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    Act V

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    Chapter 6
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    MASC. Ah blockhead! numskull! idiot! Will you never leave off persecuting me?

    ERG. The constable took great care everything was going on smoothly; the fellow would have been in jail, had not your master come up that very moment, and, like a madman spoiled your plot. "I cannot suffer," says he in a loud voice, "that a respectable man should be dragged to prison in this disgraceful manner; I will be responsible for him, from his very looks, and will be his bail." And as they refused to let him go, he immediately and so vigorously attacked the officers, who are a kind of people much afraid of their carcasses, that, even at this very moment, they are running, and every man thinks he has got a Lelio at his heels.

    MASC. The fool does not know that this gipsy is in the house already to carry off his treasure.

    ERG. Good-bye, business obliges me to leave you.


    Yes, this last marvellous accident quite stuns me. One would think, and I have no doubt of it, that this bungling devil which possesses Lelio takes delight in defying me, and leads him into every place where his presence can do mischief. Yet I shall go on, and notwithstanding all these buffets of fortune, try who will carry the day. Celia has no aversion to him, and looks upon her departure with great regret. I must endeavour to improve this opportunity. But here they come; let me consider how I shall execute my plan. Yonder furnished house is at my disposal, and I can do what I like with it; if fortune but favours us, all will go well; nobody lives there but myself, and I keep the key. Good Heavens! what a great many adventures have befallen us in so short a time, and what numerous disguises a rogue is obliged to put on.


    AND. You know it, Celia, I have left nothing undone to prove the depth of my passion. When I was but very young, my courage in the wars gained me some consideration among the Venetians, and one time or other, and without having too great an opinion of myself, I might, had I continued in their service, have risen to some employment of distinction; but, for your sake, I abandoned everything; the sudden change you produced in my heart, was quickly followed by your lover joining the gipsies. Neither a great many adventures nor your indifference have been able to make me abandon my pursuit. Since that time, being by an accident separated from you much longer than I could have foreseen, I spared neither time nor pains to meet with you again. At last I discovered the old gipsy-woman, and heard from her that for a certain sum of money, which was then of great consequence to the gipsies, and prevented the dissolution of the whole band, you were left in pledge in this neighbourhood. Full of impatience, I flew hither immediately to break these mercenary chains, and to receive from you whatever commands you might be pleased to give. But, when I thought to see joy sparkle in your eyes, I find you pensive and melancholy; if quietness has charms for you, I have sufficient means at Venice, of the spoils taken in war, for us both to live there; but if I must still follow you as before, I will do so, and my heart shall have no other ambition than to serve you in whatever manner you please.

    CEL. You openly display your affection for me. I should be ungrateful not to be sensible of it. Besides, just now, my countenance does not bear the impress of the feelings of my heart; my looks show that I have a violent headache. If I have the least influence over you, you will delay our voyage for at least three or four days, until my indisposition has passed away.

    AND. I shall stay as long as you like; I only wish to please you; let us look for a house where you may be comfortable. Ho! here is a bill up just at the right time.

    SCENE IV.--CELIA, ANDRÈS, MASCARILLE, disguised as a Swiss.

    AND. Monsieur Swiss, are you the master of the house?

    MASC. I am at your service.

    [Footnote: In the original, Mascarille speaks a kind of gibberish, which is only amusing when the play is acted; but it can serve no purpose to translate "moi, pour serfir a fous," "Oui, moi pour d'estrancher chappon champre garni, mais che non point locher te gent te mechant vi," etc., by "me be at your serfice," "yes. me have de very goot shambers, ready furnish for stranger, but me no loge de people scandaluse," etc. A provincial pronunciation, an Irish brogue, or a Scotch tongue, are no equivalent for this mock Swiss German-French.]

    AND. Can we lodge here?

    MASC. Yes, I let furnished lodgings to strangers, but only to respectable people.

    AND. I suppose your house has a very good reputation?

    MASC. I see by your face you are a stranger in this town.

    AND. I am.

    MASC. Are you the husband of this lady?

    AND. Sir?

    MASC. Is she your wife or your sister?

    AND. Neither.

    MASC. Upon my word, she is very pretty! Do you come on business, or have you a lawsuit going on before the court? A lawsuit is a very bad thing, it costs so much money; a solicitor is a thief, and a barrister a rogue.

    AND. I do not come for either of these.

    MASC. You have brought this young lady then to walk about and to see the town?

