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Title: Le double veuvage. English - The Double Widowing
Author: Dufresny, Charles Rivière, 1657-1724
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Morlock, 6006 Greenbelt Rd, #312, Greenbelt, MD 20770, USA or
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http://www.cadytech.com/dumas/personnage.asp?key=130



                        THE DOUBLE WIDOWING
                                 BY
                          RIVIERE DUFRESNY

                       TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED
                                 BY
                          FRANK J. MORLOCK
                               C 1986



CHARACTERS, four men, six women:
The Countess, an imperious woman of no particular age
Mr. Bramble, her steward
Widow, Bramble's wife
Tuneless, the Countess's butler who composes music
Desmond, Mr. Bramble's nephew, a sentimentalist in love with Arabella
Arabella, the Widow's niece, a rationalist in love with Desmond
Maid, the Countess's maid
Lucy, the Widow's maid
Mr. MacPherson, a servant of the Countess
Mrs. MacPherson, his wife



The scene is set in a room in the Countess's country house. The time
is the early 18th Century.



Lucy
I am delighted to see you return, sir. I've been looking for you all
over the place, in the gardens, everywhere.

Desmond
Good day, Lucy, good day.

Lucy
You've come at just the right time. The Countess, and I, and all the
house have been waiting for you to return with great impatience. But,
quickly--tell me news of your uncle-- Is Mr. Bramble dead or alive?

Desmond
I know nothing of it.

Lucy
We are in the same incertitude. Only Mrs. Bramble is certain. We've
told her he's dead for sure--to make her fall into the trap we've set
for her. She thinks she's a widow, and it's on that belief that we
build our little project of your marriage, sir.

Desmond
What's that?

Lucy
I told you, that to facilitate your marriage with Arabella, the
Countess, who protects you both, has pulled a thousand strings to
prove to my mistress that your uncle is dead. Mrs. Bramble is so sure
of being a widow that she put on mourning yesterday, sir.

Desmond
What are you telling me?

Lucy
I'm telling you business that concerns both of us. For the thirty gold
crowns you promised me has the same appeal to me that Arabella has for
you. Listen to me, then--. To help us, you must hide from our widow
the love you have for Arabella, for if she suspects you love her
niece--

Desmond
I know all that. I've been through it just now with the Countess.

Lucy
Sir, pardon my useless talk. I ought first to talk of the charms of
this young beauty who--

Desmond
What charms she has, Lucy, what charms! She has so many!

Lucy
The most pretty little charms. Not fifteen years old, these charms,
and new ones added every day. And, you will marry all of them soon.

Desmond
It's the greatest misfortune that can happen to me.

Lucy
A misfortune to possess something you love so much! Here's one of your
bizarre refinements. You are the most reasonable gentleman in
England--but you've no common sense. Speak to me reasonably: do you
wish to marry her?

Desmond
Do I ever wish it!

Lucy
If you wish this marriage ardently, let's work in concert. I hope
Arabella will be your wife today.

Desmond
Alas, that's what I fear.

Lucy
Again! Oh, you exaggerate. Is this crazy love or simply craziness?

Desmond
No, Lucy, no--it is not caprice, it is not exaggeration. I fear with
my mind that which I want with all my heart. I am well aware that I
cannot live without the adorable Arabella. But, I foresee we will be
unhappy together. In a word, we are unable to agree about anything.

Lucy
And, what is it necessary to agree about to get married?

Desmond
If you knew the reception she just gave me--

Lucy
She was wrong--

Desmond
She received me with an air--

Lucy
Is it possible?

Desmond
After eight days absence.

Lucy
She received you coldly?

Desmond
She received me shouting, dancing. I saw her jump about with
happiness.

Lucy
My word, you're not wise. What! You despair because she's delighted to
see you?

Desmond
Delighted to see me! I cannot compare that dissipated delight with the
sensitive pleasure and passion the sight of a loved one should
inspire. For example, from the moment I saw her I stood immobile,
seized by a languor--my heart beat, my eyes clouded. Ahh! That's the
way to express passion. But she is incapable of such a solid,
passionate love--which is the only kind that can content me.

Lucy
If I was a man, I'd choose for my wife a woman who was always gay,
never moody or sensitive.

Desmond
I want sensibility.

Lucy
In a mistress--but in a wife, shame!

Desmond
It's all an amusement.

Lucy
It's an amusement very dangerous for the husband.

Desmond
One can have feelings and be virtuous.

Lucy
Virtue doesn't always make a woman faithful. I'd like a woman better
who had no passions rather than one who is governed by them.

(Enter Arabella, singing.)

Arabella
La, la, la, la--la, la, la, la, la.

Desmond
Do you hear, Lucy, do you hear?

Lucy
She has a nice voice, doesn't she?

Desmond
After having seen me before her overcome by emotion--

Arabella
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.

Desmond (walking away)
I am outraged to hear that.

Arabella
Hey! Here you both are-- You don't see what's going on here because
you're wrapped up in your somber mood.

Desmond
My emotion is well justified.

Arabella
You are angry to see me laugh, and I am laughing to see you angry.

Desmond
Is this a way to talk of love?

Arabella
As for love--will yours always be so afflicted?

Desmond
If I had less refinement--

Arabella
You would be more reasonable.

Desmond
Is there anything more reasonable than my complaints?

Arabella
Oh, your exaggerations are always full of reason. But they don't make
you happy.

Desmond
What a conversation. Alas--how different your character is from mine.

Arabella
Marriage will solve all that.

Desmond
There, Lucy, I ask you to judge--

Lucy
I have nothing to gain by judging. Judge yourselves. I am going to get
my mistress up.

Arabella
Dress her up quickly, for the Countess wants to see her right away.

Lucy
Your aunt Bramble is not yet awake--and between the wake up and the
coming down of a middle aged woman, there are numerous ceremonies of
the toilette.

(Exit Lucy.)

Arabella
We've got to get some money from my aunt. It's essential.

Desmond
The essential thing is to find out if we're going to be happy
together.

Arabella
Nice question! With this type of humor we're going to get along fine;
and I'm going to get rid of all your peculiarities.

Desmond
I am not being peculiar, when, after quiet reasoning, I conclude that
your frivolousness--

Arabella
Oh, my frivolousness, my frivolousness; I believe that my gayety ought
to prove my tenderness. Here's how I think you ought to have reasoned,
knowing me, and my fear of marriage because it is sad. I naturally
fear marriage. I see they want to marry me to you--and I show no
emotion. Well--to be gay under these circumstances--doesn't that prove
I love you?

