant.

_El Hijo de Don Juan_ (Don Juan's Son) is an infinitely crueller and
more disagreeable play than _Ghosts_ because it is more lucid, more
direct. The characters themselves are more carefully drawn, and we have
a closer actual acquaintance with them. Here there is not one victim
only, but two. Don Juan, the middle-aged _roué_, has a friend, also a
middle-aged _roué_. The daughter of his friend, Carmen, is consumptive,
and is betrothed to his son, Lázaro, who is subject to vertigo. The play
opens with three elderly _roués_, all ill-preserved after a life of
scandal, holding converse the reverse of edifying over tobacco and
alcohol. Here Echegaray shows how little he means to mince matters by
the remarks he puts into the mouth of one of them in reply to Don Juan's
boast that the genius of his son is inherited from him. Paternal
inheritance would be nothing but rheum or neurosis—'the sediment of
pleasure and the residuum of alcohol.' Upon this Don Juan launches into
poetry and describes the single moment in which his soul soared above
material enjoyments and sighed for the glorious and impossible. It was
after an orgy, and as his half-closed eyes saw the sun rise over the
Guadalquivir through the silky waves of a girl's hair, he understood the
beauty of poetry and Nature, and stretched out a hand to clutch the
splendid orb. This desire is afterwards recalled to him in a moment of
surprising horror, when his brilliant and beloved son, sinking into
imbecility, sees the rising sun, and cries: 'How lovely! Mother, give me
the sun.' 'And I also wanted it once,' Don Juan exclaims: 'My God! my
son! Lázaro!'

Don Juan, as might be inferred from his name, carries on intrigues with
ballet-girls and servant-maids under the nose of his wife and son.
Lázaro seems blind enough to parental delinquencies. Not, as he explains
himself when complaining of broken health, that he has been a saint
because he has eschewed excesses. The scene where he first appears
ailing and stupid is singularly painful, above all, towards the end,
when, after an outburst of lucid eloquence, he falls drowsily upon the
sofa, and feeling sleep upon him, begs that Carmen, his betrothed,
should not be permitted to see him in a ridiculous attitude.

XAVIER. Unless you are as beautiful as Endymion she shall not enter.
  [_Pause. Xavier walks about; Lázaro begins to sleep._]

LÁZARO. Xavier, Xavier!

XAVIER. What?

LÁZARO. Now I am—half asleep—how do I look?

XAVIER. Very poetical.

LÁZARO. Good. Thanks—very poetical. [_Dreamily._]

The second act is somewhat livelier, and contains more spirited
contrasts. That Echegaray could excel in lighter comedy may be seen in
an amusing scene between the serious son and the dissipated,
good-natured father.

Don Juan is alone with his son, who is walking restlessly about. The
father asks his son what he is thinking of, and then apologises for
disturbing weighty thought. Lázaro listlessly replies that his
imagination was wandering, and he wandering after it. When he has
received many assurances of not being in the poet's way, Don Juan calls
for sherry, the Parisian newspapers, and _Nana_. Caught laughing over
_Nana_, he asserts his horror of immoral books, and his conviction that
literature is going to the dogs.

LÁZARO. Zola is a great writer. Ah, I've caught the idea I was seeking.
  [_Sits down to write._]

There is here a little humorous by-play between the servant and Don
Juan, and afterwards a reference to the lugubrious theme in converse
between her and Lázaro, whose listlessness, courtesy and musing, make an
admirable relief against the alert and fussy affection and frivolity of
his father.

DON JUAN. Ha, ha! witty, exceedingly witty. Full of salt; hot as red
  pepper. _Gil Blas_ is the only paper worth reading.

LÁZARO. An interesting article? What is it about? Let me see.

DON JUAN. [_Hastily ramming the paper into his pocket._] A dull and
  shocking article. I must take it away, for the mischief would be in it
  if it fell into Carmen's hands.

LÁZARO. You are quite right. [_Beginning to walk again._]

DON JUAN. I hadn't finished it. I must finish it later. [_Takes up
  'Nana.'_] Stupendous! Monumental enough to make one die of laughing.
  Lord! why do we read but for amusement's sake? Then give us diverting
  books. [_Laughing._]

LÁZARO. Is it a witty book?

DON JUAN. [_In altered voice._] Perhaps. But this light literature soon
  wearies. [_Seeing Lázaro approach, he hides 'Nana' in another
  pocket._] Have you anything substantial to read—really substantial?

LÁZARO. [_Looking through his books._] Do you like Kant?

DON JUAN. Kant? Do you say Kant? The very thing. He was always my
  favourite author. When I was young I fell asleep every night over
  Kant. [_Aside._] Who the deuce is he?

LÁZARO. If you like I will—— [_Looking for a passage._]

DON JUAN. No, my son. Any part will do, if it can be read in divisions.
  Let me see. Don't trouble about me. Write, my son, write. [_Lázaro
  begins to write, and Don Juan reads._] 'Beneath the aspect of
  relation, third moment of taste, the beautiful appears to us the final
  form of an object, without semblance to finality.' The Devil!
  [_Holding book away and contemplating it in terror._] The devil! 'Or
  as a finality without end.' There are people who understand this!
  'Since it is called the final form to the causality of any conception
  with relation to the object.' Let me see [_holding book still further
  off_]; 'final form to the causality.' 'Pon my word, I'm perspiring.
  [_Wipes his forehead._] 'Conscience is this finality without end, is
  the play of the cognitive forces.' What! 'The play of cognitive ...
  the play' ... If it were play I should understand it. 'Conscience of
  this internal causality is what constitutes æsthetic pleasure.' If I
  continue I shall have congestion. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Only think
  that Lázaro understands the finality without end, the causality and
  the play of the cognitive forces. Heavens! what a fellow! [_Reads
  again._] 'The principle of the methodical conformity of nature is the
  transcendental principle of the strength of judgment.' [_Strikes the
  table._] I should lose myself if I read more. But what a fellow, who
  can read such stuff and keep sane!

LÁZARO. Does it interest you?

DON JUAN. Immensely. What depth! [_Aside._] I am five minutes falling
  into it and haven't yet reached the bottom. I should think it did
  interest me indeed. But, frankly, I prefer——

LÁZARO. Hegel?

DON JUAN. Just so (_Nana_).

After talk of Lázaro's health and engagement, Don Juan, learning that
the young man is pensive or preoccupied, solely because he is projecting
a drama, says he will leave him to thought. Glancing into Kant, he
mutters, 'The—the—cognitive forces—the—the—finality,—yes, the finality.'
'Work, my son, work. Above all, write nothing immoral.' He drinks off a
glass of sherry, and regretfully remarks that this finality has an end;
then marches away with the bottle, _Gil Blas_, and _Nana_ to study in
solitude.

This is the sole touch of comedy in a play of ever increasing gloom,
pervaded by the stupor of the hero and the cough of the heroine. 'My
father loves me dearly, Carmen remarks to Dolores, Don Juan's embittered
wife. 'Then he ought to have given you stronger lungs,' the elder woman
retorts, with shocking directness. It is indeed, as Echegaray complains
the critics assert, a pathological drama. When his friends are not
discussing the symptoms of Lázaro's strange malady, he himself is
enumerating them in merciless monologues. He talks of his greatness, of
his fame, of the popularity of his works, and then falls into childish
drivel and longs for playthings. 'His head is not firm,' says Don
Nemesis to Carmen's father, in dubiety before the prospect of the
marriage; 'that is why he is so stupendous at times, and all the world
calls him a genius. Put no trust in geniuses, Timotheus. A genius may
walk down one street, and hear the people cry, "The genius!" Let him
round the corner into another street, and he will hear the street arab
shout after him, "The lunatic!" Much talent is decidedly a dangerous
thing.' 'God defend us from it!' piously exclaims the elderly _roué_. 'I
have always been very careful not to cultivate it.'

It would be difficult to conceive a more needlessly disagreeable scene
than the interview between the celebrated brain doctor and Lázaro, who,
the night before, has been consulted by Dolores on behalf of a nephew,
and innocently, but with terrible frankness, discusses the case with the
unfortunate victim himself. 'We cannot with impunity corrupt the sources
of life,' says Doctor Bermúdez, in the high scientific manner, without
noticing the increasing emotion of his companion; 'the son of such a
father must soon fall into madness or idiocy.' 'Ah! No! What? My father!
I—It is a lie!' Lázaro burst out, in frantic horror. When the poor
mother enters the scene and brings her maternal note of despair to the
son's distracted terror, we feel that the modern drama has reached a
pitch of tragedy unapprehended in healthier and more barbaric ages.
'Lose one's brains as one might lose a hat!' exclaims Don Juan when
enlightened. 'Bah! idiots are born so.... but a man of genius! ...
Lázaro, who understands _the finality without end_ as he knows the
_Paternoster_!'

DOLORES. [_Despairingly._] But if it were true? If it were true? And
  then? Oh! why was I born? [_Approaching Don Juan who retreats._]
  Through you have I lost my illusions, stained my youth, debased my
  life, forfeited my dignity—through you! And after twenty years of
  sacrifices, to be worthy of Lázaro! ... good for his sake, loyal for
  him, resigned for him, honourable for him, and to-day! ... No, you
  have always been a scoundrel; but for once you must be right.
  Impossible! impossible! God could not will it.

DON JUAN. Good, I have always been a scoundrel. What more? But don't
  remember it now; above all, don't say it. Say that you forgive me.
  Forgive me, Dolores.

DOLORES. What does it matter?

DON JUAN. It matters to us both. If you should not forgive me, and if
  God should remember to punish me, and punish me through my Lázaro!

Pitiful is the poor mother's wavering between softness and bitterness.
At one moment she pardons him with all her heart, or only bargains that
he shall help her to save their boy. And then when he vows to do so with
his whole soul and the remainder of his life, she retorts cruelly, 'With
what life you have left; what Heaven, in its mercy, still grants you.'
'Dolores!' the poor wretch exclaims, and again she softens: 'It is true;
I had forgiven you.' Upon this the elderly scapegoat brightens and
mentions Paris, Germany, England—'the English know so much. Bah! there
is a good deal of science scattered over the world.' 'Then let us gather
it all for Lázaro.'

This desperate situation is relieved by the entrance of Carmen's father
in the black of etiquette, strictly solemn as befits a Spanish father
offering his daughter in marriage to his old chum. He says reprovingly:
'Do not embrace me. Don't you see that I am all in black—in the garb of
etiquette? It is a very solemn occasion. Call everybody except
Lázaro—him later. Solemnity above all.' The afflicted parents have
decided to conceal Lázaro's calamity from the world, and make a
heart-broken effort to welcome the betrothal with delight, and the gloom
of the situation is deepened by the young man's miserable behaviour when
called to his beloved.

LÁZARO. Carmen! Mine, mine! I may take her, clasp her in my arms!
  inflame her with my breath! drink her with my eyes! I may if I like!

DON JUAN. Yes, yes, but enough.

LÁZARO. What infamy! What treason! Carmen!

CARMEN. [_Running to him._] Lázaro!

LÁZARO. Go, away! Why do you come to me? You cannot be mine. Never,
  never, never.

CARMEN. Do you give me up? Ah, I have already felt it. Mother! [_Takes
  refuge in his mother's arms._]

Nobody understands. Carmen's father is indignant. Lázaro's confidential
friend asks if he has gone mad, and Lázaro, bewildered, turns
despairingly to Don Juan: 'Father, father. You are my father. Save me.'
'With my life, my son.' 'You gave me life, but it is not enough. Give me
life to live, to love, to be happy. Give me life for Carmen's sake. Give
me more life, or cursed be that which you have given me.'

The third act is rendered more sombre if possible from the shabby
chatter and airs of aged rake on the part of Carmen's father, with which
it starts. We are introduced to the Tarifa girl, Don Juan's old
mistress, now pensioned and respectably established on his estate on the
banks of the Guadalquivir. Deeper and deeper are we forced to wade
through unrelenting shadow. Now it is the frivolous Don Timoteo, sipping
his manzanilla, and sneering at the young generation as personated by
his daughter Carmen, Lázaro, and Lázaro's friend, the girl with her
affected lungs, Lázaro with his dementia, and his friend formal and
headachy. 'Ah, in my day we were other,' he sighs. 'Perhaps,' retorts
the friend, 'it is because you were—_other_ then that we are so now.'
Then it is Lázaro, rough, distrustful, and sly, completely altered,
afraid to sleep because he does not know how it might be upon his
awakening or if he should ever awake, with swift leaps from childish
drivel into the Don's plumed phrases, forgetful of modern raiment, and
swaggering through imagery and sonorous syllables as if a sword clanked
by his side and he carried the spurs of chivalry. And then the poor
victim falls to drinking with his father's old mistress, and when
half-drunk and wholly mad, plots with her to carry off Carmen. When she
cries out that 'farewell' means tears, he exclaims inconsequently: 'Then
you, too, will cry. We will all cry ... Laughing fatigues, crying
rests.'

Quite gay and reckless, he faces Carmen to propose elopement to her. He
laments the former coldness of his words and moods, the insufficiency of
the vulgar tongue to express passion so burning and impetuous as his,
and terrifies her by his wild and flowery volubility. There is night all
around him except for the ray of intense light that encircles her face.
On that he concentrates all that remains to him of life, of manhood, of
feeling, thought and love. He descends from this into weak complaining.
Her happiness is threatened by inimical conspiracies, and yet how is he
to defend her? He fancies he is in a desert full of sand, plagued with
unquenchable thirst and menaced by a falling heaven. He mixes up in the
dreariest way the sands of the desert and the old applause that greeted
his genius, wonders if either will have an end, then doubts the end of
anything, and implores Carmen to save him. 'Help me. Look at me, speak,
laugh, cry, do something, Carmen, to keep me from wandering into the
desert.' But already his look is vague, and he has ceased to see her. In
vain she cries to him that she is near, weeps over him, holds him to
her. 'I am Carmen, look at me. The little head you were wont to love so
is close to your lips. I am smiling at you. Laugh, Lázaro, answer me.
Wake up! Surely you hear me, you see me!' When his mother comes in
response to the girl's agonised cry, a glimmer of intelligence gives a
sort of dignity to his incoherent words. He wants his mother to console
him, for he has to say 'a long, a sad, and solemn farewell to Carmen.'
The girl protests she will not leave him, when he irritably orders her
away—a great way off. He loved her much, but now it is adieu eternally.
He only wishes now to be alone with his parents, until memory suddenly
carries him back into the time of quarrel, reproaches, and jealousies of
those two in his childhood. 'Don't contradict me, father; you used to
quarrel and make me afraid.' He passionately orders him away, too, with
Carmen, and turns for comfort to his mother. Then he remembers his
school troubles, how his mother coldly parted with him, and to guard
against complete loneliness, calls for Paca, his father's old mistress.
'Come, I am young and wish to live,' he cries, and when we find Don Juan
aroused to indignation and threatening to fling the Tarifa girl over the
balcony into the river if she does not instantly retire, we are ready to
hail the mercifulness of Ibsen. This is to carry a sermon to an
intolerable length, and drive us so out of love with both philosophy and
science as to paint unreason with a double allurement. A father kneeling
to his mad son to let an old mistress go, and the son, struggling out of
the gathering torpor of intelligence to stare at the rising sun:—

    'Mother, how lovely!'
    'Lázaro!'
    'So lovely! Mother, so lovely! Give me the sun.'
    'My God! I also wanted it once,'

sobs Don Juan.

    'For ever!'

is the last lugubrious note of Dr. Bermúdez.

It is a relief to turn from this ghastly tragedy to the brighter
movement of _El Gran Galeoto_. My printed copy of this play shows it to
have run to the twentieth edition, which, for an unreading land like
Spain, is an enormous sale. Bright is perhaps a misleading term, for the
whole is tinged with the profound melancholy that strikes us in the
Spanish gaze, in its character and in the tristful note of its popular
songs and dances. The English are supposed to take their pleasures
sadly. The saying were more appropriate to the rather dreary race beyond
the Pyrenees. Whatever may be their preoccupation (generally speaking it
is dulness or an empty mind they are afflicted with rather than sadness)
they give the foreigner the impression of being the wholesale victims of
a shattered organ which we have the habit of associating with the
affections.

In these two dramas—_Don Juan's Son_ and _The Great Galeoto_—enough will
be understood of the passion of gravity with which the Spanish dramatist
enters into the obscurer and less picturesque tragedies of life. Love
with him is not the sentimental sighing of maids and boys, as he again
shows in _Lo Sublime en lo Vulgar_, but the great perplexed question of
married infelicity and misunderstanding. Don Julian dies broken-hearted
and wilfully deceived, and his deception it is that forges the tempered
happiness of his rival. In _Lo Sublime en lo Vulgar_ we have two diverse
husbands: Richard, an airy social success, full of elegant phrases,
befittingly tailored, and of manners the best—the sort of man destined
to float to the surface in all circumstances, and minuet with grace
round the ugliest corner. Bernard, whom he betrays and laughs at, is the
commonplace, scarce presentable husband, married by a refined and
poetical creature for his money, and blushed for by her at every moment
while she is solacing herself with the elegant improprieties of her
friend's husband, Richard. Here we have another picture of marital
jealousy, justifiable in this case, and perhaps for that reason more
merciful. Instead of turning from his faithless wife, the insignificant
and vulgar Bernard wins her to him and to atonement by an unpretentious
magnanimity, and the play ends hopefully with Richard's cry to his wife:
'Louisa, pardon!—and forget!' And Bernard, turning to Inez, his wife,
explains his generosity in sonorous verse: 'Honour goes from the soul
into the depth, and in the world I put no trust. Since my honour is my
own, I understand it infinitely better than the world.'

Not even Tolstoi, with all that delicacy and keenness of the Russian
conscience, that profound seriousness, which move us so variously in his
great books, has a nobler consciousness of the dignity of suffering and
virtue than this Spanish dramatist. And not less capable is he of a
jesting survey of life. Echegaray writes in no fever of passion, and
wastes no talent on the niceties of art. The morality and discontent
that float from the meditative North have reached him in his home of
sunshine and easy emotions, and his work is pervaded nobly by its
spirit. And unlike Ibsen, he illuminates thought with sane and connected
action. Discontent never leads him to the verge of extravagance.
Extravagance he conceives to be a part of youth, addicted to bombast and
wild words. Man trades in other material than romantic language and
rhodomontade. Hence he brings emphasis and plain speech to bear upon him
when youth has had its fill through the long-winded, high coloured
phrases of his scribbling heroes. Thought, perhaps, travels too
persistently along the shadowed paths, and we should be thankful to find
our world reflected through his strong glass, dappled with a little of
the uncertain but lovely sunshine that plays not the least part in the
April weather of our life here.

The note of unwavering sadness depresses. But, at least, it is not
ignoble, and he conceives it borne with so much resignation and dignity
that if the picture carries with it the colours of frailty, it brings a
counterbalancing conception of the inherent greatness of man.

                                                       HANNAH LYNCH.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           THE GREAT GALEOTO

                          A PLAY IN THREE ACTS
                            WITH A PROLOGUE

------------------------------------------------------------------------

PERSONS OF THE DRAMA

TEODORA, Wife of
DON JULIAN.
DONA MERCEDES, Wife of
DON SEVERO.
PEPITO, Their Son.
ERNEST.
A WITNESS.
TWO SERVANTS.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                       SCENE—_Madrid of our day._

                                PROLOGUE

_A study; to the left a balcony, on right a door; in the middle a table
  strewn with papers and books, and a lighted lamp upon it. Towards the
  right a sofa. Night._


                                SCENE I

ERNEST. [_Seated at table and preparing to write._] Nothing—impossible!
  It is striving with the impossible. The idea is there; my head is
  fevered with it; I feel it. At moments an inward light illuminates it,
  and I see it. I see it in its floating form, vaguely outlined, and
  suddenly a secret voice seems to animate it, and I hear sounds of
  sorrow, sonorous sighs, shouts of sardonic laughter ... a whole world
  of passions alive and struggling.... They burst forth from me, extend
  around me, and the air is full of them. Then, then I say to myself:
  ''Tis now the moment.' I take up my pen, stare into space, listen
  attentively, restraining my very heart-beats, and bend over the
  paper.... Ah, but the irony of impotency! The outlines become blurred,
  the vision fades, the cries and sighs faint away ... and nothingness,
  nothingness encircles me.... The monotony of empty space, of inert
  thought, of dreamy lassitude! and more than all the monotony of an
  idle pen and lifeless paper that lacks the life of thought! Ah! How
  varied are the shapes of nothingness, and how, in its dark and silent
  way, it mocks creatures of my stamp! So many, many forms! Canvas
  without colour, bits of marble without shape, confused noise of
  chaotic vibrations. But nothing more irritating, more insolent, meaner
  than this insolent pen of mine [_throws it away_], nothing worse than
  this white sheet of paper. Oh, if I cannot fill it, at least I may
  destroy it—vile accomplice of my ambition and my eternal humiliation.
  Thus, thus ... smaller and still smaller. [_Tears up paper. Pauses._]
  And then! How lucky that nobody saw me! For in truth such fury is
  absurd and unjust. No, I will not yield. I will think and think, until
  either I have conquered or am crushed. No, I will not give up. Let me
  see, let me see ... if in that way——


                                SCENE II

          _Ernest. Don Julian on the right, in evening-dress,
                      with overcoat upon his arm._

D. JULIAN. [_At the door, without entering._] I say, Ernest!

ERNEST. Don Julian!

D. JULIAN. Still working? Do I disturb you?

ERNEST. [_Rising._] Disturb me! What a question, Don Julian! Come in,
  come in. And Teodora?

                                                  [_Don Julian enters._]

D. JULIAN. We have just come from the Opera. She has gone upstairs with
  my brother, to see something or other that Mercedes has bought, and I
  was on my way to my room when I saw your light, so I stopped to say
  good-night.

ERNEST. Was there a good house?

D. JULIAN. As usual. All our friends inquired after you. They wondered
  you were not there too.

ERNEST. That was kind of them.

D. JULIAN. Not more than you deserve. And how have you improved the
  shining hours of solitude and inspiration!

ERNEST. Solitude, yes; inspiration, no. It shuns me though I call on it
  never so humbly and fondly.

D. JULIAN. It has failed at the rendezvous?

ERNEST. And not for the first time, either. But if I have done nothing
  else, at least I have made a happy discovery.

D. JULIAN. What?

ERNEST. That I am a poor devil.

D. JULIAN. The deuce! That's a famous discovery.

ERNEST. Nothing less.

D. JULIAN. But why are you so out of sorts with yourself? Is the play
  you talked of the other day not going on?

ERNEST. How can it? The going on is done by me going out of my wits.

D. JULIAN. How is this? Both the drama and inspiration are faithless to
  my poor friend.

ERNEST. This is how I stand. When I first conceived the idea, I imagined
  it full of promise, but when I attempt to give it form, and vest it in
  an appropriate stage garb, the result shows something extraordinary,
  difficult, undramatic and impossible.

D. JULIAN. How is it impossible? Come, tell me. You've excited my
  curiosity. [_Sits down on the sofa._]

ERNEST. Imagine the principal personage, one who creates the drama and
  develops it, who gives it life and provokes the catastrophe, who,
  broadly, fills and possesses it, and yet who cannot make his way to
  the stage.

D. JULIAN. Is he so ugly, then? So repugnant or bad?

ERNEST. Not so. Bad as you or I may be—not worse. Neither good nor bad,
  and truly not repugnant. I am not such a cynic—neither a misanthrope,
  nor one so out of love with life as to fall into such unfairness.

D. JULIAN. What, then, is the reason?

ERNEST. The reason, Don Julian, is that there is no material room in the
  Scenario for this personage.

D. JULIAN. Holy Virgin! What do you mean? Is it by chance a mythological
  drama with Titans in it?

ERNEST. Titans, yes, but in the modern sense of the word.

D. JULIAN. That is to say——?

ERNEST. That is to say, this person is ... _everybody_.

D. JULIAN. _Everybody!_ You are right. There is no room for everybody on
  the stage. It is an incontrovertible truth that has more than once
  been demonstrated.

ERNEST. Then you agree with me?

D. JULIAN. Not entirely. Everybody may be condensed in a few types and
  characters. This is matter beyond my depth, but I have always
  understood that the masters have more than once accomplished it.

ERNEST. Yes, but in my case it is to condemn me, not to write my drama.

D. JULIAN. Why?

ERNEST. For many reasons it would be difficult to explain,—above all, at
  this late hour.

D. JULIAN. Never mind. Give me a few.

ERNEST. Look! Each individual of this entire mass, each head of this
  monster of a thousand heads, of this Titan of the century, whom I call
  _everybody_, takes part in my play for a flying moment, to utter but
  one word, fling a single glance. Perhaps his action in the tale
  consists of a smile, he appears but to vanish. Listless and
  absent-minded, he acts without passion, without anger, without guile,
  often for mere distraction's sake.

D. JULIAN. What then?

ERNEST. These light words, these fugitive glances, these indifferent
  smiles, all these evanescent sounds and this trivial evil, which may
  be called the insignificant rays of the dramatic light, condensed to
  one focus, to one group, result in conflagration or explosion, in
  strife and in victims. If I represent the whole by a few types or
  symbolical personages, I bestow upon each one that which is really
  dispersed among many, and such a result distorts my idea. I must bring
  types on the stage whose guile repels and is the less natural because
  evil in them has no object. This exposes me to a worse consequence, to
  the accusation of meaning to paint a cruel, corrupted, and debased
  society, when my sole pretention is to prove that not even the most
  insignificant actions are in themselves insignificant or lost for good
  or evil. For, concentrated by the mysterious influences of modern
  life, they may reach to immense effects.

D. JULIAN. Say no more, my friend. All this is metaphysics. A glimmer of
  light, perhaps, but through an infinitude of cloud. However, you
  understand these things better than I do. Letters of exchange, shares,
  stock, and discount, now—that's another matter.

ERNEST. No, no; you've common sense, and that's the chief thing.

D. JULIAN. You flatter me, Ernest.

ERNEST. But you follow me?

D. JULIAN. Not in the least. There ought to be a way out of the
  difficulty.

ERNEST. If that were all!

D. JULIAN. What! More?

ERNEST. Tell me what is the great dramatic spring?

D. JULIAN. My dear fellow, I don't exactly know what you mean by a
  dramatic spring. All I can tell you is that I have not the slightest
  interest in plays where love does not preponderate—above all
  unfortunate love, for I have enough of happy love at home.

ERNEST. Good, very good! Then in my play there can be little or no love.

D. JULIAN. So much the worse. Though I know nothing of your play, I
  suspect it will interest nobody.

ERNEST. So I have been telling you. Nevertheless, it is possible to put
  in a little love,—and jealousy too.

D. JULIAN. Ah, then, with an interesting intrigue skilfully developed,
  and some effective situations——

ERNEST. No, nothing of the sort. It will be all simple, ordinary, almost
  vulgar ... so that the drama will not have any external action. The
  drama evolves within the personages: it advances slowly: to-day takes
  hold of a thought, to-morrow of a heart-beat, little by little,
  undermines the will.

D. JULIAN. But who understands all this? How are these interior ravages
  manifested? Who recounts them to the audience? In what way are they
  evident? Must we spend a whole evening hunting for a glance, a sigh, a
  gesture, a single word? My dear boy, this is not amusement. To cast us
  into such depths is to hurl us upon philosophy.

ERNEST. You but echo my own thought.

D. JULIAN. I have no wish to discourage you. You best know what you are
  about—there. Though the play seems rather colourless, heavy,
  uninteresting, perhaps if the _dénoûment_ is sensational—and the
  explosion—eh?

ERNEST. Sensation! Explosion! Hardly, and that only just upon the fall
  of the curtain.

D. JULIAN. Which means that the play begins when the curtain falls?

ERNEST. I am inclined to admit it. But I will endeavour to give it a
  little warmth.

D. JULIAN. My dear lad, what you have to do is to write the _second_
  play, the one that begins where the first ends. For the other,
  according to your description, would be difficult to write, and is not
  worth the trouble.

ERNEST. 'Tis the conclusion I have come to myself.

D. JULIAN. Then we agree, thanks to your skill and logic. And what is
  the name?

ERNEST. That's another difficulty. I can find none.

D. JULIAN. What do you say? No name either?

ERNEST. No, unless, as Don Hermogenes[2] says, we could put it into
  Greek for greater clarity.

-----

Footnote 2:

  A pedant in Moratin's _Comedia Nueva_, who quotes Greek incessantly to
  make himself better understood.—_Tran._

-----

D. JULIAN. Of a surety, Ernest, you were dozing when I came in. You have
  been dreaming nonsense.

ERNEST. Dreaming! yes. Nonsense! perhaps. I talk both dreams and
  nonsense. But you are sensible and always right.

D. JULIAN. In this case it does not require much penetration. A drama in
  which the chief personage cannot appear; in which there is hardly any
  love; in which nothing happens but what happens every day; that begins
  with the fall of the curtain upon the last act, and which has no name.
  I don't know how it is to be written, still less how it is to be
  acted, how it is to find an audience, nor how it can be called a
  drama.

ERNEST. Nevertheless, it is a drama, if I could only give it proper
  form, and that I can't do.

D. JULIAN. Do you wish to follow my advice?

ERNEST. Can you doubt it?—you, my friend, my benefactor, my second
  father! Don Julian!

D. JULIAN. Come, come, Ernest, don't let us drop into a sentimental
  drama on our own account instead of yours, which we have declared
  impossible. I asked you if you would take my advice.

ERNEST. And I said yes.

D. JULIAN. Then leave aside your plays. Go to bed, rest yourself, and
  come out shooting with me to-morrow. Kill a few partridges, and that
  will be an excuse for your not killing one or two characters, and not
  exposing yourself to the same fate at the hands of the public. After
  all, you may thank me for it.

ERNEST. I'll do no such thing. I mean to write that play.

D. JULIAN. But, my poor fellow, you've conceived it in mortal sin.

ERNEST. I don't know, but it is conceived. I feel it stir in my brain.
  It clamours for life, and I must give it to the world.

D. JULIAN. Can't you find another plot?

ERNEST. But this idea?

D. JULIAN. Send it to the devil.

ERNEST. Ah, Don Julian, you believe that an idea which has gripped the
  mind can be effaced and destroyed at our pleasure. I wanted to think
  out another play, but this accursed idea won't give it room, until it
  itself has seen the light.

D. JULIAN. God grant you a happy delivery.

ERNEST. That's the question, as Hamlet says.

D. JULIAN. Couldn't you cast it into the literary foundling hospital of
  anonymity?

                      [_In a low voice with an air of comical mystery._]

ERNEST. Don Julian, I am a man of conscience. Good or bad, my children
  are legitimate. They bear my name.

D. JULIAN. [_Preparing to go._] I have nothing more to say. What must be
  done will be done.

ERNEST. I wish it were so. Unfortunately, it is not done. But no matter;
  if I don't do it, somebody else will.

D. JULIAN. Then to work, and good luck, and may nobody rob you of your
  laurels.


                               SCENE III

                   _Ernest, Don Julian, and Teodora._

TEODORA. [_Outside._] Julian, Julian!

D. JULIAN. It's Teodora.

TEODORA. Are you there, Julian?

D. JULIAN. [_Going to the door._] Yes, I'm here. Come in.

TEODORA. [_Entering._] Good-evening, Ernest.

ERNEST. Good-evening, Teodora. Was the singing good?

TEODORA. As usual; and have you been working much?

ERNEST. As usual; nothing.

TEODORA. Then you'd have done better to come with us. They all asked
  after you.

ERNEST. It seems that everybody is interested in me.

D. JULIAN. I should think so, since _everybody_ is to be the principal
  personage of your play. You may imagine if they are anxious to be on
  good terms with you.

TEODORA. A play?

D. JULIAN. Hush! 'Tis a mystery. Ask no questions. Neither title, nor
  characters, nor action, nor catastrophe—the sublime! Good-night,
  Ernest. Come, Teodora.

ERNEST. Adieu, Don Julian.

TEODORA. Till to-morrow.

ERNEST. Good-night.

TEODORA. [_To Don Julian._] How preoccupied Mercedes was!

D. JULIAN. And Severo was in a rage.

TEODORA. Why, I wonder.

D. JULIAN. How do I know? On the other hand, Pepito chattered enough for
  both.

TEODORA. He always does, and nobody escapes his tongue.

D. JULIAN. He's a character for Ernest's play.

                            [_Exeunt Teodora, and Don Julian by right._]


                                SCENE IV

ERNEST. Let Don Julian say what he will, I won't abandon the
  undertaking. That would be signal cowardice. Never retreat—always
  forward. [_Rises and begins to walk about in an agitated way. Then
  approaches the balcony._] Protect me, night. In thy blackness, rather
  than in the azure clearness of day, are outlined the luminous shapes
  of inspiration. Lift your roofs, you thousand houses of this great
  town, as well for a poet in dire necessity as for the devil on two
  sticks who so wantonly exposed you. Let me see the men and women enter
  your drawing-rooms and boudoirs in search of the night's rest after
  fevered pleasures abroad. Let my acute hearing catch the stray words
  of all those who inquired for me of Don Julian and Teodora. As the
  scattered rays of light, when gathered to a focus by diaphanous
  crystal, strike flame, and darkness is forged by the crossed bars of
  shadow; as mountains are made from grains of earth, and seas from
  drops of water: so will I use your wasted words, your vague smiles,
  your eager glances, and build my play of all those thousand
  trivialities dispersed in _cafés_, at reunions, theatres, and
  spectacles, and that float now in the air. Let the modest crystal of
  my intelligence be the lens which will concentrate light and shadow,
  from which will spring the dramatic conflagration and the tragic
  explosion of the catastrophe. Already my play takes shape. It has even
  a title now, for there, under the lamp-shade, I see the immortal work
  of the immortal Florentine. It offers me in Italian what in good
  Spanish it would be risky and futile audacity either to write on paper
  or pronounce on the stage. Francesca and Paolo, assist me with the
  story of your loves! [_Sits down and prepares to write._] The play ...
  the play begins.... First page—there, 'tis no longer white. It has a
  name. [_Writing._] _The Great Galeoto._ [_Writes feverishly._]

                            END OF PROLOGUE



                                 ACT I

SCENE—_A drawing-room in Don Julian's house. At the back of stage a
large door, and beyond a passage separating it from the dining-room
door, which remains closed throughout the act. On the left a balcony,
and beyond it a door. On the right two doors. On the stage a table, an
arm-chair, handsome and luxurious mounting. Hour, towards sunset._


                                SCENE I

           _Teodora and Don Julian. Teodora near the balcony;
            Don Julian seated on the sofa, lost in thought._

TEODORA. What a lovely sunset! what clouds and light, and what a sky!
  Suppose it were true, as the poets say, and our fathers believed, that
  our fate is stamped upon the azure heaven! Were the mysterious secret
  of human destiny traced by the stars upon the sapphire sphere, and
  this splendid evening should hold the cipher of ours, what happiness
  it must disclose! what a smiling future! What a life in our life, and
  what radiance in our heaven! Is it not so, Julian? [_She approaches
  Don Julian._] Ah, plunged in thought, I see! Come and look out. What,
  no word for me?

