The Lady Of The Dawn


WORLD THEATRE FAVORITES Copyright © 2003 by Lia Beeson All rights reserved. Obtain permission in writing from the copyright owner for all professional or amateur performance, public reading, lecturing, recitation, radio broadcasting, television, motion picture, video or sound taping or translation into foreign languages, and to reproduce or transmit any part of this play in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system. Lia Beeson More information about Alejandro Casona’s plays in English at and THE LADY OF THE DAWN (LA DAMA DEL ALBA) A Fable Play in Four Acts by Alejandro Casona English version by Lia Beeson 2005 World Premiere Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1944. Translated to French, English, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Greek, Flemish, Czech and Yiddish in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. INTRODUCTION

The Lady Of The Dawn


Alejandro Casona (1903-1965) belongs as much to the World Theatre as to the Spanish Theatre. He won two top literary prizes. He also won the public around the world. His plays, dealing with perennial human concerns, are timeless and have been translated to eleven main languages. Here, his play was translated not only from language to language but from culture to culture and from century to century as well. Personal experience led Casona to believe that theatre could cause people to think of a better world and improve their lives. “I simply don’t see reality as just anguish, despair, negativity and sex,” he said. In his plays he usually contrasts how one half lives and how the other half lives, so that one may understand the other better. Casona has a series of feminist leads, plus varied strongly assertive female characters. Also, he usually specified some background and onstage music. In most of his works at least one of his characters hums, sings or plays some Spanish folkloric or traditional European tunes. To an interviewer asking what was the secret of his success, Casona once replied, “Perhaps, that I address myself to the heart of the audience.” PLAY OVERVIEW A family lost to sorrow is brought back to life after a young woman wishing to die finds acceptance and love among them. Though Death appears to take from the family a second time, she is waylaid from her mission by three playful children and misses the appointment. Death keeps her promise to the grandfather when she returns once more, but gets creative in who and how she takes what’s hers. Casona dedicated this play to his native land of Asturias, “to its countryside, its people, its spirit. The scene is my native village, the characters are the shepherds and peasants I grew up with, the songs are the first ones I ever sang, and the words, half poetic and half ‘as the saying goes’ are from the old Astur Castilian, good-old grandparent echo.” Featured music: From the old Spanish folklore, the medieval romance “Count Olinos” and the songs “The Clover” and “Master Saint John.” CHARACTERS (Anglicized) The Pilgrim Lady Telva, middle aged The Mother, middle aged Adela, twenty Angelica, the daughter, twenties Doreen, a child Fairgoer girl 1 Fairgoer girl 2 Fairgoer girl 3 Fairgoer girl 4 The Grandfather, seventy Martin Narces, thirties

The Lady Of The Dawn


Kicko, the mill hand Andrew, a child Falin, a child Boy 1 Boy 2 Boy 3 ACT I A place in Asturias, Northern Spain. No specific period. Main floor of a farmhouse, showing a clean and comfortable living. Solid construction—whitewashed stone and hard woods. At the back, a large main door and a window opening to the fields. To the right, stairs leading to the bedrooms, and in the foreground, exit to the stockyard. To the left, exit to the kitchen and in the foreground a large wood-burning fireplace framed with decorative tile and shelves with country crockery and copper pans reflecting the red shimmer. There’s a scythe against the back wall. Rustic walnut furniture, and an old wall clock. Thick rope floor matting. It’s nighttime. Light from a kerosene lamp. The Mother, Grandfather and grandchildren (Andrew, Doreen and Falin) are finishing their supper. Telva, the old maidservant, waits on them at the table. GRANDFATHER (Breaking the bread.) It’s still warm. And smells of blooming broom. TELVA Broom and dry hickory—there’s no better wood for heating the oven. And what about the golden color? Late harvest wheat from the sunny side. GRANDFATHER Our flour is good, but you help it too. When God gave you those hands He was thinking good bread. TELVA And good biscuits? And good egg toasts? You love those dunked in hot wine in winter. (Looks at the mother, absorbed in thought with her elbows on the table.) Aren’t you having some supper, Ma’am? MOTHER No. (Telva sighs resignedly and pours milk into the children’s bowl.) FALIN Can I break up bread in my milk? ANDREW Can I bring the cat to eat with me?

The Lady Of The Dawn


DOREEN Her place is the kitchen—her paws are always dirty with ash. ANDREW Who asked you? It’s my cat. DOREEN But I wash the tablecloth. GRANDFATHER Mind your sister. ANDREW Why? I’m older. GRANDFATHER But she’s a woman. ANDREW Always the same. My cat likes eating with me and you won’t let her. I like eating on the floor and you won’t let me either. TELVA When you grow up you’ll run your household, young man. ANDREW Sure. You say that every year. FALIN When are we grown up, Grandpa? GRANDFATHER Soon. When you learn to read and write. ANDREW But if we don’t go to school we’ll never learn. GRANDFATHER (To the mother.) The children are right. They are old enough. They should go to school. MOTHER (Obsessively.) They won’t! They’d have to cross the river to go to school. I don’t want my children anywhere near the river. DOREEN Everyone else goes. Girls too. Why can’t we cross the river?

(To Doreen. GRANDFATHER But they need to have good laughs and run in the sun. Soon you’ll be a young lady—the only one in the house.) Don’t you want to make corn bread? The oven will be cooling off. TELVA (To the children. MOTHER She was their sister. GRANDFATHER What’s the use of looking back? What happened is over. I don’t want them to forget her. MOTHER At least. MOTHER Do you do any different? You don’t mention her but I know what you are thinking when you stay quiet for hours with the cigar cold in your mouth.The Lady Of The Dawn 5 MOTHER If only no one in the family had gone near it. lightning never strikes twice. You have to learn these things. A stiff child is not a child. They breathe-in anguish in the air all the time. We don’t talk about those things. ANDREW (Stands up. I’ll help you. ready for some action. (Exits with them to the kitchen. GRANDFATHER Don’t worry.) We’ll make it red-hot again. .) GRANDFATHER You shouldn’t talk like that in front of the little ones. Stop thinking about it. FALIN Me too! DOREEN Can I drizzle it with honey? TELVA And put a fig leaf on the bottom so it doesn’t get scorched. by me they are safe. while collecting the bowls. You have a family that should be as happy as before. It stifles them. Life goes on.) Enough of that.

four years ago. It was on this day at night. Where she set foot there was joy. GRANDFATHER Four years already! (Sits down by the fire. MOTHER (Peevishly. MOTHER And who told you? GRANDFATHER Martin wants to go up to the scrub and pick the bullocks for the fair. MOTHER (Raising her head. GRANDFATHER The fair is tomorrow. Her anniversary. MOTHER Does it have to be precisely tonight? Tonight he should stay home.The Lady Of The Dawn 6 MOTHER It was easy being happy before—Angelica was here. MOTHER I can think of nothing but Angelica today.) ENTER KICKO KICKO (Comes from the stockyard with a rose. fine. ENTER TELVA KICKO You need anything. The mare is saddled.) Great moonlight for riding. pensively rolling a cigarette. grinning.) If that’s what he wants to do.) Saddled? Who told you to do that? GRANDFATHER I did. Think of them. Ma’am? MOTHER . GRANDFATHER You still have the other three.

And if there isn’t. with her eyes pinned to the wall.) Not to mention that the mill is by the Mayor’s barn and the Mayor has three girls.) TELVA Sure. Open wide Angelica’s room. GRANDFATHER Won’t you stop talking. Ma’am. Exits. Air out all the linen growing cold in that dusty chest. Is this. Remembrance is better in silence. always quiet in a corner. And those dear children. And he comes back with a jolly exhaustion rolling round his loins. TELVA (Maliciously. who will? MOTHER This is not a day for talking. What good does it do to draw the drapes and keep yelling it’s dark as night? On the other side of the window every day the sun shines. Gossip.The Lady Of The Dawn 7 Nothing. They also say the road to hell is paved with tongues of women. (On his way out he puts the rose over his ear. Ma’am. it feels great being lulled by the wheel and the water. Damn ole’ gossip. sure. KICKO They say. whistling gaily. MOTHER . MOTHER Not for me. His eyes are all sparks when he goes to the mill. woman? TELVA (Clearing the table.) I don’t mean to gossip. You. TELVA Mind me. God bless. Mistress. I wasn’t born yesterday. Ma’am. they say. They say the girls poisoned their dog because it barked when a man jumped in over the fence at night. TELVA Do you think I forgot her? But life goes on. living? The mistress. If I don’t talk. If I talk a bit too much sometimes it’s to loosen up my nerves—like throwing dishes. Are you going to the mill this time of night? KICKO There’s always something to do. trained to make no noise as if always barefoot. each one naughtier than the last.

Seven men. But he always brought me the first bunch of grapes from the vineyard. TELVA Like an oak. With dirt in their eyes and all black with soot they brought them out of the mine. She has a thorn in her side but won’t let anyone take it out. But every year he gave out blossoms. MOTHER It isn’t the same. Mine is in the water. He was upright. I rather have it stinging my flesh than forget about it like you all do. Each one expresses himself in his own way. I don’t feel so lonely. When I married I thought my husband didn’t love me because he didn’t talk sweet to me. MOTHER .) Don’t tire yourself out. MOTHER A husband comes and goes. Yours rest in the ground. So? Was I going to cover my head with a shawl and sit at the door mourning just because? I mourned them on my feet. GRANDFATHER The whole town looked for her.) When I sit down to sew in the shade. Ma’am. tall and handsome like seven men. GRANDFATHER Your husband was a fine man of the land. (Her voice falters. I planted in my yard seven trees. He’s not flesh of our flesh like one’s child is. That dust is the one thing I have left from her last day with us. The best swimmers dived down to the deepest part. Can you kiss the water? Can you hug or cry over her grave? That’s what’s eating me. Not talking about something doesn’t mean we don’t care. where grass and crops grow. And it would’ve been as tough to thrust an ax into him. One by one I washed the seven bodies. GRANDFATHER (To Telva. TELVA (Stops her work for a moment. (Lowers her voice.The Lady Of The Dawn 8 Not even the sun has the right to disturb her room. I lost all my seven the same day. Bluntly swipes a tear with the tip of her apron and goes on clearing the table.) Are you going to tell me what one’s child is? To me! You lost one. TELVA Not so.) As I couldn’t have others. and that’s plenty. Ma’am. And in the seven years we were together he gave me seven sons. MOTHER Blessed thorn. working.

strong mountaineer. GRANDFATHER It happened other times before. Onstage he puts on his fleece-lined coat. I fed them salt from my hand as yearlings. which he takes down from a nail on the wall. Eight bullocks with tender hooves and saffron heads that will be the pride of the fair. The Scriptures say it. or they would have found her body. (Telva puts the tablecloth away and takes dishes to the kitchen. MOTHER Even if there was a palace." I won’t rest in peace until she’s found. with a church and everything.The Lady Of The Dawn 9 They didn’t search enough.) Is the mare ready? GRANDFATHER Kicko saddled her before going to the mill.) MOTHER Do you have to go to the scrub tonight? MARTIN I want to separate the cattle myself. They’ll be leaving today.) . The Deep Hole is bottomless. GRANDFATHER If that’s all. I don’t like her in the river where passersby throw stones. coming downstairs in shirtsleeves and riding boots. ENTER MARTIN MARTIN (Young. MOTHER (Reproachfully. TELVA Some say there’s a whole town down there.) Didn’t occur to you that I need you here tonight especially? Have you forgotten what day it is today? ENTER TELVA (With a basket of peas. the foreman can do it. I want to brand them myself. "Man is dust and to dust shall return. MARTIN He doesn’t know them as I do. Sometimes people hear bells underwater on Saint John’s eve.

when the whole town was searching for her.) GRANDFATHER You are going to make Martin hate this house. No one. In thirty years I couldn’t love her any more than I loved her those days.) You too? No one loves her anymore. Sitting quietly by me is all I ask. MARTIN (Evasive.) The foreman is waiting for me. the dog barks. Ma’am? It’s like saying a green rosary. Offstage. It’s impossible to keep a memory like that. MOTHER (Sorrowfully resigned. but your wife only three days. (Sits back down. (Exits determinedly to the stockyard. But I’m not asking you to say anything. MARTIN She was mine and that was enough.) TELVA Would you help me shell the peas. Martin understands and lowers his too. Both lower their heads. MOTHER I understand. dropping heavily on the seat.) That’s enough. Angelica was your sweetheart two years.) I see. why don’t you ever mention her? And why. It’s better to start a new crop than cry over a lost one.The Lady Of The Dawn 10 MARTIN Today? (Looks at Grandfather and Telva.) And why don’t you look me in the eye when I talk to you about her? MARTIN (Tensely. (Pause while both shell. Beads slip through your fingers while your thoughts fly.) . MOTHER I know you don’t like memories.) Then. MOTHER Is that so important? MARTIN Even if it wasn’t. did you stay home all tensed up behind close doors? (Moves closer. Telva sits at her side with the basket of peas between them. Too little time for love. MOTHER (Goes toward him looking him in the eye. Like an open sore in the raw all the time.

