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El sí de las niñas Leandro Fernández de Moratín Edited and with notes by JEANIE MURPHY

Cover by HAL BARNELL FIRST EDITION Copyright © 2003 by European Masterpieces 270 Indian Road Newark, Delaware 19711 (302) 453-8695 Fax: (302) 453-8601 MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ISBN 1-58977-004-8

Table of Contents INTRODUCTION TO STUDENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acto 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acto 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acto 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

15 15 37 62

Spanish English Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

Introduction to Students THE LIFE OF LEANDRO FERNÁNDEZ DE MORATÍN Leandro Fernández de Moratín was born in Madrid on the 10th of March 1760. In Spanish literary history he is often referred to as “Moratín hijo” because his father, Nicolás Fernández de Moratín, was also a well-known figure of eighteenth century Spanish theater. Leandro was the first born son of this playwright and Isidora Cabo Conde. Given the connections and interests of his father, Moratín grew up in a home filled with books and was often present for the literary conversations of the family’s many visitors. Moratín spent much of his childhood reading classic Spanish literature such as Don Quijote and Lazarillo de Tormes as well as poetry and history. Rather than playing with other children of his own age, Moratín was usually with adults—including his ailing grandfather—or lost in books. As he grew older he was often considered by others to be quite timid and reserved, as well as impatient and argumentative at times. His taciturn and sometimes difficult character could very well have been the result of his youthful pastimes but Moratín himself attributed it to a childhood case of smallpox that nearly killed him. After recovering from the terrible disease, he was scarred both physically and emotionally. Feeling ugly, weak and very angry he became more self-absorbed and withdrawn. Another factor in the formation of Moratín’s character was the fact that he never studied at the university level. Although he was a well-read autodidact he was self-conscious and ashamed of his lack of formal education. His father had not wanted to send him to the University of Alcalá fearing his intellect would be ruined by the teaching methods of the institution. Instead, he hoped his son would study art in Rome. Moratín’s mother, however, opposed the plan and his schooling ended.



Introduction to Students

His lack of a higher degree had another effect on his life by limiting his employment possibilities. Throughout his life he had to depend on the favors and influence of richer and more powerful people—and he had to keep close and careful account of his earnings and spending. At times—especially after the death of his father in 1780—he could not write as much as he would have liked simply because he needed to work to support himself and his mother. When he was still a young man, Moratín began an apprenticeship in the Royal Silversmith Shop. His father and his uncle had also worked as jewelers to the royal family and Moratín continued this tradition until 1787 when he had the opportunity to travel to France as the secretary of the Count of Cabarrús. Moratín spent one year abroad during which time he began to write the zarzuela El barón. He hoped to travel with the Count and his family again, this time to England. Unfortunately, upon returning to Spain, the Count was imprisoned and our playwright needed to find another patron. It was at this point that Moratín met the influential Manuel Godoy, a favorite of the court of Queen María Luisa and future Prime Minister. It was also in the years following his first trip to France that Moratín experienced his intial successes in the theater world of Madrid. In May of 1790 his play El viejo y la niña debuted at the Príncipe Theater. Later, in 1792, he wrote La comedia nueva, which also premiered at the Príncipe. At this point Moratín, still enjoying his connection with Godoy, was awarded a fellowship to travel to Paris on the pretext of studying French theater. He did not stay very long in France, however, as the French Revolution was quickly descending into the Reign of Terror. For his own safety he travelled to England. There he studied English and eventually translated Shakespeare’s Hamlet (published in 1798). By 1793 he was living in Italy. Before going back to Spain in 1796 he had visited the most important European cities, met the continent’s most prominent leaders of art and literature and even forged friendships with various Spanish diplomats. During his travels he also kept in touch with Godoy and on at least two ocassions he proposed positions to which he could be appointed in Madrid. He suggested establishing a post as librarian to the Prince and also sent a proposal for a theater reform stating that he could be the project’s director. These ideas were not accepted by Godoy but finally, in 1796, Moratín could return to Spain knowing he had stable employment. He was appointed Secretary of the Interpretation of Languages. Back in Madrid, Moratín continued his active participation in the theater. His plays El viejo y la niña and La comedia nueva were going to be produced



