ERNESTO: If everyone else is talking now, why shouldn't we talk, too? The whole town is a seething, boiling whirlpool that sucks in and absorbs and devours and utterly destroys the honor, the good name, the very being of three people, and carries them away on the spray of laughter through the canal of human misery to the social abyss of shame, and there drowns forever the future, the fair name, and the memory, of these unhappy beings. No, I will not speak lower. They aren't whispering; they're shouting aloud. Why, the air fairly resounds! There isn't a person who doesn't know the tragic story, but every one tells it his own way. Wonder of wonders, people always know everything; but, sad to say, never the truth. Some say that Teodora was surprised by her husband in my house, and that I rushed at him, blind with fury, and plunged my cowardly dagger into his breast; others, my friends apparently, give me a higher rank than that of a vulgar assassin: I killed him, but in an honorable fight, a properly arranged duel. There are some, of course, who know more of the details, and they say that Julian took my place in the affair that had been arranged with Nebreda. . . . I arrived too late . . . on purpose, or through cowardice, or because I was in the arms of . . . No, the vile words burn my lips; my brain is on fire! Think of the filthiest, the lowest, the vilest, most infamous thing imaginable: dregs of the heart, ashes of the soul, evil scourings of unclean minds; cast it to the breezes blowing through the streets, salt all lips and tongues with it, and you'll have the story, and you will learn then what remains of two honorable men and a woman, when their reputations are bandied about the town!