Read PROLOGUE of The Resources of Quinola, free online book, by Honore de Balzac, on


(The scene is laid at Valladolid, in the palace of the King of Spain.  The stage represents the gallery which leads to the chapel.  The entrance to the chapel is on the spectators’ left, that to the royal apartment on the right.  The principal entrance is in the centre.  On each side of the principal door stand two halberdiers.  At the rise of the curtain the Captain of the Guards and two lords are on the stage.  An alcalde of the palace stands in the centre of the gallery.  Several courtiers are walking up and down in the hall that leads to the gallery.)

The Captain of the Guards, Quínola (wrapped in his mantle) and a halberdier.

The halberdier (barring the way to Quínola)
No one passes this way, unless he has the right to do so.  Who are you?

Quínola (lifting up the halberd)
An ambassador.

(All look at him.)

From what state?

Quínola (passing in)
From what state?  From a state of misery.

The Captain of the Guards Go and bring the major-domo of the palace, that he may render to this ambassador the honors that are due him. (To the halberdier) Three days’ imprisonment.

Quínola (to the Captain)
You are a very droll rascal.

Quínola (taking him aside)
Are not you the cousin of the Marchioness of Mondejar?

The Captain
What if I am?

Although she is high in favor, she is on the brink of an abyss, into
which she may fall and lose her head in falling.

The Captain All people of your class trump up these stories!-Listen, you are the twenty-second person, and we have only reached the tenth of the month, who has made an attempt to be introduced to the favorite, for the purpose of squeezing a few pistoles from her.  Take yourself off or else-

Quínola My lord, it is better to be misled by twenty-two poor devils, twenty-two times, than once to miss the opportunity of heeding him who is sent by your good angel; and you see, I may also say (he opens his mantle) I am wearing her wings.

The Captain
Let us end this, and tell me what proof of your errand you can give?

Quínola (handing him a letter) This little message you must return to me so that the secret remains in our possession, and hang me if you do not see the marchioness swoon when she reads it.  Believe moreover that I profess, in common with an immense majority of Spaniards, a deep-seated aversion for-the gallows.

The Captain
And suppose that some ambitious woman has paid for your life, that she
give it in exchange for another’s?

Quínola Should I be in rags?  My life is as good as Caesar’s.  Look here, my lord. (He unseals the letter, smells it, folds it up again, and gives it to him) Are you satisfied?

The Captain (aside)
I have yet time. (To Quínola) Remain where you are, I am going to her.


Quínola (alone, in the front of the stage, looking at the departing captain) That is all right!  O my dear master, if the torture chamber has not broken your bones, you are likely to get out of the cells of the holy -the thrice holy Inquisition-saved by your poor cur Quínola!  Poor? -why should I say poor?  My master once free, we will end by cashing our hopes.  To live at Valladolid for six months without money, and without being nabbed by the alguazils, argues the possession of certain small talents, which, if applied to-other ends, might bring a man to-something different in fact!  If we knew where we were going no one would stir a step-I purpose speaking to the king, I, Quínola.  God of the rapscallions, give me the eloquence-of-a pretty woman, of the Marchioness of Mondejar-


Quínola and the Captain.

The Captain (to Quínola)
Here are fifty doubloons which the marchioness sends you, that you may
be enabled to make your appearance here in decent guise.

Quínola (pouring the gold from one hand into the other) Ah, this burst of sunshine has been long expected!  I will return, my lord, radiant as that amorous valet, whose name I have assumed; Quínola at your service, Quínola soon to be lord of wide domains, where I shall administer justice, from the time-(aside) I cease to fear its ministers.


The Courtiers and the Captain.

The Captain (alone at the front of the stage) What secret has this miserable creature discovered?  My cousin almost fainted away.  She told me that it concerned all my friends.  The king must have something to do in the matter. (To a lord) Duke of Lerma, is there anything new in Valladolid?

The Duke of Lerma (whispering) It is said that the Duke of Olmedo was murdered this morning, at three o’clock, just before dawn.  It happened a few paces from the Mondejar palace.

The Captain It is quite likely he should be assassinated for prejudicing the king’s mind against my cousin; the king, like all great statesmen, esteems as true everything that appears to be probable.

The Duke It is said that enmity between the duke and the marchioness was only a pretence, and that the assassin is not to be prosecuted.

The Captain Duke, this ought not to be repeated unless it can be proved, and even then could not be written excepting with a sword dipped in my blood.

The Duke
You asked me the news.

(The duke retires.)


The same persons, and the Marchioness of Mondejar.

