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Title: La coquette de village. English - The Village Coquette; Or, The Supposed Lottery
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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http://www.cadytech.com/dumas/personnage.asp?key=130



                        THE VILLAGE COQUETTE
                        THE SUPPOSED LOTTERY

                                 By

                          RIVIERE DUFRESNY


                     Translated and Adapted by
                          Frank J. Morlock
                               C 1986



CHARACTERS:
The Baron
The Widow, his neighbor
Argon, another neighbor
Girard
Lucas, farmer
Lisette, the coquette



ACT I


Girard (holding two letters and reading them)
From Paris. To Monsieur Le Baron of Hamlet. Let's take care of this
letter for him. He's not at home. (putting the Baron's letter in his
pocket, he opens the other letter) And the other's for me, Girard. I
dare to hope that the list of winning lottery numbers is in this
letter. Right, my cousin, the master printer in Paris, favors the role
I've taken. Love is my guide in this roguery. With this false lottery
list I am going to obtain Lucas' daughter as my wife.

Widow (entering)
I am waiting for Mr. Argon. Why hasn't he come?

Girard (reading the letter)
From Paris. "My dear cousin, before having distributed the list of
lottery winners, I've sent you a false list, as you asked me to do, so
you can have a big joke in your village. You can make your rival
believe that Farmer Lucas won the grand prize of one hundred thousand
francs." With this, I hope to obtain my Lisette. Lucas, believing his
fortune made, will cede me his lease on the farm. He's the type to be
caught in such a snare. At bottom, it's for his own good. By making me
his son-in-law, he can't lose. (to Widow) But, why are you standing
around dreaming?

Widow
Because Mr. Argon is supposed to come find me.

Girard
He'll be here soon. He's still in the chateau.

Widow
I'm getting impatient.

Girard
What for? You're not excited by a tender love. It's an old lover, and
you should wait without impatience, coldly.

Widow
Shut up, Girard. Shut up. You know how I value him.

Girard
To believe an old man is an old grey beard is no big crime. I honor
him more, being his collector. The collection is small and for you,
with all my heart, I wish I could pay him a one hundred thousand francs
of income.

Widow
That would be too much for me, a former maid. That's what I was when I
was in Paris. But here I have a higher rank which I obtained from my
late husband, a head magistrate. Thus, I've been ennobled in this
village, a fine nobility at bottom and which is worth a good bit, a
nobility that one can take to Paris.

Girard
Let's renew our discussion and talk of Lisette again. Because, having
so much power over her, being her neighbor, and a sort of surrogate
parent, you are working hard to turn her into a coquette, instead of
making her wiser.

Widow
Language of Paris. That's what will make her perfect.

Girard
Some perfection! Alas, you make her worse, when you come here to
refine her wit. You make her heart more false and more vain.

Widow
At nine years, she was already a coquette in embryo. I have only
pointed her in her natural direction--so her beauty will not prove
worthless and she will profit by a fine marriage. I only want Lisette
to be wise. She's naturally exquisite, and I've simply added to her
talents all that I have learned.

Girard
With so many perfections you will make her a prodigy of coquetry.

Widow
So much the better, I tell you. That's what makes beauty and wit
valued. We've argued about this so many times. By coquette I mean a
girl who is very wise; who knows how to take advantage of other's
foibles; who always exhibits sangfroid in the midst of dangers. One
who profits from opportunity which she knows how to manage and uses
her reason when we lose ours. A wise coquette is more knowing than
anyone else because she is always exposed and always in a battle. One
cannot deny that the strongest virtue is one that undergoes and survives
the hardest tests. The coquette has prerogatives much more beautiful than
a prude's. That beautiful right is the right of being happy. A prude,
in her life, marries, but once or twice, but the clever coquette never
marries at all. She flatters, she raises hopes, she promises, but she
never gives in--thus through her wisdom leaving each one to his love
and desires, she makes pleasure last.

Girard
In my opinion Lisette is making my pain too harsh. It's useless to
complain to her father, alas, complaining is no good. He scorns me.

Widow
Yes, because you are leaving your condition in life. You are
soliciting my relative and you are only a flat foot.

Girard
Very flat-footed, right. But, without belittling myself. Do I owe
Lucas respect? He owes me some, perhaps. But now each of us rests on
his pedestal, and for a collector to be the son-in-law of a farmer,
it's by right of the game.

Widow
Good. It's an old game. Regretfully, I see your scheme is in ruins.
Lisette repents of having considered you, and she says she no longer
intends to have Girard. Now, the proud father and daughter find that
your fortune is too recent. Everywhere you find ungrateful hearts, as
in the village, even with regrets. But, during some times, gamble,
pilfer, respect, trim, clip, loot and loot again. By force of conceit,
you will come to listen.

Girard
Today my love appears bold to you, you blame my scheme. Listen, what
is the mystery? I have, for more than a month, prowled, spun around,
run about. And in my absence, alas, what has happened? My eyes are
opening at last. Lucas is coming. I leave you. Until we meet again.

(Exit Girard.)

Widow
Go to whatever hurries you.

(Enter Lucas.)

Lucas
O fortune, fortune, when will I catch you? You always fly from me.

Widow
Always fortune on the brain?

Lucas
Yes, for it hates me. I do this, I do that--labor all my life. Labor
for this one, labor for that one. I work for thirty years. After
thirty years, here I am. To labor for another, it's small palliative.
To work for oneself, that takes courage. To even everything up
wouldn't it be right for the others, in their turn, to work for me?

Widow
Lucas wishes to reach the heights.

Lucas
Suddenly, yes, to find myself there, as in a miracle. I've got the
character for it--no matter how hazardous. I gamble, win some, lose
some, it's only that it doesn't make one happy. I've played double or
nothing out of boredom. I have forty tickets for this lottery.

Widow
That's a very prudent way to place money.

Lucas
Yeah. Because I love big lotteries. I am going to make my fortune that
way.

