José Echegaray.

The son of Don Juan; an original drama in 3 acts inspired by the reading of Ibsen's work entitled Gengangere online

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like genius like the pulmonary larvae.

JUAN. I got to know it. There's nothing to laugh

NEM. In your country seat by the Guadalquivir ?

JUAN. The very same.

TIM. In the Oriental saloon the one with the
divans, the balcony looking towards the East and the
Persian carpet ?

JUAN. Exactly.

TIM. During a night of orgies ?

JUAN. No next morning on awaking.

TIM. On awaking from the orgie ! " Bring hither,
Jarifa, bring hither thine hand come and place it
upon my brow ! " (Taking the hand oj "DON NEMESIO.)

NEM. (^withdrawing his hand}. Your brow is all
right. Ha, ha ! Don't make me laugh.

TIM. Then look thine hand a pure branch of the

JUAN. Don't you want to hear me ?

NEM. I should think so. Tell your story.

TIM. But you must tell it seriously, solemnly,
dramatically. The awaking of Don Juan after a
night of orgies.

JUAN. Then here goes.

NEM. and TIM. take convenient positions for
listening to him.

It was a grand night a grand supper. There were
eight of us each with a partner. Everybody was
drunk even the Guadalquivir. Aniceta appeared on
the gallery and began to cry out, " Stupid, insipid,
waterish river, drink wine for once ! " and she threw
a bottle of Manzanilla into it.
TIM. She was very lively, Aniceta. She once


threw a bottle of wine at my head but it

NEM. Your head?

TIM. The bottle. Continue, continue
seriously eh ?

JUAN. Well, I was lying asleep along the floor,
upon the carpet, close to a divan. And on the
divan there had fallen by one of the usual accidents,
the Tarifena Paca, the Tarifena. Nobody noticed
it, and on the divan she lay asleep. Amidst her
tossings to and fro, her hair had become loose a
huge mass ! and it fell over me in silky waves a
great quantity.

NEM. JtfoUike Timoteo's. (TIMOTEO t's bald.} -

JUAN. Not hTce Timoteo's. But if you interrupt me
I shall lose the inspiration.

TIM. Continue continue, seriously, Juanito.

JUAN. We leave off at where I was asleep on the
carpet, when the loosened hair of the Tarifena fell
over my head and face, enfolding me as in a splendid A^ '
black mantle of perfumed lace. Would you like any-
thing more serious"?

TIM. It goes well so.

NEM. Keep yourself to that height. ,

TIM. To the height of the carpet?

NEM. Each one mounts to the height of which he
is worthy. Go on.

JUAN. The dawn arriyed. It was summer.

TIM. And yet it rained.

JUAN. No, my dear fellow, a delightful morning :
the balcony open : the East with splendid curtains of
mist and of little red clouds, the sky blue and stain-
less, a light more vivid kindling into flame the distant

TIM. So, so to that height.


NEM. Very poetical, very poetical don't fall off.

JUAN. Slowly the crimson globe ascended. I
opened my eyes wide, and I_jsaw_the sun^ I saw it
from between the interwoven tresses of the Tarifena
it inundated me with its light, and I stretched forth
my hand instinctively to grasp it. Something of a
new kind of love, a new desire agitated me. Great
brightness, much azure, very broad spheres, vague
yet burning aspirations for something very beautiful.
For a minute I understood that there is something
higher than the pleasure of the senses : for a minute
I felt myself another being. I wafted a kiss to the
sun, and pulled aside in anger the girl's hair. One
lock clung about my lips it touched my palate and
gave me nausea. I flung away the tress I awoke
the Tarifena and vice dawned through the remains

Lof the orgie, like the sun through the vapours of
the night, its mists and its fire-coloured clouds.
- TlM. Good for Juanito. We are moved, profoundly

NEM. Unfathomably moved. (Drinks^)

TlM. But with what object have you told us all that
I don't remember.

JUAN. To prove to you that there have existed
within me noble aspirations.