The Captain Ah! here is my cousin! (To the marchioness) Dear marchioness, you are still very much agitated.  In the name of our common salvation, control yourself; you will attract attention.

The Marchioness
Has that man come back?

The Captain
Now, how can a man of such base condition as he is throw you into such

The Marchioness He holds my life in his hands; more than my life, indeed; for he holds in his power the life also of another, who, in spite of the most scrupulous precautions, cannot avoid exciting the jealousy-

The Captain
Of the king!-Did he cause the assassination of the Duke of Olmedo, as
is rumored?

The Marchioness
Alas!  I do not know what to think.-Here I am alone, helpless-and
perhaps soon to be abandoned.

The Captain
You may rely upon me-I shall constantly be in the midst of all our
enemies like a hunter on the watch.


The same persons and Quínola.

I have only thirty doubloons left, but I have had the worth of sixty. 
-Ah! what a lovely scent!  The marchioness can now talk to me without

The Marchioness (pointing out Quínola)
Is this our man?

The Captain

The Marchioness
Keep watch, my cousin, so that I may be able to talk without being
overheard. (To Quínola) Who are you, my friend?

Quínola (aside)
Her friend!  As soon as you have a woman’s secret, you are her friend. 
(Aloud) Madame, I am a man superior to all considerations and all

The Marchioness
You have reached a pretty good height, at any rate.

Is that a threat or a warning?

The Marchioness
Sir, you are very impertinent.

Quínola Do not mistake farsightedness for impertinence.  You must study me, before coming to a decision.  I am going to describe my character to you; my real name is Lavradi.  At the moment Lavradi ought to be serving a ten years’ sentence in Africa, at the presides, owing to an error of the alcaldes of Barcelona.  Quínola is the conscience, white as your fair hands, of Lavradi.  Quínola does to know Lavradi.  Does the soul know the body?  You may unite the soul, Quínola, to the body, Lavradi, all the more easily because this morning Quínola was at the postern of your garden, with the friends of the dawn who stopped the Duke of Olmedo-

The Marchioness
What has happened to him?

Lavradi would take advantage of this moment, which is full of promise,
to ask a pardon; but Quínola is a gentleman.

The Marchioness
You are taken up too much with yourself-

Quínola And not sufficiently with him-that is just.  The duke took us for foul assassins; we were simply asking him, at a rather too advantageous hour, to make us a loan, pledged by our rapiers as collateral.  The famous Majoral, who was in command of us, being close pressed by the duke, was forced to disable him by a little thrust, of which he knows the secret.

The Marchioness
O!  My God!-

Happiness is cheap at such a cost, madame.

The Marchioness (aside)
Hush!  He knows my secret.

Quínola When we saw that the duke had not a maravedi about him, we left him where he was.  As I was the least culpable of all the gang, I was charged to take him home; in adjusting his pockets, which had been turned inside out, I found the letter which he had written to you, and, learning your position at the court, I understood-

The Marchioness
That your fortune was made?

Not at all-that my life was in danger.

The Marchioness

To whom are you speaking?  Quínola or Lavradi?

The Marchioness
Lavradi shall have his pardon.  What does Quínola desire?  To enter my

Quínola Foundling children are of gentle birth; Quínola will deliver your letter to you with asking a maravedi, without obliging you to do anything unworthy of you, and he expects that you will refrain from desiring the services of a poor devil who carries under his wallet the heart of the Cid.

The Marchioness
How dear you are going to cost me, fellow!

You said to me just now, “my friend.”

The Marchioness
Were you not my enemy?

On account of that word I trust you, madame, and intend to tell you
everything.  But here-do not laugh-you must promise-I wish-

The Marchioness
You wish?

I wish-to speak to the king-at the moment when he passes on his way
to the chapel; I desire you to lend favor to my request.

The Marchioness
But what are you going to ask him?

The most simple thing in the world-an audience for my master.

The Marchioness
Explain yourself, for time presses.

Madame, I am the servant of a philosopher; and if the mark of genius
is poverty, we have a great deal too much genius, madame.

The Marchioness
To the point.