D. JULIAN. [_Absently._] What is it?

TEODORA. [_Coming near._] You have not been listening to me!

D. JULIAN. You have my heart ever—who are its magnet and its centre. But
  my mind is apt to be besieged by preoccupations, cares, business——

TEODORA. They are the plague of my life, since they rob me, if not of my
  husband's affections, at least of some of his attention. But what is
  the matter, Julian? [_Affectionately._] Something worries you. Is it
  serious, that you are so solemn and so silent? If it should be
  trouble, Julian, remember that I have a right to share it. My joys are
  yours, and your sorrows are no less mine.

D. JULIAN. Sorrows! Troubles! Are you not happy? Do I not possess in you
  the living embodiment of joy? With those cheeks so ruddy in the glow
  of health, and those dear eyes, clear like your soul and resplendent
  as the sky, and I the owner of all you, could pain, or shadow, or
  grief teach me I am other than the happiest man alive?

TEODORA. It is a business annoyance, perhaps?

D. JULIAN. Money never yet forced sleep or appetite to forsake me. I
  have never felt aversion, much less contempt for it, so it follows
  that the article has flowed easily into my coffers. I was rich, I am
  rich; and until Don Julian of Garagarga dies of old age, please God
  and his own good fortune, he will remain, if not the wealthiest,
  certainly the surest, banker of Madrid, Cadiz, and Oporto.

TEODORA. Then what is your preoccupation?

D. JULIAN. I was thinking—'tis a good thought, too.

TEODORA. Naturally, since 'tis yours.

D. JULIAN. Flatterer! you would spoil me.

TEODORA. But I am still unenlightened.

D. JULIAN. There is an important matter I want to achieve.

TEODORA. Connected with the new works?

D. JULIAN. No; it has nothing to do with stone or iron.

TEODORA. What, then?

D. JULIAN. It is a question of kindness—a sacred debt of old date.

TEODORA. [_Gleefully._] Oh, I can guess now.

D. JULIAN. So!

TEODORA. You mean Ernest.

D. JULIAN. You are right.

TEODORA. Yes, yes, you must. Poor lad! he's so good and noble and
  generous.

D. JULIAN. Quite his father's son—the model of a loyal hidalgo.

TEODORA. And then so clever! Only twenty-six, and a prodigy! what
  doesn't he know?

D. JULIAN. Know! I should think he _did_ know. That's nothing—rather,
  that's the worst of it. While he is wandering in the sphere of sublime
  thought, I fear he's not likely to learn much of a world so deceptive
  and prosaic as ours, which takes no interest in the subtleties of the
  mind until three centuries after genius has been buried.

TEODORA. But with you for a guide, Julian—you don't intend to abandon
  him yet a while, surely?

D. JULIAN. God forbid. I should be black-hearted indeed if I would so
  readily forget all I owe his father. Don Juan of Acedo risked for my
  family name and wealth, ay, almost his life. Should this lad need
  mine, he might ask it, and welcome. 'Twould be but just payment of the
  debt my name represents.

TEODORA. Well said, Julian. It is like you.

D. JULIAN. You remember, about a year ago, I heard my good friend was
  dead, and his son was left badly off. I lost no time, caught the train
  to Gerona, nearly used force, and carried the boy back here. When he
  stood in the middle of this room I said to him: 'You are master here;
  you may command me and mine. Since I owe your father everything, you
  must regard me in the light of his representative. If I fall short, my
  desire is to come as near as possible to him. As for the amount of
  affection I have to dispose of—we'll see if I don't outrace him
  there.'

TEODORA. I remember it well. The soft-hearted fellow burst out crying,
  and clung to you like a child.

D. JULIAN. He's but a child, as you say. That's why we must think and
  plan for him. And 'twas of that I was so seriously thinking a moment
  ago. I was meditating a half-formed project, while you, dear, wanted
  me to contemplate a panorama of radiant cloud and scarlet sun that
  cannot compare with the sun that shines in my own heaven.

TEODORA. I cannot divine your idea. What is it you project doing for
  Ernest?

D. JULIAN. Those are my words.

TEODORA. But is there something yet undone that you expect to discover?
  He has lived with us for the past year like one of ourselves. Were he
  your son, or a brother of mine, could you show him more tenderness, I
  more affection?

D. JULIAN. It is much, but not enough.

TEODORA. Not enough! I fancy,——

D. JULIAN. You are thinking of the present, and I of the future.

TEODORA. Oh! the future! That is easily settled. See, he lives here with
  us as long as he likes, for years. It is his home. Then when the just
  and natural law prompts him to fall in love and desire another, we
  will marry him. You will nobly share your wealth with him, and we will
  lead them from the altar to their own house,—_he_ and _she_! The
  proverb, you know, says wisely, 'for each wedded pair a house.' He
  will live just a little away from us, but that will be no reason for
  our forgetting him, or loving him less. I see it all distinctly. They
  are happy, and we even happier. They have children, of course, and we
  perhaps more—well, at least, one little girl, who will fall in love
  with Ernest's son, and to whom we will marry her by and by.

                [_Spoken playfully, with volubility, grace, blushes, and
                lively gesture, according to the actress's talents._]

D. JULIAN. But where in heaven's name are you going to stop?
  [_Laughing._]

TEODORA. You spoke of his future, Julian, and I've sketched it. If not
  this one, I will neither approve nor accept it.

D. JULIAN. How like you, Teodora! but——

TEODORA. Ah, there is a but already.

D. JULIAN. Listen, Teodora. It is but a debt we owe to look after the
  poor fellow as if he were a relative, and obligation runs with the
  exactions of our affection. So much for himself; so much for his
  father's son. But every human action is complex, has two points of
  view, and every medal has its reverse. Which means, Teodora, that you
  must understand it is a very different matter to give and receive
  favours; and that in the end Ernest might feel my protection a
  humiliation. He's a high-spirited, fine lad, a trifle haughty perhaps,
  and it is imperative there should be an end to his present position.
  We may, if we can, do more for him, but we must seem to do less.

TEODORA. How so?

D. JULIAN. We'll see—but here he comes——[_Looks down the stage._]

TEODORA. Hush!


                                SCENE II

               _Don Julian, Teodora, and Ernest behind._

D. JULIAN. Welcome!

ERNEST. Don Julian!—and Teodora! [_Salutes absently. Sits down near the
  table in pensive silence._]

DON JULIAN. [_Approaching him._] What's the matter?

ERNEST. Nothing.

D. JULIAN. You look as if something ailed you—your preoccupation reveals
  it. No trouble, I hope?

ERNEST. Nonsense.

D. JULIAN. Nor disappointment?

ERNEST. None whatever.

D. JULIAN. I don't annoy you?

ERNEST. You! good heavens! [_Rises and comes toward him effusively._]
  You speak out of the right of friendship and affection, and you read
  me through and through. Yes, sir; there is indeed something the
  matter. I will tell you, if you, and you also, Teodora, out of your
  pity, will hold me excused. I am an ungrateful fool, a mere boy, in
  truth, deserving neither of your kindness nor of your affection.
  Possessing such a father and such a sister, I ought to be happy, with
  no care for the morrow. But it is not so. I blush to explain it,—can't
  you understand?—Yes, yes, you must see how false my position is. I
  live here on alms. [_With energy._]

TEODORA. Such a word——

ERNEST. Teodora!

TEODORA. Affronts us.

ERNEST. I expressed myself ill—but it is so.

D. JULIAN. I say it is not so. If any one in this house lives upon alms,
  and those no slight ones, it is I and not you.

ERNEST. I am acquainted, sir, with the story of two loyal friends, and
  of some money matters long forgotten. It does honour to my father and
  to his hidalgic race. But I am shamed in profiting by it. I am young,
  Don Julian, and although I may not be worth much, there ought still to
  be some way for me to earn my bread. It may be pride or folly, I
  cannot say. But I remember what my father used to say: 'What you can
  do yourself, never ask another to do. What you can earn, never owe to
  any one else.'

D. JULIAN. So that my services humiliate and degrade you. You count your
  friends importunate creditors.

TEODORA. Reason may be on your side, Ernest, and in knowledge you are
  not deficient, but, believe me, in this case the heart alone speaks
  with wisdom.

D. JULIAN. Your father did not find me so ungenerous or so proud.

TEODORA. Ah, friendship was then a very different thing.

ERNEST. Teodora!

TEODORA. [_To Don Julian._] What a noble anxiety displays

ERNEST. I know I seem ungrateful—I feel it—and an idiot to boot. Forgive
  me, Don Julian.

D. JULIAN. His head is a forge.

TEODORA. [_Also apart to Don Julian._] He doesn't live in this world.

D. JULIAN. Just so. He's full of depth and learning, and lets himself be
  drowned in a pool of water.

ERNEST. [_Meditatively._] True, I know little of life, and am not well
  fitted to make my way through it But I divine it, and shudder, I know
  not why. Shall I founder on the world's pool as upon the high sea? I
  may not deny that it terrifies me far more than the deep ocean. The
  sea only reaches the limit set by the loose sand: over all space
  travel the emanations of the pool. A strong man's arms can struggle
  with the waves of the sea, but no one can struggle against subtle
  miasma. But if I fall, I must not feel the humiliation of defeat. I
  wish and pray that at the last moment I may see the approach of the
  sea that will bear me away at its will; see the sword that is to
  pierce me, the rock against which I am to be crushed. I must measure
  my adversary's strength, and despise it falling, despise it dying,
  instead of tamely breathing the venom scattered through the ambient
  air.

D. JULIAN. [_To Teodora._] Didn't I tell you he was going out of his
  mind?

TEODORA. But, Ernest, where are you wandering?

D. JULIAN. Yes. What has all this to do with the matter?

ERNEST. Sir, I have come to the conclusion that others, seeing me housed
  and fed here, are saying of me what I long have thought. They see me
  constantly driving out with you, in the morning walking with Teodora
  or Mercedes, in your opera-box, hunting on your lands, and daily
  occupying the same place at your table. Though you would like to think
  otherwise, in one way or another the gossip runs: Who is he? Is he a
  relation? Not so. The secretary? Still less. A partner? If a partner,
  it may be accepted he brings little or nothing to the general fund. So
  they chatter.

D. JULIAN. By no means. You are raving.

ERNEST. I beg to contradict you.

D. JULIAN. Then give me a name.

ERNEST. Sir?——

D. JULIAN. One will do.

ERNEST. There is one at hand—upstairs.

D. JULIAN. Name him.

ERNEST. Don Severo.

D. JULIAN. My brother?

ERNEST. Exactly, your brother? Will that suffice? or shall we add his
  respected wife, Doña Mercedes? and Pepito, their son? What have you to
  say then?

D. JULIAN. That Severo is a fool, Mercedes an idle chatterer, and the
  lad a puppy.

ERNEST. They only repeat what they hear.

D. JULIAN. It is not true. This is false reasoning. Between gentlemen,
  when the intention is honourable, what can the opinion of the world
  really matter? The meaner it is, the loftier our disdain of it.

ERNEST. 'Tis nobly said, and is what all well-bred men feel. But I have
  been taught that gossip, whether inspired by malice or not, which is
  according to each one's natural tendency, begins in a lie and
  generally ends in truth. Does gossip, as it grows, disclose the hidden
  sin? Is it a reflex of the past, or does it invent evil and give it
  existence? Does it set its accursed seal upon an existent fault, or
  merely breed that which was yet not, and furnish the occasion for
  wrong? Should we call the slanderer infamous or severe? the accomplice
  or the divulger? the public avenger or the tempter? Does he arrest or
  precipitate our fall? wound through taste or duty? and when he
  condemns, is it from justice or from spite? Perhaps both, Don Julian.
  Who can say? though time, occasion, and facts may show.

D. JULIAN. See here, Ernest, I don't understand an iota of all this
  philosophising. I presume 'tis on such nonsense you waste your
  intelligence. But I don't want you to be vexed or worried. It's
  true—you really wish for austere independence, to stand alone at a
  post of honour?

ERNEST. Don Julian!

D. JULIAN. Answer me.

ERNEST. [_Joyously_]. Yes.

D. JULIAN. Then count it gained. At this very moment I have no
  secretary. I am expecting one from London. But nobody would suit me
  better than a certain young fool, who is enamoured of poverty.
  [_Speaks in pleasant reproach._] His work and salary will, of course,
  be settled as any one else's, though he be a son to one who cherishes
  him as such.

ERNEST. Don Julian!

D. JULIAN. [_Affecting comical severity._] Remember, I am an exacting
  business man, and I have not the habit of giving my money away for
  nothing. I intend to get as much as possible out of you, and work you
  hard. In my house the bread of just labour alone is consumed. By the
  clock, ten hours, starting at daybreak, and when I choose to be
  severe, you will see that Severo himself is no match for me. So,
  before the world you pose as the victim of my selfishness ... but in
  private, dear boy, ever the same, the centre of my dearest affections.
  [_Unable to maintain former tone, Don Julian breaks off, and holds his
  hand out to Ernest._]

ERNEST. [_Deeply moved._] Don Julian!

D. JULIAN. You accept, then?

ERNEST. I am yours to command.

TEODORA. [_To Don Julian._] At last you have tamed the savage.

ERNEST. [_To Don Julian._] Anything for your sake.

D. JULIAN. So would I have you always, Ernest. And now I have to write
  to my London correspondent, and thank him, and while recognising the
  extraordinary merit of his Englishman, whom he extols to the skies,
  regret that I have already engaged a young man. [_Walks toward the
  first door on the right hand._] This is how we stand for the present;
  but in the future—it will be as partners. [_Returns with an air of
  mystery._]

TEODORA. Stop, Julian, I beg of you. Can't you see that he will take
  alarm? [_Don Julian goes out on the right, and laughs to himself,
  looking back at Ernest._]


                               SCENE III

_Teodora and Ernest. Towards the end of the last scene twilight has
  fallen, so that at this moment the room is in deep shadow._

ERNEST. I am dazed by so much kindness. How can I ever repay it? [_He
  sits down on the sofa, displaying great emotion. Teodora walks over
  and stands beside him_.]

TEODORA. By ejecting the spirit of pride and distrust; by being sensible
  and believing that we truly love you, that we will never change; and
  by putting full faith in all Julian's promises. His word is sacred,
  Ernest, and in him you will always have a father, in me a sister.


                                SCENE IV

_Teodora, Ernest, Doña Mercedes, and Don Severo. The latter remain
  standing behind as they enter. The room is quite dark, save for a
  glimmer of light shed from the balcony, whither Ernest and Teodora
  have moved._

ERNEST. How good you are!

TEODORA. And you, what a boy! After to-day I hope you have done with
  sadness—eh?

ERNEST. Quite.

MERCEDES. [_Outside, speaking low._] How dark it is!

SEVERO. [_In same tone._] Come away, Mercedes.

MERCEDES. [_Crossing the threshold._] There is nobody here.

SEVERO. [_Detaining her._] Yes, there is. [_Both stand a while
  peering._]

ERNEST. Teodora, my whole life, a thousand lives would still not be
  enough to offer you in return for your kindness. Don't judge me by my
  morose temper. I cannot lend a showy front to my affections, but,
  believe me, I do know how to love—and hate as well. My heart can beat
  to bursting under the lash of either sentiment.

MERCEDES. [_To Severo._] What are they saying?

SEVERO. Something odd, but I hear imperfectly. [_Teodora and Ernest go
  out on the balcony, speaking low._]

MERCEDES. 'Tis Ernest.

SEVERO. And she—I suppose—is——

MERCEDES. Teodora.

SEVERO. Their eternal tricks—always together. I can stand no more of
  this. And their words? I mustn't put it off any longer——

MERCEDES. True, Severo. Come away. It is certainly your duty, since
  everybody is talking.

SEVERO. Yes, I must open Julian's eyes—to-day, at once.

MERCEDES. The fellow has impudence enough, and to spare.

SEVERO. By all that's holy—so has she.

MERCEDES. Poor girl! She's but a child. Leave her to me.

TEODORA. Another house? Surely no. You wouldn't leave us? What an idea!
  Julian would never consent.

SEVERO. [_To Doña Mercedes._] I should think not indeed, neither would
  I. [_Aloud._] Ah, Teodora, you didn't see me? This is how you receive
  your guests.

TEODORA. [_Coming from the balcony._] Don Severo! I am delighted.

MERCEDES. Is there no dinner this evening? It's near the hour.

TEODORA. Mercedes too!

MERCEDES. Yes, Teodora.

SEVERO. [_Aside._] She is a capital actress. What a creature!

TEODORA. I must ring for lights. [_Touches the bell on the table._]

SEVERO. Quite so. Every one likes plenty of light.

SERVANT. Madam?

TEODORA. Bring the lamps, Genaro.       [_Exit servant._]

SEVERO. He who follows the narrow path of loyalty and duty, and is
  always that which he appears to be, need never fear the light, nor
  blush in its glare.

               [_The servant enters with lamps, the stage is brilliantly
               illuminated. After a pause._]

TEODORA. [_Laughing naturally._] So I should think, and such, I imagine,
  is the general opinion. [_Looks at Mercedes._]

MERCEDES. I suppose so.

SEVERO. Hulloa, Don Ernest! what were you doing out there? Were you with
  Teodora when we came in! [_Speaks with marked intention._]

ERNEST. [_Coldly._] I was here as you see.

SEVERO. The deuce you were! It is rather dark to see. [_Approaches him
  with outstretched hand, looking fixedly at him. Teodora and Mercedes
  converse apart. Aside._] His face is flushed, and he appears to have
  been crying. In this world only children and lovers weep. [_Aloud._]
  And Julian?

TEODORA. He went away to write a letter.

ERNEST. [_Aside._] Though I have patience to spare, this man tries me
  hard.

SEVERO. [_To Teodora._] I am going to see him. There is still time
  before dinner?

TEODORA. Plenty.

SEVERO. Good. Then to work. [_Aside, rubbing his hands, and looking back
  at Ernest and Teodora. Aloud._] Goodbye.

TEODORA. Goodbye.

SEVERO. [_Rancorously, from the door._] My faith!


                                SCENE V

_Teodora, Doña Mercedes, and Ernest. The ladies occupy the sofa, and
  Ernest stands near them._

MERCEDES. [_To Ernest._] We did not see you to-day.

ERNEST. No, madam.

MERCEDES. Nor Pepito?

ERNEST. No.

MERCEDES. He is upstairs alone.

ERNEST. [_Aside._] Let him stop there.

MERCEDES. [_Gravely and mysteriously to Teodora._] I wish he would go. I
  want to speak to you.

TEODORA. Indeed?

MERCEDES. [_In same tone._] Yes, it is something very serious.

TEODORA. Well, begin!

MERCEDES. Why doesn't he go?

TEODORA. [_In a low voice._] I don't understand you.

MERCEDES. Courage! [_Takes her hand and clasps it affectionately.
  Teodora looks at her in sombre question._] Send him about his
  business.

TEODORA. If you insist. Ernest, will you do me a favour?

ERNEST. Gladly—with a thousand wills.

MERCEDES. [_Aside._] One were still too many.

TEODORA. Then go upstairs—to Pepito——But it might bore you to carry a
  message.

ERNEST. By no means.

MERCEDES. [_Aside._] In what a sweet, soft voice he speaks to her!

TEODORA. Tell him—ask him if he has renewed our subscription at the
  Opera as I told him. He knows about it.

ERNEST. With pleasure—this very moment.

TEODORA. Thanks, Ernest, I am sorry——

ERNEST. Nonsense. [_Exit._]

TEODORA. Adieu!


                                SCENE VI

                       _Teodora and Doña Mercedes._

TEODORA. Something serious? You alarm me, Mercedes. Such mystery! What
  can it mean?

MERCEDES. It is indeed very serious.

TEODORA. Concerning whom?

MERCEDES. All of you.

TEODORA. All of us?

MERCEDES. Julian, Ernest, and you.

TEODORA. All three?

MERCEDES. Yes, all three. [_Short pause. Both women stare at each
  other._]

TEODORA. Then make haste.

MERCEDES. [_Aside._] I should like to——but, no; I must go gently in this
  unsavoury affair. [_Aloud._] Listen, Teodora. My husband is, after
  all, your husband's brother, and in life and death our fortunes are
  one. So that we owe one another in all things protection, help, and
  advice,—is it not so? To-day it may be I who offer assistance, and
  to-morrow, should I need it, I unblushingly claim it of you.

TEODORA. You may count upon it, Mercedes. But come to the end of the
  matter now.

MERCEDES. Up to to-day, Teodora, I shrank from this step, but Severo
  urges me. 'It can't go on,' he insists. 'My brother's honour and my
  own self-esteem forbid me to witness that which fills me with shame
  and sorrow. On all sides am I assailed with innuendoes, with the
  smiles, the covert glances and the reproaches of my friends. There
  must be an end to this low gossip about us.'

TEODORA. Continue, pray.

MERCEDES. Then heed me. [_They exchange a prolonged gaze._]

TEODORA. Tell me, what is the gossip?

MERCEDES. The murmuring of the river tells us that its waters are
  swollen.

TEODORA. I understand nothing of your river and its swollen waters, but
  do not drive me wild.

MERCEDES. [_Aside._] Poor child! My heart grieves for her. [_Aloud._] So
  you do not understand me?

TEODORA. I? not in the least.

MERCEDES. [_Aside._] How stupid she is! [_Aloud, energetically._] You
  make a laughing-stock of him.

TEODORA. Of whom?

MERCEDES. Why, of your husband, of course.

TEODORA. [_Impetuously, rising._] Julian! what a falsehood! What wretch
  could say so? Julian would strike him!

MERCEDES. [_Endeavouring to soothe her and make her sit down._] He would
  need a good many hands, then; for, if report speak truly, he would
  have to strike the entire town.

TEODORA. But what does it all mean? What is the mystery, and what is
  this talk of the town?

MERCEDES. So you're sorry?

TEODORA. I am sorry. But what is it?

MERCEDES. You see, Teodora, you are quite a child. At your age one is so
  often thoughtless and light, and then such bitter tears are afterwards
  shed. You still don't understand me?

TEODORA. No, what has such a case to do with me?

MERCEDES. It is the story of a scoundrel and the story of a lady——

TEODORA. [_Eagerly._] Whose name——?

MERCEDES. Her name——

TEODORA. Oh, what does it matter?

        [_Teodora moves away from Mercedes, who shifts her seat on the
          sofa to follow her. The double movement of repugnance and
          aloofness on Teodora's part, and of insistence and protection
          on Mercedes', is very marked._]

MERCEDES. The man is a shabby-hearted betrayer, who, for one hour of
  pleasure, would thrust upon the woman a life of sorrow: the husband's
  dishonour, the ruin of a family, and she left shamed and condemned to
  social penitence in the world's disdain, and to keener punishment
  still at the whip of her own conscience.

        [_Here Teodora, avoiding Mercedes, reaches the edge of the sofa,
          bows her head and covers her face with both hands. At last she
          understands._]

MERCEDES. [_Aside._] Poor little thing! She touches me. [_Aloud._] This
  man is not worthy of you, Teodora.

TEODORA. But, madam, what is the drift of all this blind emotion? Do not
  imagine that my eyes are dimmed with fear or horror or tears. They
  burn with the flame of anger. To whom can such words be addressed?
  What man do you mean? Is it, perchance——?

MERCEDES. Ernest.

TEODORA. Ah! [_Pause._] And the woman I? Not so? [_Mercedes nods and
  Teodora rises again._] Then listen to me, though I may offend you. I
  know not who is the viler, the inventor of this tale or you who repeat
  it. Shame upon the meanness that formed the idea, and shame upon the
  villainy that spreads it! It is so abominable, so fatal, that I almost
  feel myself criminal because I cannot instantly reject the thought and
  forget it. Heavens! could I suppose or credit such baseness? Because
  of his misfortunes I loved him. He was like a brother to me, and
  Julian was his providence. And he so noble and thorough a gentleman!
  [_Stands staring at Mercedes, then turns away her face. Aside._] How
  she inspects me! I scarcely like to say a good word for him to her. My
  God! I am compelled already to act a part.

MERCEDES. Be calm, child.

TEODORA. [_Raising her voice._] Oh, what anguish! I feel cold and
  inconsolable. Stained in this way by public opinion! Oh, my dearest
  mother, and you, Julian, my heart's beloved. [_She falls sobbing into
  a chair on the left, and Mercedes strives to console her._]

MERCEDES. I did not imagine—forgive me—don't cry. There, I didn't really
  believe it was serious. I knew your past exonerated you. But as the
  case stands, you must admit that out of every hundred a hundred would
  accuse you and Julian of excessive rashness, or say you had led the
  world to conclude the worst. You a girl of twenty, Julian a man of
  forty, and Ernest between you, with his head full of romantic
  thoughts. On the one hand, a husband given up to business, on the
  other a youth to dreams, every day bringing its opportunity, and you
  there, unoccupied, in the flush of romance. It was wrong for people to
  conclude the worst because they saw you walking with him, and saw him
  so often at the theatre with you. But, Teodora, in reason and justice
  I think that, if the world was bent on seeing evil, you furnished the
  occasion. Permit me to point out to you that the fault which society
  most fiercely chastises, pursues most relentlessly and cruelly, and in
  every varied imaginable way, both in man and woman is—don't frown so,
  Teodora—is _temerity_.

TEODORA. [_Turning to Mercedes without having heard her._] And you say
  that Julian——

MERCEDES. Is the laughing-stock of the town, and you——

TEODORA. Oh, I! That's no matter. But Julian!—Oh, oh, so good, so
  chivalrous! If he only knew——

MERCEDES. He will know, for at this very moment Severo is telling him.

TEODORA. What!

JULIAN. [_Inside._] That will do.

TEODORA. Oh, goodness!

JULIAN. Let me alone.

TEODORA. Come away, quickly.

MERCEDES. [_Rushing with Teodora towards first door on the right._] Yes,
  yes, quickly. What folly! [_Teodora and Mercedes go to the right._]

TEODORA. [_Stopping suddenly._] But wherefore, since I am not guilty?
  Not only does miserable calumny stain us, but it degrades us. It is so
  steeped in evil, that, against all evidence, its very breath takes the
  bloom off our consciences. Why should an idle terror cast its mean
  influence over me? [_At this moment Don Julian appears on the
  threshold of the first door on the right hand side, and behind him
  stands Don Severo._]

TEODORA. Julian!

D. JULIAN. Teodora! [_She runs over to him, and he folds her in a
  passionate embrace._] Here in my arms, dearest. It is the home of your
  honour.


                               SCENE VII

_Teodora, Doña Mercedes, Don Julian, and Don Severo. Don Julian and Doña
  Mercedes form the centre group._

D. JULIAN. Let it pass for this once, but, please God! there's an end of
  it. Whoever in future shall stain this face with tears [_pointing to
  Teodora_], I swear, and mean it, will never again cross the threshold
  of my house—though he should be my own brother. [_Pause. Don Julian
  soothes and comforts Teodora._]

D. SEVERO. I only mentioned common report.

D. JULIAN. Infamous!

D. SEVERO. It may be so.

D. JULIAN. It is.

D. SEVERO. Well, let me tell you what every one says.

D. JULIAN. Filth! abominable lies.

D. SEVERO. Then repeating them——

D. JULIAN. 'Tis not the way to put an end to them.

                                                              [_Pause._]

  D. SEVERO. You are wrong.

D. JULIAN. Right—more than right. A fine thing it would be if I let you
  carry the mire of the street into my drawing-room!

D. SEVERO. But I will do so.

D. JULIAN. You shall not.

D. SEVERO. You bear my name.

D. JULIAN. Enough.

D. SEVERO. And your honour——

D. JULIAN. Remember that you are in my wife's presence.

                                                              [_Pause._]

D. SEVERO. [_In a low voice to Don Julian._] If our father saw you——

D. JULIAN. What do you mean, Severo?

MERCEDES. Hush! Here is Ernest.

TEODORA. [_Aside._] How dreadful! If he should know—— [_Teodora turns
  away her face, and holds her head bent. Don Julian looks at her
  questioningly._]


                               SCENE VIII

_Teodora, Doña Mercedes, Don Julian, Don Severo, Ernest and Pepito
grouped from left to right. On entering, Pepito stands on Don Julian's
side and Ernest walks over to Teodora._

ERNEST. [_Looking at Don Julian and Teodora. Aside._] He and she! It is
  no illusion. Can it be what I feared? what that fool told me.
  [_Referring to Pepito, who at that moment enters behind._] It was not
  his invention.

PEPITO. [_Staring strangely about._] My salutations to all, and good
  appetite—as it is dinner-time. Here are the tickets, Teodora. Don
  Julian——

TEODORA. Thanks, Pepito. [_Accepts them mechanically._]

ERNEST. [_To Don Julian in a low voice._] What's the matter with
  Teodora?

D. JULIAN. Nothing.

ERNEST. [_In same tone._] She is pale, and has been crying.

D. JULIAN. [_Angrily._] Don't busy yourself about my wife. [_Pause. Don
  Julian and Ernest exchange glances._]

ERNEST. [_Aside._] The wretches! They've completed their work.

PEPITO. [_In a low voice to his mother, pointing to Ernest._] He ought
  to have a strait-jacket. I quizzed him about Teodora. Poof! 'Pon my
  word, I thought he'd kill me.

ERNEST. [_Aloud, with resolution and sadness._] Don Julian, I have
  thought over your generous offer, and much as I've already abused your
  kindness, it goes sorely against me to refuse it now. But, sir, I feel
  that I ought to reject this post you offer me.

D. JULIAN. Why?

ERNEST. Because I am so fashioned,—a poet and a dreamer. My father, sir,
  trained me for no career. I want to travel; I am restless and liable
  to revolt. I am not capable of settling down like another. Like a new
  Columbus, I am bitten by the spirit of adventure. But we will appeal
  to Don Severo. He will decide if I am right.

D. SEVERO. You speak like the book of wisdom and like a man of sense. I
  have been thinking as you do for a long while.

D. JULIAN. Since when have you felt this itch for new worlds and travel?
  When did you make up your mind to leave us? And the means?—where are
  they?

D. SEVERO. He wants to go away—to some place more to his taste than
  here. To be just, Julian, the rest is your affair. Give him as much as
  he wants, too, for this is no time for economy.

ERNEST. [_To Don Severo._] I don't traffic with dishonour, nor receive
  alms. [_Pause._] Well, it must be so; and as our parting would be a
  sad one—for in this life, who knows? I may never come back, and may
  not see them again—it is better that we should shake hands now, here,
  Don Julian, and have it over. Thus we snap the tie, and you forgive my
  selfishness. [_Deeply moved._]

D. SEVERO. [_Aside._] How they stare at one another!

TEODORA. [_Aside._] What a noble fellow!

ERNEST. [_To Don Julian._] Why do you withhold your hand? It is our last
  adieu, Don Julian. [_Goes toward him with outstretched hands. Don
  Julian embraces him._]

D. JULIAN. No, lad. The question well considered, this is neither the
  first nor the last. It is the cordial embrace of two honourable men.
  You must not mention your mad project again.

D. SEVERO. Then he is not going away?

D. JULIAN. Never. I have not the habit of changing my mind or the plans
  I have matured because of a boy's caprice or a madman's folly. And I
  have still less intention of weakly subjecting my actions to the
  town's idle gossip.

D. SEVERO. Julian!

D. JULIAN. Enough. Dinner is served.

ERNEST. Father, I cannot——

D. JULIAN. But what if I believe you can? Or does my authority begin to
  bore you?

ERNEST. I beg you——

D. JULIAN. Come, dinner is ready. Give your arm to Teodora, and take her
  in.

ERNEST. [_Looking at her, but holding back._] To Teodora!

TEODORA. [_With a similar emotion._] Ernest!

D. JULIAN. Yes, as usual. [_There is a movement of uncertainty on both
  sides; finally Ernest approaches and Teodora takes his arm, but
  neither dares to look at the other, and both are abrupt and violently
  agitated._]

D. JULIAN. [_To Pepito._] And you! The deuce, why don't you offer your
  arm to your mother? My good brother Severo will take mine. So, quite a
  family party, and now let pleasure flow with the wine in our glasses.
  So there are gossips about? Well, let them chatter and scream. A
  farthing for all they can say. I shouldn't object to a glass house,
  that they might have the pleasure of staring in at Teodora and Ernest
  together, and learn how little I care for their spite and their
  calumnies. Each man to his fancy.

                          [_Enter servant in black suit and white tie._]

SERVANT. Dinner is served.

        [_The dining-room door opens and displays a well-appointed
          table._]

D. JULIAN. Let us look after our life, since it will be the affair of
  others to look after our death. Come. [_Invites the others to pass._]

TEODORA. Mercedes.

MERCEDES. Teodora.

TEODORA. I pray you, Mercedes.

    [_Doña Mercedes passes in with Pepito and takes her place at the
      table. Ernest and Teodora stand plunged in thought, Ernest looking
      anxiously at her._]

D. JULIAN. [_Aside._] He is looking at her, and there are tears in her
  eyes. [_Teodora, walking unsteadily and struggling with emotion,
  slowly follows the others inside._]

D. JULIAN. [_To Severo._] Are they talking together?

D. SEVERO. I don't know, but I think it very probable.

D. JULIAN. Why are they looking back at us? Both! Did you notice? I
  wonder why.

D. SEVERO. You see, you are growing reasonable at last!

D. JULIAN. No, I've caught your madness. Ah, how sure a thing is
  calumny! It pierces straight to the heart.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                 ACT II

_Scene represents a small room almost poorly furnished. Door at the end,
  on the right another door, and on the left a balcony. A book-case, a
  table, an arm-chair. On the table Don Julian's portrait in a frame,
  beside it an empty frame; both small and alike. On the table an
  unlighted lamp, the 'Divina Commedia,' open at the Francesca episode,
  and close to it a morsel of burnt paper. Papers scattered about, and
  the MS. of a play. A few chairs. Time, day._


                                SCENE I

            _Enter Don Julian. Don Severo and servant below._

D. SEVERO. Don Ernest is out?

SERVANT. Yes, sir. He went out early.

D. SEVERO. No matter. We'll wait. I suppose he will be in sooner or
  later.

SERVANT. I should think so. Nobody could be more punctual than he.

D. SEVERO. That will do.

SERVANT. Certainly, sir. If you want anything, you'll find me
  downstairs.       [_Exit servant._]


                                SCENE II

                       _Don Julian and Don Severo._

D. SEVERO. [_Looking round._] How modest!

D. JULIAN. Poor is a better word.

D. SEVERO. What a lodging! [_Opens the door and peeps in._] An alcove,
  this study, and an outer room—and that's all.

D. JULIAN. And thereby hangs the devil's own tale of human ingratitude,
  of bastard sentiment, of miserable passions, and of blackguard
  calumny. And whether you tell it quickly or at length, there's never
  an end to it.

D. SEVERO. It is the work of chance.

D. JULIAN. Not so, my dear fellow. It was the work of—well, I know whom.

D. SEVERO. Meaning me?

D. JULIAN. Yes, you as well. And before you the empty-pated idlers whom
  it behoved to busy themselves shamelessly about my honour and my
  wife's. And I, coward, mean, and jealous, I let the poor fellow go,
  despite my evidence of his upright nature. I responded to his nobler
  conduct by black ingratitude. Yes, ingratitude. You see my
  ostentatious wealth, the luxury of my surroundings and equipages, and
  the credit of my firm. Well, do you know where all that comes from?