Desmond
That's not to hate me.

Arabella
If you don't want me to hate you, don't anger me any more with the
tone you're taking. Seems to me, I love you passably well.

Desmond
Passably--there's a very touching expression. "Passably."

Arabella
Oh--I wish you could count the joys I feel.

Desmond
That joy would be properly expressed if you were sure our marriage
will succeed--but in the situation we are in, you ought to tremble.
And if you were in love, you'd be like me: ill at ease, agitated, in a
cruel uncertainty, languishing, sighing, trembling.

(Enter the Countess and her Maid.)

Countess
Well, Arabella, I am working to marry you--aren't you delighted?

Arabella
On the contrary, Madame, I am ill at ease, agitated, and in a cruel
uncertainty, languishing, sighing, and trembling. Is that how I should
love, sir?

Countess
Enough, Arabella, enough. Desmond, it was I who told her to tease you
a bit over your emotionalism. It's not that I don't esteem you highly;
the interest I take in your marriage proves that. But today, I've
resolved to laugh, and to ridicule all those who happen to be around
me. I have nothing but a boring day to pass in the country, and I am
gong to amuse myself at the expense of anyone who happens to be
around. So beware. Our widow will be the principal subject of my
diversion--and the way I intend to get the money out of Mrs. Bramble
is a comedy which will amuse me immensely.

Arabella
If you are able to get money out of aunt Bramble, don't mock her. We
must pity the afflicted.

Countess
When her husband's death was announced to her, I perceived that only
her facial expression showed any signs of affliction.

Desmond
Maybe so, but I beg you to spare her. For if her affection was false,
that of my uncle was true enough. And my uncle had the honor to be
your steward.

Countess
Oh, Bramble's enriched himself at my expense--and now I will laugh at
the expense of his widow. After all, it's an outrage. She wants to
disinherit her niece--who's my godchild--in a word, she hates what you
love. Why manipulate, if it weren't for love of you?

Desmond
If she's done it from love of me, it's an inexcusable folly.

Countess
A less excusable folly is the speed with which she took to mourning
yesterday. (to Maid) Miss, tell me how she has been able to find so
much crepe in the country?

Maid
I heard this morning from Lucy, that she's always kept a mourning
outfit hidden in her trunk, so as always to be well prepared for the
unexpected death of her husband. She says every well-ordered wife
ought to do the same, so she can celebrate her misfortune from the
very first moment of widowhood.

Countess
And you don't want me to ridicule such an affectation? There, Desmond!
Go, put on mourning, too--to prove that your uncle is dead.

Arabella
I am also going to put on black, to make it all more touching.

(Exit Arabella and Desmond.)

Countess
Miss, you will have to sing a little aria in the opera that Mr.
Tuneless is preparing for me. It's right that my servants contribute
to my amusements today.

Maid
I wish your Scotsman were here. He sings well. His wife is also a good
singer and dances well for a highlander.

Countess
Here she is now. What does she wish to tell me?

(Enter Mrs. MacPherson.)

Mrs. MacPherson
Rejoice, Madame, my husband has just returned from Tunbridge Wells.

Countess
I am delighted. He will tell us if Mr. Bramble is dead or alive. He
hasn't already told you, has he?

Mrs. MacPherson
My husband never tells me his secrets. He's right, for I am too much
of a gossip. I like it better when he tells me nothing, because he's
so pompous when he tells me a secret. He has such long oaths, so long
that I would as soon listen to a hundred sighs from another man.
Before he will tell me one word!

Countess
Why doesn't he come then?

Mrs. MacPherson
Madame, to appear to you in his proper attire, he has gone to have his
wig curled and powdered.

Maid
He's rouging also. For he went to the Wells to lighten his skin.

Mrs. MacPherson
Don't mock him before her, mam. He went to the waters to improve his
health. And to please me, for he loves me, and I am determined that he
be healthy.

Countess
I am delighted to see you in such good humor.

Mrs. MacPherson
I am happy because my husband has returned. And also, because your
servant has been slipping us a little wine--discreetly. Women from my
country are born for wine, like the French are born for love. Each to
his custom and often enough the one does not impede the other.

Maid
Here is Mr. MacPherson, Madame. You are going to hear an interesting
speech, because he's erudite, your Highlander.

MacPherson (entering)
Madame, Madame.

Countess
Don't waste your time bowing. Tell me--is Bramble dead?

MacPherson
I know all about these matters--in extreme exactitude.

Countess
All these things consist in one word--he's dead, or he isn't.

MacPherson
It is necessary to explain all these things to you by direction. For,
when I left you, you directed that I should bring you a report of all
the circumstances of our trip in writing.

Countess
Very well. What I want to know is written in your journal.

MacPherson
My journal consists of words without paper. For I have written in my
mind--in three little chapters--our departure, our trip, our return.

Countess
Here's a well-ordered explanation.

MacPherson
With regard to the first, Mr. Bramble was very ridiculous, very
ridiculous. He said he'd been married to his wife for ten years
without children, and it was to cure sterility that he was going to
the waters. So much for what he said as soon as he arrived.

Countess
If this story wasn't so funny, it would make me very impatient.

MacPherson
In the second chapter, your bailiff was also very ridiculous. For I
like wine, and he went to the waters to drink water, and in this
water, he found, in place of virility--illness-so much illness, that
he is dying.

Countess
Now, we're at the point. Bramble thought he was dying and is not dead.
Listen, you must tell his wife that when her husband was dying--he
died.

MacPherson
Ha, ha, ha. When one finds the widow of a living man, we'll have a
good laugh.

Countess
When is he coming? Where did you leave him?

MacPherson
I left him yesterday, about thirty leagues from here, when his coach
broke down. Go on ahead, he said, for I'm likely to be sick here until
tomorrow, and my coach won't be ready till Monday. I will come on
Tuesday.

(Exit MacPherson and Mrs. MacPherson.)

Countess
According to that, he won't be here until tomorrow--and cannot disturb
our project today. So, Miss, tell my dancing women to prepare for the
wedding I intend to celebrate today.

Maid
We will do all our best to please you, and though I sing poorly, I can
sing a sad song about being a widow.

Countess
It's Tuneless who is getting everything ready. He wants to be a music
master, my Butler.

Maid
He's an original. Look here. I believe he's composing--for he's
walking to the beat. Hold, hold, Madame, the spirit torments him--he's
possessed by the demon of music.