    AND. What is that to you? (To Celia). I shall be with you again in one moment; I am going to fetch the old woman presently, and tell them not to send the travelling-carriage which was ready.

    MASC. Is the lady not quite well?

    AND. She has a headache.

    MASC. I have some good wine and cheese within; walk in, go into my small house. (Celia, Andrès and Mascarille go into the house).

    SCENE V.--LELIO, alone.

    However impatient and excited I may feel, yet I have pledged my word to do nothing but wait quietly, to let another work for me, and to see, without daring to stir, in what manner Heaven will change my destiny.


    LEL. (Addressing Andrès, who is coming out of the house). Do you want to see anybody in this house?

    AND. I have just taken some furnished apartments there.

    LEL. The house belongs to my father, and my servant sleeps there every night to take care of it.

    AND. I know nothing of that; the bill, at least, shows it is to be let; read it.

    LEL. Truly this surprises me, I confess. Who the deuce can have put that bill up, and why...? Ho, faith, I can guess, pretty near, what it means; this cannot possibly proceed but from the quarter I surmise.

    AND. May I ask what affair this may be?

    LEL. I would keep it carefully from anybody else, but it can be of no consequence to you, and you will not mention it to any one. Without doubt, that bill can be nothing else but an invention of the servant I spoke of; nothing but some cunning plot he has hatched to place into my hands a certain gipsy girl, with whom I am smitten, and of whom I wish to obtain possession. I have already attempted this several times, but until now in vain.

    AND. What is her name?

    LEL. Celia.

    AND. What do you say? Had you but mentioned this, no doubt I should have saved you all the trouble this project costs you.

    LEL. How so? Do you know her?

    AND. It is I who just now bought her from her master.

    LEL. You surprise me!

    AND. As the state of her health did not allow her to leave this town, I just took these apartments for her; and I am very glad that on this occasion you have acquainted me with your intentions.

    LEL. What! shall I obtain the happiness I hope for by your means? Could you...?

    AND. (Knocks at the door). You shall be satisfied immediately.

    LEL. What can I say to you? And what thanks...?

    AND. No, give me none; I will have none.


    MASC. (Aside). Hallo! Is this not my mad-cap master? He will make another blunder.

    LEL. Who would have known him in this grotesque dress? Come hither, Mascarille, you are welcome.

    MASC. I am a man of honour; I am not Mascarille, I never debauched any married or unmarried woman.

    [Footnote: Mascarille answers in his gibberish, "Moi non point Masquerille," an allusion to maquerelle a female pander; hence his further remarks.]

    LEL. What funny gibberish! It is really very good!

    MASC. Go about your business, and do not laugh at me.

    LEL. You can take off your dress; recognise your master.

    MASC. Upon my word! by all the saints, I never knew you!

    LEL. Everything is settled, disguise yourself no longer.

    MASC. If you do not go away I will give you a slap in the face.

    LEL. Your Swiss jargon is needless, I tell you, for we are agreed, and his generosity lays me under an obligation. I have all I can wish for; you have no reason to be under any farther apprehension.

    MASC. If you are agreed, by great good luck, I will no longer play the Swiss, and become myself again.

    AND. This valet of yours serves you with much zeal; stay a little; I will return presently.


    LEL. Well, what do you say now?

    MASC. That I am delighted to see our labours crowned with success.

    LEL. You were hesitating to doff your disguise, and could hardly believe me.

    MASC. As I know you I was rather afraid, and still find the adventure very astonishing.

    LEL. But confess, however, that I have done great things--at least I have now made amends for all my blunders--mine will be the honour of having finished the work.

    MASC. Be it so; you have been much more lucky than wise.


    AND. Is not this the lady you were speaking of to me?

    LEL. Heavens! what happiness can be equal to mine!

    AND. It is true; I am indebted to you for the kindness you have shown me; I should be much to blame if I did not acknowledge it; but this kindness would be too dearly bought were I to repay it at the expense of my heart. Judge, by the rapture her beauty causes me, whether I ought to discharge my debt to you at such a price. You are generous, and would not have me act thus. Farewell. Let us return whence we came, and stay there for a few days. (He leads Celia away).


    MASC. I am laughing, and yet I have little inclination to it. You two are quite of the same mind; he gives Celia to you. Hem! ... You understand me, sir?

    LEL. This is too much. I am determined no longer to ask you to assist me; it is useless; I am a puppy, a wretch, a detestable blockhead, not worthy of any one taking any trouble for me, incapable of doing anything. Abandon all endeavours to aid an unfortunate wretch, who will not allow himself to be made happy; after so many misfortunes, after all my imprudent actions, death alone should aid me.