D. SEVERO. I have quite forgotten.

D. JULIAN. Justly said,—forgotten! Such is the natural reward of every
  generous action, of every unusual impulse that prompts one man to
  help another quietly, without a flourish of trumpet or
  self-advertisement—just for friendship's or for honesty's sake.

D. SEVERO. You are unjust to yourself. To such an excess have you pushed
  gratitude, that you have almost sacrificed honour and fortune to it.
  What more could be expected—even of a saint? There's a limit to all
  things, good and evil. He is proud and obstinate, and, however much
  you may oppose him, 'tis none the less a fact that he's his own
  master. If he chooses to leave your palace in a fit of despair, for
  this shanty—'tis his right. I admit, my dear boy, that it's very
  sad—but then, who could have prevented it?

D. JULIAN. The world in general, if it would mind its own business
  instead of tearing and rending reputations by the movement of its
  tongue and the sign of its hand. What did it matter to the public if
  we, fulfilling a sacred duty, treated Ernest, I as a son, and Teodora
  as a brother? Is it reason enough to assume the worst, and trumpet
  scandal because a fine lad sits at my table, walks out with my wife,
  and has his seat in my opera-box? Is by chance impure love the sole
  supreme bond between man and woman in this world of clay? Is there no
  friendship, gratitude, sympathy, esteem, that youth and beauty should
  only meet in the mire? And even supposing that the conclusion of the
  fools was the right one, is it their business to avenge me? I have my
  own eyes to look after my own affairs, and to avenge my wrongs have I
  not courage, steel, and my own right hand?

D. SEVERO. Well, accepting that outsiders were wrong to talk, did you
  expect me, who am of your blood and bear your name, to hold my tongue?

D. JULIAN. By heavens, no! But you should have been more careful. You
  might have told me alone of this sorry business, and not have set
  flame to a conflagration under my very roof.

D. SEVERO. I erred through excess of affection, I admit. But while I
  confess that the world and I have done the mischief—it by inventing
  the situation, and I by weakly crediting, and by giving voice to the
  shabby innuendoes—you, Julian [_approaches him and speaks with tender
  interest_], have nothing to reproach yourself with. You have the
  consolation of having acted throughout as a gentleman.

D JULIAN. I cannot so easily console myself, while my heart gives
  shelter to that same story which my lips and my intelligence reject. I
  indignantly turn away from the world's calumny, and to myself I say:
  'What if it should be no lie: if perchance the world should be right?'
  So I stand in strife between two impulses, sometimes judge, sometimes
  accomplice. This inward battle wears me out, Severo. Doubt increases
  and expands, and my heart groans, while before my bloodshot vision
  stretches a reddened field.

D. SEVERO. Delirium!

D. JULIAN. No, 'tis not raving. You see, I bare myself to you as a
  brother. Think you Ernest would have left my house if I had firmly
  stood in his way and opposed his crossing the threshold? If so, why
  does a traitorous voice keep muttering in my disturbed consciousness:
  ‘’twere wise to leave the door open to his exit, and lock it well
  afterwards, for the confiding man is but a poor guardian of honour’s
  fortress.’ In my heart I wish what my lips deny. 'Come back, Ernest,'
  aloud, and to myself 'do not come back,' and while I show him a frank
  front, I am a hypocrite and a coward, watchful and worn with mistrust.
  No, Severo, this is not to act like an honest man. [_He drops into the
  arm-chair beside the table in deep dejection._]

D. SEVERO. It is how any husband would act who had a beautiful young
  wife to look after, especially one with a romantic temperament.

D. JULIAN. Don't speak so of Teodora. She is a mirror that our breath
  tarnishes by any imprudent effort to bring it to our level. It gave
  back the sun's pure light before the million vipers of the earth
  gathered to stare at it. To-day they crawl within the glass in its
  divine frame, but they are insubstantial shadows. My hand can wave
  them away, and once more you will see the clear blue of heaven.

D. SEVERO. All the better.

D. JULIAN. No, not so.

D. SEVERO. Then what the deuce do you want?

D. JULIAN. Oh, so much. I told you that this inward struggle of which I
  spoke is changing me to another man. Now my wife finds me always sad,
  always distant. I am not the man I was, and no effort will ever make
  me so again. Seeing me so changed, she must ask, 'Where is Julian?
  this is not my dear husband; what have I done to forfeit his
  confidence, and what shabby feeling causes this aloofness?' a shadow
  lies between us, ever deepening, and slowly, step by step, we move
  more apart. None of the old dear confidence, none of the old
  delightful talks; smiles frozen, tones embittered, in me through
  unjust resentment, in her through tearful grief,—I wounded in my love,
  and she, by my hand, wounded in her woman's dignity. There's how we
  stand.

D. SEVERO. Then you stand upon the verge of perdition. If you see your
  position so plainly, why don't you remedy it?

D. JULIAN. 'Tis of no use. I know I am unjust to doubt her, nay, worse
  still. I don't doubt her now. But who will say that, I losing little
  by little, and he gaining as steadily, the lie of to-day will not
  to-morrow be truth? [_He seizes Don Severo by the arm, and speaks with
  voluble earnestness and increasing bitterness._] I, jealous, sombre,
  unjust and hard, he noble and generous, resigned and inalterably
  sweet-natured, with that halo of martyrdom which, in the eyes of
  women, sits so becomingly on the brow of a brave and handsome youth.
  Is it not clear that his is the better part, and that my loss is his
  gain? while I can do nothing to alter the injustice of it. You see it,
  too? And if the ignoble talk of the town should compel those two to
  treason, though they may now truthfully assert: 'we are not lovers,'
  the force of repetition of the word may eventually drive them to the
  fact.

D. SEVERO. If that's how you feel about it, Julian, I think the safest
  thing would be to let Ernest carry out his project.

D. JULIAN. That I've come to prevent.

D. SEVERO. Then you are insane. He purposes to go to Buenos Ayres.
  Nothing could be better. Let him go—in a sailing vessel, fresh wind to
  his sail, and good speed.

D. JULIAN. Do you wish me to show myself so miserably ungrateful and
  jealous before Teodora? Don't you know, Severo, that a woman may
  despise a lover and love him still, but not so a husband? Contempt is
  his dishonour. You would not have my wife follow the unhappy exile
  across the ocean with sad regrets? And I, should I see the trace of a
  tear upon her cheek, the mere thought that it might be for Ernest
  would drive me to strangle her in my arms. [_Speaks with rancour and
  rage._]

D. SEVERO. What is it then you do want?

D. JULIAN. I must suffer. The care of unravelling the knot belongs to
  the world that conceived the drama solely by looking at us,—so fertile
  is its glance for good and ill.

D. SEVERO. [_Moving back._] I think somebody is coming.

SERVANT. [_From without, not seen on the stage._] Don Ernest cannot be
  much later.       [_Enter Pepito._]


                               SCENE III

                  _Don Julian, Don Severo, and Pepito._

D. SEVERO. You here?

PEPITO. [_Aside._] By Jove, I see they know all about it. [_Aloud._] We
  are all here. How do you do, uncle? How do, father? [_Aside._] Easy.
  They know what's in the wind. [_Aloud._] What brings you?—but I
  suppose you are looking for Ernest.

D. SEVERO. What else could bring us here?

D. JULIAN. I daresay you know what this madman is up to?

PEPITO. What he's up to! Well, yes—rather. I know as much as another.

D. SEVERO. And it's to-morrow?

PEPITO. No, to-morrow he is going away, so it must be to-day.

D. JULIAN. [_Surprised._] What do you say?

PEPITO. That's what Pepe Uceda told me last night at the club. He is
  Nebreda's second, so he ought to know. But why do you stare so oddly?
  Didn't you know——

D. JULIAN. [_Hastily covering his brother's movement._] Everything.

D. SEVERO. We——

D. JULIAN. [_Aside._] Hold your tongue, Severo.—He starts to-morrow, and
  to-day he stakes his life—and we are here, of course, to prevent both,
  the duel and the departure. [_Don Julian makes it evident that he is
  only sounding Pepito's knowledge of facts, and that he is only aware
  of the pending departure._]

D. SEVERO. What duel?

D. JULIAN. [_Aside to Severo._] I know nothing about it, but I shall
  presently.

PEPITO. [_Aside._] Come, I haven't been such a duffer after all.

D. JULIAN. [_Speaking with an air of certainty._] We know there is a
  viscount——

PEPITO. Yes.

D. JULIAN. With whom Ernest proposes to fight—a certain trustworthy
  person has informed us, who was at once apprised of it. They say 'tis
  a serious matter [_Pepito nods_], a disgraceful quarrel in the
  presence of several witnesses [_Pepito nods again_]—the lie direct,
  and a deluge of bad language——

PEPITO. [_Interrupts excitedly, glad of his more accurate information._]
  Language indeed!—a blow bigger than a monument.

D. SEVERO. On which side?

PEPITO. Ernest struck the viscount.

D. JULIAN. Of course Ernest struck the viscount. I thought you knew
  that, Severo. The viscount insulted him. Patience is not the lad's
  strong point—hence the blow.

PEPITO. Exactly.

D. JULIAN. [_Confidently._] I told you we knew the whole story. [_Then
  anxiously._] The affair is serious?

PEPITO. Most serious. I don't like discussing it, but since you know so
  much, there is no need for further mystery.

D. JULIAN. None whatever. [_He approaches Pepito eagerly._]

PEPITO. [_After a pause, adopts an ominous air to announce bad news._]
  It is a matter of life and death. [_Looks round triumphantly. Don
  Julian and Don Severo start._] The viscount is neither a chicken nor a
  skulk. He can handle a sword.

D. JULIAN. And the quarrel? What was it? Nebreda is supposed to be——

PEPITO. It was hardly a quarrel. I'll tell you the facts. [_Both men
  draw near eagerly._] Ernest, you know, means to leave Madrid
  to-morrow, and take passage in the _Cid_ lying in Cadiz. Luiz Alcaráz
  had promised him a letter of introduction, and the poor fellow went
  off to meet him at the _café_ and get it, with the best of intentions.
  Luiz wasn't there, so he waited. Some of the frequenters of Alcaráz's
  table, who did not know him, were in the full swing of glorious
  slander, and did not notice his clenched teeth. A name mentioned meant
  a reputation blasted. Broad-handed, ready-tongued, every living soul
  passed in their review. In this asylum of charity, in the midst of
  more smoke than an express train emits, between lifted glass and
  dropped cigarette ashes, with here and there a lump of sugar, the
  marble was converted for the nonce into a dissecting-table: each woman
  dishonoured, another glass of the old tap: a shout of laughter for
  each tippler's cut. In four clippings these lads left reputations
  ragged and the ladies rent to tatters. Yet what did it all come to?
  They but echoed society at a _café_-table. I don't say all this for
  myself, nor think it, but 'twas how Ernest spoke when he recounted the
  quarrel to me.

D. JULIAN. Well, make an end of it.

PEPITO. The end of it is, that between name and name, there was mention
  of one that Ernest could not endure. 'Who dares to ridicule an
  honourable man?' he shouts. Somebody retorts: 'a lady,' and names a
  woman. His head was instantly on fire, and he flings himself upon
  Nebreda. The poor viscount fell like a ninepin, and there you have an
  Agramante's camp. The day's business is now a duel—in a room
  somewhere—I don't know where.

D. JULIAN. [_Seizing his arms._] The man was I!

PEPITO. Sir?

D. JULIAN. And Teodora the woman? How have we fallen—she, myself, our
  love? [_Sits down and covers his face with both hands._]

SEVERO. What have you done, you blockhead!

PEPITO. Didn't he say he knew all about it? and I naturally believed
  him.

D. JULIAN. Dishonoured, dishonoured!

SEVERO. [_Approaching him._] Julian, my dear fellow.

D. JULIAN. It is true. I ought to be calm, I know. But what heart can I
  have when faith is gone? [_Seizes his brother's hand._] Just heaven!
  Why are we so disgraced? What reason have they to turn and throw mud
  at us? No matter. I know my duty as a gentleman. I can count on you,
  Severo?

SEVERO. On me? Till death, Julian. [_They shake hands cordially._]

JULIAN. [_To Pepito._] The duel?

PEPITO. For three o'clock.

JULIAN. [_Aside._] I'll kill him—yes, kill him. Come. [_To Severo._]

SEVERO. Whither?

D. JULIAN. To look for this viscount.

SEVERO. Do you mean——?

D. JULIAN. I mean to do what I ought and can to avenge myself and save
  Don Juan of Acedo's son. Who are the seconds? [_To Pepito._]

PEPITO. Alcaráz and Rueda.

D. JULIAN. I know them both. Let him stay here [_pointing to Pepito_],
  so that in the event of Ernest's return——

SEVERO. Of course.

D. JULIAN. [_To Pepito._] Without arousing his suspicion, find out where
  the duel takes place.

SEVERO. You hear.

D. JULIAN. [_To his brother._] Come.

SEVERO. What's the matter with you, Julian?

D. JULIAN. 'Tis a long while since I've felt so overjoyed. [_Catches
  Severo's arm feverishly._]

SEVERO. The deuce! overjoyed! You're beside yourself.

D. JULIAN. I shall meet that fellow.

SEVERO. Nebreda?

D. JULIAN. Yes. Observe, until to-day calumny was impalpable. There was
  no seizing its shape. I have now discovered it, and it has taken a
  human form. There it is at hand, in the person of a viscount.
  Swallowing blood and gall for the past three months—the devil!—and
  now—fancy, face to face—he and I!

                                   [_Exeunt Don Julian and Don Severo._]


                                SCENE IV

PEPITO. Well, here we are in a nice fix, and all for nothing! However,
  in spite of my uncle's belief, it was little short of madness to leave
  a resplendent creature under the same roof and in continual contact
  with a handsome fellow like Ernest, with a soul on fire, or given to
  romanticism. He swears there's nothing in it, and that his feeling for
  her is pure affection, that he loves her like a sister, and that my
  uncle is a father to him. But I am a sly fox, and, young as I am, I
  know a thing or two of this world. I've no faith in this sort of
  relations, when the brother is young and the sister is beautiful, and
  brotherhood between them a fiction. But suppose it were as he says,
  all square. What do outsiders know about that? Nobody is under any
  obligation to think the best of his fellows. The pair are seen
  everywhere together, and, seeing them, haven't their neighbours a
  right to talk? No, swears Ernest. _We hardly ever went out alone._
  Once, perhaps? That's enough. If a hundred persons saw them on that
  occasion, it is quite the same as if they had been seen in public a
  hundred times. Good Lord! How are you going to confront all the
  witnesses to prove whether it was once or often they chose to give an
  airing to this pure sympathy and brotherly love? 'Tis absurd—neither
  just nor reasonable. What we see we may mention—'tis no lie to say it.
  'I saw them once,' says one, 'and I,' another. One and one make two.
  'And I also'—that makes three. And then a fourth, and a fifth, and so,
  summing which, you soon enough reach infinity. We see because we look,
  and our senses are there to help us to pass the time, without any
  thought of our neighbour. He must look out for himself, and remember
  that, if he shuns the occasion, calumny and peril will shun him.
  [_Pause._] And take notice that I admit the purity of the affection,
  and this makes it so serious a matter. Now, in my opinion, the man who
  could be near Teodora, and not fall in love with her, must be a stone.
  He may be learned and philosophical, and know physics and mathematics,
  but he has a body like another, and she's there with a divine one,
  and, body of Bacchus! that's sufficient to found an accusation on. Ah!
  if these walls could speak. If Ernest's private thoughts, scattered
  here, could take tangible form! By Jove! what's this? An empty frame,
  and beside it Don Julian's likeness in its fellow. Teodora was there,
  the pendant of my respected uncle. Why has she disappeared? To avoid
  temptation? [_Sits down at the table._] If that's the reason—it's bad.
  And still worse if the portrait has left its frame for a more
  honourable place near his heart. Come forth, suspected imps that float
  about, and weave invisible meshes. Ruthlessly denounce this mystic
  philosopher. [_Looks about the table and sees the open Dante._] Here's
  another. I never come here but I find this divine book open on
  Ernest's table. The Divine Comedy! His favourite poem, and I note that
  he seems never to get beyond the Francesca page. I conceive two
  explanations of the fact. Either the fellow never reads it, or he
  never reads any other. But there's a stain, like a tear-drop. My
  faith! what mysteries and abysses! And what a difficult thing it is to
  be married and live tranquilly. A paper half burnt—[_picks it
  up_]—there's still a morsel left. [_Goes over to the balcony trying to
  read it. At this moment Ernest enters, and stands watching him._]


                                SCENE V

                           _Pepito and Ernest._

ERNEST. What are you looking at?

PEPITO. Hulloa! Ernest. Only a paper I caught on the wing. The wind blew
  it away.

ERNEST. [_Takes it and returns it after a short inspection._] I don't
  remember what it is.

PEPITO. Verses. You may remember [_reads with difficulty_] 'The flame
  that consumes me.' [_Aside._] _Devora_ rhymes with _Teodora_.

ERNEST. It is nothing important.

PEPITO. No, nothing. [_Throws away the paper._]

ERNEST. That worthless bit of paper is a symbol of our life—a few sobs
  of sorrow, and a little flake of ashes.

PEPITO. Then they were verses?

ERNEST. Yes. When I've nothing better to do, sometimes—my pen runs away
  with me—I write them at night.

PEPITO. And to prick enthusiasm, and get into harness, you seek
  inspiration in the master's book.

ERNEST. It would seem——

PEPITO. Say no more. 'Tis truly a gigantic work. The episode of
  Francesca. [_Pointing to the page._]

ERNEST. [_Ironically and impatiently._] You can't guess wrong to-day.

PEPITO. Not entirely, by Jove. Here, where the book is open, I find
  something I can't guess, and you must explain it to me. Reading a
  love-tale together to pass the time, we are told that Francesca and
  Paolo reached that part where the gallant author, proving himself no
  amateur in the business, sings the loves of Launcelot and Queen
  Guinevere. The match fell pat. The kiss in the book was repeated by
  the passionate youth on the girl's mouth. And at this point of the
  story, with rare skill and sublime truth, the Florentine poet tells us
  what happens. [_Points to the line._] But this is what I do not
  understand. _Galeoto was the book they were reading, and they read no
  more._ They stopped reading? That's easy enough to understand. But
  this Galeoto, tell me where he comes in, and who was he? You ought to
  know, since he has given his name to the play that is to make you
  famous. Let me see. [_Takes up the MS. and examines it._]

ERNEST. Galeoto was the go-between for the Queen and Launcelot and in
  all loves the _third_ may be truthfully nicknamed Galeoto, above all
  when we wish to suggest an ugly word without shocking an audience.

PEPITO. I see, but have we no Spanish word to express it?

ERNEST. We have one, quite suitable and expressive enough. 'Tis an
  office that converts desires into ducats, overcomes scruples, and is
  fed upon the affections. It has a name, but to use it would be putting
  a fetter upon myself, forcing myself to express what, after all, I
  would leave unsaid. [_Takes the MS. from Pepito and flings it upon the
  table._] Each especial case, I have remarked, has its own especial
  go-between. Sometimes it is the entire social mass that is Galeoto. It
  then unconsciously exercises the office under the influence of a vice
  of quite another aspect, but so dexterously does it work against
  honour and modesty that no greater Galeoto can ever be found. Let a
  man and woman live happily, in tranquil and earnest fulfilment of
  their separate duties. Nobody minds them, and they float along at
  ease. But God be praised, this is a state of things that does not last
  long in Madrid. One morning somebody takes the trouble to notice them,
  and from that moment, behold society engaged in the business, without
  aim or object, on the hunt for hidden frailty and impurity. Then it
  pronounces and judges, and there is no logic that can convince it, nor
  living man who can hope to persuade it, and the honestest has not a
  rag of honour left. And the terrible thing is, that while it begins in
  error it generally ends in truth. The atmosphere is so dense, misery
  so envelops the pair, such is the press and torrent of slander, that
  they unconsciously seek one another, unite lovelessly, drift toward
  their fall, and adore each other until death. The world was the
  stumbling-stone of virtue, and made clear the way for shame—was
  Galeoto and—[_aside_] stay! what mad thought inflames me!

PEPITO. [_Aside._] If that's the way he discourses to Teodora, heaven
  help poor Don Julian. [_Aloud._] I suppose last night's verses dealt
  with the subject.

ERNEST. Yes, they did.

PEPITO. How can you waste your time so coolly, and sit there so calm,
  doing nothing, when in another hour you will be measuring swords with
  Nebreda, who, for all his dandy's cane, is a man when put upon his
  mettle? Wouldn't it be saner and wiser to practise fencing instead of
  expounding questions of verse and rhyme? You look so mighty cool that
  I almost doubt if you regard your meeting with the viscount as
  serious.

ERNEST. No,—for a good reason. If I kill him, the world gains; if he
  kill me, I gain.

PEPITO. Well, that's good.

ERNEST. Don't say any more about it.

PEPITO. [_Aside._] Now I must warily find out. [_Approaches him and
  speaks in a low voice._] Is it for to-day?

ERNEST. Yes, to-day.

PEPITO. Outside the town?

ERNEST. No, there's no time for that. Besides, we wish to keep it quiet.

PEPITO. In a house, then?

ERNEST. So I proposed.

PEPITO. Where?

ERNEST. Upstairs. [_Speaks with cold indifference._] There's a room
  unlet upstairs, with a side window, through which nobody can look.
  Under the circumstances it's better than a field, and will be had for
  a handful of silver.

PEPITO. And now all you need——

ERNEST. The swords!

PEPITO. I hear voices outside. Somebody is coming—the seconds?

ERNEST. May be.

PEPITO. It sounds like a woman's voice. [_Approaches the door._]

ERNEST. [_Approaching also._] But who's keeping them?


                                SCENE VI

                      _Ernest, Pepito, and Servant._

SERVANT. [_Mysteriously._] Somebody wants to see you, sir.

ERNEST. Who?

SERVANT. A lady.

ERNEST. How extraordinary!

PEPITO. [_Aside to servant._] What does she want?

SERVANT. [_To Pepito._] She is crying.

PEPITO. [_Aloud._] Is she young?

SERVANT. Really, sir, I can't say. It's very dark outside, and the
  lady's face is so thickly veiled that the devil himself couldn't tell
  what she's like, and she speaks so low you can't even hear her.

ERNEST. Who can she be?

PEPITO. Who could want to see you?

ERNEST. I cannot think.

PEPITO. [_Aside._] This is startling. [_Takes up his hat and holds out
  his hand._] Well, I'll leave you in peace. Good-bye and good luck.
  [_To the servant._] What are you waiting for, you booby?

SERVANT. For orders to show the lady in.

PEPITO. In such a case 'tis your business to anticipate them. And
  afterwards, until the veiled one has departed, you mustn't let any one
  in unless the sky were falling.

SERVANT. Then I am to show her in?

ERNEST. Yes. [_To Pepito at the door._] Good-bye.

PEPITO. Good-bye, Ernest. [_Exeunt servant and Pepito._]

ERNEST. A lady? on what pretext? What does this mean? [_Enter Teodora,
  thickly veiled; she stands without approaching._] Ah, there she is!


                               SCENE VII

              _Teodora and Ernest, she behind not daring to
                     advance, he turned toward her._

ERNEST. You desire to speak to me, madam? Kindly be seated. [_Offers her
  a chair._]

TEODORA. [_Unveiling._] Forgive me, Ernest.

ERNEST. Teodora!

TEODORA. I am wrong to come—am I not?

ERNEST. [_Abruptly and stammering._] I can't say—since I don't know to
  what I owe this honour. But what am I saying? Alas! Here, in my rooms,
  madam, reverence attends you, than which you cannot find a greater
  [_with devotion_]. But what wrong can you possibly fear here, lady?

TEODORA. None—and there was a time—but that _once_ is for ever past. No
  thought of doubt or fear was then. I might have crossed any room on
  your arm without blush or fluttering pulse. But now! They tell me that
  you are starting for America to-morrow—and I—yes—like those who go
  away—perhaps not to return—it is so sad to lose a friend!—before
  Julian—before the whole world—thinking only of our affection—I myself,
  Ernest, would have held out my arms to you—in farewell.

ERNEST. [_Starts and quickly restrains himself._] Oh, Teodora!

TEODORA. But now I suppose it is not the same thing. There is a gulf
  between us.

ERNEST. You are right, madam. We may no longer care for one another, be
  no longer brother and sister. The mutual touch of palm would leave our
  hands unclean. 'Tis all for ever past. What we have now to learn is to
  hate one another.

TEODORA. [_In naïve consternation._] Hate! surely not!

ERNEST. Have I used that word—and to you! poor child!

TEODORA. Yes.

ERNEST. Don't heed me. If you needed my life, and the occasion offered
  itself, claim it, Teodora, for, to give my life for you would
  be——[_with passion_] it would be my duty. [_With a sudden change of
  voice. Pause._] Hate! if my lips pronounced the word, I was thinking
  of the misery,—I was thinking of the injury I have unwittingly wrought
  one to whom I owe so much. Yes, you, Teodora, must hate me—but I—ah,
  no!

TEODORA. [_Sadly._] They have made me shed tears enough; yes, you are
  right in that, Ernest [_with tenderness_], but you I do not accuse.
  Who could condemn or blame you for all this talk? You have nothing to
  do with the venomous solicitude with which evil minds honour us, nor
  with poor Julian's clouded temper. It is sorrow that makes him
  restive, and his suffering wounds me, for I know that it springs from
  doubt of my devotion.

ERNEST. That is what I cannot understand [_angrily_], and in him less
  than in another. It is what drives me wild: by the living God, I
  protest it is not worthy of pity, and there is no excuse for it. That
  the man should exist who could doubt a woman like you!

TEODORA. Poor fellow, he pays a heavy price for his savage distrust.

ERNEST. [_Horrified to find he has been blaming Don Julian to Teodora._]
  What have I said? I don't accuse him—no—I meant——[_He hastens to
  exculpate Don Julian and modify his former words._] Anybody might feel
  the same, that is, if he were very much in love. In our earthly
  egoism, don't we doubt the very God in heaven? And the owner of a
  treasure jealously watches it as gold, and cannot but fear for it. I,
  too, in his place, would be full of doubt,—yes—even of my own brother.
  [_Speaks with increasing fervour, and again restrains himself,
  perceiving that he is on the brink of a peril he would avoid. Teodora
  hears voices outside and rushes to the door._]

ERNEST. Whither are you leading me, rebel heart? What depth have I
  stirred? I accuse the world of calumny, and would now prove it right.

TEODORA. Do you hear? Somebody is coming.

ERNEST. [_Following her._] It is hardly two o'clock. Can it be——?

TEODORA. [_With terror._] It is Julian's voice.—He is coming in!

ERNEST. No, they have prevented him.

TEODORA. [_Turns to Ernest, still frightened._] If it were Julian?
  [_Moves towards the bedroom door. Ernest detains her respectfully._]

ERNEST. Should it be he, stay here. Loyalty is our shield. Were it one
  of those who distrust us—then there, Teodora. [_Points to the door._]
  Ah, nobody. [_Listening._]

TEODORA. How my heart throbs!

ERNEST. You need not be afraid. The person who wanted to come in has
  gone away—or it was an illusion. For God's sake, Teodora——! [_Advances
  up the stage._]

TEODORA. I had so much to say to you, Ernest, and the time has passed so
  quickly.

ERNEST. The time has flown.

TEODORA. I wanted——

ERNEST. Teodora, pray forgive me—but is it prudent? If any one came
  in—and, indeed, I fear some one will.

TEODORA. That is why I came—to prevent it.

ERNEST. So that——?

TEODORA. I know everything, and I am stricken with horror at the thought
  that blood should be shed on my account. My head is on fire, my heart
  is bursting. [_Strikes her breast._]

ERNEST. It is the affront that burns and shames you until my hand has
  struck at Nebreda's life. He wanted mud! Well, let him have it stained
  with blood.

TEODORA. You would kill him?

ERNEST. Certainly. [_Represses Teodora's movement of supplication._] You
  can dispose of me in all else but in this one thing. Do not ask me to
  feel compassion for a man whose insult I remember.

TEODORA. [_Prayerfully, with a sob._] For my sake!

ERNEST. For your sake?

TEODORA. It would be such a horrible scandal.

ERNEST. That is possible.

TEODORA. You can say it so coolly, and not endeavour to avoid it, not
  even when it is I who implore you!

ERNEST. I cannot avoid it, but I can chastise it: so I think and say,
  and this is my business. Others will look for the insult, I for the
  punishment.

TEODORA. [_Coming nearer and speaking softly, as if afraid of her own
  voice._] And Julian?

ERNEST. Well?

TEODORA. If he were to know about it?

ERNEST. He will know about it.

TEODORA. What will he say?

ERNEST. What?

TEODORA. That only my husband, the man who loves me, has a right to
  defend me.

ERNEST. Every honourable man has the right to defend a lady. He may not
  even know her, be neither a friend, nor a relative, nor a lover. It is
  enough for him to hear a woman insulted. Why do I fight this duel? Why
  do I defend her? Because I heard the calumny. Because I am myself. Who
  is so base as to give his protection by scale and measure? Was I not
  there? Then whoever it was—I or another—who was first on the scene——

TEODORA. [_Listens eagerly, dominated by him, and holds out her hand to
  him._] This is noble and honourable, and worthy of you, Ernest [_then
  restrains herself and moves backward_]. But it leaves Julian
  humiliated [_with conviction_].

ERNEST. He? humiliated!

TEODORA. Most surely.

ERNEST. Why?

TEODORA. For no reason whatever.

ERNEST. Who will say so?

TEODORA. Everybody.

ERNEST. But wherefore?

TEODORA. When the world hears of the affront, and learns that it was not
  my husband who avenged me, and above all [_drops her eyes ashamed_]
  that it was you who took his place—have we not then a new scandal
  topping the old?

ERNEST. [_Convinced but protests._] If one had always to think of what
  people will say, by Heaven there would be no manner or means of living
  then!

TEODORA. It is so, nevertheless.

ERNEST. Just so. 'Tis horrible.

TEODORA. Then yield.

ERNEST. Impossible.

TEODORA. I beseech you.

ERNEST. No. Looking into the matter, as nobody can know what will
  happen, it is better that I should face Nebreda. For, after all, if
  the fellow lack a sense of honour, he can use a sword.

TEODORA. [_Wounded and humiliated in the protection Ernest seems to
  offer Don Julian._] My husband is not lacking in courage.

ERNEST. Fatality again! Either I have expressed myself ill, or you do
  not understand me. I know his worth. But when a desperate injury lies
  between men of courage, who knows what may happen? which of them may
  fall, and which may kill? And if this man's sword must strike Don
  Julian or Ernest, can you doubt which it ought to be? [_Questions her
  with sad sincerity._]

TEODORA. [_In anguish_] You!—oh, no—not that either.

ERNEST. Why? If it is my fate? Nobody loses by my death, and I lose
  still less.

TEODORA. For Heaven's sake, do not say that. [_Barely able to repress
  her sobs._]

ERNEST. What do I leave behind me? Neither friendship nor strong love.
  What woman is there to follow my corpse shedding a lover's tears?

TEODORA. Last night I prayed for you—and you say that nobody——I could
  not bear you to die. [_Vehemently._]

ERNEST. Ah, we pray for any one; we only weep for one. [_With passion._]

TEODORA. [_Startled._] Ernest!

ERNEST. [_Terrified by his own words._] What!

TEODORA. [_Moving further away._] Nothing.

ERNEST. [_Also moving away and looking nervously down._] I told you a
  little while ago I was half mad. Do not heed me. [_Pause. Both remain
  silent and pensive, at some distance, not looking at each other._]

TEODORA. [_Starting and glancing anxiously down the stage._] Again!

ERNEST. [_Following her movement._] Somebody has come.

TEODORA. They are trying to get in.

ERNEST. [_Listening._] There can be no doubt of it. There, Teodora.
  [_Points to the bedroom door._]

TEODORA. My honour is my shield.

ERNEST. But it is not your husband.

TEODORA. Not Julian?

ERNEST. [_Leading her to the door._] No.

TEODORA. I hoped——[_Detains him with an air of supplication._] Will you
  give up this duel?

ERNEST. Give it up? When I've struck him!

TEODORA. I didn't know that. [_Despairingly, but understands that
  nothing can be done._] Then fly.

ERNEST. I fly!

TEODORA. For my sake, for his sake—for God's sake!

ERNEST. [_Despairingly._] You must loathe me to propose such a thing to
  me. Never!

TEODORA. One word only. Are they coming for you now?

ERNEST. It is not yet time.

TEODORA. Swear it to me.

ERNEST. Yes, Teodora. And you—say you don't hate me.

TEODORA. Never.

PEPITO. [_Outside._] Nothing. I must see him.

ERNEST. Quickly.

TEODORA. Yes. [_Hides in the bedroom._]

PEPITO. Why do you prevent me?

ERNEST. Ah, calumny is working to make the lie truth.


                               SCENE VIII

             _Ernest and Pepito, without his hat, exhibiting
                           strong excitement._

PEPITO. Go to the devil—I will go in—Ernest.

ERNEST. What has happened?

PEPITO. I hardly know how to tell you—yet I must——

ERNEST. Speak.

PEPITO. My head is in a whirl. Christ above, who would think——

ERNEST. Quickly. A clear account of what has happened.

PEPITO. What has happened? A great misfortune. Don Julian heard of the
  duel. He came here to look for you, and you were out. He went away to
  find the seconds, and marched them off to Nebreda's house.

ERNEST. Nebreda's! How?

PEPITO. The Lord send you sense. Don Julian's way, of course, who makes
  short work of convention and the will of others.

ERNEST. Go on——

PEPITO. [_Going to the door._] They're coming, I believe.

ERNEST. Who?

PEPITO. They—they're carrying Don Julian.

ERNEST. You terrify me. Explain at once. [_Catches his arm violently,
  and drags him forward._]

PEPITO. He compelled him to fight. There was no way out of it. The
  viscount cried: 'Very well, between us two.' It was settled it should
  take place here. Don Julian came upstairs. Your servant sent him away,
  protesting you were engaged with a lady, and swearing nobody could
  enter.

ERNEST. And then?

PEPITO. Don Julian went downstairs muttering 'better so. I have the
  day's work for myself.' And he, my father, Nebreda and the seconds
  came back together, and went upstairs.

ERNEST. They fought?

PEPITO. Furiously, as men fight when their intent is deadly, and their
  enemy's heart is within reach of the sword's point.

ERNEST. And Don Julian! No—it must be a lie.

PEPITO. Here they are.

ERNEST. Silence. Tell me who it is, but speak softly.

PEPITO. There. [_Enter Don Julian, Don Severo, and Rueda._ _The two men
  support Don Julian, who is badly wounded._]

ERNEST. Heaven preserve us!