Countess
Shh! He doesn't see us. Let's give him the pleasure--

Tuneless (entering)
Nothing's going right, dammit. La, la, la, la. I can never find a
completely new idea. (slowly) La, la, la, la, la--no, that opening's
in Lully. La, la, la, la, la, la--Lully again. La, la, la, la--Lully
again. That Lully everywhere--everywhere I turn. I am very unfortunate
not to have been born before him. Everything I have in my head is
useless because they say I plagiarize him. La, la, la, la, la--good
there. La, la, la, la, la. Admirable. La, la. Marvelous. And the
second, lower--la, la, la, low tone, what invention. La, la, la, la,
la, la, la, la--what reflections of genius. The notes are coming to
me--write them down quickly. (with one knee on the ground, he writes
on some paper on the other knee, until, perceiving the Countess, he
takes off his hat in this position and continues to write) (singing)
Pardon me, Madame, oh pardon, Madame, da, de, da, de da, Madame. I
note the last tone. (rising and bowing to the Countess) It's a duo for
an aria about widowhood, as you have commanded. (giving her a paper.
Wait, Madame--you know how to sing without a book.

Countess
I see Mrs. Bramble in the gallery. I must speak with our widow.

Tuneless
Let us sing together, and that will serve as a rehearsal.

(Exit Countess.)

Tuneless (to Maid)
Now you will represent the widow. Carefully imitate the affliction of
widows. Cry with your eyes down in your chin.

Lucy (entering)
Retire. My mistress approaches. She's coming here to cry on the way.
She needs practice.

Tuneless
Exactly. Soon she'll be crying for her money. Real tears then.

Lucy
Don't joke. I'm afraid all this may be dangerous for her.

Tuneless
Why is that?

Lucy
I'm sorry for her. When the Countess guaranteed she was a widow, it
was like a knife thrust in her heart.

Tuneless
What? She felt the blow?

Lucy
Think what she's going to feel when they undeceive her. The loss of
her delightful status of widowhood will cause her to die.

Tuneless
Let's come to the business. Tell me truly, now that she believes her
husband is dead--is she in love with Desmond, and does she plan to
marry him?

Lucy
She thought about it even while she was alive. And I always thought
she prayed the nephew would outlive his uncle.

Tuneless
>From the confidences her husband has made to me, I have often thought
he destined his niece for the post of her aunt. He was quite explicit
that Arabella was the niece of his wife only in the third degree.

Lucy
My mistress wishes that Desmond was not her husband's nephew.

Tuneless
These sentiments astonish me in a woman so careful of the proprieties.

Lucy
She's proper in public, but with certain women, public morals and
private morals differ as much their faces do from the time they get up
and the time they go to bed.

Tuneless
Everything considered, I judge that these two are perfectly matched in
all the arts of conjugal hypocrisy.

Lucy
They love each other, in proportion to the wealth they hope to obtain
from each other.

Tuneless
Yes, self-interest by itself produces more false love in some families
than true love produces in all the sincere lovers in London.

Lucy
I admire the wisdom of our law which permits spouses to disinherit one
another. For only the hope of inheriting is the dike that can prevent
a torrent of family quarrels. Go quickly. Here is my mistress. To gain
her confidence, I am going to help her out of her sorrows.

(Exit Tuneless and the Maid. Enter from another direction, the
Countess and the Widow Bramble.)

Countess
Save your tears, Madame, save your tears. To tremble, to sigh, to sob.
All these demonstrations of sorrow are worse than sorrow itself.

Widow
Alas.

Countess
Don't avoid the offer I'm making you any more. Respond to me exactly.
You don't like to have your niece around. I'm going to take her off
your hands and marry her off in the country. Won't you give her some
wedding present?

Widow
This is the fourth day of my widowhood--the fourth day isn't it, Lucy?

Lucy
The fourth, yes.

Widow (to Countess)
Well, Madame, since then I haven't had any nourishment at all.

Lucy
We are nourished only by affliction and black tea.

Widow
Everything I eat rests on my stomach like lead.

Lucy
We eat hardly anything, and what we eat suffocates us.

Countess
Answer me, then Madame, agree.

Widow
No, I won't be alive in four days.

Countess
Live, and don't cry.

Widow
Ah, I will cry more than thirty years.

Lucy
To die soon and cry forever is our final resolution.

Widow
I don't know what I'm saying, Lucy.

Lucy
I see it plainly. We haven't the strength to marry Arabella.

Countess
While your husband was living, you gave the excuse that you hoped to
have children. Now, your hopes and excuses are dead with your husband:
you are mistress of your estate. You must marry Arabella, or tell me
that you don't wish it.

Widow
I cannot make up my mind to marry Arabella. Really, I don't wish her
so much ill as to expose her to marriage.

Countess
To hear you speak thus about marriage, one would think you didn't like
it.

Widow
On the contrary, it was because my happiness was so perfect, that I
don't wish to marry my niece.

Countess
That's a reason to marry her.

Widow
I had a very loveable husband, and I don't want her to have one.

Countess
Explain yourself!

Widow
She will be too overcome if she loses him, to marry her would be to
expose her to the risk of becoming a widow. (cries) And, to
unhappiness like mine. Ah, Madame, in the abyss in which I find
myself--retreat and solitude--that's the road my niece ought to take.

Countess
Solitude doesn't agree with Arabella.

Widow
Don't speak to me anymore about it. I am too afflicted.

Countess
And, in a word--your niece?

Widow
No, no--I am too afflicted. I intend that she spend her life in a
convent.

Countess
>From the bad reasons you give me, I discern the good ones you keep to
yourself. You wish to protect your money, so you can remarry.

Widow
Me! Me, remarry!

Countess
Listen, to undertake a second marriage, you need the great wealth your
husband left you. And, this great wealth, having been earned in
managing my affairs--I could--I haven't yet signed off on your
husband's accounts--. That's why I beg you not to refuse the ten
thousand crowns that you have in your strongbox. I beg you, I really
do.

(Exit Countess.)

Widow (ill tempered)
I beg you, she says, I beg you.

Lucy
She begs you with a certain air--

Widow
Taking on a tone--

Lucy
Of people of quality who--

Widow
Believing that their prayers--

Lucy
Are a sort of command. A great lord who asks a citizen to do him a
service is like a banker respectfully asking payment on a promissory
note.

Widow
She speaks as if one was in great fear of her.

Lucy
You'd have less reason to fear if your husband were alive. For he was
as clever in protecting his prey as he was in catching it.

Widow
Alas, I am indeed lost.