again in the capital and our author was asked to direct the rehearsals. As director he insisted that he be able to choose the actors and that they would have to comply exactly with his vision and his wishes. This type of arrangement was unheard of at the time—actors were used to deciding among themselves who would play the roles and they did not work hard at perfecting their theatrical interpretations. But Moratín was still hoping to reform the theaters of Spain. His first production demands were met and with that initial support he again proposed the formation of a directive group that could change and improve Spanish theater according to the Neoclassical style. The government approved his ideas and the Commission for Theatrical Reform was established. Moratín was finally achieving what he had proposed to Godoy in 1793. Reform in the theaters of Madrid meant the prohibition of certain plays and shows: some of the most famous comedies of the Spain’s theatrical history such as La vida es sueño and El tejedor de Sevilla were not allowed to be performed. Likewise, shows of lesser merit, such as magic shows, were banned. Ticket prices also went up at this time in an effort by the reformists to eliminate the lower classes from the theaters. There was, of course, much opposition to the changes imposed by the Commission. The members of the Commission were accused of being “afrancesados”, or overly attached to French ideas and customs. By 1800 Moratín resigned as chairman. Although he continued some work as a literary censor, Moratín wanted most to be able to pursue his own creative interests. He wished to continue writing for the Spanish stage and the results of his efforts were seen in 1801 when he read a first draft of El sí de las niñas to a group of friends. In January of 1806 the play debuted. El sí de las niñas was Moratín’s most successful comedy, and his last. Its first run lasted 26 days, which by early nineteenth century standards was a long time. It was only closed because of the beginning of Lent. During those initial weeks of the run of the play, ticket sales were high and reviews were, for the most part, favorable. However, Moratín had always had his detractors and, with El sí de las niñas, even the Inquisition was disapproving because of the questionable mingling of the sacred with the profane. It was probably for that reason that Moratín then decided to work on a collection of his already published comedies rather than create anything new and, therefore, open to criticism. In 1808 the French army invaded Spain and a new government under José Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, was set up. Moratín was in a difficult position. His protector, Manuel Godoy, had fallen from power and many of his allies were attacked during the ensuing chaos. There was a general animosity toward all the


Introduction to Students

afrancesados and Moratín would have had reason to be fearful. However, with the establishment of French rule the Inquisition was abolished in Spain and Moratín no longer felt threatened by their censorship of El sí de las niñas. Additionally, Moratín, although not supportive of the French invasion, did believe the French influence in government could greatly improve the situation in Spain. Moratín, therefore, aligned himself with the French forces. Under French rule, he was appointed to the post of director of the National Library but by August of 1812 he had to flee the capital when the invading army was defeated there. He went with the French first to Valencia and later took refuge in Peñíscola. He eventually went to Barcelona and lived there until 1817. With the return of Ferdinand VII to the throne the Inquisition was reestablished in Spain and Moratín was once again in danger. He was able to have a doctor prescribe the hot springs at Aix, France as a pretext to leave the country. He only returned briefly in 1820—along with many other exiles—when a new constitution was approved and a liberal government put in place. By 1821 Moratín again left Spain—this time definitively. He resided in Paris until his death in 1828. EL SÍ DE LAS NIÑAS Structurally speaking, El sí de las niñas, is an excellent example of the neo-classical style in theater and, in this way, reflects the French influence in Moratín’s writing. The play demostrates perfection in form and technique. It observes the rule of the three dramatic unities of time, space and action: the play covers a short period time (from seven in the evening until five in the morning the following day), the setting is one room (the common area of an inn in Alcalá de Henares) and the story itself is quite simple (the question of the marriage of the young doña Francisca to the much older don Diego). Additionally, the play has an obvious moral or didactic function. Moratín condemned the education of young women of his time who were taught to obey their parents without question, even if it meant betraying their own true feelings. In the third act a monologue by don Diego sums up the lesson to be learned: Ve aquí los frutos de la educación. Esto es lo que se llama criar bien a una niña: Enseñarla a que desmienta y oculte las pasiones más inocentes con una pérfida disimulación. Las juzgan honestas luego que las ven instruidas en el arte de callar y mentir… Todo se las permite, menos la sinceridad. Con tal que no digan lo que sienten, con tal que finjan aborrecer lo que más desean,



