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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women in all Andalusia. She was called Paca the

JAV. Ah ha ! who would have said so !

TIM. I should have said so, Juanito would have
said so, Nemesio would have said so, and everybody
would have said so. The Tarifena ! the girl from
Tarifa ! she who acts in this house to-day as a"~l
servant or little better, twenty or thirty years ago ,
commanded like a mistress. Afterwards, as always
happens, she rambled about rambled about and
farewell beauty, farewell grace, farewell magnificence.
Old age, ugliness and misery, the three enemies I'll
not say of the soul, but of the bodies of pretty girls,
fed themselves upon the gay Tarifena. Five or six
years ago Juan got to know of it ; he felt sorry, and he
took her into this country house, as mistress of the
keys or something as a matter of form. In short,
she is in service in the country seat ; but she will not
be of much service, for she was always very lively,
but very lazy.

JAV. Yet, so beautiful ?

TIM. A sun ! But women break down early. We
men preserve ourselves better. Who would say that
I am fifty-eight years old ?

JAV. Nobody ! Whatever else you may be accused
of (Aside.} Seventy-five !

TIM. I should think so. Halloa ! I think Lazarus
is coming.

Enter LAZARUS on the left. Behind comes Doctor
BERMUDEZ, but at a certain distance from
LAZARUS, as if observing him and being on the

LAZ. (looking at DON TIMOTEO and JAVIER).
This night we are all sitting up, the sitting up of the


TIM. I am obliged to you, but there was no need
for you to trouble yourself. Let us say farewell now :
you go to bed : and Carmen and I at daybreak, very
quietly, without rousing anybody, will set out for the

LAZ. So, so ; very quietly, without waking anybody,
in the silence of the night : so you wish to steal
Carmen away. And so happiness is stolen away.
Treachery ! But I am watching and I shall watch :
Lazarus has risen, and now he will never sleep any
more. These eyes are very wide open to see every-
thing (tenderly) : the dear little head of my Carmen
(laughing), the great, villainous head of Don Timoteo.
To see the day with its splendour and the night with
its gloom. (Going to the balcony?) How beautiful is
the morning star is it not ? It is always there.
We seem to have made an appointment with each
other. " I shall appear in heaven," she says, " and
do you appear at the balcony, and we shall gaze upon
each other." I cannot gaze upon you, forgive me ;
Carmen would be jealous. She not being at my side,
I do not wish to gaze on anybody, I do not care to see
anybody. (Withdraws irritably from the balcony and
sees BERMUDEZ.) Halloa, dearest doctor, were you
here ? Did you follow me ? Did they send you to
take charge of me ? Well, look you, it annoys me to
have a sentinel always in sight (Restraining himself
and changing his tone) unless he be so kind hearted
as my dear doctor.

They all advance to the first entrance.
BERM. I came with you to beg you not to sit up.
Now go to bed, take some rest, and at daybreak I
shall awaken you that you may bid good-bye to
Carmen and to Don Timoteo.


LAZ. That's what you want ! I am not a child : I
am not to be deceived. How does he who sleeps
know what he will see on his awaking? If he does
awake ! (Sits down.)

TIM. However. (Approaching him.)

JAV. (approaching still nearer). I give you my
word. . . .

BERM. (All surround him.) We all promise you

LAZ. It is useless don't trouble yourselves.
Besides I neither believe anybody, nor trust in any-
body. I don't trust myself, and I am always observing
myself whether perchance in short, I understand
myself : then how should I trust you ? You perceive
that that's asking too much. And enough, enough
1 have said no.

BERM. As you please, Lazarus.

LAZ. Moreover, sitting up is delightful. What a
sky ! what a night, what a river ! Just now we were
downstairs in the drawing-room that looks on to the
garden, my mother, my father, Carmen, the doctor,
I (counting on his fingers) and Paca likewise. All
seated, all resting, and somewhat sleepy, excepting
Paca. In an angle a lamp : the doors on a level with
the outside : the sky in the distance : the garden with
its twining plants and its rose trees making itself a
portion of the saloon, as if to bear us company : the
penetrating perfumes of the lemon flower, and the
freshness of the river impregnating the atmosphere :
little insects of all colours, a few butterflies among
them, as if engendered by the air, came from without,
attracted by the lamp, and fluttered between the light
and the gloom, as ideas revolve within me now ; and
Paca too was fluttering amidst us all. (A pause.)
What, you are laughing ? (To JAVIER.)


JAV. I am not laughing.