                                SCENE IX

       _Ernest_, _Pepito_, _Don Julian_, _Don Severo_, _and Rueda_.

ERNEST. Don Julian! my friend, my father, my benefactor! [_Hurries
  excitedly toward him, and speaks brokenly._]

D. JULIAN. [_Weakly._] Ernest!

ERNEST. Oh, wretched I!

SEVERO. Quick, come away.

ERNEST. Father!

SEVERO. He is fainting with pain.

ERNEST. For my sake!

JULIAN. It is not so.

ERNEST. Through me—pardon! [_Takes Don Julian's hand and bends on one
  knee before him._]

JULIAN. No need to ask it, lad. You did your duty, and I did mine.

SEVERO. A couch. [_Loosens his hold of Don Julian, and Pepito takes his
  place._]

PEPITO. [_Pointing to the bedroom._] Let us carry him in there.

ERNEST. [_Shouting terribly._] Nebreda!

SEVERO. Let there be an end to folly. Is it your intention to kill him
  outright?

ERNEST. [_With frenzy._] Folly, oh, we'll see. I have two to avenge now.
  It is my right. [_Rushes down the stage._]

SEVERO. [_Moving to the right_.] We'll take him into your room and lay
  him on the bed. [_Ernest wheels round in terror._]

ERNEST. Where?

SEVERO. In here.

PEPITO. Yes.

ERNEST. No. [_Strides back, and stands before the door. The group are on
  the point of lifting Don Julian, desist, and stare at Ernest in
  indignant surprise._]

SEVERO. You forbid it?

PEPITO. Are you mad?

SEVERO. Back: can't you see he is dying?

D. JULIAN. What is it? He doesn't wish it? [_Raises himself and looks at
  Ernest in distrust and fear._]

REUDA. I don't understand it.

PEPITO. Nor I.

ERNEST. He is dying—and implores me—and doubts me—father!

SEVERO. Come, we must. [_Pushes open the door above Ernest's shoulder.
  Teodora is discovered._]

ERNEST. My God!

SEVERO and PEPITO. She!

REUDA. A woman!

TEODORA. [_Coming forward to her husband and embracing him._] Julian!

D. JULIAN. Who is it? [_Pushes her away to stare at her, drags himself
  to his feet with a violent effort, and shakes himself free of all
  aid._] Teodora! [_Falls lifeless to the ground._]

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                ACT III

_The same decoration as first act: an arm-chair instead of a sofa. It is
  night; a lighted lamp stands on the table._


                                SCENE I

          _Pepito listening at the door on the right, then comes
                   back into the middle of the stage._

PEPITO. The crisis is past at last. I hear nothing. Poor Don Julian!
  He's in a sad way. His life hangs in the balance: on one side death
  awaits him, and on the other another death, that of the soul, of
  honour—either abyss deeper than hopeless love. The devil! All this
  tragedy is making me more sentimental than that fellow with his plays
  and verses. The tune of disaster, scandal, death, treason, and
  disgrace, hums in my brain. By Jove, what a day, and what a night! and
  the worst is yet to come. Well, it certainly was madness to move him
  in his condition; but when once my uncle gets an idea into his head,
  there's no reasoning with him. And, after all, he was right. No
  honourable man, in his place, could have stayed, and he is a man of
  spirit. Who is coming? my mother, I believe—yes.       [_Enter Doña
  Mercedes._]


                                SCENE II

                       _Pepito and Doña Mercedes._

MERCEDES. Where's Severo?

PEPITO. He has not left my uncle for a moment. I had no idea he was so
  attached to him. If what I fear should happen——

MERCEDES. How is your uncle?

PEPITO. He suffers greatly, but says nothing. Sometimes he calls out
  'Teodora' in a low harsh voice, and sometimes 'Ernest'; and then he
  tugs violently at the sheets, and lies quiet again as a statue,
  staring vacantly into space. Now his brow is bathed in the cold sweat
  of death, and then fever seizes him. He sits up in bed, listens
  attentively, and shouts that _he_ and _she_ are waiting for him. He tries
  to jump out of bed to rush at them, and all my father's entreaties and
  commands barely suffice to restrain him or soothe him. There's no
  quieting him. Anger races hot through his veins, and thought is a
  flame. It is shocking, mother, to see the bitter way his lips
  contract, and how his fingers close in a vice, with head all wild, and
  pupils dilated as though they drank in with yearning and despair every
  shadow that floats around the chamber.

MERCEDES. How does your father bear it?

PEPITO. He groans and breathes of vengeance. He, too, mutters the names
  of Teodora and Ernest. I hope to God he will not meet either, for if
  he should, small chance there is of restraining his fury.

MERCEDES. Your father is a good man.

PEPITO. Yes, but with a temper——

MERCEDES. It is not easily aroused, however. But when he has cause——

PEPITO. With all due respect, he's then a very tiger.

MERCEDES. Only when provoked.

PEPITO. I don't know about other occasions, but this time he certainly
  has provocation enough. And Teodora?

MERCEDES. She is upstairs. She wanted to come down—and cried—like a
  Magdalen.

PEPITO. Already! Repentant or erring?

MERCEDES. Don't speak so. Unhappy girl, she is but a child.

PEPITO. Who, innocent and candid, sweet and pure and meek, kills Don
  Julian. So that, if I am to accept your word, and regard her as a
  child, and such is her work on the edge of infancy, we may pray God in
  his mercy to guard us from her when she shall have put on years.

MERCEDES. She is hardly to be blamed. The infamy lies with your fine
  friend—he of the dramas, the poet and dreamer. He it is who is the
  culprit.

PEPITO. I don't deny it.

MERCEDES. Where is he?

PEPITO. Where is he? At this moment racing about the streets and public
  places, flying from his conscience, and unable to get away from it.

MERCEDES. He has a conscience?

PEPITO. So it would seem.

MERCEDES. Oh, what a tragedy

PEPITO. A misfortune!

MERCEDES. Such a deception!

PEPITO. A cruel one.

MERCEDES. What shocking treason!

PEPITO. Unparalleled.

MERCEDES. Poor Julian!

PEPITO. Melancholy fate!       [_Enter servant._]


                               SCENE III

                  _Doña Mercedes, Pepito, and servant._

SERVANT. Don Ernest.

MERCEDES. He dares——

PEPITO. This is too much.

SERVANT. I thought——

PEPITO. You had no business to think anything.

SERVANT. He is only passing. There is a cab waiting, so——

PEPITO. What are we to do?

MERCEDES. Let him come in.       [_Exit servant._]

PEPITO. I'll give him his dismissal.

MERCEDES. Do it cleverly.


                                SCENE IV

_Doña Mercedes, Pepito, and Ernest. Doña Mercedes seated in the
  arm-chair, Pepito standing, and Ernest behind, whom neither salute nor
  look at._

ERNEST. [_Aside._] Hostile silence, anger, and contempt Through no fault
  of my own, I now appear to them a prodigy of evil and insolence, and
  they all despise me.

PEPITO. Listen to me, Ernest. [_Turns round to him and speaks in a hard
  voice._]

ERNEST. Well.

PEPITO. I have to tell you——

ERNEST. To go away, perhaps.

PEPITO. [_Changing his tone._] Good heavens! What a notion! I
  only—wanted to ask you—if it is true [_hunts for something to say_]
  that you afterwards—the viscount, you know?

ERNEST. [_Gloomily looking away._] Yes.

PEPITO. How did it happen?

ERNEST. I ran downstairs—half mad—I found them—we went upstairs
  again—locked the door. Two men—two witnesses—two swords—and
  afterwards—I hardly know what happened. Swords clashed—there was a
  cry—a thrust—blood spouted—an assassin stood—and a man lay stretched
  on the ground.

PEPITO. The devil! Sharp work. Did you hear, mother?

MERCEDES. More blood shed.

PEPITO. Nebreda deserved it.

ERNEST. [_Approaching her._] Mercedes, for pity's sake—one word—Don
  Julian? How is he? If you could know what my anguish is—my sorrow—what
  do they say?

MERCEDES. That the wound, since his removal, is mortal, and it would be
  worse for him if you went near the bed of suffering and death. Leave
  this house.

ERNEST. I must see him.

MERCEDES. Go, instantly.

ERNEST. I will not.

PEPITO. What insolence!

ERNEST. It is befitting. [_To Pepito._] Pardon me, madam [_turning
  respectfully to Mercedes_]; you see I am achieving the general opinion
  of me.

MERCEDES. For pity's sake, Ernest——

ERNEST. Listen, Mercedes. When a man such as I am is abused, and for no
  reason on earth treated as a blackguard, and finds himself snared,
  with crime thrust upon him, 'tis indeed a perilous case,—for others
  rather than for himself. I, in this fierce struggle with miserable
  fate, have lost honour, friendship and love, and have now nothing more
  to lose but the shabby shreds of an insipid and dreary existence. I
  have come here solely to know if there is any hope—only for that—and
  then—but you cannot deny me so slight a consolation? [_Pleading._] One
  word!

MERCEDES. Very well. They say—that he is better.

ERNEST. True? You are not deceiving me? You are sure—quite sure? Oh! you
  are merciful, you are kind. It is true, quite true! May God spare him!
  Not his death. Let him live and be happy once more; let him forgive me
  and embrace me once again! Only let me see him. [_Falls into the
  arm-chair beside the table sobbing, and covers his face with his
  hands. Pause._]

MERCEDES. If your father should hear—if he should come out. Courage,
  Ernest, be sensible. [_Doña Mercedes and Pepito endeavour to screen
  Ernest._]

PEPITO. These nervous creatures are terrible. They sob and kill in the
  same breath.

ERNEST. If you see me crying, while sobs shake my throat in an
  hysterical convulsion, and I seem as weak as a child, or a woman,
  believe me, it is not for myself, but for him—for her—for their lost
  happiness, for this indelible blot upon their name,—for the affront I
  am the cause of, in return for all their love and kindness. It is not
  my fault, but my utter misfortune. That is why I weep. My God, if I
  could wipe out this wretched past with tears, I would gladly weep away
  my blood to the last drop.

MERCEDES. Silence, I implore!

PEPITO. There, we will discuss tears and sorrows another time.

ERNEST. If everybody else is discussing them to-day, why should we too
  not speak of them? The whole town is astir and on tiptoe with
  excitement. It has swallowed up, devoured and blighted three
  reputations, three names, three persons, and floated them on the froth
  of laughter and a wave of degrading chatter down the straits of human
  misery, into the social abysm of shame, where for ever lie engulfed
  the conscience, and fame, and future of the unfortunates.

MERCEDES. Not so loud, Ernest.

ERNEST. Why? since the others are not murmurs, but voices, that thunder
  through the air? The tragic event is known all over the town, and each
  one has his own way of telling it. Wonderful! everything is known
  except the truth. 'Tis fatality. [_Doña Mercedes and Pepito exhibit
  keen interest in hearing the reports._] Some say that Don Julian
  discovered Teodora in my rooms, and that I attacked him in blind fury
  and killed him on the spot. Others—and these would seem to be my
  friends, since they raise me from the rank of vulgar assassin to the
  noble level of duellist—aver that we fought loyally like gentlemen.
  And there are others, again, who have the tale more accurately, and
  recount how Don Julian took my place in the arranged meeting with
  Nebreda—that I arrived late on the scene—either from design or fear,
  or because I was in the arms——but, no; it would burn my lips to give
  this version—the thought of it sets my brain on fire. Seek the basest,
  the vilest, that which most blackens—the filth of the mind, the mire
  of the soul, the dross of degraded consciences; cast it to the wind as
  it whistles along the streets upon bespattering tongues, and you will
  have the tale, and may see what reputation remains for an innocent
  woman and two honest men when the town takes to jabbering about them.

MERCEDES. It is sad, I admit; but perhaps public opinion is not
  altogether to blame.

PEPITO. Teodora did go to your rooms—she was there——

ERNEST. To prevent the duel with Nebreda.

PEPITO. Then why did she hide herself?

ERNEST. Because we feared her presence would be misconstrued.

PEPITO. The explanation is easy and simple. The difficult thing, Ernest,
  is to get us to believe it, for there is another still more easy and
  simple.

ERNEST. Which dishonours more, and that's the beauty of it.

PEPITO. Well, at least, admit that Teodora was giddy, if not really
  culpable.

ERNEST. Guilt is prudent and cautious. On the other hand, how imprudent
  is innocence!

PEPITO. Look here, if your rule holds good for everybody, the worst of
  us is an angel or a saint.

ERNEST. You are right. What does it matter? What is the weight or value
  of such calumny? The worst of it is that thought is degraded by mean
  contact with a mean idea. From force of dwelling upon a crime, the
  conscience becomes familiar with it. It shows itself terrible and
  repellent—_but it shows itself_—at night, in dark solitude!
  Yes—[_aside_] but what! why are they listening to me so strangely,
  almost in suspense? [_Aloud_] I am myself; my name is an honourable
  one. If I killed Nebreda solely because of a lie, what would I not do
  to myself if guilt threatened to give the truth to calumny?

PEPITO. [_Aside to Mercedes._] He denied it! Why, it is as clear as
  daylight.

MERCEDES. [_Aside to Pepito._] He's wandering.

PEPITO. 'Tis only his confession he's making.

MERCEDES. [_Aloud._] That will do, Ernest. Go, now.

ERNEST. Impossible, madam. I should go mad if I had to spend to-night
  away from this sick-room—out of my mind.

MERCEDES. But if Severo came and found you?

ERNEST. What do I care? He is a loyal gentleman. Better still, let him
  come. We fly from fear, and only the guilty are afraid. Nothing will
  make me run away, or acknowledge fear.

PEPITO. [_Listening._] Somebody is coming.

MERCEDES. Is it he?

PEPITO. [_Going down the stage._] No, 'tis Teodora.

ERNEST. Teodora! Teodora! I want to see her.

MERCEDES. [_Sternly._] Ernest!

ERNEST. Yes, I must ask her to forgive me.

MERCEDES. You don't remember——

ERNEST. I remember everything and understand. We two together! Ah, no.
  Enough. You need not fear. For her would I shed my blood, lay down my
  life, sacrifice my future, honour—all! But see her? never. 'Tis no
  longer possible. The mist of blood has risen between us. [_Goes out on
  the left._]


                                SCENE V.

                       _Doña Mercedes and Pepito._

MERCEDES. Leave me alone with her. Go inside to your father. I want to
  see into her heart, and shall be able to probe its depths with my
  tongue.

MERCEDES. Good-bye.

PEPITO. Good-bye. [_Goes out on the right._]

MERCEDES. Now to put my plan into work.


                                SCENE VI

_Teodora and Doña Mercedes. Teodora enters timidly, and stands near Don
  Julian's door on the right, listening anxiously, and muffling her sobs
  with her handkerchief._

MERCEDES. Teodora.

TEODORA. It is you. [_Advances to her._]

MERCEDES. Courage! what good does crying do?

TEODORA. How is he? how is he? the truth!

MERCEDES. Much better.

TEODORA. Will he recover?

MERCEDES. I think so.

TEODORA. My God! My life for his.

MERCEDES. [_Draws her affectionately forward._] And then—I have faith in
  your good sense. I can measure your remorse by your tears and anxiety.

TEODORA. Yes [_Doña Mercedes sits down with a satisfied air_], I did
  wrong, I know, in going to see him [_Doña Mercedes looks disappointed
  the confession is no worse_], but last night you told me about the
  outrage and the duel. I was grateful to you for doing so, although I
  did not then suspect the harm you did me, nor could I now explain it
  to you. Oh, what a night! [_Crosses her hands and glances upward._] I
  have cried and raved, thinking of Julian's plight, of the scandal, of
  the violent quarrel and the bloodshed. Everything passed before my
  eyes—and then—poor Ernest dying, perhaps, for my sake! But why do you
  look at me so strangely? there can be no harm in it, surely! Or are
  you unconvinced, and do you think as the rest do?

MERCEDES. [_drily._] I think your fear for that fellow's life altogether
  superfluous.

TEODORA. Why? with so skilled an antagonist! You have seen it—Julian——

MERCEDES. Julian has been avenged. The man who killed him no longer
  lives, so that you have been wasting your fears and your tears. [_With
  deliberate hardness._]

TEODORA. [_Eagerly._] It was Ernest——

MERCEDES. Yes, Ernest.

TEODORA. He met the viscount?

MERCEDES. Face to face.

TEODORA. [_Unable to restrain herself._] How noble and brave!

MERCEDES. Teodora!

TEODORA. What do you mean? Tell me.

MERCEDES. [_Sternly._] I can read your thought.

TEODORA. My thought!

MERCEDES. Yes.

TEODORA. Which?

MERCEDES. You know very well.

TEODORA. Have I no right to be glad because Julian is avenged? Is that
  an impulse I could be expected to repress?

MERCEDES. That was not your feeling.

TEODORA. You know so much more about it than I do!

MERCEDES. [_Pointedly._] Believe me, admiration is not far from love.

TEODORA. What do I admire?

MERCEDES. This youth's courage.

TEODORA. His nobility.

MERCEDES. Quite so, but that's the beginning.

TEODORA. What folly!

MERCEDES. It _is_ folly—but on your side.

TEODORA. You persist! Ever this accursed idea!—while it is with immense,
  with infinite pity that I am filled.

MERCEDES. For whom?

TEODORA. For whom else but Julian?

MERCEDES. Have you never learnt, Teodora, that in a woman's heart pity
  and forgetfulness may mean one and the same thing?

TEODORA. I beseech you—Mercedes—silence!

MERCEDES. I wish to let light in upon the state of your mind,—to turn
  upon it the lamp of truth, lit by my experience.

TEODORA. I hear you, but while I listen, it seems no longer a sister, a
  friend, a mother that speaks to me, so hateful are your words. Your
  lips seem to speak at inspiration of the devil's prompting. Why should
  you strive to convince me that little by little I am ceasing to love
  my husband, and that more and more I am imbued with an impure
  tenderness, with a feeling that burns and stains? I who love Julian as
  dearly as ever, who would give the last drop of blood in my body for a
  single breath of life for him—for him, from whom I am now
  separated—[_points to his room_]—why, I should like to go in there
  this moment, if your husband did not bar my way, and press Julian once
  more in my arms. I would so inundate him with my tears, and so close
  him round with the passion of my love, that its warmth would melt his
  doubts, and his soul would respond to the fervour of mine. But it is
  not because I adore my husband that I am bound to abhor the faithful
  and generous friend who so nobly risked his life for me. And if I
  don't hate him, is that a reason to conclude that I love him? The
  world can think such things. I hear such strange stories, and such sad
  events have happened, and calumny has so embittered me, that I find
  myself wondering if public opinion can be true,—in doubt of myself.
  Can it be that I really am the victim of a hideous passion,
  unconsciously influenced by it? and in some sad and weak moment shall
  I yield to the senses, and be subjugated by this tyrannous fire?

MERCEDES. You are speaking the truth?

TEODORA. Can you doubt it?

MERCEDES. You really do not love him?

TEODORA. Mercedes, what words have I that will convince you? At another
  time, such a question would drive the blood of anger to my brow, and
  to-day, you see, I am discussing with you whether I am honest or not.
  Yes, am I really so? To the depth of the soul? No, for endurance of
  this humiliation proves me worthy of it. [_Hides her face in her hands
  and flings herself down in the arm-chair._]

MERCEDES. Do not cry so, Teodora. I believe in you. Enough. No more
  tears. Let me but add one more word, and there's an end to the matter.
  Ernest is not what you believe him to be. He is not worthy of your
  trust.

TEODORA. He is good, Mercedes.

MERCEDES. No.

TEODORA. He is fond of Julian.

MERCEDES. He would betray him.

TEODORA. Again! My God!

MERCEDES. I no longer accuse you of responding to his passion, but I
  only assert—I would warn you that _he loves you_.

TEODORA. [_Rising in anger._] Loves me!

MERCEDES. It is known to everybody. In this very room, a moment ago,
  before Pepito and me—you understand?

TEODORA. No, explain at once—what?

MERCEDES. He openly confessed it. He made a violent declaration, swore
  that he was ready to sacrifice life, honour, soul and conscience for
  you. And when you came, he wanted to see you. He only yielded to the
  force of my entreaties and went away. I tremble lest he should meet
  Severo and their encounter lead to an explosion. And you—what have you
  to say now?

TEODORA. [_Who has listened to Mercedes intently, held in an indefinable
  gloomy terror._] Heavens above! Can it be true? and I who felt—who
  professed so sincere an affection for him!

MERCEDES. There, you are on the point of crying again.

TEODORA. The heart has no tears for the manifold deceptions of this
  miserable life. A lad so pure and finely natured,—and to see him now
  so debased and spotted! And you say that he actually uttered those
  words here—he!—Ernest. Oh, oh, Mercedes! send him away from this
  house.

MERCEDES. Ah, that is what I wanted. Your energy consoles me. [_With
  evidence of honest satisfaction._] Pardon me—now I fully believe you.
  [_Embraces her._]

TEODORA. And before? No? [_The actress must strongly accentuate this
  line._]

MERCEDES. Hush! He is coming back.

TEODORA. [_Impetuously._] I will not see him. Tell him so. Julian
  expects me. [_Goes to the right._]

MERCEDES. [_Detaining her._] Impossible! You must know it. He will not
  heed my orders, and now that I understand so fully how you feel for
  him, I should be glad to have him suffer at your hands the contempt he
  has already endured at mine.

TEODORA. Then leave me.       [_Enter Ernest._]

ERNEST. Teodora!

MERCEDES. [_Aside to Teodora._] It is late, do your duty quickly.
  [_Aloud to Ernest._] The command you heard a little while ago from me,
  you will receive again from Teodora's lips, and she is the mistress of
  this house.

TEODORA. [_In a low voice to Mercedes._] Don't go away.

MERCEDES. [_To Teodora._] Are you afraid?

TEODORA. I afraid! I am afraid of nothing. [_Makes a sign for her to go.
  Exit Doña Mercedes on the right._]


                               SCENE VII

                          _Teodora and Ernest._

ERNEST. The command was—that I should go away. [_Pause. Both remain
  silent without looking at each other._] And you? Are you going to
  repeat it? [_Teodora nods, but still does not look at him._] Have no
  fear, Teodora. I will respect and obey your order. [_Submissively._]
  The others could not get me to obey them, little as they may like to
  hear it [_harshly_], but nothing you could say, even though you wound
  me—From you I will endure anything! [_Sadly._]

TEODORA. I wound you! No, Ernest, you cannot believe that—— [_Still does
  not look at him, is half vexed and afraid._]

ERNEST. I do not believe it. [_Pause._]

TEODORA. Adieu. I wish you all happiness.

ERNEST. Adieu, Teodora. [_Remains waiting for a moment to see if she
  will turn and offer him her hand. Then walks down the stage, turns
  back again, and approaches her. Teodora shows that she feels his
  movement, and is distressed, but continues to keep her face averted._]
  If with my death at this very instant I could blot out all the misery
  that lies to my account, not through any fault of mine, but through an
  implacable fate, I should not now be standing here alive. You may
  believe it on the word of an honourable man. No shadow of the past
  would remain,—neither sighs nor pain to remember, nor that sorrowful
  pallor of your face [_Teodora starts and glances at him in terror_],
  nor the grieved fear of those eyes, nor sobs that tear the throat, nor
  tears that line the cheek. [_Teodora sobs._]

TEODORA. [_Aside, moving further away._] Mercedes was right, and I,
  blind and thoughtless that I was——

ERNEST. Bid me good-bye—once—for kindness's sake.

TEODORA. Good-bye! Yes; and I forgive you all the injury you have done
  us.

ERNEST. I, Teodora!

TEODORA. Yes, you.

ERNEST. What a look! What a tone!

TEODORA. No more, Ernest, I beseech you.

ERNEST. What have I done to deserve——?

TEODORA. It is all over between us. Regard me as one who no longer
  exists for you.

ERNEST. Is this contempt?

TEODORA. Go.

ERNEST. Go? in this way?

TEODORA. My husband is dying in there—and here I feel as if I too were
  dying. [_Staggers back and clutches the arm-chair to keep from
  falling._]

ERNEST. Teodora. [_Rushes forward to support her._]

TEODORA. [_Angrily drawing herself away._] Don't touch me. [_Pause._]
  Ah, I breathe again more freely. [_Tries to walk, staggers again
  weakly, and a second time Ernest offers to assist her. She repulses
  him._]

ERNEST. Why not, Teodora?

TEODORA. Your touch would soil me.

ERNEST. I soil you!

TEODORA. Exactly.

ERNEST. I! [_Pause._] What does she mean, Almighty God! She also! Oh, it
  is not possible! Oh, death is preferable to this—It cannot be true—I
  am raving—Say it is not true, Teodora—only one word—for justice—one
  word of pardon, of pity, of consolation, madam. I am resigned to go
  away, never to see you again, although 'twere to break, and mutilate,
  and destroy my life. But it will, at least, be bearable if I may carry
  into solitude your forgiveness, your affection, your esteem—only your
  pity, then. So that I still may think you believe me loyal and
  upright—that I could not, that I have not degraded you, much less be
  capable of insulting you. I care nothing about the world, and despise
  its affronts. Its passions inspire me with the profoundest disdain.
  Whether its mood be harsh or cruel, however it may talk of me and of
  what has happened, it will never think so ill of me as I do of it. But
  you, the purest dream of man's imagining—you for whom I would gladly
  give,—not only my life, but my right to heaven, ay, a thousand
  times—eagerly, joyously,—You, to suspect me of treason, of hypocrisy!
  Oh, this, Teodora—I cannot bear! [_Deeply moved, speaks
  despairingly._]

TEODORA. [_With increasing nervousness._] You have not understood me,
  Ernest. We must part.

ERNEST. But not like this!

TEODORA. Quickly, for mercy's sake. Julian suffers. [_Points to the
  sick-room._]

ERNEST. I know it.

TEODORA. Then we should not forget it.

ERNEST. No; but I also suffer.

TEODORA. You, Ernest! why?

ERNEST. Through your contempt.

TEODORA. I feel none.

ERNEST. You have expressed it

TEODORA. It was a lie.

ERNEST. No; not entirely. So that our sufferings are not equal. In this
  implacable strife _he_ suffers as those on earth suffer, _I_ as those
  in hell.

TEODORA. Spare me, Ernest—my head is on fire.

ERNEST. And my heart aches.

TEODORA. That will do, Ernest. I entreat you to pity me.

ERNEST. That was all I asked of you.

TEODORA. Mercy.

ERNEST. Yes, mercy. But why should you claim it? What is it you fear? of
  what are you thinking? [_Approaches her._]

TEODORA. Forgive me if I have offended you.

ERNEST. Offended me, no! The truth, that is what I crave,—and I implore
  it on my knees. See, Teodora, my eyes are wet. [_Bends his knee before
  her and takes her hand. Don Julian's door opens, and Don Severo stands
  staring at them._]

D. SEVERO. [_Aside._] Miserable pair!

TEODORA. Don Severo!


                               SCENE VIII

_Teodora, Ernest, and Don Severo. Ernest stands apart on the right. Don
  Severo places himself between him and Teodora._

D. SEVERO. [_In a low voice of concentrated anger, so that Don Julian
  may not hear._] I can find no word or epithet adequate to the passion
  of contempt I would express, so I must be content to call you a
  blackguard. Leave this house at once.

ERNEST. [_Also in a low voice._] My respect for Teodora, for this house,
  and for the sick man lying in yonder room, sir, compels me to put my
  retort—in silence.

D. SEVERO. [_Ironically, under the impression that Ernest is going._]
  It's the best thing you can do—obey and hold your tongue.

ERNEST. You have not understood me. I do not intend to obey.

SEVERO. You remain?

ERNEST. Until Teodora commands me to go. I was on the point of going
  away for ever a moment ago, but the Almighty or the devil deterred me.
  Now you come and order me out, and as if your insult were an infernal
  message, it roots my heels to the floor in revolt.

SEVERO. We'll see that. There are servants to kick you out, and sticks
  if necessary.

ERNEST. Try it. [_Approaches Don Severo with a threatening air. Teodora
  rushes between them._]

TEODORA. Ernest! [_Turns commandingly to Don Severo._] You seem to
  forget that this is my house as long as my husband lives and is its
  owner. Only one of us two has the right to command here. [_Softens to
  Ernest._] Not for him—but for my sake, because I am unhappy——

ERNEST. [_Unable to contain his joy at hearing himself defended by
  Teodora._] You wish it, Teodora?

TEODORA. I beg it. [_Ernest bows and turns away._]

SEVERO. Your audacity confounds and shocks me as much—no, far more, than
  his. [_Strides menacingly towards her. Ernest turns swiftly round,
  then makes a strong effort to control himself and moves away again._]
  You dare to raise your head, wretched woman, and before me too! Shame
  on you! [_Ernest repeats previous movements and gestures, but this
  time more accentuated._] You, so fearful and cowardly, where have you
  found courage to display this energy in his defence? How eloquent is
  passion! [_Ernest stands, looking back._] But you forget that, before
  pitching him out, I had the authority to forbid the door of this house
  to you, who have stained its threshold with Julian's blood. Why have
  you returned? [_Seizes her brutally and drags her roughly toward
  himself._]

ERNEST. No, I can't stand this—I cannot! [_He thrusts himself between
  Severo and Teodora._] Off, you scoundrel.

SEVERO. Again!

ERNEST. Again.

SEVERO. You have dared to return?

ERNEST. You insolently affront Teodora. I still live. What do you expect
  me to do, if not return and chastise you, and brand you as a coward?

SEVERO. Me?

ERNEST. Precisely.

TEODORA. No!

ERNEST. He has brought it on himself. I have seen him lift his hand in
  anger to you—you, you! So now—— [_Seizes Don Severo violently._]

SEVERO. You impudent puppy!

ERNEST. True, but I'll not release you. You loved and respected your
  mother, I presume. For that reason you must respect Teodora, and
  humbly bow before a sorrow so immense as hers. This woman, sir, is
  purer, more honest than the mother of such a man as you.

SEVERO. This to me?

ERNEST. Yes, and I have not yet done.

SEVERO. Your life——

ERNEST. Oh, my life, as much as you like—but afterwards. [_Teodora
  endeavours to part them, but he pushes her gently away, without
  releasing Don Severo._] You believe in a God—in a Maker—in hope. Well,
  then, as you bend your knee before the altar of that God above, so
  will I compel you to kneel to Teodora,—and that instantly, sir.
  Down—in the dust.

TEODORA. For mercy's sake——

ERNEST. To the ground! [_Forces Don Severo to kneel._]

TEODORA. Enough, Ernest.

SEVERO. A thousand thunders.

ERNEST. At her feet!

SEVERO. You!

ERNEST. Yes, I.

SEVERO. For her?

ERNEST. For her.

TEODORA. That will do. Hush! [_She points in terror to Don Julian's
  door. Ernest releases Don Severo, who rises and moves backward.
  Teodora retreats and forms with Ernest a group in the background._]


                                SCENE IX

           _Teodora, Ernest, Don Severo. Afterwards Don Julian
                           and Doña Mercedes._

D. JULIAN. [_Inside._] Let me go.

MERCEDES. [_Inside._] No. You must not.

D. JULIAN. It is they. Don't you hear them?

TEODORA. [_To Ernest._] Go.

SEVERO. [_To Ernest._] Avenged!

ERNEST. I don't deny it. [_Enter Don Julian, pale and dying, leaning on
  Doña Mercedes' arm. Don Severo stations himself on the right, Ernest
  and Teodora remain in the background._]

D. JULIAN. Together! Where are they going? Who detains them here? Away
  with you, traitors. [_Wants to rush at them, but strength fails him,
  and he staggers back._]

SEVERO. [_Hurrying to his assistance._] No, no.

D. JULIAN. Severo, they deceived me—they lied to me—the miserable pair!
  [_While he speaks Don Severo and Doña Mercedes lead him to the
  arm-chair._] There, look at them—both—she and Ernest! Why are they
  together?

TEODORA AND ERNEST. [_Separating._] No.

D. JULIAN. Why don't they come to me? Teodora!

TEODORA. [_Stretches out her arms but does not advance._] Julian!

D. JULIAN. Here in my arms. [_Teodora runs forward and flings herself
  into Don Julian's arms, who clasps her feverishly. Pause._] You
  see—you see—[_to Don Severo_] I know well enough they are deceiving
  me. I hold her thus in my arms. I crush and subdue her—I might kill
  her—so! and 'tis only what she deserves. But I look at her—_I look at
  her_—and then I cannot!

TEODORA. Julian——

D. JULIAN. [_Pointing to Ernest._] And that fellow?

ERNEST. Sir!

D. JULIAN. I loved him! Silence, and come hither. [_Ernest approaches._]
  You see, I am still her owner. [_He holds Teodora more tightly
  clasped._]

TEODORA. Yes,—I am yours.

D. JULIAN. Drop pretence. Don't lie.

MERCEDES. [_Striving to soothe him._] For pity's sake——

D. SEVERO. Julian!

D. JULIAN. [_To both._] Peace. [_To Teodora._] I see through you. I know
  well that you love him. [_Teodora and Ernest try to protest, but he
  will not let them._] All Madrid knows it too—all Madrid.

ERNEST. No, father.

TEODORA. No.

D. JULIAN. They deny it—they deny it! Why, it is as clear as noonday.
  Why, I feel it in every fibre,—by the beat of fevered pulse, by the
  consuming flame of inward illumination!

ERNEST. It is the fever of your blood and the delirium of bodily
  weakness that feed the delusion. Listen to me, sir——

D. JULIAN. To hear how well you can lie?

ERNEST. [_Pointing to Teodora._] She is innocent.

D. JULIAN. But I do not believe you.

ERNEST. Sir, by my father's memory——

D. JULIAN. Don't insult his name and memory.

ERNEST. By my mother's last kiss——

D. JULIAN. That kiss has long since been wiped from your brow.

ERNEST. What then do you want, father? I will swear by anything you
  wish. Oh, my father!

D. JULIAN. No oaths, or protests, or deceitful words.

ERNEST. Then what? Only tell me.

TEODORA. Yes, what, Julian?

D. JULIAN. Deeds.

ERNEST. What does he wish, Teodora? What does he ask of us?

TEODORA. I don't know. Oh, what are we to do, Ernest?

D. JULIAN. [_Watching them in feverish distrust._] Ah, you would even
  deceive me to my face! You are plotting together, wretched traitors! I
  see it.

ERNEST. It is fever that misleads you—not the testimony of your eyes.

D. JULIAN. Fever, yes. And since fever is fire, it has burnt away the
  bandage with which before you two had blinded me, and at last I see
  you for what you are. And now!—but why these glances at one another?
  Why, traitors? Why do your eyes gleam so? Tell me, Ernest. There are
  no tears in them to make them shine. Come nearer—nearer to me. [_Draws
  Ernest to him, bends his head, and then succeeds in thrusting him upon
  his knees. Thus Teodora is on one side of Don Julian and Ernest at his
  feet. Don Julian passes his hand across the young man's eyes._] You
  see—no tears—they are quite dry.

ERNEST. Forgive me, forgive me!

D. JULIAN. You ask my forgiveness? Then you acknowledge your sin?

ERNEST. No.