con tal que se presten a pronunciar cuando se lo manden un sí, perjuro, sacrílego, origen de tantos escándalos, ya están bien criadas, y se llama excelente educación la que inspira en ellas el temor, la astucia y el silencio de un esclavo. In addition to speaking out against the slavish limitations imposed on women, Moratín was also critical of the idea of marriage between two people of very different ages. This theme, too, is reflected in the relationship between don Diego and doña Francisca. In his Orígenes del teatro español, Moratín explained his concept of good theater stating that it should be an imitation of real life that, in the end, makes certain errors and vices look ridiculous and establishes truth and virtue. The final scene of El sí de las niñas reflects this idea. But the purpose of the play is not just to separate vice and virtue. It has also been noted that part of the appeal of El sí de las niñas is its representation of the universal and eternal conflict between parents and children and for its final message that true love always wins in the end. The characters of the play are also expertly configured. Even doña Irene, although criticized in Moratín’s day as not behaving as a woman of her social status should, is a wonderful portrayal of the type of mother often seen in Spanish literature. She is domineering and manipulative and she often talks too much. But her vulgar nature and manner of speaking are part of the humor about her character. Her situation is also quite precarious in that she has been widowed three times, has no surviving children other than doña Francisca, and her medical expenses are mounting. She needs to arrange a financially suitable marriage for doña Francisca as much for her daughter’s future as for her own. Don Diego is a dignified older gentleman, hopeful to marry but not so delusional as to think that the young and pretty doña Francisca could actually be attracted to him. He only wants to be assured that she is going into the marriage of her own free will. He is often the voice of reason in the play, critical yet also kind. Doña Francisca is Moratín’s portrait of a girl educated in a convent. She is passive and acquiescent. She does not challenge her mother’s wishes openly and hides her true feelings. Her education has consisted mainly of going to mass, sewing and playing in the fields. She does not really know much about the world. But she does know what love is and the romance between her and don Carlos adds the sentimental touch to the play.


Introduction to Students

The servants—Simón, Rita, and Calamocha—also have a specific function in the play. Their attitudes and comments are often humorous, especially the playful banter between Rita and Calamocha. Yet they never take over the action and the central point of the play is not lost because of their involvement. El sí de las niñas has been judged to be one of the finest examples of Spanish theater. When it was performed for the first time in 1806 it was certainly one of the best plays the Spanish stage had seen since the Golden Age. It has since been used in countless classrooms as a means of further perfecting students’ comprehension of the Spanish language and culture. I hope that you will find your reading of El sí de las niñas both enjoyable and educational. EDITIONS USED My main source for the text as well as for some notes and biographical background was the edition I read while studying in Valencia, Spain, during my junior year of college—published by Ediciones Cátedra in 1986, it is the edition by José Montero Padilla. Another helpful text was John Dowling and René Andioc’s edition from 1968, published by Editorial Castalia. Additionally, I consulted Ruiz Morcuende’s 1924 edition, published as part of the Clásicos Castellanos series, for the both the content of the text and its introduction. I would also like to mention the 1916 edition by J.D.M. Ford (Ginn and Co.) I used as a textual reference. Lewis E. Brett’s book Nineteenth Century Spanish Plays (Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1963) was also helpful when checking and double-checking footnotes. And lastly, but certainly not the least helpful was John Dowling’s book on Moratín, published in 1971 by Twayne Publishers as part of Twayne’s World Authors Series. This text provided clear, concise and very useful information on Moratín as well as his work. It is important to mention the use of brackets [ ] in the text. The dialogue encased in brackets represent sections that were later suppressed or changed by Moratín after the 1806 debut. For the most part the changes made were slight although in some cases, for example two of don Diego’s speeches in Act One, Scene I, the dialogue becomes significantly shorter. I included the bracketed sections because they do not complicate the reading of the play yet they allow students to appreciate the evolution of the text. As one will note when reading the play, the overall meaning of the scenes are not altered. But it is interesting to see how a work of art changes and transforms. J.M.

El sí de las niñas




La escena es una posada° de Alcalá de Henares.1 El teatro representa una sala de paso con cuatro puertas de habitaciones para huéspedes, numeradas todas. Una más grande en el foro,° con escalera que conduce al piso bajo de la casa. Ventana de antepecho° a un lado. Una mesa en medio, un banco, sillas, etcétera. La acción empieza a las siete de la tarde y acaba a las cinco de la mañana siguiente.



ESCENA I DON DIEGO, SIMÓN (Sale don Digo de su cuarto. Simón, que está sentado en una silla, se levanta.) 20

DON DIEGO: ¿No han venido todavía? SIMÓN: No, señor. DON DIEGO: Despacio la han tomado,2 por cierto SIMÓN: Como su tía la quiere tanto, según parece, y no la ha visto desde que la llevaron a Guadalajara…


DON DIEGO: Sí. Yo no digo que no la viese; pero con media hora de visita y cuatro lágrimas, estaba concluido.

