ALWAYS RIDICULOUS – Monologue (Teresa)

A monologue from the play by Jose Echegaray

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Poet Lore, Volume XXVII, Summer 1916, Number III.


I thought I was going mad. It can’t be true! But it is. God! How hard and cruel I was to poor Vargas, how deliberately cruel! Conscience, you must be satisfied–I’m alone and I say Vargas and not Juan.

Senor De Vargas–with all respect, quite in good form. [Pause.] God! How restless I feel–I was cruel! Cruel, disdainful, insolent. He was desperate–but there was no reason.

Suppose something happens to him tomorrow. I can’t think about it. If anything happens it will be my fault. They were right–Juan lives without hope as I do. Tomorrow he will get himself killed–he is going to–after what I’ve said–it’s certain.

No–I don’t want him to die. Is that wrong too? Well, let it be wrong–I want him to defend himself–to live. Duty–duty–I’ve done enough for duty. My duty now is to save him.

He’s a human being like Eugenio–like my father. If I can save him with a word why not say it? See him? No, not that. It’s not possible. I can’t go and I wouldn’t go if I could. He won’t come–I could swear he won’t.

But I could write to him–two lines–only two lines–without giving him hope–hope is dead for both of us, it can’t exist. Just one word of pity–of love–a word of love can do much. Oh! Why do I vacillate?

I feel as if I were about to commit a crime. I’ve turned coward in truth. [Sits at the table.] “My dear Senor Don Juan de Vargas.” [Writing.] No that won’t do. I loved him and he knows I loved him. [Tears the paper.] 

It’s ridiculous. “Vargas, come tonight. We must have a talk.” But he won’t come, and even if he should we couldn’t talk alone, and if we did talk alone, I couldn’t let myself go as I can when I write.

No, that won’t do. I can’t get the idea, and I can’t express it. Oh, what a miserable Teresina I am! Sitting here weighing words when his life is in the balance. What an egoist and what a coward!

He wouldn’t do that. His honor, his life, would count for nothing if he could save Teresina. I’ll let my heart speak and begin without naming him so that I won’t call him “My Life.”

“I know everything” — that — that’s the way I ought to begin. “I know you fight Nebreda tomorrow. You told me that you would not come tonight, and I can’t let things rest as they are.

I don’t say give up the duel because I know you would not. And beside I don’t want to make you ridiculous. But, for God’s sake, defend yourself well! I want you to live–if you don’t I will die.

You are brave–you are strong–defend yourself. Think of me, think of Maria, think of us both. For me and for your child! Forgive me. Goodbye.” I’ll sign no name — why not a T? — no — Teresa — no — Teresina. [Looking around.] 

Where’s the blotter? Gone–such a little thing to make one nervous–when so much is at stake. I’ll write the envelope while it dries. [Addressing the envelope.] “Senor Don Juan De Vargas, personal and most urgent.”

There–Louisa will take it. [Lays the envelope down, takes the letter and looks to see if it is dry.]

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