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Title: The Comedies of Carlo Goldoni - edited with an introduction by Helen Zimmern
Author: Goldoni, Carlo, 1707-1793
Language: English
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Masterpieces of Foreign Authors


GOLDONI'S COMEDIES

MORRISON AND GIBB, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH.



THE COMEDIES OF
CARLO GOLDONI

_EDITED WITH INTRODUCTION BY_

HELEN ZIMMERN



LONDON
DAVID STOTT, 370 OXFORD STREET, W.
1892



  GOLDONI,--good, gay, sunniest of souls,--
  Glassing half Venice in that verse of thine,--
  What though it just reflect the shade and shine
  Of common life, nor render, as it rolls,
  Grandeur and gloom? Sufficient for thy shoals
  Was Carnival: Parini's depths enshrine
  Secrets unsuited to that opaline
  Surface of things which laughs along thy scrolls.
  There throng the People: how they come and go,
  Lisp the soft language, flaunt the bright garb,--see,--
  On piazza, calle, under portico,
  And over bridge! Dear King of Comedy,
  Be honoured! Thou that didst love Venice so,
  Venice, and we who love her, all love thee!
  ROBERT BROWNING.



CONTENTS.
                                             PAGE

 INTRODUCTION,                                 7
 A CURIOUS MISHAP,                            33
 THE BENEFICENT BEAR,                         95
 THE FAN,                                    147
 THE SPENDTHRIFT MISER,                      229



INTRODUCTION.


"Painter and son of nature," wrote Voltaire, at that time the arbitrator
and the dispenser of fame in cultured Europe, to Carlo Goldoni, then a
rising dramatist, "I would entitle your comedies, 'Italy liberated from
the Goths.'" The sage of Ferney's quick critical faculty had once again
hit its sure mark, for it is Goldoni's supreme merit, and one of his
chief titles to fame and glory, that he released the Italian theatre
from the bondage of the artificial and pantomime performances that until
then had passed for plays, and that, together with Molière, he laid
the foundations of the drama as it is understood in our days. Indeed,
Voltaire, in his admiration for the Venetian playwright, also called
him "the Italian Molière," a comparison that is more accurate than
such comparisons between authors of different countries are apt to
be, though, like all such judgments, somewhat rough and ready. It is
interesting in this respect to confront the two most popular dramas of
the two dramatists, Molière's "Le Misanthrope" and Goldoni's "Il Burbero
Benefico." Goldoni, while superior in imagination, in spontaneity, deals
more with the superficial aspects of humanity. Molière, on the contrary,
probes deep into the human soul, and has greater elegance of form. In
return, Goldoni is more genial and kindly in his judgments, and, while
lacking none of Molière's keenness of observation, is devoid of his
bitter satire. Both have the same movement and life, the same intuitive
perception of what will please the public, the same sense of dramatic
proportion. Goldoni was, however, less happy than Molière as regards
the times in which his lines were cast. The French dramatist, like
Shakespeare, was born at an age in which his fatherland was traversing
a glorious epoch of national story. The Italian lived instead in the
darkest period of that political degradation which was the lot of the
fairest of European countries, until quite recently, when she emancipated
herself, threw off the chains of foreign bondage, and proclaimed herself
mistress of her own lands and fortunes. And manners and customs were no
less in decadence in private as well as in public,--a sad epoch, truly,
though to outsiders it looked light-hearted and merry enough. Goldoni's
lot was cast in the final decades of the decrepitude of Venice, the last
of the Italian proud Republics, which survived only to the end of the
eighteenth century, indeed dissolved just four years after her great
dramatist's demise. His long life comprised almost the whole of that
century, from the wars of the Spanish Succession, which open the history
of that era, to the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle and the French Revolution.

Historical events had, however, merely an outward and accidental
influence on this great artist-nature, entirely absorbed in his work,
and indifferent, even unconscious, to all that surged around him in this
respect. To be assured that this is so, we need merely peruse Goldoni's
own Memoirs, composed by him in his old age, and which, according to
Gibbon's verdict, are even more amusing to read than his very comedies.

"The immortal Goldoni," as his countrymen love to call him, was born in
Venice in 1707. His family were of Modenese origin. The grandfather,
who held a lucrative and honourable post in the Venetian Chamber of
Commerce, married as his first wife a lady from his native town, who
died, leaving him a son. He then espoused a widow with two daughters,
the elder of whom, in due course, he gave in marriage to this son. The
couple became the parents of the playwright.

This grandfather had a considerable influence over Goldoni's youth, and
also modified his later life. A good-natured, not ill-intentioned man,
he was nevertheless hopelessly extravagant, and inordinately addicted to
material pleasures,--at that time, it must ever in justice be remembered,
the only outlet possible to male energies and ambitions. For a
pleasure-lover, the Venice of that day was an earthly paradise, and the
result in this case was that the elder Goldoni put no restraint upon
himself whatever. It so happened that he had the entire control not only
of his wife's comfortable fortune, but of that of her two daughters.
With this he hired a large villa, six leagues from Venice, where he
lived in so free and open-handed a manner as to rouse the jealousy of
the neighbouring proprietors. A fanatic for the stage and all that
pertained to it, he caused comedies and operas to be performed under
his roof; the best singers and actors were hired to minister to his
amusement; reckless expenditure and joyous living were the watchwords of
the house. It was in this atmosphere that the child Carlo was reared, no
wonder it affected his character. It may be said that he imbibed a love
for the play with his first breath. Unfortunately, ere he was a man, the
pleasure-loving and open-handed grandfather caught cold and died, to
be followed soon after by his wife. At a blow all was changed for the
Goldoni family. Carlo's father, having lacked proper training, was
unable to maintain himself in his father's position, which was offered
him; the property had to be sold, and when all debts were paid there
remained only the mother's dowry for the maintenance of the whole
family. However, there was clearly good stuff in Goldoni's father.
Already a man of some years, he resolved nevertheless to study medicine
in order to earn an honest livelihood, and, wonderful to tell, he became
a very popular and successful physician, practising first at Perugia. It
was there that, only eight years old, Carlino, as he was then called,
wrote a comedy, which so vastly pleased his father that in consequence
he resolved to give him the best education within his reach. To this
end he placed him in the local Jesuit school. At first the boy, shy and
repressed, cut a bad figure, but by the end of the first term he came
out at the head of his class, to the immense delight of his father. To
reward him for this success, his parents instigated for his benefit
what we should now call private theatricals. As women were forbidden
to appear on the stage within the Papal States, to which Perugia then
belonged, Carlino took the part of the prima donna, and was further
called upon to write a prologue, which, according to the taste of the
day, was absurdly affected and hyperbolical. Goldoni gives in his
Memoirs the opening sentence of this literary effort, and it may serve
as a measure of the extent to which he became a reformer of Italian
style:--

"Most benignant Heaven, behold us, like butterflies, spreading in the
rays of your most splendid sun, the wings of our feeble inventions,
which bear our flight towards a light so fair."

To compare this bombast with the crystal clearness and simplicity of the
language of Goldoni's comedies, is to gain a fair estimate of what he
had to overcome and what he achieved.

A while after, the family removed to Chioggia, the climate of Perugia
not being suited to Goldoni's mother. He himself was sent to Rimini to
study philosophy in the Dominican school, a study which in those days
was considered indispensable for the medical career to which he was
destined. But philosophy as taught at Rimini did not attract our hero,
and instead of poring over the long passages dictated to him by his
professor, he read Plautus, Terence, Aristophanes, and the fragments of
Menander. Nor did the philosophic debates amuse him half as much as a
company of actors with whom he contrived to knock up an acquaintance.
Hearing that these people, to his immense regret, were leaving Rimini,
and that of all places in the world they were proceeding to Chioggia,
it occurred to the youthful scamp that nothing could be more easy and
delightful than to go with them in the big barge they had hired for
their transit. The rogue knew full well that his mother at least would
forgive him his escapade in the pleasure of having him back again. So he
went, and there was an end of his philosophy. As he foresaw, his mother
pardoned him, and his father happened to be absent on business. From
Pavia, where he was staying with a relative, at that time governor of
the city, Dr. Goldoni wrote that his Marchese had promised to be kind to
his eldest son. "So," went on the letter, "if Carlo behaves well, he
will provide for him." This sentence filled Carlo the disobedient with
alarm. Nevertheless, when his father returned, he forgave him almost as
readily as his mother had done. They were not strict disciplinarians,
these Goldoni, but easy-going folk, who liked to live and let live.

The father now resolved to keep his son at home at Chioggia, that he
might begin to study medicine under his guidance. Very desultory study
it was, both father and son thinking more of the theatre and of actors
than of the pharmacopoeia. So medicine, too, had to be abandoned.
Goldoni's mother then bethought her of the law, and Carlo was sent to
Venice to study under the care of an uncle. At Venice he found no less
than seven theatres in full swing, and all of them he frequented in
turn, enjoying especially the operas of Metastasio, which were the
latest novelty,--that author who may be said to have done for Italian
opera what Goldoni did for Italian comedy, though unfortunately the
music to which his graceful verses have been set has not, like them,
proved immortal. After some months of alternate gaiety and study of
jurisprudence, Carlo was moved to Pavia to complete his studies, a
vacancy having been found for him there in the Papal College. Various
preliminaries were needful to obtain admission, among them the tonsure.
During the delay caused by these formalities, Carlo devoted himself
to the study of dramatic literature in the library of one of the
professors. Here he found, beside his old friends, the classical
dramatists, the English, Spanish, and French playwrights. But the
Italian, where were they? he asked himself, and at once the resolve
awoke in him that he would do his very utmost towards reviving the drama
of his native land and tongue. What he would do should be to imitate the
style and precision of the great authors of antiquity, but to give to
his plays more movement, happier terminations, and characters better
formulated. "We owe," he says, "respect to the great writers who have
smoothed the way for us in science and in art, but every age has its
dominant genius and every climate its national taste. The Greek and
Roman writers knew human nature and copied it closely, but without
illusion and without skill. To this is owing that want of moderation
and decency which has led to the proscription of the drama by the
Church."

At Pavia, Goldoni spent his time over everything else but study, nor
was his sojourn there long, for a satire composed and published, taken
together with other pranks, led to his expulsion from the College. His
parents as usual forgave him, and he was allowed to accompany his father
on one of his business journeys, during the course of which Goldoni
tells that he obtained much knowledge of men and things. At Modena, it
happened that the pair fell in with some very devout people, and saw
the "admonition" of an abbé of their acquaintance, who was punished in
public after a severe and impressive fashion. Carlo, who was at the time
suffering from a juvenile attack of disgust with the world, felt this
spectacle arouse in him the desire to become a Capuchin monk. His wise
father did not contradict him, and took him to Venice, ostensibly
to present him to the Director of the Capuchins. But he plunged him
also into a round of gaieties, dinners, suppers, theatres; and Carlo
discovered that, to avoid the perils of this world, it was not needful
to renounce it altogether. He had now arrived at man's estate, it was
requisite he should have an occupation. Through the kindness of friends
he obtained a position in the service of the government, not lucrative
but yet remunerative, which he contrived to make useful to his dramatic
training, the one idea to which he ever remained faithful. This
position, Chancellor to the Podestà, required almost continual change
of place, and although Goldoni himself liked it very well, his mother
disapproved of it highly, calling it a gipsy's post.

In 1731, Goldoni lost his father, an irreparable sorrow to him. He
now found himself, at twenty-four, the head of his family. His mother
consequently insisted he should give up his wanderings and assume the
lawyer's toga. He therefore went to Padua to finish his studies, and
this time he studied really, passing a brilliant examination, though
the whole night previously he had spent at the gaming-table, whence
the University beadle had to fetch him to come before his examiners.

Behold him now a full-fledged lawyer, but with few clients and causes
to defend. His fruitless leisure was employed in scribbling almanacs in
terza rima, in which he sought to insert such prophecies as were likely
to fulfil themselves. In hopes of further bettering his fortunes, he
also wrote a tragedy called "Amalasunta." He had hoped this would bring
him in one hundred zecchini. Unfortunately, however, he had at the same
time let himself in for a love affair, from which there was no other
exit but that which his father had taught him to adopt in similar
cases, namely, flight from the scene of action. So, putting the MSS. of
"Amalasunta" under his arm, he bolted from his native town. This was
to be the beginning of his artistic career. Milan was his destination,
where he arrived in the full swing of the Carnival. Here he was brought
in contact with Count Prata, Director of the Opera. At a reception
at the house of the prima ballerina, Goldoni undertook to read his
"Amalasunta." The leading actor took exception to it from the outset,
and by the time the reading was ended none of the audience were left in
the room except Count Prata. The play ended, the Count told the author
that his opera was composed with due regard to the rules of Aristotle
and Horace, but was not framed according to the rules laid down for
Italian opera in their day.

"In France," he continued, "you can try to please the public, but here
in Italy, it is the actors and actresses whom you must consult, as well
as the composer of the music and the stage decorators. Everything must
be done according to a certain form, which I will explain to you. Each
of the three principal personages of the opera must sing five airs, two
in the first act, two in the second, and one in the third. The second
actress and the second soprano can only have three, and the lower rank
of artists must be contented with one, or at most two. The author must
submit his words to the musician, and must take care that two pathetic
airs do not follow each other. The same rule must be observed with
regard to the airs of bravura, of action, of secondary action, as also
with regard to the minuet and rondeau. And above all things remember
that on no account must moving or showy airs be given to the performers
of the second rank. These poor people must take what they can get, and
make no attempt to shine."

The Count would have said more, but the author had heard enough. He
thanked his kind critic, took leave of his hostess, went back to the
inn, ordered a fire, and reduced "Amalasunta" to ashes. This performance
completed, not without natural regret, he ordered a good supper, which
he consumed with relish, after which he went to bed and slept tranquilly
all night. On the morrow, dining with the Venetian Ambassador, he
recounted to him his adventures. The Ambassador, compassionating his
destitute condition, and finding pleasure in his company, found a post
for him in his household as a sort of chamberlain. This position, by no
means arduous, left Goldoni plenty of time for himself. He now made the
acquaintance of a quack doctor, a certain Buonafede, who went by the
name of the Anonimo, and was a very prince of charlatans. This man,
among other devices to attract customers, carried about with him a
company of actors, who, after assisting him in distributing the objects
which he sold and collecting the money for them, gave a representation
in his small theatre erected in the public square. It so happened that
the company of comedians which had been engaged for that Easter season
at Milan, unexpectedly failed to keep their engagement, so that the
Milanese were left without players. The Anonimo proposed his company,
Goldoni through the Venetian Minister helped him to attain his end, and
wrote for the first performance an intermezzo, "The Venetian Gondolier,"
which was set to music by the composer attached to the company, and had,
as Goldoni himself says, all the success so slight an effort deserved.
This little play was the first of his works performed and afterwards
published.

At this time in Italy, the so-called _Commedie dell' arte_ or _a
soggetto_ held the boards; extremely artificial, stilted forms of
dramatic composition, which, it is true, testified to the quick and
ready wit of the Italians, but also to a puerile taste, far removed from
artistic finish. These plays were all performed by actors in masks,
after the manner of the classical drama, and in the greater number of
cases the players were supplied merely with the plot and the situations
of the play, the dialogue having to be supplied by the invention of the
actors themselves; the outline was often of the roughest nature, much
after the manner of modern drawing-room charades, but there were certain
stock characters, such as an old man who is the butt of the tricks and
deceptions of the others, an extravagant son, scampish servants, and
corrupt or saucy chambermaids. These characters and their established
costumes were derived from different cities of Italy, and were traditional
from the earliest appearance of the _Commedie dell' arte_. Thus,
the father, Pantaloon, a Venetian merchant, the doctor, a lawyer
or professor from learned Bologna, and Brighella and Harlequin,
Bergamasque servants as stupid as the corrupt or saucy maid-servants
and lovers from Rome and Tuscany were sharp. Lance and Speed in "Two
Gentlemen of Verona" are good specimens of these characters. The
merchant and the doctor, called in Italian "the two old men," always
wore a mantle. Pantaloon, or Pantaleone, is a corruption of the cry,
_Plantare il Leone_, (Plant the Lion), to the sound of which, and
under shadow of their banner, the Lion of their patron St. Mark, the
Venetians had conquered their territories and wealth. Pantaloon was the
impersonation, however, not of fighting but of trading Venice, and wore
the merchant costume still in use, with but slight modification, in
Goldoni's day. The dress of the doctor was that of the lawyers of the
great university, and the strange mask which was worn by this character
imitated a wine-mark which disfigured the countenance of a certain
well-known legal luminary, according to a tradition extant among the
players in Goldoni's time. Finally, "Brighella and Arlecchino," called
in Italy Zanni,[1] were taken from Bergamo as the extremes of sharpness
or stupidity, the supposed two characteristics of the inhabitants of
that city. Brighella represented a meddlesome, waggish, and artful
servant, who wore a sort of livery with a dark mask, copied after the
tanned skin of the men of that sub-Alpine region. Some actors in this
part were called Finocchio, Scappino (Molière's Scapin), but it was
always the same character, and always a Bergamasque. Arlecchino, or
Harlequin, too, had often different names, but he never changed his
birthplace, was always the same fool, and wore the same dress, a coat
of different-coloured patches, cobbled together anyhow (hence the
patchwork dress of the modern pantomime). The hare's tail which adorned
his hat formed in Goldoni's time part of the ordinary costume of the
Bergamasque peasants. Pantaloon's disguise was completed by a beard of
ridiculous cut, and he always wore slippers. It is in allusion to this
that Shakespeare calls the sixth age of man, "the lean and slippered
pantaloon."

 [1. Jacks; Zanni being a nickname for Giovanni, John.]

When Goldoni began to write, the drama had fallen into a sadly burlesque
condition. Shortly after the first performance of his "Venetian
Gondolier," a play called "Belisario" was represented, in which the
blinded hero was led on to the stage by Harlequin, and beaten with a
stick to show him the way. This indignity of presentation awoke in
Goldoni a desire to write a play on the same theme. Asking the principal
actor in this farce, what he thought of it, the man replied, "It is a
joke, a making fun of the public, but this sort of thing will go on till
the stage is reformed." And he encouraged Goldoni to put his purpose
into action. He did indeed begin a play on this theme, but wars and
sieges hindered its performance; for the War of the Polish Succession
broke out, that war called the war of Don Carlos, regarding which
Carlyle is so sarcastic in his Life of Frederick the Great; and Milan
was occupied by the King of Sardinia, to the great astonishment of
Goldoni, who, although he lived in the house of an ambassador, and
should have been well informed of current events, knew no more about
them than an infant. He now accompanied his chief to Crema, Modena,
and Parma, in which latter city, he, the man of peace _par excellence_,
assisted at the great battle of June 1734. The impressions then gained,
he afterwards utilised in his comedy, "L'Amante Militare." Indeed,
skilful workman that he was, he always turned to account whatever
befell him, whatever he saw or heard, and his wandering and adventurous
life furnished him many opportunities for studying men and manners.

It would lead us too far to follow Goldoni through all the incidents of
his varied history. It must suffice to indicate the salient points. In
1736, having freed himself from service to the Ambassador, and having
again now consorted with actors, now exercised his legal profession,
he married the woman who proved his good angel, Nicoletta Conio,
who accompanied him all his life, modest, affectionate, indulgent,
long-suffering, light-hearted even in the midst of adverse fortune,
enamoured of him and of his fame, his truest friend, comforter, inspirer,
and stay: in a word, an ideal woman, whose character has been exquisitely
sketched by the modern Italian playwright, Paolo Ferrari, in his graceful
comedy, "Goldoni e le sue sedici Commedie." Shortly after this marriage,
and in large part thanks to his wife's encouragement and faith in him,
Goldoni issued finally from out the tortuous labyrinth of conventional
tragedies, _intermezzi cantabili_, and serious and comic operas in which
hitherto his talents had been imprisoned, and found his true road, that
of character comedy. His first attempt at a reforming novelty was the
abolition of the mask, to which he had a just objection, considering it,
with perfect reasonableness, as fatal to the development of the drama of
character.

But he was not to go on his road unhindered. War, so frequent in those
days of petty States, once more crossed his plans, and this conjoined to
his native love for roaming, inherited from his restless father, caused
him to sojourn in many cities, and encounter many adventures gay and
grave, all recounted by him with unfailing good temper in his Memoirs,
in which he never says an unkind word, even of his worst enemies; for
Goldoni's was an essentially amicable character. He writes of himself:--

"My mental nature is perfectly analogous to my physical; I fear neither
cold nor heat, neither do I let myself be carried away by anger, nor be
intoxicated by success.... My great aim in writing my Comedies has been
not to spoil nature, and the sole scope of my Memoirs is to tell the
truth.... I was born pacific, and have always kept my equanimity."

These words sum up the man and the author. In Goldoni the perfect
equilibrium of the faculties of the man correspond to the perfectly just
and accurate sense of truth and naturalness which is revealed in the
writer.

After five years spent in Pisa, practising, and not unsuccessfully, as
a lawyer, and hoping he had sown his theatrical wild oats, and had now
settled down as a quiet burgher, Goldoni was roused from this day-dream
(which after all did not reflect his deepest sentiments, but only an
acquired worldly wisdom) by an offer from Medebac, the leader of a group
of comedians, to join his fortune to theirs as dramatic author to the
company. After some hesitation, his old love for the stage gained the
upper hand, and Goldoni assented, binding himself to Medebac for a
certain number of years. From that time forward he remained true to
his real passion, the theatre.

The company proceeded to Venice, at that time in the last days of its
glory, but dying gaily, merrily. The Venice of those days, an author of
the time said, was as immersed in pleasure as in water. And above all
did its inhabitants love the play. To this city, among this people,
Goldoni returned, one of its own children, endowed with its nature,
apt to understand its wishes and inclinations. And here, among his
compatriots, he resolved not to follow the bad theatrical taste in vogue
in favour of spectacular plays and scurrilous _Commedie dell' arte_, but
to take up for Italy the task accomplished by Molière for France, and to
re-conduct comedy into the right road, from which it had wandered so
far.

"I had no rivals to combat," he writes, "I had only prejudices to
surmount."

The first play written for unmasked actors proved unsuccessful. Goldoni
was not daunted. He wrote a second. It was applauded to the echo, and
he saw himself well launched upon his career as a reformer. The great
obstacle to his entire success lay in the difficulty of finding actors,
as the masked parts could be taken by greatly inferior players; and
also by the circumstance, already pointed out to him by his critic of
"Amalasunta," that an Italian playwright had to think more of pleasing
his actors than his public. What Goldoni had to endure from this _gens
irritabilis_, from their rancour, vapours, caprices, stolid and open
opposition to his reform, is told with much good nature and sense of fun
in his Memoirs. It can have been far from easy to endure, and no doubt
often exasperated the author, though in his old age he can speak of it
so calmly and dispassionately. But Goldoni, even as a young man, was
wise, and proceeded slowly, first making himself and his name known
and popular on the old lines, and only risking his new ideas under
favourable conditions. Thus he respected the antique unities of time and
action, which, after all, save in the hands of great genius, are most
conducive to dramatic success, and he only infringed the unity of place
to a certain extent, always confining the action of the comedies within
the walls of the same town. He says, with a sagacity not common in his
profession, that he should not have met with so much opposition, had it
not been for the indiscreet zeal of his admirers, who exalted his merits
to so excessive a degree, that wise and cultivated people were roused to
contradict such fanaticism. As to the ill feeling roused by the ridicule
freely showered by Goldoni upon the corrupt customs of his time, he
takes no heed of it, save to redouble his efforts in the same direction.
Like Molière, he had the courage to put upon the boards the defects and
absurdities of his own age, not merely those of a bygone time. And his
satire, though keen, is never bitter. His laugh is an honest one. As
Thackeray says of Fielding, "it clears the air." His dramatic censure is
considered to have been instrumental in putting down the State-protected
gambling which was the plague-spot of Venice in those days, and further
in giving the first death-blows to that debased survival from the time
of chivalry, the _Cavaliere Servente_, or _Cicisbeo_.

Goldoni's diligence was as great and untiring as his invention was
fertile. Thus once, provoked by an unjust _fiasco_, he publicly promised
that he would write and produce sixteen new comedies in the course of
the next year, and he kept his pledge, though at the time of making it
he had not one of these plays even planned. And among this sixteen are
some of his Masterpieces, such as "Pamela" and the "Bottega del Caffé."
The theme of Pamela was not exactly his choice. He had been teased to
compose a play after the novel of Richardson, then all the fashion in
Italy. At first he believed it an impossible task, owing to the great
difference in the social rules of the two countries. In England a noble
may marry whom he likes; his wife becomes his equal, his children in no
wise suffer. Not so in the Venice of that time. The oligarchical rule
was so severe, that a patrician marrying a woman of the lower class
forfeited his right to participate in the government, and deprived his
offspring of the patriciate. "Comedy, which is or should be," says
Goldoni, "the school of society, should never expose the weakness of
humanity save to correct it, wherefore it is not right to recompense
virtue at the expense of posterity." However, the necessity of finding
themes, conjoined to this insistence on the part of his friends, induced
Goldoni to try his hand with Pamela. He changed the _dénouement_,
however, in compliance with Venetian social prejudices, making Pamela
turn out to be the daughter of a Scotch peer under attainder, whose
pardon Bonfil obtains.

It must not be supposed, however, that Goldoni, although he had now
reached the apex of success and fame, was to find his course one of
plain sailing. Enmities, rivalries, assailed him on all sides; and
these, in the Italy of that date, took a peculiarly venomous character,
men's ambitions and energies having no such legitimate outlets as are
furnished to-day by politics and interests in the general welfare.
Everything was petty, everything was personal. Goldoni's chief rival,
and consequently enemy, was Carlo Gozzi, the writer of fantastic dramas,
and stilted, hyperbolical dramatic fables, entirely forgotten now, which
found a certain favour among the public of that day, one having indeed
survived in European literature in the shape of Schiller's "Turandot." A
fierce skirmish of libellous fly-sheets and derisive comedies was carried
on by the respective combatants and partisans, filling now one theatre,
now another, according as the taste of the public was swayed or tickled.

Annoyances with the actors, graspingness on the part of Medebac,
made Goldoni abandon his company and pass over to that conducted by
Vendramin, an old Venetian noble,--for in those days men of birth
thought it no dishonour to conduct a theatre. He was then forty-six
years of age, and had written more than ninety theatrical works. For his
new patron and theatre he laboured with various interruptions, caused by
political events and by his own restless temperament, until 1761, in
which space of time he produced some sixty more comedies, besides three
comic operas and plays written for a private theatre. And all this
labour in less than ten years, and among them some of his best works,
such as the trilogy of the Villeggiatura, _Il Curioso Accidente_, _I
Rusteghi_, _Le Barufe Chiozote_, and many others, removed from changes
of fashion, schools, methods, to which no public has ever been or can
be indifferent, eternally fresh and sunny, filled with the spirit of
perpetual youth. Notwithstanding, however, the excellence of Goldoni's
dramas, the current literary rivalries made themselves felt, and there
was a moment when Gozzi's Fables left Goldoni's theatre empty.

It then happened that at this juncture there came to him an offer
from Paris to go thither as playwright to the Italian Comedy Company,
established there under royal patronage. Was it fatigue, a desire for
new laurels, a love of change, the hope of larger gains, that induced
him to accept the offer? Perhaps a little of all these. In any case, he
assented, binding himself for two years. He was never again to leave
France. Paris fascinated him, though he regretted his lovely Venice, and
a certain nostalgia peeps forth from his letters now and again. Still
his social and pecuniary position was good in the French capital, he was
honoured and esteemed, his nephew and adopted son had found lucrative
employment there, and, added to all this, even Goldoni was growing old.
His eyesight began to fail; he was often indisposed, and no longer
inclined to move about and pitch his tent in various cities. A post as
Italian teacher at the court brought him much in contact with the royal
family. It strikes the readers of the Memoirs with some amazement
to see how Goldoni could live in that society, could hear the talk of
intellectual Paris, and not be aware upon the brink of how frightful a
precipice all French society then hovered. He actually held the king
to be adored by his subjects, and these subjects as happy as it was
possible for a people to be, well ruled, kindly governed. The narrative
of his life ends at the age of eighty, six years before his death, two
before the outbreak of the Revolution. We have not, therefore, his
impression of the storm when it broke. We only know, alas! that this
light-hearted, gay old child--for a child he remained to the end--died
in misery, involved in the general ruin and wreck that overwhelmed all
France within that brief space of time. It was, in fact, his nephew who
stood between him and starvation; for with the king's deposition had
vanished the pension allowed to the aged Italian dramatist. A day after
his death a decree of the National Convention restored it to him for
the term of his days. The proposed gift came too late, but it honours
those who voted it and him who pleaded for it, no less a person than
Joseph-Marie Chénier, the poet. When the orator learned that the
benevolence he invoked could no longer help its object, he again pleaded
for the octogenarian, or rather that the pension should be passed on to
the faithful wife in whose arms Goldoni had passed away. "She is old,"
said Chénier, "she is seventy-six, and he has left her no heritage save
his illustrious name, his virtues, and his poverty." It is pleasant to
learn that this request was conceded to by the Convention. The French,
to their honour be it said, are ever ready to pay tribute to genius.

So sad, so dark, so gloomy, was the end of that gay, bright spirit,
Italy's greatest and most prolific comic author. To sum up his merits
in a few words is no easy task. It is doubtful whether we should rank
him among the geniuses of the world. On the plea of intelligence he
certainly cannot claim this rank; his intellectual perceptions might
even be called mediocre, as his Memoirs amply prove, but he had a gift,
a certain knack of catching the exterior qualities of character and
reproducing them in a skilful and amusing mode upon the boards. His art
is not of the closet kind. What he put down he had seen, not elaborated
from out his brain, and his own genial temperament gave it all an
amiable impress. The turning-point of his comedies is always the
characters of his personages. His plays are founded on that rather than
on the artifice of a plot, which, as compared to the former, was held by
him as of secondary importance. He distinguished between the comedy of
plot and the comedy of character, and imposed the latter on the former,
which he held the easier of the two. His mode was in direct contrast
to that of the Spanish dramatists, then held in great vogue, who were
masters at spinning plots, but whose characters were usually mere
conventional types. In Goldoni, action results in most part as a
consequence of the individuality of the personages depicted, and his
intrigue is directed and led with the purpose that this may develop
itself, more especially in the protagonist. Herein consists his great
claim to being a theatrical reformer. What is to-day a commonplace was
then a novelty. We moderns study character almost to exaggeration. In
earlier drama it was ignored, and complicated plot absorbed its place.
It was on this that Goldoni prided himself, and justly. It was he who
first invented the Commedia del Carattere. Yet another of Goldoni's
merits was his rare skill in handling many personages at the same time,
without sacrificing their individuality or hindering the clear and rapid
progress of the scene. This gift is specially manifest in "The Fan."

Roughly speaking, we may perhaps divide Goldoni's plays into three
classes: Those that deal with Italian personages, and which are written
in pure Italian, among which may be comprised those written in Martellian
verse; those, including the largest number, which are written partly in
Italian and partly in dialect; and finally, those written entirely in
Venetian dialect, which are the fewest, eleven in all. From this it will
be seen how unjust is the criticism of those who would look on Goldoni
as merely a writer of comedies in a local dialect. It is this admixture
of dialect, however,--and a racy, good-humoured, and amiable dialect it
is, that Venetian,--which renders Goldoni's works so difficult, indeed
impossible, to translate, especially into English, where dialects such
as the Italian, which form quite distinct languages, are unknown.
Happily, for we are thus saved much confusion of tongues, and we hence
know no such schism between written and spoken language such as exists
in Italy. Even in translation, however, much as Goldoni's plays suffer,
their life and movement, their excellent dramatic action, and their
marvellous play of character, are not lost. To understand, however, how
eminently they are fitted for the boards, it is needful to see them
acted. Those who have witnessed either Ristori, or her younger and more
modern rival, Eleonora Duse, in "Pamela" or "La Locandiera," will not
easily forget the dramatic treat. Goethe in his Italian journey, while
at Venice relates how he witnessed a performance of "Le Barufe Chiozote,"
and how immensely he was struck with the stage knowledge possessed by
Goldoni, and with his marvellous truth to the life that surged around
him. "This author," writes Goethe, "merits great praise, who out of
nothing at all has constructed an agreeable pastime." It has been
objected by foreign critics that Goldoni's dialogue is sometimes a
little dull and tame. Charles Lever, for example, could never be brought
to find Goldoni amusing. It is, however, more than probable that a very
accurate acquaintance with Italian is required to appreciate to the
full the manner in which the plays are written, the way in which each
person's conversation is made to fit his or her character. "La Donna di
Garbo" (the title may be rendered as "A Woman of Tact") is a case in
point. This young person seizes on the peculiar hobby or weakness of the
people around her, and plays on it in her talk. Desirous, for weighty
reasons, of becoming the wife of the young son of a great family, this
"woman of tact" gets herself hired as a chambermaid in the household,
and so pleases every member of it that all are in the end glad to assist
her in gaining her cause. The extreme simplicity of Goldoni's plots
is truly astonishing. None but a true adept in human nature and stage
artifice could hold audiences, as he does, spell-bound with interest
over such everyday occurrences as he selects. His comedies recall one of
Louis Chardon's articles in Balzac's "Grand Homme de Province à Paris,"
beginning, "_On entre, on sort, on se promène._" People go and come,
talk and laugh, get up and sit down, and the story grows meanwhile so
intensely interesting, that for the moment there seems nothing else in
the world worthy of attention. And the secret of this? It lies in one
word: Sympathy. Goldoni himself felt with his personages, and therefore
his hearers must do the same.

Goldoni in his Memoirs gives no account of the production of "The
Fan." It was written and first brought out in Paris, and soon became
universally popular, especially in Venice. "The Curious Mishap" was
founded on an episode of real life which happened in Holland, and was
communicated to Goldoni as a good subject for a play. The _dénouement_
is the same as in the real story, the details only are slightly altered.
The intrigue is amusing, plausible, and happily conceived. The scene in
which Monsieur Philibert endeavours to overcome the scruples of De la
Cotterie and gives him his purse, is inimitable. Indeed, it is worthy of
Molière; for if it has not his drollery and peculiar turn of expression,
neither has it his exaggeration. There is no farce, nothing beyond what
the situation of the parties renders natural. "The Beneficent Bear" was
first written in French, and brought out at the time of the _fêtes_ in
honour of the marriage of Marie Antoinette and the Dauphin, afterwards
Louis XVI. Played first in the city, and then before the court at
Fontainebleau, it was immensely successful in both cases. For this play
the writer received one hundred and fifty louis d'or. The published
edition also brought him much money.

It was certainly a rare honour for a foreigner to have a play
represented with such success in the fastidious French capital and in
the language of Molière. He followed it with "L'Avaro Fastoso" ("The
Ostentatious Miser"), also written in French. The fate of this drama was
less happy, owing, however, to a mere accident, for which Goldoni
was in no wise responsible. Nevertheless, he would not allow it to be
represented a second time. He seems to have been discontented with it
as a dramatic work, though it has qualities which bring it nearer to
the modern French _comédie de société_ than perhaps any other play he
has left behind him. "It was born under an evil constellation," writes
Goldoni, "and every one knows how fatal a sentence that is, especially
in theatrical affairs." "The Father of the Family" is, according to
Goldoni's own opinion, one of his best comedies; but, as he considers
himself obliged to abide by the decision of the public, he can, he says,
only place it in the second rank. It is intended to show the superiority
of a domestic training for girls over a conventual one. "The aunt, to
whom one of the daughters is consigned, figures allegorically as the
convent," says the author, "that word being forbidden to be pronounced
on the Italian stage." "Action and reaction are equal," says the axiom;
and much, if not all, of the present irreverent attitude of Italians
towards religious matters must be attributed to the excessive rigour,
petty and despicable detail, of the regulations in vogue under their
former priestly and priest-ridden rulers in these respects.

Goldoni, during his residence in Paris, had an amusing colloquy with
Diderot, who was furious at an accusation made that he had plagiarised
from Goldoni in his own play, "Le Père de Famille,"--an absurd idea, as
there is no resemblance, save in name, between the two. It was from the
_Larmoyant_ plays of Diderot and his school, which reflected the false
sentimental tone of the day both in France and Germany, that Goldoni had
liberated his countrymen, quite as much as from the pseudo-classical
plays to which their own land had given birth. Diderot did not perceive
this, and in his fury wrote a slashing criticism of all the Italian's
plays, stigmatising them as "Farces in three Acts." Goldoni, who, with
all his sweetness of temper, was perfectly fearless, simply called on
Diderot, and asked him what cause for spite he had against him and his
works. Diderot replied that some of his compositions had done him much
harm. Duni, an Italian musician, who had introduced them to each other,
at this point interposed, saying that they should follow the advice of
Tasso,--

 "Ogni trista memoria ormai si taccia
  E pognansi in oblio le andate cose,"

which may be freely rendered as "Let bygones be bygones." Diderot, who
understood Italian well, accepted the suggestion, and the two parted
friends. It is an anecdote creditable to all parties, and not least to
the two Italians.

It is a pity that Goldoni's Memoirs, from which the above sketch of his
life is derived, were written in French instead of Italian, and with
regard to a French rather than an Italian public. Had he written in
his own language and for his own people, he might have produced a work
worthy to rank beside the wondrous tale of Cellini, though of course
of a very opposite character. As it is, the narrative is little known,
though it has been translated into Italian and issued in cheap form.

Such, briefly, the Italian dramatist, whose best works in substance are
the continuation of the ancient plays of Menander and Terence, imitated
by the Italians in the sixteenth century, but allowed to degenerate, and
then again renovated and carried to perfection by Molière in France and
by himself in Italy.



 A CURIOUS MISHAP

 (_UN CURIOSO ACCIDENTE_)

 A COMEDY IN THREE ACTS


 DRAMATIS PERSONÆ

  PHILIBERT,      _a rich Dutch merchant._
  GIANNINA,       _his daughter._
  RICCARDO,       _a broker._
  COSTANZA,       _his daughter._
  DE LA COTTERIE, _a French lieutenant._
  MARIANNA,       _Mademoiselle Giannina's servant._
  GASCOIGNE,      _De la Cotterie's servant._

 _The Scene is at the Hague, in the house of_ PHILIBERT.



A CURIOUS MISHAP.



ACT I.


SCENE I.--Gascoigne, _packing his master's trunk._

_Enter_ Marianna.

_Mar._ May I wish good-morning to Monsieur Gascoigne?

_Gas._ Yes, my sweet Marianna, I thank you for your good-morning, but
good-night would be more agreeable to me from your lips.

_Mar._ From what I see, I should rather wish you a pleasant journey.

_Gas._ Oh, my precious jewel, such a melancholy departure must be
followed by a most doleful journey!

_Mar._ Then you are sorry to go?

_Gas._ How can you doubt it? After having enjoyed your delightful
society for six months, can I leave you without the deepest sorrow?

_Mar._ And who forces you to do what is so disagreeable?

_Gas._ Do you not know? My master.

_Mar._ Masters are not wanting at the Hague, and you can easily find one
who will give you better wages than a poor French officer, a prisoner of
war, and a man in every way roughly used by fortune.

_Gas._ Pardon me, such language does not become so good a girl as you
are. I have for many years had the honour of serving my excellent
master; his father, I may say, recommended me to him; I have attended
him in the war, and have not shunned danger to show my fidelity. He is
poor, but never man had a better heart. Were he promoted, I am sure I
should share his good fortune. Would you desire me to abandon him, and
let him return to France without me?

_Mar._ You speak like the worthy fellow you are; but I cannot conceal my
affection for you.

_Gas._ Dear Marianna, I am as much distressed as you are, but I hope to
see you again, and then to be able to say, Here I am, I can support you,
and, if you wish it, I am yours.

_Mar._ Heaven grant it! But why is the Lieutenant in such haste to
depart? My master is fond of his company, and I think the daughter not
less so than the father.

_Gas._ Too true; and that is his reason for going.

_Mar._ What! does he dislike people to be fond of him?

_Gas._ Ah, my Marianna, my poor master is desperately in love with your
young mistress; he leads the most wretched life in the world; he knows
their love for each other is increasing every day, and, as they can no
longer hide it, he fears for himself, and for Mademoiselle Giannina.
Your master is rich, and mine is poor. Monsieur Philibert has this only
daughter, and will not give her to a younger son, a soldier; one, in
short, who would have to live on her means. The Lieutenant, though poor,
is a man of honour; he respects the obligations of hospitality, of
friendship, of good faith; he fears he may be overcome and seduced by
love, and that he in turn may seduce his mistress from her duty. This
being the case, he does violence to his feelings, sacrifices love to
principle, and is resolved to go.

_Mar._ I admire his heroic conduct, but could not imitate it.

_Gas._ We must exert self-control.

_Mar._ You can do so more easily than I.

_Gas._ Indeed, a man's resolution is stronger than a woman's.

_Mar._ Say rather his affections are weaker.

_Gas._ So far as regards me, you are wrong.

_Mar._ I look at acts, not words.

_Gas._ What can I do to convince you of my love?

_Mar._ Monsieur Gascoigne does not need me for a teacher.

_Gas._ Do you wish me to marry you before I go?

_Mar._ That would, indeed, remove all doubt.

_Gas._ But then I should have to leave you.

_Mar._ And could you have the heart to abandon me?

_Gas._ Oh, you might go with me!

_Mar._ That would be much better.

_Gas._ To encounter so many hardships?

_Mar._ In truth, that would not suit me so well.

_Gas._ Should I remain here with you, would that satisfy you?

_Mar._ Perfectly.

_Gas._ For how long?

_Mar._ A year at least.

_Gas._ And after a year, would you let me go?

_Mar._ Yes, a year after our marriage, if you found it easy to do so.

_Gas._ I daresay you would let me go after a month.

_Mar._ I know better.

_Gas._ I am sure of it.

_Mar._ Let us try.

_Gas._ My master is coming; another time we will talk it over.

_Mar._ Ah, Monsieur Gascoigne, this conversation has unnerved me; do
what you please, I trust to you.--[_Aside._] Indeed, I know not what I
say.      [_Exit._

_Gas._ If I had not more sense than she, the folly would have been
committed before now.

_Enter_ De la Cotterie.

_De la Cot._ [_To himself._] Oh, Heaven! how wretched I am! how
unfortunate!

_Gas._ The trunk, sir, is packed.

_De la Cot._ Ah, Gascoigne! I am in despair.

_Gas._ Alas! what misfortune has happened?

_De la Cot._ The worst that could befall me.

_Gas._ Our troubles seldom come alone.

_De la Cot._ Mine is alone, but so great that I cannot support it.

_Gas._ I suppose you allude to your love?

_De la Cot._ Yes; but it has increased to such a degree that I have no
longer firmness enough to resist it.

_Gas._ What if the lady is unconcerned at your departure, and does not
love you as you imagine she does?

_De la Cot._ On the contrary, she is more affectionate, and more devoted
to me than ever. Oh, God! what will my despair drive me to? I saw her
weep.

_Gas._ Well, this is bad enough, but I thought it was something much
worse.

_De la Cot._ Inhuman! unfeeling! vile plebeian soul! can you imagine
anything worse in the world than the tears of a tender-hearted,
distressed lady, who accuses me of cruelty, who makes my resolution
waver, and puts to a severe trial my honour, my reputation, and my
friendship?

_Gas._ I am not conscious of deserving so harsh a reproof; this is a
just recompense for ten years' service.

_De la Cot._ Ah! put yourself in my place, and then, if you can,
condemn my transports. My wounds, my blood, my being a prisoner of
war, which prevents my promotion, the narrowness of my fortune, all
appear nothing in comparison with the love which inflames my soul. The
excellent principles of the young lady prevented her from assuring me
that I possessed her heart, and in consequence I resolved to leave her.
Ah! at the moment of taking leave, tears and sobs prevented her from
speaking, and they proved her love was equal to mine. My wretchedness
is extreme; my resolution seems barbarous; and now, frantic with love,
reason appears to desert me.

_Gas._ Take time, sir; remain here. Monsieur Philibert is the best man
in the world; in Holland they pride themselves on their hospitality, and
our host takes the greatest interest in you, and in your health. You are
not perfectly cured, and this is a good reason for not going.

_De la Cot._ I will think over what you say; very little would change my
determination.

_Gas._ With your leave I will at once unpack the trunk. [_Unpacking._]

_De la Cot._ [_Apart._] What will they say if I remain after having
taken my leave?

_Gas._ [_Apart._] Marianna will not be sorry for this.

_De la Cot._ [_Apart._] If I allege I am unwell, my sadness will make it
appear so.

_Gas._ [_Apart._] Nor indeed am I.

_De la Cot._ But the longer I remain, the more my love increases; and
what remedy can there be for it? what hope is there for my desperate
passion?

_Gas._ Time accomplishes wonders. [_Still unpacking._]

_De la Cot._ How much better to meet death at once than to live in such
torture!

_Gas._ My master will be obliged to me.

_De la Cot._ What shall I do?

_Gas._ The trunk is unpacked, sir.

_De la Cot._ Who told you to unpack it?

_Gas._ I said I was going to do it, and you did not forbid me.

_De la Cot._ Blockhead! put up the clothes. I shall go.

_Gas._ Well, whatever happens, let them remain now.

_De la Cot._ Do not make me angry.

_Gas._ I will put them up this evening.

_De la Cot._ Do it at once, and order the post-horses at twelve o'clock.

_Gas._ And the tears of Mademoiselle?

_De la Cot._ Wretch! have you the heart to torment me?

_Gas._ My poor master!

_De la Cot._ Indeed, I am an object of compassion.

_Gas._ Let us stay.

_De la Cot._ No.

_Gas._ Shall I pack up the things, then?

_De la Cot._ Yes.

_Gas._ How I pity him! [_Putting the clothes in the trunk._]

_De la Cot._ Can I leave this house without seeing her again?

_Gas._ While he continues in this state of mind, we shall never be done.

_De la Cot._ By leaving her, I fear my love will not leave me.

_Gas._ Alas, poor master! [_Looking out._] What do I see?

_De la Cot._ What is the matter? Why do you stop?

_Gas._ I am going on, sir.

_De la Cot._ You are confused?

_Gas._ A little.

_De la Cot._ What are you looking at?

_Gas._ Nothing.

_De la Cot._ Oh, Heaven! Mademoiselle Giannina! What an encounter! What
do you advise me to do?

_Gas._ I do not know; any course is dangerous.

_De la Cot._ Do not leave me.

_Gas._ I will not.

_De la Cot._ I will go away.

_Gas._ As you please.

_De la Cot._ I cannot.

_Gas._ I pity you.

_De la Cot._ Why does she stop? Why does she not come in?

_Gas._ She is afraid of disturbing you.

_De la Cot._ No; it is because you are here.

_Gas._ Then I will go. [_Going._]

_De la Cot._ Stay.

_Gas._ I will remain, then.

_De la Cot._ Have you the snuff-box? bring it.

_Gas._ I will go for it.     [_Exit._

_De la Cot._ Hear me! where are you going? Poor me! Gascoigne!
[_Calls._]

_Enter_ Giannina.

_Gian._ Are you in want of anything?

_De la Cot._ Excuse me, I want my servant.

