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Don Luis, after Beatrice retires, expresses to his confidant Rodrigo, his surprise at his brother's thoughtlessness in introducing Don Manuel to his house.
Here a sister, youthful, handsome,
As her near relation, enters.
Rod. Yes, I recollect; her husband,
That the house contains a woman:
That it had been closed on purpose,
It might be with ease re-open'd)
Has conceal'd, so neatly fitted,
There a door had ever been.
D. Luis. This, then, is my sole assurance!
Which undoes me; since he places,
The reader, who has the least acquaintance with the machinery of the Spanish stage, will readily anticipate that this cabinet, concealing a door of communication between the apartments of Don Manuel and those assigned to Angela, is destined to make a prominent figure in the intrigue of the play.
The next scene takes place in the apartments of Dona Angela, who enters hurriedly along with Isabel, throwing off the dress she had worn in the street, and resuming her mourning attire. She inveighs against the
seclusion to which she is confined; the tedium of which had led her on this occasion to venture out in disguise, and to mingle in the crowd which was witnessing the festivities in the Palace Square, when she had been suddenly alarmed by the appearance of her brother, Don Luis; had fled from him, and had only been enabled to reach her home through the gallant interference of Don Manuel. Scarcely has she completed her change of dress, when her brother Don Luis himself enters, and, unconscious that Angela had been the object of his pursuit, re
lates to her his adventure, and communicates the unexpected intelligence that the cavalier whose interference had arrested his pursuit, is her brother's expected guest, Don Manuel, and that he is now an inmate in their mansion. Aware, through the information of Isabel, of the existence of the door entering into his apartment, and concealed by the cabinet, and half
The principal door is in cealed by a large press are placed on shelves.
conscious of a growing attachment towards her defender, she resolves to pay a visit to his apartment during his absence, and to leave behind some token of her gratitude, without revealing how or from what quarter it
We are next introduced to the chamber of Don Manuel.
On the right the secret door, con. with glass doors, in which various pieces of glassware The cabinet is so contrived as to revolve on its hinges when the door is opened. On the left of the room a recess with curtains.
DON MANUEL and DON JUAN enter. A Servant follows with a light.
D. Man. So slight my hurt, I own
I do already fear,
Don Juan, that I play the weakling here,
D. Juan. Thanks to the lucky fortune of my star!
Were this, my pleasure, purchased with the pain
To see my friend confined
Within my house by sickness, and to find
A brother's hand (although
Unwitting whom it wounded) dealt the blow.
D. Man. He is a noble knight→
I envy him his prowess in the fight,
Admire his courtesy,
And ever shall his friend and servant be.
[DON LUIS enters, followed by a servant with a covered basket, containing a sword.
D. Luis. That I am yours no less,
Let the remorse which I endure express
I offer you my life;
And that the hapless instrument of strife
No more with me. nain,
Which cannot please me more, nor serve again,
(Even as the servant's driven
Forth, who offence has to nis master given,)
I rid me of it so.
[Presenting the sword to Don Manuel.
This, señor, is the blade that dealt the blow,
Imploring pardon where it hath offended;
On me and on itself, take vengeance fit.
Brave and discreet: mine let the weapon be,
Which, ever by my side,
Shall teach me to be brave. I feel with pride
For thought of danger never need alarm
His breast, who feels thine honour'd weapon near,
This scene of mutual compliments is interrupted by the entrance of Cosme, bearing his master's trunks and
portmanteaus, and grumbling at the disasters he had encountered in bringing them from the Posada, where
they had been deposited. Don Manuel directs him to unpack their contents; and announces his resolution of still going out to pay a visit of business, and returning to meet Don Juan at supper.
Don Manuel goes out Cosme remains; but thinking it more advisable to employ the interval in a wine-house than in obeying his mas ter's orders, he, after some deliberation, leaves the portmanteaus on the floor, and makes his exit after his master. The cabinet is then pushed aside, and through the secret door enter Dona Angela and Isabel. An inspection of the portmanteaus by the two females takes place; and Angela discovers, to her mortification, among Don Manuel's effects, a miniature and a bundle of letters in a woman's handwriting. Impelled partly by gratitude, and partly by an incipient feel ing of jealousy, she determines to leave a billet for Don Manuel, and sits down to write; while Isabel, in the mean time, amuses herself with emptying Cosme's purse of the few copper coins it contained, and filling their place with cinders. Don Angela
leaves her note under the coverlid of
Don Manuel's bed, and they retire The confusion which follows when Cosme on returning to the room, which he had left locked, finds the contents of the portmanteaus littered about the floor, and Don Manuel, on retiring to his couch, finds the billet addressed to himself, is given with great liveliness and effect. The valet is persuaded that the whole is the work of the devil. Don Manuel, though at first confounded by this unexpected discovery, more justly concludes that some one, whom he conjectures to be the lady whom he had assisted, and suspects to be the mistress of Don Luis, was enabled by some secret passage to enter to his chamber. Of the cabinet he has no suspicion : being open in front and apparently quite filled with glass, it never occurs to him that it is moveable; neither can he explain how this lady, who appeared so anxious to escape from Don Luis, should be an inmate in his house. But while he resolves to answer the billet, and to leave the answer, as directed, in his room, he is determined, one way or other, to find a key to the mystery. Cosme asks,
What, then, is your resolution?