) MOTHER Open up.) ENTER THE PILGRIM LADY LADY God bless this house and deliver all its dwellers from evil. He knows the town folk at a distance. Telva. We can’t close the door to a walker in the night. Mother. ENTER THE CHILDREN (Rush in excitedly and a bit scared. Telva? TELVA To my seven tall trees. . She must’ve lost her way. Always. Must be a pilgrim. ANDREW She has a hood on and a walking stick. LADY But there’s no barge crossing this late. Telva looks at the Mother.) TELVA The dog’s barking a lot.The Lady Of The Dawn 11 MOTHER Where do yours fly to. Ma’am? MOTHER Mine are fastened to the water. TELVA Is she passing by or coming here? FALIN Coming here. GRANDFATHER He’s nervous. TELVA Amen. (The heavy doorknocker sounds. Are you looking for lodging? The lodge is on the other side of the river.) DOREEN There’s a woman. (The dog’s barking is heard again. And yours. (Telva opens the upper part of the door and the Pilgrim Lady is seen. hesitantly. Like pilgrims.

) GRANDFATHER Did you lose your way. I don’t need anything. . (To the children. Pilgrims are entitled to a fire. The fire will do. LADY (To Grandfather. (Pulls back her hood. Ma’am. But I could swear this isn’t the first time we’ve met.) And you? Your eyes are going to grow wide if you keep looking at me like that. I saw children at the window. showing a pale and beautiful face with a serene smile. GRANDFATHER Sit down by the fire.The Lady Of The Dawn 12 MOTHER Let her in. TELVA Not hard to guess. LADY Thank you. Homes with children are always warm. (The Pilgrim Lady comes in.) ANDREW (Whispering. many roads.) She’s pretty. Ma’am. DOREEN Like a fairy queen. I’ve been through many towns. LADY It’s possible. Too shy to come closer? TELVA Excuse them. Did you see the smoke out the chimney? LADY No. Long roads make a person hungry and thirsty. Telva closes the door. Ma’am? LADY Rather the strength to keep on going.) I knew I’d find a good fire in here. holding on to Telva’s skirt. and they bring blessings to the house that welcomes them. They aren’t used to seeing strangers—especially in such clothes. (Sits down by the fire. If we can help you with something. watching her curiously.) Why are you staring at me? Do I remind you of someone? GRANDFATHER I’m not sure. I’ve come a long way and a cold wind is blowing hard.

) Saints are old and bearded. little one. LADY This is the house of Martin Narces. They are younger. and a fire going—a happy home. . resolved.) Thank you. LADY (Smiles and fondles his hair. In pictures. (Scans the house.) We never saw a pilgrim before. GRANDFATHER So it was. The door was left open. ANDREW (With an air of superiority. FALIN (Goes toward her too.The Lady Of The Dawn 13 LADY Do I frighten you? ANDREW (Goes toward her. right? MOTHER He is my son-in-law. She’s young. Her hair’s like wheat and her hands aren’t tanned—like a lady’s. rather shyly.) Not me. gallant at fairs and the best rider in the sierras. with something around their heads.) Grandchildren. ENTER MARTIN MARTIN The mare’s not in the stable. DOREEN I did. You can hear her neighing in the fields. grandfather. Grandpa says all things beautiful come from far away. Women will love listening to you when you grow up. Do you know him? LADY I heard of him as a hot-blooded young man. LADY Do you think I’m beautiful? ANDREW Very. Like saints.

LADY They welcomed me to the fire. MARTIN Is he horse blind? The one saddled up is Whitefours. MOTHER The colt? (Stands up determinedly.) LADY Is this it? MARTIN (Looks at her. like your children? I’m fed up with women guarding me with warnings and hiding my shotguns from me. you are not riding that wild bundle of nerves that bolts at the slightest flash! MARTIN Why not? Some time has to be the first time.) Oh. (Looks at the others questioningly. The Pilgrim Lady simply takes the spur down from the fireplace. Where is the spur? MOTHER Do not tempt fate. (They gaze at each other quietly for a moment. The roads are slippery with frost and the Rabion Pass is always dangerous. no.) LADY The Narces were always good riders. and lowers his voice.) Excuse me for raising my voice. Do you want to keep me in a corner too.) Where is the spur? (Telva and Grandfather keep quiet.) May I? (Fits the spur on him. Humbly. surprised.) MARTIN Thank you. she still on her knees. I’d like to reciprocate. MARTIN . I didn’t see you.) GRANDFATHER She’s a pilgrim on her way. son. (Kneels down. MARTIN You and your fears. (Strongly.The Lady Of The Dawn 14 GRANDFATHER What? Kicko left her here saddled up.

through with shelling peas. Ma’am. Since no one listens to me. starts knitting. Don’t you know men yet? To make them come this way you better tell them go that way.) Praying is like screaming under your breath. (Stands up. LADY . TELVA (Walks Mother to the stairs. What’s the matter with him tonight? GRANDFATHER He isn’t used to strangers either.) Are you going to bed. FALIN Me too! (They exit with Martin.) It was your fault. If you want to stay here till morning you are welcome to whatever you need. Ma’am. (Pause while she exits. I’ll go to my room and pray. mother.) TELVA (To Mother. I have to keep going.The Lady Of The Dawn 15 So they say. I may not see you again. Safe journey.) LADY How do you call the dangerous pass in the sierra? GRANDFATHER The Rabion Pass. Ma’am? MOTHER At least to be by myself. The dog barks again.) Excuse me. ANDREW I’ll hold the stirrup for you. I don’t want anyone waiting for me through the night with a light at the window. MOTHER Why do women always want sons? Men are for the outdoors and horses. Go to bed and don’t worry. LADY I need only some time to rest. Only a daughter fills the house.) TELVA Damn dog. DOREEN I’ll hold the reins. (Telva. (Going up. Ma’am.

LADY I saw it from a distance. but old men all look the same. right? The one struck by lightning a hundred years ago but still there. GRANDFATHER That was two years ago. From all roads couples on horseback were coming down with green boughs. GRANDFATHER It had to be here. TELVA Milady’s wedding. icicles as beards. Snow was falling so thick there was no trace of the roads. sir? If you were young and handsome. I was passing through the woods. They poured the barrels of hard cider in jets. a gnarled burnt trunk fast rooted into the rock. GRANDFATHER And before that? Much earlier? . I’ve never traveled. what a bash. This looked like a village of dwarfs: White chimneys as hoods. LADY I’ve been here several times. Villagers from all over came to Big Meadow to dance Giraldillas. And before that? LADY I remember another time. My God. fine. tambourines. GRANDFATHER You know the surroundings quite well for a stranger. A winter day. Picnic tablecloths spread out all over the green. When were you in town before? LADY Last time. it was a day of great celebration. GRANDFATHER That’s what I’m trying to remember since you entered. TELVA The Snow Blitz. Just passing by.The Lady Of The Dawn 16 The Rabion Pass is by the large chestnut tree. Never another like it. Where did I see you before? When? Don’t you remember me? TELVA Why would she remember you. Bagpipes.

ENTER THE CHILDREN DOREEN (Joyfully. LADY You! You are still small. Give them a hand. The lady has seen so many things! She’ll have stories to tell us.) When you grow up we’ll see. In the houses women were wailing. but for the time being.) Martin’s shooting full gallop to the sierra. and see how fast they take hand and foot. To bed.) Our Lady of Blessed Memories. Ma’am. to bed. TELVA (Blesses herself. You grow up faster in bed. It’s late. ANDREW It’s too early.The Lady Of The Dawn 17 LADY (Remembering with effort. FALIN He’s the best rider in a hundred miles. I said! .) Before… It was so long ago I hardly remember. The mine’s siren howled like a dog. TELVA The sheets story is the best of them all. Screaming. ANDREW Are you traveling more tonight? I’ll walk you to the raft if you’re afraid of the dark. TELVA Do you hear him? Very devils. TELVA (Puts away her knitting and stands up. deliver me from that one. Acrid. Doors stayed open in the night. as the others. ANDREW So? Better a small man than a big woman. ANDREW When I grow up I’ll break colts too. terrified. Children and I are good friends and I’ll be here just a while longer. all tense. Grandpa says so. LADY Let them stay. it hurt the throat. Men were running. A thick smoke hung in the air.

On top of it all. if the abbot plays poker?" GRANDFATHER If you are going to Santiago. Ma’am. "What do you think the monks do. Children ask more than a sage can answer. FALIN Why is the tomb of the Apostle there? ALL THREE Why? GRANDFATHER Don’t mind them.) The fire is getting low. DOREEN Why do pilgrims go to Santiago? LADY Because the tomb of the Apostle is there.) He spoke well who said. undermine my authority and set them a bad example. Are you still cold? LADY My hands are always cold. ANDREW Why do stars map out the way? LADY So that pilgrims going to Santiago won’t get lost. Telva. I can point out the way for you. (Exits to the stockyard.The Lady Of The Dawn 18 GRANDFATHER Let them stay. TELVA Right. The children rush to surround the pilgrim lady. (Seeing her crossing her hands inside the sleeves. I’ll stay with them. The way is mapped in the skies with stardust. LADY That won’t be necessary. GRANDFATHER I’ll split some logs and bring some heather—it makes the fire smell good.) . (Exits grumbling.

"hickory-dickory-dory." DOREEN It was different before. FALIN And the one about the blind vixen going to Saint Lucy to cure her eyes. FALIN Do you know any games? LADY I’m afraid I forgot them all. that’s the end of my story. The way she told them was like seeing everything. would you tell us a story? LADY Doesn’t Grandfather tell you stories? ANDREW Grandpa knows how stories begin but he doesn’t know how they end.The Lady Of The Dawn 19 DOREEN Now that we are alone. But one night she went down the river. ANDREW Since then we can’t talk loud or play games. all the woodies Saint John’s are" . LADY Who was Angelica? DOREEN Our elder sister. The whole town loved her. She was the whole town’s sister. His cigar goes out in his mouth and he loses track and then it’s. Even with music.) FALIN Let’s play "sawdust saw far. Angelica knew hundreds of stories. And the one about the girl fighting in the war dressed as a man. DOREEN And the one about Xana spinning gold by the fountain. But I can learn if you teach me. (They surround her excitedly. ANDREW The one about Thumbelina.

) That’s it! First. sitting in a circle. ANDREW This is the cutter cutting the cap capping the cork corking the bottle of wine the innkeeper is keeping at home. let’s play "give and take.) And this is a drunkard nabbing the cutter. DOREEN (Stands up while Falin sits down. off the donkey.) Right. CHORUS This is the cap capping the cork corking the bottle of wine the innkeeper is keeping at home. The leader in turn stands up. wait.) This is the cork corking the bottle of wine the innkeeper is keeping at home. it’s my turn.) ANDREW This is the bottle of wine the innkeeper is keeping at home. we sit on the floor. mimicking exaggeratedly what the words describe.) This is the cap capping the cork corking the bottle of wine the innkeeper is keeping at home. cutting . FALIN (Stands up while Andrew sits down. No cheating. Now each one says it first and everyone repeats it. LADY (Gradually carried away by the innocent fun of the game. (To the lady. stands up mimicking exaggeratedly a drunkard’s gestures. heads touching. (All do." ANDREW No. The one that gets it wrong loses. CHORUS This is the cork corking the bottle of wine the innkeeper is keeping at home. give and take. (They start a nursery game alternating solo and chorus.The Lady Of The Dawn 20 DOREEN No. CHORUS This is the bottle of wine the innkeeper is keeping at home. CHORUS This is the cutter cutting the cap capping the cork corking the bottle of wine the innkeeper is keeping at home.) Turn your head that way. The others respond and mimic in unison. uh? (The Pilgrim Lady covers her eyes with her hands while they whisper. all right? ALL All right.

LADY Laughter? (Stands up with effort. shattering crystal in my mouth so? DOREEN (Still scared. Do you want to sleep? LADY Later.) How odd. fatigued. uncapping the cork. again at ease.) ANDREW You never laughed before? LADY Never. I can’t now. I never imagined laughing was so powerful.) What am I doing? What’s this. LADY (Almost afraid. The children do likewise. and swigging the bottle of wine the innkeeper was keeping at home. swelling my throat so. What throbs in my wrists? What beats in here? DOREEN Your heart.) CHILDREN (Surround her excitedly pushing her around. (Bursts into laughter. ANDREW Grown ups get tired of it too soon. Taken aback by her own outburst.) It can’t be. eventually she controls herself. who stare at and move away from her. It crackles round the waist. It’d be wonderful—and terrible. Someone’s meeting me at the Rabion Pass.) LADY (Her laughter goes on a disturbing crescendo to a convulsive guffaw scaring stiff the little ones. it warmed up my hands.) Come. When the clock chimes nine I have to be awake. (The children go closer.) Funny.) Laughter. It weakens the knees. (Takes her to the big chair by the fire. sit down here.The Lady Of The Dawn 21 the cap. (Staggers. (Tests her hands.) Drunkard! Drunkard! Drunkard! (The Pilgrim Lady laughs harder and harder till she drops. LADY . DOREEN We’ll wake you up.) What a delicious fatigue. uncorking the bottle. Quakes of joy dart inside me like squirrels in a hollow tree.