LAZ. Yes ; you laugh because I said that Paca was
fluttering between my father, my mother, Carmen and
myself. Well, I maintain it : is it only butterflies
that flutter about ? Flies and gad-flies flutter as well.
And so, as I lay there with eyes half closed, Paca,
with her black dress and her black mantle with its
fringe, seemed to me an enormous fly. She fluttered
ponderously from my father to my mother serving
my father with sherry and my mother with iced water
and between Carmen and myself, to worry me with
questions, and to fix a flower in Carmen's hair, rustling
against us both with her mantle and its fringes, as a
fly rustles with its dark and hairy wings. She is a
kind woman but I felt a repugnance, a loathing, and
a chill, and I came up to stand and breathe on yonder

JAV. And to contemplate the stars.

LAZ. One, no more than one. And such extrava-
gant ideas ! But we apprentices of poetry are thus.
You are right, Bermudez, extravagant very very .
I was thinking of Paca, I was gazing at the star, and
I felt an insane, ridiculous, but unconquerable desire.
It was to seize one of my foils, to run it through the
gad-fly with her fringed mantle, as one runs an insect
through with a pin, and to burn her at the light of
that most beautiful star. Like what ? The putre-
scence of humanity which is consumed and purified in
heavenly flames. You don't understand me, Don
Timoteo ?

TIM. Well, I don't think there is much to under-
stand and even though a man may not be a

LAZ. Don't be vexed : these are jokes : I offend
you ? The father of Carmen ? when for her sake I


am ready to go down on my knees and to declare that
you are young and beautiful and that you have brains,
and to compel the whole world to declare the same.
Your arms, Don Timoteo, your arms. (They em-
brace.} You bear no grudge against me, do you ?

TlM. Dear me, why should I ?

LAZ. Then don't take away Carmen ; don't sepa-
rate me from her. A sick man should have his way
in everything and it would make me worse, let
Bermudez tell you. Is it not true that it would make
me ill ? Say it say it ?

TIM. But you are well now ?

BERM. Quite well.

LAZ. And you, what do you say ?

JAV. My boy, I find you as well as ever.

TIM. And I really must go to Sevilla. But we
shall soon come back to be reunited. You are not a
convalescent : you don't require to stay here. Away
home to work !

LAZ. (in the ear of TIM.). Then when shall the
wedding be ?

TIM. For my part any day but that, let the
doctor say.

LAZ. Not that man not that man ah I know him
and yet let him say.

BERM. It depends on the state of mind that you are'
in : if you are in a sound state of mind, very soon.

LAZ. Well, before you take Carmen away you have
to decide it. The morning approaches it will be
here in less than two or three hours. You see that
brightness ? It is beginning to dawn already, and we
must sit up by all means. Therefore you go in there,
into that cabinet and jyou fix the date. I shall not
be in your way. Now you see that I can do no more.
But you must say when and let me know ; when I


know it I shall be more at ease. With to-day there
will be one day less : two less : three it is not far off
now : very little short of the time : three days off, two
days off, one day off, it is to-morrow, it is to-day she
is my Carmen for ever she is mine (vehemently],
Now, let who dare force her from my arms ! Oh !
Carmen now belongs to Lazarus. (Changing his
tone.} I am saying what will happen when you fix
the day because by the fixing of the day we only
want two now we are only short of one now it has
arrived all happy ! (Embracing- TlM. and JAV.).
It's true, it's true ! And now, in there.

TIM. For my part, with much pleasure, and it seems
to me a good idea. Will you have it so, Bermudez^_

BERM. I am at your orders and if Lazarus

LAZ. No more no more enter here and in all
freedom. Your little cabinet the balcony open
the flowers of that terrace which are beginning to take
colour the Guadalquivir which commences to waken
with its silver lights. Very good very good you
are going to be perfectly comfortable and all this
will incline you to good nature. Don't be very cruel
don't fix too long a term for in this world, what is
not to-day is never.

TIM. Shall we go in ?

BERM. Yes, senor.

They move slowly and speaking in low tones toward
the right.

LAZ. (in a low, energetic -voice to JAVIER). And
you, too, go. I don't trust them. The wretches,
they would say never : go, go, with them.

JAV. But I

LAZ. (BERM. and TIM. are now at the door). Eh ?


wait. Javier is accompanying you, I have requested
him because I wish to have some one who may plead
for me and for Carmen. This you cannot deny me.

TIM. I should think not come come.

JAV. (to LAZ.). If you insist.

LAZ. In there, all three all three and afterwards
we shall give an account of all to my mother and my
father and Carmen. Quick quick

BERM. (at the door). You two go in

TIM. You go in first.