_Gian._ If yours is not here, there are others. Do you want any one?

_De la Cot._ No, I thank you; my trunk must be packed up.

_Gian._ And are you disturbed in this manner about so trifling an affair?
do you fear there will not be time? Perhaps you are already expecting
horses? If the air of this country is not favourable to your health,
or rather if you are tired of us, I will myself hasten forward your
departure.

_De la Cot._ Mademoiselle, have compassion on me; do not add to my
suffering.

_Gian._ If I knew the cause of your suffering, instead of increasing, I
would endeavour to diminish it.

_De la Cot._ Seek the cause in yourself; there is no need for me to tell
you.

_Gian._ Then you go away on my account?

_De la Cot._ Yes, it is on your account that I am compelled to hasten my
departure.

_Gian._ Have I become so odious in your sight?

_De la Cot._ Oh, Heaven! you never appeared to me so lovely; your eyes
never beamed with so much tenderness.

_Gian._ Ah, were this true, you would not be so anxious to go.

_De la Cot._ If I loved only the beauty of your person, I should yield
to the strength of my attachment, which bids me stay with you; but I
love you for your virtues; I see your peace of mind is in danger, and in
return for the kindness you have shown me, I mean to sacrifice the
dearest hopes of my life.

_Gian._ I do not believe you have so little resolution as not to be able
to control your passion, and you do me injustice if you think I cannot
resist the inclinations of my heart. I own my love for you without a
blush: this virtuous love, I feel, will never leave me, and I cannot
persuade myself a man is less able than I am to sustain with glory the
conflict of his passions. I can love you without danger; it is happiness
enough for me to see you. You, on the contrary, by determining to
depart, go in quest of more easy enjoyment, and show that your obstinacy
prevails over your love. It is said hope always comforts the lover. He
who will not use the means proves he cares but little for the end, and,
if you go, you will still suffer the tortures of disappointed desire;
you will act either with culpable weakness, or unfeeling indifference.
Whatever cause hurries you away, go, proud of your resolution, but be at
least ashamed of your cruelty.

_De la Cot._ Ah, no, Mademoiselle! do not tax me with ingratitude, do
not accuse me of cruelty. I thought, by my departure, to do you an act
of kindness. If I am wrong, pardon me. If you command it, I will remain.

_Gian._ No; my commands shall never control your inclination; follow the
dictates of your own heart.

_De la Cot._ My heart tells me to remain.

_Gian._ Then obey it without fear, and, if your courage does not fail,
rely on my constancy.

_De la Cot._ What will your father say to my change of mind?

_Gian._ He is almost as much grieved at your departure as I am; he is
not satisfied about your recovery; and whether it is the consequence of
your wound, or of mental affliction, the surgeons do not believe your
health is re-established, and my father thinks it too soon for you to
undertake the journey. He loves and esteems you, and would be much
pleased at your remaining.

_De la Cot._ Has he any suspicion of my love for you? and that it is
mutual?

_Gian._ Our conduct has given him no cause for suspicion.

_De la Cot._ Can it be possible it has never passed through his mind
that I, an open, frank man, and a soldier, might be captivated by the
beauty and merit of his daughter?

_Gian._ A man like my father is not inclined to suspicion; the
cordiality with which he received you as a guest in his family, assures
him he may rely on the correct conduct of an officer of honour; and his
knowledge of my disposition makes him perfectly easy: he does not
deceive himself in regard to either of us. A tender passion has arisen
in our hearts, but we will neither depart from the laws of virtue, nor
violate his confidence.

_De la Cot._ Is there no hope his goodness may make him agree to our
marriage?

_Gian._ My hope is that in time it will; the obstacles do not arise from
motives of interest, but from the customs of our nation. Were you a
merchant of Holland, poor, with only moderate expectations, you would
immediately obtain my hand, and a hundred thousand florins for an
establishment; but an officer, who is a younger son, is considered among
us as a wretched match, and were my father inclined to give his consent,
he would incur the severe censure of his relations, his friends, and
indeed of the public.

_De la Cot._ But I cannot flatter myself with the prospect of being in a
better condition.

_Gian._ In the course of time circumstances may occur that may prove
favourable to our union.

_De la Cot._ Do you reckon among these the death of your father?

_Gian._ Heaven grant that the day may be distant! but then I should be
my own mistress.

_De la Cot._ And do you wish me to remain in your house as long as he
lives?

_Gian._ No, Lieutenant; stay here as long as your convenience permits,
but do not appear so anxious to go while there are good reasons for your
remaining. Our hopes do not depend on the death of my father, but I have
reasons to flatter myself our attachment in the end may be rewarded. Our
love we must not relinquish, but avail ourselves of every advantage that
occasion may offer.

_De la Cot._ Adorable Giannina, how much am I indebted to your
kindness! Dispose of me as you please; I am entirely yours; I will not
go unless you order me to do so. Persuade your father to bear with my
presence, and be certain that no place on earth is so agreeable to me as
this.

_Gian._ I have only one request to make.

_De la Cot._ May you not command?

_Gian._ Have regard for one defect which is common to lovers;--do not, I
entreat you, give me any cause for jealousy.

_De la Cot._ Am I capable of doing so?

_Gian._ I will tell you. Mademoiselle Costanza, in the last few days,
has visited our house more frequently than usual; her eyes look tenderly
on you, and she manifests rather too much sympathy for your misfortunes.
You are of a gentle disposition, and, to own the truth, I sometimes feel
uneasy.

_De la Cot._ Henceforth I will use the greatest caution, that she may
indulge no hopes, and that you may be at ease.

_Gian._ But so conduct yourself, that neither my jealousy nor your love
for me shall be remarked.

_De la Cot._ Ah, would to Heaven, Mademoiselle, our troubles were at an
end!

_Gian._ We must bear them, to deserve good fortune.

_De la Cot._ Yes, dearest, I bear all with this delightful hope. Permit
me now to inquire for my servant, to get him to countermand the horses.

_Gian._ Were they ordered?

_De la Cot._ Yes, indeed.

_Gian._ Unkind one!

_De la Cot._ Pardon me.

_Gian._ Let the order be countermanded before my father knows it.

_De la Cot._ My hope and my comfort! may Heaven be propitious to our
wishes, and reward true love and virtuous constancy.      [_Exit._

_Gian._ I never could have believed it possible for me to be brought to
such a step; that I should, of my own accord, use language and contrive
means to detain him. But unless I had done so, in a moment he would have
been gone, and I should have died immediately afterwards. But here comes
my father; I am sorry he finds me in our visitor's room. Thank Heaven,
the Lieutenant is gone out! All appearance of sorrow must vanish from my
face.

_Enter_ Philibert.

_Phil._ My daughter, what are you doing in this room?

_Gian._ Curiosity, sir, brought me here.

_Phil._ And what excites your curiosity?

_Gian._ To see a master who understands nothing of such things, and an
awkward servant endeavouring to pack up a trunk.

_Phil._ Do you know when he goes away?

_Gian._ He intended going this morning, but, in walking across the room,
his legs trembled so, that I fear he will not stand the journey.

_Phil._ I think his present disease has deeper roots than his wound.

_Gian._ Yet only one hurt has been discovered by the surgeons.

_Phil._ Oh, there are wounds which they know nothing of.

_Gian._ Every wound, however slight, makes its mark.

_Phil._ Eh! there are weapons that give an inward wound.

_Gian._ Without breaking the skin?

_Phil._ Certainly.

_Gian._ How do these wounds enter?

_Phil._ By the eyes, the ears, the touch.

_Gian._ You must mean by the percussion of the air.

_Phil._ Air! no, I mean flame.

_Gian._ Indeed, sir, I do not comprehend you.

_Phil._ You do not choose to comprehend me.

_Gian._ Do you think I have any mischievous design in my head?

_Phil._ No; I think you a good girl, wise, prudent, who knows what the
officer suffers from, and who, from a sense of propriety, appears not to
know it.

_Gian._ [_Aside._] Poor me! his manner of talking alarms me.

_Phil._ Giannina, you seem to me to blush.

_Gian._ What you say, sir, of necessity makes me blush. I now begin to
understand something of the mysterious wound of which you speak; but, be
it as it may, I know neither his disease nor the remedy.

_Phil._ My daughter, let us speak plainly. Monsieur de la Cotterie was
perfectly cured a month after he arrived here; he was apparently in
health, ate heartily, and began to recover his strength; he had a good
complexion, and was the delight of our table and our circle. By degrees
he grew sad, lost his appetite, became thin, and his gaiety was changed
to sighs. I am something of a philosopher, and suspect his disease is
more of the mind than of the body, and, to speak still more plainly, I
believe he is in love.

_Gian._ It may be as you say; but I think, were he in love, he would not
be leaving.

_Phil._ Here again my philosophy explains everything. Suppose, by
chance, the young lady of whom he is enamoured were rich, dependent on
her father, and could not encourage his hopes; would it be strange if
despair counselled him to leave her?

_Gian._ [_Aside._] He seems to know all.

_Phil._ And this tremor of the limbs, occurring just as he is to set
out, must, I should say, viewed philosophically, arise from the conflict
of two opposing passions.

_Gian._ [_Aside._] I could imprecate his philosophy!

_Phil._ In short, the benevolence of my character, hospitality, to which
my heart is much inclined, humanity itself, which causes me to desire
the good of my neighbours, all cause me to interest myself in him; but I
would not wish my daughter to have any share in this disease.

_Gian._ Ah, you make me laugh! Do I look thin and pale? am I melancholy?
What says your philosophy to the external signs of my countenance and of
my cheerfulness.

_Phil._ I am suspended between two opinions: you have either the power
of self-control, or are practising deception.

_Gian._ Have you ever found me capable of deception?

_Phil._ Never, and for that reason I cannot believe it now.

_Gian._ You have determined in your own mind that the officer is in
love, which is very likely; but I am not the only person he may be
suspected of loving.

_Phil._ As the Lieutenant leaves our house so seldom, it is fair to
infer his disease had its origin here.

_Gian._ There are many handsome young ladies who visit us, and one of
them may be his choice.

_Phil._ Very true; and, as you are with them, and do not want wit and
observation, you ought to know exactly how it is, and to relieve me from
all suspicion.

_Gian._ But if I have promised not to speak of it?

_Phil._ A father should be excepted from such a promise.

_Gian._ Yes, certainly, especially if silence can cause him any pain.

_Phil._ Come, then, my good girl, let us hear.--[_Aside._] I am sorry I
suspected her.

_Gian._ [_Aside._] I find myself obliged to deceive him.--Do you know,
sir, that poor Monsieur de la Cotterie loves to madness Mademoiselle
Costanza?

_Phil._ What! the daughter of Monsieur Riccardo?

_Gian._ The same.

_Phil._ And does the girl return his affection?

_Gian._ With the greatest possible ardour.

_Phil._ And what obstacle prevents the accomplishment of their wishes?

_Gian._ Why, the father of the girl will hardly consent to give her to
an officer who is not in a condition to maintain her reputably.

_Phil._ A curious obstacle, truly. And who is this Monsieur Riccardo,
that he has such rigorous maxims? He is nothing but a broker, sprung
from the mud, grown rich amid the execrations of the people. Does he
think to rank himself among the merchants of Holland? A marriage with an
officer would be an honour to his daughter, and he could not better
dispose of his ill-got wealth.

_Gian._ It seems, then, if you were a broker, you would not refuse him
your daughter?

_Phil._ Assuredly not.

_Gian._ But, being a Dutch merchant, the match does not suit you?

_Phil._ No, certainly not; not at all--you know it very well.

_Gian._ So I thought.

_Phil._ I must interest myself in behalf of Monsieur de la Cotterie.

_Gian._ In what manner, sir?

_Phil._ By persuading Monsieur Riccardo to give him his daughter.

_Gian._ I would not advise you to meddle in the affair.

_Phil._ Let us hear what the Lieutenant will say.

_Gian._ Yes, you should hear him first.--[_Aside._] I must give him
warning beforehand.

_Phil._ Do you think he will set out on his journey immediately?

_Gian._ I know he has already ordered his horses.

_Phil._ I will send directly to see.

_Gian._ I will go myself, sir.--[_Aside._] I must take care not to make
matters worse.      [_Exit._

_Phil._ [_Alone._] I feel I have done injustice to my daughter in
distrusting her; it is a happiness to me to be again certain of her
sincerity. There may be some concealed deception in her words, but I
will not believe her so artful; she is the daughter of a man who loves
truth, and never departs from it, even in jest. Everything she tells me
is quite reasonable: the officer may be in love with Mademoiselle
Costanza; the absurd pride of the father considers the match as far
below what his daughter is entitled to. I will, if possible, bring about
the marriage by my mediation. On the one hand, we have nobility reduced
in circumstances; on the other, a little accidental wealth; these fairly
balance one another, and each party will find the alliance advantageous.

_Enter_ Marianna.

_Mar._ Isn't my mistress here, sir?

_Phil._ She is just gone.

_Mar._ By your leave. [_Going._]

_Phil._ Why are you in such haste?

_Mar._ I am going to find my mistress.

_Phil._ Have you anything of consequence to say to her?

_Mar._ A lady has asked for her.

_Phil._ Who is she?

_Mar._ Mademoiselle Costanza.

_Phil._ Oh! is Mademoiselle Costanza here?

_Mar._ Yes; and I suspect, by her coming at this unusual hour, that it
is something extraordinary that brings her here.

_Phil._ I know what this extraordinary something is. [_Smiling._] Say to
Mademoiselle Costanza, that, before going to my daughter's room, I will
thank her to let me see her here.

_Mar._ You shall be obeyed, sir.

_Phil._ Is the officer in?

_Mar._ No, sir, he is gone out.

_Phil._ As soon as he returns, ask him to come to me in this room.

_Mar._ Yes, sir. Do you think he will go away to-day?

_Phil._ I am sure he will not.

_Mar._ Indeed, his health is so bad, that it would be dangerous for him
to proceed on his journey.

_Phil._ He shall remain with us, and he shall get well.

_Mar._ My dear master, you alone have the power of restoring him to
health.

_Phil._ I? How! do you know what is the Lieutenant's disease?

_Mar._ I know it; but do you, sir?

_Phil._ I know everything.

_Mar._ Who told you?

_Phil._ My daughter.

_Mar._ Indeed! [_With an expression of surprise._]

_Phil._ Why are you surprised? Would not my daughter be wrong to conceal
the truth from her father?

_Mar._ Certainly; she has acted most wisely.

_Phil._ Now we can find the remedy.

_Mar._ In truth, it is an honourable love.

_Phil._ Most honourable.

_Mar._ The Lieutenant is an excellent young man.

_Phil._ Most excellent.

_Mar._ It is his only misfortune that he is not rich.

_Phil._ A handsome fortune with his wife would indeed make his situation
more comfortable.

_Mar._ If the father is satisfied, no one has a right to complain.

_Phil._ A father with an only child, when he finds an opportunity of
marrying her respectably, ought to be pleased to avail himself of it.

_Mar._ May God bless you! these are sentiments worthy of so good a man.
I am delighted both for the officer and the young lady.--[_Aside._] And
not less so for myself, as my beloved Gascoigne may now remain with me.
                                                                [_Exit._

_Enter_ Mademoiselle Costanza.

_Phil._ [_To himself._] Good actions deserve praise, and every person of
sense will approve of what I am doing.

_Cost._ Here I am, sir, at your commands.

_Phil._ Ah, Mademoiselle Costanza! it gives me great pleasure to see
you.

_Cost._ You are very kind.

_Phil._ I am gratified at your friendship for my daughter.

_Cost._ She deserves it, and I love her with all my heart.

_Phil._ Ah, do not say with all your heart!

_Cost._ Why not? are you not convinced I love her sincerely?

_Phil._ Sincerely, I believe, but not with all your heart.

_Cost._ Why should you doubt it?

_Phil._ Because, if you loved my daughter with all your heart, there
would be none of it left for any one else.

_Cost._ You make me laugh; and who should have a part of it?

_Phil._ Ah, Mademoiselle, we understand!

_Cost._ Indeed, I do not understand.

_Phil._ Now let us dismiss Lady Modesty, and introduce Lady Sincerity.

_Cost._ [_Aside._] I cannot discover what he is aiming at.

_Phil._ Tell me, have you come on purpose to visit my daughter?

_Cost._ Yes, sir.

_Phil._ No, Mademoiselle.

_Cost._ For what, then?

_Phil._ Know I am an astrologer. I am visited by a certain spirit that
tells me everything, and hence I have learnt this: Mademoiselle Costanza
has come not to visit those who stay, but those who go away.

_Cost._ [_Aside._] I suspect there is some truth in what the spirit
says.

_Phil._ What! are you puzzled how to answer?

_Cost._ I will answer you frankly: if I have come to show civility to
your guest, I do not perceive I deserve reproof.

_Phil._ Reproof! on the contrary, praise; acts of civility ought not to
be omitted--especially when dictated by a more tender feeling.

_Cost._ You seem to be in a humour for jesting this morning.

_Phil._ And you seem to be out of spirits; but I lay a wager I can cheer
you up.

_Cost._ Indeed?

_Phil._ Without fail.

_Cost._ And how?

_Phil._ With two words.

_Cost._ And what are those fine words?

_Phil._ You shall hear them. Come this way--a little nearer. The
Lieutenant is not going away. Does not your heart leap at this
unexpected news?

_Cost._ For mercy's sake! Monsieur Philibert, do you believe me in love?

_Phil._ Say no, if you can.

_Cost._ No; I can say it.

_Phil._ Swear to it.

_Cost._ Oh, I will not swear for such a trifle.

_Phil._ You wish to hide the truth from me, as if I had not the power of
serving you, or was unwilling to do so, and of serving the poor young
man too, who is so unhappy.

_Cost._ Unhappy, for what?

_Phil._ On account of you.

_Cost._ On account of me?

_Phil._ Yes, you; we are in the dark, so that his love for you is in a
manner hidden, and every one does not know that his despair sends him
away.

_Cost._ Despair for what?

_Phil._ Because your father, from pride and avarice, will not consent to
give you to him: this, my girl, is the whole affair.

_Cost._ It appears that you know more of it than I do.

_Phil._ You know, and do not choose to know. I make allowance for your
modesty; but when a gentleman speaks to you, when a man of my character
exerts himself in your behalf, you ought to lay aside modesty and open
your heart freely.

_Cost._ You take me so by surprise, I am embarrassed what answer to
make.

_Phil._ Let us end this conversation. Tell me, like an honest girl as
you are, do you not love Monsieur de la Cotterie?

_Cost._ You force me to own it.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] Thank Heaven! so my daughter spoke the truth.--And he
loves you with an equal affection.

_Cost._ Of that, sir, I know nothing.

_Phil._ If you do not know it, I tell you so; he loves you to perdition.

_Cost._ [_Aside._] Can it be possible? and he has never declared it to
me!

_Phil._ And I have undertaken to persuade your father.

_Cost._ But does my father know I am in love with the officer?

_Phil._ He certainly ought to know.

_Cost._ He has never mentioned it to me.

_Phil._ Oh, your father will soon come and talk with you on the subject.

_Cost._ He has never objected to my coming here, where I meet the
officer.

_Phil._ He knows that you are visiting in an honourable house; no
greater liberty would be allowed you here than is proper for a modest
young lady. In a word, are you willing that I should manage the affair?

_Cost._ Entirely willing.

_Phil._ Bravo! this is enough; and what would it avail you to deny with
your lips what your looks proclaim? the flame that burns in your heart
sparkles in your eyes.

_Cost._ You have a most penetrating glance.

_Phil._ Ah, here comes the officer.

_Cost._ By your leave, sir.

_Phil._ Where are you going?

_Cost._ To Mademoiselle Giannina.

_Phil._ Remain here, if you will.

_Cost._ Oh no, sir, excuse me--your servant.--[_Aside._] I am overjoyed!
I know not in what world I am!      [_Exit._

Philibert, _alone_.

_Phil._ How amusing these girls are! Boldness and modesty are mingled in
so strange a manner, that it is a pleasure to observe them. Here is an
instance of love to devotion, and if it succeeds it will be owing to my
daughter's intervention.

_Enter_ De la Cotterie.

_De la Cot._ They told me, sir, that you asked for me.

_Phil._ Have you seen Mademoiselle Giannina?

_De la Cot._ No, sir, I have not seen her.

_Phil._ I am sorry that you appear so melancholy.

_De la Cot._ One whose health is bad cannot be expected to look
cheerful.

_Phil._ Do you not know I am a physician, and have the skill to cure
you?

_De la Cot._ I did not know that you were skilled in the medical art.

_Phil._ Well, my friend, capacities often exist where they are not
suspected.

_De la Cot._ Why, then, have you not prescribed for me before now?

_Phil._ Because I did not sooner know the nature of your disease.

_De la Cot._ Do you think you know it now?

_Phil._ Yes, certainly--indubitably.

_De la Cot._ If you are learned in the medical art, sir, you know much
better than I do how fallacious and how little to be relied on are all
the symptoms that seem to indicate the causes of disease.

_Phil._ The indications of your disease are so infallible, that I am
confident there is no mistake, and on condition that you trust to my
friendship, you shall soon have reason to be content.

_De la Cot._ And by what process do you propose to cure me?

_Phil._ My first prescription shall be for you to abandon all intention
of going away, and to take the benefit of this air, which will speedily
restore you to health.

_De la Cot._ On the contrary, I fear this air is most injurious to me.

_Phil._ Do you not know that even from hemlock a most salutary medicine
is extracted?

_De la Cot._ I am not ignorant of the late discoveries, but your
allusion covers some mystery.

_Phil._ No, my friend; so far as mystery is concerned, each of us is now
acting his part; but let us speak without metaphor. Your disease arises
from love, and you think to find a remedy by going away, whereas it is
an act of mere desperation. You carry the arrow in your heart, and hope
to be relieved; but the same hand which placed it there must draw it
out.

_De la Cot._ Your discourse, sir, is altogether new to me.

_Phil._ Why pretend not to understand me! Speak to me as a friend who
loves you, and takes the same interest in you as if you were his son.
Consider: by dissembling you may destroy your happiness for ever. My
attachment to you arises from a knowledge of your merit, and from your
having spent several months with me; besides, I should be mortified for
you to have contracted in my house an unhappy passion; and therefore I
most zealously interfere in your favour, and am anxious to find a remedy
for you.

_De la Cot._ My dear friend, how have you discovered the origin of my
unhappiness?

_Phil._ Shall I say the truth?--my daughter revealed it to me.

_De la Cot._ Heavens! had she the courage to disclose it?

_Phil._ Yes, after a little persuasion she told me everything.

_De la Cot._ Oh, by the friendship you possess for me, have pity on my
love!

_Phil._ I have pity on you; I know what human frailty is at your age,
and the violence of passion.

_De la Cot._ I confess I ought not to have encouraged my affection, and
concealed it from such a friend.

_Phil._ This is the only complaint I have to make. You have not treated
me with that unreserved confidence which I think I was entitled to.

_De la Cot._ I had not the courage.

_Phil._ Well, Heaven be praised! There is yet time. I know the girl
loves you, for she told me so herself.

_De la Cot._ And what do you say to it, sir?

_Phil._ I approve of the marriage.

_De la Cot._ You overwhelm me with joy.

_Phil._ You see I am the good physician who understands the disease and
knows the remedy.

_De la Cot._ I can hardly feel assured of this great happiness.

_Phil._ Why not?

_De la Cot._ I thought the narrowness of my fortune an insuperable
obstacle.

_Phil._ Family and merit on your side are equal to a rich dower on the
other.

_De la Cot._ Your kindness to me is unequalled.

_Phil._ But my kindness has yet done nothing; now it shall be my
endeavour to provide for your happiness.

_De la Cot._ This will depend entirely on your own good heart.

_Phil._ We must exert ourselves to overcome the difficulties.

_De la Cot._ And what are the difficulties?

_Phil._ The consent of the father of the girl.

_De la Cot._ My friend, it seems you are making game of me; from the way
you spoke just now, I thought all obstacles were removed.

_Phil._ But I have not mentioned it to him yet.

_De la Cot._ To whom have you not mentioned it?

_Phil._ To the father of the girl.

_De la Cot._ Oh, Heavens! and who is the father of the girl?

_Phil._ Good! You do not know him? you do not know the father of
Mademoiselle Costanza, that horrid savage, Monsieur Riccardo, who has
grown rich by usury, and has no idol but his money?

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] I shall go mad! Thus end all my hopes.

_Phil._ Riccardo does not visit at my house, you never go out, so it is
not surprising you do not know him.

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] Ah! I am obliged to dissemble, not to disclose
my love at a moment so unpropitious.

_Phil._ But how did you know the father would not give you his daughter
if you did not know him?

_De la Cot._ I had reasons for thinking so, and for my despair there is
no remedy.

_Phil._ Am I not your physician?

_De la Cot._ All your attention will be unavailing.

_Phil._ Leave it to me; I will go immediately to find Monsieur Riccardo,
and I flatter myself--

_De la Cot._ No, sir, do not.

_Phil._ It seems the prospect of success turns your head; just now you
were all joy. Whence arises this sudden change?

_De la Cot._ I am certain it will end unfortunately.

_Phil._ Such despondency is unworthy of you, and unjust to me.

_De la Cot._ Do not add to my unhappiness by your interference.

_Phil._ Are you afraid the father will be obstinate? let me try.

_De la Cot._ By no means; I am altogether opposed to it.

_Phil._ And I am altogether for it, and will speak to him.

_De la Cot._ I shall leave the Hague; I shall go in a few minutes.

_Phil._ You will not treat me with so much incivility.

_Enter_ Giannina.

_Gian._ What, sirs, is the cause of this altercation?

_Phil._ Monsieur de la Cotterie acts towards me with a degree of
ingratitude that is anything but agreeable.

_Gian._ Is it possible he can be capable of this?

_De la Cot._ Ah, Mademoiselle, I am a most unfortunate man!

_Phil._ I may say he does not know his own mind. He confessed his
passion, and, when I offered to assist him, fell into transports; and
then, when I promised to obtain the hand of Mademoiselle Costanza for
him, he got furious, and threatened to go away.

_Gian._ I am surprised the Lieutenant should still speak of leaving us.

_De la Cot._ Would you have me stay and entertain such hopes?
[_Ironically._]

_Gian._ I would have you stay, and entertain a mistress who loves you.
With my father's permission, you shall hear what Mademoiselle Costanza
has just said of you.

_Phil._ May I not hear it?

_Gian._ Impossible; my friend directed me to tell it to him alone.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] I shall hear all from my daughter when we are by
ourselves.

_Gian._ [_Apart to_ De la Cotterie.] I have contrived to make my father
believe you were in love with Mademoiselle Costanza. As you love me,
say it is so, and talk no more of going away.

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] Oh, the stratagems of love!

_Phil._ Will you still persist in your obstinacy?

_De la Cot._ Ah, no, sir; I rely on your kindness.

_Phil._ Do you desire me to speak to Monsieur Riccardo?

_De la Cot._ Do what you please.

_Phil._ Are you still anxious to go?

_De la Cot._ I promise you to remain here.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] What magic words have wrought this change? I am
curious to hear them.

_De la Cot._ Pardon, I pray you, my strange conduct.

_Phil._ Willingly; the actions of lovers are often extravagant. Tell me,
Giannina, is Mademoiselle Costanza gone?

_Gian._ No, sir; she is waiting in my room.

_Phil._ Go, Lieutenant, and keep her company for a little while.

_De la Cot._ I would rather not, sir.

_Gian._ Go, go.--[_Aside to_ De la Cotterie.] Listen! Wait for me in the
antechamber; I will be there presently.

_De la Cot._ I shall obey you, sir.       [_Exit._

_Phil._ [_Aside._] The power of words!--Well, what did you say to him?

_Gian._ I told him to go to his mistress; that she expected him.

_Phil._ But the first time you spoke to him?

_Gian._ I said that Mademoiselle Costanza had hope she could persuade
her father.

_Phil._ Why did you not tell him so openly, before me?

_Gian._ Things said in private often make the greatest impression.

_Phil._ Perhaps so.

_Gian._ By your leave.    [_Going._]

_Phil._ Where are you going?

_Gian._ To encourage this timid gentleman.

_Phil._ Yes, by all means; I recommend him to you.

_Gian._ Doubt not I shall take good care of him.    [_Exit._

_Phil._ My girl has a good heart, and mine is like
hers.

END OF THE FIRST ACT.



ACT II.


SCENE I.--_The chamber of_ Mademoiselle Giannina.

Mademoiselle Costanza, _alone, seated_.

_Cost._ Who would ever have thought Monsieur de la Cotterie had such a
liking for me? It is true he has always treated me with politeness, and
been ready to converse with me; but I cannot say I have observed any
great signs of love. Now I have always loved him, but have not had
courage enough to show it. I flatter myself he too loves me, and for the
same reason conceals it; in truth a modest officer is a strange animal,
and it is hard to believe in its existence. Monsieur Philibert must
have reasons for what he says, and I am well pleased to think him not
mistaken, especially as I have no evidence that he is so. Here comes
my handsome soldier--but Mademoiselle Giannina is with him; she never
permits us to be alone together for a moment. I have some suspicion she
is my rival.

_Enter_ Mademoiselle Giannina _and_ De la Cotterie.

_Gian._ Keep your seat, Mademoiselle; excuse me for having left you
alone for a little while. I know you will be kind enough to forgive me,
and I bring some one with me, who, I am sure, will secure your pardon.

_Cost._ Though surely in your own house and with a real friend such
ceremony is needless, your company is always agreeable. I desire you
will put yourself to no inconvenience.

_Gian._ Do you hear, Lieutenant? You see we Dutch are not without wit.

_De la Cot._ This is not the first time I have observed it.

_Cost._ Monsieur de la Cotterie is in a house that does honour to our
country, and if he admires ladies of wit, he need not go out of it.

_Gian._ You are too polite, Mademoiselle.

_Cost._ I simply do justice to merit.

_Gian._ Let us not dispute about our merits, but rather leave it to the
Lieutenant to decide.

_De la Cot._ If you wish a decision, you must choose a better judge.

_Gian._ A partial one, indeed, cannot be a good judge.

_Cost._ And to say nothing of partiality, he feels under obligations to
you as the mistress of the house.

_Gian._ Oh, in France, the preference is always given to the guest: is
it not so, Lieutenant?

_De la Cot._ It is no less the custom in Holland, than in my own
country.

_Cost._ That is to say, the greater the merit, the greater the
distinction with which they are treated.

_Gian._ On that principle you would be treated with the most
distinction.

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] I shall get into trouble if this conversation
continues.

_Cost._ By your leave, Mademoiselle.

_Gian._ Why do you leave us so soon?

_Cost._ I am engaged to my aunt; I promised to dine with her to-day, and
it is not amiss to go early.

_Gian._ Oh, it is too early; your aunt is old, and you will perhaps
still find her in bed.

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] Do not prevent her from going.

_Gian._ He begs me to detain you.

_Cost._ I am overpowered by your politeness. [_Curtseying._]--[_Aside._]
Her amusement is to torment me.

_Gian._ [_To_ Costanza.] What say you, my friend, have I not a good
heart?

_Cost._ I must praise your kindness to me.

_Gian._ [_To_ De la Cotterie.] And do you, too, own you are under
obligations to me?

_De la Cot._ Yes, certainly, I have reason to be grateful to you; you,
who know my feelings, must be conscious of the great favour you do me.
[_Ironically._]

_Gian._ [_To_ Costanza.] You hear him? he is delighted.

_Cost._ My dear friend, as you have such a regard for me, and take so
much interest in him, allow me to speak freely to you. Your worthy
father has told me a piece of news that overwhelms me with joy and
surprise. If all he has told me be true, I pray you, Monsieur De la
Cotterie, to confirm it.

_Gian._ This is just what I anticipated; but as your conversation cannot
be brief, and your aunt expects you, had you not better defer it to
another opportunity?

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] Heaven grant I may not be still more involved!

_Cost._ A few words are all I ask.

_Gian._ Come, Lieutenant, take courage, and say all in a few words.

_De la Cot._ Indeed, I have not the courage.

_Gian._ No, my dear, it is impossible to express in a few words the
infinite things he has to say to you.

_Cost._ It will be enough if he says but one word.

_Gian._ And what is that?

_Cost._ That he really loves me.

_Gian._ Pardon me; the Lieutenant is too polite to speak of love to one
young lady in the presence of another; but I can, by going away, give
you an opportunity of conversing together, and so remove all obstacles
to an explanation. [_Going._]

_De la Cot._ Stay, Mademoiselle!

_Cost._ Yes, and mortify me no more. Be assured I should never have
spoken with the boldness I have done, had you not led me to do so. I do
not comprehend your meaning; there is an inconsistency in your conduct;
but, be it as it may, time will bring the truth to light. And now permit
me to take leave.

_Gian._ My dear friend, pardon my inattention to you on first coming.
You are mistress to go or remain as you please.

_Enter_ Philibert.

_Phil._ What delightful company! But why are you on your feet? why do
you not sit down?

_Gian._ Costanza is just going.

_Phil._ [_To_ Costanza.] Why so soon?

_Gian._ Her aunt expects her.

_Phil._ No, my dear young lady, do me the favour to remain; we may want
you, and in affairs of this kind moments are often precious. I have sent
to your father, to say I desire to have a conversation with him; I am
certain he will come. We will have a private interview, and, however
little he may be inclined to give his consent, I shall press him so
as not to leave him time to repent; if we agree, I will call you both
immediately into my room.

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] Our situation is becoming more critical every
moment.

_Phil._ [_To_ De la Cotterie.] You seem to me to be agitated.

_Gian._ It is the excess of joy.

_Phil._ [_To_ Costanza.] And what effect has hope on you?

_Cost._ I have more fear than hope.

_Phil._ Rely on me. For the present, be content to remain here; and, as
we do not know exactly when your father will come, stay to dinner with
us.

_Gian._ She cannot stay, sir.

_Phil._ Why not?

_Gian._ Because she promised her aunt to dine with her to-day.

_Cost._ [_Aside._] I see she does not wish me to remain.

_Phil._ The aunt who expects you is your father's sister?

_Cost._ Yes, sir.

_Phil._ I know her; she is my particular friend. Leave it to me. I will
get you released from the engagement, and, as soon as Monsieur Riccardo
comes here, I will send word to her where you are, and she will be
satisfied.

_Cost._ I am grateful, Monsieur Philibert, for your great kindness;
permit me for a moment to see my aunt, who is not well. I will soon
return, and avail myself of your politeness.

_Phil._ Very well; come back quickly.

_Cost._ Good morning to you; you will soon see me again.

_Gian._ Good-bye.--[_Aside._] If she does not come back I shall not
break my heart.

_Phil._ Adieu, my dear.--One moment. Lieutenant, for a man who has been
in the wars, you do not seem quite as much at your ease as you should
be.

_Cost._ Why do you say so, sir?

_Phil._ Because you are letting Mademoiselle go away without taking
notice of her--without one word of civility.

_Cost._ Indeed, he has said but few.

_De la Cot._ [_To_ Philibert.] I ought not to abuse the privilege you
have given me.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] I understand.--Giannina, a word with you.

_Gian._ Yes, sir?

_Phil._ [_Aside to_ Giannina.] It is not right for a young lady to
thrust herself between two lovers in this manner; on account of you,
they cannot speak two words to each other.

_Gian._ [_To_ Philibert.] They spoke in whispers together.

_Phil._ [_To_ De la Cotterie.] Well, if you have anything to say to
her--

_De la Cot._ There will be time enough, sir.

_Phil._ [_To_ Giannina.] Attend to me.

_Cost._ [_Aside to_ De la Cotterie.] At least assure me of your
affection.

_De la Cot._ [_Aside to_ Costanza.] Excuse me, Mademoiselle. [Giannina
_coughs aloud_.] [_Aside._] I am exceedingly embarrassed.

_Cost._ [_Loud enough for all to hear._] Is it possible you will not say
once that you love me?

_Gian._ [_To_ Costanza, _with asperity_.] How many times do you want him
to tell you so? Did he not say so before me?

_Phil._ [_To_ Giannina, _with asperity_.] No meddling, I tell you.

_Cost._ Do not disturb yourself, Mademoiselle; to see clearly here is
not easy. I wish you all a good morning. Adieu, Lieutenant.--[_Aside._]
He is worried by this troublesome girl.      [_Exit._

_Phil._ [_To_ Giannina.] I am not pleased with your ways.

_Gian._ My dear father, let me amuse myself a little. I, who am so free
from love, like sometimes to vex these lovers. As it was I who
discovered their passion for each other, they are under obligations to
me for their approaching happiness; hence they may pardon my jokes.

_Phil._ You girls are the devil! but the time will come, my daughter,
when you will know how trying to lovers are these little teasing ways.
You are now old enough, and the first good offer that presents itself,
be prepared to accept it. What says Monsieur de la Cotterie! Am I not
right?

_De la Cot._ Quite right.

_Gian._ Monsieur Quite Right, that is for me to decide, not for you.

_Phil._ Are you averse to being married?

_Gian._ If I could find a husband to my taste--

_Phil._ I shall be pleased if he is to your taste--to mine he certainly
must be; the fortune I intend for you will make you equal to the best
match in Holland.

_Gian._ The father of Mademoiselle Costanza says the same.

_Phil._ Do you compare Monsieur Riccardo with me? or do you compare
yourself to the daughter of a broker? You vex me when you talk so. I
will hear no more.

_Gian._ But I do not say--

_Phil._ I'll hear no more.    [_Exit._

_De la Cot._ Ah, my Giannina, our affairs are worse than ever. How much
better not to have taken such a step!

_Gian._ Who could have foreseen my father would involve himself as he
has done?

_De la Cot._ I see no remedy but my immediate departure.

_Gian._ Such weakness I did not expect.

_De la Cot._ Then I may be forced to marry Mademoiselle Costanza.

_Gian._ Do so, if you have the heart.

_De la Cot._ Or shall the whole mystery be explained?

_Gian._ It would be a most unhandsome act, to expose me to the shame of
having contrived such a deception.

_De la Cot._ Then do you suggest some plan.

_Gian._ All I can say is this: think no more of going away. As to
marrying Mademoiselle Costanza, it is absurd; to discover our plot
preposterous. Resolve, then, on some plan to secure at the same time our
love, our reputation, and our happiness.      [_Exit._

_De la Cot._ Excellent advice! but among so many things not to be done,
where shall we find what is to be done? Alas! nothing remains but
absolute despair.      [_Exit._


SCENE II.--_Enter_ Monsieur Philibert, _alone_.

_Phil._ I can never believe Monsieur Riccardo refuses to come here; he
knows who I am, and that it is to his interest not to offend one who can
do him either good or harm. He must remember I lent him ten thousand
florins when he commenced business, but there are persons who easily
forget benefits, and regard neither friends nor relations, when they can
no longer make use of them.

_Enter_ Marianna.

_Mar._ If I do not interrupt you, Monsieur Philibert,
I would say something to you.

_Phil._ I am now at leisure.

_Mar._ I would speak to you of an affair of my own.

_Phil._ Well, be quick, for I am expecting company.

_Mar._ I will tell you in two words: with your permission, I would get
married.

_Phil._ Get married, then! much good may it do you!

_Mar._ But this is not all, sir. I am a poor girl, and have now lived
ten years in your family; with what attention and fidelity I have served
you, you know. I ask you, not for the value of the thing, but as a mark
of your favour, to make me a small present.

_Phil._ Well, I will do something for you as a recompense for your
faithful services. Have you found a husband?

_Mar._ Yes, sir.

_Phil._ Bravo! I am glad of it. And you tell me of it after it is all
arranged?

_Mar._ Pardon me, sir; I should not do so now, but accident has led me
to an engagement with a young man of small means, which makes me come to
you.

_Phil._ I will lay a wager it is the servant of the officer with whom
you are in love.

_Mar._ You are right, sir.

_Phil._ And are you willing to travel all over the world with him?

_Mar._ I am in hopes he will live here, if his master marries, as they
say--

_Phil._ Yes, it is likely he will get married.

_Mar._ No one should know better than you, sir.

_Phil._ I am most anxious to see him happy.

_Mar._ As that is the case, sir, I consider it as though it were already
done.

_Phil._ There may be difficulties in the way, but I hope to overcome
them.

_Mar._ There are none, I think, on the part of the young lady.

_Phil._ No; she is much in love with him.

_Mar._ That is evident.

_Phil._ And when do you propose to be married?

_Mar._ If it please you, sir, at the same time my young lady is married.

_Phil._ What young lady?

_Mar._ My mistress, your daughter.

_Phil._ If you wait till then, you will have time enough.

_Mar._ Do you think her marriage will be long delayed?

_Phil._ Good! Before talking of her marriage, the husband must be found.

_Mar._ Why, is there not a husband?

_Phil._ A husband! not that I know of.

_Mar._ You do not know?

_Phil._ Poor me! I know nothing of it. Tell me what you know, and do not
hide the truth.

_Mar._ You astonish me! Is she not to marry Monsieur de la Cotterie? Did
you not tell me so yourself, and that you were pleased at it?

_Phil._ Blockhead! Did you suppose I would give my daughter to a
soldier--the younger son of a poor family? to one who has not the means
of supporting her in the way she has been accustomed to from her birth?

_Mar._ Did you not say just now that Monsieur de la Cotterie was about
to be married, and that you were most anxious for his happiness?

_Phil._ To be sure I did.

_Mar._ And, pray, who is he to marry, if not Mademoiselle Giannina?

_Phil._ Blockhead! Are there no girls at the Hague but her?

_Mar._ He visits at no other house.

_Phil._ And does nobody come here?

_Mar._ I do not perceive that he pays attention to any one but my young
mistress.

_Phil._ Blockhead! Don't you know Mademoiselle Costanza?

_Mar._ A blockhead cannot know everything.

_Phil._ Has my daughter made you her confidant?

_Mar._ She always speaks of the officer with the greatest esteem, and
expresses much pity for him.

_Phil._ And did you believe her pity proceeded from love?

_Mar._ I did.

_Phil._ Blockhead!

_Mar._ I know, too, he wanted to go away, because he was in despair--

_Phil._ Well?

_Mar._ Fearing her father would not give his consent.

_Phil._ Excellent!

_Mar._ And are you not that father?

_Phil._ Are there no other fathers?

_Mar._ You gave me to understand they were to be married.

_Phil._ How absurd is your obstinacy!

_Mar._ I will venture my head I am right.

_Phil._ You should understand your mistress better, and respect her more
than to think so.

_Mar._ Indeed, it is an honourable love.

_Phil._ Begone directly!

_Mar._ I see no great harm in it.

_Phil._ Here comes some one--Monsieur Riccardo. Go quickly.

_Mar._ You are too rough, sir.

_Phil._ Blockhead!

_Mar._ We shall see who is the blockhead, I or--

_Phil._ You or I the blockhead?

_Mar._ I--or that man passing along the street.    [_Exit._

_Phil._ Impertinent! whether she gets married or not, she shall stay no
longer in my house. To have such an opinion of my daughter! Giannina is
not capable of it; no, not capable.

_Enter_ Monsieur Riccardo.

_Ric._ Your servant, Monsieur Philibert.

_Phil._ Good day to you, Monsieur Riccardo. Excuse me if I have put you
to any inconvenience.

_Ric._ Have you any commands for me?

_Phil._ I wish to have some conversation with you. Pray be seated.

_Ric._ I can spare but a few moments.

_Phil._ Are you much engaged just now?

_Ric._ Yes, indeed; among other things, I am harassed by a number of
people about the case of the smugglers who have been arrested.

_Phil._ I have heard of it. Are these poor people still in prison?

_Ric._ Yes; and I wish they may remain there until their house is
utterly ruined.

_Phil._ And have you the heart to bear the tears of their children?

_Ric._ Had they not the heart to violate the laws of the customs--to
defraud the revenue? I wish I could catch them oftener; do you not know
that smugglers on conviction pay all costs?

_Phil._ [_Aside._] Oh! his vile employment.

_Ric._ Well, what have you to say to me?

_Phil._ Monsieur Riccardo, you have a daughter to marry.

_Ric._ Yes, and a plague to me she is.

_Phil._ Does her being in your house put you to any inconvenience?

_Ric._ No; but the thought of providing for her when she marries does.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] How contemptible!--If she wishes to marry, you must
provide for her.

_Ric._ I shall do so; I shall be obliged to do so; but on one of two
conditions: without a fortune, if she marries to please herself,--with
one, if to please me.

_Phil._ I have a proposal to make to you.

_Ric._ Let me hear it, but be quick.

_Phil._ Do you know a certain French officer who is a guest in my house?

_Ric._ Do you propose him for my daughter?

_Phil._ Say I did, would you have any objection?

_Ric._ An officer, and a Frenchman! He shall have my daughter neither
with nor without a fortune.

_Phil._ Are you, then, opposed to the French and the military?

_Ric._ Yes, to both equally; much more so if they are united in the same
person. I hate the French, because they are not friends to commerce and
industry, as we are; they care for nothing but suppers, the theatre, and
amusement. With soldiers I have no reason to be pleased; I know how much
I lose by them. They contend we contractors are obliged to maintain
their infantry--their horse; and when they are in quarters, they waste a
whole arsenal full of money.

_Phil._ The French officer of whom I speak is an honourable man; he has
no vice, and is moreover of a noble family.

_Ric._ Is he rich?

_Phil._ He is a younger son.

_Ric._ If he is not rich, I value but little his nobility, and still
less his profession.

_Phil._ My dear friend, let us speak confidentially. A man like you,
blessed with a large fortune, can never better employ fifty or sixty
thousand florins, than by bestowing them on his daughter, when she
marries so worthy a man.

_Ric._ On this occasion, I would not give ten livres.

_Phil._ And to whom will you give your daughter?

_Ric._ If I am to dispose of so large a sum of money, I wish to place it
in one of the best houses in Holland.

_Phil._ You will never do so.

_Ric._ I shall never do so?

_Phil._ No, never.

_Ric._ Why not?

_Phil._ Because the respectable houses in Holland have no occasion to
enrich themselves in this manner.

_Ric._ You esteem this French officer highly?

_Phil._ Most highly.

_Ric._ Why not then give him your own daughter?

_Phil._ Why not? Because--because I do not choose.

_Ric._ And I do not choose to give him mine.

_Phil._ There is some difference between you and me.

_Ric._ I do not perceive in what it consists.

_Phil._ We know very well how you began.

_Ric._ But we do not know how you will end.

_Phil._ Your language is too arrogant.

_Ric._ Were we not in your house, it should be stronger.

_Phil._ I will let you know who I am.

_Ric._ I am not afraid of you.

_Phil._ Go; we will speak of this again.

_Ric._ Yes, again.--[_Aside._] If he ever falls into my hands--if I
catch him in the least evasion of the revenue laws--I swear I will
destroy him.      [_Exit._

_Phil._ A rascal! a brute without civility! an impertinent fellow!

_Enter_ De la Cotterie.

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] Their conference, ending in an altercation,
makes me hope he has refused his daughter.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] I am not I, if I do not let him see--

_De la Cot._ Monsieur--

_Phil._ An ill-tempered, worthless--

_De la Cot._ Are these compliments intended for me, sir?

