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    Act I

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    Chapter 2
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    SCENE I.--LELIO, alone.

    LEL. Very well! Leander, very well! we must quarrel then,--we shall see which of us two will gain the day; and which, in our mutual pursuit after this young miracle of beauty, will thwart the most his rival's addresses. Do whatever you can, defend yourself well, for depend upon it, on my side no pains shall be spared.


    LEL. Ah! Mascarille!

    MASC. What's the matter?

    LEL. A great deal is the matter. Everything crosses my love. Leander is enamoured of Celia. The Fates have willed it, that though I have changed the object of my passion, he still remains my rival.

    MASC. Leander enamoured of Celia!

    LEL. He adores her, I tell you.

    [Footnote: In French, tu, toi, thee, thou, denote either social superiority or familiarity. The same phraseology was also employed in many English comedies of that time, but sounds so stiff at present, that the translator has everywhere used "you."]

    MASC. So much the worse.

    LEL. Yes, so much the worse, and that's what annoys me. However, I should be wrong to despair, for since you aid me, I ought to take courage. I know that your mind can plan many intrigues, and never finds anything too difficult; that you should be called the prince of servants, and that throughout the whole world....

    MASC. A truce to these compliments; when people have need of us poor servants, we are darlings, and incomparable creatures; but at other times, at the least fit of anger, we are scoundrels, and ought to be soundly thrashed.

    LEL. Nay, upon my word, you wrong me by this remark. But let us talk a little about the captive. Tell me, is there a heart so cruel, so unfeeling, as to be proof against such charming features? For my part, in her conversation as well as in her countenance, I see evidence of her noble birth. I believe that Heaven has concealed a lofty origin beneath such a lowly station.

    MASC. You are very romantic with all your fancies. But what will Pandolphus do in this case? He is your father, at least he says so. You know very well that his bile is pretty often stirred up; that he can rage against you finely, when your behaviour offends him. He is now in treaty with Anselmo about your marriage with his daughter, Hippolyta; imagining that it is marriage alone that mayhap can steady you: now, should he discover that you reject his choice, and that you entertain a passion for a person nobody knows anything about; that the fatal power of this foolish love causes you to forget your duty and disobey him; Heaven knows what a storm will then burst forth, and what fine lectures you will be treated to.

    LEL. A truce, I pray, to your rhetoric.

    MASC. Rather a truce to your manner of loving, it is none of the best, and you ought to endeavour.

    LEL. Don't you know, that nothing is gained by making me angry, that remonstrances are badly rewarded by me, and that a servant who counsels me acts against his own interest?

    MASC. (Aside). He is in a passion now. (Aloud). All that I said was but in jest, and to try you. Do I look so very much like a censor, and is Mascarille an enemy to pleasure? You know the contrary, and that it is only too certain people can tax me with nothing but being too good-natured. Laugh at the preachings of an old grey-beard of a father; go on, I tell you, and mind them not. Upon my word, I am of opinion that these old, effete and grumpy libertines come to stupify us with their silly stories, and being virtuous, out of necessity, hope through sheer envy to deprive young people of all the pleasures of life! You know my talents; I am at your service.

    LEL. Now, this is talking in a manner I like. Moreover, when I first declared my passion, it was not ill received by the lovely object who inspired it; but, just now, Leander has declared to me that he is preparing to deprive me of Celia; therefore let us make haste; ransack your brain for the speediest means to secure me possession of her; plan any tricks, stratagems, rogueries, inventions, to frustrate my rival's pretensions.

    MASC. Let me think a little upon this matter. (Aside). What can I invent upon this urgent occasion?

    LEL. Well, the stratagem?

    MASC. What a hurry you are in! My brain must always move slowly. I have found what you want; you must... No, that's not it; but if you would go...

    LEL. Whither?

    MASC. No, that's a flimsy trick. I thought that...

    LEL. What is it?

    MASC. That will not do either. But could you not...?

    LEL. Could I not what?

    MASC. No, you could not do anything. Speak to Anselmo.

    LEL. And what can I say to him?

    MASC. That is true; that would be falling out of the frying-pan into the fire. Something must be done however. Go to Trufaldin.

    LEL. What to do?

    MASC. I don't know.

    LEL. Zounds! this is too much. You drive me mad with this idle talk.