BERM. By no means.

LAZ. Go in any way : I am waiting

BERM. We shall soon have done. Be calm, Lazarus,
be calm.'

LAZ. ;(alone). Yes: he is right: I have need of
much calm. Outside there all is calm : then why
should I not be calm as well ? Without there is
twilight (pressing his forehead) : within here is
another twilight. But yonder half obscurity will end
by filling itself with light. And this this ? I seem
to see beyond the luminous little clouds a great gloom.
There without are worlds and suns and immensity
yet nothing of that bears the least consequence to me :
here within are three insignificant persons and it is
they who are about to decide my destiny. To be
menaced with the danger of one of those orbs that
whirl through space overwhelming Carmen and my-
self there would be grandeur for us in such a fate.
But to be threatened with the possibility of a doctor
and a fool putting me in a cage and leaving Carmen
outside, to fret her pale front against the cold iron
bars this is cruel, this is humiliating and nobody
shall humiliate me. I am worth more than them all
put together. I am better than them all. (Interrupt-
ing himself.} Better than Carmen ? no. Neither am


I better than my mother. And my father my father
he loves me much more than I silence ! Yet if he
is capable of loving more than I, then he is better
than I the result is that everybody is better than
Lazarus. How is this possible? (Walks about in
-^ great agitation?)

Enter PACA with some cups of Manzanilla.
Who is this ? It is Paca. Why the result will be
I see it that even that creature is better than myself.

PACA. Is not Don Timoteo here ? Then why does
he give orders for nothing? He gives orders and
then he goes away.

LAZ. Whom are you looking for ?

PACA. For Don Timoteo : he asked me for some cups
of Manzanilla, and he went away without waiting for me.

LAZ. Bring them, bring them. I'll take them.
Leave them here.

PACA (putting them on a little table). You,
senorito ? And if they do you harm ?

LAZ. Harm to me ? Poor woman ! Look
(drinks a cup.} I drink and you flutter about.

PACA. I flutter about, senorito? Ah ! what things
you say !

LAZ. What do you see out there ?

PACA. Nothing.

LAZ. Just so. Nothing : that's what we all see.
And inside here, what do you see ?

PACA. Well, you.

LAZ. That's it, the son of Don Juan drinking ; and
Paca whirling around. (Drinks another glass.)

PACA. Don't drink any more, senorito : you are not
at all well and it will do you harm. And Dona
Dolores will be grieved and Don Juan will be grieved.

LAZ. And I'll make the Manzanilla grieve. And
you, won't you be grieved ?


PACA. Why yes : for I am very fond of the

LAZ. The result is that everybody is fond of me.
Everybody is fond of me, and I am fond of nobody.
Ah I of Carmen yes : and of my mother as well :
and of my father : and of poor Javier well, then I
am fond of everybody This (taking a cup or glass.}
must make it clear. (Giving PACA a glass.} Let us
both make it clear.

PACA (stopping him}. Senorito, for God's sake !

LAZ. No ; it isn't for God's sake, it's for mine.

PACA. If you insist. (Drinks.)

LAZ. And now I. (Takes up another glass .}

PACA (stopping him). No ; not you.

LAZ. Well then, you.

PACA. Ah ! by the most Holy Virgin, you see I
hare lost the practice.

LAZ. You fool, why this is very healthy. It gives
you strength. I now feel capable of anything. Awhile
ago you seemed to me all funereal; now I perceive
your black cloak to be all overspread with spangles of
gold, and fragments of rainbow, like the wings of a

PACA. Ah, senorito, I have been that. Ask

LAZ. Ask whom ?

PACA. Nobody anybody whatever. Ugh, I am
stifled. (Lets fall the black handkerchief from her
head over her shoulders.} Yes, senorito when people
said the Tarifena there was no need to say more.

LAZ. That was a climax, eh ? Well, take another
and you shall begin again.

PACA. You see we shall both be getting upset.

( They take the glasses.}
LAZ. Listen, Tarifena, sylph of former times, en-


chanting siren of our forefathers, moth-eaten memorial
of their joys, will you do me a favour ?

PACA. I should think so. I am loyal to the house,
and to all that's in the house, and to you, senorito,
because you are of the house.

LAZ. Good ; and to those who are not of the house,
no. Well, inside there are three who are not of the
house: Don Timoteo, Bermudez, and Javier. And
those three are working so that I may not be married
to Carmen. They say that I am ill, that I am a bad
fellow, that I would cause much misery to Carmen ;
in short, they propose to break off my wedding see
what infamy !