DOREEN Must be your heart again. Don’t you hear a horse galloping in the distance? (The children pay attention and look at each other. LADY I wish it was. Two of silver. (Sits down. each time weaker.) ANDREW Angelica knew words to put us to sleep. ANDREW Close your eyes and repeat without thinking.) Way up there. exhausted.) Quiet. I can’t waste a minute. way up high ANDREW There’s a mountain all in white LADY There’s a mountain all in white DOREEN On the mountain there’s a tree LADY On the mountain there’s a tree FALIN On the tree there is a branch LADY On the tree there is a branch ANDREW And on the branch.) Way up there. I can’t take it. two of gold .The Lady Of The Dawn 22 No. How heavy my lids are. Do you want me to say them to you? LADY Say them.) FALIN I hear nothing. (Puts her finger on her lips. way up high LADY (Repeats. (Recites slowly. four nests. At nine. But don’t forget.

The Pilgrim Lady’s hands go limp again. ENTER GRANDFATHER (On time to watch the last part of the scene from the threshold. TELVA The problem will be making them sleep now. A distant lightning flash dazzles. Offstage the dog whines.The Lady Of The Dawn 23 LADY (Barely audible by now.) DOREEN She’s so pretty. makes a weak effort to straighten up. and quick. lowers the wick in the lamp so that the scene is now lighted by the fire.) ENTER TELVA TELVA Game over? To bed now. The Pilgrim Lady. GRANDFATHER I’ll do it. trying to remember. DOREEN (Bidding her silence. I don’t like women doing mystery things walking the roads alone at night. Take them with you. TELVA She better go back same way she came. The clock starts chiming nine. After all her walking she must be exhausted. Get going (Goes upstairs with them. We have to wake her up at the stroke of nine. She remains asleep. Her eyes look so sad. Telva. At the last chime of the clock falls the . He is carrying the logs and dry branches.) We can’t go now. as in automatic response to a call. DOREEN Poor lady.) And on the… branch… four… nests ANDREW She fell asleep. (Exits with the children. And so nice.) GRANDFATHER (Rekindles the fire. Why don’t you ask her to stay? ANDREW She must not have a place to live. He stares at the sleeping lady.) Where have I seen her before? And when? (Sits down and rolls a cigarette. after all the excitement.

) I couldn’t stand her the moment she stepped in. GRANDFATHER (Pensively. so the scene is lighted up anew.) Who knows. TELVA (Coming downstairs. Never got drunk on tales. Sometimes a child sees further than we grown ups do. Telva appears at the top of the stairs. stares at her again. The lady remains still. That she’s Our Lady Of The Roads. didn’t you feel something in the air? TELVA The bite of the frost. I like people with a plucky stride and straight talk. Grandfather goes closer. Pause during which the clock’s tick-tock is heard. .) Something wrong.The Lady Of The Dawn 24 CURTAIN) ACT II Same place. That she’s a queen in disguise. How quick their heads get full of fancies. later. sir? You quivered like a baby. I also feel something mysterious entered here with her. TELVA At your age? In old heads flights of fancy go ahead. (Turns the wick up in the lamp. but they are sleeping at last. What next. I keep my soul in my soul case and my eyes well planted in my face. GRANDFATHER But her quiet smile.) It wasn’t easy. GRANDFATHER And nothing else? TELVA Count me out for tales. sir. She lowers her voice. her colorless eyes—like two glass beads—her strange way of talking — TELVA Tricks to cover up what she wants to. GRANDFATHER When you opened the door for her. (Looks at him.) Damn brats. struggling to remember. (Grandfather bids her to silence. That she wears a gold dress under her wrap. Grandfather steps away and with his lighting steel lights the cigar that has gone out in his mouth. The Pilgrim Lady is still asleep.

The Lady Of The Dawn


GRANDFATHER I don’t know. My thoughts frighten me. TELVA Then, stop thinking. Half our troubles come from our head. (Takes her knitting again and sits down.) When a thought bothers me, I pick up my knitting or start singing— miracle cure. GRANDFATHER (Sits down nervously by her.) Help me remember, Telva. When did the woman say she was here before? TELVA The day of The Snow Blitz, when drifts covered the windows all up and all the roads. GRANDFATHER That day the shepherd got lost crossing the ravine, remember? Next morning they found him dead among the sheep. His shirt was frozen hard as an icicle. TELVA (Without interrupting her knitting.) Poor man. He looked like a big Saint Christopher, with his staff and his oakum beard. But when he played his pipes, birds perched on his shoulders. GRANDFATHER And the other time, wasn’t it at milady’s wedding? TELVA That’s what she said. But she wasn’t at the wedding. She just saw it from a distance. GRANDFATHER From the woods. The blacksmith promised to hunt a deer for the newlyweds. When he bent down to drink from the creek his gun went off and he bled to death in the stream. TELVA So it was. And the boys found out when the fountain water began turning red. (Suddenly uneasy, stops her knitting and stares at him.) What are you getting at with all this? GRANDFATHER (Stands up, his voice stifling.) And when the siren sounded the emergency and women were wailing and screaming in their homes? Remember? The day the gas exploded in the mine. Your seven sons, Telva! TELVA (Stands up also, apprehensive.) What are you thinking, for God’s sake?

The Lady Of The Dawn


GRANDFATHER The truth. Finally! (Worried.) Where are the children? TELVA Sleeping like three angels. GRANDFATHER Go up with them. (Pushes her toward the stairs.) Lock doors and windows. Keep them warm—with your body if you have to. No matter who knocks, let no one in. TELVA Angels of my heart! Oh, Lord, deliver them from evil. (Exits.) GRANDFATHER (Goes decidedly to the lady.) Now I know where I saw you. (Shakes her by the arms forcefully.) Wake up, bad dream. Wake up! LADY (Opening her eyes slowly.) I’m coming. Who is it? GRANDFATHER Look me in the eye and dare say you never saw me before. Remember when the gas exploded in the mine? I was in it too. With fallen rubble on my chest and choking smoke in my throat. You thought my time had come and got too close. When fresh air rushed in at last, I had seen your pale face and felt your icy touch. LADY (Serenely.) I knew this was coming. Those who see me up close once, never forget me. GRANDFATHER What are you waiting for, then? Do you want me to shout your name all over town and have hounds and rocks thrown at you? LADY You wouldn’t do that. It’d be useless. GRANDFATHER You thought you could fool me, uh? I’m too old for that. And I’ve thought a lot about you. LADY Don’t flatter yourself, Grandfather. Your dog doesn’t think and he recognized me before you did. (A single clock chime is heard. The Pilgrim Lady looks at the clock, startled.) What time is it? GRANDFATHER

The Lady Of The Dawn


Nine thirty. LADY (Desperately.) Why didn’t they wake me up on time? Who enmeshed me in this alluring net I never felt before? (Defeated.) I was dreading this and couldn’t prevent it. It is too late now. GRANDFATHER Blessed be the sleep that blindfolded and cuffed you so. LADY It’s your grandchildren’s fault. I caught their life for a moment. They even made me dream of having a throbbing heart. Only children could have worked the miracle. GRANDFATHER And how badly were you going to repay their hearty welcome. To think they were playing with you. LADY Bah. Children play with Death so many times, unawares. GRANDFATHER Whom did you come for? (Blocks her access to the stairs.) If it is them, it’ll be over my dead body. LADY Who is thinking of your grandchildren, so frail yet? It was a torrent of life that was due me tonight. I saddled his horse and put the spur on him myself. GRANDFATHER Martin? LADY The smartest horseman in the sierra—by the old chestnut tree. GRANDFATHER (Triumphantly.) The old chestnut tree is a mile and a half from here. He’s passed it by now. LADY No one passes me by. You should know that. My dates just get postponed. GRANDFATHER Go away! What are you still here for? LADY

The Lady Of The Dawn


Nothing, now. I only wish you to bid me goodbye without resentment, with a good word. GRANDFATHER I have nothing to say to you. As hard as life may get, it is still the best thing I know. LADY So you imagine me separate from life? Does one exist without the other? GRANDFATHER Leave my house. I beg you. LADY I’m leaving. But first, listen to me. I am a good friend of the poor and of those with a clear conscience. Why can’t we talk frankly? GRANDFATHER I don’t trust you. If you were so frank you wouldn’t come in disguise to our homes and trespass into rooms of grief at the break of dawn. LADY Who says I have to come in? I’m always in, watching you grow up day by day from behind your mirrors. GRANDFATHER You can’t deny your nature. You are deceitful and cruel. LADY When you people shove me angrily against each other, I am. But when you allow me my own pace, how tenderly I untie the last knot. And how peaceful their smiles are at the break of dawn. GRANDFATHER Stop it. Your voice is sweet. Listening to you is dangerous. LADY I don’t understand you people. All the time I hear you complaining about life. Why are you so afraid to depart from it then? GRANDFATHER It’s not for what we leave behind. We don’t know what is ahead. LADY Same thing happens when you journey the other way. That’s why babies cry at birth. GRANDFATHER (Worried again.) There you go again. You think too much of children.

I heard him tell his disciples so as he bled to death in his bath: "Do you know where your true freedom is? The veins in your body can lead you to it. But your people learned to look me in the eye. why do you condemn me then? Why don’t you try to understand me? (Dreamily. Don’t try to trap me in your words. LADY I still love him as before.) . As a child he had the most beautiful eyes on earth—a blue temptation luring me through the distance. would like to adorn myself with roses like your country girls do. It’s rather a love that never learned to express itself—and maybe it never will. (Lowers her voice to a confidential tone. the garden freezes on me. If I hurt children at times it isn’t because I mean to.) If you don’t know me well. I know you are the bad weed in the crop and the parasite in the tree. Of you I know just what the dog and the horse know too.The Lady Of The Dawn 29 LADY I was given this feminine figure for something. too. Leave my house. with a tin plate and a seeing guide. I’ll have no peace until I see you gone. But when I pick the roses. Grandfather? GRANDFATHER The blind man singing old ballads at fairs? LADY That’s the one.) I. holding her forehead. It’s fine for weaklings to see me as hateful.) Do you understand how bitter my destiny is? To witness all sorrows. Doomed to kill forever and ever. have a handsome man to love. When children play with me I have to look the other way or they’d go cold if we touch." GRANDFATHER I didn’t read books. And what use is it for the finest men to flirt with me on their horses if at my kiss their wasted limbs slip lifeless down my waist? (Desperately. live among happy children. LADY You disappoint me. One day I couldn’t resist and kissed his eyes. yet unable to indulge them. Your poets extolled me as a bride. GRANDFATHER Now he plays guitar for alms on holidays. LADY (Emotional. (Drops on a seat. overwhelmed. GRANDFATHER Enough. Some day I’ll repay him with two stars for the harm my love caused him. your mystics as redemption. No matter how good you wish to appear. To have womanly feelings. The greatest of your sages called me Freedom.) Do you know Ole Man Nalon. yet unable to weep. and unable to rest in peace.

) So soon? He hasn’t had time to go there and back.) Poor woman.) What are you saying? Are you mad? (Martin places the girl on the seat by the fire. I have nothing else to do in your house tonight and I am expected elsewhere. (Takes the staff she left against the fireplace. Martin carries in his arms a young woman with wet dress and hair. (Grandfather opens. LADY Thanks.) Angelica.) MARTIN’S VOICE Telva! Telva! GRANDFATHER Martin! Go out the other door. with a large candle. MOTHER (Coming downstairs. Don’t be afraid. LADY (Puts her staff away again. I asked you for some understanding and you called me woman. Open.) MARTIN’S VOICE (Martin also bangs the door with his foot.) Telva. Goes to her and puts his hand on her shoulder sympathetically. daughter! GRANDFATHER (Stopping her. hurry! ENTER THE MOTHER MOTHER (At the top of the stairs.) .) Who’s yelling at the door? GRANDFATHER (Going to open. moved. shouting. Grandfather. the most beautiful word when a man says it.) It’s Martin. Martin’s voice is heard offstage. Stifles a cry and runs to them.) Farewell. I don’t want him to find you here.The Lady Of The Dawn 30 GRANDFATHER (Looks at her.) ENTER MARTIN CARRYING ADELA MOTHER (Shudders as if witnessing a miracle.) And why not? His hour has passed. (Goes to the door. (Martin’s voice is heard again.

The heat will help her recover. MARTIN (Looks at her. (The Pilgrim Lady looks at the girl.) MOTHER (Puts her candle on the table. I wish I could have done it then.) MOTHER Let me.) GRANDFATHER (To Martin. but nothing happened. LADY (Takes a handkerchief out of her bosom and goes to him.The Lady Of The Dawn 31 MOTHER (Looks at the girl up close with disappointment. sobbing softly. (To the Pilgrim Lady.) Thank you.) GRANDFATHER Some vinegar rubs will help her. MARTIN What is it? LADY A red spot on your forehead. . (She remains immobile in the back.) What can we do? LADY (With an impassive smile. puzzled.) Allow me. She fainted.) It isn’t her. Oh.) There. who is she? MARTIN I don’t know. why did you make me expect a miracle? GRANDFATHER She’s breathing normally. We rolled down the ravine.) What about you? Did anything happen to you? MARTIN Crossing the Rabion Pass a flash startled my horse.) But then.) I wouldn’t know. (Cleans it caringly. (Kneels by Adela and rubs her forehead and wrists. I’ll do it. by the scythe. I got to her just in time. I saw her fall in the river. I am not used to this. MARTIN We have to revive her. Lord. mesmerized. (Takes a bottle from the mantle. that’s all.