Lucy
Madame, the Countess could easily cheat you. You may say that she
cannot cheat the widow of an honest steward, who enriched himself as
everyone does by entangling his affairs with hers. But, now she is
going to take from you unjustly that which your husband earned on the
fair and square.

Widow
That's what I'm afraid of, Lucy.

Lucy
They ought not to oppress widows--because they have lost their main
support.

Widow
Their support. That's very true, I am without support.

Lucy
Without support! That's why you ought to pacify the Countess. That way
you would peaceably obtain your husband's wealth. Then, find some
young man to be your support.

Widow
Ah, Lucy. If I think of accommodating the Countess, it is not to gain
peace. But, before I give her anything, I wish to consult with some
smart man.

Lucy (low)
Like Desmond. (Aloud) Some smart fellow who--

Widow
Some man of good counsel.

Lucy
Very good.

Widow
A man with a head.

Lucy
By the way, Desmond came this afternoon.

Widow
Desmond's come--

Lucy
Yes, Madame. He's a smart fellow, Desmond.

Widow
Assuredly.

Lucy
A man of good counsel.

Widow
Without a doubt.

Lucy
A man with a head. If you told him your difficulties--

Widow
He knows my husband's business--

Lucy
Yours will be in good hands.

Widow
Go--tell him that he can find me in the garden.

Lucy
Right away, Madame.

Widow
A wise person ought to take advice.

Lucy
You will follow Desmond's. What wisdom. What wisdom.

[Curtain in the original. End of Act I.]

Widow
Ah, Lucy, how ashamed I am to tell you of the distant vows I have made
to Desmond.

Lucy
So long as those distant vows don't come too soon, I approve of them.

Widow
If I were less virtuous than those ancient wives who could envisage no
other consolation except to swallow the ashes of their husbands!

Lucy
You see in your nephew the living features of your husband, his uncle.
Catching the possessor of those features will cure you of your
scruples.

Widow
Lucy, do you suppose Desmond misunderstands my motives?

Lucy
Not at all. I'm sure he understands them perfectly. But, be discreet.
A man understands a widow's hint.

Widow
I have always spoken to him with an indifference, a frigidity--

Lucy
See the fate of virtue--

Widow
I have expressed all the ideas of tenderness with perfect
circumspection, but--shrewdly, delicately, with refinement. Really,
without these precautions, I would expose myself to continual remorse.
I would imagine, without end, that the soul of the departed reproached
me. Yes, even in this moment, I hear his complaints, the sound of his
voice, actually in my ears.

(Enter Desmond, after Lucy has signalled him to do so.)

Desmond
Madame.

Widow
Ah, Heaven, shh! It's you, Desmond. You've frightened me. I thought I
heard the voice of my husband.

Desmond
Really, there's quite a resemblance in our voices. The whole world
used to mistake us.

Widow
My husband had a very agreeable voice.

Desmond
Let's talk business.

Widow
The resemblances in families is remarkable. You've got your uncle's
manners--even his brusqueness.

Desmond
Following the advice I have given you--

Widow
You have his gestures, his manner, his way of looking. I love most
your way of looking--

Desmond
Let's think about finishing.

Widow
What still charms me in my husband is your softness, your wit, your
entire person.

Desmond
Madame, I've spoken to the Countess, and I think it's important that
you pacify her--but you are not honoring me with your attention.

Widow
With my attention! It's you who don't listen to me.

Desmond
But really, it's wise to give in to her--

Widow
You urge me to give away all my wealth?

Desmond
Only a small part of it. Otherwise, you jeopardize--

Widow
You don't know how much better it would be if I keep it. It would be
better for you.

Desmond
For me?

Widow
For, in the future--you understand, sir. I could really, for you--
Right, Lucy--I can't explain any more, sir. You understand, don't
you--

Desmond
I--

Widow
Because propriety prevents me from saying to you--

Lucy
You've told him that already.

Widow
I will say only, that having reflected on what the Countess didn't
say, I fear that the husband she intends for Arabella is none other
than yourself.

Desmond
Me, Madame?

Lucy
The gentleman would be wiser to go to the source of the wealth.

Widow
I believe it, but from the fear that the Countess will give you, in
spite of yourself, to Arabella, I have resolved not to give my money
until the marriage contract is signed--and a husband other than
yourself is the lucky man. And, I have a thousand other good reasons
to communicate to you about this. But, I can't say a word now. Follow
me, Lucy.

(Exit Widow.)

Desmond
Lucy.

Lucy
Sir, I have to go.

(Exit Lucy.)

Desmond
What to do now?

(Enter Arabella.)

Arabella
Tell me quickly--how did your conversation go with my aunt?

Desmond
I think I've convinced her that she should let me arbitrate between
her and the Countess.

Arabella
That's funny.

Desmond
She's disposed to agree to whatever I suggest, and--in a word--she's
working for our marriage, without even knowing it.

Arabella
Without knowing it. That makes me delighted.

Desmond
Do you understand what our happiness is?

Arabella
You will judge against her interest. Nothing could be funnier. It
charms me totally.

Desmond
You are pleased by the joke. The humor of it is what touches you. Your
first sensation ought to be a passionate feeling of happiness.

Arabella
Happiness touches me, too.

Desmond
Too, too. You have a delightful choice of words--very revealing.

Arabella
Oh, don't quibble with me. I am going to have a good laugh with the
Countess.

Desmond
What! Leave me without witnessing--

Arabella
I will witness you wonderfully.

(Enter Lucy.)

Arabella
Ah, Lucy, everything is going wonderfully. You see me in joy. But, in
recompense, Desmond is angry. I believe he almost wishes that our
marriage should be prevented, and that he will run into some obstacle.

Lucy
Then he can rejoice, for the obstacle has come. Your uncle is
returned, sir.

Desmond
My uncle, ah Heaven, I am in despair.

Arabella
All our schemes are ruined. Ah, Desmond, why do you love me so much?
It always makes you so unhappy. Really, I feel worse than you--no
hope--I am desolated.

Desmond
Desolated, you say?

Arabella
Desolated, desperate.

Desmond
What? You suffer?

Arabella
Oh, how unhappy I am.

Desmond
Ah, what a joy for me! You have feelings. I am loved. I don't want
anything else in the world. I want only your heart.

Lucy
You won't have that either.

Desmond
But Lucy, is it really true that my uncle is back? What, in the very
moment I was convinced we'd be happy forever. Ah Heaven, is there a
misery equal to mine?

(Enter Tuneless.)