    That is the true way of putting the finishing stroke to his fate; he wants nothing now but to die, to crown all his follies. But in vain his indignation, for all the faults he has committed urges him to renounce my aid and my support. I intend, happen what will, to serve him in spite of himself, and vanquish the very devil that possesses him. The greater the obstacle, the greater the glory; and the difficulties which beset us are but a kind of tire-women who deck and adorn virtue.


    CELIA. (To Mascarille, who has been whispering to her). Whatever you may say, and whatever they intend doing, I have no great expectation from this delay. What we have seen hitherto may indeed convince us that they are not as yet likely to agree. I have already told you that a heart like mine will not for the sake of one do an injustice to another, and that I find myself strongly attached to both, though by different ties. If Lelio has love and its power on his side, Andrès has gratitude pleading for him, which will not permit even my most secret thoughts ever to harbour anything against his interests. Yes; if he has no longer a place in my heart, if the gift of my hand must not crown his love, I ought at least to reward that which he has done for me, by not choosing another, in contempt of his flame, and suppress my own inclinations in the same manner as I do his. You have heard the difficulties which duty throws in my way, and you can judge now whether your expectations will be realized.

    MASC. To speak the truth, they are very formidable obstacles in our way, and I have not the knack of working miracles; but I will do my utmost, move Heaven and earth, leave no stone unturned to try and discover some happy expedient. I shall soon let you know what can be done.


    HIPP. Ever since you came among us, the ladies of this neighbourhood may well complain of the havoc caused by your eyes, since you deprive them of the greatest part of their conquests, and make all their lovers faithless. There is not a heart which can escape the darts with which you pierce them as soon as they see you; many thousands load themselves with your chains, and seem to enrich you daily at our expense. However, as regards myself, I should make no complaints of the irresistible sway of your exquisite charms, had they left me one of all my lovers to console me for the loss of the others; but it is inhuman in you that without mercy you deprive me of all; I cannot forbear complaining to you.

    CEL. You rally in a charming manner, but I beseech you to spare me a little. Those eyes, those very eyes of yours, know their own power too well ever to dread anything that I am able to do; they are too conscious of their own charms, and will never entertain similar feelings of fear.

    HIPP. Yet I advance nothing in what I have said which has not already entered the mind of every one, and without mentioning anything else, it is well known that Celia has made a deep impression on Leander and on Lelio.

    CEL. I believe you will easily console yourself about their loss, since they have become so infatuated; nor can you regret a lover who could make so ill a choice.

    HIPP. On the contrary, I am of quite a different opinion, and discover such great merits in your beauty, and see in it so many reasons sufficient to excuse the inconstancy of those who allow themselves to be attracted by it, that I cannot blame Leander for having changed his love and broken his plighted troth. In a short time, and without either hatred or anger, I shall see him again brought under my sway, when his father shall have exercised his authority.


    MASC. Great news! great news! a wonderful event which I am now going to tell you!

    CEL. What means this?

    MASC. Listen. This is, without any compliments...

    CEL. What?

    MASC. The last scene of a true and genuine comedy. The old gipsy-woman was, but this very moment...

    CEL. Well?