Slowly Adela opens her eyes. GRANDFATHER At your age? You haven’t had time to experience life yet. except the Pilgrim Lady who watches the scene at some distance. As always. The danger is over. And all in vain! MOTHER Don’t talk.) GRANDFATHER Don’t be afraid. ADELA But I’ll be going alone again. (All go around Adela. Feel better now? ADELA The air feels heavy as lead in my chest. ADELA (Looks around.) Why am I here? MARTIN I was passing by the river and saw you fall in. They say those who drown recall their whole life in a moment. Tomorrow it will all be over.) Why did you? I didn’t fall in. MARTIN . No one to love.) They all say the same.The Lady Of The Dawn 32 MOTHER She’s coming round. It’s like blindfolding their soul with water. LADY (Absently. I couldn’t recall a thing. But in the river it was smooth and easy. There. confused. MARTIN Courage. Nothing to expect. GRANDFATHER Don’t you have a family? A home? ADELA I never had anything of my own. ADELA I gathered all my strength to dare. ADELA (With sorrowful reproach. with her perennial smile. Breathe deep. like a bad dream. It was on purpose.

Grandfather.) Not in Angelica’s room! GRANDFATHER We have to. with water from the same river on her hair. without looking.) Her hands are ice cold. She just slumbers. lighting the way. Of a whole life all that is remembered is one vacation day—with someone else’s family.) Now.) God’s command. carrying Adela in his arms. (Closes her eyes again. MOTHER No! Ask me to give her my bread and my clothes. We have to take her to bed right away. Relaxing things. anything I have. GRANDFATHER She lost consciousness again. (Smiles sorrowfully.) Bring her up.) Shame. (Slowly goes to the table and picks up the candle. MARTIN We can’t leave her like this. At sunset we sat around the table. You can’t shut that door on her.) . LADY (Calmly. start all over again. But not my daughter’s place! GRANDFATHER Think about it.The Lady Of The Dawn 33 Of all your days. (Looks anxiously at the Pilgrim Lady. The window openings filled up with stars. It’s like God’s command. open the chest and warm up the linen.) Relax. And Martin carried her in. (Pilgrim Lady and Grandfather watch them till they disappear. That Sunday was a very short day. MOTHER (Rebelling at the idea. She comes from the same banks. the sheets smelled of apples. MOTHER (Bows her head. Sunshine and herds up the mountains. yielding. They talked about beautiful things.) Telva. MOTHER Where? MARTIN There’s only one vacant room in the house. Long ago. in his arms. (She leads. Martin follows her. A vacation day at a friend’s house in the country. you never had a happy day? ADELA Once. I can’t feel her pulse. In the night.

drowned girl. Explain what you just said. But not tonight.The Lady Of The Dawn 34 GRANDFATHER You are very pensive. I don’t make the rules. . Deep river. LADY It’d be difficult. GRANDFATHER Forget all about her. (Goes for her staff. since I don’t understand it either. LADY More so than you think.) I’ll come back on my next date. Someone did rush things way ahead of time. GRANDFATHER What do you mean “so soon”? LADY (Pensively. This girl isn’t for me—so soon.) I don’t get this. A man in the ravine and a woman in the river escaped you. GRANDFATHER Wait. Can’t you let off. LADY A man did. huh? You fell asleep on the job. GRANDFATHER Tough night for you. GRANDFATHER You had her quite close. this place. I’m facing a mystery beyond my grasp. But what is in my book is inevitable. I follow them. What pushed this girl before her time? GRANDFATHER Wasn’t it written so in your book? LADY All is as written. I wasn’t expecting her. What would have happened if Martin hadn’t got there in time? LADY Someone else would have rescued her. Seven moons are yet to come. Or perhaps she herself. for once? LADY I can’t.

you were. Trust me. GRANDFATHER For her. And life gave her so little. I’ll come back to this house.) . Now that you know me better. I assure you. It’s perfectly round. absorbed in thought. filling the emptiness left by the other. LADY Ask. But don’t resent me. Let me ask you a last question. Don’t you believe me? GRANDFATHER I don’t know. When it gets as round seven more times. Now your life is much shorter than that. but we always arrive where we are supposed to. GRANDFATHER When are you scheduled back? LADY Look at the moon.The Lady Of The Dawn 35 GRANDFATHER She is so beautiful. Grandfather. LADY Soon you’ll be convinced. LADY (With gentle irony.) Those seventy you say you are. (Opens the door and looks at him. We’ve known each other long enough to be good mates.) GRANDFATHER Wait. Grandfather. (Starts to leave. I am seventy. But I’ll receive you in peace. A young woman crowned with flowers will be my return companion down the river. If I wouldn’t come then. bid me farewell with no hate or dread. GRANDFATHER Farewell… friend. Grandfather. friend.) Your hands are trembling again.) Farewell. She is alone in the world. you’d be calling me yourself. She could do so much good in this house. (The Pilgrim Lady walks away. Why does she have to die in the prime of youth? LADY Do you think I know? This happens many a time to Life and to me: We don’t know what way. That day you’ll bless my name. watches her go while warming up against his chest the hand she shook. (Offers him her hand.

When Telva talks to me. The sun is setting. The stable needs fluffing. What are you waiting for? (Seeing he doesn’t move. ADELA Better than a song is a goad. KICKO . what are you thinking? KICKO Me? Thinking? ADELA Why don’t you get going then? KICKO I don’t know. But you have a way of looking that when you talk I don’t hear what you are saying. Kicko. Kicko. Late-afternoon light. Mice are getting in the rye stock. Falin messes around to his heart content. The winter background of the previous acts has changed now to full-summer greenery. ADELA The usual. I like listening to you talk. Onstage there is a sewing basket and a large embroidery frame with colorful embroidery. For heaven’s sake.The Lady Of The Dawn 36 CURTAIN ACT III Same place. Enter Adela from the kitchen. KICKO They told me you want to talk to me. close your eyes and get going. the mills’ hand. is onstage like one waiting for orders. When the mistress talks to me I hear her fine. ADELA Then. The fodder is rotting damp in the shed. months later. Andrew and Doreen prepare a skein.) I don’t know what’s the matter with me. too. ADELA Do you need background music to work? KICKO When there’s singing in the cart the oxen get less tired. Get going. unfinished. Kicko takes his cap off and looks at her moonstruck.) Suddenly you’re deaf? KICKO (Fingering his cap around.

turning back even at the exit to the stockyard. While his thirsty horse is drinking He sings a most haunting song.) Early did rise Count Olinos On the day of Saint John’s feast To bring his horse to the freshet By the shore of the sea. Their flying stop. Pick them all up. and listen. I’m going. and listen. Their sailing stop. Why? DOREEN Angelica did too. ANDREW Do you know any? ADELA Many. practice counting. Ma’am. (Exits reluctantly. ADELA I see. Count them all one by one. All the birds through the sky flying. Falin makes a din spilling a tin box full of buttons. All the walkers who went walking. She told us magic stories that always happen on Saint John’s eve. All the sailors who went sailing.) ADELA What are you doing.The Lady Of The Dawn 37 I’m going. And while you are at it.) DOREEN When you embroider. Which one do you like? DOREEN There’s one very pretty about the count taking his horse to drink by the seashore. Barabbas? FALIN I’m helping. Old rhymes one learns in childhood and never forgets. Their walking stop. and listen. can you talk and think of something else? ADELA Sure. . raises her head up and recites with absent eyes. (Sits at the frame to embroider. ADELA (Stops her work.

The queen was very jealous.The Lady Of The Dawn 38 ANDREW Why did the walkers and the birds stop? ADELA It was a haunting song. a white hawthorn. She had them killed. And their branches grew till they joined. DOREEN Angelica knew those. ADELA But this one. . flying their bliss. ANDREW To whom was he singing it? ADELA To Princess-White. DOREEN Then the queen cut off the branches. Like the mermaids’ song. (Sings. But from her grave a white rosebush grew. and from his. As a couple. And a falcon rose from his. Through the skies they fly together. the queen’s daughter. but she sang them.) Early did rise Count Olinos On the day of Saint John’s feast To bring his horse to the freshet By the shore of the sea. ANDREW Those things happened a long time ago. right? ADELA She did. FALIN Did they get married? ADELA No. From her bush rose up a heron. This is the one that keeps repeating. Because when love is true. There are no miracles now. But neither then she could separate them. Do you know the music? ADELA I do too. not even death can overpower it.

Looks at her. already started. GRANDFATHER Does Mother know you are doing this? ADELA She asked me to finish it. (Goes to her. ADELA I wish I were like the one who started this embroidery.) ADELA (Noticing Grandfather on the stairs. (Looks at him.) What dress is this? ADELA Mother wants me to wear it tonight at the fair. She wore it for the first time on Saint John’s eve.) What are you doing? ADELA I found it in the bottom of the chest. singing those ancient things. Don’t you remember it? GRANDFATHER Could I forget it? Angelica wove it herself and embroidered the seed pearls on the velvet. Grandfather? GRANDFATHER Nothing.) Why are you looking at me like that? GRANDFATHER Every day you are changing more. (Looks at her work. stops and watches them. looking more like Angelica. GRANDFATHER I’d prefer you being yourself always rather than trying to look like someone else. ENTER GRANDFATHER (Coming downstairs. as today. Do you like it? The silk faded a bit after four years. ADELA Must be the way I combed my hair. and it seemed like out of a dream.The Lady Of The Dawn 39 CHILDREN (Joining at the refrain. I was looking at you with the children. Mother likes it this way.) Do you want something. GRANDFATHER .) By the shore of the sea.

we couldn’t go. it’s scary. giving him a pat. . Go look for wood for the bonfire. Grandfather. ADELA No more of that. GRANDFATHER Don’t mind me. It burned me up to hear the music from here behind closed windows.) There. FALIN Me too? ADELA (Picks him up in her arms. (Exits by the wide open door at the back and checks the road. ADELA I don’t follow you. If someone takes your treasure and you find another. What are you doing in here? The outdoors is meant for running. (Smacks him loudly and puts him back on the floor. FALIN Are we going to see the bonfire? ADELA And dance. ANDREW If he’s waiting for the bagpiper. like the little man of the house you are. and leap over the flames. you wouldn’t put it in the same place again.) ADELA What’s the matter with Grandfather? DOREEN He’s been checking the road all afternoon.) You first. ADELA Scary? Why? GRANDFATHER I don’t know. Tonight we are going all together.The Lady Of The Dawn 40 You are who you are and that’s best. ANDREW Really? Before. The fair doesn’t start till dark. Wearing her dress and combing your hair like her you look so much like her. it’s still early.

(Starts putting things in order on the kitchen shelves. keeping at it till it’s off. But going too easy on them isn’t good either. ADELA Maybe the figs weren’t ripe. Yesterday Andrew had a fight and came home black and blue all over. TELVA Anyway.) Can I throw rocks at the trees? ADELA Why not? FALIN I threw one at the Pastor’s fig tree yesterday and they bawled me out. TELVA Now yes. kisses and games are fine. Adela laughs too. The Pastor was under the tree.) ENTER TELVA TELVA Thank Heavens we hear laughter in the house again. since they began going to school and running to their heart’s content. Do you know what I mean? . Run! FALIN (Stops short at the door. FALIN No.) They are wonderful children. They get strong that way. It’s like tadpoles shaking the tail off. ADELA (Returning to her needlework. (They exit laughing.The Lady Of The Dawn 41 CHILDREN Let’s run. as long as they do it with others their age. TELVA Let them. They are ruddier by day and sleepier at night. They who don’t fight as children fight later as grown ups. which is worse. ADELA The sour they get all by themselves.) ADELA They don’t give cause for harder ways. but a smack on time is as healthy. Honey with lemon tastes sour but it’s good for you.

The Lady Of The Dawn 42 ADELA I have much to learn yet. No small feat. (Looks at her. The whole house was like a stopped clock. (With darker voice. Now it’s ticking again. stopping her work. The spinning wheel all dusty. TELVA Ah. Not even hope. And when I wanted to die Heavens gave me all at once mother.) And that something has dark eyes and wears spurs? ADELA Martin. ADELA No matter how much I do. A household living in the dark and a gust of wind suddenly opens the windows. I just thought something’s always missing to be completely happy. The children quiet in a corner. sisters and brothers. . And with a bird singing the new hours. Confidential tone. (Gives her the skein. it won’t be enough to repay all I owe them. The mistress fingering rosary beads with absent eyes. again with nothing.) Sometimes I think it’s too good to be true and I’ll wake up back in the river.) Stop that. You were that. ADELA Everyone else appreciates me. grandfather. What ideas for a holiday. TELVA I knew it. I had nothing. ADELA They’ve been to me more yet. sits by Adela and helps wind a skein. A whole life begun by someone was given me to continue.) Why did you get so sad so sudden? ADELA Not sad.) Could you do any more? Since we lost Angelica. TELVA (Finished with the shelves. the one to see me as an outsider? He never says a good word to me. silly girl. TELVA Not so much. Why is it precisely he. TELVA (Blesses herself quickly. What you did here in months I couldn’t do it in years. grief went through this house like a knife through a bread loaf. who brought me into the house.