_Phil._ Pardon me; I am carried away by my anger.

_De la Cot._ Who has offended you?

_Phil._ That insolent fellow, Monsieur Riccardo.

_De la Cot._ And has he refused his consent to the marriage?

_Phil._ [_Aside._] I am sorry I must bring this new trouble on the poor
Lieutenant.

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] Heaven be praised! fortune at last aids me.

_Phil._ My friend, never give way to resentment--to impatience of
temper.

_De la Cot._ Tell me the truth; does he refuse his daughter?

_Phil._ A man in this world ought to be prepared for any event.

_De la Cot._ I am impatient to hear the truth.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] Ah! if I tell him, he will drop down dead.

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] This suspense is intolerable.

_Phil._ [_Aside_] Yet he must know.

_De la Cot._ By your leave, sir. [_Going._]

_Phil._ Stay a moment.--[_Aside._] If he goes, there is danger he will
destroy himself from despair.

_De la Cot._ Why not tell me at once what he said to you?

_Phil._ Control yourself. Do not give way to despair, because an
avaricious, presumptuous, ignorant father refuses to marry his daughter
respectably. There is a way to manage it in spite of him.

_De la Cot._ No, sir; when the father refuses, it is not proper for me
to persist.

_Phil._ Well, what do you mean to do?

_De la Cot._ To go far away, and to sacrifice my love to honour, duty,
and universal quiet.

_Phil._ And have you the heart to abandon a girl who loves you?--to
leave her a prey to despair?--soon to receive the sad intelligence of
her illness, perhaps of her death!

_De la Cot._ Ah, Monsieur Philibert, your words will kill me! if you
knew their force, you would be cautious how you used them.

_Phil._ My words will conduct you to joy, to peace, to happiness.

_De la Cot._ Ah, no! rather to sorrow and destruction.

_Phil._ It is strange that a man of spirit like you should be so easily
discouraged.

_De la Cot._ If you knew my case, you would not talk so.

_Phil._ I know it perfectly, but do not consider it desperate. The
girl loves you--you love her passionately. This will not be the first
marriage between young persons that has taken place without the consent
of parents.

_De la Cot._ Do you approve of my marrying the daughter without the
consent of the father?

_Phil._ Yes--in your case--considering the circumstances, I do approve
of it. If the father is rich, you are of a noble family. You do him
honour by the connection; he provides for your interest by a good dowry.

_De la Cot._ But, sir, how can I hope for any dowry when I marry his
daughter in this manner? The father, offended, will refuse her the least
support.

_Phil._ When it is done, it is done. He has but this only child; his
anger may last a few days, and then he must do what so many others have
done: he will receive you as his son-in-law, and perhaps make you master
of his house.

_De la Cot._ And may I hope for this?

_Phil._ Yes, if you have courage.

_De la Cot._ I do not want courage; the difficulty lies in the means.

_Phil._ There is no difficulty in the means. Hear my suggestions.
Mademoiselle Costanza must now be at her aunt's. Do what I tell you.
Give up your dinner to-day, as I shall do mine on your account. Go and
find her. If she loves you in earnest, persuade her to show her love
by her actions. If the aunt is favourable to your designs, ask her
protection, and then, if the girl consents, marry her.

_De la Cot._ And if the injured father should threaten to send me to
prison?

_Phil._ Carry her with you into France.

_De la Cot._ With what means? With what money?

_Phil._ Wait a moment. [_Goes and opens a bureau._]

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] Oh, Heavens! how unconscious is he that he is
encouraging me to an enterprise, of which the injury may fall on his own
head!

_Phil._ Take this. Here are a hundred guineas in gold, and four hundred
more in notes: these five hundred guineas will serve you for some time;
accept them from my friendship. I think I can make the father of the
girl return them to me.

_De la Cot._ Sir, I am full of confusion--

_Phil._ What confuses you? I am astonished at you! you want spirit; you
want courage. Go quickly, and do not lose a moment. In the meantime, I
will observe the movements of Monsieur Riccardo, and if there is any
danger of his surprising you, I will find persons to keep him away. Let
me know what happens, either in person or by note. My dear friend, you
seem already to have recovered your spirits. I rejoice for your sake.
May fortune be propitious to you!--[_Aside._] I am anxious to see
Monsieur Riccardo in a rage--in despair. [_Closes the bureau._]

_De la Cot._ [_Aside._] He gives me counsel, and money to carry it into
effect. What shall I resolve on? what plan shall I follow? Take fortune
on the tide; and he can blame no one but himself, who, contriving a
stratagem against another, falls into his own snare.      [_Exit._

Monsieur Philibert, _alone_.

_Phil._ In truth, I feel some remorse of conscience for the advice and
aid I have given. I remember, too, that I have a daughter, and I would
not have such an injury done to me. Nature tells us, and the law commands,
not to do to others what we should not wish done to us. But I am carried
along by several reasons; a certain gentleness of disposition inclining
me to hospitality, to friendship, makes me love the Lieutenant, and
take almost the same interest in him as if he were my son. The marriage
appears to me to be a suitable one, the opposition of Monsieur Riccardo
unjust, and his severity to his daughter tyranny. Add to all this the
uncivil treatment I have received from him, the desire to be revenged,
and the pleasure of seeing his pride humbled. Yes, if I lose the five
hundred guineas, I shall have the satisfaction of seeing my friend made
happy, and Monsieur Riccardo mortified.

_Enter_ Mademoiselle Costanza.

_Cost._ Here I am, sir.

_Phil._ [_Disturbed._] What brings you here?

_Cost._ Did you not send for me?

_Phil._ [_As before._] Have you seen Monsieur de la Cotterie?

_Cost._ No, sir, I have not seen him.

_Phil._ Return at once to your aunt's.

_Cost._ Do you drive me from your house?

_Phil._ No, I do not drive you away, but I advise you I entreat. Go
quickly, I tell you.

_Cost._ I wish to know the reason.

_Phil._ You shall know it when you are at your aunt's.

_Cost._ Has anything new occurred?

_Phil._ Yes, there is something new.

_Cost._ Tell me what it is.

_Phil._ Monsieur de la Cotterie will tell you.

_Cost._ Where is he?

_Phil._ At your aunt's.

_Cost._ The Lieutenant has not been there.

_Phil._ He is this moment gone there.

_Cost._ What for?

_Phil._ Return; then you will know it.

_Cost._ Have you spoken to my father?

_Phil._ Yes; ask your husband that is to be.

_Cost._ My husband!

_Phil._ Yes, your husband.

_Cost._ Monsieur de la Cotterie?

_Phil._ Monsieur de la Cotterie.

_Cost._ May I rely on it?

_Phil._ Go directly to your aunt's.

_Cost._ Please tell me what has happened.

_Phil._ Time is precious; if you lose time, you lose your husband.

_Cost._ Ah me! I will run with all speed; would that I had wings to my
feet.      [_Exit._

_Enter_ Mademoiselle Giannina.

_Phil._ Two words from the Lieutenant are worth more than a thousand
from me.

_Gian._ Is what Monsieur de la Cotterie has told me true, sir?

_Phil._ What has he told you?

_Gian._ That you advised him to marry the girl without the consent of
her father.

_Phil._ Did he tell you this in confidence?

_Gian._ Yes, sir.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] I am displeased at his indiscretion.

_Gian._ And that you gave him five hundred guineas to aid him in the
scheme.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] Imprudent! I am almost sorry I did so.

_Gian._ Your silence confirms it; it is true, then?

_Phil._ Well, what do you say to it?

_Gian._ Nothing, sir. It is enough for me to know you did it. Your
humble servant, sir.

_Phil._ Where are you going?

_Gian._ To amuse myself.

_Phil._ In what manner?

_Gian._ With the marriage of Monsieur de la Cotterie.

_Phil._ But it has not taken place yet.

_Gian._ I hope it soon will.

_Phil._ Be cautious--mention it to no one.

_Gian._ Never fear; it will be known as soon as it is over. You will
have the credit of contriving it, and I shall be most happy when it is
done.      [_Exit._

_Phil._ [_Alone._] I hope she will not imitate this bad example; but
there is no danger. She is a good girl, and, like me, can distinguish
between cases, and understands what is proper; and as I know how she has
been brought up, under my own care, I have no apprehensions such a
misfortune may befall me.

END OF THE SECOND ACT.



ACT III.


SCENE I.--Philibert _and_ Marianna.

_Mar._ Excuse me for interrupting you again.

_Phil._ I suppose you have some new piece of nonsense?

_Mar._ I hope you will not again call me blockhead.

_Phil._ Not unless you utter more absurdities.

_Mar._ I have only to tell you I am just going to be married, and to
bespeak your kindness.

_Phil._ Then you have determined to marry before your mistress?

_Mar._ No, sir; she is to be married to-day, and I shall be married
to-morrow.

_Phil._ And you do not wish me to call you blockhead?

_Mar._ You still persist in concealing it from me?

_Phil._ Concealing what?

_Mar._ The marriage of my young lady.

_Phil._ Are you out of your senses?

_Mar._ Now, to show you I am not so foolish, I will own a fault I have
committed, from curiosity. I stood behind the hangings, and heard
Monsieur de la Cotterie talking with your daughter, and it is fixed on
that they are to be married privately this evening, and you have given
five hundred guineas on account of her portion.

_Phil._ On account of her portion! [_Laughing._]

_Mar._ Yes, I think on account of her portion; I saw the guineas with my
own eyes.

_Phil._ Yes, you are foolish, more foolish, most foolish.

_Mar._ [_Aside._] He vexes me so I hardly know what to do.

_Phil._ The Lieutenant, however, has acted very improperly; he ought not
to have mentioned it to my daughter, especially when there was danger of
being overheard.

_Mar._ If you hide it from me for fear I shall make it public, you do
wrong to my discretion.

_Phil._ Your discretion, indeed! you conceal yourself, listen to what
people are talking about, misunderstand them, and then report such
nonsense.

_Mar._ I was wrong to listen, I admit; but as to misunderstanding, I am
sure I heard right.

_Phil._ You will force me to say or do something not very pleasant.

_Mar._ Well, well! where did Mademoiselle Giannina go just now?

_Phil._ Where did she go?

_Mar._ Did she not go out with Monsieur de la Cotterie?

_Phil._ Where?

_Mar._ I heard they went to Madame Gertrude's.

_Phil._ To my sister's?

_Mar._ Yes, sir.

_Phil._ Giannina may have gone there, not the Lieutenant.

_Mar._ I know they went out together, sir.

_Phil._ The Lieutenant may have accompanied her; my sister's house is
near the place where he was to go; my daughter might choose to be at
hand to hear the news. I know all; everything goes on well, and I say
again you are a blockhead.

_Mar._ [_Aside._] This is too bad; I can scarcely keep my temper.

_Phil._ See who is in the hall--I hear some one.

_Mar._ [_Aside._] Oh, it will be excellent if a trick has been played on
the old gentleman! but it is impossible.      [_Exit._

_Phil._ [_Alone._] Heaven grant it may end well! The imprudence of the
Lieutenant might have ruined the plot, but young persons are subject to
these indiscretions. I fortunately had sense enough when I was a young
man, and have more now I am old.

_Enter_ Gascoigne.

_Gas._ Your servant, Monsieur Philibert.

_Phil._ Good-day, my friend. What news have you?

_Gas._ My master sends his best compliments.

_Phil._ Where is the Lieutenant? What is he doing? How go his affairs?

_Gas._ I believe this note will give you full information.

_Phil._ Let us see. [_Opens it._]

_Gas._ [_Aside._] As he does not send me away, I will remain here.

_Phil._ [_To himself._] There is a paper enclosed, which seems to be
written by my daughter. Let us first know what my friend says.

_Gas._ [_Aside._] Marianna is listening behind the hangings; she is as
curious as I am.

_Phil._ [_Reading._] "Monsieur: Your advice has encouraged me to a step
which I should not have had the boldness to venture on, however urged
by the violence of my love." Yes, indeed, he wanted courage. "I have
carried Mademoiselle to a respectable and secure house, that is to say,
to her aunt's."

He must have met Costanza, and they have gone together. I did well to
send her quickly; all my own work!

"The tears of the girl softened the good old lady, and she assented
to our marriage." Excellent, excellent! it could not be better done.

"Orders were given for a notary to be called in, and the marriage
service was performed in the presence of two witnesses."

Admirable--all has gone on well. "I cannot express to you my confusion,
not having the courage to ask anything but your kind wishes; the rest
will be added in the writing of your daughter, whom you will more
readily pardon. I kiss your hand."

What does he want of me that he has not the courage to ask, and gets
my daughter to intercede? Let me read the enclosed. He must have gone
immediately to my sister's, to let Giannina know when the marriage was
over. Well, what says my daughter?

"Dear father." She writes well--a good mercantile hand; she is a fine
girl, God bless her. "Permit me, through this letter, to throw myself
at your feet, and to ask your pardon." Oh, Heavens! what has she done?

"Informed by yourself of the advice you had given to Monsieur de la
Cotterie, and of the money you furnished him with to carry it into
execution, I have yielded to my affection, and married the Lieutenant."

Oh, infamous! Deceiver! traitress! abandoned! They have killed me!

_Enter_ Marianna.

_Mar._ What has happened, sir?

_Phil._ Help me! support me! for Heaven's sake do not leave me!

_Mar._ How can such a blockhead help you?

_Phil._ You are right; laugh at me--abuse me--show me no mercy. I
deserve it all, and I give you full liberty to do so.

_Mar._ No; I feel compassion for you.

_Phil._ I am not worthy of your compassion.

_Gas._ Do not, sir, abandon yourself to despair; my master is an
honourable gentleman, of a noble family.

_Phil._ He has ruined my daughter; he has destroyed my hopes.

_Mar._ You are able to provide handsomely for him.

_Phil._ And shall my estate go in this way?

_Gas._ Pardon me, sir; the same arguments you urged to convince Monsieur
Riccardo may serve to convince yourself.

_Phil._ Ah, traitor! do you amuse yourself at my folly?

_Mar._ Gascoigne speaks to the purpose, and you have no right to
complain of him. [_With warmth._]

_Phil._ Yes, insult me, rejoice at my disgrace!

_Mar._ I have pity on you, blinded as you are by anger.

_Gas._ Condemn yourself for the fruits of your own bad advice.

_Phil._ Why deceive me? why make me believe the love of the officer was
for Mademoiselle Costanza?

_Gas._ Because love is full of stratagems, and teaches lovers to conceal
their passion, and to contrive schemes for their own happiness.

_Phil._ And if Monsieur Riccardo had agreed to the marriage of his
daughter, what a figure I should have made in the affair!

_Gas._ My master never asked you to interfere for him.

_Phil._ No, but he let me do it.

_Gas._ Say, rather, that you did not understand him.

_Phil._ In short, they have betrayed and cheated me; the conduct of my
daughter is treacherous, and that of the Lieutenant infamous.

_Gas._ You should speak more respectfully, sir, of an officer.

_Mar._ Remember, soldiers swear swords.

_Phil._ Yes, that is right; all he has to do now is to kill me.

_Gas._ My master has no such cruel design; you will soon see him come to
ask your pardon.

_Phil._ I do not wish to see him at all.

_Gas._ Your daughter, then, shall come instead of him.

_Phil._ Name her not to me.

_Mar._ Your own flesh and blood, sir!

_Phil._ Ungrateful! she was my love--my only joy.

_Gas._ What is done cannot be undone.

_Phil._ I know it, insolent--I know it too well.

_Gas._ Do not be offended with me, sir.

_Mar._ Have compassion on him, his anger overpowers him. My poor master!
he hoped to marry his daughter to a man of his own choice--to have her
always near him--to see his grandchildren around him--to delight in
their caresses, and to instruct them himself.

_Phil._ All my hopes are gone; no consolation is left for me.

_Gas._ Do you think, sir, your excellent son-in-law, a worthy Frenchman,
and a good soldier, cannot provide grandchildren for you?

_Mar._ Not a year shall pass, but you will see the finest boy in the
world gambolling around your feet.

_Phil._ My hatred for the father will make me hate the child.

_Mar._ Oh, the sense of consanguinity will cause you to forget every
injury.

_Gas._ You have one only daughter in the world; can you have the heart
to abandon her--never to see her more?

_Phil._ My anguish of mind will kill me. [_Covers his face with his
hands._]

_Mar._ Gascoigne!

_Gas._ What do you say?

_Mar._ Do you understand me? [_Makes a sign for him to go out._]

_Gas._ I understand.

_Mar._ Now is the time.

_Gas._ So it may prove.

_Phil._ What do you say?

_Mar._ I am telling Gascoigne to go away, to disturb you no longer, and
not to abuse your patience.

_Phil._ Yes, let him leave me.

_Gas._ Your servant, sir. Excuse me, if, after having committed such an
offence in your house, you see me no more. My master, as things appear
at present, will be forced to leave this, and to carry his wife to
France. Have you no message to your poor daughter?

_Phil._ Do you think he will go away so soon?

_Gas._ He told me, if he received no kind answer from you, to order
horses immediately.

_Mar._ It is a great grief to a father never to see his daughter again.

_Phil._ Is your master a barbarian? is he so ungrateful? Could I have
done more for him? And he has used me with the greatest inhumanity; to
seduce the heart of my daughter, and the whole time to conceal it from
me.

_Gas._ He would willingly have brought her to you before now, but for
the fear of your resentment.

_Phil._ Perfidious! I have to applaud him for his handsome action,--I
have to be grateful for his treachery; he shuns the reproaches of an
offended father,--he cannot bear to hear himself called traitor.

_Gas._ I understand; by your leave. [_Going._]

_Phil._ Tell him he must never dare to come in my presence; I do not
wish to see him,--I do not desire it.

_Gas._ [_Aside._] I understand perfectly; nature never fails.    [_Exit._

_Mar._ [_Aside._] Matters will soon be accommodated.

_Phil._ [_To himself._] My own injury! this is good!--to my own injury!

_Mar._ To turn your thoughts from this subject, sir, may I now speak to
you concerning my own affairs?

_Phil._ I need nothing else to torment me but for you to talk of your
marriage. I hate the very word, and never wish to hear it again while I
live.

_Mar._ It seems, then, you want the world to come to an end.

_Phil._ For me it is ended.

_Mar._ My poor master! and where will your estate go--your riches?

_Phil._ May the devil take them!

_Mar._ You would die rich, and let your daughter live in want?

_Phil._ Poor unhappy girl!

_Mar._ And would you carry this hatred in your bosom, and feel remorse
at your death?

_Phil._ Be silent, devil! torture me no more.

_Enter_ Mademoiselle Costanza.

_Cost._ Monsieur Philibert, you have made sport of me.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] This was wanting to complete all.

_Cost._ I have been waiting two hours, and no one has appeared.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] I know not what answer to make.

_Cost._ Did you not urge me to return to my aunt's, telling me the
Lieutenant would be there?

_Mar._ My young lady, you shall hear how it was. The Lieutenant had to
go to the aunt's,--and to the aunt's he went. There he was to have an
understanding with Mademoiselle,--and he had an understanding with
Mademoiselle. But the poor gentleman mistook the house: instead of going
to Aunt Hortensia's he found himself at Aunt Gertrude's, and instead of
marrying Mademoiselle Costanza, he has married Mademoiselle Giannina.

_Cost._ Can it be possible they have laughed at and deceived me in this
manner? Speak, Monsieur Philibert; tell me truly what has been done, and
do not suppose me patient enough to submit to such an injury.

_Phil._ Oh, if I submit to it, you must submit too.

_Cost._ And what have you to submit to?

_Phil._ On your account I have been accessory to the ruin of my
daughter.

_Cost._ On my account?

_Phil._ Yes; the machine I contrived for you has fallen on my own head.

_Mar._ Fortunately my master's skull is reasonably thick.

_Cost._ I understand nothing of all this.

_Phil._ I will tell you plainly and distinctly the whole affair. Know
then--

_Enter_ Monsieur Riccardo.

_Ric._ [_To Costanza._] What are you doing here?

_Phil._ [_To himself._] Another torment!

_Cost._ Sir, you have never forbidden my coming here.

_Ric._ Well, now I forbid it. I know what you have come for; I know your
love for the foreigner, and your schemes against my authority and your
own honour.

_Phil._ [_To_ Riccardo, _with asperity._] You know nothing. If you knew
as much as I do, you would not speak so.

_Ric._ I speak so in consequence of what you told me this morning, and
no light matter it is; enough to make me forbid my daughter's coming to
your house.

_Mar._ Are you afraid they will marry her against your wishes?

_Ric._ I may well fear it.

_Mar._ Listen to me: if she does not marry my master, there is nobody
else here for her to marry.

_Ric._ Where is the Frenchman--the officer?

_Mar._ Shall I tell him, sir?

_Phil._ Ah! he will hear it soon enough.

_Mar._ Know, then, the officer has presumed to marry my young mistress.

_Ric._ Ah! [_With surprise._]

_Phil._ Oh! [_With vexation._]

_Cost._ This is the wrong I apprehended. Ah, my father, resent the
insult they have offered to me! They have made use of me to accomplish
their designs; they have flattered me to expose me to ridicule; and the
injury I have received is an insult to our family.

_Ric._ Yes, I will resent the insult they have offered to me. You I will
send to a convent; and Monsieur Philibert makes amends for his offence
by his own shame.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] Quite right--I deserve yet more.

_Cost._ [_Aside._] Wretched me! to what am I brought by my passion, my
wretchedness, and disobedience!

_Phil._ My dear friend, excuse my impatient manner. I acknowledge
the injustice I have done you, and Heaven punishes me rightly for my
improper intentions. Ah, Monsieur Riccardo, I have lost my daughter!--I
contrived my own disgrace!

_Ric._ Lost! she is only married--not entirely lost.

_Phil._ I fear I shall never see her again. Who knows but that monster
has already carried her away? I gave him five hundred guineas to carry
away my heart--my daughter--my only daughter--my love--my only love! Ah,
could I embrace her once more! I wish to know if she is gone; I want to
see her again. If she is gone, I will kill myself with my own hand.
[_Going, meets his daughter._]

_Enter_ Mademoiselle Giannina, _and a little after_, De la Cotterie.

_Gian._ Ah, dearest father!

_Phil._ Ah, most ungrateful daughter!

_Gian._ For mercy's sake, pardon me! [_Throws herself on her knees._]

_Phil._ Do you deserve pardon?

_Gian._ Your anger is most just.

_Phil._ [_Aside._] I shall not survive it; I must die.

_Ric._ Both are to be pitied.

_Cost._ [_Aside._] I shall be revenged if her father refuses to forgive
her.

_Phil._ Rise.

_Gian._ I will not rise without your pardon.

_Phil._ How could you have the heart to cause me so great an affliction?

_Gian._ Ah, sir, your advice--

_Phil._ Not a word of it! torture me no more; never mention again my own
folly and weakness. Rise; on that condition I pardon you.

_Gian._ Oh, dearest father! [_Rises._]

_Cost._ [_Aside._] She obtains forgiveness on easy terms.

_Gian._ Ah, sir, let your grace extend--

_Phil._ Do not speak to me of your husband!

_Gian._ Oh, give him a place in your heart, or I shall be forced to
leave you.

_Phil._ Perfidious! to talk so to your father!

_Gian._ Conjugal duty will oblige me to take this step.

_Phil._ Oh, hard fate of a father! but it is just--I deserve more.

_Ric._ My friend, the act is done, there is no remedy. I advise you to
be reconciled to him before your curious mishap is known throughout the
whole city.

_Phil._ [_To_ Costanza.] I entreat you, Mademoiselle--I entreat you not
to make it known, for the sake of my honour and reputation. [_To_
Marianna.] I tell you not to speak of it. My daughter, mention it to no
one.

_Gian._ No, for the love of Heaven, let nobody hear of it. Quick! let
everything be settled before any one leaves this room. Quick, my dear
husband, come here; throw yourself at my father's feet, ask his pardon,
kiss his hand; and do you pardon him, receive him for a son-in-law and
for a son. Quick! hush! that no one may hear of it. [_She rapidly does
everything as she says it._]

_Phil._ [_Aside._] I am confounded; I know not what to say.

_Cost._ He has not the firmness to resist the sight of his ungrateful
daughter.      [_Exit._

_De la Cot._ Have I your pardon, sir?

_Phil._ Do you think you deserve it?

_Gian._ For Heaven's sake, say no more! We must take care that nobody
shall know what has happened. My father is anxious to save the honour of
his family; and, above all things, I charge you never to urge in your
justification that he advised the scheme, and gave you five hundred
guineas to carry it into execution.

_Phil._ [_To_ Giannina, _with asperity._] I commanded you not to mention
it.

_Gian._ I was only informing my husband of your commands.

_Ric._ Well, Monsieur Philibert, are you reconciled?

_Phil._ What can I do? I am constrained by necessity, by affection, by
my own kind disposition, to be reconciled to them. You are husband and
wife, you are in my house, remain here, and may Heaven bless you!

_Gian._ Oh, perfect happiness!

_De la Cot._ I hope, sir, you will never repent of your pardon and
kindness to me.

_Mar._ Hush! quick! that nobody may know it.

_Phil._ What now?

_Mar._ Hush! quick! There is a little affair of mine to be finished.
Gascoigne is to be my husband, with the permission of our masters.

_Gas._ [_To his master._] By your leave, sir. [_Gives her his hand._]

_Mar._ Hush! quick! that nobody may know it.

_Gian._ Against your marriage nothing can be said; mine may be
condemned. I confess that I have exceeded the limits of duty, that I
have been wanting in respect to my father, and have exposed to hazard my
own honour and the reputation of my family. Those who now see me happy,
and not punished, must be cautious not to follow a bad example; let them
rather say it has pleased Heaven to mortify the father, and not that the
daughter is exempt from remorse and regret. Most kind spectators, let
the moral of this representation be a warning to families, and may
whatever enjoyment you derive from it be consistent with the principles
of duty and of virtue.


THE END OF "A CURIOUS MISHAP."



 THE BENEFICENT BEAR[2]

 (_IL BURBERO BENEFICO_)

 (_LE BOURRU BIENFAISANT_)

 A COMEDY IN THREE ACTS


  [2: In order to render the exact shade of meaning of the Italian
      title, it has been necessary to adopt the colloquial phrase.]


 DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

  GERONTE.
  DALANCOURT,        _his nephew._
  DORVAL,            _the friend of Geronte._
  VALERIO,           _the lover of Angelica._
  PICCARDO,          _the servant of Geronte._
  A SERVANT          _of Dalancourt._
  MADAME DALANCOURT.
  ANGELICA,          _sister of Dalancourt._
  MARTUCCIA,         _housekeeper to Geronte._

  _The Scene is in Paris, at the house of_ GERONTE.



THE BENEFICENT BEAR.



ACT I.


SCENE I.--Martuccia, Angelica, _and_ Valerio.

_Ang._ Valerio, leave me, I entreat you; I fear for myself, I fear for
you. Ah! if we should be surprised--

_Val._ My dear Angelica!

_Mar._ Do go, sir.

_Val._ [_To_ Martuccia.] One moment more. If I could be well assured--

_Mar._ Of what?

_Val._ Of her love--of her constancy.

_Ang._ Ah, Valerio! can you doubt it?

_Mar._ Go, go, sir; she loves you but too well.

_Val._ This is the happiness of my life--

_Mar._ Quick, go away. If my master should come in suddenly!

_Ang._ [_To_ Martuccia.] He never leaves his room so early.

_Mar._ That is true; but you know he walks and amuses himself in this
room. Here are his chessmen, and here he often plays. Oh, don't you know
Signor Geronte?

_Val._ Pardon me, he is Angelica's uncle. I know my father was his
friend, but I have never spoken to him.

_Mar._ He is a man, sir, of a most singular character. At bottom a most
worthy man, but impatient, and peculiar to the last degree.

_Ang._ Yes, he tells me he loves me, and I believe him; but while he
tells me so, he makes me tremble.

_Val._ [_To_ Angelica.] What have you to fear? you have neither father
nor mother. You are at your brother's disposal, and he is my friend; I
will speak to him.

_Mar._ Ah! Exactly! Trust to Signor Dalancourt.

_Val._ Well, can he refuse me?

_Mar._ Indeed, I think he can.

_Val._ Why so?

_Mar._ Listen; I will explain the whole matter in a few words. My
nephew, your brother the lawyer's new clerk, has told me what I will now
tell you. He has been with him only a fortnight, I heard it from him
this morning; but he confided it to me as the greatest secret: for
Heaven's sake do not betray me!

_Val._ Do not fear.

_Ang._ You know me.

_Mar._ [_Speaking in a low tone to_ Valerio, _and looking towards the
door_.] Signor Dalancourt is a ruined man, overwhelmed. He has run
through all his fortune, and perhaps his sister's dowry too. Angelica
is a burden too great for him to bear, and to free himself from it, he
means to shut her up in a convent.

_Ang._ Oh, Heavens! What do you tell me?

_Val._ Can it be possible? I have known him a long time. Dalancourt
always appeared to me a young man of good sense and honourable
principles; sometimes impetuous, and apt to take offence, but--

_Mar._ Impetuous--oh, most impetuous!--a match for his uncle, but far
from having his uncle's excellent feelings.

_Val._ He is esteemed, beloved by every one. His father was perfectly
satisfied with him.

_Mar._ Ah, sir, since his marriage he is no longer the same man.

_Val._ Can it be that Madame Dalancourt--

_Mar._ Yes, she, they say, is the cause of this great change. Signor
Geronte is deeply offended with his nephew for his foolish compliance
with the whims of his wife, and--I know nothing, but I would lay a wager
that this plan of the convent is of her contrivance.

_Ang._ [_To_ Martuccia.] You surprise me. My sister-in-law, whom I
looked on as so discreet, who showed me so much friendship! I never
could have thought it.

_Val._ I know her, and cannot believe it.

_Mar._ Surely you are not serious? Does any lady dress more elegantly?
Is there any new fashion that she does not immediately adopt? At balls
and plays, is she not always the first?

_Val._ But her husband is ever at her side.

_Ang._ Yes, my brother never leaves her.

_Mar._ Well, they are both fools, and both will be ruined together.

_Val._ It is impossible.

_Mar._ Very well, very well. I have told you what you wanted to know.
Now go at once, and do not expose my mistress to the danger of losing
her uncle's favour. He alone can be of any service to her.

_Val._ Keep calm, Angelica. No question of interest shall ever form an
obstacle.

_Mar._ I hear a noise. Go at once.      [_Exit_ Valerio.

_Ang._ How miserable I am!

_Mar._ There's your uncle coming. Did I not tell you so?

_Ang._ I am going.

_Mar._ No, remain here, and open your heart to him.

_Ang._ I would as soon put my hand in the fire.

_Mar._ Come, come; he is sometimes a little hasty, but he has not a bad
heart.

_Ang._ You direct his household, you have influence with him; speak to
him for me.

_Mar._ No, you must speak to him yourself; all I can do is to hint at
the matter, and dispose him to listen to you.

_Ang._ Yes, yes, say something to him, and I will speak to him
afterwards. [_Going._]

_Mar._ Remain here.

_Ang._ No, no; when it is time, call me. I shall not be far off.
                                                      [_Exit_ Angelica.

Martuccia, _alone_.

_Mar._ How gentle she is--how amiable. I have been with her from her
babyhood. I love her; I am distressed for her, and wish to see her
happy. Here he is.

_Enter_ Geronte.

_Ger._ [_To_ Martuccia.] Where's Piccardo?

_Mar._ Signor--

_Ger._ Call Piccardo!

_Mar._ Yes, sir. But may I say one word to you?

_Ger._ [_Very impatiently._] Piccardo, Piccardo!

_Mar._ [_In the same tone._] Piccardo, Piccardo!

_Enter_ Piccardo.

_Pic._ Here, sir; here, sir.

_Mar._ [_To_ Piccardo _angrily._] Your master--

_Pic._ [_To_ Geronte.] Here I am, sir.

_Ger._ Go to my friend Dorval, and tell him I am waiting to play a game
of chess with him.

_Pic._ Yes, sir, but--

_Ger._ But what?

_Pic._ I have a commission--

_Ger._ To do what?

_Pic._ From your nephew.

_Ger._ [_In a passion._] Go to Dorval's.

_Pic._ He wishes to speak to you.

_Ger._ Begone, sir!

_Pic._ What a man! [_Exit._

_Ger._ A madman--a miserable creature! No, I will not see him; I will
not permit him to come and disturb my tranquillity. [_Goes to the
table._]

_Mar._ [_Aside._] There, he is in a rage at once. Most unfortunate for
me.

_Ger._ [_Sitting down._] What a move that was I made yesterday! what a
fatality! How in the world could I be checkmated with a game so well
arranged? Let me see; this game kept me awake the whole night. [_Looking
over the game._]

_Mar._ May I speak to you, sir?

_Ger._ No.

_Mar._ No! But I have something important to say to you.

_Ger._ Well, what have you to say? let me hear it.

_Mar._ Your niece wishes to speak to you.

_Ger._ I have no time now.

_Mar._ Really! Is what you are about, then, of such very great
importance?

_Ger._ Yes, of the utmost importance; I don't often amuse myself, and
then I do not choose to be plagued to death. Do you hear?

_Mar._ This poor girl--

_Ger._ What has happened to her?

_Mar._ They want to shut her up in a convent.

_Ger._ In a convent!--To shut my niece in a convent! to dispose of my
niece without my approbation, without my knowing anything about it!

_Mar._ You know your nephew's embarrassments.

_Ger._ I have nothing to do with my nephew's embarrassments, nor his
wife's follies. He has his own property; if he squanders it, if he ruins
himself, so much the worse for him. But as for my niece, I am the head
of the family, I am the master; it is for me to provide for her.

_Mar._ So much the better for her, sir, so much the better. I am glad to
see you get so warm in the dear girl's behalf.

_Ger._ Where is she?

_Mar._ She is near, sir. Wait a moment--

_Ger._ Let her come in.

_Mar._ Yes, she most earnestly desires to do so, but--

_Ger._ But what?

_Mar._ She is timid.

_Ger._ Well, what then?

_Mar._ If you speak to her--

_Ger._ I must speak to her.

_Mar._ Yes, but in this tone of voice--

_Ger._ The tone of my voice hurts nobody; let her come and rely on my
heart, not on my tone of voice.

_Mar._ That is true, sir. I know you; you are good, humane, charitable;
but I entreat you, do not frighten the poor girl; speak to her with a
little gentleness.

_Ger._ Yes, I will speak to her with gentleness.

_Mar._ You promise me?

_Ger._ I promise you.

_Mar._ Do not forget it.

_Ger._ [_Beginning to be impatient._] No.

_Mar._ Above all, do not get impatient.

_Ger._ [_Impatiently._] I tell you, no.

_Mar._ I tremble for Angelica.      [_Exit._

Geronte, _alone_.

_Ger._ She is right; I sometimes suffer myself to be carried away by my
irritable temper. My niece deserves to be treated with tenderness.

_Enter_ Angelica.--_She remains at a distance._

_Ger._ Come near.

_Ang._ Sir? [_Timidly advancing one step._]

_Ger._ [_Warmly._] How can you expect me to hear you when you are three
miles off?

_Ang._ Excuse me, sir. [_She approaches him, trembling._]

_Ger._ What have you to say to me?

_Ang._ Has not Martuccia told you something?

_Ger._ [_At first gently, then by degrees he gets excited._] Yes, she
has spoken to me of you, of that insensate brother of yours, that
extravagant fellow, who suffers himself to be led by the nose by his
silly wife, who is ruined, utterly lost, and has no longer any respect
for me. [_Angelica moves as though to go away._] Where are you going?
[_Very impetuously._]

_Ang._ You are angry, sir.

_Ger._ Well, what is that to you? If I get angry at a blockhead, I am
not angry with you. Come near; speak; you must not be afraid of my
anger.

_Ang._ My dear uncle, I can't speak to you unless I see you calm.

_Ger._ What martyrdom! Well, I am calm. Speak. [_Trying to compose
himself._]

_Ang._ Martuccia, sir, has told you--

_Ger._ I don't mind what Martuccia says. I want to hear it from
yourself.

_Ang._ My brother--

_Ger._ Your brother--

_Ang._ Wishes to shut me up in a convent.

_Ger._ Well, do you wish to go into a convent?

_Ang._ But, sir--

_Ger._ [_With warmth._] Well! Speak.

_Ang._ It is not for me to decide.

_Ger._ [_With a little more warmth._] I do not say it is for you to
decide, but I want to know your inclination.

_Ang._ You make me tremble, sir.

_Ger._ [_Aside, restraining himself._] I shall burst with rage.--Come
near. I understand, then, a convent is not to your liking?

_Ang._ No, sir.

_Ger._ For what have you an inclination?

_Ang._ Sir--

_Ger._ Do not be afraid. I am calm. Speak freely.

_Ang._ Ah! I have not the courage.

_Ger._ Come here. Do you wish to be married?

_Ang._ Sir--

_Ger._ Yes or no?

_Ang._ If you desire--

_Ger._ Yes or no?

_Ang._ Well, yes--

_Ger._ Yes! you wish to be married! to lose your liberty, your
tranquillity! Very well; so much the worse for you. Yes, I will marry
you.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] How good he is for all his hasty temper!

_Ger._ Have you an inclination for any one in particular?

_Ang._ [_Aside._] Now, if I had the courage to speak to him of Valerio!

_Ger._ Well, have you any lover?

_Ang._ [_Aside._] This is not the opportune moment. I will get Martuccia
to speak to him.

_Ger._ Come, come, let us end the matter. The house in which you live,
the persons you see, may perhaps have led you to form an attachment. I
wish to know the truth. Yes, I will do something handsome for you, but
on the condition that you deserve it. Do you understand? [_With great
warmth._]

_Ang._ [_Trembling._] Yes, sir.

_Ger._ Speak openly, frankly. Have you any attachment? [_In the same
tone._]

_Ang._ [_Hesitating and trembling._] But--no, sir.--No, sir, I have
none.

_Ger._ So much the better. I will find a husband for you.

_Ang._ Oh, God! I should not like, sir--

_Ger._ What is it?

_Ang._ You know my timidity.

_Ger._ Yes, yes, your timidity. I know womankind; now you are a dove,
but get married, and you will be a hawk.

_Ang._ Ah, my uncle! since you are so good--

_Ger._ Yes, too good.

_Ang._ Let me tell you--

_Ger._ Dorval not come yet! [_Going to the table._]

_Ang._ Hear me, my dear uncle.

_Ger._ Don't disturb me now. [_Intent on the chessboard._]

_Ang._ One single word--

_Ger._ [_Impatiently._] Enough has been said.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] Oh, Heaven! I am more unhappy than ever. Ah, my dear
Martuccia will not abandon me!      [_Exit._

Geronte, _alone_.

_Ger._ She is a good girl; I would willingly do all I can for her. If
she had any attachment, I would endeavour to please her, but she has
none. I will see, I will look about. But what in the world detains
Dorval? Is he never coming? I long to try that cursed combination again
that made me lose the last game. Certainly, I ought to have won it--he
did not beat me, I beat myself. I must have lost my senses. Let us
see a little. My pieces were placed so, and Dorval's so. I moved the
king to his castle's square; Dorval placed his bishop on his king's
second square. I--check--yes, I take the pawn--Dorval--he takes my
bishop,--Dorval--yes, he takes my bishop, and I--give check with my
knight. By Jove! Dorval loses his queen. He plays his king, and I take
his queen. Yes, the fellow, with his king, has taken my knight. But so
much the worse for him. Now he is in my nets; his king is fast. Here is
my queen; Yes, here she is. Checkmate. It is clear. Checkmate, and the
game is won. Ah! if Dorval would come, he should see it.--[_Calls._]
Piccardo!

_Enter_ Dalancourt.

_Dal._ [_Apart, and in much confusion._] My uncle is alone; if he will
listen to me!

_Ger._ I will place the pieces as they were at first. [_Not seeing_
Dalancourt, _he calls loudly._] Piccardo!

_Dal._ Sir--

_Ger._ [_Without turning, and supposing he is speaking to_ Piccardo.]
Well, have you found Dorval?

_Enter_ Dorval.

_Dor._ Here I am, my friend.

_Dal._ [_With resolution._] My uncle.

_Ger._ [_Turning, sees_ Dalancourt, _rises quickly, throws down the
chair, and goes out without speaking._]


SCENE II.--Dalancourt _and_ Dorval.

_Dor._ [_Laughing._] What is the meaning of this scene?

_Dal._ It is dreadful! All this because he has seen me.

_Dor._ [_In the same manner._] Geronte is my friend. I know his
disposition perfectly.

_Dal._ I am sorry on your account.

_Dor._ Indeed, I came at an unlucky time.

_Dal._ Excuse his violence.

_Dor._ [_Smiling._] Oh, I'll scold him; I'll scold him.

_Dal._ Ah, my friend, you are the only person who can do anything for me
with him.

_Dor._ I will do what I can, with all my heart, but--

_Dal._ I agree that, from appearances, my uncle has reason to be
offended with me; but if he could read the bottom of my heart, all his
affection for me would return, and he would never repent it.

_Dor._ Yes, I know your character, and I believe everything might be
hoped from you; but your wife--

_Dal._ My wife, sir! Ah, you do not know her. All the world is mistaken
about her, and my uncle especially. I must do her justice, and let the
truth be known. She knows nothing of the embarrassments by which I
am overwhelmed. She thought me richer than I was, and I have always
concealed my affairs from her. I love her. We were married very young. I
have never permitted her to ask for anything--to want anything. I have
always endeavoured to anticipate her wishes, and to provide for her
pleasures. In this way I have ruined myself. [_Earnestly._]

_Dor._ To please a lady--to anticipate her desires! That is no easy
task.

_Dal._ I am certain, had she known my situation, she would have been the
first to forbid the expenses I have indulged in to please her.

_Dor._ Yet she did not forbid them.

_Dal._ No, because she had no fear--

_Dor._ My poor friend!

_Dal._ [_Afflicted._] Indeed I am poor.

_Dor._ [_Still smiling._] I pity you.

_Dal._ [_With warmth._] You are making a jest of me.

_Dor._ [_Still laughing._] By no means; but--you love your wife
prodigiously?

_Dal._ Yes, I love her; I have always loved her, and shall love her as
long as I live; I know her, know all her worth, and will not suffer any
one to accuse her of faults which she has not.

_Dor._ [_Seriously._] Gently, my friend, gently; you have a little too
much of the family hastiness.

_Dal._ [_With much warmth._] Pardon me, I would not for the world offend
you; but when my wife is spoken of--

_Dor._ Well, well, let us speak of her no more.

_Dal._ But I wish you to be convinced.

_Dor._ [_Coldly._] Yes, I am convinced.

_Dal._ [_With much earnestness._] No, you are not.

_Dor._ [_A little excited._] Excuse me, I tell you I am.

_Dal._ Very well, I believe you, and am delighted that you are. Now, my
dear friend, speak to my uncle on my behalf.

_Dor._ Most willingly will I do so.

_Dal._ How much obliged to you I shall be!

_Dor._ But we must be able to give him some reasons. How have you
managed to ruin yourself in so short a time? It is only four years since
your father died, leaving you a handsome fortune, and it is said you
have spent it all.

_Dal._ If you knew all the misfortunes that have happened to me! Seeing
my affairs were in disorder, I wished to remedy them, and the remedy was
worse than the disease: I listened to new schemes, engaged in new
speculations, pledged my property, and have lost everything.

_Dor._ Here lies the error--new projects; the ruin of many another man.

_Dal._ And my condition is utterly hopeless.

_Dor._ You have been very wrong, my friend, especially as you have a
sister.

_Dal._ Yes; and it is now time to think of providing for her.

_Dor._ Every day she grows more beautiful. Madame Dalancourt receives
much company in her house, and youth, my dear friend, sometimes--you
understand me?

_Dal._ Regarding this point, I have on reflection found an expedient; I
think of placing her in a convent.

_Dor._ Place her in a convent! A good plan; but have you consulted your
uncle?

_Dal._ No; he will not hear me; but you must speak to him for me and for
Angelica. My uncle esteems and loves you, listens to you, confides in
you, and will refuse you nothing.

_Dor._ I have great doubts of this.

_Dal._ I am sure of it. Pray try to see him, and speak to him at once.

_Dor._ I will do so; but where is he gone?

_Dal._ I will find out.--Let us see--Is any one there?      [_Calls._

_Enter_ Piccardo.

_Pic._ [_To_ Dalancourt.] Here, sir.

_Dal._ Is my uncle gone from home?

_Pic._ No, sir; he went into the garden.

_Dal._ Into the garden! at this time of day?

_Pic._ For him it is all the same. When he is a little out of temper,
he walks about and goes out to take the air.

_Dor._ I will go and join him.

_Dal._ I know my uncle, sir; you must give him time to get calm. It is
better to wait for him here.

_Dor._ But if he goes out, he may not return here again.

_Pic._ [_To_ Dorval.] Pardon me, sir, it will not be long before he is
here: I know his temper, a few minutes will be sufficient. I can assure
you he will be much pleased to see you.

_Dal._ Well, my dear friend, go into his room. Do me the favour to wait
for him there.

_Dor._ Willingly; I understand perfectly how cruel your situation is.
Some remedy must be provided; yes, I will speak to him, but on
condition--

_Dal._ [_With warmth._] I give you my word of honour.

_Dor._ It is sufficient.

[_Exit into_ Geronte's _room._

_Dal._ You did not tell my uncle what I told you to tell him?

_Pic._ Pardon me, sir, I have told him, but he drove me away, according
to his custom.

_Dal._ I am sorry for it; let me know when the moment is favourable for
me to speak to him. Some day I will reward you for your services.

_Pic._ I am much obliged to you, sir; but, thank Heaven, I am in want of
nothing.

_Dal._ You are rich, then?

_Pic._ I am not rich, but I have a master who will not let me want for
anything. I have a wife and four children, and ought to be in the
greatest straits of any man in the world; but my master is so good, that
I support them without difficulty, and distress is unknown in my house.
                                                                [_Exit._

Dalancourt, _alone_.

_Dal._ Ah, my uncle is an excellent man. If Dorval can have any
influence over him--If I can hope to receive assistance equal to my
wants--If I can keep it concealed from my wife--Ah, why have I deceived
her? Why have I deceived myself? My uncle does not return. Every minute
is precious for me. In the meantime, I will go to my lawyer's. Oh, with
what pain I go to him! It is true, he flatters me that, notwithstanding
the decree, he will find means to gain time; but quibbles are so odious,
my feelings suffer, and my honour is affected. Wretched are they who are
forced to resort to expedients so discreditable.

_Enter_ Madame Dalancourt.

_Dal._ Here comes my wife. [_Seeing her._]

_Mad._ Ah, my husband! are you here? I have been looking everywhere for
you.

_Dal._ I was going out.

_Mad._ I met that savage just now; he is scolding and scolding wherever
he goes.

_Dal._ Do you mean my uncle?

_Mad._ Yes. Seeing a ray of sunshine, I went to walk in the garden, and
there I met him. He was stamping his feet, talking to himself, but in a
loud voice. Tell me, has he any married servants in his house?

_Dal._ Yes.

_Mad._ It must have been this. He said a great many had things of the
husband and wife; very bad, I assure you.