Tuneless
The steward is back. What a reversal. He took an express coach and
returns just in time to desolate us. His wife's rage is going to
rebound on us--for she already knows.

Lucy
For me, I wish them both what they deserve. To the wife, a dead
husband. To the husband, a dead wife. At least their desires will not
be accomplished quickly.-- You will never be married.

Desmond
Here's my uncle coming now.

Arabella
What shall we say to him?

Lucy
What role to play?

Tuneless
I don't know at all.

(Enter Bramble.)

Bramble
Listen, what's this all about? Vainly do I question everybody. Each
one turns his back on me, without any response. Everyone in mourning.
Nephew, why are you dressed in mourning?

Desmond (bowing and exiting)
Sir--

Bramble
Another fleeing mute. And you, Arabella, what have you to tell me?

Arabella (curtsying)
Not a thing, sir.

(Exit Arabella.)

Bramble
Again--hey, I beg you, Lucy, ease me of my uncertainty. Why the
mourning?

Lucy
For a costume party.

(Exit Lucy.)

Bramble
And you, Tuneless--won't you explain to me what I already begin to
suspect. If it were the Countess who was dead, then everybody would be
in mourning--right? My dear Tuneless, hide nothing from me. You are my
only confidant--

Tuneless
Well, but-- (aside) What the devil am I going to say?

Bramble
What ought I to think in seeing all this?

Tuneless
In seeing all this black clothing, you ought to think they are dressed
in black.

Bramble
Hmm! I doubt--

Tuneless
Tell me. What are you worried about? I will tell you if it is true.

Bramble
It must be, but I don't believe it.

Tuneless
Nor I, sir.

Bramble
My heart tells me enough. (hands over his eyes) My wife is dead.

Tuneless (aside)
This give me an idea. Let him believe it. He is in love with Arabella,
that's good, too. (aloud) Yes, my word, sir. There's no keeping it
from you. One divines immediately what one fears or wishes most.
You've guessed it. Your wife is--dead.

Bramble
I've observed that no one dared tell me the news.

Tuneless
It jumps right at you. I dared not tell you. I am certain you are
strong enough to bear it.

Bramble
It happens to everybody.

Tuneless
You take it like a Caesar.

Bramble
I bet she died Saturday night.

Tuneless
Right.

Bramble
'Cause I woke from a dream with a terrible start.

Tuneless
You see the sympathy between those two who love each other.

Bramble
I sensed a cold hand.

Tuneless
And, she told you goodbye.

Bramble
I saw an invisible phantom. There--who disappeared. But, how did her
death occur?

Tuneless
I am going to tell you, sir. You know that Saturday night--

Bramble
Yes?

Tuneless
In the moment she appeared to you--death took her. But the ghost
already told you--

Bramble
What happened?

Tuneless
Death took her. I don't like to tell sad tales like these.

Bramble
Tell me some circumstances.

Tuneless
If you absolutely wish to know the circumstances, I'll tell you right
away that she died suddenly.

Bramble
Of apoplexy?

Tuneless
No, sir--of--of emotion. They just told her you had died at the wells.
Suddenly, a seizure came on--and the faint turned into a coma--and you
are now a widower.

Bramble (drawing out a handkerchief)
If it is true she died of sadness, I am obligated to weep. (low) But,
how shall I manage it? Boo hoo.

Tuneless
Don't weep any more. I've got important business to discuss.

Bramble
Really, I've suffered an irreparable loss.

Tuneless
That can be repaired, sir--for--

Bramble
She was the best of wives--boo hoo.

Tuneless
Listen to me, please--

Bramble
Easy going--affectionate--boo hoo.

Tuneless
Listen, will you!

Bramble
Tender--boo--sincere hoo--honest boo--the best heart--the best heart--
hoo--hoo--hoo.

Tuneless (aside)
If he's going to weep forever, he'll mess up my plans. (pulling
Bramble by the arm) Sir, you make me feel compassion for you. The
woman didn't die of sadness. I told you at first to console you. But
the truth is--as all the doctors agree--she died of pure joy!

Bramble
I cannot believe she wished my death.

Tuneless
To wish your death, no, but she hoped you wouldn't live as long as
she.

Bramble
Oh, as to that, I believe it, indeed.

Tuneless
She wished to inherit your wealth.

Bramble
Ah! Self-interest.

Tuneless
Interest rendered her soft and caressing. But, at the bottom she had a
hardness for you.

Bramble
Ah, that's a bad heart.

Tuneless
You remember, one day, enraged against you, she had such self control
she was able to embrace you. She almost split. She told her maids all
the injuries she wished, but didn't dare to express to you. In her
mind, she was strangling you.

Bramble
A bad woman.

Tuneless
Malicious.

Bramble
Secretive.

Tuneless
Darkly so.

Bramble
If I were so indignant--

Tuneless
Malign--

Bramble
Outrageous.

Tuneless
Demonic.

Bramble
So extravagant.

Tuneless
She was a devil.

Bramble
If she hadn't died, I would kill her.

Tuneless
Therefore, cry no more. Recollect the tenderness you have for
Arabella--remember you told me of it? In confidence, of course. If you
still love that little Arabella, I warn you, the Countess intends to
marry her today.

Bramble
Today!

Tuneless
>From friendship, that's what I wish you to prevent. But, before going
into that, it's essential that you avoid the Countess until we have
taken certain measures with Arabella. But, hide yourself quickly in
these apartments while I go to Arabella.

Bramble
You upset me.

Tuneless
Go in, quickly. (pushing him out) Because I will lead Arabella to you
instantly.

(Exit Bramble.)

Tuneless
My idea is good; he's fallen into the trap. A weak little genius
wrapped up in his business affairs--and stupid in everything else. One
sees many like that. Now to prevent-- But, if someone should undeceive
him-- (going, then stopping) Still, I have to go. (returning) Better
stay. How to begin--

(Enter Mr. MacPherson and Mrs. MacPherson.)

Mrs. MacPherson
Ah, sir. Mr. Bramble is returned. What a misfortune!

MacPherson
He came post haste. That's the trouble.

Mrs. MacPherson
There's the trouble.

MacPherson
If his wife sees him, she'll know he's not dead.

Mrs. MacPherson
No more marriage.

MacPherson
No partying--no wedding.

Mrs. MacPherson
No drinking.

MacPherson
Nothing.

Tuneless
Listen to me--if you what to celebrate, we must make him believe his
wife is dead.

MacPherson
Ho, ho, ho--both dead.

Mrs. MacPherson
And both widows.