1 Alcalá de Henares is a town on the Henares River, about twenty miles east of Madrid. It is famous as the birthplace of Cervantes. 2 Despacio… tomado They’ve taken it slowly.

inn upstage sill about chest high




Act I

SIMÓN: Ello3 también ha sido extraña determinación la de estarse usted dos días enteros sin salir de la posada. Cansa el leer, cansa el dormir… Y, sobre todo, cansa la mugre° del cuarto, las sillas desvencijadas,° las estampas del hijo pródigo,4 el ruido de campanillas y cascabeles, y la conversación de carromateros° y patanes° que no permiten un instante de quietud. DON DIEGO: Ha sido conveniente el hacerlo así. Aquí me conocen todos, el Corregidor, el señor Abad, el Visitador, el Rector de Málaga5… ¡Qué sé yo! Todos… Y ha sido preciso estarme quieto y no exponerme a que 0me hallasen° por ahí. SIMÓN: 0Yo no alcanzo° la causa de tanto retiro. Pues ¿hay más en esto que haber acompañado usted a doña Irene hasta Guadalajara, para sacar del convento a la niña y volvernos con ellas a Madrid?

dirt, broken wagon drivers, local folk

they find me I don’t understand

DON DIEGO: Sí, hombre, algo más hay de lo que has visto. 15

SIMÓN: Adelante.


DON DIEGO: Algo, algo… Ello tú 0al cabo° lo has de saber, y no puede tardarse mucho… Mira, Simón, por Dios, 0te encargo° que no lo digas… Tú eres hombre de bien, y me has servido muchos años con fidelidad°… Ya ves que hemos sacado a esa niña del convento y nos la llevamos a Madrid.

in the end I order you loyalty

SIMÓN: Sí, señor.


DON DIEGO: Pues bien… Pero te vuelvo a encargar que a nadie lo descubras.°


SIMÓN: Bien está, señor. Jamás he gustado de chismes.°


DON DIEGO: Ya lo sé, por eso quiero fiarme de ti. Yo, la verdad, nunca había visto a la tal doña Paquita,° pero mediante la amistad con su madre he tenido frecuentes noticias de ella; he leído muchas de las cartas que escribía; he visto algunas de su tía la monja,° con quien ha vivido en Guadalajara; en suma, he tenido cuantos informes pudiera 3

Ello is a subject pronoun that corresponds to the English pronoun it. These estampas refer to drawings, probably hung as decoration in the rooms of the inn, representing the biblical story of the Prodigal Son. 5 The duties of the Corregidor of a city corresponded more or less to those to which a mayor (alcalde) would attend today. An Abad is an abbot, or superior of a monastery and in this particular case probably the director of the Magistral, or religious school of Alcalá; a Visitador was a type of judge in charge of making visits of inspection and the Rector de Málaga would be the director of the Colegio de Málaga. By referring to these important figures as people he knows don Diego alludes to his own elevated social position. 4

nickane for Francisca nun

El sí de las niñas


desear acerca de sus inclinaciones y su conducta. Ya he logrado verla; 0he procurado° observarla en estos pocos días, y, a decir verdad, cuantos elogios° hicieron de ella me parecen escasos.°

I have endeavored praise, insufficient

SIMÓN: Sí, por cierto… es muy linda y… 5

DON DIEGO: Es muy linda, muy graciosa,° muy humilde… Y sobre todo ¡aquel candor, aquella inocencia… ! Vamos, es de lo que no se encuentra por ahí… Y talento… Sí, señor, mucho talento… Con que,° para acabar de informarte, lo que yo he pensado es…


= con que so then

SIMÓN: No hay que decírmelo. 10

DON DIEGO: ¿No? ¿Por qué? SIMÓN: Porque ya lo adivino. Y me parece excelente idea. DON DIEGO: ¿Qué dices? SIMÓN: Excelente. DON DIEGO: ¿Con que al instante has conocido… ?


SIMÓN: ¿Pues no es claro… ? ¡Vaya… ! Dígole a usted que me parece muy buena boda.° Buena, buena.


DON DIEGO: Sí, señor… Yo lo he mirado bien, y lo tengo por cosa muy acertada.°


SIMÓN: Seguro que sí. 20

DON DIEGO: Pero quiero absolutamente que no se sepa hasta que esté hecho. SIMÓN: Y en eso hace usted bien.


