que me se yo: ‘what do I know about it?’ Note the redundant reflexive.
ACTO SEGUNDO, ESCENA PRIMERA
que _pero_ le puede poner la senorita: ’what fault can the young lady find with.’
geringonza: cf. vocabulary, jerigonza.
hagame decir: hagame el favor de decir.
Ya las quisiera yo de tres y media: ’I’d rather have them of three and a half.’ Three and a half yards is the regulation quantity of material needed for making a man’s shirt.
el dia de los innumerables martires de Zaragoza: April 16, the feast-day of the eighteen martyrs condemned to death in Saragossa in the time of the emperor Diocletian.
si usted podia ser dichosa: note the imperfect indicative in an unreal condition.
Sacedon: watering-place in the province of Guadalajara, Spain.
Nueva Holanda: Australia.
Isla de Francia: Spanish form for the old French name of the island Mauritius, to the east of Madagascar. It is now an English possession.
Pablo y Virginia: Paul and Virginia (cf. vocabulary under Domingo).
*_qui pro quo_*: French quiproquo ‘misunderstanding’ (by taking one person or thing for another); from medieval Latin quid pro quod, the blunder of using one grammatical form for another. Contrast English quid pro quo ‘equivalent.’
*_Dominus tecum_*: medieval superstition required the pronouncing of a blessing when a person sneezed, because of a belief in the presence of a demon. The custom survives in many countries as a form of courtesy.
Herodes el Ascalonita: ‘Herod of Askelon’; Bruno’s mind, which works in a fashion similar to the working of Sancho’s brain in Don Quixote, is searching for a case of extreme cruelty, and he here probably recalls the slaughter of the innocents at the command of Herod.
ACTO TERCERO, ESCENA TERCERA
*_velis nolis_* (Latin): ‘willy-nilly.’
no sea que salga: para que no sea que salga.
dispensa: in this case, permission from the bishop or other dignitary to waive the formalities preceding a wedding in the Catholic church.
Ofelia, Malvina, Etelvina, Coralina: heroines of the various books de forro colorado that Matilde has been reading.
que conservo en polvo: ’that I keep although there is nothing left of it but dust’ (or ashes).