Widow
You will make your fortune through your daughter. The Baron loves her
more and more.

Lucas
He's becoming hot. But my daughter lacks the feeling to marry him.

Widow
She's shrewd and subtle.

Lucas
It's beginning to make him keen.

Widow
And, the Baron, who's only a village Baron, hasn't, as you know, much
brains.

Lucas
Not necessary to say he's a stupid, because all the world knows it
well. But Lisette can hear us. Come on, daughter, come on. Madame and
I were talking about how your wit satisfies her. She said you were so
subtle, said you were so knowing.

(Enter Lisette, listening.)

Lisette (pretending naivete)
Father, I don't know what she thinks of me.

Lucas
So much the worse, my daughter, so much the worse.

Widow
Today, you've joined some ornament to your simple country dress.

Lisette
It's to please the Baron, as you advised me. I am making myself over
to be loved. I am obedient, and I intend, to please you, that he marry
me quickly. So, that's why I added to my costume today.

Widow
You'd have made him love you, that's already done. But to make him
marry you, you must double dose him with sighs, looks and little
manners. Put to work my recent lessons. We shall try to please at
first by simple attractions. A little affectation, lowering your gaze,
being quiet, appearing embarrassed. A cold blooded man, seeing a great
deal of simpering, will believe less what he sees. He will suspect,
examine, and discover the pretence. But, when the dupe is taken--be
affected without fear. The grossest kinds of affectation, far from
quelling, charm his passions, and he seeks out the beauty of nature.

Lucas
I don't understand half your fine preaching. (dumbfounded) But what
you say must be good, for you amaze.

Widow
Lisette understand perfectly.

Lisette
Not so much as you think. You have taught me well, speaking to me of
these looks which make women so refined. But I am not so refined. I
cannot do as they do.

Widow
Oh, you will go far. You know how to please, and how to pretend.

Lisette
You deceive yourself. I contradict myself in no respect. I please the
Baron without feigning to please him. If he is deceived, I can never
be. When I speak contrary to my thought, one can see in my manner that
I am embarrassed.

Widow
The Baron could, by a tender turn about, mention again the contract he
made the other day. He is changeable, peevish in his tenderness. Think
to profit by his day of weakness. Has he promised again today?

Lisette
Alas, no.

Widow
He must have thought it over. It's his day to be reasonable, his good
day. But we will recapture him. To make him sign, it's only needful to
make him wait. If something can hasten this happy day, it's pretence.
Pretend a violent love.

Lisette
Alas, I will pretend badly.

Widow
Then, I am uneasy. I intend to marry as much as Lisette. Monsieur
Argon occupies me and I am going to see him. If he keeps his word, it
will be all over today. (exits)

Lucas
You must pretend the widder lady says, and you don't know how to
pretend a pretense. You say everything that comes into your head and
that's a mistake. Have the virtue to lie a bit. You don't know how,
and that upsets me.

Lisette
Oh, console yourself, father. If I am still stupid, I am not really
stupid. I know how to pretend better than the Widow thinks. I have
some tricks she hasn't seen yet. If I always tell her I am innocent,
and that, despite her lessons, I am ignorant, it's all on purpose so
she will be proud of me.

Lucas
Oh, you know what you're doing and I cannot complain of you.

Lisette
You are going to see how I intend to make a fortune.

Lucas
Fortune is our master.

Lisette
It is true--it is our master. But, if he should fail me?

Lucas
Ha! Ha! I see well what you intend. So as not to lack one, you will
have two.

Lisette
Yes, at least, father. That's what I'm doing. But the other has less
wealth, which annoys me. For Monsieur Baron--here's what I fear--his
conversation does not entirely please me. I have spoken to him a lot
in pretending to be innocent. No, for marriage he has no plans. He
says he wants to stay single for ten more years.

Lucas
To remain single--oh, oh. He wants to marry you, so you can remain a
virgin?

Lisette
To understand him, the loves of a nobleman for girls like me does us
much honor

Lucas
No, no, of these nobles, love without marriage takes honor from girls
that nothing gives back.

Lisette
One has much wealth, but he will deceive me. The other hasn't very
much, but he will marry me.

Lucas
The other is this Girard, correct?

Lisette
Fie!

Lucas
I'll say fie to him. If he comes round, I'll kick him out.

Lisette
Kick him out? Ah, be careful. Let him be in love--that costs nothing.
If the others fail, he may make his fortune. Who knows?

Lucas
Well said. So, there's to be three for one. But, who is the new one
who you say is certain?

Lisette
If he marries me, the Widow will be very chagrined.

Lucas (astonished by degrees and then understanding)
The Devil!

Lisette
I will take her chance.

Lucas
Death!

Lisette
For I will break her marriage.

Lucas
Astounding!

Lisette
It is going to astonish you. For I will have the wealth intended for
her. I will marry her lover.

Lucas (crying out)
My Lord! You will ruin her. She loves you as if you were her daughter.

Lisette
Can I do otherwise? I said no, at first. I really would have preferred
not to wrong her. But she has given me lessons in fortune hunting.
I've got to take advantage of my youth like others. The other lesson
she gave me recently was to love at first for one's profit. I love the
Widow, but--

Lucas
But, you are able to love what profits you? These lessons are her own
fault, and she deserves it.

Lisette
I'm in despair. At bottom, I have a good heart. I would prefer for her
to marry the Baron.

Lucas
Yes, for he's more rich and you will gain by the change. In the case
of the three lovers, here's how it goes: The Baron's worth more than
Argon, he's got six times his money. Argon's better, worth more than
Girard, and Girard's better than nothing.

Lisette
He's like nothing, yes, but with respect to the other two, we will
keep your plans and mine secret.

Lucas
Yes, better to be secret. For these two good spouses won't be married,
if they know about each other.

Lisette
The Baron's returning.

Lucas
Yes, I am going to do what you told me.