PACA. Old men never wish young people to be
married ; old men are great scoundrels. Old women
are quite the contrary ; we old women would like
everybody to get married. Why, what does the
human race exist for ? To get married ; exactly.
And you and beautiful little Carmen will make such a
pair !

LAZ. You are very kind, very tender-hearted ; you
don't wish any one to suffer pain. Take this (gives her
another cup}

PACA. Ah ! yes, senorito, although it doesn't
become me to talk about my being tender-hearted,
I never harmed any one.

LAZ. So ought all women with good hearts to be.

PACA (refusing if}. I can't take any more. I can't
take any more.

LAZ. Then listen. That cabinet leads to the ter-
race, and the terrace goes round the house you
understand ? and the window which looks on to the
terrace is on a level with it, so that if you go on to
the terrace by here, and approach, you can hear


everything ; and if they wish to separate me from my
own little Carmen, you come and tell me, and I'll
know what to do.

PACA (laughing). What good ideas you have,
senorito. I should think I would do this ! the vaga-
bonds ! But Don Juan wishes you to be married?

LAZ. Does he not wish it ! The one who does not
wish it is Don Timoteo. The one who wishes to
carry off little Carmen as soon as daylight comes, is
he ! The one who means to strangle them all is
myself. And the one who has to make fools of them
that's you.

PACA. With the very greatest pleasure.

LAZ. But first of all go down to the garden, enter
the drawing-room my father and mother will be
sleeping, Carmen will be awake ; Carmen does not
sleep, I know that ! and without any one but herself
hearing you, tell her that I am waiting for her ; tell
her to come up, that at dawn her father is taking her
away, and that I want to bid her farewell. You
understand ?

PACA. Yes, senorito Farewell ! Farewells are

very sad. I have bidden farewell many times, and I
have always wept.

LAZ. Good. Well now you shall weep again. We
shall all weep.

PACA. Don't say that.

LAZ. Yes, you simpleton, weeping relieves you.
Take note : laughing tires you, and weeping relieves

PACA. Well now it's true. Ah ! what you do know,
senorito !

LAZ. Take this (giving her a glass}. You and I are
also going to bid farewell to each other : clink clink


PACA. To the health of the Senorita Carmen.

LAZ. To the health of the man whom you have
most loved when you were in love.

PACA. Then to the health to the health of all the
family !

LAZ. {reversing the glass). Look, not a drop !

PACA. The same with me.

LAZ. And now to call Carmen and afterwards to
listen to what those people say.

PACA. I am going there ; give me another to take

LAZ. Drink, my dear, drink.

PACA. You shall see what I am. (Goes towards the

LAZ. No, not that way ; I told you by the terra ceT~
(Making her go out by the terrace.)

PACA. Ha, ha ! Yes, I shall know it all some day.
He wants to show me the way of the house (laughing).

LAZ. Now quick ; and first of all let Carmen come.

PACA. At once, .at once; but don't make her cry,
poor little thing, poor little thing ; men like to make
women cry; but she she is such a sweet little thing.
Jesus, how warm it is ! [Goes out by the terrace.

"~~LAZ. (alone). I feel more confident I find the
strength flowing into my arms. To defend Carmen I
need much strength. Well, I have it now. Every-
thing is dawning everything is rising everything is
returning. Light on the horizon, life to my muscles,
and Carmen to me. Lazarus is Lazarus. The moment
has arrived for the struggle for the supreme struggle.
But here one cannot struggle. Everything is soft and
yielding. The carpet soft, the divans soft, the East
filled with gauze and tufts of cotton wool. I want
rock whereon to lean back, a sword to cut, a mace
to crush hardness, angles, metals that may offer


resistance to me and let me reduce all to powder
(pressing his forehead}. I feel the blood whirling
round within my temples ! (pressing his bosom} fire
in my breast ! engines of steel in my arms 1

(CARMEN appears on the terrace with PACA who
points her out to LAZARUS, then disappears.}
Carmen !

CAR. Lazarus !

LAZ. (strains her frantically in his arms}. Carmen,
my own Carmen. Now let them say what they like,
those imbeciles, and let them come to seek you.

CAR. But what's the matter with you ? My God 1
I don't understand.

LAZ. You don't understand that I love you more /
than my life, and that I have never told you so ?

CAR. Yes, you have many times told me so.

