THE BENEFICENT BEAR Carlo Goldoni




THE BENEFICENT BEAR
CARLO GOLDONI

A COMEDY IN THREE ACTS

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

GERONTE.
DALANCOURT, _his nephew._
DORVAL, _the friend of Geronte._
VALERIO, _the lover of Angelica._
PICCARDO, _the servant of Geronte._
A SERVANT _of Dalancourt._
MADAME DALANCOURT.
ANGELICA, _sister of Dalancourt._
MARTUCCIA, _housekeeper to Geronte._

_The Scene is in Paris, at the house of_ GERONTE.




THE BENEFICENT BEAR.




ACT I.


SCENE I.--Martuccia, Angelica, _and_ Valerio.

_Ang._ Valerio, leave me, I entreat you; I fear for myself, I fear for
you. Ah! if we should be surprised--

_Val._ My dear Angelica!

_Mar._ Do go, sir.

_Val._ [_To_ Martuccia.] One moment more. If I could be well assured--

_Mar._ Of what?

_Val._ Of her love--of her constancy.

_Ang._ Ah, Valerio! can you doubt it?

_Mar._ Go, go, sir; she loves you but too well.

_Val._ This is the happiness of my life--

_Mar._ Quick, go away. If my master should come in suddenly!

_Ang._ [_To_ Martuccia.] He never leaves his room so early.

_Mar._ That is true; but you know he walks and amuses himself in this
room. Here are his chessmen, and here he often plays. Oh, don't you know
Signor Geronte?

_Val._ Pardon me, he is Angelica's uncle. I know my father was his
friend, but I have never spoken to him.

_Mar._ He is a man, sir, of a most singular character. At bottom a most
worthy man, but impatient, and peculiar to the last degree.

_Ang._ Yes, he tells me he loves me, and I believe him; but while he
tells me so, he makes me tremble.

_Val._ [_To_ Angelica.] What have you to fear? you have neither father
nor mother. You are at your brother's disposal, and he is my friend; I
will speak to him.

_Mar._ Ah! Exactly! Trust to Signor Dalancourt.

_Val._ Well, can he refuse me?

_Mar._ Indeed, I think he can.

_Val._ Why so?

_Mar._ Listen; I will explain the whole matter in a few words. My
nephew, your brother the lawyer's new clerk, has told me what I will now
tell you. He has been with him only a fortnight, I heard it from him
this morning; but he confided it to me as the greatest secret: for
Heaven's sake do not betray me!

_Val._ Do not fear.

_Ang._ You know me.

_Mar._ [_Speaking in a low tone to_ Valerio, _and looking towards the
door_.] Signor Dalancourt is a ruined man, overwhelmed. He has run
through all his fortune, and perhaps his sister's dowry too. Angelica
is a burden too great for him to bear, and to free himself from it, he
means to shut her up in a convent.

_Ang._ Oh, Heavens! What do you tell me?

_Val._ Can it be possible? I have known him a long time. Dalancourt
always appeared to me a young man of good sense and honourable
principles; sometimes impetuous, and apt to take offence, but--

_Mar._ Impetuous--oh, most impetuous!--a match for his uncle, but far
from having his uncle's excellent feelings.

_Val._ He is esteemed, beloved by every one. His father was perfectly
satisfied with him.

_Mar._ Ah, sir, since his marriage he is no longer the same man.

_Val._ Can it be that Madame Dalancourt--

_Mar._ Yes, she, they say, is the cause of this great change. Signor
Geronte is deeply offended with his nephew for his foolish compliance
with the whims of his wife, and--I know nothing, but I would lay a wager
that this plan of the convent is of her contrivance.

_Ang._ [_To_ Martuccia.] You surprise me. My sister-in-law, whom I
looked on as so discreet, who showed me so much friendship! I never
could have thought it.

_Val._ I know her, and cannot believe it.

_Mar._ Surely you are not serious? Does any lady dress more elegantly?
Is there any new fashion that she does not immediately adopt? At balls
and plays, is she not always the first?

_Val._ But her husband is ever at her side.

_Ang._ Yes, my brother never leaves her.

_Mar._ Well, they are both fools, and both will be ruined together.

_Val._ It is impossible.

_Mar._ Very well, very well. I have told you what you wanted to know.
Now go at once, and do not expose my mistress to the danger of losing
her uncle's favour. He alone can be of any service to her.

_Val._ Keep calm, Angelica. No question of interest shall ever form an
obstacle.

_Mar._ I hear a noise. Go at once. [_Exit_ Valerio.

_Ang._ How miserable I am!

_Mar._ There's your uncle coming. Did I not tell you so?

_Ang._ I am going.

_Mar._ No, remain here, and open your heart to him.

_Ang._ I would as soon put my hand in the fire.

_Mar._ Come, come; he is sometimes a little hasty, but he has not a bad
heart.

_Ang._ You direct his household, you have influence with him; speak to
him for me.

_Mar._ No, you must speak to him yourself; all I can do is to hint at
the matter, and dispose him to listen to you.

_Ang._ Yes, yes, say something to him, and I will speak to him
afterwards. [_Going._]

_Mar._ Remain here.

_Ang._ No, no; when it is time, call me. I shall not be far off.
[_Exit_ Angelica.

Martuccia, _alone_.

_Mar._ How gentle she is--how amiable. I have been with her from her
babyhood. I love her; I am distressed for her, and wish to see her
happy. Here he is.

_Enter_ Geronte.

_Ger._ [_To_ Martuccia.] Where's Piccardo?

_Mar._ Signor--

_Ger._ Call Piccardo!

_Mar._ Yes, sir. But may I say one word to you?

_Ger._ [_Very impatiently._] Piccardo, Piccardo!

_Mar._ [_In the same tone._] Piccardo, Piccardo!

_Enter_ Piccardo.

_Pic._ Here, sir; here, sir.

_Mar._ [_To_ Piccardo _angrily._] Your master--

_Pic._ [_To_ Geronte.] Here I am, sir.

_Ger._ Go to my friend Dorval, and tell him I am waiting to play a game
of chess with him.

_Pic._ Yes, sir, but--

_Ger._ But what?

_Pic._ I have a commission--

_Ger._ To do what?

_Pic._ From your nephew.

_Ger._ [_In a passion._] Go to Dorval's.

_Pic._ He wishes to speak to you.

_Ger._ Begone, sir!

_Pic._ What a man! [_Exit._

_Ger._ A madman--a miserable creature! No, I will not see him; I will
not permit him to come and disturb my tranquillity. [_Goes to the
table._]

_Mar._ [_Aside._] There, he is in a rage at once. Most unfortunate for
me.

_Ger._ [_Sitting down._] What a move that was I made yesterday! what a
fatality! How in the world could I be checkmated with a game so well
arranged? Let me see; this game kept me awake the whole night. [_Looking
over the game._]

_Mar._ May I speak to you, sir?

_Ger._ No.

_Mar._ No! But I have something important to say to you.

_Ger._ Well, what have you to say? let me hear it.

_Mar._ Your niece wishes to speak to you.

_Ger._ I have no time now.

_Mar._ Really! Is what you are about, then, of such very great
importance?

_Ger._ Yes, of the utmost importance; I don't often amuse myself, and
then I do not choose to be plagued to death. Do you hear?

_Mar._ This poor girl--

_Ger._ What has happened to her?

_Mar._ They want to shut her up in a convent.

_Ger._ In a convent!--To shut my niece in a convent! to dispose of my
niece without my approbation, without my knowing anything about it!

_Mar._ You know your nephew's embarrassments.

_Ger._ I have nothing to do with my nephew's embarrassments, nor his
wife's follies. He has his own property; if he squanders it, if he ruins
himself, so much the worse for him. But as for my niece, I am the head
of the family, I am the master; it is for me to provide for her.

_Mar._ So much the better for her, sir, so much the better. I am glad to
see you get so warm in the dear girl's behalf.

_Ger._ Where is she?

_Mar._ She is near, sir. Wait a moment--

_Ger._ Let her come in.

_Mar._ Yes, she most earnestly desires to do so, but--

_Ger._ But what?

_Mar._ She is timid.

_Ger._ Well, what then?

_Mar._ If you speak to her--

_Ger._ I must speak to her.

_Mar._ Yes, but in this tone of voice--

_Ger._ The tone of my voice hurts nobody; let her come and rely on my
heart, not on my tone of voice.

_Mar._ That is true, sir. I know you; you are good, humane, charitable;
but I entreat you, do not frighten the poor girl; speak to her with a
little gentleness.

_Ger._ Yes, I will speak to her with gentleness.

_Mar._ You promise me?

_Ger._ I promise you.

_Mar._ Do not forget it.

_Ger._ [_Beginning to be impatient._] No.

_Mar._ Above all, do not get impatient.

_Ger._ [_Impatiently._] I tell you, no.