Lisette
Pretend to be enraged. We must see if he will marry me.

(Enter Baron.)

Lucas
Oh, that's definitive. He'll marry you to death, for he looks
thoughtful.

Baron
Lucas intends to leave me. This disturbs me. How can I bear not to
see Lisette any more?

Lisette (after having spoken low)
Yell very loud, then leave without speaking to him.

Lucas (loud so that the Baron hears)
Yes, I intend to leave our master, and I'm going to start going about
it.

Lisette (pretending to be very angry to leave the Baron)
No! Don't leave him!

Lucas
I have told him, and I am no traitor. I've told him of it a while ago,
and I'm going.

Lisette
To leave to find a master!

Lucas
As you are growing up, it's a cruelty to stay here. In a village, you
lose your time and your beauty. You can merchandise your youth better
in the Paris marriage market. Yes, I will take you to Paris, and very
soon, because time presses. Although a vertigo irritates me
momentarily, what I want is only reasonable, and I shall be as bold as
brass. (pushing his hat onto his head and passing before the Baron) I
am upset to leave him, but death, I shall console myself. (exits)

Baron
He was very abrupt with me on a frivolous subject. Has he gone crazy?
What can he intend to do?

Lisette (twisting her handkerchief)
I will never see you any more. I am in despair.

Baron
There's always some shadow maiming fortune.

Lisette
He's wrong, for, sir, I see what he is hoping.

Baron
He would suddenly become a great lord.

Lisette (looking tenderly at the Baron)
Yes, to see me a great lady, and that is my misfortune. He imagines
something that can't be. The daughter of a farmer is not for his
master.

Baron
You will be with me as if you were my own child.

Lisette
Oh, sir, that's not what he has in mind.

Baron
I believe he intends to pay me less rent.

Lisette
He intends something far different.

Baron
Yes, what a repayment.

Lisette (starting to cry)
No, that's not what one day you said; that day you were full of love
for me. You intended, you said, to write a promise. You no longer love
me!

Baron
That day was like today. My feelings were full for you. I love you,
Lisette.

Lisette
And, if I still must leave?

Baron
Of my love, you will have a sure pledge. A contract.

Lisette (stopping her tears)
Today?

Baron
A marriage contract. It's already written. I did it right away, first
thing. Second thing is to sign.

Lisette
You won't sign it?

Baron
I will sign.

Lisette
But, when? For my father is taking me off. He is so proud.

Baron
My word is reliable.

Lisette
I believe you, but my father--

Baron
Yes, I will give you my oath.

Lisette (crying again)
Don't swear to me. I believe you already. But my father--

Baron
I will go appease him. I swear to you.

Lisette (crying and holding him by the arm)
No, he's going to take me off. Of that I am sure.

Baron
No, no. I am going to keep Lucas.

Lisette (pretending to be outré with rage against him)
It's I who wish to leave, because you don't love me!

(Exit Baron.)

Lisette (suddenly stops crying)
No--this is only a deceiver, who thinks me innocent. I must soon take
my relative, the Widow's, lover. He has no wealth. That's my last
resource. But, he's coming to the garden to speak to me. Let's
continue. I played the naïve and tender. Now to play the dreamer.

(Enter Argon.)

Argon
Yes, Lisette is going to return. (he turns to look closely at her) How
pretty she is, dreaming. How many charms I see. She sighs. Good! I
feel that she is for me. What are you dreaming of?

(Lisette, after having let Argon look her over, pretends to be
astonished to see Argon so near her.)

Lisette
Oh! You've startled me so! I was dreaming--that I have so much
freedom--suddenly in the garden.

Argon
That's what charmed me. You've already told me, not that I am loved,
but that you will soon love me.

Lisette
I am confused by what you are thinking. I ask pardon. To love you
would be to lack respect for you.

Argon
Lack respect? Yes, I intend to. A too respectful love obtains nothing.

Lisette
But, I don't love. Speak more. Encourage me, then.

Argon
To give you courage, I make a contract. But, complete my wishes.

(The Widow enters and listens.)

Argon
Add a word to your looks, your sighs. This word is a great word. Tell
me--"I love you."

Lisette
I've told you a hundred times--and to myself, a thousand.

Argon
To yourself?

Lisette
Alas, yes.

Argon
What naivete!

Lisette
Why hide it from you if it is the truth?

Argon
Behold love. Behold pure sincerity. This calls me to love, like
nature. There, Lisette, here's the role I have taken. I intend to take
you, in secret, to Paris, for I will, at first, marry you secretly.
Let's hide all from the Widow. She would be jealous of it. I will
marry you without her knowing anything of it. In her place, in a word,
you will have all my wealth.

Lisette
I want nothing from you, but your person. Give her all your wealth.

Argon
But, if I give it to her, what will the two of us and our children
live on?

Lisette
I don't want it for myself, but you'll need it.

Argon (taking her hand)
There, let us separate. No, stay here.

Lisette
I am staying.

Argon
Go--and be in the nearby woods in an hour. (he kisses her hand) Go
quickly. Wait! The marriage is made.

Lisette (perceiving the Widow)
Ah! All is discovered.

Argon
I am an indiscreet fool!

(Exit Lisette.)

Widow
What have I heard? I am struck mute with shock!

Argon
And I! I am mute with shame. From frankness, I am going to admit to
you that what you have seen--I am wrong. The marriage I contracted
with you ought to prevent me from making another. But, as friendship
alone made ours, it would seem love is stronger. Still, I was wrong to
betray you thus. But, if you know how Lisette loves me, from
friendship for me, you yourself would say--marry her, sir, I freely
consent. What pleasure, at my age of fifty-four years, to be loved for
myself. Yes, only for my person. For she refused my wealth which I
would give, only wanting me. But, I am doubly wrong to betray you, to
anger you. From prudence, I ought never to speak of Lisette. Yes,
Madame, I am wrong, a hundred times wrong. But she will be my wife.