LAZ. But in very poor fashion coldly, lifelessly.
The fact is that there is no way of saying these things.
Commonplace words, commonplace phrases ! " I love
you more than my life, more than my soul ; you are
my happiness, you are my hope, my dream. . . ."
Pshaw ! Everybody says that. It has become pro-
faned on all lips.

CAR. When I heard you speak so, it seemed
to me that you were the only one in the world who
said such things.

LAZ. No, you little goose, they all say them. And
I don't wish to say what everybody says ; because
you are not like other people, and for you it is
necessary to invent other things. Let me see, what
shall I invent ?

CAR. What you like. But while you are invent-
ing, you may go on saying what you used to say, for it
sounds well to me and if it doesn't trouble you. . . .

LAZ. You will never have understood how I love


you, for I have not known how to explain myself ; I
have not understood it myself until now. I saw
surrounding me an immeasurable horizon, and I was
lost in the contemplation of it : worlds and marvels
and splendours and sounds and melodies. But now
all is obscured, all has become confined : a sombre
background which folds itself up, something like a
stupendous eyeball which becomes contracted, and
in the centre nothing is left but a small circle of light,
and in that circle is an image it is yours ; now all
has become blotted out, and there remains no more
than Carmen, and in Carmen I reconcentrate all that
lies before me of life, of longing, of thought, of love.
Let not the eyeball close up finally, for then I shall
be left in darkness.

CAR. Then you love me more than I thought?
What joy for me !

LAZ. There is no reason to be joyful, for they wish

CAR. Who?

LAZ. They. ( Pointing to the cabinet.}

CAR. Why?

LAZ. Because I have not known how to explain to
them what you are to me, and neither have you
understood ; and they believe that we shall console
ourselves, that we shall grow resigned, that there is
nothing more to be said than, " Lock up Lazarus,
take away Carmen." Do you consent?

CAR. I ? No, never ; no, Lazarus, I am not re-
signed. I cannot do more than one thing : die.
Well, I shall die. Can I do more ?

LAZ. No ; that will do well ; that's enough.

CAR. But you can defend me.

LAZ. Defend you? How? Yes, I'll defend you;
but how ?


CAR. Why, who threatens us ?

L\z. I don't know. I can't well explain. I am
now as it were on the boundaries of a desert ; a desert
contains much sand, which never ends ; much solitude
which is never filled ; much thirst which is never
quenched, and a sky which becomes flattened in the
centre as if it were about to fall, and which never
falls. At least if it did sink down all would be at an

CAR. Yes, much sadness which never ends. I felt
that when I had doubts of you. It is true, the world
was a desert.

LAZ. Well in that desert you gather up a handful of
sand and you begin to count the little grains one,
two, three, hundreds, thousands and you never finish
counting. Yet there is no more than a handful and
you gather up another and you gather up another
and the sand never ends. And you run and run ;
but no, onward to the horizon all is overwhelmed
with sand.

CAR. But what's the meaning of this ? I don't

LAZ. It means it is very clear don't you see?
It seems clear to me, yet you don't understand. It
means that I, who had wild dreams of applause, of
glory, of gaining still more glory and applause with
my Carmen, I see before me the fate of having to
count grains and grains, handfuls and handfuls of
sand, for days and nights and years, until the end
if there be an end. I don't know if there be an end.

CAR. Lazarus, Lazarus, don't talk so ; don't look
in that way !

LAZ. Then save me ! Why what did I call you for
except that you should save me ?

CAR. Yes, I will save you ; but how ?


LAZ. Consider now whether you love me so much.
Suppose that we are about to say farewell for ever
.because we are on the confines of that desert both
together at a little fountain the last ! It holds fresh
water, the last ! On the falling of the tube into the
water it forms flakes of foam the last and I wish
/to drink for the last time and to cool my face and to
/ sprinkle foam upon my lips that they may become
/ wreathed in smiles. Help me look at me speak
< laugh sing weep do something, Carmen, for I am
now being hurried away from you. I am now going
into the desert ; do something ; throw me at least
what your hands will hold of water, that a few drops
may fall upon my face.

CARMEN folds him in her arms.

CAR. But why do you say that? I don't under-
stand. Are you sad ? Are you vexed ? Are you ill ?
These few days past, this very morning, you were so
well, so cheerful, Lazarus.

LAZ. They say that I am going to forget you
that soon I shall not know you that you will be close
to me, and I without suspecting it like a child
like an idiot

CAR. No, not that !

LAZ. But if it should be so?

CAR. It will not be so.

LAZ. Why not? (His look begins to wander and
he scarcely hears what follows j he assumes the face
of an idiot and his arms fall to his sides.)

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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 7 of 8)