    MASC. Crossing the market-place, thinking about nothing at all, when another old woman, very haggard-looking, after having closely stared at her for some time, hoarsely broke out in a torrent of abusive language, and thus gave the signal for a furious combat, in which, instead of swords, muskets, daggers, or arrows, nothing was seen but four withered paws, brandished in the air, with which these two combatants endeavoured to tear off the little flesh old age had left on their bones. Not a word was heard but drab, wretch, trull. Their caps, to begin with, were flying about, and left a couple of bald pates exposed to view, which rendered the battle ridiculously horrible. At the noise and hubbub, Andrès and Trufaldin, as well as many others, ran to see what was the matter, and had much ado to part them, so excited were they by passion. Meanwhile each of them, when the storm was abated, endeavoured to hide her head with shame. Everybody wished to know the cause of this ridiculous fray. She who first began it having, notwithstanding the warmth of her passion, looked for some time at Trufaldin, said in a loud voice,--"It is you, unless my sight misgives me, who, I was informed, lived privately in this town; most happy meeting! Yes, Signor Zanobio Ruberti, fortune made me find you out at the very moment I was giving myself so much trouble for your sake. When you left your family at Naples, your daughter, as you know, remained under my care. I brought her up from her youth. When she was only four years old she showed already in a thousand different ways what charms and beauty she would have. That woman you see there--that infamous hag--who had become rather intimate with us, robbed me of that treasure. Your good lady, alas! felt so much grief at this misfortune, that, as I have reason to believe it shortened her days; so that, fearing your severe reproaches because your daughter had been stolen from me, I sent you word that both were dead; but now, as I have found out the thief, she must tell us what has become of your child." At the name of Zanobio Ruberti, which she repeated several times throughout the story, Andrès, after changing colour often, addressed to the surprised Trufaldin these words: "What! has Heaven most happily brought me to him whom I have hitherto sought in vain! Can I possibly have beheld my father, the author of my being, without knowing him? Yes, father, I am Horatio, your son; my tutor, Albert, having died, I felt anew certain uneasiness in my mind, left Bologna, and abandoning my studies, wandered about for six years in different places, according as my curiosity led me. However, after the expiration of that time, a secret impulse drove me to revisit my kindred and my native country; but in Naples, alas! I could no longer find you, and could only hear vague reports concerning you; so that having in vain tried to meet with you, I ceased to roam about idly, and stopped for a while in Venice. From that time to this I have lived without receiving any other information about my family, except knowing its name." You may judge whether Trufaldin was not more than ordinarily moved all this while; in one word (to tell you shortly that which you will have an opportunity of learning afterwards more at your leisure, from the confession of the old gipsy-woman), Trufaldin owns you (to Celia) now for his daughter; Andrès is your brother; and as he can no longer think of marrying his sister, and as he acknowledges he is under some obligation to my master, Lelio, he has obtained for him your hand. Pandolphus being present at this discovery, gives his full consent to the marriage; and to complete the happiness of the family, proposes that the newly-found Horatio should marry his daughter. See how many incidents are produced at one and the same time!

    CEL. Such tidings perfectly amaze me.

    MASC. The whole company follow me, except the two female champions, who are adjusting their toilet after the fray. Leander and your father are also coming. I shall go and inform my master of this, and let him know that when we thought obstacles were increasing, Heaven almost wrought a miracle in his favour. (Exit Mascarille).

    HIPP. This fortunate event fills me with as much as joy as if it were my own case. But here they come.


    TRUF. My child!

    CEL. Father!

    TRUF. Do you already know how Heaven has blest us?

    CEL. I have just now heard this wonderful event.

    HIPP. (To Leander). You need not find excuses for your past infidelity. The cause of it, which I have before my eyes, is a sufficient excuse.

    LEAND. I crave nothing but a generous pardon. I call Heaven to witness that, though I return to my duty suddenly, my father's authority has influenced me less than my own inclination.

    AND. (To Celia). Who could ever have supposed that so chaste a love would one day be condemned by nature? However, honour swayed it always so much, that with a little alteration it may still continue.

    CEL. As for me, I blamed myself, and thought I was wrong, because I felt nothing but a very sincere esteem for you. I could not tell what powerful obstacle stopped me in a path so agreeable and so dangerous, and diverted my heart from acknowledging a love which my senses endeavoured to communicate to my soul.

    TRUF. (To Celia). But what would you say of me if, as soon as I have found you, I should be thinking of parting with you? I promised your hand to this gentleman's son.

    CEL. I know no will but yours.


    MASC. Now, let us see whether this devil of yours will have the power to destroy so solid a foundation as this; and whether your inventive powers will again strive against this great good luck that befalls you. Through a most unexpected favourable turn of fortune your desires are crowned with success, and Celia is yours.

    LEL. Am I to believe that the omnipotence of Heaven...?

    TRUF. Yes, son-in-law, it is really so.

    PAND. The matter is settled.

    AND. (To Lelio). By this I repay the obligation you lay me under.

    LEL. (To Mascarille). I must embrace you ever so many times in this great joy...

    MASC. Oh! oh! gently, I beseech you; he has almost choked me. I am very much afraid for Celia if you embrace her so forcibly. One can do very well without such proofs of affection.

    TRUF. (To Lelio). You know the happiness with which Heaven has blessed me; but since the same day has caused us all to rejoice, let us not part until it is ended, and let Leander's father also be sent for quickly.

    MASC. You are all provided for. Is there not some girl who might suit poor Mascarille? As I see, every Jack has his Gill, I also want to be married.

    ANS. I have a wife for you.

    MASC. Let us go, then; and may propitious Heaven give us children, whose fathers we really are.

    THE END.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *
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