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- The Triple Marriage - 1/10 -


THE TRIPLE MARRIAGE

BY

DESTOUCHES

Translated and Adapted

By Frank J. Morlock C 1982

CHARACTERS:

Mr. Matthews, an old man Elizabeth, his daughter Walter, his son Mr. Manly, Elizabeth's husband Anna, Elizabeth's maid The Countess Polly, Walter's wife Sophie, Matthew's wife Trim, Walter's valet Jeremy, Manly's valet Belinda, a little girl about ten years of age Mr. Nugent A troop of dancers

Scene: A room in Matthews' house.

Matthews No, I cannot be perfectly happy. I had a wife and she died. Out of decency, I mourned her. Secretly, I rejoiced to be delivered from a tyrant who controlled my slightest breath and wanted to rule my inclinations after twenty years of marriage. I thought her death would leave me free.-- Now, I am a slave to my children, who force me to go against my own wishes, and to preserve decency, without which I dare not proceed. I have to be careful my affairs are not noised about all over town. I have a son who is bigger than I am: what a mortification for a father who doesn't wish to renounce the world! I have a sweet and pretty daughter--who doesn't want to be a nun. So, to preserve decency, I have to marry her off. What an aggravating necessity for a father who loves his own comfort more than his daughter! What role should I play?-- For the time being better keep them amused, so as to have time to arrange matters in the way I wish.

(Enter Anna.)

Anna What's going on, sir? I've just seen I don't know how many men down there getting drunk. What guzzlers! They've already emptied more than thirty bottles, and they complain they are dying of thirst. Who are they?

Matthews They're dancers and musicians.

Anna They drink like marines.

Matthews Well, aren't they doing their job?

Anna Only when they drink at somebody else's expense. I ought to watch them. But, sir, if you please, why have you brought this bacchanalia into your home? Are you giving a ball tonight?

Matthews Yes, child, I intend to give a kind of ball tonight, or rather a little concert mixed with dancing. That's what I brought these musicians and dancers for.

Anna Better take away the drink then, for if they continue as they've begun, you will have to carry them home.

Matthews Never mind, don't worry about it--the more they drink, the better they sound.

Anna Well done! And how were you able to bring yourself to have such a party--you, a sworn enemy to such diversions?

Matthews I have reasons for it which everyone will learn before long. Besides, as my daughter is a little bored, I thought a little diversion like this would cheer her up.

Anna It's true that music and dancing are pleasant, but I don't think this is exactly what your daughter needs to get her health back.

Matthews Oh, I see where you're coming from. You mean she needs a husband!

Anna Without a doubt. A husband is a sort of prescription medicine for a languishing daughter.

Matthews I know my daughter: she's very virtuous.

Anna Does it mean you can't want a husband because you're virtuous? On the contrary, it's her virtue which makes an honest girl want a husband. Those who are not so scrupulous have an easier time of it. I am going to prove that to you.

Matthews I don't need your proofs.

Anna Suppose, for example, you had walked a long, hot road in the summer heat.

Matthews Well?

Anna And that you were expressly forbidden to drink until you arrived at a resting place where they were waiting for you with agreeable refreshments.

Matthews What an idea!

Anna If you weren't forbidden, wouldn't you stop at an inn on the way? You wouldn't be in such a hurry to get there if you hadn't scrupulously observed the rule against drinking.

Matthews I'll agree to that.

Anna That's the exact picture of a young, emancipated woman. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is a traveler who observes the rules with such a scrupulous exactitude that she's reduced to the last extremity. Sir, remember, one cannot always withstand thirst, so it's unwise to put a young girl in the need of refreshing herself along the way by extending the journey.

Matthews You're wasting your breath, I don't believe that eagerness to get it has caused Elizabeth's sickness.

Anna Now, the doctors have lost their Latin for it, or rather, it's a miracle that despite their remedies she's still alive in such a perilous state.-- I am not going to stop! She sighs night and day; she cries often; she falls in a languor--in a prostration which makes one fear for her life. Damn, sir, I know what I'm talking about. These are symptoms of an illness caused by love.

Matthews You think she has some inclination in her heart?

Anna I have not a doubt of it.

Matthews Come on, come on, that cannot be. I am sure she herself doesn't know what an inclination is.

Anna Ignorant at twenty-five in an age when girls are so precocious! Really, you cannot be so blind.

Matthews I forbid you to say a word of this to her. You'll make her have ideas she doesn't have.

Anna Oh, I wager she has an imagination more vivid than mine.

Matthews I am going to plan this evening's party.

(Exit Matthews.)

Anna Useless for him to dissemble; my speech exposed him, but I dare not yet hope--

(Enter Elizabeth.)

Elizabeth Has my father gone? What did you tell him?

Anna We spoke about your illness. We both rejoiced over your improvement.


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