TIM. Ah ! yes, sublime desires.

NEM. Superhuman longings.

JUAN. Quite so : and that everything which was
deprived of the opportunity of making itself known in
me, or which ran to waste through other channels
will revive in my Lazarus in the forms of talent,
inspiration, genius, wings that flutter, creations that
spring forth, applause, glory, immorality. Ah ! you'll
see you'll see.

TIM. Your posthumous blowing off of steam.


JUAN. My last and most pure illusion no, the
only pure illusion of my existence. And you ought
to be glad that my son is getting on so well, you
scapegrace. {GivftyTUL a playful slap.)


NEM. Ah, ah I I understand you. Another glass
to the health of the bride and bridegroom.

JUAN. Eh ? What do you say? (To DON T.)

TlM. Ah, yes ; no, it is impossible. My poor
Garments very much in love : but I don't know if

JUAN. Lazarus is mad about her. He is reserved
enough, but he is mad.

TIM. Well, look ; if the sdh is going to resemble the
papa I should be very sorry to form the relationship,

JUAN. Much obliged to you, venerable grandfather.

NEM. No, Lazarus is very steady.

TlM. The fact is that my girl is very weak, very
delicate, a sensitive plant. Her poor chest troubles
her with the least thing ; and if Lazarus were to lead
my poor Carmen the life which you have led your
wife, I should renounce the relationship and the
Honour which you propose to me.

JUAN. Gently, gently ; I have been an irreproach-
able husband.

TIM. Oh !

NEM. Ah !

JUAN. Irreproachable. My wife has always been
first in my affections.

TIM. But you have had a second, and a third

NEM. And a fourth and a fifth.

JUAN. Those are lawful requirements of the system
of numeration.

NEM. Peace between the future fathers-in-law. The


one is as good as the other ; the one is just as gay as
the other ; and one is quite as sedate a father of a
family as the other.

JUAN. And of course you must be better than we
are ! You who have been steeped in alcohol from
your tenderest years.

NEM. Between the bottle and the woman, I cling
to the bottle.

TIM. Well, I to the woman.

JUAN. Let us not exaggerate : being between the
bottle and the woman one remains just the same
between the bottle and the woman.

TIM. Not quite : we now remain at home between
our own woman and the bottle of tisan two tisans.

NEM. Because you are a pair of dotards. I am
every night at the theatre, in my little box : from ten
to twelve I consecrate myself to art. Some dancers
have come from Madrid. Sweet zephyrs ! Four
zephyrs !

JUAN (in a loud voice and erecting Jiintsf.lf Ijhp. an
old cock}. Are they pretty ?

TIM. Your wife will hear you.

JUAN (lowering his voice in exaggerated style).
Are they pretty ?

NEM. Four flowers, four stars, four goddesses, the
four cardinal points of beauty. What eyes ! What
waists ! What vigour ! What cushion-like bodies.

JUAN. Cushion-like?

NEM. Nothing artificial.

JUAN. Nothing artificial? And you are going to
the theatre now ?

NEM. I go there to finish the night as God com-
mands in admiring the marvels of creation. (Rising.)

TIM. Then I'll accompany you, and we shall both
admire them. (Rising.)


JUAN. Well, I'll not stay at home. I'll go there
with you two and we shall all three admire them.
(Rising with difficulty.}

NEM. At this time of night, Juanito ?

JUAN. You two are going at this time of night.

TlM. And what will your wife say ?

JUAN. For twenty-five years my wife has said
nothing. Besides, I give orders here. No one ever
calls me to account. Ho, there, I'll be back in a
moment. Ho, there ! . [Exit.

NEM. I think that poor Juan is getting to the end
of his tether. Don't you see how he walks ? What
things he says 1 What pitiful senilities !

TIM. Yet he is not very old.

NEM. What should make him old? He is little
more than sixty. Every man who respects himself
is sixty years old. ( Walking about somewhat jauntily.)

TIM. Precisely : you are sixty, I am sixty, every
well-conditioned person is sixty.