_Mar._ I tremble for Angelica. [_Exit._

Geronte, _alone_.

_Ger._ She is right; I sometimes suffer myself to be carried away by my
irritable temper. My niece deserves to be treated with tenderness.

_Enter_ Angelica.--_She remains at a distance._

_Ger._ Come near.

_Ang._ Sir? [_Timidly advancing one step._]

_Ger._ [_Warmly._] How can you expect me to hear you when you are three
miles off?

_Ang._ Excuse me, sir. [_She approaches him, trembling._]

_Ger._ What have you to say to me?

_Ang._ Has not Martuccia told you something?

_Ger._ [_At first gently, then by degrees he gets excited._] Yes, she
has spoken to me of you, of that insensate brother of yours, that
extravagant fellow, who suffers himself to be led by the nose by his
silly wife, who is ruined, utterly lost, and has no longer any respect
for me. [_Angelica moves as though to go away._] Where are you going?
[_Very impetuously._]

_Ang._ You are angry, sir.

_Ger._ Well, what is that to you? If I get angry at a blockhead, I am
not angry with you. Come near; speak; you must not be afraid of my
anger.

_Ang._ My dear uncle, I can't speak to you unless I see you calm.

_Ger._ What martyrdom! Well, I am calm. Speak. [_Trying to compose
himself._]

_Ang._ Martuccia, sir, has told you--

_Ger._ I don't mind what Martuccia says. I want to hear it from
yourself.

_Ang._ My brother--

_Ger._ Your brother--

_Ang._ Wishes to shut me up in a convent.

_Ger._ Well, do you wish to go into a convent?

_Ang._ But, sir--

_Ger._ [_With warmth._] Well! Speak.

_Ang._ It is not for me to decide.

_Ger._ [_With a little more warmth._] I do not say it is for you to
decide, but I want to know your inclination.

_Ang._ You make me tremble, sir.

_Ger._ [_Aside, restraining himself._] I shall burst with rage.--Come
near. I understand, then, a convent is not to your liking?

_Ang._ No, sir.

_Ger._ For what have you an inclination?

_Ang._ Sir--

_Ger._ Do not be afraid. I am calm. Speak freely.

_Ang._ Ah! I have not the courage.

_Ger._ Come here. Do you wish to be married?

_Ang._ Sir--

_Ger._ Yes or no?

_Ang._ If you desire--

_Ger._ Yes or no?

_Ang._ Well, yes--

_Ger._ Yes! you wish to be married! to lose your liberty, your
tranquillity! Very well; so much the worse for you. Yes, I will marry
you.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] How good he is for all his hasty temper!

_Ger._ Have you an inclination for any one in particular?

_Ang._ [_Aside._] Now, if I had the courage to speak to him of Valerio!

_Ger._ Well, have you any lover?

_Ang._ [_Aside._] This is not the opportune moment. I will get Martuccia
to speak to him.

_Ger._ Come, come, let us end the matter. The house in which you live,
the persons you see, may perhaps have led you to form an attachment. I
wish to know the truth. Yes, I will do something handsome for you, but
on the condition that you deserve it. Do you understand? [_With great
warmth._]

_Ang._ [_Trembling._] Yes, sir.

_Ger._ Speak openly, frankly. Have you any attachment? [_In the same
tone._]

_Ang._ [_Hesitating and trembling._] But--no, sir.--No, sir, I have
none.

_Ger._ So much the better. I will find a husband for you.

_Ang._ Oh, God! I should not like, sir--

_Ger._ What is it?

_Ang._ You know my timidity.

_Ger._ Yes, yes, your timidity. I know womankind; now you are a dove,
but get married, and you will be a hawk.

_Ang._ Ah, my uncle! since you are so good--

_Ger._ Yes, too good.

_Ang._ Let me tell you--

_Ger._ Dorval not come yet! [_Going to the table._]

_Ang._ Hear me, my dear uncle.

_Ger._ Don't disturb me now. [_Intent on the chessboard._]

_Ang._ One single word--

_Ger._ [_Impatiently._] Enough has been said.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] Oh, Heaven! I am more unhappy than ever. Ah, my dear
Martuccia will not abandon me! [_Exit._

Geronte, _alone_.

_Ger._ She is a good girl; I would willingly do all I can for her. If
she had any attachment, I would endeavour to please her, but she has
none. I will see, I will look about. But what in the world detains
Dorval? Is he never coming? I long to try that cursed combination again
that made me lose the last game. Certainly, I ought to have won it--he
did not beat me, I beat myself. I must have lost my senses. Let us
see a little. My pieces were placed so, and Dorval's so. I moved the
king to his castle's square; Dorval placed his bishop on his king's
second square. I--check--yes, I take the pawn--Dorval--he takes my
bishop,--Dorval--yes, he takes my bishop, and I--give check with my
knight. By Jove! Dorval loses his queen. He plays his king, and I take
his queen. Yes, the fellow, with his king, has taken my knight. But so
much the worse for him. Now he is in my nets; his king is fast. Here is
my queen; Yes, here she is. Checkmate. It is clear. Checkmate, and the
game is won. Ah! if Dorval would come, he should see it.--[_Calls._]
Piccardo!

_Enter_ Dalancourt.

_Dal._ [_Apart, and in much confusion._] My uncle is alone; if he will
listen to me!

_Ger._ I will place the pieces as they were at first. [_Not seeing_
Dalancourt, _he calls loudly._] Piccardo!

_Dal._ Sir--

_Ger._ [_Without turning, and supposing he is speaking to_ Piccardo.]
Well, have you found Dorval?

_Enter_ Dorval.

_Dor._ Here I am, my friend.

_Dal._ [_With resolution._] My uncle.

_Ger._ [_Turning, sees_ Dalancourt, _rises quickly, throws down the
chair, and goes out without speaking._]


SCENE II.--Dalancourt _and_ Dorval.

_Dor._ [_Laughing._] What is the meaning of this scene?

_Dal._ It is dreadful! All this because he has seen me.

_Dor._ [_In the same manner._] Geronte is my friend. I know his
disposition perfectly.

_Dal._ I am sorry on your account.

_Dor._ Indeed, I came at an unlucky time.

_Dal._ Excuse his violence.

_Dor._ [_Smiling._] Oh, I'll scold him; I'll scold him.

_Dal._ Ah, my friend, you are the only person who can do anything for me
with him.

_Dor._ I will do what I can, with all my heart, but--

_Dal._ I agree that, from appearances, my uncle has reason to be
offended with me; but if he could read the bottom of my heart, all his
affection for me would return, and he would never repent it.

_Dor._ Yes, I know your character, and I believe everything might be
hoped from you; but your wife--

_Dal._ My wife, sir! Ah, you do not know her. All the world is mistaken
about her, and my uncle especially. I must do her justice, and let the
truth be known. She knows nothing of the embarrassments by which I
am overwhelmed. She thought me richer than I was, and I have always
concealed my affairs from her. I love her. We were married very young. I
have never permitted her to ask for anything--to want anything. I have
always endeavoured to anticipate her wishes, and to provide for her
pleasures. In this way I have ruined myself. [_Earnestly._]

_Dor._ To please a lady--to anticipate her desires! That is no easy
task.

_Dal._ I am certain, had she known my situation, she would have been the
first to forbid the expenses I have indulged in to please her.

_Dor._ Yet she did not forbid them.

_Dal._ No, because she had no fear--

_Dor._ My poor friend!

_Dal._ [_Afflicted._] Indeed I am poor.

_Dor._ [_Still smiling._] I pity you.

_Dal._ [_With warmth._] You are making a jest of me.

_Dor._ [_Still laughing._] By no means; but--you love your wife
prodigiously?

_Dal._ Yes, I love her; I have always loved her, and shall love her as
long as I live; I know her, know all her worth, and will not suffer any
one to accuse her of faults which she has not.

_Dor._ [_Seriously._] Gently, my friend, gently; you have a little too
much of the family hastiness.

_Dal._ [_With much warmth._] Pardon me, I would not for the world offend
you; but when my wife is spoken of--

_Dor._ Well, well, let us speak of her no more.

_Dal._ But I wish you to be convinced.

_Dor._ [_Coldly._] Yes, I am convinced.

_Dal._ [_With much earnestness._] No, you are not.

_Dor._ [_A little excited._] Excuse me, I tell you I am.

_Dal._ Very well, I believe you, and am delighted that you are. Now, my
dear friend, speak to my uncle on my behalf.

_Dor._ Most willingly will I do so.

_Dal._ How much obliged to you I shall be!

_Dor._ But we must be able to give him some reasons. How have you
managed to ruin yourself in so short a time? It is only four years since
your father died, leaving you a handsome fortune, and it is said you
have spent it all.

_Dal._ If you knew all the misfortunes that have happened to me! Seeing
my affairs were in disorder, I wished to remedy them, and the remedy was
worse than the disease: I listened to new schemes, engaged in new
speculations, pledged my property, and have lost everything.