DON DIEGO: Porque no todos ven las cosas de una manera, y no faltaría quien murmurase° y dijese que era una locura, y me…


SIMÓN: ¿Locura? ¡Buena locura!… ¿Con una chica como ésa, eh?


DON DIEGO: Pues ya ves tú. Ella es una pobre… Eso sí. [Porque, aquí entre los dos, la buena de doña Irene se ha dado tal prisa a gastar desde que murió su marido que, si no fuera por estas benditas religiosas y el canónigo° de Castrojeriz,° que es también su cuñado,° no tendría para poner un puchero a la lumbre6… Y muy vanidosa° y muy remilgada,° 6

no tendría… a la lumbre: she wouldn’t have enough for her daily bread

cathedral priest, town near Burgos,brother -in-law; vain, fussy


Act I

y hablando siempre de su parentela° y de sus difuntos,° y sacando unos cuentos allá que… Pero esto no es del caso…] Yo no he buscado dinero, que dineros tengo; he buscado modestia, recogimiento, virtud. 5


SIMÓN: Eso es lo principal… Y, sobre todo, lo que usted tiene ¿para quién ha de ser? DON DIEGO: Dices bien…¿Y sabes tú lo que es una mujer aprovechada, hacendosa,° que sepa cuidar de la casa, economizar, estar en todo…? Siempre lidiando° con amas,° que si una es mala, otra es peor: regalonas,° entremetidas,° habladoras, llenas de histérico, viejas, feas como demonios… No señor: vida nueva. Tendré quien me asista con amor y fidelidad, y viviremos como unos santos… Y deja que hablen y murmuren, y… SIMÓN: Pero, siendo a gusto de entrambos,° ¿qué pueden decir?


fussy, relatives deceased husbands

hard-working struggling, housekeepers; spoiled, meddlers

both concerned parties

DON DIEGO: No, yo ya sé lo que dirán; pero… Dirán que la boda es desigual, que no hay proporción en la edad, que… SIMÓN: Vamos, que no me parece tan notable la diferencia. Siete u ocho años, a lo más.


DON DIEGO: ¿Qué hombre? ¿Qué hablas de siete u ocho años? Si ella ha cumplido diez y seis años poco meses ha. SIMÓN: Y bien, ¿qué? DON DIEGO: Y yo, aunque gracias a Dios estoy robusto y… Con todo eso, mis cincuenta y nueve años no hay quien me los quite.


SIMÓN: Pero si yo no hablo de eso. DON DIEGO: Pues, ¿de qué hablas? SIMÓN: Decía que… Vamos, o usted no acaba de explicarse, o yo lo entiendo al revés… En suma, esta doña Paquita ¿con quién se casa?


DON DIEGO: ¿Ahora estamos ahí? Conmigo. SIMÓN: ¿Con usted? DON DIEGO: Conmigo. SIMÓN: 0¡Medrados quedamos!°


DON DIEGO: ¿Qué dices… ? Vamos, ¿qué?

that’s a good one!

El sí de las niñas


SIMÓN: ¡Y pensaba yo haber adivinado! DON DIEGO: Pues, ¿qué creías? ¿Para quién juzgaste° que la destinaba yo?


SIMÓN: Para don Carlos, su sobrino de usted, mozo° de talento, instruido, excelente soldado, amabilísimo7 por todas sus circunstancias… Para ése juzgué que se guardaba la tal niña.

think young man

DON DIEGO: Pues no señor. SIMÓN: Pues bien está. DON DIEGO: ¡Mire usted qué idea! ¡Con el otro la había de ir a casar!… No señor, que estudie sus matemáticas. 10

SIMÓN: Ya las estudia, o por mejor decir, ya las enseña. DON DIEGO: Que se haga hombre de valor° y…



SIMÓN: ¡Valor! ¿Todavía pide usted más valor a un oficial que en la última guerra,8 con muy pocos que se atrevieron° a seguirle, tomó dos baterías,° clavó° los cañones, hizo algunos prisioneros y volvió al campo lleno de heridas° y cubierto de sangre… ? Pues bien satisfecho quedó usted entonces del valor de su sobrino, y yo le vi a usted más de cuatro veces llorar de alegría, cuando el rey le premió con el grado de teniente coronel y una cruz de Alcántara.9


dared sets of artillery, fastened wounds

DON DIEGO: Sí, señor; todo es verdad; pero no viene a cuento. Yo soy el que me caso. SIMÓN: Si está usted bien segura de que ella le quiere, si no la asusta la diferencia de la edad, si su elección es libre…


