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The great Galeoto; a play in three acts online

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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, Mer-
cedes! send him away from this house

MERCEDES. Ah, that is what I wanted. Your
energy consoles me. [With evidence of honest satis-
faction.] 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.
[119]



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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 com-
mand 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 DONA MERCEDES
on the right.]

SCENE VII
TEODORA and ERNEST.

ERNEST. The command was that I should go
[120]



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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 w r ound me From you I will endure

anything! [Sadly.]

TEODORA. I wound you! No, Ernest, you can-
not 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 ap-
proaches her. TEODORA shows that she feels his move-
ment, 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 im-
placable fate, I should not now be standing here
alive. You may believe it on the word of an honour-
able man. No shadow of the past would remain
[1211



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neither sighs nor pain to remember, nor that sorrow-
ful 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 5065.]

TEODORA [Aside, moving farther away], Mer-
cedes was right, and I, blind and thoughtless that I
was

ERNEST. Bid me good-bye once for kind-
ness* 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 armchair to keep from falling.]
[1221



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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 pro-
[123]



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foundest 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 suffer
ings are not equal. In this implacable strife he
suffers as those on earth suffer, 7 as those in hell.
[124]



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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 think-
ing? [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 be-
fore her and takes her hand. DON JULIAN'S door
opens, and DON SEVERO stands staring at them.]

D. SEVERO [Aside]. Miserable pair!

TEODORA. Don Severe!

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,
[125]



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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.

D. SEVERO. You remain?

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

D. SEVERO. We'll see tha . 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
[126]



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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 him-
self defended by TEODORA]. You wish it, Teodora?

TEODORA. I beg it. [ERNEST bows and turns
away.]

D. SEVERO. Your audacity confounds and shocks
me as much no, far more, than his. [Strides men-
acingly toward her. ERNEST turns swiftly around,
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 for-
bid 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.]

[127]



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ERNEST. No, I can't stand this I cannot !
[He thrusts himself between SEVERO and TEODORA.]
Off, you scoundrel!

D. SEVERO. Again!

ERNEST. Again.

D. 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?

D. 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 vio-
lently.]

D. 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.

D. SEVERO. This to me?
[128]



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ERNEST. Yes, and I have not yet done.

D. SEVERO. Your life

ERNEST. Oh, my life, as much as you like but
afterward. [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.

D. SEVERO. A thousand thunders.

ERNEST. At her feet!

D. SEVERO. You!

ERNEST. Yes, I.

D. 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 back-
ground.]

[129]



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SCENE IX

TEODORA, ERNEST, DON SEVERO. Afterward
DON JULIAN and DONA 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.

D. SEVERO [To ERNEST]. Avenged!

ERNEST. I don't deny it.

[Enter DON JULIAN, pale and dying,
leaning on DONA 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.]

D. SEVERO [Hurrying to his assistance]. No, no!
D. JULIAN. Severe, they deceived me they
lied to me the miserable pan* ! [While he speaks
DON SEVERO and DONA MERCEDES lead him to the
armchair.] There, look at them both she and
Ernest! Why are they together?
[130]



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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
were deceiving me. I hold her thus hi my arms. I
crush and subdue her I might kill her so! and
'tis only what she deserves. But I look at her /
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!

P. JULIAN [To both]. Peace. [To TEODORA.]
[131]



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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 consum-
ing 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 to anything you wish. Oh, my father!

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

ERNEST. Then what? Only tell me.
[132]



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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!
fl33l



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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]. Per-
haps 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 pas-
sion's flame, or mild affection. Come here, Teodora.
Both so still nearer. [Drags TEODORA until
she stumbles, so that both faces are compelled toward
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!
[134]



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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 boih
hands, and drops on a chair.]

MERCEDES [Turning to ERNEST to exculpate DON
JULIAN]. It was only delirium.
[135]



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[These four exclamations very hurried.
A moment of stupor. DON JULIAN
stands still staring at ERNEST and
DONA MERCEDES and DON SEVERO
endeavour to calm him.]

D. JULIAN. It was not delirium, it was chastise-
ment, 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, Severe.
D. JULIAN. Look at them, the traitors! It was
only justice was it not? Say so at least I be-
lieve it.

D. SEVERO. For God's sake, Julian well, at

any rate, for mine

D. JULIAN. Yes, for yours, Severe, 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
[1361



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me. Not even a look. She does not see that I am
dying yes, dying.

D. SEVEBO. Julian, Julian!

D. JULIAN [On the threshold]. Wait, wait. Dis-
honour 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 fromunthin]. My brother.

MERCEDES. Help!

PEPITO. Quickly. [ERNEST and TEODORA move
together.]

[137]



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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
[138]



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in front of that woman, Pepito, you have my orders.
Obey them. Never mind her prayers or supplica-
tions. If she should cry then let her cry. [With
concentrated fury.] Away with her, away else I
might kill her.

TEODORA. Julian orders

D. SEVEEO. 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 !

[ 139 )



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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 can-
not 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.]

[140]



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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 sus-
tains her.] You cast her forth from here. We
obey you.

D. SEVERO. At last, you blackguard!

ERNEST. Yes; now you are right. I will con-
fess 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 inven-
tion, 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 busy-
bodies." 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




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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

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Online LibraryJosé EchegarayThe great Galeoto; a play in three acts → online text (page 6 of 6)