_Dor._ Here lies the error--new projects; the ruin of many another man.

_Dal._ And my condition is utterly hopeless.

_Dor._ You have been very wrong, my friend, especially as you have a
sister.

_Dal._ Yes; and it is now time to think of providing for her.

_Dor._ Every day she grows more beautiful. Madame Dalancourt receives
much company in her house, and youth, my dear friend, sometimes--you
understand me?

_Dal._ Regarding this point, I have on reflection found an expedient; I
think of placing her in a convent.

_Dor._ Place her in a convent! A good plan; but have you consulted your
uncle?

_Dal._ No; he will not hear me; but you must speak to him for me and for
Angelica. My uncle esteems and loves you, listens to you, confides in
you, and will refuse you nothing.

_Dor._ I have great doubts of this.

_Dal._ I am sure of it. Pray try to see him, and speak to him at once.

_Dor._ I will do so; but where is he gone?

_Dal._ I will find out.--Let us see--Is any one there? [_Calls._

_Enter_ Piccardo.

_Pic._ [_To_ Dalancourt.] Here, sir.

_Dal._ Is my uncle gone from home?

_Pic._ No, sir; he went into the garden.

_Dal._ Into the garden! at this time of day?

_Pic._ For him it is all the same. When he is a little out of temper,
he walks about and goes out to take the air.

_Dor._ I will go and join him.

_Dal._ I know my uncle, sir; you must give him time to get calm. It is
better to wait for him here.

_Dor._ But if he goes out, he may not return here again.

_Pic._ [_To_ Dorval.] Pardon me, sir, it will not be long before he is
here: I know his temper, a few minutes will be sufficient. I can assure
you he will be much pleased to see you.

_Dal._ Well, my dear friend, go into his room. Do me the favour to wait
for him there.

_Dor._ Willingly; I understand perfectly how cruel your situation is.
Some remedy must be provided; yes, I will speak to him, but on
condition--

_Dal._ [_With warmth._] I give you my word of honour.

_Dor._ It is sufficient.

[_Exit into_ Geronte's _room._

_Dal._ You did not tell my uncle what I told you to tell him?

_Pic._ Pardon me, sir, I have told him, but he drove me away, according
to his custom.

_Dal._ I am sorry for it; let me know when the moment is favourable for
me to speak to him. Some day I will reward you for your services.

_Pic._ I am much obliged to you, sir; but, thank Heaven, I am in want of
nothing.

_Dal._ You are rich, then?

_Pic._ I am not rich, but I have a master who will not let me want for
anything. I have a wife and four children, and ought to be in the
greatest straits of any man in the world; but my master is so good, that
I support them without difficulty, and distress is unknown in my house.
[_Exit._

Dalancourt, _alone_.

_Dal._ Ah, my uncle is an excellent man. If Dorval can have any
influence over him--If I can hope to receive assistance equal to my
wants--If I can keep it concealed from my wife--Ah, why have I deceived
her? Why have I deceived myself? My uncle does not return. Every minute
is precious for me. In the meantime, I will go to my lawyer's. Oh, with
what pain I go to him! It is true, he flatters me that, notwithstanding
the decree, he will find means to gain time; but quibbles are so odious,
my feelings suffer, and my honour is affected. Wretched are they who are
forced to resort to expedients so discreditable.

_Enter_ Madame Dalancourt.

_Dal._ Here comes my wife. [_Seeing her._]

_Mad._ Ah, my husband! are you here? I have been looking everywhere for
you.

_Dal._ I was going out.

_Mad._ I met that savage just now; he is scolding and scolding wherever
he goes.

_Dal._ Do you mean my uncle?

_Mad._ Yes. Seeing a ray of sunshine, I went to walk in the garden, and
there I met him. He was stamping his feet, talking to himself, but in a
loud voice. Tell me, has he any married servants in his house?

_Dal._ Yes.

_Mad._ It must have been this. He said a great many had things of the
husband and wife; very bad, I assure you.

_Dal._ [_Aside._] I can easily imagine of whom he spoke.

_Mad._ He is really insupportable.

_Dal._ You must treat him with respect.

_Mad._ Can he complain of me? I have failed in nothing; I respect his
age, and his quality as your uncle. If I laugh at him sometimes when we
are alone, you pardon it. Except this, I have for him all possible
respect. But tell me sincerely, has he any for you or for me? He treats
us with the greatest asperity; he hates us as much as he can, and now
his contempt for me has become excessive: yet I must caress him and pay
court to him.

_Dal._ [_Embarrassed._] But--when it is so easy to do so--he is our
uncle. Besides, we may have need of him.

_Mad._ Need of him! we! how? Have we not means of our own to live in
decency? You are not extravagant; I am reasonable. For myself, I desire
no more than for you to provide for me as you have done. Let us continue
to live with the same moderation, and we shall be independent of every
one.

_Dal._ [_In a passionate manner._] Let us continue to live with the same
moderation!

_Mad._ Yes, indeed; I have no vanity. I ask nothing more of you.

_Dal._ [_Aside._] How unhappy I am!

_Mad._ But you seem to me to be disturbed--thoughtful. What is the
matter? you are not easy.

_Dal._ You are mistaken, there is nothing the matter.

_Mad._ Pardon me, I know you. If you have any sorrow, why hide it from
me?

_Dal._ [_More embarrassed._] I am thinking of my sister. I will tell you
the whole.

_Mad._ Your sister! But why of her? She's the best girl in the world--I
love her dearly. Hear me. If you will trust her to me, I will relieve
you of this burden, and at the same time make her happy.

_Dal._ How?

_Mad._ You think of placing her in a convent, and I know, on good
authority, it will be against her wishes.

_Dal._ [_A little warmly._] At her age, ought she to be asked what she
wishes or does not wish?

_Mad._ No; she has understanding enough to submit to the will of her
friends; but why not marry her?

_Dal._ She is too young.

_Mad._ Good! was I older than she when we were married?

_Dal._ [_Excitedly._] Well, must I go about from door to door looking
for a man to wed her?

_Mad._ Listen to me, my husband, and do not disturb yourself, I pray. If
I guess aright, I am sure Valerio loves her, and that she too is
attached to him.

_Dal._ [_Aside._] Heavens, how much I have to suffer!

_Mad._ You know him. Can there be a better match for Angelica?

_Dal._ [_Much embarrassed._] We will see--we will talk of it.

_Mad._ Do me the favour to leave the management of this affair to me; I
have a great desire to succeed in it.

_Dal._ [_In the greatest embarrassment._] Madame?

_Mad._ What say you?

_Dal._ It cannot be.

_Mad._ No! why not?

_Dal._ Will my uncle consent to it?

_Mad._ And if he does not? I do not wish that we should be wanting in
our duty to him, but you are the brother of Angelica. Her fortune is in
your hands--whether it is more or less depends on you alone. Let me
assure myself of their inclination, and on the subject of interest, I
would soon arrange that.

_Dal._ [_Anxiously._] No; if you love me, do not meddle with it.

_Mad._ Are you then averse to marrying your sister?

_Dal._ On the contrary.

_Mad._ What then?

_Dal._ I must go now. I will talk with you about it on my return.
[_Going._]

_Mad._ Are you displeased at my interference?

_Dal._ Not at all.

_Mad._ Hear me. Perhaps it is concerning her fortune?

_Dal._ I know nothing about it. [_Exit._

_Mad._ What does this conduct mean? I do not comprehend it. It is
impossible that my husband--No, he is too wise to have anything to
reproach himself with.


SCENE III.--_Enter_ Angelica.

_Ang._ If I could speak with Martuccia! [_Not seeing_ Madame D.]

_Mad._ Sister!

_Ang._ [_Uneasily._] Madame!

_Mad._ Where are you going, sister?

_Ang._ [_Uneasily._] I am going away, Madame.

_Mad._ Ah! then you are offended?

_Ang._ I have reason to be so.

_Mad._ Are you angry with me?

_Ang._ Why, Madame?

_Mad._ Hear me, my child; if you are disturbed about the affair of the
convent, do not think I have any hand in it. It is just the reverse; I
love you, and will do all I can to render you happy.

_Ang._ [_Aside, weeping._] What duplicity!

_Mad._ What's the matter? you are weeping.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] How much she has deceived me! [_Wipes her eyes._]

_Mad._ What cause have you for sorrow?

_Ang._ Oh, the embarrassments of my brother.

_Mad._ The embarrassments of your brother!

_Ang._ Yes; no one knows them better than you.

_Mad._ What do you say? Explain yourself, if you please.

_Ang._ It is needless.

_Enter_ Geronte, _and then_ Piccardo.

_Ger._ [_Calls._] Piccardo!

_Pic._ Here, sir. [_Coming out of_ Geronte's _apartment._]

_Ger._ [_With impatience._] Well, where is Dorval?