    MASC. Sir, if you could lay your hand on plenty of pistoles, [Footnote: The pistole is a Spanish gold coin worth about four dollars; formerly the French pistole was worth in France ten livres--about ten francs--they were struck in Franche-Comté.] we should have no need now to think of and try to find out what means we must employ in compassing our wishes; we might, by purchasing this slave quickly, prevent your rival from forestalling and thwarting you. Trufaldin, who takes charge of her, is rather uneasy about these gipsies, who placed her with him. If he could get back his money, which they have made him wait for too long, I am quite sure he would be delighted to sell her; for he always lived like the veriest curmudgeon; he would allow himself to be whipped for the smallest coin of the realm. Money is the God he worships above everything, but the worst of it is that...

    LEL. What is the worst of it?...

    MASC. That your father is just as covetous an old hunk, who does not allow you to handle his ducats, as you would like; that there is no way by which we could now open ever so small a purse, in order to help you. But let us endeavour to speak to Celia for a moment, to know what she thinks about this affair; this is her window.

    LEL. But Trufaldin watches her closely night and day; Take care.

    MASC. Let us keep quiet in this corner. What luck! Here she is coming just in the nick of time.


    LEL. Ah! madam, what obligations do I owe to Heaven for allowing me to behold those celestial charms you are blest with! Whatever sufferings your eyes may have caused me, I cannot but take delight in gazing on them in this place.

    CEL. My heart, which has good reason to be astonished at your speech, does not wish my eyes to injure any one; if they have offended you in anything, I can assure you I did not intend it.

    LEL. Oh! no, their glances are too pleasing to do me an injury. I count it my chief glory to cherish the wounds they give me; and...

    MASC. You are soaring rather too high; this style is by no means what we want now; let us make better use of our time; let us know of her quickly what...

    TRUF. (Within). Celia!

    MASC. (To Lelio). Well, what do you think now?

    LEL. O cruel mischance! What business has this wretched old man to interrupt us!

    MASC. Go, withdraw, I'll find something to say to him.


    TRUF. (To Celia). What are you doing out of doors? And what induces you to go out,--you, whom I have forbidden to speak to any one?

    CEL. I was formerly acquainted with this respectable young man; you have no occasion to be suspicious of him.

    MASC. Is this Signor Trufaldin?

    CEL. Yes, it is himself.

    MASC. Sir, I am wholly yours; it gives me extreme pleasure to have this opportunity of paying my most humble respects to a gentleman who is everywhere so highly spoken of.

    TRUF. Your most humble servant.

    MASC. Perhaps I am troublesome, but I have been acquainted with this young woman elsewhere; and as I heard about the great skill she has in predicting the future, I wished to consult her about a certain affair.

    TRUF. What! Do you dabble in the black art?

    CEL. No, sir, my skill lies entirely in the white.

    [Footnote: The white art (magie blanche) only dealt with beneficent spirits, and wished to do good to mankind; the black art (magie noire) invoked evil spirits.]

    MASC. The case is this. The master whom I serve languishes for a fair lady who has captivated him. He would gladly disclose the passion which burns within him to the beauteous object whom he adores, but a dragon that guards this rare treasure, in spite of all his attempts, has hitherto prevented him. And what torments him still more and makes him miserable, is that he has just discovered a formidable rival; so that I have come to consult you to know whether his love is likely to meet with any success, being well assured that from your mouth I may learn truly the secret which concerns us.

    CEL. Under what planet was your master born?

    MASC. Under that planet which never alters his love.

    CEL. Without asking you to name the object he sighs for, the science which I possess gives me sufficient information. This young woman is high-spirited, and knows how to preserve a noble pride in the midst of adversity; she is not inclined to declare too freely the secret sentiments of her heart. But I know them as well as herself, and am going with a more composed mind to unfold them all to you, in a few words.

    MASC. O wonderful power of magic virtue!

    CEL. If your master is really constant in his affections, and if virtue alone prompts him, let him be under no apprehension of sighing in vain: he has reason to hope, the fortress he wishes to take is not averse to capitulation, but rather inclined to surrender.

    MASC. That's something, but then the fortress depends upon a governor whom it is hard to gain over.

    CEL. There lies the difficulty.

    MASC. (Aside, looking at Lelio). The deuce take this troublesome fellow, who is always watching us.

    CEL. I am going to teach you what you ought to do.

    LEL. (Joining them). Mr. Trufaldin, give yourself no farther uneasiness; it was purely in obedience to my orders that this trusty servant came to visit you; I dispatched him to offer you my services, and to speak to you concerning this young lady, whose liberty I am willing to purchase before long, provided we two can agree about the terms.

    MASC. (Aside). Plague take the ass!

    TRUF. Ho! ho! Which of the two am I to believe? This story contradicts the former very much.

    MASC. Sir, this gentleman is a little bit wrong in the upper story: did you not know it?

