RAMON: It's an absolute lie, the whole story. We have not abandoned her. As a child she was left without father or mother when she was seven years old. Her mother, a good woman, was unfortunate in love, and set her heart on a worthless fellow, one of those glib, smooth-tongued wretches, half French, half Spanish, who hail from nobody knows where. Well, one day they were married. Years later, she died from a blow that he gave her, and the man, for he was a smuggler, was found dead one morning in a gully on the French border, half across the line from Spain, slain in a drunken brawl. As for the girl, she was brought home to us and she became to me--a sister. But she was a strange child, always making a great outcry, passionate and wild, impetuously stamping and weeping about, so that one day my father went to lay hands on her to control her; and, because I defended her and held him off, he became angry with me, till, choking with rage, he could no longer bear to see her in the house. She, seeing how his passion had possessed him, for she was very near thirteen then and seemed much older, one day, when a party of mountebanks or jugglers were passing through the village, disappeared, and when it came to be vesper time we could not find her. Nowhere Daniela! I ran through the streets distracted--everywhere about. At first I thought I would go mad, for I feared she had fallen from some cliff or that the rapid current of the river had carried her away. I wanted to kill myself, believing that she was dead. We had lived so much together I did not really know her; I was too young to understand. Like a fool, for days I wandered through the villages and towns, until, at last, one night I learned that she had been seen crossing the frontier in a tartana with those same mountebanks, laughing, chattering there on the seat beside them, carousing in their arms, and shamelessly making merry. And this, this woman--this is she, that Daniela you know, for whom I would have given up my life, and who has never once since so much as troubled herself to think of me, no, not once, nor of her home. And now that she finds herself sick and poor, without resources, cast-off, rejected, despised, she has the shamelessness to propose to return home again to me and present herself again in my house. Ah! How does it appear to you now, gentlemen? Is it another story? Let her die and be buried in the deepest hole in the ground as befits such a thing, rather than that after what has happened, she should again enter my house. I have my wife, I have my children, we are happy because we believe in God and have done wrong to no man, no, not in all our lives, but good--nothing but good--and to that, you can all bear witness.