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    Act IV

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    Chapter 5
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    SCENE I.--DONNA ELVIRA, DON ALVAREZ.

    ELV. You can go back, Don Alvarez, but do not expect that you shall persuade me to forget this offence. The wound which my heart received is incurable; all endeavours to heal it make it but fester the more. Does the Prince think I shall listen to some simulated compliments? No, no, he has made me too angry; and his fruitless repentance, which led you hither, solicits a pardon which I will not grant.

    ALV. Madam, he deserves your pity. Never was any offence expiated with more stinging remorse; if you were to see his grief, it would touch your heart, and you would pardon him. It is well known that the Prince is of an age at which we abandon ourselves to first impressions; that in fiery youth the passions hardly leave room for reflection. Don Lopez, deceived by false tidings, was the cause of his master's mistake. An idle report that the Count was coming, and that you had some understanding with those who admitted him within these walls, was indiscreetly bruited about. The Prince believed it; his love, deceived by a false alarm, has caused all this disturbance. But being now conscious of his error, he is well aware of your innocence; the dismissal of Don Lopez clearly proves how great his remorse is for the outburst of which he has been guilty.

    ELV. Alas! He too readily believes me innocent; he is not yet quite sure of it. Tell him to weigh all things well, and not to make too much haste, for fear of being deceived.

    ALV. Madam, he knows too well....

    ELV. I pray you, Don Alvarez, let us no longer continue a conversation which vexes me: it revives in me some sadness, at the very moment that a more important sorrow oppresses me. Yes, I have received unexpectedly the news of a very great misfortune; the report of the death of the Countess Inez has filled my heart with so much wretchedness, that there is no room for any other grief.

    ALV. Madam, these tidings may not be true; but when I return, I shall have to communicate to the Prince a cruel piece of news.

    ELV. However great his sufferings may be, they fall short of what he deserves.

    SCENE II.--DONNA ELVIRA, ELIZA.

    EL. I waited, Madam until he was gone, to tell you something that will free you from your anxiety, since this very moment you can be informed what has become of Donna Inez. A certain person, whom I do not know, has sent one of his servants to ask an audience of you, in order to tell you all.

    ELV. Eliza, I must see him; let him come quickly.

    EL. He does not wish to be seen except by yourself; by this messenger he requests, Madam that his visit may take place without any one being present.

    ELV. Well, we shall be alone, I will give orders about that, whilst you bring him here. How great is my impatience just now! Ye fates, shall these tidings be full of joy or grief?

    SCENE III.--DON PEDRO, ELIZA.

    EL. Where....

    PED. If you are looking for me, Madam, here I am.

    EL. Where is your master....

    PED. He is hard by; shall I fetch him?

    EL. Desire him to come; tell him that he is impatiently expected, and that no one shall see him. (Alone). I cannot unravel this mystery; all the precautions he takes ... But here he is already.

    SCENE IV.--DONNA INEZ, in man's dress, ELIZA.

    EL. My Lord, in order to wait for you, we have prepared.... But what do I see? Ah! Madam, my eyes....

    INEZ. Do not tell any one, Eliza, I am here; allow me to pass my sad days in peace. I pretended to kill myself. By this feigned death I got rid of all my tyrants; for this is the name my relatives deserve. Thus I have avoided a dreadful marriage; rather than have consented, I would really have killed myself. This dress, and the report of my death, will keep the secret of my fate from all, and secure me against that unjust persecution which may even follow me hither.

    EL. My surprise might have betrayed you, if I had seen you in public; but go into this room and put an end to the sorrow of the Princess; her heart will be filled with joy when she shall behold you. You will find her there alone; she has taken care to see you by herself, and without any witnesses.

    SCENE V.--DON ALVAREZ, ELIZA.

    EL. Is this not Don Alvarez whom I see?

    ALV. The Prince sends me to entreat you to use your utmost influence in his favour. His life is despaired of, unless he obtains by your means, fair Eliza, one moment's conversation with Donna Elvira; he is beside himself ... but here he is.

    SCENE VI.--DON GARCIA, DON ALVAREZ, ELIZA.

    GARC. Alas. Eliza, feel for my great misfortune; take pity on a heart full of wretchedness, and given up to the bitterest sorrow.

    EL. I should look upon your torments, my Lord, with other eyes than the Princess does; Heaven or our mood is the reason why we judge differently about everything. But, as she blames you, and fancies your jealousy to be a frightful monster, if I were in your place I should obey her wishes, and endeavour to conceal from her eyes what offends them. A lover undoubtedly acts wisely when he tries to suit his temper to ours; a hundred acts of politeness have less influence than this unison, which makes two hearts appear as if stirred by the same feelings. This similarity firmly unites them; for we love nothing so much as what resembles ourselves.