    TRUF. I know what I know, and begin to smell a rat. Get you in (to Celia), and never take such a liberty again. As for you two, arrant rogues, or I am much mistaken, if you wish to deceive me again, let your stories be a little more in harmony.


    MASC. He is quite right. To speak plainly, I wish he had given us both a sound cudgelling. What was the good of showing yourself, and, like a Blunderer, coming and giving the lie to all that I had been saying?

    LEL. I thought I did right.

    MASC. To be sure. But this action ought not to surprise me. You possess so many counterplots that your freaks no longer astonish anybody.

    LEL. Good Heavens! How I am scolded for nothing! Is the harm so great that it cannot be remedied? However, if you cannot place Celia in my hands, you may at least contrive to frustrate all Leander's schemes, so that he cannot purchase this fair one before me. But lest my presence should be further mischievous, I leave you.

    MASC. (Alone). Very well. To say the truth, money would be a sure and staunch agent in our cause; but as this mainspring is lacking, we must employ some other means.


    ANS. Upon my word, this is a strange age we live in; I am ashamed of it; there was never such a fondness for money, and never so much difficulty in getting one's own. Notwithstanding all the care a person may take, debts now-a-days are like children, begot with pleasure, but brought forth with pain. It is pleasant for money to come into our purse; but when the time comes that we have to give it back, then the pangs of labour seize us. Enough of this, it is no trifle to receive at last two thousand francs which have been owing upwards of two years. What luck!

    MASC. (Aside). Good Heavens! What fine game to shoot flying! Hist, let me see if I cannot wheedle him a little. I know with what speeches to soothe him. (Joining him). Anselmo I have just seen....

    ANS. Who, prithee?

    MASC. Your Nerina.

    ANS. What does the cruel fair one say about me?

    MASC. Say? that she is passionately fond of you.

    ANS. Is she?

    MASC. She loves you so that I very much pity her.

    ANS. How happy you make me!

    MASC. The poor thing is nearly dying with love. "Oh, my dearest Anselmo," she cries every minute, "when shall marriage unite our two hearts? When will you vouchsafe to extinguish my flames?"

    ANS. But why has she hitherto concealed this from me? Girls, in troth, are great dissemblers! Mascarille, what do you say, really? Though in years, yet I look still well enough to please the eye.

    MASC. Yes, truly, that face of yours is still very passable; if it is not of the handsomest in the world, it is very agreeable. [Footnote: The original has a play on words which cannot be translated, as, ce visage est encore fort mettable....,s'il n'est pas des plus beaux, il est des agreables; which two last words, according to pronunciation, can also mean disagreeable. This has been often imitated in French. After the Legion of Honour was instituted in France in 1804, some of the wits of the time asked the Imperialists: etes-vous des honores?]

    ANS. So that...

    MASC. (Endeavouring to take the purse). So that she dotes on you; and regards you no longer...

    ANS. What?

    MASC. But as a husband: and fully intends...

    ANS. And fully intends...?

    MASC. And fully intends, whatever may happen, to steal your purse....

    ANS. To steal...?

    MASC. (Taking the purse, and letting it fall to the ground). To steal a kiss from your mouth.

    [Footnote: There is here again, in the original, a play on the words bourse, purse, and bouche, mouth, which cannot be rendered in English.]

    ANS. Ah! I understand you. Come hither! The next time you see her, be sure to say as many fine things of me as possible.

    MASC. Let me alone.

    ANS. Farewell.

    MASC. May Heaven guide you!

    ANS. (Returning). Hold! I really should have committed a strange piece of folly; and you might justly have accused me of neglect. I engage you to assist me in serving my passion. You bring good tidings, and I do not give you the smallest present to reward your zeal. Here, be sure to remember....

    MASC. O, pray, don't.

    [Footnote: Compare in Shakspeare's Winter's Tale Autolyeus' answer to Camillo (Act IV., Scene 3), who gives him money, "I am a poor fellow, sir, ... I cannot with conscience take it."]

    ANS. Permit me....

    MASC. I won't, indeed: I do not act thus for the sake of money.

    ANS. I know you do not. But however...

    MASC. No, Anselmo, I will not. I am a man of honour; this offends me.

    ANS. Farewell then, Mascarille.

    MASC. (Aside). How long-winded he is!

    ANS. (Coming back). I wish you to carry a present to the fair object of my desires. I will give you some money to buy her a ring, or any other trifle, as you may think will please her most.

    MASC. No, there is no need of your money; without troubling yourself, I will make her a present; a fashionable ring has been left in my hands, which you may pay for afterwards, if it fits her.