D. JULIAN. Yes.

ERNEST. I say it is not so.

D. JULIAN. Then here before me, look at her.

D. SEVERO. Julian!

MERCEDES. Sir!

D. JULIAN. [_To Teodora and Ernest._] Perhaps you are afraid? So it is
  not like a brother that you cherish her? If so, prove it. Let me see
  what sort of light shines in your eyes as they meet—whether, to my
  close inspection, the rays dart passion's flame, or mild affection.
  Come here, Teodora. Both—so—still nearer. [_Drags Teodora until she
  stumbles, so that both faces are compelled towards each other._]

TEODORA. [_Frees herself with a violent effort._] Oh, no.

ERNEST. [_Also strives to free himself, but is held in Don Julian's
  grasp._] I cannot.

D. JULIAN. You love one another—you can't deny it, for I've seen it.
  [_To Ernest._] Your life!

ERNEST. Yes.

D. JULIAN. Your blood!

ERNEST. All.

D. JULIAN. [_Forcing him to his knees._] Stay still.

TEODORA. Julian!

D. JULIAN. Ah, you defend him, you defend him.

TEODORA. Not for his sake.

D. SEVERO. In God's name——

D. JULIAN. [_To Severo._] Silence. [_Still holds Ernest down._] Bad
  friend, bad son!

ERNEST. My father.

D. JULIAN. Disloyal! Traitor!

ERNEST. No, father.

D. JULIAN. Here is my shameful seal upon your cheek—To-day with my
  hand—soon with steel—so! [_With a supreme effort strikes Ernest.
  Ernest jumps up with a terrible cry, and turns away, covering his
  face._]

ERNEST. Oh!

D. SEVERO. [_Stretches out his hand to Ernest._] Justice.

TEODORA. My God! [_Hides her face in both hands, and drops on a chair._]

MERCEDES. [_Turning to Ernest to exculpate Don Julian._] It was only
  delirium.

  [_These four exclamations very hurried. A moment of stupor. Don Julian
  stands still staring at Ernest, and Doña Mercedes and Don Severo
  endeavour to calm him._]

D. JULIAN. It was not delirium, it was chastisement, Heaven be praised.
  What did you think, ungrateful boy?

MERCEDES. That will do.

D. SEVERO. Come, Julian.

D. JULIAN Yes, I am going. [_Is led away with difficulty between Don
  Severo and Dona Mercedes, and stops to look back at Teodora and
  Ernest._]

MERCEDES. Quickly, Severo.

D. JULIAN. Look at them, the traitors! It was only justice—was it not?
  Say so—at least I believe it.

D. SEVERO. For God's sake, Julian—well, at any rate, for _mine_——

D. JULIAN. Yes, for yours, Severo, only for yours. You alone have loved
  me truly. [_Embraces him._]

D. SEVERO. Yes, yes, it is so.

D. JULIAN. [_Stops at the door and looks back again._] She is crying for
  him—and does not follow me. Not even a look. She does not see that I
  am dying—yes, dying.

D. SEVERO. Julian, Julian!

D. JULIAN. [_On the threshold._] Wait, wait. Dishonour for dishonour.
  Good-bye, Ernest.

                        [_Exeunt Don Julian, Don Severo, and Mercedes._]


                                SCENE X

         _Teodora and Ernest. Ernest drops into a chair near the
          table. Teodora remains standing on the right. Pause._

ERNEST. [_Aside._] What is the use of loyalty?

TEODORA. And what is the use of innocence?

ERNEST. Conscience grows dark.

TEODORA. Pity, my God! Pity!

ERNEST. Pitiless destiny.

TEODORA. Oh, most miserable fate!

ERNEST. Poor child!

TEODORA. Poor Ernest! [_Both remain apart until now._]

D. SEVERO. [_In anguish from within._] My brother.

MERCEDES. Help!

PEPITO. Quickly. [_Ernest and Teodora move together._]

TEODORA. They are crying.

ERNEST. He is dying.

TEODORA. Come at once.

ERNEST. Where?

TEODORA. To him.

ERNEST. We cannot. [_Detains her._]

TEODORA. Why not? I want him to live.

ERNEST. And I!—but I cannot. [_Points to Don Julian's room._]

TEODORA. Then I will. [_Rushes to the door._]


                               LAST SCENE

_Teodora, Ernest, Don Severo and Pepito. Ernest stands on the right in
  the middle of the stage, Teodora near the door of Don Julian's room.
  Pepito and, behind him, Don Severo, bar the way._

PEPITO. Where are you going?

TEODORA. [_In desperation._] I must see him.

PEPITO. It is impossible.

D. SEVERO. She cannot pass. This woman must not remain in my house—turn
  her out at once. [_To Pepito._] No compassion—this very moment.

ERNEST. What!

TEODORA. My mind is wandering.

D. SEVERO. Though your mother should stand in front of that woman,
  Pepito, you have my orders. Obey them. Never mind her prayers or
  supplications. If she should cry—then let her cry. [_With concentrated
  fury._] Away with her, away—else I might kill her.

TEODORA. Julian orders——

D. SEVERO. Yes, Julian.

ERNEST. Her husband! It cannot be.

TEODORA. I must see him.

D. SEVERO. Very well. Look at him, once more—and then—depart.

PEPITO. [_Interfering._] Father——

D. SEVERO. [_Pushing him away._] Stop, sir.

TEODORA. It can't be true.

PEPITO. This is too horrible.

TEODORA. It is a lie.

D. SEVERO. Come, Teodora—come and see. [_Seizes her arm and leads her to
  the door._]

TEODORA. Oh! My husband! Julian—dead. [_Staggers shudderingly back, and
  falls half senseless._]

ERNEST. [_Covering his face._] My father! [_Pause. Don Severo watches
  them rancorously._]

D. SEVERO. [_To his son._] Turn her out.

ERNEST. [_Placing himself before Teodora._] What cruelty!

PEPITO. [_Doubting._] Sir——

SEVERO. [_To Pepito._] Such are my orders. Do you doubt my word?

ERNEST. Pity.

D. SEVERO. [_Pointing to the death-chamber._] Yes, such pity as she
  showed him.

ERNEST. Fire races through my veins. I will leave Spain, sir.

D. SEVERO. It makes no difference.

ERNEST. She will die.

D. SEVERO. Life is short.

ERNEST. For the last time——

D. SEVERO. No more. [_To his son._] Ring.

ERNEST. But I tell you she is innocent. I swear it.

PEPITO. [_Interceding._] Father——

D. SEVERO. [_With a contemptuous gesture._] That fellow lies.

ERNEST. You impel me with the current. Then I will not struggle against
  it. I go with it. I cannot yet know what may be her opinion [_pointing
  to Teodora_] of others, and of your outrages. Her lips are silent,
  mute her thoughts. But what I think of it all—yes, I will tell you.

D. SEVERO. It is useless. It won't prevent me from—— [_Approaches
  Teodora._]

PEPITO. [_Restraining him._] Father——

ERNEST. Stay. [_Pause._] Let nobody touch this woman. She is mine. The
  world has so desired it, and its decision I accept. It has driven her
  to my arms. Come, Teodora. [_He raises her, and sustains her._] You
  cast her forth from here. We obey you.

D. SEVERO. At last, you blackguard!

ERNEST. Yes; now you are right. I will confess now. Do you want passion?
  Then passion and delirium. Do you want love? Then love—boundless love.
  Do you want more? Then more and more. Nothing daunts me. Yours the
  invention, I give it shelter. So you may tell the tale. It echoes
  through all this heroic town. But should any one ask you who was the
  infamous intermediary in this infamy, you will reply 'ourselves,
  without being aware of it, and with us the stupid chatter of
  busybodies.' Come, Teodora; my mother's spirit kisses your pure brow.
  Adieu, all. She belongs to me, and let heaven choose its day to judge
  between you and me. [_Gathers Teodora into his embrace, with a glance
  of defiance around._]

                                 CURTAIN



                                  FINIS



                          FOLLY OR SAINTLINESS

                           A PLAY IN THREE ACTS

  PERSONS OF THE DRAMA

  DON LORENZO DE AVENDAÑA.
  ÁNGELA, His Wife.
  INÉS, Daughter of Both.
  THE DUCHESS OF ALMONTE.
  EDWARD, Her Son.
  JUANA.
  DR. TOMÁS.
  DR. BERMÚDEZ.
  BRAULIO.
  BENITO.
  SERVANT.

                           ------------------

              _Scenes of the Play take place in the study of
                     Don Lorenzo's house in Madrid._

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                 ACT I

SCENE—_Don Lorenzo's study, octagon form. Fire lighting, over
  mantel-piece a large mirror in black frame L. Below, a door. Door and
  window R. Principal entrance in background. Book-shelves well filled R
  and L. Writing-desk and arm-chair L, sofa R. Scattered about in
  orderly confusion books and objects of art. Mounting severe and rich.
  A winter afternoon._


                                SCENE I

DON LORENZO. [_Seated at table reading attentively._] 'Mercy, my niece,'
  replied Don Quixote, 'is that which God this moment has shown me,
  despite my sins. Already my mind is clear and free, unclogged of the
  obscurities of ignorance, which my unhappy and incessant readings of
  those detestable books of chivalry cast upon me like a heavy shadow.
  Already have I sounded the depth of their delusions and absurdities,
  and I now regret nothing but that this awakening should have come so
  late that I have no longer time to seek compensation in reading those
  other books which are the light of the soul. I feel myself on the
  point of death, dear niece. I should like to depart in such a way that
  my life would not appear so evil as to obtain for me the reputation of
  madness; that, though it is true I have been mad, my death should not
  confirm its truth.' [_Stops reading, and remains a while in thought._]
  Folly! To struggle without truce or rest in this fierce battle of life
  for justice as Cervantes' immortal hero struggled in the world of his
  imagining! Folly! To love with an infinite love, and with the divine
  beauty of our desire ever beyond our reach, as was the Dulcinea he so
  passionately loved! Folly! To walk with the soul ever fronting the
  ideal, along the rough and prosaic path of human realities, which is
  like running after one of heaven's stars through crags and rocky
  places. Folly! Yes, so the doctors tell us; but of so inoffensive a
  form, and, upon the face of it, so little likely to prove contagious,
  that, to make an end of it, we do not need another Quixote. [_Pause.
  Rises and walks to the middle of the stage, where he stands
  thinking._]


                                SCENE II

_Don Lorenzo, Doña Ángela, and Dr. Tomás. The latter two stand at door
  on R., half-hidden by the curtains, and watch Don Lorenzo, whose back
  is toward them._

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Look at him! as usual, reading and thinking.

DR. TOMÁS. Madam, your husband is a sage, but wisdom may be overdone.
  For, if the tenser be the cord, the more piercing its notes, so the
  much easier is it to break. And when it breaks, to the divine note
  succeeds eternal silence. While the brain works in sublime spasms,
  madness is on the watch—don't forget it. [_Pause._]

DON LORENZO. Strange book! Book of inspiration! How many problems
  Cervantes, unknowing perhaps, has propounded therein! The hero was
  mad, yes, mad [_pause_], he who only gave ear to the voice of duty
  upon the march of life; he who ceaselessly subjugated his passions,
  silenced his affections, and knew no other rule than justice, no other
  law than truth—and to truth and justice conformed each action: who,
  with a sacrilegious ambition, strove to attain the perfection of God
  above. What a singular being he would appear in any human society! A
  new Quixote among so many Sanchos! Having to condemn the greed of this
  one, the vanity of that, the good fortune of this other, the
  uncontrolled appetites of another, and the frailties of all; in his
  own family, like the Knight Errant's housekeeper and niece; in his own
  friends not differing from the priest, the barber, and Samson
  Carrasco. And strong men and maidens, dukes and inn-keepers, Moors and
  Christians with one voice declaring him mad, until he himself should
  end by taking himself as such, or dying, feign to think so, that at
  least he might be left to die in peace.

DR. TOMÁS. [_Approaches Lorenzo, and places an arm on his shoulder. Doña
  Ángela also comes near._] Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. [_Turning round._] Tomás!—Ángela!—you were here?

DR. TOMÁS. Yes; we were listening to part of your philosophical
  monologue. What has provoked these sublime self-revealings of my good
  friend?

DON LORENZO. I have been reading _Don Quixote_, and it has gone to my
  head, and there got mixed with the other tags of modern philosophy
  which are floating about, as my hard-hearted doctor would say, in the
  cells of grey substance.

DR. TOMÁS. So would anybody else say who wished to talk the language of
  reason.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. How dreadful! Are you two going to begin one of your
  interminable discussions on positivism, idealism, and all the other
  _isms_ of the dictionary, which are so many abysses for common sense?

DR. TOMÁS. Don't be afraid, madam. I have something more interesting to
  say to Lorenzo.

DON LORENZO. [_To Dr. Tomás._] And I have also something more urgent to
  ask you.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. I should think so indeed. Our child's health is surely more
  interesting and urgent than the follies and delusions with which your
  head is crammed.

DON LORENZO. [_Anxiously._] How is my beloved girl to-day?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Yes, how do you find Inés? [_Pause._]

DON LORENZO. Do tell us. Don't keep us in suspense. [_Pause. Dr. Tomás
  shakes his head ominously_.]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. For heaven's sake, doctor, tell me if there be any danger.

DON LORENZO. What are you saying, Ángela? Don't pronounce the word.

DR. TOMÁS. Softly, softly. You go too far. I don't, however, say that it
  is nothing serious.

DON LORENZO. What do you mean?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Oh, what _do_ you mean?

DON LORENZO. What is the matter with her? Has the illness a name?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What are the remedies?—for I suppose it is curable. Oh, Dr.
  Tomás, you must indeed cure my child.

DR. TOMÁS. What is her malady? One of those that causes the greatest
  misfortune to mankind. What is its name? The poets call it love—we
  doctors give it another name. How is it cured? This very day, with the
  aid of the priest; and so excellent a specific is this, that after a
  month's appliance neither of the wedded pair retain a vestige of
  remembrance of the fatal sickness.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What nonsense you do talk, Dr. Tomás! You had almost
  emptied my veins of their blood.

DR. TOMÁS. Well, to be serious. Given the condition of the young lady,
  her nervous temperament, her extreme susceptibility, and her romantic
  passion, the malady must be regarded as grave. And if you don't very
  speedily seek a remedy in the sweet security of marriage, my friend, I
  am grieved to say it, but duty compels me to inform you, that you need
  not count upon Inés. [_Gravely._]

DON LORENZO. Tomás!

DOÑA ÁNGELA. You really believe——

DR. TOMÁS. I believe that Inés has inherited her father's excitable and
  fantastical imagination. To-day the fever of love runs like a fiery
  wave in her veins. If you don't marry her to Edward,—and that very
  soon—and she should be given to understand that her hopes are not
  destined to be realised, though I cannot predict in what way, I
  unhappily know that the delirium of fantasy, and the violence of her
  affection will eventually kill her.

DON LORENZO. Good God!

DOÑA ÁNGELA. My poor child!

DR. TOMÁS. You have my opinion, and I have given it in plain language as
  the urgency of the case demands, as well as my friendship for you, and
  our joint affection for the innocent child.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_To Don Lorenzo in a resolute tone._] You have heard? We
  must marry Inés to Edward.

DON LORENZO. I would like it well indeed, Ángela. Edward is a good
  fellow, very intelligent, and passionately attached to our girl, but——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. But what? Are we not also noble, and why should Edward's
  mother, the Duchess of Almonte, oppose the union? And what matter if
  she does, since it is he, and not she, that is to be married?

DON LORENZO. Ángela, think well upon it. Ought we to encourage a son in
  revolt against his mother?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. _You_ think well upon it. Lorenzo, ought we to sacrifice
  our child to that woman's vanity?

DON LORENZO. It is easy enough to lament vanity and misfortune. The
  important thing is to find a remedy against evil.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Why not speak to the duchess? They say she is a kind woman,
  apart from her aristocratic pretensions, and that she idolises Edward.
  Let us go to her, and beseech and implore her.

DON LORENZO. I beseech! I implore! Humiliate myself! It is certainly not
  my place to entreat for her son's hand. She it is who should come to
  my house and beg for that of my daughter. Social convention, the
  respect of woman, and my own honour ordain it so.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Here you see the philosopher, the sage, the perfect man
  overflowing with vanity and pride. [_Goes over to Dr. Tomás who is
  standing at table reading._]

DON LORENZO. You are unjust, Ángela. It is not pride, but common
  dignity—yes, dignity. It is not honourable to us to go a-begging on
  Inés' behalf the ducal coronet another family chooses to withhold from
  her—she who wears herself a far fairer crown. I repeat, it would not
  be to our credit to go from door to door, still less to emblazoned
  doors, with hands held out for the alms of a name, when Inés bears my
  name, as good, as untarnished and honourable as any other, however
  great it may be.

DR. TOMÁS. Lorenzo is right—you, too, madam, are right.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Never mind, you need not go. Preserve intact your dignity
  of sage and philosopher. I who am only a poor mother will go. It will
  not hurt me to go from door to door a-begging, not coronets, nor coats
  of arms, but the life and happiness of my child.

DON LORENZO. Nor will it me, Ángela. You it is who are right. Let the
  world say what it will. Let the duchess think what she will, I will
  go. [_To Dr. Tomás._] It is my duty, is it not? Your judgment is
  upright and austere, and you can pronounce dispassionately. Give me
  your frank opinion.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Ah, what a man! Now don't stay to discuss whether or no you
  ought to go. These things, my lord philosopher and husband, are
  decided by the heart, and not by the head. It is something to be
  thankful for that you have not gone back to your books to seek
  solution of the problem. It is a wonder you are not hunting among the
  German metaphysicians, or the Greek classics, or in that
  unintelligible tangle of mathematics, to see if any author by chance
  has treated of the future marriage of Miss Inés de Avendaña with
  Edward de Almeida, Duke of Almonte, proving the insuperable
  difficulties by _a_ plus _b_, and for the sake of _a_ plus _b_ you
  would meanwhile let my poor child die.

DON LORENZO. Don't turn me into ridicule, Angela. You know I adore Inés.


                               SCENE III

_Don Lorenzo, Ángela, Dr. Tomás, and Inés. Inés enters by door on R. as
  Don Lorenzo utters these words, and stands still on hearing her own
  name._

DON LORENZO. For her life! For her happiness! Why, to dry one tear of
  her eyes would I give all those my own could shed. For one bright hour
  for my Inés would I gladly turn all the remaining hours of my life
  into martyrdom. [_Inés, without being seen by the rest, holds out her
  arms to her father lovingly, and kisses her_ _hand to him._] There,
  say no more upon the subject. This very day will I go and see the
  duchess. I will implore, supplicate, humiliate myself if necessary,
  and she must yield. She won't? [_Joyous movement of Inés. Doña Ángela
  effusively takes her husband's hand._] Well, if I have not got titles,
  I have at least a name, which, though I may not be able to make it
  illustrious by work and study——

DR. TOMÁS. It is illustrious, my dear fellow.

DON LORENZO. Illustrious, no—but respectable, yes. Besides, I have some
  millions that I have inherited, and which I will make over to the
  duchess and to Edward, that they may be enabled thereby to renovate a
  coronet somewhat the worse for wear. So you may be sure of it. Inés
  will be happy, and her happiness will be ours.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. And yours—also ours, who live in you—you, my husband, who
  are, when science does not blunt your sense, the best, the kindest,
  and most loving of men.

INÉS. Oh, heavens! [_Gives signs of faintness, and leans against door._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Rushes over to her._] Inés, my child.

DON LORENZO. Inés, Inés! What's the matter?

DR. TOMÁS. [_Approaching._] Come, girl, what nonsense is this?

INÉS. [_Sits down on sofa R., the rest stand around her._] Nothing. It's
  nothing—it is only—I feel I would like to laugh, and tears instantly
  rise to my eyes—and then I want to cry, and I feel so glad, so happy
  that I cannot. It is because I am fond, very fond of you, father.
  [_Embraces him affectionately._] How kind you are, and how good God
  has made you! I am happy, very happy. [_Throws herself sobbingly into
  her mother's arms._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. That's it, my girl, weep. It will do you good. See how kind
  your father is. You must love him dearly.

INÉS. With all my heart. When are you going? To-day? Is it not so?

DR. TOMÁS. [_Laughing at her fond assurances._] Ah, selfish girl! We are
  very fond of papa when he does something to please us? But if he did
  not go to the duchess's, should we be quite so fond of him—quite!—as
  now?

INÉS. Just the same.

DR. TOMÁS. [_Doubtingly._] Quite the same?

INÉS. [_Maliciously._] It is possible I should be so sad that I might
  not think of saying it.

DR. TOMÁS. I thought so.

INÉS. Before, I felt something weigh upon my breast, and choke me. Now,
  without any effort—thus—spontaneously—as delicious tears of happiness
  flow—endearing words break from me. Before, I was only able to say:
  'unhappy I, father!' Now, I don't think of myself, I think of him, and
  my heart rises to my lips upon a cry of love—'how dear you are to me!'
  [_Again embraces her father._]

DON LORENZO. Inés, my daughter!

INÉS. And you also, mother, you also. [_Embraces Doña Ángela. Don
  Lorenzo and Dr. Tomás move away from sofa, where Doña Ángela and Inés
  remain seated, and come to the middle of the stage._]

DR. TOMÁS. Poor philosopher! Neither of those two has read a single page
  of all your books, and both know more than you do. You think yourself
  strong, and in their hands you are as soft as wax. You think yourself
  a sage, and in their arms you are an innocent, not to say a fool. You
  think yourself just and uncorruptible, and upon the will of those two
  women you could be led into any injustice or weakness.

DON LORENZO. No, Tomás. When I am sustained by principle my will is
  iron.

DR. TOMÁS. I don't say 'we shall see,' because they are both angels—but,
  alas! if they were other! Permit me to parody the great poet, and
  exclaim with him: 'Temptation, thy name is woman!'

DON LORENZO. [_Energetically._] 'Words, words, words,' he said before
  that, doubtless, in prescience of the parody.

DR. TOMÁS. There you are, up on the rostrum already.

INÉS. Don't tease papa.

DON LORENZO. The doctor's sallies don't annoy me, child.

DR. TOMÁS. This is where we stand—that for affection, for friendship,
  for love, for what you call the mysterious attraction of one soul for
  another, we can and should arrive at——

DON LORENZO. Even sacrifice—yes. But never do wrong.

DR. TOMÁS. A pretty maxim for a book on morality.

DON LORENZO. A still better one for the conscience.

DR. TOMÁS. And are there no cases in which, to prevent greater
  misfortunes, one may compromise with this Cato's conscience, for just
  a little, a very little fault, hardly as big as a grain of sand?

DON LORENZO. Once accepted, your grain would quickly weigh as heavily as
  a mountain of granite.

DR. TOMÁS. Now, you are up the mountains. The rostrum does not suffice.

INÉS. That will do, Dr. Tomás. You mustn't say such things to papa.

DR. TOMÁS. Let us sum up the matter. It is war to the knife against all
  evil under any form or disguise whatsoever. Not so?

DON LORENZO. So it is.

DR. TOMÁS. Then let us instantly apply your theory. But truly I had
  forgotten it, and it is quite a romance. Lend me your attention.
  Listen, ladies. [_Doña Ángela and Inés approach._]

DON LORENZO. What is it?

DR. TOMÁS. To-day a woman begged me to take you in her name——

DON LORENZO. What?

DR. TOMÁS. A kiss.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. To him?

DON LORENZO. To me?

DR. TOMÁS. Yes. [_To Doña Ángela._] But don't be alarmed, dear madam. It
  is the kiss of an aged dame, and it comes drenched in tears. 'Tis but
  the last and dolorous contraction of dying lips,—the final adieu of a
  being who, in a few brief hours, will have breathed her last.

DON LORENZO. I cannot imagine——

DR. TOMÁS. She—this poor woman—sent for me this morning. I mounted to
  the garret where she lies dying. She named herself, otherwise I should
  never have recognised her. She swore she was innocent, and all the
  same begged me to intercede with you for her pardon.

DON LORENZO. You are talking a language not one word of which do I
  understand.

DR. TOMÁS. Do you remember your mother's death?

DON LORENZO. What a question! I never knew my father. He died when I was
  an infant. But my mother! Ah, poor mother! [_With emotion._]

DR. TOMÁS. Do you remember how, suddenly feeling herself in the throes
  of death, she wanted to speak to you and could not; and then in a kind
  of convulsion seized the locket she always wore round her neck and put
  it into your hands, fixing you with the supreme anguish of her gaze
  already dimmed with the eternal shadow?

DON LORENZO. Yes, I remember. Continue.

DR. TOMÁS. Finally, you remember that upon your mother's death you lost
  consciousness, when the locket disappeared. You have not forgotten who
  was accused of the robbery?

DON LORENZO. She! It is she? my poor nurse, Juana!

DR. TOMÁS. Yes, it is indeed that same Juana who is dying a few yards
  off in a miserable garret—Juana who implores your pardon in the sad
  kiss she sends you.

DON LORENZO. Juana, my second mother, who for twenty-five years was a
  real mother to me. But why do you speak of pardon? What compromise can
  there be here with wrong? Forgiveness is no compromise, nor does the
  poor old creature need my forgiveness. She capable—impossible!

DR. TOMÁS. Not so impossible. When the maid who had care of your
  mother's jewels notified the loss of the magnificent locket in
  diamonds to the police, and the first investigation was made, Juana
  denied having it, and yet it was subsequently discovered that she had
  taken it from you when you fainted. Two days afterwards she was
  surprised concealing it behind a porcelain vase. She was arrested, you
  remember, condemned, and suffered imprisonment for the robbery, and
  only through your influence and strong recommendation, recovered, if
  not her lost honour, at least her liberty.

DON LORENZO. [_Firing._] All the same, I persist in saying that Juana
  accused, Juana on the bench of infamy, Juana in shameful seclusion,
  was innocent, and that human justice erred.

DR. TOMÁS. Appearances——

DON LORENZO. Not infrequently deceive.

DR. TOMÁS. Then how do you explain it?

DON LORENZO. There must be an explanation. There is some mystery which
  we do not understand.

DR. TOMÁS. [_To Doña Ángela._] Now he is off on the hunt of mysteries—in
  a search for a supernatural explanation of an act that to my mind
  finds a very natural and simple explanation in human frailty.

DON LORENZO. But I know that my poor nurse was incapable of an action so
  base. I would have defended her if the illness that prostrated me
  after my mother's death had not prevented me. And as soon as I
  obtained her freedom, the poor woman disappeared, which fact caused me
  many a bitter tear. God knows how unweariedly I sought her everywhere.
  God knows how I longed for her return to me—and she!—how cruel of her!
  Why did she not come back? No, Juana, my good friend, you must not die
  until I have clasped you once more in my arms, until I have given you
  back your farewell kiss. [_With increasing agitation touches a bell
  and servant in livery appears._] Say—a carriage—at once—instantly—I am
  going to bring her back here—this very moment. Do you not feel that it
  is my duty, Ángela—and you, too, Inés?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. In any case it is a work of charity.

DON LORENZO. It is a just reparation. [_Exit by door L._]

DR. TOMÁS. He is the best of men, and the most credulous. He will
  believe, as an article of faith, anything that the poor old creature
  may tell him. He will even help her to invent some extravagant tale.
  Ah, madam, we ought to make an examination of this library like that
  great and witty one the priest and barber made of the ingenious
  hidalgo's library.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Oh, if I only could.

                           [_Enter Don Lorenzo in out-door dress on L._]

DON LORENZO. Well, I'm off. You will come too, to help me to bring her
  back. [_To Dr. Tomás._]

DR. TOMÁS. I am yours to command.

DON LORENZO. Do you think it safe to move her?

DR. TOMÁS. The unfortunate woman is sinking rapidly. She is just as
  likely to die in her garret as on the cushions of your carriage, or
  crossing the threshold of this, to her, enchanted palace. It is,
  however, quite possible that joy may revive her, and lend her another
  few hours of existence.

DON LORENZO. Then come along. Good-bye, Ángela; good-bye, Inés.

INÉS. Good-bye. [_Caressingly._] And afterwards you will go to see the
  duchess, won't you?

DON LORENZO. Yes, child, afterwards. You can wait, but not so that poor
  woman. She comes first, Inés.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Apart to Dr. Tomás._] Can you assure me that my daughter
  runs no risks if we marry her?

DR. TOMÁS. Only those of marriage, madam, which are none of the
  slightest.

    [_Exeunt Doña Ángela and Dr. Tomás by door C. talking together.
      Behind them, Don Lorenzo takes leave of Inés at the door._]


                                SCENE IV

        _Inés claps her hand joyously like a child as she returns
                       to the middle of the stage._

INÉS. He will speak this very day to the duchess. He has promised, and
  he may be relied upon, for he never breaks his word. That is settled,
  then. He will see her, and my father speaks so well! Why, is he not a
  man of vast learning? He is certain to convince her. If such a man as
  he were not able to persuade the duchess that Edward and I ought to be
  married, of what avail his having studied so much? Why possess so many
  books in French, in Italian, in German, and even in Greek? Such futile
  learning! But no, he will twist her round his finger. Besides, they
  all say that she is a saint. How could she be anything else, being
  Edward's mother? A saint, do they say? But if, being such, she refused
  to allow Edward to marry me, what sort of sanctity would her's be? and
  of what its use? What nonsense! of course we shall be married—why, we
  must, and it is I who say it. [_Pause._] It seems impossible—like a
  dream. Good gracious, if it should prove a dream, then let me never
  awake. But it is no dream. This is my father's study. Those are his
  books. [_Approaches the bookcase._] Newton, Kant, Hegel, Humboldt,
  Shakespeare, Lagrange, Plato, St. Thomas—It is very certain that if it
  were a dream I should not remember all those names, for what do I know
  of such illustrious gentlemen? [_Looks over balcony._] I can be sure
  that it is no dream, for there is rain falling, falling. What a
  delightful thing rain is! The air seems converted into little bars of
  crystal. And in yonder mirror I can see myself. [_Goes over to
  looking-glass with coquettish play._] It is certainly myself whom I
  know so well. I, with my oval face, which Edward finds so perfect.
  Fancy his taste! with my hazel eyes, which Edward finds so lovely. Was
  there ever such another as he for telling pretty lies? But truly at
  this moment, what with delight and the heat of the fire, my eyes do
  shine with an extraordinary brightness. I should like to be
  pretty—prettier than ever—for his sake, for his dear sake. But why
  does he not come? It is very late. Now that I want so much to see him,
  he won't come. You see he won't come—men are so selfish and horrid.


                                SCENE V

                            _Inés and Edward._

INES. [_Going toward him._] Edward, Edward!

EDWARD. My darling.

INES. How late you are!

EDWARD. [_Submissively._] I always come at two o'clock.

INES. It is now three.

EDWARD. Is it possible? [_Looks at his watch._] No, my beloved, it is
  only a quarter to two.

INES. [_Authoritatively._] It is three o'clock.

EDWARD. [_Shows her his watch._] A quarter to two. Are you convinced?
  [_Points to the clock on mantelpiece._] And look there—it is the same
  hour.

INES. [_Offended._] Well, I suppose you are right. What an accomplished
  lover to haggle over minutes! It is always too early to come, too late
  to stay with his Inés, and he subjects the beats of his heart to the
  measurements of his time-piece.

EDWARD. [_Beseechingly._] Inés.

INES. Go away, go away. It is not yet two—it still wants fifteen minutes
  to the hour. Go and take a turn about the streets, and look at the
  people, and come back at two sharp.

EDWARD. Inés!

INÉS. That is your hour for coming. A nice thing indeed if you were to
  come earlier. What would the Astronomical Observatory think of that?

EDWARD. Do forgive me—I was wrong.

INÉS. No, the error was mine. Desire hastens onward the hours for me,
  and you, to punish me, come and hold up a watch before my eyes.
  [_Makes a quick movement and seems to hold something to his face._]
  What a poetic lover!

EDWARD. I confess my fault. I repent and humbly beg your pardon.

INÉS. Ah, you admit it. That is better.

EDWARD. You see I was so happy and delighted to come that I quite lost
  knowledge of what I was saying, and even now I scarcely know what it
  is I am saying.

INÉS. It was also wrong of me to scold you so, Edward. But I was so gay,
  so wild with eagerness in my desire to see you, that the moments
  seemed centuries to me.

EDWARD. Ah, I have to tell you, my own——

INÉS. [_Pays no heed to him._] I have such great news for you.

EDWARD. [_Also does not heed her._] At last we are within reach of
  bliss.

INÉS. I should think so—for life.

EDWARD. How improbable it looks!

INÉS. My father has promised this day—this very day—you understand?—But
  you are not listening.

EDWARD. [_Still not heeding her._] My mother——

INÉS. Your mother! What?

EDWARD. She is coming here in half an hour to propose our marriage.

INÉS. The duchess!

EDWARD. [_With comic gravity._] Her grace, the Duchess of Almonte, will
  have the honour to beg this white hand [_takes her hand_] of Mr. and
  Mrs. Avendaña for her son Edward, although that same Edward has long
  since possessed himself of it, and holds it warm against his heart,
  and I have small faith in his being persuaded to relinquish it, even
  should it be refused him.

INÉS. She! really—she is coming! Ah, every one was right to call that
  woman a saint.

EDWARD. That woman is my mother. She loves me with all her heart, and
  this morning I besought her with tears in my eyes, and she, with
  answering tears, flung her arms round me and yielded to my prayer. She
  attaches first importance to the glorious deeds of her ancestors, and
  worships honour fanatically, and would far sooner see me dead than my
  name linked with one that bore the slightest stain. But she fully
  appreciates the worth of Don Lorenzo, his scientific renown—which is
  another kind of glory—and his——

INÉS. That will do. We have enough of the tale—the conclusion is that
  she comes here to-day, that we are to be married, and that we are
  going to be immeasurably happy—is it not so? That is the chief
  thing—at least it is so for me—I cannot answer for you.

EDWARD. Ungrateful girl! Do you doubt me?

INÉS. I do not doubt you. But how lucky it is for me that your mother
  has consented!——if not! You love me dearly, I know—but you——a mother
  has a claim upon your obedience. If she said 'No,' like a good son,
  Edward—not so?—you would have spared her pain, and despite your soul's
  deep sorrow, you would have left your poor Inés, who so tenderly loves
  you. Don't listen, bad boy! Let nobody hear the whisper—but, indeed, I
  do love you so much that without you—see how foolish I am!—I should
  have died of grief.

EDWARD. Dearest!

INÉS. So you see how grateful I ought to be to your mother, since it is
  not to you but to her that I owe my happiness.

EDWARD. You cruel girl! Don't you know what I should have done in spite
  of every obstacle? You feel it.

INÉS. Yes. You would have obeyed and given me up.

EDWARD. Never,—for nothing, for nobody.

INÉS. Will you swear it?

EDWARD. I swear it by all that is holy.

INÉS. There, I am content.

EDWARD. And I most blissful.


                                SCENE VI

_Inés, Edward, Juana, Don Lorenzo, and Dr. Tomás. Juana appears in door
  C. supported by Don Lorenzo and Dr. Tomás, stands for breath and then
  slowly advances; is poorly and darkly clad._

EDWARD. [_Turning round._] What a sombre group! Why does this black
  cloud come to dim the azure of our heaven?