NEM. But he has lived ! What a life he has lived !
This is what I say : people may be guilty of follies :
you have been guilty of them : I have been guilty of

TIM. And every well-behaved person is guilty of

NEM. But up to a certain point.

TIM. Up to a certain point.

NEM. But poor Juan was old at forty. And Lazarus
is not what his father says no, senor

TIM. Well, talent he has much talent. All the
newspapers of Madrid assert it ; you see it now.
That he is a prodigy that he will be a glory to the

NEM. I don't deny it. But walk with care before
marrying little Carmen to him.


TIM. Why? The devil! Why? Is he like his
father ?

NEM. No ! Like the father no. Inclined to gaiety
yes. What would you have the son of Don Juan to

TIM. Everybody is inclined to gaiety. I am so,
you are so

NEM. It is not that. It is that according to my
information (lowering his voice) he is not so robust as
the papa supposes. Lazarus suffers from vertigo
nervouAAttacks what shall I say? something of that
sort. At long intervals, it's true; but that head of
his is not strong. That's why he does such stupendous
things, and that's why they call him a genius. Don't
trust men of genius, Timoteo. A genius goes along
the street, and every one says, " The genius ! the
genius ! " He turns round the corner, and the little
boys in the next street run after him shouting : " The
madman ! the madman ! " Timoteo, it is very-
dangerous to have much cleverness.

TlM. God deliver us from it. Oh ! as to that I
have always been very careful.

NEM. So have I. A man should not be altogether
a fool ; that's not well. But the thing is don't be a

TlM. Never. Here's Juan coming back.

NEM. Say nothing to him of what I have told you.
They either don't know of the sufferings of Lazarus,
or they hide them ; it's natural.

TIM. Not a word ! but it's well to know it.
Re-enter DON JUAN.

JUAN (dressed for going out). Are we ready?

TIM. We are.

JUAN. Then let's march. Listen. (To TIM.) Will
you come back for Carmen, or must we take her?


TIM. Carmen?

JUAN. Yes, Carmen. Have you already forgotten
that she is in there with Dolores ?

TIM. It's true.

JUAN. What a head ! Ha, ha ! And you say that

I ? He forgets his own daughter ! It would

have been easy for me to forget my Lazarus. What
a fellow you are ! What a fellow you are ! Away
with you for a pair of wooden-heads ! (Laughing!)

TIM. You gay young dog, lead us on to glory and
to pleasure !

JUAN. I shall lead you on to the cemetery if you
annoy me any more. However, what do you decide ?
Will you come back to fetch Carmen ?

TIM. I shall have to come back to carry you home.

JUAN. You carry me? You'd never be able to
carry any one.

NEM. I shall carry you both. Come, give me your
arm, Juanito. If not you can't go down the staircase.
(DON JUAN takes his arm.}

JUAN. Teresa little Teresa.

TERESA enters from the back centre.

TER. Senor?

JUAN. Tell Dolores tell your mistress that I am
going out. Let Senorita Carmen wait until her
father returns to fetch her. March on. (To TIM.)
Take hold of me, for you are not very strong. Take
hold of me.

TlM. March on.

NEM. March on.

JUAN. Military step ! One two

TIM (looking at TERESA). This girl's prettier every

NEM. (the same). And fresher.


JUAN (to NEM). You are not looking; you will fall.

TER. Where are you going, senor ?

JUAN. To take these two to the lunatic asylum.
[Exeunt laughing and clutching each other's arms .

TER. (looking from the back}. Well, when you get
in there, may they never let you out. Where are
those mummies going ?

Enter DONA DOLORES and CARMEN from the


CAR. Ah ! They are not here. Papa is not here.
DOL. Have they gone out ?

TER. Yes, senora. But Don Juan left word that
Senorita Carmen's papa would come back to take her

CARMEN coughs.

DOL. Coughing again ! You ought not to go out
at night ; the doctor has forbidden you. You don't
take care of yourself. You are a little simpleton. Sick
children should be in their little homes.