    GARC. I know it, but alas! merciless fate opposes such a well intentioned plan; in spite of all my endeavours, it continually lays a snare for me, which my heart cannot avoid. It is not because the ungrateful woman, in the presence of my rival, avowed her love for him, and not for me; and that with such an excess of tenderness, that it is impossible I can ever forget her cruelty. But as too much ardour led me to believe erroneously that she had introduced him into this place, I should be very much annoyed if I left upon her mind the impression that she has any just cause of complaint against me. Yes, if I am abandoned, it shall be only through her faithlessness; for as I have come to beg her pardon for my impetuosity, she shall have no excuse for ingratitude.

    EL. Give a little time for her resentment to cool, and do not see her again so soon, my Lord.

    GARC. Ah! if you love me, induce her to see me; she must grant me that permission; I do not leave this spot until her cruel disdain at least....

    EL. Pray, my Lord, defer this purpose.

    GARC. No; make no more idle excuses.

    EL. (Aside). The Princess herself must find means to send him away, if she says but one word to him. (To Don Garcia). Stay here, my Lord, I shall go and speak to her.

    GARC. Tell her that I instantly dismissed the person whose information was the cause of my offence, that Don Lopez shall never...

    SCENE VII.--DON GARCIA, DON ALVAREZ.

    GARC. (Looking in at the door which Eliza left half open). What do I see, righteous Heavens! Can I believe my eyes? Alas! they are, doubtless, but too faithful witnesses; this is the most terrible of all my great troubles! This fatal blow completely overwhelms me! When suspicions raged within me, it was Heaven itself, vaguely but ominously foretelling me this horrible disgrace.

    ALV. What have you seen, my Lord, to disturb you?

    GARC. I have seen what I can hardly conceive; the overthrow of all creation would less astonish me than this accident. It is all over with me ... Fate ... I cannot speak.

    [Footnote: The words from "What have you seen" till "I cannot speak," are with some slight alterations, found in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 2 (see Vol. II).]

    ALV. My Lord, endeavour to be composed.

    GARC. I have seen... Vengeance! O Heaven!

    ALV. What sudden alarm...?

    GARC. It will kill me, Don Alvarez, it is but too certain.

    ALV. But, my Lord, what can...

    GARC. Alas! Everything is undone. I am betrayed, I am murdered!

    [Footnote: The last sentences of Don Alvarez and Don Garcia are also found in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 2 (see Vol. II).]

    A man, (can I say it and still live) a man in the arms of the faithless Elvira!

    ALV. The Princess, my Lord, is so virtuous...

    GARC. Ah, Don Alvarez, do not gainsay what I have seen. It is too much to defend her reputation, after my eyes have beheld so heinous an action.

    ALV. Our passions, my Lord, often cause us to mistake a deception for a reality; to believe that a mind nourished by virtue can....

    GARC. Prithee leave me, Don Alvarez, a counsellor is in the way upon such an occasion; I will take counsel only of my wrath.

    ALV. (Aside). It is better not to answer him when his mind is so upset.

    GARC. Oh! how deeply am I wounded! But I shall see who it is, and punish with my own hand.... But here she comes. Restrain thyself, O rage!

    SCENE VIII.--DONNA ELVIRA, DON GARCIA, DON ALVAREZ.

    ELV. Well, what do you want? However bold you may be, how can you hope for pardon, after the way you have behaved? Dare you again present yourself before me? And what can you say that will become me to hear?

    GARC. That all the wickedness of this world is not to be compared to your perfidy; that neither fate, hell, nor Heaven in its wrath ever produced anything so wicked as you are.

    [Footnote: The above words of Don Garcia are also in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 3 (see Vol. II).]

    ELV. How is this? I expected you would excuse your outrage; but I find you use other words.

    GARC. Yes, yes, other words. You did not think that, the door being by accident left half open, I should discover the caitiff in your arms, and thus behold your shame, and my doom. Is it the happy lover who has returned, or some other rival to me unknown? O Heaven! grant me sufficient strength to bear such tortures. Now, blush, you have cause to do so; your treachery is laid bare. This is what the agitations of my mind prognosticated; it was not without cause that my love took alarm; my continual suspicions were hateful to you, but I was trying to discover the misfortune my eyes have beheld; in spite of all your care, and your skill in dissembling, my star foretold me what I had to fear. But do not imagine that I will bear unavenged the slight of being insulted! I know that we have no command over our inclinations; that love will everywhere spring up spontaneously; that there is no entering a heart by force, and that every soul is free to name its conqueror; therefore I should have no reason to complain, if you had spoken to me without dissembling; you would then have sounded the death-knell of my hope; but my heart could have blamed fortune alone. But to see my love encouraged by a deceitful avowal on your part, is so treacherous and perfidious an action, that it cannot meet with too great a punishment; I can allow my resentment to do anything. No, no, after such an outrage, hope for nothing. I am no longer myself, I am mad with rage.

