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.
  • ALBERTO: Pardon me! [Snatching a sketch from CARMEN, who looks up, astonished.] The lines of this model were designed for the ideal woman, a woman with a figure built on gothic lines. I mean to say that she has very long legs. I am sure of it. [Estimating the height of the plate with his eye, and measuring it off with one finger, as painters do.] One, two, three.... We have exactly eight heads. Yes, señorita, in total height; and the lady for whom you are making this gown must be only ... [Glancing at the dress-form.] Let me see. One ... two ... three ... we may give her five and a half. Five and a half are not nearly enough. The ideally proportioned figure has a total height of seven heads--that is the Greek type in all its purity and elegance. French and Viennese models always exaggerate somewhat, but Spanish women, particularly here in Madrid, are rather Romanesque in contour, like--like you, señorita. Don't be offended. I mean wide and thick. So, when we attempt to adapt the ideal lines of the model to the shapes which we actually see, the result is ridiculous. [Waxing eloquent as he studies the garment.] Three parallel rows of trimming on a short skirt? Horrible! And the pity is that just as long as women neglect to study the divine mysteries of line, they will continue to go about looking as if their worst enemies had designed their clothes. It breaks a man's heart to go out for a walk and meet masterpieces of the Creator transformed into monstrosities by the sacrilegious, criminal hands of tailors and dressmakers.