_Dal._ [_Aside._] I can easily imagine of whom he spoke.

_Mad._ He is really insupportable.

_Dal._ You must treat him with respect.

_Mad._ Can he complain of me? I have failed in nothing; I respect his
age, and his quality as your uncle. If I laugh at him sometimes when we
are alone, you pardon it. Except this, I have for him all possible
respect. But tell me sincerely, has he any for you or for me? He treats
us with the greatest asperity; he hates us as much as he can, and now
his contempt for me has become excessive: yet I must caress him and pay
court to him.

_Dal._ [_Embarrassed._] But--when it is so easy to do so--he is our
uncle. Besides, we may have need of him.

_Mad._ Need of him! we! how? Have we not means of our own to live in
decency? You are not extravagant; I am reasonable. For myself, I desire
no more than for you to provide for me as you have done. Let us continue
to live with the same moderation, and we shall be independent of every
one.

_Dal._ [_In a passionate manner._] Let us continue to live with the same
moderation!

_Mad._ Yes, indeed; I have no vanity. I ask nothing more of you.

_Dal._ [_Aside._] How unhappy I am!

_Mad._ But you seem to me to be disturbed--thoughtful. What is the
matter? you are not easy.

_Dal._ You are mistaken, there is nothing the matter.

_Mad._ Pardon me, I know you. If you have any sorrow, why hide it from
me?

_Dal._ [_More embarrassed._] I am thinking of my sister. I will tell you
the whole.

_Mad._ Your sister! But why of her? She's the best girl in the world--I
love her dearly. Hear me. If you will trust her to me, I will relieve
you of this burden, and at the same time make her happy.

_Dal._ How?

_Mad._ You think of placing her in a convent, and I know, on good
authority, it will be against her wishes.

_Dal._ [_A little warmly._] At her age, ought she to be asked what she
wishes or does not wish?

_Mad._ No; she has understanding enough to submit to the will of her
friends; but why not marry her?

_Dal._ She is too young.

_Mad._ Good! was I older than she when we were married?

_Dal._ [_Excitedly._] Well, must I go about from door to door looking
for a man to wed her?

_Mad._ Listen to me, my husband, and do not disturb yourself, I pray. If
I guess aright, I am sure Valerio loves her, and that she too is
attached to him.

_Dal._ [_Aside._] Heavens, how much I have to suffer!

_Mad._ You know him. Can there be a better match for Angelica?

_Dal._ [_Much embarrassed._] We will see--we will talk of it.

_Mad._ Do me the favour to leave the management of this affair to me; I
have a great desire to succeed in it.

_Dal._ [_In the greatest embarrassment._] Madame?

_Mad._ What say you?

_Dal._ It cannot be.

_Mad._ No! why not?

_Dal._ Will my uncle consent to it?

_Mad._ And if he does not? I do not wish that we should be wanting in
our duty to him, but you are the brother of Angelica. Her fortune is in
your hands--whether it is more or less depends on you alone. Let me
assure myself of their inclination, and on the subject of interest, I
would soon arrange that.

_Dal._ [_Anxiously._] No; if you love me, do not meddle with it.

_Mad._ Are you then averse to marrying your sister?

_Dal._ On the contrary.

_Mad._ What then?

_Dal._ I must go now. I will talk with you about it on my return.
[_Going._]

_Mad._ Are you displeased at my interference?

_Dal._ Not at all.

_Mad._ Hear me. Perhaps it is concerning her fortune?

_Dal._ I know nothing about it.      [_Exit._

_Mad._ What does this conduct mean? I do not comprehend it. It is
impossible that my husband--No, he is too wise to have anything to
reproach himself with.


SCENE III.--_Enter_ Angelica.

_Ang._ If I could speak with Martuccia! [_Not seeing_ Madame D.]

_Mad._ Sister!

_Ang._ [_Uneasily._] Madame!

_Mad._ Where are you going, sister?

_Ang._ [_Uneasily._] I am going away, Madame.

_Mad._ Ah! then you are offended?

_Ang._ I have reason to be so.

_Mad._ Are you angry with me?

_Ang._ Why, Madame?

_Mad._ Hear me, my child; if you are disturbed about the affair of the
convent, do not think I have any hand in it. It is just the reverse; I
love you, and will do all I can to render you happy.

_Ang._ [_Aside, weeping._] What duplicity!

_Mad._ What's the matter? you are weeping.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] How much she has deceived me! [_Wipes her eyes._]

_Mad._ What cause have you for sorrow?

_Ang._ Oh, the embarrassments of my brother.

_Mad._ The embarrassments of your brother!

_Ang._ Yes; no one knows them better than you.

_Mad._ What do you say? Explain yourself, if you please.

_Ang._ It is needless.

_Enter_ Geronte, _and then_ Piccardo.

_Ger._ [_Calls._] Piccardo!

_Pic._ Here, sir. [_Coming out of_ Geronte's _apartment._]

_Ger._ [_With impatience._] Well, where is Dorval?

_Pic._ He is waiting for you, sir, in your room.

_Ger._ He in my room, and you said nothing about it?

_Pic._ You did not give me time, sir.

_Ger._ [_Seeing_ Angelica _and_ Madame D., _he speaks to_ Angelica,
_turning as he speaks towards_ Madame D., _that she may hear him._] What
are you doing here? I wish to have none of your family. Go away.

_Ang._ My dear uncle--

_Ger._ I tell you, go.    [_Exit_ Angelica, _mortified._

_Mad._ I ask your pardon, sir.

_Ger._ [_Turning towards the door by which_ Angelica _has gone out,
but from time to time looking at_ Madame D.] This is strange. This is
impertinent. She wants to annoy me. There is another staircase for going
down into the other apartment. I will shut up this door.

_Mad._ Do not be offended, sir; as to myself, I assure you--

_Ger._ [_He wants to go into his room, but not to pass_ Madame D., _and
says to_ Piccardo.] Tell me, is Dorval in my room?

_Pic._ Yes, sir.

_Mad._ [_Perceiving the embarrassment of_ Geronte, _steps back._] Pass
on, sir; I will not be in your way.

_Ger._ [_Passing, salutes her._] My lady--I will shut up the door.
[_Goes into his room, and_ Piccardo _follows him._]

_Mad._ What a strange character! but it is not this that disturbs me.
What distresses me is the anxious manner of my husband, and Angelica's
words. I doubt; I fear; I wish to know the truth, and dread to discover
it.

END OF THE FIRST ACT.



ACT II.


SCENE I.--Geronte _and_ Dorval.

_Ger._ Let us go on with our game, and talk no more of it.

_Dor._ But it concerns your nephew.

_Ger._ A blockhead! A helpless creature, who is the slave of his wife,
and the victim of his vanity.

_Dor._ More gentleness, my friend, more gentleness.

_Ger._ And you, with your calmness, you will drive me mad.

_Dor._ What I say is right.

_Ger._ Take a chair. [_Sits down._]

_Dor._ [_In a compassionate tone, while he is going to the chair._] Poor
young man!

_Ger._ Let us see the game of yesterday.

_Dor._ [_In the same tone._] You will lose--

_Ger._ Perhaps not; let us see--

_Dor._ I say you will lose--

_Ger._ No, I am sure not.

_Dor._ Unless you assist him, you will certainly lose him.

_Ger._ Lose whom?

_Dor._ Your nephew.

_Ger._ [_With impatience._] Eh! I was speaking of the game. Sit down.

_Dor._ I will play willingly, but first listen to me--

_Ger._ You are always talking to me of Dalancourt.

_Dor._ Well, if it be so?

_Ger._ I will not listen to you.

_Dor._ Then you hate him--

_Ger._ No, sir, I hate nobody.

_Dor._ But if you do not wish--

_Ger._ No more--play. Let us go on with the game, or I shall go away.

_Dor._ One single word, and I have done.

_Ger._ Very well.

_Dor._ You have some property?

_Ger._ Yes, thank Heaven!

_Dor._ More than you want?

_Ger._ Yes, some over with which I can serve my friends.

_Dor._ And you will give nothing to your nephew?

_Ger._ Not a farthing.

_Dor._ It follows--

_Ger._ It follows?

_Dor._ That you hate him.

_Ger._ It follows that you do not know what you say. I hate, I detest
his manner of thinking, his abominable conduct; to give him money would
be only to nourish his vanity, his prodigality, his folly. Let him
change his system, and I will change when he does. I wish repentance to
deserve favours, not favours to prevent repentance.

_Dor._ [_After a moment's silence, he seems convinced, and says, with
much gentleness_] Let us play.

_Ger._ Let us play.

_Dor._ I am distressed at it. }
                              }
_Ger._ Check to the king.     }[_Playing._]
                              }
_Dor._ And this poor girl!    }

_Ger._ Who?

_Dor._ Angelica.

_Ger._ [_Leaving the game._] Ah, as to her, it is another affair. Speak
to me of her.

_Dor._ She must suffer, too.

_Ger._ I have thought of it, and have foreseen it. I shall marry her.

_Dor._ Excellent! she deserves it.

_Ger._ Is she not a most engaging young lady?

_Dor._ Yes, truly.

_Ger._ Happy is the man who shall possess her. [_Reflects a moment, and
then calls_] Dorval!

_Dor._ My friend?

_Ger._ Hear me.

_Dor._ [_Rising._] What would you say?

_Ger._ If you wish her, I will give her to you.

_Dor._ Who?

_Ger._ My niece.

_Dor._ What?

_Ger._ What! what! are you deaf? Do you not understand me? [_Animated._]
I speak clearly--if you wish to have her, I give her to you.

_Dor._ Ah! ah!

_Ger._ And if you marry her, besides her fortune, I will give her of my
own a hundred thousand francs. Eh! what say you to it?

_Dor._ My friend, you do me much honour.

_Ger._ I know who you are; I am certain by this step to secure the
happiness of my niece.

_Dor._ But--

_Ger._ But what?

_Dor._ Her brother?

_Ger._ Her brother! Her brother has nothing to do with it; it is for me
to dispose of her; the law, the will of my brother--I am master here.
Come, make haste, decide upon the spot.

_Dor._ Your proposal is not to be decided on in a moment. You are too
impetuous.

_Ger._ I see no obstacle; if you love her, if you esteem her, if she
suits you, it is all done.

_Dor._ But--

_Ger._ But--but--Let us hear your but.

_Dor._ Does the disproportion between sixteen and forty-five years
appear to you a trifle?

_Ger._ Nothing at all. You are still a young man; and I know Angelica,
she has no foolish notions.

_Dor._ She may have a liking for some other person?

_Ger._ She has none.

_Dor._ Are you sure of it?

_Ger._ Most certain; quick--let us conclude it. I will go to my
notary's; he shall draw up the contract: she is yours.

_Dor._ Softly, my friend, softly.

_Ger._ [_With heat._] What now? Do you wish still to vex me--to annoy me
with your slowness--with your cold blood?

_Dor._ Then you wish--

_Ger._ Yes, to give you a sensible, honest, virtuous girl, with a
hundred thousand crowns for her fortune, and a hundred thousand livres
at her marriage. Perhaps I affront you?

_Dor._ By no means; you do me an honour I do not deserve.

_Ger._ [_With warmth._] Your modesty on this occasion is most
inopportune.

_Dor._ Do not get angry; do you wish me to take her?

_Ger._ Yes.

_Dor._ Then I take her--

_Ger._ [_With joy._] Indeed!

_Dor._ But on condition--

_Ger._ Of what?

_Dor._ That Angelica consents to it.

_Ger._ Do you make no other obstacle?

_Dor._ No other.

_Ger._ I am delighted. I answer for her.

_Dor._ So much the better if you are sure.

_Ger._ Most sure--most certain. Embrace me, my dear nephew.

_Dor._ Let us embrace, my dear uncle.

[Dalancourt _enters by the middle door; sees his uncle; listens as he
passes; goes towards his own apartment, but stops at his own door to
listen._]

_Ger._ This is the happiest day of my life.

_Dor._ My dear friend, how very kind you are!

_Ger._ I am going to the notary's. This very day it shall all be
concluded. [_Calls._] Piccardo!

_Enter_ Piccardo.

_Ger._ My cane and hat.      [_Exit_ Piccardo.

_Dor._ I will now go home.

[Piccardo _returns, and gives his master his cane and hat, and
withdraws._ Dalancourt _is still at his door._]

_Ger._ No, no, you must wait here for me; I will soon return. You must
dine with me.

_Dor._ I have to write; I must send for my agent, who is a league from
Paris.

_Ger._ Go into my room and write; send your letter by Piccardo.
Yes, Piccardo will carry it himself; Piccardo is an excellent young
man--sensible--faithful. Sometimes I scold him, but I am very fond of
him.

_Dor._ Well, since you are determined, it shall be so; I will write in
your room.

_Ger._ Now it is all concluded.

_Dor._ Yes, we agree.

_Ger._ [_Taking his hand._] Your word of honour?

_Dor._ [_Giving his hand._] My word of honour.

_Ger._ My dear nephew!      [_Exit at the last words, showing joy._


SCENE II.--Dalancourt _and_ Dorval.

_Dor._ In truth, all this seems to me a dream. I marry!--I, who have
never thought of such a thing!

_Dal._ Ah, my dear friend, I know not how to express my gratitude to
you.

_Dor._ For what?

_Dal._ Did I not hear what my uncle said? He loves me, he feels for me;
he has gone to his notary; he has given you his word of honour. I see
plainly what you have done for me; I am the most fortunate man in the
world.

_Dor._ Do not flatter yourself so much, my dear friend, for the good
fortune you imagine has not the least foundation in truth.

_Dal._ How then?

_Dor._ I hope, in time, to be able to do you a service with him; and
hereafter I may have some title to interest myself in your behalf; but
till then--

_Dal._ [_With warmth._] For what, then, did he give you his word of
honour?

_Dor._ I will tell you at once; he did me the honour to propose your
sister to me as a wife.

_Dal._ [_With joy._] My sister! Do you accept?

_Dor._ Yes, if you approve it.

_Dal._ You overwhelm me with joy; you surprise me. As regards her
fortune, you know my situation.

_Dor._ About that we will say nothing.

_Dal._ My dear brother, let me, with all my heart, embrace you.

_Dor._ I flatter myself that your uncle on this occasion--

_Dal._ Here is a connection to which I shall owe my happiness. I am in
great need of it. I have been to my lawyer's, and did not find him.

_Enter_ Madame Dalancourt.

_Dal._ [_Seeing his wife._] Ah, Madame!

_Mad._ [_To_ Dalancourt.] I have been waiting for you with impatience. I
heard your voice.

_Dal._ My wife, here is Signor Dorval; I present him to you as my
brother-in-law, as the husband of Angelica.

_Mad._ [_With joy._] Indeed!

_Dor._ I shall be highly pleased, Madame, if my happiness meets with
your approbation.

_Mad._ I am rejoiced at it, sir; I congratulate you with all my heart.
[_Aside._] What did he mean by speaking of the embarrassments of my
husband?

_Dal._ [_To_ Dorval.] Is my sister informed of it?

_Dor._ I think not.

_Mad._ [_Aside._] Then it was not Dalancourt who made the match.

_Dal._ Do you wish me to bring her here?

_Dor._ No, do not bring her; there may still be a difficulty.

_Dal._ What is it?

_Dor._ Her consent.

_Dal._ Fear nothing; I know Angelica, and your circumstances and merit.
Leave it to me; I will speak to my sister.

_Dor._ No, my dear friend, do not, I beg you, do not let us spoil the
affair; leave it to Signor Geronte.

_Dal._ As you please.

_Mad._ [_Aside._] I comprehend nothing of all this.

_Dor._ I am going into your uncle's room to write; he has given me
permission, and he has told me expressly to wait for him there, so
excuse me; we shall soon see each other again.
                                   [_Exit into_ Geronte's _apartment._


SCENE III.--Dalancourt _and_ Madame Dalancourt.

_Mad._ From what I hear, it appears you are not the person who marries
your sister?

_Dal._ [_Embarrassed._] My uncle marries her.

_Mad._ Has your uncle mentioned it to you? Has he asked your consent?

_Dal._ [_With a little warmth._] My consent! Did you not see Dorval? Did
he not tell me of it? Do you not call this asking my consent?

_Mad._ [_A little warmly._] Yes. It is an act of civility on the part of
Dorval, but your uncle has said nothing to you.

_Dal._ [_Embarrassed._] What do you mean by that?

_Mad._ I mean, he thinks us of no account.

_Dal._ [_Warmly._] You take the worst view of everything. This is
terrible! You are insupportable.

_Mad._ [_Mortified._] I insupportable! you find me insupportable! [_With
much tenderness._] Ah, my husband! this is the first time such an
expression has ever escaped from your lips. You must be in a state of
great uneasiness so to forget your affection for me.

_Dal._ [_Aside._] Ah! too true.--My dear wife, I ask your pardon with
all my heart. But you know my uncle; do you desire to offend him still
more? Do you wish me to hinder my sister? The match is a good one;
nothing can be said against it. My uncle has chosen it; so much the
better. Here is one embarrassment the less for you and me. [_With joy._]

_Mad._ Come, come, I am glad you take it in good part; I praise and
admire your conduct. But permit me to make one suggestion: Who is to
attend to the necessary preparations for a young lady going to be
married? Is your uncle to have this trouble? Will it be proper? will it
be correct?

_Dal._ You are right; but there is time, we will talk of it.

_Mad._ Hear me: you know I love Angelica. The ungrateful girl does not
deserve I should care for her; but she is your sister.

_Dal._ How! you call my sister ungrateful! Why so?

_Mad._ Do not let us speak of it now; some other time, when we are
alone, I will explain to you. And then--

_Dal._ No; I wish to hear it now.

_Mad._ Have patience, my dear husband.

_Dal._ No, I tell you; I wish to know at once.

_Mad._ Well, as you wish it, I must satisfy you.

_Dal._ [_Aside._] How I tremble!

_Mad._ Your sister--

_Dal._ Proceed.

_Mad._ I believe she is too much on your uncle's side.

_Dal._ Why?

_Mad._ She told me--yes, me--that your affairs were embarrassed, and
that--

_Dal._ That my affairs were embarrassed;--and do you believe it?

_Mad._ No. But she spoke to me in such a manner as to make me think she
suspected I was the cause of it, or at least, that I had contributed to
it.

_Dal._ [_A little excitedly._] You! she suspects you!

_Mad._ Do not be angry, my dear husband. I know very well her want of
judgment.

_Dal._ [_With feeling._] My dear wife!

_Mad._ Do not be distressed. Believe me, I shall think no more of it. It
all arises from him; your uncle is the cause of it all.

_Dal._ Oh no! my uncle has not a bad heart.

_Mad._ He not a bad heart? Heavens! the worst in the world! Has he not
shown it to me?--But I forgive him.

_Enter a_ Servant.

_Ser._ Here is a letter for you, sir.

_Dal._ Give it to me. [_He takes the letter. Exit_ Servant.] Let us see
it. [_Agitated._] This is the hand of my lawyer. [_Opens the letter._]

_Mad._ What does he write?

_Dal._ Excuse me for a moment. [_He retires apart, reads, and shows
displeasure._]

_Mad._ [_Aside._] There must be some bad news.

_Dal._ [_Aside, after reading the letter._] I am ruined!

_Mad._ [_Aside._] My heart beats!

_Dal._ [_Aside._] My poor wife! what will become of her? How can I tell
her?--I have not the courage.

_Mad._ [_Weeping._] My dear Dalancourt, tell me, what is it? Trust your
wife: am I not the best friend you have?

_Dal._ Take it and read: this is my situation. [_Gives her the letter._]
[_Exit._

Madame Dalancourt, _alone_.

_Mad._ I tremble.--[_Reads._] "_Sir, all is lost; the creditors will not
subscribe. The decree was confirmed. I inform you of it as soon as
possible; be on your guard, for your arrest is ordered._"--What do I
read! what do I read! My husband in debt, in danger of losing his
liberty! Can it be possible? He does not gamble, he has no bad habits;
he is not addicted to unusual luxury.--By his own fault--may it not then
be my fault? Oh, God! what a dreadful ray of light breaks in upon me!
The reproofs of Angelica, the hatred of Signor Geronte, the contempt he
shows for me, day after day! The bandage is torn from my eyes: I see the
errors of my husband, I see my own. Too much love has been his fault, my
inexperience has made me blind. Dalancourt is culpable, and I perhaps am
equally so. What remedy is there in this cruel situation? His uncle
only--yes--his uncle can help him;--but Dalancourt--he must be now in a
state of humiliation and distress--and if I am the cause of it, though
involuntarily, why do I not go myself? Yes--I ought to throw myself at
Geronte's feet--but, with his severe, unyielding temper, can I flatter
myself I shall make any impression on him? Shall I go and expose myself
to his rudeness? Ah! what matters it? Ah! what is my mortification
compared to the horrible condition of my husband? Yes, I will run! This
thought alone ought to give me courage. [_She goes towards Geronte's
apartment._]

_Enter_ Martuccia.

_Mar._ Madame, what are you doing here? Signor Dalancourt is in despair.

_Mad._ Heavens! I fly to his assistance.    [_Exit._

_Mar._ What misfortunes!--what confusion! If it be true she is the cause
of it, she well deserves--Who comes here?

_Enter_ Valerio.

_Mar._ Why, sir, do you come here now? You have chosen an unfortunate
time. All the family is overwhelmed with sorrow.

_Val._ I do not doubt it. I just come from Signor Dalancourt's lawyer. I
have offered him my purse and my credit.

_Mar._ This is a praiseworthy action. Nothing can be more generous than
your conduct.

_Val._ Is Signor Geronte at home?

_Mar._ No; the servant told me he saw him with his notary.

_Val._ With his notary?

_Mar._ Yes; he is always occupied with some business. But do you wish to
speak with him?

_Val._ Yes, I wish to speak with them all. I see with sorrow the
confusion of Dalancourt's affairs. I am alone. I have property, and
can dispose of it. I love Angelica, and am come to offer to marry
her without a portion, and to share with her my lot and my fortune.

_Mar._ This resolution is worthy of you. No one could show more esteem,
more love, and more generosity.

_Val._ Do you think I may flatter myself?--

_Mar._ Yes, and especially as she enjoys the favour of her uncle, and he
desires to marry her.

_Val._ [_With joy._] He desires to marry her?

_Mar._ Yes.

_Val._ But if he wishes to marry her, he also wishes to propose a match
that is to his taste?

_Mar._ [_After a moment's silence._] It may be so.

_Val._ And can this be any comfort to me?

_Mar._ Why not? [_To_ Angelica, _who enters timidly._] Come in, my young
lady.

_Ang._ I am terribly frightened.

_Val._ [_To_ Angelica.] What is the matter?

_Ang._ My poor brother--

_Mar._ Is he just the same?

_Ang._ Rather better. He is a little more tranquil.

_Mar._ Hear me. This gentleman has told me something very consoling for
you and for your brother.

_Ang._ For him too?

_Mar._ If you knew what a sacrifice he is disposed to make!

_Val._ [_Aside to_ Martuccia.] Say nothing of it. [_Turning to_
Angelica.] Can any sacrifice be too great for you?

_Mar._ But it must be mentioned to Signor Geronte.

_Val._ My dear friend, if you will take the trouble.

_Mar._ Willingly. What shall I say to him? Let us see. Advise me. But I
hear some one. [_She goes towards the apartment of_ Signor Geronte.]
[_To_ Valerio.] It is Signor Dorval. Do not let him see you. Let us go
into my room, and there we can talk at our ease.

_Val._ [_To_ Angelica.] If you see your brother--

_Mar._ Come, sir, let us go--quick. [_She goes out and takes him with
her._]


SCENE IV.--Angelica, _and then_ Dorval.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] What have I to do with Signor Dorval? I can go away.

_Dor._ Mademoiselle Angelica!

_Ang._ Sir?

_Dor._ Have you seen your uncle? Has he told you nothing?

_Ang._ I saw him this morning, sir.

_Dor._ Before he went out of the house?

_Ang._ Yes, sir.

_Dor._ Has he returned?

_Ang._ No, sir.

_Dor._ [_Aside._] Good. She knows nothing of it.

_Ang._ Excuse me, sir. Is there anything new in which I am concerned?

_Dor._ Your uncle takes much interest in you.

_Ang._ [_With modesty._] He is very kind.

_Dor._ [_Seriously._] He thinks often of you.

_Ang._ It is fortunate for me.

_Dor._ He thinks of marrying you. [Angelica _appears modest._] What say
you to it? Would you like to be married?

_Ang._ I depend on my uncle.

_Dor._ Shall I say anything more to you on the subject?

_Ang._ [_With a little curiosity._] But--as you please, sir.

_Dor._ The choice of a husband is already made.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] Oh, heavens! I tremble.

_Dor._ [_Aside._] She seems to be pleased.

_Ang._ [_Trembling._] Sir, I am curious to know--

_Dor._ What, Mademoiselle?

_Ang._ Do you know who is intended for me?

_Dor._ Yes, and you know him too.

_Ang._ [_With joy._] I know him too?

_Dor._ Certainly, you know him.

_Ang._ May I, sir, have the boldness--

_Dor._ Speak, Mademoiselle.

_Ang._ To ask you the name of the young man?

_Dor._ The name of the young man?

_Ang._ Yes, if you know him.

_Dor._ Suppose he were not so young?

_Ang._ [_Aside, with agitation._] Good Heavens!

_Dor._ You are sensible--you depend on your uncle--

_Ang._ [_Trembling._] Do you think, sir, my uncle would sacrifice me?

_Dor._ What do you mean by sacrificing you?

_Ang._ Mean--without the consent of my heart. My uncle is so good--But
who could have advised him--who could have proposed this match? [_With
temper._]

_Dor._ [_A little hurt._] But this match--Mademoiselle--Suppose it were
I?

_Ang._ [_With joy._] You, sir? Heaven grant it!

_Dor._ [_Pleased._] Heaven grant it?

_Ang._ Yes, I know you; I know you are reasonable. You are sensible; I
can trust you. If you have given my uncle this advice, if you have
proposed this match, I hope you will now find some means of making him
change his plan.

_Dor._ [_Aside._] Eh! this is not so bad.--[_To_ Angelica.]
Mademoiselle--

_Ang._ [_Distressed._] Signor?

_Dor._ [_With feeling._] Is your heart engaged?

_Ang._ Ah, sir--

_Dor._ I understand you.

_Ang._ Have pity on me!

_Dor._ [_Aside._] I said so, I foresaw right; it is fortunate for me I
am not in love--yet I began to perceive some little symptoms of it.

_Ang._ But you do not tell me, sir.

_Dor._ But, Mademoiselle--

_Ang._ You have perhaps some particular interest in the person they wish
me to marry?

_Dor._ A little.

_Ang._ [_With temper and firmness._] I tell you I shall hate him.

_Dor._ [_Aside._] Poor girl! I am pleased with her sincerity.

_Ang._ Come, have compassion; be generous.

_Dor._ Yes, I will be so, I promise you; I will speak to your uncle in
your favour, and will do all I can to make you happy.

_Ang._ [_With joy and transport._] Oh, how dear a man you are! You are
my benefactor, my father. [_Takes his hand._]

_Dor._ My dear girl!

_Enter_ Geronte.

_Ger._ [_In his hot-tempered manner, with animation._] Excellent,
excellent! Courage, my children, I am delighted with you. [Angelica
_retires, mortified_; Dorval _smiles_.] How! does my presence alarm
you? I do not condemn this proper show of affection. You have done well,
Dorval, to inform her. Come, my niece, embrace your future husband.

_Ang._ [_In consternation._] What do I hear?

_Dor._ [_Aside and smiling._] Now I am unmasked.

_Ger._ [_To_ Angelica, _with warmth._] What scene is this? Your modesty
is misplaced. When I am not present, you are near enough to each other;
when I come in, you go far apart. Come here.--[_To_ Dorval, _with
anger_.] And do you too come here.

_Dor._ [_Laughing._] Softly, my friend.

_Ger._ Why do you laugh? Do you feel your happiness? I am very willing
you should laugh, but do not put me in a passion; do you hear, you
laughing gentleman? Come here and listen to me.

_Dor._ But listen yourself.

_Ger._ [_To_ Angelica, _and endeavouring to take her hand._] Come near,
both of you.

_Ang._ [_Weeping._] My uncle!

_Ger._ Weeping! What's the matter, my child? I believe you are making a
jest of me. [_Takes her hand, and carries her by force to the middle of
the stage; then turns to_ Dorval, _and says to him, with an appearance
of heat_] You shall escape me no more.

_Dor._ At least let me speak.

_Ger._ No, no!

_Ang._ My dear uncle--

_Ger._ [_With warmth._] No, no. [_He changes his tone and becomes
serious._] I have been to my notary's, and have arranged everything; he
has taken a note of it in my presence, and will soon bring the contract
here for us to subscribe.

_Dor._ But will you listen to me?

_Ger._ No, no. As to her fortune, my brother had the weakness to leave
it in the hands of his son; this will no doubt cause some obstacle on
his part, but it will not embarrass me. Every one who has transactions
with him suffers. The fortune cannot be lost, and in any event I will be
responsible for it.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] I can bear this no longer.

_Dor._ [_Embarrassed._] All proceeds well, but--

_Ger._ But what?

_Dor._ The young lady may have something to say in this matter.
[_Looking at_ Angelica.]

_Ang._ [_Hastily and trembling._] I, sir?

_Ger._ I should like to know if she can say anything against what I do,
what I order, and what I wish. My wishes, my orders, and what I do, are
all for her good. Do you understand me?

_Dor._ Then I must speak myself.

_Ger._ What have you to say?

_Dor._ That I am very sorry, but this marriage cannot take place.

_Ger._ Not take place! [Angelica _retreats frightened_; Dorval _also
steps back two paces._] [_To_ Dorval.] You have given me your word of
honour.

_Dor._ Yes, on condition--

_Ger._ [_Turning to_ Angelica.] It must then be this impertinent. If I
could believe it! if I had any reason to suspect it! [_Threatens her._]

_Dor._ [_Seriously._] No, sir, you are mistaken.

_Ger._ [_To_ Dorval. Angelica _seizes the opportunity and makes her
escape._] It is you, then, who refuse? So you abuse my friendship and
affection for you!

_Dor._ [_Raising his voice._] But hear reason--

_Ger._ What reason? what reason? There is no reason. I am a man of
honour, and if you are so too, it shall be done at once. [_Turning
round, he calls_] Angelica!

_Dor._ What possesses the man? He will resort to violence on the spot.
[_Runs off._]

Geronte, _alone._

_Ger._ Where is she gone? Angelica! Hallo! who's there? Piccardo!
Martuccia! Pietro! Cortese!--But I'll find her. It is you I want.
[_Turns round, and, not seeing_ Dorval, _remains motionless._] What! he
treat me so! [_Calls._] Dorval! my friend! Dorval--Dorval! my friend!
Oh, shameful--ungrateful! Hallo! Is no one there? Piccardo!

_Enter_ Piccardo.

_Pic._ Here, sir.

_Ger._ You rascal! Why don't you answer?

_Pic._ Pardon me, sir, here I am.

_Ger._ Shameful! I called you ten times.

_Pic._ I am sorry, but--

_Ger._ Ten times! It is scandalous.

_Pic._ [_Aside, and angry._] He is in a fury now.

_Ger._ Have you seen Dorval?

_Pic._ Yes, sir.

_Ger._ Where is he?

_Pic._ He is gone.

_Ger._ How is he gone?

_Pic._ [_Roughly._] He is gone as other people go.

_Ger._ Ah, insolent! do you answer your master in this manner? [_Very
much offended, he threatens him and makes him retreat._]

_Pic._ [_Very angrily._] Give me my discharge, sir.

_Ger._ Your discharge--worthless fellow! [_Threatens him and makes him
retreat._ Piccardo _falls between the chair and the table._ Geronte
_runs to his assistance and helps him up_.]

_Pic._ Oh! [_He leans on the chair, and shows much pain._]

_Ger._ Are you hurt? Are you hurt?

_Pic._ Very much hurt; you have crippled me.

_Ger._ Oh, I am sorry! Can you walk?

_Pic._ [_Still angry._] I believe so, sir. [_He tries, and walks
badly._]

_Ger._ [_Sharply._] Go on.

_Pic._ [_Mortified._] Do you drive me away, sir?

_Ger._ [_Warmly._] No. Go to your wife's house, that you may be taken
care of. [_Pulls out his purse and offers him money._] Take this to get
cured.

_Pic._ [_Aside, with tenderness._] What a master!

_Ger._ Take it. [_Giving him money._]

_Pic._ [_With modesty._] No, sir, I hope it will be nothing.

_Ger._ Take it, I tell you.

_Pic._ [_Still refusing it._] Sir--

_Ger._ [_Very warmly._] What! you refuse my money? Do you refuse it from
pride, or spite, or hatred? Do you believe I did it on purpose? Take
this money. Take it. Come, don't put me in a passion.

_Pic._ Do not get angry, sir. I thank you for all your kindness. [_Takes
the money._]

_Ger._ Go quickly.

_Pic._ Yes, sir. [_Walks badly._]

_Ger._ Go slowly.

_Pic._ Yes, sir.

_Ger._ Wait, wait; take my cane.

_Pic._ Sir--

_Ger._ Take it, I tell you! I wish you to do it.

_Pic._ [_Takes the cane._] What goodness!      [_Exit._

_Enter_ Martuccia.

_Ger._ It is the first time in my life that--Plague on my temper!
[_Taking long strides._] It is Dorval who put me in a passion.

_Mar._ Do you wish to dine, sir?

_Ger._ May the devil take you! [_Runs out and shuts himself in his
room._]

_Mar._ Well, well! He is in a rage: I can do nothing for Angelica
to-day; Valerio can go away.      [_Exit._

END OF THE SECOND ACT.



ACT III.


SCENE I.--Piccardo _and_ Martuccia.

_Mar._ What, have you returned already?

_Pic._ [_With his master's cane._] Yes, I limp a little: but I was more
frightened than hurt; it was not worth the money my master gave me to
get cured.

_Mar._ It seems misfortunes are sometimes profitable.

_Pic._ [_With an air of satisfaction._] Poor master! On my honour,
this instance of his goodness affected me so much, I could hardly help
shedding tears; if he had broken my leg, I should have forgiven him.

_Mar._ What a heart he has! Pity he has so great a failing.

_Pic._ But what man is there without defects?

_Mar._ Go and look for him; you know he has not dined yet.

_Pic._ Why not?

_Mar._ My son, there are misfortunes, terrible misfortunes, in this
house.

_Pic._ I know all; I met your nephew, he told me all: this the reason I
have returned so soon. Does my master know it?

_Mar._ I think not.

_Pic._ Ah, how it will distress him!

_Mar._ Certainly--and poor Angelica.

_Pic._ But Valerio?

_Mar._ Valerio--Valerio is here now; he will not go away. He is still in
the apartment of Signor Dalancourt: encourages the brother, takes care
of the sister, consoles Madame;--one weeps, another sighs, the other is
in despair; all is in confusion.

_Pic._ Did you not promise to speak to my master?

_Mar._ Yes, I should have spoken to him, but he is too angry just now.

_Pic._ I am going to look for him, to carry him his cane.

_Mar._ Go; and if you see the tempest a little calmed, tell him
something concerning the unhappy state of his nephew.

_Pic._ Yes, I'll speak to him, and I'll let you know what passes.
[_Opens the door softly, enters the room, and then shuts it._]

_Mar._ Yes, dear friend, go softly.--This Piccardo is an excellent young
man, amiable, polite, obliging; he is the only person in the house to my
liking. I do not so easily become friends with everybody.

_Enter_ Dorval.

_Dor._ [_In a low tone, and smiling._] Ah, Martuccia!

_Mar._ Your servant, sir.

_Dor._ Is Signor Geronte still angry?

_Mar._ It would not be strange if the storm were over. You know him
better than any one else.

_Dor._ He is very angry with me.

_Mar._ With you, sir? He angry with you!

_Dor._ [_Smiling._] There is no doubt of it; but it is nothing; I know
him. I am sure as soon as we meet he will be the first to embrace me.

_Mar._ Nothing is more likely. He loves you, esteems you, you are his
only friend. It is singular--he, a man always in a passion, and you--I
say it with respect--the most tranquil man in the world.

_Dor._ It is exactly for this reason our friendship has continued so
long.

_Mar._ Go and look for him.

_Dor._ No; it is too soon. I want first to see Angelica. Where is she?

_Mar._ With her brother. You know the misfortunes of her brother?

_Dor._ [_With an expression of sorrow._] Ah, too well: everybody is
talking of them.

_Mar._ And what do they say?

_Dor._ Don't ask me: the good pity him, the hard-hearted make a jest of
him, and the ungrateful abandon him.

_Mar._ Oh, Heaven! And the poor girl?

_Dor._ Must I speak of her too?

_Mar._ May I ask how she will fare in this confusion? I take so much
interest in her, that you ought to tell me.

_Dor._ [_Smiling._] I have learned that one Valerio--

_Mar._ Ah, ah! Valerio!

_Dor._ Do you know him?

_Mar._ Very well, sir; it is all my own work.

_Dor._ So much the better; will you aid me?

_Mar._ Most willingly.

_Dor._ I must go and be certain if Angelica--

_Mar._ And also if Valerio--

_Dor._ Yes, I will go to him too.

_Mar._ Go then into Dalancourt's apartment; you will there kill two
birds with one stone.

_Dor._ How?

_Mar._ He is there.

_Dor._ Valerio?

_Mar._ Yes.

_Dor._ I am glad of it; I will go at once.

_Mar._ Stop; shall I not tell him you are coming?

_Dor._ Good! such ceremony with my brother-in-law!

_Mar._ Your brother-in-law?

_Dor._ Yes.

_Mar._ How?

_Dor._ Do you not know?

_Mar._ Nothing at all.

_Dor._ Then you shall know another time. [_Goes into_ Dalancourt's
_apartment.]

_Mar._ He is out of his senses.

_Enter_ Geronte.

_Ger._ [_Speaking while he is turning towards the door of his room._]
Stop there, I will send the letter by some one else; stop there, it
shall be so. [_Turning to_ Martuccia.] Martuccia!

_Mar._ Sir?

_Ger._ Get a servant to take this letter directly to Dorval. [_Turning
towards the door of his apartment._] He is not well, he walks lame, and
yet he would take it. [_To_ Martuccia.] Go.

_Mar._ But, sir--

_Ger._ Well, let us hear.

_Mar._ But Dorval--

_Ger._ [_Impatiently._] Yes, to Dorval's house.

_Mar._ He is here.

_Ger._ Who?

_Mar._ Dorval.

_Ger._ Where?

_Mar._ Here.

_Ger._ Dorval here?

_Mar._ Yes, sir.

_Ger._ Where is he?

_Mar._ In Signor Dalancourt's room.

_Ger._ [_Angrily._] In Dalancourt's room! Dorval in Dalancourt's room!
Now I see how it is, I understand it all. Go and tell Dorval from
me--but no--I do not want you to go into that cursed room; if you set
your foot in it, I will discharge you. Call one of the servants of that
fellow--no, I don't want any of them--go yourself--yes, yes, tell him to
come directly--do you hear?

_Mar._ Shall I go, or not go?

_Ger._ Go! don't make me more impatient. [Martuccia _goes into_
Dalancourt's _room._]

Geronte, _alone_.

_Ger._ Yes, it must be so; Dorval has discovered into what a terrible
abyss this wretched man has fallen; yes, he knew it before I did, and if
Piccardo had not told me, I should be still in the dark. It is exactly
so. Dorval fears a connection with a ruined man; that is it. But I must
look further into it to be more certain. Yet why not tell me? I would
have persuaded him--I would have convinced him.--But why did he not tell
me? He will say, perhaps, that my violence did not give him an
opportunity. This is no excuse: he should have waited, he should not
have gone away; my resentment would have been over, and he might have
spoken to me. Unworthy, treacherous, perfidious nephew! you have
sacrificed your happiness and your honour. I love you, culpable as you
are. Yes, I love you too much; but I will discard you from my heart and
from my thoughts. Go hence--go and perish in some other place. But where
can he go? No matter, I'll think of him no more;--your sister alone
interests me; she only deserves my tenderness, my kindness. Dorval is
my friend; Dorval shall marry her. I will give them all my estate--I
will leave the guilty to their punishment, but will never abandon the
innocent.


SCENE II.--_Enter_ Dalancourt.

_Dal._ Ah, my uncle, hear me for pity's sake! [_He throws himself in
great agitation at_ Geronte's _feet._]

_Ger._ [_Sees_ Dalancourt, _then draws back a little._] What do you
want? Rise.

_Dal._ [_In the same posture._] My dear uncle, you see the most unhappy
of men; have mercy! listen to me!

_Ger._ [_A little moved, but still in anger._] Rise, I say.

_Dal._ [_On his knees._] You, who have a heart so generous, so feeling,
will you abandon me for a fault which is the fault of love only, and an
honest, virtuous love? I have certainly done wrong in not profiting by
your advice, in disregarding your paternal tenderness; but, my dear
uncle, in the name of your brother, to whom I owe my life, of that blood
which flows in the veins of us both, let me move you--let me soften your
feelings.

_Ger._ [_By degrees relents, wipes his eyes, yet not letting_ Dalancourt
_see, and says in a low tone_] What! you have still the courage?

_Dal._ It is not the loss of fortune that afflicts me; a sentiment more
worthy of you oppresses me--my honour. Can you bear the disgrace of a
nephew? I ask nothing of you; if I can preserve my reputation, I give
you my word, for myself and my wife, that want shall have no terrors for
us, if, in the midst of our misery, we can have the consolation of an
unsullied character, our mutual love, and your affection and esteem.

_Ger._ Wretched man! you deserve--but I am weak; this foolish regard
for blood speaks in favour of this ingrate. Rise, sir; I will pay your
debts, and perhaps place you in a situation to contract others.

_Dal._ [_Moved._] Ah, no, my uncle! I promise you, you shall see in my
conduct hereafter--

_Ger._ What conduct, inconsiderate man? That of an infatuated husband
who suffers himself to be guided by the caprices of his wife, a vain,
presumptuous, thoughtless woman--

_Dal._ No, I swear to you, my wife is not in fault; you do not know her.

_Ger._ [_Still more excited._] You defend her? You maintain what is
false in my presence? Take care! but a little more, and on account of
your wife I will retract my promise; yes, yes, I will retract it--you
shall have nothing of mine. Your wife!--I cannot bear her. I will not
see her.

_Dal._ Ah, my uncle, you tear my heart!

_Enter_ Madame Dalancourt.

_Mad._ Ah, sir! you think me the cause of all the misfortunes of your
nephew; it is right that I alone should bear the punishment. The
ignorance in which I have lived till now, I see, is not a sufficient
excuse in your eyes. Young, inexperienced, I have suffered myself to be
guided by a husband who loved me. The world had attractions for me; evil
examples seduced me. I was satisfied, and thought myself happy, but I am
guilty in appearance, and that is enough. That my husband may be worthy
of your kindness, I submit to your fatal decree. I will withdraw from
your presence, yet I ask one favour of you: moderate your anger against
me; pardon me--my youth--have compassion on my husband, whom too much
love--

_Ger._ Ah, Madame, perhaps you think to overcome me?

_Mad._ Oh, Heaven! Is there no hope? Ah, my dear Dalancourt, I have then
ruined you! I die. [_Falls on a sofa._]

_Ger._ [_Disturbed, moved with tenderness._] Hallo! who's there?
Martuccia!

_Enter_ Martuccia.

_Mar._ Here, sir.

_Ger._ Look there--quick--go--see to her; do something for her
assistance.

_Mar._ My lady! What's the matter?

_Ger._ [_Giving a phial to_ Martuccia.] Take it. Here's Cologne water.
[_To_ Dalancourt.] What is the matter?

_Dal._ Ah, my uncle!

_Ger._ [_To_ Madame D., _in a rough tone._] How are you?

_Mad._ [_Rising languidly, and in a weak voice._] You are too kind, sir,
to interest yourself in me. Do not mind my weakness--feelings will show
themselves. I shall recover my strength. I will go, my--I will resign
myself to my misfortunes.

_Ger._ [_Affected, does not speak._]

_Dal._ [_Distressed._] Ah, my uncle! can you suffer--

_Ger._ [_With warmth to_ Dalancourt.] Be silent!--[_To_ Madame D.,
_roughly._] Remain in this house with your husband.

_Mad._ Ah, sir! ah!

_Dal._ [_With transport._] Ah, my dear uncle!

_Ger._ [_In a serious tone, but without anger, taking their hands._]
Hear me: my savings are not on my own account; you would one day have
known it. Make use of them now; the source is exhausted, and henceforth
you must be prudent. If gratitude does not influence you, honour should
at least keep you right.

_Mad._ Your goodness--

_Dal._ Your generosity--

_Ger._ Enough! enough!

_Mar._ Sir--

_Ger._ Do you be silent, babbler!

_Mar._ Now, sir, that you are in a humour for doing good, don't you mean
to do something for Mademoiselle Angelica?

_Ger._ Well thought of. Where is she?

_Mar._ She is not far off.

_Ger._ And where is her betrothed?

_Mar._ Her betrothed?

_Ger._ He is perhaps offended at what I said, and will not see me. Is he
gone?

_Mar._ Sir--her betrothed--he is still here.

_Ger._ Let him come in.

_Mar._ Angelica and her betrothed?

_Ger._ Yes, Angelica and her betrothed.

_Mar._ Admirable! Directly, sir, directly. [_Going towards the door._]
Come, come, my children; have no fear.

_Enter_ Valerio, Dorval, _and_ Angelica.

_Ger._ [_Seeing_ Valerio.] What's this? What is this other man doing
here?

_Mar._ They are, sir, the betrothed and the witness.

_Ger._ [_To_ Angelica.] Come here.

_Ang._ [_Trembling, speaking to_ Madame D.] Ah, sister! I ought indeed
to ask your pardon.

_Mar._ And I too, Madame.

_Ger._ [_To_ Dorval.] Come here, Signor Betrothed. What say you? Are you
still angry? Will you not come?

_Dor._ Do you speak to me?

_Ger._ Yes, to you.

_Dor._ Pardon me, I am only the witness.

_Ger._ The witness!

_Dor._ Yes. I will explain the mystery. If you had permitted me to
speak--

_Ger._ The mystery! [_To_ Angelica.] Is there any mystery?

_Dor._ [_Serious, and in a resolute tone._] Hear me, friends: you know
Valerio; he was informed of the misfortune of the family, and had come
to offer his fortune to Dalancourt, and his hand to Angelica. He loves
her, and is ready to marry her with nothing, and to settle on her an
annuity of twelve thousand livres. Your character is known to me, and
that you delight in good actions. I have detained him here, and have
undertaken to present him.

_Ger._ You had no attachment, eh? You have deceived me. I will not
consent that you shall have him. This is a contrivance on both your
parts, and I will never submit to it.

_Ang._ [_Weeping._] My dear uncle!

_Val._ [_In a warm and suppliant manner._] Sir!

_Dor._ You are so good!

_Mad._ You are so generous!

_Mar._ My dear master!

