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Act I

[Scene 1]

Enter Ocaña, a footman, with an apron and sieve, and Cristina, a kitchen maid

Ocaña Mistress Cristina, let us aim…

Cristina Aim at what, master Ocaña?

Ocaña …at being nice, not unsociable,
nor quite so hostile.

Cristina Did your lordship wish me5
to always walk the straight and narrow?

Ocaña Anyone who did might be tempted to stray.

Cristina Sadness is always so morbid
and fancy words befit a happy life:
sayings, stories, jokes, the gift of ideas—10
fine in theory and even better in practice.

Ocaña I know who you are playing the fool with,
Cristina, and it’s not me.

Cristina Do you know what I have to say to you, Ocaña?

Ocaña Something kind I hope?15

Cristina I say you shouldn’t twist things so spitefully!

Ocaña In truth I’m only scratching the surface
with these stories.
If I were to get to the heart of the matter,
then I’d have some tales to tell!20

Cristina Yes lots…but malicious ones!

Ocaña When my tongue gives voice to my heart
a thousand escape me.

Cristina I'm not going to listen any more…

Ocaña Come back, Cristina!25
Where are you going?

Cristina It’s a waste of time listening to you—
your meanness and your way of talking
get on my nerves.

Ocaña A dying man nearly always tells the truth.30
I am dying and I confess you love Quiñones.

Cristina Now I see how wicked your intentions are.
Now I see what's afoot…

Ocaña Go on, say it in full,
although the ‘man’ is not required.35
I know I’m a footman—
no need to beat around the bush.
You disguise your vengeance badly
by not maintaining the decorum expected
of one of the most beautiful kitchenmaids40
I have ever seen,
standing between Quinoñes and myself,
one moment a lamb and the next a lioness.

Cristina Am I a woman to serve a page?
Do I come from such lowly lineage?45
By keeping intact the flower of my virginity
do I not have more claim to be a maiden
than El Cid has to be a warrior?
Am I not one of the Capoches of Oviedo? 2
Need I say more?50

Ocaña All the same, Cristina,
you should be…

Ocaña …discreet.
You are very sought after,55
and highly visible,
and a flower will be touched
if it is there to be touched.
Flowers in the country
are subject to whatever hand,60
base villain or noble gallant;
and subject to the plough,
and to the heavy foot
of the farmer who guides it.
But a flower that is cultivated65
behind the high wall of modesty
is not damaged by the murmuring North wind,
nor withered by the ardour
of he who would touch it.
A woman must be good and, moreover,70
be seen to be good.

Cristina You are a great preacher,
but your doctrine disguises
your lustful intentions.

Ocaña I swear my thoughts are aimed at marriage.75

Cristina You’re very bold!
Give it here, the oats have arrived.

He gives her the sieve.

Exit Cristina

Ocaña Take the sieve, you who have taken
as much offence from me as I from you.
Oh pages! You’re like hawks,80
preying on tame, domesticated doves.
You police their wages and
ferret around their nests,
taking half the profits
of their pilfering.85
You enjoy the plunder:
the close-fitting boots,
the shiny slippers,
the fancy collars and cuffs
and gilded clogs.90
With your slippery manner
you practise a deceit,
bartered with those silver heels
that noble ladies step on.
Cristina is back so soon95
with the oats and Quiñones.
My heart sinks, and my blood boils
to see these two together,
so cosy and so lovey-dovey.

Enter Cristina, with the oats, and Quiñones the page

Cristina [aside to Quiñones] Don’t look at him or talk to him,100
but if you do, don’t show the hand of jealousy,
for he will trump you a thousand times.

Quiñones Though I’m just a lad, I have never been timid.

Cristina Look out, he’s here.
[To Ocaña] Here are your oats, Don Juan.105

Ocaña Well-measured?

Cristina …and well-rounded. 3

Ocaña Did my gallant master measure them?

Cristina The only one who measured them was the devil,
roused by your wicked tongue!110

Ocaña I’m going to my stable,
so as not to have to watch the puppet show
of these two inseparable characters.

Quiñones You’re so full of malice
that you see it everywhere,115
but I know you’re deceiving yourself.

Ocaña And I know you would both do well to hold your tongues.

Quiñones And I know we shouldn’t,
because whoever keeps quiet
concedes the ill that’s spoken of them.120

Ocaña I neither said nor did
anything bad to you…

Quiñones Nor is your place to!

Ocaña You should get down off your high horse,
if you value your life 125
As I see it there is very little difference
between a footman and a page.
The length of a horse measures it perfectly:
me in front and you behind. 4
You crow like a cock but you’re chicken!130

Exit Ocaña

Cristina And you didn’t have the courage
to respond to him!
I must go back to work
and return to my own affairs.

Quiñones What should I have replied?135
Do I wear a sword? No!
And what’s more, it’s to my discredit
if I fight with…

Cristina Quiñones, please!
Ocaña is an honourable man,140
and excellent with a sword besides.

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