    [Footnote: The whole of this speech, from "Now blush," until "mad with rage," has, with few alterations, been used in the Misanthrope. Act iv., Scene 3 (see Vol. II).]

    Betrayed on all sides, placed in so sad a situation, my love must avenge itself to the utmost; I shall sacrifice everything here to my frenzy, and end my despair with my life.

    ELV. I have listened to you patiently; can I, in my turn, speak to you freely?

    GARC. And by what eloquent speeches, inspired by cunning....

    ELV. If you have still something to say, pray continue; I am ready to hear you. If not, I hope you will at least listen for a few minutes quietly to what I have to say.

    GARC. Well, then, I am listening. Ye Heavens! what patience is mine!

    ELV. I restrain my indignation, and will without any passion reply to your discourse, so full of fury.

    GARC. It is because you see...

    ELV. I have listened to you as long as you pleased; pray do the like to me. I wonder at my destiny, and I believe there was never any thing under Heaven so marvellous, nothing more strange and incomprehensible, and nothing more opposed to reason. I have a lover, who incessantly does nothing else but persecute me; who, amidst all the expressions of his love, does not entertain for me any feelings of esteem; whose heart, on which my eyes have made an impression, does not do justice to the lofty rank granted to me by Heaven; who will not defend the innocence of my actions against the slightest semblance of false appearances. Yes, I see ... (Don Garcia shows some signs of impatience, and wishes to speak). Above all, do not interrupt me. I see that my unhappiness is so great, that one who says he loves me, and who, even if the whole world were to attack my reputation, ought to claim to defend it against all, is he who is its greatest foe. In the midst of his love, he lets no opportunity pass of suspecting me; he not only suspects me, but breaks out into such violent fits of jealousy that love cannot suffer without being wounded. Far from acting like a lover who would rather die than offend her whom he loves, who gently complains and seeks respectfully to have explained what he thinks suspicious, he proceeds to extremities as soon as he doubts, and is full of rage, insults, and threats. However, this day I will shut my eyes to everything that makes him odious to me, and out of mere kindness afford him an opportunity of being reconciled, though he insulted me anew. This great rage with which you attacked me proceeds from what you accidentally saw; I should be wrong to deny what you have seen; I own you might have some reason to be disturbed at it.

    GARC. And is it not...

    ELV. Listen to me a little longer, and you shall know what I have resolved. It is necessary that our fates should be decided. You are now upon the brink of a great precipice; you will either fall over it, or save yourself, according to the resolution you shall take. If, notwithstanding what you have seen, Prince, you act towards me as you ought, and ask no other proof but that I tell you you are wrong; if you readily comply with my wishes and are willing to believe me innocent upon my word alone, and no longer yield to every suspicion, but blindly believe what my heart tells you; then this submission, this proof of esteem, shall cancel all your offences; I instantly retract what I said when excited by well-founded anger. And if hereafter I can choose for myself, without prejudicing what I owe to my birth, then my honour, being satisfied with the respect you so quickly show, promises to reward your love with my heart and my hand. But listen now to what I say. If you care so little for my offer as to refuse completely to abandon your jealous suspicions; if the assurance which my heart and birth give you do not suffice; if the mistrust that darkens your mind compels me, though innocent, to convince you, and to produce a clear proof of my offended virtue, I am ready to do so, and you shall be satisfied; but you must then renounce me at once, and for ever give up all pretensions to my hand. I swear by Him who rules the Heavens, that, whatever fate may have in store for us, I will rather die than be yours! I trust these two proposals may satisfy you; now choose which of the two pleases you.

    GARC. Righteous Heaven! Was there ever anything more artful and treacherous? Could hellish malice produce any perfidy so black? Could it have invented a more severe and merciless way to embarrass a lover? Ah! ungrateful woman, you know well how to take advantage of my great weakness, even against myself, and to employ for your own purposes that excessive, astonishing, and fatal love which you inspired.

    [Footnote: The phrase "Ah! ungrateful woman" until "inspired" is also found in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 3 (see Vol. II).]

    Because you have been taken by surprise, and cannot find an excuse, you cunningly offer to forgive me. You pretend to be good-natured, and invent some trick to divert the consequences of my vengeance; you wish to ward off the blow that threatens a wretch, by craftily entangling me with your offer. Yes, your artifices would fain avert an explanation which must condemn you; pretending to be completely innocent, you will give convincing proof of it only upon such conditions as you think and most fervently trust I will never accept; but you are mistaken if you think to surprise me. Yes, yes, I am resolved to see how you can defend yourself; by what miracle you can justify the horrible sight I beheld, and condemn my anger.