INÉS. It is Juana, my father's nurse. Oh, it is quite a story. I will
  tell it to you afterwards.

DON LORENZO. Easy, Juana, easy——

JUANA. Who is that young lady?

DON LORENZO. Inés, my daughter. Come hither, Inés. [_Inés approaches,
  followed by Edward._]

JUANA. How very lovely! She looks like an angel. To find such a creature
  at one's side in the hour of eternal darkness would seem a presage of
  heaven.

DON LORENZO. Another step.

DR. TOMÁS. One more effort—the last. [_They help her to the sofa, where
  she sits down. The rest stand round her._]

JUANA. I should like to kiss her. [_Points to Inés, who comes nearer.
  Juana takes her hand and draws her to her._] No, your hand is warm and
  my breath is ice. I may not kiss you! It would be to give you the kiss
  of death. [_Pushes her gently away and lets her hand fall._] Not with
  the lips, but in thought do I kiss you.

DR. TOMÁS. [_To Edward and Inés._] Come away. The poor woman wants to be
  alone with him. [_To Juana._] Till later, and courage. Your pains are
  over.

JUANA. Yes, those of this world.

INÉS. Poor woman! [_Stands and looks at her._]

EDWARD. Come, my darling.

                              [_Exeunt Dr. Tomás, Inés, and Edward, R._]


                               SCENE VII

                         _Don Lorenzo and Juana._

JUANA. [_After a pause._] Have they already gone?

DON LORENZO. Yes, dear Juana. We are alone.

JUANA. At last. At last has come the hour so long desired. All things
  come—and all things pass! Listen to me, Lorenzo. Life is slipping from
  me so quickly, so quickly, and I have still so many things to say to
  you. The first is—I am innocent. I did not think—I did not want—I
  did——[_Tears interrupt her._]

DON LORENZO. I know it, Juana—I know it.

JUANA. You do not know. Everything is against me—everything.

DON LORENZO. I beg you not to worry yourself in this way. Forget all,
  and rest.

JUANA. Forget, yes. I shall soon enough forget. Rest! I have so much
  time before me for resting that to-day I desire to live—although I
  suffer, although I weep. I would carry with me into the grave even the
  tears and sobs along with the kisses—that its silence and solitude
  might be filled with some remembrance of life. [_Pause._] That is why
  I want to tell you something. But how can I without preparing you?
  Now, so that doubt may not come first before revelation, and before
  doubt suspicion, and before suspicion presentiment, and before
  presentiment that nameless something, the shadow cast upon the soul by
  that which comes from afar? You do not understand me, and I do not
  know how to explain myself, though it is now twenty years since I
  first harboured the one idea. Judge if I ought to be able to explain
  it well.

DON LORENZO. Tell me anything you like, only do not get excited over it.

JUANA. Yes, I will tell you all. How could I die without doing so? In
  the first place, if only to prove to you that I am not a
  miserable—thief. [_Hides her face._]

DON LORENZO. Hush, hush! Do not pronounce the word.

JUANA. And then—the sole consolation left me is to open my heart to you.
  Forgive me, Lorenzo. The dying are so selfish. For you it will be a
  horrible shock—while for me it will be a supreme benediction.

DON LORENZO. If it were so for you, my dear Juana, how could it be a
  horrible shock for me?

JUANA. How! But so it will be—so it will be, my son. My son! Give me
  leave to name you such. You are not angry with me?—truly?

DON LORENZO. I beseech you, Juana!

JUANA. Well, then, my son will I call you, and you too must call me
  mother. Call me mother, once. Let it please heaven or hell, mother you
  must name me.

DON LORENZO. Mother!

JUANA. Not so—not in that way. Cruel boy! [_Leans to embrace him. Jerks
  herself back and falls on sofa._]

DON LORENZO. Poor woman! She is delirious.


                               SCENE VIII

_Juana, Don Lorenzo, and Inés. Inés rushes in C. in high spirits and
  approaches her father. She is excited and can hardly speak._

INÉS. Father, father—the duchess—is coming. She is coming here—can't you
  guess?

DON LORENZO. The duchess!

INÉS. Yes—to speak to you about—Edward has persuaded——

DON LORENZO. What good news, my dearest girl! At last God wills——

INÉS. You are pleased?

DON LORENZO. [_Caresses her._] And you?

INÉS. Yes, if you are also. Come, come quickly.

JUANA. [_Seizes Don Lorenzo's arm._] No, I cannot let you go. Don't
  leave me.

DON LORENZO. [_To Inés._] I will be with you presently.

INÉS. Don't delay—oh, be sure and not delay. If you offend her——

DON LORENZO. You need not fear. Let Ángela receive her in the
  drawing-room with all ceremony. I will carry Juana up to her room, and
  join you in a moment.

                                                        [_Exit Inés C._]


                                SCENE IX

DON LORENZO. [_Tries to lift Juana and she resists._] Come, Juana, come
  and rest. Afterwards we will talk as much as you like.

JUANA. Afterwards, no. Suppose I should die before!

DON LORENZO. [_Impatiently._] Nonsense; you mustn't think of such a
  thing.

JUANA. It is twenty years since I have seen you, and now they won't
  leave us together an instant. It is very cruel of them.

DON LORENZO. [_Again tries to raise her._] Afterwards, my good Juana.

JUANA. And you too want to leave me—you too! Ah, I can compel you to
  stay with me.

DON LORENZO. Juana!

JUANA. Listen—one word, and then you are free, if you still wish to
  leave me. It was I, I myself, who stole the locket.

DON LORENZO. You!

JUANA. Yes.

DON LORENZO. What for?

JUANA. So that you might not see it.

DON LORENZO. Why?

JUANA. Because there was a paper in it containing something your mother
  had written that I did not want you to see.

DON LORENZO. What was it?

JUANA. I know the words by heart. They were: 'Lorenzo, my son, in the
  casket which lies at the head of my bed there is hidden a paper under
  a sealed envelope. When I am dead, open it, and read what I wrote
  during a night of sharp remorse. Forgive me, and may God inspire you.'

DON LORENZO. [_In surprise._] 'Forgive me, and may God inspire you.' She
  wrote that?

JUANA. Yes.

DON LORENZO. You also made strange mention of remorse. [_With increasing
  curiosity._]

JUANA. Remorse was the word. Now go away if you like.

DON LORENZO. [_Thinking._] No. [_Pause._] And that paper?

JUANA. It was no secret for me that your mother had written it. Where it
  was hidden was what I did not know. That there was something hidden in
  the locket a vigilance so alert as mine had easily discovered, and
  what the paper contained misgiving helped me to divine. That was why I
  took the locket. It was mine by right. It had cost me twenty years of
  tears and anguish, than which none more bitter or intolerable have
  ever been shed.

DON LORENZO. Forgiveness, remorse, a secret—and my mother! I cannot
  imagine what you would say. Confused shades gather and drift before my
  mind, and pain strikes my heart in lightning flashes. You are raving,
  and you make me rave too.

JUANA. No, no.

DON LORENZO. But that secret paper in the casket——

JUANA. It was mine, and you did not see it because it was not right you
  should see it. Since your mother was dead, what could it matter to
  her? Have I not said it,—there is nothing more selfish than death?

DON LORENZO. That paper——

JUANA. I have it.

DON LORENZO. Here?

JUANA. Here. [_Lifts her hand to her bosom._] Look, it is but a sheet of
  paper, and yet it weighs so heavily upon my heart.

DON LORENZO. I must see it.



                                SCENE X

                 _Juana, Don Lorenzo, Dr. Tomás behind._

DR. TOMÁS. Lorenzo, Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. [_Impatiently._] What do you want?

DR. TOMÁS. The duchess has come.

DON LORENZO. An appropriate hour.

DR. TOMÁS. [_Aside._] What a tone! [_Aloud._] Come and receive her.

DON LORENZO. Yes, I'll go.

JUANA. Don't leave me, for Christ's sake. By all that is most sacred to
  you I implore you to stay. [_Aside._] If he only knew.

DR. TOMÁS. Are you coming?

DON LORENZO. Yes,—yes; but don't worry me. I've told you before, I'll
  go.

JUANA. Do not leave me. I will tell you everything, everything. I will
  give you that paper—which your mother wrote twenty years ago—her
  letter—her signature—you will see. But only don't leave me yet.

DR. TOMÁS. [_Angrily._] Come, Lorenzo.

DON LORENZO. I said I would go—but afterwards. I know when I ought to
  go. Now leave us. [_To Juana._] Give me the paper.

JUANA. As soon as that man goes away.

DON LORENZO. [_Violently._] Will you go!

DR. TOMÁS. But the duchess——

DON LORENZO. Let her wait. Has she never kept others waiting in her
  ante-chambers? Well, then, mine are at least as good as hers.

DR. TOMÁS. Are you out of your senses?

DON LORENZO. I am in them well enough, but not in yours, where I should
  be ill at ease. Leave me at once.

DR. TOMÁS. What can be the matter, Lorenzo? [_Approaches him eagerly._]

DON LORENZO. Nothing, nothing. I am tired of hearing you. For heaven's
  sake leave me alone.

DR. TOMÁS. Very well, very well. But what the deuce has come over the
  man?


                                SCENE XI

                         _Don Lorenzo and Juana._

DON LORENZO. Now we are alone.

JUANA. Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. What is it? Do you distrust me? Then I will go away.
  Promise to give me that paper. My child's happiness awaits me yonder,
  and nevertheless a hand of iron, the hand of implacable fate retains
  me here by your side. Consider, Juana, if I am resolved to probe this
  secret.

JUANA. Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. The paper! Since it was written by my mother, it is mine.

JUANA. Don't be angry with me, Lorenzo, dear one. It is here. [_Takes it
  from her bosom._] This is it.

DON LORENZO. [_Tries to seize it._] Give it me.

JUANA. Wait, wait. I will read it myself. I will read it more slowly
  than you—and thus you will be spared a too sudden knowledge of the
  truth.

DON LORENZO. Then read on, and let us see.

JUANA. Yes, dear, but do not look at me. Only listen. [_Holds the paper
  so that Don Lorenzo shall not see the contents; reads._] 'Lorenzo, my
  son, forgive me——'

DON LORENZO. Again!

JUANA. [_Reading._] 'I feel that the end of life is near for me, and
  remorse has taken hold of me.' [_Pause._]

DON LORENZO. Continue.

JUANA. 'I wish to tell you the truth, and I love you too greatly to do
  so. Read the secret of your existence in these lines stained by my
  tears, and do then as you will.'

DON LORENZO. The secret of my existence! Give it me. [_Tries to snatch
  the paper from her._]

JUANA. No.

DON LORENZO. What nightmare is this, Juana? You seem to have encircled
  my head with a band of iron that presses intolerably across my
  temples. Give me that paper.

JUANA. No. God help me!

DON LORENZO. You must. [_Seizes the paper, and reads with intense
  emotion._] 'Your father was rich, very rich. He possessed millions. I
  was very poor. We had no children——' We had no children, she says——


                               SCENE XII

          _Don Lorenzo, Juana, Doña Ángela. Afterwards Edward._

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Enters precipitately._] The duchess!

DON LORENZO. [_Angrily, while Juana tears paper from him, and conceals
  it._] Again! leave me alone. What do you want?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Lorenzo, Lorenzo.

EDWARD. [_Rushes in._] Don Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. You, also—go away, go all of you.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Mercy upon us, what is this? What can it mean? What is the
  matter with you, Lorenzo? do be sensible.

DON LORENZO. Away, away! I implore, if needs be I am ready to kneel to
  you, but only leave me. Oh, human selfishness! They think there is
  nothing else besides their passions and interests. Tomás, Ángela,
  Edward, the duchess—all of them. Ah, it is the dropping of water on
  the skull.

EDWARD. But, sir, my mother is coming——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Yes, the duchess, tired of waiting, is coming.

EDWARD. She says she is coming herself to seek the sage in his den.

DON LORENZO. Then let her come. But leave me, leave me all of you, if
  you would not drive me wild.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_To Edward._] It is impossible for your mother to see him
  in this state.

EDWARD. Come, madam, we will go and keep her in the gallery to gain
  time. Perhaps Inés will be able to soothe him in a little while.

                                      [_Exeunt Edward and Doña Ángela._]


                               SCENE XIII

                         _Don Lorenzo and Juana._

DON LORENZO. The paper! that accursed paper! Where is it? You have it.

JUANA. [_Showing it._] Yes.

DON LORENZO. Then give it me. 'We had no children,' she said. [_Makes an
  unsuccessful effort to read._] Where is it? I don't know. The letters
  swim before me. My eyes are dim. 'We had no children!' I cannot read,
  I can't. Do me the kindness to read it for me. [_Juana takes the
  paper._] Ah, there, where it says: 'We had no children.'

JUANA. [_Reads._] 'My husband knew that an incurable disease was rapidly
  undermining his health. Death went with him, nestled in his heart. Mad
  with love for me, he wished to secure me all his fortune, and I—it was
  wrong, I know now, it was wrong, for he had a father living, but
  I,—oh, forgive me, Lorenzo, you who are so kind and honourable—I
  accepted.' [_Pause._]

DON LORENZO. Continue, continue.

JUANA. 'We looked about for a child. I cannot write any more. Juana
  knows the secret. She will tell you all. Once more, I implore you to
  forgive me. Farewell, Lorenzo, and may God counsel you. I loved you
  like a son, though you were no child of ours.'

DON LORENZO. I—I—was not—what does it mean? Not her son? I bear a name
  that is not mine! For forty years have I enjoyed a fortune that
  belonged to others. I have robbed everything—social position, name and
  wealth. All, all! Even my mother's caresses, since she was not my
  mother,—even her kisses, since I was not her son. No, no. This is not
  possible. I am not so base. Juana, Juana, for the love you bear the
  God above, tell me the truth. Look, it is not for my own sake—what
  does it matter what happens to me?—but for my family's sake—for those
  unfortunate women—for my dear child's sake, my beloved Inés, who will
  die of it, and you see, I cannot let her die. [_Bursts into desperate
  sobs._]

JUANA. That is true. But hush! Who need know of it? and then it will not
  matter.

DON LORENZO. But if it be true?

JUANA. [_In a low voice._] It is true.

DON LORENZO. It seems a lie. That woman who cherished me so tenderly was
  not my mother?

JUANA. No. Your mother loved you still more.

DON LORENZO. Who was she, then?

JUANA. Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. What was her name?

JUANA. Look at me without anger, and I will tell you.

DON LORENZO. Where is she?

JUANA. In strife with the torments of hell.

DON LORENZO. Is she also dead?

JUANA. She is dying. [_Towards the end of this dialogue Juana raises
  herself, and both stand in nervous agitation, staring wildly. When she
  utters the last word, she falls back again powerless upon the sofa._]

DON LORENZO. Juana!

JUANA. [_Contorted with pain._] Not that name!

DON LORENZO. Mother!

JUANA. Yes, call me so—my son! [_Makes a supreme effort to hold him to
  her._]


                               SCENE XIV

                   _Don Lorenzo, Juana, and Dr. Tomás._

DR. TOMÁS. Here she is—she is coming.

JUANA. [_Freeing herself._] Leave me—they are coming, and I do not wish
  them to see me.

DON LORENZO. No—wait—I scarce know what I would say to you, but I have
  much to tell you.

JUANA. Afterwards—Good-bye now, I can die content. I have called him
  son. [_Exit slowly R. Don Lorenzo follows her, and Dr. Tomás stands
  watching them._]

DON LORENZO. No, not yet. [_Juana disappears behind curtain. Don Lorenzo
  would follow, but is detained by Dr. Tomás, and obliged to return to
  the middle of the stage._]


                                SCENE XV

           _Don Lorenzo, Ángela, Inés, the Duchess, Edward, and
                               Dr. Tomás._

DUCHESS. [_With exquisite courtesy._] Señor de Avendaña.

DON LORENZO. Avendaña, Avendaña! I don't know where he is, madam. [_In
  sombre absent tone._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Aside._] What is he saying?

INÉS. Goodness, what does this mean?

DUCHESS. I understand, Señor de Avendaña, how unwelcome must be my
  visit, since I come to claim of you the most precious of your
  possessions [_points to Inés_], and certainly it is not surprising
  that you should receive me as an enemy. [_Sweetly._]

DON LORENZO. Fate is my enemy, nobody else, madam.

INÉS. [_Aside._] Oh, what can have happened?

DUCHESS. You are right. It is the ruthless enemy of the parents.

DON LORENZO. Still more so of the children.

DUCHESS. I do not deny it. But in spite of it, 'tis divine law that
  governs our human sorrows, and we are forced to respect it. [_Makes an
  effort to turn the conversation, but does not conceal her
  wonderment._]

DON LORENZO. Ah, madam, those laws might often prove less cruel if it
  were only human cruelty that dictated them. [_The duchess evinces
  marked impatience. Edward approaches her. Inés goes to her father,
  while Doña Ángela and Dr. Tomás look on gloomily._]

INÉS. [_Aside to Don Lorenzo._] Father, I entreat you——

EDWARD. [_Aside to Duchess._] For my sake, mother.

DUCHESS. [_Haughtily and dryly._] I am a mother, and I adore my son. I
  know that happiness is not possible for him without this young lady,
  and rather than lose one child I prefer to gain two.

INÉS. [_To Don Lorenzo._] See how kind she is, father.

DON LORENZO. To lose a son were a terrible misfortune.

DUCHESS. [_Gently and approaching Don Lorenzo._] Will you not consent to
  bestow also the name of son upon my boy?

INÉS. [_In low voice of entreaty._] Answer, father.

DON LORENZO. [_Looks sadly at his daughter, takes her_ _head between his
  hands, and contemplates her yearningly._] How sweet you are! It seems
  incredible that you should not prove stronger than the law of honour.

DUCHESS. [_Unable to control herself._] To make an end of the matter,
  Señor de Avendaña, do you wish my son, the Duke of Almonte, to give
  his name to your daughter Inés?

DON LORENZO. [_In magnificent fury._] If I were a scoundrel, madam, this
  were an excellent occasion for procuring an honest name for my
  nameless child.

INÉS. Father!

DR. TOMÁS.   } Lorenzo!
DOÑA ÁNGELA. }

DUCHESS. I must frankly confess that I can make nothing of your answers
  nor of your attitude, which is quite other than what I had expected. I
  will content myself with asking for the last time—do you consent?

DON LORENZO. I am an honourable man. Misfortune may conquer me, but it
  will never disgrace me. Your Grace, this marriage is impossible.

DUCHESS. [_Offended, retreats a step._] Ah!

INÉS. What do you say, father? Impossible!

DON LORENZO. Yes, impossible. For I am not Avendaña. My parents were not
  my parents. This house is not my house. To you, my dearest girl, I can
  only give a soiled and an unworthy name,—because I am the wretchedest
  of men and I do not wish to be the basest.

INÉS. Father, father—oh, why are you killing me? [_Falls into a chair._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What have you done, you madman?

DON LORENZO. Inés, my child! Thou hast conquered, O God; but have pity
  on me.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                 ACT II

        SCENE—_The same as First Act. Night, a fire is burning,
                  a shaded candle on the study table._


                                SCENE I

             _Edward listens at door R., then comes up C._

EDWARD. I hear nothing. Has she recovered consciousness? To think how
  close a thing to life is death! [_Pause._] They believe that I must
  give up my beloved girl! They suppose me capable of crediting Don
  Lorenzo's absurd tale. Poor scholar! Why, he doesn't know what he is
  saying. [_Pause._] And even if his assertion were true, would that
  make Inés other than the loveliest, the most adorable of women? Mine
  she will be, though I should have to cast myself at my mother's feet
  and bathe them with my tears. Don Lorenzo must consent, even if we
  have to gag him and put him into a strait-jacket. And that wretched
  beggar from whom the ill-advised philosopher has caught his delirium
  must be sent away, far away from everybody. How will my poor Inés bear
  up against the blow her father has inflicted upon her? [_Again
  approaches the door and listens._] Nothing, nothing. Silence, always
  the same silence. [_Comes down._] Her father! her own father! Heaven
  help me, but I almost hate the man. [_With increasing passion._] The
  madman! How he delighted to torture her! Her father!—that brainless
  scholar! an atheist clothed in sanctity! a new Don Quixote _minus_ wit
  and _plus_ pedantry! a mock Bayard of honour! What sort of father is
  he who pretends to a reputation for virtue through his daughter's
  broken heart? A fig for such virtue! Vice itself is more lovable. No
  one comes, and the hours go by—ah, I hear somebody coming at last.


                                SCENE II

                _Edward and the Duchess, who enters R._

EDWARD. How is Inés, mother? Has she regained consciousness?

DUCHESS. She has now, thank God. Poor child! I could not go until I was
  assured it was all right, and that she was better. And you, my son?

EDWARD. I must see her.

DUCHESS. Edward!

EDWARD. Then we have to talk to Don Lorenzo, and afterwards——

DUCHESS. Afterwards you will get to the end of my patience. I have done
  all for you that honour, dignity, and social convention permit—even
  more. But the moment has come for you to show yourself a man, to
  remember who you are and listen to the voice of duty.

EDWARD. Rightly said, mother, that is what I am prepared to do, but it
  remains to be seen if we entertain the same idea of duty.

DUCHESS. You must give Inés up.

EDWARD. Why? Because of her poverty?

DUCHESS. By no means.

EDWARD. Then why, mother? Because Don Lorenzo wishes to perform a
  sublime action which, if he carries out the prospect, will immortalise
  him in tale and history, and, who knows, may even lift him aloft into
  the Calendar?

DUCHESS. I see you appreciate the humour of the situation, and that is
  no bad sign.

EDWARD. I want to show you how perfectly cool I am. As for Don Lorenzo,
  we must regard the affair as a joke, or put him into an asylum.

DUCHESS. Don't say such things, Edward. It offends me to hear you speak
  so. There may be some slight exaggeration, perhaps no inconsiderable
  precipitation, and a certain air of melodramatic display in Don
  Lorenzo's project, but we cannot deny that he is acting like a
  gentleman.

EDWARD. Why does he revel in his daughter's misfortune?

DUCHESS. Because he is accomplishing his duty without respect of human
  passions.

EDWARD. Then if Don Lorenzo is so honourable, and the lustre of noble
  actions is a heritage, Inés will be something more than the angel of
  my life—she will bring me a wealth of hereditary virtue.

DUCHESS. She will also bring more than her share of hereditary
  dishonour. [_In low voice approaching him._] The girl has no name good
  or bad, since nobody knows what her father's is, and that of her
  grandmother has been inscribed as a thief's upon the infamous register
  of a prison.

EDWARD. Hush!

DUCHESS. If we are to believe Don Lorenzo, that unhappy girl's fate is
  to be a humble nurse's grandchild, and her father's accomplice in
  living under a false name. It would perhaps be an excess of
  aristocratic pride to reject such an honourable alliance, but to such
  a decision am I led by what you, with your modern education, will
  doubtless qualify as old-fashioned prejudices.

EDWARD. Well, mother, I love Inés.

DUCHESS. You are mad, boy.

EDWARD. That were not strange, since love is said to be a madness.

DUCHESS. You almost make me lose my judgment.

EDWARD. Would you prefer to lose me?

DUCHESS. Enough, Edward. We must leave this house which, in an evil
  moment, I entered to-day for the first time.

EDWARD. But say—is not Inés sweet?

DUCHESS. Assuredly—as an angel of God's heaven, when I first beheld her,
  and now she looks like the angel of sorrow.

EDWARD. Does not the whole world regard Don Lorenzo as an accomplished
  scholar, and have you yourself not said that he is a saint?

DUCHESS. It would be injustice to deny the value of a reputation so
  illustrious as his, or the keenness of his sense of honour.

EDWARD. Then there is no objection to him.

DUCHESS. Certainly not.

EDWARD. [_Approaches the duchess and speaks in a low voice._] Can't we
  find some means of averting scandal? Who knows anything of this
  wretched story, true or false, though to me it seems more likely
  false? Only ourselves, and we will hold our tongue. Dr. Tomás is
  almost one of the family. Death will shortly seal the lips of that
  unhappy woman. And, after all, Don Lorenzo is a father; he will do for
  Inés' sake that which you refuse to do for mine. Why, mother dear,
  need we go in search of misery and death when felicity is within our
  reach?

DUCHESS. Ah, see how contact with crime perverts the noblest minds!
  Unfortunate boy, do you not understand that you are proposing a
  monstrous thing to me? that you wish me to be an accomplice to a
  felony? Good heavens, what has come over you that you should think and
  speak such things?

EDWARD. Who on earth speaks of anything monstrous or proposes felony?
  Have we all gone mad with Don Lorenzo, or are you martyrising me for
  your own entertainment?

DUCHESS. You suggested our averting scandal by silence.

EDWARD. Yes.

DUCHESS. Then——

EDWARD. Listen, mother. This is what I meant to say. If Don Lorenzo's
  tale be true, which is what I doubt, the legitimate heirs of this
  confounded wealth may be discovered cautiously, in secret, and a way
  can be found to restore it to them.

DUCHESS. But on what pretext?

EDWARD. If you had to beg for a fortune, it might be difficult to find
  one, but when it comes to giving, don't be afraid. It is easy enough,
  and any pretext is equally welcome to those who receive it.

DUCHESS. Inés will still bear a name she has no title to.

EDWARD. She will bear mine, which is worth all others.

DUCHESS. That is true. But Don Lorenzo——

EDWARD. Leave him alone. He has enough to do with his philosophy. We
  have ourselves to think of, and I believe that it can be all managed
  if you will consent. With a word you can give Inés back life, and give
  a new life to me in exchange for that which your unkindness blighted,
  and which I first owed to your affection. Restore happiness to this
  unhappy family, and bestow their usurped fortune upon the rightful
  heirs without noise or vain display. This is no felony, and it is not
  a monstrous thing to do.

DUCHESS. You magnetise me, Edward. I scarce know what to say. But an
  inward voice warns me that what you suggest is neither right nor
  just,—that deception can never be preferable to truth, and despite Don
  Lorenzo's ravings, I feel that duty triumphs in him, while in you it
  is passion that triumphs, for all your arguments.

EDWARD. How so? Tell me.

DUCHESS. I cannot discuss it with you, Edward.

EDWARD. What you cannot do is love me as you ought.

DUCHESS. Not love you; cruel boy! You have wounded me to the heart,
  though I know that you do not believe what you say.

EDWARD. Then yield to me.

DUCHESS. Don't press me, Edward.

EDWARD. You are yielding—I see it. Your face is pale, there are tears in
  your eyes, and your lips tremble. [_Caressingly._] Confession of
  consent hangs upon them—yes, why not? What is there absolutely opposed
  to that high ideal of honour you and Don Lorenzo worship? What wrong
  is there in my plan?

DUCHESS. There is wrong, Edward.

EDWARD. So little, an atom, a shadow, a mere scruple. And don't I
  deserve you should commit so trivial an error for me? Go among the
  people whom you treat with such contempt, and from whom the
  aristocrat's pride separates you by an abyss; seek out a mother, and
  ask her if, for her son's sake, she would not stifle upon a cry of
  love all these refinements of conscience.

DUCHESS. [_Passionately._] I am capable of making any sacrifice a mother
  can make.

EDWARD. [_Embracing her._] Thanks, mother, thanks.

DUCHESS. But——

EDWARD. You have promised, you have promised. [_Without heeding her._]
  And, after all, it may not even be necessary. What assurance have we
  that Don Lorenzo's tale is true? What tangible proofs are there? None
  that we know of. The word of a dying woman in delirium? Is that
  enough?

DUCHESS. Truly not.

EDWARD. Yet we have not even that much; for Dr. Tomás has not been able
  to interrogate Juana. How do we know that she told it to Don Lorenzo,
  or if he only dreamed it? Let me assure you, Don Lorenzo's head is no
  sound one.

DUCHESS. It is not, indeed.

EDWARD. What an odd and extravagant fellow he is!

DUCHESS. For my part, I really thought he had gone mad.

EDWARD. Depend upon it, he is not far off. All these men of learning end
  that way. Both Dr. Tomás and Ángela admit that he doesn't reason like
  other men.


                               SCENE III

                _The Duchess, Edward, and Doña Ángela._

DOÑA ÁNGELA. For pity's sake, madam, do not leave us yet. Inés wishes to
  see you. She calls upon your name through heart-breaking sobs, for you
  are her sole consolation.

DUCHESS. Poor child!

DOÑA ÁNGELA. She will not remain in bed, though we begged her to do so,
  and her nervous agitation is such that she fills us with terror. If
  strength had not failed her, she would have come to look for you. In
  kindness, duchess, do go to my stricken girl, and console her, you who
  are so affectionate a mother. 'Tis a most afflicted mother that
  implores you.

EDWARD. And you will tell her that there is still hope, that all depends
  upon Don Lorenzo—won't you?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What? Is it true? Oh, madam—— [_To duchess, and takes her
  hand effusively._]

EDWARD. Yes [_to Doña Ángela_], I will explain it. You must persuade
  your husband.

DUCHESS. But——[_Edward does not heed her, and talks aside to Doña
  Ángela._] That boy of mine does just what he likes with me. What am I
  to say to this good woman now that he has promised my consent? Oh,
  what a hare-brained fellow! The girl herself is lovely, like a dream,
  and altogether very charming. Poor Inés!—and Don Lorenzo possesses, or
  rather did possess, a colossal fortune. Ah! what things are human
  might and human vanity!

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_To Edward._] I understand, I understand. [_Then comes
  over to the duchess._] I am very grateful to you for your great
  kindness. Do, pray, carry the good news yourself to my daughter, and
  I, in a little while, will induce Lorenzo to consent. Never fear, he
  will give in. It is certain, else will he prove himself quite
  heartless.

EDWARD. Come, mother.

DUCHESS. What am I to do?

EDWARD. How good of you!

                                       [_Exeunt Duchess and Edward, R._]


                                SCENE IV

               _Doña Ángela, Don Lorenzo, enters door L._

DON LORENZO. My mother dying—and yonder that other morsel of my soul!
  What can I do, my God? [_Walks slowly toward door R. and meets Doña
  Ángela._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Where are you going, Lorenzo?

DON LORENZO. To see my daughter.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Impossible. She has recovered consciousness now, and your
  presence might again upset her, since you it was who caused her
  illness.

DON LORENZO. But I wish to see her.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. You cannot. With you duty is always imperative, so you will
  respect that unhappy girl's grieving solitude [_ironically_], not upon
  the command of my will, which must always be second to yours, but upon
  that of your own reflective judgment.

DON LORENZO. You are right. [_Pause. Both are in middle of stage._] My
  own beloved daughter! What does she say of me?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Nothing.

DON LORENZO. She does not blame me?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. I cannot answer for the murmurings of sorrow in her heart.

DON LORENZO. I to be her executioner! to destroy all her hopes! Can it
  be that I have broken her heart?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. You know full well what you have done, Lorenzo. So much the
  better, if remorse will now help you to repair your cruel work.

DON LORENZO. I am indeed miserable.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. You miserable! Inés it is who is miserable, not you, who
  doubtless find assured ineffable joy and divine consolation in
  contemplating your own moral perfection. [_Ironically._]

DON LORENZO. How ill you judge me, and how little you understand me!

DOÑA ÁNGELA. I judge you ill, and yet humbly admire the fruit of your
  sainthood! That I do not understand you, I admit, for superior beings
  such as you are not within reach of so mediocre an intelligence as
  mine.

DON LORENZO. Ángela, your words pierce my heart like a sharp dagger.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Your heart! impossible.

DON LORENZO. But what would you have me do? Speak, advise, decide—bring
  light to a mind that gropes among shadows.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What would I have you do? Whatever you like now. Only save
  your child. Place no fresh obstacle to this marriage. Don't continue
  to irritate the duchess's pride by brutal and futile revelations.
  Don't make it impossible for us to remedy the evil you have done by
  any new explosion.

DON LORENZO. Frankly, then, you would have me hold my tongue.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. That is it. Hold your tongue.

DON LORENZO. But that would be infamous.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. I know nothing about it. I feel, I can't argue.

DON LORENZO. My whole soul rises up in revolt against the idea. To
  become an accomplice in the most repugnant, because most cowardly, of
  crimes! To enjoy usurped wealth and a name I have no right to, and all
  that is not ours! God has not willed it so, and what he has not willed
  should not be. Inés, you and I, all sunk in the mire! Is this what you
  would counsel? [_With increasing excitement._] Then virtue is but a
  lie, and you all, whom I have most loved in this world, perceiving
  what I regarded as divinity in you, are only miserable egoists,
  incapable of sacrifice, a prey to greed and the mere playthings of
  passion. Then you are all but clay, and nothing more. And if you are
  but clay, resolve yourselves to dust, and let the wind of the tempest
  carry all off. [_Violently._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. Beings shaped without conscience or free will are simply
  atoms that meet to-day and separate to-morrow. Such is matter—then let
  it go.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. You are wandering, Lorenzo. I don't understand you. I don't
  know what it is you want.

DON LORENZO. To respect truth and justice.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Truth!

DON LORENZO. Yes.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. And cry it to the world from the housetops.

DON LORENZO. I will announce it.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. And leave us in poverty.

DON LORENZO. I will earn your bread and my own by my work.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. You earn your bread! Scholar's vanity! Well, be it so, but
  listen to me first. If it should be that we really have no right to
  our wealth, give it up,—well and good. [_Don Lorenzo bursts into a cry
  of delight and advances to her with outstretched arms._] Privations do
  not fright me, nor am I the miserable woman and egoist you painted
  erewhile.

DON LORENZO. Ángela, my dear wife, forgive me.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Do you want my forgiveness? Do you want me to continue
  blessing the hour I became your wife, as I have always blessed it till
  to-day?

DON LORENZO. Yes.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Then do your duty as a man of honour, but in silence,
  prudently, without ostentation, or noise, or scandal.

DON LORENZO. Why? The duchess would never consent to her son's marriage
  with Inés even at that price.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Edward answers for his mother's consent.

DON LORENZO. She will never give in.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. She will. She is a woman and a mother. We have not all
  attained such perfection as yours.

DON LORENZO. I do not believe it.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Is it that you do not believe it, or that you fear it?

DON LORENZO. But supposing she should consent,—how can I retain a name
  that is not mine?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What shabby subtleties to sacrifice my Inés to!

DON LORENZO. A name, Ángela, in social life is——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. A name is but a sound, a passing breath of air, something
  vain and evanescent. But a child, Lorenzo, is a creature made of our
  own flesh and of the blood in our veins: a creature that, while still
  nothing, we shelter warm in our bosom, and receive into our arms upon
  its first cry; that gives us its first smile and its first kiss; that
  lives by our life, and is at once our sweetest joy and our sharpest
  sorrow: a creature we love more than ourselves, but without a taste of
  that selfish leaven which degrades all our other loves; the sole
  divine affection that exists upon this earth, and if heaven be heaven,
  beyond the blue it will also be found in God himself. Choose now
  between what you call a name, and what I call a child.