Widow
I cannot recover. This blow is overwhelming. I excuse Argon. At
bottom, he loves blindly. As for me, I really deserve for Lisette to
deceive me. But, for this marriage--it is necessary that I break it.
Were the good Argon never to marry me, let us try to disabuse him--
from friendship.


CURTAIN



ACT II

The Widow is overwhelmed with chagrin. Girard is holding in his hand a
packet of letters for the Baron. He separates one letter and
substitutes another.


Girard
Without breaking the seal, and without compromising myself, I half
open the Baron's letter and replace the false with the true. My hand
trembles for this is my first attempt in falseness.

Widow (dreaming, not listening)
Argon will marry Lisette?

Girard
He will never marry my charming coquette. This will see to him--as I
told you.

Widow
Very good! But, let me digest my spite. The one who married me,
marries my coquette. Was this what I raised Lisette for? With
impunity, Lisette has played me this trick, when I instructed her to
pretend love. I was the plaything of her apprenticeship. I thought
she would absorb no malice from the instruction I gave her. Just a
little grain of it for perfection. I ought to have realized from my
own example, that malice, once seeded in a woman's heart, profits,
multiplies and grows like weeds.

Girard
In malice, Lisette is fertile, yet I love her, I adore her, and I will
make her my wife. But, what am I saying? I ought to remember, Madame--
(ironically) that you don't give Lisettes to Girards. As I am only a
tax collector, I ought through respect for you, her, and myself, to let
her marry your lover.

Widow
At her age, to manage, under my eyes, three lovers at the same time!
Coquettes of Paris and coquettes of the country--some ready language,
some trickery. My word, all is equal for coquetry.

Girard (ironically)
You intended to give her to some great lord.

Widow
Ah, I will give her to the devil, with all my heart.

Girard
I beg you for preference over him at least.

Widow
So be it but at least provide me some confidence that you will
succeed.

Girard
You know all. We must lure our credulous, stupid, avaricious,
and amorous Baron with this false lottery into offering Lisette
marriage, and if she accepts, for Argon to see she's engaged.

Widow
Lisette ought to give up Argon for the Baron. The Baron is rich and
the trick is so good.

Girard
Yes, but I mustn't lose Lisette.

Widow
If Argon is undeceived, I will be satisfied.

Girard
May he see her half-married to the Baron.

Widow
Completely married, if necessary.

Girard
Completely? Hell, no!

Widow
He's coming.

Girard
My insurance which I well know how to use--

(Enter Baron. Girard presents a packet to the Baron.)

Girard
I am returning from the post office and I have the honor to give
the gentleman what he asked me to bring.

(Exit Girard.)

Baron (to Widow)
Neighbor, my love is going to make me despair. Lisette intends to
leave.

Widow
I take the place of mother to her. I guarantee her tender, wise, and
sincere. You don't know how much she is worth. She wants a contract,
that's her only fault. And, you don't wish to make one.

Baron
I intend to marry her. Who told you otherwise? But, to do such a
thing, the later the better. I will marry when I am much older.

Widow
Eh! You are old enough, sir, for a wife.

Baron
I am very irresolute. I blame myself for it. Ha, ha, good, this letter
is from one of my friends. It's for the lottery we've all subscribed
to.

Widow
Is it, then, published?

Baron
Yes, exactly. It's the list.

Widow
I am sure to win. A physiognomist has seen great sums of money on my
face. What I must do, he told me, to earn it, is to buy a lottery.
It's the most prompt way to win for a wise woman.

Baron
Hum! Hum! I know, by heart, the puzzle of each. The numbers, the
names, I don't see one. Let's read-- Ah!

Widow
What's the matter?

Baron
Something I see irritates me.

Widow
What is it, then? From where does this sudden dolor come?

Baron
Lucas: one hundred thousand francs.

Widow
To the farmer, the Grand Prize? But, let's see. Reread it. Is it,
indeed, his name? Lucas?

Baron
I am not the master of my scorn.

Widow
Grand Prize to Lucas? You are ruining us, traitor.

Baron
To Lucas, the Grand Prize.

Widow
You won't allow it. Oh, Fate, unjust Fate, that Lucas be enriched.

Baron
I cannot recover. His good fortune desolates me.

Widow (pretending a quick thought, accompanied by joy)
But, let us rejoice and laugh.

Baron
Are you crazy?

Widow
No, at first we both had a stupid inspiration. It's surprised us.

Baron
Well?

Widow
You are angry that chance has just enriched Lisette's fortune.
Fortune, on the contrary, is favoring you. It has determined to make
you happy.

Baron
Oh, oh!

Widow
For the money, and without any love, these days, the most noble marry
Lisettes.

Baron
Right, one hundred thousand francs would pay off my debts. This motive
and love will excuse all.

Widow
Yes, but you must marry instantly, before this lottery becomes known.
This is delicacy. She will believe she owes your tenderness more.
Lucas will get the Grand Prize, but while he is unaware of it, the
fool must be taken, so that he gives all his wealth to Lisette.
Wealth, present and to come.

Baron
Yes, but be discreet. I will say that I am taking Lisette without a
sou.

Widow
The joke is that everybody will believe you're a fool.

(Enter Lisette.)

Baron
Here, Lisette, here.

(The Widow goes to find Lisette, who listens from the depths of the
theatre.)

Widow
Your fortune is made, Lisette. It is I who am procuring it. Hug me,
Lisette.

Baron
Your tears have softened me, Lisette. I surrender. Let's sign the contract
as quickly as I can inform the notary.

Lisette (aside, while the Widow and the Baron talk in low voices)
Do they wish to deceive me? For I understand nothing. (she dreams
profoundly)

(Enter Argon.)

Argon (aside)
An explanation would be very nice here.

Lisette
Ah, here they both are. All is lost. What to do?