Tuneless
If he asks you--say no more than "She is dead."-- But when? But how?
But why?

MacPherson
She is dead.

Tuneless
Very good. But that's not the only thing. We must prevent these two
from meeting, and to do that you may have to counterfeit drunkenness.

Mrs. MacPherson
I'll take care of that. We will drink despite him.

Tuneless
Yes. Watch him for me until I come back.

(Exit Tuneless.)

MacPherson
We have to say "Your wife is dead, and we're drinking our sorrows."

Mrs. MacPherson
Maybe he can hear us. Sing something about his dead wife.

MacPherson
That's a fine idea. A fine idea, Hem, la, la, la.
My wife is dead, my wife is dead,
And my heart, it feels like lead--Ooh!

(Enter Bramble.)

Bramble
What's this? Do you rejoice in my sorrow?

MacPherson
Your wife is dead and we're drinking.

Mrs. MacPherson
And we are drinking.

Bramble
These rogues are drunk. (trying to leave)

MacPherson (stopping him)
Drink away your sorrows. It's the only way.

Bramble (trying to pass)
What's all this?

Mr. and Mrs. MacPherson
Console yourself. Sit down in this chair.

Bramble (forced to sit)
The devil!

Mrs. MacPherson
You wife has left us. It's sad. We must drink until she returns.

MacPherson
If my wife dies, I will get drunk for her epitaph.

Bramble
I'm getting nothing from these drunks. I'd better wait till Tuneless
returns.

Mrs. MacPherson
While we're waiting for Tuneless, we'll sing you a little song to
chase your sorrows away.

Bramble
Death.

Mr. and Mrs. MacPherson
Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to the funeral we'll go, heigh ho, heigh
ho--

(Enter Tuneless and Arabella.)

Tuneless
Silence. Get out. There Miss, come on in.

(Exit Mr. and Mrs. MacPherson.)

Arabella
Here he is. I'm going to play my part wonderfully.

Bramble
Ah--they're gone. Let's join Tuneless.

Arabella
I come to ask your bounty, sir. I am desolate.

Bramble
Console yourself, my dear child. I will prevent the Countess from
marrying you.

Arabella
She wants to marry me to a man with no money at all. That's what
distresses me.

Tuneless
No money at all. Sir, you know she has nothing. And, when one marries
without money--it makes for a lot of sad children. The Countess said
this fellow had a fortune.

Arabella
I don't believe in fortunes, except when I see them already in
existence.

Tuneless
She said he is young.

Arabella
Then, he will be unfaithful.

Tuneless
The older a man is, the more likely you'll love him for the rest of
his life.

Arabella
I always wanted a husband with a settled disposition.

Tuneless
Who has been previously married.

Arabella
Who always indulges his wife in a thousand ways.

Tuneless
Like you, for example.

Arabella
Unfortunately, I will never be as happy as my aunt was.

Bramble
I like the prudence, the wisdom, and the good taste of this tasty
little person.

Arabella
It's my natural taste, you know, sir. I am incapable of loving a young
man. But, I am capable of a real affection for those who treat me
right.

Bramble
Noble sentiments, noble sentiments. I am so charmed, so delighted,
that I am going to see the Countess right now. Ah, there she is in the
gallery. I am going to speak to her this moment.

(Exit Bramble.)

Arabella
It's not going badly. But, if my aunt should come in--

Tuneless
Fear nothing. These two departed will not meet so soon. For Desmond is
keeping the widow in the garden, and we are keeping the husband here.
The Countess is in on the plot, and is going to keep him in his
apartment, one way or another.

Arabella
Hurry then, to do on our side as well as Desmond has done on his.

Tuneless
You must make your contribution by making the old widower in love,
while Desmond does the same with the widow.

(Enter Steward, Countess, Lucy.)

Countess
Love doesn't hide itself, sir, and you have accosted me in a manner
that convinces me you have a great deal for Arabella.

Bramble
Not at all, Madame, but with respect--

Countess
I have only one word to say to you about the matter. If you don't want
me to marry off Arabella, and to keep her to console you in your
grief, and then later marry her--then you must do something for your
nephew. You know how highly I think of Desmond. I have spoken to you a
hundred times for him--uselessly. And I am going to take this
opportunity--the solicitor is downstairs--I am going to marry
Arabella, before your very eyes, if you don't transfer some of your
wealth to Desmond.

Bramble
I am a reasonable man.

Countess
We'll go see. But, come to my apartment to agree on the contract.
Follow us, Arabella. Your presence will facilitate this little
accommodation.

(Exit Bramble, Countess, Arabella, and Tuneless. After a moment, enter
Desmond and Lucy.)

Desmond
Well, Lucy?

Lucy
They are about to tax your uncle. What have you done to hasten the
liberality of our widow?

Desmond
I pressed her in a lively way. But she was pressing me in a lively
way, also.

Lucy
Her love presses.

Desmond
I pretend not to understand her passionate talk. But the less I seem
to understand, the more she reveals. I can't hold her back. I had to
leave her alone in the garden--where she stayed to hide her confusion.
She sighs, she excites herself--

Lucy
A declaration is coming. It wants to come forth. She will unburden her
heart. She is meditating some passionate declaration which may be
obscure--or plain enough.

Desmond
All too plain, I fear. I see her coming. I am not going to wait to
hear this.

(Exit Desmond.)

Widow (entering)
Where did he go, Lucy?

Lucy (pointing her in the wrong direction)
That way, I think.

Widow
Desmond. Desmond. I must talk to you.

(Exit Widow. Enter Tuneless.)

Lucy
Ah, Tuneless, everything's a mess here.

Tuneless
Ah, Lucy, everything's even worse on the other side.

Lucy
Truly, she really wants to make a gift.

Tuneless
In truth, he wants to make a gift.

Lucy
But, Tuneless--

Tuneless
But, Lucy--

Lucy
But first, she wants to assure herself that Desmond--

Tuneless
He wishes to be first secure of Arabella. He will give, when the
contract is signed.

Lucy
In signing the contract, she says.

Tuneless
I can't see any hope.

Lucy
My genius is exhausted.

Tuneless
Our intrigue falls of its own weight.

Lucy
She's too sly.

Tuneless
He's too clever. Very well. Lucy, let us at least have the pleasure of
dashing their hopes of this double marriage.

Lucy
What you suggest will do no good as far as I can see. I haven't the
audacity to laugh about it. They'll be furious.

(Exit Lucy.)

