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- The Lamp and the Bell - 6/16 -

ANS. [To Colombine.] Ah, pretty lady!

CAR. La, she is fickle! How she turns from one face To another face,--and smiles into them all!

FRAN. Oh, ay, but' tis the Pierrot that she loves.

[Pantomime continues and comes to a close.]

[All applaud.]

LUIGI. Well done!

ANS. Bravo!

GIO. A monstrous lively play!

BEA. Oh, is it over?--I would it were not over!

MAR. And yet it pleased you not!

BEA. When it pleased me not, I looked at you.

MAR. And when I pleased you not--?

BEA. I looked at Harlequin. However, I saw him But fleetingly. Pray, was he dark or fair?

LUIGI. Laura!

LAU. Who calls? La, it is only Luigi!

LUIGI. Laura, there'll be a moon tonight.

LAU. I' faith, There was a moon last night. [She sighs.]

LUIGI. At ten o'clock, Were I by a certain gate, would you be there? What say you?

LAU. Ay,--if weariness overtook me, And I could not get further!

CAR. La, 'tis sun-down!

[In the meantime the crowd has been breaking up and dispersing. The curtain falls on the disappearing spectators and on Pierrot and his troupe packing up their wagon to go to the next town.]

Scene 3

[Fiori. A garden with a fountain. Evening.] [Enter Octavia and Ladies.]

OCT. It would amuse me if I had a lily To carry in my hand. You there, Carlotta! You have a long arm,--plunge it in the pool And fish me forth a lily!

CLAUDIA. Majesty, They close at night.

OCT. Well--we will open them.

CAR. [Going to pool and scanning it.] Go to--I am not a frog!

OCT. What did you say?

ARIANNA. She says she sees a frog, Your Majesty.

FRAN. [Aside to Carlotta.] You are mad! Can you not keep your tongue in your head?

CAR. Ay, I can keep it in my cheek.--There's one. God grant it have an eel at the end of it,-- I'll give the dame good measure.

[While the ladies are at the pool enter Guido.]

GUIDO. Greeting, madam!

OCT. Who greets me?--Ah, it is the Duke. Good even, Guido. You seek an audience with me?

GUIDO. Nay--nay--but if you send away your women,-- We shall be more alone.

OCT. [After considering him a moment.] You may leave me now, Laura, Francesca--all of you--and you would best go in At an early hour, instead of walking the gardens All night; I would have you with your wits About you in the morning.

LAU. [Aside.] Oh, indeed? You would best go in yourself, lest the dew rust you, You sauce-pan! [Exeunt ladies.]

OCT. Now, my good sir,--you may speak.

GUI. [As if by way of conversation.] It is a long time, is it not, your daughter Is absent from the court?

OCT. Why say you that?

GUI. Why but to pass the time, till she returns?

OCT. Nay, Guido. That is well enough for some, But not for me. I know the slant of your fancy; 'Tis not in that direction.

GUI. Yet me thinks The sooner she is back again at court The happier for us both.

OCT. "Us both"? What "both"?

GUI. You Madam, and myself.

OCT. And why for me?

GUI. [Carefully.] Why, are you not her mother?

OCT. Hah! [Pause.] Guido, What festers in your mind? Do you speak out now, If you await some aid from me.

GUI. Madam, I have but this to say: if I were a woman With a marriageable daughter, and a King rode by, I'd have her at the window.

OCT. So. I thought so.

[With an entire change of manner.]

Guido, what think you,--does she love the King,-- I mean Lorenzo's daughter?

GUI. [Between his teeth.] Ay, she loves him.

OCT. And loves he her?

GUI. Oh, ay. He loves the moon, The wind in the cypress trees, his mother's portrait At seventeen, himself, his future children-- He loves her well enough. But had she blue eyes And yellow hair, and were afraid of snakes, He yet might love her more.

OCT. You think so, Guido? I am content to learn you of that mind. There had occurred to me--some time ago, In fact--a similar fancy. And already My daughter is well on her way home.

[Exeunt Guido and Octavia.]

[Music, Enter Beatrice and Fidelio. Fidelio strums his lute softly throughout the next conversation, up to the words "and cease to mock me."]

BEA. Fidelio, Were you ever in love?

FID. I was never out of it.

BEA. But truly?

FID. Well. I was only out of it What time it takes a man to right himself And once again lose balance. Ah, indeed, 'Tis good to be in love, I have often noticed, The moment I fall out of love, that moment I catch a cold.

BEA. Are you in love, then, now?

FID. Ay, to be sure.

BEA. Oh! Oh! With whom, Fidelio? Tell me with whom!

FID. Why, marry, with yourself,-- That are the nearest to me,--and by the same troth, The farthest away.

BEA. Go to, Fidelio! I am in earnest, and you trifle with me As if I were a child.

FID. Are you not a child, then?

BEA. Not any more.

FID, How so?

The Lamp and the Bell - 6/16

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