D. Man. Simply this: by day and night
Find the key to this imposture,
Neither goblin nor familiar.
Act II. opens in Dona Angela's apartment. Angela is relating to Beatrice her admiration, and the answer returned to her billet by Don Manuel. She confesses her intention of having an interview with him, and is about to mention the nature of her plan, when the female consultation is interrupted by the appearance of Don Luis. On seeing him, Beatrice attempts to retire.
D. Luis. Wherefore should you fly, fair lady?
D. Beat. Only to avoid your coming.
Flies at my approach! "Twould seem
If I seek to stay your flight
Even your cold reserve esteeming,
My sad fate no more requires,
That what courtesy inspires
Should be clothed with favour's seeming.
Well I know my idle, dreaming
Passion, from your slights, in vain
Cling to love, for love's divine:
D. Beat. While you chide in such sweet strain,
Still the boon would be denied,
But to hear you still complain.
D. Luis. Since beneath your scorn I've lain,
D. Luis. Sister! what remains for me?
Love; for love thus scorn'd and slighted
Is not love, but death for thee.
D. Luis. What! forget her? 'midst regret
Ask of her to show me favour;
Favour'd lovers may forget,
Slighted lovers never yet.
While we suffer, to remain
Heedless of the smart, were vain :
Don Luis's complaints are interrupted by the entrance of Don Manuel, who announces, that in consequence of the King's absence at the Escurial, he is under the necessity of
setting out that night for the royal residence.
Cosme is directed to make the necessary preparations, and in doing so happens to enter Don Manuel's
chamber with a light just as Isabel had entered on the opposite side to deposit the basket and letter which Dona Angela had directed her to leave for Don Manuel. Isabel dexterously gets behind Cosme, dashes the light out of his hand, extinguishes it, and is about to make her escape, when she stumbles on Don Manuel himself, who unexpectedly enters and lays hold of the basket which she is carrying. She contrives, however, to quit her hold of the basket, which she leaves in Don Manuel's hands, and in the darkness escapes through the cabinet while Don Manuel is waiting for a light.
On examining the basket, a letter is found, the important part of which is the following sentence:-"As to what you say of your friend, under the persuasion that I am the mistress of Don Luis, I give you the assurance that I neither am, nor can be, such. This much until we meet, which will be shortly." Don Manuel, after giving special directions to Cosme to pack up certain letters which he intended to take with him, departs for the Escurial -but with his curiosity and impatience wound up to the highest point-to solve the riddle of this mysterious visi tant to his chamber.
Dona Angela, resuming the conversation which had been interrupted, imparts to Dona Beatrice her scheme for introducing Don Manuel into her chamber, without his being aware that he is in reality within a few feet of his own room. A servant is to watch for him in the dusk, and to convey him blindfold in a chair to Dona Angela's apartment, by the door leading from the back
Mean time, in order to get quit of the constant presence of her brothers, both attracted by their pas sion for Beatrice, Angela is to give out that a reconciliation had been effected between Beatrice and her father, and that the former had consequently returned to her own house: while in reality she is to remain concealed in Angela's apartments, and to assist in the scheme for further mystifying Don Manuel. This latter part of the conversation is overheard by Don Luis, who, conceiving that this pretended removal of Beatrice is a scheme to deceive him, and to favour his brother Don Juan, determines to surprise the parties in his sister's apartment when the intended interview takes place. Thus the train is naturally laid for a series of very interesting scenes in the third act.
Don Juan, who now enters, communicates the intelligence that Don Manuel has departed for the Escurial, but is to return the next day. Angela, affecting great annoyance at the idea of his return, secretly determines to avail herself of his absence this evening, to carry into effect her resolution of visiting his apartment, and getting possession of the letters and the obnoxious miniature. She retires with Isabel, while a scene of compliment, in the highest style of Spanish gallantry, takes place between Beatrice and Don Juan. The following sonnets, which conclude the scene, are characteristic specimens of that carte and tierce of love-logic in which Calderon deals so largely, and which was afterwards copied in the heroic plays of Dryden:
Fair Beatrice, so true my constancy,
I would forget thee: that with free election
If choice upon the changeful will depend,