Tuneless
Me, I always have the courage to amuse myself. Let's see what will
become of this. The husband is left alone in his apartment--his wife
is alone in hers. They are both saddled for the race. Let's see who
will win. Good, here's the husband. I also see the wife. Let's turn
out the lights so as to make this double widowhood last a bit longer.

(Tuneless turns out the lights. Bramble enters.)

Bramble
The Countess thinks she's found her dupe. She intends to get me to
give my money to Desmond, and then marry Arabella to whoever she
pleases. But Arabella would be in despair not to marry me. I told her
to meet me here so we could take some precautions. She's on her way.
Let's wait here. (stepping into the shadows)

(Enter Widow.)

Widow
I can't find Desmond anywhere. Someone turned out the lights. He
couldn't have given Arabella a rendez-vous here?

Bramble (aside)
If Arabella agrees, I will marry her, in spite of the Countess. I've
only to take her away secretly. But, what's happening?

Widow
It's Desmond, waiting for Arabella!

Bramble
Arabella is following me. How lucky I am, that she's promised to marry
me. Ah!

Widow
How he sighs for her. The little traitor!

Bramble
It's Arabella who's looking for me. Here I am.

Widow
The resemblance of their voices always astonishes me. How I love one
and hate the other.

Bramble
Am I the one you're looking for?

Widow
His voice makes me tremble-- But, I am crazy--it's Desmond's voice
that sounds like that. I'll pretend to be Arabella. I've come to our
rendez-vous, my dear, Desmond.

Bramble
Desmond--what, is it Desmond you come to see, after having promised
never to be with anyone but me?

Widow
Ah! It's the true raging voice of my husband.

Bramble
Ingrate! Liar!

Widow
His ghost reproaches me.

Bramble
To betray me thus.

Widow
His ghost returns. Let's get out of here! (runs and falls into a
chair) My legs have betrayed me! Let me call for help. Ah! My voice
fails me.

Bramble
You wish to marry Desmond?

Widow
I didn't say that.

Bramble
What! Didn't I hear right--"Isn't it Desmond?"

Widow
Oh, no. I will never have another except you.

Bramble
Bah! Never have another--

Widow
No, no, husband, no.

Bramble
She trembles and calls me her husband. She fears the Countess. There's
only me here--don't be afraid. Follow me.

Widow
Ha--a, a, a--

Bramble (taking her hand)
Where are you then?

Widow (fainting)
Ah.

Bramble
Don't be afraid--it's me who's got your hand.

Widow
I know it's you.

Bramble
Yes,--while you call me your husband, you will be my wife. You will
love me a little--right? Hey--modesty renders her silent. Hmm. How
much more delightful this hand is to kiss than that of my late wife.
Hers was rough, this is soft. But don't lose any time. Come with me.
(pulling her) What is it? What's wrong?

Widow
Ah, Desmond--

Bramble
What do I hear?

(Enter Tuneless with a candle. The Widow and Bramble see each other,
scream, and exit in different directions.)

Tuneless
I turn the thing into raillery. Now, we shall see. I have an idea that
I must communicate to Lucy.

(Exit Tuneless.)

[Curtain in the original. End of Act II.]

(The lights darken, indicating the passage of time. Enter Arabella and
Lucy.)

Lucy
Mr. Bramble is outraged not to be a widower. He curses the Countess
who has given him his false joy--but, he doesn't break with Tuneless,
because he's afraid Tuneless will inform his dear lady of his
infidelity. He still loves you, but he's still more amorous of
inheriting from his wife. This should make it easier for Tuneless to
bring him round.

Arabella
Really, what good can all this do?

Lucy
It may help--with luck. But frankly, I don't think it will help. Let's
retire. I'm going to see in what shape my lady is in.

(Exit Lucy and Arabella. Enter Tuneless and Bramble.)

Tuneless
Yes, sir, it's dissimulation that keeps society going between men--
civil and matrimonial.

Bramble
Ouf!

Tuneless
Under the shelter of dissimulation, courtiers embrace each other,
women compliment each other, and authors bow to each other at a
distance. Dissimulation creates new friendships and smoothes over old
hatreds.

Bramble
Ouf!

Tuneless
Without dissimulation, how many secret separations would grow into
public divorces. But dissimulation gives wisdom to men, joy to
husbands--that's why there are so many happy families at present.

Bramble
Ah, my dear Tuneless--

Tuneless
You begin to dissimulate--. You hide from me your fear that I might
reveal to your wife your passion for-- Don't worry, I am discreet, and
she herself cannot prove, even if she suspects, that you took her for
Arabella--for you spoke low and she fainted.

Bramble
I am furious when I think--

Tuneless
That she didn't faint?

Bramble
The liar.

Tuneless
It's with lying that you find the way to dissimulate.

Bramble
What! All the caresses that she gave me for ten years were only to
have my wealth.

Tuneless
While you permitted her to caress, so you could have hers.

Bramble
A woman who hopes to outlive her husband is very unnatural.

Tuneless
For a man to wish to live longer than is wife is very--natural.

Bramble
To have a criminal passion for my nephew.

Tuneless
While you have an innocent tenderness for her niece.

Bramble
Heaven will punish her and all those who wish the death of others.
Such people always die first.

Tuneless
Good. You will both predecease the other.

Bramble
Now, I must dissimulate to keep the peace at home, and to preserve my
honor before the world.

Tuneless
Very good. But, remember the essential thing. Send your nephew to the
Indies.

Bramble
To the Indies. I will spare nothing to get him there.

Tuneless
Here--begin your dissimulation with the Countess. Go joke with her
about the trick she played on you, and joke in the faces of all those
who do nothing but laugh behind your back.

Bramble
That's the role I've got to take.

(Exit Bramble. After a moment, enter Lucy from another direction.)

Lucy
Well, Tuneless?

Tuneless
I've brought him to the point at which I want him. He will
dissimulate. But, I had trouble calming his rage.

Lucy
The rage of my mistress is very violent. To soften it, she fainted
twice.

Tuneless
It's the strength of women to have such little weaknesses ready at
their command. For when these great accidents occur--the attack is
very strong--and a woman saves herself by fainting or weeping.

Lucy
She fortifies herself in this way against reflections, and when she
gets her strength back, there are tirades of abuse against her
husband--but she leave the name blank.

Tuneless
Let's finish. It's time to manage the interview.

Lucy
Yes. Here's the lady--bring on the husband.

Tuneless
I'll go fetch him.

(Exit Tuneless. Enter Widow from another direction.)