_Ger._ Plague on my disposition! I cannot continue angry as long as I
would. I could willingly beat myself. [_All together repeat their
entreaties, and surround him._] Be silent! let me alone! May the devil
take you all! let him marry her.

_Mar._ [_Earnestly._] Let him marry her without a portion!

_Ger._ What, without a portion! I marry my niece without a portion! Am I
not in a situation to give her a portion? I know Valerio; the generous
action he has just proposed deserves a reward. Yes, let him have her
portion, and the hundred thousand livres I have promised Angelica.

_Val._ What kindness!

_Ang._ What goodness!

_Mad._ What a heart!

_Dal._ What an example!

_Mar._ Bless my master!

_Dor._ Bless my good friend!

[_All surround him, overwhelm him with caresses, and repeat his
praises._]

_Ger._ [_Trying to rid himself of them, shouts_] Peace! peace! Piccardo!

_Enter_ Piccardo.

_Pic._ Here, sir.

_Ger._ We shall sup in my room; all are invited. Dorval, in the meantime
we'll have a game of chess.



 THE FAN

 (_IL VENTAGLIO_)

 A COMEDY IN THREE ACTS


 DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

  COUNT ROCCA MARINA.
  BARON DEL CEDRO.
  SIGNOR EVARIST.
  SIGNORA GELTRUDE, _a widow._
  CANDIDA,          _her niece._
  CORONATO,         _an innkeeper._
  MORACCHIO,        _a peasant._
  NINA,             _his sister._
  SUSANNA,          _a small shopkeeper._
  CRISPINO,         _a shoemaker._
  TIMOTEO,          _an apothecary._
  LIMONATO,         _a waiter._
  TOGNINO,          _servant to the two ladies._
  SCAVEZZO,         _boots to the innkeeper._

  _Scene of action, a little village near Milan._



THE FAN.



ACT I.

[An open space bounded at the back by a house bearing the inscription
_Osteria_ (_Inn_). Houses to right and left; on the left a gentleman's
mansion with a low projecting terrace. The foremost house has the word
Café upon a swinging shield; before its main door and windows stand
small tables and chairs. It has also a back door which adjoins a little
pharmacy. At the end of the right-hand side of houses, a small general
store. The inn has a restaurant on the ground-floor, and on the left a
small shoemaker's workshop. Right and left, between the inn and the side
houses, runs the street.]


SCENE I.

[_Evarist_ and the _Baron_ sit towards the front at a little table
drinking coffee. _Limonato_ serves them. _Crispino_ is cobbling in his
booth, near to him _Coronato_ sitting beside his door, writing in a
note-book. The _Boots_ cleans the restaurant windows. In the middle of
the stage sits the _Count_ reading a book. He is dressed in a white
summer costume, while the _Baron_ and _Evarist_ are in shooting dress,
with their guns beside them. _Geltrude_ and _Candida_ on the terrace,
knitting. To the right _Tognino_ is sweeping the square, _Nina_ is
spinning before her house door, beside her stands _Moracchio_ holding
two hunting dogs by a cord. Every now and again _Timoteo_ puts his head
out of the pharmacy; in the background _Susanna_, sewing before her
shop. A pause after the rise of the curtain. All absorbed in their
occupations. _Crispino_ hammers energetically upon a shoe at which he is
working. _Timoteo_ is pounding loudly in a mortar, therefore invisible.]

_Evarist._ How do you like this coffee?

_Baron._ It is good.

_Evarist._ I find it excellent. Bravo, Limonato! to-day you have
surpassed yourself.

_Limonato._ I thank you for the praise, but I do beg of you not to call
me by this name of Limonato.

_Evarist._ I like that! Why, all know you by that name! You are famed by
the name of Limonato. All the world says, "Let us go to the village and
drink coffee at Limonato's." And that vexes you?

_Limonato._ Sir, it is not my name.

_Baron._ Eh, what! From to-day onwards I will call you Mr. Orange.

_Limonato._ I will not be the butt of all the world.

[Candida _laughs aloud._]

_Evarist._ What think you, Signorina Candida? [_He takes up a fan which_
Candida _has put down on the parapet of the terrace and fans himself,
replacing it._]

_Candida._ What should I think? Why, it makes one laugh.

_Geltrude._ Leave the poor creature in peace; he makes good coffee, and
is under my patronage.

_Baron._ Oh, if he is under the patronage of the Signora Geltrude, we
must respect him. [_Whispers to_ Evarist.] Do you hear? The good widow
protects him.

_Evarist._ [_Softly to the_ Baron.] Do not speak evil of the Signora
Geltrude. She is the wisest and most reputed lady in all the world.

_Baron._ [_As above._] As you like; but she has the same craze for
patronizing as the Count over there, who is reading with the very mien
of a judge.

_Evarist._ Oh, as regards him, you are not wrong. He is a very
caricature, but it would be unjust to compare him with the Signora
Geltrude.

_Baron._ For my part, I think them both ridiculous.

_Evarist._ And what do you find ridiculous in the lady?

_Baron._ Too much instruction, too much pride, too much self-sufficiency.

_Evarist._ Excuse me, then you do not know her.

_Baron._ I much prefer Signorina Candida.

[_After having carried on this talk in half tones, they both rise to
pay. Each protests to the other, the_ Baron _forestalls_ Evarist.
Limonato _returns to the shop with the cups and money._ Timoteo _pounds
yet louder._]

_Evarist._ Yes, it is true. The niece is an excellent person. [_Aside._]
I would not have him as a rival.

_Count._ Hi, Timoteo!

_Timoteo._ Who called me?

_Count._ When will you cease pounding?

_Timoteo._ Excuse me. [_Pounds on._]

_Count._ I cannot read, you crack my skull.

_Timoteo._ Excuse me, I shall have done directly.

[_Continues yet louder._]

_Crispino._ [_Laughs aloud as he works._] Hi, Coronato!

_Coronato._ What would you, Master Crispino?

_Crispino._ [_Beating hard on a sole he has in hand._] The Count does
not wish us to make a noise. [_Beats yet louder on his shoe._]

_Count._ What impudence! Will you never end this worry?

_Crispino._ Does not the Count see what I am doing?

_Count._ And what are you doing?

_Crispino._ Mending your old shoes.

_Count._ Quiet, impudent fellow! [_Continues to read._]

_Crispino._ [_Beats on and_ Timoteo _also._] Host!

_Count._ Now, I can bear it no longer. [_He rises from his seat._]

_Scavezzo._ Hi, Moracchio!

_Moracchio._ What is it, Boots?

_Scavezzo._ The Count.

[_Both laugh and mock at the_ Count.]

_Moracchio._ Quiet, quiet! after all, he is a gentleman.

_Scavezzo._ A strange one.

_Nina._ Moracchio!

_Moracchio._ What do you want?

_Nina._ What did Scavezzo say?

_Moracchio._ Nothing, nothing. Attend to your own affairs, and spin.

_Nina._ [_Turns away her chair with contempt, and goes on spinning._] My
good brother is truly as amiable as ever. He always treats me thus. I
can hardly await the hour when I shall marry.

_Susanna._ What is the matter, Nina?

_Nina._ Oh, if you knew! In all the world I don't think there is a
greater boor than my brother.

_Moracchio._ I am as I am, and as long as you are under me--

_Nina._ [_Pouts and spins._] Not much longer, I hope.

_Evarist._ [_To_ Moracchio.] Now, what is it all about again? You are
always teasing that poor child, and she does not deserve it, poor
thing.

_Nina._ He makes me wild with anger.

_Moracchio._ She wants to know everything.

_Evarist._ Come, come, it will do now.

_Baron._ [_To_ Candida.] Signor Evarist is kind-hearted.

_Candida._ [_With disdain._] It seems so also to me.

_Geltrude._ [_To_ Candida.] Look to yourself, child. We do nought but
criticise the actions of others, and do not take care of our own.

_Baron._ [_Aside._] There, these are the sort of doctrines I can't abide
to hear.

_Crispino._ [_Aside while he works._] Poor Nina! But once she is my
wife, he won't tease her any more.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] Yes, I will marry her, and if it were only to
free her from the brother.

_Evarist._ Well, Baron, shall we go?

_Baron._ To tell you the truth, this morning I do not feel like going
shooting. I am tired from yesterday.

_Evarist._ Do as you like. You will excuse me if I go?

_Baron._ Do not let me detain you. [_Aside._] So much the better for me.
I will try my luck with Signorina Candida.

_Evarist._ Moracchio! we will go. Call the dogs and take your gun.

_Baron._ [_To_ Evarist.] You come back to dinner?

_Evarist._ Certainly. I have ordered it already.

_Baron._ Then I will await you. _Au revoir_, ladies. [_Aside._] I will
go to my room, so as to rouse no suspicions.


SCENE II.

_The above._ Moracchio _comes back._

_Moracchio._ Here I am, sir, with the dogs and the gun.

_Evarist._ If you allow, ladies, I will go shooting a while.

_Geltrude._ Pray do as you please, and enjoy yourself.

_Candida._ And good luck.

_Evarist._ Accompanied by your good wishes, I must be lucky. [_He busies
himself with his gun._]

_Candida._ [_Aside._] Signor Evarist is really amiable.

_Geltrude._ Yes, amiable and well-mannered. But, niece, distrust all
strangers.

_Candida._ Why should I mistrust him?

_Geltrude._ For some time since I have had my reasons for this.

_Candida._ I have always been reserved.

_Geltrude._ Yes, I am content with you. Continue to be reserved towards
him.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] This warning comes too late. I am deeply enamoured
of him.

_Evarist._ All is right. Come, Moracchio. Once more, ladies, your humble
servant.

[Geltrude _bows_. Candida _the same. In doing so her fan falls into the
street._ Evarist _picks it up._]

_Candida._ Oh, never mind.

_Geltrude._ Do not trouble.

_Evarist._ The fan is broken. How sorry I am!

_Candida._ What does it matter?--an old fan!

_Evarist._ Well, if you allow. [_Gives the fan to_ Tognino, _who takes
it into the house._]

_Candida._ There, aunt, you see how it vexes him that the fan is broken.

_Geltrude._ Good manners demand this. [_Aside._] Here love is in play.


SCENE III.

_The above._ Tognino _on the terrace. He hands the fan to_ Candida.

_Evarist._ I am vexed that this fan broke on my account, but I will
make it good. [_To_ Susanna.] I should like to speak to you, but inside
the shop. [_To_ Moracchio.] Go on ahead, and wait for me at the edge of
the wood. [_With_ Susanna _into the shop._]

_Moracchio._ [_To himself._] I call this waste of time. Out upon these
gentlemen sportsmen.      [_Exit._

_Nina._ [_To herself._] So much the better that my brother has at last
gone. I can scarcely await the moment to be alone with Crispino. But
this tiresome man, the host, is always around. He follows me
perpetually, and I can't abide him.

_Count._ [_Reading._] Oh, beautiful, beautiful! [_To_ Geltrude.]
Signora!

_Crispino._ What have you read that is interesting, Count?

_Count._ What does that matter to you? What do you understand about it?

_Crispino._ [_Hammering._] Who knows who knows most?

_Geltrude._ You called me, Count?

_Count._ You a lady of taste, oh, if you heard what I have just read! A
masterpiece!

_Geltrude._ Something historical?

_Count._ Bah!

_Geltrude._ A philosophical discussion?

_Count._ Bah!

_Geltrude._ A poem?

_Count._ Bah!

_Geltrude._ What then?

_Count._ Something astonishing, unheard of, translated from the French!
A fable.

_Crispino._ A fable! Astonishing! Unheard of! [_He hammers hard._]

_Count._ Would you like to hear?

_Geltrude._ Gladly.

_Crispino._ Why, he reads fables like little children! [_Hammers._]

_Count._ Will you at last leave off your noise?

_Crispino._ [_Hammering on._] I am putting a patch on your shoe.

[Timoteo _pestles._]

_Count._ The devil's own noise! And you too?

_Timoteo._ [_Puts his head outside the pharmacy._] It is my business.

_Count._ [_Reads._] "There was once a lovely maiden"--[_To_ Timoteo.] Go
to the devil with your mortar! It is not to be borne.

_Timoteo._ I pay my rent, and have no better place in which to pound.
[_Goes on._]

_Count._ If you will allow, signora, I will take the liberty of coming
up to you. You will then hear the beautiful fable. [_Goes into the
house._]

_Geltrude._ This chemist is too tiresome. Let us go and receive the
Count.

_Candida._ I don't care to hear his fables.

_Geltrude._ But good manners demand it.

_Candida._ Out upon this Count!

_Geltrude._ Niece, honour that you may be honoured. Come. [_She goes
into the house._]

_Candida._ [_Rising to follow her._] To please you.


SCENE IV.

_The above without the_ Count _and_ Geltrude. Evarist _and_ Susanna
_come out of the shop._

_Candida._ What! Signor Evarist still here? Not gone shooting? I should
like to know the reason. [_Watches him from the back of the terrace._]

_Susanna._ Do not complain, sir, the fan is cheap.

_Evarist._ [_Aside._] Candida is no longer here. [_Aloud._] I am sorry
that the fan is not more beautiful.

_Susanna._ That was the last of those of the first quality. Now my shop
is emptied. [_Smiling._] I suppose it is a present?

_Evarist._ Certainly. I do not buy fans for myself.

_Susanna._ For Signorina Candida, because hers broke?

_Evarist._ [_Impatiently._] No; for some one else.

_Susanna._ All right, all right. I am not curious. [_Reseats herself in
front of the shop to work._]

_Candida._ He has great secrets with the draper. I am curious to hear
some details. [_Approaches to the front._]

_Evarist._ [_Approaching_ Nina.] Nina!

_Nina._ Your wishes, sir?

_Evarist._ A favour. I know Signorina Candida loves you.

_Nina._ Yes, she has pity on the poor orphan. But alas! I am subjected
to my brother, who embitters my life.

_Evarist._ Listen to me.

_Nina._ [_Spinning on._] Spinning does not make me deaf.

_Evarist._ [_To himself._] Her brother is full of whims, but neither
does she seem free of them.

[Susanna, Crispino, _and_ Coronato _stretch out their heads to observe
the couple._]

_Candida._ Business with the shopwoman; business with Nina. I do not
understand. [_Comes forward yet more._]

_Evarist._ May I ask you a favour?

_Nina._ Have I not already answered you? Have I not told you to command?
I am not deaf. If my spindle disturbs you, I will throw it aside. [_Does
so._]

_Evarist._ But how impetuous!

_Candida._ What does her anger signify?

_Coronato._ It seems to me they are getting hot. [_Creeps to the front,
his note-book in hand._]

_Crispino._ She throws aside her spindle. [_Does the same with his shoe
and hammer._]

_Susanna._ Would he give her a present were she less angry? [_She too
approaches from out the background._]

_Nina._ I am at your orders.

_Evarist._ You know that Signorina Candida broke her fan?

_Nina._ Why, certainly.

_Evarist._ I have bought a new one at the shop.

_Nina._ As you please.

_Evarist._ But Signora Geltrude must not know.

_Nina._ There you do wisely.

_Evarist._ And I wish that you should give her the fan secretly.

_Nina._ I cannot serve you.

_Evarist._ How unkind of you!

_Candida._ [_To herself._] He told me he was going shooting, and he is
still here.

_Crispino._ [_Approaches, pretending to be at work._] If I could only
hear something!

_Coronato._ [_Approaches also, pretending to do accounts._] I can
scarcely contain myself for curiosity.

_Evarist._ Why will you not do me this favour?

_Nina._ Because I want to know nothing about this matter.

_Evarist._ You take the matter too seriously. Candida loves you so much.

_Nina._ True, but in such matters--

_Evarist._ You told me you wanted to marry Crispino. [_Turns and sees
the two listeners._] What do you want here, you rogues?

_Crispino._ [_Seating himself hastily._] I am working, sir.

_Coronato._ [_Does the same._] Can I not reckon and walk around at the
same time?

_Candida._ They are discussing important secrets.

_Susanna._ What is there about this Nina that all men are after her?

_Nina._ If you want nothing else of me, I will go on spinning. [_Does
so._]

_Evarist._ But listen, do! Candida has begged me to give you a dowry
that you may wed your Crispino.

_Nina._ [_Suddenly grows friendly._] Really?

_Evarist._ Yes; and I gave her my word that I would do all--

_Nina._ Where is the fan?

_Evarist._ Here.

_Nina._ Quick, quick, give it to me, but so that no one sees.

[Evarist _gives her the fan._]

_Crispino._ [_Advancing his head, to himself._] Ho, ho, he gave her
something!

_Susanna._ [_The same._] In very truth--he gives her the fan!

_Coronato._ [_Ditto._] What could he have given her?

_Candida._ [_Ditto._] Yes, he deceives me. The Count is right.

_Evarist._ But, mind, quite secretly.

_Nina._ Let me act, and do not fear.

_Evarist._ Addio.

_Nina._ My respects.

_Evarist._ Then I rely on you?

_Nina._ And I on you. [_Seats herself and resumes her spinning._]

_Evarist._ [_About to go, sees_ Candida _on the terrace._] Ah, there she
is again! I will tell her to be attentive. [_Calls._] Signorina Candida!

[Candida _turns her back to him and goes away._]

_Evarist._ What does this mean? Is it contempt? Does she despise me?
Impossible! I know she loves me, and she knows my passion for her. And
yet--no, now I understand! Her aunt will have seen and observed her, and
she would not show before her. Yes, yes, it must be that, it cannot be
anything else. But I must at last give up all this secrecy and talk with
Signora Geltrude, and obtain from her the precious gift of her niece.

_Nina._ In truth, I owe the Signorina thanks that she interests herself
in me. Shall I not repay her? These are little services one exchanges
without any base thoughts in the rear.

_Coronato._ [_Gets up and goes to_ Nina.] Hm, great secrets, great
consultations with Signor Evarist?

_Nina._ What does not concern you, does not matter to you.

_Coronato._ Were that the case I should not interfere.

[Crispino _approaches the couple quietly to listen._]

_Nina._ I am not subservient to you, Master Host.

_Coronato._ Not yet, but I hope soon.

_Nina._ Indeed! and who says so?

_Coronato._ He has said it and promised it and sworn it, and he can and
may dispose of you.

_Nina._ [_Laughing._] Perchance my brother?

_Coronato._ Yes, your brother; and I will tell him of all the secrets,
the confidence, the presents--

_Crispino._ [_Comes between them._] Ho, ho! what right have you to this
girl?

_Coronato._ I owe you no answer.

_Crispino._ And you, what have you to discuss with Signor Evarist?

_Nina._ Leave me in peace, both of you.

_Crispino._ I will know!

_Coronato._ What, you will? Command where you may command. Nina is my
betrothed, her brother has promised her to me.

_Crispino._ And I have her word, and the word of the sister is worth a
thousand times more than that of the brother.

_Coronato._ She is as good as engaged to me.

_Crispino._ We will speak of this again. Nina, what did Signor Evarist
give you?

_Nina._ Go to the devil with you!

_Coronato._ No answer! But stop, I saw him come out of Susanna's shop.
She will tell me. [_Goes towards_ Susanna.]

_Crispino._ He bought her a present. [_He too goes to_ Susanna.]

_Nina._ [_To herself._] I shall reveal nothing. But if Susanna--

_Coronato._ Neighbour, I beg you, what did Signor Evarist buy of you?

_Susanna._ [_Laughing._] A fan.

_Crispino._ Do you know what he gave the girl?

_Susanna._ What could it be but the fan?

_Nina._ That is not true.

_Susanna._ Why, certainly it is!

_Coronato._ [_To_ Nina.] Produce the fan.

_Crispino._ [_Pushing him away._] Here I command! I must see the fan.

_Coronato._ [_Raises his fist towards_ Crispino.] Wait a while.

_Crispino._ [_Ditto._] Yes, you wait too.

_Nina._ [_To_ Susanna.] It is all your fault.

_Susanna._ Mine?

_Nina._ Chatterbox!

_Susanna._ Oh ho! [_Threatens her._]

_Susanna._ I go. Peasant girl, consort with your likes. [_Retires into
her shop._]

_Crispino._ But now I will see the fan.

_Nina._ I have not got one.

_Coronato._ What did the gentleman give you?

_Nina._ Your curiosity is impertinent.

_Coronato._ I will know.

_Crispino._ [_To_ Coronato.] I tell you that does not concern you.

_Nina._ This is not the way to treat a respectable girl. [_Goes towards
her house._]

_Crispino._ [_Approaching her._] Tell me, Nina.

_Nina._ No.

_Coronato._ I must know. [_He pushes_ Crispino _aside._]

[Nina _hurries into the house and shuts the door in both their faces._]

_Coronato._ It's your fault.

_Crispino._ Impudent fellow!

_Coronato._ Do not excite yourself.

_Crispino._ I do not fear you.

_Coronato._ Nina will be mine!

_Crispino._ We shall see about that. And should she be, I swear--

_Coronato._ What, threats! Do you not know to whom you speak?

_Crispino._ I am an honest man, as all know.

_Coronato._ And what am I, pray?

_Crispino._ I know nothing about it.

_Coronato._ I am an honoured innkeeper.

_Crispino._ Honoured?

_Coronato._ What! you doubt it?

_Crispino._ Oh, it is not I who doubt it.

_Coronato._ Who, then, may I ask?

_Crispino._ All the village.

_Coronato._ My good man, it is not about me that all talk. I do not sell
old leather for new.

_Crispino._ Nor I water for wine; nor do I trap cats at night to sell
them as lamb or hare.

_Coronato._ I swear to Heaven--[_Raises his hand._]

_Crispino._ What! [_Does the same._]

_Coronato._ The devil take me! [_Feels in his pocket._]

_Crispino._ His hand in his pocket! [_Runs to his booth to fetch an
implement._]

_Coronato._ I have no knife.

[Crispino _seizes the apothecary's chair and threatens to hurl it at his
adversary._ Coronato _takes up a bench and swings it at_ Crispino.]


SCENE V.

_The above._ Timoteo, Scavezzo, Limonato, _the_ Count.

[Timoteo _hurrying out of his shop, pestle in hand._ Limonato, _out of
the café with a log of firewood._ Scavezzo, _out of the inn with a
spit._]

_Count._ [_Coming out of_ Geltrude's _house._] Peace, peace! quiet
there, I command!--I, you villains, the Count Rocca Marina! Ho there,
peace, I say, you rogues!

_Crispino._ [_To_ Coronato.] Well, to please the Count.

_Coronato._ Yes, thank the Count, for but for him I would have broken
all the bones in your body.

_Count._ Quiet, quiet, it is enough! I would know the reason of the
strife. Go away, you others. I am here, no one else is needed.

_Timoteo._ Is no one hurt?

[Limonato _and_ Scavezzo _depart._]

_Count._ You wish that they had cracked their skulls, contorted their
arms, disjointed their legs, is it not so, Apothecary, to show us a
specimen of your talents and powers?

_Timoteo._ I seek no one's ill; but if there were wounded to heal,
cripples to succour, breakages to bind up, I would gladly help them.
Above all, I would with all my heart serve your worship in such an
eventuality.

_Count._ Impertinent fellow! I will have you removed.

_Timoteo._ Honest men are not removed so easily.

_Count._ Yes, one removes ignorant, impudent impostors of apothecaries
like you.

_Timoteo._ I am astonished to hear you talk thus, Count--you who without
my pills would be dead.

_Count._ Insolent fellow!

_Timoteo._ And those pills you have not yet paid for.      [_Exit._

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] Here the Count might be of use to me.

_Count._ Well, now, my men, tell me what is the matter, what is the
reason for your quarrels?

_Crispino._ I will tell you, sir--I will tell it before all the world. I
love Nina.

_Coronato._ And Nina will be my wife.

_Count._ [_Laughing._] Ah ha! I understand: a love quarrel; two
champions of Cupid, two worthy rivals, two pretenders to the lovely
Venus of our village.

_Crispino._ If you think to make fun of me--[_Moves to go away._]

_Count._ No, stay.

_Coronato._ The matter is serious, I assure you.

_Count._ Yes, I believe it. You are lovers, you are rivals. By Jupiter,
what a combination! Why, the very theme of the fable I was reading to
Signora Geltrude just now. [_Points to his book._] "There was a maiden
of rare beauty"--

_Crispino._ I understand. With your permission--

_Count._ Where are you going? Come here!

_Crispino._ If you will allow me, I go to finish cobbling your shoes.

_Count._ Yes, go, that they may be ready by to-morrow.

_Coronato._ And be careful that they are not patched with old leather.

_Crispino._ I shall come to you when I want a fresh skin.

_Coronato._ Thank Heaven I am no cobbler nor shoemaker!

_Crispino._ It does not matter, you will give me a horse's skin or a
cat's.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] I know I shall kill that man.

_Count._ What did he say of cats? Do you give us cats to eat?

_Coronato._ Sir, I am an honest man, and this person is a rogue who
persecutes me unjustly.

_Count._ The effect of love, of rivalry. So you are in love with Nina?

_Coronato._ Yes, sir, and I was about to seek your protection.

_Count._ My protection? [_Gives himself an important air._] Well, we
will see. Are you sure she loves you in return?

_Coronato._ To tell the truth, I fancy she loves him better than me.

_Count._ That is bad.

_Coronato._ But I have her brother's word.

_Count._ A thing not much to be relied on.

_Coronato._ Moracchio has promised it to me most faithfully.

_Count._ So far so good, but you cannot force a woman.

_Coronato._ Her brother can dispose of her.

_Count._ [_Hotly._] It is not true. Her brother cannot dispose of her.

_Coronato._ But your protection.

_Count._ My protection is all well and good. My protection is valid, my
protection is powerful. But a nobleman, such as I, does not arbitrate
nor dispose of a woman's heart.

_Coronato._ But, after all, she is a peasant.

_Count._ What does that matter? A woman's ever a woman. I distinguish
the grades, the conditions, but as a whole I respect the sex.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] I understand. Your protection is worthless.

_Count._ How are you off for wine? have you a good supply?

_Coronato._ I have some that is quite perfect, good and exquisite.

_Count._ I shall come and taste it. Mine has turned out ill this year.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] It is two years that he has sold it.

_Count._ If yours is good, I will take a supply.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] I do not care for this patronage.

_Count._ Do you hear?

_Coronato._ Yes, I hear.

_Count._ Tell me one thing: if I were to speak to the girl, and induced
her by explanations--

_Coronato._ Your words might do something in my favour.

_Count._ After all, you deserve to be preferred.

_Coronato._ It seems to me, too, that between me and Crispino--

_Count._ Oh, there is no comparison!--a man like you, educated, well
dressed, a respectable person.

_Coronato._ You are too kind.

_Count._ I respect women, it is true, but just because of that, treating
them as I treat them, I assure you, they do for me what they would do
for no one else.

_Coronato._ It is that which I thought too, but you wanted to make me
doubt.

_Count._ I do like the lawyers, who start by making difficulties.
Friend, you are a man who has a good inn, who can afford to maintain a
wife decently. Have confidence in me, I will take up your cause.

_Coronato._ I beg your protection.

_Count._ I accord it. I promise it.

_Coronato._ If you would put yourself out to come and taste my wine--

_Count._ Most gladly, good man. [_Puts his hand on his shoulder._]

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] Two or three barrels of wine will not be ill
spent here.

END OF THE FIRST ACT.



ACT II.


SCENE I.

Susanna _alone, comes out of her house and arranges her wares._

_Susanna._ Bad times, little business to be done in this village. I have
as yet sold but one fan, and that I have given for a price--really just
to get rid of it. The people who can spend take their supplies in the
city. From the poor there is little to earn. I am a fool to lose my time
here in the midst of these peasants, without manners, without respect,
who do not know the difference between a shopwoman of education and
those who sell milk, salad, and eggs. My town education stands me
no stead in the country. All equal, all companions, Susanna, Nina,
Margherita, Lucia; the shopkeeper, the goatherd, the peasant, all one.
The two ladies yonder are a little more considered, but little, very
little. As for that impertinent Nina, because she is a little favoured
by the gentry, she thinks she is something great. They have given her
a fan. What will a peasant girl do with such a fan? Cut a dash, eh!
the minx must fan herself, thus. Much good may it do you! Why, it's
ridiculous, and yet these things at times make me rage. I, who have been
well educated, I can't tolerate such absurdities. [_Seats herself and
works._]


SCENE II.

Candida, _who comes out of the mansion._

_Candida._ I shan't be at peace till I have cleared it up. I saw Evarist
coming out of the shop and go to Nina, and certainly he gave her
something. I must see if Susanna can tell me something. Yes, aunt is
right, "Mistrust all strangers." Poor me! If he prove unfaithful! It is
my first love. I have loved none but him. [_Advances towards_ Susanna.]

_Susanna._ [_Rises._] Ah, Signorina Candida, your humble servant.

_Candida._ Good day, Susanna. What are you working at so busily?

_Susanna._ I am making a cap.

_Candida._ To sell?

_Susanna._ To sell, but Heaven knows when.

_Candida._ It might be that I need a nightcap.

_Susanna._ I have some in stock. Will you see them?

_Candida._ No, no, there is no hurry. Another time.

_Susanna._ Will you take a seat? [_Offers her chair._]

_Candida._ And you?

_Susanna._ Oh, I will fetch another chair. [_She goes into the shop and
brings out a second chair._] Pray sit here, you will be more comfortable.

_Candida._ You sit down also and go on working.

_Susanna._ [_Does so._] What an honour you afford me! One sees at once
you are well-born. He who is well-born despises no one. The peasants
here are proud, and Nina especially.

_Candida._ Speaking of Nina, did you notice her when Signor Evarist
spoke to her?

_Susanna._ Whether I noticed? I should think so.

_Candida._ He had a long confab with her.

_Susanna._ Do you know what happened after? Such a fight as there was!

_Candida._ I heard a noise, an angry discussion. They told me Crispino
and Coronato were at loggerheads.

_Susanna._ Precisely, and all because of this beauty, this treasure.

_Candida._ But why?

_Susanna._ Jealousy between themselves, jealousy because of Signor
Evarist.

_Candida._ Do you think Signor Evarist has any friendship for Nina?

_Susanna._ I know nothing. I do not concern myself about others'
affairs, and think ill of no one; but if the host and the shoemaker
are jealous of him, they must have their reasons.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] Alas! the argument is but too true,
to my prejudice.

_Susanna._ Excuse me, I should not like to make a mistake.

_Candida._ In what?

_Susanna._ I hope that you take no interest in Signor Evarist?

_Candida._ I? Oh, none whatever! I know him because he sometimes comes
to the house, and is a friend of my aunt's.

_Susanna._ Then I will tell you the truth. [_Aside._] I do not think
this can offend her. I almost thought that between you and Signor
Evarist there was some understanding,--of course permissible and
respectable,--but since he was with me this morning, I am of another
opinion.

_Candida._ He was with you this morning?

_Susanna._ Yes. He came to buy a fan.

_Candida._ [_Eagerly._] He bought a fan?

_Susanna._ Precisely; and as I had seen that you had broken yours, so to
speak, on his account, I at once said to myself, He buys it to give it
to the Signorina Candida.

_Candida._ So he bought it for me?

_Susanna._ Oh no, Signorina. I will confess to you I took the liberty of
asking him if he were buying it for you. He replied in a manner as if I
had offended him, "That is not my business; what is there between me and
the Signorina Candida? I have destined it elsewhere."

_Candida._ And what did he do with this fan?

_Susanna._ What did he do with it? He gave it to Nina.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] Oh, I am lost! I am miserable!

_Susanna._ [_Observing her agitation._] Signorina Candida!

_Candida._ [_Aside._] Ungrateful, unfaithful, and for whom?--for a
peasant girl!

_Susanna._ [_With insistence._] Signorina Candida!

_Candida._ [_Aside._] The offence is insupportable.

_Susanna._ [_Aside._] Poor me! What have I done?--Signorina Candida,
calm yourself, it may not be thus.

_Candida._ Do you believe he gave the fan to Nina?

_Susanna._ Oh, as to that, I saw it with my own eyes.

_Candida._ And then you say it may not be thus?

_Susanna._ I do not know--I do not wish that by my fault--


SCENE III.

_The above._ Geltrude _at the door of the villa._

_Susanna._ See, there is your aunt.

_Candida._ For Heaven's sake, say nothing!

_Susanna._ Do not fear.--[_Aside._] And she would have me believe she
does not love him! It's her own fault. Why did she not tell me the
truth?

_Geltrude._ What are you doing here, niece?

[Candida _and_ Susanna _rise._]

_Susanna._ She is condescending to accord me her company.

_Candida._ I came to see if she sold nightcaps.

_Susanna._ Yes, it is true, she asked me about some. Oh, do not fear
that your niece is not safe with me. I am no chatterbox, and my house is
most respectable.

_Geltrude._ Do not justify yourself without being accused.

_Susanna._ I am very sensitive, Signora.

_Geltrude._ Why did you not tell me you needed a nightcap?

_Candida._ You were in your writing-room, and I did not wish to disturb
you.

_Susanna._ Would you like to see it? I will go and get it. I pray, sit
down. [_Gives her chair to_ Geltrude, _and goes into the shop._]

_Geltrude._ [_Seating herself, to_ Candida.] Have you heard nothing of
this encounter between the shoemaker and the host?

_Candida._ They say it is a matter of love and jealousy. They say Nina
is the cause.

_Geltrude._ I am sorry, for she is a good girl.

_Candida._ Oh, aunt, excuse me; I have heard things about her of a
nature that would make it better we should no longer let her come to the
house.

_Geltrude._ Why? What have they told you?

_Candida._ I will tell you after. Do as I do, aunt; don't receive her
any more, and you will do well.

_Geltrude._ Since she came more often to see you than to see me, I leave
you free to treat her as you please.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] The minx! she will not have the impudence to
appear before me.

_Susanna._ [_Returning._] Here are the caps, ladies; see, choose, and
content yourselves. [_All three occupied with the caps, and speaking
softly among themselves._]


SCENE IV.

_The above. The_ Count _and the_ Baron _come out of the inn._

_Count._ I am glad you have confided in me. Leave the rest to me, and do
not fear.

_Baron._ I know you are Signora Geltrude's friend.

_Count._ Oh, friend!--well, I will tell you. She is a lady who has some
talents; I like literature, I converse with her more willingly than with
any other. For the rest, she is a poor city dame. Her husband left her
this wretched house and some acres of ground, and, in order to be
respected in this village, she needs my protection.

_Baron._ Long live the Count who protects widows and fair ladies!

_Count._ What would you have? In this world one must be good for
something.

_Baron._ Then you will do me the favour--

_Count._ Do not fear, I will speak to her; I will ask her niece's hand
for a cavalier, who is my friend, and when I have asked her I am sure
she will not have the courage to say no.

_Baron._ Tell her who I am.

_Count._ To what purpose, when it is I who ask?

_Baron._ But you ask for me.

_Count._ For you.

_Baron._ You know precisely who I am.

_Count._ How should I not know your titles, your faculties, your
honours! Oh, we members of the aristocracy all know each other.

_Baron._ [_Aside._] How I should laugh at him if I had not need of him!

_Count._ My dear colleague!

_Baron._ What is it?

_Count._ Behold Signora Geltrude and her niece.

_Baron._ They are busy; I do not think they have seen us.

_Count._ Certainly not. If Signora Geltrude had seen me, she would have
moved instantly.

_Baron._ When will you speak to her?

_Count._ At once if you like.

_Baron._ It is not well I should be there. Speak to her. I will wait at
the apothecary's. I am in your hands.

_Count._ Good-bye, dear colleague and friend.

_Baron._ Good-bye, beloved colleague. [_Embraces him._] [_Aside._] He is
the maddest March hare in the world.

_Count._ [_Calling aloud._] Signora Geltrude!

_Geltrude._ [_Rising._] Oh, Count, excuse me! I did not see you.

_Count._ I beg, give me a word.

_Susanna._ Pray approach. My shop is at your service.

_Count._ No, no; I have something private to say. Excuse the trouble,
but I beg you come here.

_Geltrude._ In a moment. Allow me to pay for a cap I have bought, and
then I am at your disposal. [_Pulls out a purse to pay_ Susanna, _and to
prolong the moment._]

_Count._ What! you would pay at once! I never had that vice.


SCENE V.

Coronato _comes out of the inn with_ Scavezzo, _who carries a barrel of
wine on his shoulders._

_Coronato._ Honoured sir, this is the barrel of wine for you.

_Count._ And the second?

_Coronato._ After this I will bring the second. Where shall we take it?

_Count._ To my palace.

_Coronato._ To whom shall I consign it?

_Count._ To my steward, if he is there.

_Coronato._ I am afraid he is not there.

_Count._ Give it to any one you find.

_Coronato._ All right. Let us go.

_Scavezzo._ The Count will give me some drink money.

_Count._ Take care not to drink my wine, and don't put water to
it.--[_To_ Coronato.] Don't let him go alone.

_Coronato._ Never fear, never fear! I go too.

_Scavezzo._ [_Aside._] No, no, don't fear; between the master and me we
have prepared it by now.      [_Exit._

_Geltrude._ [_Who has paid, advances towards the_ Count. Susanna _is
seated, and works._ Candida _remains seated. They whisper together._]
Here I am, Count, and what is it you wish?

_Count._ In a few words, will you give me your niece?

_Geltrude._ Give? What do you mean by give?

_Count._ What? don't you understand? In marriage.

_Geltrude._ To you?

_Count._ Not to me, but to a person I know and propose.

_Geltrude._ I will tell you, Count: you know my niece has lost her
parents, and, being the daughter of my only brother, I have undertaken
to fill for her a mother's place.

_Count._ All these, excuse me, are useless discourses.

_Geltrude._ Excuse me. Let me come to my point.

_Count._ Well, what then?

_Geltrude._ Candida has not inherited enough from her father to suffice
to marry her in her own rank.

_Count._ It does not matter; it is no question of that here.

_Geltrude._ Let me finish. My husband left me an ample provision.

_Count._ I know.

_Geltrude._ I have no children.

_Count._ And you will give her a dowry?

_Geltrude._ Yes, when the match shall meet her favour.

_Count._ Oh yes, that is the needful point. But I am proposing this
match, and when I propose, it must meet her favour.

_Geltrude._ I am certain that the Count is incapable of proposing other
than an acceptable person, but I hope he will do me the honour to tell
me who this person is.

_Count._ A colleague of mine.

_Geltrude._ What! a colleague! What does that mean?

_Count._ A nobleman, like yourself.

_Geltrude._ Signore--

_Count._ Do not raise objections.

_Geltrude._ Pray let me speak. If you will not let me, I shall go.

_Count._ Come, come, be gracious! Speak, I listen. I am amiable,
complaisant with ladies. I listen to you.

_Geltrude._ I will tell you what I feel in a few words. A title makes
the honour of a house, but not of a person. I do not think my niece is
ambitious, nor am I inclined to sacrifice her to the idol of vanity.

_Count._ [_Laughing._] Ah, one sees that you read fables.

_Geltrude._ Such feelings are not learnt from fables nor novels. Nature
inspires them and education cultivates them.

_Count._ Nature, education, all you will. He whom I propose is the Baron
del Cedro.

_Geltrude._ The Baron is in love with my niece?

_Count._ Oui, Madame.

_Geltrude._ I know him and respect him.

_Count._ You see what a good match I propose to you.

_Geltrude._ He is a gentleman of merit.

_Count._ And my colleague.

_Geltrude._ He is perhaps a trifle free of speech, but without harm.

_Count._ Well, now, your answer, I beg?

_Geltrude._ Adagio, adagio, Count. Such matters are not decided all in a
moment. I should like the Baron to have the goodness to speak to me.

_Count._ Excuse me, if I say a thing, there can be no doubt about it. I
woo on his behalf, and he has begged my intercession, implored me--And I
speak to you, beg you--that is to say, I do not beg you, I demand of
you--

_Geltrude._ Let us admit that the Baron is in earnest.

_Count._ By Jupiter, what is this we are to admit? the thing is certain
when I say so.

_Geltrude._ Admitted, then, that the thing is certain. The Baron desires
her, you demand her. It is always needful I should ask Candida if she
assents.

_Count._ She cannot know about it unless you tell her.

_Geltrude._ [_Ironically._] Have the goodness to believe that I shall
tell her.

_Count._ Here she comes. Speak to her about it.

_Geltrude._ I will speak to her.

_Count._ Go, then, and I will wait you here.

_Geltrude._ [_Bowing._] Excuse me.--[_Aside._] If the Baron is in
earnest, it would indeed be a piece of good luck for my niece, but I
doubt. [_Goes towards_ Susanna.]

_Count._ Ha, ha! with my good manners I attain from people all I want.
[_Takes a book from his pocket, seats himself, and reads._]

_Geltrude._ Candida, I have to speak to you. Let us take a turn.

_Susanna._ Will you go into my little garden? You will be quite free
there.

_Geltrude._ Yes, let us go there, because I must come back here at once.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] What can she want to tell me? I am too miserable
to expect any good news. [_Both into the shop._]

_Count._ She is capable of keeping me waiting here for an hour. It is
well that I have this book to entertain me. What a beautiful thing is
literature! A man with a good book to hand is never alone. [_Reads._]


SCENE VI.

Count. Nina _comes out of her house._

_Nina._ Well, one good thing, the dinner is ready, so when that fellow
Moracchio comes he can't scold me. No one is looking. I had better go
now and take the fan to Signorina Candida. If I can give it her without
her aunt seeing, I will; if not, I'll wait another chance.

_Count._ Why, Nina, Nina. Ho, here, my girl! [_Goes towards the villa._]

_Nina._ Signore. [_Turns to look at him._]

_Count._ A word.

_Nina._ [_Aside._] I did not need this impediment.

_Count._ [_Aside._] I must not neglect Coronato. I have promised him my
protection, and he merits it. [_Gets up and puts aside his book._]

_Nina._ Here I am. What would you, sir?

_Count._ Where were you going?

_Nina._ To do my own business, sir.

_Count._ What! You reply like that to me, with such audacity, such
impertinence?

_Nina._ How would you have me speak? I speak as I know how; I am not
used to converse. I speak like that with every one, and no one has told
me I am impertinent.

_Count._ You must distinguish the people with whom you speak.

_Nina._ I don't know how to distinguish. If you want something, say it!
If you want to amuse yourself, I have no time to lose with your worship.

_Count._ Come hither.

_Nina._ I am here.

_Count._ Would you like to marry?

_Nina._ Yes, sir.

_Count._ That is well; you please me now.

_Nina._ Oh, what I have in my heart, I have in my mouth.

_Count._ Would you like me to find you a husband?

_Nina._ No, sir.

_Count._ How no?

_Nina._ How no? Because it's no, because to marry I have no need of you.

_Count._ Do you not need my protection?

_Nina._ No, indeed, not a bit of it.

_Count._ Do you understand all I can do in this village?

_Nina._ You may be able to do all in the village, but you can do nothing
in my marriage.

_Count._ I can do nothing?

_Nina._ [_Smiling gently._] Nothing, in truth, nothing, nothing.

_Count._ You are in love with Crispino.

_Nina._ He is to my taste.

_Count._ And you prefer him to that worthy man, to that rich man, that
admirable man, Coronato?

_Nina._ I would prefer him to others far better than Coronato.

_Count._ You would prefer him to any other?

_Nina._ [_Laughing, and making him understand that she refers to him._]
Oh, and if you knew to whom, for instance!

_Count._ And to whom would you prefer him, then?

_Nina._ To what end? Do not make me chatter.

_Count._ No, because you would be capable of saying some impertinence.

_Nina._ Do you want anything else of me?

_Count._ Simply this: I protect your brother, your brother has given his
word for you to Coronato, and you must marry Coronato.

_Nina._ [_With affectation._] Your worship protects my brother?

_Count._ Just so.

_Nina._ And my brother has given his word to Coronato?

_Count._ Just so.

_Nina._ Well, if things be so--

_Count._ Well?

_Nina._ Let my brother marry the host.

_Count._ I swear that you shall never marry Crispino.

_Nina._ No? And why?

_Count._ I shall send him away from this village.

_Nina._ I shall go and seek for him wherever he is.

_Count._ I shall have him beaten.

_Nina._ Oh, as for that, he will think about it.

_Count._ What would you do if he were dead?

_Nina._ I do not know.

_Count._ Would you take another?

_Nina._ It might be.

_Count._ Imagine that he is dead.

_Nina._ Sir, I can neither read, nor write, nor reckon.

_Count._ Saucy girl!

_Nina._ Do you want anything else?

_Count._ Go to the devil!

_Nina._ Show me the road!

_Count._ I swear, were you not a woman--

_Nina._ What would you do?

_Count._ Go hence, I say!

_Nina._ I obey at once, for I am well bred.

_Count._ Well bred? and goes off and does not salute!

_Nina._ Oh, pardon me. I am till death your worship's obedient servant.
[_Laughs and runs towards the villa._]

_Count._ [_With scorn._] Rustica progenies nescit habere modum. I do not
know what to do. If she does not want Coronato, I can't force her. It is
not my fault. What on earth does he want a wife for, who does not want
him? Are women scarce? I will find him one better than this. He shall
see what my protection is worth.


SCENE VII.

_The above, and_ Geltrude _and_ Candida _outside the shop._

_Count._ Well, Signora Geltrude?

_Geltrude._ Count, my niece is a prudent girl.

_Count._ Well, then, briefly?

_Geltrude._ Count, permit me.

_Count._ Pardon me, but if you knew what I have endured with a woman--it
is true, another woman--[_Aside._] But all women are alike.--Well, then,
what does niece Candida say?

_Geltrude._ If the Baron really--

_Count._ Really! out upon your suspicions!

_Geltrude._ Admitting the condition and the circumstances, my niece is
content to marry the Baron.

_Count._ Bravo! [_Aside._] This time at least I have had a success.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] All to revenge myself on that false Evarist!

_Geltrude._ [_Aside._] I certainly did not think she would consent. I
fancied another affection held her, but I see I erred.


SCENE VIII.

Nina _on the terrace. The above._

_Nina._ She is not here, and I can find her nowhere. Oh, there she is!

_Count._ Consequently the Signorina Candida marries the Baron del Cedro.

_Nina._ [_Aside._] What do I hear? What will she answer?

_Geltrude._ She will do it as soon as the conditions--

_Count._ [_To_ Candida.] What conditions do you put?

_Candida._ None, sir; I marry him in any case.

_Count._ Excellent Signorina Candida! I like you thus. [_Aside._] Ah,
when I have to do with matters, all goes swimmingly.

_Nina._ [_Aside._] But this is a terrible business! Poor Signor Evarist!
It is useless for me to give the fan to Signorina Candida.      [_Exit._

_Geltrude._ [_Aside._] I deceived myself. She loves the Baron, and I
thought her attracted to Signor Evarist.

_Count._ If you will allow me, I will go and give this good news to the
Baron, to my dear friend, my dear colleague.

_Geltrude._ And where is the Baron?

_Count._ He expects me at the apothecary's. Do as I beg. Go to the
house, and I will conduct him to you at once.

_Geltrude._ What do you say, niece?

_Candida._ Yes, he can speak with you.

_Count._ And with you?

_Candida._ I will do whatever my aunt wishes.--[_Aside._] I shall die,
but I shall die avenged.