DON DIEGO: Pues ¿no ha de serlo… ? [Doña Irene la° escribió con anticipación sobre el particular. Hemos ido allá, me ha visto, la han informado de cuanto ha querido saber, y ha respondido que está bien, que admite gustosa el partido que le propone10… Y ya ves tú con qué agrado me trata, y qué expresiones me hace tan cariñosas y tan sencillas… Mira, Simón, si los matrimonios muy desiguales tienen por lo común desgraciada° resulta, consiste en que alguna de las partes

= le

unhappy 7

Amabilísimo: the adjective “amable” means affable or friendly but the ending –ísimo, used to express a high degree of the quality; in other words, he is extremely friendly. 8 In 1799, when Napoleon took control in France, all of Europe, with the exception of Spain, formed a coalition against the new French government. Spain formed an alliance with France and invaded Portugal, England’s traditional ally. 9 Alcántara: the Military Order of Alcántara founded in 1156. 10 que admite… se lo propone: she willingly accepts the arrangement being proposed.






Act I

procede sin libertad, en que hay violencia, seducción, engaño,° amenazas,° tiranía doméstica… Pero aquí no hay nada de eso.] ¿Y qué sacarían con engañarme? Ya ves tú la religiosa de Guadalajara si es mujer de juicio; ésta de Alcalá, aunque no la conozco, sé que es una señora de excelentes prendas11; mira tú si doña Irene querrá el bien de su hija; pues todas ellas me han dado cuantas seguridades puedo apetecer°… La criada, que la ha servido en Madrid y más de cuatro años en el convento, se hace lenguas de ella12; y, sobre todo, me ha informado de que 0jamás observó° en esta criatura la más remota inclinación a ninguno de los pocos hombres que ha podido ver en aquel encierro.° Bordar,° coser,° leer libros devotos, oír misa,° y correr por la huerta detrás de las mariposas,° y echar agua en los agujeros° de las hormigas,° éstas han sido su ocupación y sus diversiones.… ¿Qué dices?

deception threats

desire never observed seclusion, embroider, sew, mass; butterflies holes, ants

SIMÓN: Yo nada, señor. DON DIEGO: Y no pienses tú que, a pesar de tantas seguridades, no aprovecho las ocasiones que se presentan para ir ganando su amistad y su confianza, y lograr que se explique conmigo en absoluta libertad13… Bien que aún hay tiempo… Sólo que aquella doña Irene siempre la interrumpe, todo se lo habla… Y es muy buena mujer, buena… SIMÓN: En fin, señor, yo desearé que salga como usted apetece.


DON DIEGO: Sí, yo espero en Dios que no ha de salir mal. Aunque el novio no es muy de tu gusto… ¡Y qué fuera de tiempo me recomendabas al tal sobrinito! ¿Sabes tú lo enfadado que estoy con él? SIMÓN: ¿Pues que ha hecho?


DON DIEGO: Una de las suyas… Y hasta pocos días ha no lo he sabido.14 El año pasado, ya lo viste, estuvo dos meses en Madrid… Y me costó buen dinero la tal visita… En fin, es mi sobrino, bien dado está; pero voy al asunto. Llegó el caso de irse a Zaragoza° a su regimiento… Ya te acuerdas de que a muy pocos días de haber salido de Madrid, recibí la noticia de su llegada. 11 la religiosa… excelentes prendas: the nun in Guadalajara is a woman with good common sense and this one in Alcalá, although I don’t know her, I know that she is a woman of excellent qualities and virtue. (Don Diego is speaking of doña Paquita’s aunts) 12 se hace lenguas de ella: sings her praises 13 Y no pienses… absoluta libertad: And don’t think that, in spite of so many guarantees, I don't take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to gain her friendship and confidence and to get her to open herself up to me freely. 14 Una de las… he sabido: His usual shenanigans… And until just a few days ago I didn’t know anything about it.

city between Madrid and Barcelona

El sí de las niñas


SIMÓN: Sí, señor. DON DIEGO: Y que siguió escribiéndome, aunque algo perezoso, siempre con la data15 de Zaragoza. SIMÓN: Así es la verdad. 5

DON DIEGO: Pues el pícaro° no estaba allí cuando me escribía las tales cartas.