CAR. When I am alone I am very sad. I had
rather cough than be sad.

DOL. Not so ; I shall go and bear you company.
And I shall bring Lazarus. I don't wish my sick
child, my darling child to be melancholy. (Fondling

CARMEN coughs.
Again !

CAR. It's not worth speaking of.

DOL. The fact is that no one can breathe here.
What an atmosphere ! What smoke ! What a smell
of tobacco.

TER. The three ancient gentlemen were all the
night drinking and smoking and laughing. Now you
see how they have left everything.

DOL. Yes, I see. (Looking with disgust at the


little table which is full of ashes and ends of cigars
and covered -with bottles, glasses, and -waiters' trays.)
Take these things away ; clean everything up ; open
the balcony. I am not accustomed yet after twenty-
five years I should have grown accustomed. (Aside.)
The poetry of existence ! (Laughing bitterly.)

CAR. What are you laughing at, Dolores ?

DOL. (changing her tone and feigning merriment).
I feel amused, very much amused at the frolics of
those three venerable old men.

CAR. Papa is not yet an old man.

DOL. He is not: but what a life he has led. (Re-
collecting herself.) So laborious his business his
commerce the same as Juan.

CAR. Ah yes. Parents are all alike, killing them-
selves for their children. Snd papa Is very good.
He loves me my God ! At night he gets up I don't
know how many times and listens at the door of my
room to know if I am coughing, so that I, who hear
him, stifle the cough with my handkerchief or with
the bed-clothes ; but sometimes I am not able it is
that I am choking. (Coughs.)

DOL. (to TERESA who has been meanwhile taking
away bottles, ash-trays, waiters' 1 trays, and who has
entered and gone out several times). Open the
balcony ! Let in the fresh, pure air. No, wait. (To
CARMEN.) You could not bear the sensation, my
poor little one. Come. (Taking her by the hand.)

CAR. Where to ?

DOL. While the room is being ventilated you must
remain like a quiet little girl behind this curtain.
(Placing her behind the curtain to the right.) A quiet
little girl, eh ? Afterwards you shall enter.

CAR. (laughing). Are you leaving me in punish-


'OL. In punishment ! Your father is very in-
dulgent, I am very severe.

CAR. Good ; but your punishment does not last

DOL. Not very long. (To TERESA.) Go : I shall
open it. {Exit TERESA.

DOLORES opens the balcony.

So ! Air the air of night space freshness that
which is pure that which is great that which does
not revolt one that which dilates the lungs that
which expands the soul ! To have a very broad
horizon which one may fill with hopes, and to run
towards those hopes ! At least hope ! Hope ! Oh !
I cannot complain. I have my Lazarus then I have

CAR. (putting her head from time to time through
the curtain). May I come out ?

DOL. No, not yet ; wait quiet, my little one.
( Walking from the balcony to the fireplace?) To have
my son ! But without him ever having had a father
above all, that father ! Oh, if my Lazarus had
sprung spontaneously from my love! Even as as
the wave of the sea or the light of the sun springs
forth. After all, let me not complain even if he
resembled though he does not resemble his father,
Lazarus'is mine and mine only. How good ! How
noble. What intellect ! What a heart ! Oh, what
it is to have such a son !

CAR. May I come in ?

DOL. Ah, yes wait though I shall first shut the
balcony. (Shuts it.) Come in.

CAR. That's very different. (Breathing with

DOL. You feel well ?


CAR. Very well.

DOL. What are you looking at ?

CAR. The clock to see what time it is. It is
getting late : Lazarus is not coming. (Sadly.)

DOL. It is not late, my child. Come and sit by

CAR. Yes, it is late, it is late.

DOL. Lazarus will come soon. He knew that you
were coming this evening, and he will not fail.

CAR. (sorrowfully). But he would do wrong to
inconvenience himself for me. If he does not see me
now, he'll see me another day.

DOL. You silly child, are you complaining ?

CAR, Not at all. My God ! He has his engage-
ments, and he must not sacrifice himself for Carmen.

