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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
From ‘The Great Galeoto’
By José Echegaray (1832–1916)
 
        
Translation of Mary Jane Christie Serrano
  
  [In the scenes which are here cited the poison of slander begins to work. Don Severo, uttering the anonymous gossip of the world, has implanted in the mind of his middle-aged brother Don Julian the first suspicion of the honor of his young wife Teodora and the loyalty of his adopted son Ernest. Teodora, who has been warned by Mercedes, Don Severo’s wife, overhears the accusing words of her brother-in-law, who is talking with her husband in an inner apartment; and horror-struck, is about to fly from the room.]

JULIAN  [inside]—Let me go!  1
  Mercedes  [inside]—No, for Heaven’s sake!  2
  Julian—It is they. I will go!  3
  Teodora  [to Ernest]—Go! go!  4
  Severo  [to Ernest]—You shall give me satisfaction for this!  5
  Ernest—I will not refuse it.  6
Enter Julian, pale and disordered; wounded and seemingly in a dying condition, supported by Mercedes.  Don Severo stations himself at the right, Teodora and Ernest remain in the background.
  Julian—Together! Where are they going?—Stop them! They shun my presence! Traitors!
  7
[He makes a movement as if to rush toward them, but his strength fails him and he totters.]
  Severo  [hurrying to his assistance]—No, no.
  8
  Julian—They deceived me—they lied to me! Wretches!  [While he is speaking, Mercedes and Severo lead him to the arm-chair on the right.]  There—look at them—she and Ernest! Why are they together?  9
  Teodora and Ernest  [separating]—No!  10
  Julian—Why do they not come to me? Teodora!  11
  Teodora  [stretching out her arms, but without advancing]—My Julian!  12
  Julian—Here, on my heart!  [Teodora runs to Julian and throws herself into his arms.  He presses her convulsively to his breast.  Pause.]  You see!—You see!  [To his brother.]  I know that she deceives me! I press her in my arms—I might kill her if I would—and she would deserve it—but I look at her—I look at her—and I cannot!  13
  Teodora—Julian!  14
  Julian—And he?  [Pointing to Ernest.]  15
  Ernest—Sir!—  16
  Julian—And I loved him! Be silent and come hither.  [Ernest advances.]  You see she is still mine.  [Presses her closer.]  17
  Teodora—Yours—yours!  18
  Julian—Do not act a part! Do not lie to me!  19
  Mercedes—For God’s sake!  [Trying to calm him.]  20
  Severo—Julian!  21
  Julian  [to both]—Peace. Be silent.  [To Teodora.]  I divined your secret. I know that you love him.  [Teodora and Ernest try to protest, but he will not let them.]  Madrid knows it too—all Madrid!  22
  Ernest—No, father.  23
  Teodora—No.  24
  Julian—They would still deny it! When it is patent to all! When I feel it in every fibre of my being, for the fever that consumes me has illuminated my mind with its flame!  25
  Ernest—All these fancied wrongs are the offspring of a fevered imagination, of delirium! Hear me, sir—  26
  Julian—You will lie to me again!  27
  Ernest—She is innocent!  [Pointing to Teodora.]  28
  Julian—I do not believe you.  29
  Ernest—By my father’s memory I swear it!  30
  Julian—You profane his name and his memory by the oath.  31
  Ernest—By my mother’s last kiss—  32
  Julian—It is no longer on your brow.  33
  Ernest—By all you hold most sacred, father, I swear it, I swear it!  34
  Julian—Let there be no oaths, no deceitful words, no protests.  35
  Ernest—Well, then, what do you wish?  36
  Teodora—What do you wish?  37
  Julian—Deeds!  38
  Ernest—What does he desire, Teodora? What would he have us do?  39
  Teodora—I do not know. What can we do, what can we do, Ernest?  40
  Julian  [watching them with instinctive distrust]—Ah, would you deceive me to my very face? You are laying your plans together, wretches! Do I not see it?  41