DON LORENZO. Your words madden me.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. If you first lost your senses for Inés' misfortune, it
  matters little that I should drive you mad for her good.

DON LORENZO. You are partly right, Ángela. I am a poor fool. My scruples
  are, perhaps, exaggerated. My daughter, my dear Inés—she, so good, so
  lovely—she would die,—would surely die.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. At last, Lorenzo, my dear husband.

DON LORENZO. But stay—no—my ideas are confused. My brain turns to the
  flail of a fiery whirlwind. Yet I still feel convinced that it would
  not be enough to renounce my fortune. I am bound to say why I renounce
  it.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. [_Not listening to her, but talking to himself._] It is
  true that without it I could always materially make restitution of
  material possessions,—and still without recognising the legitimate
  rights of those I have despoiled. 'Twould be to make a traitorous and
  cowardly restitution, under shadow of vain and artificial rights,
  which I must fabricate for my convenience, and for the benefit of my
  family, instead of openly and honourably relinquishing what is not
  mine.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What nonsense you talk, Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. [_Not heeding her._] If I retain a name that is not mine, I
  prove myself a shabby thief—I am compelled to pronounce a word that
  burns on my lips. I rob a name and all its rights, and I deprive my
  victims of their best means of defence against a cupidity that may any
  day develop in my descendants, and perhaps give rise to a worse
  iniquity in the future. Don't you see it? Surely you must see it if
  you are not totally blind! I must tell the truth, the whole truth, in
  a loud voice, happen what will.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. Would a judge and a tribunal sentence me to despoilment of
  my goods alone, or to despoilment of both my goods and my name? Of
  everything, everything—is it not so? Then what a judge would decide I
  have to do myself—my own judge—or I am a wretched fellow. Such, my
  poor wife, is what my conscience ordains me to do. I want no
  half-hearted view of honesty, for there is no middle term between
  clean honour and complete abasement. All this is quite clear to me.
  Nothing so clear as duty.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Very well, if the affair is made public the duchess will
  not give her consent.

DON LORENZO. She will not consent. 'Tis what I have already said.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Ah, Lorenzo, Lorenzo, you are everything,—philosopher,
  moralist, jurisconsult, and, needless to say, gentleman. All, all,
  wretched reflecting machine, except a father.

DON LORENZO. If you want to drive me out of my senses you are
  succeeding.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. That would indeed be difficult.

DON LORENZO. Because I am out of them already?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Yes, but you haven't yet got to the bottom of the abyss.
  Hear me, Lorenzo, for I, too, understand something of logic—after all,
  am I not your wife? It is your intention to tell the truth, the entire
  truth?

DON LORENZO. It is so.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Before the tribunal of human justice?

DON LORENZO. We need not trouble ourselves about divine justice, which
  at this moment is weighing you and me.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Understand me well, Lorenzo. I want to know if you will
  repeat to the judge, to the lawyers and all, no matter whom, whose
  business it will be to take possession of your abandoned fortune in
  the interests of the rightful owners, the story you told us a little
  while ago?

DON LORENZO. Yes.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. You will tell them everything?

DON LORENZO. I am bound to do so.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Hear me further. You will have to acknowledge Juana the
  nurse as your mother.

DON LORENZO. That is the only way left me to wipe away the stain of an
  iniquitous sentence. Here alone were reason sufficient to prove the
  crime of the silence you counsel.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. And here, I say, is reason sufficient to command silence as
  an imperative duty. Can't you see that if Juana be innocent of the
  wrong imputed, she is guilty of a much greater,—which is called
  illegal retention of personal rights? You know it well. Falsification
  of a family is quite as bad as degrading or destroying it. To deprive
  legitimate owners of their fortune is far worse than to lift a locket
  from the ground. To conceal an illegitimate birth under an honest name
  is the same as covering the plague-spot of vice with an ermine mantle.
  If Juana be your mother, all this has she done, and has persisted in
  the deception for forty years.

DON LORENZO. [_Moves away and grasps his head in both hands._] Silence,
  for God Almighty's sake, silence!

DOÑA ÁNGELA. That is just what I am begging of you—silence!

DON LORENZO. She is my mother.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What of that? He who can injure an innocent daughter need
  not trouble himself to respect a culpable mother. Is not divine law
  above human law? Is not justice first?—Justice, duty, and truth? Must
  not the command of the spirit ever triumph over the weaknesses of the
  flesh?

DON LORENZO. You speak well—but in spite of it you are raving. [_Moves
  away from her._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. And why? You seem already to be growing as ordinary and
  weak as any poor mother. Does duty not order you to let your daughter
  die? Then let her die. Does it not also command you to cast the dying
  Juana into a prison-cell? Then hasten to procure her condemnation. You
  see, Lorenzo, I have some logic too, in my own way.

DON LORENZO. Infernal logic.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. And yours? From what sublime sphere does it descend?

DON LORENZO. [_Moves still further off._] Let me be, let me be. I can
  stand no more. My own Inés—and my mother! What have I done to you,
  Ángela, that you should torture me so? [_Falls nervously into
  arm-chair at table._] My head burns; it is on fire.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Gently._] Lorenzo, Lorenzo.

DON LORENZO. Yes, you are right, and I am a poor fool. How can I know
  what I ought to do? Darkness envelops me. What is truth? What is
  falsehood?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Aside._] It was very cruel of me, but I have saved my
  child. He will not speak. [_Don Lorenzo seated, sinks down in chair,
  with his arms upon table, and hides his face in both hands. Doña
  Ángela approaches him caressingly and speaks tenderly._] Forgive me,
  Lorenzo.

DON LORENZO. Go away—in mercy leave me.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. I wanted to show you the abyss you were falling into. I
  wanted to save Inés, and to save you yourself from your own outbreak.

DON LORENZO. Yes, yes, Ángela. I understand, but leave me now.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Do you forgive me?

DON LORENZO. I forgive you—and love you. Poor Ángela, you too are
  suffering. But I desire to be alone.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Very well. I am going. But do not fret. We shall find some
  way out of the difficulty. I will tell Inés that you want to see
  her—you would like to speak to her and comfort her?

DON LORENZO. [_Submissively._] If she wishes it.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Then wait here, and I will come for you presently, and
  then, beside our child, together, at one in our desire and with a
  common will, you'll see that we shall get the better of fatality which
  now seems to crush us.

DON LORENZO. We'll conquer it, yes, we'll conquer it. [_Speaks
  unconsciously._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Good-bye, and don't bear me rancour.

DON LORENZO. Bear you rancour! I?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Then good-bye.


                                SCENE V

DON LORENZO. [_Seated at table in profound dejection. Fire burns redly,
  room enveloped in deep shadow. Pause._] Now I am alone. How the
  shadows play around me! The fire burns dull and red. So much the
  better. Darkness gathers. Come to my aid, obscurity! 'Tis now the hour
  when the conscience spreads its most luminous rays. I would do what is
  right, but then, I know not what is right. My will is strong enough,
  but reason is dimmed. Three names dance before my eyes in the black
  night that enshrouds me. Ángela, Juana, and Inés! Destiny leads me to
  my Calvary, and I ascend my cross of suffering without complaint. But
  you, my dear ones, you, Inés, why must you precede me, marking with
  your tears the way that is to tear my feet? I alone—but not you! My
  God, my God! how low the flame of conscience flickers, and how faint
  is my will! Despair, alas! holds me in its grip. I desire good, and
  seek it in Thee, O Lord. Come to my aid, answer to my call. Shadows
  that encircle me, space in which I most dolorously wander, time that
  is mine own eternity of pain, and thou, august silence, that dost hear
  me in thy consoling mood, call all of you upon your God whom my voice
  may not reach. Tell him that I would my daughter were spared, and that
  I implore the chalice of bitterness may pass her by, that I myself may
  drain it with my lips to the very dregs. Let all fall upon me, and let
  her live in all her loveliness and goodness and purity.—Not on her, my
  God, not on her! [_Drops his head on table in bitter weeping._]


                                SCENE VI

             _Don Lorenzo and Juana, who stands in door R._

DON LORENZO. A flickering shadow has passed before my eyes. Has it all
  been a dream? No, Juana is yonder, and the proof, the proof. [_Opens
  desk and takes out paper._] Here is the proof. Unhappily it is no
  dream. It is terrible and implacable reality. I have read it a hundred
  times, and can never weary of reading it: 'I have loved you like a
  son, although you are no child of ours.' 'Although you are no child of
  ours!'

JUANA. [_Aside, watching him._] He is reading—reading that letter
  written by one he believed to be his mother. I it is who am his
  mother—not another. [_Advances slowly._] How sad he looks! and there
  are tears in his eyes. In his eyes, do I say? Perhaps it is my own
  eyes, looking at him, that are wet. His eyes or mine! What matter?
  There are tears somewhere. [_Comes nearer._] He is crying. Why?
  Because I am his mother? But what of that, if nobody else knows my
  secret? I am so near death! Yes, death! I shall soon die. Cold and
  eternal night has already penetrated to the depths of my being. It is
  all dark within. [_Staggers and leans against the table. Don Lorenzo
  turns to her._]

DON LORENZO. Juana!

JUANA. Still that name.

DON LORENZO. Mother!

JUANA. It offends you that I am such—I see it.

DON LORENZO. Do you think so ill of me?

JUANA. Well, if it does not offend you, you are ashamed of me as your
  mother?

DON LORENZO. I ashamed of you! To-morrow the world will know that I am
  your son.

JUANA. To-morrow! What do you mean? [_With terror._] My hearing is dull,
  and I cannot rightly have understood what you said.

DON LORENZO. I made a mistake. Not to-morrow. You must leave Spain
  first, and then, when you are in some safe place, since man's justice
  can often be very cruel, I will proclaim the truth aloud. I will give
  up a name that is not mine, as well as an appropriated fortune. That
  is what I have decided to do.

JUANA. Christ above!

DON LORENZO. And then along with Ángela and my poor child I will join
  you.

JUANA. You, poor and dishonoured, with only a stained and contemptible
  name! And why? Wherefore? What compels you? Speak, my son. My wits
  forsake me. What forces you to it?

DON LORENZO. Conscience, mother, and your misdoing.

JUANA. You intend to tell the truth?

DON LORENZO. [_Angrily._] Why did you ever tell it to me? If I had known
  nothing about it I should not now be obliged to break my daughter's
  heart.

JUANA. Why? And you can ask me that? You don't understand? Oh,
  ungrateful son! [_Hides her face in her hands and sobs bitterly._]

DON LORENZO. Mother!

JUANA. Because I was dying, because I am dying—and I wanted you to know
  all that I had sacrificed for your sake before I went. And because I
  wished to hear you call me mother at least once. For that, and for no
  other reason. Because the heart within me rose to my throat and nearly
  choked me, till at last I could no longer command myself, and had to
  call you son.

DON LORENZO. I understand, mother, and do not blame you.

JUANA. But you will not do as you have just threatened? Say you will
  not. It would be infamous to your family and most cruel to me.

DON LORENZO. Cruel, yes, but not infamous. With this cruelty shall I
  wipe out all infamy.

JUANA. Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. Forgive me.

JUANA. [_Tragically._] You accuse me of having committed an infamy?

DON LORENZO. I have not said it.

JUANA. [_In stifled voice._] But it was for your sake—for your sake, my
  son. [_Don Lorenzo remains silent and gloomy, not looking toward his
  mother._] My God, I did it for his sake, and this is how he repays me!
  Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. Wrong may not prevail. The work of iniquity must fall into
  ruins beneath its own weight. My sacrifice will serve to wipe out your
  sin.

JUANA. Lorenzo! [_Don Lorenzo draws her to the light and places the
  letter in her hand, obliging her to read it._]

DON LORENZO. What does it say there?

JUANA. [_Sits down and reads with difficulty._] 'Forgive me, and may God
  inspire you.'

DON LORENZO. Well, mother, I have forgiven her, and prayed to Heaven for
  inspiration. Your entreaties are vain.


                               SCENE VII

            _Juana, Don Lorenzo, Doña Ángela enters door R._

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Standing in doorway._] Lorenzo, Inés wants you.

DON LORENZO. My daughter! I am coming. Excuse me, mother. I will return
  instantly.

JUANA. [_Detains him and speaks softly._] Now I know that you despise
  me; now I know that you hate me.

DON LORENZO. Mother!

JUANA. [_Grasps his arm._] But not for my sake, for hers—for the sake of
  that dear child.

DON LORENZO. [_Despairingly._] Not even for her sake.

JUANA. [_Falls into the arm-chair and covers her face with her hands.
  Exeunt Don Lorenzo and Doña Ángela._]


                               SCENE VIII

JUANA. [_Holding the paper in her hand._] Not even for her sake!
  [_Sobs._] Sacrifice yourself, Juana, for your son. Renounce his
  caresses, tear your breast with your nails on seeing him kiss another
  woman and call her mother; drink deeply of the tears of bitterness,
  and gather them in your heart until it overflows or bursts. Bear the
  brand of shame upon your brow, wear yourself out in poverty and sorrow
  in a garret for twenty years, with no other happiness or consolation
  than seeing him pass in his carriage from the distance. Oh, heavens, I
  am dying! [_Pause. She gets better._] Still,—still worse,—poor Juana!
  suffer all I have mentioned, and in exchange procure him wealth,
  reputation, celebrity—and at the last moment of your life come to him
  and only ask a kiss, only ask him to say once: 'How good you have been
  to me! How fondly you have loved me!' What will he say? Nothing of
  this. He will glance at you in austere sadness, and tell you that you
  have committed an infamy, and that he must wipe out your crime,—that
  your work is—a work of iniquity. A work of iniquity! Oh, Lorenzo, my
  son! Why are you so cruel? Why do you cast from you in contempt all
  that I gave you at the price of my own happiness? See what tears you
  cost me! [_Changes her voice and crosses R. with a desperate
  gesture._] And my sacrifice has been in vain. I have forfeited my own
  happiness and lost his too. Mad woman, egoist! Why did I tell him the
  truth? [_Pause._] But it must not be, it must not be. No, the work of
  iniquity will not fall into ruins yet a while. Poor visionary! I will
  deny everything. [_In a dead voice._] You will be happy and rich and
  powerful whether you like it or no. He put the sole proof into my
  hand. [_Takes up the paper._] Very well, then. Between his mother and
  his daughter he will be saved. Strange coincidence! She, calling for
  him, obliges him to go away, and I stay behind. Ah, let us exhaust
  what little strength remains. So, a little nearer still, through the
  darkness—just so dark a night was it when my mistress came to my
  bedside and murmuring asked: 'Would you have your child rich and
  happy?' And first I doubted, and then I consented—and now—and now I
  still say 'yes.' [_Reaches table. Pause._] Is Lorenzo coming back?
  [_Listens._] Yes, I think he is coming. He will ask me for the letter
  as he did before. Here, to the fire with it. [_Tries to walk, but
  cannot._] I hear his voice. Strength fails me. I have no time. He will
  come. No, I will not give it up. Once more it is in my hands. Ah, now
  I know, now I know. I will slip a clean sheet into the envelope so
  that he may notice nothing. [_Does this._] Lorenzo calls it a work of
  iniquity. My poor boy, he is in some things as innocent as a child.
  Thus—thus, I leave it where it was—and this other goes to the flames.
  [_Throws paper into the fire and stoops to watch it burn._] Now it is
  in flames. See how luminously they quiver upon my mistress's portrait.
  [_Looks at portrait upon the wall._] And now, see, it is in ashes—that
  which was the only proof. The only one? No: another still remains—it
  is I—and soon that also will be ashes. [_Pause._] Now I will go to my
  room. [_Moves._] My God, how weak I have grown! [_Moves again with an
  effort._] But I have saved him. Felicity, fortune are his—I cannot
  see,—I cannot see. The light is dim. Is it the light or my eyes that
  are dim? [_Approaches table, takes up candle and walks again._] Light,
  light! where is my room? Shadows! All is darkness. Alas, alas, I
  cannot, I cannot [_Lets candle fall. Room is only lit by the red
  reflection of the fire. She falls between fireplace and table._]


                                SCENE IX

_Juana, Duchess, Don Lorenzo, Doña Ángela, and Inés. The latter enters
  R. Don Lorenzo tries to get away from his daughter, who stands at door
  in white; behind her, half hidden by curtains, the Duchess and Doña
  Ángela._

DON LORENZO. [_Coming down the stage._] No more, no more. It is the last
  test,—the last, yes. But, oh, how my will fainted.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_To Inés._] Follow him. Do not leave him alone. He will
  give in.

INÉS. Why do you fly from me, father? [_Advances a little, behind her
  the duchess and Doña Ángela. This scene must be strongly marked and
  fantastic. Don Lorenzo, in the middle of the stage, evinces in his
  attitude, manner, and expression that he is undergoing a desperate
  inward struggle. Inés, delicate-looking and charming, approaches him
  slowly, and Doña Ángela and duchess, in black, follow, encouraging
  her. Juana dying; the study is quite dark save for the glimmer of the
  firelight which shows out Inés sharply._]

DON LORENZO. Here lies my real temptation. Oh, how lovely she is! What
  an aureola of divine beauty encircles her head—the sole ray of light
  in this heavy darkness.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Aside to Inés._] Do you see? He cannot resist you.
  Implore him, implore him, my child.

INÉS. [_Advancing._] Kiss me, father.

DON LORENZO. [_Retreating._] Alas for me if those dear arms should clasp
  themselves like a halter round my neck!

JUANA. [_Aside._] A halter round the neck! He is right.

INÉS. For the love of God, father, for the love of me, for all the tears
  shed by those eyes you used to kiss so fondly when I was a child.
  [_Lifts her hands to her eyes, and then offers them to Don Lorenzo to
  kiss._] See how the drops still flow from my eyelids. My fingers are
  wet with them. Kiss them, and let your lips taste of their bitterness.

DON LORENZO. Yes—I will kiss them—I will kiss them—but, alas! if one of
  mine should fall upon them.

JUANA. [_Aside._] Fall, fall, so he said. I also am falling into the
  bottomless abyss. But first, first I must embrace my son.

INÉS. Father! [_Don Lorenzo retreats. Doña Ángela, Inés and the duchess
  follow him._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Lorenzo!

JUANA. 'Twas Lorenzo they called. There—there—I see something.

DON LORENZO. No, no—a thousand times, no. Would you degrade me?

INÉS. And you, father—who would believe it?—would kill me. If not, why
  do you seek to place an obstacle between me and the love of my life?

DON LORENZO. No, my Inés, no—the duchess—it is the duchess.

INÉS. It is not true. The duchess consents.

DON LORENZO. At the cost of my honour.

DUCHESS. Not so, Inés. In exchange for silence.

INÉS. Don't you hear her, father?

DON LORENZO. [_Moving away and repulsing her._] I only hear voices
  begging my conscience of me. I only see shadows pursuing me through
  the shadows—phantasms of space, engendered by temptation. Leave me,
  leave me—in God's name. If you are strong enough to wring my heart, at
  least you are not strong enough to bend my will.

JUANA. His voice! Lorenzo, Lorenzo! [_Comes over to embrace him._]

DON LORENZO. Mother! [_Embraces her._]

INÉS. [_Taking refuge behind Doña Ángela._] Whose voice is that? Who is
  that woman? What shade is that which has come out of the darkness and
  encircles my father with its arms? I'm afraid.

DON LORENZO. Juana! my mother!

INÉS. His mother! Why does he call her mother?

DON LORENZO. Because she's my mother, and because I should call her so.

JUANA. I? his mother? Good gracious, what an idea! How I wish it were
  so!

DUCHESS. Do you hear—do you hear what she says?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. She denies it.

DON LORENZO. [_Violently._] You are my mother.

JUANA. Ah, my poor Lorenzo. [_Laughs with an effort, embraces him, and
  whispers._] Child of my heart!

DON LORENZO. On your life, repeat aloud what you have just whispered to
  me.

JUANA. I whispered! Well, what did I say? To be his mother! Could I wish
  for a greater blessing?

DON LORENZO. [_Furiously._] Ah, you deny it.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. [_With increasing fury._] Do you deny that you are my
  mother?

JUANA. Why not?

DON LORENZO. [_Despairingly._] You denied me at the hour of my birth,
  and again you deny me at the hour of your death.

JUANA. [_Clasping him closely, so that in the darkness it is not
  possible to discern if they are embracing, or if Don Lorenzo has
  caught her in his rage._] Child of my love! [_Whispers in a dying
  voice._]

DON LORENZO. [_Deliriously._] That's so, that's so.

JUANA. I am dying.

DON LORENZO. No, mother.

DUCHESS. Heavens! Is the man going to kill her? Help! [_Runs to door
  R._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Edward—doctor!

DON LORENZO. Mother, mother!

JUANA. No,—God help me!—no, not that.


                                SCENE X

_Don Lorenzo, Juana, Inés, Doña Ángela, Duchess, Dr. Tomás, and Edward.
  Latter two enter R. with lights, all help to separate Juana and Don
  Lorenzo._

DR. TOMÁS. Come, come.

DON LORENZO. My mother—forgive me, forgive me. You don't wish me to call
  you mother—my mother.

JUANA. Farewell.

DON LORENZO. Juana! [_Juana makes a terrible effort, and rises as if
  wounded in the heart by the name of Juana; falls back._]

DR. TOMÁS. Dead!

DON LORENZO. No, it cannot be. [_Embraces her._] I killed her by calling
  her mother,—and the last cry she heard from my lips was Juana. Ah, my
  God, my God! Why hast thou punished her so hardly, and why hast thou
  forsaken me?

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                ACT III

                     SCENE—_Same as previous Acts_


                                SCENE I

                    _Dr. Tomás. Afterwards servant._

DR. TOMÁS. Everything is quiet. The girl's sobbing can no longer be
  heard, and Don Lorenzo's fury is calmed. 'Tis but the gentle precursor
  of a fresh tempest. [_Pause._] There are moments when I doubt and
  vacillate. He,—he,—my good friend, poor Lorenzo—the very idea gives me
  no rest. Well, well, we shall soon know the truth now,—meanwhile,
  courage. I have sacred obligations to fulfil towards this afflicted
  family. Nobody could more earnestly desire to help them than I.

SERVANT. A gentleman, accompanied by two—really sir, I don't know what
  to call them—but their dress,—well, the gentleman has given me his
  card for you, and they are all waiting outside.

DR. TOMÁS. [_Looking at card._] Ah, Doctor Bermúdez. Show him in.

SERVANT. And the other two?

DR. TOMÁS. Let them wait. [_Exit servant._] As the hour approaches my
  doubts and my anxiety increase. Poor Doña Ángela! what a blow for her!
  And in what a state of nervous agitation is her unhappy daughter! How
  lucid her glance, and how quick her intelligence! Nobody has explained
  the matter to her, and yet I believe she knows everything. She guesses
  what she does not precisely know, and suspects what she does not
  guess. Oh, no; the situation cannot be prolonged. However sad reality
  may be, we have to face it.


                                SCENE II

_Dr. Tomás, Dr. Bermúdez. Afterwards two keepers, attired like
  gentlemen, but evincing that they are not such. Dr. Tomás advances
  with outstretched hand._

DR. TOMÁS. Doctor.

BERMÚDEZ. Dr. Tomás.

DR. TOMÁS. Punctual as ever.

BERMÚDEZ. No, I am a little early. I want to hide these fellows
  somewhere.

DR. TOMÁS. Yes, yes, I understand.

BERMÚDEZ. I have made them dress so as to avert suspicion in Don
  Lorenzo. This is a case for such general precautions.

DR. TOMÁS. Quite so, quite so. We must proceed with great caution. It
  was an access of fury, a veritable access of fury, as I told you. He
  has only had one, the other night. Perhaps I am mistaken.

BERMÚDEZ. I sincerely hope so—and you, too, I am sure.

DR. TOMÁS. Ah, my friend, I scarce know what I am doing. But we trust in
  your science, your experience, and profound penetration to relieve us
  of our present doubt.

BERMÚDEZ. You flatter me. You also are a doctor——

DR. TOMÁS. Don't count on me, Bermúdez. I am good for nothing. I declare
  myself incompetent. It is a question of my best friend, of a brother
  almost. Besides, he has always struck me—you know my school. There is
  not a divisional line between reason and madness.

BERMÚDEZ. Quite true. All men of learning are more or less insane.

DR. TOMÁS. Precisely. Excitement of the brain beyond certain limits——

BERMÚDEZ. That's it. What we have to do is to see what can be done with
  Don Lorenzo. Now these two fellows——

DR. TOMÁS. Oh, it will be easy enough to invent a tale. We'll call them
  witnesses—say they've come with the notary—anything, in fact. Poor
  Lorenzo is not in a condition to take note of details.

BERMÚDEZ. Where will they wait?

DR. TOMÁS. [_Pointing to door R._] Inside that door.

BERMÚDEZ. [_Going up the stage._] Here, Braulio! {_Enter two keepers,
  rather heavy and rough in appearance._]

DR. TOMÁS. Go into that closet. You will be called if
  necessary,—meanwhile, remain quiet. [_Keepers salute and enter closet
  R._] Since Juana's death Don Lorenzo has not used this room. [_To
  Bermúdez._] With the door shut—— [_Shuts it._]

BERMÚDEZ. [_Looking at his watch._] I will be with you in a moment. I'll
  be back again before the notary arrives. I'm only off somewhere in the
  neighbourhood.

DR. TOMÁS. A visit?

BERMÚDEZ. Yes; a very strange case of insanity. [_Enter Doña Ángela C.,
  who stands looking at Bermúdez._] She's——? [_To Dr. Tomás, glancing at
  Doña Ángela._]

DR. TOMÁS. Yes—his wife. Don't say anything to her.

BERMÚDEZ. [_Aside to Dr. Tomás._] I'll be back shortly. Your servant,
  madam. [_Salutes Doña Ángela, and exit C._]


                               SCENE III

_Doña Ángela and Dr. Tomás. Doña Ángela follows Bermúdez with her eyes,
  then glances towards the closet where keepers are concealed._

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Who was that going away? And who were the two men that
  accompanied him?

DR. TOMÁS. Don't be alarmed, dear madam. It will be all right. These are
  only ordinary precautions, for, who knows? Don Lorenzo might have
  another access of fury like that of the night before last, and for
  your sakes—for his own——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Oh, doctor, don't hint such a thing.

DR. TOMÁS. Don't you remember with what frenzy he grasped poor Juana's
  dying body? Now that nobody is listening, in all confidence let me say
  that I firmly believe he was the determining cause——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Tomás, Tomás!

DR. TOMÁS. Well, at any rate he hastened her death. You heard how
  bitterly he accused himself in his delirium. Don't let us forge
  illusions. It was a real access of——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Sobbing._] Lorenzo, my husband!

DR. TOMÁS. The crisis may return, for to-day——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Yes, I know what his intention is. Ah, doctor, how
  unfortunate we are! How unfortunate my poor Lorenzo is!

DR. TOMÁS. What is he doing now?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. He is quite calm. He writes, and walks about. He wants to
  be continually with Inés and me, because solitude terrifies him. A
  moment ago he stared at me mournfully, but with such tenderness, and
  kissed me, murmuring, 'poor Ángela.'

DR. TOMÁS. You must not contradict him.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. No, doctor. We agree with him in everything.

DR. TOMÁS. And he still persists in the same idea?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Yes. From time to time he asks what o'clock it is, gets
  impatient with the notary's delay, and then mutters in an undertone:
  'Though all the world should oppose me, I must do it.'

DR. TOMÁS. What a fellow! What character!

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Oh, doctor, for the love of God, don't deceive me. Tell me,
  do you really believe Lorenzo to be—to be,—no, I can't—I can't bring
  myself to pronounce the horrible word.

DR. TOMÁS. I don't yet know what to believe. We shall soon see, my dear
  friend, we shall see. It was precisely to be relieved once and for all
  of intolerable anxiety that I asked Dr. Bermúdez to call. He is the
  first authority upon all such cases.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. But it is impossible, it is surely impossible.

DR. TOMÁS. It would rejoice me to learn so, and we need not lose hope.
  But impossible, madam! Ah, human reason is so slight a thing.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Oh, my dear husband! No, I cannot bear—it cannot be.

DR. TOMÁS. Come, come, Doña Ángela. Have sense and courage, if only for
  your daughter's sake, for poor Inés. And who knows yet? We have to see
  if Don Lorenzo has any explanation to offer—any proof——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What proof can he have? Even the dying Juana cried out to
  him, 'No, no, you are not my son,' while he, frenzied and delirious,
  grasped her in his arms and strove to force an impossible confession
  from the half dead body, calling her 'mother' in the strident voice of
  dementia. No, you can't console me, friend. It is useless. I foresee
  that our misfortune is inevitable.

DR. TOMÁS. I almost fear so.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. And then his way of receiving the duchess, he who is always
  the pink of courtesy, a finished gentleman——

DR. TOMÁS. You are right. On that occasion I understood how it was with
  him. But who can be resigned when fate strikes so suddenly?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Adoring a child as he adores Inés, is there anybody who
  could act as he proposes to act to-day?

DR. TOMÁS. Nobody, madam, nobody in his right mind.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Have you told Dr. Bermúdez?

DR. TOMÁS. Not everything. That would be dangerous. But quite enough to
  enable him to pronounce an opinion.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. And what is it?

DR. TOMÁS. Am I to speak fully?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Yes, yes, doctor. Conceal nothing. I know there is no
  remedy.

DR. TOMÁS. With skillful treatment, separated from everybody, especially
  from those whose presence could only serve to exasperate his nervous
  sensibility by very reason of his affection for them——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Tomás!

DR. TOMÁS. In some good asylum here in Spain or abroad——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What! What is it you say? Separate him from us! Take him
  away! He—he—never. I am his wife. I will never consent to it.

DR. TOMÁS. The sight of Inés will aggravate his delirium.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Her absence would be his death.

DR. TOMÁS. He smothered that poor woman to death.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. There you are wrong, Tomás. With her father Inés runs no
  risk. She is his daughter.

DR. TOMÁS. He believed Juana to be his mother.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. It must not be, Tomás, it must not be. Why can't you find a
  way of relieving my anguish instead of torturing me so?

DR. TOMÁS. Doña Ángela!

DOÑA ÁNGELA. It is true, my friend, 'twould indeed be no easy matter to
  find consolation for such a sorrow as mine.

DR. TOMÁS. There is no human sorrow inconsolable, however great it may
  be.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Oh, but mine is.

DR. TOMÁS. Yours still less than many others. Come, let us discuss it
  dispassionately.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. How can I, with fever running fire in my veins?

DR. TOMÁS. Hear me out. If what Don Lorenzo asserts be true, if there
  were irrefragable proofs——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Then my poor husband would not be out of his mind. We it
  would be who are blind and foolish. Oh, what a blessing that would be!

DR. TOMÁS. Not so great, for in that case you would have to face
  poverty, dishonour—death even.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Hush, Tomás.

DR. TOMÁS. I say death advisedly, for Inés would most certainly die of
  it. On the other hand, if Lorenzo's calamity be proved——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Don't continue. I can't bear to think of it.

DR. TOMÁS. But think of Inés, and in thinking of her you will see that,
  terrible as the wound is—we must acknowledge the fact, sad as it is—it
  is by no means a mortal wound. For youth, what alone is mortal is to
  destroy the future—not simply precipitate the past into nothingness.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. For mercy's sake, Tomás!

DR. TOMÁS. The happiness of Inés' lifetime depends upon her father's
  calamity—don't forget it.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Let God's will be done, but do not seek to awaken ideas
  rather fitted to frighten than to comfort me.


                                SCENE IV

                  _Ángela, Dr. Tomás, Don Lorenzo R._

DON LORENZO. [_Aside._] But where have I left the key? Oh, my head! and
  the notary will be here presently. I left the letter in the desk. I
  remember quite well. Two days ago, when my mother——

DR. TOMÁS. [_Without seeing Don Lorenzo._] Poor Doña Ángela! The proof
  [ordeal] will be a terrible one.

DON LORENZO. What? What are they saying? The proof! yes; they are
  speaking of the proof. [_Looks eagerly about the table for key of
  desk._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Yes, it will be a terrible one—very terrible to walk
  between two precipices. Lorenzo on the one side, Inés on the other.
  You are right indeed.

DON LORENZO. [_Aloud, angrily._] I have lost it.

DR. TOMÁS. [_Aside, turning round._] I should think you have,
  unfortunate man.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. Ah, they're there. [_Recognises them with a suspicious
  glance._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Gently._] What are you looking for? We will help you.

DON LORENZO. You! no. Wherefore? It is my work.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. But at least tell us what you have lost.

DON LORENZO. Everything—even the love of mine own. Say if there can be
  more for me to lose.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. No, Lorenzo, do not believe it.

DON LORENZO. At last! The key. Heaven be praised! [_Aside,
  distrustfully._] It was there—it was in the lock. [_Opens desk and
  takes out the paper Juana placed there._] Ah, here it is. I breathe
  again freely. [_Reads._] 'For Lorenzo.' This is the paper.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Approaching._] Have you found what you were looking for?

DON LORENZO. Yes. [_Dr. Tomás also approaches._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What paper is it?

_Don Lorenzo makes a movement to take paper out of envelope, but seeing
  Dr. Tomás and Doña Ángela come nearer, he puts it back in desk, locks
  it, and pockets the key._]

DON LORENZO. A very important one. [_Looks from one to the other angrily
and suspiciously._] But why do you want to know?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Don't be offended, Lorenzo. Forgive me if I have committed an
indiscretion.

DON LORENZO. I forgive! It is I who want your forgiveness. Through me,
through my fault, are you about to be plunged into misery.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Do not say so. We could never be miserable, you being happy.

DON LORENZO. And I, could I be happy, fortune having deserted you and my
beloved child?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. She, too, will be happy.

DON LORENZO. Impossible, for you know what I am thinking of.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. You have told me. Don't you remember?

DON LORENZO. [_To Dr. Tomás._] And you?

DR. TOMÁS. I also know.

DON LORENZO. You approve?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Sweetly._] Whatever you do will be well done.

DON LORENZO. [_To Dr. Tomás_] What have you to say?

DR. TOMÁS. The same.

DON LORENZO. [_Thoughtfully._] 'The same.' What conformity of opinion! Do
you know that I have sent for a notary?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. We know it.

DON LORENZO. [_Looking at both._] You know it. And do you likewise know
that I am about to have a legal act drawn up containing my formal
declaration and renunciation?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Yes, Lorenzo.

DON LORENZO. So that the judge may then ordain as the law directs? Is it
not so?

DR. TOMÁS. It is natural.

DON LORENZO. [_To Doña Ángela._] What do you say to it?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_In weeping voice._] If this wealth we now enjoy is not
legally yours—you do well.

DR. TOMÁS. If the name you bear is not yours, you must certainly give it
up.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. In any case your will is law.

DON LORENZO. Yes, but a tyrannical law, an impious law—eh?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Still, a law that I respect above all others.

DON LORENZO. [_Nervous, unquiet, almost irritable._] And you don't resist
it? You don't struggle against it?

DR. TOMÁS. Your conduct is that of a man of honour. Strictly speaking,
there is nothing else for you to do.