DOL. Carmen deserves it all ; and Carmen knows
it ; don't be a little hypocrite.

CAR. No, senora, I speak as I think, and that's
what gives me much pain and makes me quick at
finding fault. You fondle me and love me, as if you
were my own mother, now that I no longer have one.
You watch over our love the love of Lazarus and
myself. I am sure you tell Lazarus that I am this
and that in short, a prodigy. And you swear to me
that Lazarus is mad for the love of his Carmen. But
is all this true ? Can it be so ? Am I worthy of
Lazarus ? Can such a man as he feel the passion
which you describe to. me for a poor creature like

DOL. Come, now I shall get vexed. Don't say
such things. Why, have you never looked into the

CAR. Yes, many times every day.

DOL. And what does the glass tell you ?

CAR. That I am very pale, that I am very thin,



that I have very sad eyes, and that I rather resemble
a mother of sorrows than a girl of eighteen. That's
what it tells me, and it causes me a rather unpleasant

DOL. There are very malevolent mirrors, and yours
is one of them. (In a comic tone.) They take the
form of boats to give us long faces ; they get blurred
to make us pale ; they become stained to sow freckles
all over our skins ; and they commit every kind of
wickedness. Yours is a criminal looking-glass ; I'll
send you one in which you may see what you are, and
you shall see an angel gazing through a tiny window
of crystal.

CAR. Yes. (Laughs.) But even if I were the most
beautiful woman in the world, could I be worthy of
Lazarus ? A man like him 1 A future such as his !
A talent which all admire. Nay, a superior being. I
love him much ; but it makes me afraid and ashamed
that he should know that I love him so much. I feel
as if he were going to say to me : " But who are you,
you little simpleton ? Have you imagined that I am
meant for an unsubstantial, ignorant, sickly little thing
like you ? " (Sadly and humbly.)

DOL. Well, Carmen, if you don't wish to make me
angry, you will not talk such folly. A good woman is
worth more than all the learned men of all the Acade-
mies. And if, as well as being good, she is pretty,
then then there's an end, there is no man who is
worthy of her. Men, with the exception of Lazarus,
are either mean-spirited wretches or heartless devils.
(In a rancorous tone.)

CAR. Well, papa is very good, and is very fond of me.

DOL. Ah, yes a very good person. But, if he had
been so fond of you, he would have done better to give
you stronger lungs.


CAR. But, poor man, how is he to blame? If God
did not wish

DOL. Ah ! yes, that's true. It is not Don Timoteo's
fault. It was God's disposition that Carmen should
have no more breathing powers than those of a little
pigeon, and we must be resigned.

CAR. Well, that's what I say. But Lazarus is not
coming. You'll see that I shall have to go away
before he comes. And, if he comes and sets to work,
I shall be as little likely to see him to-night.

DOL. No ; he has not written for some days. The
excess of work has fatigued him. This constant
thought is very wasting.

CAR. But is he ill ? ( With great anxiety.}

DOL. No, child ; fatigue, and nothing more.

CAR. Yes ; Jie is ill. I noticed that he was sad,
preoccupied, but I thought, " There, it is that he does
not love me, and he does not know how to tell me so."

DOL. What things you imagine ! Neither the one
nor the other. My Lazarus ill ! Do you think that if
he had been so I would not have set in motion all the
first medical faculty here, and in Madrid, and in foreign
parts ? In any way, however (so)newhat uneasily], you
are right ; he is very late.

CAR. Did he go to the theatre ?

DOL. No, to dine with some friends.

CAR. Did Javier go?

DOL. He went also.-

CAR. I am glad ; Javier is very sensible.

DOL. So is Lazarus.

CAR. I should think so ; but a good friend is never
superfluous, and Javier has admiration, affection, and
respect for Lazarus.

DOL. (walking about impatiently). Still, it is getting
late very late.




CARMEN turns towards the balcony,

What are you going to do ?

CAR. Well, to watch and see if Lazarus is coming.