Argon (to the Baron)
What did Girard warn me? But, it's your custom. I've often seen you
boast of love. You believe yourself loved by Lisette, then, sir?

Baron
The proof of this is that I am making her my wife.

Argon
Girard made no mistake. You intend to overwhelm her with your
wealth. But she cannot betray her love for me.

Baron
She hasn't any love for you. I swear it.

Argon
It's you who flatter yourself to a fault, I assure you.

Baron
I tell you, she has never loved anyone but me.

Argon
I am sure of her heart and her good faith. Decide between us to finish
the dispute.

Baron
I disdain it. Repeat for the one hundredth time that you love me
tenderly.

Lisette
Me, tell you that? Truly, I take little care, sir. It is from respect
that I let you speak. I believed, at first, that you were boasting, to
laugh. But, without offending you, sir, I will tell you, I have no
love for you, nor will I ever have.

Baron
What? Why?

Widow
What does she say? Ah, how great is my shock!

Baron
What do you say?

Argon
Must she tell you again?

Baron
What? Haven't you said a hundred times that you love me?

Lisette
Me? No.

Argon (charmed)
What naivete.

Widow (angry that Lisette has not fallen into the trap)
What do I hear?

Baron
What? Your tears, your sighs?

Lisette
Were lies.

Argon
I know my neighbor. Without a doubt, it is a dream that he has seen
you in tears and heaving sighs. At his age, while sleeping, these are
pleasant notions.

Baron
But, I haven't dreamed what you have written.

Lisette
It's my father, and Madame is there to tell you so.

Widow
I am enraged.

Argon
I know Lucas is ambitious. He prefers your wealth; for you're worth
more to him. But, besides, I believe her--what likelihood is there
that Lisette, who always says what she thinks, has spoken to you of
love, when she loves me?

Lisette
What are you saying, sir? I have believed, in good faith, that you
spoke in jest that you love me; but this joke is not true.

Argon
Eh--what?

Widow (aside, delighted)
What is her plan? Does she dream, or is it I who dream?

Argon
It's in vain that you still think the secret is necessary. (to Baron)
We made a secret of our love. (to Lisette) Speak, I permit you to
speak freely.

Lisette
If you permit me to speak freely, I don't love you.

Widow
She's frank enough about that.

Argon
How indignant I am!

Baron
By God, I've my revenge.

Argon
But, I understand nothing. Speak clearly, I wish it. Tell them that
you intended to manage us both.

Lisette
I had no intention of managing either of you, I assure you, and you
can see it quite well.

Widow
That's speaking plainly.

Lisette
For, hold on, I prefer my liberty, a hundred times, to all your grand
honors and quality. To be the wife of a great lord, I would be a
servant. As for your kindnesses, of which I am cognizant, pardon me if
I refuse them. In a word, both of you wish to marry me, but I will
never marry either one of you.

Baron
There's your dismissal.

Argon
It is also yours.

Baron
I cannot recover from my astonishment.

Argon
Leave her, forget her, that's sufficient to punish her.

Baron
Well said. No more love.

Argon
Yes, we scorn Lisette

Baron (to Widow)
She has a hundred thousand francs which I still regret.

Widow (low)
Keep it up your sleeve. We are going to speak to her.

Argon (low)
Madame.

Widow
Well, sir?

Argon
Would you go get a notary to come to your house? We are going to
conclude our business instantly.

(Argon exits.)

Widow (to Baron, low)
He abandons her, for you that's the main thing. I am going to rid you
of a rival.

Baron
No, I don’t understand at all.

Widow
Neither do I. But, prudence dictates that one go in the greatest
hurry.

(Exit Baron and Widow. Argon returns from the other side, and looks to
see if the Widow sees him.)

Lisette (dreaming, alone)
I think--yes, from what I've seen, I've done well, I believe. When
they are with me, by themselves, as they will be, I will know what to
do to have them back.

Argon (aside)
The Widow is already far away. Let's Let's penetrate this mystery. From
scorn, I have banished all animosity. I return solely from curiosity,
to see what reasons you will have to give me.

Lisette
Permit me to laugh, seeing you so angry. What? Didn't you see what my
plan was?

Argon (enraged)
No, I didn't see it, and all subterfuge is in vain.

Lisette
I told the Baron the truth, without ruse or subterfuge, for fear he
would continue in his mistake. I didn't wish to deceive him.

Argon (still enraged)
I understand perfectly. But, why speak to me as to him? To refuse me?
Me? Me?

Lisette
Let's talk about him first. You see me delighted. I have punished that
liar the way I have quite wanted to.

Argon (still enraged)
But me, me?

Lisette
Patience. He wanted to marry me today, and my father is on his side.
And you wanted the jealous Widow to see that I love you and will marry
you. If they knew that I can love you they would get me locked up.

Argon
Ha! Ha!

Lisette
Truly, I would have completely spoiled the mystery. You told me
yourself before to keep quiet.

Argon
You've done very properly. Yes, you're right, and I am the fool. To
deceive the Baron--yes, I see the pretence is prudent and useful.

Lisette
I believe, too, well done, at least.

Argon
How charming Lisette is. I am not blind, I see clearly that Lisette
prefers me to a far richer man. What love! What wit!

Lisette
I have no wit. Love has added to my customary want of it.

Argon
We must secretly--

Lisette
Yes, but let's separate. I will go alone, in secret, to your place for
a short while.

Argon
Without your father--

Lisette
He's coming. Leave me, for I tremble if the Baron and he should see us
together.

(Exit Argon. Enter Lucas and the Baron.)

Lisette (aside)
Here I am sure of one, but he's my second choice. Let's retake the
other one. He's back to speak to me.

Lucas
She must have gone crazy and what she said astonishes me. You say she
doesn't love you and refuses to be a Baroness?

Baron (to Lisette)
You have just revived my wrath. Ah, how I ought to kill my love for
you. How can you, at your age, have the audacity to give me the lie--
me, and look in my face, and tell me that you don't love me?