Widow
Where are you at, Lucy? You've abandoned me in my rage. I am furious
against the Countess.

Lucy
That is to say, against your husband.

Widow
To deceive me, to betray me. He wanted me to die--the cruel man--the
traitor.

Lucy
Oh, yes, more a traitor than the Countess. But, your husband also
deserves your rage. First of all, because he is alive--and because he
is unfaithful. But for fear that he may realize you are also
unfaithful, feign, Madame, as I have told you.

Widow
I tremble with fear that he suspects me. Perhaps, in my mourning, I
innocently called on Desmond.

Lucy
Innocently, of course. But now virtue and propriety insist, that in
the batting of an eye, change your love into esteem. And, if your
husband should eventually die, you may, in another bat of an eye,
change your esteem into love.

Widow
Your advice is so wise. I will follow it. And send Arabella a hundred
leagues from here.

Lucy
So. Let's go, embrace your husband as if nothing happened.

Widow
It will be very hard to hide my anger.

(Enter Tuneless and Bramble.)

Lucy
Here he is. Recall all the feelings you had on your wedding day.

Widow
I do. I'm freezing. My blood is like ice.

Lucy
It's conjugal tenderness thawing.

Tuneless
Force yourself. Let no rancor show on your face.

Lucy
Courage, Madame.

Tuneless
Make an effort, sir.

Lucy
Strength.

Tuneless
Go on, now.

(Bramble and the Widow look at each other and run to embrace. As they
hug, their faces show outraged grimaces.)

Bramble
I see my dear wife again.

Widow
And my equally dear husband!

(They embrace and separate several times, breathing like divers who
surface for air, nauseated.)

Bramble
Ecch!

Widow
Ouf!

Bramble (turning to his wife with a joyful, but somehow tortured look)
My joy is so great that it's frightful--ah-ecch!

Widow
My delight is too much to bear--yuck!

Bramble
Why is it that your joy appears troubled?

Widow
Emotions of rage come over me--against the Countess. In making you
believe I was dead, she exposed you to a possible seizure. You might
have died.

Bramble
You?--she would've enjoyed to make me die.

Widow
Thank God's Mercy, you look--well. You appear healthy. I am furious
with--that woman.

Bramble
All this has merely redoubled my feelings for you. I can't really
express them.

Widow
I feel, also, that my love for you--I don't know how to say it. Huh--
how I hate the Countess.

Bramble
This is like a renewal of the feelings I had for you when we first
met.

Widow
Yes. It's like a second honeymoon.

Tuneless
A posthumous marriage.

Bramble
A renewal of my love. Yes, I also wish to take these little
precautions that will assure you are cared for properly when I die.

Widow
I want you to survive me to enjoy my wealth. All that you deserve of
it.

Bramble
As, so as to no longer have to put up with the presence of anyone
around me who might take something from you when I die, I've decided
to send my nephew to the Indies.

Widow (with surprise and spite)
And, for the same reason, I--I am going to marry Arabella a hundred
leagues from here.

Bramble
You tell me that with a little spite. It's innocently that I speak to
you of separating from Desmond.

Widow
And, I have nothing but pure good intentions in separating from
Arabella.

(Enter the Countess's Maid.)

Maid
Here is the Countess, coming to rejoice. We are going to sing and
dance all night. It's not only for the three marriages I see on the
agency, WE are ready for a wedding, you see.

Bramble
What's that about three weddings?

Maid
Yours first--for the Countess regards all this as a new marriage.

Widow
She's right. But not one made in Heaven.

Bramble
And the two others?

Maid
Don't you know? Didn't you know the joke was to get money from you to
marry Desmond in Wales. And you, Madame, understood, of course, that
the money asked from you was to marry Arabella in Scotland. But, since
you refused to give it, the Countess is bearing the expenses herself.

Widow (low, to Lucy)
Desmond in Wales!

Lucy
Keep a straight face--virtue.

Bramble
Arabella in Scotland!

Tuneless
Shut up, sir. Dissimulation.

(Enter the Countess, Arabella, Desmond, and the MacPhersons.)

Countess
I come to share your joy in being reunited, in seeing each other
again, like Orpheus and Eurydice. And to celebrate the two marriages
I've made. Now, enjoy yourselves.

(The MacPhersons start to sing: La, la, la--)

Countess
Stop the singing. I perceive that instead of rejoicing you, something
saddens you. There's something here I don't understand. When I marry a
nephew who displeases you so much that you are sending him away--

Bramble
Send him away, Madame, that's what I wish--

Countess
And, when I take your niece off your hands--

Widow
You please me greatly, Madame.

Countess
Arabella will leave tomorrow for Scotland.

Widow
I consent, but--

Countess
And your nephew to Wales--

Bramble
That's what I want--but--

Countess
Why then, are you both irritated, when I do what contents each of you?

Lucy
Madame doesn't want to be separated from her only niece.

Tuneless
The gentleman always wishes to see his dear nephew.

Countess
I don't believe that you love them at all. Yet--your tenderness for
them gives me an idea. It would keep them here. I'll marry them to
each other--if you give your consent to it.

Tuneless
This marriage would enrage your wife, and--Arabella would always be
where you could get at her.

Lucy
This marriage would punish your husband, and someday, with Desmond
about, you might--

Countess
You hesitate at this second proposition. That makes me suspect--

Widow
Not at all, Madame.

Bramble
You deceive yourself.

Countess
What then made you stop?

Widow
Because, Madame, having destined my wealth for a husband who is
unspeakably dear to me--

Bramble
Yes, Madame, and to protect mine for a loving spouse--

Countess
Oh, I'm delighted to be deceived in my suspicions. I see the point
that causes you hesitation. I ask nothing for them. Leave your money
to each other, and let them take from the survivor. That way, they
will ultimately get all your wealth, and you will take proper care of
your spouse.

Desmond (to Widow)
Madame, prevent them from separating me from your presence.

Arabella (to Bramble, low)
Sir, will you let them take me away from you into Scotland?

Bramble
What determines me is the fear of--of displeasing my wife.

Widow
The fear that I have of angering my husband--

Countess
Then, the marriage is made. Give your hands.

Tuneless
Such a pretty marriage merits a complete Opera. But unfortunately, we
have neither musicians nor dancers. And, in the town they have only
peasants. Be content, therefore, to listen to the little cantata I
have composed. We are going to rehearse it in your presence. And,
while we lack musicians, I myself will sing it for you. La, la, la.

(While Tuneless is getting ready, they all run away.)

CURTAIN





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