DOL. (drawing her away from the balcony). No,
child ; you don't think of your poor chest, nor of that
most obstinate cough of yours. Moreover, the night
is very dark, and you could see nothing. Come away,
Carmen, come away ; I'll watch.

CAR. If I can't see, neither will you see

DOL. I shall try.

CAR. Wait ; I think he is coming, and with Javier.

DOL. (listening). Yes it's true.

CAR. Are they not coming in here ?

DOL. No ; they have gone straight to the room of
Lazarus. But don't be uneasy ; as soon as he knows
that you are here, he will come to see you.

CAR. Without doubt he comes back thinking of
some great scene for his drama, or of some chapter
of that book which he is writing and which they say
is going to be a miracle of genius, or of some very
intricate problem. Ah ! my God, whatever you may
say, a man such as he cannot concern himself very
much about an insignificant girl like myself.

DOL. Again !

CAR. I know nothing, I am worth nothing, I am
nothing. I ? What am I fit for ? Tell me. To stare
at him like a blockhead while he is considering these
great matters ; to watch at the balcony and see if he
is coming, although it may be cold, and Carmen
coughs incessantly ; to weep if he takes no notice of
me, or if they tell me that he is ill. There is no doubt
that little Carmen is capable of doing wonders. To
J look at him, tcuwait for him T to weep for him.

DOL. And what more can a woman do for a man ?


To look at him always, to wait for him always, to weep
for him always.

CAR. And is that enough ?

DOL. So much the worse for Lazarus if that should
not be enough for him. But wait ; he's here now ;
did I not tell you ? as soon as he knew you were here.

CAR. (joyfully}. It's true. How good he is.


JAV. A pleasant evening, Dona Dolores ; pleasant
evening, Carmen.

DOL. A very good evening.

CAR. And a very pleasant but Lazarus

DOL. Is not Lazarus coming ?

CAR. Is he ill?

DOL. Ah ! if he is ill, I must go there

JAV. (stopping her). No, for God's sake ! What
should make him ill ? Listen to me. We and several
friends have been dining with two writers from Madrid
people of our profession. We spoke of arts, of
sciences, of politics, of philosophy, and of everything
divine and human. We drank, we gave toasts, we
made speeches, we read verses. You understand?
And these things excite in an extraordinary way the
nervous system of Lazarus.

DOL. And has anything gone wrong with him?
My God !

CAR. Go, Dolores go !

JAV. For the sake of God in heaven, let me con-
clude. These things, I say, shake his nerves, and his
imagination becomes on fire ; it soon discovers lumi-
nous horizons ; the ideas rush upon him precipitately.
Could you take upon yourselves the burden of them ?
No ; that which came with the fever of inspiration he
wished to take advantage of, and for that reason


precisely for that reason he locked himself up in his
room and sent me away.

CAR. (sadly to DOLORES). Did I not say so ? He
would come and to work.

DOL. Does he not know that Carmen is here ?

JAV. They told us that on our entrance; but he
/pays attention to nothing, to nobody, when inspiration
\and glory and art cry aloud to him, "Come, we are
waiting for you."

DOL. However (Wishing to go.}

CAR. No, for God's sakejj (Stopping her.} He
must^e~inowed^to worTT Tf through me he should
lose any of those grand ideas which now hover fondly
about him, what pain and what remorse for me !
Disturb him that he may come and speak to me?
No, not so ; I am not so selfish. I asked for nothing
better. By no means can I consent. (Embraces
DOLORES ; coughs and almost weeps.}

DOL. (with anxiety}. What's the matter with you?

CAR. (affecting merriment}. Nothing ; it is only that
I had begun to laugh and cough at the same time. I
laughed because I was reminded of a tale a very
silly tale, which made me laugh, however, and which
fits the case. You shall judge. There was a very

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Online LibraryJosé EchegarayThe son of Don Juan; an original drama in 3 acts inspired by the reading of Ibsen's work entitled Gengangere → online text (page 3 of 8)