TELVA That too? That’s bad. Doesn’t even look at me. that remains her own. Or says nothing. What’s hard to say must be tackled without fear— like handling hot coals. Look.) How can you think that? TELVA That’s no nonsense. if you want us to connect. But when they don’t dare look. I’ve been filling in for Angelica all her places one by one without hurting her memory. the softer inside.The Lady Of The Dawn 43 TELVA That’s the way he is. everything may happen. (Daylight begins to wane. maybe nothing will happen. No one should take it. Adela. When men eye us a lot. I’d say. I’d like him to need me sometime to light his fire when he is cold. ADELA If we are left alone he always finds an excuse and leaves. What do you feel for Martin? ADELA I feel eager to repay him somehow what he did for me. A man’s man is like well-kneaded bread—the crustier the crust. ADELA What do you mean? TELVA What you are so intent on hushing. startled. like brother and sister. TELVA And nothing else? ADELA What else could I expect? TELVA Hasn’t it occurred to you that he is too young to live single? That at his age a sister isn’t needed and a woman wanted? ADELA Telva! (Stands up. ADELA It’d be something worse—treachery. the most sacred. don’t ever come to me beating round the bush. But there’s a last place. or to share his quiet time when he is down.) .

) .) Why didn’t you tell us yesterday? MARTIN I didn’t notice. But if you don’t like it— MARTIN You don’t need to wear anyone else’s dress. TELVA Yesterday? Funny. MARTIN (Harshly. Get as many as you want. Do I have to remember exactly when? TELVA Up to you. (Exits. (Looks at her while she finishes bandaging. It must have been when unloading the carriage. when I pruned the nut tree or put the oxen to yoke. hardly looking at her. Then. goes to Telva. It’s your wrist.) Thank you.) Do you have some bandage? TELVA What for? MARTIN I sprained my wrist yesterday.) Why are you wearing this dress? ADELA It wasn’t my idea. ADELA (Tears off a strip of material and goes to him. It needs to be held in place. I don’t remember the carriage going out the whole day.The Lady Of The Dawn 44 ENTER MARTIN MARTIN (Comes from outdoors. Seeing them together. hesitates for a moment. Isn’t this your home? (Begins going upstairs. Adela.) Then. ADELA (Bandaging with care. More.) Does it hurt? MARTIN Tighten up. Stops a moment and mellows his voice. TELVA That’s for you.

TELVA But of course. The boys grew up so fast! Some didn’t even know me. By the way.) When he looks at the wheat fields he isn’t like that. It’s such a beautiful day.The Lady Of The Dawn 45 TELVA Better than nothing. bite the hand that heals you? Pity. On the mill road wild roses grow. Are my eyes failing or is it too dark? . Quite a long walk. Did you think the town went to sleep all this time? MOTHER The houses look whiter too. no hazel rod handy. ADELA (Puts away her needlework. ENTER THE MOTHER (From outdoors) ADELA I was getting ready to get you. How different it is now! The blacksmith’s grapevine covers the whole porch. When he fondles his horse. ADELA Did you go to the mill too? MOTHER I did. The whole countryside smells of summer. I thought it was better cared for. There are new trees in the churchyard. pensively. Where’s Kicko? TELVA (Calling out loud. girl. What next.) Kicko! KICKO’S VOICE Coming! MOTHER Let me see you up close. Just when it’s me. TELVA Did you go to town? MOTHER I did. he isn’t like that. uh? MOTHER Up to the vineyards.

Do you hear me or not? KICKO Uh? Yes. I’ll do as you said. MOTHER . Her eyes a bit lighter.) Let’s see now. TELVA Are you going down to the dance? MOTHER I haven’t seen the bonfire in four years. fondling Adela’s hair and dress.) Are you listening? KICKO Uh? Yes. as in the good old times. Don’t you approve? TELVA On the contrary.) Are you tired? Take my arm.) ENTER KICKO KICKO (Carries a festive wreath he is decorating with ribbons. Ma’am. (The young man looks at Adela. (Telva lights the kerosene lamp. moonstruck.) MOTHER Let your hair down a bit more. And tomorrow better than the day after. those youngsters are going to see how the Perlindango is danced. ADELA (Walks Mother upstairs. my silver earring and pendant set. but same look. (Kisses Adela’s eyes. The roof and the wheel are caked with mildew. my blood’s getting bubbly too. Ma’am. MOTHER For the wheel blades there’s no wood like ashwood. squinting.) Ma’am.) Yes. The velvet wrap. MOTHER The mill’s dam leaks like a basket. She looked like that. There. In the quarry by the orchard you’ll find good tiles. MOTHER Now I’ll get dressed for the fair too.The Lady Of The Dawn 46 ADELA It’s getting dark. (Does it herself. (Looks at Adela. If my legs don’t quit on me.

KICKO It’s not for them. TELVA You have a new girl? KICKO I don’t have to. the mill. TELVA Of course. .) Thank you. lad—or they’ll pop out and roll upstairs. even the night dance at the bonfire. For I was sick. nothing. TELVA The vineyards. At Saint John’s I couldn’t. KICKO There you go again.The Lady Of The Dawn 47 (On the stairs with her. Every feast has its octave. TELVA Not bad. He goes on decorating his wreath. Did you have your afternoon meal? KICKO And a hearty one. And this one has two: The night of Saint Peter I placed your wreath. but no one dares. Placing a wreath doesn’t mean courting. (Telva serves him wine. holly and laurel. Who saw her then and sees her now! (Changes her tone looking at Kicko. KICKO What’s wrong with looking? TELVA Besides wasting your time.) Careful with those eyeballs. Just one? The Mayor’s daughters are three. my child. That’s over. the other two can wait. TELVA You are not thinking of hanging it on Adela’s window! KICKO Many would like to do just that. who is still gazing after Adela.) Do you like my wreath? Oak. But there’s always room for a pint if you have some.

The tavern. And fine roof the tavern’s to be throwing rocks at the neighbor’s. But people don’t understand some things. I’m saying what they are saying around. not family. take it easy. Tell me! KICKO . Tell me. who dare think so? (Wielding the jug. This and that. TELVA I thought I’d heard it all. TELVA The tavern. TELVA What does Martin have to do with it? Is he her husband or sweetheart? KICKO I know he isn’t. TELVA Where around? KICKO Around. TELVA For instance? KICKO For instance. The inn. Everybody knows a woman’s tongue is her switchblade. I don’t think anything. a young man and a young woman. (Sits by him and serves him another glass. living under the same roof. What’s that holy preacher saying from her pulpit? KICKO Things. Fine parish for a Mass. who know them and eat his bread. You were dragging things out of me. period.) Go on.The Lady Of The Dawn 48 TELVA No one dares? Why? KICKO Because of Martin.) Repeat that—if you are man enough. And it’s you. KICKO Hey. TELVA That’s all? Simon said. huh? In that weak broth there must be some beef.

And they had some strong words over it. How could she stand a happy home without meddling to damn things up.) ENTER GRANDFATHER GRANDFATHER What are you grumbling about? TELVA (Ill humored. No one. just in case. Last night she was laughing at that one with the head shepherd when Martin came in. TELVA Mighty strong words had to be. with half the men in her past many honest women would have a future. (Goes on with her string of names till she disappears. what? KICKO Then nothing.) But of course. That she’s taking up all that was Angelica’s. She remains grumbling.) And tell her too to add a little more wine to that colored water she pours— the cheat! (Kicko exits.) And good night to you too. The others got in it too. That if she took Angelica’s place at the table why wouldn’t she take her place in bed too. Then. He came in unexpectedly. (Heading upstairs. A fog is clouding her head lately. And good night.) Old screech-owl hag wicked broomstick . TELVA (Grabs jug and glass. with all that coming and going checking the road? Are you expecting someone? GRANDFATHER No. Knocked the shepherd down on the table and was making him say Adela’s name on his knees. Where else would the stone be thrown from? The evil eye sees everything bedeviled. Where is Adela? TELVA I’ll tell her to come down.) Poison ivy Bloody Mary damn desert lizard. Cheer her up a bit. Learn your lesson. Get out of here. (Grandfather returns. TELVA Oh. Went pale as wax. blackguard! (Shouting from the back door.The Lady Of The Dawn 49 That Adela didn’t have a place to drop dead when she came and now she’s the acting lady of the house.) Do you really want to know? And what’s got into you. because we had to bandage his wrist. And tell that barmaid for me to leave in peace the good name of others and watch her own—if she can manage. Each one left as they could. Martin stayed drinking alone. lad. my God! Martin heard that? KICKO No one could prevent it. That as far as men go.

Repeats in low voice. tell me the truth. And we are having the most beautiful night of the year. GRANDFATHER Do you have a complaint? ADELA Me? I’d be tempting providence. uneasy. Silly things. GRANDFATHER (Shudders at her words. (From the door in the back. Grandfather.) Look. GRANDFATHER (Holds her by the arms. Are you happy really? ADELA As happy as can be. obsessively. ADELA What could have happened to me? We saw each other a moment ago.The Lady Of The Dawn 50 witch drop dead amen! (Pause.) For the seventh time since you came. looking her in the eye. Be sure you are all right. goes again to the door and checks the road. Petty things one makes bigger because sometimes it feels good to have a good cry. Mother is dressing up to take me to the dance. ADELA That many already? How short the days feel here. I have more than I could ever dream of. The whole sky twinkles with stars. Looks up at the sky. GRANDFATHER Telva was telling me some sad thoughts—I don’t know—were crossing your mind.) Perfectly round. Grandfather. (Goes by her and checks the sky too.) For heaven’s sake. ADELA Bah. GRANDFATHER You are not holding back anything from me? . Grandfather? GRANDFATHER I just want to see you. And the moon is perfectly round.) ENTER ADELA ADELA Did you send for me.

Just babbling. Stay put. It’s over. scared. A great danger is lurking around. Have you ever been alone in the woods when a storm strikes? ADELA Never. Perhaps you don’t realize it yet but it’s gathering up inside you—clouds of sorrow that will suddenly burst but would be so easy to break when we have a good friend to confide in on time. It was the night you came here seven moons ago. that you are really happy— so I may relax too. and you are signaling where to get you.) Mother! GRANDFATHER Be quiet. Why are you calling her? ADELA For your sake. GRANDFATHER Relax. You know lightning is up above you like a whip about to lash down on you. Calls out loud. If at least I could believe that day I was dreaming. ADELA What dreaming are you talking about? GRANDFATHER Don’t mind me. What’s worrying you? GRANDFATHER Maybe I’m imagining things. You can do nothing but hold your breath waiting for the unseen. ADELA (Getting worried. Say again you are having no dark thoughts. Fear crawls under your skin. Grandfather.The Lady Of The Dawn 51 ADELA Why would I? GRANDFATHER There must be something. All that you are saying is so strange. I feel it. And you are here in the flesh. and it gets you.) I don’t know what you mean. child. It’ll pounce on us suddenly and catch us unprepared. But no. I think I’m not the one holding back something. . cold and quivery like a horse’s muzzle. not even knowing where it sprang from. Run away. GRANDFATHER It’s agony at its worst. ADELA (Looks at him. Don’t be scared.

Don’t you believe me? I’m so happy I wouldn’t exchange a minute in this house for all the years I lived before. Do me a favor. ADELA Maybe fairgoers.The Lady Of The Dawn 52 ADELA I swear. Adela watches him go. Listens attentively. ADELA God be with you. Then. GRANDFATHER Thank you.) Good evening. Ma’am. goes to the door on the back. worried. We are old acquaintances. slowly. If you hear an unfamiliar voice calling you. Don’t you remember me? ADELA Hardly. Promise? ADELA Promise. LADY . I’m supposed to be here tonight. Stops short. surprised.) Did you hear? ADELA Nothing. (Exits to the stockyard. They are hanging their love wreaths on windows.) ENTER THE PILGRIM LADY LADY (From the entrance door. Don’t you separate from me tonight at the dance. young lady. GRANDFATHER (Grasps her hand. Don’t move from my side. GRANDFATHER Someone’s coming from the threshing field. hold onto my hand tight. Are you looking for someone in the house? LADY (Stepping in. GRANDFATHER I hope so. Adela. Ma’am.) Grandfather must be expecting me.