_Pic._ He is waiting for you, sir, in your room.

_Ger._ He in my room, and you said nothing about it?

_Pic._ You did not give me time, sir.

_Ger._ [_Seeing_ Angelica _and_ Madame D., _he speaks to_ Angelica,
_turning as he speaks towards_ Madame D., _that she may hear him._] What
are you doing here? I wish to have none of your family. Go away.

_Ang._ My dear uncle--

_Ger._ I tell you, go. [_Exit_ Angelica, _mortified._

_Mad._ I ask your pardon, sir.

_Ger._ [_Turning towards the door by which_ Angelica _has gone out,
but from time to time looking at_ Madame D.] This is strange. This is
impertinent. She wants to annoy me. There is another staircase for going
down into the other apartment. I will shut up this door.

_Mad._ Do not be offended, sir; as to myself, I assure you--

_Ger._ [_He wants to go into his room, but not to pass_ Madame D., _and
says to_ Piccardo.] Tell me, is Dorval in my room?

_Pic._ Yes, sir.

_Mad._ [_Perceiving the embarrassment of_ Geronte, _steps back._] Pass
on, sir; I will not be in your way.

_Ger._ [_Passing, salutes her._] My lady--I will shut up the door.
[_Goes into his room, and_ Piccardo _follows him._]

_Mad._ What a strange character! but it is not this that disturbs me.
What distresses me is the anxious manner of my husband, and Angelica's
words. I doubt; I fear; I wish to know the truth, and dread to discover
it.

END OF THE FIRST ACT.




ACT II.


SCENE I.--Geronte _and_ Dorval.

_Ger._ Let us go on with our game, and talk no more of it.

_Dor._ But it concerns your nephew.

_Ger._ A blockhead! A helpless creature, who is the slave of his wife,
and the victim of his vanity.

_Dor._ More gentleness, my friend, more gentleness.

_Ger._ And you, with your calmness, you will drive me mad.

_Dor._ What I say is right.

_Ger._ Take a chair. [_Sits down._]

_Dor._ [_In a compassionate tone, while he is going to the chair._] Poor
young man!

_Ger._ Let us see the game of yesterday.

_Dor._ [_In the same tone._] You will lose--

_Ger._ Perhaps not; let us see--

_Dor._ I say you will lose--

_Ger._ No, I am sure not.

_Dor._ Unless you assist him, you will certainly lose him.

_Ger._ Lose whom?

_Dor._ Your nephew.

_Ger._ [_With impatience._] Eh! I was speaking of the game. Sit down.

_Dor._ I will play willingly, but first listen to me--

_Ger._ You are always talking to me of Dalancourt.

_Dor._ Well, if it be so?

_Ger._ I will not listen to you.

_Dor._ Then you hate him--

_Ger._ No, sir, I hate nobody.

_Dor._ But if you do not wish--

_Ger._ No more--play. Let us go on with the game, or I shall go away.

_Dor._ One single word, and I have done.

_Ger._ Very well.

_Dor._ You have some property?

_Ger._ Yes, thank Heaven!

_Dor._ More than you want?

_Ger._ Yes, some over with which I can serve my friends.

_Dor._ And you will give nothing to your nephew?

_Ger._ Not a farthing.

_Dor._ It follows--

_Ger._ It follows?

_Dor._ That you hate him.

_Ger._ It follows that you do not know what you say. I hate, I detest
his manner of thinking, his abominable conduct; to give him money would
be only to nourish his vanity, his prodigality, his folly. Let him
change his system, and I will change when he does. I wish repentance to
deserve favours, not favours to prevent repentance.

_Dor._ [_After a moment's silence, he seems convinced, and says, with
much gentleness_] Let us play.

_Ger._ Let us play.

_Dor._ I am distressed at it. }
}
_Ger._ Check to the king. }[_Playing._]
}
_Dor._ And this poor girl! }

_Ger._ Who?

_Dor._ Angelica.

_Ger._ [_Leaving the game._] Ah, as to her, it is another affair. Speak
to me of her.

_Dor._ She must suffer, too.

_Ger._ I have thought of it, and have foreseen it. I shall marry her.

_Dor._ Excellent! she deserves it.

_Ger._ Is she not a most engaging young lady?

_Dor._ Yes, truly.

_Ger._ Happy is the man who shall possess her. [_Reflects a moment, and
then calls_] Dorval!

_Dor._ My friend?

_Ger._ Hear me.

_Dor._ [_Rising._] What would you say?

_Ger._ If you wish her, I will give her to you.

_Dor._ Who?

_Ger._ My niece.

_Dor._ What?

_Ger._ What! what! are you deaf? Do you not understand me? [_Animated._]
I speak clearly--if you wish to have her, I give her to you.

_Dor._ Ah! ah!

_Ger._ And if you marry her, besides her fortune, I will give her of my
own a hundred thousand francs. Eh! what say you to it?

_Dor._ My friend, you do me much honour.

_Ger._ I know who you are; I am certain by this step to secure the
happiness of my niece.

_Dor._ But--

_Ger._ But what?

_Dor._ Her brother?

_Ger._ Her brother! Her brother has nothing to do with it; it is for me
to dispose of her; the law, the will of my brother--I am master here.
Come, make haste, decide upon the spot.

_Dor._ Your proposal is not to be decided on in a moment. You are too
impetuous.

_Ger._ I see no obstacle; if you love her, if you esteem her, if she
suits you, it is all done.

_Dor._ But--

_Ger._ But--but--Let us hear your but.

_Dor._ Does the disproportion between sixteen and forty-five years
appear to you a trifle?

_Ger._ Nothing at all. You are still a young man; and I know Angelica,
she has no foolish notions.

_Dor._ She may have a liking for some other person?

_Ger._ She has none.

_Dor._ Are you sure of it?

_Ger._ Most certain; quick--let us conclude it. I will go to my
notary's; he shall draw up the contract: she is yours.

_Dor._ Softly, my friend, softly.

_Ger._ [_With heat._] What now? Do you wish still to vex me--to annoy me
with your slowness--with your cold blood?

_Dor._ Then you wish--

_Ger._ Yes, to give you a sensible, honest, virtuous girl, with a
hundred thousand crowns for her fortune, and a hundred thousand livres
at her marriage. Perhaps I affront you?

_Dor._ By no means; you do me an honour I do not deserve.

_Ger._ [_With warmth._] Your modesty on this occasion is most
inopportune.

_Dor._ Do not get angry; do you wish me to take her?

_Ger._ Yes.

_Dor._ Then I take her--

_Ger._ [_With joy._] Indeed!

_Dor._ But on condition--

_Ger._ Of what?

_Dor._ That Angelica consents to it.

_Ger._ Do you make no other obstacle?

_Dor._ No other.

_Ger._ I am delighted. I answer for her.

_Dor._ So much the better if you are sure.

_Ger._ Most sure--most certain. Embrace me, my dear nephew.

_Dor._ Let us embrace, my dear uncle.

[Dalancourt _enters by the middle door; sees his uncle; listens as he
passes; goes towards his own apartment, but stops at his own door to
listen._]

_Ger._ This is the happiest day of my life.

_Dor._ My dear friend, how very kind you are!

_Ger._ I am going to the notary's. This very day it shall all be
concluded. [_Calls._] Piccardo!

_Enter_ Piccardo.

_Ger._ My cane and hat. [_Exit_ Piccardo.

_Dor._ I will now go home.

[Piccardo _returns, and gives his master his cane and hat, and
withdraws._ Dalancourt _is still at his door._]

_Ger._ No, no, you must wait here for me; I will soon return. You must
dine with me.

_Dor._ I have to write; I must send for my agent, who is a league from
Paris.

_Ger._ Go into my room and write; send your letter by Piccardo.
Yes, Piccardo will carry it himself; Piccardo is an excellent young
man--sensible--faithful. Sometimes I scold him, but I am very fond of
him.

_Dor._ Well, since you are determined, it shall be so; I will write in
your room.

_Ger._ Now it is all concluded.

_Dor._ Yes, we agree.

_Ger._ [_Taking his hand._] Your word of honour?

_Dor._ [_Giving his hand._] My word of honour.

_Ger._ My dear nephew! [_Exit at the last words, showing joy._


SCENE II.--Dalancourt _and_ Dorval.

_Dor._ In truth, all this seems to me a dream. I marry!--I, who have
never thought of such a thing!

_Dal._ Ah, my dear friend, I know not how to express my gratitude to
you.

_Dor._ For what?

_Dal._ Did I not hear what my uncle said? He loves me, he feels for me;
he has gone to his notary; he has given you his word of honour. I see
plainly what you have done for me; I am the most fortunate man in the
world.

_Dor._ Do not flatter yourself so much, my dear friend, for the good
fortune you imagine has not the least foundation in truth.

_Dal._ How then?