_Count._ I go at once. Expect us, we will come to you. As the hour is so
advanced, it would not be amiss if you invited him to dinner.

_Geltrude._ What! the first time!

_Count._ Oh, these are exaggerated considerations. He will gladly
accept, I answer for him, and to induce him, I will stay too.   [_Exit._

_Geltrude._ Let us go, then, and await them.

_Candida._ Yes, let us go.

_Geltrude._ What is the matter with you? Do you do it willingly?

_Candida._ Yes, willingly.--[_Aside._] I have given my word, it is
irremediable.

_Geltrude._ [_Aside._] Poor child, I pity her. In these cases,
notwithstanding one's love, one feels confused. [_Goes towards the
villa._]


SCENE IX.

Nina _on the terrace, and the above._

_Nina._ Oh, Signorina Candida!

_Candida._ [_Angrily._] What are you doing here?

_Nina._ I came to look for you.

_Candida._ Go away, and do not presume to set foot in our house again!

_Nina._ What! this affront to me?

_Candida._ What affront? You are an unworthy creature, and I cannot and
will not tolerate you longer. [_Enters the villa._]

_Geltrude._ [_Aside._] This is a little too severe.

_Nina._ I am amazed, Signora Geltrude.

_Geltrude._ I am indeed sorry for the mortification you have had, but my
niece is a person of good judgment, and if she has treated you ill, she
must have her reasons.

_Nina._ What reasons can she have? I am astonished at her.

_Geltrude._ Come, come, do not forget your respect; do not raise your
voice.

_Nina._ I will go and seek justification.

_Geltrude._ No, no, stay here. It is no good now, do it after.

_Nina._ And I tell you, I will go now!

_Geltrude._ Do not presume to pass this door. [_Places herself on the
threshold._]


SCENE X.

_The above._ Count _and_ Baron _going from the apothecary's to the
villa._

_Count._ Come, come, let us go.

_Baron._ I must go.

_Geltrude._ [_To_ Nina.] Impudent lass! [_Goes in and throws to the door
at the moment that the_ Count _and_ Baron _are about to enter. She does
not see them._]

[Nina _goes away angered._ Count _remains speechless, looking at the
closed door._]

_Baron._ What, they shut the door in our faces!

_Count._ In our faces? No, it is impossible!

_Baron._ Impossible, you say! But it is a fact.

_Nina._ This insult to me! [_Walks up and down trembling._]

_Count._ Let us go and knock.

_Nina._ [_Aside._] If they go in, I will get in too.

_Baron._ No, stay; I want to know no more. I do not wish to expose
myself to fresh insults. You have served me but ill. They have laughed
at you, and made fun of me on your account.

_Count._ [_Hotly._] What way of speaking is this?

_Baron._ And I demand satisfaction!

_Count._ From whom?

_Baron._ From you.

_Count._ In what manner?

_Baron._ Sword in hand!

_Count._ With the sword! But it's twenty years that I am in this
village, and that I no longer use a sword.

_Baron._ With pistols, then. [_Draws two pistols from his pocket._]

_Nina._ [_Running towards the house._] Pistols! hi, folks, here!
pistols! They are murdering each other.


SCENE XI.

_The above._ Geltrude _on the terrace._

_Geltrude._ But, gentlemen, what is this?

_Count._ Why did you bolt the door in our faces?

_Geltrude._ I? Excuse me, I am incapable of such a vile action with
whomsoever it should be; how little, then, with you and the Baron, who
deigns to condescend to my niece!

_Count._ [_To the_ Baron.] You hear!

_Baron._ But, Madame, at the very moment we wanted to come to you, the
door was closed in our faces.

_Geltrude._ I assure you I did not see you. I closed the door to hinder
that saucy girl Nina from entering.

_Nina._ [_Puts her head, out of her own door._] What? saucy! saucy
yourself!

_Count._ Quiet the impudent lass!

_Geltrude._ Will you enter, pray? I will give orders that the door be
opened.

_Count._ [_To the_ Baron.] You hear?

_Baron._ I have nothing more to say.

_Count._ What will you do with these pistols?

_Baron._ Excuse my acute sense of honour. [_Puts away the pistols._]

_Count._ And you mean to present yourself to two ladies with two pistols
in your pocket?

_Baron._ I always carry them in the country for self-defence.

_Count._ But if they knew you had these pistols,--you know what women
are,--they would not come near you.

_Baron._ You are right. Thank you for warning me, and, as a sign of good
friendship, allow me to present you with them. [_Draws one from his
pocket and presents it._]

_Count._ [_Nervously._] A present to me?

_Baron._ Yes; surely you will not refuse it?

_Count._ I accept it because it comes from your hands. But they are not
loaded?

_Baron._ What a question! Do you expect me to carry empty pistols?

_Count._ Wait! Ho there, café!

_Limonato._ [_From out his shop._] What would you, sir?

_Count._ Take these pistols and keep them till I ask you for them.

_Limonato._ At your service. [_Takes the pistols from the Baron._]

_Count._ Take care, they are loaded!

_Limonato._ [_Laughing._] Oh, I know how to manage them.

_Count._ Take care, no follies!

_Limonato._ [_Aside._] The Count is courageous, truly.

_Count._ I thank you, and shall value them.--[_Aside._] To-morrow I will
sell them.

_Tognino._ [_From the villa._] Gentlemen, my mistress expects you.

_Count._ Let us go.

_Baron._ Yes, let us go.

_Count._ Well, what do you say? Am I a man of my word? Ah, dear
colleague, we noblemen--our protection is worth something.

[Nina _comes out of her house softly, and goes behind them to enter._
Tognino _has let the_ Count _and_ Baron _pass, and remains on the
threshold._ Nina _wants to enter._ Tognino _stops her._]

_Tognino._ You have nothing to do here.

_Nina._ Yes, but I have.

_Tognino._ My orders are not to let you pass. [_Goes in and shuts the
door._]

_Nina._ I am furious!--I feel choking with rage! This insult to me--to a
girl of my kind! [_Stamps with rage._]


SCENE XII.

Evarist _from the street, his gun, on his shoulder, and_ Moracchio _with
a gun in his hand and bag with game, and the dogs tied by a cord. The
above._

_Evarist._ Here, take my gun, and keep those partridges till I dispose
of them. [_Seats himself before the café._]

_Moracchio._ Never fear, I will take care of them.--[_To_ Nina.] Is
dinner ready?

_Nina._ Quite ready.

_Moracchio._ What on earth is the matter? You are always angry with all
the world, and then complain of me.

_Nina._ Oh, it's true, we are relations, there is no gainsaying it.

_Moracchio._ Come, let us go in and dine. It is time.

_Nina._ Yes, yes, go. I will come after.--[_Aside._] I want to speak to
Signor Evarist.

_Moracchio._ Yes, come; if not, I shall eat all. [_Goes into the
house._]

_Nina._ If I ate now, I should eat poison.

_Evarist._ [_Aside._] No one on the terrace! Doubtless they are at
dinner. It is better I go to the inn, the Baron expects me. [_Rises._]
Well, Nina, nothing new to tell me?

_Nina._ Oh yes, sir, I have something to tell you.

_Evarist._ Have you given my fan?

_Nina._ Here it is, your accursed fan!

_Evarist._ What does this mean? Could you not give it?

_Nina._ I have received a thousand insults, a thousand impertinences,
and have been chased from the house like a good-for-nothing.

_Evarist._ Then Signora Geltrude noticed it?

_Nina._ Oh, not only Signora Geltrude. The greatest insults came from
Signorina Candida.

_Evarist._ But why? What did you do to her?

_Nina._ I did nothing to her, sir.

_Evarist._ You told her you had a fan for her?

_Nina._ How could I tell her when she never gave me time, but sent me
off like a thief?

_Evarist._ But there must be some reason.

_Nina._ For my part, I know I have done nothing to her. But all this
ill-treatment, I am sure, I am certain, has been done to me because of
you.

_Evarist._ Because of me? The Signorina Candida, who loves me so much!

_Nina._ Does the Signorina Candida love you so much?

_Evarist._ There is no doubt about it. I am sure of it.

_Nina._ Oh yes, I too can assure you that she loves you much, much,
much.

_Evarist._ You put me into a terrible agitation.

_Nina._ [_Ironically._] Go, go and seek your lady-love, your dear one.

_Evarist._ And why should I not go?

_Nina._ Because the place is taken!

_Evarist._ [_Anxiously._] By whom?

_Nina._ By Baron del Cedro.

_Evarist._ The Baron is in the house?

_Nina._ Why should he not be in the house, seeing he is to marry the
Signorina Candida?

_Evarist._ Nina, you dream--you are raving! you do nothing but talk
absurdities!

_Nina._ You don't believe me? Well, go and see, and you will know if I
speak the truth.

_Evarist._ In Signora Geltrude's house?

_Nina._ And in Signorina Candida's.

_Evarist._ The Baron!

_Nina._ Del Cedro.

_Evarist._ Marries Signorina Candida!

_Nina._ I have seen it with these eyes, and heard it with these ears.

_Evarist._ It cannot be! It is impossible! You talk nonsense.

_Nina._ Go, see for yourself. Listen, and you will soon learn if I talk
nonsense.

_Evarist._ I will see at once! [_Runs to the villa and knocks._]

_Nina._ Poor fool, he trusts in the love of a city girl. The city girls
are not as we are.

[Evarist _goes on knocking._ Tognino _opens and looks out of the door._]

_Evarist._ Well, what is it?

_Tognino._ Excuse me, I can let no one pass.

_Evarist._ Have you told them it is I?

_Tognino._ I have.

_Evarist._ To Signorina Candida?

_Tognino._ To Signorina Candida.

_Evarist._ And Signora Geltrude does not wish that I should come in?

_Tognino._ Yes, Signora Geltrude had said you might pass, but Signorina
Candida did not wish it.

_Evarist._ Did not wish it? I swear to Heaven I will come in! [_Tries to
push aside_ Tognino, _who bolts the door._]

_Nina._ Well, and what did I tell you?

_Evarist._ I am beside myself! I do not know in what world I am. To shut
the door in my face!

_Nina._ Oh, do not be amazed! They treated me in the same beautiful way.

_Evarist._ How is it possible Candida could thus deceive me?

_Nina._ What is a fact cannot be doubted.

_Evarist._ I still do not believe it--I cannot believe it--I will never
believe it!

_Nina._ You do not believe it?

_Evarist._ No; there must be some mistake, some mystery. I know
Candida's heart. She is incapable of this!

_Nina._ All right. Console yourself that way, and enjoy your
consolation. Much good may it do you!

_Evarist._ I absolutely must speak to Candida.

_Nina._ But since she won't receive you?

_Evarist._ It does not matter. There must be some other reason! I will
go into the café. It will be enough for me to see her, to hear a word
from her. A sign alone from her will suffice to assure me of life or to
give me my death-blow.

_Nina._ Well, take it.


SCENE XIII.

Coronato _and_ Scavezzo _return._ Scavezzo _goes straight to the inn._
Coronato _remains aside to listen. The above._

_Evarist._ What do you want to give me?

_Nina._ Why, your fan!

_Evarist._ Keep it. Don't torment me.

_Nina._ You give me this fan?

_Evarist._ Yes, yes, keep it, I give it you.--[_Aside._] I am beside
myself!

_Nina._ If it is so, I thank you.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] Ho, ho! now I know what the present was! A fan.
[_Goes to the inn without being seen._]

_Evarist._ But if Candida won't let me see her--if by chance she does
not look out of the window--if seeing me she refuses to listen to me--if
her aunt forbids her! I am in a sea of confusion, of agitation.

[Crispino, _with a sack full of leather and shoes on his shoulder, goes
towards his booth. Seeing the two, he stops to listen._]

_Nina._ Dear Signor Evarist, you make me sad; I am deeply grieved for
you.

_Evarist._ Yes, my good girl, I deserve your pity.

_Nina._ So good, amiable, and polite a gentleman.

_Evarist._ You know my heart, you bear testimony to my love.

_Crispino._ [_Aside._] Nice things these! I see I came in time.

_Nina._ Indeed, if I knew how to comfort you--

_Crispino._ [_Aside._] Better and better!

_Evarist._ Well, at all costs I will try my luck. I will not have to
reproach myself that I neglected to clear up the matter. I go to the
café, Nina; I go and tremble. Retain to me your friendship and
good-will. [_He takes her hand, and goes into the café._]

_Nina._ On the one hand he makes me laugh, on the other I am sorry for
him.

[Crispino _puts down his sack, pulls out some shoes, puts them on the
bench, and goes into his shop without speaking._]

_Nina._ Why, here is Crispino! Welcome back! Where have you been till
now?

_Crispino._ Don't you see, to buy leather and to take shoes for mending.

_Nina._ But you do nothing but mend old shoes. I would not have people
say--you know they are so ill-natured here--

_Crispino._ The evil tongues will find more to say about you than about
me.

_Nina._ About me! What can they say?

_Crispino._ What do I care what they say--that I am more of a cobbler
than a shoemaker? It is enough for me to be an honest man, and to earn
my bread righteously. [_He sits down and works._]

_Nina._ But I don't want to be called the cobbleress.

_Crispino._ When?

_Nina._ When I shall be your wife.

_Crispino._ Eh?

_Nina._ Eh! What does this eh! mean? what does this eh! mean?

_Crispino._ It means that Signorina Nina will be neither cobbleress nor
shoemakeress; she has aims most vast and grand.

_Nina._ Are you mad, or have you drunk this morning?

_Crispino._ I am not mad, I have not drunk, but I am neither blind nor
deaf.

_Nina._ Then what the devil do you mean? Explain yourself if you would
have me understand you.

_Crispino._ I am to explain myself! You would have me explain myself? Do
you think I have not heard your fine words with Signor Evarist?

_Nina._ With Signor Evarist?

_Crispino._ [_Imitating_ Evarist.] Yes, my good girl, you know my heart;
you bear testimony to my love.

_Nina._ [_Laughing._] You silly fellow!

_Crispino._ [_Imitating_ Nina.] Indeed, if I knew how to comfort you--

_Nina._ [_Laughing._] Silly fellow, I say!

_Crispino._ [_Imitating_ Evarist.] Nina, retain to me your friendship
and good-will.

_Nina._ [_Laughing yet more._] Sillier than ever!

_Crispino._ I?

_Nina._ Yes, absurd; madly absurd!

_Crispino._ But, by Jove, did I not see, did I not hear your beautiful
conversation with Signor Evarist?

_Nina._ Silly boy, I tell you!

_Crispino._ And what you replied.

_Nina._ Silly boy!

_Crispino._ Nina, have done with this "silly," or I shall go silly in
very deed. [_Threatens her._]

_Nina._ Eh! eh! [_Becomes serious, and changes her tune._] But do you
really think Signor Evarist loves me?

_Crispino._ I know nothing about it.

_Nina._ Come here. Listen. [_Speaks rapidly._] Signor Evarist loves
Signorina Candida; and Signorina Candida has planted him, and wants to
marry the Baron. And Signor Evarist is desperate, and came to pour out
his heart to me; and I pretended to be sympathetic to make fun of him,
and he let himself be comforted that way. Do you understand now?

_Crispino._ Not a word.

_Nina._ Are you persuaded of my innocence?

_Crispino._ Not entirely.

_Nina._ Then, if things are thus, go to the devil with you! Coronato
desires me, seeks me; my brother has promised me to him. The Count, who
respects me, implores--I shall marry Coronato.

_Crispino._ Come, come, don't be so angry instantly. Can you assure me
you speak the truth--that there is nothing between you and Signor
Evarist?

_Nina._ And you do not wish me to call you silly! But, my own good
Crispino, whom I love so much, my dear betrothed! [_She caresses him._]

_Crispino._ [_Gently._] And what did Signor Evarist give you?

_Nina._ Nothing.

_Crispino._ Nothing? nothing? nothing?

_Nina._ When I tell you nothing, nothing--[_Aside._] I do not want him
to know about the fan, or he will suspect me again.

_Crispino._ Can I be sure?

_Nina._ Come, come, you tease me.

_Crispino._ You love me?

_Nina._ Yes, I love you.

_Crispino._ Well, then, let us make peace. [_He takes her hand._]

_Nina._ [_Laughing._] Silly fellow.

_Crispino._ [_Laughing._] But why silly?

_Nina._ Because you are.


SCENE XIV.

Coronato, _who comes out of the inn. The above._

_Coronato._ At last I know what present Signorina Nina has had.

_Nina._ What business is that of yours?

_Crispino._ [_To_ Coronato.] From whom has she had a present?

_Coronato._ From Signor Evarist.

_Nina._ It is not true.

_Crispino._ It is not true?

_Coronato._ But it is, and I know, too, what it is.

_Nina._ Well, be it what it be, it does not concern you. I love
Crispino, and shall be the wife of my Crispino.

_Crispino._ [_To_ Coronato.] Well, what is the present?

_Coronato._ A fan.

_Crispino._ [_Angrily to_ Nina.] A fan?

_Nina._ [_Aside._] Confound that fellow!

_Crispino._ [_To_ Nina.] Did you receive a fan?

_Nina._ It is not true.

_Coronato._ It is so true, that you have it in your pocket.

_Crispino._ I wish to see that fan.

_Nina._ No, no!

_Coronato._ I will find the means to make her show it.

_Nina._ You are an interfering fellow.


SCENE XV.

Moracchio _from out the house, a table napkin in his hand, eating._

_Moracchio._ What's all this noise about?

_Coronato._ Your sister has had a fan given her, it is in her pocket,
and she denies it.

_Moracchio._ [_Sternly._] Give me that fan.

_Nina._ Leave me alone.

_Moracchio._ Give me that fan, or, I swear by Heaven--[_Threatens her._]

_Nina._ Confound you all! Here it is.

_Crispino._ [_Wants to take it._] I want it.

_Coronato._ No; I.

_Nina._ Leave me alone, I say!

_Moracchio._ Quick, give it here. I want it.

_Nina._ No; rather than to you or Coronato, I will give it to Crispino.

_Moracchio._ Give it to me, I say!

_Nina._ To Crispino! [_Gives the fan to_ Crispino, _and runs into the
house._]

_Coronato._ Give it here.

_Moracchio._ Give it here.

_Crispino._ You shall not have it.

[_Both fall on_ Crispino _to yet it from him. He escapes from the scene,
they follow him._]


SCENE XVI.

_The_ Count _on the terrace._ Timoteo _outside his shop._

_Count._ Hi! Signor Timoteo!

_Timoteo._ What do you command?

_Count._ Quick, quick, bring spirits and cordials! Signorina Candida has
fainted!

_Timoteo._ Instantly. [_Returns into the shop._]

_Count._ What was she looking at? One would think some poisonous plants
grew in the garden of the café.      [_Exit._

[Crispino _crosses the stage, running._ Coronato _and_ Moracchio _run
after him, and all three disappear._]

_Baron._ [_From the villa to the apothecary._] Quick, quick, Signor
Timoteo!

_Timoteo._ [_Advancing with various phials and cups._] Here I am.

_Baron._ Quick, quick!

_Timoteo._ All right, all right. [_Goes up to the door._]

[Crispino, Coronato, Moracchio, _from outside the scene, run furiously
across the stage, knock against_ Timoteo, _throw him down, breaking all
his bottles._ Crispino _falls over him and loses hold of the fan._
Coronato _snatches it up and runs off._ Timoteo _gets up and returns to
his shop._]

_Coronato._ [_To_ Moracchio.] Here it is, here it is! I have got it!
[_Exit._

END OF THE SECOND ACT.



ACT III.


SCENE I.

_Crispino_ comes out of his shop, with bread, cheese, and a bottle of
wine, seats himself on the bench, and breakfasts. _Tognino_ comes out of
_Geltrude's_ villa with a broom, and crosses to the pharmacy. _Coronato_
and _Scavezzo_ come out of the inn; the latter carries a barrel on his
shoulders; the former passes _Crispino_, looks at him and laughs. Then
both go off. _Crispino_ looks after him and clenches his fist. _Tognino_,
issuing from the pharmacy, sweeps the square. _Timoteo_ with glasses
and bottles hurries across to the villa. _Crispino_ has emptied his
wine-bottle, and goes into the inn. _Susanna_ comes out of her shop,
seats herself to do some needlework. _Tognino_ off into the villa.
_Crispino_ comes back, his bottle refilled. He draws the fan from his
pocket, looks at it smiling, and seats himself again. _Nina_ also seats
herself outside her door to spin. _Crispino_ hides the fan under his
leather apron, and goes on eating. _Coronato_ comes back, passes
_Crispino_, and smiles. _Crispino_ smiles also. _Coronato_, arrived at
his own door, turns round once more to look at _Crispino_ and smile,
then enters. _Crispino_ laughs too, takes up the fan, looks at it with
pleasure, and then hides it again.

Count _and_ Baron _coming out of_ Gertrude's _villa._

_Count._ No excuse! my friend, that should not vex you.

_Baron._ I assure you it can't please me either.

_Count._ If Signorina Candida felt ill, that was an accident; you must
excuse. You know women are subject to vapours and nervous attacks.

_Baron._ But when we went in she was not ill, and scarcely did she see
me than she retired to her room.

_Count._ Because she felt it coming on.

_Baron._ And then, did you notice Signora Geltrude when she came out of
her niece's room, with what attention, what interest she read some
papers that seemed letters.

_Count._ She is a woman who has much business on her hands, and a large
correspondence. Doubtless they were letters just arrived.

_Baron._ No; they were old papers. I bet anything they were something
she had found either on the table or on the person of Signorina Candida.

_Count._ Dear friend, your suspicions are strange! Your imagination runs
away with you!

_Baron._ I imagine that which doubtless is the case. I suspect that an
understanding exists between Signorina Candida and Evarist.

_Count._ Impossible! Were it so, I should know it. I know everything!
There is nothing done in the village that I do not know! And further,
were it as you think, do you suppose Signorina Candida would ever have
accepted your proposal? How can you suppose she would thus compromise
the mediation of a nobleman of my standing?

_Baron._ Oh, for that a good reason can be found. She was forced to say
"Yes;" but Signora Geltrude was not as amiable to me after reading those
letters; indeed, she seemed to me to show pleasure that we should go.

_Count._ Well, I think that all we have to complain of against Signora
Geltrude is, that she did not ask us to stay to dinner with her.

_Baron._ To that I am indifferent.

_Count._ I gave her some hints, but she pretended not to understand.

_Baron._ I assure you she was most anxious we should leave.

_Count._ I am sorry for you. Where will you dine to-day?

_Baron._ I told the host to prepare dinner for two.

_Count._ For two?

_Baron._ I expect Evarist, who has gone shooting.

_Count._ If you will come and dine with me--

_Baron._ With you?

_Count._ But my dinner is half a mile from here.

_Baron._ Thank you, but the dinner is already ordered. Hi there,
Coronato!


SCENE II.

Coronato _from out the inn. The above._

_Coronato._ You called me?

_Baron._ Has Signor Evarist returned?

_Coronato._ I have not seen him yet, sir. I am sorry, because the dinner
is ready, and the food will get spoilt.

_Count._ Evarist is capable of amusing himself shooting till evening,
and making you lose your dinner.

_Baron._ What can I do? I promised to wait for him.

_Count._ Well, it's all very well to wait for him up to a certain point.
But, my dear friend, it does not seem to me you should wait long for a
person who is your social inferior. I admit the demands of politeness,
of humanity; but, my dear colleague, let us also preserve our
aristocratic decorum.

_Baron._ I feel half inclined to ask you to come and take Evarist's
place.

_Count._ If you do not wish to wait for him, or if you dislike eating
alone, come to my house and take pot-luck.

_Baron._ No, no, my dear Count. Do me the pleasure of dining with me.
Let us go to table, and if Evarist is not punctual, that is his loss.

_Count._ [_Content._] It will teach him politeness.

_Baron._ [_To_ Coronato.] Tell them to serve.

_Coronato._ Yes, sir. [_Aside._] H'm, h'm! there'll be little left for
the kitchen now.

_Baron._ I will go and see that they have prepared for our dinner.
[_Enters._]

_Count._ [_To_ Coronato.] Have you taken the second barrel of wine?

_Coronato._ Yes, sir, I sent it to your house.

_Count._ You sent it! without going with it? I fear mischief.

_Coronato._ I will tell you. I accompanied the man until the turn of the
road, where we met your servant.

_Count._ My steward?

_Coronato._ No, sir.

_Count._ My footman?

_Coronato._ No, sir.

_Count._ My lackey?

_Coronato._ No, sir.

_Count._ Who then?

_Coronato._ That man who lives with you, and sells your fruit, salad,
vegetables.

_Count._ What! that man?

_Coronato._ Just so. I met him, showed him the barrel, and he
accompanied my servant.

_Count._ [_Aside._] The devil! that fellow, who never sees wine, is
capable of drinking up half the barrel. [_Goes towards the door._]

_Coronato._ Excuse me.

_Count._ What is it?

_Coronato._ Have you spoken for me to Nina?

_Count._ [_Embarrassed._] All right, all right!

_Coronato._ All right?

_Count._ [_Advancing towards the door._] We will speak about it after.

_Coronato._ But tell me one thing.

_Count._ Come, come, let me go in, so as not to keep the Baron waiting.

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] I have good hopes. He is a man, if he takes up a
cause, to succeed with it--sometimes.--[_In loving yet harsh tones._]
Nina! Nina!

[Nina _spins on and does not reply._]

_Coronato._ Allow me at least to salute you.

_Nina._ [_Without looking up._] You would do better to give me back my
fan.

_Coronato._ Indeed!--[_Aside._] Oh, by the bye, I left that fan in the
cellar!--Yes, yes, let us speak of that fan.--[_Aside._] I hope no one
has carried it off. [_Goes into the house._]

[Crispino _laughs aloud._]

_Susanna._ You seem to have a light heart, Crispino, you laugh so
merrily.

_Crispino._ I laugh because I have my reasons for laughing.

_Nina._ [_To_ Crispino.] You laugh, and I feel gnawed with anger.

_Crispino._ Anger? And what are you angry about?

_Nina._ That that fan should be in Coronato's hands.

_Crispino._ [_Laughing._] Yes, it is in Coronato's hands.

_Nina._ Then why do you laugh?

_Crispino._ I laugh because it is in Coronato's hands. [_Gets up and
carries the remains of his meal into his workshop._]

_Nina._ What silly laughter!

_Susanna._ I never thought my fan would pass through so many hands.

_Nina._ [_Looking at her with amazement._] Your fan?

_Susanna._ Oh, I say my fan because it came from my shop.

_Nina._ I suppose you were paid for it?

_Susanna._ Of course, else I should not have given it.

_Nina._ And it will also have been paid double its worth?

_Susanna._ Not so; and even were it so, what does it matter to you? For
what it cost you, you can accept it.

_Nina._ How do you know what it costs me?

_Susanna._ [_Sarcastically and pointedly._] Oh, I don't know what it
cost you, nor whether he who gave it you has great obligations towards
you.

_Nina._ What obligations? What do you mean by obligations? Do I meddle
in your affairs?

_Susanna._ There, there, don't excite yourself! You don't intimidate me
with your fury!

_Crispino._ [_From out the shop._] What's the matter? Incessant
bickerings, incessant high words.

_Susanna._ She makes side hits and expects one to keep silent.

_Crispino._ Are you angry, Nina?

_Nina._ I angry? I am never angry!

_Susanna._ Oh, she loves peace, and never excites herself!

_Nina._ Never, except when I am teased, if I have to hear impertinences,
if I am trampled under foot.

[Susanna _mutters to herself._]

_Crispino._ Is it I who ill-treat you, tease you, trample you under
foot?

_Nina._ [_Spinning sulkily._] I am not speaking of you.

_Susanna._ No, she does not refer to you, she refers to me.

_Crispino._ One might really say it is an art to live for five minutes
in peace on this square.

_Nina._ When evil tongues are abroad.

_Crispino._ Quiet! it is shameful.

_Susanna._ One is to be insulted, and then not speak.

_Nina._ I speak reasonably.

_Susanna._ Better I should be silent.

_Nina._ Certainly it is better to be silent than say foolish things.

_Crispino._ You will always have the last word.

_Nina._ Yes; and were I in my grave--

[Timoteo _from out the villa with cups and bottles._]

_Nina._ He who wants me, takes me as I am, and who does not want me,
leaves me alone!

_Crispino._ Do be quiet at last!

_Timoteo._ [_Aside._] I won't go again into that house. Is it my fault
that these waters don't help? I can only give what I have. They expect
to find all the refinements of town in a village. And then what are
spirits, cordials, essences? So many quack remedies. The corner-stones
of an apothecary are, water, quinine, mercury. [_Goes into his shop._]

_Crispino._ Some one must be ill at the villa.

_Nina._ [_With contempt._] Yes, that dear jewel of a Signorina Candida!

_Susanna._ Poor Signorina Candida!

_Crispino._ What is the matter with her?

_Susanna._ [_Pointedly._] Nina should know something about it.

_Nina._ I? What have I to do with it?

_Susanna._ Because she is ill on your account.

_Nina._ On my account! [_Springs to her feet._]

_Susanna._ Oh, one cannot speak quietly with you.

_Crispino._ I should like to know what all this means. [_Gets up from
his work._]

_Nina._ [_To_ Susanna.] You are only able to say silly things!

_Susanna._ There, there, don't excite yourself.

_Crispino._ [_To_ Nina.] Let her speak.

_Nina._ Well, speak, then.

_Susanna._ I won't say anything more to you!

_Nina._ If you have any sense of honour, speak.

_Susanna._ If matters are thus, well, I will.

_Crispino._ Quiet there! Signora Geltrude is approaching. No scenes
before her.

_Nina._ She shall give me an explanation!


SCENE III.

Geltrude _from the villa. The above._

_Geltrude._ [_Gravely._] Is your brother returned?

_Nina._ [_Ungraciously, and turning away._] Yes, he is.

_Geltrude._ [_As above._] Has Signor Evarist returned also?

_Nina._ [_As above._] Yes, he has.

_Geltrude._ Do you know where he is?

_Nina._ [_With annoyance._] I know nothing! Good day. [_Enters the
house._]

_Geltrude._ What manners!--Crispino!

_Crispino._ [_Rises._] Madame?

_Geltrude._ Do you know where to find Signor Evarist?

_Crispino._ No, Madame, in truth I do not.

_Geltrude._ Do me the favour to go and see if he is in the inn.

_Crispino._ Certainly. [_Goes towards the inn._]

_Susanna._ [_Softly._] Signora Geltrude!

_Geltrude._ What would you?

_Susanna._ One word.

_Geltrude._ Do you know nothing about Signor Evarist?

_Susanna._ Ah, Madame, I know many things. I have many things to tell
you.

_Geltrude._ Alas! I too have much to disquiet me; I have seen letters
that surprise me! Speak, enlighten me if you can.

_Susanna._ But here, in public! Shall I not come to your house?

_Geltrude._ I first want to see Signor Evarist.

_Susanna._ Will you then step into my shop?

_Geltrude._ Yes, rather let us do that. But first let us await Signor
Evarist.

_Susanna._ There he is!

_Crispino._ [_From the inn._] He is not there. They expected him to
dinner, and he has not come.

_Geltrude._ Yet he must have come back from shooting.

_Crispino._ Oh yes, he came back; I saw him.

_Geltrude._ Where can he be?

_Susanna._ He is not at the café either.

_Crispino._ Nor at the apothecary's.

_Geltrude._ Let us search a little. The village is not so large. Look
about, we must discover him.

_Crispino._ I will set off at once!

_Geltrude._ If you find him, tell him I want much to speak to him, and
that I wait for him in Susanna's shop.

[Crispino _goes._]

_Geltrude._ [_Enters_ Susanna's _shop._] Now I am ready and anxious to
hear you.

_Susanna._ Well, well, you will hear nice things.

_Crispino._ There is something wrong about this Signor Evarist. And then
this fan--I am glad I have got it. Coronato noticed it was gone, I
suppose. He is scarcely likely to suspect me. No one will have told him
that I went to buy some wine. I went just in time. I found the fan a-top
of the barrel. Silly fellow! And while his man filled my flask, I
pocketed the fan! I shall take pretty good care not to confess that I
took it. He is capable of calling me a thief. But where am I to look for
this gentleman? Not at the Count's, for he is dining in there. In the
village? I am sorry I am not enlightened as to Susanna's meaning. But I
will get to the bottom of it. And if I find Nina guilty--Well, and what
shall I do then? Cast her off? I don't know. I love her too much. What
can it all be?


SCENE IV.

Crispino _and_ Limonato _from the café. Then_ Coronato.

_Crispino._ Do you know where Signor Evarist is?

_Limonato._ I! why should I? I am not his servant.

_Crispino._ Don't excite yourself thus. Might he not happen to be at
your place?

_Limonato._ Then you would see him.

_Crispino._ Out upon you, you lemonade manufacturer!

_Limonato._ What does this mean?

_Crispino._ Wait till your shoes want cobbling again.      [_Exit._

_Limonato._ The wretch! Shall I tell him Signor Evarist is in our
garden? No, he is only just comforted, why disturb him again? Hi, host!

_Coronato._ [_At his door._] What would you?

_Limonato._ Signor Evarist sends me. Tell the Baron he is not to wait
dinner for him; he is busy, and does not wish to be disturbed.

_Coronato._ Tell him the notice comes too late. The Baron has nearly
done his dinner.

_Limonato._ All right. [_About to go._]

_Coronato._ And if you hear that some one has found a fan, let me know.

_Limonato._ With pleasure. Have you lost one?

_Coronato._ Yes; I don't know how. A rogue carried it off, and my stupid
cellarman can't tell me who came to fetch wine. But if I discover him,
then--Good-day.      [_Exit._

_Limonato._ I will do my best.      [_Exit._


SCENE V.

_The_ Count _at the window of the inn. The above._

_Count._ I heard Limonato's voice. Hi, Limonato!

_Limonato._ Sir?

_Count._ Two cups of coffee!

_Limonato._ Excuse me, for whom?

_Count._ For me and the Baron. [_Disappears._]

_Limonato._ At once!--[_Aside._] Now I know the Baron is inside and
pays, he shall have the coffee.

_Nina._ Hi, Limonato!

_Limonato._ And what do you want?

_Nina._ Is Signor Evarist still with you?

_Limonato._ How with me?

_Nina._ Yes, with you.

_Limonato._ There is the café, if he were there, you would see him.

_Nina._ Bah! I mean in the garden.

_Limonato._ Bah! I don't know anything.      [_Exit._

_Nina._ Rude fellow! And people say I am irritable! How can I help it,
when all tease, all maltreat me?--those ladies, that creature over
there, Coronato, Moracchio, Limonato, and Crispino. I can bear it no
longer.


SCENE VI.

Evarist _running excitedly out of the café. The above._

_Evarist._ [_To_ Nina.] There she is, there she is! Now I am happy!

_Nina._ What does this joy mean?

_Evarist._ Oh, Nina, I am the happiest, the most contented man in the
world!

_Nina._ I am glad to hear it. I hope, then, you will make up to me for
all I have had to endure on your account.

_Evarist._ Anything you wish! Know, Nina, that they suspected that I
loved you. Signorina Candida knew I had given you the fan, thought I had
bought it for you, was jealous of me, was jealous of you!

_Nina._ Was jealous of me?

_Evarist._ Precisely; and to avenge herself, and in despair, she was
about to marry another. She saw me, and fell down lifeless in a faint.
Happily, a moment after her aunt left the house, Candida went into the
garden. I climbed over the hedge, sprang over the wall, fell at her
feet, wept, swore, implored, called all the saints to witness, and
convinced her. She is mine, is mine, and will be mine in all eternity!

_Nina._ I congratulate you. I am glad to hear it, sir.

_Evarist._ One only condition she makes in order to be quite convinced
of my love.

_Nina._ And that is?--

_Evarist._ In order that I may justify myself and you also, it is
needful that you give her the fan.

_Nina._ Oh dear, oh dear!

_Evarist._ My honour and your own are at stake. It would seem otherwise
as if I had really bought the fan for you. She must be relieved of every
suspicion. I know you are a sensible girl, therefore give me back that
fan.

_Nina._ But, sir, I have it no longer.

_Evarist._ Why tell this lie? I gave it you, and I would not ask it back
did not my whole life's happiness hang on it. I will buy you another,
far better and more beautiful. But, for Heaven's sake, give me back that
fan, and quickly too!

_Nina._ Oh, if I but had it!

_Evarist._ Nina, I repeat, our honour is at stake.

_Nina._ I swear I no longer have the fan!

_Evarist._ Oh, heavens! And what did you do with it?

_Nina._ Oh, they knew I had the fan, and forced me to give it up by
violence.

_Evarist._ Who?

_Nina._ My brother.

_Evarist._ [_Goes towards the house and calls._] Moracchio!

_Nina._ No, stop! He has not got it!

_Evarist._ Who, then?

_Nina._ He gave it to Crispino.

_Evarist._ [_Runs towards the workshop._] Crispino!

_Nina._ Stop and listen, I say!

_Evarist._ I am beside myself.

_Nina._ Crispino no longer has it either.

_Evarist._ Heaven and hell, who has it then? Quick!

_Nina._ That rogue of a Coronato.

_Evarist._ Coronato! hi, host, Coronato!

_Coronato._ Yes, sir?

_Evarist._ Give here that fan.

_Coronato._ What fan?

_Nina._ That which you stole.

_Evarist._ Out with it! Quick!

_Coronato._ Sir, I am sincerely sorry, but--

_Evarist._ How so? What is this?

_Coronato._ I can no longer find it.

_Evarist._ Not find it!

_Coronato._ I stupidly forgot it in the cellar, and went away. When I
came back, it had vanished. Some one must have stolen it.

_Evarist._ Look for it!

_Coronato._ I have searched the whole house, in vain.

_Evarist._ I will pay you whatever you like for it!

_Coronato._ But if it is gone--I tell you it is gone.

_Evarist._ I am in despair!

_Coronato._ I am most sorry, but I can do nothing.      [_Exit._

_Evarist._ It is all your fault! You are my misfortune!

_Nina._ I? And how am I to blame in it all?


SCENE VII.

Candida _on the terrace. The above._

_Candida._ [_Calling him._] Signor Evarist!

_Evarist._ There she is, there she is! Oh, I am in despair!

_Nina._ What, what! the world is not come to an end because of this!

_Candida._ [_Calls more loudly._] Signor Evarist!

_Evarist._ Oh, Candida, my dearest! I am the most miserable, the most
wretched man in the world!

_Candida._ What! you can't get the fan?

_Nina._ [_Aside._] She guesses it at once!

_Evarist._ If you knew what a coil of complications, and all to my
injury! It is too true, the fan is lost, and it is not possible to find
it as yet.

_Candida._ Oh, I know where it is!

_Evarist._ Where? where? If you could give us some hint!

_Nina._ [_To_ Evarist.] Who knows? Some one may have found it.

_Candida._ The fan will be in the hands of her to whom you gave it, and
who will not give it up, and she is right.

_Nina._ [_To_ Candida.] This is not true.

_Candida._ Be silent!

_Evarist._ I swear to you on my honour--

_Candida._ It is enough! My decision is made! I am astonished at you, to
prefer a peasant girl to me.      [_Exit._

_Nina._ Peasant girl! What does she mean?

_Evarist._ I swear to Heaven, you are the cause of all my miseries,
which will be my death! She has decided! Well, I have decided too; I
will await my rival here, and will challenge him. Either he or I must
fall! And all this is your fault, Nina!

_Nina._ I go, or I shall lose my reason. [_She turns slowly towards her
house._]

_Evarist._ How passion consumes me! My heart thumps, my brain is in a
whirl, my breath comes heavily. I can scarcely stand! Oh, who will help
me? [_He staggers towards a chair._]

_Nina._ [_Turns round and sees him._] What is this? What do I see? He is
dying! Help, help! Here, Moracchio! here, Limonato!


SCENE VIII.

Limonato _from the café with two cups on a tray._ Moracchio _runs from
his house to succour_ Evarist.

_Crispino._ [_Comes out of the side street._] Oh, there is Signor
Evarist. But what is the matter?

_Nina._ Water, water!

_Crispino._ Wine, wine!

_Limonato._ Give him wine. I will just carry these cups to the inn.

_Moracchio._ Courage, courage, sir! He is in love; that is his malady.

_Timoteo._ [_Comes out of his shop._] What is the matter?

_Moracchio._ Come here, Timoteo.

_Nina._ Yes, do you help.

_Timoteo._ What is the matter?

_Nina._ He has fainted.

_Timoteo._ There I can help.

_Nina._ The poor gentleman, he is in love.

_Crispino._ [_With a bottle of wine._] Here, here! that will restore him
to life--five-year-old wine.

_Nina._ He is reviving!

_Crispino._ Oh, this wine would make the dead rise!

_Moracchio._ Courage, courage, sir, I say!

_Timoteo._ [_With bottles, glasses, and a razor._] Here I am. Quick,
undress him!

_Moracchio._ What is the razor for?

_Timoteo._ In case of need, it is better than a lancet.

_Crispino._ A razor?

_Nina._ What?

_Evarist._ [_Gets up._] Oh ho! who wants to cut my throat with a razor?

_Nina._ The apothecary.

_Timoteo._ Excuse me; I am an honest man, and no assassin. When one has
the best intentions, it is not right to make one appear ridiculous. See
whether I will come another time.      [_Exit._

_Moracchio._ Won't you step into my house, sir, and rest on my bed?

_Evarist._ Wherever you like.

_Moracchio._ Take my arm and lean on me.

_Evarist._ Oh, how much rather I would that my miserable life were
ended! [_Walks off, leaning on_ Moracchio.]

_Nina._ [_Aside._] If he wanted to die, he could not have done better
than give himself up to the apothecary.

_Moracchio._ Here we are at the door. Let us go in.

_Evarist._ Useless kindness to him who only asks to die. [_They enter._]

_Moracchio._ Nina, get the bed ready for Signor Evarist.

_Crispino._ [_As she is going to enter, calls her._] Nina!

_Nina._ What is it?

_Crispino._ You are wonderfully compassionate for this gentleman.

_Nina._ I do my duty, because you and I are the cause of his illness.

_Crispino._ Speak for yourself, there I can't answer. But I? What have I
to do with him?

_Nina._ Because of that accursed fan. [_Goes in._]

_Crispino._ Accursed fan, indeed! I have now heard it named millions of
times! But I am glad to think I did Coronato. He is my enemy, and will
be so till Nina is my wife. But what now? I could bury this fan in the
ground; but if it be trodden on, it will break. What shall I do with it.
[_Pulls out the fan._]

[Limonato _crosses from his café to the inn._]

_Count._ [_From out the inn._] The dinner was excellent! For once I have
eaten my fill.

_Crispino._ [_Aside._] Ho, ho, the Count. Shall I--Yes, that will be the
best way. [_Advances towards him, fan in hand._]

_Count._ What is that you have in your hand?

_Crispino._ A fan. I found it on the ground.

_Count._ [_Takes it._] A lady must have lost it in passing by. What will
you do with it?

_Crispino._ I really don't know.

_Count._ Do you want to sell it?

_Crispino._ Sell it? I should not know what to ask for it. What may it
be worth?

_Count._ I don't know, for I don't understand such things. There are
figures painted on it; but a fan found in the country can't be worth
much.

_Crispino._ I wish it were worth very much.

_Count._ In order to sell it well?

_Crispino._ No, certainly not; but only in order to offer it to your
honour.

_Count._ To me! You want to give it to me?

_Crispino._ But as it seems of no value--

_Count._ Oh no; it is not bad, and seems quite decent. Thank you, my
friend. Whenever I can be of use to you, count on my
protection.--[_Aside._] I shall give it away.

_Crispino._ But one thing I beg of you.

_Count._ [_Aside._] Didn't I think so! This class of people gives
nothing for nothing!--Well, what is it? Speak.

_Crispino._ I beg you to tell no one that I gave it to you.

_Count._ Is that all?

_Crispino._ All.

_Count._ If it's nothing but that--[_Aside._] He is cautious. But, my
good friend, why should people not know? Have you perchance stolen it?

_Crispino._ Excuse me. I am not capable of that.

_Count._ Then why should no one know it comes from you? If you have
found it, and the owner does not turn up, I don't see why--

_Crispino._ [_Laughing._] And yet I have my reasons.

_Count._ And they are?--

_Crispino._ Well, I am in love.

_Count._ I know it. With Nina.

_Crispino._ And if Nina knew I had this fan, and did not give it to her,
she would be angry.

_Count._ Just as well for her not to have it. This is no fan for a
country girl. Do not fear; I shall not betray you. But that reminds me,
how do matters stand with you and Nina? Do you really mean to marry her?

_Crispino._ I confess I desire her as my wife.

_Count._ Well, then, you shall have her. This very evening, if you like,
we will celebrate the wedding.

_Crispino._ Really, you are in earnest?

_Count._ In earnest. Who am I? What is meant by my protection? I am
almighty!

_Crispino._ But Coronato wants her also.

_Count._ Coronato! Who is Coronato? A stupid fellow! Does she love you?

_Crispino._ Yes, dearly.

_Count._ Good, then: you are loved, Coronato is not. Depend on my
protection.

_Crispino._ Most certainly. But--her brother?

_Count._ Brother! what brother? what of him? If the sister is satisfied,
the brother has nothing to say. Depend entirely on my protection.

_Crispino._ By Saint Crispin!

_Count._ There now, go back to your work, that my shoes may get done at
last.

_Crispino._ As your Honour desires.

[Count _examines the fan._]

_Crispino._ [_Aside._] The devil a bit! I forgot that Signora Geltrude
sent me to look for Signor Evarist, and now I have found him and not
told her. But his illness--the fan--in short, I forgot! I will call him,
but I don't like to go to Moracchio's house. I will go to the Signora
Geltrude and tell her Signor Evarist is found, and she is to have him
called, only not by me. [_Goes off towards the draper's shop._]

_Count._ What can it cost? Not much. Were it more choice, I would give
it to Signorina Candida, who broke her own. But why should I not? It is
not half bad.

_Nina._ [_At the window._] Where is Crispino? Not there!

_Count._ The figures are badly painted, but it seems to me they are well
drawn.

_Nina._ Oh, what do I see! The fan is in the Count's hands! Quick,
quick, to wake Signor Evarist!

_Count._ And who refuses a gift? She shall have it.


SCENE IX.

Count. Baron _from the inn. Then_ Tognino.

_Baron._ What! you abandon me?

_Count._ I saw you were not inclined to talk.

_Baron._ Yes, it is true. I can't resign myself. Tell me, do you think
we might go now and try to see those ladies once more.

_Count._ Why not? I have a happy thought! Shall I make you a present,--a
present that will make you cut a good figure in Signorina Candida's
eyes?

_Baron._ What is this present?

_Count._ You know she broke her fan this morning.

_Baron._ Yes, I heard of it.

_Count._ Here is a fan. Let us go and find her and give her this one
from you. [_Gives it to the_ Baron.] Look, it is not ugly.

_Baron._ You want me then to--

_Count._ Yes, you give it. I do not want to have any merit in the
matter. I leave all the honour to you.

_Baron._ I gladly accept this excuse, but you will at least let me know
what it cost?

_Count._ Oh, a trifle.

_Baron._ Nevertheless, kindly tell me the price.