    ELV. Consider that, by this choice, you engage yourself to abandon all pretensions to the heart of Donna Elvira.

    GARC. Be it so! I consent to everything; besides, in my present condition, I have no longer any pretensions.

    ELV. You will repent the wrath you have displayed.

    GARC. No, no, your argument is a mere evasion; I ought rather to tell you that somebody else may perhaps soon repent. The wretch, whoever he may be, shall not be fortunate enough to save his life, if I wreak my vengeance.

    ELV. Ha! This can no longer be borne; I am too angry foolishly to preserve longer my good nature. Let me abandon the wretch to his own devices, and, since he will undergo his doom, let him--Eliza!... (To Don Garcia). You compel me to act thus; but you shall see that this outrage will be the last.

    SCENE IX.--DONNA ELVIRA, DON GARCIA, ELIZA, DON ALVAREZ.

    ELV. (To Eliza). Desire my beloved to come forth ... Go, you understand me, say that I wish it.

    GARC. And can I...

    ELV. Patience, you will be satisfied.

    EL. (Aside, going out). This is doubtless some new trick of our jealous lover.

    ELV. Take care at least that this righteous indignation perseveres in its ardour to the end; above all, do not henceforth forget what price you have paid to see your suspicions removed.

    SCENE X.--DONNA ELVIRA, DON GARCIA, DONNA INEZ, ELIZA, DON ALVAREZ.

    ELV. (To Don Garcia, showing him Donna Inez). Thanks to Heaven, behold the cause of the generous suspicions you showed. Look well on that face, and see if you do not at once recognize the features of Donna Inez.

    GARC. O Heavens!

    ELV. If the rage which fills your heart prevents you from using your eyes, you can ask others, and thus leave no room for doubt. It was necessary to pretend she was dead, so that she might escape from the tyrant who persecuted her: she disguised herself in this manner the better to profit by her pretended death. (To Donna Inez). You will pardon me, Madam, for having consented to betray your secrets and to frustrate your expectations; but I am exposed to Don Garcia's insolence; I am no longer free to do as I wish; my honour is a prey to his suspicions, and is every moment compelled to defend itself. This jealous man accidentally saw us embrace, and then he behaved most disgracefully. (To Don Garcia). Yes, behold the cause of your sudden rage, and the convincing witness of my disgrace. Now, like a thorough tyrant, enjoy the explanation you have provoked; but know that I shall never blot from my memory the heinous outrage done to my reputation. And if ever I forget my oath, may Heaven shower its severest chastisements upon my head; may a thunderbolt descend upon me if ever I resolve to listen to your love. Come, Madam, let us leave this spot, poisoned by the looks of a furious monster; let us quickly flee from his bitter attacks, let us avoid the consequences of his mad rage, and animated by just motives, let us only pray that we may soon be delivered from his hands.

    INEZ. (To Don Garcia). My Lord, your unjust and violent suspicions have wronged virtue itself.

    SCENE XI.--DON GARCIA, DON ALVAREZ.

    GARC. What gleam of light clearly shows me my error, and, at the same time, involves my senses in such a profound horror that, dejected, I can see nothing but the dreadful object of a remorse that kills me! Ah! Don Alvarez, I perceive you were in the right; but hell breathed its poison into my soul; through a merciless fatality I am my worst enemy. What does it benefit me to love with the most ardent passion that an amorous heart ever displayed, if this love continually engenders suspicions which torment me, and thus renders itself hateful! I must, I must justly revenge by my death the outrage committed against her divine charms. What advice can I follow now? Alas! I have lost the only object which made life dear to me! As I relinquished all hope of ever being beloved by her, it is much easier to abandon life itself.

    ALV. My Lord...

    GARC. No, Don Alvarez, my death is necessary. No pains, no arguments shall turn me from it; yet my approaching end must do some signal service to the Princess. Animated by this noble desire, I will seek some glorious means of quitting life; perform some mighty deed worthy of my love, so that in expiring for her sake she may pity me, and say, it was excess of love that was my sole offence. Thus she shall see herself avenged! I must attempt a deed of daring, and with my own hand give to Mauregat that death he so justly deserves. My boldness will forestall the blow with which Castile openly threatens him. With my last breath, I shall have the pleasure of depriving my rival of performing such a glorious deed.

    ALV. So great a service, my Lord, may perhaps obliterate all remembrance of your offence; but to risk....

    GARC. Let me fulfil my duty, and strive to make my despair aid in this noble attempt.
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