Lisette (pretending to have a grudge against him)
Yes, I have maintained it to your face, for it is true.

Baron
Without doubt, it happened unexpectedly to you, some vapor which
disturbed your senses and memory. For how else could I believe that,
after the ardent love you've shown me?

Lisette (adding to her simulated scorn)
I never loved you.

Baron
Still? I am outraged. You have told me a hundred times, and before
your father.

Lisette
I never said it to you.

Baron
She makes me despair.

Lisette (softening)
No, never, or at least--

Baron
At least?

Lisette
If I said it, I repent it so much. I have so much scorn, that if I
said it, I will say the contrary, always to the whole wide world, to
yourself, to my father. (pretending tenderness) What the world will
know, that I loved you, and that, when I cried from love, you didn't
want to marry me. No, no, and against you, my courage has returned.
Me! I love you? I would indeed have little heart. My love was honest
and yours was deceitful.

Lucas (who has softened, taken in and almost crying)
I've seen--she's right.

Baron
Then it's from rage, suspecting my love is not sincere, that you
have told me you don't love me?

Lisette
Yes, exactly. Am I wrong?

Baron
You love me then?

Lisette
Alas!

Baron
Let's forget all this, Lisette, let's go quickly to a notary. May a
contract be the prize of your sincere love. Let's hurry.

(Exit Baron.)

Lucas (transported with joy)
Quickly, quickly!

Lisette (low to her father, holding him by the arm)
Let's go softly.

Lucas
I'm going to be papa to a Baroness.

Lisette
Oh, I doubt it.

Lucas
Why? He's making you his wife and says so.

Lisette
No, I can see some trick.

Lucas
He marries, and that's that.

Lisette
I don't believe a word of it, father.

Lucas
To not believe the wedding, when it's come?

Lisette
I believe he's deceiving me. First, I saw the Widow when Argon spoke of
the business in a fret with Girard. Raging, despairing--and now she's
just embraced me, knowing that I deceived her, she comes to caress me.

Lucas
Yes, it's treason.

Lisette
The Baron refused me. Then, suddenly, he changes and wants me.

Lucas
It's a trick.

Lisette (after having dreamed)
If the Widow and Girard, who know how to trick, said to the Baron:
pretend to marry her and as soon as she agrees, won't Argon be
disgusted?

Lucas
Oh--that's it! I see clearly.

Lisette (dreaming again)
For me, I don't see. For, on the other side, perhaps the Baron really
wanted to marry me. That would embarrass, no, yes, the more I think
about it-- May I have enough wit and not be too clever by half.

Lucas
Listen to my good advice. I have marvelous ideas. For, in the state
where things are perilous, you have wit, but in a family affair, a
father, as they say, is older than his daughter. Here then is my
good advice. Let's go find the Baron. He's the most important.

Lisette
No.

Lucas
No?

Lisette
No.

Lucas
It's the second who is good. Lets go find Argon.

Lisette
No.

Lucas
Then I don't know any more than an animal? Oh, my third advice,
it's to have a tete-a-tete.

Lisette
Go find the Baron alone.

Lucas
Yes, I understand.

Lisette
And, I alone am going to find Mr. Argon. You finish one side, I will
finish the other.

Lucas
Wow! That's very good. I will marry them both before the notary.

Lisette
As for me, when both contracts are drawn up--I will see. The first
one to sign--that's the one I'll take.

Lucas
You will take hastily. It's the chance of the game. Let's sign two
contracts soon, for fear we will lack one.

Lisette
Mr. Argon's waiting for me. I'm off.

(Exit Lisette.)

Lucas (alone)
Go, quick, go. But how can she get that all out of her own head? I
believe she must have two brains, for she always amazes me. Yes, she's
only my daughter. By God, her wit is already far ahead of mine.

(Enter Girard)

Girard (aside)
Let's latch on to the father. I risk nothing, for without him the
Baron can conclude nothing. By making him read this phony list,
let us disturb his head. Let's throw the dice. (counterfeiting the
newsboys) Lists, lists of winners!

Lucas
Lottery winners! Let's see a bit. What did you say there?

Girard
Let's see if this lottery came out good.

Lucas
What do I see there? Don't I see the seal?

Girard
Clever. Are you curious? (putting the list on the side where Lucas is
not) Read here.

Lucas
Very well. But show me better then.

Girard
To an avaricious reader--oh beautiful thought. May a happy fool with a
lucky number--

Lucas
Ha, ha, that's it!

Girard
Yes, it is. Hum, hum.

Lucas
Let's see that.

Girard (turning the list to the other side)
With pleasure. Let's see.

Lucas
Eh! I can't see anything that way.

Girard (turning the other side even worse)
Let's read. Let's see. Ah!

(Girard is moving and raising and lowering the paper so Lucas can't
see.)

Lucas (with a little joy)
What is it? Show me then, friend.

Girard
No. I was mistaken. But, hum, hum. I hope-- (letting Lucas see the
paper) God, I don't see a thing.

Lucas
Ah, by God, I see. Let's see quickly there, Girard. I see something
about me.

Girard (hiding the list)
No, it's nothing at all.

Lucas (joyfully)
And I have seen. My name is there!

Girard
Take it easy. You probably have won nothing. I will give you a hundred
francs at best.

Lucas
No, no. I've seen what I've seen. Lucas, it's my name.

Girard
If you have, at least I want to be reimbursed. Return my money, it's
my only resource.

Lucas
All right. Show quickly.

Girard
It's one of the numbers. It's at least a thousand francs. I have seen
several zeroes.

Lucas
Several zeroes? I intend to see as many as grains of sand.

Girard
You're a man insatiable for zeroes.

Lucas (joyous)
Ah, it's ten thousand francs.

Girard
Curious, yes, I see. But, if that isn't the numeral?

Lucas
By God, I'm really frightened.

Girard
Let's confirm.

