A monologue from the play by Jacinto Benavente

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Plays by Jacinto Benavente. Trans. John Garrett Underhill. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1921.
  • DON HELIODORO: Yes, thank God! You could never get here without his special interposition. I never saw such a wretched road. What diligences, what service! Then, when you get here, how pleasant they do make it! If there is anything out of the ordinary in your appearance, the children run shouting after you down the street; the grown people stare as if you were some strange species of vermin. Everybody who is anybody rolls himself up in a ball like a hedgehog, so as to prevent contamination by strangers. Then there is so much to do here. No, no theatre; of course not! If a company of strolling players dares to lift its head, the priests preach against it from the pulpits, Doña Esperanza takes up the crusade in her tertulia, and the first thing you know the plays all turn out to be sinful, the leading lady isn't married to the man you thought was her husband, the soubrette's skirts are too short--and God help the poor actors! We had music for a while on Sundays in the glorieta, but never again! The boys held the girls too close when they danced. So now the girls have a club of their own under the supervision of the ladies, and the men have another which has been organized by the gentlemen. They have a chorus and sing; it seems to be moral and uplifting. The only café closes at eleven. There is nowhere to go except our house--how exciting! And on Saturdays you can look in on Doña Esperanza. I call her the She-Bishop; she has an eye out for everything. She criticizes, she lays down the law, she can tell you the proper cut for your bathing suit, and when you ought to take a bath--yes, and when it is time for you to go to bed, and with whom.