Quínola Senor Alfonso Fontanares has come here from Catalonia to offer the king our master the sceptre of the sea.  At Barcelona he was taken for a madman; here he is considered a sorcerer.  When it becomes known what he proposes, he is scoffed at in the antechambers.  One wishes to protest for the sake of ruining him; another, a philosopher, throws a doubt on the existence of our secret, with the view of filching it; others again make him a business proposition-capitalists who wish to entangle him in their meshes.  As things go at present we do not know how they will turn out.  No one certainly can deny the forces of mechanics and geometry, but the finest theorems have very little bodily nourishment in them, and the smallest of ragoûts is better for the stomach; but, really, science is not to blame for that.  During the past winter my master and myself warmed ourselves over our projects, and chewed the end of our illusions. . . .  Well, madame, he is now in prison, for he has been accused of being on too friendly terms with the devil; and, unfortunately, the Holy Office is right, this time, for we have constantly seen him at the bottom of our purse.  And now, madame, I implore you, inspire the king with curiosity to see a man who will give him a dominion as extended as that which Columbus gave to Spain.

The Marchioness
But since Columbus gave a new world to Spain, new worlds are being
offered to us once in every fortnight!

Quínola Ah! madame, every man of genius has one of his own to offer.  By heavens, it is so rare that a man can make honestly a fortune both for himself and the state that the phenomenon deserves to be favored.

The Marchioness
But what is the project about?

Quínola I must once more beg you not to laugh, madame.  His plan is to make ships travel without sail or oar, against the wind, by means of a pot filled with water, which is kept boiling.

The Marchioness
What an idea!  Where do you come from?  What do you mean?  Are you

Quínola That is just what they all say!  Ah, common herd, ye are so constituted that the man of genius, who is right ten years before everybody else, passes for a madman for twenty-five years.  I am the only one who believes in this man, and it is on this account I love him; to understand another is to be his equal.

The Marchioness
And you want me to repeat this nonsense to the king?

Madame, you are the only person in the whole of Spain to whom the king
will not say, “Be silent.”

The Marchioness You do not know the king, and I do. (Aside) I must get back my letter.  (Aloud) There is one recent circumstance whose occurrence seems favorable to your master; news comes to the king that the Armada has been lost; wait for him on his way through to chapel and address him.  (Exit.)


The Captain of the Guards, the Courtiers and Quínola.

Quínola (in the front of the stage) It is not sufficient to possess genius and to employ it, for there are plenty of people who make a false show to have it and meet excellent success.  There is need also of opportunity and favoring circumstances; a picked up letter which puts a favorite in danger, in order to obtain an interceding tongue, and the loss of the mightiest of flotillas, in order to open the ears of a prince.  Chance is an infamous wretch!  And now, in the duel of Fontanares with his century, the hour has come for his poor second to appear. (Bells are heard; guard is mounted.) Is yon sound an omen of success? (To the Captain of the Guards) How ought the king to be spoken to?

The Captain Step forward, bow your knee, and say:  “Sire”-and pray God to guide your tongue aright.

(The royal procession appears.)

Quínola I shall have no trouble falling upon my knees; they are giving way already; for it is not only the fate of a man, but of a world, that is at stake.

A page
The queen!

A page
The king!



The same persons, the King, the Queen, the Marchioness of Mondejar, the Grand Inquisitor and the whole Court.

Philip II.  Gentlemen, we are about to pray God and honor Him who had dealt a deadly blow to Spain.  England has escaped us, the Armada is lost, and we desire no more to talk of that flotilla.  Admiral (he turns to the admiral), you were not sent to give battle to the storms.

Sire! (He falls on one knee.)

Philip II. 
Who are you?

Quínola The most insignificant and the most devoted of your subjects; the servant of a man who pines in the prisons of the Holy Office, accused of magic, because he desires to give to your Majesty the power of escaping from similar disasters-

Philip II. 
If you are really a servant, rise to your feet.  Only grandees are wont
to kneel here, in presence of the king.

My master, then, shall kneel at your feet.

Philip II. 
Explain yourself in brief; the moments of the king’s whole life are
not so numerous as are his subjects.

You must have, then, but one hour for each of your empires.  My master,
Senor Alfonso Fontanares, is in the prison of the Holy Office-

Philip II. (to the Grand Inquisitor)
Father (the Grand Inquisitor approaches), what can you tell us of a
certain Alfonso Fontanares?

The Grand Inquisitor He is a pupil of Galileo.  He professes the heretical doctrine of his master and boasts the power to do wonders while he refuses to explain the means.  He is accused of being rather a Moor than a Spaniard.