_Dor._ I hope, in time, to be able to do you a service with him; and
hereafter I may have some title to interest myself in your behalf; but
till then--

_Dal._ [_With warmth._] For what, then, did he give you his word of
honour?

_Dor._ I will tell you at once; he did me the honour to propose your
sister to me as a wife.

_Dal._ [_With joy._] My sister! Do you accept?

_Dor._ Yes, if you approve it.

_Dal._ You overwhelm me with joy; you surprise me. As regards her
fortune, you know my situation.

_Dor._ About that we will say nothing.

_Dal._ My dear brother, let me, with all my heart, embrace you.

_Dor._ I flatter myself that your uncle on this occasion--

_Dal._ Here is a connection to which I shall owe my happiness. I am in
great need of it. I have been to my lawyer's, and did not find him.

_Enter_ Madame Dalancourt.

_Dal._ [_Seeing his wife._] Ah, Madame!

_Mad._ [_To_ Dalancourt.] I have been waiting for you with impatience. I
heard your voice.

_Dal._ My wife, here is Signor Dorval; I present him to you as my
brother-in-law, as the husband of Angelica.

_Mad._ [_With joy._] Indeed!

_Dor._ I shall be highly pleased, Madame, if my happiness meets with
your approbation.

_Mad._ I am rejoiced at it, sir; I congratulate you with all my heart.
[_Aside._] What did he mean by speaking of the embarrassments of my
husband?

_Dal._ [_To_ Dorval.] Is my sister informed of it?

_Dor._ I think not.

_Mad._ [_Aside._] Then it was not Dalancourt who made the match.

_Dal._ Do you wish me to bring her here?

_Dor._ No, do not bring her; there may still be a difficulty.

_Dal._ What is it?

_Dor._ Her consent.

_Dal._ Fear nothing; I know Angelica, and your circumstances and merit.
Leave it to me; I will speak to my sister.

_Dor._ No, my dear friend, do not, I beg you, do not let us spoil the
affair; leave it to Signor Geronte.

_Dal._ As you please.

_Mad._ [_Aside._] I comprehend nothing of all this.

_Dor._ I am going into your uncle's room to write; he has given me
permission, and he has told me expressly to wait for him there, so
excuse me; we shall soon see each other again.
[_Exit into_ Geronte's _apartment._


SCENE III.--Dalancourt _and_ Madame Dalancourt.

_Mad._ From what I hear, it appears you are not the person who marries
your sister?

_Dal._ [_Embarrassed._] My uncle marries her.

_Mad._ Has your uncle mentioned it to you? Has he asked your consent?

_Dal._ [_With a little warmth._] My consent! Did you not see Dorval? Did
he not tell me of it? Do you not call this asking my consent?

_Mad._ [_A little warmly._] Yes. It is an act of civility on the part of
Dorval, but your uncle has said nothing to you.

_Dal._ [_Embarrassed._] What do you mean by that?

_Mad._ I mean, he thinks us of no account.

_Dal._ [_Warmly._] You take the worst view of everything. This is
terrible! You are insupportable.

_Mad._ [_Mortified._] I insupportable! you find me insupportable! [_With
much tenderness._] Ah, my husband! this is the first time such an
expression has ever escaped from your lips. You must be in a state of
great uneasiness so to forget your affection for me.

_Dal._ [_Aside._] Ah! too true.--My dear wife, I ask your pardon with
all my heart. But you know my uncle; do you desire to offend him still
more? Do you wish me to hinder my sister? The match is a good one;
nothing can be said against it. My uncle has chosen it; so much the
better. Here is one embarrassment the less for you and me. [_With joy._]

_Mad._ Come, come, I am glad you take it in good part; I praise and
admire your conduct. But permit me to make one suggestion: Who is to
attend to the necessary preparations for a young lady going to be
married? Is your uncle to have this trouble? Will it be proper? will it
be correct?

_Dal._ You are right; but there is time, we will talk of it.

_Mad._ Hear me: you know I love Angelica. The ungrateful girl does not
deserve I should care for her; but she is your sister.

_Dal._ How! you call my sister ungrateful! Why so?

_Mad._ Do not let us speak of it now; some other time, when we are
alone, I will explain to you. And then--

_Dal._ No; I wish to hear it now.

_Mad._ Have patience, my dear husband.

_Dal._ No, I tell you; I wish to know at once.

_Mad._ Well, as you wish it, I must satisfy you.

_Dal._ [_Aside._] How I tremble!

_Mad._ Your sister--

_Dal._ Proceed.

_Mad._ I believe she is too much on your uncle's side.

_Dal._ Why?

_Mad._ She told me--yes, me--that your affairs were embarrassed, and
that--

_Dal._ That my affairs were embarrassed;--and do you believe it?

_Mad._ No. But she spoke to me in such a manner as to make me think she
suspected I was the cause of it, or at least, that I had contributed to
it.

_Dal._ [_A little excitedly._] You! she suspects you!

_Mad._ Do not be angry, my dear husband. I know very well her want of
judgment.

_Dal._ [_With feeling._] My dear wife!

_Mad._ Do not be distressed. Believe me, I shall think no more of it. It
all arises from him; your uncle is the cause of it all.

_Dal._ Oh no! my uncle has not a bad heart.

_Mad._ He not a bad heart? Heavens! the worst in the world! Has he not
shown it to me?--But I forgive him.

_Enter a_ Servant.

_Ser._ Here is a letter for you, sir.

_Dal._ Give it to me. [_He takes the letter. Exit_ Servant.] Let us see
it. [_Agitated._] This is the hand of my lawyer. [_Opens the letter._]

_Mad._ What does he write?

_Dal._ Excuse me for a moment. [_He retires apart, reads, and shows
displeasure._]

_Mad._ [_Aside._] There must be some bad news.

_Dal._ [_Aside, after reading the letter._] I am ruined!

_Mad._ [_Aside._] My heart beats!

_Dal._ [_Aside._] My poor wife! what will become of her? How can I tell
her?--I have not the courage.

_Mad._ [_Weeping._] My dear Dalancourt, tell me, what is it? Trust your
wife: am I not the best friend you have?

_Dal._ Take it and read: this is my situation. [_Gives her the letter._]
[_Exit._

Madame Dalancourt, _alone_.

_Mad._ I tremble.--[_Reads._] "_Sir, all is lost; the creditors will not
subscribe. The decree was confirmed. I inform you of it as soon as
possible; be on your guard, for your arrest is ordered._"--What do I
read! what do I read! My husband in debt, in danger of losing his
liberty! Can it be possible? He does not gamble, he has no bad habits;
he is not addicted to unusual luxury.--By his own fault--may it not then
be my fault? Oh, God! what a dreadful ray of light breaks in upon me!
The reproofs of Angelica, the hatred of Signor Geronte, the contempt he
shows for me, day after day! The bandage is torn from my eyes: I see the
errors of my husband, I see my own. Too much love has been his fault, my
inexperience has made me blind. Dalancourt is culpable, and I perhaps am
equally so. What remedy is there in this cruel situation? His uncle
only--yes--his uncle can help him;--but Dalancourt--he must be now in a
state of humiliation and distress--and if I am the cause of it, though
involuntarily, why do I not go myself? Yes--I ought to throw myself at
Geronte's feet--but, with his severe, unyielding temper, can I flatter
myself I shall make any impression on him? Shall I go and expose myself
to his rudeness? Ah! what matters it? Ah! what is my mortification
compared to the horrible condition of my husband? Yes, I will run! This
thought alone ought to give me courage. [_She goes towards Geronte's
apartment._]

_Enter_ Martuccia.

_Mar._ Madame, what are you doing here? Signor Dalancourt is in despair.

_Mad._ Heavens! I fly to his assistance. [_Exit._

_Mar._ What misfortunes!--what confusion! If it be true she is the cause
of it, she well deserves--Who comes here?

_Enter_ Valerio.

_Mar._ Why, sir, do you come here now? You have chosen an unfortunate
time. All the family is overwhelmed with sorrow.

_Val._ I do not doubt it. I just come from Signor Dalancourt's lawyer. I
have offered him my purse and my credit.

_Mar._ This is a praiseworthy action. Nothing can be more generous than
your conduct.

_Val._ Is Signor Geronte at home?

_Mar._ No; the servant told me he saw him with his notary.

_Val._ With his notary?

_Mar._ Yes; he is always occupied with some business. But do you wish to
speak with him?

_Val._ Yes, I wish to speak with them all. I see with sorrow the
confusion of Dalancourt's affairs. I am alone. I have property, and
can dispose of it. I love Angelica, and am come to offer to marry
her without a portion, and to share with her my lot and my fortune.

_Mar._ This resolution is worthy of you. No one could show more esteem,
more love, and more generosity.

_Val._ Do you think I may flatter myself?--

_Mar._ Yes, and especially as she enjoys the favour of her uncle, and he
desires to marry her.

_Val._ [_With joy._] He desires to marry her?

