A monologue from the play by Gregorio Martinez Sierra
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Plays of G. Martinez Sierra. G. Martinez Sierra. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1922.
DON FRANCISCO: I’ve seen it happen. People talk of these “cures” … Anything may be a cure … for something. Yesterday they installed a regular medicine man in the dispensary. He has just got through his examinations in Madrid with flying colours … and he seems a clever boy. A little pedantic … but that’s only natural … for he knows such a lot … such a devil of a lot. To hear him talk about serums and injections and immunity and all the while giving me a look from the corner of his eye as if to say, “Now’s your chance to pick up a tip or two.” And I sat and laughed to myself. “Talk away, my lad,” I thought. “These clodhoppers here are made of another clay than the sort your Madrid professors like to meddle with. Once upon a time I had book learning at my fingers’ ends too. Wait a little, and you’ll be glad enough to put your faith in lemon juice and water.” I have to vaccinate these folk by force, drag them by the scruffs of their necks. I went into the school yesterday afternoon, shut the door, and left El Tuerto in front of it with a thick stick. “Now,” I said, “not a child leaves this room till he’s been vaccinated.” Lord, you should have heard them yell. Well … I’d had three of them die on my hands in two days and there’s no mortal way of knocking sense into their mothers. The savages! When they’re ill they still think they’re possessed by the devil. I am … when I have to write small-pox on a death certificate. And now if one of these children that I stick a little calf lymph into goes and dies after all, the village will want to lynch me. So I ask myself … and you … for we’re both in the same boat … since we get neither pay nor thanks … why on earth do we make such fools of ourselves?