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- The Lamp and the Bell - 10/16 -

stops in confusion on a dischord, dance breaks up wildly, everybody rushes to throne.]

Scene 5

[The same room later that evening, entirely empty, disordered. Musicians' benches overturned, for example, a couple of instruments left about, garlands trampled on the floor, a wing of one of the Cupids clinging to the dais of Bianca and Mario. Enter Beatrice, weeping, goes to her father's throne and creeps up into it, with her face towards the back of it and clings there, sobbing quietly. Enter Bianca and Mario,]

BIA. [Softly.] Ay. She is here. I thought she would be here. There are so many people by his bed Even now, she cannot be alone with him.

MAR. Is there no hope?

BIA. Nay, there is none. 'Tis over. He was a kind old man.

MAR. Come, let us go, And leave her to herself.

BIA. Nay, Mario. I must not leave her. She will sit like that All night, unless I bid her come away, And put her into bed.

MAR. Will you come to me After she sleeps?

BIA. Ay. If she sleeps,

MAR. And if not?

BIA. I could not leave her.

MAR. Bianca, do you love me?

BIA. Ay, Mario!

MAR. Ah, but not as I love you!

BIA. You do not mean that, Mario; you know How much I love you. But I could not be happy Thinking of her awake in the darkness, weeping, And all alone.

MAR. Oh, my sweet love.

BIA. It may be She will sleep.

MAR. I shall be waiting for you. [They embrace.]

[Exit Mario. Bianca goes to Beatrice and sits at the foot of the throne, putting her head against Beatrice's feet.]

BIA. Sister.

[After a moment Beatrice slowly reaches down her hand, and Bianca takes it.]



Scene 1--Five years later.

[A marketplace in Fiori, vegetables, fruits and flowers exposed for sale in little stalls and wagons, crowd of townspeople moving about, talking, laughing, buying. Group of children playing a game in a ring. Supper time.]

CHILDREN. One, two, three, The dough is in the oven! One, two, three, The bread is on the board! One, two, three. The dough is in the oven! One, two, three, The bread is on the board! One, two, three, All follow me!

EUGENIA. Good-even, Giovanitta. Those are beautiful Onions you have there.

GIO. Ay, it has been a good year For onions.

EUG. I am taking seven.

GIO. Each year, You buy another onion!

EUG. Faith, each year I have another mouth to thrust it in! Beautiful carrots, too, you have.

GIO. Ay, carrots Are well enough. One cannot complain. 'Tis a good year For carrots.

CLARA. 'Tis a good year for many things. Prices are low,--but not too low for profit.

GIULIANA. And there are fewer taxes than there once were On things one cannot live without.

ANNA. 'Tis a good Queen We have, it must be granted.

GIO. Ay, and a wise one.

GILDA. And pretty, too.

GIULIANA. Ho, ho! When did you see her?

GILDA. This morning, mother. I was at the edge of the wood With Beppo, when they rode by to the hunt, Talking together, and laughing.

BEPPO. [Calling from across the stage.] And the horses With feet like this! [Arching his hands and feet to represent a horse stepping delicately.]

GILDA. And glittering in the sunshine In a thousand places, mother! I wanted to tell you When we returned, but you had gone to the brook With the linen. They were so near us we could hear them Talking.

BEPPO. [Coming up.] And hear the horses breathe!

ANNA. What said they?

GILDA. Well, one of them said--what was the name?

BEPPO. Anselmo.

GILDA. Oh, ay. She said, "Anselmo, am I getting thinner Do you think? If I be not thinner than I was at starting, I shall descend at once! I like not this; It chatters my teeth."

BEPPO. And then she said--

GILDA. What said she? Oh, ay,--about the boat.

BEPPO. She said, "Next time I shall go fishing instead of hunting. A boat Hath a more mannerly gait!"

GILDA. There was one horse, mother, That was all white! There was not one hair upon him That was not white!

GIULIANA. And who was riding that horse?

BEPPO. A man. And riding well.

GILDA. He was dressed in green, And had a yellow beard. And there was a lady With hair the color of Adelina's, bright Like fire. She was dressed in blue, and was most beautiful.

BEPPO. And she was mounted on a dappled mare.

GILDA. But, oh, it was the Queen that was more lovely-- Than any of the rest!

GIO. How did you know, now, It was the Queen?

GILDA. Nay, but you could not help But know! She was not laughing like the rest,-- Just smiling; and I would not have been afraid To toss a flower to her from the wood, If I had had a flower.

BEPPO. You knew her, though, Because she was in scarlet. All the world knows She wears a scarlet mantle!

GILDA. Nay, if that were all, It might have been the Pope!

BEPPO. I would it had been. I never saw the Pope.

GILDA. You never saw

The Lamp and the Bell - 10/16

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