Lucas (thoughtful)
Yes, there it is, the fifth.

Girard (giving the list)
Read it over, and calculate it yourself.

Lucas (taking the list, upset)
My heart beats--beats. I am quite transported. I'm afraid to have seen
double, and to have counted too many. One, two, three, four, and five.

Girard
Let's say--

Lucas (upset)
One, two, three, did I say three?

Girard
Yes.

Lucas
Ah, I see the number that's formed. I'm a bit overwhelmed.

Girard
In short, Lucas has the Grand Prize?

Lucas
Ouf!

Girard (relaxing)
Relax. Take off your coat.

Lucas
The Grand Prize!

Girard
Since one is rich, one must get a little better clothes.

Lucas
One hundred thousand francs!

Girard
How much we'll drink at Lucas' place!

Lucas
Let's go quickly to Paris.

Girard
I will get you a carriage and horses.

Lucas
Ah, I believe I'll die of luxury. Let's see the lottery quickly, so I
can see myself first again.

Girard
Are you going to remain a farmer?

Lucas (indignant)
Me! A farmer.

Girard
Forgive me for saying the word. I quite see the question is crazy.
Well, give me your rents. You won't want them. You'll be a great lord.
I am a poor devil, and your loyal friend. You will give them to me for
this good news.

Lucas
Yes. Get me a carriage and horses that go very fast, very fast.

Girard
Yes, like birds. But, at first, in passing, let's stop at the notary
to give me the rents. All right, father?

Lucas
Yes, I won't need it myself. I will leave you all the rents from my
timberland. I am going straight to Paris to get some nobility.


CURTAIN



ACT III

Argon is trying to avoid showing himself to the Widow, who grabs him
by the arm.


Widow
I will prove it all to you. Can you doubt it? But, stay one minute, at
least to listen to me.

Argon
Time presses. I have Lisette and the notary together. If Lucas appears
I will finish the business. In love, moments are precious to an older
person.

Widow
If you marry, a quarter of an hour later, you will have time to be
tired of Lisette and to repent a foolish act. Pardon the word, it's
from friendship for you. My zeal is not mixed with any jealous
transport. Better if you never marry me or the coquette. Be undeceived
and I will be satisfied. Eh--can you remain blind. I will prove to both
you and the Baron how she trapped you at once reconciling, by the same
management, traitorous simplicity and naïve lies. By the cleverest
tricks and the most lively manners, she's figured out how to get love
without giving any. She cold-bloodedly talks in the most tender way
and pretends with effrontery to be timidly embarrassed. Tears which go
right to the heart and which bother her not at all. She abuses his
weakness and yours. In offering you one hand, she gives him the other.
Thus a French coquette delivers perfidy with both hands, and if she
needs it will find another hand for a third.

Argon
You've said it twenty times. But for the hundredth time, you still
must prove it.

Widow
Speak low. I see the Baron and Lucas. Keep aside and you will perhaps
be able to see that not only Lucas prefers his master to you, but also
Lisette.

Argon
Let's see. I would be undeceived.

(Argon goes to the side. Enter Girard.)

Widow
Well?

Girard
Lucas is occupied with his Grand Prize.

Widow
But, does the Baron intend to marry--

Girard
Patience. I am given all the rents in advance. For it is I, who have
managed all. Lucas is metamorphosized into a great lord. Since he has
seen the lottery, his sudden riches trouble his head, and have changed
his type. He has nothing human remaining except his form and his
pride. Grave, deciding with a wink of his eye, disdaining to speak or
speaking by sentence. He believes people applaud his silence. Saluting
with his big head, puffed up, swollen, Lucas has become subtly
inflated with a contagious disease. He can be seen thrusting his paunch
two steps ahead of himself.

Widow
In that case, Girard, we must-- But Lisette is running this way. Mr.
Argon is following her. Things aren't turning out right.

Girard
No.

Widow
I am going to join Argon right away. Amuse these two here.

Girard
All that one plans, does not succeed.

(Exit Widow. Lucas is walking in grandly. The Baron, hat in hand,
follows Lucas, who puts his hat back on first.)

Baron
Yes, I beam with pleasure that fortune has fulfilled your wish.

Lucas
Although my fortune may be much higher than yours, I would be father
and companion to you, always. (slaps him on the shoulder) For I am not
proud.

Baron
Indeed, I see that, Lucas.

Girard
You see that the gentleman doesn't underrate himself. He deserves to
fill a great office.

Lucas
Haven't you retained a fine place for me at the Post? For that's
why I am going to Paris.

Girard
I already told you, they're looking for a carriage softer than a bed
for you.

Lucas
But, what's keeping the carriage. I don't want to have to wait.

Girard
The horses will soon be here at your orders. Wait for them here. Hola,
lackey, hola, some chairs.

(Lackeys enter with chairs. Lucas exchanges greetings with the Baron
and seats himself first.)

Lucas
Let's not have any manners while I'm here.

Baron
Let's talk about our business.

Lucas (not replying)
I've got a great idea just now.

Baron
We were discussing--

Lucas
In seeing me, all Paris is going to feast me. The one who won the
Grand Prize.

Baron
Before you leave--

Lucas
All the world will be beggars except me, because my wealth will divert
me. While I am in the grain, I am going to see people cry famine. What
a pleasure!

Baron
Then, Lucas, do you intend to reach a conclusion for my ardent love?

Lucas
They're going to propose to me some pretty expenses, pretty horses,
and pretty families to marry into. This business will increase wealth.
I'll buy whatever's for sale.

Girard
But, to ennoble you, you would have a gentleman for a son-in-law.

Baron
Lisette is waiting for us.

Lucas
I'll have all this, indeed, for when one is very rich, one attracts
all that for nothing.

Baron
You promised me--

Lucas (with an important air)
Huh!

Baron
To finish--

Lucas
What?

Baron
Our business.

Lucas
What business?