_Count._ But to what end? Did you not give me a present of two pistols?

_Baron._ I do not know what to say. Well, I accept your present
gratefully.--[_Aside._] Where did he find this fan? It seems to me
impossible that he bought it.

_Count._ Well, what do you say to it? Isn't it a pretty thing? And just
in the nick of time! Oh, I understand these things, I have much
experience. I am well provided. There is a whole room full of nick-nacks
for ladies. But do not let us waste time. Let us go. [_Rings at_ Signora
Geltrude's _house._]

_Tognino._ [_From the terrace._] What do you wish, gentlemen?

_Count._ Will the ladies receive us?

_Tognino._ Signora Geltrude is out, and Signorina Candida is resting in
her room.

_Count._ Let us know as soon as she is awake.

_Tognino._ Yes, sir.      [_Exit._

_Count._ Did you hear?

_Baron._ Well, we must just wait. I have to write a letter to Milan; I
will go and write it at the apothecary's. If you will come too--

_Count._ No; I don't like going to that man's house. Go and write your
letter, and I will wait here till the servant calls us.

_Baron._ Very well. As soon as you want me, I am at your service.

_Count._ Count on me, do not fear.

_Baron._ [_Aside._] I do not count on him, and still less on the aunt,
and yet less on the niece. [_Goes to_ Timoteo's.]

_Count._ I will amuse myself with my book, with my beautiful collection
of wonderful fables. [_Pulls out his book, seats himself, and reads._]


SCENE X.

Count. Evarist _comes out of_ Nina's _house._

_Evarist._ Oh, there he is still! I thought he was gone. I can't
think how I was able to fall asleep amid so much distress of mind.
Fatigue--exhaustion. Now I feel born anew with the hopes of having back
the fan.--[_Calls._] Count, your servant.

_Count._ [_Reading and smiling._] Your servant, Signor Evarist.

_Evarist._ Will you permit me to say a few words?

_Count._ [_As above._] In a moment I am at your disposal.

_Evarist._ [_Aside._] If he has not got the fan in his hand, I don't
know how to begin speaking about it.

_Count._ [_Gets up laughing, and pockets his book._] Here I am, at your
services.

_Evarist._ [_Searching with his eyes for the fan._] I should be sorry if
I have disturbed you.

_Count._ It does not matter, I will finish reading my fable another
time.

_Evarist._ [_As above._] I should not like you to think me impertinent.

_Count._ What are you looking at? Have I some spot about me?

_Evarist._ Excuse me, I was told you had a fan.

_Count._ [_Confused._] A fan! It is true. Was it perchance you who lost
it?

_Evarist._ Yes, sir, I lost it.

_Count._ But there are many fans in the world. How do you know it is
yours?

_Evarist._ If you would have the kindness to show it to me?

_Count._ My friend, I am sorry you come too late.

_Evarist._ How too late?

_Count._ The fan is no longer in my possession.

_Evarist._ What?

_Count._ No; I gave it away.

_Evarist._ And pray to whom?

_Count._ That is just what I would rather not tell you.

_Evarist._ Count, I must know! I must have back that fan, and I will
know who has it now!

_Count._ I will not tell!

_Evarist._ Heavens and earth, but you shall tell!

_Count._ Do not forget who I am!

_Evarist._ [_Angrily._] I say it, and I will maintain it! This is an
ungentlemanly action!

_Count._ Do you know that I have a couple of loaded pistols?

_Evarist._ What do I care about your pistols? I want my fan!

_Count._ How absurd! So much eagerness and noise for a bit of a fan
which is worth perhaps five paoli!

_Evarist._ Let it be worth whatever it is worth, you cannot know that
for me it is priceless. I would give twenty ducats to have it!

_Count._ You would give twenty ducats!

_Evarist._ If I tell you so, I promise it! If you can get it back I will
gladly sacrifice twenty ducats.

_Count._ [_Aside._] The devil! It must be painted by Titian or Raphael
of Urbino.--I will see if I can get you back the fan.

_Evarist._ If the owner likes to sell it for twenty ducats, I repeat I
am willing.

_Count._ Had I the fan, such a proposal would offend me.

_Evarist._ But perchance it will not offend its present owner.

_Count._ Perchance, who knows? My friend, I assure you, I am quite
confused.

_Evarist._ Let us do like this, Count. This is a gold snuff-box whose
weight alone represents a worth of over twenty ducats. Its workmanship
makes it worth twice as much. Never mind; for that fan I will willingly
give this box. Here it is!

_Count._ [_Holding the box in his hand._] Are there perhaps diamonds on
that fan? I noticed nothing.

_Evarist._ It is not of the faintest value, but it is of worth to me.

_Count._ Then I must try and satisfy you.

_Evarist._ I beg of you!

_Count._ Await me here.--[_Aside._] I am quite confused.--But am I to
give the box in exchange?

_Evarist._ Yes, yes, give it!

_Count._ Wait. [_Walks a few steps._] And if the person gives me the
fan, and does not want the box?

_Evarist._ I have given it to you. Do what you like with your property.

_Count._ In earnest?

_Evarist._ In earnest.

_Count._ [_Aside._] After all, the Baron is a gentleman and my friend.
Because of the twenty ducats I would not accept it, but a gold
snuff-box--that gives an aristocratic, refined, well-to-do
air.--[_Aloud._] Wait for me here. [_Goes into the pharmacy._]

_Evarist._ To justify myself in her eyes I would sacrifice my life, my
heart's blood!


SCENE XI.

Crispino _from out of_ Susanna's _shop. The above. Then the_ Count,
_after_ Nina.

_Crispino._ Oh, there he is! Sir, your servant. Signora Geltrude wishes
to speak with you. She is here in the shop, and begs you to have the
kindness to step in there. She expects you.

_Evarist._ Tell her I am at her service in one moment. I must urgently
speak to some one before.

_Crispino._ Yes, sir. And how are you now--better?

_Evarist._ Much better, I am glad to say.

_Crispino._ I am delighted to hear it. And Nina is well?

_Evarist._ I think so.

_Crispino._ She is a good girl, is Nina.

_Evarist._ Yes, indeed, and I know she loves you dearly.

_Crispino._ And I love her too, but--

_Evarist._ But what?

_Crispino._ I have been told certain things.

_Evarist._ Concerning me, perhaps?

_Crispino._ To say the truth, yes, sir.

_Evarist._ Friend, I am a gentleman, and your Nina is a good, honest
girl.

_Crispino._ I think so too. There are always evil tongues about.

[Count, _coming out of the pharmacy._]

_Evarist._ There now! Go to Signora Geltrude and tell her I shall come
directly.

_Crispino._ Yes, sir. [_Walks away._] I feel easy now that nothing is
wrong here.--[_Aloud as he passes the_ Count.] I commend myself to you
on behalf of Nina.

_Count._ Count on my protection!

_Crispino._ I desire it earnestly. [_Goes into the shop._]

_Evarist._ Well, Count?

_Count._ Here is the fan. [_He shows it him._]

_Evarist._ [_Seizes it eagerly._] Oh, what happiness! How greatly I am
obliged to you!

_Count._ Look whether it be yours.

_Evarist._ Beyond a doubt. [_Wishes to move off._]

_Count._ And the snuff-box?

_Evarist._ Do not let us name that. I am but too grateful. [_Off to_
Susanna's _shop._]

_Count._ What it means not to understand things perfectly! I thought it
a common fan, and now it seems it is worth so much,--so much, in fact,
that it is worth exchanging against a gold snuff-box. No doubt the Baron
would have liked the box. He was vexed that I asked for the fan back,
but when I said I would present it in his name, he was mollified a
little. I will now go and buy one like it.

_Crispino._ [_Returning._] Well, this job is done. I like to serve
Signora Geltrude. So you give me good hopes, Count?

_Count._ Most excellent hopes! To-day is a fortunate day for me, and all
I do in it succeeds.

_Crispino._ Let us hope this will succeed too.

_Count._ Most undoubtedly! Hi, Nina!

_Nina._ [_Comes out of her house testily._] What do you want now?

_Count._ Do not be angered so quickly. I want to do you a service. I
want to marry you.

_Nina._ I don't need you for that.

_Count._ With some one to your taste.

_Nina._ And I say no!

_Count._ With Crispino.

_Nina._ With Crispino?

_Count._ Aha, what do you say now?

_Nina._ With all my heart!

_Count._ There, Crispino, you see what my protection means!

_Crispino._ Yes, sir, I see.


SCENE XII.

Moracchio _from the house. The above._

_Moracchio._ What are you doing here?

_Nina._ What does it matter to you?

_Count._ Nina is going to be married under the ægis of my protection.

_Moracchio._ As you like, sir; and she must consent, whether she like it
or no.

_Nina._ [_Gravely._] Oh, I will consent dutifully.

_Moracchio._ The better for you!

_Nina._ And to show you I consent, I will give my hand to Crispino.

_Moracchio._ [_Amazed._] But--Count--

_Count._ [_Placidly._] Let them be.

_Moracchio._ But, Count, did you not give your word to Coronato?


SCENE XIII.

Coronato _from the inn. The above._

_Coronato._ Who is talking about me?

_Moracchio._ Come here, and behold! The Count wants my sister to
marry--

_Coronato._ [_Anxiously._] Count!

_Count._ I am a just man and a nobleman, a sensible protector and human.
Nina does not want you, and I cannot, and must not, and will not use
violence!

_Nina._ And I want Crispino, though the whole world oppose it!

_Coronato._ [_To_ Moracchio.] And what say you?

_Moracchio._ [_To_ Coronato.] And what say you?

_Coronato._ I don't care a fig! Who does not want me, does not deserve
me!

_Nina._ That is the saying.

_Count._ [_To_ Crispino.] See the results of my protection!

_Coronato._ Count, I have sent the second barrel of wine.

_Count._ Bring me the bill, and I will pay it. [_While speaking, he
pulls out the gold snuff-box, and ostentatiously takes snuff._]

_Coronato._ [_Aside._] He has a gold snuff-box--he can pay.     [_Exit._

_Moracchio._ [_To_ Nina.] Well, you have had your way after all.

_Nina._ So it seems.

_Moracchio._ And if you repent, it will be your affair.

_Count._ She will never need to repent. She has my protection.

_Moracchio._ Bread seems to me better than protection.      [_Exit._

_Count._ And when shall we hold the wedding?

_Crispino._ Soon.

_Nina._ Yes, soon.


SCENE XIV.

Baron _from the pharmacy. The above._

_Baron._ Well, Count, have you seen Signorina
Candida, and have you given her the fan? Why would you not let me have
the pleasure of giving it her myself?

_Nina._ [_Aside._] What! Signor Evarist has not got it!

_Count._ I have not yet seen Signorina Candida, and as for the fan, I
have others, and have destined a better one for her. Oh, here is Signora
Geltrude!


SCENE XV.

Geltrude, Evarist, _and_ Susanna, _all three come out of_ Susanna's
_shop._

_Geltrude._ [_To_ Susanna.] Do me the favour of telling my niece to come
down. I must speak to her.

_Susanna._ I go at once. [_Goes to the villa, knocks, they open, she
enters._]

_Geltrude._ [_Softly to_ Evarist.] I do not wish the Count and the Baron
to go into the house.

_Count._ Signora Geltrude, the Baron and I were just about to visit you.

_Geltrude._ I am obliged for the polite intention. The evening is so
fine, we can talk out of doors.

_Baron._ So you have come back, Signor Evarist?

_Evarist._ [_Curtly._] As you see.


SCENE XVI.

_The above._ Candida.

_Candida._ What does my aunt wish?

_Geltrude._ Let us take a few turns.

_Candida._ [_Aside._] Why, there is the false Evarist!

_Geltrude._ But why have you got no fan?

_Candida._ Don't you remember I broke mine this morning?

_Geltrude._ Ah, yes, true; if we could find another.

_Baron._ [_Whispers to_ Count.] Now is the time to give it.

_Count._ [_Aside._] No, not in public.

_Geltrude._ Signor Evarist, you do not happen by chance to have one?

_Evarist._ Here it is, at your service. [_He shows it to_ Geltrude, _but
does not give it to her._]

[Candida _turns aside contemptuously._]

_Baron._ [_Softly to the_ Count.] Your fan! out with your fan!

_Count._ [_As above._] Don't poke me so!

_Baron._ [_As above._] Out with it, I say!

_Count._ [_As above._] Not now, not now!

_Geltrude._ Niece, won't you accept Signor Evarist's polite offer?

_Candida._ No, aunt, excuse me; I don't need it.

_Count._ [_To_ Baron.] You see, she does not accept it!

_Baron._ [_To_ Count.] Give it me at once!

_Count._ [_To_ Baron.] Do you mean to pick a quarrel?

_Geltrude._ May I ask why you will not accept this fan?

_Candida._ Because it is not mine; because it was not meant for me. It
would not become either you or me were I to accept it.

_Geltrude._ Signor Evarist, can you answer this?

_Evarist._ I can if I may.

_Candida._ Excuse me. [_Turns to leave._]

_Geltrude._ Stay here! I command it. [Candida _obeys._]

_Baron._ [_To_ Count.] What is all this imbroglio?

_Count._ [_To_ Baron.] I know nothing about it all.

_Evarist._ Susanna, do you know this fan?

_Susanna._ Yes, sir. It is that you bought from me this morning. I most
imprudently concluded you had bought it for Nina. I confess I was wrong,
but appearances were against you, for in truth you gave the fan to the
girl.

_Evarist._ Nina, why did I give you that fan?

_Nina._ That I might give it to Signorina Candida; but when I went to do
so, the ladies would not let me speak, and turned me out of the house. I
then wanted to give it back to you, and you would not have it, so I gave
it to Crispino.

_Crispino._ And I fell down, and Coronato took it.

_Evarist._ But where is Coronato? How did it leave Coronato's hands?

_Crispino._ Don't call him! As he is not there, I will tell the truth. I
was annoyed, went into the inn to fetch wine, saw it lying about, and
carried it off.

_Evarist._ And what did you do with it then?

_Crispino._ I gave it to the Count.

_Count._ And I gave it to the Baron.

_Baron._ [_Contemptuously._] And then took it back again!

_Count._ Yes, and restored it to Signor Evarist.

_Evarist._ And I present it to Signorina Candida.

[Candida _accepts it with a deep courtesy, smiling sweetly._]

_Baron._ What comedy is all this? what complication have we here? Am I
made ridiculous through your fault?

_Count._ I swear to Heaven, Signor Evarist, I swear to Heaven--

_Evarist._ Come, come, Count, do not distress yourself. We are friends.
Give me a pinch of snuff.

_Count._ [_Offers him the box._] Yes, I am like that; if I am treated
well, I don't excite myself.

_Baron._ You may not, but I do.

_Geltrude._ Baron!

_Baron._ And you, too, helped to make me ridiculous.

_Gertrude._ Excuse me; you don't know me, sir. I have not failed in my
engagements. I listened to your proposals, my niece heard and accepted
them, and I consented with pleasure.

_Count._ [_To the_ Baron.] You hear? That was because I spoke.

_Baron._ [_To_ Candida.] And you, Signorina Candida, why did you give me
hope? why did you deceive me?

_Candida._ I must ask your forgiveness, sir. I was torn by two
conflicting passions. The desire for revenge made me wish to be yours,
and love gives me back to Evarist.

_Count._ I did not know this.

_Geltrude._ And if you had been a bolder lover and a sincerer friend,
you would not have found yourself in this case.

_Baron._ It is true. I confess my passion, I condemn my weakness; but I
despise the friendship and conduct of the Count. [_He salutes and moves
off._]

_Count._ There, there, it is nothing. Let us be friends. We are joking.
Among colleagues these things are understood. Come, let us think of
these weddings.

_Geltrude._ Let us go into the house, and I hope all will be arranged to
universal satisfaction.

[Candida _fans herself._]

_Geltrude._ Are you contented to have that much-desired fan in your
hands?

_Candida._ I cannot express the measure of my content.

_Geltrude._ A great fan! It has turned all our heads, from the highest
to the lowest.

_Candida._ [_To_ Susanna.] Is it from Paris, this fan?

_Susanna._ Yes, from Paris; I guarantee it.

_Geltrude._ Come, I invite you all to supper, and we will drink to this
fan which did all the harm and brought about all the good.



 THE SPENDTHRIFT MISER

 (_AVARICE AND OSTENTATION_)

 A COMEDY IN FIVE ACTS


 DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

  COUNT CASTELDORO.
  MARQUIS DEL BOSCO.
  CHEVALIER DEL BOSCO.
  GIACINTO.
  FRONTINO.
  FIORILLO.
  TAILOR.
  JEWELLER.
  ARAMINTA.
  ELEONORA.
  DORIMENE.

  _Visitors and a Notary who do not speak._

  _Scene--Paris._



THE SPENDTHRIFT MISER.



ACT I.


SCENE I.--Count.

_Count._ At last I am determined to marry. How! I marry! I, who have
always avoided expense! I, who have detested all intercourse with
ladies! Well, in this case, I am hurried away in my own despite.
Ambition has induced me to obtain a title; therefore, should I die
without children, my money is lost! and children themselves will but
bring trouble! [_Calls._] Frontino!


SCENE II.--_Enter_ Frontino.

_Front._ Here, sir!

_Count._ Hark ye!

_Front._ I have found a tailor, sir, as you ordered me; and a tailor of
the first notoriety.

_Count._ Will he come directly?

_Front._ Very soon. He was obliged first to wait on a duke. I was lucky
enough to find him at home when he was about to step into his coach.

_Count._ His coach?

_Front._ Yes, sir.

_Count._ His own coach? His own horses?

_Front._ Beyond all doubt. A superb carriage, and excellent nags.

_Count._ O Lord! He's too rich. Is he in repute?

_Front._ In the greatest. He works for the first families in Paris.

_Count._ But his honesty?

_Front._ On that subject I have nothing to say. But why, Signor Count,
did you not employ your own tailor?

_Count._ Fie! My own tailor on such an occasion! I have need of several
suits; and, as they must be grand, magnificent, and made to perfection,
shall I, if any one should ask who is my tailor, shall I answer, "Signor
Taccone," whose name nobody knows?

_Front._ Then, sir, from what I hear, you are soon to be married?

_Count._ So soon, that this very day, and in this very house, I am to
sign the contract: I have therefore called you to give the necessary
orders. On this occasion, I shall have a large company to dine with me,
and must have such a dinner--in short, brilliant! grand! splendid! Not
that I would satiate the indiscreet, or gorge my guests; but I would
surprise, by an air of grandeur--you know what I mean?

_Front._ Yes, sir, tolerably well; but to do all this will not be quite
so easy. I must inquire whether the cook--

_Count._ No, no, Frontino; I would not have you dependent on the caprice
of a cook. Take the direction of everything upon yourself. I know your
talents, the readiness of your wit, and your zeal for your master's
interest. There is not in the whole world a man like Frontino! You can
work miracles; and on such an occasion will surpass yourself.

_Front._ [_Aside._] Ha! his usual mode. Coaxing me when he wants me; but
afterwards--

_Count._ Here is a list of the guests whom I have invited. My sister
lives in this house, and my future spouse and her mother have the
adjoining apartments. Here is a note of the other guests. We shall be
thirty at table. Hasten to them all, and get a positive answer from
each, that, in case of refusals, other persons may be invited.

_Front._ Thirty guests! Do you know, sir, how much a dinner for thirty
will--

_Count._ Perfectly; and will employ your discretion to combine economy
and magnificence.

_Front._ For example, you gave a supper a few nights ago to three
gentlemen, and--

_Count._ Ay, that was a trifle; at present I would be talked of.

_Front._ But this trifling supper you thought so dear that--

_Count._ Lose no time in useless words.

_Front._ You threw the account in my face, and have not yet--

_Count._ Here is my sister. Begone!

_Front._ [_Aside._] O Lord! what will become of me? This time, friend
Frontino, by way of recompense, prepare yourself to be kicked out of
doors.      [_Exit._


SCENE III.--_Enter_ Dorimene.

_Count._ Good morning, dear sister; how do you do?

_Dor._ Perfectly well. How are you?

_Count._ Never better. Fortunate and happy man! I am to possess a bride
of high birth and merit.

_Dor._ Then you are determined in favour of Eleonora?

_Count._ Ay, sweet sister! She is your relation; you proposed her to me,
and I therefore have reason to give her the preference.

_Dor._ [_Ironically._] Her and her portion of one hundred thousand
crowns, with as much more perhaps at the death of her mother.

_Count._ You will allow, sister, that such conditions are not to be
despised.

_Dor._ True; but you, who are so--

_Count._ I understand you. A man like me, having sacrificed a
considerable sum to obtain a title, should have endeavoured to marry
into an illustrious family. I have thought much, and combated long this
reigning inclination, but I know the prejudices of the old nobility; I
must have paid dearly for the pompous honour of such an alliance.

_Dor._ That is not what I wish to say.

_Count._ I am determined to marry the charming Eleonora.

_Dor._ But if the charming Eleonora should feel no love for you?

_Count._ My dear sister, I do not think myself a person to be despised.

_Dor._ But inclinations are capricious.

_Count._ Has Eleonora told you she cannot love me?

_Dor._ She has not precisely told me, but I have great reason to doubt
it.

_Count._ [_To himself, vexed._] This is a little strange.

_Dor._ Why are you angry? If you take in ill part--

_Count._ No, no; you mistake me. Speak freely and sincerely.

_Dor._ You know the confidence you have placed in me. Having discoursed
together concerning this family, I wrote to Madame Araminta, inviting
her and her daughter to pass a few days at Paris.

_Count._ And they have been a fortnight with you. This I know must give
trouble, and bring expense; and as you have done it for my sake--I--my
duty--my obligations are eternal.

_Dor._ By no means, brother. The expense is trifling, and the
inconvenience small. I love this family, and, beside being related to
my husband, am greatly interested in its behalf. Eleonora is the best
girl on earth, and her mother is no less respectable. A good heart,
economical, and to the most exact economy she unites prudence and
regularity of conduct.

_Count._ Excellent; and so has been the education of her daughter. But
now tell me--

_Dor._ Sincerely, brother, in my opinion, Eleonora loves you neither
much nor little.

_Count._ On what do you found this strange suspicion?

_Dor._ I will tell you. When your name is mentioned, she looks down and
gives no answer.

_Count._ Bashfulness.

_Dor._ When she hears or sees you coming, she is in a tremor, and wishes
to hide herself.

_Count._ At her age that is not extraordinary.

_Dor._ When this marriage is mentioned, the tears are in her eyes.

_Count._ The tears of a child? Can anything be more equivocal?

_Dor._ And though so equivocal and so full of doubt, will you dare to
marry her?

_Count._ Certainly, without the least difficulty.

_Dor._ It seems you love her to distraction.

_Count._ I love--I do not know how much.

_Dor._ You have scarcely seen her twice.

_Count._ Is not that enough to a feeling heart like mine?

_Dor._ Ah, brother, I know you.

_Count._ Your penetration is a little too quick.

_Dor._ I do not wish that you should hereafter have to reproach me.

_Count._ Yonder is Frontino.

_Dor._ If you have business--

_Count._ [_With affected kindness._] Will you go?

_Dor._ We shall meet again soon. I only wish you to think a little on
what I have said, and before you marry--

_Count._ Fear nothing, dear sister. Do me the pleasure to dine with me
to-day. I will send to invite Madame Araminta and her daughter. We shall
have many guests. The notary will be here after dinner, and the contract
will be signed.

_Dor._ To-day?

_Count._ No doubt: Madame Araminta has pledged her word.

_Dor._ [_Ironically._] I give you joy.--[_Aside._] I will never suffer
Eleonora to sacrifice herself for my sake. If I could but truly
understand her heart--I will try.      [_Exit._


SCENE IV.--_The_ Count, _and then_ Frontino.

_Count._ Poor girl! A little too diffident of me. Does not think me
capable of subduing a tender and inexperienced heart! Besides, she
carries her delicacy rather too far: in marriages of convenience, not
the heart, but family interest is consulted. Well, Frontino, what have
you to say?

_Front._ The tailor is come, sir.

_Count._ Where is he?

_Front._ At the door, sending away his coach, and giving orders to his
servants.

_Count._ His servants?

_Front._ Yes, sir.

_Count._ _Apropos_: that reminds me that you must write immediately to
my country steward, that he may send me six handsome youths, tall, well
made, the best he can find on the estate, that the tailor may take their
measure for liveries.

_Front._ Six clowns in liveries!

_Count._ Yes, to honour my wedding. Tell the steward that all the time
they stay here, their country wages shall be continued, besides having
their board. You know this sort of people take care not to overload
their plates.

_Front._ Never fear, sir, they will not die of indigestion.

_Count._ Hold. Take the key of the closet where the plate is kept; let
it be displayed, and all brought on the table.

_Front._ But, sir, your plate is so antique, and so black--it will be
necessary at least to have it new polished.

_Count._ Oh, silver is always silver. Here comes the tailor, I suppose.

_Front._ Yes, sir. Enter, Signor, enter.


SCENE V.--_To them the_ Tailor.

_Tail._ I am the most humble servant of your most illustrious lordship.

_Count._ Come near, sir. I was impatient to see you. I want four suits
for myself, and twelve liveries for my servants.

_Tail._ It will do me honour to serve you, and have no doubt but it
shall please you.

_Front._ My master pays well.

_Tail._ I have the honour of knowing him. Who is it that does not know
the illustrious Count Casteldoro?

_Count._ The occasion requires all possible display of splendour.

_Tail._ I will show you stuffs of gold and silver.

_Count._ No, no; I do not wish to look as if caparisoned in gilded
leather. The dresses must be noble and rich, but nothing with a shining
ground.

_Tail._ You prefer embroidery?

_Count._ I do; four embroidered suits, but in the best possible taste,
the patterns rich and delicate.

_Front._ [_Aside._] Hey-day! I do not know my master.

_Tail._ Rich, but light embroidery?

_Count._ No, sir: Spanish point--ample, massive, and of the best
workmanship; well designed, splendid, but nothing that shines.

_Tail._ Everything that you can desire. Shall I take your measure?

_Count._ Yes--on one condition.

_Tail._ What is it?

_Front._ [_Aside._] Ay, let us hear the condition.

_Count._ You must tack on the embroidery slightly, that it may not be
spoiled. I would have no buttons of false diamonds. I shall wear my four
suits each of them twice during the first eight days of my nuptials, so
that your embroidery will still be new, and may again be sold as such.
You must now tell me what you will charge for the cloth, the making, and
the use of your ornaments.

_Front._ [_Aside._] Yes, yes, he is still himself.

_Count._ But first concerning the liveries.

_Tail._ With your permission, I wish to have the honour of speaking to
you in private.

_Front._ [_Angrily to the_ Tailor.] If I must not stay, I can go.

_Count._ By no means. Frontino is part of the family: you may speak
before him.

_Front._ [_To the_ Tailor.] You see, sir! Hem!

_Tail._ No, friend; I did not mean you, but--look to see if we have no
listeners. [_Slily gives_ Frontino _a crown._]

_Front._ [_Aside._] A crown! It is long since I had so much.

_Tail._ Sir, I comprehend the nature of your project. You are not
naturally inclined to pomp; but, sagacious and prudent as you are, you
willingly sacrifice to appearance and convenience. I esteem myself most
fortunate in having the honour to serve you. I admire gentlemen who
think like you, and laugh at those who ruin themselves, while I give
them every aid in my power, that they may be ruined in style. In me you
have discovered the only man fit for your purpose: set your heart at
rest; I have the means to satisfy you.

_Count._ [_Aside._] If I do not mistake, this is a most smooth-tongued,
artful--[_Aloud._] Well, then, you will make my four suits!

_Tail._ Pardon me, sir, your idea is not practicable. I could not avoid
paying extremely dear for the embroidery; and my delicate conscience
would never permit me to sell it again as new.

_Count._ [_Aside._] His delicate conscience! Why did he come to me?

_Tail._ I will confide a secret to you which I have treasured jealously;
for, were it known, I cannot tell you how much it would prejudice my
character and credit. I, who am the court-tailor, tailor to the
principal nobility of Paris, I secretly, and under a borrowed name,
carry on a flourishing trade in old clothes.

_Count._ An old clothesman keep his coach?

_Tail._ Which is maintained by that very means.

_Front._ [_To the_ Count.] You see, sir, I have found you a man of
sincerity; a man whose heart is as open as his face; a man who merits
all your confidence.

_Count._ [_Aside._] I perceive.--[_Aloud._] Should I find this to be to
my interest?

_Tail._ I will show you two dozen of most magnificent suits, all new,
that never were worn but once or twice at the most.

_Count._ Will they be known again?

_Tail._ No danger of that; everything that enters my magazine assumes a
new face. I export the most splendid samples that France produces, and
I import the spoils and riches of the principal cities in Europe. You
shall see suits the most superb, and stuffs of the greatest rarity. It
is a pity you will have neither gold nor silver.

_Count._ Nay, should it be anything of uncommon beauty and taste, gold
and silver would not offend me.

_Front._ To be sure, if the streets were to be paved with gold, we must
walk.

_Count._ But the price.

_Tail._ See, admire, and select; act just as you please.--[_Aside._] I
have found the very man I wished for.--I will soon be back, dear
sir.--[_Aside._] Paris is the place; everything a man wants is there to
be found.

_Front._ Have you by chance anything that will sit genteel, and make me
look like a gentleman's gentleman?

_Tail._ [_Aside._] I will clothe you from head to foot, only be my
friend.

_Front._ Your friend! On such conditions, who could refuse?

END OF THE FIRST ACT.



ACT II.


SCENE I.--Dorimene _and_ Eleonora.

_Dor._ Come here, my dear Eleonora; I wish to speak to you alone. My
brother, I believe, is gone out. [_Looks out._] He is not in his
cabinet.

_Eleon._ [_Aside._] What can she have to say? She has a friendship for
me, but I believe her interest is more for her brother. I can expect no
consolation.

_Dor._ We are alone, and may speak freely. Permit me first to observe
that within these few days you have had a serious, melancholy air, which
seems but little to suit your expectations.

_Eleon._ It is natural to me, Madame; more or less, I am always so.

_Dor._ Excuse me; but on your arrival at Paris you had no such gloomy
expression. You are entirely changed, and certainly not without cause.

_Eleon._ But really there is no such change.

_Dor._ My good young friend, you conceal the truth, and want confidence
in me. Be a little more just, and rest assured that, though I proposed a
marriage between you and my brother, no foolish ambition makes me wish
it should succeed at the expense of your heart. Tell me openly what are
your wishes; speak freely, and you shall see whether I am your friend.

_Eleon._ [_Aside._] If I durst, but--No, no.

_Dor._ Have you any dislike to my brother?

_Eleon._ I have not long had the honour of his acquaintance, Madame.

_Dor._ His age, for example, may seem a little too great when compared
with your own.

_Eleon._ The age of a man does not appear to me a thing of great
importance.

_Dor._ You perhaps think that my brother is rather too economical.

_Eleon._ You know, Madame, I have been educated in economy.

_Dor._ If so, my dear Eleonora, to my great satisfaction, I have been
entirely mistaken, and you will be perfectly happy with my brother.

_Eleon._ I!--Do you think so?

_Dor._ No doubt; it cannot be otherwise. I have questioned you with the
best intentions, and you have answered--sincerely, as I must believe.

_Eleon._ Oh, certainly.

_Dor._ Then be at peace; your heart tells me you will be happy.

_Eleon._ [_Affected._] My heart, Madame!

_Dor._ Your heart.

_Eleon._ Ah! I do not understand my own heart.

_Dor._ Why are you so much moved?

_Eleon._ [_Looking off the stage._] Did not some one call me?

_Dor._ Called? Where? By whom?

_Eleon._ [_Going._] Perhaps my mother--perhaps somebody--

_Dor._ No, no; pray stay. Your mother knows you are with me, and
therefore cannot be in fear. I have something more to say to you.

_Eleon._ [_Aside._] How difficult to disguise my feelings!

_Dor._ Remember, your heart has told me--

_Eleon._ [_Timorously._] What, Madame?

_Dor._ You are in love with another.

_Eleon._ [_Confused._] I, Madame!

_Dor._ You; your blushes confirm it.

_Eleon._ [_Aside._] Heavens! have I betrayed myself?--[_Aloud._] You
will not tell this to my mother? I shall be lost!

_Dor._ No, no; fear nothing. Though you have discovered that you cannot
confide in me, I love you tenderly, and am incapable of giving you
needless pain. Here your mother comes; let us consider between
ourselves.

_Eleon._ Ah, Madame! [_Embracing._]


SCENE II.--_Enter_ Araminta.

_Aram._ Well, child; I fear you are troublesome.

_Eleon._ Pardon me, but--

_Dor._ We are friends, and I entreated her to keep me company.

_Aram._ You are kinder to her than she deserves. I cannot understand
her; she is become so melancholy and dull.

_Dor._ The air of Paris may not agree with her.

_Aram._ Do you think so? Since she left the place of her education, she
is no longer the same. Nothing pleases, nothing diverts her. Music,
reading, and drawing are all forsaken. I have spared no expense, and
have taken no little delight in perceiving her progress; while, at
present, I am equally surprised to see her thus negligent. I willingly
incur expense for any good purpose; but no one can be more angry than I
am at squandering money.

_Eleon._ [_Aside._] It is very true. I no longer know myself.

_Dor._ Nay, Madame.

_Aram._ If she wishes to return to her retirement, why not say so?

_Dor._ Oh, no, Madame; she has no such wish.

_Aram._ But why, then, child, are you so gloomy, so indolent? You are
soon to be married, and to direct a family; this requires activity,
attention, and order, as you may see by my example. I am busy from
morning to evening, here and there, going, coming, helping, commanding,
and sometimes obliged to find fault; but, by these means, all goes well.

_Eleon._ [_Aside._] I hoped to do the same, but all my hopes are flown!

_Dor._ Oh, Madame, when your daughter's heart shall be at ease--

_Aram._ At ease! What does she want? Is not the marriage contract to be
signed to-day?

_Dor._ Here comes my brother! He can best inform you--

_Eleon._ [_Aside._] How miserable am I!


SCENE III.--_Enter the_ Count _and a_ Jeweller.

_Count._ I am happy, ladies, to find you together. I came purposely to
ask your advice.

_Aram._ On what subject? Ladies are sometimes excellent advisers.

_Count._ [_To the_ Jeweller.] Show your case of jewels.

_Aram._ [_Aside._] Jewels! He may well ask advice in such articles; it
is easy to be cheated.

_Jew._ [_Presenting the case to_ Dorimene.] Please examine if there can
be purer and more perfect diamonds.

_Count._ Pray give me your opinion.

_Dor._ I think them admirable! What say you, Eleonora?

_Eleon._ [_With indifference._] I do not understand such things.

_Aram._ I do--show them to me. Though I never wore any diamonds, trade
has made me well acquainted with them. [_Taking the case._] These are
fine, indeed! Perfectly assorted, and of a beautiful water. What is
their price?

_Count._ Oh, that is a secret between ourselves. [_To the_ Jeweller.] Is
it not?

_Jew._ My lord--I have nothing to say.

_Aram._ [_Aside._] So much the worse; the Count will be the more easily
imposed upon. He comes to ask advice, and then refuses to hear it.

_Count._ [_Apart, to the_ Jeweller.] My good friend, will you trust your
diamonds with me three or four days?

_Jew._ [_To the_ Count.] If the ladies think them good, and well chosen,
I should prefer--

_Count._ Nay, friend; jewels of this value must not be purchased without
reflection. Knowing me, you cannot be afraid.

_Jew._ By no means! They are at your service.

_Count._ Be pleased to return at the end of the week. I know the price,
and you shall then have the money or the diamonds.

_Jew._ I am much obliged to you, Signor.      [_Exit._


SCENE IV.

_Count._ [_Aside._] Excellent! just as I wished!--[_To_ Eleonora.] Will
you do me the favour, Madame, to wear the jewels I have the honour to
present you, at least for to-day.

_Dor._ To-day?

_Count._ It is the day on which we are to sign the contract, and we
shall have thirty persons at table.

_Aram._ Thirty!

_Count._ At least, Madame.

_Aram._ [_Aside._] He will ruin himself! But I will hear more.

_Count._ [_Presenting the case to_ Dorimene.] Dear sister, let me
request you to take this case, and to kindly be present at the toilet of
this lady, to assist in arranging the diamonds. Will you do me the
pleasure, charming Eleonora, to accept my sister's aid?

_Eleon._ [_Coldly._] My mamma never wears diamonds.

_Aram._ Do not be silly, child. I did not wear diamonds, because my
husband was too prudent to indulge in such expenses; but, if the Count
think differently, complaisance requires your acquiescence.

_Eleon._ But, you know, mamma--

_Aram._ Oh, I know--I know, child! You do not know good breeding. Accept
them gratefully.

_Eleon._ [_Aside._] Unhappy me!--[_To the_ Count.] Signor--I am greatly
obliged.

_Dor._ [_Apart to the_ Count.] Are you satisfied with such a cold
manner?

_Count._ Perfectly.

_Dor._ Have you no dissatisfaction; no fears?

_Count._ Not the least.

_Dor._ [_Aside._] What a singular man is my brother?


SCENE V.--_Enter_ Frontino.

_Front._ Here is a letter, sir.

_Count._ With your permission, ladies.

_Aram._ By all means. [_To_ Dorimene.] Let us examine the jewels a
little.

_Count._ [_To himself, having read the letter._] The marquis comes at an
ill time! After a dinner of thirty guests, I must give him a supper! He
asks it with so little ceremony too! How can it be managed?

_Dor._ What is the matter, brother?

_Count._ [_Affecting cheerfulness._] Nothing, nothing. I have just
received news which gives me pleasure. The Marquis del Bosco is arrived,
and coming to sup with me this evening.

_Eleon._ [_Agitated._] What do I hear?

_Aram._ I know the Marquis; his county seat is not three miles distant
from mine.

_Count._ You will see him this evening, with the Marchioness his
daughter, and the Chevalier his son.

_Eleon._ [_Still more agitated._] The Chevalier! O Heaven!

_Count._ I hope they will be in time to be present, when we sign the
contract.

_Eleon._ [_Still aside._] Fatal trial! How shall I support it?

_Aram._ What is the matter, daughter?

_Eleon._ Nothing--not much--a sudden giddiness.

_Count._ [_To_ Araminta.] For Heaven's sake, take care of--[_To_
Frontino.] Don't go.

_Aram._ The open air will revive her.

_Dor._ Let us walk into the garden.

_Aram._ By all means.

_Dor._ Is the door open, brother?

_Count._ No; but here is the key.

_Dor._ [_Aside._] He will trust it to nobody, but has it always in his
pocket.--Come, Eleonora.--[_Aside._] This may be a proper opportunity.
[_Retiring with_ Eleonora.]

_Count._ [_To_ Araminta.] I hope, Madame, this attack is trifling; but
the young lady should not be exposed to the least danger. If you think
proper, we will defer the dinner of to-day, and have a supper instead.

_Aram._ Just as you please--but your dinners and suppers--I have much to
say to you on such subjects. My daughter may want me; I will return
presently.


SCENE VI.

_Count._ [_Earnestly._] Hark ye, Frontino! send messengers immediately,
to inform the guests I have invited that, instead of dinner, I entreat
them to honour me with their company at supper.

_Front._ So, so! But it will be difficult to find them all, so late in
the day.

_Count._ No matter. Those who may come to dinner must be told of the
change. They will return to supper, or not, as they please.

_Front._ Yes, Signor.--[_Aside._] Admirable! quite in character!
                                                               [_Exit._

_Count._ This visit comes at a lucky time! Nothing could be more
fortunate.


SCENE VII.--_Enter_ Araminta

_Count._ Well, dear Madame? Eleonora?

_Aram._ All, I hope, will be well.

_Count._ Then I shall be happy; for health should be our first care. I
have sent round to the guests, with an invitation to supper this
evening.

_Aram._ Thirty persons at supper!

_Count._ I hope so, Madame.

_Aram._ Permit me to speak openly, and tell you all I think.

_Count._ You cannot give me greater pleasure.

_Aram._ Is it not extreme folly to assemble thirty persons, twenty of
whom, at least, will make a jest of you?

_Count._ A _jest_ of _me_?

_Aram._ Beyond all doubt. Do not think I am avaricious; thank heaven,
that is not my defect; but I cannot endure to see money squandered.

_Count._ But, on such a day, and under such circumstances.

_Aram._ Are they your relations, whom you have invited?

_Count._ By no means. A select company; the nobility! the literati! the
magistracy! all persons of distinction.

_Aram._ Worse and worse! Vanity, ostentation, folly! My good friend, you
do not know the value of money.

_Count._ [_Smiles._] I do not know the value of money!

_Aram._ Alas, you do not! Your sister made me believe you were
economical; had I known the truth, I should never have married my
daughter to a spendthrift.

_Count._ So you think me a spendthrift!

_Aram._ I first perceived it by the considerable sum you threw away in
the purchase of a title; which sacrifice to vanity has no beneficial
end.

_Count._ How! Are you not aware the rank I have acquired will impress a
character of respect on myself, your daughter, and our descendants?

_Aram._ Quite the reverse. I would have rather given my daughter to you,
as Signor Anselmo Colombani, a well-known merchant, than to the Count of
Casteldoro, a newly-made nobleman.

_Count._ But, Madame--

_Aram._ Your ancestors have saved what you will scatter.

_Count._ Scatter! I! You are mistaken, Madame. You do not know me.

_Aram._ Oh yes, yes. I saw the manner in which, without any knowledge of
diamonds, or asking the least advice, you were led away by the jeweller.

_Count._ Oh, with respect to the diamonds--

_Aram._ Ah, ay! I know your answer. They are to decorate the Countess of
Casteldoro. And who is the Countess of Casteldoro? My daughter, Signor,
has been well educated, but with no such expectations. Everything has
been done in abundance, that could contribute to convenience, decency,
and information; but nothing to pomp and vanity. The ornaments of my
daughter ever will be modesty, obedience, and that self-respect which
she could not but acquire from such an education.

_Count._ [_A little moved._] But, Madame--

_Aram._ [_Very warmly._] But, Signor--[_softening_]--I ask your
pardon--Perhaps you may think me too warm; but I see you hurried into a
gulf of expense that makes me tremble. My daughter's happiness is
concerned: I give her a hundred thousand crowns in marriage.

_Count._ [_Somewhat haughtily._] Am I not able to settle an equal sum
upon her?

_Aram._ Yes, at present. But wealth will diminish; and especially when
we have the vanity to be profuse, grand, and magnificent.

_Count._ I once more assure you, Madame, you do not know me.

_Aram._ Signor, had you been a different person, I had conceived an
excellent plan. My annual income is five-and-twenty thousand livres: I
might have lived with you and my daughter, and the two families might
have become one; but, at present, Heaven preserve me from taking such a
step!

_Count._ [_Aside._] She will drive me mad!--[_To_ Araminta.] Pray hear
me. [_Whispering and cunningly._] You mistake my character. Few people
indeed understand economy so well as I do, as you will soon be
convinced. I willingly close with your proposal, and--

_Aram._ By no means! You try in vain to persuade me against conviction.
Respecting my daughter--I have promised--we shall see--but for myself it
is different. Not all the gold on earth should induce me to make such an
arrangement, with a man who does not know the use of money, but lets it
slip through his fingers faster than flour through a sieve.      [_Exit._

_Count._ This is admirable! I never imagined I should pass for a
prodigal.      [_Exit._

END OF THE SECOND ACT.



ACT III.


SCENE I.--_The_ Count _and_ Frontino.

_Count._ Frontino.

_Front._ Signor?

_Count._ Go and inquire how Eleonora is.

_Front._ One of your guests is without, and desires to speak with you.

_Count._ Who is he?

_Front._ The young gentleman who lately read you a comedy written by
himself.

_Count._ Oh! Signor Giacinto. Bid him enter.

_Front._ Please to come in, Signor.      [_Exit._


SCENE II.--_Enter_ Giacinto.

_Count._ Good morning, Signor Giacinto. I am very sorry that the
messenger, sent by me, did not find you at home; he came to inform you
that an accident has caused me to put off the dinner, but that I hoped
to see you at supper.

_Giac._ It is just the same to me, Signor. Meanwhile, permit me the
honour to--

_Count._ I hope to see you without fail this evening.

_Giac._ I am infinitely obliged to you; but, having now the good fortune
to find you alone, and at leisure, I wish to lay before you certain
alterations made in the dedicatory epistle; as I have nothing so much at
heart as your satisfaction.

_Count._ Well, Signor Giacinto, since you are absolutely resolved to
dedicate your comedy to me, I have thought--it would be best to inform
you--of certain particulars respecting myself. Not from vanity--oh no!
Heaven preserve me from that!--but solely to give an opportunity to your
eloquence, and lustre to your work.

_Giac._ You see, Signor, I have made a good use of the materials which
you have so kindly furnished; but I have done something more.

_Count._ Have you mentioned my pictures?

_Giac._ Oh yes.

_Count._ And my library?

_Giac._ Certainly.

_Count._ Including the books which I told you I intend to purchase?

_Giac._ But--Signor--a catalogue of books in a dedication--

_Count._ Where is the difficulty? You may say, in a note at the bottom
of the page, the Count of Casteldoro possesses a superb library, of not
less than ten thousand volumes. A man of wit, like you, knows how to
take advantage of everything. The supper of this evening, for example,
may furnish some new ideas--something animated, witty, poetical.

_Giac._ That may be possible; but I have been employed on a subject more
essential: I have written your genealogy.

_Count._ [_Coldly._] My genealogy? No, no, friend. I have no taste for
that science. You might, I grant, say things that should happen to do me
honour; but I am an enemy to vanity, and would prefer reticence,
especially on the question of genealogy.

_Giac._ As you please; but I have made discoveries that have cost me
much time and study, of which I thought you might wish to be informed.

_Count._ [_With curiosity._] Discoveries that relate to me?

_Giac._ That relate to you, Signor.

_Count._ My dear Signor Giacinto, let me hear.

_Giac._ Your true family name is not Colombani.

_Count._ I grant it may have been changed.

_Giac._ Do me the favour to listen. The great Columbus, who discovered
America, and who was ennobled by the king of Spain, had two brothers,
and various relations. Now, in looking through authors to discover
annotations for my Life of Petrarch, I found that one of the relations
of Christopher Columbus went from Genoa, his native place, to the city
of Avignon, in France. By corruption of the termination, I find the name
of Colombo or Columbus, has been changed to Colombani; and I
demonstrate, beyond all doubt, that you are a descendant of that
ancient, illustrious family.

_Count._ [_Much pleased._] You have demonstrated it?

_Giac._ Here are my proofs. [_Presenting papers._]

_Count._ [_Receiving them._] From the little I can now recollect, I
believe you are right. Ay, ay; it might be. I do not love ostentation,
as you perceive, but I shall be highly pleased if your discovery can do
yourself honour; I therefore have not the courage to forbid the
publication. Have you presented your comedy to the comedians?

_Giac._ Yes, Signor.

_Count._ And they certainly received it with approbation?

_Giac._ On the contrary, Signor, it has been peremptorily refused.

_Count._ Refused!

