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Act I

[Scene 7]

Enter Muñoz

Muñoz Awake and asleep,
I am always thinking of the moment700
when I change my coat,
and when my guiding star might desire
that the great tailor and his flannel
remedy my ruin.
I gave them the inventory and,705
foreseeing the multitude
of suspicions it might provoke,
gave them the cleverest answers
to the trickiest questions,
but nonetheless it weighs on me710
to have pledged my assistance in this way,
because I think the enterprise is dangerous.

Enter Don Antonio, and Torrente, dressed as a pilgrim

Don Antonio It is excessive delicacy
rather than propriety,
and he has not shown much faith in me.715
God, I am embarassed.

Muñoz [aside] Bloody hell! What’s this disguise?
I did not put that in the list.

Torrente I tell you, señor don Silvestre de Almendárez
could not do otherwise.720
His hand was forced.
The storm obliged us to lighten the ship
and throw overboard
what the sea collected
in its ample belly.725
It sucked in, like two eggs,
fourteen thousand pieces of pure gold.
Promises and prayers flew up to heaven
more quickly than the clouds
that then obscured the sun.730
One of these prayers
was sent by don Silvestre
to the citadel on high
with such vibrant and tender feelings
that it penetrated the casing of the heavens. 14 735
In it he vowed to walk barefoot
the pilgrimage of Rome
that is called the Seven Churches
if God delivered him from danger.
He included me in his promise,740
a superfluous addition,
although in part good,
since I am his staff and protector.
At last we reached dry land,
naked, stripped of everything,745
I don’t know where or how.
The sea had swallowed everything,
including a parakeet we had with us,
of such rare ability, and so intelligent
that he lacked nothing750
apart from being able to talk.

Don Antonio You have certainly sung its praises,
though I think mute parakeets are not worth much.

Torrente It told us everything
it wished us to know by signs.755

Muñoz A miracle!

Torrente How many chests of pearls we threw away,
the size of nuts, really fat,
and white as virgin snow;
emeralds like barrels,760
like barrels, I say, or bigger;
two great sacks of bezoars;
I couldn’t count how many
of aniseed and cochineal. 15

Muñoz Amongst these odds and ends,765
did the flannel end up in the sea?

Torrente And the tailor and everything.

Muñoz [aside] This is going very badly.
This storm does not offer me any port,
though it’s well suited to the deception.770

Don Antonio In what latitude did the shipwreck occur?

Torrente I was asleep at the crucial moment
and did not hear the laddie’s tune. 16

Don Antonio I said ‘latitude’, but I’m not surprised
that even now the storm disturbs you,775
nor that you may have slept through it.
Sometimes fear makes one very sleepy.

Torrente My master in no way wished to accept
any of the four thousand or so offers of money—
except those that meant780
he did not have to beg for alms en route,
but he did not keep accurate accounts, 17
because almost everything has now been spent.

Muñoz [aside] He writes a devilishly good plot!

Torrente The first stop was Guadalupe,785
the second the Virgin’s image at Illescus,
and the third Atocha.
He wanted to see you incognito
and depart this evening for Rome.
Now he’s in San Ginès, on his knees,790
his breast heaving a thousand sighs
and his eyes pouring out tender tears,
asking God to direct and guide him
in the promised holy journey.
I, sir, am feeling very tender in my feet,795
in which the hardest corns have taken root.
I wanted him to plan a fortnight’s rest
so that we might take a breather
and get some relief
before the new journey that awaits.800
What’s more, he’s also feeling very fragile,
and he could get so tired
that the journey—and his life—
might end at any moment.
If that came to pass it would be sad,805
because of the tremendous grief
that my lady doña Ana de Briones,
his mother, would feel.

Don Antonio Let us go. I will remedy everything.

Torrente You must not say that I have seen you, sir,810
because he will kill me if he knows.
Oh what a sinner I am! Here he comes!
He’s caught me in the net.
Answer in the negative, sir. If not I’ll die.

Don Antonio Do not be afraid.815
Enter Cardenio, dressed as a pilgrim
My good sir don Silvestre de Almendárez,
why conceal your presence from one
who is so obliged to serve you?

Cardenio [to Tor.] Oh traitor, misbegotten!
[to D. Ant.] I swear this trickster820
is deceiving you señor.
I am not don Silvestre as you say,
but a poor pilgrim, and very poor at that.

Torrente [to Car.] Why are you looking at me?
I have not told him anything825
and I’d be lying if I said I had.
[aside to D. Ant.] I swear it is the very same man
I told you about.

Don Antonio Heavens above!
My cousin and master,830
by denying the truth
you are going too far.
What does it matter
if you come rich or poor
to my house, which is yours?835

Torrente That’s just what I say,
whatever anybody else may think.

Don Antonio Did you direct the winds?
Was it in your power to calm
the high waves of the stormy sea?840
Is it not madness to make into a case of honour
the fickle events of unstable fortune,
or, rather, of the immutable heavens?

Torrente [to Car.] Master, such obstinacy is beyond the pale.
Oh what the hell!845
[to D. Ant.] Sir, this is don Silvestre de Almendárez,
Your cousin, the pilgrim, and,
what’s more, my master.

Cardenio Since you have spilled the beans
I will not deny it.850
It is of no consequence.
[to D. Ant.] Give me your hands sir.

Don Antonio Dear cousin, take my arms and soul instead!

Cardenio Take my arms too, and between them my soul
[to Tor.] As your reward, I will make sure that855
everything you do turns out badly,

Torrente I don’t fear misbegotten threats.
[aside] What matters is our scheme.

Muñoz [aside to Tor.] Hear, hear!

Don Antonio Have no fear that what has been said860
has caused any offence.

Torrente My master is shrewd—he’ll soon see
how unimportant silence was in such a case.

Don Antonio My dear cousin, let us go home,
and let your fiancé know865
of your safe and welcome arrival.

Cardenio Your wish is my command.

Muñoz [aside] What a well-devised deception!
If we bring it off I expect
a goldmine of ingots and cash,870
like that place in Peru,

Torrente What do you think, Muñoz?

Muñoz Everything he said rings true to me.

Torrente And how! Down to the last tiny detail!875

Exeunt Don Antonio, Cardenio and Torrente

Muñoz Those two rascals will end up
making me believe
that the storm and the lightening
of the cargo really happened.
Well, we’ll see what comes to pass.880
In any case the two of them
are already in the house! 18

End of Act I
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