    ANS. Be it so; give it her in my name; but above all, manage matters in such a manner that she may still desire to make me her own.


    LEL. (Taking up the purse). Whose purse is this?

    [Footnote: During the whole of the preceding scene Mascarille has quietly kicked the purse away, so as to be out of sight of Anselmo, intending to pick it up when the latter has gone.]

    ANS. Oh Heavens! I dropt it, and might have afterwards believed somebody had picked my pocket. I am very much obliged to you for your kindness, which saves me a great deal of vexation, and restores me my money. I shall go home this minute and get rid of it.


    MASC. Od's death! You have been very obliging, very much so.

    LEL. Upon my word! if it had not been for me he would have lost his money.

    MASC. Certainly, you do wonders, and show to-day a most exquisite judgment and supreme good fortune. We shall prosper greatly; go on as you have begun.

    LEL. What is the matter now? What have I done?

    MASC. To speak plainly as you wish me to do, and as I ought, you have acted like a fool. You know very well that your father leaves you without money; that a formidable rival follows us closely; yet for all this, when to oblige you I venture on a trick of which I take all the shame and danger upon myself...

    LEL. What? was this...?

    MASC. Yes, ninny; it was to release the captive that I was getting the money, whereof your officiousness took care to deprive us.

    LEL. If that is the case, I am in the wrong. But who could have imagined it?

    MASC. It really required a great deal of discernment.

    LEL. You should have made some signs to warn me of what was going on.

    MASC. Yes, indeed; I ought to have eyes in my back. By Jove, be quiet, and let us hear no more of your nonsensical excuses. Another, after all this, would perhaps abandon everything; but I have planned just now a master-stroke, which I will immediately put into execution, on condition that if...

    [Footnote: The play is supposed to be in Sicily; hence Pagan oaths are not out of place. Even at the present time Italians say, per Jove! per Bacco!]

    LEL. No, I promise you henceforth not to interfere either in word or deed.

    MASC. Go away, then, the very sight of you kindles my wrath.

    LEL. Above all, don't delay, for fear that in this business...

    MASC. Once more, I tell you, begone! I will set about it. (Exit Lelio). Let us manage this well; it will be a most exquisite piece of roguery; if it succeeds, as I think it must. We'll try....But here comes the very man I want.


    PAND. Mascarille!

    MASC. Sir?

    PAND. To tell you the truth, I am very dissatisfied with my son.

    MASC. With my master? You are not the only one who complains of him. His bad conduct which has grown unbearable in everything, puts me each moment out of patience.

    PAND. I thought, however, you and he understood one another pretty well.

    MASC. I? Believe it not, sir. I am always trying to put him in mind of his duty: we are perpetually at daggers drawn. Just now we had a quarrel again about his engagement with Hippolyta, which, I find he is very averse to. By a most disgraceful refusal he violates all the respect due to a father.

    PAND. A quarrel?

    MASC. Yes, a quarrel, and a desperate one too.

    PAND. I was very much deceived then, for I thought you supported him in all he did.

    MASC. I? See what this world is come to! How is innocence always oppressed! If you knew but my integrity, you would give me the additional salary of a tutor, whereas I am only paid as his servant. Yes, you yourself could not say more to him than I do in order to make him behave better. "For goodness' sake, sir," I say to him very often, "cease to be driven hither and thither with every wind that blows,--reform; look what a worthy father Heaven has given you, what a reputation he has. Forbear to stab him thus to the heart, and live, as he does, as a man of honour."

    PAND. That was well said; and what answer could he make to this?

    MASC. Answer? Why only nonsense, with which he almost drives me mad. Not but that at the bottom of his heart he retains those principles of honour which he derives from you; but reason, at present, does not sway him. If I might be allowed to speak freely, you should soon see him submissive without much trouble.

    PAND. Speak out.

    MASC. It is a secret which would have serious consequences for me, should it be discovered; but I am quite sure I can confide it to your prudence.

    PAND. You are right.

    MASC. Know then that your wishes are sacrificed to the love your son has for a certain slave.

    PAND. I have been told so before; but to hear it from your mouth pleases me.

    MASC. I leave you to judge whether I am his secret confidant...

    PAND. I am truly glad of it.

    MASC. However, do you wish to bring him back to his duty, without any public scandal? You must... (I am in perpetual fear lest anybody should surprise us. Should he learn what I have told you, I should be a dead man.) You must, as I was saying, to break off this business, secretly purchase this slave, whom he so much idolizes, and send her into another country. Anselmo is very intimate with Trufaldin; let him go and buy her for you this very morning. Then, if you put her into my hands, I know some merchants, and promise you to sell her for the money she costs you, and to send her out of the way in spite of your son. For, if you would have him disposed for matrimony, we must divert this growing passion. Moreover, even if he were resolved to wear the yoke you design for him, yet this other girl might revive his foolish fancy, and prejudice him anew against matrimony.