  Ernest—These are the imaginings of fever.  42
  Julian—Fever, yes! The fire of fever has consumed the bandage with which you both blindfolded me, and at last I see clearly! And now why do you gaze on each other? why, traitors? Why do your eyes shine, Ernest? Speak. Their brightness is not the brightness of tears. Come nearer—nearer still.  43
[Draws Ernest to him, bends his head, and so forces him to his knees.  Don Julian thus remains between Teodora, who stands at his side, and Ernest, who kneels at his feet.  Don Julian passes his hand over Ernest’s eyes.]
  Julian—I was right—It is not with tears! They are dry!
  44
  Ernest—Pardon!—Pardon!  45
  Julian—You ask my pardon? Then you confess your guilt.  46
  Ernest—No!  47
  Julian—Yes!  48
  Ernest—It is not that!  49
  Julian—Then look into each other’s eyes before me.  50
  Severo—Julian!  51
  Mercedes—Sir!  52
  Julian  [to Teodora and Ernest]—You are afraid, then? You do not love each other like brother and sister, then? If you do, prove it! Let your souls rise to your eyes and in my presence mingle their reflection there, that so I may see, watching them closely, if that brightness is the brightness of light or of fire. You too, Teodora—I will have it so. Come—both; nearer still!  53
[Forces Teodora to kneel before him, draws their faces together, and compels them to look at each other.]
  Teodora  [freeing herself by a violent effort]—Oh no!
  54
  Ernest  [also tries to release himself, but Julian holds him in his grasp]—I cannot!  55
  Julian—You love each other! You love each other! I see it clearly!  [To Ernest.]  Your life!  56
  Ernest—Yes.  57
  Julian—Your blood!  58
  Ernest—All!  59
  Julian  [keeping him on his knees]—Remain there.  60
  Teodora—Julian!  [Restraining him.]  61
  Julian—Ah, you defend him, you defend him.  62
  Teodora—Not for his sake.  63
  Severo—In Heaven’s name—  64
  Julian  [to Severo]—Silence! Bad friend! bad son!  [Holding him at his feet.]  65
  Ernest—Father!  66
  Julian—Disloyal! Treacherous!  67
  Ernest—No, father.  68
  Julian—Thus do I brand you as a traitor on the cheek—now with my hand, soon with my sword!  [With a supreme effort he raises himself and strikes Ernest on the face.]  69
  Ernest  [rises to his feet with a terrible cry and retreats, covering his face with his hands]—Ah!  70
  Severo—Justice!  [Stretching out his hand toward Ernest.]  71
  Teodora—My God!  [Hides her face with her hands and falls into a chair.]  72
  Mercedes  [to Ernest, exculpating Julian]—It was delirium!  73
[These four exclamations in rapid succession.  A moment of stupor; Julian still standing and regarding Ernest, Mercedes and Severo trying to calm him.]
  Julian—It was not delirium, it was chastisement, by Heaven! What! Did you think your treachery would go unpunished, ingrate!
  74
  Mercedes—Let us go, let us go!  75
  Severo—Come, Julian.  76
  Julian—Yes, I am going.  77
[Walks with difficulty toward his room, supported by Severo and Mercedes, stopping from time to time to look back at Ernest and Teodora.]
  Mercedes—Quick, Severo!
  78
  Julian—Look at them, the traitors! It was justice! Was it not justice? So I believe.  79
  Severo—For God’s sake, Julian! For my sake!  80
  Julian—You, you alone, of all the world, have loved me truly.  [Embraces him.]  81
  Severo—Yes, I alone!  82
  Julian  [stops near the door and looks at them again]—She weeps for him—and does not follow me. She does not even look at me; she does not see that I am dying—yes, dying!  83
  Severo—Julian!  84
  Julian—Wait, wait!  [Pauses on the threshold.]  Dishonor for dishonor!—Farewell, Ernest!  [Exeunt Julian, Severo, and Mercedes.]  85
 
 
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