Quínola (aside) That sallow face is going to spoil all! (To the King) Sire, my master knows no sorcery, excepting so far as he is madly in love, first with the glory of your Majesty, next with a maid of Barcelona, heiress of Lothundiaz, the richest burgess of the town.  As he picked up more science than wealth in studying natural science in Italy, the poor youth has failed in his attempt to marry this maid.-And notice, sire, how great men are calumniated; in his despair he made a pilgrimage to the Virgen del Pilar, to beg her assistance, because Marie was the name of the lady he loved.  On leaving the church, he sat down wearied under a tree and fell asleep.  In his dreams the Virgin appeared to him and communicated to him an invention by which he could navigate ships without sails, without oars, against wind and tide.  He approached you, sire; but between the sun and him a cloud intervened, and after a deadly conflict with the cloud, he is now suffering for his confidence in the Virgen del Pilar and in his king.  No one but his servant has sufficient courage to come and throw at your feet the news that there exists a means of realizing universal dominion.

Philip II. 
I will see your master when I leave the chapel.

The Grand Inquisitor
Surely, the king will not expose himself to such peril?

Philip II. 
My duty is to inquire.

The Grand Inquisitor
And mine is to make men respect the privileges of the Sacred Office.

Philip II. 
I know them.  Obey me and keep silence.  I know that I owe you a
hostage.  I know it. (He looks round) Tell me, where is the Duke of

Quínola (aside)

The Marchioness (aside)
We are lost.

The Captain of the Guards
Sire, the duke is not yet-arrived-

Philip II.  Who has given him leave thus boldly to forsake the duties of his office? (Aside) Some one is deceiving me. (To the Captain of the Guards) Tell him, if he comes, that the king has committed him as a prisoner of the Holy Office. (To the Grand Inquisitor) Issue the order.

The Grand Inquisitor
Sire, I will go myself.

The Queen
And what if the duke fails to come?

Philip II. 
In that case he must be dead. (To the captain) You will take his place
in the execution of my orders. (He enters the chapel.)

The Marchioness (to Quínola) Run to the duke’s house, tell him to come and comport himself as if he were not wounded to the death.  The report will then be considered mere calumny.

Quínola You may reckon upon me, but grant us your protection. (Alone) Great heavens!  The king seemed charmed by my little fable of the Virgen del Pilar; I must make a vow to her-but what shall it be?-we will see after we have succeeded.

(Scene curtain.)


(A cell of the Inquisition.)

Fontanares (alone) I understand now why Columbus desired that his fetters should be placed beside him in his coffin.  What a lesson for discoverers!  A great discovery is a revelation of truth.  And truth destroys so many abuses and errors that all those who live by falsehood rise up to slay the truth; they begin by assailing the man.  Let inventors then have patience!  I myself desire to have it.  Unfortunately, my patience proceeds from my love.  In the hope of obtaining Marie, I dream of glory and I pursue it.  I saw a piece of straw fly up above a boiler.  All men have had the same experience since boilers and straw existed.  But I saw there a force; in order to estimate its violence, I put a lid on the boiler; the lid flew off but did not kill me.  Archimedes and I are of the same mind!  He wished for a lever and a fulcrum to move the world; I possess this lever and have been fool enough to say so; since then-misfortunes have overwhelmed me.  If I should die, you, man of genius who shall discover the secret, act on it, but keep silence.  The light which we discover, men take from us, only to set on fire our funeral pile.  Galileo, my master, is in prison for having said that the earth moves, and I am here for attempting to apply the forces of the earth.  No!  I am here because I rebel against the cupidity of those who desire to steal my secret; were it not for my love for Marie, I would claim my liberty to-night, leaving to them the profit, keeping to myself the fame-Ah!  What rage is in my heart!  But rage is only fit for children; let me be calm and then I shall be strong.  Would that I might have news of the only man who has faith in me!  He is at liberty, he, who begged to win me bread.  But faith is only found among the poor, who have need of it.


The Grand Inquisitor, a familiar and Fontanares.

The Grand Inquisitor
Well, my son, how are you?  You were speaking of faith, doubtless you
have made some sage reflections recently.  Come now, spare the Holy
Office a resort to severity.

Father, what do you wish me to say?

The Grand Inquisitor
Before setting you at liberty, the Holy Office must be sure that the
means you employ are natural-

Father, if I had made a compact with the Evil One, would he have let
me languish here?

The Grand Inquisitor
Your words are impious; the devil has a master whose existence is
proved by our burning of heretics.

Have you ever seen a ship on the sea? (The Grand Inquisitor assents.)
By what means is it propelled?

The Grand Inquisitor
The wind fills the sails.

Did the devil reveal this method of navigation to the first sailor?

The Grand Inquisitor
Do you know who he was?