    PAND. Very well argued. I like this advice much. Here comes Anselmo; go, I will do my utmost quickly to obtain possession of this troublesome slave, when I will put her into your hands to finish the rest.

    MASC. (Alone). Bravo, I will go and tell my master of this. Long live all knavery, and knaves also!


    HIPP. Ay, traitor, is it thus that you serve me? I overheard all, and have myself been a witness of your treachery. Had I not, could I have suspected this? You are an arrant rogue, and you have deceived me. You promised me, you miscreant, and I expected, that you would assist me in my passion for Leander, that your skill and your management should find means to break off my match with Lelio; that you would free me from my father's project; and yet you are doing quite the contrary. But you will find yourself mistaken. I know a sure method of breaking off the purchase you have been urging Pandolphus to make, and I will go immediately....

    MASC. How impetuous you are! You fly into a passion in a moment; without inquiring whether you are right or wrong, you fall foul of me. I am in the wrong, and I ought to make your words true, without finishing what I began, since you abuse me so outrageously.

    HIPP. By what illusion do you think to dazzle my eyes, traitor? Can you deny what I have just now heard?

    MASC. No; but you must know that all this plotting was only contrived to serve you; that this cunning advice, which appeared so sincere, tends to make both old men fall into the snare; that all the pains I have taken for getting Celia into my hands, through their means, was to secure her for Lelio, and to arrange matters so that Anselmo, in the very height of passion, and finding himself disappointed of his son-in-law, might make choice of Leander.

    HIPP. What! This admirable scheme, which has angered me so much, was all for my sake, Mascarille?

    MASC. Yes, for your sake; but since I find my good offices meet with so bad a return,--since I have thus to bear your caprices, and as a reward for my services, you come here with a haughty air, and call me knave, cur, and cheat, I shall presently go, correct the mistake I have committed, and undo what I had undertaken to perform.

    HIPP. (Holding him.) Nay, do not be so severe upon me, and forgive these outbursts of a sudden passion.

    MASC. No, no; let me go. I have it yet in my power to set aside the scheme which offends you so much. Henceforth you shall have no occasion to complain of my zeal. Yes, you shall have my master, I promise you.

    HIPP. My good Mascarille, be not in such a passion. I judged you ill; I was wrong; I confess I was. (Pulls out her purse). But I intend to atone for my fault with this. Could you find it in your heart to abandon me thus?

    MASC. No, I cannot, do what I will. But your impetuosity was very shocking. Let me tell you that nothing offends a noble mind so much as the smallest imputation upon its honour.

    HIPP. It is true; I treated you to some very harsh language, but here are two louis to heal your wounds.

    MASC. Oh! all this is nothing. I am very sensitive on this point; but my passion begins to cool a little already. We must bear with the failings of our friends.

    HIPP. Can you, then, bring about what I so earnestly wish for? Do you believe your daring projects will be as favourable to my passion as you imagine?

    MASC. Do not make yourself uneasy on that account. I have several irons in the fire, and though this stratagem should fail us, what this cannot do, another shall.

    HIPP. Depend upon it, Hippolyta will at least not be ungrateful.

    MASC. It is not the hope of gain that makes me act.

    HIPP. Your master beckons and wishes to speak with you. I will leave you, but remember to do what you can for me.


    LEL. What the deuce are you doing there? You promised to perform wonders, but I am sure your dilatory ways are unparalleled. Had not my good genius inspired me, my happiness had been already wholly overthrown. There was an end to my good fortune, my joy. I should have been a prey to eternal grief; in short, had I not gone to this place in the very nick of time, Anselmo would have got possession of the captive, and I should have been deprived of her. He was carrying her home, but I parried the thrust, warded off the blow, and so worked upon Trufaldin's fears as to make him keep the girl.

    MASC. This is the third time! When we come to ten we will score. It was by my contrivance, incorrigible scatterbrains, that Anselmo undertook this desirable purchase; she should have been placed into my own hands, but your cursed officiousness knocks everything on the head again. Do you think I shall still labour to serve your love? I would sooner a hundred times become a fat old woman, a dolt, a cabbage, a lantern, a wehrwolf, and that Satan should twist your neck!

    LEL. (Alone.) I must take him to some tavern and let him vent his passion on the bottles and glasses.
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