Scene I


Yes, so doubt fate hides him purposely from me; at last am I tired of trying to find him. I do not know anything that can be more cruel than my lot. In spite of all my endeavours, I cannot find him whom I seek; all those I do not seek I find. A thousand tiresome bores, who do not think they are so, drive me mad with their congratulations on our feats of arms, although they know little of me. In the cruel embarrassment and anxiety that troubles me, they all burden me with their attentions, and their rejoicings make my uneasiness worse. In vain I try to pass them by, to flee from their persecutions; their killing friendship stops me on all sides; whilst I reply to the ardour of their expressions by a nod of the head, I mutter under my breath a hundred curses on them. Ah! How little we are flattered by praise, honour and all that a great victory brings, when inwardly we suffer keen sorrow! How willingly would I exchange all this glory to have peace of mind! At every turn my jealousy twits me with my disgrace; the more my mind ponders over it, the less can I unravel its miserable confusion. The theft of the diamonds does not astonish me; seals may be tampered with unperceived; but my most cruel torment is that she insists I gave the gift to her personally yesterday. Nature oftentimes produces resemblances, which some impostors have adopted in order to deceive; but it is inconceivable that, under these appearances, a man should pass himself off as a husband; there are a thousand differences in a relationship such as this which a wife could easily detect. The marvellous effects of Thessalian magic have at all times been renowned; but I have always looked upon as idle tales the famous stories everyone talks of. It would be a hard fate if I, after so glorious a victory elsewhere, should be compelled to believe them at the cost of my own honour. I will question her again upon this wretched mystery, and see if it is not a silly fancy that has taken advantage of her disordered brain. O righteous Heaven, may this thought be true, and may she even have lost her senses, so that I may be happy!