The Dog in the Manger
Season 08-09 Season
Diana, Countess of Belflor, is scandalized when she sees a man fleeing her chambers at night. Summoning her servants, Diana learns that the intruder is her own secretary, Teodoro, who was paying a romantic visit to her lady-in-waiting Marcela. Left alone, the Countess expresses her own sudden desire for Teodoro, a passion forbidden by the difference in rank between the two. Feigning that she is helping a female friend write a love letter, Diana shows Teodoro a love poem she has written and commands him to write a better one.
The Marquis Ricardo arrives to woo Diana, but she sends him away when Teodoro returns with the rewritten letter. During their conversation, Diana indirectly tells Teodoro that he should pursue her despite her high rank. She then punishes Marcela with temporary imprisonment, allegedly angry at Marcela and Teodoro’s public demonstrations of affection.
Another noble suitor—Diana’s cousin, Count Federico—declares his love for her. Meanwhile, Teodoro has resolved to pursue the Countess. He tears up a love note from Marcela and cruelly rejects her. Marcela figures out that he aspires to marry Diana and avenges herself by pretending to love another servant.
Deciding that her family honor will not permit her to marry a commoner, Diana sends word to Ricardo that she has decided to marry him. Stung, Teodoro resolves to patch things up with Marcela, claiming that he had earlier merely been “testing her faithfulness.” When Diana sees Marcela with Teodoro again, her jealousy stirs up her love, and she reveals her feelings for Teodoro.
Marquis Ricardo gleefully enters to claim his bride, but Diana denies that she agreed to marry him. Diana’s sense of honor begins to get the better of her, however, and she becomes cold to her secretary again, while still forbidding him to love Marcela. He angrily compares her to the proverbial “dog in the manger,” who will neither eat nor let others eat. She becomes incensed and strikes him, giving him a bloody nose. Suddenly behaving kindly, Diana promises him 2,000 crowns.
Marquis Ricardo and Count Federico infer that Diana is in love with Teodoro, but the man they hire to murder him turns out to be Teodoro’s servant Tristan. Tristan warns Teodoro of the plot to kill him and devises a plan: Tristan will convince Count Ludovico—whose only son, Teodoro, was captured by Moors at sea some 20 years ago—that this Teodoro is his long lost son.
Teodoro resolves to flee Naples for Spain, and Diana bids him farewell despite her feelings for him. As Diana and Teodoro sadly part amid confessions of love, Ludovico enters bringing the “news” that her secretary is the son of a count, and Diana promises to marry him that night. But Teodoro discloses the hoax to Diana and tells her that he still wishes to flee. She declares that she will marry him even if he is not a noble, and she makes Tristan promise that he will never reveal the secret.
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