DON LORENZO. What unheard-of submission! What extraordinary docility! What
a sudden change! You are deceiving me. I tell you, you are lying to me.
[_Violently._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. For pity's sake, Lorenzo.

DR. TOMÁS. [_Aside._] Ah, there is no hope. Like a black wave dementia has
spread over his mind.

DON LORENZO. [_More calmly._] Well, well, better so. [_Pause. Approaches
Doña Ángela affectionately._] Where is Inés?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. My poor child!

DON LORENZO. You don't defend her against me? [_Then gently._]
Nevertheless, it is your duty.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Alas, Lorenzo, what strength has your wretched wife to use
against you? Your will grows iron in strife and calamity; mine bends to
the very dust.

DON LORENZO. You are right. My will is irresistible when duty orders me.
[_To Dr. Tomás._] What do you think of all this?

DR. TOMÁS. That it should be so.

DON LORENZO. So it is. [_Pause._] Poor Ángela! And do you know what we are
going to do once the act is signed and the proof given up?

DR. TOMÁS. You have a proof?

DON LORENZO. You didn't know. [_Aside, wondering._] (And they were talking
about it when I entered!) Yes, I have it, irrefutable, past doubt, clear
as daylight, although it is black as night and treason.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Keep calm, Lorenzo.

DR. TOMÁS. Then what is it?

DON LORENZO. A letter of my mother's—of the woman who called herself my
mother.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Aside._] Good Heavens! Can it be true?

DON LORENZO. Her signature, her handwriting—it is here—in my power.

DR. TOMÁS. [_Aside._] Ah, if it were so.

DON LORENZO. Then when the proof is delivered up, you, my poor Inés, and I
will at once leave this house—this house which already has ceased to be
ours, and which this very day the law will take into possession until it
is handed over to the heirs of Avendaña. [_With increasing animation._]
And in a little while we shall wander forth without resources, without a
name, bearing a dying child in our arms—for have you not assured us that
Inés will die? [_to Dr. Tomás_]—fronting a despairing solitude——no,
'twas not well said—I blasphemed. We will bear away with us an unstained
honour and a tranquil conscience, and our heads will be held high, while
God is with us. What matter if the world forsake us, thus accompanied?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Embracing him._] Before, I said with my lips only: 'Your
will is law, Lorenzo.' Now I say it with my heart.

DR. TOMÁS. [_Aside._] If the proof exists, this man is a saint. But, alas!
if it does not exist, the unfortunate fellow is nothing but a lunatic.
[_Enter servant._]

SERVANT. The Duchess of Almonte, and his Grace the Duke.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Show them in. [_To Dr. Tomás._] Have you informed them?

DR. TOMÁS. [_To Doña Ángela._] I told them last night. The duchess
promised to come. You see, she has kept her word.

DON LORENZO. I cannot see them. I must be alone, unless you are with
me—only you. Good-bye, Ángela.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Good-bye, Lorenzo.

DON LORENZO. [_Looking at his watch._] How slowly time passes! [_Goes to
door R. Dr. Tomás follows him._] Have you given notice to the witnesses?
[_At door._]

DR. TOMÁS. I have two inside waiting, and another will be here presently.

DON LORENZO. Who are they?

DR. TOMÁS. You don't know them. They are friends of mine.

DON LORENZO. And why not mine too?

DR. TOMÁS. I always considered my friends as yours.

DON LORENZO. [_Looks at him for a moment._] So they are. [_Aside._] Ah,
this complaisance! I would have preferred to see them resist—struggle
against me!


                                SCENE V

            _Doña Ángela, the Duchess, Edward, and Dr. Tomás._

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Duchess!

DUCHESS. Madam! [_Salutes affectionately._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. You are always so good to us.

DUCHESS. It is my duty to offer the consolations of sincere friendship
  in your cruel trouble. God has willed that the same misfortune should
  strike us all though in different ways. [_Lowers her voice and points
  to Edward on uttering the last word._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. But what then do you call the misfortune that has struck
  me? I know not.

EDWARD. Well, madam, the moment for naming it has arrived. It is called
  poverty, and shame, and the death of Inés, or——

DOÑA ÁNGELA _and_ DUCHESS, [_At same time._] Edward!

EDWARD. Forgive me, mother. We should each and all speak out the truth
  to-day. You have already said: 'I will compromise with Don Lorenzo's
  calamity for the sake of the love I bear you and that which you bear
  me; but I will never compromise with his public dishonour,—never, not
  even for the price of your life.' My life, mother, was it not so 'twas
  said?

DUCHESS. [_With energy, but sadly._] Yes.

EDWARD. [_Going toward Doña Ángela._] Then, madam, let us probe the
  misfortune that has struck you. Whether is it called dishonour or
  madness? This is the problem we have to solve. Should Don Lorenzo be
  correct, should he be in his sound senses, should there be proof
  forthcoming of his assertion, it is for us to respect his cruel
  virtue. But if, as I (by a thousand signs that almost constitute
  evidence) believe, an eternal cloud has dimmed his intellect, and the
  light of his reason is for ever quenched,—then defend yourself, Doña
  Ángela. It is your most sacred duty. Defend the name you bear, your
  social position, even Don Lorenzo's honour, against his own raving;
  defend,—why should I keep it back?—Inés' life and her life's felicity.
  Do not, madam, leave such almighty interests and so dear an object at
  the mercy of a madman.

DUCHESS. Edward!

EDWARD. The word is a harsh one, but the time has come to pronounce it.
  Once for all, let us learn the fact whether this battle for reputation
  and existence into which Don Lorenzo has cast us is what it seems or
  what I fear:—whether, finally, the heroic sacrifice of this implacable
  scholar is insanity or sanctity.

DUCHESS. Enough, Edward. [_Doña Ángela sits down on sofa, weeping
  bitterly. Duchess goes over to her._]

DR. TOMÁS. [_To Edward._] The happiness of this family affects me as
  closely as my own. What you propose to do has already been considered,
  and both the law and science will be called in to decide.

DUCHESS. I hope to Heaven the darkness will be illuminated for you. [_To
  Doña Ángela._] Come, come, madam: courage, resignation! Where is Inés?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Do you wish to see her?

DUCHESS. Yes.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Come, then. [_To Dr. Tomás._] And you too. I would like you
  to see her. For the past three days fever alone has lent her strength.
  My daughter, my dear child is very ill.

DR. TOMÁS. Poor girl!

                         [_Exeunt Doña Ángela, Duchess, and Dr. Tomás._]


                                SCENE VI

EDWARD. They persist in doubting. What blindness! They can't understand
  that the unfortunate gentleman, from force of seeking, not the
  righting of wrongs, like the Errant Knight, but the reason of all the
  varied rights invented by the accumulated wisdom of centuries, has
  ended by losing the only one that Providence saw fit to bestow upon
  him—namely, natural reason. Oh, but this must not be. I cannot allow
  them to sacrifice my dear one's life to the extravagances of a poor
  madman.


                               SCENE VII

       _Edward, Inés, comes out by closet R., where the keepers are
                 concealed, agitated, and as if fleeing._

INÉS. What are those men? Who are they?

EDWARD. [_Rushing towards her._] Inés, my beloved! How pale you are!
  Your divine glance is hemmed round by deep purple shadow.

INÉS. But answer me. Who are they? What are they waiting for? Send them
  away. [_Approaches the door cautiously and peeps in; Edward endeavours
  to lead her down the stage._] There is something sinister about them.
  My father—where is my father? I was looking for him between the
  drawing-room and yonder closet, and I saw them—I can't bear the sight
  of them, and yet I cannot take my eyes from off them.

EDWARD. But what is the matter with you, dearest? Why do your eyes seem
  to shun me? Is it from me that you are running away? Inés, have you
  wearied of my love?

INÉS. [_Coming down the stage._] Wearied of your love? You must know
  that it is my life. But oh, Edward, to what a frightful ordeal fate
  has subjected us! You do not understand it. For me supreme bliss lies
  in your love, and the hope I place in your love is a still greater
  bliss—a far, far greater. The one is our present, the other contains
  all our future. And yet, Edward, dearest, that same hope has now
  become a crime for your Inés, yes, a crime. Can a cruelty more
  exquisite be conceived? That which destiny denies no other living
  being it denies me. Yesterday I was but a child. My thoughts floated
  upon laughter in a sphere of white transparency, like a vapoury mist
  in moonlight. To-day they are as heavy as lead, as burning as lava.
  Could you but hear their horrible whispers in the silence of night.
  And these thoughts are not mine. It is not my will that gives them
  birth. They come I know not whence. I cast them from me, and still
  they return. They vex me with chiding complaints: 'your poor father,'
  one moment, and then assail me with tempting voices, murmuring: 'Inés,
  Inés, who knows?—you may yet be happy—love may yet smile upon
  you—hope, hope, poor little thing.' Can you think of anything more
  horrible—surely it must be my bad angel—than to hear within oneself
  the voice of Satan whispering of hope to one bidden to say farewell to
  it?

EDWARD. You are not yourself, my dear Inés.

INÉS. [_Approaching Edward._] I am filled with remorse.

EDWARD. For what?

INÉS. I don't know. I have done nothing wrong. My father! My poor
  father!

EDWARD. You angel of my life, my heart's desire, be calm, be calm. I beg
  of you to spare yourself.

INÉS. Whisper, Edward. I could almost wish I were dead.


                               SCENE VIII

          _Don Lorenzo, Inés, and Edward. Don Lorenzo enters C.,
                      and stands listening to Inés._

DON LORENZO. [_Aside._] Dead, she said?

EDWARD. You dead! No, Inés, don't say such a thing.

INÉS. Why not? If I do not die of sorrow—should fortune ever again smile
  upon me, then must I die of remorse.

DON LORENZO. [_Aside._] Of remorse! She! Should fortune ever again smile
  upon her! What worse fate floats in the air and hangs threateningly
  above my head? Remorse!—I have again caught another passing word. I
  traverse rooms and galleries, and wander from one place to another,
  pricked by insufferable anguish. I hear talk that I do not understand,
  and meet glances still further from my comprehension. I see tears
  here, smiles there, and nobody opposes me,—all either fly from me or
  watch me. [_Aloud._] What is this? What is this?

INÉS. [_Rushing to his arms._] Oh, father!

DON LORENZO. Inés, how white you are? Whence this dolorous constriction
  of your lips? Why do you essay a smile only to end in sobbing? How
  lovely she is in her sorrow! And it is all my fault.

INÉS. No, father.

DON LORENZO. I am cruel. Oh, if you do not say it, you think it.

EDWARD. Inés is too sweet-natured to harbour rebellious thoughts. But we
  who see her suffer cannot help thinking and saying it for her.

DON LORENZO. It is but natural you should do so.

EDWARD. [_Passionately._] Then if I am right, you are wrong.

DON LORENZO. I am not in the wrong for that. There is something more
  pallid than the white brow of a lovesick maid; there are tears sadder
  far than the crystal drops of her beautiful eyes, something still
  crueller than the curving smiles of her lips, and something yet more
  tragic than the death of our beloved.

EDWARD. [_With violence and contempt._] What is this worse pallor, these
  sadder tears, and still mournfuller tragedies?

DON LORENZO. [_Seizing his arm._] Madman! The pallor of crime, the tears
  of remorse, the consciousness of one's own infamy.

EDWARD. And this infamy, this remorse, this crime would lie in
  furthering your daughter's happiness?

DON LORENZO. [_Despairingly._] It should not be—but so it is
  nevertheless. [_Pause._] And this makes my torment. This is the idea
  that will drive me mad.

INÉS. No, no, father. You must not say that. Do what you think best
  without thought of me. What does it matter whether I live or die?

DON LORENZO. Inés!

INÉS. Only, do not be uncertain in it—above all, do not let others see
  your uncertainty. Let your speech be clear and persuasive, as it is
  now, and do not let worry blind you. Be calm, father. I implore you by
  all that is sacred.

DON LORENZO. What do you mean? I do not understand.

INÉS. Do I myself know rightly what I mean? Adieu, adieu. I cannot bear
  to grieve you.

EDWARD. [_To Don Lorenzo._] Alas, if 'twere possible for you to take
  counsel with your heart, and silence the prompting of thought.

INÉS. [_To Edward._] Do not vex him. Come with me—if you thwart him
  maybe 'twill force his hate.

DON LORENZO. Poor child!—she also is struggling—but she will conquer.
  She is not my daughter for nothing.

  [_Utters this proudly. Inés and Edward go up the stage; passing the
  door of the closet, Inés sees the keepers, and makes a movement of
  horror._]

INÉS. What sinister vision is it that frights my gaze? Those men? Oh,
  father, do not enter there.

EDWARD. Come, Inés, come.

INÉS. [_To her father._] No, no. I beseech you, father.

DON LORENZO. [_Going towards her._] Inés!

INÉS. Those men—there—look! [_Points to closet. Don Lorenzo stands and
  follows her eyes. At that moment the keepers, hearing her cry, lift
  the curtain and show themselves._]

EDWARD. [_Leading Inés away._] At last!


                                SCENE IX

              _Don Lorenzo, Braulio and Benito._ [_Pause._]

DON LORENZO. Who can they be? Enter, pray. [_The keepers advance
  timidly, and speak abruptly._]

BRAULIO. Dr. Tomás——

DON LORENZO. [_Aside._] Ah, I understand.

BENITO. Told us to wait there——

DON LORENZO. Excuse me, I did not know——

BRAULIO. Not at all, sir.

DON LORENZO. [_Aside._] How odd they look, in sooth. Pray, be seated.

BENITO. Thanks, sir.

BRAULIO. We are well enough standing.

DON LORENZO. I cannot permit it——

BRAULIO. Don't trouble yourself, sir.

BENITO. If the gentleman orders it, it is better to take a seat. [_Both
  sit down on sofa. Don Lorenzo remains standing._]

DON LORENZO. [_Aside._] Their looks seem to bode no good, or is it,
  perhaps, that my eyes only reflect the flashes that dart across my
  mind? [_Inspects them again attentively. Aloud._] It was Miss Avendaña
  who saw you when she passed, and mentioned it to me.

BRAULIO. Yes, that beautiful young lady.

BENITO. Who looked so sorrowful.

BRAULIO. Like the picture of the Dolorosa. [_The keepers speak shortly,
  and after these remarks fall into sudden silence, remaining stiff and
  immovable, looking vaguely before them._]

DON LORENZO. You frightened her, and she almost ran away at the sight of
  you. But you must not be astonished. The poor girl is very ill—indeed,
  she is scarce other than a child yet.

BRAULIO. [_Smiling sillily._] It always happens to us in every house.

DON LORENZO. [_Aside, wondering._] In every house!

BENITO. [_Looking for the first time at Don Lorenzo, and again looking
  steadily in front of him._] Can she be that poor gentleman's
  daughter,—eh?

DON LORENZO. What poor gentleman?

BENITO. [_Without looking at him._] The gentleman who is—— [_Touches his
  forehead, still not looking at Don Lorenzo, who, unobserved by the
  keepers, makes a gesture of surprise._]

DON LORENZO. [_Aside._] Ah—no—what an idea! [_Aloud, with an effort of
  self-control._] Just so. She is the daughter of—— [_Observes them with
  increasing anxiety._]

BENITO. Well, she is very beautiful, though so sad.

BRAULIO. 'Tis reason enough she has to be sad.

DON LORENZO. You know——?

BRAULIO. Everything. [_Looks a moment at Don Lorenzo and then away._]

DON LORENZO. Dr. Tomás told you?

BENITO. Not to us.

BRAULIO. He told the doctor.

BENITO. Why should he talk to us? We, in doing our duty——

DON LORENZO. [_Aside._] All my body is bathed in a cold sweat, like the
  sweat of death. I am raving—This can't possibly be true. [_Repeats
  mechanically._] In doing your duty——

BRAULIO. We are here on the look-out in case he should become
  obstreperous.

DON LORENZO. In case he should become obstreperous?—who?

BRAULIO. Why, the gentleman.

DON LORENZO. [_Falls back staring at him in terror; passes his hand over
  his forehead as if to brush away an idea; retreats still further,
  staggers, and leans against the table. Then speaks low and abruptly in
  a dead voice._] So you know everything.

BRAULIO. Nearly everything.

BENITO. As we have been waiting here for some time, we have heard the
  servants talk.

DON LORENZO. They said——?

BRAULIO. They didn't leave us in the dark, you may be sure. It appears
  Don Lorenzo had an attack the night before last. You know all about it
  better than we do.

DON LORENZO. [_In a heavy sombre tone._] Yes.

BENITO. They say he strangled a poor old woman. [_Don Lorenzo recoils in
  horror, and covers his face with his hands._]

BRAULIO. There's a fellow for you! A good beginning—that's clear enough.
  It's always the same thing. The family——

DON LORENZO. The family! [_Removes his hands from his face, walks a few
  steps as if shaken by an electric shock, and stares at them with keen
  anxiety, speaking in the same dead voice._]

BRAULIO. Yes, the family—'tis natural enough.—Don't they say he wanted
  to give all his fortune away? ever so many millions. The devil of a
  lunatic altogether. Nothing else for it but what has been decided—to
  pack him off. We take him away and the poor ladies are left in peace.

DON LORENZO. I!—they?—Ángela?—Inés—no, no—not possible. [_Recoils again
  R._]

BRAULIO. [_Staring after him. Aside._] What's the matter with the
  gentleman? [_To Benito._] Look at him, look. [_Both keepers draw
  together and bend forward in direction R. looking curiously at Don
  Lorenzo. This group should be made important._]

DON LORENZO. Air, light! No, not light—darkness! I do not want to see. I
  do not want to think. [_Falls into arm-chair and lets his head drop
  into his palms._]

BENITO. I say, I believe that's——

BRAULIO. This is a fine fix.

BENITO. Who would think it!

BRAULIO. Let us go back to our hiding-place.

BENITO. Sh! Say nothing about it. [_They rise and walk cautiously to the
  closet, closely watching Don Lorenzo._]

BRAULIO. That's settled. Not a word. We were told to stay in here. Then
  let us stay, and we'd have done better not to budge.

BENITO. Somebody is crying and sobbing. [_They reach the door, stand and
  look at Don Lorenzo, who has not changed his attitude. Servant enters
  C., crosses and goes out R._] Leave him alone, leave him alone. Now
  that he is calm. [_They enter closet and shut door._]


                                SCENE X

              _Don Lorenzo. Dr. Tomás and servant enter R._

DON LORENZO. My God, remove this chalice from my lips—I can endure no
  more—no more. Oh, strength fails me. [_Sobs despairingly._] Thou who
  madest me believe in them. Thou who madest me love them!—and now
  they—oh, traitors! No, no. Lord who hast given me life, relieve me of
  its burden soon. See, Lord, how close upon me is the temptation to
  thrust from me with my own hands this putrid garb of flesh. To die!
  How I yearn for death! Dost thou not see it? See me kneel to implore
  it of thee—on my knees. Thou art kind, thou art compassionate. Death,
  only death. Send me death, the pallid messenger of thy love. [_Falls
  kneeling beside the arm-chair and drops his head upon folded arms._]

DR. TOMÁS. [_In low voice to servant._] Have they both come?

SERVANT. [_In same tone to Dr. Tomás._] Yes, sir; both the notary and
  Dr. Bermúdez. [_Dr. Tomás and servant stand in middle of stage
  observing Don Lorenzo, who is kneeling and sobbing._]

DR. TOMÁS. Poor fellow! [_Steps towards Don Lorenzo, changes his mind
  and goes up C._] Why should I? Let us make an end of it.

                                       [_Exeunt Dr. Tomás and servant._]


                                SCENE XI

          _Don Lorenzo. Afterwards Dr. Tomás and Dr. Bermúdez._

DON LORENZO. Now am I calmer. The hurt is mortal. I feel it—here at the
  heart's core. Thanks, Almighty consoler. [_Dr. Tomás and Dr. Bermúdez
  enter C. and stand watching him._]

DR. TOMÁS. You see him there—beside the arm-chair.

BERMÚDEZ. Unfortunate man!

DON LORENZO. [_Rising. Aside._] Ah, miserable being—still,
  still—cherishing impossible hopes. Impossible! And suppose they
  honestly believe that I——? Oh, but if they loved me, surely they would
  not believe it. [_Despairingly. Pause._] Did I not hear Inés—the child
  I so greatly love—speak of remorse? Why should she speak of remorse?
  [_Aloud with increasing agitation._] All of them—wretches!—They would
  almost rejoice at my death. No, then I will not die, no, not until I
  have fulfilled my duty as an honourable man, not before I have brought
  the question of my madness to an end.

DR. TOMÁS. [_Placing a hand upon his arm._] Lorenzo.

DON LORENZO. [_Turning, recognises him, and retreats angrily._] He!

DR. TOMÁS. Let me introduce one of my best friends, Dr. Bermúdez.
  [_Pause. Don Lorenzo looks at both strangely._]

BERMÚDEZ. [_In low voice to Dr. Tomás._] You can see the effort he is
  making to control himself. There can be no doubt that he is vaguely
  conscious of his condition.

DON LORENZO. One of your best friends—one of your best friends——

BERMÚDEZ. [_Aside to Dr. Tomás._] An idea is escaping him, and he is
  struggling to retain it.

DON LORENZO. [_Ironically._] Then if he is one of your best friends,
  your loyalty will be a guarantee of his.

BERMÚDEZ. [_Aside to Dr. Tomás._] At last he has found the word, but
  note the unnatural tones of his voice. [_Aloud._] I come, Dr. Tomás
  assures me, to witness a most noble deed.

DON LORENZO. And an act of unworthy treason as well.

DR. TOMÁS. Lorenzo!

BERMÚDEZ. [_Aside to Dr. Tomás._] Let him say what he likes.

DON LORENZO. And of an exemplary chastisement.

BERMÚDEZ. [_Aside to Dr. Tomás._] It is very serious, my friend, very
  serious.

DON LORENZO. [_To Dr. Tomás._] Call everybody, everybody, my own and
  strangers alike. Let them come here, and let them await my orders here
  while I am doing my duty elsewhere. What are you waiting for?

BERMÚDEZ. [_Aside to Dr. Tomás._] You must not contradict him. Call
  them. [_Dr. Tomás rings a bell. Enter servant, to whom he speaks in
  low voice, and then goes out R._]

DON LORENZO. 'Tis the last test. They almost inspire me with pity, the
  traitors! Oh, I am well sustained by the certainty of triumph. Be
  still, my heart. There they are, there they are! I can't see them—I
  who loved them so fondly. I cannot, and still my eyes turn to them,
  seeking them, seeking them ever.


                               SCENE XII

            _Don Lorenzo, Dr. Tomás and Bermúdez. Doña Ángela.
                    Inés, the Duchess and Edward, R._

DON LORENZO. Inés! It is not possible. She! No, no, it cannot be, my
  child! [_Goes towards her with outstretched arms. Inés runs to him._]

INÉS. Father! [_Bermúdez hastens to interpose, and separates them
  roughly._]

BERMÚDEZ. Come, come, Don Lorenzo, you might hurt your daughter very
  seriously.

DON LORENZO. [_Seizing his arm and shaking him violently._] You
  scoundrel! Who are you to tear my child away from me?

DR. TOMÁS. Lorenzo!

EDWARD. Don Lorenzo!

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Oh, heavens! [_The ladies group together instinctively.
  Inés in her mother's arms, the Duchess near_ _them. Dr. Tomás and
  Edward rush to free Bermúdez of Don Lorenzo's grasp._]

DON LORENZO. [_Aside, controlling himself._] So! the imbeciles believe
  it is another access of madness. Madness! Ha, ha, ha! [_Laughs in a
  suppressed way. Everybody watches him._]

BERMÚDEZ. [_Aside to Dr. Tomás._] It is quite evident.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Aside._] Oh, my poor husband!

INÉS. [_Aside._] My father!

DON LORENZO. [_Aside._] Now they will see how my madness is going to
  end. Before I leave this house with what a hearty pleasure will I kick
  that doctor out. Fresh vigour already animates me. What! Since when
  has it become reason sufficient to declare a man mad because he is
  resolved to perform his duty? Ah, that's not very likely. Humanity is
  neither so blind nor so base, though it is bad enough. Softly now.
  Treason has begun its work; then let the punishment begin too.
  [_Aloud._] The hour has come for me to accomplish a sacred obligation,
  however sharp a sorrow it may be. It were a useless trouble to insist
  upon your presence at the necessary legal formalities. It would only
  bore you. The representative of law awaits me in yonder room. I, in
  obeying a higher law, am about to renounce a fortune that is not mine,
  as well as a name that neither I nor my family can any longer bear
  with a clear conscience. Afterwards I will return here, and with my
  wife and—and—my daughter, will leave this house, which in the past has
  only sheltered love and felicity, and to-day offers me nothing but
  treason and wickedness. Let no one seek to prevent me, for none of you
  can resist my will. Gentlemen [_to Dr. Tomás and Bermúdez_], do me the
  favour to go before—I beg you. [_All slowly enter closet R. On the
  threshold Don Lorenzo looks back once at Inés._]


                               SCENE XIII

                _Doña Ángela, Inés, Duchess, and Edward._

           _The three women in the middle of the stage, Edward
                      listening at the closet door._

INÉS. Oh, pity, Heaven, and save him.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Embracing her._] You are right. Let us only think of him,
  pray for him alone.

DUCHESS. It is a sacred duty for you to place poor Don Lorenzo's welfare
  before your own happiness; but in any case, it is no less a sacred
  obligation to conform to a higher will than ours. [_Pause._]

INÉS. [_To Edward._] What are they saying? Tell us, Edward, what they
  are saying.

EDWARD. He is talking; his words are cold and severe, but not in the
  least uncertain or troubled. [_Edward returns to the door._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. What anguish! What anxiety! Death were preferable to this
  torture.

INÉS. What can it matter what my father says since he is already judged
  beforehand?

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Don't say such a thing, child.

INÉS. I say it because I feel it to be true, and I see it in the faces
  of those who are now his judges.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. But what—what is it you see?

INÉS. In those persons the monomania of specialists.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. In Tomás?

INÉS. Yes—his scientific opinions—whatever they may be—his own special
  follies——

DOÑA ÁNGELA. But in me, Inés?

INÉS. [_Embracing her._] Your love of me.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Hush, child, hush!

INÉS. They are all against my father, every one. Poor father!

DUCHESS. You are raving, Inés.

INÉS. Yes, I am raving, and so are you, and so are all of us—all
  excepting him, excepting him—my heart tells me so. You yourself,
  madam, what is it you desire but Edward's happiness; and Edward wants
  my love, and I his. My father, with his virtue and his honour, is our
  mutual obstacle, while in us something obscure twists itself about us
  till conscience is enveloped in shadows. Oh, my father, my dearest
  father!

DOÑA ÁNGELA. For pity's sake, Inés! What ideas!

INÉS. What is he saying—tell me what he is saying! I hear his voice.

EDWARD. [_Approaching._] He is speaking of conclusive evidence.

INÉS. Would to God there were. [_To Edward._] And now?

EDWARD. They are demanding to see the evidence in order to draw up the
  act and present it to the judge.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. And he?

EDWARD. He is smiling triumphantly. He is pale, fearfully pale, but
  composed and dignified. Here they are coming. [_Edward comes down the
  stage and says aside._] That man terrifies me.

INÉS. [_Aside._] God grant it may be true—though my love should perish.

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_To the Duchess._] Can it be true?

DUCHESS. [_To Doña Ángela._] Can it be true?

EDWARD. [_Aside, seeing Don Lorenzo enter._] Ah, is it I who am mad?


                               LAST SCENE

          _Doña Ángela, Inés, the Duchess, Edward, Don Lorenzo,
                        Bermúdez, and Dr. Tomás._

_The position of the persons is as follows. The three women form a group
  at sofa; Edward behind the sofa looking at Don Lorenzo in terror,
  dominated by him. Don Lorenzo advances to the middle of the stage,
  with a proud, calm bearing. Behind him come Dr. Tomás and Bermúdez,
  who remain standing near door C._

DON LORENZO. [_Approaches table, and triumphantly places one hand on
  desk._] Here is the proof. Here lies the truth! [_Pause. Opens desk
  and takes out envelope with blank sheet. Comes down stage. On one side
  Dr. Tomás and Bermúdez. Edward approaches him on the other._] Woe to
  them who think to sacrifice me to their own interests and passions!
  Bitter will be their deception and most cruel their punishment! Would
  to God my forgiveness could mitigate it for them. [_Deeply moved._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. [_Coming nearer._] Lorenzo!

INÉS. Father——

DON LORENZO. Here is the proof, Tomás; here is the proof, Ángela, here,
  my child, is the proof. Listen. [_Pause. Don Lorenzo opens envelope.
  All gather round him._] This is—what is this? [_Holds paper away from
  his eyes, over which he rubs his hand._] What shade is this that dims
  my eyes? Can it be that there are tears in them which impede clear
  vision? No,—I cried before—but now I am not weeping. [_Looks at paper
  again with horrible anxiety, opens it altogether, and seeks for
  writing on all sides._] Where are the words that woman wrote? I have
  read them a thousand times—and now I can't——[_To Dr. Tomás, holding
  out paper to him._] What does it say?—read, read—quickly—only tell me
  what it says.

DR. TOMÁS. Nothing, my poor friend.

DON LORENZO. Nothing! [_Again looks at paper._] You are deceiving me.
  Dr. Bermúdez, that fellow is deceiving me. He is one of the scoundrels
  who have plotted this wretched treason. Read it you—read it.

BERMÚDEZ. There is nothing written on the paper.

DON LORENZO. Nothing written on it! You say there is nothing written
  upon it! It is not true—no, it is not true. Inés, my daughter, my best
  beloved, come and save your father.—What does it say?

INÉS. Oh, father, I see nothing.

DON LORENZO. Nothing!—she also!—But is this not the proof?

DR. TOMÁS. Yes, my unhappy friend—the proof—but a far too cruel one.

DON LORENZO. [_Striking his forehead._] Ah, I understand. [_Looks at Dr.
  Tomás and Doña Ángela._] I heard them once before talking of a proof.
  You! [_to Dr. Tomás_] and you! [_To Doña Ángela._] You have taken it
  away. God in Heaven! [_Recoils from them in horror. The rest move away
  from him, and he stands alone in the middle of the stage. Pause._] Be
  it so,—be it so!—I am defeated—most miserably defeated! How they
  rejoice in their triumph! See how they gaze at me in their
  hypocritical distress! And they feign to weep, too. They are all
  feigning. [_Pause._] Alas! my heart—alas! for my life's illusion—alas!
  for love, and oh, alas! alas! my child—phantoms that whirl about and
  fly from me—for ever fly away!—I who believed in all things good—in
  the blue above, in the purity of my daughter's brow—what is there now
  left me to believe in? You see for yourselves. I make no resistance. I
  yield myself up. Yours the victory. Why have you brought those men
  here when I do not seek to oppose your will? I will go wherever you
  bid me. Adieu. Don't touch me. [_To Dr._ _Tomás, who approaches and
  takes his hand._] When human flesh comes in contact with mine, it
  seems to me that vipers crawl along my skin. Alone—alone will I ascend
  my Calvary bearing my cross of sorrows without an infamous Cyrenean to
  assist me. Farewell, loyal friend [_still addresses Dr. Tomás_], who
  have saved the fortune of this disconsolate family from the hands of a
  madman. Farewell, Ángela, my tender-hearted wife. Twenty years ago,
  mad with love of you, I gave you my first kiss. To-day, no less a
  madman, I send you the last. [_Kisses his hand to her with cry and
  expression of desperate grief._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Lorenzo!

DON LORENZO. Don't come near me. I might strangle you in my arms.
  [_Ángela recoils._] Farewell, Inés, my only child. Be happy—if you
  can. To you I say nothing. I could not speak to you unkindly. [_Walks
  a few steps feebly, then stops. Repulses roughly those who rush to his
  assistance._] Let me be. I require no one. My brow is damp with sweat,
  and thirst is upon my dry lips, and a fiery heat seems to swell my
  eyelids. [_Stops again._] Listen to me, Inés, my child.—If you still
  retain any love for me,—if by chance your heart is touched with pity
  for your father,—if you feel regret for what you have done against me
  along with the rest of them—come once to my arms. Let me carry away
  into the hell of suffering that awaits me one tear of your eyes upon
  my cheek, one kiss of your dear lips upon mine.

INÉS. Father! [_All endeavour to restrain her, but she breaks from them
  and runs to Don Lorenzo, who catches her in his arms and holds her
  closely clasped to his breast._]

DON LORENZO. My child! [_The rest advance to them, but make no effort to
  separate them._]

INÉS. No—they must not take you away—I love you dearly,—every one lies
  but you.

DON LORENZO. You would not have those men carry me off?

INÉS. No, no; I will defend you—and you defend me.

DON LORENZO. Yes! I will defend you—Let them drag you from my arms if
  they can. [_Makes a movement to carry her away._]

DOÑA ÁNGELA. My child, my child! Help! [_Edward, Dr. Tomás and Bermúdez
  struggle to separate father and daughter._]

DON LORENZO. I will not let her go—for ever in my arms!

INÉS. Yes, yes, father. Defend me.

BERMÚDEZ. It is imperative.

EDWARD. Don Lorenzo!

DR. TOMÁS. Lorenzo!

DUCHESS. Merciful god, he will kill her as he killed Juana!

DOÑA ÁNGELA. Inés! [_These exclamations are simultaneous: the struggle
  is swift. Keepers enter. The men hold Don Lorenzo, and the women
  restrain Inés, keeping her by force from her father._]

EDWARD. At last!

INÉS. Father! [_Holds her arms out to Don Lorenzo._]

DON LORENZO. I was not able, child.—I could do no more.—Here upon my
  cheek I feel your kisses and your tears.—She at least loved me—she was
  innocent—I see it now. God above, thou hast accepted my martyrdom in
  that night of agony and temptation in exchange for her happiness. I do
  not regret it. Make her happy—very happy! and let the cup of
  bitterness be mine alone—only mine!

INÉS. Adieu, father—I will save you yet.

DON LORENZO. What can you do, child—when God himself has not seen fit to
  save me? [_Remains near closet between keepers, guarded by Edward, Dr.
  Tomás and Bermúdez. Inés, held back by the other women, stands with
  arms strained towards him._]



                                 CURTAIN



                  ------------------------------------

         Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to Her Majesty
                    at the Edinburgh University Press

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                            Transcriber’s Note

  Small irregularities of punctuation in the stage directions have been
  corrected, with no further notice. This includes the placement of
  punctuation and any inconsistencies in diacritical marks.

  The abbreviation of "Don" as "D." in the speaker's name is sometimes
  not used, and has not been added where that is the case.

  Errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been corrected, and
  are noted here. The references are to the page and line in the
  original.

  61.31    do not say that[.]                             Added.

  88.23    and he staggers back[:/.]                      Replaced.

  89.17    He holds Teodora more tightly clasped[:/.]     Replaced.

  122.23   be sure and not delay[,/.]                     Replaced.

  158.12   INÉS.  Father[!]                               Added. Most
                                                          likely.

  165.10   And who were the two men that accompanied      Replaced.
           him[./?]





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