_Giac._ You have heard it read: does it deserve such a reward?

_Count._ If the comedy be good, why is it refused? Their interest should
oblige them to accept it, with thanks.

_Giac._ What can be expected from such ignorant judges? But I will have
my revenge! It shall be printed! The public shall decide!

_Count._ Bravo! You are right; have it printed. It might not be greatly
successful on the stage, but in the closet it will delight. Your sale
will be prodigious.

_Giac._ Since you approve and encourage me, Signor, would you but have
the goodness to pass your word for the expense of printing, and--

_Count._ [_With a determined tone._] There is no need of that. Apply to
a good bookseller; let him have his profits, and he will answer for the
whole.

_Giac._ To speak the truth, Signor, I have in vain applied to more than
one. At last, a bookseller has agreed that, if the Count of Casteldoro
will make himself responsible, he will undertake to publish it on my
account.

_Count._ How! Have you mentioned my name?

_Giac._ I could not avoid it.

_Count._ You have done very ill. Should it be known that I take an
interest in the comedy, it would be said I did so because of the
dedication; and I should then appear ridiculous. Drop all thoughts of
the press at present; a more favourable opportunity may occur.

_Giac._ But, Signor--


SCENE III.--_Enter_ Frontino.

_Count._ Well, Frontino, what answer?

_Front._ The young lady is rather better, Signor.

_Count._ Rather better! But is she well enough to--I will go and inquire
myself.--[_To_ Giacinto.] You see, Signor, a young lady is ill in my
house, and the supper must be deferred. Another time. [_Going._]

_Giac._ Then if the manuscript be useless, Signor--

_Count._ True; it shall be returned. [_Going._]

_Giac._ I beg you to recollect the time and trouble it has cost me.

_Count._ [_Returning the manuscript._] Very right! You are fond of your
own works: I am glad they give you satisfaction, and cannot but thank
you for any labour taken on my account. Whenever I can serve you, pray
command me.

_Giac._ Infinitely obliged to the generosity of Signor Count
Casteldoro.--[_Aside._] What ingratitude! Sordid fellow! He shall pay
for this, or I am mistaken.      [_Exit._

_Count._ One guest the less. But I must inquire after Eleonora.
[_Going._]

_Fior._ [_Without._] Ho, there! Is nobody to be found?

_Front._ This is Fiorillo, the servant of the Marquis.


SCENE IV.--_Enter_ Fiorillo, _in a travelling dress._

_Fior._ [_Bows._] Signor Count, my master, the Marquis del Bosco, is
coming. I rode before, as you perceive, to inform you that his carriage
will soon arrive.

_Count._ [_Coldly._] Arrive! What, here? And in his coach? Does he come
to make any stay?

_Fior._ No, Signor. To-morrow morning he must be gone to Versailles; for
he has affairs at court.

_Count._ [_Aside._] I am glad of it!--[_Aloud, pompously._] I hope the
Marquis will do me the honour to remain with me to-night, in company
with his son, the Chevalier. With respect to the Marchioness--I'll speak
to my sister, and hope she may also be accommodated, as becomes her
rank.

_Fior._ The Marchioness del Bosco does not come with her father; she is
with the Countess d'Orimon, her aunt, and is to remain at her house.

_Count._ [_Aside._] So much the better.--[_Aloud._] That is unfortunate.
I hope, however, I shall have the pleasure of seeing her.      [_Exit._


SCENE V.--Frontino _and_ Fiorillo.

_Fior._ Your master, like your kitchen, smells well!

_Front._ We are to have a magnificent supper to-night; no less than
thirty guests.

_Fior._ Indeed! Your master is superb. A rare service! Much to eat, and
little to do! Then, as to wages, you will make your fortune, Frontino!

_Front._ Fortune! I can't say--perhaps!

_Fior._ You have been long with this master.

_Front._ Very true; I have an attachment to him.

_Fior._ And so have I to mine, but without the hope of saving a farthing
in his service. If it were not for the profits of the card-tables, I
should certainly leave him.

_Front._ Then you have much play?

_Fior._ A great deal.

_Front._ And no less profit?

_Fior._ Hum--tolerable; but not equal to you.

_Front._ I! Shall I speak plain to a fellow-servant? I have little
wages, and no tips.

_Fior._ Then you are foolish, Frontino. In Paris, so clever a fellow as
yourself may find a hundred services, in which he might profit in a
hundred different ways.

_Front._ Do you know any _one_?

_Fior._ Certainly; but you are attached to your master?

_Front._ To part with him would not break my heart.

_Fior._ If he pays so ill, he does not like you.

_Front._ That's a mistake; I am his prime minister and favourite.

_Fior._ What do you mean? Were he miserly, so be it; but a generous--

_Front._ Generous! You little know my master.

_Fior._ How so? A supper for thirty guests--

_Front._ Ah, did you know what it will cost me!

_Fior._ You! Cost you!

_Front._ Me. Grumbled at, cross-questioned, put to the torture, almost
afraid of my life, when I give in my bill. I tremble but to think of it!

_Fior._ So, so! Very different with us; our master is easily satisfied,
and always gay and good-humoured. He has an odd manner of speaking,
indeed, and never tells you more than half what he means. He has
favourite words, which, right or wrong, he always uses. Everybody laughs
at _him_, and he laughs at himself.

_Front._ I wish I had such a master!

_Fior._ The worst of it is, he is poor, and seldom has any money.

_Front._ Yet you say he plays?

_Fior._ Very true; he always finds money for that. I hear a coach.

_Front._ Which way does he--

_Fior._ [_At the window._] Be quiet! Yes, they are here.

_Front._ I want to hear more.

_Fior._ Run and tell your master.

_Front._ [_Aside._] I shall hear it all; he can't hold his tongue.
                                                                [_Exit._

_Fior._ Frontino is a good fellow, but he talks too much; that's his
fault.


SCENE VI.--_Enter the_ Marquis.

_Marq._ Where is he? Where is the Count?

_Fior._ His servant is gone to tell him you are here.

_Marq._ Go, go; see--Good, good, excellent!--His servant?

_Fior._ Will soon be back.

_Marq._ Meanwhile--My horses--Nothing to eat--Poor devils--They have
done--Good, good, excellent! You might go and see--

_Fior._ Yes, at once.--[_Aside and going._] I defy all the servants in
the world to understand him as I do.      [_Exit._


SCENE VII.--_Enter the_ Chevalier.

_Chev._ My dear father! How can I thank you for all your kindness?

_Marq._ Say no more--father to be sure--But with you, in truth--You are
strange sometimes.

_Chev._ Most true! Had you not discovered my passion, I scarcely should
have dared to own it.

_Marq._ Keen eyes--Why not, dear boy? Why not? and then I know that
Eleonora--Do you know her mother?

_Chev._ I am slightly acquainted with her, but not enough to speak on
such a subject.

_Marq._ A lady that--Are you at least sure of the daughter?

_Chev._ Perfectly. I have met her at her cousins, and--we have
corresponded.

_Marq._ Good, good, excellent! We shall want--The Count is my friend.

_Chev._ And I am acquainted with his sister, Madame Dorimene. I will beg
her to entreat for me. Here comes the Count.


SCENE VIII.--_Enter the_ Count.

_Count._ Pardon me, Marquis, but--

_Marq._ Ah, Count! Good day--Good day--Your health--Mine--you
see--splendidly well, at your service.

_Count._ Still the same! Always courteous!

_Marq._ Oh, I ... Good, good; excellent!

_Count._ And you, Chevalier?

_Chev._ Always your humble servant.

_Count._ Is the Marchioness with you?

_Marq._ My daughter? She has come with--You know her aunt?

_Count._ Yes, I have the pleasure of knowing her, and will call and pay
the ladies my respects--I hope to have the honour of their company at
supper.

_Marq._ Always obliging--Good, good, excellent!--Ought to apologise--Come
suddenly--No ceremony, I beg.

_Count._ None on earth. I shall only give you my ordinary supper.

_Marq._ Good, good, excellent! Family meals--friendly.

_Count._ Your apartments are here, on the right. They tell me you go to
Versailles to-morrow.

_Marq._ Yes--because--

_Count._ I am sorry to lose you so soon: but, as I was saying, these
apartments shall be yours.

_Chev._ Permit me, Signor Count, to pay my respects to your sister.

_Count._ You will do me an honour, and give her pleasure.

_Chev._ [_To his father._] Have I your leave, sir?

_Marq._ Certainly.--[_Aside._] Poor fellow! He is--but when I was like
him--yes, I did as he does.

_Count._ We may all go together, if you please.

_Marq._ Ha!--[_Aside._] No; must not spoil sport.--[_Aloud._] Go by
himself.

_Chev._ [_Going._] I know my way.

_Count._ You will meet a young lady there, with whom perhaps you are
acquainted.

_Chev._ [_Eager to go._] Indeed? So much the better!

_Count._ I have something to tell you concerning her, which perhaps you
do not know--

_Chev._ [_Aside._] Too well! I am on the rack!

_Count._ But which you will be glad to hear.

_Chev._ [_Aside._] Heavens! Perhaps Eleonora may have discovered our
passion to her mother--I rush to see.      [_Exit._


SCENE IX.--Count _and the_ Marquis.

_Marq._ [_Looking round._] Now we are alone--Have you time?

_Count._ I am at your disposal.

_Marq._ You are my friend.

_Count._ The title does me honour.

_Marq._ Good, good, excellent!

_Count._ [_Aside._] He is sometimes very ridiculous.

_Marq._ I should like to beg you--but--a friend, unceremoniously,
freely.

_Count._ [_Aside._] I bet he wants to borrow money.

_Marq._ You know my family--

_Count._ Perfectly.

_Marq._ I have two children, and must think--a daughter too--Good, good,
excellent!--The Chevalier is at an age--you understand me?

_Count._ I believe I do. You are seriously thinking of establishing your
family, which is highly commendable. And, talking of establishments, I
think it but right in me to inform you of my approaching marriage.

_Marq._ Oh, oh!--that way inclined--you too--Good, good, excellent!

_Count._ I am this day to sign the contract, and think myself fortunate
that you, Signor Marquis, will be present, and--

_Marq._ Very happy--but, at the same time, if you would be so kind--

_Count._ You well know, Signor Marquis, the various expenses of these
occasions; they are endless. To own the truth, I find my pocket empty.

_Marq._ Good, good, excellent!

_Count._ Good! I find it exceedingly ill.

_Marq._ Listen--You are the friend of Madame Araminta.

_Count._ True; and she, for example, is remarkably rich; she might be of
service to your house.

_Marq._ Precisely so--my very thought--would you but speak to her, but
without--What is her daughter's name?

_Count._ Eleonora.

_Marq._ True--bad memory--Eleonora.

_Count._ [_Aside._] If I had not a great deal of penetration, I could
never guess what he means.--[_Aloud._] I will speak privately to Madame
Araminta.

_Marq._ Ay, but--in a particular manner--so that--you understand me?

_Count._ I will speak with all possible caution, and hope she will
comply--provided she has good security.

_Marq._ By Jove! If she gives me--I have not--I am not--but--my
estates--

_Count._ What sum do you wish?

_Marq._ I heard that--ay--a hundred thousand crowns--quite
satisfied!--would not wish for more!

_Count._ [_Aside._] A hundred thousand crowns! the loan is too great!
She will scarcely consent to that.

_Marq._ When will you speak? Because when I have a project--no sooner
said than done--it is in my nature.

_Count._ I will inform her to-day.

_Marq._ And you hope she--Good, good, excellent!

_Count._ I think Madame Araminta will comply, if possible; first out of
regard to yourself, and next to me, who am on the point of becoming her
son-in-law.

_Marq._ Ha!--what?--you?--

_Count._ I am to marry her daughter.

_Marq._ Marry!--when?--that true?--that possible?

_Count._ Why so excessively surprised, Signor Marquis? Do you see any
reason to the contrary?

_Marq._ I--no--[_Aside._] My son!--Fine affair!--Stupid folly!

_Count._ Madame Araminta intends indeed to give a hundred thousand
crowns with her daughter, but do you think she will therefore not have
so large a sum to lend you?

_Marq._ Lend me!--Zounds!--Lend me!


SCENE X.

_The_ Chevalier, _making signs of disappointment and silence to the_
Marquis, _enters and goes off without being seen by the_ Count.

_Count._ But, if you please, I will speak to her.

_Marq._ [_To the_ Chevalier.] Yes, yes, I understand.

_Count._ [_Supposing the answer was to himself._] And will tell her--

_Marq._ By no means--don't think--no, no.

_Count._ Yes and no! I do not understand you, Signor.

_Marq._ Lend me!--to me?--I am--it is true--but then I am not--Good,
good, excellent!--I am not--

_Count._ If you will excuse me, I have business. Those are your
apartments.--[_Aside._] I never met such a ridiculous man.      [_Exit._

_Marq._ The devil take him--he doesn't know what he is talking of.
                                                                [_Exit._

END OF THE THIRD ACT.



ACT IV.


SCENE I.--_The_ Chevalier _and_ Fiorillo.

_Chev._ While my father rests, I will visit my sister; tell him this,
when he wakes.

_Fior._ Yes, Signor.

_Chev._ Do you know whether the Count is at home?

_Fior._ Yes; I saw him just now going to speak with Madame Dorimene.

_Chev._ [_Aside._] Surely he is not a rival to be feared. At least, I am
secure of the heart of Eleonora, and will not yet despair of gaining her
mother.      [_Exit._

_Fior._ So, young gentleman! I see how it is with you. I pretty well
guess your intentions, and how they are thwarted. Ay, ay, I shall have
enough to satisfy the curiosity of Frontino. [_Sits down near the door
of his master's rooms._]


SCENE II.--_Enter_ Count.

_Count._ [_Not seeing_ Fiorillo.] I am tired, bored! Nothing but
indifference; and, instead of perfect satisfaction, something like
contempt. A man like me, who had but to choose! so advantageous a
marriage! [_Seeing_ Fiorillo.] Is the Marquis at home?

_Fior._ Yes, Signor; being rather fatigued with travelling, he is taking
a nap.

_Count._ [_Aside._] How amiable is his daughter! How charming! I felt
affected and confused at the courtesy and kindness with which she and
her aunt received me. The visit made me cheerful, happy, and reconciled
to myself. What difference between the politeness of these ladies and
the common and trivial manner of Araminta and her daughter; who neither
understand civility nor good breeding. Ah! were the young Marchioness
but as rich as she is handsome and engaging--who knows? I have a
thought--should her father but be reasonable and easy to manage--Here
he comes.


SCENE III.--_Enter the_ Marquis.

_Marq._ [_Rubbing his eyes and calling._] Fiorillo!

_Fior._ Signor?

_Marq._ My son?

_Fior._ He is gone out.

_Marq._ Why did not he--where is he gone?

_Fior._ To visit the Marchioness, his sister.

_Marq._ I too wish--my coach!

_Fior._ The horses, Signor--

_Marq._ [_Angry._] Good, good, excellent! My coach!

_Fior._ I will go and see.      [_Exit._


SCENE IV.--_The_ Count _and the_ Marquis.

_Count._ Do you wish to go out, Signor Marquis?

_Marq._ See my daughter--much to say--tell her--Good, good, excellent!

_Count._ I have just had that honour. It was long since I had seen her.
She fully answers the charming promise of her childhood; her sweetness
has increased with her years, and the progress of her talents is
wonderful. Permit me to congratulate you on possessing such a treasure.

_Marq._ Oh, Count--ay, ay; a good girl. She has not, let us confess
it--but--character, manners--good, good, excellent!

_Count._ With such talents, so much merit, and blooming eighteen, you
should think of a husband for her.

_Marq._ No doubt. For my part, I--_apropos_: what has just passed--what
did you mean to say when--Did you not say _lend me_?

_Count._ It appears to me that you suddenly changed your opinion.

_Marq._ I tell you, no--it was not so. You have not--And yet I spoke
plainly.

_Count._ In any case, Signor Marquis, I shall be happy to serve you. I
have not spoken to Madame Araminta; for, to own the truth, I am not
quite pleased with her daughter. I begin to feel a certain dislike.

_Marq._ Oh, oh!--That means--Well, why not?

_Count._ I have done everything to gain their esteem and friendship. A
house so richly furnished, carriages and horses the most rare, diamonds
worth a hundred thousand livres--

_Marq._ Is it possible?

_Count._ 'Tis true; they were shown. Madame Araminta was amazed.

_Marq._ Grand!--Superb!--Good, good, excellent!

_Count._ Injustice and ingratitude have been my reward.

_Marq._ Good, good, excellent!

_Count._ [_Aside._] Curse the phrase!

_Marq._ [_Aside._] In that case--if Eleonora--if my son--[_Aloud._] If
so, Signor Count--candour--frankly and freely tell them--You understand
me? Cut matters short.

_Count._ Had I paid these attentions to a lady of rank and merit, I
should have acted much more wisely.

_Marq._ Ay, ay--if--certainly.

_Count._ Do you think a man of rank and fashion, a man like yourself for
example, would refuse me the hand of his daughter?

_Marq._ On the contrary. A person of worth--a person that--oh, what do
you mean? Certainly not.

_Count._ Signor Marquis, you encourage me.

_Marq._ Oh, I--If so--I'll go this moment!

_Count._ Where, signor?

_Marq._ To my daughter. [_Calls._] Fiorillo!

_Count._ And may I hope?

_Marq._ [_Calls louder._] Fiorillo!


SCENE V.--_Enter_ Fiorillo

_Marq._ My coach.

_Fior._ The coachman is not here, Signor.

_Marq._ How so? [_To the_ Count.] Can you lend me--? Soon return.

_Count._ It is not a hundred yards; you can easily walk.

_Marq._ Walk!--Hundred yards!--Enough--Adieu--Soon be back. [_Going._]
Diamonds! A hundred thousand livres!      [_Exit with_ Fiorillo.


SCENE VI.--_The_ Count, _then_ Frontino.

_Count._ Courage! The Marquis is enraptured; the daughter's won. All
goes well. But I must not lose sight of--[_Calls._] Frontino! No, no;
she must not get possession of the jewels. Frontino! I say!

_Front._ [_Entering._] I was busy in planning the dessert.

_Count._ Go immediately, and tell my sister I beg her to come here; I
have something interesting to communicate. And add, but in a whisper,
that I request she will bring me the jewels which I committed to her
care.

_Front._ But the supper, signor? I must be everywhere, and look to all!

_Count._ True. Is everything prepared?

_Front._ According to your wishes; two essentials excepted.

_Count._ Which are----?

_Front._ Coffee and liqueurs.

_Count._ Liqueurs inflame the blood.

_Front._ But coffee?

_Count._ Blockhead! Coffee at night! It prevents sleep.

_Front._ Surely, Signor!--Not give coffee! Forfeit your character as a
liberal host, for such a trifling expense?

_Count._ Go, Mr. Liberality; do what I bid you.

_Front._ [_Aside._] No coffee! I would rather pay for it out of my own
pocket. Yet no; he would even swear I had filched the money from other
articles.      [_Exit._


SCENE VII.--Count _alone_.

_Count._ Dreadful! Luxury is come to such a height! Thank Heaven, I have
not spent one farthing from whim or caprice. I always pay money with
prudence and circumspection. I do not yet know the character of the
Marchioness; but, being once the Countess of Casteldoro, I will teach
her my method; which is to esteem myself, and to despise and laugh at
other people.


SCENE VIII.--_Enter_ Dorimene.

_Dor._ I am told you want me, brother.

_Count._ Pardon this liberty. Where are the diamonds?

_Dor._ Here. Do you want them back?

_Count._ [_Taking them._] Yes, yes; you shall know why.

_Dor._ You need not take the trouble to tell me, for it is not possible
to persuade Eleonora to accept them.

_Count._ So much the worse for her; she will repent. I have a secret to
tell you.

_Dor._ You know how greatly I am interested in your happiness.

_Count._ I have seen the Marchioness del Bosco, and have great reason to
believe that, whenever I please, I may obtain her hand.

_Dor._ Indeed! What will the Marquis say?

_Count._ Oh, he will say, "Good, good, excellent!" I am sure of him.

_Dor._ You know the disorder of his affairs. Will you marry her without
a portion?

_Count._ Oh, no. Thank Heaven, I have not lost my wits.

_Dor._ What will you do, then?

_Count._ Listen and learn. First, let me tell you, I am neither blind
nor foolish. I perceive the affections of Eleonora are given to another,
and I do not think I am greatly mistaken when I suppose the Chevalier
her favourite. Omitting to notice the impertinence of father and son, in
visiting me under the mask of friendship, I must tell you it may
contribute to aid my project, which is this. Let you and me persuade
Madame Araminta to give her daughter, with a hundred thousand crowns, to
the Chevalier, on condition that his father receive the money, and that
he redeem all his mortgages. I will request the Marchioness, his
daughter, from him; with these said lands, and, by this means, the son
and daughter will both be gratified, and the Marquis will not disburse a
guinea. What say you, sister; is not the plan a good one?

_Dor._ Well imagined, but difficult to execute.

_Count._ Do not fear; all will be right. The Marquis is gone purposely
in search of his daughter. I will join them, and I have no doubt all
will be concluded this very day. These jewels--may be of--Sister, you
shall see wonders.      [_Exit._

_Dor._ What does he mean? But, if every one be made happy, I shall be
the same.


SCENE IX.--_Enter_ Eleonora.

_Eleon._ [_At the door, timidly._] Are you alone, Signora?

_Dor._ I am, my dear; come in.

_Eleon._ My mother is busy, writing--

_Dor._ Have you anything to tell me?

_Eleon._ Forgive my curiosity; have you taken away the jewels.

_Dor._ Yes; the Count asked for them. Are you vexed?

_Eleon._ On the contrary, delighted.

_Dor._ Then you are averse to diamonds?

_Eleon._ Not at all; but--You know my secret.

_Dor._ There are things in expectation, my dear--

_Eleon._ What, what? Ease my heart, if possible.

_Dor._ My brother feels you do not love him.

_Eleon._ That I can easily believe.

_Dor._ And suspects the Chevalier.

_Eleon._ Heavens! He will tell my mother!

_Dor._ Your mother, my dear, must and ought to know it; and you ought to
conquer your inclinations.

_Eleon._ Conquer! Oh, it is not possible!

_Dor._ I love you, as you know, but cannot--

_Eleon._ [_Suddenly, and looking off._] Ha! I must go.

_Dor._ What is the matter?

_Eleon._ [_Going._] Don't you see the Chevalier?

_Dor._ Yes, yes; you are right. Begone!

_Eleon._ [_Aside, and slowly going._] I die to stay.


SCENE X.--_Enter the_ Chevalier.

_Chev._ Signora--[_Discovering_ Eleonora.] Heavens! does Eleonora see
me, and yet go? [_His eyes fixed on_ Eleonora.]

_Dor._ Your pleasure, Signor? [_Turns and sees_ Eleonora _not gone._]
Young lady, your mother expects you.

_Eleon._ [_Timidly._] Pardon me, I would speak one word.

_Dor._ Well, speak. Make haste!

_Eleon._ [_Gradually approaching._] The jewels will not be returned?

_Dor._ I do not fear the return of the jewels.

_Chev._ Ladies, if I incommode you, I'll be gone.

_Dor._ [_A little angry._] As you please, Signor.

_Chev._ [_Going slowly aside._] This treatment is severe.

_Dor._ [_Ironically._] Well, Mademoiselle, have you anything more to
say?

_Eleon._ No, Signora; but--What offence has the Chevalier committed?

_Dor._ Really, my dear, you make me smile.

_Eleon._ I--I cannot smile.

_Chev._ [_Returning after looking into his fathers apartment._] My
father is not there.

_Dor._ You will find him at your aunt's.

_Chev._ I just came from there; my aunt and sister are gone out.

_Dor._ [_More angry._] Young lady!

_Eleon._ [_Mortified and curtseying; her eyes fixed on the_ Chevalier.]
Pardon me.

_Dor._ [_Ironically._] Excellent, upon my word!


SCENE XI.--_Enter_ Araminta.

_Aram._ [_Surprised, aside._] Ah, ha!--[_Aloud._] The milliner is
waiting, daughter: go and look at what she has brought.
                                         [_Exit_ Eleonora, _mortified._

_Aram._ Pray stay, Chevalier: I would speak with you.

_Dor._ Ay, pray do; it is right I should justify myself before you. I
see, Madame, that you know something of what is going on; but I assure
you I am no party concerned, and that, although this meeting was
accidental, I am sorry it should have occurred.

_Aram._ [_Kindly taking her hand._] I know you, Madame.

_Chev._ I am sorry, ladies, if my presence--

_Aram._ [_Softly to_ Dorimene.] Be so kind as to follow my daughter.
Poor child! I vex her sometimes, but I love her dearly! Try to console
her.

_Dor._ Most willingly, madam.      [_Exit._


SCENE XII.--Araminta _and the_ Chevalier.

_Chev._ I did not think, Signora, that my conduct--

_Aram._ Let us speak plainly, Signor. What are your pretensions to my
daughter?

_Chev._ Oh, could I but hope to merit her hand--

_Aram._ Nothing could be desired better than you: your birth, character,
and conduct are all in your favour: and I should think it an honour to
call you my son. Permit me only to say that the affairs of your
family--

_Chev._ I own it. My father is the best of men, but has been greatly
misled.

_Aram._ Then, being sensible of this truth, you, better than any person,
should be aware of the confusion and distress which might be brought on
a young woman, of a good family, and with no contemptible fortune. Would
you willingly expose this fortune to the evident danger of being ill
managed, and soon dissipated?

_Chev._ Hear me but a moment; I will speak frankly. I have spent some
years in the army, which I have been obliged to quit, because I could
not properly support my birth and military rank. Returning home, I have
lived privately, without complaint, and concealing my situation. A
family friend, interesting himself in my behalf, suggested that a proper
marriage might enable me to appear again at my post, and thus excited me
to mix with the world, and declare my purpose. I heard of you, Madame,
of your daughter's merit, and of the fortune which she was to have. I
saw her, and was so enraptured by her charms and mental qualities, that
every interested motive instantly ceased, and love alone took possession
of my heart. I then, indeed, wished I were rich, and deeply felt the
distress of my family. My friends saw my distress, pitied me, would not
forsake me, spoke of your goodness, and encouraged me respectfully to
declare myself and my hopes. I listened to their advice, or rather to
love; and hoped that gratitude and respect would, some time, acquire for
me a daughter's love, and a kind mother's consent.

_Aram._ I approve your candour; yet, do not hope I can give you my
daughter, though I am greatly affected by your situation, and disposed
to favour you, as far as prudence will permit.

_Chev._ Your goodness consoles me; but, O heavens! do you refuse me that
precious gift, your daughter?

_Aram._ You must not hope to have her, Signor. It may be ten years
before you are in a state to marry. Live in freedom, and leave my
daughter to her destiny. If you approve it, thus much I offer. I will
lend you the sum necessary to purchase military rank, and even a
regiment; depending for repayment upon circumstances, and your word of
honour.

_Chev._ I may die, Madame.

_Aram._ And I may lose my money; but not the recollection of having done
justice to merit, and a worthy gentleman.

_Chev._ Noble generosity! Yet--your daughter--

_Aram._ I speak absolutely--you must not think of her.

_Chev._ Surely it is possible that love and constancy--

_Aram._ Let us see, what sum will you want? You have friends?

_Chev._ A few.

_Aram._ I may increase the number. Let us retire where we can speak more
freely.

_Chev._ Wherever you please. [_Calls._] Fiorillo!

_Aram._ Poor youth! The victim of his father's imbecility.      [_Exit._


SCENE XIII.--_Enter_ Fiorillo.

_Chev._ Listen, Fiorillo! Tell my father--Here he comes. I have not time
to speak to him. Say I am with Madame Dorimene.      [_Exit._

_Fior._ With the ladies! He is unusually gay. Perhaps his affairs have
taken a lucky turn.


SCENE XIV.--_Enter the_ Marquis.

_Marq._ Well, the coachman--A rascal!--Returned yet?

_Fior._ The coachman is not to blame, Signor.

_Marq._ How so? I am--Good, good, excellent!--Had they gone out?

_Fior._ Who, Signor?

_Marq._ My daughter, and--What did the dog say?--Yes, at once--To the
devil!

_Fior._ You should not be angry, Signor. I met him loaded like a porter:
his horses were hungry and restive, he went to buy corn.

_Marq._ How? Very fine--The Count--The stables--

_Fior._ Ah, yes, none can be finer; but without a single oat, nor dares
the coachman buy any, without an express order from his master. Oh, the
miser!

_Marq._ Who? Who? Good, good, excellent! A miser!

_Fior._ There is not such another on earth.

_Marq._ Who, I say? Blockhead! Fool! The Count--a man!--Go, go,
numskull!

_Fior._ Everybody I have spoken with, in the house and out of the house,
servants, tradesmen, or neighbours, all say the same. Nay, Frontino, his
chief favourite, can stay with him no longer.

_Marq._ How! Could it be?--He refused me his coach?

_Fior._ From avarice. He walks, for fear of tiring his horses.

_Marq._ But--a hundred thousand livres in diamonds!

_Fior._ Do you mean the jewels he has showed to his bride--

_Marq._ Well?

_Fior._ And which he will never pay for. Frontino told me they were not
bought, but borrowed.

_Marq._ Borrowed! Damn! Good, good, excellent!--an underhand
miser--hypocrite! Damn, damn! A fellow--odious--despicable--My
daughter?--Oaf! Sup with him?--Great feast--No oats for the horses--Go
and see the poor beasts.

_Fior._ Not that way, Signor. The stables are in the other court.

_Marq._ Double court--No corn--Great palace--No oats for his horses!
                                                             [_Exeunt._



ACT V.


SCENE I.--_The_ Count _and_ Frontino.

_Count._ Make haste! Place and light those candles, that there may be a
splendid illumination!

_Front._ But I want help, Signor.

_Count._ Pshaw! Thy activity and talents, Frontino, are quite sufficient.

_Front._ [_Aside._] So much for compliments.

_Count._ I am vexed at again not finding the Marchioness and her aunt at
home. Surely they will come to supper. See how the candles waste; shut
the doors and windows.

_Front._ The evening is so warm!

_Count._ No matter; do as I bid you.

_Front._ [_Aside._] He has odd modes of saving.

_Count._ I feel myself quite animated. The supper grand! The
illumination grand! The--Some of my guests, and those not mean ones,
will acknowledge and do justice to my dessert. I grant the expense is
great; but expense, if it is properly incurred, can be borne once in a
while.--[_To_ Frontino.] Should any one ask for me, I am here with the
Marquis.--[_To himself._] Let me but finish affairs with him, and the
difficulty with his daughter will be but little.


SCENE II.--Frontino, _and then_ Fiorillo.

_Front._ [_Calls._] Fiorillo!

_Fior._ [_Entering._] Here am I. What do you want?

_Front._ [_Giving him a light._] Help me to light the candles.

_Fior._ Willingly. [_Both lighting and chatting at the same time._]

_Front._ Gently! gently! Mind how you turn that chandelier; the candles
are only short bits fastened on coloured sticks.

_Fior._ Do not fear. I hope we shall sup together?

_Front._ Should anything be left. The dishes are large; the contents
small.

_Fior._ We shall have a bottle at least?

_Front._ Zounds! if we have, I must pay for it.

_Fior._ Among so many, how can one be missed?

_Front._ I will tell you. The Count has a certain number of coloured
pellets in his pocket. He draws them out one by one as the bottles are
emptied.

_Fior._ Oh, the devil!

_Front._ [_Seeing the_ Count _return._] Hush!


SCENE III.--_Enter the_ Count.

_Count._ [_Angry and aside._] Could such a thing be expected? A man of
my rank and riches? Rudeness so great! Contempt so visible! Tell me his
daughter is not for me! Will not come to supper, and then to sneer and
laugh at me! He too!--so weak and foolish! Talk of nothing but oats; a
reiteration of oats, oats!--[_To_ Fiorillo _haughtily._] Your master
wants you. Go!

_Fior._ I have had the honour of helping my comrade, Signor.

_Count._ Have the complaisance now to help yourself, and be gone.
                                                      [_Exit_ Fiorillo.


SCENE IV.--_The_ Count _and_ Frontino.

_Front._ [_Aside._] We shall have bad weather; there is something new in
the wind.

_Count._ [_To himself._] What a blockhead was I! Absurd design! Is not
money worth more than ruined antiquity? Oh yes! I will marry the
captious beauty; marry her in despite of her and of myself. No more
attentions; no more respectfulness; no more complaisance for any
one.--[_To_ Frontino.] Put out the lights.

_Front._ Put them out, Signor?

_Count._ Do as you are bid! Make haste!

_Front._ Very pretty! [_Begins to extinguish._]

_Count._ [_Aside._] Deceive me! Laugh at me! Once more for Madame
Araminta.--[_To_ Frontino.] Will you never have done? [_Puts out some
candles with his hat._]

_Front._ But the supper? Everything ready.

_Count._ How many dishes?

_Front._ I have brought out all the silver, as you ordered; and large
and small, though most of the last, there will be forty.

_Count._ [_Putting out a candle._] They will last forty days.

_Front._ But, Signor--

_Count._ Silence babbler! [_Puts out the last, and they are in the
dark._]

_Front._ So, here we are, and here we may stay.

_Count._ Why did you put out the last candle?

_Front._ I do not think it was I, Signor.

_Count._ Go for a light.

_Front._ Nay, but how to find the door.

_Count._ Stop! stop! I hear somebody.


SCENE V.--_The stage dark. Enter_ Fiorillo.

_Fior._ What can this mean? All in total darkness! Perhaps there will be
no supper?

_Front._ [_Aside to the_ Count.] I think it is Fiorillo.

_Count._ [_Softly, and holding_ Frontino _by the arm._] Stay where you
are, and speak as if I were gone.--[_Aside._] I may make some discovery.

_Fior._ [_Stumbling on_ Frontino.] Who is there?

_Front._ 'Tis I.

_Fior._ Frontino! Why have you put out the lights?

_Front._ Because--because it was too early.

_Fior._ 'Sblood! Your master is a miser indeed.

_Front._ How? Jackanapes! My master a miser!

_Fior._ Why, you told me so yourself.

_Count._ Ah, rascal! [_Shaking_ Frontino.]

_Front._ Oh, the liar! I capable of--

_Fior._ Hold your tongue, and listen patiently. I have thought of a way
by which you may crib a bottle of wine, in spite of the pellets.

_Front._ Vile cheat! What are you talking about?

_Fior._ Really, my dear Frontino, you are no longer the same. Change
thus in a minute! You speak as if your master were here.

_Front._ I speak as I have always spoken. I love my master, obey my
master, respect my master, and--and--he's a gentleman.

_Count._ [_Shaking him with great anger._] Scoundrel!

_Fior._ And all you have said of his avarice is false?

_Count._ Villain! [_Shaking_ Frontino _till he falls._]

_Fior._ What now? Where are you? What has fallen?
                   [_Exit the_ Count, _feeling till he finds the door._


SCENE VI.--Frontino _and_ Fiorillo, _then the_ Count.

_Front._ [_Aside._] The devil take you!--[_Feeling about._] Where are
you, Signor?

_Fior._ Who are you talking to?

_Front._ Signor, where are you?

_Fior._ Hey-day! You have taken a cup already, my friend.

_Front._ Ah! ah! Here he comes. God help my poor back.

_Count._ [_Entering with a candle, speaks softly._] Traitor!
Dog!--[_Aloud._] Hark you, Frontino!

_Front._ [_Afraid._] Ye--ye--yes!

_Count._ [_Aside._] If we were alone!--[_Aloud._] Go and tell Madame
Araminta I wish to speak to her, either in her room or my own.

_Front._ Yes, Signor.--[_Aside._]--I will not trust his looks.--[_To
the_ Count.] Do not think--

_Count._ [_Disdainfully._] Deliver your message.

_Front._ [_Aside._] I see how it is. You must pack off, my friend
Frontino. [_Exit._


SCENE VII.--_The_ Count _and_ Fiorillo.

_Fior._ You have a faithful servant there, Signor.

_Count._ You do not know him, friend. An ungrateful fellow, to whom I
have been kind and generous in vain. A professed liar! I discovered him,
gave him warning; and, to revenge himself, the rascal speaks ill of me.
[_Going with the light he brought._]

_Fior._ Excuse me; this room is dark: permit me to light another candle.

_Count._ Certainly. I can't tell why they were all put out.

_Fior._ Frontino is a good servant, and knows how to manage.

_Count._ [_Aside._] The hound! I would send him to the devil if I could
find a servant for as little wages.      [_Exit._


SCENE VIII.--Fiorillo _and the_ Marquis.

_Fior._ If I had not got this light, here I might have stayed.

_Marq._ [_Entering._] I should like to know--? [_To_ Fiorillo.] Did you
not say--? Tell him to come here.

_Fior._ Who, Signor?

_Marq._ My son.

_Fior._ Yes.--[_Aside._] He is not always to be understood.--[_Aloud._]
First suffer me to light a candle.

_Marq._ Another--I love--Good, good, excellent! See clear. [_Lights a
third himself._]

_Fior._ Some one may come to put them out.

_Marq._ Out! Who?

_Fior._ [_Laughing._] The illustrious Count!      [_Exit._

_Marq._ True! Without a grain of oats!


SCENE IX.--_Enter_ Araminta.

_Aram._ [_Speaking as she enters._] He is in his room. Marquis, your
obedient--

_Marq._ Humble servant.--All well? All well?

_Aram._ At your service.

_Marq._ Good, good, excellent! I wished to--My son will tell you.

_Aram._ Your son, my daughter, and Dorimene, have so stunned and
tormented me that I can hear no more.

_Marq._ If so, Madame--But--you know me--I have not--Very true; but--my
property--my estates--Forest, lordship, seven springs--High lands,
low--Pasture, arable--A barony. Good, good, excellent! Two millions,
Madame!

_Aram._ What matter your millions? My husband made a fortune from
nothing; you, with millions, are ruined! He took care of his own
affairs; I managed the house. But permit me to say, Signor Marquis, in
your family all has been disorder.

_Marq._ The Marchioness, heaven bless her! was a little too fond--Poor
woman! Always lost. For my part--the chase--good hounds--fine
horses--Then--my son--Good, good, excellent! Oh, a brave boy!--Who, some
day or other--our estates--our lands--

_Aram._ Had I the management of them, they would soon free themselves.

_Marq._ Good, good, excellent! Take--act--give 'em up--Oh, with all my
heart!

_Aram._ Surely you do not imagine, Signor Marquis, that it becomes me to
be an agent?

_Marq._ No; I did not say that. You are still--I am not old--Understand
me.

_Aram._ You are jesting.

_Marq._ Jest when I--? Good, good, excellent!

_Aram._ I have no intention to marry; and, if I had, it would not be
vain titles, but happiness that I should seek.

_Marq._ Right--if you--no one interfere--mistress of everything--carte
blanche. Good, good, excellent!

_Aram._ Carte blanche?

_Marq._ Without restriction.


SCENE X.--_Enter the_ Chevalier.

_Chev._ My father sent for me.

_Marq._ You see, Madame! only son--good youth.

_Aram._ I know it, and know his merit.

_Chev._ Ah, Madame!--[_To the_ Marquis.] Did you, sir, know the
kindness, the liberality, with which this lady overwhelmed me, how you
would be surprised!

_Marq._ All is concluded? Eleonora--thine? [_Overjoyed._]

_Aram._ Not too fast, Signor Marquis; I have told you how tenderly I
love her, and that I will not risk either her happiness or her fortune.

_Marq._ But--speak, boy--our affairs--Good, good, excellent! Speak the
truth; this lady may--as for me--here I am--my heart, my hand, carte
blanche.

_Chev._ To which, dear father, I willingly subscribe. I leave everything
to your discretion. [_Flying to the side scene._] Approach, dear
Eleonora; conquer your fears; join your prayers to ours, and move the
heart of a mother, who doubts only through delicacy.

_Enter_ Eleonora _and_ Dorimene, _who remains in the background_.

_Eleon._ [_Falling at her mother's feet._] Oh, my mother! you know my
heart, and how religiously I have always obeyed your commands. You would
unite me to a man whom I can never love; virtuous affection has taken
possession of my soul. I ought to have told you, but fear and respect
forbade me; yet my feelings, however ardent, I was determined should be
sacrificed to obedience to that affection which I have ever felt for
you, and that tender attachment in which I have been educated. Ah, do
not force me to a marriage I detest! and which will render me the most
disconsolate and wretched woman on earth.

_Aram._ [_Aside._] Poor child! Did she know my heart!

_Marq._ [_Wiping his eyes._] Now--if--Good, good, excellent!

_Aram._ Be it so on one condition. The carte blanche--

_Marq._ [_Presenting his hand._] Sign it--pray accept--

_Aram._ Your hand?

_Eleon._ My dear mother, your superintending prudence and goodness will
secure our felicity.

_Chev._ Oh yes. Your orders shall be respected; your example the rule
for our conduct; your advice our guide.

_Aram._ [_Aside._] My child! my child!

_Marq._ [_Still tenderly presenting his hand._] Madame!

_Aram._ [_Cheerfully._] Signor Marquis--I am yours.

_Marq._ And I--Good, good, excellent!

_Dor._ [_Coming forward._] Permit me, ladies and gentlemen, to say I
have thus far been silent, being desirous to promote this young lady's
happiness; but I think you will remember my brother ought to be, in some
degree, consulted in this affair.

_Eleon._ Heavens! what say you, Madame?

_Aram._ My daughter should have been his, had he been less of a
spendthrift.

_Marq._ I would have given him mine if he had not been a miser.

_Eleon._ [_Sees the_ Count _coming._] Oh, my mother!

_Marq._ Fear nothing--I'll speak--Yes, I--quite clearly--Good, good,
excellent!


SCENE XI.--_Enter the_ Count, _and afterwards_ Frontino.

_Count._ [_Aside._] She is here; now is the time to oblige her to
determine.--[_To_ Araminta.] I sent a request, Madame--

_Aram._ I was coming, but was stopped by the Marquis.

_Marq._ Yes, Signor Count, I have to inform you--

_Count._ Pardon me, Signor; I have business with this lady.--[_To_
Araminta.] The notary will soon be here, and we must sign the contract.

_Aram._ And do you still persist in claiming my daughter? Have you not
renounced her?

_Count._ No, Signora. My design, of which my sister may have informed
you, was to propose conditions honourable to all parties; but these the
Marquis disapproves.

_Marq._ Hear me speak. You asked me--yes--I would have--why not? But--be
so kind--Good, good, excellent! No anger--a hundred thousand livres,
diamonds, and not a grain of oats!

_Count._ Why do you thus reiterate oats? I cannot understand; can you,
ladies?

_Dor._ [_To the_ Count.] Your coachman, brother, may have refused--

_Count._ [_To the_ Marquis.] How! have your horses not been fed? If
so, am I responsible for my coachman's error? Must I be thought a
miser--I!--[_Aside._] My servants have babbled, and I shall lose my
reputation.

_Front._ [_Entering to the_ Count.] Persons without are asking for you,
signor.

_Count._ [_Aside._] My supper guests perhaps; the moment is favourable
to the support of my honour.--[_Aloud._] Is the notary among them?

_Front._ Yes, Signor.

_Count._ Bid him come in. Show the other persons into the card-room. Let
the house be illuminated and the supper served.      [_Exit_ Frontino.

_Marq._ Good, good, excellent!


SCENE.--_The last._

_Enter the_ Notary, _the_ Jeweller, Giacinto, _and others._

_Count._ [_To the_ Notary.] Signor, please to read the contract, that it
may be signed. So, Signor Giacinto, you have discovered that my bride is
better, and that the supper will take place.

_Giac._ No, Signor, I have made no such discovery. But I have discovered
some literary gentlemen, who, since I am not enabled to print my comedy
and your genealogy, will publish the genealogy at their own expense,
with all necessary and some remarkable annotations.

_Count._ [_Enraged._] I understand the insult. [_Dissembling._] Have you
the genealogy in your pocket?

_Giac._ Here it is, Signor.

_Count._ [_Receiving and concealing the MS._] Signor--I have a proper
esteem for talents--they have ever been encouraged and recompensed by
me.--[_Aside._] A mercenary scoundrel!--[_Whispers_ Giacinto.] Accept
these five-and-twenty louis, and let me hear no more.--[_Tears the
paper._]      [_Exit_ Giacinto.

_Aram._ [_Aside._] What a man! He would quickly have scattered my
daughter's fortune.

_Count._ [_To the_ Notary.] Once more, the contract.

_Jew._ [_Advancing with a bow._] Signor Count.

_Count._ How now! What do _you_ want?

_Jew._ Permission to speak.

_Count._ [_Softly to the_ Jeweller.] I desired you to come in a week.

_Jew._ 'Tis true. But hearing you are this evening to be affianced,
permit me to observe that, after my jewels have been seen--

_Count._ Ay, ay.--[_Vexed and aside._] The rascal knows what he is
about.--[_Privately returns the jewels and angrily whispers_] Here,
take your diamonds, and trouble me no more.      [_Exit_ Jeweller.

_Front._ [_Entering._] The supper is ready; must it be served?

_Count._ Wait till I call you. Once more, the contract; with your leave,
madam, we will read it, that it may be signed.

_Aram._ Signor, while I was a widow the power was my own, but now I am
once more married.

_Count._ Married! Who is your husband, Madame!

_Marq._ Good, good, excellent! Yes, signor, 'tis I.

_Count._ [_Aside._] Here is a blow! Oh, all hopes are gone!--[_Aloud._]
Then Eleonora--

_Aram._ I love my daughter too much to willingly part with her; once
to-day you have refused her hand, which I shall now give to--

_Marq._ Good, good, excellent!--To my son.

_Count._ [_To_ Dorimene _indignantly._] I am derided, sister, disdained.

_Dor._ I warned you, brother, yet you would persist. Be prudent; you are
in the presence of many people; do not risk your reputation.

_Count._ [_Aside._] Very true. Come what will, I must dissemble.
--[_Aloud._] You're happily come, ladies and gentlemen, to witness
the signing of a contract between--the--Chevalier del Bosco and this
young lady.--[_Aside._] My tongue is parched; I have not the power to
proceed.--[_Aloud._] The honour of contributing to this--ceremony--is
mine.--[_Aside._] Oh that the house were on fire!--[_Aloud._] Let us
walk into the library till the supper is ready.

_Aram._ Long live the spendthrift!

_Marq._ And down with the miser!      [_Exeunt omnes._

THE END OF "THE SPENDTHRIFT MISER."



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE

A small number of obvious spelling mistakes have been corrected.
The following additional changes have been made to the text:

In the introduction, the word "Lamoyant" was changed to "Larmoyant"
in the context:

  It was from the _LARMOYANT_ plays of Diderot and his school (...)

In A CURIOUS MISHAP, act 2, scene 2, the word "with" was added in
Philibert's speech:

  I will lay a wager it is the servant of the officer WITH whom
  you are in love.

In THE FAN, act 1, scene 1, the word "ye" was changed to "yet" in
the stage direction:

  Beats YET louder on his shoe.

In THE FAN, act 2, scene 8, the word "I" was added at the beginning of
Candida's speech:

  I shall die, but I shall die avenged.





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