_Mar._ Yes.

_Val._ But if he wishes to marry her, he also wishes to propose a match
that is to his taste?

_Mar._ [_After a moment's silence._] It may be so.

_Val._ And can this be any comfort to me?

_Mar._ Why not? [_To_ Angelica, _who enters timidly._] Come in, my young
lady.

_Ang._ I am terribly frightened.

_Val._ [_To_ Angelica.] What is the matter?

_Ang._ My poor brother--

_Mar._ Is he just the same?

_Ang._ Rather better. He is a little more tranquil.

_Mar._ Hear me. This gentleman has told me something very consoling for
you and for your brother.

_Ang._ For him too?

_Mar._ If you knew what a sacrifice he is disposed to make!

_Val._ [_Aside to_ Martuccia.] Say nothing of it. [_Turning to_
Angelica.] Can any sacrifice be too great for you?

_Mar._ But it must be mentioned to Signor Geronte.

_Val._ My dear friend, if you will take the trouble.

_Mar._ Willingly. What shall I say to him? Let us see. Advise me. But I
hear some one. [_She goes towards the apartment of_ Signor Geronte.]
[_To_ Valerio.] It is Signor Dorval. Do not let him see you. Let us go
into my room, and there we can talk at our ease.

_Val._ [_To_ Angelica.] If you see your brother--

_Mar._ Come, sir, let us go--quick. [_She goes out and takes him with
her._]


SCENE IV.--Angelica, _and then_ Dorval.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] What have I to do with Signor Dorval? I can go away.

_Dor._ Mademoiselle Angelica!

_Ang._ Sir?

_Dor._ Have you seen your uncle? Has he told you nothing?

_Ang._ I saw him this morning, sir.

_Dor._ Before he went out of the house?

_Ang._ Yes, sir.

_Dor._ Has he returned?

_Ang._ No, sir.

_Dor._ [_Aside._] Good. She knows nothing of it.

_Ang._ Excuse me, sir. Is there anything new in which I am concerned?

_Dor._ Your uncle takes much interest in you.

_Ang._ [_With modesty._] He is very kind.

_Dor._ [_Seriously._] He thinks often of you.

_Ang._ It is fortunate for me.

_Dor._ He thinks of marrying you. [Angelica _appears modest._] What say
you to it? Would you like to be married?

_Ang._ I depend on my uncle.

_Dor._ Shall I say anything more to you on the subject?

_Ang._ [_With a little curiosity._] But--as you please, sir.

_Dor._ The choice of a husband is already made.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] Oh, heavens! I tremble.

_Dor._ [_Aside._] She seems to be pleased.

_Ang._ [_Trembling._] Sir, I am curious to know--

_Dor._ What, Mademoiselle?

_Ang._ Do you know who is intended for me?

_Dor._ Yes, and you know him too.

_Ang._ [_With joy._] I know him too?

_Dor._ Certainly, you know him.

_Ang._ May I, sir, have the boldness--

_Dor._ Speak, Mademoiselle.

_Ang._ To ask you the name of the young man?

_Dor._ The name of the young man?

_Ang._ Yes, if you know him.

_Dor._ Suppose he were not so young?

_Ang._ [_Aside, with agitation._] Good Heavens!

_Dor._ You are sensible--you depend on your uncle--

_Ang._ [_Trembling._] Do you think, sir, my uncle would sacrifice me?

_Dor._ What do you mean by sacrificing you?

_Ang._ Mean--without the consent of my heart. My uncle is so good--But
who could have advised him--who could have proposed this match? [_With
temper._]

_Dor._ [_A little hurt._] But this match--Mademoiselle--Suppose it were
I?

_Ang._ [_With joy._] You, sir? Heaven grant it!

_Dor._ [_Pleased._] Heaven grant it?

_Ang._ Yes, I know you; I know you are reasonable. You are sensible; I
can trust you. If you have given my uncle this advice, if you have
proposed this match, I hope you will now find some means of making him
change his plan.

_Dor._ [_Aside._] Eh! this is not so bad.--[_To_ Angelica.]
Mademoiselle--

_Ang._ [_Distressed._] Signor?

_Dor._ [_With feeling._] Is your heart engaged?

_Ang._ Ah, sir--

_Dor._ I understand you.

_Ang._ Have pity on me!

_Dor._ [_Aside._] I said so, I foresaw right; it is fortunate for me I
am not in love--yet I began to perceive some little symptoms of it.

_Ang._ But you do not tell me, sir.

_Dor._ But, Mademoiselle--

_Ang._ You have perhaps some particular interest in the person they wish
me to marry?

_Dor._ A little.

_Ang._ [_With temper and firmness._] I tell you I shall hate him.

_Dor._ [_Aside._] Poor girl! I am pleased with her sincerity.

_Ang._ Come, have compassion; be generous.

_Dor._ Yes, I will be so, I promise you; I will speak to your uncle in
your favour, and will do all I can to make you happy.

_Ang._ [_With joy and transport._] Oh, how dear a man you are! You are
my benefactor, my father. [_Takes his hand._]

_Dor._ My dear girl!

_Enter_ Geronte.

_Ger._ [_In his hot-tempered manner, with animation._] Excellent,
excellent! Courage, my children, I am delighted with you. [Angelica
_retires, mortified_; Dorval _smiles_.] How! does my presence alarm
you? I do not condemn this proper show of affection. You have done well,
Dorval, to inform her. Come, my niece, embrace your future husband.

_Ang._ [_In consternation._] What do I hear?

_Dor._ [_Aside and smiling._] Now I am unmasked.

_Ger._ [_To_ Angelica, _with warmth._] What scene is this? Your modesty
is misplaced. When I am not present, you are near enough to each other;
when I come in, you go far apart. Come here.--[_To_ Dorval, _with
anger_.] And do you too come here.

_Dor._ [_Laughing._] Softly, my friend.

_Ger._ Why do you laugh? Do you feel your happiness? I am very willing
you should laugh, but do not put me in a passion; do you hear, you
laughing gentleman? Come here and listen to me.

_Dor._ But listen yourself.

_Ger._ [_To_ Angelica, _and endeavouring to take her hand._] Come near,
both of you.

_Ang._ [_Weeping._] My uncle!

_Ger._ Weeping! What's the matter, my child? I believe you are making a
jest of me. [_Takes her hand, and carries her by force to the middle of
the stage; then turns to_ Dorval, _and says to him, with an appearance
of heat_] You shall escape me no more.

_Dor._ At least let me speak.

_Ger._ No, no!

_Ang._ My dear uncle--

_Ger._ [_With warmth._] No, no. [_He changes his tone and becomes
serious._] I have been to my notary's, and have arranged everything; he
has taken a note of it in my presence, and will soon bring the contract
here for us to subscribe.

_Dor._ But will you listen to me?

_Ger._ No, no. As to her fortune, my brother had the weakness to leave
it in the hands of his son; this will no doubt cause some obstacle on
his part, but it will not embarrass me. Every one who has transactions
with him suffers. The fortune cannot be lost, and in any event I will be
responsible for it.

_Ang._ [_Aside._] I can bear this no longer.

_Dor._ [_Embarrassed._] All proceeds well, but--

_Ger._ But what?

_Dor._ The young lady may have something to say in this matter.
[_Looking at_ Angelica.]

_Ang._ [_Hastily and trembling._] I, sir?

_Ger._ I should like to know if she can say anything against what I do,
what I order, and what I wish. My wishes, my orders, and what I do, are
all for her good. Do you understand me?

_Dor._ Then I must speak myself.

_Ger._ What have you to say?

_Dor._ That I am very sorry, but this marriage cannot take place.

_Ger._ Not take place! [Angelica _retreats frightened_; Dorval _also
steps back two paces._] [_To_ Dorval.] You have given me your word of
honour.

_Dor._ Yes, on condition--

_Ger._ [_Turning to_ Angelica.] It must then be this impertinent. If I
could believe it! if I had any reason to suspect it! [_Threatens her._]

_Dor._ [_Seriously._] No, sir, you are mistaken.

_Ger._ [_To_ Dorval. Angelica _seizes the opportunity and makes her
escape._] It is you, then, who refuse? So you abuse my friendship and
affection for you!

_Dor._ [_Raising his voice._] But hear reason--

_Ger._ What reason? what reason? There is no reason. I am a man of
honour, and if you are so too, it shall be done at once. [_Turning
round, he calls_] Angelica!

_Dor._ What possesses the man? He will resort to violence on the spot.
[_Runs off._]

Geronte, _alone._

_Ger._ Where is she gone? Angelica! Hallo! who's there? Piccardo!
Martuccia! Pietro! Cortese!--But I'll find her. It is you I want.
[_Turns round, and, not seeing_ Dorval, _remains motionless._] What! he
treat me so! [_Calls._] Dorval! my friend! Dorval--Dorval! my friend!
Oh, shameful--ungrateful! Hallo! Is no one there? Piccardo!