Fontanares He was, perhaps, the founder of some long forgotten power that ruled the sea-at any rate, the means that I employ are not less natural than his.  I have seen a certain force in nature, a force controllable by man.  For the wind is God’s creature, and man is not its master, but the wind propels the ships of man, while my force is in the ship itself.

The Grand Inquisitor (aside)
This man may prove a dangerous fellow. (Aloud) And you refuse to tell
us what it is?

I will tell the king, in presence of the court; for, after that, no
one will be able to rob me of my glory and the fortune that it brings.

The Grand Inquisitor
You call yourself an inventor, and yet you think of nothing but
fortune!  You are too ambitious to be a man of genius.

Fontanares Father, I am so profoundly disgusted by the jealousy of the vulgar, by the avarice of the great, by the behavior of sham philosophers, that- but for my love for Marie-I would give back that which chance has bestowed upon me.

The Grand Inquisitor

I am wrong.  I would give back to God the thought which God has sent to

The Grand Inquisitor God did not send it to you that it might be hidden, and we have the right to force you to divulge it. (To his familiar) Bid them prepare the rack.

I was expecting it.


The Grand Inquisitor, Fontanares, Quínola and the Duke of Olmedo.

It isn’t a very healthy thing, this torture.

Quínola!  And in what a livery!

The livery of success, for you are to be freed.

Free?  And to pass from hell to heaven in an instant?

The Duke of Olmedo
As martyrs do.

The Grand Inquisitor
Sir, do you dare to say such words in this place!

The Duke of Olmedo
I am charged by the king to take out of your custody this man, and
will answer for him to the Holy Inquisition.

The Grand Inquisitor
What a mistake!

Ah! you would like to boil him in your cauldrons of oil!  Many thanks! 
His cauldrons are going to carry us ’round the world-like this. (He
twirls his hat.)

Embrace me, my friend, and tell me how-

The Duke of Olmedo
Say not a word here-

Yes (he points to the Inquisitor), for here the walls have ears.  Come. 
And you (speaking to the duke) take courage.  You are pale, and I must
give to you a tinge of color; but I know how to do it.

(Scene curtain.)


(Palace gallery as in first scene.)

The Duke of Olmedo, the Duke of Lerma, Fontanares and Quínola.

The Duke of Olmedo
We have come just in time!

The Duke of Lerma
You were not wounded then?

The Duke of Olmedo Who said I was?  Would the favorite of the king ruin me?  And should I be here, as you see me, if I were dead? (To Quínola) Stand close and hold me up.

Quínola (to Fontanares)
This is a man worthy of your love.

Who would not envy such a one?  Yet how seldom is occasion given to
show one’s love.

Spare us, good sir, all this rigmarole about love, in the presence of
the king; for the king, hark you-

A page
The King!

Come on, and let all our thoughts be for Marie!

Quínola (noticing that the Duke of Olmedo is fainting)
How are you? (He puts a flask to his nostrils.)


The same persons, the King, the Queen, the Captain of the Guards, the
Grand Inquisitor, the Marchioness of Mondejar, the President of the
Council of Castile and the whole court.

Philip II. (to the Captain of the Guards)
Has our man arrived?

The Captain
The Duke of Olmedo, whom I met on the palace steps, has at once obeyed
the commands of the king.

The Duke of Olmedo (falling on one knee)
Will the king deign to pardon a delay-unpardonable?

Philip II. (raising him by his wounded arm) I was told you were dying-(he glances at the marchioness)-of a wound received in a nocturnal attack.

The Duke of Olmedo
Well, you see me here, sire, a sufficient answer.

The Marchioness (aside)
He is rouged!

Philip II. (to the duke)
Where is your prisoner?

The Duke of Olmedo (pointing to Fontanares)
Yonder he stands.

Fontanares (kneeling)
And ready, to the great glory of God, to do wonders which shall add
splendor to the reign of the king, my master.

Philip II. 
Rise up and speak to me; what is this force miraculous which shall
give to Spain the empire of the world?

Fontanares It is a force invincible, sire.  It is steam; for, when water has become expanded in steam, it demands a much more extensive area than that which it occupies in its natural form; and in order to take that space it would blow up mountains.  By my invention this force is confined; the machine is provided with wheels, which beat the sea and propel a vessel as swiftly as the wind, so that tempests cannot resist its course.  Voyages can be made in safety and so swiftly that there is no limit to speed excepting in the revolution of the wheels.  Human life is lengthened every time a moment is economized.  Sire, Christopher Columbus gave to you a world three thousand leagues across the ocean; I will bring one to you at the port of Cadiz, and you shall claim, with the assistance of God, the dominion of the sea.

