Diana (DYAH-nah), the countess of Belflor, who is like the gardener’s dog that will not eat the food or let anyone else enjoy it. Investigating the story of a man seen escaping from the top story of her palace, she discovers that her secretary, Teodoro, has been seeing Marcela, one of her ladies in waiting. At first, she gives permission for their wedding, but then she changes her mind and in a letter dictated to Teodoro hints at her affection for him, though his blood is not noble. Meanwhile, she is courted by two nobles and consents to marry Ricardo, even while alternately encouraging and rejecting Teodoro. At last, angered by Teodoro, she wounds him with a knife. His announcement that he is leaving Naples for Madrid makes her decide to marry him; in addition, his servant has concocted a plan to make him one of the nobility. Although she is assured by Teodoro that the scheme is false, Diana decides that happiness is found in a union of souls, not of social classes, especially if they conceal the truth of his lowly status, so they marry.
Teodoro (tay-oh-DOH-roh), the secretary of Countess Diana. He loves Marcela, one of her ladies in waiting, but he turns to Diana, then back to Marcela, and again to his employer when her jealousy is aroused by seeing him embrace Marcela. At last, he tells Marcela to marry Fabio, but at his next rebuff by Diana, because of his lowly birth, he announces his...
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