_Enter_ Piccardo.

_Pic._ Here, sir.

_Ger._ You rascal! Why don't you answer?

_Pic._ Pardon me, sir, here I am.

_Ger._ Shameful! I called you ten times.

_Pic._ I am sorry, but--

_Ger._ Ten times! It is scandalous.

_Pic._ [_Aside, and angry._] He is in a fury now.

_Ger._ Have you seen Dorval?

_Pic._ Yes, sir.

_Ger._ Where is he?

_Pic._ He is gone.

_Ger._ How is he gone?

_Pic._ [_Roughly._] He is gone as other people go.

_Ger._ Ah, insolent! do you answer your master in this manner? [_Very
much offended, he threatens him and makes him retreat._]

_Pic._ [_Very angrily._] Give me my discharge, sir.

_Ger._ Your discharge--worthless fellow! [_Threatens him and makes him
retreat._ Piccardo _falls between the chair and the table._ Geronte
_runs to his assistance and helps him up_.]

_Pic._ Oh! [_He leans on the chair, and shows much pain._]

_Ger._ Are you hurt? Are you hurt?

_Pic._ Very much hurt; you have crippled me.

_Ger._ Oh, I am sorry! Can you walk?

_Pic._ [_Still angry._] I believe so, sir. [_He tries, and walks
badly._]

_Ger._ [_Sharply._] Go on.

_Pic._ [_Mortified._] Do you drive me away, sir?

_Ger._ [_Warmly._] No. Go to your wife's house, that you may be taken
care of. [_Pulls out his purse and offers him money._] Take this to get
cured.

_Pic._ [_Aside, with tenderness._] What a master!

_Ger._ Take it. [_Giving him money._]

_Pic._ [_With modesty._] No, sir, I hope it will be nothing.

_Ger._ Take it, I tell you.

_Pic._ [_Still refusing it._] Sir--

_Ger._ [_Very warmly._] What! you refuse my money? Do you refuse it from
pride, or spite, or hatred? Do you believe I did it on purpose? Take
this money. Take it. Come, don't put me in a passion.

_Pic._ Do not get angry, sir. I thank you for all your kindness. [_Takes
the money._]

_Ger._ Go quickly.

_Pic._ Yes, sir. [_Walks badly._]

_Ger._ Go slowly.

_Pic._ Yes, sir.

_Ger._ Wait, wait; take my cane.

_Pic._ Sir--

_Ger._ Take it, I tell you! I wish you to do it.

_Pic._ [_Takes the cane._] What goodness! [_Exit._

_Enter_ Martuccia.

_Ger._ It is the first time in my life that--Plague on my temper!
[_Taking long strides._] It is Dorval who put me in a passion.

_Mar._ Do you wish to dine, sir?

_Ger._ May the devil take you! [_Runs out and shuts himself in his
room._]

_Mar._ Well, well! He is in a rage: I can do nothing for Angelica
to-day; Valerio can go away. [_Exit._

END OF THE SECOND ACT.




ACT III.


SCENE I.--Piccardo _and_ Martuccia.

_Mar._ What, have you returned already?

_Pic._ [_With his master's cane._] Yes, I limp a little: but I was more
frightened than hurt; it was not worth the money my master gave me to
get cured.

_Mar._ It seems misfortunes are sometimes profitable.

_Pic._ [_With an air of satisfaction._] Poor master! On my honour,
this instance of his goodness affected me so much, I could hardly help
shedding tears; if he had broken my leg, I should have forgiven him.

_Mar._ What a heart he has! Pity he has so great a failing.

_Pic._ But what man is there without defects?

_Mar._ Go and look for him; you know he has not dined yet.

_Pic._ Why not?

_Mar._ My son, there are misfortunes, terrible misfortunes, in this
house.

_Pic._ I know all; I met your nephew, he told me all: this the reason I
have returned so soon. Does my master know it?

_Mar._ I think not.

_Pic._ Ah, how it will distress him!

_Mar._ Certainly--and poor Angelica.

_Pic._ But Valerio?

_Mar._ Valerio--Valerio is here now; he will not go away. He is still in
the apartment of Signor Dalancourt: encourages the brother, takes care
of the sister, consoles Madame;--one weeps, another sighs, the other is
in despair; all is in confusion.

_Pic._ Did you not promise to speak to my master?

_Mar._ Yes, I should have spoken to him, but he is too angry just now.

_Pic._ I am going to look for him, to carry him his cane.

_Mar._ Go; and if you see the tempest a little calmed, tell him
something concerning the unhappy state of his nephew.

_Pic._ Yes, I'll speak to him, and I'll let you know what passes.
[_Opens the door softly, enters the room, and then shuts it._]

_Mar._ Yes, dear friend, go softly.--This Piccardo is an excellent young
man, amiable, polite, obliging; he is the only person in the house to my
liking. I do not so easily become friends with everybody.

_Enter_ Dorval.

_Dor._ [_In a low tone, and smiling._] Ah, Martuccia!

_Mar._ Your servant, sir.

_Dor._ Is Signor Geronte still angry?

_Mar._ It would not be strange if the storm were over. You know him
better than any one else.

_Dor._ He is very angry with me.

_Mar._ With you, sir? He angry with you!

_Dor._ [_Smiling._] There is no doubt of it; but it is nothing; I know
him. I am sure as soon as we meet he will be the first to embrace me.

_Mar._ Nothing is more likely. He loves you, esteems you, you are his
only friend. It is singular--he, a man always in a passion, and you--I
say it with respect--the most tranquil man in the world.

_Dor._ It is exactly for this reason our friendship has continued so
long.

_Mar._ Go and look for him.

_Dor._ No; it is too soon. I want first to see Angelica. Where is she?

_Mar._ With her brother. You know the misfortunes of her brother?

_Dor._ [_With an expression of sorrow._] Ah, too well: everybody is
talking of them.

_Mar._ And what do they say?

_Dor._ Don't ask me: the good pity him, the hard-hearted make a jest of
him, and the ungrateful abandon him.

_Mar._ Oh, Heaven! And the poor girl?

_Dor._ Must I speak of her too?

_Mar._ May I ask how she will fare in this confusion? I take so much
interest in her, that you ought to tell me.

_Dor._ [_Smiling._] I have learned that one Valerio--

_Mar._ Ah, ah! Valerio!

_Dor._ Do you know him?

_Mar._ Very well, sir; it is all my own work.

_Dor._ So much the better; will you aid me?

_Mar._ Most willingly.

_Dor._ I must go and be certain if Angelica--

_Mar._ And also if Valerio--

_Dor._ Yes, I will go to him too.

_Mar._ Go then into Dalancourt's apartment; you will there kill two
birds with one stone.

_Dor._ How?

_Mar._ He is there.

_Dor._ Valerio?

_Mar._ Yes.

_Dor._ I am glad of it; I will go at once.

_Mar._ Stop; shall I not tell him you are coming?

_Dor._ Good! such ceremony with my brother-in-law!

_Mar._ Your brother-in-law?

_Dor._ Yes.

_Mar._ How?

_Dor._ Do you not know?

_Mar._ Nothing at all.

_Dor._ Then you shall know another time. [_Goes into_ Dalancourt's
_apartment.]

_Mar._ He is out of his senses.

_Enter_ Geronte.

_Ger._ [_Speaking while he is turning towards the door of his room._]
Stop there, I will send the letter by some one else; stop there, it
shall be so. [_Turning to_ Martuccia.] Martuccia!

_Mar._ Sir?

_Ger._ Get a servant to take this letter directly to Dorval. [_Turning
towards the door of his apartment._] He is not well, he walks lame, and
yet he would take it. [_To_ Martuccia.] Go.

_Mar._ But, sir--

_Ger._ Well, let us hear.

_Mar._ But Dorval--

_Ger._ [_Impatiently._] Yes, to Dorval's house.

_Mar._ He is here.

_Ger._ Who?

_Mar._ Dorval.

_Ger._ Where?

_Mar._ Here.

_Ger._ Dorval here?

_Mar._ Yes, sir.

_Ger._ Where is he?

_Mar._ In Signor Dalancourt's room.

_Ger._ [_Angrily._] In Dalancourt's room! Dorval in Dalancourt's room!
Now I see how it is, I understand it all. Go and tell Dorval from
me--but no--I do not want you to go into that cursed room; if you set
your foot in it, I will discharge you. Call one of the servants of that
fellow--no, I don't want any of them--go yourself--yes, yes, tell him to
come directly--do you hear?

_Mar._ Shall I go, or not go?

_Ger._ Go! don't make me more impatient. [Martuccia _goes into_
Dalancourt's _room._]

Geronte, _alone_.