(To Adela) They are my best friends. Are you going to the dance later? ADELA When they light the bonfires. It’s only natural that your words be festive too. Each moment has its truth. You said in the water it was more beautiful and easier. LADY That night you weren’t talking like that. ADELA Anything I can do for you. On the contrary. They’ll be my company. At midnight. Are you coming with us? LADY No. When Martin brought you in from the river. But be careful.) ENTER THE CHILDREN (Rush in and surround the pilgrim lady joyfully. By the fire. ADELA I didn’t mean that. right? . Ma’am? LADY Not at the moment. You are wearing a festive dress. LADY They light the bonfires by the river. Don’t change your words when you change your dress. Why are you closing your eyes so? ADELA I don’t want to remember that awful moment. My life began the morning after. When children leap over fire I don’t want to be there.The Lady Of The Dawn 53 We saw each other just for a moment. Today your eyes are different. (Puts her staff aside. LADY I understand.) DOREEN It’s the walker with the white hands! FALIN We thought of you so much! Are you coming to the fair? ANDREW I’m going to leap over the bonfire like the grownups. I was desperate then.

FALIN Do you ever take a break? LADY Never. DOREEN Did you walk a lot? LADY A lot.) Then I’ll see you—by The Deep Hole. On snowy mountains. FALIN But the water isn’t like every day? . It’s Saint John’s eve.The Lady Of The Dawn 54 ADELA Right. By The Deep Hole. On sandy deserts. (Adela lowers her eyes intimidated. Here. DOREEN How nice. In stormy seas. traveling so much. DOREEN Do they light bonfires in other towns too? LADY In all of them. FALIN Why? LADY To honor the sun on the longest day and shortest night of the year. and exits to the back. ANDREW But you can’t sleep tonight.) FALIN What took you so long? ANDREW We thought you’d never come back. On thousands of roads—all to the same end. Only once I fell asleep. In hundreds of countries. LADY (Stares at her.

(The children look at her fascinated. Tonight all the rivers of the world carry a drop of the Jordan River. Grandpa! .The Lady Of The Dawn 55 LADY It seems it is. excited. ANDREW It is not. The river has two. She caresses their hair. DOREEN I saw it in a book. It wasn’t in this river here. ANDREW They say that bathing sheep at midnight saves them from wolves. LADY It doesn’t matter. Saint John had a deerskin round his waist and The Lord was up to his knees in the sea. The children get up. That’s what makes the water such a miracle. DOREEN Same difference. (Distant bagpipe and tambourine music is heard. DOREEN The girl picking the water flower at daybreak gets married within the year.) ANDREW Listen! The bagpipes. but it isn’t the same. The sea has one shore. FALIN But that was long ago and faraway. FALIN Why is the water such a miracle tonight? LADY Because it’s the feast of The Baptist. ANDREW In the river. Don’t let me see your hands on their heads again. On a day like today Christ was baptized.) Leave them alone.) ENTER GRANDFATHER GRANDFATHER (Stifles a cry at seeing her with the children.

you came back. Many things can happen yet. If you felt it you wouldn’t have chosen the most beautiful night of the year to come. Why did you lie to me that day? You told me if you were not coming I’d be calling you myself. GRANDFATHER Liar. LADY I can’t go back empty-handed. LADY Weren’t you expecting me? GRANDFATHER I was hoping you’d forget about us.The Lady Of The Dawn 56 DOREEN AND FALIN The music! The music’s coming! (They exit running to the back. Who is this Angelica you all talk about? GRANDFATHER You are asking me that? You. Take my cattle. My crops. GRANDFATHER I don’t believe your pain.) Angelica. who took her from us? . Whatever I have.) GRANDFATHER So. LADY I never choose. no matter how painful it may be for me. Did I call you? Did she call you? LADY The night has just begun. There’s still time. LADY (Trying to remember. GRANDFATHER Then take me. I follow orders. But don’t empty my home again like when you took Angelica. You harmed this home enough already. GRANDFATHER Go. LADY I never break a promise. I beg you.

) Why do you ask? LADY I don’t know.) Beautiful girl. I never saw her before. Why pretend now you don’t remember? Don’t you know? LADY I’m telling you I don’t know her. deeply emotional. (Takes a locket out of his chest and shows it to her. In The Deep Hole.) Look at her. She still had the wedding march in her ears and the taste of first love in her lips. A December night. who knows? . LADY Did Martin look for her too? GRANDFATHER He didn’t. He locked himself up in his room. where is she? (Grabs her arms.) Tell me! LADY Did you look for her in the river? GRANDFATHER And the whole town with us. (Looks at her with a sudden worry. GRANDFATHER Then. GRANDFATHER If you don’t know.The Lady Of The Dawn 57 LADY Me? GRANDFATHER Don’t you remember? Four years ago. Was she Martin’s wife? GRANDFATHER For three days she was. Grandfather. We found only the scarf she was wearing. all tensed up. There’s something in the dark here we both would like to find out. What did you do with her? LADY (Looks at the picture.) You never saw her? LADY Never. (Returns the locket to him. I’m not pretending.) GRANDFATHER (Looks at her puzzled.

I thought I heard a call.) Find out! Leave me. MARTIN I was looking for you. Leave me now. (Grandfather exits to the left. . GRANDFATHER Impossible. ADELA It must be very important to make you look for me. I have something to say to you. What I have to say tonight needs only one. though. Goodbye. GRANDFATHER What are you going to do? LADY (Commandingly. MARTIN I am a man of few words. The Pilgrim Lady goes to the back door and calls aloud. Why would he lie to us? LADY That’s the secret. (Whispers. Grandfather. You always avoid me.) ENTER MARTIN (From upstairs) ENTER ADELA ADELA Did you call me? MARTIN I didn’t. quick.) Adela! (Before Martin enters. GRANDFATHER Who? LADY Perhaps Martin.) Quiet. He’s coming down.The Lady Of The Dawn 58 LADY Whoever was closest to her. ADELA Strange. she slips furtively to the foreground right exit.

You are no coward to run away like this from barking dogs. ADELA I don’t understand. (Gets closer to him. That’s best for both of us. Will you be gone for long? MARTIN As long as it takes. Such a trip is not taken up like this.The Lady Of The Dawn 59 ADELA Goodbye? Are you going on a trip? MARTIN Tomorrow. The whole town is. I’ll face them on our behalf. Martin. Secretly. Is there more? MARTIN (Evasive. I just need to go away. What do you have to do in Castile? MARTIN What does it matter. ADELA Both of us? Am I in your way? MARTIN Not you. ADELA If people’s malice is all there is. Suddenly. ADELA You must know why.) Leave me alone. I had to tell you first. With the herdsmen.) No. Look me in the eye. I’ll shout to their faces that it’s all a lie. To Castile. We are living under the same roof. I’ll buy cattle or new vines. Like an escape. I don’t want your name going from mouth to mouth. There has to be more to it. it’s Angelica’s memory. . ADELA That far! Do the others know? MARTIN Not yet. It doesn’t depend on me. If there’s something sacred to me. ADELA What could they say about us? From the first day I’ve regarded you as a brother.

MARTIN Definitely not.) I didn’t mean to say this. against what they knew before I knew myself. I am the one who should be asking forgiveness but don’t know whose or why. How odd it sounds this moment.) MARTIN What will become of us now? ADELA What does it matter. MARTIN (Takes her in his arms.The Lady Of The Dawn 60 MARTIN (In a sudden outburst. Pause.) Nothing else. Even if it’s an impossible love. What’s got into me? I should burst out crying and all my blood is singing in my veins! I was afraid one day you’d say these words to me. (Martin kisses her in passionate silence. Forgive me. when I cannot shout it too? If I avoid you when we are alone. if I don’t dare speak to you or look you in the eye it’s because I’m shielding myself against the impossible. ADELA (Reacts slowly. . hearing you say it this once makes my life worthwhile. Now that I heard you saying it. What’s the use of biting my arms writhing between the sheets saying "no" when all my innards yell back "yes"? ADELA Martin! MARTIN (Controls himself with effort. it’s me. MARTIN Do you think if Angelica were a memory she could separate us? The dead don’t command. if someone should leave this house. I want to hear nothing else. It was stronger than me. You told me you love me. ADELA I must. Do you think Mother would ever accept anything else? Our love to her would be the worst betrayal of Angelica’s memory.) And what use is your shouting that.) Forgive. Now. as if awakening.) Adela! ADELA (Giving herself.

For three days she had a fever. best rider in the sierra.) You let them go just like that? You.) No! MARTIN When we were engaged. I paid no attention to a stranger watching our wedding at some distance. A drag in her voice like silt in a stream. How can you talk like that about the woman you loved? MARTIN Loved too much. my spurs dripping blood. repeatedly denying the unintelligible idea. Too late. MARTIN (Resolved. dusting his boots with his riding whip. So much so that my manly pride was flattered. stop it.The Lady Of The Dawn 61 ADELA But she does. When I put the ring on her finger. I have to share with someone the truth rotting me inside. When she thought I was asleep she cried quietly. Angelica wasn’t the beautiful image you all revere. I rushed after her. Listen to me. And her death too. All that is a fake. it was as they all remember: Constant caring. her hands were trembling. ADELA No. She came back a different person.) I can’t take this any longer. left crying among the rushes! MARTIN All night I galloped with the gun at my shoulder. ADELA . ADELA What do you mean? MARTIN Don’t you understand? Angelica is alive. ADELA (Identifying with his jealous anger. A few days would have been enough but she took several weeks. But I won’t lie to you. All the shimmering water charm surrounding her today. I’ll be the first to obey. He was waiting there for her with two horses. Until she made the trip to choose her wedding gown. ADELA No! (Drops on a seat. You ought to know that her life was a lie. Shifty eyes. Her will remains alive here. biting the pillow. On the third night she went out. I wish I hadn’t loved her so. Adela. until the sun hit me in the eye like a stone blow—to no use. Wholesome laughs that got you from somewhere out there like the smell of cut grass. Saying her vows in church she was short of breath. She had untied the barge by herself and had crossed the river to the other bank. Clear gaze without a shadow. That’s why she separates us.

And I can’t bear this house where all bless her while I have to damn her twice—for the love she denied me then and for the love she deprives me of now. Don’t think so poorly of me. crowned with clover! DOREEN The dance is going to start. But when they found her shawl in The Deep Hole and word began to spread that she drowned.) They are going to light the first bonfire! DOREEN They are decking the barge to cross the river! ANDREW Girls are coming down singing. Love doesn’t stop all of a sudden. Goodbye. The children look at her go. ADELA For your own sake. ADELA For mother’s sake and the children’s? MARTIN No. Adela. joyful sound of the bagpipe is heard again. rushes upstairs. I realized I should keep quiet. Telling the truth was like exposing her naked before the whole town. holding back her tears. The distant. controlling himself.) ENTER THE CHILDREN FALIN (Rushing to Adela with the others. bursts into tears. (Exits. Exits.) ENTER THE PILGRIM LADY (She appears on the threshold and watches Adela quietly. Do you understand now why I’m leaving? I love you but I can’t tell you that in all decency. I did it for her. It was best. You’d be to me all she wasn’t. your man’s honor? MARTIN No. surprised. Are you taking us now? (Adela.) DOREEN . Adela.The Lady Of The Dawn 62 Why did you keep quiet? MARTIN Could I have done differently? I didn’t plan to do that. with beaming eyes. and turn to the Pilgrim Lady. alone. Adela.

LADY Because I couldn’t see clearly and now it’s all clear.) LADY Once upon a time there was a little town with a honey-colored herd of cattle and whiteblossomed apple trees in the corn fields. Children weren’t allowed anywhere near it. FALIN What is clear? LADY A true story that sounds like a fairy tale. Tell us. ANDREW Like The Deep Hole? LADY Like The Deep Hole. People said there was another town down there in the deep. with a church of green foliage plastered with roots and magic bells that sometimes were heard the night of Saint John’s.The Lady Of The Dawn 63 Why is Adela crying? LADY Because she is twenty years old and it’s such a beautiful night. Your eyes sparkle. DOREEN Like Angelica? LADY . (They sit on the floor in front of her. Girls copied her hairstyle and dresses. FALIN Like this one? LADY Like this one. Older men took off their hats when she passed by. There was a deep whirlpool of dry leaves in the river. Some day when you are old you’ll tell it to your grandchildren. A village as quiet as a flock of sheep by a river. ANDREW But you are happy. Women brought their sick children for her to touch. Do you want to hear it? CHILDREN Tell us. In the village there was a girl of such inner beauty she didn’t seem of this world. It was the village monster.