SIMÓN: ¿Qué dice usted? 10

DON DIEGO: Sí, señor. El día tres de julio salió de mi casa, y a fines de septiembre aún no había llegado a sus pabellones16… ¿No te parece que, para ir por la posta,17 hizo muy buena diligencia? SIMÓN: Tal vez se pondría malo en el camino, y por no darle a usted pesadumbre°…



DON DIEGO: Nada de eso. Amores del señor oficial y devaneos° que le traen loco… Por ahí, en esas ciudades, puede que… ¿Quién sabe…? Si encuentra 0un par de ojos negros,° ya es hombre perdido… ¡No permita Dios que me le engañe alguna bribona de estas que truecan el honor por el matrimonio!18 SIMÓN: ¡Oh! 0No hay que temer°… Y si tropieza° con alguna fullera° de amor, buenas cartas ha de tener para que le engañe.

grief flirtations beautiful woman

there’s nothing to fear, meets, adventuress

DON DIEGO: Me parece que están ahí… Sí. Busca al mayoral, y dile que venga, para quedar de acuerdo en la hora a que debemos salir mañana. SIMÓN: Bien está. 25

DON DIEGO: Ya te he dicho que no quiero que esto 0se trasluzca,° ni… ¿Estamos? SIMÓN: No haya miedo que a nadie lo cuente. (Simón se va por la puerta del foro. Salen por la misma las tres mujeres, con mantillas° y basquiñas.° Rita deja un pañuelo atado sobre la mesa, y recoge las mantillas y las dobla.°)


data: indication of the date and place from which a letter is written pabellones: bell tents, military residence separate from the barracks. 17 Para ir por la posta: for one going by the post. There is a play on the word diligencia —meaning “speed”— but which also refers to a stagecoach, which is how the mail would have been delivered. 18 No permita… el matrimonio: God forbid that he be tricked by some adventuress who would trade her honor for marriage! 16

come to light

long scarves, skirts fold


Act I

ESCENA II Doña Irene, Doña Francisca, Rita, Don Diego DOÑA FRANCISCA: Ya estamos aquí. DOÑA IRENE: ¡Ay, qué escalera! 5

DON DIEGO: Muy bien venidas, señoras. DOÑA IRENE: ¿Conque usted, a lo que parece, no ha salido?(Se sientan doña Irene y don Diego.)




DON DIEGO: No, señora. Luego, más tarde, 0daré una vueltecilla° por ahí… He leído un rato. Traté de dormir, pero en esta posada no se duerme. DOÑA FRANCISCA: Es verdad que no… ¡Y qué mosquitos! Mala peste° en ellos. Anoche no me dejaron parar… Pero mire usted, mire usted (desata° el pañuelo y manifiesta° algunas cosas de las que indica el diálogo), cuántas cosillas traigo. Rosarios° de nácar,° cruces de ciprés, la regla de San Benito,19 una pililla° de cristal… Mire usted qué bonita. Y dos corazones de talco°… ¡Qué sé yo cuánto viene aquí! ¡Ay! Y una campanilla de barro bendito para los truenos20… ¡Tantas cosas!


DOÑA IRENE: Chucherías° que la han dado las madres. Locas estaban con ella.


DOÑA FRANCISCA: ¡Cómo me quieren todas! ¡Y mi tía, mi pobre tía, lloraba tanto… ! Es ya muy viejecita. DOÑA IRENE: Ha sentido mucho no conocer a usted.21 DOÑA FRANCISCA: Sí, es verdad. Decía: ¿Por qué no ha venido aquel señor…?


I’ll take a little walk

DOÑA IRENE: El padre capellán y el rector de los Verdes22 nos han venido acompañando hasta la puerta. DOÑA FRANCISCA: Toma (vuelve a atar el pañuelo y se le da a Rita, la cual se va con él y con las mantillas al cuarto de doña Irene), guárdamelo todo allí,


la regla de San Benito: set of rules governing monastic life drawn up by St. Benedict. Y una… los truenos: And a little ceramic bell blessed to protect against the storms. 21 Ha sentido… a usted: She was very sorry not to meet you. 22 los Verdes: the students of the Colegio de Santa Catalina in Alcalá. They are referred to as “los verdes” because of the color of their uniforms. 20

unties, shows rosaries, mother-of-pearl mini font of holy water talc

El Sí de las Niñas de Leandro Fernández de Moratín  

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