The Queen
You do not seem to be astonished, sire?

Philip II. 
Astonishment is involuntary flattery, and kings may never flatter. (To
Fontanares) What do you ask of me?

That which Columbus asked, a ship and the presence of my king to
witness the experiment.

Philip II.  You shall have all-the king, the realm of Spain-the whole world.  They tell me that you love a maid of Barcelona.  I am about to cross the Pyrénées, to visit my possessions, Roussillon and Perpignan; you shall receive your vessel at Barcelona.

Fontanares In granting me this vessel, sire, you have done me justice; in giving it to me at Barcelona, you have bestowed a favor which, from a subject, makes me your slave.

Philip II. 
Yet be cautious; to lose a vessel of the state will be to risk your
life, for so the law provides.

I know it, and accept the risk.

Philip II.  Well said, brave man!  If you succeed in constructing this sailless, oarless vessel that shall face the wind as swiftly as if the wind were in its favor, I will create you-what is your name?

Alfonso Fontanares.

Philip II. 
You shall be Don Alfonso Fontanares, Duke of-Neptunado, Grandee of

The Duke of Lerma
Sire, the statutes concerning nobility-

Philip II. 
Silence!  Duke of Lerma.  It is the duty of the king to exalt the man of
genius above all other men and thus to honor the ray of light which
God has given to him.

The Grand Inquisitor

Philip II. 
What would you?

The Grand Inquisitor We did not imprison the man on the charge that he had commerce with the devil, nor because of his impiety, nor because he springs from a family suspected of heresy; but for the safety of monarchies.  Printing has permitted clever men to communicate their thoughts to others and the result has been-Luther, whose word has flown abroad in every direction.  But this man is endeavoring to make out of all the nations of the earth a single people, and, before a multitude like this, the Holy Office trembles for the fate of monarchy.

Philip II. 
All progress moves heavenward.

The Grand Inquisitor
Heaven does not command many things which yet it does not hinder men
from doing.

Philip II.  Our duty consists in bringing good out of evil things and in this work of amelioration gathering all within one circle, whose centre is the throne.  Do you not see what is here at stake, even the realization of that universal dominion long-sought for by my glorious father? (To Fontanares) When you have won the rank of duke and Spanish grandee of the first class, I will put upon your breast the Golden Fleece; you shall then be appointed Grand Master of Naval Construction in Spain and the Indies. (To a minister) President, you will issue, this very day, under pain of my displeasure, the order to put at the disposal of this man, in our port of Barcelona, such a vessel as he desires, and -see that no obstacle interferes with his enterprise.


Philip II. 
What do you desire?

While you are here, grant, sire, full pardon to a wretch named
Lavradi, who was sentenced by a deaf magistrate.

Philip II. 
Because the judge was deaf, must the king be blind?

No, but indulgent, sire, which is almost the same thing.

Pardon!  Grant pardon to the only man who has sustained me in my

Philip II. (to a minister)
This man has talked with me, and I gave him my hand to kiss; issue to
him letters of my full pardon.

The Queen (to the king) If this man (she points to Fontanares) is one of those great discoverers, raised up by God, Don Philip you have done a good day’s work this morning.

Philip II. (to the queen) It is very difficult to distinguish between a man of genius and a madman; but if he is a madman, my promises are only worth the value of his.

Quínola (to the marchioness)
Here is your letter, but let me beg you, between ourselves, to write
no more.

The Marchioness
We are saved!

(The court follows the king into the royal apartment.)


Fontanares and Quínola.

Surely I am dreaming-Duke!  Grandee of Spain!  The Golden Fleece!

Quínola And Master of Naval Construction!  We shall have plenty of contractors to patronize.  The court is an odd place, I should like to succeed there; how is it to be done?  By impudence?  I have enough of that to sell!  By trickery?  Why, the king believes my tale of the Virgen del Pilar. (He laughs) But what is my master thinking about?

Let us start at once.

For what place?

For Barcelona.

Quínola No-for a tavern.  If the air of the court gives the citizens a good appetite, it makes me devilish thirsty.  After a drink, my glorious master, you will see your Quínola a very busy man; for we must not delude ourselves.  Between the word of the king and the attainment of success, we shall meet with as many jealous philosophers, scheming tricksters, malicious cavillers, crooked, rapacious, greedy beasts of prey, thievish parasites as have ever beset you in your attempts to see the king.

Yet to obtain my Marie I must succeed.

Yes, and for our own sakes also.

Curtain to the Prologue.