Her hair was clean. They have plenty. played by bagpipes and tambourines ending with the virile stridence of whoops. with absent eyes. One day the girl disappeared in the whirlpool. The whole town above kept calling out to her but to no avail. impressed.) To the Narces home. It’s the last one. One night of bonfires and songs the sleeping beauty was found in the river.) No yelling indoors. confusedly heard. meandering slowly through the moss gardens with her floating hair and her gentle weightless hands. more beautiful than ever. She had been cared for by the river and the fish. banged against the windowpanes. Her lips were parted in a blissful smile as if the years in the bottom had been only a moment. When did it happen? LADY It has not happened. The tablecloth on the table shows that the family has had supper. Remember. People forgot about her. And a miracle happened. Empty stage. hours later. What do you want? . The sound of young people—shouts and laughter—approaches. Before the curtain goes up. It will happen soon.) Hello! Anybody home? Everybody’s sleeping? GIRLS Adela! Adela! ENTER KICKO KICKO (Coming from the stockyard. Wood for the Saint! A girl for the dance! ENTER THE FAIRGOERS BOY 1 (Bursts in with the whole group. Days and years went by. (The children remain quiet for a moment. VOICES (Offstage. She was asleep in a misty slumber. Her hands were still warm. like water birds. highland music is heard in the background. She went to live down in the deep.The Lady Of The Dawn 64 Like Angelica. CURTAIN ACT IV Same place. Only her mother.) DOREEN Strange story. was awaiting her. Tonight all the rivers of the world carry a drop of the Jordan River. in the underwater town where fish.

make people in the sierra think it’s sunrise. BOY 1 Why don’t you bring her down? GIRL 1 Shame on you boys. heat up the river. GIRL 1 This year’s has to be memorable—go up higher than the trees. BOY 2 It’s wood we’re looking for. we aren’t going to steal her from you. GIRL 2 The Mayor. KICKO I didn’t ask anyone’s opinion. and hers is the only single-girl’s window with no wreath. He’s roaming around by himself. KICKO Unless you set the whole wood on fire— BOY 1 Something like that. Milady gave us two carts of dry runners. GIRL 2 Martin? GIRL 3 I don’t think so. . BOY 1 Let her out. you can go back. KICKO Am I the man of the house? If Adela wants to go down to the dance she won’t be lacking an escort. A pretty girl. man. two young men in the house. If you came looking for a brawl. We need more for the bonfire.The Lady Of The Dawn 65 BOY 2 Where’s Adela? GIRL 1 Don’t lock her in like the Moor locked up his gold. all the pruning from the chestnut grove. looking at the fire from a distance— like a wolf in winter.

girl. It gives out a real red flame and sounds like castanets when it burns. . KICKO These fairgoers are asking for wood from every house. dressed up and bejeweled. but no need to shout for what will be given. GIRL 3 The Narces house was never any less.) Telva! Telvona! ENTER TELVA TELVA (Coming downstairs. BOY 1 What can we take? TELVA In the stockyard there’s a cart full of gorse and a good pair of oxen waiting for the yoke. GIRL 1 They are bringing it down now on their shoulders like hunters bring a bear. My ears are very proud and if I am shouted at they stop hearing.The Lady Of The Dawn 66 BOY 2 At the mine they uprooted a tree and gave us roots and everything. What are you giving to the fair? KICKO That’s up to the mistress.) GIRL 2 Gorse is the greatest for bonfires. TELVA That’s fine.) What’s all the shouting about? GIRL 1 Is there something for the saint? TELVA Lower your voice. Kicko. Go with them. cheering and shooting firecrackers. (Boys and Kicko exit to the stable. putting on her wrap. VOICES (Shouting.

GIRL 3 Pity it’s the shortest night of the year. let me see. Green Saint John has just come. TELVA You’re all very chatty tonight. embers remain. There’s more to life than cotton shirts and aprons. The fire dazzles your senses. Has just come and it is gone. embroidered vest. skirt. beaded headdress.The Lady Of The Dawn 67 GIRL 3 I like purple heather best. The bagpipe tickles your loins like heady wine. overskirt. And getting lost in the balmy moonlit cornfields can be dangerous. Moroccan leather shoes. GIRL 1 . Some miracles are the devil’s doing and leave you crying later. GIRL 1 You are no less. TELVA Watch out. by God. A whole year spinning to show off one night. Long live luxury and she who brings it! Anything left in the wardrobe? Or are you wearing the wardrobe? GIRL 1 One special day is one special day. Let me see you. And smartly dressed. TELVA I see. What a comely matron! TELVA Where there was fire. GIRL 1 But between coming and going each hour can bring you a miracle. I see. It burns quieter and gives off a smell like when you’re napping on the grass. GIRL 3 Who’s thinking of crying on a day like today? Weren’t you ever young? TELVA That’s why I say it. GIRL 4 As the song goes. GIRL 2 But broom gives out sparks and coils flames up like green witches.

I got sick from a foul wind.) And you. (Laughter. For each pin afloat I’ll have a happy year.The Lady Of The Dawn 68 Joy is what the Saint wants. GIRL 1 I’ll throw all my pins in the water at the crack of dawn. The boys return without Kicko.) BOY 1 . Everyone puts their tongue on the tooth that hurts. GIRL 1 What does that have to do with it? TELVA Saint John’s feast is in June. TELVA Good God! People call it "foul wind" now? GIRL 1 Don’t mind her. (To the other one. TELVA I can say little about teeth—I just have a few. This year we had four christenings in March. girl? GIRL 2 Look at what the malicious old lady comes out with. GIRL 1 She mustn’t have a very clear conscience if she thinks that of others. GIRL 2 I already put salt outdoors for the cows. TELVA Too many wonders for one night. He won’t watch over those who won’t sing tonight. But forty Credos wouldn’t be enough for you. But my conscience is so clear I only go to confession once a year and with three Hail Marys I’m even. like ovens. It was a vow. Don’t you see all she wants is attention? No wonder they say old people. Feed them salt with dew at dawn and they’ll have female calves for sure. GIRL 3 I hung my shirt out on the dew to bring me a love and be delivered from evil. what the heck did you say at the confessional that sent you climbing barefoot up to Our Lady of the Holly? GIRL 4 That wasn’t a penance. Can’t you count the months. heat up by the mouth. presumed-innocent.

It’s not his fault his feast comes with the first heat wave of summer. (Driving them away like chickens. Those who see the wreath will know who put it there and what all the white means. the clover.) Telva! Telva! MARTIN Those leeches got hold of her and dragged her into the carriage. ENTER MARTIN (From outdoors. singing and pushing her on in time with their song. BOY 1 Everybody! You too. The poor dear is used to this sort of thing. Ma’am! (They round her up holding hands.) Just a question. Nor is the Saint. MARTIN Hawthorn and cherry blossoms. My dearest one goes. GIRL 2 Together? TELVA Sure you are not afraid of that. I opened my bedroom window and it’s bursting with white blossoms. the clover.) Shoo! Heat up at the bonfire and go pick the four-leaf clover.) To pick up the clover. (Entering. From the door he looks at the group going away with Telva amid laughter and whoops.) ALL To pick up the clover. The clover. Let’s jump in. .) ENTER ADELA ADELA (Comes downstairs. calling. (Gradually they exit through the back. the clover. To pick up the clover. giving her no choice.The Lady Of The Dawn 69 The carriage is ready to leave. To pick up the clover the night of Saint John’s. but maybe you can give me a better answer.) Do you need something from her? ADELA (Coming down.

MARTIN Why? Can anyone drive away the shadow between us? Or do you want to see me die of thirst by the fountain? ADELA I’m only asking you to forget it tonight. Quiet. Martin. let them all see you in my arms. Someone’s coming down. ADELA When are you leaving? MARTIN Tomorrow at dawn. MARTIN Then let’s forget it together dancing before the whole town. The cherry blossoms will be gone tomorrow with the wind. At least for this once. I love your thinking of it. Perhaps tomorrow you won’t need to go after all.) Wait for you at the dance? ADELA I’ll be there. and that’s all I need. Let them all see my eyes fastened to yours as my wreath is fastened to your window. MARTIN (In low voice. MARTIN Would I allow your window to be the only one bare? ADELA You already gave me more than I could hope for with what you said to me before. ADELA (Deeply. taking her hands. MARTIN . MARTIN Those words will be in my mind all the time and so loud that if you close your eyes you can hear them across the distance. ADELA I know. but you didn’t have to.) Let’s forget tonight is our last night.The Lady Of The Dawn 70 ADELA Thank you. Your words won’t.

Each kiss the children gave you. Adela pins the mantilla on her while they talk.) ENTER THE MOTHER MOTHER (Comes downstairs dressed up with the sober elegance of peasant affluence. (Sits down. You understand.The Lady Of The Dawn 71 Till then.) Now it’s found its place. To think I wasn’t grateful then and almost closed the door on you. Her head isn’t covered. don’t you? The first time you sat at the table in front of me you didn’t know it was her seat. Are you wearing it to go down to the dance? MOTHER I have to stop at the chapel first. Adela.) ADELA Were you praying for something in particular? MOTHER Many things that perhaps can never happen. so you forgive me for the days when I resented you as an intruder. Mother. (Pause. MOTHER Then I couldn’t let you go. ADELA (Searches for it in the sewing chest. Martin. (Martin exits through the back. By then I had learned the lesson: The same river that took away my daughter was giving me back another so that my love wouldn’t be an empty madness. Caresses her hands.) Where’s my mantilla? I can’t find it in any of the drawers. MOTHER Now that it’s over I want to tell you. I was living only to remember. Martin gave it to her. where no one sat after her death. (Puts it on Adela’s shoulders. ADELA I didn’t realize that until later. Looks at her lovingly. . But the best of all God gave me without praying the day He brought you here. Each word from you robbed me of a moment of silence in her memory.) See this kerchief? It’s the one Angelica wore on her shoulders her last night. was to me a kiss you were taking away from her. ADELA Till ever. She carries a votive candle and a large kerchief on her arm. I owe the Saint this candle and have to thank God for many things. Stands up.) Here. ADELA Forget that. That’s why I wanted to leave.

I don’t want you to suffer needlessly on my account. I swear! MOTHER Then. What is Martin to you? ADELA Nothing. That’s all over.) Not for me. ADELA (Anguished. Mother! Neither Martin nor I would betray Angelica’s memory. forget everything I said. I accept it now. Many times I thought this moment could come. For me it begins now. ADELA (Holding back her tears. I’ve known for a long time.) Listen. You can’t imagine how much it hurts me to hear you say those words—precisely today.) For God’s sake. It took me time to get used to the idea. It was like Angelica rising up jealous in my blood. Don’t you know Martin loves you? ADELA No! MOTHER I do. woman to woman. don’t stifle your love thinking it would hurt me. say no more. Adela. tell me truly. in a small voice.The Lady Of The Dawn 72 ADELA (Emotional. The first day I saw it in his eyes a shudder shook my whole body down to my fists.) Thank you. MOTHER Do I betray it when I call you "my child"? (Puts her hands on Adela’s shoulders. please. What is Martin to you? ADELA (Looks at her with dread. . to soothe her. MOTHER Adela.) Why do you ask me that? MOTHER Answer me. MOTHER If you don’t feel the same for him. why are you trembling so? Why don’t you look me in the eye as before? ADELA I swear to you. But if you love him.

About love I only know the words it gets wrapped in. But all I ever . like a stifled scream with no way out. with eyes fixed in space. LADY Yesterday you didn’t know you were in love. to stop her. I won’t be a stumbling block.) This chokes me like the water did.) ADELA Choose a way! Why did they take me off the one I’d chosen if they couldn’t put me on a better one? (Pulls the kerchief off her shoulders. when it hurts so much? Did you ever feel it? LADY Never.) I’m not trying to point you the way. That’s just the dread of losing it. I just wanted to tell you that if you choose that way. (She seems to make a decision suddenly. But love and I go hand in hand often. thinking obsessively. It’s like a bad burn in my very core. ADELA Why do they paint it as so blissful. and not all of them either.) ENTER THE PILGRIM LADY (She appears on the threshold at right and watches Adela as if hearing her thinking. able to feel pain girding your flesh like a belt of nails—that no one wants to take off. Do you think a river is the solution? ADELA If only I knew what is! Yesterday everything was so simple. I know love is a fondling hand and a whisper in the evening under a tree.) LADY (Placing a commanding hand on Adela’s shoulder. Today all is a wall of shadows closing in on me. Adela falls overwhelmed into a seat. ADELA Is this what love is? LADY No. LADY Perhaps.The Lady Of The Dawn 73 MOTHER (Takes her candle. Puts the kerchief back on and straightens to stand up. anguished. ADELA Mine is worse. Adela. Love is what you felt up to now unawares. Life rules. (Exits.) No. Don’t do it. The mysterious mischief filling your veins with needles and your throat with fluttering wings. How I envy you all. ready to leave.

DOREEN Aren’t you coming to the dance? . the night has gone wild with bonfires and songs. Have faith. ADELA It’s the only way left to me. LADY (Stopping her. ADELA What about tomorrow? LADY Tomorrow your road shall clear.The Lady Of The Dawn 74 get to hear is love’s desperate last words. Grandpa. eyes fixed in space. (The distant glare of bonfires is seen and the fairgoers’ cheers are heard indistinctly. That way isn’t for you. Martin is waiting for you at the dance. ENTER THE CHILDREN FOLLOWED BY GRANDFATHER ANDREW They lit up the main bonfire and the whole town is dancing around it! DOREEN Hurry. I promise. LADY For me? FALIN Women dress up with this tonight.) Why did you hold me? I’m still in time. Words you were saying to yourself a moment ago. girl. Words said to themselves by abandoned women on foggy bridges.) I made this for you.) Stop. ADELA (Stands up. You will be happy.) LADY No. Tonight will be the most beautiful night you or I have seen. Words said on the same pillow by two clenched mouths when gas fills up the room. we’ll be late! FALIN (Goes to the Pilgrim Lady with a crown of roses and wheat spikes. resolved. Look.