_Ger._ Yes, it must be so; Dorval has discovered into what a terrible
abyss this wretched man has fallen; yes, he knew it before I did, and if
Piccardo had not told me, I should be still in the dark. It is exactly
so. Dorval fears a connection with a ruined man; that is it. But I must
look further into it to be more certain. Yet why not tell me? I would
have persuaded him--I would have convinced him.--But why did he not tell
me? He will say, perhaps, that my violence did not give him an
opportunity. This is no excuse: he should have waited, he should not
have gone away; my resentment would have been over, and he might have
spoken to me. Unworthy, treacherous, perfidious nephew! you have
sacrificed your happiness and your honour. I love you, culpable as you
are. Yes, I love you too much; but I will discard you from my heart and
from my thoughts. Go hence--go and perish in some other place. But where
can he go? No matter, I'll think of him no more;--your sister alone
interests me; she only deserves my tenderness, my kindness. Dorval is
my friend; Dorval shall marry her. I will give them all my estate--I
will leave the guilty to their punishment, but will never abandon the
innocent.


SCENE II.--_Enter_ Dalancourt.

_Dal._ Ah, my uncle, hear me for pity's sake! [_He throws himself in
great agitation at_ Geronte's _feet._]

_Ger._ [_Sees_ Dalancourt, _then draws back a little._] What do you
want? Rise.

_Dal._ [_In the same posture._] My dear uncle, you see the most unhappy
of men; have mercy! listen to me!

_Ger._ [_A little moved, but still in anger._] Rise, I say.

_Dal._ [_On his knees._] You, who have a heart so generous, so feeling,
will you abandon me for a fault which is the fault of love only, and an
honest, virtuous love? I have certainly done wrong in not profiting by
your advice, in disregarding your paternal tenderness; but, my dear
uncle, in the name of your brother, to whom I owe my life, of that blood
which flows in the veins of us both, let me move you--let me soften your
feelings.

_Ger._ [_By degrees relents, wipes his eyes, yet not letting_ Dalancourt
_see, and says in a low tone_] What! you have still the courage?

_Dal._ It is not the loss of fortune that afflicts me; a sentiment more
worthy of you oppresses me--my honour. Can you bear the disgrace of a
nephew? I ask nothing of you; if I can preserve my reputation, I give
you my word, for myself and my wife, that want shall have no terrors for
us, if, in the midst of our misery, we can have the consolation of an
unsullied character, our mutual love, and your affection and esteem.

_Ger._ Wretched man! you deserve--but I am weak; this foolish regard
for blood speaks in favour of this ingrate. Rise, sir; I will pay your
debts, and perhaps place you in a situation to contract others.

_Dal._ [_Moved._] Ah, no, my uncle! I promise you, you shall see in my
conduct hereafter--

_Ger._ What conduct, inconsiderate man? That of an infatuated husband
who suffers himself to be guided by the caprices of his wife, a vain,
presumptuous, thoughtless woman--

_Dal._ No, I swear to you, my wife is not in fault; you do not know her.

_Ger._ [_Still more excited._] You defend her? You maintain what is
false in my presence? Take care! but a little more, and on account of
your wife I will retract my promise; yes, yes, I will retract it--you
shall have nothing of mine. Your wife!--I cannot bear her. I will not
see her.

_Dal._ Ah, my uncle, you tear my heart!

_Enter_ Madame Dalancourt.

_Mad._ Ah, sir! you think me the cause of all the misfortunes of your
nephew; it is right that I alone should bear the punishment. The
ignorance in which I have lived till now, I see, is not a sufficient
excuse in your eyes. Young, inexperienced, I have suffered myself to be
guided by a husband who loved me. The world had attractions for me; evil
examples seduced me. I was satisfied, and thought myself happy, but I am
guilty in appearance, and that is enough. That my husband may be worthy
of your kindness, I submit to your fatal decree. I will withdraw from
your presence, yet I ask one favour of you: moderate your anger against
me; pardon me--my youth--have compassion on my husband, whom too much
love--

_Ger._ Ah, Madame, perhaps you think to overcome me?

_Mad._ Oh, Heaven! Is there no hope? Ah, my dear Dalancourt, I have then
ruined you! I die. [_Falls on a sofa._]

_Ger._ [_Disturbed, moved with tenderness._] Hallo! who's there?
Martuccia!

_Enter_ Martuccia.

_Mar._ Here, sir.

_Ger._ Look there--quick--go--see to her; do something for her
assistance.

_Mar._ My lady! What's the matter?

_Ger._ [_Giving a phial to_ Martuccia.] Take it. Here's Cologne water.
[_To_ Dalancourt.] What is the matter?

_Dal._ Ah, my uncle!

_Ger._ [_To_ Madame D., _in a rough tone._] How are you?

_Mad._ [_Rising languidly, and in a weak voice._] You are too kind, sir,
to interest yourself in me. Do not mind my weakness--feelings will show
themselves. I shall recover my strength. I will go, my--I will resign
myself to my misfortunes.

_Ger._ [_Affected, does not speak._]

_Dal._ [_Distressed._] Ah, my uncle! can you suffer--

_Ger._ [_With warmth to_ Dalancourt.] Be silent!--[_To_ Madame D.,
_roughly._] Remain in this house with your husband.

_Mad._ Ah, sir! ah!

_Dal._ [_With transport._] Ah, my dear uncle!

_Ger._ [_In a serious tone, but without anger, taking their hands._]
Hear me: my savings are not on my own account; you would one day have
known it. Make use of them now; the source is exhausted, and henceforth
you must be prudent. If gratitude does not influence you, honour should
at least keep you right.

_Mad._ Your goodness--

_Dal._ Your generosity--

_Ger._ Enough! enough!

_Mar._ Sir--

_Ger._ Do you be silent, babbler!

_Mar._ Now, sir, that you are in a humour for doing good, don't you mean
to do something for Mademoiselle Angelica?

_Ger._ Well thought of. Where is she?

_Mar._ She is not far off.

_Ger._ And where is her betrothed?

_Mar._ Her betrothed?

_Ger._ He is perhaps offended at what I said, and will not see me. Is he
gone?

_Mar._ Sir--her betrothed--he is still here.

_Ger._ Let him come in.

_Mar._ Angelica and her betrothed?

_Ger._ Yes, Angelica and her betrothed.

_Mar._ Admirable! Directly, sir, directly. [_Going towards the door._]
Come, come, my children; have no fear.

_Enter_ Valerio, Dorval, _and_ Angelica.

_Ger._ [_Seeing_ Valerio.] What's this? What is this other man doing
here?

_Mar._ They are, sir, the betrothed and the witness.

_Ger._ [_To_ Angelica.] Come here.

_Ang._ [_Trembling, speaking to_ Madame D.] Ah, sister! I ought indeed
to ask your pardon.

_Mar._ And I too, Madame.

_Ger._ [_To_ Dorval.] Come here, Signor Betrothed. What say you? Are you
still angry? Will you not come?

_Dor._ Do you speak to me?

_Ger._ Yes, to you.

_Dor._ Pardon me, I am only the witness.

_Ger._ The witness!

_Dor._ Yes. I will explain the mystery. If you had permitted me to
speak--

_Ger._ The mystery! [_To_ Angelica.] Is there any mystery?

_Dor._ [_Serious, and in a resolute tone._] Hear me, friends: you know
Valerio; he was informed of the misfortune of the family, and had come
to offer his fortune to Dalancourt, and his hand to Angelica. He loves
her, and is ready to marry her with nothing, and to settle on her an
annuity of twelve thousand livres. Your character is known to me, and
that you delight in good actions. I have detained him here, and have
undertaken to present him.

_Ger._ You had no attachment, eh? You have deceived me. I will not
consent that you shall have him. This is a contrivance on both your
parts, and I will never submit to it.

_Ang._ [_Weeping._] My dear uncle!

_Val._ [_In a warm and suppliant manner._] Sir!

_Dor._ You are so good!

_Mad._ You are so generous!

_Mar._ My dear master!

_Ger._ Plague on my disposition! I cannot continue angry as long as I
would. I could willingly beat myself. [_All together repeat their
entreaties, and surround him._] Be silent! let me alone! May the devil
take you all! let him marry her.

_Mar._ [_Earnestly._] Let him marry her without a portion!

_Ger._ What, without a portion! I marry my niece without a portion! Am I
not in a situation to give her a portion? I know Valerio; the generous
action he has just proposed deserves a reward. Yes, let him have her
portion, and the hundred thousand livres I have promised Angelica.

_Val._ What kindness!

_Ang._ What goodness!

_Mad._ What a heart!

_Dal._ What an example!

_Mar._ Bless my master!

_Dor._ Bless my good friend!

[_All surround him, overwhelm him with caresses, and repeat his
praises._]

_Ger._ [_Trying to rid himself of them, shouts_] Peace! peace! Piccardo!

_Enter_ Piccardo.

_Pic._ Here, sir.

_Ger._ We shall sup in my room; all are invited. Dorval, in the meantime
we'll have a game of chess.


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