Baron
Ours, I have had the notary there, to write the contract. He's waiting
only for you. We are agreed between us.

Lucas
Ah, I believe that I remember something of it. Damn, when one has so
much business, one thinks only of the best. Yes, we spoke of marriage,
but it cannot be. There's only, but a bit--

Girard
What do I hear? What, then, you already intend to disown it?

Baron
Remember, Lucas, that I was your master.

Girard
Lucas, remember that there's great honor, a handsome alliance to have
a lord for a son-in-law.

Lucas
Oh, it's money which makes the best marriages.

Baron
What, you no longer intend?

Lucas
I want no part of your lineage.

Baron
What?

Lucas
But, it's necessary to listen to me. I am a native of this hamlet.
That means, that from friendship, I love your earth, your chateau.
Yet, it's not mine if you become my son-in-law. My opinion is it would
be better if you sold it to me.

Baron
You're joking, I believe. Sell you my chateau?

Lucas
It is all dilapidated, but I will make a lot of improvements.

Baron
He's gone crazy.

Girard (low)
This rascal scorns you.

Lucas
The land will ennoble me. That's what I want of you. While at Paris I
increase my money, you keep the land fallow.

Girard
You will be his farmer.

Baron (rising)
This is too much insolence.

Girard (to Baron)
Sir, calm down. I promise you revenge.

Lucas (aside, also rising)
This little gentleman, he heard all that. He owes money everywhere,
but he believes he is to be respected. But, I will have his chateau.
He'd better leave. He has some creditors. I will have it through the
law.

Girard (after having spoken low to the Baron)
We have done all, sir, for your good. But to revenge yourself, better
say nothing.

(Enter Lisette.)

Lisette
I have been looking for you everywhere. Ouf! I'm out of breath. To
find you, father, took a lot of trouble. I have run--for they say--but
I don't believe it--I heard it everywhere--the Grand Prize. These are
the compliments that greet me everywhere. They say a hundred thousand
francs. Is it true, father?

Lucas
True.

Lisette (impressed)
A hundred thousand francs!

(Enter Argon and the Widow.)

Argon (who runs after her)
Well, are you fleeing from me? Speak! Since you've heard about the lottery, and
you know the news, you scorn me.

Lisette
Yes.

Argon
This is a handsome fortune. But, it ought not to attract your scorn to
me. Answer me, at least. Will you marry me?

Lisette
I obey my father. He has told me that he wishes to defer this
business. (low to Lucas and making a sign with her eyes to him) Tell
him that it's you who refuse.

Lucas
Good, good.

Lisette
That costs nothing. Get me off.

Lucas
No.

Lisette (signaling with her eyes)
Tell them something that will end my engagement, at least.

Lucas
Eh! You trouble yourself too much about them. Leave off your
winking. Not necessary for any polish. You have what you need to
marry.

Widow
Her father covets her, the opulent fool. Foolishness that he doesn't
try to excuse.

Argon
By her own fault, she herself disabused me. As for me, so as not to
risk another love trick, I'm engaging myself to you.

Widow
Friendship without love. That's what we agree makes a good marriage.
Love is restless and bores itself in a household.

Baron
You would have had our wealth. You will be confounded.

Lucas
Let them say--then you will have three times more, four times more.

Lisette
Let's go quickly to Paris to be in abundance.

Lucas
Between the land and our money--there's the difference. Their land and
their chateau. It's nothing but a little plot. It will never increase,
no, not even an abortion. But my money is in a great adventure. It
will swell at first, and then like a river, it will increase.

Lisette
Increase.

Lucas
Increase--it will increase.

Lisette
Ah, how I will have lovers who will respect me. What happiness! I will
see brilliant fortunes. What a following I am going to have. Lackeys,
servants.

Girard
And valets de chambre--for page--Girard.

Lucas
Let them bring on my horses.

Widow
They will harness you a carriage.

Girard
Go on foot, from fear that your carriage will break down. This is
going to reform the pomp of your train. (giving the list to Lisette)
This is the true list.

Widow
Yes, the reversal is very afflicting. But you've shone already for
your money. A hundred thousand francs for you in the air.

Baron
One hundred thousand francs to laugh at.

Lisette
What are they talking about? What?

Lucas (looking for the place where the prize was shown in his other
list)
Eh! Go on, go on, let them talk. Here, here. It's here. For Lucas, the
Grand Prize.

Baron
You will not buy my chateau, master fool.

Lucas (troubled)
It was there.

Girard
The zeroes are left.

Lisette
Oh! Father, they are mocking you.

Argon
Yes, here's the mystery.

Widow
You have nothing.

Girard
But nothing--gets nothing. I made the false list, and I found wealth.
I've gotten all of Lucas' rents. My love for you makes heroic
sacrifices. I give them all to you, Lisette.

Argon
Let's go to supper at my place.

Baron
Yes, let's go.

Girard
Yes, I have pity for the trouble in which I see you. These gentlemen,
without their ranks. My offer ought to please you. They have made
their fortune, and I have my fortune to make. But, I am, in a day, by
myself, more amorous than the two of them can be in a month. They have
not been able to acquire a young girl. But nobility acquires more than
riches.

Lisette (to widow)
How much I owe you, Madame! It's you who turned my spirit upside down,
in telling me that one must be a coquette.

Widow
I am well punished for my bad advice. I agree, I was wrong.

Lisette (to Girard)
I listened to her. You must have a Baron, she always said. No, I would
never have thought of anyone but you, except for her. If I had
followed my natural inclination, from tenderness I would have chosen
you.

Girard
Eh! Choose me then! Lucas will consent.

Lucas (in going)
Ouf!

Girard
Speak

Lucas
Ouf!

Girard
Two times ouf, in mute language, is worth one yes.

Widow
That's the fate of a coquette. After high prospects, one sees her,
sooner or later, confused, confounded, and reduced to a Girard.


CURTAIN





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This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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