LADY Don’t panic. Goodbye. I told you a woman of your household will be my companion down the river tonight. (Looking commandingly at her. Adela will go with you. (Picks up her staff and places it against the door jamb.The Lady Of The Dawn 75 LADY I have to be on my way at the break of dawn. Goodbye. (They exit with Adela. GRANDFATHER Didn’t you come tonight for her? LADY I thought so too. little ones.) Right. Ma’am.) Right. Go with them now. You are after the children. Many crops will ripen before then. ANDREW Are we going to see you again soon? LADY Don’t be in a hurry. Thank you.) GRANDFATHER Why did Adela say "thank you" to you? Does she know who you are? LADY It’ll take her many years to know me. GRANDFATHER Then. why are you still here? What are you waiting for? LADY I won’t go back alone. crowned with flowers. CHILDREN Bye. You won’t be shedding a single tear over those you already shed.) GRANDFATHER What are you doing? . Now I see I was wrong. GRANDFATHER (Gazing at her suspiciously. Your grandchildren will have grandchildren. Adela? ADELA (Lowering her head. She won’t leave you for a moment. Pilgrim Lady. Grandfather. Admit it.) I don’t believe you. But don’t worry.

alone.) Angelica. This is my last word to you tonight. Her face is half hidden in a small mantilla. Puts it on her hair. All the while. In the spike.) LADY (Without turning. Master Saint John. Pause. with absent eyes. She is a young woman of faded beauty. CHORUS Long live the dancing And all in the ring. takes a mirror from Adela’s sewing basket and looks at her reflection with feminine interest. takes off the crown and plucks off some rose petals coldly. WOMAN’S VOICE Master Saint John.) How do you know my name? (The Pilgrim Lady stands up and turns. CHORUS Long live the dancing And all in the ring. notices The Pilgrim Lady and takes a shy step toward her.) MAN’S VOICE Master Saint John. LADY . glances dreamily at her crown of roses. (There is silence again. the popular Saint John’s songs are heard from around the bonfire. She drops the mirror. The Pilgrim Lady. baffled.) Now. Her eyes brighten up. blossoms Are dying to be grain. hands on her face.) ENTER ANGELICA (Steals into the room through the back door. (Final. (Grandfather exits. Her smile fades. ANGELICA (Steps back. She eyes the house.) I’ve never seen you before. The Pilgrim Lady sits facing the audience. My mission will be over when you come back from the dance. With water flowers Your song I shall sing.The Lady Of The Dawn 76 LADY Placing my staff at the door as a farewell token. elbows on her knees. leave. Master Saint John.

Or at least. Where are my mother and my sister and brothers? LADY It’s better that they don’t see you either. a corner to die in peace. You left it.The Lady Of The Dawn 77 I’ve never seen you either. I’ll cry on my knees. Martin may have forgotten me. Would you dare look them in the eye? What could you possibly say to them? ANGELICA I don’t need words. It’s going to be the hardest moment of my life but I can’t avoid it any longer. . LADY Martin too? ANGELICA (With instinctive fear. I’m sure she’ll wait for me all her life without counting the days. LADY What did you come here for? ANGELICA For what I had. I didn’t want you to find an empty house. But forgiveness I do. They’ll understand.) Mother! Mother! LADY No use calling. ANGELICA I need to see her now. ANGELICA I don’t expect to find a love that is no longer possible. but not my mother.) Is he here? LADY He is at the fair. That’s why I waited till night—to hide from everybody. Not everybody. LADY No one took it from you. (Calls. I told you she is at the fair. Did anyone see you? ANGELICA No one. But I knew you were coming. dancing around the fire like everybody else. I paid for my fault with four bitter years as heavy as a lifetime. ANGELICA Wrong.

No one knows anyone over there. After having the courage to risk everything for passion you don’t come back craven like a freezing dog to beg crumbs from your own table. Throw my bread down at me? I’ll eat it on the floor. I’m home—my home. Do you think Martin would open his arms to you again? ANGELICA (Desperate. They can’t close the only door left to me. without turning. Only my pride kept me going.) After all I suffered. Abandonment. No. CHORUS Long live the dancing And all in the ring. Bitter fatigue without a roof at dawn. LADY (Approaches Angelica compassionately and caresses her hair. Passing from hand to hand like a soiled bill.) MAN’S VOICE Master Saint John. Pause. . I embroidered that tablecloth. Again Saint John’s song is heard. I’m a loser.) All were dead ends. LADY Are you so desperate? ANGELICA I can’t take it any more. Master Saint John.The Lady Of The Dawn 78 LADY In that time your life changed much. I just need to rest in some cozy corner.) Angelica. on your dark days over there. Loneliness. how could Martin possibly hurt me further? Slap my face on the double? Fine. I’ve suffered the worst a woman can suffer. Cities are too large. No one can pull me away from here. Humiliating long waits at cafe tables. blessing it for coming from him in the home where I was born. (Desperately cries over the table. I lost it too. In an intimate voice. LADY Life has humbled you greatly. In the sky. At least it’d be a decent pain. I’m not ashamed to say it. did you ever think of another way out? ANGELICA (Her elbows on the table. Haven’t you thought how much theirs may have changed too? ANGELICA This is my house and my family. twinkles Can hardly be seen.

LADY He controlled himself and kept quiet. Martin followed me to the river.) The night he left me. like voicing Angelica’s thought.The Lady Of The Dawn 79 LADY A gentle way of silence you open for yourself. where there is a peaceful smile on all lips and an infinite peace in all eyes.) I didn’t ask for your friendship.) Who are you.) You thought that beyond. Don’t look at me like that. ANGELICA (Steps back instinctively. . purer than ever. reading me through? LADY A friend. no end. LADY Would you rather have your mother and family learning the truth about you? ANGELICA Don’t they know it? LADY They don’t. there is a place of ultimate forgiveness. They imagine you asleep in the bottom of the river. From the grove we saw him galloping. Or advice. ANGELICA Why? LADY Because of you. on the other side of fear. a death wish in his eye. scared. where it is glorious to rest forever with no pain. The only one left to you. ANGELICA Impossible. ANGELICA I had no strength left for anything. ANGELICA (Turns and looks at her. Leave me alone. His silence was the last gift of love he could give you. a gun on his shoulder. He loved you. of white and tranquil coolness. (Going deeper within. though — LADY (In a suggestive tone.

He still loves me! LADY Too late now. Your mother has another daughter. your brothers and sister. Where is she? LADY No use trying to fight her.The Lady Of The Dawn 80 ANGELICA Martin did that? For me? (Building up hopes. ANGELICA I can take it back! LADY Too late.) He just passed before the flames. another sister. LADY And the girl dancing with him? If you could see her closer you’d recognize your dress and the kerchief around her neck. Don’t you feel another woman’s presence in the house? ANGELICA She won’t rob me of what is mine without a fight. Your place is taken.) See the needle work? ANGELICA It’s mine.) ANGELICA The whole town is dancing. Someone’s finishing it in your place. Can you see anything by the light of the bonfire? (Angelica goes to the back door. LADY Can you see Martin? ANGELICA (Pause. The Pilgrim Lady does not. Your seat at the table.) Then. LADY (Points to the sewing basket. holding hands. the love of your family—you lost it all. LADY It has new silks now. I started it. . Look out the door. ANGELICA You are lying. your place by the fire. he loves me. You lost already.

She isn’t from here.) No. ANGELICA What about my brothers and sister? The first word the little one said was my name. She has a memory of you worthier than you.The Lady Of The Dawn 81 ANGELICA I don’t know her. ANGELICA What for. Let go. There must be something left for me. ANGELICA (Goes back by the Pilgrim Lady. LADY To them you are just a name. when you left. Come with me. (Takes her by the hand. (Goes to her. ANGELICA How could I salvage it? LADY I’ll show you the way. and tomorrow the town will have a legend all its own. . They can’t take everything away from me.) Where else can I go? LADY To salvage the one thing left to you—the memory of you. Beauty is another sort of truth. You destroyed your family once. Do you want to destroy it again. Can anyone take my mother away from me? LADY She no longer needs you. I see him sleeping in my arms with a teeny smile on his lips oozing like sap on ripe figs.) Think about it. that’s too much. Do you think they would recognize you? Four years are a lot in the life of a child. if it is a false memory? LADY Does it matter? It’s beautiful. coming back? ANGELICA (Defeated. Confidentially. LADY Soon she will be.) Shall we? ANGELICA There’s something scary in you. Angelica.

Behind them. As if going to another wedding. the light from the bonfires begins to die down and the last song is heard. chased by the other girls and the boys. LADY (With infinite tenderness. LADY That’s all the secret: live passionately.The Lady Of The Dawn 82 LADY Still that? Take a good look at me. In your bonfire There’s nothing to burn. amid joyful shouting and sounds of people approaching. (Takes her gently by the waist.) LADY Are you still scared? ANGELICA No. (Again the bagpipe is heard. Put on your best smile for the trip.) Hands off! I saw it first. Angelica. (Exits with her. die beautifully.) MAN’S VOICE Master Saint John.) How do I look now? ANGELICA (Looks at her mesmerized. Outdoors.) Like vast slumber with no eyes to close. Shall we? ANGELICA (Closes her eyes. More and more beautiful.) I’ll move your barge to the other shore. (Remains still with hands crossed. . (Falters while walking. Adela and Martin. Master Saint John.) ENTER GIRL 1 AND GRADUALLY ALL OTHERS GIRL 1 (Runs in.) Lean on me.) There. CHORUS Long live the dancing And all in the ring. A moment’s daring and your memory will stay in the village as deeply rooted as an oak full of nests. Courage. My knee just bent under me. (Places the crown of roses on Angelica’s head.) Let’s go. No more.

) TELVA . I found it.) Luck is favoring you this year. It was in your orchard. ADELA What did you find? GIRL 1 The four-leaf clover.The Lady Of The Dawn 83 GIRL 2 Toss it to me! GIRL 3 To me! I have a sweetheart. GIRL 1 It’s mine. GIRL 1 To you. BOY 3 It’s no good to you. ADELA (Catching it in her apron.) Thank you. TELVA AND THEN. GIRL 2 Close your eyes and toss it in the air. GRANDFATHER MOTHER You all grown tired of dancing? TELVA The fire is out but the embers last till dawn. It’s no luck to the finder but to whom it’s tossed. ENTER MOTHER. (Sits down. the red ear. Adela. In the river you got the water flower and in the cornfield. MARTIN (To Girl 1. GIRL 1 If I don’t have a break now I’ll collapse.

I’m fine.) MARTIN Whose staff is this by the door? GRANDFATHER (Stopping Adela. In my times—ah! ADELA Are you going to bed. MARTIN What are you saying? KICKO No one could believe it.) ENTER KICKO KICKO (Speaks emotionally from the threshold.) Wait. MOTHER Don’t worry about me. The first streak of dawn’s coming. ready to leave with Martin.The Lady Of The Dawn 84 Marshmallow bones! They think they can gobble up the world and they lose their breath while the tambourine still jingles. Telva. what you were waiting for. startled. This may be the shortest night of the year but I’ve never longed so much to see the sunrise. Don’t even know how to shake hips and aprons at the beat upstairs. For the girls we have cherry liqueur in the cupboard. remaining at the back in respectful silence. Did you see someone here when you came in? ADELA No one. happened at last. They found Angelica in The Deep Hole. Behind him. shouting. but they all saw it. Go back to the dance with her. why? GRANDFATHER I don’t know. . wait on the boys if they want a drink.) KICKO’S VOICE Mistress! Mistress! (All turn. TELVA It won’t be long now. (Starts up the stairs. men and women with lanterns and torches gradually gather. (Kicko’s voice is heard offstage. Martin.) Mistress. mother? I’ll walk you.

Distant. watching the scene with a detached.) God had to listen to my prayers. goes on her way. Enter the end of the stretcher. bursts out in a harrowing. Saint John’s bells are heard as if from underwater. At the head of the funeral procession is the Pilgrim Lady. A saint. dust to dust! (Raises her arms. with a peaceful smile as if she just died. taking her staff.) A saint. gentle smile and. covered with green branches.The Lady Of The Dawn 85 MOTHER (Runs to him.) MOTHER Daughter! (The sound of bells heightens to a hallelujah peal. Preserved in the water these four years. The Mother. my dear! My saintly Angelica! WOMEN (Covering their head with their shawls and patting their chests. beaming.) MOTHER (Kisses the ground. immobile like figures in a tableau.) Angelica. crowned with roses. extending her arms. At last. (Men and women. more beautiful than ever. cry. VOICES Miracle! Miracle! (Some women fall on their knees. men uncover their heads. Curtain. Ma’am.) Did you see her? Tell me! KICKO They are bringing her to you. but also jubilant.) THE END .

a daring plot bordering on fable and a rich. Portugal) . Lisbon. Russia) “Casona reveals another facet of his artistry in this new play in which the picturesque and the extraordinary startlingly marry to produce in a novel way what others had tried before without his excellence. witty dialogue.” (G. Vienna.” (Die Presse. Saint Petersburg.The Lady Of The Dawn 86 ******* Casona’s work received enthusiastic reviews in the international press: “An appealing play with a wealth of subtle poetry and a blooming imagination.” (O Seculo. Austria) “A play with profound human content. Moiseev.

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